"THE BOOK OF PROVERBS" The Theme Of Proverbs (1:7) INTRODUCTION 1. In our previous study we considered the purpose of the book of Proverbs... a. To know wisdom, perceive words of understanding - Pr 1:2 b. To receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, judgment, and equity - Pr 1:3 c. To give prudence to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion - Pr 1:4 d. To increase learning for a wise man, to give counsel to a man of understanding - Pr 1:5 e. To understand proverbs and enigmas, the words of the wise and their riddles - Pr 1:6 2. In this study, we shall focus our attention on the theme of the book... a. Found in verse 7 (read) b. Stated in the form of antithetical parallelism c. In which the repeated terms of a poetic couplet are opposite in meaning d. Typical of thought rhyme (as opposed to word rhyme) found in Hebrew poetry [We first note that it is "the fear of the LORD" which is...] I. THE BEGINNING OF KNOWLEDGE A. THE FEAR OF THE LORD EXPLAINED... 1. The term yara' (fear) is the common word for fear in the OT and has a basic three-fold range of meanings - as per the NET Bible a. Dread, terror - Deut 1:29; Jon 1:10 b. To stand in awe (in reference to a king) - 1Ki 3:28 c. To revere, to respect (in regards to parents) - Lev 19:3 2. Notice when God descended upon Sinai amid geophysical convulsions - cf. Exo 20:18-20 a. Moses encouraged the Israelites to not be afraid of God arbitrarily striking them dead for no reason ("Do not fear!") b. He informed them that the Lord revealed Himself in such a terrifying manner to scare them from sinning ("God has come to test you, and that His fear may be before you, so that you may not sin.") 3. Thus there is also a place for such fear of the Lord in the life of a Christian a. We should fear God, not man - Mt 10:28 b. The early church walked in the fear of the Lord - Ac 9:31 c. We are to work out our salvation with fear and trembling - Php 2:12 d. We should be fearful of apostasy, serving God with godly fear - He 10:26-31; 12:28-29 -- The fear of the LORD is expressed in reverential submission to his will - NET Bible B. THE FEAR OF THE LORD ESTEEMED... 1. From the book of Proverbs we learn concerning the fear of the Lord: a. It is the beginning of knowledge - Pr 1:7 b. It will cause one to hate evil - Pr 8:13 c. It will prolong life - Pr 10:27 d. It provides strong confidence and is a fountain of life - Pr 14:26-27 e. It prompts one to depart from evil - Pr 16:6 f. It leads to a satisfying life, and spares one from much evil - Pr 19:23 g. It is the way to riches, honor, and life! - Pr 22:4 2. Thus without the fear of the Lord: a. We deprive ourselves of the treasures of God's wisdom and knowledge b. We will flirt with evil and be corrupted by it c. Our lives are likely to be shortened by our refusal to heed God's word (e.g., suffering sexually transmitted diseases if we do not heed His Word on sexual relationships) d. We will not come to know the love of God that gives us assurance and confidence of our salvation e. When fallen into sin, we will not be motivated to repent and turn to God! f. We will not be motivated to truly "work out our own salvation" -- The fear of the Lord should be a highly regarded and sought after trait to develop! [The fear of the Lord serves as the beginning or principal part of becoming truly wise. Now let's notice the second half of verse 7 which reveals...] II. THE WAY OF FOLLY A. THE FOOLISH DESPISE WISDOM... 1. The Hebrew word 'evil (fool) refers to a person characterized by moral folly - NET Bible 2. It is an adjective meaning foolish in the sense of one who hates wisdom and walks in folly, despising wisdom and morality - TCWD 3. This foolish disdain for wisdom expressed elsewhere in Proverbs - Pr 1:22; 17:16; 18:2 -- For one to despise the wisdom of God (such as found in this book) is truly foolish! B. THE FOOLISH DISREGARD INSTRUCTION... 1. Not interested in wisdom, they are unwilling to heed the counsel of others 2. As expressed by the voice of wisdom herself - cf. Pr 1:25,30 3. Lack of such counsel leads to defeat and failure - Pr 11:14; 15:22 4. The fool listens only to his own heart - Pr 12:15 5. But wisdom and delight can be attained through the counsel of others - Pr 19:20; 27:9 -- In the book of Proverbs, the fool is characterized mostly by his or her unwillingness to listen to the advice of others (God, parents, friends, etc.) CONCLUSION 1. Here then is the underlying theme throughout the book of Proverbs... a. Develop the fear of the Lord if you desire to become truly wise b. Discount the warnings and counsel of others, and you will be a fool! 2. As Christians, let us be truly wise by developing the fear of the Lord... a. For His knowledge has given us great and precious promises - cf. 2Pe 1:2-4 b. It behooves us to perfect holiness in the fear of God - cf. 2 Co 7:1 Shall we be wise, or shall we be fools...?
"THE BOOK OF PROVERBS" The Prologue To Proverbs (1:1-6) INTRODUCTION 1. There is a great need for wisdom in our society today... a. Lack of wisdom is destroying the lives of many young people, and making fools out of some who are older b. Marriages are destroyed, friendships lost, souls doomed for lack of wisdom 2. The walk of the Christian is to be with wisdom as we go through life... - Ep 5:15-17 a. Because time is fleeting, and the days are evil, we must make the best use of our time b. Too many today are wasting both their time and their lives by failing to exercise wisdom in their daily lives 3. The Word of God equips man unto every good work... - 2Ti 3:16-17 a. It is only natural to assume that it provides us with sound advice concerning daily living b. Indeed it does, especially in The Book of Proverbs found in the Old Testament 4. The book begins by identifying Solomon, son of David, king of Israel, as the author... a. Who was granted wisdom by God - 2Ch 1:7-12 b. Who became famous for his wisdom, and wrote over 3000 proverbs - 1Ki 4:29-34 5. The book also contains proverbs and wisdom from other sources... a. The words of Agur the son of Jakeh to Ithiel and Ucal - Pr 30: 1-33 b. The words of King Lemuel, taught him by his mother - Pr 31:1-31 [In this lesson, let's introduce ourselves to the book by first considering the prologue, in which we find...] I. THE PURPOSE OF THE BOOK A. STATED IN THE FIRST SIX VERSES... 1. "To know wisdom and instruction, to perceive the words of understanding" 2. "To receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, judgment, and equity" 3. To give to the... a. Simple (naive) - "prudence" b. Young man - "knowledge and discretion" c. Wise man - "increased learning" d. Man of understanding - "wise counsel" B. THE BOOK IS DESIGNED... 1. To make a person wise! 2. To learn how to: a. Act wisely and righteously b. Treat others with fairness 3. To give... a. The ignorant, common sense b. The young, sound advice c. The wise, even more wisdom [At this point, it might be appropriate to ask: "What exactly is wisdom, and why is it so valuable...?"] II. THE DEFINITION AND VALUE OF WISDOM A. DEFINING WISDOM... 1. "Wisdom...may be defined as a realistic approach to the problems of life..." - 20th Century Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge 2. Homer Hailey offered this definition of wisdom: "Wisdom is insight into the underlying causes and significance or consequence of things, which insight enables one to apply to the best end the knowledge which he has." 3. To illustrate: a. You are yelled at by your boss, wife, or brother in Christ... 1) You could react in different ways a) Strike back physically, or verbally b) Do nothing c) React with a soft, kind reply - cf. Pr 15:1 2) Wisdom is that insight which helps you to decide what is the best thing to do b. Someone makes sexual advances towards you... 1) Again, you could react in several different ways 2) But wisdom will enable you to react in the proper way B. VALUATING WISDOM... 1. The first nine chapters of Proverbs are discourses extolling the value of wisdom 2. The virtue of wisdom is seen in the prosperous life it can produce - Pr 3:13-18 3. Its value is also found in guarding us against many pitfalls - Pr 3:21-26 4. Some "pitfalls" frequently warned against in The Book Of Proverbs: a. Evil companionship - Pr 1:10-19 b. The immoral woman - Pr 5:1-14 c. Laziness - Pr 6:6-11 [Certainly we should be able to see that wisdom is of great value. But let's go one step further and notice in particular the value of the book of Proverbs in regards to having wisdom...] III. THE VALUE OF THE BOOK A. WISDOM COMES FROM TWO SOURCES... 1. Trial and error (personal experience) a. One's own experiences can certainly be a source of wisdom b. But there are disadvantages to gaining wisdom this way: 1) Much of one's lifetime can be wasted learning through trial and error 2) One must live with the consequences of their errors c. Sadly, this is the only way some gain wisdom, and that only if they survive their errors! 2. Counsel from others (proven experience) a. This is possible if one is willing to heed the advice of others b. There are clear advantages to gaining wisdom this way: 1) You avoid wasting years through trial and error, thus living life to its fullest measure! 2) You experience life unburdened with the consequences of earlier mistakes c. Certainly this method of gaining wisdom is far superior! B. THIS MAKES THE BOOK OF PROVERBS VALUABLE... 1. Instead of wasting our short time here on earth trying to discover wisdom through the process of trial and error, we can go straight to The Book Of Proverbs 2. There we can find wisdom that is: a. Divinely inspired by God! b. Proven true by generations of righteous people who lived out their lives by it c. Expressed concisely in ways easy to remember (Proverb: "a short sentence based on long experience" - Cervantes in Don Quixote) 3. Yes, the value of The Book Of Proverbs is that it provides the wisdom of God Himself! a. This is not to say that it takes little effort to glean from this wisdom - cf. Pr 2:1-6 b. But for those who will look to God through His Word and prayer, the promise of God is that wisdom will be granted them - cf. Jm 1:5-8 c. And this is a far better way to find wisdom than the way most people do it! CONCLUSION 1. I hope this introductory lesson has made you want to study The Book Of Proverbs in order to glean its treasury of wisdom 2. In succeeding lessons, we will examine The Book Of Proverbs more closely by... a. Making our way through the discourses on wisdom in the first nine chapters b. Considering the wisdom it offers pertaining to various themes (family, work, God, etc.) Our next study will focus on the theme of the book of Proverbs... "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, But fools despise wisdom and instruction." - Pr 1:7 Of course, no discussion concerning wisdom can be complete without mentioning Jesus Christ... "in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge." - Col 2:3 Without Jesus Christ in our lives, there is no way to be truly wise. Have you come to Christ through obedience to His gospel...?
