Proverbs 1:32-33

Proverbs 1:32 “For the waywardness of the naive will kill them,
And the complacency of fools will destroy them.
Proverbs 1:33 “But he who listens to me shall live securely
And will be at ease from the dread of evil.”

This scripture is fulfilled in Jesus Christ.  Only the naive and foolish ignore Him.  Those who listen to Him live securely and at ease from the dread of evil.  As He Himself said:

John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.

Proverbs 1:32-33 finds it fulfillment in Jesus Christ our 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.

Terms of Light and Darkness Provide Comparisons to Spiritual Realities

The Scriptures speak of light and darkness in the first day of creation:

Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
Genesis 1:2 The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters.
Genesis 1:3 Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light.
Genesis 1:4 God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness.
Genesis 1:5 God called the light day, and the darkness He called night. And there was evening and there was morning, one day.

The Scriptures also speak of light and darkness on the fourth day:

Genesis 1:14 Then God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night, and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years;
Genesis 1:15 and let them be for lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth”; and it was so.
Genesis 1:16 God made the two great lights, the greater light to govern the day, and the lesser light to govern the night; He made the stars also.
Genesis 1:17 God placed them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth,
Genesis 1:18 and to govern the day and the night, and to separate the light from the darkness; and God saw that it was good.
Genesis 1:19 There was evening and there was morning, a fourth day.

Light and darkness are thereafter used as metaphors in the Scriptures…frequently.  This includes refences to day, night, and even being asleep (because it is associated with night) and awake (because it is associated with day).  Also related are scriptural references to sight and blindness – for to the person who is blind, it is always night.

asleep  –  1 Thessalonians 5:1-10

awake  –  Romans 13:11-14; Ephesians 5:5-14; 1 Thessalonians 5:1-10

blind  –  Matthew 11:5; 15:14; Luke 4:18; 7:21-22; John 9:39-41; 2 Peter 1:9

bright, brightness  –  Isaiah 60:1-3; Daniel 12:3

darkness  –  Isaiah 60:1-3; Micah 7:8; Matthew 6:22-23; Luke 11:33-36; John 3:19-21; 8:12; 12:46; Acts 26:18; Romans 13:11-14; Ephesians 5:5-14; Colossians 1:12-13; 1 Thessalonians 5:1-10; 1 Peter 2:9; 1 John 1:5-7; 2:7-11

day  –  Romans 13:11-14; 1 Thesalonians 5:1-10

enlighten  –  John 1:9

eye  –  Luke 11:33-36

illumine  –  Psalm 18:28; Ecclesiastes 8:1; Luke 11:33-36

insight  –  (i.e. sight from within; or, understanding)  Daniel 12:3

lamp  –  Psalm 119:105; Matthew 6:22-23; Luke 11:33-36

lampstand  –  Luke 11:33-36

light  –  Psalm 27:1; 119:105; Isaiah 60:1-3; Micah 7:8; Matthew 6:22-23; Luke 11:33-36; John 3:19-21; 8:12; 12:46; Acts 26:18; Romans 13:11-14; Ephesians 5:5-14; Colossians 1:12-13; 1 Thessalonians 5:1-10; 1 Peter 2:9; 1 John 1:5-7; 2:7-11

moon  –  Genesis 37:9-11; 1 Corinthians 15:41

night  –  Romans 13:11-14; 1 Thessalonians 5:1-10

see  –  Isaiah 6:9-10; Matthew 13:14-17; Mark 4:11-12; Luke 8:9-10; John 9:39-41; Acts 28:26-27

shine  –  Isaiah 60:1; Daniel 12:3; Ephesians 5:5-14; 1 John 2:7-11

short-sighted  –  2 Peter 1:9

sight  –  Matthew 11:5; Luke 4:18; 7:21-22

sleep, sleeper  –  Romans 13:11-14; Ephesians 5:5-14

stars  –  Genesis 37:9-11; Daniel 12:3; 1 Corinthians 15:41

sun  –  Genesis 37:9-11; Malachi 4:2; 1 Corinthians 15:41

Looking for more examples of these words in Scripture, and studyiung them, will give you more understanding.

For more on figurative language use in Scripture, 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.)

Proverbs 1:23

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

This scripture is fulfilled in the Lord Jesus Christ.  He is the One to whom we should “turn for reproof.”  For when we do, He “pours out His Holy Spirit upon” us.  Through the Holy Spirit we receive wisdom, knowledge, and understanding of Jesus’ words.

We saw this visibly demonstrated on the day of Pentecost described in Acts 2, but we also see it in more quiet fashion when we turn to Him each and every day, listening for His reproof and looking for His wisdom.  “Fixing our eyes on Jesus,” we seek the discipline He is kind enough to bestow upon us (Hebrews 12:1-14).

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.

Ecclesiastes 1:1

Ecclesiastes 1:1 The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem.

Jesus is, of course, the preeminent “son of David”…and the preeminent “king in Jerusalem.”  And, of course, He is “the preacher” par excellence.

Should we, however, look for Jesus to be speaking in the book of Ecclesiastes?  Or should we expect the book of Ecclesiastes to speak of Him?  Yes and yes.  The very purpose of all the Scriptures is to bear witness to Christ (John 5:39).  Therefore, we should consider no part of Scripture to be devoid of witness to Him.  Even the book of Ecclesiastes.  (See here, here, here, and 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.

Ecclesiastes 9:14-15

Ecclesiastes 9:14 There was a small city with few men in it and a great king came to it, surrounded it and constructed large siegeworks against it.
Ecclesiastes 9:15 But there was found in it a poor wise man and he delivered the city by his wisdom. Yet no one remembered that poor man.

The “small city” was the world and the “few men in it” were the human race.  Satan was the “great king” who “surrounded it and constructed large siegeworks against it.”  Jesus was the “poor wise man” who “delivered the city by his wisdom.”  See John 3:16.

Who will remember that “poor 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.

Verbal Pairs That Heighten and Reinforce Understanding

When Scripture uses two adjectives of a noun, it makes understanding of both modifiers better.  For example, if it described Jesus’ heart as humble, we would have understood.  Or if it had described His heart as gentle, we would likewise have understood.  But when it says that His heart was gentle and humble, we understand even better.  (By the way, to learn more about how often gentleness and humility show up together in a scriptural passage, see this post.)

Here then are cases where words are used in tandem, heightening and reinforcing the meanings of each.  This listing represents but a few examples of many such instances in the Scriptures.  First, the positive examples; then the negative [Emphasis, and occasionally comments, added]:

EXAMPLES INVOLVING POSITIVE DESCRIPTIONS

Joshua 1:9 “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”

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Psalm 131:2 Surely I have composed and quieted my soul;
Like a weaned child rests against his mother,
My soul is like a weaned child within me.

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Proverbs 22:4 The reward of humility and the fear of the LORD
Are riches, honor and life.

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Isaiah 1:19 “If you consent and obey,
You will eat the best of the land;

The King James Version of this verse renders the phrase for “consent and obey” as “willing and obedient.”

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Isaiah 30:15 For thus the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel, has said,
“In repentance and rest you will be saved,
In quietness and trust is your strength.”
But you were not willing,

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Isaiah 66:2 “…But to this one I will look, To him who is humble and contrite of spirit, and who trembles at My word.

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Zephaniah 3:12 “But I will leave among you
A humble and lowly people,
And they will take refuge in the name of the LORD.

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Matthew 11:28 “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.
Matthew 11:29 “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS.
Matthew 11:30 “For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

Note the similarity of “gentle and humble” here with “meekness and gentleness” in 2 Corinthians 10:1 below, both being references to Christ.

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Matthew 24:45 “Who then is the faithful and sensible slave whom his master put in charge of his household to give them their food at the proper time?

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Matthew 25:21 “His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’

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Luke 18:1 Now He was telling them a parable to show that at all times they ought to pray and not to lose heart,

Compare this verse with Hebrews 12:3 below.

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Luke 8:15 “But the seed in the good soil, these are the ones who have heard the word in an honest and good heart, and hold it fast, and bear fruit with perseverance.

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Luke 12:42 And the Lord said, “Who then is the faithful and sensible steward, whom his master will put in charge of his servants, to give them their rations at the proper time?

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Romans 15:4 For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.
Romans 15:5 Now may the God who gives perseverance and encouragement grant you to be of the same mind with one another according to Christ Jesus,

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Romans 15:13 Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

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1 Corinthians 5:8 Therefore let us celebrate the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

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1 Corinthians 14:40 But all things must be done properly and in an orderly manner.

The KJV and ESV read “decently and in order.”  The NIV reads “in a fitting and orderly way.”  (See here for these versions.)

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2 Corinthians 10:1 Now I, Paul, myself urge you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ–I who am meek when face to face with you, but bold toward you when absent!

Note the similarity of  “meekness and gentleness” here with “gentle and humble” in Matthew 11:29 above, both being references to Christ.

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2 Corinthians 11:3 But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.

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Ephesians 5:27 that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless.
Ephesians 5:28 So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself;
Ephesians 5:29 for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church,

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Ephesians 6:4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

The King James Version translates this phrase as “nurture and admonition.”

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Philippians 2:14 Do all things without grumbling or disputing;
Philippians 2:15 so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world,
Philippians 2:16 holding fast the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I will have reason to glory because I did not run in vain nor toil in vain.

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Colossians 1:9 For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding,
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;
Colossians 1:11 strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience; joyously
Colossians 1:12 giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light.

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2 Thessalonians 1:4 therefore, we ourselves speak proudly of you among the churches of God for your perseverance and faith in the midst of all your persecutions and afflictions which you endure.

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2 Thessalonians 2:16 Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who has loved us and given us eternal comfort and good hope by grace,

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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.

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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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Hebrews 2:17 Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.

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Hebrews 6:11 And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence so as to realize the full assurance of hope until the end,
Hebrews 6:12 so that you will not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.

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Hebrews 6:19 This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil,
Hebrews 6:20 where Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us, having become a high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.

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Hebrews 10:24 and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds,

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Hebrews 12:28 Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe;

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Hebrews 13:16 And do not neglect doing good and sharing, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.

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James 5:10 As an example, brethren, of suffering and patience, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.

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1 Peter 1:20 For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you
1 Peter 1:21 who through Him are believers in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.

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1 Peter 3:2 as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior.

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1 Peter 3:4 but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God.

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1 Peter 3:15 but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence;

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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.

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2 Peter 3:11 Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness,

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2 Peter 3:14 Therefore, beloved, since you look for these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless,

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1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

The King James Version says “faithful and just.”

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2 John 1:3 Grace, mercy and peace will be with us, from God the Father and from Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love.

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Revelation 3:14 “To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: The Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God, says this:

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Revelation 13:10 If anyone is destined for captivity, to captivity he goes; if anyone kills with the sword, with the sword he must be killed. Here is the perseverance and the faith of the saints.

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EXAMPLES INVOLVING NEGATIVE DESCRIPTIONS

Psalm 131:1 O LORD, my heart is not proud, nor my eyes haughty;
Nor do I involve myself in great matters,
Or in things too difficult for me.

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Proverbs 11:31 If the righteous will be rewarded in the earth,
How much more the wicked and the sinner!

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Isaiah 57:11 “Of whom were you worried and fearful
When you lied, and did not remember Me
Nor give Me a thought?
Was I not silent even for a long time
So you do not fear Me?

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Ezekiel 3:5 “For you are not being sent to a people of unintelligible speech or difficult language, but to the house of Israel,
Ezekiel 3:6 nor to many peoples of unintelligible speech or difficult language, whose words you cannot understand. But I have sent you to them who should listen to you;
Ezekiel 3:7 yet the house of Israel will not be willing to listen to you, since they are not willing to listen to Me. Surely the whole house of Israel is stubborn and obstinate.

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Matthew 9:36 Seeing the people, He felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd.

The NASB 1973 reads “distressed and downcast.”  The ESV and NIV read “harrassed and helpless.”  The KJV reads “they fainted and were scattered abroad.”  (See here for these other translations.)

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Matthew 11:28 “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.
Matthew 11:29 “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS.
Matthew 11:30 “For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

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Matthew 13:21 yet he has no firm root in himself, but is only temporary, and when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he falls away.
Matthew 13:22 “And the one on whom seed was sown among the thorns, this is the man who hears the word, and the worry of the world and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.

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Matthew 16:4 “An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign; and a sign will not be given it, except the sign of Jonah.” And He left them and went away.

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Matthew 17:17 And Jesus answered and said, “You unbelieving and perverted generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring him here to Me.”

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Matthew 25:26 “But his master answered and said to him, ‘You wicked, lazy slave, you knew that I reap where I did not sow and gather where I scattered no seed.

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Mark 4:17 and they have no firm root in themselves, but are only temporary; then, when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, immediately they fall away.

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Luke 6:35 “But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men.

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Luke 10:41 But the Lord answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things;
Luke 10:42 but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”

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Luke 11:39 But the Lord said to him, “Now you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and of the platter; but inside of you, you are full of robbery and wickedness.

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Luke 24:25 And He said to them, “O foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken!

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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,

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Romans 2:5 But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God,

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Romans 2:9-10  –  There will be tribulation and distress for every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek, but glory and honor and peace to everyone who does good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.

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Romans 10:21 But as for Israel He says, “ALL THE DAY LONG I HAVE STRETCHED OUT MY HANDS TO A DISOBEDIENT AND OBSTINATE PEOPLE.”

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Philippians 2:3 Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves;

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Philippians 2:14 Do all things without grumbling or disputing;
Philippians 2:15 so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world,
Philippians 2:16 holding fast the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I will have reason to glory because I did not run in vain nor toil in vain.

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2 Thessalonians 1:4 therefore, we ourselves speak proudly of you among the churches of God for your perseverance and faith in the midst of all your persecutions and afflictions which you endure.

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Titus 1:15 To the pure, all things are pure; but to those who are defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure, but both their mind and their conscience are defiled.

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Titus 2:11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men,
Titus 2:12 instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age,

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Hebrews 3:12 Take care, brethren, that there not be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God.

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Hebrews 5:1 For every high priest taken from among men is appointed on behalf of men in things pertaining to God, in order to offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins;
Hebrews 5:2 he can deal gently with the ignorant and misguided, since he himself also is beset with weakness;
Hebrews 5:3 and because of it he is obligated to offer sacrifices for sins, as for the people, so also for himself.

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Hebrews 12:3 For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

Compare this verse with Luke 18:1 above.

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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 13:4 Marriage is to be held in honor among all, and the marriage bed is to be undefiled; for fornicators and adulterers God will judge.

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James 3:16 For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing.

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1 Peter 4:18 AND IF IT IS WITH DIFFICULTY THAT THE RIGHTEOUS IS SAVED, WHAT WILL BECOME OF THE GODLESS MAN AND THE SINNER?  [quoting Proverbs 11:31, which you can see above]

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2 Peter 3:16 as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction.

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In addition to pairs, the Bible also speaks in three’s to strengthen our understanding.  And there are, of course, lists longer than two or three items.  And on the broader subject of biblical patterns of speech, see that category to the right (or click here).

By the way, for more on positive descriptions see this post about how we can practice the positive traits of Jesus Christ.  Indeed, all positive character traits proceed from the character 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. (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 the Abolition of Physical Warfare Conducted in the Name of God

The New Testament makes clear that the coming of the kingdom of God meant the end of physical warfare in the name of God.  In the kingdom of God, spiritual warfare is the only sort of warfare God authorizes to be waged on His behalf.

First and foremost,the Scriptures demonstrate this by the life of Jesus Himself.  That is, unlike prior kings of Israel, Jesus make no use of the force of arms.  He did not use so much as a slingshot to advance His cause.

What is true of Jesus is true also of the other great proclaimer of the kingdom of God from the 1st Century, John the Baptist.  Throughout the Old Testament, ancient Israel commonly took up arms to advance the cause of God.  However, the kingdom of God would require no physical violence.

Consequently, one might wonder how Jesus and the apostles could rely as heavily on the Old Testament as they did, given that it was full of references to battling this foe or that one.  The answer is that Jesus and His apostles understood such references spiritually.  That is, they saw how God wanted them to battle spritual forces, not earthly ones.  Spiritual warfare means using such weapons as love and kindness (as in “kill ’em with kindness”).  For a list of how the New Testament writers employed martial language metaphorically, see this post.

Matthew 5:38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘AN EYE FOR AN EYE, AND A TOOTH FOR A TOOTH.’
Matthew 5:39 “But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also.
Matthew 5:40 “If anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, let him have your coat also.
Matthew 5:41 “Whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two.
Matthew 5:42 “Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you.
Matthew 5:43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR and hate your enemy.’
Matthew 5:44 “But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,
Matthew 5:45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.
Matthew 5:46 “For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?
Matthew 5:47 “If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?
Matthew 5:48 “Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

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Matthew 26:47 While He was still speaking, behold, Judas, one of the twelve, came up accompanied by a large crowd with swords and clubs, who came from the chief priests and elders of the people.
Matthew 26:48 Now he who was betraying Him gave them a sign, saying, “Whomever I kiss, He is the one; seize Him.”
Matthew 26:49 Immediately Judas went to Jesus and said, “Hail, Rabbi!” and kissed Him.
Matthew 26:50 And Jesus said to him, “Friend, do what you have come for.” Then they came and laid hands on Jesus and seized Him.
Matthew 26:51 And behold, one of those who were with Jesus reached and drew out his sword, and struck the slave of the high priest and cut off his ear.
Matthew 26:52 Then Jesus *said to him, “Put your sword back into its place; for all those who take up the sword shall perish by the sword.
Matthew 26:53 “Or do you think that I cannot appeal to My Father, and He will at once put at My disposal more than twelve legions of angels?
Matthew 26:54 “How then will the Scriptures be fulfilled, which say that it must happen this way?”
Matthew 26:55 At that time Jesus said to the crowds, “Have you come out with swords and clubs to arrest Me as you would against a robber? Every day I used to sit in the temple teaching and you did not seize Me.
Matthew 26:56 “But all this has taken place to fulfill the Scriptures of the prophets.” Then all the disciples left Him and fled.

