Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Salvation Through the Shepherd-King: The Deliverance Through the Lord's Anointed

November 19, 2014

The Valley of Elah

-“The LORD is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation; this is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him. The LORD is a man of war; the LORD is his name.” (Exodus 15:2-3 ESV)

1 Samuel 17

-In Genesis 3:15, God promised a deliver from the seed of the woman to come forth to crush the seed of the Serpent. In Genesis 49:10, Jacob prophesied that a scepter would rise from the tribe of Judah that would rule all people. In Numbers 49:10, Balaam repeated the prophesy of a coming king from the tribe of Judah that would rule over God’s people and deliver them.
-In Genesis 13:14-15, the Lord promised Abraham that his descendants would possess the Promised Land. This was repeated in the time of Moses. (Exodus 12:13; Deuteronomy 9:5)
-Throughout the generations of the Israelite judges, the Israelites suffered the loss of the Promised Land that Joshua had conquered and they suffered the oppression from the surrounding nations at the time, such as Midian, Moab, Philistia, Amelek, and Ammon.
-God spoke through Moses about the time in which Israel would be ruled by a king who needed to be godly and follow God’s Law perfectly. (Deuteronomy 17:14-20)
-After the last of the judges, Samuel, bid his farewell in the service of Israel, the people demanded a king—but not for righteous reasons. (1 Samuel 12:20) God provided them a king in the man of Saul from Benjamin. (1 Samuel 9:1-2; 1 Samuel 13:1)
-The major source of strife for Israel and King Saul were the people of Philistia in the early years of his reign, for the Philistines occupied part of the Promised Land and had not been driven out. In 1 Samuel 13, King Saul abandoned God’s Law by offering a sacrifice that only the priests could do, and this caused God to forever end any prospects of Saul and his descendants being the promised kingdom for Israel. (1 Samuel 13:13-14)
-Saul’s son Jonathan defeated the Philistines in 1 Samuel 14 in a manner almost reminiscent in the manner in which Gideon defeated the Midianites. But this caused a rift between Saul and Jonathan due to the vow Saul had made. Saul was then firmly and forevermore rejected as the promised king over Israel in 1 Samuel 16.
-In 1 Samuel 16, the Lord chose David of the tribe of Judah, the son of Jesse, who was from Bethlehem because God was well pleased with him, even though David had no majesty about him. Samuel then anointed him through the pouring of the oil, and the Holy Spirit fell upon David from that day forward, empowering him to be the promised king.
-By the time of Jesus Christ, the coming Messiah was termed the “Son of David” (John 7:42), and He was anointed for the same reason and in the same fashion as David was anointed by Samuel. (Hebrews 1:8-9; Luke 3:21-22)

The Enemies of the Israelites
(Verses 1-11)

-Verse 1: The Philistines lived in the modern day region of Palestine, for the name Philistia became the foundation for the Greek word Palaistinei, from which the name “Palestine” changed. Historical research has thought that they came from the island of Crete, since they were descended from Ham, Egypt, and Casluhim. (Genesis 10:6-14) They then migrated to the region of modern-day Palestine, where Abraham and Isaac encountered them approximately 2000 B.C. (Genesis 21:32; Genesis 26:1)
-Verses 2-3: The Philistines gathered for battle on Judah’s territory, and King Saul and the army of Israel gathered against them, separated by the valley of Elah, which runs from Bethlehem to Gath and Ekron. This battle site would be about 14 miles west from David’s hometown.
-Verses 4-7: Goliath (גָּלְיָ֥ת, meaning “conspicuous”) of Gath was the most formidable man the nation of Israel had ever encountered. He stood 9’9” tall, which would dwarf the tallest men known in the modern world. The tallest living man today is 8’5” from Ukraine, and the tallest man on record was Robert Wadlow from the United States standing at 8’11”. Unlike many giants, however, Goliath was a very strong and powerful man with no physical ailments. The tip of his spear weighed 15lbs, his coal of mail weighed approximately 125lbs. He was covered in bronze armor, and his javelin was cast out of bronze. The only unprotected vital area would have been his face.
-Bronze is made by melting down copper and tin. Copper is too soft by itself, and tin is too brittle. But when mixed together, a very strong and useful metal is created. Bronze would have been extraordinarily expensive in the 2000’s B.C. Bronze weapons are much lighter, sharper, and stronger than weapons made out of stone or wood. Bronze armor is also very much lighter than cast iron armor.
-Verse 8-9: “Choose” (בְּרוּ־) has the idea of being sent towards being consumed, for it literally means “to eat.” Goliath declared himself to be from the nation of Philistia, and mocked the tiny nation of Israel for being the slaves of Saul. He wagered that whichever champion one, that nation would serve his nation as slaves.
-Verse 10: In the ancient near Eastern culture, a champion could be sent to fight on behalf of a nation to decide the fate of that nation. Goliath boldly put himself forward, mocking the nation of Israel and mocking their king. “Defy” (חֵרַ֛פְתִּי) to slur and to cast reproach.
-Saul, being the most formidable man of Israel (1 Samuel 10:23), did not accept the challenge but became paralyzed by fear due to his weakness and inability, because the fact that the Lord had rejected him as king. The average height in that era would have been around 5’5” for men and 5’3” for women, so Saul would have been between 6’3” and 6’6”.
-“Dismayed” (וַיֵּחַ֥תּוּ—to be shattered of all confidence and resolve) often accompanies fear (וַיִּֽרְא֖וּ), which is intensified by the adjective “greatly” (מְאֹֽד׃—with much force) (Deuteronomy 1:21; Deuteronomy 31:8; Joshua 1:9), and the Lord frequently told the Israelites not to fear, for He was with them (Joshua 8:1; Joshua 10:25), but since the apostasy of Israel, they often had fallen into dismay and fear. (1 Samuel 17:11)
-Principle #1: The enemies of God’s people are far more formidable and far mightier than we are, who are God’s people, and our own strength, ability, and capability, causes us to realize how far inferior we are to the enemies we face, producing a debilitating fear, for we often think that God is not near. (Psalm 31:10; Psalm 38:10; Psalm 69:3)

The Arrival of the Shepherd
(Verses 12-23)
-Samuel had promised the Israelites that God would not forsake them because of His love for them, out of His great mercy and glory. (1 Samuel 12:20-23)
-The promises of God were at stake, and the glory of the Lord was in question, as it had been before in Israel’s history. (Exodus 31:11-13)
-Verses 12-13: The Divine Writer of Samuel through the words of the anonymous human author now mentions David, whose name means “beloved.” He was from the region of Bethlehem Ephrathah, which means “house of bread.” His father Jesse, the grandson of Boaz and Ruth, was now too old and frail to fight in the Israelite army. Therefore, Eliab, Abinadab, and Shammah went into battle under Saul’s service. Eliab means “God is the Father,” Abinadab means “Father of Nobility [or Liberality],” and Shammah means “astonishment.” Shammah would be the father of the valiant Jonathon in 2 Samuel 21:20. Eliab, Abinadab, and Shammah all were specifically rejected as candidates for being anointed. (1 Samuel 16:6-10)
-Verses 14-15: David had been chosen as the favored servant of the king (1 Samuel 16:15-21), but he was still working part-time for his father tending the family sheep. (1 Samuel 16:11) The early patriarchs were shepherds (Genesis 12:16; Genesis 30:31-40; Exodus 3:1), but became an unfavorable occupation and was given to slaves, hired workers, and younger sons as the older sons favored the military or farming.
-A shepherd in David’s day would often be for days with the flock, for it was their job to feed the sheep (Psalm 23:1), protect the sheep (1 Samuel 17:34-35), guard the sheep (Zephaniah 2:8; Luke 2:8), and count the sheep as they entered the sheepfold. (Jeremiah 33:13)
-Verse 16: The taunting and the defiance from Goliath continued unchecked for forty days. After 40 days, God would have seemed to have left His people (Isaiah 49:14), unlike previous times where He acted mightily on behalf of His Name. (Numbers 12:23; Isaiah 50:2) The sinful confidence of the Philistines would have grown to be bold and proud arrogance towards the God of Israel. But God is not mocked. (Galatians 6:7) God could have righteously abandoned His people for their sins, as well. (1 Samuel 12:25)
-Verse 17-18: David arrived in an inconspicuous fashion that would not have been noticed except by the observant. His father sent him to his brothers to provide nourishment and bring back good news, in like manner as Jacob had sent Joseph. 2,000 years later, another young Man from Bethlehem would arrive in inconspicuous fashion (Luke 2:10-12) except for those who were observant (Matthew 2:1-2), who was sent by His Father (John 6:57) to bring healing to His brothers. (Matthew 15:24)
-Verse 19: King Saul and all the fighting men of Israel were gathered in battle formation, so if they were annihilated, the entire kingdom would be lost—and God’s promises to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob would seem to be obliterated.
-Verses 20-23: David now encountered the site of the battle, where the Israelites and the Philistines had just drawn up battle lines on opposing sides of the valley. The war cry resounded, and Goliath emerged as he had for forty days—but this time, the anointed Shepherd-King heard him.
-Principle #2: In the moment of darkness, when the destiny of the promised kingdom hangs in the balance, when God seems silent and the people of God seem to be overcome as a just punishment for our sins, God sends His anointed One, who is our Shepherd-King.

