Biblical Thinking

This entry is part 245 of 257 in the series Inquiring Minds
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What does the Bible say thinking is based on?

The word the Bible uses for thinking is rooted in a teachable conversation. It is not simply to find out what someone’s opinion is, but to learn from them in the moment that they speak. This is an interesting way to look at thinking.

Today we often use classrooms and lectures to enhance a student’s thinking. Although we often include philosophical backgrounds like logic and critical thinking to help students hone their skills, in biblical times, thinking was most enhanced through dialogue and conversation.

It was based on a learning experience rather than simply an opinion or a dogmatic approach. That didn’t help anyone learn how to think. But if they were learning from facts and examples, students could learn to think for themselves.

This makes a lot of sense considering that Jewish students learned by memorizing the Torah and then talking about it’s understanding and meaning with their rabbis. Greek thinking was based off of learning from lectures much like we do today in our halls of education, based off of the Greek methodology and model.

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Who is This King of Glory Part 3

This entry is part 2 of 2 in the series King of Glory

The King Has Won

OT Prophecies of Christs Death and Resurrection

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The darkness choked Him as He set His feet firm in the house of the High Priest. Here finally was the moment, the hour for which He was born. Shrouded in religious rightness and precision, the foul priest spat as he pointed his finger, “Blasphemer! You call Yourself the Son of God? How dare you commit such idolatry!”

The crowd of likeminded automatons condemned him as the din of the group rose beyond whispers into condemnation. The time had come. For this purpose, all of human history had run its course. But now in the wee hours of that fateful morning, Jesus stood down His accusers and stood His ground.

As the whip slashed across His body, Jesus lost count of them. Each stroke cut a new stripe and fresh blood gushed and crawled out of his body. Thoughts and vision blurred together, pain and trauma united in friendship and wracked His whole person.

His mind began to wander. He felt the sand underneath Him and flashed back to His first disciples leaving their nets to follow Him. This was for them. He thought of all of the people in the crowd watching in silence and between shouts for His crucifixion. This was for them.

He thought of those striking Him with a whip that splits and grabs His flesh, exposing the innards of His body to the elements. This was for them. History stood still as it culminated in the death of our Lord.

Several Messianic prophecies, including one very interesting section, speak to this very sight of Jesus’ death. I have created an image of Jesus in the midst of His trial and beating on early Friday morning. However, the divine element of the prophets is that my story is a recounting of an event that has already occurred.

The detail in my depiction comes from other accounts of this historical event. But the prophets spoke in details of this event hundreds of years before Jesus was even born. And they hit the nail on the head. Let us discuss some of these prophecies concerning the death and resurrection of our Lord, King, and Messiah.

Within the book of Isaiah, we find four Servant Songs devoted to giving images of the coming Messiah. These four songs are recorded in Isaiah 42:1–4, 49:1–6, 50:4–11 and 52:13–53:12. We will focus on them first, and then on a few other messianic passages which shine prophetic light on Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection.

First, the Servant Songs of Isaiah. The first of the Servant Songs (42:1-4) promises the Messiah will bring justice upon the earth through peace. He will bring justice by God’s Spirit and power to all nations. This speaks to his grace in bringing justice. He doesn’t use force, but through strength that accurately administers justice.

The second song (49:1-6) shows the humility of the servant in His humble birth and genealogy. He is no one special and sees it as a great honor to return Israel and the rest of the nations back to God. He knows His divine purpose and is specially chosen and trained for His role in God’s divine plan of redemption.

The third song (50:4-11) becomes even more specific, speaking to the unswerving obedience of the servant of God. It brings to mind the imagery of that dark night when soldiers with torches approached Jesus, Judas the betrayer with them, to seize Him unlawfully.

This song depicts the servant’s acceptance of the pain and disgrace that were not deserved, yet piled upon His innocent form. He faces the full brunt of punishment for sins and crimes everyone knows He has not committed.

