Once we are transformed by the renewal of our mind, how do we keep it that way? The Apostle Paul wrote,
Romans 7:14-25 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
14 For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold under sin. 15 For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate. 16 But if what I am not willing to do, this I am doing, I agree that the law is good. 17 So now I am no longer the one doing it, but sin that dwells in me. 18 For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the desire is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. 19 For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want. 20 But if what I do not want to do, this I am doing, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me.
21 I find then the law in me that when I want to do right, that evil is present in me. 22 For I delight in the law of God according to the inner man, 23 but I see a different law in my members, warring against the law of my mind and taking me captive in the law of sin which is in my members. 24 Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? 25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh, I serve the law of sin.
We have two laws mentioned here in verse 23, (1) the law of the mind (desire to obey God’s law) and (2) the law of sin that dwells in my members (the inner desire that wars against the law of the mind). A law is a rule of conduct that controls a person. The law of the mind is what we have left from our perfect parents Adam before they decided to rebel. The law of sin is from the same parents, but after they rebelled. It is like inheriting one good trait and one bad trait. Whichever one is cultivated this one will control us. Therefore, we need to cultivate the law of the mind. This is not the old mind, but rather the renewed mind. In other words, we have come out of the world of humankind that is dominated by the mindset of Satan, into having the mind of Christ by way of accurate of full knowledge (Gr, epignosis). We have a new way of thinking, which controls the way we feel and believe, resulting in new behaviors. Our new mind is now what should control our new self. However, the conflict comes in because we now have a new mind in an old body and brain. We are in an imperfect state, and the law of sin is seeking to control our behavior, just as the law of the mind is doing the same. That is why there are times, when we fall victim to the law of sin, even though the law of the mind wanted no such thing. (The Pillar New Testament Commentary is a little deeper than the Holman New Testament Commentary that we have been using. Nevertheless, if we take our time, all will be well.) On Romans 7:14-25, Leon Morris writes,
14. This verse marks the change from the past tense so common in the previous section to the present, which is equally characteristic of the verses to which we now come. As we have already noticed, the most natural way of understanding this is to see it as pointing to Paul’s present experience. He begins with We know, an appeal to knowledge shared with his correspondents. He does have a “for”81 (which NIV omits), which gives a reason for the foregoing (cf. 8:22). He proceeds to characterize the law as spiritual, a term which clearly signifies a highly desirable quality, but one not easy to define with precision. It seems best to connect it with the Holy Spirit rather than the human spirit and to understand the expression to refer to the law’s “divine origin and character” (Murray). It certainly sets the law with God over against man, as the following words show. Paul contrasts himself with the law. I am unspiritual is better rendered as “I am carnal” (presumably NIV avoided the old-fashioned word; the term certainly does not mean “unspiritual”).84 It draws attention to the physical life, though it is not confined to the physical (though Goodspeed translates “I am physical”). As Robinson puts it, “Man qua sarx is man viewed in his difference and distance from God, man left to his own weakness and mortality” (p. 90). Paul is not saying that there is a problem with his body as though differentiating the body from the essential self. He is referring to his “own unaided human nature”, to quote Robinson again. The expression points to the weakness of mankind and to the sin we so easily commit because we are weak. Paul recognizes the divine origin and the excellence of the law, he knows that constant obedience to the law is the way he should live, but he also knows that owing to the weakness of his fallen human nature he does not always do what he should.
He brings that out by saying that he is sold as a slave to sin. The imagery is that of a slave market. Paul regards himself as sold “under” sin, which is more than NIV’s sold to. It means that he is “under” sin’s control. This is a vivid way of bringing out the truth that Paul sins, though he does not want to. It does not mean that he never does the right, but is a strong expression for his inability to do the right as he would like to. Calvin brings out the paradox: “It would not be sin if it were not voluntary. We are, however, so addicted to sin, that we can do nothing of our own accord but sin.” The passive means that Paul is carried off by sin, not that he sold himself to sin, as Ahab did (1 Kings 21:20). He still desires to do the right, which is not true of the person who abandons himself to evil. Every earnest Christian advances in goodness, but he cannot arrive at perfection. Why not? Because he is sold under sin. There is that about him (he is “carnal”) which prevents him from being the perfect being he would like to be.
15. Once again Paul uses “for” (which NIV omits) to advance his argument. It indicates that what follows is related to the preceding; it explains something of what it means to be sold under sin. Paul says, I do not understand what I do. The verb translated understand may point to Paul’s perplexity as to why he does evil though he earnestly wants to do good.89 Or the word may be used in the sense “acknowledge” or “approve” (cf. “the Lord knows the way of the righteous”, Ps. 1:6, RSV). Or he may be carrying on the imagery of slavery. The slave does what he is told to do. He does not know the reason for it or where the action leads, or even what the action means in itself. This is the case of Paul vis-à-vis sin. He goes on to affirm that it is not what he wills that he does but91 what he hates. He does not say that he is not responsible; he himself does it. That is the problem. It is not that he never does good or that his doing of evil is habitual. But there is no reason for concern over a good action, whereas sin is always a problem for the servant of God. Paul is concentrating on the problem area. Slavery helps him bring out what is involved. He is not completely free, and the sin he commits shows that he is in some sense a slave. He finds sin too powerful and too much in control to resist at all times. “Only the hypothesis of slavery explains his acts” (Denney).
16. Consequences flow from Paul’s good intentions. His if construction implies that the condition has been fulfilled—“if, as is the case”. The fact that he is doing what he does not want to do shows that he is not in theory opposing the law. He is for it. He agrees95 with it. The construction is elliptical, and we should supply something like “and thus I testify” that it is good. Barclay translates “fair”, but this is not the meaning. Paul’s word can mean “beautiful”; it “suggests the moral beauty or nobility of the law” (Denney). The law is fair, certainly. But that is not what Paul is saying. He is asserting that it is fundamentally good; it is morally beautiful. Paul’s very good intentions tell us something about the goodness of the law.
17. As it is paraphrases Paul’s “But now”, where his “now” is logical rather than temporal; “Now, in the light of my endorsement of the law.…” The fact that it is his view that the law is good shows that it is not the real Paul who does it. He does not define it, but in the context he is undoubtedly referring to the sin that the law forbids, the “what I do not want to do” of verse 16. On the contrary, “the dwelling in me sin” does it.98 Sin is pictured as having taken up residence in Paul. This is not the honored guest, nor the paying tenant, but the “squatter”, not legitimately there, but very difficult to eject. Paul is personifying sin again; it is in some sense a separate entity, even though it is within him. But it is not external to him. This sin that lives in him, though it is not the real Paul, is what produces the acts which the real Paul hates so much. Sin is out of character for the believer, even though it is so difficult to be rid of it entirely.
18. Verses 18–20 repeat verses 14–17, more or less. Certainly the vocabulary and the thoughts are much the same. But in the earlier section Paul is saying basically that he cannot stop doing things of which he disapproves, whereas in these verses he cannot carry into action things of which he approves. He has just said that sin lives in him, and now he carries this further with I know that nothing good lives in me. This requires qualification, for he has been saying that he approves the law (v. 16). So he explains it as “in my flesh” (NIV, in my sinful nature). We should not understand this of “the lower self” in contrast with “the higher self” or “the mind”, etc. It is rather man as fallen. Brunner sees “on the one side an irrational flesh, on the other an ineffectual law of reason.” Reason is no match for desire. Flesh is not inherently sinful, but it is weak and thus not able to do the good Paul approves. Käsemann considers it “the workshop of sin” (p. 205). Some see Paul’s view as akin to the Jewish view of the good and the evil inclination (yetser). There is, of course, something in this, but with the important difference that for Paul “It is ‘sin’ which is the enemy, not the ‘evil impulse’ ” (Black). He is not repeating a commonplace of Judaism. To will, he says, is present with him, but to do the good, No.102 What he does is never completely what he wants to do.
19. Paul states again the dilemma of the man who wants to do good and cannot. “For not what I will, I do, a good thing, but on the contrary, what I do not will, a bad thing, this I do.” The first negative precedes the entire clause and negates the whole, whereas the second is in the normal place before the verb and negates the verb only. This probably has no profound effect. But Paul is saying emphatically that he wills to do good but does not do it, while he does not will to do evil but in fact does it. Luther borrows an illustration from horseback riding: “It is as with a rider: When his horse does not trot exactly as he wishes, it is he and yet not he that causes it to trot as it does. For the horse is not without him nor he without the horse.”
20. The thought of verse 17 is repeated. Paul’s if clause implies that the condition has been fulfilled—“if, as is the case”. There is no doubt about his doing what he does not want to do. Again, his no longer implies that formerly he had done this. But things being what they are, it is the indwelling sin that brings about the evil action. Paul’s will is not behind it. He is not saying that he is not responsible; after all, it is his action. He is saying that he is no careless or audacious sinner. His will is firmly in opposition to evil, and that is to be borne in mind in assessing the situation.
