Heralds of the Kingdom of God

If you would be a herald, be a herald of the kingdom of God.

Don’t be a herald of a church, or your ministry, of yourself, or of anything else but the kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

The kingdom of God is in our midst, and those who herald it are making known the truth of God.

Who can approach this kingdom?  Those who seek to purify their hearts in the sight of a righteous God.  Therefore, the heralds must proclaim this as well.

“Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord of hosts!” (Isaiah 6:2)  This is what the heralds of the kingdom of God proclaim.  They do not proclaim themselves (2 Corinthians 4:5; John 3:30).

Surely the kingdom of God has come and is in the earth today.  And His heralds proclaim it…that whosoever will might enter it.

Psalm 15 is a proclamation of how we might seek to enter that kingdom.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted.

Is It Possible to See Jesus in Every Verse of the Bible?

In the story of Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch we see how Jesus was prophesied in the words of Isaiah.

In Luke 24:25-27, 44-48 (and elsewhere), Jesus indicates that He is that to which the entire Bible testifies.

We can only see Jesus in the Old Testament to the degree that the Holy Spirit reveals Him to us.  The apostles, however, give us a head start by showing us in the New Testament many, many ways that the Old Testament testifies of Jesus.

For example, just consider a small portion of Peter’s first letter.  1 Peter 2:6 says that Jesus is the “stone” of Isaiah 28:16.  Then 1 Peter 2:7 says Jesus is also the “cornerstone” of Psalm 118:22.  And 1 Peter 2:8 says that Jesus is yet again the “stone of stumbling” and “rock of offense” in Isaiah 8:14.  The New Testament is full of Old Testament identifiers like this.

Once Jesus is revealed to us in an Old Testament verse, we can pass it on to others who love Him.  Then is this scripture fulfilled:

Deuteronomy 29:29 “The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our sons forever, that we may observe all the words of this law.”

Is it possible to see Jesus in every verse of the Bible?  Let us seek to find out!

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted.

The Word “Gospel” in the Old Testament

“Gospel” is one of those words found in the New Testament that people sometimes don’t realize is actually an Old Testament word.  The term “gospel” means “good news,” and that’s how it’s usually translated in the Old Testament…and sometimes in the New Testament.

That the concept of gospel or good news is found in the Old Testament can be quickly recognized by these two New Testament passages:

Galatians 3:8 The Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “ALL THE NATIONS WILL BE BLESSED IN YOU.”  [quoting Genesis 12:3]

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Hebrews 4:2 For indeed we have had good news preached to us, just as they also; but the word they heard did not profit them, because it was not united by faith in those who heard.  [alluding to the deliverance from Egypt and inheritance of the promised land]

Therefore, recognize that when New Testament writers use the term “gospel” or “good news” they are using a term first used by the prophets, and normally translated as “good news,” “glad tidings,” or “good tidings” in the NASB Old Testament.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)

“Beginning from this Scripture he preached Jesus to him.”

You may recognize the quotation in the title.  It comes from the story of Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch found in Acts 8:26-40 (specifically, Acts 8:35).

The Ethiopian was reading Isaiah 53.  He was puzzled about whether Isaiah was speaking of himself or of someone else in that passage.  Philip used the opportunity to proclaim Jesus to the man.

No matter which passage of Scripture someone is reading, we should use it to confess Christ – for the whole Bible is about Him.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted.

A Bible Study Method: See Jesus in the Verse, Then Imitate Him

Here’s a Bible study method worth following:

  1. See Jesus in the verse.
  2. Then imitate Him.

For example, consider the following verse:

2 Chronicles 16:9 “For the eyes of the LORD move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His…”

Can you see Jesus fulfilling this verse as He trusted God?  Good.  Now you take the place of Jesus in the verse while He takes the place of God.  That is, as He obeyed the Father, so you now obey Jesus.  This is the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Here’s another example:

Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart
And do not lean on your own understanding.

If you’ve read the gospels at all, you certainly ought to be able to picture Jesus fulfilling this verse.  Once you have, now follow in His steps (1 Peter 2:21) – with Him as the Lord you trust.

Here’s one more example:

Psalm 23:1 The LORD is my shepherd,
I shall not want.

Again, remember how Jesus regarded His Father in this way.  Now, following Jesus’ example of devotion and trust, you regard Jesus the Lord in this way.

You can study the whole Bible this way.  And practice it.  This brings about the kingdom of God.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted.

Isaiah 2:17

Isaiah 2:17 The pride of man will be humbled
And the loftiness of men will be abased;
And the LORD alone will be exalted in that day,

This verse echoes and emphasizes a verse that came earlier in this same chapter.  See this post.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted.

Scriptures on Gospel

“Gospel” is a scriptural word well worth studying.  It’s meaning is “good news.”

The following verses are in scriptural order.

Luke 16:16 “The Law and the Prophets were proclaimed until John; since that time the gospel of the kingdom of God has been preached, and everyone is forcing his way into it.

The grace of Jesus Christ replaced the Law of Moses as the theme of the Scriptures in the first century A.D.

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Romans 1:9 For God, whom I serve in my spirit in the preaching of the gospel of His Son…

The gospel of God is the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

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Galatians 3:8 The Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “ALL THE NATIONS WILL BE BLESSED IN YOU.”

The good news of the Son of God was prophesied a long time before the Son of God was revealed.  Thus Abraham got an early dose of the gospel.

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You’d do well to pursue your own study of the word “gospel” in the Scriptures.  As you do, keep in mind that it is one of those New Testament words which originally an Old Testament word.

(Consider also how the concept of “gospel” correlates with the concept of “grace.”)

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)

Scriptures on Grace

The word “grace” is an important one when it comes to understanding the Lord’s message to us through the Bible.  Here are some scriptures with comments to help you get started.  They are listed in scriptural order [emphasis added].

Psalm 84:11 For the LORD God is a sun and shield;
The LORD gives grace and glory;
No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly.

The word for “grace” can be found often in the Old Testament, though it is sometimes translated into a different English word such as “favor.”  For more, see The Word “Grace” in the Old Testament.

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Luke 2:40 The Child continued to grow and become strong, increasing in wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him.

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John 1:14 And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.
John 1:15 John *testified about Him and cried out, saying, “This was He of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me has a higher rank than I, for He existed before me.'”
John 1:16 For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace.
John 1:17 For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ.

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Acts 20:24 “But I do not consider my life of any account as dear to myself, so that I may finish my course and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify solemnly of the gospel of the grace of God.

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Acts 20:32 “And now I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified.

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Romans 1:5 through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith among all the Gentiles for His name’s sake,

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Romans 5:1 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,
Romans 5:2 through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God.

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Romans 5:14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over those who had not sinned in the likeness of the offense of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come.
Romans 5:15 But the free gift is not like the transgression. For if by the transgression of the one the many died, much more did the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abound to the many.
Romans 5:16 The gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned; for on the one hand the judgment arose from one transgression resulting in condemnation, but on the other hand the free gift arose from many transgressions resulting in justification.
Romans 5:17 For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.
Romans 5:18 So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men.
Romans 5:19 For as through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous.
Romans 5:20 The Law came in so that the transgression would increase; but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more,
Romans 5:21 so that, as sin reigned in death, even so grace would reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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2 Corinthians 4:15 For all things are for your sakes, so that the grace which is spreading to more and more people may cause the giving of thanks to abound to the glory of God.

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2 Corinthians 6:1 And working together with Him, we also urge you not to receive the grace of God in vain–

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2 Corinthians 8:9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich.

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2 Corinthians 9:8 And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed;

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2 Corinthians 12:9 And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.

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Galatians 2:9 and recognizing the grace that had been given to me, James and Cephas and John, who were reputed to be pillars, gave to me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship, so that we might go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised.

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Galatians 2:21 “I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ died needlessly.”

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Ephesians 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;
Ephesians 2:9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.

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Ephesians 4:29 Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.

Just as God speaks grace to us, so we should speak grace to one another.

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Philippians 1:2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

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Philippians 1:7 For it is only right for me to feel this way about you all, because I have you in my heart, since both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, you all are partakers of grace with me.

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Philippians 4:23 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.

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Hebrews 2:9 But we do see Him who was made for a little while lower than the angels, namely, Jesus, because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone.

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Hebews 4:16 Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

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Hebrews 10:29 How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled under foot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of grace?

Disdaining God’s grace is not wise.

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Hebrews 12:15 See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled;
Hebrews 12:16 that there be no immoral or godless person like Esau, who sold his own birthright for a single meal.

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Hebrews 13:9 Do not be carried away by varied and strange teachings; for it is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace, not by foods, through which those who were so occupied were not benefited.

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Hebrews 13:25 Grace be with you all.

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James 4:4 You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.
James 4:5 Or do you think that the Scripture speaks to no purpose: “He jealously desires the Spirit which He has made to dwell in us”?
James 4:6 But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, “GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE.”

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1 Peter 4:10 As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.

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1 Peter 5:5 You younger men, likewise, be subject to your elders; and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE.

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1 Peter 5:10 After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.

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1 Peter 5:12 Through Silvanus, our faithful brother (for so I regard him), I have written to you briefly, exhorting and testifying that this is the true grace of God. Stand firm in it!

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2 Peter 1:2 Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord;

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2 Peter 3:18 but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.

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Jude 1:4 For certain persons have crept in unnoticed, those who were long beforehand marked out for this condemnation, ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.

Some people think that grace means it’s okay for us to do anything we want.  That’s not grace at all; that’s licentiousness.

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Even though most of the scriptures above are from the New Testament, be aware, as I wrote above with reference to Psalm 84:11, that grace is a word that is found in the Old Testament as well.

(Consider also how the word “grace” correlates with the word “gospel.”)

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)

Isaiah 50:6-7

Isaiah 50:6 I gave My back to those who strike Me,
And My cheeks to those who pluck out the beard;
I did not cover My face from humiliation and spitting.
Isaiah 50:7 For the Lord GOD helps Me,
Therefore, I am not disgraced;
Therefore, I have set My face like flint,
And I know that I will not be ashamed.

Surely you recognize the Lord Jesus in these words of Scripture written by Isaiah.

Why would He allow Himself to be so disgraced, with His beard being plucked and His face being spit upon?  Because He had set His heart on achieving the joy set before Him, as it says here:

Hebrews 12:1 Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,
Hebrews 12:2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

The shame was merely the guantlet he had to run through on His way to glory.  Through Him, we can do the same.  For in this race we run, He is the forerunner who blazes the running path for us (Hebrews 6:20).

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted.

Isaiah 32:8

Isaiah 32:8 But the noble man devises noble plans;
And by noble plans he stands.

Who was more noble than Jesus?

His noble plan was to live for the glory of God.  He knew this would cost Him His very life, but did not waver.  He kept to His plan…all…the…way…through.

In the days of His flesh, He said to someone who expressed interest in following Him:

Luke 9:62 “…No one, after putting his hand to the plow and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”

Thus we should stand by our plan to follow Him – our noble plan.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted.

Scriptures on Knowledge

If you study the word “knowledge” in the Scripture you will find the exercise to be very fruitful.  Here are some scriptures on the subject to get you started [emphasis added]:

Psalm 25:14 The secret of the LORD is for those who fear Him,
And He will make them know His covenant. 

God is able to make us know things.  He can do this through our study, but He can also do it independent of our study.  He is able to impart knowledge directly to our hearts (see Psalm 51:6 below).  Though He use people to teach us, He is not restricted to that means.

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Psalm 46:10 “Cease striving and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”

The King James Version of this verse reads, “Be still and know that I am God.”  When we quiet our hearts we can become aware of the assurance deep within that God…is.

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Psalm 51:6 Behold, You desire truth in the innermost being,
And in the hidden part You will make me know wisdom.

Wisdom and knowledge can arise from deep within our hearts.  (See the promise of John 7:37-39.)

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Proverbs 1:23 “Turn to my reproof,
Behold, I will pour out my spirit on you;
I will make my words known to you.

God is able to impart knowledge to us independent of human agency (see 1 Corinthians 12:8 and 1 John 2:20, 27).  See also Psalm 25:14 and Psalm 51:6 above.

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Proverbs 2:1 My son, if you will receive my words
And treasure my commandments within you,
Proverbs 2:2 Make your ear attentive to wisdom,
Incline your heart to understanding;
Proverbs 2:3 For if you cry for discernment,
Lift your voice for understanding;
Proverbs 2:4 If you seek her as silver
And search for her as for hidden treasures;
Proverbs 2:5 Then you will discern the fear of the LORD
And discover the knowledge of God.

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Hosea 4:1 Listen to the word of the LORD, O sons of Israel,
For the LORD has a case against the inhabitants of the land,
Because there is no faithfulness or kindness
Or knowledge of God in the land.

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Hosea 4:6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.
Because you have rejected knowledge,
I also will reject you from being My priest.
Since you have forgotten the law of your God,
I also will forget your children.

God makes things known to us (see the Romans 1 passage below).  When He does, should accept that knowledge and act in accordance with it – not reject it!

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Hosea 6:6 For I delight in loyalty rather than sacrifice,
And in the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.

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John 4:22 “You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews.

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Romans 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness,
Romans 1:19 because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them.
Romans 1:20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.
Romans 1:21 For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
Romans 1:22 Professing to be wise, they became fools,

Learn from this passage that we do not have to be “super spiritual” to receive knowledge (or “knowing”) from God.  On the contrary, every human being is granted a measure of this knowing (or “awareness”).  Our spirituality is determined by what we do with this knowledge.  That is, do we act upon it…or do we ignore it.  This awareness of God (or “consciousness of God”) will lead to our honoring and thanking God for our existence; the rejection of it leads to a darkened heart and all kinds of evil.

The lesson is that we should have regard for the things that God makes known to us.

