5/25/20

"THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW" The Swearing Of Oaths (5:33-37) by Mark Copeland



"THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW"
The Swearing Of Oaths (5:33-37)

INTRODUCTION
1. Are you a man or woman of your word? a. When you say "yes" or "no", do people take it as "gospel" (i.e.,truth)? b. Are you someone whose word is questioned, unless confirmed with an oath? 2. In His sermon on the mount, Jesus dealt with the issue of swearing oaths... a. In which He set a high standard for His disciples to follow b. A standard that exceeded that of the scribes and Pharisees, and exceeds the standard followed by many people today 3. In this lesson, "The Swearing Of Oaths", we shall consider what Jesus taught from the viewpoint of four questions: a. What did the Law of Moses actually teach concerning the swearing of oaths? b. How had the Jews, and in particular the Scribes and Pharisees, traditionally interpreted and applied the Law? c. What did Jesus teach in response to this abuse of the Law concerning oaths? d. Did Jesus forbid even those oaths made in court? [To answer the first question, "What did the Law of Moses actually teach concerning the swearing of oaths?", let's take a moment to consider...] I. THE LAW OF MOSES AND THE SWEARING OF OATHS A. THREE PASSAGES MAKE VERY CLEAR THE TEACHING OF THE LAW... 1. "And you shall not swear by My name falsely, nor shall you profane the name of your God; I am the LORD." - Lev 19:12 2. "If a man vows a vow to the LORD, or swears an oath to bind himself by some agreement, he shall not break his word; he shall do according to all that proceeds out of his mouth." - Num 30:2 3. "When you make a vow to the LORD your God, you shall not delay to pay it; for the LORD your God will surely require it of you, and it would be sin to you." - Deut 23:21 B. THE EMPHASIS WAS ON TRUTHFULNESS AND FAITHFULNESS... 1. A person must be truthful when he swears an oath; he must truly mean it 2. He must also be faithful in keeping the oath; he must carry out his word C. THIS EMPHASIS ON TRUTHFULNESS "IN THE HEART" WAS STRESSED
BY THE PSALMS AND PROPHETS AS WELL...
1. In the Psalms - Ps 15:1-2; 24:3-4 2. The Prophets often bemoaned the lack of truth in the heart - Jer 5:1-2; Hos 4:1-2 [So the teaching of the Law was clear: Vows to the Lord should be kept, and truthfulness in all things was expected. This leads to our second question: "How had the Jews, and in particular the Scribes and Pharisees, traditionally interpreted and applied the Law?"] II. THE TRADITIONAL INTERPRETATION AND APPLICATION A. IT APPEARS THE EMPHASIS HAD SHIFTED... 1. FROM truthfulness in all things 2. TO honoring only those vows sworn "to the Lord" -- As implied by Jesus comments in Mt 5:34-36 B. IN APPLICATION, ONLY VOWS "TO THE LORD" WERE BINDING... 1. That the Jews had made such arbitrary distinctions between their vows is seen in Mt 23:16-19 2. Because of this distinction, daily conversations were often spiced with meaningless oaths to make impressions; e.g.,: a. "I swear by heaven" b. "I swear by the throne of God" c. "I swear...by the earth...by Jerusalem...by the altar...by the temple...by my head..." [By shifting the emphasis from truthfulness to honoring only those vows made to the Lord, the Pharisees in their application of the Law justified the use of meaningless vows. Now to our third question: "What did Jesus teach in response to this abuse of the Law concerning oaths?"] III. THE TEACHING OF JESUS A. HE EXPOSED THE HYPOCRISY IN SUCH ARBITRARY DISTINCTIONS... 1. Mt 23:20-22 clearly shows that when one swears by... a. "the temple" b. "the throne of God" ...he is swearing by the LORD also! 2. Mt 5:34-36 likewise teaches that one cannot swear by these things without involving God a. Heaven is the throne of God b. Earth is His footstool c. Only God can change our hair color (without the use of dyes) -- Therefore, any oath is an oath "to the Lord"! B. HE ENJOINED "TRUTHFULNESS IN THE HEART"... 1. Let your "yes" mean "yes" 2. Let your "no" mean "no" -- Any more than this is evil, and would be contrary to speaking "truth in his heart" (Ps 15:1-2) [In exposing the hypocritical distinctions made by the scribes and Pharisees in their oaths, and in commanding us to speak simply and truthfully, the words of Jesus have led many to ask our fourth and final question: "Did Jesus forbid even those oaths made in court?"] IV. MAKING OATHS IN JUDICIAL MATTERS A. ARGUMENTS IN SUPPORT OF SWEARING JUDICIAL OATHS... 1. Both Jesus and James qualified their statements concerning oaths a. Mt 5:34ff - "swear not at all" is immediately qualified by Jesus to refer to flippant and hypocritical oaths commonly voiced by the people b. Jm 5:12 - the command "do not swear" is also qualified by James to refer to the same kind of meaningless oaths 2. Also, consider the following points: a. God has sworn an oath to us - He 6:16-18 b. Jesus was willing to answer under oath before the Sanhedrin court - Mt 26:63-64 c. Paul made solemn oaths in his epistles - 2Co 1:23; Ga 1:20 d. An angel of God swore an oath - Re 10:5-7 B. IN LIGHT OF THESE ARGUMENTS... 1. Some understand Jesus and James to condemn only the flippant, profane and hypocritical oaths... a. Used to make impressions b. Used to spice daily conversations ...but were never intended to be kept 2. Therefore the EXCEPTION to not swearing oaths can be: a. Solemn oaths made in judicial circumstances b. Those oaths on occasions of solemn religious importance (as in the case of Paul) C. I PREFER TO TAKE THE "SAFE" COURSE... 1. In other words, to "swear not at all" 2. Fortunately, in this country we are allowed the option to"confidently affirm" -- But I would not judge brethren who themselves solemnly and honestly "swear oaths" in judicial circumstances CONCLUSION 1. The righteousness of the kingdom is to exceed that of the scribes and Pharisees... a. They would often spice their statements with vows and oaths in order to be believed... b. Christians are to be so truthful, their "yes" means "yes" and their "no" means "no" -- So truthful and trustworthy are the disciples of Christ to be, it would not be necessary for them to swear oaths or have to say "I promise" in order to be trusted 2. Can this be said of us, when people know that we are Christians? a. Can others "bank" on our words? b. When we say we will do something, is it as good as done? May the words of our Lord remind us that even our speech reflects either honor or dishonor upon the God we serve!

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2016

Instrumental Music and the Principle of Authority by Dave Miller, Ph.D.

http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=11&article=1215

Instrumental Music and the Principle of Authority

by  Dave Miller, Ph.D.

Perhaps no other doctrine is emphasized so frequently in scripture as the principle of authority. Yet, perhaps no other doctrine is so discounted, ignored, rejected, or misunderstood. But the Scriptures make clear that, from the beginning of human history, God has required people to structure their behavior based upon His will. We human beings have no right to formulate our own ideas concerning religious truth. We must have God’s approval for everything we do.

Who could successfully deny that current culture is characterized by disrespect for authority? The “do your own thing” mentality that has been so pervasive since the 1960s has resulted in subsequent generations viewing themselves as autonomous (self-governing) with no higher authority than oneself. Authority is seen to reside inherently within the individual. This circumstance is reminiscent of the dark ages of Jewish history (the period of the Judges) when “everyone did what was right in his own eyes” (Judges 21:25).

COLOSSIANS 3:17: "IN THE NAME OF"

If the Bible teaches anything, it teaches that all human beings are under obligation to submit to the authority of God and Christ. Paul articulated this extremely important principle in his letter to the Colossians: “And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus” (3:17). What did the apostle mean by that statement? What is the meaning of the expression “in the name of the Lord”?

Luke corroborated Paul’s statement by providing the answer. Shortly after the establishment of the church of Christ on Earth (Acts 2), the Jewish authorities were extremely upset that the apostles were spreading Christian concepts throughout Jerusalem. So, they hauled Peter and John into their assembly and demanded to know, “By what power or by what name have you done this?” (Acts 4:7). The word “power” (dunamei) bears a close correlation to and relationship with the concept of authority (Perschbacher, 1990, p. 108), and is closely aligned with exousia—the usual word for authority (cf. Luke 4:36; Revelation 17:12-13). W.E. Vine listed both terms under “power” (1966, p. 196). “Authority” (exousia) refers to power, rule, authority, or jurisdiction (cf. Betz, 1976, 2:608)—“the power of authority, the right to exercise power” and “the right to act” (Vine, pp. 152,89,196). It includes the ideas of “absolute power” and “warrant” (Arndt and Gingrich, 1957, p. 277), as well as “the ‘claim,’ or ‘right,’ or ‘control,’ one has over anything” (Moulton and Milligan, 1982, p. 225). These religious leaders were demanding to know by what authority the apostles were acting. Who was giving them the right to teach what they were teaching? What authoritative source approved or sanctioned their particular actions? Peter’s answer was “by the name of Jesus Christ” (vs. 10). In other words, the apostles had not been advocating their own ideas. They were simply presenting what Jesus had previously authorized and commissioned them to present (cf. Matthew 16:19; 18:18; 28:18-20). He placed closure on the incident by concluding: “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (vs. 12). Salvation may be achieved only by the authority, approval, sanction, and requirements of Christ. No one else on the planet has any right or authorization to extend salvation to anyone.

“In the name of ” frequently is used in Scripture as a parallel expression to “by what power/authority.” Hans Bietenhard noted that the formula “in the name of Jesus” means “according to his will and instruction” (1976, 2:654). In Acts 4:7, therefore, “[n]ame and ‘power’…are used parallel to one another” (2:654). Vine said “name” in Colossians 3:17 means “in recognition of the authority of ” (1966, p. 100; cf. Perschbacher, p. 294). Moulton and Milligan said that “name” refers to “the authority of the person” and cited Philippians 2:9 and Hebrews 1:4 as further examples (p. 451). Observe carefully: “Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth” (Philippians 2:9-10, emp. added; cf. Ephesians 1:21). This is precisely what Jesus claimed for Himself when He issued the “Great Commission” to the apostles: “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth” (Matthew 28:18, emp. added). Paul’s reference to the name of Jesus was a reference to the authority and jurisdiction of Christ. Jesus’ name being above every name means that His authority transcends all other authority. As Findlay explained: “ ‘The name of the Lord Jesus’ is the expression of his authority as ‘Lord’ ” (Spence and Exell, 1958, p. 155, emp. added). A.T. Robertson cited the use of onoma in Matthew 28:19 as another example where “name” “has the idea of ‘the authority of ’ ” (1934, p. 740).

