Jesus forgives the sins of a paralytic and then heals him as proof that he has authority to forgive sins. Jesus calls Matthew to be a disciple. John’s disciples ask questions about fasting. A girl is restored to life, and a woman touches the tassels of his garment, to receive her healing. Jesus heals two blind men and delivers a mute man who was demonized. Jesus says the harvest is plentiful and the workers are few.
In this chapter, Jesus cleanses a leper; marvels at the faith of a centurion; heals Peter’s mother-in-law and then many others; tells two would-be disciples about the cost of discipleship (let the dead bury their dead); calms a storm; and delivers two Gadarene demoniacs.
In this chapter, Jesus teaches us not to judge / condemn another person—no judgmentalism. He encourages kingdom citizens to ask, seek and knock. He teaches the Golden Rule. He tells his listeners to travel the restrictive path and enter through the narrow gate. He says to be fruit inspectors, because false prophets are coming. He announces that some will claim him to be Lord and do charismatic gifts, but he will tell them to depart from him, for he never knew them. He talks about two houses, one built on a strong foundation, and another built on sand.
In this chapter, these topics are introduced: Giving to the needy without display; the Lord’s Model Prayer; fasting with the right attitude; laying up treasures in heaven; our light must shine. We cannot serve God and Mammon. We must not be anxious about the basics but seek God’s kingdom first.
The first chapter in the Sermon on the Mount; the Beatitudes; we are salt and light. Christ came to fulfill the law. Avoid anger; avoid lust; divorce should be rare and only for one exception. Don’t swear oaths. Don’t follow eye for an eye, but live a surrendered life. Love your enemies. Through most of those passages, Jesus presents his six antitheses: “You have heard it said … but I say to you.”
In this chapter, Satan tempts Jesus, and the Lord passes the tests and tells him to go. Jesus leaves Nazareth behind and moves to Capernaum, where he begins his ministry. He calls his first disciples. In a summary passage, he is shown to speak to large crowds, heal all their diseases, and expel demons. His basic message is, “Repent! For the kingdom of heaven has come near!”
John the Baptist prepares the way and calls people to repentance and to show deeds in keeping with repentance. He calls the Pharisees and Sadducees offspring of vipers. Jesus is baptized by John, and the heavenly Father proclaims that Jesus is his beloved Son in whom he is well pleased and delighted.
In this chapter, the Magi or wise men visit the newborn king; Herod is alarmed and is told that the child was born in Bethlehem. The wise men find Jesus and offer him gifts. Then they were warned in a dream not to return to Herod. Joseph is warned in a dream to leave Bethlehem and go to Egypt. Herod kills the children in and around Bethlehem. After Herod died, Joseph is instructed in a dream to return to Israel. The family settles in Nazareth.
In this chapter, the genealogy of Jesus Christ and his birth are told.
That’s a puzzling verse, spoken when Jesus commissioned his twelve disciples to go out on a short-term mission trip and then come back. It seems as though the Second Coming will happen before they preach in all the towns of Israel. How do we solve this problem?
Matt. 16:28, Mark 9:1, and Luke 9:27 say that some standing there with Jesus would not experience death until they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom. How can that be true, when the Second Coming has not happened in the past two thousand years (and counting)? The answer will surprise you because it goes beyond the “standard” one.
At his “hearing” or “trial,” Jesus said that Caiaphas (the high priest) and the Sanhedrin (the highest council and court in Judaism) would see him coming in the clouds of heaven. How could they see his Second Coming, which has not happened in the past two thousand years (and counting)? Or does it refer to some other kind of coming?
A teaching on Acts 2 has been circulating among certain (restrictive) Bible interpreters, which says that only the twelve apostles received the fullness or the baptism with the Spirit at Pentecost with the gift of speaking in Spirit-inspired languages (commonly called ‘tongues’). True?
What do five key passages in Acts say about prayer languages, commonly called ‘tongues,’ being the sign of the empowerment of the Spirit?
