"THE SECOND EPISTLE TO TIMOTHY" Do Not Be Ashamed (1:8,12)


Do Not Be Ashamed (1:8,12)


1. Imprisoned and facing death, Paul encouraged Timothy not to be
   a. Of the testimony of the Lord (i.e., the gospel, doctrines) - 2 Ti 1:8
   b. Of Paul himself as a prisoner of the Lord - 2Ti 1:8
   -- For Paul himself was not ashamed, nor Onesiphorus who visited him
      - 2Ti 1:12,16-18

2. It is important that one not be ashamed...
   a. Of the Lord and His gospel - cf. Mk 8:38; Lk 9:26
   b. Of suffering in His name - cf. 1Pe 4:16
   -- Have you ever been ashamed of Jesus?  His gospel? Suffering in the
      name of Christ?

[If you have ever been embarrassed about being a Christian, let the
apostle Paul share with you the reasons why he was not ashamed.  He
overcame any shame...]


      1. "I know whom I have believed..." - 2Ti 1:12
         a. Paul had knowledge of the true person and identity of Jesus
         b. This knowledge gave Paul courage to suffer any price - cf.
            Php 3:8
      2. Who is this Jesus we follow as the Christ?
         a. In the words of Isaiah - Isa 9:6-7
            1) Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God
            2) Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace
         b. In the words of Peter - Mt 16:16
            1) The Christ
            2) The Son of the Living God
         c. In the words of Paul - Col 1:15-18
            1) The image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all
            2) By Him, through Him, and for Him were all things created
            3) He is before all things, and in Him all things consist
            4) He is the head of the body, the church
            5) He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in
               all things He may have the preeminence!
         d. In the words of Jesus Himself - Re 1:10-11,17-18; 22:16
            1) "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last"
            2) "I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive
            3) "I have the keys of Hades and of Death."
            4) "I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright and
               Morning Star."
      -- When we know our Lord's true identity, how can we ever be
         ashamed of Him?

      1. "I am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed
         to Him until that Day." - 2Ti 1:12
         a. Paul had committed his very soul to Jesus
         b. He was confident that Jesus was able to save him on the day
            of Judgment
      2. How faithful, dependable, is this Jesus in Whom we trust for
         a. He is able to aid those who are tempted 
             - He 2:18; cf. 1Co 
         b. He is able to save to the uttermost those who come to God
            through Him - He 7:25
         c. He is able to transform our lowly bodies into glorious
            bodies - Php 3:21
         d. He will give eternal life to those who come to Him, and
            nothing can snatch them out of His Father's hand - Jn 10:
      -- When we know our Lord's faithfulness, how can we ever be
         ashamed of Him?

[The more we know and appreciate our Lord, the less likelihood we would
ever be ashamed of Him.  The same is true regarding His Words.  Again,
Paul provides an example:  he overcame any shame...]


      1. "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the
         power of God" - Ro 1:16
         a. Paul knew that the message he proclaimed was powerful
         b. Even though to some it might seem foolishness 
             - cf. 1Co 1:18
      2. What power is contained in the gospel of Christ?
         a. The power to save those who believe - Ro 1:16
         b. The power to cause one to be born again - 1Pe 1:22-25
         c. The power to work effectively in those who believe
             - 1 Th 2:13
         d. The power to produce fruit in those who know and understand
            it - Col 1:6
      -- When we know God's power in the gospel, how can we ever be
         ashamed of it?

      1. "but we preach Christ crucified...the wisdom of God" 
          - 1Co 1:23-24
         a. Paul knew that the gospel contained the wisdom of God
         b. Even though it contained that which was considered
            foolishness to Greeks
      2. What wisdom is contained in the gospel of Christ?
         a. Wisdom beyond the ability of natural man to discern on his
            own - Ro 11:33
         b. Wisdom hidden for ages, but now revealed to the Lord's
            apostles - 1Co 2:6-10
         c. Wisdom that we can now learn by reading the apostles'
            writings - Ep 3:3-5
         d. Indeed, all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge,
            especially for the truly abundant life and life eternal
            - Col 2:3; cf. Jn 10:10; 1Jn 5:11-13
      -- When we know God's wisdom in the gospel, how can we ever be
         ashamed of it?


1. Yes, we have very good reasons not to be ashamed...
   a. The Lord we serve is a great and marvelous Lord!
   b. His Word we proclaim is a great and marvelous message!
   -- All it takes is for us to be diligent in our study of such things
      - 2Ti 2:15

2. Here are two more good reasons we should not be ashamed...
   a. Jesus is not ashamed to call us brethren - He 2:11
   b. God is not ashamed to be called our God - He 11:16
   -- If They are not ashamed of us, how can we be ashamed of Them and
      Their Word?

Finally, our greatest concern should be whether we will be ashamed when
the Lord returns:

   "And now, little children, abide in Him, that when He appears, we
   may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming."
                                                         - 1Jn 2:28

Are we abiding in Jesus by obedience to His Word...? 
- 1Jn 2:3-6; cf. Mk 16:15-16; Ga 3:26-27

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2016

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Joseph of Arimathea and the Great Stone by Eric Lyons, M.Min.


Joseph of Arimathea and the Great Stone

by Eric Lyons, M.Min.

Recently, a gentleman contacted our offices questioning some of the events surrounding the burial of Christ. He specifically wanted to know about the likelihood of Joseph of Arimathea being able to roll “a great stone” (Matthew 27:60) against the entrance of the tomb. A person can understand how one man could transport the body of Jesus, wrap it in linen, and lay it in a tomb (27:59-60), but how could one man roll a “very large” (Mark 16:4) stone over the opening of the tomb of Jesus?
First, one should keep in mind that Joseph was very familiar with this tomb. He was the owner of it and also the one who had hewn the tomb out of the rock (Matthew 27:60; cf. Isaiah 53:9). It could be that he had made provision so that a large stone could easily be set against the entrance of the tomb (even by one man), yet when set in place, it might be extremely difficult to remove (even for several men). If the entrance of the tomb, for example, was at a lower elevation, and the large stone was on an incline, temporarily held in place by smaller stones and/or by a slight indentation in the ground, Joseph might easily have been able to roll the stone against the entrance by himself.
Second, and more importantly, Joseph was not by himself. Although Matthew, Mark, and Luke do not mention anyone else helping Joseph roll the stone against the tomb’s entrance, they also do not expressly state or imply that he was alone. In fact, John records that Nicodemus helped Joseph prepare Jesus’ body for burial, and afterwards “they laid Jesus” in the tomb (John 19:42, emp. added). In truth, since none of the gospel writers indicates that only one or two men buried Jesus, an untold number of people (e.g., Joseph’s servants) may have helped Joseph and Nicodemus roll the “great stone” against the entrance of Jesus’ tomb.
It is imperative for Bible students and skeptics to keep in mind as they read through Scripture, and especially the gospel accounts, that silence does not negate supplementation. Just because the synoptic writers were silent about Nicodemus helping Joseph bury Jesus, does not mean Nicodemus could not have helped Joseph or that John was mistaken. Furthermore, simply because the gospel writers were silent about others (such as servants that a “rich man” like Joseph probably had—Matthew 27:57) who might have helped Joseph and Nicodemus roll the large stone over the entrance of the tomb, does not mean there were not any. In short, nothing in the gospel accounts concerning Joseph of Arimathea or the great stone that covered the entrance of Jesus’ tomb is impossible or discrepant.