After Moses presented God’s demands to Pharaoh, he returned to the Lord and complained that Pharaoh’s reaction was retaliatory: “For since I came to Pharaoh to speak in Your name, he has done evil to this people” (Exodus 5:23, emp. added). For Moses to speak in God’s name meant to speak only those things that God wanted said. After healing the lame man, Peter explained to the people: “And His name…has made this man strong” (Acts 3:16, emp. added). He meant that it was Christ’s authority and power that achieved the healing. Likewise, when Paul became annoyed at the condition of the demon possessed slave girl, he declared: “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her” (Acts 16:18, emp. added). He, too, meant that he had Christ’s backing and authorization to do such a thing.

So when Paul stated that everyone is obligated to speak and act “in the name of the Lord Jesus” (Colossians 3:17), he was indicating that all human conduct must be conformed to the directives of Jesus Christ. Everything a person says or does must have the prior approval and sanction of God. Writing in 1855 from Glasgow, New Testament scholar John Eadie well summarized the thrust of Colossians 3:17: “It…strictly means—by his authority, or generally, in recognition of it. To speak in His name, or to act in His name, is to speak and act not to His honour, but under His sanction and with the conviction of His approval” (1884, 4:249, emp. added).

OLD TESTAMENT ILLUSTRATIONS

This biblical principle has enormous implications. No human being has the right to introduce into religious practice an activity for which the Scriptures provide no approval. We human beings are simply not free in God’s sight to fashion religion and morality according to our own desires. Cain learned that the hard way when he did not offer the precise sacrifice that God had designated (Genesis 4:5-7; Hebrews 11:4; 1 John 3:12). The lives of Nadab and Abihu were snuffed out by God because of what they viewed as a minor adjustment in their offering (Leviticus 10:1-2). They were the right boys, at the right time and place, with the right censers, and the right incense—but the wrong fire. This deviation from God’s precise specifications was “unauthorized” (NIV) fire “which He had not commanded them” (NKJV). The change failed to show God as holy and give Him the respect He deserves (Leviticus 10:3).

Saul was rejected by God when he presumed to offer a sacrifice he was not authorized to offer (1 Samuel 13:8-14). He was censured a second time for making slight adjustments in God’s instructions (1 Samuel 15:22-23). He lost His crown and the approval of God. Justifying his adjustments on the grounds that he was merely attempting to be “culturally relevant” would not have altered his status in God’s sight. Uzzah was struck dead simply because he touched the ark of the covenant—though his apparent motive was to protect the ark (2 Samuel 6:6-7). David admitted that they had deserved the Lord’s displeasure because they were not seeking God “after the due order” (1 Chronicles 15:13; cf. Numbers 4:15; 7:9; 10:21). In other words, God had given previous information concerning proper or authorized transportation of the ark, but these instructions were not followed. Their handling of the ark was not done “in the name of the Lord,” in that they did it their way instead of according to the divine prescription.

Notice that these cases involved people who were engaged in religious activities. These people were religious. They were not pagans, skeptics, or atheists. They were attempting to worship the one true God. They were believers! Yet their failure to comform precisely to divine instructions elicited the disapproval of God for the simple reason that their actions were not authorized.

NEW TESTAMENT ILLUSTRATIONS

The New Testament illustrates this principle repeatedly. Authority begins with God. He delegated authority to Jesus (Matthew 28:18; John 5:27). Only Jesus, therefore, has the authority to define and designate the parameters of human behavior in general, and religious practice in particular. Consequently, no human being on Earth has the right to do anything without the prior approval of Christ. John said that those who believe on Christ’s name (i.e., those who accept His authority) have the power or right to become children of God. In other words, faith is a necessary prerequisite that gives a person divine authority to become a child of God. All other human beings, i.e., unbelievers, lack divine sanction to become children of God.

A Roman centurion, an officer who commanded one hundred men, understood the principle of authority. He said to Jesus: “For I also am a man under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it” (Matthew 8:9). This centurion recognized that individuals who are subject to the authority of a higher power must receive permission for everything they do. They must conform themselves precisely to the will of their superior.

Even the religious enemies of Jesus understood and acknowledged the principle of authority. One day when Jesus was teaching in the temple, the chief priests and elders confronted Him with this question: “By what authority are You doing these things? And who gave You this authority” (Matthew 21:23). Commenting on the use of the term “authority” in this passage, Betz noted that the Pharisees used the term exousia to refer to “the power to act which given as of right to anyone by virtue of the position he holds” (1976, p. 601). They were asking, in essence, “Who was it that conferred upon you this authority which you presume to exercise? Was it some earthly ruler, or was it God himself?” (Spence and Exell, 1961, 15:321). Even these religiously warped opponents of our Lord at least grasped correctly the concept that one must have prior approval from a legitimate authoritative source before one can advocate religious viewpoints. As Williams noted: “No one could presume to teach without a proper commission: where was his authorization?” (quoted in Spence and Exell, 1961, 15:320). If Jesus agreed with the majority of religionists today, He would have said, “What do you mean ‘by what authority’? God doesn’t require us to have authority for what we do in religion as long as we do not violate a direct command that forbids it, and as long as one is sincere.”

But Jesus was not in sympathy with today’s permissive, antinomian spirit. In fact, His response to the Jewish leaders showed that He fully agreed with the principle of authority. He proceeded to show them that His teaching was authorized by the same source that authorized the teaching of John the Immerser. Yet, these hardhearted religious leaders rejected John and, by implication, his source of authority. So neither would they accept Jesus Who received His authority from the same source (i.e., heaven). In any case, both Jesus and His enemies agreed that one must have God’s prior permission for what one advocates in religion.

What did Peter mean when he wrote, “If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God” (1 Peter 4:11)? He meant that whatever a person advocates in religion must be found in God’s Word. But everyone knows that baby dedication services, handclapping, instrumental music, choirs, praise teams, the worship of Mary, non-weekly observance of the Lord’s Supper, and church raffles are not authorized by God’s Word. Thus, their use violates the principle of authority—failing to “speak as the oracles of God.”

What did Paul mean when he wrote, “...that you may learn in us not to think beyond what is written” (1 Corinthians 4:6)? He meant that whatever we do in religion, first must be found in the Scriptures. But everyone knows that “sacred drama,” swaying arms, and religious observance of Christmas and Easter are not found in scripture. Their use violates the principle of authority—thinking and going “beyond what is written.”

ILLUSTRATIONS FROM SECULAR SOCIETY

Interestingly enough, even secular society acknowledges the principle of authority. The average American citizen will walk into a restaurant and see two doors. The first door has the word “Restrooms” on it, while the second door has the words “Authorized Personnel.” These messages are immediately interpreted to mean that the customer has authority to enter the door that reads “Restrooms,” while he or she is not permitted to enter the other door. In fact, one instantly knows that no authority exists to enter the second door—even though the sign does not explicitly command the customer not to enter the door. The sign does not indicate who may NOT enter. It only specifies who may enter—who has permission or authority to enter. The customer is under obligation to use reasoning powers, and to deduce that he or she has no authority to pass through the second door.

Entering the first door, the customer encounters two additional doors. The first door has a stick figure of a woman on it, while the second door has a stick figure of a man. Once again, the customer is expected to understand that only women are authorized to enter the first door, and only men have permission to pass through the second door—though the word "only" does not appear. People fathom the principle of authority so easily and so thoroughly that they can ascertain what they may or may not do even from pictures—stick figures! But when it comes to the Christian religion and those who wish to broaden the parameters of God’s Word, recognition of the principle of authority is set aside in exchange for irrational, emotional desire to do what one wants to do.

When a person purchases a new vacuum cleaner or a new car, the product comes with a factory warranty. This warranty provides the customer with free repair service for the specified warranty period. However, should a malfunction occur, the customer is instructed to take the product to a “Factory Authorized Representative.” Failure to do so will void the warranty. Does the average person understand the principle of authority in this case? Of course she does. She understands that the manufacturer has given prior approval to a select group of repairpersons that is authorized to repair the product. She understands that she has authority/permission to take the product to any of those places, but that she is not authorized to take the product anywhere else—even though other repairpersons are not specifically singled out as unacceptable repairpersons.

When a person enters the hospital for surgery, he or she signs a document authorizing the physician to operate on the patient. What would you think of a doctor, whom you have authorized to perform surgery on you, if he were to go out into the waiting room where, say, your child is awaiting your return, and commence to operate on your child? In addition to thinking he may be mentally ill, you would protest his lack of authority for his action. What if he justified his action by insisting that you did not specifically forbid his performing surgery on your loved one? Neither you—nor the medical and legal professions—would put up with such nonsense. Why? Normal people understand and live by the principle of authority. But religion is different. Nonsense and abnormality seem to have become the order of the day.

What if your doctor wrote you a prescription for antibiotics, and you took the prescription to the pharmacist, who then filled the prescription by giving you the antibiotic—laced with strychnine? Upon reading the label, you would immediately protest the pharmacist’s action and demand an explanation. Would the pharmacist be considered in her right mind if she offered as her explanation, “The doctor did not say I was not to give you the poison. I interpreted his silence to be permissive”? What if she insisted: “The doctor’s command neither prescribes nor prohibits strychnine”? Yet proponents of instrumental music insist that “New Testament commands to sing neither prescribe nor prohibit instrumental music.” Their statement is precisely parallel to: “The doctor’s command to give antibiotic neither prescribes nor prohibits strychnine.”

Suppose you send your child to the grocery store to purchase a gallon of 2% milk and a 1 lb. loaf of wheat bread. He returns with a gallon of 2% milk, a 1 lb. loaf of white bread, and a box of Twinkies™. Do you pat him on the head and compliment him for his faithful obedience? Do you praise him for his effort and sincerity? Or do you challenge his behavior as being unauthorized? What if he justifies his actions by insisting that you said nothing about the purchase of white bread and Twinkies? Those who seek to justify instrumental music in worship declare: “You can’t open your Bible and show me where God forbids it.” So what if your child hands you the written note you sent to him and declares: “You can’t open your note and show me where you forbade it.” No, both you and he would know that he had engaged in unauthorized behavior. He did not have your permission to purchase white bread or Twinkies—even though you did not specifically forbid it.