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Romans 10:1 Brethren, my heart’s desire and my prayer to God for them is for their salvation.
Romans 10:2 For I testify about them that they have a zeal for God, but not in accordance with knowledge.

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1 Corinthians 8:2 If anyone supposes that he knows anything, he has not yet known as he ought to know;

The knowledge of God is sure and certain.  It is a deep inner conviction.  It is not speculation or merely what we suppose to be true.

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2 Corinthians 10:5 We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ,

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Colossians 1:10 so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;

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Colossians 2:1 For I want you to know how great a struggle I have on your behalf and for those who are at Laodicea, and for all those who have not personally seen my face,
Colossians 2:2 that their hearts may be encouraged, having been knit together in love, and attaining to all the wealth that comes from the full assurance of understanding, resulting in a true knowledge of God’s mystery, that is, Christ Himself,
Colossians 2:3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

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1 Timothy 6:20 O Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to you, avoiding worldly and empty chatter and the opposing arguments of what is falsely called “knowledge“–
1 Timothy 6:21 which some have professed and thus gone astray from the faith. Grace be with you.

Just as there is more than one kind of wisdom, there is more than one kind of knowledge.  There is the knowledge of men, and then there is the knowledge of God which we have been discussing in this post.

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James 4:17 Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.

If you don’t know what God wants you to do in a given situation, do not fret.  He’s not holding it against you. Don’t worry about what you don’t know (see Psalm 131).  Instead, be sure to do what you do know.

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2 Peter 1:2 Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord;
2 Peter 1:3 seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.
2 Peter 1:4 For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.
2 Peter 1:5 Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge,
2 Peter 1:6 and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness,
2 Peter 1:7 and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love.
2 Peter 1:8 For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

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2 Peter 2:21 For it would be better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn away from the holy commandment handed on to them.

Alas, it’s better not to know the way of God than to know it but not do it.  (See James 4:17 above.)

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I hope you are inspired to study and reflect on what the Scripture says about knowledge.  It is a precious treasure from God.

(Consider also how the concept of truth correlates with the concept of knowledge.)

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)

Isaiah 31:6

Isaiah 31:6 Return to Him from whom you have deeply defected, O sons of Israel.

Who is the One who called us – is it not Jesus?  Is there anyone else you could call your first love?

And from whom have we deeply defected – is it not Jesus?

Isaiah does not refer us to “them,” but rather to “Him.”  This is Jesus…our Lord.

Thus Jesus said to those who have gone before us:

Revelation 2:4 ‘But I have this against you, that you have left your first love.

Therefore, let us put away the theology books and return to the One who called us:  Jesus Christ our only Lord and Savior.

For more on this One to whom we should return, see:

There Is No Trinity; There Is Christ

Posts to Date on the Trinity Versus Christ

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted.

Making No Distinction Between Those Who Are the People of God and Those Who Are Not When It Comes to Our Love

Here are some recent posts about the people of God:

Scriptural Names for the People of God

Becoming a Candidate for the People of God

Implied Names for the People of God

Scriptural Names That Do Not Apply to the People of God

Contrasting the People of God with Those Who Are Not

(I should also mention an older post about the one true church as well.)

Such thinking and study is for making ourselves more pleasing to God.  We still have to live in the world and that requires that we exclude no one from our love – because our Savior excluded no one from His.  Therefore, consider these scriptures concerning the standard of behavior that is owed to all, whether it be instruction to us or example from our Lord  [emphasis added with bold print]:

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.
John 3:17 “For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.

Romans 12:17 Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men.
Romans 12:18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.

Romans 13:7 Render to all what is due them: tax to whom tax is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor.
Romans 13:8 Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law.

1 Timothy 2:1 First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men,
1 Timothy 2:2 for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity.
1 Timothy 2:3 This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior,
1 Timothy 2:4 who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

1 Timothy 4:10 For it is for this we labor and strive, because we have fixed our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of believers.

Titus 2:11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men,

Titus 3:1 Remind them to be subject to rulers, to authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good deed,
Titus 3:2 to malign no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing every consideration for all men.
Titus 3:3 For we also once were foolish ourselves, disobedient, deceived, enslaved to various lusts and pleasures, spending our life in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another.
Titus 3:4 But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared,
Titus 3:5 He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit,
Titus 3:6 whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior,
Titus 3:7 so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

1 Peter 2:17 Honor all people, love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the king.

Remember also that in Luke 10:25-37 a lawyer, having agreed with Jesus that God wants to love our neighbors, tried to make an issue of who qualified to be a neighbor.  Jesus told the parable of the Good Samaritan, the moral of which was that our neighbor is whoever is near to us and in need.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)

Contrasting the People of God with Those Who Are Not

The following verses contrast the people of God with the people who are not.  (See first Scriptural Names for the People of God.)  Our purpose here is not to label others, but to turn our own lives away from sin and toward God.  That is, I as an individual read this verses and seek to please the Lord by turning from what I was to what He wants me to be.  For example, with respect to Malachi 3:18, I want to be sure that I am serving God today and living by faith, leaving behind my shortcomings from yesterday.

If we seek the kingdom of God, we must seek to compare ourselves constantly to the standard of behavior our Lord set for us.  Comparing ourselves to others is vain.  You can always find someone more evil than yourself – what good is that?  You must seek to be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ, and you must not stop your quest until He says, “Well done”  (Matthew 5:48; Luke 19:17).  In the meantime, the most we can say is, “We are unworthy servants; we have only done that which we ought to have done” (Luke 17:10).

I repeat:  Do not look to others; look to yourselves!  (2 John 1:8)

I made bold the “people of God” phrases, and used bold italics for the alternatives, in order to draw out the point.

Malachi 3:18 So you will again distinguish between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve Him.

Matthew 13:38 and the field is the world; and as for the good seed, these are the sons of the kingdom; and the tares are the sons of the evil one;

Matthew 25:32 “All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats;
Matt 25:33 and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left.

Luke 1:17 “It is he who will go as a forerunner before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, TO TURN THE HEARTS OF THE FATHERS BACK TO THE CHILDREN, and the disobedient to the attitude of the righteous, so as to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”

Luke 16:8 “And his master praised the unrighteous manager because he had acted shrewdly; for the sons of this age are more shrewd in relation to their own kind than the sons of light.

2 Corinthians 6:14 Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness?
2 Corinthians 6:15 Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever?

Perhaps you can add other verses to this list.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)

Scriptural Names That Do Not Apply to the People of God

Perhaps you are aware of the many various names that the Lord gives to the people who draw near to Him in this life.   If that is the case, you will also be aware that the Scriptures give various names to those who seek to live apart from the Lord.  Here are some of them, along with the scriptural warrant (whether explicit or implied):

the accursed  –  Matthew 25:34, 41; 1 Corinthians 16:22

children of wrath  –  Ephesians 2:3

the cursed  –  Matthew 25:34, 41; 1 Corinthians 16:22

the dead  –  Luke 9:60; Ephesians 2:1

enemies of God  –  James 4:4

a crooked and perverse generation  –  Philippians 2:15

outsiders  –  1 Corinthians 5:12; Colossians 4:5; 1 Thessalonians 4:12 (see also “those who are outside” below)

the sons of disobedience  –  Ephesians 2:2

the sons of this age  –  Luke 16:8

the uncircumcision  –  Philippians 3:3; Colossians 2:13

the unrighteous  –  1 Corinthians 6:9

those who are in opposition  –  2 Timothy 2:25

those who are outside  –  Mark 4:11; 1 Corinthians 5:13 (see also “outsiders” above)

unbelievers  –  Luke 12:46; 2 Corinthians 6:14

You can find many more such names in the Scripture.  And here is a list giving verses which contrast the people of God with those who are not.  Be careful, however, not to use these names to label others.  Be sure to see Luke 18:9-14).  For even among those who do not name the name of the Lord Jesus, there are those who seek to do right…and they are always welcome to our Lord:

Acts 10:34 Opening his mouth, Peter said: “I most certainly understand now that God is not one to show partiality,
Acts 10:35 but in every nation the man who fears Him and does what is right is welcome to Him.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)

Isaiah 33:10

Isaiah 33:10 “Now I will arise,” says the LORD,
“Now I will be exalted, now I will be lifted up.

Is this not our Lord Jesus speaking through the prophet?

Yes, for in the days of His flesh, He said:

John 12:32 “And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself.”

Therefore, let us exalt the Lord Jesus…our God.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted.

Implied Names for the People of God

The Bible is full of explicit names for those people God calls His own.  However, the Bible also implies a number of names for the people of God as well.  Here are some of them, along with reference to at least one verse that inspires each:

the blessed  –  Ephesians 1:3; Matthew 25:34

the gentle  –  Matthew 5:5

the house of His name  –  1 Samuel 7:13

the humble  –  Psalm 25:9; 34:2

the living  –  Luke 9:60

the meek  –  Matthew 5:5 King James Version

the merciful  – Matthew 5:7

the peacemakers  –  Matthew 5:9

the persecuted (for the sake of righteousness, godliness)  –  2 Timothy 3:12; Matthew 5:10)

the poor (in spirit)  –  Matthew 5:3; Luke 6:20

the pure in heart  – Matthew 5:8

those of whom the world was not worthy  –  Hebrews 11:38

those who are humble and contrite of spirit, and who tremble at His word  –  Isaiah 66:2

those who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness  –  Matthew 5:10 English Standard Version

those who are pure in heart  –  Psalm 73:1

those who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus  –  2 Timothy 3:12

those who do not seek their own good, but that of their neighbors  –  1 Corinthians 10:24

those who esteem His name  –  Malachi 3:16

those who fear the Lord  –  Psalm 128:1; Malachi 3:16

those who have insight  –  Daniel 12:3

those who hunger and thirst for righteousness  –  Matthew 5:6

those who hunger now  –  Luke 6:21

those who lead the many to righteousness  –  Daniel 12:3

those who love the law of the Lord  –  Psalm 119:165

those who mourn  –  Matthew 5:4

those who no longer live for the lusts of men, but for the will of God  –  1 Peter 4:2

those who no longer live for themselves, but for Him  –  2 Corinthians 5:15

those who serve God  –  Malachi 3:18

those who take refuge in Him  – Psalm 34:22

those who take refuge in the name of the Lord  –  Zephaniah 3:12

those who tremble at His word  –  Isaiah 66:5

those who walk in His ways  –  Psalm 128:1

those who walk in the law of the Lord  –  Psalm 119:1

those who weep now  –  Luke 6:21

those whose way is blameless  –  Psalm 119:1

those whom the Lord loves  –  Hebrews 12:6

You will be able to infer other names for the people the Lord calls His own as you read the Scriptures and seek to conform your life to the word of God.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted.

It’s Better to Have a Unified Heart Than a Divided Heart

Here are scriptures that speak of whole-hearted devotion as well as divided loyalties and half-hearted service [bold added to focus the point]:

Deuteronomy 6:5 “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.

1 Chronicles 12:33 Of Zebulun, there were 50,000 who went out in the army, who could draw up in battle formation with all kinds of weapons of war and helped David with an undivided heart.

2 Chronicles 16:9 “For the eyes of the LORD move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His

2 Chronicles 25:2 He did right in the sight of the LORD, yet not with a whole heart.

Psalm 12:2 They speak falsehood to one another;
With flattering lips and with a double heart they speak.

Psalm 103:1 Bless the LORD, O my soul,
And all that is within me, bless His holy name.

Ps 119:113 I hate those who are double-minded,
But I love Your law.

Matthew 6:24 “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.

Matthew 12:25 And knowing their thoughts Jesus said to them, “Any kingdom divided against itself is laid waste; and any city or house divided against itself will not stand.

1 Corinthians 7:34 and his interests are divided

James 1:8 being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

James 4:8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

Revelation 3:15 ‘I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot.
Revelation 3:16 ‘So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth.

Give your whole heart – not just some portion of it – to serving the Lord.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)

Scriptures on Truth

“Truth” is a key word in the Bible.  Studying this word will yield great benefit to the human soul.  Perhaps you could learn to use Strong’s concordance, even the one that is embedded in the NASB online.

Here are some scriptures (in scriptural order, with emphasis added) which speak of the truth, some followed with comments.  This might inspire you to start your own study of the precious word.

Psalm 119:160 The sum of Your word is truth

Look below for John 17:17 and see that Jesus took this Old Testament verse (as He did all the Old Testament verses) quite seriously.

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Proverbs 23:23 Buy truth, and do not sell it,
Get wisdom and instruction and understanding.

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John 1:14 And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.
John 1:15 John *testified about Him and cried out, saying, “This was He of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me has a higher rank than I, for He existed before me.'”
John 1:16 For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace.
John 1:17 For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ.

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John 3:19 “This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil.
John 3:20 “For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.
John 3:21 “But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.”

It’s not just knowing the truth that’s important – it’s practicing the truth, too.

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John 8:43 “Why do you not understand what I am saying? It is because you cannot hear My word.
John 8:44 “You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.
John 8:45 “But because I speak the truth, you do not believe Me.
John 8:46 “Which one of you convicts Me of sin? If I speak truth, why do you not believe Me?
John 8:47 “He who is of God hears the words of God; for this reason you do not hear them, because you are not of God.”

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John 14:6 Jesus *said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.

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John 17:17 “Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth.

God’s word is truth.  Jesus is here echoing Psalm 119:160.

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John 18:37 Therefore Pilate said to Him, “So You are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say correctly that I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.”
John 18:38 Pilate *said to Him, “What is truth?” And when he had said this, he went out again to the Jews and *said to them, “I find no guilt in Him.

Notice the stark contrast between Jesus Christ and Pontius Pilate.  One came to testify to the truth while the other is not even sure that such a thing as truth even exists.

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John 19:35 And he who has seen has testified, and his testimony is true; and he knows that he is telling the truth, so that you also may believe.

The apostle John who wrote this gospel is testifying in the sight of God that his gospel is the truth that himself has witnessed.

