"THE BOOK OF ACTS" Righteousness, Self-Control, And The Judgment (24:25) by Mark Copeland

                          "THE BOOK OF ACTS"

          Righteousness, Self-Control, And The Judgment (24:25)


1. After Paul's initial defense before Felix, he had another opportunity
   to speak to him...
   a. Along with his wife Drusilla who was Jewish (approximately age 16)
      - Ac 24:24
   b. Talking to them about "the faith in Christ" - ibid.

2. Felix and Drusilla had a marital history tainted by promiscuity (Kistemaker)...
   a. Drusilla was the third wife of Felix, according to the Roman historian Suetonius
   b. Drusilla married Azizus king of Emesa (Syria) at age 14, and soon
      after married Felix

[We're told Paul "reasoned about righteousness, self-control, and the
judgment to come." (Ac 24:25).  From his epistles and sermons in Acts,
we can surmise what Paul may have said to them...]


      1. I.e., God's way of making man righteous - Ro 3:21
      2. Through faith in Jesus Christ - Ro 3:22
      3. For all who believe, for all are sinners - Ro 3:22-23
      4. Justified by grace through redemption in Christ - Ro 3:24
      5. For Christ has been set forth as a propitiation by His blood - Ro 3:25
      6. Demonstrating God's own righteousness as being both Just and the
         Justifier - Ro 3:25-26
      -- Perhaps, then, Paul reasoned thus about God's system of
         righteousness in saving us

      1. We are made righteous in Christ, according to God's righteousness - Ro 3:21-26
      2. And in baptism we die to sin, that we might rise to walk in
         newness of life - Ro 6:1-4
      3. Having died to sin, we are freed from sin, that we might now
         live with Christ - Ro 6:5-11
      4. Thus we must not let sin reign in our bodies, but let them be
         instruments of righteousness - Ro 6:12-14
      -- Perhaps, then, Paul reasoned that saved by grace, we must now 
         live righteously for God

[As Paul spoke about righteousness to Felix and Drusilla, I suspect their
consciences were made uneasy by their disregard for God's law on marriage
(cf. Mal 2:14-16).  Perhaps even more, as he spoke...] 


      1. The inability to live righteously as one carnal, sold under sin
         - Ro 7:14-20; cf. Jn 8:34
      2. The law of sin wages war against the law of one's mind, leading
         to slavery - Ro 7:21-24 
      -- Perhaps Paul reasoned that self-control was unattainable by
         sinners outside of Christ

      1. In Christ, there is no condemnation and there is now freedom from sin! - Ro 8:1-4
      2. But only for those who live according to the Spirit, with minds
         set on the Spirit - Ro 8:5-8
      3. For if the Spirit indwells a person, by the Spirit they can put
         to death the deeds of the flesh
         - Ro 8:11-14; cf. Ep 3:16,20-21
      4. Thus walking by the Spirit, led by the Spirit, they can produce
         the fruit of the Spirit, which includes self-control! - Ga 5:16-18,22-23
      -- Perhaps Paul reasoned that Spirit-aided self-control would help
         them live righteously

[But why should Felix and Drusilla even be concerned about righteousness
and self-control?  Perhaps Paul made that very clear when he spoke to them...] 


      1. To philosophers, Paul spoke of God's command for all men to repent - Ac 17:30
      2. Because God has appointed a day on which He will judge the world - Ac 17:31
      3. God will judge the world by His Son Jesus Christ - Ac 17:31;
         cf. Ro 14:9-12; 2Co 5:10
      -- Perhaps Paul reasoned that a righteous God will have to judge 
         mankind for their sins

      1. Knowing the terror of the Lord when He comes, Paul persuaded men - 2Co 5:11
      2. He warned of flaming fire for those who know not God, nor obey
         the gospel - 2Th 1:7-9
      -- Perhaps Paul reasoned that punishment would be fearful beyond comprehension


1. We may not know exactly what Paul covered when he reasoned about
   righteousness, self-control, and the judgment...

2. We do know the effect it had on Felix...
   a. At first Felix was afraid - Ac 24:25
   b. But he put off making the right decision, looking for a more
      opportune time - ibid.

Sadly, Felix seemed hardened by his lust for money, and despite other
opportunities to hear Paul for two years, he never responded to gospel
of Christ (Ac 24:26-27). 

What about us today?  Have we given heed to the Biblical revelation and
reasoning concerning such things as righteousness, self-control, and the
judgment?  Or have we endangered our souls by saying like Felix, "When I
have a more convenient time..."  

Remember Paul's plea in his epistle to the Corinthians:

   We then, as workers together with Him also plead with you not to
   receive the grace of God in vain.  For He says:

     "In an acceptable time I have heard you,
      And in the day of salvation I have helped you."

   Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.
                                                - 2Co 6:1-2
Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2013

Academia’s Asinine Assault on the Bible by Dave Miller, Ph.D.


Academia’s Asinine Assault on the Bible

by  Dave Miller, Ph.D.

The professor, age 50, wearing casual slacks and a sport coat over a sweater, arrived at the lecture auditorium to teach his afternoon class, as some 350 students streamed in for Religion 202—one of the most popular classes on the campus of the large state university. Exuding an energetic, intellectually sophisticated manner, and projecting an endearing personality, the professor proceeded to propound a “problem” pertaining to the Bible. Pacing back and forth across the stage, he launched a ruthless but passionately eloquent tirade against the Bible’s alleged “anomalies,” “contradictions,” and “discrepancies.” It went something like this:
Entire stories have been added that were not in the original gospels. The woman taken in adultery is nothing other than a bit of tradition added by the Catholics 300 years after the New Testament was written. In contrast with Matthew, Mark, and Luke, in the book of John Jesus wasn’t born in Bethlehem, he did not tell any parables, he never cast out a demon, and there’s no last supper. The crucifixion stories differ with each other. In Mark, Jesus was terrified on the cross, while in John, he was perfectly composed. Key dates are different. The resurrection stories are different. In Matthew, Mark, and Luke, you find no trace of Jesus being divine, while in John you do. It’s time for you to think for yourself. You need reasons. That applies to religion. That applies to politics. Just because your parents believe something—isn’t good enough.
So it goes, week after week, a relentless, rapid-fire barrage of bombastic barbs intended to overwhelm, intimidate, and bully their young, uninformed, ill-equipped victims. This scenario has been repeated thousands of times over the past half century in universities all across America. The result has been catastrophic. One heartbroken mother’s recent remarks are typical: “My 22-year-old son just graduated from ________ University where he lost his faith in God and His Word. My husband and I did the best we knew how to raise him to love the church and God’s Word. But he has allowed the world to sway his beliefs.” Like toxic waste, sinister propaganda has been dumped on the youth of the nation by biased, dishonest professors who have no interest in allowing the so-called “academic freedom” they tout in the form of equal time for reputable rebuttal. As a result of their decades’ long labor, a liberal, anti-Christian academic atmosphere now thoroughly permeates the university system of America.
Never mind the fact that these guys have nothing new to say that has not already been said by skeptics over the centuries. Their claims are merely a repackaged version quickly seized upon by a complicit liberal media that eagerly creates instant credibility by thrusting the new “prophet” before a larger audience—as if what he is saying is fresh and newly discovered. The fact of the matter is that all their points have been made and answered long ago. For those who have taken the time to examine the evidence, it is readily apparent that their accusations are slanted, overstated, exaggerated, and transparently biased.
Observe that the above professorial tirade issues two charges: (1) the text of the Bible is tenuous and uncertain, and (2) the gospel records contradict each other. The latter claim has been soundly refuted in detail by biblical scholars over the centuries. The Apologetics Press Web site is loaded with articles and books that defeat accusations of alleged discrepancy (see, for example, Eric Lyons’ Anvil Rings 1 & 2). Regarding the former claim, Textual Criticism is a longstanding discipline that long ago yielded abundant evidence for the trustworthiness of the text of the New Testament. Over the last two centuries, the manuscript evidence has been thoroughly examined, resulting in complete exoneration for the integrity, genuineness, and accuracy of the Bible. Prejudiced professors refrain from divulging to their students that the vast majority of textual variants involve minor matters that do not affect salvation nor alter any basic teaching of the New Testament. Even those variants that might be deemed doctrinally significant pertain to matters that are treated elsewhere in the Bible where the question of genuineness is unobscured. No feature of Christian doctrine is at stake. When all of the textual evidence is considered, the vast majority of discordant readings have been resolved (e.g., Metzger, 1978, p. 185). One is brought to the firm conviction that we have in our possession the Bible as God intended.
The world’s foremost textual critics have confirmed this conclusion. Sir Frederic Kenyon, longtime director and principal librarian at the British Museum, whose scholarship and expertise to make pronouncements on textual criticism was second to none, stated: “Both the authenticity and the general integrity of the books of the New Testament may be regarded as finally established” (Kenyon, 1940, p. 288). The late F.F. Bruce, longtime Rylands Professor of Biblical Criticism at the University of Manchester, England, remarked: “The variant readings about which any doubt remains among textual critics of the New Testament affect no material question of historic fact or of Christian faith and practice” (1960, pp. 19-20). J.W. McGarvey, declared by the London Times to be “the ripest Bible scholar on earth” (Brigance, 1870, p. 4), conjoined: “All the authority and value possessed by these books when they were first written belong to them still” (1956, p. 17). And the eminent textual critics Westcott and Hort put the entire matter into perspective when they said:
Since textual criticism has various readings for its subject, and the discrimination of genuine readings from corruptions for its aim, discussions on textual criticism almost inevitably obscure the simple fact that variations are but secondary incidents of a fundamentally single and identical text. In the New Testament in particular it is difficult to escape an exaggerated impression as to the proportion which the words subject to variation bear to the whole text, and also, in most cases, as to their intrinsic importance. It is not superfluous therefore to state explicitly that the great bulk of the words of the New Testament stand out above all discriminative processes of criticism, because they are free from variation, and need only to be transcribed (1964, p. 564, emp. added).
Noting that the experience of two centuries of investigation and discussion had been achieved, these scholars concluded: “[T]he words in our opinion still subject to doubt can hardly amount to more than a thousandth part of the whole of the New Testament” (p. 565, emp. added).
Think of it. Men who literally spent their lives poring over ancient Greek manuscripts of the New Testament, devoting their lives to meticulous, tedious analysis of the evidence, conversant with the original languages, without peer in their expertise and qualifications, have concluded that the Bible has been transmitted accurately. Then a prejudiced professor of religion has the unmitigated gall to brush aside the facts and pummel students with a slanted, half-baked viewpoint that flies in the face of two centuries of scholarly investigation? It is nothing short of inexcusable and intellectually dishonest. It’s time for parents to rise up and make universities accountable, or else cease sacrificing their children on the altar of pseudo-education. [NOTE: Those who are fearful that the integrity of the text of the Bible is compromised by the reality of textual variants need to be reminded that the world’s foremost textual critics have demonstrated that currently circulating copies of the New Testament do not differ substantially from the original (see Miller, 2005a, “Is Mark...,” 25[12]:89-95; Miller, 2010).]


