Daily Bible Nugget #363, Isaiah 3:9

The Nugget:

Isaiah 3:9 The shew of their countenance doth witness against them; and they declare their sin as Sodom, they hide it not. Woe unto their soul! for they have rewarded evil unto themselves. (KJV)

Isaiah 3:8 For Jerusalem has stumbled, and Judah has fallen, because their speech and their deeds are against the LORD, defying his glorious presence.
Isa 3:9 For the look on their faces bears witness against them; they proclaim their sin like Sodom; they do not hide it. Woe to them! For they have brought evil on themselves.
Isa 3:10 Tell the righteous that it shall be well with them, for they shall eat the fruit of their deeds.
Isa 3:11 Woe to the wicked! It shall be ill with him, for what his hands have dealt out shall be done to him. (ESV)

Isa 3:8 For Jerusalem has become feeble, and destruction has come on Judah, because their words and their acts are against the Lord, moving the eyes of his glory to wrath.
Isa 3:9 Their respect for a man’s position is a witness against them; and their sin is open to the view of all; like that of Sodom, it is not covered. A curse on their soul! for the measure of their sin is full.
Isa 3:10 Happy is the upright man! for he will have joy of the fruit of his ways.
Isa 3:11 Unhappy is the sinner! for the reward of his evil doings will come on him. (Bible in Basic English)

Isa 3:8 Jerusalem certainly stumbles,
Judah falls,
for their words and their actions offend the LORD;
they rebel against his royal authority.
Isa 3:9 The look on their faces testifies to their guilt;
like the people of Sodom they openly boast of their sin.
Too bad for them!
For they bring disaster on themselves.
Isa 3:10 Tell the innocent it will go well with them,
for they will be rewarded for what they have done.
Isa 3:11 Too bad for the wicked sinners!
For they will get exactly what they deserve.
Isa 3:12 Oppressors treat my people cruelly;
creditors rule over them.
My people’s leaders mislead them;
they give you confusing directions. (NET Bible)

Isa 3:8 Jerusalem and Judah, you rebelled against your glorious LORD– your words and your actions, made you stumble and fall.
Isa 3:9 The look on your faces shows that you are sinful as Sodom, and you don’t try to hide it. You are in for trouble, and you have brought it all on yourselves.
Isa 3:10 Tell those who obey God, “You’re very fortunate– you will be rewarded for what you have done.”
Isa 3:11 Tell those who disobey, “You’re in big trouble– what you did to others will come back to you.”
Isa 3:12 Though you are God’s people, you are ruled and abused by women and children. You are confused by leaders who guide you down the wrong path.
(CEV)

My Comment:

Isaiah 3:9 is a most appropriate text of Scripture to consider in the light of recent utterly misguided decision by the United States Supreme Court. The Supreme Court is wrong again (like it was historically in the Dred Scott decision) for (1) it has departed from all valid legal precedent and legislated popular social change from the bench; (2) it contravenes the Christian moral basis upon which the United States was founded, as any serious and fair reading of what the founders of this nation themselves wrote and declared; (3) it is ludicrous to think that nine men have the authority to redefine “marriage” to include Sodomy as its moral and legal equivalent.

Truth is never determined by a majority vote.

“The law of nature and of nature’s God” as expressed by the Founding Fathers is an explicit reference to the Divine Revelation contained exclusively in the Bible.

This woeful decision of the U.S. Supreme Court hardly settles the issue. It ought to wake up genuine Bible believing Christians to the urgent need to obey the Bible and communicate the Gospel message. Quit mere preaching to the choir. Get out into the streets, the highways and byways, and share the light of the Gospel to all who are still in darkness.

Watch out for how the enemy frames the argument. Watch out for how the enemy tortures the language. The enemy practices very evil propaganda techniques to brainwash the masses to promote the change the propagandists desire. Turn off the sources of this evil propaganda, and take the time you gain to read the Bible faithfully and take the message of the Gospel to those who are outside of Christ.

No one who truly believes the Bible either promotes or tolerates the practice of Sodomy. Renaming Sodomy as “gay rights” does not change the sin, it just butchers the language. By whatever name, God condemns it, God forbids it, and it ought to be condemned and forbidden by everyone else–even those who do not believe the Bible. The practices of those who engage in this terrible sin bring upon those involved medical issues that are borne in some sense financially by those who do not engage in such things. In terms of the direct effect upon Sodomites themselves, the Bible mentions their shortened lifespan. The Bible mentions the brazen demands of such individuals, who are never satisfied, but always “push the envelope” and stridently demand still more. The Bible also plainly declares that individuals who practice such things “shall not inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Corinthians 6:9, 10, 11). In plain language, all who engage in Sodomy forfeit their opportunity to be part of God’s future kingdom; they are unsaved, and do not possess eternal life, but are lost sinners in need of the one and only Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ.

The way to reverse these current evil trends in our society is to (1) introduce more people to the Saviour; (2) to do this, encourage more people to read the New Testament regularly, consistently, until its message brings about the vital life-changing relationship with Jesus Christ it was written to produce (John 20:31) in their lives too.

That is all it takes to change society once again for the better (Romans 1:16).

For those who desire to DIG DEEPER into this subject:

(1) Consult the cross references given in Nelson’s Cross Reference Guide to the Bible on page 714 for Isaiah 3:9.

(2) Consult the cross references given in The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge on page 747 or in Logos 5 or 6 Bible software for Isaiah 3:9.

(3) Consult the cross references given in the original Treasury of Scripture Knowledge on page 425 of the OT or on line at www.blueletterbible.org for Isaiah 3:9.

(3) Most people today do not have access to those three print resources, so I have posted cross references for this passage as I have developed them even more completely for your study as given below:

Isaiah 3:9. The shew of their countenance. ver. +Is 3:16. 1 S 15:32. 2 S 13:4. 2 K 9:30. Ps 10:4. 18:27. 73:6, 7. Pr 6:17. 30:13. *Je 3:3. 6:15. Ezk 16:49. Da 7:20. Ho 5:5. Ac 23:14. and they declare their sin. *Ge 13:13. *Ge 18:20, 21. 19:5-6, 7, 8, 9. 1 S 2:23. Je 8:12. 44:16, 17. Ezk 23:16. Jn 18:5. 1 Cor 5:2. as Sodom. Ge 19:34. *Le 18:22n. +Dt 23:17. +**Jb 36:14mg. Ezk 16:30. Re 17:5. hide it not. FS144D, +Ge 40:23. Nu 25:6. +*Nu 32:23. 2 S 16:22. Ezk 3:7. 16:25. 21:24. 23:18, 39. 24:7. 1 Cor 5:2. **Ep 4:19n. Woe. *La 5:16. *Ho 13:9. soul. Heb. nephesh, +Ge 12:3. rewarded evil unto themselves. +Jb 36:14mg. Je 2:19. +**Ro 1:27. 1 Cor 6:18.

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Romans 13:1-7 and its hidden context

The Text:

Romans 13:1 Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.
Rom 13:2 Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.
Rom 13:3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same:
Rom 13:4 For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.
Rom 13:5 Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake.
Rom 13:6 For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God’s ministers, attending continually upon this very thing.
Rom 13:7 Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.

My Comment:

One of the most important rules of Bible interpretation is to interpret a passage faithfully in its context.

