Truth by Allan Turner



Allan Turner
Everybody looks at the world through a certain set of presuppositions. These presuppositions make up one's world view. A world view, simply stated, is the way one views the whole world. It is a way of interpreting all of reality. It is an interpretive framework through which or by which one makes sense out of the data of life and the world. Metaphorically, it is the structure with which one molds the stuff of experience; it is the mold into which the clay of reality is cast; it is like a plot that holds the play of life together; it is a pattern superimposed on the cloth of the world by which one knows where to cut the fabric of experience. Let me discover your structure, mold, plot, or pattern, and I can tell you something about your lifestyle. Why is this? It's simple: What we think affects how we act (cf. Proverbs 23:7).
Today, we live in a society where the predominant world view is Evolutionism. Another name for Evolutionism is Naturalism. Evolutionism/Naturalism has five major tenets:
  1. Matter exists eternally and is all there is. There is no God.
  2. The universe exists as a uniformity of cause and effect in a closed system.
  3. Human beings are just complex "machines." Their personalities are an interrelation of chemical and physical properties we do not yet fully understand.
  4. History is a linear stream of events linked by cause and effect, but without any overarching purpose.
  5. Death is the extinction of personality and individuality.
These five tenets are built upon seven astounding presuppositions:
  1. everything ultimately came from nothing,
  2. order came from chaos,
  3. harmony came from discord,
  4. life came from nonlife,
  5. reason came from irrationality,
  6. personality came from nonpersonality, and
  7. morality came from amorality.
Of course, these seven premises are built upon blind faith. I say blind because nothing in our observation of the universe has ever indicated that any of these seven premises are true. In fact, all the observations of science tell us that these seven premises are false. Consequently, Evolutionism/Naturalism, much to the embarrassment of its disciples, is nothing more than a religious system built on blind faithNevertheless, while wishing to hide the religious nature of their world view, the devotees of Evolutionism have not been hesitant to proclaim their bleak "gospel." Bertrand Russell, a stalwart defender of Naturalism, wrote these less than cheery words about his belief system: "That man is the product of causes which have no prevision of the end they are achieving: that his origin, his growth, his hopes and fears, his loves and his beliefs, are but the outcome of accidental collocations of atoms; that no fire, no heroism, no intensity of thought and feeling. can preserve an individual life beyond the grave; that all the noonday brightness of human genius are destined to extinction in the vast death of the solar system, and that the whole temple of man's achievement must inevitably be buried underneath the debris of a universe in ruins. Only on the scaffolding of these truths, only on the firm foundation of unyielding despair, can the soul's habitation be safely built."
Isaac Asimov, a champion of Naturalism in the latter half of the 20th century, had this to say about his religion in the April, 1971 issue of Science Digest: "Where did the substance of the universe come from? ...Perhaps in an infinite sea of nothingness, globs of positive and negative energy in equal-sized pairs are constantly forming, and after passing through evolutionary changes, combining once more and vanishing. We are in one of these globs in the period of time between nothing and nothing, and wondering about it."
But it was Robert Ingersoll, Naturalism's well-known 19th century proponent, who best summed up the total despair of the evolutionist world view, when he wrote: "Life is a narrow veil between the cold and barren peaks of two eternities. We strive in vain to look beyond the heights. We cry aloud, and the only answer is the echo of our wailing cry."

Relative Truth
Within this devastatingly bleak world view, there thrives a moral philosophy that is wreaking havoc in our modern society. This philosophy is Relativism. Relativism says that in the evolutionary and naturalistic universe nothing is fixed and definite. Nothing "governs" the universe except chance. Therefore, why should one expect to find absolutes for moral issues? The relativist says that absolutes are impossible. He says what is arbitrarily considered to be wrong today can be right tomorrow. For example, prior to 1973, abortion was considered both immoral and illegal. But then, on January 22, 1973, in one of the worst examples of legislation by judicial fiat ever exhibited in the United States, the Supreme Court, in the case of Roe v. Wade, decided a woman has a constitutional "right" to abort her unborn child. In this connection, it is interesting to note that prior to Roe v. Wade, the Declaration of Geneva, modeled after the ancient Hippocratic Oath, was recited by medical school graduates, and read, in part, "I will maintain the utmost respect for human life from the time of conception." However, subsequent editions show a modification in this World Medical Organization oath, with the words "from the time of conception" removed. Yes, indeed, ideas do have consequences!
In his much acclaimed book The Closing Of The American Mind, which is an insider's criticism of the failures of higher education, professor Allan Bloom wrote, "There is one thing a professor can be absolutely certain of: almost every student entering the university believes, or says he believes, that truth is relative." And why not? By the time he reaches the college level, the typical student has been thoroughly indoctrinated with presuppositions and tenets of Evolutionism/Naturalism. When he believes truth is relative, he is only following the logical conclusions of his erroneous world view. In fact, it is not all that unusual today to hear someone express the idea that a thing is true for them if they think it's true, or if it is somehow meaningful to them. In other words, they can have their truth, you can have your truth, and I can have my truth, and all these truths can be true, even though they are completely contradictory to each other. This point is illustrated by the fact that American students recently came in last on a math aptitude test taken by the students in several different countries around the world; nevertheless, when asked how they felt about their math ability, American students actually came in first.

True Truth
Today, as in the past,"Truth is fallen in the streets" (Isaiah 59:14). Therefore, as strange as it may sound to our ears, there's a real need today to talk about true truth. True truth is not relative but absolute. True truth is true even if we don't think it's true. In other words, true truth is always true. God is true truth (Jeremiah 10:10). True truth is one of the many wonderful characteristics of God (Deuteronomy 32:4; Psalm 31:5). In fact, the sum total of everything God says is always true truth (Psalm 119:160). On the other hand, the devil, "who is a liar and the father of it" is absolutely devoid of true truth (John 8:44). He is the father of all those who "suppress the truth in unrighteousness" (Romans 1:18). Consequently, we can be assured the devil is the instigator of the idea that truth is always relative and that there is absolutely no such thing as true truth.