Brigance, L.L. (1870), “J.W. McGarvey,” in A Treatise on the Eldership by J.W. McGarvey (Murfreesboro, TN: DeHoff Publications, 1962 reprint).
Bruce, F.F. (1960), The New Testament Documents: Are They Reliable? (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans), revised edition.
Kenyon, Sir Frederic (1940), The Bible and Archaeology (New York, NY: Harper).
McGarvey, J.W. (1956 reprint), Evidences of Christianity (Nashville, TN: Gospel Advocate).
Metzger, Bruce M. (1978 reprint), The Text of the New Testament (New York, NY: Oxford University Press), second edition.
Westcott, B.A. and F.J.A. Hort (1964 reprint), The New Testament in the Original Greek (New York, NY: MacMillan).

What is Bigger and More Incomprehensible than the God of Christians? by Eric Lyons, M.Min.


What is Bigger and More Incomprehensible than the God of Christians?

by  Eric Lyons, M.Min.

In a recent TIME magazine article, wherein senior staff writer David Van Biema interviewed renowned atheist Richard Dawkins and theist Francis Collins, Dawkins made a comment about the existence of God that revealed a serious flaw in his case against Creation and Christianity. Although he believes the idea of “a supernatural intelligent designer” is “refutable,” he speculated, saying, “If there is a God, it’s going to be a whole lot bigger and a whole lot more incomprehensible than anything that any theologian of any religion has ever proposed” (quoted in Van Biema, 2006, 168[20]:55). Thus, every “God” ever conceptualized by mankind is simply too small and too comprehensible for Dawkins.
It certainly is the case that gods of various religious groups of the past and present have lacked size and intelligence. The gods of ancient Egypt were exposed as counterfeit when the God of Israel demonstrated His superiority over them. He brought 10 plagues on Egypt, executing judgment “against all the gods of Egypt” (Exodus 12:12; Numbers 33:4), that (among other things) man might “know that Jehovah is greater than all gods” (Exodus 18:11, ASV). In Elijah’s day, Jehovah God revealed His supremacy over Baal on Mount Carmel when He sent fire down from heaven, totally consuming Elijah’s sacrifice (1 Kings 18:20-38), while the sacrifices of Baal’s prophets lay quiescent. Then, “[w]hen all the people saw it, they fell on their faces; and they said, ‘The Lord, He is God! The Lord, He is God’” (1 Kings 18:39). Furthermore, the millions of Hindu gods of the past and present also lack sufficient magnitude and intelligence. They are lifeless, powerless, man-made idols that both atheists and theists rightly refuse to acknowledge.
To conclude, however, that no one from any religion has ever proposed a God that is of adequate size and mystery is simply untrue. What about the God of the Bible? Considering that approximately two billion people on Earth claim to believe in this God (see “Major Religions...,” 2005), Dawkins no doubt had the God of Christians in mind when he said, “If there is a God, it’s going to be a whole lot bigger and a whole lot more incomprehensible than anything that any theologian of any religion has ever proposed.” What (or Who) could be larger, mightier, and more incomprehensible than the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and the God that Christians worship and serve?
The God of the Bible is omnipresent. The psalmist proclaimed: “Where can I go from Thy Spirit? Or where can I flee from Thy presence? If I ascend to heaven, Thou art there; If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, Thou art there. If I take the wings of the dawn, if I dwell in the remotest part of the sea, even there Thy hand will lead me, and Thy right hand will lay hold of me (139:7-10, NASB). Try as he might, no one can hide from God (Jeremiah 23:23-24). He is everywhere. His eyes “are in every place” (Proverbs 15:3). “There is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account” (Hebrews 4:13, emp. added).
God not only is omnipresent, He also knows everything. Numerous passages of Scripture clearly teach that God is omniscient. The psalmist declared that God “knows the secrets of the heart” (44:21) and that “His understanding is infinite” (147:5). Of Jehovah, the psalmist also wrote:
O Lord, You have searched me and known me. You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off. You comprehend my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word on my tongue, but behold, O Lord, You know it altogether (139:1-4).
God is greater than our heart, and knows all things” (1 John 3:20, emp. added). Not only does He know the past and the present, but the future as well (Acts 15:18; cf. Isaiah 46:10). There is nothing outside of the awareness of God. What’s more, at the end of time, He “will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, whether good or evil” (Ecclesiastes 12:14, emp. added).
Perhaps the most awesome attribute of Jehovah is His unlimited power. He is “God Almighty” (Genesis 17:1). Nothing is too hard for Him (Genesis 18:14). As Job confessed to God, “I know that You can do everything, and that no purpose of Yours can be withheld from You” (42:2, emp. added). By simply speaking, God can create that which is visible from that which is invisible (Hebrews 11:3; cf. Genesis 1), and can turn the physical into the celestial (1 Corinthians 15:50-54). He can turn water into wine simply by desiring it to happen (John 2:1-10). He can miraculously heal a paralytic by merely willing it to “be done” (Matthew 8:13). He can raise a man from the dead simply by commanding him to “come forth” (John 11:43). The God of Christians is omnipotent.
What more does Dawkins need from a god? By definition, the God of the Bible could not be any bigger, more powerful, or more intelligent than He already is. Jehovah is all-powerful, all-knowing, and everywhere present. In addition, He is eternal (cf. Deuteronomy 33:27; Psalm 102:27; Revelation 1:8). He is from “everlasting to everlasting” (Psalm 90:2). What could be “bigger” and “more incomprehensible” for finite humans to grasp?
Nothing is bigger than God. Nothing is more powerful than God. And no one can rationally fathom a being more intelligent than God. As far as being “a whole lot more incomprehensible,” the psalmist addressed God’s unfathomable intelligence, confessing that “[s]uch knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain it” (139:6, emp. added). God said: “My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways.... For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8-9). Centuries later Paul praised the “depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God,” exclaiming “[h]ow unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!” (Romans 11:33, emp. added). Indeed, there are “the secret things” that “belong to the Lord our God,” which we will never know this side of eternity, and perhaps not even on the other side (Deuteronomy 29:29). Thankfully, the one true and living God did reveal a substantial amount of information about Himself through nature, and much more through the Scriptures (Romans 1:20; Deuteronomy 29:29), that we might “have eternal life” (1 John 5:13).
The God that the prominent, militant atheist Richard Dawkins said would exist, “if there is a God,” actually does exist. Sadly, Dawkins and millions of others simply have “refused to have God in their knowledge” (Romans 1:28, ASV), for which “they are without excuse” (Romans 1:20).


“Major Religions of the World Ranked by Number of Adherents” (2005), [On-line], URL: http://www.adherents.com/Religions_By_Adherents.html.
Van Biema, David (2006), “God vs. Science,” TIME, 168[20]:48-55, November 13.

Perspectives Matter by Eric Lyons, M.Min.


Perspectives Matter

by  Eric Lyons, M.Min.