Context can be considered in a variety of ways. Usually what is properly meant is what comes before and what follows the verse or series of verses being considered.

Another important context is sometimes called “the whole of Scripture.” This context is crucially important, and involves taking careful account of what the rest of the Bible has to say about the subjects in the text we want to correctly interpret. The best way to learn the connection of a passage to “the whole of Scripture” is to search the Scriptures (Acts 17:11) using as complete a collection of cross references to the passage as you can find.

Another context which I am quite sure you will not read about anywhere else is what I call the “hidden context.” Now just what is a “hidden context”? It is a context which well-informed careful readers of the Bible will almost instantly recognize and understand. To miss this hidden context will mean you get the meaning of the passage absolutely wrong.

To understand what I am teaching in this article, I invite you to use great patience and hear me out by reading this whole article carefully. This may be the most important article, in the light of certain current events, that you will ever read (Proverbs 22:3).

Any time Jesus Himself, or one of the New Testament writers, either quotes directly or alludes to an Old Testament passage, the context of the Old Testament passage must be kept in mind.

For example, Matthew makes reference to fulfilled prophecy from Jeremiah at Matthew 2:17, 18. If you fail to check out what Jeremiah said in context, you miss much of the intended connection. In Jeremiah the passage Matthew cites gives a remarkable promise of the resurrection (Jeremiah 31:15, 16, 17). This would be a very comforting consideration for the families who had lost infants at the hands of Herod.

Many times Jesus spoke of things which his Biblically literate Jewish audience would know almost intuitively were direct references to matters written in the Hebrew Scriptures, our Old Testament. Some of these references pertain directly to the interpretation of Bible prophecy. Matthew 24:31 is a passage much misunderstood by would-be modern interpreters which is made perfectly plain when one recognizes the Old Testament promise to which Jesus refers (Isaiah 18:3).

More than recognizing an allusion to the Old Testament, one must recall the context of the passage cited, or else in some cases, the very opposite of what is intended will become the mistaken meaning you thought you understood. For example, Psalm 102:25, 26 is referred to several times in the New Testament. The original readers and hearers would be well aware of the lines that followed in their own hymn book! Psalm 102:25, 26 CANNOT BE PROPERLY UNDERSTOOD apart from Psalm 102:27, 28, though these following verses, best I recall, are never cited in the New Testament. The issue is, God repeatedly states that this earth will never pass away. Rather, He declares “the children” of his “servants shall continue, and their seed will be established before thee” (Psalm 102:28). This confirms (1) that the earth abideth forever (Ecclesiastes 1:4; Psalm 104:5; 148:6); and (2) that there will be eternal generations of human beings in their natural bodies like we have today living upon this earth without interruption (Psalm 72:5; Isaiah 59:21; Matthew 5:5); and finally, (3) that our Lord Jesus Christ does NOT rule upon this earth merely for the 1000 years we call the Millennium, but forever (Luke 1:32, 33).

These are things you probably did not learn in Sunday school, nor have you likely heard any of this taught by your pastor. Send him here to this site so he too can begin to learn more about what the Bible actually teaches!

What does all this mean? The Bible does not teach that this earth will end or be utterly destroyed or pass away (Matthew 24:35), but that this earth by God’s promise will last forever. What Jesus said in Matthew 24:35 does not state this earth will pass away; He is using a well-known figure of speech called litotes where the first part of a statement declares what is contrary to fact in order to emphasize the last part of the statement (what often follows the word “but”).

Other examples of this figure of speech can be seen at Luke 11:4 and Ephesians 5:18. In Luke 11:4, we are to pray that God will not lead us into temptation, BUT deliver us from evil (or, the Evil One). Clearly God is not in the business of leading anyone into temptation, a matter contrary to fact (James 1:13). In Ephesians 5:18, Paul is not accusing the Ephesians of being drunkards, “And be not drunk with wine, BUT.” Rather, Paul is emphasizing the command to be filled by the Spirit.

Romans 13:1-7 widely misunderstood

Just who are the “higher powers” Paul refers to in Romans 13:1? I recall some years ago that the Jehovah Witnesses applied this verse to themselves, saying they were the “higher powers” or spiritual teaching authority to which the Jehovah Witnesses must submit. The Watchtower Society of the Jehovah’s Witnesses has since changed or corrected their understanding of this passage and now teach the “higher powers” have reference to the civil authorities.

Others suppose that the “higher powers” have reference to God, to our Lord Jesus Christ, and perhaps even angels.

At the present time some of our pastors nationwide have been or are being trained to help during a potential future national crisis. These pastors are being trained, so I have read, by FEMA, a US government agency, and Homeland Security, to help people cope with an expected crisis that might require families to be separated and sent to safe havens under government auspices. That is, children may be separated from parents and each other, and parents from each other. As part of this training, these pastors (reportedly some 80,000 nationwide) are being taught and encouraged to teach Romans 13 to their congregations now to inspire their members to be obedient to the government no matter what the government asks them to do, especially in a crisis.

The problem with all this is that Romans 13:1-7 was not written to support blind loyalty to any national government regardless of what policies the government determines to deploy. If Paul were writing with that in mind, Paul would be in direct conflict with what Peter stated as recorded in the book of Acts (see Acts 4:19; Acts 5:29), a book Paul must have been directly acquainted with, since Acts was written by Luke, who was Paul’s companion in travel.

The Hidden Context of Romans 13:1-7

Note Paul’s discussion in Romans 12:19, “Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.” This passage is a reference to Proverbs 24:17, 18 which furnishes in its context the clue that identifies the hidden context of Romans 13:1-7. Without question, Paul had this passage in Proverbs 24 before him in his mind as he completed what is in our Bible Romans chapter 12 and continued WITHOUT A CHAPTER BREAK in the writing of Romans chapter 13. And so, if we continue reading with Paul further into Proverbs chapter 24 we have the hidden context which guides us to the proper and intended meaning of Romans 13:1-7. You can be sure this intended meaning is not what is usually taught today.

Romans 12:19, particularly Paul’s directive to “give place unto wrath,” is based upon Proverbs 24:17, 18,

Pro 24:17 Rejoice not when thine enemy falleth, and let not thine heart be glad when he stumbleth:
Pro 24:18 Lest the LORD see it, and it displease him, and he turn away his wrath from him.

Note that “give place unto wrath” directly relates to “Lest the Lord see it…and he turn away his wrath from him” (Proverbs 24:18).

Paul reflects on this very passage in Proverbs 24:17 in Romans 12:19. Interpreters of Romans 13:1-7 generally fail to take into account what must be the controlling interpretative context present here in Proverbs 24:19, 20, 21, 22, a context which strongly suggests that God Himself is against evil rulers, and our proper response to such rulers is commanded in Proverbs 24:24, 25—the very opposite of what the mistaken interpreters of Romans 13:1-7 derive from Paul’s words.

Proverbs 24:24 He that saith unto the wicked, Thou art righteous; him shall the people curse, nations shall abhor him:
Pro 24:25 But to them that rebuke him shall be delight, and a good blessing shall come upon them.

Paul is not suggesting that we must follow and approve of what evil rulers do. This “hidden context” in Proverbs shows that God declares we must rebuke the evil to reap the blessing God intends.