Although these first three Servant Songs are not as clear and well defined, now we turn to one of the most accurate portrayals of Isaiah, a picture of Christ’s trials and him on the cross. The uncanny accuracy and imagery form a testimony to God’s divine hand in the events.

God in His sovereignty provided a glimpse, a foretaste, of the moment the world received reconciliation through the perfect sacrifice of His Son. The last of the Servant Songs displays the longest and most detailed account of all, found in the infamous chapter of Isaiah 52:13-53:12.

This text is so rich in its depiction of the suffering of Christ, the servant of God who would restore the relationship between the Father and His children, those who believe in Him through Christ’s sacrificial death.

Let us momentarily comb through this passage together. First, in Isaiah 52:13, Jesus will be lifted up. This is a reference to the way He will die, by the cross. Those who died this criminal’s death would be placed high up in the sky so that the Romans could make an example of him as a thief.

It also has redemptive qualities as Jesus pointed out in John chapter 3 with His explanation of the lifting up of the metal serpent that saved Israel from the poisonous serpents during their disobedience in the desert (John 3:14-15, cf. Num 21:4-9).

Isaiah 52:14 continues with a depiction of Jesus in the midst of His brutal and bloody beating. By the time He was hanging on the cross, He had been so disfigured and beaten by the soldiers that He was beyond recognition.

He merely portrayed the form of a human being, but rather must have looked even monstrous in form, the disgust of the people evident in their snide remarks and hatred. He was taking on the sin of the world, and it would not surprise me if He looked like a hideous monster by the time He was hanging on that tree.

Isaiah 52:15 goes beyond that of the third song in proclaiming the victory of God over His enemies of sin, death, and eternal separation from Him in Hell. Jesus, the sprinkled one (Messiah means anointed or splattered,), would sprinkle the nations and remove their sin and guilt so that they could have right relationship with God.

The mystery with which all of human history, how God would restore His relationship with all of His creation, was now displayed and revealed for all to see.

As we enter chapter 53, the chorus of Israel speaks out in historical account of their image of Jesus as they watched Him on the cross (Isaiah 53:1). At the time, they hurled insults at Him, but in this picture, they have just realized His Messiahship.

So they respond with surprise and explain why they had missed Him. He was not special and did not stick out to them in any way, much unlike their first king who stood head and shoulders above the rest.

He was not the savior they were looking for. Beyond this, He did not live a luxurious lifestyle, but was associated with those who only know heartache and grief. There was no esteem to be given to Him. Jesus was nothing special. He didn’t parade Himself around as the Messiah. He was humble and was not seen for who He really is.

Isaiah 53:4-6 shows how Jesus sacrificially took on the sin of the world. He bore all of the sins and sicknesses of humanity upon the cross. He died in our stead, filling the place that was meant for us, taking God’s judgment.

Jesus suffered the judgment of humanity and God, stood alone rejected by earth and by heaven as He bore the weight of the sin of the world. He took on not only our sins but our diseases. With every stripe came the authority of Jesus to heal completely. Our healing, salvation, and deliverance are all tied up in the same act of sacrifice. Jesus made all of these things possible for us.

Isaiah 53:7-9 maintains the humility of this suffering Servant. Jesus refused to complain, to retaliate as He was punished and murdered for our sins. He was slaughtered as a Passover Lamb for each person in the world.

He suffered being cut off from His people. He did not fit in with anyone here on earth. He stood alone in every aspect. This must have been why it was so hard to take the cup of God’s judgment, why He prayed so fervently in the Garden of Gethsemane. Isaiah is even accurate in speaking of Jesus’ grave, the tomb of a rich man. He was crucified along with thieves, along with the wicked as part of God’s judgment.

Finally, in Isaiah 53:10-12, we discover a few more elements to Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. First, Isaiah plainly states that the successful sacrifice pleased the Lord’s will. The crushing of the suffering Servant Jesus left the will of God appeased.

