"THE SECOND EPISTLE TO TIMOTHY" What Kind Of Men God Makes (1:7)


What Kind Of Men God Makes (1:7)


1. The relationship between Paul and Timothy was like that of a father
   to a son - 2Ti 1:1-2
   a. Whom he prayed for daily - 2Ti 1:3
   b. Whom he longed to see - 2Ti 1:4
   c. Whom he remembered fondly - 2Ti 1:5

2. As any father would his son, Paul sought to encourage Timothy to be a
   a. To make good use of the blessings and opportunities given to him
      - 2Ti 1:6
   b. To become the kind of man God intended him to be - 2Ti 1:7

[What does God intend for a man to be?  What kind of man is God willing
to create for those who submit to His workmanship?  Using Paul's words
in 2Ti 1:7, we note that...]


      1. Peter displayed cowardice on several occasions 
          - Mt 14:30; 26:69-75; Ga 2:11-12
      2. Paul confessed fearful tendencies - 1Co 2:3

      1. The council noted the boldness of Peter and John - Ac 4:13
      2. Paul later confessed confidence in the face of trial 
          - Ac 20:24; 21:13

      1. As faith and love increase, fear decreases
         a. Fear is indicative of little faith - Mt 8:26
         b. Love casts out fear - 1Jn 4:18
      2. Boldness comes through prayer
         a. The apostles prayed for boldness - Ac 4:29-31
         b. Paul solicited prayer in his behalf for boldness - Ep 6:

[As men of God grow in faith, love, and prayer, God removes the spirit
of fear.  As we return to our text (2Ti 1:7), we also observe that...]


      1. Even the apostles had their moments of weakness - Mt 26:40-41
      2. All disciples start as babes in Christ - cf. 1Co 3:1

      1. As Paul exhorted the Corinthians - 1Co 16:13
      2. As he exhorted the Ephesians - Ep 6:10

      1. By providing the right kind of armor - Ep 6:10-17
      2. By providing the aid of His Spirit in the inner man - Ep 3:
      3. By providing a relationship with His Son - Jn 15:5; Php 4:13

[As we grow in truth, righteousness, faith, and prayer, God's Son and
His Spirit will provide what aid we need to be strong in the service of
the Lord.  From our text we also learn that...]


      1. The apostles were often jealous of one another 
          - Mt 20:24; Lk 22:24
      2. James and John developed the reputation as "Sons Of Thunder"
         - Mk 3:17; cf. Lk 9:54

      1. John, "Son of Thunder", became the apostle of love 
          - 1Jn 4: 7,11
      2. Peter would refer to Paul as "our beloved brother" - 2Pe 3:15

      1. By loving us - 1Jn 4:10-11; cf. 1Th 4:9-10
      2. By providing Jesus as an example of love 
          - 1Th 3:16; cf. Jn 13:34-35

[As we allow ourselves to be moved by God's love for us, we will grow in
our love for others.  Finally, we see from our text that...]


      1. The Greek word is sophronismos - "1) an admonishing or calling
         to soundness of mind, to moderation and self-control; 2) self-
         control, moderation" - Thayer
      2. "The Greek word denotes one of sober mind; a man of prudence
         and discretion. The state referred to here is that in which the
         mind is well balanced, and under right influences; in which it
         sees things in their just proportions and relations; in which
         it is not feverish and excited, but when everything is in its
         proper place." - Barnes
      3. It depicts one who is stable and self-controlled in both life
         and doctrine

      1. Bishops (elders) must be sober (sophrone) - 1Ti 3:2; Tit 1:8
      2. Older men are to be temperate (sophrone) - Tit 2:2
      3. Older women are to teach (sophronizo) younger women
         a. To be sober (sophronizo) - Tit 2:4
         b. To be discreet (sophrone) - Tit 2:5
      4. Young men like Timothy - 2Ti 1:7

      1. Through obedience to the words of His Son - cf. Mt 7:24-25
      2. By setting one's mind on the things of the Spirit (i.e., the
         word of God), producing the fruit of the Spirit - cf. Ro 8:5-6;
         Ga 5:16,22-23


1. For those willing to submit to the workmanship of God, He will
   a. Fearless men
   b. Strong men
   c. Loving men
   d. Sound men

2. Such qualities are not limited to those of the male gender...
   a. They are virtues found in women as well
   b. Especially when older women exemplify and teach them to the
      younger women

3. We may not start the Christian life with these qualities; new
   Christians often have...
   a. Cowardice
   b. Weakness
   c. Hatred
   d. Instability

But God is willing to "give us" (2Ti 1:7) courage, strength, love, and
stability.  Are we willing to submit to His workmanship in our lives...?

