"THE GOSPEL OF MARK" The Baptism Of Jesus (1:9-11)



The Baptism Of Jesus (1:9-11)


1. The baptism of Jesus by John served a significant role in both of their ministries...
   a. It came at the height of John's ministry, after which it began to decline
   b. It served as the beginning of Jesus' ministry, which soon overtook
      the ministry of John

2. The baptism of Jesus has often raised two questions...
   a. Why was He baptized?
   b. Does His baptism reveal the purpose for Christian baptism?

[This study will answer these questions, first by reviewing Mark's
account of the baptism of Jesus...]


      1. From Nazareth of Galilee -  Mk 1:9a
      2. Located halfway between the Mediterranean coast and the
         southern tip of the Sea of Galilee
      3. Where Jesus grew up - cf. Lk 2:39-52
      -- About a hundred mile journey to where John was baptizing

      1. In the Jordan river - Mk 1:9b
      2. In Bethabara (Bethany) on the east side of the Jordan - cf. Jn 1:28-29
      -- The Greek word (baptizo) indicates that the baptism involved immersion

      1. Immediately, just as Jesus comes up from the water - Mk 1:10a
      2. He saw the heavens parting ("being torn open", ESV) - Mk 1:10b
      3. The Spirit descends like a dove - Mk 1:10c; cf. Lk 3:22 ("in bodily form like a dove")
      -- Thus the Holy Spirit bears His testimony of Jesus

      1. As a voice from heaven - Mk 1:11a
      2. Proclaiming:  "You are My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased" - Mk 1:11b
      -- Thus the Father bears His testimony of Jesus

[With such visual and audible effects, the baptism of Jesus was
certainly a significant event!  It naturally raises several questions...]


      1. Not for the same reason other people were being baptized by John
         a. Theirs was a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins - Mk 1:4
         b. They were confessing their sins - Mk 1:5
         c. Jesus was without sin - He 4:15
      2. Jesus said it was "to fulfill all righteousness" - cf. Mt 3:15
         a. It was God's counsel that people be baptized of John - cf. Lk 7:29-30
         b. Jesus was willing to set the right example by doing the
            Father's will, something He delighted to do - cf. Ps 40:7-8; Jn 4:34; 8:29
      3. It also served to introduce Him to John and Israel
         a. John had been proclaiming that He was coming - Mk 1:7
         b. John had been told that the Spirit coming upon Jesus would be a sign - cf. Jn 1:29-34
      -- He was baptized to do God's will, and to publicly identify Him to Israel

      1. Many refer to Jesus' baptism to explain the purpose of Christian baptism
         a. That baptism has nothing to do with the remission of sins
         b. That baptism is but a public profession of one's faith
         c. That baptism publicly identifies our relation to Christ,
            just as His baptism publicly introduced Him to Israel
      2. However, there is no Biblical connection made between Jesus' baptism and our own
         a. Christian baptism is for the remission of sins - Ac 2:38; 22:16
         b. Christian baptism is a union with Christ in His death - Ro 6:3-7
         c. Christian baptism was often administered in relative privacy - Ac 8:35-38; 16:25-34
      -- No Biblical writer suggests that we are baptized for the same reason as Jesus

      1. They certainly bear testimony as to who Jesus is
         a. As the Spirit would do later, via the works Jesus did - Mt 12:28
         b. As the Father would do later, on another occasion - Mt 17:5
      2. They also bear testimony to the nature of the Godhead
         a. I.e., three distinct persons in One God
         b. Though One in substance, there is a distinction to be made
            between the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit - cf. also Mt 28:19; 2Co 13:14; Ep 2:18
      -- Thus we see the unity of the Godhead implied in the baptism of Jesus


1. With the baptism of Jesus...
   a. He was formally introduced to John, and by him to Israel
   b. The Father and the Spirit audibly and visually confirmed Him as the Son of God
   c. Jesus demonstrated His desire to serve and "fulfill all righteousness"

2. The baptism of Jesus is certainly significant to Christians...
   a. Not that we are to be baptized for the same reason as He
   b. But certainly in confirming that He was the Messiah
   c. And displaying the attitude that should be true of all His
      disciples ("I have come to do my Father's will")

Jesus did not need baptism because He was without sin; He was baptized
because it was the Father's will for man at that time.  Should we who
are sinners dare hesitate to do the Father's will regarding baptism for
the remission of sins today...? - Mk 16:15-16; Ac 2:38; 22:16

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2016

What Is a Pastor? by Kyle Butt, M.Div.



What Is a Pastor?

by  Kyle Butt, M.Div.

When most religious people think of the word “pastor” they have in mind the primary leader of a congregation, or of a certain section of a congregation. They may think about the “youth pastor” who organizes trips, devotionals, and encourages involvement among the teenage youth group. Or they may bring to mind the “senior pastor” who is responsible for most of the preaching that is done at the congregation, or the associate pastor who does much of the hospital visiting. Whatever your idea of a pastor is, there is an excellent question to ask yourself: “Is the Bible’s description of a pastor the same as my idea of what a pastor is?” Let’s explore what the Bible has to say about pastors.  

The term “pastor” is found in Ephesians 4:11: “And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers.” It is translated from the Greek word poimen, which means “a shepherd” or a person who herds sheep (Danker, et. al., 2000 p. 684). It is used to describe actual shepherds in the birth story of Jesus in Luke 2:8. But it has an expanded meaning that includes the idea of spiritual shepherds who oversee a flock of “sheep” or Christians, as it is used in Ephesians 4:11. The apostle Peter elaborated on this idea of spiritual shepherding when he wrote: “The elders who are among you I exhort, I who am a fellow elder…. Shepherd the flock of God which is among you serving as overseers...and when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away.” In Acts 20, we read that Paul “sent to Ephesus and called for the elders of the church” (20:17). While giving them instructions, he said, “Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood” (20:28). From these references we understand that the term shepherd is used to describe a spiritual overseer of the Lord’s Church. The word “pastor” is simply the Latin translation of the word “shepherd.” Thus, we can see that the term “pastor” originated from the biblical discussion of spiritual leaders in the early Christian church.

It is interesting to note, however, that there is a specific group of leaders that are instructed to “shepherd” or “pastor” the flock of God. From 1 Peter 5 and Acts 20, we learn that the “elders” of the church were the ones instructed to “shepherd” or “oversee” the flock. If that is the case, what does the Bible say about elders? Thankfully, we have been given some very clear references to the spiritual office of “elders.” In Titus 1:5, the apostle Paul explained to Titus, “For this reason I left you in Crete, that you should set in order the things that are lacking, and appoint elders in every city as I commanded you.” The word translated “elders” comes from the Greek word presbuteros. While it is true that this word sometimes is used simply to describe those who are older as compared to those who are younger, it is also the case that it is often used to describe a spiritual office held by those who shepherded the church. This is established by the fact that Titus was instructed to “appoint elders in every city,” and Paul provided a detailed list of qualifications for those “elders” that included much more than one’s age. Thus we can know that a pastor (shepherd) was the same as an “elder” and this office was that of a spiritual overseer of a local church (in every city).

What might come as a surprise to some is that the term “bishop” is also linked to the terms “elder” and “shepherd” (or pastor). In 1 Timothy 3:1-7, Paul gives a list of qualifications similar to the one found in Titus, but he begins the list by stating, “A bishop must be blameless, the husband of one wife…” (3:2). The term “bishop” comes from the Greek word episkopos which means “overseer” (Danker, et. al., p. 299). Recall that in Acts 20:28, Paul called the elders from the church in Ephesus and explained that they were to take heed “to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers.” The term translated “overseers” is from the Greek word episkopos. When we refer back to Titus, we see that Paul instructed Titus to appoint elders, and then after giving some of the qualifications, stated, “For a bishop must be blameless, as a steward of God” (Titus 1:7). Here again the Bible uses the terms to speak of the same office. Thus, the elders, or shepherds (or pastors) were the bishops (or overseers) of the church. We do not find that these are separate offices in the church, but words that all describe the same leaders, simply giving subtle descriptions of what they do as the spiritual leaders, such as shepherd or oversee the flock.