When you place an order at a drive through window of a fast food restaurant, you expect them to conform to your instructions precisely, neither adding to nor subtracting from your order. Suppose at the speaker, you order a Chicken Sandwich Combo on a wheat bun, with waffle fries, and a large Diet Lemonade. You then pull forward to the window and the cashier says, “That will be $435.87,” as she and her co-workers begin handing bag after bag of food to you, bags that contain large quantities of every food item on the menu. You would immediately ask her to stop, and you would insist that you did not order all that food. What would you think if she responded: “You did not order a Chicken Sandwich Combo on a wheat bun, with waffle fries, and a large Diet Lemonade ONLY. You did not forbid us to give you additional food.” You would think this person is either joking—or crazy. The restaurant workers receive authority from you based on what you say to them—not based on what you do not say. You do not give them authority for their actions on the basis of your silence. You authorize them by your words, your instructions, your directions. If they go beyond the parameters of your words—though you do not specifically forbid such actions—they are proceeding without your authority. So it is with our relationship with God and His Word (cf. Deuteronomy 4:2; 5:32; 12:32; Joshua 1:7; Proverbs 30:6). God instructed us to worship Him by singing. He did not instruct us to worship Him by playing. Hence, to worship with instruments is to worship God without His approval.

AUTHORITY FOR EVERYTHING?

But does that mean that we must have authority for everything we do in religion? Everything? What about the many things we do that the Bible does not mention? For example, where is our authority for church buildings, pews, lighting, carpet, television programs, songbooks, and communion trays?

Consider the case of Noah. He was instructed by God to construct a large wooden boat. God’s instructions included such details as dimensions, type of wood, a door and window, and decks (Genesis 6:14-16). The principle of authority applied to Noah in the following fashion. He was authorized to build a boat, but not authorized to build an alternative mode of transportation (e.g., car, plane, or balloon). He was authorized to make the boat out of wood, but not authorized to make it out of some other material (e.g., plastic, steel, or fiberglass). He was authorized to use “gopher wood,” but not authorized to use some other kind of wood (e.g., oak, poplar, or pine). He was authorized to utilize whatever tools and assistance were necessary to comply with God’s command (e.g., hammers, nails, saws, hired help).

Consider the Great Commission. God commanded His emissaries to “Go” (Mark 16:15). The Bible describes with approval inspired preachers going by a variety of means, including by chariot (Acts 8:31), by rope and basket (Acts 9:25), on foot (Acts 14:14), and by ship (Acts 16:11). Gathering together everything in the Scriptures pertaining to this matter, it becomes clear that the mode of transportation was optional. Therefore, the Bible interpreter is forced to conclude that every mode is authorized today (including, for example, television) as long as it does not violate some other biblical principle (e.g., the principle of stewardship).

This process of gathering biblical evidence and drawing only warranted conclusions is divinely mandatory for every human being (see 1 Thessalonians 5:21; 1 John 4:1). We are under obligation to weigh the biblical data on every subject, and conclude only what God wants us to conclude. [For concise, definitive analyses of the principle of authority, see Warren, 1975; Deaver, 1987].

The Bible enjoins upon us the act of assembling together for worship (e.g., Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 5:4; 11:17-18; Hebrews 10:25). But it is physically impossible for a plurality of individuals to assemble together without an assembly place. To obey the requirement to assemble, one must assemble somewhere. We have approved instances of the early church assembling together in a third-story room (Acts 20:8-9), in private residences, as well as in non-private settings (1 Corinthians 16:19; 11:22; cf. Acts 20:20). We are forced to conclude that the location is optional and authorized, as long as it does not violate other biblical principles (cf. John 4:21). Hence, the Scriptures authorize church buildings and the necessary furnishings (e.g., carpet, chairs, electricity, air conditioning, lights, restrooms, indoor plumbing, microphones, drinking fountains).

The same may be said of songbooks. Christians are commanded to sing (Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16), and to worship in an orderly manner (1 Corinthians 14:40). God wants us to sing the same song together (as opposed to singing different songs at the same time). Ways to comply with these stipulations would be to use songbooks, sheet music, or projectors that give the entire assembly access to the same song at the same time. Therefore, all such tools are authorized as expedient ways to comply with the command to sing.

Instrumental music in worship is not authorized. While some people may think it qualifies as an expedient—an aid to their singing—it does not. It may drown out their singing, or so overshadow their singing that they think it sounds better, but in actuality a musical instrument merely supplements singing. It is another form of music in the same way that seeing and hearing are two distinct ways of perceiving. Seeing does not aid hearing; it supplements one form of perception/observation with another. Singing with the voice and playing on a mechanical instrument are two separate ways of making music. Singing is authorized because the New Testament enjoins it (Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16). God has told us He wants us to sing. Instrumental music is not authorized—not because Ephesians and Colossians exclude it or don’t mention it—but because no New Testament passage enjoins it. Nowhere does God inform us that He desires that we play on an instrument to Him. To do so is to “add to His words” (Proverbs 30:6) and to “go beyond what is written” (1 Corinthians 4:6).

The Lord’s Supper is to be eaten when the church is assembled for worship (Matthew 26:29; Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 11:20). God wants each worshipper to partake of both the bread and the grape juice. How may this be accomplished? Containers or trays are necessarily required—unless grapes are hand carried to each person who would then squeeze the juice into his or her own mouth. We do have the account of Jesus instituting the Lord’s Supper and apparently using a single cup. However, the context makes clear that the container was incidental—representing a figure of speech known as “metonymy of the subject,” in which the container is put for the contained (Dungan, 1888, p. 279). The content of the cup—the juice—was what they were to drink, and upon which they were to reflect symbolically. We are forced to conclude that the manner of distribution of the elements of the Lord’s Supper is authorized as optional.

CONCLUSION

Every single facet of our behavior, in and out of worship, may be determined in the same way. God so requires. He expects us to give heed to His Word, studying it carefully and consistently in order to know how to live life in harmony with His will. For true Christianity to be practiced, we must be true to God’s directions. We must be faithful to the book. Indeed, for Jesus to be the “Lord of my life” 24-7, I must ascertain His will in every decision of my life. Hezekiah “did what was good and right and true before the Lord his God” (2 Chronicles 31:20). To what do the words “good,” “right,” and “true” refer? The next verse explains: “And in every work that he began in the service of the house of God, in the law and in the commandment, to seek his God, he did it with all his heart” (2 Chronicles 31:32). Hezekiah was faithful to God, doing what was good, right, and true—in the sense that he obeyed precisely the law and commandment of God, and did so from the heart (cf. John 4:24).

Many churches that claim to be Christian have introduced into their belief and practice all sorts of activities, programs, and practices that have no basis in scripture—i.e., no indication from God that He approves. Upon what basis are these innovations justified? “Well, it meets our needs”; “It gets more people involved”; “It brings in lots of people”; “It generates enthusiasm”; “It allows us to get things done”; “We really like it”; “It stimulates interest”; “It keeps our young people’s attention”; “It creates a warm, accepting environment”; "it is a good mission strategy." It is absolutely incredible that so many Christians could drift so far from biblical moorings. However, their failure to recognize the principle of Bible authority will not exempt them from God’s disfavor (1 Samuel 13:13).

When all is said and done, when we’ve gone through all the rationalizing as to why we do what we choose to do in religion, we still are faced with whether what we do is, in fact, in accordance with God’s instructions. By definition, being faithful to God entails conformity to divine directives—right doing (1 John 3:7; Acts 10:35). When one “transgresses (i.e., goes ahead), and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ” (2 John 9), he becomes unfaithful and removes himself from the benefits of God’s grace (2 Peter 2:20-22; Hebrews 10:26-31; Galatians 5:4). Remaining within the grace and favor of God is dependent upon our compliance with the all-important, God-ordained principle of authority.

Must we conform ourselves to the name of Christ? That is, in order to be saved, must I have His prior approval, His sanction, His authorization, for everything I do in religion? Listen to Peter: “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).

REFERENCES

Arndt, William and F.W. Gingrich (1957), A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press).

Betz, Otto (1976), “exousia,” The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology, ed. Colin Brown (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan).

Bietenhard, Hans (1976), “onoma,” The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology, ed. Colin Brown (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan).

Deaver, Roy (1987), Ascertaining Bible Authority (Austin, TX: Firm Foundation Publishing House).

Dungan, D.R. (1888), Hermeneutics (Delight, AR: Gospel Light).

Eadie, John (1884), A Commentary on the Greek Text of the Epistle of Paul to the Colossians (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1979 reprint).

Moulton, James and George Milligan (1982 reprint), Vocabulary of the Greek New Testament Illustrated from the Papyri and Other Non-literary Sources (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans).

Perschbacher, Wesley, ed. (1990), The New Analytical Greek Lexicon (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson).

Robertson, A.T. (1934), A Grammar of the Greek New Testament in the Light of Historical Research (Nashville, TN: Broadman).

Spence, H.D.M. and J.S. Exell, eds. (1958 reprint), “Colossians,” The Pulpit Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans).

Spence, H.D.M. and J.S. Exell, eds. (1961 reprint), “St. Matthew,” The Pulpit Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans).

Vine, W.E. (1966 reprint), An Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words (Old Tappan, NJ: Revell).

Warren, Thomas B. (1975), When Is An “Example” Binding? (Jonesboro, AR: National Christian Press).

Inspiration, not Interpretation by Eric Lyons, M.Min.

http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=11&article=566

Inspiration, not Interpretation

by  Eric Lyons, M.Min.

“Knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:20-21)

From time to time, certain religious leaders in the “Christian” world refer to the above passage in order to defend the idea that man cannot understand the Bible on his own. Because they believe the Bible is not to be interpreted privately, proponents of this idea teach that the Bible cannot be understood properly without the instruction of the “clergy.” Thus, they say, little good will come from private, personal study of the Scriptures.

A casual reading of 2 Peter 1:20—with little concern for the context in which the passage is found—might very well lead one to understand the verse in such a manner. However, a closer examination of this passage reveals that it has no reference at all to those who read the Scriptures, but refers instead to those who wrote the Scriptures. By studying the context of the passage, one learns that the passage is discussing how the Scriptures came into existence, not how they are to be “interpreted.”

Continuing the thought from verse 20 to verse 21, we read: “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit” (emp. added). That little word “for” in verse 21 connects the two thoughts. The English word “for” derives from the Greek conjunction gar. Strong’s Greek-Hebrew Dictionary (1994) indicates that this word is a “primary particle” that assigns “a reason” and is used in argument for “explanation” or “intensification.” The reason that “no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation” is because “prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit” (emp. added). The word “for” connects the two thoughts. Peter is saying that the prophets did not invent what they wrote; rather, they were guided by the Holy Spirit (cf. 2 Timothy 3:16-17). No doubt this is why the NIV reads: “No prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation” (2 Peter 1:20, emp. added)—not the reader’s interpretation.

Furthermore, according to Mounce’s Analytical Greek Lexicon of the New Testament (1993), the Greek word epilusis (translated “interpretation” in 2 Peter 1:20) means primarily “a loosing” or “liberation.” The stem (or “root” as we say in English class) of epilusis is luo, and means literally “to loosen, unbind, or unfasten.” Therefore, “no prophecy of Scripture” ever was released, loosed, or given out by the prophets’ own inventions. They did not put their own construction upon God’s message; instead, the Holy Spirit guided them. Obviously, then, this passage has no reference to present-day interpreters of the text, but rather to those who wrote it—i.e., the prophets or apostles (cf. Ephesians 3:5).