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Romans 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness,
Romans 1:19 because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them.

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Ephesians 1:13 In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation–having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise,

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Ephesians 4:15 but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ,

Speaking the truth is one thing, but speaking it without love is another.  Let us be sure to speak the truth, and let us be sure we are doing so with genuine love as our motive.

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Ephesians 4:25 Therefore, laying aside falsehood, SPEAK TRUTH EACH ONE of you WITH HIS NEIGHBOR, for we are members of one another.  [quoting Zechariah 8:16]

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Ephesians 4:20 But you did not learn Christ in this way,
Ephesians 4:21 if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Jesus,

This verse reminds us of John 14:6 (see above).  Certainly the Lord Jesus is the embodiment of truth.

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Colossians 1:5 because of the hope laid up for you in heaven, of which you previously heard in the word of truth, the gospel

What a glorious fact it is that the good news of Jesus Christ is…the truth!

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2 Thessalonians 2:10 and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved.
2 Thessalonians 2:11 For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false,
2 Thessalonians 2:12 in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness.
2 Thessalonians 2:13 But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth.

Paul is stressing the importance of loving and believing the truth – and also the alternative position, which is to believe what is false. Let us always be sure we are making the right choice.

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1 Timothy 2:7 For this I was appointed a preacher and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying) as a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.

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1 Timothy 4:1 But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons,
1 Timothy 4:2 by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron,
1 Timothy 4:3 men who forbid marriage and advocate abstaining from foods which God has created to be gratefully shared in by those who believe and know the truth.

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2 Timothy 2:15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.
2 Timothy 2:16 But avoid worldly and empty chatter, for it will lead to further ungodliness,
2 Timothy 2:17 and their talk will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus,
2 Timothy 2:18 men who have gone astray from the truth saying that the resurrection has already taken place, and they upset the faith of some.

Dispensing the truth of Scripture is a sobering responsibility.  Let’s be sure we handle the truth with care.  Otherwise, we might go astray from it.

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2 Timothy 3:6 For among them are those who enter into households and captivate weak women weighed down with sins, led on by various impulses,
2 Timothy 3:7 always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.
2 Timothy 3:8 Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men of depraved mind, rejected in regard to the faith.

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2 Timothy 4:3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires,
2 Timothy 4:4 and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths.

It is hard to believe that once having heard the truth, we could be enticed away from it – but it’s true!  Therefore, we must seek all the harder to hold fast to the truth which we have received.  This is not only that we might keep it, but that we might gain more “for to him who has, shall more be given” (Matthew 13:12).

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Titus 1:1 Paul, a bond-servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the faith of those chosen of God and the knowledge of the truth which is according to godliness,

Note that the knowledge of the truth is not an intellectual matter, but rather a matter of character – specifically, godly character.  Do not think that truth is a matter for academic, it is a matter for those who want to know our Creator…who has been most succinctly defined as love (1 John 4:8, 16).

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The Scriptures have much more to say about truth…and they are truth.

See also the post Scriptures on Truth v. Lies.

(As for how truth correlates with salvation, see this post.  And for how it correlates with knowledge, see this post.)

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)

Becoming a Candidate for the People of God

To be a candidate for the kingdom of God is to be a candidate for the people of God.  The good news is that humanity is the raw material from which God makes His covenant people.  Therefore, if you’re breathing and willing, you qualify for this candidacy.

Candidacy for the people of God is no easy quest.  Consider the many attributes you must acquire.  (Each name speaks of a different attribute.)  Not a few, but rather all attributes must become characteristic of you.  The Lord Himself will grant you these qualities as you look to Him, imitating the life He lived for us.  These qualities all originate in Him and are planted and grown in us according to our willingness and due process.

The believers gathering in churches described in the New Testament were candidates for the kingdom of God.  They sought to live up to the hope that the Lord had for them.  We know that some achieved it and some did not.

The question for us today is not which of them achieved it, but which of us will achieve it.  For the very kingdom that was coming in the first century came and is present still today.  That is, the kingdom of God is in our midst, open to all those who will seek the Lord with all their hearts.

May you find your way to the kingdom of God and experience the fullness of its blessings.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)

Scriptural Names for the People of God

Here are some of the terms used in the Bible to describe those whom God calls, among other things, His people.  The variety of terms is great.  In alphabetizing them, I’ve ignored the articles and pronouns; and I’ve used parentheses around them to indicate that they’re not always included with the term.

Though I”ve tried to be precise in my notations, the variation in Scripture works against precision.  And that variation has made the alphabetizing more problematic.  Nor do I think I’ve even captured all the base terms.  One can only conclude that God thinks much about these ones who love, trust, and obey Him.

After each term, I’ve given at least one citation of where the term may be found, but any given term may be found once – or hundreds of times – in the Scriptures.  Most of these are found multiple times.  Even when a term is only found once, it is often simply a variation on one that is used more frequently.  Most of them had an initial meaning according to the flesh, but all of them have meaning according to the spirit.

anointed ones  –  Psalm 105:15  (etymologically connected with “Christians”)

the apple of His eye  –  Zechariah 2:8

the assembly  –  Psalm 22:22; 111:1

the assembly of the congregation of the sons of Israel  –  Numbers 14:5

the assembly of the exiles  –  Ezra 10:8 (see also “those who reside as aliens” below)

the assembly of God  –  Nehemiah 13:1

the assembly of the holy ones  –  Psalm 89:5

the assembly of Israel  –  Leviticus 16:17

the assembly of Jacob  –  Deuteronomy 33:4

the assembly of the Lord  –  Micah 2:5

the assembly of the people of God  –  Judges 20:2

the assembly of the righteous  –  Psalm 1:5

believers  –  1 Timothy 6:2

believers in God  –  1 Peter 1:21

believers in the Lord  –  Acts 5:14

(the) beloved  –  1 Timothy 6:2

beloved in God the Father  –  Jude 1:1

the body of Christ  –  Ephesians 4:12

(the) brethren  –  1 Timothy 6:2

the bride  –  Revelation 21:2  (see also “the wife of the Lamb” below)

the brotherhood  –  1 Peter 2:17

the called  –  Revelation 17:14

the called of Jesus Christ  –  Romans 1:6

little children  –  John 13:33

children of God  –  John 1:12; 11;52; Philippians 2:15; 1 John 3:1

children of Light  –  Ephesians 5:8

children of (the) promise  –  Romans 9:8; Galatians 4:28

children of the free woman  –  Galatians 4:31

Christians  –  Acts 11:26 (etymologically connected with “anointed ones”)

the chosen  –  Revelation 17:14  (see also “those who are chosen” below)

a chosen generation   1 Peter 2:9 King James Version (see also “the generation of…” below)

a chosen people  –  1 Peter 2:9 New International Version

a chosen race  –  1 Peter 2:9

the church  –  Ephesians 3:21

the church of God  –  Acts 20:28

the church of the living God  –  1 Timothy 3:15

church of the saints  –  1 Corinthians 14:33

the (true) circumcision  –  Philippians 3:3

the company of the upright  –  Psalm 111:1

the congregation  –  Hebrews 2:12 (this word is elsewhere translated “church”)

the congregation of the disciples  –  Acts 6:2

the congregation of the godly ones  –  Psalm 149:1

the congregation of Israel  –  Exodus 12:3

the congregation of the Lord  –  Numbers 27:17

the congregation of the sons of Israel  –  Exodus 16:1

the congregation of those who believed  –  Acts 4:32

the disciples  –  Acts 11:26

a dwelling of God in the Spirit  –  Ephesians 2:22

the faithful –  Revelation 17:14

fellow citizens with the saints  –  Ephesians 2:19

the flock  –  Acts 20:28, 29; 1 Peter 5:3

little flock  –  Luke 12:32

the flock of God  –  1 Peter 5:2

the generation of the upright  – Psalm 112:2 (see also “chosen generation” above)

the generation of those who seek Him  –  Psalm 24:6 (see also “chosen generation” above)

(His) godly ones  –  Psalm 85:8

God’s household  –  Ephesians 2:19

holy ones  –  Romans 1:7 marginal note (see also “saints” and “those who are sanctified” below, which are synonymous)

holy nation  –  1 Peter 2:9

a holy temple in the Lord –  Ephesians 2:21

(the) house (of God)  –  1 Peter 2:5; Hebrews 3:6

the household of God  –  1 Timothy 3:15

a humble and lowly people  –  Zephaniah 3:12  (see also other references to “people” below)

Israel  –  Deuteronomy 6:4; 1 Chronicles 12:32; Psalm 73:1; 81:13; Romans 9:6

the Israel of God  –  Galatians 6:16

Israelites  –  Exodus 35;29

(true) Israelites  –  John 1:47

the remnant of Israel  –  Zephaniah 3:13  (see also “the remnant” below)

Jacob  –  Romans 11:26

the remnant of Jacob  –  Isaiah 10:21

(the Jews)  –  Ezra 4:12; John 4:22; Romans 2:28-29; Revelation 2:9; 3:9

a kingdom  –  Revelation 1:6

the kingdom of His beloved Son  –  Colossians 3:13

a kingdom of priests  –  Exodus 19:6

(His) lambs  –  John 21:15-17

the light of the world  –  Matthew 5:14

living stones  –  1 Peter 2:5

nation  –  Matthew 21:43 (see marginal note)

a people  –  Matthew 21:43; 1 Peter 2:10

His people  –  Psalm 85:8  (see also “a humble and lowly people” above)  Psalm 85:8; 100:3; Matthew 1:21

the people of God  –  Hebrews 11:25; 1 Peter 2:10

a people for God’s own possession  –  Titus 2:14; 1 Peter 2:9

a people for His name  –  Acts 15:14

a people near to Him  –  Psalm 148:14

the people of His pasture  –  Psalm 95:7

a people prepared for the Lord  –  Luke 1:17

pillar and support of the truth  –  1 Timothy 3:15

pillars (in the temple of God)  – Revelation 3:12

priests –  Revelation 1:6

prophets  –  Numbers 11:29 coupled with Acts 2:17

the remnant  –  Romans 9:27; 11:5; Isaiah 10:22  (see also “the remnant of Israel” and “…Jacob” above)

the righteous (ones)  –  Psalm 33:1; 1 Peter 3:12

royal priesthood  –  1 Peter 2:9

(the) saints  –  Romans 1:7  (see also “holy ones” above and “those who are sanctified below,” which are synonymous)

the salt of the earth  –  Matthew 5:13

Sarah’s children  –  1 Peter 3:6

(His) servants  –  John 18:36

(His) sheep  –  Psalm 100:3; John 10:27

the sheep of His hand  –  Psalm 95:7

the sheep of His pasture  –  Psalm 100:3

sheep to be slaughtered  –  Romans 8:36

sons and daughters of God  –  2 Corinthians 6:18

sons of Abraham  –  Galatians 3:7

sons of day  –  1 Thessalonians 5:5

(the) sons of God  –  Luke 20:36; Romans 8:14, 19; Galatians 3:26

sons of the living God  –  Romans 9:26

(the) sons of Israel  –  Psalm 148:14; Isaiah 31:6

sons of the kingdom  –  Matthew 13:38

sons of light  –  John 12:36; 1 Thessalonians 5:5

sons of the Most High  –  Luke 6:35

sons of the resurrection  –  Luke 20:36

stones  –  (see “living stones” above)

(the) tabernacle of God  –  Revelation 21:3

temple of God  –  1 Corinthians 3:16; Revelation 3:12

temple of the Holy Spirit  –  1 Corinthians 6:19

those who are chosen  –  2 Timothy 2:10 (see also “chosen” above”)

those who believe  –  1 Timothy 4:12

those who love Him  –  James 1:12; 2:5

those who reside as aliens  –  1 Peter 1:1 (see also “the assembly of the exiles” above)

those who are sanctified  –  Acts 26:18  (see also “holy ones” and “saints” above, which are synonymous)

those whose heart is completely His  –  (2 Chronicles 16:9)

the upright (in heart) –  Psalm 33:1;  64:10

the wife of the Lamb  –  Revelation 21:9 (see also “the bride” above)

the wise (of heart)  –  Proverbs 3:35; 10:8

witnesses  –  Acts 1:8; Revelation 17:6

(the true) worshipers (of God)  –  John 4:21-24

Of course, everyone is going to heaven…but that doesn’t mean God doesn’t have a people He calls His own in the world today.  If you want Him to count you among them, these names are what you have to live up to.

In addition to the list above, see also names for the people of God which can be inferred from the Scriptures.

Consider also those scriptural names which could not be applied to the people of God, and even this list contrasting the two.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

What the Bible Calls Itself

The Bible is an ancient collection of even more ancient writings.  These writings can be traced to Jews who spoke in the name of the Lord (called prophets in the Old Testament and apostles in the New Testament).  This collection never uses the word Bible.  Instead, the collection is referred by a variety of different terms.

Since the collection began with the writings of Moses, his name figures prominently in the titles given the collection.  The collection became so well known among the Jewish people that it could be referred to by simply saying, “It is written…”

Just as the Bible does not refer to itself as the Bible, neither does it divide itself into “Old Testament” and “New Testament.”  Like the term “Bible,” these two terms (and the division they represent) were added by subsequent generations of readers and were not used by the writers.  Therefore, do not let these terms confuse you.  The important thing is what the writings say, not what we call them.  And all the writings (beginning with the Old Testament writings) testify of Jesus Christ.

