Scriptures on Imitating Jesus

These verses speak to our imitation of Christ.  To imitate Jesus Christ is our greatest privilege in life.  Here are some verse to help us ponder this privilege of imitating Christ [emphasis and comments added]:

Matthew 10:25 “It is enough for the disciple that he become like his teacher, and the slave like his master. If they have called the head of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign the members of his household!

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Matthew 16:24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.

This is one of the 19 times in the four Gospels that Jesus says “Follow Me.”  To see them the rest, go to Bible Gateway.com and search the New American Standard Bible on “follow me”.

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Luke 6:40 “A pupil is not above his teacher; but everyone, after he has been fully trained, will be like his teacher.

If we are disciples of Jesus, then we should become like Jesus.

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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.

Jesus tells us, “Do as I say, and do as I do.”  Jesus does not ask us to do anything that He has not first done Himself.  He has given us the example of Himself…that we might follow it.

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Acts 4:13 Now as they observed the confidence of Peter and John and understood that they were uneducated and untrained men, they were amazed, and began to recognize them as having been with Jesus.

How wonderful for Peter and John that others “began to recognize them as having been with Jesus.”  Let us so live that people might begin to recognize us as having been with Jesus, too.  Let them see a similarity.

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Romans 8:29 For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren;

God’s plan is that we be make to think and act like Jesus (“conformed to the image of His Son”).  In one sense, Jesus was a solo act, but in another, He was meant to be copied over and over again.

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1 Corinthians 11:1 Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ.

Paul was imitating Christ, and he wanted others to follow along.

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

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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.
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.

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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.

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1 Peter1:14 As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance,
1 Peter 1:15 but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior;
1 Peter 1:16 because it is written, “YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY.”

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

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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:
1 John 2:6 the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.

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1 John 3:2 Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is.

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1 John 3:16 We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.

As He laid down His life, so we should lay down our lives.

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1 John 4:11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

That is, if God loved us, we should imitate Him.

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1 John 4:19 We love, because He first loved us.

That is, we are imitating Him by showing to others the same love He has shown to us.

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Imitating Christ means imitating His virtues.  Therefore, consider also:  Practicing the Virtues of 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. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)

Psalm 2 as Corroboration and Explanation for Peter’s and John’s Confession

We know from reading the New Testament that Jesus’ apostles were steeped in the Scriptures (what we call the Old Testament).  This was in part because of their upbringing as pious Jews, but also because Jesus taught them so much from the Scriptures through His ministry.  Most significantly, Jesus used the Scriptures to explain and corroborate His resurrection.  This enabled the apostles to use the Old Testament as their script – and written authority – as they went into all the world giving their account of Jesus, His life, death, and resurrection.

Peter and John both confessed Jesus to be “the Christ, the Son of God.”   Although there are many Old Testament verses that could be employed to undergird this confession, Psalm 2 alone is sufficient.  Note that Psalm 2:2 prophesies of the leaders who would crucify Christ.  Peter and John even made reference to this passage when they were praying with the infant church while facing their own persecution from the same authorities (Acts 4:19-30).  (Keep in mind that “Christ” and “Anointed” and “Messiah” all mean the same thing.)  Then in Psalm 2:7 God declares Jesus to be the Son of God with the power of resurrection (Acts 13:33 confirms that this was the ultimate meaning intended).  Thus Peter and John witnessed firsthand the fulfillment of Psalm 2 in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.  Thus they could call Him “the Christ” and “the Son of God.”

Of course, Peter’s confession came before the resurrection so he could not have fully understood what he was saying.  He understood it well enough, however, to elicit Jesus’ blessing.   The fuller understanding would come with the resurrection.

In any case, we are wise to appreciate how much the apostles and the early church must have relied on the second Psalm for a effective way to reflect on the events which they had witnessed.

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 Conscience

This post is part of a series of posts on the subject of sin.

In this post are some verses which reference the human conscience, so important in a right relationship with God [emphasis and comments added]:

Romans 2:14 For when Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law to themselves,
Romans 2:15 in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them,
Romans 2:16 on the day when, according to my gospel, God will judge the secrets of men through Christ Jesus.

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1 Corinthians 4:4 For I am conscious of nothing against myself, yet I am not by this acquitted; but the one who examines me is the Lord.

Technically speaking, of course, the word in bold is not “conscience” – but the idea is the same.

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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.
Titus 1:16 They profess to know God, but by their deeds they deny Him, being detestable and disobedient and worthless for any good deed.

That is, both their thinking and their sense of right and wrong are impure – and therefore unreliable.  Therefore, “blessed are the pure in heart” (Matthew 5:8), and cursed are impure in heart.  See James 4:8 for an exhortation to the impure of heart.

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Hebrews 5:11 Concerning him we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing.
Hebrews 5:12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food.
Hebrews 5:13 For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant.
Hebrews 5:14 But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.

Conscience is our “sense of good and evil.”

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Hebrews 10:2 Otherwise, would they not have ceased to be offered, because the worshipers, having once been cleansed, would no longer have had consciousness of sins?

The Greek word translated as “consciousness” in this verse (Strong’s Greek 4893 suneidêsis), is elsewhere in the NASB New Testament translated 24 times as “conscience,” 4 times as “conscience’,” 1 time as “consciences,” and this 1 time as “consciousness.”

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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 Condemnation

This post is part of a series of posts on the subject of sin.

In this post are some verses about condemnation and related topics [emphasis and comments added]:

Romans 2:14 For when Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law to themselves,
Romans 2:15 in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them,
Romans 2:16 on the day when, according to my gospel, God will judge the secrets of men through Christ Jesus.

The word in this verse is “accusing” but conveys the same idea as “condemning.”  When we act according to the dictates of conscience, it defends us.  When we act contrary to what it is saying to us, it accuses – or condemns – us.  With regard to this, see 1 John 3:18-22 for the right way to deal with accusations from conscience.

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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 Timothy 5:11 But refuse to put younger widows on the list, for when they feel sensual desires in disregard of Christ, they want to get married,
1 Timothy 5:12 thus incurring condemnation, because they have set aside their previous pledge.

Paul is not saying that these widows are incuring condemnation because they are wanting to re-marry.  Rather, they are incurring condemnation because they are violating a pledge they made not to re-marry.  The passage offers no more information than this.  What we can take away is the principle that if we make a promise, we become obligated to keep it.  The making of  promise is no small thing, which is why Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount that we should be careful about anything we promise (Matthew 5:33-37).

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1 John 3:18 Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth.
1 John 3:19 We will know by this that we are of the truth, and will assure our heart before Him
1 John 3:20 in whatever our heart condemns us; for God is greater than our heart and knows all things.
1 John 3:21 Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God;
1 John 3:22 and whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do the things that are pleasing in His sight.

Sometimes we think it’s God condemning us when it’s really our own conscience that is doing so.  This is why it’s so important to confess our sins to God and believe that He forgives us – that is, our faith in His promise to forgive is what cleanses our conscience of the condemnation.  See 1 John 1:9.

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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 the Slavery of Sin

This post is part of a series of posts on the subject of sin.

This post includes verses which speak of the enslavement that sin brings [emphasis and comments added]:

Proverbs 5:21 For the ways of a man are before the eyes of the LORD,
And He watches all his paths.
Proverbs 5:22 His own iniquities will capture the wicked,
And he will be held with the cords of his sin.
Proverbs 5:23 He will die for lack of instruction,
And in the greatness of his folly he will go astray.

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Romans 6:1 What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase?
Romans 6:2 May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it?
Romans 6:3 Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death?
Romans 6:4 Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.
Romans 6:5 For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection,
Romans 6:6 knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin;
Romans 6:7 for he who has died is freed from sin.
Romans 6:8 Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him,
Romans 6:9 knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over Him.
Romans 6:10 For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God.
Romans 6:11 Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.
Romans 6:12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts,
Romans 6:13 and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.
Romans 6:14 For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace.
Romans 6:15 What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? May it never be!
Romans 6:16 Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness?
Romans 6:17 But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed,
Romans 6:18 and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.
Romans 6:19 I am speaking in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness, resulting in further lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness, resulting in sanctification.
Romans 6:20 For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness.
Romans 6:21 Therefore what benefit were you then deriving from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the outcome of those things is death.
Romans 6:22 But now having been freed from sin and enslaved to God, you derive your benefit, resulting in sanctification, and the outcome, eternal life.
Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

I’ve reproduced the entire sixth chapter of Romans in order to provide the context for these numerous references to the slavery of sin.

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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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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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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 Sin

Here are posts listing scriptures about aspects of sin:

Scriptures That Define Sin

Scriptures That Speak of Eradicating Sin

Scriptures on the Slavery of Sin

Scriptures on Condemnation

Scriptures on Conscience

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 That Speak of Eradicating Sin

This post is part of a series of posts on the subject of sin.

The verses in this post speak of God’s purpose to eradicate sin from our lives.  The reason God forgives us of our sins is so that we can stop committing them.  He doesn’t forgive us so that we can continue committing them!

God empowers us to resist sin, to forsake it, to turn away from it.  The New Testament is full of prescriptions for avoiding sin.  The alternative to sin is righteousness – that is, doing right.  Since the New Testament majors on this issue, you’d think that churches today would, too – but you’d be wrong.  They’re more interested in attendance than righteousness.  Here then are verses which demonstrate the Scripture’s emphasis on stopping sin.

[emphasis  and comments added]:

Matthew 1:21 “She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”

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Luke 17:10 “So you too, when you do all the things which are commanded you, say, ‘We are unworthy slaves; we have done only that which we ought to have done.'”

Obviously, Jesus wants us to do all – not just some of – the things which we are commanded.

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John 1:29 The next day he *saw Jesus coming to him and *said, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!

How then can we honor the Lamb if we keep on sinning?  See also 2 Corinthians 5:21 below.

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John 5:14 Afterward Jesus *found him in the temple and said to him, “Behold, you have become well; do not sin anymore, so that nothing worse happens to you.”

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John 8:11 …Go. From now on sin no more.”

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John 8:46 “Which one of you convicts Me of sin? If I speak truth, why do you not believe Me?

Since we are to imitate Jesus, let us strive to be able to say to any other human being, “Which of you convicts me of sin?”  If we keep short accounts with God Himself, this is possible.

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Romans 6:1 What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase?
Romans 6:2 May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it?
Romans 6:3 Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death?
Romans 6:4 Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.
Romans 6:5 For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection,
Romans 6:6 knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin;
Romans 6:7 for he who has died is freed from sin.
Romans 6:8 Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him,
Romans 6:9 knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over Him.
Romans 6:10 For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God.
Romans 6:11 Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.
Romans 6:12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts,
Romans 6:13 and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.
Romans 6:14 For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace.
Romans 6:15 What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? May it never be!
Romans 6:16 Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness?
Romans 6:17 But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed,
Romans 6:18 and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.
Romans 6:19 I am speaking in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness, resulting in further lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness, resulting in sanctification.
Romans 6:20 For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness.
Romans 6:21 Therefore what benefit were you then deriving from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the outcome of those things is death.
Romans 6:22 But now having been freed from sin and enslaved to God, you derive your benefit, resulting in sanctification, and the outcome, eternal life.
Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

I have reproduced here the entire sixth chapter of the book of Romans because it speaks so extensively and emphatically about the subject at hand.

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1 Corinthians 15:34 Become sober-minded as you ought, and stop sinning; for some have no knowledge of God. I speak this to your shame.

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2 Corinthians 5:21 He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

John 1:29 above is consistent with this imagery.  Jesus became the lamb without blemish, offered to God on our behalf.

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1 Timothy 5:22 Do not lay hands upon anyone too hastily and thereby share responsibility for the sins of others; keep yourself free from sin.

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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 That Define Sin

This post is part of a series of posts on the subject of sin.

The following verses define sin, or at least help to define it.

Genesis 15:6 Then he believed in the LORD; and He reckoned it to him as righteousness.

This verse does not explicitly define sin, but it does shed additional light on Romans 14:22-23 below.  (This verse is quoted in Romans 4:3, 9, 22, 23; Galatians 3:6; and James 2:23. )

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Luke 17:10 “So you too, when you do all the things which are commanded you, say, ‘We are unworthy slaves; we have done only that which we ought to have done.'”

This verse does not explicitly define sin, but it adds light to James 4:17 below.

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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.

This verse defines sin as that which does not proceed from faith.  Therefore, consider this verse in light of Genesis 15:6 above.

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

Consider Luke 17:10 (above) in relation to this verse.

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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.

Peter and John Had a Similar Outlook on Jesus

Peter was a partner in a fishing business with the sons of Zebedee – John and James.  Then along came Jesus of Nazareth and the three of them forsook their fishing nets and followed Him.  When it was time for Jesus to choose 12 of His disciples as apostles, all three of the erstwhile fishermen made the cut.  And then, whenever there was something Jesus was doing that called for select witnesses, He seemed to choose always those three.

James was martyred by Herod (Acts 12:2) and therefore didn’t live as long as his brother or Peter.  We can assume that James thought along similar lines to John and Peter, not just because of what we have just recounted about their common experiences and common choices, but also because of what I am about to say.

