Daily Bible Nugget #563, Genesis 1:1

The Nugget:

Gen 1:1  In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. (KJV)

Gen 1:1 In the beginning Elohim created the heaven and the earth. (RNKJV, Restored Names King James Version)

My Comment:

The Bible is understandable to all. Yet, we can learn more about even very familiar verses that we thought we knew. Sometimes, with further study, there are questions we may not have the answers to. That is why using Bible study tools and commentaries can be helpful.

I saw where someone asked a question about the Hebrew word Elohim, which is a plural word in Hebrew often translated God, as in Genesis 1:1. Sometimes Elohim is used for other than the true God. It usually is used with a singular verb when the reference is to the one true God. The question asked was “is the word ever used in the plural of a singular subject other than our one true God.” I am not familiar with how Hebrew grammar works, so I cannot give a direct answer to the question.

I have a printed resource that comes close to providing an answer to the question. The resource is a Bible in the King James Version which might well be called the Newberry Study Bible. That is not its actual name, though Thomas Newberry is the scholar who devised its system of symbols or markings which do convey information about the underlying Hebrew or Greek grammar. In its introduction on page 22 in a section about the divine titles is a paragraph about Elohim. It is not possible to reproduce the content of that paragraph for the special symbols used are not on my keyboard! Not long ago I discovered that the Newberry Bible is now quite scarce and available copies are very expensive. My copy was published by Kregel in Grand Rapids, Michigan, in 1973, originally published in 1890 and 1893 in England by Hodder and Stoughton.

I have been interested in the names of God used in the Bible for many years. Some writers and scholars speak of the titles of God. I learned, during my extensive and lengthy discussions with Jehovah Witnesses, that they believe God has only one name, Jehovah, and that the rest of the terms are titles, not names. But I have heard my pastor friend and former student, Pastor Emory Moss, speak of the Jehovah Witnesses as a “name cult” in this regard.

Another resource I recommend to study about the name or title Elohim is my book, The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge, and my expansion of it, The Ultimate Cross Reference Treasury. Here is just a sample of what is to be found in these resources:

While my resource, The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge, will not directly answer your question about the Hebrew word Elohim, there are several notes and sets of cross-references that will come close to answering it.

Just now, I checked, starting at Genesis 1:1,

God. Heb. Elohim. H430. Gen 2:2; +Gen 19:29; +Exo 2:24; +Ps 45:6; Ps 89:11; Ps 89:12; Eph 3:9; *Col 1:16; Col 1:17; Col 1:18; Heb 1:2.

The “H430” links to the Strong’s Concordance entry for Elohim.

Checking the Subject Index under Elohim I find the following entries:

Elohim. Deuteronomy 5:9 note.

Elohim, used of angels. Psalm 8:5 note.

Elohim, used of God the Son (Messiah). Psalm 45:6, 7.

Elohim, used of God in his covenant relationships. Genesis 19:29. Exodus 2:24. Psalm 45:6.

Elohim, used of false gods, idols, or heathen deities. 2 Chronicles 35:22 note.

Elohim, used of divinely appointed judges, magistrates. Psalm 82:6 note.


The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge is a resource available in Logos Bible software.

My updated and expanded edition of The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge, which is titled The Ultimate Cross Reference Treasury, contains the following note at Genesis 1:1 which was not in the New Treasury:

God. Heb. Elohim. A plural noun, the singular form of which is Eloah, meaning “The Worshipful One;” it seems to point out a superabundance of qualities in the Divine Being rather than a plurality of persons, as it is applied alike to Jehovah and to the false gods of the nations. It is found almost invariably accompanied by a verb in the singular number (Robert Young, Concise Critical Comments, p. 1).

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Daily Bible Nugget #562, Isaiah 55:8

The Nugget:

Isa 55:8  For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.

My Comment:

Thirty-four years ago today, March 13, 1986, I was shot in the back of the head at point-blank range as I was entering Southeastern High School. It was 7:15 am. I was knocked unconscious onto the mud of the back teachers’ parking lot just outside the windows of the basement-level ROTC classroom.

The individual robbed me of what little cash I carried–thirty-three dollars. He wanted my wallet too, but I put it back into my pocket.

I had taught at this high school for twelve years by that time. Unfortunately, the school was out-of-control in my estimation. The student attendance rate was very poor. Many times there were more students wandering in the halls than were attending classes.

My own students respected me and appreciated the help I gave them. But the students I did not know were constantly calling me out of my name. They attempted to disrupt my classes by opening the classroom door and shouting obscenities at me or the class. One time three male students entered the class and “mooned” in front of the class (by pulling down their jeans and exposing their buttocks). Another time my class was disturbed by a female student in a very short skirt who entered my room, sat in an upper level seat, and spread her legs wide and made lewd and obscene comments.

The day I was shot, I wondered what the Lord’s purpose was in allowing that to happen. It certainly was a very unpleasant experience, to put it mildly. But, looking back on this event, the Lord removed me from a very difficult place of work. The nearly five years I was off teaching gave me time to finish preparing my first Bible reference book, The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge, and to do a more thorough work of collecting cross references than originally planned.

