"THE BOOK OF ACTS" Paul's Roman Citizenship (22:22-30) by Mark Copeland

                          "THE BOOK OF ACTS"

                 Paul's Roman Citizenship (22:22-30)


1. As Christians, we enjoy a special citizenship...
   a. Our citizenship is in heaven - Php 3:20
   b. We are fellow citizens with the saints and members of God's family - Ep 2:19
   c. As such, we are in one sense pilgrims and sojourners in this world- 1Pe 2:11

2. But we also have an earthly citizenship...
   a. As citizens of an earthly nation in this world 
   b. Thus we enjoy "dual citizenship," if you will

[At times, this "dual citizenship" works to our advantage, as it did for
Paul when his life was in jeopardy in Jerusalem.  Turning to our text
(Ac 22:22-30), let's consider some things about...]


      1. When Paul defended himself before the mob in Jerusalem...
         a. They listened to him quietly until he mentioned being sent
            to the Gentiles - Ac 22:1-2,22
         b. When they again called for Paul to be put to death 
              - Ac 22:22-23; cf. Ac 21:36
      2. The Roman commander, determining to know the truth...
         a. Ordered Paul back into the barracks - Ac 22:24
         b. Prepared to have Paul examined by scourging - ibid.
         c. A form of torture involving beating with leather thongs in 
            which were inserted rough pieces of bone or metal

      1. About to be scourged, Paul asked the centurion a question...
         a. Is it lawful to scourge a Roman who has not been condemned?- Ac 22:25
         b. Prompting the centurion to go to the commander, urging
            caution - Ac 22:26
         c. The centurion's caution reflects the magistrates' fear at
            Philippi - cf. Ac 16:35-39
      2. The commander questioned Paul about his Roman citizenship...
         a. Paul confirmed that he was a Roman - Ac 22:27
         b. The commander boasted of his purchased citizenship - Ac 22:28
         c. Paul claimed to be a born citizen, evidently a higher status of citizenship
      3. The response to Paul's claim was immediate...
         a. Those about to scourge him withdrew from Paul - Ac 22:29
         b. The commander was afraid for having bound a Roman - ibid.
      4. Knowing that Paul was a Roman citizen, the commander...
         a. Was determined to know why Paul was accused by the Jews - Ac 22:30
         b. Arranged for a legal hearing before the Sanhedrin council - ibid.

[Paul certainly used his Roman citizenship to his advantage.  But what
are our duties as Christians in regards to our earthly citizenship? Let's
use this opportunity to review what they are...]


      1. As taught by Paul - Ro 13:1-5
      2. As taught by Peter - 1Pe 2:13-14
      3. Whenever there is a conflict, we must obey God rather than man - Ac 5:29
      1. To pay taxes, customs - Ro 13:6-7
      2. To pay respect toward authorities - Ro 13:7; 1Pe 2:17
      3. Whether we approve their political or personal behavior (e.g.,Nero)

      1. For kings and all in authority - 1Ti 2:1-2
      2. That we might lead quiet, peaceful, godly lives - 1Ti 2:2; 1Th 4:11
      3. Christians who pray in this way serve their country in very powerful way!
         a. God does not hear the prayers of the wicked - 1Pe 3:12
         b. If not for the righteous, this world would be in dire straights!
      4. Think of Christians as spiritual chaplains, serving their 
         country as military chaplains serve their country ministering
         to their fellow soldiers

1. As Christians living in the world, we have an earthly citizenship...
   a. As citizens of the nations granted by birth or other means
   b. We must be careful to fulfill our God-given duties as citizens
   c. And as did Paul, utilize our rights as citizens when they serve God's purposes

2. As Christians living in the world, we have a heavenly citizenship...
   a. That calls us to be spiritual priests making intercession for all men
   b. That calls us to be peacemakers as we serve the Prince of peace
   c. That cautions us to place our heavenly citizenship over our earthly one

For in the end, we are still pilgrims and sojourners.  But properly
discerned and lived, our "dual citizenship" can be a blessing for both
God and country...!
Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2013

"THE BOOK OF ACTS" Paul's Defense Before The Mob (22:1-21) by Mark Copeland

                          "THE BOOK OF ACTS"

                Paul's Defense Before The Mob (22:1-21)


1. We left Paul barely surviving a beating at the hands of an angry mob - Ac 21:30-36

2. When he appealed to the Roman commander who saved him to grant him an
   opportunity to speak to the people - Ac 21:37-39

[Paul was given the opportunity, and was able to quiet down the mob with
a motion of his hands (Ac 21:40).  The mob quieted down further when Paul
spoke in Hebrew (Ac 22:1-2)...]


      1. A Jew born in Tarsus of Cilicia - Ac 22:3
      2. Brought up in Jerusalem - Ac 22:3
         a. At the feet of Gamaliel - cf. Ac 5:34
         b. Taught according to the strictness of the Law (i.e., a Pharisee) - cf. Php 3:5
         c. Zealous toward God, just like they were - cf. Php 3:6
      3. His persecution of the church - Ac 22:4-5
         a. Persecuted this "Way" to death - cf. Ac 26:9-11
         b. Imprisoning men and women - cf. Ac 8:3
         c. To which the high priest and council could bear witness - cf. Ac 9:1-2
         d. From whom he received letters to synagogues in Damascus to 
            arrest those of the "Way" and bring them to Jerusalem - cf. Ac 9:1-2 

      1. On the road to Damascus - Ac 22:6-11
         a. Near Damascus, about noon, a great light from heaven shone around him
            1) Falling to the ground, he heard a voice:  "Saul, Saul, why
               are you persecuting Me?"
            2) Paul answered, "Who are you, Lord?"
            3) The voice answered, "I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you are persecuting."
         b. Those who were with him were afraid
            1) They saw the light
            2) They did not hear (understand) the voice - cf. Ac 9:7
         c. The conversation continued between Paul and Jesus
            1) Paul:  "What shall I do, Lord?"
            2) Jesus:  "Arise and go into Damascus, and there you will be
               told all things which are appointed for you to do."
         d. Blinded by the light, Paul was led by the hand into Damascus
      2. In the city of Damascus - Ac 22:12-16
         a. The arrival of Ananias - cf. Ac 9:10-14
            1) A devout man according to the law
            2) Having a good testimony of all the Jews who dwelt in Damascus
            3) Who healed Paul of his blindness
         b. The message from Ananias - cf. Ac 9:15-16
            1) "The God of our fathers has chosen you that you should
               know His will, and see the Just One, and hear the voice of His mouth."
            2) "For you will be His witness to all men of what you have seen and heard."
         c. The command from Ananias - cf. Ac 9:6
            1) "And now why are you waiting?"
            2) "Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling
               on the name of the Lord."

      1. Of the Lord, on a later visit to Jerusalem - Ac 22:17
      2. Of the Lord, telling him to flee Jerusalem - Ac 22:18-20
         a. For they would not receive his testimony concerning the Lord
         b. Even though Paul was telling them his persecution of the church
         c. Even though Paul participated in the stoning of Stephen 
      3. Of the Lord, telling him to go to the Gentiles - Ac 22:21
[At this point the mob refused to listen further, and Paul had to be
taken away by the Roman soldiers (Ac 22:22-24).  Our next study will
continue with what happened next, but for now...]


      1. Note Paul's politeness under trying circumstances
         a. We saw earlier his polite appeal to the commander - Ac 21:37
         b. Now he addresses a mob wanting to kill him as "brethren and fathers" - Ac 22:1
         c. Demonstrating what he later taught others - cf. Col 4:6; 2Ti 2:24-26
      2. Note Paul's purpose in recounting his conversion
         a. In the context of his earlier history, it was to explain his actions
         b. It was not "witnessing" (telling your conversion story) as 
            often done today
         c. In Acts, witnessing is always in regards to Jesus' 
            resurrection - cf. Ac 1:8,22; 2:32
         d. No one ever told their "conversion story" as a method of
            evangelism in the NT
         e. Such "witnessing" encourages one to believe in Jesus based on
            another's experience rather than on apostolic testimony 
            concerning Jesus' resurrection - cf. Jn 17:20
         f. Such "witnessing" calls for people to base their faith on
            subjective and often exaggerated stories rather than in the 
            objective eye-witness testimony of the apostles!

