If trouble does not stop, why choose wisdom?

On page 96 of the Gospel Advocate’s Adult Foundations Bible Study course (Poetical Book Selections, The Value of Wisdom) a good question is asked.

If possession of wisdom does not keep trouble from arising in life, what benefit is it?

“Why bother?” is an attitude that can afflict the average man and woman. We try to do right when it seemingly has no effect on the wrong we deal with in our family, at work or with strangers. Is there any advantage to understanding, trusting and living out the wisdom that comes from the heavenly source (Proverbs 3:5-6)?

Here are three answers that help to explain what the benefit can be and is for those who seek to get knowledge and understanding with all his or her might:

  • Heavenly wisdom helps navigate us through trouble. It is not the light-house or the buoy-marker’s fault that the seas get rough, but it is to their credit that someone was wise enough to place them where they are! Understanding their value doesn’t stop the storms from happening, but it can keep the storm from sinking us. The same is true, spiritually speaking, of heavenly wisdom.
  • Heavenly wisdom keeps certain troubles away. Take the dangers of alcohol (and ultimately drugs) for example. Proverbs 23:29-35 speaks so plainly about alcohol, a person has to intentionally ignore what they are reading. Add to that the warnings about adultery, lying, improperly raising children, laziness, etc. and we get doses of wisdom beneficial toward avoiding the troubles that many people in the world deal with continually.
  • Heavenly wisdom gives us the ability to help others. Wisdom is meant to be shared. Ever noticed there is an entire book of Proverbs? Sharing wisdom is the whole purpose of Proverbs. From a father to a son, to a son from his mother – when we want the best for people, we share the best we have. Living life takes life skills and heavenly wisdom makes garnering these skills easier.

Hope these answers help to explain the benefit of possessing wisdom despite that it does not prevent all trouble out of our lives.

The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel: to know wisdom and instruction, to perceive the words of understanding, to receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, judgment, and equity; to give prudence to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion—a wise man will hear and increase learning, and a man of understanding will attain wise counsel,” (Proverbs 1:1-5 NKJV)

#bible-questions, #gospel-advocate, #wisdom

God and Capital Punishment (from Apologetics Press)

In 1984 leaders of 13 major denominational churches in Florida signed a joint document condemning capital punishment. They described the death penalty as being extremely harmful, immoral, an action that encourages violence and demonstrates disrespect for human life and is inconsistent with the love of God. The conduct of these religious leaders is a classic example of refusing to think right about God. Capital punishment is a principle that is divine in origin and permanent in nature. It embraces all of time. God intends for the death penalty to be employed as an act of justice by duly authorized authorities for as long as man should inhabit the earth. Read >>

#apologetics-press, #bible-questions, #death-penalty, #judgment-of-god

Why do you think we make plans without God?

Last week, in the Gospel Advocate’s “Foundations Series, Adult Bible Study” covering “Christian Growth in James in Jude”, the question, “Why do you think we make plans without considering God?” was asked in contrast to James’ admonition, “Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit”; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.”” (James 4:13-15 NKJV)

Here are a few answers that immediately come to mind: Continue reading

#bible-questions, #james, #questions-and-answers

Who’s in charge if a congregation has no elders?

The above question was recently asked and answered (in connection to the preacher’s “authority”) in an issue of Gospel Minutes. I always enjoy the Q & A section of their publication.

I believe a sufficient answer was given (the basic gist of the answer was “not the preacher”), but I would like to add one more “suggestion” that was not included. A suggestion I cannot say I have ever seen/heard included when this question is being addressed (although I hope you’re familiar with it). Continue reading

#authority, #bible-questions, #congregations

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

Christian Worker on the subject of “Are We Prepared?”

Here’s a link to a PDF of this month’s Christian Worker. This issue of the Christian Worker examines the topic and question of “Are We Ready?” Please click on the link to open it, and read it with your Bible in hand.

Christian Worker is an edification effort of the Southwest church of Christ in Austin, Texas.

You can subscribe to the email version of the Christian Worker paper by clicking on the publications link on their website and then following the given instructions…or by clicking on the link provided here in The Fellowship Room under the “Friends” category to your right.

Copyright © 2013 Southwest church of Christ, All rights reserved.

#bible-questions, #christian-worker, #pdf, #preparation, #topical-study

Where did Jesus say that?

I have watched little snippets of the History Channel’s “Bible Secrets Revealed” (at least I think that’s the name of the show) and I am always surprised at one of two things when it comes to their topic and the Bible: 1) how elementary the topics really are, or 2) how the topic doesn’t even exist in the Bible…and let me quickly add another one – 3) how the majority of their revealed secrets revolve around the end of the world.

For example, when it comes to the elementary aspect, on one episode a person actually says people might be surprised to know that Jesus had siblings. Well I guess they might be surprised if they have never read the Bible because I don’t really see how that’s a Bible secret considering the fact the Bible plainly says that he had brothers and sisters (Mark 6:3).