There have been difficult and unpleasant experiences since, but through all the difficulties, I believe the Lord has had an ultimate purpose for the greater spiritual good that benefits many more people spiritually than would otherwise have been possible.

Psa 121:8  The LORD shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.

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Education does not need to stop when schools close!

Concern about the corona virus (Covid-19) has prompted panic buying of toilet paper and the closing of schools.

When I taught public school in Detroit, Michigan, there was often a shortage of toilet paper in the student lavatories. Part of that shortage was the result of student waste and malicious destruction of resources.

But now, with schools closing, students and parents may wish to continue student learning by means of home education or even home schooling.

There are many resources available to accomplish this:

(1) Books already in your home

Most homes have a Bible. Make time every day to read the New Testament. Recent research has found that if you read the Bible enough, it will make a difference in your life. The definition of “enough” has been found to be reading the Bible four or more days a week. Now that students have more time, this is a good opportunity to use this resource that will always change lives for the better.

(2) Textbooks that can be read ahead at home.

(3) Books borrowed from the library.

(4) Books newly purchased from the nearest Barnes and Noble bookstore and other retail outlets where books are sold.

(5) The Language Enrichment Program which I have written, now available from Amazon. Just search carefully by title under “books” on the Amazon website. In my experience, students who use my self-instructional program improve their reading comprehension by two or more grade levels in a very short time. My book can be used by students of all ages, from age 8 to adult, with great benefit. My students who used my book improved their academic motivation, reading comprehension, reading speed, and strengthened academic performance in all subjects.

If you, or any parents you know, have concerns about a student meeting the reading requirements to advance to the fourth grade, be sure to make use of my Language Enrichment Program. In my experience, about 80% of the students who used it far surpassed their reading achievement goals by doing so.

I believe that churches and Sunday school classes or departments could be of real service to their students or students in their community by helping them academically by using the Language Enrichment Program.

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Daily Bible Nugget #562, Matthew 24:7

The Nugget:

Mat 24:7  For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.

My Comment:

Periodically this world has been ravaged by famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. In our day there is an increased reporting of earthquakes. There is an ongoing and developing locust plague in several parts of the world. When the locusts eat all the crops, that can bring on famine in those areas affected. Currently there is great concern for a modern pestilence, the Covid-19 Corona Virus, which has devastated Wuhan, China and has spread rapidly to other areas of the world. Other areas that have been struck with this virus include South Korea, Italy, and Iran.

Some are making light of the corona virus. That is not a safe attitude to take. I have listened to and watched several medical experts discuss the spreading corona virus. They do not make light of it at all. The virus infections may be spreading more widely than is reported because of a lack of proper ongoing testing. If tests are not conducted, there are no accurate numbers to report. I have read reports of some areas, like in New York State, where gag orders have been issued. When that happens, I wonder what are they trying to hide?

Currently in the United States, the corona virus attacks the elderly more often and more seriously than younger people and children. I have read recommendations that those older than 60 should be especially cautious about mixing with large groups of people.

In terms of the connection with Bible prophecy, I think there is little to no connection yet. Matthew 24:6 speaks of wars and rumours of wars but further states “but the end is not yet.” Matthew 24:8 tells us “All these are the beginning of sorrows” or birth-pangs. Earthquakes, famines, and pestilences have happened before.

Nevertheless, it is wise to always be prepared. Being prepared will make you less of a burden on others should this crisis develop further. People are now poking fun on the current great run on toilet paper. Well, you really do not want to run out of that should you be required to stay home for a while. It may be possible that the reason the corona virus has spread quite readily in some other countries is that those countries and cultures do not observe the same sanitary practices we do in America. It is best to have enough food and water on hand to avoid the need to go grocery shopping as often should things really get bad. I thought I shared Proverbs 22:3 before on this site, but just now using the search feature here I did not find it prominently discussed or listed. Therefore, I think I will share its cross references for your further study and guidance below.

The Bible explains itself. Scripture interprets Scripture. That is why I share cross references from my most recent compilation, The Ultimate Cross Reference Treasury, a great expansion of my original book, The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge: 


Matthew 24:7
nation shall rise against nation. On the four judgments here predicted as signs of “the end” (Mat 24:6), compare the same, and in the same order, attendant on Christ’s coming in power in Revelation 6,—namely, war, Rev 6:3, 4 (with Rev 6:1, 2); famines, Rev 6:5, 6; pestilences, Rev 6:7, 8 (i.e. death, as super-added to sword and hunger); earthquakes (Rev 6:12). See also Eze 14:21 and Lev 26:23, 24, 25, 26 (De Burgh, p. 111). *2Ch 15:5; *2Ch 15:6, Isa 5:25; Isa 9:19, 20, 21; >Isa 19:2, Eze 21:27, Hag 2:21, 22, *Zec 14:2; *Zec 14:3; *Zec 14:13, Heb 12:27, **Rev 6:3; **Rev 6:4.

kingdom against. +Jdg 7:22, Isa 19:2, Jer 51:46, Hag 2:22, Zec 14:13.