21. So leads us to the logical consequence. Paul sums up with a “law” which has caused some difference of opinion. Most take it in the sense “principle” (NEB) or “rule” (JB), but others think the law of Moses is meant, as Moffatt, “So this is my experience of the Law …” (cf. RV mg. “I find then in regard of the law …”). Either is possible, but it seems more likely that Paul has in mind the law which he later calls “the law of sin” (v. 23). This is more than simply an observed sequence, as in the way we might speak of “a law of nature”. Throughout this passage Paul has in mind the compulsion to do evil, and that will be his meaning also when he speaks of the “law” he has now found (Hodge speaks of a “controlling principle”, and SH of “the coercion of the will”). His nature, so to speak, obeys this “law”. I find puts this as a discovery. It is not something that Paul lays down as his presupposition, but a conclusion he has reached from a study of the facts. There is some emphasis on the fact that the self-same “I” has both these opposite experiences. Paul insists that he has the will to do good. But the trouble is that evil is right there with me. He cannot escape it.
22. For introduces an explanation. He is happy inwardly with the law of God. I delight is a stronger expression than “agree” (v. 16). This rejoicing is in my inner being. Leenhardt regards the expression as “certainly of Hellenistic origin,” and he finds evidence in Plato, Philo, and the hermetical literature. It is a question whether Paul is using the expression here in much the same way as his Hellenistic contemporaries or whether he is referring to the person who has been regenerated. In favor of the former view is the fact that the Holy Spirit is not mentioned in this chapter. Paul is certainly not speaking explicitly of the Spirit’s regenerating work. Further, the apostle goes on to say that he sees “another law” at work warring against “the law of my mind”, and it may well be that we are meant to see this as equivalent to “the inner man”. The objection is that the expression elsewhere refers to the essential being of the believer, the inner life that Christ has brought (2 Cor. 4:16; Eph. 3:16). Paul may not be making our distinction here. He doubtless knows that the expression was widely used in the world of his day and that it has a special meaning for Christians. But he may not be referring with precision to either way of using the term. He is contrasting the real Paul, the Paul who is known only in the deep recesses of the man, and who delights in the law of God, with that other Paul who so readily does the sin of which the real Paul does not approve. It is true that the regenerate Paul would abhor that evil, and it is also true that the respectable and intellectual Paul would abominate it. But would the unregenerate delight in the law of God? I doubt it. This leads to the conclusion that if the distinction is in Paul’s mind, then he is referring to the man enlightened by the working of the Spirit of God within him.
23. The real Paul rejoiced in God’s law. He recognized it for what it was and rejoiced accordingly. But obeying it is another thing altogether, and to that he now turns. He sees another law at work within him, which may well signify “a law of a different kind”. This law should be seen as the same as the law of sin, for it is highly unlikely that Paul thinks of two different hostile laws at work within his being. Law will be used in the sense “principle” or “rule of action”, though with the nuance that there is some element of compulsion (he is made prisoner). The law is in, not “of”, my members (NIV supplies at work; it is not in the Greek). Consistently Paul proceeds from his basic position that the body is not evil, though the forces of evil work through it. The “other law” makes war against the law of my mind. The thought of conflict is important. Paul is still fighting. He has not surrendered to the powers of evil. The mind emphasizes the intellectual side of the struggle. Paul is referring to the principle that is operative in his rational nature. But this principle is not victorious. Paul anticipates our modern psychologists in their recognition that there are limits to what reason can do. Paul finds himself made captive by what he has called another law and now proceeds to speak of the law of sin (“the evil principle”, Bruce). This will be the way sin works, but there is also the thought that it exercises sway (Cranfield sees “the power, the authority, the control exercised over us by sin”). Again there is a reference to my members (cf. 6:13, 19; 7:5); the body is that through which sin makes its suggestions.
24. Paul’s deep emotion explodes in the exclamation “Wretched man that I am!” Some object that this is not Paul’s view of himself.116 But the language of this verse is impossibly theatrical if used of someone other than the speaker. The more we advance spiritually the more clearly we see the high standards God sets for his people and the more deeply we deplore the extent of our shortcoming. Paul is surely referring to his own experience. As Robinson well remarks, “One” could not be substituted here for “I” without loss (p. 82). Paul is expressing in forceful terms his dismay at what sin does to him. It is, moreover, important that we understand this as applying to the regenerate. It is all too easy to take our Christian status for granted. We so readily remember our victories and gloss over our defeats. We slip into a routine and refuse to allow ourselves to be disturbed by what we see as occasional and minor slips.117 But a sensitive conscience and a genuine sorrow for every sin are the prerequisites of spiritual depth.
The apostle goes on to ask who will deliver him. The verb denotes deliverance generally, without specifying the mode. In the New Testament it is mostly used by Paul. Paul asks who will deliver him from this body of death, an expression which may also be translated “the body of this death” (NASB).119 Some insist on taking this with death (e.g., SH, Murray); some, indeed, suggest that the emphasis is on “this death” (e.g., Gifford). But it is more likely that “the body of death” is the basic expression, perhaps with something of a Semitic flavor (where there tends to be a multiplication of nouns rather than the use of adjectives). The whole expression is then marked out with “this”.120 Some exegetes take body figuratively; Hodge, for example, translates “the burden of this death” (so Shedd). But in the context it is better to see the word as referring to the physical body, which is characterized by death (cf. 6:12; 8:11). It is itself mortal, and it is that in which sin operates and so brings death to us.
25. The question in verse 24 appears to be a rhetorical one, with the answer “Nobody can” all too apparent. But Paul answers it with the joyful shout Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord! The victory is God’s, and he gives it through Christ. It is Paul’s consistent teaching that God in Christ has supplied all our need and will continue to do so (cf. Phil. 4:19). Clearly Paul’s words express gratitude for a present deliverance, but it is likely that they also have eschatological significance. The deliverance we have today is wonderful, but it is partial and incomplete. It is but a first installment of greater things to come, and Paul looks forward to that great day with his burst of thanksgiving.
So then introduces a logical summary of what Paul has been saying. This, then, is what it all adds up to. There is disagreement about this, it is true. Some exegetes feel that the outburst of thanksgiving cannot have been followed by a reference to being a slave to the law of sin. Moffatt accordingly transfers this part of the verse to the end of verse 23, a rearrangement that is accepted by Dodd and others. There is no support for this in the MSS, but Dodd says, “we cannot avoid trusting our own judgment against their evidence”. But it is hazardous to set our view of what Paul ought to have said against all the evidence.124 It is better to view the second half of verse 25 as a summary of the preceding argument before going on to the triumph of chapter 8. As Cranfield puts it, “it sums up with clear-sighted honesty … the tension, with all its real anguish and also all its real hopefulness, in which the Christian never ceases to be involved so long as he is living this present life.” Notice that Paul does not shrug off his responsibility; he does not say that his mind serves God while his flesh serves sin. He uses the emphatic pronoun “I”. It is what he has been saying all along. While there is that in him which approves God’s way there is that in him also which follows the paths of sin.
Because we are ‘mentally bent’ toward the wickedness that dwells within us (Gen. 6:5; 8:21), there is an ongoing battle once we have renewed our mind. If we are to beat down these desires to the point of real self-control, we must feed our renewed mind continually with accurate knowledge from Scripture. (Col. 3:9-10) Head knowledge alone is not enough, we have to channel that head knowledge down into our figurative heart, the seat of motivation. In other words, we need to cultivate good mental habits, like telling the truth, as opposed to the bad habit of telling a lie. The habit of being honest instead of being dishonest is cultivated by repetition. This is the way we truly develop a law of the mind. We get to the point that as we contemplate a dishonest move, a screaming internal alarm will go off, the conscience, telling us to abort.
|1 Timothy 6:5 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
5 and constant friction between men of depraved mind and deprived of the truth, who consider godliness to be a means of gain.
|2 Timothy 3:8 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
8 Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men corrupted in mind and disapproved in regard to the faith.
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As you can see from the Apostle Paul, it is the truth of God’s Word (a product of Holy Spirit), which renews the mind, as well as keeping the mind renewed. However, if we start to doubt that truth because we deprive ourselves of constant replenishments, we can end up opposing the truth. This results in our being depraved and corrupted in mind, like a computer that is infected with a virus. Thus, our spiritual wellbeing, as well as our eternal life is completely dependent on what we feed our mind on.