The Ancient Origins of Hinduism
The word Hindu originated, not as the name of a religion, but as a geographical marker. Hindu derives from the Sanskrit word for river, sindhu, from which the Indus River received its name. Sometime in the first millennium B.C., the Persians, who were then South Asia’s closest neighbors, mispronounced sindhu, and designated the land around the Indus River as hindu. Over a thousand years later, in A.D. 712, the Muslims invaded the Indus Valley. To distinguish themselves, they called all non-Muslims hindus; the name of the land became, by default, the name of the people and their religion (Schoeps, 1966, p. 148). Christians, upon entering Hindustan (as it was then called), committed the same error of reduction. From their perspective, the indigenous people were all idol-worshipping pagans, so they christened the Indians gentoo, a derogatory synchronization of “gentile” and “hindu.” Thus the name hindu originally was given by outsiders to denote a geographic territory, but through the encroachment of various other religious groups it came to encompass all native religions in South East Asia.
As the history of its name demonstrates, unity in Indian religion has been superimposed by outsiders, first by the Muslims, then the Christians, and much later by the British colonialists who through their censuses unintentionally reified the South Asian peoples under that banner. It has only been in the last couple of centuries that the Indian people have embraced the name Hindu as their own, though two Indians rarely use the word with the same meaning. Some scholars suggest that it is more appropriate to speak of “Hinduisms” than to risk giving off a false sense of unity.
The genesis of Hinduism is nearly as elusive as its contemporary definition. Unlike Islam, which began with Mohammed, or Judaism, which began with Moses, Hinduism has no founder, nor any traditional time or place of origin; it emerges from the jungle as a continually evolving religious system. Scholars debate the primary source of what would become the Hindu religion, though all agree that several cultures had an influence. Basham, Buitenen, and Doniger suggest that ancient Hinduism evolved from at least three antecedents: “an early element common to most of the Indo-European tribes; a later element held in common with the early Iranians; and an element acquired in the Indian subcontinent itself ” (Basham, et al., 1997). The oldest of these influences are the symbols and deities indigenous to the Indus valley, part of the ancient and abstruse Dravidian culture. Archaeologists date this magnificent society to the third millennium B.C., making it one of the oldest known civilizations. This early date also places the religion of the Indus over a thousand years before the writing of the Old Testament, in the time of the Patriarchal Age. If the archaeologists’ dating is correct, the Indus civilization was established soon after the Tower of Babel incident. The archaeological sites along the Indus have revealed many terra-cotta figures resembling gods and goddesses in the Vedic literature, some of which are still worshipped. Though religious figurines abound, temples inexplicably are absent from the Indus cities. Because the Indus valley script has yet to be deciphered, much of the Dravidian culture and religion remains a mystery.
The Christian must ask how the Hindu religion fits into the biblical narrative. Islam grew out of Judaism and Christianity, and Buddhism derived from Hinduism; Hinduism is the only major religion lacking an adequate explanation as to its origin. No substantial texts exist beyond 1000 B.C., and the texts after 1000 do not contain narrative. The earliest of these is the Rig Veda, which is nothing but a collection of praise hymns to the gods rather than the record of a people as in the Bible. Unlike western cultures, which tend to view time as a linear progression, the eastern religions generally reckon time to be cyclical. As a result, they emphasize the eternal over the transient and historical. Scholars are able to piece together the earliest Indian religion only through archaeology, clues in the later texts, and by extrapolating from existing traditions. Using these same resources, Christian scholars can reinterpret the available data so that the Hindu religion fits into a biblical scheme of world history. Reconstructing the ancient history of any civilization is tentative, however, and all such projects are educated speculations at best.
Bible believers would expect all civilizations to post-date the universal Flood, which destroyed every human save the family of Noah (Genesis 7). The peoples that sprang from Noah’s sons then spread over the Earth, though the Bible is silent as to when and how. Though it is possible that some colonies were established, the text indicates that most of the people stayed together in the land of Shinar (Genesis 11:2), where they began construction on that fateful tower. The hubris of Noah’s descendents kindled the wrath of God, Who, after He had confused their languages, “He scattered them abroad over the face of all the Earth” (Genesis 11:9). Josephus wrote that “each colony took possession of that land which they lighted upon and unto which God led them; so that the whole continent was filled with them, both the inland and maritime countries” (Antiquities I.v.1). From this point the Old Testament records the history of the children of Abraham; the events of the rest of the world can be known only through secular history. We must try to trace the origin of Hinduism back to an original belief in the true God—a belief passed down from the progeny of Noah. In a passage particularly descriptive of the Indian religion, Paul argues that the ancient Gentiles knew God, but they did not “retain their knowledge of God,” instead changing “the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—birds and four-footed animals and creeping things” (Romans 1:28,23).
Evidence for the historical digression from the worship of Jehovah God to the worship of nature and nature-gods is found in the ancient texts and myths of South Asia. The earliest Hindu literature, the Rig Veda, speaks often of “the Creator,” of “the One,” a Great God over all the other gods. He is called Varuna, and is closely related to the Zoroastrian god Ahura Mazdā (“Wise Lord”) and the Greek god Uranus (Ourania). Though an insignificant sea god in the current pantheon, Varuna was a prominent god in the ancient system, and the subject of many hymns in the Rig Veda. Zwemer writes that Varuna is “the most impressive of the Vedic gods. He is the prehistoric Sky-god whose nature and attributes point to a very early monotheistic conception” (1945, p. 86). This god is an ethical god, capable of great wrath or merciful forgiveness of sins. Note this passage from the Vedas:
I do not wish, King Varuna,Varuna is already on the decline by the time the Vedas were committed to writing; Indra, a warrior god, takes prominence in the later Vedic period. Yet even then, Varuna is qualitatively different from Indra and all the other gods that follow him in the Vedic literature; he is less anthropomorphic and more majestic (cf. Zwemer, p. 88). Other Hindu deities act like humans in the same way as the Greek gods, yet Varuna is above that. It would seem that this god embodies many of the qualities of Jehovah, albeit diluted and removed by many hundreds of miles and years.
To go down to the home of clay,
Be gracious, mighty lord, and spare.
Whatever wrong we men commit against the race
Of heavenly ones, O Varuna, whatever law
Of thine we here have broken through thoughtlessness,
For that transgression do not punish us, O god (Rig Veda VII.lxxxix.1-3).
The myths of ancient Hinduism likewise contain echoes of the distant past similar of Genesis. There are several different, though not exclusive, creation myths in the Vedas (and even more in later literature), but in one of the earliest writings, Indra is the maker of all. “Who made firm the shaking earth, who brought to rest the mountains when they were disturbed, who measured out the wide atmosphere, who fixed the heaven, he, O folk, is Indra” (Rig Veda II.xii.2). This version of creation by a personal god is more similar to the Old Testament account than to later Hindu formulations. Hammer remarks, “In the early creation myth Indra was seen as the personal agent in creation, bringing existence out of non-existence. In later speculation the ‘One God’, described in personal terms, gives way to ‘That One’—the impersonal force of creation” (1982, p. 175). As time passed and the true God was forgotten, the creation myths became more fantastic, involving giant snakes and four-mouthed gods growing out of lotus flowers (Basham, et al., 1997).
In addition to the creation myths, a story persists in the epic tradition (written between 300 B.C.-A.D. 300) of a great flood. It was so great that “there was water everywhere and the waters covered the heaven and the firmament also” (Mahabharata III.clxxxvi). The hero of the story is Manu, who is analogous to Noah in the Hebrew story. One day a fish approached Manu and asked him for protection in exchange for a blessing (later tradition identifies the fish as the god Vishnu). Manu helped the fish, who gives him this warning:
The time for the purging of this world is now ripe. Therefore do I now explain what is good for thee! The mobile and immobile divisions of the creation, those that have the power of locomotion, and those that have it not, of all these the terrible doom hath now approached. Thou shall build a strong massive ark and have it furnished with a long rope. On that must thou ascend, O great Muni, with the seven Rishis and take with thee all the different seeds which were enumerated by regenerate Brahmanas in days of yore, and separately and carefully must thou preserve them therein (Mahabharata III.clxxxvi).Manu alone survived the great flood, and from him the world was repopulated. The connection between the Hindu story and the Genesis account is strengthened by etymological ties between the name “Noah” and “Manu” (Sage, 2004).
The evidence from India’s earliest literary traditions reveals that Hinduism is a corruption of true religion. Though for most of its existence Hinduism has been an extremely pluralistic religion—being influenced by several cultures originally, and later by surrounding religions (Islam, Buddhism, and Christianity)—it appears to have grown out of monotheism. The renowned Sanskritist of Oxford, Max Müller, wrote: “There is a monotheism that precedes the polytheism of the Veda; and even in the invocations of the innumerable gods the remembrance of a God, one and infinite, breaks through the mist of idolatrous phraseology like the blue sky that is hidden by passing clouds” (as quoted in Zwemer, p. 87).
REFERENCESBasham, Arthur, J.A.B van Buitenen, and Wendy Doniger (1997), “Hinduism,” Encyclopaedia Britannica, 20:519-558.
Hammer, Raymond (1982), “Roots: The Development of Hindu Religion,” Eerdmans’ Handbook to the World’s Religions (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans).
Sage, Bengt (2004), “Noah and Human Etymology,” [On-line], URL: http://www.icr.org/pubs/imp/imp-083.htm.
Schoeps, Hans-Jachim (1966), The Religions of Mankind (Garden City, NY: Doubleday).
Zwemer, Samuel (1945), The Origin of Religion (New York: Loizeaux Brothers).
