Praying on bench

The first method of Bible study that we shall consider is the study of the Bible by individual books. This method of study is the most thorough, the most challenging, and the one that yields the largest and most permanent results. We take it up first because in the author’s opinion it should occupy the greater portion of our time.

Select the Book to be Studied

This is a crucial matter. If one makes an unfortunate selection, he may become discouraged and give up a method of study that might have been most fruitful.

A Few Helpful Points

  1. For our first book-study, choose a short book. The choice of a long book, to begin with, will lead to discouragement in anyone but a person of rare perseverance. It will be so much time before the final results, which far more than pay for all the labor expended, are reached, that the ordinary student will give it up.
  2. Choose a comparatively easy book. Some books of the Bible present grave difficulties not to be found in other books. One will wish to meet and overcome these later, but it is not the work for a beginner to set for himself. When his powers have become trained because of use, then he can do this successfully and satisfactorily, but if he attempts it, as so many rashly do, at the outset, he will soon find himself floundering. The First Epistle of Peter is an exceedingly precious book, but a few of the most difficult passages in the Bible are in it. If it were not for these difficult passages, it would be a good book to recommend to the beginner, but given these difficulties, it is not wise to undertake to make it a subject of exhaustive study until later.
  3. Choose a book that is rich enough in its teaching to illustrate the advantages of this method of study and thus give a keen appetite for further studies of the same kind. When one has gone through one reasonably large and full book by the method of study about to be described, he will have an eagerness for it that will make it sure, that he will somehow find time for further studies of the same sort.

A book that meets all the conditions stated is the First Epistle of Paul to the Thessalonians. It is quite short, it has no significant difficulties of interpretation, meaning or doctrine, and it is exceedingly rich in its teaching. It has the further advantage of being the first in point of time of the Pauline Epistles. The First Epistle of John is not in most respects a difficult book, and it is one of the richest books in the Bible.

Master the General Contents of the Book

The method of doing this is very simple. It consists of merely reading the book through without stopping and then reading it through again, and then again. It is suggested that we start with a least a dozen times in all, at a single sitting. To one who has never tried it, it does not seem as if that would amount to much, but any thoughtful man who has ever tried it will tell us quite differently. It is simply incredible how a book takes on new meaning and beauty upon this sort of an acquaintance. It begins to open up. New relations between different parts of the book start to disclose themselves. Fascinating lines of thought running through the book appear. The book is grasped as a whole, and the relation of the various parts to one another apprehended, and a foundation laid for an intelligent study of those parts in detail.

IS THE WORD THE WORD OF GODJames M. Gray of Boston, a great lover of the Bible and prominent teacher of it, says that for many years of his ministry he had “an inadequate and unsatisfactory knowledge of the English Bible.” “The first practical idea which he received in the study of the English Bible was from a layman. The brother possessed an unusual serenity and joy in his Christian experience, which he attributed to his reading of the Epistle to the Ephesians. Mr. Gray asked him how he had read it, and he said he had taken a pocket copy of the Epistle into the woods one Sunday afternoon, and read it through in a single sitting, repeating the process as many as a dozen times before stopping. When he arose he had gotten possession of the Epistle, or rather its wondrous truths had taken possession of him. This was the secret, simple as it was, for which Mr. Gray had been waiting and praying.” From this time on Mr. Gray studied his Bible through in this way, and it became to him a new book.

Prepare an Introduction to the Book

Write down at the top of separate sheets of paper or cards[1] the following questions: (1) Who wrote this book? (2) To whom did he write? (3) Where did he write it? (4) When did he write it? (5) What was the occasion of his writing? (6) What was the purpose for which he wrote? (7) What were the circumstances of the author when he wrote? (8) What were the circumstances of those to whom he wrote? (9) What glimpses does the book give into the life and character of the author? (10) What are the leading ideas of the book? (11) What is the central truth of the book? (12) What are the characteristics of the book? (13) Under what circumstances did the author write the book? (14) What was noteworthy about historical setting of Paul’s day?

We will want to do all of this without having consulted a Bible commentary or a Bible handbook. Yes, we cannot answer all of these questions without those tools, but we can get several of them. Having prepared our sheets of paper with these questions in the head, lay them side by side on our study table before us, and go through the book slowly, and, as we come to an answer to any one of these questions, write it down on the appropriate sheet of paper. It may be necessary to go through the book several times to do the work thoroughly and satisfactorily, but we will be amply repaid. When we have finished our own work in this line, and not until then, it will be well, if possible, to compare our results with those reached by others. [2]

Once we have as many answers as we can, it is time to consult a couple of Bible commentaries and a Bible handbook. We are seeing if we were correct in our analysis, or if we agree with the findings of the commentary author. We are adding the answers to the questions we did not find to our list as well. The introduction one prepares for himself with the answers to these questions will be worth many times more to him than any that he can procure from others. The work itself is a rare education of the faculties of perception, comparison, and reasoning.

The answers to our questions will sometimes be found in some related book. For example, if we are studying one of the Pauline Epistles, the answer to our questions may be found in the Acts of the Apostles, or in the Epistle written to the place from which the one studied was written. Of course, not all the questions given will apply to every book in the Bible. Moreover, do not be frustrated because we cannot know the Bible background and historical setting of these books because that is found in a deeper study of secular sources, which our Bible background authors like John H. Walton, Victor H. Matthews and Mark W. Chavalas in their IVP Bible Background Commentary Volume Old Testament will have spent years investigating. Then, there is Craig S. Keener in The IVP Bible Background Commentary New Testament.

Overcoming Bible DifficultiesAfter we have read First Thessalonians through a dozen times and have found as many answers to the above questions as we can, our next step is to have these background commentaries. We also need at least one good commentary volume to First Thessalonians and a Bible handbook. The Holman Old Testament and New Testament Commentary volumes are best for the beginner to intermediate student, as well as the Holman Bible Handbook. We also will want to invest in two other books: The Big Book of Bible Difficulties: Clear and Concise Answers from Genesis to Revelation (2008) by Norman L. Geisler and Thomas Howe; and we will want New International Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties (Zondervan’s Understand the Bible Reference Series) (2011) by Gleason L. Archer Jr. These are the premier tools in our quest to study the Bible book by book.

There are literally thousands of Bible difficulties from the Book of Genesis to Revelation. Bible difficulties are not contradictions, errors, or mistakes. Rather, they are difficult readings because we are coming at them wrong in our interpretation, we are thousands of years removed from their historical setting, and we speak a modern day language while they were written in biblical Hebrew or Greek. These tools address thousands of these difficulties. These two books answer such questions as Did God approve of Rahab’s lie? Why are many of the Old Testament quotes in the New Testament not literal? Does the Bible class abortion with murder? Where did Adam and Eve’s sons get their wives? Does 1 Corinthians 7:10–16 authorize divorce for desertion? Now that we have answered as many of the above fourteen questions, we should do the following in our next study session.

  • Take up the Holman Bible Handbook, and read the entire chapter on 1 Thessalonians. This is a very small section of pages but it will address most of our above questions, giving us some basic Bible background and historical information.
  • Next, take up the Holman New Testament Commentary volume on 1 Thessalonians, and read that entire chapter. It will give us an introduction, a verse-by-verse explanation of the Bible book, an overview of the principles and applications from the book, a life application of the book, and a historical, geographical, and grammatical enrichment of the Bible book.
  • After that, take up the IVP Bible Background Commentary New Testament and read the section on 1 Thessalonians. It will give us an understanding of the cultural background to the Bible book.
  • Then, take up The Big Book of Bible Difficulties and read the section on 1 Thessalonians. It will answer the question of 1 Thessalonians 4:13, Did Paul teach the doctrine of soul-sleep? 1 Thessalonians 4:15, Did Paul teach that he would be alive when Christ returned? There only two difficulties that Geisler and Howe deal with here in 1 Thessalonians. It varies in each book. At times, like in Genesis we might have to deal with over forty questions. However a book that size, we would break it a part in sections.
  • Finally, we check New International Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties, and find for 1 Thessalonians, there are no Bible difficulties. One thing about Archer over Geisler and Howe, at times he will get very deep, spending many pages to answer just one Bible difficulty.

Why are we covering the Bible information to such a level? Are Christians are to be evangelists, apologist, proclaimers, and teachers of God’s Word whether we are doing it locally or as a missionary. “If evangelism is planting seeds of the Gospel, then pre-evangelism is tilling the soil of people’s minds and hearts to help them be more willing to listen to the truth (1 Corinthians 3: 6). Tilling the soil is important because sometimes the ground is too hard, making it more difficult to plant the seeds of the Gospel in people’s hearts (1 Corinthians 2: 14).”[3] A proclaimer is one who makes known God’s Word. Christian apologetics [Greek: apologia, “verbal defense, speech in defense”] is a field of Christian theology which endeavors to offer a reasonable and sensible basis for the Christian faith , defending the faith against objections. It is reasoning from the Scriptures, explaining and proving, as one instructs in sound doctrine, many times having to overturn false reasoning before he can plant the seeds of truth. It can also be earnestly contending for the faith and saving one from losing their faith, as they have begun to doubt. Moreover, it can involve rebuking those who contradict the truth. It is being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks the Christian evangelist for a reason for the hope that is in him or her. (Jude 1.3, 21-23; 1 Pet 3.15; Acts 17:2-3; Titus 1:9) A Christian teacher is one who conveys information or skill to their Bible students by word or by example. An effective and efficient teacher regularly provides logical, sound, rational his listeners to accept and remember what they have heard. The Christian uses his Bible knowledge in three primary ways.

  • These are tools for the Christian to publicly presenting biblical truths: proclaiming, teaching, and making disciples.―Matthew 24:14; 28:19-20; Acts 1:8.
  • These are tools to prepare every churchgoer in publicly defending the faith and biblical truths.―1 Peter 3:15.
  • These are tools for Christians in publicly laying the foundation and background to defending the faith, reasoning from the Scriptures, explaining and proving, instructing in sound doctrine, overturning false reasoning, and saving those who have begun to doubt.―Jude 1:3, 22-23.

The Complete Guide to Bible TranslationIf one is not willing to give the time and labor necessary, this introductory work can be omitted, but only at a great sacrifice. Single passages in an epistle can never be correctly understood unless we know to whom they were written. Much false interpretation of the Bible arises from taking some direction manifestly intended for local application to be of universal authority. Therefore, also, oftentimes, false interpretation arises from applying to believers today what was intended for the apostles or even the first-century Christian congregation alone.

Noting the occasion of writing will clear up the meaning of a passage that would be otherwise obscure. Bearing in mind the circumstances of the author when he wrote, will frequently give new force to his words. When we remember that the jubilant epistle to the Philippians, with its oft-repeated “rejoice in the Lord” and its “In nothing be anxious; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God,” (Phil. 4:6) was written by a prisoner awaiting possible sentence of death, how much more meaningful it becomes. Bearing in mind the main purpose of which a book was written, would help to interpret its incidental exhortations in their proper relations. In fact, the answers to all the questions will be valuable in all the work that follows, as well as valuable in themselves.

Divide the Book into its Proper Sections

This work is not indispensable, but still, it is valuable. Go through the book and notice the principal divisions in the thought, and mark these. Then go through these divisions and find if there are any natural subdivisions and mark these. In this work of dividing the epistle, the English Standard Version, which is not chopped up by a purely mechanical and irrational verse division, but divided according to a logical plan, will be of great help.

Having discovered the divisions of the book, proceed to give to each section an appropriate caption. Make this caption as precise a statement of the general contents of the section as possible. Make it also as concise and striking as possible, so that it will fix itself in the mind. As far as possible let the captions of the subdivisions connect themselves with the general caption of the division. Do not attempt to elaborate a division at first. The following division of first Peter will be given as a basic outline, an intermediate outline, and an advanced outline.

