From Jim McGuiggan... LETTERS


I have two letters in front of me [actually they are multiple part notes on one subject].
One is filled with agony and unbridled anger and the other is about the niceties of understanding this piece of theology or scripture or another.
One screams invective and disgorges it all in the most insulting language that our Western culture in this generation has come up with. Every vile analogy is used, every sickeningly insulting word is used as the writer rages in his contempt and fever—he's unhinged. This isn't bad temper; this man is consumed with anger, an anger that has been building in him for years. Moderate speech is out of the question; subtlety is despised. No word he knows is vile enough, no swear word is crude or vicious or hate-filled enough to express his scalding rage—it's a beast that feeds on his innards, a savagery he wants to torment others with.
I know so little about him but there's no mistaking the agony and the gnashing of his teeth. We've had several conversations but I'm neither wise enough, knowledgeable or influential enough to help him. 
I can pray on his behalf to the God he hates; I can only take my place among His people—a people the writer despises with uncontrolled passion.
I can stand at a distance [I can't enter his mind or circumstances] and sense his pain and experience deep distress at an anguish that leads to such speech.
On my knees I've talked to God about him and as I stumble around looking for words I see the images of a poor soul living among the tombs, repulsed by the approach of Jesus but down somewhere below the demonic hate there is someone who would rejoice in freedom and would follow Jesus anywhere. [An interesting piece of scripture that. One that's best left back where it belongs two thousand years ago though the human condition it deals with is exhibited before our eyes every day.]

So the other letter. It's all about the biblical text in light of, say, "a careful reading" . It's the kind of stuff that uses words like "conversation" or "thick" description or preaching as "word-event" or "situational" or "analogical" theology. I don't say it is without value. I know it wearies me no more than the banal observations on this moral issue or that that we hear week after blessed week from those who think they're "preaching".
The stuff in this letter isn't the kind of thing that on any occasion will drive us to our knees to express our helplessness and confess we have been left speechless and emotionally wrecked.
I don't know how to end this piece.

The Meaning of "Psallo" in the New Testament by Eric Lyons, M.Min.


The Meaning of "Psallo" in the New Testament

by  Eric Lyons, M.Min.

After failing to discover a biblical command, a binding example, or a necessary inference for the use of mechanical instruments in Christian worship, those who advocate the use of such music often (as a last resort) allege that the term psallo includes the use of instrumental music. Psallo is the Greek verb translated “making melody” in Ephesians 5:19, and “I will sing” in 1 Corinthians 14:15. The noun form of this term, psalmos, appears in such passages as 1 Corinthians 14:26, Ephesians 5:19, and Colossians 3:16. If one looks up psallo in a Greek lexicon, he probably will find the following definitions: to touch, pull, or pluck; to twitch the strings on a carpenter’s line; to pluck or strike the cords on a musical instrument; to sing praises. Upon reviewing these definitions, some claim that Paul’s use of psallo and psalmos implies the use of a stringed instrument in worship. They further assert that these words always convey the idea of instrumental accompaniment to singing, even if the instrument is not mentioned. Are they correct? If not, why not?
When one studies the etymology of this word, he will find that it is incorrect to say that every time psallo was used in antiquity, it meant to play an instrument. By studying reliable Greek lexicons (dictionaries) and various historical documents, one soon comes to understand that the term psallo has had a variety of meanings in different periods of its history. In fact, the evidence indicates that even before Christ came to Earth, psallo no longer meant to play instruments of music. Numerous scholarly sources could be cited to prove this point, but for the sake of space, three will suffice. First, Walter Bauer’s highly respected lexicon, revised by Frederick Danker in 2000, indicates that even in the Septuagint (a Greek translation of the Old Testament that appeared about 250 years before Christ was born), it “is usually the case” that psallo is translated as only “to sing” (2000, p. 1096). In Henry Thayer’s often-quoted Greek lexicon, he noted that by the time the events recorded in the New Testament took place, psallo meant “to sing a hymn, to celebrate the praises of God in song” (1962, p. 675). Finally, Sophocles, a native Greek and for thirty-eight years a professor of the Greek language at Harvard University, declared (after examining a plethora of secular and religious historical documents) that there was not a single example of psallo ever used in the time of Christ that involved or implied the use of an instrument; rather, it always meant to chant or sing religious hymns (see Kurfees, 1999, p. 47).
When one wishes to know the definition of a word from times past, he must inquire as to how the word was used at any particular time in history. For example, when one reads the word “prevent” in the King James Version (cf. 1 Thessalonians 4:15), he must understand that this word does not mean the same thing it did when this version was first produced in 1611. Then, it meant “to go before; to precede.” Today, it means “to keep from happening; to impede.” The word “idiot” was used in the seventeenth century in reference to one “in a private station, as distinguished from one holding public office.” Today, it is used to speak of “an unlearned, or ignorant person.” Just as these English words once had meanings that now are entirely obsolete, the Greek word psallo once meant “to pluck or strike the chords of a musical instrument.” But, before the beginning of the New Testament period, it had lost this meaning. In his well-researched book, Instrumental Music in the Worship, M.C. Kurfees noted that the word psallo never is used in the New Testament or in contemporaneous literature to mean anything other than to sing (1999, p. 45). The other meanings had entirely disappeared by the time the New Testament was written.
The fact is, however, even if this word had retained all of its original meanings (and the evidence shows that it clearly had not), the letters Paul penned to the Christians in Ephesus and Colossae specifically name the “plucked” instrument—the heart. Thus, a harp, piano, banjo, or any other kind of musical instrument is no more an integral part of psallo than the plucking of chicken feathers. The deceptive and misleading argument which suggests that in the New Testament psallo means “to strike the cords on a musical instrument,” is false to the core. It can be refuted simply by taking an honest look at all of the evidence available.