It is most striking that what could be considered Peter’s most notable statement parallels almost exactly what could be considered John’s most important statement.

At a fateful moment in the history of Jesus’ earthly ministry, He asked Peter, “Who do you say that I am?”

Matthew 16:16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

And when John was concluding his narrative of the gospel of Christ years later, he wrote:

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.

Thus to confess “Jesus as the Christ, the Son of God” remains, after almost two thousand years, the signature moment of both men.

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.

Matthew 5:1-2

Matthew 5:1 When Jesus saw the crowds, He went up on the mountain; and after He sat down, His disciples came to Him.
Matthew 5:2 He opened His mouth and began to teach them, saying,

This is how Matthew begins his account of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount.  Beyond that event itself, we can see in this word picture (as well as in the similar one painted by Isaiah centuries before in Isaiah 2:2-4) what happened when Jesus, in the aftermath of His crucifixion, was raised to heaven and sat down at the right hand of God.  His disciples came to Him, and, beginning from the day of Pentecost described in Acts 2, He poured out the Holy Spirit on those who believed in Him that they might hear the words of God and learn the ways of God.

Thereafter, as described in 1 Corinthians 12-14 and throughout the church age, Jesus taught His gathered disciples – right up until the coming of the kingdom of God.  Since that time, He teaches every one who calls on Him.  For with the coming of the kingdom, our gathering is to Him and not 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.

Isaiah 55:5

Isaiah 55:5 “Behold, you will call a nation you do not know,
And a nation which knows you not will run to you,
Because of the LORD your God, even the Holy One of Israel;
For He has glorified you.”

This verse speaks to the glorification of Jesus in His resurrection and ascension to the right hand of God.  Thus He became king of a “holy nation” (1 Peter 2:9), glorified in the wake of His suffering (1 Peter 1:10-12).

There, on the holy mountain of Zion (Psalm 2:6) which is heaven, this king received all those who streamed to Him (Isaiah 2:2-4).  And just as He had sat on the earthly mountain and taught the “Sermon on the Mount” to those disciples who came to Him, so He sat on the on the holy mountain of heaven and taught those disciples who came to Him there (Hebrews 12:22-25).

This is “the nation” that was being given the kingdom of God, it having been taken away from Israel according to the flesh (Matthew 21:43).

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

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted.

Isaiah 55:4

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

In the preceding verse, we saw the portrayal of God calling forth Jesus from the dead by His word.  Now we hear God declare, “Behold!”  That is, we should “see by faith” as the apostle Paul would put it in 2 Corinthians 5:7.

Jesus is to all who see Him by faith a witness, a leader, and a commander.

As to His being a witness, see John 18:37.

As to His being a leader, see Matthew 23:10.

As to His being a commander, see Luke 6:46.

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

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted.

Isaiah 55:3

Isaiah 55:3 “Incline your ear and come to Me.
Listen, that you may live;
And I will make an everlasting covenant with you,
According to the faithful mercies shown to David.

Standing before the synagogue at Pisidian Antioch, the apostle Paul quoted the last portion of this verse as prophesying the resurrection of Christ (Note: The NASB puts New Testament quotations of the Old Testament in all capital letters):

Acts 13:34 “As for the fact that He raised Him up from the dead, no longer to return to decay, He has spoken in this way: ‘I WILL GIVE YOU THE HOLY and SURE blessings OF DAVID.’

Thus through Isaiah, God is describing to us the process of raising Jesus from the dead.  That is, God calls Him forth from the grave (as Jesus had called forth Lazarus – John 11:43).  “Come to Me,” God says.  Thus Jesus “listened” and “lived.”  According to “everlasting covenant” Jesus took His place at the right hand of God Almighty to rule (Psalm 110) from that point onward in “everlasting covenant.”

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.

Spiritual Senses in the Book of Hebrews

Hebrews 5:14 But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.

This verse is obviously not talking about the five physical senses (seeing, hearing, tasting, touching, and smelling).  Rather, it refers to spiritual senses.  At various places in this epistle we can see references to spiritual senses which correspond to our physical senses.  Here are some of them [emphasis added, along with occasional comments]:

SIGHT

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

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Hebrews 11:27 …he endured, as seeing Him who is unseen.

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Hebrews 12:2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith…

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SOUND

Hebrews 3:7 Therefore, just as the Holy Spirit says,
“TODAY IF YOU HEAR HIS VOICE,

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Hebrews 3:15 while it is said,
“TODAY IF YOU HEAR HIS VOICE,
DO NOT HARDEN YOUR HEARTS, AS WHEN THEY PROVOKED ME.”

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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.”

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Hebrews 5:11 Concerning him we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing.

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TASTE

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 5:12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food.
Hebrews 5:13 For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant.
Hebrews 5:14 But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.

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Hebrews 6:4 For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit,
Hebrews 6:5 and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come,

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Hebrews 13:9 Do not be carried away by varied and strange teachings; for it is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace, not by foods, through which those who were so occupied were not benefited.
Hebrews 13:10 We have an altar from which those who serve the tabernacle have no right to eat.

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TOUCH

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

“Coming to,” “receiving,” and “finding” all imply a “touching” or “coming in contact with.”

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Hebrews 12:18 For you have not come to a mountain that can be touched and to a blazing fire, and to darkness and gloom and whirlwind,
Hebrews 12:19 and to the blast of a trumpet and the sound of words which sound was such that those who heard begged that no further word be spoken to them.
Hebrews 12:20 For they could not bear the command, “IF EVEN A BEAST TOUCHES THE MOUNTAIN, IT WILL BE STONED.”
Hebrews 12:21 And so terrible was the sight, that Moses said, “I AM FULL OF FEAR and trembling.”
Hebrews 12:22 But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels,
Hebrews 12:23 to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the Judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect,
Hebrews 12:24 and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks better than the blood of Abel.

Under the Old Covenant the “touching” had to do with a physical mountain; under the New Covenant it would have to do with spiritual mountain.

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SMELL

Although I can point to no specific verse in Hebrews which explicitly refers to “smelling” in a spiritual sense, it is a concept alluded to throughout the book.  I say this because of the frequent reference to sacrifice – both the prior Mosaic form and the new spiritual form through Jesus Christ.  The Old Testament made frequent references to the “aroma” or “fragrance” of a sacrifice which was well-pleasing to God.  Thus the references to sacrifice – especially ones to the great and perfect sacrifice of Jesus Christ – allude to spiritual smell.  Such a reference to the smell of spiritual sacrifice is made in explicit terms by the apostles Paul (2 Corinthians 2:14, 16; Ephesians 5:2; Philippians 4:18) – the man deemed either the author of Hebrews, an associate of the author of Hebrews, or the inspiration for the author of Hebrews by a significant number of scholars over the centuries.

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Perhaps you can find other mentions of or allusions to spiritual senses in Hebrews…or elsewhere in the Bible.

I’m not suggesting that we seek a rigid parallelism between a physical sense and its corresponding spiritual sense.  I am suggesting that we should recognize that as our bodies have the ability to sense, so also do our spirits.  Growing in our understanding and use of our spiritual sensory abilities is part and parcel of our maturation as disciples of Christ and sons 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.)

Psalm 81:13

Psalm 81:13 “Oh that My people would listen to Me,
That Israel would walk in My ways!

Oh that the people of Jesus would listen to Jesus, that they would walk in Jesus’ ways!

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 Poor

God wants us to care about the poor.  Here are some scriptures which confirm this [emphasis added]:

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.’

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1 Samuel 2:8 “He raises the poor from the dust,
He lifts the needy from the ash heap
To make them sit with nobles,
And inherit a seat of honor;
For the pillars of the earth are the LORD’S,
And He set the world on them.

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Psalm 34:6 This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him
And saved him out of all his troubles.

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Psalm 37:25 I have been young and now I am old,
Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken
Or his descendants begging bread.

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Psalm 113:7 He raises the poor from the dust
And lifts the needy from the ash heap,

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Daniel 4:27 ‘Therefore, O king, may my advice be pleasing to you: break away now from your sins by doing righteousness and from your iniquities by showing mercy to the poor, in case there may be a prolonging of your prosperity.’

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Amos 4:1 Hear this word, you cows of Bashan who are on the mountain of Samaria,
Who oppress the poor, who crush the needy,
Who say to your husbands, “Bring now, that we may drink!”

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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.

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Matthew 11:5 the BLIND RECEIVE SIGHT and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the POOR HAVE THE GOSPEL PREACHED TO THEM.

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Matthew 19:21 Jesus said to him, “If you wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”

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Mark 12:41 And He sat down opposite the treasury, and began observing how the people were putting money into the treasury; and many rich people were putting in large sums.
Mark 12:42 A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which amount to a cent.
Mark 12:43 Calling His disciples to Him, He said to them, “Truly I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the contributors to the treasury;
Mark 12:44 for they all put in out of their surplus, but she, out of her poverty, put in all she owned, all she had to live on.”

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Mark 14:7 “For you always have the poor with you, and whenever you wish you can do good to them; but you do not always have Me.

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Luke 4:18 “THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD IS UPON ME,
BECAUSE HE ANOINTED ME TO PREACH THE GOSPEL TO THE POOR.
HE HAS SENT ME TO PROCLAIM RELEASE TO THE CAPTIVES,
AND RECOVERY OF SIGHT TO THE BLIND,
TO SET FREE THOSE WHO ARE OPPRESSED,

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Luke 6:20 And turning His gaze toward His disciples, He began to say, “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.

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Luke 7:22 And He answered and said to them, “Go and report to John what you have seen and heard: the BLIND RECEIVE SIGHT, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the POOR HAVE THE GOSPEL PREACHED TO THEM.

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John 12:3 Mary then took a pound of very costly perfume of pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped His feet with her hair; and the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.
John 12:4 But Judas Iscariot, one of His disciples, who was intending to betray Him, *said,
John 12:5 “Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denarii and given to poor people?”
John 12:6 Now he said this, not because he was concerned about the poor, but because he was a thief, and as he had the money box, he used to pilfer what was put into it.
John 12:7 Therefore Jesus said, “Let her alone, so that she may keep it for the day of My burial.
John 12:8 “For you always have the poor with you, but you do not always have Me.”

And the story of Judas Isacariot and the issue of the poor continues:

John 13:26 Jesus then *answered, “That is the one for whom I shall dip the morsel and give it to him.” So when He had dipped the morsel, He *took and *gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot.
John 13:27 After the morsel, Satan then entered into him. Therefore Jesus *said to him, “What you do, do quickly.”
John 13:28 Now no one of those reclining at the table knew for what purpose He had said this to him.
John 13:29 For some were supposing, because Judas had the money box, that Jesus was saying to him, “Buy the things we have need of for the feast”; or else, that he should give something to the poor.

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Galatians 2:10 They only asked us to remember the poor–the very thing I also was eager to do.

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Romans 15:26 For Macedonia and Achaia have been pleased to make a contribution for the poor among the saints in Jerusalem.
Romans 15:27 Yes, they were pleased to do so, and they are indebted to them. For if the Gentiles have shared in their spiritual things, they are indebted to minister to them also in material things.

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2 Corinthians 8:13 For this is not for the ease of others and for your affliction, but by way of equality–
2 Corinthians 8:14 at this present time your abundance being a supply for their need, so that their abundance also may become a supply for your need, that there may be equality;
2 Corinthians 8:15 as it is written, “HE WHO gathered MUCH DID NOT HAVE TOO MUCH, AND HE WHO gathered LITTLE HAD NO LACK.”

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James 2:2 For if a man comes into your assembly with a gold ring and dressed in fine clothes, and there also comes in a poor man in dirty clothes,
James 2:3 and you pay special attention to the one who is wearing the fine clothes, and say, “You sit here in a good place,” and you say to the poor man, “You stand over there, or sit down by my footstool,”
James 2:4 have you not made distinctions among yourselves, and become judges with evil motives?
James 2:5 Listen, my beloved brethren: did not God choose the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him?

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James 2:15 If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food,
James 2:16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,” and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that?

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1 John 3:16 We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.
1 John 3:17 But whoever has the world’s goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him?
1 John 3:18 Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth.

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Other posts related to the poor:

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.)

2 Samuel 22:47

2 Samuel 22:47 “The LORD lives, and blessed be my rock;
And exalted be God, the rock of my salvation,

Who is the Lord who lives but He who was crucified and raised from the dead on the third day?

And is He not the “rock” (1 Corinthians 10:4) of our salvation?

And was He not exalted to the right hand of God (Psalm 110:1)?

All glory and honor and praise to the Lord of humanity and of all creation:  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.