Twice a year for the past few years I have visited the offices of a certified public accountant in Montgomery, Alabama. Since I rarely went to his place of business (or even the area in which his business is located), I had a difficult time remembering exactly what side of the road it was on. When I expected to see it on my right, it would strangely appear on my left. Then, just as sure as I thought it might be on my left, I would find it on my right. Maybe I was just confused. Perhaps my memory was failing me. For whatever reason, I never took the time to figure out why I had the distinct impression that sometimes this building should be on the opposite side of the road. Whenever the time came for me to see the CPA, I simply headed in the direction of his office, confident that I could find it, but unsure on which side of the road it would appear.
Recently, I finally learned why sometimes the building was on my left and other times it was on my right: I had not realized that the street on which this office is located is a long, slow-curving semi-circle. Both ends of the street eventually meet up at the same road, just one intersection apart from each other. Since the two intersections look very similar, I (like many men who are rather unobservant) never realized that I sometimes turned left at one intersection and other times turned left at the next intersection. When I took the first left, the office building always appeared on my right. When I took the second left, the building was always on my left. For whatever reason, I had never paid close enough attention. I had failed to consider that the apparent contradiction was merely the result of two different perspectives: one from the North, and one from the South.
Sadly, many people approach a study of the Bible as carelessly as I approached the CPA’s office building: they fail to consider the various perspectives at play. Approximately 40 different inspired men from all walks of life wrote the Bible over a period of 1,600 years. These men lived at different times in different places among different people in different cultures. They wrote in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek, and the original recipients of their writings varied greatly—from Jewish, to Greek, to Roman, to all men. Sometimes the Bible writers wrote chronologically (e.g., Genesis 1; Matthew 4:1-11); at other times they wrote thematically (e.g., Genesis 2; Luke 4:1-13). Sometimes they focused on a group of people (e.g., Matthew 28:1; Luke 23:55-24:1); at other times they targeted a particular person within the group (e.g., John 20:1).
Oftentimes when two or more Bible writers differ in their description of a certain event, skeptics cry “contradiction.” In reality, however, the skeptics have merely overlooked or dismissed the fact that the inspired penmen wrote from different perspectives. One question I continually get asked and hear skeptics frequently repeat is, “How did Judas die?” “Did he hang himself as Matthew wrote (27:5), or, as Luke indicated (Acts 1:18), did he fall headlong and ‘burst open in the middle’ and all his entrails gush out?” The answer: Judas hanged himself, and later his body fell (from wherever it was hanging), burst open, and his entrails spilled. Are Matthew and Luke’s accounts different? Yes. Are they contradictory? No. They simply wrote about two different, specific moments during the same general event.
If we fail to recognize the logical reasons for differences in life, we will continually find ourselves dazed and confused. Just as I was perplexed for years over the exact location of a particular office building, because I had not taken the time to consider the exact direction from which I approached the building, skeptics and others will never come to a proper understanding of Scripture until they recognize that perspectives play a major role.

The Only True God by Eric Lyons, M.Min.


The Only True God

by  Eric Lyons, M.Min.

The Bible is full of scriptures that, when quoted without any consideration of the immediate and remote contexts, a person can misuse in all sorts of ways. As proof that we do not have to work to provide for our family’s material needs, some may quote Jesus’ statement, “Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life” (John 6:27). In order to show that Jesus was a liar, the Bible critic might quote Jesus’ acknowledgement: “If I bear witness of Myself, My witness is not true” (John 5:31). Those who exclude baptism from God’s plan of salvation often quote John 4:2: “Jesus Himself did not baptize, but His disciples.” When the Bible reader is “rightly dividing” (2 Timothy 2:15, NKJV) or “handling accurately the word of truth” (NASB), however, he will remember that “[t]he sum of thy [God’s] word is truth” (Psalm 119:160, emp. added). Since the Bible teaches “if anyone will not work, neither shall he eat” (2 Thessalonians 3:10; cf. 1 Timothy 5:8), Jesus never implied that working to help feed one’s family is wrong (John 6:27). “He simply was saying that spiritual food is more important than physical food, and as such, should be given a higher priority” (Butt, 2003, emp. in orig.). Jesus did not confess wrongdoing in John 5:31. He simply acknowledged that, in accordance with the law (cf. Deuteronomy 19:15), His testimony apart from other witnesses would be considered invalid or insufficient to establish truth (cf. John 8:13-20; see Lyons, 2004). Likewise, Jesus never taught that baptism was unnecessary for salvation. In fact, He taught the very opposite (cf. John 3:3,5; Mark 16:16; Matthew 28:18-20; see Lyons, 2003).
Consider another proof text from the Gospel of John regarding the nature of Christ. Some (e.g., Jehovah’s Witnesses) contend that Jesus was not deity since, on one occasion, He prayed to the Father: “And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent” (John 17:3; cf. “Should You Believe...?,” 2000). Allegedly, by calling the Father, “the only true God,” Jesus excluded Himself from being deity. Such an interpretation of John 17:3, however, contradicts numerous other passages within John’s own gospel account. From beginning to end, John bore witness to the deity of Christ. Some of the evidence from the Gospel of John includes the following:
  • In the very first verse of John, the apostle testified: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (emp. added; cf. 1:14,17).
  • Two verses later the reader learns that “[a]ll things came into being by Him [the Word], and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being” (John 1:3, NASB).
  • Still in the first chapter of John, the apostle testified that John the Baptizer was the one whom Isaiah foretold would “prepare...the way of Jehovah” (Isaiah 40:3; John 1:23; cf. 14:6). For Whom did John the Baptizer come to prepare the way? Isaiah called Him “Jehovah.” The apostle John, as well as John the Baptizer, referred to Jehovah as “Jesus” (John 1:17), “the Christ” (3:28), “the Word” (1:1), “the Light” (1:17), “the Lamb” (1:29), “the Truth” (5:33), etc.
  • When the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well told Jesus, “I know that Messiah is coming” (John 4:25), Jesus responded, “I who speak to you am He” (vs. 26). Isaiah foretold that the Messiah would be called “Mighty God” (9:6) and “Jehovah” (40:3). Thus, by claiming to be the Messiah, Jesus was claiming to be God.
  • In John chapter nine, Jesus miraculously healed a man with congenital blindness (vs. 1). When this man appeared before various Jews in the synagogue and called Jesus a prophet (vs. 17), he was instructed to “give glory to God,” not Jesus, because allegedly Jesus “is a sinner” (vs. 24). Later, after the man born blind was cast out of the synagogue, he confessed faith in Jesus and worshiped (Greek proskuneo) Him (vs. 38). In the Gospel of John, this word (proskuneo) is found 11 times: nine times in reference to worshiping the Father (John 4:2-24), once in reference to Greeks who came to “worship” in Jerusalem during Passover (12:20), and once in reference to the worship Jesus received from a man whom He had miraculously healed, and who had just confessed faith in Jesus. Indeed, by accepting worship Jesus acknowledged His deity (cf. Matthew 4:10; Hebrews 1:6).
  • While at the Feast of Dedication in Jerusalem, Jesus claimed: “I and My Father are one” (John 10:30). “Then the Jews took up stones again to stone Him” (vs. 31). Why did Jesus’ enemies want to stone Him? The Jews said to Christ: “For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy, and because You, being a Man, make Yourself God” (vs. 33, emp. added; cf. 5:17-18).
  • After Jesus rose from the dead, the apostle Thomas called Jesus, “My Lord and my God” (John 20:28). Jesus responded: “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” (vs. 29). Notice that Jesus did not deny His deity, rather He acknowledged Thomas’ faith and commended future believers. Believers in what? In that which Thomas had just confessed—that Jesus is Lord and God.
It was in the overall context of John’s gospel account, which is filled with statements testifying of Jesus’ deity, that the apostle recorded Jesus’ prayer to His Father the night of His betrayal (John 17). But how can Jesus’ statement about His Father being “the only true God” (17:3) be harmonized with statements by Jesus, the apostle John, John the Baptizer, Thomas, etc. affirming the deity of Christ? When a person understands that Jesus’ statement was made in opposition to the world’s false gods, and not Himself, the reference to the Father being “the only true God” harmonizes perfectly with the many scriptures that attest to the deity of Christ (including those outside of the book of John; cf. Matthew 1:23; Colossians 2:9; Hebrews 1:5-13). On the eve of Jesus’ crucifixion, it was completely natural for Him to pray that “all flesh/people” (John 17:2, NKJV/NIV), many of whom were (and still are) pagan idolaters, would come to know “the only true God” and receive eternal life (17:3). Thus, Jesus contrasted Himself not with the Father, but “with all forms of pagan polytheism, mystic pantheism, and philosophic naturalism” (Jamieson, et al., 1997).
Furthermore, if Jesus’ reference to the Father being “the only true God” somehow excludes Jesus from being deity, then (to be consistent) Jesus also must be disqualified from being man’s Savior. Jehovah said: “Besides me there is no savior” (Isaiah 43:11; cf. Hosea 13:4; Jude 25). Yet, Paul and Peter referred to Jesus as our “Savior” several times in their inspired writings (Ephesians 5:23; Philippians 3:20; 2 Timothy 1:10; 2 Peter 1:1,11; 2:20; etc.). Also, if Jesus is excluded from Godhood (based on a misinterpretation of John 17:3), then, pray tell, must God the Father be excluded from being man’s Lord? To the church at Ephesus, Paul wrote that there is “one Lord” (4:4, emp. added), and, according to Jude 4 (using Jehovah’s Witnesses own New World Translation) “our only Owner and Lord” is “Jesus Christ” (emp. added). Yet, in addition to Jesus being called Lord throughout the New Testament, so is God the Father (Matthew 11:25; Luke 1:32; Acts 1:25) and the Holy Spirit (2 Corinthians 3:17).
Obviously, when the Bible reveals that there is only one God, one Savior, one Lord, one Creator (Isaiah 44:24; John 1:3), etc., reason and revelation demand that we understand the inspired writers to be excluding everyone and everything—other than the triune God. As former Jehovah’s Witness David Reed explained: “Jesus’ being called our ‘only’ Lord does not rule out the Lordship of the Father and the Holy Spirit, and the Father’s being called the ‘only’ true God does not exclude the Son and the Holy Spirit from deity” (1986, p. 82).


Butt, Kyle (2003), “Wearing Gold and Braided Hair,” Apologetics Press, http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/2264.
Jamieson, Robert, et al. (1997), Jamieson, Faussett, Brown Bible Commentary (Electronic Database: Biblesoft).
Lyons, Eric (2003), “The Bible’s Teaching on Baptism: Contradictory or Complementary?” Apologetics Press, http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/617.
Lyons, Eric (2004), “Was Jesus Trustworthy?” Apologetics Press, http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/516.
Reed, David (1986), Jehovah’s Witnesses Answered Verse by Verse (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker).
“Should You Believe in the Trinity?” (2000), The Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society.

