John 2:5

John 2:3 When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus *said to Him, “They have no wine.”
John 2:4 And Jesus *said to her, “Woman, what does that have to do with us? My hour has not yet come.”
John 2:5 His mother *said to the servants, “Whatever He says to you, do it.”

Jesus did not speak in the way that most folks spoke.  Mary knew this.  Therefore, when she presented the problem to Him, she told the servants to do whatever He said.  She knew He might say something that struck them as unusual, but she also knew that, if they heeded Him, the problem would be solved.  She could only have known this by experience.

We, too, can have the experience of doing the things that Jesus says and seeing the results take shape in our hearts and lives.

Jesus did not come to give you wonderful circumstances.  He came to give you peace and joy in every circumstance.  This is the way of God, and we are privileged to be able to walk in it.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

Jesus in Ezekiel 18:32

Ezekiel 18:32 “For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone who dies,” declares the Lord GOD. “Therefore, repent and live.”

Can you hear this cry of Jesus’ heart?  He came to His brethren to warn them of the judgment that was coming upon the nation of Israel.  And indeed in 70 A.D. the Romans utterly destroyed Jerusalem.  Many Jews lost their lives.  Jesus had warned His fellow citizens of this crisis throughout His ministry and even as He was being led to His crucifixion.  Remember:

Luke 23:27 And following Him was a large crowd of the people, and of women who were mourning and lamenting Him.
Luke 23:28 But Jesus turning to them said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, stop weeping for Me, but weep for yourselves and for your children.
Luke 23:29 “For behold, the days are coming when they will say, ‘Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bore, and the breasts that never nursed.’
Luke 23:30 “Then they will begin TO SAY TO THE MOUNTAINS, ‘FALL ON US,’ AND TO THE HILLS, ‘COVER US.’
Luke 23:31 “For if they do these things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?”

Jesus was taking no pleasure in the death of the wicked.  Think about that.  People were wrongfully torturing and killing Him, yet He took no pleasure in the retribution that would come their way.  Instead, He hoped they would repent and be spared.

Let us be like this One.

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: Luke 23:30 is quoting or alluding to Hosea 10:8 and possibly Isaiah 2:19.)

Keep Learning About the Inheritance

We should seek forever to understand all the inheritance that the Lord left us.  Twice Paul mentioned it in his letter to the church at Colossae:

Colossians 1:12 giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light.

Colossians 3:23 Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men,
Colossians 3:24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.

This inheritance was left to us by Jesus of Nazareth, and the Scriptures give its details.  Therefore, search out the Scriptures that we might know all that we are in Christ. His inheritance is exceeding abundantly beyond all that we could ask or even think to ask.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

John the Baptist Was Not Interested in Fancy Titles

Consider this brief narrative about John the Baptist:

John 1:19 This is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent to him priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?”
John 1:20 And he confessed and did not deny, but confessed, “I am not the Christ.”
John 1:21 They asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” And he *said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” And he answered, “No.”
John 1:22 Then they said to him, “Who are you, so that we may give an answer to those who sent us? What do you say about yourself?”
John 1:23 He said, “I am A VOICE OF ONE CRYING IN THE WILDERNESS, ‘MAKE STRAIGHT THE WAY OF THE LORD,’ as Isaiah the prophet said.”

John the Baptist was not interested in making a name for himself.  He was willing to be regarded as just “a voice in the wilderness.”  His interest was not in himself but in the one he was preaching.  Thus he was to say of Christ:

John 3:30 “He must increase, but I must decrease.

May we similarly not be interested in a name for ourselves.  Let us be intent only on enhancing the stature of His name.

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.)

John the Baptist – A Man Who Forsook Privilege

Both of John’s parents were of priestly descent (Luke 1:5).  Thus, John was entitled to minister as a priest in Jerusalem’s great temple.  Yet he forsook that privilege to minister instead in the wilderness.  In this regard, he followed in the path of his priestly predecessor Moses (Psalm 99:6) who forsook the privilege of being called the son of Pharoah’s daughter in order to be counted with the people of God (Hebrews 11:24-26).

In this regard, John was also following the pattern of Jesus Himself as outlined in Philippians 1:5-8.  That is, John did not demand to be treated as his privilege deserved, but rather he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the call of God to serve.

