Category: New Believers

Salvation and Dispensationalism

Salvation and Dispensationalism

We welcome, once again,  James D. Quiggle, ThM. who brings us an article correcting some misconceptions regarding salvation in Dispensational Theology. It is my hope that this article is helpful to you…

In the previous article, “Understanding Dispensationalism,” I promised to address the criticism that dispensationalism teaches different ways of salvation in each dispensation. This criticism comes from those following a view of Scripture known as Covenant Theology (CT). Covenant theology teaches that God interacts with human kind through various covenants, the most important of which are the covenant of works with Adam pre-sin, and the covenant of grace after Adam’s fall into sin. Understanding how dispensationalism and CT view the means of salvation, versus the basis of salvation, requires a little background information.

Both dispensationalism and CT believe in the apostolic and Reformation doctrine of salvation by God’s grace through the sinner’s faith in God’s testimony that Jesus Christ propitiated God for sin on the cross. Propitiation is a term that means Christ fully satisfied God for the crime of sin by suffering God’s wrath against sin while on the cross. Jesus suffered spiritually for sin (“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”) and he suffered physically for sin (“And bowing his head, he gave up his spirit”). His resurrection out of death demonstrated that he had fully paid the judicial debt for sin. Every person believing God’s testimony concerning the way (or means) to salvation is saved.

If, as is the case, both CT and dispensationalism believe Christ’s propitiation is the basis for salvation from Adam forward to the end of the ages, what is the difference between them regarding salvation? In the previous article I stated, “A dispensation is from God’s viewpoint an economy; from man’s, a responsibility.”[1] Those following Covenant theology believe the differing responsibilities in each dispensation are different ways of salvation. For example, the responsibility of the people in Noah’s time was “believe God’s warning of coming judgment and get in the ark to be saved.” This was not the same as Abraham’s responsibility (Genesis 12:1) or that of the Israelis under the law given through Moses (Exodus 19:8), nor in this New Testament dispensation (e.g., Acts 16:31).

Because the Dispensationalist teaches God changes the means in which he interacts with human kind, continuing some responsibilities, annulling others, and giving new responsibilities, CT believes dispensationalism teaches different ways of salvation. Covenant theology confuses the dispensational view of changes in man’s responsibilities toward God (changes God himself made) as teaching different ways of salvation. This is not what dispensationalism teaches (I will explain below). To understand we must first examine what CT does teach about salvation.

Covenant theology teaches that from Adam forward, salvation was “by grace through faith in Christ.”[2] What Covenant theology means by the phrase “faith in Christ” is that every person in Old Testament times, from Adam forward, was saved because they placed their faith in the yet-future coming Messiah. The covenant theologian believes “it was not mere trust or faith in God, or simple piety, which was required [for salvation] but faith in the promised redeemer, or faith in the promise of redemption through the Messiah.”[3] How did the Old Testament persons come to the conclusion that their salvation depended on belief in a yet-future coming Messiah? Not from the Old Testament Scriptures. Covenant theology says they had supplementary instruction from the prophets or divine illumination from God.[4] “Supplementary instruction” and “divine illumination” means “not written in the Scriptures.” These views, from Charles Hodge’s Systematic Theology, were stated in 1873, but continue to describe Covenant theology’s view of salvation today.

The Covenant theologian cannot demonstrate his salvation theology from the scriptures. If pressed, CT will point to a few verses, e.g., John 8:56; Psalm 16:11; Job 19:25–26; Genesis 3:15. But, how much did the Old Testament peoples understand? Even a prominent CT (J. Barton Payne) admitted limitations in Old Testament understanding: “That, to satisfy God, God must die, that men might inherit God, to be with God, was incomprehensible under the Old Testament seminal knowledge of the Trinity, the incarnation, and the crucifixion followed by the resurrection.”[5] The CT pointing to Genesis 3:15, often cited as positive proof of belief in a coming messiah, has grave difficulties: the verse does not mention a coming messiah and is never used in the Old or New Testaments regarding Christ or salvation in Christ.

Dispensationalism has always taught one way of salvation. C. C. Ryrie, 1995: “the basis of salvation in every age is the death [propitiation] of Christ.”[6] C. I. Scofield, 1890: “God’s grace to man is always based on the work accomplished by Christ in His death [propitiation] on the cross.”[7] What Scofield taught in 1890 is exactly what Ryrie taught one hundred years later. Although dispensationalism is accused of teaching a different way of salvation in every dispensation, dispensationalists have always taught the basis for salvation from Adam to the end of the ages is the propitiation made by Christ. What does change with each dispensation is the “content of faith” given to each dispensation. Within each dispensation past, present, and yet-future (except the eternal state, in which every human being is saved and glorified prior to entry), God gives mankind a “content of faith” through which a sinner by grace through faith is able to access salvation and bring glory to God.

