Early Christianity_Reading an Apostolic Letter_Acts 15

When James speaks of “the twelve tribes in the Dispersion,” he is not referring to the 12 tribes of literal Israel, as the Jews, who made up Judaism were not his “brothers” that were ‘holding the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.’ (See James 1:2; 2:1, 5) Before Jesus’ execution, He made it clear that the 12 tribes of literal Israel had been rejected. He said, “the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people producing its fruits.” (Matt. 21:43) Who are these people that would produce fruit? It was “the Israel of God.” (Gal 6:16) After Jesus’ ransom sacrifice, those who entered the Christian congregation were not Jews in a fleshly way but were the Israel of God in an inward way, a spiritual Israel, open to both Jew and Gentile. (Rom. 2:29; 4:16, 17; 9:6-8; Gal. 3:7, 29; 4:21-31; Phil. 3:3) These spiritual Israelites were dispersed throughout the then known world. “There arose on that day a great persecution against the church in Jerusalem, and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles.” (Ac 8:1) So after that, through these scattered ones and the work of the evangelists, congregations were being started all through the Roman Empire. In fact, we find Peter using the same words as James, “the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia.” (1 Pet. 1:1) Therefore, Jews were living in dispersed nations at the times of James writing. Whatever the case, James letter is writing to Christians that were going through trials of many various kinds.

Witnessing to a Jewish Person

The sons of Israel in the first-century responded positively to the preaching of Jesus and his apostles. (Acts 10:36) The same holds true for today. However, you have Messianic Judaism, is a movement that combines Christianity, most importantly, the Christian belief that Jesus is the Messiah, with elements of Judaism and Jewish tradition. This is not going to be acceptable, though, as Jesus told them we are not trying to put new wine in an old wineskin. First, we must deal with the fact of whether the Jews are still God’s chosen people.

Are the Natural Jews Today Still God’s Chosen People?

To the twelve tribes in the Dispersion: (James 1:1c)

The twelve tribes in the dispersion that James mentions are not actually the 12 tribes of Israel. We note in verse 2 James says, “Consider it all joy, my brothers,” and the tribes of Jewish Israel were not James’ brother, ‘who were holding their faith in their glorious Lord Jesus Christ, as natural Israel rejected Jesus Christ vehemently. (Jam. 1:2; 2:1, 5) During the last days of Jesus’ ministry, he explicitly stated what was to happen to natural Israel. Jesus said, “I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people producing its fruits.” (Matt. 21:43) A short time later, he said,

Matthew 23:37-39 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

Lament over Jerusalem

37 “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling.

38 Behold, your house is being left to you desolate!

39 For I say to you, from now on you will not see me until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’”

In looking at verse 37 of Matthew 23, we see that Jesus’ words are not those of a harsh judge, who is looking readily to punish the Jewish people for their 1,500 years of rebelling and sinning horrendously against the Father. Rather, he has tried to be patient with them throughout his last three and half year ministry. When Jesus began his ministry, all Jesus wanted was nothing more than what his Father wanted, i.e., repentance for centuries of willful sinning, so that they could avoid the judgment that was coming. Well, over five hundred natural Israel responded to Jesus’ words, with thousands upon thousands more listening to the apostle Paul and other evangelists. They escaped the judgment that came upon Jerusalem in 70 C.E. (Lu 21:20-22) In verse 38, Jesus indicated that very soon God was not going to accept the worship of the Israelites, at the typical temple in Jerusalem. (Matt 24:1-2) In verse 39, Jesus is saying, they will never see him with eyes of faith unless they accept him and his Father.