Jesus’ Hermeneutical Principles by Dave Miller, Ph.D.


Jesus’ Hermeneutical Principles

by Dave Miller, Ph.D.

We live in a pluralistic society where differing, even conflicting, viewpoints are seen as equally valid. This attitude has become very prevalent in our culture since the 60s. Television and radio talk shows continually stress that no absolutes exist. Many consider truth to be subjective and relative. They insist that there are very few, if any, definites—very little black and white, but a lot of gray. The matter is further muddled by the fact that on any religious or moral question, there are knowledgeable, sincere authorities on both sides of the issue. The general American mindset is that since truth is so elusive, no one should judge anyone else. No one should be so arrogant or dogmatic as to insist that a certain viewpoint is the only correct viewpoint. Truth to one person is not truth to another.
But without even examining God’s Word, we ought to be able to see that such thinking is self-contradictory and unacceptable. Why? Because those who espouse it insist that they are correct. They are dogmatic in their insistence that “no one should be dogmatic.” They hold as absolute and certain truth the fact that there are no absolute truths. Therefore, they have to deny their viewpoint in order to hold it!
Especially in religion, people tend to take the foolish position that truth is elusive and unattainable. Only in the task of interpreting the Bible do people take the position that truth is relative, always changing, and something of which we can never be sure. We reason in religion in a way that differs from the way we reason in every other facet of our lives.
For example, when we visit the doctor, we communicate to him our symptoms and expect him to understand us. We expect him to gather all the relevant evidence (the verbal information we give as well as the signs our bodies manifest) and then properly interpret that evidence to draw the right conclusions concerning our ailment and proper treatment. He then writes down a prescription that we take to the pharmacist and, once again, we expect the pharmacist to interpret properly the doctor’s instructions. We take the prescription home and read the label, fully expecting to understand the directions. The fact that doctors and pharmacists may sometimes make mistakes by drawing unwarranted conclusions from the evidence they gather about our physical condition does not change the fact that if they gather sufficient evidence and reason properly about the information, they can arrive at truth regarding our medical condition.
Everyday we interpret thousands of messages accurately. We read the newspaper, fully expecting to understand what we are reading. We read novels with the same expectation. We watch the news on television, we go to the mailbox and get our mail and browse through it, fully expecting to interpret properly the messages being conveyed to us. The fact that misunderstanding sometimes occurs, does not negate the fact that more information can be examined in order to draw the right conclusions and arrive at correct interpretations.
We go through this process constantly—every waking hour of the day, day in and day out, year after year. We give ourselves credit for having the ability to operate sensibly and communicate with one another intelligibly. Yet we turn right around and imply that the God of heaven, the One Who created our minds and our thinking capacity, the One Who is infinitely wiser and more capable than humans, is incapable of making His will known to humanity in a clear and understandable fashion! When we come to the Bible, we do a sudden about-face and insist that we can’t be sure what God’s will is, we must not be dogmatic on doctrine, and we must allow for differing opinions on what is spiritually right and wrong!
Did God author the Bible through inspired men with the purpose of making known His will for us? Did God have the Bible written in such a way that we can grasp the meanings that He intended to convey? The Bible declares, “yes.” God has given man written revelation with the understanding that it can be comprehended correctly. This means that for every teaching, for every passage, for every verse, for every word in the Bible, there is a meaning that God intended to convey. That’s what Peter meant when he wrote: “No prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation” (2 Peter 1:20). He meant that men did not decide what information to include in inspired material—God did. God has given every responsible human being the task of ascertaining that one correct interpretation. There is only one correct interpretation to any given passage—the right one: God’s view!
Let us return to the New Testament and Jesus Christ Himself. Let us examine the very approach that Jesus took in interpreting Scripture. Let us discover Jesus’ attitude toward truth and revelation. Let us consider how He employed Scripture to face the assaults of those who would deter Him from conformity to the will of God. Then let us “go and do likewise.” Jesus’ own approach to interpretation may be viewed in terms of His attitude toward Scripture and His actual use of Scripture.


