BIBLICAL CRITICISM - Beyond the Basics REASONABLE FAITH how-to-study-your-bible1 How to Interpret the Bible-1
Kieran Beville-3
Kieran Beville (D.Litt, Ph.D, BA, PGDE) is Pastor of Lee Valley Bible Church (Baptist), Ballincollig, Co. Cork, Ireland and Visiting Professor of Intercultural Studies and Practical Ministry at Tyndale Theological Seminary, Badhoevedorp, Netherlands. He has written several books and numerous articles and he has taught intensive courses in Theology and Biblical Studies on leadership training programs in Eastern Europe, the Middle-East and India.

Does the book of Acts simply record the history of the early church? Or does it also provide a blueprint for the church today? Do we read Acts as an interesting true story of how Christianity began, a story that gives us our roots and our identity or is it still normative for today? A passage or principle is normative if it can be regarded as applicable to us and required of us. This raises an important hermeneutical question ~ are we to read the book as though it were mainly prescriptive or purely descriptive? In other words, how relevant are Acts for the life of the twenty-first-century church?

The Problem

A quick guided tour of Acts will soon reveal what a huge question this is. The problem of normativeness stares the reader in the face on almost every page.

Chapter 1 shows the apostles are keen to fill the empty place left by Judas. Thus, the names of Joseph (called Barsabbas who was also called Justus) and Matthias are put forward. The choice is made by drawing lots (v. 26). Is that how we are to select church leaders today?

Chapter 2 opens in dramatic fashion. There was a sound like the blowing of a violent wind. Tongues of fire came to rest on all those who were present, and they began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. Can these phenomena be expected wherever the gospel breaks new ground as it does in chapters 8, 10 and 19? Can they still be expected to happen whenever revival takes place?[1]

Later in the same chapter, Peter preaches a very effective sermon ~ that is his sermon on the day of Pentecost. Does this sermon establish the groundwork for apostolic preaching? Is it the paradigm for all future preaching or was Peter addressing a unique situation?

Further on in Acts 2, we are told something about the three thousand who were converted by Peter’s sermon, “And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” (v. 42) Are these intended to be the basics of Christian worship? Are they valid for all time? These believers also had everything in common. They sold their possessions and goods to give to anyone in need. (vs. 44-45) Does that mean that the sharing of property is mandatory for believers today? We are also told that the original church at Jerusalem met both “in the temple courts” and “from house to house.” (v. 46) Does that mean that the church today should have both larger worship services and home groups? Is that the biblical pattern?

In chapter 3, Peter and John heal a cripple sitting outside the temple. Throughout Acts, there are many such healings and miracles. Should we still expect the same kind of dramatic healings today?

In chapter 4, the Sanhedrin threatens the apostles Peter and John, and so the church calls for a time of prayer. Is calling a prayer meeting at a time of need normative? At the end of chapter 4, the believers are again selling property and sharing goods. (as they did in Acts 2) Is a pattern developing here?

In chapter five, in the deaths of Ananias and Sapphira, we have an instance of church discipline of the most drastic kind. Does the Holy Spirit still take such a dim view of lying to a church leader and might God still act in the same way? Later in chapter 5, the apostles are arrested and put in the public jail. However, during the night, an angel of the Lord opens the doors of the jail and brings them out (vs. 18-19). Could God still give gospel-preachers miraculous jailbreaks in our own time?[2]

THE GREAT TEACHER Jesus Christ THE APOSTLE PAUL King James Bible

In chapter 6, the apostles vow to devote themselves to prayer and the ministry of the word. (v. 4) Should the same priority apply to ministers and elders today? At the same time, the apostles also told the church to choose seven men who were known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom to take care of the daily distribution of food. When these men had been chosen, the apostles prayed and laid their hands on them. Is this a good way to appoint deacons and other church leaders? Should deacons be men (not women) and should the number always be seven?

In chapter 8, the Samaritans received the Holy Spirit after they believed and were baptized. Could this also happen today? In v. 29 of this chapter the Spirit said to Philip, “Go to that chariot and stay near it.” Can we still expect such direct communication? The Ethiopian eunuch was baptized immediately after Jesus was preached to him. Should we follow this example and baptize people as soon as they respond to the gospel?

Chapter 9 starts with the conversion of the apostle Paul. Should we still expect “Damascus Road” conversions today? Or should we look for factors here that are essential to every conversion?

The way that Peter came to preach at the house of Cornelius was a masterpiece of divine choreography. Does God still make special arrangements like this for the sake of the propagation of the gospel?

At the end of chapter 11, the disciples at Antioch provided help for their brothers in Judea during a time of famine, and they sent their gift to the elders by Barnabas and Saul. Is this a good precedent to follow?

Does God still deal with rulers as he did with Herod Agrippa I who did not give praise to God and was eaten by worms and died? (Acts 12:23) For Paul’s first missionary journey Antioch served as the sending church. Is this just a good practice or should it be policy ~ i.e. normative?

Do miracles of judgment, like the blinding of Elymas the magician in Acts 13, still occur today?

Paul’s first recorded sermon was preached in the synagogue at Pisidian Antioch. It is studded with Old Testament quotations and works its way through the redemptive history of Israel. Could this be a model for today’s preachers? In his missionary work, Paul made the synagogue his first port of call in every town that had one. Would this be a helpful strategy for mission agencies to follow?

Towards the end of the first missionary journey, Paul and Barnabas appointed elders in every church with prayer and fasting. Should that also be the pattern for us?

Does the Jerusalem Council of Acts 15 provide a biblical rationale for synods, general assemblies, and other church councils? The decision of the council is stated thus ~ “You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality” (Acts 15:29) ~ does this still apply to Gentile believers today? Should Christians today avoid all of these things, all of the time? Should Christians today avoid some of these things, all of the time? Should Christians today avoid some of these things, some of the time? The Jerusalem Council conveyed its decision to the Gentile believers by way of a letter. Is that still the best way to convey the decisions of governing bodies?

Does God always overrule disputes between Christian leaders so that the church benefits as much as it did in the case of Barnabas and Paul (Acts 15:36-41)?

The contrast between Lydia’s conversion (Acts 16:14) and the Philippian jailer’s (Acts 16:27-34) is quite marked. Is this a tacit warning against stereotyping conversion experiences?

In Ephesus, Paul placed his hands on twelve former disciples of John the Baptist. The Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied (Acts 19:6). Does this mean that tongues and prophecy are a “second blessing” experience after conversion? At Troas, the church came together on the first day of the week (Acts 20:7). Does this mean that public worship should always be on the first day of the week? In Muslim countries, believers often meet on Friday.

Paul’s address to the Ephesian elders is perhaps the closest that Acts comes to recording a sermon addressed specifically to believers, as we do in our worship services. To what extent should this be a pattern for our own preaching? Alternatively, does the point lie elsewhere, e.g. in the way a pastor is to care for his flock?

THE CHURCH CURE THE TEXT OF THE NEW TESTAMENT MISREPRESENTING JESUS_Third Edition

In Acts 25, Paul appealed to Caesar (vs. 10-12, 25). Nowadays should Christians appeal to a higher court if they cannot get justice or satisfaction from a lower court?

At the height of the storm at sea in Acts 27, Paul gets a message from an angel to the effect that all the passengers and crew will be saved, but that the ship and its cargo will be lost (vs. 22-26). Can we still expect to receive such accurate angelic messages?

In the last chapter of Acts, on the island of Malta, a snake fastened itself on Paul’s hand, but he shook the snake off into the fire and suffered no ill effects. (Acts 28:3-5) So should Christians today be expected to deal with serpents in the same way?

We cannot answer all these questions. It is beyond our scope to give exhaustive solutions to the problems raised. However, let me try to provide principles that can be used to help us answer these questions. We want to try to get a handle on the issue of what is normative in Acts. We can use three principles that will be helpful in specific cases.

THE EARLY CHRISTIAN COPYISTS OF THE NEW TESTAMENT THE TEXT OF THE NEW TESTAMENT MISREPRESENTING JESUS_Third Edition The Complete Guide to Bible Translation-2

The Principle of Non-Contradiction

First, is the principle of non-contradiction. We cannot claim to have discovered an absolute in Acts if it leads to a contradiction in either doctrine or practice. For example, how does the church select its leaders? To replace Judas the apostles cast lots. (Acts 1:26) To discover the seven who should wait at tables they handed the matter over to the church. They let the church make the decision, which they then ratified. (Acts 6:1-6) Towards the end of the first missionary journey, Paul and Barnabas appointed elders after prayer and fasting. (Acts 14:23) These are all very different approaches, and they are also mutually exclusive. We cannot cast lots, delegate and appoint all at the same time! Therefore, none of these should be elevated to an absolute.