Also in this verse rests the hint of resurrection. It says that after he has made the offering, reminding us of the account in Matthew that says Jesus offered up His own spirit, and the place correlated in John when Jesus Himself says that no one takes His life, that He lays it down and takes it up again, we see here that once the sacrifice has been offered, the victory of God will arrive.

The Lord will prolong His days after death and will see His offspring, or the result of His sacrifice, the saints who have believed on His offering. His sacrifice opens the door for the rest of those who believe to be accounted righteous.

The last verse of this song indicates Jesus’ current position, also given by the New Testament that He makes intercession for you and for me now until the time of the culmination of God’s victory.

He sits at the right hand of the Father, and because of His sacrifice, He has the right to receive the inheritance of Heaven as the Prince to the throne. And we will also see that same inheritance through the eternal life given in His death and resurrection.

All of these insights come out of the Servant Songs of Isaiah as they move from general to specific. And there are also other prophecies throughout the prophets concerning the death and resurrection of Jesus.

Not only do we find inklings of Christ’s death and resurrection within the prophetic books, but because the entire Old Testament was written concerning Christ, to look forward to Him, there are other passages and even entire structures that bear meaning upon His death on the cross and resurrection. A glance at a few of these will further our understanding of prophetic and programmatic shadows of Christ’s sacrifice in the Old Testament literature.

In the book of Psalms, for example, the psalm quoted by Christ on the cross (Psalm 22) states that they took His garments and cast lots for them (Psalm 22: 18). Other words from the cross that Christ spoke come out of Old Testament texts as well.

One of the most interesting elements of Old Testament times was the sacrificial system at the end of the Law. No one could follow the Law, so a sacrifice had to be made to make up the difference, so a holy God could live amongst an unholy people.

Jesus made that ultimate sacrifice that paved the way for reconciliation of the relationship between God and humanity. His death and resurrection gave the authority and ability to become God’s children, to share in the suffering and victory of Jesus over sin, death, Hell, and evil. We now can live in His grace and live for His victory, joining in the triumph of our King!

If you’ve enjoyed this trek through some of the most important prophecies of Jesus’ death and resurrection, leave a comment and tell me some of your insights into the Scriptures.

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Biblical Understanding

This entry is part 244 of 257 in the series Inquiring Minds
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What does the Bible say understanding is based on?

Many of the terms like understanding are linked in the Bible through wisdom. The most accurate understanding of the Bible comes from the wisdom and fear of the Lord. When people have wisdom they can understand God’s purposes and how he designed the world to work.

In the Old Testament, the word for understanding can refer to different types of understanding. One can simply be perception or consideration. We can understand the situation by perceiving its causes and effects.

Another type of understanding linked to this concept is to have insight, whether through human or supernatural means. This is when God gives understanding through dreams and visions, wisdom, or other supernatural and spiritual gifts. Joseph was able to interpret dreams by understanding given to him by the Lord. A person can be gifted with understanding or perception as well.

Understanding can also be a skill level or certain type of intelligence. A person may be gifted or skilled to be able to do something that others do not excel at doing. This can also be spiritually heightened or naturally given by God as a talent. One example of a spiritually heightened skill or ability are the craftsmen the Spirit came upon to make the utensils and parts of the tabernacle (Exodus 36:2).

New Testament categories of understanding include reason, thought, and perception. This is the ability to comprehend a conception or idea. Paul used it often to include the will and our volition. It often refers to the mind itself.

It can also refer to a religious discernment between false teaching and godly teaching. With our understanding, we make religious decisions, especially giving us the ability to use our will to follow Christ.

Understanding in the Bible can be a very versatile term depending on which part of the Bible you are reading. It has these flavors to it, but as with any word in the Bible, each context determines the type of usage and sense the word carries.

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Pure and Peaceful

This entry is part 243 of 257 in the series Inquiring Minds

What does 2 Peter 3:14 mean?