If it is the case that the New Testament uses the terms “elders,” “shepherds,” “pastors,” “overseers,” and “bishops” to speak of the same spiritual office, what does that mean for the Lord’s church today? First, it would indicate that anyone who is a “pastor” or “bishop” should have the qualifications for those offices that are listed in Titus and 1 Timothy. Those lists present straightforward personality traits and life situations that all who “qualify” as pastors or bishops must maintain in order to spiritually oversee the church of the Lord. Without going into an extended discussion of each item on the lists, we can see why an “elder” or “bishop” must not be “greedy for money” if he is to lead the Lord’s church. Furthermore, we can understand why an overseer must not be addicted to alcohol or be violent.

It is true that people can appoint anyone they want as their “spiritual leaders” and call them whatever they like. By that I mean, could a religious group appoint teenage alcoholics who love to fight and are greedy and covetous to be their spiritual overseers, and use the terms “elders” or “pastors” to describe them? Certainly they could. But that would not make them pastors in the way the New Testament describes a pastor. Notice that in Acts 20:28, Paul told the Ephesian elders that the Holy Spirit had made those men elders. How does that happen today? Since we know that all Scripture is inspired by God (2 Timothy 3:16-17), and the Bible writers such as Peter and Paul were inspired when they penned the books of the New Testament (2 Peter 3:16; 1 Thessalonians 2:13), then we can conclude that in order for pastors to be appointed today “by the Holy Spirit” they must meet the qualifications found in the New Testament. Just because a group of people refers to someone as a bishop or pastor does not mean that person actually meets the qualifications of a bishop or pastor as found in the New Testament.

A close look at the qualifications for pastors (bishops, elders, overseers, shepherds) reveals that many people who are called pastors or bishops would not qualify as such under the New Testament. For instance, Paul told Timothy that “a bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife” (1 Timothy 3:2). He instructed Titus that a man could be appointed as an elder (or bishop) if he was “blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children” (1:6). Notice that one of the first qualifications mentioned in order for a person to be a spiritual overseer of the Lord’s church is that he is married to one woman. Would this apply to many who are called pastors or bishops today?

When it becomes clear that many who are called pastors, elders, or bishops in certain religious groups do not meet the qualifications that are inspired by the Holy Spirit, an attempt is often made to “bend” the qualifications. For instance, we are often told that it is not necessary for a pastor to be the husband of one wife; it would be fine if he were not married. We are told that “the qualifications” are not so strict as to exclude unmarried men or even women from the office. There is an obvious problem with such reasoning. Which of the qualifications can be omitted? Would those religious groups argue that it would be acceptable to have a greedy bishop, or an alcoholic elder, or a violent pastor? You see, once humans begin to amend the list of qualifications to their own liking, it is no longer the Holy Spirit’s qualification list being used to appoint bishops and elders, but an uninspired, humanly devised (or revised) list.

A study of the term pastor as it is used in the New Testament helps us arrive at another interesting biblical concept. In each of the references to the office of pastors (bishops, overseers, elders, shepherds) we see that the New Testament consistently refers to a plurality of these spiritual leaders in each church. In Titus 1, Paul told the young preacher to “appoint elders (plural) in every city.” Peter wrote, “The elders (plural) who are among you I exhort” (1 Peter 5:1). In Acts 20 we see that Paul “sent to Ephesus and called for the elders (plural) of the church” (20:17). Acts 14:23 explains that Paul and Barnabas “appointed elders (plural) in every church.” The idea of a single spiritual leader overseeing a church or congregation of the Lord’s people is found nowhere in the New Testament. As J.W. McGarvey noted: “There is no proposition in reference to the organization of the primitive churches upon which scholars and critics are more perfectly agreed than that every fully organized church had a plurality of Elders” (1950, p. 66).

If we compare the biblical idea of a pastor to that found in many religious groups today we discover that the Bible and those groups present opposing ideas. The biblical picture of a pastor is that of a spiritual leader who meets specific qualifications and who works in conjunction with other pastors who meet the same qualifications to shepherd the church of God of which they jointly have been appointed as overseers. Does your view of a pastor correspond with the view found in the Bible? Does the religious group that you associate with have a biblical arrangement for its spiritual leadership? If it does not, wouldn’t it be wise to begin your search today for a congregation of the Lord’s church that does have pastors who have been appointed by the Holy Spirit to overseer the flock?


Danker, Frederick William, William Arndt, and F.W. Gingrich, (2000), Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press).

McGarvey, J.W. (1950), The Eldership (Murfreesboro, TN: Dehoff Publications).

What is “Sexual Immorality” in Matthew 19:9? by Kyle Butt, M.Div.




What is “Sexual Immorality” in Matthew 19:9?

by  Kyle Butt, M.Div.

From Genesis to Revelation, the Bible repeatedly stresses the fact that God designed the institution of marriage (Genesis 2:22-25). He has, from the beginning of human history, given very specific ideas about what composes a divinely approved marriage (Matthew 19:1-4), consisting of one man and one woman. We learn from the Scriptures, however, that not every man or woman is qualified to enter into certain marital relationships. In the New Testament, we read of three, and only three, categories of people whom God approves to enter into marriage. The first category is those who have never been married (Hebrews 13:4). The second category of people who are eligible to marry is those who have been married but whose spouses have died (Romans 7:1-3). The third category of God-approved marriage candidates is those whose spouses have committed “sexual immorality” (Matthew 19:9). It is to this last category and to the term “sexual immorality” that we will direct our attention.

In Matthew 19:1-10, Jesus was tested by the Pharisees with the following question: “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any reason?” Jesus responded by directing their attention to God’s original creation of Adam and Eve. They then queried why Moses allowed certificates of divorce if marriage was supposed to be such a permanent institution. Jesus responded:

Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, permitted you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery (Matthew 19:8-9).

Notice, from this verse, that any person who gets a divorce for any reason other than sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery. But a person who divorces his/her spouse for sexual immorality and marries another person does not commit adultery. Thus, Jesus gives the criterion for those who are in the third category of God-approved marriage candidates. Also notice those who are not eligible to enter into a marriage: anyone who has gotten a divorce for any reason other than sexual immorality. [NOTE: The parallel passage found in Matthew 5:32 quotes Jesus as saying: “But I say to you that whoever divorces his wife for any reason except sexual immorality causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a woman who is divorced commits adultery.”]

With Jesus’ statement in mind, it becomes imperative to learn what the term “sexual immorality” means, since this is the only infraction on behalf of a spouse that would allow for the remarriage of the innocent party (the spouse who does not commit sexual immorality) after a divorce. As you can imagine, in our culture of rampant divorce and remarriage, and secularized Christianity, this word has been given all sorts of meanings in an attempt to allow virtually every divorced person to be considered a God-approved candidate for remarriage. Many of these definitions are nothing more than attempts to alter the Word of God. So then, what does “sexual immorality” mean?

In order to understand what Jesus was saying, we must go back to the original language and identify what the word meant in the first century. The word translated “sexual immorality” in this verse is the Greek word porneia. The respected Greek lexicon of Arndt, Gingrich, and Danker states that the word refers to “prostitution, unchastity, fornication, of every kind of unlawful sexual intercourse.” In their primary definition, they mention that it refers to “the sexual unfaithfulness of a married woman” (1979, p. 693). The NIV Theological Dictionary of New Testament Words has an extensive section on porneia and related words: “This word group describes various extramarital sexual modes of behavior insofar as they deviate from accepted social and religious norms (e.g., homosexuality, promiscuity, pedophilia, and esp. prostitution)” (Verbrugge, 2000, 6:1077). This dictionary further notes: “Rab. Jud. (Rabbinical Judaism—KB) frowned on any kind of prostitution of extramarital sexual intercourse. Incest and all kinds of unnatural sexual intercourse were viewed as porneia (6:1078). In the discussion of the word’s use in the New Testament, the volume states:

It is not clear whether porneia in the so-called ‘exceptive clause’ (Matt 5:32; 19:9) is to be understood simply as extramarital sexual intercourse in the sense of moicheia or as including prostitution. Most interpreters tend to favor the former interpretation…. The porne word group denotes any kind of illegitimate sexual intercourse in Paul’s letters (6:1078, emp. added).

