From Jim McGuiggan.... Does the creation reveal God?

Does the creation reveal God?

I don't believe humans can uncover the will of God by unaided reason and/or by reflecting on the creation. I don't believe the will of God is written in our DNA (though I don't know how much environment affects the genes of a developing human or the infant child). I think God revealed foundational moral and relational truths to us from the beginning and that he added to those through prophets, priests and leaders. I think too that he enables us to use those foundational truths and additional materials in daily living and experience so that we can develop other moral truths from them. (The biblical Wisdom literature—Proverbs, for example—shows that God teaches generations through prior generations.) I believe that God has acted in self-disclosure in history through pivotal events and people and covenants he established.

I believe David knew the heavens declare the glory of God because he was taught it that rather than by deducing it by unaided reason or having it built into him as part of his humanity. And the God whose glory he spoke of was not some Aristotelian conclusion—it was the God of Israel so we shouldn't generalise Psalm 19. When he said the heaven proclaim the glory of God he wasn't thinking of some God or other or a God—he was praising the one true God who revealed himself to Israel. David knew the heavens proclaimed God's glory because he already knew the God the heavens proclaimed and that God told him (and his fathers) that he had made the heavens.

I don't believe Romans 1:18-32 is talking about truths deduced by unaided reason; he's talking about truth God had revealed; truth that the creation supported and exhibited. And as it was with David so it was with Paul. The God Paul spoke of in Romans 1 was not some generalised deity, some "prime mover" or "ultimate cause". Former atheist Anthony Flew might talk that way but he and Paul are lights years apart. The God whose creative power is shown in the creation is the God who had revealed himself to the human family. This we can be sure of, no one came up with all the moral truths of Romans 1:18-32 by making rational deductions without special revelation.

So creation does proclaim God but we only know that because God said, "I made all this!"

That "Loaded" Questionnaire by Bert Thompson, Ph.D. Wayne Jackson, M.A.


That "Loaded" Questionnaire

by  Bert Thompson, Ph.D.
Wayne Jackson, M.A.


(by Bert Thompson)
In March 1983, I received a two-page letter, dated March 14, from Jack P. Lewis, professor, Harding Graduate School of Religion, and Chairman of the Religious Affairs Committee of the Board of Directors, Christian Student Center, University of Mississippi, Oxford, Mississippi. The letter read, in part, as follows.
The Christian Student Center adjacent to the campus of the University of Mississippi, Oxford, Mississippi, has for a number of years presented an annual lectureship in which a speaker dealt with a question confronting university students in the course of their academic life. We feel that we have had a series of outstanding programs. For our program of February 3,4, and 5, 1984, we would like to have a symposium on “Origins” in which various speakers would present their viewpoints. We have a few tentative agreements for participation. The following is an invitation list, not an acceptance list. We thought you would like to see the whole proposal. The Chairperson, Theme Speaker, and Moderator will be Dr. Jack Wood Sears, Harding University.
  1. “The Limitations of Science,” Dr. Douglas Shields, University of Mississippi
  2. “An Exegesis of Genesis 1 and 2,” Dr. Clyde Woods, Freed-Hardeman College
  3. “Scientific Creationism,” Dr. Bert Thompson, Alabama Christian School of Religion
  4. “Theistic Evolution,” Dr. Niel [sic] Buffalo [sic], University of Central Arkansas, Conway, Arkansas
  5. “An Argument for Antiquity and Classical Geology,” John Clayton, South Bend, Indiana
  6. “Understanding Genesis 1-11 in the Light of Restoration Principles,” Dr. Don England, Harding University
We do not intend that there be debate or cross-examination among the speakers. We would like a positive, non-debate setting.... As chairman of the Religious Affairs Committee of the Board of Directors of the Center, I have been asked to issue invitations to participants.... We believe that this will be a very enlightening and helpful symposium. We hope that you will find it possible to participate. I will look forward to your reply at your earliest convenience.
On March 21, I wrote Dr. Lewis, acknowledging his letter and declining his invitation to participate in the Oxford lectureship. I explained my decision in light of the following information.
First, Dr. Lewis’ letter stated plainly that there would be no “debate or cross-examination among the speakers,” and that the situation would consist of a “positive, non-debate setting.” I found this format unacceptable, because several of the men on the program were well known for their false teachings on the creation account. Neal Buffaloe, for example, is the co-author of the booklet, Creationism and Evolution (1981), which advocates the position that Genesis 1-11 is not to be taken historically and literally, and that theistic evolution is perfectly acceptable. I had written a thorough review and refutation of the booklet in the April/May/June 1981 issue of Sound Doctrine published by the Alabama Christian School of Religion (see Thompson, 1981, 6[2]:11-12).
Another of the suggested speakers was John N. Clayton of South Bend, Indiana. Mr. Clayton’s positions on the biblical account of creation are well known, and fully documented. He is the inventor and chief proponent of the Modified Gap Theory, and has advocated numerous other compromises of the creation account (see Jackson and Thompson, 1992). Donald England and Jack Wood Sears of Harding University are both on record in regard to their unorthodox views of Genesis. Dr. England is the author of the so-called Non-World View, which states that Christians err when they assign any world view to the Genesis text. In addition, he has defended the Multiple-Gap Theory, and has criticized the view that the creative days of God were literal, 24-hour periods (see England, 1972, 1983). Dr. Sears has defended the Day-Age Theory and similar concepts, and like Buffaloe, Clayton, and England, advocates the view that Bible allows for an ancient Earth. In fact, just eight months from the arrival of Dr. Lewis’ letter, I would be debating Dr. Sears in Denton, Texas, on these very points.
In my response to Dr. Lewis’ letter, I explained that I could not conscientiously participate on a program—in a “non-debate” setting—with speakers known to teach this kind of error. However, I also stated that I wished to give the Religious Affairs Committee, and the Board of Directors of the Christian Student Center at Oxford, the benefit of the doubt, and hope that they simply were unaware of the erroneous teachings of these men when they issued their invitations. Therefore, in order to provide documentation for both the Committee and the Board to see, I enclosed copies of the articles, reviews, etc., which dealt with these issues. Furthermore, I asked Dr. Lewis for a reply concerning these matters.
On March 25, Dr. Lewis sent a 3-sentence letter to me, thanking me for my prompt reply to the invitation, stating that he would refer my letter to the Board of Directors, and offering his best wishes. Since then, I have received no further correspondence from Dr. Lewis or any member of the Committee or Board.