Cyrus the Great: King of Persia
|by||Wayne Jackson, M.A.|
Cyrus the Great, king of Persia, is mentioned twenty-two times in the Old Testament—an evidence of his prominence in the biblical scheme of things in those declining days of Judah’s history. When Cyrus overthrew the Babylonian regime in 539 B.C., he was disposed quite favorably toward the Jews. Ezra 1:1-2 reads as follows:
Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, in order to fulfill the word of Jehovah by the mouth of Jeremiah, Jehovah stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he sent a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and he also put it in writing, saying, Thus says Cyrus king of Persia, Jehovah, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth, and He has appointed me to build Him a house in Jerusalem, which is in Judah.Exactly how the Lord “stirred up the spirit” of the Persian ruler no one is able to say precisely. That God is able to operate in international affairs—to effect His sovereign will—is certain (Daniel 2:21; 4:17), but how He accomplishes these things, using seemingly natural means, remains a mystery. But there is an interesting possibility. Josephus, the famous Hebrew historian who had access to historical records long since lost, stated that Cyrus was exposed to the prophecies of Isaiah (44:26-45:7), who, more than 150 years earlier, had called the Persian monarch by name, and had announced his noble role in releasing the Hebrews from captivity and assisting in the rebuilding of the Jewish temple (XI.I.2). It is a fact that Daniel was still living in the early years of Cyrus’ reign (see Daniel 10:1), and he might well have been the very one who introduced the Persian commander to Isaiah’s testimony. Interestingly, there is archaeological information that lends support to the biblical record.
During excavations at Babylon (1879-82), archaeologist Hormuzd Rassam discovered a small (ten inches), clay, barrel-shaped cylinder that contained an inscription from Cyrus. Now housed in the British Museum, the cylinder reported the king’s policy regarding captives: “I [Cyrus] gathered all their [former] inhabitants and returned [to them] their habitations” (Pritchard, 1958, 1:208). As noted scholar Jack Finegan observed: “The spirit of Cyrus’s decree of release which is quoted in the Old Testament (II Chronicles 36:23; Ezra 1:2-4) is confirmed by the Cyrus cylinder...” (1946, p. 191).
The science of archaeology frequently has been a willing witness to the integrity of the sacred Scriptures.
Josephus, Flavius (1957), The Life and Works of Flavius Josephus, transl. William Whitson (Philadelphia, PA: John C. Winston).
Pritchard, James B. (1958), The Ancient Near East (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press).
Bee Flight Physics
|by||Dave Miller, Ph.D.|
In 1934, using mathematical calculations, French entomologist August Magnan concluded that bee flight was aerodynamically impossible. The haphazard flapping of their wings simply should not enable bees to fly. The mystery that has perplexed scientists ever since (due to inadequate understanding of aerodynamic theory) is now believed to have been clarified. Using high-speed digital cameras and a giant robotic model of a bee wing, bioengineers at the California Institute of Technology and the University of Nevada at Las Vegas have been studying honeybee flight in an effort to determine how bees fly (Altshuler, et al., 2005). They discovered that bees operate with the same basic aerodynamic principles that facilitate flight capability in other flying creatures, including velocity, wing stroke amplitude, stroke reversals, wingbeat frequency, and wing length. They simply utilize these principles in different proportions and combinations.
Why? Why would bees operate on altered aerodynamic principles? The scientists do not know. They speculate that since bees consume floral nectar, they possess “excess power available for ecologically useful but aerodynamically expensive behaviors” (102:18218). Observe that “ecologically useful” implies that bee flight is specifically suited to bee activity—which is another way to say that a bee is strategically and deliberately designed to fulfill its function efficiently. The scientists compare honeybees to hummingbirds “that are able to forage for high-energy nectar rewards by using more energetically demanding flight” (102:18218, emp. added). In other words, the use of adjusted aerodynamic principles is not due to alleged inherited evolutionary inefficiency; rather, it is the result of deliberate design calculated to achieve different objectives and accommodate different purposes. Hummingbirds do not fly like sparrows—because they are not sparrows! And bees do not fly like mosquitoes—because they are not mosquitoes! Each flying creature’s flight capabilities are specifically suited to accommodate its created purpose and function.
Do bees have any specific needs in order to accomplish their peculiar functions? Yes, and the scientists, themselves, offer the following: “Honeybees and other hymenopterans [the order of insects that includes bees, wasps, and ants—DM] need to carry much heavier loads that may actually exceed body mass in numerous contexts, including undertaking, prey transport, and foraging for nectar or pollen” (102:18218). Again, in other words, bee flight is specifically designed to accommodate the tasks that bees perform. But design demands a designer! Design requires an intelligence that exceeds the blind, mechanistic forces of nature.
Here is the conclusion set forth by the researchers:
In conclusion, our analysis of honeybee aerodynamics reveals how the rapid low-amplitude wing motion of bees is sufficient to maintain the weight of the animal. [We knew that—DM.] Furthermore, honeybees exhibit considerable ability to generate excess aerodynamic power, which they accomplish by raising stroke amplitude while maintaining constant frequency. This ability may be related to requirements of social insects to carry loads related to foraging, undertaking, and brood transport (102:18218, emp. added).Notice: the bee deliberately generates extra aerodynamic power. Why? The scientists speculate that it is due to the bee’s need to carry out its social duties—the requirements it possesses due to its place in the insect social order. My friend, such a circumstance has intelligent design written all over it. Such complexity, such design, such planning, and such purpose could not have happened without a Mind. That Mind is none other than the God of the Bible:
Lift up your eyes on high, and see who has created these things, Who brings out their host by number; He calls them all by name, by the greatness of His might and the strength of His power.... For thus says the Lord, Who created the heavens, Who is God, Who formed the earth and made it, Who has established it, Who did not create it in vain, Who formed it to be inhabited: “I am the Lord, and there is no other” (Isaiah 40:26; 45:18).
You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and by Your will they exist and were created (Revelation 4:11).
Belief in God is Not Enough
|by||Kyle Butt, M.Div.|
It is impossible to go to heaven without believing that there is a God (Hebrews 11:6). But a mere mental assent to the fact that God exists is not enough to save a person’s soul. In fact, the book of James says: “You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble!” (2:19).
Once a person accepts the vast amount of evidence available to prove that God exists, that person must follow up belief with a desire and resolve to obey the Creator. An E-mail that came into our office illustrates this point well. After reading on our site an article that defends the existence of God, one gentleman wrote: “For many, many years I began to write off all religions as ‘fake.’ I’m not completely convinced still. However, after reading this article, I was faced with the absolute fact that not only does God exist, but that He is surely angry with me for disbelieving in Him.” Acknowledging the existence of the Creator is the first step toward assuaging His anger, but it cannot be the last. In fact, the term “practical atheist” is applied to a person who technically acknowledges that there is a God, but does nothing about that belief.
What, then, must follow a person’s belief in the Creator? That individual must find God’s message to His creation. An honest search for such communication will bring that person to the realization that the 66 books of the Bible are God’s inspired Word to man (see Butt, 2007). Upon discovering that the Bible is God’s message to humanity, a diligent study of the Scriptures reveals that Jesus Christ is the prophesied Messiah and the Son of God (see Butt and Lyons, 2006). By following the teachings of Jesus, the honest investigator realizes that Jesus has opened the door of salvation to all who will receive it as He has commanded (see Lyons and Butt, n.d.).
At Apologetics Press, it thrills us to hear that a person has left false atheistic views and embraced the idea of a divine Creator. Yet we know that such a mental shift is simply the first crucial step to eternal life. A penitent heart and faithful life of obedience to God’s commands must accompany that belief in order for it to be of any real, eternal value (James 1:22-25).
Butt, Kyle and Eric Lyons (2006), Behold! The Lamb of God (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press), [On-line], URL: http://www.apologeticspress.org/pdfs/e-books_pdf/ Behold%20the%20Lamb%20of%20God.pdf.
Lyons, Eric and Kyle Butt (no date), Receiving the Gift of Salvation, [On-line], URL: http://www.apologeticspress.org/pdfs/e-books_pdf/ Taking%20Possesion%20of%20God%20Gifts.pdf.
Jesus Was Rational
|by||Dave Miller, Ph.D.|
A study of the life of Christ on Earth quickly reveals that Jesus functioned rationally, logically, and sensibly. Unlike many religious people who claim to represent Him, Jesus possessed high respect for doctrinal correctness (after all, He authored the Law!). In all of His interactions with people, He conducted Himself with logical precision. One example of this attribute of our Lord is seen on the occasion when Jesus entered the synagogue and encountered a man who had a deformed hand (Matthew 12:9-13). This circumstance prompted His enemies to ask Him a question in hopes of being able to accuse Him of breaking the Law. They asked: “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?” Of course, they had pre-decided that the answer to the question was “no,” that, in fact, the Law would naturally forbid such an action.
Unfortunately, the prevailing interpretation of the Law of Moses at the time, at least among the Jewish leaders, was that the Sabbath law enjoined total inactivity—as if everyone was to sit down for 24 hours and do nothing. This view was a distortion of God’s law on the matter. The Law gave the right, even the obligation, to engage in several activities (that could rightly be designated “work”) that did not constitute violation of the Sabbath regulation. On this occasion, Jesus pinpointed one such instance: “What man is there among you who has one sheep, and if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will not lay hold of it and lift it out?” (vs. 11). Jesus was recalling a directive from the Law of Moses:
You shall not see your brother’s ox or his sheep going astray, and hide yourself from them; you shall certainly bring them back to your brother. And if your brother is not near you, or if you do not know him, then you shall bring it to your own house, and it shall remain with you until your brother seeks it; then you shall restore it to him. You shall do the same with his donkey, and so shall you do with his garment; with any lost thing of your brother’s, which he has lost and you have found, you shall do likewise; you must not hide yourself. You shall not see your brother’s donkey or his ox fall down along the road, and hide yourself from them; you shall surely help him lift them up again (Deuteronomy 22:1-4; cf. Exodus 23:4-5).Such passages give insight into the nature of God, and provide tremendous assistance in making proper application of God’s laws to everyday circumstances.
