"Why Should I Care?" by Trevor Bowen


"Why Should I Care?"

Whenever someone reads any article, the first question often asked is, "Why should I care?" He or she may continue this thought process by asking, "What motivation should I have for studying, or even skimming, this article?" Maybe when you read an article about trying to live according to God's will, you also ask yourself these questions. From the Bible, we know that these questions are both important and relevant. The Lord first recognized their importance and provided three progressive answers to our question, "Why should I care about God's will and obeying Him?"

Fear of Hell and Hope of Heaven

The most basic motivation that the Bible offers is the threat of punishment if we do not obey God; however, the wrath that awaits us is not an immediate punishment in this life. Though disobedient people face consequences in this life, the ultimate and final punishment will be executed on the last day - eternal separation from God in hell:
"... When the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power" II Thessalonians 1:7-9 (see also Matthew 5:27-30; 10:28; 13:40-42; 25:41-46; Romans 2:5-9)
Not only does God motivate us through the fear of hell, He also encourages us through the promise of eternal rest in heaven with Him:
"Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. "In My Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also." John 14:1-3 (see also Matthew 5:12; 25:31-40, 46; II Corinthians 5:1; Revelation 21:1-22:5)
It is because of these basic motivations that most people become Christians. However, as we mature, God provides other forms of motivation that should encourage us to do His will.

Sense of Duty

As we grow and learn more about God, His power, and His majesty, we begin to appreciate the debt that we owe Him as our Creator.
"God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands. Nor is He worshiped with men's hands, as though He needed anything, since He gives to all life, breath, and all things. And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us." Acts 17:24-27
Since He has given us life, we owe Him our service, but more importantly, we should also feel indebted because He paid for our ruined souls with the sacrifice of Jesus upon the cross:
"Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's." I Corinthians 6:19-20 (see also I Peter 1:15-19)
Therefore, we are obligated to God for giving us life twice. The first unrepayable debt is our creation, and the second is our opportunity for spiritual restoration through Jesus' blood.

The Noblest Motivation - Love

The responsibility that we may feel toward God is not the final motivation that a mature Christian should realize. Ultimately, Christians will grow to the point that they appreciate the love and sacrifice that God made for us through Jesus' death.
"For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 5:6-8
"In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. ... We love Him because He first loved us." I John 4:10,19
As a Christian grows and becomes more like Jesus, our example, he or she will be motivated to obey God out of their love for God and for others. This is the noblest motivation.


God has provided three progressive forms of motivation to encourage us to obey His will. Depending on the temptation and our maturity, certain inspirational thoughts will be more effective. A person deciding whether to become a Christian will probably be more strongly motivated by the fear of hell and the hope of heaven. Realizing that the fate of a person's eternal soul hangs in the balance is a sobering motivation to wake up and make the right decisions. As we mature spiritually and better understand God's love, our conviction to obey God grows and becomes more steadfast. Eventually, we should choose to do what is right, even for those who neither appreciate it nor reciprocate our love. We must learn to love as God loved us. All of these motivations provide powerful inspiration for appreciating God and strongly desiring to obey His will for us.
Trevor Bowen

"THE EPISTLE TO THE PHILIPPIANS" Things Seen In Paul (4:9) by Mark Copeland

                    "THE EPISTLE TO THE PHILIPPIANS"

                        Things Seen In Paul (4:9)


1. A description of our Heavenly Father frequently used by Paul is "the
   God of Peace"...
   a. "Now the God of peace be with you all. Amen" - Ro 15:33
   b. "And the God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly..."
       - Ro 16:20
   c. "...and the God of love and peace will be with you." - 2Co 13:11
   d. "Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely..." 
      - 1Th 5:23
   e. "Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the
      dead..." - He 13:20
   -- In similar fashion does Paul refer to God in Php 4:9 which serves
      as the text of our lesson

2. In our text, we learn from Paul the key to having the "God of peace"
   blessing us in our lives

3. It involves doing the "things"...
   a. Learned from Paul
   b. Received from Paul
   c. Heard about Paul
   d. Seen in Paul

4. What are some of "The Things Seen In Paul", which if we do, will
   assure that the "God of peace" will be with us?

[The answer can be found both in his epistle to the Philippians and in 
his other letters.  For example, we see...]


      1. With the case of Eudoia and Syntyche - Php 4:1-3
      2. Indeed, with all the brethren there at Philippi - Php 1:8-11

      1. For all the churches - 2Co 11:28-29
      2. For brethren who are weak in faith - cf. 1Co 8:8-13; Ro 14:
         14-21; 15:1-3

[As seen in Ro 15:3, this concern for his brethren is simply a 
reflection of Christ's concern for us, and therefore certainly worthy 
of our imitation.

Another thing seen in Paul that is worthy of imitation is...]


      1. Of his admission that he was not perfect - Php 3:12a
      2. Of his desire to press on, to reach forward, to press toward the
         goal - Php 3:12b-14

      1. That he viewed his Christian life as a "race", a "boxing match"
         - 1Co 9:24-26
      2. Where there is always room for improvement, lest he become
        "disqualified" - 1Co 9:27

[Why this desire for perfection?  As revealed in Php 3:8-11, it was part
of his "magnificent obsession" to "gain Christ and be found in Him."  If
we want the same for us, then we need to have the same desire!

Another thing seen in Paul that relates closely to this desire for
perfection is...]


      1. His efforts continued despite being under "house arrest" - 
         Php 1:12-14
      2. He would willingly offer himself as a martyr if it would help 
         - Php 2:17

      1. He made himself a servant to all - 1Co 9:19-23
      2. He endured much suffering as a minister of Christ and His gospel
         - 2Co 11:23-27

[Even with so much suffering in his efforts to save others, we see yet 
another thing in Paul that is worthy of emulation...]


      1. Which we have seen time and again is an "epistle of joy"
      2. For example, his joy in Christ being preached, despite his
         imprisonment and the efforts of false preachers - Php 1:12-18 
         (note especially verse 18)
      3. Even if it meant martyrdom, he viewed it as a reason to rejoice,
         and wanted them to rejoice with him! - Php 2:17-18

      1. Such trials and sufferings would produce "perseverance" 
         - Ro 5:3
      2. Which in turn would produce "character" and "hope" - Ro 5:4


1. Such were some of the qualities seen in Paul, that we also learn from
   him if we take his epistles seriously

2. And we should, if we desire the "God of peace" to be with us and He
   clearly was with Paul throughout his life and service as a disciple
   of Jesus Christ!

3. Are the things seen in Paul, also seen in us?  Are we living in such
   a way that we could say to others:

      "The things which you learned and received and heard and saw
      in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you"?

4. In view of such passages as 1Ti 4:12 and Tit 2:6-7, where we are
   called to be an example to others, we should!

May the "God of peace" help us to live in such a way that we can be an
example like Paul!

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2016

Biblical Miracles: Fact or Fiction? by Garry K. Brantley, M.A., M.Div.


Biblical Miracles: Fact or Fiction?

by  Garry K. Brantley, M.A., M.Div.

One cannot read the Bible for long without confronting events that defy strictly naturalistic explanations. A nation of slaves escaping bondage by walking on dry ground through a parted sea, an ax head floating and persons walking on water, and men rising from the dead are but a sampling of the miracles recorded in both the Old and New Testaments. Certainly, these are extraordinary phenomena not experienced in present reality. Thus, the factuality of such events depends on the general reliability of the Bible as a historical document. Unfortunately, the Bible’s credibility is under a thick cloud of suspicion in some theological circles today.
Liberal theologians generally have dismissed the historicity of miraculous events, considering them to be the mythological interpretations of natural incidents by two ancient communities: Israel and the early church. Such an approach suggests that the Bible expresses how its authors perceived events, but does not necessarily reflect how they actually happened (Borg, 1993a, 9[4]:9). Accordingly, we should not conclude from Genesis that God actually created the Universe in six, literal days, or that Adam and Eve, as the first human couple, lived in a real Edenic paradise. These are powerfully symbolic tales whose “...primary purpose and place in the Hebrew Bible is theological, not historical” (Dever, 1990, 16[3]:52). Thus, the Genesis account of creation presents the theological truth that “everything comes from God,” but it does not reflect actual occurrences in remote antiquity.
Biblical religion, however, is rooted in God’s acts in human history, not in lofty, abstract ideas or ideals. The crucial issues are: (a) is the Bible historically reliable or not?; (b) should we read the Bible with confidence or skepticism?; and (c) why do many theologians cast suspicion on the historicity of the Bible?


Prior to the seventeenth century, the Bible was considered the universal authority in all fields of knowledge. However, by the end of that century, science, history, and philosophy became autonomous disciplines, freed from biblical authority and the traditionally recognized experts in these fields (Krentz, 1975, p. 10). The Enlightenment, in which revelation became subservient to reason, had begun (see Marty, 1994).
This new, rationalistic approach to the world eventually spawned a radically different attitude toward the Bible. In the second half of the eighteenth century, in connection with the intellectual movement of the Enlightenment, the Bible began to lose its status as the unique and authoritative “Word of God.” Scholars approached the Bible as a mere human production that, “...like any product of the human mind, can properly be made understandable only from the times in which it appeared and therefore only with the methods of historical science” (Kümmel, 1973, p. 14).
The controls of historical science to which Kümmel referred began to guide biblical interpretation during this period, and continue to exert tremendous influence on theology in mainstream scholarship. When applied to the Bible, the generally accepted “historical-critical” method that grew out of the Enlightenment subverts the biblical concept of verbal inspiration (see Anderson, 1993, 9[5]:9). Therefore, we need to analyze carefully the procedures and presuppositions of current historical criticism.