But one thing/statement on the show really caught my attention when it comes the other aspects that always surprise me. On the episode that dealt with Jerusalem and how it’s been divided up amongst the world’s religions over the centuries there was person who said that Jesus said he was going to return to the Mount of Olives to begin his reign in Jerusalem. Huh?

That’s where I need your help because to be perfectly honest I don’t know where Jesus said this. Maybe I’m reading over this “Bible Secret” that’s so plain to the eyes of others. Am I failing to add up some formula in Matthew 24?

So if you adhere to premillennial beliefs (as the person on the TV obviously did) would you do me a favor and give me a book, chapter, and verse for where Jesus actually said he was going to return to the Mount of Olives and begin reigning as King in Jerusalem. 

Thanks.      

#bible-questions, #bible-study, #mount-of-olives, #premillennialism, #tv

Answering Jehovah’s False “Witnesses” on What Happens to Us When We Die?

I found a pamphlet in my door the other day left by a neighboring religious group in my county. I’ve had a few conversations with them in the past, and I suppose I will do so again in the future if the opportunity arises, but this time I wasn’t home so the “paper work” got left behind.

The pamphlet addresses several spiritually natured questions inside. The title is actually labeled “Would You Like to Know the Truth?” So that at least lets me know what they intend for me to learn from its pages, and on the front page they do reference the right source for finding the truth (the word of God, the Bible – John 17:17) so I’ll give them that much – but one thing that the pamphlet does not give is the truth concerning the answers to the questions that it addresses.

For example, one question that it asks and answers is “What Happens to Us When We Die?” Here’s the excerpt from the pamphlet that deals with that issue:

WHY THE QUESTION ARISES: Most of the world’s religions teach that something inside a person continues living after death. Some hold that the dead can harm the living or that God punishes the wicked by condemning them to eternal torment in a fiery hell.

WHAT THE BIBLE TEACHES: At death, humans cease to exist. “The dead . . . are conscious of nothing at all,” states Ecclesiastes 9:5. Since the dead cannot know, feel, or experience anything, they cannot harm-or help-the living. – Psalm 146:3,4.

see also Genesis 3:19 and Ecclesiastes 9:6,10

There is one statement/sentiment in this quote that I take no issue with. Although I strongly believe in life after death, I don’t believe in “ghosts” in the way most of the world believes in them so with I’ll agree with them on that topic for the most part. Although I do wonder how they deal with Acts 19:13-16. But anyways, that’s where the no issue and the big issues begin and end.

Here’s what I want you to get from the point that the pamphlet was trying to make. When a person has to lean heavily on the book of Ecclesiastes to support their doctrine concerning life after death and the condition of the soul that should be an indicator. I’m not putting down the inspiration of Ecclesiastes at all. I’m just saying that Christianity is a religion that is based upon a certain individual who died and then rose from the dead to die no more! You would think that this person’s point of view and teaching on the subject would carry a little more weight in this pamphlet. And I suppose it would if it weren’t for the fact that the words of Jesus would be too much weight for their answer to support.

Jesus himself drew a clear line in the sand when he boldly said, “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” (Matthew 10:28 – NKJV) Sounds like this one verse knocks out both claims: 1) something does in deed live on after death, and 2) there is a place of punishment for the wicked called hell.

But now you may be quick to point out that the pamphlet never denied that we will eventually live again after death, or that the pamphlet didn’t deny the existence of Hell, it only addressed the duration of it. Fair enough point, so let’s keep listening to what Jesus said concerning those two issues.

Continue reading

#bible-questions, #christianity, #death, #doctrine, #eternity, #false-doctine, #false-witness, #god, #hell, #jehovahs-witnesses, #life-after-death, #religion

A Thought About Prayer for the Fellows, Fellas and Guests

Here’s a thought about prayer that I thought some of you might be interested in commenting on. It comes from an outline I put together for a VBS class on Bible study and prayer.

“The single goal of prayer isn’t to gain God’s favor or God’s attention – it’s to gain the involvement of God’s will in our life and our life in the will of God.”

There’s much more to it than what may appear on the surface.

I’m not saying that prayer shouldn’t be used to ask for necessities or to cry out to God through emotional despair or even thanksgiving. I’m saying this in light of the beginning words of Jesus’ model prayer (your will be done on earth…Matthew 6:10) and Jesus’ comments on the Father already being aware of our needs (Matthew 6:8).

We have the attention of God (think John 3:16 for a moment), but the question is, “Does God have our attention when it comes to His will?”

To have our life involved in the will of God and to have the will of God involved in our life should be the primary goal of prayer, should it not? What do you think?

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31 – NKJV)

You make your request but you do not get it, because your request has been wrongly made, desiring the thing only so that you may make use of it for your pleasure.” (James 4:3 – BBE)

#bible-questions, #prayer, #prayer-principles, #questions-about-prayer, #spiritual-questions, #the-will-of-god, #theology