Note:  The main points for this outline was taken from a sermon by
Alexander Maclaren, in his "Exposition Of The Scriptures"

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2016

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Jesus Is Coming Soon? by Dave Miller, Ph.D.


Jesus Is Coming Soon?

by Dave Miller, Ph.D.

One hymn which has attained considerable popularity over the years is R.E. Winsett’s “Jesus Is Coming Soon.” Since the New Testament teaches that we are to “sing with the understanding” (1 Corinthians 14:15) and to refrain from speaking or singing falsehoods (Ephesians 4:25; 5:19), it behooves us to be conscious of the meanings and biblical significance of the lyrics which pass from our lips.
The New Testament teaches that Jesus could come at virtually any time (Matthew 24:42-44). It teaches that time is nothing with God, to the extent that even a delay of hundreds of years amounts to nothing (Psalm 90:4; 2 Peter 3:8). In this sense, Jesus may be thought of as “coming soon.” But the Bible also teaches that no one knows when Jesus will actually come again (Matthew 24:36). To give the impression that one is certain that Jesus will return “soon,” i.e., in the next few months or years, is to make a claim that cannot be sustained by Scripture. It is perfectly within the purview of biblical thought for Jesus to delay his coming for another thousand years or even much longer.
The real problem with the song is seen in its second verse. If there was any doubt about the song’s millennial leanings, the lyrics of verse two clearly betray the author’s eschatological misconceptions. The phrases “love of so many cold,” “evils abound,” and “when these signs come to pass” are undeniable allusions to Matthew 24:12 and Luke 21:28,31. While the lyricist applies these conditions to the end of time and Christ’s second coming, Jesus applied them to the destruction of Jerusalem which occurred in A.D. 70. When Christ comes again, there will be no signs to herald the fact (Miller, 2003). It will come completely by surprise with no signals to warn people even of the approximate time (Matthew 24:36-44; 1 Thessalonians 5:1-6; 2 Peter 3:10).
It is not easy to admit that a song that is so emotionally and aesthetically satisfying possesses inherent flaws that render it spiritually unacceptable. But if we truly love and respect God and His Word, we will adjust our practice, loyalties, and sentimentalities to fit God’s will—not vice versa. After all, when Jesus returns, we want Him to find us humbly submitting to His will.


Miller, Dave (2003), “There Will Be No Signs!” Apologetics Press, http://www.apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=11&article=937&topic=83.

Jesus Gives "Church" Meaning by Eric Lyons, M.Min.


Jesus Gives "Church" Meaning

by Eric Lyons, M.Min.

The Greek word ekklesia, translated as “church” in most English Bibles, simply means “assembly.” In Matthew 16:18, Jesus said, “I will build my church (ekklesia).” Hence, we could read this verse, “I (Jesus) will build my assembly.” Paul wrote, “The churches of Christ salute you” (Romans 16:16). Again, this world translated “churches” could be translated “assemblies.”
Interestingly, the same term used in the two verses above (ekklesia) also is used at times in reference to secular assemblies. For example, in Acts 19:32 the term ekklesia is used to speak of the mob at Ephesus. The text reads: “Some therefore cried one thing, and some another: for the assembly (ekklesia) was confused.”
One might ask, “How do I know if the text is speaking about a secular assembly or the church?” Answer: The modifying words in the context of a particular passage are what make it possible to distinguish the kind of assembly to which the Bible writers were referring. We know that the assemblies Paul mentioned in Romans 16:16 are churches because ekklesia is modified by the phrase “of Christ.” Likewise, in Acts 20:28, we know the assembly mentioned is the church because it is modified by the phrase, “of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood” (emp. added). The word “assembly” is set apart from secular assemblies in these passages because the context points to a group of people owned by Christ.
The religious world needs to understand that Jesus is the one who gives ekklesia meaning. When mere human names and terms are placed alongside “church,” then the name no longer possesses the meaning that God intended for it to have. Christians should wear the name of Christ (and Christ only) because He purchased the church (Acts 20:28) and said it was His (Matthew 16:18).
Without the work of Jesus, nothing would separate us from man-made assemblies. He gave ekklesiaa new meaning in the first century, and continues to give it meaning today when we wear His name.

Jesus and the Doctrine of Creation by Bert Thompson, Ph.D.


Jesus and the Doctrine of Creation

by Bert Thompson, Ph.D.


