1/1/21

Bible Contradictions—Are They Real? by Wayne Jackson, M.A.

 

https://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=12&article=5249

Bible Contradictions—Are They Real?

by  Wayne Jackson, M.A.

Q.

The charge is made quite frequently that the Bible contains numerous contradictions. Is this charge correct?

A.

“I cannot have confidence in the Bible, for it is a book filled with contradictions.” I could not estimate how many times I have heard this charge against the Holy Scriptures over the past quarter of a century. One thing, however, has been consistent about the allegation—the critic rarely can name even one alleged contradiction that the Bible is supposed to contain. He just “knows” that they are “in there” somewhere.

Those who allege that the Bible contains contradictions basically fall into two classes. First, there is the person who honestly believes this to be the case because he has heard the hackneyed charge repeated frequently; thus, he is sincerely misinformed about the facts. Second, there is that type of person who, from base motives, hates the Bible and so does not scruple to pervert its testimony in order to embarrass the Sacred Volume. In either case, the Word of God is not at fault!

Preliminary to a consideration of this important theme, it should be noted that the principle of “innocent until proven guilty” applies to the Bible as to any other book. Books, like people, ought to be considered truthful and consistent until it can be demonstrated that they are not. Great attempts have been made to absolve the Greek and Latin classics of contradictions under the presumption that the authors did not contradict themselves. Surely the Bible deserves at least an equally charitable approach.

WHAT IS A CONTRADICTION?

It is fairly safe to say that most people have only a superficial understanding of what constitutes a genuine contradiction. An important truth that must repeatedly be hammered home is this: a mere difference does not a contradiction make!

What, then, is a contradiction? In logic, the Law of Contradiction is stated succinctly as follows: “Nothing can both be and not be” (Jevons, 1928, p. 117). That is a very abbreviated form of the rule. Aristotle, in a more amplified form, expressed it this way. “That the same thing should at the same time both be and not be for the same person and in the same respect is impossible.”

An analysis of the Law of Contradiction, therefore, would suggest the following: when one is confronted with an alleged contradiction, he must ask himself these questions: (1) Is the same thing or person under consideration? (2) Is the same time period in view? (3) Is the language that seems to be self-contradictory employed in the same sense? It is vitally important that these questions be answered correctly. For instance, let us analyze the following two statements: Robert is rich. Robert is poor. Do these statements contradict one another? The answer is—not necessarily! First, two different people named Robert could be under consideration. Second, two different time frames might be in view; Robert could have been rich but, due to financial disaster, he became poor. Third, the terms “rich” and “poor” might have been used in different senses; Robert could be spiritually rich but economically poor. The point is this: it never is proper to assume a contradiction exists until every possible means of harmonization has been fully exhausted. Now, let this principle be applied to the Bible.

Same Person or Thing

An infidel once announced that he had discovered a contradiction in the Bible. When challenged to produce it, he suggested that whereas Noah’s ark with all of its inmates must have weighed several tons (Genesis 6), the priests were said to have carried the ark across the Jordan River (Joshua 3). The poor fellow, in his profound simplicity, did not even know the difference between Noah’s ark and the Ark of the Covenant! Slightly different arks—to say the least! Again, the Scriptures affirm that faith saves apart from works; on the other hand, the New Testament declares that faith apart form works cannot save. “Surely,” some contend, “this is a contradiction.” The fact is it is not, fordifferent types of works are addressed in the Scriptures. Salvation involves works of obedience to the commands of Jesus Christ (James 2:14ff.; Philippians 2:12), but it cannot be obtained by works of the Mosaic Law (Romans 3:28; 4:2ff.) or by boastful works of human merit (Ephesians 2:9). There is no contradiction in the Bible on this point.

Same Time Reference

The Bible records: “God saw everything that he had made, and, behold, it was very good” (Genesis 1:31). And then: “And it repented Jehovah that he had made man on earth, and it grieved him at his heart” (6:6). The infidel cites both verses and claims that God simultaneously was satisfied and dissatisfied with His creation—neglecting to mention, of course, that the fall of man and hundreds of years of history separated the two statements! Judas, one of the Lord’s disciples, was empowered to perform miracles (cf. Matthew 10:1-18), yet he is called “the son of perdition” (John 17:12). Is there a contradiction here? No, for it was a couple of years after the time of the limited commission (Matthew 10) before Judas commenced to apostatize from the Lord (John 12:6; 13:2,27). The time element is vitally important in understanding some passages.

Some have charged the Bible with a mistake in connection with the time of Jesus’ trial and death. Mark writes that the Lord was crucified at the third hour (Mark 15:25), while John’s account has the Savior being tried at the sixth hour (John 19:14)—seemingly three hours after His death. John’s time reference, however, was based upon Romancivil days, while Mark computed according to Jewish time (cf. Westcott, 1981, 8:282). Again, the “contradiction” dissolves.

Same Sense

If the Bible is to be understood, it is imperative that recognition be given to the different senses in which words may be employed. Normally, words are used literally, but they can be employed figuratively as well.

In Matthew 11:14, John the Baptizer is identified as “Elijah,” yet, the forerunner of Christ, in John 1:21, plainly denied that he was Elijah. These verses are reconciled quite easily. Though John was not literally Elijah physically reincarnated, nevertheless he was the spiritual antitype of the great prophet; he prepared the way for the Lord “in the spirit and power of Elijah” (Luke 1:17).

