Category: New Believers

Covenant: What is it and Why does it matter?

Covenant: What is it and Why does it matter?

Before we begin, it is important to note that Exploring the Truth is not in agreement with all aspects of Covenant Theology. While we agree in regards to the doctrines of grace (Calvinism), we do not agree with Covenant Theology in regards to the relationship between Israel and the Church, and in regards to the end times. We are Dispensational in that we believe that there is an everlasting covenant with National Israel and that they as yet have a future redemption assured to them and a future role in Redemptive History.

What is a covenant? It is an agreement between two or more parties. In the case of the Bible there is agreement between the Godhead (Covenant of Redemption) and there is agreement between God and Man (Covenant of Works and Covenant of Grace)

Additionally, a covenant is a sovereign pronouncement of God by which He establishes a relationship of responsibility:

  • between Himself and an individual (Adam in the Edenic Covenant, Genesis 2:16.),
  • between Himself and mankind in general (in the promise of the Noahic Covenant never again to destroy all flesh with a flood, Gen. 9:9),
  • between Himself and a nation (Israel in the Mosaic Covenant, Exodus 19:3.), or
  • between Himself and a specific human family (the house of David in the promise of a kingly line in perpetuity through the Davidic Covenant, 2 Samuel 7:16).

A covenant of one category may overlap others; i.e. the Davidic Covenant, where a continuing kingly house is promised with ultimate blessing, not only to David but also to the whole world in the reign of Jesus Christ.

The covenants are normally unconditional in the sense that God obligates Himself in grace, by the unrestricted declaration, “I will,” to accomplish certain announced purposes, despite any failure on the part of the person or people with whom He covenants. The human response to the divinely announced purpose is always important, leading as it does to blessing for obedience and discipline for disobedience. But human failure is never permitted to abrogate the covenant or block its ultimate fulfillment.

The nature of God’s covenantal relationship with his creation is not considered automatic or of necessity. Rather, God “chooses” to establish the connection as a covenant, wherein the terms of the relationship are set down by God alone according to his own will.

Having created man in His image as a free creature with knowledge, righteousness, and holiness, God entered into the Covenant of Works whereby the command was “do this and live” (Romans 10:5, Galatians 3:12). When man failed, God instituted a Covenant of Grace which is the overarching covenant until Christ delivers the Kingdom up to the Father.

Let’s look a little further at the 3 Major Covenants

Covenant of Redemption

The covenant of redemption is the eternal agreement within the Godhead in which the Father appointed the Son to become incarnate, suffer, and die as a federal head of mankind to make an atonement for their sin, this is why we refer to Him as the second Adam. (During His incarnation, Jesus fulfilled the Covenant of Works perfectly and the perfect accomplishment was imputed to us.)  In return, the Father promised to raise Christ from the dead, glorify Him, and give Him a people.

Covenant of Works

The Covenant of Works was made in the Garden of Eden between God and Adam who represented all mankind as a federal head. (Romans 5:12–21) It promised life for perfect and perpetual obedience and death for disobedience. As our Federal Head, when Adam failed to fulfill this covenant, that failure was then passed to all of his posterity. To a degree, we see the covenant of works continuing to function after the fall as the moral law.

Covenant of Grace

The covenant of grace promises eternal life for all people who have faith in Christ. He also promises the gift of the Holy Spirit’s presence and power to His Elect to give them willingness and ability to believe. Christ is our substitutionary covenantal representative (Federal Head) fulfilling the covenant of works on our behalf, in both the positive requirements of righteousness and its negative penal consequences. When speaking theologically, we commonly describe this as Christ’s active and passive obedience. This is the historical expression of the eternal covenant of redemption. Throughout Reformed Theology, Genesis 3:15, with the promise of a seed of the woman who would crush the serpent’s head, is usually identified as the historical inauguration for the covenant of grace.

The covenant of grace runs through the Old and New Testaments, and is the same in substance under both the law and gospel, though there is some difference in the administration. Under the law, the sacrifices, prophesies, and other types and ordinances of the Jews foreshadowed Christ, and men were justified by their faith in him just as they would be under the gospel. These were done away with the coming of Christ, and replaced with the much simpler ordinances of Believer’s Baptism and the Lord’s Supper.