Observe that God’s laws never contradict or countermand each other. Unlike manmade laws which often manifest inconsistency and contradiction, God’s laws function in perfect harmony with each other. The Mosaic passage to which Jesus alluded demonstrates that the general principle of the cessation of usual work on the Sabbath did not conflict with any number of specific circumstances in which benevolence and compassion were to be expressed. In an agriculturally-based society, a family’s survival depends on its farm animals. If a sheep, ox, or donkey were to break out of its stall, flee the premises, and then fall into a pit from which it would be unable to extricate itself, the animal would most likely die or become seriously ill if left in its predicament for 24 hours. To expend the necessary effort (i.e., “work) to retrieve the animal from danger was not considered by God to be included in the Sabbath prohibition. Hence, Jesus stated the logical conclusion: “Of how much more value then is a man than a sheep?” (vs. 12). If action could be exerted to see to the well-being of a dumb animal, then obviously, God would approve of action taken to see to the physical care of a human being! The logic is penetrating and decisive. Far from suggesting that law is unimportant and may be ignored under the guise of “human need,” or implying that humans can break the “letter of the law” in order to keep the “spirit of the law” (see Miller, 2003), Jesus demonstrated that inherently built into God’s laws are all concerns deemed by Deity to be necessary. The benevolent, loving thing to do will always harmonize with God’s laws, since “love is the fulfillment of the law” (Romans 13:10), i.e., every truly loving action has already been defined by God in His legal admonitions.
The religion of Christ surpasses all human religion. It is rooted in the very essence of Deity. When Jesus took on human form on Earth, He showed Himself to be the Master logician Who always conducted Himself in a rational manner. May we do likewise.
REFERENCESMiller, Dave (2003), “The Spirit and Letter of the Law,” Apologetics Press, http://www.apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=11&article=1225.
A Book Review and Summary of John C. Sanford's Genetic Entropy and the Mystery of the Genome by Joe Deweese, Ph.D.
A Book Review and Summary of John C. Sanford's Genetic Entropy and the Mystery of the Genome
|by||Joe Deweese, Ph.D.|
Dr. John Sanford is a plant geneticist and inventor who conducted research at Cornell University for more than 25 years. He is best known for significant contributions to the field of transgenic crops, including the invention of the biolistic process (“gene gun”). Like many in his profession, he was fully invested in what he terms the “Primary Axiom” of modern science, namely that “man is merely the product of random mutations plus natural selection” (Sanford, 2008, p. v, italics in orig.). He argues that this cornerstone of modern Darwinism is almost universally accepted and rarely, if ever, questioned. In Genetic Entropy and the Mystery of the Genome, Sanford proceeds, not only to question the Primary Axiom, but to expose completely the faulty genetic framework upon which the ideology is built.
In the first portion of the book, Sanford builds an analogy for the reader to make complex genetic concepts more palatable to non-scientists. He uses the analogy of comparing our genome—the sum total of all of our genetic makeup—with an instruction manual. The DNA sequences that make up our genes, gene regulatory elements, chromosomes, etc., are compared with letters, words, chapters, and volumes. [NOTE: The term “gene” is not to be taken as synonymous with “trait.” Mendelian genetics dealt in “traits” (e.g., blue eyes) that were defined as “genes.” Our modern understanding of genetics demonstrates that while many genes impact phenotype (observable traits), genes are not the same as traits.] He builds on this analogy throughout the book using several powerful illustrations.
When we view the genome as an instruction manual, it is not hard to imagine how instructions in that manual may change simply by randomly changing letters in the manual. These changes are analogous to the random changes in our genome that are referred to as mutations. Mutations can be as simple as a single “letter” (i.e., a nucleotide) being changed or as major as the loss or duplication of an entire “book” (i.e., a chromosome). Our genome includes six billion “letters” split into 46 “volumes” (in a typical body cell; 23 chromosomes in reproductive cells). It is clear, though, that randomly changing letters in an instruction manual would not provide new and useful information.
Sanford argues that, based upon modern scientific evidence and the calculations of population geneticists (who are almost exclusively evolutionists), mutations are occurring at an alarmingly high rate in our genome and that the vast majority of all mutations are either harmful or “nearly-neutral” (meaning a loss for the organism or having no discernible fitness gain). Importantly, Sanford also establishes the extreme rarity of any type of beneficial mutations in comparison with harmful or “nearly-neutral” mutations. Indeed, “beneficial” mutations are so exceedingly rare as to not contribute in any meaningful way. [NOTE: “Beneficial” mutations do not necessarily result from a gain in information, but instead, these changes predominantly involve a net loss of function to the organism, which is also not helpful to the Primary Axiom; see Behe, 2010, pp. 419-445.] Sanford concludes that the frequency and generally harmful or neutral nature of mutations prevents them from being useful to any scheme of random evolution.
Using his analogy, imagine a manual for assembling a child’s wagon. Would randomly changing letters in the manual improve the manual? Would duplicating sections of the manual improve it? Clearly these types of changes would destroy information rather than create new information (having two copies of the same information is not necessarily of benefit, since there is no real mechanism to preserve one copy while mutating another). But Sanford extends the analogy further. He suggests that the Primary Axiom assumes that such random changes not only could change the wagon, but these random “mutations” would evolve the wagon into a car and eventually a plane, and then even a space shuttle. No one would argue that random changes in the manual for a wagon would eventually give rise to instructions for a space shuttle. However, Sanford argues this is exactly the situation with regard to our genome. If we regard “early” life forms in an evolutionary context as being the wagon, humans would easily be a space shuttle by comparison!
In the next section of the book, Sanford examines natural selection and asks whether “nature” can “select” in favor of the exceedingly rare “beneficial” mutations and against the deleterious mutations. The concept of natural selection is generally that the organisms that are best adapted to their environment will survive and reproduce, while the less fit will not. Sanford points out that this may be the case with some organisms, but more commonly, selection involves chance and luck. But could this process select against harmful mutations and allow less harmful or even beneficial mutations to thrive? According to Sanford, there are significant challenges to this notion. One major issue is the cost of selection. The cost of selection means that a portion of a population must be “spent” (i.e., removed) in order to “pay” for the selection process. To put this idea in human terms, what percentage of the population could be removed (or kept from reproducing) in order to promote selection? The numbers are exceedingly high according to Sanford—possibly higher than 50%—which would be completely unrealistic in any society today. Another issue is the “blind” nature of the process. Nature cannot “see” what potential future organisms could exist, and therefore, there is no means for selecting for or against traits to achieve any future goals. Sanford concludes that selection cannot overcome the accumulation of harmful mutations and has no real power to keep “beneficial” mutations around, due to the extreme rarity of those mutations and the fact that selection is blind. Thus, even with the ability to select—artificially or otherwise—the accumulation of mutations continues unabated.
In the final section of the book, Sanford illustrates the dire situation of the human genome. Imagine an instruction manual of tens of thousands of pages in which random changes have been made every time it is copied. Who would trust such a manual? How many changes would it take to make the manual unusable? How long before the manual no longer makes a functional product? It is a testimony to the nature of our genome that we are still alive in spite of the level of decay. Again, Sanford points to the accumulation of deleterious mutations and argues that our genomes are not evolving to something greater; we are decaying and degenerating. In other words, our genomes at one point were in far better shape than they are at present. The decay process has taken a huge toll. This process he terms “genetic entropy.” He suggests that this decay trend is not only real, but it is an inevitable result of the random, natural accumulation of mutations in our genome. Thus, not only do mutations lead to decay, they do not lead to any meaningful increase in information—which is absolutely required by the Primary Axiom. In order for organisms to evolve from one form to another, new genetic information is needed in order to provide “instructions” for building the proteins and other features of the organism. Sanford clearly establishes that any expectation of getting new, useful information from these random processes is a completely blind trust in an impotent process. His book also provides an appendix with several more arguments against the Primary Axiom, along with answers to some counterarguments.
In conclusion, Sanford’s book builds a strong case against the Primary Axiom using modern scientific information combined with powerful, yet simple, logic. His arguments are solid but written on a level that can be understood by students and non-scientists. He clarifies several misconceptions about mutations, natural selection, and the overall decay of the genome. He accurately describes the concept and reality of genetic entropy, and he concludes from that principle our dependence upon the One who designed everything. Rather than viewing life as a purposeless by-product of the Primary Axiom, Sanford argues that genetic entropy points us to our need for and reliance upon God as the Creator. Perhaps this system of genetic decay is simply one more way God reminds us of the Fall (Genesis 3) and of our complete dependence upon Him.
REFERENCESBehe, M. J. (2010), “Experimental Evolution, Loss-of-Function Mutations, and ‘the First Rule of Adaptive Evolution,’” Quarterly Review of Biology, 85:419-445.
Sanford, J.C. (2008), Genetic Entropy & the Mystery of the Genome (Waterloo, NY: FMS Publications).
Another Significant Sign of Moral Decline
|by||Dave Miller, Ph.D.|
The government organization that monitors health issues in America, the National Center for Health Statistics, has reported the latest dismal stats on the state of marriage (“Almost 40%...,” 2006). Whereas in 1950 the average age for people to marry was 23 for the man and 20 for the woman, now the ages are 27 and 25 respectfully. It is true that some people are now waiting longer to get married. But in many cases, they have chosen to live together without getting married. In 1970, the number of unmarried-couple households with children was under 200,000. That figure now has soared to 1.7 million and climbing.
Most alarming, out-of-wedlock births in the United States have climbed to an all-time high. Indeed, 37% of the babies born last year—nearly 4 in 10—were born to unmarried parents. Such a figure is seismic in its implications—not to mention absolutely shameful and disgraceful (Proverbs 14:34). If we were to contemplate that 10% of the babies born in America were without married parents, that figure would be tragic. Or if we were to consider that 20%, one fifth, of all babies, or even 25%, one fourth, of all babies were without married parents, our forefathers would not believe it. But no, the figure is now at nearly 40%! Forty percent of the children in this country are born to people who are not married to each other! And that figure is just for one year; the stat has been nearly that high each year for quite some time. No doubt, much of the population of our nation is so morally and spiritually desensitized that they do not consider such stats to be a problem: “what’s the big deal?”