      1. We learn that Paul was not saved on the road to Damascus
         a. Perhaps converted in the sense of having his view of Jesus changed
         b. But after arriving in Damascus, he was still in his sins!- Ac 22:16
         c. Despite three days of praying and fasting (faith and repentance) 
             - cf. Ac 9:9,11   
      2. We learn that Paul's sins were washed away in baptism
         a. As the Lord had Ananias tell Paul "what to do" - Ac 22:16; cf. Ac 9:6
         b. As the Spirit-led Peter told both Jews and Gentiles - Ac 2:38; 10:48
         c. Jesus' blood washes away sin at the point of baptism
              - Ro 6:3-7; Col 2:12-13
      3. We learn how one calls upon the name of the Lord (Ac 22:16)
         a. One is saved by calling upon the name of the Lord - Ac 2:21; Ro 10:13
         b. Peter told people how to call upon his name:  via baptism! - Ac 2:38
         c. Peter wrote that baptism saves:  as an appeal to God for a 
            clean conscience - 1Pe 3:21


1. Paul's defense before the mob is the first of several; he will defend himself...
   a. Next, before the Sanhedrin council (Ac 23)
   b. After that, before two Roman governors (Felix, Ac 24, Festus, Ac 25)
   c. Then, before Herod Agrippa (Ac 26)
   d. Ultimately, before the Roman emperor Nero

2. Luke's record of Paul's defenses may have served several purposes...
   a. To help whoever ("most excellent Theophilus"? Lk 2:4) handled
      Paul's appeal to Nero 
   b. To help all better understand Paul's conversion and ministry as
      an apostle of Christ

As we continue in our study of Acts, may such understanding serve us
well regarding our own conversion and ministry as servants of Christ...!

Is Muhammad Mentioned in the Bible? by Dave Miller, Ph.D.


Is Muhammad Mentioned in the Bible?

by  Dave Miller, Ph.D.

Islamic apologists have attempted to bolster the credibility of their beliefs by claiming that the Bible, itself, makes reference to the coming of the prophet Muhammad. Ironically, this claim comes even in the face of the prevailing Islamic contention that the Bible has been corrupted, and thus cannot be relied upon as an accurate record of God’s Word. Nevertheless, the reader is urged to weigh these claims in light of the exegetical evidence for five of these passages.

Isaiah 29:12

First, Muslims appeal to Isaiah 29:12—“Then the book is delivered to one who is illiterate, saying, ‘Read this, please’; and he says, ‘I am not literate.’” Muslims insist that the book referred to in this verse is the Quran, that the one to whom the book was delivered is Muhammad, and that the one who ordered Muhammad to read the book is Gabriel. They claim that Muhammad fits the description of this individual, since Muhammad was illiterate when the angel Gabriel revealed the words of Allah to him.
To understand the context of the verse, one must remember that Isaiah, who lived in the 8th century B.C., is known as the “Messianic prophet” because he prophesied so many details about Jesus—not Muhammad. Isaiah 29 is in a context in which God pronounced woes on Judah for her sins at that time, i.e., 702 B.C. The context indicates that within a year, the great Assyrian king Sennacherib would lay siege to Jerusalem in 701 B.C. (vs. 3). Jerusalem (called “Ariel”) would be attacked by her enemies and punished for her crimes against God, and then those enemies would, themselves, also receive their just desserts (vss. 4-8). God’s people were in the throes of deliberate spiritual blindness, and Judah’s false prophets/seers were not helping the situation (vss. 9-10). Notice that Isaiah then described the unwillingness of the people of his day to heed the truth by comparing them to a literate person who is told to read something, but refuses, excusing himself by saying the document is sealed (vs. 11). It then is delivered to an illiterate person, but he excuses himself by saying he cannot read (vs. 12). The point is that the people of Isaiah’s day refused to pay attention to God’s Word spoken through His prophets. They did not want it! Verses 13-16 explain that because of their closed minds, they would all suffer for their rejection of His Word when the Assyrians arrived to besiege the city. But, as usual, God revealed a better day when people would listen (vss. 17ff.). Having examined the context, it is transparently evident that these verses have absolutely nothing to do with Muhammad!

Deuteronomy 18:18

A second verse that Muslims brandish in support of their claims is the promise of a coming prophet in Deuteronomy 18:18—“I will raise up for them a Prophet like you from among their brethren, and will put My words in His mouth, and He shall speak to them all that I command Him.” Muslims claim that the prophet to whom God referred was Muhammad.
Again, a simple examination of additional biblical evidence reveals that the statement made to Moses was divinely intended to refer to Jesus Christ—not Muhammad. Shortly after the establishment of the church of Christ and the Christian religion (in A.D. 30 in Jerusalem on the first Pentecost after the death and resurrection of Jesus—Acts 2), two of the twelve apostles, Peter and John, went to the Jewish temple and healed a lame man (Acts 3:1-11). When people began to gather in large numbers out of amazement at what had happened, Peter used the opportunity to preach the Christian message to them (Acts 3:12-26). He made several crucial points pertaining to the person of the Christ: (1) the recently crucified Jesus was, in fact, the One Whom the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob had glorified (vs. 13); (2) God had raised Him from the dead (vs. 15); (3) it was the “name” (i.e., authority/power) of Jesus, and faith in Him, that procured the miraculous healing of the lame man (vs. 16); (4) the suffering of Christ was predicted previously by God through the prophets (vs. 18); (5) at the conclusion of human history, God will send Jesus back (not any of the prophets, let alone Muhammad)—an unmistakable reference to the Second Coming of Christ immediately preceding the Judgment (vss. 20-21; cf. Romans 14:10; 2 Corinthians 5:10; 2 Thessalonians 1:7ff.). It is at this point that Peter quoted from the passage in Deuteronomy and applied it to Jesus—not Muhammad (vss. 22ff.). Peter’s inspired application is unmistakable; he clearly identified Jesus as the fulfillment: “God, having raised up His Servant Jesus, sent Him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from your iniquities” (vs. 26). Observe further that God stated explicitly that the prophet that He would raise up would come "from your brethren" (vs. 15; cf. vs. 18). In context, He was speaking to Moses, who was a descendant of Isaac. Arabs descended from Ishmael, not Isaac. Muhammad was not from the brethren of Moses and the Jews--he was an Arab. Muhammad does not fit the prophecy of Deuteronomy 18.

John 14-16

A third attempt by Muslims to gain credibility for their viewpoint by linking their beliefs to the Bible concerns the multiple allusions to the Holy Spirit in John chapters 14, 15, and 16. John 16:7 reads: “Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I go not away, the Helper will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him to you.” Again, Muslims claim that Jesus was referring to Muhammad. Yet anyone who has spent even a minimal amount of effort examining the teaching of John chapters 14, 15, and 16 is astounded that anyone would claim that the “Helper” (NKNV), or “Comforter” (KJV), or “Counselor” (RSV, NIV)—the one who stands beside (paracletos)—is to be equated with Muhammad. The three chapters have as their setting Jesus giving His twelve apostles special encouragement and specific admonitions in view of His eminent departure from the Earth. He reassured them that even though He was about to exit the planet, He would not abandon them. They would not be left “orphans” (14:18). He would send in His place the Holy Spirit Who would teach them all things and bring to their remembrance those things that Jesus had taught them (14:26). The term translated “Helper” occurs three times in the context (14:26; 15:26; 16:7). Without question, Jesus was referring to the power and directional assistance that the apostles would receive from the Holy Spirit beginning on the day of Pentecost (Acts 1:8; 2:4). A simple reading of the three chapters makes this conclusion inescapable.
Since Muslims do not believe in the notion of Trinity (God in three persons—Matthew 28:19; 2 Corinthians 13:14), they reject the reality of the Holy Spirit. When the Holy Spirit is referred to in the Quran, it is speaking of the angel Gabriel (Surah 2:87,253; 16:102; see Pickthall, n.d., p. 40, note 3). But using their own reasoning, the “Helper” cannot refer to Muhammad since the context specifically identifies the “Helper” as the “Holy Spirit:” “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you” (14:26). If the Quran is correct, and the Holy Spirit is Gabriel, then John 14:26 teaches that the Helper is Gabriel—not Muhammad! No, John 16:7 does not refer to Muhammad.

