James 1:1 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
1 James, a slave of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ,
To the twelve tribes in the Dispersion: Greetings.
This is one of at least four James’ who is mentioned in the Bible and is not to be confused with the other three James’ referred to in Scriptures in (Luke 6:12-16) and (Mark 6:1-7). Although nowhere in this book does James explicitly call himself the half-brother of Jesus, it is most likely that he is the half-brother of Jesus. James is not so much focused on letting people know how he is physically related to Jesus, but his spiritual relationship with Christ, and that of being a servant. One of the incredible realities in regard to James being the half-brother of Jesus is that the Scripture records that, at one point, he did not believe in the truth of his brother’s claims. John writes in John 1:5 “For even his own brothers did not believe in him.”
Throughout Jesus’ three-and-a-half-year ministry, James was well aware of his brother’s ministry. (Lu 8:19; John 2:12) However, even though he was not opposed, he was not a believer and a disciple. (Matt 12:46-50; John 7:5) He was likely with his brothers when they were mocking Jesus in their unbelief on that day of the great feast. (John 7:1-10) James could also have been one of the relatives that said of Jesus, “He is out of his mind.” (Mark 3:21) After Jesus’ death and resurrection, but before Pentecost 33 C.E., James was with his mother Mary, his brothers, and the apostles in the upper room in Jerusalem. (Ac 1:13-14) It was then that Jesus personally appeared to his half-brother before he appeared “to all the apostles.” (1 Cor. 15:7) After that, James became a distinguished, eminent, well-known member and, seemingly, an “apostle” of the Jerusalem church. Paul wrote of James, “and recognizing the grace that had been given to me, James and Cephas and John, who seemed to be pillars, they gave the right hand of fellowship to Barnabas and me, that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised.” – Galatians 2:9.
A slave of God and the Lord Jesus Christ (1:1b)
One of the characteristics that we can adopt from James in the first line of his letter is his humility. Because of his spiritual relationship with Christ, James calls himself a slave. The Greek word that James uses for “slave” is the word doulos, which means servant. A slave/servant in the days of James was “people [who] became slaves either as prisoners of war or because of economic debt. … Prior to faith in Christ, human beings are ‘slaves to sin’ (John 8:34; Rom. 6:16–17, 20), but Jesus Christ sets us free (John 8:35–36).” This is an amazing change for James, who at one time in his life did not believe in his brother, but now he is calling himself a slave of the very one he had rejected. This is a very keyword that is used by many Biblical writers in the New Testament.
The foundation of our service is the example Jesus Christ has set before us, since he took on himself “the very nature of a servant” (Phil 2:7). The servant image of Isaiah 40–55 is an important backdrop to the role of Christ as a servant. As the servant of Isaiah lived in obedient and selfless devotion to the will of God, which led to his innocent suffering and death on behalf of others and in the place of others (especially Isa 49–53), so too does Jesus model a life of selfless devotion to the will of the Father, which lead to death, even the death of the cross.
Paul used doulos as well when he wrote his introduction to his letters to the church at Rome and Philippi. Paul said in (Phil 1:1) “Paul and Timothy, slaves of Christ Jesus. Peter also uses a similar language when he wrote in (2 Peter 1:1) “Simon Peter, a slave and apostle of Jesus Christ.” Then there was also Jude, the other half-brother of Jesus, who penned the same type of thought when he wrote in Jude 1:1 “Jude, a slave of Jesus Christ, and brother of James.”
Similar to his brother, James was not seeking to draw attention to the fact that he was the brother of the Son of God but referred to himself as a slave (servant) of Christ, evidencing his humility. Jesus used his sacrifice and blood to purchase repentant humanity, meaning that they are to become slaves (servants) of Christ, not men. (1 Cor. 7:23; 2 Pet. 2:1; Jude 1:4) Paul informs his readers that God ‘has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son.’ (Col. 1:13) In another letter, Paul says, “Christ is the head of the congregation, his body, and is himself its Savior.” (Eph. 5:22-24) As a result, all Christians are a slave of the Father and his appointed Son, Jesus Christ. Therefore, James rightly begins his letter recognizing his accountability to Jesus Christ, and as a slave, he is required to carry out the will of the Father. – Matthew 7:21-23.
To the twelve tribes in the Dispersion: (1:1c)
The twelve tribes in the dispersion that James mentions are not the actual 12 tribes of Israel. We note in verse 2 James says, “Consider it all joy, my brothers,” and the tribes of Jewish Israel were not James’ brother, ‘who were holding their faith in their glorious Lord Jesus Christ, as natural Israel rejected Jesus Christ vehemently. (Jam. 1:2; 2:1, 5) During the last days of Jesus’ ministry, he explicitly stated what was to happen to natural Israel. Jesus said, “I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people producing its fruits.” (Matt. 21:43) A short time later, he said,
Matthew 23:37-39 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
Lament over Jerusalem
37 “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling.
38 Behold, your house is being left to you desolate!
39 For I say to you, from now on you will not see me until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’”
In looking at verse 37 of Matthew 23, we see that Jesus’ words are not those of a harsh judge, who is looking ready to punish the Jewish people for their 1,500 years of rebelling and sinning horrendously against the Father. Rather, he has tried to be patient with them throughout his last three and half year ministry. When Jesus began his ministry, all Jesus wanted was nothing more than what his Father had wanted for 1,500 years, i.e., repentance for centuries of willful sinning, so that they could avoid the judgment that was coming. Well, over five hundred natural Israel responded to Jesus’ words, with thousands upon thousands more listening to the apostle Paul and other evangelists. They escaped the judgment that came upon Jerusalem in 70 C.E. (Lu 21:20-22) In verse 38, Jesus indicated that very soon God was not going to accept the worship of the Israelites, at the typical temple in Jerusalem. (Matt 24:1-2) In verse 39, Jesus is saying; they will never see him with eyes of faith unless they accept him and his Father.
In other words, natural Israel lost its favored position as God’s chosen people, and this was to be given to another. Who? This new nation proved to be a spiritual Israel, which the apostle Paul referred to as “the Israel of God.” (Gal. 6:16) It would be made up of fleshly Jews who accepted Jesus Christ and non-Jews. Entry into this “Israel of God” was not dependent on the natural descent, but rather on one coming to “know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” (John 17:3), In other words, it was a matter of ‘trusting in Jesus Christ.’ (John 3:16) Nevertheless, natural Israel was made up of 12 tribes, so James was merely drawing on the number 12, which carries the connotation of completeness. If a natural Jew or a non-Jew were to become a part of this spiritual Israel, the Israel of God, they would have to acknowledge, “Circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter.” (Rom. 2:29) He must further understand “it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all …” (Rom. 4:16) There are many verses, which qualify what it means to be a part of this Israel of God. See also, Romans 4:17; 9:6-8; Galatians 3:7, 29; 4:21-31; Philippians 3:3.
These spiritual Israelites were dispersed throughout the Roman Empire. Shortly after Pentecost 33 C.E., there were arrests, threats, and beatings. (Ac 4:1-3, 21; 5:17, 18) At that time, Stephen was seized and stoned to death.” (Ac 7:52-60) The murder of Stephen was only the beginning, as Saul of Tarsus was to become a great persecutor of the Christians in the Jerusalem area, which led to the dispersing of Christians throughout the then known world. (Ac 8:1-4; 9:1, 2) However, this really failed, as it was not long before Christian congregations were found everywhere, by the evangelism of none other than the very persecutor turned Christian, namely, the apostle Paul (formerly known as Saul). In fact, about 62-64 C.E., Peter writes, “To those who are elect exiles of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia.” – 1 Peter 1:1.
The word greeting is unique to James, as Paul does not use it in any of his letters. The word for greeting here in the Greek, chairo, means, “to rejoice.” This was a greeting by which James was expressing his desire for his readers to find joy and happiness that comes through obeying the commands of the Scriptures. Ones in the marketplace or village gave this familiar greeting. We might also note that the letter on circumcision suggested by James also contained this salutation. (Acts 15:23) Therefore, this only adds more credence to James being the author of this letter bearing his name.
Endurance Brings Happiness
James 1:2-4 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
2 Consider it all joy, my brothers, when you encounter various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. 4 And let endurance have its perfect work, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
Consider it all joy (1:2a)
James starts his letter by asking that these believers consider the trials that they were currently going through. James wanted his readers to think about why they were having their trials, which referred to any trial that took place in their lives so that his readers would have the proper perspective of the trial before they can actually know how to handle them when they come. Once they had the proper perspective of their trials, they could consider it all joy. The Greek word for joy is chara, which means to have “joy or delight (Vine, 1996, pg. 335).” The joy is not in the fact that one is going through the trial, but rather in what that trial will be able to produce in their lives. James wants his readers to realize that if they can understand that God is the one who allowed imperfection to come into humanity for a particular reason, then they can consider any trial with a response of joy, that is, an opportunity for them to show an evident demonstration of their faith. Do not believe that God placed these trials here to grow their faith, but rather, because the trials (difficult times) are here because of human imperfection, here was their opportunity to grow from the difficult times.
my brothers (1:2b)
In the Scriptures, ‘brothers’ often refer to both men and women and is simply a convention of writing. James here is not referring to his physical family but rather to his spiritual family. Jesus says the same things in Matthew 12:50 “For whoever does the will of my Father who is in heaven, he is my brother and sister and mother.”
The Apostle Paul was very fond of using the word brother in his letters to the churches as well. The fact that James calls them brothers signifies that he is in a spiritual relationship with them through Jesus Christ, and they are bound together in the unity of Christ and part of a spiritual family. James uses the word brother in his letter 14 times and is writing with sincerity of heart to his spiritual family.
when you encounter various trials (1:2c)
James makes an affirmative statement when he writes when you encounter various trials. This does not mean that these believers might face trials but rather that they currently were in the midst of trials. The Greek word that James uses here for trials is the word peirasmos, which means, “testing for proof or putting to the test.” (Vine, 1996, pg. 622) This word is often used in the scriptures to refer to testing or temptation, and the context upon which it is used tells which one it is. James makes mention of some of the trials that these believers were going through in that some were facing poverty (Jam. 2:15) and oppression from the rich. (James 5:1-5) James says the trials were various which signifies that the trials these believers were facing came in many different forms.
We will find nowhere in all of the Scriptures where the believers in the Lord were spared from having life difficulties, even extremely difficult times in life were common. So many of the holy ones faced difficulties. The Apostle Paul tells us that by faith Abraham when he was tested, as good as offered up Isaac. The Israelites rejected Moses, who had specifically been sent by God, so Moses had to endure dealing with Pharaoh. Joseph had to face the trials of being blamed for a rape of which he did not do and then be put into prison unfairly for almost thirteen years. Nehemiah and Ezra suffered the agony of the moral decay around them, and their enemies constantly tried to destroy their work and instill fear in the people. Daniel was placed in the lion’s den and his three friends Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego all had to face the fire of a great furnace for their remaining faithful. Isaiah had to deal with the fact that though he would preach his heart out that nobody would listen to his message. Jeremiah was put into stocks, jailed, tar pits and was rejected by his family because he preached the wrath of God to his people. Then there was the mighty prophet Ezekiel who when he confronted Ahab with the truth was sought to be killed and known as the “troubler of Israel.”
In the New Testament, we read about John the Baptist, who was put in prison and eventually beheaded for confronting King Herod. Peter was put in prison for preaching the gospel and eventually killed on a cross for his faith. John was exiled to the island of Patmos for the word of God. Then, of course, the Apostle Paul was kicked out of many of the towns he went to for preaching the word of God. Paul makes mention of his trials in 2 Corinthians 4:8-10; 11:24-29.
Knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance (1:3a)
The word used here for testing is the Greek word dokimion, which means, “putting to proof.” (Mounce, 2006, Greek GK #1510) Now known from the papyri examples of dokimios as an adjective in the same sense (good gold, standard gold) as dokimos proved or tested (James 1:12).’ (Robertson 1933, 1997, Jam. 1:3) When a merchant proofs Gold, he is establishing whether it is genuine. In other words, when we face a trial or difficult time, and faithfully come through on the other side, our faith has been proofed or tested as being genuine. James was making it clear that God was allowing these trials, which were simply the result of imperfection entering into humanity, because of the rebellion in Eden. When these believers experienced trials (difficult times), their faith became one that was ‘put to the proof.’ It became a ‘proved’ or ‘tested’ faith that had survived a difficult time, with their approved relationship with God intact. When the believer’s faith was proofed, tested, by trials, it was developed so that it was strengthened, enabling them to possess the quality of endurance. This was no mere living through a difficulty, but rather one needed to possess such qualities as fortitude, resolution, strength, staying power, steadfastness, and integrity when tempted to take the easy way out of the affliction by abandoning the faith.
We see this happening in the life of Job when God allowed Satan to take Job’s livestock, servants, family, and his health. In all this, Job remained steadfast and never lost his faith in God; thus, he evidenced his faith. James wants his readers to understand that though God is not the cause of trials he is allowing the trials in their lives to proof the genuineness of their faith, which leads to endurance. James states that God could produce endurance in the believer’s life by allowing the trials.
And let endurance have its perfect work, so that you may be perfect, complete, lacking in nothing. (1:4)
James here states as to why a believer can rejoice in his trials when he writes let endurance have its perfect work, so that you may be perfect. James uses the word perfect more than any other New Testament writer does. The perfection that James is talking about is not a moral perfection but rather has to do with wholeness or completeness in the believer’s spiritual walk with Christ. The trials can help produce the desired outcome that God has for the believer and be more complete in God. It is for this reason that God, although not the cause of the trials, would allow them to come about. James also adds that the trials be permitted by God to make one more complete. The trials make the believer complete in the fact that they serve to develop Godly character in the life of the one who is enduring them, producing greater holiness in the life of the believer, so that they are lacking in nothing and being content with and resting in God.
James 1:5-8 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
5 But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproaching, and it will be given to him. 6 But let him ask in faith, without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.
But if any of you lacks wisdom let him ask of God, (1:5a)
If there were any believers, who were having difficulty understanding their trials James tells them what they are to do. James says if any of you lacks wisdom let him ask of God. When James refers here to wisdom he is not talking about a mere intellectual wisdom. It is wisdom, which comes from God and having a reverential fear of displeasing him, which is the beginning of wisdom. (Proverbs 1:7) The proper understanding therefore of Godly wisdom is that one then puts the wisdom in practical use in everyday life. Solomon wrote in Proverbs 2:6, “For the Lord gives wisdom, from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.” When James says any of you in this passage, he is referencing specifically to the believers that God was allowing to go through trials. He is not talking to just anyone in general that they can ask for wisdom but in context those Christians that were enduring the trails. Nevertheless, all Christians are to ask God for wisdom. However, if undergoing a trial, we need to be specific in the wisdom that we are seeking.
James tells these believers if they lacked the wisdom to understand the trials then go to the one who could give them the discernment and wisdom in regard to the trial. God was sovereign over the trials in allowing the trial to happen, and then he would be the only one to go to for us to correctly understand as to the nature of the trial. The Greek word that James uses for “ask” is the word aiteo which means to “beg or request.” (Vine, 1996, pg. 40) The believers were to ask of God that they understand their trials for some insight and guidance to see how allowing the trial was a part of God’s plan and how it applied to their life.
We see from Scripture an example of God answering those in their trial with Solomon who asked God to help him to be able to lead the nation he had become the leader of (1 Kings 3:9). David, a man familiar with trials, wrote in (Psalms 55:22) “Cast your burden upon the Lord, and he will sustain you, He will never allow the righteous to be forsaken.” Peter also wrote in (I Peter 5:6-7) “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.”
who gives to all generously without finding reproaching and it will be given to him (1:5b)
Here James states an important, significant, and weighty promise that will happen to the believers that called upon God in the midst of the trial for wisdom. The promise he says is that God will give wisdom to those who seek the Lord for it. James assures that promise by stating that God gives to all generously without finding reproach. James makes it clear that not only will God give wisdom to those who ask but also he will do so with generosity. In other words, God desires to give believers wisdom and understanding to discern accurately the trials they were enduring. The word that James uses here for reproach is the Greek word oneidezo which means to “defame, reproach, or disgrace (Vine, 1996, pg. 526).” It did not matter the nature of the situation or the background these believers may have come from if they called upon God for wisdom, it will be given to him. We should not expect what Abraham David, Solomon, Elijah or Nehemiah received. Our primary wisdom for how to deal with trials is not going to come miraculously, but rather through the Word of God. If we do not take in that lifesaving knowledge, how can we make wise decisions, as it is the very knowledge of God?
But let him must ask in faith, without any doubting for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. (1:6)
There is an approach to praying for wisdom that must be applied when coming to God in asking for wisdom, and that is the believer must ask in faith without any doubting. The Greek word used here for faith is the word pistis, and it means to be “confident of, fully assured or persuaded of.” (Vine, 1996, pg. 222) James is telling these believers that when they come to God to ask for this wisdom, they must be fully confident and convinced that God does hear. Faith gives sight to that which can’t be seen and be believed upon. James also indicates that one not only has faith but without any doubting as well. If these believers doubted God in what they were asking for, they would be negating the very thing the prayer is predicated upon, and that is faith. These believers were to pray in faith that God would give them the wisdom to understand their trial and help them to be able to endure.
James here provides his readers with an object lesson to show what it looks like when one claims to ask with belief and yet doubts at the same time. James states the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea. A wave of the sea is helpless in the fact that is directed in many different directions upon the sea and has not stability, due to the wind. A wave may start far off in the distance and then be lead to the shore in the next moment. The waves are helpless against the wind because the waves have nothing to stabilize them except to be helplessly driven and tossed by the wind. James is telling these believers that if they do not have faith in prayers for wisdom that they are asking God for helping them to understand their trials, then trials end up controlling the person’s life and taking them where they do not want to go. The prayer for wisdom gives the believers the understanding to remain steady amongst the trials.
For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man; unstable in all his ways. (1:7-8)
James here presents two realities for those believers that were not praying in faith that God could hear their prayers for wisdom and would answer. Certainly, when one prays, while he has a doubtful heart, he should not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord. This one does not expect in his heart that he is going to receive divine help. He allows his doubts to impede him from placing his complete trust in the Father, failing to be guided in the way in which he should go. He does not have the genuine faith that is required by God, because “without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he is and that is the rewarder of those seeking him.” – Hebrews 11:6
James also presents the second reality, and that is the reason God will not answer the believer who doubts when he prays, and that is because he is double minded. The Greek word used for double-minded is dipsuchos, and it literally means “two-souled.” (Vine, 1996, pg. 181) James is the only New Testament writer to use this word. James clarifies his point by stating the reason God does not answer a double-minded man, and that reason is that he is unstable in all his ways. An unstable person that is two-souled is often too unable to be trusted, because of the constant changing of his or her mind. A two-souled person is one who often has divided loyalties: in one moment, he or she desires God, and in the next moment, he or she is engaged in the acts of the flesh, and never decide between the two.
James Touches on the Shortness of Life
James 1:9-12 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
9 But Let the lowly brother boast in his exaltation, 10 and the rich man should boast in his humiliation, because like flowering grass he will pass away. 11 For the sun rises with a scorching wind and withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beauty perishes; so too will the rich man fade away in the midst of his pursuits.
But let the lowly brother boast in his exaltation, (1:9)
Most Christians in the first-century up unto our day, come from a humble background. (1 Cor. 1:26) Most were poor before their finding and accepting Jesus Christ. (Jam. 2:5) The world tends to view such poor ones in a bad light, spurning them, feeling contempt for them. However, after they have come to know (in an experiential way) the Father, and the one he sent forth, Jesus Christ, they are exalted, elevated to a dignified standing with Jesus Christ. – John 17:3.
In addition, there were some in the congregation, who were rich before their finding and accepting Jesus Christ. However, they became poor through some form of persecution. (Heb. 10:32-34) While one might suspect that this would cause doubts, it enabled them to appreciate the precious relationship they had with Jesus Christ and the hope of eternal life that lay ahead. In a Christian congregation, unlike the world, poor Christians are on equal ground as to position and wealth (i.e., they are rich in Christ), suffering no shortcomings whatsoever. They have the same opportunity to possess the same amount of spiritual riches as anyone else.
and the rich man should boast in his humiliation, because like flowering grass he will pass away. (1:10)
When a wealthy person comes to an accurate or full knowledge of the truth, he will come to the realization that the wealth he had trust in, is fleeting. He will then clearly understand “the deceitfulness of wealth.” (Matt. 13:22) Now, this rich person must humble himself, as he is shown in the Word of God that he and his riches need to be placed in the right perspective. In other words, it is not the riches that are wicked, but rather the love of the riches. In addition, he must see that spending excessive time in the pursuit of further wealth is a waste. It will cause him to miss family time, personal Bible study time, preparing for Christian meetings, attending and participating in Christian meetings. Moreover, chasing after wealth will cut into the time he could spend sharing the good news with others. Namely, it will affect his spirituality. (1 Tim. 6:9-10) If he ponders the Scriptures, he will see that the spiritual blessings outweigh any material wealth that could be accumulated in multiple lifetimes. See Philippians 3:8.
