What does it mean that God is not a respecter of persons?

Asking what the Bible means by the phrase “God is not a respecter of persons” shows at least a couple of things:

  1. It shows what translation we’re used to reading (or at least which translation we’ve done most of our memorization from…either the KJV or the ASV), and
  2. We’re interested in learning something that we don’t know.

Read other translations of verses that state our studied principle, such as Acts 10:34 (which in the King James Version says, “Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons:”), and you’ll find,

  • Then Peter opened his mouth and said: “In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality.” (NKJV)
  • So Peter opened his mouth and said: “Truly I understand that God shows no partiality,” (ESV)
  • Then Peter started speaking: “I now truly understand that God does not show favoritism in dealing with people,” (NET)
  • Then Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism” (NIV).

The word translated as “respecter” (in Acts 10:34) comes from the Greek word “Prosopoleptes” which means, “an acceptor of persons” or “one who discriminates.” In the other places of scripture where the same basic phrase is recorded but a different specific Greek word is used, the meaning of the various Greek words are, for all practical purposes, the same (maybe think of it like the English words great, fine, good and well and their relation). But regardless, when one considers the definition of the Greek word under consideration in Acts 10:34 and then combines that with the way several translators use the word based on the context, it soon becomes rather clear what the phrase “no respecter of persons” means…it means that God has the same standard for every person – and that standard is his to decide and ours to live by accordingly.

Our position of authority upon the Earth, our fame, our heritage, our race, our height, our hair or eye-color, our wealth, our sex, our education (amongst many other etceteras)…none of these gain anything with God in and of themselves. Some of these things may impress others and buy us some favoritism upon this Earth, but not with God. Some of these things bring different responsibilities in God’s eyes, but none of these things mean that God requires something of us that he will ignore in others when it comes to his righteousness.

Now therefore, let the fear of the Lord be upon you; take care and do it, for there is no iniquity with the Lord our God, no partiality, nor taking of bribes.” (2 Chronicles 19:7)

Then Peter opened his mouth and said: “In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality. But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him.” (Acts 10:34-35)

 

#bible-questions, #god, #respecter-of-persons, #righteousness

You – and by you I mean you – will go to Heaven

A huge spiritual question that some wrestle with is, “Will we know each other in Heaven?”

There are two answers, but only one can be right for obvious reasons.

Now each answer can create its own additional questions, but additional questions do not change the original question at hand and whether or not we can know its answer according to the scriptures.

I for one believe that the Bible overwhelming teaches that… Continue reading

#bible-questions, #eternity, #heaven, #personal-concerns

Can you answer these trivia questions without using Google?

Here are some trivia questions from a handout that a sister in Christ gave me. I thought it would be fun to share a few of them.

See how many you can get without using Google:

  • Who said, “Is there any taste in the white of an egg?”
  • What hungry man cursed a fruitless fig tree?
  • Who had his wages changed ten times?
  • What two Hebrews were embalmed by Egyptians?
  • Who fell off a seat and broke his neck?
  • Which two disciples did Jesus nickname, “Sons of Thunder”?
  • What was Eve’s other name?
  • Who invited angels to wash their feet?
  • Which disciples were called “Jupiter” and “Mercury”?
  • What archangel had a debate with Satan?

Feel free to share any answers, or keep them to yourself. Either way, have fun and don’t strain your brain too hard.

#bible-questions, #trivia-questions

Will any dogs make it to Heaven? A lesson on context!

Some say all dogs go to Heaven. Some say none. More than likely you’re one of the two.

It’s easy to understand why people ask the question, “Do dogs go to Heaven?” A lot of people love their dogs! But then again there is such a thing as cynophobia. And furthermore, there are some individuals who despise any purebred or combination of K9’s that you can imagine.

I suppose people tend to ask the question under consideration because they project human characteristics onto their dog. This is easy to understand since some dogs are sweet and compassionate to their owners – I mean, they wouldn’t even hurt a flea … but some dogs are vicious to the core, capable of taking the life of a human-being or another animal without any sign of remorse.

With all that being said, let’s come to a conclusion on this question of dogs and Heaven by looking at what the Bible says about the matter.

Considering the fact that the word “dog” gets used at least nine times in the New Testament, and every time the word is used it’s in a negative way (with the exception of a possible allusion to puppies being able to make it into God’s good graces (Matthew 15:22-28)), I believe Revelation 22:14-15 plainly settles the issue: Continue reading

#bible-questions, #context, #dogs, #rightly-dividing-the-word-of-god

Cousin or Nephew?

An interesting situation happened this past Sunday morning during our adult class as we were studying the Bible person of John Mark. The situation arose when I asked how Barnabas and Mark were related to each other, and the answer wasn’t as clear-cut as I originally thought it would be. I was under the impression, per my memorization of scripture, that Mark was Barnabas’ nephew, but most translations say Barnabas and Mark were cousins.

For example:

“Aristarchus my fellowprisoner saluteth you, and Marcus, sister’s son to Barnabas, (touching whom ye received commandments: if he come unto you, receive him;)” (KJV)

Aristarchus, my fellow prisoner, sends you greetings, as does Mark, the cousin of Barnabas (about whom you received instructions; if he comes to you, welcome him).” (NET)

I’ve checked out the actual Greek word which seems to indicate that the relationship was that of cousins, but, as some commentators point out, it’s possible that the same word could be used for both nephews and cousins…sorta along the lines of father being used for grandfathers and great, great, etc. grandfathers.

So the question is, have you ever you studied out this situation before? What do you think? After all, I figured a few heads are much better than one in this case.

#barnabas, #bible-characters, #bible-questions, #mark

A picture, a question and story about prayer walk into TFR

A picture, a question and a story about prayer walk into TFR…and no, this isn’t a joke (and some would find the use of a double-negative even less funny!).

The picture: Here’s a rather dizzying picture from my back yard. It’s the branches of my cork-screw willow tree thoroughly covered in ice; and it’sIcy Tangled Mess also my computer wallpaper for now. Unfortunately the ice was enough to break off the top seven or eight feet of this tree.

The question: How big were Samson’s muscles? Seriously. Every picture drawn of him is comparable to someone who has won the “Mr. Universe” award, but if memory serves me correctly (and maybe it doesn’t) the Bible never describes his physical stature. Did his muscles have to be abnormally large? Perhaps it’s a “useless question”, but then again maybe it’s not. Think about it – it might just be a matter of faith.

The story: The story isn’t a joke, or then again maybe it is. I don’t remember where I got it from; I’ve had it lying around in the ole’ computer filing cabinet for quite a while. Either way, it’s yours to use to the glory of God’s truth. “A little girl, dressed in her Sunday best, was running as fast as she could, trying not to be late for Bible class. As she ran she prayed, ‘Dear Lord, please don’t let me be late! Dear Lord, please don’t let me be late!’ While she was running and praying, she tripped on a curb and fell, getting her clothes dirty and tearing her dress. She got up, brushed herself off, and started running again! As she ran she once again began to pray, ‘Dear Lord, please don’t let me be late… But please don’t push me either!’” You know there’s a lesson in there just waiting to be told.

#bible-questions, #pictures, #random-thoughts, #stories

Who is worthy?

communion-bread

Another question perhaps more often asked, “Who is worthy to partake of the Lord’s supper?”

Our brief answer would be, “No one!” We do not know, nor have we ever known, any who claimed to be or were “worthy” to partake of the Communion, or for that matter “worthy” of any act of worship we practice! Continue reading

#bible-questions, #lords-supper