Concerning His attitude toward Scripture, several elements emerge from His life on Earth.
1. Jesus clearly considered Scripture to be divinely inspired through human instrumentality. He attributed David’s words in Psalm 110:1 to the Holy Spirit (Mark 12:36). He treated Daniel’s prophecy in Daniel 9:27 as an inspired prediction that most certainly would come true (Matthew 24:15). On the very day He visited the synagogue in Nazareth and read aloud from Isaiah 61, He declared the passage fulfilled in their hearing (Luke 4:21). He maintained that Scripture’s affirmation that Elijah was to precede the Messiah’s appearance (Malachi 4:5) was exactly what transpired (Mark 9:11-13).
At His arrest, He asked Peter two questions, the second of which further confirmed His belief in the inspiration of Scripture: “How then could the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must happen thus?” (Matthew 26:54). He attributed His selection of Judas to the inevitable fulfillment of Psalm 41:9 (John 13:18). Indeed, He was so sure of the inspiration of the Old Testament that even at His death, He quoted Psalm 22:1 (Matthew 27:46). Clearly, Jesus recognized Scripture as originating in the mind of God, thus imparting a controlling unity to the whole of Scripture. To Jesus, the Old Testament from beginning to end is inspired of God.
Jesus consistently approved the idea that Scripture has been preserved from error and is the Word of God in all of its parts. Not only did He receive the predictive elements of Old Testament Scripture, but also He acknowledged the credibility of the didactic and historical portions as well. Daniel’s historicity (Mark 13:14), Jonah’s fish experience (Matthew 12:40), the divine creation of Adam and Eve (Matthew 19:4), the reality of Noah and the Flood (Luke 17:26-27), Lot and the destruction of Sodom as well as the fate of Lot’s wife (Luke 17:29,32), the widow, famine, and drought of Elijah’s day (Luke 4:25-26), and the leprous Syrian commander, Naaman (Luke 4:27)—all attest to His conviction that Scripture is inspired fully “in all of its parts.” The credibility of the inspired writers was unquestioned and their literary productions contained no mistakes.
For Jesus, Old Testament inspiration extended to the verbal expression of the thoughts of the sacred writers. Jesus clearly embraced this understanding of the matter. He based His powerful, penetrating defense of the reality of the resurrection of the dead upon the tense of the grammar of Exodus 3:6. If God was the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob at the very moment He was speaking to Moses, though the three had already died, then they must still exist beyond the grave (Matthew 22:32). [NOTE: The claim that Jesus made an argument based upon the “tense” of Old Testament language needs clarification. Actually, Hebrew has no past, present, or future tenses. Rather, action is regarded as being either completed or incomplete, and so verbs occur in the Hebrew Perfect or Imperfect. No verb occurs in God’s statement in Exodus 3:6. Consequently, tense is implied rather than expressed. In this case, the Hebrew grammar would allow any tense of the verb “to be.” Of course, Jesus clarified the ambiguity inherent in the passage by affirming what God had in mind. Matthew preserves Jesus’ use of the Greek present tense: “Ego eimi.”] The argument depends on God having worded His statement to convey contemporaneity.
When Jesus challenged the Pharisees to clarify the identity of the Messiah, He focused upon David’s use of the single term “Lord” in Psalm 110:1—“If David then calls Him ‘Lord,’ how is He his son?” (Matthew 22:45). His whole point depends upon verbal inspiration. On yet another occasion, Jesus was on the verge of being stoned by angry Jews because He identified Himself with deity. His defense was based upon a single word from Psalm 82:6—“gods” (John 10:34-35). His whole point depends upon verbal inspiration.
Jesus’ allusion to the “jot and tittle” constituted a tacit declaration of belief in verbal inspiration (Matthew 5:18). Not only the thought of Scripture, but also the words themselves and the letters that formed those words, were viewed as inspired. The same may be said of Jesus’ quotation of Genesis 2:24 in His discourse on divorce. Notice the wording: “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ and said...” (Matthew 19:4-5). The verse to which Jesus alludes occurs immediately after a statement made by Adam. No indication is given in the text that the words are a direct quote of God. In fact, the words seem to be more authorial, narratorial comment by Moses, the author of the Pentateuch. Yet Jesus attributed the words to God. In other words, God was the author. The Genesis passage is not a record of what God said; it is what God said.
2. On the basis of this divine origin, Jesus also clearly demonstrated His attitude that Scripture is authoritative and that men are obligated to follow its precepts. When He described Abraham’s chat with the rich man in Hades, He quoted Abraham’s remark, “They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them” (Luke 16:29). In so doing, He manifested His high regard for the authority of the Old Testament as the ultimate voice and guide for Israel.
To Jesus, Scripture is the foundation of belief. He declared, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken!” (Luke 24:25). He told the Jews, “You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life.... [H]ad you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?” (John 5:39,46-47). Jesus asserted that the Old Testament bore authoritative divine witness to Himself and, in so doing, bore witness to the authority of the Old Testament itself.
Many instances demonstrate Jesus’ recognition of the authority of Scripture. In Matthew 12:39-40, Jonah’s experience (Jonah 1:17) foreshadowed Jesus’ own burial: “For as Jonah became a sign to the Ninevites, so also the Son of Man will be to this generation” (Luke 11:30). In Matthew 4:17ff. Jesus opposed Jewish traditions and scribal commentary for making void the Word of God. In Mark 12:10, to confirm the point of His parable, Jesus introduced an authoritative Scripture with the rhetorical query, “Have you not read this Scripture?” In Luke 4:21, Jesus declared Isaiah 61:1-2 to be applicable to those who were in His presence on that occasion. In Luke 24:27,44, Jesus expounded the Old Testament Scriptures and declared the necessity of their fulfillment—a superfluous, futile exercise unless they were authoritative for His listeners. In John 15:25, words from a Psalm are described as “law.”
Perhaps the most striking proof that Jesus viewed Scripture as authoritative is the occasion when He ascribed legal authority to the entirety of Scripture—a view also held by the Jews (John 12:34). By maintaining that “the Scripture cannot be broken” (John 10:35), Jesus asserted that its authority could not be annulled, denied, or withstood. Scripture’s authority is final and irrevocable. It governs all of life and will be fulfilled, come what may. Clearly, Jesus’ uniform attitude toward Scripture was one of complete trust and confidence in its authority.
3. Jesus also viewed Scripture as propositional, absolute, and objective. Phrases such as “it is written,” “God said,” “through the prophets,” and “Scripture says” show that Jesus and His apostles esteemed the Old Testament as divine and regarded its precepts as absolute truth. Its objective and absolute quality is seen in His frequent allusion to the Jewish writings as a unit—a well-defined, sacred totality (Matthew 5:17-18; Luke 24:44; cf. Matthew 24:35). The apostles and gospel writers agreed with Jesus’ view that Scripture must be fulfilled (cf. Matthew 26:26; Luke 3:4; 22:37; John 12:38).
Even as a boy of 12, Jesus’ handling of Scripture as an objective body of truth was evident as He dazzled the doctors of the law with “His understanding and answers” (Luke 2:47). This characteristic continued throughout His earthly habitation. He contradicted His antagonists (e.g., the chief priests, scribes, and Sadducees) by pinpointing ignorance of the Scriptures as the cause of their religious error (Matthew 21:16; 22:29). He as much as said: “If you knew Scripture, you would not be in error” (cf. Mark 12:24). He prodded the Pharisees to consult Hosea 6:6—“go and learn what this means” (Matthew 9:13). On the other hand, Jesus knew Scripture (He ought to, He wrote it!), and used it as the basis of objective perception.
The propositional nature of Scripture is particularly apparent in Christ’s frequent use of isolated Old Testament statements (i.e., propositions) to prove various contentions. He used Psalm 110:1 to prove His lordship (Mark 12:36). He proved His Messianic identity and impending resurrection by alluding to an apparent conflation of Psalm 110:1 and Daniel 7:13 (Mark 14:62). He proved His death and resurrection were imminent by referring to Psalm 118:22 (Mark 12:10-22; cf. Acts 4:11).