Basic Assumptions

Though different scholars use the method with different sets of assumptions, thus obtaining different results, one can speak justifiably of a specific historical-critical method that is guided by a specific set of shared presuppositions (Gredainus, 1988, p. 25). Ernst Troeltsch, in his 1898 seminal essay on Historical and Dogmatic Method in Theology, articulated the three fundamental principles of this method: (1) criticism/probability; (2) analogy; and (3) correlation.
1. Criticism/probability
Troeltsch explained this first principle as follows: “...in the realm of history there are only judgments of probability, varying from the highest to the lowest degree, and that consequently an estimate must be made of the degree of probability attaching to any tradition” (1898, p. 13). This basic principle implies that one should read a historical document with a certain skepticism. The historian’s job is to determine its degree of credibility, but never entertain the possibility of complete accuracy. Accordingly, the precision of historical testimony, at best, can be only highly probable, but never absolute. Troeltsch further insisted that this principle be applied impartially to all historical traditions, including the Bible. Obviously, this approach precludes the possibility of complete, historical accuracy of the biblical text.
2. Analogy
The second basic principle—that of analogy—is the key to historical criticism (Troeltsch, 1898, p. 13). This idea suggests that all legitimate, historical phenomena must have a present-day analogy. Underlying this principle is the uniformitarian assumption that all events in history are similar. In other words, like those in Peter’s day, it assumes that “all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation” (2 Peter 3:4). Thus, the factuality of any alleged past event is judged by occurrences in present reality. Only those events that have a corresponding contemporary event are considered historical. Consistent with this assumption, a historian dismisses as unhistorical any recorded event that transcends the experience of contemporary humanity. This principle rejects a priori the factuality of unique, miraculous events such as Jesus’ resurrection, since no analogous event occurs today.
3. Correlation
The third basic concept of history, according to Troeltsch, is the “...interaction of all phenomena in the history of civilization” (1898, p. 14). This concept implies that all historical events are “...knit together in a permanent relationship of correlation...in which everything is interconnected and each single event is related to all others” (Troeltsch, 1898, p. 14). In other words, all historical events form a unified web of immanent causes and effects. Every event must be interpreted “...within the context of the whole of history in terms of its causes and effects, its antecedents and its consequences” (Gredainus, 1988, p. 27). This principle views history as a closed continuum of natural causes and effects, which eliminates the possibility of a transcendent God’s entering into human history. Yet, that is what the Bible is all about!


Some aspects of this approach to the Bible were consistent with sound methods of exegesis. For example, it placed proper literary and historical constraints on biblical interpretation. It appropriately emphasized the fact that the Bible was written in certain historical and cultural contexts by different men with varying literary styles. And, it is correct exegetical procedure to interpret texts in light of the historical circumstances under which they were written and in keeping with contemporary cultural norms. Further, we recognize that the Bible contains different kinds of literature (e.g., narrative, poetry, etc.) and that the literary style of Paul differs significantly from that of Peter. These are legitimate factors to consider when approaching any text and, when used judiciously, they do not militate against the biblical doctrine of verbal inspiration (see Hamann, 1977, pp. 74-75).
In general, however, the historical-critical method—with its underlying presuppositions—has resulted in an extreme skepticism regarding the historicity of biblical events. Since research is conducted “...as if there were no God” (Linnemann, 1990, p. 84), this method repudiated the divine nature of the biblical text. This fundamental presupposition produced at least two destructive results. First, it excluded the possibility of God’s acting in history, demanding that all supernatural events in the Bible be given natural explanations. Second, scholars considered the Bible to be the end product of a long, evolutionary process of mere human literary genius. For instance, Julius Wellhausen (1844-1918) denied the Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch and alleged that it was an amalgamation of different sources (both oral and written) compiled by a redactor (editor), and thus had no real historical underpinning. Modern critics continue to hold to such a fragmentary view of the Pentateuch (Davis, 1993, 19[2]:54). Therefore, many scholars do not consider the Old Testament to be a unique, divine revelation; it is just one body of ancient, sacred literature among a myriad of others.
This has compelled many scholars to draw a sharp distinction between “actual” and “theological” history in the Bible. Such a distinction has led many biblical students to dismiss historical investigations of the Old and New Testaments, and to seek instead theological or canonical meanings (cf. Anderson, 1994 and Childs, 1985, p. 6). For example, Gerhard von Rad, an influential Old Testament scholar, contrasted “history” and “story” in the Hebrew Bible. He argued that critical historical scholarship eliminates the possibility that all Israel was at Sinai, or crossed the Red Sea as the Bible indicates. Though something actually happened in Israel’s past, these stories were the constructions of Israel’s faith (1962, 1:106-107). Thus, one must peel off the layers of elaborate embellishments from biblical narratives to arrive at actual history. For example, one should not accept naively that God actually parted the Red Sea. This was a mythological explanation of some natural event in Israel’s past. Accordingly, biblical scholars must recognize the minimum historical core of Old Testament stories while they pursue their maximum theological meanings.
Similarly, New Testament scholars draw a line of distinction between the historical Jesus and the Jesus presented in the Gospels. Such critics argue that many of the words and events attributed to Jesus actually were put into His mouth by the early church to deal with a specific problem it faced (Bultmann, 1958, p. 63; cf. Koester, 1993 and Borg, 1993b, 9[6]:10,62). For example, this idea suggests that the confrontation between Jesus and the Pharisees regarding Roman taxation (Mark 12:13-17) was not an actual occurrence in Jesus’ life. It was a story invented by the early church to address a crucial contemporary issue: “Is it consistent with Christian principles to pay Roman taxes?” This contrived episode provided authority for paying such taxes.
Additionally, Jesus’ miracles recorded in the Gospels are considered to be the result of the early church’s theological reflection on, and proclamation of, Jesus’ ministry (see Fossum, 1994). For example, Marcus Borg (who denies the historical factuality of the virgin birth, the star of Bethlehem, the journey of the wisemen, and the shepherds’ visit to the manger; see 1992, 8[6]:4), offered this interpretation of the resurrection narratives:
I would argue that the truth of Easter does not depend on whether there really was an empty tomb, or whether anything happened to the body of Jesus. The truth of Easter is that Jesus continued to be experienced as a living reality after his death, though in a radically new way, and not just in the time of his first followers but to this day. It is because Jesus is known as a living reality that we take Easter stories seriously, not the other way around. And taking them seriously need not mean taking them literally (1993a, 9[4]:9).
To Borg, and other scholars of kindred spirit, the truth of Christianity depends merely on the internal consistency of its doctrines, not on the historicity of its miraculous claims (e.g., Jesus’ resurrection). Thus, to be a Christian, one simply should “...live within [the Bible’s] images and stories and vision of life,” which are not necessarily historically authentic (see Borg, 1993a, 9[4]:54). Paul, however, perceived and cautioned against the destructive implications of such an approach: “And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins” (1 Corinthians 15:17). For Paul, Jesus’ resurrection was more than a symbolic expression of his subjective, continued experience of Jesus as a living reality (see Borg, 1994, 10[2]:15); it was an actual event in history that authenticated Christianity.


Obviously, the principles and presuppositions of the historical-critical method have forced its scholastic adherents into an unenviable position: arguing for the truthfulness of Christianity while denying its historical foundations. However, rather than retreating into such untenable positions, it seems that a more respectable route would be to analyze the method that caused the problem.
This does not mean that the Bible should be exempt from legitimate historical investigation. God revealed His Word to humankind in human form. As such, it can be subjected to the same critical questions as other ancient documents. However, one should not apply more harsh criteria to the Bible, as is often the case, than those applied to other historical traditions. Additionally, any method used to assess the historicity of the Bible must allow for the possibility of all events—natural and supernatural—or it is insufficient.
Is the generally accepted historical-critical method a proper tool with which to evaluate the history of Israel and the real, historical Jesus? A close analysis of this method exposes its insufficiencies for biblical investigation. Consider some of them.

Radical Skepticism

One problem with this method is its radical skepticism regarding the reliability of historical documents. Certainly, since some documents are spurious, one should not gullibly accept as true all historical statements. Thus, a measure of doubt is in order when one investigates a historical document. But the historical-critical method presses this to the extreme. It has shifted the burden on the Bible to prove its own historical accuracy. Yet, despite the Bible’s many marks of historicity (see Moreland, 1987, pp. 133-157), these do not satisfy the critic’s persistent skepticism. The underlying principles of this critical method disallow the historical accuracy of the Bible. Accordingly, this method condemns the Bible as historically specious regardless of the proof it offers for its own credibility, which is not a fair treatment of the evidence.