TheTheological Dictionary of New Testament Words says concerning this word group that the “NT is characterized by an unconditional repudiation of all extra-marital and unnatural intercourse” (Hauck and Schultz, 1968, 6:590). In discussing the word as it is used in Matthew 5:32 and Matthew 19:9, this source states: “In both verses porneia refers to extra-marital intercourse on the part of the wife, which in practice is adultery” (6:592). From a survey of the lexical information regarding the word, the almost universally understood meaning of the word porneia is illicit physical sexual intercourse with someone who is not the person’s God-approved spouse (this would include homosexuality and beastiality). In modern terminology, then, the text is simply saying that the only time a person can divorce his or her spouse and marry another is if that spouse has been involved in a sexual affair with someone else. With knowledge of this word’s actual meaning, let us examine how some have attempted to redefine the term. [NOTE: Mark 10:11-12 is evidence of the fact that the Scripture applies both to a man who divorces his wife and to a woman who divorces her husband. The divine regulations apply equally to both genders. See Lenski, 1998, p. 734.]

Any Type of Lewd or Licentious Behavior

In our modern culture the term “pornography” has a host of meanings. It includes pictures of scantily clad men and women, videos of people engaged in illicit sexual situations, posters of women or men “baring it all,” etc. The word “pornography”derives from the word porneia. One can see the obvious connection. Due to the fact that “pornography”seems so similar to porneia, many have come to believe that any actions or behavior that modern people would term pornography would also fall under the definition of porneia. Thus, they suggest that if a person were to look at a pornographic movie, he would be guilty of porneia. If a wife were to send a man who is not her husband text messages with photos of herself in her underwear, or with messages that talk about sexual situations, she would be guilty of porneia. If a spouse were to call a phone-sex line and listen to a sexual situation described to him, he would be guilty of porneia. And the list could go on and on.

The problem with this line of reasoning is that it projects a definition of the word porneia onto the first-century Greek term that the word in the first century did not have. Notice that in the definition provided from the lexical resources, there is near universal consensus that the term meant “sexual intercourse.” Due to the way the term “sex” has been overly applied to modern activities such as “phone sex,” or “sexting,” and “sexy,” the modern understanding is that anything that would be “sexually arousing” would be included in the term “sex.” But the term porneia would not have been understood to have such a loose, broad meaning.

It should be noted, of course, that many of the activities that have been described such as “sexting” or phone sex would be sinful and would be included in numerous lists of thoughts and actions that Christians should avoid. The terms for such activities include licentiousness, lusts (1 Peter 4:3), or lewdness (Romans 13:13). These terms have a much broader definition than porneia. Since that is the case, if Jesus had wanted to use one of these terms with a broader definition than “sexual intercourse” He could have, but He chose not to. As Wayne Jackson correctly stated: “Bible translations that render porneia more generically (e.g., ‘sexual immorality’) are misleading. There are various forms of sexual immorality (e.g., exposing one’s body in seductive clothing) that do not fall under the definition of fornication, though clearly they are sinful” (n.d.).

We get a definite understanding of how first-century Jews understood the term in John 8. In that passage Jesus accused the Jews of being the children of the devil, because they were behaving in the same way the devil would behave. They responded to His accusation by saying, “We were not born of fornication, we have one Father—God” (John 8:41). The word translated “fornication” in this verse is porneias. Notice their understanding of the term porneias included the idea that a person could be born of porneias. That would imply that the term must mean more than looking at pornographic pictures or explicit conversations about sex. In this context, it would be narrowly defined as sexual intercourse that has the biological ability to produce offspring. [NOTE: While the Jews had “spiritualized” the term and applied it to their spiritual relationship with God, that does not change the meaning of the word as they understood it. They certainly meant that they were not “illegitimate” spiritual children born as the result of an extra-marital sexual encounter. The fact that the term was figuratively applied to a spiritual relationship does not alter its literal meaning. See the section of this article titled “Sexual Immorality Used to Describe Idolatry.”]

The response to this statement from those who desire to view porneia as having a broader meaning is that “sexual intercourse” is such a difficult concept to define. Obviously, they say, homosexual behavior cannot produce offspring. Bestiality cannot produce offspring. So, according to them, any attempt to put limits on the nature of such “sexual” activity is doomed to failure. Such reasoning has at least two glaring flaws. First, it misses the point that the word porneia had a first-century meaning that was understood in the context as extra-marital sexual intercourse. Second, such reasoning fails to take into account the fact that in order to accept a broader definition for the term porneia, positive evidence must be presented that shows the word was understood in the first century to have the looser meaning. It is not enough to say, “I really feel like the term would include looking at pornography, sexting, or phone sex.” Any person who believes such activities would be included in the definition must present lexical information and first-century usages of the word that show such activities could be a part of the word’s meaning. Without this type of positive proof, we must stick with the definition that can be shown from the Bible and lexical sources to have been in use in the first-century.

Practically speaking, then, suppose a wife were to confide in a preacher that her husband is viewing pornography and masturbating. She asks the preacher if these transgressions would allow her to scripturally divorce her husband and be a candidate to remarry. The preacher then explains that porneia is the only divinely sanctioned cause for divorce and subsequent remarriage. The woman wants to know if porneia would include what she has described. The preacher shows her the lexical information and biblical usage and explains that “sexual intercourse” is the key component of the word. The woman argues that masturbation could be included in the term “sexual intercourse.” The preacher then goes to John 8:41, explains how the word was used there, and asks the woman to do some study and try to find any instance in or around the time of the first century where we know for a fact the word was used for masturbation or viewing pornography. If such a usage is not forthcoming, the only proper course of interpretation is to exclude masturbation and viewing pornography from the definition of porneia.

What About Matthew 5:27-28?

Once it has been clearly established that porneia is the only exception given for a spouse to scripturally divorce and contract a subsequent marriage, some then turn to Matthew 5:27-28 to broaden the meaning of porneia. Those verses record Jesus saying: “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” The reasoning is, if a man lusts for a woman other than his spouse, Jesus says he has committed adultery with her “in his heart.” Since he commits mental/heart adultery, the argument goes, that must mean his wife could divorce him for “adultery” based on his lustful thoughts, and she could contract another scriptural marriage. This argument is flawed on several levels.

First, notice where Jesus said the “adultery” takes place: “in his heart.” In Matthew 5:27-28, however, Jesus makes a distinction between what He is saying in Matthew 5:32 and Matthew 19:9. In neither of the latter two instances does Jesus allow for the adultery to be in any other realm but physical. The word porneia carries no inherent meaning that would cause the reader to interpret it to mean anything other than physical sexual intercourse. Since “in his heart” or other such phrases are not included in Matthew 5:32 or 19:9, correct interpretation rules would require us to define the word porneia in physical terms, not mental or spiritual ones. As Wayne Jackson correctly stated: “A fundamental principle of Bible interpretation is that words must be interpreted literally unless there is compelling reason for assigning them a figurative meaning. The term ‘adultery’ is not employed in a metaphorical sense in Matthew 19:9” (n.d.).

Second, we must recognize that while certain sins may carry the same spiritual weight, they do not have the same physical consequences. In Matthew 5:21, Jesus explained that the Old Testament prohibited murder. He elaborated on this concept when He insisted that any person who hates his brother enough to say, “You fool,” will “be in danger of hell fire” (Matthew 5:22). The inspired writer John said: “Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him” (1 John 3:15). From these passages it is clear that the sins of hatred and murder carry the same spiritual weight, but they do not carry the same physical consequences. In the Old Testament, murder was a capital offense punishable by death, but hatred was not. Again, physical adultery was a crime punishable in the Old Testament by stoning, but lust was not. In Matthew 19:9, the sin of porneia may carry the same spiritual weight as lust “in the heart,” but the verses never hint at the idea that the terms carry the same physical consequences. The physical consequences of a spouse committing porneia are that the innocent spouse can divorce that person and contract a new scriptural marriage, while the guilty party must remain unmarried for the rest of his or her life. The same physical consequences are not enumerated for “adultery in the heart” in Matthew 5:28.

Sexual Immorality Used to Describe Idolatry

In a similar way, some have contended that because God used the terms “adultery,” or “sexual immorality,” or equivalent ideas to describe the Israelites’ apostasy into idolatry (Hosea 4:11-13), then the terms can have a broader meaning. They argue that if God’s people can commit “adultery” against Him by worshipping idols, then the word “adultery” must have a meaning broad enough to include activities other than actual, physical intercourse.

