"THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS" Chapter Sixteen OBJECTIVES IN STUDYING THIS CHAPTER 1) To be impressed with such Christians as Phoebe, Priscilla, and Aquila 2) To understand the warning against those who cause division SUMMARY In this last chapter, Paul closes with miscellaneous instructions, greetings, warnings, and a doxology. Of particular note are his comments concerning Phoebe, a servant of the church in Cenchrea (1-2). Also, his greetings to Priscilla and Aquila remind us of how instrumental this couple was in the spread of the gospel (3-5a). The remaining greetings from Paul remind us that there were many others who contributed to the growth of the church in the first century (5b-16). A final warning is given against those who would cause divisions and occasions of stumbling contrary to what Paul had taught in this epistle (17-18). For above all else, Paul wanted to ensure their continued obedience in the gospel (19-20). Paul's companions at Corinth add their greetings (21-24), and Paul closes this wonderful epistle with an expression of praise to God for the revelation of the gospel which was leading to the obedience of faith among all nations (25-27). OUTLINE I. CONCLUDING INSTRUCTIONS & FAREWELLS (1-24) A. COMMENDATION OF PHOEBE (1-2) 1. A servant of the church in Cenchrea (1) 2. To receive her in a worthy manner, helping her along (2) B. MISCELLANEOUS GREETINGS FROM PAUL (3-16) 1. To Priscilla and Aquila (3-5a) 2. To various others (5b-16) C. A FINAL WARNING (17-20) 1. Against those who selfishly cause divisions and offenses (17-18) 2. To continue in obedience, for God will give them victory (19-20) D. GREETINGS FROM PAUL'S COMPANIONS (21-24) 1. From Timothy and others (21) 2. From Tertius, Paul's "amanuensis" [personal scribe] (22) 3. From brethren at Corinth (23-24) II. PAUL'S DOXOLOGY (25-27) A. TO HIM WHO IS ABLE TO ESTABLISH YOU (25-26) 1. According to the gospel and preaching of Jesus Christ (25a) 2. According to the mystery once secret, but now revealed and made known to all nations (25b-26) a. Made known by the prophetic Scriptures (26a) b. Made known for obedience to the faith (26b) B. TO GOD, ALONE WISE, BE GLORY THROUGH JESUS CHRIST FOREVER! (27) REVIEW QUESTIONS FOR THIS CHAPTER 1) List the main points of this chapter - Concluding Instructions And Farewells (1-24) - Paul's Doxology (25-27) 2) How does Paul describe Phoebe? (1-2) - A servant of the church; a helper of Paul and of many 3) How does Paul describe Priscilla and Aquila? (3-4) - Fellow workers; who risked their necks for Paul's life 4) How does Paul describe those who cause division and offenses? (18) - They serve not the Lord, but their own belly 5) Is the "mystery" referred to in verse 25 still hidden? (25-26) - No, it has been revealed and made known through preaching and the Scriptures to all nations 6) What is the objective of the gospel according to verse 26? - Obedience to the faith
"THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS" Chapter Fifteen OBJECTIVES IN STUDYING THIS CHAPTER 1) To see further the importance of being considerate of weak brethren 2) To be impressed with the example of the churches in Macedonia and Achaia in their liberality toward the church in Jerusalem SUMMARY Paul continues his discussion on how those who are strong are to receive and bear with the infirmities of the weak. Encouraging the strong to be concerned with uplifting the weak, he reminds them of Christ and His unselfishness (1-3). Reminding them of the value of the Old Testament Scriptures, he pleads for patience so that with one mind and one mouth they may glorify God (4-6). Finally, he calls for them to receive one another to the glory of God, just as Christ served both Jews and Gentiles in fulfilling the prophets of old (7-12). Paul then offers a prayer that God might fill them with joy and peace in believing, so that they may abound in hope with the help of the Holy Spirit (13). At this point, Paul begins to draw this epistle to a close by making remarks concerning his apostleship and plans to see them. Recognizing their own abilities in the faith, he still felt it appropriate to write to them as he did (14-16). Speaking of his design not to preach where Christ had already been received (17-21), Paul tells of his plan to come to Rome on his way to Spain (22-24). But first, he is going to the poor saints in Jerusalem with a contribution from the saints in Macedonia and Achaia (25-29). Realizing the danger such a trip entails, he asks to be remembered in their prayers (30-33). OUTLINE I. CONCLUDING ADMONITIONS TO STRONG BRETHREN (1-13) A. BEAR WITH THE SCRUPLES OF THE WEAK (1-6) 1. Try to please your brethren, as Christ did (1-3) 2. With the help of God and Scripture, be patient, so you may with one mind and mouth glorify God (4-6) B. RECEIVE ONE ANOTHER (7-12) 1. As Christ received us, to the glory of God (7) 2. As Christ served Jews and Gentiles, in fulfillment of prophecy (8-12) C. PAUL'S PRAYER FOR THEM (13) 1. That God might fill them with all joy and peace in believing (13a) 2. That they might abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit (13b) II. PAUL'S PLANS TO SEE THEM (14-33) A. THE REASON FOR WRITING THEM (14-21) 1. He is well aware of their own abilities (14) 2. Simply reminding them, as is appropriate from one who is a "minister to the Gentiles" (15-16) 3. Though he normally aims to preach where Christ has not been named (17-21) B. HIS TRAVEL PLANS (22-29) 1. To go to Spain via Rome (22-24) 2. But first, to Jerusalem with a contribution from those in Macedonia and Achaia (25-29) C. REQUEST FOR PRAYER, AND PRAYER FOR THEM (30-33) 1. His request for their prayers for his safe journeys (30-32) 2. His prayer that God be with them (33) WORDS TO PONDER edification - to build up; "used only figuratively in the NT..the promotion of spiritual growth" (VINE) REVIEW QUESTIONS FOR THE CHAPTER 1) List the main points of this chapter - Concluding Admonitions To Strong Brethren (1-13) - Paul's Plans To See Them (14-33) 2) Whose example are we to follow in bearing the weakness of others? (1-3) - Christ's 3) What value is the Old Testament to Christians? (4) - To learn, to find patience and comfort, to increase hope 4) Why is it important that we be of one mind? (5-6) - So we may in unity of mind and mouth glorify God 5) To what degree are we to receive one another? (7) - As Christ received us; to the glory of God 6) In his preaching, what did Paul try to avoid? (20) - Preaching where Christ had already been preached 7) Where did Paul hope to go after passing through Rome? (24) - Spain 8) Where was he headed for at the time he wrote this epistle? Why? (25) - Jerusalem; to minister the contribution from Macedonia and Achaia for the poor saints in Jerusalem
"THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS" Chapter Fourteen OBJECTIVES IN STUDYING THIS CHAPTER 1) To learn how strong and weak brethren should deal with one another 2) To see the importance of being true to our conscience SUMMARY In this chapter Paul discusses the relationship strong and weak brethren are to have towards each other. He admonishes the strong to be careful in their dealings with those whose faith and knowledge is weak, and for the weak not to judge those who are doing what God allows (1-4). In such matters, each brother should be true to their conscience and do what they do as service rendered to the Lord (5-9). There is no place for condemning or despising one another in these matters, for Jesus will be the judge (10-12). Of primary concern is not to put stumbling blocks in a brother's way (13). The importance of being true to one's own conscience, and not encouraging the weak brother to violate his own, is the emphasis of the last half of the chapter. Things harmless within themselves can destroy those whose consciences do not permit them, so those who understand the true nature of the kingdom of God will be willing to forego personal liberties to maintain peace and build up their weaker brethren (14-23). OUTLINE I. ADMONITIONS TO STRONG AND WEAK BRETHREN (1-13) A. HOW TO TREAT EACH OTHER (1-4) 1. The strong are to receive and not despise the weak (1-3a) 2. The weak are not to judge those God approves (3b-4) B. HOW TO BE TRUE TO THE LORD IN THESE MATTERS (5-9) 1. Be fully convinced in your own mind (5) 2. Do what you do as to the Lord (6-9) C. DO NOT JUDGE ONE ANOTHER (10-13) 1. Christ is to be our judge (10-13a) 2. Our concern should be not to put stumbling blocks in a brother's way (13b) II. FURTHER ADMONITIONS TO STRONG BRETHREN (14-23) A. DO NOT DESTROY A BROTHER FOR WHOM CHRIST DIED (14-18) 1. Food is harmless in itself, but we can misuse it to the destruction of those who are weak (14-16) 2. The kingdom of God is more important than food and drink (17-18) B. PURSUE THINGS WHICH MAKE FOR PEACE (19-23) 1. Build up your brother, don't destroy him over food (19-20) 2. Be willing to forego your liberties for the sake of your brother (21) 3. Appreciate the importance of a clear conscience in your weak brother (22-23) WORDS TO PONDER judge - setting oneself up as accuser, judge, and sentencer; it does not mean we cannot make decisions about the right or wrong of another's action (cf. Mt 7:1-6,15-20; Jn 7:24; 1Co 5:9-13) stumbling block - that which causes another to fall; it does not have to be something wrong within itself offended - made to stumble; the word does not mean the way we commonly use it today, that is, to have one's feelings hurt or "offended" REVIEW QUESTIONS FOR THE CHAPTER 1) List the main points of this chapter - Admonitions To Strong And Weak Brethren (1-13) - Further Admonitions To Strong Brethren (14-23) 2) How are strong and weak brethren to treat each other? (3) - The strong are not to despise the weak - The weak are not to judge the strong 3) What is important according to verse 5? - "Let each be fully convinced in his own mind" 4) In all matters, whom is it we should try to please? (6-8) - The Lord 5) Who will be the Judge in such matters? (10-12) - The Lord 6) What is important according to verse 13? - Not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother's way 7) What elements are crucial to the kingdom of God? (17) - Righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit 8) How far should one be willing to go to avoid causing a brother to stumble? (21) - As far as giving up personal liberties in Christ 9) If we violate our conscience, what are we guilty of? (23) - Sin
Belgium Blasts and the Quran
|by||Dave Miller, Ph.D.|
At least 34 people were killed in bombings at the Zaventem airport and the Maelbeek metro station in Belgium that took place on Tuesday.1 Such acts reflect the same pattern of aggression that typifies ISIS in all of its activities. The politically correct crowd continues to tout the tired notion that “Islam is a religion of peace, and such behavior does not represent true Islam.” This naïve, inaccurate depiction is inexcusable and unbelievably bizarre in view of the 1,400-year-long history of Islam throughout the world. It is fashionable to refer to the terrorists as “extremists” and “radicalized”—implying that they do not represent true Islam and the Quran. They are characterized as being guilty of embracing a “literalist” interpretation of the Quran. But this allegation fails to face the fact that the Quranic texts that advocate violence and killing to advance Islam are clearly literal and have been so taken by the vast majority of Islamic scholars for the last 1,400 years.2 Setting aside the Hadith which forthrightly promote violence, the Quran itself is riddled with admonitions for Muslims to commit precisely the violent actions and bloodshed being committed by the Islamic terrorists.
Read Surah 47:4 from the celebrated translation by Muslim scholar Mohammed Pickthall:
Now when ye meet in battle those who disbelieve, then it is smiting of the necks until, when ye have routed them, then making fast of bonds; and afterward either grace or ransom till the war lay down its burdens. That (is the ordinance). And if Allah willed He could have punished them (without you) but (thus it is ordained) that He may try some of you by means of others. Andthose who are slain in the way of Allah, He rendereth not their actions vain (Surah 47:4, emp. added).3
No one should be perplexed or surprised by the incessant practice of beheadings by ISIS and all terrorists, who are in a perpetual war with Christendom. The admonition to behead others comes straight from the Quran (cf. Surah 8:12). Abdullah Yusuf Ali makes the following comment on this passage in his widely reputable Muslim translation:
When once the fight (Jihad) is entered upon, carry it out with the utmost vigour, and strike home your blows at the most vital points (smite at their necks), both literally and figuratively. You cannot wage war with kid gloves (italics and parenthetical items in orig.).4
Many other verses in the Quran forthrightly endorse armed conflict and war to advance Islam (e.g., Surah 2:190ff.; 8:39ff.; 9:1-5,29; 22:39; 61:4; 4:101-104). Muslim historical sources themselves report the background details of those armed conflicts that have characterized Islam from its inception—including Muhammad’s own warring tendencies involving personal participation in and endorsement of military campaigns.5 Muslim scholar Pickthall’s own summary of Muhammad’s war record is an eye-opener: “The number of the campaigns which he led in person during the last ten years of his life is twenty-seven, in nine of which there was hard fighting. The number of the expeditions which he planned and sent out under other leaders is thirty-eight.”6
Islam stands in stark contrast to the religion of Jesus—Who never once took up the sword or encouraged anyone else to do so. The one time that one of His close followers took it upon himself to do so, the disciple was soundly reprimanded and ordered to put the sword away, with the added warning: “all who take the sword will perish by the sword” (Matthew 26:52). Indeed, when Pilate quizzed Jesus regarding His intentions, He responded: “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here” (John 18:36)—the very opposite of Islamic teaching and practice. Whereas the Quran boldly declares, “And one who attacks you, attack him in like manner as he attacked you” (Surah 2:194; cf. 22:60), Jesus counters, “But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also” and “love your enemies” (Matthew 5:39,44). Indeed, New Testament Christianity enjoins love for enemies (Matthew 5:44-46; Luke 6:27-36), returning good for evil, and overcoming evil with good (Romans 12:14,17-21).
