"THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW" Two Great Commandments (22:34-40)



Two Great Commandments (22:34-40)


1. In the temple during His final week prior to His crucifixion, Jesus
   was questioned by various religious groups...
   a. The Pharisees and Herodians sought to entangle Him with a
      question about paying taxes - Mt 22:15-22
   b. The Sadducees tried to trip Him on the subject of the 
      resurrection - Mt 22:23-33
   -- His answers caused people to marvel and be astonished - Mt 22:22, 33

2. The Pharisees tried once again, this time sending one of their lawyers...
   a. Testing Him as to which is the great commandment in the law - Mt 22:34-36
   b. Jesus replied by offering two great commandments
      1) The first pertained to loving God - Mt 22:37-38
      2) The second pertained to loving one's neighbor - Mt 22:39
      -- Upon these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets - Mt 22:40

3. While we no longer live under the Old Law, these "Two Great
   Commandments" are still very important to the Christian...
   a. For they certainly have their counterpart in the New Covenant
   b. And keeping the commandments of God is just as important now as
      it was under the Old Covenant - cf. 1Co 7:19; 1Jn 5:3

[It is proper to ask, therefore, do we love God and our neighbor as we
should?  Do we understand what is involved in loving God and our fellow
man?  Perhaps by reflecting upon these "Two Great Commandments" we can
find the answer to such questions...]


      1. The Israelites were expected to love God (Deut 6:5)...
         a. "with all your heart"
         b. "with all your soul"
         c. "with all your strength"
         d. "with all your mind" - cf. Mt 22:37; Mk 12:30; Lk 10:27
            (the Septuagint has "mind, soul, strength" in Deut 6:5)
         -- Emotionally, physically, intellectually, they were to love God
      2. Thus they were to love God with their whole being, not like  some who...
         a. Serve God emotionally, while committing intellectual suicide
         b. Serve God intellectually, but with no emotion
         c. Serve God emotionally and intellectually, but with no
            actual obedience requiring the exercise of strength (i.e., action)
         -- Note how the Law stated their responsibility in Deut 10:12-13

      1. Does God expect any less of us?  Of course not!  We are to love God:
         a. With all our heart - cf. 1Co 16:22 (note the use of the word "phileo")
         b. With all our soul (body and mind) - cf. Ro 12:1-2
         c. With all our strength - cf. He 10:36
         d. With all our mind - cf. Col 3:1; Php 4:8
      2. We demonstrate our love for God through keeping His commandments
         a. This is the love of God - 1Jn 5:3
         b. This is evidence that we love Jesus - Jn 14:15

      1. We enjoy a special relationship with God and Jesus - Jn 14:21-23
      2. We will abide in the love of God - Jn 15:10; 1Jn 2:5
      3. Our prayers will be answered - 1Jn 3:22

      1. By allowing God's love for us to move us - cf. 1Jn 4:9-10; Ro 5:8
         a. God loved us, even while we were still sinners
         b. When we reflect upon His love for us, we will love Him more!
      2. By asking God to help us grow in love - cf. 2Th 3:5
         a. Paul prayed that the Lord would direct the Thessalonians into the love of God
         b. If he could pray such for others, can we not pray the same for ourselves?
      3. By praying, and growing in love when He answers - cf. Ps 116:1-2
         a. David loved the Lord because He heard His supplications
         b. Perhaps if we prayed more, and received answers to our
            prayers more, we would love God more!
      4. By keeping the word of God - cf. 1Jn 2:5
         a. The love of God is perfected in those who keep God's word
         b. Therefore the more we obey Him, the more our love for God will grow!
[Do we love God any less than what was expected of the Israelites?  We
certainly have compelling reasons to love Him even more (e.g., the gift
of His Son)!  Now let's consider...]


      1. We owe it to our neighbors to love them - Ro 13:8a
      2. When fully applied, it fulfills what the Law required - Ro 13: 8b-10
         a. Five of the Ten Commandments spoke to working no ill toward
            our fellow man
         b. If one truly loves his or her neighbor, they will not be
            guilty of killing, adultery, stealing, lying, or covetousness
         c. For sins (and many others) do grave harm to our neighbor

      1. Jesus taught us to love one another - Jn 13:34-35
      2. This new command takes our love to a higher level
         a. No longer do we just love one another as we love ourselves
         b. We must love one another as Christ loved us!
            1) He loved us with the greatest love - Jn 15:13
            2) He became poor, that we might be rich - 2Co 8:9
      3. Thus no one can use low self-esteem (or low self-love) as an
         excuse not to love others as they should
      1. We demonstrate true love of one another by keeping the
         commandments of God - 2Jn 5-6
      2. This is how we know that we really love one another - 1Jn 5:2
         a. Not by just claiming to love one another
         b. But by setting the proper example, and encouraging each
            other by the example we set!

      1. We develop love for one another by being taught of God - cf.1Th 4:9-10
         a. The Thessalonians had been taught of God to love their brethren
         b. They did so remarkably, though there was always room for improvement
      2. Jesus by His own example demonstrates what true love is - 1Jn 3:16-18
      -- If we wish to learn how to love one another properly, look to
         God and Jesus!


1. How great were these two commandments...to love God, and to love
   your neighbor?
   a. "On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets."
      - Mt 22:40
   b. "Love is the fulfilling of the Law." - Ro 13:9
   -- These two commands summed up what the Old Law required of the Israelites

2. When one truly loves God, and loves his neighbor as himself...
   a. He is on the road that leads to eternal life! - cf. Lk 10:25-28
   b. He is on the path that leads to the kingdom of God! - cf. Mk 12:28-34

If you wish to receive eternal life, and become a citizen of the
kingdom, then demonstrate your love for God by obeying His commands
(cf. Mt 28:18-20; Mk 16:16), and live a life of faith in Jesus that is
focused on loving God and your fellow man! 
Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2016

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The Goodness of God and an Eternal Hell by Wayne Jackson, M.A.



The Goodness of God and an Eternal Hell

by  Wayne Jackson, M.A.


How can a “good” God condemn someone to hell forever?


The late Bertrand Russell, a renowned British agnostic, authored a small publication titled Why I Am Not A Christian. One of the reasons he cited for his unbelief was that Jesus Christ taught that there is an eternal hell for the wicked. Russell could not harmonize Christ’s doctrine about hell with the biblical concept of a just and benevolent God; hence, he rejected the teaching of Jesus and inclined toward the belief that there is no God. Russell, who lived a life of reckless abandon, echoed the sentiments of Cain: “My punishment is greater than I can bear.” On that basis, he became a determined opponent of true religion.

The problem of reconciling eternal retribution with the goodness of God has also had a significant impact on the religious world. Many religions, such as Jehovah’s Witnesses, Seventh-Day Adventists, and the World-Wide Church of God (Armstrongism), have rejected the doctrine of the eternal punishment of the wicked. Even the churches of Christ have had their advocates of this erroneous viewpoint (cf. Fudge, 1982).


An ad hominem (meaning, “to the man”) argument is a type of reasoning employed to focus upon an opponent’s inconsistency. Let us, at the outset of this discussion, utilize such in conjunction with the “no-hell” theory.

First of all, a major premise of the no-eternal-punishment dogma is the notion that such a concept is at variance with true justice. The argument might be framed like this. The Bible speaks of a “just” and “good” God; it also teaches the doctrine of eternal hell. These two positions are mutually exclusive. Therefore, the Scriptures are inconsistent, and cannot be true. We insist, however, that those who thus argue are under obligation to defend their use of the terms “just” and “good.” By whose standard are these character traits to be measured? The critics of the Bible must not be allowed to become “theological dictionaries unto themselves”! Their reasoning is based solely upon their personal ideas of how goodness and justice should be expressed. If it is true that the Scriptures teach that God has appointed eternal punishment for impenitently evil people; and if it is likewise true that the Bible affirms the justice and goodness of Jehovah, then it must follow that eternal punishment is not inconsistent with the nature of God. It is only at odds with some men’s perverted sense of goodness/justice.

Second, no one (skeptic or otherwise) is ready to concede that evil-doers are unworthy of any type of punishment. It is recognized that no society could survive in such an atmosphere. Should the rapist, the robber, and the murderer be told: “Admittedly, you have done wrong, but we (society) will not punish you for your crimes. That would be unjust.”? Is there anyone who argues that there should be no consequences resulting from criminal conduct? Absolutely not! It is conceded, therefore, that “punishment” is not inconsistent with true justice.