Rather than an elevated belief in oneself, which is often a direct result of riches, the apostle Paul encouraged just the opposite. He wrote, “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but in humility consider others as more important than yourselves. Everyone should look out not only for his own interests but also for the interests of others. Have this mind in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 2:3-8) The rich one must also consider that the world sees the wealthy man in an elevated position to everyone else. However, once he becomes a Christian, a disciple of Jesus Christ, this may very well change as the world will begin to hate him due to his relationship with Jesus. (John 15:17-19; See also John 7:47-52; 12:42-43) Now, the rich man, who has become a disciple of Christ, possessing spiritual riches, he can rejoice in his humiliation. In the end, it must be remembered, the splendor of wealth is temporary, as the rich one will eventually grow old and die. Riches cannot add a single hour to his life. – Psalm 49:6-9; Matthew 6:27.
For the sun rises with a scorching wind, and withers the grass; and its flower falls, and its beauty perishes; (1:11a)
James adds a further illustration to expound his position writing the sun rises with a scorching wind and withers the grass. James uses a concept that the Jewish believers would have been familiar with in the Palestinian landscape. The flowers in Palestine were abundant and beautiful, yet when the scorching wind from the sun would hit them, they withered, and the flower falls, and beauty perishes in just a short amount of time. James uses this illustration to make the point of the uselessness of putting one’s hope in riches, because of their insecurity. The riches may seem to be a security to the man who has them, and they may look good but who knows when the scorching heat of life death, disease, destruction comes, and the riches are destroyed. (Compare Ps. 49:6-9; Matt. 6:27.) The rich man has no more control over his riches and what may happen to them, than does the flower that is scorched by the hot sun. As quickly as the man may have received his riches, they could be taken away. Solomon wrote, “Do not weary yourself to gain wealth, Cease from your consideration of it. When you set your eyes on it, it is gone. For wealth certainly makes itself wings like an eagle that flies toward the heavens.” – Proverbs 23:4-5.
so too will the rich man fade away in the midst of his pursuits. (1:11b)
Just as the flower arises and is destroyed so also, the rich man will fade away in the midst of his pursuits. The point that James is trying to get across is that just as the flower is here one day and gone the next so riches are so uncertain because we may have it one day and then it be gone the next. Once an individual takes his last breath, all that he worked so hard to gain here in riches will be lost and done away with. Solomon wrote, “As he had come naked from his mother’s womb, so will he return as he came. He will take nothing from the fruit of his labor that he can carry in his hand.” (Eccl. 6:15) Solomon also wrote, “Riches do not profit in the day of wrath, but righteousness delivers from death.” – Proverbs 11:4.
James is stressing the fact that a man does not have to wait until the time of his death for his riches to fade away, but they do so even in the midst of his pursuit of them. The trials that come to the rich can serve as an excellent reminder of how uncertain one’s riches really are, and they cannot save him. The trials of the man with riches serve to remind him of the fact life does not depend on the abundance of his possessions.
Blessed is the man who endures under trial; (1:12a)
James here continues with his progression of the person who is undergoing the difficult trials in stating, blessed is the man who endures under trial. James calls the believers that endure the trial blessed. The word for blessed is not some joy that the world could offer to man, but rather it was a joy that only God could give to man. It is the highest good possible that only God is able to give man by his own spirit. It is an inward peace and comfort of the soul that is not determined by outward circumstances but is a continuous inner joy through all the situations of life. This is the same word that Jesus used to describe the beatitudes in Matthew 5:3-12. The word for endures is hupomone that means to “remain under.” (Vine, 1996, pg. 200) The blessedness that James talks about only comes to the one who remains firm in his faith in the midst of the trial. James simply confirms what Jesus said in Matthew 5:11-12.
Alternatively, those Christians who are wealthy can find joy in their wealth beyond the pleasures that it can provide, by using some of it to support the interests of Christianity and to spread the Gospel. (1 Tim. 6:17-19) Moreover, they can use some of their wealth to help their needy brothers and sisters within the Christian congregation. – Acts 4:32-37; James 1:27
Jesus also illustrated this point by the parable of the rich fool who rejoiced in his riches
Luke 12:16-21 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
16 And he told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man produced plentifully, 17 And he reasoned to himself, saying, ‘What should I do, since I have no place to store my crops?’ 18 And he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. 19 And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease, eat, drink, and be merry.”’ 20 But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night they are demanding your soul from you; and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ 21 So is the man who stores up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”
for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life (1:12b)
The approval or acceptance comes from the fact that one’s faith has been tested and has been approved by God because of the way that he has persevered through it. James gives further motivation and encouragement for his readers in the fact that they are not only blessed in what they are going through if they persevere but that in the end, they will receive the crown of life. The crown of life is not a mere physical crown to wear but rather a spiritual reward of getting to abide in the presence of God for all eternity. God himself will give this crown in eternity for those who have remained faithful to him until the end. (Matt 24:13) This crown will be for those who have fought the battle against Satan, sin, as well as trials and have through Christ come out victorious. These victors did not gain their crown through fame, success, or accolades, but rather they gained their crown from what they suffered and overcame. The apostle Paul makes this clear at Hebrews 11:37-40. It should be explicitly stated that these ones did not earn eternal life through their endurance of trials, but rather they were privileged as with a “crown” by the gift of heavenly life. We cannot earn eternal life, as it is a free, undeserved gift from our heavenly Father through our faith in Jesus Christ. (Rom. 6:23) Christians who maintain their integrity through trial after trial has made an evident demonstration that their faith is genuine. The quality of their faith has survived the difficulties of this imperfect world and has been found complete.
which the Lord has promised to those who love him (1:12c)
James makes it clear about the crown of life the Lord has promised to those who love him. This would have been an excellent source of encouragement for those believers as they are going through their trials. We can see from the Scriptures that when God promises something, it is as good as done. In Genesis, God promised never to flood the entire earth again, and he never has since. God promised Abraham that he would have a son that would produce many nations, and he allowed Sarah to have Isaac. Numerous times in the Old Testament God spoke through the prophets promising to send the Messiah into the world. That promise was fulfilled in the New Testament with Jesus Christ. God makes this promise to those that love him because he is in a relationship with them and is their Father. God is always faithful to his promises and for those who endure trials they will indeed receive the crown of life.
James 1:13-15 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. 14 But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own desire. 15 Then the desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.
Romans 5:12 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
12 Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned,
In addition, God had already informed us that we are mentally bent toward evil, that man’s mind is evil from his very youth.
|Genesis 6:5 The American Translation (AT)
5 When the LORD saw that the wickedness of man on the earth was great, and that the whole bent of his thinking was never anything but evil, the LORD regretted that he had ever made man on the earth.
|Genesis 8:21 The American Translation (AT)
21 I will never again curse the soil, though the bent of man’s mind may be evil from his very youth; nor ever again will I ever again destroy all life creature as I have just done.
Jeremiah informs us that,
Jeremiah 17:9 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
9 The heart is more deceitful than all else,
and desperately sick;
who can understand it?
The apostle Paul writes,
Romans 7:21-24 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
21 I find then the law in me that when I want to do right, that evil is present in me. 22 For I delight in the law of God according to the inner man, 23 but I see a different law in my members, warring against the law of my mind and taking me captive in the law of sin which is in my members. 24 Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?
Notice in the above that Paul references “the law of [his] mind.” For a person who has a strong faith, that law of his mind is ruled by a phenomenon that he delights in, namely “the law of God.” Certainly, we see that “the law of sin” is waging war against the law of the mind. Nevertheless, the Christian can conquer ‘the law of sin’ with the help of God. Paul goes on to say in verse 25, “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh, I serve the law of sin.’”
Thus, the imperfect human, in his human weaknesses has the following stacked up against him, (1) he is missing the mark of perfection, (2) the whole bent of his mind leans toward evil, (3) his inner self is deceitful and sick, (4) which he cannot understand, and (5) the law of sin dwells in his members. Therefore, it is easy to see that if he dwells on, entertains, or cultivates wrong thoughts, as opposed to immediately dismissing them, it will lead to sin.
However, not all is lost, because Paul also tells us that we can ‘be renewed in the spirit of our minds.’ (Eph. 4:23) We can ‘put off the old person with its practices and have put on the new self. We will then be renewed in knowledge according to the image of our Creator.’ We will be transformed by the renewing of our mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.’ – Colossians 3:9-10; Romans 12:2.
Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God.” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and He himself tempts no one. (1:13)
Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God.” If any Christian were under any kind of affliction or hardship, he would be wrong to attribute this to God, as though God were trying to tempt him into sinning. If he lets some aspect of the trial turn into a temptation for him (e.g., if he goes from a refusal to give in to the temptation, to giving in or bending under pressure because of some selfish gain, or because he is looking for a way to evade facing and enduring the trial), it is not God who deserves the blame. We need to understand that God will strengthen us to endure the trials of this imperfect word, only if we continue unwaveringly in our own heart. (Phil. 4:13) God will never carry out any action that would lead his servant to sin. While God permitted sin and imperfection to come into the world after the rebellion of Satan, Adam, and Eve, it was not to test or tempt humanity into sin, but rather to teach us the object lesson that we were not designed to walk on our own. We were designed to be under God’s sovereign rulership, which Adam rejected. The world under Satan’s rulership caters to the fallen flesh, not to God.
God is holy and pure so he cannot be tempted with evil. It is impossible for God to be tempted by evil of any kind or by any unacceptable situation, or by some condition that would motivate him to commit wrong. It is impossible to make something that is contrary to God’s standards and values attractive to the point that it would be trying him.
God himself tempts no one, just as he himself cannot be tempted into sin. God does not place alluring things before his creatures, to embolden them to transgress against him. He is not seeking to test their weaknesses or their steadfastness. He does not place things before us that we must have for survival, and the situation requires us to violate his standards to achieve it. However, God has allowed the trials of an imperfect world of humanity to continue, as he has “morally sufficient reasons for permitting the evil and suffering in the world.” (William Lane Craig) God offers us nothing but good for our improvement, never for our impairment. The ruler of this imperfect world, Satan the Devil, has no qualms about using trials as a means of tempting us to violate God’s Word. This is not to say that God will not allow some trial that he could have prevented for the sake of disciple (i.e., correction), making his servants more complete. – Hebrews 12:7, and 11
But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own desire. (1:14)
James states but each one is tempted, which signifies that temptation is on an individual basis. The temptation is not another individual’s problem but is an individual choice that one gives into or rejects. James also writes one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his desire, which exposes that the problem of temptation lies not with God, but rather it is in oneself. James says that temptation is always directed at the desire of one’s heart. Therefore, God is not the one who is causing the temptation, but the temptation comes through the enticement of one’s lust within his heart.
The Greek word James uses here for enticed is deleazo, which means to “lure as bait.” (Vine 1996, 203) James tells us in the passage that the underlying motivation for all temptation is selfish desire, that all temptations spring from man’s desire to satisfy his own flesh and personal forbidden desires. This means the temptation that Satan offers to people always deals with that which is pleasurable to man and appeals to his desires. This is not to say that human desires in and of itself are wrong. Moreover, human pleasure is not bad in and of itself. Satan has corrupted the desires of the flesh, which was perfectly natural before the sin of Adam. For example, there was a natural desire for a physical relationship between man and woman. After the fall, Paul tells us that it has become a standard practice “For their women [to] exchange natural relations for those that are contrary to nature,” i.e., homosexuality. (Rom. 1:26) Once the lust is manifested in the heart then the more it lingers there without being dealt with then it will begin to carry away the individual with the enticement of what that fulfilled lust can bring.
Then the desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death. (1:15)
Temptation always begins with an enticement towards one’s lust or an unwarranted desire. If not cast down, one then is carried away by the bait of the enticement. Then soon after, one will take the bait, give in to the temptation, and satisfy the lust of his flesh. It is for this reason that James writes then the desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin. James continues with the progression stating sin when it is fully-grown brings forth death. Once the desire is conceived, or once the individual gives acts upon that temptation by giving into its evil desire, it gives birth to sin that can lead to death.
James is telling these believers that once sin is conceived and begins to take root in the heart if it is not dealt with, it will become full grown within the heart, to attain what their hearts desire. James makes it very clear that once we give in to the temptation of that lust, it will inevitably give birth to sin. What was meant to produce pleasure and satisfaction, now only causes chaos and devastation. James warns these believers that the only result of fulfilling their lust brought about death. This death could for some have led to physical death depending upon the lust they were giving into. James has a deeper meaning in the fact that it was causing spiritual death to these believers when they gave into sin.
Again, we can see from Adam and Eve that when they ate of the fruit, they did so out of their desire and pleasure for power and control that stemmed from their lust. When they ate of the fruit, the promise of fulfillment only resulted in death. When Adam and Eve ate of the fruit, they faced spiritual death, in the fact that their sin had separated them from God. In turn, because of the curse, they would also suffer physical death due to their sin. James is warning these believers of the serious danger of temptation and the consequences if they were to give in to their lust. James wants his readers to understand that for the one who persisted in his temptation and living in that manner, and then, in the end, he would face eternal destruction. Paul wrote in Romans 7:20-21, “For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. Therefore what benefit were you then deriving from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the outcome of those things is death.”
Every Good Gift is from Above
James 1:16-18 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
16 Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. 17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow. 18 Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.
Do not be deceived my beloved brothers. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, (1:16-17a)
James did not want his fellow brothers and sisters to be deceived into the belief that God was their cause of trials. Such an idea would distort the character and person of the Almighty God as it would make him the author of evil, meaning that he willfully brought sin into the world. James’ Christian brothers cannot make the claim that any temptation is more than they can bear, as Paul writes, “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation, he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” (1 Cor. 10:13) It would be harmful, damaging to the Christian, if he believed that God was behind his difficult times and such a view could contribute to his possibly, wrongly, taking offense against God.
As was true of James himself, his brothers were imperfect and missed the mark of perfection every day of their lives. So there was no good reason for James to take some superior position. Rather he sees them as his spiritual brothers, to whom he refers to as “beloved,” for he has affection for them. He now wishes to get their attention as he transitions to the important point he is about to make.
James describes these gifts as being good which God gives. Greek is the word agathos, and it means “profitable or useful. (Vine, 1996, pg. 273) What gifts is James specifically talking about when he calls the gifts good and perfect? In the Bible, several gifts are explicitly mentioned as coming directly from God. For instance, Jesus said in Matthew 5:45 ‘God gives the gifts of the sun and rain on the wicked and the good.’ Paul mentioned in Ephesians 4:11-12 that God gives spiritual gifts to those in the church to help build up the body. Jesus referred to in his parable in Luke 11:10-13 that God gives the Holy Spirit to those that ask of him. However, God gives many other good gifts such as food, clothing, freedom, joy, love, and much more. These gifts are good and perfect because they reflect the source from which they come. Only perfect gifts come from him. “He himself gives to all mankind life and breath and all things.” (Acts 17:25) God’s giving is always clean, wholesome and supports the well-being and contentment of mankind. (Acts 14:17) He supplies us all things “richly provides us with everything to enjoy.” (1 Tim. 6:17) In addition, God’s gifts are far-reaching, faultless, sound and unblemished. There is nothing deficient or missing in them.
coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow. (1:17b)
James writes that the gifts are coming down from the father of lights, which is the only time in the Bible where the term lights are used in connection with God. By James calling God the Father of lights, he is referring to the fact that God is the author of all creation (e.g., the sun, the moon, and the stars). He speaks of himself as the one “who gives the sun for light by day and the fixed order of the moon and the stars for light by night, who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar; Jehovah of hosts is his name.” (Jer. 31:35, UASV) Nevertheless, he is not just the creator of the sun, the moon, and the stars; he is also the basis of spiritual illumination. The apostle Paul writes: “For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” (2 Cor. 4:6) Therefore, God is not only good and perfect because he gives good gifts, but he is also the Creator of the lights and his sovereignty rules over all the stars, planets, and solar system.
In the sun’s rising and setting, it casts shadows of varying measurement and concentration. Contingent on the location of the earth in its rotation and its orbit, significant variation happens in the way that the sun is glowing, producing heat and light, to be dispersed over the surface. With this in mind, James writes that with God there is no variation or shifting shadow. James here is pointing out the fact that God does not change like the planets that are continually rotating causing different seasons. Rather God is always consistent with his nature, and he has never changed from the beginning of time and never will until the end of time. The writer of Hebrews says in Hebrews 13:8, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” James is wanting his readers to understand that if God was the one who was tempting them, then why does he give good and perfect gifts and the very light which they need for daily existence on this earth. If God were the one doing the tempting all the time then surely God would not be so kind and gracious to his creation, but rather an evil tyrant.
Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures. (1:18)
It is his own will, working toward his purposes, one of which that he brings forth spiritual sons. Looking back at what he has already written, one of his greatest gifts to mankind was that we “have been born again, not from perishable seed but imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.” (1 Pet. 1:13) We can contrast this with the fact that “sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned.” (Rom. 5:12) God did not cause Satan, Adam, or Eve to sin, nor does he cause us to sin. God’s born again sons are brought about by the Holy Spirit, by way of the Word of God. The Holy Spirit transforms a person, empowering him through the Word of God, and enabling him to put on the “new person” required of true Christians: “So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” (Col. 3:12) This is the good news of the kingdom. The apostle Paul says of this, “In him [Christ] you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.” (Eph. 1:13-14) So James again has proven his point that God is not a tempter in the fact that if God was nothing but a tempter, then why would he give humanity his written Word that mankind could have the knowledge of salvation.
It was God’s purpose for the first-century Christian congregation to bring about those, who was born again by the Holy Spirit. They were to be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures. In other words, they were taken out of mankind at that time as firstfruits to God. Under the Mosaic Law, God received the firstfruits of everything. (Ex. 22:29-30; 23:19) In fact, “Israel was holy to the Lord, the firstfruits of his harvest.” (Jer. 2:3) We see, from the Apostle John’s words that these ones and others up unto our day were ‘made a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign over the earth.’ (Rev. 5:10) James could have also been thinking of the “Feast of Passover was to begin on the fourteenth day of the first month and was followed the next day by the Feast of Unleavened Bread (23:4–6).” “The next festive event in the Israelite calendar was the Feast of Firstfruits, which began the day after the Sabbath in the week of Unleavened Bread. On this day the Israelite presented a sheaf of the first grain of barley (23:9–11). The presentation of the first sheaf was representative of the entire crop, acknowledging that the yield came from the hand of God.” (Rooker 2000, 286-7) The barley firstfruits was on Nisan 16 in 33 C.E., which landed on the day of Jesus’ resurrection, with a sheaf of the first grain of barley on Pentecost day, the occurrence of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. (Lev. 23:4-11, 15-17) If this were the case, Jesus Christ would be the “firstfruits that Paul spoke of, saying, “in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.” (1 Cor. 15:20, 23) Then, in a more general sense, Christians are a kind of firstfruits of his creatures who are important in God’s new created order. The apostle John tells us “It is these who have not defiled themselves with women, for they are virgins. It is these who follow the Lamb wherever he goes. These have been redeemed from mankind as firstfruits for God and the Lamb.” – Revelation 14:4.
Hearing and Doing the Word
James 1:19-25 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
19 Know this, my beloved brothers: let every man be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; 20 for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God. 21 Therefore, putting aside all filthiness and abundance of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. 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 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.