Did the apostle Paul contradict himself when he affirmed on one occasion that he was “as touching the righteousness which is in the law, found blameless” (Philippians 3:6), and yet, at another time, he acknowledged that he was “chief ” of sinners (1 Timothy 1:15)? Again, the answer must be “No.” In the former passage, Paul was describing the reputation he enjoyed among his Hebrew contemporaries as a Pharisee, while in the latter verse, he expressed the anguish he felt at having been a persecutor of the Christian Way. How sad that some are almost totally ignorant of the principles that resolve Bible difficulties.

LOGICAL IMPLICATIONS

One of the implications of the Law of Contradiction is the concept that “nothing can have at the same time and at the same place contradictory and inconsistent qualities” (Jevons, 1928, p. 118). A door may be open or shut, but the same door may not be both open and shut at the same time. Open and shut are opposites, yet they are not contradictory unless they are affirmed of the same object at the same time. Here is the principle: opposites are not necessarily contradictory. Let this principle be applied to certain biblical matters.

Does the Bible contradict itself, as is often suggested, when it asserts that God both loves and hates? No, for though these terms are opposites, when used of God they do not express His disposition toward the same objects. God loves every sinner in the world (John 3:16), but He hates every false way (Psalm 119:104). He loves righteousness, but hates iniquity (Psalm 45:7), and hence responds toward such with either goodness or severity (Romans 11:22). No contradiction here.

Was Paul both “perfect” and “imperfect” at the same time? Some have charged that he so claimed. In Philippians 3:12, the apostle declared that he had not been “already made perfect,” while in the 15th verse he wrote: “Let us, therefore, as many as are perfect, be thus minded.” How is this problem resolved? A careful analysis of the language employed will solve this alleged discrepancy. When Paul claimed that he had not been “made perfect,” he used a perfect tense form of the Greek term which literally suggested that the apostle had not arrived at a permanent state of perfection. On the other hand, in the latter verse Paul used an adjective that actually means full-grown or mature (note how the same term is used in contrast to infantilism in 1 Corinthians 14:20 and Ephesians 4:13). And so, while Paul denied that he was already in possession of permanent perfection, he did claim to possess spiritual maturity. There is no conflict between these passages.

Another important point to be emphasized is this: one must not confuse supplementation with contradiction. In a contradiction, two facts are mutually exclusive; in supplementation, two facts merely complement one another. If one says, for example, that John doe is a husband, and then, of the same John Doe, that he is not a husband—this is contradiction. On the other hand, if one says that John Doe is a father—that is not a contradiction. It merely is supplementing statement number two. Many alleged Bible discrepancies can be answered by a recognition of this principle.

The case of the healing of the blind men of Jericho presents an interesting study in supplementation (Matthew 20:29-34; Mark 10:46-52; Luke 18:35-43). Two prominent problems have been set forth. First, while both Mark and Luke mention the healing ofone blind man, Matthew records the healing of two blind men. Second, Matthew and Mark indicate that the blind men were healed as Jesus was leaving Jericho, whereas Luke seems to suggest that a blind man was healed as the Lord “drew nigh” to the city. As a discussion of these passages is begun, let this vital consideration be remembered—if there is any reasonable way of harmonizing these records, no legitimate contradiction can be charged to the accounts!

How, then, shall these narratives be reconciled? Several reasonable possibilities have been posed by scholarly writers.

In the first place, the fact that two of the accounts mention only one man, while the other mentions two, need not concern us. Had Mark and Luke stated that Christ healedonly one man, with Matthew affirming that more than one were healed, an error surely would be apparent, but such is not the case. If one says, “I have a son,” he does not contradict himself by stating further, “I have a son and a daughter.” The latter statement merely supplements the former. There is no discrepancy, therefore, with reference to the number of men involved.

But how shall the second problem be resolved? Several reasonable possibilities have been advanced.

  1. It is possible that three blind men were healed in the vicinity of Jericho on this occasion, and that the incident mentioned by Luke, as occurring when Jesus approached the city, might have represented a different miracle than that recorded by Matthew and Mark. This may not be the most likely explanation, but it cannot be disproved.
     
  2. Edward Robinson argued that the verb engizo, rendered “drew near” (Luke 18:35) also can mean “to be near.” He cited evidence from the Septuagint (1 Kings 21:2—“it is near unto my house” [cf. Deuteronomy 21:3, Jeremiah 23:23, Ruth 2:20, and 2 Samuel 19:42]) and from the New Testament (Luke 19:29; cf. Matthew 21:1 and Philippians 2:30). He thus translated Luke 18:35 as “while he was yet nigh unto Jericho” (1855, p. 200). This view implies that Luke simply locates the miracle near Jericho; hence such can be harmonized with the other records.
     
  3. Perhaps the most popular viewpoint among reputable writers is the fact that at the time of Christ there actually were two Jerichos. First, there was the Jericho of Old Testament history (Joshua 6:1ff.; 1 Kings 16:34) that was located at the sight of Elijah’s spring. In the first century, however, that city lay almost in ruins. About two miles south of that site was the new Jericho, built by Herod the Great. The Lord—traveling from the north toward Jerusalem—first would pass through the old Jericho, then some two miles to the southwest, would go through Herodian Jericho. The miracles under consideration, therefore may have been performedbetween two towns. Accordingly, the references in Matthew and Mark to leavingJericho would allude to the old city, whereas Luke’s observation to drawing nearto Jericho would refer to the newer community (see Robertson, 1930, 1:163).

CONCLUSION

In dealing with so-called “contradictions” in the Bible, let these principles be carefully remembered.

  • No contradiction exists between verses that refer to different persons or things.
     
  • No contradiction exists between passages that involve different time elements.
     