This principle of non-contradiction applies not only to practice but to doctrine as well. When Peter had finished preaching his Pentecost sermon, the crowd responded in a way that would be the envy of every preacher. They said, “What shall we do?” Peter answered, “Repent and be baptized…and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38). It sounds very straightforward. First, you repent and are baptized, and then you receive the Holy Spirit. In other words, repentance and baptism come before the receiving of the Holy Spirit. However, before this is elevated into a doctrine, it would be wise to check it out in the light of the unfolding story of Acts.

In chapter 8, we read about the conversion of the Samaritans, and sure enough, the hypothesis holds. At the preaching of Philip, they believe and are baptized. (Acts 8:12) Only after the apostles Peter and John arrive do they receive the Holy Spirit. (Acts 8:17) Before we think we have proved our point, however, we need to keep reading. In Acts 10, in the case of Cornelius and his household, the Holy Spirit came on all of them while Peter was still preaching. (Acts 10:44) As a result, they broke out in tongues and started praising God. Only then did Peter order them to be baptized. (Acts 10:48) In Acts 19, we meet a dozen or so disciples of John the Baptist in Ephesus. They too were baptized and received the Holy Spirit. In addition, it seems that in this case, the two events were almost simultaneous. (vs. 5-6) At least there does not seem to have been an interval between their water baptism and the giving of the Holy Spirit.

All four instances are therefore different enough that we need to be cautious. We cannot take Peter’s words – “Repent and be baptized…and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” as the basis of an order of salvation experience that is relevant to every believer. It is always dangerous to base a doctrine on isolated texts from Acts. Fee and Stuart comment on this:

Luke’s interest does not seem to be on standardizing things, bringing everything into uniformity. When he records individual conversions there are usually two elements included: water baptism and the gift of the Spirit. But these can be in reverse order, with or without the laying on of hands, with or without the mention of tongues, and scarcely ever with a specific mention of repentance, even after what Peter says in 2:38-39…Such diversity probably means that no specific example is being set forth as the model Christian experience.[3]

Prescriptive or Descriptive?

The second principle, which helps find the normative in Acts is to differentiate between what is prescriptive and what is descriptive. When an action is commanded, it is far more likely to be normative than when it is merely described. Fee and Stuart state the matter even more strongly ~ perhaps too strongly. They operate on the assumption that, “…unless Scripture explicitly tells us we must do something, what is merely narrated or described can never function in a normative way.”[4] For example, it is simply there for the record that Paul made the synagogue his first stop in every town that had one. Nowhere does he command others to do so. In a similar vein, we are told that at Pentecost believers sold their possessions and goods so that they could alleviate the needs of others. Nowhere are they told to do so.

Repentance and Baptism

Compare these examples to Peter’s call to the Jerusalem crowd to repent. (Acts 2:38) This command occurs again and again in Acts. He issues the same command in his sermon in chapter 3, “Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out and that times of refreshing may come from the Lord.” (v.19) In Samaria, he challenges Simon Magus, “Repent of this wickedness and pray to the Lord. Perhaps he will forgive you for having such a thought in your heart.” (Acts 8:22) At Athens, Paul declared, “God now commands all men everywhere to repent.” (Acts 17:30) In his defense, before King Agrippa Paul gave a summary of his ministry to both Jews and Gentiles, “I preached that they should repent and turn to God and prove their repentance by their deeds.” (Acts 26:20) Therefore, when Peter tells the crowd at Pentecost to repent this is a universal command. He is not just telling Jews in Jerusalem to repent of their involvement in the death of Jesus. This is a command to all people everywhere. It is normative. The same goes for the command to be baptized which he issues in the same breath. Throughout Acts, people are baptized, Jews and Gentiles alike. “Repent and be baptized” is, therefore, a universal command that should be proclaimed as much by us as it was by Peter at Pentecost.

REASONING WITH OTHER RELIGIONS REASONING FROM THE SCRIPTURES APOLOGETICS

Dietary Issues and Sexual Morality

What about the verse, “You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality.” (Acts 15:29) This command occurs more than once. It is addressed specifically to Gentile believers. But does this still apply to Gentile believers today? This was a decision made by the Jerusalem Council in Acts 15 and was addressed specifically to Gentile Christians. For good measure, this prohibition is stated on three separate occasions. (cf. Acts 15:20; 21:25) So it must be very important, but is it normative in the same way as Peter’s command to repent and be baptized? Should pastors and preachers tell their congregations to abstain from the same things as those Gentile believers in Acts 15? Are there really certain meats which Christians shouldn’t eat today? We can keep on reading in Acts, but that will not answer our question. We need to cast our eyes further afield, and that will also bring us to our next principle.

Reinforcement in Other Parts of the New Testament

The third principle that helps us find the normative in Acts is that of reinforcement in other parts of the New Testament. In other words, a command (or even a practice) in Acts carries more weight if it is repeated elsewhere in the New Testament. Here we need to think particularly of the teaching of Jesus and the Epistles. This is where we are more likely to come across timeless truths and normative commands. So let us put the Jerusalem decree through this grid and see what the outcome might be. John Stott says:

The purpose of God in Scripture should be sought primarily in its didactic rather than its descriptive parts. More precisely, we should look for it in the teaching of Jesus, and in the sermons and writings of the apostles, rather than in the purely narrative portions of the Acts. What is described in Scripture as having happened to others is not necessarily intended for us…What is descriptive is valuable only in so far as it is interpreted by what is didactic.[5]

We begin with the simplest example ~ the warning to abstain from sexual immorality. The word πορνεία (porneia) which refers to sexual immorality could be used in a more restricted sense. F. F. Bruce says:

The most elementary teaching given to converts from paganism almost certainly made it clear that fornication and similar practices were incompatible with the Christian way. Even so, the Jerusalem leaders may have felt that no harm would be done by underlining this in the decree. But fornication could bear a more technical sense of marital union within the prohibited degrees of consanguinity or affinity laid down in the Hebrew “law of holiness” (Leviticus 18:6-18).[6]

Consanguinity refers to determining whether a couple can marry. Some United States jurisdictions forbid first cousins to marry, while others limit the prohibition to brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, aunts, and uncles.

Outside of the Jerusalem decree, Acts never again refers to immorality. But this warning is repeated time and again in the New Testament ~ in the teaching of Jesus (Mt. 5:32; 15:19; 19:9), in the Epistles (Rom. 1:29; 1 Cor. 6:13, 18; 7:2; Gal. 5:19; Eph. 5:3; Col. 3:3; 1 Thess. 4:3) and in the book of Revelation. (2: 21; 9: 21) Throughout the New Testament, both Jesus and the apostles take a dim view of immorality and speak against it repeatedly and consistently. So it may be said with certainty this part of the Jerusalem decree was intended to apply to all believers at all times and in all places. As such it applies to us, and it is required of us. In other words, it is normative.

After this, it begins to get more difficult. There are no more references to abstaining from blood and the meat of strangled animals either in Acts or anywhere else in the New Testament. This instruction concerning abstention is confined entirely to the Jerusalem decree. So what do we do with it? Can we eat any meats or do we have to be selective? Should we ask the butcher (or the supermarket manager/purchasing officer) if the meat we are buying is from a strangled animal?

Should we eat only kosher foods that conform to the regulations of כַּשְׁרוּת (kashrut) Jewish dietary law? In the early church context, the eating of such foods would be particularly offensive to Jews. F. F. Bruce says:

Eating with blood was absolutely taboo for Jews: it is expressly forbidden in Leviticus 17:10-14 and even earlier, in the commandments enjoined on Noah and his family (Genesis 9:4). People who had been brought up in the Jewish way of life could not be expected to accept such food at Gentile tables.[7]

That brings us to the last requirement of the Jerusalem Council. The Gentile believers were also to abstain from food sacrificed to idols. This is an issue that comes up again in the New Testament. Paul has an extensive discussion on it in 1 Corinthians 8-10. It is a question that the Corinthians have raised in a letter to Paul. The significant point here is that they raised this with him long after the decision that was reached by the Jerusalem Council. Probably from six to eight years later ~ yet Paul does not quote the Jerusalem decree to the church at Corinth. Even though he was present when the decision was taken and he was one of those who conveyed it to the church at Antioch.