Again, this type of argument fails for at least two primary reasons. First, it is clear from the context of Matthew 19:1-9 that the physical relationship between a husband and wife is under discussion. Respected linguists Vine (1985) and Thayer (1962, p. 532) concur that  when not used metaphorically (in reference to idolatry) porneia is used of “illicit sexual intercourse.” There is no discussion in this context of idolatry or spiritualized unfaithfulness. The text could not be clearer in regard to the physical marriage relationship.

Second, the spiritualized, figurative sense of the word makes no sense if the Jews did not understand the physical sense as the primary, literal meaning. For instance, in Hosea 4:12, in regard to Israelite idolatry, the prophet said: “Therefore your daughters commit harlotry and your brides commit adultery.” In a physical sense, what do the terms “adultery” and “harlotry” mean?—illicit sexual intercourse. Without the understanding of the physical meanings, the illustration that God used makes no sense—that in a figurative sense, Israel is married to God, and idolatry is a spiritual act of unfaithfulness. Unless adultery really does mean committing sexual sin against one’s spouse, God’s illustration breaks down.

For instance, consider the statement: “The debater blew his opponent’s argument out of the water.” This figurative use of the phrase only makes sense if we understand the physical picture of literal water and some type of blasting explosion. The figurative use of the word is always dependent on the physical meaning of the term. The physical meanings of the terms are necessarily logically prior to the figurative or spiritualized meanings. Thus, spiritual “adultery” can only be understood if we comprehend the physical use of the term “adultery.” And we have sufficiently established that the physical use of porneia means illicit sexual intercourse.

Finally, and worthy of serious consideration, is this fact: even if it could be shown that porneia might have a spiritualized, figurative meaning in Matthew 19:1-9 (which it cannot), that fact would only indicate a possible use of the word. The one contending that a person could contract a God approved divorce and subsequent remarriage would have to prove that this spiritualized usage is being applied, not just that it is a possibility.If that usage cannot be proven beyond the shadow of a doubt, then a person would be risking his or her soul on a mere possibility. What kind of ground would a person be standing on in the Day of Judgment contending with God, “But I thought the word possibly could have meant…,” when we have a very clear meaning of “physical sexual intercourse” that we know the word carries.


Marriage is permanent. The only two situations in the New Testament in which a person can get married more than once with God’s approval are when a spouse dies, or when an innocent spouse divorces a spouse for porneia. The term porneia means unlawful, physical sexual intercourse. In an attempt to broaden the category of those who can scripturally remarry, some have attempted to define the term porneia with concepts such as viewing pornography or “phone sex.” While those activities are sinful, they are not porneia as the word was used in the first century. Others have contended that lust results in “adultery in the heart” and would be grounds for a scriptural divorce and remarriage. But they fail to differentiate between sins that have the same spiritual weight but have different physical consequences. Jesus’ sole exception for divorcing a living spouse and marrying another is if that spouse has committed physical sexual intercourse with another biological being.


Arndt, William, F.W. Gingrich, and Frederick W. Danker (1979), A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press), second revised edition.

Hauck, F. and Siegfried Schultz (1968), porneia, Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, ed. Gerhard Kittel (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans).

Jackson, Wayne (No Date), “Is ‘Lust’ the Equivalent of ‘Fornication’”, Christian Courier, http://www.christiancourier.com/articles/1371-is-lust-the-equivalent-of-fornication.

Lenski, R.C.H. (1998), The Interpretation of St. Matthew’s Gospel (Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg).

Thayer, Joseph (1962), Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Zondervan).

Verbrugge, Verlyn (2000), The NIV Theological Dictionary of New Testament Words(Grand Rapids: Zondervan).

Vine, W.E. (1985), Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, Electronic PC Study Bible Version).

What Happens to Faith When We Doubt? by Trevor Major, M.Sc., M.A.



What Happens to Faith When We Doubt?

by  Trevor Major, M.Sc., M.A.

When Peter walked on the water toward Jesus, we can imagine that he launched out with great gusto (Matthew 14:28-33). And yet, as he glanced away from his Lord to look at the treacherous winds and waves he knew so well, it seems he lost certainty in the divine power that had borne him across the water thus far. When he returned to the boat, the Master admonished him with these words: “O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?” (14:31).

Throughout the New Testament, “doubt” is couched in negative terms. It is something we are to avoid in prayer, for example (1 Timothy 2:8). Jesus told His disciples that they could move mountains if only they would believe, and not doubt (Matthew 21:21-22; Mark 11:23-24). Paul advised the Roman Christians that they stood condemned if they doubted the propriety of eating food sacrificed to idols (14:23). The classic example, of course, is that of the apostle Thomas—doubting Thomas. “Be not faithless,” the risen Christ urged as He presented His wounds to the incredulous disciple, “but believing” (John 20:27).

Doubt, then, is in some way an impediment to belief or faith. However, it is not the opposite of belief; it is not a denial of faith. This would be disbelief, that is, believing a claim to be false. Rather, doubt is a matter of unbelief—an occasional inability to admit a particular claim. It is a human failing that, on occasion, we simply cannot decide whether something is true. The different words translated as “doubt” in the New Testament carry with them the sense of being unstable, wavering, being in two minds, or contending with oneself. In relation to faith, doubt is a “lack of certainty concerning the teachings of Christianity or one’s personal relationship to them” (Habermas, 1990, p. 10).

Doubt, left unresolved, can become a serious problem. God holds us responsible for addressing the cause of our doubt, and for seeking the remedy so that doubt does not prevent us from doing what faith demands. If we do not know whether God answers prayers, then how can we honestly go to God in prayer? If we eat meat sacrificed to idols (or the modern equivalent), and yet we are not sure that this is something we should do, then how can we have a good conscience before God?

These are the negative consequences of unresolved doubts, but doubt may also be resolved in favor of greater faith, or even faith itself. After all, converts will not be made of people who never doubt their rejection of Christ’s saving blood.

Let us look in more detail at the case of Thomas. Apparently, like most of the disciples, Thomas had missed or refused to accept Christ’s own warnings about His death. And in those somber days after Calvary, they certainly did not expect to see Him alive again. The disciples on the road to Emmaus, for example, had hoped that Jesus of Nazareth would be the One to restore the nation of Israel (Luke 24:21). Even after these two encountered the resurrected Christ and reported their experiences to the other disciples (among whom Christ then appeared and spoke), His followers could hardly believe this wonderful turn of events (24:41). Their doubt soon evaporated in joy, not merely because their beloved Lord had risen from the dead, but because through His resurrection came the hope of salvation for all the nations of the world.

Thomas, however, missed out on this momentous event (John 20:24). The others had seen and heard the resurrected Christ; He had even shown His wounds to them. Thomas responded by demanding no less, but such a demand was an expression of weakness. Yes, the renewed faith of the other disciples was based on direct, physical evidence, but why could Thomas not trust the testimony of his closest friends? Christ’s response was to appear again for Thomas’ sake, and for the sake of all in his position. Thomas had the opportunity to touch the wounds, but he withdrew his demands and made the supreme confession: “My Lord and my God” (20:28).

The story does not end there. Christ went on to teach this vital lesson: “Because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed” (20:29). If Christianity was to succeed, people would have to put their faith, not in a continuing manifestation of miracles such as the appearance of a resurrected body, but in a well-reasoned belief that Christ was raised from the dead. The testimony of the witnesses as recorded in Scripture would have to be a critical part of that belief. Immediately following the incident with Thomas, John wrote: “These things have been written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God” (20:31; see also Romans 10:17; 1 Corinthians 15:1-8).

What would have happened to Thomas, and perhaps to the future church, if he had continued to doubt? Jesus dealt with this doubt, and He dealt with Thomas’ particular brand of doubt, for all time.

Doubt is a human weakness, but it is a serious matter when it affects one’s faith. That Thomas and the other disciples could doubt serves as a warning to us. From our vantage point, they had every reason to be faithful, and yet still they struggled with unbelief. Christians must be able to recognize doubt in themselves so that they can, unreservedly, make the same good confession as the apostle Thomas.


Habermas, Gary R. (1990), Dealing With Doubt (Chicago, IL: Moody).

