Daily Bible Nugget #408, 1 John 3:18

The Nugget:

1Jn 3:18 My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.

My Comment:

This Bible Nugget is a continuation from March 5, 2016, Daily Bible Nugget #406, 1 John 2:24.  I have not posted much since then because I have been converting my Bible cross reference research into actual Bible software. I’ve never done that kind of work before, but it is a most interesting process. One thing the process does is catch any and all mistakes made in the nineteenth century resources I drew material from, as well as my own mistakes. The result should be a wonderful Bible study tool that is nearly error free. Most users would likely have to use this new Bible study resource for a long time before they encountered a printing error.

But I have been presenting an outline here from my high school days when I did a study of the book of 1 John using the Bible study methods I’ve explained in the category to the right, “How to Study the Bible.” My little outline from back then states that a true believer in Christ lives:

(1)  in constant fellowship with God, 1 John 1:3

(2) true to the Gospel, 1 John 2:24

That was the subject of the Daily Bible Nugget #406 of March 5, 2016.

(3) with love for others, 1 John 3:18, 19;  1 John 4:7

John tells us that if we have genuine love for others, we will reach out to them and help them with their physical needs, 1 John 3:17.  This is a major emphasis throughout the Bible, and as a topic makes for a rich Bible study, particularly by using Bible cross references.  Let me share with you the cross references I have for 1 John 3:17 right now:

  1. whoso hath.  Gr. echō (S#2192g).  Present tense, active voice, subjunctive mood verb.  *Dt 15:7-11.  Ps 112:9.  Pr 3:9.  *Pr 19:17.  Ec 11:3.  Is 58:7-10.  +*Ezk 18:7.  Mt 5:42.  *Mt 15:4-6.  +*Mt 25:35.  *Lk 3:11.  +*Lk 11:41 n.  Lk 12:17.  Ac 2:44, 45.  11:29.  +*Ac 20:35.  *2 Cor 8:9, 14, 15.  *2 Cor 9:5-9.  +*1 Tim 6:17, 18.  +*He 13:16.  *James 2:15, 16.  world’s.  Gr. kosmos, +Mt 4:8.  1 J 2:17.  good.  or, goods, or living.  Gr. bios (S#979g, Mk 12:44).  FS111, Ge +18:27.  The phrase includes all the endowments which make up our earthly riches, wealth, station, intellect. It has been finely said of a great teacher that ‘he was tender to dulness as to all forms of poverty’ (Westcott).  Mk 12:44.  Lk 15:12, 30.  Lk 21:4.  seeth.  or, beholds.  Gr. theōreō (S#2334g).  Present tense, active voice, subjunctive mood verb:  deliberately contemplates (see Vincent).  Mk 12:41.  15:40, 47.  27:55.  Lk 21:6.  23:35.  Jn 2:23.  6:19, 62.  7:3.  9:8.  10:12.  14:17.  16:10, 16.  He 7:4.  Re 11:11.  his brother.  Le 25:35.  +*Is 58:7.  1 Cor 16:1.  +*Ga 6:10.  +*1 Tim 5:8.  2 P 1:7.  have need.  Dt 24:19.  26:13.  Ru 2:16.  **2 Ch 28:15.  Jb 31:17.  Pr 14:21.  Mt 6:2.  26:11.  Mk 2:25.  Ac 2:45.  4:35.  20:34.  28:10.  Ro 12:13.  2 Cor 9:12.  Ga 2:10.  James 1:27.  2:15, 16.  shutteth up.  Gr. kleiō (S#2808g, Mt 6:6).  Aorist tense, active voice, subjunctive mood verb.  +*Le 25:35.  *Dt 15:7, 11.  Ps 77:9.  +*Pr 11:24, 26.  Pr 12:10mg.  +*Pr 15:27.  17:5.  19:7.  24:11.  28:9.  *Lk 10:31.  +*Lk 12:15.  %1 Cor 13:5.  +*James 2:16.  his bowels.  Gr. splanchna (S#4698g, 2 Cor 6:12).  Ge 43:30.  1 K 3:26.  Ps 25:6.  Pr 12:10.  SS 5:4.  Is 63:15.  Lk 1:78.  2 Cor 6:12.  7:15.  Phil 1:8.  Col 3:12.  Phm 7, 12, 20. of compassion.  +Col 3:12.  how dwelleth.  ver. 1 J 3:15.  *1 J 4:20.  5:1.  Ps 125:4.  +*Ezk 33:31.  Lk 10:37.  Jn 3:12.  5:42, 47.  James 2:16.  the love.  +1 J 2:5.  Pr 14:31.  Mk 12:31.  Lk 11:42.  Jn 5:42.  14:24.  21:17.  Ac 2:44.  +*1 Cor 13:4, 5.  2 Cor 8:8.  13:14.  Ep 1:15.  +*He 6:10.  of God.  Objective genitive:  love for God (see EGT).  1 J 2:5.  in him.  1 J 2:15.

 

The fact that we have genuine love for other Bible believing Christians, fellow believers, is an evidence, John tells us, that we have a genuine faith in Christ (1 John 3:18, 19, 20), even if we may sometimes be in doubt about ourselves.

If and when we have real love for other Bible believing Christians, fellow believers, we have a desire to have fellowship and times of sharing with them about spiritual things.  Unfortunately, in today’s culture, electronic devices have eliminated the ability of some people to actually talk face to face with others; sports, and other entertainment and distractions cut short the interest and participation in spiritual fellowship that ought to take place. I’ve gotten to the place myself that I am afraid to try to attend a church ever again. Churches are not structured for fellowship. They are not designed to develop personal relationships with other believers. They are not designed to foster spiritual growth.  They are not welcoming places to be.