Romans 8:5-8 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
5 For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. 6 For setting the mind on the flesh is death, but setting the mind on the spirit is life and peace 7 because setting the mind on the flesh means enmity toward God, for it is not subjected to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, 8 and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
While it is perfectly fine to study what Bible critics have to say, or arguments that the atheist and agnostic might raise (for evangelistic purposes); it is not fine to do it without first preparing the mind to do battle. If we feed our minds with corruptive thinking, without having the ability to defend against it, we will end up with a deprived and corrupted mind. Leon Morris writes,
5. Verses 5–8 form a closely knit section, with a series of conjunctions tying the various members together. “For” (which NIV omits) connects it with the previous words; Paul is now about to cite evidence to support what he has just said. In verse 4 Paul had spoken of walking “according to the flesh”; there is a slight change now when he refers to those who “are according to the flesh”, but there is not much difference in meaning. The expression he uses here perhaps conveys a hint at what these people are rather than what they do, but we should not press this. Paul still has in mind that those whose lives are dominated by “flesh” are strongly opposed to the things of God. His list of “the works of the flesh” in Galatians 5:19–21 shows that we must not think only of gross sensuality, for Paul includes such things as enmity, jealousy, and anger. There are many ways of manifesting a disposition that is confined to the flesh. Those in the flesh, he now says, have their minds set on the things of the flesh. They are preoccupied with the flesh; they concentrate on the flesh to the exclusion of all else. It is this verb that Jesus uses of Peter when that apostle rebuked him at Caesarea Philippi, “your mind is not set on the things of God but the things of men” (Matt. 16:23). Peter was not being desperately wicked, but he was looking at things from a completely worldly point of view. Paul is saying something of the sort about fleshly people. They may have good intentions, but their horizon is bounded by the things of this life. The flesh is the focus of their whole life. And because they are concentrating on this fleshly life, they cut themselves off from the blessings Christ offers.
Paul has a corresponding saying about those who “are according to the Spirit.” Such people are not intermittently interested in the things of the Spirit; their whole being centers on them. What the Spirit does is their absorbing interest. We should not understand this as a self-centered concentration on the piece of Christian work in which they are engaged. It is rather a delighted contemplation of what the Spirit does wherever the Spirit chooses to move. It is the very opposite of a concentration on oneself, even on the service one renders to God.
6. The significance of Paul’s “For” here is not as obvious as that of the one at the head of the previous verse (Lagrange and Boylan find it difficult). Probably, as Cranfield puts it, “it is intended as explanation of the opposition between the Spirit and the flesh presupposed in v. 5.” The apostle changes his form of expression slightly when he speaks of the mind of the flesh. The thought is of a thoroughgoing concentration on the flesh, the things that pertain to this life. This, Paul says starkly, is death (so RSV). There is no verb in the Greek, but NIV seems to have the meaning with is. GNB reads “results in death”, NEB “spells death”, and Moffatt “mean death”. But Paul does not seem to be referring to the consequences of having the mind of the flesh. He is saying that to be bounded by the flesh is itself death. It is a cutting off of oneself from the life that is life indeed.
The opposite of the mind that is death is “the mind of the Spirit”, which, Paul says, “is life and peace.” Again the thought is of thorough going concentration. When the things of God dominate one’s outlook, when one is constantly responsive to the direction of the Spirit, then there is life. This is the opposite of the death that concentration on the flesh means. Just as the flesh brings death, so the Spirit brings life. But Paul does not leave the antithesis there. The believer has peace as well as life. Paul spoke earlier of peace with God (5:1), but there is general agreement that this is not what he has in mind here. It will be the basis of the peace he now deals with, for without peace with God there could not be the life and peace which the Spirit brings. This peace will mean the enjoyment of all that reconciliation with God means, a peace that pervades the whole of life and cannot be dispelled by the conflicts life brings. We are reminded of the way Paul so constantly links peace with grace in his salutations.
7. Again this verse is linked to the preceding, this time with because. We have been told that “the mind of the flesh is death” (v. 6), and now we find that it is “enmity” towards God. It is not simply being slightly uncooperative; it is downright hostility. It means being in the opposite camp, refusing to be subject to God’s law. “In withdrawing from God,” Brunner writes, “I eliminate him so far as I am concerned. I am hostile to him.” Paul explains the hostility in that this “mind” does not submit to God’s law. The implication is that it ought to do this. That is the common lot of man. God has given his law so that people may know what is right and submit to it. But the person whose general bent is towards the things of this earth, fleshly things, the person dominated by his fallenness, is by that very fact rebellious against God’s law. Indeed, Paul says, such a mind cannot submit to God. By definition it is set on a contrary course. There is no possibility that anyone will at the same time set the course of his life on the merely fleshly and be obedient to God. This does not mean being horribly and blatantly wicked. Bowen quotes Bernard of Clairvaux: “So far from being able to answer for my sins, I cannot even answer for my righteousness!” People may do good with completely wrong motives; they may try to “gain control over God by paying Him His fee.” Bernard was concerned lest his good deeds be tainted by self-seeking motives, a danger to which we are all subject.
8. There is disagreement on the way we should understand the link with the previous verse. AV has “so then”, Godet suggests “and on the other hand”, Barrett “It follows that”, Cranfield simply “and”; many, like NIV, simply omit the connective. It seems that Paul is just carrying on the argument, so that “and” is as good an understanding as any. This verse rounds off this section of the argument with the flat statement: “those who are in the flesh cannot please God.” This repeats what Paul has just said with some small alterations. The apostle is still concerned that those whose interests are earth-bound cut themselves off from fellowship with God and from the blessings that follow. To be wholly involved in this life is to make it impossible to please God.
Philippians 3:18-19 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
18 For many walk, of whom I often told you, and now tell you even weeping, that they are enemies of the cross of Christ, 19 whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, and they have their minds on earthly things.
Satan uses many tools against the new Christian, or the Christian that is weak, because they are not prepared. One of these is the distortion of the truth. These can come from false Christianity, other religions, atheists, agnostics, and so on. Most of this distortion is designed to get us to call into question the heavenly truth that we have learned, by getting our mind focused on earthly things. They replace the sovereignty of God, with the sovereignty of self. Max Anders writes,
3:18. The apostle with great emotional anguish described the reality of life. Many did not follow the example of Christ or Paul. He labels such people enemies of the cross of Christ. The Christ way is a cross way, a suffering way. The enemies’ way is a pride way, a self-achievement way, a way of present perfection. It never leads to suffering.
3:19. The enemies’ way or philosophy of life has a different focus, a different goal, a different source of pride, and a different result. Paul describes these somewhat ironically, giving double meaning to his words. At the same time, he wrote against Jews who emphasized achieving perfection by obeying the laws, he also had in mind Greeks and Romans who threw off all restraints and lived very sensual lives. Their emphasis was on the physical and the material. These people were called “antinomians” (against the law) as they were against any rules or laws. They wanted to live in complete freedom of any restraints on their physical desires.
Contrary to the gospel of Christ Paul preached, the enemies focus on their stomach or their own physical desires rather than on God. From a Greek perspective such a focus is purely physical. Thus, in practice, their physical desires have become their god. From a Jewish perspective, the stomach represents food allowed or not allowed by Jewish food laws. Their god has become self-protection from ritual pollution, thus the preservation of their self-perceived perfection.
Their goal is earthly things. For the Greeks these are things that give prominence and pleasure in this life. For the Jew, these are rules, regulations, and rituals humans have devised on earth trying to please God in heaven.
They glory or take pride in shame. For the Greek such shame would be meaningless rituals for all their gods, rituals often involving sexual practices and prostitution. For the Jew such shame would be in their attention to the “shameful” body parts, namely their preoccupation with circumcision as a requirement for perfection with God. All such pride is misplaced, for it centers on human achievement. For Paul all glory is in Christ and what he has done (3:3). Thus Jew and Greek faced a destiny of destruction. Instead of winning the prize and participating in resurrection, they would face eternal hell.
If you have become a Christian, Satan, the evil one, has lost the battle for your soul. [This author would say your life. We do not possess a soul we are souls. As Genesis 2:7 says, Adam became a soul, God did not give him one. For more on this, see the book cited below.] He seeks to distort your Christian walk with false doctrine opposed to the teachings of the Bible. In many cases, Satan uses unsaved people to tempt and lead Christians astray. They will show you a different way to the salvation Paul preached, a way that avoids the cross and satisfies the human appetite. Such a way leads to the destruction of hell. [This author would agree with Anders again. There is no hell, a place of fiery torment. God said to Adam, if you eat of the tree, you will die, Ezekiel tells us the soul that sins will die, and Paul says the wages of sin is death.] So every person faces the decision: Paul’s way and resurrection or the human way and hell.
Colossians 1:21 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
21 And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your minds, doing evil works, 22 yet he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, 23 if indeed you continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel that you have heard, which was proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister.
At one time, we were enemies of God, by way of our mind. At that time, our mindset, out attitude, our thinking was contrary to God. If we stumble by taking in distortions that we have not prepared ourselves to cope with, we can become hostile in mind once more, even to the point of being beyond repentance that is the desire to repent. Max Anders writes,
1:21–22. This concept of reconciliation is not just a universal theory; it is a personal truth. Jesus’ death allows God’s enemy to become God’s friend. Before the miracle of reconciliation, the Colossians, and all unbelievers, were at odds with God. We were alienated, that is we were separated, estranged. We were alone, an outsider, exiled, shut out, cut off, locked out. Ephesians 2:11–12 gives us another sad perspective on our estranged position before reconciliation.
