From Jim McGuiggan... A Christocentric hermenutic

A Christocentric hermenutic

It’s no controversial claim to say that the central character in the Bible is God and not man. It’s not controversial to say that in the Bible God reveals himself not in the abstract but always in relationship to his creation. We know nothing about God in the abstract and what Karl Barth said of him is true, he does not will to be God without us. The only "biography" we have of God shows him related to us.

If it’s true that the central character in the Bible is God then any approach to Bible study or proclamation that obscures that truth is a bad approach.

We could go to the Bible and extract from it a thousand proverbs and countless answers to moral questions without ever saying a word about God himself. Even atheists and critics of the Christian faith have been known to do that. We can quote the Golden Rule and call people to live like that and think little or nothing about God or Jesus Christ. But to treat the Bible that way—as a storehouse of moral opinions and wise maxims—is to make moral opinions and wise maxims the central reality in scripture. As in music, a million written notes can’t be played unless there’s a clef written in the staff, so it is biblically that all the maxims and opinions in existence have no meaning unless God is there to give them meaning.

The Christian would insist that in Jesus Christ, God has revealed himself as completely as it is possible to reveal himself in a human life. Jesus is the express image of God’s person and when we see and know him we see and know the Father. If this is true then we should treat Jesus as the means by which we get to know the central character in the Bible. Our approach to understanding God must then be Christocentric. Any approach that deviates from that obscures God’s self-revelation.

And if it’s true that at the cross everything—in principle—about Jesus Christ is made known then our approach to the Bible should be Christocentric and cruciform. This doesn’t mean that we should read or speak about only crucifixion texts but it should mean that we work at seeing how all other texts enable us to understand the cross of Christ so that it will in turn open our eyes to everything else. Our approach to scripture must be Christocentric if it is to be Theocentric. It’s God we’re after!

This means that our study habits and approaches should work to get to know Christ. The tools we use (lexical, grammatical, historical, literary or whatever) should be wielded to reveal him. But beyond the tools of the trade, beyond the questions of techinque our hearts must seek him. We’re after more than information—we want to form and deepen a relationship with him and so with the Holy Father.

And if we get to know God by getting to know Jesus we also get to know man as God eternally intended him to be—in God's image.

Churches and ministers that fill us full of moral opinions and do not lead us to Jesus Christ by whom we have access in the Holy Spirit to the Holy Father are doing us an injury.

The Catholic Dogma of Infallibility by Moisés Pinedo


The Catholic Dogma of Infallibility

by  Moisés Pinedo

When the Roman Pontiff speaks EX CATHEDRA...he possesses, by the divine assistance promised to him in blessed Peter, that infallibility which the divine Redeemer willed his Church to enjoy in defining doctrine concerning faith or morals. Therefore, such definitions of the Roman Pontiff are of themselves, and not by the consent of the Church, irreformable (Vatican I, 1869b, chap. 4, s. 9).
This is the dogma declared by Pope Pius IX, and approved by the Vatican I Council, in regard to the alleged infallible teaching authority of the Roman pontiff.
For more than a century, this dogma has pressed greatly upon the shoulders of Catholics, who have worked feverishly to try to harmonize the nature of the infallible dogma with the declarations, teachings, and revelations of the popes who lived before and after the establishment of such a dogma. The truth is that the faithful Catholic does not have the option of rejecting the doctrine firmly imposed by Vatican I, because the canonical condemnation concerning its rejection is also firm. The canon warns:
So then, should anyone, which God forbid, have the temerity to reject this definition of ours: let him be anathema [condemned—MP] (Vatican I, 1869b, chap. 4, s. 9, emp. added).
Thus, the curse is set upon those who reject the dogma, and the dogma has the approval of the Vatican I Council; thus, the pope is deemed infallible. However, the definitions, implications, and applications of the dogma are questionable to the point that even within the whole hierarchical and ordinary body of the Catholic Church, consensus does not exist.


In order to speak of this dogma, we first need to understand certain related subjects. And, since many antagonists of infallibility have been accused of ignorance and manipulation of both the concept and its implications, it is my purpose here to use only those definitions and explanations suggested by the same supporters of the doctrine postulated by Pius IX.
Unlike the commonly publicized idea that only the pope posses infallibility, Catholicism teaches that the Catholic Church, completely represented by its body of bishops, also is infallible. Therefore Vatican II declared:
Although the individual bishops do not enjoy the prerogative of infallibility, they nevertheless proclaim Christ’s doctrine infallibly whenever, even though dispersed through the world, but still maintaining the bond of communion among themselves and with the successor of Peter, and authentically teaching matters of faith and morals, they are in agreement on one position as definitively to be held (Lumen Gentium, 1964, chap. 3, s. 25, emp. added).
It must be noted here that, according to Catholicism, the infallibility of the bishops is subordinated to the infallibility of the bishop of Rome, and it is he who gives the final sentence. Consequently, the thesis of the dogma of infallibility may be summarized in this way:
Infallibility is divine assistance for the Church that protects the Pope of any error in matters of faith and moral.... Infallibility only applies to acts in which the Pope uses his apostolic duty completely; when he defines a dogma in virtue of his supreme authority and in his capacity as pastor of the universal Church. In these cases he speaks ex cathedra (see SCTJM, 1999b, emp. added).
Since the proclamation of the dogma has left many religious people (including Catholics themselves) with a dissatisfied feeling of not being able to conclude rationally by themselves when the pope is fallible and when he is not, Catholicism has found it necessary to set up the following conditions under which infallibility may “work.” According to Catechism of the Catholic Church, three conditions must be filled:
(1) The Pope must speak “as supreme Pastor and Teacher of all the faithful that he confirms [strengthens] his brethren”... (2) The Pope “proclaims the doctrine through a definitive act”... (3) The Pope speaks “in matters of faith and morals” (SCTJM, 1999a, emp. in orig.).
Therefore, with this more “systematized” explanation, Catholicism has “stopped” (or, more accurately, ignored) the endless charges against the popes of both past and modern times. However, is the Catholic doctrine of papal infallibility true? Are its “structured” explanations coherent and valid? Should the faithful Christian agree with, or oppose, this doctrine?



