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Culture and Christianity XX
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May I also ask about the proper elements for the Lord's supper. Is it necessary to only partake of grape juice or wine and cooked plain flour-water mixture in order to correctly symbolize our Lord's sacrifice of his blood (fruit of the vine - commonly grapes) and body (unleavened bread)? I was told that using softdrinks and biscuits are unscriptural because they are not proper symbols.
The importance of communion is in what goes on in the heart, not in what goes into the stomach. The bread (or food) represents our Lord's body which He sacrificed for us, taking on a human body for us, letting it be crucified for us, and bearing all of our sins in it, being judged for them all in the three hours of darkness on Calvary. The wine (or drink) represents His blood – not His physical blood but His work for us on the cross in being our Substitute, dying in our place for our sins that we might live forever with Him (see the link: "The Blood of Christ"). Nothing is more important – but in my experience most churches/groups don't have a clue about the true meaning of the symbolism of communion, so instead they squabble over outward forms which mean nothing. Here are a couple of links on this:
What does scripture say about communion?
The meaning of the communion memorial (in BB 4A)
Hello Dr. Bob,
I'm sorry for not responding right away.
To link to my previous email, in a patriarchal culture where I was born and live, husbands/men ought to be the one working to feed the family. To be a husband and unemployed is shameful especially when it is the wife who is working, though there are now young families that have "reverse roles" and is not making who-the-breadwinner-in-the-family-is an issue.
In a third world country where I live there is not a lot of options for work. Ours is country where a big chunk of the trained and skilled labor force is exported to other countries (commonly called "brain drain") because of unemployment at home. There are many graduates of colleges, technical/vocational institutes who could not land jobs this year. These add to the unemployed backlog of previous years who are still unemployed up to now. Those who got employed overseas would rather endure loneliness working abroad and send money back home to support their families than stay here together and be involved in petty crimes to survive or sell drugs to earn a living and put their and their families' lives in danger of imprisonment or of being killed. To be employed here, one has to know someone or be close to that someone who is already inside the firm or bureaucracy to help him get a job or pay at least three months worth of wages in exchange for a position. But these openings are close to nil. This is called red tape or a form of corruption which is common in poor countries.
Good to hear from you, my friend – write any time (no problem with delayed response for whatever reason).
I don't know of any scripture which says it is wrong for a woman to work outside the home, especially if that is necessary, or of any scripture to say that there is something wrong with a man not working when that is impossible under certain circumstances. Laziness is to be avoided. Not being able to get a job is something else again. Things in this country are apparently not as bad as where you are, but they can be very bad. Being of "that age", I know a lot of older people, and I can tell you for most us becoming unemployed over 60 means probably never ever being able to get a job again – certainly not a good job, and sometimes not even any job. There are always exceptions – and our God is a God of exceptions for those He considers exceptional, namely, believers who come to Him in prayer and in faith. Are you lacking employment at the moment? Let me know and I will certainly put that on my prayer list. I have had some big "issues" of my own at the university lately (probably I told you about them), but God helping me I'm still employed, even though pay has been knocked back and I'm trusting the Lord that there will be "enough" when I get to the next stepping stone in crossing this creek. The world we live in was never an easy place, and the troubles and challenges of the "modern economy" are not small and in many ways unprecedented. Scripture doesn't condemn someone trying to work who is being stymied by the circumstances. I have not seen that in the Bible – happy to discuss individual passages.
Does it follow that it is always the case that husbands should be the breadwinner and the wife stays at home no matter the reverse circumstances and specifics in each family? There are conservatives who are strict on this. Is the language or how the passage was written by Paul does not permit for a different meaning?
Scripture commands wives to manage the household well (1Tim.5:14) but says nothing that would lead anyone getting their truth from the Bible to suggest that men have no role in that; indeed, husbands are told to "rule their own households well" (1Tim.3:12). In the ancient world women mostly did supervise the household and men mostly did work outside the house, but on a farm, even in the ancient world, there is barely an area where their work wouldn't overlap and be cooperative, and there is nothing in the Bible to commend strict separation of roles. As long as the husband rules his home in love and the wife respects her husband's role (Eph.5:22-33; Col.3:18-19), the particular circumstances beyond that are not delineated or commented on by scripture, no doubt because there are myriad possible circumstances.
About marriage and family in the OT. Abraham and Isaac instructed their sons to have wives from their own idol-worshipping relatives. Does it make a big difference if they would have the "daughters of Heth"? The spiritual path the family takes is leaning towards being influenced by idolatry anyway. Is it right to think that their reason for this is not about planning for a family that worships God but to secure the family wealth? We can see this condition of idolatry in the family when Jacob told his big family, after leaving Shechem before going to Bethel, to discard their idols. (The Bible mentions Rachel hiding Laban's teraphim before the incident; the others must have brought their own also) This incident happened after the massacre of the Shechemites who want to intermarry with them. (Simeon and Levi's excuse about Dinah being defiled is just a pretext for their violent attitude and greed because a marriage is offered to make the offense right. Maybe they also see through the Shechemites deception and the Shechemites were outwitted. A case of "deceiving and being deceived") I also think of Job offering sacrifices for his children's sake in case they sinned; the fact that his wife told him to "curse God and die" leaves no doubt about her spiritual condition. There must be only some believers in these patriarchs' huge household. Being a believer during those times (especially for the patriarchs themselves) must be difficult because of one's household not seriously following God.
I'm not sure I understand your question about "marriage and family in the OT". You do a good job of outlining the fact that none of these families or arrangements were perfect – far from it; and there is a lot to be learned from that. But it would be a mistake to draw conclusions about what we are to do today from the bad examples found in the behavior of some of the patriarchs and their offspring. Genesis is a historical book and records what was done without necessarily condemning it or condoning it. So when Abram takes Hagar as a concubine, it doesn't mean it was not a mistake just because it was Abram who did it – and it most certainly WAS a mistake.
Criminals like kidnappers or planned shooters have been inspired to turn their lives around on occasion because their victim or would-be victim treated them with respect.
Kindness in most people--especially to those who have been tortured by bullying--has been known to produce undying loyalty.
This has been your personal experience? Sounds more like a Disney movie (and there is never any hint of Christ in any Disney movie).
I think of all the Lord did for Satan, yet he rebelled.
I think of all the Lord did in dying for unbelievers, 99% of the human race, yet they have no use for Him.
I think of all the Lord did for His contemporaries and how they repaid Him – with crucifixion.
I think your thesis is flawed.
But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men, And needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man.
John 2:24-25 KJV
"Total depravity" is in fact the norm – that's one thing the Calvinists are correct about, pace Marx and co. who got it completely wrong.
Let grace be shown to the wicked,
Yet he will not learn righteousness;
In the land of uprightness he will deal unjustly,
And will not behold the majesty of the LORD.
Isaiah 26:10 NKJV
In Jesus our dear Lord and Savior,
Thank you Professor
I am on your site now getting some reinforcement from something I have previously read yet tend to not remember clearly unless I reread. I read some of the excellent comments about your work which happily are so true. Tried reading your site and watching TV show (at the same time) on the planets, solar system, galaxies and universe. The Hubble telescope pointed to a “blank” area in sky came up with countless other stars and galaxies. I immediately thought of your lessons concerning the spiritual sacrifice in his body that our Lord suffered for us and something to the effect that it surpasses even the glory of the universe. (Not expressed by me properly but I do go back to clarify for myself). No wonder we shall worship Him, The Lord Jesus Christ forever. I do not understand all things and still have questions. I do believe in the Word.
I pray for you daily.
As always your student in the Lord.
Just as a PS to my last email. I did not realise you were on jury duty.
About your work and ministry, I explained to my boys that one of the reasons I hold you in such high regard is that studying the ancient languages “is not all beer and skittles” as we would say here (i.e. not all a fun and easy time). Rather it can be a hard slog.
Please do not feel the need to reply to my emails. There will be people waiting for your next work. As for myself what you have onsite will keep me going for quite a long time. At some stage I probably will have questions, though I read through as much as I can to find answers on your site. Even then I am content to wait until you think it needs an answer on one of your yet to post emails online. I have already found most of my answers just from reading others questions to you and I read your new posting of emails immediately. While I remember (and this does not need an answer right away. Just putting it here to remind myself for later)"
1. Though I am fairly hopeless at singing hymns, I did enjoy that part of the service as a former mormon, especially as you say with the dearth of any solid bible teaching as against indoctrination. I note your deserved reservation that they might not be accurate doctrinally (most certainly the case with some mormon hymns). Having left mormonism, we together with others from differing religious backgrounds, do sing two or three hymns when we meet to fellowship with other believers (very small house meeting).
A) Are you able to recommend any hymns that are doctrinally safe? As you say, if we find some Psalms with music sheets that my friend could play that would be doctrinal. I was thinking is there more traditional hymns as possible candidates ?
B) Is it likely that the anti-christ will use hymns to stir believers and unbelievers into a frenzy. Hymns such as Battle Hymn of the Republic come to mind, given the anti-christ’s military campaigns and even are possibly used now by some (a pity as I do enjoy the occasional stirring hymn as well as the more reflective ones such as How Great Thou Art) as possible choices for promoting zeal? Just a cautionary thought I had after reading some of your thoughts on songs for the times ahead.
No need for a reply right now as I will go to your email and subject list to pursue what I can find on your thoughts from scripture.
Your student in Christ Jesus Our Lord
It's always good to hear from you, my friend. Got off early today so I'm able to get to my "inbox".
I've written about the music issue a number of times and will give you a list of links below. In a nutshell, it's a matter of degrees. A small dose of "Christian music" where the mistakes or misplaced emphasis is not glaringly wrong is somewhat akin to eating a chocolate cake when one needs to lose weight: it may not kill you or wreck your diet long term, and you like to do it, so . . . Problems come when eating cake and the like begin to be done without restraint or judgment, and serious problems come when such junk is finally substituted for any healthy food at all. That last state is where a goodly number of Christian groups find themselves today. I'm certainly not worried about you. As you grow, the impurities in the little bit of junk food you are indulging in will become all the more obvious.
Music, of course, is highly emotionally manipulative. It occupies our thoughts and attentions easily and motivates us to "do" whatever it is that the music is recommending, be courageous in battle, pine for a lost sweetheart, etc. For that reason "Christian music" which is doctrinally "off" may lead immature Christians to believe things that are not true – or, what is probably even worse, lead them to be only slightly off on some important point, a little hole in the dike which, over time and without fixing, may eventually widen and result in a flood pouring through which may do a good deal of damage. People who write "Christian music" are no doubt very talented and gifted . . . in music . . . but that does not make them spiritual giants nor does it mean that they actually have a close relationship with the Lord nor that their lyrics are actually "good" from the divine point of view. And yet if the music itself (not the text) is "really good", musically speaking, it will penetrate into the heart in a way that the false or somewhat "off" sentiment could never do outside of a musical context.
In terms of its meaning, Laodicean music may seem wonderfully powerful when in fact for the most part like all things Laodicean it is "wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked" (Rev.3:17 NKJV). Earlier hymns may be some better – and we all have our favorites – but we need to ask ourselves, why do we enjoy singing them? Generally, it is for the joy of the music (not so much the text) and our emotional response to the experience. And to the extent that we are responding to some sentiment in the lyrics (it's really all about the lyrics, good or bad), something which is indeed biblical sound, that is all to the good. But to the extent that the sentiment is "off" (as is usually the case, even if only to a small degree), to that extent we are doing some damage. It may only be a single chocolate cake – but if we are not careful it may turn into a steady diet of lard. And, after all, emotions are funny things, potentially very dangerous things. Our spirit, responding to the truth and the Spirit, is supposed to rule our body and natural mind or heart (where spirit and body come together), and the emotions, like a good race horse under strict control, can be helpful. But if we let the horse eat loco weed and spit out the bit, we are in for wild and rough ride (see the links: "Who controls our thoughts and emotions?" and "Fighting the Battle within").
Here are those other links:
My favorite hymn
The role of music in church
The Unknown Hymn
The Influence of Music
More on Christian Music
Negative Effects of Christian Music
Your friend in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,
Thank you for your reply on hymns.
Part A) “My Favourite Hymn” gave me one of your favourite hymns. Do you have others?
Part B) The anti-christ using “hymns” as one of his rallying tactics?
You did not directly respond to this part.