During the dates of November 13-18, 1983, the Annual Denton Lectureship was held at the Pearl Street Church of Christ in Denton, Texas. Each afternoon, a “discussion forum” occurred, during which speakers holding opposite views on a subject met in a debate setting to discuss these views.
On Monday, November 14, in public debate, I met Jack Wood Sears, then-chairman of the department of biology at Harding University in Searcy, Arkansas on the topic: “The biblical account of creation allows for a very ancient Earth.” Dr. Sears affirmed the proposition; I denied it, and affirmed the proposition: “God created the Universe and all that is in it in six literal days of approximately 24 hours each; He did not employ a system requiring vast periods or long ages of time to bring the material Universe to its present state.” Manuscripts of each speaker’s material were prepared, and appear in the official lectureship book, Studies in Hebrews (see McClish, 1983, pp. 405-434). [NOTE: Audio and video tapes of the debate are available from Apologetics Press.]
During the course of this debate, I made several important points regarding the use in the Old Testament of various Hebrew words associated with the creation and/or time elements, including such words as yom [day] and bara and asah [used in regard to “creating” or “making”]. Dr. Sears, though completely unable to give any instances in Old Testament usage that negated my points, nevertheless said that he disputed my conclusions. Then, during his rejoinder, Dr. Sears made the following statements concerning the points I had raised regarding the 24-hour days of Genesis 1:
By the way, if you’d like some more information about this, we are collecting—a colleague of mine and I—are collecting answers to a questionnaire that we’ve sent out to outstanding Hebrew scholars both in the church and out of the church in this country and in Europe, in this country and in foreign places, and we have yet to find one that will maintain that this has to be a twenty-four hour day. And these are conservative scholars; these are not radicals. This will be given in a lectureship the first week in February at the University of Mississippi in Oxford at the University Christian Student Center by my colleague who is at this time preparing a manuscript on this. I’ll not go further because I do not want to jeopardize his manuscript or his problem there. [This quotation was transcribed directly from the debate tapes.]
It is this questionnaire, and the Oxford, Mississippi lectureship to which Dr. Sears alluded in his Denton speech, that we now wish to discuss at length.
The lectureship at the University of Mississippi Christian Student Center in Oxford was held during the dates of February 3-4, 1984. The listing of speakers as given above, however, was somewhat altered. The Magnolia Messenger, published by Magnolia Bible College in Kosciusko, Mississippi (January 1984), listed in an advertisement for the lectureship the following speakers and assignments:
“A Scientific Proof for the Existence of God,” Dr. Douglas Shields
“General Evolution and the Fossils,” Dr. Jack Wood Sears
“An Exegesis of Genesis 1,” Dr. Clyde Woods
“Understanding Genesis 1 & 2 in View of Restoration Principles,” Dr. Donald England
The general theme and title of the sixteenth annual University Christian Student Center lectureship at Oxford was “Creation, Science, and Faith.”
Dr. Sears, in his statement at Denton alluding to a “questionnaire...sent to outstanding Hebrew scholars,” made mention of the fact that he and “a colleague” were sending a questionnaire to various individuals, and preparing a manuscript regarding the compiled results of that questionnaire. The “colleague” to whom Dr. Sears referred is Donald England, also of Harding University. The “manuscript” to which Dr. Sears referred was, in fact, the presentation that Dr. England was to make at the Oxford lectureship.
Hugo McCord, professor emeritus of Bible and biblical languages, Oklahoma Christian College, and a Hebrew scholar in his own right, received one of these questionnaires, along with a cover letter on Harding University stationery, signed by both Sears and England. Dr. McCord, upon seeing the nature of the questionnaire, answered it, but chose in addition to “dissect” it, separating each question from the ones before and after, and placing his comments in the appropriate places. Dr. McCord graciously sent us both a copy of the questionnaire, and his response to it. On seeing the material, we contacted another Hebrew scholar and professor, to see if he, too, had received the questionnaire. He had. But, as Wayne Jackson relates in the next section, the professor refused to answer it because of the bias built into the questions—bias that practically required a preconditioned response. This article is devoted to an examination of that questionnaire.

(by Wayne Jackson)