Jesus seemed to be “rude” to a Gentile (pagan, non-Jew, or foreign) woman, someone outside his outreach to Israel. Here’s an exegesis (close reading) that explains his reasons, in a little more detail, in his own cultural context.
Some scholars say they are irreconcilable, while others say reconciling them is not so difficult. I favor plausible harmonization, since the scholars in this post seem to have cracked the “codes.” Plausibility is found in the cultural context. It’s all in the family. Bonus: see American family “the Roosevelts” for slight parallels.
Luke 16:16 has baffled many Bible interpreters. What does it mean in its own historical and textual context?
Matt. 11:12 has puzzled many Bible interpreters. What does it mean in its textual context?
It’s going to be wonderful. A list of Scriptures and comments are included here. A bonus list of wonderful things, too.
Many claim that the birth narratives in the Gospels–here the third Gospel–were merely reshaped copies of Greco-Roman myths. True?
What do the Scriptures say? Fifteen major things, just a sample, of what he is doing right now.
God’s judgment scares people, and in a sense they are right. Reverential awe and fear are appropriate. But there is a solution for them to escape a negative judgment. Ten questions and answers.
This is called the intermediate state. What happens to you during the in-between time, between your death and going to heaven and then your being reunited with your transformed, resurrected body?
You want a brand-new body right now? Your wish will be done—but only at the right time! Let’s learn what the Bible says.
Hebrew Roots Movement must be cautious and discerning and rightly interpret Scripture. This difference is what Jesus established and the New Testament authors laid out in the Scriptures. It’s really very simple.
It is a widely used (and abused) biblical word. What does it really mean?
These chapters are on Jesus’s discourse about the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple (AD 70) and then the Second Coming, which has not happened yet, 2000 years later (and counting). Looking at the chapters side by side clarifies what he really taught.
These words and verses, both from the Old and New Testaments, reveal the doctrine of hell. It is not as straightforward as many preachers have told us.
That’s a shock. Aren’t we supposed to obey the Ten Commandments? Well … only if you don’t do something else first.
Out of his great love for people, God in his mercy is forewarning everyone, whether the redeemed or unredeemed, that this judgment SHALL happen, based on their good or bad deeds and good or bad words. The Scriptures are unambiguous about it. How do we prepare for it? God offers solutions before we all face it.
Let’s look at the key verses in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and 1 Corinthians. It is a review for my own introductory education. Call it “Divorce and Remarriage 101.”
This is quick reference guide to religious and political Jewish groups who appear in the Gospels and the Book of Acts.
Many interpreters believe that John 14:2-3 teaches the Second Coming or rapture before the Second Coming, but 14:23 decisively argues against this interpretation.
This interpretation breaks open the meaning of this much-disputed passage. Be sure to view the photos at the end. History come alive!
Matt. 24:4-35 is about the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple, while 24:36-25:46 is about the Second Coming or parousia, the close-out of the age, final judgment, and finally the New Messianic Age.
Those verses in Luke are compared with Matt. 26:26-28 and 36-44, which are about the Second Coming. This post also looks at Luke 21:34-36 and Mark 13:32-37, which are also about the Second Coming.
By far, Luke 21:5-33 clearly demonstrate that these verses, which parallel Matt. 24:4-35 and Mark 13:5-31, are an extended prediction of the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple, and not the Second Coming. It is best to read those verses in their own context and in light of Old Testament apocalyptic passages. Then we can have clarity. Please view the photos of the Arch of Titus and the Jewish Menorah, at the end.
This may be the shortest post in my series on Matt. 24-25, Luke 17 and 21, and Mark 13.
We must look at these verses in their textual and historical contexts. And we must not skip over the most stubborn verse in the synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke); then we can interpret this Scripture more clearly. Please view the photos at the end.
It is mostly about the Lord’s Second Coming, but it also has other nuances that clarify the definition. What do two Greek lexicons say about it? A nontechnical article.
