Archive for March, 2021

Does the church you attend agree with the Methodist Church in 1896, 1940, 1960, 1984, or 2015?

March 25, 2021

To open the outline to see their dated quotes, go to www.bibledebates.info, on the left side click Personal Work, scroll down and click Methodist Changes On Divorce.

Why Are There Apparent Contradictions In The Bible?

March 18, 2021

Sometimes we get troubled because just when we think we find what the Bible teaches on a particular topic, we run across a verse that seems at first glance to be teaching just the opposite. Three points …

Diligently Study The Context

I suggest to you these “apparent contradictions” are inevitable, because the Bible is large enough that subjects are considered from different angles. In cases like this, a study of the context of the statement usually resolves the apparent contradiction. For example, on the surface, Ephesians 2:8-9 would appear to teach just the opposite of James 2:24. But when you consider all passages on grace, faith, works, and obedience, and the contexts of Ephesians 2 and James 2, you see Ephesians 2 is discussing the BASIS for our salvation (how it is earned) while James 2 is discussing whether or not we have to meet CONDITIONS in order to receive the salvation provided for (earned) by the death of Christ.

Seeming Contradictions Help Us To Learn Detail

Sometimes these seeming contradictions help us to learn more detail about the subject in question. In the Ephesians 2 / James 2 example just cited, the “problem” forces us to investigate how the apparently conflicting statements do not contradict. Knowing that God wrote the Bible, and knowing that God cannot lie (Titus 1:2), we therefore know the Bible can’t contradict itself, so we go into an in-depth study of the contexts and other passages to determine how the two passages don’t contradict. Another good example I’ve heard to illustrate this point is the apparent contradiction between Acts 9:7 and 22:9. Did the men with Saul hear the voice of Jesus or not? The answer is that they heard the voice in the sense of hearing the noise of the voice, but they did not hear the voice in the sense of understanding the words. We commonly use the word “hear” in both those senses today, and so does the Bible in this case. This is a trivial example (because it doesn’t involve any doctrine), but it does illustrate how an apparent contradiction can help us to learn detail. If we didn’t have both verses, we wouldn’t know the detail they the men actually heard the voice, but didn’t understand the words.

God Wants There To Be Some Effort Required

Passages like Mark 4:11-12 and Matthew 13:13-15 teach God makes learning the truth harder than “falling off log,” because he wants a person to love Him enough to show diligence in his study. II Thess 2:10-12 shows if a person does not love the truth enough, God will send him a delusion. Simply put, if a person wants to believe a lie, then God will facilitate that. John 7:17 teaches those who really want to know God’s will and are willing to do it once they learn it, are the only ones guaranteed to learn the truth. Half-hearted commitment to Christ (Rev 3:15-16) will never be enough to learn enough of the truth to be set free (from sin) by it (John 8:32). Spiritual laziness (in Bible study or otherwise) will not cut it with God (Acts 17:11).

Romans 7:14-25 Describes Our Struggle Against Sin

March 11, 2021

Gal 5:17, Mark 14:38, and Matt 26:41 teach the same thing as Rom 7:14-25 (“… For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do …”) and these three verses definitely state a truth about all Christians:

· Gal 5:17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.

· Mark 14:38 Watch ye and pray, lest ye enter into temptation. The spirit truly is ready, but the flesh is weak.

· Matt 26:41 Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.

Sure if we compare ourselves to Adolf Hitler, we barely sin at all. But if we compare ourselves to Christ, we sin all the time. The latter is what these four passages are talking about – sinning once a day (perhaps just accidently breaking the speed limit – I Pet 2:13) is sinning all the time compared to thirty-three years of absolute sinless perfection (Heb 4:15).

Some say Rom 7:14-25 refers to before Paul became a Christian, but Paul’s describes his difficulty in overcoming sin in the present tense no less than 19 times (by my count) in these 12 verses. Perhaps somebody can think of a reason present tense doesn’t mean presently in this case, but they certainly wouldn’t be able to say context was on their side if they did.

What Is The Main Point Of I Cor 7?

March 4, 2021

One of the main points of I Corinthians 7 is that God was recommending (not commanding) that people stay single at that time (a temporary period of time) because of the present distress (possibly some form of persecution that would be harder to overcome if one had a spouse). Notice these texts from the chapter …

The advice is to stay single:

1 Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman.

But it is not a sin to marry:

6 But I speak this by permission, and not of commandment.

7 For I would that all men were even as I myself. But every man hath his proper gift of God, one after this manner, and another after that.

8 I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, it is good for them if they abide even as I.

9 But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn.

Abide single or married, whatever state you are already in:

17 But as God hath distributed to every man, as the Lord hath called every one, so let him walk. And so ordain I in all churches.

18 Is any man called being circumcised? let him not become uncircumcised. Is any called in uncircumcision? let him not be circumcised.

19 Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but the keeping of the commandments of God.

20 Let every man abide in the same calling wherein he was called.

21 Art thou called being a servant? care not for it: but if thou mayest be made free, use it rather.

22 For he that is called in the Lord, being a servant, is the Lord’s freeman: likewise also he that is called, being free, is Christ’s servant.

23 Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men.

24 Brethren, let every man, wherein he is called, therein abide with God.

25 Now concerning virgins I have no commandment of the Lord: yet I give my judgment, as one that hath obtained mercy of the Lord to be faithful.

26 I suppose therefore that this is good for the present distress, I say, that it is good for a man so to be.

27 Art thou bound unto a wife? seek not to be loosed. Art thou loosed from a wife? seek not a wife.

28 But and if thou marry, thou hast not sinned; and if a virgin marry, she hath not sinned. Nevertheless such shall have trouble in the flesh: but I spare you.

It will be harder to face this persecution if one has a spouse to care for or protect:

29 But this I say, brethren, the time is short: it remaineth, that both they that have wives be as though they had none;

30 And they that weep, as though they wept not; and they that rejoice, as though they rejoiced not; and they that buy, as though they possessed not;

31 And they that use this world, as not abusing it: for the fashion of this world passeth away.

32 But I would have you without carefulness. He that is unmarried careth for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please the Lord:

33 But he that is married careth for the things that are of the world, how he may please his wife.

34 There is difference also between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman careth for the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit: but she that is married careth for the things of the world, how she may please her husband.

35 And this I speak for your own profit; not that I may cast a snare upon you, but for that which is comely, and that ye may attend upon the Lord without distraction.

A father may give away his virgin daughter in marriage, but it is better during this present distress if he doesn’t:

36 But if any man think that he behaveth himself uncomely toward his virgin, if she pass the flower of her age, and need so require, let him do what he will, he sinneth not: let them marry.

37 Nevertheless he that standeth stedfast in his heart, having no necessity, but hath power over his own will, and hath so decreed in his heart that he will keep his virgin, doeth well.

38 So then he that giveth her in marriage doeth well; but he that giveth her not in marriage doeth better.

This same inspired advice applies to widows:

39 The wife is bound by the law as long as her husband liveth; but if her husband be dead, she is at liberty to be married to whom she will; only in the Lord.

40 But she is happier if she so abide, after my judgment: and I think also that I have the Spirit of God.

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