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Luke tells of John the Baptist preaching the kingdom of God and the repentance required for admission and includes some of the questions John’s listeners had:

Luke 3:10 And the crowds were questioning him, saying, “Then what shall we do?”
Luke 3:11 And he would answer and say to them, “The man who has two tunics is to share with him who has none; and he who has food is to do likewise.”
Luke 3:12 And some tax collectors also came to be baptized, and they said to him, “Teacher, what shall we do?”
Luke 3:13 And he said to them, “Collect no more than what you have been ordered to.”
Luke 3:14 Some soldiers were questioning him, saying, “And what about us, what shall we do?” And he said to them, “Do not take money from anyone by force, or accuse anyone falsely, and be content with your wages.”

Note that John did not say that God would condemn anyone who was a soldier anymore than He would condemn someone who was a tax collector.  It’s just that God did not want tax collectors and soldiers to take advantage of their positions of power.  Thus a disciple of Jesus who has consented to bear arms for his country has not betrayed the cause of Christ.  He would only betray the cause of Christ if he took up arms to advance the cause of Christ.

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Luke 6:27 “But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,
Luke 6:28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.
Luke 6:29 “Whoever hits you on the cheek, offer him the other also; and whoever takes away your coat, do not withhold your shirt from him either.
Luke 6:30 “Give to everyone who asks of you, and whoever takes away what is yours, do not demand it back.
Luke 6:31 “Treat others the same way you want them to treat you.
Luke 6:32 “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them.
Luke 6:33 “If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same.
Luke 6:34 “If you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners in order to receive back the same amount.
Luke 6:35 “But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men.
Luke 6:36 “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.
Luke 6:37 “Do not judge, and you will not be judged; and do not condemn, and you will not be condemned; pardon, and you will be pardoned.
Luke 6:38 “Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure–pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.”

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John 18:36 Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm.”

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Romans 8:35 Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
Romans 8:36 Just as it is written,
“FOR YOUR SAKE WE ARE BEING PUT TO DEATH ALL DAY LONG;
WE WERE CONSIDERED AS SHEEP TO BE SLAUGHTERED.”
Romans 8:37 But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.

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2 Corinthians 10:3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh,
2 Corinthians 10:4 for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses.
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,
2 Corinthians 10:6 and we are ready to punish all disobedience, whenever your obedience is complete.

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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.)

Ecclesiastes 12:13-14

Ecclesiastes 12:13 The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person.
Ecclesiastes 12:14 For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil.

Who “feared God” more than Jesus of Nazareth?  Who “kept God’s commandments” more faithfully than Jesus of Nazareth?  These things applied to every Jew, but Jesus of the Nazareth was the Jew who took these things to heart more than anyone else.

What happened as a result of what Jesus did?  God brought his every act to judgment – even all the things that were hidden from our sight – and raised Him from the dead to the highest place in heaven.  This validated the life that Jesus had lived as completely pleasing to God.  Let us therefore imitate His example, fearing Christ and keeping His commandments.

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.

Ecclesiastes 12:10

Ecclesiastes 12:10 The Preacher sought to find delightful words and to write words of truth correctly.

Jesus is “the Preacher” of all preachers.  He indeed has given us “words that delight” (see also Jeremiah 15:16).  He wrote all His words “correctly” – not on parchment or papyrus but on human hearts.  And not with pen and ink but by the Spirit of God.  Thus the apostles on whose hearts He wrote have given us the New Testament to explain the writings  of the Old Testament.  That is, the apostles explain the prophets.

In the gospels we have the “delightful words of truth” presented by our “Preacher” in the days of His flesh.  But this is only a sampling of what He will teach us by His Spirit.  (On this, see more here and 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.

Ecclesiastes 12:9 – Seeing Jesus

Ecclesiastes 12:9 In addition to being a wise man, the Preacher also taught the people knowledge; and he pondered, searched out and arranged many proverbs.

Was Jesus not wise?  (“Where did this man get this wisdom?” – Matthew 13:54).  Was He not a preacher?  (“From that time Jesus began to  preach” – Matthew 4:17).

Jesus taught according to what He had learned and practiced (Ezra 7:10 – thus He is Ezra to us).   He organized His parables, analogies, and aphorisms under the rubric of the kingdom of God – making His teaching all the more memorable.

Truly, there was no wise man like Him.  Neither has any Preacher achieved His skill.  Let us follow this wise Preacher, about whom the writer of Ecclesiastes was prophesying.

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 Vocabulary of Warfare Provides Many Comparisons to Spiritual Realities

The Old Testament makes great use of martial or military terms in the Old Testament because warfare was a reality of life for ancient Israel.  Nevertheless, Jesus Christ never raised arms against others and taught His disciples to follow His example.  However, the New Testament does make great use of fighting terms.  It does so in a spiritual, rather than a physical, sense.  The book of Revelation is filled with depictions of battle, and it is, of course, a very spiritual book.

When the New Testament uses military imagery, it is often borrowing such language from the Old Testament, but obviously giving it a new meaning.  This consistent with the theme of the New Testament which is to see the entire Old Testament in a spiritual light, given the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.

Here then is a list of militaristic terms applied to spiritual endeavors:

adversaries, adversary  –  1 Corinthians 16:9; 1 Peter 5:8

arm  –  1 Peter 4:1

armor  –  Ephesians 6:11, 13

army –  Revelation 19:14  (see also “sabaoth” below)

battle  –  1 Corinthians 14:8

breastplate  –  Isaiah 59:17; Ephesians 6:14; 1 Thessalonians 5:8

captive, captivity  –  2 Corinthians 10:5; Ephesians 4:8

conflict  –  James 4:1

conquer  –  Romans 8:37; Revelation 6:2

defeat  –  1 Corinthians 6:7  (see for contrast “victory” below)

destroy  –  2 Corinthians 10:5

destruction  –  2 Corinthians 10:4; Philippians 3:18-19

enemies, enemy  –  Psalm 8:2; 1 Corinthians 5:25-26; Philippians 3:18-19; James 4:4; Revelation 11:5

fight  –  John 18:36; 1 Timothy 6:12; 2 Timothy 4:7; James 4:2

fortresses  –  2 Corinthians 10:4 (translated as “strongholds” in the KJV, ESV, and NIV)

guard  –  1 Timothy 6:20; 2 TImothy 1:12, 14 (see also “protect” below)

helmet  –  Isaiah 59:17; Ephesians 6:17; 1 Thessalonians 5:8

instruments  –  Romans 6:13 (the word translated “instruments” here is elsewhere translated “weapons” or “armor”

legions  –  Matthew 26:53  (the NASB says a “legion” equaled 6,000 troops)

missile  –  Ephesians 6:16

overcome  –  John 16:33; 1 John 5:4-5Revelation 17:14

power  –  2 Corinthians 10:4; Hebrews 2:14-15

protect  –  2 Thessalonians 3:3; 1 Peter 1:5  (see also “guard” above)

sabaoth  –  Romans 9:29; James 5:4 (as in “Lord of Sabaoth” which is equivalent to the Hebrew expression “Lord of Hosts” – “hosts” meaning “armies,”  which see above)

shield  –  Ephesians 6:16

soldier  –  1 Corinthians 9:7; 2 Timothy 2:3-4

strike  –  Revelation 19:15

strongholds  –  (see “fortresses” above)

struggle  –  Ephesians 6:12

sword  –  Ephesians 6:17; Hebrews 4:12; Revelation 1:16; 2:16; 19:15, 21

victory  –  1 Corinthians 15:54-57; 1 John 5:4 (see for contrast “defeat” above)

war  –  2 Corinthians 10:3; James 4:1; Revelation 2:16; 17:14

warfare  –  2 Corinthians 10:4

weapons  –  2 Corinthians 10:4

All the references above are from the New Testament.  One of the things they should teach us, however, is that we should view military expressions in the Old Testament in just the same spiritual way.  For ancient Israel, such expressions were understood according to the flesh – that is, physically speaking.  For all who live since Christ, however, spiritual warfare is the only warfare we are to conduct in His name.

(For a post that deals with the cessation of physical warfare in the name of God that ensued with the coming of the kingdom of God, 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. 

Twofold Descriptions of the Heart

Here are scriptures where two adjectives are applied to the noun “heart.”  This strengthens our understanding of the point being made, for “out of the mouth of two or three witnesses let every fact be established” (Matthew 18:16).  [Emphasis added.]

Matthew 11:29 “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS.

Luke 8:15 “But the seed in the good soil, these are the ones who have heard the word in an honest and good heart, and hold it fast, and bear fruit with perseverance.

Hebrews 3:12 Take care, brethren, that there not be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God.

What kind of heart do you have?

(Here’s a post on “verbals pairs,” including those above.)

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.)

Ecclesiastes 12:8

Ecclesiastes 12:8 “Vanity of vanities,” says the Preacher, “all is vanity!”

Jesus is the preeminent, prototypical, paradigmatic Preacher.  And did He not warn us of the vanity of this world?  Indeed He did:

 Luke 9:25 “For what is a man profited if he gains the whole world, and loses or forfeits himself?

Jesus Himself forsook all earthly power and glory that He might partake of spiritual power and glory.  Let us love not the world, nor the things in the world, that the love of God might be our defining characteristic (1 John 2:15).

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.

Judges 16:30

Judges 16:30 And Samson said, “Let me die with the Philistines!” And he bent with all his might so that the house fell on the lords and all the people who were in it. So the dead whom he killed at his death were more than those whom he killed in his life.

God became Jesus of Nazareth that He might live with us.  And He lived with us that He might die with us.

He lived with us to do good to us (Acts 10:38).  And thus He healed the sick, cleansed the lepers, and fed the hungry and more.  Yet He died with us to redeem everyone from death – not just His own generation of fellow Jews whom He healed, cleansed, fed, and more.  He died that He might redeem every person of every nation of every generation.

Thus, like Samson, Jesus rendered the devil powerless…even more through His death than He had through His life.

Hebrews 2:14 Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil,
Hebrews 2:15 and might free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives.

God became Jesus of Nazareth that He might live with us.  And He lived with us that He might die with us.  And He died with us that He might be raised with us…forever.

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.

Judges 16:3

Judges 16:3 Now Samson lay until midnight, and at midnight he arose and took hold of the doors of the city gate and the two posts and pulled them up along with the bars; then he put them on his shoulders and carried them up to the top of the mountain which is opposite Hebron.

Now Jesus, in the deep darkness that had come upon the world, arose from the dead, taking with Him the gates of Hades (Sheol) to heaven, where He placed them forever so that all who die might be brought to Him.

What I’m saying is that in this verse we have a type of Christ.  Let the Holy Spirit of God make it come alive 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.

The New Age Was Carried in the Womb of the Old Age Until Birth

The New Testament church was birthed in the waning days of the Old Testament.  The New Testament church was thus like an infant in the womb of its mother…that would  be born in the new age.  Thus the new age was conceived in the womb of the old.  And the mother died in bearing that child.

The seed that was conceived in the womb of the old age was Jesus of Nazareth.

Conceived in the womb of a virgin, he grew to be a man.

Rejected and crucified, he died…but was raised from the dead.  In that process, there was a transformation from “he” to “He.”

This Jesus was taken up into heaven and He called His disciples to Himself. This body of disciples (that is, His body – the body of Christ) grew and grew throughout the coming decades.

When it was finally time for the new age to be birthed, out it came with this Christ as Lord over all.  Christ inherited all things according to the promise of Psalm 2:8, remembered in Hebrew 1:1-2.

Since such great things can come from such small things, we should “despise not the day of small things”  (Zechariah 4:10).

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 New Age Began Before the Old Age Completely Expired

If you’ve ever watched a relay foot race you know that one runner passes the baton to the other runner on his team while both are running.  The first runner is winding down and the next runner is winding up, and for a brief period of time they are running together.

In a similar manner, the old age was winding to a close in the days of Jesus of Nazareth.  He Himself began His course during the last era of that old age.  It would be just a few more decades before the new age would dawn but the New Testament era was preparation for that new age.

Thus when we read the New Testament and witness its history, we are seeing before us the two runners running together – the old age ending its run and the new age beginning its run.  The baton is being passed from the old age to the new – and eternal – age.

By this understanding we can appreciate a statement like this from Jesus:

Luke 17:20 Now having been questioned by the Pharisees as to when the kingdom of God was coming, He answered them and said, “The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed;
Luke 17:21 nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or, ‘There it is!’ For behold, the kingdom of God is in your midst.”

How could Jesus speak of the kingdom as “coming” and yet already present?  Here’s how: It was present in Him – and no one else.  The future, however, would include His inheriting the universe as Lord (Hebrews 1:1-2) which would mean then that everything came under the kingdom of God because it came under Him.   Some Christians call this the “already but not yet” aspect of the kingdom.  That’s a valid observation – as long as you recognize that it only applies to New Testament times.  That is, the kingdom was “already but not yet” for them in that time.

Similarly, Jesus said to the woman at the well in Sychar:

John 4:23 “But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers.
John 4:24 “God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”

The hour was “coming” for everyone else but it was “now” for Jesus who bore and manifested the kingdom in Himself.

This eternal kingdom of God is entirely present for us, however, because we live almost two thousand years after the kingdom came.  We today should never think of the kingdom as not yet.  We should think of it as entirely present, and we should seek it according to the apostles’ instructions (such as 2 Peter 1:5-11).  Whether the kingdom is future or present, one still has to prepare properly in order to enter it.  It’s only for those who love righteousness (Matthew 6:33; Hebrews 1:9; Romans 14:17).

Keep in mind always when you’re reading the New Testament that you are reading what happened at the crossroads of the ages.  That was the time when the old age ended and the new age started – ever so slightly – in the context of eternity – overlapping each other.

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.

We are Heirs of Christ, Not Heirs of Apostles

The promises to Abraham were to him, and to his seed after him.  The promises to the apostles were to the apostles alone.  No mention was made of their seed after them.

Neither the apostles nor their would-be successors have need of apostolic promises, for through Christ we all inherit the promises to Christ.  Didn’t Paul write:

2 Corinthians 1:20 For as many as are the promises of God, in Him they are yes; therefore also through Him is our Amen to the glory of God through us.

The apostles of Christ had a unique assignment…and they completed it.  We needn’t try to replicate what they did.  We should, however, imitate their faith (Hebrews 13:7).  They have led us to righteousness…and we should walk by it (Daniel 12:3).

As for the idea of apostolic succession, however, we should dismiss it and disregard those who promote it.  We live in 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.

Psalm 111:2

Psalm 111:2 Great are the works of the LORD;
They are studied by all who delight in them.

Whose works are greater than those of our Lord Jesus Christ?  He emptied out Hades (Sheol) so that everyone now goes to heaven at death.  That is, He made a new heavens and a new earth – according to promise.  And then there are all the works He did on earth for us during the days of His flesh.  These were not tricks of magic but rather acts of compassion.  Yes, they were supernatural through the power of the Holy Spirit, but that was because He had already given away His worldly treasure – both in heaven and on earth.  That is, God gave up heaven to come to earth, and, as a man, He gave up all He had to serve the people of God.  The Holy Spirit was the source of power in all the good works, because Jesus had nothing left of His own to give.  Thus God will take responsibility for sourcing our generosity if we havefirst given all that we have of our own.

There is no shortage of the Lord’s works – whether as God or man or resurrected man – which we can study.  Let us therefore study and delight in them!

Jesus is no junior partner in the affairs of God.  He is the beginning and the end, the alpha and omega, the first and the last (Revelation 22:13).

 

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 Proved Himself as a Man, and Then Proved Himself as a Lord Before He Inherited the Universe

Through the earthly life Jesus lived (as described in the gospels of the New Testament), he proved himself worthy of resurrection.  And He was resurrected, accordin to promise.

Through the heavenly life Jesus lived (as chronicled in the book of Acts and the epistles that follow it in the New Testament), He proved Himself worthy of inheriting the universe by the way He led the Israel of God – that is, the church.  And He came again, according to promise.

In the coming of the kingdom, Jesus inherited all things – just as He was promised (Hebrews 1:1-2).

We often speak of the noteworthy life Jesus lived as a man, and it is right that we do.  Nevertheless, we should not overlook the life He lived at the right hand of God as He led the greatest generation of Jews who ever lived.  This was the bride of Christ, the true church of God that none of today’s churches can replicate.  And the Lord Jesus was the shepherd who led them.  He thus proved Himself worthy to govern all the nations.  Thus was fulfilled this scripture:

Psalm 2:8 ‘Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Your inheritance,
And the very ends of the earth as Your possession.

And with that passing of the baton, Christ became all in all.  The kingdom of God came, and it was His.

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 Peace

Jesus Christ was a man of peace, and He is a God of peace.  Consider these scriptures, that we, too, might have peace [emphasis added]:

Num 6:24 The LORD bless you, and keep you;
Num 6:25 The LORD make His face shine on you,
And be gracious to you;
Num 6:26 The LORD lift up His countenance on you,
And give you peace.’

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Psalm 29:11 The LORD will give strength to His people;
The LORD will bless His people with peace.

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Romans 16:20 The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.

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Ephesians 2:13 But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
Ephesians 2:14 For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall,
Ephesians 2:15 by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace,
Ephesians 2:16 and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity.
Ephesians 2:17 AND HE CAME AND PREACHED PEACE TO YOU WHO WERE FAR AWAY, AND PEACE TO THOSE WHO WERE NEAR;
Eph 2:18 for through Him we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father.

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Peace is but one of the virtues of Jesus Christ; to consider others, 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.)

Scriptures on Joy

Joy is a virtue, or you could say character trait, of Jesus Christ.  Though He was “a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief” (Isaiah 53:3), He knew that the sorrow was fleeting and that enduring joy would ultimately come from obedience to God.  Here then are some scriptures on joy which nourish our minds so that we might partake of Christ’s joy [emphasis added]:

Psalm 30:5 For His anger is but for a moment,
His favor is for a lifetime;
Weeping may last for the night,
But a shout of joy comes in the morning.