INTERPRETING THE BIBLEIn other words, natural Israel lost its favored position as God’s chosen people, and this was to be given to another. Who? This new nation proved to be a spiritual Israel, which the apostle Paul referred to as “the Israel of God.” It would be made up of Jews, who accepted Jesus Christ and non-Jews. Entry into this “Israel of God” was not dependent on a natural descent, but rather on one coming to “know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” (John 17:3), In other words, it was a matter of ‘trusting in Jesus Christ.’ (John 3:16) Nevertheless, natural Israel was made up of 12 tribes, so James was simply drawing on the number 12, which carries the connotation of completeness. If a natural Jew or a non-Jew were to become a part of this spiritual Israel, the Israel of God, they would have to acknowledge, “Circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter.” (Rom. 2:29) He must further understand “it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all …” (Rom. 4:16) There are many verses, which qualify what it means to be a part of this Israel of God. See also, Rom. 4:17; 9:6-8; Gal. 3:7, 29; 4:21-31; Phil. 3:3

These spiritual Israelites were dispersed throughout the Roman Empire. Shortly after Pentecost 33 C.E., there were arrests, threats, and beatings. (Ac 4:1-3, 21; 5:17, 18) At that time, Stephen was seized and stoned to death. ” (Ac 7:52-60) The murder of Stephen was only the beginning, as Saul of Tarsus was to bring great persecution of the Christians in the Jerusalem area, which led to the dispersing of Christians throughout the then known world. (Ac 8:1-4; 9:1, 2) However, this really failed, as it was not long before Christian congregations were found everywhere, by the evangelism of none other than the very persecutor turned Christian, namely, the apostle Paul (formerly known as Saul). In fact, about 62-64 C.E., Peter writes, “To those who are elect exiles of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia.”–1 Peter 1:1

Written for Our Instruction

We can learn some object lessons from what God has disclosed to us in his Word. Paul told the Corinthians “these things happened to those people as an example but are written for our instruction.” (1 Cor. 10:11) He also told the congregation in Rome, “For whatever was written beforehand was written for our instruction, in order that through patient endurance and through the encouragement of the scriptures we may have hope.” (Rom. 15:4) The Israelites are a perfect example for us to learn. God personally chose Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, because they were walking with him, while others chose to abandon him. The nation of Israel was the descendants of Jacob’s 12 sons. They became God’s chosen people, of whom he made a covenant, to which they agreed to follow. If they walked in the truth, they would be blessed by Jehovah’s presence. If they abandoned that walk like the pagan nations, they would lose his presence, resulting in the difficulties that came with living in this fallen world. Whilst they maintained their loyalty, they never became victims to enemy nations. (Deut. 28:7) Furthermore, they could depend on crop growth that was exceptional year after year, as well as their flocks of animals. (Ex. 22:1-15) Moreover, they had no reason to build jails to house criminals, because they had the perfect social system. (Ex. 22:1-15) In addition, they did not suffer from diseases like other nations (Deut. 7:15). Jehovah promised them that they would “be blessed more than all of the peoples,” and when they walked in the truth, this proved to be true.

Deuteronomy 7:14 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

14 You shall be blessed above all peoples; there will be no male or female barren among you or among your cattle.

We all have the history before of how Israel refused to walk in the truth. They would walk in the truth for a number of years, and then they would abandon that truth until life was impossibly difficult, moving them to return to Jehovah. This walking in the truth, abandoning the truth, and repenting to return to the truth, went on for 1,500 years. The final difficulty in this back and forth was their rejection of the Son of God. His words to them were quite clear, and needs to be repeated again:

Matthew 21:43 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

43 Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a nation,[1] producing the fruit of it.


Matthew 23:37-39 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

37 “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling.

38 Behold, your house is being left to you desolate!

39 For I say to you, from now on you will not see me until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’”

Just who are the people that the Kingdom was to be given to after the Israelites fell out of favor with Jehovah God? God chose for himself a new spiritual nation, which became the Christian congregation that Jesus established between 29 and 33 C.E. He no longer had the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as his chosen people, by which other nations would bless themselves. Keep in mind again, only Jews were brought into the Christian congregation from 29 C.E. (Jesus started ministry) up unto 36 C.E. (first Gentile Baptized, i.e., Cornelius). This is explained in greater detail below.