famines. +1Ki 8:37, Job 5:20, Psa 59:15, *Isa 24:19, 20, 21, 22, 23, Jer 38:2, Eze 14:21, +*Joe 2:30; +*Joe 2:31, +*Zec 14:4, Luk 21:11; Luk 21:25, 26, Act 2:19, 20; *Act 11:28, **Rev 6:5; **Rev 6:6; **Rev 6:8.

pestilences. 2Sa 24:15, Psa 91:6, Eze 14:19; +Eze 38:22, **Rev 6:7; **Rev 6:8.

earthquakes. Exo 19:18, 1Sa 14:15, 1Ki 19:11, Isa 2:19; Isa 2:21; Isa 5:25; Isa 13:13; Isa 24:19, 20, 21, 22, 23; Isa 29:6, Joe 3:16, *Hag 2:6; *Hag 2:7; *Hag 2:21, +Zec 14:4, Luk 21:11; Luk 21:25, 26, Act 2:19, 20, Rom 8:20, 21, 22, 23, +*Heb 12:26, **+Rev 6:12; Rev 8:5.


Luke 21:11  And great earthquakes shall be in divers places, and famines, and pestilences; and fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven.

Luke 21:11
earthquakes. Note: As that at Crete, Smyrna, Miletus, Chios, Samos (see Grotius), Rome (Tacitus, l. xii), Laodicea (idem., l. xiv), Hierapolis and Colosse, Campania (Seneca, Nat. Quæst. l. vi. c. 1), and Judea (Josephus, Bel. l. iv. c. 4). Job 9:5, Hag 2:7, +Rev 6:12.

famines. +1Ki 8:37, 2Ki 8:1, Isa 29:6, Jer 29:17, Mat 24:7, *Act 11:28, Rev 6:8.

pestilences. +*Lev 26:25, Num 14:12, Deut 28:21, Jer 14:12; Jer 21:6; Jer 27:13; Jer 29:17, Eze 5:12; Eze 6:11; Eze 7:15; +Eze 38:22, *Mat 24:7, Rev 6:8.

fearful sights. Luk 21:25, 26, 27, Isa 19:17, Mat 24:29, Heb 10:31.

and great signs. Note: Josephus, in the preface to his history of the Jewish wars, relates, that a star hung over the city like a sword, and a comet continued a whole year; that the people being at the feast of unleavened bread, at the ninth hour of the night, a great light shone around the altar of the temple, and continued an hour; that a cow led to sacrifice brought forth a lamb; that just before sunset chariots and armies were seen all over the country fighting in the clouds, and besieging cities, etc. Luk 21:25, 26, 27, Luk 11:16, Job 41:9, Joe 2:30, Mat 16:1; *Mat 24:29; *Mat 24:30, Mar 8:11, Rev 12:1; Rev 12:3; Rev 13:13; Rev 15:1.


Pro 22:3  A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself: but the simple pass on, and are punished. (KJV)

Pro 22:3 When you see trouble coming, don’t be stupid and walk right into it– be smart and hide. (CEV)

Pro 22:3  Sensible people foresee trouble and hide from it, but gullible people go ahead and suffer the consequence. (GW)

Proverbs 22:3

prudent. Pro 12:16; Pro 12:23; Pro 13:16; Pro 14:8; Pro 14:15; *Pro 14:16; Pro 14:18; *Pro 15:5; Pro 16:21; *Pro 18:15; *#Pro 27:12; Pro 28:19, *Exo 9:20; *Exo 9:21, Psa 112:5, Isa 26:20, 21, +Jer 8:7, *Hos 14:9, Mic 6:9, +*Mat 7:6; *Mat 24:15, 16, 17, 18, *1Th 5:2, 3, 4, 5, 6, Heb 6:18; *Heb 11:7.

forseeth. T1844, Pro 6:8; Pro 14:15; Pro 21:20; Pro 24:27, 2Ch 34:21, +*Psa 34:4; +*Psa 112:5, Luk 12:33; **Luk 14:28; *Luk 22:36, Act 23:17, Rom 11:20, 2Co 5:9, 10, 11, 1Ti 5:8, Heb 4:1; Heb 4:11; Heb 11:7.

the evil. Pro 14:16, Isa 50:11, Mat 25:41.

hideth. Pro 14:16; Pro 18:10; Pro 27:12; *Pro 28:12, Gen 7:7; Gen 41:34, Exo 2:15; Exo 12:12, 13; Exo 12:21, 22, 23, Num 5:13; Num 35:11, 12, 13, Jos 20:7 note. 1Sa 19:12; 1Sa 19:18; 1Sa 20:5; 1Sa 20:19; +1Sa 21:10; +1Sa 21:14; 1Sa 23:19, 20, 21; 1Sa 26:1; *1Sa 27:1, +1Ki 17:3; 1Ki 18:4; 1Ki 18:10; 1Ki 19:3, 1Ch 5:22, +*Psa 32:7; Psa 55:12, +*Isa 26:20, +*Jer 36:19; +*Jer 36:26; *Jer 37:12, Amo 5:13, +*Mat 10:23; Mat 24:15, 16, 17, 18, Mar 3:6, 7; Mar 13:15, +Luk 4:30; Luk 21:21, *Joh 8:59; Joh 10:39; *Joh 12:36, Act 4:12; Act 9:23, 24, 25; Act 17:14; Act 23:12-24, *Heb 6:18.

the simple. FS108K54, +Pro 1:4. Pro 1:4; Pro 1:22; Pro 1:32; *Pro 7:7; *Pro 7:22; *Pro 7:23; *Pro 9:16, 17, 18; +*Pro 14:15; +*Pro 14:16; *Pro 29:1, Jdg 20:3, 2Sa 15:11, Psa 116:6, Isa 26:11, Hos 13:13, Rom 16:18.

punished. Pro 27:12, Exo 21:22, Mat 25:46.

