"THE EPISTLE TO THE EPHESIANS" Introduction To The Epistle (1:1-3) by Mark Copeland

                     "THE EPISTLE TO THE EPHESIANS"

                   Introduction To The Epistle (1:1-3)


1. Have you ever heard of "Hetty" Green, known as "America's Greatest
   a. She died in 1916, and left an estate worth over $100 million
   b. Yet, it is said that...
      1) She ate oatmeal cold, because it cost to heat it
      2) Her son's leg was amputated, because she delayed too long
         looking for a free clinic
   c. Sounds crazy, doesn't it?
      1) For someone who had such great assets, to go through life
      2) Living the life of a pauper, when great wealth was at her

2. But the same could be said of many Christians today...
   a. For in Christ Jesus, we have countless spiritual blessings! - cf. 
      Ep 1:3
   b. However, many of these blessings go unused
      1) Blessings that are wonderful, but unappreciated by many
      2) Resulting in some Christians living what Thoreau would call 
         "lives of quiet desperation"

3. God would have us to know about these blessings, or spiritual 
   "riches", and in the New Testament one book in particular describes 
   many of them . . .
   a. It is the book of Ephesians
   b. One expressed purpose of the book is that we might know "what are 
      the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints" - cf. 
      Ep 1:18

4. Lest we become the spiritual equivalent of "Hetty" Green, we begin a
   series devoted to the Epistle to the Ephesians, in which we plan to
   "mine" for the riches that are ours in Christ Jesus

[In Ep 1:1-3, Paul addresses the brethren at Ephesus and begins
immediately to speak of our "spiritual blessings".  Let's first more
closely consider...]

I. THE AUTHOR (1:1a)

   A. PAUL...
      1. Formerly, "Saul of Tarsus", the persecutor of the church 
          - Ac 9:1-2
      2. But who became the "apostle to the Gentiles" - Ac 9:15

      1. His apostleship was not of his own choosing - cf. Ga 1:1
      2. He knew it was by the grace of God that he had been so called 
         - Ep 3:8a
      3. And his charge?  To "preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable
         riches of Christ" - Ep 3:8b

      1. First, for a short stay - Ac 18:19-21
      2. Then for over two years, one of his longer periods of service
         in one place - Ac 19:1-10
      3. He also met with the Ephesian elders at Miletus - Ac 20:17-38

      1. At the time Paul wrote this epistle, he was awaiting trial in
         Rome - cf. Ep 3:1; 4:1; 6:20
      2. This epistle was written about the same time as Colossians,
         Philippians, and Philemon, approximately 60-62 A.D.
      3. I.e., during the time period briefly described in Ac 28:30-31

[Now for a few thoughts on...]


      1. The recipients of this letter were called "saints"
         a. The word "saint" means "one who has been set apart"
         b. It is related to the word "sanctified" which means "set 
         c. ALL Christians were called saints in the New Testament, for
            in Christ Jesus even the vilest sinners are "sanctified" 
            upon their conversion - cf. 1Co 6:9-11
      2. The recipients of this letter were those brethren "in Ephesus"
         a. This is called into question by some, for in a few
            manuscripts "in Ephesus" is omitted
         b. For a detailed examination of this question, cf. New 
            Testament Commentary, Exposition Of Ephesians, William 
            Hendriksen, Baker Book House, pp. 56-61
         c. Hendricksen's conclusion:  this letter was written to the 
            churches of Ephesus and surroundings
      3. Historical background concerning the work in Ephesus can be 
         found in Ac 18:19-28; 19:1-41; 20:17-38
      1. This describes the character of those "saints" in Ephesus
      2. They are "faithful in Christ Jesus"; that is, they trusted in 
         Him for their salvation - cf. Ep 1:13
      3. They were "faithful" in another sense, also, in that they were
         trustworthy in their stand for the truth - cf. Re 2:1-3, 6
      4. However, they were to be later rebuked for leaving their "first
         love" - Re 2:4-5

[To these "faithful saints", Paul give his customary greeting in which
he prays for grace and peace to come upon them from God and Jesus (1:2).

With the very next verse, Paul begins to praise God for the blessings we
have in Christ, which reveals to us...]


      1. They come from "the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ"
      2. As revealed later, they come to us a result of the "riches" 
         of . . .
         a. God's grace - Ep 1:7
         b. God's glory - Ep 1:18
         c. God's mercy - Ep 2:7
      3. As James wrote, "every good gift and every perfect gift is from
         above, and comes down from the Father of lights" - Jm 1:17

      1. They include "every" spiritual blessing; not just a few, but 
         every single one!
      3. Blessings that are "spiritual" in nature; unlike many of the 
         blessings to the nation of Israel of old, which were but 
      1. First, they are "in the heavenly places"
         a. Lit., "in the heavenlies", a phrase found only in Ephesians 
            - 1:3; 2:6; 3:10; 6:12
         b. Referring to the spiritual realm, as opposed to the physical
      2. Secondly, they are "in Christ"
         a. It has been counted that this phrase "in Christ" occurs 27 
            times in this epistle
         c. Emphasizing that it is only by being "in" Christ that one 
            can have access to "every" spiritual blessing

[With verse three, then, we have the "theme" of this epistle stated, and
one would do well to think of it as the "key verse".

Before we close this introduction to Ephesians, it may be helpful to
consider the following outline of the book as presented in "The Bible
Exposition Commentary", Volume 2, Warren W. Wiersbe, p. 7...]