This is the beginning of the ending of Peter’s second letter. He is wrapping up everything he has talked about for three chapters. Let’s take a look at the whole verse so we can see what it says:

Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace.” (2 Peter 3:14, ESV)

“Waiting for these” refers to virtually everything that has been talked about in the entire letter. In the immediate context, Peter refers “these things” to the conversation about how the Lord will destroy the heavens and the earth on the Day of the Lord, and the creation of the new heavens and new earth (2 Peter 3:10, 13).

Peter has discussed everything in this second letter for the purpose that the listeners will grow in godliness and holiness (2 Peter 3:11-12). Godliness on this earth is part of our expectant waiting on the Lord for him to return and make all things right.

It plays a large part in evangelism so that the heart of God may someday be reached (2 Peter 3:8-9). With the immediate context of looking for the new heavens and the new earth as our inheritance as Christians and the complete context of the entire epistle, Peter begins to close out the letter.

Second Peter 3:14 is the first part of Peter’s ending. Not only are we to look for the new heavens and new earth, but 2 Peter 3:15 finishes the sentence. We are also supposed to count the Lord’s patience as salvation.

This means we must evangelize while we still have time and the Lord is patient. There will be a time when salvation cannot be attained from the Lord. Make every effort to witness to your family, friends, acquaintances, and even those you don’t know.

There’s this idea in the world that Christians have their heads in heaven and are of no earthly good. But Peter tells us to do exactly the opposite. While we are looking for Christ to return and the end to finally come, we must also be witnessing about Christ here on earth. The end of the world for Christians is a catalyst to work for Jesus in the here and now.

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Belonging to One Another

This entry is part 242 of 257 in the series Inquiring Minds
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Where in the Bible does it say a woman’s body belongs to her husband?

This phrase comes from 1 Corinthians 7:4, a chapter devoted to questions about marriage from the Corinthians to the apostle Paul. Some people may take this to mean that Paul is a chauvinist but when you read the whole verse and all the co press cancel ntext, it doesn’t look that way at all.

For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. Likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does.” (1 Corinthians 7:4, ESV)

The original question the Corinthians sent him concerned the temptation for sexual relations and what people should do about them. The biblical answer is to get married (1 Corinthians 7:1-2). But part of the marriage contract is that husbands don’t hold back sex from their wives, nor wives from their husbands (1 Corinthians 7:3).

The reason Paul gives for this is the verse we quoted above. The wife belongs to her husband and a husband to his wife. It doesn’t go just one way. Paul makes it very clear that both should be devoted to each other.

The husband enjoys his wife’s body and the wife enjoys her husband’s body. So their bodies belong to one another. This is the point Paul makes on why they must not keep each other from enjoying the sexual relationship.

The problem is that often in marriages, even Christian marriages, a husband or wife will withhold sex as part of husband, control, or anger toward their spouse. This is exactly the issue that Paul brings up. It’s not up to the husband to keep himself from his wife. And it’s not up to the wife to keep herself from her husband.

Sex should not be an emotional nuclear football used against a spouse. God means sex to be an enjoyable byproduct of a loving marriage between a man and woman. So when it is withheld or used in an arsenal of ways to keep your spouse in line or hold power over them, this is not what God intended.

Paul does leave one exception for abstaining from sexual relations with your spouse: to devote yourself to God through prayer (1 Corinthians 7:5). But he stresses that this is only for a limited time and, most importantly, by agreement from both parties.

Each spouse must agree to withhold sex from one another. It has to go both ways or is not biblically legitimate. Otherwise, when a spouse withholds sex, the other spouse will be tempted by the devil to break their vows, usually through adultery.

God has designed sex to be within the bounds of marriage. Anything outside of marriage is some sort of sexual immorality. Like the Corinthians, we live in a sexualized culture. Every show on TV invites us into the bedroom of a married couple. Everything around us pushes sexual immorality of this flavor or that.

This is why every Christian must understand the principles of marriage found in Scripture. We must please the Lord especially in the most intimate relationship we will have on this earth, other than our relationship with Jesus. With the divorce rate in the church and in the world running about the same, we must change the tide, at least in the church.