The historical-critical method purports to be a scientific, rigidly objective investigation of historical documents. However, as Gerhard Hasel correctly observed, “...it turns out to be in the grip of its own dogmatic presuppositions and philosophical premises about the nature of history” (1991, p. 198). For example, the idea that all past events must be explained by prior historical causes (correlation), and understood in terms of analogy to other historical experiences, is subjective. This places the authenticity of any reported event ultimately at the mercy of the historian’s experience. So, the fate of an alleged event rests upon the broadness or narrowness of the critic’s experience (Gredainus, 1988, p. 31).

Proves too much

Additionally, even if critics approach the idea of analogy with a broader scope than one’s personal experience (i.e., from the experience of contemporary humanity), this does not solve its difficulties. When pressed to its logical end, this method screens out all unique historical events, whether miraculous or nonmiraculous. Accordingly, when something happens for the first time in history, and there is no previous analogy, it must be dismissed as unhistorical despite eyewitness testimony. Such a method cannot confirm the historicity of the first human landing on the Moon, or any other historical first, though we know such occurred. In short, a strict application of analogy “...will tend to declare as unhistorical what we know as a matter of fact to be historical” (Gredainus, 1988, p. 31; cf. Geisler, 1976, pp. 302-304). Anything that proves too much proves nothing at all.


Finally, the presuppositions of this method do not give the Bible a fair hearing because the method’s guiding principles are inherently biased against miraculous events. Taking their cue from the philosophical skepticism of David Hume and René Descartes, the architects of this method eliminate a priori the miraculous from the realm of historical possibility. Clearly, this disallows the prospect of God’s acting in history before considering the evidence. In essence, it says, the crossing of the Red Sea could not happen like the Bible says because we know it could not happen that way. This reasoning actually begs the question in favor of a naturalistic interpretation of all historical events, which is far from an impartial investigation of biblical data (Geisler, 1976, p. 302). A method that excludes the possibility of divine intervention in the affairs of humankind is woefully inadequate to evaluate the testimony of scripture (Hasel, 1991, p. 198).


The Bible makes miraculous claims about historical events. While it is true that the Universe operates according to natural law, that does not preclude the possibility of the miraculous. Scientific laws testify to general regularities in nature, but they cannot be used as a testimony against unusual events in particular. Biblical writers recognized natural regularities such as the changing of seasons (Genesis 8:22), and often appropriately attributed them to God as the author of such natural laws. For instance, Amos attributed natural hydrological processes to God: “[He] calleth for the waters of the sea, and poureth them out upon the face of the Earth: Jehovah is His name” (Amos 5:8). However, there are certain recorded events that cannot be explained by natural processes. There simply is no sufficient natural explanation for the resuscitation of a decomposing body (John 11:39-45). And, it is methodologically improper to deny that such an event could take place before examining the evidence. Further, it is not logically naive to acknowledge a supernatural cause of a supernatural effect.
Additionally, one should not attempt to place theology over against history, as many historical critics frequently do. It is true that the Gospel writers, for instance, had a theological purpose behind their inspired presentations of Jesus’ life. Also, some of Jesus’ miracles, no doubt, had theological meanings attached to them. For instance, conservative scholars have long recognized that the cursing of the barren fig tree represented the vacuous piety of the Jewish nation, for which it was destroyed (Mark 11:12-14). However, such theological purpose and meaning do not negate the fact that miracles actually occurred.
Finally, the historicity of the Bible’s miraculous claims is contingent on the general reliability of the Bible. Any method employed to investigate its historicity must include the possibility of the miraculous. Gerhard Hasel has summarized this point well:
If the reality of the Biblical text testifies to a supra-historical dimension which transcends the self-imposed limitations of the historical-critical method, then one must employ a method that can account for this dimension and can probe into all the layers of depth of historical experience and deal adequately and properly with the Scripture’s claim to truth (1991, p. 199).
We should consider legitimate questions of the biblical text (linguistic, literary, cultural, historical) as we investigate the meaning of God’s Word. Yet, we must recognize that humanly contrived methods are subject to both error and abuse. Recognizing this, we should listen with cautious skepticism when such methods repudiate the truth of Bible.


Anderson, Bernhard (1993), “Historical Criticism and Beyond,” Bible Review, 9[5]:9,17, October.
Anderson, Bernhard (1994), “The Changing Scene in Biblical Theology,” Bible Review, 10[1]:17,63, February.
Borg, Marcus (1992), “The First Christmas,” Bible Review, 8[6]:4,10, December.
Borg, Marcus (1993a), “Faith and Scholarship,” Bible Review, 9[4]:9,54, August.
Borg, Marcus (1993b), “Jesus in Four Colors,” Bible Review, 9[6]:10,62, December.
Borg, Marcus (1994), “Thinking About Easter,” Bible Review, 10[2]:15, April.
Bultmann, Rudolph (1958), Jesus and the Word (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons).
Childs, Brevard (1985), Old Testament Theology in a Canonical Context (Philadelphia: Fortress).
Davis, Thomas (1993), “Faith and Archaeology: A Brief History to the Present,” Biblical Archaeology Review, 19[2]:54-59, March/April.
Dever, William (1990), “Archaeology and the Bible,” Biblical Archaeology Review, 16[3]:52-58,62, May/June.
Fossum, Jarl (1994), “Understanding Jesus’ Miracles,” Bible Review, 10[2]:16-23,50, April.
Geisler, Norman (1976), Christian Apologetics (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker).
Greidanus, Sidney (1988), The Modern Preacher and the Ancient Text: Interpreting and Preaching Biblical Literature (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans).
Hamann, Henry P. (1977), A Popular Guide to New Testament Criticism (St. Louis, MO: Concordia).
Hasel, Gerhard (1991), Old Testament Theology: Basic Issues in the Current Debate (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans).
Koester, Helmut (1993), “Recovering the Original Meaning of Matthew’s Parables,” Bible Review, 9[3]:11,52, June.
Krentz, Edgar (1975), The Historical-Critical Method (Philadelphia: Fortress).
Kümmel, Georg Werner (1973), The Theology of the New Testament (Nashville, TN: Abingdon).
Linnemann, Eta (1990), Historical Criticism of the Bible: Methodology or Ideology? (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker).
Marty, Martin E. (1994), “Literalism vs. Everything Else,” Bible Review, 10[2]:38-43,50, April.
Moreland, J.P. (1987), Scaling the Secular City: A Defense of Christianity (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker).
Rad, Gerhard von (1962), Old Testament Theology, (New York: Harper and Brothers).
Troeltsch, Ernst (1898), Religion in History (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 1991 reprint).

Babies, Eagles, and the Right to Live by Dave Miller, Ph.D.


Babies, Eagles, and the Right to Live

by  Dave Miller, Ph.D.