Acts 10:34-35 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

34 So Peter opened his mouth and said: “Truly I understand that God shows no partiality, 35 but in every nation anyone who fears[2] him and works righteousness[3] is acceptable to him.

Acts 13:46 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

46 And Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly and said, “It was necessary that the word of God be spoken to you first; since you thrust it aside and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, behold, we are turning to the Gentiles.

how-to-interpret-the-bible2Did this mean that no Jewish person could be a part of the Kingdom? Hardly! The first disciples of that Kingdom for seven years, 29 C.E. to 36 C.E. were only Jewish people. After 36 C.E., and the baptism of the first Gentile, Cornelius, anyone, including the Jews, could be a part of this Kingdom, as long as they accepted the King, Jesus Christ. Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6) At Jesus’ Baptism, there was a voice from heaven saying, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” (Matt.3:16-17) Jesus’ teaching, miraculous signs, his ransom sacrifice, and resurrection, established him as the truth, having the authority and power of the Father.[4] The Christians in the first century were given the position of being God’s chosen people. (Acts 1:8; 2:1-4, 43) It would be through Jesus to the Christian congregation that the truth would now flow. As Paul told the Corinthians, “For to us God has revealed them through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God.” (1 Cor. 2:10) It happened just as Jesus had said it would, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent, and have revealed them to young children.” – Matthew 11:25

However, more truth was on the horizon with the birth of the Christian congregation. There had been 39 books written by the Jewish writers of the Hebrew Old Testament (2 Tim. 3:16-17), and now there was to be added an additional 27 books by Jewish Christians, making up the Greek New Testament (2 Peter 2:15-16). Thus, there were 66 small books, written over a 1,600-year period that would make one book, which we hold today in our modern-day translations. Yes, some 40 plus Bible writers were, as Peter put it, “men carried along by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.” (2 Peter 1:21) The above view is Scriptural, but it is also the minority view. Most believe as Dr. Elmer Towns,

Israel’s hardness of heart. The Bible speaks of a partial and temporary insensibility of the nation of Israel. The Jews, who had the Scriptures and should have welcomed their Messiah, rejected him and called for his crucifixion. “He (Jesus) came unto his own (the Jews), and his own received him not” (John 1:11). Paul spoke of “blindness (hardness)” as happening to Israel (Rom. 11:25). Israel’s rejection is temporary. The time is coming when many Jews will turn to Christ (Rom. 11:26; 2 Cor. 3:14, 15). God’s temporarily setting aside the nation he loves so much ought to be a warning to Christians not to reject the teaching of the Scriptures.[5]

Elmer Towns says, “Israel’s rejection is temporary. The time is coming when many Jews will turn to Christ.” They had 1,500 years as God’s chosen people, favored in every way, and they abandoned God at every turn, to the point of sacrificing their own children to false gods, culminating in the rejection of the Son of God, who said he had come specifically for them. Moreover, John himself says that anyone or group who rejects Jesus Christ is the Antichrist (i.e., instead of or against Christ). The Messianic Jews do accept Christ so most would think they are fine. However, that just is not the case because it is the combining it with elements of Judaism and Jewish tradition. What did Jesus say about Jewish tradition? He said you are “making void the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down.” (Mark 13:7) Let us look at Jesus words at Luke 5:38, “But new wine must be put into fresh wineskins.” What did Jesus mean?

The conclusion of the second picture is stated positively: new wine must have new skins; new ways must have new containers. Jesus’ teaching will not survive by making it conform to old ways. A new form, a new spirit, and a new approach are required. Old questions are irrelevant. Such a message had relevance beyond the time of Jesus’ ministry. In the early church and throughout the new age, to re-Judaize Christianity would have missed the newness of what Jesus brings. The issue raised here is one of the major concerns in the Book of Acts, as the church wrestles with the proper limits of the influence of its Jewish heritage. The focus is not on a return to something old and ancient, but on the presence of something new. This does not mean that some forms of the old worship, like fasting, cannot continue; but it does mean that they are seen differently. The remarks fit the situation in Jesus’ ministry, but the significance became timeless for the church’s perspective.[6] (Bock 1994, p. 521)

The actual way to God was through the Israelite nation for over 1,500 years. When Jesus arrived he began what would become known as Christianity, his followers being called Christian.

