"THE BOOK OF ECCLESIASTES" Wisdom To Endure Life's Vanities - II (10:1-11:8) INTRODUCTION 1. As mentioned in the previous lesson, there are things in life that we cannot avoid... a. Such as the inevitability of death b. The governments of men -- Both of which can contribute much to the "vanity" of "life under the sun" 2. But with the right kind of wisdom... a. We can endure the imperfect and often wicked governments of men b. We can live joyful lives despite the certainty of death [...and so the Preacher (Solomon) continues with "Wisdom To Endure Life's Vanities" in chapters ten and eleven. As we look now at chapter ten, we find him expounding upon...] I. THE HARM OF FOLLY A. FOLLY DEPLORED... 1. Folly mars the finest of reputations - 10:1 2. Folly constitutes an unsafe guide (the heart of a fool is not in the right place) - 10:2 3. Folly will invariably betray it own stupidity - 10:3 -- In contrast, the wise person will be patient, steadfast, and conciliatory, even when opposed by those in authority - 10:4 B. FOLLY OFTEN MANIFESTS ITSELF IN GOVERNMENT... 1. An evil observed by the Preacher - 10:5-7 a. Error proceeding from the ruler b. Folly exalted while the rich are debased c. Servants in power while true princes are humbled 2. Those who labor with foolishness hurt and hinder themselves - 10:8-10 a. As illustrated through several examples given by the Preacher b. The wisdom of the wise will know how to expedite his labors 3. The foolish seldom know how to restrain themselves - 10:11-15 a. They do not know how to hold their tongues b. They do not know how to direct their labor 4. How folly and wisdom affect the condition of the country - 10: 16-19 a. Woe to the land whose leaders are childish and feast in the morning, their laziness resulting in broken down buildings b. Blessed is the land whose leaders feast at the proper time, whose successful rule provides for true happiness and meeting every need C. MEANWHILE, BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU SAY... 1. Do not curse the king - 10:20a 2. Do not curse the rich - 10:20b -- For what you say will likely reach their ears - 10:20c [As in chapter nine, much of what the Preacher says in chapter ten pertains to how to endure the vanity of living under governments often ruled by wicked men. As he continues in chapter eleven, we find him describing...] II. THE VALUE OF BENEVOLENCE A. AN EXHORTATION TO BENEVOLENCE... 1. Verses 1 and 2 are parallel, encouraging kindness and hospitality - 11:1-2 2. The benefits of such benevolence: a. It provides blessings for the future b. It provides blessings for when days are evil -- Similar benefits of a benevolent spirit are described through the Bible - Ps 41:1-2; Pr 19:17; Lk 6:38; 16:9; Ga 6:9; 1 Ti6:18-19 B. FURTHER REASONS TO EXERCISE BENEVOLENCE... 1. Calamities (like rain and wind storms) will come... a. We cannot stop the clouds full of rain from falling b. Trees will lie wherever they fall ...if we spend our time just watching and not doing, we will not sow and reap - 11:3-4 2. There are things we cannot comprehend... a. Like the way of the wind (or spirit) b. Like the development of the child in the womb ...so we cannot comprehend God's working; therefore do not restrict your charity - 11:5-6 3. There will be days of darkness... a. It is great to be alive when one is well b. But even if one lives many joyful days, they should know that evil days will come - 11:7-8 CONCLUSION 1. We may not be able to escape the days of darkness in this life... a. Evil days often brought on by the governments of men b. Evil days that occur for which we have no explanation 2. But thanks to the Preacher, we know how best to endure life's vanities... a. Avoid making things worse through our own folly b. Sow the seeds of benevolence that can help us later when the days are evil 3. Of course, besides the Preacher (Solomon), we also have the Good Shepherd (Jesus)... a. Who has given His life that we might have an abundant life - Jn10:10-11 b. Who provides true peace though we may live in a world of tribulation - Jn 16:33 Are we following the Shepherd who leads His sheep to life eternal? - Jn 10:27-28
Does God REALLY Know Everything?
|by||Eric Lyons, M.Min.|
Numerous passages of Scripture clearly teach that God is omniscient. The Bible declares that God “knows the secrets of the heart” (Psalm 44:21), that His eyes “are in every place” (Proverbs 15:3), and that “His understanding is infinite” (147:5). Of Jehovah, the psalmist also wrote:
O Lord, You have searched me and known me. You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off. You comprehend my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word on my tongue, but behold, O Lord, You know it altogether.... Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain it. Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend into heaven, You are there; if I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there (139:1-4,6-8).The New Testament reemphasizes this truth: “God is greater than our heart, and knows all things” (1 John 3:20, emp. added). Not only does He know the past and the present, but the future as well (Acts 15:18; cf. Isaiah 46:10). According to the Bible, there is nothing outside of the awareness of God.
Atheist Dan Barker, however, alleged in his February 12, 2009 debate with Kyle Butt that the Bible paints a contradictory picture of God and His knowledge. Whereas some scriptures indicate that God knows the future, supposedly, the God of the Bible cannot exist because other passages reportedly teach that God does not know the future. Twelve minutes and 54 seconds into his first speech, Barker exclaimed:
Look what God said after he stopped it [Abraham’s sacrifice of Isaac—EL]. He said: “Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for I know now, I now know, that you fear God, seeing that you have not withheld thy son.” I know now? I thought God knew everything. The Bible says God knows the future but here He is saying, “I didn’t even know.” The Bible even says that God searches and understands all the imaginations of the heart. The God of the Bible knows the future. The God of the Bible does not know the future (2009).Is Barker correct? Does the Bible paint a contradictory picture of God’s knowledge? Do some passages testify to the omniscience of God, while others indicate that He is finite in His understanding?
The kind of language found in Genesis 22:12 actually is present throughout Scripture. As early as Genesis chapter three, God asked Adam, “Where are you?” (3:9). In Genesis four, He asked Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?” (4:9). The book of Job reveals that at the beginning of God’s first speech to Job, God asked the patriarch, “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth?” (38:4, emp. added). Are we to assume questions like these or statements like those found in Genesis 22:12 and 18:21 (“I will know”) imply a lack of knowledge on God’s part?