Third, let us take our reasoning one step further. Is it the case that genuine justice can be served even when an evil man’s punishment is extended beyond the time actually involved in the commission of his crime? Do we, for example, in our criminal justice system, ask the murderer: “Sir, how long did it take you to kill your wife?”—and then assign his incarceration accordingly? Would justice be maintained by such an approach? Of course not. Here, then, is the point—true justice, combined with genuine goodness, allows the possibility that a wrong-doer may be required to suffer a penalty that is considerably longer than the duration of his evil. The real issue, therefore, is not punishment per se, or even protracted punishment; rather, it is eternal punishment. The skeptic (or religious materialist) simply wants to tell God how long the penalty is to be! Remember, though, in a system of true justice, the offender is not allowed to set his own sentence!


Since no one ever has returned from the dead to discuss his/her personal experiences, this issue is not one that can be settled by human speculation; rather, it must be decided by divine revelation. When the relevant biblical data are assembled, it will be seen, even from man’s jaundiced viewpoint, that the fact of eternal punishment is not inconsistent with the character of a righteous God. Our case will be set forth in a series of interrelated propositions.

The Nature and Fall of Man

Man was created in the image of God (Genesis 1:26), hence, he is a volitional being. He has the power to choose good or evil. Joshua challenged Israel, “Choose you this day whom ye will serve” (Joshua 24:15). Humanity was not programmed to rebel; rather, men have “willed” to reject Heaven’s plan for living upon this Earth (see Matthew 23:37; John 5:40). Man was made upright, but he has generally sought the way of evil (Ecclesiastes 7:29). There are, however, consequences associated with this type of activity.

Sin and the Nature of God

The Bible clearly teaches that God is an absolutely holy Being (Isaiah 6:4; Revelation 4:8), i.e., He is utterly separate from evil. His holiness is demonstrated in numerous narratives in the Scriptures. At Sinai, the chasm between God and sinful Israel was vividly underscored (Exodus 19:12-25). The tabernacle arrangement, with its holy place and most holy place (the abode of God—Exodus 25:22) certainly was designed to instruct the Hebrews relative to Jehovah’s holy nature (Exodus 26:33).

The Lord’s holiness not only suggests that He cannot personally commit sin (James 1:13), but also means that He cannot ignore rebellion as if it had never happened. The prophet Habakkuk declared to Jehovah: “Your eyes are too pure to look upon evil [i.e., favorably—WJ]; you cannot tolerate wrong” (1:13, NIV). God takes no pleasure in wickedness (Psalm 5:4), and those who indulge themselves therein will be recipients of His vengeance (Psalm 11:6,7). The Bible affirms that the outpouring of divine wrath upon the ungodly is, in fact, a “revelation of the righteous judgment of God” (Romans 2:5).

Sin Separates One from God

When humanity chose to sin, it made the decision to be separated from the holy Creator. The prophet clearly stated that, “your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you” (Isaiah 59:2). In biblical parlance, “death” generally denotes a separation of some sort. When the spirit departs the body, the body is dead (James 2:26). Similarly, when a person enters a state of sinfulness, he becomes spiritually dead (Ephesians 2:1) for, by that act, he has determined to separate himself from God. Remember, this initiation of estrangement was not forced upon us by our Maker; it is totally our responsibility.

Hell—The Ultimate Separation

Inspiration describes the penalty of hell as “the second death” (Revelation 20:14), which suggests that it is the ultimate separation from God. This is forcefully emphasized in several New Testament passages. In the parable of the virgins, those unprepared virgins who “slept” (i.e., died), when awakened by the coming of the Bridegroom, wanted entrance into His presence, but the door was shut, and they were denied that association (Matthew 25:1-13). Unprofitable servants will be “cast out” (Matthew 25:30), and will hear the Lord exclaim: “Depart from me...” (Matthew 25:41). Paul expressed it like this. Those who know not God and who obey not the gospel, “shall suffer punishment, even eternal destruction from the face of the Lord and from the glory of his might” (2 Thessalonians 1:9). This abiding separation from God is but a continuation of the estrangement that the rebel cultivated in this life. The Lord is not responsible for such a reckless decision!

The Dramatic Horror of Separation from God

How is it possible to describe the spiritual state of being banished from the presence of the supreme Being of the Universe? Being alienated from Jehovah is the ultimate experience of horror. It is a separation from everything that is pure and good, everything that is right and wholesome, and everything that makes for joy and tranquility. It is, however, a spiritual experience, and since the human mind operates on the plane of the material, we really are not prepared to appreciate the gravity of such a circumstance. Hence, God has employed appropriate symbolism to describe the agonies of hell.

The spiritual abode of the wicked is a state of pain, trouble, and sorrow (Psalm 116:3). It is characterized by shame and contempt (Daniel 2:2), a realm of affliction (Jonah 2:2). Hell is a place of outer darkness where there is weeping and the gnashing of teeth (Matthew 23:30), indeed a sphere of eternal fire (Matthew 25:41), where the “worm” (a figure for gnawing anguish) does not die (Mark 9:48). The wicked are described as being beaten with stripes (Luke 12:47-48); they are recipients of God’s wrath and indignation; they experience tribulation and anguish (Romans 2:8-9); and they suffer punishment as a manifestation of the Lord’s vengeance (2 Thessalonians 1:8-9). Hell is a place of utter torment where no rest is ever known (Revelation 14:10-11). While it would not be an expression of responsible exegesis to literalize the figures of speech catalogued above, one never must forget that the symbolism is designed to emphasize the absolute terror of being abandoned by God. Moreover, the figures doubtless do not do justice to the actual reality of this eternal nightmare!

Is the Punishment Eternal in Duration?

As observed earlier, a major objection to the doctrine of hell is its everlasting nature. Must the suffering go on without end? Is it really just for one to be punished forever when he/she has only been devoted to evil for a relatively brief span in time? Consider this question for a moment. Is God just in granting eternal bliss to those who have served Him only temporarily in this world? I never have heard the Lord charged with unfairness in this instance! It must be emphasized again, the issue is not one that can be determined with the subjective reasoning of biased human emotion. The Bible must supply the answer.

The Scriptures explicitly affirm the abiding nature of divine retribution. The shame and punishment of evil people will be everlasting (Daniel 12:2; Matthew 25:46). “Everlasting” literally means “always being.” Note its contrast with “temporal” in 2 Corinthians 4:18. The claim is made, however, that “everlasting” does not always mean that which is of an absolutely unending nature. True, but in all such cases we learn that fact, not from the nature of the word itself, but from additional information in the Scriptures. The context is always the final judge of any word’s meaning. In Matthew 25:46, the “eternal” punishment of the wicked is contrasted with the “eternal” life (i.e., communion with God) of the righteous. Here, clearly, both are unending in duration. Further, Jesus emphasized that in hell, the agony does not cease (Mark 9:48), and John notes that the smoke of the “torment” of hell’s inmates “goeth up” (the Greek present tense stresses continuous action) “for ever and ever” (Revelation 14:11). Compare the duration of the blissful worship described in Revelation 4:8-10.

Also, the nature of the soul argues for eternal punishment. Consider the following: (a) Man is not wholly mortal, as materialists allege. If such were the case, one man could murder another and completely destroy him. Christ declared, however: “And be not afraid of them that kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10:28). [NOTE: The word “destroy” does not mean annihilation. “The idea is not extinction but ruin, loss, not of being, but of well-being” (Vine, 1940, p. 302).] One must conclude that the soul is immortal. (b) In one of the Lord’s discussions with the Sadducees, He said that in the resurrection men do not “die anymore: for they are equal unto the angels” (Luke 20:36). It is quite clear that there is something about man that lives forever. (c) When Peter wanted to encourage godliness in Christian women, he suggested that they should be clothed with the incorruptible apparel of a meek and quiet spirit (1 Peter 3:4). It hardly seems appropriate that a corruptible spirit should be clothed with incorruptible apparel. The implication concerning the abiding nature of the spirit is obvious. (d) Jesus said of Judas Iscariot that it would be better for him if he had never been born (Mark 14:21). If that traitor had no existence prior to his commencement as a human being, and if he was to go out of existence at death, why would it have been better had he never been born? The Lord’s statement plainly indicates that Judas’ soul, in a state of torment, would survive the death of his body.