It is Inconsistent with Biblical Truth
The Vatican I Council, in its Pastor Aeternus, declares about the basis of infallibility:
For the Holy Spirit was promised to the successors of Peter.... This See of St. Peter always remains unblemished by any error, in accordance with the divine promise of our Lord and Savior to the prince of his disciples: I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail; and when you have turned again, strengthen your brethren (Vatican I, 1869b, chap. 4, s. 6, emp. added).
So then, according to Catholic doctrine, papal infallibility is based on the fact that in Luke 22:32 Jesus promised Peter that his “faith” (i.e., his declarations of divine truths concerning “faith and morals”) would not fail. But a brief analysis of the biblical passage and its context reveals a completely different conclusion. Consider the following.
First, the contextual disposition of Luke 22:32 does not establish the basis for the dogma of infallibility. That is to say, there is no indication in the biblical text that suggests a papal primacy or a type of special “petrine prerogative.” The subject under consideration is the coming temptation of the disciples—and, more specifically, Peter’s impending denial of Jesus.
Second, the expression, “I have prayed for you,” does not impose a special dignity upon Peter; nor does it exclude some prayer in favor of the rest of the disciples. John 17:9-19 clarifies that Jesus had prayed, not only for Peter, but also for His other disciples. The reason why Jesus mentioned (in Luke 22) the prayer in favor of Peter finds its logical explanation in the fact that Peter would be one of the disciples who would confront a major “sifting” at the hand of Satan (Luke 22:31; cf. 22:34,54-62). Jesus, in telling Peter that He had prayed for him, showed him that a speedy recovery after the fall was His desire.
Third, when Jesus spoke of the faith of Peter, He used the Greek term pistis, which means “principally, firm persuasion, conviction based on hearing” (Vine, 1999, p. 374). There is no biblical sign in the text of Luke to suggest that Peter’s faith should be interpreted as his “future declarations of divine truths concerning faith and morals.” Rather, Peter’s faith could be contrasted with the fear of his own physical death—which ultimately would lead him to actually deny his Lord (Luke 22:54-61; cf. Mark 4:35-40). Here, the word “faith” emphasizes Peter’s faith as indicated by his trust in God, not his faith in the sense of “revelations of the truth.”
Fourth, when Jesus told Peter that He had prayed that his faith might not fail, He used the Greek term ekleipo, which can be translated as “leave,” “fail,” or “lack” (Vine, p. 371). A more exact translation would indicate that Peter’s faith would neither dim nor fade. While the faith (trust) that Peter had in Jesus might have failed (since he denied Him, Luke 22:54-61), it did not dim or fade, as evinced by the fact that Peter repented of his failure (Luke 22:62). Those in Catholicism who interpret Peter’s faith as his “infallible testimony of faith and moral dogmas,” fail to realize that Peter’s faith failed him at Annas’ courtyard. Therefore, this faith cannot account for any kind of alleged infallibility given to Peter, much less to Roman bishops.
Fifth, the phrase “when you have turned again” (Luke 22:32) denotes the tragic reality that Peter’s faith was going to fail. The Greek term for “turn” is epistrepho, which expresses the idea of being converted. Peter needed to turn back from his way of denial, repent, and confess Jesus (see Lacueva, 1984, p. 339). In fact, Peter’s personal disloyalty to his Master certainly does not offer any proof for “petrine infallibility”—but quite the opposite.
Finally, Catholicism also affirms that part of the evidence for the dogma of infallibility lies inherently in the text of Matthew 16:18-19, although, a correct exegesis of the text of Matthew shows that such a claim is untenable. [For an explanation of the text in Matthew, see Pinedo, 2005.] The truth is that there is nothing in the whole of the biblical text that would establish the dogma of papal infallibility.