Some religious groups maintain the position that “you can’t understand the Bible on your own” in an attempt to deprive the average person from enjoying the blessings of privately reading, studying, and learning God’s will. For several hundred years, the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church kept the Bible out of the “laity’s” hands, because those who composed that hierarchy were concerned that the average person might read and study the Bible on their own and learn that the Catholic Church practices many things that the Bible does not teach. Even as late as 1816, Pope Pius VII (in De Versionibus S. Scriptura, September 3) said:

I declare that the associations formed in the major part of Europe to translate and diffuse the law of God into the common tongues, provoke horror within me and they tend to undercut the Christian faith down to its foundations. It is necessary to destroy this pest and reveal the evil designs of these manipulators.

Such comments reveal that the leaders of the Catholic Church were fearful that the “laity” would “come unto the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4) and throw off the corrupt teachings of the Catholic Church.

Although some will continue to use 2 Peter 1:20-21 to teach that we must have a “priest” or “pastor” to interpret the Scriptures for us, an in-depth and logical examination of these verses reveals otherwise. The fact remains, God has given us a book that we can understand and obey (cf. Ephesians 3:4).

Infant Baptism by Moisés Pinedo

http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=11&article=2709

Infant Baptism

by  Moisés Pinedo

Rooted in the idea that infants bear Adam’s sin (“original sin”) is the perceived need to baptize babies to free them from this “sinful nature” and “from the power of darkness” (Cathecism..., 1994, 1250). It has also been declared that

[t]he sheer gratuitousness of the grace of salvation is particularly manifest in infant Baptism. The Church and the parents would deny a child the priceless grace of becoming a child of God were they not to confer Baptism shortly after birth (1250).

Some well-meaning people who disagree with infant baptism have opposed it strictly because they see it as an imposition of one’s will on someone who is incapable of making his or her own decisions. While making one’s own choices is critical in regard to salvation, the argument against imposing the wishes of others on someone else should not be the determining factor in whether or not infant baptism is practiced. The only determinant should be whether God authorizes or requires it. After all, if God has commanded us to baptize babies, we should obey His command, even if the world calls it an imposition. But, if there is no biblical reason to follow this practice, we should not impose something purposeless on our children. With this understanding, the following parallel has been drawn:

If my newborn son is born with an illness, should I deny him medicine arguing that he is not consciously receiving it? Would I say that it would be better to wait until he has sufficient ability to reason? (Domínguez, 2006, emp. added).

Of course, infant baptism might be a necessity if original sin were passed down through the generations. However, children do not inherit the sins of their parents, so, ultimately, no one can inherit the sin of Adam (cf. Exodus 32:32-33; Deuteronomy 24:16; 2 Kings 14:6; 2 Chronicles 25:4; Jeremiah 31:30; Ezekiel 18:20; Pinedo, 2009). Therefore, babies and little children do not have “sickly souls,” nor do they need baptism for spiritual healing. No one would give penicillin to a baby who is not sick and does not need it. No one would take his newborn son to the hospital so that he could undergo surgery to remove a nonexistent tumor. Similarly, no one should subject a baby to a baptism that is designed to forgive sins which he or she cannot commit (cf. Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; 1 Peter 3:21).

The Bible never gives a command, provides an example, or implies that infant baptism should be administered. There is not a single Bible verse that mentions it. Therefore, some Catholics have tried to find biblical support for infant baptism by arguing from the silence of Scripture. Using Matthew 28:19 and Mark 16:15, where Jesus commissioned His disciples to preach and baptize, it has been suggested that the disciples would “consequently go forward in the practice of infant baptism, unless restrained and prohibited by a special interdict” (Hibbard, 1843, p. 95). This argument is fallacious because it suggests that where the Bible does not record a prohibition, everything is acceptable. The Bible does not prohibit “pet baptism.” So, should we proceed to “baptize” them?

Others have suggested that the word “creature” in Mark 16:15 may include babies. However, this word is limited by the context in which it appears. The Greek word for “creation” (ktisis) is used to designate the act of creation or the creative actions in progress. It also refers to the product of creation (see Vine, 1966, 1:254,255). In its general usage, this word includes not only babies, but also the totality of what was created, i.e., animals and plants, as well as everything inanimate. Fortunately, the context helps us to understand that baptism should be performed on “every creature” who is able to be taught the Gospel and believe it (Mark 16:15-16). This automatically excludes animals, plants, and inanimate things—as well as babies and little children who cannot yet understand or believe the Gospel.

In Matthew 28:19, Jesus told the apostles to “[g]o therefore and make disciples of all nations” (emp. added). A disciple is a person who learns at the feet of another. This certainly cannot include infants. In verse 20, Jesus told His apostles to teach the new disciples to “observe all things” that He commanded. The disciples were not only to learn, but also to observe or practice what they had learned. The truth is obvious: the Gospel was preached to, heard, and believed by people who were able to understand, believe, and obey.

But, what about the biblical accounts of entire families being baptized? Is it possible that babies were members of those families, and that they were also baptized? The Catholic Catechism explores this “possibility” and states:

There is explicit testimony to this practice from the second century on, and it is quite possible that, from the beginning of the apostolic preaching, when whole “households” received baptism, infants may also have been baptized (1994, 1252, emp. added).

Some Catholic leaders have gone even further. In his book, The Faith of our Fathers, Archbishop James C. Gibbons declared:

The Acts of the Apostles and the Epistles of St. Paul, although containing only a fragmentary account of the ministry of the Apostles, plainly insinuate that the Apostles baptized children as well as grown persons. We are told, for instance, that Lydia “was baptized, and her household,” by St. Paul; and that the jailer “was baptized, and all his family.” The same Apostle baptized also “the household of Stephanas” (1891, p. 308, emp. added).

Although at first glance this argument may seem valid, it is actually an assumption lacking biblical support. First, it is hasty to conclude that when the Bible writers referred to the “household” of someone, they always included every member of the family. Second, there is no biblical evidence that those households included babies or young children. Since there is no way to prove that there were babies in the households in question, nor that the word “household” necessarily included babies, these passages do not endorse infant baptism.

In fact, the context of these passages in Acts speaks loudly against infant baptism. Concerning the Philippian jailer, Luke tells us exactly which members of “all his family” (Acts 16:33) were baptized. They were those who were taught the Word by Paul and Silas (16:32), and those who rejoiced with the jailer, having “believed in God” (16:34). Can babies be taught the Word and believe in God, understand the sacrifice of His Son, and immediately act upon faith? Can they rejoice as a result of their obedient faith? Concerning Lydia, Luke tells us that “the Lord opened her heart to heed the things spoken by Paul” (Acts 16:14). Those who were baptized had hearts and minds that were open to the Word. Do babies have open hearts and discerning minds? The New Testament clearly teaches that baptism was performed on people who were taught the Word, who had open hearts, who carefully listened to and obeyed the Word, and who rejoiced because they made the conscious decision to follow Christ.

Using Colossians 2:11-12, another attempt to defend infant baptism has been based on the idea that baptism “replaces” circumcision. According to this argument, since “circumcision was done to infants,” then infant baptism is a biblical practice (“Infant Baptism,” n.d.). Although Paul used circumcision to illustrate the time when people “put off” sin and become Christians (in baptism—Romans 6:3-4; Galatians 3:27), he never taught, promoted, or commanded infant baptism (cf. Lyons, 2003). Consider these points: (1) Paul made a comparison between circumcision and baptism, not infant baptism. The comparison was between the “cutting off” (of the flesh) in circumcision and the spiritual “cutting off” (of sin) which occurs at baptism. (2) Circumcision was commanded only for the descendants of Abraham, and proselytes (Genesis 17:12-13; Exodus 12:48), but baptism is for all nations (Matthew 28:19-20; Mark 16:15-16). (3) Circumcision was performed only on male babies (Genesis 17:10), but baptism is for men and women (Galatians 3:28; Acts 8:12). (4) Circumcision was performed on the male infant’s eighth day (Genesis 17:12), but baptism is to be performed when one believes and repents (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38). (5) Many people were circumcised before becoming Christians (Philippians 3:5), and others were circumcised afterward even though it was optional (Acts 16:3; cf. 15:1-29). If baptism replaced circumcision, how could they both be performed at the same time, among the same people, and under the same covenant (Brents, 1874, pp. 345-347)? (6) Paul declared that in Christ Jesus neither circumcision is worth anything, nor uncircumcision (Galatians 5:6). Colossians 2:11-12 does not justify nor advocate infant baptism.

If the Bible does not support infant baptism, when and how did this practice begin? Catholics acknowledge that “[i]n the course of the fourth century it became quite common for people to be born into Christian families, and by the next century, in the whole Mediterranean world, this was the common pattern. This means that the process of baptism changed considerably. Infant baptism became the general pattern” (Orlandis, 1993, p. 35; cf. Koch, 1997, p. 116). In A.D. 418, the Council of Carthage officially accepted this practice and enacted a condemnation for those who opposed it (see “Canons,” n.d., 2). This is one more piece of evidence that infant baptism is not commanded by God, but rather is a man-made tradition.

Finally, according to Catholicism, what happens to the babies who do not receive baptism soon after they are born? According to the Catholic Catechism, babies are born with sin, and should be baptized so they may be “freed from the power of darkness and brought into the realm of the freedom of the children of God” (1994, 1250). In other words, little babies are condemned in spiritual darkness and separated from any spiritual blessing. The provincial Council of Cologne even declared that “[f]aith teaches us that infants...are excluded from the kingdom of heaven if they die [unbaptized]” (quoted in “The Existence of Limbo...,” 2006, bracketed item in orig.) Nevertheless, it is also declared that

[a]s regards children who have died without Baptism, the Church can only entrust them to the mercy of God, as she does in her funeral rites for them. Indeed, the great mercy of God who desires that all men should be saved, and Jesus’ tenderness toward children which caused him to say: “Let the children come to me, do not hinder them,” allow us to hope that there is a way of salvation for children who have died without Baptism (Catechism..., 1994, 1261, emp. added).

On one hand, Catholicism asserts that little children, without baptism, are in spiritual bondage, while, on the other hand, it wants us to believe that “there is a way of salvation for those children who died without baptism.” Does this mean that little children are contaminated with original sin at birth but are liberated from this sin at death? If there is a “way of salvation for those children who died without baptism,” why should Catholics baptize their babies at all?