Just How Useful is Evolution Anyway? by Kyle Butt, M.Div.


Just How Useful is Evolution Anyway?

by  Kyle Butt, M.Div.

The late Theodosius Dobzhansky remains well-known for a particularly catchy article title that he penned in the 1970s. In fact, the title of his article contains an idea that is accepted and maintained by a large portion of the modern scientific community—“Nothing in Biology Makes Any Sense Except in the Light of Evolution” (1973). This idea—that without a “proper” understanding of evolution one cannot understand, much less contribute to, biological studies—has taken a firm hold of many professors and science teaching professionals. Professor Michael Dini of the Department of Biological Sciences at Texas Tech University stated: “The central, unifying principle of biology is the theory of evolution, which includes both micro- and macro-evolution, and which extends to ALL species. Someone who ignores the most important theory in biology cannot expect to properly practice in a field that is now so heavily based on biology” (n.d., emp. in orig.).
Is it true that a proper understanding of evolution is a prerequisite for any person who wishes “to properly practice” in some field of biology? The eminent evolutionist and outspoken Darwinist, Richard Dawkins, offered some interesting thoughts along these lines. In a discussion of one particular group of scientists, Dawkins stated:
They have decided, perhaps rightly, that they can do taxonomy better if they forget about evolution, and especially if they never use the concept of the ancestor in thinking about taxonomy. In the same way, a student of, say, nerve cells, might decide that he is not aided by thinking about evolution. The nerve specialist agrees that his nerve cells are the products of evolution, but he does not need to use this fact in his research. He needs to know a lot about physics and chemistry, but he believes that Darwinism is irrelevant to his day-to-day research on nerve impulses. That is a defensible position.... A physicist certainly doesn’t need Darwinism in order to do physics (1996, p. 283, emp. added).
Therefore, according to Dawkins, it is very possible for a person to engage in productive cell research (an extremely important branch of biology) without using evolutionary ideas in any of his procedures. In fact, evolution could defensibly be “irrelevant to his day-to-day research.” Please notice, however, that Dawkins makes sure to include the idea that the researcher believes that the cells are the “products of evolution.”
But let’s take Dawkins’ thoughts a step further. Could it be that the researcher would not have to believe that the cells are the product of evolution? Would that belief affect his “day-to-day research”? Dawkins must answer, “No.” Then, according to Dawkins’ line of thinking, it could be the case that a person who does not believe in evolution could be just as (or more) successful in the biological sciences than one who does believe in evolution.
It should not be surprising, then, to hear statements like the one made by Thomas Geelan. Geelan is a teacher of Advanced Placement Biology in Buffalo, New York. His course is titled, “An Interdisciplinary Course in Evolution.” In the abstract that describes the class, the first line states: “Evolution is the central organizing theme in all biology, yet few biology courses are taught that way” (n.d., emp. added). In the introduction to the class, a similar statement is made: “Evolution is the central organizing theme in all biology, but it is ironic that most biology curricula are pitifully deficient in their treatment of it” (emp. added).
What is the primary reason for this deficiency in “most” biology courses? The answer simply is that evolution is of no practical value in day-to-day research. In fact, evolution can be considered an irrelevant idea that has no bearing on the outcome of any scientific experiment. The cell researcher does not need it. The taxonomist not only does not need it, but it gets in his way so much that he is better off if he does not consider it. The physicist does not need it. In truth, not only is evolution a false idea, but it is light years away from being the central tenet of biology. It is a counterproductive, anti-knowledge theory that at the least is useless, and is many times actually destructive. Dobzhansky’s title might be better worded, “Nothing in Biology Makes Any Sense in Light of Evolution.”


Dawkins, Richard (1996), The Blind Watchmaker (New York: W.W. Norton).
Dini, Michael (no date), “Letters of Recommendation,” [On-line], URL: http://www2.tltc.ttu.edu/dini/Personal/letters.htm.
Dobzhansky, Theodosius (1973), “Nothing in Biology Makes Sense Except in the Light of Evolution. “The American Biology Teacher, March, [On-line], URL: http://www.evolutionary.tripod.com/dobzhansky_abt_35_125-29.html.
Geelan, Thomas (no date), “An Interdisciplinary Course in Evolution,” [On-line], URL: http://www.accessexcellence.org/AE/AEC/AEF/1996/geelan_evolution.html.

The Value of Early Human Life by Trevor Major, M.Sc., M.A.


The Value of Early Human Life

by  Trevor Major, M.Sc., M.A.

“If God wanted men to fly,” the old saying goes, “He would have given us wings.” We laugh about that attitude now, even as we wait nervously for our airplane to take off. Today, more than ever, we are children of science. Of all the ways of knowing about our world, science has assumed a place of special honor by spawning an endless stream of technological marvels—the tools of our material existence. It is to science that we look for cures, comfort, and the provision of our physical needs.
Indeed, more and more people coming into the world are children of science in the most literal sense. They are the products of a technology that enables the conception, development, and birth of human life. Artificial insemination and in vitro fertilization (IVF) are controversial chapters in this unfolding story, but we also must consider drugs, surgical procedures, and other techniques designed to aid the safe delivery of countless healthy children. The relentless advances of modern, rational medicine are proclaimed everyday, but the same drive has led to techniques that prevent conception and birth. Abortion bears the highest profile here, but chemical and physical contraceptive methods arguably have had a greater impact on the general population.
Like air travel, medical technology has become an integral part of our world. And, like powered flight, we may neither like this technology nor understand the science behind it. In the end, despite our lack of personal knowledge and the catalog of unknowns, life has ceased to be a mystery. Microscopes allow us to see the sperm and egg cells, and witness their union. Embryology, genetics, and biochemistry allow us to understand some of what happens when they meet, how the two cells become one and how it, in turn, becomes many. Not only can we observe these events directly or indirectly, we can manipulate them. Doctors can extract several eggs from a woman, fertilize them outside the body, implant one or two, and freeze the rest for later use. They can look under their microscopes to see which embryos appear the most viable, test for genetic abnormalities, and use ultrasound to check the size, sex, position, and overall development of the fetus.
These newly found capabilities introduce a host of ethical concerns. For thousands of years, people have understood that the womb held the unborn child. It was sufficient to consider our attitudes toward life from this point until death. Even so, medical choices concerning the preborn were limited compared to the tools of modern technology. Today, by going to a medical specialist, hopeful parents can control conception. And those same parents can choose to end that pregnancy if prenatal tests show that the child has, or will have, a medical problem that no existing tool can fix.
Such technology is of moral concern because it involves humans making decisions about the lives of other humans and, generally speaking, societies have put a high priority on making rules about those decisions. For example, it serves a very practical purpose to limit the situations in which it is acceptable to take life. After all, if it is too easy to kill, it is too easy to be killed. In the case of the preborn, many societies today have decided that its members’ quality of life is more important than the mere existence of human life. This means that a woman’s desire to end her pregnancy takes precedence over the death of her unborn child.
Yet these decisions have not come easily. Many citizens of the nations possessing advanced health-care systems believe that human life is all important, not for secular reasons alone, but because life has an inherent, God-given sanctity (Major, 1989).


Ever since its inception, the most pressing issue of IVF has been the destruction of supernumerary or “spare” embryos (Thompson, 1993, pp. 23-24,26). For the most part, these were, and continue to be, the by-product of a medical service intended to assist in conception and pregnancy. But the route from science to technology goes both ways. It soon became apparent to embryologists and other researchers that clinics were a good source of fertilized eggs for scientific investigation.
Individuals concerned for the sanctity of life opposed this development on the grounds that human life begins at conception. As such, it is worthy of protection from this point forward. The loss of early human life in IVF procedures was bad enough, but the idea that these individuals would become laboratory subjects on a par with mice and guinea pigs was positively ghoulish.
People defending the use of embryos for research share the prochoice position that the status of the preborn takes secondary place to other interests. These may include a woman’s desire for an abortion, or a researcher’s belief that his studies on embryos will benefit science and human health.
In the shadow of this debate, many nations moved slowly but surely toward embryo research. Australia, Canada, Sweden, and the United Kingdom have approved research on embryos up to the fourteenth day of development, but restrict the creation of embryos specifically for research. In the United States, former President Ronald Reagan put an outright ban on federal funding of embryo and fetal tissue research. This was lifted almost as soon as President Bill Clinton took office, and an advisory committee to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has adopted guidelines similar to those of its international counterparts (see sidebar article).
Ireland, Spain, and other countries with a strong Catholic tradition have placed strict limits on embryo research. Their objections are based primarily on the Vatican’s longstanding position that life begins at conception. Germans, also, have restricted such research, ever mindful of cruel experimentation by Nazi doctors, and the subsequent postwar adoption of a constitution recognizing the inherent dignity of human life (Dickson, 1988). Although France passed a relatively conservative bioethics law, it authorized the destruction of 11,000 supernumerary embryos stored in freezers (Butler, 1994).
Despite pockets of resistance, the outlook for human life in its earliest stages remains a cause for grave concern. As the demand for embryos increases, so grow the justifications for their use. Many arguments relate to the abortion issue in general, but new technologies and trends require us to focus particular attention on life in the first few days and weeks of pregnancy.


