QUESTIONS/ANSWERS FROM THE QUESTION FORUM
Group Number 106
I really appreciate your daily devotions. Could you
give me reasons for believing that "the breaking of bread" in Acts 20:7 was the
Lord's Supper and not just eating together? (I believe it is talking about the
communion, but some of my friends contend that it isn't clear whether it was the
Lord's Supper or just eating together.
I know that some people do not believe this pertains to the Lord’s Supper. They say this simply had to do with sharing meals with one another. However, how can we justifying simply eating together being joined with the apostles’ doctrine, fellowship, and prayer (Acts 2:42)? Or, that the body of believers actually came together on the first day of the week to have a common meal. If men meet only for this purpose, what do they do with the Pauline admonition, “When ye come together therefore into one place, this is NOT to eat the Lord's supper. For in eating every one taketh before other his own supper: and one is hungry, and another is drunken. What? have ye not houses to eat and to drink in? or despise ye the church of God, and shame them that have not? What shall I say to you? shall I praise you in this? I praise you not” (1 Cor 11:22). Let us have done with foolish teaching. It has no place in the body of Christ!
As the text states, the early disciples “came together” on “the first day of the week” to “break bread.” Do some imagine that this means they came together only to have a common meal? In a pointed statement about breaking bread Paul wrote, “The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread WHIHC WE BREAK, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?” (1 Cor 10:16). These early believers did not focus their lives on themselves, meeting as friends and neighbors. Men ought to be able to conclude this with no difficulty on the basis of at least two revealed points.
1. First, we know no man after, or according to, the flesh. “Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more” (2 Cor 5:16).
1. Second, we do not live for ourselves but for the Lord Jesus Christ. “And that He died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto Him which died for them, and rose again” (2 Cor 5:15).
Jesus said, “this do in remembrance of Me” (Lk 22:19). Jesus also told His disciples, “teaching them to observe all things, whatsoever I have commanded you” (Matt 28:19). Paul taught the Corinthians about this matter (1 Cor 11:23-29). It is obvious that Peter and the apostles also taught these converts on the subject. That is precisely why they “continued steadfastly” in “the breaking of bread.”
Precisely what is the edifying value of calling an assembly for the purpose of eating a meal together? Paul contradicted this purpose for meeting in his teaching to Corinth.
And what of those multitudes of disciples who do not continue steadfastly in this ordinance? Either they have not been taught correctly, or they have “counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith” they “were sanctified, an unholy thing” (1 Cor 10:29).
I am afraid those who contend that the disciples in Troaz were only eating a meal together are living at quite a distance from the Lord -- regardless of their profession.
dealing with some young couples that think it's alright to baptize people living
together outside of marriage even though they don't separate or get married when
baptized. They believe that they need time to repent and get rid of the sin of
living together without marriage. The elders of the church, where I'm doing an
"interim" refused to welcome these people into the church, and the young couples
have been giving the elders fits for the last 9 months. (These young couples are
being motivated by the father of one of them, who has no respect for the elders,
isn't willing to be in submission according to Hebrews 13:17, and tries to get
people under the water as quickly as possible, saying then that they can repent
later of sin once they have the Holy Spirit.
Whatever men may think about living together outside of marriage (and it really makes no difference what they think), God has spoken on this matter. "Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge" (Heb 13:4). By living together outside of marriage, these people have acknowledged they do not consider marriage honorable. They speak and act differently than God, and are therefore at enmity with Him.
By acknowledging that they do need top repent, yet demanding some time to do so, they fall into the category of "repented not" (Jer 20:16; Rev 2:21; 9:20; 16:9,11). Jesus rebuked the cities in which He had done "most of His mighty works" because they "repented not" (Matt 11:20). Further, they are sinning in their determination for, "to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin" (James 4:17).
It is emphatically not right to baptize people who continue living in sin. Repentance is a necessary prelude to baptism (Acts 2:38). It is also a requisite for the blotting out of sins (Acts 3:19). God has commanded every person everywhere to repent, and He will judge those who do not do so (Acts 17:30). Besides this, these people are lying to God and to men. They are not asking for time to repent, but for time to indulge their lusts at the expense of their souls. Jesus said if men did not repent they would perish (Lk 13:3,5).