So why does the politically correct crowd seem intent on ignoring 1,400 years of historical reality and unmistakable declarations within the Quran itself? It would appear that such blatant disregard is rooted in a single reason: an irrational regard for pluralism and bitter disdain for Christianity’s moral principles.
1 CNBC.com Staff (2016), “The Belgium Terror Attacks: Complete Coverage,” CNBC,http://www.cnbc.com/2016/03/22/the-belgium-terror-attacks-complete-coverage.html.
2 Nabeel Qureshi (2016), “The Quran’s Deadly Role in Inspiring Belgian Slaughter: Column,” USA Today, March 22,http://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2016/03/22/radicalization-isil-islam-sacred-texts-literal-interpretation-column/81808560/.
3 Mohammed Pickthall (no date), The Meaning of the Glorious Koran (New York: Mentor).
4 Abdullah Yusuf Ali (1934), The Meaning of the Holy Quran (Beltsville, MD: Amana Publications), 2002 reprint, p. 1315.
5 cf. Martin Lings (1983), Muhammad (Rochester, VT: Inner Traditions International), pp. 86,111.
6 p. xxvi.
Did God Order the Killing of Babies?
|by||Dave Miller, Ph.D.|
Skeptics and atheists have been critical of the Bible’s portrayal of God ordering the death of entire populations—including women and children. For example, God instructed Saul through the prophet Samuel to “go and attack Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and do not spare them. But kill both man and woman, infant and nursing child, ox and sheep, camel and donkey” (1 Samuel 15:3-4, emp. added). Other examples include the period of the Israelite conquest of Canaan in which God instructed the people to exterminate the Canaanite populations that occupied Palestine at the time. However, if one cares to examine the circumstances and assess the rationale, the Bible consistently exonerates itself by offering legitimate clarification and explanation to satisfy the honest searcher of truth.
The Hebrew term herem found, for instance, in Joshua 6:17, refers to the total dedication or giving over of the enemy to God as a sacrifice involving the extermination of the populace. It is alleged that the God of the Bible is as barbaric and cruel as any of the pagan gods. But this assessment is simply not true.
If the critic would take the time to study the Bible and make an honest evaluation of the principles of God’s justice, wrath, and love, he would see the perfect and harmonious interplay between them. God’s vengeance is not like the impulsive, irrational, emotional outbursts of pagan deities or human beings. He is infinite in all His attributes and thus perfect in justice, love, and anger. Just as God’s ultimate and final condemnation of sinners to eternal punishment will be just and appropriate, so the temporal judgment of wicked people in the Old Testament was ethical and fair. We human beings do not have an accurate handle on the gravity of sin and the deplorable nature of evil and wickedness. Human sentimentality is hardly a qualified measuring stick for divine truth and spiritual reality.
How incredibly ironic that the atheist, the agnostic, the skeptic, and the liberal all attempt to stand in judgment upon the ethical behavior of God when, if one embraces their position, there is no such thing as an absolute, objective, authoritative standard by which to pronounce anything right or wrong. As the French existentialist philosopher, Sartre, admitted: “Everything is indeed permitted if God does not exist.... Nor...are we provided with any values or commands that could legitimize our behavior” (1961, p. 485). The atheist and agnostic have absolutely no platform on which to stand to make moral or ethical distinctions—except as the result of purely personal taste. The mere fact that they concede the existence of objective evil is an unwitting concession there is a God Who has established an absolute framework of moral judgments.
The facts of the matter are that the Canaanites, whom God’s people were to destroy, were destroyed for their wickedness (Deuteronomy 9:4; 18:9-12; Leviticus 18:24-25,27-28). Canaanite culture and religion in the second millennium B.C. were polluted, corrupt, and perverted. No doubt the people were physically diseased from their illicit behavior. There simply was no viable solution to their condition except destruction. Their moral depravity was “full” (Genesis 15:16). They had slumped to such an immoral, depraved state, with no hope of recovery, that their existence on this Earth had to be terminated—just like in Noah’s day when God waited while Noah preached for years, but was unable to turn the world’s population from its wickedness (Genesis 6:3,5-7; 1 Peter 3:20; 2 Peter 3:5-9). Including the children in the destruction of such populations actually spared them from a worse condition—that of being reared to be as wicked as their parents and thus face eternal punishment. All persons who die in childhood, according to the Bible, are ushered to Paradise and will ultimately reside in Heaven. Children who have parents who are evil must naturally suffer innocently while on Earth (e.g., Numbers 14:33).
Those who disagree with God’s annihilation of the wicked in the Old Testament have the same liberal attitude that has come to prevail in America just in the last half century. That attitude has typically opposed capital punishment, as well as the corporal punishment of children. Such people simply cannot see the rightness of evildoers being punished by execution or physical pain. Nevertheless, their view is skewed—and the rest of us are being forced to live with the results of their warped thinking: undisciplined, out-of-control children are wreaking havoc on our society by perpetrating crime to historically, all-time high levels.
Those who reject the ethics of God’s destructive activity in the Old Testament, to be consistent, must reject Jesus and the New Testament. Over and over again, Jesus and the New Testament writers endorsed and defended such activity (e.g., Luke 13:1-9; 12:5; 17:29-32; 10:12; Hebrews 10:26-31). The Bible provides the only logical, sensible, meaningful, consistent explanation regarding the principles of retribution, punishment, and the conditions under which physical life may be extinguished.