Not only does the New Testament enlighten us as to Christ’s attitude toward Scripture, it also gives us many striking samples of Jesus’ pragmatic use of Scripture in day-to-day life. At least three observations emerge from an examination of Jesus’ actual handling of Scripture.
1. He relied very heavily upon Scripture. He quoted from the Old Testament frequently. He constantly reiterated to His disciples how the written Word of God should permeate life (e.g., Luke 24:27). He consistently affirmed the certainty of Scripture’s fulfillment in the world (e.g., Luke 24:44-46). He possessed a sense of the unity of history and a grasp of its wide sweep (e.g., Luke 11:50-51).
Preachers were once distinguished by their “book, chapter, and verse” approach to preaching. This very quality was typical of Jesus’ own approach to life. Yet preachers and members today are far more impressed by the theologians and latest popular authors than with the words of John, Jesus, Peter, Paul, and Moses. We have abandoned the primary sources in exchange for secondary, inferior, and in many cases, erroneous sources. We are now the most academically educated generation the church has ever known—yet we are the most ignorant when it comes to plain Bible knowledge. It is time to abandon the heart-warming anecdotes and reacquaint ourselves with the divine text. It is time to emulate Jesus’ own extensive reliance upon and allusion to Scripture.
2. In addition to a heavy reliance upon scriptural quotation, Jesus repeatedly demonstrated incredible proclivity for rationality in His sharp, potent, penetrating use of logic and sound argumentation. His first recorded responsible activity consisted of logical dialogue between Himself and the Jewish theologians at the age of 12. His logical prowess was evident not only to the doctors of the law, but to His parents as well (Luke 2:45-51). On the occasion of His baptism, He reasoned with John in order to convince John to immerse Him (Matthew 3:13-15). He advanced a logical reason to justify the action.
Immediately after this incident, Jesus faced Satan in the desert (Matthew 4:1-11). Satan posed three arguments, urging Christ to act on the basis of erroneous reasoning. The sequence of the disputation between the two demonstrates Christ’s superior (i.e., accurate) use of logic to defeat His opponent. Jesus used direct statement, account of action, and implication. His allusion to the behavior of the Israelites, His use of direct statements from Deuteronomy, and His implied applications to the situation He was facing, all demonstrate a hermeneutic analogous to the traditional one that calls for “command, example, or necessary inference” as authority for belief and practice.
This incident also provides a marvelous demonstration of Christ’s mastery of debate and logical disputation. The example is not an isolated instance. Jesus employed logic and reason throughout His earthly sojourn. He responded to His contemporaries with piercing, devastating logic. He continually was besieged with questions and verbal tests to which He consistently displayed rational, reasoned response (Luke 11:53-54). Consider these few examples:
The exchange with the Pharisees over eating grain (Matthew 12:1-9);
The dialogue with chief priests and elders over authority (Matthew 21:23-27);
The interaction with the Pharisees over taxes (Matthew 22:15-22);
The response to the Sadducees concerning marriage and the resurrection (Matthew 22:23-33);
The argument posed to the Pharisees over the identity of the Messiah (Matthew 22:41-46);
The demonstrations of healing on the Sabbath (Mark 3:1-6; Luke 13:14-16; 14:1-6);
The response to the lawyers concerning the source of His miraculous power (Luke 11:14ff);
The answer to the scribes and Pharisees concerning fasting (Luke 5:33-39);
The handling of Simon’s disgruntled view of the sinful woman (Luke 7:36-50);
The exchange with the Pharisees concerning His triumphal entry (Luke 19:39-40);
The comments upon the occasion of His arrest (Luke 22:47-53).
Jesus was so sensible and rational in His discourse that when hard-hearted Jews declared Him to be mad or demon-possessed, others countered: “These are not the words of one who has a demon” (John 10:21). Indeed, Jesus consistently provided evidence, even empirical evidence, to substantiate His claims (John 10:24-26,36-38). How could anyone possibly question the fact of Jesus’ uniform use of logic and correct reasoning? He was and is the Master Logician who created the human mind to function rationally as well! His inspired followers were no different.
3. Closely related to Jesus’ emphasis upon logic is His virtually constant use of implication. Modern scholars are surely uncomfortable with Jesus’ use of what many have called “necessary inference.” Indeed, cries that call for an abandonment of implication in interpreting the Scriptures have grown louder. Not only is such thinking self-contradictory, it is patently foolish in light of Jesus’ own frequent and accurate use of implication.
Over and over, Jesus used implication. In Matthew 4:1-11, every case of Jesus’ use of Old Testament Scripture to counter Satan’s arguments requires proper reasoning and drawing of correct conclusions implied by the explicit statements. In Matthew 12:1-9, Jesus implied that if the Pharisees accepted David, who clearly violated Old Testament law, they should have no problem accepting the disciples, who did not violate Old Testament law. In Matthew 21:23-27, Jesus implied that if the chief priests and elders believed John’s baptism to be from Heaven, they should have submitted to John’s teaching—and to Jesus’ teaching as well. He further implied that if they believed John’s baptism to be from men, they ought to have been willing to face the peoples’ displeasure. The chief priests and elders had enough sense to infer precisely what Jesus implied and so refused to answer.
In Matthew 22:23-32, Jesus implied that if God declared Himself to be presently the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, then they were still in existence. He also implied that if they were still in existence after their physical deaths, then resurrection of the dead is factual. Further, in context, Exodus 3:6, 13-16 are intended to identify the One who sent Moses to Egypt. However, in making this point, God implied that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were still in existence. Jesus, in fact, was basing His point on a minor side point of the Exodus passage, but a point that is nevertheless clearly and divinely implied.
In Matthew 22:41-45, in response to Jesus’ question, the Pharisees identified the Christ as David’s son, no doubt alluding to 2 Samuel 7:11-17. Jesus cited Psalm 110:1 in order to encourage the Pharisees to fit two distinct concepts together by reasoning correctly about them and inferring what they clearly implied. Notice also that in its original context, Psalm 110:1 referred to the supremacy and conquest of the Messiah over the world. But Jesus focused upon an implication of the passage—that the Messiah would be both physically descended from David and yet Lord over David.


The Bible presents itself in terms of principles by which its truth may be ascertained. We can transcend our prejudices and presuppositions sufficiently to arrive at God’s truth—if we genuinely wish to do so. There is simply no such thing as “my interpretation” and “your interpretation.” There is only God’s interpretation. There is only God’s meaning—and with diligent, rational study, we can arrive at the truth on any subject that is vital to our spiritual well-being.
Rather than shrugging off the conflicting views and positions on various subjects (such as baptism, music in worship, miracles, how many churches may exist with God’s approval, etc.), rather than dismissing religious differences as hopeless, irresolvable, and irrelevant—we must study and search God’s book, cautiously refraining from misinterpreting and misusing Scripture. If we give diligent and careful attention to the task with an honest heart that is receptive to the truth, we will know God’s will. We will be prepared, as Jesus said in John 12:48, to stand before God at the Judgment and be judged by His words.
It is evident that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, demonstrated several significant hermeneutical principles in His own attitude toward and use of Scripture. He approached Scripture with the abiding conviction that the Old Testament is the authoritative, absolute, propositional, plenary, verbally inspired Word of God. In His handling of Scripture, He relied heavily upon extensive Scripture quotation, proper logical reasoning, and implication.
As American civilization jettisons the Bible from public life, so many in the church are participating in the culture-wide devaluation of God’s Word. They are accomplices in the sinister dissolution of Christianity in American culture. May God bless us in our efforts to conform ourselves to the hermeneutical principles of Jesus.

Jesus Used Logic by Dave Miller, Ph.D.


Jesus Used Logic

by Dave Miller, Ph.D.

Jesus was undoubtedly the Master Logician. He demonstrated unsurpassed logical prowess on every occasion. One such incident occurred when He was preaching to a group that had gathered in a house. So many people were crammed into the house that four men were unable to bring a paralytic into contact with Him, so they carried him onto the roof, punched a hole through the ceiling, and lowered him down through the hole into the presence of Jesus. The text then reads:
When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven you.” And some of the scribes were sitting there and reasoning in their hearts, “Why does this Man speak blasphemies like this? Who can forgive sins but God alone?” But immediately, when Jesus perceived in His spirit that they reasoned thus within themselves, He said to them, “Why do you reason about these things in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Arise, take up your bed and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins”—He said to the paralytic, “I say to you, arise, take up your bed, and go your way to your house.” Immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went out in the presence of them all, so that all were amazed and glorified God, saying, “We never saw anything like this!” (Mark 2:5-12).
Observe that in their private thoughts the scribes accused Jesus of blasphemy, since He claimed to forgive the man of his sins on the spot—an act that only Deity could rightly perform. By asking the question, “Which is easier…?,” Jesus was urging them to reason correctly and think through what was taking place. If Jesus had the power to cause a bedfast paralytic to stand up and walk, instantaneously healing him of his affliction, then He either had divine backing or He, Himself, was God. Anyone can verbally say, “Your sins are forgiven” (cf. Catholic priests). That is what Jesus meant when he used the word “easier.” For a mere human to pronounce forgiveness upon a fellow human does not make it so. How, then, can one determine whether sin is actually forgiven, i.e., that Godforgave the individual? Answer: The one making the claim would either have to be God in the flesh, or he would have to have divine authority for his action, and that divine authority would have to be verified, i.e., proven and shown to be authentic.
The purpose of miracles throughout the Bible was to authenticate God’s spokesmen. To verify that his words and claims were authored by God, the speaker would perform a miracle (see Miller, 2003; cf. Hebrews 2:3-4). When an observer saw a bona fide miracle performed before his very eyes, he could know, i.e., have complete certainty, that the speaker was a genuine representative of God. Jesus, therefore, prodded the scribes to face up to the fact that if Jesus could merely speak to the paralytic and cause him to be healed, then Jesus possessed divine credentials and had every right to also forgive the man of his sins. Follow the logic:
  1. If Jesus can perform miraculous feats, then His claim to be the Son of God Who can forgive sin is true.
  2. Jesus can perform miraculous feats (He healed the paralytic on this occasion).
  3. Therefore, Jesus is the Son of God Who can forgive sin.
Having pressed this remarkably logical handling of the situation, all that remained was for Jesus to perform a miraculous feat, thereby validating His power to forgive the paralytic man of sin. So Jesus healed the man, prefaced with this logical conclusion: “But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins” (vs. 10). Jesus’ logic was impeccable, powerful, and perfectly consistent with Deity.