Paul instructs those who cannot contain their lusts to marry (1 Cor 7:9). Also he tells us that marriage is a depiction of Christ and the church (Eph 5:23-25). That being the case, precisely what is the likeness presented by those who have chosen to ignore this by living together unmarried.
If this matter is not confronted boldly and forthrightly, it will bring judgment upon the assembly. The sin of reference is in the same category as the Corinthian fornicator, and is to be treated in the same manner (1 Cor 5:1-5,11). It makes no difference what arguments may be presented in favor of living in an unmarried condition, they must be thrown down aggressively and boldly. If the church allows this to continue among them, they are no different that the churches in Pergamum and Thyatira (Rev 2:15--16, 20-23). Jesus will not overlook such transgression.
I have one more question relative to the aforementioned problem. This person
writes, "My understanding of scriptures is that when a person is ready to take
that step of baptism, it is because they understand that baptism into Christ IS
the "putting off of the old self'" or "dying of the sinful nature" and that has
to happen in order for the new life to take place.When a person GETS baptized,
that is when they are making their commitment final in the eyes of God. A person
"dies to sin" AT their baptism, not before or after. Before you are dead IN sin
and after, you understand that the new life begins. It has begun only because AT
your baptism in Jesus Christ, you left behind your old self, you left it behind
and accepted to be renewed, renewed in knowledge and in life. When you accepted
to be renewed you understood that this renewing is not by your own power but by
the Spirit of God. You understand that only God can truly change you into the
person He wants you to be. It is a lifelong commitment and a lifelong learning.
A person should want to be baptized immediately, so that their life can begin
for God through the Spirit that gives knowledge and strength. When a person
realizes that they are a sinner and makes a conscience decision to not want to
keep living the way they are, they choose God and understand "I am ready to
change for God and I NEED God to change me." When you figure out you can't do it
on your own, now you are ready to trust fully in His power.That is because you
are a sinner and you need God and need to go to Him. When you are ready for God
to change you, your ready to be baptized.
I have always said that you need to die to sin before you are baptized and that we were too often baptizing people who had never died to sin. How would you answer the person in the above paragraph?
The statement you forwarded is too simplistic. There are several factors involves in being born again that are left out of this person' assessment.
First, it is not life that begins at baptism but birth that is realized. Just as in nature, there is very real life before the birth. We are "born of water," not created by it.
Second, repentance does involve a change of mind, intentions, and a determination to live differently -- and repentance precedes baptism.
Third, the change of a person and a change of life are not necessarily synonymous. If John the Baptist required fruits appropriate to repentance prior to baptism, are we to imagine Christ does not. And if He does not, are we to suppose John required greater activity than the Jesus for whom he was preparing people?
Fourth, the convicting work of the Holy Spirit begins prior to our baptism, bringing godly sorrow, a cessation of outward sin, and a resolve to please God (John 16:8-11).
Fifth, repentance is given to men by the exalted Christ (Acts 5:31). It is not a mere human achievement. God grants repentance "unto life" (Acts 11:18), which statement flatly contradicts the analysis written to you.
Sixth, in coming to Christ, the heart is opened by God in order that obedience can take place (Acts 16:14).
Seventh, in being begotten by God, we experience the sanctification of the Spirit, which is in order to obedience and the sprinkling of the blood of Christ (1 Pet 1:2).
As you can see, there is a lot of activity prior to baptism -- Divine activity that is in the category of life -- we might call it spiritual prenatal life. Technically, baptism facilitates newness of life, but does not create it. In it Jesus circumcises the "body of sin," separating the sinful nature from our new and essential self (Col 2:11-12). At that time, the old man was also crucified by the Lord Himself (Rom 6:6) -- a crucifixion that we are to maintain, keeping the old man on the cross.
have been wondering for a bit about terms and leadership. We know the terms
Elder, Overseer, Evangelist, and the such. But I have been thinking about the
modern term of Coach. Its not in the bible, but may hold some value. What do I
call myself? People have referred to me as a Pastor, Minister, Reverend and the
like. I usually say, "Just call me Steve." But what do we do with the preacher
and future leaders of the church?