Know this, my beloved brothers (1:19a)
James says know this, which is a reference to the fact that these Christians are “a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.” ‘Knowing this’ is suggestive of action not so much awareness, which they had. Remember, Jesus said to his disciples that “If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.” (John 13:17) A Christian in a righteous standing with God will act on what he knows to be true about God. The apostle John tells us, “No one who abides in him [God] keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him.” (1 John 3:6) As he has done previously, he calls them “my beloved brothers,” (1) to draw their attention to an important point (2), and to let them know that this applies to him as well as them. In essence, James is saying; you know that God has made you a kind of firstfruits by the word of truth, meaning that you should feel privileged, by evidencing your new Christian personality, living up to being a disciple of Christ.
let every man be quick to hear (1:19b)
Just as ‘knowing’ in the above was suggestive of an action, so too, “hearing” is suggesting obedience. (John 8:37, 38, 47) In other words, ‘to hear is to obey.’ Jesus said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” (Matt. 11:15) We should not fail to hear aright. It takes more than hearing the audio sound of what is being said, so as to hear with understanding. We are challenged to pay close attention to what the speaker has said and to ask ourselves what he meant by the words that he used. The apostle Paul wrote, “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” (Rom. 10:17) What did Paul mean? He meant that by taking in the Word of God, our faith and sureness grow in God, as we see the outworking of his promises. If we are not obeying the Word of God, then, apparently, we have not truly heard the Word of God. We want to move beyond being hearers to being doers as well. All self-importance, willfulness, preconception and personal opinion should be set aside as we humbly hear the Word of God. We should long for the Word of God, seeking it and being eager to obey.
slow to speak (1:19c)
Slow to speak means that we should ponder what we are going to say. (Prov. 15:28; 16:23) This certainly does not mean that we can never speak. We are to proclaim the Word of God, as we are to contend for the faith and defend the Word of God and to speak the Word without fear. (Matt. 24:14; 28:19-20; 1 Pet 3:15; Jude 1:3, 22-23; Phil. 1:14; 1 Thess. 5:14; Eph. 5:15-16) However, we should not use the Bible as a tool to help others until we have incorporated the Word of God in our lives first. Then we can more clearly see how we might use it to benefit another. (Rom. 2:17-24) Paul speaks to Timothy about those “desiring to be teachers of the law, without understanding either what they are saying or the things about which they make confident assertions.” (1 Tim 1:7) We do not want to use God’s Word to offer advice counsel, comfort, or even to console until we have first used the Word of God effectively in our lives. The reason for this is simple; the Bible is a book for all those things and more. However, it can be misused in the hands of anyone, who does not have a correct understanding of what it means and has not truly experienced its ability to transform by way of application.
slow to anger; (1:19d)
Injustices surround us in this wicked world, filled with imperfect people, who lean toward sin and are mentally bent toward evil. Yet, James counsels us to work in harmony with Scripture and prayer to keep our anger under control. Because this is in context with our being obedient to the “word” of God, clearly any analysis of the Word of God must be treated with the correct mindset and heart condition. If we are upset to the point of being angry, he will likely be blinded to the value that lies in the Word of God. (Prov. 19:3) He will not see the light while in a provoked state of mind, let alone be able to apply the counsel in his life in a balanced manner. If another has made us angry by saying something inappropriate or mistreating us in some unjust way, we need to slow down, to avoid responding to them in kind, i.e., some vicious, hostile, spiteful comeback, which will only serve to escalate the anger and the void between them and us. There are times to be angry with righteous indignation, but after that Paul warns us, “Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger.” (Eph. 4:26) This is why we combat the irrational thinking, which contributes to anger, with slowing down and rationalizing the situation before we respond.
for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God (1:20)
No one displaying a wrathful disposition can ever have a righteous standing before God. Wrathful ones will not see the wisdom of obedience to the Scriptures. When angry, we tend to make irrational decisions that will generally not be for the good of anyone, even creating long-lasting ripples within relationships. It could even be as simple as our destroying property in a fit of rage, irrationally not caring about the cost. However, once we are calm, the realization that those seconds of rage have cost us hundreds of dollars if not thousands, maybe even an irreplaceable family heirloom, can be very depressing. Our wrath also makes the righteousness of God difficult to accept by unbelievers who see our fits of rage, as opposed to seeing the qualities of God. If we are always angry, how are we projecting the image of God in giving a witness by our behavior? Can we imagine our stumbling someone out of seeking God because they question God based on our personality? Yes, a wrathful attitude from one who claims to be a Christian blocks the righteousness of God. It will cause the unbeliever to turn away from hearing the Word of God. Solomon writes, “Whoever is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who has a hasty temper exalts folly.” – Proverbs 14:29
Therefore, putting aside all filthiness and abundance of wickedness (1:21a)
Here in these passages after James has told these believers the attitudes that they were to have when they come to the Word, he now tells them the behaviors that they must put away to be able to accept the word of truth. James tells his audience that they are to be putting aside all filthiness and abundance of wickedness. Putting aside carries with it the idea of taking off filthy and dirty clothes and casting them to the side. In other words, they were to take off the old and put it out of the way to be done away with. Keep in mind, while not addressed here, it is important to replace the old with something new. If we do not fill a void, it will return to an unusual extent. If we remove unrighteous anger from our lives, it must be replaced with understanding, compassion, empathy, kindness, and things like these.
For this reason, it is important to note that James is making the point that it is a personal act of the will to do away with these things, and not God’s responsibility. The first thing that James tells his readers is that they are to put aside its filthiness. The word for filthiness is rhuparia and means “dirty or filthy.” (Vine, 1996, pg. 237) Things such as fornication, lust, adultery, immorality, and things like these would be included in the filthiness and wickedness that James is talking about. Also in the context of this verse, James could be specifically referring to the anger of which he just stated does not bring about the righteous life that God desires. The reason James tells them to put aside the filth is that as long as a person lives in filth, it will keep him away from the Word of truth because imperfect humans are naturally drawn to sin. If one is coming to the Word with the wrong attitudes or the bad behaviors, then he is nullifying that which he is reading or hearing from the Word of truth.
and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. (1:21b)
After this, James describes the attitude we are to have when coming to the Word, and the behavior changes we must make, he now describes the manner with which we come to the Word of God. We are to receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. Meekness is to have a teachable and willing spirit to be ready to submit to the commands that come with the Word of God. It is a condition of the spirit and heart, which means being willing to yield to the commands coming from the word of truth.
Meekness would be the key for these believers to be able to receive, understand, and apply the Word of God into their lives. James states that the Word was already implanted if they would just become humble enough to receive it. James was talking to believers who were living with the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit. With the inward law being already written upon their heart and the Holy Spirit dwelling within, these believers knew the Word God because it was already implanted. Edward D. Andrews writes about the indwelling of the Holy Spirit,
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)
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 enable us to move our mind in a different direction by filling the void after having removed our former sinful practices, and with the principles of God’s Word, principles that guide our actions, and especially ones that guide moral behavior.
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 “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. . . .” (Ephesians 4:22-24) This force that contributes to our acting or behaving in a certain way for our best interest is internal.
James here is telling his readers the reason they are to accept this Word of God in humility and why they needed to come to it with proper attitude and behavior, i.e., it contained the words of eternal life, it contains the words which places them on the path to salvation. Peter in writing of the power of the word of truth wrote,
1 Peter 1:23 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
23 having been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.
In the Word of God, these believers learned of the salvation that came through Christ alone. It was the message that they, being wicked sinners at heart, can be saved through the redeeming power of Jesus Christ. This was not just some ordinary book but the very book that leads to salvation and eternal life. It has practical benefits even now, as it will guide us through our daily life and then preserve us for all eternity.
The apostle Paul wrote to the Christians in Rome,
Romans 1:16 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.
Paul also said to the Christians in Corinth,
1 Corinthians 1:18 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
18 For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
But be doers of the word, (1:22a)
James is telling his readers to be doers of the word as obedience to the Word is not optional, it is required if one is to walk faithfully with God. Jesus pointed out: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” (Matt. 7:21, 24-27) He also said, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!” (Luke 11:28) The Greek verb (ginesthe) is an imperative in the present tense, “be you becoming,” which carries the force of an exhortation for a continuous action. James is not suggesting they become doers, but that they be doers, i.e., make sure that they are continuously doers. The expression doer of the word is a Hebrew idiom that literally means ‘makers of the word.’ It could mean a writer or speaker, but more likely carries the meaning of one who lives by the word, one who obeys the word, who practices the word.
and not hearers only, (1:22b)
It does not make one a Christian because they listen dutifully as one is sharing the Word of God. While it is great if a Christian attends Christian services and reads the Scriptures daily, but there is more to being a Christian. Literally hearing the Word, even understanding the Word, is not enough. In the early first century, Jews and Christians had similar services, wherein a lecturer would read from the Scriptures regularly while also explaining what had been read. However, this alone does not lead to faith. If one is to be the type of hearer that James is speaking of here, he would have genuine faith, meaning that his faith in what he heard would result in works. (Rom. 10:17; Jam. 2:20) In other words, a Christian, who was a hearer only, would be one who lacked faith.
deceiving yourselves (1:22c)
Over 41,000 different Christian denominations today are filled with dutiful persons who regularly attend Christian services, regularly read their Bibles, and involve themselves in the social actions of the congregation. In this, they all believe that they are fulfilling their Christian obligations. However, many of these people’s lives are no different from the atheist that is a good person, living by the laws, paying his taxes, and doing good to others. We are deceiving ourselves if our entire life is not inundated in our worship of God. We may not be aware of, or maybe we even block out the fact that obeying the Word of God is an unnegotiable requirement. What we may not realize is that this deceiving ourselves is like a roadblock on our path to salvation and harder to set aside than ignorance or skepticism itself. God expects exclusive devotion from his worshipers, which encompasses every aspect of the Christian life. (1 Cor. 10:31) If our worship is merely an outward display, a going through the motions, we are falling short. We were given the great commission of proclaiming and teaching God’s Word, as well as making disciples. If we are not regularly engaged in such work in our own communities, we are missing the most important act of obedience.
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 in a mirror. (1:23)
When looking into a mirror, man has his image reflected back at himself, where he can see all of his flaws and faults. The purpose of looking into the mirror is so he can see if anything is out of place so that he can make any needed corrections. Can we imagine looking into a mirror, seeing a big stain on our shirt, our hair is completely disheveled, or that we have something on our face, but we ignore them and head off to work?
The image he sees in the mirror is sent to the mind, where it is evaluated, reasoned on, considered. For this reason, by looking at the Word of God, by hearing the Word of God, we are able to see our true selves. We can see all of our imperfections, character flaws, and human weaknesses. We can also see any wrongdoings, misdeeds, even thinking that is out of harmony with the Word of God.
We must keep in mind this analogy is a negative one that is looking at a person who looks intently at his natural face in the mirror, sees the things that need to be corrected, but walks away ignoring them. The same is true with the Word of God. He looks into the Word, listens to the needed corrections as he reads, ignores them, and chooses to remain inactive, and fails to respond.
For he looks at himself and goes away, and immediately forgets what sort of man he was. (1:24)
When a person looks into a mirror, he is good at quickly seeing what is out of place as to his appearance. Maybe he has been unable to sleep, so he sees the yellow skin and puffy eyes and dark circles under the eyes. Maybe he sees that he has more gray hair coming in from increased age. When he looks intently into a mirror, he is aware of the things that should give him pause as to how he is living his life. Sleepless nights can cause high blood pressure, heart attacks, strokes, memory loss, diabetes, and lower libidos, and less interest in sex. Does it seem logical to ignore the physical signs of lacking sleep? Should we not consider how we could turn things around? Nevertheless, the man in James’ analogy quickly forgets, once he has turned away from the mirror. It is a case of, ‘out of sight, out of mind,’ as he may want to forget some unwelcome features. Yes, once he has walked away from the mirror he allows the anxieties of the day to crowd out his appearance, forgetting what he may have needed to correct. (See 2 Pet. 1:9) However, the man who is a doer reacts quite differently as he looks into the perfect law.
But he that looks into the perfect law, (1:25a)
James now gives a comparison to the man who not only hears the Word but also actually applies that Word to his life. James says the man who applies the word is he that looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty. The Greek word used for “looks” is the word parakupto, which means to “bend inside, lean over, or stoop down to look into.” (Vine 1996, Volume 2, Page 378) The sense here is of one seeking to get a better look of something by leaning forward, peering at it. (See John 20:5, 11; 1 Peter 1:12) “The same verb—translated as bent over—pictures the apostle John staring into Jesus’ empty tomb (John 20:5). John’s look led to an obedient faith (John 20:8).” (Lea 1999, 267)
One, who is wanting to obey the law of Christ does just that, as he peers into the perfect law to inspect, examine and study it, with a heart motivated toward obedience. He is able to visualize himself as it relates to being a biblical father, husband, son, or to herself as a biblical mother, wife or daughter. The law is perfect in the sense that it is complete, everything we in our imperfect state need to walk with God, to have and maintain a righteous standing before the Father and the Son. It is a pathway to salvation through the grace of God. – Proverbs 30:5-6; Psalm 119:105, 140.
the law of liberty, (1:25b)
Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:31-32) The Word of God frees his people from slavery to sin and death, putting them on the path of life. (Rom. 7:5-6, 9; 8:2, 4; 2 Cor. 3:6-9) This “law of liberty” is a reference not to the Mosaic Law, but to the new covenant, in which the Father declared, “I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” (Jer. 31:33) Christians are under the principles of the Mosaic Law, but not under some long code of rules and regulations but rather the inspired, inerrant Word of God, which enables them to know the will of the Father. (Matt. 7:21-23; 1 John 2:15-17; Gal. 5:1, 13-14) In other words, they have a developed fine-tuned Christian conscience, which leads them in the way that they should go, not because of some fearful dread of displeasing some all-powerful being. The Christian’s worship is out of love and is principally positive, not negative. – Matthew 22:37-40; see James 2:12
and abides by it, (1:25c)
James also says that the doer of the word does not just obey it occasionally but abides in it. The Greek word for abide is parameno which means “to remain by or near” para, “beside,” hence, “to continue or persevere in anything.” (Vine 1996, Volume 2, Page 127) He is abiding in these things in the fact he is daily striving to live these truths out in a manner that is pleasing to his master who gave him these commands. This is moving beyond a mere examination of it. This one is different from the man who had looked into the mirror, being dissatisfied with what he saw, but nonetheless walking away forgetting or even losing interest in what he saw. The Christian perseveres and continues to pore over the perfect law with the mindset of keeping his life in harmony with it. (Ps. 119:9, 16, 97) We need to be immersed and engaged fully with the Word of God, as it guides us through this imperfect age.
being no hearer who forgets but a doer of a work, he will be blessed in his doing. (1:25d)
The Christian, who has moved over from being a forgetful hearer into the world of being a doer, is one who has a biblical mindset. This biblical mindset leads him to every decision he makes, no matter how great or small. Before, he had been one who may have sat listening respectfully but then failed to act on the insights he gained from the Word of God. Now, he takes everything that he hears from the Word to heart (his inner person), the seat of motivation, and puts it to work in his daily life. He now has an inner joy that he had never previously known. The Word of God proves to be beneficial in ways he had never imagined. (Ps. 19:7-11; see 1 Tim. 4:8.) He draws real comfort from the fact that he has a righteous standing before God, and that God finds him pleasing.
Clean and Pure Worship
James 1:26-27 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
26 If anyone thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this man’s religion is worthless. 27 Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.
If any man thinks he is religious (1:26a)
A man may believe that he is religious, i.e., (1) belief in the faith, (2) belief in the teachings of the faith, and (3) living by those teachings in one’s daily life. He may believe that he is a devout person, completely dedicated to God. He may be attending Christian meetings, or he may be doing some religious works, which on the surface makes him come across as a genuinely committed worshiper. However, there may be something in his conduct, some flaw, which would cast doubt on the validity of his being a genuinely religious man. If he is truly a religious man his entire life will be in harmony with the Word of God. The Holy Spirit should lead his Christian conscience, the mind of Christ, and inner person by way of the inspired Word of God, not a mere observance of some formalities or ritualistic practices. We need to understand that it is how God perceives us, not how we perceive ourselves. – 1 Corinthians 4:4.
and does not bridle his tongue (1:26b)
James brings to his reader’s attention one of the most difficult tasks of the imperfect human, the failure to control the tongue, i.e., what one says, namely bad things. It is of such grave concern that James spends almost all of chapter 2 on this one issue. Not controlling one’s speech would include malicious gossip, slanderous talk, badmouthing, impulsive and reckless statements, flattery, using their tongues to deceive, and the like. While he may put on great airs or an appearance of being religious, his tongue (speech) convicts him of being one who pretends.
- He pretends to have belief in the faith,
- to have belief in the teachings of the faith,
- and to be living by those teachings in his daily life but actually behaves otherwise when outside of the churches view.
In James’ day, the Pharisees were a self-righteous lot, who used their many words to flatter, to lie, to deceive, and to seek their own glory, while speaking ill of the common Jew as though he were less than human. – Mark 12:38-40; John 7:47-48; compare Romans 3:10-18.
but deceives his heart, (1:26c)
When one begins to think more of himself than he ought, he is surely hip deep in self-deception. Our relationship with the Father and the Son necessitates that we have control over our entire body, which includes the tongue. Paul told the Corinthian congregation that they needed to bring “every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.” (2 Cor. 10:5) Therefore, if any is living a life that seems to be religious on the surface, yet has not gotten control over the tongue that causes pain to others and to self, this is deception in the heart, i.e., inner person. Even if one has many Christian gifts that stand out, such as being a good speaker, having a warm and charismatic personality, and is generous but falls short in his speech, this is deception. This one has not realized what all is involved in truly being a religious person. (1 Cor. 13:1-3) We cannot practice any sin, and at the same time consider ourselves a genuine Christian. The apostle John makes it clear that Jesus’ ransom sacrifice covers the committing of a sin not the practice of sinning, i.e., living in sin. – 1 John 2:1; 3:6, 9-10.
this person’s religion is worthless. (1:26d)
First, we should understand that James is not speaking about the religious organization, but rather, the type of worship that this person carries out. This one has a major flaw in his walk with God, his Christian conduct, and so he is not pleasing in the eyes of God who would view his worship (religion) as worthless. This is a case of a formalistic worship, not a true worship of God, as he has infected his relationship with his self-deception by way of his failure to control his tongue. It is worthless to the point that all he is doing is wearing out the floors of the church as he ritualistically enters and leaves each service. His worship is tainted and polluted and, therefore, pointless or useless.
Pure and undefiled religion before our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, (1:27a)
The word that James uses here for “pure” is the Greek word katharos, and it means “clean or unmixed.” (Vine, 1996, pg. 498) This is the kind of purity that is not mixed with anything nor tainted with anything but clear and clean. It would be like looking at a glass of water from an area that has unclean water, if one swirls the glass, he can see little particles floating around in the bottom, unlike bottled water that is pure and clean. Jesus said in Matthew 5:8, “Blessed are the pure (katharos) in heart, for they shall see God.” James and Jesus are saying the same thing. In the Bible, “pure” can specify what is clean in a physical sense. However, the word in other contexts can apply to what is uncontaminated, i.e., not adulterated, stained or dirty, or corrupted, in a moral and religious sense. Jesus said in Luke 10:27, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.”
The Greek word for undefiled is amiantos, and it means “undefiled, free from contamination.” (Vine, 1996, pg. 650) The word carries with it the idea that there is nothing within the inner person of a Christian, which defiles or stains him. Therefore, James is saying that the first criterion is to see if one’s worship is pure and undefiled, is in the way that they use their tongue. Then, the second criterion has to do not just with the tongue, but also with our actions toward people. Keep in mind, James is not giving an exhaustive list here of what pure worship should be. In other words, there are more requirements than just taking care of widows and orphans and keeping oneself unstained by the world. When listing things, no one ever gives an exhaustive list. It is usually three or four examples, and the inference is things like these. The point is pure worship is more than mere formalism, such as following some basic rules, or of attending meetings regularly. Rather, pure worship is that worship, which gets down to the inner person and encompasses his entire life, and which includes his love of God and neighbor. – 1 John 3:18.
James then gives what God would consider being pure and undefiled worship is to visit orphans and widows in their affliction. James here is showing that true worship is more than just living by some basic Bible rules and going to Christian meetings, but it involves actions. James mentions two particular groups of people who would have been very significant in his day. He specifically mentions the orphans and the widows who should be of particular interest for those who claim to have pure worship. It is the actions of Christians, who are willing to help those like orphans and widows, who are truly right in God’s eye because their actions show forth their true belief. It would have been the orphans and the widows, who would have been the most rejected, and most unlikely to survive the conditions in which they found themselves.
