A wonderful feeling to have

On my new microblog, a link to today’s memory verse, Heb 13.18. This verse reminds me of a number of truths:

  • Pray for us: Equality and reciprocity are a part of God’s body. We all need to ask for prayer.
  • We are sure: Certainty, based on God’s word, is a wonderful feeling to have.
  • We have a clear conscience: To be greatly valued. No matter what our past was like, God changes all.
  • Desire: What do we really want? Right desire focuses us toward right action.
  • Conduct ourselves rightly: To do right before God brings great blessing from above.
  • In every respect: Integrity and simplicity unite all under God’s direction, with no area left untouched.

#bible-commentary, #hebrews, #memorization

Comment this verse: Ephesians 4.29

“You must let no unwholesome word come out of your mouth, but only what is beneficial for the building up of the one in need, that it may give grace to those who hear” (NET).

A friend commented on this verse elsewhere. It seemed appropriate to post it here and invite others to make their comments on it. What say you?

#bible-commentary, #tongue, #words

Will There Be Universal Justice?

Many in the world struggle with the existence of evil, the abuse of the innocent and a lack of justice across multiple spectrums of life. The struggle can be so intense that it leads many to disregard any acknowledgement of the existence of a Higher Being. Even Christians can fail at times to keep our eyes focused upon the crown to be given after the race is over.

I believe the late brother Burton Coffman used some wise words concerning these issues. It’s a little lengthy for posts here, but I believe the read is worth the time:

“Great and terrible as the concept of eternal judgment admittedly is, the most profound necessity for it is evident. Most of the truly difficult problems connected with the life of faith, and with reference to the entire system of Christianity, are directly related to the doctrine of eternal judgment. Heaven, hell, eternal punishment, eternal joy, Satan, and the problem of evil – all these things pivot in the last analysis upon the scriptural teaching of the judgment. All of the problems, great and small, eventually fade into insignificance before the pressing question, “Is this universe just?” The underlying assumption of revealed religion as set forth in both the Old Testament and the New Testament is the concept of a just universe; and time and time again it is unequivocably declared to be just (Psalms 45:6,7). The father of the faithful, Abraham, idiomatically inferred it when he asked, “Shall not the judge of all the earth do right?” (Genesis 18:25). The existence of laws in the natural realm, the moral law within people, and the sacred revelation all alike proclaim the justice of the universe; and if it is not so, life indeed becomes “a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing” (Macbeth, Act V). Sanity in any true sense turns upon the question of justice in the cosmos. If the righteousness and justice of God do indeed establish his throne and undergird all things, then WE ARE SAFE; and every man shall receive the reward of the deeds done in the body (2 Corinthians 5:10); if not, then any true security of the soul is a fool’s dream, and man himself is but an infant crying in the night with no language but a cry!

But if the universe is just; if the righteous shall be rewarded and the wicked punished, AN ETERNAL JUDGMENT IS REQUIRED, a judgment in which all inequities and injustices shall be corrected, an eternal judgment presided over by infinite justice, wisdom, mercy, and love – in short, the judgment revealed upon every page of the sacred scriptures, or if not revealed, then certainly implied. The widespread neglect and apparent disbelief of this doctrine suggests that it is true of our generation, as it was of those to whom this epistle was first addressed, that we “have need again that someone teach us the rudiments of the first principles of the oracles of God” (Hebrews 5:12)” (James Burton Coffman Commentaries, Volume X, Hebrews 6:1-2; p.116; A.C.U. Press, 1971)

One part of scripture that I try to remember when my heart and mind ponders these issues is Psalm 73. While struggling over the existence of the wicked and their bounding prosperity over the righteous, the psalmist reminds himself and all of his readers about an extremely important point. He says in verses 16,17 – “When I thought how to understand this, It was too painful for me — Until I went into the sanctuary of God; Then I understood their end.”

Although at times it’s hard to see and comprehend in this life, God’s word assures His people there will be universal justice one day; and this day will not have anything to do with any man-made court (Daniel 12:2, John 5:28-29).