Danker, Frederick William (2000), A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and other Early Christian Literature (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press).
Kurfees, M.C. (1999 reprint), Instrumental Music in the Worship (Nashville, TN: Gospel Advocate), first published in 1911.
Thayer, Joseph Henry (1962), Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan).

From Mark Copeland... Bearing Witness Of The Light (John 1:6-8)

                          "THE GOSPEL OF JOHN"

                  Bearing Witness Of The Light (1:6-8)


1. In the prologue to his gospel, the apostle John introduces another
   man named John...
   a. A man who was sent from God - Jn 1:6
   b. A man who came to bear witness of the Light - Jn 1:7
   -- This man, of course, was John the Baptist

2. John the apostle makes it clear that this other "John" was not the
   a. Not only here in the prologue - Jn 1:8
   b. But also immediately following the prologue - cf. Jn 1:19-20

3. John the Baptist's purpose in bearing witness of the Light...
   a. That all might believe - 1Jn 1:7
   b. The same reason John the apostle wrote his gospel - cf. Jn 20:

4. John was not the only person to bear witness of the Light...
   a. Others did before he came
   b. Others have since he came

[Indeed, even we have a responsibility to bear witness of the Light! 
Before we consider how, let's note those who have done so in the


      1. They foretold the sufferings of Christ, and the glories to
         follow - 1Pe 1:10-11
         a. E.g., the prophet Isaiah - Isa 7:14; 9:6-7; 53:4-6
         b. E.g., the prophet Micah - Mic 5:2
         c. It has been estimated that there are more than 300
            prophecies concerning Christ
      2. Jesus reminded His disciples of this truth
         a. To the two disciples on the road to Emmaus - Lk 24:25-27
         b. Later to the apostles in Jerusalem - Lk 24:44-47

      1. Foretold by Isaiah - Isa 40:3
      2. Identified as such by Matthew, Mark, and Luke - Mt 3:1-3; Mk 1:
         1-4; Lk 3:1-6
      3. John the apostle relates how John the Baptist bore witness of
         the Light
         a. Declaring Jesus to be "The Lamb of God" - Jn 1:29,35-36
         b. Declaring Jesus to be "The Son of God" - Jn 1:34

[Both the prophets and John bore witness to Jesus prior to His ministry. 
During the course of His ministry, there was another One who bore
witness of the Light...]


      1. Through the miracles Jesus did - cf. Jn 5:36-37; 10:25,37-38
      2. Even as Nicodemus and the man born blind realized - cf. Jn 3:2;

      1. At the baptism of Jesus - Mt 3:16-17
      2. At the mount of transfiguration - Mt 17:5
      3. At Jerusalem during the last week - Jn 12:27-30

      1. Declaring Jesus to be the Son of God with power - Ro 1:3-4
      2. Declaring Jesus to be One will judge the world - Ac 17:30-31

[When the Father raised Jesus from the dead, He was seen by select
witnesses who in turn were commanded to add their witness of the Light
(Ac 10:40-43).  But not just the apostles; in some ways we can say that
witnesses of the Light includes all...]