Matthew 9:16-17 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

16 But no one puts a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment; for the patch pulls away from the garment, and the tear becomes worse. 17 Nor do they put new wine into old wineskins. If they do, then the wineskins burst and the wine spills out and the wineskins are ruined. But they do put new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.”

Jesus was making a point to the disciples of John the Baptist that no one should expect the followers of Jesus Christ to try to retain the old practices of Judaism, such as a ritualistic fasting. A Christian can fast if he chooses to do so, but there are no obligations to do so. Jesus did not come to patch up the old ways of worship by way of Judaism, which would be set aside on the day of Jesus’ ransom sacrifice. Christianity is not to conform to the old way of worship, to the form Jewish religious system, with the traditions of men.

As Jesus said, Christianity was not going to be a new patch on an old garment or a new wine in an old wineskin. Any Christian or so-called Jewish Christian, who tries to suggest the mixing of the two are nothing more than false prophets. – Matthew 24:11.

We can define antichrist as anyone, any group, any organization, or any government that is against or instead of Christ, or who mistreat his people. Thus, we are not just looking for one person, one group, one organization, or one power. The Bible does not refer to just one antichrist. The greatest misidentification has been the interpretation that the Antichrist and the man of lawlessness are just one particular person.

After the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 C.E., up unto this day, the Jews have not put faith in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, but have rather continued their search for a Messiah in the flesh. This is not to say that no individual Jewish persons have not converted to Christianity, as hundreds of thousands have in the last two millennium.

Will the Jews in the last days, or during the great tribulation, finally be moved to accept Jesus Christ?

Romans 11:25-26 Good News Translation (GNT)

25 There is a secret truth, my friends, which I want you to know, for it will keep you from thinking how wise you are. It is that the stubbornness of the people of Israel is not permanent, but will last only until the complete number of Gentiles comes to God. 26 And this is how all Israel will be saved. As the scripture says,

“The Savior will come from Zion
and remove all wickedness from the descendants of Jacob.”

Notice the GNT says, “this is how (ESV, HCSB, “and in this way”)  Greek, houtos] all Israel will be saved.” In addition, notice that this “all Israel will be saved” is not accomplished by some conversion of all the Jews, but rather “the complete number of Gentiles comes to God.” A Manual Greek Lexicon of the New Testament [Edinburgh, 1937, G. Abbott-Smith, p. 329] defines houtos as meaning “in this way, so, thus.”). In addition, A TRANSLATOR’S HANDBOOK ON PAUL’S LETTER TO THE ROMANS [New York, 1973, United Bible Societies, p. 227], says, “This is how relates back to what Paul has previously said.”

If we are to understand Romans 11:25-26 correctly, it must be in the context of the book of Romans as a whole, and the rest of the New Testament. What did Paul say at Romans 2:28-28, “For no one is a Jew who is merely one outwardly, nor is circumcision outward and physical. But a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter. His praise is not from man but from God.” At Romans 9:26 Paul says, “For not all those who are descended from Israel are truly Israel.”

What about the argument that the Abrahamic covenant assures that the Jews will always be God’s chosen people.

Galatians 3:27-29 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

27 For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you belong to Christthen you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to promise. (Italics mine)

Here we see things from God’s perspective, it is not a matter of being a natural descendant of Abraham that makes one a part of Abraham’s seed. Are the things going on in Israel today and un unto Christ’s return a part of Bible prophecy?

Ezekiel 37:21-22 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

21 then say to them, Thus says the Lord Jehovah: Behold, I will take the sons of Israel from the nations among which they have gone, and I will gather them from every side and bring them into their own land 22 and I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel; and one king will be king for all of them; and they will no longer be two nations and no longer be divided into two kingdoms.