Here then is a list which demonstrates the variety of terms the Bible uses to refer to itself.  They are alphabetized, but ignore “the.”  I have followed each with one or two references where the term can be found.  There are even minor variations on these variations, but I have not attempted to capture them here.

the holy Scriptures  –  Romans 1:2

the Law  –  1 Corinthians 15:21

the Law and the Prophets  –  Matthew 7:12

the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms  –  Luke 24:44

living oracles  –  Acts 7:38

Moses  –  Acts 15:21; 2 Corinthians 3:15

the oracles of God  –  Romans 3:2; Hebrews 5:12

the Prophets  –  Acts 26:27

the Prophets and Moses  –  Acts 26:22

the sacred writings  –  2 Timothy 3:15

the Scripture  –  John 10:35; 1 Timothy 5:18

the Scriptures  –  Luke 24: 27; John 5:39

the Scriptures of the Prophets  –  Matthew 26:56; Romans 16:26

the word of God  –  John 10:35

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)

Isaiah 33:6

Isaiah 33:6 And He will be the stability of your times,
A wealth of salvation, wisdom and knowledge;
The fear of the LORD is his treasure.

Who else is the stability of our times but Jesus Christ our only Lord?

Paul spoke of that stability here:

Colossians 2:5 For even though I am absent in body, nevertheless I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good discipline and the stability of your faith in Christ.

Let us therefore find stability in “undistracted devotion” to the Lord Jesus (1 Corinthians 7:35), for it is “the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ” (2 Corinthians 11:3) which should characterize our faith.

Regarding this singularity of devotion to the Lord Christ, see:

There Is No Trinity; There Is Christ

Posts to Date on the Trinity Versus Christ

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted.

Psalm 130:3-4

Psalm 130:3 If You, LORD, should mark iniquities,
O Lord, who could stand?
Psalm 130:4 But there is forgiveness with You,
That You may be feared.

The Lord Jesus offers forgiveness.  The very reason God became Christ was to demonstrate to us that He is willing to forgive our sins.  Therefore, we needn’t shy away from Him.  Rather, we should run to Him.  He is the Lord whom we can fear because we know He will forgive us if we sincerely repent.

If we weren’t sure the Lord would forgive us, we would be fearful and uncertain.  If we thought He would not forgive us, we would lose heart and not seek Him.  It is knowing that Jesus means forgiveness (Matthew 1:21) that gives us the encouragement to fear Him.

Jesus of Nazareth fulfills these verses in His exalted state.  He is the fulfillment of all Scripture, for it testifies of Him (John 5:39).  Therefore, let us read these verses with Him fully in mind.

In the days of His flesh He said:

John 6:37 “… the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out.”

Thus we shall assure our hearts before Him that with Him there is forgiveness.  And therefore we should fear Him always.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted.

Scriptures on Salvation

In this age, God has given us a complete salvation.  It is a salvation not of our circumstances, but rather of our souls.  Through this salvation, our hearts are blessed beyond measure – no matter what is going on around us.

The Scriptures speak of this salvation in many ways.  Here are some of those ways, with commentary following each:

Hebrews 9:28 so Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him.

The Second Coming of Christ in the late 1st Century marked the moment at which the eternal age of Christ began.  Even today, those who look to Him can receive His fullness in their hearts (Ephesians 3:16-17), just as it came to 1st-century hearts.

Psalm 50:23 “…to him who orders his way aright
I shall show the salvation of God.”

The salvation of God is for those who are worthy of it (Ephesians 4:1; 1 Thessalonians 2:12).  That is, we must walk the straight and narrow path to the kingdom of God if we are to find it at all (Matthew 7:13-14).  God promises to make the entrance clear to us if we indeed walk that path (see also 2 Peter 1:5-11).

Psalm 51:12 Restore to me the joy of Your salvation…

If we sin, we must stop and cry out for God to restore our sick souls.  We should not try to live without the salvation of God, which is the blessing of God on our hearts.

James 1:21 Therefore, putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls.

“Save” is a cognate of “salvation.”  Thus, it is the word of God in our hearts that is the agent of restoration in our souls.  Never stop listening for God.  When you cease to hear him, stop…and ask Him to restore your soul., which means that He will be on speaking terms with you once again.  Your soul cannot live without His voice.  Always seek it.  And speaking of having our souls restored…

Psalm 23:3 He restores my soul…

There is, however, something even better than God restoring our souls.

Hebrews 10:39 But we are not of those who shrink back to destruction, but of those who have faith to the preserving of the soul.

By holding fast our faith, we preserve our souls – which is even better than restoration.  That is, the goal is to always possess our souls, not lose them so that they can be restored.  It’s wonderful that God will restore our souls when we’ve lost them, but even better not to lose them.  Here are some scriptures on possessing, losing, and reclaiming our souls:

Luke 21:19 “In your patience possess ye your souls.”  (King James Version)

Mark 8:36 “For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul?

1 Peter 2:25 For you were continually straying like sheep, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls.

Let us strive to possess our souls at all time.  When and if we do lose them, let us seek God immediately for restoration.  And even then let us have our hearts set on maturing.

Because this salvation is independent of circumstances, Paul could write:

Philippians 4:12 I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need.

Paul had learned this lesson, at least in part, through this circumstance:

2 Corinthians 12:7 Because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me–to keep me from exalting myself!
2 Corinthians 12:8 Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me.
2 Corinthians 12:9 And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.

Thus there is to be a flow of grace to us…and through us…in any and every circmstance:

2 Corinthians 9:8 And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed;

Here then is a promise of salvation to everyone who truly loves the Lord:

Psalm 91:14 “Because he has loved Me, therefore I will deliver him;
I will set him securely on high, because he has known My name.
Psalm 91:15 “He will call upon Me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble;
I will rescue him and honor him.
Psalm 91:16 “With a long life I will satisfy him
And let him see My salvation.”

As for how salvation correlates with truth, see this post.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)

Isaiah 2:5

Isaiah 2:5 Come, house of Jacob, and let us walk in the light of the LORD.

Jesus is the Lord.

Jesus is the light of the world, the sun of righteousness.

Isaiah’s invitation is not that we merely “talk” in the light of the Lord, but that we “walk” in that light.  Mere words will not do.  God invites us to walk the earth as He walked it: in humility and generosity of spirit (2 Corinthians 8:9).

As John said:

1 John 1:7 but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.

And Paul said:

Ephesians 5:8 for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light

Even Jesus Himself said:

John 11:10 “But if anyone walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him.”

Let us therefore walk in the light of the Lord, just as Isaiah said.  For Isaiah knew the Lord of whom he spoke:

John 12:41 These things Isaiah said because he saw His glory, and he spoke of Him.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted.

Psalm 84:11

Psalm 84:11 For the LORD God is a sun and shield;
The LORD gives grace and glory;
No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly.

Jesus Christ is our Lord and our God.  He is the sun of righteousness (Malachi 4:2).

Who else gives us grace?  (For do we not live by “the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ”?  This is stated over and over in the New Testament.)

And won’t we be glorified with Christ if we suffer with Him (Romans 8:17-18)?

Jesus does not withhold good from us.  He bestows it freely upon the humble; only the proud and the double-minded walk away empty-handed (Luke 1:53; James 1:7).

Because the Lord Jesus is our sun, He is our light (Psalm 27:1).   As we walk in His light, His glory reflects off of us.  He shines on us!

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted.

God Is Able

I have made bold some of the things God is able to do:

Daniel 4:37 “…He is able to humble those who walk in pride.”

Matthew 3:9 and do not suppose that you can say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham for our father’; for I say to you that from these stones God is able to raise up children to Abraham.

Romans 4:21 and being fully assured that what God had promised, He was able also to perform.

Romans 14:4 Who are you to judge the servant of another? To his own master he stands or falls; and he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.

Romans 16:25 Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery which has been kept secret for long ages past,

2 Corinthians 9:8 And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed;

Ephesians 3:20 Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us,

2 Timothy 1:12 For this reason I also suffer these things, but I am not ashamed; for I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day.

Hebrews 2:18 For since He Himself was tempted in that which He has suffered, He is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted.

Hebrews 7:25 Therefore He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.

Hebrews 11:19 He considered that God is able to raise people even from the dead

Jude 1:24 Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy,

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)

Malachi 4:2

Malachi 4:2 “But for you who fear My name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings; and you will go forth and skip about like calves from the stall.”

Who rose from the dead?

Who healed?

Who shone brighter in righteousness than any other who has ever walked this planet?

He is Jesus Christ, the sun of righteousness!

Thus His apostle John said of Him:

Revelation 1:16 …and His face was like the sun shining in its strength.

He is the light by which we can walk.  He illumines all things.  He is our sun and we walk in His light.  For He Himself said, “I am the light of the world” (John 8:12; 9:5).  Without Him, we walk in darkness.

For more on Malachi 4:2, see these posts.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted.

Covenant

In biblical terms, a covenant is an agreement that establishes a relationship.  The covenant relationship takes shape based on the exchanged promises that constitute it.  Thus God did not make an isolated promise or two to Abraham, but rather made various promises (e.g. numerous descendants and abundant blessings) in the context of the relationship He would have with Abraham and his descendants.

God expanded the covenant with Abraham’s descendants through Moses.  He gave the Law (the Jewish word was “Torah”) which entailed commandments which Israel was to follow as a sovereign nation under God’s personal dominion.  While God’s covenant with Abraham was oriented to family interests, His covenant through Moses was oriented to national interests.  This expansion was fitting, given how God’s promise to multiply Abraham’s descendants had been abundantly fulfilled.  The covenant governed God’s interactions with His people.  The ninth chapter of the book of Nehemiah outlines the history of that covenant relationship – its ups and downs.  It was a rocky relationship, but God was always faithful to hold up His end of the bargain.

Jesus came to establish a new covenant:

Luke 22:20 And in the same way He took the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood.

This is the covenant that had been explicitly promised by the prophets Jeremiah:

Jeremiah 31:31 “Behold, days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah,

This new covenant would last forever, never needing to be replaced.  Thus is was called a “better covenant” in Hebrews 7:22 and 8:6, and an “eternal covenant” in Hebrews 13:20.

“Covenant” is an important biblical concept because it demonstrates, and helps us better understand, God’s desire to live in relationship with us.  That is, His fondest desire is not to live at a distance from us, but rather in close and defined relationship with us.  This concept of covenant relationship is present throughout the Bible.  Both God’s promises and commandments are best understood as components of it.

Here are some more posts referencing “covenant.”

For more on how the word “covenant” relates to the word “promise,” see here.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)

The Will of God

When you hear modern Christians discuss “the will of God,” it sounds like something unknown, waiting to be discovered.  When you read the Bible, however, “the will of God” sounds more like something revealed, waiting to be followed.  For this reason, “the will of God” is all the more an important biblical concept worth understanding well.

Here are some examples of how the Bible typically speaks of the will of God [emphasis added]:

Ezra 10:11 “Now therefore, make confession to the LORD God of your fathers and do His will

Psalm 40:8 I delight to do Your will, O my God;
Your Law is within my heart.”

Matthew 6:10 …Your will be done

Mark 3:35 “For whoever does the will of God, he is My brother and sister and mother.”

John 9:31 “We know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is God-fearing and does His will, He hears him.

Acts 13:22 “After He had removed him, He raised up David to be their king, concerning whom He also testified and said, ‘I HAVE FOUND DAVID the son of Jesse, A MAN AFTER MY HEART, who will do all My will.’

Romans 2:17 But if you bear the name “Jew” and rely upon the Law and boast in God,
Romans 2:18 and know His will and approve the things that are essential, being instructed out of the Law,

Romans 12:2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

Ephesians 5:17 So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.

Ephesians 6:5 Slaves, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in the sincerity of your heart, as to Christ;
Ephesians 6:6 not by way of eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart.

1 Thessalonians 4:3 For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that is, that you abstain from sexual immorality;

1 Thessalonians 5:18 in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

Hebrews 10:36 For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised.

1 Peter 2:15 For such is the will of God that by doing right you may silence the ignorance of foolish men.

1 Peter 4:2 so as to live the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for the lusts of men, but for the will of God.

1 John 2:17 The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.

None of this is meant to say that any of us has full and complete understanding of God’s will.  Surely we discover its finer points as we pray daily for His direction.  However, such praying can only be effective if we begin it with the understanding that God has already revealed His will to a signficant degree in the Scriptures and that to ignore this is counterproductive.  As the proverb says:

Proverbs 28:9 He who turns away his ear from listening to the law,
Even his prayer is an abomination.

We should also remember what Jesus said:

Matthew 13:12 “For whoever has, to him more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has shall be taken away from him.

That is, if you think and act according to the will of God as you understand it, you will receive yet more understanding.  But if you ignore the understanding you already have, you not only will not receive more understanding, you will eventually lose the understanding you have.

Thus we should seek to understand the will of God and do it, then pray to understand it better…day by day by day.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)

Truth

“Truth” is a key biblical concept.

The Scriptures presume the concept of objective truth, even though there have always been those who question it:

John 18:37 Therefore Pilate said to Him, “So You are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say correctly that I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.”
John 18:38 Pilate *said to Him, “What is truth?”…

As to truth, both testaments claim that God’s words are expressions of it:

Psalm 119:160 The sum of Your word is truth…

John 17:17 “…Your word is truth.

And, specifically, that Scripture, as a record of God’s words, is utterly reliable:

John 10:35 “…the Scripture cannot be broken),

The apostle Paul even makes explicit the point that if the New Testament’s central historical claim – that Jesus of Nazareth was raised from the dead according to the Scriptures – was false, then the entirety of the apostolic message about Christ fell with it in 1 Corinthians 15:12-19.

The Bible even personifies truth in Jesus Christ:

John 1:14 And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.

John 1:17 For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ.

John 14:6 Jesus *said to him, “I am the way, and the truth…

Many voices in our modern age proclaim that truth is relative and subjective, but the Bible sees truth as something sure, certain, and independent of what any individual may think about it.  Truth is not determined by majority vote.  In fact, truth is truth even if no one votes for it.

Here’s another post with various scriptures on truth.  And here’s another on truth versus lies (true versus false).