   A. DOCTRINE:  OUR RICHES IN CHRIST (chapters 1-3)
      1. Our spiritual possessions in Christ (1:4-14)
         a. From the Father (1:4-6)
         b. From the Son (1:7-12)
         c. From the Spirit (1:13-14)
         -- First Prayer:  for enlightenment (1:15-23)
      2. Our spiritual position in Christ (2:1-22)
         a. Raised and seated on the throne (2:1-10)
         b. Reconciled and set into the temple (2:11-22)
         -- Second Prayer:  for enablement (3:1-21; with verses 2-13 as 
            a parenthesis)

      1. Walk in unity (4:1-16)
      2. Walk in purity (4:17-5:17)
         a. Walk not as other Gentiles (4:17-32)
         b. Walk in love (5:1-6)
         c. Walk as children of light (5:7-14)
         d. Walk carefully (5:15-17)
      3. Walk in harmony (5:18-6:9)
         a. Husbands and wives (5:18-33)
         b. Parents and children (6:1-4)
         c. Masters and servants (6:5-9)
      d. Walk in victory (6:10-24)


1. In our next lesson, we will begin our study of this Epistle to the
   Ephesians in earnest, noticing immediately some of those
   "unsearchable riches of Christ"

2. But as we have already seen, the "sphere" in which these blessings
   (riches) are to be found is "IN Christ".  How does one get "into"

The answer is found in Ga 3:26-27, where we learn that those who have
been "baptized into Christ have put on Christ".  Are you in Christ...?

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2016

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Does God REALLY Know Everything? by Eric Lyons, M.Min.


Does God REALLY Know Everything?

by Eric Lyons, M.Min.

Numerous passages of Scripture clearly teach that God is omniscient. The Bible declares that God “knows the secrets of the heart” (Psalm 44:21), that His eyes “are in every place” (Proverbs 15:3), and that “His understanding is infinite” (147:5). Of Jehovah, the psalmist also wrote:
O Lord, You have searched me and known me. You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off. You comprehend my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word on my tongue, but behold, O Lord, You know it altogether.... Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain it. Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend into heaven, You are there; if I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there (139:1-4,6-8).
The New Testament reemphasizes this truth: “God is greater than our heart, and knows all things” (1 John 3:20, emp. added). Not only does He know the past and the present, but the future as well (Acts 15:18; cf. Isaiah 46:10). According to the Bible, there is nothing outside of the awareness of God.
Atheist Dan Barker, however, alleged in his February 12, 2009 debate with Kyle Butt that the Bible paints a contradictory picture of God and His knowledge. Whereas some scriptures indicate that God knows the future, supposedly, the God of the Bible cannot exist because other passages reportedly teach that God does not know the future. Twelve minutes and 54 seconds into his first speech, Barker exclaimed:
Look what God said after he stopped it [Abraham’s sacrifice of Isaac—EL]. He said: “Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for I know now, I now know, that you fear God, seeing that you have not withheld thy son.” I know now? I thought God knew everything. The Bible says God knows the future but here He is saying, “I didn’t even know.” The Bible even says that God searches and understands all the imaginations of the heart. The God of the Bible knows the future. The God of the Bible does not know the future (2009).
Is Barker correct? Does the Bible paint a contradictory picture of God’s knowledge? Do some passages testify to the omniscience of God, while others indicate that He is finite in His understanding?
The kind of language found in Genesis 22:12 actually is present throughout Scripture. As early as Genesis chapter three, God asked Adam, “Where are you?” (3:9). In Genesis four, He asked Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?” (4:9). The book of Job reveals that at the beginning of God’s first speech to Job, God asked the patriarch, “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth?” (38:4, emp. added). Are we to assume questions like these or statements like those found in Genesis 22:12 and 18:21 (“I will know”) imply a lack of knowledge on God’s part?
First, one must acknowledge that questions often are asked and statements frequently are made for a variety of reasons. Are we really to assume that the Creator of heaven and Earth was ignorant of Adam’s whereabouts when He asked him, “Where are you?” (Genesis 3:9)? Are we to believe that God did not know where Job was when He made the world (Job 38:4)? Certainly not! What father, having seen his son dent a car door, would imply ignorance by asking, “Who did that?” Obviously, the father did not ask the question to obtain information, but to see if the son would admit to something the father knew all along. On occasion, Jesus used questions or made statements for the same purpose. When He questioned the Pharisees’ disciples and the Herodians regarding whose inscription was on a particular coin, it clearly was not because He did not know (Matthew 22:15-22). Likewise, when Jesus asked the multitude that thronged Him, “Who touched Me?” (Luke 8:45), it was not because the woman who touched Him was hidden from Him (Luke 8:47). Jesus knew the woman who was made well by touching His garment before she confessed to touching Him (Mark 5:32). His question was intended to bring attention to her great faith and His great power (Mark 5:34). In no way are the questions God asks or the statements He makes an indication of Him being less than omniscient.
Second, the term “know” (Hebrew yada, Greek ginosko) or one of its derivatives (i.e., knew, known, etc.) is used in Scripture in a variety of ways. Several times it is used in reference to a man and woman having sexual intercourse (Genesis 4:1,17,25; Judges 11:39; 19:25). Jesus used the term to refer to His regard for His sheep (i.e., people—John 10:27). In contrast to the way of the wicked that will perish, the psalmist wrote that God “knows” (i.e., approves, takes delight in, etc.) the way of the righteous (Psalm 1:6). Paul used the term “know” in Ephesians 3:19 in the sense of knowing “experimentally what intellectually is beyond our powers of knowing”—the love of Christ (Jamieson, 1997). The fact is, like so many words in Scripture (and in modern times) the word “know” has a variety of meanings. What’s more, neither Dan Barker nor any Bible critic can prove that the term “know” in Genesis 22:12 directly contradicts God’s omniscience.
Third, the Bible’s usage of phrases such as “now I know” (Genesis 22:12) or “I will know” (Genesis 18:21) in reference to God actually are for the benefit of man. Throughout the Bible, human actions (such as “learning”) frequently are attributed to God for the purpose of helping us better understand His infinity. When Jehovah “came down to see the city and the tower” built at Babel (Genesis 11:5), it was not for the purpose of gaining knowledge. Anthropomorphic expressions such as these are not meant to suggest that God is not always fully aware of everything. Rather, as in the case of Babel, such wording was used to show that He was “officially and judicially taking the situation under direct observation and consideration” (Morris, 1976, p. 272). Almighty God visited Sodom and Gomorrah likely “for appearance’ sake, that men might know directly that God had actually seen the full situation before He acted in judgment” (p. 342). “These cities were to be made ensamples to all future ages of God’s severity, and therefore ample proof given that the judgment was neither rash nor excessive (Ezek 18:23; Jer 18:7)” [Jamieson, 1997]. Similarly, in the case of God testing Abraham regarding Isaac, although God already knew what Abraham would choose to do, there still was a reason to allow Abraham the opportunity to actually show his great faith and know that God indeed had witnessed (in real time and not just in His foreknowledge), Abraham’s actions. God came “to know” of Abraham’s faith by actual experiment. The meaning of the phrase, “now I know” (Genesis 22:12), therefore, “is not that God had, by the events of this probation, obtained information regarding Abraham's character that He did not previously possess; but that these qualities had been made apparent, had been developed by outward acts” (Jamieson, 1997).
Similar to how God instructs man to pray and make “known” to Him our petitions for our benefit (Philippians 4:6), even though He actually already knows of our prayers and needs before they are voiced (Matthew 6:8), for our profit the all-knowing God sometimes is spoken of in accommodative language as acquiring knowledge.