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Psalm 97:11 Light is sown like seed for the righteous
And gladness for the upright in heart.

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Psalm 126:5 Those who sow in tears shall reap with joyful shouting.
Psalm 126:6 He who goes to and fro weeping, carrying his bag of seed,
Shall indeed come again with a shout of joy, bringing his sheaves with him.

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Zephaniah 3:17 “The LORD your God is in your midst,
A victorious warrior.
He will exult over you with joy,
He will be quiet in His love,
He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy.

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John 16:19 Jesus knew that they wished to question Him, and He said to them, “Are you deliberating together about this, that I said, ‘A little while, and you will not see Me, and again a little while, and you will see Me’?
John 16:20 “Truly, truly, I say to you, that you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice; you will grieve, but your grief will be turned into joy.
John 16:21 “Whenever a woman is in labor she has pain, because her hour has come; but when she gives birth to the child, she no longer remembers the anguish because of the joy that a child has been born into the world.
John 16:22 “Therefore you too have grief now; but I will see you again, and your heart will rejoice, and no one will take your joy away from you.

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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.

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Romans 14:17 for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.

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To consider other virtues of Christ, 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.)

Scriptures on Love

It is almost needless to say that love is a character trait of Jesus Christ.  It is, in fact, the one trait that embodies all the others.  Everything Jesus taught, said, and did was rooted in the motive of love.  Therefore, He asks the same of us.  Here are some scriptures to help us meditate on love [emphasis added]:

Mark 12:28 One of the scribes came and heard them arguing, and recognizing that He had answered them well, asked Him, “What commandment is the foremost of all?”
Mark 12:29 Jesus answered, “The foremost is, ‘HEAR, O ISRAEL! THE LORD OUR GOD IS ONE LORD;
Mark 12:30 AND YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND, AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH.’
Mark 12:31 “The second is this, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
Mark 12:32 The scribe said to Him, “Right, Teacher; You have truly stated that HE IS ONE, AND THERE IS NO ONE ELSE BESIDES HIM;
Mark 12:33 AND TO LOVE HIM WITH ALL THE HEART AND WITH ALL THE UNDERSTANDING AND WITH ALL THE STRENGTH, AND TO LOVE ONE’S NEIGHBOR AS HIMSELF, is much more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”
Mark 12:34 When Jesus saw that he had answered intelligently, He said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” After that, no one would venture to ask Him any more questions.

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John 13:34 “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.

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Romans 13:8 Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law.
Romans 13:9 For this, “YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY, YOU SHALL NOT MURDER, YOU SHALL NOT STEAL, YOU SHALL NOT COVET,” and if there is any other commandment, it is summed up in this saying, “YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.”
Romans 13:10 Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.

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Galatians 5:13 For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.
Galatians 5:14 For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, “YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.”

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Ephesians 2:4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,
Ephesians 2:5 even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),
Ephesians 2:6 and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,
Ephesians 2:7 so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.

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1 Timothy 1:5 But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.

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1 John 4:7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.
1 John 4:8 The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love.

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1 John 4:16 We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.
1 John 4:17 By this, love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world.
1 John 4:18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.
1 John 4:19 We love, because He first loved us.
1 John 4:20 If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen.
1 John 4:21 And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also.

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To consider more of the virtue that comprise this overarching virtue of love, 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.)

Coming in the Clouds

When Daniel 7:13-14, which is about the Son of Man coming, is invoked in the New Testament, we see its expression “with the clouds” rendered in various ways, such as:

“coming with the clouds” – Mark 14:62 and Revelation 1:7

“coming on the clouds” – Matthew 24:30 and 26:64

“coming…in the clouds” – 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17

“coming in clouds” – Mark 13:26

“coming in a cloud” – Luke 21:27

And all this variation is within just one translation (the NASB).  Nevertheless, as you can see, all the variation is minor in nature.  The general idea holds in every occurrence: that the coming of the Lord is associated with the clouds of heaven.  And heaven is, of course, out of our physical sight.  We must relate to it by faith.

Since the coming of the Lord, therefore, was to take place behind the curtain of heaven, why have so many for so long insisted that Jesus’ Second Coming would be an earthly appearance? After Jesus ascended into a cloud on His way to the right hand of God, the angels alluded to His coming which would similarly be “in a cloud” and therefore out of the apostles physical sight (Acts 1:9-11).  That is, if they didn’t physically see the first event why would they expect to physically see the second?

There is ample reason to believe that the apostles taught that the coming of the Lord would not involve Jesus making a physical appearance.  This is just one more of them.

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 Faithfulness

Faithfulness was an attribute of Jesus when He was a man, and it is an attribute of Christ our God.  It is therefore an attribute He expects us to practice so that we might be bearers of His image and bring honor to His name.  Here are some scriptures to help us focus on the quality of faithfulness that we might be more mindful in our exercise of it [Emphasis added]:

God’s Faithfulness to Us

Lamentations 3:22 The LORD’S lovingkindnesses indeed never cease,
For His compassions never fail.
Lamentations 3:23 They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.

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2 Timothy 2:13 If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself.

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Hebrews 10:23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful;

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Hebrews 11:11 By faith even Sarah herself received ability to conceive, even beyond the proper time of life, since she considered Him faithful who had promised.

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Our Faithfulness to God

Nehemiah 9:8 “You found [Abraham’s] heart faithful before You,
And made a covenant with him
To give him the land of the Canaanite,
Of the Hittite and the Amorite,
Of the Perizzite, the Jebusite and the Girgashite–
To give it to his descendants.
And You have fulfilled Your promise,
For You are righteous.

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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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Luke 16:10 “He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much; and he who is unrighteous in a very little thing is unrighteous also in much.

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2 Timothy 2:13 If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself.

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Revelation 2:10 ‘Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to cast some of you into prison, so that you will be tested, and you will have tribulation for ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.

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Faithfulness is a character trait of Jesus Christ.  Here is a post listing more of His character traits, that you might practice them in His presence and with His help.

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.)

Tracing the Old Testament Roots of New Testament Teaching

New Testament teaching is rooted in Old Testament teaching.  Jesus and His apostles trusted the Scriptures of Moses and the prophets of Israel.  This dependency is most obvious in a passage like this one:

Mark 12:28 One of the scribes came and heard them arguing, and recognizing that He had answered them well, asked Him, “What commandment is the foremost of all?”
Mark 12:29 Jesus answered, “The foremost is, ‘HEAR, O ISRAEL! THE LORD OUR GOD IS ONE LORD;
Mark 12:30 AND YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND, AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH.’
Mark 12:31 “The second is this, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
Mark 12:32 The scribe said to Him, “Right, Teacher; You have truly stated that HE IS ONE, AND THERE IS NO ONE ELSE BESIDES HIM;
Mark 12:33 AND TO LOVE HIM WITH ALL THE HEART AND WITH ALL THE UNDERSTANDING AND WITH ALL THE STRENGTH, AND TO LOVE ONE’S NEIGHBOR AS HIMSELF, is much more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”
Mark 12:34 When Jesus saw that he had answered intelligently, He said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” After that, no one would venture to ask Him any more questions.

Jesus is widely known for having preached that we should love one another.  This passage indicates that He credited the Old Testament as the source of that principle.  The phrases in all capital letters come from the following specific sources:

  • Mark 12:29 is Jesus quoting Deuteronomy 6:4
  • Mark 12:30 is Jesus quoting Deuteronomy 6:5
  • Mark 12:31 is Jesus quoting Leviticus 19:18

Putting Old Testament quotations in all capital letters is a practice of the New American Standard Bible (NASB).  It’s common for English translations, especially the more literal ones like the NASB, to highlight Old Testament quotations found in the New Testament in some easily identifiable way.  The NASB also has a cross-reference system which shows up the margins of all but the smallest print editions.  This cross-reference notation will identify the location of the quotations as I did above – for practically every verse of the Bible!  These are some of the reasons I appreciate the NASB so much.  (Here’s a post which gives more detail on that appreciation.)

By using a such a cross-reference system, you can trace the Old Testament roots of New Testament teaching from almost any place in the New Testament.  Since the cross-reference system is provided for the Old Testament, too, you can read passages there and check in the margin for which New Testament passages might refer to it.  This helps you tie together the two testaments.  They are certainly tied together in the mind of God.  “Old Testament” and “New Testament” are just terms that later generations have used to describe the Bible’s writings that came before and after Jesus of Nazareth.

Not all New Testament references are as easy to identify as the one above.  Some references are just partial quotations. Some are allusions, which are even more difficult to identify.  An example of this is Jesus’ statement, “The poor you always have with you” from  Matthew 26:11 (also found in Mark 14:7 and John 12:8).  If you read Deuteronomy 15:11, you will see a marked similarity.

Matthew 26:11 “For you always have the poor with you…

Deuteronomy 15:11 “For the poor will never cease to be in the land…

Though Jesus phrased the thought differently, it’s impossible to imagine that He or anyone listening to Him thought He was being original with the idea.

Another example of such an allusion is Jesus’ assertion that “with God all things are possible,” which He uttered in slightly different ways in three of the gospels (Matthew 19:26; Mark 10:27; Luke 18:27).  Compare this with similar thoughts found from one end of the Old Testament to the other:

Genesis 18:14 “Is anything too difficult for the LORD?…

Job 42:1 Then Job answered the LORD and said,
Job 42:2 “I know that You can do all things,
And that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted.

Jeremiah 32:17 ‘Ah Lord GOD! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and by Your outstretched arm! Nothing is too difficult for You,

Zechariah 8:6 “Thus says the LORD of hosts, ‘If it is too difficult in the sight of the remnant of this people in those days, will it also be too difficult in My sight?’ declares the LORD of hosts.

Once again, neither Jesus nor His countrymen – whether friend or foe – would think He was trying to introduce a new idea into Jewish thought by saying that with God all things were possible.  What Jesus was introducing, of course, was the notion that genuine and full faith in this idea would make an enormous difference in a person’s life – as it did in His.

While Bible scholars have discovered many such connections between the testaments, and lots of them show up in cross reference systems, there are yet other connections waiting to be found by those who read the Bible while trusting in the Holy Spirit for illumination…and who put into practice those things that they learn about Jesus.

For a list of more examples, see Catalog of New Testament Teachings Traceable to 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 Two Bookend Events of the New Testament

Two great events anchor the open and close of the New Testament age: the resurrection of Christ and the coming of Christ.  These events therefore can be thought of as bookends – one on the left and the other on the right – for the New Testament age.

Yes, the gospels wrote of the time before the resurrection, but these accounts were only compiled after the resurrection.  It was the resurrection of Christ that launched the movement in His name that still continues until this day – and that therefore made the gospels worth writing.  You can best understand this when you consider the book of Acts.  Acts was, of course, written by the Luke of gospel fame.  Thus, Luke 24-Acts 1 provides the bridge between the gospel period (that is, “the days of His flesh” as Hebrews 5:7 would put it) and the apostolic period.  Jesus was the first to rise from the dead, but the rest of the dead were to rise in the great event to come.  Thus resurrection was a two-step process, and these two steps are the two bookends about which we are speaking.

In the days of His flesh, Jesus ministered only in Israel, but He sent His apostles into all the world.  Thus the earth-bound Christ was restricted to Judea and the surround regions, but the resurrected Christ had no limits on His geographic reach.  Everything Christ did on earth was preliminary to, and preparatory for, His resurrection from the dead.  This marks the left bookend of the New Testament.  The gospels are the remembrances (or “memoirs” as Justin Martyr called them in the middle of the 2nd Century) of the apostles about those events that led up to the resurrection of the Messiah.

The apostolic period, or New Testament age, was launched with that single, seminal resurrection.  The book of Acts describes what happened in its wake.  The rest of the New Testament consists of letters, or epistles, which were written or sponsored by the apostles.  The right bookend of the New Testament age is the coming of the Lord – an event to which practically every book, if not page, of the New Testament looks forward.

The coming of the Lord – that is, the coming of the day of the Lord, or the kingdom of God – was considered imminent in that age.  The apostles believed that they were living at the end, or consummation, of the ages (1 Corinthians 10:11; Hebrews 1:1-29:26), and that Jesus promised them that at least some of them would live to see the kingdom come (Matthew 10:23; 16:28; 24:34).  Thus the New Testament never announces that the day of the Lord, or the kingdom, has come – but it does keep describing it as drawing nearer and nearer.  The book of Revelation – twice in the first chapter and five times in the last – perhaps describes that coming with the greatest sense of imminence.

Only if we doubt the word of the Lord and His apostles will we doubt that the kingdom came when they said it would.  It 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.

 

Correlating Biblical Concepts: Knowledge and Salvation

Knowledge is a key biblical concept.  So also is salvation.  The follow scripture demonstrates how these two concepts can relate to each other [emphasis added; knowledge in bold, and salvation in bold italics]:

Psalm 98:2 The LORD has made known His salvation;
He has revealed His righteousness in the sight of the nations.

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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.

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Luke 1:77 To give to His people the knowledge of salvation
By the forgiveness of their sins,

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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.

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You can find more key biblical concepts, and how they relate to each other, at 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.)

Correlating Virtues of Christ: Forbearance and Patience

Both forbearance and patience are virtues of Jesus Christ.  Since these character traits are closely associated with each other, it’s not surprising that we would find scripture passages where the two terms appear in proximity to each other.  Here are some of them [Emphasis added; forbearance in bold, and patience in bold italics:]:

Romans 2:4 ESV Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?

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Ephesians 4:2 ESV with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love,

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Colossians 3:12 So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience;
Colossians 3:13 bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you.
Colossians 3:14 Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.

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2 Thessalonians 1:4 therefore, we ourselves speak proudly of you among the churches of God for your perseverance and faith in the midst of all your persecutions and afflictions which you endure.

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To study more of the virtues of our Lord, 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.)

Scriptures on Forbearance

The Greek word translated as “forbearance” in the NASB is Strong’s # 463.  It shows up only twice in the New Testament, both listed below [Emphasis added]:

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?

This verse from the 1995 NASB shows “tolerance” but the 1973 version shows “forbearance.”

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Romans 3:24 being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus;
Romans 3:25 whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed;

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1 Corinthians 13:4 Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant,
1 Corinthians 13:5 does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered,
1 Corinthians 13:6 does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth;
1 Corinthians 13:7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Certainly, this conveys the idea of forbearance, even though the Greek word (Strong’s 4722) is not etymologically related to Strong’s 463.

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Forbearance is but one of the virtues of Jesus Christ.  Here are others.

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 7:13-14

Daniel 7:13 “I kept looking in the night visions,
And behold, with the clouds of heaven
One like a Son of Man was coming,
And He came up to the Ancient of Days
And was presented before Him.
Daniel 7:14 “And to Him was given dominion,
Glory and a kingdom,
That all the peoples, nations and men of every language
Might serve Him.
His dominion is an everlasting dominion
Which will not pass away;
And His kingdom is one
Which will not be destroyed.

This “son of man” was, of course, the resurrected Christ.  For this reason Jesus testified at His trial that He would be raised according to Psalm 110:1 and come according to Daniel 7:13-14.  Thus the first phrase in all capitals below where Jesus is invoking Psalm 110 and the second set is where He is invoking Daniel 7:13-14.

Matthew 26:63 But Jesus kept silent. And the high priest said to Him, “I adjure You by the living God, that You tell us whether You are the Christ, the Son of God.”
Matthew 26:64 Jesus *said to him, “You have said it yourself; nevertheless I tell you, hereafter you will see THE SON OF MAN SITTING AT THE RIGHT HAND OF POWER, and COMING ON THE CLOUDS OF HEAVEN.”

Thus it was the resurrected Messiah who would – and who was the only one who could – fulfill Daniel 7:13-14.  Of course, the Lord’s coming occurred right on time, at the close of the New Testament age.  This inaugurated the day of the Lord.  (For more on “the day of the Lord,” see these posts.  For an overview of all these truths, 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.

The Fruit of the Spirit Are the Root of Christ

The fruit of the Spirit could always be picked from Christ’s tree – for He was, and is, the tree of life.  That is, the fruit of the Spirit are the character traits of Jesus Christ.  Consider the nine fruit of the Spirit now, and consider them in comparison with the deeds of the flesh, which are far more characteristic of humanity.

Galatians 5:19 Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality,
Galatians 5:20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions,
Galatians 5:21 envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
Galatians  5:23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

Let us therefore follow Christ so that this fruit of the Spirit might be brought forth in us.

For more study of specific virtues of Jesus Christ, 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.)

The Path Christ Paved to the Kingdom of God

In the following passage, the apostle Peter explains how one prepares for, and gains access to, the kingdom of God.  Of course, he was writing in the days just before the kingdom came.  It has since come, and is in our midst.  But entrance to the kingdom of God is still gained only by those willing to let the Lord’s grace make them worthy of it.  Peter observed Jesus’ life and ministry firsthand for three years.  He describes here the path Christ paved that we might walk it.

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.
2 Peter 1:9 For he who lacks these qualities is blind or short-sighted, having forgotten his purification from his former sins.
2 Peter  1:10 Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble;
2 Peter 1:11 for in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you.

Note especially the “qualities” (to use Peter’s word from verse 8) listed in verses 5 through 7.  The practice of these virtues, according to verses 10 and 11 make entrance to the kingdom available…to whoever is practicing them!  This is the path Christ paved with His own behavior.  Let us walk it!

For more on some of the specific virtues of Christ, 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 Goodness

Goodness is a characteristic of Jesus Christ.  Study of scriptures like these help us better understand what is entailed in that simple word [Emphasis added]:

Psalm 27:13 I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD
In the land of the living.

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Psalm 31:19 How great is Your goodness,
Which You have stored up for those who fear You,
Which You have wrought for those who take refuge in You,
Before the sons of men!