Have you been taught all your life that the rapture and Second Coming are distinct events, years apart? Is it difficult to change your cherished belief? The teaching about the Second Coming in the earliest apostolic community was unified and without complications. Here’s the plentiful biblical and nonsymbolic and direct evidence.
This theory says that the reign of Christ is not a literal thousand years, but is expressed in the expanding kingdom of God, using the church to span the globe in the hearts of believers. The Church Age = the millennium.
The reign of Christ is not literally for a thousand years. The number is a figure of speech for a long, unknown duration when God’s purposes are accomplished. He is reigning right now.
I normally write on the Bible and theology nowadays, but occasionally I still include a cultural and social article from a biblical point of view.
I would be derelict in my duty as a teacher not to discuss this very biblical truth.
How much do progressive pastors and other leaders rule the church on these complex issues? How much are they changing the King’s original intent for his kingdom?
Progressives deny the full authority of Scripture, particularly about sex and personal conduct. It restricts their style. They characterize a love for Scripture as “bibliolatry.” Continue reading
You may not see it, but Progressive Christianity is not the right path for you. This is God’s Son’s church, not yours. Here are signs that you are putting yourself at risk of going past what is written in Scripture. Solutions are also offered here.
This theory interprets the millennium literally to be a thousand years, but before then a great tribulation takes place. Christ’s second coming happens after that tribulation.
This theory interprets the millennium literally to be a thousand years, but before then a seven-year great tribulation takes place. The Church will go through half of it (mid-) and then get “raptured” out.
This theory says that the millennium is interpreted literally to be a thousand years, but before then a seven-year great tribulation takes place. The Church will get “raptured” out before that tribulation.
Despite the abuse, confession is still a biblical practice, whether for sins or for salvation in Christ. Make it part of your prayer life.
Let’s look into this subject.
These verses are very sobering. What do they mean in your life and mine?
Yes, prophets of a certain sort rightly exist today, biblically speaking. However, errors are committed in many churches today, usually by “youtube” and “facebook” prophets. They are unscripturally concentrating too much authority in themselves. A closer reading of the New Testament, however, restricts them, their authority, and their ministry.
Matt. 5:28 has been misused over and over again. What does it mean in its textual and OT contexts?
Let’s allow the clarity of Scripture to overturn needlessly complicated and convoluted interpretations that have dominated American Christianity for many decades. Further, is this replacement the same as the church replacing Israel? Read the post to find out. And look at the photos, too!
Mark 2:1-12 says that the son of Man–Jesus–forgave a paralytic’s sins. Does this mean that Jesus claimed authority that only God has, thus making himself equal to God? Did he use a Hebrew word for “forgiveness” which only God can offer?
Why did Jesus say that not even the Son knows the day or the hour of the Second Coming? Puzzling.
“Four blood moons!” said popular books. If we interpret the following passages literally, then the cosmos (earth, sky, heavens, stars, worlds, seas, planets, sun, moon, and so on) would not exist as we observe it today. Instead, let’s use wisdom to interpret the Bible in its context.
Those two verses say that “many” bodies of holy people who had “fallen asleep” (i.e. died) were raised from their tombs and entered Jerusalem and appeared to many. Is this fact or pious fiction?
Here is what you need to know about God’s dwelling place and key Hebrew and Greek words, all spelled out in clear English. Paradise is also discussed.
Things are not so clear-cut as I had thought they were. Please be sure to check out my photos of the Arch of Titus at the end; they show rhe Romans stomped all over the Jerusalem temple.
Will a generous and charitable grandmother who never got around to receiving Christ Jesus as Lord end up bobbing up and down in the lake of fire, next to Hitler, Stalin and Mao?
This theory is the standard one. However, one of the most stunning outcomes of my study of this theory is how little support it receives from Scripture, or the Scriptures can be interpreted differently than I first expected. Don’t believe it? Read every word of this post.