Why should I (or anyone else) bother any longer to try to attend a church when there is no provision within the activities of the church for opportunities to get to know the other people who go there? I say that, because I have found almost no churches since I moved out of the city of Detroit in 1975 who would welcome me. I’ve been actually shown the door, and told, “Find a church that believes like you do.” I’ve been told, “Jerry, you talk too much about the Bible, and too much about the Lord.” No wonder the Barna polls and research have shown in recent years that many Christians no longer attend any church, around 20 percent do not attend, and about 80 percent do.  Mr. George Barna said if the present trend continues, it will take less than 20 years for those percentages to reverse so that 80 percent of Christians will not attend church, and 20% will. I have written much about this subject on this site.  The church is in disobedience to the Bible. Particularly Romans 15:7.

Pastors and church people need to wake up. If church people are not interested in the Bible and not interested in Bible study, soul winning, prayer, and fellowship, and outreach to strangers who visit their church, then what makes them think they are even Christians? They don’t match the description I read in my Bible about what real Christians are interested in, and what real Christians do.

Excuse my rant, but this is very real experience with me and my family. After trying out half a dozen local churches, we’ve about given up. I am thankful for the opportunity to share my faith with other believers and non-believers alike right here, where I promote Real Bible Study, something many churches apparently not only do not do, but are not interested in.

Posted in Daily Bible Nuggets | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Daily Bible Nugget #407, Proverbs 14:15

The Nugget:

Pro 14:15 The simple believeth every word: but the prudent man looketh well to his going.

 

My Comment:

This verse has wide practical application. One application in this election season is to always “look well” to “your going.” Don’t be among those who simply “believe every word” that is said against, in this season, a presidential candidate.  Learn the truth about each candidate by reading, listening, and watching the several sides of the argument, discussion, or debate.  Don’t simply go by what others report about past positions held by any candidate. All of us continue to learn more over time if we are alert and attentive. It is okay to change your mind about what you once believed on the basis of newer, more comprehensive, well-founded evidence. That is a good mark of intellectual honesty or spiritual maturity, as the subject and case may be.

I wrote the following on Facebook today, and thought it would be good to share what I wrote here.

I see a lot of disinformation spoken about Mr. Trump. I bought his books on Amazon. I am reading them. I have watched as many clips of his rallies and comments as I’ve had time and access to. Only low information voters are against Trump.
 
Trump is the only presidential candidate who is not bought and paid for by the lobbyists and special interests.
 
Trump has the best tax plan for you as an individual tax payer, with no income tax for the first 25 thousand for singles, 50 thousand for married, and 10% tax rate up to 100 thousand: that would help almost all of us. 
 
There are other unnamed politicians running who are low-information politicians who claim this country cannot afford to grant such tax breaks. 
 
ONLY Trump understands the economy enough to know how to fix it.  Trump has stated specifically what steps he could and would take to correct some major injustices that largely account for our deficits. Karl Denninger has written repeatedly with documentation about this on his blog at The Market Ticker, a site well-worth reading regularly. Trump can fix the economy by simply enforcing existing law–he does not need to go to Congress for this at all. 
 
This may be our last best chance to “Make America Great Again.” Only Trump has the boldness and audacity to step up and do what needs to be done. Not one of the other candidates has a clue.
 
Why are even so-called “conservatives” plotting a 3rd-party challenge to Trump? Like the “liberals” they are among the “low information” folks. It is time to think and vote strategically. Go third party, and you have given the presidency to the Democrats, which would be a disaster.
 
Vote for Mr. Cruz, and you get a  liar, and a “dirty compromiser” (as Dr. Bob Jones Senior used to say of others in a different connection), because Mr. Cruz is bought and paid for by Goldman Sachs, a financial firm for whom his wife worked, holding a high position there. I say Mr. Cruz is a liar because he failed to report how he financed his senate campaign, and so violated the law. Did you not notice that Mr. Cruz voted FOR the TPP, “Trans-Pacific Partnership,” a so-called “trade deal” that has been kept almost totally secret from Congress, and especially secret from the people?  Why do you suppose Mr. Trump constantly criticizes the current administration for their utter inability to negotiate “deals” that are fair to our nation?
 
Any votes cast for Mr. Rubio are for a now lost cause.  Mr. Rubio and Mr. Cruz and Mr. Kasich are all “establishment” individuals who do not have our best interests in mind, and any votes cast for them represent votes cast by low information voters who are not thinking strategically. The Republican Establishment in particular has displayed no moral backbone, and during this administration, they have caved in every time to the current president and the Democrats. The establishment and its leaders (Karl Rove, Lindsay Graham, John McCain, Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell) are utterly evil, totally against the American people and what this country and its Constitution stand for, and must never be trusted again. Time for a complete house-cleaning in Washington, D.C.
 
Time to build a fence and stop illegal immigration, stop the drug traffic, stop the crime at the border, and make our country safe again.
 
Time to support fully the Second Amendment.
 
Time to support and properly care for our Veterans.
 
Time to bring the manufacturing base back to America where it belongs.
 
Time to bring the jobs back to America.
 
Time to think strategically, and vote strategically.
 
When there is this much of an effort to derail the Republican Party’s front-runner candidate for the Presidency even by some of the Republicans themselves, you know that the special interests see that for them the end of their illegitimate gravy train is near, and they are scared.
 
Time to vote for the one candidate, Mr. Trump, who knows how to stop their thievery, put them in their place, put them out of business.
Posted in Daily Bible Nuggets, Politics and the Bible, Practical Application Bible Studies | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lavender New Testament Interview between Pastor Emery Moss and Jerome Smith link

Pastor Emery Moss, Jr., my former student from Cass Technical High School, interviewed me on his “Bible Talk” program on WLQV, AM 1500, in Detroit, Michigan, on Thursday, March 10, 2016 on his daily 6:00 pm talk show program.