The Truth
Jesus is the Word of God who came into this world and lived among us as a man (John 1:1,14). As such, He is the personification of truth. In John 14:6, the Lord identified Himself as being "the truth." In Revelation 13:4, He calls Himself the "Amen, the Faithful and True Witness." The word "amen" is of Hebrew origin and was used to indicate that something done, said, or written was trustworthy or true. Immanuel or "God With Us" proved Himself to be trustworthy and true in all things. He came to do His Father's will, and He did that; He came to convict the world of sin, and He did that; He came to condemn sin in the flesh, and He did that; He came to establish a New Covenant, and He did that; and He came to shed His blood for the remission of sins, and He did that. It was His mission to seek and save the lost, and He, thank God, did that. What He did and said while He was here on this earth was in perfect harmony with His Father's will. He was, therefore, "the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness." Therefore, it is not without significance that when Jesus spoke, He started with "Amen, amen" "Verily, verily," or "Truly, truly" (cf. John 3:3; 5:24,25). His words were absolutely trustworthy and true because He was who He claimed to be. No other man in the New Testament ever prefaced his sayings with such words. In fact, in lieu of Paul's statement in Romans 3:4, which says, "Let God be true, and every man a liar." Would it not have been presumptuous for any mere man to so preface his words? Of course, Jesus was no mere man. In using the interjection "amen," Jesus was claiming, at least indirectly, to be God in the flesh.

The Spirit Of Truth
Prior to His arrest, trial, and crucifixion Jesus told His apostles, "However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak of His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak and He will tell you things to come" (John 16:13). He went on to say: "He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you. All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore, I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you" (verse 14,15). Therefore, it should not be surprising that the "sword" of the Spirit, who is Himself described as "truth," is the "word of God" (Ephesians 6:17), the sum total of which the Bible says "is truth" (cf. Psalm 119:160). In other words, the Holy Spirit, who was Himself Truth, would use the word of God, the sum total of which is truth, to testify of Jesus, who was the Truth incarnate. Now if this isn't true truth, then I don't know what would be.

"What Is Truth?"
When He stood before Pilate, Jesus said He came into the world to "bear witness of the truth" and "Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice" (John 18:37). Evidently, in a very cynical way, Pilate asks, "What is truth?" Maybe he, too, thought that truth was relative. What he did not understand was that Truth personified stood before him that day, and although he found "no fault in Him at all" (verse 38), He, nevertheless, sentenced Him, scourged Him, mocked Him, and finally crucified Him. In doing so, Pilate is not by himself.

The Truth That Makes Men Free
Unfortunately, we live in a world of Pilates who, exhibiting the characteristics of their father, the devil, "suppress the truth in unrighteousness" (Romans 1:18). When presented with the truth, there are many today who are willing to crucify it, although they can find no fault with it. These, unfortunately, will never know the freedom that only the truth can give (John 8:32); that is, they will never be free from the bondage of sin. It is only in Christ, "the way, the truth, and the life" (John 14:6), that one is freed from sin. "Therefore, if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed" (John 8:36). Do you know the truth?

True Religion Vs. False Religion By Allan Turner


True Religion Vs. False Religion
By Allan Turner
According to Ecclesiastes 12:13, the whole duty of man is to fear the Creator of the Universe and keep His commandments. This is not something just for those who are in covenant relationship with God through Christ, but for all mankind. The Creator has natural dominion over us even before He has authority over us by consent when we are converted. Why? Because, quite frankly, He is the Creator/Sovereign of the Universe: He's the Creator and we are the creature; He's the Potter and we are the clay! Consequently, He has the authority to make demands upon us and we are under obligation to obey His commands. Apart from this understanding there are no real ethical norms (i.e., What should I do?) orobligations (i.e., Why should I do it?); no such things as absolute norms of conduct—no such things as moral absolutes! This, we learn in Romans 1:18-32, is why those who wanted to satisfy their own lusts chose not to retain in their minds the proper concept of God as Creator/Sovereign. According to the Scriptures, they “exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator” (Romans 1:25).
True religion (i.e., man made in the image of God, Genesis 1:26,27) and false religion (i.e., God created in the image of man, Romans 1:22,23) are complete opposites. The antagonism between these two are constant. Consequently, the apostle Paul warned, “Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ” (Colossians 2:8). In this passage we can see the antagonism between the “tradition of men” and “basic principles of this world” and the teaching of Christ. As Jesus said elsewhere, there are only two sources for religion—God or man (Matthew 21:23-27).
In II Corinthians 10:4,5, Paul wrote: “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.” Making use of military metaphors, the apostle is contrasting vain philosophy (man-made religion) with the truth revealed in the Bible (God-breathed or inspired religion). He is contrasting the secular worldview with the Biblical worldview. Our weapons, he tells us, are not carnal. In other words, they are not “according to the tradition of men” nor are they “according to the basic principles of the world.” Nevertheless, they are mighty “in God” for the pulling down of “strongholds.” These “strongholds,” according to Paul, are philosophies, arguments, reasonings, concepts, ideas, and every man-made ism (i.e., “every high thing”) that exalts themselves against the “knowledge of God.” Primarily, this knowledge of God is derived from just one source, namely, the Bible.
In the very first verse of the Bible, we are told: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” In this simple and uncomplicated sentence are concepts with the most profound implications. If one believes this sentence to be divinely inspired truth, then it completely destroys the “strongholds” of atheism, polytheism, materialism, and pantheism. Genesis 1:1 says the atheist is definitely wrong when he says there is no God, because Elohim (the name used to identify God in this verse and one that suggests His triune nature) identifies Himself as the Creator. This one true God (viz., the one and only state of being divine, which the Bible tells us is shared by the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) is contrasted with all the false gods of polytheism. Furthermore, materialism, a theory that says physical matter is the only fundamental reality and that all being, processes, and phenomena can be explained as manifestations or results of matter, is thoroughly defeated by the divinely revealed truth of Creation. The heavens and the earth, with all the matter contained therein, were simply spoken into existence by Almighty God. Finally, the transcendent God identified in Genesis 1:1, the One who had, and continues to have, an existence apart from His Creation, is contrasted with the pantheistic concept that teaches God consists of the forces and laws of the Universe. In other words, instead of the Biblical concept of a God who is different from His Creation, the pantheist sees God and the Creation as being One. Specifically, such a pantheistic belief is identified as “Monism” (viz., “All is One”).
The Christian must not ignore Paul's warning about the doctrines of men or vain philosophy. According to Paul, vain philosophy is a brigand that, if we are not careful, will take us captive and steal from us our spiritual possessions. Deception, long the technique of those who would cheat us and steal our physical possessions, is the major device of all man-made philosophy. Promising everything, it delivers nothing; and claiming to be one thing, it turns out to be something else entirely!
Unfortunately, many Christians, living in the twilight of the twentieth century, have either forgotten Paul's warning or no longer believe it. For whatever reasons, Christians, because of their ignorance, have been seduced into thinking that man-made philosophies are religiously neutral. Therefore, they have become enchanted by the smorgasbord of secular thought that obscures the way, perverts the truth, and totally wrecks one's spiritual life. These must be reminded that it was Jesus who said: “I am the way, the truth and the life” (John 14:6). What this means is that apart from the way, there is no going; apart from the truth, there is no knowing; and apart from the life, there is no spiritual living. This, quite frankly, is why the apostle Paul said that “every thought” must be brought “into captivity to the obedience of Christ.”
In Colossians 3:17, Paul wrote that everything one does in “word or deed” is to be done “in the name of the Lord” (i.e., by the Lord's authority). But how can one's actions be correct if one is not thinking properly? And how can one be thinking properly if one has not brought “every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ”? It is clear, then, the Lord calls upon His disciples to out-think, out-live, and out-die the polytheistic pagans and atheistic humanists around about them.
Finally, all man-made philosophies are destined for total defeat. Consequently, it is ludicrous that Christians, who have been “called out of darkness into His marvelous light” (I Peter 2:9), would want to return again to the “weak and beggarly elements” of this world, symbolized in the Bible as spiritual darkness (cf. Galatians 4:9; Ephesians 4:17-20; Colossians 1:9-14).