There are three universal and general covenants, which are: the Adamic, the Noahic, and also the Edenic in that the whole human race is represented as present in Adam in his failure. All the other covenants are made with Israel or Israelites and apply primarily to them, although with ultimate blessing to the whole world.

There are eight major covenants of special significance in explaining the outworking of God’s purposes with man. (I would encourage you to research each of them.) They are: the Edenic (Genesis 2:16); the Adamic (Genesis 3:15); the Noahic (Genesis 9:16); the Abrahamic (Gen. 12:2); the Mosaic (Exodus 19:5); the Land Covenant (Deuteronomy 30:3); the Davidic (2 Samuel 7:16); and the New Covenant (Heb. 8:8).

Discussion Question:

  1. In relationship to redemption, what is the significance of Jesus perfectly fulfilling the Covenant of Works?

 

 

 

Talking Snakes and Other Disasters (Man’s Temptation and Fall)

Talking Snakes and Other Disasters (Man’s Temptation and Fall)

Text: Genesis 3:1-24

Major Players: Adam, Eve, the Serpent/Devil

Words you should know:

Nachash

“Hebrew Pronunciation [nah KHASH]

Translation serpent, snake

(Genesis 3:1-2,4,13-14)

Nachash is the most prevalent of eight OT terms for snake (Numbers 21:6), but the usage is broader than that. The nachash in Genesis 3:1,14 was the shrewdest (KJV-now the serpent was the most subtil) animal and did not crawl on its belly before the curse. It is possible that Nachash was a dragon or some form of dinosaur. The nachash/Leviathan was a sea monster (Job 3:8, Job 40:25-41:26, Amos 9:3, Psalms 74:13–23, Psalm 104:26 and Isaiah 27:1.), and there were other sea serpents (Amos 9:3). Associated with nachash are slithering motion (Proverbs 30:19), flying (Isaiah 14:29), sudden attack (Genesis 49:17), poisonous venom (Psalm 58:4), sharp bite (Psalm 140:3), hissing (Jeremiah 46:22), eggs (Isaiah 14:29), and licking of dust (Genesis 3:14; Micah 7:17). The serpent of Genesis 3 is an enemy of man linked with evil and is particularly identified with Satan in Rv 12:9, where he is also called a “dragon,” based on the Greek drakon, which can mean “serpent.”

The nagging question: hath God really said…

Did God really say? This question has been plaguing mankind since the Garden. Often times it is phrased this way, “Jesus never specifically said anything about ______.”

This very question is why it is so important to know your Bible; you cannot answer the question of what God has said unless you actually know the answer.

The Trouble with talking to a snake

First of all, the snake talked; that in and of itself should probably give pause. Since it did not, it may be safe to assume that, at one point and possibly right up until the flood, animals could talk. Admittedly that is a little suspect. It is more likely that the serpent had never talked before and that should have been a tip off to Eve that something was wrong.

Problem number two: Eve did not stand on revealed truth. Note that when Jesus was tempted, despite being God Himself, He answered with revealed truth, saying, “it is written.”

Problem number 3: Eve made the decision on her own and then persuaded her husband. Since we have the benefit of hindsight, it is obvious that Eve should have taken counsel with her husband. If nothing else, it would have been prudent to ask for a 2nd opinion. However, it was necessary that Eve did make this decision on her own.

The Disaster

The overall disaster in this story is that man sinned and, as a consequence, the intimate fellowship with God was lost. Previous to the sin, Adam and Eve walked with God in the garden in the cool of the day. In other words, they had the sort of intimate, face to face fellowship of parent and child.

Disaster number two: innocence was lost. Humans were aware not only of their own literal nakedness but also of the fact that they could hide nothing from God.

The curse: God answers this act with a 3-fold curse. The Serpent will now go on its belly, there will be enmity between the offspring (both literally and spiritually) of the serpent and the woman and, ultimately, the seed of the woman will prevail. This is the proto-euangelion or pre-gospel. The woman is cursed with great pain in childbearing and will desire to be in lordship over her husband but will not succeed. The man is cursed with increased struggle in his labors, with them being fruitless at times.

The final and ultimate curse is that humans will die. Until the day when Christ shall come and finally restore man to his place in the garden, we are cursed to deal with sickness, death, and dying.