John 1:19-21

A fourth passage brought forward in an effort to show biblical support for Muhammad’s claim to be a prophet of God is John 1:19-21—“Now this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, ‘Who are you?’ He confessed, and did not deny, but confessed, ‘I am not the Christ.’ And they asked him, ‘What then? Are you Elijah?’ He said, ‘I am not.’ ‘Are you the Prophet?’ And he answered, ‘No.’” Muslims claim that the Jews were waiting for the fulfillment of three distinct prophecies. The first was the coming of Christ. The second was the coming of Elijah. The third was the coming of the Prophet. Muslims point out that the three questions that were posed to John the baptizer in this passage show this expectation to be true. They further maintain that since the Jews distinguished between the Christ and the Prophet, Jesus Christ was not the prophet mentioned in Deuteronomy 18:15,18.
Muslims certainly are correct in their observation that the Jews of Jesus’ day thought that the Christ and the Prophet were two separate personages. But the meaning and proper application of the Bible does not rest on the perceptions and misconceptions of mere humans. The Bible records the opinions and viewpoints of a wide range of individuals throughout human history—including Satan himself (Matthew 4:3,6,9)—even though their opinions and viewpoints were incorrect. The Bible does not authenticate such opinions simply by reporting them. The Jews were confused.
The real question is, does the Bible indicate whether the Christ and the Prophet were/are to be understood as the same person? As already noted, the apostle Peter certainly thought so (Acts 3:12ff.). So did the great evangelist and Christian martyr, Stephen. Standing before the highest-ranking body of the Jewish religion, the Sanhedrin, and in the presence of the highest-ranking religious figure in Judaism, the high priest, Stephen recalled the words of Moses from Deuteronomy (Acts 7:37), and then forthrightly declared Jesus to be the Just One Whom they had betrayed and murdered (vs. 52). The “Just One” is precisely the same person that Peter identified as the fulfillment of the Deuteronomy passage, i.e., Jesus Christ. Likewise, Paul referred to Jesus (not Muhammad) as the “Just One” (Acts 22:14). An objective appraisal of the biblical data yields the unmistakable conclusion that the Bible identifies the Prophet of Deuteronomy 18 as Jesus Christ—not Muhammad. Jesus is both the Christ and the Prophet.

Song of Solomon 5:16

A fifth passage alleged to be a reference to Muhammad is found in Song of Solomon 5:16, where it is claimed that Muhammad is actually referred to by name in Hebrew. In English, the verse reads: “His mouth is most sweet, yes, he is altogether lovely. This is my beloved, and this is my friend, O daughters of Jerusalem!” (NKJV). A phonetic transliteration of the underlying Hebrew text reads: Kheeco mahm-tah-keem vuh-coollo ma-kha-madeem zeh dodee veh-tseh ray-ee beh-note yerushalayim. Muslims claim that the bolded word, though translated “altogether lovely,” is the name of Muhammad (Naik, n.d.). Consider six linguistic evidences that dispute their claim:
1. The second syllable (kha) utilizes the Hebrew letter heth which has a hard initial sound like the “ch” in the Scottish word “loch.” It is to be distinguished from the Hebrew letter he which is the same as the English letter “h.” If Muhammad was being referred to, the simple “h” would have been more linguistically appropriate.
2. Muslims claim that the eem (or im) in ma-kha-madeem in the Hebrew language was “added for respect” (Naik). This claim is untrue and unsubstantiated. The letters constitute the standard form for changing a singular to a plural—like adding “s” or “es” in English (cf. Weingreen, 1959, pp. 35ff.). As the eminent Emil Rödiger (who was professor for oriental languages at the University of Halle and the student of the well-known German Orientalist, H.F.W. Gesenius) noted in his editorial comment in the prestigious Gesenius’ Hebrew Grammar: “The use of the plural as a form of respectful address is quite foreign to Hebrew” (p. 418).
3. The meaning of the Hebrew ma-kha-madeem is different from the meaning of the word “Muhammad” in Arabic. According to Sheikh Abd al-Azîz, Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia, the word “Muhammad” is derived from the Arabic root word hamd meaning “praise.” It is the emphatic passive participle of that root and can be translated as “the Oft-Praised One” (n.d.). However, the Hebrew term (makh-mahd) in the passage under consideration has a completely different meaning. It refers to “grace, beauty” (Gesenius, 1979, p. 464), “a desirable thing, delightfulness” (Brown, et al., 1906, pp. 326-327), “a pleasant thing” (Payne, 1980, 1:295), or “precious” (Holladay, 1988, p. 190). English translations render the term “altogether lovely” (NKJV, NIV), “wholly desirable” (NASB), and “altogether desirable” (ESV, RSV). No reputable English translation would render the underlying Hebrew as “Muhammad.” All Muslims have done is happen upon a Hebrew word that phonetically sounds somewhat like “Muhammad” and have erroneously concluded the word must be referring to him. Such handling of linguistic data is irresponsible.
4. Further, the claim that Muhammad is intended in the verse completely disregards the context and message of the book of Song of Solomon. The book consists of a dialogue between Solomon, his Shulamite bride-to-be, and the “daughters of Jerusalem,” with perhaps even God interjecting His comment (5:1b), as well as the Shulamite’s brothers (8:8-9). The term used in 5:16 that Muslims claim refers to Muhammad is also used in 2:3 to refer to the Shulamite’s beloved—“Like an apple tree among the trees of the woods, so is my beloved among the sons. I sat down in his shade with great delight.” “Great delight” is the Hebrew word also used in 5:16; in both cases the words of the Shulamite refer to her beloved—not Muhammad.
5. Forms of the same Hebrew word are used elsewhere in the Old Testament, yet Muslims do not claim that those passages refer to Muhammad. Rightly so, since those verses cannot be forced to fit the notion that Muhammad is under consideration. For example, Isaiah 64:11 mourns the destruction of Jerusalem: “Our holy and beautiful temple, where our fathers praised You, is burned up with fire; And all our pleasant things are laid waste.” “Pleasant things” is a form of the same word in Song of Solomon 5:16. Would the Muslim contend that Muhammad was “laid waste” in Jerusalem? Additional occurrences of the same word—which dispel the misuse of the term by Muslims—are seen in 1 Kings 20:6; 2 Chronicles 36:19; Lamentations 1:10,11; Ezekiel 24:16,21,25; Hosea 9:9,16; Joel 3:5; et al. (Wigram, 1890, p. 687).
6. Even if the Hebrew word “lovely/desirable” in Song of Solomon were the Hebrew equivalent of the Arabic word “praised one,” it still would not follow that Muhammad is being referred to in the Bible. Instead, it would simply be an indication that the underlying word stands on its own as a term used for other applications. For example, the Hebrew word for “bitter” is mah-rah. It is used throughout the Old Testament to refer to the concept of bitter. Yet, due to her unpleasant circumstances in life, Naomi (meaning “pleasant”) requested that her name be changed to “bitter” (mah-rah) to reflect her bitter predicament. It does not follow, however, that when the Hebrew word “bitter” appears in the Old Testament it refers to Naomi. If parents today were to name their child John, it would not follow that they intended to reflect an association with others in history who have worn the name John. Muslims have the cart before the horse. Their claim is equivalent to parents naming their child “wonderful” or “special”—and then claiming that an ancient writer had their child in mind when the writer used the word “wonderful” or “special” in referring to another person contemporary to the writer.


All of the above verses may be understood with a little study and consideration of context. Those who would attempt to use these verses to apply to Muhammad demonstrate that they have a very superficial, cursory understanding of the Bible. The truth is available for anyone who cares to “check it out.” But searching for the truth requires effort. It requires proper motivation, sincerity, and honesty. Yet it can be done. As Jesus said, “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32).


al-Azîz, Sheikh Abd (no date), “The Meaning of the Prophet’s names ‘Muhammad’ and ‘Ahmad,’” Islam Today, http://en.islamtoday.net/quesshow-14-738.htm.
Brown, Francis, S.R. Driver, and Charles A. Briggs (1906), The Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 2000 reprint).
Gesenius, William (1847), Hebrew and Chaldee Lexicon (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1979 reprint).
Holladay, William (1988), A Concise Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans).
Naik, Zakir (no date), “Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) in the Bible,” Islam 101, http://www.islam101.com/religions/christianity/mBible.htm.
Payne, J. Barton (1980), hamad in Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, ed. R. Laird Harris, Gleason Archer, Jr. and Bruce Waltke (Chicago, IL: Moody).
Pickthall, Mohammed M. (n.d.), The Meaning of the Glorious Koran (New York: Mentor).
Weingreen, J. (1959), A Practical Grammar for Classical Hebrew (Oxford: Clarenden Press), second edition.
Wigram, George W. (1890), The Englishman’s Hebrew and Chaldee Concordance of the Old Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1980 reprint).