Paul was surely aware of the context in Proverbs to which he alludes, and we must be just as aware when making application of Paul’s words in our own day. The chapter boundary in Romans constituting a break between Romans chapter 12 and chapter 13 obscures this vital connection. Paul’s readers in his day would be aware of the context Paul alluded to and was following, and would have understood what Paul was saying, even though he used intentional obscurity as he does several times elsewhere (1 Corinthians 15:24; 2 Thessalonians 2:7; Hebrews 12:27), to avoid conflict with the civil authorities of his day.

As Bible-believing Christians, we must get the Gospel message out to all we can. We must not stand by idly and helplessly as if there is nothing we can do. God has plainly told us what to do. Supporting or acquiescing to the lawlessness in our government is not what God has called us to do. We are to denounce and renounce the hidden works of darkness. God calls us to turn the light on (Ephesians 5:11, 12) and to believe in the power of the Gospel unto salvation to everyone who believes (Romans 1:16).

Posted in How to Study the Bible, Politics and the Bible, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Getting honest and being serious about interpreting the Bible in context (by Michael Heiser)

The following is perhaps the most insightful discussion of interpreting the Bible in context I have ever read. I think John Flannery’s comment below Michael Heiser’s article is the most insightful response of all.

John Flannery wrote:

I always enjoy your contributions to my education and attitude. I am reminded of the admonition of one of my Florida College professors from 1967 to 1969: The task of every student of the Bible is to get into one’s own mind the thoughts, understanding and intentions of the original author as he wrote to the recipients in the setting in which they all lived.

Years later I heard this gem from another wise teacher: Any one who is honestly seeking Biblical truth will study themselves out of whatever denomination they are in.

I’m not sure whether my college professor would appreciate it today, but his teaching led me to do what the second teacher predicted.

https://academic.logos.com/2015/04/23/unfiltered-fridays-getting-serious-and-being-honest-about-interpreting-the-bible-in-context/

As you see, I’m not very skilled at providing links or doing “copy and paste,” but I believe this material is critically important to doing what I call Real Bible Study, and is a good illustration of one or more of my “Rules of Interpretation” featured in the October 2010 archives here.

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Unfiltered Fridays: Getting Serious—and Being Honest—about Interpreting the Bible in Context

April 23, 2015 by Michael S. Heiser —10 Comments

Anyone interested in Bible study, from the new believer to the biblical scholar, has heard (and probably said) that if you want to correctly interpret the Bible, you have to interpret it in context. I’m certainly not going to disagree. But I have a question: What does that mean? Put another way, just what context are we talking about?

There are many contexts to which an interpreter needs to pay attention. Historical context situates a passage in a specific time period against the backdrop of certain events. Cultural context concerns the way people lived and how they thought about their lives and their world. Literary context focuses on how a given piece of biblical literature conforms (or not) to how the same type of literature was written during biblical times. All of these are important—but they only flirt with the heart of the matter. There’s a pretty clear element to this “context talk” that we’re missing. It’s time to get a firm grasp on something obvious. Believe it or not, it took years of study before I had it fixed in my head and my heart.

The Bible’s true context

As Christians, whether consciously or otherwise, we’ve been trained to think that the history of Christianity is the true context for interpreting the Bible. It isn’t.

That might be hard to hear, but Christian history and Christian thought is not the context of the biblical writers, and so it cannot be the correct context for interpreting what they wrote. The proper context for interpreting the Bible is not the church fathers. They lived a thousand years or more after most of the Old Testament was written. Less than a half dozen of them could read Hebrew. The New Testament period was a century or more removed from important early theologians like Tertullian and Irenaeus. Augustine, arguably the most famous early church figure, lived three hundred years after the conversion of Paul. That’s more time than has elapsed since the founding of the United States. Many church fathers worked primarily with a translation (the Latin Vulgate), and so a good bit of their exegesis is translation-driven. They were also responding to the intellectual issues of their own world when they wrote about Scripture, not looking back to the biblical context.

The farther down the timeline of history one moves, the greater the contextual gap becomes. The context for interpreting the biblical text is not the Catholic Church. It is not the rabbinic movements of late antiquity and the Middle Ages. It is not the Reformation (Luther, Calvin, Zwingli, or the Anabaptists). It’s not the Puritans. It is not evangelicalism in any of its flavors. It is not the modern world at all.

So what is the proper context for interpreting the Bible? Here’s the transparently obvious truth I was talking about: The proper context for interpreting the Bible is the context of the biblical writers—the context that produced the Bible. Every other context is alien or at least secondary.

The biblical writers living in our heads

The biblical text was produced by men who lived in the ancient Near East and Mediterranean between the second millennium BC and the first century AD. To understand how biblical writers thought, we need to tap into that context. We need the biblical writers living in our heads.

As certain as this observation is, there is a pervasive tendency in the believing Church to filter the Bible through creeds, confessions, and denominational preferences. That’s not a bad thing. It’s a human thing. Creeds are useful for distilling important points of theology. But they are far from the whole counsel of God, and even farther from the biblical world. This is something to be aware of at all times.

Lest I be misunderstood, I’m not arguing that we should ignore our Christian forefathers. I’m also not saying that we’re smarter. They were prodigious intellects. The problem isn’t their brain power—it’s that they are simply removed from the world of the biblical writers with little chance of bridging that gap.

Putting context first

It might sound odd, but we’re actually in a better position than any of our spiritual forefathers in that respect. We live at a time when the languages of the major civilizations that flourished during the lifetimes of the biblical writers have been deciphered. We can tap into the intellectual and cultural output of those civilizations. That output is enormous—millions of words. We can recover the worldview context (their “cognitive framework” in scholar-speak) of the biblical writers as never before. The same is true of the New Testament writers because they inherited what had gone before them and were in turn part of a first century world two thousand years removed from us.

Think about it. How would anyone living a thousand years from now understand something you wrote unless they had you inside their head? They’d need your frame of reference. They’d need to know what was going on in the wider world that potentially concerned, angered, encouraged, or depressed you. They’d need to understand the pop culture of your day to be able to parse why you’re using this word and not that one, or to properly process an expression. There’s no way to do that unless they recover your frame of reference.

That is what it means to interpret in context.

I know firsthand this is a hard lesson. It isn’t easy to put the biblical context ahead of our traditions. But if we don’t do that, we ought to stop talking about how important it is to interpret the Bible in context lest we be hypocrites. I can honestly say that the day I decided to commit myself to framing my study of Scripture in the context of the biblical world instead of any modern substitute was a day of liberation. It’s what put me on a path to reading the Bible again—for the first time. You can do that, too. Don’t believe me? Stay tuned.

***

Be sure to check back every Friday for another unfiltered insight from Dr. Michael Heiser.

Get a thorough introduction to interpreting the Bible in context with Dr. Heiser’s Mobile Ed course: BI 101 Introducing Biblical Interpretation: Contexts and Resources.

Filed Under: Miscellaneous, Unfiltered Fridays

Comments

Jonnathan Molina says

April 24, 2015 at 10:37 am

Great introduction! Will be following this column and sharing.

Reply

Mike Heiser says

April 24, 2015 at 12:32 pm

Thanks!

Reply

Steve Wynkoop says

April 24, 2015 at 4:03 pm

Hi Dr. Heiser, Greatly appreciate all you write and share! This introduction brought to mind the movie “Back to the Future.” There are several instances of not understanding historical and future context of the characters. Several of these are used for simple laughs but definitely an easy way to show the importance of context to our congregations.