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As traditional American values (i.e., biblical values) continue to be systematically jettisoned from our current culture, moral and spiritual confusion have been the inevitable result. This disorientation is particularly evident in the passionately held, conflicting viewpoints of the abortion controversy. On Monday, January 22, 1973, the United States Supreme Court ruled, in a 7-to-2 vote, that abortion—baby murder—would be legalized and made available on demand throughout America. Such abortions, stated the Court’s edict, could be performed up to and including the ninth month, with the doctor’s permission, if the physical or mental health of the prospective mother was deemed “at-risk.” Three decades later since that fateful day, more than forty million babies, and counting, have been butchered.
Ironically, the foundational principles of the American way of life, articulated by the Founding Fathers and subsequent spokesmen, speak to this matter. The Declaration of Independence boldly declares: “We hold these truths to be self-evident; that all men are created equal, and that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” (emp. added). The United States Constitution announced: “We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this constitution for the United States of America” (emp. added). The fifth amendment of the Constitution, in the Bill of Rights states: “Nor shall any person...be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law” (emp. added). And Abraham Lincoln, in the Gettysburg Address, reminded his audience: “Four score and seven years ago, our forefathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal” (emp. added).
Yet, abortion advocates subtly shift attention away from the living status of the unborn baby to the “rights” and “choice” of the mother. Abortionists style themselves “pro-choice.” The hypocrisy and utter self-contradiction of such thinking is evident in the equally passionate stance on “animal rights.” Millions of dollars have been spent in recent years in attempts to “save the whales.” A “ruckus” has frequently arisen over the plight of endangered animal species, from the spotted owl and the dolphin, to the Snail Darter in the Little Tennessee River. One electric power provider in Utah and Colorado was fined $100,000, given three years probation, and ordered to retrofit its utility lines due to the occasional electrocution of protected bird species by its electric lines and equipment.
The Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act provides for the protection of two species of eagles by prohibiting the take, possession, sale, purchase, barter, offer to sell, purchase or barter, transport, export or import, of either eagle, alive or dead, including any part, nest, or egg without a permit. “Take” means to pursue, shoot, shoot at, poison, wound, kill, capture, trap, collect, molest, or disturb. Felony convictions for the violation of this act carry a maximum fine of $250,000 or two years of imprisonment (or five years under the Lacey Act; “Bald Eagle,” 2002). Get this: A human being may be fined a quarter of a million dollars and put in prison for five years for collecting eagle eggs, but that same person is permitted by federal law to murder an unborn human infant! Eagle eggs, i.e., pre-born eagles, are of greater value to society than pre-born humans!
To view the preservation of animal life as equally important—let alone more important—than the preservation of human life is a viewpoint that is seismic in its proportions and nightmarish in its implications. Whatever one’s stance may be with regard to the environment and animal life, the blurring of the distinction between man and animal, so characteristic of the atheistic, humanistic, and hedonistic perspective throughout human history, inevitably contributes to moral decline, ethical desensitization, and the overall cheapening of the sanctity of human life. Instead of fretting over the potential loss of an alleged cure for AIDS or cancer due to the destruction of the rain forests, we would do well to spend that time weeping and mourning over the loss of millions of babies whose unrealized and incomprehensible potential for good has been forever expunged by abortion. The remarkably resourceful potential of those extinguished tiny human minds to have one day found a cure for cancer far surpasses the value of moss and fungi in some Third World rain forest.
If the right to life applies to birds, fish, and mammals—whether in pre- birth or post-birth form—how in the world can anyone arrive at the conclusion that pre-born human infants are any less deserving of protection? What person, in their right mind, would assign more objective worth to an animal than to a human? The abandonment of sense and sanity in assessing God’s Creation, with His endowment of humans with qualities that set them miles apart from animals, has led to the nonsensical and utterly irrational thinking that presently permeates civilization. The widespread societal sanction of abortion, along with other morally objectionable behaviors like illicit drug use, gambling, and the consumption of alcohol, have together gradually and insidiously chipped away at the moral foundations of America. In the words of former United States Court of Appeals judge, Robert Bork: “The systematic killing of unborn children in huge numbers is part of a general disregard for human life…. Abortion has coarsened us” (1996, p. 192, emp. added).
It is absolutely imperative that people view reality from the perspective of the Supreme, Transcendent Ruler of the Universe. As Creator, He alone is in the position to define value and human life. God is spirit (John 4:24). He created humans in His image (Genesis 1:26). Humans are not animals. Humans possess a soul—a spirit. Animals do not. Unborn babies possess a spirit, and are regarded by God as human (Psalm 139:13-16; Jeremiah 1:5; Luke 1:44). How dare we regard them any differently!
Should we be concerned about our environment? Should we give a proper measure of care and concern to the animal population? Certainly. God cares, and provides, for His nonhuman creatures (Job 38:41; Psalm 147:9; Matthew 10:29). However, in contemplating the “birds of the air” (which certainly includes the bald eagle and the spotted owl), Jesus’ own assessment of the situation is sobering, authoritative, and decisive: “[H]owmuch more valuable you are than birds!” (Luke 12:24,  NIV, emp. added; cf. Matthew 6:26; 10:31).


“Bald Eagle” (2002), http://midwest.fws.gov/eagle/protect/laws. html.
Bork, Robert (1996), Slouching Towards Gomorrah (New York: ReganBooks).

I’m Only Human by Ben Fronczek


I’m Only Human

 Acts 14:8-20   (based on a sermon by Steve Shepherd)
There was a preacher who was an avid golfer. Every chance he got, he could be found on the golf course swinging away. It was his obsession. One Sunday was a picture-perfect day for golf. The sun was out, no clouds in the sky, and the temperature was just right. The preacher was in a quandary as to what to do. The urge to play golf overcame him. He called his assistant minister and told him that he was sick and could not attend church. Then he packed up the car, and drove three hours to a golf course where no one would recognize him. Happily, he began to play the course.
An angel up above was watching the preacher and was quite perturbed. He went to God and said, “Look at the preacher. He should be punished for what he’s doing.” God nodded in agreement.
The preacher teed up on the first hole. He swung, and the ball sailed effortlessly through the air and landed right in the cup three hundred and fifty yards away. A perfect hole-in-one. The preacher was amazed and excited. The angel was a little shocked. He turned to God and said, “Begging Your pardon Lord, I thought you were going to punish him.” God smiled. “Think about it — who can he tell about that shot?”
Is it possible that a preacher would miss church for a game of golf? Or for something else: fishing, hunting, a ball game, etc.? Possibly. Depending on the preacher. And why would he do such a thing as that? BECAUSE PREACHERS ARE ONLY HUMAN, JUST LIKE EVERYBODY ELSE!
Have you heard that phrase used before by anyone? “I did thus and so but it’s just because I’m only human.”
Is that an excuse or an admission? I think many people use that expression as an excuse for any wrongdoing or error in their life. And it is true that preachers are just human like everybody else. But honestly, don’t we generally expect a little more from a preacher? That is, don’t we expect him to be more faithful, more committed, more serving, more dedicated than the average person? We probably do expect more from the preacher but that doesn’t mean it will happen. Some are even worst than others in the church.
Also, another problem that comes with being in front of people is the temptation of wanting and hungering after praise. Some televangelists seem like they “eat up” this praise and sometimes get to the point where some almost act like they can do nothing wrong.
In our text we have Paul and Barnabas doing something good by the power of God and the people wanting to give them the credit for it. Paul was quick to say, “Wait a minute here, just wait, we are only human like you.”  He was honestly trying to get the people to realize that it was God who deserved the glory and not him.
As we look at this text, I’d like to consider what good we “humans” can do in life and what the proper attitude we should have as we look here at Paul and Barnabas..  Read Acts 14:1-10  “At Iconium Paul and Barnabas went as usual into the Jewish synagogue. There they spoke so effectively that a great number of Jews and Greeks believed. But the Jews who refused to believe stirred up the other Gentiles and poisoned their minds against the brothers. So Paul and Barnabas spent considerable time there, speaking boldly for the Lord, who confirmed the message of his grace by enabling them to perform signs and wonders. The people of the city were divided; some sided with the Jews, others with the apostles. There was a plot afoot among both Gentiles and Jews, together with their leaders, to mistreat them and stone them. But they found out about it and fled to the Lycaonian cities of Lystra and Derbe and to the surrounding country, where they continued to preach the gospel.
In Lystra there sat a man who was lame. He had been that way from birth and had never walked. He listened to Paul as he was speaking. Paul looked directly at him, saw that he had faith to be healed and called out, “Stand up on your feet!” At that, the man jumped up and began to walk.”
ILL.- The story is told about a fellow who opened a delicatessen where there was 2 other delis in the same neighborhood. One promoted his line of baloney with this line of baloney: “Finest in the world!”
The other delicatessen declared, “Best in the Universe.”
The last put up a sign reading: “Nicest in the neighborhood!”
What about you? Are you the nicest person in the neighborhood? Are you kind and courteous toward others? Here in verses 9 and 10 we see Paul doing a really good deed. He saw this man who had never walked in his whole life, that he had faith enough to be healed, and so he blessed him by telling him to stand up on his feet.  Vs. 10 says that at once he jumped up and began to walk. Can you just imagine the scene, and how that man felt.
God used Paul to bring healing to the lame man. Paul was God’s instrument of kindness, of doing good. There have been times when I wish that I could bring physical healing into a person’s life like this but that has never happened. However, just because God doesn’t heal someone through my prayers like this doesn’t mean I can’t still do good to people in some form or another.
Gal. 6:9-10 says “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.”
Here he said, ‘Don’t give up doing good.’ Others will be blessed by our good deeds and we will too! As a man soweth that shall he also reap. It is sometimes easy to give up on certain people but we must never give up doing good. Some people will respond in different ways than others. I’ve been disappointed by some but also surprised by some others.
Paul also said, “As we have opportunity..” We all have opportunity every day to do something good for someone. We need to stay awake to these opportunities. Our goodness may lead to godliness. That is, doing good to others may lead some to Christ, which should be our ultimate goal in life!
In Eph. 2:10 Paul also wrote “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
So based on this verse I guess God always had in mind for us to do good works.
In Acts 10:38 Peter characterized Jesus as a man who went about doing good because God was with Him. And the same should be true of us! If God is with us and working in us through His Spirit  we should be doing good things to others and for them!
ILL.- When Charles Schwab was 70 years old, he made the following statement. He said, “I’d like to say here in a court of law, and speaking as an old man, that 9/10ths of my troubles are traceable to my being kind to others. Look you young people, if you want to steer away from trouble, be hard-boiled. Be quick with a good loud ’no’ to anyone and everyone. If you follow this rule, you will seldom be bothered as you tread life’s pathway. Except you’ll have no friends, you’ll be lonely, and you won’t have any fun!”
And I’d like to add, you won’t honor Christ either. We all need to be open to opportunities to doing good for others, even if it’s just something simple like opening a door for someone or saying a kind word or offering a friendly smile. And don’t forget that laughter is not only good medicine, it’s also a great witness for Christ!
II. Regarding the attitude we should have: WE MUST BE HUMBLE     Read Acts 14:11-16 “When the crowd saw what Paul had done, they shouted in the Lycaonian language, “The gods have come down to us in human form!” Barnabas they called Zeus, and Paul they called Hermes because he was the chief speaker. The priest of Zeus, whose temple was just outside the city, brought bulls and wreaths to the city gates because he and the crowd wanted to offer sacrifices to them.
But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard of this, they tore their clothes and rushed out into the crowd, shouting: “Friends, why are you doing this? We too are only human, like you. We are bringing you good news, telling you to turn from these worthless things to the living God, who made the heavens and the earth and the sea and everything in them. In the past, he let all nations go their own way.”
“We’re only human…like you!”
ILL.- George Gordon Liddy, a Watergate conspirator, once said: “I have found within myself all I need and all I ever shall need. I am a man of great faith, but my faith is in George Gordon Liddy. I have never failed me.”
Perhaps you’ve met someone like this in your life, a person who was completely sold on themselves. They had all the answers and thought they knew everything. No matter how good we are or no matter how good we think we are, we should never get a “big head” over anything we do in life. We are only able to live and serve and do by the grace of God.
In I Tim. 1:15-17, Paul wrote,  “Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on Him and receive eternal life. Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.”
No matter how much good Paul did in life he still felt as though he was a sinner, the worst of sinners. Most people, however, don’t like to admit they’ve ever done anything wrong in their life. We prefer to think of ourselves as being pretty good people. However, Solomon wrote  pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall”. (Proverbs 16:18)
In I Peter 5:5-6 Peter wrote “All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that He may lift you up in due time.”
I’d rather be humble and receive God’s grace than have him upset with me for having a proud or haughty attitude.
In our text, after the healing of the lame man, Paul was humble and quick to give God the credit, “We too are only men, human like you.” And then he pointed to the God of heaven as being the author of that good healing.    There it is! That’s the right spirit! The right attitude! The right way to think! Be humble! Give God His rightful glory.   And then…..
Here’s the part I don’t like. If you do good in this world and live for Christ, some will oppose you.
Read 14:18-20 “Even with these words, they had difficulty keeping the crowd from sacrificing to them.  Then some Jews came from Antioch and Iconium and won the crowd over. They stoned Paul and dragged him outside the city, thinking he was dead. But after the disciples had gathered around him, he got up and went back into the city. The next day he and Barnabas left for Derbe.”
Brothers and Sisters, I’m not afraid to die but I’m not in a hurry to go to my grave either. That’s one reason I don’t intend to preach the gospel in a country like Turkey. And it may have been that bad for the apostle Paul as he went place to place.
2 Timothy 3:10-15 says  “You, however, know all about my teaching, my way of life, my purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance, persecutions, sufferings—what kinds of things happened to me in Antioch, Iconium and Lystra, the persecutions I endured. Yet the Lord rescued me from all of them. In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil men and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.”
Opposition will come to you no matter what you do or how kind you are. If you live for Christ opposition will come. If you are kind and present a witness for Christ out in the world some people will frown at you, some will merely pass you by but others may accuse you of being stupid or even worse. Some accused Jesus of being in league with the devil.
But How do we silence our opponents?
One day a man met preacher Charles Spurgeon on the street, took off his hat and bowed, and said, “The Rev. Mr. Spurgeon–a great humbug!” Spurgeon took off his hat and replied, “Thank you for the compliment. I am glad to hear that I am a great anything!”
How do we silence our opponents? It’s best to respond in as positive a manner as possible. Instead of fighting fire with fire, just laugh and be positive. It will confuse them for sure.
ILL.- While contending with all kinds of problems in the building of the Panama Canal, Colonel George Washington Goethals had to endure criticism of countless busybodies back home who freely predicted that he would never complete his great task. But the determined builder pressed steadily forward in his work and said nothing.  Someone asked him, “Aren’t you going to answer your critics”. “In time,” Goethals replied. “How?” The great engineer smiled. “With the canal,” he replied.
How do we silence our opponents and critics? Just keep on doing our work and doing what’s right. People will see the truth and come to believe in time.  (That’s what Paul did)
CONCLUSION: I’m only human. I’m just a man. Yes, we are just human but we are God’s people and that makes a difference in our lives. Because we belong to the Lord, we should be different people, better people, kinder people, thoughtful of others. We should be going around doing good.
In Eph. 3:7-8 Paul wrote “I became a servant of this gospel by the gift of God’s grace given me through the working of his power. Although I am less than the least of all God’s people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ.”
Did you hear it? Although I am less than the least, God still gave me His grace to preach. The same is true of you. No matter who you are or what you think of yourself, God gives you His grace to do good, to serve, to give, to love, etc. and in order that ultimately He might be glorified. We may be only human but we serve a divine and all-powerful God!