Miller, Dave (2003), “Modern-Day Miracles, Tongue-Speaking, and Holy Spirit Baptism: A Refutation—EXTENDED VERSION,” http://apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?category=11&article=1399.

Jesus Said: "Do Not Believe Me" by Dave Miller, Ph.D.


Jesus Said: "Do Not Believe Me"

by Dave Miller, Ph.D.

Most within Christendom see Jesus as One Who expects people to accept Him “by faith.” What they mean by “faith” is that people ought to accept Jesus as the Son of God without any proof, evidence, or rational justification—simply because He claimed to be divine. Most, in fact, see faith and proof as opposites. They think one must have faith in those areas where proof is unavailable. To them, “faith” is blindly accepting what you cannot prove, and deciding to believe what you cannot know.
Tragically, this widespread malady has fomented unbelief, skepticism, and atheism. After all, God created the human mind “in His image” (Genesis 1:26). Hence, the human mind was designed to function rationally. When humans conduct themselves illogically, they are going against their natural inclination. In the face of such irrationality, the atheist rightly dismisses “Christianity” as a false system of thinking. Ironically, the atheist is equally irrational in his blind commitment to atheism and evolution—both of which contradict the evidence. [see www.apologeticspress.org]
True, undenominational, New Testament Christianity, on the other hand, is the one and only consistent, rational perspective. According to the New Testament, God never expects nor requires anyone to accept His Word without adequate proof. God empowered His spokesmen on Earth to verify their verbal pronouncements by performing accompanying supernatural acts (Mark 16:20; Hebrews 2:3-4). The book of John spotlights this feature repeatedly. When Nicodemus, a Pharisee and ruler of the Jews, approached Jesus one night, he stated: “Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him” (John 3:2, emp. added). Nicodemus was a rational man! He saw evidence that pointed to the obvious conclusion that Jesus was of divine origin, and was honest enough to admit it.
Responding to critical Jews, Jesus defended His divine identity by directing their attention to the works (i.e., “supernatural actions”) He performed: “[T]he very works that I do bear witness of Me, that the Father has sent Me” (John 5:36). He made the same point to His apostles on another occasion:
Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works. Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me, or else believe Me for the sake of the works themselves (John 14:10-11, emp. added).
Later, Jesus noted that when people refused to believe in Him as the Son of God, they were without excuse, since the evidence of His divine identity had been amply demonstrated: “If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would have no sin; but now they have seen and also hated both Me and My Father” (John 15:24, emp. added). So their lack of faith could not be attributed to their inability to know the truth regarding the person of Jesus (cf. John 8:32).
If it is the case that God does not expect a person to believe in Him unless adequate evidence has been made available to warrant that conclusion, then we ought to expect to see Jesus urging people not to believe Him unless He provided proof for His claims. Do we find Jesus doing so while He was on Earth? Absolutely! This fact is particularly evident in Jesus’ response to the tirade launched against Him by hard-hearted Jews who refused to face the reality of His divinity. He reiterated: “The works that I do in My Father’s name, they bear witness of Me” (John 10:25). His subsequent explicit declaration of His deity incited angry preparations to stone Him. He boldly challenged them: “If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe Me; but if I do, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, that you may know and believe that the Father is in Me, and I in Him” (John 10:37-38, emp. added).
Since Jesus came to the planet to urge people to render obedient submission to Him (John 3:16; 8:24), it is difficult to envision Him telling people not to believe Him. But that is precisely what He did! He has provided the world with adequate evidence for people to distinguish truth from falsehood. We can know that God exists, that Jesus is His Son, and that the Bible is the Word of God. If the evidence did not exist to prove these matters, God would not expect anyone to believe; nor would He condemn anyone for failing to believe—since He is fair and just (Acts 10:34-35; Romans 2:11; Peter 3:9). But the evidence does exist! We can know! All accountable human beings are under obligation to investigate and find the truth (John 8:32; 6:45; 7:17; 1 Thessalonians 5:21). All who desire to know the truth can find it (Matthew 5:6; 7:7-8). All who fail to do so are “without excuse” (Romans 1:20)!

The History of Musical Worship by Trevor Bowen


The History of Musical Worship


Two types of worship service are increasingly offered to the public to satisfy the desires of two distinct groups of worshipers: traditional and contemporary. The contemporary worship may have a powerful band, equipped with electric guitars, drums, driving vocals, and other attire borrowed from modern "rock and roll". The more traditional service typically offers musical praise directed by an organ or piano, and accompanied by a choir or other vocal soloists. It is rare that one stumbles across a church practicing congregational, "a cappella" music.
The disparate proportions lead one to believe that those who restrain from using instrumental music must be in grievous error, since they appear to be numbered in the scandalous minority. Surprisingly, history shows that it is not always been the case. In fact, instrumental music is a relatively modern addition to the services of those who would worship God.
The point of this article is not to "prove" that instrumental music is against God's will. Instead, this article illuminates the fact that the instrumentalist view is both modern and "risky" in the context of history. It is possible that the instrumentalist is correct, and the majority of Christians from the first century through the 19th century worshiped God in error, but opposition to this majority view should give the instrumentalist pause for thought. It is hoped these quotes will help to break up the icebergs of prejudice, nothing more.
Additionally, this article examines God's revealed will on the matter, as it has been delivered down through history. In so doing, we learn that God's command has changed through the ages, necessitating that we closely study His revelation for the covenant under which we live. Also, by studying God's language used in times past, when instrumental music was clearly authorized, we can develop a standard for analyzing the language of the new covenant and thereby determine if instrumental music is authorized in a similar, clear expression for us today.