Sartre, Jean Paul, (1961), “Existentialism and Humanism,” French Philosophers from Descartes to Sartre, ed. Leonard M. Marsak (New York: Meridian).
Bible Contradictions—Are They Real?
|by||Wayne Jackson, M.A.|
The charge is made quite frequently that the Bible contains numerous contradictions. Is this charge correct?
“I cannot have confidence in the Bible, for it is a book filled with contradictions.” I could not estimate how many times I have heard this charge against the Holy Scriptures over the past quarter of a century. One thing, however, has been consistent about the allegation—the critic rarely can name even one alleged contradiction that the Bible is supposed to contain. He just “knows” that they are “in there” somewhere.
Those who allege that the Bible contains contradictions basically fall into two classes. First, there is the person who honestly believes this to be the case because he has heard the hackneyed charge repeated frequently; thus, he is sincerely misinformed about the facts. Second, there is that type of person who, from base motives, hates the Bible and so does not scruple to pervert its testimony in order to embarrass the Sacred Volume. In either case, the Word of God is not at fault!
Preliminary to a consideration of this important theme, it should be noted that the principle of “innocent until proven guilty” applies to the Bible as to any other book. Books, like people, ought to be considered truthful and consistent until it can be demonstrated that they are not. Great attempts have been made to absolve the Greek and Latin classics of contradictions under the presumption that the authors did not contradict themselves. Surely the Bible deserves at least an equally charitable approach.
WHAT IS A CONTRADICTION?
It is fairly safe to say that most people have only a superficial understanding of what constitutes a genuine contradiction. An important truth that must repeatedly be hammered home is this: a mere difference does not a contradiction make!
What, then, is a contradiction? In logic, the Law of Contradiction is stated succinctly as follows: “Nothing can both be and not be” (Jevons, 1928, p. 117). That is a very abbreviated form of the rule. Aristotle, in a more amplified form, expressed it this way. “That the same thing should at the same time both be and not be for the same person and in the same respect is impossible.”
An analysis of the Law of Contradiction, therefore, would suggest the following: when one is confronted with an alleged contradiction, he must ask himself these questions: (1) Is the same thing or person under consideration? (2) Is the same time period in view? (3) Is the language that seems to be self-contradictory employed in the same sense? It is vitally important that these questions be answered correctly. For instance, let us analyze the following two statements: Robert is rich. Robert is poor. Do these statements contradict one another? The answer is—not necessarily! First, two different people named Robert could be under consideration. Second, two different time frames might be in view; Robert could have been rich but, due to financial disaster, he became poor. Third, the terms “rich” and “poor” might have been used in different senses; Robert could be spiritually rich but economically poor. The point is this: it never is proper to assume a contradiction exists until every possible means of harmonization has been fully exhausted. Now, let this principle be applied to the Bible.
Same Person or Thing
An infidel once announced that he had discovered a contradiction in the Bible. When challenged to produce it, he suggested that whereas Noah’s ark with all of its inmates must have weighed several tons (Genesis 6), the priests were said to have carried the ark across the Jordan River (Joshua 3). The poor fellow, in his profound simplicity, did not even know the difference between Noah’s ark and the Ark of the Covenant! Slightly different arks—to say the least! Again, the Scriptures affirm that faith saves apart from works; on the other hand, the New Testament declares that faith apart form works cannot save. “Surely,” some contend, “this is a contradiction.” The fact is it is not, fordifferent types of works are addressed in the Scriptures. Salvation involves works of obedience to the commands of Jesus Christ (James 2:14ff.; Philippians 2:12), but it cannot be obtained by works of the Mosaic Law (Romans 3:28; 4:2ff.) or by boastful works of human merit (Ephesians 2:9). There is no contradiction in the Bible on this point.
Same Time Reference
The Bible records: “God saw everything that he had made, and, behold, it was very good” (Genesis 1:31). And then: “And it repented Jehovah that he had made man on earth, and it grieved him at his heart” (6:6). The infidel cites both verses and claims that God simultaneously was satisfied and dissatisfied with His creation—neglecting to mention, of course, that the fall of man and hundreds of years of history separated the two statements! Judas, one of the Lord’s disciples, was empowered to perform miracles (cf. Matthew 10:1-18), yet he is called “the son of perdition” (John 17:12). Is there a contradiction here? No, for it was a couple of years after the time of the limited commission (Matthew 10) before Judas commenced to apostatize from the Lord (John 12:6; 13:2,27). The time element is vitally important in understanding some passages.
Some have charged the Bible with a mistake in connection with the time of Jesus’ trial and death. Mark writes that the Lord was crucified at the third hour (Mark 15:25), while John’s account has the Savior being tried at the sixth hour (John 19:14)—seemingly three hours after His death. John’s time reference, however, was based upon Romancivil days, while Mark computed according to Jewish time (cf. Westcott, 1981, 8:282). Again, the “contradiction” dissolves.
If the Bible is to be understood, it is imperative that recognition be given to the different senses in which words may be employed. Normally, words are used literally, but they can be employed figuratively as well.
In Matthew 11:14, John the Baptizer is identified as “Elijah,” yet, the forerunner of Christ, in John 1:21, plainly denied that he was Elijah. These verses are reconciled quite easily. Though John was not literally Elijah physically reincarnated, nevertheless he was the spiritual antitype of the great prophet; he prepared the way for the Lord “in the spirit and power of Elijah” (Luke 1:17).
Did the apostle Paul contradict himself when he affirmed on one occasion that he was “as touching the righteousness which is in the law, found blameless” (Philippians 3:6), and yet, at another time, he acknowledged that he was “chief ” of sinners (1 Timothy 1:15)? Again, the answer must be “No.” In the former passage, Paul was describing the reputation he enjoyed among his Hebrew contemporaries as a Pharisee, while in the latter verse, he expressed the anguish he felt at having been a persecutor of the Christian Way. How sad that some are almost totally ignorant of the principles that resolve Bible difficulties.
One of the implications of the Law of Contradiction is the concept that “nothing can have at the same time and at the same place contradictory and inconsistent qualities” (Jevons, 1928, p. 118). A door may be open or shut, but the same door may not be both open and shut at the same time. Open and shut are opposites, yet they are not contradictory unless they are affirmed of the same object at the same time. Here is the principle: opposites are not necessarily contradictory. Let this principle be applied to certain biblical matters.