The Greek “Soter” (Savior) in the New Testament and the Septuagint

The term “Savior” appears 24 times in the NASB New Testament.  In every case, the underlying Greek word is “soter.”  “In Strong’s Concordance it is number 4990, with the meaning “savior” or “deliverer” – and stemming from the verb “to save.” Here are all 24 of those New Testament occurrences of “soter” (Strong’s 4990) [emphasis added]:

  • Luke 1:47 And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.
  • Luke 2:11 …born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.
  • John 4:42 …this One is indeed the Savior of the world.”
  • Acts 5:31 …God exalted to His right hand as a Prince and a Savior
  • Acts 13:23 …God has brought to Israel a Savior, Jesus,
  • Ephesians 5:23 …He Himself being the Savior of the body.
  • Philippians 3:20 we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ;
  • 1 Timothy 1:1 …according to the commandment of God our Savior
  • 1 Timothy 2:3 …acceptable in the sight of God our Savior,
  • 1 Timothy 4:10 …the living God, who is the Savior of all men…
  • 2 Timothy 1:10 …by the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus…
  • Titus 1:3 …according to the commandment of God our Savior,
  • Titus 1:4 …from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior.
  • Titus 2:10 …adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in every respect.
  • Titus 2:13 …the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus,
  • Titus 3:4 …the kindness of God our Savior and His love…
  • Titus 3:6 …upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior,
  • 2 Peter 1:1 …the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ:
  • 2 Peter 1:11 …the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ…
  • 2 Peter 2:20 …by the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ…
  • 2 Peter 3:2 …of the Lord and Savior spoken by your apostles.
  • 2 Peter 3:18 …knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ…
  • 1 John 4:14 …sent the Son to be the Savior of the world.
  • Jude 1:25 to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord…

Of these 24 occurrences, 8 seem to apply to God and 16 seem to apply to Jesus.  Therefore, the term may be used for God or for God’s agent, intermediary, or mediator.  This will hold true as we look to the Old Testament, too.

As for the Old Testament, the NASB has 13 occurrences of the word “Savior.”  The underlying Hebrew word in all 13 cases is Strong’s Hebrew 3467 “yasha,” meaning “to deliver.”  We won’t be studying this Hebrew word in this post since the focus is the Greek word “soter” (Strong’s 4990), though I have included an appendix on this point to satisfy any lingering curiosity.

The Apostolic Bible Polyglot (ABP) states that 4990 means “savior,” “preserver,” “deliverer,” “rescuer” and shows it as occurring in 24 verses in the New Testament (the exact same verses as the NASB shows for the New Testament, listed above).  As for the Old Testament, the ABP shows 4990 occurring 22 times in the Old Testament.

The 13 occurrences of “savior” in the NASB Old Testament and the 22 occurrences of 4990 in the ABP Old Testament only have two verses in common (Isaiah 45:15, 21).  We won’t be exploring this issue in this post either.

Here are the 22 verses where 4990 occurs in the ABP Old Testament, showing, as it were, how each renders 4990 “soter” (remember the NASB is actually translating from Hebrew, not Greek, so only the ABP is actually translating from Greek because it is translating from the Septuagint and not the Masoretic text of Hebrew).  After the chapter-verse citation comes the indication of whom the verse refers to (re: indicates “referring to”), then the ABP rendering, then the NASB rendering.  [Italicized words are separate words in the text; they’re added here to give the expression a little context.]

  • Deuteronomy 32:15  re: God, ABP – “God his deliverer”; NASB – “the Rock of his salvation”
  • Judges 3:9  re: Othniel, ABP – “deliverer”; NASB – “deliverer”
  • Judges 3:15  re: Ehud, ABP -“deliverer”; NASB – “deliverer”
  • 1 Samuel 10:19  re: God, ABP -“deliverer”; NASB – “who delivers you”
  • 2 Samuel 22:47  re: God, ABP – “deliverer”; NASB – “the rock of my salvation”
  • Nehemiah 9:27  re: various unnamed figures, ABP -“deliverers”; NASB – “deliverers”
  • Psalm 24:5  re: God, ABP – “God his deliverer”; NASB – “God of his salvation”
  • Psalm 25:5  re: God, ABP – “my deliverer”; NASB – “the God of my salvation”
  • Psalm 27:1  re: God, ABP – “my deliverer”; NASB – “my salvation”
  • Psalm 27:9  re: God, ABP – “my deliverer”; NASB – “my salvation”
  • Psalm 62:2  re:  God, ABP – “my deliverer”; NASB – “my salvation”
  • Psalm 62:6  re:  God, ABP – “my deliverer”; NASB – “my salvation”
  • Psalm 65:5  re: God, ABP – “our deliverer”; NASB – “our salvation”
  • Psalm 79:9  re: God, ABP – “our deliverer”; NASB – “our salvation”
  • Psalm 95:1  re: God, ABP – “God our deliverer”; NASB – “the God of our salvation”
  • Isaiah 12:2  re: God, ABP – “my deliverer”; NASB – “my salvation”
  • Isaiah 17:10  re: God, ABP – “your deliverer”; NASB – “your salvation”
  • Isaiah 45:15  re: God, ABP – “deliverer”; NASB – “savior”
  • Isaiah 45:21  re: God, ABP – “deliverer”; NASB – “savior”
  • Isaiah 62:11  re: God?, ABP – “deliverer”; NASB – “salvation”
  • Micah 7:7  re: God, ABP – “my deliverer”; NASB – “my salvation”
  • Habakkuk 3:18  re: God, ABP – “my deliverer”;  NASB – “my salvation”

Of these 22 occurrences, 18 seem to refer to God, 3 refer to intermediaries sent by God, and one is uncertain (that’s why the question mark on Isaiah 62:11).

What can we learn from all this?  Several things.  First, we should regard “savior” and “deliverer” as synonyms and consider one as valid a translation as the other.  Second, we should remember that “preserver” and “rescuer” are some synonyms that add color to our understanding.  Third, we should see that the term can be applied to God or to those whom He sends to do His work.  Fourth, and the one I’d emphasize, two early uses of the terms were for those we call “judges” of Israel (Othniel and Ehud) – God’s agents or intermediaries for deliverance or salvation.  “Savior” has been heard so often as a “religious” and even “sterilized” term in modern times that we don’t immediately associate it with the likes of Israel’s judges, who lived in rough and tumble times.

I don’t suggest that these are the only things to learn from a word study of “soter” (Strong’s 4990), or even the most important things to learn.  This exercise should, nonetheless, show the value of studying words that are found at multiple places it the Scripture.  It helps us to “let Scripture interpret Scripture.”  Study them in a prayerful attitude (seeking the good of others), and the Holy Spirit will reveal truth about Jesus that you can follow.

(By the way, if you’re not familiar with the NASB, I invite you to read why I love it.  Know that I also love Strong’s.)

Appendix

As promised above, here is an accounting of the 13 occurrences of Savior in the NASB Old Testament.  Because they do not contain 4990 in the Septuagint version of these verses, they do not show up in the ABP list of Old Testament occurrences of 4990 above.  The two exceptions to this are Isaiah 45:15, 21 which are noted below as containing 4990.  For each of the remaining 11 verses I have shown in parentheses the Strong’s number for the Greek word that is present in the LXX and therefore explains why the word “savior” shows up in the NASB.  Both 4991 and 4982 are cognates of 4990 (the first two being the verb and noun forms respectively, and the third referring to a personalized noun), so the translation to “savior” in these cases is not surprising.  I’ve also chosen to show the ABP version in italics just to make the list easier to comprehend; otherwise, you’d feel like you were seeing double.  The only unusual item in this list is that 4506, which shows up in Isaiah 49:26.  It is not a cognate of 4990 but it is a synonym, and is usually translated to some form of “deliver” or “rescue” when it occurs elsewhere.

  • 2 Samuel 22:3 NASB – My savior, You save me from violence.
  • 2 Samuel 22:3 ABP – my deliverance (4991) from the unjust
  • Psalm 17:7 NASB – O Savior of those who take refuge 
  • Psalm 17:7 ABP – O one delivering (4982) the ones hoping upon you
  • Psalm 106:21 NASB – They forgot God their Savior
  • Psalm 106:21 ABP – they forgot the God, the one delivering (4982) them
  • Isaiah 19:20 NASB – He will send them a Savior
  • Isaiah 19:20 ABP – he shall send to them a man who will deliver (4982) them
  • Isaiah 43:3 NASB – your Savior
  • Isaiah 43:3 ABP – the one delivering (4982) you
  • Isaiah 43:11 NASB – there is no Savior besides Me
  • Isaiah 43:11 ABP – besides me there is no one delivering (4982)
  • Isaiah 45:15 NASB – Savior!
  • Isaiah 45:15 ABP – deliverer (4990)
  • Isaiah 45:21 NASB – A righteous God and a Savior
  • Isaiah 45:21 ABP – just and a deliverer (4990)
  • Isaiah 49:26 NASB – I, the Lord, am your Savior
  • Isaiah 49:26 ABP – I am the Lord, the one rescuing you (4506)
  • Isaiah 60:16 NASB – I, the Lord, am your Savior
  • Isaiah 60:16 ABP – I am the Lord, the one delivering (4982) you
  • Isaiah 63:8 NASB – So He became their Savior
  • Isaiah 63:8 ABP – And he became to them for deliverance (4991)
  • Jeremiah 14:8 NASB – Its Savior in time of distress
  • Jeremiah 14:8 ABP  – delivering (4982) in time of evils
  • Hosea 13:4 NASB – For there is no savior besides Me
  • Hosea 13:4 ABP – there is not one delivering (4982) besides Me

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.

2 Corinthians 11:3

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.

Be simply and purely devoted to Christ.  What could be more simple?  What could be more pure?

To follow trinitarian teaching is to be “led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.”

The trinity concept is neither simple nor pure.  It is complicated – hard to understand and hard to follow.

Be devoted to Christ.  Love Him. Imitate Him.  Honor Him.  Christ was God in the flesh.  He is now God in the spirit.

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 Things of Christ

The things of God have become the things of Christ.  As Isaiah prophesied, “So they will hang on him all the glory of his father’s house”  (Isaiah 22:24).  And Jesus Himself said, “all will honor the Son even as they honor the Father” (John 5:23).

Here is an alphabetized list of some occurrences of “of Christ” in the NASB, which can be related the something previously applied to God:

“a bond-servant of Christ”  –  Galatians 1:10  (“a bond-servant of God”  –  Titus 1:1)

“the day of Christ”  –  Philippians 1:10  (“the day of God”  –  2 Peter 3:12)

“the face of Christ”  –  2 Corinthians 4:6 (“the face of God”  –  Genesis 33:10)

“the fear of Christ”  –  Ephesians 5:21  (“the fear of God”  –  Genesis 20:11)

“the fullness of Christ”  –  Ephesians 4:13  (“the fullness of God”  –  Ephesians 3:19)

“the glory of Christ”  –  2 Corinthians 4:4  (“the glory of God”  –  Psalm 19:1

“the gospel of Christ”  –  Romans 15:19  (“the gospel of God”  –  Mark 1:14)

“the grace of Christ”  –  Galatians 1:6  (“the grace of God”  –  Luke 2:40)

“the judgment seat of Christ”  –  2 Corinthians 5:10  (“the judgment seat of God”  –  Romans 14:10)

“the kingdom of Christ”  –  Ephesians 5:5  (“the kingdom of God”  –  Mark 1:15)

“the knowledge of the Son of God”  –  Ephesians 4:13  (“the knowledge of God”  –  Colossians 1:10)

“the law of Christ” –  1 Corinthians 9:21  (“the law of God”  –  Joshua 24:26)

“the life of Jesus”  – 2 Corinthians 4:10, 11  (“the life of God”  –  Ephesians 4:18)

“the love of Christ”  –  Romans 8:35  (“the love of God”  –  Luke 11:42)

“the mystery of Christ”  –  Ephesians 3:4  (“the mystery of God”  – Revelation 10:7)

“the name of Christ”  –  1 Peter 4:14  (“the name of God”  –  Psalm 69:30)

“the peace of Christ”  –  Colossians 3:15  (“the peace of God”  –  Philippians 4:7)

“the power of Christ”  –  2 Corinthians 12:9  (“the power of God”  –  Romans 1:16)

“the presence of Christ”  –  2 Corinthians 2:10  (“the presence of God”  –  Ecclesiastes 5:1-2)

servants of Christ”  –  1 Corinthians 4:1  (“servants of God”  –  2 Corinthians 6:4)

“the Spirit of Christ”  –  Romans 8:9  (“the Spirit of God”  –  Genesis 1:2)

“the testimony of Jesus”  –  Revelation 1:9  (“the testimony of God”  –  1 Corinthians 2:1)

“the truth of Christ”  –  2 Corinthians 11:10  (“the truth of God”  –  Romans 1:25)

“the witnesses of Jesus”  –  Revelation 17:6  (“the witnesses of God” –  1 Corinthians 15:15)

“the word of Christ”  –  Colossians 3:16  (“the word of God”  –  1 Samuel 9:27)

“the work of Christ”  –  Philippians 2:30  (“the work of God”  –  Psalm 64:9)

“the works of Christ”  –  Matthew 11:2  (“the works of God”  – Psalm 66:5)

The things of God have become the things of Christ.  A list like this helps us to see examples of what this means.

Let us give Christ all the glory 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.)

2 John 1:9

2 John 1:9 Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God; the one who abides in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son.

The teaching of Trinity is going too far and not abiding in the teaching of Christ.  Trinitarian doctrine is foreign to Scripture.  To think of God as a trinity is to impose Gentile thinking on Jewish Scripture, to impose philosophical speculations on scriptural truth.