Moses, John the Baptist, and Jesus – let us follow the path they have laid down for us.  It is the path of humility – the path of seeking not our rights but rather our responsibilities.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

What Great Faith the Ancients Had!

Faith is believing in the goodness of God.  The less evidence you have to work with, the greater the faith.  That is, a person who has loads of evidence for the goodness of God requires little faith to believe in the goodness of God.  The person who has far less evidence for the goodness of God exercises far more faith to reach the same conviction that God is good.

Consider then how great was the faith of Old Testament worthies when compared to us.  Abraham, Moses, David, and the others did not get to see the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ before they were called upon to believe.  As Jesus said:

Matthew 13:17 “For truly I say to you that many prophets and righteous men desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.

Let us therefore not be weak in faith but imitate the great faith of those who came before us:

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

Most of all, let us imitate the faith of Jesus.  For remember that when He prayed for salvation from death and delivered Himself to the cross, no one before had ever been raised from the dead in the way that He was anticipating.  No one had ever been raised without a mediator to call him forth on God’s behalf.  No one had ever been raised from the dead never to die again.  What Jesus was believing would happen was something that, while promised Him in the Scripture, had never before been experienced or witnessed by any other human being.  How could one body contain that much faith!

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

A Doubting Heart Cannot Keep the Great Commandment

Mark 12:28 One of the scribes came and heard them arguing, and recognizing that He had answered them well, asked Him, “What commandment is the foremost of all?”
Mark 12:29 Jesus answered, “The foremost is, ‘HEAR, O ISRAEL! THE LORD OUR GOD IS ONE LORD;
Mark 12:30 AND YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND, AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH.’

This, therefore, is the great commandment.  Since it requires love “with all your mind,” how then could a double-minded person (i.e., a doubting person, or a divided heart) possibly obey it?

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

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

The Double-Minded Take Some of Their Thoughts Captive to the Obedience of Christ

Paul exhorted the believers in Corinth:

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,

Notice that he said every thought, not just some of our thoughts.  For if we take only some of our thoughts captive to the obedience of Christ, we become double-minded.

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.)

Getting Stuck on the Path from Unbelief to Faith

In the transition from unbelief to faith, some get stuck in double-mindedness – that state in which we alternate between believing and not believing.

If this condition is not resolved, it leads either to outright rejection of faith or else hypocrisy.  Thus whether you are a lapsed Christian or an active churchgoer, you might be under the same influence:  unbelief.

The solution therefore is to be sure to transition all the way from unbelief to belief – not stopping at some point in between.

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.)

Shed Every Trace of Unbelief

Mark 9:24 Immediately the boy’s father cried out and said, “I do believe; help my unbelief.”

This man knew that his problem was double-mindedness.  He was not a defiant unbeliever.  Rather, he was wavering between belief and unbelief.  That is, he believed under a cloud of doubt.

The solution to this dilemma was given by Jesus:

John 20:27 …do not be unbelieving, but believing.”

Make your transition complete.  Go from a part of you believing in Christ to all of you believing in Christ.  Go from believing in Christ some of the time to believing in Christ all of the time.

Be not double-minded.  Rather, be single-minded in 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.)

Remove the Wicked Thought from Your Heart

1 Corinthians 5:13 …REMOVE THE WICKED MAN FROM AMONG YOURSELVES.

If Paul thought it critical that the Corinthians remove a sinner from their congregation, how much more important is it that you remove a sinning thought from your heart?  For your heart is a “congregation” of thoughts.  And if you allow any leaven at all, the whole lump will be leavened (see verse 6 in this same chapter: 1 Corinthians 5:6).

For a believer, a thought of unbelief is just as evil as a thought of murder or adultery.

If you tolerate thoughts of unbelief, they will sap your faith of strength and leave you weak in the face of temptation.

Doubting is a curse.  Seek redemption from it.

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

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

Guard Your Heart the Way You Would Guard the City of the Lord

Psalm 101:8 Every morning I will destroy all the wicked of the land,
So as to cut off from the city of the LORD all those who do iniquity.