REASONABLE FAITH Why Me_ How to Interpret the Bible-1

What Paul does is very enlightening. He does not appeal to the decision made at Jerusalem. Rather he takes a very pastoral approach. He asks the Corinthians to remember those with weaker consciences. Then there follows a nuanced discussion and in this discussion, he shows how they are to take account of their weaker brothers. Essentially, he makes three points. First, never eat in an idol temple ~ that could be spiritually damaging to your weaker brother. Second, if you buy meat at the meat market don’t ask any questions ~ what you don’t know won’t hurt you, and it won’t hurt anyone else either. Third, if an unbeliever invites you to dinner don’t ask any questions. But if he tells you that this is meat that has been sacrificed to an idol, don’t eat it. Paul’s directions have therefore clearly gone beyond the Jerusalem decree.

Why does he feel free to ignore or at least modify what the council agreed? Does he take matters into his own hands? Not really. The Jerusalem decree was not intended to be forever binding. It was a temporary measure designed to appease the Jewish believers who had lost the debate over Gentile circumcision. The letter that contained the decree was addressed to “the Gentile believers in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia.” (Acts 21:23) It had only limited application and was designed to be temporary. The gospel had now moved on (or rather people’s understanding of the gospel had progressed). The Jerusalem decree did not apply in the same way to the Corinthians as it had to the Gentile believers in Antioch, Syria and Cilicia. It had permanent aspects like the warning against sexual immorality, but it was not intended to be permanent or binding in all its proscriptions.

An Important Principle

So we can eat anything from the butchers. But we might need to be sensitive if we are having a meal with a young Jewish believer or, indeed a Muslim. In the example of the Jerusalem decree, we have identified a very important principle. A command or a practice in Acts can only be considered normative if reinforced elsewhere in the New Testament. The command to abstain from sexual immorality is permanently valid as it is repeated again and again. The command to abstain from meat offered to idols is modified in the light of the different situation in Corinth. The commands to abstain from blood and the meat of strangled animals are never mentioned again. These will only be relevant in situations that are very similar to the situation in Acts 15. For example, if you are working with Jewish people who eat only kosher foods.

The command, “you must not eat meat that has its lifeblood still in it” (Gen. 9:4) was given to Noah, and it predates the laws of Moses. It cannot be argued that it has universal validity. It is another dietary law that is no longer binding because of the completed work of Christ, which abolished the ritual law.

In his own ministry, Jesus declared all foods clean. (Mk. 7:19) For this reason, Peter could be told to “kill and eat” (Acts 10:13) and not to “call anything impure that God has made clean.” (Acts 10:15) For the same reason, Paul could say, “I am fully convinced that no food is unclean of itself.”―Romans 14:14.

The death of Jesus radically altered all the Old Testament food laws. Although concessions still needed to be made to those who had tender consciences on the issue. (Rom. 14:1-8) None of the dietary laws remain absolutely binding on Christians today.

Norm or Normative?

The Bible contains teachings and mandates that apply to all cultural situations, but it also contains teachings and mandates that apply only to particular situations. It is not always easy to determine which is which, and hence there is not always consensus among Christian communities about what is universal and what is particular. What is merely cultural for then and there? What is universal and applicable to all cultures and times, including here and now? What is the norm and what is normative? The norm refers to something that was normal then and there but is not necessarily expected to apply in the here and now. Normative refers not only to the normal practice then and there but also to principles that apply to the here and now. Some biblical commands are directed to specific situations but may also be normative. Consider the following passage from the book of Acts:

And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.―Acts 2:42-47.

Why is v.42 considered to be normative and vs.44-46 considered to be the norm for then but not normative for now? Why do we preach the importance of being devoted to apostolic teaching, fellowship, breaking of bread and prayer, while neglecting to emphasize selling our possessions and distributing the proceeds to the needy? The reason is connected to the eschatological hope of first-century believers that the second coming of Christ was imminent. They lived in the light of that understanding. Two millennia later believers accept the truth of Christ’s return as something that is taught in Scripture but is not, rightly or wrongly, so obsessed or confident that it is something about to happen at any moment.

Although it is important to be devoted to apostolic teaching, fellowship, breaking of bread and prayer it must be said that this passage from Acts is not a proof text for such attitudes and actions in the church. In other words, it does not directly teach that these things must be observed. It is descriptive rather than prescriptive. Obviously, this hermeneutical understanding of the text will have implications for homiletics (preaching). In preaching the importance of being devoted to apostolic teaching, fellowship, breaking of bread and prayer then it becomes important to use texts that clearly direct believers to do so. It is still very useful to use the Acts passage as an example of a thriving, vibrant church. But bear in mind that to do so while separating the first part of the passage from the latter part needs some careful thought and explanation. One can abuse a text by using it to teach something wrong (i.e. not the intended meaning) but one can also abuse a text by using it to teach something right ~ i.e. not the intended meaning in the text, though such a meaning may be taught elsewhere in Scripture.

A Purely Descriptive Statement

This is a purely descriptive statement. There is nothing prescriptive about it. There is no imperative, no warning and no prohibition. It is just a description pure and simple. It is an observation made by Luke the historian. It is part of his narrative. Here you have the essential elements of a worship service ~ teaching, fellowship, the Lord’s Supper, and prayer. But the foundation for such activity is not taken just from this one verse of narrative. All of these elements can be found again in the Epistles. Here we have in seed form what comes to full flower elsewhere in the New Testament, especially in 1 Corinthians.

When it comes to possessions what happens when we read the rest of Acts and the rest of the New Testament? This idyllic situation that we have in Jerusalem is never repeated in Acts or anywhere else. Some have suggested that it was an experiment gone wrong. That later the church in Jerusalem had to be bailed out, first by the church at Antioch and later by the churches that Paul established in Greece and Asia Minor. E. M. Blaiklock says, “…the poverty of the Jerusalem church, which later called for worldwide charity, may have been occasioned by this over-hasty dissipation of capital.”[8] But that view is not only uncharitable; it also misses the point. In later years the church in Jerusalem was poor. But it was not because of financial mismanagement but because of famine and persecution. Paul writes very eloquently about this to the Corinthians. The classic chapters on this are 2 Corinthians 8 and 9. There he tells the Christians at Corinth to give systematically, generously and cheerfully. He does not tell them to sell private property. Perhaps some of them did so, but we are never told. To the Ephesians, Paul gives this command, “He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need.” (Eph. 4:28) In 1 Timothy, he has some direct challenges to the rich:

Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share.―1 Timothy 6:17-18.

Notice that here too there is nothing about selling property. He is not saying, “Let’s go back to the paradigm of the early Jerusalem church.” But he is telling them to be generous and to be willing to share. That is what is normative for Christians today. That is what is applicable to us and required from us. In the affluent church of the West, we are to be generous and willing to share. If that means selling property, so be it. But that is not part of the command. The basic principle is generosity and willingness to share. John Stott says:

Certainly, the generosity and mutual care of those early Christians are to be followed, for the New Testament commands us many times to love and serve one another, and to be generous (even sacrificial) in our giving. But to argue from the practice of the early Jerusalem church that all private ownership is abolished among Christians not only cannot be maintained from Scripture but is plainly contradicted by the apostle Peter in the same context (Acts 5:4) and by the apostle Paul elsewhere. (e.g. I Tim. 6:17)[9]

Now let us come back for a moment to what Luke said about worship in the Jerusalem church after Pentecost. Not only does he report that, “…they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer” (Acts 2:42) he also adds later that they met together in the temple courts and in their homes (Acts 2:46). Is this also to be a model for us? Like those early believers, should we meet in larger gatherings at church on Sundays and in smaller groups in people’s homes during the week? In the early church in Jerusalem, they met together in the temple courts and broke bread in their homes. However, it does not seem to be a pattern that is repeated anywhere else. For a start, only Jerusalem had the temple. And in many situations, the only place where the church could meet was in people’s homes.

REASONABLE FAITH Why Me_ How to Interpret the Bible-1

Handle with Care

Preachers need to be careful in the way they handle Acts. We must not see directives where none are given. Proper hermeneutics is required before we proclaim some command or practice to be normative. So let us first apply these three hermeneutical principles that we have discovered so far. First, we need to consider the principle of non-contradiction. Does the practice or doctrine we think we have discovered contradict another teaching or practice in Acts? Second, we need to ask whether we are dealing with a command or a description. Third, is the command or practice reinforced in other parts of the New Testament? This is the most important principle because it is not the nature of narrative to be normative. Acts is essentially a narrative. A story may have a moral but not every detail implies a command to obey or an example to follow.