Does the Bible contradict itself, as is often suggested, when it asserts that God both loves and hates? No, for though these terms are opposites, when used of God they do not express His disposition toward the same objects. God loves every sinner in the world (John 3:16), but He hates every false way (Psalm 119:104). He loves righteousness, but hates iniquity (Psalm 45:7), and hence responds toward such with either goodness or severity (Romans 11:22). No contradiction here.
Was Paul both “perfect” and “imperfect” at the same time? Some have charged that he so claimed. In Philippians 3:12, the apostle declared that he had not been “already made perfect,” while in the 15th verse he wrote: “Let us, therefore, as many as are perfect, be thus minded.” How is this problem resolved? A careful analysis of the language employed will solve this alleged discrepancy. When Paul claimed that he had not been “made perfect,” he used a perfect tense form of the Greek term which literally suggested that the apostle had not arrived at a permanent state of perfection. On the other hand, in the latter verse Paul used an adjective that actually means full-grown or mature (note how the same term is used in contrast to infantilism in 1 Corinthians 14:20 and Ephesians 4:13). And so, while Paul denied that he was already in possession of permanent perfection, he did claim to possess spiritual maturity. There is no conflict between these passages.
Another important point to be emphasized is this: one must not confuse supplementation with contradiction. In a contradiction, two facts are mutually exclusive; in supplementation, two facts merely complement one another. If one says, for example, that John doe is a husband, and then, of the same John Doe, that he is not a husband—this is contradiction. On the other hand, if one says that John Doe is a father—that is not a contradiction. It merely is supplementing statement number two. Many alleged Bible discrepancies can be answered by a recognition of this principle.
The case of the healing of the blind men of Jericho presents an interesting study in supplementation (Matthew 20:29-34; Mark 10:46-52; Luke 18:35-43). Two prominent problems have been set forth. First, while both Mark and Luke mention the healing ofone blind man, Matthew records the healing of two blind men. Second, Matthew and Mark indicate that the blind men were healed as Jesus was leaving Jericho, whereas Luke seems to suggest that a blind man was healed as the Lord “drew nigh” to the city. As a discussion of these passages is begun, let this vital consideration be remembered—if there is any reasonable way of harmonizing these records, no legitimate contradiction can be charged to the accounts!
How, then, shall these narratives be reconciled? Several reasonable possibilities have been posed by scholarly writers.
In the first place, the fact that two of the accounts mention only one man, while the other mentions two, need not concern us. Had Mark and Luke stated that Christ healedonly one man, with Matthew affirming that more than one were healed, an error surely would be apparent, but such is not the case. If one says, “I have a son,” he does not contradict himself by stating further, “I have a son and a daughter.” The latter statement merely supplements the former. There is no discrepancy, therefore, with reference to the number of men involved.
But how shall the second problem be resolved? Several reasonable possibilities have been advanced.
- It is possible that three blind men were healed in the vicinity of Jericho on this occasion, and that the incident mentioned by Luke, as occurring when Jesus approached the city, might have represented a different miracle than that recorded by Matthew and Mark. This may not be the most likely explanation, but it cannot be disproved.
- Edward Robinson argued that the verb engizo, rendered “drew near” (Luke 18:35) also can mean “to be near.” He cited evidence from the Septuagint (1 Kings 21:2—“it is near unto my house” [cf. Deuteronomy 21:3, Jeremiah 23:23, Ruth 2:20, and 2 Samuel 19:42]) and from the New Testament (Luke 19:29; cf. Matthew 21:1 and Philippians 2:30). He thus translated Luke 18:35 as “while he was yet nigh unto Jericho” (1855, p. 200). This view implies that Luke simply locates the miracle near Jericho; hence such can be harmonized with the other records.
- Perhaps the most popular viewpoint among reputable writers is the fact that at the time of Christ there actually were two Jerichos. First, there was the Jericho of Old Testament history (Joshua 6:1ff.; 1 Kings 16:34) that was located at the sight of Elijah’s spring. In the first century, however, that city lay almost in ruins. About two miles south of that site was the new Jericho, built by Herod the Great. The Lord—traveling from the north toward Jerusalem—first would pass through the old Jericho, then some two miles to the southwest, would go through Herodian Jericho. The miracles under consideration, therefore may have been performedbetween two towns. Accordingly, the references in Matthew and Mark to leavingJericho would allude to the old city, whereas Luke’s observation to drawing nearto Jericho would refer to the newer community (see Robertson, 1930, 1:163).
In dealing with so-called “contradictions” in the Bible, let these principles be carefully remembered.
- No contradiction exists between verses that refer to different persons or things.
- No contradiction exists between passages that involve different time elements.
- No contradiction exists between verses that employ phraseology in different senses.
- Supplementation is not the same as contradiction.
- One need show only the possibility of harmonization between two passage that appear to conflict in order to negate the force of an alleged discrepancy.
Finally, this point needs to be made: the differences in various Bible accounts of the same events actually demonstrate the independence of the divine writers and prove that they were not in collusion! God, although using human writers in the composition of the Bible, is nevertheless its ultimate Author. And since the perfect God cannot be the source of confusion (1 Corinthians 14:33) or contradiction (Hebrews 6:18), it must be acknowledged that the Bible is perfectly harmonious. This does not mean that men will not struggle with difficult passages. If seeming discrepancies are discovered, let us apply ourselves to a diligent study to resolve them; but let us never foolishly charge God with allowing His sacred writers to contradict one another.
Jevons, W. Stanley (1928), Elementary Lessons in Logic (London: Macmillan).
Robertson, A.T. (1930), Word Pictures in the New Testament (Nashville, TN: Broadman).
Robinson, Edward (1855), Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament (New York: Harper Brothers).
Westcott, B.F. (1981 reprint), The Gospel of St. John, The Bible Commentary, ed. F.C. Cook (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker).
Boy Came Back from Heaven?
|by||Dave Miller, Ph.D.|
It was 2004 when 6-year-old Alex Malarkey was plunged into a coma by injuries sustained in a car accident. After waking two months later, he claimed he had seen angels who took him to heaven to meet Jesus. Six years later, Tyndale published a book by the boy, co-authored with his father, titled The Boy Who Came Back from Heaven, which became an instant bestseller, even spawning a documentary DVD. Now, at the age of 16, Alex has retracted his claims and, thankfully, is urging people to return to the Bible for the only reliable source for information on the afterlife (Zylstra, 2015).