“I WILL GO TO HIM ONE DAY”: In Memory of Baby Azaiah DeGarmo by Ken Weliever, The Preacherman


 “I WILL GO TO HIM ONE DAY”: In Memory of Baby Azaiah DeGarmo


(This post received the third most views of 2013)

There is a sad story in the Old Testament about the death of King David’s infant son. When the baby became ill, David fasted, prayed and wept for six days. On the seventh day, David’s servants came with the anguished news, “He is dead.” David’s response is remarkable.
David replied, ‘I fasted and wept while the child was alive, for I said, “Perhaps the LORD will be gracious to me and let the child live.” But why should I fast when he is dead? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him one day, but he cannot return to me.’” – 2 Samuel 12:22- 23 (NLT)

This passage came to my mind last night upon hearing the shocking news of the death of baby Azaiah DeGarmo, the 2 month old son of my friends Dan and Serena DeGarmo. I read this morning the Doctors said, “His heart just stopped beating.”

While Norma Jean and I did not get to see little Azaiah, it was especially personal and painful to us since we were with the DeGarmo’s just a week before his birth. They graciously opened their home and extended their hospitality with Serena being nine months pregnant. Dan spoke with excitement of their coming child. His name would be Azaiah. “It’s a Hebrew name,” he explained, which means “my strength is Yahweh.”

Ironically, their son’s very name is that which will provide the greatest help, hope and comfort during these difficult days. But it raises the question, “How?” How does someone deal with the sudden death of a child with courage like King David did.

Let me offer a few short thoughts.

(1) Comfort comes through communion God. David experienced comfort through God’s presence. Psalm 9 may have been written during this painful period in David’s life. In it He speaks of God’s sanctuary during trying times.

The Lord also will be a refuge for the oppressed,
A refuge in times of trouble.
And those who know Your name will put their trust in You;
For You, Lord, have not forsaken those who seek You.

David found comfort through prayer, meditation and fellowship with Jehovah. I know Dan and Serena. They are people of prayer. They will too.

2. Because David communed with God, he found peace to ease his pain. He wrote in Ps 4:8. “I will both lie down in peace, and sleep; For You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.

I’m sure it’s difficult for the non-believer to understand how peace can be experienced in times of turmoil, when your heart is breaking and you feel so weak and vulnerable. Yet it is so.

Paul speaks of the “peace which exceeds anything we can understand.” (Phil 4:7). God can provide peace in the most difficult circumstances. In the most trying times. In the most severe situations.

(3) Because David enjoyed fellowship with God he could see through the veil of tears a greater purpose in the child’s short life.

David penned, “I cry out to God Most High, to God who fulfills his purpose for me. (PS 57:2, ESV)

God gives life. There is a time to be born. A time to die. We are not in control of either. But regardless of the length of life, it is sacred. Holy. And blessed by God. It has worth. Dignity. And purpose.

Just as I believe there was purpose in the short life of David’s son, I am just as convinced that God had a purpose for baby Azaiah. It his short stay, he gloried God. Through his parents and siblings, he will magnify his Maker.

(4) Because David experienced companionship with Jehovah, he could hold on to the hope of heaven.

We don’t know how much the ancients knew about eternity, but there is evidence they had some insight. David expressed it. “I cannot bring him back, but I can go to him!”

What confidence! What hope! What assurance! David knew that his child was now in a place of safety. Security. Solace. And David believed that he too would rejoin his baby boy on the other side.

Along with Dan and Serena, we share in that hope. We live in that assurance. We believe in that promise. The promise of a brighter day. A happier home. A better body.

To our good friends, Dan and Serena DeGarmo, who like David, are people “after God’s own heart,” we extend our deepest sympathy. And offer heart-felt empathy. But we rejoice in your faith. Your hope. And your love. May God bless you and your family, as only He can, in the days to come.

–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman


ACCESS TO GRACE by steve finnell


 ACCESS TO GRACE  by steve finnell

What is God's grace and how do men access that grace? Grace is not earned, it is obtained.

Grace is an unmerited favor granted by God to all who meet His requirements.

Romans 5:1-2 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ 2 through whom we have gained access by faith unto this grace in which  we now stand. And we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. (NIV 1973)

A. Justified through faith, which is obtained by hearing and believing the gospel. (Romans 10:17 Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.) NIV 1973

B. Grace is accessed by faith. Faith is not accessed by grace.

Ephesians 2:8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--- and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God--(NIV 1973)

What is the gift of God? Answer: Salvation through faith.

Grace is the reason salvation is available through faith. Grace in and of itself cannot save anyone. Grace must be obtained.

Grace is available only because of the shed blood of Jesus Christ.

Titus 2:11 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. (NIV 1973)

Salvation is available to all men that meet God's terms for accessing His grace.

Hebrews 9:28 so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him. (NIV 1973)

The truth is, many are waiting for Jesus to return who have not accessed God's grace.

1. Faith--John 3:16
2. Repentance--Acts 2:38, Acts 3:19
3. Confession--Romans 10:9-10
4. Water Immersion--Mark 16:16, Acts 22:16

Why I Left The Homosexual Lifestyle by Tony Horton



Why I Left The Homosexual Lifestyle

The reason why is simple. I want to spend eternity in heaven. Our life is a vapor. We're not on this earth long (James 4:14). We are here to serve God and do His will (John 6:38) and if we are faithful unto death He will give us the crown of life (Revelation 2:10). It's a small price for us to pay when you consider eternity.

I wasn't born gay and neither were you. It was a path I chose, a sexually perverted choice on my behalf. If I was born that way, others, such as child molesters, drunkards, adulterers, thieves, could claim the same thing. Even if you think you were born that way, God still condemns it. He wouldn't make you that way and then condemn you to hell. It was your choice, so turn from it. Even if you still have the desire after you have repented, fellowship with Christians, personal prayer, and studying God's word will help you refrain and stay right with God. You may never have a heterosexual relationship and you may be single the rest of your life, but as stated above, life here on earth is a vapor. We aren't here long but we have heaven to look forward to if we remain faithful unto death.

God is very clear about homosexuality: "Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God" (1 Corinthians 6: 9-10). "You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination" (Leviticus 18:22).

God loves everyone and wants us to be saved, waiting patiently for us to repent (1 Timothy 2:3-4; 2 Peter 3:9).

I heard the truth of God's word and through obedience to the gospel, I was added to the "church of Christ" (Acts 2:38, 47).

Denominationalism had me confused for years, and then I heard the truth and my life changed. You, too, may transform your life through the power of the gospel (Romans 12:1-2; Romans 1:16). The only "cure" for sin is the gospel of Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:1-6) and sincere obedience to it (Romans 1:16; 6:17).

What I feel is my testimonial is how I live today. I don't go into detail about my past because it is just that, my past. I have been out of the homosexual life for almost seven years. One thing I will say about my past is, I was happy being a homosexual. I wasn't unhappy. I am now happier than I was then, now that I live for God. I was the typical homosexual. I had a few relationships and many sexual encounters. I was a bar fly. I got mad if anyone said my way of life was wrong.

I shook my fist in God's face most of my life, blaming Him, cursing His name, when people tried to show me the truth. And now I see nothing but His love for me. I no longer curse Him, but praise His holy name. I'm happier now than I've ever been in my life. God has given me the peace that passes all understanding which comes from studying His word and fellowship with my Christian friends (Philippians 4:7).

You can also reach this point if you have an honest heart and have the desire. You have to make the effort and meet God on His terms not yours.

Everyday I open my eyes I thank God He gave me another day to repent.

Tony Horton

    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 October 28 and 29 by Gary Rose



Bible Reading for October 28 and 29

World  English  Bible

Oct. 28

Isaiah 5-8

Isa 5:1 Let me sing for my well beloved a song of my beloved about his vineyard. My beloved had a vineyard on a very fruitful hill.

Isa 5:2 He dug it up, gathered out its stones, planted it with the choicest vine, built a tower in its midst, and also cut out a winepress therein. He looked for it to yield grapes, but it yielded wild grapes.

Isa 5:3 "Now, inhabitants of Jerusalem and men of Judah, please judge between me and my vineyard.

Isa 5:4 What could have been done more to my vineyard, that I have not done in it? Why, when I looked for it to yield grapes, did it yield wild grapes?