What will happen to your kind and generous but unredeemed grandmother after she is judged? Will she burn in hell-fires in eternal torment? Terminalists or conditionalists or annihilationists (all three terms mean the same doctrine) say no. There is another and better Scriptural option.
What will happen to your generous and gracious but unredeemed grandmother after judgment? Eternal, conscious punishment in the lake of fire next to Hitler, Stalin and Mao? Universalists say no. They claim to have a better and Scriptural option.
This is an old-fashioned look at a Hebrew lexicon and two Greek lexicons, but in an easy-to-read format for nontechnical readers of the Bible. The definitions are wide-ranging and unexpected.
Here is a compendium of various commentators, who tend to reach one conclusion.
Renewalists (Pentecostals, Charismatics, and Neo-Charismatics) use the term all the time, but do we know what it means? What does the Bible say?
This gift is given in order to proclaim the wisdom about Christ and for any particular or special need through the empowerment of the Spirit.
This manifestation of the Spirit can reveal who Christ is more fully and give you information that you could not have without the Spirit revealing it. It does not come by study and research. It is a gift of the Spirit, not of your own mental faculties.
This is a surge of trust that God will give anyone who needs it and in accordance with his will.
Healings come in all shapes and sizes, so expect God to work in a variety of ways.
This gift is available to all, today, not just a special few. God will give it to you when you need it most.
This gift can be very edifying for you and the church. It is not a preacher’s inspired sermon. And don’t despise it, either, says the Scripture.
It is a broad enough to help you distinguish between the false and the true, the Holy Spirit and evil spirits, deceived and true humans.
It is important to study this gift.
This gift depends on Spirit-inspired languages (‘tongues’). Without them, interpretation would not be needed. This post gives a basic teaching of this gift.
So begins a ten-part series. Though difficult to believe at first, our truly understanding the kingdom of God can just about clarify all of the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation. So then, what is the kingdom? Can we define it biblically, or is the topic just too complicated? What does it mean for us today?
The cultures surrounding Israel valued kings. Thus, monarchy worked its way into Israel’s government, but only with God’s permission. This post provides background material for the kingdom Jesus proclaimed.
We are living in eternity right now. We just don’t see it yet, because the kingdom of God is not fully manifested—for now.
Yes, the kingdom is partly manifested right now, but it is seen with the eyes of faith and in visible signs like salvation of souls and bodily healings and demon expulsions and harmony in the household–all done by the power of the Spirit.
The “already and not yet” is still a valid and wise statement about God’s kingdom, which unfolds in three stages. This post also answers why healings do not happen 100% of the time right now.
When we understand it, we can know how God is working across the planet today. And we can understand Christ’s parables that proclaim its mystery.
Eternal life and the kingdom of God belong together, and you can experience them right now.
Let’s never overlook the Scriptural truth that righteousness (kingdom living) is important to the heart of God. Four passages in the Sermon on the Mount are discussed here.
It is a life-changing demand. Or perhaps I should say demands (plural) bundled together into one.
This Scriptural list will edify you.
So begins my nontechnical journey through Leviticus. I am learning a lot. The New Testament authors give us permission to use typology to fully explain the elements of the burnt sacrifice in the New Covenant believer’s life. (References: Lev. 1, 6:8-13, and Num 15:1-16)
Let’s learn to love the life lessons in Leviticus by finding out what it is and how Jesus fulfills this food or grain or meal offering, which was motivated by gratitude for the Lord. (References: Lev. 2 and 6:14-23; Num. 15:1-16)
It is also known as the peace offering and even the communion offering (n the sense of community). The wave offering is included here. Christ’s fulfillment of this offering has many parts, and they are all wonderful. (References: Lev. 3; 7:11-34)
If we want to fully understand Jesus’s sacrifice, we have to look into Leviticus. The substitutionary theory of the atonement is particularly clear in this offering. The New Testament even teaches that Christ became our sin offering. (References: Leviticus 4:1-5:13 and 6:24-30 and Num. 15:1-16)
It is also called the Reparations offering or Trespass offering. Someone breaks the boundaries of the holy and becomes aware of it later, or he does some dishonest things; then the guilt offering is for him. Of course the New Testament (NT) streamlines and fulfills it in Christ (References: Leviticus 5:14-6:7; 7:1-7)
I’m on a journey through Leviticus, and it is very enjoyable. Yes, their ordination is significant in its own right, but how do New Testament themes enlarge and fulfill priestly consecration?