James specifically mentions that these people were to be visited in their times of distress. The word in Greek used here for distress is thlipsis and it means “pressure or a pressing together.” (Vine, 1996, pg. 17) James is not saying they were to be helped when they had no more troubles, but rather it was in the midst of their troubles. They were to be helped as they were going through the pressures of life that were coming against them. This could include clothing, feeding, and give them shelter, and show the love of Christ to them. James echoes what John wrote in I John 3:16-18, “We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoever has the world’s goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him? Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth.” Several Scriptures point to the fact that God has a great concern for the orphans and widows.
and to keep oneself unstained by the world. (1:27b)
This is the third and final criterion, which James presents to Christians to see if their worship is true. The first criterion dealt with their speech, the second dealt with their actions, and now this third test deals with their integrity before God, in the fact that they were to keep oneself unstained by the world. The word “unstained” means “spotless” or “without spot.” James is saying that the one who is truly religious, pure in worship, will keep himself from being spotted and tainted by the evil and the wickedness of this world. To be stained by the world would be to allow the sinfulness of the world to engage in the evil desires of the flesh. To be stained by the world is to engage in the wicked practices that it has to offer. The word “world” here is a reference to humankind that is alienated from God, who is “lying in the power of the evil one (i.e., Satan).” (1 John 5:19) A Christian should stand out from those using Satan’s world fully. (John 17:14) Are we truly separate from the violence and corruption of the world, which would also include our entertainment? Have we adopted any of its attitudes, speech or conduct that would not be in harmony with the will of God? (Matt 7:21-23) Paul warns Timothy,
2 Timothy 2:20-22 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
20 Now in a large house there are not only gold and silver vessels, but also vessels of wood and of earthenware, and some to honor and some to dishonor. 21 Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from these things, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified, useful to the master, prepared for every good work. 22 Now flee from youthful lusts and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.
It is important to note that James says, “keep oneself” from being stained by the world, which signifies that sinning or being polluted by the world is always a personal act of the will. It is the personal responsibility to actively resist the evil desires of the flesh that the world has to offer. Paul said to the Christians in Rome,
Romans 12:1-2 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
1 Therefore I urge you, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 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.
The sacrifice that Christians regularly make would be beyond anything that unchristian people would usually consider. Yes, Christians evidence that gratefulness by a life of self-sacrifice. It is toward this that we have made our minds over.
BIBLE DIFFICULTIES Chapter 1
James 1:2a Why would any Christian consider it a joy when they are met with various trials?
James 1:2 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
2 Consider it all joy, my brothers, when you encounter various trials,
James starts his letter by asking that these believers consider the trials that they were currently going through. James wanted his readers to think about why they were having their trials, which referred to any trial that took place in their lives so that his readers would have the proper perspective of the trial before they can actually know how to handle them when they come. Once they had the proper perspective of their trials, they could consider it all joy. The Greek word for joy is chara, which means to have “joy or delight (Vine, 1996, pg. 335).” The joy is not in the fact that one is going through the trial, but rather in what that trial will be able to produce in their lives. James wants his readers to realize that if they can understand that God is the one who allowed imperfection to come into humanity for a particular reason, then they can consider any trial with a response of joy, that is, an opportunity for them to show an evident demonstration of their faith. Do not believe that God placed these trials here to grow their faith, but rather, because the trials (difficult times) are here because of human imperfection, here was their opportunity to grow from the difficult times.
James 1:13 – If God doesn’t tempt anyone, then why did he tempt Abraham?
James 1:13 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
The Bible difficulty is this: Jesus said for us to pray, “do not lead us into temptation.” (Matt. 6:13) The apostle James tells us, “he [i.e., God] himself tempts no one.” Yet, the Bible says, “God tempted Abraham” (Gen. 22:1, KJV), also rendered, “God tested Abraham” (Gen. 22:1, ESV, NASB, CSB, LEB, and others)
Whenever any follower of God is inflicted with any kind of pain, suffering, adversity, or difficult time, he or she would be very wrong to blame God, as though God were trying to tempt them into committing a sin. If any Christian is going through a trial, this is because God has allowed sin to enter the world, not because he placed that trial in front of his servant. If a Christian is going through a trial that God has allowed to happen, and they let something become a temptation to him or her because he or she is seeking a way out of enduring, it is not God’s fault. It is the Christian, who is seeking their own selfish advantage. It is God, who will strengthen one who is undergoing a trial but only if the Christian remains steadfast in his own heart. (Phil. 4:13) Nothing God has allowed in his effort to teach humanity an object lesson about his sovereignty should ever cause us to sin or making sin look attractive.
God will give strength to endure if the Christian remains steadfast in his own heart. (Phil. 4:13) The divine arrangement, God’s way of dealing with his servants, never leads to sin. Whatever God permits to befall us is in no way designed to cause us to transgress or to make wrongdoing look attractive. God is holy, pure, clean. It is impossible for God to be tempted by anything contrary to his moral values. There is no way that even Satan could make any undesirable situation or circumstance attractive to God. James says, “with evil, and he himself tempts no one.” God cannot be tempted into sin, so he does not place anything before us to tempt us into violating his Word, the Bible, or to weaken our resistance to wrongdoing.
Our heavenly Father does not place us in any situation or circumstance where we definitely need something, but it can only be obtained by violating God’s moral values or laws. Even though God has permitted sin (missing the mark of perfection) to enter into the world, resulting in wickedness, sickness, old age, and death to enter into humanity because Od Adam’s rebellion and rejection of his sovereignty, God does not try his servants with evil intent. God is only interested in our good, our improvement, never our harm. It is Satan, however, who has gotten us here, who uses the trial as a temptation, trying to motivate us into wrongdoing. (Matt. 6:13) However, for the faithful Christian, God will prevail over Satan, and at the same time, God may choose not to intervene to remove any trial that Satan carries out, using it as a teaching and perfecting tool, which ends up as a blessing to the Christian. – Hebrews 12:7-11.
Jesus tells us to pray “do not lead us into temptation,” (Matt. 6:13) and yet right after his baptism in Jordan, “Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.” (Matt. 4:1) How do we reconcile that Jesus is being led “to be” tempted by the Spirit?
Matthew 4:1 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
1 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted (Gr, peirazo) by the devil.
The Father does not tempt us, but he does allow us to go through temptations. As we know from Adam and Abraham, the Father can test us, but never tempt us with sin.
The text specifically states that the Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness “to be tempted.” How do we reconcile that Jesus is being led by the Spirit “to be” tempted? First, (Peirazo) can be rendered either as “tempted” (ESV, NIV, LEB) or “tested” (CEV, MSG), but seeing that Satan is carrying this out, it is best to be rendered “tempted.” This is not a literal versus a dynamic equivalent issue because almost all dynamic equivalents have “tempted.”
Second, the Father would have foreknown that Satan was going to tempt Jesus and that he would wait until his weakest moment to do so. What Satan would see as an opportunity to tempt Jesus, the Father may very well see as an opportunity to test Jesus, as he did with Abraham, establishing his faithfulness, which the Father was well aware was perfectly fine. Therefore, God allowed Jesus “to be” tempted, which he used as a test to confirm what he would already know to be true, an evident demonstration of Jesus faith. Jesus’ actions would establish or demonstrate God’s confidence in him. Jesus clearly revealed that his faith was a living faith. The apostle Paul wrote of Jesus, “Since he himself was tested in that which he has suffered, He is able to come to the aid of those who are tested.” (Heb. 2:18) Paul went on to write, “Although he [Jesus] was a son, he learned obedience from the things which he suffered. And having been made perfect, he became to all those who obey him the source of eternal salvation.” – Hebrews 5:8-9.
In addition, Jesus is called the “Son of Abraham” (Lu 3:34), concerning whom it is written, “After these things God tested Abraham and said to him.” Yes, God commanded Abraham to sacrifice Isaac, his beloved son by Sarah. (Gen. 22:1) Moreover, when Satan challenged God, God allowed faithful Job to be tempted, if possible, even to the point of cursing God to his face. Lastly, on the night of Jesus’ betrayal by Judas, he said to his eleven faithful apostles: “You are those who have stayed with me in my trials.” The American Standard Version reads, “ye are they that have continued with me in my temptations” (Job 1:1 to 2:13; Luke 22:28) How then, can we say that God does not tempt his servants and, how can we pray to the heavenly Father to deliver us from temptation, if it seems as though he is the one placing us in the tempting situations?
What we know for a certainty, God allows us to be subjected to trials that are a result of Satan and Adam’s rebellion, but he does not directly place us into temptation for the evil intention of getting us to sin. The key to understanding this is in understanding how God can be directly and indirectly responsible for things. More on directly and indirectly in a moment. Notice where the responsibility truly lies as we read the context of James’ words. “Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own desire. Then the desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.” (Jam. 1:13-15) It is our free willed desires that lead us to sin. When God gave Adam and Eve the prohibition against eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, he was not a tempting them with evil, for the tree itself was not evil, and they had thousands of trees to eat from.
Genesis 2:17 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
There were plenty of trees to eat from in the Garden of Eden, more than enough to satisfy the desires of the first human couple. However, there was the tree that they were forbidden to eat from, “the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” (Gen 2:17) This probation to not eat from that tree was so severe that Adam must have been very emphatic when he told Eve. How do we know that? We can infer it from Eve’s Response to the Serpent when he was tempting her. Eve not only said ‘you cannot eat from it,’ but also added, “neither shall you touch it, lest you die.”–Genesis 3:3.
Some have suggested that the prohibition against the fruit of this tree is symbolic, the fruit standing for sexual intercourse. Others have suggested that it stood for having a knowledge of or an awareness of right and wrong. Still, others have suggested that it stood for the knowledge that they would have attained upon reaching maturity, by way of experience, which could be used for good or bad. The sexual intercourse can immediately be dismissed, as they were commanded to, “be fruitful, multiply, and fill the earth.” (Gen. 1:28) The awareness of good and bad must be dismissed as well, because both had that capacity already, as it was good not to eat from the tree, and bad to eat from the tree. Lastly, the idea of it being a sin to acquire knowledge upon reaching maturity, as this would contradict the whole of the rest of God’s Word, not to mention the idea of expecting the human creation, He designed to grow and mature, to remain in an immature state, is illogical.
The Bible is silent as to the type of tree. However, the idea of the tree being symbolic is correct. The fruit had no intrinsic power to give knowledge, as was evidenced after their eating from it. It did symbolize God’s right of sovereignty, His right to set a standard of what is good and bad. To eat from the tree would have been a rejection of that sovereignty, a rebellion that said that could set their own standard of good and bad, independence from their creator. This was a simple test, for a couple that was to serve as the father and mother of a perfect human race. A footnote on Genesis 2:17, in The Jerusalem Bible (1966):
This knowledge is a privilege, which God reserves to himself and which man, by sinning, is to lay hands on, 3:5, 22. Hence it does not mean omniscience, which fallen man does not possess; nor is it moral discrimination, for unfallen man already had it and God could not refuse it to a rational being. It is the power of deciding for himself what is good and what is evil and of acting accordingly, a claim to complete moral independence by which man refuses to recognize his status as a created being. The first sin was an attack on God’s sovereignty, a sin of pride.
Hence, it was when Eve gave into her desires and listened to the serpent’s deceptive talk that she became tempted. The warning from God did not instill any kind of desire or appetite for the tree within Eve or Adam. However, Satan by way of the serpent offered Eve lies, a false description of what she would gain by violating God’s command to not eat from the tree, so ‘when she was carried away and enticed by her own desire. Then the desire when it had conceived gave birth to sin. (Jam. 1;14-15) Eve did not dismiss the desire that she had as being wrong and against God, but rather she entertained it until Satan’s temptation drew her into sin. God has a very good reason for allowing sin to come into the world, which has resulted in these tests that prove what and who we are, which highlights any weaknesses in our faith. Again, God does not tempt us with evil for the purposes of moving us to sin. Yet, like Eve, it is we ourselves, who fall victim to Satan’s influence by seeking our own self-desires of the fallen flesh, as opposed to not dismissing the desire created by this improper thinking, but rather considering it more and more. It is us, free moral agents, who are drawn out and enticed to God’s Word and warnings. It is we that enter ourselves into temptation.
Is God responsible for sin, old age, wickedness, suffering, and death entering humanity?
One thing that we will learn from this Bible difficulty is, there are a few things that will build us up spiritually and maintain our strength in these last days. Our relationship with fellow Christians, our regular attendance at Christian meetings, and our sharing our faith with others, will strengthen us, make us steadfast. These are provisions from God that will help us to “be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.” (Eph. 6:10) Max Anders comments, saying, “Paul introduces his final subject by urging the Ephesian believers to be strong in the Lord. When it comes to spiritual warfare, we cannot be sufficiently strong by ourselves. If we are going to have adequate strength for the spiritual battles of life, it must be the Lord’s strength. Only he has the mighty power sufficient to win spiritual battles against the demonic enemy.” As we grow in knowledge and understanding, our chief desire will be to share our faith.
While Jesus was referring to our giving to the poor, we learn an important message from his words, “your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” (Matt. 6:4) He is well aware of any difficult times that befall us. Even though God’s “throne is in heaven; his own eyes see, his watchful eyes examine the sons of men.” (Ps. 11:4) We know that God never has to sleep, so he is ever watchful, having loving interest in the welfare of his people. God “will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways. On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.” (Ps. 91:11-12) Steven Lawson writes, “In part, this sovereign guardianship will be carried out by his angels whom the Lord will command and commission to guard you in all your ways. Satan quoted these verses to Christ in his temptation and shrewdly omitted this last phrase, “in all your ways” (Matt. 4:6; Luke 4:10–11). This divine protection extends only to the place of trusting and obeying God. The angels will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone (Ps. 34:7).”
Remember the precious promise that God’s eyes “run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to give strong support to those whose heart is complete toward him.” (2 Chron. 16:9) God is “is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the tired one, and full might to those lacking strength. (Isa. 40:28-29) Isaiah then promises that those who place their hope in God, they “will regain power; they will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not tire out. (Isa. 40:31) Contentment and peace belong to those, who accept that the Father’s power is always available to them, knowing that God is always interested in their best interests. We need to believe that “we know that all things work together for good for those who love God, for those who are called according to his purpose.” (Rom. 8:28)
We need to understand Roman’s 8:28 better as it is often misused. Many read into Paul’s words that God causes everything to happen both good or bad. This is certainly one reason that the subject of suffering and evil is often misunderstood. It is true that nothing happens outside of God’s plan for our good. God is responsible for everything, but not always directly. If he started the human race, and we end up with what we now have, in essence, he is responsible. Just as parents, who have a child are similarly responsible for the child committing murder 21 years into his life because they procreated and gave birth to the child. The mother and father are indirectly responsible. King David commits adultery with Bathsheba and has her husband Uriah killed to cover things up, and impregnates Bathsheba, but the adulterine child, who remains nameless, died. Is God responsible for the death of that child? We can answer yes and no to that question. He is responsible in two ways: (1) He created humankind so there would have been no affair, murder, adulterine child if he had not. (2) He did not step in and save the child when he had the power to do so. However, he is not directly responsible, because he did not make King David and Bathsheba commit the acts that led to the child being born, nor did he bring an illness on the adulterine child, he just did not move in to protect the child, in a time that had a high rate of infant deaths.
God is INDIRECTLY responsible for ALL things and DIRECTLY responsible for SOME things. When we attribute things to God we need to qualify (i.e., explain) them. Without explaining the directly or indirectly part of God being responsible, we would be saying God brought about Vlad Dracula, Joseph Stalin, and Adolf Hitler for our good. God is indirectly responsible for all even in human history because he allowed sin to enter the world, as opposed to just destroying Satan, Adam, and Eve and starting over. God is directly responsible for many human events because he directly stepped in miraculously and used a group, person, organization, or country to carry out his will and purposes. God is indirectly responsible for Joseph Stalin and Adolf Hitler. God is directly responsible for Babylon conquering Jerusalem. God is directly responsible for helping William Tyndale bring us the first printed English translation of the Bible. E can only know afterward (sometimes) if God is directly or indirectly responsible, and then, it is still an educated guess. Overly attributing everything to God without explaining whether he is directly or indirectly responsible is why unbelievers sometimes see Christians as illogical and irrational. A four-year-old child was rescued from a surging river by a priest in 1894. If the child were rescued in the same manner today, the media would quote Christian leaders as saying God used the priest to save the child. However, only afterward do we know that this is not true. Why? Because that four-year-old child, who nearly drowned in that river in 1894 was Adolf Hitler. Hitler being saved by the priest can be indirectly attributed to God not directly.
The reason people think that God does not care about us is the words of some religious leaders, which have made them, feel this way. When tragedy strikes, what do some pastors and Bible scholars often say? When 9/11 took place, with thousands dying in the twin towers of New York, many ministers said: “It was God’s will. God must have had some good reason for doing this.” When religious leaders make such comments or similar ones, they are actually blaming God for the bad things that happened. Yet, the disciple James wrote, “Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am being tempted by God,’ for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one.” (James 1:13) God never directly causes what is bad. Indeed, “far be it from God that he should do wickedness, and from the Almighty that he should do wrong.” (Job 34:10 God has allowed sin, old age, wickedness, suffering, and death to enter humanity after the rebellion by Satan, Adam, and Eve. He did not cause Satan to rebel, Eve to eat of the forbidden tree, or Adam to join that rebellion but God had allowed them to exercise the free will that he gave them.
God allowed these things as an object lesson for his creation. What has this object lesson proven? God does not cause evil and suffering. (Rom. 9:14) The fact that God has allowed evil, pain, and suffering have shown that independence from God has not brought about a better world. (Jer. 8:5-6, 9) God’s permission of evil, pain, and suffering has also proved that Satan has not been able to turn all humans away from God. (Ex. 9:16; 1 Sam. 12:22; Heb. 12:1) The fact that God has permitted evil, pain, and suffering to continue has provided proof that only God, the Creator, has the capability and the right to rule over humankind for their eternal blessing and happiness. (Eccl. 8:9) Satan has been the god of this world since the sin in Eden (over 6,000 years), and how has that worked out for man, and what has been the result of man’s course of independence from God and his rule? – Matthew 4:8-9; John 16:11; 2 Corinthians 4:3-4; 1 John 5:19; Psalm 127:1.
[vs. 1] Which of the four men mentioned in the Greek New Testament named James was the author of this letter?
[vs. 1] Who are the “twelve tribes” to whom James writes?
[vs. 2] Why should we consider it all joy when we encounter various trials?
[vs. 2] What type of trial may we have to face?
[vs. 3] How does the testing of our faith produce endurance?
[vs. 4] How does endurance have its perfect work, and how may we be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing?
[vs. 5] What is wisdom? What kind of wisdom should we be asking for and where can it be found?
[vs. 6] What does it mean to ask in faith? What kind of condition is the one who doubts in?
[vs. 7] Why should no one suppose that he would receive anything from the Lord if he doubts?
[vs. 8] What does it mean to be a double-minded man?
[vs. 9] How is the poor person who becomes a Christian exalted?
[vs. 10] How does the rich man boast in his humiliation?
[vs. 11] How is it that the rich man will fade away in the midst of his pursuits?
[vs. 12] What does James mean here by the term “trial”?
[vs. 13] Why can we rightfully say that God cannot be tempted with evil?
[vs. 14] What is it when a person is undergoing a trial that causes him to sin?
[vs. 15] What brings a person to the point of sinning?
[vs. 16] How might a Christian while in the midst of a trial be deceived?
[vs. 17] How do we know that we can always completely rely on God?
[vs. 18] What is the word of truth? How are Christians first fruits of his creatures?
[vs. 19] What is involved in being quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger?
[vs. 20] How is it that the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God?
[vs. 21] Why must we put aside all filthiness and abundance of wickedness? How is the implanted word able to save our souls?
[vs. 22] What does it mean to be doers of the word, and not hearers only, and how would we be deceiving ourselves?
[vs. 23] What does James mean when he speaks of a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror?
[vs. 24] What does a man who looks at himself and goes away, and immediately forgets what sort of man he was mean?
[vs. 25] What is the perfect law, the law of liberty?
[vs. 26] How can one’s form of worship become worthless?
[vs. 27] Pure and undefiled religion before our God and Father is what?
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Translation and Textual Criticism
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.
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. The translation of God’s Word from the original languages of Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek is a task unlike any other and should never be taken lightly because it carries with it the heaviest responsibility: the translator renders God’s thoughts into a modern language. It is CGBT’s desire to take challenging and complex subjects and make them easy to understand. CGBT will communicate as clearly and powerfully as possible to all of its readers while also accurately communicating information about the Bible. …
We have come a long, long way from the time that the KJV was The Bible in English and the many translations available today. Finding the right Bible for the right person can be daunting, with almost too many choices available. However, it is still possible to divide the options into two broad categories: literal translations and dynamic equivalents. What is the difference, and why should you care? Bible publishers used to say that literal translations are good for study purposes, and dynamic equivalents are better for reading. So literal translations were advertised with terms like “accurate,” “reliable,” and, of course, “literal.” For dynamic equivalent translations, terms like “contemporary,” “easy to read,” and “written in today’s English” were used. Naturally, publishers do not advertise the negatives, so they did not point out that the literal translations might be a little harder to read, or that the dynamic equivalents might not be entirely faithful to the original languages of the Bible. However, more recently, some scholars have been taking this analysis in a new direction, assessing literal translations as less desirable than dynamic equivalents even for accuracy and reliability.