To the faithful Christian, there is little of more importance than the proclamation and defense of the Old Jerusalem Gospel that is able to save men’s souls. Christianity did not come into the world with a whimper, but a bang. It was not in the first century, nor is it intended to be in the twentieth, something “done in a corner.” While it may be true to say regarding some religions that they flourish best in secrecy, such is not the case with Christianity. It is intended both to be presented, and to flourish, in the marketplace of ideas. In addition, it may be stated safely that while some religions eschew both open investigation and critical evaluation, Christianity welcomes both. It is a historical religion—the only one of all the major religions based upon an Individual rather than a mere ideology—which claims, and can document, an empty tomb for its Founder.
Christians, unlike adherents to many other religions, do not have an option regarding the distribution and/or dissemination of their faith. The efficacy of God’s saving grace as made possible through His Son, Jesus Christ, is a message that all accountable men and women need to hear, and one that Christians are commanded to pronounce (John 3:16; Matthew 28:18-20; cf. Ezekiel 33:7-9).
From time to time, however, Christians may be afflicted with either an attitude of indifference, or spiritual myopia (shortsightedness). Both critically impair effectiveness in spreading the Gospel. A Christian’s attitude of indifference may result from any number of factors, including such things as a person’s own spiritual weakness, a downtrodden spirit, a lack of serious Bible study, etc. Spiritual myopia, on the other hand, is often the end product of either not having an adequate understanding of the Gospel message itself, or not wishing to engage in the controversy that sometimes is necessary to propagate that message.
One such example of spiritual myopia afflicting some members of the church today centers on the biblical teaching regarding creation. Because no one is particularly fond of either controversy or playing the part of the controversialist, it is not uncommon nowadays to hear someone say, “Why get involved in controversial ‘peripheral’ issues like creation and evolution? Just teach the Gospel.” Or, one might hear it said that “since the Bible is not a textbook of science, and since it is the Rock of Ages which is important, and not the age of rocks, we should just ‘preach Christ.’ ”
Such statements are clear and compelling evidence of spiritual shortsightedness, and belie a basic misunderstanding of the seriousness of the Bible’s teachings on one of its most important topics. First, those who suggest that we not concern ourselves with “peripheral” topics such as creation and evolution, and that we instead “just preach the Gospel,” fail to realize that the Gospel includes creation and excludes evolution. Second, those who advise us to simply “emphasize saving faith, not faith in creation,” have apparently forgotten that the most magnificent chapter in all the Bible on the topic of faith (Hebrews 11) begins by stressing the importance of faith in the ex nihilo creation of all things by God (verse 3) as preliminary to any kind of meaningful faith in His promises. Third, in order to avoid the offense that may come from preaching the complete Gospel, some simply would regard creation as unimportant. God, however, considered it so important that it was the topic of His first revelation. The first chapter of Genesis is the very foundation of the rest of the biblical record. If the foundation is undermined, it will not be long until the superstructure built upon it collapses as well. Fourth, many Christians in our day and age have overlooked the impact on their own faith of not teaching what God has said about creation. G. Richard Culp put it well when he remarked: “One who doubts the Genesis account will not be the same man he once was, for his attitude toward Holy Scripture has been eroded by false teaching. Genesis is repeatedly referred to in the New Testament, and it cannot be separated from the total Christian message” (1975, pp. 160-161).
Lastly, however, some Christians, afflicted with spiritual myopia, have advised us to “just preach Christ,” all the while ignoring, or being uninformed of, the fact that Christ was the Creator before He became the Savior, and that His finished work of salvation is meaningful only in light of His finished work of creation (Hebrews 4:3-10). Furthermore, Christ and His inspired writers had a great deal to say on the topic of creation, and its relevance to a number of important issues. These teachings merit our serious attention, as the evidence below will document.


