Saturday, December 13, 2014

ICBF 2014 Year-End Review

December 13, 2014

“I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. It is right for me to feel this way about you all, because I hold you in my heart, for you are all partakers with me of grace, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel. For God is my witness, how I yearn for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus. And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.” (Philippians 1:3-11 ESV)

Looking Back into 2014

2013’s Goals for 2014
-Suggestions for improvements in 2014 included the use of visuals in studies, sword drills, shorter study lengths, and better ability to follow cross-references in studies.
-Goals for 2014 included the use of a prayer document to keep people connected in prayer, as well as handouts to be used during studies for note-taking.
-Some of the goals that were not verbalized and not implemented in 2014 were a recognition and rewards system, as well as the formation of a leadership team with quarterly analysis of the state of the group.
-2013 saw the completion of the longest study series at the time in the 42-week 3:15 Defenders Series, the 14-week Equipping Young Adults Series, the 12-week Walk Through the Word series, and other intercessory studies.

-The longest study in 2014 was Philippians Week 13-Joy in Discipling Others at 86 minutes, and the shortest study was Jesus-The Great I AM at 58 minutes. The average study length was 72 minutes.
-ICBF studied 44 studies in 2014, compared to 37 studies in 2012 and 49 studies in 2013. The bulk of the year was spent in 35 weeks in Philippians 1-2.
-ICBF spent 16 weeks in Philippians 1, with the studies Recipients of the Joy of Salvation, The Joy of Thankfulness, The Joy of Christian Affection, The Joy of Godliness, The Joy of Glorifying God, The Victory of Suffering, The Victory of Proclaiming Christ, Joy in the Midst of Conflict, Parts 1 and 2, Joy in the Face of the Future, Joy in Life and Death, Parts 1 and 2, Joy in Discipling Others, The Call to Gospel Worthiness, The Call to Gospel Courage, and The Call to Gospel Suffering.
-ICBF spent 19 weeks in Philippians 2, with the studies The Call to Gospel Unity, The Call to Gospel Humility, The Call to Gospel Service, The Example of Christ, The Incarnation of Christ, The Humiliation of Christ, The Exaltation of Christ, The Coronation of Christ, The Glorious Lordship of Christ, The Sovereign Responsibility of Salvation, The Shining Examples of Salvation, The Word of Life of Salvation, The Joyful Sacrifices of Salvation, The Concern of Timothy, The Testimony of Timothy, The Example of Epaphroditus, The Illness of Epaphroditus, The Return of Epaphroditus, and The Commitment of Epaphroditus.
-ICBF had three Q and A evenings, with such questions as, how does God work through evil but not tempt us at the same time? What was the chronological order of the OT kings and prophets? How do we live with hypocritical Christians? What was the timeline of key Messianic prophecies? What were the kingly requirements in the Pentateuch, and how did Jesus fulfill them? What 5 doctrines should every Christian study? Should we be obeying everything in the OT today? How do we live with other Christians who disagree with us?
-ICBF had three interlude studies: Rebellion, Repentance, and Redemption: The Omnipotent Grace of God, Salvation through the Shepherd-King: The Deliverance through the Lord’s Anointed, and You Have the Words of Eternal Life: The Divine Power of Christ and Scripture.
-ICBF had three special studies: Eating, Error, and Edification—The Mindset of Christian Liberty, Jesus—The Great I AM, and The Unfolding of Your Word Gives Light: The Bible of the Reformation.

Year-End Review
-The favorite studies in Philippians in 2014 were Philippians Week 2-The Joy in Thankfulness, Philippians Week 6-The Victory of Suffering, Philippians Week 8-9: Joy in the Midst of Conflict, Parts 1 and 2, Philippians Week 11-12: Joy in Life and Death, Parts 1 and 2, Philippians Week 17-The Call to Gospel Unity, Philippians Week 21-The Incarnation of Christ, Philippians Week 25-The Glorious Lordship of Christ, Philippians Week 30-The Concern of Timothy, Philippians Week 32-The Example of Epaphroditus, Philippians Week 33-The Illness of Epaphroditus, Philippians Week 34-The Return of Epaphroditus, and Philippians Week 35-The Commitment of Epaphroditus.
-Jesus—The Great I AM was the most favorite study outside the book of Philippians.
-7 individuals invited people in 2014, but none of the invited people stayed. In 2014, two regular members had little attendance, as had happened in 2013. The average is currently that of losing two members a year.
-1 individual visits the blog daily, 2 individuals visit the blog weekly, and 7 individuals visit the blog monthly.
-90% read study notes on the blog in 2014.
-80% referred the blog to people outside of ICBF in 2014.
-50% downloaded study recordings.
-60% had not referred anyone to study recordings.
-Out of 1-5, 50% rated the handouts in usefulness at 4, 40% rated them at 5, and 10% rated them at 3.
-Out of 1-5 in terms of listening and remembering study material, 60% rated the handouts at 4, 30% rated them at 5, and 10% rated them at 3.
-Out of 1-10 in understanding study lectures, 50% rated them at 9, 10% at 10, 10% at 8, 10% at 7, and 10% at 6.
-50% of people said study lectures should be 60-70 minutes, 40% said 50-60 minutes, and 10% said 40-50 minutes.
-50% said discussions should be 20-30 minutes, 40% said 10-20 minutes, and 10% said 5-10 minutes.
-40% said the questions are usually helpful in applying and analyzing study material, 30% said very helpful, and 30% said somewhat helpful.
-Out of 1-10 in terms of understanding discussion questions, 30% rated them at 7, 30% rated them at 5, 20% rated them at 8, 10% rated them at 9, and 10% rated them at 5.
-Out of 1-10 in terms of discussion questions being relevant, 40% said 8, 30% said 10, 20% said 9, and 10% said 7.
-From 1-5 in terms of the prayer document being helpful, 40% said 3, 30% said 4, 20% said 2, and 10% said 5.
-50% referred to the prayer document between studies, and 50% did not.
-50% said 8:00 PM exactly would work just fine as a start time for studies, 40% said it would work but not be ideal, and 10% said it would not work.
-60% said they could take on additional weekly responsibilities in ICBF.
-70% did not memorize Philippians 1-2 this year.

Looking Forward to 2015

Year-End Suggestions
-Short activities for people to do during the week, such as assigned reading or short quizzes when studying Philippians.
-Discussion questions that have more application would be desired.
-Sword drills and visuals during studies were brought up again, but these will not be implemented for the time being.
-Greater group interconnection and involvement so cliques are not too prevalent and more openness and sharing becomes prevalent.
-Less unneeded talking and interruption before studies start, as Collin is unable to start teaching on time at certain times because of this.

ICBF Goals
-The ICBF blog will have bi-weekly posting: a blog post of study notes every Thursday, and a blog post written by an individual in ICBF on Tuesday.
-70% of individuals in ICBF volunteered to write blog posts for the blog, and 30% declined.
-Study recordings will be utilized more in 2015, with a featured recording posted twice a month. 50% had downloaded and listened to recordings, and 50% had not. 60% had never referred anyone to study recordings.
-ICBF studies will hopefully average 60-65 minutes in 2015, instead of 72 minutes like 2014.
-Discussion times will be revamped in order to have questions with greater clarity.
-ICBF study times will begin promptly at 8:15 PM with invites sent out approximately 8:00 PM.
-ICBF will utilize a main G+ and Gmail account for invites and administration.
-ICBF will hold quarterly community nights that function to review studies and community activities and progress.