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)

Key Biblical Concepts

The Bible is an imposing set of ancient documents, written in various centuries by various authors.  It is easier to make sense of these documents if you realize that there are important concepts which run from one end of the collection to the other.  Without an appreciation for these concepts, reading and studying the Bible is far less rewarding.  With a proper appreciation of them, the Bible can be more quickly apprehended as a cohesive, consistent, and compelling message from God to the human race.

Here begins a catalog of those key biblical concepts, in alphabetical order.

Covenant

Faith,  Faith in Christ,  “The Faith,”  Faithfulness

Flesh v. Spirit

Gospel

Grace

Knowledge

Obedience to Christ

Promises

Righteousness

Salvation

Truth

The Will of God

The Will of Man

Some of these important biblical concepts correlate closely with each other.  For example:

Correlating Biblical Concepts: Covenant and Promises

Correlating Biblical Concepts: Faith and Obedience

Correlating Biblical Concepts: Gospel and Grace

Correlating Biblical Concepts: Gospel and Grace and Truth

Correlating Biblical Concepts: Gospel and Salvation

Correlating Biblical Concepts: Gospel and Salvation and Truth

Correlating Biblical Concepts: Gospel and Truth

Correlating Biblical Concepts:  Knowledge and Salvation

Correlating Biblical Concepts: Knowledge and Truth

Correlating Biblical Concepts: Truth and Salvation

Correlating Biblical Concepts:  The Will of God and the Will of Man

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)

Promises

“Promise” is an important biblical concept.

The Old Testament is that set of documents associated with the prophets of ancient Israel.  The New Testament is that set of documents associated with the apostles of Jesus Christ.  The apostles claimed that promises made on behalf of God by Israel’s prophets were fulfilled in the person of Jesus of Nazareth.

The Old Testament is replete with these promises, but the most obvious examples of them were addressed to Abraham and, later, to a his descendant David.  These promises focused on an heir to whom, and through whom, would come extraordinary achievement and blessing.  This promised heir was called by many names, but most obviously by the name “Messiah” (i.e., “Christ”).  Thus to call Jesus of Nazareth by the name Jesus Christ is to claim that he is the fulfillment of those promises from God.

In this way, the two testaments are tied inextricably to each other.  The Old Testament is promise; the New Testament is fulfillment.  Implicit in all this is God’s nature as one who promises and then is faithful to make good on what He has promised.

Scripture passages relevant to this concept of promise and fulfillment, specifically of the Messiah (the Christ):

Acts 13:22-24

Romans 1:1-4; 9:3-5; 16:25-27

1 Corinthians 15:3-4

2 Corinthians 1:19-20

Titus 1:2

The apostles also claim that those who belong to Jesus Christ are heirs to the great and gracious promises that were his.  See 2 Peter 1:4.  Thus even though God has fulfilled all His promises in Jesus Christ, He continues to be true to those promises today for all those who live faithful to Christ.

Here is a listing of some of God’s specific promises to us.

The word “promise” is closely related in the Bible to the word “covenant.”  And here is a post showing how the two words relate to each other.

For yet more on the promises of God, see these posts.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)

What the Holy Spirit Will Do

Here are some of the things the Holy Spirit will do for the believer in Christ:

Bear witness of Christ  –  John 15:26

Disclose to you the things of Christ  –  John 16:14-15

Disclose to you what is to come  –  John 16:13

Empower you  –  Luke 24:49; Acts 1:8; Ephesians 3:16

Glorify Christ  –  John 16:14

Guide you into truth  –  John 16:13

Lead you  –  Psalm 143:10; Romans 8:14; Galatians 5:18

Remind you of what Christ has said to you  –  John 14:26

Speak to you what He hears from Christ  –  John 16:13

Teach you  –  John 14:26; 1 John 2:27

Testify about Christ  –  John 15:26

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)

Daniel 12:3 – The Apostles Shine as Stars in Heaven

Daniel 12:3 “Those who have insight will shine brightly like the brightness of the expanse of heaven, and those who lead the many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.”

Who had more insight than the apostles?  Do they not shine like the stars in heaven to us?  They lead us to righteousness by leading us to Jesus our Lord.

Therefore, we must be sure to remember the apostles whenever we read the following verse:

Hebrews 13:7 Remember those who led you, who spoke the word of God to you; and considering the result of their conduct, imitate their faith.

For more on Daniel 12:3, see these posts.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted.

Micah 2:13

Micah 2:13 “The breaker goes up before them;
They break out, pass through the gate and go out by it.
So their king goes on before them,
And the LORD at their head.”

Thus the prophet Micah told us what would happen long before it did.

Jesus was the “Breaker” who “broke out” of death.  He “went up” before us (He was thus the “firstborn of the dead” – Colossians 1:18 and Revelation 1:5).  He “passed through the gate” of Hades (thus those gates shall not prevail over us – Matthew 16:18) and “went out by it” (“For to this end Christ died and lived again, that He might be Lord both of the dead and of the living” – Romans 14:9).  Christ did not conquer death without having experienced it.

Jesus is “our king.”  He “goes before us” and we follow Him (that is, He left us “an example that we might follow in His steps” – 1 Peter 2:21).  He is “the head” over all things (Ephesians 1:22).

For more on Micah 2:13, see:

The Breaker Goes Up Before Them

Jesus Is the Forerunner

Jesus Punched a Hole in Heaven!

Possessing the Gate of Your Enemies

Hebrews 9:8

The Messiah Is God

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted.

Genesis 50:20

We see Jesus foreshadowed in this verse.  Joseph is speaking, and is a type of Christ.

Genesis 50:20 “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive.

There could have been no resurrection of Christ without the crucifixion of Christ.  Thus:

Acts 2:23 this Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death.

God used the enmity Joseph’s brothers had against him to produce a great outcome for the whole family.  Similarly, God used the enmity we have toward Him to produce a great outcome for us all – an outcome we did not deserve.  He has thus shown us a mercy which will last for all eternity.  Jesus is “preserving us alive forever.”  We can be utterly and continually thankful to Him for it!

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted.

Proverbs 11:17

Proverbs 11:17 The merciful man does himself good,
But the cruel man does himself harm.

Did Jesus of Nazareth not do himself good by being merciful to those who rejected and crucified Him (Luke 23:34)?

Did God not do Himself good by becoming a merciful man (that is, He became Jesus of Nazareth)?

Jesus became “the heir of all things” (Hebrews 1:1-2) by showing mercy.  Let us follow His example (Micah 2:13), that we might inherit all things with Him (Matthew 5:5; Romans 8:16-17).

For more on how God became Christ, see:

There Is No Trinity; There Is Christ

Posts to Date on the Trinity Versus Christ

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted.

Daniel 12:3 and Hebrews 13:7 – Those Who Led You

Be sure that those who led you, led you to righteousness.  Not led you to religion, nor led you to themselves, nor led you to their group, nor led you to anything else but righteousness.  Compare these two verses [emphasis added]:

Daniel 12:3 “Those who have insight will shine brightly like the brightness of the expanse of heaven, and those who lead the many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.

Hebrews 13:7 Remember those who led you, who spoke the word of God to you; and considering the result of their conduct, imitate their faith.

Those who lead bear the responsibility to lead to righteousness.  If they are faithful to this assignment, they will shine like the stars forever and ever.

Just how important is righteousness?  Jesus said:

Matthew 5:20 “For I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.

So many people speaking in the name of Christ today are leading people to churchgoing rather than to righteousness.  For this reason, the words of Jesus apply to them:

Matthew 23:13 “But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you shut off the kingdom of heaven from people; for you do not enter in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in.

Don’t be among such leaders.  Pursue righteousness…and lead others to righteousness.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)

What the Lord Has Made New

Consider what the Lord has made new:

covenant  –  Jeremiah 31:31; Luke 22:20; 1 Corinthians 11:25; 2 Corinthians 3:6; Hebrews 8:8, 13; 9:15; 12:24

creation  –  Galatians 6:15

creatures  –  2 Corinthians 5:17

heart  –  Ezekiel 18:31; 36:26

heaven and earth  –  Isaiah 65:17; 66:22; 2 Peter 3:13; Revelation 21:1

Jerusalem  –  Isaiah 62:1-2; Revelation 3:12; 21:2

names  –  Revelation 2:17; 3:12

song  –  Psalm 33:3; 40:3; 96:1; 98:1; 144:9; 149:1; Isaiah 42:10; Revelation 5:9/ 14:3

spirit  –  Ezekiel 11:19; 18:31; 36:26

things  –  Isaiah 42:9; 48:6; 2 Corinthians 5:17

Zion  –  Isaiah 62:1-2

And here is how this newness is applied:

Romans 6:4 Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.

Romans 7:6 But now we have been released from the Law, having died to that by which we were bound, so that we serve in newness of the Spirit and not in oldness of the letter.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

Genesis 18:25

“…Shall not the judge of all the earth do right?”  –  Genesis 18:25 King James Version

Of course, the judge of all the earth shall do right.  It is impossible for Him to do otherwise, for there is, of course, no corruption in God.

Thus when God appointed His Son to become judge of the world it was with the idea that justice would continue to be be done.

Acts 17:30-31 “Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent, because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead.”

As the Father judged, so the Son judges.  (See John 5:19-23, especially verse 22.)  The transfer of power was seamless.  (For this reason, many people still do not know that Jesus Christ Has Already Come Again.)  This seamlessness is appropriate given that the Father and Son are one.

For more on how the Father and Son are one, see:

There Is No Trinity; There Is Christ

Posts to Date on the Trinity Versus Christ

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted.

1 Kings 10:9

1 Kings 10:9 “Blessed be the LORD your God who delighted in you to set you on the throne of Israel; because the LORD loved Israel forever, therefore He made you king, to do justice and righteousness.”

Thus was Jesus anointed to be king for all the good He would bring to this sin-torn world:

Matthew 17:5 While he was still speaking, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and behold, a voice out of the cloud said, “This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased; listen to Him!”

Jesus was placed on the throne of Israel – and the world – to do justice and righteousness.  From there He does justice and shows mercy.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB unless otherwise noted.

1 Kings 10:6-7

1 Kings 10:6-7 Then she said to the king, “It was a true report which I heard in my own land about your words and your wisdom.  Nevertheless I did not believe the reports, until I came and my eyes had seen it. And behold, the half was not told me. You exceed in wisdom and prosperity the report which I heard.”

We need to see for ourselves that the Lord is good.  And when we do, we find out 1) that what we had been told of His goodness was true, and 2) His goodness is even better than what we were told.  Therefore, having come to Him in order that we might see for ourselves was a fruitful decision for us.

This much the Samaritans realized as well when they came to see Jesus after the report they had heard from the woman who met Him at the well of Sychar:

John 4:40-42 So when the Samaritans came to Jesus, they were asking Him to stay with them; and He stayed there two days.  Many more believed because of His word; and they were saying to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves and know that this One is indeed the Savior of the world.”

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB unless otherwise noted.

1 Kings 10:8

1 Kings 10:8 “How blessed are your men, how blessed are these your servants who stand before you continually and hear your wisdom.

How blessed were Jesus’ disciples, how blessed were they who stood before Him and continually heard His wisdom as He taught the multitudes.

How blessed are Jesus’ disciples today, how blessed are those who stand before Him and continually hear His wisdom as He teaches all those on earth who listen to Him.

For as Jesus said:

Matthew 12:42 “The Queen of the South will rise up with this generation at the judgment and will condemn it, because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and behold, something greater than Solomon is here.

1 Kings 10:8, as well as the rest of the Old Testament, is about Jesus Christ.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB unless otherwise noted.

Don’t Hate Who and What You Should Love

If you would love God, you must learn to love what He loves and hate what He hates.  That includes being sure you don’t love the wrong things, and also that you don’t hate things you should love – some examples of which are included below [Emphasis added]:

Micah 3:2 “You who hate good and love evil, 

John 15:18 “If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you.

John 15:23 “He who hates Me hates My Father also.
John 15:24 “If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would not have sin; but now they have both seen and hated Me and My Father as well.
John 15:25 “But they have done this to fulfill the word that is written in their Law, ‘THEY HATED ME WITHOUT A CAUSE.’

Romans 1:30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents,

2 Timothy 3:3 unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good,

Titus 3:3 For we also once were foolish ourselves, disobedient, deceived, enslaved to various lusts and pleasures, spending our life in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another.

(The all capitals at the end of John 15:25 are indication that he is quoting the Old Testament.)

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)

The Uniqueness of the Apostolic Mission and Message

The apostles of Jesus Christ gave unique witness to the Lord Jesus Christ.  These apostles were charged to bear witness to the fulfillment of that which God had promised through the prophets.

Acts 2:42 They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.

Note that the first issue to which the earliest Christians were devoted was the teaching of the apostles.  The apostles had learned this teaching from the Lord Himself.  It was rooted in what we call the Old Testament, but which they called the Scriptures, or the Law and the Prophets, or some variation thereof.

On the night before He was crucified, Jesus had prayed for His apostles in the following specific way:

John 17:20 “I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word;

Of course, “their word” of John 17:20 equals “the apostles’ teaching” of Acts 2:42.  Thus Jesus makes clear just how important the apostles were to His plan for redeeming the world.

Peter himself described the approach which the apostles took to their assignment:

2 Peter 1:16 For we did not follow cleverly devised tales when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty.

The apostle could take this approach because of their unique access to the Lord.  Regarding this unique access, listen to what Peter says about it:

Acts 10:40-42 “God raised Him up on the third day and granted that He become visible, not to all the people, but to witnesses who were chosen beforehand by God, that is, to us who ate and drank with Him after He arose from the dead.  And He ordered us to preach to the people, and solemnly to testify that this is the One who has been appointed by God as Judge of the living and the dead.”

For these reasons, it is altogether right and good that we should give unique status to the testimony of the apostles and regard it as more authoritative than any human authority which seeks to supplant them or otherwise usurp the unique authority granted them by the Lord.