After Aaron and his sons were ordained (Lev. 8), they performed their first ritual for their own sins and then for the sins of the people. This is the inauguration of the new tabernacle. How does the New Covenant improve on these old rituals?
Those were Aaron the high priest’s eldest sons, and they mixed strange fire against the law, and God judged them instantly. Why? Is God a petty tyrant? Most of this post is concerned with this issue, while the rest of Leviticus 10 gives further instructions for the priests generally.
Leviticus has all sorts of food laws. How does the New Testament relate to them? Are they canceled? Are they kept? What exactly does the New Testament really say? The bulk of this post is about the last question.
These Levitical laws in those two chapters are about reproduction and childbirth, in other words, male and female body parts. The laws, seemingly primitive by our standards, reveal the heart of the God who looks out for his people by promoting cleanliness and health. What does the New Testament teach about ceremonial cleanness and uncleanness?
The laws in those two chapters about quarantine or isolation benefit humanity. They come from God’s heart of love for people. Yet, there is a ceremonial uncleanness that the New Testament rises above even for disease, but how?
This is a simple look at Leviticus 16 in ten steps. The NT streamlines, improves and fulfills it. How?
Modern people may dismiss the blood in the Old Testament as too primitive and unnecessary. But Jesus and his apostles applied the theology behind it to their days. It is wiser to follow them.
Does the New Testament cancel moral law? What about unlawful sexual practices? Are we free to practice at least some of them? Would grace cover us when we regularly did?
Does the New Testament go so far as to cancel honest business practices, respect for parents, and even sound agricultural practices? Or does it accept some of them and reject others?
The punishments are not pretty, but we can still learn some basic principles of how seriously God takes sin. An extended discussion on the death penalty from a New Testament perspective is included here, at the end.
This post is a quick summary of those two chapters in Leviticus. I am learning a lot in my journey through this infallible and inspired book, when it is properly interpreted through the filter of the New Covenant or New Testament.
The appointed festivals in this chapter were sacred for the ancient Israelites. They are still sacred for the Jewish community today. What does the New Testament say about them?
Chapter 24 of Leviticus starts off with the command to supply olive oil for the lamp in the tabernacle and bread there. Then in the second half of the chapter a man was stoned to death for blasphemy. And other verses demand the death penalty for taking a life. What does the New Testament say about all of this?
This is a great passage about the Year of Jubilee, because it goes to the heart of the law: redemption and liberty. What does the New Testament say?
What does the New Testament really say about them in light of this chapter in Leviticus? This post will make hyper-grace teachers cringe, but the rest of us will feel sober and be biblically informed.
How could a devout Israelite express his commitment to the Lord? His gratitude? His promise to give to the Lord for a future blessing? By vowing to him, with some property and other possessions–some “skin” in the game. How does the New Testament transform and streamline these laws?
You must be born again. But what does that mean? Does anything result from being born again? Or do we just stay the same?
This post looks at the major Scriptures about the atonement. It also asks whether healing is “in” the atonement.
This is an easy-to-follow study of some key Hebrew and Greek words, all transliterated into English.
Are some theories about it better than others?
God didn’t move. We did. Now he is wooing us back.
This is an easy-to-follow word study in Hebrew and Greek, with all the words transliterated into English. And then redemption and ransom are applied to our lives today.
Ever since the Enlightenment (1600-1800+), modern man does not like the bloody elements of Christianity, the blood that was shed on the cross. This man knows best, right?