It is Inconsistent with Itself

Papal infallibility also should be rejected because it cannot remain consistent with its own dogmatic presentation. By this, I mean that the dogma of infallibility is self-contradictory. A few examples will be enough to document this fact. For example, the following statement may be found in an explanatory article about papal infallibility:
[T]he Vatican I Council does not directly say that the Pope, when addressing matters ex cathedra of faith and moral, is infallible. It restricts itself to say that, in those cases (and only in those), the Pope enjoys the same infallibility which the Church is endowed with. Therefore, the Church’s infallibility is not defined by the one of the Pope, but the last by the first. And it seems to us to have a profound theological sense (Logos, 1996, emp. added).
Perhaps after reading this quotation it will seem to you that declarations with “profound theological sense” are so “profound” that they become incomprehensible. Catholicism states as a defense that Vatican I (the council that established papal infallibility) does not declare directly that the pope is infallible in matters of faith and morals. But if that is the case, the question becomes, why, for more than a century, has Catholicism insisted on imposing a doctrine that was not even declared directly? If it is said that the Catholic Church is infallible, and that this infallibility also is enjoyed by the pope, is it not an equivalent operation of: if A is equal to B, and if B is equal to C, then A is equal to C? And if it is a dogmatic implication, what kind of “theologically profound” defense is this?
I will let Catholicism continue explaining its own dogmas. In an article titled, “¿Puede el Papa Caer en Error o Herejía?” (“Can the Pope Fall Into Error and Heresy?”), the following declaration can be found:
Therefore, the Pope can err when he speaks about politics, medicine, physics, economy, history, etc. In anything except in religious matters. But he can also err in religious matters, if he speaks in table talk, or in a walk with friends, or a private discussion about religion. And also when he speaks as Mr. So-and-so and states his own personal theories, even in a publicly sold book, he can err (see Cristiandad, 2005, emp. added).
It is interesting to note the concept that this particular supporter of Catholicism has about “in anything except.” If the pope “also” can err in religious matters, can it be said that he can err “in anything except” in religious matters? If the Holy Spirit assists the pope as He assisted Peter and the other apostles of the first century, why, since the Holy Spirit never abandoned them, would the Spirit abandon the pope when he is not on his throne, in his council, or using his title of pontiff? Actually there is no biblical analogy for the dogma of infallibility as presented by Catholicism. Jesus not only spoke infallibly when He appealed to His Father’s authority (John 7:16-18), but also in His private conversations (John 4) or in His walk with friends (John 16:13). The Holy Spirit led the disciples to all the truth, not just part of it (John 16:13). The Bible is inerrant in religious and secular matters; it does not contain wheat and weed. Rather, all Scripture is inspired by God (2 Timothy 3:16).
Addressing the unavoidable reality of pontific heresy, a Catholic Web page declares about the pope:
And if he is a heretic, at least he is not going to declare his heresies as part of the doctrine of the profession, that is, things which we are required to believe and observe. It was never permitted by the Holy Spirit (see Apologética, n.d., emp. added).
That is to say, the pope can fall into heresy and even teach it, but in his heresy (since according to Catholicism he does not declare it ex cathedra), he must not be obeyed. This, of course, gives rise to a tedious problem of investigating whether or not the pope is speaking infallibly, and whether or not he must be obeyed. Ironically it also is declared:
Obedience to the Sumo Pontiff should not be limited to when he speaks ex cathedra. Neither should the disciplinary decree of the Pope be rejected with the pretext that they were not promulgated ex cathedra (SCTJM, 1999b, emp. added).
However, if the pope is both infallible and fallible in religious matters, and if Catholics are called to obey him in both areas, does that not represent a danger to the heart of many Catholic doctrines? The truth is that Catholicism cannot teach and defend papal infallibility as it does, and remain consistent.