Isa 5:5 Now I will tell you what I will do to my vineyard. I will take away its hedge, and it will be eaten up. I will break down its wall of it, and it will be trampled down.

Isa 5:6 I will lay it a wasteland. It won't be pruned nor hoed, but it will grow briers and thorns. I will also command the clouds that they rain no rain on it."

Isa 5:7 For the vineyard of Yahweh of Armies is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah his pleasant plant: and he looked for justice, but, behold, oppression; for righteousness, but, behold, a cry of distress.

Isa 5:8 Woe to those who join house to house, who lay field to field, until there is no room, and you are made to dwell alone in the midst of the land!

Isa 5:9 In my ears, Yahweh of Armies says: "Surely many houses will be desolate, even great and beautiful, unoccupied.

Isa 5:10 For ten acres of vineyard shall yield one bath, and a homer of seed shall yield an ephah."

Isa 5:11 Woe to those who rise up early in the morning, that they may follow strong drink; who stay late into the night, until wine inflames them!

Isa 5:12 The harp, lyre, tambourine, and flute, with wine, are at their feasts; but they don't regard the work of Yahweh, neither have they considered the operation of his hands.

Isa 5:13 Therefore my people go into captivity for lack of knowledge. Their honorable men are famished, and their multitudes are parched with thirst.

Isa 5:14 Therefore Sheol has enlarged its desire, and opened its mouth without measure; and their glory, their multitude, their pomp, and he who rejoices among them, descend into it.

Isa 5:15 So man is brought low, mankind is humbled, and the eyes of the arrogant ones are humbled;

Isa 5:16 but Yahweh of Armies is exalted in justice, and God the Holy One is sanctified in righteousness.

Isa 5:17 Then the lambs will graze as in their pasture, and strangers will eat the ruins of the rich.

Isa 5:18 Woe to those who draw iniquity with cords of falsehood, and wickedness as with cart rope;

Isa 5:19 Who say, "Let him make speed, let him hasten his work, that we may see it; and let the counsel of the Holy One of Israel draw near and come, that we may know it!"

Isa 5:20 Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!

Isa 5:21 Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight!

Isa 5:22 Woe to those who are mighty to drink wine, and champions at mixing strong drink;

Isa 5:23 who acquit the guilty for a bribe, but deny justice for the innocent!

Isa 5:24 Therefore as the tongue of fire devours the stubble, and as the dry grass sinks down in the flame, so their root shall be as rottenness, and their blossom shall go up as dust; because they have rejected the law of Yahweh of Armies, and despised the word of the Holy One of Israel.

Isa 5:25 Therefore Yahweh's anger burns against his people, and he has stretched out his hand against them, and has struck them. The mountains tremble, and their dead bodies are as refuse in the midst of the streets. For all this, his anger is not turned away, but his hand is still stretched out.

Isa 5:26 He will lift up a banner to the nations from far, and he will whistle for them from the end of the earth. Behold, they will come speedily and swiftly.

Isa 5:27 None shall be weary nor stumble among them; none shall slumber nor sleep; neither shall the belt of their waist be untied, nor the latchet of their shoes be broken:

Isa 5:28 whose arrows are sharp, and all their bows bent. Their horses' hoofs will be like flint, and their wheels like a whirlwind.

Isa 5:29 Their roaring will be like a lioness. They will roar like young lions. Yes, they shall roar, and seize their prey and carry it off, and there will be no one to deliver.

Isa 5:30 They will roar against them in that day like the roaring of the sea. If one looks to the land behold, darkness and distress. The light is darkened in its clouds.

Isa 6:1 In the year that king Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up; and his train filled the temple.

Isa 6:2 Above him stood the seraphim. Each one had six wings. With two he covered his face. With two he covered his feet. With two he flew.

Isa 6:3 One called to another, and said, "Holy, holy, holy, is Yahweh of Armies! The whole earth is full of his glory!"

Isa 6:4 The foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke.

Isa 6:5 Then I said, "Woe is me! For I am undone, because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for my eyes have seen the King, Yahweh of Armies!"

Isa 6:6 Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar.

Isa 6:7 He touched my mouth with it, and said, "Behold, this has touched your lips; and your iniquity is taken away, and your sin forgiven."

Isa 6:8 I heard the Lord's voice, saying, "Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?" Then I said, "Here I am. Send me!"

Isa 6:9 He said, "Go, and tell this people, 'You hear indeed, but don't understand; and you see indeed, but don't perceive.'

Isa 6:10 Make the heart of this people fat. Make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and turn again, and be healed."

Isa 6:11 Then I said, "Lord, how long?" He answered, "Until cities are waste without inhabitant, and houses without man, and the land becomes utterly waste,

Isa 6:12 And Yahweh has removed men far away, and the forsaken places are many in the midst of the land.

Isa 6:13 If there is a tenth left in it, that also will in turn be consumed: as a terebinth, and as an oak, whose stock remains when they are felled; so the holy seed is its stock."

Isa 7:1 It happened in the days of Ahaz the son of Jotham, the son of Uzziah, king of Judah, that Rezin the king of Syria, and Pekah the son of Remaliah, king of Israel, went up to Jerusalem to war against it, but could not prevail against it.

Isa 7:2 It was told the house of David, saying, "Syria is allied with Ephraim." His heart trembled, and the heart of his people, as the trees of the forest tremble with the wind.

Isa 7:3 Then Yahweh said to Isaiah, "Go out now to meet Ahaz, you, and Shearjashub your son, at the end of the conduit of the upper pool, on the highway of the fuller's field.

Isa 7:4 Tell him, 'Be careful, and keep calm. Don't be afraid, neither let your heart be faint because of these two tails of smoking firebrands, for the fierce anger of Rezin and Syria, and of the son of Remaliah.

Isa 7:5 Because Syria, Ephraim, and the son of Remaliah, have plotted evil against you, saying,

Isa 7:6 "Let's go up against Judah, and tear it apart, and let's divide it among ourselves, and set up a king in its midst, even the son of Tabeel."

Isa 7:7 This is what the Lord Yahweh says: "It shall not stand, neither shall it happen."

Isa 7:8 For the head of Syria is Damascus, and the head of Damascus is Rezin; and within sixty-five years Ephraim shall be broken in pieces, so that it shall not be a people;

Isa 7:9 and the head of Ephraim is Samaria, and the head of Samaria is Remaliah's son. If you will not believe, surely you shall not be established.' "

Isa 7:10 Yahweh spoke again to Ahaz, saying,

Isa 7:11 "Ask a sign of Yahweh your God; ask it either in the depth, or in the height above."

Isa 7:12 But Ahaz said, "I will not ask, neither will I tempt Yahweh."

Isa 7:13 He said, "Listen now, house of David: Is it not enough for you to try the patience of men, that you will try the patience of my God also?

Isa 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin will conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

Isa 7:15 He shall eat butter and honey when he knows to refuse the evil, and choose the good.

Isa 7:16 For before the child knows to refuse the evil, and choose the good, the land whose two kings you abhor shall be forsaken.

Isa 7:17 Yahweh will bring on you, on your people, and on your father's house, days that have not come, from the day that Ephraim departed from Judah; even the king of Assyria.

Isa 7:18 It will happen in that day that Yahweh will whistle for the fly that is in the uttermost part of the rivers of Egypt, and for the bee that is in the land of Assyria.

Isa 7:19 They shall come, and shall all rest in the desolate valleys, in the clefts of the rocks, on all thorn hedges, and on all pastures.

Isa 7:20 In that day the Lord will shave with a razor that is hired in the parts beyond the River, even with the king of Assyria, the head and the hair of the feet; and it shall also consume the beard.

Isa 7:21 It shall happen in that day that a man shall keep alive a young cow, and two sheep;

Isa 7:22 and it shall happen, that because of the abundance of milk which they shall give he shall eat butter: for everyone will eat butter and honey that is left in the midst of the land.

Isa 7:23 It will happen in that day that every place where there were a thousand vines at a thousand silver shekels, shall be for briers and thorns.

Isa 7:24 People will go there with arrows and with bow, because all the land will be briers and thorns.

Isa 7:25 All the hills that were cultivated with the hoe, you shall not come there for fear of briers and thorns; but it shall be for the sending forth of oxen, and for the treading of sheep."