Deacon is a term that no one understands unless they have a church background. But most everyone understands the term Coach. The job of ministry is to prepare the saints to do the service. The job of a coach is to prepare the team to play the game or other task. So, I have been considering a bit the usage of that term in this new church. Any thoughts on that?
Use the terms God has provided. they represent offices He has placed in the church. That way you can use the Scriptures to expound the office. The use of other terms puts you on your own. You do not want that.
As to the purpose of godly leaders, it is spelled out in detail in Ephesians 4:11-16. It is not to get them to play together, but to edify one another. This prepares them to work together with God in His eternal purpose. Each individual member is to be brought to the point where the Head can work through them to minister to Christ's other members, in order that they will be stable and useable in what God is doing in the earth (Col 2:19).
"Coach" is not a good term, because it emphasizes "how to" instruction, and there is no such office in the church. "Pastor" is a proper term for you, for you are feeding the flock. If people do not understand "deacon," or any other valid term for an office God has placed in the church, then teach them what the terms mean. God has placed each member in the body where it has pleased Him 1 Cor 12:18), and made known those various ministries (1 Cor 12:28; Eph 4:11; Romans 12:3-8; 1 Pet 4:10-11).
Assist the people in becoming Scripturally literate, because until that point comes, very little, if anything, will be sought or done that is of value before the Lord.
Never accommodate your ministry to the understanding of the uninitiated. It will cause the ministry to deteriorate immediately. Humanly-conceived terms are like bags with holes -- they cannot contain the truth of God. That is why we are to use words that the Holy Spirit teaches (1 Cor 12:13). Those are words invested with power, because they most precisely say what God wants said. Remember that when Paul wrote his epistles no one had a church background. The proper use of language is a major contribution to the generation of a valid "background" -- or better yet, "valid foundation."
have a man in our church who insists we Christians ought to be called
"sinners." I have told him we have been forgiven and made the righteousness of
God. But he still prefers that we call ourselves sinners instead of righteous."
Simply tell him you prefer for believers to be called what God calls them. You have plenty of examples in the book of Acts and the Epistles (believers (Acts 5:14' 1 Tim 4:12); saints (2 Cor 1:1; Eph 1:1), disciples (Acts 6:1; 9:1; 11:26), the called (Rom 8:28), the called of Jesus Christ (Rom 1:6), beloved of God (Rom:7), those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus (1 Cor 1:2), the elect (Col 3:12), sheep John 10:27), the faithful (Eph 1:1) -- to name a few.
Then lead him in a consideration of why he prefers to be called by something other than those names. Ask him to consider why it is said that we "WERE sinners" (Rom 5:8) -- and if Jesus did not change our status, precisely what did He really do? How can a person with a "new heart," a "new spirit," and walking in "newness of life" be properly called by the name that distinguished him before he was in Christ?:
If he has been guilty of persecuting the church as Paul did, then it might be proper to for him to say he is the "chief of sinners" (1 Tim 1:15) -- but Paul did not limit himself to such a description, and neither should this brother. It may sound humble to say "we are all sinners," but why not view ourselves as we are in Christ? That is what will empower us to cleanse ourselves from uncomely expressions and tendencies. That is what John implies when he calls upon us to consider the manner of God's love that He has lavished upon us, "that we SHOULD BE CALLED the children of God" (1 John 3:1-3). Precisely what kind of reasoning would prefer being called a "sinner" to that? Such an approach to self-assessment in Christ contradicts the very nature and effect of salvation.
The difficulty with this man is not what he prefers to be called. He does not have a purged conscience. He is living in a consciousness of his sins - - something which most of us understand, yet which is never a status to be preferred. The distinction of redemption is that is provides a "good conscience" 1 Tim 1:5; 1 Pet 3:21). When the conscience continues to bludgeon professing Christians, they are to be apprised that the blood of Christ is able to purge their conscience from dead works to serve the living God (Heb 9:14) -- which was written to Christians.