The Church of Christ, Pillar and Ground of the Truth by Alfred Shannon Jr.


The Church of Christ, Pillar and Ground of the Truth

Where a person spends their time, speaks volumes to their heart’s desire. The same way alcoholics like to attend bars, and gamblers like to attend casinos, Christians like to attend Church services. Christians long for the sincere milk of the Word. It is sweeter than honey to their taste, and they prefer it to their necessary food. The joy, and rejoicing of every Christian’s heart comes from the manifold wisdom of God, the pillar and ground of the truth, the CHURCH of CHRIST. Christians are never more happier, and contented, than when they assemble together as One.
Pet 2:2; Ps 119:103; Jer 15:16; Job 23:12; Eph 3:10; 1 Tim 3:15; Acts 20:7; Heb 10:25; Ps 122:1




Psalm 124
  1. If it had not been the LORD who was on our side,
  2. Let Israel now say—
  3. If it had not been the LORD who was on our side, when men rose up against us:
  4. Then they would have swallowed us alive, when their wrath was kindled against us.
  5. Then the waters would have overwhelmed us, the stream would have gone over our soul:
  6. Then the swollen waters would have gone over our soul.
  7. 6Blessed be the LORD, who has not given us as a prey to their teeth.
  8. Our soul has escaped as a bird from the snare of the fowlers: the snare is broken, and we have escaped.
  9. Our help is in the name of the LORD, who made heaven and earth.
Praise God, some of us have never felt we were on the brink of disaster, never teetered on the edge of the abyss, never felt the loss was too great to bear, never lost sight of comforting landmarks as we sailed beyond familiar waters. We know the source of our blessing and we sincerely thank Him for his protection and generosity.
But many among us have been through hell and back.
We had heard this psalm of David [124] read to us, may even have read it ourselves many times and thought how fine it was. We may even have heard a good sermon on it [or preached one] and thought it assuring so we tucked it away in our hearts as something fine to tell others who were in trouble.
Then imminent disaster stared us in the face, calamity smashed through the doors of our happy homes and obliterated all sense of comfort and all our good answers, handy quips, fine verses and great sermons vanished like vapor and we knew we were doomed.
But God was magnificent!
We survived. Were saved, and now we were stronger and braver having come through the horror.
Psalm 124 was a familiar song from a psalmist, a lovely-sounding text but now it has become a throbbing personal experience. It was no longer just David’s song; it was ours.
We knew that such a deliverance was the work of God. Now we read the text with new eyes and tell our families and friends and fellow-strugglers, “Were it not that the Lord was on my side I would have been swallowed up alive. The swollen waters would have gone over my soul.”
How God worked that deliverance is a very complex matter though it isn’t vague or obscure; It’s simply too rich, too multifaceted, too deep for us to follow all the many ways He carries out His acts of rescue. But Paul doesn’t mind telling us that God most often does His magnificent work through things that look ordinary, things that are explained as nothing more than ordinary by many people. If He wants to work a miracle He does it! But read the Bible for yourself; miracles are recognized as “miracles” because they aren’t usual.
In 2 Corinthians 7 Paul is profoundly worried about the troubled and hostile Corinthian congregation and their response to a fierce letter he wrote them so he sends Titus to see how things are. He can’t wait for the report so he leaves a successful evangelistic situation and runs to meet the young man. He finally meets with a smiling and assuring Titus, giving Paul the “two thumbs up” sign as he comes into sight—good news!—and he is comforted. There are those who will plausibly tell you that it can all be explained in social and psychological terms and that’s the end of it. Paul wouldn’t believe a word of that! He says it was God who comforted him through Titus and in social/psychological experience. God made us humans and works with us as humans. There’s no need to deny that God enables us through “ordinary” means—the blunder is to reduce the comfort to nothing but “ordinary” means, meaning to exclude God. How do we think God answers our “give us our daily bread” prayers? So it suddenly appear on the table or floats down through the ceiling?
God keeps us through friends he has already shaped and they help us, truths already stored away in the heart, sights and sounds of brave people around us, bearing their awful losses in a gallant spirit, prayers offered on our behalf, people who gather around us and provide what they can provide under the circumstances—these and so many other things are the already-in-place instruments of God who delivers us. There are too many of them; they’re as complex as life. Evil comes at us in similar ways—we’re humans, for pity’s sake and God works with us as humans
The crucial point at this moment is this—it is God who delivers us through these lovely realities. In the medical realm we don’t thank the antibiotics or the EKG machine or the surgeon’s scalpel; we thank the people who produce and use such things to bring us health.
In the end it’s about persons and in the end it’s a Person believers turn to and applaud and thank for His gracious power when we are blessed and/or delivered.
For believing people, prayers may well be for deliverance from social, economic, family and other calamities—that’s no surprise, believers are as human as any other humans. As Shakespeare reminded us via Shylock in The Merchant of Venice when they’re hurt do they groan, when cut do they bleed, when they’re thirsty do they need to drink?
But down below their felt need for these basic human necessities there’s the desire to stay on their feet in the matter of faith.
Some years back when asked what their greatest fear was when first going into actual combat a great number of soldiers agreed that the overriding fear was not about dying but about failing to live up to expectations, fear of shaming themselves under pressure and consequently shaming their beloved families. That’s no surprise either.
What is true of soldiers is true of those who name the name of the Lord. Their social or physical agony matters but for them the fundamental thing is to stay on their feet as soldiers and servants and friends and representatives of God. Understandably, under the burden of pain or loss or bewilderment there is the appeal for God to remove the burden but it is to God the believer turns for help and it is to God they bring their tears and agony if the calamity wrecks all around them.
Standing, perhaps stunned, in the middle of the debris of a life in social ruins they maintain their faith in God and that is a magnificent deliverance. It isn’t just things or relationships—however precious they are—that are under attack, it’s their souls, their personhood, their very being.
Then with hearts broken, chests heaving and eyes streaming they realize they’re still on their feet. They might once have thought they’d fold or fall apart under disaster, they might have thought that calamity would obliterate their trust in God but now they know better.
But they know this also:
  1. If it had not been the LORD who was on our side,
  2. Let Israel now say—
  3. If it had not been the LORD who was on our side, when men rose up against us:
  4. Then they would have swallowed us alive, when their wrath was kindled against us.
  5. Then the waters would have overwhelmed us, the stream would have gone over our soul:
  6. Then the swollen waters would have gone over our soul.
  7. 6Blessed be the LORD, who has not given us as a prey to their teeth.
  8. Our soul has escaped as a bird from the snare of the fowlers: the snare is broken, and we have escaped.

