What does the word Deuteronomy mean?

Remembering what Deuteronomy means is easier to me than remembering how to spell it. It’s that tricky placement of the e and the u at the beginning that gets me every time.

The word Deuteronomy, interestingly enough, does not come from the original Hebrew “title” of the letter (which is basically the beginning of Deuteronomy 1:1 that says “These are the words…“). It actually has Latin (Deuteronomium) and Greek (Deuteronomion) origins. Each of these origins roughly translates to a meaning of “second law”.

Although it is a good literal translation, “second law” isn’t “necessarily” the best way to view the point of the word Deuteronomy, or the letter itself. It’s not a second law insomuch as it is a repeating of the law. A very good way to think about it is found in Deuteronomy 17:18 where you will find the Hebrew word “Mishneh” which means, in the context, “double, copy or repetition“. In other words, “Deuteronomy” is a repeating (Deuteros, or second) of the principals and points (Nomos, or law) that can elsewhere be found in was then the existing foundation of the Law.

In the Deuteronomy letter, Moses is very much concerned with the task of making sure the present generation understands what it is about to gain and why the previous generation did not possess it! He accomplishes this through quick history lessons and by placing an emphasis on the love and loyalty and obedience, as well as the warnings that are given about the lack of such, that God requires through the covenant he is making with them (Deuteronomy 6:4-9).

The above points are still pertinent today. Especially when you consider how the Hebrew writer emphasized a “deuteronomy” of these things in Hebrews 3, 4 amongst several other passages too.

#deuteronomy, #word-meanings, #word-study

Tip to better understand the Old Testament

The number of books that make up the collection we often refer to as the Old Testament is considerable; thirty-nine to be exact. And the majority of these books are considerable in length! Not a lot of Philemon’s or 1 or 2 John’s are found in the line-up, if you know what I mean.

Almost as diverse as the number of books in the Old Testament is the number of topics and situations and people to study. Because of this wide array many people end up intimidated, hesitant or even uninterested in studying the treasure trove of wisdom that God has made available through so many authors.

If you find yourself in the above categories, I have a little tip to help you better understand the Law, the Psalms and the prophets – get your G.E.D. in the Old Testament … Genesis. Exodus. Deuteronomy.

Study these books and you can get a firm foundation of understanding why so much of what happens in the Old Testament actually happens.

Yes, there will be other things to learn and other books to study (even in a book like Leviticus and especially Kings and Chronicles), but the amount of information and instruction and clarity and promises and warnings that are found Genesis, Exodus and Deuteronomy will create a framework that makes the picture of the Old Testament a lot easier to see.

#bible-study, #old-testament, #tips

Clean entertainment via meteor shower

I cannot speak for the southern hemisphere but if you live in the northern hemisphere you still have a chance to catch a peak view of the Perseids meter shower tonight.

Check out this story for more details.

The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork.” (Psalm 19:1 NKJV)

#nature, #news, #outer-space

Thousands of years of tradition … that changes every few decades!

Many Catholic apologists are quick to laud the “ancient” traditions of their Church as proof of it being the one true body of Jesus.

I, for one, wonder how such a claim can honestly be made about the supposed thousands of years of tradition … that changes every few decades!

Don’t believe me? Think I’m just some hateful, lying Catholic basher? Then take, for example, one of the latest announcements of the Vatican concerning capitol punishment.

Not only is the Catholic Church changing its own position on a topic (which happens on a consistent basis, especially in connection to political pressure and power), it is also blatantly contradicting the plain, principled and authoritative writings of the word of God for the church (see Romans 13:1-7). But why should such be a shocker? After all, the Catholic Church insists, and practices thereby, that the “oral traditions” built by college of bishops and the Pope, amongst other influential leaders, have the right to guide the Church even when such practices and teachings contradict the doctrine of Christ and his apostles and prophets revealed and recorded during the first century (Ephesians 2:19-22, Jude 1:3) – not the twenty-first century!