Butt, Kyle and Dan Barker (2009), Does the God of the Bible Exist? (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press).
Jamieson, Robert, et al. (1997), Jamieson, Fausset, Brown Bible Commentary (Electronic Database: Biblesoft).
Morris, Henry M. (1976), The Genesis Record (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker).

God, Design, and Natural Selection by Eric Lyons, M.Min.


God, Design, and Natural Selection

by Eric Lyons, M.Min.

In a September 2016 New Scientist article titled “Can We Ever Know If God Exists?”1 Executive Editor Graham Lawton insisted that “the only coherent and rational position is agnosticism.”2 Allegedly, there is not enough legitimate evidence to come to the rational conclusion that “God exists.” For example, Lawton called the design argument for God’s existence a “superficially persuasive argument” that is “very refutable.”3 And how is it supposedly refuted? What evidence did Lawton offer in contradiction to the design argument? He presented only one statement: “Evolution by natural selection, working over vast lengths of time, is all you need.”4
Sadly, many people will naively take Lawton at his word and assume, “He must be right. I guess we can’t prove that God exists.” The simple fact is, however, his “refutation” of the design argument is nothing of the sort. First, the design argument for God’s existence is an actual logical argument.
Premise 1: Anything that exhibits complex, functional design demands an intelligent designer.
Premise 2: The Universe exhibits complex, functional design.
Conclusion: Therefore, the Universe must have an intelligent Designer.
This argument for God is logically sound and observationally true. Even atheists frequently testify to the “design” in nature. For example, Australian atheistic astrophysicist Paul Davies has admitted that the Universe is “uniquely hospitable,” “remarkable,” and “ordered in an intelligible way.” He even confessed to the “fine-tuned properties” of the Universe.5 The simple fact is, to deny either premise of the design argument is to deny reality, while to deny the conclusion is to deny logic.
Second, “Evolution by natural selection, working over vast lengths of time, is [not!]6 all you need.” Certainly the fit adapt and survive, and pass along their advantageous genetic traits [example: longer legs in some animals] to their offspring, but such processes (1) cannot createcomplex, functional design from nothing, (2) cannot change non-design into design, and (3) do not (and cannot) change one kind of animal into another. The simple fact is, natural selectiondoes not design anything. As evolutionist Hugo de Vries admitted long ago, “Natural selection may explain the survival of the fittest, but it cannot explain the arrival of the fittest.”7 It cannot explain the arrival of the perfectly designed “bomb-producing” bombardier beetle anymore than it can rationally explain the communication skills of the “sophisticated,” “intelligent,” “tailor-made,” color-changing Cuttlefish.8
Atheistic evolution is simply inept to deal with the reasonable arguments for the existence of God, including the logically sound design argument. To say that the design argument has “turned out to be very refutable” is simply false. And to act as if natural selection over long periods of time is the answer to the design observed in nature is equally fallacious. Such talk may sound nice in theoretical circles, but the evidence on a real observational and philosophically sound level still points to design that demands a designer. In truth, regardless of what Lawton and New Scientistsay, we can know that God exists.9


