Daily Bible Nugget #367, Isaiah 40:18

The Nugget:

Isaiah 40:18 To whom then will ye liken God? or what likeness will ye compare unto him?

My Comment:

God is unequalled. This is the twelfth attribute of God on my list of the attributes of God, a list that so far extends to over 40 characteristics God possesses as they are given to us in the Bible.

In the immediate context of Isaiah 40:18, the Bible tells us that since God is unequalled, there are no lesser gods, and idolatry is mistaken.

The specific term “equal” is applied in direct reference to God by His own statement, when He said “To whom then will ye liken me, or shall I be equal? saith the Holy One” (Isaiah 40:25).

In terms of Biblical theology, this concept raises the hackles of non-Trinitarians, because Jesus Christ is repeatedly called God in the New Testament. See John 1:1, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”

The Jehovah’s Witnesses and their teaching authority, the Watchtower, get around this verse by claiming the King James Version is mistaken here. The Jehovah Witness Bible translation, The New World Translation, “corrects” the King James alleged mistranslation by rendering “and the word was a god.”

By comparing Scripture with Scripture–perhaps the best method of Bible study easily available to every Bible reader, the fact that God is unequalled (Isaiah 40:18) lets us know right off that there can be no “lesser gods,” which Jesus Christ must be, if Jesus is merely “a god,” and not God Almighty. This is reinforced by the statement in Deuteronomy 32:39, where God declares “See now that I, even I, am he, and there is no god with me…”

Every passage I might produce to demonstrate that Jesus Christ is full Deity, that Jesus Christ is called God (such as John 20:28; Acts 7:59; Acts 20:28; Titus 2:13; 1 John 5:20), has been contradicted by the Jehovah’s Witnesses repeatedly in their literature and Bible translation. Yet each of their efforts to contradict what the Bible properly translated most definitely says has been carefully answered by recognized Bible scholars who have no denominational axe to grind. I have answered many of the mistaken positions of the Watchtower on this and other matters in depth and in detail both here on this website and in my book, The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge (see its Subject Index entry, “Jehovah’s Witnesses: Answers to Doctrinal Errors,” on page 1562).

How can you or I be sure that the Bible doctrine we believe is the correct Bible doctrine? The answer is that correct doctrine matches what the Bible teaches. This means we must study the Bible carefully for ourselves. We must be “Berean Christians” (Acts 17:11), which is the direct opposite of being denominational Christians. I have driven by a relatively new local church congregation that has the name “Berean Baptist Church.” Now that is (unwittingly, I’m sure) a contradiction in terms!

I mean no offense to anyone who may be Baptist by denomination. The point is, anyone who continues to do what I call Real Bible Study will study himself or herself right out of any denomination he or she may now adhere to. That doesn’t always require that we separate ourselves from a sound Bible-believing church. But we eventually learn that no denomination fully adheres to the teaching of Scripture.

We don’t need to stir up trouble in our own church when we learn from careful study that our church is wrong on doctrinal issues about which good Christians differ. It does mean that when we know what the Bible teaches, we do not emphasize those doctrinal and denominational distinctives which turn out to be unsupported by the Bible.

Take the issue of the mode of Christian water baptism. Some churches sprinkle, some pour, and some immerse. Which way is correct according to the Bible?

This matter creates serious conflict when one must move to a new location, a new neighborhood, due to job change, or other reason. It may not be possible to find a church that matches what you are used to in your home church.

If you were brought up Methodist, Episcopalian, or Presbyterian, you may discover that in your new location the only Bible teaching church you can find is Baptist. But if you wish to join the Baptist church, you must be or have been immersed.

I have for many years been associated with Baptist churches. I taught the college and career age Sunday school class at the Covenant Baptist Church in Detroit for several years. I taught the college and career age class at the Heritage Baptist Church in Gainesville, Florida. I was brought up at Highland Park Baptist Church, in Detroit, Michigan. That is where I was first given the opportunity to teach Sunday school. Then someone checked and found I was not officially a member of the church. To continue to teach in the Sunday school, I must join the church (never mind that I had attended Highland Park Baptist Church from the time that my parents carried me there as an infant!). When I asked what I must do to become a member, I was told I must be baptized. I told them that I had just been baptized at the Methodist church two blocks away from my parents’ home. When they learned I was baptized by sprinkling, not immersion, I was told that does not count. So I agreed to be immersed at Highland Park Baptist.