I realize there are many Catholics who are genuine in their desire to please God and to serve Christ, and this is why I plead with such people to open their eyes to the undeniable truth that the Catholic Church is not what it claims to be. If one cannot become or be a practicing Catholic by simply following what the Bible teaches, and they obviously cannot, then why would one want to be a member of something the Bible refuses to identify, through emphatic and silent declaration, as true and honorable in relation to the undeniable teachings and understandings of the first century church?

Follow the true traditions that have guided the church for millennia, not ones that change before one generation takes the place of another.

#capitol-punishment, #catholic-doctrine, #denominationalism

Having a name like Tychicus

But that you also may know my affairs and how I am doing, Tychicus, a beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord, will make all things known to you; whom I have sent to you for this very purpose, that you may know our affairs, and that he may comfort your hearts.” (Ephesians 6:21-22)

Although mentioned at the end of Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, Tychicus (meaning ‘fateful’) was at forefront of the gospel in the Asia Minor area.

Average Bible students would be quick to recognize “minor” names like Timothy, Titus, Luke and Silas. Maybe even names like Apollos. But Tychicus is probably a name that slips past our notice like a basket riding Paul at Damascus (Acts 9:22-25).

Tychicus stands as a great example of those first century Christians that we know so little about but who gladly served the church. He, along with several others, stands as a great example for those who labor faithfully and diligently today but fail to become a “household” name.

When it comes to laboring in the faith, having a name that comes with fame and notoriety are not characteristics that impress God; nor do they legitimize the individual. Having a name that brings to mind serving, caring and a plugged-in attitude toward the church, however little known it is, is what accomplishes the will of God and brings glory to the gospel of Jesus.

Tychicus, a beloved brother, faithful minister, and fellow servant in the Lord, will tell you all the news about me. I am sending him to you for this very purpose, that he may know your circumstances and comfort your hearts, with Onesimus, a faithful and beloved brother, who is one of you. They will make known to you all things which are happening here.” (Colossians 4:7-9)

#bible-names, #christian-examples, #tychicus

Childhood and chores

Did you have chores as a child? I did, and they did not come with an allowance!

From cutting the grass to picking vegetables in the garden. From cleaning my bedroom to cleaning the bathroom. From dusting the furniture to washing dishes. From feeding the dog to cleaning up after the dog with a shovel. As a child, I had certain jobs that belonged to me. And although I did not enjoy them as a child, the chores of my past have benefited my present as an adult.

There are some people who avoid unpleasant tasks and responsibilities at all cost. Such behavior leads to the folding of hands … which leads to a messier mess in life (Proverbs 24:30-34). Children need to learn about this foolish behavior.

It’s important for children to have personal chores. These chores don’t ruin their childhood. It allows their childhood, a time in their life that cannot be relived, to become the foundation that leads to a more successful life and attitude when it comes to work.

Better a poor and wise youth than an old and foolish king who will be admonished no more.” (Ecclesiastes 4:13)

#parenting, #raising-faithful-children, #responsibility

Family bonds and Jesus

It’s not always the right thing to do but there are legitimate times when humanity can be divided into two divisions. Believers and unbelievers, male and female, and Jew and gentile are a few examples of reasonable divisions. Another such division would seemingly apply to people when it comes to one’s family bonds and Jesus … we’re willing to love one more than the other, or the other more than the one.

When it comes to family bonds and Jesus, some people refuse to admit or acknowledge the error of their family members. This truth is not only seen in the spiritual realm, it is also seen in the secular realm. “Suggesting” that their son or daughter, father or mother, or husband or wife is wrong produces an irrational response of deep denial, anger or a turning away from what is right.

When it comes to family bonds and Jesus, some people are willing to admit or acknowledge the error of their family members. This truth is seen in the spiritual realm and also in the secular realm. “Suggesting” that their son or daughter, father or mother, or husband or wife is wrong produces a reality and faith-driven response of acceptance, self-control and an encouraging spirit for others toward what is right.

These categories are not new. This challenge is not unique to the twenty-first century. When it comes to family bonds and our attitude toward them, the call of Jesus has not changed.

Will our choice be the blood that is thicker than water, or will it be the blood of the cross that we access through the water of the Lord’s command?

“Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. For I have come to ‘set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law’; and ‘a man’s enemies will be those of his own household.’ He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me.” (Matthew 10:34-38 NKJV)

#choices, #family, #jesus

One verse answer (The Necessity of Water Baptism)

Settling every Bible based question or studying every Bible based topic can hardly be resolved with a single verse every time, but there are times when a single verse is so clear and concise in what is being said, the point cannot be missed by any honest Bible student.

For example, take the question and topic of the necessity of water baptism in relation to salvation. For every verse that reveals the truth about water baptism there are some people who try to raise two verses to teach to the contrary. Often these verses contain the concept of “faith” that stands alone, but never a verse containing the words “faith alone” together – see here. The result is a large number of the religious world promoting a perverted and watered-down view of water baptism such as, “You are baptized to show the world that you are already saved, not to be saved.”

So what is the truth about the necessity of water baptism? Well to be honest there is not a single verse that teaches you about all the details of what happens for us or to us during our submission to God in the waters of baptism, but there are plenty of verses that reveal its necessity; one of these verses being 1 Peter 3:21 which says, “There is also an antitype which now saves us—baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,“.

Try as hard they may, to remove the truth about the necessity of water baptism from the Bible would result in individuals removing entire pages from numerous pages in the New Testament and several more from the Old Testament when you include the types and shadows of God’s plan of salvation revealed in the life, the teachings and the last will and testament of Jesus Christ (Mark 16:15-16).

#one-verse-answer, #salvation, #water-baptism

Survey gives 4 reasons why people change churches, author gives 5 reasons when it is OK to quit

According to this recent article, a Pew Research study (sounds like a pun in this context) has revealed four primary reasons why people change churches:

  • Sermon quality
  • Welcoming environment/people
  • Style of worship
  • Location

In my opinion, one reason is hopeful, one is expected, one is typical and one is practical.

The author of the post (who, along with his wife, serve as “lead pastors”) comes to some conclusions that I believe are quite honest. He says, “The translation is clear – Americans treat church like a product to consume instead of as a family to belong. When we treat church like a product, we consume until our needs are no longer met. … Too often people leave a church because of disagreement, not getting their way, or because the sermons are no longer deep enough. Often when we dig into the reason the sermons are not deep enough, it ultimately goes back to the person being offended or not having their faulty theologies endorsed from the pulpit.

The author goes on to offer his thoughts on when it is “OK” to quit church … five of them to be exact (to be fair, I believe the author intends for the word “church” to be equated with “congregation”):

  • It’s OK to leave if God calls us to leave
  • It’s OK to leave for family and marriage
  • It’s OK to leave a church if you have moved too far away to conveniently drive to your church
  • It’s OK to leave if you cannot follow the church’s leadership
  • It’s OK to leave if heresy is being preached.

In my opinion, one reason is questionable, one is expected, one is practical, one is typical and one is hopeful. Similar to my opinion before, but in a different order.

Articles like these are interesting to me, not because I believe they should validate or negate the church’s direction in regards to mission, purpose or correction, but rather because it helps us to understand the perspectives that are being shared with the “general church public.” Such knowledge gives us the chance and opportunity to be better equipped when it comes to presenting the truth of God in a 2 Timothy 4:2 and a 1 Peter 3:15 sort of way.

#church-life, #preparation, #survey

Outline for Ephesians chapter 5

Looking for an outline for Ephesians chapter 5? Try this one:

  • Ephesians 5:1-2 – The model
  • Ephesians 5:3-5 – The muck
  • Ephesians 5:6-7 – The maxim
  • Ephesians 5:8-10 – The metal
  • Ephesians 5:11–14 – The manifestation
  • Ephesians 5:15-17 – The mindful
  • Ephesians 5:18-20 – The measure
  • Ephesians 5:21 – The mentality
  • Ephesians 5:22-29 – The mission
  • Ephesians 5:30-31 – The marriage mold
  • Ephesians 5:32-33 – The mystery

As a side note, pay attention to verses 26-27 to get a useful contextual view of the point that involves verses 22-25 and 28-29. I believe it’s a point that is usually missed because of the reason and way (topic/purpose) the verses are typical used.