Patriarchal Age

Compared with uninspired historical documents, the Bible provides us with the best insight into how the ancient saints served God. However, as one scans the pages of Scripture, looking for references to music of any kind, he, or she, will find very few references to any form of music that occurred before the giving of the Law of Moses. During this ancient time, when God directly dealt with the heads of the households, the patriarchs, we find a few miscellaneous references to music: Genesis 4:212331:27. The first of the two references from Genesis 4 mentions Jubal, the one who invented instrumental music. The second verse contains the first transcribed song, although it is unrelated to worship. The passage in Genesis 31:27, also unrelated to worship, merely confirms that instrumental music was associated with times of social merriment.
In addition to these, we find a single occasion of inspired praise that involved song, instruments, and dance:
Then Moses and the children of Israel sang this song to the LORD, and spoke, saying: "I will sing to the LORD, For He has triumphed gloriously! The horse and its rider He has thrown into the sea! ..."
For the horses of Pharaoh went with his chariots and his horsemen into the sea, and the LORD brought back the waters of the sea upon them. But the children of Israel went on dry land in the midst of the sea. Then Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took the timbrel in her hand; and all the women went out after her with timbrels and with dances. And Miriam answered them: "Sing to the LORD, For He has triumphed gloriously! The horse and its rider He has thrown into the sea!" (Exodus 15:1-21)
Although this transpires shortly before the giving of the Mosaical law, it technically transpired before this age-dividing event, providing us a single glimpse of an accepted form of worship during the patriarchal age. Therefore, we learn that accepted praise during this time could include:
  • singing
  • playing musical instruments
  • dancing
The regulation of these expressions were not recorded for us, so we cannot elaborate much on these points.

Mosaical Age - Pre-Davidic

God's dealing with His people fundamentally changed when He provided the Law of Moses. No other nation had ever enjoyed God being so close, or enjoyed a divine law and covenant that detailed guidance for all aspects of life, religious and social (Deuteronomy 4:5-8). In this old law, God gave specific instructions for worshiping Him. As a warning, God set forth Nadab and Abihu as examples for all who would presume to violate His directions (Leviticus 10:1-3). In relation to what might remotely be considered musical instruments, He gave specific instructions for the fashioning of special signal trumpets and their use (Numbers 31:6):
And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying:
"Make two silver trumpets for yourself; you shall make them of hammered work; you shall use them for calling the congregation and for directing the movement of the camps. When they blow both of them, all the congregation shall gather before you at the door of the tabernacle of meeting. But if they blow only one, then the leaders, the heads of the divisions of Israel, shall gather to you. When you sound the advance, the camps that lie on the east side shall then begin their journey. When you sound the advance the second time, then the camps that lie on the south side shall begin their journey; they shall sound the call for them to begin their journeys. And when the assembly is to be gathered together, you shall blow, but not sound the advance. The sons of Aaron, the priests, shall blow the trumpets; and these shall be to you as an ordinance forever throughout your generations. When you go to war in your land against the enemy who oppresses you, then you shall sound an alarm with the trumpets, and you will be remembered before the LORD your God, and you will be saved from your enemies. Also in the day of your gladness, in your appointed feasts, and at the beginning of your months, you shall blow the trumpets over your burnt offerings and over the sacrifices of your peace offerings; and they shall be a memorial for you before your God: I am the LORD your God." (Numbers 10:1-10)
These trumpets were used by the Israelites as instructed for moving the camp, sounding battle alarms, and announcing holy days and sacrifices; however, please note that these trumpets were not "played". They were not used to praise God in music. In fact, the "blowing of trumpets" was for the Israelites' benefit - "they shall be a memorial for you before your God". Since praise is primarily directed toward God, this blowing of trumpets on holy days should not be considered praise, much less the praise of instrumental music.
The above passage and recorded examples of the Israelites obeying this statue are the closest references that could possibly be construed as referring to instrumental music. This is not much evidence to justify the use of instrumental music under the early Mosaical covenant. However, in regard to singing and in contrast to this lack of evidence for instrumental music, we have the following clear command for the Israelites to not just sing, but to learn a specific song to sing:
"Now therefore, write down this song for yourselves, and teach it to the children of Israel; put it in their mouths, that this song may be a witness for Me against the children of Israel. When I have brought them to the land flowing with milk and honey, of which I swore to their fathers, and they have eaten and filled themselves and grown fat, then they will turn to other gods and serve them; and they will provoke Me and break My covenant. Then it shall be, when many evils and troubles have come upon them, that this song will testify against them as a witness; for it will not be forgotten in the mouths of their descendants, for I know the inclination of their behavior today, even before I have brought them to the land of which I swore to give them."
Therefore Moses wrote this song the same day, and taught it to the children of Israel. (Deuteronomy 31:19-22)
In addition to authorizing singing as a mode of praise, this passage gives us insight into one of the benefits of singing, which is the persistence of its message. Even though the Israelites would eventually become totally corrupt, they would still continue to teach their children this song, providing their children an opportunity to realize the evil of their parents' ways. It would take away their excuse, providing a "witness" to their knowledge of their own guilt. Even though this song served as a teaching tool to the benefit of future generations, like all songs of praise, it directly glorified God and exalted His name (Deuteronomy 31:30-32:52).
In addition to this command, we have some examples of the Israelites praising God in song (Numbers 21:16-18Judges 5:1-31).
From these passages we see that singing was commanded as part of a specific song, and we learn that the Israelites continued to praise God in singing other songs. However, we do not read of instrumental music playing any part in the Jewish worship of God - until we come to the reign of David.