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Psalm 37:3 Trust in the LORD and do good;
Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness.

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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.

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Psalm 119:68 You are good and do good;
Teach me Your statutes.

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Proverbs 3:27 Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due,
When it is in your power to do it.
Prov 3:28 Do not say to your neighbor, “Go, and come back,
And tomorrow I will give it,”
When you have it with you.

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Ecclesiastes 2:26 For to a person who is good in His sight He has given wisdom and knowledge and joy, while to the sinner He has given the task of gathering and collecting so that he may give to one who is good in God’s sight. This too is vanity and striving after wind.

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Hosea 3:5 Afterward the sons of Israel will return and seek the LORD their God and David their king; and they will come trembling to the LORD and to His goodness in the last days.

The “last days” were, of course, the days of the New Testament, during which the goodness of God was found in Jesus Christ His Son.  It still is.

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Matthew 7:11 “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!

Luke’s version of this statement reads “…give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him.”  Thus we see how goodness is associated with the Holy Spirit, and vice versa.

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Mark 10:18 And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone.

Jesus saw all His goodness as being derived from God.  In the same way, we should see all our goodness as being derived from Jesus.

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Luke 6:27 “But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,
Luke 6:28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.
Luke 6:29 “Whoever hits you on the cheek, offer him the other also; and whoever takes away your coat, do not withhold your shirt from him either.
Luke 6:30 “Give to everyone who asks of you, and whoever takes away what is yours, do not demand it back.
Luke 6:31 “Treat others the same way you want them to treat you.
Luke 6:32 “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them.
Luke 6:33 “If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same.
Luke 6:34 “If you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners in order to receive back the same amount.
Luke 6:35 “But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men.

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Acts 10:38 “You know of Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and how He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.

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Romans 7:12 So then, the Law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good.

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Galatians 6:10 So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith.

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Ephesians 5:7 Therefore do not be partakers with them;
Ephesians 5:8 for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light
Ephesians 5:9 (for the fruit of the Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth),
Ephesians 5:10 trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord.

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1 Timothy 6:17 Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy.
1 Timothy 6:18 Instruct them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share,
1 Timothy 6:19 storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is life indeed.

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Titus 2:14 [Christ Jesus] gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.

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Philemon 1:14 but without your consent I did not want to do anything, so that your goodness would not be, in effect, by compulsion but of your own free will.

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1 Peter 3:10 For,
“THE ONE WHO DESIRES LIFE, TO LOVE AND SEE GOOD DAYS,
MUST KEEP HIS TONGUE FROM EVIL AND HIS LIPS FROM SPEAKING DECEIT.
1 Peter 3:11 “HE MUST TURN AWAY FROM EVIL AND DO GOOD;
HE MUST SEEK PEACE AND PURSUE IT.
1 Peter 3:12 “FOR THE EYES OF THE LORD ARE TOWARD THE RIGHTEOUS,
AND HIS EARS ATTEND TO THEIR PRAYER,
BUT THE FACE OF THE LORD IS AGAINST THOSE WHO DO EVIL.”
1 Peter 3:13 Who is there to harm you if you prove zealous for what is good?

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Other characteristics of Christ for us to practice can be found in 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.)

Correlating Virtues of Christ: Kindness and Patience

Jesus practiced both kindness and patience.  These virtues are spoken of together in the following scriptures [emphasis added]:

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?

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

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2 Corinthians 6:6 in purity, in knowledge, in patience, in kindness, in the Holy Spirit, in genuine love,

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Galatians 5:19 Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality,
Galatians 5:20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions,
Galatians 5:21 envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patiencekindness, goodness, faithfulness,
Galatians 5:23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

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Colossians 3:12 So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience;
Colossians 3:13 bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you.
Colossians 3:14 Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.

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2 Timothy 2:24 The Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged,
2 Timothy 2:25 with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth,
2 Timothy 2:26 and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will.

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For more on the virtues of Christ which we can practice in His presence and with His help, 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.)

Correlating Virtues of Christ: Gentleness and Humility

Jesus practiced both humility and gentleness.  These virtues can be seen in tandem here [emphasis added]:

Matthew 11:28 “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.
Matthew 11:29 “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS.
Matthew 11:30 “For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

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Ephesians 4:1 Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called,
Ephesians 4:2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love,
Ephesians 4:3 being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

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Colossians 3:12 So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience;
Colossians 3:13 bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you.
Colossians 3:14 Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.

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Christ’s virtues of gentleness and humility can also be seen as related to each other in that Matthew 21:5 quotes Zech 9:9, yet the former uses “gentle” while the latter uses “humble.”  Obviously, their meanings cannot be unrelated.

Matthew 21:4 This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet:
Matthew 21:5 “SAY TO THE DAUGHTER OF ZION,
‘BEHOLD YOUR KING IS COMING TO YOU,
GENTLE, AND MOUNTED ON A DONKEY,
EVEN ON A COLT, THE FOAL OF A BEAST OF BURDEN.'”

Zechariah 9:9 Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion!
Shout in triumph, O daughter of Jerusalem!
Behold, your king is coming to you;
He is just and endowed with salvation,
Humble, and mounted on a donkey,
Even on a colt, the foal of a donkey.

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For more on the virtues of Christ which we can practice in His presence and with His help, 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.)

Scriptures on Gratitude

Jesus was a grateful man.  In fact, His grateful attitude accounted for much of His success – spiritual success, that is.  Here are some scriptures on gratitude, including ones that showed how giving thanks was important to Jesus [emphasis added]”

Matthew 15:35 And He directed the people to sit down on the ground;
Matthew 15:36 and He took the seven loaves and the fish; and giving thanks, He broke them and started giving them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people.

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Matthew 26:27 And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you;
Matthew 26:28 for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins.

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Luke 6:35 “But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men.

Thus ingratitude to God is evil.  (Or did we think ingratitude was evil only when shown toward us?)

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Luke 17:11 While He was on the way to Jerusalem, He was passing between Samaria and Galilee.
Luke 17:12 As He entered a village, ten leprous men who stood at a distance met Him;
Luke 17:13 and they raised their voices, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!”
Luke 17:14 When He saw them, He said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they were going, they were cleansed.
Luke 17:15 Now one of them, when he saw that he had been healed, turned back, glorifying God with a loud voice,
Luke 17:16 and he fell on his face at His feet, giving thanks to Him. And he was a Samaritan.
Luke 17:17 Then Jesus answered and said, “Were there not ten cleansed? But the nine–where are they?
Luke 17:18 “Was no one found who returned to give glory to God, except this foreigner?”
Luke 17:19 And He said to him, “Stand up and go; your faith has made you well.”

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John 6:23 There came other small boats from Tiberias near to the place where they ate the bread after the Lord had given thanks.

We might have expected the apostle John to end this sentence with “after the Lord had multiplied the fishes and loaves,” or “after the Lord had performed the miracle.”  That John described it the way he did conveys just how much John was impressed by the way Jesus gave thanks.  You get the sense that there was something quite special about it.  Perhaps if we gave thanks more like Jesus did, we would see more of the power Jesus saw.

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John 11:41 So they removed the stone. Then Jesus raised His eyes, and said, “Father, I thank You that You have heard Me.
John 11:42 “I knew that You always hear Me; but because of the people standing around I said it, so that they may believe that You sent Me.”

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Rom 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.

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2 Corinthians 9:6 Now this I say, he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.
2 Corinthians 9:7 Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
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;
2 Corinthians  9:9 as it is written,
“HE SCATTERED ABROAD, HE GAVE TO THE POOR,
HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS ENDURES FOREVER.”
2 Corinthians 9:10 Now He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness;
2 Corinthians 9:11 you will be enriched in everything for all liberality, which through us is producing thanksgiving to God.

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Ephesians 5:3 But immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints;
Ephesians 5:4 and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks.

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Ephesians 5:18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit,
Ephesians 5:19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord;
Ephesians 5:20 always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father;
Ephesians 5:21 and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ.

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Philippians 4:6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
Philippians 4:7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

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Colossians 2:7 having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude.

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Colossians 3:14 Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.
Colossians 3:15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful.
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.
Colossians 3:17 Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.

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Colossians 4:2 Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving;

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1 Thessalonians 5:16 Rejoice always;
1 Thessalonians 5:17 pray without ceasing;
1 Thessalonians 5:18 in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

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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.

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1 Timothy 4:4 For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with gratitude;
1 Timothy 4:5 for it is sanctified by means of the word of God and prayer.

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2 Timothy 3:2 For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy,
2 Timothy 3:3 unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good,
2 Timothy 3:4 treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God,
2 Timothy 3:5 holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these.

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Hebrews 12:28 Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe;

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Hebrews 13:15 Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name.
Hebrews 13:16 And do not neglect doing good and sharing, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.

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Other characteristics of Christ for us to practice can be found in 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.)

Scriptures on Generosity

Jesus of Nazareth was a generous man.  He gave His life in service to God and His fellow Jews.  (And more than a few Gentiles have been helped along the way, too!)  Here are some scriptures on generosity upon which we can meditate that we might imitate the generosity of Christ [emphasis added]:

Deuteronomy 15:7 “If there is a poor man with you, one of your brothers, in any of your towns in your land which the LORD your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart, nor close your hand from your poor brother;
Deuteronomy  15:8 but you shall freely open your hand to him, and shall generously lend him sufficient for his need in whatever he lacks.
Deuteronomy 15:9 “Beware that there is no base thought in your heart, saying, ‘The seventh year, the year of remission, is near,’ and your eye is hostile toward your poor brother, and you give him nothing; then he may cry to the LORD against you, and it will be a sin in you.
Deuteronomy 15:10 “You shall generously give to him, and your heart shall not be grieved when you give to him, because for this thing the LORD your God will bless you in all your work and in all your undertakings.
Deuteronomy  15:11 “For the poor will never cease to be in the land; therefore I command you, saying, ‘You shall freely open your hand to your brother, to your needy and poor in your land.’

This statute from the Law of Moses would have been part of Jesus training as a young Jew in Nazareth.  His saying that “the poor you always have with you” (Matthew 26:11; Mark 14:7; John 12:8) makes us mindful of this passage.

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Proverbs 11:25 The generous man will be prosperous,
And he who waters will himself be watered.

The book of Proverbs reflected the wisdom given through the Law of Moses and would also have been a part of Jesus upbringing.

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Proverbs 19:6 Many will seek the favor of a generous man,
And every man is a friend to him who gives gifts.

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Proverbs 22:9 He who is generous will be blessed,
For he gives some of his food to the poor.

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Matthew 10:8 “>>>Freely you received, freely give.”

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Matthew 20:15 ‘Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with what is my own? Or is your eye envious because I am generous?’

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Romans 8:32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?

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1 Cor 2:12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God,

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2 Cor 9:6 Now this I say, he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.
2 Cor 9:7 Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
2 Cor 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;
2 Cor 9:9 as it is written,
“HE SCATTERED ABROAD, HE GAVE TO THE POOR,
HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS ENDURES FOREVER.”
2 Cor 9:10 Now He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness;
2 Cor 9:11 you will be enriched in everything for all liberality, which through us is producing thanksgiving to God.
2 Cor 9:12 For the ministry of this service is not only fully supplying the needs of the saints, but is also overflowing through many thanksgivings to God.
2 Cor 9:13 Because of the proof given by this ministry, they will glorify God for your obedience to your confession of the gospel of Christ and for the liberality of your contribution to them and to all,
2 Cor 9:14 while they also, by prayer on your behalf, yearn for you because of the surpassing grace of God in you.

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Ephesians 1:7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace
Ephesians 1:8 which He lavished on us…

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1 Timothy 6:17 Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy.
1 Timothy 6:18 Instruct them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share,
1 Timothy 6:19 storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is life indeed.

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Philemon 1:14 but without your consent I did not want to do anything, so that your goodness would not be, in effect, by compulsion but of your own free will.

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Philemon 1:21 Having confidence in your obedience, I write to you, since I know that you will do even more than what I say.

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Hebrews 13:15 Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name.
Hebrews 13:16 And do not neglect doing good and sharing, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.

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James 1:5 But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.

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Other attributes of Christ for us to practice can be found in 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.)

Scriptures on Self-Control

Jesus kept Himself under control.  Never was this more apparent than in the hours leading up to His death.  Yet it was only because He had developed self-control long before that time that He was able to exercise it in His suffering and crucifixion.  Those who want to be like Him but develop this quality as well.  To help in doing that, here are some scriptures which speak of it [emphasis added]:

Proverbs 25:28 Like a city that is broken into and without walls
Is a man who has no control over his spirit.

Though the word “self-control” does not appear,the idea is obviously implied in this verse.

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1 Corinthians 9:25 Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.

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Galatians 5:19 Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality,
Galatians 5:20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions,
Galatians 5:21 envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
Galatians 5:23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

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2 Timothy 3:2 For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy,
2 Timothy 3:3 unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good,
2 Timothy 3:4 treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God,
2 Timothy 3:5 holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these.

Note what unsavory characteristics are associated with the lack of self-control!

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Titus 1:7 For the overseer must be above reproach as God’s steward, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not addicted to wine, not pugnacious, not fond of sordid gain,
Titus 1:8 but hospitable, loving what is good, sensible, just, devout, self-controlled,
Titus 1:9 holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, so that he will be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict.

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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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Other qualities of Christ for us to practice, such as gratitude and humility, can be found in 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.)

Scriptures on Godliness

Godliness is undoubtedly a virtue of Christ.  Those who want to be like Him study this attribute of His, and seek to make it their own.  Here are some scriptures to help you do that [emphasis added]:

Psalm 4:3 But know that the LORD has set apart the godly man for Himself;
The LORD hears when I call to Him.

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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.

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1 Timothy 4:7 But have nothing to do with worldly fables fit only for old women. On the other hand, discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness;
1 Timothy 4:8 for bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.

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1 Timothy 6:3 If anyone advocates a different doctrine and does not agree with sound words, those of our Lord Jesus Christ, and with the doctrine conforming to godliness,
1 Timothy 6:4 he is conceited and understands nothing; but he has a morbid interest in controversial questions and disputes about words, out of which arise envy, strife, abusive language, evil suspicions,
1 Timothy  6:5 and constant friction between men of depraved mind and deprived of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain.
1 Timothy  6:6 But godliness actually is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment.
1 Timothy 6:7 For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either.
1 Timothy 6:8 If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content.
1 Timothy  6:9 But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction.
1 Timothy 6:10 For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.
1 Timothy 6:11 But flee from these things, you man of God, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance and gentleness.

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2 Tim 3:12 Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.

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Titus 2:11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men,
Titus 2:12 instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age,
Titus 2:13 looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus,
Titus 2:14 who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.

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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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Other virtues of Christ, such as patience and kindness, are listed in 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.)

The Son of Man

A man is born.  He lives.  Sooner or later, he dies.  This is the fate of every human being. What then could the expression “son of man” mean?

In the gospels, we see Jesus referring to Himself as “the son of man.”  It was an obscure and enigmatic phrase.  On the one hand, it could refer to man’s lowliness before God (as in Numbers 23:19 or in God’s humiliating assignments to Ezekiel).  On the other, it could be used in a context of great glory (as in Daniel 7:13-14 where “a Son of Man came up to the Ancient of Days”).  And then there is its simple and mundane sense of being human – as in, son of “adam” (the Hebrew word for man and the personal name of the first man).

Jesus often seemed, however, to have something more specific in mind when He referred to Himself as “the Son of Man.”  And indeed this finally became apparent to His disciples when He was raised from the dead.  This was “the new birth” about which they had heard Him speak.  By His resurrection, Jesus “opened the womb of death,” thereby making possible a new birth for the entire creation.

Thus “the Son of Man” is the resurrected Christ.  He is the one who changes everything.

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.

 

Scriptures on Patience

Because the Lord is patient, we should be as well.  Consider these verses which speak of patience [Emphasis added]:

1 Corinthians 13:4 Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant,
1 Corinthians 13:5 does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered,
1 Corinthians 13:6 does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth;
1 Corinthians 13:7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

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Colossians 1:9 For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding,
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;
Colossians 1:11 strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience; joyously
Colossians 1:12 giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light.

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1 Thessalonians 5:14 We urge you, brethren, admonish the unruly, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with everyone.

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1 Timothy 1:16 Yet for this reason I found mercy, so that in me as the foremost, Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life.

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2 Timothy 2:24 The Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged,
2 Timothy 2:25 with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth,
2 Timothy 2:26 and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will.

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2 Timothy 3:10 Now you followed my teaching, conduct, purpose, faith, patience, love, perseverance,
2 Timothy 3:11 persecutions, and sufferings, such as happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium and at Lystra; what persecutions I endured, and out of them all the Lord rescued me!

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2 Timothy 4:2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction.

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Hebrews 6:11 And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence so as to realize the full assurance of hope until the end,
Hebrews 6:12 so that you will not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.
Hebrews 6:13 For when God made the promise to Abraham, since He could swear by no one greater, He swore by Himself,
Hebrews 6:14 saying, “I WILL SURELY BLESS YOU AND I WILL SURELY MULTIPLY YOU.”
Hebrews 6:15 And so, having patiently waited, he obtained the promise.

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James 5:7 Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits for the precious produce of the soil, being patient about it, until it gets the early and late rains.
James 5:8 You too be patient; strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near.
James 5:9 Do not complain, brethren, against one another, so that you yourselves may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing right at the door.
James 5:10 As an example, brethren, of suffering and patience, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.
James 5:11 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.

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1 Peter 2:20 For what credit is there if, when you sin and are harshly treated, you endure it with patience? But if when you do what is right and suffer for it you patiently endure it, this finds favor with God.

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1 Peter 3:20 who once were disobedient, when the patience of God kept waiting in the days of Noah, during the construction of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through the water.

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2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.