1 Graham Lawton (2016), “Can We Ever Know If God Exists?” New Scientist, 231[3089]:39, September 3.
2 An agnostic is “a person who holds the view that any ultimate reality (as God) is unknown and probably unknowable”—Merriam-Webster On-line Dictionary (2016), http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/agnostic, emp. added.
3 Lawton, p. 39, emp. added.
4 Ibid.
5 Paul Davies (2007), “Laying Down the Laws,” New Scientist, 194[2610]:30,34, June 30.
6 Parenthetical comment added.
7 Hugo De Vries (1905), Species and Varieties: Their Origin by Mutation, ed. Daniel Trembly MacDougal (Chicago, IL: Open Court), pp. 825-826, emp. added.
8 Eric Lyons (2008), “The Cause of the Cuttlefish,” Apologetics Press, http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=9&article=2505&topic=328.
9 See the Existence of God section of ApologeticsPress.org for a plethora of articles on this subject: http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=12.

What was the Sin at Babel? by Kyle Butt, M.Div.


What was the Sin at Babel?

by Kyle Butt, M.Div.

The biblical narrative often gives little commentary on major events it records. For instance, the death of James the apostle is mentioned in a single verse in Acts 12:2. Due to this abbreviated style in certain instances, one must take a rather in-depth look into the text for answers to questions that naturally arise from a straightforward reading. One such instance involves the details surrounding the tower of Babel in Genesis.
In an amazing act of divine intervention, God confused the language of all the inhabitants. Yet, this monumental event is recorded in a mere nine verses. Such brevity quite possibly leaves the reader wondering what sin those at Babel had committed to elicit such an unprecedented and active response from the Almighty. The text of Genesis 11:1-9 that describes the event does not forthrightly declare specific sins of which the denizens of Babel were guilty. But a close look at the passage and context reveals at least two areas in which those building the tower erred.
First, after Noah and his family exited the ark, God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth” (Genesis 9:1). After the Flood, God desired that humans spread throughout the world and “fill” it. Yet, those at the tower of Babel appear to have been in overt rebellion against this command of God. The rebels at Babel said: “Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower whose top is in the heavens; let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be scattered over the face of the whole earth” (Genesis 11:4, emp. added). These people obviously understood that they would (or should) be scattered over the face of the Earth, but they were attempting to fight against this directive. When God confused their languages, the text states that He also “scattered them abroad from there over the face of all the earth” (Genesis 11:8).
Second, the rebellious tower builders mentioned that they were building the tower to “make a name” for themselves. At the heart of the confusion at Babel was the sin of pride. The New Testament writer John mentioned that the sinful world consists of three primary areas of temptation: the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life (1 John 2:16). Pride had so infested those at Babel that they were no longer seeking to glorify and honor their Creator Who was responsible for endowing them with the ingenuity to survive, build, and thrive. Instead, they sinfully heaped up recognition for themselves in an attempt to gain undue notoriety. As Burton Coffman stated: “The children of men who wrought this wickedness in God’s sight were clearly infected with the us virus, the pride, arrogance, and conceit of the people standing starkly obvious in this cryptic account of it” (1985, p. 159, italics in orig.).
Furthermore, it has been suggested that the tower of Babel was one of the first organized efforts to propagate pagan worship and idolatry (Coffman, p. 158). While such could be the case, it is not necessary to establish in order to document sins of such a grievous nature that would deserve God’s condemnation. Those at the tower of Babel were rebellious, arrogant sinners who attempted to thwart God’s design to have the Earth inhabited by men. Not only were they unsuccessful, they were also punished. Their story stands as a reminder to all who read: God demands obedience, and His ultimate will always prevail.


Coffman, Burton (1985), Commentary on Genesis (Abilene, TX: ACU Press).

A Messiah Who "Sneaks" Into History? by Kyle Butt, M.Div.


A Messiah Who "Sneaks" Into History?

by Kyle Butt, M.Div.

As Paul stood before King Agrippa’s throne, relating the story of Christ, he declared of the Messiah’s life: “This thing was not done in a corner” (Acts 26:26). Those few words have reverberated through centuries of history as one of the hallmarks of the story of Jesus. Never was the life, death, or resurrection of Christ meant to be kept secret—as something might be when it is stored away in a box in an abandoned attic, to be discovered later by accident only by a fortunate few. Rather, the many facets of Christ’s earthly ministry were readily available for inspection by anyone, anytime, anywhere.
In fact, centuries before Christ set foot on the Earth in human form, the prophets of old repeatedly had spoken of His impending arrival. Over 300 messianic prophecies fill the pages of the Old Testament. God did not try to “sneak” the Messiah into human affairs under cover of darkness and without warning. Truth be told, He went to considerable effort to announce to the world the news of its heralded Savior.
One such instance can be found in Genesis 49:10, wherein Moses wrote: “The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh comes.” The word “Shiloh” has long been recognized by biblical scholars as another name for the Messiah. This verse, then, explains exactly when the Messiah was to arrive—when the scepter had departed from Judah.
So what is the “scepter,” and when did it depart from Judah? The scepter was a staff kept in possession of the elders of each of the twelve tribes of Israel and engraved with the name of the tribe. It symbolized the national sovereignty and judicial power of God’s people. As long as the scepter was in place, the Jews could govern themselves, excommunicate one of their own, and even administer corporeal punishment (including the death penalty).
Figure 1
Artist’s concept of Paul before King Agrippa
(image courtesy of ArtToday.com)
Interestingly, the scepter remained in place even while the Jews were in captivity under both the Babylonians and the Medes and Persians. It also remained in place for a time under Roman captivity—until the Emperor instituted procurators. When that occurred, even first-century Jews recognized the departure of the scepter because the Romans (around A.D. 11) took away the Jews’ right to administer capital punishment. One Jewish teacher, rabbi Rachmon, put the situation in these terms: “When the members of the Sanhedrin found themselves deprived of their right over life and death, a general consternation took possession of them; they covered their heads with ashes, and their bodies with sackcloth, exclaiming: ‘Woe unto us, for the scepter has departed from Judah, and the Messiah has not come’ ” (as quoted in McDowell, 1999, p. 195).
When the members of the Sanhedrin found that they could not put Jesus to death themselves, but had to request instead that Pontius Pilate, the Roman procurator, do so on their behalf (Luke 23:24), they should have known the Messiah was in their midst, for that was the exact prophecy Moses had recorded. The scepter had indeed departed from Judah—and the Messiah had indeed come! Yet the Jews ignored the voice of God and demanded the death sentence for His only begotten Son. Why? Because they were the people who “always resisted the Holy Spirit” (Acts 7:51).
Woe to those individuals in our day and age who ignore the powerful evidence that God has provided as proof of the deity of His precious Son, Jesus Christ! Let us ensure that we today do not become as blind to Christ’s Sonship as those first-century Jews.