Manmade religion typically relies heavily on subjective experience that the perpetrators expect people to accept based solely on personal “testimony.” However, such an approach to arriving at truth is in stark contrast with Bible teaching. God has always insisted that humans must weigh the evidence and draw only those conclusions warranted by that evidence (Miller, 2011). When God revealed new information, He never expected anyone to merely accept the word of another—even a prophet from God—without confirmation by an undeniable miraculous sign that demonstrates divine authenticity (John 10:37; see Miller, 2003a).
What’s more, the Bible speaks definitively concerning the afterlife. Since the Bible can be shown to be the inspired, infallible Word of God (Butt, 2007), it can be relied on to provide accurate information regarding life after death. It does not answer all our questions, but it gives sufficient information by which one can know with certainty the general parameters of life beyond the grave. The Bible teaches that for all individuals who died in Bible history, in every case, a miracle was necessary to restore the separated spirit of the individual to the body. This return of a person’s spirit constituted a resurrection. But miracles served a very specific purpose in Bible times—a purpose no longer needed (Miller, 2003a). Since God has chosen not to work miracles today (1 Corinthians 13:8-11; Ephesians 4:8-13), and no resurrections will occur until the general resurrection (John 5:25-29; Luke 14:14; 1 Corinthians 15:12ff.), there is no such thing as an “out-of-body experience” (for more discussion, read Miller, 2013).
Further, the Bible lays out a fairly complete treatment of afterlife (see Miller, 2003b). Briefly, God gives people this life on Earth to prepare their spirits for their eternal abode. When a person dies, his or her body goes into the grave, while the conscious spirit enters the hadean realm to await the final Judgment. At the Second Coming of Christ, all spirits will come forth from hades and be resurrected in immortal bodies. All will then face God in judgment, receive the pronouncement of eternal sentence, and then be consigned to heaven or hell for eternity (read Luke 16:19-31; cf. Miller, 2003b).
As usual, people could spare themselves a lot of hype and sensationalism that ends in embarrassment, disillusion, and resentment if they would simply consult the sure Word of God and order their thinking and life according to its precepts.
For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account (Hebrews 4:12-13).All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17).These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so (Acts 17:11, emp. added).
Butt, Kyle (2007), Behold! The Word of God (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press).
Miller, Dave (2003a), “Modern-Day Miracles, Tongue-Speaking, and Holy Spirit Baptism: A Refutation--EXTENDED VERSION,” Apologetics Press,http://www.apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?category=11&article=1399.
Miller, Dave (2003b), “One Second After Death,” Apologetics Press,https://www.apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=11&article=1188&topic=74.
Miller, Dave (2011), “Is Christianity Logical? Parts 1&2,” Reason & Revelation, 31:50-52,56-59; 31:62-64,68-71, http://apologeticspress.org/apPubPage.aspx?pub=1&issue=977.
Miller, Dave (2013), “What About ‘Out-of-Body Experiences’?” Apologetics Press,https://www.apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=11&article=4694&topic=74.
Zylstra, Sarah Eekhoff (2015), “The ‘Boy Who Came Back from Heaven’ Retracts Story,”Christianity Today, January 15,http://www.christianitytoday.com/gleanings/2015/january/boy-who-came-back-from-heaven-retraction.html?paging=off.
Jesus, the Syrophoenician Woman, and Little Dogs
|by||Kyle Butt, M.Div.|
Any honest student of the Bible must admit certain biblical episodes seem to be problematic when encountered for the first time. Upon further investigation, however, the apparent difficulties in the text vanish and the meanings become increasingly clear. One episode in the life of Jesus that historically has been misunderstood by some Bible believers and misrepresented by the skeptic is Jesus’ encounter with the Syrophoenician woman. Mark records the episode as follows:
For a woman whose young daughter had an unclean spirit heard about Him [Jesus—KB], and she came and fell at His feet. The woman was a Greek, a Syro-Phoenician by birth, and she kept asking Him to cast the demon out of her daughter. But Jesus said to her, “Let the children be filled first, for it is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the little dogs.” And she answered and said to Him, “Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs under the table eat from the children’s crumbs.” Then He said to her, “For this saying go your way; the demon has gone out of your daughter.” And when she had come to her house, she found the demon gone out, and her daughter lying on the bed (7:25-30; see also Matthew 15:21-28).
Based on a cursory reading of the text, one may be startled that Jesus referred to this Gentile woman as a “little dog.”
Jesus’ statement in this context certainly has not escaped the notice of the skeptical community. The prolific infidel Steve Wells documented hundreds of cases of alleged intolerance in the biblical text. Jesus’ encounter with the Syrophoenician women is number 421 on his list. Of the episode, Wells wrote: “Jesus initially refuses to cast out a devil from a Syrophoenician woman’s daughter, calling the woman a ‘dog’. After much pleading, he finally agrees to cast out the devil” (2006).
Even many religious writers and speakers view Jesus’ statements to the woman as unkind, intolerant, racially slurred, and offensive. Dean Breidenthal, in a sermon posted under the auspices of the Princeton University Office of Religious Life, said concerning Jesus’ comment: “I suspect we would not be so bothered by Jesus’ unkind words to the Syrophoenician woman if they were not directed against the Gentile community. Those of us who are Gentile Christians have less trouble with Jesus’ invectives when they are directed against the Jewish leadership of his day” (2003, emp. added). Please do not miss the implication of Breidenthal’s comment. If the statement made by Jesus actually could be construed as unkind, then Jesus would be guilty of violating one of the primary characteristics of love, since love “suffers long and is kind” (1 Corinthians 13:4), which would cast doubt on His deity. Is it true that Jesus exhibited an unkind attitude in His treatment of the Syrophoenician woman?
TO THE JEWS FIRST AND ALSO TO THE GREEKS
In order for one to understand Jesus’ statement, he or she must recognize the primary purpose of the comment. Jesus was passing through the land of the Gentiles (Greeks) and was approached by a woman who was not a Jew. While Jesus’ message would eventually reach the Gentile world, it is evident from the Scriptures that the Jewish nation would be the initial recipient of that message. In his account of Jesus’ encounter with the Syrophoenician woman, Matthew recorded that Jesus said: “I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (15:24). When Jesus sent the twelve apostles on the “limited commission,” He told them: “Do not go into the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter a city of the Samaritans. But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matthew 10:5-6).