Paul then tells us we were once God’s enemies in two ways. First, we were enemies in [our] minds. Our thoughts and our attitudes were hostile to God. Before we trusted Christ, our entire way of thinking was contrary to God’s. For us, and for those who have yet to be reconciled, the problem was and is simple. We refused to accept God’s evaluation of us as being sinners. We would also not accept God’s remedy for the situation—dependence on Christ.
Second, we were enemies in [our deeds], because of [our] evil behavior. It’s not just that we thought wrong; we also acted wrong. Despite our active opposition to God, he reconciled us through the death of Jesus. Jesus died for a race of rebels to offer them a chance to become his allies.
The outcome of this reconciliation is present peace and a future presentation of ourselves before God. The slate of sin has been wiped clean, and we look forward to the day we will stand before God holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation.
1:23. The if of verse 23 should not be misunderstood. This verse is not saying that we will be presented holy and blameless if we remain faithful, as if our eternal salvation depends on our performance. The Greek construction of the if is not an expression of doubt but an expression of confidence and is better translated as since. Paul is not in doubt about whether the Colossians will remain faithful (see Col. 2:5). He is confident that because they have understood what it means to be reconciled they will remain faithful to the gospel that reconciled them. He writes this as an expression of confidence and as a warning to avoid the religious fads of the false teachers of Colosse.
Ephesians 2:2-3 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
2 in which you formerly walked according to the age of this world, according to the ruler of the authority of the air, the spirit now working in the sons of disobedience. 3 Among whom also we all formerly lived in the desires of our flesh, doing the desires of the flesh and of the thoughts, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.
Before finding Christ, our minds were filled with ignorance. We had established certain things that we habitually fed our minds on, causing us to walk in the way of the world. After we renewed our mind, there lies the risk of becoming double minded. Young prince Hezekiah wrote, “I hate the double-minded, but I love your law.” (Ps. 119:113, ESV) What does it mean to be double minded? This is one, who tries to live a double life, one foot in the world and one foot in the faith. This will eventually lead to choosing the world over choosing the Word. You will undoubtedly become depraved and corrupted in mind. We owe God our whole heart, soul and mind. Peter Thomas O’Brien writes,
2 It was in these transgressions and sins that the readers formerly lived their lives.14 Twice in these verses the temporal adverb once appears (vv. 2, 3) as Paul, by means of a short rhetorical form often employed in primitive Christian proclamation, draws a sharp contrast between the readers pre-Christian past and their present standing in Christ (cf. Col. 1:22–23): you were once … but now you are.… This schema appears almost exclusively in the epistolary literature of the New Testament (though see Acts 17:30), and is found in doctrinal, exhortatory, or personal contexts (Gal. 1:23; cf. 1 Tim. 1:13; Phlm. 11). It is frequently employed by Paul, but it is used by other New Testament authors as well. The wonder of the salvation that has been experienced is contrasted with the lost situation from which God has freed them. The past condition is mentioned by terms relating either to sin (Rom. 5:8–11; 7:5; Eph. 2:1), ethical practices, alienation from God and his people (Col. 1:21; Eph. 2:3), or bondage to evil, supernatural forces (Eph. 2:2).
The gravity of their previous condition, however, serves to magnify the wonder of God’s mercy. The past is recalled not because the emphasis falls upon it, but in order to draw attention to God’s mighty action in Christ. In Ephesians 2:4, although there is no explicit use of now, the positive side of the contrast is strongly accented: But God who is rich in mercy has acted decisively on behalf of those who were objects of wrath; he has made them alive with Christ, raised them up, and seated them with him in the heavenly places (vv. 5–6). The break between the past and the present has already occurred. Vv. 8–10 underscore the contrast by repeating the clause by grace you have been saved (v.8) and indicating the purpose of walking in good works (v.10), which is the converse of walking in trespasses and sins, with which the passage began (v.2).
The reader’s former lifestyle, which characterizes all who are outside of Christ, was not true freedom but evidence of a fearful bondage to forces over which they had no control. Three compelling influences directed their lives: the world (v.2), the devil (v.2), and the flesh (v. 3). The first two of these evil influences are depicted by coordinated phrases, each of which is introduced by the preposition according to: (1) according to the age of this world, and (2) in accordance with the ruler of the realm of the air.
In (1) the keyword aiōn usually means age or time span. However, the term was well known in Hellenism as a personal deity, and it appears numerous times in the magical papyri with this sense. It was a popular expression for personal powers in the Nag Hammadi texts and other Gnostic documents. If it refers here to a deity Aion, as many commentators suppose, then it would have been readily intelligible to Gentile readers.
But the context requires that this term be understood in the Jewish sense of a period of time. Paul has already used the word at 1:21 when referring to the typical Jewish two-age schema, and several verses later (v.7) he employs it in a temporal sense. The whole phrase according to the age of this world signifies the world existing in that particular span of time. In these three references a contrast is being developed between the marks of the old age and the new age which is dawning in Christ Jesus. According to the manner of this world-age is a way of speaking about both the spatial and temporal aspects of fallen human existence. The previous lifestyle of the readers has been dominated by this present evil age (cf. Gal. 1:4) and this world, rather than being focussed on heaven and the life of the age to come. Their behavior has been determined by the powerful influence of societys attitudes, habits, and preferences, which were alien to God and his standards.21 Hence the NIV’s rendering: when you followed the ways of this world.
(2) Those outside of Christ are not only subject to the pervasive bondage of the present evil age; they are also inspired and empowered by personal evil forces. Paul depicts the second hostile influence as a powerful supernatural being who rules over this host of evil spirits: the ruler of the kingdom of the air. Ephesians, as we have seen, contains more about the principalities and powers than any other New Testament letter and provides the most detailed response to these spiritual authorities (see on 1:21). Further, it draws special attention to the ultimate authority of evil lying behind them, namely, the devil (4:27; 6:11) or evil one (6:16), who is here called the ruler, or prince, a term used in the Old Testament for a national, local, or tribal leader, and refers to him as the chief or leader among these powers of darkness. In the Gospels he is called the ruler of the demons (Matt. 9:34; 12:24; Mark 3:22; Luke 11:15) and the prince of this world (John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11). He is the god of this age (cf. 2 Cor. 4:4), a personal centre of the power of evil.
This evil ruler is in control of the kingdom of the air. Here, as in Colossians 1:13, the word rendered kingdom denotes the realm or sphere of the devils influence rather than his personal authority. That realm is further defined as the air. According to the ancient world-view, the air formed the intermediate sphere between earth and heaven. It was the dwelling place of evil spirits (as the magical papyri25 and the literature of Judaism attest), not an atmosphere of opinion with ideas, attitudes, and the like, which is a more recent Western understanding. The kingdom of the air, then, is another way of indicating the heavenly realm, which, according to Ephesians 6:12, is the abode of those principalities and powers, the world-rulers of this darkness and spiritual forces of wickedness, against which the people of Christ wage war. The hostile powers inhabit the heavenly realms (cf. Eph. 3:10; 6:12), a notion that has its antecedents in the Old Testament and Jewish thought. If there is any distinction between the expressions the kingdom of the air and the heavenly realm, it is that the former indicates the lower reaches of that realm and therefore emphasizes the proximity of this evil power and his influence over the world.
The devil is further characterized as the spirit who exercises effective and compelling power over the lives of men and women: the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. His manner of operation is described by means of a dynamic power term which, together with its cognate noun, always denotes supernatural power in the New Testament. It has already been used in Ephesians of God, who mightily works out everything according to his will (1:11) and who has exerted his mighty strength in Jesus’ resurrection and exaltation (1:20). Here the word designates the spirit’s evil supernatural activity whereby he exercises a powerful, compelling influence over the lives of men and women. Indeed, so effective is his present evil working that Paul can refer to his victims as sons of disobedience, that is, men and women whose lives are characterized by disobedience. They are rebels against the authority of God who prefer to answer the promptings of the archenemy. Such men and women have not responded in gratitude or praise to the evidences of God’s eternal power and divinity which he has provided in creation (Rom. 1:19–21; cf. 2:8). They reject the gospel (cf. 2 Thess. 2:8) and disregard his will. This is not to suggest, as some contemporary Christians do, that those who live in disobedience to God are necessarily possessed by an evil spirit. All who are outside of Christ live in a kingdom called the tyranny of darkness (cf. Col. 1:13) in which the evil one holds sway. But not all sons of disobedience are demon-possessed.
Although the ruler of this world has been defeated by Christ at the cross (Col. 2:14–15; cf. Heb. 2:14–15; Eph. 1:20–22), he does not surrender without a struggle and he continues to make his powerful influence felt. He is effectively at work in those who have not personally benefitted from God’s deliverance in Christ, while he still poses a threat to believers (Rom. 8:38–39; Eph. 4:27), who must steadfastly resist him by God’s power (Eph. 6:10–20; cf. 1 Pet. 5:8–9).