Abide in the teaching of Christ and you will know the truth.  Love Christ, serve Christ, live for Christ, die for Christ.

God became Christ that we might know Him.

If you abide in Christ, you will will find both the Father and the Son.

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 John 4:14

1 John 4:14 We have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son to be the Savior of the world.

The Son is the Savior of the world.  The Son is Jesus Christ.  Thus Jesus the Christ is the Savior of the world.  Who is the Savior of the world?  The Christ.

To whom, therefore, should we look for help?  The Son.  He is the Savior.

Let us meditate on the Son.

Let us meditate on the Savior of the world.

He makes all things right.

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 Living and Abiding Word of God

In 1 Peter 1:23, Peter writes that the recipients of his letter “have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and abiding word of God.”  Is Peter here speaking of the Scriptures…or of Jesus who is Himself the fully-personalized word of God.  To understand which Peter means we need to refer back to something he said earlier in his letter (1 Peter 1:3) where he says that the recipients of the letter have been “born again to the living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.”   Thus Peter is not saying that his readers have been born again of the Bible.  If the Bible was all that was necessary to give new life, then Jesus died needlessly (Galatians 2:21).  It is the resurrected Christ who births new life in us.  It is the Bible which testifies to Him (John 5:39).

The Bible is not the focal point of our faith.  Rather the Bible bears witness to the One who is the focal point of our faith:  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.

Depersonalizing the Word of God

John 5:39 “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me;

Scripture has its limitations…and this verse tell us why.  The Bible is an insufficient guide to life by itself.  We must believe and act upon what it says about Jesus Christ.  We must believe and act upon what it says about His Holy Spirit.  And so on.

Those who claim allegiance to the Bible but ignore the presence of Christ will find their lives desolate.

To restrict the word of God to only that which is in the Bible is to depersonalize the word of God.  Remember: Jesus is the living and abiding word of God.

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

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted.

The Limitations of Scripture

Hebrews 4:12-13 says that the word of God is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.  The Scripture is the word of God.  The Scripture cannot, however, judge all the thoughts and intentions of the heart.  We know this from our own experience because there are issues that vex us – important moral issues – for which we cannot easily turn to a single page of the Bible and resolve it.

Thus we must lean on the Scriptures but we must also lean on the God of whom the Scriptures testify.  His name is Christ, and His Holy Spirit – the same Holy Spirit who inspired the Scriptures – enlightens our hearts with the mind of Christ so that we might live godly in this fallen world.

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

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted.

Hebrews 4:12-13

Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
Hebrews 4:13 And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.

Who is able to “judge the the thoughts and intentions of the heart” but Jesus Christ Himself:

Romans 2:16 …God will judge the secrets of men through Christ Jesus.

And He is called “the Word of God” elsewhere:

Revelation 19:13 …His name is called The Word of God.

Note that Hebrews 4:12-13 speaks of “the word of God” in personal terms.  Let us therefore understand it in personal terms.  As the apostle John put it:

John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

Jesus Christ is the “living and active” –  that is, personal – “word of God.”

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

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted.

Psalm 81:13

Psalm 81:13 “Oh that My people would listen to Me,
That Israel would walk in My ways!

Who makes this statement?  Jesus Christ.

He doesn’t say, “Oh that My people would listen to each other.”  That’s what the church leaders would have Him say, because they want us to belong to church.  Rather Jesus says, “Oh that My people would listen to Me.”

One of the marks of churchianity is that it has people listening to people instead of people listening to God.  (See also 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 Caterpillar of Israel Entered the Cocoon of Church that It Might Become the Butterfly of the Kingdom of God

The caterpillar – the nation of ancient Israel.

The cocoon – the New Testament church.

The butterfly – the kingdom of God.

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The caterpillar was chronicled in the Old Testament and in the gospels of the New Testament.

The cocoon was chronicled in Acts through Revelation of the New Testament.

The butterfly was prophesied in the Old and New Testaments, ancient Israel and the church providing foreshadowings of it.

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

 

The Church Age Was Short

Relatively speaking, the church age was very short.  It lasted but one generation.  Jesus launched the church, but promised that He would return in His kingdom before that generation had completely passed away (see Matthew 10:23; 16:28; 24:34 and this post).

Prior to that, Israel had existed as a nation for over a thousand years.  Since the church age ended, the kingdom of God began and will extend through all eternity.  The church age, therefore, was very short in comparison to the age before it, and infinitely so in comparison to the age that followed it.

When people try to preserve the church age, they just deny themselves the glories of the kingdom 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.

 

From Man to Family to Nation to Church to Kingdom

God wanted a kingdom.  As is the way of God, He went through a process to create it.  (He is a God of order – see Genesis 1).

God started with a man – Abraham.

From the man God built a family – Isaac, Jacob, and those who followed.

From the family God built a nation – and Moses led them from their slavery in Egypt.

From the nation God called the church – the ekklesia, or assembly of the righteous.  We read about them in the New Testament (Acts to Revelation).

From the church God purified a kingdom – the kingdom of God which reigns in our midst, and is open to anyone who cleanses himself to enter it and walk in it.

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

 

From Nation to Church to Kingdom

God established the nation Israel that He might from it call the church (Acts 3:22-23).

God established the church that He might from it call His kingdom (Matthew 13:24-30).

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.

 

There Was a Time for Church, and There Was a Time for a Nation, But It’s No Longer Time for Either of Them Now

When it was time for a family, God raised up Abraham.

When it was time for a nation, God raised up Moses.

When it was time for a church, God raised up Jesus.

When it was time for a kingdom, Jesus inherited all things.

We live in the age of the kingdom of God.  Therefore, it is no longer the age to pursue church, just as during the church age it was no longer the time to pursue the national interests of Israel.

Ecclesiastes 3:1 There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven–

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.

His Nation, His Church, His Kingdom

From the time of Moses to the ascension of Christ, God looked out for His nation.

From the ascension of Christ to the coming of Christ, God looked out for His church.

From the coming of Christ and throughout all eternity, God looks out for His kingdom.

Forget trying to preserve the church.  Forget trying to preserve the nation of Israel.

What then shall we remember?

“…seek first His kingdom and His righteousness”  –  Matthew 6:33

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 Hope Without Direct Reference to God

Sometimes we get dulled to the meaning of a word like “hope.”  This can happen when it is used solely in a religious context and its practical meaning gets lost as people talk about it without practicing it.  It can therefore help to examine how the word is used when not applied directly to God.  That can bring us back to its true meaning, which we can then turn around and apply to God afresh.

Here then are some references to “hope” from the Bible where hope is either in someone other than God or being held by someone other than a believer or as having to do with some expectation not explicitly tied to God [emphasis added to draw focus to the point; some comments are added as well]:

Proverbs 13:12 Hope deferred makes the heart sick,
But desire fulfilled is a tree of life.

We see from this verse that hope is a desire.

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Luke 23:8 Now Herod was very glad when he saw Jesus; for he had wanted to see Him for a long time, because he had been hearing about Him and was hoping to see some sign performed by Him.

Herod was not a godly man.  He was, however, desiring or expecting to see Jesus perform some sign.

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Luke 24:21 “But we were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel. Indeed, besides all this, it is the third day since these things happened.

The disciples were speaking of a hope that they thought had been dashed – dashed by death.  Jesus would soon not just revive that hope, but fulfill it as well.

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Acts 24:26 At the same time too, he was hoping that money would be given him by Paul; therefore he also used to send for him quite often and converse with him.

This hope has nothing to do with God, but does show us the nature of hope.

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Acts 27:20 Since neither sun nor stars appeared for many days, and no small storm was assailing us, from then on all hope of our being saved was gradually abandoned.

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Romans 8:24 For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees?
Romans 8:25 But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.

While this passage begins with a reference to hope in God, it then references the fundamental nature or definition of hope by reminding us that hope has to do what cannot yet be seen.  Thus hope is not necessary for anything we see in the present.  Stated another way, what we see in the present arouses no hope because it is here.  We hope for what is not yet before us.

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Romans 15:22 For this reason I have often been prevented from coming to you;
Romans 15:23 but now, with no further place for me in these regions, and since I have had for many years a longing to come to you
Romans 15:24 whenever I go to Spain–for I hope to see you in passing, and to be helped on my way there by you, when I have first enjoyed your company for a while–
Romans 15:25 but now, I am going to Jerusalem serving the saints.

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1 Corinthians 16:7 For I do not wish to see you now just in passing; for I hope to remain with you for some time, if the Lord permits.

Here Paul is holding to a hope that he has not yet cleared with God.

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Philippians 2:23 Therefore I hope to send him immediately, as soon as I see how things go with me;
Philippians 2:24 and I trust in the Lord that I myself also will be coming shortly.

Paul’s hope to send Timothy is being governed by how Paul’s circumstances turn out in the short term.

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1 Timothy 3:14 I am writing these things to you, hoping to come to you before long;
1 Timothy 3:15 but in case I am delayed, I write so that you will know how one ought to conduct himself in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and support of the truth.

Paul was desiring, expecting, wishing to come to Timothy before long.  This is the nature of hope.  It looks to the future.

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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.

This verse actually talks about hope in something other than God as well as hope in God.

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2 John 1:12 Though I have many things to write to you, I do not want to do so with paper and ink; but I hope to come to you and speak face to face, so that your joy may be made full.

This is the kind of expression we can see making to a friend whom we’d rather speak face to face than write a note.

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3 John 1:13 I had many things to write to you, but I am not willing to write them to you with pen and ink;
3 John 1:14 but I hope to see you shortly, and we will speak face to face.

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Here are some scriptures on hope which do have to do with 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.)

Proverbs 22:4

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

In the resurrection of Jesus Christ, all these values were turned on their head.  That is, Jesus showed us the folly of seeking the riches of the world, the honor of the world, and even life in this world.

People who want to get rich in this world “fall into temptation and snare” (1 Timothy 6:9).

People who want honor from men forego praise from God (Romans 2:29).

People who focus on life in this world miss the abundant life that only God can give (John 12:25).

Therefore, we now want to seek the riches of God (Ephesians 2:7) instead of worldly riches.

We now want to receive honor from God (1 Samuel 2:30) instead of worldly fame.

And we now want to find the life that is with God (John 10:10) instead of mere physical existence.

Thus the riches, honor, and life with which God rewards us is spiritual and not physical, eternal and not temporal.   In Jesus Christ therefore are all true riches, honor, and 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.

The Prophets Preached Repentance to Their Contemporaries but Wrote of a Messiah for the Distant Future

God’s prophets were constantly calling Israel to repent because Israel was constantly straying from righteousness.  God raised up the prophets for this very purpose: to call His people back to Himself.

In their ministry, however, the prophets also spoke of an ultimate hope – a hope for all creation.  This hope would be realized through a promised one (the Messiah, also called Christ or Anointed One) that God would send.  He would be greater than any of the prophets before or after Him.

It is the way of God to announce His intentions ahead of His actions.  In the case of Messiah and His cosmic work of redemption, the announcements would be made centuries before their fulfillment (Romans 1:1-2; 16:25-27; Acts 15:18).  David lived a thousand years before Christ, Moses fifteen hundred years before Christ, and Abraham over two thousand years before Christ.  All these men – and other prophets like them – were promising the Christ on behalf of God (2 Samuel 7:19; 1 Peter 1:10-12).  And for posterity’s sake, these prophecies were written down and preserved so that subsequent generations might know and honor the faithfulness of God.

The contemporaries of the prophets could hear of Messiah and look to Him in hope, but we who live after the resurrection of Messiah from the grave, and after His coming again in glory, can look to Him in faith (Matthew 13:17).

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 Radically Different Way that Jesus Thought

Jesus said things that were stunning to His disciples – and stunning to us as well.  It’s obvious that He thought in a way different from the way most of us think.  Of course, the point of His sharing His way of thinking is so that we can adopt it.  Therefore, let us medidate these kinds of statements from Jesus that we might practice them…until they no longer seem strange to us.

Here’s as good a place as any to start:

Matthew 6:24 “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.
Matthew 6:25 “For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?
Matthew 6:26 “Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?
Matthew 6:27 “And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life?
Matthew 6:28 “And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin,
Matthew 6:29 yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these.
Matthew 6:30 “But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith!
Matthew 6:31 “Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’
Matthew 6:32 “For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.
Matthew 6:33 “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
Matthew 6:34 “So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

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Matthew 18:21 Then Peter came and said to Him, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?”
Matthew 18:22 Jesus *said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.

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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 Entering the Kingdom of God

What could be more important in our time than seeking and finding the kingdom of God?  Nothing.

The most important thing to know about entrance into the kingdom of God is that it requires morality on our part – godliness.  And we can achieve that only through our Lord Jesus Christ, who promises to conform us to His image if we will but follow Him.

Here then are some scripture passages that will help you plan your approach to the kingdom of God [emphasis added]:

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.

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Matthew 7:21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.

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Matthew 18:1 At that time the disciples came to Jesus and said, “Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”
Matthew 18:2 And He called a child to Himself and set him before them,
Matthew 18:3 and said, “Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.
Matthew 18:4 “Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

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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.
2 Peter 1:9 For he who lacks these qualities is blind or short-sighted, having forgotten his purification from his former sins.
2 Peter1:10 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.