Finally, the nature of the resurrected body demands that punishment for the wicked is everlasting. In 1 Corinthians 15:52, Paul affirms that the dead are raised “incorruptible” (cf. 1 Timothy 1:17, where the term is used of God). Elsewhere we are told that the unjust will be raised (John 5:28-29; Acts 24:15), and Christ acknowledged the punishment of both soul and body in hell (Matthew 10:28). All of these factors lead only to the conclusion that if there is punishment after death at all, then it must be eternal in its duration—unless it can be shown that there is some plan of salvation in that state. And for that view, there is absolutely no evidence at all! In fact, the Bible teaches just the opposite. (a) After death, judgment follows—not a second chance for salvation (Hebrews 9:27). (b) Between the Hadean abode of those who die saved, and those who die lost, “there is a great gulf fixed” (the perfect tense form in the Greek Testament stresses the abiding nature of the separation), and passage from one realm into another is an impossibility (Luke 16:26). Moreover, the rich man in that place of torment acknowledged that his brothers back on Earth needed to make preparation during their earthly sojourn; he knew there was no post-death plan of redemption (see Luke 16:28-31). (c) In the parable of the virgins (Matthew 25:1ff), those who “slumbered and slept” (a figure for dying) in an unprepared condition, awoke (i.e., were raised—Daniel 12:2) in precisely that same state, hence, were forbidden to enter in with the Bridegroom (Christ). There is no opportunity for obedience after death!

Divine Justice is Demonstrated by Equitable Punishment

An added dimension to this study surely must be that of “degrees of punishment.” The Scriptures teach that eternal punishment will be proportionate to what is deserved. Jesus said that in “the day of judgment” it would be “more tolerable” for those pagan cities that had received little spiritual influence, than for those cities which rejected Him in spite of seeing His marvelous deeds (Matthew 11:22-24). In one of His vivid illustrations, the Lord told of a certain servant who behaved himself in an unseemly fashion. When his master came and found him unprepared, he assigned him to punishment. Christ then made this statement: “And that servant, who knew his lord’s will, and made not ready, nor did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes; but he that knew not, and did things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. And to whomsoever much is given, of him shall much be required, and to whom they commit much, of him will they ask the more” (Luke 12:47-48). Christ indicated that there were varying levels of responsibility when He said to Pilate: “He that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin” (John 19:11). The writer of Hebrews spoke of those who would receive “sorer punishment” (10:29), and James admonished: “Be not many of you teachers, my brethren, knowing that we shall receive heavier judgment” (3:1). Of one thing we may be certain, even in the punishment of those who are evil, the Judge of all the Earth will do what is right (Genesis 18:25).

God’s Goodness Reflected in the Cross

No one—logically and effectively—can argue against the benevolence of Jehovah in the face of the cross. As was observed earlier, the holiness and justice of Deity demands that sin be addressed. Appropriate reward for good and evil is an evidence that “there is a God that judgeth in the earth” (see Psalm 58:10,11). The problem is—how can a just God keep from sending rebellious man to hell? The answer is—through the redemptive work of Jesus Christ. Paul affirmed, in Romans 3:21-26, that God has shown His righteousness in setting forth Christ to be a propitiation for sin. In this loving act, He preserves His own righteousness, yet, at the same time, He becomes the Justifier of those who, through faith, are obedient to His Son (cf. Hebrews 5:8-9).

When Christ died upon the cross, it was not for any sin that He personally had committed. Though He was tempted in all points like as we are, He had no sin (Hebrews 4:15). When Peter wrote that Jesus “did not sin,” he employed a verbal tense which suggests that the Lord never sinned—not even once (1 Peter 2:22)! Isaiah repeatedly emphasized the substitutionary nature of the Lord’s death when he wrote: “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.... Jehovah hath laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:5-6). When the prophet declared that our “iniquity” was laid upon the Son of God, he employed a figure of speech known as metonymy (one thing is put for another)—in this case, the cause being put for the effect. In other words, God did not actually put our sins upon Christ, but He put the penalty of our wrongs upon His Son at Calvary. Christ bore our “hell” twenty centuries ago. In spite of the fact, therefore, that all sinners deserve to be lost, the Lord has provided a way to “escape the judgment of hell” (cf. Matthew 23:32). Again we stress—no man can argue against the love of God in light of His unspeakable gift at the cross!

When all of the data are gathered and analyzed in balance, the doctrine of eternal punishment is not at variance with the character of the Creator.


Fudge, Edward (1982), The Fire That Consumes (Houston, TX: Providential Press).

Vine, W.E. (1940), An Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words (Westwood, NJ: Revell).

The Essentiality of Evidence in Christianity by Eric Lyons, M.Min.



The Essentiality of Evidence in Christianity

by  Eric Lyons, M.Min.

Though “the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God” is mind-boggling, and though “His judgments and His ways” are “unsearchable” and “past finding out” (Romans 11:33; Deuteronomy 29:29), and even though finite man will never fully be able to wrap his mind around a holy, infinite, omnipotent, omniscient Creator, nevertheless, God has consistently dealt with mankind in rational ways providing the evidence needed for a reasonable faith. Consider, for example, how God has always ensured that enough evidence was available for honest, truth-seekers to know that He exists (cf. Proverbs 8:17; Matthew 7:7-8). Paul wrote: “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse” (Romans 1:20, emp. added). Since the time of Adam and Eve, mankind has been able to clearly see how “the things that are made” testify on behalf of a powerful, invisible Creator. As the psalmist proclaimed: “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork. Day unto day utters speech, and night unto night reveals knowledge. There is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard. Their line has gone out through all the earth. And their words to the end of the world” (Psalm 19:1-4). The reason why “the fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God’” (Psalm 14:1, emp. added), is because God has always given man adequate evidence for His existence. Sadly, the foolish person dismisses the evidence.

When the prophet Samuel addressed the nation of Israel at Saul’s coronation, he did not merely deliver an emotionally based speech. He commanded them, saying, “[S]tand still, that I may reason with you before the Lord” (1 Samuel 12:7, emp. added). Similarly, Isaiah wrote: “‘Come now, and let us reason together,’ says the Lord, ‘Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow’” (Isaiah 1:18, emp. added). Consider also the stark contrast between Elijah and the prophets of Baal. In hopes of getting the attention of the bogus god Baal, these emotionally charged, pretend prophets “leaped about the altar,” “cried aloud,” and “cut themselves, as was their custom, with knives and lances, until the blood gushed out on them” (1 Kings 18:26,28)—all for naught. Elijah, on the other hand, had a rational faith that was grounded in the Word of God. He said to God, “I have done all these things at Your Word” (1 Kings 18:36, emp. added). His personal faith, as well as the message of faith that He preached, were rooted and grounded in the Heavenly revealed, rational Word of Almighty God. Biblical faith, after all, “comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17).

This same kind of rational, evidence-based faith and preaching can be found in the New Testament. Consider the actions and teachings of Jesus. He could have merely announced to the world that He was the Messiah. He could have only told people that He was the Son of God. He could have expected everyone simply to believe His claims that He was Heaven-sent, and never given His contemporaries any proof for His deity. However, even though there were occasions when Jesus chose not to offer additional proof of His deity (because of the hard-heartedness of many of His hearers; e.g., Mark 8:11-12), Jesus understood the essentiality of evidence. During His earthly ministry, He repeatedly gave ample proof of His deity. He noted how John the Baptizer bore witness on His behalf (John 5:33). He said, “[T]he Father Himself, who sent Me, has testified of Me” (John 5:36, emp. added; cf. John 1:32-33; Matthew 3:16-17). He spoke of how “the Scriptures…testify of Me” (John 5:39, emp. added), and specifically noted how “Moses…wrote about Me” (John 5:46, emp. added). He also noted how His miraculous works bore witness to His deity (John 5:36). Jesus performed many miracles that demonstrated His power over nature, disease, demons, and death. He understood that His own verbal testimony alone would not convince anyone in a court of law (John 5:31; cf. Deuteronomy 17:6; 19:15). Thus, at the Feast of Dedication in Jerusalem He told the unbelieving Jews, “If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe Me; but if I do, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, that you may know and believe that the Father is in Me, and I in Him” (John 10:37-38, emp. added). Sadly, His foolish, stubborn enemies repeatedly rejected the irrefutable evidence that Jesus presented on His behalf.