ICBF Communities
-G+ communities have been created in response to suggestions of people and needs of people.
-Kaleigh Stroink will be the leader and moderator of the Scripture Reading Community, which will be intended to foster daily Bible reading habits and the completion of the entire Bible in a year.
-Schuyler McConkey will be the leader and moderator of the Prayer Community, designed to foster daily and weekly habits of prayer and greater sharing among members.
-Carrie-Grace McConkey will be the leader and moderator of the Scripture Memorization Community, designed to foster weekly memorization and the memorization of Philippians by the end of 2015.

“Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain. Even if I am to be poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrificial offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. Likewise you also should be glad and rejoice with me. (Philippians 2:12-18 ESV)


Wednesday, December 10, 2014

"You Have the Words of Eternal Life"-The Divine Power of Christ and Scripture

December 10, 2014

-“Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain.” (Philippians 2:14-16 ESV)

John 6:60-71

-In John 6:1-14, John records the feeding of the five thousand—the only miracle recorded in all four gospels. That evening, Jesus hid himself because the people would make Him king by force. Later that evening, He walked on water during windy conditions, saying “I Am, be not afraid.” (John 6:15-21)
-The next morning, the crowd crossed the Sea of Galilee looking for Jesus and landed at Capernaum. They asked him why he had sailed the four miles across the Sea of Galilee during the night, and He revealed their motivations for finding him again. (John 6:25-27)
-Jesus very clearly laid out the nature of salvation by grace alone in faith alone in Him alone. (John 6:28-29)
-The crowd compared Jesus’ miracle with the miracle of the Israelites being fed for 40 years with manna from Heaven under Moses. Jesus responded by saying that His Father gave them that manna, and that He Himself was the I Am of the Old Testament, for He was now living bread that came down from Heaven. (John 6:35-40)
-The Jews doubted His divine identity, for they viewed him as the son of a carpenter from Nazareth. Jesus, however, rebuked them and repeated that He is YHWH who came down from Heaven as living bread for the people to eat and never perish. (John 6:43-51)
-The Jews then ignored His claim to deity and instead focused on His statements about “bread from Heaven”, and Jesus revealed more truth that they did not want to hear. (John 6:52-54) His statements about partaking of His flesh and blood did not refer to Communion or the Eucharist, for this wasn’t implemented until the Last Supper.
-Jesus finished His response to the crowd at Capernaum, declaring that anyone who “feeds on this bread” will live forever, for this bread was not like the foodstuff that came down from Heaven. (John 6:55-59)

The Offense of Christ

Verse 60: When many of his disciples heard it, they said, “This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?”
-Capernaum was the hometown of Peter, James, Andrew, John, and Matthew, and Jesus often located Himself in this city during His Galilean ministry.
-Jesus had already done much work in Capernaum already in His ministry, such as healing the paralytic (Mark 2:3-12) healing the man with a withered hand (Mark 3:1-6) and healing the centurion’s son. (John 4:46-53)
-Jesus had already received criticism from the Pharisees and scribes while in Capernaum. (Mark 2:16-17)
-Jesus had gained many disciples beyond the twelve disciples at this point in time. (John 4:1)
-“Hard” (Σκληρός) refers to that which is difficult to accept, not that which is hard to understand.
-“Can listen” (ἀκούειν) means to heed by hearing, not simply audible hearing.
-The “hard saying” was Jesus’ closing argument in John 5:53-59, and it declared that, on His own authority, 1) no one who partook of His flesh and blood could live, but 2) those who partook of His flesh and blood would have eternal life, and 3) that they would be raised to life on the last day.
-Jesus was speaking indirectly of His crucifixion (1 Peter 2:24), and the Jews understood that He was declaring Himself to be the Messiah (Isaiah 49:26), but that He would suffer and be killed—and they refused to believe in a suffering Messiah. (Acts 17:1-3)

Verse 61: But Jesus, knowing in himself that his disciples were grumbling about this, said to them, “Do you take offense at this?
-“But Jesus” is similar in some aspects to Paul’s “But God.”
-“Knowing” (εἰδὼς) means “I have surely seen” and indicates complete, unveiled awareness of what one is observing.
-“In himself” reveals the source of Jesus’ knowledge, for John emphasized His omniscience repeatedly throughout his gospel. Jesus had knowledge within Himself of His disciples were grumbling, for He is the omniscient Son of God.
-“Grumbling” (γογγύζουσιν) is gongyzousin, which is the same word Paul used in Philippians 2:14. It means to mutter, to complain, and to deride someone. It was the same form of grumbling that the Israelites did with the bread from Heaven (Exodus 16:2), which they now did again approximately 1,600 years later. This form of grumbling ultimately leads to destruction and judgment. (1 Corinthians 10:10)
-Jesus now addressed His grumbling disciples, asking them a question He already knew. God always posed questions in the Bible to reveal who men were at heart (Genesis 3:9; Genesis 4:6; Genesis 21:17) and Jesus did the same here.
-“Offense” (σκανδαλίζει) is skandalizó. To rely on the body and blood of Jesus for salvation was very scandalous, just as Paul would repeat later in church history. (1 Corinthians 1:22-23)

The Spirit of Life

Verse 62: Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before?
-Jesus now asked a question that would be even more difficult for them to accept: the fact that they would consider it a scandal for Him in His humble state to return to Heaven, for His origin was in Heaven.
-“You were to see” (ἀναβαίνοντα) is more than mere visual observation—it refers to final realization about what is happening.
-“Son of Man” referred both to Jesus’ consideration of Himself as a prophet (Ezekiel 33:2; Ezekiel 33:12; Ezekiel 34:2) and also that of the glorious One to be presented before the Ancient of Days and receive an eternal kingdom. (Daniel 7:9-14)
-“Ascending” (ἀναβαίνοντα) speaks of rising up or climbing up, and it contrasts with how Jesus first “descending” to Earth. (John 6:38-44)
-“Where he was before” indicates the location of Jesus’ prior residence to His incarnation: on the throne of Heaven. (Isaiah 6:1-7; John 3:13; John 6:38; John 12:37-41)
-Paul would write about the same thing to which Jesus now refers: the ascension and glorification of Jesus, occurring after He came down from Heaven. (Philippians 2:5-11)
-Just as Jesus said to His disciples, Paul would say experience: the resurrection and ascension of Christ is offensive to the hard heart and unbelieving mind. (Acts 17:17-18)

Verse 63: It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.