Your heart is a “city of thoughts.”  That is, it is a place where thoughts gather and dwell.  If you would have the Lord dwell in your heart, then it must be a city hospitable to Him.  That means removing any “aliens,” and even any troublesome “citizens.”

When we are double-minded, we are tolerating thoughts of unbelief.  No, doubts may not completely dominate our hearts – but they dilute it, they make our hearts impure and thus impotent.

Therefore, you must “slay” any wicked, unbelieving thoughts that seek residence in your heart.  Clean up the “town” of your heart that the Lord may live there in peace.

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 Double-Minded Are Part-Time Atheists

Psalm 10:4 The wicked, in the haughtiness of his countenance, does not seek Him.
All his thoughts are, “There is no God.”

If all the wicked’s thoughts are “There is no God,” then we’d have to say that some of the double-minded’s thoughts are “There is no God.”  After all, a double-minded person is a person of more than one mind.

Don’t be a professing Christian and practicing atheist.  Don’t be a part-time unbeliever.  Be single-minded in your devotion to Christ (Philippians 1:21; 2 Corinthians 11:3).  Let none of your thoughts be “There is no 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.)

Hebrews 3:12 – Unadulterated Trust in Christ

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

Is there “an evil, unbelieving heart” within your believing heart?  That is, are you double-minded?  If so, you aren’t the first.  Take heed to this admonition by ridding yourself of every thought of unbelief.  For if you tolerate any degree of unbelief in your heart, you can’t be properly heeding this warning.

Recognizing that a heart is a “set of thoughts,” re-phrase the exhortation and understand that we are not to allow any set of thoughts to reside within us which do not believe 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.)

Beware the Evil, Unbelieving Heart

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

An unbelieving heart is evil.  Avoid it as such.

Be as intolerant of unbelieving thoughts taking up residence in your heart as you would be pornographic thoughts.  Evil is evil.

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.)

Get Down to One Mind on the Subject of Christ

Don’t doubt Christ.  That is, don’t be double-minded about Him.

Shed your thoughts of unbelief – one by one, as you recognize them as such.  Avoid them as you would any other evil thought.

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.)

Eve’s Sin Was a Failure to Trust

If you read Genesis 3, you’ll see why Paul says (in 1 Timothy 2:14) “the woman was deceived.”  The serpent begins the deception by raising doubts in Eve’s mind about God’s instruction concerning trees and fruit (actually given in Genesis 2:16-17).  Then Eve sees the tree, that it was a delight to the eyes, that its fruit was good for food, and that it was desirable to become wise – and she ate.

It wasn’t like Eve attacked Adam or cursed him or blasphemed God.  She didn’t do anything that we would otherwise call evil.  Rather, she failed to obey God’s command, which was essentially a failure to trust His judgment.

We are restored to God by reversing Eve’s sin.  That is, we come back to God when we trust Him, when we trust His judgment.

We don’t have all knowledge.  Therefore, if God says “Don’t do such-and-such,” we should trust Him and not do it.

Proverbs 14:12 There is a way which seems right to a man,
But its end is the way of death.

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 Inheritance of God’s Promises Is Greater Than Any Monetary Inheritance

By watching how Jesus took to heart and trusted the promises of God, His disciples came to see just how valuable these promises were that they had inherited from Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

Esau is the classic example of a worldly-minded person who had no appreciation for the blessings inherent in a promise from God.  Thus the New Testament says:

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

Therefore, be moral and godly…and seek to understand the promises of God that you might benefit from them.

Jesus and his fellow Jews inherited these promises by virtue of their fleshly descent from Abraham.  We, however, receive the full inheritance through our spiritual connection with 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. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)

Jesus Lived by Faith in the Promises of God

One of the things that was so striking to the Jews who surrounded Jesus of Nazareth was that from their childhoods he had been reading the same Scriptures as they, yet he was getting so much more out of them than they were.

The difference was faith.  Jesus took to heart what Moses and the Prophets had written.  He banked His life on it.   And look what it did for him!

The original disciples were therefore keen to learn from his faith and to imitate it.  They began to take God’s promises to Abraham much more seriously than they ever had before.

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.)