Perhaps the greatest evidence that Jesus presented for His divinity was His miraculous resurrection. He could have risen from the dead and never appeared to anyone on Earth. He could have departed from the tomb and allowed speculation to run wild. Christianity could have begun on the back of uncertainty and mysticism. Instead, Jesus was “declared to be the Son of God…by the resurrection from the dead” (Romans 1:4). He appeared alive to Mary Magdalene, to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus, to the apostles, to James, and to over 500 disciples at once, most of whom were still living and could be questioned several years later when Paul, who also witnessed the risen Savior, wrote 1 Corinthians (15:5-8). Jesus “presented Himself alive after His suffering by many infallible proofs” (Acts 1:3, emp. added), because He is the Head of a reasonable religion. The excitement, energy, and courage that early disciples manifested was grounded in the rock-solid proofs of Jesus’ resurrection (among other things, e.g., fulfilled prophecies). The emotional, energetic, evangelistic faith of 21st-century Christians must likewise be rooted firm and deep in evidence.

Jesus was not the only New Testament figure who demonstrated the necessity of a knowledge-based faith. Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John packed their gospel accounts with confirmation of Jesus being the Christ. Consider just the beginnings of these four books. Matthew began his account of the Gospel by genealogically proving that Jesus was the promised seed of Abraham and David (Matthew 1:1-17). He then noted how Jesus was born of a virgin, fulfilling the prophecy of Isaiah 7:14 (Matthew 1:18-25). Mark began “the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God” (Mark 1:1) by quoting Malachi 3:1 and Isaiah 40:3. Mark proved propheticallythat John the Baptizer was “the voice of the one crying in the wilderness,” and Jesus was “the LORD” (1:3). Luke also opened his account of the Good News with an appeal to evidence, knowledge, and understanding.

Inasmuch as many have taken in hand to set in order a narrative of those things which have been fulfilled among us, just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word delivered them to us, it seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write to you an orderly account, most excellent Theophilus, that you may know the certainty of those things in which you were instructed (1:1-4).

Then there is John’s gospel account, which, from beginning to end, is packed with proof that Jesus is the miracle-working Son of God (1:3: 2:1-11; 20:30-31; 21:25). In fact, the stated purpose of his record of the various miracles of Christ (and there were many others John did not mention) was so that “you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name” (20:30-31). If biblical faith is merely “a firm belief in something for which there is no proof,” which is one definition Merriam-Webster (on-line) gives for the word “faith” (2011), then why did John and the synoptic writers spend so much time offering proof for Who Jesus is? Answer: Because the truthful, reasonable facts of God, His Word, and His Son are the foundation of real faith (John 8:31-32; 17:17; Romans 10:17).

When the apostle Paul stood before Festus and King Agrippa, he spoke of those things “which the prophets and Moses said would come—that the Christ would suffer that He would be the first to rise from the dead, and would proclaim light to the Jewish people and to the Gentiles” (Acts 26:23-24). However, as Paul “made his defense, Festus said with a loud voice, ‘Paul, you are beside yourself! Much learning is driving you mad!’” (26:24). How did Paul respond? Did he answer with a mere emotional appeal? Did he welcome the idea of an unreasonable, unverifiable Gospel? Not at all. Paul humbly, but confidently, replied: “I am not mad, most noble Festus, but speak the words of truth and reason” (Acts 26:25).


Sadly, most accountable people in the world will never accept the mountain of evidence for Christianity and become Christians (Matthew 7:13-14). But, those of us who choose to put our faith in God, Jesus, and His Word, can do so because “the truth” can be known (John 8:32), rightly obeyed (Romans 6:17; 10:12-13), and logically defended (1 Peter 3:15).

The Death of David’s Son by Kyle Butt, M.Div.



The Death of David’s Son

by  Kyle Butt, M.Div.

David’s adulterous relationship with Bathsheba is one of the most infamous, heartbreaking events recorded in the Old Testament. The emotional pain and anguish caused by David’s sin plagued the king for the remainder of his days. In the midst of the biblical record concerning God’s dealing with David’s sin, skeptics believe they have found a legitimate moral complaint against the God of the Bible (Wells, 2001).

When God’s prophet Nathan confronted David about his sin, David’s heart was broken and he repented immediately. In response to his humble reaction, Nathan said: “The Lord also has put away your sin; you shall not die” (2 Samuel 12:13). Yet, even though David would not die, several consequences of his actions would result in spite of the Lord’s forgiveness. Nathan explained to David: “However, because by this deed you have given great occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme, the child also who is born to you shall surely die” (12:14). The subsequent verses explain: “And the Lord struck the child that Uriah’s wife bore to David, and it became very ill.... Then on the seventh day it came to pass that the child died” (12:15,18).

Upon reading this text, the skeptic suggests that God is unjust for killing an innocent child. How could a loving God kill an innocent child? The skeptic further suggests that this passage proves that God showed favoritism to David, because Leviticus 20:10 says that, under the Law of Moses, a man who committed adultery with another man’s wife should be killed. Does the story of David’s sin and God’s reaction to it reveals moral deficiency and unjust favoritism in God’s character?

Did God Show Favoritism?

First, let us consider God’s alleged favoritism to David. Why was it the case that David was not killed for his adultery, when the Old Testament commanded that adulterers should be killed? One plausible reason is that there was a stipulation placed on the death sentence for those who committed adultery. In order to sentence adulterers to death, a minimum of two witnesses had to present evidence against the accused. Deuteronomy 17:6 says: “Whoever is worthy of death shall be put to death on the testimony of two or three witnesses, but he shall not be put to death on the testimony of one witness.” In the case of David and Bathsheba, no witnesses came forward to testify against them. In fact, the text indicates that the only reason Nathan knew about the incident was miraculous revelation from God. In short, there is no biblical indication that the minimum of two human witnesses could not be found to testify against David (see Miller, 2003). Mosaic Law would not include God’s omniscient ability as testimony, thus, David would not have been condemned by the Law of Moses. In fact, without God’s intervention, it seems that David’s sin might have gone undetected. [NOTE: The same could be said for David’s plot to kill Uriah. David sent Uriah back to Joab, the army commander, with a letter detailing the procedure to put Uriah to death. Yet the text indicates that Uriah did not read the letter, but passed it to Joab. The biblical text also indicates that Joab read the letter, but there is no record of any other person being privy to the information in it. Thus, if only Joab read the letter, then he would have been the lone witness testifying to Uriah’s murder, and the requirements for the death penalty from the Law of Moses would not have been met for David’s crime of murder either.]

David’s Son

Having successfully dealt with the misguided accusation of God’s alleged favoritism, let us move on to discuss God’s action regarding the death of David’s son. The skeptic charges God with injustice because the Bible says that God struck the newborn child and he died. According to the skeptic, a loving God would never kill an innocent child.

In reply to such an allegation, it must be admitted that the Bible attributes the death of the child to God. One reason this instance is so striking is because the language in the text clearly states that God struck the child. The fact that the child died due to God’s actions should not surprise a person who has read the Bible. The Bible records numerous instances in which God’s action directly caused the deaths of innocent children. When God sent the Flood on the ancient world, some estimate that there were two billion people alive at that time. Millions of those people who died in the Flood would have been infants and innocent children (Genesis 7:21). Furthermore, when God destroyed the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah due to the wickedness of their adult inhabitants, it is only reasonably to conclude that many children and infants died in the destruction as well (Genesis 19:24-25). In addition, God gave Saul a direct command to destroy the sinful Amalekites. That command is recorded in 1 Samuel 15:3: “Now go and attack Amalek and utterly destroy all that they have, and do not spare them. But kill both man and woman, infant and nursing child, ox and sheep, camel and donkey” (emp. added). The account of Joshua’s conquest of Canaan contains similar instances in which God ordered or condoned the physical destruction of entire populations, including innocent children (Joshua 6:21). It cannot be denied that the Bible records instances in which God condoned, ordered, and/or caused the death of innocent, sinless children.

Is Death Always Evil?