BASIC OUTLINE OF FIRST PETER

  1. Greetings (1:1–2)
  2. The Method and Nature of Salvation (1:3–12)

III. A Demand for Holiness (1:12–2:3)

  1. A Description of the People of God (2:4–10)
  2. The Christian Witness in the World (2:11–3:12)
  3. Appeals and Promises to the Persecuted (3:13–4:19)

VII. Assurances for Faithful Servants (5:1–9)

VIII. Praises to God and Greetings to the Church (5:10–14)[4]

INTERMEDIATE OUTLINE OF FIRST PETER

  1. Opening (1:1–2)
  2. Called to Salvation as Exiles (1:3–2:10)
  3. Praise for Salvation (1:3–12)

(1) A Promised Inheritance (1:3–5)

(2) Result: Joy in Suffering (1:6–9)

(3) The Privilege of Revelation (1:10–12)

  1. The Future Inheritance as an Incentive to Holiness (1:13–21)

(1) Setting One’s Hope on the Inheritance (1:13–16)

(2) A Call to Fear (1:17–21)

  1. Living as the New People of God (1:22–2:10)

(1) A Call to Love (1:22–25)

(2) Longing for the Pure Milk (2:1–3)

(3) The Living Stone and Living Stones (2:4–10)

III. Living as Aliens to Bring Glory to God in a Hostile World (2:11–4:11)

  1. The Christian Life as a Battle and Witness (2:11–12)
  2. Testifying to the Gospel in the Social Order (2:13–3:12)

(1) Submit to the Government (2:13–17)

(2) Slaves, Submit to Masters (2:18–25)

To Receive a Reward (2:18–20)

To Imitate Christ (2:21–25)

(3) Wives, Submit to Husbands (3:1–6)

(4) Husbands, Live Knowledgeably with Your Wives (3:7)

(5) Conclusion: Live a Godly Life (3:8–12)

  1. Responding in a Godly Way to Suffering (3:13–4:11)

(1) The Blessing of Suffering for Christ (3:13–17)

(2) Christ’s Suffering as the Pathway to Exaltation (3:18–22)

(3) Preparing to Suffer as Christ Did (4:1–6)

(4) Living in Light of the End (4:7–11)

  1. Persevering in Suffering (4:12–5:11)
  2. Suffer Joyfully in Accord with God’s Will (4:12–19)
  3. Exhortations to Elders and the Community (5:1–11)

(1) Exhortations for Elders and Younger Ones (5:1–5)

(2) Closing Exhortations and Assurance (5:6–11)

  1. Concluding Words (5:12–14)[5]

ADVANCED OUTLINE OF FIRST PETER

SECTION OUTLINE ONE (1 PETER 1)

Peter opens his first letter with an overview of some glorious facts concerning salvation.

  1. The Source of Our Salvation (1:1–2)
  2. We have been chosen by the Father (1:1–2a).
  3. We have been made holy by the Spirit (1:2b).
  4. We are cleansed by the blood of the Son (1:2c).
  5. The Guarantee of Our Salvation (1:3–5)
  6. The proof (1:3): It is guaranteed by the resurrection of Christ.
  7. The permanence (1:4): It is kept in heaven for us.
  8. The power (1:5): Gods mighty power assures us that we will safely arrive in heaven.

III.      The Joy of Our Salvation (1:6–9)

  1. The promise (1:6): This joy can be ours even in the midst of trials.
  2. The products (1:7–9): Our trials produce a twofold fruit.
  3. They increase our faith in God (1:7).
  4. They increase our love for God (1:8–9).
  5. The Old Testament Prophets and Our Salvation (1:10–12a)
  6. What they did not understand (1:10–11): They could not fully comprehend all their prophecies concerning the future work of the Messiah.
  7. In regard to his grief (1:10–11a)
  8. In regard to his glory (1:11b)
  9. What they did understand (1:12a): They knew that their prophecies would not be fulfilled until after their deaths.
  10. The Angels and Our Salvation (1:12b): They long to know more about this wonderful subject.
  11. The Response to Our Salvation (1:13–17)
  12. In regard to ourselves (1:13): We are to be self-controlled.
  13. In regard to our Savior (1:14–17)
  14. We are to be holy before God (1:14–16).
  15. We are to be respectful toward God (1:17).

VII.    The Cost of Our Salvation (1:18–21)

  1. The price (1:18–19)
  2. Negative (1:18): It was not purchased with silver or gold.
  3. Positive (1:19): It was bought by the precious blood of Jesus.
  4. The planning (1:20–21): Christ was chosen before the foundation of the world to do this.

VIII.   The Vehicle of Our Salvation (1:22–25)

  1. The new birth (1:22–23a): One must experience regeneration to be saved.
  2. The old book (1:23b–25): It is Gods Word that brings this about.

SECTION OUTLINE TWO  (1 PETER 2)

Peter speaks of renouncing, relationships, respect, and a role model.

  1. The Renouncing (2:1–3, 11)
  2. What we are to renounce (2:1, 11b): We are to rid ourselves of deceit, hypocrisy, envy, slander, and worldliness.
  3. What we are to receive (2:2–3): We are to crave pure spiritual milk.
  4. The Relationships (2:4–12)
  5. What Christians are (2:5, 9a, 10–11a)
  6. We are living stones (2:5a).
  7. We are royal priests (2:5b).
  8. We are a chosen people (2:9a, 10).
  9. We are strangers on earth (2:11a).
  10. What Christ is (2:4, 6–8, 9b, 12)
  11. He is the living foundation (2:4a).
  12. He is a precious foundation for believers (2:4b, 7a).
  13. He is a stumbling block for unbelievers (2:8).
  14. He is the cornerstone (2:6, 7b).
  15. He is the chosen one (2:4c).
  16. He is the judge (2:12).
  17. He is the light (2:9b).

III.      The Respect (2:13–20): For the Lord’s sake, we are to show respect (and submission) to the following parties:

  1. Civil authorities (2:13–16)
  2. Employers (2:18–20)
  3. Everyone (2:17)
  4. The Role Model (2:21–25)
  5. Who he is (2:21–22): He is our sinless Savior, Jesus Christ.
  6. What he did (2:23–24a): He died on Calvarys cross.
  7. Why he did it (2:24b–25)
  8. That his wounds might heal ours (2:24b)
  9. That we might turn to the Shepherd (2:25)

SECTION OUTLINE THREE  (1 PETER 3)

Peter talks about appropriate conduct for believers in light of what Christ has done for us.

  1. The Conduct of Believers (3:1–17)
  2. Responsibilities of wives (3:1–6)
  3. Peters exhortation (3:1–5)
  4. Concerning their behavior (3:1–2): Wives should depend upon their lives more than their lips in witnessing to unsaved husbands.
  5. Concerning their beauty (3:3–5): Inner beauty is far more important than outer beauty.
  6. Peters example (3:6): He uses Sarah of the Old Testament as a role model.
  7. Responsibilities of husbands (3:7)
  8. What they are to do (3:7a): Husbands must be considerate of their wives and respect them.
  9. Why they are to do it (3:7b): If they fail here, their prayers will not be answered.
  10. Responsibilities of all (3:8–17)
  11. Live in loving harmony (3:8).
  12. Reward both good and evil with good (3:9–14).
  13. Worship Christ as Lord, and always be ready to explain your faith (3:15).
  14. Be ready to defend your faith (3:16–17).
  15. The Christ of Believers (3:18–22): Peter describes a fourfold ministry accomplished by the Savior.
  16. His death (3:18)
  17. The permanence (3:18a): He died for our sins once and for all.
  18. The purpose (3:18b): He died to reconcile sinners to God.
  19. His journey to the spirit world (3:19–20)
  20. The transgression (3:19): Jesus preached against the sins of these evil spirits.
  21. The time (3:20): They committed their wickedness in the days of Noah.
  22. His resurrection (3:21)
  23. The salvation (3:21a): Jesus’ resurrection guarantees our redemption.
  24. The symbol (3:21b): Water baptism.
  25. His ascension and exaltation (3:22)

SECTION OUTLINE FOUR  (1 PETER 4)

Peter writes about suffering.

  1. The Purpose of Suffering (4:1–11, 15, 17–18)
  2. To cleanse and purify the spiritual believer (4:1–11)
  3. The triumph (4:1–3): Suffering causes sin to lose its power.
  4. The testimony (4:4–6): The unsaved friends of a new Christian marvel that he does not desire to share their wicked lifestyle as he once did.
  5. The tenderness (4:7–9): Suffering should develop our love for other believers.
  6. The talents (4:10–11): We should faithfully employ all of our God-given spiritual gifts.
  7. To chasten and punish the carnal believer (4:15, 17–18): God will judge his people.
  8. The Privilege of Suffering (4:12–14, 16)
  9. It is to be expected (4:12): All believers will be allowed to suffer.
  10. It is to be esteemed (4:13–14, 16)
  11. To suffer for Christ means to share his past grief (4:13a, 14a, 16a).
  12. To suffer for Christ means to share his future glory (4:13b, 14b, 16b).

III.      The Patience in Suffering (4:19): We are to do two things in the hour of pain.

  1. We are to commit ourselves to God (4:19b).
  2. We are to continue to do good (4:19a).

SECTION OUTLINE FIVE  (1 PETER 5)

Peter gives advice for elders and other church members and sends his final greetings.

  1. The Appeal by Peter (5:1–11)
  2. He writes to the elders in the church (5:1–4).
  3. The role model (5:1): Peter himself is an elder in his church.
  4. The responsibilities (5:2–3)
  5. Feed the flock of God (5:2).
  6. Lead the flock of God (5:3).
  7. The reward (5:4): To receive a crown of glory from the head Shepherd himself.
  8. He writes to the other members of the church (5:5–11).
  9. Live as a servant (5:5–7).
  10. Be in subjection to your superiors (5:5).
  11. Be in subjection to your Savior (5:6–7).
  12. Live as a soldier (5:8–9).
  13. Recognize the enemy (5:8).
  14. Resist the enemy (5:9).
  15. Live as a sufferer (5:10–11).
  16. The duration (5:10): It only lasts for a short time.
  17. The dynamics (5:11): It makes one strong, firm, and steadfast.
  18. The Assistance to Peter (5:12–14): Silas, whom Peter considers a faithful brother, has helped Peter write this letter.[6]

Take up Each Verse in Order and Study It

The first thing to be done in this verse by verse study of the book is to get the exact meaning of the verse. How is this to be done? There are three steps that lead into the meaning of a verse.

Exact Meaning of the Word(s) Used

There will be found two classes of words: those whose meaning is entirely apparent, those whose meaning is doubtful. It is entirely possible to find the precise meaning of these uncertain words. This is not done by consulting a dictionary like Webster or Oxford. (The following discussion is drawn from Mounce’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old & New Testament Words)[7]

Words have a “semantic range.” “Semantic” refers to a word’s meaning; “semantic range” refers to the range of possible meanings a word possesses. Think of all the ways we use the word “run.”

    I scored six runs today.

    Could you run that by me again?

    My computer runs faster than yours!

    He runs off at the mouth.

    I left the water running all night.

    He ran to the store.

    The car ran out of gas.

    The clock ran down.

    Duane ran for Senate.

    Her nose ran.

    I ran up the bill.

Languages are not codes. There is not a one-to-one correspondence between languages, and this is particularly true of vocabulary. Rarely if ever can we find one word in one language that corresponds exactly to another word in another language, especially in its semantic range. English has no single word that matches the range of meanings for en. The semantic range of a Greek and English word may overlap, but they are not identical.

So how do we translate the Bible when we do not have English words that correspond exactly to the Greek? We have to interpret, which is why all translation is interpretive; no Bible translation is neutral. For example, in 1 Tim. 6:13–14 Paul writes,

In the presence of God who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus who in his testimony before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, I charge you to keep the commandment unstained and free from reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ. (RSV)

The Greek word behind “charge” is parangello, which means, “to command, insist, instruct, urge.” Quite a wide range of meanings for which there is no single counterpart in English. The translator must decide whether Paul is “commanding” Timothy (who is a member of his inner circle, fully trusted, and probably his best friend) or “urging” him. This is an interpretive decision that must be made by the translator. The RSV chose “charge,” the NLT “command,” and the NKJV rightly (in my opinion) selected “urge.”

However, let us say that we want to know what Paul means when he “charges” Timothy to keep the commandment unstained. It doesn’t do any good to look up the English word “charge,” because “charge” can’t mean “urge” (and “urge” can’t mean “charge”). If we really want to decide for ourselves what Paul is saying, we have to know the Greek word behind the English, learn its semantic range, and see the decision faced by the translators.