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Daily Bible Nugget #561, 2 Chronicles 7:13-14

The Nugget:

2Ch 7:13  If I shut up heaven that there be no rain, or if I command the locusts to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among my people;
2Ch 7:14  If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

My Comment:

In the light of what is prominently in the current news cycle, the message of 2 Chronicles 7:13, 14 is very relevant.

2 Chronicles 7:13 mentions pestilence (today, we hear much about the Corona Virus) and locusts (today there are clouds of  locusts reported to be 500 feet high or thick and extending ten by thirty miles, if I recall correctly. 2 Chronicles 7:13 may not be as familiar as the following verse, 2 Chronicles 7:14.

The Bible has much more to say about plagues of locusts and pestilence, some of  which may be found by reading the cross references shared below from the Ultimate Cross Reference Treasury: 

2 Chronicles 7:13

If I shut up heaven. Note: Famine and pestilence were two severe punishments inflicted on the Jewish people by God for their sins. The former was sometimes caused by want of rain, and sometimes by locusts, which devoured all the fruits of the earth; and a pestilence not infrequently followed in their train. 2Ch 6:26, 27, 28, +*Deut 11:17, Job 11:10; Job 12:14, Psa 107:34, Amo 4:7, Zec 14:17, Luk 4:25, Rev 3:7; Rev 11:6.

that there be no rain. 2Ch 6:26, +*Deut 11:17, +Eze 22:24, Amo 4:7, +Hag 1:11, Zec 14:17.

I command the locusts. Exo 10:4, 5, 6, +Psa 78:46; Psa 105:34, Joe 1:4, 5, 6, 7; Joe 2:25.

devour. 2Sa 18:8 mg.

I send pestilence. Num 14:12; Num 16:46, 47, 2Sa 24:13, 14, 15, Eze 14:19, 20, 21. +Eze 38:22.

2 Chronicles 7:14

If. +Gen 4:7. On this text, Thomas Scott, in Scott’s Commentary, remarks: In the best state of nations favored with revelation, there has hitherto been a succession of prosperity, ingratitude, corrections, repentance, forgiveness, renewed mercies and prosperity, and renewed ingratitude and forgetfulness of God. Yet the Lord delights in those places where his ordinances are maintained and attended on, in some measure of purity and consistency. But in cases of apostasy, or general profaneness, or hypocrisy, he will glorify his justice by tremendous judgments upon those, who have thus abused his mercies, and forfeited their privileges, making them a warning to others, if not an infamy among the heathen. Let us then stand in awe of him; watch against all sin; and copy the examples of the most approved of his saints, in the brightest parts of their characters (vol. ii. p. 472, American edition, 1864). Surely the principles behind the blessings (Deut 28:1-14) and cursings (Deut 28:15-68) given to the nation of Israel are in force among not only Israel but the nations of the world, extending to the curse of mounting national debt and economic decline (Deut 28:44). This passage provides God’s recipe for genuine revival. That revival must start with serious attention to continuing systematic, personal, real Bible study (See the Notes at 2Ki 12:13 and Heb 6:9).

my people. Some questions have been raised about the applicability of this verse: are these promises only for natural, that is, national Israel, or are they valid for us today? The following Cross References should settle the issue once and for all. Isa 63:19; Isa 65:1, Act 15:17, +*Rom 15:4, Eph 2:12, **1Pe 2:9; **1Pe 2:10, Rev 1:5, 6.

which are called by my name. Heb. upon whom my name is called. 2Ch 6:33 mg. Gen 48:16, +*Num 6:27, Deut 28:10, Isa 63:19 mg. *Jer 15:16 mg.

humble. T1366, *2Ch 6:37-39; 2Ch 12:6-7; 2Ch 12:12; *2Ch 33:12; *2Ch 33:13; *2Ch 33:18; *2Ch 33:19; *%2Ch 33:23; *2Ch 34:27, Exo 10:3, *Lev 26:40; *Lev 26:41, *Deut 4:29; *Deut 4:30; *Deut 30:1-6, Jdg 20:26 note. 1Ki 21:27-29, 2Ki 22:18-19, 1Ch 17:16; 1Ch 29:14, Job 7:7; Job 7:18; Job 40:3, 4, 5; Job 42:5, 6, Psa 9:12; Psa 22:6; *Psa 25:9; Psa 34:18; +Psa 35:13; Psa 42:5; Psa 51:17, Ecc 5:2, Isa 57:15; Isa 66:2, Jer 1:6; Jer 45:3, Lam 3:20, *Eze 33:11, %Dan 5:22; +**Dan 10:12, Joe 2:13, +*Mic 6:8, *Zec 12:10, +*Mat 5:3; Mat 8:8, *Luk 18:13; Luk 22:41, 42, *2Co 7:10, *Jas 4:9; *Jas 4:10, 1Pe 5:6.