-Jesus now introduced Someone previously unmentioned in this scene: the Spirit. “Spirit” (πνεῦμά) can refer to an impersonal force or spiritual power (Matthew 10:20; Mark 14:38), but the pronoun “who” specifies that this refers to a Person, while “the” (τὸ) indicates only one specific Spirit Jesus was referring to.
-The Spirit of God was revealed in the beginning of human history (Genesis 1:2), and it was the Spirit that anointed kings and inspired Scripture. (2 Samuel 23:1-2)
-The Spirit of God rested upon the Son of Man, as foretold in Scripture. (Luke 4:16-22)
-Earlier, Jesus spoke to Nicodemus about the Spirit of God causing men to be born again and be saved. (John 3:1-8)
-“Gives life” (ῥήματα) means to give power and vigor to that which was previously dead.
-The Spirit gives new life into individuals who were already dead. (Ephesians 2:4-5; Colossians 2:13)
-“Flesh” (σὰρξ) is not sin in this context, but human effort.
-“Is no help at all” (ὠφελεῖ οὐδέν) means to have absolutely no use or value.
-Human effort and human works has never been and never will be sufficient for saving understanding and eternal life—only faith in Christ as revealed in Scripture can save. (Luke 18:10-14; John 5:39-40)
-“Words” (ῥήματα) refers to spoken words. Graphas refers to written Scripture, Logos refers to the meaning of Scripture, and Rhematos refers to spoken Scripture.
-The words Jesus spoke are “spirit” (πνεῦμά) and “life” (ζωή), referring to them being the source of eternal life and spiritual rebirth.
-The life that the Spirit gave was (and is) inseparably linked to the words Jesus spoke. (1 Thessalonians 1:1-6)

The Will of God
Verse 64: But there are some of you who do not believe.” (For Jesus knew from the beginning who those were who did not believe, and who it was who would betray him.)
-“But” indicates a contrast to what Jesus was stating in verse 63.
-“Believe” (πιστεύουσιν) here refers specifically to faith in Christ as the sole agent in which one is brought before God. “Not” (οὐ) specifies that they did not believe in Him.
-Christ would state that He is the only One through whom salvation comes, thereby being the only One in whom we can believe for eternal life. (John 8:24; John 10:38; John 14:11)
-Paul would echo the truth of which Christ spoke in his letters to the early church. (Romans 6:8; 1 Thessalonians 4:14)
-John would repeat the same truths as the last surviving apostle in the early church. (1 John 5:1)
-Jesus “knew” (ᾔδει) in that He had full knowledge, awareness, and perception of what was happening.
-Jesus knew from the “beginning” of His ministry who would reject him.
-John highlights Jesus’ omniscience in knowing all who would and would not believe in Him before He began his ministry, as he does elsewhere. (John 1:47-51; John 16:30; Revelation 2:23)
-Christ, being fully God, is fully omniscient. (Matthew 12:25; Matthew 22:18; Luke 6:8)
-Jesus knew the entire time that Judas would betray Him. (John 13:11)
-John emphasizes that Jesus never acted out of ignorance or hindsight, but retained His omniscience and acted accordingly.

Verse 65: And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.”
-“This” refers to those who were now rejecting Him because of their unbelief, for they did not have the Spirit and eternal life.
-“I told you” emphasizes that Jesus was repeating that which He had already told them. (John 3:27; John 6:37; John 6:44)
-“Can” (δύναται) is a passive indicative, not an active imperative—this ability is something that acts on them, not that they act out.
-“No one” can “come” (ἐλθεῖν) means to come to faith, specifically in “me”, who is Christ.
-No one in and of themselves is capable of coming to God through Christ (Psalm 53:1-3; Romans 3:9-20), for the “flesh is no help at all.”
-“Granted” (δεδομένον) means to be supplied and to be furnished with ability.
-The “Father” (Πατρός) is how Jesus referred to His relationship with God. (John 5:17-18; John 10:29-33)
-God the Father is first in the Trinity and the One to whom the Son submitted to entirely during His ministry on earth. (John 5:19; John 5:30; John 12:49)
-“The Father” is the One who decrees who comes to salvation—just as He has done throughout history (Deuteronomy 7:7-10)
-“Christ does not give the hunger, but the bread. From the beginning he saw the presence of the appetite after that which he came to bestow. Sometimes a morbid absence of all hunger, a moribund cessation of thirst, may be and is transformed into passionate and life-saving eagerness by the sight of food. The Father gives both the hunger and the food, the sense of need and the heavenly supply. The love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord, is the drawing of the Father through the Son to himself. The drawing of the Father is the giving of souls to the Son.”—Pulpit Commentary

The Desertion of Men

Verse 66: After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him.
-“After this” indicates a pivotal moment, just like that in John 6:59.
-“Turned” (ἀπῆλθον) means “to go away in order to follow anyone; to follow him as a leader.” “Back” indicates they did the opposite of following him—they turned away.
-Unbelievers will always turn away from God and from faith in Christ, for their very nature is spiritually dead. (Isaiah 53:2; Isaiah 59:2)
-“No longer” (οὐκέτι) indicates a decisive desertion at this precise moment.
-“Walked” (περιεπάτουν) means to walk with someone and associate with them and be their companions. In the world of the Hebrews in Jesus’ day, the disciples of rabbis would walk with their teacher as they traveled the countryside, and the rabbi would often teach them as they walked along. “With Him” declares that they no longer associated with Him or walked the countryside with Him.
-Jesus had repeatedly declared Himself to be Yahweh, and He had already expressed that His words alone were the source of eternal life. He had already revealed the sovereignty of the Father in electing men for salvation, and He declared that only the Spirit gave life through the words of Jesus. He furthermore declared that He would ascend back into Heaven from which He had come. The false disciples walked away with full knowledge of what He was claiming, but with no belief in what He was saying.
-Very severe judgments are levied against those who are false disciples who willfully walk away from
Christ. (2 Peter 2:20-22)

Verse 67: So Jesus said to the Twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?”
-Jesus turned to the “Twelve”, who were those He had chosen at the beginning of His ministry. (Matthew 10:1-4)
-The Twelve had always been with Jesus and had seen everything that happened in his public ministry, for He had chosen them. Simon Peter and Andrew were brothers; Peter was a fisherman, and Andrew, living in Capernaum, was a disciple of John the Baptist. Bartholomew, aka Nathaniel, lived in Cana of Galilee. James and John the apostle, sons of Zebedee, were the “Sons of Thunder.” James son of Alpheus (James the Less) is relatively unknown. Thaddaeus was a strong Israelite nationalist, and Simon the Zealot would have been a very politically minded man who hated Roman occupation and rule. Matthew was a former tax collector. Philip came from Bethsaida, where Peter and Andrew had come from. Thomas was a man not easily fooled, and he was a man firm in his convictions who was willing to die for Jesus.
-“Want” (θέλετε) means to be resolved and determined towards a particular purpose.
-“To go away” (ὑπάγειν) means to finally and fully depart from someone and forever cease to be their companion or associate.
-“As well” asks if the Twelve wanted to follow the false disciples in their desertion of Jesus.
-Jesus asked the Twelve this question to reveal the state of their hearts—He already knew their answer. Jesus often did this. (Mark 8:29; Mark 10:18; Luke 12:51)