The Revealing of the Anointed
(Verses 24-37)

-Verse 24: The people of the Lord were seized by great fear—again—at Goliath’s taunts, and they fled from the scene. This was in part due to the judgment of the Lord and in part due to their own disobedience. (Deuteronomy 32:30)
-Verse 25-27: A great bounty had been promised for the champion who could overthrow Goliath—a bride, great riches, and tax exemption for the man’s family. Goliath was “defying” (לְחָרֵ֥ף) by bringing scorn and reproach upon the people of Israel and Israel’s God. (2 Kings 19:4; 2 Kings 19:16; 2 Chronicles 32:17) David then asks soldiers standing near him what was to be done, and the answer was repeated. David sets the conflict in terms of the armies of the “living God” (אֱלֹהִ֥ים חַיִּֽים׃) and the “uncircumcised Philistine”. (הֶֽעָרֵל֙ הַפְּלִשְׁתִּ֤י). God is the great King over all, for He is the only living God. (Deuteronomy 5:26; Joshua 3:10; Jeremiah 10:10) To be uncircumcised was to be a pagan who willfully defied the living God and the covenant community.
-Verse 28: Eliab became angry at David, and he disbelieved his motivations and accused him of harboring evil intentions, specifically pride (זְדֹנְךָ֗) and an evil (רֹ֣עַ) heart. Such would also be true of the Son of David when He appeared. (John 7:5; John 7:20).
-Verses 29-30: David, rather exasperated with Eliab, turns and asks other men to verify the reports of a potential reward. “Is there not a cause?” is used in the KJV, but this should be better rendered “Was it not just a question?” The men repeated the same as before.
-Verses 31-33: Soldiers, overhearing David speaking, reported his words to Saul, for no one for over 40 days had spoken as David did. Another Shepherd-King would also speak words that no man had spoken before in a manner unrivaled by anyone. (Matthew 7:28; John 7:46) David told Saul that the hearts of the men should not “fail” (יִפֹּ֥ל) as if they fell into a deep sleep of despair, for he would fight for the Lord’s people and for the Lord’s glory. He willingly laid down his life to bring salvation for his people, just as he had done for his sheep against lions and bears. In like manner, so would the Son of David (John 10:11) do the same thing for His sheep and God’s people. (John 10:17-18) The response of Saul, however, was that of disbelief of David’s appearance, ability, and background—just as men disbelieved Christ because of his appearance (Isaiah 53:2), apparent ability (Matthew 27:42), and background (Mark 6:3).
-Verses 34-35: Lions were a threat in the Middle East in David’s day. (Proverbs 22:13; Proverbs 26:13) The “bear” means a literal bear, and the type of bear that David most likely had killed then was the Eurasian Brown Bear. These bears weigh approximately 600lbs when fully grown, and bullets do not always work effectively against them, according to U.S. and Canadian researchers. David would have killed them not with any weapons of war, for the Philistines had earlier confiscated all military weapons in Israel. (1 Samuel 13:19-22) Rather, he would have used a sling or staff and a knife. David asked Saul to believe him based on the works he had already performed, just as the Son of David would ask others to believe in Him. (John 14:11)
-Verses 36-37: David had complete confidence that the Lord would deliver Goliath over to him, for this uncircumcised giant had defied the armies of the living God. He repeats what he told the soldiers in verses 25-27. To be uncircumcised was synonymous with being an unbeliever and one who was endeavoring to dethrone God. (Jeremiah 9:26) “Delivered” (הִצִּלַ֜נִי) means “to snatch away.” David had complete confidence that the Lord would deliver his life, just as the Son of David had complete confidence that the Lord would deliver His life. (Matthew 17:23; Luke 18:33; Luke 24:46) The Lord’s hand was upon David—just as it was on the Son of David. (Isaiah 61:1; Luke 4:18)
-Principle #3: When the Anointed Shepherd is revealed, He is mocked by His own and disbelieved by others. Yet He willingly lays down his life to bring salvation for his people, for He knows that God will deliver Him from death.

The Battle of the Lord
(Verses 38-49)
-Verses 38-39: Saul provided David with armor to wear, but David had no prior military experience and had never worn any armor. David would have tried on a tunic with a sword belt, with an outer shell of armor and a helmet of bronze. This was still no comparison to the armor of Goliath. David was given a sword, which was very rare in Israel at that time, but he had no knowledge of how to use a sword or a suit of armor. Therefore, he declined their use.
-Verse 40: David took a staff, a sling, and selected five stones from a nearby stream. These five stones were not all to kill Goliath—Goliath would have assuredly killed him if David missed with one stone or hit his armor with a stone. These five stones were more than likely to kill Goliath—and his four sons who may have been present, if they wished to avenge the death of their father. (2 Samuel 21:22) However, they may also have just been insurance in case David missed with his first stone. The men of Judah were not known for their slinging skills, for the Benjamites were the superior slingmen in Israel. (Judges 20:15-16) His lack of armor and weapons also indicated that only the Lord could give him victory.
-Verses 41-42: As Goliath approached, he saw David and “despised” (וַיִּבְזֵ֑הוּ) him, for David was a red-faced youth that did not have a warrior’s bearing. The anointed Shepherd-King is now despised and rejected for his appearance, just as another anointed Shepherd-King also would be. (Isaiah 53:3)
-Verse 43: David was mocked in the face of death. Goliath accused him of treating him as a “dog” (הֲכֶ֣לֶב). Dogs in the ancient near east were treated in different ways. Egypt treated dogs with almost worshipful significance, and they buried them with great ceremony. But in the region of Canaan, dogs were not household pets, for they were wild strays that ate carrion and garbage. They were almost socially worthless. Also, Goliath “cursed” (וַיְקַלֵּ֧ל—trifling, slight) the name of Yahweh by deriding David. The glory of the Lord’s great name was now at stake, and David was now being mocked in the face of death—just as it was later with the Son of David as He brought salvation for His people (Psalm 79:9; John 12:27-28) even when being mocked in the face of death. (Mark 10:32-34; Matthew 27:30)
-Verse 44-45: Goliath threatened David with the most disgraceful and fearful death that a Jew in that day could imagine: not receiving a proper burial and being eaten by unclean animals. David responded by declaring that human weapons would be of no avail, for he came in the power of the great name of the “Lord Almighty” (יְהוָ֣ה צְבָאֹ֔ות—Lord of hosts or Lord Almighty)—who reigned over His living armies. The Lord Almighty reigns over all (Isaiah 40:22; Isaiah 47:4) and brings salvation for His people (Psalm 80:19) Goliath had “taunted” (חֵרַֽפְתָּ׃) both the great name of the Lord and His armies.
-Verse 46: David now declared to Goliath that Goliath would be the one who would die by being stuck, by being decapitated, and by being fed to scavengers along with the rest of the Philistine army, in order that the world might know that God reigns among the nations. (Habakkuk 2:14) On a global scale, the greater David will one day do this with His enemies who have defied His great name, and the whole world will know His glory. (Revelation 19:17-19)
-Verses 47: David declared that the Lord did not save by the military force of men, but by His mighty power. (Hosea 1:7) This would be true throughout Israel’s history of warfare. (1 Samuel 14:6; 2 Chronicles 4:11; 2 Chronicles 20:15)
-Verses 48-49: David and Goliath now rushed towards each other, and now the anointed shepherd-king alone could bring salvation for an entire nation and save the fate of a kingdom. David, while on the run, slung a stone towards Goliath—and was so accurate that he struck Goliath in his forehead, stunning him and knocking him to the ground. This means of victory was only possible through the Lord’s plan, in the Lord’s power, and for the Lord’s glory.
-Principle #4: Even though He is mocked in the face of death, the anointed Shepherd-King stands alone to assuredly redeem His people from death for the glory of the Lord, for the battle is the Lord’s.