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2 Peter 3:15 and regard the patience of our Lord as salvation; just as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him, wrote to you,

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See how patience is often found where we find kindness in this post.

Patience is a virtue of Christ.  We ought to study it and practice it.  Other virtues of Christ to practice can be found in 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.)

Scriptures on Kindness

Jesus is kind, and wants us to be kind.  Here are scriptures to help us think about how [Emphasis added]:

Luke 6:35 “But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men.

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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?

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Romans 11:22 Behold then the kindness and severity of God; to those who fell, severity, but to you, God’s kindness, if you continue in His kindness; otherwise you also will be cut off.

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Ephesians 2:7 so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.

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Ephesians 4:32 Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.

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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.

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1 Peter 2:1 Therefore, putting aside all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander,
1 Peter 2:2 like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation,
1 Peter 2:3 if you have tasted the kindness of the Lord.

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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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See scriptures where kindness and patience are found together here.

Kindness is a virtue of Christ.  We ought to study it and practice it.  Other virtues of Christ to practice can be found in 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.)

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

How do the will of God and the will of man relate to each other?  That’s an important question – one that should come up every day as we pray the Lord’s prayer (“Thy will be done”).  In short, we want to subordinate our will to His.

As Jesus put it:

Luke 22:41 And He withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and began to pray,
Luke 22:42 saying, “Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done.”

Peter talked about this “tug of war” in a more general sense, labeling our will as “lusts” (i.e. desires that would please ourselves):

1 Peter 4:1 Therefore, since Christ has suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same purpose, because he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin,
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.

Jesus shows us that the ideal is to make our will to be the doing of His will.  As David prophesied of Him:

Psalm 40:7 Then I said, “Behold, I come;
In the scroll of the book it is written of me.
Psalm 40:8 I delight to do Your will, O my God;
Your Law is within my heart.”

That doesn’t mean we won’t have tough times of decision – as Jesus demonstrated in the garden of Gethsemane the night before He died (see again the Luke 22 passage referenced above).  Still, we have made it our will to do His will, so we will do so when it is easy and we will do so when it is hard.

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 Ten Commandments Are the Ten Words

The expression “ten commandments” shows up three times in the text of the Bible.  Here they are:

Exodus 34:28 So he was there with the LORD forty days and forty nights; he did not eat bread or drink water. And he wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant, the Ten Commandments.

Deuteronomy 4:13 “So He declared to you His covenant which He commanded you to perform, that is, the Ten Commandments; and He wrote them on two tablets of stone.

Deuteronomy 10:4 “He wrote on the tablets, like the former writing, the Ten Commandments which the LORD had spoken to you on the mountain from the midst of the fire on the day of the assembly; and the LORD gave them to me.

In all three cases, the New American Standard Bible shows in its marginal notes that the literal rendering of the word translated “commandments” is “words.”

In somewhat similar fashion, the apostle John speaks of “commandment” and then uses “word” to refer to the very same thing.

1 John 2:4 The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him;
1 John 2:5 but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him:

Speaking more precisely, we may say that “commandment” is a subset of “word.”  That is, all commandments are words, but not all words are commandments.

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.)

Is Jesus Beside the Point?

Is Jesus Christ beside the point?  Not in a million years!

Why then do Trinitarians make a point of the Trinity – which, of course, makes Jesus beside the point?

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 God Has Revealed, Let Not Man Cover Up

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.

Jesus had been hidden from the beginning of creation, but was revealed in the first century C.E. – a point to which the New Testament bears comprehensive and emphatic witness.

Let us therefore not be silent about the things of Christ, but rather make them known – just as it says:

Psalm 78:4 We will not conceal them from their children,
But tell to the generation to come the praises of the LORD,
And His strength and His wondrous works that He has done.

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. 

Christ Became Flesh, Was Revealed, Has Been Manifested, Has Appeared

Ponder the significance of the bold print phrases.

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.

1 Timothy 3:16 By common confession, great is the mystery of godliness:
He who was revealed in the flesh,
Was vindicated in the Spirit,
Seen by angels,
Proclaimed among the nations,
Believed on in the world,
Taken up in glory.

Hebrews 9:26 Otherwise, He would have needed to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now once at the consummation of the ages He has been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.

1 Peter 1:20 For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you

Something that had been unknown (more precisely, someone who was unknown) was made known in  due time.  And we today are beneficiaries of that revelation.

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. 

Practicing the Virtues of Christ

I hope you know about practicing the presence of Christ.  If you do, you probably realize that maintaining a sense of Christ’s presence requires the practice of His virtues.

The virtues – or character traits, if you prefer – of Christ can be seen in passages of Scripture where such virtues are grouped.  For example, consider these:

The Path Christ Paved to the Kingdom of God  (focused on the list of virtues found in 2 Peter 1:5-7)

The Fruit of the Spirit Are the Root of Christ (focused on the list of virtues found in Galatians 5:22-23)

We can also consider Christ’s spiritual attributes (which is just another way of saying “virtues”) by looking at them one by one.  Let us therefore think more about His virtues in just that way, that we might practice each one more wisely and effectively.

We are able to practice morality as we see it first and foremost expressed through His life.  Thus as “a child can do nothing except what he sees his father doing,” so we will grow morally and spiritually by imitating Him.  (See Scriptures on Imitating Jesus.)  Jesus practiced these virtues as a human being, and He also practices them as God.  Let us give regard to both ways in which He has lived these qualities.

Here then are some meditations on those virtues of Jesus Christ…in order to better practice them (parenthetical reference is made to Jesus’ practice of this trait – first as a human being, and then as God):

Ambition  (Jesus had holy ambition…and is still ambitious to save us)

Courage  (He was courageous…and we should be, too)

Diligence  (Jesus was diligent…and still is.)

Discipline  (Jesus kept Himself under discipline.)

Endurance  (Jesus endured…that we might endure for Him)

Excellence  (Jesus pursued moral excellence…and attained it forevermore)

Faithfulness  (As a man, He was faithful to God; as God, He is faithful to us.)

Fearlessness  (Jesus was fearless…that we might be fearless, too)

Forbearance  (He put up with a lot from us; He still does.)

Generosity  (He was…and is…generous.)

Gentleness  (He was…and is…gentle.)

Godliness  (He was godly; He is God.)

Goodness  (He was…and is…good.)

Gratitude  (He was grateful to God; and we are grateful to Him.)

Holiness  (He was holy…and through Him we are holy.)

Humility  (He was…and is…humble.)

Joy  (He was…and is…joyful.)

Kindness  (He was…and is…kind.)

Love  (This is the virtue of His that encompasses all the others.)

Mature  (Jesus became mature…that we might mature.)

Obedience  (Jesus was obedient…and He now calls us to obey Him)

Patience  (He was…and is…patient.)

Perfect  (He was perfected…that we might be perfected.)

Peace  (He was…and is…peaceful)

Perseverance  (Jesus perseveres…and still does)

Purity  (Jesus was pure of heart…and stil is.)

Righteousness  (Jesus is righteous…and He makes us righteous.)

Self-Control  (He exercised self-control; as God, He is in control.)

Steadfastness  (He was steadfast as a man…and He is steadfast as our God)

Zeal  (Jesus was zealous about the things of God.)

These are the characteristics, qualities, attributes which, especially when taken together, distinguish Jesus so clearly from the typical human being.  Through His human life, we can better perceive how He is as God.  We can practice these attributes in His presence and with His help.

(Note about the scriptures you will read under each topic:  Some of these scriptures describe how Jesus exhibited the given quality in the days of His flesh; that is, when He lived as a human being.  Other verses will describe how He exhibits that characteristic as God.  And yet other verses will reference the quality as part of instruction to us; that is, how we should be imitating Christ.  Viewing the quality from these various perspectives helps us better understand it.  And therefore makes us better able to practice it…in His presence.)

We can also correlate certain of these virtues.  That is, certain ones fit together particularly well together and therefore can be practiced with that affinity in mind:

Correlating Virtues of Christ:  Gentleness and Humility

Correlating Virtues of Christ:  Forbearance and Patience

Correlating Virtues of Christ:  Kindness and Patience

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 Humility

Jesus was humble.  Therefore, we should be, too.  Let’s meditate on these scriptures about humilty (there are others that you can find on your own, perhaps as you study using a Strong’s concordance) that we might find help in becoming more like our Lord [emphasis added]:

Proverbs 16:18 Pride goes before destruction,
And a haughty spirit before stumbling.
Proverbs 16:19 It is better to be humble in spirit with the lowly
Than to divide the spoil with the proud.

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Proverbs 22:4 The reward of humility and the fear of the LORD
Are riches, honor and life.

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Micah 6:8 He has told you, O man, what is good;
And what does the LORD require of you
But to do justice, to love kindness,
And to walk humbly with your God?

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Zephaniah 3:12 “But I will leave among you
A humble and lowly people,
And they will take refuge in the name of the LORD.

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Matthew 11:28 “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.
Matthew 11:29 “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS.
Matthew 11:30 “For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

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

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Colossians 3:12 So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience;
Colossians 3:13 bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you.

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James 4:6 But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, “GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE.”
James 4:7 Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.

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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.
1 Peter 5:6 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time,
1 Peter 5:7 casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.

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See scriptures where humility is found together with gentleness in this post.

Humility is a virtue of Christ.  We ought to study it and practice it.  Other virtues of Christ to practice can be found in 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.)

Scriptures on Gentleness

Gentleness is important because it is a characteristic of Christ our Lord.  To help us imitate Him, here are some scriptures which shed light on that quality [emphasis added]:

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.

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Matthew 11:28 “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.
Matthew 11:29 “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS.
Matthew 11:30 “For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

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Matthew 21:5 “SAY TO THE DAUGHTER OF ZION,
‘BEHOLD YOUR KING IS COMING TO YOU,
GENTLE, AND MOUNTED ON A DONKEY,
EVEN ON A COLT, THE FOAL OF A BEAST OF BURDEN.'”

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Galatians 5:19 Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality,
Galatians 5:20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions,
Galatians 5:21 envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
Galatians 5:23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

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Galatians 6:1 Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted.

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Philippians 4:5 Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near.

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Colossians 3:12 So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience;
Colossians 3:13 bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you.

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1 Timothy 6:11 But flee from these things, you man of God, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance and gentleness.

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2 Timothy 2:24 The Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged,
2 Timothy 2:25 with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth,
2 Timothy 2:26 and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will.

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Hebrews 5:1 For every high priest taken from among men is appointed on behalf of men in things pertaining to God, in order to offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins;
Hebrews 5:2 he can deal gently with the ignorant and misguided, since he himself also is beset with weakness;
Hebrews 5:3 and because of it he is obligated to offer sacrifices for sins, as for the people, so also for himself.

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James 3:13 Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show by his good behavior his deeds in the gentleness of wisdom.
James 3:14 But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, do not be arrogant and so lie against the truth.
James 3:15 This wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly, natural, demonic.
James 3:16 For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing.
James 3:17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy.
James 3:18 And the seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.

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1 Peter 3:4 but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God.

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1 Peter 3:14 But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. AND DO NOT FEAR THEIR INTIMIDATION, AND DO NOT BE TROUBLED,
1 Peter 3:15 but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence;
1 Peter 3:16 and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame.

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See scriptures where gentleness is spoken together in the same breath with humility in this post.

Gentleness is a character trait of Christ.  We ought to study it and practice it.  Other virtues of Christ to practice can be found in 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.)

The World of Animals Provides Many Comparisons to Spiritual Realities

On the fifth day, God created the animals of heaven above and the sea below. On the sixth day, He created the animals of the earth itself.

Genesis 1:20 Then God said, “Let the waters teem with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth in the open expanse of the heavens.”
Genesis 1:21 God created the great sea monsters and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarmed after their kind, and every winged bird after its kind; and God saw that it was good.
Genesis 1:22 God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.”
Genesis 1:23 There was evening and there was morning, a fifth day.
Genesis 1:24 Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures after their kind: cattle and creeping things and beasts of the earth after their kind”; and it was so.
Genesis 1:25 God made the beasts of the earth after their kind, and the cattle after their kind, and everything that creeps on the ground after its kind; and God saw that it was good.
Genesis 1:26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”

God often uses animals (beast, creatures, etc.) to teach us spiritual realities.  Here’s a catalog of some of those many occasions where Scripture makes reference to an animal in order to covey some truth about people when viewed through the lens of the spirit.

animals  –  2 Peter 2:12; Jude 1:10  (in both cases here, the “unreasoning” quality of animals is emphasized; see also “creatures of instinct” below)

beast  –  James 3:7-8  (see also “wild beast” below)

birds  –  Matthew 8:20; Mark 4:4, (15), 32; Luke 9:58; James 3:7-8

bit  –  Psalm 32:9; James 3:3  (This is, of course, a device for a horse’s mouth, to control the horse)

bridle  –  Psalm 32:9  (This is, of course, a device for a horse’s head, to control the horse)

camel  –  Matthew 23:24

creatures of instinct  –  2 Peter 2:12 (see reference to “animals” above)

creatures of the sea  –  James 3:7-8 (see also “sea monster”)

dogs  –  Proverbs 26:11; Matthew 7:6; 15:26-27; Mark 7:27-28; 2 Peter 2:22

donkey  –  Isaiah 1:3

dove  –  Matthew 3:16; Mark 1:10; Luke 3:22; John 1:32

eagles  –  Isaiah 40:27-31

fish  –  Jeremiah 16:16; Matthew 4:19; Mark 1:17

foxes  –  Matthew 8:20; Luke 9:58; 13:32

gnat  –  Matthew 23:24

goats  –  Matthew 25:32-33

hen  –  Luke 13:24

horse  –  Psalm 32:9

lamb  –  John 1:29, 36

lion  –  Ezekiel 32:2; Hosea 5:14; Revelation 5:5

monster  –  Ezekiel 32:2  (see also “sea monster”)

mule  –  Psalm 32:9

oxen  –  Isaiah 1:3; 1 Corinthians 9:9; 1 Timothy 5:18

pig  –  (see “sow” and “swine”)

reptiles  –  James 3:7-8

sea monster  –  Ezekiel 32:2  (see also “monster” and “creatures of the sea”)

serpents  –  Matthew 23:33

sheep  –  Matthew 7:15; 25:22-23; Romans 8:36

sow  –  2 Peter 2:22  (see also “swine”)

swine  –  Matthew 7:6  (see also “sow”)

vipers  –  Matthew 23:33

vultures  –  Matthew 24:28

wild beasts  – 1 Corinthians 15:32  (see also “beast” above)

wolves  –  Matthew 7:15

yoke  –  Matthew 11:28-30  (This is, of course, a device for linking “draft animals” or “beasts of burden”)

A similar “expanded comparison” (i.e. complex of linked metaphors, into, as it were, a parable) is the world of vegetation.

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. 

Exodus 13:2 – “The Firstborn Who Opens the Womb Shall Be Called Holy”

Exodus 13:2 “Sanctify to Me every firstborn, the first offspring of every womb among the sons of Israel, both of man and beast; it belongs to Me.”

This scripture was fulfilled in Jesus Christ.  He was the first person to ever be born from the womb of death.  This is what happened in His resurrection from the dead.  Thus He was sanctified and brought to the right hand of God.

Luke 2:23 quotes this verse, apparently from the Septuagint because it uses the word “open.”  (Be aware also that “sanctify” and “holy” don’t seem to be cognates in English, but they are in the Greek; thus to “sanctify to the Lord” is to “make holy to the Lord.”)

Luke 2:23 (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “EVERY firstborn MALE THAT OPENS THE WOMB SHALL BE CALLED HOLY TO THE LORD”),

Certainly, Jesus Christ opened the womb of death.  It had indeed been a barren womb. for no one before had ever opened it.  A few people had come back from death (such as Jesus raising Lazarus), but none had come forth from death, never to die again.  This privilege was reserved for Jesus of Nazareth.  He was the first to deserve it.  Thus He was “holy to the Lord,” or, as He came to be called, “the Holy One” (1 Peter 1:15).

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 “The Faith”

There is a previous post of scriptures on faith in Christ.  That faith is sometimes called “the faith.”

This expression can also refer to the call for us to imitate the faith of Jesus of Nazareth.  As he imitated the faith of his forefather Abraham, so we should imitate the faith that he exercised.  In this regard, of course, Jesus would be the foremost example of someone “who led us and spoke the word of God to us” (Hebrews 13:7).

Here are some of those scriptures where this term is used [emphasis added]:

Acts 3:16 “And on the basis of faith in His name, it is the name of Jesus which has strengthened this man whom you see and know; and the faith which comes through Him has given him this perfect health in the presence of you all.

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Acts 6:7 The word of God kept on spreading; and the number of the disciples continued to increase greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests were becoming obedient to the faith.

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Acts 13:8 But Elymas the magician (for so his name is translated) was opposing them, seeking to turn the proconsul away from the faith.

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Acts 14:21 After they had preached the gospel to that city and had made many disciples, they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch,
Acts 14:22 strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying, “Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.”

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Acts 16:5 So the churches were being strengthened in the faith, and were increasing in number daily.

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Romans 4:9 Is this blessing then on the circumcised, or on the uncircumcised also? For we say, “FAITH WAS CREDITED TO ABRAHAM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS.”
Romans 4:10 How then was it credited? While he was circumcised, or uncircumcised? Not while circumcised, but while uncircumcised;
Romans 4:11 and he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had while uncircumcised, so that he might be the father of all who believe without being circumcised, that righteousness might be credited to them,
Romans 4:12 and the father of circumcision to those who not only are of the circumcision, but who also follow in the steps of the faith of our father Abraham which he had while uncircumcised.
Romans 4:13 For the promise to Abraham or to his descendants that he would be heir of the world was not through the Law, but through the righteousness of faith.
Romans 4:14 For if those who are of the Law are heirs, faith is made void and the promise is nullified;
Romans 4:15 for the Law brings about wrath, but where there is no law, there also is no violation.
Romans 4:16 For this reason it is by faith, in order that it may be in accordance with grace, so that the promise will be guaranteed to all the descendants, not only to those who are of the Law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all,
Romans 4:17 (as it is written, “A FATHER OF MANY NATIONS HAVE I MADE YOU”) in the presence of Him whom he believed, even God, who gives life to the dead and calls into being that which does not exist.