[1] I do not intend to deal with cessationist or continuationist positions in relation to the “controversial” gifts. Cessationists argue that the gifts of prophecy, speaking in tongues and miraculous (dramatic and instantaneous healings, including raising people from the dead) ceased in the first century. They contend that they were a special dispensation for that time in order to demonstrate the power of God in the formative years of the church’s history, thus allowing the church to become established. Continuationists, such as Pentecostals and Charismatic believers assert that these gifts are still operative in the church today.

[2] Perhaps the question could God do it is not the right way to phrase it, the real question might be does God do it?

[3] Gordon D. Fee and Douglas Stuart, How to Read the Bible for All It’s Worth: A Guide to Understanding the Bible, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1982), 92.

[4] Gordon D. Fee and Douglas Stuart, How to Read the Bible for All It’s Worth, 97.

[5] John R. W. Stott, Baptism and Fullness: The Work of the Holy Spirit Today (2nd ed.; Leicester: Inter-Varsity Press, 1975), 15.

[6] F. F. Bruce, Paul: Apostle of the Free Spirit (rev. ed.; Carlisle: Paternoster, 1992), 185.

[7] F. F. Bruce, Paul: Apostle of the Free Spirit, 185-86.

[8] E. M. Blaiklock The Acts of the Apostles: An Historical Commentary, (London: Tyndale, 1959), 69.

[9] John R. W Stott, Baptism and Fullness: The Work of the Holy Spirit Today, (2nd ed.; Leicester: Inter-Varsity Press, 1975), 16.

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Herein Andrews will answer the “why.” He will address whether God is responsible for the suffering we see. He will also delve into whether God’s foreknowledge is compatible with our having free will. He will consider how we can objectively view Bible evidence, as he answers why an almighty, loving and just God would allow bad things to happen to good people. Will there ever be an end to the suffering? He will explain why life is so unfair and does God step in and solve our every problem because we are faithful? He will also discuss how the work of the Holy Spirit and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit should be understood in the light of wickedness. Lastly, Andrews will also offer biblical counsel on how we can cope when any tragedy strikes, …

Let God Use You to Solve Your PROBLEMSLet God Use You to Solve Your PROBLEMS: GOD Will Instruct You and Teach You In the Way You Should Go

GOD knows best. Nobody surpasses him in thought, word, or action. As our Creator, he is aware of our needs and supplies them abundantly. He certainly knows how to instruct us. And if we apply divine teaching, we benefit ourselves and enjoy true happiness. Centuries ago, the psalmist David petitioned God …

PROMISES OF GODS GUIDANCE

Whom do we lean upon when facing distressing situations, making important decisions, or resisting temptations? With good reason, the Bible admonishes us: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways know him, and he will make straight your paths.” (Prov. 3:5-6) Note the expression …

THE POWER OF GODTHE POWER OF GOD: The Word That Will Change Your Life Today 

Yes, God will be pleased to give you strength. He even gives “extraordinary power” to those who are serving him. (2 Cor. 4:7) Do you not feel drawn to this powerful Almighty God, who uses his power in such kind and principled ways? God is certainly a “shield for all those who take refuge in him.” (Psalm 18:30) You understand that he does not use his power to protect you from all tragedy now. He does, however, always use his protective power to ensure the outworking of his will and purpose. In the long run, his doing so is in your best interests. Andrews shares a profound truth …

BLESSED IN SATAN'S WORLDBLESSED BY GOD IN SATAN’S WORLD How All Things Are Working for Your Good

All of us will go through difficult times that we may not fully understand. The apostle Paul wrote, “in the last days difficult times will come.” (2 Tim. 3:1) Those difficulties are part of the human imperfection (Rom. 5:12) and living in a fallen world that is ruled by Satan (2 Cor. 4:3-4). But when we find ourselves in such a place, it’s crucial that we realize God has given us a way out. (1 Cor. 10:13) Edward Andrews writes that if we remain steadfast in our faith and apply God’s Word correctly when we go through difficult times, we will not only grow spiritually, but we will …

AMERICA IN BIBLE PROPHECY_UNITED STATES OF AMERICA IN BIBLE PROPHECY: The Kings of the North & South of Daniel and the Seven Kings of Revelation 

Why should you be interested in the prophecy recorded by Daniel in chapter 11 of the book that bears his name? The King of the North and the King of the South of Daniel are locked in an all-out conflict for domination as a world power. As the centuries pass, turning into millenniums, …

YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE: Why and How Your Christian Life Makes a DifferenceYOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE: Why and How Your Christian Life Makes a Difference

The theme of Andrews’ new book is YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE. As a Christian, you touch the lives of other people, wherein you can make a positive difference. Men and women of ancient times such as David, Nehemiah, Deborah, Esther, and the apostle Paul had a positive influence on others …

TURN OLD HABITS INTO NEW HABITS: Why and How the Bible Makes a DifferenceTURN OLD HABITS INTO NEW HABITS: Why and How the Bible Makes a Difference

Many have successfully conquered bad habits and addictions by applying suggestions found in the Bible and by seeking help from God through prayer. You simply cannot develop good habits and kick all your bad ones overnight. See how to establish priorities. Make sure that your new habits …

GOD WILL GET YOU THROUGH THIS: Hope and Help for Your Difficult TimesGOD WILL GET YOU THROUGH THIS: Hope and Help for Your Difficult Times

It may seem to almost all of us that we are either entering into a difficult time, living in one, or just getting over one and that we face one problem after another. This difficulty may be the loss of a loved one in death or a severe marriage issue, a grave illness, the lack of a job, or …

FEARLESS: Be Courageous and Strong Through Your Faith In These Last DaysFEARLESS: Be Courageous and Strong Through Your Faith In These Last Days

The world that you live in today has many real reasons to be fearful. Many are addicted to drugs, alcohol, bringing violence into even the safest communities. Terrorism has plagued the world for more than a decade now. Bullying in schools has caused many teen suicides. The divorce rate …

JOHN 3:16: For God So Loved the WorldJOHN 3:16: For God So Loved the World

John 3:16 is one of the most widely quoted verses from the Christian Bible. It has also been called the “Gospel in a nutshell,” because it is considered a summary of the central theme of traditional Christianity. Martin Luther called John 3:16 “The heart of the Bible, the Gospel in …

THE BOOK OF JAMES: CPH New Testament Commentary, Vol. 17 (An Apologetic and Background Exposition of the Holy Scriptures) CPH New Testament CommentaryTHE BOOK OF JAMES (CPH New Testament Commentary 17)

…about God and his personal revelation, allowing it to change our lives by drawing closer to God. The Book of James volume is written in a style that is easy to understand. The Bible can be difficult and complex at times. Our effort herein is to make it easier to read and understand, while …

THE OUTSIDER: Coming-of-Age In This MomentTHE OUTSIDER Coming-of-Age In This Moment

THE OUTSIDER is a Coming-of-Age book. SECTION 1 Surviving Sexual Desires and Love will cover such subjects as What Is Wrong with Flirting, The Pornography Deception, Peer Pressure to Have Sexual Relations, Coping With Constant Sexual Thoughts, Fully Understanding Sexting, Is Oral Sex …

THIRTEEN REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD KEEP LIVING: When Hope and Love VanishTHIRTEEN REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD KEEP LIVING: When Hope and Love Vanish

Who should read THIRTEEN REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD KEEP LIVING? Anyone who is struggling with their walk as a young person. Anyone who has a friend who is having difficulty handling or coping with their young life, so you can offer them the help they need. Any parent who has young ones. And …

WAGING WAR: A Christian's Cognitive Behavioral Therapy WorkbookWAGING WAR: A Christian’s Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Workbook

Waging War is a guide to start the youth with the most basic information and work pages to the culmination of all of the facts, scripture, and their newly gained insight to offer a more clear picture of where they are and how to change their lives for the better. Every chapter will have …

THE POWERFUL WEAPON OF PRAYER: A Healthy Prayer LifeTHE POWERFUL WEAPON OF PRAYER: A Healthy Prayer Life

DOZENS OF QUESTIONS WILL BE ANSWERED: Why is prayer necessary? What must we do to be heard by God? How does God answer our prayers? Does God listen to all prayers? Does God hear everyone’s prayers? What may we pray about? Does the Father truly grant everything we ask for? What kind …

HUMAN IMPERFECTION: While We Were Sinners Christ Died For UsHUMAN IMPERFECTION: While We Were Sinners Christ Died For Us

There are many reasons the Christian view of humanity is very important. The Christian view of humanity believes that humans were created in the image of God. We will look at the biblical view of humanity. We are going to look at the nature of man, the freedom of man, the personality of …