and pray. T1388, 2Ch 20:9, Deut 4:29, 30, 31, 2Ki 20:1, 2, 3, 4, 5, Psa 17:1; *Psa 145:18; *Psa 145:19, **Isa 26:8; **Isa 26:9; Isa 58:9, **Jer 29:13, Dan 9:4, +*Hos 5:15; Hos 7:14, Mat 23:14, *Mar 11:23; *Mar 11:24, Luk 22:44, Joh 11:33, Act 9:11, **1Ti 2:1, 2, 3, 4, *Heb 10:22.

seek my face. FS22A4, +Gen 19:13, T1386, 1Ch 16:11; **1Ch 28:9, Job 8:5, 6, +**Psa 9:10; Psa 27:4; Psa 27:8, Pro 2:4, 5, 6; Pro 8:17, *Isa 26:9; Isa 45:19; **Isa 55:6; **Isa 55:7; *Isa 56:6; *Isa 56:7, *Jer 29:13; Jer 50:4, 5, Lam 3:40, 41, *Hos 5:6; *Hos 5:7; *Hos 5:15, Joe 2:12, Amo 5:4, 5, 6, Mat 7:7, 8, *Luk 11:9; *Luk 11:10, *Heb 11:6.

turn from. The mercies of God to sinners are communicated in a manner suited to impress all who receive them, with the most profound reverence of his majesty, justice, and holiness (+*Gen 18:25 note); thus leading them to unite humble confidence with fear of offending so holy a God. Especially, whoever beholds, with true faith, the divine Savior agonizing and dying for man’s sin, will, by that view, find his godly sorrow enlarged (2Co 7:10), his hatred of sin increased (Psa 119:104), his soul made more watchful, and his life more holy: and they are speculating hypocrites, who profess to expect salvation by the cross of Christ, while the world has their hearts, and sin is allowed in their habitual conduct (Scott, references added). T607, 2Ch 30:9, Jdg 10:16, 2Ki 17:13, Psa 34:18; Psa 51:17; Psa 147:3, *Pro 28:13, *Isa 55:6; *Isa 55:7; Isa 59:20; *Isa 66:2, +Jer 35:15, Eze 18:27, 28, 29, 30; Eze 33:12, **Hos 6:1, 2, 3, *Joe 2:12; *Joe 2:13, Zec 1:3, Mat 5:3, 4, +Luk 13:3; *Luk 15:21, 22, 23, Hos 5:15, Act 3:19, 20, 21, +Jas 4:10 (T357).

then will I hear. The Lord’s ready answers to our prayers should animate us to repeat, with deeper reverence and more lively gratitude, our praises of his mercy (Scott). 2Ch 6:27; 2Ch 6:30; 2Ch 6:39, Psa 91:15, *Isa 30:18; +*Isa 65:24, *Jer 33:3, *Zec 13:9, Joh 15:7, *Rev 3:20.

forgive their sin. The most endearing displays of the love of God, rightly understood, speak terror to hypocrites and presumptuous offenders (2Co 5:11); but the most tremendous discoveries of his righteous vengeance need not discourage the upright, humble believer. Every token of his favor should enlarge our hearts in his service: and those who are inspired with zeal for his glory, and who taste the joy of his salvation, will never think too much time or expense can be bestowed in communion with him and his saints, provided other duties be not neglected (Scott). Exo 34:7, +*Lev 4:20, 1Ki 8:30, +*Psa 103:3, *Isa 1:18; Isa 43:25; Isa 44:22; Isa 59:1, 2, +*Jer 31:34, **Hos 5:15; *Hos 6:1, Zep 3:15, Mat 9:2, Luk 24:47, +**Act 3:19, 20, 21; +*Act 10:36; +*Act 10:43, Jas 5:15, **1Jn 1:7; **1Jn 1:9.

heal their land. T1640, 2Ch 6:28, 29, 30, 31; *2Ch 30:20, +*Exo 15:26, Num 14:11, 13; Num 14:19, 2Sa 24:15, 16, 17, Psa 60:2, Isa 11:6; Isa 27:6; Isa 30:26; *Isa 35:1; Isa 53:5, Jer 8:22; *Jer 33:6; Jer 51:9, +*Amo 9:13, 14, 15, Mal 4:2, +*Mat 19:28, +**Act 3:19, +*Rom 8:19; +*Rom 8:21, +*Rev 22:3.

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Rule 3 How to Interpret the Bible Correctly John 3:5

The Nugget:

Joh 3:5  Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. (KJV)

Joh 3:5 Jesus answered, “I tell you the solemn truth, unless a person is born of water and spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. (NET)

Joh 3:5 Jesus answered: I tell you for certain that before you can get into God’s kingdom, you must be born not only by water, but by the Spirit. (CEV)

My Comment:

All of the English translations of John 3:5 cited above miss the point of what Jesus said because not one of them has taken account of the presence of an important figure of speech, hendiadys, that is quite clearly present in the text.

In order to properly understand the Bible, you must become familiar with the figures of speech used in the Bible.