Mosaical Age - Post-Davidic

Next to Jesus, David was the greatest king to rule over Israel. Although his son, Solomon, acquired more wealth and prosperity for the nation (II Chronicles 9:1-31), David is always mentioned as the ancestor of the Messiah (Matthew 1:122:42-46). However, for all his glory and the goodness of his heart (I Samuel 13:13-14), David was known for his impulsive sins and mistakes. For example, the following errors are recorded for our learning:
  • Committed adultery with Bathsheba (II Samuel 11:1-5)
  • Murdered Bathsheba's innocent husband to cover up affair and unexpected pregnancy (II Samuel 11:1-12:25)
  • Moved the ark of covenant without consulting God, costing the life of Uzza (I Chronicles 15:1-13)
  • Mistakenly set out to build a permanent temple for God, contrary to God's original wishes (I Chronicles 17:1-6)
  • Pridefully sought to the number the Israelites to feed his ego, costing the lives of many Israelites (I Chronicles 21:1-30)
Other illustrations could be provided, but these are the most dramatic and illustrative of the point desiring to be made, which is that David often did what he wanted to do without thinking to "inquire of the Lord". Now this behavior was not ultimately characteristic of David, because it was not typical of David's overall life (I Samuel 22:1023:2-430:8II Samuel 2:15:19-2321:1). However, these failings do illuminate a weakness in David, which may help to explain why he introduced instrumental music into the Mosaical, Jewish worship of God. In fact, the first reference to instrumental music being used to praise God under the Old Covenant is recorded in the following verses:
Then David consulted with the captains of thousands and hundreds, and with every leader. And David said to all the assembly of Israel,
"If it seems good to you, and if it is of the LORD our God, let us send out to our brethren everywhere who are left in all the land of Israel, and with them to the priests and Levites who are in their cities and their common-lands, that they may gather together to us; and let us bring the ark of our God back to us, for we have not inquired at it since the days of Saul."
Then all the assembly said that they would do so, for the thing was right in the eyes of all the people. So David gathered all Israel together, from Shihor in Egypt to as far as the entrance of Hamath, to bring the ark of God from Kirjath Jearim. And David and all Israel went up to Baalah, to Kirjath Jearim, which belonged to Judah, to bring up from there the ark of God the LORD, who dwells between the cherubim, where His name is proclaimed.
So they carried the ark of God on a new cart from the house of Abinadab, and Uzza and Ahio drove the cart. Then David and all Israel played music before God with all their might, with singing, on harps, on stringed instruments, on tambourines, on cymbals, and with trumpets.
And when they came to Chidon's threshing floor, Uzza put out his hand to hold the ark, for the oxen stumbled. Then the anger of the LORD was aroused against Uzza, and He struck him because he put his hand to the ark; and he died there before God.
And David became angry because of the LORD's outbreak against Uzza; therefore that place is called Perez Uzza to this day. David was afraid of God that day, saying, "How can I bring the ark of God to me?" (I Chronicles 13:1-13)
David organized a huge production to bring the ark of covenant to the capital, including 30,000 people (II Samuel 6:1-9). However, as we learn later, David did not consult God on the "proper order". Instead he primarily consulted his advisers and the Israelites. This tragic mistake lead to the ark being transported incorrectly on a new ox cart, instead of on special poles, carried on the shoulders of the Levite priests. No human was to directly touch the ark (Numbers 4:15-20), and when Uzza did touch it, God struck Him dead for his irreverence (II Samuel 6:6-7).
Not only did David introduce a new form of carrying the ark of the covenant, it appears that he also introduced a new form of musical worship - instrumental accompaniment. Please note that David was sincere. The text says that he "played with all his might"; moreover, he was displeased with God's judgment on Uzza, because it was unexpected and not understood by David. In spite of David's earnestness, instrumental music was still a form of praise that was unknown to the ancient Scriptures.
How do we know that David introduced instrumental music? The chronicles of the kings clearly records when instrumental praise was first ordained:
Now these are the men whom David appointed over the service of song in the house of the LORD, after the ark came to rest. They were ministering with music before the dwelling place of the tabernacle of meeting, until Solomon had built the house of the LORD in Jerusalem, and they served in their office according to their order. (I Chronicles 6:31-32)
The narrative of this event is recorded in I Chronicles 15. Apparently at some point David inquired of the Lord to learn what he did wrong in moving the ark. While appointing these priests to serve in song, David chastised the Levites for their failure to comply with God's "proper order". (The Levites were directly responsible for moving the ark, see passage below, while David was only indirectly responsible as king and originator of the ceremonial move.) At this point in history, David ordained families of the Levites to be devoted to singing in choirs, while others were to accompany the singing with instrumental music:
Then David said, "No one may carry the ark of God but the Levites, for the LORD has chosen them to carry the ark of God and to minister before Him forever." And David gathered all Israel together at Jerusalem, to bring up the ark of the LORD to its place, which he had prepared for it. Then David assembled the children of Aaron and the Levites: ...
He said to them, "You are the heads of the fathers' houses of the Levites; sanctify yourselves, you and your brethren, that you may bring up the ark of the LORD God of Israel to the place I have prepared for it. For because you did not do it the first time, the LORD our God broke out against us, because we did not consult Him about the proper order."
So the priests and the Levites sanctified themselves to bring up the ark of the LORD God of Israel. And the children of the Levites bore the ark of God on their shoulders, by its poles, as Moses had commanded according to the word of the LORD.
Then David spoke to the leaders of the Levites to appoint their brethren to be the singers accompanied by instruments of music, stringed instruments, harps, and cymbals, by raising the voice with resounding joy. ...
So he left Asaph and his brothers there before the ark of the covenant of the LORD to minister before the ark regularly, as every day's work required; ... and with them Heman and Jeduthun and the rest who were chosen, who were designated by name, to give thanks to the LORD, because His mercy endures forever; and with them Heman and Jeduthun, to sound aloud with trumpets and cymbals and the musical instruments of God. (I Chronicles 16:1-42)
From this point forward, the "musical instruments of God" are frequently mentioned throughout the pages of Scripture. Now between the giving of the Law of Moses and David's reign, only 3-5 references are made to any form of musical praise. None refer to instrumental music. However, in the remainder of the Old Testament, over 50 references are made to instrumental music. What made the difference?
And he stationed the Levites in the house of the LORD with cymbals, with stringed instruments, and with harps, according to the commandment of David, of Gad the king's seer, and of Nathan the prophet; for thus was the commandment of the LORD by his prophets. The Levites stood with the instruments of David, and the priests with the trumpets. Then Hezekiah commanded them to offer the burnt offering on the altar. And when the burnt offering began, the song of the LORD also began, with the trumpets and with the instruments of David king of Israel. So all the assembly worshiped, the singers sang, and the trumpeters sounded; all this continued until the burnt offering was finished. (II Chronicles 29:25-28)
Dear friend, the point should be clear. For the Old Law, God first authorized vocal music, but remained silent on instrumental music, neither approving it nor condemning it. According to the historical record of Scripture, the Jews practiced singing, but no approved example is provided of instrumental music. Later, the Lord by specific commandment authorized instrumental music. If in the Old Testament, a specific command was required to authorize instrumental music, overriding the previous command to sing, why would a specific command not be required to override the original New Testament command to sing? Dear friend, before you decide to step out on thin air and use instruments anyway, please think about the example of Uzza and his presumption. Please heed the warning God has provided for you (I Corinthians 10:11-12Romans 15:4).
As a side note, it appears that Solomon issued similar commands in transferring the relatively new musical responsibilities of the Levites from David's tabernacle to Solomon's temple (Nehemiah 12:45). Interestingly, the choirs and instrumental music eventually became associated with temple worship, as were all the other Levitical duties (Nehemiah 10:283911:22). Consequently, once the temple was destroyed, it appears that the Jews ceased using instruments of music to praise God (Psalm 137:2-4). Apparently, such musical worship was not resumed until the temple was restored (Ezra 3:10Nehemiah 12:27). Even up until recent centuries, synagogue worship has been limited to the human voice.

Christian Age

With Christ's death upon the cross, the Old Covenant was done away, and its authority shattered (Romans 7:1-7). No longer would a person look to Moses and the prophets for authority, instead they were to look to Jesus, His apostles, and His prophets (Deuteronomy 18:15-19Matthew 17:1-528:18-20Hebrews 1:1-2). Therefore, any command given to David to use instrumental music has long lost its power to authorize us to do the same.
The New Testament Scriptures contain sufficient instruction in worshiping God through music. However, this article is focused on placing these directions in their historical context, illuminating them against the backdrop of past practices. Therefore, we will pass over New Testament quotes in this article, focusing rather on the opinions of uninspired reformers, worshipers, and historians, who followed the apostles and prophets.