#bible-commentary, #evil, #hebrews, #judgment, #justice, #questions-and-doubts, #resurrection, #the-wicked-and-the-righteous, #universal-justice

Study Bible notes: Acts 4

Here’s the reading for today in the NET Bible version. Add your concise notes on a word, phrase, or even a segment of the chapter, and we’ll choose some of them for inclusion in the final document on Acts.

These are my subtitles for the main sections in Acts 4:

  • The Boldness of Peter and John (1-22)
  • Disciples Pray for Boldness (23-31)
  • Unity and Generosity (32-37)

#bible-commentary, #bible-study, #study-bible-notes

Daily Nudge: Comment a phrase

Take one sentence in Jesus’ teaching of Luke 12:1-12, just one, and provide a comment on it. Your comment can be textual, exegetical, exposition, application, personal reflection — your choice.

Meanwhile, thousands of people had gathered. They were so crowded that they stepped on each other. Jesus spoke to his disciples and said, “Watch out for the yeast of the Pharisees. I’m talking about their hypocrisy. 2  Nothing has been covered that will not be exposed. Whatever is secret will be made known. 3  Whatever you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight. Whatever you have whispered in private rooms will be shouted from the housetops. 4  “My friends, I can guarantee that you don’t need to be afraid of those who kill the body. After that they can’t do anything more. 5  I’ll show you the one you should be afraid of. Be afraid of the one who has the power to throw you into hell after killing you. I’m warning you to be afraid of him. 6  “Aren’t five sparrows sold for two cents? God doesn’t forget any of them. 7  Even every hair on your head has been counted. Don’t be afraid! You are worth more than many sparrows. 8  I can guarantee that the Son of Man will acknowledge in front of God’s angels every person who acknowledges him in front of others. 9  But God’s angels will be told that I don’t know those people who tell others that they don’t know me. 10  Everyone who says something against the Son of Man will be forgiven. But the person who dishonors the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven. 11  “When you are put on trial in synagogues or in front of rulers and authorities, don’t worry about how you will defend yourselves or what you will say. 12  At that time the Holy Spirit will teach you what you must say.” (God’s Word version)

This text comes from today’s reading which follows the New Testament yearly plan some of us are following.

#bible-commentary, #gods-word-translation, #luke-12, #nudge

One-volume commentary by F.F. Bruce

The old standard used to be the New Bible Commentary: Revised, which has been updated again and has a name like 21st Century Edition or some such. But lately I’ve been using editor F.F. Bruce’s, New International Bible Commentary, which I have in English under a previous name, but it has the same innards. It has also been translated into Portuguese, so that’s a plus. That’s the one I’d have to name, I reckon, out of the few one-volume commentaries I have.

I’ve bought a couple of one-volume commentaries since then, but although they have some good features, they don’t seem to measure up all around. Nor did I expect them to, since one was a hodge-podge of liberal, feminist, and liberation theologies, another a Catholic liberal volume (which has a lot of good features, however), yet another doctrinally fine, but not so helpful on overall approach, literary structure, and theological synthesis.

I can handle the denominational and other religious works better than something by brethren which takes off on all kinds of tangents, which I don’t buy. One expects it from other quarters, but the disappointment would be so great, coming from a brotherhood source, that I don’t bother.

So my vote is Bruce’s work, at least, for this year. Ask me again next year.

#bible-commentary, #one-volume-commentaries

My wife has two one volume commentaries the…

My wife has two one-volume commentaries, the B.W. Johnson book and Jim Sheerer’s commentary. Honestly, I don’t use either of them, though I am keeping the Sheerer book for her. In an interesting footnote, Sheerer’s book was published by Yeomen Press, Chickasha, OK, which is a beautiful little town outside of Oklahoma City and just a few miles from the Rush Springs Church of Christ, a superior body of Christ.

#bible-commentary, #one-volume-commentaries