As in all areas having to do with our faith, if we accept what Christ has to say regarding creation, we shall not err. His testimony is our guide, and one from which we should not stray. But what is the nature of that testimony?
Modernists and liberals would have us believe that while the creation account itself is not to be accepted as true, that should not significantly affect our dependence on the Christ who spoke of it as being true. For example, professor Van A. Harvey of Stanford University has commented that the “Christian faith is not belief in a miracle, it is the confidence that Jesus’ witness is a true one” (1966, p. 274). What does he mean by such a statement? Listen as he explains further:
If we understand properly what is meant by faith, then this faith has no clear relation to any particular set of historical beliefs at all.... The conclusion one is driven to is that the content of faith can as well be mediated through a historically false story of a certain kind as through a true one, through a myth as well as through history (1966, pp. 280-281, emp. added).
In other words, genuine faith can as easily be grounded in falsehood as in truth! So, it is not whether Jesus actually told the truth, but whether we believe He told the truth that matters. It is our “confidence that Jesus’ witness is a true one” that is important, not the truthfulness of what Jesus said.
What strikes one immediately about such a concept is the low estimate of the Savior it entails. If Jesus could use falsehoods to teach on so-called “peripheral” matters like creation, why could He then not also use falsehoods to teach on “essential” matters like salvation? And who among us becomes the final arbiter as to what is true and what is false? Surely the Lord’s words of rebuke, as given to the two on the road to Emmaus, apply here: “O fools and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken” (Luke 24:25). We serve a God Who cannot lie (Titus 1:2). What Christ believed and taught, we, as His disciples, should believe and teach—with the full assurance that we shall be both accurate and safe in so doing. The question is, what did the Lord and His inspired writers teach regarding creation?
In several New Testament passages, we find evidence that Christ was the Creator! John 1:1-3 records, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him; and without him was not anything made that hath been made” (emp. added). Christ was not just present during the events, but was the active agent, in creation. Paul affirmed that very thing in Colossians 1:16 when he observed that “in him were all things created, in the heavens and upon the earth, things visible and things invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers: all things have been created through him and unto him” (emp. added).
The Hebrew writer observed that “God, having of old time spoken unto the fathers in the prophets by divers portions and in divers manners, hath at the end of these days spoken unto us in his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, through whom also he made the worlds” (Hebrews 1:1-2, emp. added). Paul told the early Christians, “Yet to us there is one God, the Father of whom are all things, and we unto him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and we through him” (1 Corinthians 8:6, emp. added).
In commenting on these various passages, John C. Whitcomb observed:
It is highly instructive, therefore, for the Christian to turn to Genesis 1, which he accepts as a record of the creative acts of Jesus Christ in the light of John 1:3, Colossians 1:16, and Hebrews 1:2, and to recognize that the manner by which living things were brought into existence in the beginning finds its analogy in the miraculous works of Jesus Christ the Creator, who visited this planet less than 2,000 years ago to show men that He indeed was fully capable of doing the things that Moses described by the Holy Spirit concerning the week of creation” (1973, pp. 23-24, emp. added).
Dr. Whitcomb’s point is well made. Christ’s entire earthly ministry provided verification of the fact that He did exactly what the Scriptures attribute to Him in His work of creation. The importance of this must not be overlooked. If anyone had a right to speak on the events of that first week, He certainly did. He was there “in the beginning,” and He was the Creator! That being the case, the question then becomes, “What did Jesus say about the creation?”
Jesus—On the Time Element of Creation
During His earthly sojourn, Christ spoke explicitly regarding the creation. In Mark 10:6, for example, He declared: “But from the beginning of the creation, Male and female made he them.” Note these three paramount truths: (1) The first couple was “made”; they were not biological accidents. Interestingly, the verb “made” in the Greek is in the aorist tense, implying point action, rather than progressive development (which would be characteristic of evolutionary activity). W.E. Vine made this very observation with reference to the composition of the human body in his comments on 1 Corinthians 12:18 (1951, p. 173). (2) The original pair was fashioned “male and female”; they were not initially an asexual “blob” that eventually experienced sexual diversion. (3) Adam and Eve existed “from the beginning of the creation.” The Greek word for “beginning” is arché, and is used of “absolute, denoting the beginning of the world and of its history, the beginning of creation.” The Greek word for “creation” is ktiseos, and denotes the “sum-total of what God has created” (Cremer, 1962, pp. 113,114,381, emp. in orig.). Christ certainly did not subscribe to the notion that the Earth was vastly older than humanity.
Unquestionably, then, Jesus placed the first humans at the very dawn of creation. To reject this clear truth, one must either contend that: (a) Christ knew the Universe was in existence billions of years before man, but, accommodating Himself to the ignorances of that age, deliberately misrepresented the situation; or (b) The Lord Himself, living in pre-scientific times, was uninformed about the matter. Either of these allegations, of course, is blasphemous.