McDowell, Josh (1999), The New Evidence that Demands a Verdict (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson).

Biomimicry, Butterflies, and Bank Fraud by Eric Lyons, M.Min.


Biomimicry, Butterflies, and Bank Fraud

by Eric Lyons, M.Min.

From cocklebur-inspired Velcro® to robotic lobsters, scientists are increasingly looking to imitate the wonders of life. In the field of biomimicry (derived from the Greek words bios, meaning “life,” and mimesis, meaning “to imitate”) scientists, researchers, and engineers worldwide turn their attention to God’s creation to inspire new, intricately designed, man-made products to improve human life and solve various dilemmas.
Recently, professors Mathias Kolle and Ullrich Baumberg of the University of Cambridge studied the microscopic structures in the wing scales of the Swallowtail butterfly in hopes of mimicking its magnificent colors (see “Vivid...,” 2010). The colors of these tropical butterflies are strikingly bright because of the shape of the microscopic structures and because “they are made up of alternate layers of cuticle and air” (“Vivid...”). Amazingly, Kolle and Baumberg have been successful at making “structurally identical copies of the butterfly scales,” purportedly even with “the same vivid colours as the butterflies’ wings.” How exactly do Kolle and Baumberg believe these “color copies” could be used for the benefit of mankind? They believe the artificial structures “could be used to encrypt information in optical signatures on bank notes or other valuable items to protect them against forgery.... [W]e could see structures based on butterflies’ wings shining from a...note or even our passports.”
It is entirely appropriate for scientists to look to nature for the inspiration of their inventions. After all, “the whole Earth is full of His [God’s] glory” (Isaiah 6:3, emp. added). The infinite, omniscient Creator made marvelous, living creatures, including butterflies, for man to use, study, and learn from in this life (Genesis 1:28). Sadly, many scientists today refuse to consider the most important thing to be learned from all of the animals and plants they study and seek to imitate: they all declare the glory of God. Nature did not assemble itself (as Kolle proposed in his discussion of the Swallowtail butterfly). Mindless matter and the random, chance processes of evolution fail on every account to explain the intricate design of even the smallest of living creatures. The designs in nature that intelligent human beings seek to copy demand an adequate explanation; they demand a grand Designer.
For every house is built by someone, but He who built all things is God (Hebrews 3:4).
For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse (Romans 1:20).


“Vivid Colours of Butterflies Could Help Cut Bank Fraud” (2010), The Economic Times, May 31, http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/news-by-industry/et-cetera/Vivid-colours-of-butterflies-could-help-cut-bank-fraud/articleshow/5993979.cms.

Faithfulness in Homosexual Marriages by Dave Miller, Ph.D.


Faithfulness in Homosexual Marriages

by Dave Miller, Ph.D.

The first same-sex couple to receive a legal marriage license in U.S. history two years ago (2004) now have terminated their “marriage” (Bone, 2006). The lesbian couple acted as plaintiffs in the 2003 case that led to the Massachusetts State Supreme Court legalizing same-sex “marriage” (Abraham and Paulson, 2004). While the legitimacy of same-sex marriage may not be called into question strictly on the basis of this couple’s actions, it surely is suggestive of the larger picture.
In his book Outrage: How Gay Activists and Liberal Judges are Trashing Democracy to Redefine Marriage, Peter Sprigg argues that homosexuals are less likely than heterosexuals to enter into long-term relationships, less likely to be sexually faithful, and less likely to stay together for a lifetime (“Books and...,” 2006). In the recent ruling by the Washington State Supreme Court which repudiated same-sex marriage, Justice James Johnson noted: “Direct comparisons between opposite-sex homes and same-sex homes further support the former as a better environment for children. For example, studies show an average shorter term commitment and more sexual partners for same-sex couples” (Andersen v...). That explains why less than half the homosexual couples in Massachusetts have bothered to “marry” even though they now have been granted the legal right to do so (Perkins, 2006). Nevertheless, normalizing sexually deviant behavior will inevitably alter how people conceptualize marriage itself. Legalizing illicit sexual activity cannot help but undermine the foundations of the marriage institution, which is characterized by and dependent on commitment, sexual fidelity, and dedication to permanence.
The Designer of marriage has indicated that one man for one woman for life is the very essence, nature, and character of marriage (Genesis 1:27; 2:24). Any other arrangement is “against nature” and the result of a “debased mind” (Romans 1:26,28). Those who engage in same-sex relations have been given up “to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves” (Romans 1:24).