FOR AS I THINK IN MY HEART SO I AM: Combining Biblical Counseling with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy [Second Edition]FOR AS I THINK IN MY HEART SO I AM: Combining Biblical Counseling with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy [Second Edition] 

In FOR AS I THINK IN MY HEART – SO I A M, Edward D. Andrews offers practical and biblical insights on a host of Christian spiritual growth struggles, from the challenge of forgiveness to eating disorders, anger, alcoholism, depression, anxiety, pornography, masturbation, same-sex …

APPLYING GOD'S WORD MORE FULLY: The Secret of a Successful Christian Life [Second Edition]APPLYING GOD’S WORD MORE FULLY: The Secret of a Successful Christian Life [Second Edition]

There is a genuine happiness, contentment, and joy, which come from reading, studying and applying God’s Word. This is true because the Scriptures offer us guidance and direction that aids us in living a life that coincides with our existence as a creation of Almighty God. For example, we …

PUT OFF THE OLD PERSON: Put On the New Person [Second Edition]PUT OFF THE OLD PERSON: Put On the New Person [Second Edition]

THERE IS ONE MAJOR DIFFERENCE between Christian living books by Andrews and those by others. Generally speaking, his books are filled with Scripture and offer its readers what the Bible authors meant by what they penned. In this publication, it is really God’s Word offering the counsel, …

Walking With Your God_Second EditionWALK HUMBLY WITH YOUR GOD: Putting God’s Purpose First in Your Life [Second Edition]

A clean conscience brings us inner peace, calmness, and a profound joy that is seldom found in this world under the imperfection of fallen flesh that is catered to by Satan, the god of the world. Many who were formerly living in sin and have now turned their life over to God, they now know this amazing relief and are able today to hold a good and clean conscience as they carry out the will of the Father. WALK HUMBLY WITH YOUR GOD, has been written to help its readers to find that same joy, to have and maintain a good, clean conscience in their lives. Of course, it is incapable of covering every detail that one would need to consider and apply in their lives …

WIVES BE SUBJECT TO YOUR HUSBANDS: How Should Wives Treat Their Husbands?WIVES BE SUBJECT TO YOUR HUSBANDS How Should Wives Treat Their Husbands?

This book is primarily for WIVES, but wives will greatly benefit from it as well. WIVES will learn to use God’s Word to construct a solid and happy marriage. The Creator of the family gives the very best advice. Many have been so eager to read this new publication: WIVES BE SUBJECT TO …

HUSBANDS LOVE YOUR WIVES: How Should Husbands Treat Their Wives?HUSBANDS LOVE YOUR WIVES: How Should Husbands Treat Their Wives?

This book is primarily for HUSBANDS, but wives will greatly benefit from it as well. HUSBANDS will learn to use God’s Word to construct a solid and happy marriage. The Creator of the family gives the very best advice. Many have been so eager to read this new publication: HUSBANDS LOVE …

TECHNOLOGY AND SOCIAL TRENDS: A Biblical Point of View

Technological and societal change is all around us. What does the future hold? Trying to predict the future is difficult, but we can get a clue from the social and technological trends in our society. The chapters in this book provide a framework as Christians explore the uncharted territory in our world of technology and social change.

CHRISTIANS AND GOVERNMENT: A Biblical Point of View

Government affects our daily lives, and Christians need to think about how to apply biblical principles to politics and government. This book provides an overview of the biblical principles relating to what the apostle Paul calls “governing authorities” (i.e., government) with specific chapters dealing with the founding principles of the American government. This includes an examination of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the Federalist Papers.

CHRISTIANS AND ECONOMICS A Biblical Point of View

Economics affects our daily lives, and Christians need to think about how to apply biblical principles to money, investment, borrowing, and spending. They also need to understand the free enterprise system and know how to defend capitalism. Chapters in this book not only look at broad economic principles, but a section of the book is devoted to the challenges we face in the 21st century from globalization and tough economic times. A section of the book also provides an in-depth look at other important social and economic issues (gambling, welfare) that we face every day

A Dangerous JourneyA DANGEROUS JOURNEY: Those Who Become Jesus’ Disciples 

Do you desire to follow Jesus Christ and transform the culture around you? Are you sure you know what it means to be a disciple and follow a dangerous revolutionary who often comforts the afflicted and afflicts the comfortable? Jesus Christ is not the mild status quo rabbi you may have been taught in your local church. He is dangerous and anyone who follows him is on a dangerous journey. The demands he places upon you and the challenges you will encounter are necessary on the journey. The journey with Jesus Christ is not for the fainthearted. If you are really serious about joining Jesus Christ in the transformation of the culture around you, here is a raw outlook on what to expect on this DANGEROUS JOURNEY.

Christian Apologetics and Evangelism

REASONABLE FAITHREASONABLE FAITH: Saving Those Who Doubt 

Inside of some Christians unbeknownst to their family, friends or the church, they are screaming, “I doubt, I doubt, I have very grave doubts!” Ours is an age of doubt. Skepticism has become fashionable. We are urged to question everything: especially the existence of God and the truthfulness of his Word, the Bible. A SUBSTANTIAL PORTION of REASONABLE FAITH is on healing for the elements of emotional doubt. However, much attention is given to more evidenced-based chapters in our pursuit of overcoming any fears or doubts that we may have or that may creep up on us in the future.

THE GREAT TEACHER Jesus ChristTHE GREAT TEACHER JESUS CHRIST: What Made Jesus Christ’s Teaching, Preaching, Evangelism, and Apologetics Outstanding Effective?

How can you improve your effectiveness as teachers? Essentially, it is by imitating THE GREAT TEACHER: Jesus Christ. You may wonder, ‘But how can we imitate Jesus?’ ‘He was the perfect, divine, Son of God.’ Admittedly, you cannot be a perfect teacher. Nevertheless, regardless of your abilities, you can do your best to imitate the way Jesus taught. THE GREAT TEACHER: Jesus Christ will discuss how you can employ all of his teaching methods.

THE APOSTLE PAULTHE TEACHER THE APOSTLE PAUL: What Made the Apostle Paul’s Teaching, Preaching, Evangelism, and Apologetics Outstanding Effective?

How can you improve your effectiveness as teachers? Essentially, it is by imitating THE TEACHER the Apostle Paul. You may wonder, ‘But how can we imitate Paul?’ ‘He was an inspired author, who served as an apostle, given miraculous powers.’ Admittedly, Paul likely accomplished more than any other imperfect human. Nevertheless, regardless of your abilities, you can do your best to imitate the way Paul taught. THE TEACHER the Apostle Paul will discuss how you can employ all of his teaching methods.

King James BibleTHE KING JAMES BIBLE: Do You Know the King James Version?

The King James Bible was originally published in 1611. Some have estimated that the number of copies of the King James Version that have been produced in print worldwide is over one billion! There is little doubt that the King James Version is a literary masterpiece, which this author has and will appreciate and value for its unparalleled beauty of expression. This book is in no way trying to take away from what the King James Version has accomplished. The King James Version is a book to be commended for all that it has accomplished. For four centuries, when English-speaking people spoke of “the Bible,” they meant the King James Version. The question that begs to be asked of those who favor the King James Bible is, Do You Know the King James Version? What do most users of the King James Bible not know about their translation? Whether you are one who favors the King James Version or one who prefers a modern translation, Andrews will answer the questions that have long been asked for centuries about the King James Bible and far more.

DEFENDING OLD TESTAMENT AUTHORSHIP: The Word of God Is Authentic and True

DEFENDING OLD TESTAMENT AUTHORSHIP: The Word of God Is Authentic and True

How true is the Old Testament? For over two centuries Biblical scholars have held to the so-called documentary hypothesis, namely, that Genesis-Deuteronomy was not authored by Moses, but rather by several writers, some of whom lived centuries after Moses’ time. How have many scholars …

Agabus CoverDEFENDING AGABUS AS A NEW TESTAMENT PROPHET: A Content-Based Study of His Predictions In Acts by Sung Cho

Agabus is a mysterious prophetic figure that appears only twice in the book of Acts. Though his role is minor, he is a significant figure in a great debate between cessationists and continualists. On one side are those who believe that the gift of prophecy is on par with the inspired Scriptures, infallible, and has ceased. On the other side are those who define it as fallible and non-revelatory speech that continues today in the life of the church. Proponents of both camps attempt to claim …

WHAT WILL HAPPEN IF YOU DIEWHAT WILL HAPPEN IF YOU DIE?: Should You Be Afraid of Death or of People Who Have Died?