It cost these men a great deal to be apostles.  Let us insure that their efforts on our behalf were not in vain.  Peter emphasized in his last letter that the words of the apostles were to be considered as important as the words of the prophets:

2 Peter 3:1-2 This is now, beloved, the second letter I am writing to you in which I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder, that you should remember the words spoken beforehand by the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior spoken by your apostles.

We are absolutely right, therefore, to put the writings of the apostles on a par with the writings of the prophets, calling the former the “Old Testament” and the latter the “New Testament.”  By any other names, all these documents would be as true.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB unless otherwise noted.

Old Testament References to God’s Son

Of course, there was no New Testament at the time when the New Testament documents were written.  The documents were eventually collected and, subsequent even to that, were called the New Testament.  At the time the New Testament documents were written the only Scriptures were what we call the Old Testament.

Therefore, when the apostles authored or authorized the New Testament documents they did so based on their personal experiences with Jesus and upon the Old Testament Scriptures.  Therefore, we should be able to trace their scriptural understanding of a term like “the Son of God” by searching the Old Testament.

Here then are Old Testament references to God’s son:

Exodus 4:22 “Then you shall say to Pharaoh, ‘Thus says the LORD, “Israel is My son, My firstborn.
Exodus 4:23 “So I said to you, ‘Let My son go that he may serve Me’; but you have refused to let him go…

2 Samuel 7:14 “I will be a father to him and he will be a son to Me…

Psalm 2:7 “I will surely tell of the decree of the LORD:
He said to Me, ‘You are My Son,
Today I have begotten You.

Psalm 89:26 “He will cry to Me, ‘You are my Father,
My God, and the rock of my salvation.’
Psalm 89:27 “I also shall make him My firstborn,
The highest of the kings of the earth.

Proverbs 30:4 Who has ascended into heaven and descended?
Who has gathered the wind in His fists?
Who has wrapped the waters in His garment?
Who has established all the ends of the earth?
What is His name or His son’s name?
Surely you know!

Hosea 11:1 When Israel was a youth I loved him,
And out of Egypt I called My son.

The Hosea 11 passage seems to allude to the Exodus 4 passage.  The Psalm 2 and Psalm 89 passages both seem to refer to the 2 Samuel 7 passage.

It is even clearer that New Testament passages such as Matthew 2:15, Acts 13:32-33, and Hebrews 1:5 are aware of the Davidic promises regarding a coming one to be called, among other things, God’s son (i.e. 2 Samuel 7:14; Psalm 2:7; Psalm 89:26-27).

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)

He Is a God Who Leads Us

The Scriptures testify, in frequent and various ways, that we have a God who is more than willing to lead us [emphasis added]:

Nehemiah 9:12 “And with a pillar of cloud You led them by day,
And with a pillar of fire by night
To light for them the way
In which they were to go.

Psalm 5:8 O LORD, lead me in Your righteousness…

Psalm 23:2 …He leads me beside quiet waters.
Psalm 23:3 …He guides me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.

Psalm 25:5 Lead me in Your truth and teach me…

Psalm 25:9 He leads the humble in justice,
And He teaches the humble His way.

Psalm 31:3 …For Your name’s sake You will lead me and guide me.

Psalm 32:8 I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you.

Psalm 43:3 O send out Your light and Your truth, let them lead me…

Psalm 61:2 From the end of the earth I call to You when my heart is faint;
Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.

Psalm 68:18 You have ascended on high, You have led captive Your captives…

Psalm 77:20 You led Your people like a flock
By the hand of Moses and Aaron.

Psalm 78:52 But He led forth His own people like sheep
And guided them in the wilderness like a flock;
Psalm 78:53 He led them safely, so that they did not fear;
But the sea engulfed their enemies.

Ps 78:72 So he shepherded them according to the integrity of his heart,
And guided them with his skillful hands

Psalm 80:1 Oh, give ear, Shepherd of Israel,
You who lead Joseph like a flock…

Psalm 136:16 To Him who led His people through the wilderness,
For His lovingkindness is everlasting;

Psalm 139:9 If I take the wings of the dawn,
If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea,
Psalm 139:10 Even there Your hand will lead me,
And Your right hand will lay hold of me.

Psalm 139:24 And see if there be any hurtful way in me,
And lead me in the everlasting way.

Psalm 143:10 Teach me to do Your will,
For You are my God;
Let Your good Spirit lead me on level ground.

Isaiah 40:11 Like a shepherd He will tend His flock,
In His arm He will gather the lambs
And carry them in His bosom;
He will gently lead the nursing ewes.

Is 53:7 He was oppressed and He was afflicted,
Yet He did not open His mouth;
Like a lamb that is led to slaughter…

Isaiah 55:4 “Behold, I have made him a witness to the peoples,
A leader and commander for the peoples.”

Isaiah 63:14 As the cattle which go down into the valley,
The Spirit of the LORD gave them rest.
So You led Your people,
To make for Yourself a glorious name.

Jeremiah 2:6 “They did not say, ‘Where is the LORD
Who brought us up out of the land of Egypt,
Who led us through the wilderness…

Jeremiah 2:17 “Have you not done this to yourself
By your forsaking the LORD your God
When He led you in the way?

Ezekiel 34:15 “I will feed My flock and I will lead them to rest,” declares the Lord GOD.

Micah 2:13 “The breaker goes up before them;
They break out, pass through the gate and go out by it.
So their king goes on before them,
And the LORD at their head.”

Matthew 4:1 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.

Matthew 23:10 “Do not be called leaders; for One is your Leader, that is, Christ.”

Luke 4:1 Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led around by the Spirit in the wilderness

Luke 11:4 “…lead us not into temptation.”

Mark 1:17 And Jesus said to them, “Follow Me…”

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

John 16:13 “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth…”

Acts 8:32 Now the passage of Scripture which he was reading was this:
“HE WAS LED AS A SHEEP TO SLAUGHTER…  [quoting Isaiah 53:7]

Romans 2:4 Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?

Romans 8:14 For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.

2 Corinthians 2:14 But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place.

Galatians 5:18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law.

Ephesians 4:8 Therefore it says,
“WHEN HE ASCENDED ON HIGH,
HE LED CAPTIVE A HOST OF CAPTIVES…[quoting Psalm 68:18]

Hebrews 6:20 …Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us…

1 Peter 2:21 For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps,

Revelation 14:4 …These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes…

Therefore, we should never doubt His willingness to lead us.  Rather, let us be sure to follow the leading He does give us, so that its light may become stronger:

Proverbs 4:18 But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn,
That shines brighter and brighter until the full day.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

“Lord, Who Has Believed Our Report?

The words in the title of this post come from the following verse:

John 12:38 This was to fulfill the word of Isaiah the prophet which he spoke: “LORD, WHO HAS BELIEVED OUR REPORT? AND TO WHOM HAS THE ARM OF THE LORD BEEN REVEALED?”

(The words in all capitals are John’s quotation of Isaiah 53:1.)

The apostle John was pointing out that, just as in Isaiah’s day, even though God was giving many signs of His presence among the people, many people were not believing the message and messengers He had sent.  By “messengers,” I am referring primarily to John the Baptist and, especially, Jesus of Nazareth.

We may even say that this applies to the entirety of the Bible in the world today.  That is, the report of ancient Israel – specifically of its apostles and prophet – is in.  This is the Bible, for the New Testament is the work of the apostles and the Old Testament in the work of the prophets.  And yet so many in our world are not believing this report.

I am not talking about those who have not heard the report.  I am talking about those who have heard it and have rejected it.  Truly the words of another prophet can be invoked as welll:

Acts 13:41 ‘BEHOLD, YOU SCOFFERS, AND MARVEL, AND PERISH;
FOR I AM ACCOMPLISHING A WORK IN YOUR DAYS,
A WORK WHICH YOU WILL NEVER BELIEVE, THOUGH SOMEONE SHOULD DESCRIBE IT TO YOU.'”

(The words in all capital letters here are a quotation from Habakkuk 1:5.)

The Bible describes to us the great and amazing work God has done through Jesus Christ.  Through that work, everyone is going to heaven.  Yet who will believe the report of this work issued long ago by ancient Israel?

Do you believe it?  Then act on it.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)

Who Is the Lord and What Is His Law?

The first psalm begins in the following way:

Psalm  1:1-2 How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked,
Nor stand in the path of sinners,
Nor sit in the seat of scoffers!
But his delight is in the law of the LORD,
And in His law he meditates day and night.

Who then is the Lord…and what is His law?

The Lord is Jesus Christ (Acts 2:36).

His law is love (Mark 12:28-34; John 13:34; 15:12-13).

Therefore, Jesus is Lord and love is His law.  It is upon love that we should be meditating and acting all day long.  The apostle Paul had meditated on love and thus made this observation:

1 Corinthians 13:4-5 Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered,

If we meditate and act sufficiently upon this law of love, we, too, will come to understand it – and the Lord who gives it – more fully.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB unless otherwise noted.

The Word “Grace” in the Old Testament

“Grace” is one of those prominent New Testament (NT) words which are not as easily found in the Old Testament (OT).  This is not because such words are not prominent in the OT, too, but because of translation issues.  The purpose of this post is to help you see better where the word “grace” shows up in the OT and how it is translated into English, at least in the New American Standard Bible (NASB).  (The NASB is one of the most literal English translations, so finding such words in less literal translations would be even harder.)

The Strong’s Concordance number for “grace” is 5485– charis.  That word is translated in the NASB NT in the following ways (the number of occurrences of each is shown parenthetically):  blessing(1), concession(1), credit(3), favor(11), gift(1), grace(122), gracious(2), gracious work(3), gratitude(1), thank(3), thankfulness(2), thanks(6).  You can see that while the 156 occurrences of 5485 are translated in a variety of ways, the most common way, by far, is as “grace”  (i.e. 78% of the time).

The list of OT verses below is taken from the ABP Lexical Concordance, which is an interlinear translation of the Septuagint (LXX).  Specifically, this is the ABP’s list of the occurrences of charis 5485 in the OT.  (The ABP includes in this listing the 8 occurrences of charin 5484, which is the accusative form of charis 5485.)  To the right of each chapter-verse citation I have shown how the ABP translates the verse, making bold the English word translated from the Greek charis 5485.  Then following in italics is the NASB OT translation of the verse.  Thus this list is a correlation of ABP and the NASB.  More precisely, it is the correlation of ABP occurrences of charis 5485 in the OT with the NASB OT translation of those occurrences.

The ABP shows 79 verses in which the Greek word charis 5485 (and charin 5484) occurs in the OT.  Where the word occasionally occurs more than once in a single verse is it noted by an asterisk immediately after the chapter-verse citation.  And, of course. there will be more than one English word highlighted in the verse in those cases.

When it comes to which word in the NASB OT translation correlates to charis 5485, it is an inexact science.  This is because the NASB, like most English translations, translates the OT from the Hebrew (Masoretic Text – MT) and not the Greek (LXX).    In most cases, it’s quite clear which word in the NASB OT verse applies to the word for “grace” in the corresponding LXX verse, but in others some educated guesswork is involved.  In any case, you will be able to see both translations and judge for yourself.

Here then is the list of all 79 verses in the Old Testament containing at least one occurrence of the word that is usually translated “grace” in the New Testament. The ABP version is given first (followed parenthetically by Strong’s word number used and the transliteration of the word), and then comes the NASB version in italics. In both cases, the word in question is put in bold print.

Genesis 6:8  –  But Noah found favor before the LORD God.  (5484 charin)

But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD.

Genesis 18:3  –  And he said, O Lord, if surely I found favor before you, you should not go by your servant.  (5484 charin)

and said, “My Lord, if now I have found favor in Your sight, please do not pass Your servant by.

Genesis 19:19  –  since your servant found favor before you, and you magnified your righteousness, which you do unto me, that my soul may live, but I will not be able to come through safe into the mountain, lest evils overtake me and I die.  (5484 charin)

“Now behold, your servant has found favor in your sight, and you have magnified your lovingkindness, which you have shown me by saving my life; but I cannot escape to the mountains, for the disaster will overtake me and I will die;

Genesis 30:27  –  And Laban said to him, If I found favor before you, could I foretell even – God blessed me in your entrance.  (5484 charin)

But Laban said to him, “If now it pleases you, stay with me; I have divined that the LORD has blessed me on your account.”

Genesis 32:5  –  And came to me oxen, and donkeys, and sheep, and manservants, and maidservants.  And I sent to announce to my master Esau, that your servant might find favor before you.  (5484 charin)

I have oxen and donkeys and flocks and male and female servants; and I have sent to tell my lord, that I may find favor in your sight.””‘

Genesis 33:8  –  And he said, What are these to you, all these camps which I have met?  And he said, that your servant should find favor before you, O master.  (5484 charin)

And he said, “What do you mean by all this company which I have met?” And he said, “To find favor in the sight of my lord.”

Genesis 33:10  –  And Jacob said, If I found favor before you, take the gifts by my hands!  Because of this I saw your face, as if one may have seen the face of God, and you shall think well of me.  (5484 charin)

Jacob said, “No, please, if now I have found favor in your sight, then take my present from my hand, for I see your face as one sees the face of God, and you have received me favorably.

Genesis 33:15  –  And Esau said, I will leave behind with you some of the people of the ones with me.  And he said, Why this?  It is enough that I found favor before you, O lord.  (5484 charin)

Esau said, “Please let me leave with you some of the people who are with me.” But he said, “What need is there? Let me find favor in the sight of my lord.”

Genesis 34:11  –  And Shechem said to her father, and to her brothers, I want to find favor before you, and what ever you should have said we will give.  (5484 charin)

Shechem also said to her father and to her brothers, “If I find favor in your sight, then I will give whatever you say to me.