Pastor Moss had just received a copy of the Lavender New Testament from one of the members of his church that morning, as I understand it. He saw my name mentioned in it (I wrote the Preface), and immediately called me up and asked me to be on his program that evening to talk about the Lavender New Testament.

You can hear me during the first half-hour of the program when he graciously interviewed me at the following links:

Pastor Moss interviews Jerome Smith

Bible Talk on WLQV with Jerome Smith

The Lavender New Testament, translated by my scholar friend Dr. Malcolm Lavender, with explanatory notes and documentation furnished by his son, Dr. R. L. Lavender, is available for purchase only at the following link:

Lavender New Testament

The Lavender translation of the New Testament is a rare jewel. It features the first and only English translation which accurately and consistently presents to the English reader the very important grammatical nuances of the Greek text underlying our English New Testament.

It presents, for the first time ever, an English translation that preserves from the Greek text the New Testament Salvation Vocabulary.

It is the only translation in any language that fully and properly preserves the New Testament teaching about the Atonement of Christ.

These are important matters! They potentially are eternal destiny altering matters.

To properly understand the doctrinal message of the New Testament, you must first understand the underlying grammar of the New Testament. This is the only English translation available that permits the ordinary English reader immediate access to these great truths in readable modern English.

Posted in Bible Study Tools, Doctrinal Discussions | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Daily Bible Nugget #406, 1 John 2:24

The Nugget:

1Jn 2:24 Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father. (KJV)

1Jn 2:24 But as for you, keep in your hearts the things which were made clear to you from the first. If you keep these things in your hearts you will be kept in the Father and the Son. (Basic English Bible)

My Comment:A true believer in Jesus Christ remains true to the Gospel.To be true to the Gospel, we must remain true to the Bible. No compromise is allowed in this matter. If our belief system is not true to the Bible, then our belief system is wrong. If our belief is wrong, we will not receive the promise mentioned in 1 John 2:25, “And this is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life.”In a similar way, Paul warned the Christians of the region of Galatia that they must not depart from the Gospel which he had proclaimed to them (Galatians 1:6, 7, 8, 9). Paul is very severe in his judgment or condemnation of anyone who would “preach any other gospel” to them. On such persons Paul pronounces a very severe curse. To make sure his readers then and now understood him, he repeats the curse for emphasis.The same message is declared by Jude when he wrote, “Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints” (Jude 1:3). The original Greek text underlying our English translations uses a special and rarely used emphatic word for “once,” so that when fully translated, Jude declares that the true faith was “once for all” delivered unto the saints. Notice that the faith delivered to them was therefore complete, and nothing was to be added to it or changed. The basis of true faith in Jesus Christ can only be what is written in the New Testament.Any person who deviates from the truth taught in the New Testament, anyone who adds supposed further revelation to the New Testament, has departed from true faith in Jesus Christ. Carefully consider this truth: it means that many denominations and religions and so-called “teaching authorities” are very mistaken in their beliefs, and are fallen away from the true Gospel of Christ found in the New Testament.The Apostle John tells us in his second epistle or letter, “Whosoever transgresseth and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son” (2 John 1:9).John therefore declares that any person who departs from the true faith, a person who does not abide in the doctrine of Christ, does not have God. In plain English, John has told us that it is possible for individuals, even Bible teachers, to fail to stay true to the faith taught in the Bible. Such persons no longer have God. They have fallen away from the faith. They are guilty of apostasy. This is not just a hypothetical possibility. John is warning against a real problem:  in 2 John 1:10, when John writes “If there come any unto you,” he uses what is called in Greek grammar the “first class condition,” which assumes the reality of the condition spoken of. Therefore, there were and still are such individuals who come with false doctrine. Those individuals do not have God. They must not be followed. This further supports the fact in Bible doctrine that Scripture teaches the absolute security of the believer, not the unbeliever. A person who has stopped believing (Luke 8:13) no longer has salvation, but has left the true faith.John tells us further, “If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed” (2 John 1:10).  When John says “receive him not into your house,” he is speaking of the fact that Christians met for worship and fellowship in individual homes (see Romans 16:5;  1 Corinthians 16:19;  Colossians 4:15;  Philemon 1:2), and that they were not to permit false teachers to present their message in those meetings, and they were to offer them no encouragement.True believers will grow in their faith, but they will not change their faith in a manner that would be a departure of what is taught in the Bible, and particularly what is taught in the New Testament.

 

 

Posted in Daily Bible Nuggets, Doctrinal Discussions | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Daily Bible Nugget #405, James 4:8

The Nugget:

Jas 4:8 Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.

My Comment:

A true believer lives (1) in constant fellowship with God, 1 John 1:3, 7.  2:6.

To have fellowship with God, draw near to Him. To do that, we must get to know God better. That is accomplished by letting God talk to us. How do we get God to talk to us? Actually, God has already spoken. What He has spoken is found only in the Bible. So, to let God talk to you, read His written word in the Bible.

Another very clear aspect of drawing near to God is for each of us to speak to Him. We do that by means of prayer (1 Thessalonians 5:17).

These two activities–reading God’s word in the Bible, and prayer–are the daily activity of all those who are rightly related to God, and mark the true believer.

Posted in Daily Bible Nuggets | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Spread truth, not lies

I posted the following comment on Facebook this afternoon:

I realize people sometimes have strong and sometimes conflicting views about politics, especially during an election year.
 
I have noticed that even some Christians are either linking to unfair commentary, or are themselves posting their own mistaken commentary about where a candidate stands on the issues.
 
This is most unfortunate because we should be careful to post only the truth about a candidate, and post the truth that is relevant to where the candidate stands today.
 
We need to be very careful not to adversely influence the willingness of good people to go out and vote. It is important that every Christian exercise their right to vote for the candidate of their choice. When anyone chooses not to vote, he or she is, in effect, voting for “the greater of two evils,” in the sense that elections are sometimes very close, and for a considerable number of voters not to participate can change the outcome of an election drastically.
 