Jack Wood Sears is a professor of biology at Harding University. Donald England is a distinguished professor of chemistry at the same institution. Both of these gentlemen are Christians, and each has written books in defense of the Bible. Their writings have not been without merit, and we salute every word of truth that has issued from their pens. We believe, however, that in one area in particular, both of these men have seriously compromised biblical teaching.
Both Sears and England allow for the possible harmonization of biblical chronology with evolutionary chronology. It must be understood, of course, that from the evolutionary vantage point, “time” is crucial. Every evolutionist will painfully concede that unless he is granted vast eons of time, there is utterly no possibility that macroevolution (i.e., change across phylogenetic boundaries) has occurred. George Wald, Nobel laureate of Harvard, expressed it like this: “Time is the hero of the plot.... Given so much time, the ‘impossible’ becomes possible, the possible becomes probable, and the probable becomes virtually certain. One has only to wait: time itself performs the miracles” (1979, p. 294).
But it must be stressed that “time” is not a creator. Impotence times billions of years is still impotence. A.E. Wilder-Smith, renowned United Nations scientist of Switzerland, thus affirmed:
...the postulation of huge time spans by Darwinists to allow for the “creative” activity of chance and natural selection to get to work, does not really help to solve the problem in the least. ...it is not time itself which is our problem in connection with origins, but rather the infinitely more important matter of the source of the “planning energy” behind archebiopoiesis and order in our universe. This means that the mechanism of evolution postulated by Darwinians cannot really be influenced by the allowing of huge time spans, which they regard as the conditio sine qua non for their ideas (1975, p. 147; see also Thompson, 1977, pp. 91-103).
Though Sears and England oppose organic evolution, it is certain that both have been influenced by, and have yielded ground to, it, especially in the area of geochronology. England has written that: “Inasmuch as Scripture does not state how old the earth is or how long life has existed on earth, one is free to accept, if he wishes, the conclusions of science” (1983, p. 155). Sears, in his book, Conflict and Harmony in Science and the Bible, opposed the idea that the genealogical/chronological data of the Bible can be used to determine a relative age for the Earth and mankind (1969, pp. 17-20).
The problem is this: some who have been trained in various scientific disciplines are quite weak in their knowledge of biblical matters. Unfortunately, their scientific training has colored their view of biblical truth. Beyond that, however, it is deplorable that men sometimes will attempt to “manipulate” the evidence in order to buttress their cherished theories. And, if we may kindly say so, that is precisely what Sears and England have attempted to do via this questionnaire.
In late October of 1983, Sears and England submitted a questionnaire to a number of Bible scholars, inquiring about certain portions of the Scriptures dealing with creation. Though the professors claimed that they were merely soliciting answers in “the spirit of the restoration plea” so as to “respect the silence of the Scriptures,” a careful examination of the questionnaire reveals that the real purpose was to gather support for the professors’ well-known views that the Genesis record of origins is not necessarily opposed to the time scale postulated by evolutionists.
The form contained ten questions, along with some brief preliminary comments. Each of the questions contained a “YES” [ ] or “NO” [ ] space to be checked. But here is a significant factor: the questions were carefully worded in an attempt to purposely produce a “NO” answer—in other words, the questionnaire was “loaded.” Note the following quotation from the cover letter (dated October 25, 1983) written by Sears and England, and accompanying the questionnaire.
We recognize that a simple “yes” or “no” may not be possible for some of the questions; however, we would appreciate such a short answer if possible. If you feel that it is necessary to check “yes” for any question, we would like for you to supply additional information such as an explanatory comment or a literature reference (emp. added).
As you survey the questions in the subsequent portion of this article, you will see that they are hardly the epitome of objectivity. One Bible professor with whom we communicated, as Dr. Thompson already has mentioned, also was asked to fill out the questionnaire, but declined to do so because of its obvious bias. That should tell the reader something. The “questionnaire” was prefaced with the following statements.
It is believed by many that the Bible teaches an “instantaneous creation.” However, we would like to know if a careful scholarly exegesis of certain words or expressions mandates such a conclusion to the exclusion of “creation by some sort of process” that may have involved some perceptable [sic] time lapse. The first four questions address this problem.
Then follows the first question.
  1. Does the use of the Hebrew word asah or bara in Genesis one preclude or exclude some sort of process? Several things may be observed about this question. First, it is designed to be answered “No,” and thus to suggest subtly that Genesis 1 will allow for some sort of developmental “process” as opposed to a rapid creation. Second, to my knowledge, no competent scholar has claimed that asah [“made,” (1:16)] and bara [“created,” (1:1)] have any intrinsic implications relative to “time.” This is a straw man. Third, there are, however, contextual indications, both in Genesis 1 and in passages elsewhere, which suggest rapid action in contrast to a protracted developmental process. For example, professor Raymond Surburg has noted:
    The wording of the Genesis account seems to indicate a short time for the creative acts described. To illustrate, in Genesis 1:11 God literally commands, “Earth, sprout sprouts!” Immediately v. 12 records the prompt response to the command—“The earth caused the plants to go out.” The Genesis account nowhere even hints that eons or periods of time are involved. Instantaneous action seems to be what the writer stresses (1959, p. 60).
    Moreover, of Paul’s statement concerning the human body—“But now hath God set the members of each one of them in the body, even as it hath pleased him” (1 Corinthians 12:18)—Greek scholar W.E. Vine observed:
    The tenses of both verbs are the aorist or point tenses and should be translated “set” and “it pleased” (instead of the perfect tenses, “hath set”and “it hath pleased”) and this marks the formation of the human body in all its parts as a creative act at a single point in time, and contradicts the evolutionary theory of a gradual development from infinitesimal microcosms (1951 p. 173).
    But suppose the question above had been worded like this: “Does the use of the Hebrew words asah and bara in Genesis one suggest a developmental process?” The answer most certainly would have to be “NO,” but this would hardly have been the response desired by the two professors!
    Finally, it might be asked—what influences motivated the professors to frame the foregoing question, laying the groundwork for some kind of developmental process that allows for “indefinite periods of time” in Genesis 1?
  2. Is the Hebrew word asah or bara time limiting; that is, does the use of either of these words demand instantaneous creation? By “instantaneous” is intended “no perceptable [sic] time lapse.” This question is irrelevant. No one has argued that a rapid creation, within six literal, consecutive days, is demonstrated merely by the use of asah or bara. But again, let us reverse the matter. “Are the Hebrew words asah and bara time-expanding; that is, does the use of either of these words demand vast eons of time?” The answer, of course, would be a resounding, “NO.” But that would not have left the same impression as the question asked by the professors.
  3. Does the Hebrew word asah or bara require an ex nihilo [out of nothing] conclusion? Once more the professors are fighting figments of their own imaginations. Sound scholarship does not contend that ex nihilo creation is inherent in these Hebrew verbs. What we do contend is this: contextual considerations in Genesis one and in other biblical references, argue for an ex nihilo creation! Gesenius, the father of modern Hebrew lexicography, wrote:
    That the first v. of Genesis teaches that the original creation of the world in its rude, chaotic state was from nothing, while in the remainder of the chapter, the elaboration and distribution of matter thus created is taught, the connection of the whole section shows sufficiently clearly (as quoted by Pearson, 1953, 11:22).
    Noted scholar, C.F. Keil, declared that when bara is in the Qal (Kal) stem in Hebrew, as in Genesis 1:1,
    ...it always means to create, and is only applied to a divine creation, the production of that which had no existence before. It is never joined with an accusative of material, although it does not exclude a preexistent material unconditionally, but is used for the creation of man (ver. 27, ch. v. 1,2), and of everything new that God creates, whether in the kingdom of nature (Num. xvi.30) or that of grace (Ex. xxxiv.10; Ps. li.10, etc.). In this verse, however, the existence of any primeval material is precluded by the object created—“the heavens and the earth” (1971, 1:47, emp. added).
    Oswald T. Allis stated that a creation ex nihilo “is clearly implied” in Genesis 1:1 (1951, p. 9), and Edward J. Young wrote: “If in Genesis 1:1 Moses desired to express the thought of absolute creation there was no more suitable word in the Hebrew language at his disposal [than baraWJ]” (1964, p. 7). Again, one wonders what attitude prompted the foregoing question from the two professors.
  4. Hebrews 11:3 appears to represent ex nihilo creation. However, does a careful exegesis of Hebrews 11:3 require an ex nihilo conclusion? Hugo McCord gave the following answer to the question:
    Hebrews 11:3 states that the worlds were framed by God’s word (rhemati theou), and that God’s word did not frame them out of appearing things (ek phainomenon). Logically the inference remains that his word could have created the worlds out of non-appearing things. But that option is so tenuous, and imaginable reason says that Hebrews 11:3 teaches an ex nihilo creation. God can create (bara) something from existing materials (Isa. 65:18), but none is mentioned in Genesis 1:1 nor in Hebrews 11:3. Apparently he wanted us to understand a creation out of nothing. If that was not his intention, his word has misled millions of readers. Compare: “By the word of Jehovah were the heavens made, And all the host of them by the breath of his mouth. For he spake, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast” (Psa. 33:6,9).
    [NOTE: Quotations from Dr. McCord’s response to the professors’ questionnaire are reproduced from the written copy he sent to Apologetics Press.]
    Of Hebrews 11:3, F.F. Bruce observed: “The visible, material universe came into being by pure creation—out of nothing. It was not fashioned from preexistent material, as most pagan cosmogonies taught” (1972, p. 125).
    Once more, one cannot but wonder what prompted this question, the obvious design of which was to cast doubt on an ex nihilo emphasis in Hebrews 11:3. The following comment from Leon Morris may shed some light on the matter: “The suggestion that there is here [Hebrews 11:3—WJ] a reference to the formless void of Genesis 1:2 out of which the present creation was evolved has little to support it” (1960, p. 172). Surely Sears and England were not suggesting this—were they? But the questionnaire continues:
    Both of us believe that Genesis records a factual yet not exhaustive account of creation events. We believe that the days of Genesis one were twenty-four-hour days, but we largely believe this from the general impression gained by reading the text. However, we wish to know if this conclusion is mandated by scripture. We would appreciate your response to these questions. Please note our emphasis on “principle of Hebrew grammar or exegesis.”
Before considering the next series of questions, some comments are in order. First, the preceding paragraph is misleading. Though the professors declare their belief in twenty-four-hour creation days, the subsequent questions are designed to reflect upon the credibility of this view. Second, one should consider the implications involved in admitting that the “general impression” of Genesis 1 argues for twenty-four-hour days, while at the same time hinting that principles of grammar and exegesis may suggest otherwise. Was the inspired writer incapable of making the issue clear? The questions continue.
  1. Are there any principles of Hebrew grammar or exegesis governing the interpretation of the Hebrew text which demand that yom [day] of Genesis one be understood as a twenty-four-hour day to the exclusion of all other interpretations? No conservative scholar contends that there is a grammatical rule that dictates a specific length of time in yom. Why address arguments that have not been made, unless one wants to prejudice the issue. Dr. McCord exploded the question when he responded:
    Nothing in the word yom specifies its length. However, an exegesis (including grammar, syntax, and context) of yom in its eleven occurrences in Genesis one shows the word has two meanings:
    1. about a 12 hour period in 1:5, where it is the opposite of darkness; 1:14,16,18, where it is the opposite of night;
    2. a 24 hour period in 1:5, where its length is defined as a combination of evening and morning; 1:14, where it is in the context of signs, seasons, days, and years; 1:8,13,19,23,31, where again, repeated five times, its length is defined as a combination of morning and evening. An exegetical principle mandates that normal, literal meanings must be understood unless the context indicates an abnormal significance. Nothing in Genesis one points to an abnormal meaning. To this the professors agree when they say that “the general impression gained by reading the text” is “that the days of Genesis one were twenty-four [hour] days.”
    Yes, we are aware of the fact that the term “day” is used occasionally in the Bible in a figurative sense. But that is not the issue. The issue is: What does the biblical evidence indicate concerning the use of the term “day” in the creation week? The term “baptism” is sometimes used figuratively. In Mark 10:38 the Lord employed that word for His impending suffering. Does the fact that “baptism” may be used symbolically for suffering argue that such is a possibility in Acts 2:38? What about this question: Is there any rule of Greek grammar which would mandate that the baptism of Acts 2:38 is to be in “water”? No. But would the gentlemen from Searcy allow other options? If not, why not?
  2. Is there a principle of Hebrew grammar or exegesis governing the interpretation of the Hebrew text which demands that yom be interpreted as a twenty-four-hour day if it is preceded by the definite article? I am fairly familiar with the literature on the subject, yet I cannot recall ever reading an argument for twenty-four-hour creation days based upon article usage.
  3. Is there a principle of Hebrew grammar or exegesis governing the interpretation of the Hebrew text which demands that yom be interpreted as a twenty-four-hour day if it is accompanied by a cardinal number? The point that creationists have made on this matter is not one of grammar; it is one of consistent usage, and that does relate to exegesis. Dr. McCord correctly replied: “The length of yom is not determined by the accompaniment of a number, either cardinal or ordinal. However, in over 100 citations (as, cardinals, Gen. 1:5; 7:4; ordinals, Gen. 7:11; 8:4), no exception has been found.” Let the professors try this question: “Can you cite at least one example from the Pentateuch where yom, accompanied by a numeral, clearly indicates an indefinite period of time?” Why were not questions of this nature included in the survey? I think the answer is obvious.
  4. Assuming the creation days of Genesis one were twenty-four-hour days, is there a principle of Hebrew grammar or a rule of exegesis that demands the conclusion that each of the six creation days were [sic] consecutive, that is, no time could have elapsed to separate day one from day two, day two from day three, etc.? This question solicits support for the notion advanced by Donald England in A Christian View of Origins: “The days of Genesis 1 could easily have been twenty-four-hour days and the earth still date to antiquity, provided that indefinite periods of time separated the six creation days” (1972, p. 110). [The reader might ask where the professor got the idea that the Earth can “date to great antiquity.”] Likely Dr. McCord did not receive high marks when he responded: “The Hebrew text, if a time lapse between days occurred, could have spoken to that effect, but it does not. Any attempt to inject time lapses between days is not from exegesis but eisegesis.”
    A point that advocates of this “time-lapse-between-days” theory might ponder is found in Numbers 7. After the Tabernacle was set up, the head princes of the twelve tribes brought offerings for the altar’s dedication. Oblations were offered on “the first day” (12), “the second day” (18), “the third day” (24), and so on through “the twelfth day (78).” Assuming that these “days” were twenty-four-hour days, is there any rule of Hebrew grammar demanding the conclusion that each of these twelve days was consecutive-that is, no time could have elapsed to separate day one from day two, etc.? Of course there is no “rule” of grammar that would preclude such, but only a bizarre notion foreign to the context would ever suggest it!
  5. Is there a principle of Hebrew grammar or a rule of exegesis which would preclude the possibility of an indefinite time lapse between verses one and two or between verses two and three of Genesis chapter one? This question opens the door to the possibility of the Gap Theory—a concept that came into vogue about a century ago as a means of harmonizing the Bible with evolutionary time scales. We will not consume space at this point in refuting this totally baseless theory. Professor W.W. Fields, in his book, Unformed and Unfilled (1976), has completely demolished the Gap Theory. Allis likewise rendered a death-blow to this concept in his excellent volume, God Spake by Moses (1951, see his Appendix). In this connection, Allis makes a very important observation: “To allow science to become the interpreter of the Bible and to force upon it meanings which it clearly does not and cannot have is to undermine its supreme authority as the Word of God” (p. 158). In short, there is neither grammatical nor exegetical substance to the Gap Theory.
  6. Many tend to conclude, from recorded Biblical genealogies, that the earth and life on earth is [sic] relatively recent; that is, less than 10,000 years. In your judgment, was it ever the intent of Hebrew genealogies to enable one today employing scholarly exegesis of the text to calculate the age of the earth or the age of life on the earth? The purpose of this question, of course, is to suggest that the genealogical and chronological data in the Bible are without value in determining the relative ages of the Earth and mankind. To this we respond in several ways.
    First, there is the matter of Scripture “intent.” It is claimed that the Bible is silent on the topic of Earth and human ages (see England, 1983, p. 156), and thus it was not the “intent” of the divine writers to discuss the ages of Earth and man. Dr. McCord, with penetrating logic, replied: “It was not the intent of Paul in Romans 6:3,4 to negate sprinkling (a practice unheard of until A.D. 253), but since such a malpractice has developed, it is valid to use Romans 6:3,4 to set forth the proper action of baptism.” He went on to observe that genealogical sources in the Bible also limit humanity’s life span upon the Earth, and so the Scriptures are not silent on this issue!
    Consider this parallel example. In Genesis 30:32ff., we read of Jacob’s bargain with Laban concerning the “ring-streaked and spotted” sheep. I don’t suppose anyone would claim that it was the “intent” of Moses to discuss genetics, yet both Sears and England contend that this passage has “prescientific” genetic implications (see: Sears, 1969, p. 21; England, 1983, p. 145). Why can there not be similar biblical implications that deal with Earth/man ages?
    Second, what are the actual genealogical and chronological indicators of the Bible? Consider the following facts. Luke’s Gospel (3:23-28) lists the record of Christ’s genealogy all the way back to Adam (the first man—1 Corinthians 15:45). There are seventy-five generations from Jesus back to the commencement of humanity. Fifty-five of these—from Christ to Abraham—consume but a mere 2,000 years (see Douglas, 1974, p. 213). How many years of human history do you suppose can be squeezed into those remaining twenty generations (even if one allows for the longevity of the patriarchs and some minor gaps in the genealogical lists)? One thing is certain—the three to four million years currently postulated by evolutionary anthropologists (and those sympathetic with them) will not fit! The Bible clearly implies a relative age limitation for humanity; there are reasonable “time” indications that can be drawn from the genealogies (see Jackson, 1976, p. 42).
    Additionally, if Scripture is silent about the relative ages of the Earth and man, and one is free, therefore, to accept the conclusions of “science,” as England alleges, then numerous Bible passages are thrown into a state of absolute confusion. Evolutionary “science” contends that the Earth is some 4.6 billion years old, while man is but a stripling of approximately 3.6 million years old (a recent evolutionary estimate). This would suggest that man is only about 1/1250th of the age of the Earth. If we let the entire sum of Earth history, from its beginning to the present, be illustrated by a twenty-four-hour day, man had his origin about one minute and nine seconds ago! No wonder evolutionists are fond of referring to man as a “Johnny-come-lately!”
    But what does this time-scale do to such Bible passages as the following: (a) Adam and Eve were made male and female “in the beginning,” which, as Jack P. Lewis has correctly shown, “should be understood in the sense of ‘from the beginning of creation’ (cf. Romans 1:20; 2 Peter 3:4)” (1978, p. 416). That, of course, is exactly what Mark’s Gospel says (Mark 10:6). (b) Paul argued that man’s unbelief is inexcusable since God’s existence has been humanly perceived in His handiwork “since the creation of the world” (Romans 1:20). (c) Christ placed the first family back near the “foundation of the world” (Luke 11:45-52).
In conclusion, we must again register a strong protest at what this loaded questionnaire seeks to accomplish, as well as the implications it contains. It does not reflect benevolently upon its authors’ scholastic objectivity or their regard for the plain testimony of the Holy Scriptures. Rather, it is a graphic commentary on what happens when men attempt to strain the Word of God through ever-changing “science.” As the inspired James might say, “My brethren, these things ought not so to be” (3:10).