Abraham, Yvonne and Michael Paulson (2004), “First Gays Marry; Many Seek Licenses,” The Boston Globe, May 18, [On-line], URL: http://www.boston.com/news/ local/articles/2004/05/18/wedding_day/.
Andersen v. King County, Nos. 75934-1, 75956-1 (Wash. July 26, 2006), [On-line], URL: http://www.courts.wa.gov/newsinfo/content/pdf/759341co2.pdf.
Bone, James (2006), “First U.S. Gay Couple to Marry Have Broken Up,” The Times, July 22, [On-line], URL: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,3-2280221,00.html.
“Books and Booklets” (2006), Family Research Council, July 22, [On-line], URL: http://www.frc.org/get.cfm?i=BK04H01&f=WA06G20.
Perkins, Tony (2006), “Plaintiffs in Landmark ‘Marriage’ Case Split Up,” Family Research Council: Washington Update, July 21, [On-line], URL: http://www.frc.org/ get.cfm?i=WU06G13.

Take It or Leave It by Eric Lyons, M.Min. Brad Harrub, Ph.D.


Take It or Leave It

by Eric Lyons, M.Min.
Brad Harrub, Ph.D.

Perhaps the most difficult alleged Bible contradiction that we have been asked to “tackle” at Apologetics Press was presented to us some time ago by the mother of a dear friend. She asked, “When Jesus sent out the twelve apostles on what is commonly called the ‘limited commission,’ did He instruct them to take staffs or not?” Her question was the result of studying the three following parallel passages in the synoptic Gospels (the difficult portions are in bold type).
Provide neither gold nor silver nor copper in your money belts, nor bag for your journey, nor two tunics, nor sandals,nor staffs (literally, “a staff”); for a worker is worthy of his food” (Matthew 10:9-10).

“He commanded them to take nothing for the journey except a staff—no bag, no bread, no copper in their money belts—but to wear sandals, and not to put on two tunics” (Mark 6:8-9).

“And He said to them, ‘Take nothing for the journey, neither staffs (literally, “a staff”) nor bag nor bread nor money; and do not have two tunics apiece’ “ (Luke 9:3).
A cursory reading of the above passages admittedly is somewhat confusing. Matthew and Luke seem to agree that Jesus prohibited the disciples from taking a staff on their journeys, while Mark appears to give them permission to take one. Furthermore, although Luke does not record Jesus’ command regarding sandals, some have concluded that Matthew and Mark also contradict each other on this point. To use the words of Steve Wells, author of The Skeptic’s Annotated Bible, “In Matthew’s gospel, Jesus tells his disciples to go barefoot and take no staff. But the Jesus in Mark’s gospel (6:8-9) tells them to wear sandals and carry a staff” (emp. added). Actually then, the question at hand is about staffs and sandals, even though Luke mentioned only staffs.
The differences between Matthew and Mark are explained easily when one acknowledges that the writers used different Greek verbs to express different meanings. In Matthew, the word “provide” (NKJV) is an English translation of the Greek word ktesthe. According to Bauer’s Greek-English Lexicon, the root word comes from ktaomai, which means to “procure for oneself, acquire, get” (1979, p. 455). Based upon these definitions, the New American Standard Version used the English verb “acquire” in Matthew 10:9 (“Do not acquire….”), instead of “provide” or “take.” In Matthew, Jesus is saying: “Do not acquire anything in addition to what you already have that may tempt you or stand in your way. Just go as you are.” As Mark indicated, the apostles were to “take” (airo) what they had, and go. The apostles were not to waste precious time gathering supplies (extra apparel, staffs, shoes, etc.) or making preparations for their trip, but instead were instructed to trust in God’s providence for additional needs. Jesus did not mean for the apostles to discard the staffs and sandals they already had; rather, they were not to go and acquire more.
To illustrate this point using a modern day scenario, consider the CEO who came to his Personnel Director near the end of the day and said that he needed her to fly to Los Angeles on a business trip immediately. If he told the director not to acquire anything for this urgent trip, including clothes, shoes, or make-up, she would know that he meant not to take anything extra. Obviously the CEO did not intend for the Personnel Director to take off her shoes, clothes, and the make-up she already was wearing in order to make the trip. Furthermore, if her boss came back five minutes later (to ensure that she understood his instructions clearly) and stated, “Hurry. The plane is leaving in one hour. Don’t take anything with you except what you are wearing,” the Personnel Director would conclude the same thing she did the first time—do not take anything extra. The CEO said the same thing using two different phrases. Similarly, the wording in Matthew and Mark represent two different ways of saying virtually the same thing.
Most apologists and biblical commentators discontinue their discussion of these parallel passages at this point. They explain the difference between Matthew and Mark’s account of Jesus sending out the Twelve, but they omit Luke’s account. In order to answer the skeptic’s criticism adequately, however, Luke’s account must be included in this discussion. Otherwise, one still is left with an unanswered alleged contradiction. The differences surrounding Luke and Mark’s account are explainable, but it takes effort on the part of the reader to comprehend them. [The following facts must be read carefully in order to understand how the differences in these accounts do not point toward a contradiction.]
As is obvious from a comparison of the verses in Matthew and Luke, they are recording the same truth—that the apostles were not to spend valuable time gathering extra staffs—only they are using different words to do so.
Provide (Greek ktaomineither gold nor silver…nor staffs” (Matthew 10:9-10, emp. added).