  • No contradiction exists between verses that employ phraseology in different senses.
     
  • Supplementation is not the same as contradiction.
     
  • One need show only the possibility of harmonization between two passage that appear to conflict in order to negate the force of an alleged discrepancy.

Finally, this point needs to be made: the differences in various Bible accounts of the same events actually demonstrate the independence of the divine writers and prove that they were not in collusion! God, although using human writers in the composition of the Bible, is nevertheless its ultimate Author. And since the perfect God cannot be the source of confusion (1 Corinthians 14:33) or contradiction (Hebrews 6:18), it must be acknowledged that the Bible is perfectly harmonious. This does not mean that men will not struggle with difficult passages. If seeming discrepancies are discovered, let us apply ourselves to a diligent study to resolve them; but let us never foolishly charge God with allowing His sacred writers to contradict one another.

REFERENCES

Jevons, W. Stanley (1928), Elementary Lessons in Logic (London: Macmillan).

Robertson, A.T. (1930), Word Pictures in the New Testament (Nashville, TN: Broadman).

Robinson, Edward (1855), Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament (New York: Harper Brothers).

Westcott, B.F. (1981 reprint), The Gospel of St. JohnThe Bible Commentary, ed. F.C. Cook (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker).

Beware of Dawkins’ “Common Sense” by Kyle Butt, M.Div.

 

https://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=12&article=2452

Beware of Dawkins’ “Common Sense”

by  Kyle Butt, M.Div.

Due to Richard Dawkins’ atheistic assumptions, he has the impossible task of trying to arrive at a legitimate set of ethical judgments. He robustly denies that the idea of God offers any real morality, but as he attempts to contrive morality without a divine standard, he quickly loses his way and makes self-contradictory statements.

For instance, in chapter 9 of his book The God Delusion, Dawkins argues that teaching a child to be religious is a form of mental child abuse. Of course, he lumps all religious practices together (which is a logical fallacy in the first place; e.g., Butt, 2007) and chooses an example that is inconsistent with truth. He correctly states that it is wrong to think that sprinkling a little water on an infant has any ability to “totally change a child’s life” (e.g., Colley, 2004). But, to arrive at his conclusion, Dawkins says that the implications of infant baptism fly in the face of “everything that ordinary common sense and human feeling see as important” (2006, p. 213, emp. added).

Notice one of Dawkins’ reasons for claiming that the practice is wrong—because it goes against “common sense.” Of course, the next question to be asked is, “How reliable of a guide is common sense?” Should we always trust our “common sense” when making moral decisions? Dawkins answers that question himself, although probably unwittingly. In his discussion of tiny quantum particles, Dawkins claims that the human brain has not really evolved the ability to understand many physical realities on a quantum scale. He states that much that we have learned about quantum mechanics goes against our “common-sense” notions. Thus, he concluded: “Common sense lets us down, because common sense evolved in a world where nothing moves very fast, and nothing is very small or very large” (2006, p. 364).

Putting the pieces together, then, Dawkins believes that moral decisions should be based on what the general population determines to be moral (Dawkins, 2006, pp. 237-278). Basically, he states that the combined “common sense” of humanity serves as a good indicator of morally correct behavior. But then he suggests that “common sense” is nothing more than an evolved entity that can “let us down.” If common sense can “let us down” in our judgments about the physical world, does it not also follow that it can do the same in moral determinations?

With such inconsistent statements, Dawkins forces himself and his fellow atheists back to the drawing board to concoct some facsimile of moral oughtness. In the end, all he can really conclude is that there are no moral absolutes and we cannot be certain that anything is really right or wrong. He said as much himself when he stated: “Fortunately, however, morals do not have to be absolute” (2006, p. 232). And, whereas one could easily argue that Dawkins’ idea of constant moral fluctuation goes against “common sense,” that is not why his idea is wrong. It is wrong because it violates the self-evident rules of logic, dismisses the powerful and irrefutable evidence that a divine Creator exists, and contradicts the Truth revealed by that Creator.

REFERENCES

Butt, Kyle (2007), “All Religion Is Bad Because Some Is?,” [On-line], URL: http://apologeticspress.org/articles/3546.

Colley, Caleb (2004), “Did Jesus Command Infant Baptism?,” [On-line], URL: http://apologeticspress.org/articles/2638.

Dawkins, Richard (2006), The God Delusion (Boston: Houghton Mifflin).

Belief in God is Hard-Wired into Man by Kyle Butt, M.Div.

 

https://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=12&article=5662

Belief in God is Hard-Wired into Man

by  Kyle Butt, M.Div.

A.C. Grayling wrote a book titled The God Argument. Those in atheistic circles have lauded it as a profound and insightful representation of atheism. Remarkably, Grayling makes an error that is extremely common within the writings of unbelievers. He contends that mankind has no religious nature and that all belief in God is a product of teaching passed on to children from parents, teachers, or other environmental factors. He wrote:

It would, though, be far better if religious doctrines and systems were not taught to people until they had attained maturity. If this were the case, how many would subscribe to a religion? Without being given a predisposition through childhood indoctrination to think there might be something in one of the many and conflicting religious beliefs on offer, the likely answer would surely be: not very many.1

It seems as though Grayling completely fails to acknowledge the massive amount of research that proves that belief in God comes naturally to mankind and is hard-wired in to the fabric of humanity.2 Atheist Richard Dawkins contradicts Grayling and admits that humans have “a lust for gods.”3 He noted that people are “innately predisposed to be creationists” and said that children are “native teleologists, and many never grow out of it.”4 Renowned atheist Sam Harris is forced to concede that “several experiments suggest that children are predisposed to assume design and intention behind natural events—leaving many psychologists and anthropologists to believe that children, left entirely on their own devices, would invent some conception of God.”5

Since atheism cannot explain why people are born to believe in God, many of them simply deny the truth that they are. The logical explanation for this innate belief is the idea that the Creator “put eternity” in our hearts (Ecclesiastes 3:11), so that all people might “seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us” (Acts 17:27).