The Victory of the King
(Verses 50-58)
-Verse 50: David “prevailed” (וַיֶּחֱזַ֨ק—to grow strong and to be strengthened) over Goliath, for he was the anointed Shepherd-King of God’s people—and he did so through the power of the Lord, for he had no sword with him.
-Verse 51: Goliath’s sword was unmatched in the military might of the world at that time. (1 Samuel 21:9) David now took Goliath’s own sword and crushed his head with it, severing it completely. This struck panic into the heart of the Philistines, for their champion was dead. That which the Israelites had done in the past (1 Samuel 4:10) was now what the Philistines had done, as had other enemies of Israel in times past. (Judges 8:12)
-Verses 52-53: Now that God’s people had been saved, they were filled with courage and fought as the people of God once again. They ran after their enemies with great boldness all the way into Philistine territory, for Gath and Ekron were Philistine cities. They then plundered their enemies. In the same manner, the salvation with which Jesus Christ gives us enables us to fight with courage and boldness, for our foes have been defeated through the power of our King. (1 Corinthians 15:56-57; 1 Timothy 6:12; 2 Corinthians 2:14)
-Verse 54: David took Goliath’s head and buried in Jerusalem, which at that time was a tiny city known as Jebus that wasn’t even in the Israelite’s control. However, he kept Goliath’s armor. While the precise location of Goliath’s buried head is unknown, Jesus Christ was crucified 2,000 years later in the region where it would have been buried, at the location of Golgotha—“The Place of the Skull.” It was atop the Place of the Skull that Jesus Christ brought about salvation for His people by His death on the Cross. (Mark 15:22-24) Christ indeed approached the enemy with sticks—sticks shaped in the form of a Cross. Jebus would later become Jerusalem, the site of David’s kingship, and it will later become the city of Christ’s kingship as well. (Psalm 110:2; Zechariah 8:3)
-Verse 55-56: Saul turned to Abner, his commander of the army, and asked him whose son David was. Abner did not know, so he sent for David to be brought before the king of Israel. The question remained, “Whose son is this man?” Later on in Israel’s history, the same question would arise about Jesus Christ, the Son of David. (Matthew 13:55; Luke 4:22)
-Verse 57-58: Returning victorious, having brought salvation for the Lord’s people, David is brought once again into Saul’s presence and asked of his father, all while still carrying the head of Goliath. He replied that he was Jesse’s son, from the town of Bethlehem. Saul had forgotten David’s father, as he was told in 1 Samuel 16 whose David’s father was. And in the same manner, that answer appeared again with who is the Father of the Son of David, as Christ hung on the Cross. (Mark 15:37-39)
-In the story of David and Goliath, we are not David, for Christ is the greater David in the broader story of redemptive history. The Lord is God the Father. Rather, we are as the uncircumcised Philistines were prior to being saved, for we were the uncircumcised who defied the glory of God. (Romans 2:29) If we are saved, we in ourselves are far too weak to achieve victory on our own, for Christ’s victory has defeated all our foes and He leads us forward into triumphant battle.
-Throughout Israel’s history, David and his kingdom would be remembered as idyllic, yet it was not perfect and David was not a perfect man. Therefore, as Old Testament history unfolded, the “Messiah” (Anointed One) was prophesied as being the greater David. Jesus Christ is the greater David who has now come (Luke 1:32) and will come again, and He is our Messiah (Luke 2:11), our Shepherd (Ezekiel 34:23; John 10:14), and our King. (Revelation 19:16) His kingdom will never end, for He is the Lord over all throughout all eternity. (Isaiah 9:7; Jeremiah 23:5-6)
-Principle #5: The Son of David is the culmination of David’s victory and kingdom, for Jesus Christ is our victorious King, being the very Son of God, and His kingdom will never end.

-“Blessed be the LORD! For he has heard the voice of my pleas for mercy. The LORD is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him. The LORD is the strength of his people; he is the saving refuge of his anointed. Oh, save your people and bless your heritage! Be their shepherd and carry them forever.” (Psalm 28:6-9 ESV)



Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Philippians Week 35-The Commitment of Epaphroditus

November 12, 2014


-“Then Nebuchadnezzar in furious rage commanded that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego be brought. So they brought these men before the king. Nebuchadnezzar answered and said to them, “Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the golden image that I have set up? Now if you are ready when you hear the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, bagpipe, and every kind of music, to fall down and worship the image that I have made, well and good. But if you do not worship, you shall immediately be cast into a burning fiery furnace. And who is the god who will deliver you out of my hands?” Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.” (Daniel 3:13-18 ESV)

Philippians 2:30

-Paul in Philippians 1:27-2:4 had issued the call to gospel worthiness (v. 27), the call to gospel courage (v. 28), the call to gospel suffering (v. 29-30), the call to gospel unity (v. 1-2), the call to gospel humility (v. 3), and the call to gospel service. (v. 4) Earlier, Paul reminded the Philippians of the victory of suffering (Philippians 1:12-13) and the victory of proclaiming Christ. (Philippians 1:14)
-Paul now upholds Epaphroditus as a man who suffered to the point of death itself as he courageously, humbly, and steadfastly labored in the work of God for Paul on behalf of the church in Philippi.