The content of faith for every dispensation is always defined by God’s testimony. In the dispensation concerning Noah’s generation, the content of faith was to believe universal judgment was coming and build an ark to save those of mankind who would believe God’s testimony. In the dispensation of the Mosaic Law the content of faith was not bring a sacrifice in order to be saved. The content of faith under the Mosaic Law was faith in God’s testimony that repentance of sin with confession of sin and a proper sacrifice for sin would result in forgiveness of sin. Mechanically bringing a sacrifice did not save. What saved was faith in God through his testimony, faith which was accepted by God’s grace, faith that was revealed by doing the things God said to do by faith. Near the end of the Tribulation period, when the voices of the saved are almost silenced by persecution and martyrdom, God will give human kind the simplest content of faith: Fear God, and give glory to him” (Revelation 14:7). But the basis of salvation will be the same it was for Adam and Eve, Abraham and Moses, Peter and Paul, and you and me: Christ’s propitiation on the cross.

Christ’s propitiation-resurrection created a new dispensation, the age of the New Testament church, with a new content of faith: believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. For Hebrews and Gentiles practicing Judaism the content of faith changed from repentance, faith, and a proper animal sacrifice under the Mosaic Law, to saving faith in the one and only Savior Jesus the Christ. For the pagan Gentiles outside Judaism the content of faith changed from walk with and worship the God who created Adam and gave the Noahic covenant, to saving faith in the one and only Savior Jesus the Christ, e.g., Acts 16:30–31; 17:30–31. To be saved in the current New Testament church dispensation one must come to God with repentance and confession for sin with the proper sacrifice—Jesus crucified and resurrected—having faith in God’s testimony that Jesus is the only way to be saved in this New Testament church dispensation.

The dispensationalist’s changing “content of faith” approach to the sinner’s access to salvation is not a change in the basis of salvation. The basis of salvation in every dispensation from Adam forward is the propitiation of Christ, and nothing else. Although Christ’s propitiation for sin occurred at a particular historical moment, it was, is, and always will be the only efficient means of salvation. Ephesians 1:4 indicates that in eternity-past God decreed the Son’s propitiation to be the only means by which sinners can be saved, “God chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world.” Therefore, because “God . . . calls the things not existing as though existing” (Romans 4:17), the historical act of Christ’s propitiation, which was decreed in eternity-past, is efficient for salvation from eternity-past through historical-present into eternity-future. By an eternal decree, the salvific benefits of Christ’s historical propitiation have been in effect from the moment God made the decree, which was before he created the universe. How those benefits are accessed is defined and described for the dispensationalist by the content of faith God gave sinners in each particular dispensation.

In the purpose of God the plan of salvation is the same in every dispensation: always by grace through faith in God’s testimony; always by application of Christ’s merit to the sinner’s spiritual need. The changing “content of faith” is a change in the processes by which salvation is accessed. But a change in the content of faith is not a change in God’s purpose and plans. The “content of faith” in each dispensation is always faith in God through his testimony, whatever that testimony might be for a particular dispensation. The plan of salvation has always been and will always be “God from the beginning chose you to salvation, by grace, in sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth,” 2 Thessalonians 2:13, cf. Ephesians 2:8–9; 1 Peter 1:2. The truth through which sinners past, present, and future access the means of grace and the way of salvation was, is, and always will be God’s testimony concerning the particular content of faith given to them.

Looking to the one way in which God saves in every dispensation from Adam to the end of the ages, Ryrie has developed a dispensational definition of salvation:

The basis of salvation in every age is the death [propitiation] of Christ; the requirement for salvation in every age is faith; the object of faith in every age is God; the content of faith changes in the various dispensations.”[8]

Dispensationalism doesn’t depend on extra-biblical knowledge or unknown divine illumination to effect salvation in the Old Testament, as does covenant theology, but on faith in God through his testimony in the Scripture given to each dispensation. So, too, in the New Testament church dispensation and yet-future dispensations. There has been and will always be one basis of salvation: Christ; one requirement for salvation: faith, one object of faith: God.

 

[1] Charles C. Ryrie, Dispensationalism  (Chicago: Moody Press, 1995, Rev. ed.), 30.

[2] [http://www.ligonier.org/learn/articles/reformed-theology-covenant-theology/]; [https://www.gotquestions.org/covenant-theology.html].

[3] Charles Hodge, Systematic Theology (1873, Reprinted, Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1981), 2:372.

[4] Ibid., 2:367.