How do we do this? There are four steps. (A) Decide what English word to study.[8] (B) Identify the Greek word.[9] (C) Discover its semantic range.[10] (D) Look for something in the context that helps determine what the biblical author meant by this word in this particular verse.[11]

Look at the Context

The second step in ascertaining the meaning of a verse is to carefully notice the context (what goes before and what comes after). Many verses, if they stood alone, might be capable of several interpretations, but when what goes before and what comes after is considered, all the interpretations but one are seen to be impossible. Take for example,

John 14:18 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

18 “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.

To what does Jesus refer when he says, “I come to you”? One commentator says that Jesus is referring to his reappearance to his disciples after his resurrection to comfort them. Another says that Jesus is referring to his second coming, as it is commonly called. Another says Jesus is referring to his coming through the Holy Spirit’s work to manifest himself to his disciples and make his abode with them. Which does Jesus mean? When those with Ph.D.’s in biblical studies disagree, how is the churchgoer to decide? Yes, it would seem impossible for the churchgoer to ascertain the real meaning if someone with eight years of higher education in theology and biblical studies is unable to arrive at the correct understanding.[12] However, that is not really the case. If anyone will carefully note what Jesus is talking about in the verses immediately preceding (verses 15–17) and in the verses immediately following (verses 19–26), he will have no doubt as to what coming Jesus refers to in this passage. You can see this by trying it for yourself.

John 14:15-17 Updated American Standard Version (UASV

15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, that he may be with you forever; 17 the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see him or know him, but you know him because he remains with you and will be in you.

John 14:[18]-26 Updated American Standard Version (UASV

18 “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19 Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me; because I live, you will live also. 20 In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. 21 The one who has my commandments and keeps them, that one is the one who loves me; and the one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and will reveal myself to him.” 22 Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, “Lord, what has happened that you will reveal yourself to us, and not to the world?” 23 Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word; and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our abode with him. 24 The one who does not love me does not keep my words; and the word that you hear is not mine, but the Father’s who sent me.

25 “These things I have spoken to you while remaining with you. 26 But the Helper,[13] the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, that one will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.

A very large proportion of the debated questions of Biblical interpretation can be settled by this very simple method of noticing what goes before and what comes after. Many of the sermons one hears, become very absurd when one takes the trouble to notice the setting of the preacher’s text and how utterly foreign the thought of the sermon is to the thought of the text, regarded in the light of the context. Therefore, what did Jesus mean by the promise at the end of verse 18: I will come to you? In the context of these verses, it surely means the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. Nevertheless, some interpreters still go astray as to the context in the same area of verses right here. So, let us deal with that before going to the next point. Some authors say,

Jesus lives in us [bold and underline mine] through the person and power of the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit lives in us [bold and underline mine]to identify his children. The doctrine of the indwelling Holy Spirit does not rest completely on this passage, but verse 17 is of great significance. Of this important verse Gromacki writes:

First, the spirit was dwelling “with” the apostles in the Gospel era. In Greek the words “with you” literally mean “beside you.” In that sense, the Holy Spirit had a companion ministry to the apostles. He was beside them, but not inside them.

Second, Christ predicted that the Spirit would be in them. After the death, resurrection, and ascension of Christ, the same Spirit who was beside them would be inside them. Christ also changed verbal tenses to show the difference in the two relationships of the Spirit to the apostles. The verb menei (“dwells”) is in the present tense, whereas the verb estai (“will be”) is in the future tense (Gromacki, p. 136).

Not only that, but this indwelling [bold and underline mine] will be endless—the new Counselor will be with you forever. No orphans in the family of God, no abandoned people with no place to turn. The Holy Spirit will be a constant presence of Jesus with all believers.[14]

EXCURSION: How Are We to Understand the Indwelling of the Holy Spirit?

1 Corinthians 3:16 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

16 Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?

Before delving into the phrase, “indwelling of the Holy Spirit, let us consider another mistaken view of New Testament scholars Simon J. Kistemaker and William Hendriksen, who wrote,

The Spirit of God lives within you.” The church is holy because God’s Spirit dwells in the hearts and lives of the believers. In 6:19 Paul indicates that the Holy Spirit lives in the physical bodies of the believers. But now he tells the Corinthians that the presence of the Spirit is within them and they are the temple of God.

The Corinthians should know that they have received the gift of God’s Spirit. Paul had already called attention to the fact that they had not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit of God (2:12). He teaches that Christians are controlled not by sinful human nature but by the Spirit of God, who is dwelling within them (Rom. 8:9).

The behavior—strife, jealousy, immorality, and permissiveness—of the Christians in Corinth was reprehensible. By their conduct the Corinthians were desecrating God’s temple and, as Paul writes in another epistle, were grieving the Holy Spirit (Eph. 4:30; compare 1 Thess. 5:19).[15]

First, it must be told that I am almost amazed at how so many Bible scholars say nonsensical things, contradictory things when it comes to the Holy Spirit. Bible Commentators use many verses to say that the Holy Spirit literally,

(1)  dwells in the individual Christian believers,

(2) having control over them,

(3) enabling them to live a righteous and faithful life,[16]

(4) with the believer still being able to sin, even to the point of grieving the Holy Spirit (Eph. 4:30).

Let us walk through this again, and please take it slow, ponder whether it makes sense, is reasonable, logical, even Scriptural. The Holy Spirit literally dwells in individual believers, controlling them so they can live a righteous and faithful life, yet they can still freely sin, even to the point of grieving the Holy Spirit. Does this mean that the Holy Spirit is not powerful enough to prevent their sinful nature from affecting them? The commentators say the Holy Spirit now controls the Christian, not their sinful nature. If that were true, it must mean the Holy Spirit is ineffectual and less powerful than their sinful nature of the Christian, because the Christian can still reject the Holy Spirit and sin to the point of grieving the Holy Spirit. If the Holy Spirit is controlling the individual Christian, how is it possible that he still possesses free will?

Let us return to the phrase of “indwelling of the Holy Spirit.” Just how often do we find “indwelling” in the Bible? I have looked at over fifty English translations and found it once in the King James Version and two in an earlier version of the New American Standard Bible. One reference is to sin dwelling within us, and the other reference is to the Holy Spirit dwelling within us.

The Updated American Standard Version removed such usage. We may be asking ourselves since “indwelling” is almost nonexistent in the Scriptures, why the commentaries, Bible encyclopedias, Hebrew and Greek word dictionaries, Bible dictionaries, pastors and Christians using it to such an extent, especially in reference to the Holy Spirit? I say in reference to the Holy Spirit because some scholars refer to the indwelling of Christ and the Word of God.

Before addressing those questions, we must take a look at the Greek word behind 1 Corinthians 3:16 “the Spirit of God dwells [οἰκέω] in you.” The transliteration of our Greek word is oikeo. It means “‘to dwell’ (from oikos, ‘a house’), ‘to inhabit as one’s abode,’ is derived from the Sanskrit, vic, ‘a dwelling place’ (the Eng. termination —‘wick’ is connected). It is used (a) of God as ‘dwelling’ in light, 1 Tim. 6:16; (b) of the ‘indwelling’ of the Spirit of God in the believer, Rom. 8:9, 11, or in a church, 1 Cor. 3:16; (c) of the ‘indwelling’ of sin, Rom. 7:20; (d) of the absence of any good thing in the flesh of the believer, Rom. 7:18; (e) of the ‘dwelling’ together of those who are married, 1 Cor. 7:12-13.”[17]

Thus, for our text, means the Holy Spirit dwelling in true Christians. The TDNT tells us, “Jn.’s μένειν [menein] corresponds to Paul’s οἰκεῖν [oikein], cf. Jn. 1:33: καταβαῖνον καὶ μένον ἐπʼ αὐτόν [descending and remaining upon him]. The new possession of the Spirit is more than ecstatic.”[18] What does TDNT mean? It means that John is using meno (“to remain,” “to stay” or “to abide”) in the same way that Paul is using oikeo (‘to dwell’).

When we are considering the Father or the Son alone, and even the Father and the Son together, we are able to have a straightforward conversation. However, when we get to the Holy Spirit we tend to get off into mysterious and mystical thinking. When we think of humans and the words dwell and abide, both have the sense of where we ‘live or reside in a place.’

However, there is another sense of ‘where we might stand on something,’ ‘our position on something.’ Thus, in English dwell and abide can be used interchangeably, similarly, just as Paul and John use meno “abide” or “remain” and oikeo “dwell” similarly. Let us look at the apostle John’s use of meno,

1 John 4:16 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

16 We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who remains [meno] in love remains in God, and God remains [meno] in him.

Here we notice that God is the embodiment of “love” and if we abide in or remain in that love, God then abides in or remain in us. We do not attach any mysterious or mystical sense to this verse, such as God literally being in us and us being in God. If we suggest that this verse, i.e., God being in us, means his taking control of our lives, does our being in God, also mean we control his life? We would think to suggest such a thing is unreasonable, illogical, nonsensical, and such. Commentator Max Anders in the Holman New Testament Commentary says, “This is the test of true Christianity in the letters of John. We must recognize the basic character of God, rooted in love. We must experience that love in our own relationship with God. Others must experience this God kind of love in their relationships with us.” (Walls and Anders 1999, 211) Our love for God and man is the motivating factor in what we do and not do as Christians. John is saying that we need to remain in that love if we are to remain in God and God is to remain in us. We may be thinking, well, is it not true that God guides and direct us? Yes, however, this is because we have given our lives over to him.

1 John 2:14 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

14 I have written to you, fathers, because you know Him who has been from the beginning. I have written to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God remains [meno] in you, and you have overcome the evil one.

Here we see that the Word of God abides or remains in us. Does this mean that the Word of God is literally within our body, controlling us? No, this means that our love for God and our love for his Word is a motivating factor in our walk with God. We are one with the Father as Jesus was and is one with the Father and he is one with us. Listen to the words of Paul in the book of Hebrews,

Hebrews 4:12 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

12 For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

Is the Word of God literally living, and an animate thing? No, it is an inanimate object. Is our Bible literally sharper than a two-edged sword? No, if we decide to stab someone with it, it would look quite silly. Is the Word of God literally able to pierce our joints and marrow? No, again, this would seem ridiculous. If we literally hold the Bible up to our head, is it able to discern our thinking, what we are intending to do? What did Paul mean? The Word of God does these things by our being able to evaluate ourselves by looking into the light of the Scriptures, which helps us to identify the intentions of our heart, i.e., inner person. When we meditatively read God’s Word daily and ponder what the author meant, we are taking into our mind, God’s thoughts and intentions. When we accept the Bible as the inspired, inerrant Word of God, take its counsel and apply its principles in our lives, it will have an impact on our conscience. The conscience is the moral code that God gave Adam and Eve, our mental power or ability that enables us to reason between what is good and what is bad. (Rom. 9:1) Then, the inner voice within us is not entirely ours, but is also God’s Word, empowering us to avoid choosing the wrong path.

1 John 2:24 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

24 As for you, let that remain [meno] in you which you heard from the beginning. If what you heard from the beginning remains [meno] in you, you also will remain [meno] in the Son and in the Father.

Those who had followed Jesus from the beginning of his three and a half year ministry cleaved to what they had heard about the Father and the Son. Therefore, if the same truths are within our heart, inner person, our mental power or ability, we too can abide or remain [meno] in the Son and the Father. (John 17:3) It is as James said, if we draw close to God, through his Word the Bible, he will draw close to us. (Jam. 4:8) In other words, God becomes a part of us and we a part of him through the Word of God that is “living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”

In John chapter 14, we see this two-way relationship more closely. Jesus said, “Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe on account of the works themselves.” (14:11) He also said, “In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you.” (14:20) We see that the Father and Son have a close relationship, a relationship that we are invited to join.

All through the above discussion of the Father and the Son, we likely had no problem following the line of thought. However, once we interject the Holy Spirit, it is as though our common sense is thrown out. Christians know that the Father and the Son reside in heaven. They also understand that when we speak of the Word of God, the Father and the Son dwelling in us, it is in reference to our being one with them, our unified relationship, by way of the Word of God. However, when we contemplate the Holy Spirit, it is as though our mental powers shut down, and we enter the realms of the mysterious and mysticism. However, we just understood John 14:11 and 14:20, i.e., how Jesus is in the Father, the Father in Jesus, and their being in us. So, let us now consider the verses that lie between verse 11 and 20.