How, then, can an infinitely loving God cause the death of innocent children and still be considered loving? The skeptic simply says that if it is true that God caused the death of innocent babies, then it is impossible for a moral person to consider that God as loving. The skeptical argument goes something like this: (1) A good and loving God would not kill innocent children; (2) the God of the Bible kills innocent children; (3) therefore the God of the Bible cannot be good and loving.

At first glance, this logic seems to make sense. When examined more closely, however, there lies within this argument a faulty assumption. The faulty assumption built into this line of reasoning is that the death of an innocent child is always, in every circumstance, evil. With the assumption built in, the first premise should read like this: A good and loving God would not kill innocent children, because the death of anyone innocent is always a bad thing. The assumption that death, especially of innocent children, is always bad or morally evil, stems from the skeptic’s adherence to pure naturalism. If this physical life and material world are all that exist, then to take an innocent person out of this physical world is inherently evil, according to the skeptic.

Yet, the same Bible that tells about a God who takes the physical lives of innocent children also informs the reader that this physical world is not all there is to existence. In fact, the Bible explains that every person has a soul that will live forever, long after physical life on this Earth is over (Matthew 25:46). The Bible consistently stresses the fact that the immortal soul of each individual is of much greater value than that individual’s physical life. Jesus Christ said: “For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul” (Matthew 16:26)?

Although the skeptic might object, and claim that an answer from the Bible is not acceptable, such an objection fails for one primary reason—the skeptic used the Bible to formulate his argument. Where is it written that God is love? In the Bible (1 John 4:8). Where do we learn that the Lord did, indeed, kill or order the deaths of babies? Once again, that information comes directly from the Bible. Where, then, should we look for an answer to this alleged discrepancy? The answer should be “the Bible.” If the alleged problem is formulated from biblical testimony, then the Bible should be given the opportunity to explain itself. As long as the skeptic uses the Bible to formulate the problem, we certainly can use the Bible to solve the problem. The biblical solution to the alleged problem in this instance is that every human possesses an immortal soul that is of infinitely more value than his or her physical existence.

A Biblical Perspective on Death

With the value of the soul in mind, let us examine several verses that prove that physical death is not necessarily evil. In a letter to the Philippians, the apostle Paul was writing from prison to encourage the Christians. His letter was filled with hope and encouragement, but it also contained with some very pertinent comments about the way Paul (and God) view death. In Philippians 1:21-23, Paul wrote:

For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I live on in the flesh, this will mean fruit from my labor; yet what I shall choose I cannot tell. For I am hard pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better (emp. added).

According to the skeptic, the death of an innocent person is always, in every case, evil. In these verses, however, Paul lays that faulty assumption to rest. Paul, a faithful Christian, said that death was a welcomed visitor. In fact, Paul said that the end of his physical life on this Earth would be “far better” than its continuation. For Paul, as well as for any faithful Christian, the cessation of physical life is not loss, but gain. Such would apply to innocent children as well, since they are in a safe condition and go to paradise when they die (see Butt, 2003). It is easy to understand that an eternal, blissful life with God would have been a “far better” situation in many respects for David’s son than growing up as the illegitimate product of David’s adulterous activity.

Other verses in the Bible show that the loss of physical life is not inherently evil. The prophet Isaiah concisely summarized the situation when he was inspired to write:

The righteous perishes, and no man takes it to heart; merciful men are taken away, while no one considers that the righteous is taken away from evil. He shall enter into peace; they shall rest in their beds, each one walking in his uprightness (57:1-2, emp. added).

Isaiah recognized that people would view the death of the righteous incorrectly. He plainly stated that this incorrect view of death was due to the fact that most people do not think about the fact that when a righteous or innocent person dies, that person is “taken away from evil,” and enters “into peace.” Is the skeptic, then, accusing God of cruel and unjust actions by delivering innocent children from evil and allowing them to enter into peace?

The psalmist wrote: “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints” (116:15). Death is not inherently evil. In fact, the Bible indicates that death can be great gain in that a righteous person is taken away from evil and allowed to enter peace and rest. God looks upon the death of His faithful followers as precious. Skeptics who charge God with wickedness because He has ended the physical lives of innocent babies are in error. They refuse to recognize the reality of the immortal soul. Instead of the death of innocent children being an evil thing, it is often a blessing for the children to be taken away from a life of hardship at the hands of a sinful society, and ushered into a paradise of peace and rest. In order for a skeptic to legitimately charge God with cruelty, the skeptic must prove that there is no immortal soul, and that physical life is the only reality—neither of which is possible. Failure to acknowledge the reality of the soul and the spiritual realm will always result in a distorted view of the nature of God.

In summary, it is the case that God treated David in perfect accord with the Law of Moses, showing no partiality. Furthermore, it has been shown that since death is not inherently evil, God was not guilty of immorality by causing the child’s death. God also ushered David’s son into an eternity of bliss. Therefore, the skeptic’s charge against God fails once again to discredit His infinitely flawless character. As Abraham asked the rhetorical question in the long ago, “Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?” (Genesis 18:25). The answer has been the same throughout the millennia—a resounding “Yes.”


Butt, Kyle (2003), “Do Babies Go To Hell?,” [On-line], URL: http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/2255.

Miller, Dave (2003), “The Adulterous Woman,” [On-line], URL: http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/2324.

Wells, Steve (2001), Skeptic’s Annotated Bible, [On-line], URL: http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/2sam/12.html.

Seeing Like Paul Saw by Ken Weliever, The Preacherman


Seeing Like Paul Saw

Years ago Duffy Daugherty, the legendary Michigan State football coach, was in a tight game against UCLA. With only 14 seconds left to play the score was tied.

Daugherty sent in placekicker Dave Kaiser who booted a field goal that won the game. When Kaiser returned to the bench, Daugherty said, “Nice going, but you didn’t watch the ball after you kicked it.”

“That’s right, Coach,” Kaiser replied. “I was watching the referee instead to see how he’d signal it. I forgot my contact lenses, and I couldn’t see the goalposts.”

Kaiser, however, through years of repetitive practice could mentally see himself kicking a field goal. All he needed to do was follow through with his technique and form. His poor eyesight didn’t keep from seeing what he needed to do.

Similarly, I think of the apostle Paul. Apparently, from some of the closing comments in his epistles he had poor eyesight. In fact, some believe this was his “thorn in the flesh.” But his physical infirmity didn’t hinder him from clearly seeing matters of spiritual importance.

As we continue our thought and theme for the year, “20/20 Vision: Restoring Our Focus,” I want to consider three things we learn from Paul about vision in Philippians 3:4-14.




Can you imagine the apostle Paul convening an interdenominational  convention? It might look something like the following.


1. Preaching session, by Hymenaeus and Philetus. Their Bio:Timothy 2:17-18...Hymenaeus and Philetus...18 who have strayed concerning the truth, saying that the resurrection is already past; and have overthrown the faith of some. (NKJV)

2. Message on Christian giving, by Ananias and Sapphira. Their Bio: Acts 5:1-3 But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession. 2 And he kept back part of the proceeds, his wife also being aware of it, and brought a certain part and laid it at the apostles' feet. 3 But Peter said,"Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the price of the land for yourself? (NKJV)

3. Seminar given by a representative from, The Jerusalem Judaizers for Christ. Their Bio: Galatians 2:3-4 Yet not even Titus who was with me, being a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised. 4 But this occurred because of false brethren secretly brought in (who came in by stealth to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus,that they might bring us into bondage), (NKJV)

4. Workshop on preaching the gospel truth as a ministry for Jesus, by the Cretans. Their Bio:"Titus 1:11-12 ....teaching things which they ought not, for the sake of dishonest gain. 12 One of them, a prophet of their own, said, "Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons." (NKJV)

Paul would have never tolerated an interdenominational convention.

Paul said, Romans 16:16-17...The churches of Christ greet you. 17 Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them. (NKJV)

Contemporary believers in Christ note those who cause divisions by teaching multiple ways to become saved, and offend them by teaching things contrary to Scripture, and then invite them to participate in interdenominational conventions as preachers and teachers.

Paul said those who pervert the gospel should be accursed. (Galatians 1:6-9) Today's Christians say those who teach doctrine contrary to Scripture should be invited to preach and teach as brothers in Christ.



Are you ready for the judgment? by Roy Davison


Are you ready for the judgment?