Reply

Jane Calpin says

April 25, 2015 at 4:18 am

Thank You.

Very encouraging, it is time for me to read the Bible again, with a breath of fresh air.

Reply

Janina says

April 25, 2015 at 9:15 am

Another great idea put into action. Hopefully more and more people will finally come to see that it is pointless to argue that “their churche’s” doctrine is more accurate than others. That their traditions, no matter how long are not a proof of correctness.
Thank you for all the work you’re doing.
All the blessings
Janina

Reply

John Flannery says

April 25, 2015 at 10:58 am

Mike – (If I may presume to address you with your first name.)

I always enjoy your contributions to my education and attitude. I am reminded of the admonition of one of my Florida College professors from 1967 to 1969: The task of every student of the Bible is to get into one’s own mind the thoughts, understanding and intentions of the original author as he wrote to the recipients in the setting in which they all lived.

Years later I heard this gem from another wise teacher: Any one who is honestly seeking Biblical truth will study themselves out of whatever denomination they are in.

I’m not sure whether my college professor would appreciate it today, but his teaching led me to do what the second teacher predicted.

Thank you for trying to keep us honest.

Reply

Hamilton Ramos says

April 26, 2015 at 9:08 am

Good morning, God bless you all:

Nice explanation, and I respect Dr. Heiser’s point of view. I am no expert, and probably what I am going to suggest is actually not very scholarly.

I hear and read much about context. But to tell you the truth, there is one context that so far no one talks about: The Holy Spirit’s.

I would like to think that most Christians agree that the Holy Spirit has been actively involved (including witnessing events) from the beginning of creation, and will be with us to the end, when new heaven and Earth are set.

The Holy Spirit to me is a Substantive reality that has a context unique to Himself, and that transcends any context any particular Author of the Bible could have ever had.

The Holy Spirit to me is the one that bears witness to Jesus, as He was there in every instance, and to me is the one that the verse that follows applies to:

John 5:3 You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me,

Why do the Scriptures bear witness of Jesus? (notice it implies all Scriptures, not just certain passages), because as the Holy Spirit knew the whole story from the beginning, He could communicate to the different writers what it was all about:

Was Isaiah with his particular historical, cultural, literary, worldview context saying something particular to his particular case and circumstance, or was the Holy Spirit communicating something way higher? Let’s see:

Acts 28:25-27
25 And disagreeing among themselves, they departed after Paul had made one statement: The Holy Spirit was right in saying to your fathers through Isaiah the prophet:
26 “Go to this people, and say,
You will indeed hear but never understand,
and you will indeed see but never perceive.
27 For this people’s heart has grown dull,
and with their ears they can barely hear,
and their eyes they have closed;
lest they should see with their eyes
and hear with their ears
and understand with their heart
and turn, and I would heal them.

Like I have stated before: a Prophet saw a vision near a river, He actually saw a Being and heard an intelligible message.
The people near by heard a loud noise, and were scared and ran away.

Who had the right interpretation of the event? the prophet or the bystanders?

The prophet who had the Holy Spirit of course, his perceptual channels were fine tuned to properly interpret the supernatural event: a Being appearing and communicating important facts.

That is why the Bible tells us that no one without the Holy Spirit can interpret right the messages.

With the assumption that the Holy Spirit is not bound by time, He can be present with the believers (at any time in history) to make sure that they get the right interpretation of the whole thing:

I Corinthians 6:19
Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own,

II Peter 1:21
For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

So let’s look at a concept that the Holy Spirit (in HIs context) has been trying to convey through different men of God in different historical times:

Isaiah 9:6
6 For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

It would seem that the Holy Spirit communicated to Isaiah that the Messiah was going to be “Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” all at the same time… strange.

But Zechariah, by the Holy Spirit seems to get the same message:

Zechariah 14:9
9 And Yahweh will be king over all the earth; on that day Yahweh will be one and his name one

Harris, W. H., III, Ritzema, E., Brannan, R., Mangum, D., Dunham, J., Reimer, J. A., & Wierenga, M. (Eds.). (2012). The Lexham English Bible (Zec 14:9). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

John then sees at Patmos a vision that seems to be the fulfilment of Zechariah 14:9:
Revelation 1:12-18

So to me the context of the Holy Spirit is higher, all encompassing, transcending all time and space, and is key for proper interpretation.

Irenaeus, Tertullian and others knew it, because they had that same Holy Spirit dwelling in them.

Now notice that there are certain kind of people that deny the context and action of the Holy Spirit:

Acts 7:51
You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always resist the Holy Spirit. As your fathers did, so do you.

True believers have to operate in the context and action of the Holy Spirit to be witness:

Acts 1:8
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.

So important is the Holy Spirit that the unpardonable sin relates to Him:

Luke 12:10
And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but the one who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.

I am impressed and grateful to God, with all the experts that through L6, have shared so kindly with us all the wisdom gained from a lifetime of study and reflection.

But I am appalled, by the lack of in depth study of the context created by the Holy Spirit in the Bible that transcends, all other Biblical reality of particular authors, in particular times, that have particular tools to get the job done.

To me the context of the Holy Spirit is the most important of them all. And I consider it to be the guiding principle for correct interpretation of the story of Redemption.

Blessings.

Reply

Jonas says

May 1, 2015 at 5:47 pm

As i was reading the insights regarding biblical interpretation on this page, indignation towards the pride of men began to come over me. I wish that I could say i am 100% cleansed of such pride, but I cannot (i just wanted to get that out first, so that what i write may be taken in love and not judgement).

I went to read the handful of comments, and began to become discouraged until I read the one message that was actually giving the Glory to God (and supported by Scripture) in correctly pointing to the Holy Spirit as Divine Expositor (and Writer) of Scripture. I would consider myself one who enjoys academic exercises, and 100% condone learning the Biblical Languages, History, etc. That said, the languages should be learned in my humble opinion to ensure we understand to the greatest degree possible the nuances of the original languages as a means of filtering our present day presuppositions related to language, semantics, etc (rather than simply relying on another man’s interpretation of the original meaning). If we want to understand Abraham as a man better, then historical context will certainly help one to understand ABRAHAM THE MAN. To understand Abraham the man is something quite different than understanding the WORD OF GOD. I love history, and find historical figures and settings fascinating, but let’s not limit the the ability of the Holy Spirit to speak to us by our scholarly pursuits. To say it as smoothly as I can, i think we are on DANGEROUS grounds of presumption when we exalt our abilities as learners rather than GOD’s ability as teacher. The Scriptures are universal and the inspired cohesion found within them is found from Abraham to Joseph to Joshua to David …….to Paul, John….to all men in modernity.

Jesus says

John 7:17
“If anyone wills to do His will, he shall know concerning the doctrine, whether it is from God or whether I speak on My own authority.”

John 10:27
My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me;

One may justifiably ask how we may know whether it is the Holy Spirit guiding our understanding (versus the spirit of another). Peter exclaims with much simplicity the answer to that question (Luke is quoting Peter here):

Acts 5:32
And we are His witnesses to these things, and so also is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who OBEY Him.”