I did read the links you sent me and I noted that I had read them previously and understand the dangers of emotions, false doctrines, substitution for real bible teaching, even perhaps in the more traditional hymns. Was good reading them again.
I certainly came to learn truths from a search of scriptures and most particularly from your teachings from the bible and not from hymns.
I find myself not being a fan of the modern “Christian” music. Apart from the words the whole performance is too close to pop culture. Unfortunately it seems to play big part in the lives of other Christians I meet with on a social basis which invariably turns to discussions of scripture. Some or perhaps all are much more learned than myself, having studied for many years and even wrote books on the Old Testament etc.
My sense is that music is being used adversely now by the evil one. Why would it not be part of the strategy also of the anti-christ, even using the more traditional type hymns to justify his claims?
Just an update on my weekly social “cuppa” meeting. We are all different flavours of belief; non religious believers, Baptist, Anglican (whose wife is the qualified pastor); and yet to be determined positions of belief. I invited one learned chap who has a ministry with children in the town, here for breakfast yesterday. I am generally a bit of a loner but feel I need to change somewhat.
Do not feel you need to respond at this time as I know you are flat out busy.
I am grateful for your dedicated service to the Lord. Gives me encouragement and knowledge to keep preparing as we all need to.
Thank you Professor.
Your student in our dear Lord Jesus.
Thanks for your good words as always, my friend.
To be honest, I try to stay away from music generally. I have a lot to do, and I don't do it as well with distractions. When I am eating a meal, I'd rather watch the news to keep up on things. When relaxing after a meal, I'd rather read something or do a crossword puzzle.
I have no doubt that the beast will make use of all manner of devices to advance his cause. He will pretend to be Christ, after all, so any present hymn or other "Christian music" that does not refute his claims will be perfectly good to use, I'd imagine. After all, they sing hymns in the Roman Catholic church too, but to a person everyone who has ever come to this ministry as a refugee from said religion has avowed that it is impossible to be a born again believer therein, music notwithstanding (cf. your own experience in the Mormons). So those hymns not only did not help – they were consistent with a religion which does not actually serve the Lord (as will be the case with antichrist).
Best wishes for all of your good efforts to share the Word of truth, my friend!
In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,
I hope you are well. Yesterday I went to a small independent music festival that was on all day in the city. It was great to see the music live and some of the musicians and singers were very accomplished. The thing is, I now realise how odd I feel in secular culture. Just because it is secular does not make it neutral I have realised, especially these days. By and by there was the odd singer that sung old fashioned songs about unrequited love and simple ballads but they were really in the minority. Other bands were singing about decadence and a rock and roll life style. Another one injected random swear words into their lyrics for shock tactics I guess. There was one woman who had a really beautiful voice and her songs were really seductive and enchanting but were full of pagan lyrics about being an earth mother and communicating with spirits. There was one band who were very young and very, very talented and are probably destined to go far. We both were taken aback with their talent. I couldn't hear the lyrics that they were singing and so I Googled them on the bus ride home. I shouldn't have been shocked but I was. The songs were all about casual sex and watching pornography!! I felt really duped and foolish and ridiculously naive. It was as though I was expecting the world to change with my beliefs. I think I may still be in a little bit of denial about how wide the devil has cast his net. These bands are not yet established and yet they are obediently doing the devil's work for him. It was a shame that such talent was wasted on fruitless subject matters. Some of the kids I saw on stage where very talented yes, but they sang about life as though they were empty vessels. That's how I saw them, as empty vessels and I couldn't see the souls in their eyes which made me very sad. The acts who were more soulful were the ones who were either singing political or spiritual songs, but the politics were against so called conservative Christians and the spirituality was of a pagan and wiccan one. It is funny how visceral and stimulating and energising it was while we were there and yet I felt empty as we travelled back. We booked the tickets for this festival over a year ago and I have changed a lot during this time. I have noticed more and more that I cannot enjoy the things I once did as it jars with my Christianity more and more. Is this normal? At first this jarring sensation depressed me and I did mourn losing the worldly things for a while but now I am not missing them, it is strange. All of these things are falling away from me and I am seeing it all in a different and new light.
One of the artists has just released a new album. One of the songs was called "My Jesus Phase". I was intrigued by the title and so I researched the song. The artist was using the title as a cheap gimmick and was calling to attention how weird she thinks it is to be Christian. She literally couldn't understand why anyone would ever say out loud "Jesus is my best friend". The funny thing Bob is that I cannot understand how she cannot even slightly understand Christianity. It feels as though the line in the sand is becoming more and more prominent. You cannot sit on the fence any more. You must pick a side. Jesus is amassing his followers and the devil is amassing his. Why does it feel as though the devil has more on his side? Is this what is meant by the narrow path?
Are you able to listen to secular music any more? I haven't heard any recent Christian songs that sat well with me. Is it true that the devil has all of the best tunes? It is certainly the most seductive and does tickle the ears more. I like old Gospel songs but as they often have a touch of the R&B in it or rock and roll I wonder if they have been compromised. If in doubt I listen to a great deal of classical music. Then my mind can rest and enjoy the beauty. How do you feel about secular culture in general Bob? As always, I am very curious to know your take on these things.
Yours in our loving saviour Jesus Christ,
I'm very pleased to hear of your growing spiritual discernment. I must admit that I have become no particular fan of music even though I loved it earlier in life. That is not to say that I never listen to it – or rather 'hear it' (pretty hard not to bump into it in any media, even in elevators, grocery stores and phone queues, etc.). Music is very emotionally manipulative, and as your experience confirms very seldom conveys a good message to go along with that emotional manipulation. Indeed, it seems that the instances nowadays where the message is not damaging and dangerous are few and far between.
It is impossible for Christians to bury our heads in the sand to the point where we are no longer exposed to any sort of negative cultural influence whatsoever – nor do I think it would be a particularly good idea to try. But we do have to be discerning. Less is certainly more here, and there are definitely some things which are SO bad for us that we need to turn our back on them completely, even if we used to like and enjoy them. In fact the more we like something, the more dangerous it may be for us if the influence or message is problematic.
That is one of the reasons why "Christian music", especially of the contemporary kind, can be surreptitiously dangerous: we think we are listening to a friend but in fact we are hearing a serpent (in some cases). Getting my "constitutional" walk the other day, I passed a youngish man dressed in sporty athletic clothes washing a brand new SUV which had to have cost more than my yearly salary; he was clearly "getting into" and singing along with a "Christian" song blaring from his stereo, repeating over and over something like "I am for-saking it . . . ", like a Buddhist mantra. A very emotional experience, I'm sure, but divorced from the truth in fact. That sums it up, in my view. Christian music allows lukewarm Laodicean Christians to feel as if they are walking with the Lord because they are listening to godly music when in fact they are indulging in the things of the world full bore and doing very little to advance their personal spiritual growth, run a good race for Christ, or help others do likewise through ministry – the very reasons we are still in this world after salvation.
Here are some pertinent links:
Sing as a command?
Hymns in the Bible
The Unknown Hymn
The Influence of Music
More on Christian Music
Negative Effects of Christian Music
Keep on fighting the good fight for our dear Lord and Savior.
I hope all is well with you, your family and your ministry. Please let me know of any urgent prayer needs. As for me, I would like a personal prayer for strength and endurance and for my walk to be a witness to God's grace in my life so I can be a shining light unto me. (MT 5:16)
I would like some clarification and feedback as it refers to your recent mailing, Culture and Christianity, around "Alcohol is sin".
I agree alcohol itself as a product is not sin, as most products are, but I use again 1 Thess. 5:22, "Abstain from all appearances of evil" as my scriptural support that even drinking one sip or glass is spiritually and morally hurtful. First, for conscious sake, we as believers have to be different in our actions and attitudes than the rest of the world. We shouldn't do anything that might cause someone to stumble and all things are lawful but not expedient due to "things" becoming our witness, for good or evil. So the product alcohol is not sin but the mere appearance of indulgence doesn't give glory to God because of the effect the drink can have as your witness for Christ. Second, this is critically important in my eye and what is missing from the discussion. Yes the Lord turn water into wine but we know that wine can make someone drunk. So in effect , Are we saying that the Lord condone drunkenness? No! Even if it takes one or ten glasses based on the person tolerance, the issue still lies, the product itself can cause a poor witness to the Lord. This is totally different than taking medication because of an illness that might have an effect on your mind versus something willingly. But what scripture doesn't highlight but we know to be a fact because of the character of Christ, that those present at the wedding didn't get from this miracle, so therefore it is more than likely the wine had to be unfermented drink of the highest quality. The reason I use 1 Thess. 5:22 for my argument is one sip, out of choice, can make a person not have the mind of Christ and we are suppose to always in season and out of season present our bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable unto the Lord. (Rom 12:1) By abstaining from something that doesn't glorify God while not sin, is the best means of glorifying God.
I will certainly continue to keep you in my prayers for growth and production and a good witness – which I am certain you are already fulfilling that in fact.
Here is my translation of 1st Thessalonians 5:22, a much misunderstood verse:
Stay away from anything that [even] looks [like] evil.
1st Thessalonians 5:22
This is a command to believers to refrain from things which they suspect might be bad (not to try and not look bad to others in some sort of legalistic hypocrisy). If we have even that suspicion, it's better to stay away. It is not a command to avoid doing / saying things which some others will take the wrong way; i.e., it's not OUR appearance that is the issue here, but the appearance of things we observe which gives us an indication of spiritual danger regarding which we should be prudent.
There is of course the law of love. If a brother or sister was breaking bread with a recovering alcoholic, it would not be "of love" to consume alcohol in his/her presence. However, a believer who enjoys wine, for example, should not fear to drink it in the privacy of his/her own home or seek to "hide it away" for fear some legalistic member of the church is going to give them a hard time about it. Our Lord and all of the disciples/apostles drank wine – as did everyone almost without exception in that time (Nazarites temporarily abstained but only for the period of their vow).
The wine at Cana was wine; that is very clear from the Greek. There was, in fact, no such thing as non-alcoholic grape juice in antiquity because there was no refrigeration or additives to prevent fermentation. So even newly pressed wine, "new wine", always had an alcohol content (cf. Acts 2:13). Could God supernaturally create wine without alcohol? Certainly – but there is absolutely no basis in the Bible for assuming that about this incident, not from what the text actually says, and there was no reason for doing so (except in the minds of some legalistic preachers).
I think it is a fine thing for a Christian to abstain from alcohol. There may be some benefit to drinking it (Paul famously advises Timothy to do so), but that was more the case in the ancient world where mixing wine in with the water disinfected it. What is truly deleterious, however, is to look down on a brother or sister for consuming alcohol on the one hand, or to take legalistic pride in not drinking on the other. If the only two alternatives were to be arrogant and not drink or to be humble and drink occasionally, the latter would be far preferable.
There are plenty of passages to be adduced here, but I think you probably get the idea. A quick concordance search for wine etc. in the Bible will tell you all you need to know (see also the Ichthys subject index, s.v. "Alcohol").
I'm also praying for your situation, my friend, I am hopeful of hearing good news anon. Nothing is impossible for the Lord.
Your friend in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,
What is 1st Corinthians 7:9 saying? Like, is it talking about a couple that are dating and should marry quickly because of burning desire for each other? Or is it talking about a person who was married and is in another relationship? Finally, what about a person who is not dating and has never been in a relationship? Is the verse saying they should find somebody to marry just to make temptation less likely? Or should they stay single? Is it ok to say to myself that I want to stay single or would that make life harder? Like, if a single person never in a relationship is struggling with lust should they consider marriage even if they want to stay single and don't know anybody? Or is it something they will just have to overcome by the power of the Holy spirit? I ask because I was having a discussion with some other people about this.
Sorry if this has already been answered. I do appreciate what you do and it has been a blessing.
Good to hear from you.
The verse has to be understood in the context, and the context is one of Paul answering the Corinthians in an on-going discussion. They had previously asked him if celibacy was "OK"; he had told them "yes". But because (apparently) there was still much misapplication going on in Corinth (a common thing on many issues there as the two epistles to that church taken together make very clear), Paul uses this opportunity to clear up many other points. The main rejoinder seen in verse two (1Cor.7:2) is that in practical terms most people are unable to live in a celibate way and for that reason it would be better to marry. Also, it was a wrong application on the part of some to think that celibacy WITHIN marriage is even right (it is not, except for very short periods; 1Cor.7:3-5). In the next three verses (1Cor.7:6-8), Paul reaffirms the point that it really is advantageous to stay single and not mandatory to marry (1Cor.7:6), but celibacy – that is, the ability to remain unmarried without falling into serious sin – is a gift that few Christians have (1Cor.7:7) – but if a person is capable of remaining single and not falling into sin as a result then that is the best possibility (1Cor.7:8). Now we come to the verse you ask about (1Cor.7:9).