First, one must acknowledge that questions often are asked and statements frequently are made for a variety of reasons. Are we really to assume that the Creator of heaven and Earth was ignorant of Adam’s whereabouts when He asked him, “Where are you?” (Genesis 3:9)? Are we to believe that God did not know where Job was when He made the world (Job 38:4)? Certainly not! What father, having seen his son dent a car door, would imply ignorance by asking, “Who did that?” Obviously, the father did not ask the question to obtain information, but to see if the son would admit to something the father knew all along. On occasion, Jesus used questions or made statements for the same purpose. When He questioned the Pharisees’ disciples and the Herodians regarding whose inscription was on a particular coin, it clearly was not because He did not know (Matthew 22:15-22). Likewise, when Jesus asked the multitude that thronged Him, “Who touched Me?” (Luke 8:45), it was not because the woman who touched Him was hidden from Him (Luke 8:47). Jesus knew the woman who was made well by touching His garment before she confessed to touching Him (Mark 5:32). His question was intended to bring attention to her great faith and His great power (Mark 5:34). In no way are the questions God asks or the statements He makes an indication of Him being less than omniscient.
Second, the term “know” (Hebrew yada, Greek ginosko) or one of its derivatives (i.e., knew, known, etc.) is used in Scripture in a variety of ways. Several times it is used in reference to a man and woman having sexual intercourse (Genesis 4:1,17,25; Judges 11:39; 19:25). Jesus used the term to refer to His regard for His sheep (i.e., people—John 10:27). In contrast to the way of the wicked that will perish, the psalmist wrote that God “knows” (i.e., approves, takes delight in, etc.) the way of the righteous (Psalm 1:6). Paul used the term “know” in Ephesians 3:19 in the sense of knowing “experimentally what intellectually is beyond our powers of knowing”—the love of Christ (Jamieson, 1997). The fact is, like so many words in Scripture (and in modern times) the word “know” has a variety of meanings. What’s more, neither Dan Barker nor any Bible critic can prove that the term “know” in Genesis 22:12 directly contradicts God’s omniscience.
Third, the Bible’s usage of phrases such as “now I know” (Genesis 22:12) or “I will know” (Genesis 18:21) in reference to God actually are for the benefit of man. Throughout the Bible, human actions (such as “learning”) frequently are attributed to God for the purpose of helping us better understand His infinity. When Jehovah “came down to see the city and the tower” built at Babel (Genesis 11:5), it was not for the purpose of gaining knowledge. Anthropomorphic expressions such as these are not meant to suggest that God is not always fully aware of everything. Rather, as in the case of Babel, such wording was used to show that He was “officially and judicially taking the situation under direct observation and consideration” (Morris, 1976, p. 272). Almighty God visited Sodom and Gomorrah likely “for appearance’ sake, that men might know directly that God had actually seen the full situation before He acted in judgment” (p. 342). “These cities were to be made ensamples to all future ages of God’s severity, and therefore ample proof given that the judgment was neither rash nor excessive (Ezek 18:23; Jer 18:7)” [Jamieson, 1997]. Similarly, in the case of God testing Abraham regarding Isaac, although God already knew what Abraham would choose to do, there still was a reason to allow Abraham the opportunity to actually show his great faith and know that God indeed had witnessed (in real time and not just in His foreknowledge), Abraham’s actions. God came “to know” of Abraham’s faith by actual experiment. The meaning of the phrase, “now I know” (Genesis 22:12), therefore, “is not that God had, by the events of this probation, obtained information regarding Abraham's character that He did not previously possess; but that these qualities had been made apparent, had been developed by outward acts” (Jamieson, 1997).
Similar to how God instructs man to pray and make “known” to Him our petitions for our benefit (Philippians 4:6), even though He actually already knows of our prayers and needs before they are voiced (Matthew 6:8), for our profit the all-knowing God sometimes is spoken of in accommodative language as acquiring knowledge.
Jamieson, Robert, et al. (1997), Jamieson, Fausset, Brown Bible Commentary (Electronic Database: Biblesoft).
Morris, Henry M. (1976), The Genesis Record (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker).
Context Matters—Really Matters!
|by||Kyle Butt, M.Div.|
Understanding the Bible is the most important facet of any person’s life. For the honest truth seeker, a proper understanding of the Bible is imperative for him or her to secure an eternal home in Heaven. For the skeptic, a true understanding of the Bible can lead him or her out of the darkness into the marvelous light. One of the most important tools for accomplishing such an understanding is a correct grasp of the idea of biblical context and figures of speech.
The bear jumped into the water after a salmon.Obviously, the first sentence is talking about an animal, while the second sentence is discussing being able to endure. That was easy to figure out, but it could be done only via the context.
God will provide a way of escape so that you can bear temptation.
God will provide a way of escape so that you can bear temptation.
In the same way, the Bible puts things in context, and that context must be used in order to understand what is being said. For instance, in the book of Job the Bible says to “curse God” (2:9). That is a very disturbing thought. We know that in other places, the Bible says that we should love, honor, and serve God as our Creator. So which is it? Should we honor and serve Him, or curse Him? The answer is easy to find if we look at the context of the verse in Job. Job had just lost his most precious worldly possessions—children, health, and riches. As he sat in the middle of an ash heap scraping his boils with a broken piece of pottery, his wife looked on him with sorrow and desirous of ending Job’s pain. This is what she said to Job: “Do you still hold to your integrity? Curse God and die!” When Job heard this advice, he was troubled and said to his her: “You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?” Obviously, once the context is taken into account, the Bible does not tell anyone that cursing God is a good thing to do. Job’s wife mistakenly commented that Job should curse God, and Job set her error straight. Context matters—really matters.