Many have asked Edward D. Andrews as a Chief Translator, “In studying the modern Bible translations, I have come across some verses that are left out but that are in my King James Version or even my New King James Version, such as Matthew 18:11; 23:14; Luke 17:36. I have gotten conflicting opinions on social media. Can you please clear this up for me?”
Have you experienced this? The book of Revelation warns: “if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.” Yes, removing a true part of the Bible would be a serious matter. (Rev. 22:19) But had this happened? Do you know why these verses are omitted from modern translations? You might wonder, ‘Is my modern Bible translation lacking something that the King James Version has?’ The reader of the King James Version may feel that they have something that the modern Bibles do not. Andrews will help the reader find the answers to whether verses are being omitted and far more when it comes to the differences between the King James Bible and the Modern Bible translations.
The fascinating story of how we got the English Bible in its present form starts 1,120 years ago. HISTORY OF ENGLISH VERSIONS OF THE BIBLE covers the fascinating journey of the Bible from the 9th century AD to the beginning of the 20th-century. The chief translator of the Updated American Standard Version Edward D. Andrews invites readers to explore the process of from the early manuscripts to contemporary translations today.
And so, it was that translators like William Tyndale were martyred for the honor of giving the people a Bible that could easily be understood. What a price they had paid, however; it was a priceless gift! Tyndale and others before and after him had worked with the shadow of death towering over their heads. However, by delivering the Bible to many people in their native tongue, they opened up before them the possibility, not of death, but life eternal. As Jesus Christ said in the Tyndale Bible, “This is lyfe eternall that they myght knowe the that only very God and whom thou hast sent Iesus Christ.” (John 17:3) May we, therefore, know the value of what we can now hold in our hands, and may we diligently study God’s Word.
JOHN 8:58 has been one of the most hotly debated verses in the Bible for centuries. For the first time, an impartial, unbiased, objective investigation begins and ends here. BEFORE ABRAHAM WAS I AM is for all individuals interested in how John 8:58 should be translated, as well as how it should be interpreted. The book impartially (objectively) offers the two different translation views on this verse, as well as two different interpretational views. The reader is given the opportunity to see both perspectives, and then, he or she can decide for themselves. The reader does not have to know Biblical Greek, as we have taken every measure to make this small book easy to understand. We have used the Greek interlinear with the English above the Greek. We have translated all the Greek herein. We have tried to define and explain every uncommon term. Views on translating John 8:58 include NT commentator with the historical setting Kenneth O Gangel, Bible background Clinton E. Arnold and Craig S. Keener, Exegetical commentator D. A. Carson, NT Greek scholar Daniel B. Wallace, Textual scholar B. F. Westcott, Senior Bible Translator of the NASB Don Wilkins, and Chief Translator of the UASV and textual scholar Edward D. Andrews.
FROM SPOKEN WORDS TO SACRED TEXTS is an introduction-intermediate level coverage of the text of the New Testament. Andrews begins by introducing the reader to New Testament textual studies by presenting all the essential, foundational details necessary to understand New Testament textual criticism. With Andrews’ clear and comprehensive approach to New Testament textual studies, FROM SPOKEN WORDS TO SACRED TEXTS, will remain popular for beginning and intermediate students for decades to come. This source on how the New Testament came down us will become the standard book for courses in biblical studies, as well as the history of Christianity. FROM SPOKEN WORDS TO SACRED TEXTS is assured of becoming a reliable, clear-cut resource for generations of Bible students to come.
The Greek 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? FROM SPOKEN WORDS TO SACRED TEXTS introduces its readers to New Testament textual studies of the Greek New Testament. Herein the reader will find plain language as Edward D. Andrews gives the reader an in-depth view of the history of the New Testament. We will discover how the New Testament books were transmitted. The intentional and unintentional scribal errors that crept into the text for some 1,500 years of corruption by copyists, followed by over 400 years of restoration work by textual scholars who gave their entire lives to give us today a restored New Testament text. In this book, the reader will gain an appreciation for the vast work that has been carried out in preserving the text of the New Testament and finding renewed confidence in its reliability. Andrews’ work on FROM SPOKEN WORDS TO SACRED TEXTS was carried out with an apologetical mindset to assist Christians in their defense of God’s Word.
INTRODUCTION TO THE TEXT OF THE NEW TESTAMENT is a shortened 321 pages of Andrews and Wilkins 602 page TEXT OF THE NEW TESTAMENT without losing the value of content. The foremost thing the reader is going to learn is that the Greek New Testament that our modern translations are based on is a mirror-like reflection of the original and can be fully trusted. The reader will learn how the New Testament authors made and published their books, the secretaries in antiquity and their materials like Teritus who helped Paul pen the epistle to the Romans, and the book writing process of the New Testament authors and early copyists. The reader will also discover the reading culture of early Christianity and their view of the integrity of the Greek New Testament. The reader will also learn how textual scholars known as paleography determine the age of the manuscripts.
The reader will learn all about the different sources that go into our restoring the Greek New Testament to its original form. Then, Andrews will cover the ancient version, the era of the printed text, and the arrival of the critical text. After that, the reader will be given a lengthy chapter on examples of how the textual scholar determines the correct reading by his looking at the internal and external evidence. Finally, and most importantly, the reader will find out the truth about the supposed 400,000 textual errors within the Greek New Testament manuscripts. The last chapter will be faith-building and enable you to defend the Word of God as inerrant.
THE READING CULTURE OF EARLY CHRISTIANITY provides the reader with the production process of the New Testament books, the publication process, how they were circulated, and to what extent they were used in the early Christian church. It examines the making of the New Testament books, the New Testament secretaries and the material they used, how the early Christians viewed the New Testament books, and the literacy level of the Christians in the first three centuries. It also explores how the gospels went from an oral message to a written record, the accusation that the apostles were uneducated, the inspiration and inerrancy in the writing process of the New Testament books, the trustworthiness of the early Christian copyists, and the claim that the early scribes were predominantly amateurs. Andrews also looks into the early Christian’s use of the codex [book form], how did the spread of early Christianity affect the text of the New Testament, and how was the text impacted by the Roman Empire’s persecution of the early Christians?
The Bible has been under attack since Moses penned the first five books. However, the New Testament has faced criticism like no other time over the 50-70-years. Both friend and foe have challenged the reliability of our New Testament. Self-proclaimed Agnostic textual scholar Dr. Bart D. Ehrman has claimed that there are 400,000+ scribal errors in our Greek New Testament manuscripts. A leading textual scholar, Greek grammarian, and Christian apologist Dr. Daniel B. Wallace has stipulated that this is true. This is of particular interest among all Christians, who have been charged with defending the Word of God. – 1 Peter 3:15.
In this volume, textual scholar Edward D. Andrews offers the churchgoer and textual student a defense against this specific attack on the New Testament. Andrews offers the reader a careful analysis of the relevant evidence, giving his readers logical, reasonable, rational assurances that the New Testament can be trusted more than ever before. He will explain the differences between the older Bible translations and the newer ones. Andrews will explain why we do not need the original manuscripts to have the original Word of God. He will reveal how reliable our manuscripts are, how they survived the elements and the persecution of early Christianity, as well as withstanding careless and even deceitful scribes. Finally, Andrews will deal with the 400,000+ scribal errors in the Greek New Testament manuscripts extensively. The author takes a complicated subject and offers his readers an easy to understand argument for why they can have confidence in the Bible despite various challenges to the trustworthiness of Scripture, offering an insightful, informed, defense of God’s Word.
This fourth edition will be dealing with the Greek text of our New Testament, through the Eyes of Dr. Bart D. Ehrman, in his New York Times bestseller: Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why (2005). First, in the introduction, we will look into Bart D. Ehrman’s early life and spiritual decline as he moved from being an evangelical conservative Christian to becoming an agnostic skeptic. Second, we will open with chapter one covering the book writing process of the New Testament authors and early Christian scribes. Then, we will spend three lengthy chapters covering the reading culture of early Christianity because of Ehrman’s claim of just how low the literacy rates were in early Christianity. After that, we will take one chapter to investigate the early Christian copyists because of Ehrman’s claim that most of the scribal errors come from the first three centuries. Following this will be one of the most critical chapters examining Ehrman’s claim of 400,000 textual variants [errors] and what impact they have on the integrity of the Greek New Testament. We will then investigate Bible Difficulties and what they mean for the trustworthiness of God’s Word. After that, we will give the reader the fundamentals of some of Ehrman’s complaints, debunking them as we investigate each one throughout seven chapters.
The Apostolic Fathers were core Christian theologians among the Church Fathers who lived in the 1st and 2nd centuries A.D., who are believed to have personally known some of the Twelve Apostles or to have been significantly influenced by them. Their writings, though widely circulated in Early Christianity, were not included in the canon of the New Testament. Many of the writings derive from the same time period and geographical location as other works of early Christian literature, which came to be part of the New Testament. Some of the writings found among the Apostolic Fathers appear to have been as highly regarded as some of the writings which became the New Testament.
These writers include Clement of Rome, Ignatius, Polycarp, Hermas, Barnabas, Papias, and the anonymous authors of the Didachē (Teaching of the Twelve Apostles), Letter to Diognetus, Letter of Barnabas, and the Martyrdom of Polycarp. Not everything written by the Apostolic Fathers is considered to be equally valuable theologically, but taken as a whole, their writings are more valuable historically than any other Christian literature outside the New Testament. They provide a bridge between it and the more fully developed Christianity of the late 2nd century.
Christian Apologetics and Evangelism
The only way in which anyone can become a genuine disciple of Jesus Christ is to exercise a divinely-given faith in the once crucified but now glorified Son of God, a faith that quickens the soul, fills it with the mind of Christ, and so unites them to Jesus forever. Murray & Andrews well know that the means for arriving at faith is the Word of God. It is the question often asked by the Master, Jesus Christ, which brings us to the title of the book, “If I speak the truth, why do you not believe ?” (John 8:46). Assured like the apostle Paul, as taught by the Lord, that the only mode for receiving forgiveness of sins and inheritance among them that are sanctified, is “faith” in Christ (Acts 26:18). Therefore, Murray & Andrews concentrate their writings on the anxious soul onto the Savior, on the one hand, and the necessity and power of faith in his own heart, on the other. By this means, they expect that under the working of the Spirit through the Word of God, the reader will be led to more fully live their life in faith, ‘the faith which is in the Son of God, who loved you and gave Himself up for you.” (Gal. 2:20) This little book will play a valuable part in our modern Christian faith, no doubt, with its lessons helping Christians to grow spiritually. This book will awaken the need for a vital bond between Christ and the readers, leading them to a stronger faith, which is so richly needed today.
THE BIBLE: ERRORS! MISTAKES! INCONSISTENCIES! CONTRADICTIONS! Critics claim that the Bible is filled with so-called errors, mistakes, inconsistencies, and contradictions. Some even speak of thousands of errors. The truth is there is not even one demonstrated error in the original text of the Bible. Of course, we would never say that there are no difficulties in our Bibles. The Bible is loaded with thousands of difficult, challenging passages, many of which become obstacles in the development of our faith. These difficulties arise out of differences in culture, language, religious and political organizations, not to mention between 2,000 to 3,500 years of separation between the Bible author and the modern-day reader. Calling attention to these difficulties and sifting out the misconceptions, Andrews defends the full inerrancy of the Bible, clarifies the so-called errors or mistakes and what might seem like apparent contradictions. He arms the Christian with what he or she needs to defend their faith in the Bible. Honestly, whenever Christians find a difficulty in the Bible, frankly, acknowledge it. Do not try to obscure it. Do not try to dodge it. Herein is the defense of God’s Word that Christians have been waiting for.
The role of women within the church has been a heated, ongoing debate. There are two views. We have the equal ministry opportunity for both men and women (egalitarian view) and the ministry roles distinguished by gender (complementarian view). This biblically grounded introduction will acquaint the reader with the biblical view: what does the Bible say about the woman’s role in the church? Both views mention the teachings of the apostle Paul in 1 Timothy 2:12 in order to support their viewpoint. Andrews will furnish the reader with a clear and thorough presentation of the biblical evidence for the woman’s role in the church so we can better understand the biblical viewpoint.
Some of the questions asked and answered in THE YOUNG CHRISTIAN’S SURVIVAL GUIDE are “You claim the Bible is inspired because it says it is, right (2 Tim. 3:16)? Isn’t that circular reasoning?” “You claim the Bible was inspired, but there was no inspired list of which books that is true of. So how can we know which ones to trust?” “With so many different copies of manuscripts that have 400,000+ variants (errors), how can we even know what the Bible says?” “Why can’t the people who wrote the four Gospels get their story straight?” These questions and many more will be asked and answered with reasonable, rational, Scriptural answers.
Was the Gospel of Mark Written First? Were the Gospel Writers Plagiarists? What is the Q Document? What about Document Q? Critical Bible scholars have assumed that Matthew and Luke used the book of Mark to compile their Gospels and that they consulted a supplementary source, a document the scholars call Q from the German Quelle, or source. From the close of the first century A.D. to the 18th century, the reliability of the Gospels was never really brought into question. However, once we enter the so-called period of enlightenment, especially from the 19th century onward, some critical Bible scholars viewed the Gospels not as the inspired, inerrant Word of God but rather as the word of man, and a jumbled word at that. In addition, they determined that the Gospels were not written by Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, saying the Gospels were written after the apostles, denying that the writers of the Gospels had any firsthand knowledge of Jesus; therefore, for these Bible critics such men were unable to offer a record of reliable history. Moreover, these critical Bible scholars came to the conclusion that the similarities in structure and content in the synoptic (similar view) Gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke), suggests that the evangelists copied extensively from one other. Further, the critical Bible scholars have rejected that the miracles of Jesus and his resurrection ever occurred as recorded in the Gospels. Lastly, some have even gone so far as to reject the historicity of Jesus himself.
Inside of some Christians unbeknownst to their family, friends or the church, they are screaming, “I doubt, I doubt, I have very grave doubts!” Ours is an age of doubt. Skepticism has become fashionable. We are urged to question everything: especially the existence of God and the truthfulness of his Word, the Bible. A SUBSTANTIAL PORTION of REASONABLE FAITH is on healing for the elements of emotional doubt. However, much attention is given to more evidenced-based chapters in our pursuit of overcoming any fears or doubts that we may have or that may creep up on us in the future.
How can you improve your effectiveness as teachers? Essentially, it is by imitating JESUS CHRIST The Great Teacher 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. JESUS CHRIST The Great Teacher will discuss how you can employ all of his teaching methods. What a privilege it is to be a teacher of God’s Word and to share spiritual values that can have long-lasting benefits!
How can you improve your effectiveness as teachers? Essentially, it is by imitating THE APOSTLE PAUL: The Preacher, Teacher, Apologist. 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 APOSTLE PAUL: The Preacher, Teacher, Apologist will discuss how you can employ all of his teaching methods. When it comes to teaching, genuine Christians have a special responsibility. We are commanded to “make disciples of all nations . . . , teaching them.” (Matt. 24:14; 28:19-20; Ac 1:8)
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 questioned the writership of Isaiah, and are they correct? When did skepticism regarding the writership of Isaiah begin, and how did it spread? What dissecting of the book of Isaiah has taken place? When did criticism of the book of Daniel begin, and what fueled similar criticism in more recent centuries? What charges are sometimes made regarding the history in Daniel? Why is the question of the authenticity of the books of Moses, the Book of Isaiah and the Book of Daniel an important one? What evidence is there to show that the books of Moses, the Book of Isaiah and the Book of Daniel is authentic and true? Do these critics have grounds for challenging these Bible author’s authenticity and historical truthfulness? Why is it important to discuss whether Old Testament Aurhoriship is authentic and true or not?
Who wrote the first five books of the Bible? Was it Moses or was it others centuries later? If Moses wrote the first five books of the Bible, then how was his own death and burial written in Deuteronomy Chapter 34? Many mainstream Bible scholars argue that Moses could not have written the Pentateuch since he likely existed many centuries earlier than the development of the Hebrew language. When was the origin of the Hebrew language? Popular scholarship says that if Moses had written the Pentateuch, he would have written in the Egyptian language, not the Hebrew. Moreover, most of the Israelites and other people of the sixteenth century B.C.E. were illiteral, so who could have written the Torah, and for whom would it be written because the people of that period did not read?
Finally, analysis of the first five books demonstrates multiple authors, not just one, which explains the many discrepancies. Multiple authors also explain the many cases of telling of the same story twice, making the same events appear to happen more than once. The modern mainstream scholarship would argue that within the Pentateuch we see such things as preferences for certain words, differences in vocabulary, reoccurring expressions in Deuteronomy that are not found in Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers, all evidence for their case for multiple authors.
What does the evidence say? What does archaeology, linguistic analysis, historical studies, textual analysis, and insights from Egyptologists tell us? Again, who wrote the first five books of the Bible? Was it Moses or was it others centuries later? Andrews offers his readers an objective view of the evidence.
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 Agabus as an illustration of their convictions. This study defends the position that Agabus’ prophecies are true in every detail. Beginning with a survey of major figures in the debate, the author conducts an exegetical analysis of passages where Agabus appears in defense of the infallible view.
Islam is making a significant mark on 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. This book provides practical, biblical answers so Christians can understand Islam, witness to their Muslim friends, and support efforts by the government to protect all of us from terrorism.
IS THE QURAN THE WORD OF GOD? Is Islam the One True Faith? This book covers the worldview, practices, and history of Islam and the Quran. This book is designed as an apologetic evangelistic tool for Christians, as they come across Muslims in their daily lives, as well as to inform them, as a protection again the misleading media. The non-Muslims need to hear these truths about Islam and the Quran so they can have an accurate understanding of the Muslim mindset that leads to their actions. Islam is the second largest religion in the world. Radical Islam has taken the world by storm, and the “fake media” has genuinely misled their audience for the sake of political correctness. This book is not a dogmatic attack on Islam and the Quran but rather an uncovering of the lies and describing of the truths. The reader will be introduced to the most helpful way of viewing the evidence objectively. We will answer the question of whether the Quran is a literary miracle, as well as is there evidence that the Quran is inspired by God, along with is the Quran harmonious and consistent, and is the Quran from God or man? We will also examine Islamic teachings, discuss the need to search for the truth, as well as identify the book of truth. We will look at how Islam views the Bible. Finally, we will take up the subjects of Shariah Law, the rise of radical Islam, Islamic eschatology, and how to effectively witness to Muslims.
The average Christian knows somewhat how dangerous radical Islam is because of the regular media coverage of beheadings of Christians, Jews, and even young little children, not to mention Muslims with which they disagree. However, the average Christian does not know their true beliefs, just how many there are, to the extent they will go to carry out these beliefs. Daily we find Islamic commentators on the TV and radio, offering up misleading information, quoting certain portions of the Quran while leaving other parts out. When considering Islamic beliefs, other Islamic writings must be considered, like the Hadith or Sunnah, and the Shariah, or canon law. While Islam, in general, does not support radical Islam, the vast majority do support radical beliefs. For example, beheadings, stoning for adultery or homosexuality, suicide bombings, turning the world into an Islamic state, and far too many other heinous things. THE GUIDE TO ISLAM provides Christians with an overview of Islamic terminology. The reader will learn about Muhammad’s calling, the history of the Quran, how Islam expanded, the death of Muhammad and the splinter groups that followed. In addition, the three sources of their teaching, six pillars of belief, five pillars of Islam, the twelfth Imam, and much more will be discussed. All of this from the mind of radical Islam. While there are several books on Islam and radical Islam, this will be the first that will prepare its readers to communicate effectively with Muslims in an effort toward sharing biblical truths. …
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, … 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, straightforward style, Salisbury covers such issues as: Does God exist? Can I trust the Bible? Does Christianity oppress women? Can we know truth? Why would God allow evil and suffering? Was Jesus God and did He really rise from the dead? How does or should my faith guide my life?
A Time to Speak: Practical Training for the Christian Presenteris a complete guide for effective communication and presentation skills. Discuss any subject with credibility and confidence, from Christian apologetics to the sensitive moral issues of our day, when sharing a testimony, addressing a school board, a community meeting, or conference. This exceptional training is the perfect resource for Christians with any level of public speaking ability. With its easy, systematic format, A Time to Speak is also an excellent resource for home-schooled and college students. The reader, in addition to specific skills and techniques, will also learn how to construct their presentation content, diffuse hostility, guidance for a successful Q&A, effective ways to turn apathy into action, and tips on gaining their speaking invitation.