This man does not need to prefer looking at himself as "a sinner," and you must gently lead him to see this. It gives no honor to our blessed Lord when those identified with Him through baptism into Christ refer to themselves by their old name. It is like a bride refusing to wear the name of her husband. Further, this view is making a place for Satan to enter, and further harass the disciple. You are laboring for a man's soul, endeavoring to assist him to become "strong in faith, giving glory to God," like our father Abraham (Rom 4:20). Speak to his heart, not his head. This is not a manner of information but of apprehension.
Please explain the great commission of Matt. 28:19-20.
I tried to tell my brother elders this was said to the 11, and that we put too
much effort in trying to win the lost, when we should be about feeding the
lambs, and sheep.
Please explain John 21:15-17. I tried to explain this to my brother elders that this should be our main objective.
Matthew 28:19-20 and Mark 16:15-16 are records of what Jesus said to those who were with Him following His resurrection. That was setting the stage for the involvement of His disciples in the declaration of the Gospel, which is God's power unto salvation.
The business of the church, and the purpose of all spiritual gifts, including the apostles, is clearly spelled out in the epistles, which are written to the churches. Your brother elders cannot ignore what the Spirit is saying "to the churches" (Rev 2:7,11,17,29; 3;6,13,22). Some of His key words on this matter are found in Ephesians 3:14-19 and 4:11-16. Elders are specifically addressed by Peter in 1 Peter 5:1-2: "feed the flock of God!". Paul delivered a similar word to elders in Acts 20:28.
There is no need for any person of sound mind to wonder what the church is to be doing, and what the elders themselves are to be doing. If they do not get to the business of doing what is commanded them, and fulfilling the purpose God has clearly set before them, they will be judged by God, to whom they will give an account, as stated in Hebrews 13:17.
I have some lessons for elders on my website: http://wotruth.com/elders.htm
am sitting here with a dear Brother in Christ who strongly believes in
predestination and when I asked him if he believes that everyone does not have a
choice as to whether they are going to believe in Jesus or not, he said yes, he
does not believe some individuals have a choice as to whether they are going to
become believers or not.
How would you respond to him?
The brother is right. The catch is that God does not reveal the identity of these people to us. Thus, the Gospel must be preached to every creature (Mk 16:16). The Gospel is the Divinely appointed agent for discovering the real capabilities of people. That, of course, is the point of the parable of the sower (Matt 13:18-23).. After sowing good seed on four different soils, only one kind brought forth fruit. Jesus did not suggest that the other three soils could have been changed. He rather emphasized the sowing of the proper seed. It, and it alone, will discover who can be fruitful and who cannot.
The Gospel reveals there were some people who "could not believe" because God blinded their eyes (John 12:39-40). It is begging the question to say they chose not to believe. The reason is traced to God Himself, and the rationale behind it all is not provided. There are "tares," and nothing in Scripture suggests they can ever be wheat. There are also "children of the wicked one" (Matt 13:38). Again, their identity is not known to us. But it is known to God.
There is a danger in philosophizing about this whole subject, and the brother with whom you have been speaking must take care not to fall into that trap. The Word of God does not provide any extensive reasoning on this matter, and it is dangerous for men to attempt to do so. Their minds are too little to reason upon such lofty themes independently of the Scripture itself. Each professing believer has a responsibility to know whether or not they are in the faith. Solemnly we are told, "Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?" (2 Cor 13:5). A reprobate is a reject, or someone to be thrown away, or cast aside. Whatever we may think about that, we do well to make sure we are not in that category -- which means the category does exist.
The Scriptures do not emphasize human choice - - search and see. God did call upon Israel to "choose life" (Deut 30:19). Joshua called upon the people to choose that very day whom they would serve (Josh 24:15). However, Israel is not a suitable example of making good choices. Salvation, to my knowledge, is never traced to a choice. It is traced to believing -- and believing is said to be something that is "given" to us (Phil 1:29).The apostles called upon men to repent (Acts 2:38; 3:19), believe (Acts 16:31), turn (Acts 14:15; 26:20) be converted (Acts 3:19), etc. They never called upon them to choose. In fact, when it comes to the matter of salvation, the only use of the words "choose" and "choice" pertains to God's choice, not man's. This is true in every standard version of the Scriptures.