The “big deal” is that the God of the Universe established the home at the beginning of the Creation. The home as God created it consists of a man and woman married to each other for life (Genesis 2:24). Hence, by divine design, the very fabric of human civilization, the basis of any nation, is the home. In order for society to function in a civil fashion, its citizens must be raised in stable homes consisting of both scriptural parents. The home is the incubator for developing mature, unselfish people. As the number of such homes decline, society itself will destabilize and unravel. Lack of concern for others manifests itself in cold, cruel apathy, and treating others discourteously and rudely. Crime rates inevitably will increase and prison populations will expand. The list of aberrant behaviors goes on and on.
Few Americans are aware that the Founders of the Republic warned against neglect of the Christian principles of morality—including those pertaining to marriage—principles they deemed indispensable to national survival. Consider one sampling from the pen of one acclaimed as a “Father of American Jurisprudence,” Joseph Story, who was appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court by President James Madison where he served from 1811-1845:
The promulgation of the great doctrines of religion, the being, and attributes, and providence of one Almighty God; the responsibility to him for all our actions, founded upon moral freedom and accountability; a future state of rewards and punishments; the cultivation of all the personal, social, and benevolent virtues;—these never can be a matter of indifference in any well ordered community. It is, indeed, difficult to conceive, how any civilized society can well exist without them. And at all events, it is impossible for those, who believe in the truth of Christianity, as a divine revelation, to doubt, that it is the especial duty of government to foster, and encourage it among all the citizens and subjects (III.44.1865:722-723, emp. added).Indeed, since Bible teaching on marriage and the family is being ignored by a sizeable percentage of Americans as they reject the responsibility to God for their actions, how can America as a civilized society continue to exist? By rejecting the moral principles of Christianity, how can the Republic be perpetuated? According to those who founded this nation, it cannot.
Indeed, in a republic, there would seem to be a peculiar propriety in viewing the Christian religion, as the great basis, on which it must rest for its support and permanence, if it be, what it has ever been deemed by its truest friends to be, the religion of liberty (III.44.1867:724-725, emp. added).
But the solution to our nation’s ills is available:
- He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God? (Micah 6:8).
- Therefore know this day, and consider it in your heart, that the LORD Himself is God in heaven above and on the earth beneath; there is no other. You shall therefore keep His statutes and His commandments...that it may go well with you and with your children after you, and that you may prolong your days in the land (Deuteronomy 4:39-40).
- See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil, in that I command you today to love the LORD your God, to walk in His ways, and to keep His commandments, His statutes, and His judgments, that you may live and multiply; and the LORD your God will bless you in the land which you go to possess. But if your heart turns away so that you do not hear, and are drawn away, and worship other gods and serve them, I announce to you today that you shall surely perish; you shall not prolong your days in the land.... I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; that you may love the LORD your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days (Deuteronomy 30:15-20).
- And now...what does the LORD your God require of you, but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways and to love Him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the commandments of the LORD and His statutes which I command you today for your good? (Deuteronomy 10:12-13).
Story, Joseph (1833), Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States, Boston, MA: Hilliard, Gray, & Co.), [On-line], URL: http://www.constitution.org/js/js_344.htm.
Did Both Thieves Revile Christ?by Eric Lyons, M.Min.
Very likely, the most well-known, nameless person in the Bible is “the thief on the cross.” The Lord demonstrated His mercy one last time before His crucifixion by pardoning the thief who begged Jesus, saying, “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom” (Luke 23:42). Having the “power on Earth to forgive sins” (Matthew 9:6), and an overflowing amount of compassion, Jesus told him: “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise” (Luke 23:43).
After rehearsing the story of “the thief on the cross” countless times from Luke’s gospel account (a story that, sadly, has been misused by many to justify that a person today can be saved without being baptized “for the remission of sins”—Acts 2:38; cf. 22:16), some Bible students are puzzled when they eventually compare the “beloved physician’s” account with what Matthew and Mark recorded. Whereas Luke wrote: “Then one of the criminals who were hanged blasphemed Him, saying, ‘If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us’ ” (23:39), Matthew and Mark stated the following:
“Even the robbers who were crucified with Him reviled Him” (Matthew 27:44)The obvious question is, why did Matthew and Mark indicate the “thieves” (plural) reviled Jesus, while Luke mentioned only one who insulted Him?
“Even those who were crucified with Him reviled Him” (Mark 15:32)
First, it is quite possible that, initially, both thieves reviled Christ, but then one of them repented. After hearing Jesus’ words on the cross, and seeing His forgiving attitude, the one thief may have been driven to acknowledge that Jesus was indeed the Messiah. How many times have we made a statement about someone or something, but then retracted the statement only a short while later after receiving more information?
A second possible explanation for the minor differences in gospel accounts regarding the two thieves who were crucified next to Jesus involves the understanding of a figure of speech known as synecdoche. Merriam-Webster defines this term as “a figure of speech by which a part is put for the whole (as fifty sail for fifty ships), the whole for a part (as society for high society)…or the name of the material for the thing made (as boards for stage)” (italics. in orig.). Just as Bible writers frequently used figures of speech such as simile, metaphor, sarcasm, and metonymy, they also used synecdoche. As seen above (in the definition of synecdoche), this figure of speech can be used in a variety of ways (see also Dungan, 1888, pp. 300-309):
- A whole can put for the part.
- A part may be put for the whole.
- Time might be put for part of a time.
- The singular can be put for the plural.
- And the plural can be put for the singular.
Genesis 8:4 indicates that Noah’s ark rested “on the mountains of Ararat.” Question: Did the ark rest on one of the mountains of Ararat, or did it rest on all of them at the same time? Although the ark was a huge vessel, it obviously did not rest on the many mountains of Ararat; rather, it rested on one.We must keep in mind that the biblical apologist does not have to pin down the exact solution to an alleged contradiction; he need show only one or more possibilities of harmonization in order to negate the force of the charge that a Bible contradiction really exists. The skeptic cannot deny that both of the above options are plausible explanations to the question of why Matthew and Mark wrote of “thieves” reviling Christ, instead of “thief.”
In Genesis 21:7 Sarah asked, “Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? For I have borne him a son in his old age.” Anyone who knows much about the Bible will remember that Sarah had but one child. In certain contexts, however, one might use a synecdoche and speak of one child (as did Sarah) by using the word children.
REFERENCESDungan, D.R. (1888), Hermeneutics (Delight, AR: Gospel Light), reprint.
What is precious to you?
Something is precious to us because of its high intrinsic value or because it means much to us personally. These two are not the same, since we often cherish something that has no intrinsic value. It might have extrinsic value to us, or it might be much less valuable than we think it is.
A disaster can reveal what is precious to us. I know a man who fell down a flight of sharp stone stairs. He lay sprawled at the bottom, groaning and moaning: “Oh no! Oh no! It’s broken! It’s broken! I broke my smartphone!”
Noticing what the Scriptures label as precious can help us cherish things that are truly precious, and recognize things that are not.
We may not cherish material things.
Remember Solomon’s evaluation of the material realm: “Vanity of vanities, all is vanity” (Ecclesiastes 1:2).
On judgment day, precious stones will be worthless.
Many try to prop up their self-esteem by adorning themselves with expensive possessions, gems and jewelry.
The spiritual harlot, portrayed in Revelation as Babylon the Great, deals in “merchandise of gold and silver, precious stones and pearls, fine linen and purple, silk and scarlet, every kind of citron wood, every kind of object of ivory, every kind of object of most precious wood, bronze, iron, and marble” (Revelation 18:12).
There is an outward appearance of great wealth, but the harlot’s chalice is filled with filth, fornication and blood; and when she faces God in judgment, her wealth is gone: “The fruit that your soul longed for has gone from you, and all the things which are rich and splendid have gone from you, and you shall find them no more” ... “For in one hour such great riches came to nothing” (Revelation 18:14, 17).
Love of money leads to perdition.
“And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows” (1 Timothy 6:8-10).
We should cherish spiritual things.
Spiritual values are eternal.
Wisdom is more precious than gold.
Of wisdom we read in Proverbs 3:15, “She is more precious than rubies, and all the things you may desire cannot compare with her.”
“But where can wisdom be found?
And where is the place of understanding?
Man does not know its value,
Nor is it found in the land of the living.
The deep says, ‘It is not in me’;
And the sea says, ‘It is not with me.’
It cannot be purchased for gold,
Nor can silver be weighed for its price.
It cannot be valued in the gold of Ophir,
In precious onyx or sapphire.
Neither gold nor crystal can equal it,
Nor can it be exchanged for jewelry of fine gold.
No mention shall be made of coral or quartz,
For the price of wisdom is above rubies.
The topaz of Ethiopia cannot equal it,
Nor can it be valued in pure gold.
From where then does wisdom come?
And where is the place of understanding?”
“Behold, the fear of the LORD, that is wisdom,
And to depart from evil is understanding”
(Job 28:12-20, 28).
Our faith is more precious than gold.
Peter addresses his second letter “To those who have obtained like precious faith with us by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:1).
In his first letter, referring to our living hope and incorruptible inheritance, Peter says: “In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:6, 7).
Most precious are the gracious gifts of God.
God’s gifts in nature are precious.
“See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain” (James 5:7).
When Moses blessed Israel, he said of the tribe of Joseph:
“Blessed of the LORD is his land,
With the precious things of heaven, with the dew,
And the deep lying beneath,
With the precious fruits of the sun,
With the precious produce of the months,
With the best things of the ancient mountains,
With the precious things of the everlasting hills,
With the precious things of the earth and its fullness”
Let us value the precious blessings of the earth, and thank God for them.