Verse 30
for he nearly died for the work of Christ, risking his life to complete what was lacking in your service to me.
1. A Dedicated Work
-“For” indicates that Paul now gave the reason as to why Epaphroditus and men like him were to be honored.
-“He nearly” (ἤγγισεν) is sometimes translated as “He came near”, and refers to moving closer and closer to a reference point.
-To draw near to something means that it is close at hand. (Matthew 3:2; Matthew 4:17; Matthew 10:7)
-To be drawn near to something means to be controlled by a power greater than one’s own power. (Psalm 55:18; Acts 21:33)
-To be drawn near to something means that the object is coming clearly in view. (Numbers 24:17; Luke 21:28; Luke 22:47)
-To be drawn near to something means that the results are clearly defined when the union is complete. (Genesis 27:21-27; Hosea 12:6; James 4:8)
-To draw near means to know that you are coming ever closer to the point of no return. (Job 33:22; Ezekiel 7:7; Zephaniah 3:2)
-“Died” specifies the supreme severity of what Epaphroditus very nearly encountered. The death Epaphroditus nearly fell to was death by illness, as specified in Philippians 2:27.
-Death is the inevitable fate of all human beings as a result of the Curse. (Ecclesiastes 1:11; Ecclesiastes 2:16; Ecclesiastes 9:5)
-Followers of Christ are not promised that they will keep their lives, but that they will find their lives in Christ. (Matthew 10:39; Matthew 16:25; John 12:55)
-Men throughout Scripture put their lives on the line in order to uphold the supremacy of God in their life and work. (Genesis 41:25 includes the Hebrew prefix הָ, which is a definite article specifying “the” God; 2 Chronicles 26:18; Daniel 6:10)
-Many individuals in Scripture drew near to the door of death because of their faithfulness to the Lord. (Job 17:1; Psalm 88:3; Psalm 116:3)
-Christ Himself died because of His faithfulness to the service which His Father gave Him. (Philippians 2:8; John 10:11; John 10:18)
-“Work of Christ” refers to that which Epaphroditus had performed in the service of the Philippians and Paul and nearly died for.
-To do the work of Christ means to be given work to do by Christ. (Luke 2:49; John 9:4; Ephesians 2:10)
-To do the work of Christ means to exert full devotion to that and not to other kinds of work. (2 Timothy 2:1-7)
-To do the work of Christ means to be willing to sacrifice everything for the sake of completing the work He has given us to do. (Luke 9:62; Hebrews 10:38)
-To do the work of Christ, as Epaphroditus did, means that our focus is on serving Christ and His people is greater than our own wellbeing. (Philippians 2:1-4)
2. A Purposeful Risk
-“Risking” (παραβολευσάμενος) means “to throw aside; to expose to danger.” In the context of the culture in that day, this was a gambling term that referred to staking everything on the throw of dice. By Epaphroditus “risking” his life, this identifies that he knew the dangers that might claim his very life in his gospel service. This word was used of fighters who entered the arena, knowing they might die in a contest, and merchants who exposed themselves to the potential of death in conducting business.
-Gambling with dice existed sometime around 530 B.C., and the Romans frequently played many games with dice. The Romans might play these games at taverns, at public baths, or at the Roman forums. Gambling, in the sense of betting money outside racing and circuses, was strictly forbidden by law. However, during the public festival of Saturnalia, the public were allowed to gamble with money. Many taverns in particular had gaming tables where men could gamble (either legally or illegally). Many of the Roman emperors in particular were arduous gamblers, such as Augustus, Claudius, and Nero. Particularly in regions where Aphrodite was honored, men would call out “Epaphroditus!” as they cast the dice, for that name meant “favored by Aphrodite.” The Philippians would have been well aware of Roman gambling, for gambling was particularly popular with Roman soldiers—it was by playing a game of dice that Roman soldiers bartered away the clothes of Christ as He hung on the cross.
-“His life” refers to the greatest thing any human being can risk while on earth—their own life.
-Life is the supernatural gift of the Creator that is the greatest asset we have apart from our soul. (Job 33:4; Isaiah 42:5; John 5:21)
-There is no greater thing one can give than to give their life for someone or in the service of some cause. (Romans 5:7; John 15:13; Romans 5:8)
-Our lives are to be lived in service of exalting the name of Christ as Lord. (Psalm 22:3; Psalm 95:6; Psalm 99:5-9)
-Our lives are to be lived in service of Christ’s church. (Acts 20:28; 1 Peter 5:2)
-Our lives are to be lived in the defense and proclamation of the Gospel. (Acts 9:20; Acts 18:4; Acts 18:19)
-Men are to honor the Lord with their lives (1 Samuel 2:30; 1 Corinthians 10:31; Colossians 3:17), of which the greatest example is Jesus Christ our Lord. (Isaiah 53:10; Psalm 72:8-11; Philippians 2:9-11)
-Men are to remember that the Lord holds their lives in the palm of His hand. (Job 12:10; Job 33:4; Psalm 31:15)
-We are to persevere in doing that which God has given us to do. (Galatians 3:9; Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:10)
-We are to be unflinchingly committed to what the Lord has commanded us to do. (Amos 3:8; Jeremiah 20:9; Acts 4:19-20)
-Men are to know that risking their lives for the sake of Christ and His work is no foolish thing, for it brings eternal reward. (Isaiah 40:10; Revelation 22:12)
-God commends those who loved Him more then they loved their own lives. (Revelation 12:11) Likewise, Paul commended Epaphroditus for the level of commitment that nearly cost him his life.
-After the time of the early church, groups of Christians inspired by Epaphroditus banded together to minister to the sick or the imprisoned. These groups likely began approximately 350 A.D., and they had no formal structure, but banded together around a common cause to preach the Gospel and minister in prisons and hospitals. After the turn of the new millennium, the movement gradually died out into oblivion.
-A man named Cyprian was born in 200 A.D. in North Africa. He was a well-known lawyer and prominent rhetorician, and he became saved approximately 246 A.D. In 248, he became the bishop (lead elder) of Carthage. A severe persecution forced him and other believers into hiding under Emperor Decius until such persecutions abated. During the reign of Emperor Valerian, a severe plague swept through Carthage and North Africa. Many avoided the sick at all costs, but Decius felt compelled as a Christian to organize medical aid and other believers and go around tending to the sick. The sick population, however, believed that the sickness was caused by the gods as punishment for allowing Christianity to persist, so they beheaded Decius, even though he was committed to providing medical care that others refused to give.
3. A Driven Resolution
-“Complete” (ἀναπληρώσῃ) means “to fill up.”
-To complete means to bring to fulfillment what has already been stated. (Matthew 1:22; Matthew 2:15)
-To complete means to do what has been rightly expected. (Matthew 3:15; Matthew 5:17)
-To complete means to work towards a conclusion during a period of time. (Genesis 1:22; Genesis 9:1)
-To complete means to wait for the final results that have been set in motion. (Genesis 50:3; Leviticus 8:33)
-To bring to completion means to abstain from doing that which would hinder the work being completed. (Numbers 6:5; Numbers 6:13)
-God is the One who brings all things to completion. (Philippians 1:11; Ephesians 3:19)
-Paul had already encouraged the Philippians to complete his joy. (Philippians 2:2)
-Paul now upheld Epaphroditus as a man so committed to complete what God had given him to do that he nearly died after being ill.
-“What was lacking” (ὑστέρημα) refers to why Epaphroditus was endeavoring to complete what he was “filling up.”
-When something came up lacking, it required intervention by another person to solve. (John 2:3) Epaphroditus was the man for the hour in the case with the Philippians.
4. A Personal Service
-“In your service to me” specifies what Epaphroditus risked his life to complete. “Service” has connotations of priestly service, which illustrates how Epaphroditus was the fellow minister for the Philippians.
-The Philippians were unable to send Paul their money to support him in his imprisonment until Epaphroditus delivered it. (Acts 28:30-31; Philippians 4:18)
-The Philippians were continuing to serve Paul, just as they had already done. (Philippians 1:3-7)
-The Philippians gave to the apostle Paul out of their love for him and his ministry. (Philippians 4:10-11)
-The Philippians were a model of sacrificial giving even prior to this letter. (2 Corinthians 8:1-6)
-Paul did not conduct his ministry for monetary gain. (2 Corinthians 2:17; 2 Corinthians 4:12)
-Paul did not love money for the sake of financial wealth. (1 Timothy 6:9-10)
-Paul’s use of money in his imprisonment was done to further the cause of the Gospel and the proclamation that Jesus Christ is Lord (Deuteronomy 26:17; Psalm 92:15; Philippians 2:11), just as Jesus had condemned the Pharisees for not doing a few decades before. (Luke 16:8-9; John 10:25-26)
-Paul was not greedy for gain, but very grateful for the contribution of the Philippians. Also, Epaphroditus’ sacrificial service brought him honor, it brought Paul blessing, it brought the Philippians joy, and it brought God the glory.

-“As it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death.” (Philippians 1:20 ESV)


Thursday, November 06, 2014

Philippians Week 34-The Return of Epaphroditus

November 5, 2014

Philippians 2:28-29

Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching.” (1 Timothy 5:17 ESV) 

-Paul commended Epaphroditus in verse 25 as being his fellow brother, fellow worker, and fellow soldier, and the messenger and minister to Paul on behalf of the congregation at Philippi. Epaphroditus had fallen ill, and the Philippians had heard rumors of this fact. Paul wrote that he had indeed fallen ill and had nearly died, but that God had mercifully restored him back to health.

Verse 28
I am the more eager to send him, therefore, that you may rejoice at seeing him again, and that I may be less anxious.
1. An Eager Commission