But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn.
1st Corinthians 7:9 NKJV
The "they" here are the "unmarried and widows" of the previous verse – which covers everyone who is not in a marriage relationship. Most commentators (myself included) take "burn" as "burn with passion", with the idea being that such a person is distracted and preoccupied with the lack of a spouse that even if serious sin is avoided, it is a dangerous situation to be in long-term, and on top of that the brother or sister in question is likely to be ineffective spiritually because of preoccupation with the opposite sex – this issue then dominates their thoughts, even if they are able to keep out of sinful activities.
In the time in which this was written, the number of unmarried men who would fall into this category of having an option was small. There was no such thing as "dating" the way we understand it, and whether in Israel, Greece or Rome, most people were married by the arrangement of their parents at a fairly early age. This is why Paul devotes space later in the chapter (1Cor.7:25-28) to the issue of whether or not to marry the woman to whom a man has been espoused – and he tell such persons that there is no necessity of doing so. So for the most part, in Paul's time, the unmarried who were also adults and capable of making their own decisions (not still under the authority of their parents and living in their household) was a small number and consisted mostly of 1) those who were espoused by arrangement but not yet married, and 2) those who were now free to marry because of the death of their partners. The biblical position is that marriage is not mandatory, but that it is a practical necessity for most people who, if they are honest with themselves, are going to fall into trouble if they attempt to go through life without a marriage partner.
Where is romantic love here? Totally absent. Now I'm not saying that people didn't fall in love then or now – of course they did and do. But in Paul's day this was most just an unfortunate part of life, because, if married, any thought of love outside of that marriage was disaster (as is the case today); and if not married, the chances of an unmarried and unobligated person finding a suitable potential spouse even to have the opportunity to fall in love with were very small. That part of the equation of course has changed dramatically in our day. At least the opportunity part.
For that reason, I think young Christians today have a very difficult "row to hoe" in this regard. Never has sexuality and the temptations it brings been more ubiquitous and difficult to avoid than in our day – and that is saying quite a lot when compared with pagan Greece and Rome. And never has it been more difficult to find a spouse without making a terrible mistake: arranged marriages, at least in our country, are largely unknown, and venues for safely finding Mr. or Mrs Right are largely non-existent. There is "church", but since most churches are legalistic and/or not teaching the truth with any depth or substance, what does it say about a person one might "find" there. If the person looking is really putting the Lord first in his/her search for the truth, that is going to produce compatibility problems with someone who is only lukewarm (there is lot about this in the email posting: "Marriage and the Bible VII": see Q/A #16ff.). And given the nature of society today, divorce has largely lost its stigma and is very easy to procure, so one cannot count on marriage continuing if the other person is not "happy".
I do know this. First, as Paul also says in this chapter, "the time is short" (1Cor.7:29ff.). That was true then (i.e., life itself is short and the time we have to devote ourselves to the Lord and His priorities in this life has always been limited), and it is all that much more the case now since the Tribulation is just over the horizon. And now just as then, we are not in this world after salvation to "pursue happiness" but to serve Jesus Christ. But also now just as then, if we are too distracted because of this issue, then "single bliss" is probably not for us.
I know this too. If we really do need a spouse – and the Lord certainly knows the answer to that question better than we do – then He is certainly able to provide. We could analyze a thousand resumes and go on a hundred dates and never make the right decision – and might even with that effort not have a genuine chance to do so for the want of someone "right" being in the pile. But the Lord is able to provide for us just the right person if we are faithful AND if we are patient. Waiting on the Lord in all things is of critical importance. How much more so in this case where no one wants to be patient.
Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,
The individual in question 16 at your link was thinking the same thing I was thinking, but I have my answer now after reading your response. Back to my email though, something still bothers me. If I misunderstood what you said, let me know. If the majority of believers are probably unable to stay single, doesn't that kind of make it sound like they will not be able to control themselves till marriage and thus they are pretty much guaranteed to continue struggling with sin till they do marry? I know all sin is wrong and that God holds us accountable for it, but it would seem to me that it would be very difficult to endure through that time period without continuously struggling with sin.
Ok, let me say this. Would the answer be the following? "A Christian is able to overcome the sin during that time of "single bliss" but if he finds it overly or unusually difficult to do so, he should marry to make it easier on himself whenever the Lord provides the right person."
I guess sometimes I know the answers to many things, but I just want assurance for them so I can solidify them in my mind.
I think "your answer" is a good one.
Yes indeed we are certainly responsible "not to sin". Life is complex and there are all manner of difficult situations a believer might be called upon to face, pressures which tempt us to all sorts of wrong conduct. This topic is just one, but it is one common to us all regardless of what else is going on in our lives and in the world.
A person without the gift of celibacy is responsible to be celibate unless and until married. As mentioned, because of the nature of our society and our culture, this is more difficult for young people today possibly than ever before, in my opinion. But that doesn't change the responsibility.
What the lack of the gift of celibacy means is not that a person without it can't withstand the pressure and is thus not capable of not sinning. Indeed we all CAN refrain from any sin (but of course being perfect is not possible: 1Jn.1:8-10). Because of the unique dangers of porneia discussed by Paul in the preceding chapter (1Cor.6:18), this is one place to make doubly sure that here of all places we do not fall into sin in spite of our imperfections and sin nature.
What the lack of the gift of celibacy means for those who have not yet gotten married, then, is not being fated to sin (there are no doubt plenty of cases where marriage just never worked out for such individuals and yet they still never fell into porneia). What it means is that this issue will be a distraction for them in a way that it will not necessarily be for those with the gift. All will be tempted, but those with the gift will be able to get on with their lives and not have this issue dominate their thinking to an unreasonable degree. They will not be constantly "burning" and fixated on potential love and marriage. After all, you and your friends (who may not have the gift) are thinking about this, talking about this, and this is your second email to me on the subject. That is not a criticism; just an observation. A person with the gift of celibacy would be able, if growing and following the Spirit, to move onto other things more readily.
I should hasten to add that sexual temptation does not end for those who are married – just consider David and Bathsheba, or king Solomon (who was led astray by the desire to possess many foreign wives). So to some degree we are all in the same boat. A person who is not married has more time and effort to spend of the things that are pleasing to the Lord, but if that time and effort are being wasted because of preoccupation with this issue (and that brings dangers with it), then "it is better to marry than to burn".
Your friend in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,
What is the meaning of this bolded part?
"Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment."
(1 Timothy 6:17)
The world is an awful place, being ruled by the evil one and being in the grip of the Genesis curse. But even though it is groaning (Rom.8:20-22), the beauty of its original creation still shines through. Similarly, everything God made for us to sustain us in this world, in spite of having to work for it at present through the sweat of our brows, is meant for us to enjoy, giving thanks to Him for all of His provision to us (cf. Acts 17:25).
He causes the grass to grow for the cattle,
And vegetation for the service of man,
That he may bring forth food from the earth,
And wine that makes glad the heart of man,
Oil to make his face shine,
And bread which strengthens man’s heart.
Psalm 104:14-15 NKJV
In Jesus our dear Savior,
[Trying to reach someone for Christ]
I certainly wish you success, but, honestly, we do have to be realistic about who it is with whom we are dealing. If the person is clearly seeking the truth well and good; if the person shows signs of being entrenched in darkness, then we need to take care. We are supposed to be loving, but also wise enough to protect ourselves (Matt.10:16; cf. Rom.16:19; 1Cor.14:20; Prov.14:18). We are supposed to love and to share the truth, but not if it involves endangering ourselves for the sake of those whose demeanor and actions demonstrate their unworthiness (Matt.7:6). Second guessing ourselves is sometimes good, but often the result of the evil one using guilt-feelings against us. Personally, I think you were well within the bonds of common sense to find disturbing signs disturbing. If you do decide to make contact, I would strongly advise doing so in a public place or else taking someone with you. Protecting yourself is a godly thing to do.
BB 6A: Peripateology, the study of the Christian walk, has a lot to say about all sorts of related issues.
It's always a pleasure to hear from you, my friend! Do feel free to write any time at all.
In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,
What does Paul mean about this verse?
Charge them before God not to quarrel about words, which does no good, but only ruins the hearers.
2 Timothy 2:14
From a posting about Messianic legalism:
I think all this is a perfect example of what Paul means when he says that it is unprofitable to "fight about words" (1Tim.6:4; 2Tim.2:14), not the defending of the truth in terms of important doctrines, but rather getting involved in disputes that have to do with an extra-biblical layer of pseudo-truth such as Gnosticism or, as in the case of your recent correspondent, hyper-legalism.
And from a similar posting:
I know of no verse in the Bible which commands us to refrain from using particular words, except of course if they be pornographic, blasphemous, or scatological. Since that is not the case for any of these words about which you ask, your notice of the scriptures which counsel avoiding conflict over such things is well-taken (1Tim.6:4; 2Tim.2:14).
And from Peter #13:
Too much self-inflicted doctrinal controversy is spiritually unhealthy (2Tim.2:14). So when you find something you know to be good, stick with it and give it a full and fair hearing.
So Paul is speaking about pointless controversies which do not have as their true basis a search for truth or a refutation of what is false, but which are either entirely false on both sides or even if ostensibly having to do with the truth are really only pointless quarrels which produce no edification but only strife. In other words, this is exactly the sort of thing I strive to avoid at Ichthys, namely, not the willingness to stand up against false teaching, but engaging in "commentary like" or Talmudic fascination to a morbid degree about things (words) which make no difference except to the disputants for "counting coup". Such things may be hard to describe, but as with Potter Stewart's quote about obscenity, we all know it when we see it.
In Jesus our dear Savior,
What do these proverbs mean?
"The righteousness of the upright delivers them, but the unfaithful are trapped by evil desires."
Hebrew proverbs more often contain two elements which reinforce or explain each other, so they have to be understood together as a pair:
a) Better to be righteous – God delivers you.
b) Better not to rebel against Him – you will fall into the very pit you are digging.
So if you are doing right, God is with you; so beware of doing wrong, or you'll reap the consequences of your action without help from Him since you've abandoned Him. Two sides of the same coin.
"A person is praised according to their prudence, and one with a warped mind is despised."
A person who is thinking and acting according to the truth has a good outcome.
A person who has twisted thinking from despising the truth has a bad one.
"Like a north wind that brings unexpected rain is a sly tongue—which provokes a horrified look."
If clouds come, it will rain (unavoidable). And just so . . .
If a person gossips, he will tick some people off and receive the consequences (inevitable).
Hi Dr Luginbill,
May I ask you an odd question? There is a TV show I like to watch with another good Christian friend. It is a new thing for me to watch TV shows and not feel guilty, actually sometimes the guilt starts up and I have to stop it. In this show's universe, there are sort of super-powered fighters and so-called deities, and there are some fights against evil beings. There are times when one of the good guys power up, I kind of feel awe regarding them, but later I almost feel I am betraying God by allowing myself to feel awe. Do you think it is bad, or maybe I am making a big deal out of nothing? I don't want God to feel I am betraying him. But I know I tend toward legalism, and it is useful I think to have something to take my friend and mine's minds off the stresses of life onto something light.
Watching TV is not a sin – at least not in principle. It might, like many other areas of application in this life, involve sin. For example, driving a car is not a sin – but if I get cut off in traffic, get mad, and start to "curse and swear and tear my hair" as a result, well . . .
Likewise watching the news is not a sin. But if some commentator comes on and starts saying things that I not only disagree with but find totally absurd and obnoxious and worse, and I start to "curse and swear and tear my hair" as a result, well . . .
Absolute solutions when it comes to matters of application are usually wrong ones, especially if they are engaged in very soon and abruptly as a reaction to something. If we stop driving or stop watching TV . . . or stop anything . . . as a matter of course, gradually, over a long period of time, as a result of better and better application of the truth, that is fine. "Giving it up for Christ" usually does tempt to legalism if it is not already outright legalistic (that depends upon what is in the person's heart, after all).
Here are a few links:
Forsaking TV violence?
Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,
I mean no disrespect sir, everyone rejects certain activities outright without every getting into them. And sometimes their reason is that they think it is stupid, childish, bad, etc. Unless you prescribe that everyone must get into everything so they can go through that process of slowly getting out over time you mentioned-in which case we will spend our lives first getting into card games, then growing out, then getting into sports, then growing out, then getting into TV, then getting out, then getting into music, then growing out, on and on, if we aren't allowed to reject them outright.
It just seems like over and over I come across this principle of people who don't care as much being just fine or better off than people like me who get told not to care so much. I really think I just want to be like that way now. I see it at work, in church, in family, in the Bible, everywhere. I mean if God doesn't care, why should I care?
You seem to be implying that giving it up would be the end result of someone growing in the truth. From someone learning not to be legalistic and feel guilt, it feels daunting to me that first I have to overcome all the legalism and guilt, and then eventually get to that point (starting out way behind everyone else). I hate this immaturity that I like when I try try try this strategy that strategy to hear someone and 99% of the time they don't meet even meet me part way (they will watch me struggle to touch their level and continue whispering), so I throw myself against a wall again and again and sometimes still can't get where everyone else is naturally at. I just feel like giving up. Sigh. But thank you, you do always answer right away and try to help. I showed my good friend Ichthys by the way. He might ask you a question. Thanks for your patience.
I don't have any problem whatsoever with you giving up TV.
In fact, if that is what the Spirit is telling you to do, then that is what you should do.
I didn't mean to get upset again, I am sorry. God bless you! Have a good day!
I'm not upset, just trying to help.
Balancing principles in application to real life is an issue for all Christians trying to live a godly life. The important things are to act with spiritual common sense and perspective (wild gyrations of behavior are never a good sign), and to do things for the right reasons:
If we are giving up cards to take up bowling, it's not much of a difference; if we are giving up cards to have more prayer time, then that may be a good thing.
If we are giving up watching sports (because we get angry), and take up cards as a substitute (and still get angry), that's not much of a difference. If we are giving up watching sports (because we get angry), and go for long walks instead, that would be avoiding a bad thing.
When it's not a case of activity "X" being an outright sin, then it is a matter of application that only the believer in response to the Spirit using some spiritual common sense can "get right".
We have limited time in this world, after all, and we need never to forget the reason we are here. We are not here to "have a good life and enjoy ourselves" (though we would all like to have this be true for us at least sometimes); we are here to carry our cross from point A to point B, and we will be rewarded for how well we do this, with putting Christ first leading to higher rewards while putting ourselves first has the other result. Every choice we make is important. Putting away childish things and focusing instead on spiritual growth, progress and production is the way to glorify our dear Savior and win the rewards He wants us to have. Wasting our precious spare time on unimportant things, even if not sinful and merely banal, is no strategy for a good outcome at the Judgment Seat of Christ. All who leave this life with faith in Him still intact will have life eternal, but only those who fought a good fight will reap a good reward. None of us is ever going to be able to put out a perfect 100% effort for the Lord 24/7 – but even 50% is a lot better than 0% (which is where most Laodicean Christians are today).
Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,
P.S.: If you haven't noticed or already done so, please check out the list of wonderful ministry offerings on the Special Topics page, including postings by Bartek Sylwestrzak (*series on Mary now complete!), Christian Vassallo, John Jackson, "Bible Readings by Emma", Bible Reading Log by Christian Vassallo (helps for reading through the English Bible), The Holocaust: A Biblical and Historical Examination (Future Implications) by Fred London, the Expanded Index to topics found at Ichthys, and, most recently, Foundational Principles, by Odii Ariwodo.
Special Prayer Requests
A special word of thanks to all who have been praying for this ministry. The Lord has brought about a great deliverance for me and mine. I am forever grateful to Him, and also to all of you who have been faithfully interceding for me and for this ministry.
The Lord is my strength and my song, and He has become my salvation.
Addendum: 12/24/16: I also want to thank everyone who has been praying for my family and especially for my mother. She passed away yesterday morning at the age of ninety-six. Considering the sad shape she was in, it was a blessing that the Lord took her when He did. She died "full of years" in the company of those who loved her, and now she is with the Lord – and nothing is better than that (Phil.1:23; Rev.7:17; 21:4).
*Urgent Prayer Request #2 [11/14/18]: Please pray for our friend Odii and his fiancée Abi. Her family has just survived a home invasion where the invaders expressed the purpose of killing her father, a prominent local judge, from religious and political motives. While no one was physically injured (all valuables were stolen), their city is a very dangerous place, and this may not be the end of it. Please pray not only for their protection but for a way out to a safer country.
*Urgent Prayer Request: **[latest update 2/15/19 below] Please be in prayer for our brother Vau who has just received a preliminary diagnosis for neuroendocrine cancer, a rare cancer that combines with different cancers from the colon and the liver (in his case). His loss would be a heavy blow to his wife and children. But we know that nothing is impossible for the Lord. [for more requests, see below]
Update from Vau (2/15/19)
God bless you my friend. So much has taking place within a few weeks. I've been going through, to God be the glory. When I went in to discuss the latest CT scan, the cancer has been growing in the liver and colon with tumors moving in different areas. I prayed that God would give me and open mind regarding Immunotherapy if it came down to it. Bottom line is the Dr said I have to do something or else he couldn't see the liver holding up much to longer. He said it's amazing how I'm still looking in good shape and that my liver is still functioning well enough where I can still have an option left. After being informed in more detail about Immunotherapy and that they have 3 patients in it now that was brought back from the dead (as he put it) and one of them has the rare cancer like me, all 3 of them are doing fine with the treatment. So I decided to move forward with it as I started my first round yesterday. I will have 4 treatments (once every three weeks) and if takes within the first 2 or 3 treatments we know it's working. If it doesn't take well we know things will start to get worst. I'm praying for no side affects and that God moves through this treatment and heals me. I just believe he's going to do it my friend. I'm not questioning it or doubting the process. I can't. I will trust him with all I have. Please continue to pray for my strength and healing and I will keep you posted as much as I can my friend.
Take care and God bless,
More Prayer Requests:
For Lowell, for success for proton therapy for his prostate cancer.
*For our friend Gaurav, for encouragement, health, and material deliverance. [n.b., Gaurav was the first one on this list years ago; he writes that he is still "hanging in" and staying faithful to the Lord, but he and his family are in greater material need than ever; please remember them in your prayers]
*For Shontel, for the means and opportunity to get out of a debilitating and dangerous domestic situation ASAP.
For David's wife who is entering hospice [*update: our friend's wife has gone to be with the Lord; please pray for his comfort].
For Kevin for successful brain tumor surgery.
For Bob P. for help in healing a painful skin disorder (praise here as the condition has been somewhat ameliorated, but please keep him in prayer); *and Bob wife, Debbie, just diagnosed with invasive ductile breast cancer *[update: treatments successful! Please continue prayer as some continued therapy necessary for some time].
For comfort for Jon and his family in the loss of his father. Thanks to all who have been praying for him. Jon reports convincing evidence that his dad was indeed saved before the end. Praise the Lord!
For Abby for success and blessing in her new efforts in ministry, and for her cousin Danny's health. *Please also pray for her health, strength and perseverance in stressful and challenging circumstances.
For our friend Bartek, for the recovery of his health, and also for success in gaining citizenship in the UK [*praise here as his petition was successful!]. *Also, please pray for empowerment and help for his father in his evangelization ministry.
For help and support for Yuhanna and his family in the midst of continuing trial and testing, and for the salvation of his wider family. And please pray in particular for financial help and help for a better job for his wife in the midst of this crisis. **[update: 12/18: please pray for success for a critical initiative that would overturn much wrong and right the situation for our friend and other affected; *next 60 days are crucial]. *Yuhanna also asks for prayer for his wife and children find a sound biblically based church and for the Lord to display the fruit of The Spirit in their lives; and also for Charlotte to find employment.
For Ramsey, for success in his job application process [praise here! please keep him in your prayers].
*For the empowerment of our friend Curt's ministry; for his health, the health of his family [praise for good news here - please pray for Curt's own health], and for his finances. *Critical: please also pray for immediate deliverance from false accusations.
For our brother Abishai's help and guidance in preparing for ministry, as well as for his healing and help with his business to provide for his family's basic needs, and for the health and healing of his young daughter [praise here!]. Please also pray for his brother, a believer, to be led to the truth on important issues of doctrine. And please also pray for the health of his wife and children, and of his father in law.
For our friend Betty's help and deliverance [praise the Lord for answered prayer!].
For our friend Carol's recovery, encouragement and for help in her professional life.
For our friend Vau's father for healing from critical illness, and for Vau's encouragement [praise here!].
For our friend John's family's deliverance from cult influence [praise for some good news here, but some members are still entrapped]. *Please also pray for John's health and that of his wife as well.
For our friend Kathleen's recovery from a terrible accident.
For our friend Steve for strength, protection, providence and deliverance – more needful now than ever.
For help and deliverance for our friend Cindy's daughter.
*For our friend Brittany's healing from cancer, and for her spiritual recovery and encouragement.
For our friend Ken and his family's protection from persecution for seeking the truth.
For the family of Jewel, a recently martyred pastor in Bangladesh (please see the link).
Ken Young's ministry and for his health (please see the link).
For Christian congregations being persecuted in Sri Lanka (please see the link).
For our friend Neal's help in and healing from devastating illness.
*[For young Joel, a newborn with Zellweger syndrome . . .]; from the family: little Omari Joel passed on June 4, 2018 at the age of 5 ½. There are no words to express our gratitude for your prayers, and your love will always be remembered. Your prayers were blessed with love, grace, and an eternal relationship with Jesus. May God continue to bless you each and every day, and thank you for bringing our family into your family. Amen. Many blessings, keep family in your prayers!!!
For our friend Mark's successful surgery and swift recovery.
For the healing, blessing, encouragement and vindication of our brother, Nihal
*For our friend Mike's encouragement and God's blessing on his livelihood to provide for his family (urgently needed at present!).
For Helen's healing from cancer and for her comfort in the loss of her family members.
For pastor Don's wife Jessie's healing from cancer.
For Clyde's encouragement and deliverance in severe testing.
For John, for help in getting more hours or work or a better job.
For our friend John's help in coping with a difficult medical condition (cadasil).
For our friend Paul's father-in-law, for deliverance from cancer.
For healing for Leigh's dad's health (praise for betterment here - she thanks everyone for their prayers), for her daughter's healing from hypothyroidism and celiac disease, and for encouragement and help for her.
*For the salvation of Judah's friend, and for help for Judah in overcoming spiritual obstacles and for help in preparing for ministry.
For Tom for help in the development of all skills necessary for an apologetics ministry combating atheism in particular. *Please also pray for the salvation of his grandmother.
For the deliverance of Michael's wife from extreme charismatic influence.
For Michael's deliverance from debt, stress and unwanted conflict – special prayer help needed here as things are getting worse.
For our friend Karl's mother's salvation.
For our friend Oscar's continued spiritual growth and help in securing suitable employment in spite of serious satanic opposition.
For Richard Khum and Mission Training School in Myanmar (email@example.com).
For Ashley and help with her marriage.
For Wen and family in a new area without suitable Bible teaching.
For Zach's healing, deliverance and comfort from severe cult abuse and control, and to be led into God’s truth.
For the salvation of Danny's mother and for her healing in extreme pain; for healing in body and mind, and for his protection and blessing on his family and for their reconciliation. Please also pray for Danny's living situation, and also for his job situation where he is experiencing persecution.
For deliverance for John's friend from the JW heresy.
For our friend who wished to remain nameless, for her protection and the protection of her children from a hostile and aggressive "ex".
For the deliverance of Jay's friend from the influence of a noxious cult.
For our friend Anna and her family's comfort in the loss of her daughter, and for the comfort, encouragement and salvation of her two children.
For our friend Sheila's healing from the effects of a chronic condition.
For our friend Sandra, suffering from multiply myeloma [praise here! please keep her in your prayers].
For David's wife who is recovering from back surgery.
For friends Lynette, Angie, Marcia, Dan and Jeffery, all of whom are presently under heavy spiritual pressures and in need of prayer and encouragement.
For our newly converted brother Jacob in India, for healing for him and for his daughter, for his material needs, and for the salvation of his parents.
For our friend Tommy, for a roof over his head.
For the protection of Crystal and her family.
For Billy's mother to be led into all of God's truth.