"THE FIRST EPISTLE TO THE CORINTHIANS" Chapter Eleven by Mark Copeland


                             Chapter Eleven


1) To ascertain if Paul's instructions concerning the veil were meant
   to be applied today, or if he was simply admonishing them to abide
   by what was a social custom of their day

2) To notice the purpose of the Lord's Supper and the manner in which
   it is to be observed


Having spent three chapters discussing the issue of eating things
sacrificed to idols, Paul now quickly covers two separate matters in
this one chapter.  The first pertains to women praying and prophesying
with heads uncovered (2-16).  In view of what we are able to glean
about the society of Corinth, and from comments made by Paul in this
chapter and elsewhere, I believe that the problem Paul addresses is one
that was occurring out in public and not in the assembly.  Beginning in 
verse 17 and continuing through chapter 14, Paul covers issues 
affecting their assemblies as a church, the first being the manner in 
which they abused the observance of the Lord's Supper (17-34).



      1. Commendation for having kept the apostolic traditions
         delivered to them (2)
      2. A reminder concerning the proper line of authority (3)
      3. Concerning praying and prophesying (4-5a)
         a. Every man who does so with head covered dishonors his head
         b. Every woman who does so with head uncovered dishonors her
            head (man)

      1. A woman praying or prophesying uncovered would make her appear
         as one shorn or shaved (5a)
         a. If a woman is not covered, let her be shorn (6a)
         b. If to be shorn or shaved is shameful, let her be covered
      2. It is proper for a man not to cover his head (7-9)
         a. Man is the image and glory of God, while woman is the glory
            of man (7)
         b. Man did not come from woman, nor was created for woman (8-9)
      3. It is appropriate for a woman to have a symbol of authority on
         her head, because of angels (10)
      4. This is not to say that man is independent of woman (11-12)
         a. Especially in the Lord (11)
         b. For as the woman is from the man, so the man is through the
            woman (12a)
         c. And all things are from God (12b)
      5. Judge this matter for yourselves (13-15)
         a. Is it proper for a woman to pray to God with uncovered 
            head? (13)
         b. Does not even nature teach you? (14-15)
            1) That long hair on a man is a dishonor to him? (14)
            2) That long hair on a woman is a glory to her, and 
               provides a covering? (15)
      6. But if anyone is contentious about this matter... (16)
         a. We have no such custom (i.e., this is not an "apostolic
         b. Nor do the churches of God


      1. He cannot praise them for their conduct in their assemblies
         a. Their coming together is not for the better, but for the
            worse (17)
         b. He has heard of their divisions, of which the only good
            thing that could be said is that it does show who is really
            approved among them (18-19)
      2. Especially in regards to the Lord's Supper (20-22)
         a. Their divisiveness made it impossible to eat properly, and
            led to severe abuses (20-21)
         b. They despised the church and shamed the poor, for which 
            Paul could not praise them (22)

      1. The institution as received by Paul directly from the Lord
      2. Properly observed, it is a proclamation of the Lord's death
      3. Properly observed, it is accompanied by self-examination
         a. Which enables us to observe it without bringing judgment to
            ourselves (27-29)
         b. Otherwise, we will be judged and chastened by the Lord,
            that we might not be condemned with the world (30-32)
      4. Concluding instructions (33-34)
         a. When you come together to eat the Supper, wait for one
            another (33)
         b. If you are hungry, eat at home (34a)
         c. Paul will have more to say when he comes to Corinth (34b)


1) List the main points of this chapter
   - Women Praying And Prophesying With Head Uncovered (2-16)
   - Concerning The Lord's Supper (17-34)

2) For what does Paul commend the church in Corinth? (2)
   - Remembering him and keeping the traditions as he delivered to them

3) What is the proper order of authority? (3)
   - God, Christ, Man, Woman

4) What evidence is there that Paul is discussing praying and
   prophesying out in public, and not in the assembly?
   - His commendation in verse 2 (they were keeping the apostolic
     traditions delivered to them)
   - His question in verse 13 (they would have answered "yes" if they
     were being asked concerning women in a religious assembly in
     Corinth; see The Expositors' Greek Testament)
   - His remarks in verses 17-18 (he at this point begins to address
     abuses in their assemblies)
   - His commandments in 14:34-37 (concerning women in the assembly)

5) What evidence is there that Paul is encouraging them to act in
   harmony with the customs of their day?
   - His comments in verses 5-6 (arguing on the basis of "IF it is
   - His appeal to propriety in verse 13 ("is it proper...?")
   - His conclusion in verse 16 (this is not an "apostolic" or "church"

6) How did Paul feel about eating common meals in the assemblies?
   (22, 34)
   - He did not approve, and strongly condemned those who did

7) What is the purpose of the Lord's Supper? (24-26)
   - A memorial in which we proclaim the Lord's death

8) How should one observe the Lord's Supper? (27-29)
   - In a worthy manner
   - With self-examination
   - Discerning the Lord's body

9) How can we avoid the judgement of God? (31)
   - By judging ourselves

10) What is God's purpose in judging His children? (32)
   - To chasten, that we not be condemned with the world

11) What appears to be an important element in observing the Lord's
    Supper? (33; Acts 20:7)
   - That it be done "together"

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2016

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                               Chapter Ten