This sacred and private relationship is intimate because of the deep connection the Lord creates between husband and wife. We must maintain the sacred bond of marriage and defended at all costs.

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Symbols of the Spirit

This entry is part 49 of 49 in the series Holiness Matters
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I grew up in a Pentecostal church. But the more I learned about other denominations and religions, the more I realized that people want to learn about the Holy Spirit. They don’t necessarily have as strong of a background as I do.

Of the three members of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit is the one most people are either uncomfortable with or unfamiliar with. I feel that growing up in Pentecost, I and other Pentecostals have a lot to contribute in this area.

First of all, I must assure you of the Holy Spirit’s connection to holiness. Throughout this post, you will see how the Holy Spirit is directly connected to our sanctification. He is one of the main characters involved in our growth into holiness.

One of the best ways to get to know him is through seeing how Scripture depicts him. It uses symbols to show some of the ways that he helps us grow. So without further ado, let’s take a look at some of the symbols of the Holy Spirit.

Wind

In the Gospel of John, Jesus talks about the Holy Spirit as the wind of God (John 3:8). He is in the middle of a conversation with Nicodemus, one of the religious leaders of Israel. Nicodemus is a teacher of his people.

But he can’t seem to grasp the ideas that Jesus presents to him in their conversation. He comes to Jesus in the middle of the night because he is afraid that his colleagues will find out about it. He’s one of those “closet disciples.”

But John makes it clear to us that a closet disciple is not really a disciple of Jesus. And Nicodemus proves that as the conversation progresses and he understands less and less of what Jesus is saying.

Nicodemus begins the conversation by telling Jesus he believes that Jesus is a teacher that God sent (John 3:1-2). And Jesus gets right into it. He tells him that unless he is born again he can’t see God’s kingdom (John 3:3).

Jesus sees through the guise of coming to him late at night with no one else around. Nicodemus is probably curious about Jesus. So far, none of the religious leaders have been able to thwart Jesus in his teachings.

In fact, the tables are usually turned on them. They knew this wasn’t only the cunning of a Galilean carpenter’s son. God had his hand in Jesus’ authoritative teaching. Truthfully, they were probably just jealous. Jesus had the ear of the people and they were no longer popular among them.

Nicodemus takes Jesus literally and asks how a man can be worn again when he is already old (John 3:4). Jesus follows up by explaining that a person must be born of water and the Spirit (John 3:5). Being born of the Spirit talks about the regeneration that the Holy Spirit does in our hearts so we can receive the gospel. The water may refer to being water baptized after we are saved.

But Nicodemus still can’t understand. Jesus tells him to not marvel at his sayings and teachings (John 3:7). He tries to approach it by explaining the Spirit’s prerogative and movement in believers.

He describes the Holy Spirit as wind (John 3:8). There’s a reason for this. Both in Hebrew and Greek, the languages of the Old and New Testaments, the word for “spirit” and the “wind” is the same. It also means “breath.” It is that unseen power around us that we can feel and see the effects of but we can’t actually see wind. It is the same with the Spirit.

We can learn a couple of things from the symbol of wind. We don’t control the Holy Spirit, his movements, or his actions. He does what he wills. And he wills to do things in us. As he works in our sanctification, becoming holy like Jesus, he will tell us what needs to be changed. And our response must be obedience.

We can’t tell him we want to work on something else. He decides the agenda. Aside from that, the world will never understand what it means to have the Spirit dwelling in believers. Just like Nicodemus, the world is left scratching its head. And the Holy Spirit doesn’t have to explain himself.

What a fitting symbol of the Spirit. He does what he wants when he wants. We go along for the ride. And what a ride it is! He leads us into the presence of God. But because we can’t see him, we must be intimately familiar with him as believers. Don’t ignore the Holy Spirit in your life. If you know Jesus and follow him, the Holy Spirit wants to lead you into godliness.