This reflects Rule 3 of my Rules of Interpretation found linked at the right side of this page in the archives for October of 2010. There you will find 24 rules I have outlined that are necessary to follow to arrive at the correct interpretation of what the Bible teaches. This material is also given in my book, The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge in the notes for 2 Peter 1:20 found on pages 1484 and 1485. This list of rules is also given in The Ultimate Cross Reference Treasury at 2 Peter 1:20.

Here is Rule 3:

(3) When you encounter figurative expressions in the Bible, look for the literal truth they are intended to convey or emphasize. Sometimes the immediate context will indicate a non-literal interpretation must be understood (“trees clapped their hands,” Isa 55:12). In such cases watch for the literal truth or meaning which is being figuratively expressed. Figurative language is used to emphasize what is literally meant.

When this rule is applied to (John 3:5), we are helped greatly to understand what Jesus said:

“Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit,”

The question is, are two things mentioned (water and spirit) or just one thing (spirit)?

Because of the figure of speech hendiadys, we know that two words are used but only one thing is meant. The idea can be expressed “born of water, even the Spirit.” The reference, therefore, is NOT to ritual water baptism, but to being born again by the Holy Spirit.

Further proof in context that this is the case can be seen by the question Nicodemus asked, “How can these things be?” in verse 9 (John 3:9), and the response Jesus gave in the form of a question, “Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things?” What Jesus had declared to Nicodemus is a matter expressly taught in the Old Testament.

Here is my note of explanation given at John 3:10,

and knowest not. Since Jesus expected Nicodemus as a “master in Israel” to know these things, clearly they must be taught in the Old Testament, and in fact they are. Being “born of water” is taught in Eze 36:25, “sprinkle clean water,” and being “born of the spirit” is taught in Eze 36:26, 27, “a new spirit will I put within you,” both expressions in Ezekiel pertaining to the spiritual awakening required for Israel to be restored to God’s favor in order to receive the promised theocratic kingdom in the land of Israel (Eze 36:28). Since the three elements “water,” “spirit,” and promised “kingdom of God” appear together in both passages in precisely the same connection, it is unnecessary to look elsewhere for the proper explanation of Jesus’ words.

In John 3:5, therefore, Jesus was not asserting the need of water baptism to Nicodemus, but the absolute need for a personal spiritual rebirth as what it takes for every person to enter the  kingdom of God.

For those willing to take time to study this issue further, here are the cross references and notes I have furnished for John 3:5 in the Ultimate Cross Reference Treasury:

John 3:5

Verily. Joh 3:11, +Joh 1:51; Joh 6:26; Joh 6:53; Joh 13:16, +Mat 5:18, 2Co 1:20.

I say unto thee. Mar 14:18.

Except. FS184C, +Mat 4:9, Joh 6:53.

a man. Luk 11:13, Gal 4:29.

born. *Joh 3:3, *Isa 44:3; *Isa 44:4, *Eze 36:25, 26, 27, *Mat 3:11; Mat 28:19, *Mar 16:16, +*Act 2:38, +*Rom 6:3; +*Rom 6:4 note. **Eph 5:26, *Tit 3:4, 5, 6, 7, *1Pe 1:2; *1Pe 1:23; *1Pe 3:21, 1Jn 5:6, 7, 8.

of water. Joh 1:33; Joh 7:38, 39; Joh 13:10, *Psa 119:9; *Psa 119:11, **Eze 36:25, 26, 27, Mar 16:16, +*Act 1:5; +*Act 2:38; Act 8:36; Act 10:47; Act 11:16; +*Act 22:16, *Eph 5:26, Tit 3:5, 6, +*Heb 10:22, 1Pe 1:23; *1Pe 3:20; *1Pe 3:21, 2Pe 3:5, 6, 1Jn 5:6; 1Jn 5:8, Rev 22:1; Rev 22:17.

and. FS93A, +Gen 1:26, Hendiadys; or, Two for One F/S 657, Two words are used (water, Spirit), but one thing is meant (Spirit). By this figure water and spirit are joined by “and.” There is no of in the Greek, supplied here by the translators. There is no article to either of the two nouns. This figure gives the meaning, “born of water, even the spirit.” That only one thing is meant by the two words is clear from verses 6 and 8 (Joh 3:6; Joh 3:8), where only the Spirit (the one thing) is mentioned. The figure may also be understood to mean “born of spiritual water,” where the “spiritual water” is, by the figure Metonymy, put for the Holy Spirit Himself, as is clear from Joh 7:38, 39, The reference is to the real baptism by the Holy Spirit which is the one indispensable condition of entering the kingdom of God (Rom 8:9, 1Co 12:13), not to the water of ritual baptism (Act 1:5 note).

of the. *Joh 1:13; *Joh 6:63, Mat 3:11, Mar 16:16, Rom 2:29; Rom 8:2; Rom 8:10, *1Co 2:12; *1Co 6:11, *1Jn 2:29; *1Jn 5:1; *1Jn 5:6, 7, 8.