Just before Jesus ascended to heaven after His resurrection, He informed the apostles: “[A]nd you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8). The sequence of places where the apostles would witness manifests the order in which the Gospel would be preached (i.e., the Jews first and then the Gentiles). In addition, the apostle Paul, in his epistle to the church at Rome, stated: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek” (1:16). Jesus’ statement to the Syrophoenician woman indicated that the Jewish nation was Jesus’ primary target for evangelism during His earthly ministry.
HOW FAR CAN AN ANIMAL ILLUSTRATION BE TAKEN?
To our 21st-century ears, the idea that Jesus would refer to the Gentiles as “little dogs” has the potential to sound belittling and unkind. When we consider how we often use animal terms in illustrative or idiomatic ways, however, Jesus’ comments are much more benign. For instance, suppose a particular lawyer exhibits unyielding tenacity. We might say he is a “bulldog” when he deals with the evidence. Or we might say that a person is “as cute as a puppy” or has “puppy dog eyes.” If someone has a lucky day, we might say something like “every dog has its day.” Or if an adult refuses to learn to use new technology, we might say that “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” In addition, one might say that a person “works like a dog,” is the “top dog” at the office, or is “dog tired.” Obviously, to call someone “top dog” would convey no derogatory connotation.
For Jesus’ statement to be construed as unkind or wrong in some way, a person would be forced to prove that the illustration or idiom He used to refer to the Gentiles as “little dogs” must be taken in a derogatory fashion. Such cannot be proved. In fact, the term Jesus used for “little dogs” could easily be taken in an illustrative way without any type of unkind insinuation. In his commentary on Mark, renowned commentator R.C.H. Lenski translated the Greek term used by Jesus (kunaria) as “little pet dogs.” Lenski further noted concerning Jesus statement: “In the Orient dogs have no owners but run wild and serve as scavengers for all garbage and offal.... It is an entirely different conception when Jesus speaks of ‘little pet dogs’ in referring to the Gentiles. These have owners who keep them even in the house and feed them by throwing them bits from the table” (1961, p. 304). Lenski goes on to write concerning Jesus’ statement: “All that Jesus does is to ask the disciples and the woman to accept the divine plan that Jesus must work out his mission among the Jews.... Any share of Gentile individuals in any of these blessings can only be incidental during Jesus’ ministry in Israel” (pp. 304-305). In regard to the non-derogatory nature of Jesus’ comment to the Gentile woman, Allen Black wrote: “The form of his statement is proverbial. And the basis of the proverb is not an antipathy for Gentiles, but the necessary Jewish focus of Jesus’ earthly ministry” (1995, p. 137).
So before people “dog” Jesus for the way He used an animal illustration, they might need to reconsider that “their bark is much worse than their bite” when it comes to insinuating that Jesus was wrong. It seems that they are simply “barking up the wrong tree” by attempting to call Jesus’ character into question. They need to “call off the dogs” on this one and “let sleeping dogs lie.”
Black, Allen (1995), The Book of Mark (Joplin, MO: College Press).
Breidenthal, Dean (2003), “The Children’s Bread,” [On-line], URL: http://web.princeton.edu/sites/chapel/Sermon%20Files/2003_sermons/ 090703.htm.
Lenski, R.C.H. (1961), The Interpretation of Mark’s Gospel (Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg).
Wells, Steve (2006), Skeptic’s Annotated Bible, [On-line], URL: http://www.Skepticsannotatedbible.com.
A Genetic Glossary
|by||Bert Thompson, Ph.D.|
|As one science writer observed, “modern genetics is a formidable thicket of jargon” (Matt Ridley, Genome: Autobiography of a species in 23 Chapters, New York, Harper Collins, 1999, p. 5). Realizing that, I have tried to keep technical terms to a minimum in the two-part series on “Cracking the Code—The Human Genome Project in Perspective.” Some, however, are unavoidable. Therefore, in order to assist those who may not be familiar with scientific terminology, I am providing the following glossary.|
[Words and phrases in bold type within these definitions also appear in the glossary.]
Alleles—In diploid organisms, different forms of the same gene (arranged as homologous pairs, one having been donated by each parent) on the DNA molecule.
Amino Acids—The basic building blocks of proteins; organic compounds containing an acidic carboxyl (COOH) group, a basic amino (NH2) group, and a distinctive side group (“R” group) that varies in each amino acid and that determines the individual chemical properties of each. Twenty common amino acids are found in proteins.
Autosome—Any eukaryotic chromosome not involved in sex determination. Autosomes constitute the vast majority of an organism’s chromosomal complement.
Base—A nitrogen-containing (nitrogenous) molecule that, in combination with a pentose sugar and a phosphoric acid (phosphate) group, forms a nucleotide.
Chromosome—Threadlike structure into which DNA is organized, and on which genes(and other DNA) are carried. In eukaryotes, chromosomes reside in a membrane-bound cell nucleus; in prokaryotes, the chromosome consists of a single circle of nakedDNA. From Greek chromos (“color”) because colored stains originally were used to visualize chromosomes. Number of chromosomes is characteristic of a species (humans have 23 matched pairs—22 autosome pairs; one sex chromosome pair).
Codon—The basic coding unit in DNA/RNA; composed of a triplet of nucleotides.
Cytogenic Map—The visual appearance of a chromosome when stained and examined microscopically. Visually distinct regions (“light” and “dark” bands) give each chromosome a unique appearance; important in determination of aberrations.
Cytoplasm—The inside of a cell, excluding the nucleus and organelles, that is a matrix containing dissolved/suspended ions and other molecules necessary for life.
Diploid—The number of chromosomes in somatic cells (as opposed to gametes) of humans and animals. In diploid cells, each chromosome is present in duplicate (or twice the haploid number). Diploid cells normally are produced by mitosis, which does not reduce chromosome number (as in meiosis) but maintains original number.
DNA—Deoxyribonucleic acid; a nucleic acid containing the genetic information found in most organisms and which is the main component of chromosomes of eukaryoticorganisms. The DNA molecule is composed of two winding polynucleotide chains that form a double helix. Each chain is composed of individual units made of a base(adenine, cytosine, guanine, or thymine) linked via a pentose sugar (deoxyribose) to aphosphate molecule.