      1. They bore witness through their eyewitness testimony
         a. In this they are very special witnesses - cf. Jn 15:27; Ac 1:8; 5:30-32; 13:30-31
         b. Providing empirical evidence - cf. 1Jn 1:1-2; 2Pe 1:16-18
      2. They bore witness through their lives and death
         a. Enduring great hardship for their testimony - cf. 1Co 4:
         b. Giving credence to the truthfulness of their testimony!

      1. Their unity with one another bears witness - Jn 17:20-23
         a. Through our unity we bear witness to the fact:
            1) Jesus was sent by God
            2) God loves the world
         b. Should make one think how Jesus feels about congregational
            infighting, denominational division, etc.
            1) We know how Paul feels - cf. 1Co 1:10-13; 3:3-4
            2) We know what conduct is worthy of our calling - cf. Ep 4:
      2. Their transformed lives also bears witness
         a. As evidence of the influence of Christ in their lives - cf.
            2Co 3:18; 4:6
            1) Whose truth teaches us how to live in righteousness and
               holiness - cf. Ep 4:17-24
            2) Enabling us to shine as lights in the world as we reflect
               the glory of His light in our lives - Php 2:12-16  
         b. Should make one think how we can be of much use if we are
            not being transformed
            1) By failing to renew of our minds - cf. Ro 12:1-2
            2) By failing to put on the new man (a Christ-like
               character) - cf. Col 3:9-17
      3. Their proclamation of the Word bears witness
         a. Our duty as the elect people of God is to proclaim His
            praises - 1Pe 2:9-10
            1) How He called us into His marvelous light
            2) How we obtained His mercy
         b. Should make one think of how little use we are if we remain
            1) By not spreading the gospel - cf. Ac 8:4
            2) By not sounding forth the Word - cf. 1Th 1:8


1. Those in the past faithfully bore witness of the Light...
   a. The forerunners (the prophets and John the Baptist)
   b. The followers (the apostles and early disciples)

2. What about us today...?
   a. Do we bear witness of the Light by our unity with one another?
   b. Do we bear witness of the Light through transformed lives?
   c. Do we bear witness of the Light through proclaiming the Word?

The purpose of bearing witness of the Light is so others can believe (Jn
1:7).  Do we help or hinder those around us to believe in Jesus? 

Don't quench the Father's efforts, who would have each of us bear
witness of the Light!

   "For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness,
   who has shone in our hearts to [give] the light of the knowledge
   of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ." (2Co 4:6)

   "For you were once darkness, but now [you are] light in the Lord.
   Walk as children of light." (Ep 5:8)