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Romans 14:22 The faith which you have, have as your own conviction before God. Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves.
Romans 14:23 But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because his eating is not from faith; and whatever is not from faith is sin.

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1 Corinthians 16:13 Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.

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Galatians 1:23 but only, they kept hearing, “He who once persecuted us is now preaching the faith which he once tried to destroy.”

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Galatians 3:23 But before faith came, we were kept in custody under the law, being shut up to the faith which was later to be revealed.

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Galatians 6:10 So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith.

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Ephesians 1:15 For this reason I too, having heard of the faith in the Lord Jesus which exists among you and your love for all the saints,

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Ephesians 4:13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.

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Philippians 1:25 Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all for your progress and joy in the faith,
Philippians 1:26 so that your proud confidence in me may abound in Christ Jesus through my coming to you again.
Philippians 1:27 Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or remain absent, I will hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;
Philippians 1:28 in no way alarmed by your opponents–which is a sign of destruction for them, but of salvation for you, and that too, from God.

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Colossians 1:21 And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds,
Colossians 1:22 yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach–
Colossians 1:23 if indeed you continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel that you have heard, which was proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, was made a minister.

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1 Timothy 3:9 but holding to the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience.

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1 Tim 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,

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1 Timothy 4:6 In pointing out these things to the brethren, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, constantly nourished on the words of the faith and of the sound doctrine which you have been following.

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1 Timothy 5:8 But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

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1 Timothy 6:10 For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

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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.

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2 Timothy 4:7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith;

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Titus 1:13 This testimony is true. For this reason reprove them severely so that they may be sound in the faith,
Titus 1:14 not paying attention to Jewish myths and commandments of men who turn away from the truth.

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Jude 1:3 Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints.

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Here is a post cataloging other important biblical concepts.

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 “Able to Teach”

Three times in the New American Standard Bible, the phrase “able to teach” occurs [emphasis added]:

1 Timothy 3:2 An overseer, then, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable, able to teach,

As for “overseers,” see this post on the meaning of the term.

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2 Timothy 2:2 The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.

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2 Timothy 2:24 The Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged,

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The ability to teach is important because the underlying idea is that truth needs to be passed on.

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 World of Vegetation Provides Many Comparisons to Spiritual Realities

Consider what happened on the third day of creation:

Genesis 1:9 Then God said, “Let the waters below the heavens be gathered into one place, and let the dry land appear”; and it was so.
Genesis 1:10 God called the dry land earth, and the gathering of the waters He called seas; and God saw that it was good.
Genesis 1:11 Then God said, “Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees on the earth bearing fruit after their kind with seed in them”; and it was so.
Genesis 1:12 The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed after their kind, and trees bearing fruit with seed in them, after their kind; and God saw that it was good.
Genesis 1:13 There was evening and there was morning, a third day.

Over and over, the Bible’s authors return to this aspect of creation to teach us about God and the spirit world.  These include sowing and reaping, seed and fruit, growth, and so on.  By meditating on the way God manages the physical creation, we can better understand how He manages the spiritual creation.  This is how we learn the ways of God – for the God of nature is spirit.  That is, one and the same God rules all.  It stands to reason that His ways would be consistent in both physical and spiritual dimensions.

Such expanded comparisons, or extended metaphors, can show up as parables – such as the important one we read in Mark 4 (Matthew 13 and Luke 8).  I say “important” because regarding it Jesus said:

Mark 4:13 And He *said to them, “Do you not understand this parable? How will you understand all the parables?

God is not trying to teach us agricutural principles.  Rather, He’s teaching us spiritual principles and using well-known and simple agricultural principles (that even a child can understand) to do so.  Even when the Bible seems to be talking about agricultural principles, it is actually signaling spiritual realities.

Here are some of the words used.  In every case, the agrigcultural term is being used in a spiritual sense.  It would be too much to try to list every biblical word used from this broad analogy.  Consider this but a representative sample. The verses given are occasions where that physical reality is used to explain some spiritual reality relevant to us because of the good news of Jesus Christ.

branch  –  Zechariah 3:8

bread  –  2 Corinthians 9:10

bush  –  Jeremiah 17:5-8  (compare and contrast with “tree”)

crops  –  Mark 4:28

desert  –  Jeremiah 17:5-8 (contrast with locales which have streams of water or sufficient rainfall)

farmer  –  James 5:7

field  –  John 4:35; 1 Corinthians 3:6-9

flower  –  James 1:10-11; 1 Peter 1:24-25

fruit  –  Romans 1:13; Colossians 1:6

fruitless  –  1 Timothy 1:6

grain  –  John 12:4; 1 Corinthians 15:36-37

grass  –  James 1:10-11; 1 Peter 1:24-25

ground  –  Ephesians 3:17; Hebrews 6:7-8 (see also “field,” “land,” and “soil”)

grow  –  Mark 4:26-29  (see also “sprout”)

harvest  –  Matthew 21:34; Luke 10:2 (see also “reap”)

implant  –  James 1:21  (see also “plant” or “sow”)

laborers  –  Luke 10:2

land  –  Luke 12:16  (see also “field,” “ground,” and “soil”)

leaf, leaves  –  Psalm 1; Jeremiah 17:5-8;

plant  – Matthew 15:13; 1 Corinthians 3:6-9 (see also “implant”)

produce  –  Matthew 21:34; James 5:7

rain  –  Hebrews 6:7-8; James 5:7

reap  –  Matthew 25:34 (see also “harvest”; also contrast and compare with “sow”)

river(s)  –  Revelation 22:2

rod  –  Hebrews 9:4  (a rod, of course, is a dead and severed “branch”)

root  –  Isaiah 6:13; Daniel 4:26; Mark 4:17; Ephesians 3:17; Colossians 2:7

season  –  Matthew 21:41; 2 Timothy 4:2

seed  –  Luke 8:11

soil  –  James 5:7  (see also “field,” “ground,” and “land”)

sprout  –  Mark 4:26-29  (see also “grow”)

sun  –  Mark 4:6

sow  –  Galatians 6:7 (see also “plant” or “implant”; also contrast and compare with “reap”)

sower  –  Mark 4:3, 14; 2 Corinthians 9:10

stream(s)  –  Psalm 1; Jeremiah 17:5-8

stump  –  Isaiah 6:13; Daniel 4:26

thorns and thistles  –  Hebrews 6:7-8

till  –  Hebrews 6:7-8

tree  –  See Scriptures on Trees  (see also “plant”; also compare and contrast with “bush”).

unfruitful  –  Titus 3:14; 2 Peter 1:8

uprooted  –  Matthew 15:13; Jude 1:12

vegetation  –  Matthew 7:16

vine  –  John 15:5

vineyard  –  Matthew 21:33

water  –  1 Corinthians 3:6-9

without fruit  –  Jude 1:12

Of course, I have only given a sampling of the chapter-and-verse references.  You can find many more for most of these words.  And by searching for them you will probably be engaging in fruitful study of the Bible.

A similar “expanded comparison” (i.e. complex of linked metaphors, into, as it were, a parable) is the world of animals.

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. 

Figurative Speech in the Bible

The Bible is written in figurative language, picturesque speech.  There are comparisons of all kinds:  analogies, metaphors, models, parables, patterns, similes, symbols, signs, examples, and more.  Such imagery transcends words, for indeed a picture is worth a thousand words.

There is, however, more to the Bible’s use of figurative speech than just being an effective form of communication.  We can also see that images are among the easiest communications to translate between one human language and another.  If something has been seen, every language will have a word for it.  This is particularly helpful in a world carrying the curse of the Tower of Babel, where it seems there is always some people group into whose language the Bible has not yet been translated – even if it is the slang of latest generation of teenagers.

Yet there is an even more important reason than these for why the Bible speaks in pictures.  Most importantly, the Bible is describing to us a world we cannot see, and it must draw on the world that we can see to do so.  It is as if God has made the entire physical creation to be a storehouse of audio visual aids to use in teaching us about the spiritual world.  Thus there is hardly anything described in the Genesis creation account that is not used later in the Bible to explain something spiritual.  It seems that the best way for God to teach us about something spiritual is to compare it to something physical.

If you wish to understand the Bible better, think visually and think concretely.  Theological books are typically abstract, but there is little that is abstract in the Bible.  It uses physical concrete images with which most everyone is familiar.  Yes, some of the imagery becomes dated.  However, most everyone understands the concepts of seed and fruit even though hardly anyone – in America at least – still lives on a farm.  Similarly, everyone knows what a king implies even though hardly any nations have one anymore.  The Bible’s predominant images transcend time and culture.

Sometimes, many analogies link with each other, forming a sort of “ecosystem” for understanding.  These “expanded comparisions” include the world of vegetation and the world of animals – both richly drawn upon by God and the authors of His Scripture.  For a list of these and other such linked metaphors in Scripture, see the sub-category “Expanded Comparisons” beneath the category of “Figurative Language” to the right (or, simply click here).  There are also Metaphorical Themes to consider.

Also, types and shadows are worth singling out because they usually focus on Christ – the ultimate object of all our affections.

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 80:17

Psalm 80:17 Let Your hand be upon the man of Your right hand,
Upon the son of man whom You made strong for Yourself.

This scripture was fulfilled when Jesus was raised from the dead and brought to the right hand of God according to Psalm 110:1.

Jesus was brought through suffering to the right hand of God (Hebrews 2:9).  He was a man on earth during the days of His flesh.  He was made the son of a man through resurrection from the dead (thus He was “made strong”).  That is, He was born from the dead (Colossians 1:18; Revelation 1:5) – born as son of the man He used to be.

Jesus saw the necessity for this when He told Nicodemus in John 3:7, “You must be born again (or ‘born from above’).”  That is, there is a birth that leads to death (for everyone who is born, dies), and then there is the birth that leads out of death.  Jesus was “the firstborn who opened the womb” of death.

Let us therefore look at this One whom God “lifted up” (John 3:14; 12:32) to His right hand, making Him strong.

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.

Christian or Trinitarian?

A Christian, as defined in the Bible (Acts 11:26; 26:28; 1 Peter 4:16), is someone devoted to Christ.

A Trinitarian, therefore, would be someone devoted to the Trinity.

To which are you devoted?

As for me, I am devoted to Christ.

I can find command in the Bible to be devoted to Christ (such as 2 Corinthians 11:3) but I can find no commands there to be devoted to the Trinity.

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.)

Differentiating Elders and Deacons

We have seen elsewhere how any New Testament reference to “elders,” can also be considered a reference to “overseers,” “bishops,” “shepherds,” “pastors,” and even in some cases “ministers”and “priests.”  These words are all used synonymously.  Deacons, however, are a different matter.  Although the term “deacon” is invoked infrequently when compared to all those other terms, it is still worth understanding properly.

Deacons can be clearly distinguished from elders (and all its synonyms).  This is from the very inception of the deacons’ role.  See Acts 6:1-6.  There, the apostles said that they could not stop preaching and praying in order to serve food to needy widows.  The apostles did not despise the job of feeding widows; it was a very important one.  There needed to be, however, a division of labor so that praying and preaching would not suffer from resource limitations.  After stipulating the demanding criteria for selection to be a deacon, seven men were chosen.  (The reason for choosing seven of them was that the problem to be solved was the daily serving of food to widows.)  As the apostles served spiritual food to the flock of God, so the deacons were to dispense material food to the people of God, at least the ones who were too poor to provide it for themselves.  As churches were established in various cities, so deacons were established along with, of course, elders.

This same pattern can be seen in 1 Timothy 3:1-13 where the qualifications first for an overseer (who must be “able to teach”), and then for a deacon (who was not expected to teach), are laid out.  Again, one office had to do with spiritual food and the other office focused on physical food.  (According to James 2:15-16 and 1 John 3:17, both kinds of food are important in the economy of God.)

We also see these two different offices referenced in the first line of Paul’s letter to the Philippians.  There, he addresses “the overseers and deacons.”  He does this because they are two different groups with two different sets of responsibilities.  Note that Paul did not address “overseers and elders” or “overseers and shepherds” as that would only have redundantly referred to the same group.

Peter also alludes to this division of labor when he says:

1 Peter 4:11 Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

That is, elders had speaking ministries, whereas deacons had serving ministries.  This idea of the elders speaking and the deacons serving is reinforced in 1 Timothy 3 where Paul writes in verse 2 that overseers (synonymous with elders) must be “able to teach” and in verse 13 that deacons “serve.”  All this is, of course, consistent with the paradigm established between the apostles and the original deacons in Acts 6:1-6.

The distinction between elders and deacons is thus one between word and deed.

Colossians 3:17 Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that the deacons never spoke (the deacon Stephen certainly did in Acts 7!) or that the elders never performed deeds of service.  It simply means there was a divison of labor which economized efforts for the best total result.

Since God took control of His church in the late 1st Century, He has had no need for there to be an organization of “elders and deacons.”  Those two functions of spiritual feeding and physical feeding will go on as long as there are people on earth who need either.  God directs whomever He will to do these things when and as needed.  (Remember the story of the Good Samaritan…and take note.)  In the kingdom of God, everyone speaks for Him and serves 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.)

Elder, Bishop, Overseer, Shepherd, and Pastor Are Synonymous Terms

Contrary to modern church practices, the New Testament uses the terms elder, bishop, overseer, shepherd, and pastor synonymously.  All these terms refer to the same office and the same duties.

In Acts 20:17, Paul calls to himself the elders of the church in Ephesus.  In Acts 20:28, he tells them that God has made them “overseers” – thus equating the terms overseer and elder.  Overseer can also be translated from the Greek as “bishop,” thus equating that term, too.  (By the way, an equally valid translation would be “supervisor” – which is to “see over.”  And you could make the same argument for “superintendent,” which follow the same sort of dual construction of “over” and “sight”.)  In verse 27, Paul goes on to tell these elders/overseers/bishops/supervisors to “shepherd” the “flock” of God, which is the church – thus equating shepherd with all the other synonyms.  “Shepherd” and “pastor” are different English translations of the same Greek word (“poimen”), in the same way that “overseer” and “bishop” are different English translations of the same Greek term (“episkopos”).  Therefore, “pastor” is as much a synonym of these words as is “shepherd.”

Similarly, in Titus “elder” (Titus 1:5) and “overseer” (Titus 1:7) are used interchangeably.  Paul says there that the person holding this title is expected to teach, which is of course the function for which “feeding the flock” is a metaphor (i.e. the duty of a shepherd).

Nor was Paul the only one to speak this way.  For in 1 Peter 5, Peter tells the “elders” (verse 1) to “shepherd” (verse 2).

And in Hebrews 13:17 reference is made to “leaders” of the church who “watch over” (there’s that dual expression again: similar to “over-seer”).

Thus, elder = overseer = supervisor = superintendent = bishop = leader = shepherd = pastor, at least as far as the New Testament is concerned.  They are various terms for leaders of the churches appointed by the apostles and those under the apostles’ direction (e.g. Timothy and Titus).

We can also see that “minister” and “priest” are terms associated with the preaching and teaching task, as demonstrated in Romans 15:15-16.  These two terms are more easily associated with the apostles than with the elders/overseers/bishops/pastors/shepherds.  However, they would, by definition, equally apply whenever and wherever there was preaching and teaching taking place in the name of Jesus.

Denominations carve up all these terms and define them in different ways…but there is no biblical justification for doing so.

P.S. The term “deacon” is a different matter; it is distinguished from all the terms above in 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.)

Scriptures with the phrase “in you”

It’s staggering and wonderful to think of the God of the entire universe working inside of us.  That’s just what the following verses (all containing the phrase “in you,” applied to the believer) communicate [emphasis added]:

Philippians 1:6 For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.

Colossians 1:27 to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

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.

1 John 4:4 You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.

In this regard, you should also consider meditating verses which contain the phrases “in your heart(s)” (e.g. Ephesians 3:17 and Romans 10:8), “in the inner man” (e.g. Ephesians 3:16), “innermost being” (e.g. John 7:38 and Psalm 51:6), and similar phrasings.

Consider also choruses like Into My Heart (Come Into My Heart, Lord Jesus) and hymns such as I Serve a Risen Savior.

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 Heirs and Inheritance

The Bible speaks frequently of heirs and inheritance.  Of course, both are the result of death, for it’s when someone dies that his wealth is left behind.  There is much to be gleaned, and from a variety of angles, when studying this subject.

[Emphasis added in the list of verses that follow]:

Jeremiah 17:4 And you will, even of yourself, let go of your inheritance
That I gave you;
And I will make you serve your enemies
In the land which you do not know;
For you have kindled a fire in My anger
Which will burn forever.

Acts 26:15 “And I said, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ And the Lord said, ‘I am Jesus whom you are persecuting.
Acts 26:16 ‘But get up and stand on your feet; for this purpose I have appeared to you, to appoint you a minister and a witness not only to the things which you have seen, but also to the things in which I will appear to you;
Acts 26:17 rescuing you from the Jewish people and from the Gentiles, to whom I am sending you,
Acts 26:18 to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me.’

Romans 8:16 The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God,
Romans 8:17 and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.

Colossians 3:23 Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men,
Colossians 3:24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance…

Hebrews 1:14 Are they not all ministering spirits, sent out to render service for the sake of those who will inherit salvation?

Hebrews 9:15 For this reason He is the mediator of a new covenant, so that, since a death has taken place for the redemption of the transgressions that were committed under the first covenant, those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.

Hebrews 11:8 By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed by going out to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was going.

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 a Hardened Heart

A hardened heart is one that does not receive communications from God.  Note in the scriptures that follow that it is is not just believers who are plagued by hardening, but it can happen to believers, too.  Therefore, be on guard.