Allis, Oswald T. (1951), God Spake By Moses (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker).
Bruce, F.F. (1972), Answers to Questions (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan).
Buffaloe, Neal and N. Patrick Murray (1981), Creationism and Evolution (Little Rock, AR: The Bookmark).
Douglas, J.D., ed. (1974), The New Bible Dictionary (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans).
England, Donald (1972), A Christian View of Origins (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker).
England, Donald (1983), A Scientist Examines Faith and Evidence (Delight, AR: Gospel Light).
Fields, Weston W. (1976), Unformed and Unfilled (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker).
Jackson, Wayne (1976), “Biblical Geneologies and Human History,” Christian Courier, 11[11]:2-3, March.
Jackson, Wayne and Bert Thompson (1992), In the Shadow of Darwin: A Review of the Teachings of John N. Clayton (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press).
Keil, C.F. (1971 reprint), The Pentateuch (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans).
Lewis, Jack P. (1978), “From the Beginning It Was Not So...,” Your Marriage Can Be Great, ed. Thomas B. Warren (Jonesboro, AR: National Christian Press).
McClish, Dub, ed. (1983), Studies in Hebrews (Denton, TX: Pearl Street Church of Christ).
Morris, Leon (1960), The Epistle to the Hebrews (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans).
Pearson, A.T. (1953), “An Exegetical Study of Genesis 1:1-3,” Bethel Seminary Quarterly, 11:22, November.
Scofield, Cyrus I., ed. (1917), Scofield Reference Bible (New York: Oxford University Press).
Sears, Jack Wood (1969), Conflict and Harmony in Science and the Bible (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker).
Surburg, Raymond (1959), “In the Beginning God Created,” Darwin, Evolution, and Creation, ed. P.A. Zimmerman (St. Louis, MO: Concordia).
Thompson, Bert (1977), Theistic Evolution (Shreveport, LA: Lambert).
Thompson, Bert (1981), “We Told You Where Belief in Evolution Would Lead—Now See for Yourself,” Sound Doctrine, 6[2]:11-12. April/May/June.
Vine, W.E. (1951), First Corinthians (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan).
Wald, George (1979), “The Origin of Life,” Writing About Science, ed. M.E. Bowen and J.A. Mazzeo (New York: Oxford University Press). [NOTE: This is a reprint of Dr. Wald’s article, which appeared originally in Scientific American, August 1954.]
Wilder-Smith, A.E. (1975), Man’s Origin: Man's Destiny (Minneapolis, MN: Bethany Fellowship).
Young, Edward J. (1964), Studies in Genesis One (Nutley, NJ: Presbyterian and Reformed).