Postmodern man after the Enlightenment (1600-1800+) does not like the bloody part of Christianity. Of course this man is shortsighted. This post answers the question and lays out the efficacious benefits of the blood of Christ for our salvation. It also answers whether it is biblical to “plead the blood.”
Start with this post, if you want the Bible basics. It will boil things down and clarify them. Key Hebrew and Greek words, too.
When we experience salvation, we respond to it in our daily lives. How do we and should we respond?
Who brought it about? How did salvation happen? Do we play our part to receive it?
Read the Scriptural answer.
The Scriptures use metaphors or imagery to describe salvation.
Does it merely mean “changed mind,” or does it go deeper?
If you have an overactive conscience, this post is for you. God hurls your sins into the sea and remembers them no more. An old fashioned word study and basic Bible study, with lots of biblical data put in an easy-to-read format.
What is justification? Can God declare a guilty man not guilty?
What does the term mean and not mean? An old-fashioned Bible study offered in a Q&A format.
A thorough study that I hope clarifies this issue.
The parable may not cover the titled theological dispute in detail, but many interpreters believe it does. So let’s explore.
In the old days, this used to be called the “perseverance of the saints” (believers). All that means is the persistence of Christians to keep their relationship with the Lord. So the related question often comes up: Can a truly born-again believer walk away from this relationship?
Can truly born-again believers drift permanently away from or renounce their relationship with the Lord, or are they eternally secure?
Who were the “sons of God” mentioned in Genesis? Were they fallen angels or heroic men from the godly line of Seth? This post also covers the “sons of the Most High” in Psalm 82 and the “sons of God” in Job 1-2 and other verses.
Learn what the Bible really says. This study is essential for our being rooted in the Word, not some desperate quest for angels. Seek Jesus always and only.
Dateline: 11 May 1685: Maybe the Quakers thought it prudent to honor the new king. But there was a problem–his religion. Both sides were part of European and American church history, in the colonial era. At his accession to the throne, he became James II.
Dateline: Philadelphia, 1 Nov 1689: The Council debates how William and Mary became King and Queen. Let’s listen in on a near-verbatim transcription of their discussion on that day. They were part of church history, and so was the council of Philadelphia.
Dateline: 5 July 1702, Philadelphia. People in the New World thought it best to proclaim her queen in order to provide for their own defence and form a militia against invasion and for legal reasons. Both sides of the Atlantic were part of church history.
It is not defined by what the world system or pagan religions say, nor is it what popular Bible teachers seem to preach.
It seems confusion dominates discussions about the righteousness of God. Is it imputed? Imparted? When does it mean vindication? Justice? Holiness? Declared not guilty? Putting things right? All of the above? Find out what the Old Testament and New Testament say!
Paul prays for the Philippians that they would be filled with the fruit of righteousness (Phil. 1:11). Therefore righteousness is a fruit, every bit as much as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control are. What does this aspect of the term mean?
Yes, healing is “in” the atonement, like every biblical benefit. So why not 100% healing?
The left! Sexual nihilism. Anything goes or nothing goes. So what? Who cares? In that spirit, I don’t know anymore what’s worse: shouting “fire!” in a crowded theater or “confused boy!” in a crowded girls’ locker room (said a clever radio host).
This theory of the atonement or the significance of Christ’s death on the cross has come under attack of late. And maybe some sermons and illustrations of it have been out of line. But this theory of the atonement is still biblically valid. Here’s why.
Some say yes. What are the historical and social context of three key passages?
Lies and exaggerations and distortions flow through the web and media and harm our society. They must be countered. If not, America will decline–at first slowly, and now rapidly–by moral rot. I also offer some biblical truths. You may certainly copy the images and post them in social media.
I tell my story: Not my racism, but my ancestors owned slaves. Most importantly, what do the Scriptures say about atonement?
Have you ever heard a student or young adult ask it today? It’s still going strong in Europe and numerous countries around the globe. What if Leftists were to rebrand their ideology and hide it under a current political party in American politics? Therefore, it’s important to take a closer look at it.