A Giant Among Pygmies by Kyle Butt, M.Div.


A Giant Among Pygmies

by  Kyle Butt, M.Div.

Ancient books thrill our imaginations with vivid pictures of worlds and cultures from long ago. Beautiful poetry, accurate history, and interesting narrative are but a few of the literary devices these ancient writers employed with captivating genius. Take the writings of Homer, for instance. His epic poems The Illiad and The Odyssey rank among the most influential pieces of literature ever written. It often has been said that a person cannot know Greece without reading Homer. Or consider The Histories of Herodotus, who was said to have revolutionized the way the world recorded history. He changed it from mere folklore and yarn stringing into documentation of actual fact. Also call to mind the writings of Josephus, which shed radiating light on the relationship between the Roman Empire and the Jewish nation in the early years of the first century A.D. And we must not neglect The Annals by Tacitus, which gives us a bird’s-eye view into some of the most intricate workings of the Roman Empire during the later part of the first century and early part of the second century A.D.
But one ancient book has outshone all of these. In America alone, it generates a 200-million-dollar market every year. It is the best-selling book of all times. Translated into over 800 languages, introduced into over 200 countries, the Bible, and more specifically, the New Testament, stands as the greatest literary achievement the world has ever read.
Yet, as we look at these monumental works of literature, we might wonder how we know Homer actually wrote the Illiad, and how many copies from the past have we discovered? Or how do we know that Josephus wrote in the first century A.D.? Did we find a copy of his works with a handy title page and copyright date in the front cover? And if we did, how many of these copies have we found? And what about the New Testament? Have we found many copies of it? If so, how old are they, and how do they compare with the evidence that verifies the other ancient works? I think the following chart answers many of these questions and speaks for itself.
How Does the New Testament
Measure Up to Other Ancient Books?
Title of Ancient Book Date it was Written Date of Earliest Manuscript Number of Manuscripts
Homer’s Illiad 700 B.C. Unknown 643
History of Herodotus 425 B.C. A.D. 900 8
Josephus’ Jewish Wars A.D. 70 A.D. 400 9
Histories of Tacitus A.D. 100 A.D. 900 2
New Testament A.D. 35-100 A.D. 125 5735
Based solely on the actual manuscripts evidence available, the New Testament stands as the most historically documented piece of ancient literature ever written. F.F. Bruce once stated: “It is a curious fact that historians have often been much readier to trust the New Testament records than have many theologians” (1953, p. 19). Aside from any discussion as to the inspiration of these documents, simply looking at their overwhelming manuscript evidence should quickly alert even the most skeptical observer to the fact that the documents of the New Testament are “special” to say the very least.


Bruce, F.F. (1953), The New Testament Documents—Are They Reliable? (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans), fourth edition.

What Do You Know? by Eric Lyons, M.Min.


What Do You Know?

by  Eric Lyons, M.Min.

We may not all understand the technical, philosophical terminology that philosophers use to dissect and describe things that we can and cannot know, but most rational people understand that there are some things we can know and some things we cannot. We can know that we exist. We can know that 1 + 1 = 2. We can know that yesterday is in the past and tomorrow is yet to be seen and full of the unknown. What is mind boggling are those things that atheistic evolutionists say Christians cannot know, while at the same time assuring the world of the many things they know regarding the origins of man and the Universe.
  • Atheists contend that Christians cannot know that there is a Creator, and that in fact, they know there is no Creator. Yet, they will affirm that they know that the Universe is the result of a infinitesimal ball of matter that exploded about 14 billion years ago. After explaining that the Universe came into existence billions of years ago from “nothing” in a black hole, world renowned, atheistic cosmologist Stephen Hawking said: “That is exactly what happened at the start of the Universe” (“Curiosity…,” 2011, emp. added). Really? He knows “exactly what happened” 14 billion years ago?
  • Atheists contend that Christians cannot know that Christ lived, died, and arose from the dead 2,000 years ago (Acharya, 1999), yet they claim to know “exactly what happened” at the beginning of time, supposedly 14,000,000,000 years ago. Seriously?
  • Atheists contend that Christians cannot know that life was created by a supernatural Creator a few thousand years ago. Even though biogenesis has repeatedly proven itself true—that in nature life comes only from life and that of its own kind—atheistic evolutionists claim to know the very opposite to be true: in nature life evolved from non-life billions of years ago.
  • Atheists contend that Christians cannot know that a Creator created sea creatures and land animals, but they affirm with all confidence that fish flopped out of water and evolved into amphibians and reptiles, while fox-like, land animals drifted out into water and evolved fins, flukes, and blow holes on their way to becoming whales (“The Evolution of Whales,” 2012).
  • Atheists contend that Christians cannot know that human life was specially created differently from all other creation (Genesis 1:26-28), but they know that humans evolved from ape-like creatures. As was emphatically stated in one widely used middle school textbook, “There is no doubt among scientists…that humans evolved from common ancestors they share with other living primates. Scientists also know that the human species evolved in Africa and then spread around the Earth” (Evolution…, 1994, p. 78, emp. added). [Of course, to be consistent, if humans evolved from animals, and were not created in the image of God, then butchering babies could be considered no more evil than butchering baboons, bugs, bull frogs, or buffalo.]  
  • Atheists contend that Christians cannot know that the Bible is from God, but they can know that their man-made, assumption-based, often-contradictory dating techniques prove that various rocks on Earth are billions of years old.
This list could go on and on. Atheistic evolutionists continually contend with all assurance that they “know” what happened millions and billions of years ago. They “know” that purely naturalistic evolution is “a fundamental fact…as real as hunger and as unavoidable as death” (Hayden, 2002, 133[4]:43). Creation-believing Christians, who refuse to accept the alleged “fact” of evolution, are, as world-renowned atheist Richard Dawkins put it, “ignorant, stupid, or insane” (1989, p. 3, emp. added). Why? Because we believe that the Universe is an effect of a cause much greater than the explosion of a tiny ball of matter. Because we believe that Mind, not matter, is eternal. Because we believe that design demands a Designer, and not a random explosion. Because nature (i.e., the Law of Biogenesis) demands a supernatural explanation for the origin of life. Because a human life is more precious than a bug’s. Because we choose to believe the answers that the Creator provided for us in His inspired, ever-enduring, never-changing revelation (see Butt, 2007), rather than in the ever-changing, constantly revised fable of evolution.
We can know that God exists because He is “clearly seen” by His Creation (Romans 1:20); the heavens declare His glory (Psalm 19:1). We can know that the Bible is His will for mankind because of its amazing predictive prophecy, scientific foreknowledge, historical accuracy, and perfect unity. We can know the Truth (John 8:32).
The world, through what is falsely called “wisdom,” does not know God (1 Corinthians 1:21). They believe that Christ and His Creation are “foolishness” (1 Corinthians 1:23). As Christians, we “boast in the Lord” (Psalm 34:2, emp. added). We know of His existence. We trust in His Word. Stephen Hawking and other atheists claim they can know “exactly what happened at the start of the Universe,” even though, allegedly, no conscious being was around 14 billion years ago to witness it. Christians, on the other hand, choose to believe in the answers of the One Who was at Creation and did the creating. Rather than accept the “wisdom” of the world, we seek the wisdom of the One Who created the world. Ultimately, only He can provide the details to the origin of the Universe and everything in it.
“Who is this who darkens counsel by words without knowledge?... Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding” (Job 38:2,4).
“[T]he foolishness of God is wiser than men” (1 Corinthians 1:25).


Acharya, S. (1999), The Christ Conspiracy: The Greatest Story Ever Sold (Kempton, IL: Adventures Unlimited Press).
Butt, Kyle (2007), Behold! The Word of God (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press).
“Curiosity: Did God Create the Universe?” (2011), Discovery Channel, August 7.
Dawkins, Richard (1989), “Book Review” (of Donald Johanson and Maitland Edey’s Blueprint), The New York Times, section 7, April 9.
Evolution: Change Over Time (1994), (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall).
“The Evolution of Whales” (2012), Understanding Evolution, University of California Museum of Paleontology, http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evolibrary/article/evograms_03.
Hayden, Thomas (2002), “A Theory Evolves,” U.S. News & World Report, 133[4]:42-50, July 29.

One of Suffering's Greatest Benefits by Kyle Butt, M.Div.