Jesus Promises the Holy Spirit

John 14:16-17 English Standard Version (ESV)

16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, 17 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells [meno] with you and will be in you.

John 14:16-17 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, that he may be with you forever; 17 the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see him or know him, but you know him because he remains [meno] with you and will be in you.

Do we not find it a bit disconcerting that, all along when looking at John’s writings as to the Son and the Father abiding [meno] in one another, in us, and us in them. In those places, the translation rendered meno as abiding, but now that the Holy Spirit is mentioned, they render meno as “dwell.”

Do these verses call for us to; drive off the path of reason, into the realms of mysteriousness and mysticism talk? No, these verses are very similar to our 1 John 2:24 that we dealt with above, but will quote again, “Let what you heard from the beginning abide [meno] in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides [meno] in you, then you too will abide [meno] in the Son and in the Father.” In 1 John 2:24, we are told that if the Word of God that we heard from the beginning of being a Christian, abides [meno] in us, we will abide [meno] in the Son and the Father. In John 14:15-17, if we keep Jesus’ commands, the Holy Spirit will dwell, actually abide [meno] in us. In all of this, the common denominator has been the spirit inspired, fully inerrant Word of God. It is what we are to take into our mind and heart, which will affect change in our person, and enable us to abide or remain in the Father and the Son, and they in us, as well as the Holy Spirit abiding or remaining in us.

The Holy Spirit, through the Spirit inspired, inerrant Word of God is the motivating factor for our taking off the old person and putting on the new person. (Eph. 4:20-24; Col. 3:8-9) It is also the tool used by God so that we can “be transformed by the renewal of your mind, so that you may approve what is the good and well-pleasing and perfect will of God.” (Rom. 12:2; See 8:9) The Theological Dictionary of the New Testament compares this line of thinking with Paul’s reference, at Romans 7:20, to the “sin that dwells within me.”

The dwelling of sin in man denotes its dominion over him, its lasting connection with his flesh, and yet also a certain distinction from it. The sin which dwells in me (ἡ οἰκοῦσα ἐν ἐμοὶ ἁμαρτία) is no passing guest, but by its continuous presence becomes the master of the house (cf. Str.-B., III, 239).[19] Paul can speak in just the same way, however, of the lordship of the Spirit. The community knows (οὐκ οἴδατε, a reference to catechetical instruction, 1 C. 3:16) that the Spirit of God dwells in the new man (ἐν ὑμῖν οἰκεῖ, 1 C. 3:16; R. 8:9, 11). This “dwelling” is more than ecstatic rapture or impulsion by a superior power.[20]

How does the Holy Spirit control a Christian? Certainly, some mysterious or mystical feeling does not control him.

Paul told the Christians in Rome,

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.

Just how do we renew our mind? This is done by taking in an accurate knowledge of Biblical truth, which enables us to meet God’s current standards of righteousness. (Titus 1:1) This Bible knowledge, if applied, will allow us to move our mind in a different direction, by filling the void, after having removed our former sinful practices, with the principles of God’s Word, principles that guide our actions, especially ones that guide moral behavior.

Psalm 119:105 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

105 Your word is a lamp to my feet
and a light to my path.

The Biblical truths that lay in between Genesis 1:1 and Revelation 22:21 will transform our way of thinking, which will in return affect our mood and actions and our inner person. It will be as the apostle Paul said to the Ephesians. We need to “to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness …” (Eph. 4:22-24) This force that contributes to our acting or behaving in a certain way, for our best interest is internal.

Paul told the Christians in Colossae,

Colossians 3:9-11 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

9 Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old man[21] with its practices 10 and have put on the new man[22] who is being renewed through accurate knowledge[23] according to the image of the one who created him, 11 where there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.

Science has indeed taken us a long way in our understanding of how the mind works, but it is only a grain of sand on the beach of sand in comparison to what we do not know. We have enough in these basics to understand some fundamental processes. When we open our eyes to the light of a new morning, it is altered into an electrical charge by the time it arrives at the gray matter of our brain’s cerebral cortex. As the sound of the morning birds reaches our gray matter, it comes as electrical impulses. The rest of our senses (smell, taste, and touch) arrive as electrical currents in the brain’s cortex as well. The white matter of our brain lies within the cortex of gray matter, used as a tool to send electrical messages to other cells in other parts of the gray matter. Thus, when anyone of our five senses detects danger, at the speed of light, a message is sent to the motor section, to prepare us for the needed action of either fight or flight.

Here lies the key to altering our way of thinking. Every single thought, whether it is conscious or subconscious makes an electrical path through the white matter of our brain, with a record of the thought and event. This holds true with our actions as well. If it is a repeated way of thinking or acting, it has no need to form a new path; it only digs a deeper, ingrained, established path.

This would explain how a factory worker who has been on the job for some time, gives little thought as he performs his repetitive functions each day; it becomes unthinking, automatic, mechanical. These repeated actions become habitual. There is yet another facet to be considered; the habits, repeated thoughts and actions become simple and effortless to repeat. Any new thoughts and actions are harder to perform, as there need to be new pathways opened up.

The human baby starts with a blank slate, with a minimal amount of stable paths built in to survive those first few crucial years. As the boy grows into childhood, there is a flood of pathways established, more than all of the internet connections worldwide.

Our five senses are continuously adding to the maze. Ps. 139:14: “I will give thanks to you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. . . .” (NASB) So, it could never be overstated as to the importance of the foundational thinking and behavior that should be established in our children from infancy forward.

Paul told the Christians in Ephesus,

Ephesians 4:20-24 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

20 But you did not learn Christ in this way, 21 if indeed you have heard him and have been taught in him, just as truth is in Jesus, 22 that you take off, according to your former way of life, the old man, who is being destroyed according to deceitful desires, 23 and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds24 and put on the new man,[24] the one created according to the likeness of God in righteousness and loyalty of the truth.

How are we to understand being renewed in the spirit of our minds? Christian living is carried out through the study and application of God’s Word, in which, our spirit (mental disposition), is in harmony with God’s Spirit. Our day-to-day decisions are made with a biblical mind, a biblically guided conscience, and a heart that is motivated by love of God and neighbor. Because we have,

  • Received the Word of God,
  • treasured up the Word of God,
  • have been attentive to the Word of God,
  • inclining our heart to understanding the Word of God,
  • calling out for insight into the Word of God,
  • raising our voice for understanding of the Word of God,
  • sought the Word of God like silver,
  • have searched for the Word of God like gold,
  • we have come to understand the fear of God, and have
  • found the very knowledge of God, which now
  • leads and directs us daily in our Christian walk.

Proverbs 23:7 New King James Version (NKJV)

7 For as he thinks in his heart, so is he. “Eat and drink!” he says to you, But his heart is not with you. [Our thinking affects our emotions, which in turn affects our behavior.]

Irrational thinking produces irrational feelings, which will produce wrong moods, leading to wrong behavior. It may be difficult for each of us to wrap our mind around it, but we are very good at telling ourselves outright lies and half-truths, repeatedly throughout each day. In fact, some of us are so good at it that it has become our reality and leads to mental distress and bad behaviors.

When we couple our leaning toward wrongdoing with the fact that Satan the devil, who is “the god of this world,” (2 Co 4:4) has worked to entice these leanings, the desires of the fallen flesh; we are even further removed from our relationship with our loving heavenly Father. During these ‘last days, grievous times’ has fallen on us as Satan is working all the more to prevent God’s once perfect creation to achieve a righteous standing with God and entertaining the hope of eternal life. – 2 Timothy 3:1-5.

When we enter the pathway of walking with our God, we will certainly come across resistance from three different areas (Our sinful nature, Satan and demons, and the world that caters to our flesh). Our greatest obstacle is ourselves because we have inherited imperfection from our first parents Adam and Eve. The Scriptures make it quite clear that we are mentally bent toward bad, not good. (Gen 6:5; 8:21, AT) In other words, our natural desire is toward wrong. Prior to sinning, Adam and Eve were perfect, and they had the natural desire of doing good, and to go against that was to go against the grain of their inner person. Scripture also tells us of our inner person, our heart.

Jeremiah 17:9 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

9 The heart is more deceitful than all else,
and desperately sick;
who can understand it?

Jeremiah’s words should serve as a wake-up call, if we are to be pleasing in the eyes of our heavenly Father, we must focus on our inner person. Maybe we have been a Christian for many years; maybe we have a deep knowledge of Scripture, perhaps we feel that we are spiritually strong, and nothing will stumble us. Nevertheless, our heart can be enticed by secret desires, where he fails to dismiss them; he eventually commits a serious sin.

Our conscious thinking (aware) and subconscious thinking (present in our mind without our being aware of it) originates in the mind. For good, or for bad, our mind follows certain rules of action, which if entertained one will move even further in that direction until they are eventually consumed for good or for bad. In our imperfect state, our bent thinking will lean toward wrong, especially with Satan using his world, with so many forms of entertainment that simply feeds the flesh.

James 1:14-15 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

14 But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own desire.[25] 15 Then the desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.

1 John 2:16 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.

Matthew 5:28 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

28 but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust[26] for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

1 Peter 1:14 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

14 As children of obedience,[27] do not be conformed according to the desires you formerly had in your ignorance,

If we do not want to be affected by the world of humankind around us, which is alienated from God, we must again consider the words of the Apostle Paul’s. He writes (Rom 12:2) “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Just how do we do that? This is done by taking in an accurate knowledge of Biblical truth, which enables us to meet God’s current standards of righteousness. (Titus 1:1) This Bible knowledge, if applied, will enable us to move our mind in a different direction, by filling the void with the principles of God’s Word, principles that guide our actions, especially ones that guide moral behavior.

Psalm 119:105 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

105 Your word is a lamp to my feet
and a light to my path.

We have said this before but it bears repeating. The Biblical truths that lay in between Genesis 1:1 and Revelation 22:21 will transform our way of thinking, which will in return affect our mood and actions and our inner person. It will be as the apostle Paul set it out to the Ephesians. We need to “to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness …” (Eph. 4:22-24) This force that contributes to our acting or behaving in a certain way, for our best interest is internal.

Bringing This Transformation About

The mind is the mental ability that we use in a conscious way to garner information and to consider ideas and come to conclusions. Therefore, if we perceive our realities based on the information, which surrounds us, generally speaking, most are inundated in a world that reeks of Satan’s influence. This means that our perception, our attitude, thoughts, speech, and conduct are in opposition to God and his Word. Most are in true ignorance to the changing power of God’s Word. The apostle Paul helps us to appreciate the depths of those who reflect this world’s disposition. He writes,

Ephesians 4:17-19 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

17 This, therefore, I say and bear witness to in the Lord, that you no longer walk as the Gentiles [unbelievers] also walk, in the futility of their mind [emptiness, idleness, sluggishness, vanity, foolishness, purposelessness]18 being darkened in their understanding [mind being the center of human perception], alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart [hardening as if by calluses, unfeeling]; 19 who being past feeling gave themselves up to shameless conduct,[28] for the practice of every uncleanness with greediness.

 Hebrews 4:12 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

12 For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

By taking in this knowledge of God’s Word, we will be altering our way of thinking, which will affect our emotions and behavior, as well as our lives now and for eternity. This Word will influence our minds, making corrections in the way we think. If we are to have the Holy Spirit controlling our lives, we must ‘renew our mind’ (Rom. 12:2) “which is being renewed in knowledge” (Col. 3:10) of God and his will and purposes. (Matt 7:21-23; See Pro 2:1-6) All of this boils down to each individual Christian digging into the Scriptures in a meditative way, so he can ‘discover the knowledge of God, receiving wisdom; from God’s mouth, as well as knowledge and understanding.’ (Pro. 2:5-6) As he acquires the mind that is inundated with the Word of God, he must also,

James 1:22-25 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face[29] in a mirror.

24 for he looks at himself and goes away, and immediately forgets what sort of man he was. 25 But he that looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, being no hearer who forgets but a doer of a work, he will be blessed in his doing.

Now that we have laid to rest the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and seen how context, even context that comes from other books by the same author, as well as books by other authors as well, can help us get at what the author meant by the words that he used. The one thing to keep in mind is this; it is not always this complex, or this much involved in an investigation to discover what was really meant. Nevertheless, if we want to get at the truth, from time to time, we will have to buy out the time in a deeper study.