***For Resi in transitioning from Roman Catholicism and for help in serious financial difficulties. Please also pray for our friend and his cooperative to be successful. Prayers also please for family who does not share his faith. And please pray for our friend's protection from persecution in a place where standing up for the truth and not following the crowd results in suspicion and shunning.
For Kim and her family, and for her daughter's deliverance from a cult.
For Leigh – she thanks everyone for their prayers (the Lord has taken her father home in a peaceful way).
For Ryan's salvation.
For Brian's healing from sleep apnea [praise here!], protection on a hazardous job [praise here too!], and continued spiritual growth. *Please also pray for help with potential heart problems.
For help for Steven in successfully carrying a heavy and difficult academic load in preparing to minister to the body of Christ.
For the opening of Daniel's heart to the gospel and his salvation in Jesus Christ.
For Becca's family, for help with serious medical and financial troubles (praise here for answered prayers!).
For the salvation of John's two unbelieving sons.
For Charles' granddaughter, for the perseverance of her faith and for her deliverance from drug addiction, and for the salvation and spiritual growth of another granddaughter.
For Bogdan's salvation and receptiveness to the truth.
For Clinton, for spiritual growth [praise here for completing his degree and landing a good job!].
*For Chris, for the preservation of his job in the midst of budget cuts [praise here! Victory! Job retained!], and for his health and protection on the job. *Please also pray for Lisa's health.
For the salvation of Mitch's wife.
For help for Sam's recovery from cancer and deliverance from extreme insomnia.
For Cary, for encouragement in persecution abroad, and for health and strength.
For Ania, for her salvation and spiritual growth in the truth.
*For our friend Odii, for help in finding a way to make a living without compromising his principles in a difficult field (social media). *Please pray for the success of his business as a base for ministering the Word. **Please also pray for his fiancée and her family for protection from violence in the place where they live.
For Alex' and Chris' mother, for her salvation and the opening of her heart to the truth.
For our friend Carmen, for the protection of her granddaughters, and her encouragement and strength in negotiating a difficult trial; for her boy Josh's recovery and for encouragement for him to turn to the Lord for help.
*For Amber's continued spiritual growth and encouragement, and for her healing. Please also pray for the salvation of her grandmother.
*For Sande's encouragement and perseverance in proclaiming and teaching the Word in the face of significant resistance. Please pray also for his health and the health of his mother and grandmother (suffering from aplastic anaemia and spinal stenosis respectively).
For Christine, for help and protection in a longstanding debate with several JWs, and for Melina and Sandra, for their salvation and deliverance from the WT.
For Christian, for the prospering of his consultancy in order to have more time to prepare for and engage in ministry [praise here! please continue to pray for the success of his business].
For Kim, for help for her and her family in struggling with severe financial pressures and for moving forward with spiritual growth.
For Brooke, for peace and blessing her marriage, and for her spiritual growth.
For Filip, for salvation in Jesus Christ and spiritual growth thereafter.
For Mélanie, for her healing and help in finishing her degree under difficult circumstances, and for encouragement to move forward with spiritual growth.
For Jeffery, for the salvation of his two sons.
*For Dorota's healing from inoperable cancer, and for her salvation [*praise here as she has responded to the Lord! Please pray for her course of chemotherapy].
*For old friend and seminary colleague, pastor Mark, for his healing from cancer and its complications.
For Peter, for the deliverance of his family from cult influence and to be led to salvation in Jesus Christ.
For comfort and encouragement for Charles and his wife Joan who was just diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer.
More E-mails: Complete archive of previous emails: Ichthys' Emails
Biblical Languages, Texts and Translations XI
Cults and Christianity XI
Spiritual Gifts and False Teaching
Angelic Issues VIII
Christology Questions X
Believers in the World VI
Genesis Gap: Questions and Answers VI
Atheism and Evangelism
New Testament Interpretation VI
Old Testament Interpretation XII
Fighting the Fight VIII
Spiritual Warfare VI
Sin, Faith and Suffering
Prayer, Vows and Confession
Eschatology Issues XXIII
Apologetics, Ministry and False Teaching
Culture and Christianity XIX
Ministry and Preparation for Ministry VI
Church: The Biblical Ideal versus the Contemporary Reality II
Salvation, the Gospel, and Unbelief III
Fighting the Fight VII
The Holy Spirit: Pneumatology Questions VI
Interpretation, Application, Exegesis and Ministry
Biblical Anthropology VII
Baptism: Water and Spirit VIII
Text and Canon
New Testament Interpretation V
Grace versus Law II
Apathy, Atheism, Cults and False Teaching
All about Ichthys III
The Battlefield Within II: Combating anger, fear, blaming God, blaming others
Salvation Questions III
Faith, Forgiveness, Salvation III
Eschatology Issues XXII
Cults and Christianity X
Cults and Christianity IX
Ministry and Preparation for Ministry V
Fighting the Fight VI
Marriage and the Bible VII
Culture and Christianity XVIII: Substance Use and Abuse, Tithing, Politics and Environmentalism, Friendship, Self-Defense, and Work
Paul the Apostle: Aspects of his Life and Ministry II
Old Testament Interpretation XI
Mutual Encouragement in Christ VII
The Transitional Era of the Book of Acts and its Unique Spiritual Gifts
Old Testament Interpretation X
Marriage and the Bible VI
The pre-Trib 'Rapture': so called 'imminence' and other false proofs refuted
Encouragement, Spiritual Testing and Spiritual Growth III
Eschatology Issues XXI
Eschatology Issues XX
Biblical Languages, Texts and Translations X
Legalism, Past and Present III: Sabbath observance, tithing, dietary regulations and other issues
Believers in the World V: Ministering, Mutually Encouraging, and Coping with Family, Politics, and Health
Salvation, the Gospel, and Unbelief II
Old Testament Interpretation IX
Christology Questions IX: Christ and His Church
Mutual Encouragement in Christ VI: Perseverance
Science and the Bible III
Faith, Forgiveness, Salvation II
Eschatology Issues XIX
Ministry and Preparation for Ministry IV
Bible Interpretation IX
Marriage and the Bible V
Gospel Questions XIII
Biblical Anthropology VI
Cults and Christianity VIII
Fighting the Fight V: Dispatches from the Laodicean 'Front' II
Old Testament Interpretation VIII
Eschatology Issues XVIII
Spiritual Growth III
Ministry and Preparation for Ministry III
Sin, Guilt, and Salvation II
New Testament Interpretation IV
Biblical Languages, Texts and Translations IX
Peace, Reconciliation and Salvation
Mutual Encouragement in Christ V: Soldiers of the Cross
Baptism: Water and Spirit VII
Faith, Forgiveness, Salvation
Cults and Christianity VII
Old Testament Interpretation VII
Sin, Guilt, and Salvation
Eschatology Issues XVII
Dangers of the Pre-Trib Rapture False Teaching
Biblical Languages, Texts and Translations VIII
The Infinity, Magnitude, Glory, Providence and Plan of God
Eschatology Issues XVI
Gospel Questions XII
The Bible and the Canon: The Inspired Word of God IV
Nephilim, Antichrist, the False Prophet and the Mark of the Beast
Angelic Issues VII
Prayer Questions II
The Trinity and Messianic Legalism II
Annihilationism, Universalism, Hell and Judgment II
Atheism and Apologetics II
Politics versus Spiritual Growth II
Culture and Christianity XVII: Humor, Self-Defense, Pacifism and War
Culture and Christianity XVI: Alcohol, Money and Dietary Issues
Dreams, Visions, Miracles, Exorcism, Tongues, and False Prophets
Calvinism, Catholicism and Ichthys
Apologetics, Legalism, Cults and Philosophy
The Law, Legalism, and Rome
Mutual Encouragement in Christ IV
Genesis Gap: Questions and Answers V
Faith and Free Will in Trial and Testing
Free Will and God's WILL in Salvation
Jobs, Money, Finances and Giving: What does the Bible say?
Ministry and Preparation for Ministry II
Eschatology Issues XV
Dealing with Sin and Guilt
Mutual Encouragement in Christ III
Preparing for Tribulation II
It is Better on the Other Side
Christology Questions VIII: The Deity, Humanity and Life of Christ
The Lives of the Apostles and the Writing of the New Testament II
Biblical People and Places: Eve, Cain, Noah, Abraham, Hagar, Esau, Joseph and more
Biblical Anthropology V: Body, Spirit and 'Soul', Present and Future
Satan, Antichrist, the False Prophet and the Mark of the Beast
The Holy Spirit: Pneumatology Questions V
Prophets, Prophecy, and False Prophets
Christology Questions VII: The Life and Spiritual Death of Christ and Holy Communion
The Bible and the Canon: The Inspired Word of God III
Culture and Christianity XV: The Bible vs. some Sensitive Social and Political Issues
Christology Questions VI: Christophany, Deity and the Spiritual Death of Christ
Encouragement, Spiritual Testing and Spiritual Growth II
Spiritual Warfare V
Cults and Christianity VI
Fighting the Fight IV: Dispatches from the Laodicean 'Front'
Eschatology Issues XIV
The Gift of Tongues: Part 3
The Resurrection Body and our Eternal Future II
Gospel Questions XI
Blindness, Disease and Healing
Ministry and Preparation for Ministry
Atheism and Apologetics
Biblical Languages, Texts and Translations VII
Church History II
Salvation Questions II
Culture and Christianity XIV
Encouragement, Spiritual Testing and Spiritual Growth
Judaism and Legalism in the church-visible
Bible Interpretation VIII
Apostasy, Sin and Salvation
Confronting False Groups and False Teaching III
Eschatology Issues XIII: Time of the Tribulation and the Resurrection, Antichrist and the Mark of the Beast
Theological Questions II
The Holy Spirit: Pneumatology Questions IV
Old Testament Interpretation VI
More Questions on the Book of Hebrews: Melchizedek, Esau, and the 'Impossibility' of Being Restored
Believers in the World IV: Making Godly Choices vs. Following Man-Made Rules
Guilt, Sin and Victory through Spiritual Growth
Confronting False Groups and False Teaching II
Cults and Christianity V
Politics versus Spiritual Growth
Christian Struggle, Perseverance and Deliverance
The Bible and the Natural World
Sin, Fear and Forgiveness
An Extended Conversation on the 'Unpardonable' Sin
Eternal Realities: Real Heaven, Real Hell
Eschatology Issues XII: Babylon, Armageddon, Israel, 2026
Ministers, Ministry, and Preparation for Ministry
Evangelism in Principle and Practice II
Gospel Questions X: Glory, John the baptist, the hidden talent, the Kingdom of God
Old Testament Interpretation V: The Flight to Egypt, the Virgin Birth, Jonathan's Choice, Tyre in Prophecy
Matthew Questions, verse by verse
Marriage and the Bible IV
Politics and Political Action on the Eve of the Tribulation
Bible Versions, Bible Translation, and Bible Reading IV
Spiritual Growth II
Mutual Encouragement in Christ II
Baptism: Water and Spirit VI
Science and the Bible II
Genesis Gap: Questions and Answers IV
Culture and Christianity XIII: College, Dating, Marriage and Friendship
Eschatology Issues XI: Trumpets, the Millennium, the Time of the Tribulation and the Resurrection.
Sin according to the Bible: Hamartiology II
Bible Interpretation VII
Salvation and Sin
Bible Interpretation VI
Eschatology Issues X: Strong delusion, blood moons, 2026, imminence, apostasy & the mark of the beast
Angelic Issues VI: Cherubs, Guardians, Elders and 'gods'
Sin according to the Bible: Hamartiology I
Bible Chronology, Aramaic and Interpretation
Christians and Mental Illness
Culture and Christianity XII
The Trinity and Messianic Legalism
Anger, Anthropopathism, Eternity and Divine Motives
Unbelievers, Free Will, and the Plan of God II
Christology Questions V: the Baptism, Temptation and Spiritual Death of Christ
The Bible and the Canon: The Inspired Word of God II
Believers in the World III: Prosperity Gospel, Tithing, Cults and Legalism
Gospel Questions IX
Faith, Hope and Love: Virtue in Spiritual Warfare
Trinity Questions II
Some Sensitive Topics IV
Finding a Church – or Something Better? II
New Testament Interpretation III
Faith vs. History, Archaeology, Philosophy
Believers in the World II: Confronting False Groups and False Teaching
The 144,000 and the Two Witnesses of the Tribulation
Biblical Anthropology IV: Soul and Spirit, Image and Likeness, Book of Life, Life at Birth, Accountability and Infant Salvation.