People grow old, get sick, and die. Even some children die. Should you be afraid of death or of anybody who has died? Do you know what happens if we die? Will you ever see your dead loved ones again? “If a man dies, shall he live again?” asked the man Job long ago. (Job 14:14) Did God originally intend for humans to die? Why do you grow old and die? What is the Bible’s viewpoint of death? What is the condition of the dead? Are the dead aware of what is happening around them? What hope is there for the dead?

UNDERSTANDING ISLAM AND TERRORISM: A Biblical Point of ViewUNDERSTANDING ISLAM AND TERRORISM: A Biblical Point of View

Islam is making a significant mark in our world. It is perhaps the fastest-growing religion in the world. It has become a major obstacle to Christian missions. And Muslim terrorists threaten the West and modern democracies. What is the history of Islam? What do Muslims believe? Do Christians and Muslims worship the same God? Why do we have this clash of civilizations? Is sharia law a threat to modern democratic values? How can we fight terrorists in the 21st century? These are significant questions that deserve thoughtful answers …

IS THE QURAN The WORD OF GOD?: Is Islam the One True Faith?IS THE QURAN THE WORD OF GOD?: Is Islam the One True Faith?

IS THE QURAN THE WORD OF GODIs Islam the One True Faith? This book covers the worldview, practices, and history of Islam and the Quran. This book is designed as an apologetic evangelistic tool for Christians, as they come across Muslims in their daily lives, as well as to inform …

REASONS FOR FAITH: The First Apologetic Guide For Christian Women on Matters of The Heart, Soul, and MindREASONS FOR FAITH: The First Apologetic Guide For Christian Women on Matters of The Heart, Soul, and Mind

If you have the desire to become better equipped to reach others for the lost or to strengthen your faith, Judy Salisbury’s guide—written specifically to meet the needs of Christian women today—offers you a safe, practical, and approachable place to start. In her lively, …

BIBLICAL CRITICISM: What are Some Outstanding Weaknesses of Modern Historical Criticism?BIBLICAL CRITICISM: What are Some Outstanding Weaknesses of Modern Historical Criticism

Historical Criticism of the Bible got started in earnest, known then as Higher Criticism, during the 18th and 19th centuries, it is also known as the Historical-Critical Method of biblical interpretation. Are there any weakness to the Historical-Critical Method of biblical interpretation …

BIBLICAL CRITICISM: Beyond the BasicsBIBLICAL CRITICISM: Beyond the Basics

Biblical criticism is an umbrella term covering various techniques for applying literary historical-critical methods in analyzing and studying the Bible and its textual content. Biblical criticism is also known as higher criticism, literary criticism, and historical criticism. Biblical criticism has done nothing more than weaken and demoralize people’s assurance in the Bible as being the inspired and fully inerrant Word of God and isdestructive in its very nature . Historical criticism is made up of many forms of biblical criticism that are harmful to the authoritative Word of God: historical criticism, source criticism, form criticism, redaction criticism, social-science criticism, canonical criticism, rhetorical criticism, structural criticism, narrative criticism, reader-response criticism, and feminist criticism. Not just liberal scholarship, but many moderate, even some “conservative” scholars have …

CHRISTIAN APOLOGETIC EVANGELISM: Reaching Hearts with the Art of PersuasionCHRISTIAN APOLOGETIC EVANGELISM: Reaching Hearts with the Art of Persuasion

APOLOGETICS: Reaching Hearts with the Art of Persuasion by Edward D. Andrews, author of seventy-two books, covers information that proves that the Bible is accurate, trustworthy, fully inerrant, and inspired by God for the benefit of humankind. The reader will be introduced to Christan …

REVIEWING 2013 New World Translation of Jehovah’s Witnesses: Examining the History of the Watchtower Translation and the Latest Revision

REVIEWING 2013 New World Translation of Jehovah’s Witnesses is going to challenge your objectivity. Being objective means that personal feelings or opinions do not influence you in considering and representing facts. Being subjective means that your understanding is based on or influenced by personal feelings, tastes, or ideas. If the reader finds these insights offense, it might be a little mind control at work from years of being told the same misinformation repeatedly, so ponder things objectively …

REASONING FROM THE SCRIPTURES: Sharing CHRIST as You Help Others to Learn about the Mighty works of God

Use of REASONING FROM THE SCRIPTURES should help you to cultivate the ability to reason from the Scriptures and to use them effectively in assisting others to learn about “the mighty works of God.” – Acts 2:11. If Christians are going to be capable, powerful, efficient teachers of God’s Word, we must not only pay attention to what we tell those who are interested but also how we tell them. Yes, we must focus our attention on…

REASONING WITH THE WORLD’S VARIOUS RELIGIONS: Examining and Evangelizing Other Faiths

God’s will is that “all sorts of men should be saved and come to an accurate knowledge of truth.” (1 Tim. 2:4) God has assigned all Christians the task of proclaiming the Word of God, teaching, to make disciples. (Matt. 24:15; 28:19-20: Ac 1;8 That includes men and women who profess a non-Christian religion, such as Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam to mention just a few. If there are Hindus, Buddhist or Muslims are in your community, why not initiate a conversation with them? Christians who take the Great Commission seriously cannot afford to ignore these religions…

CONVERSATIONAL EVANGELISM: Defending the Faith, Reasoning from the Scriptures, Explaining and Proving, Instructing in Sound Doctrine, and Overturning False Reasoning, [Second Edition]CONVERSATIONAL EVANGELISM, [Second Edition]

Evangelism is the work of a Christian evangelist, of which all true Christians are obligated to partake to some extent, which seeks to persuade other people to become Christian, especially by sharing the basics of the Gospel, but also the deeper message of biblical truths. Today the …

THE CHRISTIAN APOLOGIST: Always Being Prepared to Make a Defense [Second Edition]THE CHRISTIAN APOLOGIST: Always Being Prepared to Make a Defense [Second Edition]

MOST Christian apologetic books help the reader know WHAT to say; THE CHRISTIAN APOLOGIST is HOW to communicate it effectively. The Christian apologist words should always be seasoned with salt as we share the unadulterated truths of Scripture with gentleness and respect. Our example …

THE EVANGELISM HANDBOOK: How All Christians Can Effectively Share God's Word in Their Community, [SECOND EDITION]THE EVANGELISM HANDBOOK: How All Christians Can Effectively Share God’s Word in Their Community, [SECOND EDITION]

THE EVANGELISM HANDBOOK is a practical guide (for real-life application) in aiding all Christians in sharing biblical beliefs, the Good News of the kingdom, how to deal with Bible critics, overturning false beliefs, so as to make disciples, as commanded by Christ. Matthew 24:14; …

YOUR GUIDE FOR DEFENDING THE BIBLE: Self-Education of the Bible Made Easy [Third Edition]YOUR GUIDE FOR DEFENDING THE BIBLE: Self-Education of the Bible Made Easy [Third Edition]

The reader will receive eight small introductory books in this one publication. Andrews’ intention is to offer his reader several chapters on eight of the most critical subject areas of understanding and defending the Word of God. This will enable the reader to lay a solid foundation for …

THE CULTURE WAR: How the West Lost Its Greatness & Was Weakened From WithinTHE CULTURE WAR: How the West Lost Its Greatness & Was Weakened From Within 

The Culture War. How the West lost its greatness and was weakened from within outlines how the West lost its values, causing its current decline. It is a forceful attack on the extreme liberal, anti-religious ideology which since the1960’s has permeated the Western culture and …

EARLY CHRISTIANITY IN THE FIRST CENTURY Jesus' Witnesses to the Ends of the EarthEARLY CHRISTIANITY IN THE FIRST CENTURY Jesus’ Witnesses to the Ends of the Earth

EARLY CHRISTIANITY IN THE FIRST CENTURY will give its readers a thrilling account of first-century Christianity. When and how did they come to be called Christians? Who are all obligated to be Christian evangelists? In what way did Jesus set the example for our evangelism? What is the …

CRISIS OF FAITH: Saving Those Who DoubtCRISIS OF FAITH Saving Those Who Doubt 

Inside of some Christians unbeknownst to their family, friends or congregation, they are screaming, “I doubt, I doubt, I have very grave doubts!” OURS is an age of doubt. Skepticism has become fashionable. We are urged to question everything: especially the existence of God and the …

Investigating Jehovah's Witnesses: Why 1914 Is Important to Jehovah?s WitnessesINVESTIGATING JEHOVAH?S WITNESSES: Why 1914 Is Important to Jehovah?s Witnesses

The intention of this book is to investigate the biblical chronology behind Jehovah’s Witnesses most controversial doctrinal position that Jesus began to rule invisibly from heaven in October 1914. This biblical chronology of the Witnesses hinges upon their belief that the destruction of …

THE CHURCH CURETHE CHURCH CURE: Overcoming Church Problems

In order to overcome and church problems, we must first talk about the different problems of the church. Many of the church problems today stem from the isms: liberalism, humanism, modernism, Christian progressivism, theological liberalism, feminism, higher criticism, and biblical criticism. Moreover, many are simply not a biblically grounded church regardless of how much they claim to be so. The marks of a true Christian church would be like the different lines that make up a church’s fingerprint, a print that cannot belong to any other church. The true Christian church contains their own unique grouping of marks, forming a positive “fingerprint” that cannot belong to any other church. William Lange Craig wrote, “Remember that our faith is not based on emotions, but on the truth, and therefore you must hold on to it.” What truth? Jesus said to the Father in prayer, “Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.” (John 17:17) Are you doing the will of the Father? Is your church doing the will of the Father? – Matthew 7:21-23; 1 John 2:15-17.