Again, Mark 3:22 talks about Jesus saying, “By the ruler of demons He casts out demons.” But at other times we read that Jesus cast out demons by the power of God. Once again, we must inquire as to which was the case. Did the ruler of demons possess Jesus, or did Jesus use the power of God? Context saves the day again. In Mark, the scribes were accusing Jesus (falsely) of using the devil’s power. Just a few verses later in Mark 3:23-27, Jesus set the record straight and explained that His power did not come from Satan, but from God. Once again, context matters—really matters.
FIGURES OF SPEECH
In the book of 2 Corinthians, some of the Christians were accusing Paul of treating them badly. Many times throughout the book he explained that never once had he treated them unjustly. In 2 Corinthians 12:13 he wrote: “For what is it in which you were inferior to other churches, except that I myself was not burdensome to you? Forgive me this wrong!” Was the apostle really asking for forgiveness for not being burdensome to the Corinthian church? No, he was using sarcasm to make the point that he never had mistreated the church at Corinth.
Throughout the Bible, many different figures of speech are used, sarcasm being just one of them. Let’s look at another one known as hyperbole. Hyperbole might look like a confusing word, but you probably are very familiar with it, even though you might not know that you are. Hyperbole is simply the exaggeration of facts to make a point. If you were invited to a party and someone said that “everybody” was going to be there, that person would be employing hyperbole. It is impossible for “everybody” in the world to be at the party. We would not call our friend a liar because he or she said such a thing because we understand the figure of speech that was used. The Bible does the same thing. Consider John 4:39 as an example. In this passage, a Samaritan woman spoke of Jesus and said: “He told me all that I ever did.” Had Jesus really told that woman everything that she had ever done in her life? No, she was using hyperbole to make her point. Hyperbole is one of the more common figures of speech in the Bible.
Many of the biblical writers use figurative language. In Luke 13:32, Jesus had been warned that King Herod was trying to kill Him. Jesus replied by saying “Go, tell that fox….” Did Jesus really mean that Herod was a furry animal about the size of a small dog with a bushy tale? Certainly not. He did mean, however, that Herod was a sly, sneaky fellow.
Again, in John 10:1-9 Jesus spoke about a place where shepherds kept their sheep, and then referred to Himself as “the door” of the sheep fold. Did he mean that He was a tall piece of wood with a knob and hinges? No, He simply meant that everyone must go through Him to get to the Father. Jesus often used figurative language.
The Da Vinci Code, the Sabbath, and Sunday
|by||Eric Lyons, M.Min.|
Many outlandish accusations and assertions have been made through the centuries. Some have claimed that Adolf Hitler’s Nazi regime never murdered millions of Jews (see Harwood, 1974). Others have concluded that one way a man can rid himself of the AIDS virus is to have sexual relations with a virgin (see Govender, 1999). Enemies of America have accused the U.S. of being uncaring and insensitive to the suffering that takes place around the world when, in truth, few if any countries on the planet do as much to help the distressed following various catastrophes than America. [Although the U.S. certainly has lost its way in regard to promoting certain biblical and Christian values (e.g., the value of an unborn child’s life, heterosexual marriages, etc.), America is always at the forefront of helping the afflicted.]
Unfortunately, more lies have been told (and believed!) about God and Christianity than perhaps anything or anyone else on Earth. This, of course, is not surprising since “the ruler of this world” (John 14:30) and “the father” of lies (John 8:44)—Satan—wants nothing more than to deceive people regarding the one true religion. One of Satan’s recent outlets has been Dan Brown’s book The Da Vinci Code. Millions of readers have been mislead by this allegedly “historical” (Brown, 2003b), “fact-based” novel (MacEwen, 2003). It casts suspicion and purports several lies about early Christianity, the integrity of the Bible, and the deity of Christ.
One of the many wild assertions in Brown’s book is his criticism of the day on which Christians assemble to partake of the Lord’s Supper and worship God. According to one of Brown’s main characters, Robert Langdon,
Originally...Christianity honored the Jewish Sabbath of Saturday, but Constantine shifted it to coincide with the pagan’s veneration day of the sun.... To this day, most churchgoers attend services on Sunday mornings with no idea that they are there on account of the pagan sun god’s weekly tribute—Sunday (Brown, 2003a, pp. 232-233).Supposedly, Christians worship God on Sunday because in the fourth century A.D. Constantine decided that the church should worship on Sundays rather than Saturdays, and thus follow the pagan sun god’s day of tribute. What is the truth of the matter?
Long before the time of Constantine, Christians were gathering together on the first day of the week to worship God. Both inspired Bible writers and non-inspired, early (pre-Constantine) Christians viewed Sunday as the day to eat the memorial feast, as well as engage in other acts of worship. The apostle Paul instructed the Christians in Corinth (as he had earlier taught the churches of Galatia) to lay a portion of their income aside “on the first day of every week...that no collections be made when I come” (1 Corinthians 16:1-2, NASV, emp. added). Luke later wrote how the disciples in Troas came together “on the first day of the week” to break bread in remembrance of the Lord’s death (Acts 20:7, emp. added; cf. 1 Corinthians 11:17-26). Ignatius wrote in his letter to the Magnesians (believed to be penned around A.D. 110) how Christians “have come to the possession of a new hope, no longer observing the Sabbath, but living in the observance of the Lord’s Day” (1:62, emp. added; cf. Revelation 1:10). In chapter 67 of his First Apology (written around A.D. 150), Justin Martyr noted how Christians would gather together “on the day called Sunday” to read the writings of the apostles and prophets, instruct, pray, give, and eat of bread and wine (emp. added). It simply is a blatant lie to assert that 300 years after Christianity was born the Emperor Constantine “shifted” the day of worship from Saturday to Sunday. Christians have been worshiping God on the first day of the week since the first century, when about 3,000 Jews were converted to Christ on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2)—which was a Sunday.