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

From Gary... Bible Reading September 12

Bible Reading  

September 12

The World English Bible

Sept. 12
Psalms 61-63

Psa 61:1 Hear my cry, God. Listen to my prayer.
Psa 61:2 From the end of the earth, I will call to you, when my heart is overwhelmed. Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
Psa 61:3 For you have been a refuge for me, a strong tower from the enemy.
Psa 61:4 I will dwell in your tent forever. I will take refuge in the shelter of your wings. Selah.
Psa 61:5 For you, God, have heard my vows. You have given me the heritage of those who fear your name.
Psa 61:6 You will prolong the king's life; his years shall be for generations.
Psa 61:7 He shall be enthroned in God's presence forever. Appoint your loving kindness and truth, that they may preserve him.
Psa 61:8 So I will sing praise to your name forever, that I may fulfill my vows daily.
Psa 62:1 My soul rests in God alone. My salvation is from him.
Psa 62:2 He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress-- I will never be greatly shaken.
Psa 62:3 How long will you assault a man, would all of you throw him down, Like a leaning wall, like a tottering fence?
Psa 62:4 They fully intend to throw him down from his lofty place. They delight in lies. They bless with their mouth, but they curse inwardly. Selah.
Psa 62:5 My soul, wait in silence for God alone, for my expectation is from him.
Psa 62:6 He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress. I will not be shaken.
Psa 62:7 With God is my salvation and my honor. The rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God.
Psa 62:8 Trust in him at all times, you people. Pour out your heart before him. God is a refuge for us. Selah.
Psa 62:9 Surely men of low degree are just a breath, and men of high degree are a lie. In the balances they will go up. They are together lighter than a breath.
Psa 62:10 Don't trust in oppression. Don't become vain in robbery. If riches increase, don't set your heart on them.
Psa 62:11 God has spoken once; twice I have heard this, that power belongs to God.
Psa 62:12 Also to you, Lord, belongs loving kindness, for you reward every man according to his work.
Psa 63:1 God, you are my God. I will earnestly seek you. My soul thirsts for you. My flesh longs for you, in a dry and weary land, where there is no water.
Psa 63:2 So I have seen you in the sanctuary, watching your power and your glory.
Psa 63:3 Because your loving kindness is better than life, my lips shall praise you.
Psa 63:4 So I will bless you while I live. I will lift up my hands in your name.
Psa 63:5 My soul shall be satisfied as with the richest food. My mouth shall praise you with joyful lips,
Psa 63:6 when I remember you on my bed, and think about you in the night watches.
Psa 63:7 For you have been my help. I will rejoice in the shadow of your wings.
Psa 63:8 My soul stays close to you. Your right hand holds me up.
Psa 63:9 But those who seek my soul, to destroy it, shall go into the lower parts of the earth.
Psa 63:10 They shall be given over to the power of the sword. They shall be jackal food.
Psa 63:11 But the king shall rejoice in God. Everyone who swears by him will praise him, for the mouth of those who speak lies shall be silenced.

Sept. 12
1 Corinthians 8

1Co 8:1 Now concerning things sacrificed to idols: We know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up.
1Co 8:2 But if anyone thinks that he knows anything, he doesn't yet know as he ought to know.
1Co 8:3 But if anyone loves God, the same is known by him.
1Co 8:4 Therefore concerning the eating of things sacrificed to idols, we know that no idol is anything in the world, and that there is no other God but one.
1Co 8:5 For though there are things that are called "gods," whether in the heavens or on earth; as there are many "gods" and many "lords;"
1Co 8:6 yet to us there is one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we for him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and we live through him.
1Co 8:7 However, that knowledge isn't in all men. But some, with consciousness of the idol until now, eat as of a thing sacrificed to an idol, and their conscience, being weak, is defiled.
1Co 8:8 But food will not commend us to God. For neither, if we don't eat, are we the worse; nor, if we eat, are we the better.
1Co 8:9 But be careful that by no means does this liberty of yours become a stumbling block to the weak.
1Co 8:10 For if a man sees you who have knowledge sitting in an idol's temple, won't his conscience, if he is weak, be emboldened to eat things sacrificed to idols?
1Co 8:11 And through your knowledge, he who is weak perishes, the brother for whose sake Christ died.
1Co 8:12 Thus, sinning against the brothers, and wounding their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ.
1Co 8:13 Therefore, if food causes my brother to stumble, I will eat no meat forevermore, that I don't cause my brother to stumble.

From Gary (and Linda) ... Shining through

Today, as I sat down to select a graphic for my daily post, my Linda was making some copies with the printer right next to me. This jpeg caught my eye and I asked her: "What do you think of this picture?".  Her response was something along the lines of.... Satan may try to stop the light of God's word, but it still shines through- notice the water, Gary.  Humm, she is right; you would think that the foreground light would be distorted, but it is NOT!!!  Way to go, Linda!!!  And then there is this passage from the Gospel of John...

John 12:44-50 NASB
(44)  And Jesus cried out and said, "He who believes in Me, does not believe in Me but in Him who sent Me.
(45)  "He who sees Me sees the One who sent Me.
(46)  "I have come as Light into the world, so that everyone who believes in Me will not remain in darkness.
(47)  "If anyone hears My sayings and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world.
(48)  "He who rejects Me and does not receive My sayings, has one who judges him; the word I spoke is what will judge him at the last day.
(49)  "For I did not speak on My own initiative, but the Father Himself who sent Me has given Me a commandment as to what to say and what to speak.
(50)  "I know that His commandment is eternal life; therefore the things I speak, I speak just as the Father has told Me."

The light has come into the world and the darkness can not stop it!!!  Why? Because it is the will of the Father who sent Jesus.  Forget excuses, remember judgment and follow Jesus, for he is The Father's message on this planet Earth!!! Simple, but true, and it will never change!!!!