EndNotes

1 A.C. Grayling (2013), The God Argument: The Case Against Religion and for Humanism  (New York: Bloomsbury), p. 39.

2 See Kyle Butt (2013), “Why is Belief in God Natural to Mankind?” https://www.apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=12&article=4655.

3 Richard Dawkins (2006), The God Delusion (New York: Houghton Mifflin), p. 169.

4 Ibid., pp. 180-181.

5 Sam Harris (2010), The Moral Landscape (New York: Free Press), p. 151, emp. added.

"THE GOSPEL OF MARK" Who Was Afraid Of Jesus? (5:1-20) by Mark Copeland

 

                          "THE GOSPEL OF MARK"

            Who Was Afraid Of Jesus? (5:1-20)

INTRODUCTION

1. After calming the storm, Jesus and His disciples arrived in the country of the Gadarenes... - Mk 5:1
   a. A region on the east side of the Sea of Galilee
   b. Variously called Gadarenes, Gersasenes, and Gergesenes (after nearby cities)
   c. Also known as the Decapolis (a district of ten cities) - Mk 5:20

2. After taming a wild sea, Jesus now tames a wild man (Hendriksen)...
   a. A man possessed with unclean spirit - Mk 5:2
   b. Unable to be bound by chains, night and day crying and cutting himself - Mk 5:3-5
   c. Moved to worship Jesus by the legion of demons that possessed him - Mk 5:6-9
   d. The demons begged not to be tormented or sent out of the country - Mk 5:7,10
   e. Asking to be able to fill a herd of swine, they are allowed, only to drown them - Mk 5:11-13
   f. The swine feeders fled to tell others, who when seeing the
      demoniac in his right mind, begged for Jesus to leave their region - Mk 5:14-17
   g. As Jesus returns to his boat, the healed man pleads to join Him,
      but is sent home to tell others what the Lord has done - Mk 5:18-20

[In studying Mark's account of the healing of the demoniac and the
events which followed, I was struck by the fear of Jesus manifested in
this story.  So I ask, "Who Was Afraid Of Jesus?"  Was it...]

I. THE DEMONS WHO WERE LEGION?

   A. YES, AND JUSTIFIABLY SO...
      1. They begged Jesus not to torment them - Mk 5:7
      2. Note the similarity to the unclean spirit(s) in the synagogue - Mk 1:23-24
      3. Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil - 1Jn 3:8
      4. The demons (unclean spirits) knew the time was coming - Mt 8:29
      5. Indeed, everlasting fire is prepared for the devil and his angels - Mt 25:41
      6. Even now there are sinful angels bound by "chains of darkness" - 2Pe 2:4; Jude 9
      7. One day the devil himself will be cast into the lake of fire - Re 20:10
      -- Yes, the demons who were legion were terrified of Jesus!

   B. WE SHOULD BE AFRAID...
      1. If we are not ready for the coming of the Lord - 2Th 1:7-9
      2. We too will experience everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels - Mt 25:41,46
      3. Those not in the Book of life will not escape the lake of fire - Re 20:15; 21:8
      -- Yes, we should be terrified of Jesus if we are not ready!

[As we return to our text (Mk 5:1-20) with our question ("Who Was Afraid Of Jesus?"), was it...]

II. THE DENIZENS OF THE REGION?

   A. YES, BUT UNJUSTIFIABLY SO...
      1. When they came to Jesus and saw the healed demoniac, they were afraid - Mk 5:14-15
      2. They pleaded with Jesus to depart from their region - Mk 5:17
      3. Their fear was the fear of the unknown, and they were unwilling to know
      4. Their fear deprived them of great blessings!
      -- Yes, the denizens of the region were foolishly afraid of learning more about Jesus!

   B. WE SHOULD NOT BE AFRAID...
      1. Of learning about Jesus, for He offers rest for our souls - Mt 11:28-30
      2. Of coming to Jesus, for He is the source of every spiritual blessing - Ep 1:3
      3. Of obeying Jesus, for His words will free us from the bondage of sin - Jn 8:31-32,34-36
      4. Of following Jesus, for His words will provide safety in life's storms - Mt 7:24-27
      -- No, we should not be afraid to learn whatever we can about Jesus!

[Finally, as we consider "Who Was Afraid Of Jesus?", we ask if it was...]

III. THE DEMONIAC WHO WAS HEALED?

   A. NO, AND JUSTIFIABLY NOT...
      1. He begged to be with Jesus, but Jesus had other plans for him - Mk 5:18-19
      2. He was not afraid of Jesus, nor afraid to tell others about Jesus - Mk 5:20
      3. Jesus had done great things for Him, and telling others led them to marvel - Mk 5:20
      -- No, he who was healed by Jesus was not afraid of Jesus!

   B. WE SHOULD NOT BE AFRAID...
      1. Of Jesus, for He loved us and washed us from our sins!- Re 1:5
      2. Of telling others about Jesus, who has given us great hope - 1Pe 3:15
      -- No, we who have been saved by Jesus should never be afraid of Jesus!