3 Having reminded his Gentile Christian readers of their former pagan existence, Paul now asserts that prior to their conversion he and other Jewish believers had been in a similar desperate state, for all of us also were included among the disobedient. We Jews too, he states, had followed a lifestyle that was in conformity with the desires of the flesh. Paul’s point is similar to the argument of Romans 1:18–3:20, where it is clear that Jews were no better off than Gentiles. Both alike were under sin (3:9).
In turning to the role of the flesh Paul now describes the nature of the pre-Christian life from a different perspective. According to vv. 1 and 2 men and women outside of Christ have been deeply affected by evil, determining influences:—the environment (the age of this world) and a supernaturally powerful opponent (the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work among those who are disobedient). Here the description of the former life is in terms of our fallen, self-centred human nature. In this context flesh does not stand for a persons physical existence, but humanity in its sinfulness and rebellion against God. It is the sphere in which a person is unable to please him (Rom. 8:8). The passions of the flesh (cf. Gal. 5:16, 24) in which those outside of Christ had once lived are not to be thought of simply as sexual or carnal appetites. They include anger, envy, rage, dissensions, and selfish ambition as well (Gal. 5:20). Following its desires and thoughts: Paul adds that our conduct was once in keeping with the desires of this unregenerate outlook; it dominated our lives, and we carried out its dictates. Even our thoughts35 were corrupt, and they controlled our actions.
Not only were Paul and his fellow Jews dead and enslaved; they also stood condemned: we were by nature objects [lit. children] of wrath. By nature can only mean by birth at Galatians 2:15, and this is its significance here. The expression children of wrath is a Hebraism, like sons of disobedience (v.2), and means worthy to receive divine judgment. Paul and his fellow Jews were deserving of and liable to wrath just as much as the Gentiles were. This dreadful predicament has been inherited, according to Paul, from the one man through whom sin came into the world … and so death spread to all because all sinned (Rom. 5:12). If the result of one man’s trespass led to condemnation for all human beings (v.18), because all humanity was encapsulated in that one man, then this is to say that all are inherently (by nature) subject to condemnation. The same point is made here: like the rest signifies that the whole of humanity outside of Christ lies in this sinful condition with its consequences (cf. Rom. 1:18–3:20).
The wrath in view is God’s holy anger against sin and the judgment that results (cf. Eph. 5:6; Col. 3:5, 6). It is neither an impersonal process of cause and effect, nor God’s vindictive anger, nor unbridled and unrighteous revenge, nor an outburst of passion. Wrath describes neither some autonomous entity alongside God, nor some principle of retribution that is not to be associated closely with his personality. Furthermore, the wrath of God does not stand over against his love and mercy. Wrath and love are not mutually exclusive, as the following verse makes abundantly clear: But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy (v.4). He is a holy God, and therefore he does not stand idly by when people act unrighteously, transgress his law, show disdain to him as their creator, or spurn his kindness and mercy. He acts in a righteous manner, punishing sin in the present and especially on the final day. Yet God also acquits the guilty, and only the person who understands something of the greatness of his wrath will be mastered by the greatness of his mercy. The converse is also true: only the person who has experienced the greatness of God’s mercy can understand something of how great his wrath must be.
In his profound analysis of the human condition the apostle has described the character of the pre-Christian life from three different perspectives the world (v.2), the devil (v.2), and the flesh (v. 3). This analysis is consistent with the teaching of James (cf. Jas. 3:15) and John (1 John 2:15–17; 3:7–10). The source of evil tendencies is both internal and external to people as well as supernatural. Individuals possess an internal inclination toward evil, and their environment … also strongly influences them. As a result men and women cannot respond to life’s decisions neutrally. They are deeply affected by evil, determining influences. These influences may be described in terms of the environment (the age of this world), a supernaturally powerful opponent (the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work among those who are disobedient), and an inner inclination towards evil (the flesh). Arnolds comment on this state of affairs is worth quoting in full:
Paul’s teaching suggests that the explanation for our behavior is not to be found exclusively in human nature or in terms of the world’s influence. Similarly, an exclusively demonic explanation for deviant behavior is unduly myopic. Rather, we should explain behavior on the basis of human nature, environment and the demonic, all three simultaneously. One part may play a leading role, but all three parts need to be considered.
In Ephesians, there is considerable emphasis on the spirit powers. This has apparently been occasioned by an epistolary situation in which many of the readers were keenly aware of demonic powers being at work and needed (further) instruction about the place of these powers in relation to Christ and the believer. But the Pauline conception of the flesh has not been replaced in Ephesians by another explanation for sin. The influence of the world and the flesh is coordinated with the influence of the evil powers. Paul regards the three influences as complementary, leading individuals into sin, transgression, and disobedience.
How Can You Protect Your Renewed Mind?
Certainly, we want to keep our mind renewed once we have gotten it there. We do this by maintaining a strong Christian conscience. The Apostle Paul spoke of those ‘who have branded their own conscience with a hot iron,’ (1 Tim. 4:2, ASV) When we think of a branding iron, usually it is the branding of cattle that comes to mind, but it was used to mark slaves at one time. The iron is heated until the metal is fiery red; then, the brand is pressed against the flesh, searing the image of the iron into the flesh. Seared flesh is scared flesh that becomes unfeeling. Can you imagine, there are people that have no feeling in their skin? If they picked up a red-hot coal out of a fire, they would not feel it burning them. These ones have no warning that something is too hot or too cold. This can happen figuratively to a Christian conscience, it can be seared to the point of becoming unfeeling, or dead. The conscience is designed to send out warnings, helping us to avoid moral dangers, or spiritual dangers. If the conscience is seared, it will not warn us, or protest certain things we take into our mind, or give us pangs of shame or guilt when we are heading toward wrong acts.
We need a clean, healthy conscience to warn us of spiritual or moral dangers. If we are contemplating a movie, or a song, or a friendship that is wrong for us, it will scream out to us. If we listen to it, it will remain strong. However, if we repeatedly ignore it, the warning it provides will grow dimmer and dimmer, until we can no longer see the dangers ahead. In the beginning, we grow our conscience by way of our Bible studies. We are able to reason out principles from Scripture that help us understand the dangers of the gray areas of life. We need to stay strong in our studies, our meetings, and our evangelism and ministry. If we are, absent from these constant reminders for an extended period, the influences of Satan’s world will begin to sear our conscience, meaning that we will start to lose sensitivity, and the slippery slope of wrongdoing will grow stronger and stronger. Keep in mind that this is like heating water up to a boiling point so slowly that a live animal would not even know they are being cooked to death.
How Should We be Mentally Engaged?
We do not want to have a mental relapse back into a worldly way of thinking, depraved and corrupted. We know now that we are naturally mentally bent toward wrongdoing and that through a course of biblical study, meeting attendance, helping others in a ministry, and teaching others about God, we have bent ourselves in another direction, toward what is pleasing in the eyes of God. We do not want anything or anyone to get us to move to the left or right of our true course. We must continually strengthen the law of the mind by digging into God’s Word, and sharing it with others.
In order to be successful in this endeavor, we must make efforts mentally, always being aware of our thinking, to see if it has gotten off course. We need constant refreshing, which we get at congregation meeting and personal Bible study. This means that we must buy out time from Satan’s world, and give it to this renewing practice. As Paul said, “let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”–Hebrews 10:24-25
To appreciate the fact that we can never, in a lifetime, come to fully understand every single nuance within the Bible, let us consider an analogy. It is like a 5o million piece jigsaw puzzle. We can get sections together, but we will never, in 150 years, working 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, complete the whole puzzle. There are exegetical commentaries that run 1,200 pages on just one Bible book, and that is just a scratching of the surface. This is not meant to discourage anyone, but to encourage. You see, we need continually to feed our minds on Biblical truths, in order to stay spiritually functional. If it were humanly possible to understand fully the whole of Scripture after ten years of intensive study, what would we do then? Then, there is this, we are always growing in our understanding of God’s Word, and growth leads to occasional readjustments in our thinking. At times, we may have to be humble, by rethinking our position on things.
While we cannot fully know the mind of God, we can enjoy the privilege of continually discovering information, secrets, and revelations, from his Word. As we grow in an understanding of the deeper things of God, we mature in the way we walk with God. This means that we will spiritually stumble less and less, as we grow more and more. Of course, there will not come a day in this present age, where we will not stumble in word or deed. Our loving heavenly father asks us, “My son, give me your heart, and let your eyes observe my ways.” (Prov. 23:26, ESV) This means that we must give our undivided attention to God’s Word, and he will disclose his ways to us. This is done by having a regular personal study, keeping his Word close to our heart, forming a longing for it.
2 Corinthians 5:17 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
17 Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old things have passed away; behold, new things have come.
5:17. Paul asserted that every person who is in Christ—who is joined to him in his death and resurrection—has become a new creation. Paul drew from Old Testament prophetic language, describing the new world that God would bring at the end of the age (Isa. 66:22). This language also appears in the New Testament (2 Pet. 3:13). “New creation” describes those who follow Christ because they have begun the transformation that will eventually lead to their full enjoyment of salvation in the new heavens and new earth. Christ’s death and resurrection introduced a foretaste of that new world to come.