Take (Greek airo) nothing for the journey, neither staffs” (Luke 9:3, emp. added).
Luke did not use ktaomi in his account because he nearly always used ktaomi in a different sense than Matthew did. In Matthew’s account, the word ktaomai is used to mean “provide” or “acquire,” whereas in the books of Luke and Acts, Luke used this word to mean “purchase, buy, or earn.” Notice the following examples of how Luke used this word.
“I fast twice a week; I pay tithes of all that I get” (ktaomai) [Luke 18:12, emp. added, NAS]

“Now this man purchased (ktaomai) a field with the wages of iniquity (Acts 1:18, emp. added).

“Your money perish with you, because you thought that the gift of God could be purchased (ktaomai) with money!” (Acts 8:20, emp. added).

The commander answered, “With a large sum I obtained (ktaomai) this citizenship” (Acts 22:28, emp. added).

[Luke 21:19 is the only place one could argue where Luke may have used ktaomai to mean something other than “purchase, buy, or earn,” but even here there is a transactional notion in it (Miller, 1997)].
When Luke, the beloved physician (Colossians 4:14), used the word ktaomai, he meant something different than when Matthew, the tax collector, used the same word. Whereas Luke used ktaomai to refer to purchasing or buying something, Matthew used the Greek verb agorazo (cf. Matthew 14:15; 25:9-10; 27:6-7). Matthew used ktaomai only in the sense of acquiring something (not purchasing something). As such, it would make absolutely no sense for Luke to use ktaomai in his account of Jesus sending out the apostles (9:3). If he did, then he would have Jesus forbidding the apostles to “purchase” or “buy” money [“Buy nothing for the journey, neither staffs nor bag nor bread nor money….”]. Thus, Luke used the more general Greek verb (airo) in order to convey the same idea that Matthew did when using the Greek verb ktaomai.
Just as ktaomai did not mean the same for Luke and Matthew, the Greek word airo (translated “take” in both Mark 6:8 and Luke 9:3) often did not mean the same for Luke and Mark (see Miller, 1997). [Understanding this simple fact eliminates the “contradiction” completely, for unless the skeptic can be certain that Mark and Luke were using the word in the same sense, he cannot prove that the accounts contradict each other.] Mark consistently used airo in other passages throughout his gospel to mean simply “take” or “pick up and carry” (2:9; 6:29; 11:23; 13:16). That Luke (in 9:3) did not mean the same sense of airo as Mark did (in 6:8) is suggested by the fact that in Luke 19:21-22 he used this same verb to mean “acquire.” Another piece of comparative data between Mark and Luke is that when Mark recorded Jesus informing His listeners that to be His disciple one had to “take up his cross” (Mark 8:34), he used the word airo. Luke, on the other hand, used the Greek word bastazo (14:27) [Miller, 1997].
Without going any further with these language comparisons, one simply must understand that the Greek language (like most languages) is flexible enough so that sometimes two writers can use the same word to mean different things, and sometimes they can use different words to mean the same thing (as indicated by the following chart,* which serves as a summary of the comparisons and contrasts made in this article).
to acquire
to purchase, buy
to take, pick up and carry
to purchase, buy
to acquire
to take, pick up and carry
*NOTE: Only the definitions that pertain to this article are shown.
In case you think such “language leeway” in the Greek sounds absurd, remember that this flexibility appears frequently in the English language. Consider two basketball coaches who are commenting on a player. One says, “He is bad;” the other says, “He is good.” The coaches may be using two different words to mean the same thing. The truth is, in some contexts the words “bad” and “good” are opposites, in other situations they are synonymous.
Although many have been misled about the differences regarding Jesus’ instructions when sending out His apostles on the limited commission, the truth is that Matthew, Mark, and Luke were all saying the same thing: “Hurry up and get moving!”
Bauer, Walter. (1979), A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and other Early Christian Literature, ed. William F. Arndt and F. Wilbur Gingrich; revised and augmented by F.W. Gingrich and F.W. Danker from Walter Bauer’s 5th edition (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press), second edition.
Miller, Glenn (1997), “Well, did Jesus Tell Them to Take a Staff or not? Another Contradiction?!” [On-line], URL: http://christian-thinktank.com/nostaff.html.
Wells, Steve (2001), Skeptic’s Annotated Bible [On-line], URL: http://www.Skepticsannotatedbible.com.

What do the Scriptures tell us about Satan? by Roy Davison


What do the Scriptures tell us about Satan?
Jesus sent Paul to the people and to the nations: “to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, andfrom the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith” in Christ (Acts 26:18).
Who is Satan? What is the extent and nature of his power? Who has conquered Satan, and how can people turn from the power of Satan to God?

Who is Satan?
In Revelation we are told: “And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer. So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him” (Revelation 12:7-9).
Our knowledge of the heavenly realm is limited to what God has revealed. We are told that Satan led a rebellion against God. Pride was his downfall. An elder is not to be a novice, “lest being puffed up with pride he fall into the same condemnation as the devil” (1 Timothy 3:6).
It is the ultimate arrogance to suppose that a rebellion against God could succeed. Yet, billions today follow Satan's example. They live in rebellion to God.