How did God deal with the sin

God killed two animals and used the skin for kephora (atonement/covering)

Why did God allow the Fall of Man?

Commenting on John 9:3, J.C. Ryle remarks:

“A deep and instructive principle lies in these words. They surely throw some light on that great question, the origin of evil. God has thought fit to allow evil to exist in order that he may have a platform for showing his mercy, grace, and compassion. If man had never fallen there would have been no opportunity of showing divine mercy. But by permitting evil, mysterious as it seems, God’s works of grace, mercy, and wisdom in saving sinners have been wonderfully manifested to all his creatures. The redeeming of the church of elect sinners is the means of ‘showing to principalities and powers the manifold wisdom of God’ (Ephesians 3:10). Without the Fall we should have known nothing of the Cross and the Gospel.” (http://www.ccel.org/e/easton/ebd/ebd/T0001300.html#T0001304)

3 Major Views on Original Sin

Pelagianism: This view says that Adam’s sin had no effect upon the souls of his descendants other than his sinful example influencing those who followed after him to also sin. According to this view, man has the ability to stop sinning if he simply chooses to. This teaching runs contrary to a number of passages that indicate man is hopelessly enslaved by his sins (apart from God’s intervention) and that his good works are “dead” or worthless in meriting God’s favor (Ephesians 2:1-2; Matthew 15:18-19; Romans 7:23; Hebrews 6:1; 9:14).

Arminianism: Arminians believe Adam’s sin has resulted in the rest of mankind inheriting a propensity to sin, commonly referred to as having a “sin nature.” This sin nature causes us to sin in the same way that a cat’s nature causes it to meow—it comes naturally. According to this view, man cannot stop sinning on his own; that is why God gives a universal grace to all to enable us to stop. In Arminianism, this grace is called prevenient grace. According to this view, we are not held accountable for Adam’s sin, just our own. This teaching runs contrary to the fact that all bear the punishment for sin, even though all may not have sinned in a manner similar to Adam (1 Corinthians 15:22; Romans 5:12-18). Nor is the teaching of prevenient grace explicitly found in Scripture.

Calvinism (The view held by this ministry): The Calvinist doctrine states that Adam’s sin has resulted not only in our having a sin nature, but also in our incurring guilt before God for which we deserve punishment. Being conceived with original sin upon us (Psalm 51:5) results in our inheriting a sin nature so wicked that Jeremiah 17:9 describes the human heart as “deceitful above all things and beyond cure.” Not only was Adam found guilty because he sinned, but his guilt and his punishment (death) belongs to us as well (Romans 5:12, 19). There are two views as to why Adam’s guilt should be seen by God as also belonging to us. The first view states that the human race was within Adam in seed form; thus when Adam sinned, we sinned in him. The other main view is that Adam served as our representative and so, when he sinned, we were found guilty as well. This second view is sometime referred to as Federal Headship. Because Adam was our “Federal Head” before Christ, his sin is imputed to humanity. When Christ became our Federal Head, after the resurrection, His righteousness was imputed to us.

Discussion Questions

  1. Was the Original Sin eating the forbidden fruit or, perhaps, not trusting God’s revealed truth?
  2. What comes to mind when you think of the word sin?
  3. God did not instantly kill Adam and Eve but He did say in the day they ate of the fruit they would die. What do we learn about God from the fact that God waited to allow Adam and Eve to die of old age?

Final Thought

The major tragedy of sin is not that we die or the fact that corruption runs rampant on earth. The tragedy is that we have lost the kind of intimacy with God that we were designed to have. Thankfully, the Gospel gives us hope that one day we will join God in Heaven where He, Himself, will be our reward and we will enjoy full intimacy with Him forever.

104 Verses You Should Know

104 Verses You Should Know

Here are 104 verses, 52 basic and 52 advanced, that you should know. These are paired with the appropriate Bible concept for study.