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 (Historical Criticism), and why is historical criticism so popular among Bible scholars today? Its popularity is because biblical criticism is subjective, that is, based on or influenced by personal feelings or opinions and is dependent on the Bible scholar’s perception. In other words, biblical criticism allows the Bible scholar, teacher, or pastor the freedom to interpret the Scriptures, so that God’s Word it tells them things that they want to hear. Why is this book so critical for all Christians? Farnell and Andrews will inform the reader about Biblical criticism (historical criticism) and its weaknesses, helping you to defend God’s Word far better.
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 is destructive 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 …
FEMINIST CRITICISM will offer the reader explicitly what the Bible says. Feminist criticism is a form of literary criticism that is based on feminist theories. The worldview of feminism uses feminist principles to interpret the word of God. Biblical feminists argue that they are merely focused on creating equal opportunities to serve. They say that they want the freedom to follow Jesus Christ as he has called them. They assert that they merely want to use the gifts that he has given them in God’s service. Biblical feminists maintain that Scripture clearly states the worth and value of men and women equally when it comes to serving God. Biblical feminists also say that they want to partner with the men when it comes to taking the lead in the church and parenting in the home. They seek mutual submission and subjection in the church leadership and the home headship, not what they perceive to be a male hierarchy. FEMINIST CRITICISM will gently and respectfully address these issues with Scripture.
APOLOGETICS: Reaching Hearts with the Art of Persuasion by Edward D. Andrews, author of over seventy 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 apologetics and evangelism. They will learn what Christian apologetics is. They will be given a biblical answer to the most demanding Bible question: Problem of Evil. The reader will learn how to reach hearts with are the art of persuasion. They will use persuasion to help others accept Christ. They will learn to teach with insight and persuasiveness. They will learn to use persuasion to reach the heart of those who listen to them.
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. We can also have preconceived ideas that have been a part of our thinking for so long; we do not question them. Preconceived is an idea or opinion that is formed before having the evidence for its truth. If we are to be effective, we must season our words, so that they are received well. Then there is the term preconception, which means a preconceived idea or prejudice. Seasoned words, honesty, and accuracy are distinctive features of effective apologetic evangelism.
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 the message of God’s Word that we share but also the method in which we do so. Our message, the Gospel (i.e., the good news of the Kingdom), this does not change, but we do adjust our methods. Why? We are seeking to reach as many receptive people as possible. “You will be my witnesses … to the End of the Earth.” – ACTS 1:8.
Why should we be interested in the religion of others? The world has become a melting pot of people, cultures, and values, as well as many different religions. Religion has the most significant impact on the lives of mankind today. There are only a few of the major religions that make up billions of people throughout the earth. According to some estimates, there are roughly 4,200 religions in the world. God’s will is that “all sorts of men should be saved and come to an accurate knowledge of truth.” (1 Tim. 2:4) God has assigned all Christians the task of proclaiming the Word of God, teaching, to make disciples. (Matt. 24:15; 28:19-20: Ac 1;8) That includes men and women who profess a non-Christian religion, such as Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam to mention just a few. If there are Hindus, Buddhist or Muslims are in your community, why not initiate a conversation with them? Christians who take the Great Commission seriously cannot afford to ignore these religions. …
Evangelism is the work of a Christian evangelist, of which all true Christians are obligated to partake to some extent, which seeks to persuade other people to become Christian, especially by sharing the basics of the Gospel, but also the deeper message of biblical truths. Today the Gospel is almost an unknown, so what does the Christian evangelist do? Preevangelism is laying a foundation for those who have no knowledge of the Gospel, giving them background information, so that they can grasp what they are hearing. The Christian evangelist is preparing their mind and heart so that they will be receptive to the biblical truths. In many ways, this is known as apologetics. 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. …
MOST Christian apologetic books help the reader know WHAT to say; THE CHRISTIAN APOLOGIST is HOW to communicate it effectively. The Christian apologist’s words should always be seasoned with salt as he or she shares the unadulterated truths of Scripture with gentleness and respect. Our example in helping the unbeliever to understand the Bible has been provided by Jesus Christ and his apostles. Whether dealing with Bible critics or answering questions from those genuinely interested, Jesus referred to the Scriptures and at times used appropriate illustrations, helping those with a receptive heart to accept the Word of God. The apostle Paul “reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and proving” what was biblically true. (Ac 17:2-3) The material in THE CHRISTIAN APOLOGIST can enable us to do the same. Apologist Normal L. Geisler informs us that “evangelism is planting seeds of the Gospel” and “pre-evangelism is tilling the soil of people’s minds and hearts to help them be more willing to listen to the truth (1 Cor. 3: 6).”
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; 28:19-20; Ac 1:8) Why do Christians desire to talk about their beliefs? Jesus said, “And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed in the whole inhabited earth for a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.” (Matt 24:14) This is the assignment, which all Christians are obligated to assist in carrying out. Jesus also said, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matt. 22:39) Jesus commanded that we “go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them” and “teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” (Matt. 28:19-20) If one failed to be obedient to the great commission of Matthew 28:19-20, he or she could hardly claim that they have genuine faith. All true Christians have a determination to imitate God, which moves us to persist in reflecting his glory through our sharing Bible beliefs with others.
“Absorbing, instructional, insightful. Judy Salisbury’s book Divine Appointments embodies examples of truly speaking the truth in love. The stories she weaves together provide perfect examples of how to relate to others through conversational evangelism… Divine Appointments is an apt companion to any apologetics book, showing how to put principles into practice. It’s an apologetics manual wrapped in a warm blanket. Snuggle up with it.”— Julie Loos, Director, Ratio Christi Boosters
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 which he can build throughout his Christian life. These eight sections with multiple chapters in each cover biblical interpretation, Bible translation philosophies, textual criticism, Bible difficulties, the Holy Spirit, Christian Apologetics, Christian Evangelism, and Christian Living.
“‘Deep’ study is no guarantee that mature faith will result, but shallow study guarantees that immaturity continues.”(p. xiii)—Dr. Lee M. Fields.
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 the 1960’s has permeated the Western culture and weakened its very core. The West is now characterized by strict elitist media censorship, hedonism, a culture of drug abuse, abortion, ethnic clashes and racial divide, a destructive feminism and the dramatic breakdown of the family. An ultra-rich elite pushes our nations into a new, authoritarian globalist structure, with no respect for Western historical values. Yet, even in the darkest hour, there is hope. This manifesto outlines the remedy for the current malaise and describes the greatness of our traditional and religious values that once made our civilization prosper. It shows how we can restore these values to bring back justice, mercy, faith, honesty, fidelity, kindness and respect for one another. Virtues that will motivate individuals to love one another, the core of what will make us great again.
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 Kingdom of God? What was their worship like and why were they called the Truth and the Way? How did 120 disciples at Pentecost grow to over one million within 70-80-years? What was meant by their witness to the ends of the earth? How did Christianity in its infancy function to accomplish all it did? How was it structured? How were the early Christians, not of the world? How were they affected by persecution? How were they not to love the world, in what sense? What divisions were there in the second and third centuries? Who were the Gnostics? These questions will be answered, as well as a short overview of the division that grew out of the second and third centuries, pre-reformation, the reformation, and a summary of Catholicism and Protestantism. After a lengthy introduction to First-Century Christianity, there is a chapter on the Holy Spirit in the First Century and Today, followed by sixteen chapters that cover the most prominent Christians from the second to fourth centuries, as well as a chapter on Constantine the Great.
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 Jerusalem by the Babylonians, which they say occurred in 607 B.C.E. The Witnesses conclude that Chapter 4 of the book of Daniel prophesied a 2,520 year period that began in 607 B.C.E. and ended in 1914 C.E. They state, “Clearly, the ‘seven times’ and ‘the appointed times of the nations’ refer to the same time period.” (Lu 21:24) It is their position that When the Babylonians conquered Jerusalem, the Davidic line of kings was interrupted, God’s throne was “trampled on by the nations” until 1914, at which time Jesus began to rule invisibly from heaven. …
In order to overcome and church problems, we must first talk about the different problems of the church. Many of the church problems today stem from the isms: liberalism, humanism, modernism, Christian progressivism, theological liberalism, feminism, higher criticism, and biblical criticism. Moreover, many are simply not a biblically grounded church regardless of how much they claim to be so. The marks of a true Christian church would be like the different lines that make up a church’s fingerprint, a print that cannot belong to any other church. The true Christian church contains their own unique grouping of marks, forming a positive “fingerprint” that cannot belong to any other church. William Lange Craig wrote, “Remember that our faith is not based on emotions, but on the truth, and therefore you must hold on to it.” What truth? Jesus said to the Father in prayer, “Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.” (John 17:17) Are you doing the will of the Father? Is your church doing the will of the Father? – Matthew 7:21-23; 1 John 2:15-17.
Evangelist Norman Robertson claims that “Tithing is God’s way of financing His kingdom on the earth.” He asserts that “It is His system of economics which enables the Gospel to be preached.” Not bashful about telling his followers of their duty to give, he flatly states: ‘Tithing isn’t something you do because you can afford it. It is an act of obedience. Not tithing is a clear violation of God’s commandments. It is embezzlement.’ Most likely you accept that giving should be part of Christian worship. However, do you find continuous demanding appeals for money disturbing, perhaps even offensive? FLEECING THE FLOCK by Anthony Wade is an exhaustive examination of all of the popular tithing arguments made from the pulpit today. …
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.
Plunkett exposes the errors corrupting the Christian church through the Word of Faith, New Apostolic Reformation, and extreme charismatic movements. LEARN TO DISCERN, by author Daniel Plunkett highlights how an encounter with a rising star in the Word of Faith / “Signs and Wonders” movement was used by God to open his eyes to the deceptions, false teachings, and spiritual abuses running rampant in the charismatic movement today. These doctrines are thoroughly explored as taught by some of today’s most prominent speakers and evangelists and contrasted with the clear teachings of Scripture. LEARN TO DISCERN is an invaluable resource …
CALVINISM VS. ARMINIANISM goes back to the early seventeenth century with a Christian theological debate between the followers of John Calvin and Jacobus Arminius, and continues today among some Protestants, particularly evangelicals. The debate is centered around soteriology, that is, the study of salvation, and includes disputes about total depravity, predestination, and atonement. While the debate has developed its Calvinist–Arminian form in the 17th century, the issues that are fundamental to the debate have been discussed in Christianity in some fashion since the days of Augustine of Hippo’s disputes with the Pelagians in the fifth century. CALVINISM VS. ARMINIANISM is taking a different approach in that the issues will be discussed as The Bible Answers being that it is the centerpiece.
A comprehensive book on HOW TO STUDY YOUR BIBLE by observing, interpreting, and applying, which will focus on the most basic Bible study tools, principles, and processes for moving from an in-depth reading of the Scriptures to application. What, though, if you have long felt that you are not studiously inclined? Realize that the primary difference between a serious Bible student and a less serious Bible student is usually diligence and effort, not being a gifted student. Being a gifted Bible student alone is not enough. Efficient methods of Bible study are worth learning, for those seeking to become serious Bible students. The joy missing from many Bible students is because they do not know how to study their Bible, which means they do not do it well. Perhaps you dislike Bible study because you have not developed your study skills sufficiently to make your Bible study enjoyable. Maybe you have neglected your Bible study simply because you would rather be doing something else you enjoy.
How can we find more enjoyment in studying the Bible? How can we make our study periods more productive? What circumstances contribute to effective personal study? How can we derive real benefit and pleasure from our Bible reading? From what activities can time be bought out for reading and studying the Bible? Why should we watch our spiritual feeding habits? What benefits come from reading and studying the Scriptures? There is a great and constantly growing interest in the study of the English Bible in these days. However, very much of the so-called study of the English Bible is unintelligent and not fitted to produce the most satisfactory results. The authors of this book already have a book entitled “HOW TO STUDY: Study the Bible for the Greatest Profit,” but that book is intended for those who are willing to buy out the time to put into thorough Bible study.
Why is personal and family Bible study so important in our life now? How can we apply the Word of God in our lives? How can we use the Bible to help others? How can we effectively use the Scriptures when teaching others? How can we make decisions God’s way? How can Bible principles help us to decide wisely? Why should we have faith in God and his word? The Psalmist tells us, God’s Word “is a lamp to my foot, and a light for my path.” (Psalm 119:105) Since the Bible is a gift from God, the time and effort that we put into our personal Bible Study is a reflection of how much we appreciate that gift. What do our personal Bible study habits reveal about the depth of our appreciation of God’s Word? Certainly, the Bible is a deep and complex book, and reading and studying are not easy at times. However, with time and effort, we can develop a spiritual appetite for personal Bible study. (1 Peter 2:2)
Correctly interpreting the Bible is paramount to understanding the Word of God. As Christians, we do not want to read our 21st-century worldview INTO the Scriptures, but rather to takeOUT OF the Scriptures what the author meant by the words that he used. The guaranteed way of arriving a correct understanding of God’s Words is to have an accurate knowledge of the historical setting, cultural background, and of the people, governments, and religious leaders, as well as the place and time of the New Testament writings. Only with the background, setting, and context can you grasp the author’s intended meaning to his original readers and …
The life of Christ is an exhaustless theme. It reveals a character of greater massiveness than the hills, of a more serene beauty than the stars, of sweeter fragrance than the flowers, higher than the heavens in sublimity and deeper than the seas in mystery. As good Jean Paul has eloquently said, “It concerns Him who, being the holiest among the mighty, and the mightiest among the holy, lifted with His pierced hands empires off their hinges, turned the stream of centuries out of its channels, and still governs the ages.” …
Stalker’s Life of St. Paul became one of the most widely read and respected biographies of the Apostle to the Gentiles. As an insightful compendium on the life of Paul, this work is of particular interest to pastors and teachers who desire to add realism and vividness to their account of one of the greatest Christians who ever lived. Stalker’s work includes a section at the back entitled “Hints for Teachers and Questions for Pupils.” This supplement contains notes and “further reading” suggestions for those teaching on the life of St. Paul, along with a number of questions over each chapter for students to discuss. In addition, seventeen extra chapters have been added that will help the reader better understand who the Apostle Paul was and what first-century Christianity was like. For example, a chapter on the conversion of Saul/Paul, Gamaliel Taught Saul of Tarsus, the Rights, and Privileges of Citizenship, the “Unknown God,” Areopagus, the Observance of Law as to Vows, and much more.
With solid scholarship and exceptional clarity, beginning in Gethsemane, Stalker and Andrews examine Jesus’ trial and crucifixion. Their work is relevant, beneficial and enjoyable because they cover this historical period of Jesus’ life in an easy to understand format. Stalker’s expressive and persuasive style provides a great resource to any Bible study of the events leading to the death of Jesus Christ. THE TRIAL AND DEATH OF JESUS CHRIST is an academicish book written with a novelish style.
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 level, yet making it understandable to all. He has sought to provide the very best tool for interpreting the Word of God. This includes clarification of technical terms, answers to every facet of biblical interpretation, and defense of the inerrancy and divine inspiration of Scripture. Andrews realizes that the importance of digging deeper in our understanding of the Bible, for defending our faith from modern-day misguided scholarship. Andrews gives the reader easy and memorable principles and methods to follow for producing an accurate explanation that comes out of, not what many read into the biblical text. The principal procedure within is to define, explain, offer many examples, and give illustrations, to help the reader fully grasp the grammatical-historical approach. …
Anybody who wants to study the Bible, either at a personal level or a more scholarly level needs to understand that there are certain principles that guide and govern the process. The technical word used to refer to the principles of biblical interpretation is hermeneutics, which is of immense importance in Biblical Studies and Theology. How to Interpret the Bible takes into consideration the cultural context, historical background and geographical location in which the text was originally set. This enables us to obtain clarity about the original author’s intended meaning. 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 …
Once upon a time, Postmodernism was a buzzword. It pronounced Modernism dead or at least in the throes of death. It was a wave that swept over Christendom, promising to wash away sterile, dogmatic and outmoded forms of church. But whatever happened to postmodernism? It was regarded as the start of a major historical transition to something new and promising and hailed as a major paradigm shift. Is it a philosophy that has passed its “sell-by” date? No! The radical fringe has become the dominant view and has been integrated into all aspects of life, including the Christian church. With the emergence of multicultural societies comes interaction with different belief systems and religions. Values like tolerance and a dislike of dogmatism have become key operating concepts, which reflect a change in worldview. …
In an age obsessed with physical and psychological health the author emphasizes the importance of spiritual well-being as an essential element of holistic health for the individual Christian and for Christian communities. This work constitutes a template for a spiritual audit of the local church. It offers an appointment with the Great Physician that no Christian can afford to ignore. Developing Healthy Churches: A Case-Study in Revelation begins with a well-researched outline of the origins and development of the church health movement. With that background in mind the author, aware that throughout the history of the church there have been a number of diverse views about how Revelation ought to be interpreted, presents the reader with four distinct interpretive models. These are the idealist, preterist, historicist, and futurist. Beville explains these interpretive approaches simply and critiques them fairly.e …
This is a comprehensive study of euthanasia and assisted suicide. It traces the historical debate, examines the legal status of such activity in different countries and explores the political, medical and moral matters surrounding these emotive and controversial subjects in various cultural contexts. The key advocates and pioneers of this agenda-driven movement (such as the late Jack Kevorkian, popularly known as “Dr. Death” and Philip Nitschke, founder of Exit International) are profiled. Not only are the elderly and disabled becoming increasingly vulnerable but children, psychiatric patients, the depressed and those who are simply tired of life are now on a slippery slope into a dystopian nightmare. The spotlight is brought to bear on the Netherlands, in particular, where palliative care and the hospice movement are greatly underdeveloped as a result of legalization. These dubious “services” are now offered as part of “normal” medical care in Holland where it is deemed more cost-effective to be given a lethal injection. The vital role of physicians as healers in society must be preserved and the important but neglected spiritual dimension of death must be explored. Thus a biblical view of human life is presented. …
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 of illustrations to be helpful in preparing their own messages and as such, it will find a welcome place in the preacher’s library. Simply, powerfully, with great precision, and exegetical accuracy, Kieran Beville masterfully brings us on a life-transforming journey. Readers will be both inspired and challenged as they hear the words of Jesus speaking afresh from the page of Scripture and experience the ministry of Jesus in a spiritually captivating way. The author has a pastor’s heart, a theologian’s mind, and a writer’s gift. His style is gripping, as he beautifully explains and illustrates Mark’s Gospel. Kieran Beville has done a great service to the church, and especially to true believers, who desire to grow in grace, increase in their knowledge of truth, and experience the intimacy, joy, and underserved and unspeakable privilege of walking, as disciples, with Jesus. This book is ideal as a study companion for Mark’s Gospel. One can read a section from the gospel and then read the corresponding section to receive a fresh viewpoint and a practical application. …
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 humans? How can we win our struggle against dark spiritual forces? How can you resist the demons? Do evil spirits exercise power over humankind? Is Satan really the god of this world and just what does that mean? What did Jesus mean when he said, “the whole world lies in the power of the evil one [i.e., Satan]”? Andrews using the Bible will answer all of these questions and far more. …
Donald T. Williams learned a lot about the Christian worldview from Francis Schaeffer and C. S. Lewis, but it was actually Tolkien who first showed him that such a thing exists and is an essential component of maturing faith. Not only do explicitly Christian themes underlie the plot structure of The Lord of the Rings, but in essays such as “On Fairie Stories” Tolkien shows us that he not only believed the Gospel on Sunday but treated it as true the rest of the week and used his commitment to that truth as the key to further insights in his work as a student of literature. “You can do that?” Williams thought as a young man not yet exposed to any Christian who was a serious thinker. “I want to do that!” His hope is that his readers will catch that same vision from this book. 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.
HUMILITY: The Beauty of Holiness contains 12 studies on humility, a quality that Andrew Murray rightly believes should be one of the distinguishing characteristics of the discipleship of Christ. Jesus not only strongly impressed His disciples with the need for humility but was in Himself its supreme example. He described Himself as “meek and lowly (tapeinos) in heart.” (Matt. 11:29) The first of the Beatitudes was to “the poor in spirit” (humbly aware of spiritual needs Matt. 5:3), and it was “the meek” who should “inherit the earth.” Humility is the way to true greatness: he who should “humble himself as this little child” should be “the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” “Whosoever shall exalt himself shall be humbled, and whosoever shall humble himself shall be exalted.” (Matt. 18:4; 23:12; Lu 14:11; 18:14). To the humble mind, truth is revealed. (Matt. 11:25; Lu 10:21) Jesus set a touching example of humility in His washing His disciples’ feet. (Joh 13:1-17) The apostle Paul makes an earnest appeal to Christians (Php 2:1-11) that they should cherish and manifest the Spirit of their Lord’s humility, “in lowliness of mind each counting other better than himself,” and mentions the supreme example of the self-emptying (kenosis) of Christ: “Have this mind in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.”—Philippians 2:7.