One of Suffering's Greatest Benefits

by  Kyle Butt, M.Div.

It is reported that Oscar Wilde, the British playwright, once said that there was enough suffering on any given street in London at any given time to prove that there is no God. For millennia, skeptics, agnostics, atheists, and infidels have pointed accusing fingers at the suffering in this world, and have demanded that such evil and pain militates against the concept of an all-powerful, all-loving God. Even Christians have been faced with faith-trying episodes of suffering in their lives. How could a loving God allow such bad things to happen to His human creations?
In this brief article, an in-depth study of that question cannot be undertaken (for an in-depth look at this topic, see Major, 1998). It is, however, the case that one small aspect of the problem can be presented: suffering in the lives of humans can lead them to establish a right relationship with their Creator. Consider Manasseh, the king of Judah, as a case in point. In 2 Kings 21, the Bible records that Manasseh “did evil in the sight of the Lord” (vs. 2). He “practiced soothsaying, used witchcraft, and consulted spiritists and mediums” (vs. 3). But his sins did not stop there; rather, he acted “more wickedly than all the Amorites who were before him” and “made Judah sin with his idols” (vs. 11). In addition, the text records that Manasseh “shed very much innocent blood, till he had filled Jerusalem from one end to another” (vs. 16). This evil king seemed to be rotten to the core, and beyond hope of turning to God.
Due to his sin, the Lord sent the army of Assyria to raid Judah. The Assyrians captured Manasseh and led him away with hooks (probably nose hooks) and bronze fetters to the land of Babylon. In this destitute condition, when Manasseh’s suffering was at its worst, the Bible records: “Now when he was afflicted, he implored the Lord his God, and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers, and prayed to Him; and He received his entreaty, heard his supplication, and brought him back to Jerusalem into his king. Then Manasseh knew that the Lord was God” (2 Chronicles 33:12-13, emp. added). Upon regaining the throne, Manasseh removed the idols and foreign gods and re-established worship of the one true God. Only through his “affliction” did Manasseh realize that he needed God.
So it is with many today. The cares of this world have a way of keeping people from contemplating their actual relationship with God. Yet, when suffering hits their lives, the real issues of life often come into much clearer focus. C.S. Lewis once wrote that pain was God’s “megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” David, the inspired psalmist, in a prayer to his God, wrote: “Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep Your word” (Psalm 119:67). It is a sad fact that some people never look up to God until they are laying flat on their backs. Do not be deceived into thinking that all suffering and pain is “useless.” On the contrary, “count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience” (James 1:2-3).


Major, Trevor J. (1998), “The Problem of Suffering,” Reason & Revelation, 18:49-55, July.

The Miracles of Christ—Many and Varied by Eric Lyons, M.Min.


The Miracles of Christ—Many and Varied

by  Eric Lyons, M.Min.

One of the biblical proofs for the deity of Christ is the miracles that Jesus worked. And, we are asked to believe that Jesus is the Son of God not because He performed one or two marvelous deeds during His lifetime. To the contrary, “miracles cluster around the Lord Jesus Christ like steel shavings to a magnet” (Witmer, 1973, 130:132). The gospel accounts are saturated with a variety of miracles that Christ performed, not for wealth or political power, but that the world may be convinced that He was sent by the Father to bring salvation to mankind (cf. John 5:36; 10:37-38). As Isaiah prophesied, Jesus performed miracles of healing (Isaiah 53:4; Matthew 8:16-17). He cleansed a leper with the touch of His hand (Matthew 8:1-4), and healed all manner of sickness and disease with the word of His mouth (cf. John 4:46-54). One woman who had a hemorrhage for 12 years was healed immediately simply by touching the fringe of His garment (Luke 8:43-48). Similarly, on one occasion after Jesus came into the land of Gennesaret, all who were sick in all of the surrounding region came to Him, “and begged Him that they might only touch the hem of His garment. And as many as touched it were made perfectly well” (Matthew 14:34-36; Mark 3:10). Generally speaking, “great multitudes came to Him, having with them the lame, blind, mute, maimed, and many others; and they laid them down at Jesus’ feet, and He healed them” (Matthew 15:30, emp. added). “He cured many of infirmities, afflictions...and to many blind He gave sight” (Luke 7:21, emp. added). Even Jesus’ enemies confessed to His “many signs” (John 11:48).
Jesus not only exhibited power over the sick and afflicted, He also showed His superiority over nature more than once. Whereas God’s prophet Moses turned water into blood by striking water with his rod (Exodus 7:20), Jesus simply willed water into wine at a wedding feast (John 2:1-11). He further exercised His power over the natural world by calming the Sea of Galilee during a turbulent storm (Matthew 8:23-27), by walking on water for a considerable distance to reach His disciples (Matthew 14:25-43), and by causing a fig tree to wither away at His command. Jesus’ supernatural superiority over the physical world (which He created—Colossians 1:16) is exactly what we would expect from One Who claimed to be the Son of God.
Jesus’ miracles were not limited to the natural world, however. As further proof of His deity, He also revealed His power over the spiritual world by casting out demons. “They brought to Him many who were demon-possessed. And He cast out the spirits with a word” (Matthew 8:16, emp. added). Luke also recorded that “He cured many of...evil spirits” (Luke 7:21, emp. added). Mark recorded where Jesus once exhibited power over a man overwhelmed with unclean spirits, which no one had been able to bind—not even with chains and shackles; neither could anyone tame the demon-infested man (Mark 5:1-21). Jesus, however, cured him. Afterwards, witnesses saw the man with the unclean spirits “sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind” (Luke 8:35-36). On several occasions, Jesus healed individuals who were tortured by evil spirits. And, “they were all amazed and spoke among themselves, saying, ‘What a word this is! For with authority and power He commands the unclean spirits, and they come out’” (Luke 4:36).
Finally, Jesus performed miracles that demonstrated His power even over death. Recall that when John the Baptizer’s disciples came to Jesus inquiring about His identity, Jesus instructed them to tell John that “the dead are raised” (Matthew 11:5). The widow of Nain’s son had already been declared dead and placed in a casket when Jesus touched the open coffin and told him to “arise.” Immediately, “he who was dead sat up and began to speak” (Luke 7:14-15). Lazarus had already been dead and buried for four days by the time Jesus raised him from the dead (John 11:1-44). Such a great demonstration of power over death caused “many of the Jews who had come to Mary, and had seen the things Jesus did” to believe in Him (John 11:45). What’s more, Jesus’ own resurrection from the dead was the climax of all of His miracles, and serves as perhaps the most convincing miracle of all (see Butt, 2002, 22:9-15).
In all, the gospel records contain some 37 specific supernatural acts that Jesus performed. If that number were to include such miracles as His virgin birth and transfiguration, and the multiple times He exemplified the ability to “read minds,” and to know the past or future without having to learn of them through ordinary means (cf. John 4:15-19; 13:21-30; 2:25), etc., the number would reach upwards of 50. Indeed, the miracles of Christ were varied and numerous. He healed the blind, lame, sick, and leprous, as well as demonstrated power over nature, demons, and death. The apostle John, who recorded miracles of Christ “that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name” (John 20:31), also commented on how “Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book” (20:30, emp. added). In fact, Jesus worked so many miracles throughout His ministry on Earth that, “if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written” (John 21:25).


Butt, Kyle (2002), “Jesus Christ—Dead or Alive?” Reason & Revelation, 22:9-15, February, [On-line], URL: http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/121.
Witmer, John (1973), “The Doctrine of Miracles,” Bibliotheca Sacra, 130:126-134, April.

It Takes Intelligence to Design a Human—oid by Kyle Butt, M.Div.


It Takes Intelligence to Design a Human—oid

by  Kyle Butt, M.Div.