My Methodist pastor, Pastor Laphew, of Thoburn Methodist Church, had given me the option to be baptized by any mode I wished. I chose sprinkling, and was baptized there before I was baptized by immersion very soon after at Highland Park Baptist Church.

Many years later, I met an elderly friend who everyone called “Uncle Frank.” Turns out he lived in the hotel next door to the apartment building where I lived at the corner of Fort Street and Hubbard in Detroit. Frank raised the mode of baptism issue as we talked one day out in the apartment building parking lot. He offered to share with me a book by Reverend G. E. Hughey, The Scriptural Mode of Christian Baptism, published in 1907.

I read that book carefully. Hughey was an expert debater in his day. I had myself extensive debate experience in high school and college. I could see Hughey demolished the position of the Baptists on the subject of the Scriptural mode of Christian baptism. In essence, he took all the water out of my tub, or baptistery!

Some have repeatedly objected to my change of position on this subject. They object that I did not go by the Bible alone and in its entirety, studying from a plain text Bible on Robinson Crusoe’s Desert Island, has I frequently urge others to do. After all, I admitted I learned this new doctrine from another man and his book, not from my own direct and independent study of the Bible.

The trouble with that objection is (1) Hughey writes about the Scriptural Mode of Christian baptism, so he appeals to the Bible and to the lexical and grammatical evidence on this subject; (2) I have no objection to learning something new from the Bible when the details of the subject are carefully derived from Scripture, even though I learn those new things from someone who has written a book on the subject.

As for baptism, I have learned (1) all modes are possible in terms of the original language terms employed in the Bible, but not all modes are supported in terms of examples of the practice in the Bible narrative; (2) the original Greek and Hebrew words that pertain to the act of baptism in some sense actually in themselves are non-modal: that means the words tell what was done, but not how it was done. (3) There are no provable examples of the immersion of persons in water for any religious purpose whatsoever anywhere in the Bible, Old or New Testament.

This last fact eliminates from any possible consideration the mode of immersion for Christian baptism; it is utterly unsupported by any example or command found in the Bible.

If you think you can find either a verse or example that proves immersion, please share it in a comment below!

So yes, you can choose to “follow the Lord” in immersion if you wish, but there is no warrant in the Bible for doing so.

Therefore, it is morally and ethically wrong to teach one must be baptized by the mode of immersion in order to have a valid Christian baptism. All Baptists must be warned and cautioned about this matter.

It is most wrong, therefore, for a Baptist church to reject the membership of genuine Christian believers who happen to have been baptized by a mode other than immersion. It is a direct violation of the command of Christ regarding baptism itself, for He did NOT command the use of immersion, neither did He or the New Testament apostles ever make use of the mode of immersion anywhere in the New Testament. It is a serious violation of the command in Romans 15:7, “Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God.” I have shared in full the cross references for Romans 15:7 in a series of posts under the category to the right, “Verse by Verse Studies.” I believe the evidence from Scripture itself is that anyone who fails to obey Romans 15:7 is very likely not to be genuinely saved. Read the cross references I have posted in full and judge for yourself. This is a very, very serious matter–reflecting what may be the chief failing of the contemporary Church.

What should a newcomer to a church decide to do if they have already been baptized by sprinkling or pouring, if they wish to join a Baptist church? If there are no other Bible believing, Bible teaching, Bible preaching churches that are non-Baptistic available, it should be no problem to go ahead and be immersed to satisfy the requirement at the Baptist church. I did that as a teenager newly saved. My parents were most upset at my decision, for they (unknown to me at the time) did not believe in immersion. Now, many years later, I have learned that my parents were right, though they were either unable or unwilling to explain to me the basis of their own conviction at the time.

My wife disagrees with me. She has never been immersed and does not ever intend to be immersed. Her argument is, “Why should I agree to be baptized in a manner that is absolutely wrong in terms of what the Bible actually teaches? Immersion is clearly wrong, and I won’t submit to being immersed because it is contrary to what the Bible teaches.” So for her, the option is not to attend any church that insists on immersion.