[Emphasis added to the scriptures that follow, for the sake of drawing attention to the main point of the list]:

Exodus 7:13 Yet Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he did not listen to them…

Mark 3:5 After looking around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart, He *said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And he stretched it out, and his hand was restored.

Mark 6:51 Then He got into the boat with them, and the wind stopped; and they were utterly astonished,
Mark 6:52 for they had not gained any insight from the incident of the loaves, but their heart was hardened.

Mark 8:17 And Jesus, aware of this, *said to them, “Why do you discuss the fact that you have no bread? Do you not yet see or understand? Do you have a hardened heart?
Mark 8:18 “HAVING EYES, DO YOU NOT SEE? AND HAVING EARS, DO YOU NOT HEAR? And do you not remember,
Mark 8:19 when I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces you picked up?” They *said to Him, “Twelve.”
Mark 8:20 “When I broke the seven for the four thousand, how many large baskets full of broken pieces did you pick up?” And they *said to Him, “Seven.”
Mark 8:21 And He was saying to them, “Do you not yet understand?”

Romans 11:7 What then? What Israel is seeking, it has not obtained, but those who were chosen obtained it, and the rest were hardened;

2 Corinthians 3:14 But their minds were hardened; for until this very day at the reading of the old covenant the same veil remains unlifted, because it is removed in Christ.
2 Corinthians 3:15 But to this day whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their heart;
2 Cor 3:16 but whenever a person turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.

Ephesians 4:17 So this I say, and affirm together with the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind,
Ephesians 4:18 being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart;
Ephesians 4:19 and they, having become callous, have given themselves over to sensuality for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness.

Hebrews 4:7 He again fixes a certain day, “Today,” saying through David after so long a time just as has been said before,
“TODAY IF YOU HEAR HIS VOICE,
DO NOT HARDEN YOUR HEARTS.”

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.)

This Is the Age of the Kingdom of God, the Holy Spirit, and the Name of Jesus

This is the age of the kingdom of God (or kingdom of heaven, if you prefer), the Holy Spirit, and the name of Jesus Christ…according to the Scriptures left to us by the prophets and apostles of ancient Israel.

The kingdom of God was “at hand” in the days of Jesus’ flesh and surely arrived shortly thereafter, just as promised.

The Holy Spirit is the minister of Christ throughout the earth today.

The name of the Lord Jesus Christ is above every other name…and will be so for all eternity.  He rules all!

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 the Kingdom of God Being Given and Received

Here are scriptures indicating that the kingdom of God is given – by God, of course [emphasis added]:

Matthew 21:43 “Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people, producing the fruit of it.

Luke 12:32 “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom.

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Now here are scriptures indicating that the kingdom of God is received – by us, of course, and by faith at that [emphasis added]:

Mark 10:15 “Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all.”

Luke 18:17 “Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all.”

Hebrews 12:28 Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe;

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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 Sacrifice, Offering, and Altar

The practice of animal sacrifice, so prevalent in ancient times and in Mosaic Law, was rendered obsolete by the spirituality brought by Jesus Christ.  Thus the New Testament speaks of spiritual sacrifices (whether explicitly or implicitly).  However, the Old Testament itself had anticipated this transition to spirituality, which can be seen in the Old Testament verses listed below [emphasis added]:

Psalm 40:6 Sacrifice and meal offering You have not desired;
My ears You have opened;
Burnt offering and sin offering You have not required.
Psalm 40:7 Then I said, “Behold, I come;
In the scroll of the book it is written of me.
Psalm 40:8 I delight to do Your will, O my God;
Your Law is within my heart.”

Psalm 50:23 “He who offers a sacrifice of thanksgiving honors Me;
And to him who orders his way aright
I shall show the salvation of God.”

Ecclesiastes 5:1 Guard your steps as you go to the house of God and draw near to listen rather than to offer the sacrifice of fools; for they do not know they are doing evil.
Ecclesiastes 5:2 Do not be hasty in word or impulsive in thought to bring up a matter in the presence of God. For God is in heaven and you are on the earth; therefore let your words be few.

Isaiah 53:10 But the LORD was pleased
To crush Him, putting Him to grief;
If He would render Himself as a guilt offering,
He will see His offspring,
He will prolong His days,
And the good pleasure of the LORD will prosper in His hand.

Isaiah 56:7 Even those I will bring to My holy mountain
And make them joyful in My house of prayer.
Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be acceptable on My altar;
For My house will be called a house of prayer for all the peoples.”

Romans 12:1 Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.
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 5:1 Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children;
Ephesians 5:2 and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.

Philippians 2:17 But even if I am being poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I rejoice and share my joy with you all.

Philippians 4:18 But I have received everything in full and have an abundance; I am amply supplied, having received from Epaphroditus what you have sent, a fragrant aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well-pleasing to God.

Hebrews 9:26 Otherwise, He would have needed to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now once at the consummation of the ages He has been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.

Hebrews 13:10 We have an altar from which those who serve the tabernacle have no right to eat.

Hebrews 13:15 Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name.
Hebrews 13:16 And do not neglect doing good and sharing, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.

1 Peter 2:4 And coming to Him as to a living stone which has been rejected by men, but is choice and precious in the sight of God,
1 Peter 2:5 you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through 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. 

Scriptures on Reward

The Bible speaks of God as a rewarder.  How then can anyone think that living for God leads to an unrewarding life?

Here are some scriptures which speak to God rewarding us [emphasis added]:

Matthew 6:1 “Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven.
Matthew 6:2 “So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full.
Matthew 6:3 “But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing,
Matthew 6:4 so that your giving will be in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.
Matthew 6:5 “When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full.
Matthew 6:6 “But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.

Note how so many seek rewards for their spirituality from their fellow human beings rather than from the source of spirituality: God Himself.  Such people are wasting effort.  Don’t seek rewards from people; seek rewards from God (which sometimes come through people, but most often come directly to our hearts through His Holy Spirit).

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Hebrews 11:6 And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.

Note that faith requires not merely that we believe God is around, but that He’s paying attention to us and wants to make our efforts toward Him to pay off.  Of course, I’m speaking of a spiritual payoff, which is vastly superior to any sort of financial payoff.

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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 Honor

The following verses speak of honor, and particularly the honor that we give God [emphasis added, and comments follow]:

1 Samuel 2:30 “…those who honor Me I will honor, and those who despise Me will be lightly esteemed.”

God is promising to honor those of us who honor Him.  What a privilege and what a promise!

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Psalm 50:23 “He who offers a sacrifice of thanksgiving honors Me;
And to him who orders his way aright
I shall show the salvation of God.”

To thank God honors Him for what He has done.  Isn’t it amazing to think that we have the ability to honor God Almighty?

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John 5:22 “For not even the Father judges anyone, but He has given all judgment to the Son,
John 5:23 so that all will honor the Son even as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him.

To “honor the Son as we honor to the Father” is to honor Christ as God.

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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.)

Honor Christ as God

In this age, we know that Christ is God.  That is, God came to the earth to live as one of us.  Specifically, He came to live as Jesus of Nazareth.

When Jesus was raised from the dead, His disciples knew He was unique. And when He came again, they knew He was God.

In the New Testament, Jesus was honored as the servant of God who had been sent from heaven to save us.  But in this age – the day of the Lord, the kingdom of God – we know that the servant was none other than God Himself.

For just as “some have entertained angels unawares,” so 1st-century Galileans entertained God unawares.

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. 

How Did They Know Jesus was the Righteous One?

In Acts 3:14, Peter says that Jesus is “the Righteous One.”

In Acts 7:52, Stephen refers to Jesus as “the Righteous One.”

In Acts 22:14, Ananias calls Jesus “the Righteous One.”

In 1 John 2:1, John makes reference to “Jesus Christ the Righteous.”

How did these four know to call Jesus by this name?  What would have been the origin of the term?

How about:

Isaiah 53:11 As a result of the anguish of His soul,
He will see it and be satisfied;
By His knowledge the Righteous One,
My Servant, will justify the many,
As He will bear their iniquities.

Would not these disciples have recognized Isaiah 53 as a description of Jesus (especially after Jesus pointed such things out to them after His resurrection from the dead:  Luke 24:25-27, 31-32, 44-48)?

This demonstrates, once again, how the writers of the New Testament get their ideas from 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.

1 Chronicles 14:17

1 Chronicles 14:17 Then the fame of David went out into all the lands; and the LORD brought the fear of him on all the nations.

This scripture is fulfilled in Jesus, Son of David, Son of God.  That is, in a way greater than David, the fame of Jesus “went out into all the lands” and “the fear of Him” came “on all the nations.”

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.

Correlating Biblical Concepts: Faith and Obedience

Contrary to much Christian teaching, there is no tension between the biblical concepts of faith and obedience.  Christ is to be trusted and obeyed.  Here are some scriptures which demonstrate how these two ideas work together [emphasis added; faith in bold, and obedience in bold italics]:

Luke 6:46 “Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,‘ and do not do what I say?

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John 3:36 “He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”

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Acts 6:7 The word of God kept on spreading; and the number of the disciples continued to increase greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests were becoming obedient to the faith.

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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 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,
Romans 16:26 but now is manifested, and by the Scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the eternal God, has been made known to all the nations, leading to obedience of faith;
Romans 16:27 to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ, be the glory forever. Amen.

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2 Corinthians 9:13 Because of the proof given by this ministry, they will glorify God for your obedience to your confession of the gospel of Christ and for the liberality of your contribution to them and to all,

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1 John 3:23 This is His commandment, that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as He commanded us.

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Revelation 14:12 Here is the perseverance of the saints who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus.

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These two concepts should be understood in the context of other important Bible concepts.

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 Faith in Christ

Here are some Scriptures on faith in Christ [emphasis added].  Note how the Bible directs our faith to Christ.  That is, faith in God is faith in Christ.  Be aware also that while “faith” and “believe” or “believing” may not look like cognates in English, they certainly are in Greek.

Matthew 18:6 but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.

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John 1:11 He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him.
John 1:12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name,

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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.

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John 8:30 As He spoke these things, many came to believe in Him.
John 8:31 So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine;
John 8:32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”

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John 14:1 “Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me.

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

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John 20:29 Jesus *said to him, “Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed.
John 20:30 Therefore many other signs Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book;
John 20:31 but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.

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Acts 3:16 “And on the basis of faith in His name, it is the name of Jesus which has strengthened this man whom you see and know; and the faith which comes through Him has given him this perfect health in the presence of you all.

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Acts 16:31 They said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.”

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Acts 19:4 Paul said, “John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in Him who was coming after him, that is, in Jesus.”

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Acts 20:21 solemnly testifying to both Jews and Greeks of repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.

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Acts 24:24 But some days later Felix arrived with Drusilla, his wife who was a Jewess, and sent for Paul and heard him speak about faith in Christ Jesus.

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Acts 26:18 to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me.’

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Romans 3:21 But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets,
Romans 3:22 even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction;
Romans 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
Romans 3:24 being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus;
Romans 3:25 whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed;
Romans 3:26 for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

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Galatians 2:16 nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified.

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Galatians 2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.

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Galatians 3:22 But the Scripture has shut up everyone under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.
Galatians 3:23 But before faith came, we were kept in custody under the law, being shut up to the faith which was later to be revealed.
Galatians 3:24 Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith.
Galatians 3:25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor.
Galatians 3:26 For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.

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Ephesians 1:15 For this reason I too, having heard of the faith in the Lord Jesus which exists among you and your love for all the saints,

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Ephesians 3:11 This was in accordance with the eternal purpose which He carried out in Christ Jesus our Lord,
Ephesians 3:12 in whom we have boldness and confident access through faith in Him.

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Philippians 3:9 and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith,

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Colossians 1:4 since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and the love which you have for all the saints;

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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.

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1 Timothy 1:16 Yet for this reason I found mercy, so that in me as the foremost, Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life.

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1 Timothy 3:13 For those who have served well as deacons obtain for themselves a high standing and great confidence in the faith that is in Christ Jesus.

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2 Timothy 3:14 You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them,
2 Timothy 3:15 and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.

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Philemon 1:4 I thank my God always, making mention of you in my prayers,
Philemon 1:5 because I hear of your love and of the faith which you have toward the Lord Jesus and toward all the saints;
Philemon 1:6 and I pray that the fellowship of your faith may become effective through the knowledge of every good thing which is in you for Christ’s sake.

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James 2:1 My brethren, do not hold your faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ with an attitude of personal favoritism.

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1 Peter 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
1 Peter 1:4 to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you,
1 Peter 1:5 who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
1 Peter 1:6 In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials,
1 Peter 1:7 so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ;
1 Peter 1:8 and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory,
1 Peter 1:9 obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls.

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1 John 3:23 This is His commandment, that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as He commanded us.

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1 John 5:13 These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life.

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Revelation 14:12 Here is the perseverance of the saints who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus.

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The apostles sometimes spoke of faith in Christ as “the faith” – you can find some scriptures with this phrasing listed here.

Here are some other important biblical concepts.

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 the Will of Man

Just as God has a will, He has given to each of us a will.  God has declared His will for us in the Bible and makes it known in our hearts as well.  The disposition of our respective wills determines the course of our experience in this life.

Here are some scriptures on human will [emphasis added]:

Isaiah 1:19 If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land: (King James Version)

Matthew 23:37 “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling.

John 7:17 “If anyone is willing to do His will, he will know of the teaching, whether it is of God or whether I speak from Myself.

Acts 7:39 “Our fathers were unwilling to be obedient to him, but repudiated him and in their hearts turned back to Egypt,

The will of God is even more important that the will of man.  See this post for more on the will 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. (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 Obedience to Christ

We who call on the name of Christ should be found obeying Christ.  Here are some scriptures that speak to that, some directly and some indirectly [emphasis added]:

Genesis 49:10 “The scepter shall not depart from Judah,
Nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet,
Until Shiloh comes,
And to him shall be the obedience of the peoples.

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 6:46 “Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?

Luke 9:35 Then a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is My Son, My Chosen One; listen to Him!”

Acts 3:22 “Moses said, ‘THE LORD GOD WILL RAISE UP FOR YOU A PROPHET LIKE ME FROM YOUR BRETHREN; TO HIM YOU SHALL GIVE HEED to everything He says to you.

Acts 7:39 “Our fathers were unwilling to be obedient to him, but repudiated him and in their hearts turned back to Egypt,

1 Corinthians 7:19 Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but what matters is the keeping of the commandments of God.

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,

Philippians 2:5 Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus,
Philippians 2:6 who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped,
Philippians 2:7 but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.
Philippians 2:8 Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

Hebrews 5:9 And having been made perfect, He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation,

1 Peter 1:1 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who reside as aliens, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, who are chosen
1 Peter 1:2 according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood: May grace and peace be yours in the fullest measure.

Obedience to Christ is an important biblical concept.  Here are some others.

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.)

We Must Not Impose Gentile Thinking on Jewish Texts

One of the reasons that so much Christian theology misses the mark is that it seeks to understand the New Testament without sufficient attention to the Old Testament.  For example, a Christian theologian sees an expression like “son of God” in the New Testament and tries to understand it by looking up in a dictionary, as it were, the words “son” and “of” and “God” and then putting them together for the answer.  This is how strange doctrines like the Trinity get formed (see There Is No Trinity; There Is Christ).  Of course, there was a lot more Greek philosophy than dictionary involved in that ill-fated theological project, but the point remains the same.

The Old Testament is the most important “dictionary” of New Testament words that anyone could ever have.  Jesus told us, “Salvation is from the Jews”  (John 4:22).  He ought to know.  We should believe Him.

So much of church theology was built from imposing Greek and other Gentile thinking onto New Testament texts with insufficient attention given to the Jewish roots of expressions used in those New Testament texts.  The fourth edition of the Greek New Testament of the United Bible Societies (2001) lists some 300 quotations of, and 1,400 allusions to, the Old Testament.  These linkages must be pursued if the New Testament is ever to be properly understood.

The New Testament cannot stand alone.  It was never intended to stand alone.  It was not even written as a book.  It consists of various documents written to meet very specific needs of various geographically-dispersed communities involved in earliest Christianity.  These communities were organized and led primarily by Jews.  To rightly understand these documents we must study them in this context.  Otherwise, all sorts of misunderstandings will ensue.  And many have.

For this reason I encourage you to survey these posts to better understand how much, and in what ways, the New Testament and Old Testament depend on each other.

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.

 

Numbers 10:35

Numbers 10:35 …”Rise up, O LORD!
And let Your enemies be scattered,
And let those who hate You flee before You.”

Did not the Lord Jesus rise up?

Do not His enemies run from His presence?  They work out their existence away from the glory of His presence just as Paul said they would:

2 Thessalonians 1:9 These will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power,

We who glory in His presence, however, have found life itself:

2 Thessalonians 1:10 when He comes to be glorified in His saints on that day, and to be marveled at among all who have believed–for our testimony to you was believed.

Do not be with those who flee from His presence.  For in His presence is fullness of joy (Psalm 16:11).

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 Apostles Taught One Lord…and Only One Lord

There is only one Lord, and the apostles made clear that it is not God the Father.

1 Corinthians 8:5 For even if there are so-called gods whether in heaven or on earth, as indeed there are many gods and many lords,
1 Corinthians 8:6 yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom are all things and we exist for Him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we exist through Him.

Note that this passage clearly states that there is only one Lord – and it is not God the Father.  It is Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

To confirm the point, remember this passage:

Ephesians 4:4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling;
Ephesians 4:5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism,
Ephesians 4:6 one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.

Again, the apostle could not be more clear:  there is one Lord…and it is not God the Father.

Jesus is 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.)

Christ Versus the Trinity

I have written many posts on why our focus should be on Christ, and that the “Trinity” is a false and unbiblical concept.

The foundational post on this subject is: There Is No Trinity; There Is Christ.

Over 200 other posts written on the subject between July 2011 and April 2013 can be found listed at: Posts to Date on the Trinity Versus Christ.