How can we know the truth? by Roy Davison


How can we know the truth?
This is a fundamental question in the religious world.

Especially in eastern religions people believe the ultimate source of truth lies within themselves. Such statements are made as: "There is a book of knowledge within every man!" "One gets all truth from the Book of Knowledge Within." "We tap the ancient wisdom and cosmic knowledge within, making it accessible and practical!"

To access this "truth within" people must perform bodily motions, chant mantras and meditate.

According to the Jewish and Christian Scriptures, the truth has been revealed by God in words that have been recorded as sacred Scripture for subsequent generations.

Jeremiah says: "O Lord, I know the way of man is not in himself; It is not in man who walks to direct his own steps" (Jeremiah 10:23).

You cannot find the truth by searching within yourself! Without a knowledge of the Scriptures, much of the truth you know you know is simply not so. "There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death" (Proverbs 14:12). Jude wrote: "These speak evil of whatever they do not know; and whatever they know naturally, like brute beasts, in these things they corrupt themselves" (Jude 10).

The truth cannot be found by delving into our own hearts. "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked" (Jeremiah 17:9). How can the truth be found in a deceitful and wicked heart?

The nations "do not know the thoughts of the Lord, nor do they understand His counsel" (Micah 4:12). "There is none who understands" (Romans 3:11). "The way of peace they have not known" (Isaiah 59:8). "They do not know, nor do they understand; they walk about in darkness" (Psalm 82:5).

Without revelation from God, man wanders in the dark spiritually. To find his way he needs the light of God's word: "Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path" (Psalm 119:105).

The Scriptures enlighten us.

"And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts; knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit" (2 Peter 1:19-21).

Jesus said to the religious leaders: "Are you not therefore mistaken, because you do not know the Scriptures nor the power of God?" (Mark 12:24).

Paul wrote to Timothy: "Evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work" (2 Timothy 3:13-17).

When Christ came, God revealed the mystery of salvation and commanded that the truth be made known to all nations through the prophetic writings. Paul glorifies God "who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery kept secret since the world began but now made manifest, and by the prophetic Scriptures made known to all nations, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, for obedience to the faith" (Romans 16:25, 26).

We cannot know God through human wisdom: "For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe" (1 Corinthians 1:21).

The truth is not found within man. God is the source of truth. He has revealed the mystery and it is made known to all nations through the prophetic Scriptures. "For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope" (Romans 15:4).

Through the Scriptures we learn about Christ who is the way, the truth and the life (John 14:6). At the close of his Gospel, John wrote: "And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name" (John 20:30, 31). At the beginning of his Gospel, Luke explains that he wrote an orderly account so we might know the certainty of the things in which we have been instructed (Luke 1:3, 4).

Through the Scriptures we know the doctrine of Christ. Paul told Timothy: "These things I write to you, though I hope to come to you shortly; but if I am delayed, I write so that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth" (1 Timothy 3:14, 15).

Shortly before his death, Peter wrote: "Beloved, I now write to you this second epistle (in both of which I stir up your pure minds by way of reminder), that you may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us, the apostles of the Lord and Savior" (2 Peter 3:1, 2).

Peter also mentions Paul's writings: "Consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation -- as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you" (2 Peter 3:15).

To know the truth we must want to do the will of God. Jesus said: "My doctrine is not Mine, but His who sent Me. If anyone wills to do His will, he shall know concerning the doctrine, whether it is from God or whether I speak on My own authority" (John 7:16, 17).

To know the truth we must remain in the doctrine of Christ. "Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, 'If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free'" (John 8:31, 32). These words were spoken to people who believed. It is not enough just to believe in Jesus. We can know the truth only if we abide in His word. To really know the truth we must experience it by living according to the truth, by abiding in the doctrine of Christ: "Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son" (2 John 9).

Paul said some would turn away from the truth: "For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables" (2 Timothy 4:3, 4).

How can we know the truth? The way of man is not in himself. Without revelation from God, man wanders in darkness. The word of God is a light for our path. The Scriptures can make us wise for salvation.

"All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work" (2 Timothy 3:16, 17).

Through prophetic Scriptures, the truth is made known to all nations. Through the Scriptures we learn about Christ who is the way, the truth and the life. Through the Scriptures we know how to conduct ourselves in the house of God. To know the truth we must want to do the will of God and we must abide in the doctrine of Christ.

Like the Bereans, let us search the Scriptures daily to know what is so (Acts 17:11). Let us not be "led away with the error of the wicked" who "twist the Scriptures," but let us "grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ" (2 Peter 3:16-18).

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

Bible Reading March 19, 20 by Gary Rose

Bible Reading March 19, 20
World English Bible

Mar. 19
Exodus 32, 33

Exo 32:1 When the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain, the people gathered themselves together to Aaron, and said to him, "Come, make us gods, which shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we don't know what has become of him."
Exo 32:2 Aaron said to them, "Take off the golden rings, which are in the ears of your wives, of your sons, and of your daughters, and bring them to me."
Exo 32:3 All the people took off the golden rings which were in their ears, and brought them to Aaron.
Exo 32:4 He received what they handed him, and fashioned it with an engraving tool, and made it a molten calf; and they said, "These are your gods, Israel, which brought you up out of the land of Egypt."
Exo 32:5 When Aaron saw this, he built an altar before it; and Aaron made a proclamation, and said, "Tomorrow shall be a feast to Yahweh."
Exo 32:6 They rose up early on the next day, and offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings; and the people sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play.
Exo 32:7 Yahweh spoke to Moses, "Go, get down; for your people, who you brought up out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves!
Exo 32:8 They have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them. They have made themselves a molten calf, and have worshiped it, and have sacrificed to it, and said, 'These are your gods, Israel, which brought you up out of the land of Egypt.' "
Exo 32:9 Yahweh said to Moses, "I have seen these people, and behold, they are a stiff-necked people.
Exo 32:10 Now therefore leave me alone, that my wrath may burn hot against them, and that I may consume them; and I will make of you a great nation."
Exo 32:11 Moses begged Yahweh his God, and said, "Yahweh, why does your wrath burn hot against your people, that you have brought forth out of the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand?
Exo 32:12 Why should the Egyptians speak, saying, 'He brought them forth for evil, to kill them in the mountains, and to consume them from the surface of the earth?' Turn from your fierce wrath, and repent of this evil against your people.
Exo 32:13 Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, your servants, to whom you swore by your own self, and said to them, 'I will multiply your seed as the stars of the sky, and all this land that I have spoken of I will give to your seed, and they shall inherit it forever.' "
Exo 32:14 Yahweh repented of the evil which he said he would do to his people.
Exo 32:15 Moses turned, and went down from the mountain, with the two tablets of the testimony in his hand; tablets that were written on both their sides; on the one side and on the other they were written.
Exo 32:16 The tablets were the work of God, and the writing was the writing of God, engraved on the tables.
Exo 32:17 When Joshua heard the noise of the people as they shouted, he said to Moses, "There is the noise of war in the camp."
Exo 32:18 He said, "It isn't the voice of those who shout for victory, neither is it the voice of those who cry for being overcome; but the noise of those who sing that I hear."
Exo 32:19 It happened, as soon as he came near to the camp, that he saw the calf and the dancing: and Moses' anger grew hot, and he threw the tablets out of his hands, and broke them beneath the mountain.
Exo 32:20 He took the calf which they had made, and burnt it with fire, ground it to powder, and scattered it on the water, and made the children of Israel drink of it.
Exo 32:21 Moses said to Aaron, "What did these people do to you, that you have brought a great sin on them?"
Exo 32:22 Aaron said, "Don't let the anger of my lord grow hot. You know the people, that they are set on evil.
Exo 32:23 For they said to me, 'Make us gods, which shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we don't know what has become of him.'
Exo 32:24 I said to them, 'Whoever has any gold, let them take it off:' so they gave it to me; and I threw it into the fire, and out came this calf."
Exo 32:25 When Moses saw that the people had broken loose, (for Aaron had let them loose for a derision among their enemies),
Exo 32:26 then Moses stood in the gate of the camp, and said, "Whoever is on Yahweh's side, come to me!" All the sons of Levi gathered themselves together to him.
Exo 32:27 He said to them, "Thus says Yahweh, the God of Israel, 'Every man put his sword on his thigh, and go back and forth from gate to gate throughout the camp, and every man kill his brother, and every man his companion, and every man his neighbor.' "
Exo 32:28 The sons of Levi did according to the word of Moses: and there fell of the people that day about three thousand men.
Exo 32:29 Moses said, "Consecrate yourselves today to Yahweh, yes, every man against his son, and against his brother; that he may bestow on you a blessing this day."
Exo 32:30 It happened on the next day, that Moses said to the people, "You have sinned a great sin. Now I will go up to Yahweh. Perhaps I shall make atonement for your sin."
Exo 32:31 Moses returned to Yahweh, and said, "Oh, this people have sinned a great sin, and have made themselves gods of gold.
Exo 32:32 Yet now, if you will, forgive their sin--and if not, please blot me out of your book which you have written."
Exo 32:33 Yahweh said to Moses, "Whoever has sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book.
Exo 32:34 Now go, lead the people to the place of which I have spoken to you. Behold, my angel shall go before you. Nevertheless in the day when I punish, I will punish them for their sin."
Exo 32:35 Yahweh struck the people, because they made the calf, which Aaron made.