I have purchased and am carefully reading books by Ted Cruz and particularly Donald Trump.
 
I no longer own a working television, and do not want one. You learn best by reading, not viewing the nonsense often to be seen on TV.
 
But I have watched at length on the Internet the full versions of some of the debates and also the rallies held by Mr. Trump. I have watched interviews given by the candidates.
 
I personally was very impressed by Dr. Ben Carson because of his excellent performance as the speaker at a fairly recent Presidential Prayer Breakfast. He comes from a poverty-stricken background in the city of Detroit, Michigan, where I taught public school. He was motivated to read books by his nearly illiterate mother. He ended up becoming a top neurosurgeon.
 
I was very pleasantly impressed by Mr. Cruz and his family by his remarkable presentation at Liberty University announcing his candidacy.
 
I believe I have read enough of Mr. Trump’s books, and have watched enough of his speeches, to be able to judge accurately where he now stands on the issues.
 
What some of the other Republican candidates are saying about some of the positions on issues currently held by Mr. Trump is totally false.
 
I believe that of all the candidates currently running for the office of President, only Mr. Trump has the ability to live up to and successfully advocate for what he correctly believes will “Make America Great Again.”
 
Let me share with you an important “link” to an article written just yesterday by Mr. Karl Denninger, who presents an analysis of the important positions taken by Mr. Trump. Mr. Denninger’s writing is better than mine on this subject. His expertise on the all-important economic issues makes his voice significant, and worthy of reading daily.
 
Here is the article link:
 
 
His article is titled “The 10th Inning.”
 
He sometimes writes in a manner that I do not approve, but his factual content and careful reasoning make what he has to say important to know.
 
Be sure to take the time to read his article.

This is a most important matter. We must not speak or write falsehoods about another person, no matter who they are, or how much we may dislike them.

The Bible is most clear about this issue:

Eph 4:23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;

Eph 4:24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.

Eph 4:25 Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another.

Eph 4:26 Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:

Eph 4:27 Neither give place to the devil.

Take great care to heed the commandments contained in Ephesians 4:23-27.

Dr. Bob Jones, Senior, used to say “It is never right to do wrong in order to get a chance to do right.”

By and large Dr. Bob Jones, Senior, is correct in his statement. The Bible does provide an interesting instance of an exception to this general truth. God Himself directed Samuel to conceal the truth of his intended mission should someone happen to ask where he was at that time going and why (see 1 Samuel 16:2 and the Note in The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge given there). But in general, the Bible is clear:  we are always to be truthful.

Posted in Politics and the Bible | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Daily Bible Nugget #404 1 John 5:13

The Nugget:

1Jn 5:13 These things have I written to you, that ye may know that ye who believe in the name of the Son of God have everlasting life. (Noyes NT)

 

My Comment:

This verse, 1 John 5:13, contains some of the most important truth in the Bible that you need to know.

I made a study of the book of 1 John when I was still in high school. I used the methods I learned in Miss Ellen Groh’s “How to Study the Bible” vacation Bible school class in the summer of 1954, held at the Highland Park Baptist Church. It was Miss Ellen Groh who introduced to the class, and to me, the important Bible study tool, The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge. She also taught us several methods of Bible study, and I share on this site in the “How to Study the Bible” category to the right the methods she taught and more. In her class we learned to apply the Bible study methods and use the Bible study tools she introduced us to as we made a careful study of the book of 2 Timothy.

After I made a study of the book of 1 John on my own, I wrote the following notes for 1 John 5:13.

“These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God: that ye may know….”

The term “ye” is plural in Greek, and it is argued by some that this assurance is not valid for any specific individual, but only for the group, namely, the “body of Christ,” the Church. Such a view does not accord with those Scriptures which affirm such assurance of the individual, such as Galatians 2:20 and 2 Timothy 1:12.

Gal 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ, and no longer do I live, but Christ liveth in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live in faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

 

2Ti 1:12 For which cause I suffer also these things. But I am not ashamed; for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which he hath committed to me unto that day.

Commenting further on 1 John 5:13, “that ye may know that ye have eternal life….” Notice John specifically writes to tell us that we may know that we have eternal life, and that we may possess this knowledge in this life. This is certainly one of the clearest statements in Scripture affirming that we may know in this life that we now have everlasting life–we are not left to wait until we die to discover whether we have eternal life or not. See 1 John 5:10;  1:1, 2;  John 14:20;  Romans 8:15-17;  2 Corinthians 5:1;  Galatians 4:6;  **2 Timothy 1:12;  +*2 Peter 1:10, 11;  Revelation 3:20.

Note further that John states “that ye may know that ye have eternal life.”  He uses the present tense, active voice, indicative mood, second person plural verb.  The present tense tells us this is an ongoing, present life experience for those who truly believe in Christ.  The indicative mood is the mood of reality.  Not will have, or merely hope we might have, but now have in the present:  such is our assurance of eternal life.

Yet, this assurance is grounded upon the individual believer possessing the marks of a true believer discussed throughout this epistle of 1 John.

A true believer lives:

(1) in constant fellowship with God, 1 John 1:8;  2:2.

(2) true to the Gospel, 1 John 2:24.

(3) with love for others, 1 John 3:18, 19.  4:7.

(4) in obedience to God, 1 John 2:3;  3:23;  5:2, 3, 4, 5.

(5) untainted by the world, 1 John 2:15, 16, 17.  5:4, 5.

(6) consistently victorious over Satan, 1 John 3:8, 9;  4:4;  5:18.

(7) concerned about souls, 1 John 5:16;  see James 5:20.

(8) assured of personal salvation, 1 John 4:17;  5:13.

 

I trust that all who read this post will consider carefully whether the above 8 marks of a true believer are reflected in your own life.