Going forward, I’ve created a category on this blog called “Christ versus Trinity” where blog posts on this subject will appear.  Click on that category which you should find on the right (or you can just click here) and you will find all the posts written on this subject going forward.

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.)

Correlating Biblical Concepts: Covenant and Promises

Previous posts on “covenant” and “promises” have spoken to how these two biblical concepts relate to each other.  Here are some verses that demonstrate the two words in the same context, which should verify that understanding for you [emphasis added].

Romans 9:4 who are Israelites, to whom belongs the adoption as sons, and the glory and the covenants and the giving of the Law and the temple service and the promises,

Galatians 3:17 What I am saying is this: the Law, which came four hundred and thirty years later, does not invalidate a covenant previously ratified by God, so as to nullify the promise.

Ephesians 2:12 remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.

Hebrews 8:6 But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, by as much as He is also the mediator of a better covenant, which has been enacted on better promises.

Hebrews 9:15 For this reason He is the mediator of a new covenant, so that, since a death has taken place for the redemption of the transgressions that were committed under the first covenant, those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.  Thus these two words can hardly be understand apart from each other.

Thus we see that a covenant with God includes promises from God.  Conversely, we can see that God’s promises to us are not made in an isolated manner.  They are part and parcel of His covenant with us – the relationship He offers 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. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)

It Is the Nature of Prophets to See in Part

The letter to the Hebrews begins [emphasis added], “God after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways…”

And even in New Testament times, Paul wrote that “we prophesy in part” (1 Corinthians 13:9), later adding “For you can all prophesy one by one, so that all may learn and all may be exhorted.”  If any one prophet had the whole, why would there be another with a part?

One prophet can illuminate a facet of God, but it takes them all to convey the manifold facets of Jesus Christ our glorious Lord (borrowing language from James 2:1).  And even all of them are not enough, for there is so much more to our God than we can contain!

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.

Correlating Biblical Concepts: Knowledge and Truth

Knowledge” and “truth” are both important biblical concepts.  How do they relate to each other?  Consider the following verses which demonstrate the connection:

John 8:31 So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine;
John 8:32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”

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 4:1 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.

2 Timothy 2:24 The Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged,
2 Timothy 2:25 with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth,
2 Timothy 2:26 and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will.

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.

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,

Heb 10:26 For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins,
Heb 10:27 but a terrifying expectation of judgment and THE FURY OF A FIRE WHICH WILL CONSUME THE ADVERSARIES.

1 John 2:21 I have not written to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it, and because no lie is of the truth.

2 John 1:1 The elder to the chosen lady and her children, whom I love in truth; and not only I, but also all who know the truth,

As you can easily see, there is a consistent theme throughout these verses.  That is, we are to know the truth.  This is the catalyzing action.  Truth abounds, but until we come into contact with it – through knowledge (i.e. awareness) – we remain bound to the lies which also abound in the world.

We also see that knowing the truth leads to godly living.

And we see that merely knowing the truth is not enough.  We must act on that truth that we know.  Otherwise, we remain under judgment.

Therefore, let us seek not just to know about the truth, but to know it – and to know it well, from repeated experience.

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.)

Correlating Biblical Concepts: Gospel and Grace and Truth

How do the biblical terms “gospel” and “grace” and “truth” relate to each other?  Consider this passage from Paul’s letter to the church at Colossae [emphasis added]:

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
Colossians 1:6 which has come to you, just as in all the world also it is constantly bearing fruit and increasing, even as it has been doing in you also since the day you heard of it and understood the grace of God in truth;

Other key biblical words are listed 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. 

Correlating Biblical Concepts: Gospel and Truth

What do the biblical concepts of “gospel” and “truth” have to do with each other?  Consider the following verses [emphasis added]:

Galatians 2:5 But we did not yield in subjection to them for even an hour, so that the truth of the gospel would remain with you.

Galatians 2:14 But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas in the presence of all, “If you, being a Jew, live like the Gentiles and not like the Jews, how is it that you compel the Gentiles to live like Jews?

To see how these two concepts together correlate with the concept of “salvation,” see here.

To see how these two concepts together correlate with the concept of “grace” see here.

For a consideration of other key biblical concepts, 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. 

Correlating Biblical Concepts: Gospel and Salvation and Truth

Consider how the meanings of “truth,” “salvation,” and “gospel” are intertwined by contemplating this verse from Paul’s letter to the church at Ephesus [emphasis added]:

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,

Here are some other biblical concepts to consider.

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.)

Correlating Biblical Concepts: Gospel and Salvation

What does the gospel have to do with salvation?  Consider this scripture [emphasis added]:

Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.

To correlate these two concepts with truth, see here.

Here are some other biblical concepts to consider.

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 Righteousness

Righteousness defines the way God thinks and behaves, and thus defines the way He would have His children think and behave. Jesus and His apostles were constantly encouraging the disciples to practice righteousness – and not just righteousness in the sight of others, but righteousness in God’s sight.  After all, only God can truly and fully see the attitude of the heart.

Righteousness is a concept given short shrift by today’s man-made churches.  Faithful study and practice of Holy Scripture will bring back its importance.

Here then are some scriptures on righteousness.  In your study of this word in the Bible, you will find many more.

Psalm 23:3 He restores my soul;
He guides me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.

Matthew 5:6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

Matthew 5:10 “Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

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.

Matthew 6:1 “Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven.

Matthew 6:33 “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

Perhaps needless to say, righteousness is a key biblical concept.  There are others.

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.)

Correlating Biblical Concepts: Gospel and Grace

What do the key biblical concepts of gospel and grace have to do with each other?  Consider this verse [emphasis added]:

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.

The gospel is the gospel of the grace of God.  In other words, the good news for us is that God can be understood in terms 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. 

Scriptures on One God

[Emphasis added.]

Deuteronomy 6:4 “Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one!

Malachi 2:10 “Do we not all have one father? Has not one God created us? Why do we deal treacherously each against his brother so as to profane the covenant of our fathers?

Mark 12:28 One of the scribes came and heard them arguing, and recognizing that He had answered them well, asked Him, “What commandment is the foremost of all?”
Mark 12:29 Jesus answered, “The foremost is, ‘HEAR, O ISRAEL! THE LORD OUR GOD IS ONE LORD;
Mark 12:30 AND YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND, AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH.’
Mark 12:31 “The second is this, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”  [The “all capital” words are the NASB’s way of indicating that Jesus is quoting the Old Testament: specifically, Deuteronomy 6:4-5 and Leviticus 19:18]

Romans 3:29 Or is God the God of Jews only? Is He not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also,
Romans 3:30 since indeed God who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith is one.

1 Corinthians 8:4 Therefore concerning the eating of things sacrificed to idols, we know that there is no such thing as an idol in the world, and that there is no God but one.
1 Corinthians 8:5 For even if there are so-called gods whether in heaven or on earth, as indeed there are many gods and many lords,
1 Corinthians 8:6 yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom are all things and we exist for Him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we exist through Him.

Galatians 3:20 Now a mediator is not for one party only; whereas God is only one.

Ephesians 4:4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling;
Ephesians 4:5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism,
Ephesians 4:6 one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.

1 Timothy 2:5 For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,
1 Timothy 2:6 who gave Himself as a ransom for all, the testimony given at the proper time.

James 2:19 You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder.

There are other scriptures which could be added 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.)

The Gospel of the Kingdom Became the Gospel of the King

When Jesus spoke of the gospel, He referred to it as “the gospel of the kingdom of God,” or “the gospel of the kingdom,” or just “the gospel.”

After His resurrection, His apostles, while continuing to use those terms, also began to use terms like “the gospel of Christ,” “the gospel of His Son,” and related terms – all more personal to Jesus.

It was, of course, the resurrection of Christ which allowed this intensification and expansion of meaning.  How could the multitudes have understood what that resurrection would be like and how it would change everything?

Jesus prepared His disciples as best He could.  As the sun of righteousness rose, they began to see more clearly that the kingdom of God was all 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.

 

The Apostolic Bible Polyglot – General Introduction

Charles Van der Pool says (starting at about 3:00 to 3:35):

“One of the greatest advantages in using the Apostolic Bible is the wonderful correlation between the Greek Old and New Testament words, so you can look up a New Testament word, its number, and go back to the Old Testament and find out how the word was used in the Old Testament and all this information of the context of that word will give you more information for the New Testament usage, and vice versa.”

YouTube description:

Join Charles Van der Pool the translator of The Apostolic Bible Polyglot with chapter-by-chapter video seminars going through The Apostolic Bible. The Apostolic Bible Polyglot is a numerically coded Greek-English Old(LXX) & New Testament interlinear Bible. The AB-Strong numbering system corresponds to The Lexical Concordance , The English-Greek Index and The Analytical Lexicon of The Apostolic Bible Polyglot. With twenty-five years of experience in translating the Greek scriptures Charles Van der Pool offers an insight into the Word with emphasis on the wonderful correlation of Greek New Testament words which appear in the Greek Old Testament (LXX) and vice versa. Go to www.apostolicbible.com for the in-depth website.

I have owned and used this tool for several years and value it highly.

(This was originally posted 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.)

Why I Love Strong’s Concordance

Strong’s Concordance is an index of every word in the English Bible.  That’s why you’ll often see it titled as “Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance.”  Originally compiled in the 19th Century for the King James Version, it has since been produced for the New American Standard Bible (and other translations as well).  This Wikipedia article on Strong’s will give you more background on the man (James Strong 1822-1894) who produced it long before the computer age made such tasks easier.  As well, this article will give you some descriptive information which will help you better appreciate this tool’s benefits and limitations.  Nevertheless, I hope you will use it for yourself before you make a final decision on its worth.

My introduction to Strong’s was a watershed moment in my life.  I was a new Christian in the late 1970′s when I found myself in a large discount Christian bookstore in Atlanta, GA.  Bookcases lined the walls of this huge single-room strip mall location.  The floor was filled with table after table of books.  Things weren’t busy that day, and after a while the elderly sales clerk on duty behind the cash register walked over to where I was browsing.

We made a little conversation and in a few minutes he puts a Strong’s Concordance in my hands and says something to the effect of, “This is THE book you NEED to get.”  His point was that with the Strong’s, I’d be able to have one part of the Bible teach me about another part…and that Strong’s Concordance would thereby become the most important book besides the Bible that I could buy.  I had a sense that I should heed him, but I had no idea of just how profoundly true his words actually were.

Over the years, I have gained so much from using Strong’s to let the Bible be “a commentary on itself.”  While other people were reading innumerable commentaries and theology textbooks which often led them away from Scripture, I was being taken by Strong’s deeper into Scripture itself.  That’s the great value of the tool.  It helps you study a word from one end of Scripture to the other.  It keeps you in the Scripture, closer to God’s word.  Instead of reading endless stacks of books about other people’s interpretations of Scripture, you learn to read it for yourself.

Strong’s does not enable you to know Greek or Hebrew.  I would never think that I could translate a single sentence of either.  But it does allow an English speaker to find his way around an ancient text in a way that would otherwise be impossible to him.

Of course, Strong’s works best on a literal translation like the New American Standard Bible.  Paraphrastic translations lack the discipline of translating words consistently to make a Strong’s beneficial.

If I were allowed to own only two books, it would be the NASB Bible and a Strong’s Concordance.  Print editions are still valuable in our age, even though you can find Strong’s Concordance as well as Bibles online, too.  The NASB site has a Strong’s concordance built into the searchable NASB text, so it is very, very helpful.  I use it constantly, as well as the print versions of both.

(This was originally posted 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.)

Why I Love the NASB

I love the New American Standard Bible (NASB) and believe it is the most useful of all English translations of the Bible.  Here are my reasons:

1. It is the most literal of all English translations.  For a native-English-speaker who is not fluent in Greek or Hebrew, the NASB is as close as I will ever get to what the prophets and apostles originally wrote.

2. Because of its faithfulness to the what the prophets and apostles originally wrote, the NASB makes an exhaustive concordance (e.g. Strong’s) most effective.  That is, it is much easier to do study specific words with the NASB, allowing Scripture to interpret Scripture.

3. Most editions of the NASB include a cross-reference apparatus which correlates a given verse with other similar verses, many of which a concordance word study wouldn’t necessarily catch.

4. Those who created the NASB translation were convinced that the Scriptures are the word of God.  While many Bible translators have this conviction, the breadth and depth of this belief among the NASB translation committee is noteworthy.  I believe it drove them to literalness and discouraged undocumented emendations to an unparalleled degree.

The only improvement I could see to make to the NASB would be to have its Old Testament based on the Septuagint text (i.e. Greek) rather than on the Masoretic text (i.e. Hebrew).  This is because, of course, the New Testament when quoting the Old Testament seems to be referring much more often to Greek than to Hebrew renderings of the Old Testament text.

There are other literal English translations of the Bible (e.g. the King James Version, the English Standard Version, the New King James Version), and they are all useful.  There are also good translations of the Bible which are less literal (e.g. the New International Version, the Good News Bible, the Living Bible), and they, too, have their appropriate uses.  And there are certainly other worthwhile English translations which I have not mentioned specifically here.  My favorite of all English Bible translations, however, remains the NASB – for the reasons I have given.

(This was originally posted 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.)

Correlating Biblical Concepts: Truth and Salvation

What does truth have to do with salvation?  Consider these verses:

Psalm 25:5 Lead me in Your truth and teach me,
For You are the God of my salvation;
For You I wait all the day.

Psalm 40:10 I have not hidden Your righteousness within my heart; 
I have spoken of Your faithfulness and Your salvation;
I have not concealed Your lovingkindness and Your truth from the great congregation.

Psalm 69:13 But as for me, my prayer is to You, O LORD, at an acceptable time;
O God, in the greatness of Your lovingkindness,
Answer me with Your saving truth.  [“Saving” is, of course, a cognate of “salvation.”]

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,

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.

[Emphasis added.]

To correlate both of these concepts with gospel, see here.

Consider also other key biblical concepts.

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. 

Should We Not Pray for Those to Whom We Tell the Truth?

2 Samuel 6 tells the story of how an Israelite named Uzzah, who was not a priest, tried to steady the ark of God.  Only priests were supposed to handle sacred objects.  Uzzah wasn’t a priest, and so he died.  David was offended by this and only later recovered from his upset.

In Israel, priests were taken from the descendants of Aaron.  Uzzah did not qualify.  In our age, priesthood is a spiritual matter, and not a function of one’s physical lineage.  Therefore, it’s the principles that hold true.

A priest is taken from among men and appointed on behalf of men (Hebrews 5:1).  Because a priest is appointed on behalf of men, he is supposed to deal gently with them – even with the ignorant and misguided (Hebrews 5:2).

The ark of the covenant in 2 Samuel 6 symbolizes the truth of God.  If we are to take hold of the truth of God, we must do so with the best interests of our fellow human beings in mind.  The apostle Paul understood this and thus said that he “ministered as a priest the gospel of God” (Roman 15:16).

It is especially important that we forgive those who mistreat us when we proclaim the name of the Lord.  See the section of the Sermon on the Mount where Jesus teaches us to revere the Name and to forgive others in our praying (Matthew 6:9-15, especially verses 9 and 14-15).

2 Timothy 2:24 The Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged,
2 Timothy 2:25 with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth,
2 Timothy 2:26 and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will.

Such an approach can only be forged and maintained in a spirit of prayer.  Prayer is the essential duty of a priest in our age.

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.

Guarding the Way to the Tree of Life

Genesis 3:24 speaks of guarding the way to the tree of life.  We know that Jesus is this tree.  Doesn’t He beckon “whosoever will” to come to Him?  Why then must the way be guarded?

In Matthew 22:1-14, Jesus told a parable in which “whosoever will” was invited to a king’s wedding feast for his son.  One of these invited wedding guests came without the proper clothing.  He was promptly ejected.  Thus it does no good to a person to invite him to Jesus without telling him the proper way to approach.

In 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8, Paul rehearses for those believers the righteousness and sanctification God requires from those who would approach Him.

Jeremiah 7:1-15 points out the folly of declaring oneself in the presence of the Lord while continuing to live in sin.

Therefore, we must know and make clear to others that approaching the tree of life requires something of us.

Revelation 22:14 Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter by the gates into the city.

Note what grants “the right to the tree of life.”  Fortunately, God is willing to help us with the cleansing so that we might approach.  See Matthew 1:21 and 1 John 1:8-9 for starters.

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.

Revelation 22:14 – The Tree of Life

Revelation 22:14 Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter by the gates into the city.

Jesus is not just like a tree, He is a tree – the Tree of Life.

Let us therefore “cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God” (2 Corinthians 7:1) that we might partake of the fruit from the tree that is Jesus Christ, the source of all life.

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.

“Like a Tree”

Jesus was the righteous man of Psalm 1:1-3 who is “like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither; and in whatever he does he prospers.”

We can also see Him in Jeremiah 17:7-8 where He is “like a tree planted by the water, that extends its roots by a stream and will not fear when the heat comes; but its leaves will be green, and it will not be anxious in a year of drought nor cease to yield fruit.”

Jesus most certainly is not like those who are “autumn trees without fruit, doubly dead, uprooted” we read about in Jude 1:12.

So, yes – Jesus is like a tree.  A very fruitful tree.

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.

Some Promises from God by Which We May Live

Here are some promises that God has made to us through Jesus Christ our Lord.  They are the grace of God to us, and we can live by them.

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

Psalm 34:11 Come, you children, listen to me;
I will teach you the fear of the LORD.

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

Jeremiah 33:3 ‘Call to Me and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and mighty things, which you do not know.’

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

John 14:18 “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.

Ephesians 6:2 HONOR YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER (which is the first commandment with a promise),
Ephesians 6:3 SO THAT IT MAY BE WELL WITH YOU, AND THAT YOU MAY LIVE LONG ON THE EARTH.

These are but a few of the many promises God has made to us through Jesus Christ our Lord.

For more explanation of God’s promises, 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.)