Waiting on God appropriately (Ps 42:5, 11; 43:5) is encouraged for one to gain divine approval. Waiting on God, what does it involve? As Christians, we are “waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God.” We look forward to relief when the time arrives for “the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.” (2 Peter 3:7, 12) Thus, waiting on God involves waiting for His time to act. As we await the Lord’s day, we may, at times, be very deeply concerned to see the moral standards of the world around us sink ever lower. At such moments, it is good to consider the words of God’s prophet Micah, who wrote, “The godly person has perished from the land, and there is no upright person among humankind.” Then he added: “But as for me, I will look to the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation.” (Micah 7:2, 7) What is the waiting attitude that we should develop? Since having to wait is often tiring and trying, how can we find joy while waiting on God? Murray and Andrews address these questions and so much more.
The Pilgrim’s Progress is a religious allegory by the English writer John Bunyan, published in two parts. It is regarded as one of the most significant works of religious, theological fiction in English literature. It has been translated into more than 200 languages and has never been out of print. The work is a symbolic vision of the good man’s pilgrimage through life. At one time second only to the Bible in popularity, The Pilgrim’s Progress is the most famous Christian allegory still in print. The entire book is presented as a dream sequence narrated by an omniscient narrator. The allegory’s protagonist, Christian, is an everyman character, and the plot centers on his journey from his hometown, the “City of Destruction” (“this world”), to the “Celestial City” (“that which is to come”: Heaven) atop Mount Zion. Christian is weighed down by a great burden—the knowledge of his sin—which he believed came from his reading “the book in his hand” (the Bible).
Andrews has written The Biblical Guide to Avoid the Pitfalls of Sexual Immorality. This tool is for both man and woman, husband and wife, all Christians who will marry one day and those who have been married for some time. The fallen world that we live in is fertile ground for immorality. The grass always seems greener somewhere away from one’s own spouse. Adultery is something everyone should avoid. It destroys more than just marriages, it destroys a person’s life, family and most importantly their relationship with God. Such is the danger of adultery that the Bible strongly warns every man and woman against it. The world that we currently live in is very vile, and sexual morality is no longer a quality that is valued. What can Christians do to stay safe in such an influential world that caters to the fallen flesh? What can help the husband and wife relationship to flourish as they cultivate a love that will survive the immoral world that surrounds them? We might have thought that a book, like God’s Word that is 2,000-3,500 years old would be out of date on such modern issues, but the Bible is ever applicable. The Biblical Guide to Avoid the Pitfalls of Sexual Immorality will give us the biblical answers that we need.
How could Satan, Adam, and Eve have sinned if they were perfect? How much influence does Satan have? How does Satan try to influence you? What do you need to learn about your enemy? How can you overcome Satanic influences? Can Satan know your thoughts? Can Satan control you? How can you overcome Satanic Influences? How does Satan blind the minds of the unbelievers? How you can understand Satan’s battle for the Christian mind. How you can win the battle for the Christian mind. How you can put on the full armor of God? All of these questions and far more are dealt with herein by Andrews.
WHAT IS A MIRACLE? It is an event that goes beyond all known human and natural powers and is generally attributed to some supernatural power. Why should YOU be interested in miracles?
“Miracles, by definition, violate the principles of science.”—RICHARD DAWKINS.
“Belief in miracles is entirely rational. Far from being an embarrassment to religious faith, they are signs of God’s love for, and continuing involvement in, creation.”—ROBERT A. LARMER, PROFESSOR OF PHILOSOPHY.
SHOULD YOU believe in miracles? As we can see from the above quotations, opinions vary considerably. But how could you convincingly answer that question?
Some of YOU may immediately answer, “Yes, I believe.” Others might say, “No, I don’t believe.” Then, there are some who may say, “I don’t know, and I really don’t care! Miracles don’t happen in my life!” Really, why should YOU be interested in miracles? The Bible promises its readers that in the future some miracles far beyond all ever recorded or experienced is going to occur and will affect every living person on earth. Therefore, would it not be worth some of your time and energy to find out whether those promises are reliable? What does God’s Word really teach about miracles of Bible times, after that, our day, and the future?
Andrews, an author of over 100 books, has chosen the 40 most beneficial Proverbs, to give the readers an abundance of wise, inspired counsel to help them acquire understanding and safeguard their heart, “for out of it are the sources of life.” (4:23) GODLY WISDOM SPEAKS sets things straight by turning the readers to Almighty God. Each Proverb is dealt with individually, giving the readers easy to understand access to what the original language really means. This gives the readers what the inspired author meant by the words that he used. After this, the reader is given practical guidance on how those words can be applied for maneuvering through life today. GODLY WISDOM with its instruction and counsel never go out of date.
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 of how you too can have a share in the power of God. With THE POWER OF GOD as your guide, you will discover your strengths and abilities that will make you steadfast in your walk with God. You can choose to rise to a new level and invite God’s power by focusing on The Word That Will Change Your Life Today.
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, …
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: “Make me to know your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth and teach me” (Psalm 25:4-5) God did this for David, and surely He can answer such a prayer for His present-day servants.
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 “do not lean upon your own understanding.” It is followed by “In all your ways know him.” God is the One with a truly sound mind. Thus, it follows that whenever we are faced with a decision, we need to turn to the Bible to see what God’s view is. This is how we acquire the mind of Christ.
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 …
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 …
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, first one, then the other, gains domination over the other. At times, one king rules as a world power while the other suffers destruction, and there are stretches of time where there is no conflict. But then another battle abruptly erupts, and the conflict begins anew. Who is the current King of the North and the King of the South? Who are the seven kings or kingdoms of Bible history in Revelation chapter 17? We are living in the last days that the apostle Paul spoke of, when he said, “difficult times will come.” (2 Tim. 3:1-7) How close we are to the end of these last days, wherein we will enter into the Great Tribulation that Jesus Christ spoke of (Matt. 24:21), no one can know for a certainty. However, Jesus and the New Testament authors have helped to understand the signs of the times and …
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 by caring deeply for them, maintaining courageous faith, and displaying a mild, spiritual attitude. Christians are a special people. They are also very strong and courageous for taking on such an amazingly great responsibility. But if you can make a difference, be it with ten others or just one, you will have done what Jesus asked of you, and there is no more beautiful feeling. YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE with joy.
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 work for you instead of your old bad habits against you. It is one thing to strip off the old habits, yet quite another to keep them off. How can we succeed in doing both, no matter how deeply we may have been involved in bad habitual practices?
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 simply the stress of daily life. As Christians, we need to understand that God’s Word will carry us through these times, as we maintain our integrity whether in the face of tremendous trials or the tension of everyday life. We are far better facing these hurdles of life with the help of God, who can make the worst circumstances much better and more bearable.
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 even in Christian households is on the rise. Lack of economic opportunity and unemployment is prevalent everywhere. Our safety, security, and well-being are in danger at all times. We now live in a prison of fear to even come outside the protection of our locked doors at home. Imagine living where all these things existed, but you could go about your daily life untouched by fear and anxiety. What if you could be courageous and strong through your faith in these last days? What if you could live by faith not fear? What if insight into God’s Word could remove your fear, anxiety, and dread? Imagine a life of calmness, peace, unconcern, confidence, comfort, hope, and faith. Are you able to picture a life without fear? It is possible.
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 miniature.” The Father had sent his Son to earth to be born as a human baby. Doing this meant that for over three decades, his Son was susceptible to the same pains and suffering as the rest of humankind, ending in the most gruesome torture and execution imaginable. The Father watched the divine human child Jesus grow into a perfect man. He watched as John the Baptist baptized the Son, where the Father said from heaven, “This is my Son, the beloved, in whom I am well pleased.” (Matt. 3:17) The Father watched on as the Son faithfully carried out his will, fulfilling all of the prophecies, which certainly pleased the Father.–John 5:36; 17:4. …
This commentary volume is part of a series by Christian Publishing House (CPH) that covers all of the sixty-six books of the Bible. These volumes are a study tool for the pastor, small group biblical studies leader, or the churchgoer. The primary purpose of studying the Bible is to learn 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 also accurately communicating truth. CPH New Testament Commentary will convey the meaning of the verses in the book of Philippians. In addition, we will also cover the Bible background, the custom and culture of the times, as well as Bible difficulties. …
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 Really Sex, …SECTION 2 Surviving My Friends will cover such subjects as Dealing with Loneliness, Where Do I Fit In, Why I Struggle with Having Friends, …SECTION 3 Surviving the Family will cover such subjects as Appreciating the House Rules, Getting Along with My Brothers and Sisters, How Do I Find Privacy, … SECTION 4 Surviving School will cover such subjects as How Do I Deal With Bullies, How Can I Cope With School When I Hate It, … SECTION 5 Surviving Who I Am will cover such subjects as Why Do I Procrastinate, … SECTION 6 Surviving Recreation will cover such subjects as … SECTION 7 Surviving My Health will cover such subjects as How Can I Overcome My Depression, …
Who should read THIRTEEN REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD KEEP LIVING? Anyone who is struggling in 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 grade school, junior high or high school that wants to provide an, in touch, anti-suicide message to their students. … Many youths say that they would never dream of killing themselves. Still, they all have the deep feeling that there are no reasons for going on with their lives. Some have even hoped that some sort of accident would take their pain away for them. They view death as a release, a way out, a friend, not their enemy. …
The purpose of Waging War is to guide the youth of this program from start to finish in their therapeutic efforts to gain insight into their patterns of thinking and beliefs that have led to the current outcomes in their life thus far and enable them to change the path which they are on. 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 work pages that Freeman has used and had found to be useful in therapy, but most importantly, this workbook will teach the Word to a population that does not hear it in its’ most correct form. What is the significance of controlling ones’ thoughts and how does that apply to you? Doubts, fears, and insecurities come from somewhere, especially when they are pervasive. Understanding this idea will help one to fight those thoughts and free them from the shackles their mind puts around their hearts, preventing them from achieving their dreams and the plans God had intended for them when they were created.
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 man, the fall of man, the nature of sin and death, as well as why God has allowed sin to enter into the world, as well as all of the wickedness and suffering that came with it. Andrews will answer the following questions and far more. How does the Bible explain and describe the creation of man and woman? Why is it imperative that we understand our fallen condition? What does it mean to be made in the image of God? …
In FOR AS I THINK IN MY HEART – SO I AM, 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 attraction, and many others. Based on Proverbs 23:7 (NKJV): “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he,” Andrews’ text works from the position that if we can change the way that we think, we can alter the way we feel, which will modify the way we behave. FOR AS I THINK IN MY HEART – SO I AM offers far more than self-help to dozens of spiritual struggles, personal difficulties, and mental disorders. It will benefit Christian and non-Christian alike. The Scriptural advice and counsel coupled with cognitive behavioral therapy will be helpful even if every chapter is not one of your struggles. For As I Think in My Heart enables readers to examine the lies and half-truths …
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 have a moral law that was written on our heart. (Rom. 2:14-15) However, at the same time, we have a warring against the law of our mind and taking us captive in the law of sin, which is in our members. (Rom. 7:21-25) When we live by the moral law, it brings us joy, when we live by the law of sin; it brings about distress, anxiety, regrets to both mind and heart, creating a conflict between our two natures. In our study of the Bible, we can interact with a living God who wants a personal relationship with us. And in APPLYING GOD’S WORD MORE FULLY, we will learn how to engage His words like never before. Andrews helps his readers …
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, which is “profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness.” (2 Tim. 3:16-17) From the moment that Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden of Eden, humans have been brought forth in sin, having become more and more mentally bent toward evil, having developed a heart (i.e., inner person) that is treacherous, and unknowable to them, with sin’s law dwelling within them. Sadly, many of us within the church have not been fully informed …
A clean conscience brings us inner peace, calmness, and 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 …
God is the originator of marriage. The Bible’s advice has helped many couples overcome problems and have a long, happy marriage. The Bible is a book for all people that provides practical advice that can improve our marriage. Husbands and wives can include God in their marriage by following his loving guidance. If we want a healthy, joyful, Christ-centered marriage, then we must embrace the principles in the Bible. Marriage is one of the greatest gifts that God has given us. Counsel from the Word of God will enrich, reinforce, and strengthen a marriage that is already strong and save a marriage that is failing.
This book is primarily for WIVES, but husbands 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 YOUR HUSBANDS. It offers wives the best insights into a happy marriage, by way of using God’s Word as the foundational guide, along with Andrews’ insights. WIVES learn that marriage is a gift from God. WIVEStake in information that will help them survive the first year of marriage. WIVES will be able to make Christian marriage a success. WIVES will maintain an honorable marriage. WIVES will see how to submit correctly to Christ’s headship. WIVES will learn how to strengthen their marriage through good communication. …
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 YOUR WIVES. It offers husbands the best insights into a happy marriage, by way of using God’s Word as the foundational guide, along with Andrews’ insights. HUSBANDS learn that marriage is a gift from God. HUSBANDS take in information that will help them survive the first year of marriage. HUSBANDS will be able to make Christian marriage a success. HUSBANDS will maintain an honorable marriage. …
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. Some of the questions that Anderson will answer are: What are the technological challenges of the 21st century? How should we think about the new philosophies like transhumanism? Should we be concerned about big data? What about our privacy in a world where government and corporations have some much information about us? How should we think about a world experiencing exponential growth in data and knowledge? What social trends are affecting baby boomers, baby busters, and millennials?
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. The thirteen chapters in this book not only look at the broad founding principles but also provide an in-depth look at other important political and governmental issues. One section explains the history and application of church and state issues. Another section describes aspects of political debate and discourse. A final section provides a brief overview of the Christian heritage of this nation that was important in the founding of this country and the framing of our founding documents.
Economics affects our daily lives, and Christians need to think about how to apply biblical principles to money, investment, borrowing, and spending. They also need to understand the free enterprise system and know how to defend capitalism. Chapters in this book not only look at broad economic principles, but a section of the book is devoted to the challenges we face in the 21st century from globalization and tough economic times. A section of the book also provides an in-depth look at other important social and economic issues (gambling, welfare) that we face every day …
Do you desire to follow Jesus Christ and transform the culture around you? Are you sure you know what it means to be a disciple and follow a dangerous revolutionary who often comforts the afflicted and afflicts the comfortable? Jesus Christ is not the mild status quo rabbi you may have been taught in your local church. He is dangerous and anyone who follows him is on a dangerous journey. The demands he places upon you and the challenges you will encounter are necessary on the journey. The journey with Jesus Christ is not for the fainthearted. If you are really serious about joining Jesus Christ in the transformation of the culture around you, here is a raw outlook on what to expect on this DANGEROUS JOURNEY.
Each of the twenty-five chapters in the POWER THROUGH PRAYER provides helpful methods and suggestions for growing and improving your prayer life with God through the power of prayer. So, what can we expect if we make prayer a part of our life? Prayer can give you a peace of mind. Prayer can comfort and strength when facing trials. Prayer can help us make better life choices. The Bible says: “If any of you lacks wisdom [especially in dealing with trials], let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” (James 1:5) Prayer can help to avoid temptation. Prayer is the path yo forgiveness of sins. Your prayers can help others. You will receive encouragement when your prayers are answered.
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 of prayers would the Father reject? How long should our prayers be? How often should we pray? Why should we say “Amen” at the end of a prayer? Must we assume a special position or posture when praying? There are far more than this asked and answered.
What forms of prayer do you personally need to offer more often? Who benefits when you pray for others? Why is it important to pray regularly? Why should true Christians pray continually? To whom should we pray, and how? What are the proper subjects for prayer? When should you pray? Does God listen to all prayers? Whose prayers is God willing to hear? What could make a person’s prayers unacceptable to God? When Jesus says, “whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive if you have faith,” an absolute guarantee that we will receive it? HOW TO PRAY by Torrey and Andrews is a spiritual gem that will answer all of these questions and far more. HOW TO PRAY is a practical guidebook covers the how, when, and most importantly, the way of praying. An excellent devotional resource for any Christian library.
Bible Doctrines – Theology
Torrey and Andrews have taken deep theological subjects and made them easy to understand. CHRISTIAN THEOLOGY: What the Bible Teaches about God has twelve chapters. Chapter 1 begins with God as Spirit, followed by the Unity of God, the Eternity of God, the Omnipresence of God, the Personality of God, the Omnipotence of God, the Omniscience of God, the Holiness of God, the Love of God, The Righteous (or Justice) of God, the Mercy (or Living-Kindness of God), and finally the Faithfulness of God. The advantage of CHRISTIAN THEOLOGY is enormous: each thought-provoking chapter is based soundly in God’s Word, helping the reader to cultivate a sound biblical foundation. Whether you are a student, pastor, teacher, youth worker, or layperson, this publication is a fantastic tool for understanding the Basic Bible Doctrines of the Christian Faith, in the light of solid Scriptural truth. All chapters in the book come from extensive research as to What the Bible Teaches about God.
Torrey and Andrews have taken deep theological subjects and made them easy to understand. CHRISTIAN THEOLOGY: What the Bible Teaches about Jesus Christ has twelve chapters. Chapter 1 begins with God as Spirit, followed by the Unity of God, the Eternity of God, the Omnipresence of God, the Personality of God, the Omnipotence of God, the Omniscience of God, the Holiness of God, the Love of God, The Righteous (or Justice) of God, the Mercy (or Living-Kindness of God), and finally the Faithfulness of God. The advantage of CHRISTIAN THEOLOGY is enormous: each thought-provoking chapter is based soundly in God’s Word, helping the reader to cultivate a sound biblical foundation. Whether you are a student, pastor, teacher, youth worker, or layperson, this publication is a fantastic tool for understanding the Basic Bible Doctrines of the Christian Faith, in the light of solid Scriptural truth. All chapters in the book come from extensive research as to What the Bible Teaches about Jesus Christ.
Torrey, Andrews, and Sweeney have taken deep theological subjects and made them easy to understand. CHRISTIAN THEOLOGY: What the Bible Teaches about the Holy Spirit has eighteen chapters. Chapter 1 begins with the Personality of the Holy Spirit, followed by the Deity of the Holy Spirit, the Distinction of the Holy Spirit from the Father and the Son, the Subordination of the Holy Spirit to the Father and the Son, the names of the Holy Spirit, the Work of the Holy Spirit, the Baptism and Filling with the Holy Spirit, the Work of the Holy Spirit in the Prophets and the Apostles, the Work of the Holy Spirit In Jesus Christ, the Spirit and Christians, How are Christians to Understand the Indwelling of the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit in the First Century and Today and finally some Parting Words about the Holy Spirit. The advantage of CHRISTIAN THEOLOGY is enormous: each thought-provoking chapter is based soundly in God’s Word, helping the reader to cultivate a sound biblical foundation. Whether you are a student, pastor, teacher, youth worker, or layperson, this publication is a fantastic tool for understanding the Basic Bible Doctrines of the Christian Faith, in the light of solid Scriptural truth. All chapters in the book come from extensive research as to What the Bible Teaches about the Holy Spirit. CHRISTIAN THEOLOGY: What the Bible Teaches about the Holy Spirit is the third of five volumes.
Torrey and Andrews have taken deep theological subjects and made them easy to understand. CHRISTIAN THEOLOGY: What the Bible Teaches about Man has eighteen chapters. Chapter 1 begins with Man’s Original Condition, the Present Standing Before God and Condition of Men Outside of the Redemption, the Future Destiny of Those Who Reject the Redemption, Justification, the New Birth, Adoption, Sanctification, Repentance, Faith, Love to God, Love to Christ, Love to Man, Prayer, Thanksgiving, Worship, the Believer’s Assurance, and finally the Future Destiny of Believers. The advantage of CHRISTIAN THEOLOGY is enormous: each thought-provoking chapter is based soundly in God’s Word, helping the reader to cultivate a sound biblical foundation. Whether you are a student, pastor, teacher, youth worker, or layperson, this publication is a fantastic tool for understanding the Basic Bible Doctrines of the Christian Faith, in the light of solid Scriptural truth. All chapters in the book come from extensive research as to What the Bible Teaches about Man. CHRISTIAN THEOLOGY: What the Bible Teaches about Man is the fourth of five volumes.