From Mark Copeland... Father...Glorify Your Son (John 17:1-5)

                          "THE GOSPEL OF JOHN"

                   Father...Glorify Your Son (17:1-5)


1. In a previous lesson we stated that the prayer of Jesus in John 17 is
   "The Greatest Prayer Ever Prayed", noting four reasons...
   a. The Person who prayed the prayer
   b. The occasion that demanded the prayer
   c. The contents of the prayer
   d. The victory in Jesus that it reveals

2. We now begin to take a closer look at this prayer, beginning with the
   petition Jesus makes for Himself in verses 1-5 and asking...
   a. What is Jesus asking for?
   b. Why should God grant His request?
   c. Was Jesus' prayer answered?

[In regards to the first question...]


      1. "Father...glorify Your Son" - Jn 17:1
      2. "Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory
         which I had with You before the world was." - Jn 17:5

      1. glorify - "to exalt to a glorious rank or condition" - Thayer
      2. Jesus asks to be restored to His state of glory He had before
         the world existed - Jn 17:5
      3. His request implies two great truths concerning Jesus:
         a. His pre-existence, as foretold in prophecy- cf. Mic 5:2
         b. His Deity, for God shares His glory with no one - cf. Isa 42:8
      4. Overhearing this prayer, we appreciate why John began his
         gospel with these words:
         a. "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God...
            He was in the beginning with God." - Jn 1:1a,2
         b. "...and the Word was God." - Jn 1:1b
      5. Thus Jesus asks the Father to reinstate Him to the glorious
         position He had before coming to earth

[This leads us to our second question...]


      1. Jesus desires to glorify His Father - Jn 17:1
         a. Thus His prayer is not purely personal
         b. He wants to reciprocate by utilizing His glory to honor the
      2. Jesus provides an important example in regards to our own
         a. Do we ask for blessings that we might better serve God and
            do His will?
         b. Many prayers go unanswered because they are for selfish
            reasons - cf. Jm 4:3
         c. Our requests should always be with the Father's will in mind
            - cf. 1Jn 5:14

      1. The Father had already given Jesus 'authority' - Jn 17:2
         a. Authority to give eternal life - Jn 17:2 (more in our next
         b. Authority to forgive sins - cf. Mt 9:6
         c. Authority to execute judgment - cf. Jn 5:26-27
         d. Indeed, all authority in heaven and on earth - cf. Mt 28:18
      2. In view of such authority, it is only proper to receive glory
         to accompany it

      1. Jesus had glorified His Father on earth - Jn 17:4
         a. By making His Father's will and work His chief delight - cf.
            Jn 4:34
         b. He came from heaven for this very purpose - cf. Jn 6:38
         c. By His life and His words Jesus always glorified His Father
      2. Again, Jesus provides an example regarding our own prayers
         a. Do we base our requests solely on promises of what we will
         b. Or do we seek to do His will first, and then ask God to
            fulfill what He has promised?

      1. He had finished the work given to Him by His Father - Jn 17:4
         a. True, His greatest work (dying for our sins) had not yet
            been done - cf. Jn 19:30
         b. But its accomplishment was so certain, Jesus could speak of
            it as done
      2. Jesus illustrates the proper place prayer should occupy in our
         a. Not something used only in the case of emergency
         b. But complementing a life of devotion and service dedicated
            to glorify God!