God’s mercy is precious.
“How precious is Your lovingkindness, O God! Therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of Your wings” (Psalm 36:7).
God’s thoughts are precious.
“How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!” (Psalm 139:17). The word of God, which reveals His thoughts, is a matchless treasure.
In 1988 when I visited Dan McVey in Ghana, I was surprised that his bookshop contained many expensive leather-bound Bibles and only a few inexpensive Bibles. I asked why he had so many expensive Bibles for a country with much poverty. He explained that most people wanted a durable Bible because it was their most prized possession. They had to save up for it, so they wanted it to last a lifetime. They might not be able to afford glasses, so they wanted a Bible with large print.
How much are God’s thoughts worth to us? Is God’s word our most prized possession? Can we say with David: “How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!”
God has given us precious promises.
“Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust” (2 Peter 1:2-4).
We have been redeemed by the precious blood of Christ.
“And if you call on the Father, who without partiality judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves throughout the time of your stay here in fear; knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot” (1 Peter 1:17-19).
To redeem someone is to purchase his liberation. We sold ourselves into the slavery of sin but we were redeemed with the precious blood of Christ. We stand in awe of God who loved us so much. How precious we must be to Him that He was willing to pay such a price for our liberation. In gratitude we bow to His will and serve Him with joy.
“You are not your own. For you were bought at a price” (1 Corinthians 6:19, 20).
Christ is the precious cornerstone in God’s spiritual house.
“Therefore thus says the Lord God: ‘Behold, I lay in Zion a stone for a foundation, a tried stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation’” (Isaiah 28:16).
We need a solid foundation. Christ is the precious cornerstone of God’s temple. Only by aligning ourselves with Him can we be a living stone in God’s spiritual house.
“Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. Therefore it is also contained in the Scripture, ‘Behold, I lay in Zion a chief cornerstone, elect, precious, and he who believes on Him will by no means be put to shame.’ Therefore, to you who believe, He is precious” (1 Peter 2:4-7).
God’s kingdom is worth more than any earthly interest.
“The kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it” (Matthew 13:45, 46).
Serving God is worth more than physical life itself. Paul declared: “But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20:24).
What is precious to the Lord?
A gentle spirit is precious to God.
“Do not let your adornment be outward - arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel - rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God” (1 Peter 3:3, 4).
Although this passage is directed to women, the principle applies to all: “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5). Jesus was “gentle and lowly in heart” (Matthew 11:29). The fruit of the Spirit includes “gentleness” (Galatians 5:23). Let us cultivate “a gentle and quite spirit,” which is precious to God.
Precious to the Lord is the death of His saints.
“He will spare the poor and needy, and will save the souls of the needy. He will redeem their life from oppression and violence; and precious shall be their blood in His sight” (Psalm 72:13, 14).
“Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of His saints” (Psalm 116:15).
The day of death is victory day for the faithful Christian who can say with Paul: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing” (2 Timothy 4:7, 8).
What is precious according to God’s word?
We may not cherish material things. On judgment day, precious stones will be worthless. Love of money leads to perdition. We ought to cherish spiritual things. Wisdom and faith are more precious than gold. Most precious are the gracious gifts of God. His gifts in nature, His mercy and His thoughts are precious. He has given us exceedingly precious promises. We have been redeemed by the precious blood of Christ. He is the precious cornerstone in God’s spiritual house. God’s kingdom is worth more than any earthly interest. Precious to the Lord are a gentle spirit, and the final victory of His saints.
As Christians, let us cherish these precious things. If you have not yet become a Christian, you are depriving yourself of life’s most precious treasure. Amen.
The Scripture quotations in this article are from
The New King James Version. ©1979,1980,1982,
Thomas Nelson Inc., Publishers unless indicated otherwise.
Permission for reference use has been granted.
The New King James Version. ©1979,1980,1982,
Thomas Nelson Inc., Publishers unless indicated otherwise.
Permission for reference use has been granted.
Published in The Old Paths Archive
Bible Reading September 16, 17, 18 (WEB)
Psa 74:1 God, why have you rejected us forever? Why does your anger smolder against the sheep of your pasture?
Psa 74:2 Remember your congregation, which you purchased of old, which you have redeemed to be the tribe of your inheritance; Mount Zion, in which you have lived.
Psa 74:3 Lift up your feet to the perpetual ruins, all the evil that the enemy has done in the sanctuary.
Psa 74:4 Your adversaries have roared in the midst of your assembly. They have set up their standards as signs.
Psa 74:5 They behaved like men wielding axes, cutting through a thicket of trees.
Psa 74:6 Now they break all its carved work down with hatchet and hammers.
Psa 74:7 They have burned your sanctuary to the ground. They have profaned the dwelling place of your Name.
Psa 74:8 They said in their heart, "We will crush them completely." They have burned up all the places in the land where God was worshiped.
Psa 74:9 We see no miraculous signs. There is no longer any prophet, neither is there among us anyone who knows how long.
Psa 74:10 How long, God, shall the adversary reproach? Shall the enemy blaspheme your name forever?
Psa 74:11 Why do you draw back your hand, even your right hand? Take it out of your pocket and consume them!
Psa 74:12 Yet God is my King of old, working salvation in the midst of the earth.
Psa 74:13 You divided the sea by your strength. You broke the heads of the sea monsters in the waters.
Psa 74:14 You broke the heads of Leviathan in pieces. You gave him as food to people and desert creatures.
Psa 74:15 You opened up spring and stream. You dried up mighty rivers.
Psa 74:16 The day is yours, the night is also yours. You have prepared the light and the sun.
Psa 74:17 You have set all the boundaries of the earth. You have made summer and winter.
Psa 74:18 Remember this, that the enemy has mocked you, Yahweh. Foolish people have blasphemed your name.
Psa 74:19 Don't deliver the soul of your dove to wild beasts. Don't forget the life of your poor forever.
Psa 74:20 Honor your covenant, for haunts of violence fill the dark places of the earth.
Psa 74:21 Don't let the oppressed return ashamed. Let the poor and needy praise your name.
Psa 74:22 Arise, God! Plead your own cause. Remember how the foolish man mocks you all day.
Psa 74:23 Don't forget the voice of your adversaries. The tumult of those who rise up against you ascends continually.
Psa 75:1 We give thanks to you, God. We give thanks, for your Name is near. Men tell about your wondrous works.
Psa 75:2 When I choose the appointed time, I will judge blamelessly.
Psa 75:3 The earth and all its inhabitants quake. I firmly hold its pillars. Selah.
Psa 75:4 I said to the arrogant, "Don't boast!" I said to the wicked, "Don't lift up the horn.
Psa 75:5 Don't lift up your horn on high. Don't speak with a stiff neck."
Psa 75:6 For neither from the east, nor from the west, nor yet from the south, comes exaltation.
Psa 75:7 But God is the judge. He puts down one, and lifts up another.
Psa 75:8 For in the hand of Yahweh there is a cup, full of foaming wine mixed with spices. He pours it out. Indeed the wicked of the earth drink and drink it to its very dregs.
Psa 75:9 But I will declare this forever: I will sing praises to the God of Jacob.
Psa 75:10 I will cut off all the horns of the wicked, but the horns of the righteous shall be lifted up.
Psa 76:1 In Judah, God is known. His name is great in Israel.
Psa 76:2 His tabernacle is also in Salem; His dwelling place in Zion.
Psa 76:3 There he broke the flaming arrows of the bow, the shield, and the sword, and the weapons of war. Selah.
Psa 76:4 Glorious are you, and excellent, more than mountains of game.
Psa 76:5 Valiant men lie plundered, they have slept their last sleep. None of the men of war can lift their hands.
Psa 76:6 At your rebuke, God of Jacob, both chariot and horse are cast into a deep sleep.
Psa 76:7 You, even you, are to be feared. Who can stand in your sight when you are angry?
Psa 76:8 You pronounced judgment from heaven. The earth feared, and was silent,
Psa 76:9 when God arose to judgment, to save all the afflicted ones of the earth. Selah.
Psa 76:10 Surely the wrath of man praises you. The survivors of your wrath are restrained.
Psa 76:11 Make vows to Yahweh your God, and fulfill them! Let all of his neighbors bring presents to him who is to be feared.
Psa 76:12 He will cut off the spirit of princes. He is feared by the kings of the earth.
Psa 77:1 My cry goes to God! Indeed, I cry to God for help, and for him to listen to me.
Psa 77:2 In the day of my trouble I sought the Lord. My hand was stretched out in the night, and didn't get tired. My soul refused to be comforted.
Psa 77:3 I remember God, and I groan. I complain, and my spirit is overwhelmed. Selah.
Psa 77:4 You hold my eyelids open. I am so troubled that I can't speak.
Psa 77:5 I have considered the days of old, the years of ancient times.
Psa 77:6 I remember my song in the night. I consider in my own heart; my spirit diligently inquires:
Psa 77:7 "Will the Lord reject us forever? Will he be favorable no more?
Psa 77:8 Has his loving kindness vanished forever? Does his promise fail for generations?
Psa 77:9 Has God forgotten to be gracious? Has he, in anger, withheld his compassion?" Selah.
Psa 77:10 Then I thought, "I will appeal to this: the years of the right hand of the Most High."
Psa 77:11 I will remember Yah's deeds; for I will remember your wonders of old.
Psa 77:12 I will also meditate on all your work, and consider your doings.
Psa 77:13 Your way, God, is in the sanctuary. What god is great like God?
Psa 77:14 You are the God who does wonders. You have made your strength known among the peoples.
Psa 77:15 You have redeemed your people with your arm, the sons of Jacob and Joseph. Selah.
Psa 77:16 The waters saw you, God. The waters saw you, and they writhed. The depths also convulsed.
Psa 77:17 The clouds poured out water. The skies resounded with thunder. Your arrows also flashed around.
Psa 77:18 The voice of your thunder was in the whirlwind. The lightnings lit up the world. The earth trembled and shook.