Disagree with me about these matters? Have further questions? I invite you to post a comment giving in your own words any contrary evidence or argument you may have. I always welcome discussion and disagreement here. If your evidence is good enough, you may cause me to change my mind. That is one thing I openly declare: I believe the Bible. If you can prove that I am mistaken by sharing proper evidence and interpretation of the Bible that follows the now 24 Rules of Interpretation given in the October, 2010 archives here, I will most certainly change my position. I am always open to correction. So, post a comment, whether in agreement or disagreement. Or, post a question you may have.

This post has grown long. I went in a different direction than I thought I would when I started writing. So I’ll continue the discussion on another point I originally intended to raise at the beginning of this post next time, the Lord willing and enabling.

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 758 for Isaiah 40:18.

(2) Consult the cross references given in The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge on page 788 or in Logos 5 or 6 Bible software for Isaiah 40:18.

(3) Consult the cross references given in the original Treasury of Scripture Knowledge on page 451 of the OT or on line at www.blueletterbible.org for Isaiah 40:18.

(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 40:18. To whom. ver. +*Is 40:25. *Is 46:5, 9. +Ex 8:10. 9:14. *Ex 15:11. +Ex 20:4. Dt 4:15, 16. 33:26. 1 S 2:2. Jb 40:9. Ps 8:5n. 86:8-10. 89:6, 8. 113:4, 5. +*Je 10:6, 16. Mic 7:18. *Ac 17:29. +**Col 1:15. +*He 1:3. what likeness. Ex 32:4. Nu 12:8. Dt 3:24. 4:12, 15. Jg 17:3. +*2 S 7:22. 1 K 8:23. 1 Ch 17:20. Ps 35:10. 71:19. 77:13. 106:20. Je 50:44. Ro 1:23. compare. Ps 88:6.

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Daily Bible Nugget #366, Psalm 119:155

The Nugget:

Psalm 119:155 Salvation is far from the wicked: for they seek not thy statutes. (KJV)

Psalm 119:155 Salvation is far from evil-doers; for they have made no search for your rules. (Basic English Bible)

My Comment:

Why is it that so many individuals are not saved? They have not been seeking out the truth by reading the Bible for themselves.

Consider carefully Psalm 119:155. This is what I have called a “cause/effect relationship” verse. Such verses are especially instructive. “Salvation is far from the wicked” is the effect portion of the verse. “For they seek not thy statutes” is the cause portion of the verse. To avoid the undesirable effect, reverse the behavior which constitutes the cause. This is not hard to do. Read your Bible and believe what it says! If you don’t or won’t read your Bible, you are far from salvation, and you are an evil-doer according to the Bible.

Calvinists often stress Romans 3:11, “There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.” Calvinists misunderstand what Paul wrote because they refuse to consider the context. Romans 3:11 is a quotation from Psalm 14:1, 2, 3 and Psalm 53:1, 2, 3. The context of the source text in Psalms is necessary to consider when understanding what Paul states in Romans 3:11. The ones who do not understand, the ones that do not seek after God, are the ones the Psalmist speaks of as fools.

You do not have to remain a fool in God’s eyes. You can decide to read the Bible to become “wise unto salvation” (2 Timothy 3:15, 16).

Here is another verse which ties in to Psalm 119:155,

Proverbs 28:5 Evil men understand not judgment: but they that seek the LORD understand all things. (KJV)

Proverbs 28:5 Evil men do not understand justice, but those who seek the LORD understand it completely. (ESV)

Clearly, those who fail to carefully study the Bible to learn what God has to say about important issues have a mistaken view of what is going on in the world about them. They do not understand justice. They have their priorities backwards. They do not understand what is right and what is wrong. On a personal level, they are far from salvation. They are without hope, eternally lost, unless and until they hear and believe the message of salvation found in the Bible.

Taking just five to twenty minutes a day to read the New Testament would remove the darkness most people live in today, and bring them to the eternal light of salvation in Christ. Eternity is a very long time. Those who are wise prepare for their eternal destiny by getting acquainted with their Creator and the Lord Jesus Christ by spending quality time reading His written word in the Bible now.

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 634 for Psalm 119:155.

(2) Consult the cross references given in The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge on page 678 or in Logos 5 or 6 Bible software for Psalm 119:155.

(3) Consult the cross references given in the original Treasury of Scripture Knowledge on page 400 of the OT or on line at www.blueletterbible.org for Psalm 119:155.