Isa 8:1 Yahweh said to me, "Take a large tablet, and write on it with a man's pen, 'For Maher Shalal Hash Baz;'

Isa 8:2 and I will take for myself faithful witnesses to testify: Uriah the priest, and Zechariah the son of Jeberechiah."

Isa 8:3 I went to the prophetess, and she conceived, and bore a son. Then said Yahweh to me, "Call his name 'Maher Shalal Hash Baz.'

Isa 8:4 For before the child knows how to say, 'My father,' and, 'My mother,' the riches of Damascus and the spoil of Samaria will be carried away by the king of Assyria."

Isa 8:5 Yahweh spoke to me yet again, saying,

Isa 8:6 "Because this people have refused the waters of Shiloah that go softly, and rejoice in Rezin and Remaliah's son;

Isa 8:7 now therefore, behold, the Lord brings upon them the mighty flood waters of the River: the king of Assyria and all his glory. It will come up over all its channels, and go over all its banks.

Isa 8:8 It will sweep onward into Judah. It will overflow and pass through; it will reach even to the neck; and the stretching out of its wings will fill the breadth of your land, Immanuel.

Isa 8:9 Make an uproar, you peoples, and be broken in pieces! Listen, all you from far countries: dress for battle, and be shattered! Dress for battle, and be shattered!

Isa 8:10 Take counsel together, and it will be brought to nothing; speak the word, and it will not stand: for God is with us."

Isa 8:11 For Yahweh spoke thus to me with a strong hand, and instructed me not to walk in the way of this people, saying,

Isa 8:12 "Don't say, 'A conspiracy!' concerning all about which this people say, 'A conspiracy!' neither fear their threats, nor be terrorized.

Isa 8:13 Yahweh of Armies is who you must regard as holy. He is the one you must fear. He is the one you must dread.

Isa 8:14 He will be a sanctuary, but for both houses of Israel, he will be a trap and a snare for the inhabitants of Jerusalem.

Isa 8:15 Many will stumble over it, fall, be broken, be snared, and be captured."

Isa 8:16 Wrap up the testimony. Seal the law among my disciples.

Isa 8:17 I will wait for Yahweh, who hides his face from the house of Jacob, and I will look for him.

Isa 8:18 Behold, I and the children whom Yahweh has given me are for signs and for wonders in Israel from Yahweh of Armies, who dwells in Mount Zion.

Isa 8:19 When they tell you, "Consult with those who have familiar spirits and with the wizards, who chirp and who mutter:" shouldn't a people consult with their God? Should they consult the dead on behalf of the living?

Isa 8:20 Turn to the law and to the testimony! If they don't speak according to this word, surely there is no morning for them.

Isa 8:21 They will pass through it, sore distressed and hungry; and it will happen that when they are hungry, they will worry, and curse by their king and by their God. They will turn their faces upward,

Isa 8:22 and look to the earth, and see distress, darkness, and the gloom of anguish. They will be driven into thick darkness.

Oct. 29

Isaiah 9-12

Isa 9:1 But there shall be no more gloom for her who was in anguish. In the former time, he brought into contempt the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali; but in the latter time he has made it glorious, by the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations.

Isa 9:2 The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light. Those who lived in the land of the shadow of death, on them the light has shined.

Isa 9:3 You have multiplied the nation. You have increased their joy. They rejoice before you according to the joy in harvest, as men rejoice when they divide the spoil.

Isa 9:4 For the yoke of his burden, and the staff of his shoulder, the rod of his oppressor, you have broken as in the day of Midian.

Isa 9:5 For all the armor of the armed man in the noisy battle, and the garments rolled in blood, will be for burning, fuel for the fire.

Isa 9:6 For to us a child is born. To us a son is given; and the government will be on his shoulders. His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Isa 9:7 Of the increase of his government and of peace there shall be no end, on the throne of David, and on his kingdom, to establish it, and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from that time on, even forever. The zeal of Yahweh of Armies will perform this.

Isa 9:8 The Lord sent a word into Jacob, and it falls on Israel.

Isa 9:9 All the people will know, including Ephraim and the inhabitants of Samaria, who say in pride and in arrogance of heart,

Isa 9:10 "The bricks have fallen, but we will build with cut stone. The sycamore fig trees have been cut down, but we will put cedars in their place."

Isa 9:11 Therefore Yahweh will set up on high against him the adversaries of Rezin, and will stir up his enemies,

Isa 9:12 The Syrians in front, and the Philistines behind; and they will devour Israel with open mouth. For all this, his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still.

Isa 9:13 Yet the people have not turned to him who struck them, neither have they sought Yahweh of Armies.

Isa 9:14 Therefore Yahweh will cut off from Israel head and tail, palm branch and reed, in one day.

Isa 9:15 The elder and the honorable man is the head, and the prophet who teaches lies is the tail.

Isa 9:16 For those who lead this people lead them astray; and those who are led by them are destroyed.

Isa 9:17 Therefore the Lord will not rejoice over their young men, neither will he have compassion on their fatherless and widows; for everyone is profane and an evildoer, and every mouth speaks folly. For all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still.

Isa 9:18 For wickedness burns like a fire. It devours the briers and thorns; yes, it kindles in the thickets of the forest, and they roll upward in a column of smoke.

Isa 9:19 Through the wrath of Yahweh of Armies, the land is burnt up; and the people are the fuel for the fire. No one spares his brother.

Isa 9:20 One will devour on the right hand, and be hungry; and he will eat on the left hand, and they will not be satisfied. Everyone will eat the flesh of his own arm:

Isa 9:21 Manasseh, Ephraim; and Ephraim, Manasseh; and they together shall be against Judah. For all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still.

Isa 10:1 Woe to those who decree unrighteous decrees, and to the writers who write oppressive decrees;

Isa 10:2 to deprive the needy from justice, and to rob the poor among my people of their rights, that widows may be their spoil, and that they may make the fatherless their prey!

Isa 10:3 What will you do in the day of visitation, and in the desolation which will come from afar? To whom will you flee for help? Where will you leave your wealth?

Isa 10:4 They will only bow down under the prisoners, and will fall under the slain. For all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still.

Isa 10:5 Alas Assyrian, the rod of my anger, the staff in whose hand is my indignation!

Isa 10:6 I will send him against a profane nation, and against the people who anger me will I give him a command to take the spoil and to take the prey, and to tread them down like the mire of the streets.

Isa 10:7 However he doesn't mean so, neither does his heart think so; but it is in his heart to destroy, and to cut off not a few nations.

Isa 10:8 For he says, "Aren't all of my princes kings?

Isa 10:9 Isn't Calno like Carchemish? Isn't Hamath like Arpad? Isn't Samaria like Damascus?"

Isa 10:10 As my hand has found the kingdoms of the idols, whose engraved images exceeded those of Jerusalem and of Samaria;

Isa 10:11 shall I not, as I have done to Samaria and her idols, so do to Jerusalem and her idols?

Isa 10:12 Therefore it will happen that, when the Lord has performed his whole work on Mount Zion and on Jerusalem, I will punish the fruit of the willful proud heart of the king of Assyria, and the insolence of his haughty looks.

Isa 10:13 For he has said, "By the strength of my hand I have done it, and by my wisdom; for I have understanding: and I have removed the boundaries of the peoples, and have robbed their treasures. Like a valiant man I have brought down their rulers.

Isa 10:14 My hand has found the riches of the peoples like a nest, and like one gathers eggs that are abandoned, have I gathered all the earth. There was no one who moved their wing, or that opened their mouth, or chirped."

Isa 10:15 Should an axe brag against him who chops with it? Should a saw exalt itself above him who saws with it? As if a rod should lift those who lift it up, or as if a staff should lift up someone who is not wood.

Isa 10:16 Therefore the Lord, Yahweh of Armies, will send among his fat ones leanness; and under his glory a burning will be kindled like the burning of fire.

Isa 10:17 The light of Israel will be for a fire, and his Holy One for a flame; and it will burn and devour his thorns and his briers in one day.

Isa 10:18 He will consume the glory of his forest, and of his fruitful field, both soul and body. It will be as when a standard bearer faints.