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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.)

Significant Statements About Spirit

This post is part of a series of posts On Becoming Spiritual.  

Here are some other phrasings involving the word “spirit” that are worth studying (in addition to the ones already identified in the list found at the end of On Becoming Spiritual).  They can be searched at BibleGateway.com.  After each, I have listed the number of occurrences of that phrase according to that site’s search engine.

Luke 24:39 “See My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself; touch Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.”

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John 3:6 “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.

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John 4:24 “God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”

God is spirit.

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John 6:63 “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.

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1 Thessalonians 5:23 Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

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Hebrews 1:13 But to which of the angels has He ever said,
“SIT AT MY RIGHT HAND,
UNTIL I MAKE YOUR ENEMIES
A FOOTSTOOL FOR YOUR FEET”?
Hebrews 1:14 Are they not all ministering spirits, sent out to render service for the sake of those who will inherit salvation?

Angels are spirits.

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Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

It’s not easy to separate or distinguish soul from spirit.

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James 2:26 For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.

We are spirit and we shall one day be separated from this body (that is, we shall die).

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For more on spirituality, see On Becoming Spiritual.

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.)

Other Phrasings Involving the Word “Spirit”

This post is part of a series of posts On Becoming Spiritual.  

Here are some other phrasings involving the word “spirit” that are worth studying (in addition to the ones already identified in the list found at the end of On Becoming Spiritual).  They can be searched at BibleGateway.com.  After each, I have listed the number of occurrences of that phrase according to that site’s search engine.

according to the spirit”  (4)

in the spirit”  (20)  –  will include “how does David in the spirit call Him” and “I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day”

of the spirit”  (36)

on the spirit”  (1)

spirits of”  (11)  –  will include “spirits of the righteous” and “spirits of the prophets”

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For more on spirituality, see On Becoming Spiritual.

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 Word “Spirit” in a List

This post is part of a series of posts On Becoming Spiritual.  

Sometimes the word “spirit” shows up in a context where it is described as part of a set or list (that is, two or more items).  This helps draw out its meaning.  Here are some examples.  Note only have I made bold the word “spirit” where it appears, but also the other item or items that are considered along with it.

Acts 23:8 For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, nor an angel, nor a spirit, but the Pharisees acknowledge them all.
Acts 23:9 And there occurred a great uproar; and some of the scribes of the Pharisaic party stood up and began to argue heatedly, saying, “We find nothing wrong with this man; suppose a spirit or an angel has spoken to him?”

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1 Corinthians 14:14 For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my mind is unfruitful.
1 Corinthians 14:15 What is the outcome then? I will pray with the spirit and I will pray with the mind also; I will sing with the spirit and I will sing with the mind also.

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1 Thessalonians 5:23 Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

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2 Thessalonians 2:1 Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him,
2 Thessalonians 2:2 that you not be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come.

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Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

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For more on spirituality, see On Becoming Spiritual.

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.)

Spiritual Wisdom v. Worldly Wisdom

In this  post are portions of Scripture which speak of two different kinds of wisdom: that which is from God and that which is from the world.  I made references to the wisdom of the world bold, and references to the wisdom of God italicized bold.

1 Corinthians 1:18 For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
1 Corinthians 1:19 For it is written,
“I WILL DESTROY THE WISDOM OF THE WISE,
AND THE CLEVERNESS OF THE CLEVER I WILL SET ASIDE.”
1 Corinthians 1:20 Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?
1 Corinthians 1:21 For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.
1 Corinthians 1:22 For indeed Jews ask for signs and Greeks search for wisdom;
1 Corinthians 1:23 but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness,
1 Corinthians 1:24 but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.
1 Corinthians 1:25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
1 Corinthians 1:26 For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble;
1 Corinthians 1:27 but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong,
1 Corinthians 1:28 and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are,
1 Corinthians 1:29 so that no man may boast before God.
1 Corinthians 1:30 But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption,
1 Corinthians 1:31 so that, just as it is written, “LET HIM WHO BOASTS, BOAST IN THE LORD.”

1 Corinthians 2:1 And when I came to you, brethren, I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God.
1 Corinthians 2:2 For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.
1 Corinthians 2:3 I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling,
1 Corinthians 2:4 and my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power,
1 Corinthians 2:5 so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God.
1 Corinthians 2:6 Yet we do speak wisdom among those who are mature; a wisdom, however, not of this age nor of the rulers of this age, who are passing away;
1 Corinthians  2:7 but we speak God’s wisdom in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God predestined before the ages to our glory;
1 Corinthians 2:8 the wisdom which none of the rulers of this age has understood; for if they had understood it they would not have crucified the Lord of glory;
1 Corinthians  2:9 but just as it is written,
“THINGS WHICH EYE HAS NOT SEEN AND EAR HAS NOT HEARD,
AND which HAVE NOT ENTERED THE HEART OF MAN,
ALL THAT GOD HAS PREPARED FOR THOSE WHO LOVE HIM.”
1 Corinthians 2:10 For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God.
1 Corinthians 2:11 For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God.
1 Corinthians  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,
1 Corinthians 2:13 which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words.
1 Corinthians 2:14 But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised.
1 Corinthians  2:15 But he who is spiritual appraises all things, yet he himself is appraised by no one.
1 Corinthians 2:16 For WHO HAS KNOWN THE MIND OF THE LORD, THAT HE WILL INSTRUCT HIM? But we have the mind of Christ.

1 Corinthians 3:1 And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual men, but as to men of flesh, as to infants in Christ.
1 Corinthians 3:2 I gave you milk to drink, not solid food; for you were not yet able to receive it. Indeed, even now you are not yet able,
1 Corinthians 3:3 for you are still fleshly. For since there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not fleshly, and are you not walking like mere men?
1 Corinthians 3:4 For when one says, “I am of Paul,” and another, “I am of Apollos,” are you not mere men?
1 Corinthians  3:5 What then is Apollos? And what is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, even as the Lord gave opportunity to each one.
1 Corinthians 3:6 I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth.
1 Corinthians 3:7 So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth.
1 Corinthians 3:8 Now he who plants and he who waters are one; but each will receive his own reward according to his own labor.
1 Corinthians 3:9 For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building.
1 Corinthians 3:10 According to the grace of God which was given to me, like a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building on it. But each man must be careful how he builds on it.
1 Corinthians 3:11 For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 3:12 Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw,
1 Corinthians 3:13 each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work.
1 Corinthians  3:14 If any man’s work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward.
1 Corinthians 3:15 If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.
1 Corinthians 3:16 Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?
1 Corinthians  3:17 If any man destroys the temple of God, God will destroy him, for the temple of God is holy, and that is what you are.
1 Corinthians 3:18 Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you thinks that he is wise in this age, he must become foolish, so that he may become wise.
1 Corinthians 3:19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness before God. For it is written, “He is THE ONE WHO CATCHES THE WISE IN THEIR CRAFTINESS“;
1 Corinthians  3:20 and again, “THE LORD KNOWS THE REASONINGS of the wise, THAT THEY ARE USELESS.”
1 Corinthians 3:21 So then let no one boast in men. For all things belong to you,
1 Corinthians 3:22 whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or things present or things to come; all things belong to you,
1 Corinthians 3:23 and you belong to Christ; and Christ belongs to God.

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2 Corinthians 1:12 For our proud confidence is this: the testimony of our conscience, that in holiness and godly sincerity, not in fleshly wisdom but in the grace of God, we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially toward you.

Neither the word “spiritual” nor any of its cognates appear in this verse, but it is undeniable that its meaning is there.

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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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For more on spirituality, see On Becoming Spiritual.

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.)

Synonyms for the Human Spirit

The Bible refers to the human spirit in a variety of ways.  Of coure, foremost among these is “spirit” itself.  Here are some of the others [emphasis added]:

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

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Psalm 77:6 I will remember my song in the night;
I will meditate with my heart,
And my spirit ponders:

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Isaiah 57:16 “For I will not contend forever,
Nor will I always be angry;
For the spirit would grow faint before Me,
And the breath of those whom I have made.

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2 Corinthians 4:16 Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day.

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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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For more on spirituality, see On Becoming Spiritual.

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. 

Contrasting Spirit, Spiritual, and Spiritually

This post is part of a series of posts On Becoming Spiritual.  

The words spirit, spiritual, and spiritually are often presented in contrast with other terms in the Bible.  These contrasts help us better understand these three cognates.

Keep in mind that while a contrast does not always imply opposites, it always implies some sort of distinguishing.

Here are some of the contrasts:

absent in body v. present in spirit  –  1 Corinthians 5:3 (see also Colossians 2:5)

according to the flesh v. according to the spirit  –  Roman 8:4-5

by human wisdom v. by the Spirit  –  1 Corinthans 2:13

body v. spirit  –  Romans 8:10; 1 Corinthians 7:34; 1 Thessalonians 5:23; James 2:26

flesh v. spirit  –  2 Corinthians 7:1; 1 Peter 3:18

in person v. in spirit  –  1 Thessalonians 2:17

in the flesh v. in the spirit  –  Romans 8:9; Philippians 3:3

natural(ly) v. spiritually  –  1 Corinthians 2:14

natural body v. spiritual body  –  1 Corinthians 15:44

on the flesh v. on the spirit  –  Romans 86

soul v. spirit  –  1 Thessalonians 5:23; Hebrews 4:12

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For more on the general idea of contrasts, see Clarity Through Contrast.

For more on spirituality, see On Becoming Spiritual.

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. 

Understanding [Blank] in Spirit

The phrasing “[blank] in spirit” occurs 20 times in the Bible according to the search function in BibleGateway.com.  Practically all of them are listed below.

crushed in spirit  –  Psalm 34:18

fervent in spirit  –  Acts 18:25; Romans 12:11

grieved in spirit  –  Isaiah 54:6

humble in spirit  –  Proverbs 16:19; 1 Peter 3:8

moved in spirit  –  John 11:33

oppressed in spirit  –  1 Samuel 1:15

poor in spirit  –  Matthew 5:3

present in spirit  –  1 Corinthians 5:3

stagnant in spirit  –  Zephaniah 1:12

strong in spirit  –  Luke 1:80

troubled in spirit  –  John 13:21

united in spirit  –  Philippians 2:2

worship in spirit  –  John 4:24

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This post is part of a series of posts On Becoming Spiritual.

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. 

Zion – The Place of the Lord’s Interest

The glory of Zion was a theme of Psalms and the Prophets.

Zion is sometimes called Mount Zion.  In either case, it is often used as a synonym for Jerusalem, or as the heart of Jerusalem since it is considered the location of the temple.  Zion was a place always considered near and dear to God’s heart.  See, for example, Psalm 48.

When Jesus was raised from the dead and seated at the right hand of God, however, an entirely new light was cast on this subject.  Specifically, the Zion God was interested most in was in heaven, not on earth.  For David had prophesied of the day God would say of His Messiah in the second psalm:

Psalm 2:6 “But as for Me, I have installed My King
Upon Zion, My holy mountain.”

And God fulfilled this promise when He raised Jesus from the dead and seated Him at His right hand (Acts 13:32-33).  Thus began the watershed moment in God’s great plan to permanently turn our affections away from things on earth so that we might place them on things in heaven.  Thus Paul could write:

Colossians 3:1 Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.
Colossians 3:2 Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.

and

Philippians 3:14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

There are many other verses along these lines, but none more notable from the standpoint of Zion than this:

Hebrews 12:22 But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels,

And thus the place of the Lord’s greatest interest moved from earth to heaven so that the place of our greatest interest might follow accordingly…and that we might say, along with those who have walked this earth in faith before us:

Hebrews 13:14 For here we do not have a lasting city, but we are seeking the city which is to come.

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

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted.

The Word “Spiritually” (an Adverb)

The word “spiritually” – which, of course, is an adverb – appears only once in the NASB.  Here it is [emphasis added]:

1 Corinthians 2:14 But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised.

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This post is one of the posts indexed at On Becoming Spiritual.

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

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

The Word “Spiritual” as a Noun

The word “spiritual” appears in the NASB 26 times, all of them in the New Testament, according to the search function at BibleGateway.com.

Most occurrences of “spiritual” are as an adjective.  Here are the verses in which “spiritual” acts as a noun, along with at least one citation of its occurrence [emphasis added]:

Romans 7:14 For we know that the Law is spiritual, but I am of flesh, sold into bondage to sin.

1 Corinthians 2:15 But he who is spiritual appraises all things, yet he himself is appraised by no one.

1 Corinthians 14:37 If anyone thinks he is a prophet or spiritual, let him recognize that the things which I write to you are the Lord’s commandment.

1 Corinthians 15:46 However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural; then the spiritual.

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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This post is one of the posts indexed at On Becoming Spiritual.

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

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

The Word “Spiritual” as an Adjective

The word “spiritual” appears in the NASB 26 times, all of them in the New Testament, according to the search function at BibleGateway.com.