Spirit. Gr. pneuma, FS121A1, +Luk 1:17 note. Joh 1:33; Joh 6:63, Gen 1:2 note. Psa 51:10, **Eze 36:26; **Eze 36:27, **Mat 3:16, +*1Co 12:13; 1Co 15:45, Gal 4:6; Gal 4:29, Tit 3:5.

cannot enter. Joh 3:3, Joh 13:8, *Mat 5:20; +Mat 7:21; *Mat 11:21; *Mat 18:3; Mat 19:23; Mat 28:19, Mar 10:23, Luk 10:13; *Luk 13:3; *Luk 13:5; *Luk 13:24, Act 2:38; +*Act 3:19; +*Act 14:22, Rom 8:8; *Rom 14:17, +**1Co 6:9; +**1Co 6:10, *2Co 5:17; *2Co 5:18, *Gal 6:15, Eph 2:4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 2Th 2:13, 14, Rev 21:27; Rev 22:14, 15.

the kingdom. +*Joh 3:3, +*Mat 8:11; +*Mat 8:12; +*Mat 21:43, Luk 10:9.

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Daily Bible Nugget #560, Psalm 94:19

The Nugget:

Psalm 94:19 When my anxious thoughts multiply within me, Your consolations delight my soul.

Psa 94:19  In the multitude of my thoughts within me thy comforts delight my soul. (KJV)

Psa 94:19 And when I was burdened with worries, you comforted me and made me feel secure. (CEV)

Psa 94:19  When I worried about many things, your assuring words soothed my soul. (GW)

Psa 94:19 When worries threaten to overwhelm me,
your soothing touch makes me happy. (NET)

Psa 94:19 In the multitude of my cares within me, Thy consolations, delight my soul. (Rotherham, Emphasized Bible)

Psalm 94:19 When my troubled thoughts were many ⌊within me⌋,
your consolations cheered my soul. (Lexham English Bible)

My Comment:

I have cited seven English translations for Psalm 94:19. Read carefully, each translation adds new insight into the depth of meaning to be found in Psalm 94:19.

Reading the Bible enough to make a difference (read it at least four days a week) will bring the positive result that you will overcome anxiety and worry.

If you are no longer filled with anxiety and worry, you will not need to lean upon other sources to bring you relief.

The Bible will furnish all you need to “delight your soul,” to “feel secure,” to “sooth your soul,” to “make you happy,” and to “cheer your soul.”

I have shared with you the source of the remedy and how to benefit most from it. The rest is up to you. Be sure to make use of what I have shared to benefit your own life.

To dig more deeply into what else the Bible has to say about these things, check out the cross references given below for Psalm 94:19.

Psalms 94:19

In the multitude. Psa 43:2, 3, 4, 5; Psa 61:2; Psa 63:5, 6; Psa 73:12, 13, 14, 15, 16; Psa 77:2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, Isa 54:11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, Jer 20:7, 8, 9, 10, 11; Jer 31:18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, *Hab 3:16, 17, 18, Rom 5:2, 3, 4, 5, *2Co 1:4; *2Co 1:5, 1Pe 1:7, 8.

my thoughts. Sarappim, anxious, perplexing, branchings of thought (Kay). Psa 139:23, +*Mal 3:16, *Mat 1:20.

within me. Psa 13:2.

thy comforts. +*Psa 119:50, Isa 66:11, Jer 16:7.

soul. Heb. nephesh, Gen 34:3.

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Daily Bible Nugget #559, Romans 12:9

The Nugget:

Rom 12:9  Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good. (KJV)

Rom 12:9 Be sincere in your love for others. Hate everything that is evil and hold tight to everything that is good. (CEV)

Rom 12:9  Love sincerely. Hate evil. Hold on to what is good.  (GW)

Rom 12:9 Your love must be true. You must always turn in horror from what is wrong, but keep on holding to what is right. (Williams NT)

Rom 12:9 Let love be without deceit. Be haters of what is evil; keep your minds fixed on what is good. (BBE, Bible in Basic English)

My Comment:

This being Valentine’s Day, I thought it would be good to share some Proverbs and Quotations I have used over the years with my high school English classes.

Related Proverbs and Quotations:

  1. “When a man sits with a pretty girl for an hour, it seems like a minute. But let him sit on a hot stove for a minute–and it’s longer than any hour.  That’s relativity.”  Albert Einstein
  2. “Where there is no love, put love, and you will find love.” John of the Cross
  3. “True love prays unceasingly.” Fenelon
  4. “Love is always an active concern for the growth and aliveness of the one we love.” Erich Fromm
  5. “Love is the will to fellowship.” Eric Sauer
  6. “How terrible it was to love people when you could not really share their lives!” Willa Cather, in O Pioneers!, p. 210
  7. “I think we shall be very happy. I haven’t any fears.  I think when friends marry, they are safe.”  Willa Cather, in O Pioneers!, p. 262.  [Bob Jones University set, autographed by author.]
  8. “In real love you want the other person’s good.  In romantic love you want the other person.”  Margaret Anderson

At the end of each week I provided a set of questions or writing topics related to the quotations I had shared that week. My students were given the choice to write a composition related to one of the quotations or to use a topic I provided. I also gave them a generic set of directions for writing a “Proverb or Quotation Interpretation Composition.” Students often told me that writing such compositions not only made them think, but even changed the direction of their lives.