(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 119:155. Salvation. ver. Ps 119:123. *Ps 73:27. *Ps 85:9. Jb 5:4. Is 46:12. %Is 54:14. 57:19. *Lk 16:26. *Ep 2:12, 13, 17, 18. is far. Ps 10:1. 22:1. 38:11. 65:5. Is 59:11. La 3:17. from the wicked. Ps 14:1, 2. +*Pr 28:5. Is 3:11. 57:20, 21. Ro 2:8, 9. Titus 1:16. for they seek not. ver. %Ps 119:10, %Ps 119:94, 150. *Ps 10:4, 5. %Ps 94:12, 13. *Jb 21:14, 15. *Pr 1:7. %+*Pr 28:5. Je 44:23. +Mt 21:16. Lk 16:24. Jn 5:39. Ac 17:11, 12. %Ro 2:7. +*Ro 3:11. thy statutes. ver. +Ps 119:5. Jn 20:31. 2 Tim 3:15, 16, 17. James 1:18, 21. 1 P 1:23.

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Daily Bible Nugget #365, Job 11:7

The Nugget:

Job 11:7 Canst thou by searching find out God? canst thou find out the Almighty unto perfection?

My Comment:

This is a verse that ties into the eleventh attribute of God of my list of over 40 Divine Attributes, in this case (11) unsearchability.

God is so far above us we can hardly suppose that we have Him completely figured out, or completely understood. Fortunately, God has chosen to reveal Himself in His written Word, the Bible. You can search the Scriptures (Acts 17:11), and ought to search the Scriptures (John 5:39), but you will never exhaust the truths about God and his character or attributes as revealed in the Bible. So, keep reading your Bible, and start or continue studying your Bible. That is the way to get to know God better (Psalm 9:10), and to draw closer to Him (James 4:8).

The wonderful thing about the Bible is that the more you read and study it, the more you learn about God. But there is more. You do not merely learn about Him, you can get to know Him in a personal way and experience a personal relationship with Him. He will lead and guide you if you will let Him do so.

It is possible for anyone to choose to seek God (1 Ch 16:11), or God could hardly with integrity ask that we do so. Your search for God will not be in vain (see Isaiah 45:19) if you will search for Him in the right place–your 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 500 for Job 11:7.

(2) Consult the cross references given in The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge on page 557 or in Logos 5 or 6 Bible software for Job 11:7.

(3) Consult the cross references given in the original Treasury of Scripture Knowledge on page 349 of the OT or on line at www.blueletterbible.org for Job 11:7.

(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:

Job 11:7. Canst. FS85S, +Jb 4:17. by searching. Jb 5:9. 9:10. +1 Ch 16:11n. 28:9. Is 45:19. Je 29:13. +*He 11:6. find out God. Jb 26:14. 36:26. 37:5, 20, 23. Ge 32:29. Ex 3:14. Dt 29:29. 1 Ch 28:9. 2 Ch 15:2. Ps 8:9. 36:6. *Ps 77:19. 86:10. 139:6-10. 145:3. Pr 25:2. 30:3. Ec 3:11. 7:24. 8:17. 11:5. Is 19:12. 40:12, 28. +**Je 31:37. +Da 4:3. Mt 11:27. *Ro 11:33. 1 Cor 2:10, 16. 13:9. Ep 3:8, 19. the Almighty. Ge 17:1. Ru 1:20. unto perfection. Ex 33:23.

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Daily Bible Nugget #364, Proverbs 23:10

The Nugget:

Pro_23:10 Remove not the old landmark; and enter not into the fields of the fatherless:

My Comment:

Ezra Pound once said or wrote, “Literature is news that stays news.” Thomas DeQuincey wrote an outstanding essay in the nineteenth century that discussed two kinds of literature: the literature of knowledge, and the literature of power. He pointed out that the “literature of knowledge” soon goes out of date, because new information has come to light which makes the old information either invalid or no longer useful. The “literature of power” never goes out of date and never needs to be revised, like the works of Shakespeare and the Bible. That is why the Bible is news that stays news. It is more up-to-date than next month’s news headlines.