God is "the Judge of all the earth" (Genesis 18:25). "The LORD shall judge the peoples" (Psalm 7:8 // Hebrews 10:30). "God shall judge the righteous and the wicked" (Ecclesiastes 3:17). "He has prepared His throne for judgment. He shall judge the world in righteousness, and He shall administer judgment for the peoples in uprightness" (Psalm 9:7,8). "If one man sins against another, God will judge him" (1 Samuel 2:25).

"Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, whether it is good or whether it is evil" (Ecclesiastes 12:13,14).

Judgment is coming. Life is short. All must die. Are we ready? "It is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment" (Hebrews 9:27).

We will be judged by Christ.

He said: "For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son, that all should honor the Son just as they honor the Father" (John 5:22,23).

Because Jesus is both the Son of God and the Son of Man, He has been appointed to judge mankind. Jesus said: "For as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son to have life in Himself, and has given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of Man. Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth -- those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation. I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me" (John 5:26-30).

As Paul said to the men of Athens: "Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead" (Acts 17:30,31). "It is He who was ordained by God to be Judge of the living and the dead" (Acts 10:42 -- See also 2 Timothy 4:1).

The word of Christ will judge us.

Jesus said: "If anyone hears My words and does not believe, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him -- the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day" (John 12:47,48).

Paul speaks of "the day when God will judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ, according to my gospel" (Romans 2:16); he speaks of "the righteous judgment of God, who 'will render to each one according to his deeds': eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality; but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness -- indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, on every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek; but glory, honor, and peace to everyone who works what is good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For there is no partiality with God" (Romans 2:5-11).

"So then each of us shall give account of himself to God" (Romans 14:12). "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad" (2 Corinthians 5:10).

"And if you call on the Father, who without partiality judges according to each one's work, conduct yourselves throughout the time of your sojourning here in fear" (1 Peter 1:17).

How can we get ready for the judgment?

We must know the will of God. We must do the will of God. Our sins must be forgiven through the blood of Christ.

Unfortunately, there are many who do not know the will of God, and yet think they are wise. This mistake was made by Israel many times. The Lord rebuked them:

"Even the stork in the heavens
Knows her appointed times;
And the turtledove, the swift, and the swallow
Observe the time of their coming.
But My people do not know the judgment of the Lord.
How can you say, 'We are wise,
And the law of the Lord is with us'?
Look, the false pen of the scribe certainly works falsehood.
The wise men are ashamed,
They are dismayed and taken.
Behold, they have rejected the word of the Lord;
So what wisdom do they have?"
(Jeremiah 8:7-9).

People who reject the word of God do not know 'the judgment of the LORD'. The scribes, the religious leaders, were leading the people astray. They had a 'false pen' that worked falsehood! Many people will be lost on the day of judgment because they reject the word of God and listen to religious leaders.

It is only through God's word that we can know His will.

Yet, to know the will of God is not sufficient. We must also do the will of God.

Jesus said: "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?' And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!' Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall" (Matthew 7:21-27).

We must both know and do the will of God. But what about our sins?

Our sins must be forgiven by the blood of Christ.

Jesus said: "Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life" (John 5:24).

Repentance is required. Jesus said: "Unless you repent you will all likewise perish" (Luke 13:3). This means that we must be sorry for our sins and must determine to live according to God's will. We must be baptized. Jesus said: "He who believes and is baptized will be saved" (Mark 16:16).

Get ready for the judgment.

"For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God?" (1 Peter 4:17).

Judgment begins with the house of God. We Christians can be thankful that we have escaped from condemnation through forgiveness by the blood of Christ. Yet we may not be complacent. We must seriously study the Scriptures so we can know and do the will of God.

What will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God? All who have not yet obeyed the gospel are not ready for the judgment. Their sins still separate them from God. They can be saved from the judgment by believing and obeying the word of Christ.

Are we ready for the judgment?

We must know the will of God. We must do the will of God. Our sins must be forgiven through the blood of Christ. Let's get ready! Let's be ready. Then we can "come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need" (Hebrews 4:16).

Roy Davison

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

Published in The Old Paths Archive


Bible Reading for September 11 - 13 by Gary Rose


Bible Reading for September 11 - 13

World  English  Bible

Sept. 11

Psalms 58-60

Psa 58:1 Do you indeed speak righteousness, silent ones? Do you judge blamelessly, you sons of men?

Psa 58:2 No, in your heart you plot injustice. You measure out the violence of your hands in the earth.

Psa 58:3 The wicked go astray from the womb. They are wayward as soon as they are born, speaking lies.

Psa 58:4 Their poison is like the poison of a snake; like a deaf cobra that stops its ear,

Psa 58:5 which doesn't listen to the voice of charmers, no matter how skillful the charmer may be.

Psa 58:6 Break their teeth, God, in their mouth. Break out the great teeth of the young lions, Yahweh.

Psa 58:7 Let them vanish as water that flows away. When they draw the bow, let their arrows be made blunt.

Psa 58:8 Let them be like a snail which melts and passes away, like the stillborn child, who has not seen the sun.

Psa 58:9 Before your pots can feel the heat of the thorns, he will sweep away the green and the burning alike.

Psa 58:10 The righteous shall rejoice when he sees the vengeance. He shall wash his feet in the blood of the wicked;

Psa 58:11 so that men shall say, "Most certainly there is a reward for the righteous. Most certainly there is a God who judges the earth."

Psa 59:1 Deliver me from my enemies, my God. Set me on high from those who rise up against me.

Psa 59:2 Deliver me from the workers of iniquity. Save me from the bloodthirsty men.

Psa 59:3 For, behold, they lie in wait for my soul. The mighty gather themselves together against me, not for my disobedience, nor for my sin, Yahweh.

Psa 59:4 I have done no wrong, yet they are ready to attack me. Rise up, behold, and help me!

Psa 59:5 You, Yahweh God of Armies, the God of Israel, rouse yourself to punish the nations. Show no mercy to the wicked traitors. Selah.

Psa 59:6 They return at evening, howling like dogs, and prowl around the city.

Psa 59:7 Behold, they spew with their mouth. Swords are in their lips, "For," they say, "who hears us?"

Psa 59:8 But you, Yahweh, laugh at them. You scoff at all the nations.

Psa 59:9 Oh, my Strength, I watch for you, for God is my high tower.

Psa 59:10 My God will go before me with his loving kindness. God will let me look at my enemies in triumph.

Psa 59:11 Don't kill them, or my people may forget. Scatter them by your power, and bring them down, Lord our shield.

Psa 59:12 For the sin of their mouth, and the words of their lips, let them be caught in their pride, for the curses and lies which they utter.

Psa 59:13 Consume them in wrath. Consume them, and they will be no more. Let them know that God rules in Jacob, to the ends of the earth. Selah.

Psa 59:14 At evening let them return. Let them howl like a dog, and go around the city.

Psa 59:15 They shall wander up and down for food, and wait all night if they aren't satisfied.

Psa 59:16 But I will sing of your strength. Yes, I will sing aloud of your loving kindness in the morning. For you have been my high tower, a refuge in the day of my distress.

Psa 59:17 To you, my strength, I will sing praises. For God is my high tower, the God of my mercy.

Psa 60:1 God, you have rejected us. You have broken us down. You have been angry. Restore us, again.

Psa 60:2 You have made the land tremble. You have torn it. Mend its fractures, for it quakes.

Psa 60:3 You have shown your people hard things. You have made us drink the wine that makes us stagger.

Psa 60:4 You have given a banner to those who fear you, that it may be displayed because of the truth. Selah.

Psa 60:5 So that your beloved may be delivered, save with your right hand, and answer us.

Psa 60:6 God has spoken from his sanctuary: "I will triumph. I will divide Shechem, and measure out the valley of Succoth.

Psa 60:7 Gilead is mine, and Manasseh is mine. Ephraim also is the defense of my head. Judah is my scepter.

Psa 60:8 Moab is my wash basin. I will throw my shoe on Edom. I shout in triumph over Philistia."

Psa 60:9 Who will bring me into the strong city? Who has led me to Edom?

Psa 60:10 Haven't you, God, rejected us? You don't go out with our armies, God.

Psa 60:11 Give us help against the adversary, for the help of man is vain.