The Words of Life

Verse 68:
Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life,
-Simon Peter, in his impetuous and eager fashion, was first to answer, as he would often be. (Matthew 16:13-16; Luke 9:18-20)
-Peter addressed Christ as “Lord,” (Κύριε), which can mean “God, Lord, Master, or Sir.” The context always defines the meaning. Here, in light of Jesus’ statements in John 6 and the nature of the Greek Kyrie, it refers to being the divine Messiah.       
-This was the title given to God as supreme Ruler of the universe. (Luke 10:21; Revelation 4:8)
-Christ was often addressed by this title in the Gospels, and it spoke of His divine nature and that He was the Messiah. (Matthew 15:22; Matthew 20:30)
-Peter answered in common Jewish fashion with a question: to whom “shall we go?” (ἀπελευσόμεθα), which has the meaning of following another as their leader. Many rabbis and political figures existed in Jesus’ day, but Peter spoke on behalf of the Twelve saying they would not turn to any of them.
-Jesus alone has the “words” (ῥήματα) that are “eternal life” (ζωῆς αἰωνίου). Only God the Son, speaking for God the Father, through the power of God the Holy Spirit, gives us divine revelation that has power to save for eternity.
-Only the true word of God brings salvation through Jesus Christ and no other. (Acts 4:12; Acts 10:43)
-All of Scripture contains the “words of eternal life” by which we are saved. (Psalm 119:25; Psalm 119:107; Psalm 119:154)
-No one else can claim to have words of their own that are “eternal life.” Christ alone is the Word of God. (John 1:1; Revelation 19:13)

Verse 69: and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.”
-“We” refers to the Twelve disciples. “Believed” (πεπιστεύκαμεν) means to fully trust in Christ and place faith in Him.
-Peter contrasts the false disciples with the true ones: true converts cling to Christ through all adversity. (Matthew 10:22; Matthew 24:12-14)
-“Have come to know” (ἐγνώκαμεν) means to have a saving knowledge of who Jesus is. (John 17:3; 1 John 2:13)
-“Holy One” (Ἅγιος) means “the One set apart by God for God.”
-Only God is intrinsically holy. (Exodus 15:11; Revelation 4:8)
-Christ, being God, possesses the intrinsic holy character of God. (Isaiah 6:3; 1 John 3:2-3)
-Christ is the only “One” who is divinely holy and sent by the divinely holy God to bring salvation for His people. (Psalm 14:7; Psalm 53:6)
-“Of God” (τοῦ Θεοῦ) specifies the origin of the One who sent Jesus.
-Jesus repeatedly expressed that God His Father had sent Him to earth. (John 6:40; John 6:57; John 20:21)
-Jesus had already been termed the “Holy One of God” by powers of darkness. (Mark 1:24; Luke 4:34)
-The “Holy One of God” is based on the title “Holy One of Israel.” (Isaiah 55:5)
-All believers in Christ Jesus believe and know Him to be the Holy One of God. (Isaiah 44:6; Revelation 1:8; Revelation 22:13-14)

The Betrayer of Jesus

Verse 70: Jesus answered them, “Did I not choose you, the Twelve? And yet one of you is a devil.”
-Jesus answered with a question, as a rabbi would with his students.
-“Did I not choose you” was to remind them all that they were only there because of His choice and not their own superiority.
-The sovereign choice of God always brings us to humility and joy, never to pride or a sense of superiority over others. (Romans 11:25-36) The sovereign choice of God causes us to fully depend on Him alone and not our own resources. (John 15:5)
-“Devil” (διάβολός)—diabolos—refers to one governed and ruled by Satan. (Matthew 13:38; John 8:44; 1 John 3:8)
-Jesus could simply speak and overcome the powers of darkness. (Matthew 12:22; Luke 4:35; Luke 11:14)
-We also wrestle against powers of darkness today in our own Christian living, with a weapon given to us by Jesus—His Word. (Ephesians 6:12; Ephesians 6:17)
-Even in the presence of God incarnate and Jesus’ crystal clear declarations of deity, and affirmations by others, evil and unbelief will still not crumble apart from the Spirit of God. (Romans 1:21; Ephesians 4:18)
-Christians will encounter those in their Christian walk who are in reality children of the devil, not children of God. (Acts 20:30; 1 John 2:19)

Verse 71: He spoke of Judas the son of Simon Iscariot, for he, one of the Twelve, was going to betray him.
-John wrote that Jesus was specifically referring to Judas, whom He knew would betray Him. (Matthew 26:23; John 13:18)
-Peter would later reveal the purpose for Jesus’ betrayal of Judas’ Iscariot. (Acts 1:15-20)
-That which sought to betray and destroy Jesus only served to further the cause of Christ and spread His Word among all peoples. (Acts 6:7; Acts 12:24)
-Christ has chosen us to bear fruit for the glory of the Father. (John 15:16) His Word will last forever. (Matthew 24:35; Luke 21:33) We rely solely on Him for salvation (1 Corinthians 1:30), and we look solely to His life-giving Word as our source of guidance (Psalm 119:130) as we live with and encounter those who are the enemies of Christ. (Psalm 119:98).

-“The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.” (Isaiah 40:8 ESV)
-“Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God; for “All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls, but the word of the Lord remains forever.” And this word is the good news that was preached to you.” (1 Peter 1:22-25 ESV)



Wednesday, December 03, 2014

ICBF Q and A Night #2

December 3, 2014


-“The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law.” (Deuteronomy 29:29 ESV)

Biblical Passages

Question: What is the difference between Hades, Sheol, Lake of Fire, Hell, Gehenna, etc.?

-Sheol is mentioned in the Bible approximately 65 times, Hades occurs in the Bible approximately eleven times, Tartarus occurs once, and Gehenna occurs twelve times. Sheol, Hades, and Gehenna are the words which drive the biblical understanding of the afterlife, and they are each translated differently according to translation and context.
-Gehenna is always translated as “Hell” and refers to the “Lake of Fire.” It always has the connotations of eternal conscious torment in fire (Mark 9:43). It occurs in Matthew 5:22, Matthew 5:29, Matthew 5:30, Matthew 18:9, Mark 9:43, Mark 9:45, Mark 9:47, and Luke 12:5. Hellfire is “the second death,” referring to the eternal state of the damned. The Devil and the evil army that attempts to finally depose Christ in the world will be forever cast into the Lake of Fire after the Millennium. (Revelation 20:7-10) Death and Hades are both thrown into the Lake of Fire at the end of human history after the Millennium and the Great White Throne Judgment. (Revelation 20:13-15)
-Believers are instantly reunited in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:8), but they do not receive glorified bodies until the resurrection of the righteous. (1 Corinthians 15:50-55) Likewise, unbelievers are immediately cast into Hades, but they are not cast into Hell (the Lake of Fire) until after the Great Throne Judgment as the final event before the new heavens and the new earth. (Revelation 20:14-15)
-Sheol is the Old Testament rendering of concept of the afterlife. Queber (בְּקִבְרִ֗י) is the Hebrew for “grave” and the realm of the dead buried on earth (Genesis 50:5), but Sheol is the abode of their souls as they await the final judgment. (Ecclesiastes 9:10; Isaiah 38:18)
-Hades is the prison of the dead unbelievers as they await the final judgment that will send them to Hell. (Luke 16:23) Christ’s soul went into Hades and proclaimed His victory over His enemies as His body lay in the grave.
-Jesus Christ holds the keys to death and Hades, for His power extends over the grave and over the afterlife. (1 Samuel 2:6; Revelation 1:18)
-“Paradise” is the realm of the righteous dead (Luke 23:42-23), but it is not the final eternal state of believers. “Paradise” refers to the souls of the saints in Heaven now awaiting the resurrection of the dead in the intermediate state. (Revelation 2:7)
-Tartarus is used by Peter to refer to the particular abode of incarcerated demons as they await the final judgment. (2 Peter 2:4).
-The final eternal state of believers will not be Heaven, but will be the new heavens and the new earth. The final eternal state of unbelievers will be the Lake of Fire. (Revelation 21:1-8)

Question: What are some examples of people in the Bible who responded well to suffering? And could you give some important take-aways from their lives that we can apply to our own?