Psa 77:19 Your way was through the sea; your paths through the great waters. Your footsteps were not known.
Psa 77:20 You led your people like a flock, by the hand of Moses and Aaron.
Psa 78:1 Hear my teaching, my people. Turn your ears to the words of my mouth.
Psa 78:2 I will open my mouth in a parable. I will utter dark sayings of old,
Psa 78:3 Which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us.
Psa 78:4 We will not hide them from their children, telling to the generation to come the praises of Yahweh, his strength, and his wondrous works that he has done.
Psa 78:5 For he established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a teaching in Israel, which he commanded our fathers, that they should make them known to their children;
Psa 78:6 that the generation to come might know, even the children who should be born; who should arise and tell their children,
Psa 78:7 that they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments,
Psa 78:8 and might not be as their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation, a generation that didn't make their hearts loyal, whose spirit was not steadfast with God.
Psa 78:9 The children of Ephraim, being armed and carrying bows, turned back in the day of battle.
Psa 78:10 They didn't keep God's covenant, and refused to walk in his law.
Psa 78:11 They forgot his doings, his wondrous works that he had shown them.
Psa 78:12 He did marvelous things in the sight of their fathers, in the land of Egypt, in the field of Zoan.
Psa 78:13 He split the sea, and caused them to pass through. He made the waters stand as a heap.
Psa 78:14 In the daytime he also led them with a cloud, and all night with a light of fire.
Psa 78:15 He split rocks in the wilderness, and gave them drink abundantly as out of the depths.
Psa 78:16 He brought streams also out of the rock, and caused waters to run down like rivers.
Psa 78:17 Yet they still went on to sin against him, to rebel against the Most High in the desert.
Psa 78:18 They tempted God in their heart by asking food according to their desire.
Psa 78:19 Yes, they spoke against God. They said, "Can God prepare a table in the wilderness?
Psa 78:20 Behold, he struck the rock, so that waters gushed out, and streams overflowed. Can he give bread also? Will he provide flesh for his people?"
Psa 78:21 Therefore Yahweh heard, and was angry. A fire was kindled against Jacob, anger also went up against Israel,
Psa 78:22 because they didn't believe in God, and didn't trust in his salvation.
Psa 78:23 Yet he commanded the skies above, and opened the doors of heaven.
Psa 78:24 He rained down manna on them to eat, and gave them food from the sky.
Psa 78:25 Man ate the bread of angels. He sent them food to the full.
Psa 78:26 He caused the east wind to blow in the sky. By his power he guided the south wind.
Psa 78:27 He rained also flesh on them as the dust; winged birds as the sand of the seas.
Psa 78:28 He let them fall in the midst of their camp, around their habitations.
Psa 78:29 So they ate, and were well filled. He gave them their own desire.
Psa 78:30 They didn't turn from their cravings. Their food was yet in their mouths,
Psa 78:31 when the anger of God went up against them, killed some of the fattest of them, and struck down the young men of Israel.
Psa 78:32 For all this they still sinned, and didn't believe in his wondrous works.
Psa 78:33 Therefore he consumed their days in vanity, and their years in terror.
Psa 78:34 When he killed them, then they inquired after him. They returned and sought God earnestly.
Psa 78:35 They remembered that God was their rock, the Most High God, their redeemer.
Psa 78:36 But they flattered him with their mouth, and lied to him with their tongue.
Psa 78:37 For their heart was not right with him, neither were they faithful in his covenant.
Psa 78:38 But he, being merciful, forgave iniquity, and didn't destroy them. Yes, many times he turned his anger away, and didn't stir up all his wrath.
Psa 78:39 He remembered that they were but flesh, a wind that passes away, and doesn't come again.
Psa 78:40 How often they rebelled against him in the wilderness, and grieved him in the desert!
Psa 78:41 They turned again and tempted God, and provoked the Holy One of Israel.
Psa 78:42 They didn't remember his hand, nor the day when he redeemed them from the adversary;
Psa 78:43 how he set his signs in Egypt, his wonders in the field of Zoan,
Psa 78:44 he turned their rivers into blood, and their streams, so that they could not drink.
Psa 78:45 He sent among them swarms of flies, which devoured them; and frogs, which destroyed them.
Psa 78:46 He gave also their increase to the caterpillar, and their labor to the locust.
Psa 78:47 He destroyed their vines with hail, their sycamore fig trees with frost.
Psa 78:48 He gave over their livestock also to the hail, and their flocks to hot thunderbolts.
Psa 78:49 He threw on them the fierceness of his anger, wrath, indignation, and trouble, and a band of angels of evil.
Psa 78:50 He made a path for his anger. He didn't spare their soul from death, but gave their life over to the pestilence,
Psa 78:51 and struck all the firstborn in Egypt, the chief of their strength in the tents of Ham.
Psa 78:52 But he led forth his own people like sheep, and guided them in the wilderness like a flock.
Psa 78:53 He led them safely, so that they weren't afraid, but the sea overwhelmed their enemies.
Psa 78:54 He brought them to the border of his sanctuary, to this mountain, which his right hand had taken.
Psa 78:55 He also drove out the nations before them, allotted them for an inheritance by line, and made the tribes of Israel to dwell in their tents.
Psa 78:56 Yet they tempted and rebelled against the Most High God, and didn't keep his testimonies;
Psa 78:57 but turned back, and dealt treacherously like their fathers. They were turned aside like a deceitful bow.
Psa 78:58 For they provoked him to anger with their high places, and moved him to jealousy with their engraved images.
Psa 78:59 When God heard this, he was angry, and greatly abhorred Israel;
Psa 78:60 So that he forsook the tent of Shiloh, the tent which he placed among men;
Psa 78:61 and delivered his strength into captivity, his glory into the adversary's hand.
Psa 78:62 He also gave his people over to the sword, and was angry with his inheritance.
Psa 78:63 Fire devoured their young men. Their virgins had no wedding song.
Psa 78:64 Their priests fell by the sword, and their widows couldn't weep.
Psa 78:65 Then the Lord awakened as one out of sleep, like a mighty man who shouts by reason of wine.
Psa 78:66 He struck his adversaries backward. He put them to a perpetual reproach.
Psa 78:67 Moreover he rejected the tent of Joseph, and didn't choose the tribe of Ephraim,
Psa 78:68 But chose the tribe of Judah, Mount Zion which he loved.
Psa 78:69 He built his sanctuary like the heights, like the earth which he has established forever.
Psa 78:70 He also chose David his servant, and took him from the sheepfolds;
Psa 78:71 from following the ewes that have their young, he brought him to be the shepherd of Jacob, his people, and Israel, his inheritance.
Psa 78:72 So he was their shepherd according to the integrity of his heart, and guided them by the skillfulness of his hands.
Psa 79:1 God, the nations have come into your inheritance. They have defiled your holy temple. They have laid Jerusalem in heaps.
Psa 79:2 They have given the dead bodies of your servants to be food for the birds of the sky, the flesh of your saints to the animals of the earth.
Psa 79:3 Their blood they have shed like water around Jerusalem. There was no one to bury them.
Psa 79:4 We have become a reproach to our neighbors, a scoffing and derision to those who are around us.
Psa 79:5 How long, Yahweh? Will you be angry forever? Will your jealousy burn like fire?
Psa 79:6 Pour out your wrath on the nations that don't know you; on the kingdoms that don't call on your name;
Psa 79:7 For they have devoured Jacob, and destroyed his homeland.
Psa 79:8 Don't hold the iniquities of our forefathers against us. Let your tender mercies speedily meet us, for we are in desperate need.
Psa 79:9 Help us, God of our salvation, for the glory of your name. Deliver us, and forgive our sins, for your name's sake.
Psa 79:10 Why should the nations say, "Where is their God?" Let it be known among the nations, before our eyes, that vengeance for your servants' blood is being poured out.
Psa 79:11 Let the sighing of the prisoner come before you. According to the greatness of your power, preserve those who are sentenced to death.
Psa 79:12 Pay back to our neighbors seven times into their bosom their reproach with which they have reproached you, Lord.
Psa 79:13 So we, your people and sheep of your pasture, will give you thanks forever. We will praise you forever, to all generations.
Psa 80:1 Hear us, Shepherd of Israel, you who lead Joseph like a flock, you who sit above the cherubim, shine forth.
Psa 80:2 Before Ephraim and Benjamin and Manasseh, stir up your might! Come to save us!
Psa 80:3 Turn us again, God. Cause your face to shine, and we will be saved.
Psa 80:4 Yahweh God of Armies, How long will you be angry against the prayer of your people?
Psa 80:5 You have fed them with the bread of tears, and given them tears to drink in large measure.
Psa 80:6 You make us a source of contention to our neighbors. Our enemies laugh among themselves.
Psa 80:7 Turn us again, God of Armies. Cause your face to shine, and we will be saved.
Psa 80:8 You brought a vine out of Egypt. You drove out the nations, and planted it.
Psa 80:9 You cleared the ground for it. It took deep root, and filled the land.
Psa 80:10 The mountains were covered with its shadow. Its boughs were like God's cedars.
Psa 80:11 It sent out its branches to the sea, Its shoots to the River.
Psa 80:12 Why have you broken down its walls, so that all those who pass by the way pluck it?
Psa 80:13 The boar out of the wood ravages it. The wild animals of the field feed on it.
Psa 80:14 Turn again, we beg you, God of Armies. Look down from heaven, and see, and visit this vine,
Psa 80:15 the stock which your right hand planted, the branch that you made strong for yourself.
Psa 80:16 It's burned with fire. It's cut down. They perish at your rebuke.
Psa 80:17 Let your hand be on the man of your right hand, on the son of man whom you made strong for yourself.
Psa 80:18 So we will not turn away from you. Revive us, and we will call on your name.
Psa 80:19 Turn us again, Yahweh God of Armies. Cause your face to shine, and we will be saved.
Psa 81:1 Sing aloud to God, our strength! Make a joyful shout to the God of Jacob!