Life Begins at Conception

The reasons for believing that life begins at conception are relatively straightforward.
  • Conception involves the union of a human father’s sperm with a human mother’s egg. The basic rules of biology tell us that at this instance, the zygote (one-celled fertilized egg) possesses the full complement of human chromosomes—23 each from the mother and father. These chromosomes are special structures inside the nucleus of the cell containing genes that, in turn, consist of a complex chemical code known as DNA. Genes will direct the development of this new individual; they will decide sex, hair color, and countless other features.
  • Geneticists can analyze the DNA of the developing human and discern that its DNA is unique (i.e., that no one else has the same sequence of DNA). In other words, it is an individual member of the human species.
  • Although a zygote has no arms, legs, thoughts, or words, it will become an adult human if its development is not interrupted.
The preborn at any stage are fully human, and there is no objective way to deny them the respect and rights accorded to other humans.
From the Christian perspective, these secular arguments are buttressed by the Bible’s teaching on the sanctity of life. Although Scripture does not mention zygotes or abortion, it extends concern to the preborn. The following points are among the most important:
  • God can know about us, as individuals, before we are born, and God is responsible for creating the way fetuses develop during pregnancy (Isaiah 49:1,5a; Jeremiah 1:5).
  • There is no distinction in God’s eyes between the preborn and the born. For example, several passages in the New Testament use the same Greek word, brephos, to describe infants, the newly born, and a child within the womb (e.g., Luke 1:41-42, 2:12, and 8:15).
Therefore, the same divinely given laws that protect innocent human life outside the womb apply to life inside the womb (Genesis 9:6; Exodus 20:13; Proverbs 6:17).

The Unborn as Nonperson

Writers on the prochoice side generally accept the premise that pregnant human mothers carry developing human life. The departure usually occurs on philosophical arguments of what constitutes “personhood.” Some prochoice advocates argue that the unborn lack essential qualities of being a person, and hence, do not obligate us morally. Whatever ethical concerns we have for each other do not apply to human life before birth, and so our actions toward life in this stage are not, in themselves, either right or wrong. A slightly different view admits that the preborn have the status of persons, and that early human life has a value. In either case, the value of the preborn at conception is practically zero, and it never equals the value of the mother until at least the point of delivery.
One simple expedient is to claim that a preborn being is not one of “us.” We know they exist, but we cannot see them directly; we know they may interact with society, but not until their birth. As a result, ancient and modern societies have allowed themselves to make different rules about prenatal life. For example, the majority opinion in the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade U.S. Supreme Court decision concluded that the unborn “have never been recognized in the law as persons in the whole sense.”
Making such a distinction between humanness and personhood rests on the criteria of form and function: an early human is not a person because it neither looks nor acts like us. Exploring these tests moves us on to ever more dangerous and subjective territory. First, how much should someone look like us to be treated as fellow human? Would it include newborns who, even in the loving eyes of their parents, look remarkably alien-like? Would it include people with gross skeletal abnormalities, such as the famous Elephant Man?
Second, how much would they have to act like us to be considered persons? The argument from function says that the unborn are not persons because they are not conscious or self-aware. According to Bonnie Steinbock, this means that the preborn have similar moral value to trees or paintings, but none of these warrants the same moral interest as people who have been born (see Warnock, 1993). Here, too, the cutoff point is arbitrary. What about comatose patients, or twelve- to eighteen-month-old infants who lack self-consciousness (Beckwith and Geisler, 1991, p. 133)?
Joseph Fletcher (of situation ethics fame) and James Watson (co-discoverer of the DNA molecule) have taken this reasoning to its logical conclusion. They argue for an across-the-board devaluation of humans who do not measure up to their personhood criteria, thus permitting abortion, infanticide, and euthanasia (Davis, 1984, pp. 9-12; Beckwith and Geisler, 1991, pp. 132-135).

The Unborn as a Potential Person

Even those who support abortion and allow for the personhood of prenatal life wish to draw the line at some point. This was the approach of an influential paper by Judith Jarvis Thomson. She set forth an idea resembling “voluntary parenthood,” which argued that a mother was not obligated to the care of her unborn child. [Her arguments begin to break down when we consider the way society normally holds parents responsible for children that do make it into this world (see Beckwith and Geisler, 1991, pp. 88-92).]
Notice, however, the condition that Thomson added to the end of her paper: “It should be remembered that we have only been pretending throughout that the fetus is a human from the moment of conception. A very early abortion is surely not the killing of a person, and so is not dealt with by anything I have said here” (1988, p. 255). In other words, it may take some justification to argue for the abortion of a fetus in the final two or three months, but no justification is required for the first few months.

Fourteen Days to Live

Such a distinction between preborn as person and preborn as nonperson has been set at specific points in development. For example, many national guideline-setting groups have agreed that zygotes and embryos warrant no special consideration before the fourteenth day. It is at this stage that a groove (the “primitive streak”) begins to form, and identifiable organs and appendages being to appear. Following the argument from form, an embryo that is less than two weeks old has a nonperson status because its individuality is not established or recognizable. For the sake of medical research, the human in this early stage is referred to as a pre-embryo, and it receives about the same level of respect as ordinary body tissue.
However, a comprehensive genetic test would show that the pre-embryo’s DNA is unique. Our inability to see hair color and facial features makes this early human no less of an individual. Further, the cells of this seemingly simple embryo will produce all the specialized cells of the body in a one-way transformation: once a skin cell, always a skin cell. No ordinary body cell can match the giant step of this extraordinary metamorphosis. Destroying a single embryonic cell in these first two weeks may greatly affect the development of the individual. The same cannot be said for body cells. As French geneticist Jérôme Lejeune has commented:
If I am looking at the mass of [body] cells growing, I know by my own experience in my lab for twenty years that a baby will never form itself in our bottles because we are growing cells taken from the body. On the contrary, we know that if the cell which is dividing is a fertilized zygote, a new individual is now beginning to emerge (1992, p. 50).
Several other arguments are offered for the 14-day limit. For example, John Godfrey (1995) noted that the mother’s genes alone dominate development in the first four days and so, without the father’s genes, this cannot be an individual. However, all the genes a person will ever have are present in this cell and, if left alone, will influence its continuing development. Whether genes function normally, abnormally, or not at all does not affect the humanness of the zygote.
Also, Godfrey pointed out that twins may share embryo cells in the first two weeks if two spermatozoa fertilized the egg. If it is impossible to know whether the embryo will produce one or two individuals, he argued, then we cannot call it an individual. But it seems that if two lives were at stake, then the life of this embryo is twice as valuable. Whether one or two individuals begin at conception, human life still begins at conception (Beckwith and Geisler, 1991, pp. 375-379).

Save the Egg!?

To ridicule the idea that life begins at conception, advocates of embryo research suggest that germ cells also are human life worthy of protection. They taunt prolifers to save the hundreds of thousands of eggs and billions of sperm that die every day. If the zygote is alive because it functions and contains human DNA, they reason, then eggs and sperm are alive because they function and contain human DNA (Godfrey, 1995). The difference is that germ cells and zygotes are not “alive” in the same sense. As Dr. Lejeune showed us with ordinary body cells, a germ cell would not, by itself, develop into a human being. Human life begins at conception because the cell contains human DNA and it is developing as a new individual.

The Viability Test

Another approach is to propose a sliding scale of moral value from conception to birth. This does not guarantee protection to the unborn at any stage; it simply suggests that we have less and less responsibility for the unborn as we approach conception.
Again, Roe v. Wade set an example on this issue by taking both approaches. On the one hand, the majority opinion granted no legal personhood to the unborn, and acknowledged only an increasing “potentiality of human life” as the fetus approaches term. On the other hand, it organized its decision around three three-month periods (trimesters) of normal pregnancy. The Court decided that the fetus was nonviable during the first trimester (i.e., a baby would not survive such a premature birth). Therefore, the State could not interfere with a woman’s decision to have an abortion in the first three months of pregnancy. However, it allowed the State to regulate and even prohibit abortion in the last trimester on the assumption that the fetus had reached viability, providing it did not threaten the life or health of the mother (the companion case, Doe v. Bolton, defined “health” in such a way as to allow abortion for any reason).
From the prolife standpoint, the issue of the preborn’s viability changes neither its humanness nor its need for our protection. And from a purely practical standpoint, viability is an ever-moving criterion because it depends on available medical technology. In the future, very premature babies may survive routinely.

Tall Oaks from Little Acorns Grow

Advocates of “potentiality” frequently illustrate their idea by comparing an acorn with a human zygote. An acorn, they would argue, is a potential oak tree, but it is not an actual oak tree, and it would be ridiculous to say they are equal (Thomson, 1988, p. 242). Similarly, a zygote is a potential person, not an actual person. The effect of destroying an acorn has some meaning, just as destroying a zygote has some meaning, but these actions are different from felling an oak tree or killing a human.
This analogy suffers from several problems, not the least of which is that it is not a good analogy: a dormant plant seed hardly is equivalent to an actively developing member of our own species. Even so, by rules of genetics an oak acorn and an oak tree have equal “oakness.” Similarly, the human zygote and human adult have equal “humanness.” To destroy the zygote is to destroy an actual human being, not a potential human being (see Alcorn, 1994, pp. 54-55).
D. Gareth Jones offered a variation on the acorn/zygote analogy (1994, 6:12-13). Imagine, Jones suggested, a student who enrolls for a course of study. At the beginning of the course he has the potential to pass, but he is not a passed student until he has fulfilled the requirements of that course. The student has value at the beginning, but the process of learning and passing the examinations changes him and gives him greater status. Similarly, Jones would argue, the embryo is a potential human, but the process of development confers increasing value until the time of birth, when it becomes an actual human being.
However, what if the professor decided to kick the student out of the course because he had too many students in the course already, or because he did not want any more students to pass the course, even though the student was allowed to enroll, paid his fees, had the potential to pass, attended lectures, and was completing assignments? Surely most observers, especially the student, would cry “Foul!” over such treatment. It is not a case of whether the student is actually successful or potentially successful, or whether he can or will pass, but how the school system treats him as a student.
With these added possibilities we have a better analogy because, like the professor who removes a student arbitrarily, IVF techniques and abortion end life that would develop and complete the “course” if left unhindered. Further, our responsibility to see that this life can survive is considerably greater in human terms than our responsibility to see that a student gets a passing grade. At least a student can make decisions that will affect his ability to succeed, whereas the embryonic human depends on the mother for its continued existence and birth. Further, a student can cry “Foul!” over his treatment; the most an unborn child can do is cry.
The intention is not to take Jones’ analogy to ridiculous ends, but to show that comparisons should not ignore that human life is at stake here.