We ought not to forget the message of some of our great hymns and gospel songs. To forget them is to remove the old landmark, much to our great loss. We ought to still be singing them. They are better by far than any of the supposedly modern or contemporary music now used in some of our churches. Let me share the words of just two hymns you need to learn, pray, and follow. Based squarely on Scripture, they can change your outlook and your life.

1. LEAD ME TO SOME SOUL

In memory of D. L. Moody, who said, “I must speak to one soul each day about Christ.”

Lead me to some soul today,
O teach me Lord, just what to say;
Friends of mine are lost in sin,
And cannot find their way.
Few there are who seem to care,
And few there are who pray;
Melt my heart and fill my life.
Give me one soul today.

2. TAKE TIME TO BE HOLY

Take time to be holy,
Speak oft with thy Lord;
Abide in Him always,
And feed on His Word.
Make friends of God’s children;
Help those who are weak;
Forgetting in nothing
His blessing to seek.

Do you know how to lead a soul to Christ? In order to lead a person to Christ you need to learn several Bible verses to share with them. I would suggest you consider sharing the following verses which you would find it helpful to learn by heart. Learn both the words and the “address,” that is, Bible book name, chapter number, and verse number. Knowing these verses by heart makes it possible to share them anywhere, anytime, even if you do not have a Bible with you.

The first verse I recommend that you consider is a verse of motivation for yourself. It is Romans 1:16,

Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

We should never be ashamed of the Gospel of Christ. Other people feel free to talk about what they are interested, even deeply interested in. You should feel free to talk about your faith in Christ and how another person can come to have that same faith.

The Gospel of Christ is the power of God. It does not depend upon how skilled or persuasive you are. The Gospel of Christ is the power of God, not the power of you or me! And it is powerful, because it changes lives, and brings individuals into a right relationship to God and to Christ.

The Gospel of Christ is the power of God unto salvation. What does it take for a person to be truly saved? They need to come to the place where they believe the Gospel of Christ.

Just who can be saved? Everyone who believes.

What is it that a person must believe in order to be saved? Paul tells us that in Romans 10:9, 10.

Rom 10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
Rom 10:10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

The person who really believes in Jesus Christ will confess or declare with their mouth that Jesus is their Lord. A person who really believes in Jesus Christ believes the record of what the Bible tells us about Jesus Christ, particularly that God raised Jesus from the dead. Jesus rose bodily from the dead by the power of God. This we call the bodily resurrection from the dead. Only bodies die physically, so only bodies are raised physically. Jesus was not raised a mere “spirit creature” as some false cults and teachers claim.

Lastly, notice what Jesus Himself said about these matters in John 5:24.

John 5:24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.

Jesus says whoever keeps on hearing his word and keeps on believing on him [God] that sent him, now has or better, is having everlasting life. Anyone who keeps on hearing and believing shall not come into condemnation or judgment, but has been passed from death unto life. That is the promise of Christ, and I have paraphrased the verse to reflect the meaning of the underlying Greek verbs to emphasize the necessity of continuing belief, and continuing hearing required to receive the promised benefit. Notice especially that Jesus declares that you can have eternal life starting now in this life, even today. You do not have to wait until you get to heaven to find out if you have everlasting life, as some false churches and cults teach. The Bible plainly declares that you can have eternal life now, and you can positively be sure that you know that you have eternal life in the here and now (1 John 5:13).

Jesus emphasized that those who believe on Him must continue in His word (John 8:31, 32). Today, that means continuing to read His Word found only in the Bible. If you are not reading the Bible regularly, even daily (Acts 17:11), you can hardly consider yourself continuing in His word. How can you continue in His Word if you don’t take time to read it? You can’t. Don’t fool yourself. To grow spiritually, you must regularly read the Bible. The Bible is our spiritual food (1 Peter 2:2). Just like we must take time to eat regularly every day to stay healthy (Job 23:12; Jeremiah 15:16), so spiritually we must spend time reading the Bible daily. I recommend spending 20 minutes a day reading from the New Testament. Some days you might just get in only five minutes, but give yourself more than 20 minutes on days when you have the opportunity. To get time to read God’s Word, cut out some of the time you spend watching TV or other mass media. Make your time count for eternity by using it wisely on the best and most important things.

By the way, the content of this post is what we talked about at lunch today in my home. Talking to those who are in the proverbial “choir” will hopefully motivate them to share their faith with others when they are with people outside of home or church who are not in the “choir”!

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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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