On Monday, March 16 the world was introduced to HRP-4C, a female, humanoid robot designed and created by developers at Japan’s National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (Ama, 2009). This 95-pound technological wonder wowed onlookers with her animated facial expressions, lifelike walk, and human-like responses. Designers created her to be a fashion model. They hope that future models will be able to help “with daily chores or work side by side with people.” But Hirohisa Hirukawa, one researcher who worked on the robot, said concerning this dream: “Technologically, it hasn’t reached that level” (Ama, 2009). For all the money, man-hours, and technology applied to the field of robotics, robots simply cannot perform standard tasks that an average human does with little thought or exertion.
Models of the HRP-4C robot will soon be on sale for about $200,000. Japanese robotics developers, who are some of the leaders in the field, believe that the market for humanoid robots will soon be in the billions of dollars. They want to be the front-runners in this technological expansion.
As exciting as HRP-4C’s debut was, however, it was not problem-free. As Ama noted:
The demonstration didn’t all go smoothly. The robot often looked surprised, opening its mouth and eyes in a stunned expression, when the demonstrator asked it to smile or look angry. Its walk was also not quite ready for the Paris Collection, partly because its knees are permanently bent. It has sensors in its feet but it lacks the sensitive balance of a real human (2009).
If we wanted to list a few other things that limit the robot’s capabilities, we could mention that it does not have light-weight, super-strong bones that heal in a matter of weeks if they are broken, it cannot turn a banana into usable energy to keep itself going, it cannot do simple jumping jacks, does not have self-cleaning eyeballs, etc. To put it mildly, the robot’s abilities are dismal when compared to a living human.
Shuuji Kajita, the leading developer of the group, optimistically noted that HRP-4C “is just the first step” (Ama, 2009). He means this is the first step toward making a robot that can come closer to human functionality. But future steps in that direction will cost billions, consume massive amounts of research time, and require input from thousands of brilliant men and women across the globe. These things do not just happen by accident, which, of course, is the point. Robots don’t happen by accident; they require intelligent designers to bring them into existence.
Only the most obstinate mind can miss the clear implication. Robots are inferior to humans and they require intelligent, personal beings for their construction. Human beings are superior to robots in functionality and complexity; therefore they must also require an intelligent, personal being for their design. As the psalmist so aptly put it some 3,000 years ago: “I will praise You [God], for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are your works, and that my soul knows very well” (139:14).


Ama, Yuri Kagey (2009), “Walking, Talking Female Robot to Hit Japan Catwalk,” [On-line], URL: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090316/ap_on_re_as/as_japan_girl_robot.

The Real Problem with American Public Education by Dave Miller, Ph.D.


The Real Problem with American Public Education

by  Dave Miller, Ph.D.

Arguably, America has the most advanced educational system in human history. Who could deny that public education in America is heavily funded—and has been for many years. Indeed, American public schools have been the best financed schools in world history. American teachers are the most highly educated teachers in human history as well. More elementary and secondary school teachers have college and graduate degrees than ever before. And what’s more, American schools possess more sophisticated, technologically advanced equipment, aids, and facility furnishings than the rest of the world does.
Yet, it is no secret that American schools are in trouble. Schools cannot guarantee student performance. You’ve heard the horror stories of students graduating from high school without being able to read. Further, public schools are experiencing more discipline problems than ever before. There are more high school dropouts than ever. The list goes on. Politicians and educators have been scrambling for years to address the problem—from school vouchers to “no child left behind.”
So what is the problem? What has happened to American public education? If we have more money, more degreed teachers, and more educational tools, yet little improvement has been forthcoming, what is the problem? Could our sad situation possibly have anything to do with the fact that we have displaced God and religion from the classroom where they previously reigned for over a century and a half? The Founders of the American Republic anticipated and articulated the problem plainly. For example, Declaration of Independence signer Benjamin Rush stated: “[T]he only foundation for a useful education in a republic is to be laid in religion. Without this there can be no virtue, and without virtue there can be no liberty, and liberty is the object and life of all republican governments” (1798, p. 8, emp. added). Dr. Rush further stated:
We profess to be republicans, and yet we neglect the only means of establishing and perpetuating our republican forms of government, that is, the universal education of our youth in the principles of Christianity by the means of the Bible. For this Divine Book, above all others, favors that equality among mankind, that respect for just laws, and those sober and frugal virtues, which constitute the soul of republicanism (pp. 93-94, emp. added).
Dr. Rush also insisted:
I wish to be excused for repeating here, that if the Bible did not convey a single direction for the attainment of future happiness, it should be read in our schools in preference to all other books, from, its containing the greatest portion of that kind of knowledge which is calculated to produce private and public temporal happiness.... By withholding the knowledge of this [Christian] doctrine from children, we deprive ourselves of the best means of awakening moral sensibility in their minds (1947, pp. 122,125, emp. and bracketed item added).
Noah Webster echoed the same sentiment: “In my view, the Christian religion is the most important and one of the first things in which all children, under a free government, ought to be instructed” (1843, p. 291, emp. added).
Indeed, the central problem in American public education is strictly and solely moral and religious. Unless God and the principles of Christianity are returned to the schools, we can expect to see a continuation of the national downward spiral. As God instructed the Israelite nation of old: “Only take heed to yourself, and diligently keep yourself, lest you forget the things your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. And teach them to your children and your grandchildren” (Deuteronomy 4:9, emp. added).


Rush, Benjamin (1947), “The Bible as a School Book,” in The Selected Writings of Benjamin Rush, ed. Dagobert Runes, (New York: Philosophical Library), http://books.google.com/books?ct=result&id=SfVI4cYU2Y0C&dq=%22awakening+moral+sensibility%22&ots=qBCgbpRB4x&pg=PA125&lpg= PA125&sig=ACfU3U0oaK9Gl39Fi7YJsyRbKPJ3VbjLRg&q= school#PPP1,M1.
Rush, Benjamin (1798), Essays, Literary, Moral and Philosophical (Philadelphia, PA: Thomas & Samuel Bradford).
Webster, Noah (1843), A Collection of Papers on Political, Literary, and Moral Subjects (New York: Webster and Clark).

Were the Iron Chariots Too Powerful? by Kyle Butt, M.Div.


Were the Iron Chariots Too Powerful?

by Kyle Butt, M.Div.

[NOTE: During the February 12, 2009 Darwin Day debate with Kyle Butt, Dan Barker listed 14 alleged Bible discrepancies as evidence against God’s existence. He insisted (11 minutes and 24 seconds into his opening speech) that the Bible gives contradictory descriptions of God’s power, because of a statement about the Israelite’s failure to conquer their neighbors who possessed iron chariots. His allegation is refuted in the following article written by Kyle in 2004.]
It has been suggested that the Bible is filled with contradictions. One of the supposed contradictions is between Joshua 17:18 and Judges 1:19. Let us look closely at these verses and their contexts to see if any real contradiction exists.
Joshua 17:18: “But the mountain country shall be yours. Although it is wooded, you shall cut it down, and its farthest extent shall be yours; for you shall drive out the Canaanites, though they have iron chariots and are strong.” Judges 1:19: “So the Lord was with Judah. And they drove out the mountaineers, but they could not drive out the inhabitants of the lowland, because they had chariots of iron.”
After reading the two verses, it may look like they contradict one another. Did the children of Israel defeat the Canaanites with their chariots of iron as Joshua apparently had said they would, or were the chariots just too powerful for the people of Judah to overcome?
These two passages have several plausible ways of reconciliation. And, please remember that the exact way to reconcile any contradiction need not be pinpointed, as long as a possible way can be provided. The rest of this brief answer will deal with only two of the many possible ways to reconcile the passages.
The first way to reconcile the passages is to show that Joshua was informing his listeners that they had the power to drive out the Canaanites only if they would follow God faithfully and be confident in His promises. Judges chapter 2:1-3 says:
Then the Angel of the Lord came up from Gilgal to Bochim, and said: “I led you up from Egypt and brought you to the land of which I swore to your fathers; and I said, ‘I will never break My covenant with you. And you shall make no covenant with the inhabitants of this land; you shall tear down their altars.’ But you have not obeyed My voice. Why have you done this? Therefore I also said, ‘I will not drive them out before you; but they shall be thorns in your side, and their gods shall be a snare to you.’ ”
God’s promise through Joshua was not an unconditional guarantee that the children of Israel would possess all of the land they had been promised. It was conditional, based upon the faithfulness of the Israelites and their obedience to God’s commandments. After all, God never would force the Israelites to clear the wooded areas against their will. Neither would He force them to conquer the iron chariots. The two verses under discussion easily could be dealing with land that God chose not to clear of its previous inhabitants because of the disobedience of the people of Judah.
A second possible solution could be that the children of Israel did conquer the mountain country and succeeded in driving out its inhabitants for a brief time, but they were unable to maintain control of the cities. Thus, by the time referred to in Judges 1, the cities already could have been retaken by the chariots of iron.
As a final word, notice that Joshua said that “the mountain country” and “its farthest extents” were the promised possession of the Israelites. In Judges 1:19, the children of Israel did, indeed, drive out “the inhabitants of the mountains.” Unless we force the phrase “its farthest extents” in Joshua 17:18 to read “lowland” as in Judges 1:19, then there is absolutely no hint of a contradiction, and this entire explanation is unnecessary.