Israel has not been under one king of the line of David for well over 2,300 years. The state of Israel today is a republic.

Isaiah 2:2-4 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

2 It will come to pass in the latter days
that the mountain of the house of Jehovah
will be established on the top of the mountains,
and will be lifted up above the hills;
and all the nations will stream to it,
    and many peoples will come, and say:
“Come, let us go up to the mountain of Jehovah,
to the house of the God of Jacob,
that he may teach us concerning his ways
and that we may walk in his paths.”
For the law[7] will go forth from Zion,
and the word of Jehovah from Jerusalem.
He will judge between the nations,
and will correct matters for many peoples;
and they shall beat their swords into plowshares,
and their spears into pruning hooks;
nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
neither shall they learn war anymore.

What do we find when we look at the city of Jerusalem today? Do we find “the house of the God of Jacob”? No, we do not; rather we find an Islamic shrine. Certainly, living within the heart of Islamic nations, they would not ever dream of “beat[ing] their swords into plowshares.”

Zechariah 8:23 English Standard Version (ESV)

23 Thus says the Lord of hosts: In those days ten men from the nations of every tongue shall take hold of the robe of a Jew, saying, ‘Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.’”

Zechariah 8:23 American Standard Version (ASV)

23 Thus says Jehovah of hosts: In those days it shall come to pass, that ten men shall take hold, out of all the languages of the nations, they shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, We will go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.

Zechariah 8:23 Young’s Literal Translation (YLT)

23 Thus said Jehovah of Hosts: In those days take hold do ten men of all languages of the nations, Yea, they have taken hold on the skirt of a man, a Jew, saying: We go with you, for we heard God [is] with you!

Within the book of Zechariah alone, the personal name of God (Jehovah JHVH, or Yahweh YHWH) appears 130 times. If you are ever around an orthodox Jew, say Jehovah or Yahweh, and he will jump back and say something like, “we do not say the blessed name.” Jews, because of traditions and superstitions have not said the personal name of God for about 2,000 years. It is to the point that it has even been removed from almost all English translations, replacing it with the title “the Lord” or “LORD.” These prophecies of a restored Israel, who do they apply to, natural Israel?

Galatians 6:15-16 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

15 For neither circumcision counts for anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation.16 And as for all who walk by this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God.

This “Israel of God” is not based on the requirements that Abraham had received from God, i.e., all males having to be circumcised. Instead, as was stated in 3:26-29, “there are neither Jew nor Greek, … for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to promise.”

The Average Jewish Person

It should be noted that the average Jew we might run into is generally a faithful follower of the traditions of Rabbis, and doctrinal view are likely not be of interest. Somewhat like the Catholic Church viewing the word of the pope to be equal to Scripture, this would be true of the average Jew and Rabbi traditions. Therefore, while we might have thought we could have had some deep Bible discussion to build rapport, this is unlikely. In addition, the word “Bible” is generally viewed as a Christian book. It is for this reason; it is best to talk of the Hebrew Scriptures, even the “Torah.” If anyone can read biblical Hebrew, which I know there are a limited number, his or her success of reading from the Hebrew Scriptures directly would be very success with the Orthodox Jews, who will seldom give a Christian the time of day.

Powerful Weapon of PrayerWell, we might be wondering just what can we talk about with the average Jewish person. They hold to the fact that there is one God, monotheism, who is interested in the welfare of his creation. However, it is best not to use the personal name of God (“Jehovah” or “Yahweh”), as one of their traditions is that the divine name should not be pronounced. They, like Christians, believe that God has involved himself in human history and continued to do so. Some Jewish people struggle with why God would allow the atrocities of six million Jews being slaughtered during the Holocaust of World War II.[8] Most are aware of the history within the Hebrew Scriptures, which makes for many talking points.