Light

The Holy Spirit is also light. In 1 John 1:5, Scripture declares that God is light and there is no darkness in him at all. Even though it doesn’t mention the Holy Spirit specifically, he is divine as are the other two members of the Godhead.

And there are several reasons John depicts God, including the Holy Spirit, as light. Think of the properties of light. It illuminates. It provides warmth. It exposes. Let’s take just these three. The Holy Spirit illuminates God’s Word to us. He is the one who reveals to us insight into Scripture, application from Scripture we read, and guides our study to understand God more.

Countless times I have read the Scriptures and received insight from the Holy Spirit. I’m not smart enough to come up with these things on my own. It is the Holy Spirit who guides my reading and understanding of God’s Word for me each day.

It is only because the Spirit is involved in my reading that I learn from God. This may be what the Scriptures mean when they tell us the Holy Spirit will teach us all things (John 14:26; 1 John 2:27). Through God’s Word the Holy Spirit teaches us all we need to know. We can trust in the truth of what he teaches us.

So as he illuminates and reveals Scripture, he also reveals the situations we face to us. If we listen closely to him, we will find his counsel infinite and wise. He shows us the truth of every situation and every matter.

Light also provides warmth. The Holy Spirit dwells inside of every believer in Jesus. He brings us closer to God, an intimate relationship we wouldn’t have without him. We enter God’s presence by the power of the Spirit. He gives us a relationship with God unmatched in any other religion.

He also exposes the darkness around us (John 16:8). If we sin against God, he exposes it through correction, exposing the desires we had before we met Jesus (1 John 2:16). So the Spirit in us does all of these things as light.

Fire

At the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, John the Baptist pointed to him as the one who would baptize with fire and the Holy Spirit (Matthew 3:11; Mark 1:8; Luke 3:16; John 1:33). On the Day of Pentecost Jesus baptized the apostles in the Holy Spirit with fire (Acts 2:1-4). When we are baptized in the Holy Spirit by Jesus, we are immersed into everything the Spirit has for us.

Fire represents the power of the Spirit and his purifying and refining ability in our walk with God. The prophets speak of fire as a refining agent (Malachi 3:3; Zechariah 13:9). God says that he is a consuming fire (Deuteronomy 4:24; Hebrews 12:29). The Spirit is the one who burns away all of the impurities in our character so we can conform to Christ (Romans 8:29).

In the wilderness, a pillar of fire guided the Israelites throughout the nights (Exodus 13:22). The Spirit guides us into God’s truth. He lights the way to the next steps we must take with Christ. He is our Leader who dwells in us.

Oil

For the three offices of the prophets, the priests, and the kings, each person was anointed for service in God’s kingdom. Anointing was a ceremony in which the person going into ministry was anointed with oil. “Anoint” means to smear or splatter.

For the priest Aaron, they don’t oil on his head and ran down his beard and his garments (Psalm 133:2). There are several accounts of kings being anointed for service as rulers and leaders of Israel. The anointing, splattering or smearing of each person, symbolized the Holy Spirit coming upon them for service in that office.

It remains a symbol of his guidance, bestowing gifts upon us, and walking with us through ministry. The big change between the Old and New Testaments is that instead of coming upon a person for a time, Holy Spirit now dwells within all believers. We have full access to God’s presence through him.

Dove

At the moment of Jesus’ water baptism to begin his ministry, the Holy Spirit joins the rest of the Trinity in the physical form of a dove (Matthew 3:16; Mark 1:10; Luke 3:22; John 1:32). This is one of the places all three Persons of the Trinity can be seen together.

The dove represents peace and gentleness. The Holy Spirit does not force his way upon us. He leads us with meekness. We must choose to submit in obedience to his will. Otherwise, it takes much longer for us to be conformed to Christ.

Conclusion

These are the main images the Bible uses to describe the Holy Spirit and his work. They are all applicable to our walk with Christ as we grow in godliness. The Holy Spirit facilitates all of our growth. He is our leader and our guide.