In Luke 11:45-52, the Lord rebuked the rebellious Jews of His day and foretold the horrible destruction that would come upon them. He charged them with following in the footsteps of their ancestors and hence announced that upon them would come “the blood of all the prophets, which was shed from the foundation of the world.” Then, with parallelism characteristic of Hebrew expression, Christ rephrased the thought by saying, “from the blood of Abel unto the blood of Zachariah....”
The point not to be missed is that Jesus placed the murder of Abel back near “the foundation of the world.” Abel’s death occurred some years after the creation, but was close enough to that creation for Jesus to state that it was associated with “the beginning of the world.” If the world came into existence several billion years before the creation of mankind, how could the shedding of human blood be declared to have occurred at the “foundation of the world”?
In John 8:44, Christ referred to the devil, who “was a murderer from the beginning.” Once again, human existence is placed near “the beginning.” Isaiah asked this penetrating question of the people in His day: “Has it not been told you from the beginning? Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth?” (Isaiah 40:21). Notice how Isaiah corroborates Christ’s statements. Isaiah, too, places “the beginning” and “the foundations of the earth” in the same context. Paul, speaking in Romans 1:20-21, did likewise. He affirmed: “For the invisible things of him since the creation of the world are clearly seen, being perceived through the things that are made, even his everlasting power and divinity; that they may be without excuse” (emp. added). Notice that the term “perceived” is from the Greek noeo, a word used for rational intelligence, while the phrase “clearly seen” (kathoratai) is an intensified form of horao, a term which “gives prominence to the discerning mind” (Thayer, 1958, p. 452). Paul’s point could not be clearer. The power and divinity of God, as revealed through the things that were created, have been observable to human intelligence since the creation of the world. Man has thus existed from the beginning; he is not some “johnny-come-lately” as evolutionary theories postulate. Nor was the Earth in existence billions of years prior to his existence, as some would have us believe. Again, the Lord’s testimony is not suspect; He was there!
Jesus—On the Foundational Importance of Creation
During the late 1940s, Woolsey Teller, second president of the American Association for the Advancement of Atheism, debated Dr. James D. Bales of Harding College (as it was then known). During that debate, Mr. Teller made this piercing statement: “If evolution is accepted, Adam and Eve go out! That story, the Bible fable, is interesting mythology but it doesn’t present the true picture of the origin of man” (1976, p. 54). He was correct, of course, in stating that if evolution is true, the Bible cannot be.
Christ, however, placed His divine stamp of approval on the creation account in a number of ways. Consider the following.
  1. In Matthew 19, the account is given of the Pharisees attempting to set the Lord against the law of Moses by inquiring about His position on marriage, divorce, and remarriage. In answering them, He asserted the permanence of the marriage bond by quoting Genesis 2:24—“For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and the two shall become one flesh” (verse 5). In appealing to the creation of man and woman, as detailed in Genesis 2, the Lord made it clear that He accepted that account as both factual and historical and in so doing used it as the basis for the New Testament doctrine of marriage, divorce, and remarriage.
  2. It is not uncommon to hear those who are anxious to compromise the biblical record of creation claim that Genesis 1 and Genesis 2 are two different, and contradictory, accounts. However, Jesus did not accept them as such. In Matthew 19:4-5 He tied the two together and used them to teach the people of His day: “Have you not read that he who made them from the beginning made them male and female [quoting Genesis 1:27—BT], and said, For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and the two shall become one flesh [quoting Genesis 2:24—BT]....” If these were indeed different, and contradictory, accounts, Jesus apparently did not know it.
  3. Jesus believed in the fixity of created kinds. He asked: “Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?... A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit; neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit” (Matthew 7:16,18).
  4. Jesus called Satan “the father of lies” (John 8:44), in what is a clear reference to the falsehood he told Eve in Genesis 3:4-5. Thus, Jesus also placed His imprimatur on the account of the fall of man.
  5. Jesus accepted the Sabbath as a day of rest in commemoration of God’s completed creation. In Mark 2:28 He told the people that “the sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath.” Yet the Sabbath as a Jewish holy day was instituted as a direct result of God’s work during the six-day creation week of Genesis 1 and 2 (cf. Exodus 20:8-11). The Lord spoke approvingly of those events, and counted them as real, literal, and historical in nature.
  6. Jesus stated to the disbelieving Jews of His day: “For if ye believed Moses, ye would believe me; for he wrote of me. But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?” (John 5:46-47). Where, exactly, did Moses write of Christ? Genesis 3:15 is the first Messianic prophecy on record. Christ accepted that passage as correct. Whitcomb has noted: “It is the privilege of these men to dispense with an historical Adam if they so desire. But they do not at the same time have the privilege of claiming that Jesus Christ spoke the truth. Adam and Christ stand or fall together” (1972, p. 111).
  7. Jesus spoke of the Noahic flood as an actual occurrence in history (Matthew 24:37ff.). He even used that Flood in making a comparison to the destruction that would befall the Earth at His second coming. He referred to Abel as an actual historical character (Matthew 23:35). And, He advocated the view that the Universe actually had a beginning (as opposed to the popular view of His time that matter was eternal) when He remarked that “such was not since the beginning of the world [Greek, kosmos]” (Matthew 24:21, emp. added).