[5] Ryrie, Dispensationalism, 114 (emphasis original).

[6] Ibid., 115.

[7] C. I. Scofield, Bible Correspondence Course (1890, Reprinted, Chicago, IL:  The Moody Bible Institute, 1960), 5:1244.

[8] Ryrie, Dispensationalism, 115 (emphasis original).

Understanding Dispensationalism

Understanding Dispensationalism

Guest Post by James D. Quiggle, ThM.

The concepts that make up dispensationalism are found in Scripture, and the core theological ideas that comprise dispensationalism have been around since apostolic days. The modern revival of dispensationalism began life as a prophecy movement in the late 1800s. Then, through the works of men such as Arno C. Gaebelein, C. I. Scofield, and later C. C. Ryrie, dispensationalism became a means of understanding the world as a household run by God. Dispensationalism is an organizing principle that gives a certain structure to the scriptures, and dispensationalism is the theology (study of God and Scripture) that derives from that certain structure.

Dispensational theology recognizes that God has worked out his purpose in the world in different ways at different times in the history of the world. This is not an unfamiliar concept. Hebrews 1:1–2, “Long ago God spoke to the fathers by the prophets at different times and in different ways. In these last days, he has spoken to us by his Son” (CSB[1]). So we see that God worked in many different ways to reveal himself in Old Testament days, and in these New Testament days he has revealed himself in his Son, Jesus Christ. So too has God used different ways at different times to work out his purpose in the world.

Dispensationalism identifies the different ways and times in which God is working in the world using the term dispensation. “A dispensation is a distinguishable economy in the outworking of God’s purpose.”[2] An “economy,” in the sense the Bible uses the word “dispensation,” corresponds to the more archaic use of the word, i.e., the management of household affairs. “Dispensationalism views the world as a household run by God. In His household God is dispensing or administering its affairs according to his own will and in various stages of revelation in the passage of time.”[3] Restated a little differently, “A dispensation is from God’s viewpoint an economy; from man’s, a responsibility.”[4]

The difference between the days of Adam, the days of Noah, and the days of Abraham provide an example of three dispensations. During the days of Adam, before his sin, human beings were responsible to worship God and obey his commandments (1:3–3:6). After his sin God gave humans new responsibilities (Genesis 3:7–8:14), to “walk with God,” Genesis 5:22. But as human beings turned away from God, 5:5, God began to work out his purpose through one person, Noah, and his family. The responsibility of human beings during the time of Noah before the flood was to believe God’s warning of coming judgment and get in the ark to be saved.

After the flood God gave human beings new responsibilities, Genesis 8:15–11:9. Then, as the world began to be repopulated, God began to manage the world through his relationship with Abraham (Genesis 11:10–Exodus 18:27); and then through Moses (Exodus 19:1–John 14:30), dividing the world’s peoples into two groups, Hebrews and non-Hebrews (i.e., Gentiles). The Gentiles would continue under the responsibilities of the post-flood covenant God made with humanity through Noah. The Hebrews would develop under the covenants with Abraham and Moses to the time of Jesus Christ, when both groups became responsible to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation, Acts 3:38; 10:44–48; 16:31; 17:31.

So, a new dispensation begins when God takes action to change the way in which he runs his household by changing the responsibilities required of human beings. As another has said, “A new period (dispensation) always begins only when from the side of God a change is introduced in the composition of the principles valid up to that time; that is, when from the side of God three things concur:[5]

  1. A continuance of certain ordinances valid until then;
  2. An annulment of other regulations until then valid;
  3. A fresh introduction of new principles not before valid.

We see this, for example, by comparing the change in mans’ pre- and post-flood responsibilities; and the change in Israel’s responsibilities toward the Law of Moses before Christ came and after Christ was crucified, resurrected, and ascended. Today, in the current dispensation, both Jews and Gentiles are required to believe on Jesus Christ crucified, resurrected, and ascended for salvation from the penalty of due sin, and thereby receive eternal life.

There have been several dispensations in the history of the world since Adam was created. These are identified in various ways. I prefer to identify them by the prominent biblical person with which they began and ended. These are:[6]

Adam to Noah

Noah to Abraham

Abraham to Moses

Moses to Christ’s resurrection

Christ’s resurrection to rapture of the church

Rapture of the church to Christ’s second advent/Davidic-Messianic-Millennial reign

Christ’s Davidic-Messianic-Millennial reign to Christ the Judge at the Great White Throne Judgment (GWT)

The eternal state (God eternally face-to-face with saved mankind) following the GWT

Certain dispensations might also be defined in terms of the covenants God made with mankind’s representatives.