Of course, it is best to stay away from Jesus being divine but many Jews do see Jesus as a prophet. It might be best not to refer to him as the Messiah, even though that is the Hebrew transliteration and preferable to “Christ.” The reason is the Jewish people are still awaiting the Messiah. This deep discussion would have to wait until we have talked with someone many times and have built up much rapport and trust. It would be better, to begin with such ones as Noah, Abraham and Moses, and their role in Jewish history and how it affects us today.

When the time comes to address Jesus as the Messiah, we would want, to begin with, Deuteronomy 18:15 (UASV), which reads, “Jehovah your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your brothers to him you shall listen.” Then, ask the person, “Who was it that Moses was thinking of when he spoke of a prophet like himself?” “How should this prophecy be understood?” [Allow for an answer] Ask/state, “You would agree that Moses was speaking of a specific, special individual, right?” [Allow for an answer] I know some Jewish scholars have held that Moses was just making a general comment about God’s intention to rise up many coming prophets, but the Hebrew word for prophet (navi) is in the singular is it not?” [Allow for an answer] “This coming one is being compared to Moses in what way?” [Allow for an answer] Then, have him read the closing words of Deuteronomy,

Deuteronomy 34:10-12 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

10 Since that time no prophet has risen in Israel like Moses, whom Jehovah knew face to face, 11 for all the signs and wonders which Jehovah sent him to perform in the land of Egypt against Pharaoh, all his servants, and all his land, 12 and for the mighty hand[9] and for all the great wonders which Moses performed in the sight of all Israel.

Ask him if he would agree that is was like the Joshua, the son of Nun, who recorded these words about Moses. [Allow for an answer] Ask, if he feels that Joshua, who too was a great leader in Israel, viewed himself as the coming prophet like Moses. [Allow for an answer] Ask again, “what do you think Moses meant that God would raise up a prophet like Moses?” “In other words, what was it about Moses that this coming one would resemble?” [Allow for an answer]

We could then delve into how Moses was a great leader; he was a representative of God, “a prophet, a miracle worker, a teacher, and a judge.”[10] We could ask as series of leading question. What did Jeremiah promise at 31:31-34? (Read)

Jeremiah 31:31-34 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

31 “Behold, days are coming,” declares Jehovah, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, 32 not like the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, although I was a husband to them,” declares Jehovah. 33 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares Jehovah: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34 And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know Jehovah,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares Jehovah. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”

“What was this new covenant and what was its purpose?” [Allow for an answer] “When was the new covenant to come into effect?” [Allow for an answer] “Consequently, what would happen to the Mosaic Law?”

What is promised in Jeremiah 31:31-34? What was the new covenant’s stated purpose? Consequently, what would become of the Law covenant? [Allow for an answer] How was this new covenant going to affect the nations?” (Read Gen. 22:18) [Allow for an answer] This type of building and leading will evidence your familiarity with the Hebrew Scripture and give him something to ponder.

[1] Or people

[2] This is a reverential fear of displeasing God because of one’s great love for him. It is not a dreadful fear.

[3] I.e., does what is right

[4] Matt. 15:30-31; 20:28; John 4:34; 5:19, 27, 30; 6:38, 40; 7:16-17; 17:1-2; Acts 2:22

[5] Towns, Elmer (2011-10-30). AMG Concise Bible Doctrines (AMG Concise Series) (Kindle Locations 960-965). AMG Publishers. Kindle Edition.

[6] Paul raises such issues in 1 Cor. 7:17–24; 8–11; and Rom. 14–15. While not rejecting Jewish worship forms, he did not regard them as required. His approach parallels Jesus’.

[7] Or instruction or teaching

[8] http://www.christianpublishers.org/suffering-evil-why-god

[9] I.e., mighty power

[10] Crucifixion or Cruci-Fiction ? (genesis, quotes, baptize .., http://www.city-data.com/forum/religion-spirituality/507377-crucifixion-cruci-fi (accessed September 16, 2015).