Words That Go with Doubt, Double-Mindedness, and a Divided Heart

Doubt is double-mindedness.  It is the state of a divided heart.  It is the going back and forth between believing and not believing.  Put another way, it’s the unwilling to settle on belief or unbelief.  Certain characteristics go with this state.  Here, in alphabetical order, are some of the words that the Bible uses to describe the characteristics of this state:

“halting”  –  From the King James Version of 1 Kings 18:21 (see “hesitating” below)

“hesitating”  –  As in Elijah’s challenge: “How long will you hesitate between two opinions?” (1 Kings 18:21).

“limping”  –  From the English Standard Version of 1 Kings 18:21 (see “hesitating” above).

“unstable”  –  See James 1:8 where the double-minded (i.e. doubting) man is said to be “unstable in all his ways.”

“vacillate”  –  Although 2 Corinthians 1:17 doesn’t explicitly reference doubt or double-mindedness, the similarity with the idea cannot be missed.  Thus a doubting man is vacillating between belief and unbelief, and therefore is of two minds.

“wavering”  –  See Romans 4:20 where Paul says that Abraham did not “waver in unbelief.”  Also from the New International Version of 1 Kings 18:21 (see “hesitating” above).

windblown  –  This word is inferred from the description of the doubting (i.e. double-minded) man in James 1:6, which says that he is “like the surf of the sea drived and tossed by the wind.”  (By the way, this calls to mind the phrase “tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine” found in Ephesians 5:14-16.)  This word also fits with Jesus’ question to Peter “Why did you doubt?” when Peter was provoked to fear by the wind and began to sink in his walk on the water to Jesus.

Since we ourselves would not want God or His angels to characterize us in this way, we should seek to avoid doubting

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.)

A Double-Minded Man Is a Divided Kingdom

Jesus said:

Matthew 12:25 …”Any kingdom divided against itself is laid waste; and any city or house divided against itself will not stand.

He must have figured that it went without saying that neither can a man divided against himself stand.  And indeed it does, for James confidently says:  

James 1:5 But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.
James 1:6 But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind.
James 1:7 For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord,
James 1:8 being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

A double-minded man is “unstable in all his ways” just as a divided kingdom, divided city, or divided house are all unstable.  For this reason, those with undivided hearts are rightly commended:

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

Therefore, let us serve God with undivided hearts.

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

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

Double-Mindedness Is Doubt; Doubt Is Vacillating Between Two Minds

To be double-minded is, of course, to be of two minds on a subject.  Where faith is concerned, this means being both believing and unbelieving.  That is, if you are double-minded then you have within you both a mind to believe and a mind not to believe.

This state of having two minds is called doubt.  Doubt is thus a vacillation, or alternation, between believing and not believing.  It is the hesitation to make a choice between those two minds.

For this reason James says:

James 4:8 …purify your hearts, you double-minded.

Get down to one mind.  That is, be single-minded in your devotion to 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.)

Questions and Exclamations of Jesus of Nazareth

There are times in the ministry of Jesus that He seemed surprised by the kind of thinking He encountered in His fellow Jews.  His attention was arrested and He seemed to be full of wonder at what He was beholding.  It wasn’t that people thought differently from the way He did – it was that He seemed genuinely surprised that this was the case, as if He expected their thinking to be more like His.

It’s at moments like these – the juxtaposition of His mindset with that of His contemporaries – that we can make a choice about how we ourselves want to think.  That is, given this clash of diverging perspectives, do we want to keep on thinking “normally” or do we want to think the way that He considered normal?

The best way to explain further what I mean is to just start noticing some examples.

Matthew 14:26 When the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out in fear.
Matthew 14:27 But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.”
Matthew 14:28 Peter said to Him, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.”
Matthew 14:29 And He said, “Come!” And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus.
Matthew 14:30 But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!”
Matthew 14:31 Immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him, and *said to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?”

Obviously, Jesus’ question is, at least to some degree, rhetorical.  He wants Peter to think.  But that aside, Jesus seemed more focused on helping Peter understood why he sank after a while than he did on the rest of the guys, none of whom even dared venture out of the boat.  If Jesus thought Peter had “little” faith, what would He have said about the other eleven?