Adam to Noah (Adamic covenant)

Noah to Abraham, (Post-Flood Noahic covenant)

Abraham to Moses, (Abrahamic covenant)

Moses to Christ’s resurrection (Mosaic, Palestinian, Davidic, and New covenants)

Christ’s resurrection to rapture of the church (application of New covenant to individual Hebrews and Gentiles)

Christ’s Davidic-Messianic-Millennial reign (fulfillment of Abrahamic, Davidic, Palestinian, and New covenants toward national ethnic Israel)

Another way of identifying the dispensations looks like this:[7]

Name               Scripture                     Responsibilities                     Judgments

Innocency Genesis 1:3–3:6 Keep Garden

Do not eat one fruit

Fill, subdue earth

Fellowship with God

Curses, and physical and spiritual death
Conscience Genesis 3:7–8:14 Do good Flood
Civil Government Genesis 8:15–11:9 Fill earth

Capital punishment

Forced scattering by confusion of languages
Patriarchal Rule Genesis 11:10– Exodus 18:27 Stay in Promised Land

Believe and obey God

Egyptian bondage and wilderness wanderings
Mosaic Law Exodus 19:1–   John 14:30 Keep the law

Walk with God

Captivities
Grace Acts 2:1– Revelation 19:21 Believe on Christ

Walk with Christ

Death

Loss of rewards

Millennium Revelation 20:1–15 Believe and obey Christ and His government Death

Great White Throne Judgment

 

Most dispensationalists see seven dispensations, more or less as described in the table, above. The number of dispensations and the names are minor matters. Above the table I identified seven dispensations using the names of prominent Bible characters, and six using the covenants in Scripture. The number or names are not essential to dispensationalism.

What is essential to dispensationalism? Put another way, what is the sine qua non (a Latin phrase literally meaning “without which nothing”), what are the essential beliefs that identify dispensationalism from other theologies? Charles Ryrie has identified three essentials.[8]

  1. A dispensationalist keeps Israel and the church distinct.
  2. The distinction between Israel and the church is born out of a system of hermeneutics [method of interpretation] that is usually called literal interpretation, or historical-grammatical interpretation.
  3. The underlying purpose of God in the world is the glory of God.

The first principle of dispensationalism is to maintain the distinction between Israel and the New Testament church. By this principle the dispensationalist means God has a distinct purpose for national ethnic Israel and a distinct purpose for the New Testament church. Some theologies believe the New Testament church has replaced Israel in the plan of God, or superseded Israel in the plan of God, or that the New Testament church is “the continuation of Israel” in a new phase of its existence (the church is Israel).[9] While there is some overlap in God’s purpose for national ethnic Israel and the New Testament church—both, for example, will be present in the Davidic-Millennial Kingdom—each is a distinct entity and each has a distinct purpose in God’s plans.

 

Dispensationalism derives its view of Israel and the church by a method of interpretation usually known as the literal hermeneutic or the historical-grammatical hermeneutic. By these terms is meant the dispensationalist interprets the Bible according to the plain and normal sense of words and uses of language. For example, if I type “dog” or “cat,” the animal named appears in your mind’s eye. If I type “it is raining cats and dogs,” you do not picture dogs and cats raining down from the sky, but a rain so heavy no dog or cat would be caught outside—nor no sensible human. That is understanding words and language in the plain and normal sense. So, too, with Bible interpretation. Fire, for example, has a literal meaning, and it has a figurative (actually two figurative) meanings. Fire burns, consumes most things it burns, but may be also used to refine (smelt) metals. So the figurative meaning is judgment (consumes) or purification (refines). The literal hermeneutic is really an analysis of the historical circumstances of when the word was written and the people/culture it was written to, analysis of the grammar and syntax of the language, an analysis of the context of the passage in which the word is used, an analysis of the literary genre of the writing in which the word is used, a theological and doctrinal analysis of the passage, and comparing one’s result with other reliable commentators. The literal interpretation is really the “historical-cultural, contextual, lexical-syntactical, theological, and literary analysis” method.[10] But that is too long to say or write, so we will call it historical-grammatical interpretation, or, literal interpretation.

 

Dispensationalism views God’s purpose in the world as his own glory. God’s plan to save sinners is not God’s only program in the world, but only one means by which God will glorify himself. All the events of the created world are designed to reveal the glory of God. God has plans for the saved, sinners, holy angels, fallen angels, Israel, the church, those saved during the Tribulation, and those persons and angels entering the eternal age after the Great White Throne judgment (see Revelation 20–22). “The basic purpose of God in all His dealings with mankind is that of glorifying Himself through salvation and other purposes.”[11]

 

Some believe the dispensational arrangement of history teaches different ways of salvation in the several dispensational economies. I will address this criticism in a second article.