It is Inconsistent in Its Application

Catholicism declares:
The possessors of infallibility are: (a) the Pope (the Pope is infallible when speaking ex cathedra), (b) the complete Episcopacy (the totality of the bishops is infallible when proposing a teaching of faith and moral as belief for all the faithful, either assembled together in a general council or scattered around the earth) [see Pivarunas, 1996, parenthetical items in orig., emp. added].
Therefore, it can be said that “infallibility” reaches its highest degree in ecumenical councils, where the pope, along with the body of bishops, offer up a seal of approval to dogmas of faith that Catholics must obey. Additionally Catholicism confirms:
Yes, it is truth that certain popes have contradicted other popes, in their private opinions or concerning disciplinary dogmas; but there was never a Pope who would officially contradict what a previous Pope officially taught about faith and moral matters. The same could be said about ecumenical councils, which also teach with infallibility. There was not an ecumenical council that would contradict the teaching of a previous ecumenical council concerning faith and morals (Keating, n.d., emp. added).
The Catholic defense can be summarized as follows: the pope can be a heretic, but he will not officially teach heresy; and the councils, which allegedly use infallibility, never contradict each other. But is such a concept true? What do the councils, which teach “infallibly,” say? A few examples will be enough to arrive at the conclusion that ecumenical councils, in application of their so-called infallibility, fail completely.
Vatican I Council, in its dogmatic constitution Filius-Dei on the Catholic faith, expressed the following:
The abandonment and rejection of the Christian religion, and the denial of God and his Christ, has plunged the minds of many into the abyss of pantheism, materialism and atheism, and the consequence is that they strive to destroy rational nature itself, to deny any criterion of what is right and just.... And so we, following in the footsteps of our predecessors, in accordance with our supreme apostolic office, have never left off teaching and defending Catholic truth and condemning erroneous doctrines (Vatican I, 1869b, s. 7-10, emp. added).
However, while Vatican I condemns erroneous doctrines such as the denial of Christ, Vatican II declares:
The Church regards with esteem also the Moslems. They adore the one God, living and subsisting in Himself; merciful and all-powerful, the Creator of heaven and earth.... Though they do not acknowledge Jesus as God, they revere Him as a prophet”(Nostra Aetate, 1965, s. 3, emp. added).
But since Muslims do not acknowledge Jesus as the prophesied Messiah (that is, the Christ), would that not be a denial of Christ, and thus the heresy condemned by Vatican I? Most assuredly!
Vatican I, in its canonic sentence on written revelation, states:
If anyone does not receive as sacred and canonical the complete books of Sacred Scripture with all their parts, as the holy Council of Trent listed them, or denies that they were divinely inspired: let him be anathema (Vatican I, 1869a, Can. 2, s. 4, emp. added).
However, Vatican II, in speaking about Hinduism, Buddhism, and other religions that discard much of canonical Scripture, declared that these religions
[t]ry to counter the restlessness of the human heart, each in its own manner, by proposing “ways,” comprising teachings, rules of life, and sacred rites. The Catholic Church rejects nothing that is true and holy in these religions. She regards with sincere reverence those ways of conduct and of life, those precepts and teachings which, though differing in many aspects from the ones she holds and sets forth, nonetheless often reflect a ray of that Truth which enlightens all men (Nostra Aetate 1965, s. 2, emp. added).
On the permanence of the petrine primacy of the roman pontiffs, Vatican I, in its Pastor Aeternus, condemns.
Therefore, if anyone says that it is not by the institution of Christ the lord himself (that is to say, by divine law) that blessed Peter should have perpetual successors in the primacy over the whole Church; or that the Roman Pontiff is not the successor of blessed Peter in this primacy: let him be anathema (Vatican I, 1969b, chap. 2, s. 5, parenthectical item in orig., emp. added).
However, Vatican II beatifies:
The Church recognizes that in many ways she is linked with those who, being baptized, are honored with the name of Christian, though they do not profess the faith in its entirety or do not preserve unity of communion with the successor of Peter [that is to say, they don’t accept the proposed papal hierarchy—MP]. For there are many who honor Sacred Scripture, taking it as a norm of belief and a pattern of life, and who show a sincere zeal. They lovingly believe in God the Father Almighty and in Christ, the Son of God and Saviour. They are consecrated by baptism, in which they are united with Christ (Lumen Gentium, 1964, chap. 2, s. 15, emp. added).
Now Vatican II has united to Christ the same people who, for not accepting petrine hierarchy, were condemned by Vatican I as anathema. Truth be told, the Vatican I Council, which allegedly taught with infallibility, cannot coexist with the Vatican II Council that allegedly employed the same infallibility.
There are many other contradictions that could be added if space allowed, but the few presented in this article are enough to permit a definitive conclusion: the Catholic dogma of papal infallibility is not consistent with the truth. The Vatican II Council invoked by Pope John XXIII stands in strong opposition to the Vatican I Council invoked by Pope Pius IX (the father of the dogma of papal infallibility). On the other hand, there is only one infallible truth—the Word of God (John 17:17). It is this truth to which we need to come to learn about the salvation of our souls and to keep us away from error and apostasy. In the end, when our Savior comes back in the clouds to reward and punish in a universal judgment, it will not be the words of men’s fallible councils, but the Word of God that will be open, and then, the Lord will give the “canonic” sentence.


Apologética (no date), Reflexiones en Torno a la Infalibilidad de la Iglesia [On-line], URL: http://apologetica.org/infalibilidad.htm.
Cristiandad (2005), ¿Puede el Papa Caer en Error o Herejía? [On-line], URL: http://es.catholic.net/conocetufe/358/1780/articulo.php?id=3324.
Keating, Kart (no date), La Infalibilidad Papal [On-line], URL: http://apologetica.org/infalibilidad-keating.htm.
Lacueva, Francisco (1984), Nuevo Testamento Interlineal Griego-Español (CLIE, Villadecavalls, Barcelona, España).
Logos (1996), Llamado de Atención Sobre la Infalibilidad [On-line], URL: http://www.sjsocial.org/logos/logos6.htm.
Lumen Gentium (1964), Dogmatic Constitution of the Church [On-line], URL: http://www.vatican.va/archive/hist_councils/ii_vatican_council/documents/
Nostra Aetate (1965), Declaration on the Relation of the Church to Non-Christian Religions [On-line], URL: http://www.vatican.va/archive/hist_councils/ii_vatican_council/documents/
Pinedo, Moisés (2005), The Pope, the Papacy, and the Bible [On-line], URL: http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/2724.
Pivarunas, Mark A. (1996),La Infalibilidad de la Iglesia Católica [On-line], URL: http://www.cmri.org/font-96prog5.html.
SCTJM (1999a), Ex Cathedra, Tres Condiciones Deben Reunirse Para que una Definición Pontificia Sea Ex Cathedra [On-line], URL: http://www.corazones.org/diccionario/excathedra.htm.
SCTJM (1999b), Infalibilidad [On-line], URL: http://www.corazones.org/diccionario/infalibilidad.htm#Infalibilidad%20Episcopa.
Vatican I (1869a), Canon On Revelation [On-line], URL: http://www.ewtn.com/library/COUNCILS/V1.HTM#5.
Vatican I (1869b), First Dogmatic Constitution on the Church of Christ [On-line], URL: http://www.ewtn.com/library/COUNCILS/V1.HTM#6.
Vine, W.E. (1999), Diccionario Expositivo de Palabras del Antiguo y Nuevo Testamento Exhaustivo, (Colombia, Editorial Caribe, Inc.).