[We now come to our third and final question...]


      1. The significance of Jesus' death gives Him great honor
      2. As expressed in the book of Revelation - cf. Re 5:9-14

      1. God declared Jesus to be the Son of God with power - Ro 1:4
      2. And then gave Him glory - 1Pe 1:21

      1. God seated Him at His right hand, far above all things - Ep 1:
         20-22; 1Pe 3:22
      2. Jesus now reigns with authority over the nations - Re 2:26-27;

      1. When Jesus returns, He will be glorified in His saints - 2 Th 1:10
      2. He will sit on His throne of glory, as He judges the world - Mt 25:31-32


1. The words of Paul confirm that God has glorified His Son - cf. Php 2:
   a. Having highly exalted Him, giving Him the name which is above
      every name
   b. At which every knee will bow, and every tongue confess that He is

2. But we do well to also remember...
   a. Jesus not only prayed "Father...Glorify Your Son" - Jn 17:1,5
   b. Jesus also prayed that we might behold His glory! - Jn 17:24
   c. Jesus desires that we share in His glory! - cf. Re 2:26-27; 3:21

3. From these two passages in the book of Revelation...
   a. We know that God has answered Jesus' prayer to be glorified
   b. We know that God will answer Jesus' prayer that we may behold His

Do you want to participate in that glory?  Confess and obey Jesus as
Lord (cf. Ac 2:36-38), and then "hold fast" till He comes (cf. Re

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

From Mark Copeland... The Greatest Prayer Ever Prayed (John 17:1-26)

                          "THE GOSPEL OF JOHN"

               The Greatest Prayer Ever Prayed (17:1-26)


1. "Some brethren pray by the yard; but true prayer is measured by
   weight, and not by length." - Charles Spurgeon

2. This statement is true, for the greatest prayer ever prayed is
   recorded in Jn 17...
   a. It takes about six minutes to reverently read it aloud
   b. There may not be much length, but there is certainly a great depth
      and weight!

3. Though there are approximately 650 prayers recorded in the Bible...
   a. Not one of them can match our Lord's "High Priestly Prayer" in Jn 17
   b. Nor can any prayer recorded outside the Bible

[What is it about this prayer that makes it so great?  At least four
reasons can be given.  From Jn 17:1 we learn it is great because of...]


      1. He who was with God in the beginning - Jn 1:1
      3. He who was God - Jn 1:1
      4. He who was in the beginning with God - Jn 1:2
      5. He who was the Creator of all things - Jn 1:3
      6. He was the light of men - Jn 1:4
      7. He who became flesh and dwelt among men - Jn 1:14

      1. The Word - Jn 1:1,14
      2. The Lamb of God - Jn 1:29
      3. The Son of God - Jn 1:34
      4. The King of Israel - Jn 1:49
      5. The promised Messiah - Jn 4:25-26
      6. The Bread of Life - Jn 6:35
      7. The Light Of the World - Jn 8:12
      8. The Great "I Am" - Jn 8:56-58
      9. The Good Shepherd - Jn 10:11
     10. The Resurrection and The Life - Jn 11:25

[The prayer in Jn 17 is great because the greatest Person who ever lived
is the One who offered it!  It is also great because of...]


      1. Neil Armstrong said, "That's one small step for a man, one
         giant leap for mankind."
         a. If he had made the statement while playing hopscotch with
            the neighborhood children, nobody would have paid him
         b. He made it as he stepped down from his spacecraft, the first
            man to walk on the moon
      2. The situation helped give weight to his words!

      1. Notice His first words:  "Father, the hour has come" - Jn 17:1
      2. What 'hour' is that?
         a. His appointment with the cross - cf. Jn 16:31-32
         b. A time of separation, betrayal, suffering, and crucifixion
         c. A time in which God's eternal purpose is about to be carried
         d. A time in which Jesus is about to bear the sins of the world
            on the cross!

[The occasion, in which Jesus knows His crucifixion is imminent, gives
great weight to the words of His prayer.  Whatever preoccupied the mind
of Jesus at this time must be very important!  The prayer was also great
because of...]


      1. It takes us back and forward in time
         a. Back to eternity past - Jn 17:5
         b. Forward into the future glory in heaven - Jn 17:24
      2. It deals with glory
         a. The glory of the Father and the Son - Jn 17:1
         b. The disciples glorifying God on earth - Jn 17:10
         c. The Son giving glory to His disciples - Jn 17:22
         d. The disciples beholding the glory of the Son - Jn 17:24
      3. It discusses love
         a. The Father's love for believers - Jn 17:23
         b. The Father's love for Jesus - Jn 17:23-24

      1. "Glorify Me" - Jn 17:1-5
      2. "Keep them" - Jn 17:6-12
      3. "Sanctify them" - Jn 17:13-19
      4. "That they all might be one" - Jn 17:20-23
      5. "That they may behold My glory" - Jn 17:24-26

      1. Jesus prays for Himself - Jn 17:1-5
      2. Jesus prays for His disciples - Jn 17:6-19
      3. Jesus prays for all believers - Jn 17:20-26

[Even a brief examination of its contents reveal the greatness of this
prayer, and why it is worthy of careful study.  Finally, a fourth reason
why this is the greatest prayer:  because of...]


      1. Pertaining to "the world" (used 19 times!) and the effect it
         can have on believers
      2. A justifiable concern, for we live in a world which is:
         a. Deceived (blinded by Satan) - cf. 2Co 4:3-4
         b. Dangerous (promises fulfillment, but will pass away) - cf.
            1Jn 2:15-17
         c. Defiled (defiling those who accept it) - cf. Jm 1:27
         d. Divided (this is self-evident, especially in regards to

      1. As He told His disciples prior to this prayer - cf. Jn 16:33
      2. In this prayer, the victory in Jesus is revealed!  The world
         may be:
         a. Deceived, but Jesus has shown us reality, in revealing the
            only true God - Jn 17:3
         b. Dangerous, but Jesus provides security as we are kept in
            God's name - Jn 17:11-12
         c. Defiled, but Jesus provides sanctification through God's
            word - Jn 17:17
         d. Divided, but Jesus offers unity through His glory - Jn 17:22


1. These four reasons help us appreciate why Jesus' prayer in Jn 17 has
   been called...
   a. "The Greatest Prayer Ever Prayed"
   b. "The High Priestly Prayer"
   c. "The Lord's Prayer" (not just that taught by Jesus in Mt 6 and
      Lk 11)

2. It is indeed a great prayer...
   a. But it is a prayer in behalf of those who are Jesus' disciples
   b. If you are not a disciple, Jesus' prayer is that you first become
      one! - cf. Mt 28:18-20

Then as disciples of Jesus Christ, we should do all that we can to see
that "The Greatest Prayer Ever Prayed" be fulfilled in our lives...!

Note:  The main idea and many points for this outline came from a book
by Warren Wiersbe which I believe is now out of print.