 

 

 

[1] Christian Standard Bible (Copyright, Lifeway Christian Resources, 2017).

[2] Charles C. Ryrie, Dispensationalism  (Chicago: Moody Press, 1995, Rev. ed.), 28.

[3] Ibid., 29.

[4] Ibid., 30.

[5] Erich Sauer, The Dawn of World Redemption (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1951), 194

[6] James D. Quiggle, Dispensational Eschatology, (CreateSpace, 2013), 3–4.

[7] Ryrie, Dispensationalism, 54.

[8] Ibid., 39–41.

[9] Samuel E. Waldron, MacArthur’s Millennial Manifesto, A Friendly Response (Owensburg, KY: RBAP, 2008), 7.

[10] Henry A. Virkler, Hermeneutics (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1981), 76

[11] Ryrie, Dispensationalism, 41.

Jesus: The Most Excellent Name and His Superlative Name

Jesus: The Most Excellent Name and His Superlative Name

Philippians 2:9-11

For this reason, God highly exalted Him and gave Him the Name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow—of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth—and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

I have heard this passage quoted countless times and rightfully so; the Name Jesus is worthy to be bowed down to, worthy to be adored, to be exalted in exuberant song. It is the very best name there is. Or is it? Does Jesus actually have a better name than Jesus? IF He does, what is that name and why will we bow to it?

As it happens, there is a different name that all men will bow down before. It is a name that has belonged to Jesus since before time began. It was His name before His incarnation; before He condescended to come to this earth and allow Himself to be sacrificed for our sins, this name crowned Him in glory and this name arrayed Jesus in every superlative of majesty that you could ever possibly imagine if you had 1000 lifetimes and no limitations to the capacity of your mind. This name, that Jesus has had for all eternity, is the one before whom every knee will bow and it is the name that will cause every tongue to confess; this name is YHWH (Jehovah). Dear children, it is not simply that every knee bows before Jesus, nor is it the confession of lordship that glorifies the Father but it is instead the confession of the Name that glorifies the Father. Every knee will bow and every tongue will confess, (don’t miss this) Jesus IS YHWH!

Isaiah 42:8 (ASV) “ I am Jehovah, that is my name; and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise unto graven images.”

Isaiah 43:11 (ASV) “I, even I, am Jehovah; and besides me there is no saviour.”

YHWH (Jehovah) in the Old Testament declares that He will never share His glory and that He alone is the savior. But in Acts, the Apostle Peter tells us that it is the name Jesus that salvation is found in. Is there a contradiction here? Does Peter contradict Isaiah? Nope. The Greek Iesus is the same as the Hebrew Y’shua and it is in that name that salvation is found. You might ask how on earth I figure that Y’shua is the name in which salvation is found. Well, Y’shua is the shortened form of Yehoshu’a (Joshua) and Yehoshu’a literally means YHWH is Savior. Isn’t that beautiful?

 

It is YHWH which is Christ’s most glorious Name. The very God who was blasphemed by our sin has put aside the offense and has redeemed us unto Himself. Stop for a minute and think about what this means because it means so much more than you don’t have to go to hell for eternity and it means so much more than you get to go to heaven. You get to be with YHWH and you get to be like Him, unable to die, unable to be diminished. Your eternity with YHWH will be in perfect communion; you will behold the One who loved you more than life and gave His to redeem yours. Standing face to face you will see YHWH on His glorious throne. Eyes that have never seen will behold the Lamb, ears that have never heard will behold the majesty of heaven’s symphony of praise, lips that have never spoken will resound the anthem of Christ’s amazing grace, and feet that have never walked will dance before the throne with all their might just as David did in the Old Testament. In that moment, when all who have ever lived see Jesus in all of the resplendent majesty of His person, every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus is YHWH and the whole world will glorify YHWH, some in judgment and some from an undeserved spot in heaven but we will all give Him glory forever and ever.

Apostle’s Creed (Our Essential Creed)

Apostle’s Creed (Our Essential Creed)

Below, you will find the foundational statement of faith of all Reformed Christians. Officially codified in AD 390, this is a concise statement on the essentials of Christian Orthodoxy.

 

I believe in God the Father, Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth:

And in Jesus Christ, his only begotten Son, our Lord:

Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary:

Suffered under Pontius Pilate; was crucified, dead and buried: He descended into hell:

The third day he rose again from the dead:

He ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty:

From thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead:

I believe in the Holy Ghost:

I believe in the holy catholic church: the communion of saints:

The forgiveness of sins:

The resurrection of the body:

And the life everlasting. Amen.

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.

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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