Paul’s ministry was compelled by the display of Christ’s love on the cross. Paul had been united to Christ in his death and resurrection, and thus had been inwardly renewed and regenerated. The apostle truly was a new creation. In this changed state, he began to look at people differently. Prior to coming to Christ, Paul would not have thought about the Corinthians much. He certainly would not have worked and sacrificed for the Gentiles in that church. But now the shadow of Christ’s cross fell across his view every time he looked at other people. He saw believers as new creations in Christ and unbelievers as people in need of Christ. This perspective shaped his ministry.
Romans 12:2 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
1 Peter 1:13-16 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
13 Therefore, gird the loins of your mind, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 14 As children of obedience, do not be conformed according to the desires you formerly had in your ignorance, 15 but like the Holy One who called you, you also be holy in all your conduct; 16 because it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”
1 Thessalonians 5:8-9 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
8 But since we are of the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet, the hope of salvation. 9 For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ,
1 Peter 4:1-2 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
4 Therefore, since Christ has suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same way of thinking, because he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, 2 so as to live the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for the lusts of men, but for the will of God.
- What two laws are found in Romans 7:23? What are laws?
- From where do these two laws come from, and how do we make one victorious over the other? What renews the mind?
- What must we do before we investigate what the Bible critics, atheist, or agnostic has to say?
- Who does Satan direct his efforts toward?
- What was our mind like before we found Christ?
- What does it mean to be double-minded?
- What is a seared conscience? How can we protect our renewed mind?
- How should we be mentally engaged?
- Talk about the Scriptures for mediation
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Technological and societal change is all around us. What does the future hold? Trying to predict the future is difficult, but we can get a clue from the social and technological trends in our society. The chapters in this book provide a framework as Christians explore the uncharted territory in our world of technology and social change.
Government affects our daily lives, and Christians need to think about how to apply biblical principles to politics and government. This book provides an overview of the biblical principles relating to what the apostle Paul calls “governing authorities” (i.e., government) with specific chapters dealing with the founding principles of the American government. This includes an examination of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the Federalist Papers.
Economics affects our daily lives, and Christians need to think about how to apply biblical principles to money, investment, borrowing, and spending. They also need to understand the free enterprise system and know how to defend capitalism. Chapters in this book not only look at broad economic principles, but a section of the book is devoted to the challenges we face in the 21st century from globalization and tough economic times. A section of the book also provides an in-depth look at other important social and economic issues (gambling, welfare) that we face every day
Do you desire to follow Jesus Christ and transform the culture around you? Are you sure you know what it means to be a disciple and follow a dangerous revolutionary who often comforts the afflicted and afflicts the comfortable? Jesus Christ is not the mild status quo rabbi you may have been taught in your local church. He is dangerous and anyone who follows him is on a dangerous journey. The demands he places upon you and the challenges you will encounter are necessary on the journey. The journey with Jesus Christ is not for the fainthearted. If you are really serious about joining Jesus Christ in the transformation of the culture around you, here is a raw outlook on what to expect on this DANGEROUS JOURNEY.
Christian Apologetics and Evangelism
Inside of some Christians unbeknownst to their family, friends or the church, they are screaming, “I doubt, I doubt, I have very grave doubts!” Ours is an age of doubt. Skepticism has become fashionable. We are urged to question everything: especially the existence of God and the truthfulness of his Word, the Bible. A SUBSTANTIAL PORTION of REASONABLE FAITH is on healing for the elements of emotional doubt. However, much attention is given to more evidenced-based chapters in our pursuit of overcoming any fears or doubts that we may have or that may creep up on us in the future.
How can you improve your effectiveness as teachers? Essentially, it is by imitating THE GREAT TEACHER: Jesus Christ. You may wonder, ‘But how can we imitate Jesus?’ ‘He was the perfect, divine, Son of God.’ Admittedly, you cannot be a perfect teacher. Nevertheless, regardless of your abilities, you can do your best to imitate the way Jesus taught. THE GREAT TEACHER: Jesus Christ will discuss how you can employ all of his teaching methods.
How can you improve your effectiveness as teachers? Essentially, it is by imitating THE TEACHER the Apostle Paul. You may wonder, ‘But how can we imitate Paul?’ ‘He was an inspired author, who served as an apostle, given miraculous powers.’ Admittedly, Paul likely accomplished more than any other imperfect human. Nevertheless, regardless of your abilities, you can do your best to imitate the way Paul taught. THE TEACHER the Apostle Paul will discuss how you can employ all of his teaching methods.
The King James Bible was originally published in 1611. Some have estimated that the number of copies of the King James Version that have been produced in print worldwide is over one billion! There is little doubt that the King James Version is a literary masterpiece, which this author has and will appreciate and value for its unparalleled beauty of expression. This book is in no way trying to take away from what the King James Version has accomplished. The King James Version is a book to be commended for all that it has accomplished. For four centuries, when English-speaking people spoke of “the Bible,” they meant the King James Version. The question that begs to be asked of those who favor the King James Bible is, Do You Know the King James Version? What do most users of the King James Bible not know about their translation? Whether you are one who favors the King James Version or one who prefers a modern translation, Andrews will answer the questions that have long been asked for centuries about the King James Bible and far more.
How true is the Old Testament? For over two centuries Biblical scholars have held to the so-called documentary hypothesis, namely, that Genesis-Deuteronomy was not authored by Moses, but rather by several writers, some of whom lived centuries after Moses’ time. How have many scholars …
Agabus is a mysterious prophetic figure that appears only twice in the book of Acts. Though his role is minor, he is a significant figure in a great debate between cessationists and continualists. On one side are those who believe that the gift of prophecy is on par with the inspired Scriptures, infallible, and has ceased. On the other side are those who define it as fallible and non-revelatory speech that continues today in the life of the church. Proponents of both camps attempt to claim …
People grow old, get sick, and die. Even some children die. Should you be afraid of death or of anybody who has died? Do you know what happens if we die? Will you ever see your dead loved ones again? “If a man dies, shall he live again?” asked the man Job long ago. (Job 14:14) Did God originally intend for humans to die? Why do you grow old and die? What is the Bible’s viewpoint of death? What is the condition of the dead? Are the dead aware of what is happening around them? What hope is there for the dead?