Topic Basic Advanced Biblical Concept
1. God the Creator Genesis 1:1 John 1:1-5 God
2. Human Beings Genesis 1:26-28 Psalm 8 Humanity/Self
3. Sin Genesis 3:6-7 James 1:12-15 Rebellion and Sin
4. Sin’s Consequences Romans 6:23 John 8:34-35 Rebellion and Sin
5. Jesus Christ John 14:6 Matthew 1:21-23 Jesus
6. The Scriptures 2 Timothy 3:16-17 Romans 15:4 Revelation and Authority/Bible
7. God’s Revelation: Creation Romans 1:20 Psalm 19:1-6 Creation, Sovereignty, and Providence
8. God’s Revelation: Law Psalm 119:13-16 Psalm 19:7-14 Revelation and Authority/Bible
9. Scripture: Jesus’ View Matthew 5:17-20 Luke 24:44-45 Revelation and Authority/Bible
10. Abraham: Father of a Multitude Genesis 12:1-3 Genesis 15:1 Creation, Sovereignty, and Providence
11. God’s Grace to Jacob/Israel Genesis 28:14-15 Genesis 48:16 Creation, Sovereignty, and Providence
12. Joseph: Man of Character Genesis 50:19-21 Hebrews 11:22 Creation, Sovereignty, and Providence
13. Moses: Servant of Yahweh Exodus 3:14-15 Hebrews 11:22-26 God
14. Moses: Remember Deuteronomy 6:4-9 Deuteronomy 8:2-3 Discipleship and the Christian Life
15. Joshua’s Charge Joshua 1:6-9 Joshua 24:14-15 Discipleship and the Christian Life
16. Retreat to Idolatry Judges 1:11-13 Judges 21:25 Rebellion and Sin
17. Faithfulness: Human and Divine Ruth 1:16-17 Ruth 4:14-16 Family
18. Samuel: Israel’s Intercessor 1 Samuel 3:10 1 Samuel 12:23-25 Discipleship and the Christian Life
19. David’s Reign and Dynasty 2 Samuel 5:4-5 2 Samuel 7:12-13 Creation, Sovereignty, and Providence
20. Psalms of David Psalm 23 Psalm 32:1-2 Salvation
21. Solomon’s Prayer/God’s Answer 1 Kings 3:7-9 1 Kings 3:10-14 Reason and Faith
22. Wisdom’s Source Proverbs 1:7 Proverbs 3:1-12 Reason and Faith
23. Hollow Worship Isaiah 29:13-14 Isaiah 29:15-16 Rebellion and Sin
24. Eternal God Isaiah 40:6-8 Isaiah 40:27-31 God
25. Judgment John 3:19-21 Luke 16:15 Rebellion and Sin
26. A New Heart Ezekiel 36:26-27 Ezekiel 37:14 Salvation
27. God’s Gift Romans 3:23-26 1 Peter 3:18 Salvation
28. Jesus Christ: Our Substitute Isaiah 53:4-6 Hebrews 9:11-14 Jesus
29. New Birth John 3:5-8 John 3:14-17 Salvation
30. Peace Romans 5:1-5 Hebrews 13:20-21 Discipleship and the Christian Life
31. Repent Mark 1:15 Acts 17:30 Salvation
32. Baptism Acts 2:38-40 Romans 6:4-5 Discipleship and the Christian Life
33. The Comforter John 14:16 John 16:8-11 Holy Spirit
34. The Body of Christ Acts 2:41-43 Ephesians 4:15-16 Church and Kingdom
35. Serving Others James 2:15-17 Matthew 25:37-40 Church and Kingdom
36. Prayer Matthew 6:5-8 Romans 8:26-27 Discipleship and the Christian Life
37. Building Well Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 Matthew 7:24-27 Discipleship and the Christian Life
38. Anger Matthew 5:21-22 Proverbs 22:24 Ethics and Morality
39. Lust Matthew 5:27-30 Proverbs 5:18 Ethics and Morality
40. Enemies Matthew 5:43-48 Ephesians 6:10-18 Discipleship and the Christian Life
41. Jealousy Ecclesiastes 4:4 James 3:13-18 Reason and Faith
42. Sloth Proverbs 18:9 2 Thessalonians 3:10 Ethics and Morality
43. Greed Hebrews 13:5 Malachi 3:8-12 Discipleship and the Christian Life
44. Pride Ezekiel 16:49 Jeremiah 13:15-17 Rebellion and Sin
45. Depression Psalm 42:5 Isaiah 26:3 Discipleship and the Christian Life
46. Priorities Philippians 3:13-14 Matthew 6:33-34 Discipleship and the Christian Life
47. Influence Matthew 5:13-16 Matthew 18:6 Community and World
48. Witness Matthew 28:18-20 1 Peter 3:14-16 Discipleship and the Christian Life
49. Marriage: God’s Design Genesis 2:22-24 Song of Songs 8:6-7 Family
50. Husbands/Wives Ephesians 5:25-26 Ephesians 5:22-24 Family
51. Resurrection 1 Corinthians 15:3-8 1 Corinthians 15:20-22 Time and Eternity
52. Glory Revelation 21:1-4 Revelation 22:17-21 Time and Eternity

HCSB Study Bible.