Genesis 39:4  –  And Joseph found favor before his master.  And he was well-pleasing to him, and he placed him over his house; and all as much as was his he gave through the hand of Joseph.  (5484 charin)

So Joseph found favor in his sight and became his personal servant; and he made him overseer over his house, and all that he owned he put in his charge.

Genesis 39:21  –  And the LORD was with Joseph, and he poured down upon him mercy; and he gave to him favor before the chief jailer.  (5484 charin)

But the LORD was with Joseph and extended kindness to him, and gave him favor in the sight of the chief jailer.

Genesis 43:14  –  And my God give to you favor before the man, even to send your brother, the other one, and Benjamin.  For as much as I indeed have been made childless, I have been made childless.  (5484 charin)

and may God Almighty grant you compassion in the sight of the man, so that he will release to you your other brother and Benjamin. And as for me, if I am bereaved of my children, I am bereaved.”

Genesis 47:25  –  And they said, You have delivered us; we found favor before our master, and we will be servants to Pharaoh.  (5484 charin)

So they said, “You have saved our lives! Let us find favor in the sight of my lord, and we will be Pharaoh’s slaves.”

Genesis 47:29  –  And the days approached for Israel to die.  And he called his son Joseph, and said to him, If I have found favor before you, place your hand upon my thigh!  and you will do for me a charity and truth – that is to not entomb me in Egypt.  (5484 charin)

When the time for Israel to die drew near, he called his son Joseph and said to him, “Please, if I have found favor in your sight, place now your hand under my thigh and deal with me in kindness and faithfulness. Please do not bury me in Egypt,

Genesis 50:4  –  And when the days went by of the mourning, Joseph spoke to the mighty ones of Pharaoh, saying, If I found favor before you, speak into the ears of Pharaoh!  saying,   (5484 charin)

When the days of mourning for him were past, Joseph spoke to the household of Pharaoh, saying, “If now I have found favor in your sight, please speak to Pharaoh, saying,

Exodus 3:21  –  And I will give favor to this people before the Egyptians.  And whenever you might run from them, you will not go forth empty.  (5484 charin)

“I will grant this people favor in the sight of the Egyptians; and it shall be that when you go, you will not go empty-handed.

Exodus 11:3  –  And the LORD gave favor to his people before the Egyptians, and they treated them.  And the man Moses became exceedingly great before the Egyptians, and before Pharaoh and before his attendants.  (5484 charin)

The LORD gave the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians. Furthermore, the man Moses himself was greatly esteemed in the land of Egypt, both in the sight of Pharaoh’s servants and in the sight of the people.

Exodus 12:36  –  And the LORD gave favor to his people before the Egyptians, and theyfurnished to them; and they despoiled the Egyptians.  (5484 charin)

and the LORD had given the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they let them have their request. Thus they plundered the Egyptians.

Exodus 33:12  –  And Moses said to the LORD, Behold, you say to me, Lead this people!  But you manifested not to me whom you shall send along with me.  But you said to me, I know you above all, and you have favor with me.  (5484 charin)

Then Moses said to the LORD, “See, You say to me, ‘Bring up this people!’ But You Yourself have not let me know whom You will send with me. Moreover, You have said, ‘I have known you by name, and you have also found favor in My sight.’

Exodus 33:13*  –  If then I have found favor before you, reveal to me yourself knowingly!  that I might see you, how ever I should be found in favor before you; and that I might know, that this nation is your people.  (5484 charin  5484 charin)

“Now therefore, I pray You, if I have found favor in Your sight, let me know Your ways that I may know You, so that I may find favor in Your sight. Consider too, that this nation is Your people.”

Exodus 33:16  –  And how will it truly be made known that I have found favor by you – I and also your people, unless you are going with us, and both I and your people will be glorified by all the nations as many as are upon the earth?  (5484 charin)

“For how then can it be known that I have found favor in Your sight, I and Your people? Is it not by Your going with us, so that we, I and Your people, may be distinguished from all the other people who are upon the face of the earth?”

Exodus 33:17  –  And the LORD said to Moses, And this word which you have said I will do to you, for you have found favor before me, and I know you above all.  (5484 charin)

The LORD said to Moses, “I will also do this thing of which you have spoken; for you have found favor in My sight and I have known you by name.”

Exodus 34:9  –  And he said, If I have found favor before you, let my LORD go with us!  For the people are hard-necked.  And you shall remove the sins, and our lawless deeds, and we will be yours.  (5484 charin)

He said, “If now I have found favor in Your sight, O Lord, I pray, let the Lord go along in our midst, even though the people are so obstinate, and pardon our iniquity and our sin, and take us as Your own possession.”

Numbers 11:11  –  And Moses said to the LORD, Why do you afflict your attendant?  And why have I not found favor before you to place the thrust of this people upon me?  (5484 charin)

So Moses said to the LORD, “Why have You been so hard on Your servant? And why have I not found favor in Your sight, that You have laid the burden of all this people on me?

Numbers 11:15  –  But if so you do to me, kill me with my removal, if I have found favor with you, that I should not see my ill-treatment.  (5484 charin)

“So if You are going to deal thus with me, please kill me at once, if I have found favor in Your sight, and do not let me see my wretchedness.”

Numbers 32:5  –  And they said If we find favor before you, give this land to your servants for a possession, and do not cause us to pass over the Jordan!  (5484 charin)

They said, “If we have found favor in your sight, let this land be given to your servants as a possession; do not take us across the Jordan.”

Deuteronomy 24:1  -And if any take a woman and should live with her, and it shall be if she should not find favor before him, for he finds in her an indecent thing, then he shall write to her a certificate of divorce scroll, and he shall put it into her hands, and he shall send her from out of his house.  (5484 charin)

“When a man takes a wife and marries her, and it happens that she finds no favor in his eyes because he has found some indecency in her, and he writes her a certificate of divorce and puts it in her hand and sends her out from his house,

Judges 6:17  –  And Gideon said to him, And if I found favor in your eyes, then you shall give to me a sign that you spoke with me.  (5484 charin)

So Gideon said to Him, “If now I have found favor in Your sight, then show me a sign that it is You who speak with me.

Ruth 2:2  –  AndRuth the Moabitess said to Naomi, I should go indeed into the field, and gather among the ears of corn after of whom ever I should find favor in his eyes.  And she said to her, Go, O daughter!  (5484 charin)

And Ruth the Moabitess said to Naomi, “Please let me go to the field and glean among the ears of grain after one in whose sight I may find favor.” And she said to her, “Go, my daughter.”

Ruth 2:10  –  And she fell upon her face, and did obeisance upon the ground, and said to him, Why is it that I found favor in your eyes to recognize me, and I am a stranger?  (5484 charin)

Then she fell on her face, bowing to the ground and said to him, “Why have I found favor in your sight that you should take notice of me, since I am a foreigner?”

Ruth 2:13  –  And she said, May I find favor in your eyes, O my master; for you comforted me, and because you spoke in your heart to your maidservant; and behold, I shall be as one of your maidservants.  (5484 charin)

Then she said, “I have found favor in your sight, my lord, for you have comforted me and indeed have spoken kindly to your maidservant, though I am not like one of your maidservants.”

1 Samuel 1:18  –  And she said, Your maidservant found favor in your eyes.  And the woman went her way, and ate with her husband, and drank, and her face was not downcast any longer.  (5484 charin)

She said, “Let your maidservant find favor in your sight.” So the woman went her way and ate, and her face was no longer sad.

1 Samuel 16:22 –  And Saul sent to Jesse, saying, Let David indeed stand before me, for he found favor in my eyes!  (5484 charin)

Saul sent to Jesse, saying, “Let David now stand before me, for he has found favor in my sight.”

1 Samuel 20:3  –  And David answered Jonathan, and he said, In perceiving, your father sees that I have found favor in your eyes. And he said, Let not Jonathan know this lest he should prefer him! But as lives the LORD, and as lives your soul, that as I said, the space if filled up between me and between your father unto death.  (5484 charin)

Yet David vowed again, saying, “Your father knows well that I have found favor in your sight, and he has said, ‘Do not let Jonathan know this, or he will be grieved.’ But truly as the LORD lives and as your soul lives, there is hardly a step between me and death.”

1 Samuel 20:29  –  And he said, Send me indeed, for we have a sacrifice of the tribe in the city, and my brethren gave charge for me.  And now if I have found favor in your eyes,  I will go forth indeed and see my brethren.  On account of this he does not come unto the table of the king.  (5484 charin)

for he said, ‘Please let me go, since our family has a sacrifice in the city, and my brother has commanded me to attend. And now, if I have found favor in your sight, please let me get away that I may see my brothers.’ For this reason he has not come to the king’s table.”

1 Samuel 25:8  –  Ask of your servants! and they will tell you.  Let us your servants find favor in your eyes!  for upon a good day we come.  Give indeed what ever your hand should find to your servants, and to your son David!  5484 charin)

‘Ask your young men and they will tell you. Therefore let my young men find favor in your eyes, for we have come on a festive day. Please give whatever you find at hand to your servants and to your son David.'”

1 Samuel 27:5  –  And David said to Achish, If indeed your servant has found favor in your eyes, give indeed to me a place in one of the cities of the ones in the country!  and I shall settle there.  For why does your servant settle in a city reigning with you ?   (5484 charin)

Then David said to Achish, “If now I have found favor in your sight, let them give me a place in one of the cities in the country, that I may live there; for why should your servant live in the royal city with you?”

2 Samuel 14:22  –  And Joab fell upon his face upon the ground, and did obeisance, and blessed the king.  And Joab said Today your servant knows that he found favor in your eyes, O my master, O king, for my master the king did the matter for his servant.    (5484 charin)

Joab fell on his face to the ground, prostrated himself and blessed the king; then Joab said, “Today your servant knows that I have found favor in your sight, O my lord, the king, in that the king has performed the request of his servant.”

2 Samuel 15:25  –  And the king said to Zadok, Return the ark of God unto the city!  If I should find favor in the eyes of the LORD, and he returns me, then he shall show it to me, and its beauty.  (5484 charin)

The king said to Zadok, “Return the ark of God to the city. If I find favor in the sight of the LORD, then He will bring me back again and show me both it and His habitation.

2 Samuel 16:4  –  And the king said to Ziba, Behold, I give to you all as much as is Mephibosheth’s.  And Ziba said, I do obeisance, may I find favor in your eyes, O my master, O king.  (5484 charin)

So the king said to Ziba, “Behold, all that belongs to Mephibosheth is yours.” And Ziba said, “I prostrate myself; let me find favor in your sight, O my lord, the king!”

1 Kings 11:19 –  And Hadad found favor before Pharaoh, exceedingly.  And he gave to him a wife, the sister of his wife – the older sister of Tahpenes.  (5484 charin)

Now Hadad found great favor before Pharaoh, so that he gave him in marriage the sister of his own wife, the sister of Tahpenes the queen.

1 Kings 14:16  –  And the LORD gave Israel favor from the sins of Jeroboam, who sinned and who led Israel into sin.  (5484 charin)

“He will give up Israel on account of the sins of Jeroboam, which he committed and with which he made Israel to sin.”

2 Chronicles 7:21  –  [no reference to 5484 or cognate found]

Esther 2:9  –  And the young woman pleased him, and she found favor before him.  And he hastened to give her the beauty treatment, and her portion, and the seven young women being exhibited to her from the royal palace.  And he treated her well, and her handmaidens in the chamber of the women.  (5484 charin)

Now the young lady pleased him and found favor with him. So he quickly provided her with her cosmetics and food, gave her seven choice maids from the king’s palace and transferred her and her maids to the best place in the harem.

Esther 2:15  –  And in the fulfilling the time, Esther the daughter of Abihail, brother of the father of Mordecai, entered to the king.  Not one thing she disregarded which the eunuch keeper of the women gave charge to her.  For Esther was found in favor by all the ones seeing her.  (5484 charin)

Now when the turn of Esther, the daughter of Abihail the uncle of Mordecai who had taken her as his daughter, came to go in to the king, she did not request anything except what Hegai, the king’s eunuch who was in charge of the women, advised. And Esther found favor in the eyes of all who saw her.

Esther 2:17  –  And the king loved Esther passionately, and she found favor above all the virgins; and he placed upon her the feminine diadem.  (5484 charin)

The king loved Esther more than all the women, and she found favor and kindness with him more than all the virgins, so that he set the royal crown on her head and made her queen instead of Vashti.

Esther 5:2  –  And as the king saw Esther the queen standing in the courtyard, that she found favor in his eyes; and the king stretching out to Esther the golden rod, the one in his hand, that Esther approached and touched the tip of the rod.    (5484 charin)

When the king saw Esther the queen standing in the court, she obtained favor in his sight; and the king extended to Esther the golden scepter which was in his hand. So Esther came near and touched the top of the scepter.

Esther 5:8  –  if I found favor before the king, let the king and Haman come upon the morrow to the banquet which I shall prepare for them, and tomorrow I will do the same!  (5484 charin)

if I have found favor in the sight of the king, and if it pleases the king to grant my petition and do what I request, may the king and Haman come to the banquet which I will prepare for them, and tomorrow I will do as the king says.”

Esther 6:3  –  And the king said, What glory or favor did we do for Mordecai? And the servants of the king said, We did not do for him one thing.  (5484 charin)

The king said, “What honor or dignity has been bestowed on Mordecai for this?” Then the king’s servants who attended him said, “Nothing has been done for him.”

Esther 7:3  –  And answering she said If I found favor before the king, let him give life to my request, and my people to my petition.    (5484 charin)

Then Queen Esther replied, “If I have found favor in your sight, O king, and if it pleases the king, let my life be given me as my petition, and my people as my request;

Esther 8:5  –  And Esther said, If it seems good to you, and I found favor, let it be sent forth to return the letters being sent from Haman, the ones having been written to destroy the Jews who are in your kingdom.  (5484 charin)

Then she said, “If it pleases the king and if I have found favor before him and the matter seems proper to the king and I am pleasing in his sight, let it be written to revoke the letters devised by Haman, the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, which he wrote to destroy the Jews who are in all the king’s provinces.