The more we submit to him the more we become like Jesus. He knows the way and has led many other saints in this process. We look to him. Leave a comment and tell me how some of these symbols impact your understanding on the road to holiness.

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First Corinthians 9:20 in the KJV

This entry is part 241 of 257 in the series Inquiring Minds
Image by Joshua Lindsey from Pixabay

Why is the phrase ‘not being myself under the law’ missing in 1 Corinthians 9:20 in the KJV?

This parenthetical statement, “though not myself being under the law” can be seen in newer translations of the Bible. The King James Version used the Textus Receptus as the basis for its translation.

Remember that the KJV was translated in 1611, using the best Greek manuscript evidence we had at the time. But in the last 400 or so years, many more Greek manuscripts, and some older ones than the ones they had in 1611, have been found.

Newer translations of the Bible have access to these older manuscripts. The general rule is that the older the manuscript, the more accurate to the original Greek manuscripts. The more accurate, the better reading we have of those originals.

So a lot of the newer versions not only call into question some of the phrases and passages we have from the KJV, like the ending of Mark and the story of the adulterous woman in John 7-8, but produce what we believe to be closer readings to the original manuscripts.

This is an earlier reading from older manuscripts and what they had when they translated the KJV. Therefore, it has been added into the text as a parenthetical. Renowned Greek manuscript scholars like Bruce Metzger suggest that the text was there, but the copyist’s eye passed over it, flowing from one line to the next on the manuscript.

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Song of Solomon

This entry is part 240 of 257 in the series Inquiring Minds

What is your interpretation of “The Song of Solomon”?

There are two main interpretations of the Song of Solomon. The first, and probably most popular in the church for most of church history, is to take it as a figurative understanding of Christ’s relationship with his church.

Interpreters using this interpretation rely on passages like Ephesians 5:25-32 where Paul talks about husbands and wives, Christian marriage, as an image of Christ and his Bride, the Church. The only problem with this interpretation that I find is that there are places in Song of Solomon that cannot be taken figuratively.

Song of Solomon is a book of poetry, even though it’s usually placed among wisdom literature because Solomon wrote it. It deals with the relationship between a husband and wife from the time of their courtship to after their marriage.

I prefer the second major type of interpretation, that of a literal interpretation. There are several awkward moments as you read the book if you think this is about Christ and the Church. Solomon would not have thought about the Church Because it didn’t exist in his time.

Only later because it was included in the Old Testament Canon did church fathers and leaders have to find a way to make it fit a Christological interpretive framework. But Christians can still use this book as it stands literally.

Song of Solomon is all about the beautiful poetry and relationship that exists between Solomon and one of his wives. When I talk of the book as a Christian pastor, I usually talk about dating and marriage. It does present a godly view of these two subjects.

I stress the fact that Solomon and his wife waited to enjoy each other fully until after they were married. Their love grew and grew until their marriage. They were careful not to go too far too fast. This is a great message for a day and age where people are experimenting physically before they know each other mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

We can learn a lot from the intimate relationship we see portrayed in the Song of Solomon. God’s high standards apply to this marriage. And it is a great example for the rest of us today. The book honors God in every aspect of dating and marriage. It’s a wonderful example for the Church today.

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Book of Genesis

This entry is part 239 of 257 in the series Inquiring Minds
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When the Book of Genesis was written, was a year 365 days?

Since Moses wrote the book of Genesis, at that moment in history a year was a constant. Moses was probably thinking in terms of 360 days composing a year. This would mean that a “day” was probably a literal 24 hour period.

Why 360 instead of 365? The Jewish calendar counted days for a year differently. There were only 360 days in the year according to that calendar. It is the Roman calendar that gives us 365 days in a year.

It has been corrected in human history at some point to reflect the fact that one quarter of the day is missing every four years. This is why they created the leap year, to correct the Roman calendar.