From Mark Copeland... The First Disciples (John 1:35-51)

                          "THE GOSPEL OF JOHN"

                     The First Disciples (1:35-51)


1. The ministry of John the Baptist was to prepare the way to Jesus...
   a. He came to bear witness of the Light, that all might believe - Jn 1:6-8
   b. John indeed did bear witness of Jesus
      1) As the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world - Jn 1:29
      2) As the Son of God who baptizes with the Holy Spirit - Jn 1:

2. Due to the testimony of John the Baptist, Jesus began to attract
   a. The first disciples were those who had been disciples of John -Jn 1:35-36
   b. Because of John's testimony, they began to follow Jesus - Jn 1:37-39

[In his gospel, John the apostle describes those who were "The First
Disciples", beginning with...]


   A. ANDREW...
      1. His background
         a. From Bethsaida of Galilee - cf. Jn 1:44
         b. Brother of Simon Peter, sons of Jonah - cf. Jn 1:42
         c. A fisherman - cf. Mt 4:18
      2. His call to discipleship and then apostleship
         a. He was first a disciple of John the Baptist, who pointed him
            to Jesus - Jn 1:35-40
            1) This happened in Bethabara beyond the Jordan - cf. Jn 1:28
            2) Some think the other disciple was John the apostle
            3) He stayed with Jesus that day and then found his brother
               Simon - Jn 1:39-41
         b.  Later, Jesus officially called them to be His disciples 
             - Mt 4:18-20
            1) This occurred by the Sea of Galilee
            2) After John the Baptist was cast into prison - cf. Mt 4:12
         c. Then he was selected to be one of the twelve apostles - Mt 10:2
            1) Pointed Jesus to the lad with five loaves and two fish 
               - Jn 6:8-9
            2) Assisted Philip in introducing some Greeks to Jesus - Jn 12:20-22
            3) Among those who questioned Jesus about the destruction of
               Jerusalem - Mk 13:1-4
            4) Listed among those in Jerusalem after the ascension of
               Christ - Ac 1:12-13
      3. According to apocryphal (doubtful) literature (cf. ISBE)
         a. His mother was Joanna, and was of the tribe of Reuben
         b. Like Thomas, compelled to believe in the resurrection of
            Jesus by touching His feet
         c. Various sources attribute missionary work in Bithynia,
            Scythia, Greece, Ephesus
         d. Thought to have been crucified in Greece, on a cross in the
            form of an X
      -- A disciple first of John the Baptist, then of Jesus, reveals
         his spiritual character as one devoted to serving the will of
   B. SIMON...
      1. His background
         a. From Bethsaida of Galilee - cf. Jn 1:44
         b. Brother of Andrew, sons of Jonah - cf. Jn 1:42
         c. A fisherman - cf. Mt 4:18
      2. His call to discipleship and then apostleship
         a. Introduced to Jesus by his brother Andrew - Jn 1:40-42
            1) In Bethabara beyond the Jordan - cf. Jn 1:28
            2) Jesus named him "Cephas" (Aramaic), "Peter" (Greek),
               meaning "a rock"
         b. Later, Jesus officially called him to be His disciple
            1) As he was fishing by the Sea of Galilee - Lk 5:1-9
            2) Along with his partners, James and John - Lk 5:10-11
         c. Then he was selected to be one of the twelve apostles - Lk 6:13-14
            1) His prominence evident by his name mentioned first in the
            2) Included among the "inner circle" - cf. Mt 17:1-2; 26:37
            3) Known for his denial of Christ, and subsequent
               restoration - cf. Jn 18:25; 21:15
            4) A key figure in the first half of the book of Acts
      3. According to apocryphal (doubtful) literature (cf. ISBE)
         a. Supposedly died a martyr at Rome about 67 AD
         b. Purported to have been crucified by Nero, upside down at his
            own request
      -- The wealth of information about Peter in the Gospels and Acts
         reveal the power of the gospel to transform a simple, flawed
         man into a true rock of discipleship

[With two brothers now as His disciples, Jesus next calls...]