It begins…(The Creation Account Study Notes)

It begins…(The Creation Account Study Notes)

Text: Genesis 1-2

Summary:

God created the sky, seas, and land. He created the plants, animals, fish, and birds. But he created human beings in his own image. We can be certain of our dignity and worth (Indeed, all human lives are special and even sacred, to a point) because we have been created imago Dei, in the image of God.

Words You Should Know:

God

(Heb. pl. ’elohim) (1:1, 26; Deuteronomy 7:9; Is. 45:18) Strong’s #430: The standard Hebrew term for God. The basic meaning is probably “Mighty” or “the Almighty.”

create

(Heb. baraˊ) (Genesis 1:27; 6:7; Isaiah 45:18; 65:17) H1254: God alone has the power to create everything out of nothing, whether it’s “the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1), people (Genesis 1:27), or everything in between. Of course, God also has the power to destroy, as happens during the Flood (Genesis 6:7). The book of Isaiah is filled with references to the creative power of God (Isaiah 40:26; 41:20; 42:5; 43:1, 7; 45:8, 12), emphasizing His uniqueness and superiority over all earthly gods.

man

(Heb. ˊadam) (Genesis 2:7; 3:8; 4:1) H0120: Although man was created before woman, and although the word sometimes refers distinctly to men, ˊadam is most often used to refer to all humans (Genesis 5:2). As if to emphasize his status as someone created by God, ˊadam was made out of ˊadamah (“the ground”). Nevertheless, ˊadam was made in God’s image, exalted above all other creatures, and made to “have dominion over” all creation (Genesis 1:28). The word also refers to the first man, Adam, father of Cain and Abel (Genesis 3:8; 4:1).

yom

Yom means day, the Hebrew day lasting from one evening to the next (Gn 1:5). Yom describes a working day (Exodus 20:9) or day of the month (Zechariah 1:7). It indicates a time (Proverbs 24:10) or occasion (Numbers 10:10). In the day often appears as when (Zechariah 8:9). The plural can represent age (Job 32:7), lifetime (Joshua 24:31), or reign (Isaiah 1:1). The plural denotes a number of days (Nehemiah 1:4), a time period (Leviticus 25:8), some time (Genesis 40:4), a year (Leviticus 25:29), or years (Exodus 2:11). With the definite article yom suggests today (Deuteronomy 4:39), now (Neh 1:6), whenever (1Sm 1:4), one day (Jb 1:6), or by day (Nehemiah 4:22). Yom could characterize a particular event such as the day of Jezreel (Hosea 1:11). Similarly, the Day/day of Yahweh, or the Lord, is a time or day that belongs to the Lord in a special way (Zephaniah 1:14).”

The 6 Days of Creation: It should be noted that Exploring the Truth hold to Young Earth Creationism and 6 literal days of creation.

Creation Day 1 (Genesis 1:1-5)

God created the heavens and the earth. “The heavens” refers to everything beyond the earth i.e. wha we call outer space. The earth is made but not formed in any specific way, although water is present (the Holy Spirit hovered over the face of the deep). God then speaks light into existence and, from His Divine Power, it is so. He then separates the light from the dark and names the light “day” and the dark “night.”

So there was evening and morning, the first day.

Creation Day 2 (Genesis 1:6-8)

God creates the sky. The sky forms a barrier between water upon the surface and the moisture in the air. This is the point where the atmosphere begins. From the creation of the atmosphere, life is now possible.

There was evening and morning, the second day. 

Creation Day 3 (Genesis 1:9-13)

God creates dry land. Continents and islands are above the water. The large bodies of water are named “seas” and the ground is named “land.” God declares that all this is good.