-Joseph endured the suffering of temptation and betrayal (Genesis 39:6-18) and the suffering of being severed from his family and his homeland (Genesis 41:51-52). He endured his suffering because of his commitment to honoring the Lord with his life (Genesis 39:9), and upholding the God of Israel as the only true God. (Genesis 41:15-16; Genesis 41:25)
-David often endured suffering at the hands of enemies as they sought to end his life.  He looked to the Lord as His only deliverer as he earnestly sought Him in prayer, and He knew that God would ultimately redeem Him. (Psalm 3)
-Ezekiel endured the suffering of prophesying to a people in exile who never listened to him, but his commitment to preach the Word outweighed any reservations about the lifelong response of his audience. (Ezekiel 3:1-11)
-Paul endured much suffering, such as being beaten and shipwrecked, but he endured his suffering by relying fully on the strengthening grace of God. (2 Corinthians 11:22-31; 2 Corinthians 12:9)
-Jesus Christ is the greatest example of suffering in the Bible, and because He suffered death on the Cross and rose from the dead, our hope in suffering is that we will rise again and conquer death. (John 6:40; Romans 8:11)

Question: Can you explain the difference between the Spirit of the Lord coming upon the prophets (also upon Jesus), and the Holy Spirit indwelling us today? Did the people have the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament, or just the law? And if so, how could they be truly saved without the Spirit as a witness of their salvation? What were the qualifications of "getting" the Spirit in the Old Testament?

-The idea of being anointed in the Old Testament came from the idea of pouring oil over someone or something to mark it as holy in the Lord’s service. (Exodus 25:6; Numbers 4:16)
-Anointing with oil was also carried out in the New Testament, such as during the ministry of the disciples (Mark 6:13) and Mary, sister of Lazarus (Mark 14:3-9).
-In the Old Testament, kings were anointed by prophets and empowered by the Holy Spirit to lead the nation of Israel, such as Saul (1 Samuel 1:10; 1 Samuel 1:9-10) David (1 Samuel 16:13), and Solomon. (1 Kings 1:38)
-In the Old Testament, prophets were anointed. (1 Kings 19:16)
-In the Old Testament, priests were anointed. (Leviticus 8:30)
-The greatest example of anointing in the Bible was Jesus being anointed by the Holy Spirit, confirming Him as Prophet, Priest, and King over the universe. (Matthew 3:13-17; Hebrews 1:8-9)
-The Holy Spirit anoints us today as well, since all in Christ are anointed by the Spirit (1 John 2:20) and that anointing seals us forever. (2 Corinthians 1:21-22)
-In the Old Testament, the particular anointing for being a king could leave a person, as it was not a measure of eternal security. (1 Samuel 16:14; Psalm 51:11)
-The Holy Spirit was active in the Old Testament, but not until the New Covenant was He poured out among all believers in the same way.

Biblical History

Question: It appears that Daniel chapter 4 was written by Nebuchadnezzar. Do we think that he became a believer? (i.e. was he saved?) Or, was he just a secular king who acknowledged the one true God and "praised and extolled and honored the King of heaven"? How did it come to be that he wrote a chapter of the Bible?

-King Nebuchadnezzar was genuinely saved, after he was God’s instrument of judgment in bringing the Israelites into exile. He first encountered the God of Israel when Daniel interpreted his dreams (Daniel 2:17-30). Nebuchadnezzar first professed worship for God, but it didn’t last. (Daniel 2:46-47)
-He encountered God again when the three Hebrews would not bow down to the idol he had made. (Daniel 3:19-30) However, even this did not last.
-Nebuchadnezzar’s third encounter with God was when God powerfully humbled him. He had another dream, which Daniel interpreted after a time of dismay. (Daniel 4:28-33) However, he humbled himself and genuinely placed his faith in the Most High God of Israel, for he personally wrote to other nations saying that he now worshiped and served God as King. (Daniel 4:34-37; Daniel 4:1-3)
-Daniel rebuked the grandson of Nebuchadnezzar for not following the faith of his grandfather. (Daniel 5:17-23)

Question: How biblically accurate was the Council of Nicaea? Is it something a Christian should condone?

-As the Roman Empire was crumbling, the Mediterranean countries saw the rise of the Byzantine Empire. Throughout that time, the church would see various heresies arise. Arianism developed after 320 A.D. Arius from Alexander taught that God the Father is the only Person of God that exists, and that Christ was not divine. He taught that Christ is the greatest creation of God, but that Christ was neither pre-existent with God nor God Himself. He taught also that Christ created the Holy Spirit.
-The Arians were systematically excommunicated and marked as false teachers by various church bodies in Palestine, Egypt, and Syria. Constantine, the Byzantine emperor desiring to bring unity in his kingdom, summoned churchmen to the Council of Nicaea in May 325.
-Athanasius staunchly opposed Arius and his teachings, even as Arianism swept through the remains of the Roman Empire. He wrote On the Incarnation, defending the full deity and full humanity of Christ, and declared that he was willing to stand contra mundum (“against the world”) if necessary to defend Scriptural teachings on the Incarnation. The Council ruled in favor of Athanasius and exiled Arius.
-Today, the only element of debate in the Nicaean creed is that it states “One baptism for the forgiveness of sins.” Some interpret it (correctly with biblical theology) as the baptism of the Spirit, and some interpret it as water, such as Roman Catholics.

Question: Is it good to eat meat from the Biblical standpoint?

-Originally, men didn’t eat meat in the Garden of Eden, because killing an animal for food would have violated the never-ending life of Eden. (Genesis 1:29; Genesis 2:15-17) However, the Curse ended that, since life had now been compromised.
-After the flood, the Lord officially gave (and commanded) man to eat meat. (Genesis 9:3) The Lord promised meat as a blessing in the future. (Deuteronomy 12:20)
-Paul dealt with those who refused to eat meat, and he said that debating about meat consumption was not a worthy debate to have in the first place. (Romans 14:20-22)
-God intended meat to be received with thanksgiving, but some of the hypocritical liars (among many other things) forbad people to eat meat. (1 Timothy 4:1-5) A vegetarian and vegan mindset, apart from health concerns alone, completely opposes the Bible’s teachings and sets itself up against the very decree and purposes of God in giving us meat to eat. Many of the New Age movement advocate the vegan worldview, which is antithetical to Christianity and should be opposed by Christians submitting to biblical authority.

Current Cultural Issues

Question: Based on the way today's cultural functions are we to be obeying everything in the OT? What if someone didn't understand it?