Those are just the facts in the case. Each person must decide how they will work with those facts, but I suggest it will be very difficult to emphasize human choice in view of what the Word of God says about it.
am suddenly rattled by the 10 Commandments and this after 14 years following
Yahshua! Could you please shed some Light on this for me? Understanding that
we are saved by Faith in Jesus Christ and never by works of the Law, if one says
that we now work BECAUSE we are saved and not work to BE saved (Law) then my
sincere question is are we to observe the Sabbath BECAUSE we are saved?
Those in Christ are never told to observe the Sabbath. In fact they are told not to allow anyone to judge them regarding Sabbath days (Col 2:16). This is particularly noteworthy because of the predominant number of Epistles to Gentile churches. The Sabbath day as a requirement was unique to the Israelites. If it was to be honored also by the Gentiles in Christ, then something would have been said about it -- as was said about other matters to Gentile churches. In their directive to early Gentile believers, the apostles and elders told them, "For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things; that ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication: from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well. Fare ye well" (Acts 15:28-29). That would have been an excellent occasion to bind the Sabbath on them.
chapter of Hebrews affirms that in Christ we actually enter into a higher
sabbath, resting from our own works (Heb 4:1-11).
Having said all of this, there certainly is nothing wrong in honoring the Sabbath day. However, it does not appear to be a sign of spiritual maturity to bind the remembrance of God resting on the seventh day after He has raised Jesus from the dead and set Him at His own right hand, investing Him with all power in heaven and earth. Now, as Hebrews four affirms, there "remains" a Sabbath into which believers enter. It is also affirmed that Israel never did enter into that Sabbath -- which they would have if the seventh day was the point. Add to this that the seventh day Sabbath is the point from which he is reasoning (Heb 4:4), yet he ends up speaking about another kind of rest. Thus I conclude that the seventh day was a shadow or a type, and not the substance.
Thank you for
your reply and I am not deliberately trying to be difficult, just that I have a
battle going on at the moment that I do not understand. Even though I am
certain that our "rest" IS being in Christ (to which the "Sabbath" alludes),
certain Scriptures are putting me of balance such as, "Whoever disobeys the
Commandments and teaches others to do likewise shall be least in the Kingdom of
Heaven." And in Revelation, those who overcame "obey
the Commandments and have the testimony of Jesus." - this means TWO
The "commandments," as used in Christ, are defined by John. His definition is more condensed, yet capture the essence of life in Christ Jesus. "And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight. And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment" (1 John 3:22-23).
The word "commandments" does not always refer to the Ten Commandments. Neither does it include the various commands associated with the ceremonial Law, various sacrifices, the cleansing of lepers, etc. The words of the Ten Commandments were, in fact, a covenant of doing that was made with Israel. In fact that is how the Lord referred to them: "And he [Moses] was there with the LORD forty days and forty nights; he did neither eat bread, nor drink water. And he wrote upon the tables THE WORDS OF THE COVENANT, the ten commandments" (Ex 34:28; Deut 29:1).
This is not the covenant that is made with us in Christ Jesus. The New Covenant is not after the manner of the Old Covenant, as Jeremiah 31:31-34 promised, and Hebrews 8:8-13 confirms. Our relationship to God is not on the same basis as that of Israel. The Law in general, and the Ten Commandments specifically, for example, nowhere required faith. In fact, Galatians 3:12 affirms that the Law had no relationship to faith.
As Moses stated, the summation of the Law was to love God with all the heart, soul, mind, and strength, and our neighbor as ourselves. But that is not the summation of the commandments in Christ Jesus. In fact, when addressing the love of our peers, Jesus plainly said, "A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another"(John 13:34). From one perspective, it was an "old commandment," as John affirmed in First John 2:7. Yet, in Jesus it is lifted to a new dimension that is beyond the perimeter of law. Further, Moses' summation made no mention of believing in Christ.