-“More eager” (σπουδαιοτέρως) is sometimes rendered in some translations as “carefully” or “diligently.” This Greek adverb means “swifter” and “without any more time being spent.”
-Spoudazo means to devote the entirety of one’s attention towards accomplishing a particular goal as soon as possible.
-In the Old Testament, Joshua devoted all of his time and attention towards bringing the people to covenant faithfulness. (Joshua 24:24-29).
-In the Old Testament, David devoted and commanded the fullest effort in preparations to help Solomon build the Temple. (1 Chronicles 29:1-20)
-In regards to Paul’s own ministry, he often had great eagerness to see his beloved brethren again. (1 Thessalonians 2:17; 2 Timothy 4:9)
-Paul also eagerly and diligently remembered those he served—exactly as he does here with the Philippians. (Galatians 2:10)
-To be eager and to be diligent means to have zeal. (Nehemiah 3:20)
-To be eager and to be diligent means to delight in working towards a particular goal. (Proverbs 31:13)
-To be eager and to be diligent means to be joyful at the outcome that God provides. (2 Chronicles 15:15)
-Paul zealously and earnestly desired to send Epaphroditus back to the Philippians, and he devoted his effort and attention to accomplishing this.
2. A Joyful Return
-“That you may rejoice” specifies Paul’s first purpose to send Epaphroditus back to the Philippians.
-To rejoice means to be filled with joy. (Habakkuk 3:18; Isaiah 61:10; Joel 2:23)
-To rejoice means to have hopes fulfilled after the outcome of an event. (1 Samuel 2:1; Zechariah 9:9; Luke 10:20)
-To rejoice means to have the desires of one’s heart met. (Psalm 37:4; Psalm 94:19)
-To rejoice means to acknowledge and praise the power of God. (Psalm 68:34; Psalm 118:23-24; Psalm 150:1-2)
-To rejoice means to be grateful for the mercy of God. (Psalm 86:5; Psalm 145:9; Hebrews 4:16)
-To rejoice means to worship the Lord for His steadfast love. (Psalm 13:5; Psalm 31:7; Psalm 90:14)
-“At seeing him again” specifies the reason the Philippians would be rejoicing.
-In Scripture, men rejoiced at being reunited with those they thought they had lost. (Genesis 45:27-28; Genesis 48:11)
-In Scripture, Jesus declared that His disciples would rejoice at seeing Him again. (John 16:22;
-The Philippian’s hopes and desires for the healing of Epaphroditus would be met by seeing him return, and they would be grateful for the mercy, love, and power of the Lord in sparing His life as they worshipped and praised the Lord.
3. A Lessened Anxiety
-“Less anxious” (ἀλυπότερος) means to be without pain and grief. It specifies the second reason why Paul was sending Epaphroditus back.
-People are anxious about those they deeply love and care about (2 Samuel 18:28-29; Song of Songs 5:6), just as Paul was anxious about the wellbeing of the churches. (2 Corinthians 11:28; 1 Thessalonians 3:1)
-Paul deeply and dearly loved the church of Philippi, even though he was physically separated by hundreds of miles. (Philippians 1:7-8; Philippians 4:1)
-To be less anxious means to have grief assuaged. (Deuteronomy 15:10; Isaiah 53:4)
-To be less anxious means to have joy after a time of sorrow. (Esther 9:21-22; Psalm 30:11)
-To be less anxious means to be freed from pain or comforted in pain. (Job 6:10; Romans 8:18; Revelation 22:4-5)
-To be less anxious means to be freed from mental anguish. (Psalm 62:1; Psalm 131:2)
-To be less anxious means to have the burdens of one’s heart lifted. (Psalm 119:49-50)
-To be less anxious means to be rescued from distress. (Psalm 119:107; Psalm 119:153)
-To be less anxious means to be assured that loved ones will be safe. (Isaiah 46:13; Isaiah 62:1)
-To be less anxious means to be assured that loved ones will know the truth. (Acts 20:35; Ephesians 4:15)
-As Epaphroditus was, Paul also was anxious about the Philippians’ uncertainty regarding the fate of Epaphroditus.

Verse 29
So receive him in the Lord with all joy, and honor such men,
1. A Joyful Reception

-“Receive” (χαρῆτε) means to receive deliberately by giving somebody access into friendship and fellowship. It referred to more than gracious hospitality; it referred to a reverent and joyful and heartfelt welcome home.
-To “receive” means to wait in constant expectant for the arrival of something or someone. (Mark 15:43; Luke 2:25-28; Luke 12:36)
-To “receive” means to wait with great longing. (Titus 2:13; Jude 1:21)
-Scripture records cases where men greeted each other with such warmth and affection. (Genesis 45:14; Genesis 46:29-30; Luke 15:20)
-The Philippians would have been waiting constantly and with great longing for the return of Epaphroditus.
-When we welcome men such as Paul described, we welcome those who sent them (Matthew 10:40-41; Mark 9:37).
-Paul had received such a welcome from the churches before. (Galatians 4:14)
-To receive someone means to hold them in favor. (Genesis 33:10; Leviticus 7:18)
-“With all joy” specifies the attitude of the Philippian’s reception of Epaphroditus when he would return.
-To receive something or someone in the manner Paul described invariably produces joy. (1 Thessalonians 1:6; 1 Thessalonians 2:13)
-To be joyful after such a reception occurs because of the reunion between two people who love each other with Christ-like love. (John 3:29; Revelation 19:7)
-Being reunited face to face with separated believers produces joy. (2 John 1:12; 3 John 1:14)
2. An Earned Honor
-“Honor” (ἐντίμους) means to hold as precious and to herald as high in rank. This is a present imperative, meaning that the Philippians were to continuously honor Epaphroditus for what he had done. In some translations, it is rendered as “hold in honor.”
-To honor means to herald as precious and as treasured. (Isaiah 28:16; 1 Peter 2:4-6)
-To honor means to hold dear. (Luke 7:2)
-To honor means to value highly. (Matthew 3:17; Matthew 17:5)
-To honor means to consider prized. (Luke 16:15)
-To honor means to esteem highly. (Luke 14:8)
-“Such men” refers to Timothy, Epaphroditus, and men like them. The object of the Philippians’ regard was to be Epaphroditus and Timothy in particular.
-Men of God who minister the Word to others speak the living oracles of God. (1 Peter 4:11)
-Men of God who devote their lives to the church of Christ devote themselves to the institution for which Christ died. (1 Corinthians 16:15; Ephesians 4:12)
-Men of God who devote themselves to the ministry of the saints minister as to Christ Himself. (Proverbs 14:31; Matthew 25:40)

Therefore my people shall know my name. Therefore in that day they shall know that it is I who speak; here I am.” How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness, who publishes salvation, who says to Zion, “Your God reigns.” The voice of your watchmen—they lift up their voice; together they sing for joy; for eye to eye they see the return of the LORD to Zion.” (Isaiah 52:6-8 ESV) 



Saturday, November 01, 2014

The Unfolding of Your Word Gives Light-The Bible of the Reformation

-“Thy testimonies are wonderful: therefore doth my soul keep them. The entrance into thy words showeth light, and giveth understanding to the simple.” (Psalm 119:129-130 Geneva)

The Origins of the English Bible

The Hebrew Foundation
-The Old Testament was largely written in Hebrew, with the New Testament primarily being written in Greek with some Aramaic excerpts, particularly in Matthew.
-In Rabbinic Judaism, the largest extant text in the Hebrew is the Masoretic text. The masorah consisted of the pronunciation guidelines, textual commentaries, and linguistic variant studies that were used in the copying of the Hebrew manuscripts between 700-1000 A.D. The Aleppo Codex survives as the oldest manuscript we have today from the 10th century A.D. with a complete Old Testament in Hebrew, except for the Torah.
-The discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls in Qumran uncovered Hebrew manuscripts dating between 408-75 B.C., including a complete copy of the scroll of Isaiah. Apart from the two silver scrolls uncovered in Jerusalem that date back to 600 B.C., this collection of approximately 972 manuscripts provided a gold mine for translators and scholars. In April 11 of 1948, the world heard in a press release of the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls. 24 manuscripts from Genesis, 18 manuscripts from Exodus, 17 manuscripts from Leviticus, 11 manuscripts from Numbers, 33 manuscripts from Deuteronomy, 2 manuscripts from Joshua, 4 manuscripts from Judges, 4 manuscripts from Ruth, 4 manuscripts from Samuel (1 and 2), 4 manuscripts from Kings (1 and 2), 10 manuscripts from the Minor Prophets, 6 manuscripts from Job, 39 manuscripts from Psalms, 2 manuscripts from Ecclesiastes, 4 manuscripts from Song of Songs, 22 manuscripts from Isaiah, 6 manuscripts from Jeremiah, 4 manuscripts from Lamentations, 6 manuscripts from Ezekiel, and 8 manuscripts from Daniel have been recovered.
-Today, the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Masoretic Text provide the basis of translation from Hebrew into English.