Exo 33:1 Yahweh spoke to Moses, "Depart, go up from here, you and the people that you have brought up out of the land of Egypt, to the land of which I swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, saying, 'I will give it to your seed.'
Exo 33:2 I will send an angel before you; and I will drive out the Canaanite, the Amorite, and the Hittite, and the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite:
Exo 33:3 to a land flowing with milk and honey: for I will not go up in the midst of you, for you are a stiff-necked people, lest I consume you in the way."
Exo 33:4 When the people heard this evil news, they mourned: and no one put on his jewelry.
Exo 33:5 Yahweh said to Moses, "Tell the children of Israel, 'You are a stiff-necked people. If I were to go up into your midst for one moment, I would consume you. Therefore now take off your jewelry from you, that I may know what to do to you.' "
Exo 33:6 The children of Israel stripped themselves of their jewelry from Mount Horeb onward.
Exo 33:7 Now Moses used to take the tent and to pitch it outside the camp, far away from the camp, and he called it "The Tent of Meeting." It happened that everyone who sought Yahweh went out to the Tent of Meeting, which was outside the camp.
Exo 33:8 It happened that when Moses went out to the Tent, that all the people rose up, and stood, everyone at their tent door, and watched Moses, until he had gone into the Tent.
Exo 33:9 It happened, when Moses entered into the Tent, that the pillar of cloud descended, stood at the door of the Tent, and spoke with Moses.
Exo 33:10 All the people saw the pillar of cloud stand at the door of the Tent, and all the people rose up and worshiped, everyone at their tent door.
Exo 33:11 Yahweh spoke to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend. He turned again into the camp, but his servant Joshua, the son of Nun, a young man, didn't depart out of the Tent.
Exo 33:12 Moses said to Yahweh, "Behold, you tell me, 'Bring up this people:' and you haven't let me know whom you will send with me. Yet you have said, 'I know you by name, and you have also found favor in my sight.'
Exo 33:13 Now therefore, if I have found favor in your sight, please show me now your ways, that I may know you, so that I may find favor in your sight: and consider that this nation is your people."
Exo 33:14 He said, "My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest."
Exo 33:15 He said to him, "If your presence doesn't go with me, don't carry us up from here.
Exo 33:16 For how would people know that I have found favor in your sight, I and your people? Isn't it in that you go with us, so that we are separated, I and your people, from all the people who are on the surface of the earth?"
Exo 33:17 Yahweh said to Moses, "I will do this thing also that you have spoken; for you have found favor in my sight, and I know you by name."
Exo 33:18 He said, "Please show me your glory."
Exo 33:19 He said, "I will make all my goodness pass before you, and will proclaim the name of Yahweh before you. I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy."
Exo 33:20 He said, "You cannot see my face, for man may not see me and live."
Exo 33:21 Yahweh also said, "Behold, there is a place by me, and you shall stand on the rock.
Exo 33:22 It will happen, while my glory passes by, that I will put you in a cleft of the rock, and will cover you with my hand until I have passed by;
Exo 33:23 then I will take away my hand, and you will see my back; but my face shall not be seen."

Mar. 20
Exodus 34, 35

Exo 34:1 Yahweh said to Moses, "Chisel two stone tablets like the first: and I will write on the tablets the words that were on the first tablets, which you broke.
Exo 34:2 Be ready by the morning, and come up in the morning to Mount Sinai, and present yourself there to me on the top of the mountain.
Exo 34:3 No one shall come up with you; neither let anyone be seen throughout all the mountain; neither let the flocks nor herds feed before that mountain."
Exo 34:4 He chiseled two tablets of stone like the first; and Moses rose up early in the morning, and went up to Mount Sinai, as Yahweh had commanded him, and took in his hand two stone tablets.
Exo 34:5 Yahweh descended in the cloud, and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of Yahweh.
Exo 34:6 Yahweh passed by before him, and proclaimed, "Yahweh! Yahweh, a merciful and gracious God, slow to anger, and abundant in loving kindness and truth,
Exo 34:7 keeping loving kindness for thousands, forgiving iniquity and disobedience and sin; and that will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, and on the children's children, on the third and on the fourth generation."
Exo 34:8 Moses hurried and bowed his head toward the earth, and worshiped.
Exo 34:9 He said, "If now I have found favor in your sight, Lord, please let the Lord go in the midst of us; although this is a stiff-necked people; pardon our iniquity and our sin, and take us for your inheritance."
Exo 34:10 He said, "Behold, I make a covenant: before all your people I will do marvels, such as have not been worked in all the earth, nor in any nation; and all the people among which you are shall see the work of Yahweh; for it is an awesome thing that I do with you.
Exo 34:11 Observe that which I command you this day. Behold, I drive out before you the Amorite, the Canaanite, the Hittite, the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite.
Exo 34:12 Be careful, lest you make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land where you are going, lest it be for a snare in the midst of you:
Exo 34:13 but you shall break down their altars, and dash in pieces their pillars, and you shall cut down their Asherim;
Exo 34:14 for you shall worship no other god: for Yahweh, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.
Exo 34:15 Don't make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land, lest they play the prostitute after their gods, and sacrifice to their gods, and one call you and you eat of his sacrifice;
Exo 34:16 and you take of their daughters to your sons, and their daughters play the prostitute after their gods, and make your sons play the prostitute after their gods.
Exo 34:17 You shall make no cast idols for yourselves.
Exo 34:18 "You shall keep the feast of unleavened bread. Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, as I commanded you, at the time appointed in the month Abib; for in the month Abib you came out from Egypt.
Exo 34:19 All that opens the womb is mine; and all your livestock that is male, the firstborn of cow and sheep.
Exo 34:20 The firstborn of a donkey you shall redeem with a lamb: and if you will not redeem it, then you shall break its neck. All the firstborn of your sons you shall redeem. No one shall appear before me empty.
Exo 34:21 "Six days you shall work, but on the seventh day you shall rest: in plowing time and in harvest you shall rest.
Exo 34:22 You shall observe the feast of weeks with the first fruits of wheat harvest, and the feast of harvest at the year's end.
Exo 34:23 Three times in the year all your males shall appear before the Lord Yahweh, the God of Israel.
Exo 34:24 For I will drive out nations before you and enlarge your borders; neither shall any man desire your land when you go up to appear before Yahweh, your God, three times in the year.
Exo 34:25 "You shall not offer the blood of my sacrifice with leavened bread; neither shall the sacrifice of the feast of the Passover be left to the morning.
Exo 34:26 You shall bring the first of the first fruits of your ground to the house of Yahweh your God. You shall not boil a young goat in its mother's milk."
Exo 34:27 Yahweh said to Moses, "Write you these words: for in accordance with these words I have made a covenant with you and with Israel."
Exo 34:28 He was there with Yahweh forty days and forty nights; he neither ate bread, nor drank water. He wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant, the ten commandments.
Exo 34:29 It happened, when Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the testimony in Moses' hand, when he came down from the mountain, that Moses didn't know that the skin of his face shone by reason of his speaking with him.
Exo 34:30 When Aaron and all the children of Israel saw Moses, behold, the skin of his face shone; and they were afraid to come near him.
Exo 34:31 Moses called to them, and Aaron and all the rulers of the congregation returned to him; and Moses spoke to them.
Exo 34:32 Afterward all the children of Israel came near, and he gave them all of the commandments that Yahweh had spoken with him on Mount Sinai.
Exo 34:33 When Moses was done speaking with them, he put a veil on his face.
Exo 34:34 But when Moses went in before Yahweh to speak with him, he took the veil off, until he came out; and he came out, and spoke to the children of Israel that which he was commanded.
Exo 34:35 The children of Israel saw Moses' face, that the skin of Moses' face shone: and Moses put the veil on his face again, until he went in to speak with him.