I would like to challenge all who are Christs to be very conscious in how we are leading/influencing the Lord’s flock, and what we convey regarding things such as the source for our understanding. I commend the writer who laid out very beautifully the fact that it is the Holy Spirit (God) that gives understanding of Eternal Truths. The understanding of historical context can be quite fascinating and is certainly a worthy pursuit, but man’s academic exercises take the backseat in a mile long bus when compared to the One truly driving our understanding and the exposition of Scripture in Truth.

Psalm 24:3–10
3 Who may ascend into the hill of the LORD? Or who may stand in His holy place?
4 He who has clean hands and a pure heart, Who has not lifted up his soul to an idol, Nor sworn deceitfully.
5 He shall receive blessing from the LORD, And righteousness from the God of his salvation.
6 This is Jacob, the generation of those who seek Him, Who seek Your face. Selah
7 Lift up your heads, O you gates! And be lifted up, you everlasting doors! And the King of glory shall come in.
8 Who is this King of glory? The LORD strong and mighty, The LORD mighty in battle.
9 Lift up your heads, O you gates! Lift up, you everlasting doors! And the King of glory shall come in.
10 Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, He is the King of glory. Selah

Reply

Dave Lewis says

June 8, 2015 at 7:57 pm

You really aren’t willing to try to understand what Mike is saying! You are filtering scripture through your personal theology. Keep an open mind and you might learn something.

Reply

Jeff Moss says

April 26, 2015 at 9:16 pm

I haven’t heard the issue of “context” put so clearly, succinctly, and forthrightly, Michael. Most stimulating. Appreciate all the thought you put into the post. With this being the first ‘taste’ of your new Academic Blog feature, I’m looking forward to more from you.

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Daily Bible Nugget #362, Romans 11:33

The Nugget:

Romans 11:33 O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!

My Comment:

At the conclusion of a most important discussion about the place of Israel in Bible prophecy (a discussion that extends from Romans chapter 9 through Romans chapter 11, a subject almost all interpreters do not understand, and a passage which nearly all interpreters get wrong!), the Apostle Paul concludes with a most remarkable adoration of God in a statement which at Romans 11:33 bears directly on the fact that God is incomprehensible, the tenth of over forty Attributes of God in my list.

Having some knowledge and understanding of these attributes of God is very important. God has revealed Himself to us and to all mankind in One Book, the Bible. Very clearly, therefore, the Bible is the most important Book in the world, a Book God wants all of us to get better acquainted with. It is only through what God has revealed about Himself in the Bible that lets us get to know Him in truth and reality.

Paul declares, “How unsearchable are his judgments.” This ought to make us all sit up and take notice. Do we really think we know better than God just how He ought to go about running His own creation? If God is perfect (and He is, you may be sure), then for God to have to change His plan to suit what you or I might personally think He ought to do would make Him imperfect if He did so! Abraham was certainly right when he said, “Shall not the judge of all the earth do right?” (Genesis 18:25).

Paul then declares that God’s ways are “past finding out” (Romans 11:33). You cannot figure God out entirely on your own apart from the Divine Revelation He has given of Himself in the Bible. You can only get to know God truly and personally through the message of the Bible.

God has so arranged that we can only truly get to know Him through coming to know the Lord Jesus Christ. To get to know Christ, you need to read the New Testament. If you read the New Testament and pray for God’s guidance and help in understanding its message, you will get to know Christ. That is why I constantly encourage everyone to read the New Testament continuously and repeatedly. It contains the message that brings spiritual life, and the spiritual food that makes possible personal spiritual growth.

For those who desire to DIG DEEPER into this subject:

(1) Consult the cross references given in Nelson’s Cross Reference Guide to the Bible on page 1293 for Romans 11:33.

(2) Consult the cross references given in The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge on page 1313 or in Logos 5 or 6 Bible software for Romans 11:33.

(3) Consult the cross references given in the original Treasury of Scripture Knowledge on page 113 of the NT or on line at www.blueletterbible.org for Romans 11:33.

(3) Most people today do not have access to those three print resources, so I have posted cross references for this passage as I have developed them even more completely for your study as given below:

Romans 11:33. the depth. FS176, +Nu 24:5. T#275. Ro 8:39. +1 Ch 29:11 (T#214). Jb 17:8. 21:5. 23:14. 28:14. *Ps 36:6. 77:19. 92:5. 97:2. *Ps 107:8, etc. Pr 18:3. 25:2, 3. Ec 3:11. Is 12:1-6. 25:1-9. 1 Cor 2:10. Ep 3:18. riches. FS22D5I, +Pr 8:18. ver. Ro 11:12. *+Ro 2:4. *Ro 9:23. *Ro 10:12. Ps 104:24. *Ep 1:7. *Ep 2:4, 7. 3:8, 10, 16. **Phil 4:19. +*Col 1:27. *Col 2:2, 3. Titus 3:6. wisdom. T#222. Ro 16:27. Jb 5:13. Ps 104:24. 139:6. Pr 3:19. 8:12. Is 28:29. +Je 10:12 (T#142). Je 51:15. Da 2:20, 21. 1 Cor 1:21, 25. 2:6, 7. Ep 1:8. *Ep 3:9, 10. *Col 2:2, 3. 1 Tim 1:17. *Jude 1:25. and knowledge. Gr. gnōsis (S#1108g). Ro 2:20. 15:14. Ps 139:6. 147:5. Je 32:25. Lk 1:77. *Lk 11:52. 1 Cor 1:5. 8:1, 7, 10, 11. 12:8. 13:2. 14:6. 2 Cor 2:14. 4:6. 6:6. 8:7. *2 Cor 10:5. 11:6. Ep 3:19. Phil 3:8. Col 2:3. 1 Tim 6:20 (science). 1 P 3:7. 2 P 1:5, 6. +*2 P 3:18. how unsearchable. or, inscrutable. +**Ge 18:25n. Dt 29:29. Jb 5:9. 9:10. 10:13. *+Jb 11:7-10. 26:14. 33:13. 34:24mg. Jb 37:5, 19, 23. Ps 36:6. 40:5. 73:16. 77:19. 92:5. 97:2. 106:2. 131:1. 139:6. 145:3. 147:5. Pr 25:2. Ec 3:11. *Is 40:28. *+Da 4:3, 35. +*Mt 28:19n. Ep 3:8g. Re 15:8. are his judgments. Gr. krima (S#2917g). ver. Ro 11:32. Ro 2:2g, Ro 2:3g. Ro 3:8g. Ro 5:16g. Ro 13:2g. Jg 20:25. 2 K 23:29. 1 Ch 16:12. *Jb 4:17. 9:4. Ec 5:8. Is 46:10. Mt 7:2g. Mt 11:26. 23:14g (damnation). Mk 12:40g. Lk 20:47g. Lk 23:40g (condemnation). Lk 24:20g. Jn 9:39g. Ac 24:25g. 1 Cor 6:7g (law). 1 Cor 11:29g, 1 Cor 11:34g. Ga 5:10g. 1 Tim 3:6g. *1 Tim 5:12g. *He 6:2g. *James 3:1g. *1 P 4:17g. 2 P 2:3g (judgment). +Jude 1:4g. Re 17:1g. Re 18:20g (avenged). *Re 20:4g. his ways. *Dt 29:29. 1 Ch 17:4. Est 2:22. 6:1. Jb 11:7. 28:7, 23. Is 28:29. Ac 2:23. 13:10. Ep 3:19. *He 3:10. past finding out. or, untraceable. Ep 3:8g. FS98. Homoeopropheron; or, Alliteration F/S 175. The repetition of the same letter or syllable at the commencement of successive words. Here, “unsearchable” and “finding out” (anexeruneeta, anexichniastoi) (for other instances of this figure see 1 Th 1:2; 5:23; He 1:1). Pr 25:2. 30:3. Ec 7:24. *Ec 8:17. *Ec 11:5. Is 19:12. 40:28. 45:15. Ezk 1:16. 10:10. 1 Cor 2:11.