What is the extent of Satan's power?
According to John, “The whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one” (1 John 5:19). Thus, Satan has much power.
Many do not believe that he exits. Others think that only those who commit terrible atrocities are under the power of Satan. But John says that the whole world is in the wicked one!

What is the nature of Satan's power?
The devil uses deception to rule the world. Jesus said that the devil “does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44 RSV).
Satan is called “the tempter” (1 Thessalonians 3:5). He cannot force people to sin, but he tempts them by false claims that rebellion against God would bring greater pleasure, less pain or some advantage. Satan tempted Eve by telling her that she would be like God if she disobeyed God and ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 3:1-5).
Satan appeals to people's desires. “Let no one say when he is tempted, 'I am tempted by God'; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed” (James 1:13, 14).
When people decide to sin, they voluntarily join Satan's rebellion and extend his power. They also distance themselves from the fellowship of God. “But your iniquities have separated you from your God; and your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear” (Isaiah 59:2).

Jesus came to conquer Satan.
“Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out. And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself” (John 12:31, 32).
Referring to the Holy Spirit, Jesus said: “And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they do not believe in Me; of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more; of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged” (John 16:8-11).
Jesus came to rescue us from the power of Satan. “Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage” (Hebrews 2:14, 15).
Satan is a killer. Jesus said: “He was a murderer from the beginning” (John 8:44). Satan brought death into the world by deceiving Eve. He encouraged her to disobey God and told her she would not die (Genesis 3:4). How could she be so foolish? Yet, we all follow Eve's example, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23) and “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23).
Jesus came to rescue us by depriving the devil of his deadly power. He accomplished this by bearing the punishment for our sins, He “who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness” (1 Peter 2:24). Jesus says in Revelation: “I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death” (Revelation 1:18). Through His resurrection, Christ conquered death. He has the keys to our grave. This is good news! This is the gospel!
Recently I learned the location of the grave of my maternal grandparents, Charles and Pearl Kincaid. I hope to obtain a picture of the plaque on their grave.
They were dedicated Christians. Although I do not remember them because I was small when they passed away, they had a great impact on my life. Their influence led to my parents becoming Christians.
When we walk through a graveyard, the stones are silent. The inscriptions show the person's name, the date of his birth and the date of his death.
In the fall, when the trees are wearing their most colorful garments, we like to go for a brief holiday across the border in the hills of Germany. While driving around admiring the beauty of God's creation, we have at times stopped to visit a graveyard. The cemeteries are beautiful, usually on the side of a hill. In the fall, flowers are placed on the graves in remembrance of family members who have passed on.
Walking from gravestone to gravestone, we sometimes noticed that a child had lived only a few months, or that a whole family had died on the same day, or that someone had lived a full life of eighty or ninety years. Now they all are silent in the grave, and one day soon we will be with them, unless the Lord returns before we die. We never know which day will be our last.
Death is the power of Satan. After Adam and Eve had to leave Eden, everyone dies because everyone sins (Romans 5:12).
Yet, something within us objects to death. God has placed eternity in man's heart (Ecclesiastes 3:11). People we know and love ought not to die! And God has provided a way that we can live on with Him forever. Death and sin give Satan his power, but Jesus has conquered sin and death and Satan.

How can someone turn from the power of Satan to God?
Salvation from the power of Satan is offered to all. After His resurrection, Jesus told His followers: “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:15, 16). “And the Spirit and the bride say, 'Come!' And let him who hears say, 'Come!' And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely” (Revelation 22:17).
When someone does not desire, however, when his heart is not right, Satan can prevent him from believing. Jesus explained the parable of the sower: “The seed is the word of God. Those by the wayside are the ones who hear; then the devil comes and takes away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved” (Luke 8:11, 12). ... “But the ones that fell on the good ground are those who, having heard the word with a noble and good heart, keep it and bear fruit with patience” (Luke 8:15).
Paul says: “But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them” (2 Corinthians 4:3, 4).
But when we are willing, when we hear the word with good and noble hearts, when we believe and are baptized, we are saved by God: “He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins” (Colossians 1:13, 14).
John heard praise in heaven for Christ's victory over Satan: “Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death” (Revelation 12:10, 11).
Paul explains: “And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience” (Ephesians 2:1, 2).

But Satan does not give up easily.
He tries to bring us back under his power. Paul was concerned about the Corinthians: “But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ” (2 Corinthians 11:3). He had similar fears about the welfare of the Thessalonians: “For this reason, when I could no longer endure it, I sent to know your faith, lest by some means the tempter had tempted you, and our labor might be in vain” (1 Thessalonians 3:5).
Peter warns: “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith” (1 Peter 5:8, 9).
James gives this admonition: “Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you” (James 4:7).
God has given us the weapons we need to resist the devil: “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints” (Ephesians 6:10-18).

What have we learned about Satan?
Mankind is in the clutches of the wicked one, who deceives the whole world. His power is the destructive power of sin and death.
Christ came to set us free from the power of Satan by suffering the penalty for our sins so we can be forgiven. This good news is preached to all.
He who believes and is baptized will be saved by God who transfers him from the power of darkness into the kingdom of His Son. Satan still assails us, but God gives us the weapons we need to resist him and remain faithful.
In conclusion, a blessing from Romans 16:20 - “And the God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. 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