-No, we are not to obey everything in the Old Testament, for some of the laws and applications from the laws were for the time of the Old (Mosaic) Covenant. (Mark 7:19; Acts 10:13-15)
-Christ never abolished or denied the true law, which was Scriptural revelation. Rather, He perfectly has fulfilled all of it, bringing us into the New Covenant. (Hebrews 7:11-28)
-If someone doesn’t understand the Old Testament (or the New, for that matter) then they need to be taught by those who do know it and they need to study it. (Romans 10:14; 2 Timothy 2:15)
-“Besides this law, commonly called moral, God was pleased to give to the people of Israel ceremonial laws, containing several typical ordinances, partly of worship, prefiguring Christ, his graces, actions, sufferings, and benefits; and partly holding forth divers instructions of moral duties, all which ceremonial laws being appointed only to the time of reformation, are, by Jesus Christ the true Messiah and only law-giver, who was furnished with power from the Father for that end abrogated and taken away. (
Hebrews 10:1; Colossians 2:17; 1 Corinthians 5:7; Colossians 2:14, 16, 17; Ephesians 2:14, 16 )” –London Baptist Confession of 1689, Chapter 19, Section 3
-“To them also he gave sundry judicial laws, which expired together with the state of that people, not obliging any now by virtue of that institution; their general equity only being of moral use. (
1 Corinthians 9:8-10)”—London Baptist Confession of 1689, Chapter 19, Section 4
-“The moral law doth forever bind all, as well justified persons as others, to the obedience thereof, and that not only in regard of the matter contained in it, but also in respect of the authority of God the Creator, who gave it; neither doth Christ in the Gospel any way dissolve, but much strengthen this obligation. (
Romans 13:8-10; James 2:8, 10-12; James 2:10, 11; Matthew 5:17-19; Romans 3:31)”—London Baptist Confession of 1689, Chapter 19, Section 5

Question: How does a Christian work in the workforce with non-Christians? What is the Christian's responsibility? (We are commanded to warn others of what is to come in the end times, and to tell them of the hope in Christ) When is that appropriate in the workplace?

-It is inevitable that Christians will live and work with non-Christians. (1 Corinthians 5:9-11)
-Our responsibility and joy as Christians is to represent Christ in a world which hates Him. (Matthew 5:13-16) Christ has overcome the world, and that truth enables us to survive in a world hostile to the mind of God. (John 16:33)
-We need to be Christ-like towards both believers and unbelievers as we live and proclaim the Gospel and the whole counsel of God in Scripture. (1 Peter 3:8-22)

Current Evangelical Issues

Question: Should we tithe off our gross or net income?

-Tithing in the Old Testament was based around 10% of one’s wealth. (Genesis 14:20; Hebrews 7:2)
-The nation of Israel was to give to the building of the tabernacle (Exodus 25:1-9), for they had been made wealthy from the plunder they did not earn or capture, but that which the Lord gave them when they left Egypt. (Exodus 12:36)
-We are to honor the Lord with our wealth. (Proverbs 3:9) To not do so is to rob God. (Malachi 3:8-10)
-Everything on earth is the Lord’s, including our money. (Leviticus 27:30)
-To tithe on our gross or net income will partly depend on how we are paid. For example, direct deposit electronically will not give you your gross income, because it will deduct all taxes and insurance from your paycheck before you receive your net income. Therefore, it is appropriate (and recommended) to tithe on the amount directly deposited to you. At year’s end, if one wishes to, one can tithe on their tax return. If one is paid in gross income, one can tithe off that.
-Whether we tithe off our gross or net income, we must give that which we cheerfully can give. (2 Corinthians 9:6-7)

Christian Living

Question: When a person wrongs/offends another and they repent before the Lord, will it break/hinder their fellowship with God if they don't ask forgiveness from the person they've wronged?

-Forgiveness in Scripture is commanded for Christians, since God has forgiven us of far more than anything others will or can do against us. (Ephesians 4:32; Colossians 3:13)
-Matthew 18:21-35 indicates that if we do not forgive others, neither will God forgive us.
-When we sin against others, our first sin is against God, from whom we must seek forgiveness. (Psalm 51:4) However, if we purposefully do not and will not repent in front of others, we are not truly repentant in the first place. Sin against God is almost always sin against others, as well. (Luke 15:21)
-The heart of the person who has asked forgiveness of God will help or hinder fellowship with God, not whether they have yet offered a vocal forgiveness from others.

Question: How do we, as Christians, live "with one mind" and "in one accord" with one another, when different families have different convictions and views on Scripture?

-We live with one another by being humble and by being immovable about the nature of Scriptural authority. (2 Timothy 2:25)
-Those who are “always learning but never able come to a knowledge of the truth” are blind to truth to begin with. (2 Timothy 3:7)
-We must operate with a system of theological triage, where we define the issues that touch the heart of the Gospel, the nature of Scripture, and the faith of Christianity, the issues that determine the nature of Christian fellowship, and the nature of complete agreement on all the scope of issues. Where there is constant fighting and strife over these things, church leadership and counselling should be involved.

Question: In Heaven, will some people have the recurring knowledge/feeling of regret over things they did or didn't do on earth?

-While somewhat tentative to be dogmatic on this question, Scripture would indicate that people have knowledge of past things they did or that others did to them while on earth. For example, the martyrs in the Tribulation have knowledge that their martyrdom has not yet been avenged in Revelation 6:9-10.
-When we enter the intermediate state, we will not have regrets as we know regret to be now, for we will be with Christ forever and have everlasting joy. (Philippians 1:21-23)
-God will indeed wipe all tears away from our eyes, but this will occur right before the eternal state, not before or during the intermediate state of believers. (Revelation 21:4)

-“The friendship of the LORD is for those who fear him, and he makes known to them his covenant.” (Psalm 25:14 ESV)



Wednesday, November 26, 2014

ICBF Q and A Night #1

November 26, 2014

-“It is the glory of God to conceal things, but the glory of kings is to search things out.” (Proverbs 25:2 ESV)

Biblical Passages

Question: John 12:47 says Jesus did not come to judge the world but to save it; later on he is called Judge. Why is this?

In John 12:47-48, Jesus says, “If anyone hears my words and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. But all who reject me and my message will be judged on the Day of Judgment by the truth I have spoken.”
-In John 12, Greeks were looking to meet Jesus (v. 20-21), and Jesus accepted their request. Standing before the crowds, God the Father spoke from Heaven to declare that His Son was glorifying Him (v. 27-28), and Jesus declared that He had now come to judge sin and death and be crucified for the salvation of all peoples (v. 31-33). They still did not believe in Him as the promised Messiah (v. 36-40), in spite of the fact that Yahweh Incarnate had stood before them (John 12:41-43). Therefore, Jesus responded by saying that the purpose of His Incarnation and crucifixion was not to judge the world but to save the world (v. 44-47), but that men would be judged by His very words at the last day if they rejected Him. (v. 49-50)
-God has given the Incarnate Christ authority to judge everyone and everything, according to the words of Jesus. (John 5:22; John 5:30)
-Jesus Christ is appointed as the supreme Judge in God’s Court by God the Father, according to Acts 10:42, in accordance with Jesus’ own prophesy about Himself and the twelve apostles. (Matthew 19:28)
-God will judge the world through the Judge of all the world—His Son, when His Son returns. (Acts 17:31; 2 Corinthians 5:10)

Question: Could you give a timeline of key Messianic prophecies and why they appeared where they did in Biblical history?