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Daily Bible Nugget #558, Genesis 1:11

The Nugget:

Gen 1:11  And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.

My Comment:

Yesterday I posted as the Daily Bible Nugget #557 the Bible reference Genesis 1:21. I noticed that Genesis 1:21 was not the first mention of the expression “after his kind.” I also noticed that more good cross references are given at the verse which contains the first mention of this expression at Genesis 1:11.

Here are the other mentions as found in the King James Version of the Bible:

Gen_1:11  And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.
Gen_1:12  And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
Gen_1:21  And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
Gen_1:24  And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so.
Gen_1:25  And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
Gen_6:20  Of fowls after their kind, and of cattle after their kind, of every creeping thing of the earth after his kind, two of every sort shall come unto thee, to keep them alive.
Gen_7:14  They, and every beast after his kind, and all the cattle after their kind, and every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind, and every fowl after his kind, every bird of every sort.
Lev_11:14  And the vulture, and the kite after his kind;
Lev_11:15  Every raven after his kind;
Lev_11:16  And the owl, and the night hawk, and the cuckow, and the hawk after his kind,
Lev_11:22  Even these of them ye may eat; the locust after his kind, and the bald locust after his kind, and the beetle after his kind, and the grasshopper after his kind.
Lev_11:29  These also shall be unclean unto you among the creeping things that creep upon the earth; the weasel, and the mouse, and the tortoise after his kind,
Deu_14:13  And the glede, and the kite, and the vulture after his kind,
Deu_14:14  And every raven after his kind,
Deu_14:15  And the owl, and the night hawk, and the cuckow, and the hawk after his kind,
15 verses found, 23 matches
7 verses found
12 matches
5 verses found
8 matches
3 verses found
3 matches

The central point the Bible makes is that all reproduction is “after its kind.” There is no cross-over between kinds or species. It is possible to dig still deeper into the nitty-gritty details, but that should not be necessary here.

Here are the cross references given for Genesis 1:11 in my book, The Ultimate Cross Reference Treasury:

Genesis 1:11

Let the. Gen 2:5, Job 28:5, Psa 65:9, 10, 11, 12, 13; Psa 104:14, 15, 16, 17; *Psa 147:8, Isa 42:5, Mat 6:30, *Heb 6:7.

grass. Heb. tender grass. Deut 32:2, Pro 27:25, Isa 15:6; *Isa 40:8, Dan 4:15; Dan 4:23, Mar 6:39.

seed. FS147D, +Gen 1:29.

fruit. Gen 1:29, Gen 2:9; Gen 2:16, *Psa 1:3, *Jer 17:8, Mat 3:10, Mar 4:28, Rom 6:22.

after. Gen 1:11, 12; Gen 1:12; Gen 1:21; Gen 1:21; Gen 1:24; Gen 1:24, 25; Gen 1:25; Gen 1:25, Gen 7:14; Gen 8:22, Jer 13:23; Jer 33:20, *Gal 6:7, 8, 9.

kind. Gen 6:20 h. +*Deut 14:13, Mat 7:16, 17, 18, 19, 20, *Luk 6:43; *Luk 6:44, 1Co 15:36, 37, 38, Jas 3:12.

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Daily Bible Nugget #557, Genesis 1:21

The Nugget:

Gen 1:21  And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good. (KJV)

My Comment:

Today, February 12, marks the birthday of Charles Darwin. When I saw on my computer news stream a reminder, “Wake up. It’s Darwin’s Day,” I thought it would be good to say a word about the controversy Darwin contributed to by the publication of his book in 1859 about the origin of species.

Darwinism, at least as Darwin himself framed it, is now quite out-of-date.

Nevertheless, there are those who continue to push this fundamental doctrine of Naturalism in our public schools, colleges and universities, and the mainstream media.

I let my students know in my high school history, English, and reading classes that I did not believe in what I term Macro-evolution. Micro-evolution may be true, but if it is, it is simply another term for change within the limits of each species.

Macro-evolution seems to include the beliefs that this world came about through natural processes, that living creatures progressed over long periods of time and became more complex, until we see the great variety of life that exists on earth today.

My students said they were most surprised that a smart teacher like me did not believe in evolution. One student asked if I would be willing to debate their science teacher about this. I said that would be fine. Have him come anytime. I am always prepared for that debate.

The science teacher came and he presented his case and I presented my case. I think I had presented my case on the blackboard in outline form. I don’t recall whether my science teacher friend did the same. But I  trust my students learned more about science as a result.

The issue boils down to this:

(1) Science arrives at knowledge by using the  scientific method, a process which uses repeated experimentation to validate a scientific theory or proposed explanation to explain how and perhaps why something happens.

(2) History cannot be subjected to the scientific method: the start or creation of the universe cannot be repeated as a scientific experiment. Nor can the supposed rise of living matter from non-living matter be repeated as a scientific experiment.

(3) Therefore, evolution as an explanation for life is not a verifiable scientific theory but a philosophy masquerading as science, something it most certainly is not.

Irwin H. Linton, in his book, A Lawyer Examines the Bible, makes the interesting observation that when he spoke to someone who did not believe the Bible, he found that he could always predict correctly what they did claim to believe in–evolution.

That may still be largely true today.

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