1) To realize the possibility of apostasy

2) To appreciate the help of God in times of temptation

3) To understand the importance of properly applying the principle of


In this chapter Paul brings to a conclusion his discussion concerning 
things offered to idols.  Reminding them about the example of Israel's 
apostasy and the danger of their own, he commands them to "flee 
idolatry" (1-14).  He describes the communal implications of religious
feasts and warns against provoking the Lord to jealousy by having
fellowship with demons (15-22).  This is probably a rebuke to the sort
of practice alluded to in chapter 8, verse 10, where some at the church 
in Corinth thought nothing of eating sacrificial meat even in an idol's 
temple!  He closes by giving specific instructions concerning meat that 
was later sold in the market place, or offered at the dinner of an 
unbeliever to which they might be invited; that they not be concerned 
unless someone specifically associates it with having been offered to 
an idol, and then to refrain out of consideration for the other's 
conscience (23-30).  An overriding principle?  Do all to the glory of 
God, and provide no occasi on for others to stumble (31-32).  In other 
words, imitate Paul, who sought to save others just as Christ did 



      1. Blessings received in the crossing of the Red Sea (1-2)
      2. Blessings received as they sojourned in the wilderness (3-4)
      3. Still, with most of them God was not pleased, and they died in
         the wilderness (5)

      1. Their example of apostasy to warn us (6)
         a. Not to become idolaters (7)
         b. Not to commit sexual immorality (8)
         c. Not to tempt Christ (9)
         d. Not to murmur (10)
      2. Their history recorded to admonish us (11)
         a. For we can just as easily fall (12)
         b. Though God is faithful to provide help in dealing with
            temptation (13)
      3. Therefore, flee from idolatry! (14)


      1. Paul speaks as to those capable of making wise judgments (15)
      2. Partaking of the Lord's Supper is a communion of the Lord's
         body and blood (16-17)
      3. The priests of Israel who ate the sacrifices were sharing in
         the services offered on the altar (18)

      1. Not to say that an idol is anything, nor that which is offered
         to the idol (19)
      2. But those who offer the sacrifices do so to demons, not God;
         and Paul would not want them to have fellowship with demons
      3. They cannot eat and drink at the Lord's table and then do the
         same at the tables of demons (21)
      4. Such would provoke the Lord to jealousy (22)


      1. Seek for those things that are helpful, being considerate of
         the well-being of others (23-24)
      2. Concerning things sold in the market, eat without question
      3. When you are invited to a dinner with an unbeliever (27-30)
         a. Eat what is set before you, asking no question for  
            conscience's sake (27)
         b. But if someone should point out that the food had been
            offered to an idol, don't eat (28-30)
            1) For the sake of the one who pointed it out (28a)
            2) For the sake of another's conscience (28b)
               a) Lest your liberty be judged (condemned?) by the
                  other's conscience (29)
               b) Lest you be evil spoken of concerning that for which
                  you gave thanks (30)

      1. Whatever you do, do all to the glory to God (31)
      2. Give no offense to Jews, Greeks, or the church of God (32)
      3. Just as Paul sought to please others rather than himself, that
         others may be saved (33)
      4. Imitate him, as he imitated Christ (11:1)


1) List the main points of this chapter
   - Examples Of Israel's Apostasy (1-14)
   - Religious Feasts And Their Communal Implications (15-22)
   - Conclusion Regarding Things Sacrificed To Idols (23-11:1)

2) What Old Testament account illustrates the possibility of apostasy?
   - The exodus and wilderness wanderings of the Israelites

3) What attitude is most likely to precede one's fall? (12)
   - Thinking that by standing there is no danger of falling

4) What promises do we have that should encourage us in times of
   temptation? (13)
   - That God will not allow us to be tempted beyond what we are able
     to bear
   - That He will provide a way of escape to bear it

5) What is the Lord's Supper according to verse 16?
   - A communion (or sharing) of the body and blood of the Lord

6) What does partaking of the one bread demonstrate? (17)
   - That we are one body

7) In considering a matter, what must be considered besides its
   lawfulness? (23-24)
   - Is it helpful; does it edify one another

8) To whom are we to give no offense (an occasion of stumbling)? (32)
   - Jews, Greeks, the church of God

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2016

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                               Chapter Nine


1) To be impressed with Paul's own example of restricting his liberty
   in Christ so as to save others

2) To understand the Biblical authority for supporting those who labor
   in the preaching of the gospel

3) To see the importance of self-control, and the danger of apostasy


After warning in chapter eight that the improper exercise of one's
liberty in Christ might lead to the damnation of those who are weak in
faith and conscience, Paul now illustrates how he was willing to
exercise restraint even when it came to the liberties he had as an
apostle of Jesus Christ.  Though he had the right to have a believing
wife and be supported in the preaching the gospel (1-14), he freely
chose not to exercise these and other rights.  One reason was so he
might be able to freely offer some sort of service to the Lord (15-18),
but it also was because he desired to save others (19-23).  There was
also the realization that self-restraint was a necessary quality to
assure his own salvation as well (24-27)!



      1. By virtue of being an eyewitness of the Lord (1a)
      2. By virtue of his work among the Corinthians (1b-2)

      1. The right to eat and drink (4)
      2. The right to take along a believing wife, as other apostles,
         the brothers of the Lord, and Cephas were doing (5)
      3. The right to refrain from working and be supported by others
         a. Illustrations of a soldier, farmer, and shepherd (7)
         b. As illustrated by the Law of Moses (8-10)
         c. An exchange of spiritual things for material things (11)
         d. If others could, why not Paul, if he wanted? (12)
         e. The example of priests in the temple (13)
         f. The clear decree of the Lord Himself (14)

    HIMSELF (15-27)

      1. His purpose in writing is not to raise support, for that would
         make his boasting void (15)
      2. Preaching the gospel was a necessity laid upon him by the Lord
         a. He had no choice, he would be lost if he did not (16)
         b. If he had chosen to preach on his own, he would have a
            reward (17a)
         c. But he was like a slave, entrusted with a stewardship
            regardless of his will (17b)
      3. But by choosing to present the gospel without charge, he could
         have a reward, and also not abuse his authority in the gospel

      1. Though free from all men, he made himself a servant to all to
         save them (19-22a)
         a. To the Jews and those under the Law (20)
         b. To those not under the Law (21)
         c. To the weak (22a)
      2. He became all things to all men, desiring to save them and share
         the gospel with them (22b-23)

      APOSTASY (24-27)
      1. Not all who run in a race win a prize, so one needs to run so
         as to win (24)
      2. Those who compete for perishable crowns exercise self-control
         in all things, how much more should we who seek for an
         imperishable crown! (25)
      3. So Paul runs his race, and fights the good fight, with
         determined discipline and control over his own body (26-27a)
      4. For he knows he could be lost (disqualified) after preaching
         to others! (27b)


1) List the main points of this chapter
   - Paul's Liberty As An Apostle (1-14)
   - Paul's Example Of Restricting His Liberty To Save Others And
     Himself (15-27)