CONCLUSION

1. Who was afraid of Jesus...?
   a. Those unwilling to repent of their sins
   b. Those unwilling to learn about Jesus

2. Who was not afraid of Jesus...?
   a. The one who appreciated what Jesus had done for him
   b. The one who was willing to tell others what Jesus had done

3. Who are we more like in this story...?
   a. The demons who were legion?
   b. The denizens of the region?
   c. The demoniac who was healed?

The nature of our relationship with Jesus reveals the answer.  Do we
want to be with Jesus?  Are we willing to tell others about Jesus?  Or are we afraid of Jesus...?  
 
Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2016

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What We Stand For: Sending a Clear Message by Ken Weliever, The Preacherman

 

https://thepreachersword.com/2017/09/26/what-we-stand-for-sending-a-clear-message/

What We Stand For: Sending a Clear Message

Even if you’re not a football fan, you’ve probably heard that every team in the NFL protested in some form prior to Sunday’s games during The National Anthem.

Teams reacted in various ways. Some took a knee during the playing of The Star-Spangled Banner. Others locked arms in a show of solidarity, including some team owners who joined them. Other teams like the Pittsburgh Steelers, Chicago Bears, and Seattle Seahawks stayed in the locker room while the Anthem was performed.

Last night the Dallas Cowboys took a different twist. They walked to the middle of the field with flamboyant owner Jerry Jones and briefly knelt as a team. Then walked to the sidelines and locked arms during the playing of The National Anthem.

But what does it all mean? What are they standing for? Or kneeling for?

It seems that the message is a bit muddled.

When former San Francisco quarterback, Colin Kaepernick began taking a knee last year it was to protest what he believed was the “incredible number of black people being shot by police.” At one point he said, “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color.”  By the way, this was a man who wore socks depicting police officers as pigs.

But what about the recent protests over the weekend? Is it about police brutality? Social injustice? The stained past of our nation’s history regrading slavery? Surely it can’t be the oppression of multi-millionaire African American athletes, can it? Maybe it was a protest against President Donald Trump’s bombastic and crude language over the weekend in Alabama about owners firing players who took a knee?

There is a bit of irony to this. I remember a few years ago another player who took a knee. Not during the National Anthem. But before or after a game. His name is Tim Tebow. Everyone understood why. It was his way to pay tribute to his faith. And to honor Jesus. He did so without disrespecting anyone else. Or our country.

While today’s players are praised for their protests, Tebow was widely criticized for his faith, especially from the far left and secular media. Ironic, isn’t it? It was wrong, according to some, for Tebow to quietly mix religion and faith with a sporting event. But it is acceptable to overtly disrespect our county and the flag for social and political causes.

We indeed live in a confused culture. One that has lost its moral compass on so many levels. There are real issues that divide us. Differing positions that have polarized our country by political party, race or religious convictions.

For Christians, the answer is to respond in a measured, Biblical, Christ-centered way. Whether you take a knee or not, be clear where you stand. And who you stand up for.

(1) Let’s be sure that our speech is “gracious, seasoned with salt,” whether in person or on facebook (Col. 4;6).

(2) Reflect the light of Christ that others may see our good works and give glory to God. Let’s be a beacon of light in a world of darkness. (Matt. 5:14-16)

(3) Demonstrate respect, honor, and esteem for all people created in the image of God (1Pet. 2:17)

(4) Treat other people, even those with whom you disagree, the way you want to treated (Matt. 7:12).

(5) You may want to take a knee and pray for those in authority that we may continue to enjoy peace and prosperity. (1Tim. 2:1-2). While on your knee, you may want to pray for your enemies. Our nation. Your family. The lost. The church. And those with whom you’re in disagreement.

(6) Be clear that your primary allegiance is to Jesus Christ, not a political party or partisan position. (Ax 4:12; 5:29).

I don’t know the religious background of Alejandro Villanueva, the lone Pittsburgh Steeler to stand for the national anthem Sunday. While his team stayed in the locker room, he stood at the head of the tunnel leading onto the field, hand over his heart.

Villanueva is a West Point graduate and former Army Ranger who served three tours in Afghanistan and is known in the Pittsburgh area for his acts of community service.

Describing his faith in Jesus, Villanueva said, “If you’re right with God, everything else is fine; if you’re not right with God, everything else is out of place. Being connected with God is the most important thing there is.”

Villanueva is right. In the midst of societal upheaval, let’s not forget what is the most important part of our lives.

–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman

THE ABSURDITY OF ORIGINAL SIN by steve finnell

 

https://steve-finnell.blogspot.com/2017/01/the-absurdity-of-original-sin-by-steve.html

THE ABSURDITY OF ORIGINAL SIN by steve finnell

Original Sin: a depravity, or tendency to evil, held to be innate in humankind and transmitted from Adam to all humans in consequence of his sin. [Ref:Dictionary .com] 

The doctrine of original sin is that all men inherited the guilt of Adam's sin and are sinners at birth.

It gives absurdity a bad name to suggest that all men are born with a sinful spiritual DNA, of which they inherited from Adam and are therefore guilty of sin at birth.

If men are born sinners, then they are born as fornicators, sodomites, drunkards, thieves, homosexuals, extortioners, murders, sorcerers, pedophiles and idolaters. Would God create men guilty of these sins, due to no fault of their own, and then condemn them to hell? It is not only irrational, but contrary to Scripture.

Men are guilty of sin because they sin. They are not guilty of sin because of Adam's sin.

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

Spiritual death spread to all men, BECAUSE ALL SINNED.
Physical death spread to all men because Adam sinned.