How can we identify the true church? by Roy Davison

How can we identify the true church?
Thousands of denominations claim to follow Christ. They cannot all be right, since they have conflicting doctrines and practices.
Someone who believes in Jesus is faced with the challenge of identifying His church. What are its distinguishing marks?
The true church was established by Christ. Jesus said, "I will build My church" (Matthew 16:18). A church built by someone else is not the church of Christ. This excludes many religious groups. Sometimes they even wear the name of their founder.
The true church was established in Jerusalem on the Day of Pentecost after the resurrection of Christ. Peter preached the good news about salvation from sin. "Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them" (Acts 2:41). "And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved" (Acts 2:47). A church that was established at some other time, or at some other place, is not the church of Christ. This excludes many religious groups. Sometimes they even wear the name of some city or country of origin.
Christ is the head of the true church. The Father put all things under His feet "and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, which is His body" (Ephesians 1:22, 23). Referring to the universality of His church, Jesus told the people of Israel: "And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd" (John 10:16). A church with some other head, is not the church of Christ. This excludes many religious groups.
The true church was established by Christ at Jerusalem in the first century. He is its head. Churches established by someone else, someplace else, or at some other time, cannot be the church of Christ.
Yet, it is not sufficient to claim that Christ is the head of a church, or that it was established at Jerusalem in the first century. This must also be true. How can we know if it is true?
The true church has the original faith. Jude wrote: "Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints" (Jude 3). The Christian faith was delivered once and for all in the first century. Any church with a faith different from the original faith, is not the church of Christ.
The true church follows the Scriptures. Paul emphasized this when he wrote to Timothy: "But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. But as for you, continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work" (2 Timothy 3:13-17). A church that does not follow the Scriptures, is not the church of Christ.
The doctrine of Christ is normative for the true church. It does not go "beyond what is written" (1 Corinthians 4:6). "Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son" (2 John 9). A church that goes beyond what is written, which does not abide in the doctrine of Christ, is not the church of Christ.
The true church worships "in spirit and truth" (John 4:24). Referring to superficial worshippers, God said: "This people honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men" (Mark 7:6, 7).
The true church preaches the original gospel as preserved in the New Testament. Because some were already preaching a different gospel, Paul had to warn the Galatian churches: "I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed" (Galatians 1:6-9). A church that preaches a gospel different from the original message, is not the church of Christ.
Christ's death on the cross and His resurrection are the facts of the gospel. Paul wrote: "Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures" (1 Corinthians 15:1-4).
Jesus is "The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!" (John 1:29), "who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree" (1 Peter 2:24). "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God" (Ephesians 2:8).
Jesus said: "He who believes and is baptized will be saved" (Mark 16:16).
"If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes to righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made to salvation" (Romans 10:9, 10).
"Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit" (Acts 2:38).
We are striving to be a church of Christ, to be a congregation of God's people, to serve Him in spirit and truth according to His word.
If you believe that Jesus is the Son of God, that He died for your sins, that He rose the third day, if you repent (if you are sorry for your sins and are determined to dedicate your life to God), if you confess your faith, and if you are baptized for the remission of sins, you will be added to Christ's church, His body. Then, with us, you too can strive for the faith, once and for all delivered to the saints. Amen.
Roy Davison

The Scripture quotations in this article are from
The New King James Version. ©1979,1980,1982,
Thomas Nelson Inc., Publishers unless indicated otherwise.
Permission for reference use has been granted.
Published in The Old Paths Archive

Bible Reading May 11 by Gary Rose

Bible Reading May 11 (World English Bible)

May 11
Joshua 3, 4

Jos 3:1 Joshua rose up early in the morning; and they moved from Shittim, and came to the Jordan, he and all the children of Israel. They lodged there before they passed over.
Jos 3:2 It happened after three days, that the officers went through the midst of the camp;
Jos 3:3 and they commanded the people, saying, "When you see the ark of the covenant of Yahweh your God, and the priests the Levites bearing it, then you shall move from your place, and follow it.
Jos 3:4 Yet there shall be a space between you and it, about two thousand cubits by measure. Don't come near to it, that you may know the way by which you must go; for you have not passed this way before."
Jos 3:5 Joshua said to the people, "Sanctify yourselves; for tomorrow Yahweh will do wonders among you."
Jos 3:6 Joshua spoke to the priests, saying, "Take up the ark of the covenant, and pass over before the people." They took up the ark of the covenant, and went before the people.
Jos 3:7 Yahweh said to Joshua, "Today I will begin to magnify you in the sight of all Israel, that they may know that as I was with Moses, so I will be with you.
Jos 3:8 You shall command the priests who bear the ark of the covenant, saying, 'When you come to the brink of the waters of the Jordan, you shall stand still in the Jordan.' "
Jos 3:9 Joshua said to the children of Israel, "Come here, and hear the words of Yahweh your God."
Jos 3:10 Joshua said, "Hereby you shall know that the living God is among you, and that he will without fail drive the Canaanite, and the Hittite, and the Hivite, and the Perizzite, and the Girgashite, and the Amorite, and the Jebusite out from before you.
Jos 3:11 Behold, the ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth passes over before you into the Jordan.
Jos 3:12 Now therefore take twelve men out of the tribes of Israel, for every tribe a man.
Jos 3:13 It shall come to pass, when the soles of the feet of the priests who bear the ark of Yahweh, the Lord of all the earth, rest in the waters of the Jordan, that the waters of the Jordan will be cut off, even the waters that come down from above; and they shall stand in one heap."
Jos 3:14 It happened, when the people moved from their tents to pass over the Jordan, the priests who bore the ark of the covenant being before the people,
Jos 3:15 and when those who bore the ark had come to the Jordan, and the feet of the priests who bore the ark had dipped in the edge of the water (for the Jordan overflows all its banks all the time of harvest),
Jos 3:16 that the waters which came down from above stood, and rose up in one heap, a great way off, at Adam, the city that is beside Zarethan; and those that went down toward the sea of the Arabah, even the Salt Sea, were wholly cut off. Then the people passed over right against Jericho.
Jos 3:17 The priests who bore the ark of the covenant of Yahweh stood firm on dry ground in the middle of the Jordan; and all Israel passed over on dry ground, until all the nation had passed completely over the Jordan.

Jos 4:1 It happened, when all the nation had completely passed over the Jordan, that Yahweh spoke to Joshua, saying,
Jos 4:2 "Take twelve men out of the people, out of every tribe a man,
Jos 4:3 and command them, saying, 'Take from out of the middle of the Jordan, out of the place where the priests' feet stood firm, twelve stones, and carry them over with you, and lay them down in the lodging place, where you will lodge tonight.' "
Jos 4:4 Then Joshua called the twelve men, whom he had prepared of the children of Israel, out of every tribe a man.
Jos 4:5 Joshua said to them, "Pass over before the ark of Yahweh your God into the middle of the Jordan, and each of you pick up a stone and put it on your shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the children of Israel;
Jos 4:6 that this may be a sign among you, that when your children ask in time to come, saying, 'What do you mean by these stones?'
Jos 4:7 then you shall tell them, 'Because the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of Yahweh. When it passed over the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. These stones shall be for a memorial to the children of Israel forever.' "
Jos 4:8 The children of Israel did as Joshua commanded, and took up twelve stones out of the middle of the Jordan, as Yahweh spoke to Joshua, according to the number of the tribes of the children of Israel; and they carried them over with them to the place where they lodged, and laid them down there.
Jos 4:9 Joshua set up twelve stones in the middle of the Jordan, in the place where the feet of the priests who bore the ark of the covenant stood; and they are there to this day.
Jos 4:10 For the priests who bore the ark stood in the middle of the Jordan, until everything was finished that Yahweh commanded Joshua to speak to the people, according to all that Moses commanded Joshua; and the people hurried and passed over.
Jos 4:11 It happened, when all the people had completely passed over, that the ark of Yahweh passed over, with the priests, in the presence of the people.
Jos 4:12 The children of Reuben, and the children of Gad, and the half-tribe of Manasseh, passed over armed before the children of Israel, as Moses spoke to them.
Jos 4:13 About forty thousand men, ready and armed for war passed over before Yahweh to battle, to the plains of Jericho.
Jos 4:14 On that day, Yahweh magnified Joshua in the sight of all Israel; and they feared him, as they feared Moses, all the days of his life.
Jos 4:15 Yahweh spoke to Joshua, saying,
Jos 4:16 "Command the priests who bear the ark of the testimony, that they come up out of the Jordan."
Jos 4:17 Joshua therefore commanded the priests, saying, "Come up out of the Jordan!"
Jos 4:18 It happened, when the priests who bore the ark of the covenant of Yahweh had come up out of the middle of the Jordan, and the soles of the priests' feet were lifted up to the dry ground, that the waters of the Jordan returned to their place, and went over all its banks, as before.
Jos 4:19 The people came up out of the Jordan on the tenth day of the first month, and encamped in Gilgal, on the east border of Jericho.
Jos 4:20 Joshua set up those twelve stones, which they took out of the Jordan, in Gilgal.
Jos 4:21 He spoke to the children of Israel, saying, "When your children ask their fathers in time to come, saying, 'What do these stones mean?'
Jos 4:22 Then you shall let your children know, saying, 'Israel came over this Jordan on dry land.
Jos 4:23 For Yahweh your God dried up the waters of the Jordan from before you, until you had passed over, as Yahweh your God did to the Red Sea, which he dried up from before us, until we had passed over;
Jos 4:24 that all the peoples of the earth may know the hand of Yahweh, that it is mighty; that you may fear Yahweh your God forever.' "