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Mark 6:4 Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and among his own relatives and in his own household.”
Mark 6:5 And He could do no miracle there except that He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them.
Mark 6:6 And He wondered at their unbelief. And He was going around the villages teaching.

Technically speaking, we don’t have a question or exclamation here from Jesus.  We only have Mark’s description of His bewilderment at their unbelief.  Sure, they knew Him, but should familiarity breed that much contempt?

Luke 24:25 And He said to them, “O foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken!
Luke 24:26 “Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into His glory?”

This is actually an exclamation and a question from Jesus.  Read in context, Jesus is surprised that His disciples don’t get that the prophets had long prophesied His death and resurrection.  None of them expected Jesus to be raised from the dead, and He seems genuinely surprised that they are surprised by His resurrection.

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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 Fear of Man

God does not want us to be afraid, and therefore “Do not fear” is a common refrain in the Bible.  Perhaps the consummate verse on this subject is 1 John 4:18 (see below).

The fears that plague us go by many names: anxiety, intimidation, worries, and so on.  Here then are some verses through which God seeks to calm us [emphasis, and occasional comments, added]:

Deuteronomy 1:21 ‘See, the LORD your God has placed the land before you; go up, take possession, as the LORD, the God of your fathers, has spoken to you. Do not fear or be dismayed.’

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2 Samuel 17:2 “I will come upon him while he is weary and exhausted and terrify him, so that all the people who are with him will flee. Then I will strike down the king alone,

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Ezra 4:4 Then the people of the land discouraged the people of Judah, and frightened them from building,

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Psalm 23:4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I fear no evil, for You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

There’ the solution in a nutshell:  fear the Lord of goodness so that you might not fear any evil.

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Psalm 27:1 The LORD is my light and my salvation;
Whom shall I fear?
The LORD is the defense of my life;
Whom shall I dread?
Psalm 27:2 When evildoers came upon me to devour my flesh,
My adversaries and my enemies, they stumbled and fell.
Psalm 27:3 Though a host encamp against me,
My heart will not fear;
Though war arise against me,
In spite of this I shall be confident.

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Psalm 94:19 When my anxious thoughts multiply within me,
Your consolations delight my soul.

Anxious thoughts do seem to multiply, but they can be counteracted by the consolations of God.

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Proverbs 29:25 The fear of man brings a snare,
But he who trusts in the LORD will be exalted.

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Isaiah 54:4 “Fear not, for you will not be put to shame;
And do not feel humiliated, for you will not be disgraced;
But you will forget the shame of your youth,
And the reproach of your widowhood you will remember no more.

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Mark 4:18 “And others are the ones on whom seed was sown among the thorns; these are the ones who have heard the word,
Mark 4:19 but the worries of the world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.

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

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Philippians 4:6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

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1 Peter 3:14 But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. AND DO NOT FEAR THEIR INTIMIDATION, AND DO NOT BE TROUBLED,
1 Peter 3:15 but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence;

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1 Peter 3:6 … do what is right without being frightened by any fear.

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1 Peter 5:7 casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.

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1 John 4:18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.

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Contrast this post with Scriptures on Fear of God.  The word “fear” is covered in both posts, but oh, what a difference in the meaning depending on where the fear is focused.

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 Fear of God

The Bible speaks of “the fear of the Lord” in a variety of ways.  The purpose of this post is to demonstrate some of them.

The fear of God is not an idea about which pop culture has much to say, unless to mock those who subscribe to it.  The biblical idea, though, is quite healthy and, if practiced sufficiently, will lead to a strong faith.

The great irony of the fear of the Lord is, of course, that if we truly fear Him we needn’t fear anyone or anything else.  This is why Jesus was so utterly courageous.  His only fear was His Father in heaven.

Here then are some verses showing the variety of terms used to refer to godly fear [emphasis, and occasional comments, added]:

Deuteronomy 5:29 ‘Oh that they had such a heart in them, that they would fear Me and keep all My commandments always, that it may be well with them and with their sons forever!

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Nehemiah 7:2 then I put Hanani my brother, and Hananiah the commander of the fortress, in charge of Jerusalem, for he was a faithful man and feared God more than many.

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Psalm 2:11 Worship the LORD with reverence
And rejoice with trembling.