The Greek Foundation
-As prophesied in the book of Daniel, Alexander the Great died and his empire was divided into four main centers of power ruled by his four major generals. Ptolemy appointed himself the king over Egypt, which was welcomed by the Egyptians as being the succession of the Pharaohs. Declaring himself the “Savior” of his kingdom, he became known as King Ptolemy 1. His dynasty lasted for 275 years, between 305-30 B.C. His son, Ptolemy Philadelphus, commissioned approximately 70 Jewish scholars to produce a Greek translation of the Old Testament in Alexandria, Egypt. This occurred during the Hellenization period, and the Hebrew culture was beginning to wane. The translation they produced was called the Septuagint, abbreviated as LXX, which is the number 70.
-The Septuagint contained all 39 books of the Old Testament, as well as the apocryphal books Judith, Tobit, Baruch, Sirach, the Wisdom of Solomon, 1st and 2nd Maccabees, the books of Esdras, the Prayer of Manasseh, and additions to the books of Esther and Daniel. The orthodox Jews never believed the Apocrypha to be inspired by God, nor does it claim inspiration, and neither did Jesus nor the apostles ever reflect the idea that the Apocrypha was inspired Scripture.
-An important fact of the Septuagint was the fact that Messianic prophecies were translated before the time of Christ’s birth, dispelling the idea that Messianic prophecies arose after the Incarnation.
-The LXX became the only major translation of Scripture to be used by the Holy Spirit in producing new Scripture. The apostles often quoted from the Septuagint, and the writer of Hebrews drew all his Old Testament material from that Greek translation of the Old Testament.
-In the 13th century B.C. Linear B stood as the first recorded example of the Greek language.
-During the age of the Greek Empire in the 8th through 4th centuries B.C., classical Greek ruled the language of the day. Homer and Plato wrote in this version of Greek. Greek was able to capture the meaning and nuance to a greater degree than other languages.
-King Philip of Macedon conquered Athens in the 4th century B.C., and his son Alexander the Great spread Attic Greek during the Hellenistic Age.
-Different dialects of Greek merged together to form Koine Greek, which is the language that the New Testament is written in. This became a universal language of the Greco-Roman empire, since it was the common, everyday language of Greek-speaking people.

The Roman Empire
-Roman generals took as plunder some of the books from their conquered peoples, and stowed them in private libraries back in the early days of the Roman Republic. These first Roman libraries consisted entirely of Greek manuscripts.
-Roman libraries would generally be connected to temples and would be made with regal architecture with busts and paintings. Libraries, after the inclusion of Latin works, would categorize works by language and then by subject, such as literature, philosophy, history, agriculture, and the rest.
-Roman Caesars from the time of Augustus onward built libraries for the remembrance of their names and the glory of the Roman Empire. During the first century A.D., private libraries abounded, particularly with the wealthy Roman class. Theophilus may well have been a wealthy Roman patron in the church at Rome who had a private library, hence why he had Luke record a two-part history of Christ and the apostles.
-28 Roman libraries existed during the time of Constantine, but they gradually fell out of use over time. When the might of the empire transferred from Rome to Constantinople, Roman libraries became little used and were “closed like tombs,” in the words of Amianus Marcellinus.

The Roman Catholic Church

-The people of Italy, having the Greek alphabet and the language of the Etruscans, produced the language named after that region: Latin. Latin is a highly inflected language, with three genders, four conjugation categories, six tenses, two numbers, two aspects, three moods, two voices, and three persons. Unlike English, however, no articles (a, an, the) exist in Latin.
-The first Latin manuscripts likely originated from North Africa, because that was a region that spoke Latin, particularly in the churches. The regions of Greece and Asia Minor still relied heavily on the Greek language during that time. Throughout the regions of the Roman Empire, Latin became more common in the phraseology.
-Since Constantine had converted (allegedly) to some form of Christianity in the 4th century A.D., the Christians now were respectable citizens of Rome. This lead up to the fact that during the time of Augustine, Latin became the dominant language in ecclesiastical usage. Especially when Roman Catholicism emerged from Catholicism, as the bishop of Rome became more powerful and eventually appointed himself as the “pope” over the other bishops, Latin became widely used. In A.D. 400, Damascus (known as Pope Damascus 1 to Roman Catholics) commissioned Jerome to translate the Scriptures into the Latin language, since the Roman Catholic Church preferred to use Latin over Greek.
-Jerome first translated the Gospels into Latin using Greek manuscripts, since the existing Latin manuscripts at the time had many variants and discrepancies among them. He largely used the Septuagint as his Old Testament translation foundation, as well as using Hebrew texts from the Old Testament without the sanction of the pope. It was he who wrote in a book introduction that Paul authored Hebrews.
-Throughout this time period, Rome began to gradually and steadily decline in her might and power. In 376 A.D., Goths and other “barbarians” invaded the Balkan provinces, setting in motion the gradual decline of Rome. In 395 A.D., Theodosius 1 died, marking the last time the Rome Empire would be ruled in unity. In 406, the Germanic tribes invaded Rome after crossing the Rhine River. Rome was sacked 4 years later—a feat to be repeated again in 455 A.D. In 476 A.D., Odoacer deposed Romulus Augustus as the ruler of Rome—the first time a barbarian overthrew the reign of a Roman emperor. The Ostrogoths eventually captured the lands of Rome and Europe, setting up their own ruler in 493. At this point, the Roman Empire had completely vanished.
-For the next thousand years, Roman Catholicism gained more and more power, although some were still true to the apostolic faith, such as the Celtic Christians. But for many centuries, Roman Catholicism became the predominant religion of the age. Greek would be discouraged in church usage, and the Latin Vulgate became more and more popular. The art of studying Greek in particular was lost to some degree as a result. The Latin Vulgate was made the official version of the Roman Catholic Church at the Council of Trent in 1545-1563.

The Sparks of Light
-In the British Isle, Celts lived and ruled in the land until the Romans took over the island in A.D. 43 and established towns, including London. Britons gave way to a mixture of Romans and Celts, as Roman expansion continued to move farther north into Europe. However, the Romans only occupied Britain for approximately 300 years, as they withdraw all troops in 383. The Saxons, Picts (a Scottish people), and the Scoti (an Irish people) were now able to invade Britain with force. The Angles and the Saxons in particular banded together to invade England, which they successfully conquered. They replaced the language of the day with the language of Old English. The Anglo-Saxons repeatedly encountered invasions by the Vikings from Scandinavia, as well as the raids by the Norse from Normandy.
- “The English language traces its roots back to approximately AD 600; within a hundred years, the Psalms and a portion of the Gospels had been translated. In 735, the Venerable Bede, on his dying day, completed his translation of John’s Gospel. 165 years later, King Alfred the Great translated a portion of the Pentateuch. A few others during this period translated the Gospels or the Psalms, and little else.

Not only were these translations incomplete, but there were three other problems with them: (1) they were all translations from the Latin Vulgate, rather than from the original Greek and Hebrew texts; (2) they were not very good translations; and (3) for the most part, they were not accessible to lay folks, but were “translation ponies” to help the priests understand the Latin Vulgate better.”
From <>
-In the tenth century, the English kingdom emerged out of the Anglo-Saxon rule. Later, in 1066 A.D., William the Conqueror invaded England and overthrew the Anglo-Saxon rule, imposing his rule on the people and replacing English with French. This lasted until the Plantagenets endeavored to rule England from 1154-1485. However, disagreements with France lead to wars of succession in what became known as the Hundred Year’s War.
-England later became embroiled in the War of the Roses, pitting the House of Lancaster with the House of York in a civil war between the Plantagenet family. This lasted until Henry Tudor ended the war and established his reign as king, sweeping in the Tudor Dynasty.
-During the 14th century, John Wycliffe was a professor, scholar, and theologian at Oxford. Wycliffe studied as a young man at that school, under such men as William of Occam. Showing a keen interest in science and mathematics, Roman law, English common law, and history, he pursued education of the Bible after his undergraduate studies. He advanced to becoming a doctor of theology, in addition to becoming involved politically in ecclesiastical politics with the Roman Catholic Church’s rule over England. The pope eventually had him removed from the church on July 26, 1374, because of Wycliffe’s reformative ideas. After returning from that conference, Wycliffe produced literature to defend his position.
-Wycliffe became embroiled in controversies with monks of his day, because of his ideas on how to reform church government. Pope Gregory XI directed five papal bulls against him in 1377, which lighted the fire of reformation in Wycliffe’s own work. Wycliffe would wrote, ““The Church is the totality of those who are predestined to blessedness. It includes the Church triumphant in heaven… and the Church militant or men on earth. No one who is eternally lost has part in it. There is one universal Church, and outside of it there is no salvation. Its head is Christ. No pope may say that he is the head, for he cannot say that he is elect or even a member of the Church.”
Wycliffe set about to translate the Bible into English, the language of the people, since the nobility frequently spoke French and had French Bibles. Aided by the help of the Lollards, his assistant Purvey, and many scribes, Wycliffe translated an English Bible from the text of the Latin Vulgate. 150 manuscripts survive today. 44 years after his death, however, the pope ordered his body exhumed and his manuscripts burned in an effort to return back to Latin and to dishonor the legacy of this man.