But why did the early Christians meet on Sunday, and why do God’s people still assemble on this day? Is it, as Brown indicates, “on account of the pagan sun god’s weekly tribute”? Absolutely not! Christians have met on Sundays to worship God for the past 2,000 years because this is the day that God has set aside for us to worship Him, including eating the memorial feast. We know that it was on the first day of the week that Jesus rose from the grave (Matthew 28:1-6; Mark 16:1-6; Luke 24:1-3; John 20:1-2), that the church was established on this day (Acts 2), and that the early Christians met on this day (Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 16:1-2). Furthermore, early non-inspired preachers repudiated any connection between paganism and worshiping God on “the Lord’s day” (Sunday). Around A.D. 200, Tertullian twice dealt with this matter (“Ad Nationes,” 1:13; “Apology,” 16). In his “Apology,” he indicated that Christians “devote Sun-day to rejoicing” for a “far different reason than Sun-worship” (XVI). “Sunday is the day on which we all hold our common assembly,” wrote Justin Martyr (nearly two centuries before Constantine), because “Jesus Christ our Saviour on the same day rose from the dead. For He was crucified on the day before that of Saturn (Saturday); and on the day after that of Saturn, which is the day of the Sun,” he “appeared to His apostles and disciples” (“First Apology,” 67).
Once again, an outlandish assertion about Christianity is proven to be false. Faithful Christians never worshiped God on Sunday in any age because that day coincided with the pagan’s veneration of the Sun. What’s more, Constantine had nothing to do with saints assembling on the first day of the week. Christians have been worshiping God “on the Lord’s day” ever since the establishment of the church of Christ in the first century.
Brown, Dan (2003b), “Today,” NBC, Interview with Matt Lauer, June 9.
Govender, Prega (1999), “Child Rape: A Taboo With the AIDS Taboo,” [On-line], URL: http://www.aegis.org/news/suntimes/1999/ST990401.html.
Harwood, Richard (1974), Did Six Million Really Die? (England: Historical Review Press).
Ignatius (1973 reprint), “Epistle of Ignatius to the Magnesians,” The Ante-Nicene Fathers (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans).
Justin Martyr (1973 reprint), “The First Apology of Justin,” The Ante-Nicene Fathers (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans).
MacEwen, Valerie (2003), “Try Putting This Book Down,” [On-line], URL: http://www.popmatters.com/books/reviews/d/da-vinci-code.shtml.
Tertullian (1973 reprint), “Ad Nationes,” The Ante-Nicene Fathers (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans).
Tertullian (1973 reprint), “Apology,” The Ante-Nicene Fathers (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans).
How Rude!?by Eric Lyons, M.Min.
Imagine your mother asking you to do something for a neighbor, and you responding to her by saying, “Woman, what does that have to do with me?” If your mother is anything like mine, she probably would have given you “the look” (among other things) as she pondered how her son could be so rude. Responding to a mother’s (or any woman’s) request in twenty-first-century America with the refrain, “Woman…,” sounds impolite and offensive. Furthermore, a Christian, who is commanded to “honor” his “father and mother” (Ephesians 6:2), would be out of line in most situations when using such an expression while talking directly to his mother.
In light of the ill-mannered use of the word “woman” in certain contexts today, some question how Jesus could have spoken to His mother 2,000 years ago using this term without breaking the commandment to “[h]onor your father and your mother” (Exodus 20:12; cf. Matthew 15:4; Matthew 5:17-20). When Jesus, His disciples, and His mother were at the wedding in Cana of Galilee where there was a depletion of wine, Mary said to Jesus, “They have no wine” (John 2:3). Jesus then responded to His mother, saying, “Woman, what does your concern have to do with Me? My hour has not yet come” (John 2:4). Notice what one skeptic has written regarding what Jesus said in this verse.
In Matt. 15:4 he [Jesus—EL] told people to “Honor thy father and thy mother”; yet, he was one of the first to ignore his own maxim by saying to his mother in John 2:4, “Woman, what have I to do with thee?” (McKinsey, 1995, p. 44).As one can see, Mr. McKinsey is adamant that Jesus erred. He used such words to describe Jesus as disrespectful, insolent, unloving, and rude. Is he correct?
Imagine someone talking to his own mother is such a disrespectful manner and addressing her by such an impersonal noun as “woman.” Talk about an insolent offspring! (1995, p. 134).
Jesus needs to practice some parental respect… (2000, p. 251).
Apparently Jesus’ love escaped him (n.d., “Jesus…”).
Why was Jesus disrespectful of his mother? In John 2:4, Jesus uses the same words with his mother that demons use when they meet Jesus. Surely the son of God knew that Mary had the blessing of the Father, didn’t he, (and she was the mother of God—Ed.) not to mention the fact that the son of God would never be rude? (n.d., “Problems…”, parenthetical comment in orig.).
As with most Bible critics, Mr. McKinsey is guilty of judging Jesus’ words by what is common in twenty-first-century English vernacular, rather than putting Jesus’ comments in its proper first-century setting. It was not rude or inappropriate for a man in the first century to speak to a lady by saying, “Woman (gunai)….” This “was a highly respectful and affectionate mode of address” (Vincent, 1997) “with no idea of censure” (Robertson, 1932, p. 34). The New International Version correctly captures the meaning of this word in John 2:4: “ ‘Dear woman, why do you involve me?’ ” (NIV, emp. added). Jesus used this word when complimenting the Syrophoenician woman’s great faith (Matthew 15:28), when affectionately addressing Mary Magdalene after His resurrection (John 20:15), and when speaking to His disconsolate mother one last time from the cross (John 19:26). Paul used this same word when addressing Christian women (1 Corinthians 7:16). As Adam Clarke noted: “[C]ertainly no kind of disrespect is intended, but, on the contrary, complaisance, affability, tenderness, and concern, and in this sense it is used in the best Greek writers” (1996).