Predestination, Free Will and False Teaching
Christophany and the Trinity
Love, Marriage, and Divorce: Marriage and the Bible III
Interpreting Dreams and Analyzing Prophetic Claims
Culture and Christianity XI: Lying, Suicide, Tattoos, Investing, Drugs, Music, Family, Dating, Politics
Bible Versions, Bible Translation, and Bible Reading III
Eschatology Issues IX: Amillennialism, Trumpets, and the Seven Days
Spiritual Warfare IV: Demons, Demonic Influences and Satanic Methodology
Satan's Fall from Grace
Atheism and Gnosticism: Denying the Truth about God
Sin, Salvation and Forgiveness: Claiming the Mental and Spiritual High-Ground
Struggling with Salvation . . . and Relatives
Legalism, Past and Present II
Ministry and the Ichthys Ministry II
All about Ichthys II: Mutual Encouragement in the Lord
The Book of Job and Christian Suffering
Genesis Gap: Questions and Answers III: Creationism, Neanderthals, Fossil Record
Christology Questions IV: Jesus' Birth, Baptism, Early Life, and Kenosis
Third Party Testimony III: Near Death Experiences, Revelations and Tongues
Third Party Testimony II: Charismatic Claims of Visions, Dreams and Prophecy
Third Party Testimony I: We Believe God and His Word – Not People
God Heals - in His way (not our way)
Sanctification, Separation and Restraint
Finding a Church – or Something Better?
Culture and Christianity X: Military Service, College, Politics, and Race Relations
Contemporary Churches and Women Preachers
Culture and Christianity IX: Politics, Tithing, Music, Crucifixes, Alcohol, and Gambling
Marriage and the Bible II
Biblical Anthropology III: Soul versus Spirit, "Soul Sleep", and the Interim Body
New Testament Interpretation II: Who is equal? Grace in vain. Unequally yoked.
Aspects of the Crucifixion II: Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday?
Aspects of the Crucifixion I: Carrying the cross, trials and rooster crow.
Salvation Lost and Found
The Canon: Content, Chronology, and Criticism
Spiritual Warfare III: Peter's 'Angel', Saul's Death, and Strange Events
Old Testament Interpretation IV: Gehazi's Leprosy, Tyre's Destruction, and Immanuel
Nephilim, Fallen Angels, and Genesis 6
Gospel Questions VIII
Sin, Atonement and Forgiveness II
Sin, Atonement and Forgiveness I
Annihilationism, Universalism, Hell and Judgment
When is the Rapture?
Noah, the Flood, and the Nature of Animals
The Tribulation: Timing of, Preparation for, and Conditions in
Eschatology Issues VIII: Revelation, Tribulation and Judgment
Antichrist: the Mark, the Number, and the Identification of the Beast
Satan's Revolt and the Tribulation to Come
Old Testament Interpretation III: The Name 'Jacob', the Mark of Cain, Jeshrun.
Old Testament Interpretation II: Urim and Thummim, the Bronze Serpent, the Ark.
Being Saved: Security, Apostasy, and the Sin unto Death
Fighting the Fight III: False Teaching, Local Churches, and the Truth
Fighting the Fight II: Struggling with Sin, Doubt, and Severe Testing
Fighting the Fight I: Accountability, Faith, Sin, Forgiveness, and Reward
Dispensations, Covenants, Israel and the Church II
Dispensations, Covenants, Israel and the Church I
Witnessing: Cults and Christianity II
Witnessing: Cults and Christianity I
Ministry and the Ichthys Ministry
Biblical Interpretation V
Baptism: Water and Spirit V
Spiritual Growth, Church-Searching and "Discipling"
Unbelievers, Free Will, and the Plan of God
Biblical Languages, Texts and Translations VI
Baptism: Water and Spirit IV
Paganism, Idolatry, Mythology and the Occult
The Lives of the Apostles and the Writing of the New Testament
The Essence of God and Deity of Christ
Parables and their Interpretation
The Meaning and Purpose of True Christian Assembly
Marriage and the Bible
Spiritual 'ups' and 'downs'
1st John: Text and Interpretation
Eschatology Issues VII
Perseverance in the latter days of Laodicea
Baptism: Water and Spirit III
Prayer: the Persistence, Purpose and Power of.
Paul the Apostle: Aspects of his Life and Ministry
Gospel Questions VII: The Wedding at Cana et al.
Israel, 'Lost Tribes' and the Star of David
Israel and Antichrist in Eschatology
Explaining and Defending the Trinity and the Person of Christ II
The Holy Spirit: Pneumatology Questions III
Culture and Christianity VIII
The Geography of Heaven, Hades and 'Hell'.
Eschatology Issues VI
Bible Interpretation IV
Legalism, Past and Present
The Resurrection Body and our Eternal Future.
Christ the First-Born, High Priest in the Order of Melchizedek.
Bible Versions, Bible Translation, and Bible Reading II
Bible Versions, Bible Translation, and Bible Reading
Hermeneutics, Typology, Christophany, Theophany and Anthropopathism.
No, Hebrews does not teach that you lost your salvation.
Gospel Questions VI: the Long Ending of Mark et al.
Judas and the Betrayal of Christ
Doubting Salvation and Questions of Sin
The 144,000: God's Seal vs. the Mark of the Beast
Atheism: Putting Truth to Death
War in Heaven II
The Holy Spirit: Pneumatology Questions II
War in Heaven
The Holy Spirit: Pneumatology Questions I
The Law, Love, Faith-Rest and Messianism
Paul and the Law
Genesis Questions III
Sin and Salvation, Confession and Forgiveness
Have I Lost My Salvation? (III)
The Battlefield Within: Fighting the inner spiritual Struggle.
Putting Christ in Christmas: Loving Jesus, the Star and the Magi, Wonderful Counselor.
Old Testament Interpretation: Moses and Zipporah, David's disastrous Census, the Destruction of the Midianites, et al.
Healing, Miracles, and Dreams: Sorting the Wheat from the Chaff by biblical Means
153 Fish: Explaining some Difficult New Testament Passages
Kenosis: Our Lord's Self-Limitation during the 1st Advent
Biblical Anthropology II: 'Soul sleep', & dichotomy vs. trichotomy
Biblical Anthropology I: The Nature of Human Beings and Human Life according to the Bible.
Genesis Gap: Questions and Answers II.
Culture and Christianity VII: Jury Duty, Witnessing, Biometry, Military Service et al.
Culture and Christianity VI: Halloween, Holidays, Aliens, and Christian Applications.
Angelic Issues V: Michael, the Angel of the Lord, Christophany, demons, cherubs, and Satan's revolt.
Angelic Issues IV: Satan's Revolt in the Plan of God.
New Testament Interpretation: Melchizedek, 'Forsake not Assembly', 'Women Remain Silent', Water-Baptism, Tongues, Prophecy, Intervention of Departed Believers.
Lost my salvation II?
All about Ichthys: Mutual Encouragement in the Lord.
Fallen Angels, Demons, Nephilim, and the Devil's Methodology.
End Times Interpretation II.
Salvation, the Gospel, and Unbelief.
The Bible and the Canon: The Inspired Word of God.
End Times Interpretation.
Grace versus Law.
Communion and the Spiritual Death of Christ.
Sinlessness and 1st John.
Israelology, Anti-Semitism, the Remnant, Gentiles, Lost Tribes, Jewish Myths.
"Soul Sleep" versus our true Heavenly State.
Christology Questions III: The Angel of the Lord, the Lamb Slain, monogenes.
Angelic Issues III: Demons, Satan, Elders, Female Angels and Guardians.
Against Universalism III: Unbelievers in the Plan of God.
Waters Above, the Firmament, and the Genesis Gap.
In Need of Guidance and Encouragement.
Biblical Languages, Texts and Translations V.
Servants, Slaves, Disciples, and Ministers.
Baptism: Water and Spirit II.
Bible Interpretation III: David's Anointing, Stephen versus Genesis, Triplets, This People, and more.
Evangelism in Principle and Practice.
Scripture versus Personal Experience.
Calvinism, Covenants and Catholicism.
Culture and Christianity V: Temporal Authority vs. Biblical Application.
False Doctrine of Absolute Eternal Security III.
The Dangers of Messianic Legalism IV: Unclean and Impure?
Things to Come III: The Wrath of God and the Fate of the Beast's Army.
God Works All Things Together for Good.
The 7 Trumpets, the 7 Kings, Nephilim, Antichrist and Revived Rome.
The Coming Tribulation and the Kingdom of God.
Sin, Confession and Forgiveness.
Mutual Encouragement in Christ.
Biblical Languages, Texts and Translations IV.
Culture and Christianity IV: Doing one's job as 'unto the Lord', the peril's of 'heroic medicine', Christian perspectives on legalizing marijuana, when lying is not a sin, and when life begins.
Eschatology Issues V: "It is not for you to know the times or the seasons".
Ichthys and Contemporary Christianity.
Gospel Questions V: Help my Unbelief, Respecting our Enemies, etc.
The Two Witnesses of the Tribulation: Moses and Elijah.
The Apostles, the Jerusalem Council, and Legalism then and now.
Aspects of the Christian Walk: Gambling, Lying, Christmas, Judging, Worrying, et al.
Believers in the World: Using our Free Will to Respond to the Lord
Christology Questions II: The Serpent Lifted and the Cross, Jesus' Infallibility, Destroy this Temple, the Sign Spoken Against, His Glorification, the Spirit's Anointing, and the Necessity for His Humanity.
Paul's Jerusalem Error, Worshiping Truly, the Priesthood of the Believer, and Peter's Vision of the Impure Food
Christian Trials and Testing
Gospel Questions IV: The Prophet, the rich man in Hades, Peter's wife, the 'eleven' and the 'twelve' apostles, 'the world could not contain' (Jn.21:25), and progressive revelation.
Eschatology Issues IV: Israeli politics, 'This Generation', Signs of the Times, the Beast presently alive?, 'Flee Babylon', Preparing for the Tribulation, and 'was, is not, will be'.
John's Water-Baptism versus the Baptism of the Holy Spirit
Eschatology Issues III: Over-focusing on Revelation, the Seven Churches, Enoch versus Elijah, and the Symbolism of the Menorah
The Purpose of Chronicles, Cyrus the Persian, the Chronology of the Exodus Plagues, Qumran and Isaiah, Nebuchadnezzar's Madness, and Jeremiah 31:22, "A Woman will Embrace a Man".
Aaron and the Golden Calf, Mount Zion, Moses and Zipporah, the high priest's attire, and the ark of the covenant.
Aspects of the Genesis Curse on Animals, the Tree of Knowing Good and Evil, Jacob Wrestling with the Angel of the Lord, and Kainam.
The City of David, the Star of David, Solomon's Wisdom, and the Song of Solomon.
The Israelites at Kadesh and 'not entering the Land of Promise'.
Genesis Gap: Questions and Answers.
Sin and Spiritual Transformation.
Cults and Christianity IV
Cults and Christianity III
Cults and Christianity II
Cults and Christianity.
One Baptism: the True Meaning of Peter's Words at Acts 2:38.
Apostasy and the Sin unto Death, the Conscience and Sanctification.
The Plan of God and Individual Salvation (excerpt from BB 4B)
In Your Anger, do not Sin: Ephesians 4:26 and the Sin Nature
Bible Interpretation II: Easter, Abiathar, the Hyssop-Blood Cross, Baal, the Scarlet Thread, Names of God, Adiaphoria, and Mezentius.
Spiritual Warfare II
Culture and Christianity III
Have I Lost my Salvation?
On the Firing Line: Encouragement in Christian Trials
Eschatology and the Old Testament
Prayer and our Walk with Jesus.
Issues of Canonicity II: Aramaic, Enoch, KJV, and the Pastorals
Bible Vocabulary and Bible Word Studies
Satan, his Demons, and the Gnostics
Antichrist: Alive and Well and Living on Planet Earth?
The Nature of Angels
Our Eternal Future: Life after Death for Believers in Jesus Christ
Giants and Nephilim, Sumerian Myths, and Sea Monsters
Dreams and Visions II
The Golden Rule
The Divinity of Jesus Christ
Free-Will Faith and the Will of God
Some Sensitive Topics III
The Spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy: explaining James 4:5.
Faith: What is it?
The Seven-Fold Spirit of God.
Free-Will Faith in the Plan of God.
Putting the Word of God First.
The False Doctrine of "Soul Sleep" II.