2) What two things helped to verify Paul's apostleship? (1-2)
   - He had seen the Lord
   - The conversion of the Corinthians

3) What were two things that the apostles had the right to do? (5-6)
   - To take along a believing wife
   - To refrain from working

4) What arguments does Paul make to justify preachers receiving
   support? (7-14)
   - Illustrations of a soldier, farmer, and shepherd
   - Illustrated by the Law of Moses
   - An exchange of spiritual things for material things
   - The fact others were receiving support
   - The example of priests in the temple
   - The clear decree of the Lord Himself

5) Why did Paul choose not to accept support? (15-18)
   - So he might receive a reward for doing something willingly, not
     out of necessity

6) Why was Paul willing to make himself a servant to all men? (19,22)
   - So he could save some of them

7) What two athletic events did Paul compare with the Christian life?
   - Running a race
   - Boxing

8) Why was Paul so concerned about exercising self-control? (27)
   - He was aware of the real possibility of being "disqualified"
     himself after having preached to others

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2016

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                             Chapter Eight


1) To see the relationship between knowledge and love

2) To understand how we might misuse the liberty we have in Christ

3) To realize the responsibility we have to our brethren who may be
   weak or lacking in knowledge


In this chapter and the two to follow, Paul addresses the matter of 
Christians eating things that had been sacrificed to idols.  Though in 
the tenth chapter he will conclude with specific warnings concerning 
this issue (10:18-33), he begins by arguing on the basis of the 
supremacy of love over knowledge (1-3).  While concurring that some 
might have correct knowledge about God and idols, he points out that 
all might not, and it would be very easy by an abuse of "liberty" to 
cause those with weak consciences to stumble (4-10).  Such would be a 
serious offense, even against Christ, prompting Paul to say how far he 
would go to avoid causing a brother to stumble (11-13).



      1. Knowledge puffs up, while love edifies (1)
      2. Knowledge can lead one to think he knows more than he really
         does (2)
      3. While he who loves God is known by Him (3)

      1. Knowledge concurs that an idol is nothing, and that there is
         only one God and one Lord (4-6a)
      2. For Christians that means the Father, and Jesus Christ (6b)


      1. Some eat things that were offered to idols with consciousness
         of the idol (7a)
      2. In so doing, they defile their weak consciences (7b)

      1. Food or the lack of it does not effect our relationship with
         God (8)
      2. But if we are not careful, our liberty concerning food can
         become a stumblingblock to others (9)

      1. Through improper exercise of knowledge and liberty, our 
         example might encourage others to violate their weak
         conscience (10)
      2. Through improper exercise of knowledge and liberty, we may
         cause others to perish, which is a sin against Christ! (11-12)

      1. If food makes his brother to stumble, he will never again eat
         meat (13a)
      2. Lest he make his brother stumble (13b)


1) List the main points of this chapter
   - Knowledge, Love, And Eating Things Offered To Idols (1-7)
   - Applying Love Toward Those Whose Consciences Are Weak (8-13)

2) What is the danger of knowledge? (1)
   - It can lead to being "puffed up" or arrogant

3) What is the power of love? (1)
   - It can build another person up

4) What attribute is important in regards to knowledge? (2)
   - Humility

5) How can one abuse their liberty in Christ? (9-11)
   - By allowing their example to encourage others whose consciences
     are weak to do that which would violate their consciences (even in
     matters that are lawful in of themselves)

6) What happens if we sin against our brothers? (12)
   - We sin against Christ!

7) How far should we be willing to go out of consideration for our
   brethren who are weak in faith? (13)
   - Even if it means to restrict what liberty we might have in Christ!

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2016

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The Quran and Corrupt Christianity by Dave Miller, Ph.D.


The Quran and Corrupt Christianity

by Dave Miller, Ph.D.

Both Muhammad and the Quran show a failure to grasp the difference between New Testament Christianity and the corrupted Christianity practiced by those who professed to be Christians in the Arabian peninsula of the sixth and seventh centuries. The fact that the Quran reflects this failure shows that its author(s) did not have divine guidance, even as it failed to detect the Jewish misrepresentations of the Old Testament as projected by the rabbinic folklore of the day. The form of Christianity reflected prominently in the Quran is Catholicism (e.g., Surah 57:27—monasticism; Surah 17:56—saint worship). Anyone familiar with the first five centuries of church history is well aware of the extent to which the Christian religion had become perverted and distorted. These perversions did not escape the attention of the author of the Quran. However, even when an appropriate criticism is leveled against a doctrine with which Muhammad disagreed, the criticism often will contain an implicit approval of another element that is contrary to New Testament teaching.
For example, the Quran refers to Jesus as “son of Mary” 22 times. Most of these allusions are uttered by Allah Himself (Surah 2:87,253; 3:45; 4:171; 5:17,46,75,78,110,114,116; 9:31; 19:34; 23:50; 33:7; 43:57; 57:27; 61:6,14). Yet this phrase occurs in the New Testament only one time—and only then as used by certain unnamed townspeople whose use of the term shows they knew of Him only in terms of His earthly relationships, i.e., the son of Mary, and as a carpenter who had brothers and sisters (Mark 6:3). The Quran places an undue and unbiblical emphasis on Mary, thereby reflecting the Catholic notion that characterized his day (cf. Surah 5:116). The overwhelming emphasis in the New Testament is on Jesus being the “Son of God” (Mark 1:1; Luke 1:35; John 1:34; 3:18; 5:25; 10:36; 11:4; Acts 9:20; Romans 1:4; 2 Corinthians 1:19; Hebrews 4:14; 7:3; 10:29; 1 John 3:8; 4:15; 5:10,13,20; et al.)—an acknowledgment made even by Satan and the demons (Luke 4:3,9,41; 8:28). [NOTE: The notion of Mary as intercessor on behalf of those still on Earth (Abbott, 1966, pp. 96,630) is reflected in the comparable role assigned to Muhammad by Muslims (Geisler and Saleeb, 1993, pp. 85-86)].
The author of the Quran unquestionably had heard the squabbles between Christians and Jews (Surah 2:113). Mistakenly assuming they were supposed to follow the same book, the Quran demonstrates a lack of understanding regarding the distinction between the Old Testament and the New Testament, as well as the relationship sustained between Judaism and Christianity. This surface misconception undoubtedly contributed to the uninformed conclusion that the Bible is corrupt, and is unable to transmit God’s will accurately.
The Quran possesses many characteristics that demonstrate its uninspired (i.e., human) origin. One such trait is its failure to distinguish between the Christianity taught in the New Testament and the distorted form of Christianity to which the author of the Quran was exposed. It unwittingly endorses the corrupt features that characterize the Byzantine Christianity that manifested itself in Arabia in the sixth and seventh centuries after Christ.