As to why Jesus used the term “woman” (gunai) instead of “mother” (meetros) when speaking to Mary (which even in first-century Hebrew and Greek cultures was an unusual way to address one’s mother), Leon Morris noted that Jesus most likely was indicating
that there is a new relationship between them as he enters his public ministry…. Evidently Mary thought of the intimate relations of the home at Nazareth as persisting. But Jesus in his public ministry was not only or primarily the son of Mary, but “the Son of Man” who was to bring the realities of heaven to people on earth (1:51). A new relationship was established (Morris, 1995, p. 159).R.C.H. Lenski added: “[W]hile Mary will forever remain his [Jesus’—EL] mother, in his calling Jesus knows no mother or earthly relative, he is their Lord and Savior as well as of all men. The common earthly relation is swallowed up in the divine” (1961, p. 189). It seems best to conclude that Jesus was simply “informing” His mother in a loving-yet-firm manner that as He began performing miracles for the purpose of proving His deity and the divine origin of His message (see Miller, 2003, pp. 17-23), His relationship to His mother was about to change.
Finally, the point also must be stressed that honoring fathers and mothers does not mean that a son or daughter never can correct his or her parents. Correction and honor are no more opposites than correction and love. One of the greatest ways parents disclose their love to their children is by correcting them when they make mistakes. Similarly, one of the ways in which a mature son might honor his parents is by taking them aside when they have erred, and lovingly pointing out their mistake or oversight in a certain matter. How much more honorable would this action be than to take no action and allow them to continue in a path of error without informing them of such. We must keep in mind that even though Mary was a great woman “who found favor with God” (Luke 1:30), she was not perfect (cf. Romans 3:10,23). She was not God, nor the “mother of God” (viz., she did not originate Jesus or bring Him into existence). But, she was the one chosen to carry the Son of God in her womb. Who better to correct any misunderstanding she may had had than this Son?
REFERENCESClarke, Adam (1996), Adam Clarke’s Commentary (Electronic Database: Biblesoft).
Lenski, R.C.H. (1961), The Interpretation of the St. John’s Gospel (Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg).
McKinsey, C. Dennis (no date), “Jesus, Imperfect Beacon,” Biblical Errancy [On-line], URL: http://members.aol.com/ckbloomfld/bepart11.html#issref113.
McKinsey, C. Dennis (no date), “Problems with the Credentials and Character of Jesus,” Biblical Errancy [On-line], URL: http://mywebpages.comcast.net/errancy/issues/iss190.htm.
McKinsey, C. Dennis (1995), The Encyclopedia of Biblical Errancy (Amherst, NY: Prometheus).
McKinsey, C. Dennis (2000), Biblical Errancy (Amherst, NY: Prometheus).
Miller, Dave (2003), “Modern-day Miracles, Tongue-Speaking, and Holy Spirit Baptism: A Refutation,” Reason & Revelation, 23:17-24, March.
Morris, Leon (1995), The Gospel According to St. John (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans), revised edition.
Robertson, A.T. (1932), Word Pictures in the New Testament (Nashville, TN: Broadman).
Vincent, Marvin R. (1997), Word Studies in the New Testament (Electronic Database: Biblesoft).
God has revealed the mystery of His will to His saints!
The mystery, revealed in the Bible, is described in various ways: the mystery of God (Colossians 2:2; Revelation 10:7), the mystery of His will (Ephesians 1:9), the mystery of Christ (Ephesians 3:4; Colossians 4:3), the mystery of the kingdom of God (Mark 4:11), the mystery of the gospel (Ephesians 6:19), the mystery of the faith (1 Timothy 3:9), and the mystery of godliness (1 Timothy 3:16).
In the Bible, a mystery is a hidden truth that can be known only by revelation.
God has revealed mysteries to man.
Daniel declared: “He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding. He reveals deep and secret things” (Daniel 2:21, 22).
God has revealed His mysteries to enable man to do His will: “The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law” (Deuteronomy 29:29).
These mysteries are not understood by all.
“In that hour Jesus rejoiced in the Spirit and said, ‘I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and revealed them to babes. Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Your sight’” (Luke 10:21).
“And the disciples came and said to Him, ‘Why do You speak to them in parables?’ He answered and said to them, ‘Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. For whoever has, to him more will be given, and he will have abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him. Therefore I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand’” (Matthew 13:10-13).
Why do some fail to understand?
Although man’s ears cannot be closed physically, they can be switched off. Zechariah said of God’s rebellious people: “They refused to heed, shrugged their shoulders, and stopped their ears so that they could not hear. Yes, they made their hearts like flint, refusing to hear the law and the words which the LORD of hosts had sent by His Spirit through the former prophets” (Zechariah 7:11, 12).
God instructed His people for their good, “Yet they did not obey or incline their ear, but followed the counsels and the dictates of their evil hearts, and went backward and not forward” (Jeremiah 7:24). God’s word is keyed to those who “incline their ear,” to those who are eager to learn.
How do people avoid hearing?
By not listening! People tune out what they do not want to hear. They prefer to watch dramatic presentations that require little effort or thought.
To really learn something however, especially if it is a little complicated, active listening is required. Like in school, one must listen to learn.
A preacher notices certain people who are listening to every word to learn more about the will of God. He notices others who sit with a blank expression, apparently thinking about something else, or nothing at all. Some allow themselves to be easily distracted by little disturbances rather than focusing on the message. Some even go to the rest room ... to see who just sent them a text message on their cell phone!
A preacher spends many hours in study and preparation to present a message from the word of God. But he is not an entertainer: he cannot mesmerize your mind like television.
While God’s word is being preached, the hearer also has a task to perform. He must listen attentively.
This lesson about the mystery of God will require concentration. We will be reading some beautiful, yet complicated passages of Scripture. Listen carefully so you can understand what God is telling us in His word.
Who can understand the mysteries of God?
About the coming reign of righteousness it was foretold: “The eyes of those who see will not be dim, and the ears of those who hear will listen” (Isaiah 32:3).
Only those who want to do the will of God understand the mysteries of the kingdom. Jesus said: “If anyone wills to do His will, he shall know concerning the doctrine, whether it is from God or whether I speak on My own authority” (John 7:17).