Islam is making a significant mark in our world. It is perhaps the fastest-growing religion in the world. It has become a major obstacle to Christian missions. And Muslim terrorists threaten the West and modern democracies. What is the history of Islam? What do Muslims believe? Do Christians and Muslims worship the same God? Why do we have this clash of civilizations? Is sharia law a threat to modern democratic values? How can we fight terrorists in the 21st century? These are significant questions that deserve thoughtful answers …
…IS THE QURAN THE WORD OF GOD? Is Islam the One True Faith? This book covers the worldview, practices, and history of Islam and the Quran. This book is designed as an apologetic evangelistic tool for Christians, as they come across Muslims in their daily lives, as well as to inform …
If you have the desire to become better equipped to reach others for the lost or to strengthen your faith, Judy Salisbury’s guide—written specifically to meet the needs of Christian women today—offers you a safe, practical, and approachable place to start. In her lively, …
Historical Criticism of the Bible got started in earnest, known then as Higher Criticism, during the 18th and 19th centuries, it is also known as the Historical-Critical Method of biblical interpretation. Are there any weakness to the Historical-Critical Method of biblical interpretation …
Biblical criticism is an umbrella term covering various techniques for applying literary historical-critical methods in analyzing and studying the Bible and its textual content. Biblical criticism is also known as higher criticism, literary criticism, and historical criticism. Biblical criticism has done nothing more than weaken and demoralize people’s assurance in the Bible as being the inspired and fully inerrant Word of God and isdestructive in its very nature . Historical criticism is made up of many forms of biblical criticism that are harmful to the authoritative Word of God: historical criticism, source criticism, form criticism, redaction criticism, social-science criticism, canonical criticism, rhetorical criticism, structural criticism, narrative criticism, reader-response criticism, and feminist criticism. Not just liberal scholarship, but many moderate, even some “conservative” scholars have …
APOLOGETICS: Reaching Hearts with the Art of Persuasion by Edward D. Andrews, author of seventy-two books, covers information that proves that the Bible is accurate, trustworthy, fully inerrant, and inspired by God for the benefit of humankind. The reader will be introduced to Christan …
REVIEWING 2013 New World Translation of Jehovah’s Witnesses is going to challenge your objectivity. Being objective means that personal feelings or opinions do not influence you in considering and representing facts. Being subjective means that your understanding is based on or influenced by personal feelings, tastes, or ideas. If the reader finds these insights offense, it might be a little mind control at work from years of being told the same misinformation repeatedly, so ponder things objectively …
Use of REASONING FROM THE SCRIPTURES should help you to cultivate the ability to reason from the Scriptures and to use them effectively in assisting others to learn about “the mighty works of God.” – Acts 2:11. If Christians are going to be capable, powerful, efficient teachers of God’s Word, we must not only pay attention to what we tell those who are interested but also how we tell them. Yes, we must focus our attention on…
God’s will is that “all sorts of men should be saved and come to an accurate knowledge of truth.” (1 Tim. 2:4) God has assigned all Christians the task of proclaiming the Word of God, teaching, to make disciples. (Matt. 24:15; 28:19-20: Ac 1;8 That includes men and women who profess a non-Christian religion, such as Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam to mention just a few. If there are Hindus, Buddhist or Muslims are in your community, why not initiate a conversation with them? Christians who take the Great Commission seriously cannot afford to ignore these religions…
Evangelism is the work of a Christian evangelist, of which all true Christians are obligated to partake to some extent, which seeks to persuade other people to become Christian, especially by sharing the basics of the Gospel, but also the deeper message of biblical truths. Today the …
MOST Christian apologetic books help the reader know WHAT to say; THE CHRISTIAN APOLOGIST is HOW to communicate it effectively. The Christian apologist words should always be seasoned with salt as we share the unadulterated truths of Scripture with gentleness and respect. Our example …
…THE EVANGELISM HANDBOOK is a practical guide (for real-life application) in aiding all Christians in sharing biblical beliefs, the Good News of the kingdom, how to deal with Bible critics, overturning false beliefs, so as to make disciples, as commanded by Christ. Matthew 24:14; …
The reader will receive eight small introductory books in this one publication. Andrews’ intention is to offer his reader several chapters on eight of the most critical subject areas of understanding and defending the Word of God. This will enable the reader to lay a solid foundation for …
…The Culture War. How the West lost its greatness and was weakened from within outlines how the West lost its values, causing its current decline. It is a forceful attack on the extreme liberal, anti-religious ideology which since the1960’s has permeated the Western culture and …
EARLY CHRISTIANITY IN THE FIRST CENTURY will give its readers a thrilling account of first-century Christianity. When and how did they come to be called Christians? Who are all obligated to be Christian evangelists? In what way did Jesus set the example for our evangelism? What is the …
Inside of some Christians unbeknownst to their family, friends or congregation, they are screaming, “I doubt, I doubt, I have very grave doubts!” OURS is an age of doubt. Skepticism has become fashionable. We are urged to question everything: especially the existence of God and the …
The intention of this book is to investigate the biblical chronology behind Jehovah’s Witnesses most controversial doctrinal position that Jesus began to rule invisibly from heaven in October 1914. This biblical chronology of the Witnesses hinges upon their belief that the destruction of …
In order to overcome and church problems, we must first talk about the different problems of the church. Many of the church problems today stem from the isms: liberalism, humanism, modernism, Christian progressivism, theological liberalism, feminism, higher criticism, and biblical criticism. Moreover, many are simply not a biblically grounded church regardless of how much they claim to be so. The marks of a true Christian church would be like the different lines that make up a church’s fingerprint, a print that cannot belong to any other church. The true Christian church contains their own unique grouping of marks, forming a positive “fingerprint” that cannot belong to any other church. William Lange Craig wrote, “Remember that our faith is not based on emotions, but on the truth, and therefore you must hold on to it.” What truth? Jesus said to the Father in prayer, “Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.” (John 17:17) Are you doing the will of the Father? Is your church doing the will of the Father? – Matthew 7:21-23; 1 John 2:15-17.
Evangelist Norman Robertson claims that “Tithing is God’s way of financing His kingdom on the earth.” He asserts that “It is His system of economics which enables the Gospel to be preached.” Not bashful about telling his followers of their duty to give, he flatly states: ‘Tithing isn’t something you do because you can afford it. It is an act of obedience. Not tithing is a clear violation of God’s commandments. It is embezzlement.’ Most likely you accept that giving should be part of Christian worship. However, …
DECEPTION IN THE CHURCH by Fred DeRuvo asks Does It Matter How You Worship? There are 41,000 different denominations that call themselves “Christian” and all would claim that they are the truth. Can just any Christian denomination please God? Can all be true or genuine Christianity if they all have different views on the same Bible doctrines? DeRuvo will answer. He will focus on the largest part of Christianity that has many different denominations, the charismatic, ecstatic Signs and Wonders Movements. These ecstatic worshipers claim … DeRuvo will answer all these questions and more according to the truth of God’s Word.—John 8:31-32; 17:17.
Translation and Textual Criticism
…THE COMPLETE GUIDE TO BIBLE TRANSLATION (CGBT) is for all individuals interested in how the Bible came down to us, as well as having an insight into the Bible translation process. CGBT is also for those who are interested in which translation(s) would be the most beneficial to use.
There are more than 150 different Bible translations in the English language alone. Some are what we call literal translations, which seeks to give the reader the exact English equivalent of what was written in the original language text, thus allowing the reader access to the actual Word …
…THE TEXT OF THE NEW TESTAMENT was copied and recopied by hand for 1,500 years. Regardless of those scribes who had worked very hard to be faithful in their copying, errors crept into the text. How can we be confident that what we have today is the Word of God? Wilkins and Andrews …
Edward D. Andrews boldly answers the challenges Bart D. Ehrman alleges against the fully inerrant, Spirit-inspired, authoritative Word of God. By glimpsing into the life of Bart D. Ehrman and following along his course of academic studies, Andrews helps the reader to understand the …
A comprehensive book on HOW TO STUDY YOUR BIBLE by observing, interpreting, and applying, which will focus on the most basic Bible study tools, principles, and processes for moving from an in-depth reading of the Scriptures to application. What, though, if you have long felt that you are not studiously inclined? Realize that the primary difference between a serious Bible student and a less serious Bible student is usually diligence and effort, not being a gifted student. Being a gifted Bible student alone is not enough. Efficient methods of Bible study are worth learning, for those seeking to become serious Bible students. The joy missing from many Bible students is because they do not know how to study their Bible, which means they do not do it well. Perhaps you dislike Bible study because you have not developed your study skills sufficiently to make your Bible study enjoyable. Maybe you have neglected your Bible study simply because you would rather be doing something else you enjoy.
How can we find more enjoyment in studying the Bible? How can we make our study periods more productive? What circumstances contribute to effective personal study? How can we derive real benefit and pleasure from our Bible reading? From what activities can time be bought out for reading and studying the Bible? Why should we watch our spiritual feeding habits? What benefits come from reading and studying the Scriptures? There is a great and constantly growing interest in the study of the English Bible in these days. However, very much of the so-called study of the English Bible is unintelligent and not fitted to produce the most satisfactory results. The authors of this book already have a book entitled “HOW TO STUDY: Study the Bible for the Greatest Profit,” but that book is intended for those who are willing to buy out the time to put into thorough Bible study.
Why is personal and family Bible study so important in our life now? How can we apply the Word of God in our lives? How can we use the Bible to help others? How can we effectively use the Scriptures when teaching others? How can we make decisions God’s way? How can Bible principles help us to decide wisely? Why should we have faith in God and his word? The Psalmist tells us, God’s Word “is a lamp to my foot, and a light for my path.” (Psalm 119:105) Since the Bible is a gift from God, the time and effort that we put into our personal Bible Study is a reflection of how much we appreciate that gift. What do our personal Bible study habits reveal about the depth of our appreciation of God’s Word? Certainly, the Bible is a deep and complex book, and reading and studying are not easy at times. However, with time and effort, we can develop a spiritual appetite for personal Bible study. (1 Peter 2:2)
Correctly interpreting the Bible is paramount to understanding the Word of God. As Christians, we do not want to read our 21st-century worldview INTO the Scriptures, but rather to takeOUT OF the Scriptures what the author meant by the words that he used. The guaranteed way of arriving a correct understanding of God’s Words is to have an accurate knowledge of the historical setting, cultural background, and of the people, governments, and religious leaders, as well as the place and time of the New Testament writings. Only with the background, setting, and context can you grasp the author’s intended meaning to his original readers and …
The life of Christ is an exhaustless theme. It reveals a character of greater massiveness than the hills, of a more serene beauty than the stars, of sweeter fragrance than the flowers, higher than the heavens in sublimity and deeper than the seas in mystery. As good Jean Paul has eloquently said, “It concerns Him who, being the holiest among the mighty, and the mightiest among the holy, lifted with His pierced hands empires off their hinges, turned the stream of centuries out of its channels, and still governs the ages.” …
Stalker’s Life of St. Paul became one of the most widely read and respected biographies of the Apostle to the Gentiles. As an insightful compendium on the life of Paul, this work is of particular interest to pastors and teachers who desire to add realism and vividness to their account of one of the greatest Christians who ever lived. …
Delving into the basics of biblical interpretation, Edward D. Andrews has provided a complete hands-on guide to understanding what the author meant by the words that he used from the conservative grammatical-historical perspective. He teaches how to study the Bible on a deep, scholarly …
…Linguistic and literary factors are analyzed so that the various genres of Scripture are examined for their true meaning. The importance of having sound principles of interpretation cannot be overstated as to ignore them will result in all manner of erroneous assumptions. Beville presents …
Once upon a time, Postmodernism was a buzzword. It pronounced Modernism dead or at least in the throes of death. It was a wave that swept over Christendom, promising to wash away sterile, dogmatic and outmoded forms of church. But whatever happened to postmodernism? It was regarded …
…church. It offers an appointment with the Great Physician that no Christian can afford to ignore. Developing Healthy Churches: A Case-Study in Revelation begins with a well-researched outline of the origins and development of the church health movement. With that background in mind the …
…liberties in a multi-cultural society that is becoming increasingly secular. This work provides an ethical framework in which euthanasia and assisted suicide can be evaluated. These issues are on the radar indicating a collision course with Christian values. It is time for Christians to be …
…Journey with Jesus through the Message of Mark is an insightful and engaging survey of Mark‘s Gospel, exploring each major section of the text along with key themes. It is a work that can be enjoyed by laypersons as well as pastors and teachers. Pastors will find the abundant use …
What are angels & demons? Can angels help us? What does the Bible say about angels? What is the truth about angels? Can Angels affect your life? Who were the “sons of God” in Genesis 6:2? Who were the Nephilim in Genesis 6:2? Who is Michael the archangel? Can Satan the Devil control …
An Encouraging Thought elucidates the ways in which Tolkien’s The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings are informed by and communicate a biblical worldview. This book will help readers appreciate the ways in which a biblical worldview informs Tolkien’s work, to the end that their own faith may be confirmed in strength, focused in understanding, deepened in joy, and honed in its ability to communicate the Gospel.