Examine Parallel Passages

The third step in ascertaining the correct and precise meaning of a verse is the examination of parallel passages, i. e., passages that treat the same subject—passages, for example, that give another account of the same address or event, or passages that are evidently intended as a commentary on the passage in hand. Very often, after having carefully studied the words used and the context, we will still be in doubt as to which of two or three possible interpretations of a verse is the one intended by the writer or speaker. In such a case, there is always somewhere else in the Bible, a passage, which will settle this question.

Take, for example, John. 14:3, “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to myself, so that where I am, you may be also.” A careful consideration of the words used in their relation to one another, will go far in determining the meaning of this passage, but still, we find among commentators whose opinion ought to have some weight, these four interpretations:

  • The coming here referred to is Christ’s coming at death to receive the believer unto himself, as in the case of Stephen.
  • The coming again at the resurrection.
  • The coming again through the Holy Spirit.
  • The coming again of Christ when He returns personally and gloriously at the end of the age.

Which of these four interpretations is the correct one? What has already been said about verse 18 might seem to settle the question, but it does not; for it is not at all clear that the coming in verse 3 is the same as in verse 18, for what is said in connection with the two comings is altogether different. In the one case, it is a coming of Christ to “take you to myself, that where I am you may be also;” in the other case it is a coming of Christ to manifest himself unto us and make his abode with us. However, fortunately there is a verse, which settles the question, an inspired commentary on the Words of Jesus. This is found in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17. This will be seen clearly if we arrange the two passages in parallel columns.

John 14:3 1 Thessalonians 4:16
Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to myself, so that where I am, you may be also.

Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

16 For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive, who remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord.

The two passages manifestly match exactly in the three facts stated, and beyond a doubt refer to the same event. However, if anyone will look at all closely at 1 Thess. 4:16-17, there can be no doubt as to what coming of our Lord is referred to there. Most Bibles (especially study Bibles) will be of great assistance in finding parallel passages. These are the three steps that lead us into the meaning of a verse. They require work, but it is work that anyone can do, and when the meaning of a verse is thus settled we arrive at conclusions that are correct and fixed. After taking these steps, it is well to consult commentaries and see how our conclusions agree with those of others.[30]

Before we proceed to the next thing to be done with a verse after its meaning has been determined, let it be said, that God intended to convey some definite truth in each verse of scripture, and any one of from two to a dozen interpretations of a verse is not as good as another. With every verse of scripture, we should ask, not what can this be made to teach? However, what was this intended to teach? In addition, we should not rest satisfied until we have settled that. Of course, it is admitted a verse may have what the author meant (one meaning for each verse) and what implications we can apply in our lives today, but the patterns must match.

IMPLICATION Excursion

The author had an intended meaning when he wrote his text, and that meaning is for all time, as long as that text is in existence. However, we need to understand that there are implications that belong to those words as well. What is an implication? Implications are principles that a reader can draw from the text, to apply it in his or her life. They fall within the pattern of the author’s intended meaning. Let us look at a few examples from Jesus in his Sermon on the Mount. First, Paul’s letter to the Galatians will set the stage.

Galatians 5:19-21 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

19 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21 envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

Look again at the very last expression in that list, “things like these.” The Bible is not going to provide us with exhaustive lists of everything that we should understand as an example, a lesson, or implication, as this would mean a Bible with tens of thousands of additional pages. How long of a list would it be, if Paul had given the reader an exhaustive list of the works of the flesh? Do we believe that any Galatians who had this letter written to them, thought, ‘Wow, that was close; he didn’t list the one I do.’ By closing the list with the words “things like these,” Paul was making his readers aware that they should perceive or discern other things fit the pattern of “these things.”

Matthew 5:21-22 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

 21 “You have heard that it was said to the ancients, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ 22 But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever says to his brother, ‘You fool,’[31] will be brought before the Sanhedrin;[32] and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the fire of Gehenna.[33]

We should take note in each of these that Jesus is giving an implication of what sin leads to, that is an act of heinous sinning. Furious anger is a sin, and in some cases does lead to murder. Let us put it another way; all murder is the result of furious anger.

Matthew 5:27-28 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery’;[34] 28 but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust[35] for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

We will notice the phrase “lustful intent,” keying in on the word “intent.” This is not a man walking along who catches sight of a beautiful woman and has an indecent thought, which he then dismisses. It is not even a man in the same situation that has an improper thought, who goes on to entertain and cultivate that thought. No, this is a man that is staring, gazing at a woman with the intent of lusting, and is looking at the woman, with the intention of peaking her interest and desire, to get her to lust.

Therefore, the author determines the meaning of a text by the words he chose to use, as should have been understood by his intended audience. Within the one intended meaning are implications that must conform to the pattern of the author’s intended meaning. All readers are to discover the intended meaning, as well as any implications. Implications are principles that a reader can draw from the text, to apply it in his or her life. They fall within the pattern of the author’s intended meaning. The Apostle Paul’s command at Ephesians 5:18 is a good example. There Paul writes, “do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery.” Are we to believe that Paul would be fine if the Ephesian congregation members were to get drunk with beer instead? No. What about whiskey, since it was not invented until centuries later? No, the Christian would avoid this as an instrument for getting drunk as well. The principle of what Paul meant was that a Christian does not take in a substance that can affect his or her abilities to make good decisions, in excess. Therefore, this principle would apply to whiskey, wine, beer, bourbon, marijuana, and other things like these of which Paul would not be aware.

Please see the chart below the pattern of meaning, implications that fit, and the implications that do not.

Pattern of Meaning

Cold

Sad

Beer

Nap

Jog

Hop

Big

Implications

Chilly

Unhappy

Wine

Sleep

Run

Jump

Large

No Pattern

Warm

Joyful

Coffee

Walk

Fishing

Obstacle

Craving

Analyze the Verse after Meaning is Determined

This is most interesting and profitable work. It is also a rare education of the various faculties of the intellect. The way to do it is this: Look steadfastly at the verse and ask, What does this verse mean? Then, what implications are there within this verse that can be applicable to us today? This has these implications, 1st ______; 2nd _____; 3rd ____, etc. At the first glance very likely, you will see but one or two things the verse implies for us, but, as we look repeatedly, the implications will begin to multiply, we will wonder how one verse could imply so much, and we will have an ever-growing sense of the divine authorship of the Book.

Each verse has one absolute meaning, which is what the author meant to convey by the words he used. However, again, each verse may have multiple implications, which the author may have not even been aware of, but falls within the pattern of meaning.

Pattern of Meaning

Our first step is observation, to get as close to the original text as possible. If we do not read Hebrew or Greek; then, two or three literal translations are preferred (ASV, NASB, and UASV). The second step is interpretation, What did the author mean by the words that he used, as should have been understood by his original audience. A part of this second step would be what the differences between the biblical audience and us are? As mentioned above, the Christian today is separated from the biblical audience by differences in culture, language, situation, time, and often covenant. The third step is the implications or principles in this text? This is perhaps the most challenging step. In it, we are looking for the implications or principles that are reflected in the meaning of the text we identified in the second step. Part of this third step is making sure that we stay within the pattern of the original meaning when we determine any implications for us. The fourth step is the application. How should individual Christians today live out the implications and principles?

Galatians 1:6-9 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel; not that there is another, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should proclaim to you a gospel contrary to[36] the one we preached to you, let him be accursed![37] As we said before, and now I say again, if anyone is proclaiming a gospel to you contrary to[38] what you have received, let him be accursed![39]

1:6. Paul was astonished the Galatians were so quickly deserting (like a military desertion) from the gospel of grace. This meant they were deserting God, turning their backs on him. It was almost beyond Paul’s comprehension that they, having once been delivered from the bondage of law, would go back into this religious prison. Paul calls the Judaizer’s blend of law and grace a different gospel, thus declaring that mixing law with the gospel is a distortion of truth. Even today, this Galatian error is repeated when people say, “This is what you have to do to be saved; join our church, obey our rules, submit to our baptism, practice our liturgy, worship the way we do, work hard, prove your worth, and earn God’s love. In the end, if you are good enough, God will accept you.” A works-based gospel is different from the message of grace.

1:7. In fact, a works-based, human-effort driven gospel is no gospel at all. How is a demand for impossible human achievement good news? Anyone who presents a way of salvation that depends in any way on works, rather than God, has contaminated the gospel message. They confuse honest, sincere believers. They have no gospel, no good news.

1:8. A hypothetical case shows the seriousness of legalism’s perversion of grace. Through hyperbole (a deliberate exaggeration for emphasis), Paul declares that anyone who preaches a mixture of grace and law is worthy of eternal condemnation. A teacher who requires others to obey the law as a requirement for salvation is leading others to a Christless eternity. Paul uses strong language because he is dealing with a life-or-death situation. You must choose: the gospel of grace Paul preached or the gospel of works the perverters preached.

1:9. Ditto! Paul repeated his curse for effect. Any person who preaches a gospel that requires more than God’s grace for salvation deserves to suffer in hell for eternity.[40]

Excursion What James Said about Works Versus What Paul Said

James 2:21-26 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up Isaac his son on the altar? 22 You see that faith was working together with his works, and by the works the faith was perfected;[41] 23 and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness,”[42] and he was called a friend of God. 24 You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone. 25 And in the same way was not also Rahab the prostitute justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? 26 For as the body apart from the spirit[43] is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.

Was not Abraham our father (2:21a)

James here now does something very significant to argue his point about faith and works by stating was not Abraham, our father. James makes his argument from the Old Testament scriptures using Abraham, who the Jews considered the father of their nation and perhaps the most respected man in all Old Testament history. The Jews took pride in their ancestry and could trace their lineage back to Abraham as the Father of the Jewish nation, which is why James says “Abraham, our father.” The Jewish nation of Israel was God’s chosen people, and that nation stemmed from the seed of Abraham, which God promised would happen.

The Jews highly esteemed their ethnicity and the father of their nation because they were God’s chosen that came through the lineage of Abraham. For this reason, the Jews looked at Abraham as the most prominent figure in their history, since he was the father of their nation. It is because of this that James would select Abraham to make his point that faith and works must exist together for it to be true saving faith. James purposely used one of the most significant men in Jewish history to make his point. This way, the Jewish audience he was writing to would be more apt to listen and take heed to what he was saying.

justified by works when he offered up Isaac his son on the altar? (2:21b)

Here James says that Abraham our father was justified by works. However, Paul wrote, “For by works of the law no human being will be justified.” (Rom 3:20) How is it that these two were not contradicting one another? In Romans 4:2-3 Paul writes, “For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the Scripture say? ‘Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.’” Paul is here quoting that same exact verse from Genesis 15:6 that James refers to in verse 23 of chapter 2. This verse that both are using was about Abraham’s faith some 35 years before he ever attempted to offer up his son Isaac. This is the same event that James is referring to here in verse 21 of chapter 22. Thus, how are these two inspired New Testament authors in harmony?

If we look at the context of Genesis 15:1-6, we find that Abraham was declared righteous because of his trust in God’s promise to make his offspring number like the stars of the heaven, even though Sarah was decades past being able to have a child. Therefore, how is it that James can say that Abraham was justified by works? Abraham’s actions confirmed what God already knew was true of him. By Abraham’s action, he proved, confirmed, demonstrated, beyond question that his faith in God for decades had been and was still real, i.e. genuine. Abraham evidenced that he had a living faith, not a dead one. It was not Abraham’s works in and of themselves that made Abraham righteous, but rather his works were a result of his genuine faith, which God confirmed by declaring him righteous by way of this pronouncement or verdict.[44]

You see that faith was working together with his works, and by the works the faith was perfected; (2:22)

James is calling his believers attention to Abraham’s faith stating you see that faith was working together with his works. Abraham’s faith was authenticated not because he believed intellectually but was authenticated in the fact that he was willing to follow through with the act of sacrificing his son. It for this reason that James says by the works the faith was perfected. God told Abraham to sacrifice his son, and yet it was the very son, which God promised would bring him his descendants. Therefore, if Abraham was to offer up his son then how could he bring about descendants if he was dead?