Double Helix—The structural arrangement of DNA, which looks something like a long ladder twisted into a coil (helix). The sides of the “ladder” are formed by a backbone ofpentose sugar and phosphate molecules, and the “rungs” are composed ofnucleotide bases joined weakly in the middle by hydrogen bonds.
Endoplasmic reticulum—A system of membranous sacs traversing the cytoplasm ofeukaryotic cells. Provides transportation for delivery of synthesized proteins or for secretion of substances to the cell’s exterior in conjunction with Golgi bodies.
Eukaryote—A cell characterized by membrane-bound organelles (such as the nucleus, ribosomes, et al.). Animals, plants, fungi, and protoctists are eukaryotic.
Gamete—A haploid reproductive cell (spermatozoon or sperm cell in the male;oocyte or egg cell in the female) capable of fusing with another reproductive cell during fertilization to produce a diploid zygote. In sexual reproduction, each gamete transmits its parental genome to the progeny. In humans and most animals, the male gamete often is smaller than its counterpart in the female, is motile, and is produced in large numbers. The female gamete, by contrast, is much larger, immotile, and produced in relatively small numbers.
Gene—The physical hereditary unit passed from parent to offspring. Genes are sequences of nucleotides or pieces of DNA, most of which contain information for producing a specific protein. Genes code for the structures and functions of an organism.
Genetic Map—A map (also known as a chromosomal or linkage map) showing the linear arrangement of a particular species’ genes in relation to each other, rather than as specific points on each chromosome.
Genome—The total genetic makeup of an organism (from Greek, génos, “generation” or “kind”). Refers to DNA complement of a haploid cell, including DNA in thechromosomes as well as that within mitochondria. [“Nuclear genome” refers solely toDNA within the nucleus; “human genome” refers to all the DNA contained in an entire human (haploid) cell, rather than just in the nucleus.]
Genotype—The genetic identity of an individual that does not show as outward characteristics, but instead is a description of all genes that are present in the genomeregardless of their state of expression or modification. Phenotype often is apparent to the naked eye; genotype can be determined only by specific genetic testing.
Germ cell—see Gamete.
Golgi Body—An organelle present in eukaryotic cells that functions as a collection and/ or packaging center for substances that the cell manufacturers for transport. Especially useful in protein distribution.
Haploid—The number of chromosomes in a spermatozoon or oocyte; half the diploidnumber. Haploid cells normally are produced by meiosis, which reduces thechromosome number by half during the formation of gametes.
Meiosis—The ordered process of cell division by which the chromosome number is reduced by half. Meiosis is the key element in the production of haploid gametes.
Mitochondria—The cellular organelles found in eukaryotic cells where energy production and respiration occur.
Mitosis—The ordered process by which a cell divides to produce two identical progeny, each with the same number of chromosomes as the original parent cell.
Nucleic Acid—see Polynucleotide.
Nucleotide—One of the structural components of DNA and RNA; composed of one sugar molecule, one phosphoric acid molecule, and one nitrogenous base molecule (adenine, cytosine, guanine, or thymine). [“Base” and “nucleotide” are used interchangeably in referring to residues that compose polynucleotide chains of DNAor RNA.]
Oocyte—The mature, female reproductive cell (also known as an egg cell).
Organelle—A subcellular structure characteristic of eukaryotic cells that performs a specific function. Largest organelle is the nucleus; others include Golgi bodies,ribosomes, and the endoplasmic reticulum.
Pentose Sugar—A sugar that has five carbon atoms in each molecule [e.g., ribose (inRNA) or deoxyribose (in DNA)].
Phenotype—The external, physical appearance of an organism that includes such traits as hair color, weight, height, etc. The phenotype is determined by the interaction of genes with each other and with the environment, whereas the genotype is strictly genetic in orientation. Phenotypic traits (e.g., weight) are not necessarily genetic.
Phosphate—Also known as phosphoric acid; element essential to living creatures. Required for energy storage and transfer (ion state also serves as a biological buffer).
Physical Mapping—Shows specific physical location of a particular species’ genes on each chromosome. Physical maps are important in searches for disease genes.
Polynucleotide—Also known as a nucleic acid. One of the four main classes of macromolecules (proteins, nucleic acids, carbohydrates, lipids) found in living systems. Polynucleotides—long chains composed of nucleotide—form backbone of DNA, in which two polynucleotide chains interact as their nitrogenous bases connect to form what is known as the DNA double helix.
Proteins—One of four main classes of macromolecules (in addition to nucleic acids, carbohydrates, and lipids) in living systems. Proteins are composed of amino acids and perform a wide variety of activities throughout the body.
RNA—Ribonucleic acid; a nucleic acid that functions in various forms to translate information contained in DNA into proteins. Similar in composition to DNA, in that each polynucleotide chain is composed of units made of a base (adenine, cytosine, guanine, or, in the case of RNA, uracil, rather than thymine as in DNA) linked via apentose sugar (in this case, ribose rather than deoxyribose) to a phosphate molecule. Generally is single stranded (as opposed to DNA’s double helix), except on occasions where it (rather than DNA) serves as the primary genetic material contained in certain double-stranded RNA viruses. Numerous forms of RNA, including messenger RNA(mRNA), transfer RNA (tRNA), and ribosomal RNA (rRNA) are responsible for carrying out a variety of different functions.
Ribosomes—The intracellular, molecular machines that carry out protein synthesis. Associated with RNA and often attached to the endoplasmic reticulum.
Sex Cell—see Gamete.
Sex Chromosomes—The chromosomes that determine the sex of organisms which exhibit sexual differentiation (e.g., humans, most animals, some higher plants). In humans, the X chromosome determines female genetic traits; the Y chromosome determines male traits. Since a single chromosome is inherited from each parent during reproduction, XX is female, and XY is male.
Somatic Cells—All the cells (often referred to as body cells) of a multicellular organism other than the sex cells (gametes). Somatic cells reproduce only by the process ofmitosis; changes in such cells are not heritable, since they are not involved in germ-line reproduction as sex cells are.
Spermatozoon—The mature, male reproductive cell (also known as a sperm cell).
Zygote—The diploid cell resulting from the fusion of the male and female gametes that will grow into the embryo, fetus, and eventually the neonate (newborn).