Doomed to Death

The arguments offered in favor of IVF and research on embryos often cite the significant rate of spontaneous abortions (Jones, 1994, 6:8-11). Estimates of this rate vary from a third to two-thirds of all conceptions. By implication, because the deliberate act of fertilizing eggs in the natural way is prone to failure and “dooms” many embryos to death, then why worry about the mortality of embryos in artificial reproduction?
For example, if we start with six eggs, fertilize them successfully, implant four in a willing mother, two of which develop into children, and pass two on for research and eventual disposal at the 14-day limit, then our embryo death rate (four out of six, or two-thirds) is no worse than if we tried to achieve pregnancy the natural way. [Actually, the loss of embryos by IVF procedures is probably four times higher than in natural procreation (Jones, 1994, 6:9).]
However, there are some crucial differences. In the laboratory version, two embryos were discarded intentionally. In the natural version, all embryos have a chance to develop; if they were spontaneously aborted, it was probably because of developmental problems, either within the embryo itself or in the mother. One decision involved a deliberate attempt to end life; the other gave life a chance to proceed along its natural course.


Advances in science have allowed humans to control the stunning feat of their own procreation. Yet in the very act of satiating curiosity, we have become indifferent to the object of our study. In the epitome of reductionism, the new life lying in a glass dish has become nothing more than a biological product of physical and chemical reactions.
The same cold science tells us that when a human sperm unites with a human egg, a human zygote is formed. For the first four days its genetic uniqueness has not been set, but it will be if unhindered. For the first two weeks it has no distinct body parts, but it will if unhindered. For the first few months it may not be able to survive outside the womb, but it will survive if unhindered. For the entire pregnancy it does not interact with other human life on a social level, but it will if unhindered. For the first eighteen months it is not self-aware, but it will become this way if unhindered.
There is no logical stopping point at which we can measure quality of life, personhood, or physical appearance and capabilities. All these criteria are important, but all mean nothing unless we first consider the essential humanness of life from conception to adulthood. This brings equal responsibility to all humans. What we must value is not the quality of life, but life itself.
The same unequivocal humanness and inherent worth are enshrined within the pages of the Bible, which makes no distinction between life in the womb and outside the womb. All life from conception onward is personal and significant to God.


Alcorn, Randy (1994), Prolife Answers to Prochoice Arguments (Portland, OR: Multnomah).
Beckwith, Francis J. and Norman L. Geisler (1991), Matters of Life and Death (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker).
Butler, Declan (1994), “Compromise Reached on Bioethics Bill,” Nature, 369:599, June 23.
Davis, John Jefferson (1984), Abortion and the Christian (Phillipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian & Reformed).
Dickson, David (1988), “Europe Split on Embryo Research,” Science, 242:1117-1118, November 25.
Godfrey, John (1995), “The Pope and the Ontogeny of Persons,” Nature, 373:100, January 12.
Jones, D. Gareth (1994), “The Human Embryo: Between Oblivion and Meaningful Life,” Science & Christian Belief, 6:3-19.
Lejeune, Jérôme (1992), The Concentration Can (San Francisco, CA: Ignatius Press; published originally by Librairie Arthème Fayard, Paris, 1990).
Major, Trevor (1989), “Life: Sanctity or Quality,” Journal of Biblical Ethics in Medicine, 3:75-76, Fall.
Thompson, Bert (1993), The Christian and Medical Ethics (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press).
Thomson, Judith Jarvis (1988), “A Defense of Abortion,” Philosophy and Contemporary Issues, ed. J.R. Burr and M. Goldinger (New York: Macmillan, fifth edition; published originally in Philosophy and Public Affairs, 1971, 1[1]:47-66).
Warnock, Mary (1993), “Unborn Interest,” Nature, 362:421, April 1.

"Contradictions" Regarding the Ark of the Covenant by Dave Miller, Ph.D.


"Contradictions" Regarding the Ark of the Covenant

by Dave Miller, Ph.D.

How does the “20 years” reference in 1 Samuel 7:2 harmonize with the fact that the ark was not brought from Kirjath-jearim until 2 Samuel 6:4—more than 40 years later?
Even though God’s Word can be substantially communicated from one language to another, the translation process is sufficiently complex to the extent that many of the subtleties of the parent language are lost in translation. These subtleties rarely, if ever, involve matters that are critical to the central purpose of revelation. However, apparent discrepancies on minor details can surface that require a careful re-examination of the actual linguistic data of the parent language (in this case Hebrew) in order to dissolve the apparent discrepancy.
The individual clauses of 1 Samuel 7:2-3 are linked in Hebrew by “waw consecutives” that bring the statements into close logical and temporal connection. The three verbs of verse two are a continuation of the infinitive, which points to the main sentence being resumed in verse three (“and Samuel spoke”). The gist of these grammatical data is that the writer is informing us that after the ark’s capture, the people endured Philistine oppression for the next twenty years. Though all Israel “lamented after the Lord,” He allowed the Israelites to continue their suffering at the hands of the Philistines for 20 years—at which time Samuel called upon the nation to put away its idols.
First Samuel describes the final years of the period of the judges. The reliance upon the ark as a sort of mystical talisman brought swift military tragedy, precipitating yet another period of foreign oppression by Israel’s enemies due to their own apostasy. This period of Philistine preeminence went on for twenty years before the lamentations of God’s people were finally heard. At the end of the twenty years, Samuel called on them to couple their lamentations with genuine penitence (1 Samuel 7:3). When they put away their idolatry (vs. 4), they once again enjoyed the services of the judge (vs. 6), who assisted them in throwing off Philistine oppression by military defeat (vss. 10ff.).
Thus the twenty years refers—not to the total number of years that the ark remained in Kirjath-jearim—but merely to the number of years the ark was in Kirjath-jearim before the Lord chose to hear the people’s lamentations and provide them with intervention through Samuel.



Man's words

Canons of Dordt -- Third and Fourth Heads of Doctrine
Article 1
Man was originally formed after the image of God. His understanding was adorned with a true and saving knowledge of his Creator, and of spiritual things; his heart and will were upright, all his affections pure, and the whole man was holy. But, revolting from God by the instigation of the devil and by his own free will, he forfeited these excellent gifts; and in the place thereof became involved in blindness of mind, horrible darkness, vanity, and perverseness of judgment; became wicked, rebellious, and obdurate in heart and will, and impure in his affections.
Article 2
Man after the fall begat children in his own likeness. A corrupt stock produced a corrupt offspring. Hence all the posterity of Adam, Christ only excepted, have derived corruption from their original parent, not by imitation, as the Pelagians of old asserted, but by the propagation of a vicious nature, in consequence of the first judgment of God.
Article 3