Psa 60:12 Through God we shall do valiantly, for it is he who will tread down our adversaries.

Sept. 12

Psalms 61-63

Psa 61:1 Hear my cry, God. Listen to my prayer.

Psa 61:2 From the end of the earth, I will call to you, when my heart is overwhelmed. Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.

Psa 61:3 For you have been a refuge for me, a strong tower from the enemy.

Psa 61:4 I will dwell in your tent forever. I will take refuge in the shelter of your wings. Selah.

Psa 61:5 For you, God, have heard my vows. You have given me the heritage of those who fear your name.

Psa 61:6 You will prolong the king's life; his years shall be for generations.

Psa 61:7 He shall be enthroned in God's presence forever. Appoint your loving kindness and truth, that they may preserve him.

Psa 61:8 So I will sing praise to your name forever, that I may fulfill my vows daily.

Psa 62:1 My soul rests in God alone. My salvation is from him.

Psa 62:2 He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress-- I will never be greatly shaken.

Psa 62:3 How long will you assault a man, would all of you throw him down, Like a leaning wall, like a tottering fence?

Psa 62:4 They fully intend to throw him down from his lofty place. They delight in lies. They bless with their mouth, but they curse inwardly. Selah.

Psa 62:5 My soul, wait in silence for God alone, for my expectation is from him.

Psa 62:6 He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress. I will not be shaken.

Psa 62:7 With God is my salvation and my honor. The rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God.

Psa 62:8 Trust in him at all times, you people. Pour out your heart before him. God is a refuge for us. Selah.

Psa 62:9 Surely men of low degree are just a breath, and men of high degree are a lie. In the balances they will go up. They are together lighter than a breath.

Psa 62:10 Don't trust in oppression. Don't become vain in robbery. If riches increase, don't set your heart on them.

Psa 62:11 God has spoken once; twice I have heard this, that power belongs to God.

Psa 62:12 Also to you, Lord, belongs loving kindness, for you reward every man according to his work.

Psa 63:1 God, you are my God. I will earnestly seek you. My soul thirsts for you. My flesh longs for you, in a dry and weary land, where there is no water.

Psa 63:2 So I have seen you in the sanctuary, watching your power and your glory.

Psa 63:3 Because your loving kindness is better than life, my lips shall praise you.

Psa 63:4 So I will bless you while I live. I will lift up my hands in your name.

Psa 63:5 My soul shall be satisfied as with the richest food. My mouth shall praise you with joyful lips,

Psa 63:6 when I remember you on my bed, and think about you in the night watches.

Psa 63:7 For you have been my help. I will rejoice in the shadow of your wings.

Psa 63:8 My soul stays close to you. Your right hand holds me up.

Psa 63:9 But those who seek my soul, to destroy it, shall go into the lower parts of the earth.

Psa 63:10 They shall be given over to the power of the sword. They shall be jackal food.

Psa 63:11 But the king shall rejoice in God. Everyone who swears by him will praise him, for the mouth of those who speak lies shall be silenced.

Sept. 13

Psalms 64-67

Psa 64:1 Hear my voice, God, in my complaint. Preserve my life from fear of the enemy.

Psa 64:2 Hide me from the conspiracy of the wicked, from the noisy crowd of the ones doing evil;

Psa 64:3 who sharpen their tongue like a sword, and aim their arrows, deadly words,

Psa 64:4 to shoot innocent men from ambushes. They shoot at him suddenly and fearlessly.

Psa 64:5 They encourage themselves in evil plans. They talk about laying snares secretly. They say, "Who will see them?"

Psa 64:6 They plot injustice, saying, "We have made a perfect plan!" Surely man's mind and heart are cunning.

Psa 64:7 But God will shoot at them. They will be suddenly struck down with an arrow.

Psa 64:8 Their own tongues shall ruin them. All who see them will shake their heads.

Psa 64:9 All mankind shall be afraid. They shall declare the work of God, and shall wisely ponder what he has done.

Psa 64:10 The righteous shall be glad in Yahweh, and shall take refuge in him. All the upright in heart shall praise him!

Psa 65:1 Praise waits for you, God, in Zion. To you shall vows be performed.

Psa 65:2 You who hear prayer, to you all men will come.

Psa 65:3 Sins overwhelmed me, but you atoned for our transgressions.

Psa 65:4 Blessed is one whom you choose, and cause to come near, that he may live in your courts. We will be filled with the goodness of your house, your holy temple.

Psa 65:5 By awesome deeds of righteousness, you answer us, God of our salvation. You who are the hope of all the ends of the earth, of those who are far away on the sea;

Psa 65:6 Who by his power forms the mountains, having armed yourself with strength;

Psa 65:7 who stills the roaring of the seas, the roaring of their waves, and the turmoil of the nations.

Psa 65:8 They also who dwell in faraway places are afraid at your wonders. You call the morning's dawn and the evening with songs of joy.

Psa 65:9 You visit the earth, and water it. You greatly enrich it. The river of God is full of water. You provide them grain, for so you have ordained it.

Psa 65:10 You drench its furrows. You level its ridges. You soften it with showers. You bless it with a crop.

Psa 65:11 You crown the year with your bounty. Your carts overflow with abundance.

Psa 65:12 The wilderness grasslands overflow. The hills are clothed with gladness.

Psa 65:13 The pastures are covered with flocks. The valleys also are clothed with grain. They shout for joy! They also sing.

Psa 66:1 Make a joyful shout to God, all the earth!

Psa 66:2 Sing to the glory of his name! Offer glory and praise!

Psa 66:3 Tell God, "How awesome are your deeds! Through the greatness of your power, your enemies submit themselves to you.

Psa 66:4 All the earth will worship you, and will sing to you; they will sing to your name." Selah.

Psa 66:5 Come, and see God's deeds-- awesome work on behalf of the children of men.

Psa 66:6 He turned the sea into dry land. They went through the river on foot. There, we rejoiced in him.

Psa 66:7 He rules by his might forever. His eyes watch the nations. Don't let the rebellious rise up against him. Selah.

Psa 66:8 Praise our God, you peoples! Make the sound of his praise heard,

Psa 66:9 who preserves our life among the living, and doesn't allow our feet to be moved.

Psa 66:10 For you, God, have tested us. You have refined us, as silver is refined.

Psa 66:11 You brought us into prison. You laid a burden on our backs.

Psa 66:12 You allowed men to ride over our heads. We went through fire and through water, but you brought us to the place of abundance.

Psa 66:13 I will come into your temple with burnt offerings. I will pay my vows to you,

Psa 66:14 which my lips promised, and my mouth spoke, when I was in distress.

Psa 66:15 I will offer to you burnt offerings of fat animals, with the offering of rams, I will offer bulls with goats. Selah.

Psa 66:16 Come, and hear, all you who fear God. I will declare what he has done for my soul.

Psa 66:17 I cried to him with my mouth. He was extolled with my tongue.

Psa 66:18 If I cherished sin in my heart, the Lord wouldn't have listened.

Psa 66:19 But most certainly, God has listened. He has heard the voice of my prayer.

Psa 66:20 Blessed be God, who has not turned away my prayer, nor his loving kindness from me.

Psa 67:1 May God be merciful to us, bless us, and cause his face to shine on us. Selah.

Psa 67:2 That your way may be known on earth, and your salvation among all nations,

Psa 67:3 let the peoples praise you, God. Let all the peoples praise you.

Psa 67:4 Oh let the nations be glad and sing for joy, for you will judge the peoples with equity, and govern the nations on earth. Selah.

Psa 67:5 Let the peoples praise you, God. Let all the peoples praise you.

Psa 67:6 The earth has yielded its increase. God, even our own God, will bless us.

Psa 67:7 God will bless us. All the ends of the earth shall fear him. 


Sept. 11

1 Corinthians 7

1Co 7:1 Now concerning the things about which you wrote to me: it is good for a man not to touch a woman.

1Co 7:2 But, because of sexual immoralities, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband.

1Co 7:3 Let the husband render to his wife the affection owed her, and likewise also the wife to her husband.

1Co 7:4 The wife doesn't have authority over her own body, but the husband. Likewise also the husband doesn't have authority over his own body, but the wife.

1Co 7:5 Don't deprive one another, unless it is by consent for a season, that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer, and may be together again, that Satan doesn't tempt you because of your lack of self-control.