You must think of keeping the Sabbath day in the same way. As the fourth chapter of Hebrews states, even after the Law had been stated, there was a "rest," or Sabbath that remained. It was one into which Israel never entered. That remaining Sabbath is the real one, of which the fourth commandment was but a type. You cannot have the type and the shadow simultaneously. Once the new comes, the old fades away, giving place to the spiritual substance it foreshadowed. That is, the Old passed away in the capacity of a covenant through which men had relation to God. This is specifically stated in Hebrews 8:13: "In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away." it is also taught in Second Corinthians where the greater glory of the New Covenant is expounded. "For if the ministration of condemnation be glory, much more doth the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory.For even that which was made glorious had no glory in this respect, by reason of the glory that excelleth.For if that which is done away was glorious, much more that which remaineth is glorious" (2 Cor 3:9-11).
If you will think more in terms of covenant and the means to the obtaining of righteousness, I am sure the Lord will lead you into a satisfying understanding of the matter. If you want me to elaborate on this more, I am able to do so. It is important to me that you have a satisfying understanding of this whole matter. In my judgment, there is no need for you to have a struggle in this area. Yet, I can see that you have a pure and devoted heart.
The first question is, is there a place in the Bible that it states that the month Abib was to be changed to the first month?
Exodus 12:2 with 13:1 and 23:15. This is the month in which Israel came out of Egypt, and became the first month of their year. It is called "the first month" in Leviticus 23:5, Numbers 28:16, and Deuteronomy 16:1, during which the Passover occurred, which was instituted the night they came out of Egypt.
"The next question is I have heard so many preachers say that when Jesus said "there be some of you standing here that shall not taste death until you see the kingdom in spirit and power" then they go on to say that the transfiguration was that fulfillment. I would think it would be at the resurrection of Jesus from the dead that is when the spiritual kingdom came into being with power. your thoughts.
The Kingdom of God did not come with power when Jesus was transfigured. Neither did it come when Jesus was raised from the dead and had not yet ascended into heaven. It came on the day of Pentecost when, as Peter announced,.Jesus "being by the right hand of f God exalted, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, poured out what was seen and heard on that marvelous day (Acts 2:35).
there any good reason why the English texts of 2 Cor. 8:23 and Philip 2:25
translate (apostoloi) and (apostolon) as messenger? Are they just trying to
separate these guys from the 12?
Yes there is. It is more that "just trying to separate these guys from the 12." Do not get hung up on the etymology of the word itself. It does mean ones "sent forth." The real point is WHO sent the twelve forth. That is they the twelve are referred to as "THE twelve" (Acts 6:2; 1 Cor 15:5) and "the twelve apostles of the Lamb" (Rev 21:14). These are the men who received unique insights into the Person and purpose of the Lord (Eph 3:5). In fact, apart from Jesus Himself, there is not a single true insight into the Person and work of Christ that has not been delivered by the twelve apostles of the Lamb, and the apostle born out of due time -- Paul. Luke, James, and Jude, give us no additional insight into Christ Jesus' Person and work -- not so much as a syllable. That is why the church is founded upon "the apostles and prophets" (Eph 2:20) -- the prophets in specifying what kind of Messiah would come, and the apostles who confirmed and expounded those prophecies.
Other valid apostles were sent out by the church, yet never functioned independently from the twelve.
When dealing with various Scriptural words, their meaning must extend beyond the lexicons, which are purely the work of men. Scriptural words can only be understood within the context of Divine purpose. That is why an academic approach to Scripture kills preaching dead. It is like a bag filled with holes.
When dealing with Ephesians 4:11, "church leadership" is not the point. That is a Gentile concept. The point of Ephesians four is teaching, edification, and spiritual maturity of the body of Christ. This is only my opinion, but I would steer away from terms like "leadership." They leave the wrong impression. If you will look up "leader," "leaders," "leading," and other derivatives of the word, you will find a staggering absence of them in any standard version of Scripture.