Therefore all men are conceived in sin, and are by nature children of wrath, incapable of saving good, prone to evil, dead in sin, and in bondage thereto; and without the regenerating grace of the Holy Spirit, they are neither able nor willing to return to God, to reform the depravity of their nature, or to dispose themselves to reformation.
* * *
"We believe that through the disobedience of Adam original sin is extended to all mankind; which is a corruption of the whole nature and a hereditary disease, wherewith even infants in their mother's womb are infected, and which produces in man all sorts of sin, being in him a root thereof, and therefore is so vile and abominable in the sight of God that it is sufficient to condemn all mankind." -- Belgic Confession, Article XV, Original Sin.
"When Calvinists speak of man as being totally depraved, they mean that man's nature is corrupt, perverse, and sinful throughout. The adjective "total" does not mean that each sinner is as totally or completely corrupt in his actions and thoughts as it is possible for him to be. Instead, the word "total" is used to indicate the the whole of man's being has been affected by sin. The corruption extends to every part of man, his body and soul; sin has affected all (the totality) of man's faculties -- his mind, his will, etc.
As a result of this inborn corruption, the natural man is totally unable to do anything spiritually good; thus Calvinists speak of man's "total inability".
The natural man is enslaved to sin; he is a child of Satan, rebellious toward God, blind to truth, corrupt, and unable to save himself or to prepare himself for salvation. In short, the unregenerate man is dead in sin, and his will is enslaved to his evil nature.
Originally, Adam's will was free from the dominion of sin; he was under no natural compulsion to choose evil, but through his fall he brought spiritual death upon himself and all his posterity. He thereby plunged himself and the entire race into spiritual ruin and lost for himself and his descendants the ability to make right choices in the spiritual realm. His descendants are still free to choose -- every man makes choices throughout life -- but inasmuch as Adam's offspring are born with sinful natures, they do not have the ability to choose spiritual good over evil. Consequently, man's will is no longer free (i.e., free from the dominion of sin) as Adam's will was free before the fall. Instead, man's will, as a result of inherited depravity, is in bondage to his sinful nature." -- The Five Points of Calvinism, Steele and Thomas, page 25.
Is Calvinism's "Total (Hereditary) Depravity" true, OR does GOD'S WORD teach that sin is breaking or neglecting God's laws as a conscious act?
"Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law." I John 3:4 AV
"Every one that doeth sin doeth also lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness." I John 3:4
"Ye have sinned against Jehovah, and have not obeyed the voice of Jehovah, nor walked in his law, nor in his statutes, nor in his testimonies." Jer. 44:23
"To him therefore that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin." James 4:17
"All unrighteousness is sin." I John 5:17
"Whatsoever is not of faith is sin." Rom. 14:23
"All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and Jehovah hath laid on him the iniquity of us all." Isa. 53:6
"They are all gone aside;
They are together become filthy;
There is none that doeth good, no, not one." Psa. 14:3
"All have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God." Rom. 3:23
Q. In the light of God's definition of sin, how is it possible for a baby to be born sinful?
Q. Is Calvinism's "Total (Hereditary) Depravity" true, OR does GOD'S WORD teach that babies are born sinless and that they all become sinful and sinners?
"Yea, they sacrificed their sons and their daughters unto demons, And shed innocent blood, Even the blood of their sons and of their daughters, Whom they sacrificed unto the idols of Canaan; And the land was polluted with blood." Psa. 106:37-38
"Moreover your little ones, that ye said should be a prey, and your children, that this day have no knowledge of good or evil, they shall go in thither, and unto them will I give it, and they shall possess it." Deut. 1:39
"Thou (the king of Tyre) wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till unrighteousness was found in thee." Ezek. 28:15
"For the children (Jacob and Esau) being not yet born, neither having done anything good or bad,..." Rom. 9:11
"And should not I have regard for Nineveh, that great city, wherein are more than sixscore thousand persons that cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand; and also much cattle?" Jonah 4:11
"And I (Paul) was alive apart from the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died." Rom. 7:9
"Before the child shall know to refuse the evil, and choose the good, the land whose two kings thou abhorrest shall be forsaken." Isa. 7:16
"They have all turned aside, they are together become unprofitable; There is none that doeth good, no, not, so much as one." Rom. 3:12
Q. Is Calvinism's "Total (Hereditary) Depravity" true, OR does GOD'S WORD teach that each man is responsible for and will be punished for his own sin?
"Therefore, as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin; and so death passed unto all men, for that all sinned." Rom. 5:12
"The soul that sinneth, it shall die: the son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son; the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him." Ezek. 18:20
"Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, saith the Lord Jehovah." Ezek. 18:30
"The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, neither shall the children be put to death for the fathers: every man shall be put to death for his own sin." Deut. 24:16
"In the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; who will render to every man according to his works." Rom. 2:5-6
"So then each one of us shall give account of himself to God." Rom. 14:12
"Yet ye say, The way of the Lord is not equal. O house of Israel, I will judge you every one after his ways." Ezek. 33:20
"I, Jehovah, search the mind, I try the heart, even to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his doings." Jer. 17:10
"Behold, I (Jesus) come quickly; and my reward is with me, to render to each man according as his work is." Rev. 22:12
Q. Does GOD'S WORD teach that God, who is holy and righteous, places the soul and spirit within each man?
"And Jehovah God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul." Gen. 2:7
"Furthermore, we had the fathers of our flesh to chasten us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?" Heb. 12:9
"For in him (God) we live, and move, and have our being; as certain even of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring." Acts 17:28
"Thus saith Jehovah, who stretcheth forth the heavens, and layeth the foundation of the earth, and formeth the spirit of man within him." Zech. 12:1
"And the dust returneth to the earth as it was, and the spirit returneth unto God who gave it." Eccl. 12:7
Q. Does a holy and righteous God put a totally depraved spirit within each man?
Q. Is Calvinism's "Totally (Hereditary) Depravity" true, OR does Jesus proclaim the innocence of infants?
"Then were there brought unto him little children, that he should lay his hands on them, and pray: and the disciples rebuked them. But Jesus said, Suffer the little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for to such belongeth the kingdom of heaven. And he laid his hands on them, and departed thence." Matt. 19:13-15
Q. Does this mean that the kingdom of heaven belongs to those who are totally depraved?
"And he called to him a little child, and set him in the midst of them, and said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye turn, and become as little children, ye shall in no wise enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven." Matt. 18:2-4
Q. Does this mean that we must become totally depraved in order to enter the kingdom of heaven?
* * *
"Behold, I was shapen in iniquity;
and in sin did my mother conceive me." Psa. 51:5 AV
Q. Does this scripture teach Total Hereditary Depravity?
Q. Where was David when the sins of this scripture were committed?
Q. Who is the person guilty of the sins mentioned in this scripture, David or his mother?
Q. Does GOD'S WORD teach that it is the baby that is born sinful, OR does it teach that there may be sin connected with the conception and bearing of children?
"And when the days of her purifying are fulfilled, for a son, or for a daughter, she shall bring a lamb a year old for a burnt-offering, and a young pigeon, or a turtle-dove, for a sin-offering, unto the door of the tent of meeting, unto the priest: and he shall offer it before Jehovah, and make atonement for her; and she shall be cleansed from the fountain of her blood. This is the law for her that beareth, whether a male or a female. And if her means suffice not for a lamb, then she shall take two turtle-doves, or two young pigeons; the one for a burnt-offering, and the other for a sin-offering: and the priest shall make atonement for her, and she shall be clean." Lev. 12:6-8
Q. Where in GOD'S WORD do we find a command to offer sacrifices for the babies who are said to be totally depraved?
Q. If Calvinism's "Total (Hereditary) Depravity" is true, where in GOD'S WORD is there a plan revealed for the salvation of babies who are born totally depraved?
Q. Is Calvinism's "Total (Hereditary) Depravity" true, OR does GOD'S WORD teach us as to when and how each man becomes a sinner?
"But each man is tempted, when he is drawn away by his own lust, and enticed. Then the lust, when it hath conceived, beareth sin: and the sin, when it is fullgrown, bringeth forth death. Be not deceived, my beloved brethren." James 1:14-16
"Therefore, as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin; and so death passed unto all men, for that all sinned." Rom. 5:12
* * *
Q. Is Calvinism's "Total (Hereditary) Depravity" true, OR does GOD'S WORD teach that man is not born sinful but that he is sinful "from his youth"?
"And Jehovah smelled the sweet savor; and Jehovah said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man's sake, for that the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth." Gen. 8:21
"For we have sinned against Jehovah our God, we and our fathers, from our youth even unto this day; and we have not obeyed the voice of Jehovah our God." Jer. 3:25
"I spake unto thee in thy prosperity; but thou saidst, I will not hear. This hath been thy manner from thy youth, that thou obeyedst not my voice." Jer. 22:21
"For the children of Israel and the children of Judah have done only that which was evil in my sight from their youth; for the children of Israel have only provoked me to anger with the work of their hands, saith Jehovah." Jer. 32:30

Published in The Old Paths Archive

Bible Reading May 16 by Gary Rose

Bible Reading May 16  (World English Bible)