FLEECING THE FLOCK_03FLEECING THE FLOCK: Setting the People of God Free From the Lies of Tithing

Evangelist Norman Robertson claims that “Tithing is God’s way of financing His kingdom on the earth.” He asserts that “It is His system of economics which enables the Gospel to be preached.” Not bashful about telling his followers of their duty to give, he flatly states: ‘Tithing isn’t something you do because you can afford it. It is an act of obedience. Not tithing is a clear violation of God’s commandments. It is embezzlement.’ Most likely you accept that giving should be part of Christian worship. However, …

Deception In the ChurchDECEPTION IN THE CHURCH: Does It Matter How You Worship?

DECEPTION IN THE CHURCH by Fred DeRuvo asks Does It Matter How You Worship? There are 41,000 different denominations that call themselves “Christian” and all would claim that they are the truth. Can just any Christian denomination please God? Can all be true or genuine Christianity if they all have different views on the same Bible doctrines? DeRuvo will answer. He will focus on the largest part of Christianity that has many different denominations, the charismatic, ecstatic Signs and Wonders Movements. These ecstatic worshipers claim … DeRuvo will answer all these questions and more according to the truth of God’s Word.—John 8:31-32; 17:17.

Translation and Textual Criticism

THE COMPLETE GUIDE to BIBLE TRANSLATION: Bible Translation Choices and Translation Principles [Second Edition]THE COMPLETE GUIDE TO BIBLE TRANSLATION: Bible Translation Choices and Translation Principles [Second Edition] 

THE COMPLETE GUIDE TO BIBLE TRANSLATION (CGBT) is for all individuals interested in how the Bible came down to us, as well as having an insight into the Bible translation process. CGBT is also for those who are interested in which translation(s) would be the most beneficial to use.

CHOOSING YOUR BIBLE: Bible Translation DifferencesCHOOSING YOUR BIBLE: Bible Translation Differences

There are more than 150 different Bible translations in the English language alone. Some are what we call literal translations, which seeks to give the reader the exact English equivalent of what was written in the original language text, thus allowing the reader access to the actual Word …

THE TEXT OF THE NEW TESTAMENT The Science and Art of Textual CriticismTHE TEXT OF THE NEW TESTAMENT: The Science and Art of Textual Criticism

THE TEXT OF THE NEW TESTAMENT was copied and recopied by hand for 1,500 years. Regardless of those scribes who had worked very hard to be faithful in their copying, errors crept into the text. How can we be confident that what we have today is the Word of God? Wilkins and Andrews …

MISREPRESENTING JESUS: Debunking Bart D. Ehrman's MISREPRESENTING JESUS: Debunking Bart D. Ehrman’s “Misquoting Jesus” [Third Edition]

Edward D. Andrews boldly answers the challenges Bart D. Ehrman alleges against the fully inerrant, Spirit-inspired, authoritative Word of God. By glimpsing into the life of Bart D. Ehrman and following along his course of academic studies, Andrews helps the reader to understand the …

Biblical Studies

HOW TO STUDY YOUR BIBLE: Rightly Handling the Word of GodHOW TO STUDY YOUR BIBLE: Rightly Handling the Word of God

A comprehensive book on HOW TO STUDY YOUR BIBLE by observing, interpreting, and applying, which will focus on the most basic Bible study tools, principles, and processes for moving from an in-depth reading of the Scriptures to application. What, though, if you have long felt that you are not studiously inclined? Realize that the primary difference between a serious Bible student and a less serious Bible student is usually diligence and effort, not being a gifted student. Being a gifted Bible student alone is not enough.

THE NEW TESTAMENT: Its Background, Setting & Content

THE NEW TESTAMENT: Its Background, Setting & Content

Correctly interpreting the Bible is paramount to understanding the Word of God. As Christians, we do not want to read our 21st-century worldview INTO the Scriptures, but rather to takeOUT OF the Scriptures what the author meant by the words that he used. The guaranteed way of arriving a correct understanding of God’s Words is to have an accurate knowledge of the historical setting, cultural background, and of the people, governments, and religious leaders, as well as the place and time of the New Testament writings. Only with the background, setting, and context can you grasp the author’s intended meaning to his original readers and …

THE LIFE OF JESUS CHRIST: What Do You Know About Jesus? [Updated and Expanded]THE LIFE OF JESUS CHRIST: What Do You Know About Jesus? [Updated and Expanded] 

The life of Christ is an exhaustless theme. It reveals a character of greater massiveness than the hills, of a more serene beauty than the stars, of sweeter fragrance than the flowers, higher than the heavens in sublimity and deeper than the seas in mystery. As good Jean Paul has eloquently said, “It concerns Him who, being the holiest among the mighty, and the mightiest among the holy, lifted with His pierced hands empires off their hinges, turned the stream of centuries out of its channels, and still governs the ages.” …

THE LIFE OF THE APOSTLE PAUL: The Apostle to the Nations [Updated and Expanded]THE LIFE OF THE APOSTLE PAUL: The Apostle to the Nations [Updated and Expanded] 

Stalker’s Life of St. Paul became one of the most widely read and respected biographies of the Apostle to the Gentiles. As an insightful compendium on the life of Paul, this work is of particular interest to pastors and teachers who desire to add realism and vividness to their account of one of the greatest Christians who ever lived. …

INTERPRETING THE BIBLE: Introduction to Biblical HermeneuticsINTERPRETING THE BIBLE: Introduction to Biblical Hermeneutics

Delving into the basics of biblical interpretation, Edward D. Andrews has provided a complete hands-on guide to understanding what the author meant by the words that he used from the conservative grammatical-historical perspective. He teaches how to study the Bible on a deep, scholarly …

HOW TO INTERPRET THE BIBLE: An Introduction to HermeneuticsHOW TO INTERPRET THE BIBLE: An Introduction to Hermeneutics

…Linguistic and literary factors are analyzed so that the various genres of Scripture are examined for their true meaning. The importance of having sound principles of interpretation cannot be overstated as to ignore them will result in all manner of erroneous assumptions. Beville presents …

THE CHURCH COMMUNITY IN CONTEMPORARY CULTURE: Evangelism and Engagement with Postmodern PeopleTHE CHURCH COMMUNITY IN CONTEMPORARY CULTURE: Evangelism and Engagement with Postmodern People

Once upon a time, Postmodernism was a buzz word. It pronounced Modernism dead or at least in the throes of death. It was a wave that swept over Christendom, promising to wash away sterile, dogmatic and outmoded forms of church. But whatever happened to postmodernism? It was regarded …

DEVELOPING HEALTHY CHURCHES: A Case-Study in RevelationDEVELOPING HEALTHY CHURCHES: A Case-Study in Revelation

church. It offers an appointment with the Great Physician that no Christian can afford to ignore. Developing Healthy ChurchesA Case-Study in Revelationbegins with a well-researched outline of the origins and development of the church health movement. With that background in mind the …

DYING TO KILL: A Christian Perspective on Euthanasia and Assisted SuicideDYING TO KILL: A Christian Perspective on Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide

…liberties in a multi-cultural society that is becoming increasingly secular. This work provides an ethical framework in which euthanasia and assisted suicide can be evaluated. These issues are on the radar indicating a collision course with Christian values. It is time for Christians to be …

JOURNEY WITH JESUS THROUGH THE MESSAGE OF MARK: Experience the Ministry of Jesus in a Spiritually Captivating WayJOURNEY WITH JESUS THROUGH THE MESSAGE OF MARK

Journey with Jesus through the Message of Mark is an insightful and engaging survey of Mark‘s Gospel, exploring each major section of the text along with key themes. It is a work that can be enjoyed by laypersons as well as pastors and teachers. Pastors will find the abundant use …

ANGELS & DEMONS: The Bible AnswersANGELS & DEMONS The Bible Answers

What are angels & demons? Can angels help us? What does the Bible say about angels? What is the truth about angels? Can Angels affect your life? Who were the “sons of God” in Genesis 6:2? Who were the Nephilim in Genesis 6:2? Who is Michael the archangel? Can Satan the Devil control …

AN ENCOURAGING THOUGHT The Christian Worldview

An Encouraging Thought elucidates the ways in which Tolkien’s The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings are informed by and communicate a biblical worldview. This book will help readers appreciate the ways in which a biblical worldview informs Tolkien’s work, to the end that their own faith may be confirmed in strength, focused in understanding, deepened in joy, and honed in its ability to communicate the Gospel.