-First, the fact that 8 prophesies of Christ came true in His first coming is 1 in 1017. The fact that even 16 prophecies came true is equal to 1 in 1045. For 48 prophecies that were fulfilled equaled 1 in 10157. If we graphically illustrated this by equating one electron (the tiniest part of an atom) with one chance of fulfillment, the mass of compressed electrons would equal a mass larger than the entire known universe.
-The seed of the woman will crush the seed of the serpent (Genesis 3:15; Hebrews 2:14), He will be a priest after Melchizedek (Genesis 14:18; Hebrews 6:20), He will be King from Judah (Genesis 49:10), He will be as the spotless Passover lambs that take away wrath (Exodus 12:5-13; Romans 5:8; 1 Peter 1:19).
-Jesus was prophesied directly by Moses (Deuteronomy 18:15-16; John 5:45-47). He would be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2; Matthew 2:1-2), and He would hang on a cross (Deuteronomy 21:23; Galatians 3:10-13)
-Jesus is reigning forever as the King from David’s dynasty (1 Chronicles 17:12-13; Luke 1:33; Hebrews 1:5), for He rose from the dead (Psalm 16:9-11; John 20:9; Acts 2:31), after He had been pierced for our transgressions. (Psalm 22:16; John 19:34-37)
-Jesus Christ prophesied about Himself in Old Testament prophecy during the time of the prophets. (Isaiah 45:23; Philippians 2:9-11; Malachi 3:1; Mark 11:15-16; Zechariah 12:10; Revelation 1:7)
-Around 4,000-1,500 B.C., the Lord provided general promises that one day, the promised seed of the woman and the offspring of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Judah would be the promised deliverer. The kingship and kingdom of David would provide the backdrop for a great deal of Messianic prophecy after 1,000 B.C. The realization of covenantal promises under Solomon in after 967 B.C. also provided a backdrop for the promised rule of the coming King from sea to sea.

Question: How do you find cross-references for passages in your study? Do you connect them by words, or themes, or historical facts? Please give an example of a passage and then how to look for cross-references.

-Cross-references can be found thematically, historically, contextually, and syntactically.
-Contextually, there are three levels of cross-referencing. The first level of context is the context of the book, such as Paul’s letter to Philippians. The next level of context is the context of the genre of literature in the time period in which it occurred, such as the totality of Paul’s letters. The third level of context is the whole counsel of God. Each level of contextual understanding must be considered in order to be faithful to the meaning of the author and the meaning of all of Scripture.
-Syntactically, the ideas of words can be developed by using cross-references in which those words appear in the same variation. For example, the studies on Epaphroditus utilized frequent referral to OT and NT texts to develop the ideas of the words Paul was using in order to deepen the meaning of the testimony of Epaphroditus. This can be done with great benefit, but care must be taken not to miss the intention of the author in both the main text and the cross-reference.
-Historically, cross-references can be found by understanding the progressive revelation of Scripture at various points of biblical history. Cross-references at a historical level can also be developed by using historical examples or events in the OT as illustrations or examples for the NT. Cross-references at a historical level can also be used (and should be used) to provide fulfillment from history past or to provide the past history that is the historical foundation for the present text.
-Thematically, cross-references can be used by connecting themes, such as finding verses that speak on agape love.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16) Contextually: “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14 ESV) Thematically: “He said, ‘Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.’” (Genesis 22:2) Historically: “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6) Syntactically: (Perish) “If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell.” (Matthew 5:29)

Biblical History

Question: What are the kingly requirements in the Pentateuch, and in what way did Jesus fulfill these?

-The Lord gave the Israelites the requirements for the king in Deuteronomy 17:14-18. The requirements are these: 1) The king needed to be a native Israelite (v. 15), 2) the king could not be motivated by pride (v. 16a), 3) the king could not send the people back to Egypt (v. 16b), 4) the king must not be polygamous (v. 17a), 5) the king must not be motivated by greed (v. 17b), he shall write all the words of the Law (v. 18b), 6) the king must not deviate from the Law (v. 19a), 7) the king must read the Law all His life (v. 19b), 8) the king must obey the entire Law (v. 19d), 9) the king must be humble (v. 20a), and 10) the king must be obedient to God (v. 20b), so that he might remain long in his kingdom.
-Jesus Christ is a native-born Israelite. (Luke 2:11)
-Jesus Christ was never motivated by pride. (Matthew 4:5-7)
-Jesus Christ never sent the people back into the land of slavery. (Luke 4:16-21)
-Jesus Christ was never polygamous—He has one Bride, the Church. (Ephesians 5:25-27)
-Jesus Christ was never motivated by greed. (Matthew 5:8-11)
-Jesus Christ is the very Word of God. (Revelation 19:13)
-Jesus Christ never deviated from the Law. (Matthew 5:17)
-Jesus Christ obeyed the entire Law. (Romans 5:19)
-Jesus Christ was humble. (Philippians 2:5-8)
-Jesus Christ was perfectly obedient to His Father’s will. (John 5:30; John 6:38)
-Jesus Christ’s kingship and kingdom will never fade away or be destroyed. (Luke 1:32-33)

Question: Are there any key resources you would recommend for finding the historical context of passages? I.e. The Philippians being a military culture, and a Roman province.

-Good commentaries provide a good background on the history of words, such as John MacArthur’s commentary or the Pulpit Commentary series.
-Good Bible encyclopedias can be a goldmine of historical material, such as the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia. For example, ISBE was used in Equipping Young Adults Week 8-A Foundation for Finances to teach on the history of money in Bible times, and it was also used in Philippians Week 1-Recipients of the Joy of Salvation to teach on the history of Philippi.
-Standard encyclopedias can be a good source of information regarding the history of weapons, warfare, business, economics, militaries, currencies, kings, and kingdoms of nations during Bible times.
-History textbooks and firsthand or historical accounts (such as Thucydides, Eusebius, and Josephus) can be used where they are reliable to provide additional historical understanding.

Church History

Question: How has the Lutheran Church's doctrines and teachings changed over the years from what Luther would have believed and taught when he was alive? What exactly influenced the change in teaching and theology from when the Lutheran church was started to what it is today?

-The core tenets of Lutheranism were 1) baptismal regeneration, 2) the real presence of the Lord in the Lord’s Supper, 3) the sacraments as means of vitalizing faith, 4) the sufficiency of Scripture, 5) the importance of preaching and congregational singing, 6) an emphasis in visual liturgy, such as vestments and altars, and 7) the distinction between “Law” and “Gospel” in the Bible.
-Luther and Zwingli disagreed violently on the nature of the Lord’s Supper, since Luther believed that Christ was physically present under, over, and around the elements (but not in the elements), while Zwingli believed the sacrament was for remembrance purposes only.
-Luther and Calvin disagreed on the nature of Christian worship. Calvin took the regulative principle of worship, declaring that only that which was clearly prescribed in the New Testament was acceptable in worship, while Luther took the normative approach.
-The main difference between Lutheranism and other Reformed denominations was that Lutheranism focused primarily on justification by faith alone as the center of Christian belief, while others influenced by Calvin focused primarily on the sovereign decree of God in predestination and election.
-The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod is the second largest Lutheran denomination the United States, and it has remained doctrinally conservative, such as an adherence to a literal Creation and the rejection of women being ordained as ministers. Culturally, the members of the LCMS are more conservative than their cousins in Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the largest Lutheran denomination in the United States.
-The ELCA has abandoned historic Lutheran theology in favor of a more liberal Catholic-Charismatic-Lutheran mix. There are many liberal groups in the ELCA, and the denomination supports openly liberal policies, such as the ordination of homosexual ministers. ECLA clergy has largely abandoned biblical inerrancy, in contrast to Luther, and most adhere to some form of evolutionary creationism. The ECLA has not achieved a consensus on the issue of abortion, either.