May 16
Joshua 13, 14

Jos 13:1 Now Joshua was old and well advanced in years. Yahweh said to him, "You are old and advanced in years, and there remains yet very much land to be possessed.
Jos 13:2 This is the land that still remains: all the regions of the Philistines, and all the Geshurites;
Jos 13:3 from the Shihor, which is before Egypt, even to the border of Ekron northward, which is counted as Canaanite; the five lords of the Philistines; the Gazites, and the Ashdodites, the Ashkelonites, the Gittites, and the Ekronites; also the Avvim,
Jos 13:4 on the south; all the land of the Canaanites, and Mearah that belongs to the Sidonians, to Aphek, to the border of the Amorites;
Jos 13:5 and the land of the Gebalites, and all Lebanon, toward the sunrise, from Baal Gad under Mount Hermon to the entrance of Hamath;
Jos 13:6 all the inhabitants of the hill country from Lebanon to Misrephoth Maim, even all the Sidonians; them will I drive out from before the children of Israel: only allocate it to Israel for an inheritance, as I have commanded you.
Jos 13:7 Now therefore divide this land for an inheritance to the nine tribes and the half-tribe of Manasseh."
Jos 13:8 With him the Reubenites and the Gadites received their inheritance, which Moses gave them, beyond the Jordan eastward, even as Moses the servant of Yahweh gave them:
Jos 13:9 from Aroer, that is on the edge of the valley of the Arnon, and the city that is in the middle of the valley, and all the plain of Medeba to Dibon;
Jos 13:10 and all the cities of Sihon king of the Amorites, who reigned in Heshbon, to the border of the children of Ammon;
Jos 13:11 and Gilead, and the border of the Geshurites and Maacathites, and all Mount Hermon, and all Bashan to Salecah;
Jos 13:12 all the kingdom of Og in Bashan, who reigned in Ashtaroth and in Edrei (the same was left of the remnant of the Rephaim); for Moses attacked these, and drove them out.
Jos 13:13 Nevertheless the children of Israel didn't drive out the Geshurites, nor the Maacathites: but Geshur and Maacath dwell in the midst of Israel to this day.
Jos 13:14 Only he gave no inheritance to the tribe of Levi. The offerings of Yahweh, the God of Israel, made by fire are his inheritance, as he spoke to him.
Jos 13:15 Moses gave to the tribe of the children of Reuben according to their families.
Jos 13:16 Their border was from Aroer, that is on the edge of the valley of the Arnon, and the city that is in the middle of the valley, and all the plain by Medeba;
Jos 13:17 Heshbon, and all its cities that are in the plain; Dibon, Bamoth Baal, Beth Baal Meon,
Jos 13:18 Jahaz, Kedemoth, Mephaath,
Jos 13:19 Kiriathaim, Sibmah, Zereth Shahar in the mount of the valley,
Jos 13:20 Beth Peor, the slopes of Pisgah, Beth Jeshimoth,
Jos 13:21 all the cities of the plain, and all the kingdom of Sihon king of the Amorites, who reigned in Heshbon, whom Moses struck with the chiefs of Midian, Evi, Rekem, Zur, Hur, and Reba, the princes of Sihon, who lived in the land.
Jos 13:22 The children of Israel alse killed Balaam also the son of Beor, the soothsayer, with the sword, among the rest of their slain.
Jos 13:23 The border of the children of Reuben was the bank of the Jordan. This was the inheritance of the children of Reuben according to their families, the cities and its villages.
Jos 13:24 Moses gave to the tribe of Gad, to the children of Gad, according to their families.
Jos 13:25 Their border was Jazer, and all the cities of Gilead, and half the land of the children of Ammon, to Aroer that is before Rabbah;
Jos 13:26 and from Heshbon to Ramath Mizpeh, and Betonim; and from Mahanaim to the border of Debir;
Jos 13:27 and in the valley, Beth Haram, Beth Nimrah, Succoth, and Zaphon, the rest of the kingdom of Sihon king of Heshbon, the Jordan's bank, to the uttermost part of the sea of Chinnereth beyond the Jordan eastward.
Jos 13:28 This is the inheritance of the children of Gad according to their families, the cities and its villages.
Jos 13:29 Moses gave an inheritance to the half-tribe of Manasseh. It was for the half-tribe of the children of Manasseh according to their families.
Jos 13:30 Their border was from Mahanaim, all Bashan, all the kingdom of Og king of Bashan, and all the towns of Jair, which are in Bashan, sixty cities.
Jos 13:31 Half Gilead, Ashtaroth, and Edrei, the cities of the kingdom of Og in Bashan, were for the children of Machir the son of Manasseh, even for the half of the children of Machir according to their families.
Jos 13:32 These are the inheritances which Moses distributed in the plains of Moab, beyond the Jordan at Jericho, eastward.
Jos 13:33 But to the tribe of Levi Moses gave no inheritance. Yahweh, the God of Israel, is their inheritance, as he spoke to them.

Jos 14:1 These are the inheritances which the children of Israel took in the land of Canaan, which Eleazar the priest, Joshua the son of Nun, and the heads of the fathers' houses of the tribes of the children of Israel, distributed to them,
Jos 14:2 by the lot of their inheritance, as Yahweh commanded by Moses, for the nine tribes, and for the half-tribe.
Jos 14:3 For Moses had given the inheritance of the two tribes and the half-tribe beyond the Jordan; but to the Levites he gave no inheritance among them.
Jos 14:4 For the children of Joseph were two tribes, Manasseh and Ephraim: and they gave no portion to the Levites in the land, except cities to dwell in, with their suburbs for their livestock and for their property.
Jos 14:5 The children of Israel did as Yahweh commanded Moses, and they divided the land.
Jos 14:6 Then the children of Judah drew near to Joshua in Gilgal. Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite said to him, "You know the thing that Yahweh spoke to Moses the man of God concerning me and concerning you in Kadesh Barnea.
Jos 14:7 I was forty years old when Moses the servant of Yahweh sent me from Kadesh Barnea to spy out the land. I brought him word again as it was in my heart.
Jos 14:8 Nevertheless, my brothers who went up with me made the heart of the people melt; but I wholly followed Yahweh my God.
Jos 14:9 Moses swore on that day, saying, 'Surely the land where you walked shall be an inheritance to you and to your children forever, because you have wholly followed Yahweh my God.'
Jos 14:10 Now, behold, Yahweh has kept me alive, as he spoke, these forty-five years, from the time that Yahweh spoke this word to Moses, while Israel walked in the wilderness. Now, behold, I am eighty-five years old, today.
Jos 14:11 As yet I am as strong today as I was in the day that Moses sent me: as my strength was then, even so is my strength now for war, to go out and to come in.
Jos 14:12 Now therefore give me this hill country, of which Yahweh spoke in that day; for you heard in that day how the Anakim were there, and great and fortified cities. It may be that Yahweh will be with me, and I shall drive them out, as Yahweh spoke."
Jos 14:13 Joshua blessed him; and he gave Hebron to Caleb the son of Jephunneh for an inheritance.
Jos 14:14 Therefore Hebron became the inheritance of Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite to this day; because he wholly followed Yahweh, the God of Israel.
Jos 14:15 Now the name of Hebron before was Kiriath Arba, after the greatest man among the Anakim. The land had rest from war.

May 16, 17
John 1

Joh 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
Joh 1:2 The same was in the beginning with God.
Joh 1:3 All things were made through him. Without him was not anything made that has been made.
Joh 1:4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men.
Joh 1:5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness hasn't overcome it.
Joh 1:6 There came a man, sent from God, whose name was John.
Joh 1:7 The same came as a witness, that he might testify about the light, that all might believe through him.
Joh 1:8 He was not the light, but was sent that he might testify about the light.
Joh 1:9 The true light that enlightens everyone was coming into the world.
Joh 1:10 He was in the world, and the world was made through him, and the world didn't recognize him.
Joh 1:11 He came to his own, and those who were his own didn't receive him.
Joh 1:12 But as many as received him, to them he gave the right to become God's children, to those who believe in his name:
Joh 1:13 who were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
Joh 1:14 The Word became flesh, and lived among us. We saw his glory, such glory as of the one and only Son of the Father, full of grace and truth.
Joh 1:15 John testified about him. He cried out, saying, "This was he of whom I said, 'He who comes after me has surpassed me, for he was before me.' "
Joh 1:16 From his fullness we all received grace upon grace.
Joh 1:17 For the law was given through Moses. Grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
Joh 1:18 No one has seen God at any time. The one and only Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he has declared him.
Joh 1:19 This is John's testimony, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, "Who are you?"
Joh 1:20 He confessed, and didn't deny, but he confessed, "I am not the Christ."
Joh 1:21 They asked him, "What then? Are you Elijah?" He said, "I am not." "Are you the prophet?" He answered, "No."
Joh 1:22 They said therefore to him, "Who are you? Give us an answer to take back to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?"
Joh 1:23 He said, "I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, 'Make straight the way of the Lord,' as Isaiah the prophet said."
Joh 1:24 The ones who had been sent were from the Pharisees.
Joh 1:25 They asked him, "Why then do you baptize, if you are not the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the prophet?"
Joh 1:26 John answered them, "I baptize in water, but among you stands one whom you don't know.
Joh 1:27 He is the one who comes after me, who is preferred before me, whose sandal strap I'm not worthy to loosen."
Joh 1:28 These things were done in Bethany beyond the Jordan, where John was baptizing.
Joh 1:29 The next day, he saw Jesus coming to him, and said, "Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!
Joh 1:30 This is he of whom I said, 'After me comes a man who is preferred before me, for he was before me.'
Joh 1:31 I didn't know him, but for this reason I came baptizing in water: that he would be revealed to Israel."
Joh 1:32 John testified, saying, "I have seen the Spirit descending like a dove out of heaven, and it remained on him.
Joh 1:33 I didn't recognize him, but he who sent me to baptize in water, he said to me, 'On whomever you will see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he who baptizes in the Holy Spirit.'
Joh 1:34 I have seen, and have testified that this is the Son of God."
Joh 1:35 Again, the next day, John was standing with two of his disciples,
Joh 1:36 and he looked at Jesus as he walked, and said, "Behold, the Lamb of God!"
Joh 1:37 The two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus.
Joh 1:38 Jesus turned, and saw them following, and said to them, "What are you looking for?" They said to him, "Rabbi" (which is to say, being interpreted, Teacher), "where are you staying?"
Joh 1:39 He said to them, "Come, and see." They came and saw where he was staying, and they stayed with him that day. It was about the tenth hour.
Joh 1:40 One of the two who heard John, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother.
Joh 1:41 He first found his own brother, Simon, and said to him, "We have found the Messiah!" (which is, being interpreted, Christ).
Joh 1:42 He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him, and said, "You are Simon the son of Jonah. You shall be called Cephas" (which is by interpretation, Peter).
Joh 1:43 On the next day, he was determined to go out into Galilee, and he found Philip. Jesus said to him, "Follow me."
Joh 1:44 Now Philip was from Bethsaida, of the city of Andrew and Peter.
Joh 1:45 Philip found Nathanael, and said to him, "We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, wrote: Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph."
Joh 1:46 Nathanael said to him, "Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?" Philip said to him, "Come and see."
Joh 1:47 Jesus saw Nathanael coming to him, and said about him, "Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no deceit!"
Joh 1:48 Nathanael said to him, "How do you know me?" Jesus answered him, "Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you."
Joh 1:49 Nathanael answered him, "Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are King of Israel!"
Joh 1:50 Jesus answered him, "Because I told you, 'I saw you underneath the fig tree,' do you believe? You will see greater things than these!"
Joh 1:51 He said to him, "Most certainly, I tell you, hereafter you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man."