God creates all plant life both large and small. He creates this life to be self-sustaining; plants have the ability to reproduce, showing us that a foundational proof of life is the ability to reproduce after it’s own kind. The plants were created in great diversity (many kinds). The earth was green and teeming with plant life.

“and God saw that it was good And the evening and the morning were the third day.”

Creation Day 4 (Genesis 1:14-19)

God creates all the stars and heavenly bodies. Two great heavenly bodies are made in relation to the earth. The first is the sun which is the primary source of light and the moon which reflects the light of the sun. The movement of these bodies will distinguish day from night.

“and God saw that it was good. And the evening and the morning were the fourth day.”

Creation Day 5 (Genesis 1:20-23)

God creates sea life. Any life of any kind that lives in the water is made at this point. God also makes all the birds. The language allows that this may be the time God made flying insects as well (or, if not, they were made on day six). As with the plant life, all creatures made this day are endowed with the ability to reproduce after their own kind.  In verse 22, we see that the creatures made on Day 5 are the first creatures blessed by God.

Again, the account ends with God seeing that the creation was good.

Creation Day 6 (Genesis 1:24-31)

God creates all the creatures that live on dry land. This includes every type of creature not included on previous days and man. God declares this work good.

When God was creating man, He took counsel with Himself, “God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, in our likeness’” (Genesis 1:26).

There is some dispute regarding the use of “us;” some suggest that God is taking counsel with the Heavenly Court while others suggest that God is using the “plural of majesty.” I find it better to simply take the text on its face and say that God is taking counsel with Himself, which would be a very early allusion to the Trinity.

God makes man, and man is made in the image of God (men and women both bear this image) and is special above all other creatures. Notice that it is only said of man that God formed him; for all of the other creations, God simply spoke and it was so. For man, though, God “rolled up His sleeves” to form His magnum opus. God blesses man and commands him to reproduce, fill the earth and subdue it (bring it under the rightful stewardship of man as authorized by God). The culmination of being made in God’s image is the impartation of Divine Authority. Man, and his mate, as the personal representatives of the LORD God are given dominion over the earth.

At the culmination of the sixth day, all of the created order has been made and God declares that it was good.

Creation Day 7 (Genesis 2:1-3)

God takes a day of rest. There is nothing in the text that implies weariness or that God is somehow made less by the acts of creating. Rather, He stops so that He might enjoy the fruit of His own labors and to set an example for man.

What is Christ’s role in creation?

All of creation was made by Christ (John 1:1-3). Jesus Christ, the 2nd Person of the Godhead is, Himself, the very God who created all things. Revelation 4:11 tells us that He has created all things and has created them for His pleasure. It pleased Him to create a glorious world and then to make man as sons and daughters to enjoy the wonders of His creation.

Discussion Questions

  1. Since God is the Creator of all things, what does this fact imply about His authority over that creation?
  2. The Westminster Shorter Catechism says man’s chief end is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. What can we learn from the creation account about how to enjoy God?
  3. When you think about being made in God’s image, what is the text of Scripture trying to communicate to you about how God feels about you?
  4. Since we are made in the image of God, what does the text imply about how we are to relate to each other?

Final thought:

Because we are made in the image of God, we enjoy both a special relationship to the created order and to the Creator Himself. The whole of the Bible is the amazing history of  creation, how the world became the way it is, and how the Creator, Himself, will, very soon, complete His redemption of the earth and restore all things.

Simple Steps To More Effective Bible Study

Simple Steps To More Effective Bible Study

Many Christians want to understand the Bible more but find it to be a daunting task. That is understandable. At its oldest (Job) the Bible is between 4,000 and 6,000 years old and it was originally written in other languages. So what can we do to be more effective in our Bible study?