Here are the nouns which “spiritual” modifies as an adjective, along with at least one citation of its occurrence:

…blessing  –  Ephesians 1:3

…body  –  1 Corinthians 15:44

…drink  –  1 Corinthians 10:4

…food  –  1 Corinthians 10:3

…gift  –  Romans 1:11; 1 Timothy 4:14

…house  –  1 Peter 2:5

…men  –  1 Corinthians 3:1

…rock  –  1 Corinthians 10:4

…sacrifices  –  1 Peter 2:5

…service  –  Romans 12:1  (in full, this occurrence reads “your spiritual service of worship”)

…songs  –  Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16

…things  –  Romans 15:27

…understanding  –  Colossians 1:9*

…wisdom  –  Colossians 1:9

What follows now are occurrences of “spiritual” as an adjective but where the noun is absent in the original text and has to be supplied by the translator, along with the supplied words:

1 Corinthians 2:13  –  …thoughts and …words

1 Corinthians 12:1  –  …gifts

1 Corinthians 14:1  –  …gifts

1 Corinthians 14:12  –  …gifts

Ephesians 6:12  –  …forces  (the full expression being “the spiritual forces of wickedness”)

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* The actual expression is “spiritual xxxxx and yyyyy” where this occurrence falls into the second place (yyyyy).

This post is one of the posts indexed at On Becoming Spiritual.

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. 

Understanding [Blank] of Spirit

The phrasing “[blank] of spirit” occurs only 8 times in the NASB according to the search function of BibleGateway.com.

Be aware that even if the syntax ([blank] of spirit} is the same in all these phrases, it does not necessarily follow that all are to be understood in the same way.  You have to look at each phrase in context.  That said, it is fair to conclude from what we see below that a spirit can vary, for example, from humble to proud – and that such spirits are therefore distinguishable from each other.

contrite of spirit  –  Isaiah 57:15*; 66:22

distinguishing of spirits  –  1 Corinthians 12:10

Father of spirits  –  Hebrews 12:9

haughtiness of spirit  –  Ecclesiastes 7:8

humble of spirit  –  Isaiah 66:22*

kind of spirit  –  Luke 9:55

lowly of spirit  –  Isaiah 57:15

patience of spirit  –  Ecclesiastes 7:8*

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* The actual expression is “xxxxx and yyyyy of spirit” where this occurrence fall into the first place (xxxxx).

This study on the word “spirit” can also be pursued on these posts:

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

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

Understanding [Blank] Spirit

In the Scriptures, a modifier may be placed before the word “spirit” to further delineate which, or what kind of, spirit is in view.  Here are some examples, followed by the number of times such a phrase occurs, and some specific places in Scripture where such phrasing may be found:

broken spirit  –  (4)  Psalm 51:17; Proverbs 17:22; 18:14; Isaiah 65:14

cool spirit  –  (1)  Proverbs 17:27

deaf spirit  –  Mark 9:25*

deceitful spirits  –  (1)  1 Timothy 4:1

deceiving spirit  –  (4)  1 Kings 22:22, 23; 2 Chronicles 18:21

departed spirits  –  (4)  Job 26:5; Psalm 88:10; Isaiah 26:14, 19

different spirit  –  (2)  Numbers 14:24; 2 Corinthians 11:4

divine spirit  –  (1)  Genesis 41:38

eternal Spirit  –  (1)  Hebrews9:14

every spirit  –  (5)  Ezekiel 21:7; 1 John 4:1, 2, 3

evil spirit(s) –  (13) 1 Samel 16:14; Acts 19:12-16

extraordinary spirit  –  (2)  Daniel 5:12; 6:3

four spirits  –  (1)  Zechariah 6:5

gentle spirit  –  1 Peter 3:4*

good Spirit –  (2)  Nehemiah 9:20; Psalm 143:10

haughty spirit  –  (1)  Proverbs 16:18

high spirits  –  (1)  Judges 16:25

Holy Spirit  –  (93)  Psalm 51:11; Luke 11:13

humble spirit  –  (1)  Proverbs 29:23

kindred spirit  –  (1)  Philippians 2:20

life-giving spirit  –  (1)  1 Corinthians 15:45

ministering spirits  –  (1)  Hebrews 1:14

mute spirit  –  (1)  Mark 9:25

new spirit  –  (3)  Ezekiel 11:19; 18:31; 36:26

no spirit  –  (1)  Joshua 5:1

no more spirit  –  (1)  1 Kings 10:5

one spirit  –  (6)  1 Corinthians 6:17; 1 Corinthians 12:9; Philippians 1:27

other spirits  –  (2)  Matthew 12:45; 11:26

quiet spirit  –  (1) 1 Peter 3:4

same spirit  –  (8)  2 Corinthians 4:13; 12:18

seven Spirits  – (4)  Revelation 1:4; 3:1; 4:5; 5:6

steadfast spirit  –  (1)  Psalm 51:10

unclean spirit(s)  –  (23)  Zechariah 13:2; Matthew 12:43

willing spirit  –  (1)  Psalm 51:12

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* The actual expression is “xxxxx and yyyyy spirit” where this occurrence falls into the first place (xxxxx).

This post is part of a series of posts On Becoming Spiritual.

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. 

Understanding Spirit of [Blank]

In the Bible we find various occurrences of the phrase “spirit of” – the study of which can help us to understanding more about spirit and the spiritual dimension.

In Luke 9:55 Jesus says to two of His disciples, “You do not know what kind of spirit you are of.”  Perhaps a catalog of the kinds of spirit there are would help us toward being able to step up to a challenge like that.

Be aware that even if the syntax (spirit of [blank]) is the same in all these phrases, it does not necessarily follow that all are to be understood in the same way.  You have to look at each phrase in context.  That said, it is fair to conclude from what we see below that a spirit can vary, for example, from good to evil – and that such spirits are therefore distinguishable from each other.

Here therefore is a catalog of words that complete the phrase which begins “spirit of.”  The list is not exhaustive, but is of sufficient length to convey the variety of “spirit” that the Bible explicitly recognizes.  Each entry is followed by one or more examples of where it can be found in the NASB.  (For purposes of alphabetization,  articles are ignored.)

…adoption  –  Romans 8:15

…burning  –  Isaiah 4:4

…Christ  –  Romans 8:9; 1 Peter 1:11

…counsel  –  Isaiah 11:2

…deep sleep  –  Isaiah 29:10

…demon  –  see “unclean demon” below

…a destroyer  –  Jeremiah 51:1

…discipline  –  2 Timothy 1:7

…distortion  –  Isaiah 19:14

…divination  –  Acts 16:16

…Elijah  –  2 Kings 2:15  (see also “…in the spirit and power of…”)

…error  –  1 John 4:6

…fainting  –  Isaiah 61:3

…faith  –  2 Corinthians 4:13

…fear  –  2 Timothy 1:7 King James Version  (NASB renders as “timidity” – see below)

…the fear of the Lord  –  Isaiah 11:2

…gentleness  –  1 Corinthians 4:21; Galatians 6:1

…glory  –  1 Peter 4:14

…the gods  –  Daniel 5:14

…God  –  Genesis 1:2; Romans 8:9

…grace  –  Zechariah 12:10; Hebrews 10:29

…harlotry  –  Hosea 4:12; 5:4

…heaviness  –  Isaiah 61:3 King James Version (NASB renders as “fainting” – see above)

…holiness  –  Romans 1:4

…jealousy  –  Numbers 5:14

…Jesus  –  Acts 16:7

…Jesus Christ  –  Philippians 1:19

…judgment –  Isaiah 4:4

…justice  –  Isaiah 28:6

…knowledge  –  Isaiah 11:2

…life  –  Genesis 7:22; Romans 8:2

…the Lord  –  Judges 3:10

…the Lord God  –  Isaiah 61:1

…love  –  2 Timothy 1:7

…the lowly  –  Isaiah 57:15

…man  –  Proverbs 20:27

…mind  –  see “sound mind” below

…power  –  1 Corinthians 2:4*; 2 Timothy 1:7

…prophecy  –  Revelation 19:10

…slavery  –  Romans 8:15

…revelation  –  Ephesians 1:17

…sleep  –  see “deep sleep” above

…sound mind  –  2 Timothy 1:7 King James Version  (NASB renders as “discipline” – see above)

…strength  –  Isaiah 11:2

…stupor  –  Romans 11:8

…supplication  –  Zechariah 12:10

…timidity  –  2 Timothy 1:7

…truth  –  John 14:17; 15:26; 16:13

…an unclean demon  –  Luke 4:33

…understanding  –  Isaiah 11:2

…wisdom  –  Isaiah 11:2; Ephesians 1:17

…the world  –  1 Corinthians 2:12

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* The actual expression is “spirit of xxxxx and of yyyyy” where these occurrence fall into the second place (yyyyy).

To continue a study of the word “spirit,” see these posts:

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

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

Scriptures on Hope in God

Keep in mind that since Christ is God, hope in God means hope in Christ.

Here are scriptures that tell us about hope in Christ (i.e. God) [Emphasis, and occasional comments, added]:

Psalm 130:5 I wait for the LORD, my soul does wait,
And in His word do I hope.
Psalm 130:6 My soul waits for the Lord
More than the watchmen for the morning;
Indeed, more than the watchmen for the morning.
 Psalm 130:7 O Israel, hope in the LORD;
For with the LORD there is lovingkindness,
And with Him is abundant redemption.

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Psalm 146:5 How blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob,
Whose hope is in the LORD his God,

This is certainly “the Lord Christ.”

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Jeremiah 29:11 ‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.

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Acts 26:6 “And now I am standing trial for the hope of the promise made by God to our fathers;
Acts 26:7 the promise to which our twelve tribes hope to attain, as they earnestly serve God night and day. And for this hope, O King, I am being accused by Jews.
Acts 26:8 “Why is it considered incredible among you people if God does raise the dead?

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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.

The Scriptures themselves bring us hope.

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Romans 15:12 Again Isaiah says,
“THERE SHALL COME THE ROOT OF JESSE,
AND HE WHO ARISES TO RULE OVER THE GENTILES,
IN HIM SHALL THE GENTILES HOPE.”
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.

Contrast “abound in hope” here with “no hope” in Ephesians 2:12 below.

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1 Corinthians 15:19 If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied.

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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.

Contrast “no hope” here with “abound in hope” in Romans 15:13 above.

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1 Thessalonians 1:3 constantly bearing in mind your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the presence of our God and Father,

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1 Thessalonians 4:13 But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope.

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1 Timothy 1:1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus according to the commandment of God our Savior, and of Christ Jesus, who is our hope,

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

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1 Timothy 5:5 Now she who is a widow indeed and who has been left alone, has fixed her hope on God and continues in entreaties and prayers night and day.

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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.

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Titus 2:13 looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus,

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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,

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1 Peter 1:13 Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

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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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1 John 3:2 Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is.
1 John 3:3 And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.

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To better understand the concept of hope, it can be help to think about verses which mention hope without any direct reference to God.

See also Scriptures on Faith

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.)

Psalm 110:1

Psalm 110:1 The LORD says to my Lord:
“Sit at My right hand
Until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet.”

This scripture was written by King David, who lived about a thousand years before Jesus of Nazareth was born.  It predicts that God would raise the Messiah (i.e. the Christ) from the dead and seat Him at His right hand.  Thus when Jesus was raised from the dead, he was taken up into heaven (i.e. He ascended, as described in Acts 1).  There, He took His place at the right hand of God.  For this reason, and others, He was called Jesus Christ after His resurrection.

This scripture is quoted in the New Testament more than any other single Old Testament verse.  For more on this psalm, 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 Strengthening and Encouraging Faith and Hope

The verses in this list speak of either strengthening, encouraging, or otherwise helping someone’s faith or hope.  Think of the subject as being the care and feeding of faith, or the care and feeding of hope.  Here then is the list [emphasis, and occasional comments, added]:

Romans 1:11 For I long to see you so that I may impart some spiritual gift to you, that you may be established;
Romans 1:12 that is, that I may be encouraged together with you while among you, each of us by the other’s faith, both yours and mine.

Paul expected not only to encourage the faith of others, but to be encouraged himself by their faith.  He spoke of this dynamic in 1 Thessalonians 3:1-10 (see below) also.

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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.

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1 Thessalonians  3:1 Therefore when we could endure it no longer, we thought it best to be left behind at Athens alone,
1 Thessalonians  3:2 and we sent Timothy, our brother and God’s fellow worker in the gospel of Christ, to strengthen and encourage you as to your faith,
1 Thessalonians 3:3 so that no one would be disturbed by these afflictions; for you yourselves know that we have been destined for this.
1 Thessalonians  3:4 For indeed when we were with you, we kept telling you in advance that we were going to suffer affliction; and so it came to pass, as you know.
1 Thessalonians  3:5 For this reason, when I could endure it no longer, I also sent to find out about your faith, for fear that the tempter might have tempted you, and our labor would be in vain.
1 Thessalonians 3:6 But now that Timothy has come to us from you, and has brought us good news of your faith and love, and that you always think kindly of us, longing to see us just as we also long to see you,
1 Thessalonians 3:7 for this reason, brethren, in all our distress and affliction we were comforted about you through your faith;
1 Thessalonians 3:8 for now we really live, if you stand firm in the Lord.
1 Thessalonians 3:9 For what thanks can we render to God for you in return for all the joy with which we rejoice before our God on your account,
1 Thessalonians  3:10 as we night and day keep praying most earnestly that we may see your face, and may complete what is lacking in your faith?