Such incongruity can only be the result of a doctrine that lacks biblical authority. Infants are gifts from God, pure and unblemished by the world (Psalm 127:3). As they grow, precious little ones can learn what sin is, and what its consequences are. Hopefully, as accountable persons they will realize their need for forgiveness from God, and, ultimately, they will choose between believing and being baptized to be saved (Mark 16:16), and disobeying and living eternally separated from God (2 Thessalonians 1:9).

REFERENCES

Brents, T.W. (1874), The Gospel Plan of Salvation (Bowling Green, KY: Guardian of Truth Foundation, 1987 reprint).

“Canons” (no date), Council of Carthage [On-line], URL: http://www.seanmultimedia.com/Pie_Council_Of_Carthage_May_1_418.html.

Catechism of the Catholic Church (1994), (Mahwah, NY: Paulist Press).

Domínguez, J. (2006), “Baptism of Children, Infants, and Babies” [“Bautismo de los Niños, de los Infantes, de los Bebés”], [On-line], URL: http://biblia.com/cpb/bautismo.htm.

“The Existence of Limbo: A Common Doctrine from Which It Would be Rash to Depart...” (2006), [On-line], URL: http://www.tldm.org/news8/Limbo.htm#_ednref20#_ednref20.

Gibbons, James C. (1891), The Faith of Our Fathers (Baltimore: John Murphy).

Hibbard, F.G. (1843), Christian Baptism: In Two Parts (New York: G. Lane & P.P. Sandford).

“Infant Baptism” (no date), Catholic Answers, [On-line], URL: http://www.catholic.com/library/infant_baptism.asp.

Koch, Carl (1997), A Popular History of the Catholic Church (Winona, MN: Saint Mary’s Press).

Lyons, Eric (2003), “Does Baptism Replace Circumcision?,” [On-line], URL: http://apologeticspress.org/articles/2287.

Orlandis, José (1993), A Short History of the Catholic Church, trans. Michael Adams (New York: Scepter).

Pinedo, Moisés (2009), “Are Children Born With Sin?,” [On-line], URL: http://apologeticspress.org/articles/240109.

Vine, W.E. (1966), An Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words (Old Tappan, NJ: Fleming H. Revell).

Singing Songs in a Strange Land by Jim McGuiggan


http://theabidingword.com/logos/index.html

Singing Songs in a Strange Land

Isaiah 35 speaks to a sinful nation in captivity in Babylon’s flat land, a nation longing for home among its hills and mountains in Judea. Their heartache and the fact that they have shamed God just by being in captivity (Ezekiel 36:20, passim) has left them songless. Babylon’s god Marduk must have been too strong for Yahweh. How could they sing about their God and home while their grinning captors mock them”—sing us a song about Zion.” (Psalm 137)? No wonder many of them hung their unused harps on the willow branches. Babylon made their songs sound fake, wishful thinking—how can you sing (Psalm 46), “God is our refuge and strength; a very present help in trouble” when you’re being hauled off away from all you love?

Many things can leave us songless. Singing, “Thank you Lord for loving me and thank you Lord for blessing me…” might make you want to get sick! Agony entered your home a long time ago and never left and despite anguished prayers nothing changes so let us all sing, “What a friend we have in Jesus; all our…griefs to bear…”
Sigh.
And then one Sunday morning you slip into your familiar seat and you see strangers in the same row looking your way with pleasant smiles and friendly nods. You make the effort, rise and greet them, speak your name and ask theirs.

“I’m Daniel,” one says. Then, “Shadrach,” “Meshach,” “Abed-Nego.”And with one voice they say, “We’re so pleased to meet you. A great multitude of us (Hebrews 12:1) heard of your trouble and we were sent to say hello to let you know you were not forgotten. We’re not quite sure why we were chosen to come but…“

And you interrupt to say, “Oh, but I know why you would have been chosen you. You each went through so much trouble.”

“Ah, yes,” Shadrach says, “but that’s all past and we are blessed.” Then Abed-Nego says, “And believe us, our trouble was no more stressful than yours has been and is.”

You return to your place and somehow feel more able to sing. You rise to sing with everyone else. The song-leader announces the hymn: “Father Hear The Prayer We Offer’ and, look, it’s Him. The hands He holds the book with….what are those marks? It’s, Him! He nods in your direction and together everyone gallantly sings songs of Zion “in a foreign land” (Psalm 137:4)

Father, hear the prayer we offer:
Nor for ease that prayer shall be,
But for strength, that we may ever
Live our lives courageously.

Not forever by still waters
Would we idly, quiet stay;
But would smite the living fountains
From the rocks along our way.

Be our strength in hours of weakness,
In our wanderings be our Guide;
Through endeavor, failure, danger,
Father, be Thou at our side.

Let our path be bright or dreary,
Storm or sunshine be our share;
May our souls in hope unweary
Make Thy work our ceaseless prayer.

LEARNED IGNORANCE? by steve finnell


http://steve-finnell.blogspot.com/2017/03/learned-ignorance-by-steve-finnell.html

LEARNED IGNORANCE? by steve finnell


Perhaps the biggest threat to Christianity is, "learned ignorance."

Acts 2:38 Then Peter said to them, "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.(NKJV)

Ninety nine percent of those who believe that baptized "for" the remission of sins actually means baptized "because" your sins have already been forgiven, learn that from Bible commentaries, preachers, or books about Bible doctrine. In other words, learned ignorance. You cannot believe that "for" means "because of" by reading Acts 2:38 in the Bible. It has to be by, learned ignorance.

Romans 5:12 Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, thus death spread to all men, because all sinned---(NKJV)

Ninety nine percent of those who believe that unborn babies and infants are guilty of original sin, inherited from Adam, believe it because they have been mistaught by reading Bible commentaries, listening to preachers, or reading books about Bible doctrine. That would be, learned ignorance. Romans 5:12 clearly states, death through sin spread to all men, "because all sinned." 

God does not create sinners. Satan was not created a sinner, he rebelled against God and became a sinner. Adam and Eve were not created as sinners, they disobeyed God becoming sinners. All men are not born guilty of Adam's sin, they are not born sinners,  men are sinners because they sin.

Matthew 4:10 Then Jesus said to him. "Away with you, Satan! For it is written, "You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve." (NKJV)

You cannot read Matthew 4:10 and believe it is permissible to to worship a dead Pope, the Virgin Mary, and other dead saints my offering up prayers to them. You can only believe that by reading church catechisms, listing to priests, and reading extra-Biblical Catholic doctrine. That would be, learned ignorance.

There is no Scripture that teaches to pray to men, dead or alive. Worship is reserved for God and His Son Jesus the Christ. 

The Bereans had the cure for learned ignorance, they searched the Scriptures for the truth.

Acts 17:10-11 Then the brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea. When they arrived, they went to the synagogue of the Jews. 11 These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that that received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to to find out whether these things were so. (NKJV)


Will learned ignorance be excused on Judgement Day? 

God's gift of eternal life is in His Son by Roy Davison

http://www.oldpaths.com/Archive/Davison/Roy/Allen/1940/lifeintheson.html

God's gift of eternal life is in His Son

“This is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son” (1 John 5:11). Life is promised “in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 1:1).

Man is mortal. Each day brings us one day closer to the day of our death.

Death is in the world as a consequence of sin: “Through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned” (Romans 5:12).

All who sin, deserve to die: “The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23).

Do you want to live for ever with the Lord? Although we deserve to die, we can receive eternal life as a gift of grace from God: “God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son” (1 John 5:11). “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23), “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:23, 24).

This eternal life is 'in Christ' because it is 'in Christ' that we are redeemed, that we are justified by the grace of God. There is no salvation outside of Christ!

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them. ... For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:17-19, 21).

“Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, 'Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree'), that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith” (Galatians 3:13, 14). To the Gentiles Paul wrote: “But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ” (Ephesians 2:13); “that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ through the gospel” (Ephesians 3:6).

Every spiritual blessing is in Christ: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love” (Ephesians 1:3, 4). God “has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began” (2 Timothy 1:9).

God's plan of salvation was ready before the creation of the world. In anticipation, God's grace was given to us in Christ Jesus: the redeemed would be sanctified in Christ. Paul calls us “the saints in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:1; 4:21). The 'saints' are those who are sanctified in Christ. Salvation is “in Christ” (2 Timothy 2:10). There is no salvation outside of Christ!

“In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace” (Ephesians 1:7). “In Him also we have obtained an inheritance” (Ephesians 1:11).

“The gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23).

Thus, if we want to inherit eternal life, we must be in Christ. How do we get into Christ?

According to Galatians 3:13, 14, the Gentiles can receive the blessing of Abraham in Christ. Later in the chapter, Paul tells us how we get into Christ. “For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ” (Galatians 3:26, 27).

On the basis of our faith that Jesus is the Son of God, that He died for our sins and rose the third day, we are baptized into Christ.

One can only be baptized into Christ if one was not yet in Christ before baptism. Since one has eternal life only in Christ (Romans 6:23), one does not yet have eternal life before baptism.

Jesus said we must be born of water and the Spirit to enter the kingdom of God (John 3:5). He also said: “He who believes and is baptized will be saved” (Mark 16:16).

“For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body” (1 Corinthians 12:13). “For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ” (Galatians 3:27).

What happens at baptism? Paul explains: “3 Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? 4 Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, 6 knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. 7 For he who has died has been freed from sin. 8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, 9 knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him. 10 For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. 11 Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:3- 11).

We are therefore baptized into Christ because we take part in His death through baptism (which is a burial)! “Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death” (Romans 6:3).

Through baptism we also take part in His resurrection! “We were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:4). Our old man of sin is crucified with Him (Romans 6:6) and we are “alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:11).

“For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ” (Galatians 3:27).

That we are baptized into Christ also explains why Peter gives the command: “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38) and why Paul was commanded: “Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord” (Acts 22:16) and why Peter says that baptism saves (1 Peter 3:21). Our sins are washed away, we are forgiven, we are saved at baptism because we are baptized into Christ our Savior!

This means that people who think salvation is possible by faith alone without baptism, and view baptism as only a symbol, have not yet experienced valid baptism. By their own testimony, they were not baptized into Christ, they were not baptized into His death. They are therefore still outside of Christ and still do not have eternal life.

“God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son” (1 John 5:11). “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23).

How do we get into Christ? “As many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ” (Galatians 3:27). “Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?” (Romans 6:3).

God's gift of eternal life is in His Son.

If you have not been baptized into Christ, do not wait a day longer! If you believe that Jesus is the Son of God, if you are sorry for your sins and are willing to confess your faith, then on the basis of that faith, repentance and confession, you can be baptized into Christ and in Him you will have eternal life.