Abraham would not have been sure how this would happen either, but he truly trusted God enough to follow through with the act of killing his son. Abraham believed that God would somehow allow descendants to come despite whether or not he sacrificed his son, and he was willing to trust God at all costs. Abraham’s act of attempting to offer up his son authenticated his faith in God, which was evidenced by his actions of obedience. The word for perfection means complete or finished. Abraham’s faith was complete in the fact that works, which made his trust in God complete by his actions of obedience, accompanied his faith.[45]

and the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness,” and he was called a friend of God. You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone. (2:23-24)

James says, and the scripture was fulfilled that says Abraham believed God and it was counted to him as righteousness. Here James is referring to Genesis 15:6 about Abraham. In Genesis 15:4, God had told Abraham that he would provide an heir and many descendants from his seed. Then in Genesis 15:5, to confirm his promise, God asked Abraham to go out and count the stars. In the same way, the stars were too numerous to count so would Abraham’s descendants be through the promised child. Despite being old and against all odds, it says in Genesis 15:6, “Then he believed in the Lord, and He reckoned it to him as righteousness.” Abraham had not seen his son and the child was not even conceived in the womb at this point. However, Abraham still believed God would carry out his promises. Since Abraham believed, what God said was firm and trustworthy, he was willing to kill his son, and as a result be declared righteous in God’s sight. The word righteousness here, as stated before, carries with it the idea of being right, moral, and just.

 Abraham not only believed in God but was also willing to put that into practice by killing his son; he was declared right in God’s sight. God declared him right in the fact that Abraham acted upon his faith through his actions. As a result, he was also called a friend of God, which is the only time in the Bible where someone is called a friend of God. Abraham was first called a friend of God in Jehoshaphat’s prayer in 2 Chronicles 20:7, “Did you not, O our God, drive out the inhabitants of this land before thy people Israel and give it to the descendants of Abraham thy friend forever?” Isaiah also makes mention of Abraham as a friend of God in Isaiah 41:8, “But you Israel, My servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, descendant of Abraham my friend.”

Abraham’s belief and actions were working together in a real, genuine faith and Abraham became a friend of God. James reaffirms the argument that he has been making by saying you see. James wants his readers to have a focused view of what he has been talking about in regards to faith and action. He has just offered Abraham as his example that faith is justified when accompanied by works. As a result, these Jews would have a hard time arguing against their forefather. Faith and works must go together, they are inseparably linked, and we cannot have one without the other. For this reason, as James says a man is justified by works and not by faith alone.

And in the same way was not also Rahab the prostitute justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? (2:25)

In the same manner that Abraham’s faith was evidenced by his actions, was not also Rahab the prostitute justified by works. The story of Rahab is found in the Old Testament book of Joshua chapter 2, shortly after Moses died, and Joshua took over in leading the nation of Israel. It would be Joshua, who would guide the nation of Israel into the promised land of Canaan. However, to get there many obstacles would be in their way and that through the power of God they would have to overcome. One of these major obstacles would be conquering the city of Jericho.

The problem is that Jericho had very thick and high walls that surrounded their city, and it was nearly impossible to penetrate. Joshua summoned two men who were to go and spy out the city and come to report to Joshua what they had seen and learned. When the spies got into the city, they went to the home of a prostitute whose name was Rahab. The king of the town somehow caught wind that the spies had come into town and were at Rahab’s home, and he sent to have them killed. Rahab knew that the king wanted to kill the spies and so decided to hide them on the roof of her home under stalks of flax. The king’s officials arrived at the house, but Rahab told them that the spies had already left. The king’s officials went off trying to find the direction of the men to kill them.

When the king’s officials had left, Rahab asked a favor of the spies found in Joshua 2:8-14, “Now therefore, please swear to me by the Lord, since I have dealt kindly with you, that you also will deal kindly with my father’s household, and give me a pledge of truth, and spare my father and my mother and my brothers and my sisters, with all who belong to them, and deliver our lives from death.”  Therefore, the men said to her, “Our life for yours if you do not tell this business of ours; and it shall come about when the Lord gives us the land that we will deal kindly and faithfully with you.”

The spies told Rahab that they would indeed spare her life if she tied a scarlet cord in her window. The scarlet cord was what Rahab used to let the spies down out of the city to spare their lives. Rahab could have just told the spies to get out of her house and never have let them in. Because she feared God and believed in the God of the spies, she took the risk of letting the men stay in her home. Rahab’s belief in God was authenticated in that she received the messengers and sent them out by another way. It would be a direct result of the action of Rahab saving the spies that would help in giving Joshua the victory over the city of Jericho.

For the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead. (2:26)

When a person (a soul) dies (beyond clinical death), there is no longer any animating force or “spirit” within any single cell out of the body’s one hundred trillion cells. Many of us have seen the animation video in science classes at school, where the cell is shown to be like a microscopic factory with an enormous amount of work taking place. Therefore, no work is taking place within the lifeless body, as all of the cells that were animated by the spirit are dead. The body is not good for anything. This is the similarity that James is trying to draw as a faith that lacks works is just as lifeless, producing no results and of no use as a corpse. The literal eye cannot see faith; however, works is an evident demonstration that faith can be seen. When one has is not moved to good works, it is all too clear that this one has no real faith. Alternatively, any Christian that is motivated to good works possesses a genuine faith.[46]

End of Excursion

Galatians 2:19-20 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

19 For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God. 20 I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself up for me.

2:20. Now Paul expands upon verse 19. He died to the law (v. 19) by being crucified with Christ. He lives for God (v. 19) because Christ lives in him. Believers are in union with Christ. We are united with him in his death, burial, and resurrection. Thus, we died with him to the law.―see Romans 6.

Again, we are uncertain as to what Paul meant by I have been crucified with Christ. It certainly did not mean that he was physically crucified. Dead people do not write letters. In what sense was he crucified? He may have used the sentence as a figure of speech, referring to the effects of Christ’s death which every believer experiences. It might be reworded, “I have been as good as crucified, since the results of Christ’s crucifixion count for me.” Or he may have referred to a sense in which every believer is required to endure a similar experience of spiritual crucifixion to the desires of self. We put to death our own plans to follow Jesus. It might be reworded, “I have crucified my right to self-control in life, in the same way that Christ was crucified physically. He gave up his right to physical life; I gave up my right to self-life.”

Or he may have referred to some sense in which the believer, because he is “in Christ” is seen by God as having actually died. He may have been referring to the union between the believer and Jesus, when the believer in Jesus experiences, spiritually, everything Jesus experienced. More will be said of these options in the “Deeper Discoveries” section of this chapter.

Whatever Paul meant about having died in Christ, the point is that his death severed him from the requirements of the law. Therefore, for Peter and the Judaizers to go back to the law is to visit the graveyard. Paul goes on to say that he can live for God because Christ lives in him. Finally, Paul says that faith is the principle that unlocks the life of Christ in the believer. The more we exercise faith in Christ the more he is free to live through us. The more we are obedient to the Scripture and the leading of the Holy Spirit, the more our life approximates what Jesus would do if he were in our shoes. In that sense, the life he lives, he lives by faith in the Son of God.[47]

Galatians 5:7-10 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

You were running well; who hindered you from obeying the truth? This persuasion is not from him who calls you. A little leaven leavens the whole lump. 10 I have confidence in you in the Lord that you will adopt no other view; but the one who is disturbing you will bear his judgment, whoever he is.

5:7–10. The fourth negative consequence of returning to the law is that it hinders spiritual growth and development. Using the metaphor of a race, Paul states that the legalists had cut in on the Galatians’ spiritual race and caused them to stumble spiritually. As a result, the Galatians were no longer obeying the truth. Turning to a yeast metaphor, Paul illustrates how quickly a little bit of legalism can contaminate a believer and, indeed, a whole church. Paul, however, expressed his confidence that the Galatians would not depart from the truth. He warned that those who are confusing them will experience God’s judgment.[48]

The above is simply an illustration of what is meant by analyzing a verse to find implications for us today. The whole book should be gone through in this way.

There are three rules to be observed in this analytical work. (1) Do not put anything into your analysis that is not clearly in the verse. One of the greatest faults in Bible study is reading into passages what God never put into them. Some men have their pet doctrines, and see them everywhere, and even where God does not see them. No matter how true, precious or scriptural a doctrine is, do not put it into our analysis where it is not in the verse. Considerable experience with classes in this kind of study leads me to emphasize this rule. (2) Find all that is in the verse. This rule can only be carried out relatively. Much will escape us, the verses of the Bible are such a great deep, but do not rest until we have dug, and dug, and dug, and there seems to be nothing more to find. (3) State what we do find just as accurately and exactly as possible. Do not be content with putting into our analysis something like what is in the verse, but state in our analysis precisely what is in the verse.

Classify the Results Obtained by Verse by Verse Analysis

By our verse-by-verse analysis, we have discovered and recorded a great number of facts. The work now is to get these facts into an orderly shape. To do this, go carefully through our analysis and note the subjects treated of in the Epistle. Write these subjects down as fast as noted. Having made a complete list of the subjects dealt with in the book, write these subjects on separate cards or sheets of paper, and then, going through the analysis again, copy each point in the analysis upon its appropriate piece of paper. This general classification should be followed by a more thorough and minute subdivision. Suppose that we are studying the First Epistle of Peter. Having completed our analysis of the Epistle, and gone over it carefully, we will find that the following subjects, at least, are treated in the Epistle: (1) God. (2) Jesus Christ. (3) The Holy Spirit. (4) The Believer. (5) Wives and Husbands. (6) Servants. (7) The New Birth. (8) The Word of God. (9) Old Testament Scripture. (10) The Prophets. (11) Prayer. (12) Angels. (13) The Devil. (14) Baptism. (15) The Gospel. (16) Salvation. (17) The World. (18) Gospel Preachers and Teachers. (19) Heaven. (20) Humility. (21) Love.

These will serve for general headings. However, after the material found in the analysis is arranged under these headings, it will be found to subdivide itself naturally into numerous subdivisions. For example, the material under the head God can be subdivided into these subdivisions: 1. His names. (The material under this head is quite rich). 2. His Attributes. (This should be subdivided again: (1) His Holiness. (2) His Power. (3) His Foreknowledge. (4) His Faithfulness. (5) His Long-suffering. (6) His Grace. There are twenty-five or more points on God’s Grace in the Epistle. (7) His Mercy. (8) His Impartiality. (9) His Severity.) 3. God’s Judgments. 4. God’s Will. 5. What is Acceptable to God. 6. What is Due to God. 7. God’s Dwelling Place. 8. God’s Dominion. 9. God’s Work. What God does. 10. The Things of God, e. g., “The mighty hand of God,” “the house of God,” “the gospel of God,” “the flock of God,” “the people of God,” “the bondservants of God,” “the Word of God,” “the Oracles of God,” etc., etc.

An illustration in full of the classified arrangement of the teaching of a book on one doctrine will probably show better how to do this work than any abstract statement, and it will also illustrate in part how fruitful is this method of study. We will take 1, Peter, again—it’s teaching regarding the Believer.

What the Epistle Teaches About the Believer

I.—His Privileges.

  1. His Election.

a, He is foreknown of the Father, 1:2.

b, He is elect or chosen of God, 1:1.

c, He is chosen of God, according to His foreknowledge, 1:2.

d, He is chosen unto obedience, 1:2.

e, He is chosen unto the sprinkling of the blood of Jesus, 1:2.

f, He is chosen in sanctification of the Spirit, 1:2.

  1. His Calling.

a, By whom called:

God, 1:15.

The God of all grace, 5:10.

b, To what called:

The imitation of Christ in the patient taking of suffering for well doing, 2:20, 21.

To render blessings for reviling, 3:9.

Out of darkness into God’s marvellous light, 2:9.

To God’s eternal glory, 5:10.

c, In whom called:

In Christ, 5:10.

d, The purpose of his calling:

That he may show forth the praises of Him who called, 2:9.

That he may inherit a blessing, 3:9.

  1. His Regeneration.

He has been begotten again

a, of God, 1:3.

b, unto a living hope, 1:3.

c, unto an inheritance incorruptible, undefiled, that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven, 1:4.

d, By the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 1:3.

e, Of incorruptible seed by the word of God that liveth, etc., 1:23.