Particularly when teaching new converts, or those who are just becoming oriented spiritual thinking, it is important to ground them in correct nomenclature and spiritual concepts. I have every confidence the Lord will bless you in your labors because you have an honest and good heart, and have a desire to please the Lord.
have a question. You wrote that Paul said in Heb 12:26. I was wondering why you
think that Paul wrote the Hebrew letter.
1. Because of the reference to Timothy. Of the forty-three references to Timothy, no other books that are clearly none-Pauline refer to Timothy -- except Acts, who was written by Paul's companion, Luke.
2. The reference to the writer being in bonds, saying that the readers had compassion on him in that state. So far as I know. no other inspired writer referred to his own imprisonment (Heb 10:34).
3. The salutation from the saints in Italy, which suggests the book was written while Paul was a prisoner in Rome (Heb 13:24).
4. The writer asks for prayers in a manner indicating possible imprisonment, and in remarkable harmony with other requests for prayer that were clearly Pauline (Heb 13:18-21).
5. The manner of instruction, particularly regarding the parallel of Christ with the Old Covenant types and shadows, was the Pauline manner. I know of no other inspired writer who expounded Christ in this manner, or made such an extensive use of Moses and the Prophets.This type of teaching also pertains to the approach in Hebrews given to illumination and the privilege of drawing near to, and having access to, God through Christ Jesus. This approach is also uniquely Pauline.
6. While not decisive of itself, early in the history of the church those noted for their Scriptural expertise entertained the view that the book was written by Paul. These included Clement,Origen, Justin Martyr, Eusebius, Chrysostom, and Jerome.
Although these are my studied opinions, I certainly will not be contentious about it.
for the Word of Truth, brother Given. I appreciate it. Suggestion: The very
first words in your opening article are "Everyone that." Why use archaic
Thank you for taking the time to write, sharing your thoughts. I do appreciate what you wrote. If I was trafficking in any other area of thought, I probably would not speak as I do concerning the things of God. I come from a professional background, being an executive for a major manufacturing firm for thirty-two years. I did not use, as you call it, archaic language, in my various communications in that environment.
However, when it comes to speaking of things pertaining to life and godliness, my mind has been saturated with the language of Scripture. For well over sixty years, I have ingested Scripture, and loved every moment of it. Most of my concentrated study has been in the King James Version of the Bible, and therefore it has played a large role in shaping my vocabulary. For this, I make no apology, for it is actually my preference. It is my persuasion that we are living in an era in which language has been dumbed down. It tends to reflect the fragmented and surface thinking of our times. It is a time much like the days of Nehemiah, when the language of the people had degenerated (Neh 13:23-24).
Let me be clear about this. I do not consider it backward to use terminology I associate with Scripture. Nor, indeed, do I consider "archaic" to be a proper association with language. The writings of Shakespear, for example, are certainly not considered archaic to those who love them. This is also true of the poets of antiquity. In fact, the language such authors employed is part of the glory of their writings, and is fundamental to the maintenance of a preference for them.
When you say "Nobody talks like this anymore," this is not at all a precise statement of the case. There are great bodies of believing people who speak in this way -- not because it is fashionable or in vogue, but because it assists them in remembering the locus of their thinking. In the Christian community, the number of people who insist on language that is contemporary is by no means in the majority. In fact, they are in the decided minority.
In nearly every foreign country with which I am familiar, there is a requirement that the translations of the Bible are in the classic or historic language of the people. This is because they want the sense of the unchangeable nature of God's word to be reflected in their translation of it. Such people consider it an obligation for the people to have a working knowledge of their language in its most precise and consistent form. That, at least, is their reasoning on the matter.
This is not something about which I am willing to argue. I only want you to know why I write the way I do, and why I will continue to do so, with no intention of being overbearing. I do take your suggestion seriously, and will do my best to avoid what I conceive to be a use of distracting language. Of course, the fact that you wrote "Oh, by the way, that opening paragraph was powerful. It really grabbed me," confirms my language was not really distracting -- but just butted heads with your "pet peeve." For that I apologize, and express my appreciation for your forbearance.
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