Roy Davison

The Scripture quotations in this article are from
The New King James Version. ©1979,1980,1982,
Thomas Nelson Inc., Publishers unless indicated otherwise.
Permission for reference use has been granted.

Published in The Old Paths Archive
(http://www.oldpaths.com)

Bible Reading for May 25 and 26 by Gary Rose


Bible Reading for May 25 and 26

World  English  Bible


May 25

Judges 7, 8

Jdg 7:1 Then Jerubbaal, who is Gideon, and all the people who were with him, rose up early, and encamped beside the spring of Harod: and the camp of Midian was on the north side of them, by the hill of Moreh, in the valley.

Jdg 7:2 Yahweh said to Gideon, The people who are with you are too many for me to give the Midianites into their hand, lest Israel vaunt themselves against me, saying, My own hand has saved me.

Jdg 7:3 Now therefore proclaim in the ears of the people, saying, Whoever is fearful and trembling, let him return and depart from Mount Gilead. There returned of the people twenty-two thousand; and there remained ten thousand.

Jdg 7:4 Yahweh said to Gideon, The people are yet too many; bring them down to the water, and I will try them for you there: and it shall be, that of whom I tell you, This shall go with you, the same shall go with you; and of whoever I tell you, This shall not go with you, the same shall not go.

Jdg 7:5 So he brought down the people to the water: and Yahweh said to Gideon, Everyone who laps of the water with his tongue, as a dog laps, you shall set him by himself; likewise everyone who bows down on his knees to drink.

Jdg 7:6 The number of those who lapped, putting their hand to their mouth, was three hundred men: but all the rest of the people bowed down on their knees to drink water.

Jdg 7:7 Yahweh said to Gideon, By the three hundred men who lapped will I save you, and deliver the Midianites into your hand; and let all the people go every man to his place.

Jdg 7:8 So the people took food in their hand, and their trumpets; and he sent all the men of Israel every man to his tent, but retained the three hundred men: and the camp of Midian was beneath him in the valley.

Jdg 7:9 It happened the same night, that Yahweh said to him, Arise, go down into the camp; for I have delivered it into your hand.

Jdg 7:10 But if you fear to go down, go with Purah your servant down to the camp:

Jdg 7:11 and you shall hear what they say; and afterward your will hands be strengthened to go down into the camp. Then went he down with Purah his servant to the outermost part of the armed men who were in the camp.

Jdg 7:12 The Midianites and the Amalekites and all the children of the east lay along in the valley like locusts for multitude; and their camels were without number, as the sand which is on the seashore for multitude.

Jdg 7:13 When Gideon had come, behold, there was a man telling a dream to his fellow; and he said, Behold, I dreamed a dream; and behold, a cake of barley bread tumbled into the camp of Midian, and came to the tent, and struck it so that it fell, and turned it upside down, so that the tent lay flat.

Jdg 7:14 His fellow answered, This is nothing else save the sword of Gideon the son of Joash, a man of Israel: into his hand God has delivered Midian, and all the army.

Jdg 7:15 It was so, when Gideon heard the telling of the dream, and its interpretation, that he worshiped; and he returned into the camp of Israel, and said, Arise; for Yahweh has delivered into your hand the army of Midian.

Jdg 7:16 He divided the three hundred men into three companies, and he put into the hands of all of them trumpets, and empty pitchers, with torches within the pitchers.

Jdg 7:17 He said to them, Look on me, and do likewise: and behold, when I come to the outermost part of the camp, it shall be that, as I do, so you shall do.

Jdg 7:18 When I blow the trumpet, I and all who are with me, then blow the trumpets also on every side of all the camp, and say, For Yahweh and for Gideon.

Jdg 7:19 So Gideon, and the hundred men who were with him, came to the outermost part of the camp in the beginning of the middle watch, when they had but newly set the watch: and they blew the trumpets, and broke in pieces the pitchers that were in their hands.

Jdg 7:20 The three companies blew the trumpets, and broke the pitchers, and held the torches in their left hands, and the trumpets in their right hands with which to blow; and they cried, The sword of Yahweh and of Gideon.

Jdg 7:21 They stood every man in his place around the camp; and all the army ran; and they shouted, and put them to flight.

Jdg 7:22 They blew the three hundred trumpets, and Yahweh set every man's sword against his fellow, and against all the army; and the army fled as far as Beth Shittah toward Zererah, as far as the border of Abel Meholah, by Tabbath.

Jdg 7:23 The men of Israel were gathered together out of Naphtali, and out of Asher, and out of all Manasseh, and pursued after Midian.

Jdg 7:24 Gideon sent messengers throughout all the hill country of Ephraim, saying, Come down against Midian, and take before them the waters, as far as Beth Barah, even the Jordan. So all the men of Ephraim were gathered together, and took the waters as far as Beth Barah, even the Jordan.

Jdg 7:25 They took the two princes of Midian, Oreb and Zeeb; and they killed Oreb at the rock of Oreb, and Zeeb they killed at the winepress of Zeeb, and pursued Midian: and they brought the heads of Oreb and Zeeb to Gideon beyond the Jordan.


Jdg 8:1 The men of Ephraim said to him, Why have you treated us this way, that you didn't call us, when you went to fight with Midian? They rebuked him sharply.

Jdg 8:2 He said to them, What have I now done in comparison with you? Isn't the gleaning of the grapes of Ephraim better than the vintage of Abiezer?

Jdg 8:3 God has delivered into your hand the princes of Midian, Oreb and Zeeb: and what was I able to do in comparison with you? Then their anger was abated toward him, when he had said that.

Jdg 8:4 Gideon came to the Jordan, and passed over, he, and the three hundred men who were with him, faint, yet pursuing.

Jdg 8:5 He said to the men of Succoth, Please give loaves of bread to the people who follow me; for they are faint, and I am pursuing after Zebah and Zalmunna, the kings of Midian.

Jdg 8:6 The princes of Succoth said, Are the hands of Zebah and Zalmunna now in your hand, that we should give bread to your army?

Jdg 8:7 Gideon said, Therefore when Yahweh has delivered Zebah and Zalmunna into my hand, then I will tear your flesh with the thorns of the wilderness and with briers.

Jdg 8:8 He went up there to Penuel, and spoke to them in like manner; and the men of Penuel answered him as the men of Succoth had answered.

Jdg 8:9 He spoke also to the men of Penuel, saying, When I come again in peace, I will break down this tower.

Jdg 8:10 Now Zebah and Zalmunna were in Karkor, and their armies with them, about fifteen thousand men, all who were left of all the army of the children of the east; for there fell one hundred twenty thousand men who drew sword.

Jdg 8:11 Gideon went up by the way of those who lived in tents on the east of Nobah and Jogbehah, and struck the army; for the army was secure.

Jdg 8:12 Zebah and Zalmunna fled; and he pursued after them; and he took the two kings of Midian, Zebah and Zalmunna, and confused all the army.

Jdg 8:13 Gideon the son of Joash returned from the battle from the ascent of Heres.

Jdg 8:14 He caught a young man of the men of Succoth, and inquired of him: and he described for him the princes of Succoth, and its elders, seventy-seven men.

Jdg 8:15 He came to the men of Succoth, and said, See Zebah and Zalmunna, concerning whom you taunted me, saying, Are the hands of Zebah and Zalmunna now in your hand, that we should give bread to your men who are weary?

Jdg 8:16 He took the elders of the city, and thorns of the wilderness and briers, and with them he taught the men of Succoth.

Jdg 8:17 He broke down the tower of Penuel, and killed the men of the city.

Jdg 8:18 Then said he to Zebah and Zalmunna, What kind of men were they whom you killed at Tabor? They answered, They were like you. Each one resembled the children of a king.

Jdg 8:19 He said, They were my brothers, the sons of my mother: as Yahweh lives, if you had saved them alive, I would not kill you.

Jdg 8:20 He said to Jether his firstborn, Up, and kill them. But the youth didn't draw his sword; for he feared, because he was yet a youth.

Jdg 8:21 Then Zebah and Zalmunna said, Rise and fall on us; for as the man is, so is his strength. Gideon arose, and killed Zebah and Zalmunna, and took the crescents that were on their camels' necks.

Jdg 8:22 Then the men of Israel said to Gideon, Rule over us, both you, and your son, and your son's son also; for you have saved us out of the hand of Midian.

Jdg 8:23 Gideon said to them, I will not rule over you, neither shall my son rule over you: Yahweh shall rule over you.

Jdg 8:24 Gideon said to them, I would make a request of you, that you would give me every man the earrings of his spoil. (For they had golden earrings, because they were Ishmaelites.)

Jdg 8:25 They answered, We will willingly give them. They spread a garment, and did cast therein every man the earrings of his spoil.

Jdg 8:26 The weight of the golden earrings that he requested was one thousand and seven hundred shekels of gold, besides the crescents, and the pendants, and the purple clothing that was on the kings of Midian, and besides the chains that were about their camels' necks.

Jdg 8:27 Gideon made an ephod of it, and put it in his city, even in Ophrah: and all Israel played the prostitute after it there; and it became a snare to Gideon, and to his house.

Jdg 8:28 So Midian was subdued before the children of Israel, and they lifted up their heads no more. The land had rest forty years in the days of Gideon.

Jdg 8:29 Jerubbaal the son of Joash went and lived in his own house.

Jdg 8:30 Gideon had seventy sons conceived from his body; for he had many wives.

Jdg 8:31 His concubine who was in Shechem, she also bore him a son, and he named him Abimelech.

Jdg 8:32 Gideon the son of Joash died in a good old age, and was buried in the tomb of Joash his father, in Ophrah of the Abiezrites.

Jdg 8:33 It happened, as soon as Gideon was dead, that the children of Israel turned again, and played the prostitute after the Baals, and made Baal Berith their god.

Jdg 8:34 The children of Israel didn't remember Yahweh their God, who had delivered them out of the hand of all their enemies on every side;

Jdg 8:35 neither did they show kindness to the house of Jerubbaal, who is Gideon, according to all the goodness which he had shown to Israel.


May 26

Judges 9, 10

Jdg 9:1 Abimelech the son of Jerubbaal went to Shechem to his mother's brothers, and spoke with them, and with all the family of the house of his mother's father, saying,

Jdg 9:2 Please speak in the ears of all the men of Shechem, Whether is better for you that all the sons of Jerubbaal, who are seventy persons, rule over you, or that one rule over you? Remember also that I am your bone and your flesh.

Jdg 9:3 His mother's brothers spoke of him in the ears of all the men of Shechem all these words: and their hearts inclined to follow Abimelech; for they said, He is our brother.

Jdg 9:4 They gave him seventy pieces of silver out of the house of Baal Berith, with which Abimelech hired vain and light fellows, who followed him.