The Clash Between Principalities and Powers

The Man Named Luther
-Born to the owner of a copper mine, Martin Luther’s father desired that his son enter civil service. Luther attended schools in Eisenach, Mansfeld, and Magdeburg, entering the University of Erfurt in 1501 at the age of 17. One year later, he had earned his Bachelor’s degree, earning his Master’s degree in 1505. At this point, Luther enrolled in the law school at Erfurt in order to become a lawyer. But this would all change, for one night he was riding his horse during the forest during a dark and stormy night. A lightning bolt struck near him, and Luther cried out in terror that he would become a monk if St. Anne would help him.
-Luther left law school and entered the monastery, and desired very strongly to live a holy life by his own efforts. He endeavored to bring peace to his soul by good works for God and prayer for others, but it eluded him. But even starvation, constant confession (where he wore out his priest with his lengthy and detailed introspections of his spiritual state), and self-inflicted physical punishments did not find the relief that Luther sought.
-Johann von Staupitz, Luther’s mentor and superior, sent Luther into academic life in order to give his mind some distraction from self-examination. Luther was ordained as a priest in 1507, and he entered the University of Wittenberg in 1508. Luther earned two Bachelor degrees in two years, and he became a Doctor of Theology in 1512. The rigors of academic pursuits and the preparation for lectures drove Luther to study the Scriptures on a regular basis. Eventually, Luther began to realize that “penance” and “righteousness” did not mean what his Roman Catholic presuppositions had assumed. One day, when reading the phrase “the righteous shall life by faith,” Luther finally found the peace of God in the saving work of Jesus Christ, as Paul had expressed in Philippians 3:9.
-The sale of indulgences by John Tetzel in order to finance did not sit well with Luther, and his growing doubts about the integrity of the Roman Catholic system led him to formulate 95 theses that he nailed to the door of the Wittenberg Cathedral on October 31, 1517. Originally, he did not write them in the language of the common people so that church leaders could be presented with them without stirring up controversy, but his theses were eventually translated and distributed through the use of the printing press.
-In 1520, Pope Leo X issued the Exsurge Domine bull against Luther, which forced Luther the Diet of Worms on April 17, 1521. Johann von Eck, the spokesman for the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, challenged Luther to recant. Being given one day to consider his response, Luther appeared the next day and said, “"Unless I am convinced by proofs from Scriptures or by plain and clear reasons and arguments, I can and will not retract, for it is neither safe nor wise to do anything against conscience. Here I stand. I can do no other. God help me. Amen."
-Afterwards, Luther was outlawed, and he found refuge at the Wartburg castle through the benevolence of Duke Frederick “the Wise.” During this time, Luther worked on a German translation of the Bible using the Textus Receptus as translated by Erastmus, a man whom he had fierce theological disagreements with. During this time, Luther befriend a man by the name of William Tyndale of England. Luther himself produced a New Testament in 1522 and an entire translation in 1534. He aided Tyndale in using the 1526 Erasmus Greek-Latin parallel New Testament.

The Translation of Erasmus
-Desiderius Erasmus was a man shrouded in some mystery, and to this day scholars do not precisely know the date of his birth. Erasmus, being an illegitimate son, had to request several dispensations from the pope in order to hold a benefice (church appointment). In 1497, Erasmus entered an Augustinian monastery, and was subsequently ordained as a Roman Catholic priest. Erasmus had many critics throughout his life, and while not the fiery man that Luther was, Erasmus wrote a famous work called In Praise of Folly. Erasmus was outspoken against the abuse of relics in his day, for there were enough splinters of the Cross to fill a ship.
-Erasmus, through the prompting of John Colet, produced a new text of Scripture from four manuscripts from England, five from Basle, and one from John Reuchlin that he used for the book of Revelation.
-Erasmus produced his first translation in 1516, in order that everyone could read the Bible in a common language. He made 400 minor critical edits in his second edition, and in his third edition of 1522, he wrote that it was good to have French and English translations, contrary to what critics claimed. In 1624, his work was dubbed the “received text” or Textus Receptus in 1624.
-Erasmus’ translations had two notable features: he translated the Vulgate back into Greek for parts of Revelation, as he only had one manuscript from a friend for that book that was incomplete. This introduced translation errors in parts of Revelation that have remained in the Textus Receptus and in older versions such as the King James, as well as the fact that Erasmus rightly omitted 1 John 5:7, since not a single Greek manuscript had this Trinitarian insertions after the time of the Vulgate.

The Man Named Tyndale
-In 1494, William Tyndale was born. At age 11, he enrolled at Oxford, and grew up with an academic life at that university. He received his Master’s degree in 1515 at the age of 21. He became a tutor to the family of John Walsh in 1520, and over the next three years incited controversy due to his debates with Roman Catholic dignitaries, his preaching, and his adherence to Reformation doctrines. In one debate with a Roman Catholic clergyman, he was challenged with, “We are better to be without God’s laws than the Pope’s.” Tyndale responded, “I defy the Pope and all his laws. If God spare my life ere many years, I will cause the boy that drives the plow to know more of the scriptures than you!” 1523, he was removed from London.
-In May of 1524, Tyndale travelled the Continent, and it was during this time that he met and was befriended by Martin Luther. While at Wittenburg, he translated the New Testament with Luther’s guidance. In 1525, his English New Testament was printed at Cologne and completed at Worms. His translation of the Pentateuch was released in 1530, and his translation of Jonah was printed in 1531.
-During his time away from England, Tyndale learned Hebrew in order to translate the Pentateuch, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1st and 2nd Samuel, and 1st and 2nd Kings. In the late 1520s and early 1530s, Tyndale also published many books and wrote a couple commentaries, and neither Wolsey nor Henry VIII could successfully hunt him down and bring him to trial.
-Philipps, a good friend of Tyndale, betrayed him into the hands of the Crown, and Tyndale was cast into prison for 1.5 years in squalid conditions. At one point, he asked for a needle and thread so he could sew up his breeches because of the cold. Tyndale was tried on the charge of heresy and treason, and he was brought to the stake in the prison yard on October 6, 1536. Right before he was strangled, he said, “Lord, open the king of England’s eyes.” His body was then burned after he had been strangled.
-Tyndale was notable for having translated parts of Scripture from the original Hebrew, rather than from the Vulgate (as Wycliffe did) or from Erasmus’ compiled texts (as Luther did).

The Persecution in England
-In 1527, Henry VIII broke away from the Roman Catholic Church, because he was unable to obtain an annulment from the pope regarding one of his many marriages. This started the English Reformation, although it began for political reasons rather than theological reasons. Prior to this point, English common law was ruled by the councils and the Pope of Rome, but no further. In 1534, Parliament declared Henry to be the supreme head of Christ’s church. This led to the Church of England acknowledging the Crown as King over Christ’s Church, the privileges of the Church could not detract from the rights and laws of the Crown.
-Henry’s son Edward VI broke further away from Roman Catholic influence. Under his reign, images were destroyed, for example. Vestments were banned, and the ban on marriage for the priesthood was lifted. The English people at large had stopped believing in the necessity of a Mass for intercession between men and God. For the first time, Protestant pastors could be ordained instead of only Roman Catholic priests. However, not everyone agreed with these measures, and rioting and infighting continued throughout the land of England.
-Henry’s daughter Mary I first posthumously passed a Parliamentary act granting her mother the status of rightful Queen, making her the rightful heir to the throne. She then overturned Henry’s and Edward’s reforms. Cardinal Pole became the new Bishop of Canterbury, and she married Philip II of Spain at the advice of the Holy Roman Emperor. After 1555, the old heresy laws were restored, and she began her persecutions of English Protestants and reformers in the land. John Foxe, the author of Foxe’s Book of Martyrs, fled England and later wrote in vivid detail of her persecutions.
-Upon Mary’s death, Elizabeth took control of the throne. Being illegitimate, the Roman Catholic Church would never accept her as the rightful ruler, so she excluded all Roman Catholics as being traitors to the Crown, for the Pope did not recognize her as Queen. Now persecution of Roman Catholic priests and parishioners commenced, causing many to flee for their lives. During that time, the Church of England included loyal Anglicans, Puritans, and those who wanted to return to Roman Catholicism.