The False Doctrine of Absolute Eternal Security II.
The Plan of God
The Dangers of Messianic Legalism III
The Dangers of Messianic Legalism II
The Dangers of Messianic Legalism.
The Gift of Tongues: Part 2
The Gift of Tongues: Part 1
Mega-Churches, Emergent Christianity, Spirituality and Materialism.
Epignosis, Christian Epistemology, and Spiritual Growth.
Jephthah's Daughter, Marriage, Divorce, and Remarriage.
Christian Unity and Divisiveness.
Death, Martyrdom and Resurrection.
Blessing, Cursing, and Prayer.
Freedom and Responsibility.
Fighting the Good Fight of Faith.
Only-Begotten, Mother-of-God, On-this-Rock: English-only Interpretation is Dangerous.
The Greek Text of the New Testament and some Issues of Textual Criticism.
What does the name 'Christian' mean?
Some Jewish Issues.
Christians Beware: Internet Frauds and the Need for Spiritual Discernment (part 2).
Christians Beware: Internet Frauds and the Need for Spiritual Discernment.
Sin and Forgiveness.
Spring Special: The Millennial Regathering and Purging of Israel.
Life Begins at Birth.
Culture and Christianity II
Culture and Christianity I
The Saved and the Unsaved
Last Things and Last Judgments
The Local Church and Personal Ministry IV
The Local Church and Personal Ministry III
The Local Church and Personal Ministry II
The Local Church and Personal Ministry I
More on Antichrist and his Kingdom
Antichrist and Babylon
Some Sensitive Topics II.
Christmas Special: The Judgment and Reward of the Church.
What is God's Will?
Combating Legalism VI
Combating Legalism V
Combating Legalism IV
Combating Legalism III
Combating Legalism II
Combating Legalism I
Aspects of the False Doctrine of Institutional Security
Chronological Order of the Books of the Bible II
Biblical Languages, Texts and Translations III
Biblical Languages, Texts and Translations II
Biblical Languages, Texts and Translations I
Gospel Questions III: Least in the kingdom, Millstones, Pennies, Pebbles, Babes, Rhaka, Tallits, and the Crown of Thorns.
Gospel Questions II: Jesus' Turning Water to Wine, Sweating Blood, Walking on Water, Washing the Disciples' Feet, and the Promise of Freedom."
Things to Come II: Genesis Rapture, Daniel's Weeks, Seven Kings, Signs of the Apocalypse, Tribulational Suffering, Seven Seals, the Bride of Christ, and Mystery Babylon.
Things to Come: The Half Hour, the 144,000, the Book of Life, Rewards, the Beast's Kingdom, the Great Apostasy, and the so-called 'Partial Rapture'.
Satan and the Existence of Evil.
The Holy Spirit: Blasphemy against, Restraining Ministry, and Gender.
Spiritual Gifts and Spiritual Growth
Christian Love, the Golden Rule, Christian Military Service and Self-Defense.
Issues of Canonicity: Apocrypha, Enoch, and Inspiration.
Church: The Biblical Ideal versus the Contemporary Reality.
Numbers, Letters, and the Mark of the Beast.
Gospel Questions I: Jesus' Life, the Gospels and Cherubs, and who Wrote Matthew.
More Questions about Genesis.
Naaman, Nero, Nineveh, and Senacharib.
The False Doctrine of Absolute Eternal Security.
Choosing Hell: Questions about Salvation and the Love of God.
The Chronology of the End.
The Route of the Israelites in Crossing the Red Sea.
Some Issues of Transmission, Translation, and Transliteration: The Camel and the Needle, etc.
Aspects of the Life of Christ: Jesus' siblings, the man born blind, et al.
Jesus is God and man.
Jesus is God.
Redemption, the Blood of Christ, Christ our Passover, and The Passion of the Christ.
Eschatology Issues II: Angelic bodies, heaven and hell, Satan and the Nephilim, etc.
The Book of Job and Biblical Interpretation.
Some Questions about Eternity.
Who Controls our Thoughts and Emotions?
The Day of the Lord.
Sleep as a Euphemism for Death.
Christ's Preaching to the Spirits in Hell (1Pet.3:18-20), & Michael's Rebuke of Satan (2Pet.2:10-11 ).
Recovering from Sin.
The Timing of the Resurrection.
Dispensations, the Church, the Rapture, and the Destruction of the Universe.
Christianity versus Contemporary Kitsch.
Purpose Driven Life, Oprah's New Age Religion, et al.
Lot, Esau, and Cain: Learning through Negative Examples.
Against Universalism II: Only Believers are Saved.
Against Universalism I: Free Will and the Image of God.
Courage in the Fight.
The Seven Edens and the Eden of Adam and Eve.
Opposition to the Genesis Gap from the Creation Research Institute et al.
Mary 'Full of Grace'?
Changing the Name of God?
The Beast: Some Questions about Antichrist.
The Book of Revelation: Some Questions.
Red Hot or Lukewarm? Bible Teaching versus Sermonizing.
The Last Judgment and the Great White Throne.
Baptism: Water and Spirit.
Christology: Some Questions on the Life of Christ.
Train up a Child in the Way he should Go.
War, History, and Politics.
Unbelief and its Consequences.
Dreams and Visions.
Explaining and Defending the Trinity and the Person of Christ.
Free Will and Faith under Pressure.
Angelic Issues II.
Science and the Bible.
Bible Interpretation I: Academics, Versions et al.
Faith in the Word of God: the Basis of all True Worship.
Aspects of the Resurrection II.
Faith and Encouragement in the midst of Fiery Trials.
Some Sensitive Topics.
Jethro, Amenhotep, Iraq, the Catacombs, and the KJV.
Eschatology Issues: The Fig Tree, Ezekiel 38, Joel 3, and the Trumpets.
Christ the Rock, the Rooster's Crow, and the Cross.
Applying Faith II: Production, Forgiveness, Circumcision, Truth over People.
Applying Faith: Eating, Drinking, and Vacation.
The Tree of Life, Communion, and the Virgin Birth.
Can Prayer Be Offered From Heaven? & Some Genesis Questions.
Walking the Path of Faith through the Light of the Word of God.
Salvation on the battlefield, truth revealed to infants, and damnation.
Preparing for Tribulation.
Divine Sovereignty and Divine Judgment.
God's Free Gift of Salvation.
Should Christians wear Jewelry?
The Lord's Prayer.
The Events Surrounding the Birth of Christ.
Cremation or Burial?
Zechariah, Demon Possession, Marriage, Spiritual Experiences, and Bible Prophecy.
No Grounds for Divorce?
The Shape of the Universe, Hominids, and the Genesis Gap.
Taking Personal Responsibility: Interest, Bankruptcy, Gambling, and Employment.
The Seven Churches, the Judgment Seat of Christ, and other issues in Eschatology.
The Canonicity of the book of Hebrews.
Great White Throne, the Last Judgment, and the Outer Darkness.
Political Action versus Biblical Christianity.
Study Tools and Methodologies.
The Gospel and the Kingdom of God.
Pursuing a Deeper Relationship with Jesus and Christian Epistemology.
The Origin and the Danger of the Pre-Tribulational Rapture Theory.
The Divinity of the Spirit and the Percentage of those who are Saved.
Should Christians ever consider getting a lawyer?
Pastoral Authority, Popes, Pat Robertson, and Pelagianism.
Some Questions on Church Polity.
Apostles and Evangelism
Luther, Arminius, Calvin, Kant, Ironside, Tutu and Thieme.
Transmutation, Resuscitation, and Resurrection.
Is the Soul a tertium quid?
More on the Documentary Hypothesis and More on the Rapture.
Enoch's Walk with God and Some Questions in the Gospels.
The Influence of the Renaissance and Rationalism on the Church and Cutting off Arms in Malachi 2:3.
1st John 5:20 & Romans 6:23.
Baptism and Following Jesus.
Where is Armageddon?
Assurance of Salvation.
The Cross, Sin, and the Devil in God's Plan.
More on: Spiritual Gifts; Hats & Hair; the Age of Accountability.
Daniel 9:25 and Daniel 11:30.
Who will populate earth during the Millennium? and Asking for Wisdom: James 1:5.
Was Judas Saved?, The Gospel of Judas, and Issues of Canonicity.
Is 'My Son' Israel or Jesus in Hosea 11:1? & How do you Prove Sin to Someone?
Did Matthew Write his Gospel in Hebrew?
Christian Crowns, Pagan Names, and the Time of the Cock-Crow.
Child-like Faith, Mark vs. Matthew, the Mahdi, and 'Who was with God in the Beginning?
True Orthodoxy and False Creeds.
Foot-washing, Bitter Herbs, Baptism, and Borrowed Faith.
All Things Charismatic.
Friday versus Thursday Crucifixion.
Jesus' Cursing of the Fig Tree, Apostasy, and 'Feng Shui'.
The Genesis Serpent, Using "it" to refer to the baby Jesus, and more on Tattoos.
Resisting the Devil.
Why did Jesus choose John over James to take care of His mother Mary?
Antichrist's 'desire of women' in Daniel 11:37 et al.
Do recent catastrophes have a divine origin?
Does God really want us to be sick and poor? Revisiting the prosperity gospel.
Why did our Lord Jesus arise from the tribe of Judah?
What will our relationship be in heaven with children who died young?
The baptism of the Holy Spirit as distinct from speaking in tongues.
The Grammar behind the Genesis Gap.
The Great White Throne Judgment.
Moses and Zipporah.
The Victory of Faith.
Does God's choice of us eliminate our free will?
Why does God allow bad things to happen?
The Bible as "divine", roof prayer, and tattoos.
Character in Hebrews 1:3, et al.
Exorcism, et al.
"Are the children of unbelievers lost if they die before receiving Christ?"
How not to get "left behind".
"Is baptism necessary for salvation?"
"The nature of life after death."
"The personality of the Holy Spirit."
"The dragon of Revelation 12 and the talking idol of Revelation 13."
"Bound by Satan in Luke 13:16, language and the Tower of Babel, Daniel's 70th week, and the number 12."
"Infirmities and Diseases in Matthew 8:17"
"The Leftover Baskets of Bread and Fish in John 6."
"Waiting for the Ascension" and "Amos 4:11".
Why was Canaan cursed?
Should Christians have a competitive attitude?
John "leapt for joy" in the womb - or did he?
Satanic Influence in Video Games and Television.
Moving Mountains: Matthew 21:21
Not a hair shall be lost? Luke 21:16 versus Luke 21:18.
The reign of antichrist: 7 years or 3 and 1/2 years?
The Trinity in Scripture.
The Ark of the Covenant.
"Doubts about the Nephilim in Genesis 6" and "Ezekiel 9:4 and the Mark of the Beast"
"Word Counts in the Bible", "Him whom they Pierced (Rev.1:7)", and "Necromancy".
"Waiting for a Savior" and "The Direction East in the Bible"
Is there a purgatory according to the Bible?
Your desire shall be for your husband: Genesis 3:16.
Have I committed the unforgivable sin?
Is the local church meant to be a patriarchy?
Why doesn't the Bible mention all of the prophets of the children of Israel?
The True "Victorious Life".
Tohu in Genesis 1:2 and the Cause of the Darkness.
Why Doesn't God Prevent All Children from Dying?
Why were Christians being regarded as "evil-doers" in 1st Peter 2:12?
The Scofield Reference Bible.
Phylacteries and the Mark of the Beast, and "What about Joseph?"
Feeling desperate and alone.
Is Tithing net or gross?
Assembly of the local church, and Jesus' use of "I AM" from Exodus 3:14 in John 8:58
The "burden of the Lord" in Jeremiah 23:32-40, and judgment for idle words in Matthew 12:36-37.
The importance of spiritual resiliency.
Does God use disease to discipline us?
Recovering from Cult Exposure.
Variability in Christian Testing and Personal Tribulation.
Is there any value to the Apocrypha?
The Communion Ceremony outside of the local church.
The Christian Walk, the End, and Tattoos.
Should Christians honor Sunday as the new Sabbath?
Chronological order of the books of the Bible.
Doubt, light, missed opportunities et al.
Addicted to Sin.
Corporate prayer in Matthew 18:19: "when two agree on earth".
What does the Bible say about humor?
The value of cumulative prayer.
Our Heavenly, Pre-Resurrection, Interim State.
How could a loving God order the destruction of the Canaanites?
Should Christians observe the Torah?