Question: What are 5 key doctrines that every Christian should study?

-Christians need to study bibliology, theology proper, anthropology, Christology, and soteriology.
-Bibliology is the doctrine of Scripture.
-Theology proper is the specific study of the nature, being, personhood, and actions of God. God is eternal (Psalm 90:2). God’s core attribute is perfect holiness. (Leviticus 11:44) God is entirely sovereign. (Psalm 135:6) God is all-knowing. (Isaiah 40:13-14) God is all-powerful. (Psalm 147:5)
-Anthropology is the study of man. Man is created in God’s image. (Genesis 1:27) Man fell in the Garden due to Adam’s sin. (Genesis 2:17) Man inherits the sin nature of Adam. (Romans 5:12) Man falls short of God’s standards of righteousness, and therefore is lost forever. (Isaiah 53:6)
-Christology is the study of Christ. Christ is eternal God (2 Peter 2:1) who also has become a perfect Man (1 John 4:2) during the Incarnation. (Luke 2:10-11) Jesus Christ is the Son of God (1 John 4:15) and the Son of Man (Mark 14:62). Jesus Christ is the suffering Slave of Yahweh (Matthew 20:28), and Jesus Christ is Yahweh who is King ruling over the heavens and the earth. (Isaiah 6:1-4) Jesus Christ is without sin, (Hebrews 4:15) and Jesus Christ took upon Himself our sin in order to atone for our sin. (2 Corinthians 5:21) Jesus Christ is the One who is the only way of salvation. (John 14:6)
-Soteriology is the study of salvation. We are saved by being credited Christ’s righteousness (1 Corinthians 1:30) through justification. We are saved solely through the grace of God and not of our works. (Ephesians 2:8-9) We are secured only through the power of the Holy Spirit (2 Corinthians 1:22-23) who regenerated us. (John 3:3)

Current Cultural Issues

Question: What is a Biblical response a Christian should have to issues today such as Abortion and Homosexuality? How should we approach people in the secular society about such topics?

-Child slaughter is always a sin in God’s eyes (Deuteronomy 12:31), including the slaughter of children in the womb. (2 Kings 8:12) God creates a human being at the moment of conception, and an unborn child is every bit a person and a human being as a born child. (Psalm 139:13-18)
-God’s intention is that one man and one woman be joined in marriage for one lifetime. (Genesis 2:18-24) Jesus appealed to the authority of Genesis to reiterate this point. (Matthew 19:4-6)
-Deviations in sexuality come about as a result of man’s sinned nature, and homosexuality is a particularly severe form of sin that decimates the human soul. (Romans 1:24-28)
-People today will not be passive about homosexuality and abortion; the very nature of Christian apologetics is that we “defend” against attacks on the faith. (1 Peter 3:15)
-Our approach should be an unwavering commitment to biblical authority in calling sin as sin, and declaring that we are likewise sexual sinners as they are, and hence they need the blood of the Savior just as we do.

Question: When debating about something like homosexuality, when the Old Testament is brought up, some people say "yeah, so should we now go out and stone them?" Or, they'll bring up how Israel was a theocracy and that that won't work with democracy.

-The nature of the punishment for homosexuality changed. Stoning was expressly used in the theocracy of ancient Israel (Leviticus 20:13), but homosexuality was not a sin only for the theocratic state of Israel. (Leviticus 18:22)
-The mode of punishment for homosexuality changed, but the nature of the punishment has not—homosexuality, like all sexual sins, is deserving of death. (James 1:15) Hence the very reason why Christ died to redeem homosexuals from the bondage of their sin, for Paul speaks clearly of those who were homosexuals in Corinth who had been saved and sanctified through the blood of Christ. (1 Corinthians 6:9-11)
-The mode of punishment for sins may change somewhat throughout redemptive history (such as the sacrificial system being fulfilled in the Cross), but the demand for righteousness and the cost for sin always remains the same. The principles of the Law never change (Psalm 119:160), but the manner in which those laws are applied through case law can change.

Christian Living

Question: What is the Biblical position on men having long hair? How do we defend against people who say that "those principles were for that culture and don't apply today"?

-“Does not nature itself teach you that if a man wears long hair it is a disgrace for him?” (1 Corinthians 11:14) Hair is a sign of headship, and the long hair of the woman is the sign God has given her to demonstrate her submission to her husband and to Christ. (1 Corinthians 11:15)
-The only time men in Scripture had purposefully long hair was when a man became a Nazarite. (Numbers 6:5) Absalom had long hair, but that was in keeping with his rebellious nature. (2 Samuel 14:16)
-“Long” in 1 Corinthians 11:14 means long enough to put in a headdress.
-Paul makes it clear that all the early churches adopted the practice, for he anticipated the very objection that it was only a cultural practice among some churches. (1 Corinthians 11:16)

Many Bible reading plans divide into three types: (1. select passages from various categories of Scripture, one category per day; (2. reading straight through the Bible from Genesis to Revelation; or (3. reading a portion of the OT and a portion of the NT every day. In your opinion, are these all viable options? Do you prefer one over the other?

-Many good Bible reading plans exist. The first consideration is to consider the time it takes to go through the entire Bible, such as yearly or biannually or quarterly. The next consideration is to consider whether one reads the Bible chronologically, canonically, or thematically. For example, the Blue Letter Bible reading plan goes through the Bible chronologically. A standard yearly Bible reading plan will go through the Bible canonically. Some go by genre, such as Psalms on Sunday, OT Law on Monday, OT History on Tuesday, Wisdom literature on Wednesday, OT prophecy on Thursday, NT history on Friday, and NT letters/prophecy on Saturday. Others go from OT to NT every day, such as starting in Genesis and Matthew and going to Malachi and Revelation.
-Thematic studies can make progress easier and motivation greater, since there is more variety in the reading. Canonical reading helps greatly in seeing how everything connects in the Bible.
-The speed will determine how quickly one learns the Bible. A slower speed is good for meditative reading, but a faster speed will show better how Scripture connects and flows. has many excellent online Bible reading plans.


-“Daniel answered and said: “Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, to whom belong wisdom and might. He changes times and seasons; he removes kings and sets up kings; he gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding; he reveals deep and hidden things; he knows what is in the darkness, and the light dwells with him. To you, O God of my fathers, I give thanks and praise, for you have given me wisdom and might, and have now made known to me what we asked of you, for you have made known to us the king’s matter.” (Daniel 2:20-23 ESV)