  1. Gather the tools you need: A Bible (two is actually better, 1 word for word translation and 1 meaning based translation), A Bible Dictionary (I recommend Unger’s), a Concordance (I recommend Gruden’s or the Treasury of Scripture Knowledge) possibly a commentary (Wycliffe is excellent), a notebook, and a pen.
  2. Decide if you will study a topic or a book then begin at the appropriate point. By way of example, if you will study what the Bible says about worship you would look that up in your concordance and begin with the first passage listed.
  3. Pray for wisdom and understanding then read the selected passage; I always read in at least two English translations, NASB and NIV or NLT, and sometimes in all three. In this step read all the way through the passage without looking up any words or writing anything down.
  4. Read the passage again. This time write down any terms you might not be familiar with or that you want to know more about, such as predestination. Also write down any questions that you may have about the passage. Take note of any footnotes that are added at the bottom of the page. These will, very often, be most helpful to your understanding of the Bible text.
  5. Look up the unfamiliar terms in your Bible dictionary and make notes.
  6. Look up the passage in your commentary. Take note of any information that may answer your questions about the passage.
  7. Look for the answers to these questions: What is the Lord communicating to the original audience? What is the implication of the text for my life/what does the Lord require from me in this text?
  8. Look up any related passages. This will be done with the references in your Bible, most often these are in the center column. Make notes of how these passages all relate to each other. You may need to repeat steps 5-7 for the related passages.

After you complete step 8, discuss what you have learned (called the interpretation of the text) with either your pastor or a more mature Christian. Most importantly, realize that you have not mastered this text even though you have taken these steps. I have been studying for over 20 years and have not even scratched the surface of the Bible.

Until next time, may the Holy Spirt, Himself the Author of the Scripture, open your mind to behold wondrous things in the Scriptures.

Know Your Enemy: the Devil and his many names

Know Your Enemy: the Devil and his many names

Names Description Scripture Reference
Accuser Opposes believers before God Revelation 12:10
Adversary Against Believers 1 Peter 5:8
Beelzebul Lord of the Flies Matthew 12:24
Belial Worthless 2 Corinthians 6:15
Devil Slanderer Matthew 4:1
Dragon Destructive Revelation 12:3,7,9
Enemy Opponenet Matthew 13:28
Evil One Intrinsically Evil John 17:15
God of this World Influences the thinking of the world 2 Corinthians 4:4
Liar Perverts the truth John 8:44
Murderer Leads people to eternal death John 8:44
Prince Power of the Air Control of unbelievers Ephesians 2:2
Roaring Lion One who destroys 1 Peter 5:8
Ruler of Demons Leader of fallen angels Mark 3:22
Ruler of this World Rules the world system John 12:31
Satan Adversary 1 Timothy 5:15
Serpent of Old Deceiver in the garden Revelation 12:9, 20:2
Tempter Solicits people to sin 1 Thessalonians 3:5

 

Observations from Luke’s Introduction to the Gospel

Observations from Luke’s Introduction to the Gospel

Luke 1:1-4 (NKJV)

Inasmuch as many have taken in hand to set in order a narrative of those things which have been fulfilled among us, just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word delivered them to us, it seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write to you an orderly account, most excellent Theophilus, that you may know the certainty of those things in which you were instructed.

I would like to share 4 observations, with you, from the Introduction to the Gospel According to Luke

The Gospel is personal

Note the designation, most excellent Theophilus. While some scholars think this is a general reference to Christians everywhere (Theophilus means friend of God, which all Christians are) it is clear from the honorific, most excellent, that Luke is addressing a real person; the honorific is actually better translated as Your Excellency and could denote a Roman Official of significant social/political rank. In any case, the fact that the Holy Spirit directed one of the Gospel writers to address his words to a specific individual shows us that He is concerned with the salvation of the individual. I, personally, think that the term Theophilus is denoting both an actual person and all Christians everywhere.

The Gospel was attested to by many witnesses

Writing to the Brethren in Corinth Paul tells us

(1 Corinthians 15:3-8) “For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time.”

Cephas (Simon Peter), James, the full company of the Apostles, 500 brethren at once, and lastly Paul; there certainly was no shortage of eye witnesses to the Resurrection of Christ. These would, doubtlessly, the eyewitnesses that Luke refers to as having handed down the narrative of Christ’s life and death. At this particular point in history, parchment was still rather expensive and the oral traditions were still quite widespread. It is most probable, as is noted in the Harper Collins Study Bible and the New Oxford Annoated Bible, that Theophilus was a patron of Luke’s and sponsored the writing and distribution of the Gospel.