Why is creation so important? Simply put, the answer is this: “If there is no creation, there is nothing else. If there is no Creator, then there is no Saviour either” (Segraves, 1973, p. 24). Our understanding of creation depends upon our understanding of Christ, and vice versa. In Romans 5:14, Paul spoke of Adam “who is a figure of him who was to come” (emp. added). The word “figure” is the translation of the Greek word, tupos (type). Adam was a “type” of Christ; the two are thus inextricably linked. Paul extended that comparison to Adam in the great “resurrection chapter” when he said: “The first man Adam became a living soul. The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. The first man is of the earth, earthy; the second man is of heaven...and as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly” (1 Corinthians 15:45-48).
In 1 Corinthians 11:8,12, Paul contended that woman was “of man.” The Greek for the word “of” is ek, meaning “out of.” In 1 Timothy 2:13, Paul called Eve by name, denoting her as a literal, historical character. He noted that “the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness” (2 Corinthians 11:3). Peter used the Flood to discuss an analogy of our salvation (1 Peter 3:21), and referred to the emerging Earth as something that actually had taken place (2 Peter 3:5b).
There are numerous other examples such as these that could be given if space allowed. The point, however, is well made. The first eleven chapters of Genesis, which we often refer to as the “creation chapters,” are an integral part of the biblical record. They are not warts or growths that may be shaved off, leaving the remainder intact. Jesus accepted them as correct and reliable, and used them as a basis for many of His teachings. If Adam turns out to be a myth, as many today would have us believe, Jesus is likewise reduced in stature. The two do indeed “stand or fall together.” Jesus’ teachings on creation stressed its importance. If it was important to Him, it should be equally as important to us as well.