   A. PHILIP...
      1. His background
         a. From Bethsaida of Galilee - Jn 1:44; 12:21
         b. Greek name suggests Greek connections - cf. also Jn 12:20-22
      2. His call to discipleship and then apostleship
         a. Initial call to follow Jesus occurs here in Bethabara beyond
            the Jordan - Jn 1:43-44
         b. He immediately tells Nathanael about Jesus - Jn 1:45-46
            1) That he has found Him of whom Moses and the prophets
            2) Inviting skeptical Nathanael to "Come and see"
         c. Selected to be one of the twelve apostles - Lk 6:13-14
            1) Asked by Jesus about bread in feeding the 5,000 - Jn 6:5-7
            2) Approached by Greeks who wished to see Jesus - Jn 12:
            3) It was he who asked, "Lord, show us the Father" - Jn 14:8
      3. According to apocryphal (doubtful) literature (cf. ISBE)
         a. Supposedly of the tribe of Zebulun
         b. Some identify him as the one who wanted to first bury his
            father - cf. Mt 8:21
         c. Spent latter part of his life in Phrygia, crucified there
      -- Philip's invitation for Nathanael to "Come and see" is an
         illustration of personal evangelism

      1. His background
         a. Of Cana in Galilee - Jn 21:2
         b. Probably a fisherman also - cf. Jn 21:1-3
      2. His call to discipleship, and (possibly) apostleship
         a. Approached by Philip, who told him of Jesus - Jn 1:45
         b. Nathanael was at first skeptical, because Jesus was of
            Nazareth - Jn 1:46
            1) "Can anything good come out of Nazareth?"
            2) Cf. "Will the Christ come out of Galilee?" - Jn 7:41
            3) Cf. "Search and look, for no prophet has arisen out of
               Galilee" - Jn 7:52
            -- People were not expecting anything good coming from
               Nazareth of Galilee
         c. Jesus convinces Nathanael - Jn 1:47-51
            1) Identifying him as an Israel in whom is no deceit
            2) Telling how He saw him under the fig tree before Philip
               called him
            -- Perhaps Jesus saw him engaged in private devotion
         d. Prompting Nathanael to proclaim...
            1) "Rabbi, You are the Son of God!" - cf. Mt 14:33
            2) "You are the King of Israel!" - cf. Mt 21:5; 27:11
            -- Nathanael is convinced that this teacher (Rabbi) is the
         e. Jesus Promises Nathanael greater blessings due to his faith
            1) Greater evidences of His Messiahship
            2) E.g., heaven opening and angels of God ascending and
               descending upon Him
               a) An allusion to Jacob's dream? - Gen 28:12
               b) An implication that Jesus was the way (ladder) to
                  heaven? - cf. Jn 14:6
               c) A reference to the day of Judgment, when Jesus comes
                  with His angels? - cf. Mt 16:27; 25:31; 26:64; 2 Th 1:7
            -- Note that Jesus refers to Himself as "the Son of Man"
               (which the gospel writers never do), emphasizing His 
               humility and humanity
         f. Nathanael may have been Bartholomew, one of the apostles 
            - cf. Mt 10:3; Lk 6:14
            1) Cf. Bartholomew's connection with Philip in the apostolic
            2) The synoptists never mention Nathanael, and John never
               mentions Bartholomew
            3) Bartholomew ("son of Ptolemy") is not a proper name;
               perhaps it was Nathanael
            -- Leading many to conclude they are one and the same
      3. According to apocryphal (doubtful) literature
         a. He was Simon, son of Cleopas (not Bartholomew), and one of
            the Twelve (ISBE)
         b. He was the bridegroom at the marriage of Cana, to which he
            belonged (Fausett's Bible Dictionary)
      -- The call of Nathanael reveals more about Jesus than Nathanael
         himself (see below)


1. "The First Disciples" offered their testimony concerning Jesus...
   a. "We have found the Messiah" - Jn 1:41
   b. "We have found Him of whom Moses in the law, and also the
      prophets, wrote" - Jn 1:45
   c. "You are the Son of God!  You are the King of Israel!" - Jn 1:49
   -- As they continued to follow Jesus, their initial affirmations of
      faith would be confirmed

2. From His initial contacts with these new disciples, we learn...
   a. That Jesus knows the heart of men - cf. Jn 2:25
   b. That if we have faith in Jesus, it will be continually
      strengthened; the evidence will grow brighter and brighter - cf.
      Jn 1:50-51
   c. That if we believe his word, we shall yet see full proof that his
      word is true - cf. Jn 7:17

Does anyone wonder if Jesus is truly the Son of God, and that His words
are true?  Perhaps the best response one can offer to the honest skeptic
is the invitation offered by Philip:  "Come and see." 

Come to Jesus as revealed in the gospels and see who He is...!