Paul explains that the mysteries of God are comprehended only by people who value spiritual realities: “However, we speak wisdom among those who are mature, yet not the wisdom of this age, nor of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory, which none of the rulers of this age knew; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory” (1 Corinthians 2:6-8).
Paul had not based his message on human wisdom, so their faith would be in God, not man (verses 4 and 5). To the mature Paul speaks “the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory.” Even before creation, God had a marvelous plan for man. This plan could not be known by human wisdom.
Paul continues: “But as it is written: ‘Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him’” (1 Corinthians 2:9). The blessings God has prepared are so vast that they not only cannot be known by human wisdom, they cannot even be imagined!
“But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God” (1 Corinthians 2:10, 11). The mystery of the wisdom of God and the unimaginable blessings He has in store for those who love Him, have been revealed through the Spirit!
“Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God” (1 Corinthians 2:12). The mystery of the grace of God has been revealed by the Spirit.
Paul continues: “These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual” (1 Corinthians 2:13). Some claim that the ideas in the Bible are inspired, but not the words. Paul emphasizes, however, that he communicated the revealed mystery in words taught by the Spirit.
He concludes: “But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Corinthians 2:14).
Thus, spiritual discernment is required to understand “the things of the Spirit,” the mystery of the wisdom and will of God.
The mystery was revealed to the apostles in the first century.
Paul’s understanding of the mystery came by revelation. He explained: “For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for you Gentiles - if indeed you have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which was given to me for you, how that by revelation He made known to me the mystery (as I have briefly written already, by which, when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ)” (Ephesians 3:1-4).
Paul gained knowledge of the mystery of Christ by revelation. Others can obtain this knowledge by reading what Paul has written.
“Which in other ages was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to His holy apostles and prophets: that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ through the gospel, of which I became a minister according to the gift of the grace of God given to me by the effective working of His power” (Ephesians 3:5-7).
The mystery of salvation by Christ, made known to the apostles and prophets in the first century, included the truth that believing Jews and believing Gentiles would be united in the same body, the church of Christ.
Paul’s special mission was to preach the gospel to the Gentiles: “To me, who am less than the least of all the saints, this grace was given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ” (Ephesians 3:8).
But he also addressed everyone, “And to make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God” (Ephesians 3:9).
The fellowship of the mystery is the fellowship of the saved of every nation in the church of Christ, as determined by God before creation.
“To the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places, according to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Ephesians 3:10-12).
Never underestimate the importance of the church of Christ. The mystery of the manifold wisdom of God is made known by the church, not only to man on earth, but also to the principalities and powers in heaven!
This purpose is accomplished in Christ who is the source of salvation for mankind.
“In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth” (Ephesians 1:7-10).
For the sake of the church, Paul was willing to suffer so the mystery - the word of God - might be preached: “I now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up in my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ, for the sake of His body, which is the church, of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God which was given to me for you, to fulfill the word of God, the mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now has been revealed to His saints” (Colossians 1:24-26).
It was God’s will that the saints might know the glory awaiting those in whom Christ dwells: “To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus” (Colossians 1:27, 28).
Paul had a burning desire to help people understand the mystery of God so they might enjoy the blessings God gives to those who are in Christ.
“To this end I also labor, striving according to His working which works in me mightily. For I want you to know what a great conflict I have for you and those in Laodicea, and for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh, that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, and attaining to all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the knowledge of the mystery of God, both of the Father and of Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Colossians 1:29 - 2:3).
Through the Scriptures this mystery is made known to all nations.
After the mystery of salvation was revealed to the apostles, God commanded that the gospel be made known to all nations through inspired Scriptures: “Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery kept secret since the world began but now made manifest, and by the prophetic Scriptures made known to all nations, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, for obedience to the faith - to God, alone wise, be glory through Jesus Christ forever” (Romans 16:25-27).
Preachers are stewards of the mysteries of God.
They must faithfully proclaim the gospel. Referring to Peter, Apollos and himself, Paul wrote: “Let a man so consider us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful” (1 Corinthians 4:1, 2).
We are to pray that preachers will boldly proclaim the mystery of the gospel: “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints - and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak” (Ephesians 6:18-20). “Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving; meanwhile praying also for us, that God would open to us a door for the word, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in chains, that I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak” (Colossians 4:2-4).
The Bible is a book of mysteries revealed. What have we learned?
- God has revealed the mystery of His will to His saints.
- Only those who want to do the will of God comprehend the mysteries of the kingdom.
- Only those with spiritual discernment understand the mystery of God’s wisdom revealed by the Spirit.
- The mystery of salvation through Jesus Christ was revealed to the apostles and prophets in the first century.
- It was God’s good pleasure to make these mysteries known. He wants us to know the mystery of God.
- God commanded that the revelation of this mystery be made known to all nations through inspired Scriptures.
- Preachers must faithfully proclaim the mysteries of God.
- We are to pray that they will boldly do so.
“And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh, Justified in the Spirit, Seen by angels, Preached among the Gentiles, Believed on in the world, Received up in glory” (1 Timothy 3:16).
What a tremendous blessing that God has revealed to us the mystery of salvation! Through the Scriptures this mystery has been made known to all nations for a purpose, “for obedience to the faith” (Romans 16:26).
Thus Jesus commands: “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:15, 16). “And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age’” (Matthew 28:18-20).
What is the mystery revealed? The good news that sinful man can be saved by the grace of God through His Son, Jesus Christ. Accept God’s mystery of salvation by believing in Christ and confessing His name (Romans 10:10), by repenting and being baptized for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38). Do not delay. “Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:2). Amen.
The Scripture quotations in this article are from
The New King James Version. ©1979,1980,1982, Thomas Nelson Inc., Publishers.
Permission for reference use has been granted.
The New King James Version. ©1979,1980,1982, Thomas Nelson Inc., Publishers.
Permission for reference use has been granted.