Psalm 45:2  –  More beautiful in beauty than the sons of men.  Favor was poured out on your lips.  On account of this God blessed you into the eon.  (5484 charis)

You are fairer than the sons of men;
Grace is poured upon Your lips;
Therefore God has blessed You forever.

Psalm 84:11  –  For the LORD loves mercy and truth.  God shall give favor and glory.  The LORD will not deprive good things to the ones going in innocence.  (5484 charin)

For the LORD God is a sun and shield;
The LORD gives grace and glory;
No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly.

Proverbs 1:9  –  for you shall receive a crown of favors for your head, and a collar of gold around your neck.  (5484 charitwn)

Indeed, they are a graceful wreath to your head
And ornaments about your neck.

Proverbs 3: 4  –  and you shall find favor.  And think beforehand on the good things before the LORD and men!  (5484 charin)

So you will find favor and good repute
In the sight of God and man.

Proverbs 3:22  –  that your soul should live, and favor should be around your neck; and it wil be healing to you flesh, and care to your bones;  (5484 charis)

So they will be life to your soul
And adornment to your neck.

Proverbs 3:34  –  The LORD resists the proud, but gives favor to the humble.  (5484 charin)

Though He scoffs at the scoffers,
Yet He gives grace to the afflicted.

Proverbs 4:9  –  that she should give a crown of favors to your head, and should shield you with a crown of luxury.  (5484 charitwn)

“She will place on your head a garland of grace;
She will present you with a crown of beauty.”

Proverbs 5:19  –  Let your hind of friendship and your filly of favors, consort with you!  and in particular let her be esteemed by you, and be with you at all time!  For in this friendship you will be accommodated a great deal.  (5484 charitwn)

As a loving hind and a graceful doe,
Let her breasts satisfy you at all times;
Be exhilarated always with her love.

Proverbs 7:5  –  that she should keep you from the strange and wicked woman, if she should put words for you for favor.  (5484 charin)

That they may keep you from an adulteress,
From the foreigner who flatters with her words.

Proverbs 8:17  –  I love the ones being fond of me; and the ones seeking me shall find favor.  (5484 charin)

“I love those who love me;
And those who diligently seek me will find me.

Proverbs 10:32  –  The lips of just men drop favors; but the mouth of the impious is perverted.  (charitas 5484)

The lips of the righteous bring forth what is acceptable,
But the mouth of the wicked what is perverted.

Proverbs 11:27  –  The one contriving good things seeks good favor; but the one seeking evil things, evil shall overtake him.  (5484 charin)

He who diligently seeks good seeks favor,
But he who seeks evil, evil will come to him.

Proverbs 12:2  –  Better the one finding favor from the LORD; but a man who is a lawbreaker shall be silenced.  (5484 charin)

A good man will obtain favor from the LORD,
But He will condemn a man who devises evil.

Proverbs 13:15  –  Good understanding gives favor; but to know the law is of good consideration; but the ways of the disdaining end in destruction.  (5484 charin)

Good understanding produces favor,
But the way of the treacherous is hard.

Proverbs 15:17  –  Better hospitality of vegetables with friendship and favor, that a fete of calves with hatred.  (5484 charin)

Better is a dish of vegetables where love is
Than a fattened ox served with hatred.

Proverbs 17:8  –  Instruction to the ones employing it is a favorable wage; and where ever it shall turn, the way shall be prosperous.  (5484 charitwn)

A bribe is a charm in the sight of its owner;
Wherever he turns, he prospers.

Proverbs 17:17  –  For all time let the friend exist to you!  let the brethren be profitable in distresses!  for this favor they were born.  (5484 charin)

A friend loves at all times,
And a brother is born for adversity.

Proverbs 18:22  –  The one who found a good wife, found favors; and he received happiness from the LORD.  The one who casts out a good woman, casts out good things; but the one holding on to an adulteress is foolishly and impious.  (5484 charitas)

He who finds a wife finds a good thing
And obtains favor from the LORD.

Proverbs 22:1  –  A good name is more preferred than many riches; and good favor over silver and gold.  (5484 charis)

A good name is to be more desired than great wealth,
Favor is better than silver and gold.

Proverbs 25:10  – lest indeed the friend should berate you; and your fight and hatred do not go away, but will be to you equal of death!  Favor and friendship frees, which you give heed to yourself! that you should not be reviled.  But keep your ways conciliatory!  (5484 charis)

Or he who hears it will reproach you,
And the evil report about you will not pass away.

Proverbs 28:23  –  The one reproving a man’s ways shall have favors, rather than the flatterer with the tongue.  (5484 charitas)

He who rebukes a man will afterward find more favor
Than he who flatters with the tongue.

Proverbs 30:7  –  Two things I ask from you; you should not remove favor from me before my dying;  (5484 charin)

Two things I asked of You,
Do not refuse me before I die:

Ecclesiastes 9:11  –  I turned, and I beheld under the sun, that not to the light of foot is the race; and not to the mighty ones in battle; and indeed not to the wise is the bread; and indeed not to the discerning ones is the riches; and indeed not to the ones knowing favor; for a season and a meeting shall meet with them all.  (5484 charis)

I again saw under the sun that the race is not to the swift and the battle is not to the warriors, and neither is bread to the wise nor wealth to the discerning nor favor to men of ability; for time and chance overtake them all.

Ecclesiastes 10:12  –  The words of a wise mouth carry favor; but the lips of a fool shall sink him;  (5484 charis)

Words from the mouth of a wise man are gracious, while the lips of a fool consume him;

Ezekiel 12:24  –  For there will no longer be any false vision, nor one using oracles for favor in the midst of the sons of Israel.  (5484 charin)

“For there will no longer be any false vision or flattering divination within the house of Israel.

Zechariah 4:7*  –  Who are you great mountain before the face of Zerubbabel to set up?  And I will bring forth the stone of the inheritance of its favor equaling my favor.  (5484 charitos and 5484-1473 charita autas)

‘What are you, O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel you will become a plain; and he will bring forth the top stone with shouts of “Grace, grace to it!””‘

Zechariah 6:14  –  But the crown will be to the ones waiting, and to the ones profitable of her, and to the ones recognizing her, and for the favor of the son of Zephaniah, and for a psalm in the house of the LORD.  (5484 charita)

“Now the crown will become a reminder in the temple of the LORD to Helem, Tobijah, Jedaiah and Hen the son of Zephaniah.

Zechariah 12:10  –  And I will pour out upon the house of David, and upon the ones dwelling Jerusalem a spirit of favor and compassion.  And they shall look to me, because they treated me despitefully; and they shall beat over him with a beating of the breast, as over a beloved one; and they shall grieve with grief as over the first-born.  (5484 charitos)

“I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplication, so that they will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him like the bitter weeping over a firstborn.

#####

Summary

As for the ABP OT:

The Greek word charis 5485 is identified in 79 verses of the OT.  In one verse (2 Chronicles 7:21), I could find no trace of the word.  That leaves 78 verses, of which two (Exodus 33:13 and Zechariah 4:7) have a double occurrence of the word.  That amounts to 80 occurrences of the word in 78 verses.

These 80 occurrences are all identified as 5484 (which is the accusative form of 5485).  (I do not know what accounts for this difference.)  The 80 occurrences break down as follows:  “charin” 63, “charis” 6, “charitwn” 4, “charitas” 3, “charita” 2, and “charitos” 2.

In terms of translation from Greek to English, 73 of the 80 are translated as “favor,” 6 as “favors,” and 1 as “favorable.”  Thus “grace” in the NASB NT shows up as “favor” in the ABP OT.

As for the NASB OT:

The Hebrew equivalent of the Greek word charis 1585 can be identified in 69 of the 80 verses.  That is, in 11 verses it is too difficult to determine which English word is the translation of the Hebrew equivalent of charis 5485.  Of those 69 remaining verses, in 54 cases the equivalent word is translated as “favor” 54 times, as “grace” 7 times, as “graceful” 2 times, and as “gracious” 1 time.  In the remaining 5 verses the word is translated in various ways (“pleases,” “”compassion,” “account,” “dignity,” and “adornment”).

The primary conclusion to be drawn is that when the Old Testament speaks of “favor” (or of “grace”) and the New Testament speaks of “grace” they are often, if not usually, talking about the same thing.

See also Notes on the Word “Grace” in the NASB.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)

Don’t Do These Things with the Word of God

Here are some “don’t’s” regarding the word of God:

Don’t reject it (1 Samuel 15:26).  Instead, receive it (1 Thessalonians 2:13).

Certainly, don’t repudiate it (Acts 13:46).

Don’t invalidate it (Matthew 15:6; Mark 7:13).

Don’t add to it…or take away from it (Revelation 22:18-19).

Don’t drift away from it (Hebrews 2:1).

Don’t neglect it (Acts 6:2).  Instead, devote yourself to it (Acts 6:4; 18:5).

Don’t adulterate it (2 Corinthians 4:2).

Don’t peddle it (2 Corinthians 2:17).

Don’t let it be a source of disappointment, disapproval, or reproach (Jeremiah 6:10).  Instead, delight in it (Jeremiah 6:10 Psalm 1:2).

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

 

The Reality, Power, and Efficacy of the Word of God

There is such a thing as the word of God.  See 1 Thessalonians 2:13 and Hebrews 13:7.

The word of God has power and effect.  See again 1 Thessalonians 2:13 and James 1:21.

Faith in God is the catalyzing element which releases the power and resulting effect, see Hebrews 4:2 and 10:39.

Therefore, stand in awe of the reality, power, and efficacy of the word of God.  What it was for Jesus, it can be for us.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

 

New Testament Expressions Which Originated in the Old Testament

This post is similar to New Testament Words Which Are Really Old Testament Words.  That post dealt with specific words which are often translated differently in the two testaments – causing us to miss their commonality.  This post is about expressions that appear in both testaments in essentially the same form, yet are often not fully appreciated as having originated in the Old Testament.  That is, people often seem to read the New Testament as if unaware that the writers were relying on their conceptions of Old Testament usage.

Son of God – This expression is largely rooted in 2 Samuel 7:14 and Psalm 2:7, 12, but also is referenced in Exodus 4:22-23 and Hosea 11:1.  Among 1st-century Jews it was considered a messianic title, referrring to the promised descendant of David who would one day rule Israel in glory.  The expression exploded into a whole new perception when Jesus was raised from the dead and exalted to heaven.  Nevertheless, New Testament usage of the term never lost sight of its 2 Samuel 7 and Psalm 2 origin as a reference to Israel’s greater David.  (Trinitarian conceptions, by the way, are completely foreign to both testaments; they are post-biblical in origin.)

Son of Man – This expression appears over 200 times in the Old Testament (over 90 of these in Ezekiel alone), where it most often seems to be a rather mundane expression for a human being.  Jesus often used the term to refer to Himself, though this seemed more a way to cloak His messianic identity than to announce it (John 12:34).  However, the term is most notably mentioned in Daniel 7:13-14 and Psalm 8:4 where New Testament writers see the expression as a description of the resurrected and exalted Christ.  It is this understanding that drives New Testament usage of this Old Testament expression.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

Notice the Power of the Word of God When Planted in Your Heart

Notice that the word of God is an active force when in your heart:

1 Thessalonians 2:13 For this reason we also constantly thank God that when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but for what it really is, the word of God, which also performs its work in you who believe.

That is, the word of God is performing a work inside of you.

Among other things, this word is saving your soul:

James 1:21 Therefore, putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls.

Because the power of God’s word is released when it takes root in your heart, Paul encourages his readers to keep it planted there:

Colossians 3:16 Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.

For without faith in that word, it does us no good.  It is not efficacious.  It is dormant and lifeless – at least as far as we are concerned.  It is like seed that has no soil in which to grow.  The seed remains inert until it is surrounded by soil.

Hebrews 4:2 For indeed we have had good news preached to us, just as they also; but the word they heard did not profit them, because it was not united by faith in those who heard.

A believing heart is the good soil of the parable of the sower (Matthew 13; Mark 4; Luke 8).

Never doubt the power of the word of God to do good things…when planted firmly in your heart.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB unless otherwise noted.

Jesus Fit the Mold of a Prophet

Jesus came in the mold of the Old Testament prophets.  Therefore, whoever seeks to imitate Him will be fitted to that mold as well.

This mold means suffering with Christ that we might also be glorified with Him (Romans 8:17-18).

Do not think that the way of Christ is easy.  Many fall away (John 6:66).  However, blessed are those who endure.

James 5:10-11 As an example, brethren, of suffering and patience, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.  We count those blessed who endured. You have heard of the endurance of Job and have seen the outcome of the Lord’s dealings, that the Lord is full of compassion and is merciful.

Therefore, let us endure as the prophets did.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB unless otherwise noted.

The Marks of the Church

Marks of the New Testament church include:

  • Expectation of the Imminent Coming of Christ
  • Pursuit of Moral Purity
  • Maintenance of Doctrinal Purity
  • Unity
  • Apostolic Leadership

These five marks, especially when viewed in total, are noticeably absent in the church we see today.  This should tell us something.  Some churches today say that Christ is coming in this generation, but there are relatively few that carry the sort of urgency about it we see in the New Testament.  Some churches today seek moral purity, but most are filled with people that have about the same moral standards as society in general.  All churches today think they have maintained doctrinal purity but this has come completely at the expense of their unity.  There are some 40,000 Christian denominations.  The New Testament church zealously maintained its doctrinal purity and its unity simultaneously – through the leadership of the apostles, who are most notably absent today.

Thus the New Testament church was unique.  Church today is as obsolete a structure as a butterfly’s cocoon.  See Seeking the Kingdom of God Instead of Church  and The Kingdom of God Is Here and Now.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB unless otherwise noted.