No one is guilty of sin until they commit sin.

The unborn and small children are not capable of committing sin. 

The doctrine of original sin is absurd, nonsensical, irrational, illogical, and most importantly contrary to the doctrine of God.  

FIRST JOHN by Paul Southern

 

https://www.oldpaths.com/Archive/Southern/Paul/1901/john1.html

FIRST JOHN

  1. THE TITLE
  2. This letter bears the name of the writer, and is the first of three general epistles by John.

  3. THE WRITER
  4. The writer nowhere indicates his name, but the uniform testimony of the early church affirmed that John the apostle was the writer. There is also a close similarity of thought and expression between the Gospel according to John and the epistle. John was the son of Zebedee and Salome, and brother of James. James and John were "surnamed Boanerges, which is, the sons of thunder" (Mk 3:17). Peter, James and John were the Lord's closest friends, but John held the distinction of being the disciple whom Jesus loved (Jn 19:26). John was an eyewitness of the person and labors of the Lord (I Jn 1:1-4; 4:14).

  5. THE ONES ADDRESSED
  6. We cannot be sure about the destination of this epistle, but it was probably written primarily to the churches in and around Asia Minor, for a large part of John's life was spent at Ephesus. They were of all ages of Christian development, hated of the world, inclined to worldliness, and in danger of being led into doubt by some who denied the divinity of Christ.

  7. TIME AND PLACE OF WRITING
  8. The letter was probably written from Ephesus, but the precise dates are uncertain. The dates suggested range from A.D. 69 to A.D. 100, however most writers fix the time around A.D. 90-95.

  9. OCCASION FOR THE EPISTLE
  10. The purpose of the letter was to warn against prevailing errors, and tell the disciples how to be sure to gain eternal life (5:13). One group of false teachers among the brethren questioned the divinity of our Lord (2:18-22; 4:15; 5:1). Others denied His humanity, and thus taught that His incarnation was but a myth (Heb 2:14-18; 4:15; I Jn 1:1-3; 4:3;5:6). There was a third group who taught that one could worship God with the spirit and indulge in every sin with the body. John refutes this creed by showing that every sin is transgression (2:3-6; 3:4, 8-10; 4:13; 5:16-17). Errors reflected in this epistle crystallized into a philosophy that became known as Gnosticism. It gave pure Christianity a terrific struggle during the second century. Cerinthians, Ebionites and Docetists threatened to undermine the gospel.

  11. STYLE OF WRITING
  12. The material resembles a sermon more than an epistle. Although the thought is profound, the language is simple. The book contains many contrasts, parallelisms and repetitions. It reveals the writer to be both affectionate and severe, as all true disciples should be. The gentlest Christian may be a son of thunder (Mk 3:17).

  13. THE THEME
  14. The central theme of this epistle is fellowship with God through Jesus Christ His Son.

  15. ANALYSIS
    1. Introduction (1:1-4).
    2. God's light (1:5-2:28). To have fellowship with God we must walk in His light.
    3. God's righteousness (2:29-4:6). Fellowship with God depends upon our doing righteousness.
    4. God's love (4:7-5:3). Fellowship with God depends upon our having love and manifesting its spirit.
    5. God's faithfulness (5:4-12). We cannot have fellowship with God without faith in Him.
    6. Conclusion (5:13-21).

  16. EXERCISES FOR STUDENT ACTIVITY
    1. Summarize the teaching of I John concerning sin.
    2. Learn what the epistle teaches regarding: life, light, fellowship, propitiation, antichrist, anointing, fear, murder and the world.
    3. "Love or Perish" is a popular prescription in modern psychotherapy. What does I John teach on the subject?
    4. Discuss the statement, "Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not" (I John 3:6).
    5. Prepare a brief paper on Gnosticism as it is outlined in encyclopedias.

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

Bible Reading for January 1 - 3 by Gary Rose

 

 

Bible Reading for January 1 - 3

World  English  Bible


Jan 1

Genesis 1

Gen 1:1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

Gen 1:2 Now the earth was formless and empty. Darkness was on the surface of the deep. God's Spirit was hovering over the surface of the waters.

Gen 1:3 God said, "Let there be light," and there was light.

Gen 1:4 God saw the light, and saw that it was good. God divided the light from the darkness.

Gen 1:5 God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. There was evening and there was morning, one day.

Gen 1:6 God said, "Let there be an expanse in the middle of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters."

Gen 1:7 God made the expanse, and divided the waters which were under the expanse from the waters which were above the expanse; and it was so.

Gen 1:8 God called the expanse sky. There was evening and there was morning, a second day.

Gen 1:9 God said, "Let the waters under the sky be gathered together to one place, and let the dry land appear;" and it was so.

Gen 1:10 God called the dry land Earth, and the gathering together of the waters he called Seas. God saw that it was good.

Gen 1:11 God said, "Let the earth put forth grass, herbs yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit after their kind, with its seed in it, on the earth;" and it was so.

Gen 1:12 The earth brought forth grass, herbs yielding seed after their kind, and trees bearing fruit, with its seed in it, after their kind; and God saw that it was good.

Gen 1:13 There was evening and there was morning, a third day.

Gen 1:14 God said, "Let there be lights in the expanse of sky to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days and years;

Gen 1:15 and let them be for lights in the expanse of sky to give light on the earth;" and it was so.

Gen 1:16 God made the two great lights: the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night. He also made the stars.

Gen 1:17 God set them in the expanse of sky to give light to the earth,

Gen 1:18 and to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness. God saw that it was good.