Exo 35:1 Moses assembled all the congregation of the children of Israel, and said to them, "These are the words which Yahweh has commanded, that you should do them.
Exo 35:2 'Six days shall work be done, but on the seventh day there shall be a holy day for you, a Sabbath of solemn rest to Yahweh: whoever does any work in it shall be put to death.
Exo 35:3 You shall kindle no fire throughout your habitations on the Sabbath day.' "
Exo 35:4 Moses spoke to all the congregation of the children of Israel, saying, "This is the thing which Yahweh commanded, saying,
Exo 35:5 'Take from among you an offering to Yahweh. Whoever is of a willing heart, let him bring it, Yahweh's offering: gold, silver, brass,
Exo 35:6 blue, purple, scarlet, fine linen, goats' hair,
Exo 35:7 rams' skins dyed red, sea cow hides, acacia wood,
Exo 35:8 oil for the light, spices for the anointing oil and for the sweet incense,
Exo 35:9 onyx stones, and stones to be set for the ephod and for the breastplate.
Exo 35:10 " 'Let every wise-hearted man among you come, and make all that Yahweh has commanded:
Exo 35:11 the tabernacle, its outer covering, its roof, its clasps, its boards, its bars, its pillars, and its sockets;
Exo 35:12 the ark, and its poles, the mercy seat, the veil of the screen;
Exo 35:13 the table with its poles and all its vessels, and the show bread;
Exo 35:14 the lampstand also for the light, with its vessels, its lamps, and the oil for the light;
Exo 35:15 and the altar of incense with its poles, the anointing oil, the sweet incense, the screen for the door, at the door of the tabernacle;
Exo 35:16 the altar of burnt offering, with its grating of brass, it poles, and all its vessels, the basin and its base;
Exo 35:17 the hangings of the court, its pillars, their sockets, and the screen for the gate of the court;
Exo 35:18 the pins of the tabernacle, the pins of the court, and their cords;
Exo 35:19 the finely worked garments, for ministering in the holy place, the holy garments for Aaron the priest, and the garments of his sons, to minister in the priest's office.' "
Exo 35:20 All the congregation of the children of Israel departed from the presence of Moses.
Exo 35:21 They came, everyone whose heart stirred him up, and everyone whom his spirit made willing, and brought Yahweh's offering, for the work of the Tent of Meeting, and for all of its service, and for the holy garments.
Exo 35:22 They came, both men and women, as many as were willing-hearted, and brought brooches, earrings, signet rings, and armlets, all jewels of gold; even every man who offered an offering of gold to Yahweh.
Exo 35:23 Everyone, with whom was found blue, purple, scarlet, fine linen, goats' hair, rams' skins dyed red, and sea cow hides, brought them.
Exo 35:24 Everyone who did offer an offering of silver and brass brought Yahweh's offering; and everyone, with whom was found acacia wood for any work of the service, brought it.
Exo 35:25 All the women who were wise-hearted spun with their hands, and brought that which they had spun, the blue, the purple, the scarlet, and the fine linen.
Exo 35:26 All the women whose heart stirred them up in wisdom spun the goats' hair.
Exo 35:27 The rulers brought the onyx stones, and the stones to be set, for the ephod and for the breastplate;
Exo 35:28 and the spice, and the oil for the light, for the anointing oil, and for the sweet incense.
Exo 35:29 The children of Israel brought a freewill offering to Yahweh; every man and woman, whose heart made them willing to bring for all the work, which Yahweh had commanded to be made by Moses.
Exo 35:30 Moses said to the children of Israel, "Behold, Yahweh has called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah.
Exo 35:31 He has filled him with the Spirit of God, in wisdom, in understanding, in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship;
Exo 35:32 and to make skillful works, to work in gold, in silver, in brass,
Exo 35:33 in cutting of stones for setting, and in carving of wood, to work in all kinds of skillful workmanship.
Exo 35:34 He has put in his heart that he may teach, both he, and Oholiab, the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan.
Exo 35:35 He has filled them with wisdom of heart, to work all manner of workmanship, of the engraver, of the skillful workman, and of the embroiderer, in blue, in purple, in scarlet, and in fine linen, and of the weaver, even of those who do any workmanship, and of those who make skillful works.

Mar. 19, 20
Mark 12

Mar 12:1 He began to speak to them in parables. "A man planted a vineyard, put a hedge around it, dug a pit for the winepress, built a tower, rented it out to a farmer, and went into another country.
Mar 12:2 When it was time, he sent a servant to the farmer to get from the farmer his share of the fruit of the vineyard.
Mar 12:3 They took him, beat him, and sent him away empty.
Mar 12:4 Again, he sent another servant to them; and they threw stones at him, wounded him in the head, and sent him away shamefully treated.
Mar 12:5 Again he sent another; and they killed him; and many others, beating some, and killing some.
Mar 12:6 Therefore still having one, his beloved son, he sent him last to them, saying, 'They will respect my son.'
Mar 12:7 But those farmers said among themselves, 'This is the heir. Come, let's kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.'
Mar 12:8 They took him, killed him, and cast him out of the vineyard.
Mar 12:9 What therefore will the lord of the vineyard do? He will come and destroy the farmers, and will give the vineyard to others.
Mar 12:10 Haven't you even read this Scripture: 'The stone which the builders rejected, the same was made the head of the corner.
Mar 12:11 This was from the Lord, it is marvelous in our eyes'?"
Mar 12:12 They tried to seize him, but they feared the multitude; for they perceived that he spoke the parable against them. They left him, and went away.
Mar 12:13 They sent some of the Pharisees and of the Herodians to him, that they might trap him with words.
Mar 12:14 When they had come, they asked him, "Teacher, we know that you are honest, and don't defer to anyone; for you aren't partial to anyone, but truly teach the way of God. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?
Mar 12:15 Shall we give, or shall we not give?" But he, knowing their hypocrisy, said to them, "Why do you test me? Bring me a denarius, that I may see it."
Mar 12:16 They brought it. He said to them, "Whose is this image and inscription?" They said to him, "Caesar's."
Mar 12:17 Jesus answered them, "Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's." They marveled greatly at him.
Mar 12:18 There came to him Sadducees, who say that there is no resurrection. They asked him, saying,
Mar 12:19 "Teacher, Moses wrote to us, 'If a man's brother dies, and leaves a wife behind him, and leaves no children, that his brother should take his wife, and raise up offspring for his brother.'
Mar 12:20 There were seven brothers. The first took a wife, and dying left no offspring.
Mar 12:21 The second took her, and died, leaving no children behind him. The third likewise;
Mar 12:22 and the seven took her and left no children. Last of all the woman also died.
Mar 12:23 In the resurrection, when they rise, whose wife will she be of them? For the seven had her as a wife."
Mar 12:24 Jesus answered them, "Isn't this because you are mistaken, not knowing the Scriptures, nor the power of God?
Mar 12:25 For when they will rise from the dead, they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven.
Mar 12:26 But about the dead, that they are raised; haven't you read in the book of Moses, about the Bush, how God spoke to him, saying, 'I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob'?
Mar 12:27 He is not the God of the dead, but of the living. You are therefore badly mistaken."
Mar 12:28 One of the scribes came, and heard them questioning together. Knowing that he had answered them well, asked him, "Which commandment is the greatest of all?"
Mar 12:29 Jesus answered, "The greatest is, 'Hear, Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one:
Mar 12:30 you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.' This is the first commandment.
Mar 12:31 The second is like this, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no other commandment greater than these."
Mar 12:32 The scribe said to him, "Truly, teacher, you have said well that he is one, and there is none other but he,
Mar 12:33 and to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbor as himself, is more important than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices."
Mar 12:34 When Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, "You are not far from the Kingdom of God." No one dared ask him any question after that.
Mar 12:35 Jesus responded, as he taught in the temple, "How is it that the scribes say that the Christ is the son of David?
Mar 12:36 For David himself said in the Holy Spirit, 'The Lord said to my Lord, "Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies the footstool of your feet." '
Mar 12:37 Therefore David himself calls him Lord, so how can he be his son?" The common people heard him gladly.
Mar 12:38 In his teaching he said to them, "Beware of the scribes, who like to walk in long robes, and to get greetings in the marketplaces,
Mar 12:39 and the best seats in the synagogues, and the best places at feasts:
Mar 12:40 those who devour widows' houses, and for a pretense make long prayers. These will receive greater condemnation."
Mar 12:41 Jesus sat down opposite the treasury, and saw how the multitude cast money into the treasury. Many who were rich cast in much.
Mar 12:42 A poor widow came, and she cast in two small brass coins, which equal a quadrans coin.
Mar 12:43 He called his disciples to himself, and said to them, "Most certainly I tell you, this poor widow gave more than all those who are giving into the treasury,
Mar 12:44 for they all gave out of their abundance, but she, out of her    poverty, gave all that she had to live on."