Cremer, H. (1962), Biblico-Theological Lexicon of New Testament Greek (London: T & T Clark).
Culp, G. Richard (1975), Remember Thy Creator (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker).
Harvey, Van A. (1966), The Historian and the Believer (New York: Macmillan).
Segraves, K.L. (1973), Jesus Christ Creator (San Diego, CA: Creation-Science Research Center).
Teller, Woolsey and James D. Bales (1976), The Existence of God—A Debate (Shreveport, LA: Lambert).
Thayer, J.H. (1958), Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament (Edinburgh: T & T Clark).
Vine, W.E. (1951), First Corinthians (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan).
Whitcomb, John C. (1972), The Early Earth (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker).
Whitcomb, John C. (1973), “Methods of the Creator,” And God Created, Vol. III, ed. K.L. Segraves (San Diego, CA: Creation-Science Research Center).

Jephthah's Daughter, the Levites, and Symbolic Sacrifices by Eric Lyons, M.Min.


Jephthah's Daughter, the Levites, and Symbolic Sacrifices

by Eric Lyons, M.Min.

Most Bible students recall the brief story of Jephthah and his daughter in Judges 11:29-40. Upon becoming Judge of Israel, “the Spirit of the Lord came upon Jephthah” and “he advanced toward the people of Ammon” (11:29). “And Jephthah made a vow to the Lord, and said, ‘If You will indeed deliver the people of Ammon into my hands, then it will be that whatever comes out of the doors of my house to meet me, when I return in peace from the people of Ammon, shall surely be the Lord’s, and I will offer it up as a burnt offering” (11:30-31). According to Holy Writ, Jephthah defeated Ammon, and his daughter was the first to meet him when he returned home (11:32-34), which meant she was to “be the Lord’s,” offered as “a burnt offering.” Judges 11:39 states: Jephthah “carried out his vow with her which he had vowed.”
Is it possible that Jephthah literally sacrificed his daughter as a “burnt offering” (Judges 11:29-40)? Yes, it’s possible. (Sadly, many children in ancient history were sacrificed at the hands of powerful leaders, including some evil kings of Judah; 2 Chronicles 28:1-3; 33:6-9). But if Jephthah actually sacrificed his daughter, he committed a grave sin, since literal human burnt offerings were condemned by God (Deuteronomy 12:31; 18:10). Furthermore, if Jephthah actually burned his daughter in sacrifice to the Lord, he did so without God ever approving his actions (and such silence on God’s part cannot reasonably be interpreted as approval).1
A much better explanation to the Jephthah question centers around the fact that sometimes a “sacrifice” is offered in a figurative sense. In addition to modern man often speaking metaphorically of “sacrificing” money, sleep, time, energy, etc. for good causes, consider that such figurative sacrificing also took place in ancient Israel. In fact, hundreds of years before Jephthah’s day, ever since the Israelites escaped Egyptian bondage following the tenth plague (the death of the firstborn of Egypt), the people of Israel “offered” both man and beast to God. Jehovah “consecrated…all the firstborn, whatever opens the womb among the children of Israel, both of man and beast; it is Mine,” says the Lord (Exodus 13:2).
There is a sense in which “all males that open the womb” were “sacrificed to the Lord” (Exodus 13:15). But exactly how were all the firstborn males offered in a special way to God? Were they all literally sacrificed as a burnt offering? All the firstborn males among clean animals/livestock were literally burned, but not among the unclean. Unclean animals, such as the donkey, were “redeemed” with a lamb (Exodus 13:13; Numbers 18:15). That is, the donkey was to be delivered or rescued from a sacrificial death with a replacement.2 Similarly, “all the firstborn of man” among the Israelites were redeemed.
Rather than literally sacrifice the firstborn male children of the Israelites (as they did their livestock—Exodus 13:2,12-16; 22:29-30), God set apart the Levites for Himself for religious service (“that they may perform the work of the Lord,” Numbers 8:11).
God said: “I Myself have taken the Levites from among the children of Israel instead of every firstborn who opens the womb among the children of Israel. Therefore the Levites shall be mine, because all the firstborn are Mine. On the day that I struck all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, I sanctified to Myself all the firstborn in Israel, both man and beast. They shall be Mine: I am the Lord” (Numbers 3:12-13).
How were the clean animals given to the Lord? In literal sacrifices. How were the firstborn male humans given to the Lord? Not in literal burnt offerings, but in sacrificial service to God (cf. Romans 12:1).
Interestingly, Numbers 8 indicates that the consecration of the Levites was a type of offering—a symbolic wave offering. After God instructed the Israelites to “lay their hands on the Levites” (as they were “offering” them as a sacrifice to the Lord; cf. Leviticus 4:13-15), He said:
Aaron shall offer the Levites before the Lord as a wave offering from the people of Israel, that they may do the service of the Lord. Then the Levites shall lay their hands on the heads of the bulls, and you shall offer the one for a sin offering and the other for a burnt offering to the Lord to make atonement for the Levites. And you shall set the Levites before Aaron and his sons, and shall offer them as a wave offering to the Lord.
Thus you shall separate the Levites from among the people of Israel, and the Levites shall be mine. And after that the Levites shall go in to serve at the tent meeting, when you have cleansed them and offered them as a wave offering. For they are wholly given to me from among the people of Israel. Instead of all who open the womb, the firstborn of all the people of Israel, I have taken them for myself. For all the firstborn among the people of Israel are mine, both of man and of beast. On the day that I struck down all the firstborn in the land of Egypt I consecrated them for myself, and I have taken the Levites instead of all the firstborn among the people of Israel (Number 8:10-18).3
Like the Levites, who were symbolically offered before the Lord, it is very likely that Jephthah similarly “sacrificed” his daughter. She could have been “sacrificed” as a “burnt offering” at the tabernacle in the sense that she became one of the “serving women who assembled at the door of the tabernacle” (Exodus 38:8; cf. 1 Samuel 2:22). Perhaps like Anna centuries later, Jephthah’s daughter was “offered” to serve God “with fastings and prayers night and day,” never again to leave the area of the tabernacle (cf. Luke 2:36-38). Such a figurative offering makes perfect sense in light of the fact that Jephthah’s daughter and her friends never lamented her death. They mourned—just not her death. What was their sorrow? They “bewailed her virginity” (Judges 11:38). In fact, three times her virginity is mentioned (11:37-39), the last of which is noted immediately following the revelation that Jephthah “carried out his vow with her which he had vowed. She knew no man” (11:39).
If Jephthah sinfully killed his daughter as a literal burnt offering, the repeated bewailing of her virginity makes no sense.4 As Dave Miller concluded, such statements are “completely superfluous and callous…if she had been put to death.”5 On the other hand, if Jephthah’s daughter was about to be “offered” to God to serve perpetually at His tabernacle, and to live the rest of her life as a single, childless servant of the Lord, it makes perfect sense that she and her friends would lament her lasting virginity. When we allow the Bible to explain the Bible, the symbolic offering of Jephthah’s daughter makes perfect sense.


1 Admittedly, Judges 11:29 indicates that “the Spirit of the Lord came upon Jephthah” prior to his journey through Gilead, Manasseh, and Mizpah. Having “the Spirit of the Lord,” however, does not mean a person could never sin and do foolish things (e.g., Samson). This phrase is found seven times in Judges. It can indicate God’s consecration of a judge, such as in Othniel’s case, when “the Spirit of the Lord came upon him, and he judged Israel” (Judges 3:10). At other times, it refers more to the courage and superhuman strength that the Lord provided them, such as in Samson’s case (Judges 14:6; 14:19; 15:14). Jephthah was a courageous leader, but he was not without sin (Judges 11:3; Romans 3:23).
2 If the owner of the donkey did not want to redeem the donkey, he then had to “break its neck” (Exodus 13:15). However, he could not sacrifice it. In short, the donkey had to be redeemed or killed.
3 ESV, emp. added.
4 If someone was about to kill your unmarried daughter, would you feel the need to mourn her virginity or her imminent death?
5 Dave Miller (2013), “Jephthah’s Daughter,” Reason & Revelation, 33[8]:95, August, http://apologeticspress.org/apPubPage.aspx?pub=1&issue=1131&article=2179.