  1. His Redemption.

He has been redeemed,

a, not with corruptible things, as silver and gold,: 1:18.

b, with precious blood, even the blood of Christ, 1:19.

c, from his vain manner of life, handed down from his fathers, 1:18.

d, His sins have been borne by Christ, in His own body, on the tree, 2:24.

  1. His Sanctification.

He is sanctified by the Spirit, 1:2.

  1. His Cleansing.

He is cleansed by the blood, 1:2.

  1. His Security.

a, He is guarded by the power of God, 1:5.

b, He is guarded unto a salvation ready, or prepared, to be revealed in the last time, 1:5.

c, God careth for him, 5:7.

d, He can cast all his anxiety upon God, 5:7.

e, The God of all grace will perfect, stablish, strengthen him, after a brief trial of suffering, 5:10. R. V.

f, None can harm him if he is zealous of that which is good, 3:13.

g, He shall not be put to shame, 2:6.

  1. His Joy.

a, The character of his joy.

(1)   His present joy.

A great joy, 1:8. R. V.

An unspeakable joy, 1:8.

A joy full of glory, 1:8.

(Note—This present joy cannot be hindered by being put to grief, because of manifold temptations, 1:6.)

(2)   His future joy: exceeding, 4:13.

b, In what he rejoices:

(1) In the salvation prepared to be revealed in the last time, 1:6.

(2) Because of his faith in the unseen Jesus Christ, 1:8.

(3) In fellowship in Christ’s sufferings, 4:13.

c, In what he shall rejoice.

(1)   In the revelation of Christ’s glory, 4:13.

(Note—Present joy in fellowship with the sufferings of Christ, is the condition of exceeding joy at the revelation of Christ’s glory, 4:13.

  1. His Hope.

a, Its character.

(1) A living hope, 1:3.

(2) A reasonable hope, 3:15.

(3) An inward hope, “in you,” 3:15.

b, In whom is his hope.

(1)   In God, 1:21.

c, The foundation of his hope.

(1) The resurrection of Jesus Christ, 1:3–21.

  1. His Salvation.

a, A past salvation.

(1) Has been redeemed, 1:18–19.

(2) Has been healed, 2:24.

(Note—By baptism, after a true likeness, the Believer, as Noah by the flood, has passed out of the old life of nature into the new resurrection life of grace, 3:21.

b, A present salvation.

(1)   He is now receiving the salvation of his soul, 1:9.

c, A growing salvation, through feeding on His word, 2:2, R. V.

d, A future salvation: ready or prepared to be revealed in the last time, 1:5.

  1. The Believer’s Possessions.

a, God as his Father, 1:17.

b, Christ as his

(1) Sin bearer, 2:24.

(2) Example, 2:21.

(3) Fellow sufferer, 4:13.

c, A living hope, 1:3.

d, An incorruptible, undefiled, unfading inheritance reserved in heaven, 1:4.

e, Multiplied grace and peace, 1:2.

f, Spiritual milk without guile for his food, 2:2.

g, Gifts for service—each believer has, or may have, some gift, 4:10.

  1. What Believers Are.

a, An elect race, 2:9.

b, A royal priesthood, 2:9.

c, A holy priesthood, 2:5.

d, A holy nation, 2:9.

e, A people for God’s own possession, 2:9, R. V.

f, Living stones, 2:5.

g, The House of God, 4:17.

h, A spiritual House, 2:5.

i, The flock of God, 5:2.

j, Children of obedience, 1:14, R. V.

k, Partakers of, or partners in, Christ’s sufferings, 4:13.

l, Partakers of, or partners in, the glory to be revealed, 5:1.

m, Sojourners or strangers, 1:1.

n, Foreigners on earth: he has no civil rights here: his Citizenship is in heaven, 2:11, com. Phil. 3:20, R. V.

o, A sojourner on his way to another country, 2:1.

p, A Christian: representative of Christ, 4:16.

  1. The Believer’s Possibilities.

a, He may die unto sin, 2:24.

b, He may live unto righteousness, 2:24.

(Note—We must die unto sin if we are to live unto righteousness, 2:24.

c, He may follow in Christ’s steps, 2:21.

d, He may cease from sin, 4:1.

e, He may cease from living to the lusts of men, 4:2.

f, He may live unto the will of God, 4:2.

(Note—It is through suffering in the flesh that he ceases from sin and living to the lusts of men, and lives to the will of God.

  1. What was for the Believer.

a, The ministry of the Prophets was in his behalf, 1:12.

b, The preciousness of Jesus is for him, 2:7, R. V.

  1. Unclassified.

a, Has the gospel preached to him in the Holy Ghost, 1:12.

b, Grace is to be brought unto him at the revelation of Jesus Christ, 1:3, com. Eph. 3:7.

c, Has tasted that the Lord is gracious, 2:3.

II.—The Believer’s Trial and Sufferings.

  1. The fact of the Believer’s sufferings and trials, 1:6.
  2. The nature of the Believer’s sufferings and trials.

a, He endures griefs, suffering wrongfully, 2:19.

b, He suffers for righteousness’ sake, 3:14.

c, He suffers for well doing, 3:17; 2:20.

d, He suffers as a Christian, 4:16.

e, He is subjected to manifold temptations, 1:6.

f, He is put to grief in manifold temptations, 1:6.

g, He is spoken against as an evil doer, 2:12.

h, His good manner of life is reviled, 3:16.

i, He is spoken evil of because of his separated life, 4:4.

j, He is reproached for the name of Christ, 4, 14.

k, He is subjected to fiery trials, 4:12.

  1. Encouragements for believers undergoing fiery trials and suffering.

a, It is better to suffer for well doing than for evil doing, 3:17.

b, judgment must begin at the House of God, and the present judgment of believers through trial, is not comparable to the future end of those who obey not the gospel, 4:17.

c, Blessed is the believer who does suffer for righteousness’ sake, 3:14, comp. Matt. 5:10–12.

d, Blessed is the believer who is reproached for the name of Christ, 4:14.

e, The Spirit of Glory and the Spirit of God rests upon the believer who is reproached for the name of Christ, 4:14.

f, The believer’s grief is for a little while, 1:6, R. V.

g, The believer’s suffering is for a little while, 5:10, R. V.

h, Suffering for a little while will be followed by God’s glory in Christ, which is eternal, 5:10.

i, The suffering endured for a little while is for the testing of faith, 1:7.

j, The fiery trial is for a test, 4:12.

k, The faith thus proved is more precious than gold, 1:7.

l, Faith proven by manifold temptations will be found unto praise, and honor, and glory, at the revelation of Jesus Christ, 1:7.

m, It is that his proved faith may be found unto praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ, that the believer is for a little while subjected to manifold temptations, 1:7.

n, It is pleasing to God when a believer, for conscience toward God, endures grief, suffering wrongfully, 2:19, R. V.

o, It is pleasing to God when a believer takes it patiently, when he does well and suffers for it, 2:20.

p, Through suffering in the flesh we cease from sin, 4:1.

q, Those who speak evil of us shall give account to God, 4:5.

r, Sufferings are being shared by fellow believers, 5:9.

s, Christ suffered for us, 2:21.

t, Christ suffered for sins once (or once for all), the righteous for the unrighteous, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened in the spirit, 3:18.

u, Christ left the believer an example that he should follow in His steps, 2:21.

v, In our fiery trials we are made partakers of, or partakers in, Christ’s sufferings, 4:13.

w, When His glory is revealed we shall be glad also with exceeding joy, 4:13.

  1. How the believer should meet his trial and sufferings.

a, The believer should not regard his fiery trial as a strange thing, 4:12.

b, The believer should expect fiery trial, 4:12.

c, When the believer suffers as a Christian let him not be ashamed, 4:16.

d, When the believer suffers as a Christian let him glorify God in this name, 4:16.

e, When the believer suffers fiery trials he should rejoice, insomuch as he is made partaker of Christ’s suffering, 4:13, R. V.

f, When the believer suffers, let him not return reviling with reviling, or suffering with threatening; but commit himself to Him that judgeth righteously, 2:23.

g, When the believer suffers, he should in well-doing commit the keeping of his soul unto God, as unto a faithful Creator, 4:19.

III.—The Believer’s Dangers.

  1. The believer may fall into fleshly lusts that war against the soul, 2:11.
  2. The believer may sin, 2:20, R. V.
  3. The believer may fall into sins of the gravest character, 4:15. (Note in this verse the awful possibilities that lie dormant in the heart of at least a sincere professed believer.)
  4. The believer’s prayers may be hindered, 3:7.
  5. The believer is in danger that his high calling and destiny tempt him to despise human laws and authority, 2:13.
  6. The believer is in danger that his high calling lead him to lose sight of his lowly obligations to human masters, 2:18.
  7. Young believers are in danger of disregarding the will and authority of older believers, 5:5.

IV.—The Believer’s Responsibility.

  1. Each believer has an individual responsibility, 4:10, R. V.
  2. Each believer’s responsibility is for the gift he has received, 4:10.

V.—The Believer’s Duties.

  1. What the believer should be.

a, Be holy in all manner of living.

(1) Because God is holy, 1:15.

(2) Because it is written “ye shall be holy,” 1:16, R. V.

b, Be like Him who called him, 1:15–16.

c, Be sober, (or of a calm, collected, thoughtful spirit,) 1:13; 4:7; 5:8.

  1. d. Be sober, or of a calm,, unto prayer, 4:7.
  2. e. Be of a sound mind: because the end of all things is approaching, 4:7.
  3. f. Be watchful, 5:8.
  4. g. Be steadfast in the faith, 5:9.
  5. h. Be subject to every ordinance of man.

(1) For the Lord’s sake, 2:13.

(2) To the King, as supreme, 2:13.

(3) To governors, as sent by the King for the punishment of evil doers, and for praise to them that do well, 2:14.

(4) Because this is God’s will, 2:15.

  1. i. Be like minded, 3:8.
  2. j. Be sympathetic, 3:8.
  3. k. Be tenderhearted, 3:8.
  4. l. Be humble minded, 3:8.
  5. m. Be ready.

(1) Always.

(2) To give an answer to every man that asketh a reason of the hope that is in him.

(3) With meekness and fear.

(4) In order to put to shame those who revile their good manner of life in Christ, 3:16.

n, Should not be troubled, 3:14.

  1. What the Believer should not do.

a, The believer should not fashion himself according to the lusts of the old life of ignorance, 1:14.

b, The believer should not render evil for evil, 3:9.

c, The believer should not render reviling for reviling, 3:9.

d, The believer should not fear the world’s fear, 3:14.

e, The believer should not live his remaining time in the flesh to the lusts of men, 4:2.

  1. What the Believer should do

a, He should live as a child of obedience, 1:14.

b, Pass the time of his sojourning here in fear, 1:17.

c, Abstain from fleshly lusts that war against the soul, 2:11.

d, Observe God’s will as the absolute law of life, 2:15.

e, Let his conscience be governed by the thought of God and not by the conduct of men, 2:19.

f, Sanctify Christ in his heart as Lord, 3:15. R. V. Comp. Is. 8:13.

g, Live his remaining time in the flesh to the will of God, 4:2.

h, Put away

(1) All malice, 2:1.

(2) All guile, 2:1.

(3) Hypocrisies, 2:1,

(4) Envies, 2:1.

(5) All evil speaking, 2:1.

  1. i. Come unto the Lord as unto a living stone, 2:4.

j, Show forth the excellencies of him who called him out of darkness into His marvellous light, 2:9.

k, Arm himself with the mind of Christ: i. e. to suffer in the flesh, 4:1.

l, Cast all his care upon God because he careth for him, 5:7.

m, Stand fast in the true grace of God, 5:12.

n, Withstand the devil, 5:9.

o, Humble himself under the mighty hand of God, 5:5.

(1) Because God resisteth the proud and giveth grace unto the humble, 5:5–6.

(2) That God may exalt him in due time, 5:6.

p, Glorify God when he suffers as a Christian, 4:16.

q, See to it that he does not suffer as a thief or as an evil doer or as a meddler in other men’s matters, 4:15.

r, Rejoice in fiery trial, 4:13.

s, Toward various persons.

(1) Toward God—fear, 2:17.

(2) Toward the King—honor, 2:17.

(3) Toward Masters—be in subjection with all fear (not only to the good and gentle, but to the forward) 2:18.