1Co 7:6 But this I say by way of concession, not of commandment.

1Co 7:7 Yet I wish that all men were like me. However each man has his own gift from God, one of this kind, and another of that kind.

1Co 7:8 But I say to the unmarried and to widows, it is good for them if they remain even as I am.

1Co 7:9 But if they don't have self-control, let them marry. For it's better to marry than to burn.

1Co 7:10 But to the married I command--not I, but the Lord--that the wife not leave her husband

1Co 7:11 (but if she departs, let her remain unmarried, or else be reconciled to her husband), and that the husband not leave his wife.

1Co 7:12 But to the rest I--not the Lord--say, if any brother has an unbelieving wife, and she is content to live with him, let him not leave her.

1Co 7:13 The woman who has an unbelieving husband, and he is content to live with her, let her not leave her husband.

1Co 7:14 For the unbelieving husband is sanctified in the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified in the husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but now they are holy.

1Co 7:15 Yet if the unbeliever departs, let there be separation. The brother or the sister is not under bondage in such cases, but God has called us in peace.

1Co 7:16 For how do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife?

1Co 7:17 Only, as the Lord has distributed to each man, as God has called each, so let him walk. So I command in all the assemblies.

1Co 7:18 Was anyone called having been circumcised? Let him not become uncircumcised. Has anyone been called in uncircumcision? Let him not be circumcised.

1Co 7:19 Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but the keeping of the commandments of God.

1Co 7:20 Let each man stay in that calling in which he was called.

1Co 7:21 Were you called being a bondservant? Don't let that bother you, but if you get an opportunity to become free, use it.

1Co 7:22 For he who was called in the Lord being a bondservant is the Lord's free man. Likewise he who was called being free is Christ's bondservant.

1Co 7:23 You were bought with a price. Don't become bondservants of men.

1Co 7:24 Brothers, let each man, in whatever condition he was called, stay in that condition with God.

1Co 7:25 Now concerning virgins, I have no commandment from the Lord, but I give my judgment as one who has obtained mercy from the Lord to be trustworthy.

1Co 7:26 I think that it is good therefore, because of the distress that is on us, that it is good for a man to be as he is.

1Co 7:27 Are you bound to a wife? Don't seek to be freed. Are you free from a wife? Don't seek a wife.

1Co 7:28 But if you marry, you have not sinned. If a virgin marries, she has not sinned. Yet such will have oppression in the flesh, and I want to spare you.

1Co 7:29 But I say this, brothers: the time is short, that from now on, both those who have wives may be as though they had none;

1Co 7:30 and those who weep, as though they didn't weep; and those who rejoice, as though they didn't rejoice; and those who buy, as though they didn't possess;

1Co 7:31 and those who use the world, as not using it to the fullest. For the mode of this world passes away.

1Co 7:32 But I desire to have you to be free from cares. He who is unmarried is concerned for the things of the Lord, how he may please the Lord;

1Co 7:33 but he who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how he may please his wife.

1Co 7:34 There is also a difference between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman cares about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit. But she who is married cares about the things of the world--how she may please her husband.

1Co 7:35 This I say for your own profit; not that I may ensnare you, but for that which is appropriate, and that you may attend to the Lord without distraction.

1Co 7:36 But if any man thinks that he is behaving inappropriately toward his virgin, if she is past the flower of her age, and if need so requires, let him do what he desires. He doesn't sin. Let them marry.

1Co 7:37 But he who stands steadfast in his heart, having no necessity, but has power over his own heart, to keep his own virgin, does well.

1Co 7:38 So then both he who gives his own virgin in marriage does well, and he who doesn't give her in marriage does better.

1Co 7:39 A wife is bound by law for as long as her husband lives; but if the husband is dead, she is free to be married to whoever she desires, only in the Lord.

1Co 7:40 But she is happier if she stays as she is, in my judgment, and I think that I also have God's Spirit.

Sept. 12

1 Corinthians 8

1Co 8:1 Now concerning things sacrificed to idols: We know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up.

1Co 8:2 But if anyone thinks that he knows anything, he doesn't yet know as he ought to know.

1Co 8:3 But if anyone loves God, the same is known by him.

1Co 8:4 Therefore concerning the eating of things sacrificed to idols, we know that no idol is anything in the world, and that there is no other God but one.

1Co 8:5 For though there are things that are called "gods," whether in the heavens or on earth; as there are many "gods" and many "lords;"

1Co 8:6 yet to us there is one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we for him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and we live through him.

1Co 8:7 However, that knowledge isn't in all men. But some, with consciousness of the idol until now, eat as of a thing sacrificed to an idol, and their conscience, being weak, is defiled.

1Co 8:8 But food will not commend us to God. For neither, if we don't eat, are we the worse; nor, if we eat, are we the better.

1Co 8:9 But be careful that by no means does this liberty of yours become a stumbling block to the weak.

1Co 8:10 For if a man sees you who have knowledge sitting in an idol's temple, won't his conscience, if he is weak, be emboldened to eat things sacrificed to idols?

1Co 8:11 And through your knowledge, he who is weak perishes, the brother for whose sake Christ died.

1Co 8:12 Thus, sinning against the brothers, and wounding their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ.

1Co 8:13 Therefore, if food causes my brother to stumble, I will eat no meat forevermore, that I don't cause my brother to stumble.

Sept. 13

1 Corinthians 9

1Co 9:1 Am I not free? Am I not an apostle? Haven't I seen Jesus Christ, our Lord? Aren't you my work in the Lord?

1Co 9:2 If to others I am not an apostle, yet at least I am to you; for you are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord.

1Co 9:3 My defense to those who examine me is this.

1Co 9:4 Have we no right to eat and to drink?

1Co 9:5 Have we no right to take along a wife who is a believer, even as the rest of the apostles, and the brothers of the Lord, and Cephas?

1Co 9:6 Or have only Barnabas and I no right to not work?

1Co 9:7 What soldier ever serves at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard, and doesn't eat of its fruit? Or who feeds a flock, and doesn't drink from the flock's milk?

1Co 9:8 Do I speak these things according to the ways of men? Or doesn't the law also say the same thing?

1Co 9:9 For it is written in the law of Moses, "You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain." Is it for the oxen that God cares,

1Co 9:10 or does he say it assuredly for our sake? Yes, it was written for our sake, because he who plows ought to plow in hope, and he who threshes in hope should partake of his hope.

1Co 9:11 If we sowed to you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we reap your fleshly things?

1Co 9:12 If others partake of this right over you, don't we yet more? Nevertheless we did not use this right, but we bear all things, that we may cause no hindrance to the Good News of Christ.

1Co 9:13 Don't you know that those who serve around sacred things eat from the things of the temple, and those who wait on the altar have their portion with the altar?

1Co 9:14 Even so the Lord ordained that those who proclaim the Good News should live from the Good News.

1Co 9:15 But I have used none of these things, and I don't write these things that it may be done so in my case; for I would rather die, than that anyone should make my boasting void.

1Co 9:16 For if I preach the Good News, I have nothing to boast about; for necessity is laid on me; but woe is to me, if I don't preach the Good News.

1Co 9:17 For if I do this of my own will, I have a reward. But if not of my own will, I have a stewardship entrusted to me.

1Co 9:18 What then is my reward? That, when I preach the Good News, I may present the Good News of Christ without charge, so as not to abuse my authority in the Good News.

1Co 9:19 For though I was free from all, I brought myself under bondage to all, that I might gain the more.

1Co 9:20 To the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain Jews; to those who are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain those who are under the law;

1Co 9:21 to those who are without law, as without law (not being without law toward God, but under law toward Christ), that I might win those who are without law.

1Co 9:22 To the weak I became as weak, that I might gain the weak. I have become all things to all men, that I may by all means save some.

1Co 9:23 Now I do this for the sake of the Good News, that I may be a joint partaker of it.

1Co 9:24 Don't you know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run like that, that you may win.

1Co 9:25 Every man who strives in the games exercises self-control in all things. Now they do it to receive a corruptible crown, but we an incorruptible.

1Co 9:26 I therefore run like that, as not uncertainly. I fight like that, as not beating the air,

1Co 9:27 but I beat my body and bring it into submission, lest by any means, after I have preached to others, I myself should be rejected.