 

 

 

Posted in Daily Bible Nuggets, Doctrinal Discussions, Practical Application Bible Studies | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Daily Bible Nugget #403, 2 Corinthians 5:17

The Nugget:

2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. (KJV)

2Co 5:17 Therefore, if any one is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. (Noyes NT)

 

My Comment:

In my preceding “Daily Bible Nugget” I discussed Romans 12:2, and the fact that we must be “transformed by the renewing” of our minds. That process takes place once we become rightly related to the Lord Jesus Christ.

Many people think they are Christians. One of the tests to know if you really are a Christian is to check whether what is spoken of in 2 Corinthians 5:17 is really true of you. In your life, have the “old things” truly passed away? Have “all things” become new?

If you truly belong to Christ, there should be some rather clear or obvious results that can be seen in your life. Genuine believers in Christ have an insatiable hunger for the Word of God. They are eager to feast upon the spiritual food, the spiritual nourishment, found in the Bible (1 Peter 2:2). They take time to read the New Testament regularly. They are on a path that brings about spiritual growth (2 Peter 3:18).

If you truly are properly related to Jesus Christ, the power of His Holy Spirit is producing the fruit of the spirit (Galatians 5:22, 23) in your life. What Paul calls “the works of the flesh” (Galatians 5:19, 20, 21) no longer characterize you.

Your friends will notice the change that has taken place in your life. They “are astonished that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot” (1 Peter 4:4), and they may say evil things about you.

Now it may be, if you have been a genuine Christian for a long time, perhaps since you were quite young, it may not be so much a change that friends and associates and acquaintances may notice, but they can tell you are not like them. If such people do not notice that you are any different from them, that may be evidence that you are not really walking close enough to Jesus Christ for them to notice, and you really need to draw closer to Him by reading and obeying His word.

 

 

Posted in Daily Bible Nuggets, Practical Application Bible Studies | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Daily Bible Nugget #402, Romans 12:2

The Nugget:

Rom 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. (KJV) Rom 12:2 Don’t be like the people of this world, but let God change the way you think. Then you will know how to do everything that is good and pleasing to him. (CEV, Common English Version) 

  My Comment:

Many who may consider themselves to be Christians might well find out, if they carefully read the Bible, that they are not living a life that is pleasing to God.

It ought to be the goal of every Christian to please God in every aspect of life.

The key to this is to “let God change how you think.” How does this happen? God speaks to us through His written word found only in the Bible. Is the Bible out-of-date, or does it teach what is suited to our time and situation? I believe the Bible still speaks to our day. Its advice and guidance never goes out of date. So to let God change how you think, you must read and study the Bible, and especially the New Testament.

The power to live according to God’s will comes by means of the working of the Holy Spirit taking place in your life. As you read and believe the message of the New Testament, you will experience regenerative change (Titus 3:5). Old things will pass away, all things will become new (2 Corinthians 5:17).

If this change is not happening in your life, you are not yet properly related to God. A proper relationship to God can only happen as the result of reading, believing, and obeying God’s Word in the Bible. A proper relationship is a synergistic affair:  you must do your part, and God will do His part (Philippians 2:12, 13).

We must grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18). Most fundamental to this growth in grace is our regular reading and study of the Bible. All of us must make time in our life daily to read Scripture. That is the only food for our spiritual lives that God has provided.

If you are not motivated to regularly read the New Testament, then you do not have, in terms of spiritual life, the real thing. You must become properly related to God so that He can work in your life and produce the fruit (Galatians 5:22, 23) that is pleasing to Him, something we all ought to fervently desire if we really are to be considered true Christians.

Posted in Daily Bible Nuggets, Practical Application Bible Studies | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Daily Bible Nugget #401, 2 Corinthians 13:14

The Nugget:

2 Corinthians 13:14 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen.

My Comment:

Perhaps no single verse in the Bible can be said to “prove” the doctrine of the Trinity. But if one has their wits about them, it ought to be passing strange that such associations of the three Persons, God the Father, the Lord Jesus Christ the Son, and the Holy Ghost or Holy Spirit are associated together throughout the Bible (see Matthew 28:19;  2 Corinthians 13:14;  Isaiah 42:1) just as though they indeed belong together, and are mentioned on a footing of equality. Because of this feature in the Bible, those who have studied this issue carefully, by the Rule of Necessary Inference, believe in the Bible doctrine of the Trinity.

Unitarians, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and Muslims do not believe in the doctrine of the Trinity. They all argue strongly against it in their support of Monotheism. But to deny the Trinity, they must ignore or suppress the evidence in the Bible that contradicts their position, and often turn some Scriptures upside down or on their head with strange, out-of-context interpretations that are unsupported by a clear reading, a plain reading, of the text itself in context.

There is an article linked on the “Islam and Christianity Debate Group” discussion thread titled “Ten Ways the Bible Disproves the Trinity” LINK  which I intend to answer here, rather than on Facebook, because it always takes more words to answer a mistaken opinion or argument than it does to present it.

TEN WAYS THE BIBLE DISPROVES THE TRINITY ANSWERED:

The Claim:

Now, if the Trinity represents the truth about the nature of God Almighty, and was preached by Jesus (peace be upon him), then one would expect this to be reflected clearly throughout the Bible. Moreover, one would not expect to find anything which negates the doctrine. What follows are ten reasons, taken from the Bible, that disprove the doctrine of the Trinity.

1. God does not change.

The Bible describes God as unchanging in nature:

I the Lord do not change. So you, the descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed. [Malachi 3:6]

They will perish, but you will remain; they will all wear out like a garment. You will change them like a robe, and they will pass away, but you are the same, and your years have no end. [Psalm 102:26-27]

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights,who does not change like shifting shadows. [James 1:17]

Trinitarians believe that God temporarily took on flesh when the second person of the Trinity, the Son, entered into humanity as Jesus. At this point God was subject to the limitations of human beings, such as needing to eat, drink and sleep, because of the human nature of Jesus. Once Jesus was crucified, resurrected and ascended back to God, he took on a new glorified, spiritual body and is free of all the limitations he had when he was here on earth.