Jdg 9:5 He went to his father's house at Ophrah, and killed his brothers the sons of Jerubbaal, being seventy persons, on one stone: but Jotham the youngest son of Jerubbaal was left; for he hid himself.

Jdg 9:6 All the men of Shechem assembled themselves together, and all the house of Millo, and went and made Abimelech king, by the oak of the pillar that was in Shechem.

Jdg 9:7 When they told it to Jotham, he went and stood on the top of Mount Gerizim, and lifted up his voice, and cried, and said to them, Listen to me, you men of Shechem, that God may listen to you.

Jdg 9:8 The trees went forth on a time to anoint a king over them; and they said to the olive tree, Reign over us.

Jdg 9:9 But the olive tree said to them, Should I leave my fatness, with which by me they honor God and man, and go to wave back and forth over the trees?

Jdg 9:10 The trees said to the fig tree, Come and reign over us.

Jdg 9:11 But the fig tree said to them, Should I leave my sweetness, and my good fruit, and go to wave back and forth over the trees?

Jdg 9:12 The trees said to the vine, Come and reign over us.

Jdg 9:13 The vine said to them, Should I leave my new wine, which cheers God and man, and go to wave back and forth over the trees?

Jdg 9:14 Then said all the trees to the bramble, Come and reign over us.

Jdg 9:15 The bramble said to the trees, If in truth you anoint me king over you, then come and take refuge in my shade; and if not, let fire come out of the bramble, and devour the cedars of Lebanon.

Jdg 9:16 Now therefore, if you have dealt truly and righteously, in that you have made Abimelech king, and if you have dealt well with Jerubbaal and his house, and have done to him according to the deserving of his hands

Jdg 9:17 (for my father fought for you, and risked his life, and delivered you out of the hand of Midian:

Jdg 9:18 and you have risen up against my father's house this day, and have slain his sons, seventy persons, on one stone, and have made Abimelech, the son of his female servant, king over the men of Shechem, because he is your brother);

Jdg 9:19 if you then have dealt truly and righteously with Jerubbaal and with his house this day, then rejoice in Abimelech, and let him also rejoice in you:

Jdg 9:20 but if not, let fire come out from Abimelech, and devour the men of Shechem, and the house of Millo; and let fire come out from the men of Shechem, and from the house of Millo, and devour Abimelech.

Jdg 9:21 Jotham ran away, and fled, and went to Beer, and lived there, for fear of Abimelech his brother.

Jdg 9:22 Abimelech was prince over Israel three years.

Jdg 9:23 God sent an evil spirit between Abimelech and the men of Shechem; and the men of Shechem dealt treacherously with Abimelech:

Jdg 9:24 that the violence done to the seventy sons of Jerubbaal might come, and that their blood might be laid on Abimelech their brother, who killed them, and on the men of Shechem, who strengthened his hands to kill his brothers.

Jdg 9:25 The men of Shechem set an ambush for him on the tops of the mountains, and they robbed all who came along that way by them: and it was told Abimelech.

Jdg 9:26 Gaal the son of Ebed came with his brothers, and went over to Shechem; and the men of Shechem put their trust in him.

Jdg 9:27 They went out into the field, and gathered their vineyards, and trod the grapes, and held festival, and went into the house of their god, and did eat and drink, and cursed Abimelech.

Jdg 9:28 Gaal the son of Ebed said, "Who is Abimelech, and who is Shechem, that we should serve him? Isn't he the son of Jerubbaal? and Zebul his officer? Serve the men of Hamor the father of Shechem: but why should we serve him?

Jdg 9:29 Would that this people were under my hand! then would I remove Abimelech." He said to Abimelech, Increase your army, and come out.

Jdg 9:30 When Zebul the ruler of the city heard the words of Gaal the son of Ebed, his anger was kindled.

Jdg 9:31 He sent messengers to Abimelech craftily, saying, Behold, Gaal the son of Ebed and his brothers are come to Shechem; and behold, they constrain the city to take part against you.

Jdg 9:32 Now therefore, go up by night, you and the people who are with you, and lie in wait in the field:

Jdg 9:33 and it shall be, that in the morning, as soon as the sun is up, you shall rise early, and rush on the city; and behold, when he and the people who are with him come out against you, then may you do to them as you shall find occasion.

Jdg 9:34 Abimelech rose up, and all the people who were with him, by night, and they laid wait against Shechem in four companies.

Jdg 9:35 Gaal the son of Ebed went out, and stood in the entrance of the gate of the city: and Abimelech rose up, and the people who were with him, from the ambush.

Jdg 9:36 When Gaal saw the people, he said to Zebul, Behold, there come people down from the tops of the mountains. Zebul said to him, You see the shadow of the mountains as if they were men.

Jdg 9:37 Gaal spoke again and said, Behold, there come people down by the middle of the land, and one company comes by the way of the oak of Meonenim.

Jdg 9:38 Then said Zebul to him, Where is now your mouth, that you said, Who is Abimelech, that we should serve him? is not this the people that you have despised? go out now, I pray, and fight with them.

Jdg 9:39 Gaal went out before the men of Shechem, and fought with Abimelech.

Jdg 9:40 Abimelech chased him, and he fled before him, and there fell many wounded, even to the entrance of the gate.

Jdg 9:41 Abimelech lived at Arumah: and Zebul drove out Gaal and his brothers, that they should not dwell in Shechem.

Jdg 9:42 It happened on the next day, that the people went out into the field; and they told Abimelech.

Jdg 9:43 He took the people, and divided them into three companies, and laid wait in the field; and he looked, and behold, the people came forth out of the city; He rose up against them, and struck them.

Jdg 9:44 Abimelech, and the companies that were with him, rushed forward, and stood in the entrance of the gate of the city: and the two companies rushed on all who were in the field, and struck them.

Jdg 9:45 Abimelech fought against the city all that day; and he took the city, and killed the people who were therein: and he beat down the city, and sowed it with salt.

Jdg 9:46 When all the men of the tower of Shechem heard of it, they entered into the stronghold of the house of Elberith.

Jdg 9:47 It was told Abimelech that all the men of the tower of Shechem were gathered together.

Jdg 9:48 Abimelech got him up to Mount Zalmon, he and all the people who were with him; and Abimelech took an axe in his hand, and cut down a bough from the trees, and took it up, and laid it on his shoulder: and he said to the people who were with him, What you have seen me do, make haste, and do as I have done.

Jdg 9:49 All the people likewise cut down every man his bough, and followed Abimelech, and put them to the stronghold, and set the stronghold on fire on them; so that all the men of the tower of Shechem died also, about a thousand men and women.

Jdg 9:50 Then went Abimelech to Thebez, and encamped against Thebez, and took it.

Jdg 9:51 But there was a strong tower within the city, and there fled all the men and women, and all they of the city, and shut themselves in, and got them up to the roof of the tower.

Jdg 9:52 Abimelech came to the tower, and fought against it, and drew near to the door of the tower to burn it with fire.

Jdg 9:53 A certain woman cast an upper millstone on Abimelech's head, and broke his skull.

Jdg 9:54 Then he called hastily to the young man his armor bearer, and said to him, Draw your sword, and kill me, that men not say of me, A woman killed him. His young man thrust him through, and he died.

Jdg 9:55 When the men of Israel saw that Abimelech was dead, they departed every man to his place.

Jdg 9:56 Thus God requited the wickedness of Abimelech, which he did to his father, in killing his seventy brothers;

Jdg 9:57 and all the wickedness of the men of Shechem did God requite on their heads: and on them came the curse of Jotham the son of Jerubbaal.


Jdg 10:1 After Abimelech there arose to save Israel Tola the son of Puah, the son of Dodo, a man of Issachar; and he lived in Shamir in the hill country of Ephraim.

Jdg 10:2 He judged Israel twenty-three years, and died, and was buried in Shamir.

Jdg 10:3 After him arose Jair, the Gileadite; and he judged Israel twenty-two years.

Jdg 10:4 He had thirty sons who rode on thirty donkey colts, and they had thirty cities, which are called Havvoth Jair to this day, which are in the land of Gilead.

Jdg 10:5 Jair died, and was buried in Kamon.

Jdg 10:6 The children of Israel again did that which was evil in the sight of Yahweh, and served the Baals, and the Ashtaroth, and the gods of Syria, and the gods of Sidon, and the gods of Moab, and the gods of the children of Ammon, and the gods of the Philistines; and they forsook Yahweh, and didn't serve him.

Jdg 10:7 The anger of Yahweh was kindled against Israel, and he sold them into the hand of the Philistines, and into the hand of the children of Ammon.

Jdg 10:8 They troubled and oppressed the children of Israel that year: eighteen years oppressed they all the children of Israel that were beyond the Jordan in the land of the Amorites, which is in Gilead.

Jdg 10:9 The children of Ammon passed over the Jordan to fight also against Judah, and against Benjamin, and against the house of Ephraim; so that Israel was sore distressed.

Jdg 10:10 The children of Israel cried to Yahweh, saying, We have sinned against you, even because we have forsaken our God, and have served the Baals.

Jdg 10:11 Yahweh said to the children of Israel, Didn't I save you from the Egyptians, and from the Amorites, from the children of Ammon, and from the Philistines?

Jdg 10:12 The Sidonians also, and the Amalekites, and the Maonites, did oppress you; and you cried to me, and I saved you out of their hand.

Jdg 10:13 Yet you have forsaken me, and served other gods: therefore I will save you no more.

Jdg 10:14 Go and cry to the gods which you have chosen; let them save you in the time of your distress.

Jdg 10:15 The children of Israel said to Yahweh, We have sinned: do you to us whatever seems good to you; only deliver us, we pray you, this day.

Jdg 10:16 They put away the foreign gods from among them, and served Yahweh; and his soul was grieved for the misery of Israel.

Jdg 10:17 Then the children of Ammon were gathered together, and encamped in Gilead. The children of Israel assembled themselves together, and encamped in Mizpah.

Jdg 10:18 The people, the princes of Gilead, said one to another, What man is he who will begin to fight against the children of Ammon? he shall be head over all the inhabitants of Gilead.


May  25

John 5

Joh 5:1 After these things, there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.

Joh 5:2 Now in Jerusalem by the sheep gate, there is a pool, which is called in Hebrew, "Bethesda," having five porches.

Joh 5:3 In these lay a great multitude of those who were sick, blind, lame, or paralyzed, waiting for the moving of the water;

Joh 5:4 for an angel of the Lord went down at certain times into the pool, and stirred up the water. Whoever stepped in first after the stirring of the water was made whole of whatever disease he had.

Joh 5:5 A certain man was there, who had been sick for thirty-eight years.