Torrey and Andrews have taken deep theological subjects and made them easy to understand. CHRISTIAN THEOLOGY: What the Bible Teaches about Angels & Satan the Devil has twenty-one chapters. Torrey in Chapter 1 begins with the Angel’s nature, position, number, and abode, the Work of Angels, the Devil’s Existence, Nature, Position and Character, Ezekiel 28 Explained, the Abod of Satan, Our Duty Toward Satan and His Destiny, Andrews Explaining Angels, Explaining Satan the Devil, Explaining the Demons, Who Were the “Sons of God” In Genesis 6:2, Who Were the Nephilim In Genesis 6:2, Answering No One Has Seen God, Who Is Michael the Archangel, Angelic Rebellion in the Spirit Realm, Can Satan Control Humans, Can Satan Know the Thoughts of the Human Mind, Struggle Against Dark Spiritual Forces, Why Has God Permitted Evil, Do Christians Have Guardian Angels, How Much Is God Involved In Humanity, and Why Is Life So Unfair. The advantage of CHRISTIAN THEOLOGY is enormous: each thought-provoking chapter is based soundly in God’s Word, helping the reader to cultivate a sound biblical foundation. Whether you are a student, pastor, teacher, youth worker, or layperson, this publication is a fantastic tool for understanding the Basic Bible Doctrines of the Christian Faith, in the light of solid Scriptural truth. All chapters in the book come from extensive research as to What the Bible Teaches about Angels & Satan the Devil. CHRISTIAN THEOLOGY: What the Bible Teaches about Angels & Satan the Devil is the fifth of five volumes.
The Bible describes the events that will occur before and after the destruction of Gog of Magog. Who is Gog of Magog mentioned in the book of Ezekiel? Why should we be interested in the prophecy recorded in Daniel chapter 11? Find out in a verse-by-verse explanation of Daniel Chapter 11, as you discover who the kings of the North and the South are from before Jesus’ day throughout the last days. You will benefit from paying attention to Daniel’s prophecy about the battle between the two kings? Taken together, the Bible books of Daniel and Revelation not only identify eight kings but also show the sequence in which they would appear. We can explain those prophecies.
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?
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 important that we know who the antichrist and the man of lawlessness are? The antichrist and the man of lawlessness have had a greater impact on humanity and Christianity over the past centuries than many know. Moreover, the influence on the true worshipers of Christianity today has been even more significant and will only go from bad to worse as we come closer to the second coming of Christ. …
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 earth and the sea, and all that is in them.” (Ac 4:24; 14:15; 17:24) “God . . . created all things.” (Eph. 3:9) Jesus Christ tells us that it is the Father who “created them [humans] from the beginning made them male and female.” (Matt. 19:4; Mark 10:6) Hence, the Father is fittingly and uniquely called “the Creator.” (Isa 40:28) It is because of God’s will that we exist, for He has ‘created all things, and because of his will they existed and were created.’―Revelations 4:11 …
Eschatology is the teaching of what is commonly called the “Last Things.” That is the subject of Andrews’ book, which will cover, Explaining Prophecy, Explaining Clean and Pure Worship, The New Testament Writers Use of the Old Testament, Explaining the Antichrist, Explaining the Man of Lawlessness, Explaining the Mark of the Beast, Explaining Signs of the End of the Age, Explaining the Rapture, Explaining the Great Tribulation, Explaining Armageddon, Explaining the Resurrection Hope, Explaining the Millennium, Explaining the Final Judgment, Explaining the Unevangelized, Explaining Hell
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 will survive the end? These questions and far more will be answered as Andrews delves into The SECOND COMING of CHRIST. In chapters 1 and 2, we must address why Jesus is saying there would be an end to the Jewish age. In chapter 3, we will take a deep look at the signs that establish the great tribulation is closing in, and when is it time to flee. In chapter 4, we will go over the signs of the end of the Jewish age. In chapter 5, we will walk through the events leading up to the end of the Jewish age from 66 – 70 C.E., and how it applies to our Great Tribulation in these last days. In chapter 6, we will cover the second coming of Jesus where the reader will get the answers as to whether verses 3-28 of Matthew Chapter 24 apply to Christ’s second coming. We will close out with chapter 7, and how we should understand the signs, and how we do not want to be led astray, just as Jesus warned even some of the chosen ones would be misled. We will also address what comes after the end.
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 Hell? What Is the Lake of Fire? Is It the Same as Hell or Gehenna? Where Do We Go When We Die? What Does the Bible Say About Hell? Andrews Shares the Truth on WHAT IS HELL From God’s Word.
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 is often misunderstood. Andrews will answer such questions as does God step in and solve every problem if we are faithful? Does the Bible provide absolutes or guarantees in this age of imperfect humanity? Are miracles still happening today? Is faith healing Scriptural? Is speaking in tongues evidence of true Christianity? Is snake handling biblical? How are we to understand the indwelling of the Holy Spirit? The work of the Holy Spirit. Andrews offers his readers very straightforward, biblically accurate explanations for these difficult questions. If any have discussed such questions, without a doubt, they will be very interested in the Bible’s answers in this easy to read publication.
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 Bible discriminate against people with same-sex attractions? Is it possible to abstain from homosexual acts? Should not Christians respect all people, regardless of their sexual orientation? Did not Jesus preach tolerance? If so, should not Christians take a permissive view of homosexuality? Does God approve of same-sex marriage? Does God disapprove of homosexuality? If so, how could God tell someone who is attracted to people of the same sex to shun homosexuality, is that not cruel? If one has same-sex attraction, is it possible to avoid homosexuality? How can I as a Christian explain the Bible’s view of homosexuality? IT IS CRUCIAL that Christians always be prepared to reason from the Scriptures, explaining and proving what the Bible does and does not say about homosexuality, yet doing it with gentleness and respect. Andrews will answer these questions and far more.
Theology & Technology
A lot of confusion exists over the right ethical approach to new technologies. Do we embrace it all as an unmitigated good? Or should we take a more cautionary route that seeks to evaluate our own technology use and its impact on society from a critical perspective? A new awareness of both the dangers and potential benefits new technologies offer will guide us through a morass of ethical questions. We stress limits because it is here that the traditional dialectic of question and answer has broken down; even talking about technological restraint is met with near-universal scorn. Nevertheless, it is through the negative side of this debate that the antithesis will transition into a resolve for the technological problem raised in this Manifesto.
Technology is everywhere, we live, and breath and move in it, but what is our technology worship doing to our souls? How does it impact our relationships with each other? Can we remain human in a technological environment? Terlizzese addresses these questions and more in my latest book Machinehead: Rise of the Technology God. This book on social criticism speaks to the history and sources of computer worship and digital adoration and its consequences for the future of our century. The technological problem stated simply is that technology as a force for good and human amelioration has reversed its direction by means of unlimited acceleration and unfettered use, which threatens us with the opposite of progress in manifest regression, and burgeoning extinction. I resolve these problems by focusing on individual responsibility in the face of an apparent irresistible force moving history toward annihilation. Only as we curb technology use through exercising self-control can we liberate ourselves from Machinehead the technology God.
KILLER COMPUTERS is meant to stimulate thinking on the most critical issue of our times, technology, and in particular Artificial Intelligence, which occupies the foremost of our attention. It does this through a common reference: science fiction film. Science fiction does not predict the future, but it does, for better or worse, anticipate it. Killer Computers are a metaphor for when machines, in the not too distant future, are given the power by their creators, to make life and death decisions, especially in a military or Civil Defense context, which will inevitably spill over into medical and judicial realms. The solitary cause for this potential future is the collective resignation to think for ourselves in all things. The Enlightenment principle of Sapere Aude (dare to think for yourself) is being forgotten in favor an Artificial Intelligence that does all our thinking for us. The hope is that through awareness, we will be smart enough not to let that happen, while still enjoying the benefits this technology offers. These essays include a discussion on a theology of culture, On Black Holes and Arch Angels, as well as Grace and Law and case studies on important thinkers that address technological and political worlds, such as Gabriel Marcel and Reinhold Niebuhr. Hope is a predominate theme which is capped by a chapter on New Creation. Wisdom counsels a path through critical participation in the technological system. We must see ourselves as part of the problem and therefore, part of the solution.
Today’s Technological progress is mankind’s greatest achievement but may lead to total destruction. Technological progress consumes more than it produces, it pursues its own ends not that of humanity’s and cannot accelerate indefinitely on a planet with finite resources. Jacques Ellul noted “[t]echnique (technology) has its limits. But when it has reached those limits, will anything exist outside them . . . is it (technological acceleration) not succeeding in undermining everything which is outside it?” (Ellul 1964, 85) Once technological limits are reached will anything be left? Transhumanists expect that technological acceleration will culminate by mid-century in an event they call the “Singularity” a technological Omega Point or convergence of human and artificial intelligence that will give rise to a god-like supercomputer (Artilect) which promises a century of progress in one hour. Despite apparent immediate gains, technology makes the human plight worse through exhaustion of resources and spiritual slavery. The Singularity will mark the end of technological progress as it reaches completion without redressing the spiritual problem inherent to the human condition. This means that all who step into the Singularity will enter a void, a digital black hole. The solution is as simple as the problem is sublime, step away from the edge of the abyss slowly.
If you’ve struggled in the world of difficulties that surround you, you’re not alone. Maybe you have looked for help, and you have been given conflicting answers. 40 DAYS DEVOTIONAL FOR YOUTHS: Coming-of-Age In Christ, can help you. Its advice is based on answers that actually work, which are found in the Bible. God’s Word has helped billions over thousands of years to face life’s challenges successfully. Find out how it can help you! 40 DAYS DEVOTIONAL FOR YOUTHS includes seven sections, with several chapters in each. It includes the following sections: Sexual Desires and Love, your friends, your family, school, recreation, your health. You need advice you can trust! 40 DAYS DEVOTIONAL FOR YOUTHS will give you that. This author has worked with thousands of youths from around the world. The Bible-based sound advice helped them. Now you can discover how it can help you.
Young ones and teens, you are exposed to complex problems that your parents may not understand. Young Christians, you are bombarded with multiple options for solving everyday problems through social media. Where do you turn to find answers? Where can you look to find guidance from Scripture? In order to provide a Christian perspective to problem-solving, the author of this devotional book decided to take a different approach. Terry Overton was determined to find out what problems middle school children and teens were worried about the most. While visiting her grandchildren one weekend, she asked her granddaughter to send topics to her so that she could write a devotional about the topic. In a matter of weeks, not only did her granddaughter send her topics, but the other grandchildren and their friends sent topics of concern. Once the author wrote a devotional for a topic, it was sent to the teen requesting the devotional. Soon, these requests were happening in real time. Students sent text requests about problems happening in school and asked what the student should do? How should this be handled?
This devotional book follows the author’s own faith journey back to God. Significant life events can shake our world and distort our faith. Following life’s tragedies, a common reaction is to become angry with God or to reject Him altogether. Examples of tragedies or traumas include life-changing events such as physical or sexual assault, destruction of one’s home, the tragic death of a loved one, diagnoses of terminal diseases, divorce, miscarriages, or being a victim of a crime. Tragedies or traumas can cause feelings of anxiety, depression, shame, and guilt.
Throughout the book, common themes emerge to support caregivers. The reader will find interesting Bible Scriptures, offering a Christian perspective, for handling issues that may arise. These inspiring passages will assist the caregiver in finding peace and faith as they travel their journey as a caregiver. Although caregivers may not know how long they will play this role, they take on the responsibility without any question. Taking care of others is often mentioned in the Bible and, as noted in this devotional, this self-sacrificing, highly valued, and often challenging service will ultimately be rewarded.
Humans must breathe in the air of our atmosphere to survive. Many cities because of pollution face a dangerous level of contamination in their air. However, an even more deadly air affects both Christians and nonChristians. Ordinary methods or devices cannot detect this poisonous air. The apostle Paul, in his letter to the Ephesians, spoke of the “air,” when he said that Satan was “the ruler of the authority of the air.” (Eph. 2:2) In that, very same verse Paul said the “air” is “the spirit now working in the sons of disobedience.” If we breathe in this “air,” we will begin to adopt their attitude, thoughts, speech, and conduct.
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. The apostle Paul, in his letter to the Ephesians, spoke of the “air,” when he said that Satan was “the ruler of the authority of the air.” (Eph. 2:2) In that, very same verse Paul said the “air” is “the spirit now working in the sons of disobedience.” If we breathe in this “air,” we will begin to adopt their attitude, thoughts, speech, and conduct.
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. Kieran Beville’s daily devotional combines down-to-earth, unstuffy humanity in today’s world with a biblical and God-centered approach, and draws on rich theology in a thoroughly accessible way. He addresses not just the intellect and the will but gets to the heart, our motivational center, through the mind. If your Christian life could benefit from a short, well-written daily blast of Christ’s comfort and challenge, get this book and use it! These short Bible-based meditations are fresh and contemporary. Beville gives to the twenty-first-century reader what earlier authors have given to theirs. Here is practical wisdom that is a helpful guide to stimulate worship and set you thinking as you begin each day with God.
The Conversation: An Intimate Journal of the Emmaus Encounter is a unique and riveting reconstruction from the unnamed disciple’s account found in Luke 24 regarding his journey with Cleopas on the road to Emmaus after witnessing Jesus’s crucifixion and burial, along with hearing claims of His empty tomb. Suddenly, a Stranger begins walking with them. With their eyes “prevented” from recognizing Him as the risen Lord Jesus Christ—Yeshua the Messiah, their new, wise Traveling Companion correlates the Old Covenant Scriptures, by way of Moses and the prophets, with what they witnessed.
This “journal” is your opportunity to eavesdrop and learn what that conversation might have been like, as pertinent prophecies unfold revealing evidence that the Messiah’s suffering, death, burial, and resurrection were, in fact, specifically foretold.
Unique and life-changing, More Than Devotion, through a melding of accounts from both the Old Covenant and New, proves that our trustworthy God truly is the same yesterday, today, and forever. All fifty convicting devotions draw from a rich scriptural context, concluding with a practical, achievable call to action, plus journaling space for personal reflection. New believers and veteran followers of our Lord can grow in the innermost areas of their lives and enjoy a more intimate walk with the Savior.
Stella Mae Clark thought she had a wonderful life. She idolized her father, a military man who raised her to love Christ with all of her heart. She had a mother who loved her father and their example of true love gave her the sparkle in her eyes. That is until the unimaginable happens and her life is completely shattered. One decision at the age of sixteen would again turn her world completely upside down. Stella Mae makes the decision to leave her life and her family behind to seek refuge from her painful past. She desperately seeks solace, answers, and for something to fill the aching void within her heart. Just as she thinks she has settled into a new life with Christ, tragedy once again strikes and shatters any hope she had for a normal life. She abandons Christ and turns to a life of sin before it ultimately consumes her and breaks her down. Will it take nearly losing her life to find her way back to God or will her shame and regret keep holding her back? Join Stella Mae on her journey to find meaning and purpose in the midst of all her tragedy as she seeks to find the One her heart has been missing. The story of her past is one of loss, shame, heartbreak, and fear. With the help of those who see her for more than her past, she is able to become the person she always wanted to be and a new creature.
AN APOCALYPTIC NOVEL: As you are no doubt are aware, Jerry B. Jenkins and Tim LaHaye in 1995 wrote a novel entitled “Left Behind.” Jerry and Tim had some prior success with a major publisher and were able to get their novel published. The Left Behind novel was published by Tyndale House beginning in 1995 within a multiple volumes Left Behind series resulting in sales exceeding 60 million books. In 1992 Don Alexander wrote the storyline embedded in Left Behind. He copyrighted the novel in 1992 under the title “Oren Natas” [who is the Anti-Christ in his storyline]. The entire novel is contained in a single volume. It is a novel written depicting a colorful and witty cast of characters who live through all the “end time” Bible prophecies.
A routine classified telepathic interrogation of a potential terrorist, followed by an assignment that doesn’t go as planned thrusts Tabatha – the world’s only telepathic human – into the public eye. The exposure leads an evil neuro-scientist requesting a meeting with her in hopes of luring her to his cause as well as unveiling a deadly creative work that has spanned three decades of research and development.
ONLINE REVIEW: “Very fun read. Fast paced and honest. Tons of evolution occurs during the process thru the story. Wonderful girl trying to become an adult Christian in a world that also pits her superpowers against terrorists with the help of her own special forces team. Buy this book and just enjoy!”
In June 1985, an excavation project was undertaken by The British Antiquities Volunteers (BAV) at a plot of rocky land where the Kidron and Hinnom Valleys meet near the eastern side of Old Jerusalem. That year many hundreds of (mostly redundant) ‘small finds’ were recovered in the Judean 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 Judas Iscariot Owen Batstone relates the observations and feelings of Judas, a disgruntled disciple, as he accompanies Jesus of Nazareth during His ministry, and uses this fable and allegory to explore some of the ways a person might resist becoming a Christian.
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 the beast. While on his way to Garbor, he meets up with an unlikely trio who befriends him. Together, they set out towards Garbor. Unfortunately, however, they are soon faced with their first major catastrophe, which sparks debate among them as to whether or not they really are in the Great Tribulation. On their journey, the group meets up with many people, some of them good and some of them evil. …
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 embrace the Light because it exposed their wickedness. They rejected the Light of the Word and ruled themselves. Those few who had embraced the Light and hated the darkness were killed. Since that time anyone who embraced the Light of the Word, pursued or talked about it were arrested. Those arrested were sentenced to death by stoning. The last prophet gave a prophecy before he was martyred. “The whisperer will come and empower three witnesses that will make manifest the works of darkness and destroy it, and deliver my people from the grip of darkness to the freedom found in the light.” All the Children of the Light were killed off or went into hiding living among the Children of Darkness in secret, not mentioning the Light for fear of death. Generations grew up being ignorant of the Light of the Word and never knowing the difference. No one ever mentioned the Light or dared to even talk about the Light. …
 Or “servant”
 Jewish people scattered throughout Gentile lands
 William D. Mounce, Mounce’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old & New Testament Words (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2006), 633.
 IBID, 633.
 Both brothers and sisters
 Without criticizing
 Or indecisive, i.e., wavering in mind
 Or “rejoice”
 Literally “the man,” but here is referring to a man or woman
 i.e., God (the Father)
 2 Cor. 6:10; 8:9; Gal. 3:28, 29; 1 Pet. 4:10, 11; Rev. 2:9; see comments on James 2:1-9.
 Let us not be unrealistic. Many people commonly say, “money cannot buy happiness.” While this is true, Satan’s world functions from one’s ability to be able to afford the necessities of life. Without money, one cannot pay for a home, transportation, medical services, medication, food, clothing, utilities, material that the children need, and so on. Yes, money can but a measure of happiness but not eternal happiness.
 Lit untempted
 That is evil persons, or evil things
 Or “own lust”
 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. God allows us to face the trials that the natural course of life takes within this imperfect age. He allows us to face the trials of our own free will decisions. Simply being steadfast to a Christian life that is counterintuitive to the wicked world that we live in can be a trial that God has allowed.
 Or “with whom there is not a variation or the turning of the shadow.”
 Or is able to save you
 Lit the face of his birth
 See Matthew 11:15; 13:43; Mark 4:9; 4:23; Luke 14:35; Revelation 2:7, 11; 3:6, and 13.
The Holy Spirit and the Apostles (http://tiny.cc/vgbwqy)
The Holy Spirit in the First Century and Today (http://tiny.cc/pabwqy)
The Holy Spirit and the Apostolic Church (http://tiny.cc/3fbwqy)
The Holy Spirit and the World (http://tiny.cc/ffbwqy)
The Work of the Holy Spirit (http://tiny.cc/sjbwqy)
How Are We to Understand the Indwelling of the Holy Spirit? (http://tiny.cc/1mbwqy)
How Do We Receive the Holy Spirit Today?
Are Answers to Our Prayerful Requests Absolutely Guaranteed?
Is Foreknowledge Compatible with Free Will?
 See Deuteronomy 10:18; 14:28–29; 16:11; 24:17; 26:12; Jeremiah 22:3; Zechariah 7:8–10; Malachi 3:5; cf. Acts 6:1; 1 Timothy 5:16
 Lit the reasonable (or rational, logical) service of you
 Or well-pleasing
 Both brothers and sisters
 Lit untempted
 That is evil persons, or evil things
 “to obtain information to be used against a person by trying to cause someone to make a mistake, ‘to try to trap, to attempt to catch in a mistake.’” – Johannes P. Louw and Eugene Albert Nida, Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: Based on Semantic Domains (New York: United Bible Societies, 1996), 329.
 Lit untempted
 That is evil persons, or evil things
 Or “own lust”
 Lit eat from it
 Lit dying you [singular] shall die. Heb. moth tamuth; the first reference to death in the Scriptures
 Max Anders, Galatians-Colossians, vol. 8, Holman New Testament Commentary (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1999), 190.
 Steven Lawson. Holman Old Testament Commentary – Psalms 76-150 (Kindle Locations 2561-2564). B&H Publishing Group.