Era of the Ante-Nicaean Fathers

Closest to the time of the apostles, the Ante-Nicaean fathers (2nd and 3rd centuries) provide us the following quotes from their writings:
"The one instrument of peace, the word alone by which we honor God is what we employ. We no longer employ the ancient psaltery, the cymbal, the flute..." (Clement of Alexandria, 2nd century)
Clement defended the lack of instrumental music by explaining that it was how the Jews worshiped. Furthermore, he explained that it was a symbol of the true worship, not the reality.
A century later, Eusebius of Caeserea, who is generally regarded as the first church historian, wrote these words:
"The unison voices of Christians would be more acceptable to God than any musical instrument. Accordingly, in all the churches of God, we send up a unison melody" (Comments on Psalm 91, 3rd century)
Eusebius also spoke of Pliny's letter to Roman Emperor, Trajan, which states:
"the Christians arose with the sun, and sang to Christ as to a god..." (Ecclesiastical History, III, p.33 - c. AD 111)
A peer to Eusebius, John Chrysostom, explained:
"It was only permitted to the Jews as sacrifice was for the heaviness and grossness of their souls. God condescended to their weakness because they were lately drawn from idols. But now instead of organs, we may use our own bodies to praise Him with all."

The Dark Ages

Hundreds of years later, we find that the Catholic church as a whole, still rejected instrumental music. Even up to 1250 AD, from the writings of Thomas Aquinas, we glean this explanation:
"Our church does not use musical instruments as harps and psalteries to praise God withal that she may not seem to Judaeize." (Summa Theologica)
In the Roman Catholic Encyclopedia we find:
"Although Josephus tells of the wonderful effects produced in the Temple by the use of instruments, the first Christians were of too spiritual fibre to substitute lifeless instruments for or to use them to accompany the human voice. Clement of Alexandria severely condemns the use of instruments even at Christian banquets (P.G., VIII, 4440). St. Chrysostom sharply contrasts the customs of the Christians at the time when they had full freedom with those of the Jews of the Old Testament (ibid., LV, 494-7). Similarly write a series of early ecclesiastical writers down to St. Thomas (Summa, II-II, Q.xci,a.2)" ("Music," The Catholic Encyclopedia, X:651)

The Reformation Era

Eventually, the use of the organ became a central part of Catholic worship. However, many significant Protestant reformers rejected the use of the instrument. History records that Zwingli, and others, swiftly destroyed the church instruments as Catholic innovations and perversions, after their rise to power and influence. Zwingli accomplished the following reformation in Zurich, Switzerland, because he believed that all things not expressly authorized by the Bible should be abolished:
"The churches of the city were purged of pictures, relics, crucifixes, altars, candles, and all ornaments. The pictures were broken and burned. The bones of saints were buried. Even the organ was removed, and the Latin singing of the choir abolished, but fortunately afterward, replaced with congregational singing of psalms and hymns in the vernacular." (Schaff, Church History, vol.8)
John Calvin was a significant leader of the Reformation movement. His doctrines are entrenched in the foundations of most modern Protestant denominations. In his commentary on Psalm 33, he wrote:
"Musical instruments in celebrating the praises of God would be no more suitable than the burning of incense, the lighting up of lamps, and the restoration of the other shadows of the law. The papists, therefore, have foolishly borrowed this, as well as many other things, from the Jews. Men who are fond of outward pomp may delight in that noise; but the simplicity which God recommends to us by the apostle is far more pleasing to Him."
John Wesley was prominent in establishing the Methodist church, and he had profound influence on the Anglican church. He offered his opinion on instrumental music in this way:
"I have no objection to instruments of music in our chapels provided they are neither heard nor seen" (quoted in Adam Clarke's Commentary at Amos 6:5)
Although Luther accepted instrumental music, Mosheim, a prominent Lutheran, wrote:
"The Christian worship consisted in hymns, prayers, the reading of Scriptures, a discourse addressed to the people, and concluded with the celebration of the Lord's Supper" (Ecclesiastical History, I:303, published AD 1755)
Neander, a German protestant (1789-1850), generally regarded as "the founder of modern Protestant historiography" (NIDCC, 696) said:
"Church psalmody, also passed over from the synagogue in the Christian Church. The Apostle Paul exhorts the primitive churches to sing spiritual songs. For this purpose were used the psalms of the Old Testament, and partly hymns composed expressly for this object, especially hymns of praise and of thanks to God and to Christ, such having been known to Pliny, as in customary use among the Christians of his time" (General Church History, I:414)
In 1888, John L. Girardeau, a professor at the Presbyterian Columbia Theological Seminary, wrote Instrumental Music in the Public Worship of the Church to explain to his students why the Presbyterian church had previously rejected instrumental music. Among many notable quotes, he writes:
"It is heresy in the sphere of worship" (Instrumental Music in the Public Worship of the Church, p.179)
"psallo never occurs in the New Testament, in its radical signification, to strike or play upon an instrument." (Music in the Church, pp.116-118)
Charles H. Spurgeon was a fiery, Baptist preacher, whose sermons are read by many even still today. In his comments on the Psalms, he writes:
""Praise the Lord with the harp." Israel was at school, and used childish things to help her learn. But in these days, when Jesus gives us spiritual food, one can make melody without strings and pipes. We do not need them. They would hinder rather than help our praise. Sing unto Him! This is the sweetest and best music. No instrument is like the human voice....
David appears to have had a peculiarly tender remembrance of the singing of the pilgrims, and assuredly it is the most delightful part of worship and that which comes nearest to the adoration of heaven. What a degradation to supplant the intelligent song of the whole congregation by the theatrical prettiness of a quartet, the refined niceties of a choir, or the blowing off of wind from the inanimate bellows and pipes! We might as well pray by machinery as praise by it" (The Treasury of David, comment on Psalm 42:4)
The Primitive Baptist church did not use instrumental music until recent days. The Free Methodist denomination did not use instrumental music until the 1940's. A branch of the Presbyterian church has still not implemented instrumental music until this day.

The Restoration Movement

Although Alexander Campbell opposed the acceptance of denominations and left the Baptist church because of such views, he became influential in what has become known as the "restoration movement". From which some have drifted back into denominationalism to form groups known as the Christian Church, or the Disciples of Christ. His biographer, Robert Richardson, stated that Campbell remained "utterly opposed" to the use of instrumental music in worship (Memoirs of Alexander Campbell, II:366). Additionally, Campbell himself wrote:
"The argument drawn from the Psalms in favor of instrumental music is exceedingly apposite to the Roman Catholic, English, Protestant, and Scotch Presbyterian churches, and even Methodist communities - their churches having all the world in them. ... To all spiritually minded Christians such aids would be as a cow-bell in a concert" (Millennial Harbinger, October 1851, p.582).
Interestingly, the use of instrumental music, along with missionary societies, helped to foster the division that lead to the creation of the Christian church and the Disciples of Christ denominations in the mid to late 19th century, after Campbell's death.


What does phrase, "a cappella" mean? Most modern dictionaries explain that this phrase refers to music without instrumental accompaniment - vocal music. However, this meaning has special significance to our study.
"A Cappella" is a Latin phrase that literally means "in the manner of the church (chapel)"! Why would this phrase be associated with vocal singing, if the church has always been engaged in instrumental music? The origin of this word summarizes the point of this article: Instrumental music was not typical of the ancient, Christian worship. In fact, it is a relatively modern addition to Christian worship.
"What does this prove?" Not much. We should make our decisions based on Scripture, not history. Although we may understand this academically, practically we may be lulled into accepting the instrumental position, because we feel secure in standing with the current majority. Please look into your heart and consider if you have let the consensus of the majority prejudice your intellect. History proves this majority do be a mirage of short-term observation. Additionally, please consider that no one is in the majority, when they are opposed to God's instruction (I Samuel 14:1-26).