Gen 1:19 There was evening and there was morning, a fourth day.

Gen 1:20 God said, "Let the waters swarm with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth in the open expanse of sky."

Gen 1:21 God created the large sea creatures, and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarmed, after their kind, and every winged bird after its kind. God saw that it was good.

Gen 1:22 God blessed them, saying, "Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth."

Gen 1:23 There was evening and there was morning, a fifth day.

Gen 1:24 God said, "Let the earth bring forth living creatures after their kind, livestock, creeping things, and animals of the earth after their kind;" and it was so.

Gen 1:25 God made the animals of the earth after their kind, and the livestock after their kind, and everything that creeps on the ground after its kind. God saw that it was good.

Gen 1:26 God said, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the sky, and over the livestock, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth."

Gen 1:27 God created man in his own image. In God's image he created him; male and female he created them.

Gen 1:28 God blessed them. God said to them, "Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth, and subdue it. Have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the sky, and over every living thing that moves on the earth."

Gen 1:29 God said, "Behold, I have given you every herb yielding seed, which is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree, which bears fruit yielding seed. It will be your food.

Gen 1:30 To every animal of the earth, and to every bird of the sky, and to everything that creeps on the earth, in which there is life, I have given every green herb for food;" and it was so.

Gen 1:31 God saw everything that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. There was evening and there was morning, a sixth day. 

 

Jan. 2

Genesis 2

Gen 2:1 The heavens and the earth were finished, and all their vast array.

Gen 2:2 On the seventh day God finished his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.

Gen 2:3 God blessed the seventh day, and made it holy, because he rested in it from all his work which he had created and made.

Gen 2:4 This is the history of the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that Yahweh God made the earth and the heavens.

Gen 2:5 No plant of the field was yet in the earth, and no herb of the field had yet sprung up; for Yahweh God had not caused it to rain on the earth. There was not a man to till the ground,

Gen 2:6 but a mist went up from the earth, and watered the whole surface of the ground.

Gen 2:7 Yahweh God formed man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

Gen 2:8 Yahweh God planted a garden eastward, in Eden, and there he put the man whom he had formed.

Gen 2:9 Out of the ground Yahweh God made every tree to grow that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the middle of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

Gen 2:10 A river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from there it was parted, and became four heads.

Gen 2:11 The name of the first is Pishon: this is the one which flows through the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold;

Gen 2:12 and the gold of that land is good. There is aromatic resin and the onyx stone.

Gen 2:13 The name of the second river is Gihon: the same river that flows through the whole land of Cush.

Gen 2:14 The name of the third river is Hiddekel: this is the one which flows in front of Assyria. The fourth river is the Euphrates.

Gen 2:15 Yahweh God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.

Gen 2:16 Yahweh God commanded the man, saying, "Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat;

Gen 2:17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you shall not eat of it; for in the day that you eat of it you will surely die."

Gen 2:18 Yahweh God said, "It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him."

Gen 2:19 Out of the ground Yahweh God formed every animal of the field, and every bird of the sky, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. Whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name.

Gen 2:20 The man gave names to all livestock, and to the birds of the sky, and to every animal of the field; but for man there was not found a helper suitable for him.

Gen 2:21 Yahweh God caused a deep sleep to fall on the man, and he slept; and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place.

Gen 2:22 He made the rib, which Yahweh God had taken from the man, into a woman, and brought her to the man.

Gen 2:23 The man said, "This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh. She will be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man."

Gen 2:24 Therefore a man will leave his father and his mother, and will join with his wife, and they will be one flesh.

Gen 2:25 They were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed. 

 

Jan. 3

Genesis 3

Gen 3:1 Now the serpent was more subtle than any animal of the field which Yahweh God had made. He said to the woman, "Has God really said, 'You shall not eat of any tree of the garden?' "

Gen 3:2 The woman said to the serpent, "Of the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat,

Gen 3:3 but of the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, 'You shall not eat of it, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.' "

Gen 3:4 The serpent said to the woman, "You won't surely die,

Gen 3:5 for God knows that in the day you eat it, your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil."

Gen 3:6 When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit, and ate; and she gave some to her husband with her, and he ate.

Gen 3:7 The eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked. They sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.

Gen 3:8 They heard the voice of Yahweh God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of Yahweh God among the trees of the garden.

Gen 3:9 Yahweh God called to the man, and said to him, "Where are you?"

Gen 3:10 The man said, "I heard your voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself."

Gen 3:11 God said, "Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?"

Gen 3:12 The man said, "The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate."

Gen 3:13 Yahweh God said to the woman, "What is this you have done?" The woman said, "The serpent deceived me, and I ate." 

Gen 3:14 Yahweh God said to the serpent, "Because you have done this, cursed are you above all livestock, and above every animal of the field. On your belly you shall go, and you shall eat dust all the days of your life.

Gen 3:15 I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring. He will bruise your head, and you will bruise his heel."

Gen 3:16 To the woman he said, "I will greatly multiply your pain in childbirth. In pain you will bring forth children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you."

Gen 3:17 To Adam he said, "Because you have listened to your wife's voice, and have eaten of the tree, of which I commanded you, saying, 'You shall not eat of it,' cursed is the ground for your sake. In toil you will eat of it all the days of your life.

Gen 3:18 Thorns also and thistles will it bring forth to you; and you will eat the herb of the field.

Gen 3:19 By the sweat of your face will you eat bread until you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken. For you are dust, and to dust you shall return."

Gen 3:20 The man called his wife Eve, because she was the mother of all living.