Ask if you have any questions as to how the point fits the context. I will be glad to explain.

To God be the glory (Romans 11:33-36).

#bare-bones-outline, #epistle-to-the-ephesians, #new-testament-outline, #sermon-outline

One verse answer (The Arrival of God’s Kingdom)

Settling every Bible based question or studying every Bible based topic can hardly be resolved with a single verse every time, but there are times when a single verse is so clear and concise in what is being said, the point cannot be missed by any honest Bible student.

For example, take the question and topic of the arrival of God’s kingdom. Some say it still hasn’t happened! Some still (often times inadvertently through the repeating of Matthew 6:9-10) pray for it to happen! Some have come up with fanciful theories to explain when it will happen (i.e. premillenialism)! And some have completely misunderstood the nature of the church because they don’t know when it happened! Simple fact is, God’s kingdom has arrived … that or Christianity isn’t the only “2,000” year old thing walking around today. To get what I mean all one has to do is read, “And He said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you that there are some standing here who will not taste death till they see the kingdom of God present with power.”” (Mark 9:1)

There you have it! If you follow a theology that says the kingdom of God hasn’t yet arrived, then you have one of two choices according to the plain language of the above referenced verse: 1) Admit that Jesus was wrong, or 2) Admit that you are wrong. Read Mark 9:1 again and think about those two choices carefully.

#gospel-according-to-mark, #kingdom-of-god, #one-verse-answer

The curse of removing landmarks

Removing landmarks is a big deal. It reveals dishonesty and the intent to defraud another from what it is right, true and distinguishable. Such is true to this day, and such was true in the ancient land of Israel. As a matter of fact, during Israel’s Gerizim and Ebal agreement (Deuteronomy 27:12-13), there was a special curse placed upon the person who attempted to deceive their neighbor through the removal of God-ordained landmarks:

‘Cursed is the one who moves his neighbor’s landmark.’ “And all the people shall say, ‘Amen!’“(Deuteronomy 27:17)

What is true of physical landmarks is true of spiritual landmarks (2 John 1:9). But this truth doesn’t prevent people from trying to move or completely remove the clear and identifiable God-ordained landmarks of his word. Don’t believe it? Listen to the language used in a recent “church’s” updated resolution:

Resolved, that the Episcopal Diocese of Washington affirms that all transgender people, and anyone whose gender identity and expression differs from that assigned at birth, are beloved children of God. … Resolved, that the Episcopal Diocese of Washington encourage all parishes to remove all obstacles to full participation in congregational life by making all gender-specific facilities and activities fully accessible, regardless of gender identity and expression. … as it considers revision of the Book of Common Prayer, to eliminate, when possible, all gendered references to God and to replace them with gender neutral language, and if necessary, to alternate gendered titles when referring to God. … Fixed boundaries of gender identity are being challenged and churches need to respond.”

Is the language a coincidence or convenient irony? I think the answer is clear.

As was said at the beginning, the thing about moving or removing landmarks is that the truth isn’t changed when it happens; it only makes it easier to identify the dishonest and deceptive, and the curse of such behavior still remains (Revelation 21:8).

#denominationalism, #homosexual-agenda, #landmarks

One verse answer (Error of Denominationalism)

Settling every Bible based question or studying every Bible based topic can hardly be resolved with a single verse every time, but there are times when a single verse is so clear and concise in what is being said, the point cannot be missed by any honest Bible student.

For example, take the question and topic of denominationalism and whether or not God approves of such behavior. If we’re looking for a straight answer the Bible provides one! It doesn’t matter how we feel about the restoration movement, the reformation effort, the evangelical community church push, or any other small or large-scale religious body … if you think there is godly wisdom in being able to “choose the church of your choice” think again. Denominationalism is against the will of the Father, the Son and the Spirit! Such a truth is too plain to deny according to the desire and prayer of Jesus before his betrayal, trial and crucifixion. While praying for the apostles, Jesus mentioned those who would believe on him through the teaching and preaching of the apostles by saying, “that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.” (John 17:21 NKJV)

Denominationalism goes directly against the prayer of Jesus. Denominationalism goes directly against the mission of the church. Denominationalism goes directly against the unity the apostles preached (1 Corinthians 1:10). The error of denominationalism is more serious than what many consider it to be, and all it takes is one verse to prove it.