Church Polity and three other passages.
Walking with Jesus.
Tongues: does 'no man' understand?
The few saved, the door in heaven, visions of heavenly realities, and Christmas.
Christian suffering and spiritual maturity.
Aliens, antichrist, and eschatology.
Does exceptionally sinful behavior indicate that a Christian has lost salvation?
Should Christians celebrate Jewish festivals?
The Deaths of the 12 Disciples / Apostles of Christ.
Categories of Sin in Psalm 19.
Some brief answers on a variety of topics.
Pastoral Support, Pastoral Preparation, and the Purpose of Assembly.
Encouragement, Isaiah 6:11-13, and the Hope of Repentance.
Questioning the Genesis Gap.
Dinosaurs, the Nephilim, Noah, et al.
How much should we pay our pastor?
More about Women Preachers.
Is it wrong for me to celebrate Easter?
The Remnant in Isaiah 6:13.
The Big Distinction.
The Day of the Lord in 2nd Peter 3:10.
The Day of the Lord.
The Sealing of the Holy Spirit.
Visions of Angels: Colossians 2:18.
Waiting on God's timing: patience in testing.
"Your Throne, O God": Psalm 45:6.
Moses striking the Rock.
Procreation and Creation.
What is meant by the phrase "the Lord's footstool"?
1st Peter 3:3-5
A conversation about divorce and remarriage.
Faith in the midst of the fiery trial.
Hebrews 10:26 again, and two other notes on Arthur Pink and the Greek word diakonos.
What is the correct translation of Isaiah 59:19?
Is the star of Acts 7:43 the star of David?
Some questions about Nimrod and Christmas trees, Tongues, and Healing
Is Jesus the only One ever to restore sight?
What happens to people who were born and died prior to the birth of Christ?
Which is better, the King James Version or the New King James Version?
What is the minimum necessary to be saved?
How can we know whose interpretation of the Bible is right (Part 2)?
How can we know whose interpretation of the Bible is right (Part 1)?
Psalm 22:1, "My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?"
The "Mind of Christ" in 1st Corinthians 2:16
Simeon and Simon, and the two crows of the rooster
Ichthys, saints, and the Last Adam
Does Hebrews 10:26 teach loss of salvation?
Eternal security: where does one draw the line?
Who are Gog and Magog in Ezekiel 38-39?
How did John the baptist come to doubt Jesus?
Is Jesus literally seated on the throne at God's right hand?
Are the Celts the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel?
Whatever happened to the "Genesis Gap"?
"The baptism which now saves you": 1st Peter 3:21.
Hebrew Language Study Tools.
What type of healing is being discussed in Isaiah 53:5?
The Origin of the Four Seasons
2nd Peter 3:5: Doubting the Tribulation
Tent-making and Galatians 6:6
A Question about Ichthys books
Biblical Metaphors and Symbolism
Faith and the Pre-Tribulational "Rapture".
Bible translation and John 8:58.
Melchizedek and the high priesthood of Christ: two questions et alia.
In need of encouragement.
The centurion and the Syro-Phoenician woman.
Who is the Meshiach?
A Sadducean Question
What is "heaven" like according to Christian teachings?
Acts 20:28: Whose Blood?
1st Corinthians 11: Hats or Hair?
Confession of Sin, Fellowship, and the Filling of the Holy Spirit.
A Miscellany of Questions and Answers (Nineveh, the beast, tongues, demons, Sadam, etc.)
Some Greek Questions in the Gospels (John 1:3; 2:19; 8:58; Luke 23:43)
Is Man trichotomous, and does that mean that salvation is three-tiered?
Questioning the Trinity
The blood of Christ
Christ knocking at the door in Revelation 3:20
The futility of memory without God and eternal life.
The meaning of Jesus' words, "I am" in John 8:58
What does the Bible say about Heaven and Hell?
Peace in 1st Corinthians 14:33
Salvation and Church Affiliation.
Several questions on the book of Hebrews.
Does the Bible prohibit women from preaching or teaching in the Church?
Should Christian leaders refrain from drinking in public?
How to use the Bible translations at Ichthys.
The Worship of Jesus: a proof of His divinity?
An Extended Conversation about the Baptism of the Holy Spirit.
Is water baptism required for Christians today?
Are health and wealth a part of the gospel?
Will those in Hades be able to see Christ's return?
Feelings of Guilt about Remarriage.
Who are the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel?
What does "the Word was with God" mean in John 1:1-2?
Three questions on three verses in Isaiah (Is.21:4; 28:10, & 66:24).
How important is education for a pastor?
Does Hebrews 10:26-35 ("deliberate sinning" etc.) mean that a believer can lose his or her salvation?
Availability and use of Ichthys materials: several questions.
Is there any difference between demons and fallen angels?
Two questions about Judas Iscariot.
Three Questions about Tattoos and Salvation.
The Hebrew word for 'one' (`echadh) and the uniqueness of God.
Did the witch of Endor really conjure up the spirit of Samuel?
A Question about the "Waters Above".
Why did God the Father wait so long to send Jesus into the world?
How does being "slain in the Spirit" relate to being baptized in the Spirit?
How do you prove the existence of God?
Where does the Bible teach that Jesus is God?
Is it ever Justifiable to Tell a Lie (part 2)?
Seeing double in Matthew.
Mary, Joseph, and Nazareth.
Is the Westminster Catechism a Good Reference Tool?
What does it mean "the spirit returns to God" in Ecclesiastes 12:7?
Is there any Connection between biblical Gemstones and Moral Characteristics?
Are Miraculous Gifts Operational Today?
Jesus Christ in the Old Testament (Christophany: Gen.3:8).
Can those in organizations which teach "salvation by works" be saved?
Is "helpmeet" a wrong translation in Genesis 2:20?
Our will and God's WILL.
Cast thy Bread upon the Waters: What do the seven and eight portions in Ecclesiastes 11:2 mean?
Was Cain Satan's literal "seed"?
The Demon Possessed Girl in Acts 16:16.
The "Sin unto Death" in 1st John 5:16.
Is death just a natural part of human life?
Communion and the Blood of Christ.
What does it mean in 1st Corinthians 7:14, "the unbelieving husband is sanctified"?
The Re-institution of the Feast of Tabernacles in the Millennium.
Secular Documentation for the Exodus.
The false doctrine of "soul sleep".
The Author of Hebrews and Jesus' Perfect Completion of His Mission.
The Trinity in Isaiah 63:10-15.
How old was Jesus at the time of His crucifixion and resurrection?
Five Smooth Stones: 1st Samuel 17:40
How can we know the Bible is true?
The name "Jesus".
Habakkuk's Prosperity Prayer: Habakkuk 3:17-19.
Jeremiah 31:22: "A Woman shall Compass a Man".
The New International Version of the Bible and some issues in Bible translation.
Is "the Prophet" of Deuteronomy 18:18 Muhammad?
The One True God and the Trinity in the Old Testament.
Are those in Hebrews 6:4 who "crucify the Son of God afresh" lost?
Are New Bible Translations Part of a Conspiracy?
What exactly is the "red heifer prophecy", and how does it relate to the events of the end times?
Where did the waters of Genesis 1 go?
Sin, Baptism, and the Book of Revelation
Tithing and the Book of Life
The Dangers of the Prosperity Gospel.
English and the Tower of Babel.
The "Seven Thunders" of Revelation 10:3-4
The fate of the unrighteous dead in Isaiah 66:24
Who are the "sons of the kingdom" in Matthew 18:11-12?
Why does Judah get greater honor than Jerusalem in Zechariah 12:7?
Are there Female Angels?
Longevity in the Millennium.
How is the date of Easter computed?
What is the meaning of the 1290 days versus the 1335 days in Daniel 12?
What Church era are we now in?
The mark of the beast.
Christophany in the Exodus.
Can you explain "help my unbelief!" in Mark 9:24?
What does it mean to "overcome" in Revelation chapters 2 and 3?
Are women required to wear veils or hats in church?
Is the world about to come to an end?
Does the Bible ever describe the earth as being round?
Pre-, mid-, or post-Tribulation rapture?
Pearls before swine.
Recognizing the Messiah.
The gift of healing.
The origin and fate of the "giants" in Genesis chapter six.
Christian suffering - Christian encouragement.
Is speaking in tongues biblical?
Is speaking in tongues a sin?
Can you recommend a good commentary on the book of Romans?
Aspects of the resurrection.
The recipients of Peter's epistles.
Pre- or Post-Tribulation "rapture"?
The lives of the prophets.
The old prophet who lied.
Animal sacrifice in the millennium.
Is it ever justifiable to lie?
Who wrote the King James version?
The meaning of the divine name יהוה.
The so-called "documentary hypothesis".
The relationship between the books of Kings and Chronicles.
David's disastrous census of Israel.
Aspects of the Unseen Angelic Warfare and 666, the Mark of the Beast.
The 200 million strong demon army of Revelation 9:13.
Deliverance through Childbearing in 1st Timothy 2:15?
Some questions about the Tribulation.
More on divorce and remarriage.
Divorce and remarriage.
The antecedents of ICHTHYS.
What does it mean to "remember the Sabbath and keep it holy"?
The manner of the apostle Peter's death.
Wasn't Matthias the thirteenth apostle?
Forward progress necessary for salvation and spiritual growth.
The "seven days" of human history.
1st John 1:9 and confessing sin.
ICHTHYS and the role of traditional Christianity.
Can you recommend a good survey for the Old and New Testaments?
Where can I find more information on the "Genesis gap"?
Is Church membership an issue in salvation?
Can you recommend a church?
Are these materials available for purchase as books?
A bit of autobiography.
What is your opinion of the Abingdon one-volume Bible Commentary?
What is the significance of the number "20" in the Bible?
The 144,000 of Revelation chapters 7 and 14.
What is your view on predestination?
Who is "true Israel"?
The chronology of the date 2026.
Does baptism play a role in being born again?
Why does the devil have access to God while man cannot stand in His presence?
The structure of the book of Revelation.
What is your view of the rapture?
What is meant by the "10 days" of Revelation 2:10?
Dragons in the Bible?
Are there apostles in the Church today?
What is the meaning of the word "chosen" in the Bible.
What are the most common Bible names?
What is the biblical significance of the number forty?
What does the Bible have to say about witchcraft?
How can I protect myself from false teaching?
Didn't the devil know he couldn't defeat God?
Are the Masons wrong according to the Bible?
Can the faith of "backsliders" be restored?
Are there biblical origins to mythology?
What does the phrase "sides of the pit" mean in Isaiah 14:15?
Can prayer be offered in the name of the Son?
Election and John 6:37?
Is it valid to celebrate Christmas?
Can you give me some information on divine names in the Bible?
What is the significance of name changes in the Bible?
Is faith a "gift of God"?
Is there a "gospel of Thomas"?
Is the nature of Man dichotomous or trichotomous?
Will the temple be rebuilt in Jerusalem?
Does the Bible teach a literal Millennium?
What does the word "good" mean in Genesis?
Who are "the dead" who "rise first" in 1st Thessalonians 4?
Are the Greek tenses in John 7:34 correctly translated?
Is the devil "mad" to oppose God?
Does the Bible require supporting the pastor financially?
How can Jesus be a man and God at the same time?
How did people atone for intentional sin in Old Testament times?
What is the symbolism of the Lamb of God in Revelation?
Can you recommend some word study tools for Bible study?
Can people who commit suicide be saved?
Are tattoos biblical?
Is it "ichthys" or "ichthus"?
What is the difference between wisdom and discernment?
Marriage of Believers and Unbelievers.
Is hearing believing in John 6:35?
How certain a date is 2026?
Is Paul describing himself in Romans chapter seven?
Is tithing required for salvation?
What is the evidence for the "rapture"?
Is there any validity to the "prosperity gospel"?
Who are the "Nephilim" in Genesis chapter six?
Is there a literal "devil"?
What does the Bible have to say about reincarnation?
What is the unpardonable sin?
Believing the Bible for Spiritual Growth.
Why was the New Testament written in Greek?
What about those who have never heard of Christ?
What about elders and deacons?
Eternal Security and "sinless perfection".
Eternal Security and "salvation by works".
Does the Bible teach ex nihilo creation?
When did Jesus first know He was God's Son?
Are there prophets today?
Despairing of life.
How important is baptism?
How could Christ have been three days and nights in the grave?
Do Muslims worship the One true God?
What can I do about spiritual fainting?