What is the Bible’s viewpoint? Without delving into an endless stream of what man has said, Andrews looks at what the Bible says about death and the like. Why do we grow old and die? What happens at death? Is there life after death, or is this all there is? Do we have an immortal soul? …
Herein Andrews will give the reader exactly what the Bible offers on exposing who the Antichrist and the Man of Lawlessness are. If we look at the texts that refer to the antichrist and the man of lawlessness, we will have lines of evidence that will enable us to identify them. Why is it …
Throughout the Scriptures, God is identified as the Creator. He is the One “who created the heavens (He is the God who formed the earth and made it, He established it.” [Isa 45:18] He is the One “who forms mountains and creates the wind” (Am 4:13) and is the One “who made the heaven and …
The information herein is based on the disciples coming to Jesus privately, saying, “Tell us, (1) when will these things be, and (2) what will be the sign of your coming, and (3) of the end of the age?” (Matthew 24:3) What will end? When will the end come? What comes after the end? Who …
What Really Is Hell? What Kind of Place is Hell? What Really Happens at Death? What Did Jesus Teach About Hell? How Does Learning the Truth About Hell Affect You? Who Goes to Hell? What Is Hell? Is It a Place of Eternal Torment? Does God Punish People in Hellfire? Do the Wicked Suffer in …
Miracles were certainly a part of certain periods in Bible times. What about today? Are miracles still taking place. There are some very important subjects that surround this area of discussion that are often misunderstood. Andrews will answer such questions as does God step in and solve …
Today there are many questions about homosexuality as it relates to the Bible and Christians. What does the Bible say about homosexuality? Does genetics, environment, or traumatic life experiences justify homosexuality? What is God’s will for people with same-sex attractions? Does the …
If you’ve struggled in the world of difficulties that surround you, you’re not alone. Maybe you have looked for help, and you have been given conflicting answers. 40 DAYS DEVOTIONAL FOR YOUTHS: Coming-of-Age In Christ, can help you. Its advice is based on answers that actually work, which are found in the Bible. God’s Word has helped billions over thousands of years to face life’s challenges successfully. Find out how it can help you! 40 DAYS DEVOTIONAL FOR YOUTHS includes seven sections, with several chapters in each. It includes the following sections: Sexual Desires and Love, your friends, your family, school, recreation, your health. You need advice you can trust! 40 DAYS DEVOTIONAL FOR YOUTHS will give you that. This author has worked with thousands of youths from around the world. The Bible-based sound advice helped them. Now you can discover how it can help you.
Young ones and teens, you are exposed to complex problems that your parents may not understand. Young Christians, you are bombarded with multiple options for solving everyday problems through social media. Where do you turn to find answers? Where can you look to find guidance from Scripture? In order to provide a Christian perspective to problem-solving, the author of this devotional book decided to take a different approach.
This devotional book follows the author’s own faith journey back to God. Significant life events can shake our world and distort our faith. Following life’s tragedies, a common reaction is to become angry with God or to reject Him altogether. Examples of tragedies or traumas include life-changing events such as physical or sexual assault, destruction of one’s home, the tragic death of a loved one, diagnoses of terminal diseases, divorce, miscarriages, or being a victim of a crime. Tragedies or traumas can cause feelings of anxiety, depression, shame, and guilt.
Throughout the book, common themes emerge to support caregivers. The reader will find interesting Bible Scriptures, offering a Christian perspective, for handling issues that may arise. These inspiring passages will assist the caregiver in finding peace and faith as they travel their journey as a caregiver. Although caregivers may not know how long they will play this role, they take on the responsibility without any question. Taking care of others is often mentioned in the Bible and, as noted in this devotional, this self-sacrificing, highly valued, and often challenging service will ultimately be rewarded.
Humans must breathe in the air of our atmosphere to survive. Many cities because of pollution face a dangerous level of contamination in their air. However, an even more deadly air affects both Christians and nonChristians. Ordinary methods or devices cannot detect this poisonous air.
Paul counseled, “Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.” (Col. 3:2) It is, for this reason, Marshall has penned the DAILY DEVOTIONAL: Daily Musings From the New Testament, which can help us be protected against Satan’s efforts at controlling our mind and heart. For each day of the year, DAILY DEVOTIONAL provides a Daily Bible Reading and comments for consideration.
BREAD OF HEAVEN helps the reader to have a greater understanding of the timeless truths of Scripture and a deeper appreciation of the grandeur of God. It offers meditations on selected Scriptures which will draw the reader’s attention upwards to the Savior.
A routine classified telepathic interrogation of a potential terrorist, followed by an assignment that doesn’t go as planned thrusts Tabatha – the world’s only telepathic human – into the public eye. The exposure leads an evil neuro-scientist requesting a meeting with her in hopes of luring her to his cause as well as unveiling a deadly creative work that has spanned three decades of research and development.
…desert but none of such significance as a handful of scrolls retrieved from a buried Roman satchel (presumed stolen) at this site. The discovery has since come to be known as ‘The Diary of Judas Iscariot.’ In The Diary of JudasIscariot Owen Batstone relates the observations and feelings …
Kevin Trill struggles with the notion that he may have missed the Rapture. With nothing but the clothes on his back and a solid gold pocket watch, he sets off towards Garbor, a safe haven for those who haven’t yet taken the mark of thebeast. While on his way to Garbor, he meets up …
There grew an element in the valley that did not want to be ruled by the Light of the Word. Over time, they convinced the people to reject it. As they started to reject this Light, the valley grew dim and the fog rolled in. The people craved the darkness rather than the Light because they were evil. They did not want to …
When an ancestor saddles them with the responsibility to purge Australia of a demon threatening to wipe our humanity with black flames, fraternal siblings Amber and Michael Hauksby lay their lives on the line. As the world crumbles around them into chaos, and ancient marsupials wreak havoc in their hometown, they must journey into …
“Write Place, Right Time” follows the pre-apocalyptic misadventures of freelance journalist Don Lamplighter. While on what he expects to be a routine Monday night trip to a village board meeting, Lamplighter’s good nature compels him to help a stranded vehicle. Little does he know that by saving one of the car’s occupants, he sets forth a chain of what to him seem to be unrelated events where he must use his physical and social skills to save himself and others from precarious situations.
 Leon Morris, The Epistle to the Romans, The Pillar New Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI; Leicester, England: W.B. Eerdmans; Inter-Varsity Press, 1988), 290–298.
 Leon Morris, The Epistle to the Romans, The Pillar New Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI; Leicester, England: W.B. Eerdmans; Inter-Varsity Press, 1988), 304–307.
 WHERE ARE THE DEAD? Basic Bible Doctrines of the Christian Faith by Edward D. Andrews
 Max Anders, Galatians-Colossians, vol. 8, Holman New Testament Commentary (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1999), 246–247.
 Max Anders, Galatians-Colossians, vol. 8, Holman New Testament Commentary (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1999), 284.
 Peter Thomas O’Brien, The Letter to the Ephesians, The Pillar New Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1999), 157–164.
 Or creature; Gr ktisis
 Richard L. Pratt Jr, I & II Corinthians, vol. 7, Holman New Testament Commentary (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2000), 357–358.
 Or well-pleasing
 I.e., prepare your minds for action (mental perception)
 I.e., obedient children