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Daily Bible Nugget #361, Psalm 139:6

The Nugget:

Psalm 139:6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it.

Psalm 139:6 Your knowledge is beyond my comprehension;
it is so far beyond me, I am unable to fathom it.(NET Bible)

My Comment:

The tenth attribute of God revealed in the Bible out of my list of over forty attributes of God is the attribute of incomprehensibility. Our finite minds cannot fully grasp His infinite character. Yet we surely can grasp what God has revealed about Himself in His written word found only in the Bible. So, though we only “know in part,” yet what we can know of God from the Bible is certainly true. To get to know God better, be sure to read the Bible for yourself. Better yet, do more than read the Bible. Study the Bible. I furnish below the cross references I have gathered for Psalm 139:6. Since the Bible usually does not explain all about a subject at one place, it is most helpful to find the related verses that explain the verse you are studying. A concordance won’t work for this type of study very well because it is just an index of words. What you need to track down is not only passages in the Bible that use the same words, but the many more passages which speak of the same subject using different words. That is why you should always make use of cross references in your Bible study.

For those who desire to DIG DEEPER into this subject:

(1) Consult the cross references given in Nelson’s Cross Reference Guide to the Bible on page 642 for Psalm 139:6.

(2) Consult the cross references given in The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge on page 685 or in Logos 5 or 6 Bible software for Psalm 139:6.

(3) Consult the cross references given in the original Treasury of Scripture Knowledge on page 404 of the OT or on line at www.blueletterbible.org for Psalm 139:6.

(3) Most people today do not have access to those three print resources, so I have posted cross references for this passage as I have developed them even more completely for your study as given below:

Psalm 139:6. knowledge. Ps 40:5. 73:16. +Jb 11:7-9. 26:14. 42:3. Pr 30:2-4. *Ro 11:33. 1 Cor 13:9. Ep 3:18. wonderful. Ps 119:129. Pr 30:18. it is high. Ps 71:19. 131:1. Jb 11:8. cannot. Jb 37:19. Ec 7:24. Is 40:28. Zc 4:5. Lk 18:34. 1 Cor 2:10, 11. attain. FS63B2A, +Ps 21:11. Ps 145:3.

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What do you talk about?

The Text:

Ephesians 4:29 Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. (KJV)

Eph 4:29 Let no foul language proceed out of your mouth, but whatever is good for edification, as the need may be, that it may benefit the hearers; (Noyes NT)

Eph 4:29 You must stop letting any bad word pass your lips, but only words that are good for building up as the occasion demands, so that they will result in spiritual blessing to the hearers. (Williams NT)

Eph 4:29 You must let no unwholesome word come out of your mouth, but only what is beneficial for the building up of the one in need, that it may give grace to those who hear. (NET Bible)

My Comment:

What we talk about may have a profound influence on those who hear what we have to say.

Our current culture frowns on Christians having anything to day about spiritual things. They surely don’t want to hear anything from the Bible. But God’s Word encourages us to talk about our Lord Jesus Christ and what He has done for us (Psalm 107:2). God’s Word encourages us to talk about the Lord both when people want to hear and when they do not want to hear (2 Timothy 4:2).

Our contemporary culture has drifted very far in the wrong direction. To change and even reverse that, true Bible-believing, informed Christians need to speak up and speak out more. Don’t tell me that the current trends cannot be reversed. That idea is the Devil’s nonsense. Think about how the first Christians began. The culture then was just as evil as our culture is now. What could 12 disciples do against such odds? What could 120 believers do gathered for prayer in the upper room do (Acts 1:14, 15)? Jesus told them what to do, and they did it (Acts 1:8). We need to do the same.

We need to reach out to those God has placed in our circle of influence with the message of salvation through faith in Christ. We can do this first of all by direct prayer for individuals we know. Should God open the door of opportunity for us to answer a Bible question they have, take advantage of the opportunity when it arises. We may need to be more aggressive than that. Those who hold views that are contrary to God’s Word are surely brazen enough in their insistence to be heard. We can do better than that by graciously bringing encouragement to those in need of encouragement. We can show them where to find the help they really need by encouraging them to read the Bible, starting first with the New Testament. God’s Word is powerful (Hebrews 4:12). God’s Word works (1 Thessalonians 2:13)!

Want some real hope and change we can believe in? Lets stop hiding our message and get the Gospel out to those around us that need it (Romans 1:16).

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Daily Bible Nugget #360, Job 36:26

The Nugget:

Job 36:26 Behold, God is great, and we know him not, neither can the number of his years be searched out.

My Comment:

Incomprehensibility is the tenth attribute of God on my list of over 40 attributes of God. This long word, Incomprehensibility, is simply a fancy way of expressing the idea that no one can fully know God. He is so great that He is beyond our comprehension, and so beyond our human understanding.

Although we cannot know God absolutely completely with our finite understanding, don’t make the mistake of thinking God is unknowable at all. He has revealed Himself in the One Book He has written, the Bible, which is the verbally inspired Word of God. It is possible to come to understand something of God’s character even by observing what He has created, but to get to know Him savingly, you must get that kind of knowledge from the Bible itself. It is most important that you read and study your Bible on a regular, preferably daily, basis to receive the spiritual food you need to experience and sustain genuine spiritual life.

For those who desire to DIG DEEPER into this subject:

(1) Consult the cross references given in Nelson’s Cross Reference Guide to the Bible on page 523 for Job 36:26.

(2) Consult the cross references given in The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge on page 577 or in Logos 5 or 6 Bible software for Job 36:26.

(3) Consult the cross references given in the original Treasury of Scripture Knowledge on page 360 of the OT or on line at www.blueletterbible.org for Job 36:26.

(3) Most people today do not have access to those three print resources, so I have posted cross references for this passage as I have developed them even more completely for your study as given below:

Job 36:26. God is great. Jb 37:5. Dt 10:17. +*2 S 7:22. 1 Ch 16:25. Ezr 5:8. Ne 1:5. 4:14. 8:6. 9:32. Ps 48:1. 77:13. 86:10. 95:3. 96:4. 99:2. 104:1. 135:5. 145:3. 147:5. Pr 26:10. Is 12:6. Je 10:6. 32:18. 51:16. +Da 2:45. 9:4. Titus 2:13. we know him not. Jb 11:7-9. 26:14. 37:5, 23. 1 K 8:27. Ps 77:19. +*Ps 139:6. 145:3. 147:5. Ec 3:11. 8:17. 11:5. Is 40:28. +*Mt 11:27. Jn 17:25, 26. +*Ro 11:33. 1 Cor 13:12. neither can the number. *Ps 90:2. *Ps 102:24-27. He 1:12. 2 P 3:8. his years. FS22D4A. Anthropomorphism F/S 893. Circumstances as to time are attributed to God; here, years are attributed to God. For other instances of this figure see Ps 102:24, 27. Dt 33:27. Jb 10:5. Ps 77:10. 90:2. 93:2. 102:24. Hab 1:12.