Isa 10:19 The remnant of the trees of his forest shall be few, so that a child could write their number.

Isa 10:20 It will come to pass in that day that the remnant of Israel, and those who have escaped from the house of Jacob will no more again lean on him who struck them, but shall lean on Yahweh, the Holy One of Israel, in truth.

Isa 10:21 A remnant will return, even the remnant of Jacob, to the mighty God.

Isa 10:22 For though your people, Israel, are like the sand of the sea, only a remnant of them will return. A destruction is determined, overflowing with righteousness.

Isa 10:23 For the Lord, Yahweh of Armies, will make a full end, and that determined, in the midst of all the earth.

Isa 10:24 Therefore the Lord, Yahweh of Armies, says "My people who dwell in Zion, don't be afraid of the Assyrian, though he strike you with the rod, and lift up his staff against you, as Egypt did.

Isa 10:25 For yet a very little while, and the indignation against you will be accomplished, and my anger will be directed to his destruction."

Isa 10:26 Yahweh of Armies will stir up a scourge against him, as in the slaughter of Midian at the rock of Oreb. His rod will be over the sea, and he will lift it up like he did against Egypt.

Isa 10:27 It will happen in that day, that his burden will depart from off your shoulder, and his yoke from off your neck, and the yoke shall be destroyed because of the anointing oil.

Isa 10:28 He has come to Aiath. He has passed through Migron. At Michmash he stores his baggage.

Isa 10:29 They have gone over the pass. They have taken up their lodging at Geba. Ramah trembles. Gibeah of Saul has fled.

Isa 10:30 Cry aloud with your voice, daughter of Gallim! Listen, Laishah! You poor Anathoth!

Isa 10:31 Madmenah is a fugitive. The inhabitants of Gebim flee for safety.

Isa 10:32 This very day he will halt at Nob. He shakes his hand at the mountain of the daughter of Zion, the hill of Jerusalem.

Isa 10:33 Behold, the Lord, Yahweh of Armies, will lop the boughs with terror. The tall will be cut down, and the lofty will be brought low.

Isa 10:34 He will cut down the thickets of the forest with iron, and Lebanon will fall by the Mighty One.

Isa 11:1 A shoot will come out of the stock of Jesse, and a branch out of his roots will bear fruit.

Isa 11:2 The Spirit of Yahweh will rest on him: the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of Yahweh.

Isa 11:3 His delight will be in the fear of Yahweh. He will not judge by the sight of his eyes, neither decide by the hearing of his ears;

Isa 11:4 but with righteousness he will judge the poor, and decide with equity for the humble of the earth. He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth; and with the breath of his lips he will kill the wicked.

Isa 11:5 Righteousness will be the belt of his waist, and faithfulness the belt of his waist.

Isa 11:6 The wolf will live with the lamb, and the leopard will lie down with the young goat; The calf, the young lion, and the fattened calf together; and a little child will lead them.

Isa 11:7 The cow and the bear will graze. Their young ones will lie down together. The lion will eat straw like the ox.

Isa 11:8 The nursing child will play near a cobra's hole, and the weaned child will put his hand on the viper's den.

Isa 11:9 They will not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain; for the earth will be full of the knowledge of Yahweh, as the waters cover the sea.

Isa 11:10 It will happen in that day that the nations will seek the root of Jesse, who stands as a banner of the peoples; and his resting place will be glorious.

Isa 11:11 It will happen in that day that the Lord will set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant that is left of his people from Assyria, from Egypt, from Pathros, from Cush, from Elam, from Shinar, from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea.

Isa 11:12 He will set up a banner for the nations, and will assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.

Isa 11:13 The envy also of Ephraim will depart, and those who persecute Judah will be cut off. Ephraim won't envy Judah, and Judah won't persecute Ephraim.

Isa 11:14 They will fly down on the shoulders of the Philistines on the west. Together they will plunder the children of the east. They will extend their power over Edom and Moab, and the children of Ammon will obey them.

Isa 11:15 Yahweh will utterly destroy the tongue of the Egyptian sea; and with his scorching wind he will wave his hand over the River, and will split it into seven streams, and cause men to march over in sandals.

Isa 11:16 There will be a highway for the remnant that is left of his people from Assyria, like there was for Israel in the day that he came up out of the land of Egypt.

Isa 12:1 In that day you will say, "I will give thanks to you, Yahweh; for though you were angry with me, your anger has turned away and you comfort me.

Isa 12:2 Behold, God is my salvation. I will trust, and will not be afraid; for Yah, Yahweh, is my strength and song; and he has become my salvation."

Isa 12:3 Therefore with joy you will draw water out of the wells of salvation.

Isa 12:4 In that day you will say, "Give thanks to Yahweh! Call on his name. Declare his doings among the peoples. Proclaim that his name is exalted!

Isa 12:5 Sing to Yahweh, for he has done excellent things! Let this be known in all the earth!

Isa 12:6 Cry aloud and shout, you inhabitant of Zion; for the Holy One of Israel is great in the midst of you!" 


Oct. 28

1 Thessalonians 5

1Th 5:1 But concerning the times and the seasons, brothers, you have no need that anything be written to you.

1Th 5:2 For you yourselves know well that the day of the Lord comes like a thief in the night.

1Th 5:3 For when they are saying, "Peace and safety," then sudden destruction will come on them, like birth pains on a pregnant woman; and they will in no way escape.

1Th 5:4 But you, brothers, aren't in darkness, that the day should overtake you like a thief.

1Th 5:5 You are all children of light, and children of the day. We don't belong to the night, nor to darkness,

1Th 5:6 so then let's not sleep, as the rest do, but let's watch and be sober.

1Th 5:7 For those who sleep, sleep in the night, and those who are drunk are drunk in the night.

1Th 5:8 But let us, since we belong to the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and, for a helmet, the hope of salvation.

1Th 5:9 For God didn't appoint us to wrath, but to the obtaining of salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ,

1Th 5:10 who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him.

1Th 5:11 Therefore exhort one another, and build each other up, even as you also do.

1Th 5:12 But we beg you, brothers, to know those who labor among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you,

1Th 5:13 and to respect and honor them in love for their work's sake. Be at peace among yourselves.

1Th 5:14 We exhort you, brothers, admonish the disorderly, encourage the fainthearted, support the weak, be patient toward all.

1Th 5:15 See that no one returns evil for evil to anyone, but always follow after that which is good, for one another, and for all.

1Th 5:16 Rejoice always.

1Th 5:17 Pray without ceasing.

1Th 5:18 In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus toward you.

1Th 5:19 Don't quench the Spirit.

1Th 5:20 Don't despise prophesies.

1Th 5:21 Test all things, and hold firmly that which is good.

1Th 5:22 Abstain from every form of evil.

1Th 5:23 May the God of peace himself sanctify you completely. May your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

1Th 5:24 He who calls you is faithful, who will also do it.

1Th 5:25 Brothers, pray for us.

1Th 5:26 Greet all the brothers with a holy kiss.

1Th 5:27 I solemnly command you by the Lord that this letter be read to all the holy brothers.

1Th 5:28 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.

Oct. 29

2 Thessalonians 1

2Th 1:1 Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, to the assembly of the Thessalonians in God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ:

2Th 1:2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

2Th 1:3 We are bound to always give thanks to God for you, brothers, even as it is appropriate, because your faith grows exceedingly, and the love of each and every one of you towards one another abounds;

2Th 1:4 so that we ourselves boast about you in the assemblies of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and in the afflictions which you endure.

2Th 1:5 This is an obvious sign of the righteous judgment of God, to the end that you may be counted worthy of the Kingdom of God, for which you also suffer.

2Th 1:6 Since it is a righteous thing with God to repay affliction to those who afflict you,

2Th 1:7 and to give relief to you who are afflicted with us, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire,

2Th 1:8 giving vengeance to those who don't know God, and to those who don't obey the Good News of our Lord Jesus,

2Th 1:9 who will pay the penalty: eternal destruction from the face of the Lord and from the glory of his might,

2Th 1:10 when he comes to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired among all those who have believed (because our testimony to you was believed) in that day.

2Th 1:11 To this end we also pray always for you, that our God may count you worthy of your calling, and fulfill every desire of goodness and work of faith, with power;

2Th 1:12 that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.