But the Jewish calendar is different. It’s most likely that Moses would’ve thought more of the Jewish calendar because the Romans didn’t exist in his time. If you are referring to the literary approach of the book of Genesis, that is a different matter.

There are many scholars who take “day” in the book of Genesis, especially the first chapter, to mean a season or era instead of a literal 24 hour day. They use this to understand that there was much more time than can be counted using the genealogies of Genesis to form an understanding of how old the earth is.

However, I contend that the “day” of Genesis 1 and the entire book means a 24 hour period. No one can count how many years the Earth has existed from the biblical genealogies alone. We know for a fact based on the other accounts of genealogies from the same time that Moses records them contain people not mentioned in the Genesis records.

This means that these records are selective, as are all the genealogies in the Bible, and cannot be counted on to give us a complete count of the years in them. The writers of the books of the Bible are using genealogies to make a theological point, not tell us how old the earth is or how long the time is from the beginning of the earth.

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Rapture

This entry is part 235 of 257 in the series Inquiring Minds
Image by Jeff Jacobs from Pixabay

Could Luke 21:36 be used as biblical proof of the rapture?

The context of the verse makes it possible to show that the rapture is coming. Looking at the verses around Luke 21:36, Jesus is teaching about the end times. He begins in Chapter 21 when someone mentions how beautiful the Temple is (Luke 21:5-9).

An extremely important timeline Jesus gives comes in Luke 21:9 where he says that the end will not be at once. The rumor of wars and the wars that happen are a sign of the end times but they are not the end. Jesus goes on to teach about these wars and other end time signs (Luke 21:10- 18). But before anything like this happens, Christians will be persecuted.

He then gives a sign that Jerusalem will be destroyed by the Gentiles (Luke 21:19-24). We cannot tell exactly when this will happen in human history. But we know it is toward the end because the next sign is the coming of the Son of Man, Jesus himself (Luke 21:25-28). Jesus is not clear on the timing of the events, but the sequence of events goes like this:

  1. Persecution of the saints
  2. Wars, rumors of wars, earthquakes, famines and pestilences
  3. Destruction of Jerusalem
  4. Signs in the heavens (sun, moon, and stars) and on the earth (tumult in the sea and waves)
  5. Coming of the Son of Man
  6. Rapture

There is a foreshadowing of the redemption of the saints during these and times events (Luke 21:28). When Jesus tells us as believers to straighten up and raise our heads for our coming redemption, he’s telling us to get ready.

As the world sees the Son of Man, Jesus, coming on the clouds in great power, people in the world know that they have made the wrong choice. Jesus then gives the parable of the fig tree to show that Christians need to be watching the seasons and signs of the times so that they are ready and prepared.

There is an interest in verse in this section that says that “this generation” will not pass away before until everything listed here takes place (Luke 21:32). There are many interpretations of this verse. I understand it to mean that “this generation” refers to the generation that these and times events are occurring, not the generation Jesus was speaking to at this time in human history.

And then we come to the paragraph that your verse occurs. The distress and trials of this time will make many Christians wonder if Jesus will return. It will be a time that many will fall away. These who are not prepared will be more worried about what is happening then trusting that Jesus will return as he has promised (Luke 21:34).

The day that Jesus is referring to is probably the day that the Son of Man comes in the clouds (Luke 21:35). Everyone will see the Son of Man coming but not everyone will go with him and meet him in the air (1 Thessalonians 4:17).

There are other passages of Scripture that clearly outline the rapture, or the catching up, of the saints. But as Jesus outlines events, the Son of Man is not just coming to show the world’s great power. He is also coming to bring the redemption of the saints through the event of the rapture.

Those days will be so dangerous for the saints that Jesus says we must be prepared, pray for strength to handle the events, and be awake (ready and watching for the Lord). The escape probably refers to this rapture moment.

It is in the moment of escape that the saints will stand before the Son of Man, who is in the clouds. This agrees with many of the other passages that detail the rapture event.

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