Published in The Old Paths Archive
Bible Reading October 11 (WEB)
Pro 5:1 My son, pay attention to my wisdom. Turn your ear to my understanding:
Pro 5:2 that you may maintain discretion, that your lips may preserve knowledge.
Pro 5:3 For the lips of an adulteress drip honey. Her mouth is smoother than oil,
Pro 5:4 But in the end she is as bitter as wormwood, and as sharp as a two-edged sword.
Pro 5:5 Her feet go down to death. Her steps lead straight to Sheol.
Pro 5:6 She gives no thought to the way of life. Her ways are crooked, and she doesn't know it.
Pro 5:7 Now therefore, my sons, listen to me. Don't depart from the words of my mouth.
Pro 5:8 Remove your way far from her. Don't come near the door of her house,
Pro 5:9 lest you give your honor to others, and your years to the cruel one;
Pro 5:10 lest strangers feast on your wealth, and your labors enrich another man's house.
Pro 5:11 You will groan at your latter end, when your flesh and your body are consumed,
Pro 5:12 and say, "How I have hated instruction, and my heart despised reproof;
Pro 5:13 neither have I obeyed the voice of my teachers, nor turned my ear to those who instructed me!
Pro 5:14 I have come to the brink of utter ruin, in the midst of the gathered assembly."
Pro 5:15 Drink water out of your own cistern, running water out of your own well.
Pro 5:16 Should your springs overflow in the streets, streams of water in the public squares?
Pro 5:17 Let them be for yourself alone, not for strangers with you.
Pro 5:18 Let your spring be blessed. Rejoice in the wife of your youth.
Pro 5:19 A loving doe and a graceful deer-- let her breasts satisfy you at all times. Be captivated always with her love.
Pro 5:20 For why should you, my son, be captivated with an adulteress? Why embrace the bosom of another?
Pro 5:21 For the ways of man are before the eyes of Yahweh. He examines all his paths.
Pro 5:22 The evil deeds of the wicked ensnare him. The cords of his sin hold him firmly.
Pro 5:23 He will die for lack of instruction. In the greatness of his folly, he will go astray.
Pro 6:1 My son, if you have become collateral for your neighbor, if you have struck your hands in pledge for a stranger;
Pro 6:2 You are trapped by the words of your mouth. You are ensnared with the words of your mouth.
Pro 6:3 Do this now, my son, and deliver yourself, seeing you have come into the hand of your neighbor. Go, humble yourself. Press your plea with your neighbor.
Pro 6:4 Give no sleep to your eyes, nor slumber to your eyelids.
Pro 6:5 Free yourself, like a gazelle from the hand of the hunter, like a bird from the snare of the fowler.
Pro 6:6 Go to the ant, you sluggard. Consider her ways, and be wise;
Pro 6:7 which having no chief, overseer, or ruler,
Pro 6:8 provides her bread in the summer, and gathers her food in the harvest.
Pro 6:9 How long will you sleep, sluggard? When will you arise out of your sleep?
Pro 6:10 A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep:
Pro 6:11 so your poverty will come as a robber, and your scarcity as an armed man.
Pro 6:12 A worthless person, a man of iniquity, is he who walks with a perverse mouth;
Pro 6:13 who winks with his eyes, who signals with his feet, who motions with his fingers;
Pro 6:14 in whose heart is perverseness, who devises evil continually, who always sows discord.
Pro 6:15 Therefore his calamity will come suddenly. He will be broken suddenly, and that without remedy.
Pro 6:16 There are six things which Yahweh hates; yes, seven which are an abomination to him:
Pro 6:17 haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood;
Pro 6:18 a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are swift in running to mischief,
Pro 6:19 a false witness who utters lies, and he who sows discord among brothers.
Pro 6:20 My son, keep your father's commandment, and don't forsake your mother's teaching.
Pro 6:21 Bind them continually on your heart. Tie them around your neck.
Pro 6:22 When you walk, it will lead you. When you sleep, it will watch over you. When you awake, it will talk with you.
Pro 6:23 For the commandment is a lamp, and the law is light. Reproofs of instruction are the way of life,
Pro 6:24 to keep you from the immoral woman, from the flattery of the wayward wife's tongue.
Pro 6:25 Don't lust after her beauty in your heart, neither let her captivate you with her eyelids.
Pro 6:26 For a prostitute reduces you to a piece of bread. The adulteress hunts for your precious life.
Pro 6:27 Can a man scoop fire into his lap, and his clothes not be burned?
Pro 6:28 Or can one walk on hot coals, and his feet not be scorched?
Pro 6:29 So is he who goes in to his neighbor's wife. Whoever touches her will not be unpunished.
Pro 6:30 Men don't despise a thief, if he steals to satisfy himself when he is hungry:
Pro 6:31 but if he is found, he shall restore seven times. He shall give all the wealth of his house.
Pro 6:32 He who commits adultery with a woman is void of understanding. He who does it destroys his own soul.
Pro 6:33 He will get wounds and dishonor. His reproach will not be wiped away.
Pro 6:34 For jealousy arouses the fury of the husband. He won't spare in the day of vengeance.
Pro 6:35 He won't regard any ransom, neither will he rest content, though you give many gifts.
Pro 7:1 My son, keep my words. Lay up my commandments within you.
Pro 7:2 Keep my commandments and live! Guard my teaching as the apple of your eye.
Pro 7:3 Bind them on your fingers. Write them on the tablet of your heart.
Pro 7:4 Tell wisdom, "You are my sister." Call understanding your relative,
Pro 7:5 that they may keep you from the strange woman, from the foreigner who flatters with her words.
Pro 7:6 For at the window of my house, I looked out through my lattice.
Pro 7:7 I saw among the simple ones. I discerned among the youths a young man void of understanding,
Pro 7:8 passing through the street near her corner, he went the way to her house,
Pro 7:9 in the twilight, in the evening of the day, in the middle of the night and in the darkness.
Pro 7:10 Behold, there a woman met him with the attire of a prostitute, and with crafty intent.