Worship Through Music by Trevor Bowen

Worship Through Music


Music is a powerful form of expression. Not only does it communicate thoughts and ideas, but it also conveys emotions and feelings. Additionally, it has tremendous "persistence". How many times have you been quietly driving in the car, and a tune start bubbling its way to the top of your consciousness? It may take a little while, but eventually the entire score, complete with words and maybe even associated visual imagery, bursts upon the eye and ear of your mind. In general, song is more easily recalled than any sermon, lecture, or class - no matter how powerful or profound the monologue may have been. Therefore, it should be no surprise that music is a vital part of the New Testament pattern for worshiping God. However, this article is not so much concerned with "Why did God choose music as a part of our divinely directed worship toward Him?", but rather it addresses the question, "What form of music did God direct us to use to worship Him?".

Accepted Forms Through the Ages

God's directions have varied through the ages as to the specific form of music that He has accepted. It appears that early musical worship, even worship during the early periods of Old Testament worship was primarily vocal. However, during the reign of king David, specific instructions were given for using instrumental music during worship. This instrumental music became associated with temple worship, which explains its later absence during synagogue worship. Although the directions may have changed in the past, we want to know, "What form of music did God direct us to use in worshiping Him?"

New Testament Direction

If one scans through the pages of the New Testament, he or she will find the following references to accepted forms of musical worship:
Having received such a charge, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks. But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. (Acts 16:24-25)
Now I say that Jesus Christ has become a servant to the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made to the fathers, and that the Gentiles might glorify God for His mercy, as it is written: "For this reason I will confess to You among the Gentiles, And sing to Your name." (quoted prophesy referring to Jesus, Romans 15:8-9)
What is the conclusion then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will also pray with the understanding. I will sing with the spirit, and I will also sing with the understanding. (I Corinthians 14:15)
And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ (Ephesians 5:18-20)
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. (Colossians 3:16)
saying: "I will declare Your name to My brethren; In the midst of the assembly I will sing praise to You." (quoted prophesy referring to Jesus, Hebrews 2:12)
Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name. (Hebrews 13:15)
Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms. (James 5:13)
Two additional passages recorded in the New Testament also reference praising God through music, which also happens to be vocal music (Matthew 26:30Mark 14:26); however, these passages refer to Jesus worshiping with His apostles during the Old Testament era, before its close at His crucifixion. Although interesting, these passages must ultimately be dismissed, because the authority of the Old Covenant has faded away (Hebrews 8:7-13Romans 7:1-7).


What is the New Testament pattern? How did saints worship God in music? They were commanded to be involved in "teaching and admonishing one another ... singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord". This is the form of musical praise to God, as directed by the New Testament Scriptures.
What is the type of song that they used? The first century Christians sang "psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs". The content should also serve to "teach and admonish". Popular songs that entertain, but fail to teach and admonish have altered the harmony of God's arrangement.
To whom should the songs be directed? Although we are to "teach and admonish one another", the ultimate object of all worship is God ("singing hymns to God""sing to Your Name""singing ... to the Lord", etc.) This is an obvious fact, but it seems to be frequently overlooked in practice. Music is frequently chosen that will be most pleasing to the audience. Regrettably, such choices ultimately fail to consider what will be pleasing God, and they are often decided in direct conflict with God's revealed will.
Who should sing? Everybody. All Christians are commanded to be involved in "teaching and admonishing one another". Please notice the joint responsibility. We are to each help teach one another. The choir is not commanded to teach the audience, neither is the soloist instructed to admonish the listeners. Instead, we are guided to teach and admonish one another. Admittedly, some may sing unacceptably, because they are not making "melody in their heart to the Lord". However, how can one make acceptable melody to the Lord, if he, or she, is not partaking in the joint command to sing ("singing and making melody in your hearts...")?
Is God only concerned with form and content? No. True worship always starts in the heart ("singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord" - see also John 4:24). The heart is the instrument that God most earnestly desires to hear producing grateful melodies. Let us make sure that we do not sound like a "sounding brass or a clanging cymbal" (I Corinthians 13:1-3).


Admittedly, these conclusions are contrary to prevailing thought among those who would worship God today. I understand, and I am personally sympathetic to those who offer objections, since it is rare to find "a capella" music in modern worship. However, it has not always been this way. Actually, instrumental worship was not generally accepted in the Catholic church until the second millennium, and it was rejected by most Protestant denominations up through the early 1800's. Instrumental music is an addition that was arguably interjected within the last 200 years. To accept instrumental music is to accept a historically unpopular view. Although this proves nothing by Scripture, it does prove that the instrumentalist view is held by the minority in light of history, which should weaken the comfort that some feel in supposing they are in the majority.
Although modern, instrumental music is not authorized by the Scriptures, many arguments have been developed and debated, which proponents have leveraged to bolster its use. Some of the more commonly cited arguments are discussed in another article, "Answering Arguments for Instrumental Music".
If you have questions or feedback after considering the above articles, please either post your thoughts on our forums, or email the author with your questions, comments, or feedback.
Trevor Bowen