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Daily Bible Nugget #359, Psalm 50:23

The Nugget:

Psalm 50:23 Whoso offereth praise glorifieth me: and to him that ordereth his conversation aright will I shew the salvation of God. (KJV)

Psalm 50:23 Whoever makes an offering of praise gives glory to me; and to him who is upright in his ways I will make clear the salvation of God. (Bible in Basic English)

My Comment:

There is much instruction, even spiritual meat (Hebrews 5:14), in this verse! I just lately came upon Psalm 50:23 in my work of expanding the cross references available for effective Bible study. I was amazed at the truth encapsuled in this verse. I will share my cross references for this verse below. If you will study each reference by hovering your mouse pointer over each cross reference verse given, you will find that the Bible does indeed explain itself.

I like to compare different English translations when I study a verse of Scripture. I have shared above the Bible in Basic English translation of Psalm 50:23 because it seems to be the clearest English version I could find.

I believe God has promised in this verse to reveal Himself and His salvation to those who are upright in their ways. This is a significant idea. God promises to give more light to those who will seek Him by reading His written word recorded in the Bible. As a result, such a person will truly find God and come to experience God’s salvation and will know they have become truly saved as they read the Bible. I know by experience that God does exactly that, for it happened to me.

So what is needed today, everywhere, is for each person who believes the Bible and who is truly saved to reach out to another person and share the truth of the Bible with them, or at least get them to read the Bible, particularly the New Testament, repeatedly and continuously for themselves. If every Christian would do that, the number of Christians would be doubled in short order.

I read a quotation from Spurgeon recently that in essence said that you can tell who is a true Christian because a true Christian will bring others to Jesus. If that has not been happening in your life, make it a matter of prayer, asking the Lord to open the right door of opportunity to share with someone else what you know of Christ. Spurgeon’s idea is surely Biblical, because we see exactly this happening in chapter one of the Gospel of John. I have seen this happen in real life when a newly-saved high school student came to me and asked me how to lead other young people to Christ. I showed him. He did so. A group of these young people pooled their personal financial resources to buy New Testaments and other sound Christian literature and Gospel tracts to give to new believers, and their budgets could not keep up with the demand. These young people at the time were members of the Bible Discussion Club at Cass Technical High School in Detroit, where I was asked to be the club sponsor by the school administration upon the request of three young ladies who wanted to have such a club at their high school.

It may well be that many people both in and out of the church think they are Christians, but in reality they have never been saved. If you ask them, “Do you know for sure that you will go to heaven when you die?” many of them are really not sure. You can tell, because they will say “I hope so,” or “I try to keep the commandments,” or “I hope my good deeds outweigh my bad ones,” and similar comments. If this is what you feel, you would be helped spiritually if you would do what I did, and read the New Testament for yourself, repeatedly, until God fulfills His promise to you by showing His salvation to you. The Bible promises that if we draw near to God, He will draw near to each of us (James 4:8).

I have shown you God’s Word. Now you know what to do.

For those who desire to DIG DEEPER into this subject:

(1) Consult the cross references given in Nelson’s Cross Reference Guide to the Bible on page 572 for Psalm 50:23.

(2) Consult the cross references given in The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge on page 621 or in Logos 5 or 6 Bible software for Psalm 50:23.

(3) Consult the cross references given in the original Treasury of Scripture Knowledge on page 377 of the OT or on line at www.blueletterbible.org for Psalm 50:23.

(3) Most people today do not have access to those three print resources, so I have posted cross references for this passage as I have developed them even more completely for your study as given below:

Psalm 50:23. Whoso offereth. Le 7:12. Am 5:22. Jon 2:9. Ml 3:3. Jn 4:24. 1 P 2:5. praise. ver. *Ps 50:14, 15. Ps 22:3, 23. 27:6. 69:30, 31. 86:9, 12. 92:1. +*Ps 119:171. Song 2:14. Da 2:20. **Ro 12:1. 15:6, 9. Ga 1:24. *He 13:15. *1 P 2:9. glorifieth me. Is 43:7. +Mt 9:8. 15:31. Mk 12:33. Lk 5:25. *Lk 17:18. Ro 1:21. 2 Cor 4:15. 9:13. to him. Ps 24:4, 5. *Ps 25:14. *Ps 85:9. +*Ps 119:166. 1 S 2:30. **Jn 7:17. **Jn 8:31, 32. *Ac 10:2-4. 11:14. 13:26. Ga 6:16. ordereth his conversation. Heb. disposeth his way. +*Ps 15:2. 25:10. +**Ps 66:18. +*Ps 119:166. Is 40:3-5. 43:19. 56:1. %+*Is 66:4. +*Lk 21:36. Jn 4:24. +*Jn 9:31. *Phil 1:27. +**Phil 2:12, 13n. +**Col 1:10. 3:1-3. 1 Th 4:1. *James 3:13. 4:8. 1 P 1:15. 2:12. *2 P 3:11. 1 J 3:3. will I shew. Ps 85:7. 107:43. Ac 8:30, 31, 35. +**Phil 2:12, 13n. **James 4:8. the salvation of God. Ps 14:7. 51:12. 85:7. *Ps 91:16. *Is 12:2. 45:17. 49:6. 51:5, 6. *Lk 2:25, 29, 30. Phil 1:28. +*He 9:28n. *1 P 1:13.

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Daily Bible Nugget #358, Psalm 139:7

The Nugget:

Psalm 139:7 Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence?

My Comment:

Think you can hide from God? Better think again! God is spirit (John 4:24). He is everywhere present at the same time, yet He is separate from the universe He created, not a part of it–which is what is meant by the transcendence of God, the ninth attribute of God on my list of over forty of His attributes or qualities.

In order to understand God, at least as far as He has chosen to reveal Himself to us, we must carefully consider all that the Bible tells us about Him. God has revealed Himself to us two ways: His attributes may be in part understood by the Creation (Romans 1:20), but in far greater depth and specificity by what God has told us in His written word, found only in the Bible. Psalm 19:1 refers to the fact that God’s creation declares God’s glory, and His handiwork. Psalm 19:7 declares that God has savingly revealed Himself in His written word, the Bible. So to really get to know God, you would be greatly helped by getting to know the Bible to learn what God has said about Himself.

One of the most helpful verses I have found in the Bible that explains how to get to know God better, and how to learn to trust Him, is Psalm 9:10.

(1) And they that know thy name

Knowing God’s name means understanding his attributes and his character. That is why I am presenting this extensive list of over forty attributes of God as they are revealed in Scripture.

But the Bible does not discuss the attributes of God together as a list in a single chapter. God’s attributes are spoken of and demonstrated throughout the Bible, but not in an organized way. To learn about them, they must be sought out carefully. No single attribute is discussed fully in any one place. You must compare Scripture with Scripture and find all the places in the Bible that speak of whatever attribute is under consideration. You cannot find the places where a particular attribute is discussed by using a Bible concordance. But you can find the passages in the Bible that pertain to any of the attributes of God by using cross references, which is why I have been sharing with you the most extensive collection of cross references on the attributes of God right here, though little by little! Thank you for your patience in awaiting each additional installment in this series on the attributes of God.