Gen 3:21 Yahweh God made coats of skins for Adam and for his wife, and clothed them.

Gen 3:22 Yahweh God said, "Behold, the man has become like one of us, knowing good and evil. Now, lest he put forth his hand, and also take of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever..."

Gen 3:23 Therefore Yahweh God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from which he was taken.

Gen 3:24 So he drove out the man; and he placed Cherubs at the east of the garden of Eden, and the flame of a sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life. 

 

 Jan. 1, 2

Matthew 1

Mat 1:1 The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.

Mat 1:2 Abraham became the father of Isaac. Isaac became the father of Jacob. Jacob became the father of Judah and his brothers.

Mat 1:3 Judah became the father of Perez and Zerah by Tamar. Perez became the father of Hezron. Hezron became the father of Ram.

Mat 1:4 Ram became the father of Amminadab. Amminadab became the father of Nahshon. Nahshon became the father of Salmon.

Mat 1:5 Salmon became the father of Boaz by Rahab. Boaz became the father of Obed by Ruth. Obed became the father of Jesse.

Mat 1:6 Jesse became the father of David the king. David became the father of Solomon by her who had been the wife of Uriah.

Mat 1:7 Solomon became the father of Rehoboam. Rehoboam became the father of Abijah. Abijah became the father of Asa.

Mat 1:8 Asa became the father of Jehoshaphat. Jehoshaphat became the father of Joram. Joram became the father of Uzziah.

Mat 1:9 Uzziah became the father of Jotham. Jotham became the father of Ahaz. Ahaz became the father of Hezekiah.

Mat 1:10 Hezekiah became the father of Manasseh. Manasseh became the father of Amon. Amon became the father of Josiah.

Mat 1:11 Josiah became the father of Jechoniah and his brothers, at the time of the exile to Babylon.

Mat 1:12 After the exile to Babylon, Jechoniah became the father of Shealtiel. Shealtiel became the father of Zerubbabel.

Mat 1:13 Zerubbabel became the father of Abiud. Abiud became the father of Eliakim. Eliakim became the father of Azor.

Mat 1:14 Azor became the father of Sadoc. Sadoc became the father of Achim. Achim became the father of Eliud.

Mat 1:15 Eliud became the father of Eleazar. Eleazar became the father of Matthan. Matthan became the father of Jacob.

Mat 1:16 Jacob became the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, from whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.

Mat 1:17 So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; from David to the exile to Babylon fourteen generations; and from the carrying away to Babylon to the Christ, fourteen generations.

Mat 1:18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was like this; for after his mother, Mary, was engaged to Joseph, before they came together, she was found pregnant by the Holy Spirit.

Mat 1:19 Joseph, her husband, being a righteous man, and not willing to make her a public example, intended to put her away secretly.

Mat 1:20 But when he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, "Joseph, son of David, don't be afraid to take to yourself Mary, your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.

Mat 1:21 She shall bring forth a son. You shall call his name Jesus, for it is he who shall save his people from their sins."

Mat 1:22 Now all this has happened, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying,

Mat 1:23 "Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son. They shall call his name Immanuel;" which is, being interpreted, "God with us."

Mat 1:24 Joseph arose from his sleep, and did as the angel of the Lord commanded him, and took his wife to himself;

Mat 1:25 and didn't know her sexually until she had brought forth her firstborn son. He named him Jesus. 

 

Jan. 3

Matthew 2

Mat 2:1 Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying,

Mat 2:2 "Where is he who is born King of the Jews? For we saw his star in the east, and have come to worship him."

Mat 2:3 When Herod the king heard it, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.

Mat 2:4 Gathering together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he asked them where the Christ would be born.

Mat 2:5 They said to him, "In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it is written through the prophet,

Mat 2:6 'You Bethlehem, land of Judah, are in no way least among the princes of Judah: for out of you shall come forth a governor, who shall shepherd my people, Israel.' "

Mat 2:7 Then Herod secretly called the wise men, and learned from them exactly what time the star appeared.

Mat 2:8 He sent them to Bethlehem, and said, "Go and search diligently for the young child. When you have found him, bring me word, so that I also may come and worship him."

Mat 2:9 They, having heard the king, went their way; and behold, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, until it came and stood over where the young child was.

Mat 2:10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy.

Mat 2:11 They came into the house and saw the young child with Mary, his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Opening their treasures, they offered to him gifts: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

Mat 2:12 Being warned in a dream that they shouldn't return to Herod, they went back to their own country another way.

Mat 2:13 Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, "Arise and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and stay there until I tell you, for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him."

Mat 2:14 He arose and took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt,

Mat 2:15 and was there until the death of Herod; that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying, "Out of Egypt I called my son."

Mat 2:16 Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked by the wise men, was exceedingly angry, and sent out, and killed all the male children who were in Bethlehem and in all the surrounding countryside, from two years old and under, according to the exact time which he had learned from the wise men.

Mat 2:17 Then that which was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled, saying,

Mat 2:18 "A voice was heard in Ramah, lamentation, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children; she wouldn't be comforted, because they are no more."

Mat 2:19 But when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, saying,

Mat 2:20 "Arise and take the young child and his mother, and go into the land of Israel, for those who sought the young child's life are dead."

Mat 2:21 He arose and took the young child and his mother, and came into the land of Israel.

Mat 2:22 But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning over Judea in the place of his father, Herod, he was afraid to go there. Being warned in a dream, he withdrew into the region of Galilee,

Mat 2:23 and came and lived in a city called Nazareth; that it might be fulfilled which was spoken through the prophets: "He will be called a Nazarene."