Note that Paul sent Timothy to strengthen and encourage the Thessalonians regarding their faith, and also that Paul himself was “comforted” (similar in meaning to encouraged and strengthened) by their faith.  Paul also spoke of this two-way dynamic in Romans 1:11-12 (see above).

In verse 10, Paul is speaking of helping the Thessalonians faith in some unspecified way.

The most important idea to grasp is that if faith can be strengthened and encouraged, then it is obviously subject to weakening and discouragement.  Therefore, nurture your faith, and nurture the faith of others.

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A related post is Scriptures on Strength.

Other related posts are Scriptures on Faith and xScriptures on Hope in 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 that Distinguish Faith and Hope

Faith and hope are related concepts,but they are not the same thing.  Faith has to do with what is; hope has to do with what is to come.  That is, faith has to do with the present, while hope has to do with the future.

The following verses distinguish faith and hope:

Psalm 39:7 “And now, Lord, for what do I wait?
My hope is in You.

Hope and waiting go hand in hand.

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Psalm 62:5 My soul, wait in silence for God only,
For my hope is from Him.

As with Psalm 39:7, “hoping in” the Lord and “waiting on” the Lord can be considered synonymous phrases – specifically, when the waiting is done expectantly, eagerly.

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Psalm 130:1 Out of the depths I have cried to You, O LORD.
Psalm 130:2 Lord, hear my voice!
Let Your ears be attentive
To the voice of my supplications.
Psalm 130:3 If You, LORD, should mark iniquities,
O Lord, who could stand?
Psalm 130:4 But there is forgiveness with You,
That You may be feared.
Psalm 130:5 I wait for the LORD, my soul does wait,
And in His word do I hope.
Psalm 130:6 My soul waits for the Lord
More than the watchmen for the morning;
Indeed, more than the watchmen for the morning.
Psalm 130:7 O Israel, hope in the LORD;
For with the LORD there is lovingkindness,
And with Him is abundant redemption.
Psalm 130:8 And He will redeem Israel
From all his iniquities.

This is the entire psalm.  Note the orientation of hope in verses 5-8, which is to the future.  By comparision, faith is basis upon which such thoughts are directed to the Lord.  That is, the psalmist’s hope in God rests upon his faith in God.

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Jeremiah 29:11 ‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.

In this verse, hope is clearly associated with the future – whether immediate or distant.

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Romans 8:24 For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees?
Romans 8:25 But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.

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Romans 15:22 For this reason I have often been prevented from coming to you;
Romans 15:23 but now, with no further place for me in these regions, and since I have had for many years a longing to come to you
Romans 15:24 whenever I go to Spain–for I hope to see you in passing, and to be helped on my way there by you, when I have first enjoyed your company for a while–

In this passage, Paul is using the word “hope” with reference to something other than direct reference to God.  In it, we can see hope’s future orientation.  As Paul wrote in Romans 8:24-25, we hope for that which do not yet see.  At the time of his writing to the Romans, Paul was not seeing the Romans – he was hoping to see them.  In the future.

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1 Corinthians 13:7 [Love] bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

If believing and hoping can be written about in this way, they are obviously not identical.

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1 Corinthians 13:13 But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.

Faith can no more be the same as hope as it can be the same as love.  Therefore, faith, hope, and love are related – but distinguishable.

Galatians 5:5 For we through the Spirit, by faith, are waiting for the hope of righteousness.

As with Romans 8:24-25, because hope is future-oriented, it is something for which we wait.

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Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

This sentence demonstrates that faith and hope cannot be the same concept.  Otherwise, it would be synonymous with “faith is the assurance of things one has faith in” – which would be a circular, confusing, and meaningless statement.

“Now” and “is” indicate the present-tense nature of faith.

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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.)

Correlating Biblical Concepts: Faith and Love

Here are some verses where the concepts of faith ahd love both appear:

1 Corinthians 13:13 But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.

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1 Thessalonians 1:3 constantly bearing in mind your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the presence of our God and Father,

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1 Thessalonians 5:8 But since we are of the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet, the hope of salvation.

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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.)

Correlating Biblical Concepts: Faith and Hope

Here are some verses where the concepts of faith ahd hope both appear:

Romans 5:2 through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God.

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1 Corinthians 13:13 But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.

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2 Corinthians 10:15 not boasting beyond our measure, that is, in other men’s labors, but with the hope that as your faith grows, we will be, within our sphere, enlarged even more by you,

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Galatians 5:5 For we through the Spirit, by faith, are waiting for the hope of righteousness.

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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 Thessalonians 1:3 constantly bearing in mind your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the presence of our God and Father,

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1 Thessalonians 5:8 But since we are of the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet, the hope of salvation.

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Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

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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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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.)

2 Samuel 5:2 (1 Chronicles 11:2) – Christ or the Church?

2 Samuel 5:2 “Previously, when Saul was king over us, you were the one who led Israel out and in. And the LORD said to you, ‘You will shepherd My people Israel, and you will be a ruler over Israel.'”

(1 Chronicles 11:2 says practically the same thing.)

Even though the organized church has held sway for almost two thousand years, it is the name of Jesus that was winning hearts and defeating sin all that time.

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 Totality of God’s Redemption

God’s plan through Jesus Christ was to redeem every single aspect of life.  There is no human activity that is not covered.  The scope of His salvation is the scope of our existence.  Therefore, His interest in our lives is complete, comprehensive, all-encompassing – in a word, total.

Here are some verses indicating just that point [emphasis, and occasional comments, added]:

Isaiah 9:6 For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us;
And the government will rest on His shoulders;
And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.
Isaiah 9:7 There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace,
On the throne of David and over his kingdom,
To establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness
From then on and forevermore.
The zeal of the LORD of hosts will accomplish this.

The reason that “there will be no end to the increase of His government” is that there is no sphere over life to which His dominion does not apply, no aspect of life which is off limits to His authority.

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1 Corinthians 16:14 Let all that you do be done in love.

Does this leave anything for us to do that is not to be done in love?  Does not “all” cover everything we do?

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

Which thoughts then are not to be taken captive to the obedience of Christ?

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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.

Does this leave anything for us to do that is not in the name of Jesus?  Therefore, His name sanctifies the entirety of our lives.

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Colossians 3:22 Slaves, in all things obey those who are your masters on earth, not with external service, as those who merely please men, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord.
Colossians 3:23 Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men,

In Paul’s mind, every duty of a slave could be done ultimately for the Lord rather than merely for the human master.  If a slave’s salvation was this full, can ours be any less so?

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1 Peter 1:14 As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance,
1 Peter 1:15 but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior;
1 Peter 1:16 because it is written, “YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY.”

Such an instruction – “in all your behavior” – leaves no room, of course, for behavior that is not to be holy.

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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.)

Biblical Words and Expressions Having to Do with Knowledge

Knowledge is an important idea in the Bible.  It is referenced in the Bible by a number of different words and expressions, including their negation.  That is, “ignorance” is the opposite of knowledge – and thus speaks to the subject of knowledge.  Of course, the most important knowledge of all is the knowledge between God and us – that is, God’s knowledge of us and our knowledge of Him.

Here then are some of the words that the Bible uses to convey the idea of knowledge, the number of times the word or phrase occurs, and some examples of their occurrence.

Acknowledge

acknowledge  –  (19)  Romans 1:28

not acknowledge  –  (2)  Deuteronomy 33:9; 2 John 1:7

Aware

aware  –  (21)  Luke 9:11

not aware  –  (3)  1 Samuel 20:39

unaware  –  (10)  Luke 11:44

Conscious

conscious  (4)  Job 10:15; John 6:61; 1 Corinthians 4:4

consciousness  (1)  –  Hebrews 10:22

Ignorant

ignorance  –  (7)  Ephesians 4:18

ignorant  –  (6)  Hebrews 5:2

ignore  –  (3) Proverbs 10:17

Informed

inform  –  (26)

information  –  (2)  Ezekiel 24:26; Colossians 4:6

informed  –  (13)  1 Corinthians 1:11; 10:28; Colossians 1:18

uninformed  –  (2)  Romans 11:25; 1 Thessalonians 4:13

Know**

knew  –  (70)  Romans 1:21

know  –  (1,324)  Daniel 11:32; Romans 7:7; Hebrews 8:11; James 4:17

not know  –  (257)  Genesis 28:16; Judges 16:20; Jeremiah 2:8

known  –  (207)  Matthew 10:26; 12:33; 24:43; 2 Peter 2:21

not known  –  (30)  John 17:25

knowing  –  (51)  2 Timothy 2:23; 3:14

not knowing  –  (5)  Acts 5:7; Hebrews 11:8

without knowing  –  (1)  Hebrews 13:2

knowledge  –  (153)  1 Chronicles 12:32; 2 Peter 2:20; 3:18

no knowledge  –  (6)  2 Peter 2:12

without knowledge  –  (6)  Job 38:2; 42:3; Proverbs 19:2

Perceive***

perceive  –  (23)  2 Samuel 12:19

not perceive  –  (8)

Recognize

recognize  –  (46)  James 2:20

not recognize  –  (14)  Matthew 17:12; Luke 19:44

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* These numbers come from the search function at BibleGateway.com.  Be aware that a search of, for example, “know” will include all occurrences of “not know.”  That is, the “not know” count is a subset of the “know” count.  Likewise, occurrences of “knowledge” will show up under the search for “know.” Therefore, there is redundancy in the numbers, and they cannot be totaled as if they were mutually exclusive.  Be aware also that BibleGateway counts the occurrences in the headings even though they are not part of biblical text.  For this reason, the counts will not match exactly to the Lockman Foundation search function (which does not allow quote marks).  Lastly, keep in mind that the NASB – like any English Bible – is a translation.  In light of these points, all numbers in this post should be considered approximations of the actual text.

** Neither this section nor the others include longer phrases such as “not to have known” in 2 Peter 2:21 where the negative modifier is not immediately adjacent to the word in focus.

*** “perceive” is sometimes used in the sense of “know” and sometimes used in the sense of “understand.”

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.)

Keep in Mind How Much the Original Recipients of the New Testament Documents Already Knew

Modern skeptics bring all sorts of unwarranted assumptions to the New Testament.  One is that it should answer the sorts of top-of-mind questions that occur to us in the 21st Century, and if it doesn’t, then we should just disregard this collection of ancient documents as inadequate sources of truth in our age.  This is silly.  And it’s arrogant.

It’s clear that the New Testament documents were practically all written to people who already believed a great deal about Jesus Christ, because they had learned it through oral preaching and teaching.  The one New Testament document which seems to make a claim to be speaking with a desire to induce belief is the Gospel of John (John 20:30-31).  However, upon closer inspection of this gospel, it seems clear that the intent was to deepen and strengthen existing faith rather than to create it where it didn’t previously exist.  Thus we may consider the entirety of the New Testament to have been directed to people who already believed in Christ.  There is no reasonable basis for expecting these documents to cater to skeptical attitudes; they had a different purpose.

Bible scholars today believe that the earliest New Testament documents were the letters of Paul, written roughly 50-60 A.D. (i.e. Romans, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Philippians, 1 Thessalonians, and Philemon).  Assuming Christ died roughly 30-33 A.D. (which is also the consensus of Bible scholars), this means there was 15-20 years for the Christ movement to have advanced before Paul wrote these letters.  When read carefully, it’s clear that the recipients of these letters knew a great deal more about the faith than is conveyed in the letters.

Philippians 2:5-11, for example, is considered by many scholars to be Paul’s quotation of a hymn familiar to the recipients.  The words of that hymn convey an advanced theology about Christ, albeit in highly summarized form.  Nowhere in the rest of the letter, or in the rest of the New Testament for that matter, is that Christological confession unpacked.  The fact that we wish it were explained and that the Philippians did not need for it to be explained speaks volumes about how much more the recipients of New Testament letters knew about Christ than is preserved in those letters for us.  And this is just one example of many.  One of the reasons there is so much debate about the meaning of the New Testament, even among those who accept it as the word of God, is that so much of what seems commonly understood among the writers and readers of these documents is not explicitly and fully explained in them.

We shouldn’t think that all that knowledge is forever lost to us, however, for we have the same Old Testament they did.  And it was that Old Testament that preserved in writing for them what was most important in God’s plan for His Messiah.  For this reason we must keep going back not just to the gospels, but to the Old Testament as well, if we are to understand about Christ what the earliest disciples understood about Him.  Christ’s teaching in the gospels was the icing on the cake, and the Old Testament was the cake.

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 Being Known by God

God, because He is God, knows everything.  There is, however, a sense in which the word “know” is used that implies intimacy and particular knowledge.  In the verses listed below, that special knowledge of God is referenced.  In the verses below, I’ve used bold print to emphasize the key phrase, and italicized bold when the phrase is negative or contrary to the idea of God knowing the person involved.

Psalm 139:23 Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me and know my anxious thoughts;
Psalm 139:24 And see if there be any hurtful way in me,
And lead me in the everlasting way.

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Matthew 7:23 “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’

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

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1 Corinthians 13:12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known.