Psa 81:2 Raise a song, and bring here the tambourine, the pleasant lyre with the harp.
Psa 81:3 Blow the trumpet at the New Moon, at the full moon, on our feast day.
Psa 81:4 For it is a statute for Israel, an ordinance of the God of Jacob.
Psa 81:5 He appointed it in Joseph for a testimony, when he went out over the land of Egypt, I heard a language that I didn't know.
Psa 81:6 "I removed his shoulder from the burden. His hands were freed from the basket.
Psa 81:7 You called in trouble, and I delivered you. I answered you in the secret place of thunder. I tested you at the waters of Meribah." Selah.
Psa 81:8 "Hear, my people, and I will testify to you, Israel, if you would listen to me!
Psa 81:9 There shall be no strange god in you, neither shall you worship any foreign god.
Psa 81:10 I am Yahweh, your God, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt. Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it.
Psa 81:11 But my people didn't listen to my voice. Israel desired none of me.
Psa 81:12 So I let them go after the stubbornness of their hearts, that they might walk in their own counsels.
Psa 81:13 Oh that my people would listen to me, that Israel would walk in my ways!
Psa 81:14 I would soon subdue their enemies, and turn my hand against their adversaries.
Psa 81:15 The haters of Yahweh would cringe before him, and their punishment would last forever.
Psa 81:16 But he would have also fed them with the finest of the wheat. I will satisfy you with honey out of the rock."
Psa 82:1 God presides in the great assembly. He judges among the gods.
Psa 82:2 "How long will you judge unjustly, and show partiality to the wicked?" Selah.
Psa 82:3 "Defend the weak, the poor, and the fatherless. Maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed.
Psa 82:4 Rescue the weak and needy. Deliver them out of the hand of the wicked."
Psa 82:5 They don't know, neither do they understand. They walk back and forth in darkness. All the foundations of the earth are shaken.
Psa 82:6 I said, "You are gods, all of you are sons of the Most High.
Psa 82:7 Nevertheless you shall die like men, and fall like one of the rulers."
Psa 82:8 Arise, God, judge the earth, for you inherit all of the nations.
1 Corinthians 12
1Co 12:1 Now concerning spiritual things, brothers, I don't want you to be ignorant.
1Co 12:2 You know that when you were heathen, you were led away to those mute idols, however you might be led.
1Co 12:3 Therefore I make known to you that no man speaking by God's Spirit says, "Jesus is accursed." No one can say, "Jesus is Lord," but by the Holy Spirit.
1Co 12:4 Now there are various kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit.
1Co 12:5 There are various kinds of service, and the same Lord.
1Co 12:6 There are various kinds of workings, but the same God, who works all things in all.
1Co 12:7 But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the profit of all.
1Co 12:8 For to one is given through the Spirit the word of wisdom, and to another the word of knowledge, according to the same Spirit;
1Co 12:9 to another faith, by the same Spirit; and to another gifts of healings, by the same Spirit;
1Co 12:10 and to another workings of miracles; and to another prophecy; and to another discerning of spirits; to another different kinds of languages; and to another the interpretation of languages.
1Co 12:11 But the one and the same Spirit works all of these, distributing to each one separately as he desires.
1Co 12:12 For as the body is one, and has many members, and all the members of the body, being many, are one body; so also is Christ.
1Co 12:13 For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether bond or free; and were all given to drink into one Spirit.
1Co 12:14 For the body is not one member, but many.
1Co 12:15 If the foot would say, "Because I'm not the hand, I'm not part of the body," it is not therefore not part of the body.
1Co 12:16 If the ear would say, "Because I'm not the eye, I'm not part of the body," it's not therefore not part of the body.
1Co 12:17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole were hearing, where would the smelling be?
1Co 12:18 But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body, just as he desired.
1Co 12:19 If they were all one member, where would the body be?
1Co 12:20 But now they are many members, but one body.
1Co 12:21 The eye can't tell the hand, "I have no need for you," or again the head to the feet, "I have no need for you."
1Co 12:22 No, much rather, those members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary.
1Co 12:23 Those parts of the body which we think to be less honorable, on those we bestow more abundant honor; and our unpresentable parts have more abundant propriety;
1Co 12:24 whereas our presentable parts have no such need. But God composed the body together, giving more abundant honor to the inferior part,
1Co 12:25 that there should be no division in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another.
1Co 12:26 When one member suffers, all the members suffer with it. Or when one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.
1Co 12:27 Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually.
1Co 12:28 God has set some in the assembly: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracle workers, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, and various kinds of languages.
1Co 12:29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all miracle workers?
1Co 12:30 Do all have gifts of healings? Do all speak with various languages? Do all interpret?
1Co 12:31 But earnestly desire the best gifts. Moreover, I show a most excellent way to you.
1 Corinthians 13
1Co 13:1 If I speak with the languages of men and of angels, but don't have love, I have become sounding brass, or a clanging cymbal.
1Co 13:2 If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but don't have love, I am nothing.
1Co 13:3 If I dole out all my goods to feed the poor, and if I give my body to be burned, but don't have love, it profits me nothing.
1Co 13:4 Love is patient and is kind; love doesn't envy. Love doesn't brag, is not proud,
1Co 13:5 doesn't behave itself inappropriately, doesn't seek its own way, is not provoked, takes no account of evil;
1Co 13:6 doesn't rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth;
1Co 13:7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
1Co 13:8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will be done away with. Where there are various languages, they will cease. Where there is knowledge, it will be done away with.
1Co 13:9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part;
1Co 13:10 but when that which is complete has come, then that which is partial will be done away with.
1Co 13:11 When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I felt as a child, I thought as a child. Now that I have become a man, I have put away childish things.
1Co 13:12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I will know fully, even as I was also fully known.
1Co 13:13 But now faith, hope, and love remain--these three. The greatest of these is love.
1 Corinthians 14
1Co 14:1 Follow after love, and earnestly desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy.
1Co 14:2 For he who speaks in another language speaks not to men, but to God; for no one understands; but in the Spirit he speaks mysteries.
1Co 14:3 But he who prophesies speaks to men for their edification, exhortation, and consolation.
1Co 14:4 He who speaks in another language edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the assembly.
1Co 14:5 Now I desire to have you all speak with other languages, but rather that you would prophesy. For he is greater who prophesies than he who speaks with other languages, unless he interprets, that the assembly may be built up.
1Co 14:6 But now, brothers, if I come to you speaking with other languages, what would I profit you, unless I speak to you either by way of revelation, or of knowledge, or of prophesying, or of teaching?
1Co 14:7 Even things without life, giving a voice, whether pipe or harp, if they didn't give a distinction in the sounds, how would it be known what is piped or harped?
1Co 14:8 For if the trumpet gave an uncertain sound, who would prepare himself for war?
1Co 14:9 So also you, unless you uttered by the tongue words easy to understand, how would it be known what is spoken? For you would be speaking into the air.
1Co 14:10 There are, it may be, so many kinds of sounds in the world, and none of them is without meaning.
1Co 14:11 If then I don't know the meaning of the sound, I would be to him who speaks a foreigner, and he who speaks would be a foreigner to me.
1Co 14:12 So also you, since you are zealous for spiritual gifts, seek that you may abound to the building up of the assembly.
1Co 14:13 Therefore let him who speaks in another language pray that he may interpret.
1Co 14:14 For if I pray in another language, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful.
1Co 14:15 What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also. I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also.
1Co 14:16 Otherwise if you bless with the spirit, how will he who fills the place of the unlearned say the "Amen" at your giving of thanks, seeing he doesn't know what you say?
1Co 14:17 For you most certainly give thanks well, but the other person is not built up.
1Co 14:18 I thank my God, I speak with other languages more than you all.
1Co 14:19 However in the assembly I would rather speak five words with my understanding, that I might instruct others also, than ten thousand words in another language.
1Co 14:20 Brothers, don't be children in thoughts, yet in malice be babies, but in thoughts be mature.
1Co 14:21 In the law it is written, "By men of strange languages and by the lips of strangers I will speak to this people. Not even thus will they hear me, says the Lord."
1Co 14:22 Therefore other languages are for a sign, not to those who believe, but to the unbelieving; but prophesying is for a sign, not to the unbelieving, but to those who believe.
1Co 14:23 If therefore the whole assembly is assembled together and all speak with other languages, and unlearned or unbelieving people come in, won't they say that you are crazy?
1Co 14:24 But if all prophesy, and someone unbelieving or unlearned comes in, he is reproved by all, and he is judged by all.
1Co 14:25 And thus the secrets of his heart are revealed. So he will fall down on his face and worship God, declaring that God is among you indeed.
1Co 14:26 What is it then, brothers? When you come together, each one of you has a psalm, has a teaching, has a revelation, has another language, has an interpretation. Let all things be done to build each other up.
1Co 14:27 If any man speaks in another language, let it be two, or at the most three, and in turn; and let one interpret.
1Co 14:28 But if there is no interpreter, let him keep silent in the assembly, and let him speak to himself, and to God.
1Co 14:29 Let the prophets speak, two or three, and let the others discern.
1Co 14:30 But if a revelation is made to another sitting by, let the first keep silent.
1Co 14:31 For you all can prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be exhorted.
1Co 14:32 The spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets,
1Co 14:33 for God is not a God of confusion, but of peace. As in all the assemblies of the saints,
1Co 14:34 let your wives keep silent in the assemblies, for it has not been permitted for them to speak; but let them be in subjection, as the law also says.
1Co 14:35 If they desire to learn anything, let them ask their own husbands at home, for it is shameful for a woman to chatter in the assembly.
1Co 14:36 What? Was it from you that the word of God went out? Or did it come to you alone?
1Co 14:37 If any man thinks himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him recognize the things which I write to you, that they are the commandment of the Lord.
1Co 14:38 But if anyone is ignorant, let him be ignorant.
1Co 14:39 Therefore, brothers, desire earnestly to prophesy, and don't forbid speaking with other languages.
1Co 14:40 Let all things be done decently and in order.