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

From Gary.... Bible Reading September 17

Bible Reading   

September 17

The World English Bible

Sept. 17
Psalms 77-79

Psa 77:1 My cry goes to God! Indeed, I cry to God for help, and for him to listen to me.
Psa 77:2 In the day of my trouble I sought the Lord. My hand was stretched out in the night, and didn't get tired. My soul refused to be comforted.
Psa 77:3 I remember God, and I groan. I complain, and my spirit is overwhelmed. Selah.
Psa 77:4 You hold my eyelids open. I am so troubled that I can't speak.
Psa 77:5 I have considered the days of old, the years of ancient times.
Psa 77:6 I remember my song in the night. I consider in my own heart; my spirit diligently inquires:
Psa 77:7 "Will the Lord reject us forever? Will he be favorable no more?
Psa 77:8 Has his loving kindness vanished forever? Does his promise fail for generations?
Psa 77:9 Has God forgotten to be gracious? Has he, in anger, withheld his compassion?" Selah.
Psa 77:10 Then I thought, "I will appeal to this: the years of the right hand of the Most High."
Psa 77:11 I will remember Yah's deeds; for I will remember your wonders of old.
Psa 77:12 I will also meditate on all your work, and consider your doings.
Psa 77:13 Your way, God, is in the sanctuary. What god is great like God?
Psa 77:14 You are the God who does wonders. You have made your strength known among the peoples.
Psa 77:15 You have redeemed your people with your arm, the sons of Jacob and Joseph. Selah.
Psa 77:16 The waters saw you, God. The waters saw you, and they writhed. The depths also convulsed.
Psa 77:17 The clouds poured out water. The skies resounded with thunder. Your arrows also flashed around.
Psa 77:18 The voice of your thunder was in the whirlwind. The lightnings lit up the world. The earth trembled and shook.
Psa 77:19 Your way was through the sea; your paths through the great waters. Your footsteps were not known.
Psa 77:20 You led your people like a flock, by the hand of Moses and Aaron.
Psa 78:1 Hear my teaching, my people. Turn your ears to the words of my mouth.
Psa 78:2 I will open my mouth in a parable. I will utter dark sayings of old,
Psa 78:3 Which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us.
Psa 78:4 We will not hide them from their children, telling to the generation to come the praises of Yahweh, his strength, and his wondrous works that he has done.
Psa 78:5 For he established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a teaching in Israel, which he commanded our fathers, that they should make them known to their children;
Psa 78:6 that the generation to come might know, even the children who should be born; who should arise and tell their children,
Psa 78:7 that they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments,
Psa 78:8 and might not be as their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation, a generation that didn't make their hearts loyal, whose spirit was not steadfast with God.
Psa 78:9 The children of Ephraim, being armed and carrying bows, turned back in the day of battle.
Psa 78:10 They didn't keep God's covenant, and refused to walk in his law.
Psa 78:11 They forgot his doings, his wondrous works that he had shown them.
Psa 78:12 He did marvelous things in the sight of their fathers, in the land of Egypt, in the field of Zoan.
Psa 78:13 He split the sea, and caused them to pass through. He made the waters stand as a heap.
Psa 78:14 In the daytime he also led them with a cloud, and all night with a light of fire.
Psa 78:15 He split rocks in the wilderness, and gave them drink abundantly as out of the depths.
Psa 78:16 He brought streams also out of the rock, and caused waters to run down like rivers.
Psa 78:17 Yet they still went on to sin against him, to rebel against the Most High in the desert.
Psa 78:18 They tempted God in their heart by asking food according to their desire.
Psa 78:19 Yes, they spoke against God. They said, "Can God prepare a table in the wilderness?
Psa 78:20 Behold, he struck the rock, so that waters gushed out, and streams overflowed. Can he give bread also? Will he provide flesh for his people?"
Psa 78:21 Therefore Yahweh heard, and was angry. A fire was kindled against Jacob, anger also went up against Israel,
Psa 78:22 because they didn't believe in God, and didn't trust in his salvation.
Psa 78:23 Yet he commanded the skies above, and opened the doors of heaven.
Psa 78:24 He rained down manna on them to eat, and gave them food from the sky.
Psa 78:25 Man ate the bread of angels. He sent them food to the full.
Psa 78:26 He caused the east wind to blow in the sky. By his power he guided the south wind.
Psa 78:27 He rained also flesh on them as the dust; winged birds as the sand of the seas.
Psa 78:28 He let them fall in the midst of their camp, around their habitations.
Psa 78:29 So they ate, and were well filled. He gave them their own desire.
Psa 78:30 They didn't turn from their cravings. Their food was yet in their mouths,
Psa 78:31 when the anger of God went up against them, killed some of the fattest of them, and struck down the young men of Israel.
Psa 78:32 For all this they still sinned, and didn't believe in his wondrous works.
Psa 78:33 Therefore he consumed their days in vanity, and their years in terror.
Psa 78:34 When he killed them, then they inquired after him. They returned and sought God earnestly.
Psa 78:35 They remembered that God was their rock, the Most High God, their redeemer.
Psa 78:36 But they flattered him with their mouth, and lied to him with their tongue.
Psa 78:37 For their heart was not right with him, neither were they faithful in his covenant.
Psa 78:38 But he, being merciful, forgave iniquity, and didn't destroy them. Yes, many times he turned his anger away, and didn't stir up all his wrath.
Psa 78:39 He remembered that they were but flesh, a wind that passes away, and doesn't come again.
Psa 78:40 How often they rebelled against him in the wilderness, and grieved him in the desert!
Psa 78:41 They turned again and tempted God, and provoked the Holy One of Israel.