Abbott, Walter, ed. (1966), The Documents of Vatican II (New York: America Press).
Geisler, Norman L. and Abdul Saleeb (1993), Answering Islam (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker).

The Walls Came Tumbling Down by Garry K. Brantley, M.A., M.Div.


The Walls Came Tumbling Down

by Garry K. Brantley, M.A., M.Div.

Jericho’s inhabitants watched the army of Israel circle their city each day for six days. On the seventh day, the Israelites marched around the city seven times. When the Israelites shouted and the priests blew their trumpets, those strong walls in which the Jerichoites placed such confidence crumbled like sand. Just as Egypt’s so-called gods were powerless against Yahweh, Jericho’s stately walls bowed before Him. Such is the biblical scenario of Jericho’s fate during the time of Joshua.
In the preliminary report of her extensive excavations at Jericho, archaeologist Kathleen Kenyon adduced a purely naturalistic explanation of the biblical story. She conjectured that, at the precise moment of Israel’s trumpet blasts and shouts, an earthquake fortuitously crumbled Jericho’s walls. In their religious naivete, the Israelites regarded this natural event as divine intervention on their behalf (Kenyon, 1957, p. 262).
Kenyon’s analyses demonstrate the status to which archaeology has been elevated in some circles. To many scholars, archaeology has become such a sophisticated scientific endeavor that they attach greater importance to archaeological interpretations than to biblical information. Accordingly, if archaeology cannot prove it, we are asked to suspend judgment on the integrity of a given biblical text.
Yet, archaeology can do only so much. Though it provides some valuable information regarding culture in biblical times, and has illuminated the biblical text in many unexpected ways, archaeology is woefully inadequate to address questions of theology. It is true that archaeological investigations often have confirmed biblical historicity. Bryant G. Wood, for example, has extensively analyzed the evidence from Jericho and concluded that the data are consistent with biblical information regarding Jericho’s destruction (see Wood, 1987; 1990). Such evidence does confirm the historical reliability of the Bible—something we would expect from a divinely inspired document. Archaeology, however, cannot determine Who caused Jericho’s walls to fall. It is by faith that we acknowledge divine causes in human history. And it is by such faith that we know that at God’s command, the walls of Jericho came tumbling down.


Kenyon, Kathleen (1957), Digging Up Jericho: The Results of the Jericho Excavations 1952-1956(New York: Praeger).
Wood, Bryant G. (1987), “Uncovering the Truth at Jericho,” Archaeology and Biblical Research, Premiere Issue, pp. 6-16, Autumn.
Wood, Bryant G. (1990), “Did the Israelites Conquer Jericho?: A New Look at the Archaeological Evidence,” Biblical Archaeology Review, 16[2]:44-58, March/April.

Where Was God in Newtown, Connecticut? by Kyle Butt, M.Div.


Where Was God in Newtown, Connecticut?
by Kyle Butt, M.Div.

The events that occurred in Newtown, Connecticut on December 14, 2012 are, in every sense of the word, tragic. A gunman named Adam Lanza shot and killed 20 children, six adults, himself and his mother in one of the most deadly school shootings in U.S. history. As is always the case when tragedies like this occur, various people and groups use the events to propel their agendas. In the past several decades, the atheistic community has used occurrences like this as “evidence” that a loving God does not exist. These atheistic writers and speakers contend that if there is a loving God, He would never allow a person to shoot 20 innocent children in cold blood. If there is a loving God, they claim, He would stop such a brutal killing. Since He did not stop it, either He does not have the power to stop it, or He is not a loving God who cares for innocent children. Either way, they suggest, the concept of a loving, all-powerful God such as the one portrayed in the Bible cannot exist in the face of such senseless brutality. “If there is a loving God, where was He on December 14, 2012 in Newtown, Connecticut?” they demand. What can the Christian say in response to such reasoning?


It is a fact that the actions of the gunman were evil. He should not have killed 27 people and himself. Virtually every person who hears an account of his actions rightly understands that what he did was horribly wrong and evil. Yet, in a world without God, there is no way to contend that what he did was evil. Atheist Frederick Nietzsche understood this perfectly. He wrote: “We believe that severity, violence, slavery, danger in the street and in the heart, secrecy, stoicism, tempter’s art and devilry of ever kind—that everything wicked, terrible, tyrannical, predatory, and serpentine in man, serves as well for the elevation of the human species as its opposite” (2007, p. 35). You see, if humans are merely the product of mindless, random, naturalistic processes over millions of years, then how can any person claim to know that Adam Lanza did something evil. From where would the concept of evil originate if nature were all there is or was?
 Charles Darwin was fully aware of the implications of atheism and godlessness. He wrote: “A man who has no assured and ever present belief in the existence of a personal God or of a future existence with retribution and reward, can have for his rule of life, as far as I can see, only to follow those impulses and instincts with are the strongest or which seem to him the best ones (1958, p. 94). Thus, if there really is no God, then Adam Lanza was simply following the instincts and impulses that seemed the strongest to him. If other products of natural processes (humans) do not like what he did, they cannot say it was evil, or wrong, all they would be able to say is that they do not have those same instincts or impulses. And yet, the truth of the matter is, something evil, wicked, and wrong did occur. If that is true, there must be a God.
In a very famous statement, C.S. Lewis captured this thought perfectly when he wrote:
My argument against God was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust. But how had I got this idea of just and unjust? A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line. What was I comparing this universe with when I called it unjust...? Of course, I could have given up my idea of justice by saying it was nothing but a private idea of my own. But if I did that, then my argument against God collapsed too—for the argument depended on saying that the world was really unjust, not simply that it did not happen to please my private fancies. Thus in the very act of trying to prove that God did not exist—in other words, that the whole of reality was senseless—I found I was forced to assume that one part of reality—namely my idea of justice—was full of sense. Consequently, atheism turns out to be too simple (Lewis, 1952, pp. 45-46, italics in orig.)
If something that was, in fact, evil, took place in Newtown on December 14, 2012, then there must be a God.


Once we establish the fact that the existence of evil does not militate against God’s existence, but actually establishes it, there is still the emotional question of how God could allow innocent children to die. In fact, it is often the case that atheists will attempt to draw attention away from the rational side of the discussion and argue from pure emotion. “How could a loving God let innocent children die?” they insist. Their contention is that God has, in some way, wronged the innocent children. Their allegation fails, however, when we understand the true nature of what has happened.
The Bible repeatedly stresses the idea that physical death is not complete loss, and can actually be beneficial to the one who dies. The Bible explains that every person has a soul that will live forever, long after physical life on this Earth is over (Matthew 25:46). The Bible consistently states the fact that the immortal soul of each individual is of much more value than that individual’s physical life on this Earth. Jesus Christ said: “For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matthew 16:26).
Although the skeptic might object, and claim that an answer from the Bible is not acceptable, such an objection falls flat for one primary reason: the skeptic used the Bible to formulate his own argument. Where is it written that God is love? In the Bible, in such passages as 1 John 4:8. Where do we learn that God is all-powerful? Once again, that information comes directly from the Bible, read Genesis 17:1. Where, then, should we look for an answer to this alleged moral dilemma? The answer should be: the Bible. If the alleged problem is formulated from biblical testimony, then the Bible should be given the opportunity to explain itself. As long as the skeptic uses the Bible to formulate the problem, we certainly can use the Bible to solve the problem. One primary facet of the biblical solution is that every human has an immortal soul that is of inestimable value.
With the value of the soul in mind, let us examine several verses that prove that physical death is not necessarily evil. In a letter to the Philippians, the apostle Paul wrote from prison to encourage the Christians in the city of Philippi. His letter was filled with hope and encouragement, but it was also tinted with some very pertinent comments about the way Paul and God view death. In Philippians 1:21-23, Paul wrote: “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I live on in the flesh, this will mean fruit from my labor; yet what I shall choose I cannot tell. For I am hard pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ,which is far better” (emp. added).Paul, a faithful Christian, said that death was a welcome visitor. In fact, Paul said that the end of his physical life on this Earth would be “far better” than its continuation. For Paul, as well as for any faithful Christian, the cessation of physical life is not loss, but gain. Such would apply to innocent children as well, since they are in a safe condition and go to paradise when they die (see Butt, 2003).
Other verses in the Bible show that the loss of physical life is not inherently evil. The prophet Isaiah concisely summarized the situation when he was inspired to write: “The righteous perishes, and no man takes it to heart; merciful men are taken away, while no one considers that the righteous is taken away from evilHe shall enter into peace; they shall rest in their beds, each one walking in his uprightness” (57:1-2, emp. added). Isaiah recognized that people would view the death of the righteous incorrectly. He plainly stated that this incorrect view of death was due to the fact that most people do not think about the fact that when a righteous or innocent person dies, that person is “taken away from evil,” and enters “into peace.”
The psalmist wrote, “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints” (Psalm 116:15). Death is not inherently evil. In fact, the Bible indicates that death can be great gain in which a righteous person is taken away from evil and allowed to enter peace and rest. God looks upon the death of His faithful followers as precious. Skeptics who charge God with wickedness because He has allowed the physical lives of innocent babies to be ended are in error. They refuse to recognize the reality of the immortal soul. Instead of the death of innocent children being an evil thing, it is often a blessing for that child to be taken away from a life of hardship and evil influence at the hands of a sinful society, and ushered into a paradise of peace and rest. In order for a skeptic to legitimately charge God with cruelty, the skeptic must prove that there is no immortal soul, and that physical life is the only reality—neither of which the skeptic can do. Failure to acknowledge the reality of the soul and the spiritual realm will always result in a distorted view of the nature of God. “The righteous perishes…while no one considers that the righteous is taken away from evil.”


Our hearts are breaking for those in Newtown who have suffered such tragic loss. No words can adequately describe such emotional pain. But instead of allowing the skeptical community to use the evil actions of Adam Lanza to push people into the despair of atheism and unbelief, we should use this opportunity to encourage those in Newtown, and worldwide, to seek their God and Creator in times of trouble. The apostle Paul wrote to the church at Corinthian: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4). What can atheism tell the survivors?—that nothing evil was really done, and that their precious children have simply ceased to exist. Oh, how desperate. But what can Christianity offer those who mourn? We can acknowledge that evil was done, that innocent children were killed, but that their immortal souls are in paradise with their Creator. And that God offers all who will obey Him the opportunity to live forever. Thus, parents can be reunited with their children when the fleeting years of this brief earthly life are past. God, the God of all comfort, is the only One who can offer any hope or consolation in such a tragedy.


Butt, Kyle (2003), “Do Babies Go to Hell When They Die?” Apologetics Press,http://www.apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?category=13&article=1201.
Darwin, Charles (1958), The Autobiography of Charles Darwin, ed. Nora Barlow (New York: W.W. Norton).
Lewis, C.S. (1952), Mere Christianity (New York: Simon and Schuster).

Which Spirits are from God? (1 John 4:1-3)? by Kyle Butt, M.Div.


Which Spirits are from God? (1 John 4:1-3)?

by Kyle Butt, M.Div.

The first three verses of 1 John 4 contain certain elements that, at first glance, can be somewhat confusing. Yet, when taken in their proper context and compared with the rest of the letter, their meaning becomes much clearer. The verses state:
Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God; for many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. And this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming; and now it is already in the world (NRSV).
As a brief background to these verses, it should be noted that the book of 1 John deals in an in-depth fashion with the Gnostic apostasy that divided the Lord’s Church during the later part of the first century and on into the second century. One of the main tenets of the Gnostic heresy was the idea that anything physical was, by its very nature, evil. Therefore, according to the Gnostics, if Jesus Christ actually came in the flesh, then He must have been tainted by sinful, evil flesh. This group suggested, then, that Jesus Christ never literally came “in the flesh,” but onlyseemed to come in the flesh.
John’s argument at the beginning of 1 John 4 is an encouragement to Christians to test the teachings and beliefs of everyone who would pretend to be speaking on behalf of God. [John used the word “spirit” to refer to the teachings, beliefs, and actions of people (in this case, true and false teachers). Lenski stated: “ ‘Spirit’ is the person as such with his inner, spiritual character. There is no need to put more into this word” (1966, p. 485).] John then suggested the criterion whereby his readers could know if the teacher was speaking from God or not. John wrote: “Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God.” This particular phrase has caused some confusion in the religious world. Looking at the phrase by itself, it seems that every person who claims that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is “from God,” regardless of any other beliefs or teachings that may conflict with the Bible. Using this verse, it has been argued that God accepts any religious group that acknowledges that Jesus has come in the flesh.
Upon further investigation, however, it can be shown that this phrase was not intended to offer blanket acceptance of all religious people or groups who simply state a belief that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh. In fact, to state that one believes that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is to do no more than the demons did during the earthly ministry of Christ. In Mark 1:21-28, the gospel writer related a story about Jesus casting an unclean spirit out of a man who lived in Capernaum. Upon meeting Jesus, the unclean spirit cried out, “Let us alone! What have we to do with You, Jesus of Nazareth? Did You come to destroy us? I know who You are—the Holy One of God!” (1:24). Obviously, the unclean spirit recognized Jesus as coming in the flesh; yet few, if any, would argue that the unclean spirit’s verbal confession would classify this demon as being pleasing or acceptable to God. Therefore, it is clear that John’s statement does not mean that every person who merely says that Jesus came in the flesh is pleasing to God.
What does John’s statement about confessing Christ mean? When looking at other parts of 1 John, several criteria for a faithful follower of God are enumerated. James Burton Coffman offered a list of at least seven things that John used in the epistle to gauge whether or not a person was faithful and acceptable to God (1979, p. 415). Among other things, John wrote that a person must: (1) confess his or her sins (1:8-10); (2) keep God’s commandments (2:3-4; 5:2); (3) practice righteousness (2:29); (4) love others (3:10); (5) provide for the physical needs of others (4:17); and (6) believe and confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh (4:1-3). As Coffman noted of these criteria:
They are not separate tests, actually, but a composite, each of the above scriptures being, in a sense, commentary on each one of the others…. [T]he unity of the tests is seen in the fact that “keeping his commandments,” “loving one another,” “doing righteousness,” “possessing the Holy Spirit,” etc., all amount to one and the same thing” (1979, pp. 415-416).
It is evident, therefore, that John’s statement about confessing Christ was not meant to be a single test of authenticity, but rather a summary statement that entailed all of the other necessary conditions found throughout the book. Charles Ryrie wrote in regard to 1 John 4:2: “From this verse, we are not to suppose that this was the only test of orthodoxy; but it is a major one, and it was the most necessary one for the errors of John’s day” (1971, p. 1022). R.C.H. Lenski likewise stated: “It would be a serious mistake to think that John speaks of confessing only the one fact or doctrine of the Incarnation…” (1966, p. 488). Thus, mental acceptance and verbal acknowledgment of the fact that Jesus Christ came in flesh will never put a person in a right relationship with God without the proper actions and obedience to God’s commands.
Additional comments are in order concerning John’s reference to the “spirit of the antichrist.” Countless people and groups have attempted to identify the antichrist. Simply type in the word “antichrist” on the Internet, and you will be inundated with suggested personalities such as the Roman Emperor Nero, Adolf Hitler, Saddam Hussein, and the Pope—which are but a few of the candidates put forth. In most cases, “the antichrist” is supposed to be connected with the end of the world, the number 666, and various other “signs of the times.” However, John is the only biblical writer to use the word antichrist(s). He uses it five times in the following verses: 1 John 2:18, 22; 4:3; 2 John 7. In these five brief references, John made several things clear concerning the antichrist. He wrote in 1 John 2:18,22: “Children, it is the last hour! As you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. From this we know that it is the last hour…. Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son.”
First, let it be noted that John specifically mentioned that many antichrists had already come into the world. If his readers were looking for a single, solitary figure distinguished as the sole antichrist, John disabused them of this notion by mentioning that many antichrists had come. Any attempt to identify the antichrist as a solitary political or religious personality misses the pointed statement by John that many antichrists had already come into the world. No doubt, John was specifically referring to those of the Gnostic persuasion.
Second, John unambiguously informed his readers that during their own lifetime (i.e., the first century), these antichrists had already come into the world. All efforts to connect the antichrist with some future, end-time predictions fail to account for the fact that John specifically stated that the many antichrists were already in the world at the time of his writing.
If, according to John, there were many antichrists in the first century, what was John’s definition of an antichrist? John defined an antichrist as any person (or group) who denies the Father and the Son. In 1 John 4:3, he explained, “every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. And this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming; and now it is already in the world.” When analyzed critically, one can see that any person or group, which does not recognize that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, has come in the flesh, is a person or group that has been seized by the spirit of antichrist. As abrasive as it may seem, groups such as Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, and even orthodox Jews would all fall under John’s condemnation of denying the Son and the Father.
As John urged his readers almost two thousand years ago, so we must today: “Test the spirits to see whether they are from God; for many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1).


Coffman, Burton (1979), Commentary on James, 1&2 Peter, 1,2&3 John, and Jude (Abilene, TX: ACU Press).
Lenski, R.C.H. (1966), The Interpretation of the Epistles of St. Peter, St. John, and St. Jude(Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg).
Ryrie, Charles C. (1971), Wycliffe Bible Commentary (Chicago, IL: Moody Press).

The Miracles of Jesus by Kyle Butt, M.Div.


The Miracles of Jesus

by Kyle Butt, M.Div.

In John 20:31, we learn why Jesus performed miracles—so “that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in his name.” The miracles of Christ recorded in the Gospels proved that Jesus had been given all power in Heaven and on Earth. Trustworthy men documented that He had power over the human body and could heal sickness and disease with the touch of His hand (Matthew 8:1-4). On other occasions, He proved that He had power over the spiritual world by forgiving sins (Luke 5:20-24) and casting out demons (Luke 6:18). He also had power to control the physical world by calming storms and walking on water (Matthew 14:25-43). And His power over death was shown through His glorious resurrection three days after His crucifixion (John 20:24-29).
Jesus’ miracles were designed to prove that He was the Son of God. Even the Pharisees, His worst enemies, admitted: “This man works many signs. If we let Him alone like this, everyone will believe in Him” (John 11:47-48). Yet they steadfastly refused to believe that He was God’s Son. Many of them even saw Him raise Lazarus from the dead, heal the sick, and cause the blind to see. Yet they would not admit to His deity.
Why should it be any different today? Anyone who takes an honest look at the evidence should see that this world must have had a Creator. The Bible is inspired by that Creator, and informs us that Jesus performed miracles to prove He was the Son of God. Yet many people will brush aside all the evidence—just as the Pharisees did—and deny Christ’s divinity. The Judgment Day will find those people hearing the words of Christ: “Woe unto you!… For if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes” (Matthew 11:21).


Miracles are only impossible in a world with no God. Throughout history, God has used miracles to create the Universe, to add credibility to the men who had been entrusted with His message, and to accomplish His divine purposes. Jesus of Nazareth repeatedly performed miraculous deeds in order to prove to His followers (and to His enemies!) that He was indeed the Son of God. Sadly, many people during Christ’s day refused to believe in Him as God’s Son. And, just as sadly, many today stubbornly refuse to believe in the Sonship of Christ. As Christ told the unbelieving Pharisees of His day, so will He tell the modern-day disbelievers, “Woe unto you!"