Because Trinitarians believe that Jesus did not cease being God whilst he was here on earth, there is conflict with the statements of the Bible that affirm God’s unchanging nature. You can’t have an unchanging God on the one hand, and a ‘person’ of Him that is changing. If Jesus took on a human nature, whilst at the same time still being God, then the implication is that in becoming man, the nature of God changed. When Jesus then ascended and took on a glorified, spiritual body, whilst still being God, then the nature of God changed once again.

The use of Malachi 3:6 to support this argument is invalid. In context, God is declaring that He does not change, and because this is so, the Israelites and their nation continue to exist, for God does not go back upon His covenant promises made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the point Malachi makes in Malachi 3:6.

The idea in context at Malachi 3:6 has nothing to do with the wrong supposition that the pre-existent second member of the Trinity, the Messiah, our Lord Jesus Christ, must experience “change” to become Incarnate as a human being and be born of the virgin Mary; this has nothing to do with God experiencing change in His eternal, unchanging nature.

The Bible is clear, even if we were to read the Old Testament alone, that the second member of the Trinity appeared on earth repeatedly in human form as the very visible, tangible, audible, Angel of Jehovah. Anyone who has a Bible and access to an extensive collection of cross references may prove this by starting at such passages in the Bible as Genesis 17:1 or Genesis 22:15 or Exodus 3:2. Make a study of the Theophanies and/or Christophanies found in the Bible (for Theophanies, see cross-references given for Genesis 12:7; for Christophanies, see cross-references given for John 8:56;  John 8:58;  John 12:41). It is probable, since John 1:18 declares no man has seen God at any time, that this must be a reference to God the Father, who is spirit, John 4:24, and not visible to human eyes. Yet people are said to have seen God in the Old Testament (see Judges 13:22 and its cross references). This being so, the necessary inference to be drawn is that all instances of seeing God are instances of seeing the Second Person of the Trinity, the eternal Son of God, our Lord Jesus Christ, in His pre-incarnate form.

But since the Bible clearly declares that people have seen God, Who appeared in the form of a man (Genesis 18:2) before the first advent of Christ, then if the Muslim use of Malachi 3:6 which asserts God does not change is correct, then how explain the apparent contradiction? How can God who is unchanging appear on earth to be seen by men in the form of a man?

Therefore, the argument that “God does not change” has nothing to do with the supposed claim against the doctrine of the Trinity.

2.  It compromises God’s absolute perfection.

God Almighty by definition is absolutely and eternally perfect in nature, He cannot degrade into a worse state and He cannot improve into a better state.

We’ve already seen that belief in the Trinity necessitates that the nature of God changed. This raises an uncomfortable question: was the nature of God more or less perfect when He took on flesh and entered into humanity? If He was more perfect before becoming human, then this implies that God’s perfect nature was temporarily compromised whilst Jesus was here on earth as a man. If however He was more perfect after becoming human, then this implies that God was eternally inferior in nature beforehand. Both propositions are blasphemous.

Certainly God has a perfect nature. His nature is unchanging. But the testimony of the New Testament is clear that Jesus Christ has an unchanging nature:

Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.

It is clear from the testimony of the New Testament to Jesus Christ that He was absolutely sinless. He never committed a sin (1 Peter 2:2;  Hebrews 4:15). Jesus did not possess a sinful nature (Luke 1:35;  John 14:30). Jesus challenged his enemies to find any sin in Him (John 8:46) and they did not do so. John the Baptist testified of Jesus Christ, calling Him “the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). Peter speaks of Christ as being “without blemish and without spot” (1 Peter 1:19). This surely speaks of a perfect Savior, qualified to die for our sins, qualified to make Atonement on our behalf (Hebrews 7:25).

Hebrews 7:25 Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.

It is a mistake to suppose “that belief in the Trinity necessitates that the nature of God changed.” The Bible declares otherwise.

Was Jesus more perfect before becoming a human? The Bible declares Jesus the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). Those who deny the Trinity deny the deity of Christ. They apparently must deny that Jesus Christ, though one Person, possessed two natures:  a Divine nature and His human nature. This is the doctrine of the “hypostatic union” of two natures in one Person. Upon His Incarnation, Jesus Christ permanently possessed these two natures in one person. Jesus Christ, therefore, was never at any time less perfect than He was before His Incarnation, and is declared in Scripture to still be perfect ever after His resurrection bodily from the dead and His ascension into Heaven.

Therefore, the contention that the doctrine of the Trinity “compromises God’s absolute perfection” is false and not in accordance with what is revealed in Scripture.

3.  All persons of the Trinity are equal, but some are more equal than others.

Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come. [Matthew 12:32]

If the three persons of the Trinity are equal in importance and all are 100% God, then why is speaking a word of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit an unforgivable sin, while doing a similar act against the Son, Jesus, can be forgiven? Since only the Holy Spirit has the right to not be blasphemed against, it seems that some persons of the Trinity are more equal than others!

 

Apparently the Muslim apologist I am citing is unaware that each member of the Trinity has its unique offices and responsibilities. Jesus taught that one of the offices or responsibilities of the Holy Spirit is to reprove or convict and convince men of their sinfulness, of their sin (John 16:8). In Matthew 12:32 and its context, the Jewish leaders were refusing to believe in and accept Jesus Christ, even though He (1) healed the sick,  (2) forgave sin, though only God can forgive sin–yet by their own postulates, the Jews believed that only God could heal, so Jesus proved He can do both, see Mark 2:5-8;  (3) had power over nature itself when He calmed the storm at sea, see Mark 4:31-41;  (4) possessed creative power demonstrated when He multiplied the loaves and fish to feed five thousand men besides women and children, see Mark 6:37-44. In context at Matthew 12:32 the Jewish authorities were attributing to the power of Satan what was evidently done by the power of God, thus they were resisting the conviction based upon tangible evidence brought by the Holy Spirit. This sin was unforgivable then and if persisted in by anyone today who refuses the testimony of the Bible to the Person of Christ that He is without question the Divine Son of God, the Savior of the world, is unforgivable today, and will result in the loss of salvation and a most unfortunate eternal destiny where “the fire is not quenched” (Mark 9:47, 48).