The Gospel is reasonable and complete

I do not just mean that the Gospel makes sense. Note that Luke says he has perfect understanding and by that he means his understanding is complete. Also, Luke mentions that he is writing an orderly account. This is not a consecutive order as the NASB incorrectly asserts but it is in thematic order. Each point of Jesus message is illustrated with teachings and miracles which attest to that teaching. The Gospel According to Luke is laid out in a very detailed (Luke is the longest of the 4 by total verses) order that would make sense to the meticulous Greek mind.

The Gospel is certain

It can be verified through testimony. The Old Testament requires two or three witnesses (Deuteronomy 19:15). Matthew (Matthew presents The Messiah King) and John (John presents the Divine Savior) were there and write from memory, Mark (Mark presents the obedient servant) was with Peter at the end of his life in Rome and pens a memoir of sorts for Peter, and Luke (Luke presents the Son of Man) was Paul’s personal physician. Each of these men wrote accounts for eyewitnesses. Remember that Paul studied at the feet of Gamaliel the Elder, which necessarily means that he was in Jerusalem and most probably witnessed much of what Jesus said and did. By recording so much eyewitness testimony, Luke establishes, forever, the veracity of the Gospel message.

Scriptural promises of God’s Presence

Scriptural promises of God’s Presence

 

  • Exodus 33:14
  • Numbers 6:24, 26
  • Isaiah 24:23
  • Isaiah 41:10
  • Isaiah 43:1
  • Isaiah 43:2
  • Habakkuk 2:14
  • Haggai 1:13
  • Haggai 2:5
  • Zechariah 2:10
  • Matthew 28:20
  • Luke 24:49
  • Hebrews 13:5
  • James 4:8
  • Deuteronomy 32:36
  • 1 Chronicles 28:9
  • Song of Solomon 2:16
  • Song of Solomon 7:10
  • Song of Solomon 8:7
  • Hosea 2:19
  • 1 Samuel 12:22
  • 1 Chronicles 28:9
  • 1 Chronicles 28:9
  • Ezra 8:22
  • Psalm 145:18
  • Hebrews 11:6
  • Exodus 2:24, 25
  • Psalm 4:3
  • Psalm 10:17
  • Psalm 145:18
  • Isaiah 65:24
  • 1 John 5:15
Scriptural Promises related to Salvation

Scriptural Promises related to Salvation

 

  • Genesis 45:7, 8
  • Numbers 21:8
  • 2 Samuel 22:26–28
  • Psalm 72:4
  • Ezekiel 34:12
  • Romans 8:32
  • Romans 11:26, 27
  • Exodus 12:13
  • Leviticus 17:11
  • 1 Samuel 14:6
  • 1 Chronicles 28:9
  • Isaiah 43:25
  • Isaiah 45:22
  • Jeremiah 3:22
  • Ezekiel 11:19, 20
  • Hosea 14:4
  • Joel 2:32
  • Zechariah 9:16
  • Matthew 1:21
  • Matthew 10:32
  • Matthew 16:18
  • Matthew 16:25
  • Mark 8:35
  • Luke 5:32
  • Luke 9:56
  • Luke 11:9
  • John 3:16
  • John 4:14
  • John 5:24
  • John 6:37
  • John 7:38, 39
  • John 8:36
  • John 10:10
  • John 10:27, 28
  • Romans 5:10
  • Romans 6:23
  • Romans 10:9
  • 2 Corinthians 5:17
  • Ephesians 5:14
  • 1 Thessalonians 5:9
  • Hebrews 7:25
  • Hebrews 9:28
  • 1 Peter 2:6
  • 1 John 1:7
  • 1 John 1:9
  • 1 John 5:4
  • Deuteronomy 28:7
  • 1 Samuel 17:47
  • Isaiah 51:7, 8
  • Joshua 23:10
  • Job 5:15, 16
  • Psalm 20:6
  • Isaiah 35:4
  • Zechariah 8:13
  • 2 Chronicles 30:9
  • Zephaniah 3:17
  • Mark 13:20
  • Psalm 121:7
  • Malachi 3:6
  • Isaiah 41:10 Isaiah 43:2
  • Habakkuk 2:4
  • Mark 8:35
  • Luke 18:17
  • John 1:12
  • John 11:25, 26
  • John 12:46
  • Acts 10:43
  • 1 Timothy 2:15
  • James 5:15
  • Luke 15:7
  • 2 Chronicles 7:14
  • 2 Peter 3:9

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