The Geneva Study Bible

The Men of the Word 

-John Calvin was born in 1509 in Noyon, Picardy, France. He was a student of theology in 1523 at the University of Paris. Later a law student at the University of Orleans, he became one of the champions in the Reformation and an imposing figure in the history of godly men. In 1536, he completed his monumental work entitled Institutes of the Christian Religion. He was a pastor of a church at Geneva, known for his careful expository preaching. However, city authorities forced him to leave town in 1538. He returned to Geneva in 1541 and resumed his ministry in the church by picking up from the verse he had left off. As a scholar, Calvin knew the original languages and would translate in the midst of his sermons from the texts.
-At the time, Geneva was not a part of Switzerland until 1815. In the words of John Knox, Geneva was “the most perfect school of Christ.” Calvin had a large influence among French Huguenots, and they primarily studied at the university in Geneva.
-Myles Coverdale was born in the English region of York in 1488. A translator that relied heavily on Latin, English, and German manuscripts, the Coverdale Bible was published in 1535. In this year, his associate William Tyndale had been arrested. He was able to take Tyndale’s work on the New Testament Pentateuch. Coverdale’s work was included in the Matthews Bible, and during the reforms of Henry VIII, he was commissioned to help work on the Great Bible—a massive pulpit Bible that Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury, desired to be used in all the churches of England. Henry VIII would order that a copy of Coverdale’s translation be chained to the pulpit in every church in England.
-John Knox was a Scotsman born in the decade between 1514-1524, and he was a student at the University of St. Andrew’s. He joined the movement to reform Scottish churches until he was taken prisoner by French forces in 1546 and released to be exiled to England in 1549. The Church of England welcomed him in the time of King Edward VI (Henry VIII’s son), and he became the royal chaplain. He helped shaped the Book of Common Prayer during that time. However, during the persecution by Bloody Mary, he fled England and lived in Geneva, where he met John Calvin. Eventually, Knox ended his association with the Church of England, and worked in the Protestant Reformation in Scotland upon his return to his native land. During the reign of Mary Queen of Scots, he served as a foremost religious leader in Scotland.

The Introduction of Divine Light
-Queen Mary I’s vicious persecutions of Protestants drove over 800 English scholars to the Continent in what became known as the “Marian exile.” As a result, Geneva soon saw a collection of some of the finest biblical, historical, and theological scholars of the time. Because Calvin’s theology had influenced Genevan government, this city was a safe haven for the English reformers. A consensus soon was arrived that: there needed to be an English translation of the Bible for the common people. William Whittingham (Calvin’s brother-in-law) oversaw the project of producing the Geneva Bible through the work of men such as Miles Coverdale, Christopher Goodman, John Knox, and Thomas Sampson. Just as in the days of the early church in Acts 8:1 and Acts 8:39-40, persecution merely spread the Word rather than stifle it.
-In translating the Geneva Bible, the translators chose not to rely on the Latin Vulgate, due to the facts that it was not as accurate as they desired, nor did they desire to use the Bible that “Bloody Mary” promoted. Rather, they relied on Whittingham’s revision of Tyndale’s work, as well as the compiled texts of Erastmus and the translation by Luther, along with the best available Greek and Hebrew manuscripts of the day. John Knox and John Calvin oversaw much of the two-year effort.
-The first edition of the Geneva Bible was in 1560, which included the marginal notes by the reformers on points of doctrine, points of clarity, and points of translation or textual variation. Also, they gave the names of the Greeks that were occasionally quoted by the apostle Paul. The Geneva Bible was the first Bible to have chapter and verse numbers in order for readers to locate passages and study it better.
-In 1579, a Scottish edition of the Geneva Bible was published and utilized in Scottish churches, aiding the Reformation in that country.
-The notes of the Geneva Bible included doctrinal explanations, as well as many points of application. For the first time, Reformed theology was written as marginal notes in the Bible, as the scholars returned to biblical theology. The notes also had a strong Protestant emphasis, particularly in being outspoken against Roman Catholicism and against the English Crown’s claim to be the head of Christ’s church. In the book of Revelation, for example, the beast is identified as the current pope.
-The Geneva Bible was the first English Bible to be introduced to the people at large, and when Queen Elizabeth took the throne after Queen Mary, it was introduced to the British Isle.

The Impact of the Geneva Bible
-The Geneva Bible exploded in popularity in the British Isle after it was published.
-“The Geneva Bible influenced the literature of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. John Stubbs, and other Puritan writers, generally used only the Geneva Bible in their works. The Geneva Bible affected some of England’s greatest writers including…Shakespeare, and Milton, and so impacted the culture.
-From 1596 on, Shakespeare for the most part used the Geneva Bible in his plays. Milton’s Paradise Lost and Samson Agonistes both reveal the influence of the theology of the marginal notes of the Geneva Bible. The Geneva Bible also influenced sermon literature. The English reformers, Puritans, separatists, and even some Bishops, all used the Geneva Bible in their sermons.
-The establishment and growth of Protestantism and Calvinistic theology were greatly influenced by the Geneva Bible. The false doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church were clearly exposed in the margin notes. Calvinism was not only presented in the margin notes of the Geneva Bible, but also in the catechisms that were included in later editions. Thus, the Geneva Bible affected the ecclesiastical and theological beliefs of England and Scotland, as well as the culture.” 
From <>
-Between 1560 and 1644, 144 editions of the Geneva Bible were published. It continued to affect society on all levels, from the common man to the rulers of the people. Oliver Cromwell, for example, used the Geneva Bible to produce a pocket Bible for the soldiers in his army.
-In the race to control the New World, England, France, and Spain all competed during the time of the Reformation movement for control. By the 17th century, England had gained the upper hand in North America. The Virginia Company of London, having received a charter in 1606 from King James I, sent three ships to Virginia in order to establish an English colony. It would have been the Geneva Bible that men such as John Smith would have read. The Christians living in Jamestown would have used the Geneva Bible.
-“King James disapproved of the Geneva Bible because of its Calvinistic leanings. He also frowned on what he considered to be seditious marginal notes on key political texts. A marginal note for Exodus 1:9 indicated that the Hebrew midwives were correct in disobeying the Egyptian king's orders, and a note for 2 Chronicles 15:16 said that King Asa should have had his mother executed and not merely deposed for the crime of worshipping an idol. The King James Version of the Bible grew out of the king's distaste for these brief but potent doctrinal commentaries. He considered the marginal notes to be a political threat to his kingdom.
At a conference at Hampton Court in 1604 with bishops and theologians, the king listened to a suggestion by the Puritan scholar John Reynolds that a new translation of the Bible was needed. Because of his distaste for the Geneva Bible, James was eager for a new translation. "I profess," he said, "I could never yet see a Bible well translated in English; but I think that, of all, that of Geneva is the worst." –Gary Demar from
-In the reign of King James, he commissioned scholars to produce an Anglicanized version of the Bible that did not have marginal notes that would suggest that the Crown of England was not the head of the church. He also mandated that some terms such as “Easter” be inserted into what was entitled the Authorized Version, and he forbad terms from being translated into English wording that would give ground for credobaptism. Bishop Laud, the Archbishop of Canterbury, outlawed the printing of the Geneva Bible, for the church of England would only use the Authorized Version from that point onwards.
-The Pilgrims (or “Separatists”, as they were known at the time) would not remain in England and participate in the church of England, and after fleeing to the Netherlands, set sail for the New World in order to establish a Christian society and find religious freedom. They would not use the Authorized Version because of its Anglican influence, and they continued to use the Geneva Bible throughout their history in building a colony at Plymouth and beyond. Later on, the Puritans would come to America, using the Geneva Bible. The Puritan theologians and writers would use the Geneva Bible when penning their works of theology. It was the Geneva Bible that provided the word of God to the birth of the nation of the United States.
-John Bunyan was born in 1628 who became a Baptist preacher and author. Not licensed by the Church of England to preach, he faced continuous opposition. He was imprisoned for 12 years as a result. After his release, he authored Pilgrim’s Progress in 1684 and the Holy War two years earlier. His teaching and writing ministry resulted from the Geneva Bible.
-The Geneva Bible gradually fell out of usage as it was stopped printed and the King James Version gained popularity. But in 2006, Dr. Peter Lilback, president of Westminster Theological Seminary, and a team of men consisting of Doug Phillips, Joe Morecraft, Benjamin Shaw, Mark Rushdoony, Douglas Kelly, Paul Jehle, Gary Demar, Joseph Pipa, C.N. Willborn, William Federer, Marshal Foster, and George Grant worked to recover the long-lost Geneva translation. Producing the original text and notes from the 1599 edition with modern spelling, the Geneva Bible now has returned to a new generation of reformers. 


-“Surely as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither but watereth the earth, and maketh it to bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread unto him that eateth, so shall my word be, that goeth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I will, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:10-11 Geneva)