4.  Jesus acknowledges that he has a God.

Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” [John 20:17]

Trinitarians attempt to explain such statements away by saying that it was only the human side of Jesus being subservient to God, not his divine side. The problem is that later in the Bible, after Jesus has ascended and cast aside all human limitations, he is still saying “my God”:

I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown. The one who is victorious I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will they leave it. I will write on them the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on them my new name. [Revelation 3:11-12]

So their explanation of the human side of Jesus doing the talking falls apart when he is still using the same language of subservience as he did whilst he was here on earth.

Jesus Christ in His human nature certainly speaks of God the Father as “my God.” This is very correct. Yet Jesus Christ even now still possesses, since the Incarnation–His having become a man–a human nature. For all eternity forward He is and will always be a man. He is called “the man Christ Jesus” well after His ascension to heaven in 1 Timothy 2:5.  The hypostatic union continues forever.  Subordination does not imply inequality.  It simply reveals the arrangements among the Persons of the Godhead, the Trinity, as to their respective offices with respect to the redemption or salvation of mankind.

Therefore, the fact that Jesus Christ acknowledges that He has a God is no argument against the doctrine of the Trinity.

5.  Jesus surrenders his kingdom to God.

Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. For he “has put everything under his feet.” Now when it says that “everything” has been put under him, it is clear that this does not include God himself, who put everything under Christ. When he has done this, then the Son himself will be made subject to him who put everything under him, so that God may be all in all. [1 Corinthians 15:24-28]

If Jesus is fully God, and an equal member of the Trinity, then why does Jesus give back his kingdom to God the Father when our world comes to an end? In addition, why is Jesus made subject to God after he has surrendered his kingdom over? Clearly, God is forever supreme over all, including Jesus.

Here is a case of assuming what is to be proved. The text of Scripture as cited from 1 Corinthians 15:24, 25, 26, 27, 28 does not state that Jesus hands over his kingdom to God, but rather “the kingdom.” This is a very interesting instance of a Figure of Speech used here that exhibits “intentional obscurity.” This means that when the Apostle Paul penned these words he purposely wrote this text to be obscure to avoid persecution from either Jewish or Roman authorities (see John 11:48;  Acts 17:7) should this letter fall into the wrong hands. See my note at 1 Corinthians 15:24 in my book, The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge, for a full discussion of this passage and examples of other instances of “intentional obscurity” in the New Testament.

Jesus does not give up His own kingdom, but those kingdoms He has subdued (Revelation 11:15), for the Messianic Kingdom on this earth will never end (Daniel 7:14;  Luke 1:32, 33).

6.  Not defined anywhere in the Bible.

The nature of God is undoubtedly the most fundamental aspect of a religion. Scripture should provide a clear picture of who our Creator is, otherwise how can we be expected to properly worship that which we don’t understand?

If God wanted humanity to believe in His Triune nature, then why isn’t it clearly and explicitly defined anywhere in Scripture? There is no statement to be found anywhere in the Bible where God is described as being three co-equal persons, Father Son and Holy Ghost. This is in spite of the fact that there were numerous opportunities that were presented to Jesus where he could have spelled this out in detail:

One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”

“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”

“Well said, teacher,” the man replied. “You are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but him. To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbour as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.” [Mark 12:29-33]

It’s important to note that the Jewish understanding of the commandments rejects all notions of God being a Trinity. So in the passages above, by simply repeating the commandment about God being One, Jesus is re-affirming the Jewish understanding of God’s nature and therefore rejecting the Trinitarian understanding. This was the perfect opportunity for Jesus to correct the Jew’s misconceptions about God and give him the Trinitarian understanding of God being three co-equal persons, Father Son and Holy Ghost. As we have seen the exact opposite is the case, his answers provides ammunition to use against the Trinity.

Because there is a lack of a clear, explicit statement in support of the Trinity, what we find is that in order to support the doctrine of the Trinity using the Bible, Trinitarians have to cobble together bits and pieces of unrelated scripture in order to try and form a picture of a Triune God. Is the Bible a book of guidance or a Da Vinci code?

To argue that “Scripture should provide” a clear explanation of these matters is an appeal, in part, to the principle of “rationalism,” which when it comes to understanding what the Bible has to say is a false principle. Who are we to demand that God rewrite the script to suit our way of thinking, our demands?

Even the Scripture writers themselves testify that they did not fully understand what the Holy Spirit inspired them to write (see 1 Peter 1:10, 11, 12 and Daniel 8:15).

The Bible is not written in the form or format of a systematic theology. To learn its truths we must “Search the Scriptures” (John 5:39;  Acts 17:11). To determine what the Bible actually teaches about a subject of interest to us, we must take into account all that the Bible says or reveals about that subject, and often related subjects. Not everything about a given subject of interest is necessarily stated all in one passage of the Bible.

To do Real Bible Study, therefore, we must use appropriate tools for Bible study, such as Bible concordances and collections of cross references given in reference Bibles or The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge, or my expansion of that well-received venerable work, The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge or my work Nelson’s Cross Reference Guide to the Bible. I have now finished preparing a new work which is far more complete and accurate than the previously named resources, but I cannot tell you the title of it yet because the title has yet to be determined.