Bible Doctrines

WHERE ARE THE DEAD? Basic Bible Doctrines of the Christian FaithWHERE ARE THE DEAD? Basic Bible Doctrines of the Christian Faith

What is the Bible’s viewpoint? Without delving into an endless stream of what man has said, Andrews looks at what the Bible says about death and the like. Why do we grow old and die? What happens at death? Is there life after death, or is this all there is? Do we have an immortal soul? …

IDENTIFYING THE ANTICHRIST: The Man of Lawlessness and the Mark of the Beast RevealedIDENTIFYING THE ANTICHRIST: The Man of Lawlessness and the Mark of the Beast Revealed

Herein Andrews will give the reader exactly what the Bible offers on exposing who the Antichrist and the Man of Lawlessness are. If we look at the texts that refer to the antichrist and the man of lawlessness, we will have lines of evidence that will enable us to identify them. Why is it …

UNDERSTANDING THE CREATION ACCOUNT: Basic Bible Doctrines of the Christian FaithUNDERSTANDING THE CREATION ACCOUNT: Basic Bible Doctrines of the Christian Faith

Throughout the Scriptures, God is identified as the Creator. He is the One “who created the heavens (He is the God who formed the earth and made it, He established it.” [Isa 45:18] He is the One “who forms mountains and creates the wind” (Am 4:13) and is the One “who made the heaven and …

The SECOND COMING of CHRIST: Basic Bible Doctrines of the Christian FaithThe SECOND COMING of CHRIST: Basic Bible Doctrines of the Christian Faith

The information herein is based on the disciples coming to Jesus privately, saying, “Tell us, (1) when will these things be, and (2) what will be the sign of your coming, and (3) of the end of the age?” (Matthew 24:3) What will end? When will the end come? What comes after the end? Who …

WHAT IS HELL? Basic Bible Doctrines of the Christian FaithWHAT IS HELL? Basic Bible Doctrines of the Christian Faith

What Really Is Hell? What Kind of Place is Hell? What Really Happens at Death? What Did Jesus Teach About Hell? How Does Learning the Truth About Hell Affect You? Who Goes to Hell? What Is Hell? Is It a Place of Eternal Torment? Does God Punish People in Hellfire? Do the Wicked Suffer in …

Miracles? - Do They Still Happen Today?: God Miraculously Saving People’s Lives, Apparitions, Speaking In Tongues, Faith HealingMIRACLES – DO THEY STILL HAPPEN TODAY? God Miraculously Saving People’s Lives, Apparitions, Speaking In Tongues, Faith Healing 

Miracles were certainly a part of certain periods in Bible times. What about today? Are miracles still taking place. There are some very important subjects that surround this area of discussion that are often misunderstood. Andrews will answer such questions as does God step in and solve …

HOMOSEXUALITY - The BIBLE and the CHRISTIAN: Basic Bible Doctrines of the Christian FaithHOMOSEXUALITY – The BIBLE and the CHRISTIAN: Basic Bible Doctrines of the Christian Faith

Today there are many questions about homosexuality as it relates to the Bible and Christians. What does the Bible say about homosexuality? Does genetics, environment, or traumatic life experiences justify homosexuality? What is God’s will for people with same-sex attractions? Does the …

Daily Devotionals

DEVOTIONAL FOR YOUTHS: Growing Up In Christ

Young ones and teens, you are exposed to complex problems that your parents may not understand. Young Christians, you are bombarded with multiple options for solving everyday problems through social media. Where do you turn to find answers? Where can you look to find guidance from Scripture? In order to provide a Christian perspective to problem-solving, the author of this devotional book decided to take a different approach.

DEVOTIONAL FOR TRAGEDYDEVOTIONAL FOR THOSE COPING WITH TRAGEDY: A Journey Back to God

This devotional book follows the author’s own faith journey back to God. Significant life events can shake our world and distort our faith. Following life’s tragedies, a common reaction is to become angry with God or to reject Him altogether. Examples of tragedies or traumas include life-changing events such as physical or sexual assault, destruction of one’s home, the tragic death of a loved one, diagnoses of terminal diseases, divorce, miscarriages, or being a victim of a crime. Tragedies or traumas can cause feelings of anxiety, depression, shame, and guilt.

DEVOTIONAL FOR CAREGIVERSDEVOTIONAL FOR CAREGIVERS: Finding Strength Through Faith 

Throughout the book, common themes emerge to support caregivers. The reader will find interesting Bible Scriptures, offering a Christian perspective, for handling issues that may arise. These inspiring passages will assist the caregiver in finding peace and faith as they travel their journey as a caregiver. Although caregivers may not know how long they will play this role, they take on the responsibility without any question. Taking care of others is often mentioned in the Bible and, as noted in this devotional, this self-sacrificing, highly valued, and often challenging service will ultimately be rewarded.

DAILY DEVOTIONAL Daily Musings From the Old Testament

Humans must breathe in the air of our atmosphere to survive. Many cities because of pollution face a dangerous level of contamination in their air. However, an even more deadly air affects both Christians and nonChristians. Ordinary methods or devices cannot detect this poisonous air.

DAILY DEVOTIONAL: Daily Musing From the New Testament

Paul counseled, “Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.” (Col. 3:2) It is, for this reason, Marshall has penned the DAILY DEVOTIONAL: Daily Musings From the New Testament, which can help us be protected against Satan’s efforts at controlling our mind and heart.  For each day of the year, DAILY DEVOTIONAL provides a Daily Bible Reading and comments for consideration.

BREAD OF HEAVEN: Daily Meditations on Scripture

BREAD OF HEAVEN helps the reader to have a greater understanding of the timeless truths of Scripture and a deeper appreciation of the grandeur of God. It offers meditations on selected Scriptures which will draw the reader’s attention upwards to the Savior.

Christian Fiction

THE DIARY OF JUDAS ISCARIOT: How to Keep Jesus at Arm's LengthTHE DIARY OF JUDAS ISCARIOT: How to Keep Jesus at Arm’s Length

…desert but none of such significance as a handful of scrolls retrieved from a buried Roman satchel (presumed stolen) at this site. The discovery has since come to be known as ‘The Diary of Judas Iscariot.’ In The Diary of JudasIscariot Owen Batstone relates the observations and feelings …

THE RAPTURE: God’s Unwelcomed WrathTHE RAPTURE: God’s Unwelcomed Wrath

Kevin Trill struggles with the notion that he may have missed the Rapture. With nothing but the clothes on his back and a solid gold pocket watch, he sets off towards Garbor, a safe haven for those who haven’t yet taken the mark of thebeast. While on his way to Garbor, he meets up …

SEEKERS AND DECEIVERS: Which One are You? It Is Time to Join the Fight!

There grew an element in the valley that did not want to be ruled by the Light of the Word. Over time, they convinced the people to reject it. As they started to reject this Light, the valley grew dim and the fog rolled in. The people craved the darkness rather than the Light because they were evil. They did not want to  …

The Shadow Flames of Uluru: Book ONE in the CHAOS DOWN UNDER 

When an ancestor saddles them with the responsibility to purge Australia of a demon threatening to wipe our humanity with black flames, fraternal siblings Amber and Michael Hauksby lay their lives on the line. As the world crumbles around them into chaos, and ancient marsupials wreak havoc in their hometown, they must journey into …

WRITE PLACE, RIGHT TIME: The Pre-Apocalyptic Misadventure of a Freelance Journalist 

“Write Place, Right Time” follows the pre-apocalyptic misadventures of freelance journalist Don Lamplighter. While on what he expects to be a routine Monday night trip to a village board meeting, Lamplighter’s good nature compels him to help a stranded vehicle. Little does he know that by saving one of the car’s occupants, he sets forth a chain of what to him seem to be unrelated events where he must use his physical and social skills to save himself and others from precarious situations.

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