(4) Toward the Brotherhood,

Love, 2:17; 1:22; 4:8.

Love from the heart, 1:22, R. V.

Love fervently—intensely, 1:22; 4:8.

Gird themselves with humility as with a slave’s apron unto one another, i. e.,

1st. Be one another’s slaves.

2nd. Wear humility as a token of their readiness to serve one another, 5:5, com. Jno. 13:4–5.

Minister the gift he has received from God among the brethren as a good steward of the manifold grace of God, 4:10.

Use hospitality one to another without murmuring, 4:9.

Salute one another with a holy kiss, 5:14.

  1. Toward his revilers.

Render blessing for reviling, 3:9.

  1. Toward the Gentiles.

Have his behavior seemly among the Gentiles, 2:12.

(Notes—1st. The reason why he should have his behavior seemly among the Gentiles; that the Gentiles might glorify God in the day of visitation, 2:12: 2nd. This seemly behavior should consist in good works which the Gentiles could behold, 2:12.

  1. Toward foolish men.

By well doing put to silence their ignorance, 2:15.

  1. Toward all men—honor, 2:17.

(Note—The especial duties of believing husbands and wives, toward one another, comes under a special classification.

t, Long for the sincere milk of the word, 2:2.

u, Gird up the loins of his mind, 1:13.

v, Grow, 2:2.

w, Set his hope perfectly on the grace to be brought unto him at the revelation of Jesus Christ, 1:13, R. V.

VI.—The Believer’s Characteristics.

  1. His faith and hope is in God, 1:21.
  2. Believes in God through Jesus Christ, 1:21.
  3. Calls on God as Father, 1:17.
  4. Believes in Christ, though he has never seen Him, 1:8.
  5. Loves Christ though he has never seen Him, 1:8.
  6. Is returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of his soul, 2:25.
  7. Has purified his soul in obedience to the truth, 1:22.
  8. Has unfeigned love for the Brethren, 1:22.
  9. Has a good manner of life, 3:16.
  10. Does not run with the Gentiles among whom he lives, to the same excess of riot, (lives a separated life), 4:4.
  11. Refrains his tongue from evil. 3:10. Refrains his lips that they speak no guile, 3:10.
  12. Turns away from evil, 3:11.
  13. Does good, 3:11.
  14. Seeks peace, 3:11.
  15. Pursues peace, 3:11.

(Note—From 11 to 14 would very properly come under duties.

VII.—The Believer’s Warfare.

          The believer has a warfare before him, 4:1.

          The mind of Christ is the proper armament for this warfare, 4:1.

          The warfare is with the devil, 5:8–9.

          Victory is possible for the believer, 5:9.

          Victory is won through steadfastness in the faith, 5:9.

Meditate on the Results Obtained

At first thought, it might seem that when we had completed our classification of results, our work was finished, but this is not so. These results are for use: first, for personal enjoyment and appropriation, and afterward to give out to others. The provision of results is affected by meditation upon them. We are no more through with a book when we have carefully and comprehensively classified its contents than we are through with a meal when we have it arranged in an orderly way upon the table. It is there to eat, digest and assimilate. One of the significant failures in much of the Bible study of the day is just at this point. There is observation, analysis, classification, but no meditation. There is perhaps nothing as important in Bible study as meditation. (See Josh. 1:8; Ps. 1:2, 3.) Take our classified teachings and go slowly over them, and ponder them, point by point, until these beautiful truths live before you and sink into your soul, and live in you, and become part of your life. Do this repeatedly. Nothing will go further than meditation to make one great and fresh and original as a thinker and speaker. Very few people in this world think.

The method of study outlined in this chapter can be shortened to suit the time and industry of the student. For example, one can omit the Fifth work (V.), and proceed at once to go through the Book as a whole and note down its teachings on different doctrines. This will significantly shorten and lighten the work. It will also greatly detract from the richness of the results, it will not be as thorough, as accurate or as scholarly, and will not be nearly so good a mental discipline. But many people are lazy, and everybody is in a hurry. So if you will not follow out the fuller plan the shorter is suggested. However, any man can be, if he will, a scholar at least in the most important line—that of Biblical study.

A still briefer plan of Book Study and yet very profitable, if one has no time for anything better, is to do the Second work (II.) and then go through the Epistle verse by verse looking up all the references given in “The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge.” However, we urge every reader to try the full method described in this chapter with at least one short book in the Bible. Moreover, after we have pondered the above outline, we must consider the books mention earlier. We must compare it against our Holman Bible Handbook and Holman New Testament Commentary Volume. Moreover, we must see what our IVP Bible Background Volume has to say. Lastly, we must see if there are any Bible Difficulties in 1 Peter. We will find that Geisler and Howe have five Bible difficulties listed, while Archer has but one.

[1] If one must, they can use a Word document; However, the old fashioned way of writing things out seems to implant it in our longterm memory.

[2] After we have gotten the answers to these questions on our own, we can check them by using the Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary; or by using the Holman Bible Handbook.

[3] Geisler, David; Geisler, Norman. Conversational Evangelism (Kindle Locations 417-420). Harvest House Publishers. Kindle Edition.

[4] David S. Dockery et al., Holman Bible Handbook (Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 1992), 763.

[5] Thomas R. Schreiner, 1, 2 Peter, Jude, vol. 37, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2003), 48.

[6] H. L. Willmington, The Outline Bible (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 1999), 1 Pe 1–5:14.

[7] William D. Mounce, Mounce’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old & New Testament Words (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2006), xv–xxi.

[8] We are choosing those words that we are certain we do not know what they mean. On the other hand, we may be looking to do further research on the word that is the key term in the entire passage.

[9] We need to identify the Greek word that is behind our English word. If we were in the Old Testament, it would be the Hebrew word behind our English word. We can use an interlinear, which is a book with the Greek text, and underneath is the corresponding English term. Other options would be Bible software, a concordance, or a lexicon.

[10] The semantic range is all the different meanings the Greek word can have, according to the New Testament usage, as well as the common usage of the time period.

[11] Simply read the section before our section, and the one thereafter, and determine which corresponding English word from the lexicon or concordance best fits the context of our word.

[12] Ephesians 4:30 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by[12] whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.

How do we grieve the Holy Spirit? We do that by acting contrary to its leading through deception, human weaknesses, imperfections, setting our figurative heart on something other than the leading.

Ephesians 1:18 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

18 having the eyes of your heart enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the holy ones,

“Eyes of your heart” is a Hebrew Scripture expression, meaning spiritual insight, to grasp the truth of God’s Word. So we could pray for the guidance of God’s Spirit, and at the same time, we can explain why there are so many different understandings (many wrong answers), some of which contradict each other. This is because of human imperfection that is diluting some of those interpreters, causing them to lose the Spirit’s guidance.

A person sits down to study and prays earnestly for the guidance of Holy Spirit, that his mental disposition be in harmony with God’s Word [or simply that his heart be in harmony with . . .], and sets out to study a chapter, an article, something biblical. In the process of that study, he allows himself to be moved, not by a mental disposition in harmony with the Spirit, but by human imperfection, by way of his wrong worldview, his biases, his preunderstanding.[12] A fundamental of grammatical-historical interpretation is that that we are to look for the simple meaning, the essential meaning, the obvious meaning. However, when this one comes to a text that does not say what he wants it to say, he rationalizes until he has the text in harmony with his preunderstanding. In other words, he reads his presuppositions into the text,[12] as opposed to discovering the meaning that was in the text. Even though his Christian conscience was tweaked at the correct meaning, he ignored it, as well as his mental disposition that could have been in harmony with the Spirit, to get the outcome he wanted.

In another example, it may be that the text does mean what he wants, but this is only because the translation he is using is full of theological bias, which is violating grammar and syntax, or maybe textual criticism rules and principles that arrive at the correct reading. Therefore, when this student takes a deeper look, he discovers that it could very well read another way, and likely should because of the context. He buries that evidence beneath his conscience, and never mentions it when this text comes up in a Bible discussion. In other words, he is grieving the Holy Spirit and loses it on this particular occasion.

Human imperfection, human weakness, theological bias, preunderstanding, and many other things could dilute the Spirit, or even grieve the Spirit. So that while one may be praying for assistance, he is not getting it or has lost it, because one, some, or all of these things he is doing has grieved the Spirit.

 

[13] Or, Advocate. Or, Comforter. Gr., hoparakletos, masc.

[14] Kenneth O. Gangel, John, vol. 4, Holman New Testament Commentary (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2000), 268.

[15] Simon J. Kistemaker and William Hendriksen, Exposition of the First Epistle to the Corinthians, vol. 18, New Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1953–2001), 117

[16] Millard J. Erickson, Introducing Christian Doctrine (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1992), 265–270

[17] W. E. Vine, Merrill F. Unger, and William White Jr., Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words (Nashville, TN: T. Nelson, 1996), 180.

[18] Gerhard Kittel, Geoffrey W. Bromiley, and Gerhard Friedrich, eds., Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1964–)

[19] Str.-B. H. L. Strack and P. Billerbeck, Kommentar zum NT aus Talmud und Midrasch, 1922 ff.

[20] Gerhard Kittel, Geoffrey W. Bromiley, and Gerhard Friedrich, eds., Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1964–), 135

[21] Or old person

[22] Or new person

[23] See Romans 3:20 ftn.

[24] An interpretive translation would have, “put on the new person,” because it does mean male or female.

[25] Or “own lust

[26] πιθυμία [Epithumia] to strongly desire to have what belongs to someone else and/or to engage in an activity which is morally wrong–‘to covet, to lust, evil desires, lust, desire.’– GELNTBSD

[27] I.e., obedient children

[28] Or “loose conduct,” “sensuality,” “licentiousness” “promiscuity” Greek, aselgeia. This phrase refers to acts of conduct that are serious sins. It reveals a shameless condescending arrogance; i.e., disregard or even disdain for authority, laws, and standards.

[29] Lit the face of his birth

[30] Holman New Testament Commentary of the individual book we are working on.

[31] Gr Raca to, an Aramaic term of contempt

[32] The Jewish supreme court, which held life and death over the people in ancient Jerusalem before 70 C.E.

[33] geenna 12x pr. the valley of Hinnom, south of Jerusalem, once celebrated for the horrid worship of Moloch, and afterwards polluted with every species of filth, as well as the carcasses of animals, and dead bodies of malefactors; to consume which, in order to avert the pestilence which such a mass of corruption would occasion, constant fires were kept burning–MCEDONTW

[34] Ex. 20:14; Deut. 5:17

[35] πιθυμία [Epithumia] to strongly desire to have what belongs to someone else and/or to engage in an activity which is morally wrong–‘to covet, to lust, evil desires, lust, desire.’– GELNTBSD

[36] Or other than

[37] Gr anathema

[38] Or other than

[39] Gr anathema

[40] Max Anders, vol. 8, Galatians-Colossians, Holman New Testament Commentary; Holman Reference (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1999), 6-7.

[41] Or completed

[42] Quoted from Gen. 15:6

[43] Or breath

[44] Was God tempting or testing Abraham? Andrews writes, “God does not tempt us, but he does allow us to go through temptations. As we know from Abraham, God can test us, but never tempt us with sin … The Greek word (Peirazo) can be rendered either as ‘tempted’ or ‘tested,’ and it is the context that determines which word should be chosen. In the case of Satan with Jesus in the wilderness, it should be rendered ‘tempt.’ However, in reference to God, in some very limited cases in history, he has put some to the test, i.e., Abraham, even his Son.”–Hebrews 2:18.

[45] An analogous situation might be a wealthy father testing his daughter’s fiancé. The father offers the fiancé $50,000 to leave his daughter. This test will tell the father whether the poor fiancé is in love with his daughter, or after the father’s money. Keep in mind, God never intended for Abraham to offer his son up, as he foreknew what Abraham would do in such a situation decades before even. Let us adapt apologist William Lane Craig’s words to this situation. ‘God had morally sufficient reasons for permitting the test, which he placed on Abraham.’

[46] Brent Calloway, THE BOOK OF JAMES: CPH Christian Living Commentary, Volume 17 (Cambridge, OH: Christian Publishing House, 2019), 66-71

[47] Ibid., 24-25.

[48] Ibid., 63.