Psa 78:42 They didn't remember his hand, nor the day when he redeemed them from the adversary;
Psa 78:43 how he set his signs in Egypt, his wonders in the field of Zoan,
Psa 78:44 he turned their rivers into blood, and their streams, so that they could not drink.
Psa 78:45 He sent among them swarms of flies, which devoured them; and frogs, which destroyed them.
Psa 78:46 He gave also their increase to the caterpillar, and their labor to the locust.
Psa 78:47 He destroyed their vines with hail, their sycamore fig trees with frost.
Psa 78:48 He gave over their livestock also to the hail, and their flocks to hot thunderbolts.
Psa 78:49 He threw on them the fierceness of his anger, wrath, indignation, and trouble, and a band of angels of evil.
Psa 78:50 He made a path for his anger. He didn't spare their soul from death, but gave their life over to the pestilence,
Psa 78:51 and struck all the firstborn in Egypt, the chief of their strength in the tents of Ham.
Psa 78:52 But he led forth his own people like sheep, and guided them in the wilderness like a flock.
Psa 78:53 He led them safely, so that they weren't afraid, but the sea overwhelmed their enemies.
Psa 78:54 He brought them to the border of his sanctuary, to this mountain, which his right hand had taken.
Psa 78:55 He also drove out the nations before them, allotted them for an inheritance by line, and made the tribes of Israel to dwell in their tents.
Psa 78:56 Yet they tempted and rebelled against the Most High God, and didn't keep his testimonies;
Psa 78:57 but turned back, and dealt treacherously like their fathers. They were turned aside like a deceitful bow.
Psa 78:58 For they provoked him to anger with their high places, and moved him to jealousy with their engraved images.
Psa 78:59 When God heard this, he was angry, and greatly abhorred Israel;
Psa 78:60 So that he forsook the tent of Shiloh, the tent which he placed among men;
Psa 78:61 and delivered his strength into captivity, his glory into the adversary's hand.
Psa 78:62 He also gave his people over to the sword, and was angry with his inheritance.
Psa 78:63 Fire devoured their young men. Their virgins had no wedding song.
Psa 78:64 Their priests fell by the sword, and their widows couldn't weep.
Psa 78:65 Then the Lord awakened as one out of sleep, like a mighty man who shouts by reason of wine.
Psa 78:66 He struck his adversaries backward. He put them to a perpetual reproach.
Psa 78:67 Moreover he rejected the tent of Joseph, and didn't choose the tribe of Ephraim,
Psa 78:68 But chose the tribe of Judah, Mount Zion which he loved.
Psa 78:69 He built his sanctuary like the heights, like the earth which he has established forever.
Psa 78:70 He also chose David his servant, and took him from the sheepfolds;
Psa 78:71 from following the ewes that have their young, he brought him to be the shepherd of Jacob, his people, and Israel, his inheritance.
Psa 78:72 So he was their shepherd according to the integrity of his heart, and guided them by the skillfulness of his hands.
Psa 79:1 God, the nations have come into your inheritance. They have defiled your holy temple. They have laid Jerusalem in heaps.
Psa 79:2 They have given the dead bodies of your servants to be food for the birds of the sky, the flesh of your saints to the animals of the earth.
Psa 79:3 Their blood they have shed like water around Jerusalem. There was no one to bury them.
Psa 79:4 We have become a reproach to our neighbors, a scoffing and derision to those who are around us.
Psa 79:5 How long, Yahweh? Will you be angry forever? Will your jealousy burn like fire?
Psa 79:6 Pour out your wrath on the nations that don't know you; on the kingdoms that don't call on your name;
Psa 79:7 For they have devoured Jacob, and destroyed his homeland.
Psa 79:8 Don't hold the iniquities of our forefathers against us. Let your tender mercies speedily meet us, for we are in desperate need.
Psa 79:9 Help us, God of our salvation, for the glory of your name. Deliver us, and forgive our sins, for your name's sake.
Psa 79:10 Why should the nations say, "Where is their God?" Let it be known among the nations, before our eyes, that vengeance for your servants' blood is being poured out.
Psa 79:11 Let the sighing of the prisoner come before you. According to the greatness of your power, preserve those who are sentenced to death.
Psa 79:12 Pay back to our neighbors seven times into their bosom their reproach with which they have reproached you, Lord.
Psa 79:13 So we, your people and sheep of your pasture, will give you thanks forever. We will praise you forever, to all generations.

Sept. 17
1 Corinthians 13

1Co 13:1 If I speak with the languages of men and of angels, but don't have love, I have become sounding brass, or a clanging cymbal.
1Co 13:2 If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but don't have love, I am nothing.
1Co 13:3 If I dole out all my goods to feed the poor, and if I give my body to be burned, but don't have love, it profits me nothing.
1Co 13:4 Love is patient and is kind; love doesn't envy. Love doesn't brag, is not proud,
1Co 13:5 doesn't behave itself inappropriately, doesn't seek its own way, is not provoked, takes no account of evil;
1Co 13:6 doesn't rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth;
1Co 13:7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
1Co 13:8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will be done away with. Where there are various languages, they will cease. Where there is knowledge, it will be done away with.
1Co 13:9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part;
1Co 13:10 but when that which is complete has come, then that which is partial will be done away with.
1Co 13:11 When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I felt as a child, I thought as a child. Now that I have become a man, I have put away childish things.
1Co 13:12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I will know fully, even as I was also fully known.
1Co 13:13 But now faith, hope, and love remain--these three. The greatest of these is love.