May 10, 11
Luke 22

Luk 22:1 Now the feast of unleavened bread, which is called the Passover, drew near.
Luk 22:2 The chief priests and the scribes sought how they might put him to death, for they feared the people.
Luk 22:3 Satan entered into Judas, who was surnamed Iscariot, who was numbered with the twelve.
Luk 22:4 He went away, and talked with the chief priests and captains about how he might deliver him to them.
Luk 22:5 They were glad, and agreed to give him money.
Luk 22:6 He consented, and sought an opportunity to deliver him to them in the absence of the multitude.
Luk 22:7 The day of unleavened bread came, on which the Passover must be sacrificed.
Luk 22:8 He sent Peter and John, saying, "Go and prepare the Passover for us, that we may eat."
Luk 22:9 They said to him, "Where do you want us to prepare?"
Luk 22:10 He said to them, "Behold, when you have entered into the city, a man carrying a pitcher of water will meet you. Follow him into the house which he enters.
Luk 22:11 Tell the master of the house, 'The Teacher says to you, "Where is the guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?" '
Luk 22:12 He will show you a large, furnished upper room. Make preparations there."
Luk 22:13 They went, found things as he had told them, and they prepared the Passover.
Luk 22:14 When the hour had come, he sat down with the twelve apostles.
Luk 22:15 He said to them, "I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer,
Luk 22:16 for I tell you, I will no longer by any means eat of it until it is fulfilled in the Kingdom of God."
Luk 22:17 He received a cup, and when he had given thanks, he said, "Take this, and share it among yourselves,
Luk 22:18 for I tell you, I will not drink at all again from the fruit of the vine, until the Kingdom of God comes."
Luk 22:19 He took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and gave to them, saying, "This is my body which is given for you. Do this in memory of me."
Luk 22:20 Likewise, he took the cup after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.
Luk 22:21 But behold, the hand of him who betrays me is with me on the table.
Luk 22:22 The Son of Man indeed goes, as it has been determined, but woe to that man through whom he is betrayed!"
Luk 22:23 They began to question among themselves, which of them it was who would do this thing.
Luk 22:24 There arose also a contention among them, which of them was considered to be greatest.
Luk 22:25 He said to them, "The kings of the nations lord it over them, and those who have authority over them are called 'benefactors.'
Luk 22:26 But not so with you. But one who is the greater among you, let him become as the younger, and one who is governing, as one who serves.
Luk 22:27 For who is greater, one who sits at the table, or one who serves? Isn't it he who sits at the table? But I am in the midst of you as one who serves.
Luk 22:28 But you are those who have continued with me in my trials.
Luk 22:29 I confer on you a kingdom, even as my Father conferred on me,
Luk 22:30 that you may eat and drink at my table in my Kingdom. You will sit on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel."
Luk 22:31 The Lord said, "Simon, Simon, behold, Satan asked to have you, that he might sift you as wheat,
Luk 22:32 but I prayed for you, that your faith wouldn't fail. You, when once you have turned again, establish your brothers."
Luk 22:33 He said to him, "Lord, I am ready to go with you both to prison and to death!"
Luk 22:34 He said, "I tell you, Peter, the rooster will by no means crow today until you deny that you know me three times."
Luk 22:35 He said to them, "When I sent you out without purse, and wallet, and shoes, did you lack anything?" They said, "Nothing."
Luk 22:36 Then he said to them, "But now, whoever has a purse, let him take it, and likewise a wallet. Whoever has none, let him sell his cloak, and buy a sword.
Luk 22:37 For I tell you that this which is written must still be fulfilled in me: 'He was counted with the lawless.' For that which concerns me has an end."
Luk 22:38 They said, "Lord, behold, here are two swords." He said to them, "That is enough."
Luk 22:39 He came out, and went, as his custom was, to the Mount of Olives. His disciples also followed him.
Luk 22:40 When he was at the place, he said to them, "Pray that you don't enter into temptation."
Luk 22:41 He was withdrawn from them about a stone's throw, and he knelt down and prayed,
Luk 22:42 saying, "Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done."
Luk 22:43 An angel from heaven appeared to him, strengthening him.
Luk 22:44 Being in agony he prayed more earnestly. His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down on the ground.
Luk 22:45 When he rose up from his prayer, he came to the disciples, and found them sleeping because of grief,
Luk 22:46 and said to them, "Why do you sleep? Rise and pray that you may not enter into temptation."
Luk 22:47 While he was still speaking, behold, a multitude, and he who was called Judas, one of the twelve, was leading them. He came near to Jesus to kiss him.
Luk 22:48 But Jesus said to him, "Judas, do you betray the Son of Man with a kiss?"
Luk 22:49 When those who were around him saw what was about to happen, they said to him, "Lord, shall we strike with the sword?"
Luk 22:50 A certain one of them struck the servant of the high priest, and cut off his right ear.
Luk 22:51 But Jesus answered, "Let me at least do this" -and he touched his ear, and healed him.
Luk 22:52 Jesus said to the chief priests, captains of the temple, and elders, who had come against him, "Have you come out as against a robber, with swords and clubs?
Luk 22:53 When I was with you in the temple daily, you didn't stretch out your hands against me. But this is your hour, and the power of darkness."
Luk 22:54 They seized him, and led him away, and brought him into the high priest's house. But Peter followed from a distance.
Luk 22:55 When they had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard, and had sat down together, Peter sat among them.
Luk 22:56 A certain servant girl saw him as he sat in the light, and looking intently at him, said, "This man also was with him."
Luk 22:57 He denied Jesus, saying, "Woman, I don't know him."
Luk 22:58 After a little while someone else saw him, and said, "You also are one of them!" But Peter answered, "Man, I am not!"
Luk 22:59 After about one hour passed, another confidently affirmed, saying, "Truly this man also was with him, for he is a Galilean!"
Luk 22:60 But Peter said, "Man, I don't know what you are talking about!" Immediately, while he was still speaking, a rooster crowed.
Luk 22:61 The Lord turned, and looked at Peter. Then Peter remembered the Lord's word, how he said to him, "Before the rooster crows you will deny me three times."
Luk 22:62 He went out, and wept bitterly.
Luk 22:63 The men who held Jesus mocked him and beat him.
Luk 22:64 Having blindfolded him, they struck him on the face and asked him, "Prophesy! Who is the one who struck you?"
Luk 22:65 They spoke many other things against him, insulting him.
Luk 22:66 As soon as it was day, the assembly of the elders of the people was gathered together, both chief priests and scribes, and they led him away into their council, saying,
Luk 22:67 "If you are the Christ, tell us." But he said to them, "If I tell you, you won't believe,
Luk 22:68 and if I ask, you will in no way answer me or let me go.
Luk 22:69 From now on, the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the power of God."
Luk 22:70 They all said, "Are you then the Son of God?" He said to them, "You say it, because I am."
Luk 22:71 They said, "Why do we need any more witness? For we ourselves have heard from his own mouth!"