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

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Psalm 34:9 O fear the LORD, you His saints;
For to those who fear Him there is no want.
Psalm 34:10 The young lions do lack and suffer hunger;
But they who seek the LORD shall not be in want of any good thing.
Psalm 34:11 Come, you children, listen to me;
I will teach you the fear of the LORD.

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Psalm 111:10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom;
A good understanding have all those who do His commandments;
His praise endures forever.

Godly wisdom doesn’t come from educational degrees but rather is rooted in the fear of God.

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Psalm 119:38 Establish Your word to Your servant,
As that which produces reverence for You.

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Psalm 130:4 But there is forgiveness with You,
That You may be feared.

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Psalm 135:20 O house of Levi, bless the LORD;
You who revere the LORD, bless the LORD.

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Proverbs 3:7 Do not be wise in your own eyes;
Fear the LORD and turn away from evil.

There is a direct correlation between fearing the Lord and turning away from evil.  That is, the more you fear the Lord, the more you turn away from evil.  Conversely, the less we fear the Lord the more we turn to evil.

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

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

The less we hear the word of the Lord, the less we fear the Lord and the more we fear people (“Of whom were you worried and fearful?)

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Isaiah 66:2 “For My hand made all these things,
Thus all these things came into being,” declares the LORD.
“But to this one I will look,
To him who is humble and contrite of spirit, and who trembles at My word.

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Jeremiah 2:19 “Your own wickedness will correct you,
And your apostasies will reprove you;
Know therefore and see that it is evil and bitter
For you to forsake the LORD your God,
And the dread of Me is not in you,” declares the Lord GOD of hosts.

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2 Corinthians 7:1 Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

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Ephesians 5:21 and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ.

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Hebrews 12:28 Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe;
Hebrews 12:29 for our God is a consuming fire.

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Contrast this post with Scriptures on Fear of Man.

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

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

Scriptures on Quietness

Quietness is important to the believer – quietness of life and quietness of heart.  It is in quietness that we are best able to hear the voice of our Lord, for He is gentle and profound.

Therefore, let us think about these verses that speak of quietness that we might practice it [emphasis, and occasional comments, added]:

Proverbs 17:1 Better is a dry morsel and quietness with it
Than a house full of feasting with strife.

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Proverbs 21:9 It is better to live in a corner of a roof
Than in a house shared with a contentious woman.

We who seek to be as the bride of Christ should keep quiet, not contentious, hearts before the Man of the house.  See also the reference to Luke 10:38-42 below.

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

See also Matthew 6:7-8 below.

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Ecclesiastes 9:17 The words of the wise heard in quietness are better than the shouting of a ruler among fools.

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

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Lamentations 3:25 The LORD is good to those who wait for Him,
To the person who seeks Him.
Lamentations 3:26 It is good that he waits silently
For the salvation of the LORD.

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Matthew 6:7 “And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words.
Matthew 6:8 “So do not be like them; for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.

The idea here is quite similar to the word picture in Ecclesiastes 5:1-2 above.  Go to Christ in quietness, not in wordiness.

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Matthew 10:27 “What I tell you in the darkness, speak in the light; and what you hear whispered in your ear, proclaim upon the housetops.

How are we going to hear a whisper if we are not quiet?

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Luke 10:38 Now as they were traveling along, He entered a village; and a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home.
Luke 10:39 She had a sister called Mary, who was seated at the Lord’s feet, listening to His word.
Luke 10:40 But Martha was distracted with all her preparations; and she came up to Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Then tell her to help me.”
Luke 10:41 But the Lord answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things;
Luke 10:42 but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”

Although this passage contains no explicit mention of silence or quietness, it is easy to infer from Mary’s behavior…and noticeably absent from Martha’s.  Consider also the similarity between Martha and the “contentious woman” of Proverbs 21:9 above.

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1 Timothy 2:1 First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men,
1 Timothy 2:2 for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity.

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Although quietness is itself a virtue, it also supports our ability to do something that pleases the Lord:  Scriptures on Listening.

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.)

Hebrews 13:7

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

Who has led us more than Jesus Christ?  Who has spoken the word of God to us in a greater way than Jesus Christ?

Let us therefore imitate His 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.)