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

From Mark Copeland... Fruit-Bearing Discipleship (John 15:8)

                          "THE GOSPEL OF JOHN"

                   Fruit-Bearing Discipleship (15:8)


1. What does the Lord desire of His disciples...?
   a. Surely He desires their heart (faith) - He 11:6; Jn 8:24
   b. But He also desires their hands (works) - Lk 6:46

2. Works are an important part of our discipleship...
   a. We are created in Christ for this very purpose - Ep 2:10
   b. By them we glorify God - Mt 5:16; Jn 15:8

[Good works are an indication of "bearing fruit" as disciples of Christ.
As we focus our attention on the theme of "Fruit-Bearing Discipleship",
let me reiterate that...]


      1. Glorifying God by bearing fruit is a mark of discipleship - Jn
      2. Disciples have been "appointed" to bear fruit - Jn 15:16

      1. From Christ, the true vine, and His Father as the vine dresser
         - Jn 15:1
      2. As branches that no longer bear fruit - Jn 15:2
      3. Whose end is to burned - Jn 15:6; cf. He 6:7-8

[The end of unfruitful disciples is dreadful to contemplate.  Like the
Hebrew writer (He 6:9), I wish to be more confident of better things
regarding our discipleship.  We can be, by remembering that...]


      1. We must abide in Him, as the branch cannot bear fruit of itself
         - Jn 15:4
      2. Abiding in him, we bear much fruit; without Him we can do
         nothing - Jn 15:5
      3. As confessed by Paul in Php 4:13; 2Co 3:5

      1. First, by putting Him on in baptism - Ga 3:27
      2. Then, by abiding in His love through keeping His commandments
         - Jn 15:9-10; cf. 14:15,21-23

[To be a disciple, we must bear fruit.  To bear fruit, we must abide in
Christ.  To abide in Christ, we must keep His commandments.  But what
kind of fruits will disciples bear...?]


      1. As expressed by Paul in his desire to go to Rome - Ro 1:13
      2. Disciples creating more disciples is a natural indication of
         bearing fruit - cf. Mt 28:19-20

      1. As explained by Paul in describing the contribution to poor
         saints - Ro 15:25-28
      2. Which was evidence of God's grace at work in the givers - cf.
         2Co 8:1-2; 9:12-14

      1. Indicating that one is walking in the Spirit - Ga 5:16,22-23
      2. Evidence that is diligent in growing the true knowledge of
         Jesus - 2Pe 1:5-8

      1. The fruit of our lips in praise and prayer are spiritual
         sacrifices - He 13:15
      2. Which we are to offer continually - He 13:15

[As we bear fruit in these different ways, we not only glorify God and
prove to be fruitful disciples, we also experience the "abundant" life
of which Jesus speaks (Jn 10:10)...]


      1. As Paul found to be case with the Thessalonians - 1Th 2:19-20
      2. As John realized with his "children" - 3Jn 4
      -- One reason many Christians do not live a life of joy is that
         they never bear fruit in leading others to Christ!

      1. Those who give are "blessed" - Ac 20:35
      2. The word "blessed" can be translated "happy"
      -- If Christians are so materialistic and selfish that they do not
         share, they will never know the blessedness of giving!

      1. Growing in the true knowledge of Christ ensures an "abundant
         entrance" into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord - 2Pe 1:8-11
      2. Developing a Christ-like love gives assurance of one's
         discipleship and salvation - Jn 13:34-35; 1Jn 3:14,18-19
      -- Many Christians have no assurance; and no wonder, if their
         character remains unchanged as evidenced by little love for the

      1. Prayer is the antidote for anxiety - Php 4:6
      2. For in response to prayer God will guard our hearts through His
         peace - Php 4:7
      -- Failing to bear much fruit in regards to prayer, Christians
         will be filled with anxious lives, not abundant living!


1. Why is "Fruit-Bearing Discipleship" so important...?
   a. It is necessary to be a faithful disciple of Jesus Christ
   b. It is necessary to be a fulfilled disciple of Jesus Christ

2. If you desire to be both a faithful and fulfilled disciple of
   a. Abide in Him by keeping His commands
   b. Produce fruit that glorifies His Father

   "By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you
   will be My disciples." (Jn 15:8)

If you are not yet a disciple of Jesus, then let His own words lead you
to become one - Mt 28:18-20; Mk 16:15-16

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

From Mark Copeland.... The Way, The Truth, And The Life (John 14:6)

                          "THE GOSPEL OF JOHN"

                The Way, The Truth, And The Life (14:6)


1. Two of the most remarkable statements by Jesus are found in one
   a. "I am the way, the truth, and the life." - Jn 14:6
   b. "No one comes to the Father except through Me." - ibid.

2. These statements were made in a discussion with His disciples...
   a. As He prepared them for His impending death - Jn 14:1-4
   b. Which prompted questions by Thomas and Philip - Jn 14:5,7-9

[In making such statements, Jesus claims to be three things:  "The Way,
The Truth, And The Life."  Let's take a closer look, where we first
observe that Jesus is...]


      1. Jesus clearly claims to the be only way to God - Jn 14:6
      2. As Peter would later proclaim, there is no salvation but
         through Him - cf. Ac 4:12
      -- This may sound politically incorrect, but Jesus states it

      1. By revealing Him, stressed in the gospel of John - Jn 14:7-9;
         cf. Jn 1:18; 12:44-45
      2. By opening the way to Him, emphasized in the book of Hebrews
         - He 10:19-20
      3. By serving as our high priest, another theme in Hebrews - He 2:
         17-18; 4:14-16; 10:21-22
      4. He now intercedes for us
         a. As our Advocate - 1Jn 2:1
         b. At the right hand of God - Ro 8:34
         c. The one (and only) Mediator between God and man - 1Ti 2:5
         d. Who ever lives to intercede for us! - He 7:24-25
      -- By virtue of His life on earth, His death on the cross, and now
         His service in heaven, Jesus is truly the only way to God!

[Jesus not only is the way to God, He is also...]


      1. The very question posed by Pontius Pilate - Jn 18:38
      2. Consider the meaning of the Greek words translated as "true"
         and "truth":
         a. True (alethes) - "unconcealed, manifest...actual, true to
            fact" - Vine
         b. True (alethinos) - "denotes 'true' in the sense of 'real,
            ideal, genuine;'" - ibid.
         c. Truth (aletheia)
            1) "objectively, signifying 'the reality lying at the basis
               of an appearance; the manifested, veritable essence of a
               matter' (Cremer)" - ibid.
            2) "subjectively, 'truthfulness,' 'truth,' not merely
               verbal, but sincerity and integrity of character" - ibid.
      -- When Jesus speaks of truth, it describes that which corresponds
         to reality, what is factual and absolute, not relative

      1. He proclaims that truth is real and knowable - Jn 8:32
      2. He proclaims that truth can set one free from the bondage of
         sin - Jn 8:32-34
      3. His doctrine is the way to truth that frees one from sin - Jn 8:31-32,34-36
      4. He faithfully proclaimed His Father's Word, which is truth
         - cf. Jn 17:14,17
      -- By abiding in Jesus' teachings, we can know the truth and the
         freedom it offers!

[Freedom from the bondage of sin becomes even more meaningful when we
consider how Jesus is...]