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Galatians 4:9 But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how is it that you turn back again to the weak and worthless elemental things, to which you desire to be enslaved all over again?

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2 Timothy 2:19 Nevertheless, the firm foundation of God stands, having this seal, “The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Everyone who names the name of the Lord is to abstain from wickedness.”

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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.)

Purifying a People

God is purifying for Himself a people for His own possession (Titus 2:14).  And He has been doing this for a long time.

Ancient Israel was comprised of the descendants of Abraham, but God purified the nation through Jesus Christ and produced the New Testament church.

Then through the kingdom of God, He continues to purify for Himself a people for His own possession.

Who is doing the purifying?  He who sits as a smelter and purifier of precious stones (Malachie 3:2-3).

This is a “nation” who will truly produce the fruit of God (Matthew 21:43).

This “nation” includes Jews and Gentiles and truly stands for His name (Acts 15:11).

These people of God pray for the welfare of the city wherein that have been sent in exile (2 Chronicle 7:13-14; Jeremiah 29:7; 45:5).

Truly, these people are led by the Spirit of God and they are the sons of God (Romans 8:14).

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

Giving Money to the Poor and to the Gospel

Throughout the New Testament, we see evidence that those who followed Christ gave materially to the poor and to those who preached the gospel.  We today in the kingdom of God should do the same.

That we should give to the poor is the more obvious biblical truth.  And there are many scriptures from both the apostles and the prophets to confirm this.  That we should give to those who preach the gospel is slightly less obvious, but confirmed in Scripture as well.

I want to make clear my support of giving financially to those who preach the gospel.  I take pains to do this because otherwise some people might believe I do not support this idea.  There would be two reason someone might think that I don’t support making financial contributions to gospel ministers.

First, I do not support churchgoing.  That I do not is abundantly clear from A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom, and posts such as Seeking the Kingdom of God Instead of Church and Church Is Not the Answer; Christ Is.  Because I don’t support church, some might think I don’t support the idea of preachers of Christ receiving financial aid.  I do.  Very strongly.  I hope you will support those who preach Christ, for Christ is the light of the world.  The more He is preached, the better off will be the inhabitants of the world.  Those who preach Him and don’t siphon off your devotion to church or themselves deserve financial support.  Therefore, while I don’t believe in supporting church, I strongly believe in supporting those who preach Christ faithfully and preach Him alone.

Second, I do not receive offerings for myself.  I make that clear in the About section of this blog.  However, just because I don’t receive financial contributions does not mean I do not want you to give to others.  On the contrary, I hope you will materially support those who preach Christ.  Those ministers who choose to preach Christ instead of church will lose their financial support from the church.  Therefore, you can help them continue to preach Christ even if that happens.  Do not worry about a tax deduction.    Giving to a charity for the poor often means giving to a tax-exempt organization.  However, giving to someone who preaches Christ without the encumbrance of church will often mean giving to an individual and foregoing the charitable deduction on your taxes.  (I’m speaking, of course, primarily to Americans.)  Churches will not contine to pay ministers who do not preach the necessity of church involvement.  Therefore, do not give to me, but do be generous with others who preach Christ alone.

To sum up, do not give money to church and do not give money to me.  However, do give money to those who are faithfully preaching our Lord Jesus Christ that they may do so from the best of their labor rather than from what is leftover after their labor.

Here are some scripture verses to help you better appreciate the importance and value of ministering financially to those who minister the true gospel:

Romans 15:26 For Macedonia and Achaia have been pleased to make a contribution for the poor among the saints in Jerusalem.
Romans 15:27 Yes, they were pleased to do so, and they are indebted to them. For if the Gentiles have shared in their spiritual things, they are indebted to minister to them also in material things.

In this passage we see the motive for giving being twofold:  because of poverty and because of preaching the gospel.  That is, the saints in Jerusalem were deserving of help from other churches because 1) the saints in Jerusalem were poor, and 2) the saints in Jerusalem had preached the gospel such that other churches were formed.

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1 Corinthians 9:14 So also the Lord directed those who proclaim the gospel to get their living from the gospel.

Those who preach the gospel of Christ are worthy to receive support.

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Galatians 6:6 The one who is taught the word is to share all good things with the one who teaches him.
Galatians 6:7 Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap.
Galatians 6:8 For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.
Galatians 6:9 Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.
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.

Note especially the first verse.

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1 Timothy 5:18 For the Scripture says, “YOU SHALL NOT MUZZLE THE OX WHILE HE IS THRESHING,” and “The laborer is worthy of his wages.”

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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 the Place of the People of God in This World

There is an antipathy – a hostility – between the world and those who follow Christ.  The world cannot abide us, but we can abide them because we love them as He taught us to love them.  Though we love them, there is a tension between us and them.  Though we are favored in His sight, we are despised in theirs.  Our place in the world is low and not high.  Our place in this world is not with the high and mighty, for they hate the things we treasure and we hate the things they treasure – yet we love them.  We bear the world’s reproach, for as they reproached Christ so they reproach those who walk in His steps and honor His name.

There is another post – Scriptures on the World – that focuses just on the world.  This list of verses, however, does not limit itself to explicit references to the “world.”  Neither is its focus the world per se.  Rather, its focus in the tension between people who love God and the world in which they live.

Here then are verses which speak of this dynamic [emphasis and comments added]:

Jeremiah 45:5 ‘But you, are you seeking great things for yourself? Do not seek them; for behold, I am going to bring disaster on all flesh,’ declares the LORD, ‘but I will give your life to you as booty in all the places where you may go.'”

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Matthew 5:10 “Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Matthew 5:11 “Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me.
Matthew 5:12 “Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

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Matthew 8:20 Jesus *said to him, “The foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.”

The people of God have “no lasting place” in this world (see Hebrews 13:14 below).  For this reason we “hate our lives in this world” (see John 12:25 below), and are “tormented by the sensual conduct of unprincipled men” (see 2 Peter 2:7-8 below).

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Matthew 10:25 “It is enough for the disciple that he become like his teacher, and the slave like his master. If they have called the head of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign the members of his household!

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Matthew 16:24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.

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

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Luke 6:22 “Blessed are you when men hate you, and ostracize you, and insult you, and scorn your name as evil, for the sake of the Son of Man.

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John 9:22 His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jews; for the Jews had already agreed that if anyone confessed Him to be Christ, he was to be put out of the synagogue.

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John 12:25 “He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it to life eternal.

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John 12:42 Nevertheless many even of the rulers believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they were not confessing Him, for fear that they would be put out of the synagogue;

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John 15:18 “If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you.
John 15:19 “If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you.
John 15:20 “Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A slave is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept My word, they will keep yours also.

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John 16:2 “They will make you outcasts from the synagogue, but an hour is coming for everyone who kills you to think that he is offering service to God.

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John 16:33 “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”

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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.

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1 Corinthians 1:18 For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
1 Corinthians 1:19 For it is written,
“I WILL DESTROY THE WISDOM OF THE WISE,
AND THE CLEVERNESS OF THE CLEVER I WILL SET ASIDE.”
1 Corinthians 1:20 Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?
1 Corinthians 1:21 For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.
1 Corinthians 1:22 For indeed Jews ask for signs and Greeks search for wisdom;
1 Corinthians 1:23 but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness,
1 Corinthians 1:24 but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.
1 Corinthians 1:25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
1 Corinthians 1:26 For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble;
1 Corinthians 1:27 but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong,
1 Corinthians 1:28 and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are,
1 Corinthians 1:29 so that no man may boast before God.
1 Corinthians 1:30 But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption,
1 Corinthians 1:31 so that, just as it is written, “LET HIM WHO BOASTS, BOAST IN THE LORD.”

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1 Corinthians 4:9 For, I think, God has exhibited us apostles last of all, as men condemned to death; because we have become a spectacle to the world, both to angels and to men.
1 Corinthians 4:10 We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are prudent in Christ; we are weak, but you are strong; you are distinguished, but we are without honor.
1 Corinthians 4:11 To this present hour we are both hungry and thirsty, and are poorly clothed, and are roughly treated, and are homeless;
1 Corinthians 4:12 and we toil, working with our own hands; when we are reviled, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure;
1 Corinthians 4:13 when we are slandered, we try to conciliate; we have become as the scum of the world, the dregs of all things, even until now.

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

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Hebrews 11:13 All these died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth.

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Hebrews 11:24 By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter,
Hebrews 11:25 choosing rather to endure ill-treatment with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin,
Hebrews 11:26 considering the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt; for he was looking to the reward.

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Hebrews 11:35 Women received back their dead by resurrection; and others were tortured, not accepting their release, so that they might obtain a better resurrection;
Hebrews 11:36 and others experienced mockings and scourgings, yes, also chains and imprisonment.
Hebrews 11:37 They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were tempted, they were put to death with the sword; they went about in sheepskins, in goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, ill-treated
Hebrews 11:38 (men of whom the world was not worthy), wandering in deserts and mountains and caves and holes in the ground.
Hebrews 11:39 And all these, having gained approval through their faith, did not receive what was promised,
Hebrews 11:40 because God had provided something better for us, so that apart from us they would not be made perfect.

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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.
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.

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James 4:4 You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.

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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

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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,

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1 Peter 2:11 Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul.

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2 Peter 2:7 and if He rescued righteous Lot, oppressed by the sensual conduct of unprincipled men
2 Peter 2:8 (for by what he saw and heard that righteous man, while living among them, felt his righteous soul tormented day after day by their lawless deeds),

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1 John 2:15 Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
1 John 2:16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.
1 John 2:17 The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.

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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.
1 John 4:5 They are from the world; therefore they speak as from the world, and the world listens to them.
1 John 4:6 We are from God; he who knows God listens to us; he who is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.

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Further to the point of this post, see How Our Place in the World Is Related to His Place in the World.

As mentioned above, see also Scriptures on the World.

See as well Scriptures on Christ’s Victory over the World.

Series of Posts on Aspects of the World in Which We Find Ourselves

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.)

Strangers, Exiles, and Aliens

The following verses of Scripture give identity in this world to those who love Christ and want to follow Him:

Hebrews 11:13 All these died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth.

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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

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1 Peter 2:11 Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul.

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Thus we who serve Christ in His kingdom are in this world strangers, exiles, aliens.

The Apostles’ Understanding of Christ Is Rooted in the Old Testament

If we want to understand Christ as His apostles understood Him, we must devote more attention to finding Christ in the Old Testament.

When the apostles wanted to corroborate what they were saying about Christ with an authoritative text, they hardly ever quoted a New Testament document.  Rather, they quoted Old Testament documents…over and over and over again.

It was obvious that Jesus taught His disciples how the Old Testament testified of Him (John 5:39; Luke 24:25-27, 31-32, 44-48).   Therefore as we rely on Peter, Paul, John and the rest, they relied on Moses, David, Isaiah and the rest.

Sure, the apostles proclaimed that they had experienced the resurrected Messiah (Acts 10:40-41), but they seasoned their preaching more with Scripture than with their personal testimonies.  Read through the books of Acts and see that this is so.

The apostles exhibited no sense of urgency about getting their gospel written down.  Theirs was first and foremost an oral, face-to-face mission.  We do have 27 New Testament documents, but it’s apparent that they were written to people who had already become a part of the movement – not to people the apostles were trying to convert.  The apostles had all the writing they needed in the Old Testament.  Yes, the New Testament is a blessing to us, but let’s not have it obscure the blessing that the Old Testament was to the apostles and can be to us.  The apostles regarded Christ according to the guidance that the Old Testament gave them.  That is, the New Testament reveals that the apostles were dependent not on the New Testament, but rather on the Old Testament.

For more on how the apostles (i.e. the New Testament) saw Christ in the writings of the prophets (i.e. the Old Testament), see these posts.

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

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted.

Recovering the Apostolic Understanding of Christ

The three main branches of organized Christianity claim to derive their status from the apostles’ teaching…but don’t.  In fact, because of their blindness to the kingdom of God, these institutions proclaim their own teaching more than what Peter, John, Paul and the rest taught.  As a result, much of apostles’ teaching is not being made available to chuchgoers.

How will we recover the apostles’ conception of Christ?  How will we recover the apostles’ understanding of the Old Testament – which is the same thing, because Jesus had taught the disciples that the Old Testament was about Him?

We recover the apostolic understanding of Christ by tracing the thoughts of the apostles’ letters back to the words of the prophets in the Old Testament.

The more literal English translations of the New Testament tend to show Old Testament quotations in some typographical way (either by all capital letters or indentation or some other means).  These more literal translations also tend to have a cross-reference system either in the margins or at the bottom of the page that identify verses carrying similar or related thoughts.  Even so, there are too many New Testament allusions to the Old Testament to capture them all by these means.  Therefore, it requires additional study and reflection to achieve the recovery of apostolic doctrine that is desired.

Almost two thousand years of Christian labor has been diverted to, and distracted by, efforts to build and maintain the church – all at the expense of truly understanding the kingdom of God.  It is long past time that we devote ourselves to recovering the apostles’ understanding of Christ that we might advance His kingdom in our generation.

Since our faith in Christ is based on what the apostles told us about Him (John 17:20), isn’t it critical that we understood the fullness of what they taught about Him?

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

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted.