Capital Punishment: What Does The Bible Say? by Allan Turner


Capital Punishment: What Does The Bible Say?
Capital punishment is a controversial subject. And although a Harris Survey indicates that 68% of the American public favor the death penalty, nevertheless, it is still the kind of subject that tends to polarize people. Either one is for it or against it; there just does not seem to be much middle ground on the subject. Back when I first penned this article, there were 1,289 individuals on death rows in thirty-four states. At that time, the last man to have been executed was sixty-six year-old Anthony Antone, who was electrocuted in Florida. Antone, an Organized Crime figure, was convicted of the contract murder of Richard Cloud, a former working associate of mine. While Dick was a detective with the Tampa Police Department and I was a detective with the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office, we worked on several cases together. I remember, fondly, a commendation I received from the Los Angeles Police Department that was the direct result of Dick's invaluable assistance on a very important investigation. (Incidentally, this was back when the LAPD was known as the finest police department in the country.)
Richard Cloud was the kind of policeman of which stories are written and movies are made. He was tenacious, unorthodox, implacable, and, unfortunately, very, very tough. (He was fired from the TPD for using “excessive force.”) When Det. Cloud was assigned a case, he did not let up until the perpetrator was arrested, convicted, and serving time. Needless to say, Det. Cloud was the kind of man who made enemies. In fact, it seems he was always receiving death threats, and on several occasions it had even been rumored that certain individuals had put a contract out on him. Unfortunately, when Cloud was fired from the police department, he was no longer “protected.” In other words, it is a well-known fact that gangsters do not usually kill police officers, because they do not want the entire law enforcement community breathing down their necks. But Anthony Antone, evidently thinking that Cloud was “safe,” put a contract out on Cloud and he was murdered as he answered a knock at the front door of his home. He was shot several times by a hit-man who posed as a door-to-door salesman. He left a wife and young son.
I find it extremely ironic that when Anthony Antone became the twelfth person to be executed since 1976, his final statement to the press was, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
Furthermore, Willie Jasper Darden, an individual I arrested for murder back in the Seventies, has subsequently been put to death in the Florida electric chair. Before finally dying, Darden's case went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. Why? The prosecutor at his trial had called him an “animal” and, therefore, he (Darden) did not feel he had received a fair trial. The Supreme Court ruled that he did, in fact, receive a fair trial in spite of the prosecutor's “error.”
Although Darden was only charged and convicted for one murder, I am convinced, along with others, beyond any reasonable doubt, that he raped and murdered many women in the Tampa Bay area. Incidentally, when I arrested Darden he was actually serving time for rape! Yes, you read correctly. You see, the prison system was allowing this convicted felon to take weekend furloughs, and the findings of my investigation were that each time he was furloughed he raped and murdered someone else. Does this seem incredible to you? Well, wake up and take a real good look at the American Criminal Justice System, a system you erroneously thought was protecting you and your loved ones. Although our current subject matter does not allow me to do so, I could further relate real events about the Criminal Justice System that would send cold chills up and down your spine. Permit me to just say this: I can assure you that after hearing these stories you would never again feel safe under our current system of criminal justice.
This all, of course, creates strong emotional feelings for me, and I know that I have a great deal of passion concerning this issue. In fact, some of you may even think my personal involvement disqualifies me from dealing with the issue of capital punishment objectively. I sincerely and prayerfully hope that this is not the case. The only reason I have mentioned my personal involvement is to let you know that I have had to give this subject my serious attention over the years. If I have misunderstood what God has had to say on this subject, then I am wrong; and if I am wrong, then I need to repent. For me, the arguments for or against capital punishment are not part of some academic exercise to be conducted in an “ivory tower” somewhere. On the contrary, it is a serious question that affects me where I live.
It is my sincere belief that capital punishment is commanded, ordained, sanctified, and authorized by God's Word. It will be my responsibility in this chapter to demonstrate from the Bible the truth of this position. If I am unable to do so, then my thesis must be rejected by every lover of the truth. But, on the other hand, if my thesis is substantiated, then it must be received by all who would respect the Bible.
Although many seem to think this issue is purely political, it is clear to me that even when its political ramifications are understood, it must be seen, first and foremost, as a religious question, namely: Is capital punishment moral or immoral? In fact, much of the most excited, passionate, and vehement objections to the death penalty come from religious individuals who believe it to be contrary to God's will. It should be clear, then, that this is not some trivial issue. If as some are saying, God is against capital punishment, then the state has no right to exact the death penalty. Conversely, if capital punishment has been ordained by the Creator, then there can be no legitimate argument against it, so long as it is carried out under conditions consistent with justice and righteousness.
Having set the stage for this study, let us now turn our attention to the Word of God.
The Old Testament
It is only fitting that we begin this study at the beginning. In Genesis 9:6, God said, “Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made He man.” Although there are some who look upon this statement as utterly barbaric, most have recognized this principle as the foundation of civilized society. Man is unique in that he is made in the image of the Creator, and his “right to life” must not be interfered with by any other creature. If this principle or law is broken, and a man is murdered, then the murderer must be put to death (Genesis 9:5,6). This moral law stands apart from the Law of Moses given at Sinai, and has no more been rescinded than the fact that man is made in the image of God. (About this, we will have more to say later in this chapter.)
As Genesis 9:6 tells us, God has universally legislated against murder; therefore, it should not surprise us to see this principle incorporated into the Law of Moses. In Exodus 20:13, the Decalogue says, “Thou shall not kill.” Consequently, it is, I think, a bit ironic that on those rare occasions when the death penalty is being administered today, we see protesters outside the prisons carrying signs that say, “THOU SHALL NOT KILL.” I would to God that these misguided, sign-carrying, religious zealots, along with the liberal media, really did understand the meaning of God's prohibition against murder.
Exodus 20:13 was never written to be a prohibition of capital punishment, as the anti-capital punishment protesters imply. Instead, it was written as a prohibition against murder. This is made quite clear when one reads Exodus 21:12, which says, “He that smiteth a man, so that he die, shall be surely put to death.” Incidentally, under the Law of Moses, no substitute or alternative was accepted for the execution of a murderer. If the murderer was not executed, the land was defiled (Numbers 35:30-33). Clearly, then, the God of the Old Testament not only believed in capital punishment, He demanded it!
The New Testament
Although God's attitude about capital punishment in the Old Testament cannot be misunderstood, some are convinced He changed His mind in the New Testament. According to some, capital punishment seems much too cruel a penalty to be condoned by the meek and humble Jesus. According to others, the God of the Old Testament was the product of a primitive people; therefore, He was represented as a vengeful and barbaric Deity. As we have become more “civilized,” a more loving, caring, and forgiving Deity has been produced. According to these theologians, the God of the New Testament is the “mellowed-out” God of the Old Testament. (I mention this not because I think any sincere Bible student would believe it, but to emphasize how easy it is for men to profane the Almighty God and turn to idols. We must be content to let God be God. We must always be very careful that we are seeing Him as He has really revealed Himself. Otherwise, we just may be dabbling in idolatry.) The God of the Old Testament and the God of the New Testament are the same God. He has not changed in any of His characteristics or attributes (Malachi 3:6; James 1:17). Keeping this truth in mind will prevent us from making some serious mistakes about God's attitude about capital punishment today.
In the New Testament, Jesus, who was God incarnate (John 1:1-17), said, “Thou shall do no murder” (Matthew 19:18). This, of course, proved what we should already intuitively know; namely, God's moral prohibition against murder has not changed. Murder has been, is, and always will be wrong, and the Bible accurately portrays it as such. As long as man is made in the image of God, murder will be wrong. Everyone, and especially those who claim to be following Jesus, should know that God's moral code forbids murder (Romans 13:9; I Peter 4:15; I John 3:15). On this truth there should be no disagreement. Where disagreement does occur, however, is on the subject of whether or not the penalty for murder remains the same.
The Case Of The Adulterous Woman
John 8:1-11 has often been used to teach that under Christ the death penalty must no longer be enforced. Therefore, it would certainly be to our advantage to spend a little time studying the details of this case. Under the Law of Moses, adultery was a capital offense (Deuteronomy 22:22). Those Scribes and Pharisees who brought the alleged adulterous woman to Jesus that day in the Jerusalem Temple understood this teaching, for they said, “Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou?” (verse 5). But, and this has some bearing on the case, they were not the least bit interested in seeing justice done that day. If they were, where was the man she had been involved with? Under the Law of Moses, both the adulterer and the adulteress were to be stoned, and it must be remembered that this alleged adulteress has been caught “in the very act” (verse 4). No, we can be sure that these men were not concerned with justice being done. Instead, they were hoping for some reason to accuse the Lord (verse 6).
When Jesus finally answered, He said, “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” It ought to be obvious that when He made this statement He was not saying that the only way capital punishment could be meted out would be by those who had never sinned. Otherwise, how could anyone have ever carried out the commandment to execute murderers under the Law of Moses? It has been said, “That which proved too much, proved nothing.” Staying within the context, then, it is apparent Jesus was addressing Himself to the evil motives of these men, who were actually much more perverse than the woman they were accusing. Remember, this was mob action, and if Jesus would have given His consent to that mob, they were ready to stone the woman to death, which would have been contrary to Roman law, and then lay the whole blame at His feet. If, on the other hand, He said “No” to their intent to stone the woman, then they stood ready to accuse Him before the people as one who taught against the Law of Moses. These were vile men indeed!
Moreover, and much more importantly, it must not be forgotten that this whole episode was actually taking place contrary to the Law of Moses. Under the Law of Moses, the accused had the right to a fair trial. But, as we have already pointed out, the men in this case were not really interested in justice. Nevertheless, Jesus conducted Himself wonderfully. Under the weight of their own sins, these men withdrew themselves and their charges against the accused. As a result, some have mistakenly thought that the Lord then had the right to stone her Himself, and because He did not do so proves that capital punishment, under the Law of Christ, is no longer right for adultery, as well as murder, rape, or any other offense specified in the Law of Moses. This is a serious mistake!
One must not lose sight of the fact that this whole scenario occurred under the Law of Moses. Under Moses' Law it took two or more witnesses before one could be sentenced to death (Deuteronomy 17:5-7). Jesus, who was, in fact, God in the flesh, was under obligation to keep the Law of Moses perfectly; therefore, He could not have stoned the woman Himself, or instructed anyone else to do so, without at least the two witnesses the Law required. Consequently, the woman in this case did not die because capital punishment was not justified for the offense of which she had been accused, as some are teaching, but because there was no one to accuse her. (Incidentally, if the prima facie case presented to Jesus had ever been officially heard before the Sanhedrin, she most assuredly would have been acquitted.) To read into this passage an anti-capital punishment position on the part of Jesus is to do violence to God's Word, and leads one to miss the whole point of this passage: It was the accusers, not the alleged adulterous woman, on trial that day. In other words, the lesson the Lord taught that day in the Temple concerned itself with the perversity of a religious people who had become worse than those they condemned. This, of course, is a lesson for all of us to take to heart.
The Apostle Paul's Position
When Paul was on trial before Festus, he stated, “For if I be an offender, or have committed anything worthy of death, I refuse not to die: but if there be none of these things whereof these accuse me, no man may deliver me unto them” (Acts 25:11). Paul's argument is that capital punishment is appropriate for certain offenses (“I refuse not to die”), but if no one could convict him of any of these offenses, then he should not be turned over to the Jews, who planned to kill him. Those who insist the death penalty is prohibited by the teachings of the New Testament, find themselves arguing against the apostle Paul, who, it must not be forgotten, was inspired by the Holy Spirit.
Romans Thirteen
Christianity was not designed as a blueprint for theocratic government. The Everlasting Kingdom knows no city, county, state, or national boundaries. Therefore, God ordained civil government to carry out punishment against evildoers (Romans 13:1-7; I Peter 2:13,14). The Kingdom of God (the church) and the kingdom of men (the civil government as recognized by its citizens and foreign powers) are clearly not the same, but each co-exists on this earthly plane with the other. This is not, as some have erroneously supposed, with one kingdom being good and the other evil; but, both are good, existing for different purposes: one spiritual, the other temporal. Civil government, as identified in Romans 13:1-7, is ordained by God as a mechanical remedy against evil, so as to make life in this physical world somewhat more tolerable.
In Romans 13:4, Paul says that civil rulers “beareth not the sword in vain.” Most of the expositors agree that this phrase does not mean only the “symbol of authority, but the actual sword in the hands of the executioner who inflicts the death penalty on criminals” (Lenski, St. Paul's Epistle To The Romans, p. 792).
Romans 13:1-7 clearly teaches that capital punishment is still ordained of God, is a terror, and, as such, should be feared. Of course, capital punishment must always be carried out by the state in a way consistent with righteousness and justice (cf. II Samuel 23:3; Ezekiel 45:9; Daniel 4:25b-27). The death penalty must always be carried out in keeping with due process in conjunction with competent, lawfully constituted authority. If civil government administers capital punishment in such a way as to become a terror to law-abiding citizens, then it would need to be condemned.
The Murderer Is A Despiser Of
Both God And Man
In his highly informative book, Christian Ethics in Secular Society, Philip E. Hughes wrote: “The preciousness of human life is evident in the requirement not only that an animal which causes a man's death (and thereby overturns the proper order of creation) should be deprived of life, but also that the man who murders his brother is to be put to death, because in doing so he has despised the image of God with which his being is imprinted and has treated his fellow man as though he were a brute beast whose life can be taken without compunction.” This, I believe, is an accurate exposition of Genesis 9:5,6. When the death penalty is not imposed for murder, the unique and inviolable character of man is, in effect, denied; murder is, then, equivalent to lesser crimes, and the life of man is cheapened; but, even more importantly, the Creator is despised and profaned. Governments, then, in order to be pleasing to God, must view the life of every human being as sacrosanct, and protect it with the ultimate penalty a temporal tribunal may inflict: capital punishment.
All who honestly consider the question of capital punishment must move beyond the purely emotional into the realm of the ideological. This question really has to do with how we perceive ourselves. Humanism, which purports to exalt man, denies the existence of the Creator, along with the idea that man is made in His image, and proclaims man to be merely a product of evolution, and, therefore, takes a very indulgent view of murder. It has brought us to the point where we, as a nation, have indiscriminately killed millions of unborn babies since Roe v. Wade in 1973, while, as the same time, failing to rightfully execute those found guilty of committing monstrous crimes against their fellow human beings.
It should be clear that those who would follow Jesus have a responsibility to support government authorities in their God-given responsibilities to maintain law and order by punishing the evildoers. It should be just as clear that capital punishment is a part of the government's repertoire in dealing with these evildoers. Instead of making the government's work even harder by attempting to prohibit the death penalty, we should uphold the righteous hand of justice (I Peter 2:14; Titus 3:1; Romans 13:1-7).
We conclude with a statement by Professor Ernest van den Haag, which he made in his interesting book, Punishing Criminals“A failure to terminate a murderer's life is not a celebration of human life, but exactly the opposite. Those who believe in the sacred right of an individual to live his life span uninterrupted by murder cannot affirm their devotion to that principle by dealing frivolously with those who violate it.” He went on to write: “The proposition is best understood by stretching it out on a graph in a demonstration of an [argument] reductio ad absurdum. A society that punishes a murderer by giving him a jail sentence of one week is a society that sets little store by human life. A society that holds human life so sacred that it is prepared to execute anyone who takes another human life, is a society that believes deeply in human life.”



                             Chapter Eleven


1) To understand why Paul felt it necessary to engage in "foolish 

2) To see how one might be misled by "false apostles" and "deceitful 

3) To appreciate the great amount of suffering Paul endured as a 
   minister of Christ


As Paul continues defending his apostolic authority, he finds it
necessary to engage in "a little folly."  He does so out of concern for
their faithfulness to Christ and his fear that others may have
corrupted their minds from the simplicity that is in Christ (1-4).  He
also finds himself having to explain why he did not accept support from
them.  Evidently this was the basis for charges against him by those
who considered themselves "the most eminent apostles".  But Paul, who
had good reasons for not accepting their support, recognizes these
detractors as they really were:  "false apostles" and "deceitful
workers" (5-15).

While not desiring to act foolishly, he finds it necessary since it 
seems that the Corinthians are so willing to accept those who do
(16-21).  With some foolish boldness, then, Paul claims equal footing
with his detractors as it pertains to physical heritage.  But when it
comes to service as a minister of Christ, he far surpasses them as is 
evident in the things he suffered.  After listing many examples of
suffering, he concludes that if he must boast it will be in the things
which concern his infirmity, giving his escape from Damascus as an
illustration (22-33).



      1. He resorts to a little folly, because with godly jealousy he
         seeks to present them as a chaste virgin to Christ (1-2)
      2. Because of their seeming willingness to receive those who 
         offer a different Jesus, spirit, and gospel, he fears that
         their minds may be corrupted (3-4)

      1. Though untrained in speech, it is not the case with knowledge,
         and Paul has demonstrated that he is not inferior to the "most
         eminent apostles" (5-6)
      2. The reasons he refused to accept support from them (7-12)
         a. While with them, he received support from other churches
         b. He is determined to continue this practice of not being a
            burden to them (9b-10)
         c. Not because he does not love them, but to cut off 
            opportunity for those who wish to be regarded as Paul in 
            matters of which they boast (11-12)
      3. These boasters are "false apostles" (13-15)
         a. As deceitful workers, they transform themselves into 
            apostles of Christ (13)
         b. This is no great marvel, for if Satan transforms himself
            into an angel of light, similar tactics can be expected of
            his ministers (14-15)

      1. Paul is no fool, but for those who think otherwise, then 
         receive him as a fool as he begins to boast (16)
      2. Boasting is foolish and not of the Lord, but seeing that many
         boast and they seem to put up with them gladly in their 
         wisdom, then Paul will boast too (17-19)
      3. Since they seem willing to endure those who abuse them, Paul
         will be bold and boast a little as well (20-21)


      1. Like his opponents, He is a Hebrew
      2. Like his opponents, He is an Israelite
      3. Like his opponents, He is of the seed of Abraham

      1. It is foolish to speak of his opponents as ministers of 
         Christ, but if so, Paul is one much more (23a)
      2. He has labored more, and suffered more, than they (23b)
      3. A list of the suffering Paul endured as a minister of Christ
         a. Five times he was beaten with 39 stripes by the Jews (24)
         b. Three times he was been with rods (25a)
         c. Once he was stoned (25b)
         d. Three times he was shipwrecked (25c)
         e. A night and a day in the deep (25d)
         f. Miscellaneous perils on his many journeys (26)
         g. Miscellaneous discomforts (27)
         h. His daily concern for the condition of churches (28-29)
      4. If he must boast, then let it be concerning his infirmity 
         a. His "infirmity" (possibly his "thorn in the flesh" of 
            11:7-10) was the persecution he endured in service to 
         b. As an example, having to flee Damascus (31-33)


1) What are the main points of this chapter?
   - The necessity for some "foolish boasting" (1-21)
   - The grounds for his "foolish boasting" (22-33)

2) How did Paul desire to present the Corinthians to Christ? (2)
   - As a chaste virgin

3) What was Paul fearful of concerning the Corinthians? (3)
   - That their minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in

4) What were they seemingly willing to put up with? (4)
   - Those who preach a different Jesus, offer a different spirit, and
     a different gospel

5) In what area did Paul concede that he was untrained?  In what area
   was this not so? (6)
   - In speech; in knowledge

6) What practice of Paul evidently was used as a charge against him?
   - Preaching of the gospel of God free of charge

7) While at Corinth, from whom did Paul receive support? (8-9)
   - Other churches, brethren from Macedonia

8) Why would Paul continue the practice of not accepting support from
   the Corinthians? (12)
   - To cut off opportunity for those who wish to boast that they are
     just like Paul

9) How does Paul describe these opponents of his? (13)
   - False apostles, deceitful workers

10) How does Satan often transform himself?  And his ministers?
   - As an angel of light; as ministers of righteousness

11) How did Paul view the confidence of boasting? (17)
   - Not according to the Lord; as foolishness

12) Then why does Paul engage in such boasting? (18-19)
   - Because many others were doing it, and the Corinthians seem to 
     gladly accept them

13) In what three ways was Paul equal to his opponents? (22)
   - He was a Hebrew, an Israelite, and of the seed of Abraham

14) List five things endured by Paul as a minister of Christ (24-25)
   - Five times he was beaten with 39 stripes
   - Three times he was beaten with rods
   - Once he was stoned
   - Three times he was shipwrecked
   - A night and a day he spent in the deep

15) If Paul must boast, in what would he boast? (30)
   - In the things that concern his infirmity

16) What event does he relate as an example of his infirmity? (31-33)
   - The escape from the governor of Damascus

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2016

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                              Chapter Ten


1) To understand the nature of the war in which we are engaged, and to
   appreciate the weapons we have that are "mighty in God"

2) To see the folly of judging others by outward appearance, and in 
   comparing ourselves with others


Having concluded his discussion on the collection for the saints, Paul
now returns to his own defense, especially as it pertains to his
conduct and authority as an apostle of Jesus Christ.  He pleads with 
them in the meekness and gentleness of Christ, hoping that by so doing
it will not be necessary to use boldness in their presence against some
who think Paul conducts himself according to the flesh (1-2).  While he
admits that he walks in the flesh, he does not war according to the
flesh since he has weapons that are mighty in God and effective for
winning arguments and bringing others to obey Christ (3-6).

He then responds directly in regards to his detractors.  Some were 
evidently judging Paul on outward appearance, that while he sounded 
weighty and powerful in his writing, his physical presence was weak and
contemptible.  But Paul's authority as an apostle of Jesus Christ was
real, and what he was in word when absent, he could be in deed when
present (7-11).

We can also infer that some of Paul's detractors took pride in 
comparing themselves with others.  Such a practice was unwise, and Paul
was one who would boast only in those areas in which God had appointed 
him to serve.  That would include the Corinthians themselves, for Paul 
would only go to areas where the gospel had not been preached and that 
is how they had come to believe.  Reminding them of this, Paul had hope
that they would assist him in preaching the gospel in regions beyond 
them.  He then admonishes them to boast only in the Lord, and to 
remember that not he who commends himself is approved, but whom the 
Lord commends (12-18).



      1. With great emphasis, he stresses that he himself is pleading
         with them by the meekness and gentleness of Christ (1a)
      2. It appears that some misread Paul's humility in person as 
         weakness, and that only in absence was he bold (1b)
      3. But he is hoping that it not be necessary for him to have the
         confident boldness he is prepared to use against those who 
         misread Paul (2)

      1. While walking in the flesh, he does not war according to flesh
      2. For the weapons he uses are not carnal, but they are mighty in
         God (4a)
      3. Such weapons are capable of:
         a. Pulling down strongholds (4b)
         b. Casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts
            itself against the knowledge of God (5a)
         c. Bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of
            Christ (5b)
         d. Being ready to punish all disobedience when their obedience
            is fulfilled (6)


      1. No matter how it might look, rest assured that Paul is 
         Christ's (7)
      2. Even if it were necessary to boast about the authority the
         Lord gave him, Paul would not be ashamed (8)
      3. There were some who thought Paul hid behind his letters, while
         in person he was weak (9-10)
      4. Yet Paul was ready to be in person what he was in his letters

      1. Paul considered it unwise to compare himself with those who
         measured themselves by others around them (12)
      2. If Paul boasted, it would only be in that area God had chosen
         for him, which included the Corinthians themselves (13-14)
      3. He would not boast in other men's labors (15a)
      4. He had hope that the Corinthians would help him to preach the
         gospel where others had not gone (15b-16a)
      5. In that way he would not boast in another's man 
         accomplishments, but only in that which the Lord enabled him
      6. In the end, only the one whom the Lord commends is approved


1) What are the main points of this chapter?
   - Paul provides an explanation for his conduct (1-6)
   - Paul's response to his detractors (7-18)

2) With what two qualities of Christ-like character does Paul plead 
   with the Corinthians? (1)
   - Meekness
   - Gentleness

3) What does Paul hope would not be necessary when he was with them in
   person? (2)
   - To act in a bold manner against some

4) Though Paul walks in the flesh, what does he not do? (3)
   - War according to the flesh

5) In what four ways are the weapons of our warfare "mighty in God"?
   - 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
   - Ready to punish all disobedience when one's obedience is fulfilled

6) Upon what basis were some people evidently evaluating Paul? (7)
   - His outward appearance

7) What accusations were being made against Paul? (10)
   - His letters are weighty and powerful, but his bodily presence is
      weak and his speech contemptible

8) What did Paul tell such people to consider? (11)
   - That what he was in letters when absent, so he will be in deed 
     when present

9) What did Paul say was an unwise practice? (12)
   - To measure one's self by others

10) In what area was Paul willing to boast? (13-16)
   - That in which God had appointed him (i.e., preaching the gospel
     where others had not gone), and not in other men's labors

11) In whom should we glory? (17)
   - The Lord

12) In the end, who is it that is approved? (18)
   - He whom the Lord commends

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2016

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                              Chapter Nine


1) To see how Paul had used the Corinthians' zeal to motivate the 
   Macedonians in their giving (whose sacrificial giving had been used
   in chapter eight to motivate the Corinthians)

2) To appreciate what kind of giving is pleasing to God

3) To see the relation between sowing and reaping, and what is the 
   proper use of what we have reaped

4) To observe what a collection like this was designed to produce


As he continues his discussion about the collection for the needy 
saints, Paul confesses that his writing may be superfluous.  That is
because he knows their willingness of which he boasted to the
Macedonians, who in turn were stirred up by the zeal of the 
Corinthians.  Yet Paul felt it necessary to send the messengers to 
ensure that the Corinthians had their gift ready, and that it was one
of true generosity and not out of a grudging obligation.  To find them
unprepared would be embarrassing to both Paul and the Corinthians 

That they might give liberally, Paul reminds them of the principle of
sowing and reaping, and that God loves a cheerful giver.  He also
writes of God's ability to give them an abundance for every good work,
and prays that God will multiply the seed they have sown so they will
be enriched in all things for even more liberality on their part 

He concludes this section by pointing out the effect this collection 
will have.  It not only supplies the needs of the saints, it will 
abound in thanksgiving and praise to God, and produce prayers and 
longing in the hearts of the recipients for their benefactors.  This 
prompts Paul to give thanks to God, for it is He who makes these things
possible (12-15)!



      1. For he knows their willingness, of which he boasted to the 
         Macedonians (1-2a)
      2. Their zeal had stirred up the majority (2b)

      1. Lest his boasting of them be in vain (3-4)
      2. To make sure the Corinthians were prepared with their gift
      3. To ensure that their gift was one of generosity, and not of a
         grudging obligation (5b)


      1. He who sows sparingly will reap sparingly (6a)
      2. He who sows bountifully will reap bountifully (6b)

      1. Each one must give as they have purposed in their heart (7a)
      2. Not grudgingly or of necessity, for God loves cheerful giving

      1. God is able to give an abundance for every good work (8-9)
      2. A prayer that God will supply and increase the fruits of their
         righteousness (10)
      3. So that their enrichment will produce more liberality, leading
         many to give thanks (11)

      1. It supplies the needs of the saints (12a)
      2. It produces many thanksgivings to God (12b)
      3. It causes people to glorify God for the Corinthians' obedience
         to the gospel and their liberal sharing (13)
      4. It creates prayer and longing for the Corinthians by the 
         recipients of the gift (14)
      -- All this prompting Paul to thank God for this wonderful gift!


1) What are the main points of this chapter?
   - Purpose of the messengers (1-5)
   - Encouragement to give liberally (6-15)

2) Why was Paul's writing to the Corinthians about this collection 
   superfluous? (1-2)
   - For he knew of their willingness, of which he boasted to the
   - Their zeal had stirred up the majority

3) Why were the messengers being sent? (3-5)
   - Lest Paul's boasting about the Corinthians be in vain
   - That their gift might be ready, and one of generosity

4) What is the relation between sowing and reaping? (6)
   - As you sow, so shall you reap (cf. Ga 6:7)

5) What kind of giving pleases God? (7)
   - Cheerful giving, not grudgingly or of necessity

6) What is God able to do? (8a)
   - Make all grace abound toward us, that we might have all 
     sufficiency in all things

7) What is the purpose of the abundance we receive from God? (8b)
   - For every good work

8) Why did Paul pray that God supply and multiply the seed sown by the
   Corinthians? (10)
   - To increase the fruits of their righteousness

9) When one is enriched in everything, for what purpose is it? (11)
   - For all liberality

10) What four things did the administration of this service (the 
    collection) supply? (12-14)
   - The needs of the saints
   - Many thanksgivings to God
   - Glory to God for the givers' obedience to the gospel and their 
     liberal sharing
   - Prayer and longing for the givers in the hearts of the recipients

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2016

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                             Chapter Eight


1) To see how Paul motivated others in their giving

2) To ascertain what principles ought to govern our giving

3) To appreciate the honorable manner in which Paul handled the
   collection for needy saints


At this point Paul addresses an issue that occupied much of his
interest during his missionary journeys:  the collection for the needy
Christians in Judea (cf. Ga 2:9-10; Ro 15:25-28; 1 Co 16:1-2).  In this
letter, two entire chapters are devoted to the subject.

He begins by mentioning the churches in Macedonia.  Despite a great
trial of affliction and their own deep poverty, their abundance of joy
and eagerness to participate in this ministry resulted in great
liberality (1-5).

Having sent Titus to assist the Corinthians in carrying through with
their own desire to give, Paul exhorts them not only by the example of
the Macedonians but by the example of Jesus Christ (6-9).  Since it is
to their advantage that they complete what they began a year earlier,
Paul reminds them of the principles that ought to govern their giving.
These principles involve willingness, ability, and equality (10-15).

In an effort to do everything honorable in the sight of others, the
collection is to be handled by three men other than Paul.  Titus is
one, but the other two men are unnamed.  However, they are well known
and proven in their service to the Lord.  Paul encourages the
Corinthians to demonstrate to these men and to all the churches the
proof of their love in this collection and that Paul's boasting about
the church in Corinth was not in vain (16-24).



      1. God's grace was bestowed upon the churches of Macedonia (1)
      2. Despite affliction and deep poverty, with an abundance of joy
         their poverty abounded in riches of liberality (2)

      1. They gave beyond their ability (3a)
      2. They gave willingly (3b)
      3. They implored Paul to accept their contribution (4)
      4. Beyond Paul's expectations, they gave themselves first to the
         Lord and then to Paul as God willed (5)


      1. Titus was sent to complete this grace in them (6)
      2. As the Corinthians abounded in many other things, Paul
         encourages them to abound in this grace also (7)

      1. Not by commandment, but the example of others Paul seeks to
         test their love (8)
      2. Remembering the example of Jesus, through whose poverty we
         became rich (9)

      1. It is to their advantage to complete what they started a year
         before (10)
      2. So that there is not only a desire to do it, but the
         completion of it as well (11)

      1. There must first be a willing mind (12a)
      2. Then it should be according to what one has (12b)

      1. Paul does not desire that they burden themselves to ease
         others (13)
      2. But that their abundance might supply others' lack, so there
         can be equality (14)
      3. As in the case of gathering manna, recorded in Exodus 16:18


   A. TITUS (16-17)
      1. Paul could see that God put earnest care for the Corinthians
         in Titus' heart (16)
      2. For he not only accepted the encouragement to go, but went on
         his own accord (17)

      1. Not mentioned by name, but whose praise was known by all the
         churches (18)
      2. Chosen by the churches to travel with Paul, so that none would
         question Paul's handling of the collection (19-21)

      1. Also not mentioned by name, but well proven (22a)
      2. Known for his diligence, he was very diligent in view of
         Paul's confidence in the Corinthians (22b)

      1. Titus is Paul's partner and fellow worker (23a)
      2. The two unnamed brethren are messengers of the churches, the
         glory of Christ (23b)
      3. Corinth encouraged to prove their love and Paul's boasting on
         their behalf to these messengers (24)


1) What are the main points of this chapter?
   - Macedonia's example in giving (1-5)
   - Paul's exhortations to the Corinthians (6-15)
   - The messengers administering the collection (16-24)

2) What was the condition of the churches in Macedonia?  Yet what did
   they have in abundance? (2)
   - They were in a great trial of affliction and had deep poverty
   - Their joy

3) What three things are said in how they gave? (3-4)
   - Beyond their ability
   - Freely willing
   - Imploring with much urgency that their gift be received

4) How did they go beyond Paul's expectations? (5)
   - By giving of themselves first to the Lord, and then to others

5) Why did Paul send Titus? (6)
   - To complete this grace in them, i.e., help them to prepare their

6) What two examples did Paul use motivate them to give? (8-9)
   - The diligence of others (e.g., the Macedonians)
   - The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ

7) What three guidelines does Paul give to govern their giving? (12-14)
   - There must first be a willing mind
   - It is to be according to what one has
   - The idea is equality

8) What three men were sent to administer this collection? (16,18,22)
   - Titus
   - The brother whose praise is in the gospel
   - The brother who has often proved diligent in many things

9) Why were these men handling the collection, and not Paul? (20-21)
   - To avoiding possible blame; to provide things honorable in the
     sight of the Lord and men

10) What did Paul want the Corinthians to show to these men and the
    other churches? (24)
   - The proof of their love and of Paul's boasting in them

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2016

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Should the Quran be Taken Literally? by Dave Miller, Ph.D.


Should the Quran be Taken Literally?

by Dave Miller, Ph.D.

Political correctness, like a narcotic, renders victims mindless and biased in the ability to see the obvious. In an attempt to evade the teachings of the Bible, theological liberals have long insisted that Bible statements are not to be taken literally. We have been told that we must not be “a literalist” when it comes to Bible interpretation and, when we read the Bible, we must not take it literally. Sadly, many Americans have been duped by over a century of propaganda perpetrated by higher critics who seek to undermine confidence in the inspiration of the Bible. Nevertheless, the evidence is decisive: the Bible possesses the attributes of inspiration that prove its divine origin.1 And its meanings, as originally intended by God, can be understood.
To suggest that the Bible is not to be taken literally is nonsensical. True, the Bible contains much figurative language, i.e., it includes figures of speech (e.g., simile, metaphor, hyperbole, metonymy, synecdoche, etc.)—just like our own English language (e.g., “quit cold turkey,” “stretch my legs,” “died laughing”). But figurative language still communicates meaning that can be comprehended. Do those who allege that the Bible is not to be literalized want us to interpret their allegation literally? Of course. Even if a few metaphors are “thrown” into the discussion, can we “grasp” what is being communicated? Yes, even as that question can be understood, though it contains two figurative expressions. Likewise the Bible may also be understood. It communicates literal truth. Any diligent student can ascertain the original intent of the divinely guided writers.
Though its divine origin has been decisively disputed,2 the same may be said of the Quran. It was written with a view to being understood. The host of passages that advocate violent jihad are unquestionably conveyed in contexts that demonstrate their literality. No figurative language alters the very plain meanings evident in the admonitions pertaining to physical warfare. For example, Surah 3 alludes to two literal battles fought by Muslim armies—the battle of Badr and the battle of Uhud. Consider Surah 47 in Mohammed Pickthall’s celebrated Muslim translation—
Now when ye meet in battle those who disbelieve, then it is smiting of the necks…. Andthose who are slain in the way of Allah, He rendereth not their actions vain. He will guide them and improve their state, and bring them in unto the Garden [Paradise—DM] which He hath made known to them (Surah 47:4-6, emp. added).3
No Muslim would deny that “those who disbelieve,” “actions,” and “Garden” (i.e., Paradise) are literal. Likewise, no true Quran-made Muslim would deny that “battle,” “slain,” and “smiting of the necks” are literal as well. This Surah is calling for Muslims to engage in literal violent warfare with unbelievers (i.e., those who do not accept Islam) by severing their heads. The sooner the politically correct, multicultural mindset faces reality, the sooner the threat posed by terrorists can be addressed in a meaningful manner.


1   Kyle Butt (2007), Behold! The Word of God (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press); Jackson, Wayne (1982), “The Holy Scriptures—Verbally Inspired,” Apologetics Press,http://www.apologeticspress.org/rr/reprints/holyscri.pdf.
2   See Dave Miller (2005), The Quran Unveiled (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press).
3   Mohammed Pickthall (no date), The Meaning of the Glorious Koran (New York: Mentor).
Suggested Resources

The Stone that Rocked the World by Garry K. Brantley, M.A., M.Div.


The Stone that Rocked the World

by Garry K. Brantley, M.A., M.Div.

Juma became increasingly apprehensive as he watched several of his goats climbing too high up the cliffs. Being a conscientious shepherd, he decided to retrieve the strays. As he climbed, he noticed two small openings to a cave. Thinking that one of his goats might be hiding inside, he tossed a stone into the opening. Much to his surprise, he heard an unusual cracking sound. His younger cousin and fellow shepherd, Muhammed adh-Dhib, investigated the cave the following day and discovered that Juma’s stone had broken open a pottery vessel containing ancient documents. Little did Juma realize that his fortuitously cast stone on that afternoon in 1947 eventually would rock the world of biblical scholarship for decades to come.
The cave (called cave 1) housed the first seven manuscripts of the now-famous Qumran materials commonly known as the Dead Sea Scrolls. Subsequent expeditions in the 1950s and 1960s uncovered a vast cache of ancient Jewish writings from ten other caves in the forms of well-preserved scrolls and fragments that represent an entire library of over 800 volumes (Shanks, 1990, p. 1). Unfortunately, after nearly five decades large portions of these documents have not been published, which has caused considerable controversy over the last few years.
Some Qumran material has been published, however, and analyses of these manuscripts have produced some interesting developments in biblical studies. For example, these documents have radically altered mainstream Johannine scholarship. The gospel of John purports to have been written by one who was a contemporary and close companion of Jesus (John 21:20-24). Extrabiblical and biblical evidences suggest that John, the son of Zebedee, authored his Gospel during the latter part of the first century (see Thiessen, 1943, pp. 162-170). Obviously, it would be physically impossible for one of Jesus’ contemporaries to live much into the second century.
Prior to the Qumran discoveries a popular belief among more liberal theologians was that the Fourth Gospel was a mid-to-late second century document whose author was influenced heavily by Grecian philosophy (see Guthrie, 1970, pp. 277-279). This view, which clearly repudiated the biblical implication that an eyewitness wrote the narrative, was first espoused in 1847 by F.C. Bauer, and persisted into the 1950s (Charlesworth, 1993). Linguistic parallels between John’s Gospel and Grecian literature formed the basis for this perspective. These scholars argued that such terms as Logos, truth, light, and darkness appearing in the Fourth Gospel corresponded to Grecian thought but were foreign to common Judaistic concepts. Thus, John was regarded as the latest Gospel and, because of its late date, historically unreliable.
Texts from Qumran, however, demonstrate the usage of such terminology in Jewish literature during the first century. One manuscript called the Rule of the Community contrasts the “Sons of Righteousness” with the “Sons of Deceit.” This document states that the former walk in the “ways of light,” but the latter walk in the “ways of darkness.” Further, it declares that the “nature of truth” emanates from a “spring of light,” and deceit emerges from a “well of darkness.” This language is strikingly similar to many phrases in John’s Gospel. For instance, John 12:35 states: “Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you; he who walks in darkness does not know where he is going” (John 12:35; cf. John 1:1-9; 3:19-21). Due to this information from the Dead Sea Scrolls, most scholars now “...agree that [John] dates from around 100 C.E. [A.D.] or perhaps a decade earlier” (Charlesworth, 1993, 9[1]:20).
This does not necessarily mean, (as some scholars suggest) that John was influenced directly by the Qumran community, but it does demonstrate that these were terms commonly employed by Jews both earlier than, and contemporary with, John (see Charlesworth, 1993, 9[1]:25). Thus, as Charlesworth further admitted, almost all the scholarship that denied John as a first-century Jewish composition “...must be discarded” (9[1]:19). That small stone thrown forty-seven years ago continues to rock the biblical world of liberal scholarship.


Charlesworth, James (1993), “Reinterpreting John: How the Dead Sea Scrolls Have Revolutionized Our Understanding of the Gospel of John,” Bible Review, 9[1]:19-25,54, February.
Guthrie, Donald (1970), New Testament Introduction (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity).
Shanks, Hershel (1990), “The Excitement Lasts: An Overview,” The Dead Sea Scrolls After Forty Years (Washington, DC: Biblical Archaeology Society).
Thiessen, Henry (1934), Introduction to the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans).

What is Apologetics? by Kyle Butt, M.Div.


What is Apologetics?
by Kyle Butt, M.Div.

You walk up to the man on the street and tell him that Jesus Christ loves him and died so he could receive forgiveness of his sins. You explain that everyone should obey Jesus because He is the Son of God. The man wants to know how you know this information. You inform him that the Bible, the inspired Word of God, declares it to be true. He wants to know two things: (1) How can you prove that there is a God?; and (2) How can you prove that the Bible is His Word? He is not being belligerent or cantankerous; he simply wants some good evidence that would warrant the total overhaul of his life you are asking him to make.
It is now your responsibility to present solid, rational arguments that prove the things you have affirmed. You must defend the propositions you have presented. You are appointed for the defense of the Gospel (Philippians 1:17, NKJV).
The term “apologetics” derives from the Greek word apologia, which means “to defend” or “to make a defense.” Thus, apologetics is a discipline dedicated to the defense of something. There can be as many different types of apologetics as there are beliefs in the world: atheistic apologetics, Hindu apologetics, Buddhist apologetics, Christian apologetics, ad infinitum. However, generally when the discipline is discussed, most people associate it with Christian apologetics. Therefore, for the remainder of this discussion, when I use the term apologetics, I will be referring specifically to Christian apologetics.
What is apologetics? Christian philosopher Dick Sztanyo has suggested: “Apologetics is the proclamation and defense of the gospel of Christ regardless of whenever, wherever, and by whomever it is challenged.” The apostle Peter used apologetics when he appealed to the empty tomb on Pentecost. Paul used apologetics when he quoted the stoic poets to draw attention to God’s existence as he addressed the Athenians. Christ used apologetics when He appealed to a Roman coin to prove that Jews should pay taxes. We can see, then, that the word apologetics carries no hint of “apologizing”—in the sense of being sorry or ashamed. On the contrary, the word houses the exact opposite idea of intelligent vindication by vigorous argument. In fact, Paul stated in 2 Corinthians 10:4-5: “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.” Apologetics vigorously defends the truth by refuting arguments that exalt themselves above God’s Word.
What tools, then, can apologetics use to “cast down” faulty arguments? Its toolbox is as endlessly deep as it is long. Any discipline—from astronomy to zoology—can be called upon to come to the aid of apologetics. Just as Peter used the physical evidence of the empty tomb, just as Paul used contemporary literature, and jut as Jesus used an inscription on a coin, modern apologists can use archaeology, literature, science, morality, technology, and countless other facets of human life to defend Christianity. A small child can watch ants hard at work and testify to the wisdom of the book of Proverbs. An astrophysicist can contemplate the Second Law of Thermodynamics and maintain that the world will not last forever. An archaeologist can find an ancient inscription about a people known as the Hittites and assert that the Bible has accurate information about this ancient group of people. A professor of literature can read poetry from ages past and ascertain that mankind always has desired to worship a Creator Who is infinitely higher than humanity. From the heights of the mountains to the depths of the oceans, facts surface that provide an ample array of ammunition that can be fired from the cannon of apologetics.
However, the machinery of apologetics can operate only on the fuel of reason, for without reason apologetics has no sure foundation. The Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary defines reason as “the power of comprehending, inferring, or thinking, especially in orderly, rational ways.” Paul contrasted reason with insanity in Acts 26:24-25: “Now as he thus made his defense, Festus said with a loud voice, ‘Paul, you are beside yourself! Much learning is driving you mad!’ But he said, ‘I am not mad, most noble Festus, but speak the words of truth and reason.’ ” God and His spokesmen always have spoken rational, reasonable truths. God employed reason to convince Isaiah’s listeners of their sin: “ ‘Come now, and let us reason together,’ says the Lord, ‘Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow’ ” (Isaiah 1:18). When Samuel spoke to the Israelites at the coronation of Saul, he said: “Now therefore, stand still, that I may reason with you before the Lord concerning all the righteous acts of the Lord which He did to you and your fathers” (1 Samuel 12:7). From the dawn of time, God presented man with the facts, and then allowed man to use reason to reach correct conclusions. Thus, Romans 1:20 states: “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made….” Reason provides for the removal of all contradictory and fallacious arguments, leaving only those facts that are consistent and correct.
The Christian religion, at its core, is based upon historically verifiable facts. The Bible is not a sourcebook of wise proverbs that somehow stand upon their own merit. Without an establishment of the facts concerning the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, the Word of God as we know it—even with all of its sound wisdom and practical guidance—is nothing more than a devotional book full of helpful platitudes that deserves to be placed on the shelf next to the Chicken Soup for the Soul series. By using historical facts that are consistent and correct, apologetics makes its defense by appealing to man’s capacity to reason. God never has desired that His human creatures blindly accept unreasonable propositions postulated by perverse persons. He does not want us to be “children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness by which they lie in wait to deceive (Ephesians 4:14). On the contrary, He demands that we “test all things; hold fast what is good” (2 Thessalonians 5:21). In the end, however, apologetics can soften only the hearts of those who agree to be honest with themselves and to deal honestly and reasonably with the available evidence. There is much truth in the old adage: “A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.”

When Did Jesus Cleanse the Temple? by Eric Lyons, M.Min.


When Did Jesus Cleanse the Temple?

by Eric Lyons, M.Min.


Did Jesus cleanse the temple on the day of His triumphal entry?


Many Bible students are aware that the apostle John placed Jesus’ cleansing of the temple near the beginning of His ministry, while Matthew, Mark, and Luke positioned the occasion during the final week of the Savior’s life (see Lyons, 2004). The question regarding whether Jesus cleansed the temple on the first day He entered Jerusalem (during the week of His crucifixion) or on a subsequent day, however, is rarely pondered. Why did Mark place the cleansing of the temple on the day after Jesus’ triumphal entry, while Matthew seems to indicate the cleansing took place on the very day Jesus’ entered Jerusalem?
Following Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem, Matthew noted: “And when He had come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, ‘Who is this?’ So the multitudes said, ‘This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth of Galilee’” (21:10-11). “Then,” Matthew wrote, “Jesus went into the temple of God and drove out all those who bought and sold in the temple...” (21:12, emp. added). Notice that Matthew does not say exactly when Jesus cleansed the temple, only that the event happened “then” (Greek kai, most often translated simply “and”—cf. KJV, ASV, NASB, RSV, etc.). All one can know from Matthew’s account (as well as Luke’s [19:45]) is that (1) Jesus entered Jerusalem, and (2) at some later time, He cleansed the temple.
Mark, however, used more detailed, chronological language. On the first day, Jesus went into Jerusalem and the temple (Mark 11:1-11), then later that day He and His apostles departed for Bethany. “Now the next day, when they had come out of Bethany” (11:12, emp. added), Jesus again went into Jerusalem and into the temple. Unlike His trip to the temple the previous day, this time Jesus entered the temple “to drive out those who bought and sold in the temple” (Mark 11:15-18). Thus, Jesus actually made two trips to the temple: once on the day of His triumphal entry (Mark 11:11), then again “the next day” to cleanse the temple (Mark 11:12,15-18). In this instance, Mark’s account is more sequential, while Matthew’s is more of a summary.
Keep in mind that neither Matthew nor Mark was mistaken in his account. We often report events with the same variety. Sometimes we speak more chronologically, while at other times more generally. Consider the family that returns home to tell friends about a trip to Disney World. One family member may summarize everything they did while at Epcot, while another family member may speak more specifically about how they actually went to Epcot parts of two different days and were able to see all sorts of things. No one would be justified in alleging that either family member was mistaken. Likewise, Matthew and Mark’s accounts are complementary—notcontradictory.


Lyons, Eric (2004), “Chronology and the Cleansing of the Temple,” [On-line], URL:http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/528.

The Da Vinci Code, the Sabbath, and Sunday by Eric Lyons, M.Min.


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 bookThe 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 (2003a), The Da Vinci Code (New York: Doubleday).
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