Pro 7:11 She is loud and defiant. Her feet don't stay in her house.
Pro 7:12 Now she is in the streets, now in the squares, and lurking at every corner.
Pro 7:13 So she caught him, and kissed him. With an impudent face she said to him:
Pro 7:14 "Sacrifices of peace offerings are with me. This day I have paid my vows.
Pro 7:15 Therefore I came out to meet you, to diligently seek your face, and I have found you.
Pro 7:16 I have spread my couch with carpets of tapestry, with striped cloths of the yarn of Egypt.
Pro 7:17 I have perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon.
Pro 7:18 Come, let's take our fill of loving until the morning. Let's solace ourselves with loving.
Pro 7:19 For my husband isn't at home. He has gone on a long journey.
Pro 7:20 He has taken a bag of money with him. He will come home at the full moon."
Pro 7:21 With persuasive words, she led him astray. With the flattering of her lips, she seduced him.
Pro 7:22 He followed her immediately, as an ox goes to the slaughter, as a fool stepping into a noose.
Pro 7:23 Until an arrow strikes through his liver, as a bird hurries to the snare, and doesn't know that it will cost his life.
Pro 7:24 Now therefore, sons, listen to me. Pay attention to the words of my mouth.
Pro 7:25 Don't let your heart turn to her ways. Don't go astray in her paths,
Pro 7:26 for she has thrown down many wounded. Yes, all her slain are a mighty army.
Pro 7:27 Her house is the way to Sheol, going down to the chambers of death.
Pro 8:1 Doesn't wisdom cry out? Doesn't understanding raise her voice?
Pro 8:2 On the top of high places by the way, where the paths meet, she stands.
Pro 8:3 Beside the gates, at the entry of the city, at the entry doors, she cries aloud:
Pro 8:4 "To you men, I call! I send my voice to the sons of mankind.
Pro 8:5 You simple, understand prudence. You fools, be of an understanding heart.
Pro 8:6 Hear, for I will speak excellent things. The opening of my lips is for right things.
Pro 8:7 For my mouth speaks truth. Wickedness is an abomination to my lips.
Pro 8:8 All the words of my mouth are in righteousness. There is nothing crooked or perverse in them.
Pro 8:9 They are all plain to him who understands, right to those who find knowledge.
Pro 8:10 Receive my instruction rather than silver; knowledge rather than choice gold.
Pro 8:11 For wisdom is better than rubies. All the things that may be desired can't be compared to it.
Pro 8:12 "I, wisdom, have made prudence my dwelling. Find out knowledge and discretion.
Pro 8:13 The fear of Yahweh is to hate evil. I hate pride, arrogance, the evil way, and the perverse mouth.
Pro 8:14 Counsel and sound knowledge are mine. I have understanding and power.
Pro 8:15 By me kings reign, and princes decree justice.
Pro 8:16 By me princes rule; nobles, and all the righteous rulers of the earth.
Pro 8:17 I love those who love me. Those who seek me diligently will find me.
Pro 8:18 With me are riches, honor, enduring wealth, and prosperity.
Pro 8:19 My fruit is better than gold, yes, than fine gold; my yield than choice silver.
Pro 8:20 I walk in the way of righteousness, in the midst of the paths of justice;
Pro 8:21 That I may give wealth to those who love me. I fill their treasuries.
Pro 8:22 "Yahweh possessed me in the beginning of his work, before his deeds of old.
Pro 8:23 I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, before the earth existed.
Pro 8:24 When there were no depths, I was brought forth, when there were no springs abounding with water.
Pro 8:25 Before the mountains were settled in place, before the hills, I was brought forth;
Pro 8:26 while as yet he had not made the earth, nor the fields, nor the beginning of the dust of the world.
Pro 8:27 When he established the heavens, I was there; when he set a circle on the surface of the deep,
Pro 8:28 when he established the clouds above, when the springs of the deep became strong,
Pro 8:29 when he gave to the sea its boundary, that the waters should not violate his commandment, when he marked out the foundations of the earth;
Pro 8:30 then I was the craftsman by his side. I was a delight day by day, always rejoicing before him,
Pro 8:31 Rejoicing in his whole world. My delight was with the sons of men.
Pro 8:32 "Now therefore, my sons, listen to me, for blessed are those who keep my ways.
Pro 8:33 Hear instruction, and be wise. Don't refuse it.
Pro 8:34 Blessed is the man who hears me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at my door posts.
Pro 8:35 For whoever finds me, finds life, and will obtain favor from Yahweh.
Pro 8:36 But he who sins against me wrongs his own soul. All those who hate me love death."
Eph 2:1 You were made alive when you were dead in transgressions and sins,
Eph 2:2 in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the children of disobedience;
Eph 2:3 among whom we also all once lived in the lust of our flesh, doing the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.
Eph 2:4 But God, being rich in mercy, for his great love with which he loved us,
Eph 2:5 even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),
Eph 2:6 and raised us up with him, and made us to sit with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,
Eph 2:7 that in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus;
Eph 2:8 for by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,
Eph 2:9 not of works, that no one would boast.
Eph 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared before that we would walk in them.
Eph 2:11 Therefore remember that once you, the Gentiles in the flesh, who are called "uncircumcision" by that which is called "circumcision," (in the flesh, made by hands);
Eph 2:12 that you were at that time separate from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of the promise, having no hope and without God in the world.
Eph 2:13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off are made near in the blood of Christ.
Eph 2:14 For he is our peace, who made both one, and broke down the middle wall of partition,
Eph 2:15 having abolished in the flesh the hostility, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man of the two, making peace;
Eph 2:16 and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, having killed the hostility thereby.
Eph 2:17 He came and preached peace to you who were far off and to those who were near.
Eph 2:18 For through him we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father.
Eph 2:19 So then you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God,
Eph 2:20 being built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the chief cornerstone;
Eph 2:21 in whom the whole building, fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord;
Eph 2:22 in whom you also are built together for a habitation of God in the Spirit.