Joh 5:6 When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he had been sick for a long time, he asked him, "Do you want to be made well?"

Joh 5:7 The sick man answered him, "Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, but while I'm coming, another steps down before me."

Joh 5:8 Jesus said to him, "Arise, take up your mat, and walk."

Joh 5:9 Immediately, the man was made well, and took up his mat and walked. Now it was the Sabbath on that day.

Joh 5:10 So the Jews said to him who was cured, "It is the Sabbath. It is not lawful for you to carry the mat."

Joh 5:11 He answered them, "He who made me well, the same said to me, 'Take up your mat, and walk.' "

Joh 5:12 Then they asked him, "Who is the man who said to you, 'Take up your mat, and walk' ?"

Joh 5:13 But he who was healed didn't know who it was, for Jesus had withdrawn, a crowd being in the place.

Joh 5:14 Afterward Jesus found him in the temple, and said to him, "Behold, you are made well. Sin no more, so that nothing worse happens to you."

Joh 5:15 The man went away, and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well.

Joh 5:16 For this cause the Jews persecuted Jesus, and sought to kill him, because he did these things on the Sabbath.

Joh 5:17 But Jesus answered them, "My Father is still working, so I am working, too."

Joh 5:18 For this cause therefore the Jews sought all the more to kill him, because he not only broke the Sabbath, but also called God his own Father, making himself equal with God.

Joh 5:19 Jesus therefore answered them, "Most certainly, I tell you, the Son can do nothing of himself, but what he sees the Father doing. For whatever things he does, these the Son also does likewise.

Joh 5:20 For the Father has affection for the Son, and shows him all things that he himself does. He will show him greater works than these, that you may marvel.

Joh 5:21 For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son also gives life to whom he desires.

Joh 5:22 For the Father judges no one, but he has given all judgment to the Son,

Joh 5:23 that all may honor the Son, even as they honor the Father. He who doesn't honor the Son doesn't honor the Father who sent him.

Joh 5:24 "Most certainly I tell you, he who hears my word, and believes him who sent me, has eternal life, and doesn't come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.

Joh 5:25 Most certainly, I tell you, the hour comes, and now is, when the dead will hear the Son of God's voice; and those who hear will live.

Joh 5:26 For as the Father has life in himself, even so he gave to the Son also to have life in himself.

Joh 5:27 He also gave him authority to execute judgment, because he is a son of man.

Joh 5:28 Don't marvel at this, for the hour comes, in which all that are in the tombs will hear his voice,

Joh 5:29 and will come out; those who have done good, to the resurrection of life; and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of judgment.

Joh 5:30 I can of myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge, and my judgment is righteous; because I don't seek my own will, but the will of my Father who sent me.

Joh 5:31 "If I testify about myself, my witness is not valid.

Joh 5:32 It is another who testifies about me. I know that the testimony which he testifies about me is true.

Joh 5:33 You have sent to John, and he has testified to the truth.

Joh 5:34 But the testimony which I receive is not from man. However, I say these things that you may be saved.

Joh 5:35 He was the burning and shining lamp, and you were willing to rejoice for a while in his light.

Joh 5:36 But the testimony which I have is greater than that of John, for the works which the Father gave me to accomplish, the very works that I do, testify about me, that the Father has sent me.

Joh 5:37 The Father himself, who sent me, has testified about me. You have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his form.

Joh 5:38 You don't have his word living in you; because you don't believe him whom he sent.

Joh 5:39 "You search the Scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life; and these are they which testify about me.

Joh 5:40 Yet you will not come to me, that you may have life.

Joh 5:41 I don't receive glory from men.

Joh 5:42 But I know you, that you don't have God's love in yourselves.

Joh 5:43 I have come in my Father's name, and you don't receive me. If another comes in his own name, you will receive him.

Joh 5:44 How can you believe, who receive glory from one another, and you don't seek the glory that comes from the only God?

Joh 5:45 "Don't think that I will accuse you to the Father. There is one who accuses you, even Moses, on whom you have set your hope.

Joh 5:46 For if you believed Moses, you would believe me; for he wrote about me.

Joh 5:47 But if you don't believe his writings, how will you believe my words?"


May 26

John 6

Joh 6:1 After these things, Jesus went away to the other side of the sea of Galilee, which is also called the Sea of Tiberias.

Joh 6:2 A great multitude followed him, because they saw his signs which he did on those who were sick.

Joh 6:3 Jesus went up into the mountain, and he sat there with his disciples.

Joh 6:4 Now the Passover, the feast of the Jews, was at hand.

Joh 6:5 Jesus therefore lifting up his eyes, and seeing that a great multitude was coming to him, said to Philip, "Where are we to buy bread, that these may eat?"

Joh 6:6 This he said to test him, for he himself knew what he would do.

Joh 6:7 Philip answered him, "Two hundred denarii worth of bread is not sufficient for them, that everyone of them may receive a little."

Joh 6:8 One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, said to him,

Joh 6:9 "There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are these among so many?"

Joh 6:10 Jesus said, "Have the people sit down." Now there was much grass in that place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand.

Joh 6:11 Jesus took the loaves; and having given thanks, he distributed to the disciples, and the disciples to those who were sitting down; likewise also of the fish as much as they desired.

Joh 6:12 When they were filled, he said to his disciples, "Gather up the broken pieces which are left over, that nothing be lost."

Joh 6:13 So they gathered them up, and filled twelve baskets with broken pieces from the five barley loaves, which were left over by those who had eaten.

Joh 6:14 When therefore the people saw the sign which Jesus did, they said, "This is truly the prophet who comes into the world."

Joh 6:15 Jesus therefore, perceiving that they were about to come and take him by force, to make him king, withdrew again to the mountain by himself.

Joh 6:16 When evening came, his disciples went down to the sea,

Joh 6:17 and they entered into the boat, and were going over the sea to Capernaum. It was now dark, and Jesus had not come to them.

Joh 6:18 The sea was tossed by a great wind blowing.

Joh 6:19 When therefore they had rowed about twenty-five or thirty stadia, they saw Jesus walking on the sea, and drawing near to the boat; and they were afraid.

Joh 6:20 But he said to them, "It is I. Don't be afraid."

Joh 6:21 They were willing therefore to receive him into the boat. Immediately the boat was at the land where they were going.

Joh 6:22 On the next day, the multitude that stood on the other side of the sea saw that there was no other boat there, except the one in which his disciples had embarked, and that Jesus hadn't entered with his disciples into the boat, but his disciples had gone away alone.

Joh 6:23 However boats from Tiberias came near to the place where they ate the bread after the Lord had given thanks.

Joh 6:24 When the multitude therefore saw that Jesus wasn't there, nor his disciples, they themselves got into the boats, and came to Capernaum, seeking Jesus.

Joh 6:25 When they found him on the other side of the sea, they asked him, "Rabbi, when did you come here?"

Joh 6:26 Jesus answered them, "Most certainly I tell you, you seek me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate of the loaves, and were filled.

Joh 6:27 Don't work for the food which perishes, but for the food which remains to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For God the Father has sealed him."

Joh 6:28 They said therefore to him, "What must we do, that we may work the works of God?"

Joh 6:29 Jesus answered them, "This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent."

Joh 6:30 They said therefore to him, "What then do you do for a sign, that we may see, and believe you? What work do you do?

Joh 6:31 Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness. As it is written, 'He gave them bread out of heaven to eat.' "

Joh 6:32 Jesus therefore said to them, "Most certainly, I tell you, it wasn't Moses who gave you the bread out of heaven, but my Father gives you the true bread out of heaven.

Joh 6:33 For the bread of God is that which comes down out of heaven, and gives life to the world."

Joh 6:34 They said therefore to him, "Lord, always give us this bread."

Joh 6:35 Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will not be hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.

Joh 6:36 But I told you that you have seen me, and yet you don't believe.

Joh 6:37 All those who the Father gives me will come to me. Him who comes to me I will in no way throw out.

Joh 6:38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me.

Joh 6:39 This is the will of my Father who sent me, that of all he has given to me I should lose nothing, but should raise him up at the last day.

Joh 6:40 This is the will of the one who sent me, that everyone who sees the Son, and believes in him, should have eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day."

Joh 6:41 The Jews therefore murmured concerning him, because he said, "I am the bread which came down out of heaven."

Joh 6:42 They said, "Isn't this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How then does he say, 'I have come down out of heaven?' "

Joh 6:43 Therefore Jesus answered them, "Don't murmur among yourselves.

Joh 6:44 No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up in the last day.

Joh 6:45 It is written in the prophets, 'They will all be taught by God.' Therefore everyone who hears from the Father, and has learned, comes to me.

Joh 6:46 Not that anyone has seen the Father, except he who is from God. He has seen the Father.

Joh 6:47 Most certainly, I tell you, he who believes in me has eternal life.

Joh 6:48 I am the bread of life.

Joh 6:49 Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died.

Joh 6:50 This is the bread which comes down out of heaven, that anyone may eat of it and not die.

Joh 6:51 I am the living bread which came down out of heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. Yes, the bread which I will give for the life of the world is my flesh."

Joh 6:52 The Jews therefore contended with one another, saying, "How can this man give us his flesh to eat?"

Joh 6:53 Jesus therefore said to them, "Most certainly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you don't have life in yourselves.

Joh 6:54 He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.

Joh 6:55 For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.

Joh 6:56 He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood lives in me, and I in him.

Joh 6:57 As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father; so he who feeds on me, he will also live because of me.

Joh 6:58 This is the bread which came down out of heaven-not as our fathers ate the manna, and died. He who eats this bread will live forever."

Joh 6:59 He said these things in the synagogue, as he taught in Capernaum.

Joh 6:60 Therefore many of his disciples, when they heard this, said, "This is a hard saying! Who can listen to it?"

Joh 6:61 But Jesus knowing in himself that his disciples murmured at this, said to them, "Does this cause you to stumble?

Joh 6:62 Then what if you would see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before?

Joh 6:63 It is the spirit who gives life. The flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and are life.

Joh 6:64 But there are some of you who don't believe." For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who didn't believe, and who it was who would betray him.

Joh 6:65 He said, "For this cause have I said to you that no one can come to me, unless it is given to him by my Father."

Joh 6:66 At this, many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.

Joh 6:67 Jesus said therefore to the twelve, "You don't also want to go away, do you?"

Joh 6:68 Simon Peter answered him, "Lord, to whom would we go? You have the words of eternal life.

Joh 6:69 We have come to believe and know that you are the Christ, the Son of the living God."

Joh 6:70 Jesus answered them, "Didn't I choose you, the twelve, and one of you is a devil?"

Joh 6:71 Now he spoke of Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, for it was he who would betray him, being one of the twelve.