#christian-unity, #errors-of-denominationalism, #one-verse-answer

Why were the Galatians turning away from the gospel?

A valid question worth considering is asked in the “Discussion Questions” section on p. 64 of the Gospel Advocate’s Foundations Adult Bible study book for Galatians (Summer 2018, Lesson 5, The Works of Law or of Faith).

The reason the question is valid is because the answers still apply to individuals today. It asks, “Why do you think the Galatians had turned (or were contemplating turning) from the gospel message Paul preached to them?”

The answers are bit subjective for obvious reasons but the question is rooted in reality. Why do people, who have obeyed the truth, turn from the trustworthy to the untrustworthy? Let me share a few answers.

  1. The Galatians were “somewhat new” to the religion of Christianity. Perhaps this different version of the gospel scratched their itching ears in some way (2 Timothy 4:3; Galatians 4:10). Familiarity can be good thing, but it can also become a stumbling block. Such has happened in the past, and continues to happen with the “installation” of “Christian holy days” meant to replace pagan holiday days. Being new to Christianity introduces great emotions into our lives, but these emotions can also become a weakness if we’re not careful.
  2. The presence of very persuasive false teachers could have also played a large factor in the Galatian’s situation. We know the false teachers had the desire (Galatians 4:17) and, according to the results they were getting, it seems as if they had the talent. Such is also the case today with charismatic and linguistically skilled people who present doctrines that blatantly reject the first principles of the gospel.
  3. The absence of sound teachers seems to be a possible contributing factor to the aforementioned work of false teachers. Dangers abound and wolves feast in the absence of a shepherd’s guidance. Consider the fact, unlike in other epistles, that Paul did not mention any laborers by name in the Galatian letter and that may be a clue concerning the leadership situation the churches of Galatia had on their hands. Sound teaching is not optional! (1 Timothy 1:10; 2 Timothy 1:13, 2:2; Titus 1:7-9, 2:1) Its absence will become a detriment that can and will lead to deception in any congregation.

#galatians, #gospel-advocate, #questions-and-answers

One verse answer (Sabbath Observance)

Settling every Bible based question or studying every Bible based topic can hardly be resolved with a single verse every time, but there are times when a single verse is so clear and concise in what is being said, the point cannot be missed by any honest Bible student.

For example, take the question and topic of a God-ordained modern-day observance of the seventh-day Sabbath. Considering the fact that entire denominational movements revolve around a Sabbath day commandment observance, I’d say the answer to the situation is important. The truth of the matter is often blurred by the difference between God’s law for the nation of Israel and God’s law for the church, who is spiritual Israel, as a whole.

Support for a Sabbath commandment abounds in the Old Testament, but by the time the epistles to the church begin, there is no so much as a step to be found! Fact is, a single verse cannot be quoted from the entire New Testament that reveals God’s direct command for the Sabbath to be observed in the church as a whole, nor a single verse that warns about the lack of observing a seventh-day Sabbath. Furthermore, all scriptural evidence points toward the seventh-day Sabbath being annulled with the rest of the framework of Moses’ law. Because of this truth, Colossians 2:16 says, “So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths,“, and the last time I checked the plural word of sabbaths contains any single day observance of a Sabbath.

The legal right to judge someone based upon the observance a Sabbath day, or the lack-thereof, was removed when the law of Christ replaced the law of Moses (Hebrews 8:7-13). Regardless of how an individual feels about it, the church as a whole is obligated to find our rest in Jesus (Matthew 11:28-30; Hebrews 3:12-19, 4:1-11) but not the 10 Commandments as a whole.

#10-commandments, #one-verse-answer, #sabbath