God does have many names in Scripture. Each name reveals some aspect of His character. Some would argue God has just one name, and that the rest of what appear to be His names are actually His titles. But in my study of the Bible I have found more than one “title” referred to in the Bible as a “name” of God, so I think those who believe God has but one name, Jehovah, may not have examined the Biblical evidence thoroughly enough.

(2) Will put their trust in Thee

Just how can you reach a point in your life where you really trust God? The answer is given right here. To trust God, you must know more completely than you do now the qualities or attributes of God’s character. There are many examples in the Bible of individuals who acted as they did because they failed to understand the character of God. The most prominent example I hold in my memory is found in Matthew 25:24, 25 where the man who was given just one “talent” hid it in the earth and failed to use it to produce more wealth. He did not even place it in the bank to earn interest. The reason for his failure and his condemnation is that he had a wrong concept of who God is, and therefore could not serve Him. He did not trust God. Like many today who question God, they do not believe God is fair, and cannot receive what God has plainly declared in the Bible that He will do if we fail to believe in Him. They need to come to grips with what God is like, following the example of Abraham in Genesis 18:25, where Abraham declared, “Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?” And the answer is, of course, that He will. God is not unjust. But God sets the standard for justice, not us.

Notice the cause/effect relationship expressed here: Knowing God’s name (the cause) results in trusting God (the effect).

(3) For thou, Lord, hast not forsaken them

Have you ever felt that God has forsaken you? Have you felt that He does not care for you? Have you felt that you have sinned so grievously and are so far from God that there is no longer any basis for hope in God? If so, I would urge you to pay close attention right here. God does know each of us by name, and the Bible clearly reveals that He thinks about each one of us individually and specifically (Psalm 40:17). Jesus said plainly that He came to seek and to save those who are lost (Luke 19:10).

(4) That seek thee.

Notice the major promise here: God does not forsake those who seek Him.

Please abandon the Calvinistic nonsense which declares that you cannot seek God. Calvinists love to quote Romans 3:11 which declares in part, “there is none that seeketh after God.” They have forgotten to check the context of this quotation Paul makes from the Psalms. Paul’s reference is to Psalm 14:2. But to understand the proper scope of the assertion that there are none that seek God, we must consult Psalm 14:1, a famous verse which focuses upon those who the Psalmist calls fools. This has no reference to you specifically if you are trying to seek God. Fools in the sense of the Psalmist don’t do that.

That it is possible to seek God is obvious. God states in 1 Chronicles 16:11, “Seek the Lord and his strength, seek his face continually.”

Does God issue a command that it is impossible for anyone to obey? Hardly. You most definitely can seek God. And if you will seek Him in the right place, you most certainly can and will find Him. The place to seek God is in His written Word found only in the Bible. The Bible is brim full of instruction about this. Check out Isaiah 55:6, 7. See Jeremiah 29:13. Above all, don’t miss what Jesus promised in Luke 11:9, 10.

Notice once again the cause/effect relationship expressed here: Those who seek God have God’s promise that He will not forsake them.

I have shown you God’s Word. Now you know what to do.

For those who desire to DIG DEEPER into this subject:

(1) Consult the cross references given in Nelson’s Cross Reference Guide to the Bible on page 642 for Psalm 139:7.

(2) Consult the cross references given in The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge on page 685 or in Logos 5 or 6 Bible software for Psalm 139:7.

(3) Consult the cross references given in the original Treasury of Scripture Knowledge on page 404 of the OT or on line at www.blueletterbible.org for Psalm 139:7.

(3) Most people today do not have access to those three print resources, so I have posted cross references for this passage as I have developed them even more completely for your study as given below:

Psalm 139:7. Whither. Ex 20:18. 2 Ch 16:9. *Je 23:23, 24. 43:8. Jon 1:3, 10. Ac 5:9. from thy. Ps 51:11. Ge 1:2. Jb 26:13. Is 11:1, 2. Ac 5:3, 4. spirit. Heb. ruach. A reference to God as being invisible. Jn 4:24. Similar possible references include 2 S 23:2. Is 40:13. But this may be a reference to God the Holy Spirit, the Third Person of the Trinity, +Is 48:16. flee. Jsh 10:16. Ho 7:13. Am 9:2. thy presence. FS22A4, +Ge 19:13. God the Holy Spirit is omnipresent, and possesses the attribute of immensity. Ps 51:11. 1 K 8:27. 2 Ch 6:18. *Is 57:15. *Je 23:23, 24. Mt 2:19. +*Mt 28:19n. Jn 14:16, 17. 1 Cor 3:16. 6:19. Scripture teaches both the immanence of God (He is everywhere present at the same time) and the transcendence of God (He is separate from the universe, not a part of it, and is entirely above it, such that there is an immeasurable, if not infinite, gulf between Him in all his perfections, and creation); thus to suppose man can become “God” or is “God” is, from a Biblical standpoint, absurd (see Ps 8:5n). That men are called “god” or “gods” in Scripture does not suggest man can become or is divine or deity; rather, the Hebrew word “elohim” has multiple meanings, and is sometimes used of false gods and idols (2 Ch 35:22n), of divinely appointed (though very mortal, Ps 82:7) judges and magistrates (+Ps 82:6n), and is used of angels (+Ps 8:5n).

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Daily Bible Nugget #357, Psalm 71:19

The Nugget:

Psalm 71:19 Thy righteousness also, O God, is very high, who hast done great things: O God, who is like unto thee!

My Comment:

Here is another verse which touches upon the ninth attribute of God on my list of over forty attributes of God. The attribute under discussion is God’s transcendence. God is far above our full comprehension. He is separate from and above and outside of the universe He created, though at the same time He is very near to each of us. Notice the Psalmist exclaims, “O God, who is like unto thee!” The note provided with the cross references for this verse given below may increase your understanding of this attribute and other things about God we can learn from the Bible.

For those who desire to DIG DEEPER into this subject:

(1) Consult the cross references given in Nelson’s Cross Reference Guide to the Bible on page 588 for Psalm 71:19.

(2) Consult the cross references given in The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge on page 635 or in Logos 5 or 6 Bible software for Psalm 71:19.

(3) Consult the cross references given in the original Treasury of Scripture Knowledge on page 382 of the OT or on line at www.blueletterbible.org for Psalm 71:19.

(3) Most people today do not have access to those three print resources, so I have posted cross references for this passage as I have developed them even more completely for your study as given below:

Psalm 71:19. Thy righteousness. Ps 36:5, 6. 57:10. 139:6. Pr 15:24. 24:7. Is 5:16. **Is 55:9. *Ro 3:26. who hast. Ps 72:18. 126:2, 3. Jb 5:9. +Da 4:3. who is like. Note: God is alone, who can resemble Him? He is that eternal, illimitable, unimpartible, unchangeable, incomprehensible, uncompounded, ineffable Being, whose essence is hidden from all created intelligences, and whose counsels cannot be fathomed by any creature. Ps 8:5n. 35:10. *Ps 86:8. **Ps 89:6-8. +Ex 8:10. *Ex 15:11. Dt 32:31. Is 40:18, 25. +*Is 57:15. Je 10:7. +*Mic 7:18. *Ro 11:33.

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