      1. As He promised in His discourse as the Good Shepherd - Jn 10:
      2. Jesus offers a peace the world cannot give - Jn 14:27; 16:33;
         cf. Php 4:6-7
      3. He gives us His love, which passes knowledge - Jn 15:10; cf. Ep 3:19
      4. He provides His joy, that is inexpressible - Jn 15:11; cf. 1 Pe 1:8
      -- With such peace, love, and joy, what an abundant life Jesus

      1. By His doctrine regarding the new birth
         a. We must be born again - Jn 3:3
         b. We must be born again of water and the Spirit - Jn 3:4-5
      2. By sending the Spirit who gives the new birth and new life
         a. The Spirit who regenerates us in baptism - Tit 3:5-6
         b. The Spirit who becomes for us "rivers of living water" - Jn 7:37-39; cf. Ga 5:22-23
      -- Jesus provides abundant life His through gospel, by which we
         are born again to a new life which the Spirit makes possible
         - cf. 1Pe 2:22-25


1. Jesus is truly the way, the truth, and the life...
   a. The way to knowing and experience God as our Heavenly Father
   b. The embodiment of truth that provides freedom from the guilt and
      bondage of sin
   c. The source of life that is blessed now and lasts forever!

2. Has Jesus become your way to God, your truth, and your life...?
   a. To a close and personal relationship with God?
   b. To deliverance from the guilt of sin through the blood of Christ?
   c. To an abundant life by virtue of a spiritual rebirth and the
      blessings that follow?

Jesus may be "the" way, truth, and life, but He is of no value unless He
becomes "your" way to the true salvation that leads to eternal life with
God.  Have you responded to the gospel of Jesus Christ...? - cf. Mk 16:
15-16; Ac 2:38; 22:16

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

From Mark Copeland... By This All Will Know (John 13:34-35)

                          "THE GOSPEL OF JOHN"

                    By This All Will Know (13:34-35)


1. How is the world to know that we are truly disciples of Christ,
   members of His body?
   a. Is it by the name we wear?
   b. Is it by having the right doctrine, organization, worship, etc.?

2. It is certainly important to have all these things; but if we
   a. That by these things alone we are truly the disciples of Jesus
   b. That by these things alone the world will know we are Christ's
   ...then we are sadly mistaken!

3. Shortly before His crucifixion, Jesus identified a key mark of
   a. He gave what He called "a new commandment" - Jn 13:34
   b. It was a command to "love one another" - Jn 13:34
   c. He said "by this all will know" who were His disciples - Jn 13:35

4. Love for one another is how people will know that we are truly the
   disciples of Jesus...
   a. Do we know what kind of love that is?
   b. How do we develop that kind of love?
   c. How do we demonstrate this love?

[In this study I wish to encourage the kind of love Jesus commands of
us, so that "By This All Will Know" that we are truly His disciples!
Let's begin with...]


      1. There had always been the love of family, friends, etc.
      2. The OT taught to "love your neighbor as yourself" - Lev 19:18
      3. But Jesus said, "A new commandment I give to you, that you
         love one another" - Jn 13:34
         a. This is not simply a command to love one another
         b. But a command to love one another in a special way
      -- Jesus is calling us to new and higher standard of love!

      1. What kind of love does Jesus command?
         a. "as I have love you, that you also love another"
         b. It is a love patterned after Jesus' love for us
         -- This is what makes it a new and higher standard of love!
      2. The love Jesus had for us can be summarized in one word:
         a. As Jesus explained in Jn 15:13
         b. As John wrote in 1Jn 3:16-18
         c. As Paul commanded in Ep 5:1-2
      3. It was this kind of love manifested by the first disciples of
         a. The church in Jerusalem - Ac 2:44-45
         b. The churches in Macedonia - 2Co 8:1-5

      1. By such love Jesus declared "all will know that you are My
         disciples" - Jn 13:35
         a. The implication is that such love will be visible and
         b. And visible by ALL, not just by brethren!
      2. To be a visible love, requires a love...
         a. That goes beyond the four walls of the church building
         b. That extends beyond the few hours we are assembled together
         c. That can be observed by those of the world and in the world
      -- In some way, the world needs to have the opportunity to
         observe the disciples in action, in which their love that is
         patterned after Jesus' love can be seen

[Being a "warm and friendly church" while assembled is commendable, but
it alone does not fulfill the command to have a new, sacrificial, and
visible love patterned after the love of Jesus!

If we wish to manifest this kind of love in our lives, where do we
begin?  Consider...]


      1. The Thessalonians excelled in this love - 1Th 4:9-10
      2. For they had been "taught by God to love one another"
      3. Certainly God's own love for us teaches us how to love
         - cf. 1Jn 4:9-11
      -- Think of the Father's own sacrificial love for us, in sending
         His Son to be the propitiation for our sins!

      1. Jesus' own example of sacrifice teaches the true meaning of
         love - 1Jn 3:16
      2. The more we contemplate upon the example of Jesus' life and
         death, the more likely we will love like He did!

      1. We are to stir one another to love and good works - He 10:24
      2. An important means of doing this is by frequent assembling
         - He 10:25
      -- Perhaps one reason why some don't love as they should, is
         because they don't assemble like they should!

[Through careful study of the Father's love for us, the Savior's love
for us, and through frequent assembling where we stir up another to
love and good works, we can develop the kind of love "By Which All Will
Know" we are Jesus' disciples.  Finally, a thought or two about...]


      1. When we are assembled and have guests, we have an opportunity
         to demonstrate our love for another
      2. What do our guests see?  Do they see Christians who...
         a. Are glad to see one another?
         b. Are willing to take the time to visit with each other?
         c. Even know each other's name?
      -- Our assemblies may be the only time some guests have the
         opportunity to see Christians interact; do they see an evident
         love and concern for one another?

      1. We often have the opportunity to be together in ways that
         others can see...
         a. Perhaps we work with other Christians
         b. Or we have neighbors that are Christians
         c. Or we gather to visit, or do things together
      2. What do those in the world see?  Do they see an interaction
         a. Reveals a strong love and appreciation for one another?
         b. Shows a sincere interest in each other's well-being?
      3. Where there are differences, is the way we handle them
         a. Christians will often sin against one another, offend one
         b. But will they see long-suffering and a quickness to
            forgive, even as Christ forgave us? - cf. Ep 4:32; Col 3:13


1. Jesus has revealed a powerful tool to persuade the world that we are
   His disciples...
   a. Certainly we show our discipleship by faithfulness to His
      doctrine - cf. Jn 8:32
   b. But in a world that cares little for doctrinal distinctiveness,
      a Christ-like love for one another is how Jesus would have us
      convince the world! - cf. Jn 13:34-35

2. How is your love for your brother in Christ?
   a. Is it Christ-like, i.e., a sacrificial love?
   b. Is it observable, i.e., do people see your brotherly love in our
      assemblies and community?

3. If you admit your love for your brethren needs work (and we all can
   a. Look to God and Jesus as the ultimate teachers of what it means
      to love one another
   b. Utilize opportunities to be with brethren
      1) Which provides occasion to grow and display your love
      2) Which can serve to stir you to love and good works - cf.
         He 10:24-25

So remember...

   "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as
   I have loved you, that you also love one another.  By this all
   will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one
   another." (Jn 13:35)

   "Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another."
                                                  (1Jn 4:11)

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011