Trinitarians do not merely “cobble together bits and pieces of scripture in order to try and form a picture of a Triune God.” Rather, we carefully study Scripture according to the Rules of Interpretation given here in the October 2010 Archives listed to the right on this page. We read carefully, and by drawing the proper necessary inferences, we arrive at the truth of what the Bible teaches.

The Jews of the time of Jesus Christ were expecting a Messiah. They thought they knew their own Scriptures well. They knew about messianic prophecy in the Hebrew Scriptures. Yet, they either failed or refused to recognize the Messiah when He came at the appointed time and manner revealed in Scripture. Humanly speaking, they failed to draw the Necessary Inference about the coming Messiah when they did not observe two different classes of messianic prediction found in the Hebrew Scriptures, our Old Testament. What they failed to see, even refused to see, was that Messiah must first suffer, and only then enter into His glory (Luke 24:26;  1 Peter 1:11).

The same procedure in careful Bible study required to properly gather and understand messianic prophecy is the method that must be employed to learn the truth about the Bible doctrine of the Trinity.

The Jews failed at both.

7. Fabrications inserted into the Bible to support the doctrine.

An appeal is made to the text of 1 John 5:7 as it stands in the King James Version and its underlying Greek text, a text known as the Received Text.

Since no one appeals to this passage today to support the doctrine of the Trinity, such an argument is moot. It has nothing to do with the truth or alleged falsity of the doctrine of the Trinity. There is plenty of other evidence in the Bible for the Trinity.

8.  Trinitarian scholars manipulate the Bible to protect the doctrine.

Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. [John 17:3]

This statement in the Bible is devastating to the doctrine of the Trinity, as it clearly identifies God as the only true God to the exclusion of Jesus. Here Jesus defines his own position as the Messiah, distinct from the Godhead, which consists of the Father alone.

In fact so devastating is this statement, that major pro-Trinitarian scholars of the past have resorted to manipulating the Bible in order to protect the doctrine of the Trinity. We note the remarkable comment of the celebrated Church Father Augustine. Augustine of Hippo is viewed as one of the most important Church Fathers in Western Christianity. It was so difficult for Augustine to harmonise John 17:3 with the doctrine of the Trinity, that this immensely influential church leader actually restructured Jesus’ words to accommodate both the Father and Son in the Godhead. Augustine, in his “Homilies on John”, boldly asserts that John 17:3 means:

“This is eternal life, that they may know Thee and Jesus Christ, whom Thou hast sent, as the only true God.” [1]

This daring alteration of the Bible seriously distorts the original meaning of the words in order to include Jesus in the Godhead. Such forcing of the text merely exposes Augustine’s desperation to protect his creed in the Bible.

Most Christians today are unlikely to know of this information about Augustine’s citation of the text of John 17:3. I do not know of any contemporary scholarship that handles John 17:3 this way.

But I would assert that The New World Translation produced by the Jehovah’s Witnesses most certainly does “manipulate the Bible” to protect their anti-Trinitarian doctrine. They mistranslate John 1:1 to read “and the word was a god.” They carefully eliminate every reference to the Holy Spirit as a Person. And much more. So when it comes to just who it might be in our day that would manipulate the very text of Scripture to support false doctrine, it would seem that Jehovah’s Witnesses have clearly done just that.

9.  God is above Jesus in hierarchy.

But I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God. [1 Corinthians 11:3]

This statement was uttered after Jesus had ascended and cast aside his human limitations. If the Trinity is true, then surely Paul (the author of the above statement) would have uttered something along the lines of “man is the head of a woman, and God and Christ are the head of man” which would imply a horizontal relationship between the persons in the Trinity. Clearly, God is above Jesus in this hierarchy, implying no co-equality between them, and thus there is no Trinity.

If only it were that simple, the argument might be swung in favor of the Muslims, Unitarians, and Jehovah’s Witnesses and their denial of the Trinity.

As I stated above, this is an argument based upon rationalism. It seeks to rewrite the script. It fails because it cannot account for other things Paul wrote that declare precisely the contrary (Romans 9:5;  Titus 2:13, etc.).

The persons of the Trinity are revealed in Scripture to each assume particular offices and roles in the Godhead. That God the Father assumes a position in hierarchy above Jesus the Son of God does not disprove the doctrine of the Trinity. Subordination does not imply inequality.

10.  Necessitates the belief in three gods.

Now the Pharisees who had been sent questioned him, “Why then do you baptize if you are not the Messiah, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?” [John 1:24-25]

Here John has described a ‘trinity’ of persons, the Messiah, Elijah and the Prophet. These are three distinct persons, each with their own will, personality and function. What they share in common is their nature, humanity.

No one in their right mind would say that the Messiah, Elijah and the Prophet are three persons in one human, even though they all share in the same nature – humanity. Yet this is exactly what they are saying with regards to the Trinity. Clearly, Trinitarians believe in three separate gods, not one, just as they believe in three separate human beings. This is a clear violation of what Moses, Jesus and all the Prophets of the Bible taught: God is One.

Of course this comparison misses the point completely. When the Jehovah Witnesses came to visit me for four years, they had a similar numerical argument against the Trinity. How, they asked, can 1+1+1 = 1? I said, simple. Consider that 1x1x1 = 1. What Biblical authority can you cite to require addition rather than multiplication? The argument either way has no validity to what the Bible teaches about the Godhead consisting of Three Persons, each of whom is called God in Scripture itself, and each of whom possess the several incommunicable attributes of God. But since only God can possess these incommunicable attributes, yet Scripture attributes them to both Jesus the Son of God and to the Holy Spirit, as I have frequently posted on this site from my note on Matthew 28:19 in The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge, we have positive proof for the doctrine of the Trinity that it  is plainly taught by Necessary Inference in Scripture itself.

Posted in Apologetics Issues--Other Faiths, Daily Bible Nuggets, Doctrinal Discussions | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment