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New Testament Interpretation VII:

Questions on Peter and his Epistles

[posted 4/20/19]

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Question #1:

Thanks for the reply Bob,

I had a random thought about what your thoughts are on those who teach that the Apostle Paul preached a different Gospel compared to the 12 Apostles? They state that Paul preached the Gospel of the Grace of God and that the other Apostles preached the Gospel of the Kingdom. They say this because Paul refers to the Gospel he preaches as “My Gospel” a lot in Scripture. And for whatever reason the Jews have rejected it and so he preached it to the Gentiles. And so it makes it seem like Peter preached a Gospel that the Jews agreed with and Paul preached another that was meant for the Gentiles.

And they will point out the difference that Paul was commanded by Jesus to not baptize but to preach the Gospel. But the other Apostles on the other hand were commanded to baptize on top of preaching the Gospel.

Do you think Paul received revelations that the other Apostles never learned or received themselves? Even Peter himself stated that Paul’s teachings can be hard to understand.

Your Brother in Christ,

Response #1:  

You're most welcome, my friend.

One thing is very clear: the Bible is absolutely uniform in its truth from Genesis to Revelation. There is only one truth. Only one gospel. Only one baptism (Eph.4:4-6). If we see contradictions between something in the OT or between different writers of the NT, it is we who have the problem. I have found, however, that in time if we are patient and "work the problem" in the Spirit, all questions are eventually answered, and all supposed contradictions or doctrinal differences (as implied by the people you refer to here) always vanish. God is not the author of confusion, and all scripture is "God-breathed" (2Tim.3:16), inspired by God the Holy Spirit Himself.

For the record, I find Peter's modes of expression and the particular meaning behind them just as difficult as Paul's, but I find both of them entirely understandable if sufficient time and effort in the Spirit are applied. Paul taught the truth to Jews and gentiles both in every letter and in every town. And Peter, while he was more focused on Jewish believers in the beginning, wrote his two letters to predominately gentile congregations. So this is a distinction I do not see at all in the actual scriptures.

Peter expresses harmony in teaching with Paul where he makes the comment about some of the expressions of their common doctrine being "hard to understand" in places (1Pet.3:15-16). That is my perception as well. As to revelation, I can't think of a single major doctrine which isn't found throughout the epistles; clearly there is more detail given to some of the writers by the Spirit to pen than to others, but as with the gospels the variety of expression makes things more clear by benefitting from more than one representation of the same truths. This is only confusing to those who haven't bothered to try and figure it out. All things yield to work. Of course it is true that to be able to figure these things out takes the Spirit, the gift of teaching, and the necessary training and preparation. If the "answer" to some question is really not to be found in English translations, as is sometimes the case, then the justification for pastor-teachers learning Greek and Hebrew well ought to be evident.

On baptism, there is only "one baptism" (Eph.4:5), namely, the baptism of the Spirit.

"I baptize you with water (i.e., physically) for repentance. But after me will come one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire."
Matthew 3:11 NIV

(4) And gathering them together [Jesus] commanded [the disciples] not to depart from Jerusalem, but to await the promise of the Father (i.e., the Holy Spirit) "which you heard about from Me. (5) For John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Spirit not many days from now".
Acts 1:4-5

"But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth".
Acts 1:8

I applaud your interest in finding the truth. I hope and pray that you will find a good source of it – and take pains to believe it once found. No one can grow spiritually until getting beyond the "Smorgasbord" approach that is all too prevalent in our Laodicean age.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #2: 

Could you explain to me, Sir, how Luke 12:42 - 48 is an answer to 41?

Then Peter said to Him, “Lord, do You speak this parable only to us, or to all people?”
Luke 12:41 NKJV

And the Lord said, “Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his master will make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of food in due season? Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes. Truly, I say to you that he will make him ruler over all that he has. But if that servant says in his heart, ‘My master is delaying his coming,’ and begins to beat the male and female servants, and to eat and drink and be drunk, the master of that servant will come on a day when he is not looking for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in two and appoint him his portion with the unbelievers. And that servant who knew his master’s will, and did not prepare himself or do according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. But he who did not know, yet committed things deserving of stripes, shall be beaten with few. For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more.”
Luke 12:42-48 NKJV

Response #2: 

Our Lord answers the question Peter poses according to the truth which underlies all of the assumptions and motivations inherent in his question. Peter and the others assumed at this point that all Israel would be saved, but also suspected that they were a special group. In answering the way He does, our Lord makes all issues clear without reproaching Peter for lack of understanding. First, this response makes it clear that some will respond to the truth, but others won't; second, that it is the disciples' job to present the truth to all in a workman-like way, for that is how to earn a good report and a good reward; third, that the Lord desires all to be saved, even though many will refuse the Gift, so it is doubly important for those entrusted with the Word of God to take pains not to be the reason that the Word was not received, i.e., for lack of due diligence on the disciples part (and this obviously applies to us all).

Question #3: 

When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees,
Luke 5:8a NKJV

Was it at Jesus' feet or His knees that Peter was said to fall? The latter is in the NASB footnote. I wonder because if our Lord was on His Knees, He may have been helping with the catch? It would fit the popular idea of humility but I am not certain that He was ever for such displays. Still, how should we read that place?

Response #3:  

The Bible says knees. It doesn't say that the Lord caught him. This is a gesture of worship on Peter's part, and of recognition his powerlessness and inferiority in the presence of God as of one needing forgiveness.

Question #4:

saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!”
Luke 5:8 NKJV

Does Peter say this because he thought that his earlier answer to our Lord bordered on insulting? Was that in fact the case? Or was it that as seemed to be their experience then he had caught a typical glimpse of the gulf between himself and our Lord Whose Word was sufficient to far outstrip what his efforts could accomplish?

Response #4: 

Peter is only speaking the truth. How could any of us have contact with God? But God had a plan in bringing His Son into the world to save us, and part of that plan is His ministry of light and truth to us before the cross, sinners that we are.

Question #5: 

and so also were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid. From now on you will catch men.”
Luke 5:10 NKJV

Does this mean then that Peter and Andrew and James and John knew each other and had some relationship, at least one of a business nature, before they began to follow our Lord?

Response #5:  

Matthew and Mark relate an incident which occurred earlier than the one presented here by Luke. The two sets of brothers indeed do seem to have been business partners.

Question #6: 

For I consider that I am not at all inferior to the most eminent apostles.
2 Corinthians 11:5 NKJV

Who is Paul talking about here? Apostles like Peter or the false apostles that the Corinthians were so enamoured with at the time? If the former, this seems to be further proof that Paul thought of himself as equal to and one of the Twelve. If the latter, then, at least he thought of himself as holding Apostolic authority that the Corinthians ought to be acknowledging at least as much as the "super apostles" (this is the term in the footnote). The context suggests the latter to me. Is that what it is?

Response #6: 

Paul was one of the twelve – one of Jesus' twelve since our Lord personally picked him to replace Judas – and he was certainly aware of that fact (see the link). However, he also speaking here other "apostles" whom the Corinthians may have had in mind, not only Peter and John, but Apollos and other legitimate teachers who were genuine apostles but with a lower case "a", and also other individuals who were not apostles at all but self-proclaimed teachers of the Law to whom the Corinthians (and other congregations, notably the Galatians) foolishly gave their attention (cf. Rev.2:2: "who say they are apostles and are not").

Question #7: 

Do we have no right to take along a believing wife, as do also the other apostles, the brothers of the Lord, and Cephas?
1 Corinthians 9:5 NKJV

I always wondered about the authority that James, our Lord's brother, wielded in the church. Does verse 5 indicate that the church of those first days accepted the apostles AND the brothers of our Lord Jesus Christ as spiritual authorities?

Response #7:  

This is an important point often overlooked. The "pope" is recognized by all in the R.C. church as THE authority, and cardinals and bishops likewise wield power that everyone in the groups accepts – and that is true of all religious organizations . . . which are man-made. In the actual Church of Jesus Christ, however, apostles were "first" in rank (1Cor.12:28), but that authority was God-given, not man-made, and had to be accepted by those to whom the apostles ministered. Paul, therefore, who "worked harder" (1Cor.15:10; 2Cor.11:23) was by rights "first", but we see that not everyone accepted him, and he was continually having to support his authority in a loving but firm way, one that relied upon persuading those he taught to do what was right for the sake of the truth and Jesus Christ. In Jerusalem, rather than accept this principle, we see even Peter having to "play second fiddle" and defend his own conduct on occasion (e.g., Acts 11:2ff.; Gal.2:11-14); we also see John's apostleship being disrespected even when he was probably the last of the twelve still alive (e.g., 3Jn.1:9-12). So even at this early point we see human institutionalizing of the church-visible developing and splitting off from God's true economy in the actual Church. That has always been a trend seems to exist in inverse proportion to teaching the truth, so that the more cult-like the "teacher", the more resolute the following, and the more considerate and dedicated to the truth the teacher is, the less respect he generally receives.

In fact, you even put up with anyone who enslaves you or exploits you or takes advantage of you or puts on airs or slaps you in the face. To my shame I admit that we were too weak for that!
2nd Corinthians 11:20-21a NIV

Question #8: 

2 Peter 1:16-21 (NASB)
16 For we did not follow cleverly devised tales when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty. 17 For when He received honor and glory from God the Father, such an utterance as this was made to Him by the Majestic Glory, “This is My beloved Son with whom I am well-pleased”— 18 and we ourselves heard this utterance made from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain. 19 So we have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts. 20 But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, 21 for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.

I know you take this passage to mean that the scripture is to be trusted more than what we see, but I wanted to ask if verse 19 could not be interpreted as saying “And so (having heard the utterance from God ourselves”) we have the prophetic word made even more sure (not only we read it, but we've also seen it being fulfilled)”. What do you think? If such rendering is incorrect, could you explain why? Verse 19 starts with kai, which I'm not sure if it should stand for “and” (interpretation above) or “but” (your interpretation).

Response #8: 

In terms of "And so (having heard the utterance from God ourselves”) we have the prophetic word made even more sure", 1) there is no "so" here; 2) also, bebaioteron, "more secure", is in the predicative position so that when I read it in Greek I get "[something] more certain, [namely] the prophetic word"; and 3) the following context (rightly understood) is all about the importance of the written Word: that is what "you would do well to heed", and that is what Peter supports in next two verses by expounding the principle of Holy Spirit inspiration; 4) we also know this to be true from everything we read in scripture: it's not what we see, hear or feel that counts; it's what we know from the Bible through faith. So while I am certain that most exegetes do want to take it this way, I would personally resist that strenuously. If Peter had meant to say that, he would have made that connection; merely using kai, a necessary connective to avoid asyndeton, shows that he is now taking the argument to a different place: it's not what I saw that counts (though you readers may assume so); no, it's what I know from the prophetic Word of God: that is even more certain what I saw with my own eyes. I think the fact that most exegetes don't want to accept this clear and fundamental principle of scripture may account for the popularity of the interpretation suggested.

Question #9: 

How should the text read? UBS5 textual note proposes different readings than ἀπὸ θεου , including Sinaiticus which reads ἅγιοι θεου.

Response #9:  

On 2nd Peter 1:21, I do read hagioi, "holy", with Aleph and some other witnesses and disagree with the logic in the Metzger commentary. I don't think it makes any difference to the meaning here, but read in Greek pheromenoi , "being borne/directed/carried", definitely seems to need a leading modifier and would sound quite strange without one. Confusing this with hagiou as going with the Spirit is probably the origin of the mistake. Translation:

For true prophecy has never occurred by human will, but only when holy men of God have spoken under the direction and agency of the Holy Spirit.
2nd Peter 1:21

Question #10: 

What does it mean to "give way to fear" in 1st Peter 3:6?

Response #10: 

NKJV has, a bit more literally, "not afraid with any terror" in 1st Peter 3:6. In other words, Peter is commending respect for husbands from their wives, but is very careful to distinguish this godly behavior from being terrified of – or terrorized by – their husbands. Marriage is a two-way street as Peter is also very clear about in the context. So a husband is to treat his wife with love so that she feels no terror, and she is to show respect even though it is not being forced upon her. Also, "not afraid of any terror" will mean that a wife will do the right thing for Jesus Christ first, even as she truly respects her husband. And she will not allow herself to be terrorized into omitting what she should do or doing what she should not do as a Christian woman, even though she is married (and possibly to a less than honorable man).

Here is a link on this: "Patriarchy?".

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #11: 

Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.
1 Peter 2:12 NKJV

Why would nonbelievers glorify God at all? I just mean isn't the whole point that they refuse to do so? Not that I don't want them to glorify God, of course...

Response #11:  

On 1st Peter 2:12, the "day of visitation" is the key phrase here in regard to this question. That is a reference in general to the day of judgment, but episkope ("visitation") also specifically means the day when the Lord "looks in" on things, namely, the second advent. So some unbelievers, having observed the power of the lives of believers, will be primed thereby to respond FINALLY when the see the Lord return (and so be saved); for others (most), this "glorification" will come as it does with all unbelievers who stay that way throughout their lives, namely, at the last judgment:

"By myself I have sworn, my mouth has uttered in all integrity a word that will not be revoked: Before me every knee will bow; by me every tongue will swear."
Isaiah 45:23 NIV (cf. Rom.14:11)

Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Philippians 2:9-11 NKJV

So God obtains glory from unbelievers who will have no choice but to worship Him in the end, and part of His refutation of their "defenses of clay" and their false arguments which are "proverbs of ashes" (Job 13:12) will be our Lord calling their attention to the witness of believers they encountered in life.

Question #12: 

1 Peter 4:1-2 (NASB)
1 Therefore, since Christ has [a]suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same purpose, because he who has [b]suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, 2 so as to live the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for the lusts of men, but for the will of God.

a. 1 Peter 4:1 I.e. suffered death
b. 1 Peter 4:1 I.e. suffered death

NIV SB: 4:1 Therefore. Since 3:19–22 is parenthetical, 4:1 ties directly back to 3:18. The aspect of Christ’s suffering that these passages stress is suffering unjustly because one has done good. Furthermore, it is physical suffering—“in his body.” arm yourselves also with the same attitude. Believers are to be prepared also to suffer unjustly and to face such abuse with Christ’s attitude—with his willingness to suffer for doing good. (For a similar principle in Paul’s writings, see Php 2:5–11.) because … is done with sin. Such suffering enables believers to straighten out their priorities. Sinful desires and practices that once seemed important seem insignificant when one’s life is in jeopardy. Serious suffering for Christ advances the progress of sanctification.

Do you agree that by "suffered in the flesh" Peter means that our Lord suffered death, as it says in the footnotes? Since twice the same verb is used and our Lord suffered in a unique way, why does Peter liken His suffering to the suffering of a believer (“because one who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin”)? Do you agree with the interpretation given here that suffering equips us in a sense of perspective and changes priorities? I'm not sure about it and cannot understand Peter's argument. This is a difficult question and I am still not certain in what way the suffering specifically helps us to cease from sin.

Response #12: 

Let's dispense with the NIV SB's note. It would be better expunged (i.e., suffering is a burden not a help – except to the extent that it forces us to rely on the Lord: 2Cor.12:10).

Sharing the suffering of Christ is a ubiquitous NT principle (Rom.8:17; 2Cor.1:5; Phil.1:29-30; 3:10; Col.1:24; 2Tim.2:12; 1Pet.4:12-13; cf. Matt.10:38; 16:24; Mk.8:34; 10:21; 10:38-39; Lk.9:23; 14:27; Acts 5:41; 2Cor.4:10-11; Gal.6:17; 1Thes.1:6; 2Thes.1:4-5; 2Tim.3:12; see the link: in CT 2A: "sharing in the sufferings of Christ" is a part of the normal Christian experience).

Christ suffered in every way. He suffered physically and emotionally – can the two really be disaggregated for any human being? And He was and is since the virgin birth truly human. It is VERY true that our Lord's suffering for the sins of the world, His spiritual death on the cross, cannot be so much as touched by anyone. That does not mean that we are not called to carry our crosses in emulation of Him, even giving up our lives in martyrdom if so wills the Will of God. But our suffering cannot approach His in any way, not during His life, not during His suffering before the darkness fell, and certainly not in being judged for the sins of the world. But He is still our Model. He endured all in complete focus on carrying out the Father's plan; likewise we too ought to push through whatever suffering we are called to endure to carry out the mission our Lord has for us. Peter presents the issue pretty plainly to his listeners. There are two paths: 1) following Christ and His example; 2) giving in to sin. If we love Him, we leave the other path, but if we follow the other path, how much do we love Him?

Question #13: 

On 1 Peter 4:1-2 - it seems to me that Peter says things in such a way as to make the point that suffering causes us to cease from sin ("because he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin"), but I don't know what mechanism specifically he has in mind here and in what way specifically suffering helps us part with sin. Or maybe I am misunderstanding this verse and rather then making a point that suffering causes us to cease from sin, Peter simply means that "if we follow Christ - and if we do, we will suffer - we have ceased from sin". Let me know your take on this issue, maybe Peter just means the latter and I am overcomplicating things. Or maybe he has something specific in mind here.

Response #13:  

I think rather that the point of this is to remind us of our identification with Christ. We are sharing His sufferings. Peter makes it clear that this is what he is aiming at latter in the chapter (1Pet.4:12-13). When we do so, we are fighting the fight in a positive way. And, clearly, lapsing back into sin is turning around and heading back in the opposite direction, giving up the ground we've won, risking our eternal rewards and more. Now that we've made it to the point where we really are "resisting to the point of blood", adopting a sinful lifestyle again is like fleeing in the face of the enemy. So the way in which suffering would help is by considering how much we've sacrificed to get "here", and being unwilling to give up our hard-won progress for a mess of pottage.

Question #14:

2 Peter 1:1-4 (NASB)
1 Simon Peter, a bond-servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have received a faith of the same kind as ours, by the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ: 2 Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; 3 seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. 4 For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.

NIV SB: have received. God in his justice ("righteousness") imparts to people the ability to believe. God imparts the ability to believe, but faith is our free will choice, so the expression λαχουσιν πιστιν is somewhat difficult.

How specifically should we understand receiving faith “by the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ” (or “in the righteousness”)? There seems to be numerous ways in which this expression could be taken.

Response #14: 

"who have received a faith of the same kind as ours": I often call faith "free will faith", because faith is the essential expression of our free will, the image of God. We choose what to believe and whom to believe. That is what life is all about, beginning with the choice to accept Christ and thereafter to accept all the truth that He has for us. If Peter had written "who have received an image of God of the same kind as ours" or "who have received a free will of the same kind as ours", there would be no difficultly. But that is what is meant. Peter is congratulating his readers for being believers, for "having a faith" that has resulted in salvation and spiritual growth. We might say the same sort of thing – all the while understanding that by this "faith" we are actually meaning "how the person has chosen to use their ability to believe".

"by righteousness": This calls attention to the fact that the only way that we can have faith that is valuable (of equal value to Peter's) is through God's righteousness: Christ had to die to satisfy that righteousness otherwise none could be saved no matter what they chose to believe. But when we do believe, we receive the righteous of God, the righteousness that comes "through faith" (e.g., Rom.1:17; 4:3ff.; Gal.3:6).

Question #15: 

The question on receiving the faith is still not clear to me. Peter, as you wrote, is referring to the faith that brings salvation and spiritual growth and this is a result of our choice, so I still cannot conceptualise "receiving the faith". You wrote that we can take faith here as "how the person has chosen to use their ability to believe", but wouldn't that still amount to the same problem - "who have received the same choice as ours" - and the choice is something we make and not receive? I have given it more thought and I wonder whether rather than seeing "faith" here as the ability to choose, we shouldn't take it as the equivalent to salvation that comes through the right choice - "salvation-faith" ("who have received the same saving faith as ours having chosen to believe the truth"). Do you think this is possible?

Response #15:  

I wouldn't rule it out – that is clearly the result of the choice: "a faith which was exercised in a godly way and has resulted in being saved"; all of these elements are certainly present in the word "faith" when applied to believers, as in "of the faith" = believers who are people who have believed and who now believe so as to be saved. Faith characterizes us. That is why the Bible calls us "believers".

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power whereby God may save everyone who believes (whether the Jew first, or the Greek). Because in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith [at salvation] to faith [in living a life of faith], as it is written, "[it is he who is] righteous on account of his faith [who] shall live [by means of his faith]".
Romans 1:16-17

And this is the victory that has overcome the world: our faith [in Christ]!
1st John 5:4 (cf. v.1)

Question #16: 

I'm not sure how to understand the pronouns in verse 3 - “His divine power”, “knowledge of Him”, “His own glory and excellence” – are these referring to God the Father or Jesus?

Response #16: 

Verse 2 speaks of our epignosis (i.e., our knowledge mixed with faith) of both Father and Son as being the means of our spiritual fulfillment.

(2) May [God's] grace to you and [His] peace be multiplied by means of the full-knowledge (epignosis: truth believed) of God and our Lord Jesus, (3) inasmuch as His divine power has bestowed upon us [every]thing we need to live and to live in a godly way (i.e., physical and spiritual provision) through this full-knowledge (epignosis) of Him who has called us for His own glory and renown (i.e., the continued provision is based upon continuing attention to the truth).
2nd Peter 1:2-3 (cf. 2Pet.1:8)

Peter does not given any more information as to the antecedents of the pronouns, and the above could be equally true of either Father or Son – or both. Which means that Peter is not worried about confusion. However, since you ask, the Father comes first in verse two and so should be considered the One referred to primarily in verse three.

Question #17: 

Do you agree with what the NIV SB here proposes as the meaning of the “divine nature”?

Response #17:  

As in the translation above, this phrase refers to our positional separation from the corruption of this world which in turn looks forward to our eternal communion with the Trinity in the blessed future we all anticipate. The Holy Spirit is the pledge we have of that resurrection and ultimate sanctification, living with the Lord forever with eternal life, but the indwelling of the Spirit per se is not what is meant.

Question #18: 

What specifically is Peter referring by “by these” at the beginning of verse 4? Most commentators take it as referring to the immediately preceding "glory and virtue", but Meyer interprets differently. I'm still unclear about this, as the whole concept just seems vague to me at the moment - we receive honourable promises through divine blessings (and these divine blessings are only expressed with the Greek "παντα", "all things") - so I'm not sure what it's really supposed to mean. Taking the "through which" as referring to glory and virtue" would give the "through which" a more solid definition to work with, but I'm not sure about this.

Response #18: 

The antecedent of "through which" is panta, i.e., "everything necessary for us to live as Christians and walk a godly walk, given to us from the Lord through epignosis, that is, through our believing of the truth"; it is precisely these spiritual blessings that the promised of resurrection and reward are attained, that is "through them" (di hOn). In support of the other interpretation, however, I'm at a lose to say where else in scripture God is said to do anything "by means of His glory" or "by means of His virtue"; but seeing that our growth and reward redound TO His glory and reputation (doxa kai arete) makes good sense.

(1) Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who have been allotted a faith of equal value to ours in the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ. (2) May [God's] grace to you and [His] peace be multiplied by means of the full-knowledge (epignosis: truth believed) of God and our Lord Jesus, (3) inasmuch as His divine power has bestowed upon us [every]thing we need for life and to live in a godly way (i.e., physical and spiritual provision) through this full-knowledge (epignosis) of Him who has called us for His own glory and renown. (4) [It is] through these [divine blessings] that the great and honorable promises have been granted to us, so that through them we might become partakers of the divine nature (i.e., in contrast with our earthly sinful nature), having [through salvation] escaped earthly corruption and its lust.
2nd Peter 1:1-4

2nd Peter chapter one is difficult, no doubt about it. Peter was allowed to put things his way by the Spirit, and this another indication of the Lord making it clear to anyone with an ounce of humility that qualified and prepared teachers are necessary for the edification of the Body – because no one else has a prayer of figuring this out. A little ironic, I suppose, that Peter will say at the end of this letter, "as also in all [Paul's] epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand" (2Pet.3:16 NKJV).

Question #19: 

You wrote: "Review: Let us take a moment to recall the connection between our current topics of suffering and spiritual growth and the passage above. Peter's readers were experiencing hard times, and in their distress, began to question God, thus jeopardizing their spiritual growth."

How do we know that Peter's readers began to question God?

Response #19:  

This is, admittedly, a supposition based upon the content of Peter's teaching. I suppose it could be that none of those for whom this epistle was penned had any doubts under the pressures they were enduring. But I suspect that Peter's heavy emphasis upon bearing up under suffering has to do with his own impression that many of those he is led to write this letter to are not in fact bearing up under suffering – at least not well enough. I admit that this particular phrasing came out of my own observation of Christians under pressure at the time of writing – and it was my impression that many of these were in fact beginning to doubt (which is what questioning God really is, not fully accepting that whatever happens is for the ultimate good – because His plan is perfect, He loves us perfectly, and He is absolutely faithful to us and could not in fact be otherwise).

Question #20: 

In your Peter series you explain the translation "deliverance of your lives" as opposed to "salvation of your souls". While the rendering "lives" instead of "souls" is clear to me, having read this section I'm not certain I understand your explanation of the choice of the word "deliverance" over "salvation". I would think that the point you are making is that rather than our salvation which we achieve by placing our faith in Christ, Peter has in mind one of the results of this salvation - and that is the preservation of our lives for eternity rather than the second death. But I cannot reconcile with this explanation is that in your translation you add "personal salvation" in the parenthesis, as if personal salvation was actually meant.

(8) Though you have never laid eyes on Him, yet you love Him. And though you cannot see Him at this present time, yet you have faith in Him. For this reason you rejoice with an inexpressible joy that bespeaks the glorious future to come, (9) when you shall carry off in victory the ultimate prize - the deliverance (lit. "salvation") of your lives (i.e., personal salvation) - which is the very purpose and objective of this faith of yours.
1st Peter 1:8-9

Response #20: 

Having read over this section many times, everything said seems to me to reflect salvation. The expanded translation in the text is, in fact, "the safe deliverance of our lives", and is explained as follows: "that is, our safe arrival in heaven to begin an eternal life with Christ in contrast with those who reject Christ and "lose their lives" ". The problem is actually an English one. One cannot say "salvation of lives" and be understood; one cannot say "salvation of souls" and not be misunderstood; so I chose "deliverance of lives" and explained as I did in the text that this does mean salvation: life eternal for all who believe in Jesus Christ and hold onto that faith firmly until the end.

Question #21: 

Therefore, gird up the loins of your mind in spiritually mature alertness, and set your hope upon that grace which is coming your way when Jesus Christ is revealed.
1st Peter 1:13

I noticed that you don't seem to make a direct reference to the adverb τελειως. I have been wondering whether we should refer it to νηφοντες or to ἐλπισατε.

Response #21:  

The tele- morpheme has to do with completeness and in the epistles usually has to do with spiritual maturity, "completeness in growth". So "alertness" translates nephontes while "spiritually mature" is my rendering of teleios.

Question #22: 

This was something I wasn't sure about. You take τελειως as going with νηφοντες, NASB links it with ἐλπισατε.

Response #22: 

The adverb lies between both verb forms, but the rhythm of the Greek (as well as the meaning) demands taking it with the former, not the latter – otherwise (e.g.) nephontes would have to be taken and pronounced all on its own in a most unusual way.

Question #23: 

I understand your interpretation here. I have read this verse numerous times in Greek now, although without a sufficient language faculty and sensitivity this hasn't resulted in me being confident about this issue. I can definitely see that nephontes would be somewhat isolated if read without the adverb, but I wonder if Peter could have written it, so to say, as an addition to the expression just made at the start of the verse, with the emphasis lying on this first expression and nephontes being added in a way of further clarification and to define his exhortation more precisely. When it comes to meaning, as I understand it now, I would think that the adverb could work with either, so if there is a semantic point that you have in mind here that sways the interpretation on this ground, then let me know.

Response #23:  

I have been chewing on this one too. You make some good points. I see in my Greek NT that WH and NEB have construed things as I do, but that others have gone the other way and that many have left it ambiguous for the reader to decide. Greek does do this too, and I have see this in the NT as well, namely, adopting an apo koinou stance where (in this case) an adverb can be applied equally to both verbal ideas – and is meant to be applied thus. My thinking in translating this passage the way I did was not only that the rhythm of the Greek recommended it, but also that nephontes profited from being explained in this way much more so than elpisate since, for one thing, it explains the inherent metaphor in alertness as being of a spiritual kind, whereas hope is obviously spiritual in any case.

Question #24:

I can understand now what you meant about the adverb explaining nephontes as spiritual. But here I thought I would explain to you why I see τελειως ἐλπισατε as a real possibility. [details omitted] Don't put some of your hope in some worldly hope or desire or in your physical shape pride of life or in your earthly comfort. Not only don't split the ratio between this ultimate hope of the coming grace when your Lord is revealed and the earthly hope as 6 to 4, 7 to 3, or even 9 to 1. It must 10 to 0 - anything different than that will get you into trouble.

This is how I see τελειως ἐλπισατε can work and this is also what I observe with other Christians. Now, Professor, don't think that this is a call to some asceticism, it's not. I know we are to enjoy all these graces that God keeps pouring each day. But placing undue hope in them - and that always happens at the cost of the only true hope - brings trouble.

Response #24: 

On the first issue, it strikes me that taking the adverb with the participle works for your situation too: "waking up in a spiritual mature / complete way, [then] set your hope . . . ". If a person has "snapped out of it", "it" being in this example various types of worldliness, then directing hope will be possible; otherwise not. And how to direct hope "completely" without first "sobering up" (nephontes)? It seems the best solution is to take all three together. That was also my first impression, but not so easy to translate that into English; one can explain it, but I wasn't able to translate it. So I made a choice. Your points are all good ones.

Question #25: 

You are exactly right - the alertness determines how we set our hope and this applies to what I wrote too. It is quite correct that even what I saw as the cause of evil was itself a result of another evil - spiritual alertness being stupefied. Still, the two go hand in hand to such a degree that taking the adverb as applying to both may be the best solution, as you wrote. And on this - could you point me to some reading on this issue? I haven't come across an adverb being used in this way in "Reading Greek" and I haven't started "First Year of Greek" yet (I should soon though). In fact, although alertness would seem to precede hope, as also other scriptures could be taken to mean (Romans 5:3-5), these two are also linked so closely that I wonder if the cause-effect relationship is one directional. For example - hope of what is to come could reinforce our spiritual alertness. This is just a thought.

Response #25:  

apo koinou is what is called a "figure of speech". Metaphor, alliteration and assonance are figures well known in English, but many of the Classical figures, used widely in poetry and rhetoric, are not necessarily employed often or at all in English. There is, in my view, a great need for a good book on this subject which is not all in Greek and Latin (such as Oxford's Encyclopedia of Rhetoric or some titles in German I have forgotten) and which is not too simplified (such as the list in the back of Smyth). One of the problems with "figures" is that there are different ways of viewing many of them. One man's brachylogy is another man's metonymy, e.g. Bullinger's Figures of Speech in the Bible is the standard work for this sort of thin in scripture. However, to my mind it is overblown and I would disagree with many of his classifications (that is the "figure" problem always) – and I note that even with his extensive analysis he says nothing about this particular figure. This sort of knowledge comes with reading a lot of Greek and Latin poetry / rhetoric and reading a lot of commentaries which track these sorts of things. Have a brief go through Smyth (which I know you have: p.671 ff.) and you'll get the idea. I have a nice handout done my dear friend who died prematurely in graduate school. If I have a chance and remember this summer, I try to scan it and send you a copy (however I'm still on jury duty and we were supposed to get a new copier at work so there may be a learning curve there to in regards to doing this).

Question #26: 

One question I wanted to ask you about apo koinou - although the adverb fits both νηφοντες and ἐλπισατε, how likely is it that Peter would have known this figure of speech and used it in his writing? This question appeared to me as I have been thinking of this passage after our discussion. On the one hand, this figure seems to fit here perfectly both linguistically and semantically, but although I don't know how frequently it is utilised in secular Greek, I'm not sure if it is ever again used in the New Testament (at least I cannot remember coming across it) and if Peter would have consciously made use of it.

Response #26: 

It's a good question. What I would wish to do here is to distinguish between actual language the way people actually use it and analytical tools designed to help describe it. For example, in Latin they have construction we call "the double dative" wherein writers often say "it is FOR the benefit FOR you", which in English we translate "it is FOR the benefit OF you" – because that is our idiom. If Cicero were reading me instead of the other way around (lol), he might explain to his students that "this is the 'English dative/genitive construction' which conforms to our use of two datives". Now would that mean that I am consciously using such a construction? Not at all. I speak / write the way I do based upon years of hearing English, reading English and (one would hope) being educated. The language is the language, and as a native speaker who has had a fair amount of schooling I have a good idea of how I may use it and how I may not. People in our country do use figures of speech all the time without even realizing that is what they are doing, and that includes highly educated folks who think "Classics" means Shakespeare and Milton.

One critical difference is that in classical times those who practiced poetry and rhetoric at the time of the writing of the NT probably did as a rule possess a much greater cognizance of this issue than is true today of the average writer and intellectual. But that also cuts both ways. Things such as figures of speech were "in the ether" much more than is the case today. For example, pretty much everyone would have seen / heard their share of zeugmas and so would not be shocked or prompted to laugh upon hearing "He ate a prodigious amount of beef and wine".

So on the one hand, this sort of thing, using an adverb flexibly so as to have it apply to two verbal elements, is nothing unusual at the time, and on the other hand if what is written "works" then all is well for the writer and also for the contemporary native speakers and readers. Our problem today, being neither contemporary (and thus having to jump a wide cultural divide), nor being native speakers (and thus having to approach these writings somewhat artificially no matter how good our Greek is), is that sometimes we do have to resort to a depth of analysis of the text that otherwise would not be the case. If we know what we are doing, that is no problem – unless we make it a problem by committing the cardinal error of assuming that our lens of analysis is determinative and thus is, in effect, able to dictate to the text about what it can and can't mean. In fact, the text says what it says and means what it means. Our job is to use whatever means and talents we have to get to the bottom of the meaning in the Holy Spirit. "Wake up and set your hope in a spiritually mature way . . ." or "In a spiritually mature way wake up and set your hope . . ." are two possible ways of blurring the line. The line is definitely blurry in Greek since the adverb sits directly between two verbal elements, each of which could take an adverb and each of which are reasonable benefitted by being modified by this particular adverb. So, no, I doubt if Peter thought about this figure when he wrote what he wrote. But we do know that he had a good idea what he wrote meant, and the Spirit has produced the perfect meaning – in Greek. And it works in Greek when read in Greek. Our job is to understand that meaning and express it the best we can: "Therefore, gird up the loins of your mind in spiritually mature alertness, and set your hope upon that grace which is coming your way when Jesus Christ is revealed.

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.
Exodus 15:2

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)

Brother Bob,

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,

Brother Vau

More Prayer Requests:

  • For Walter's son Josh, in need of surgery for a defective heart valve.
  • 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 (richardlkhum@gmail.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.  *Please also pray for the salvation of his son in law.
  • 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

    Eschatology Issues XXIV: the 'Rapture' et al.

    Believers in the World VIII: Coping with Family

    Salvation, the Gospel, and Unbelief IV

    Believers in the World VII

    Culture and Christianity XX

    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

    Family Matters

    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

    Salvation Questions

    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

    Prayer Questions

    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.

    Spiritual Growth

    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

    Babylon USA?

    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. 

    Genesis Questions.

    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.

    Marriage "Matters".

    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.

    No Rapture

    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.

    Free-Will Faith.

    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

    Prophecy Questions.

    Theological Questions

    Heavenly Things.

    Dysfunctional Churches.

    Some Sensitive Topics II.

    Christmas Special: The Judgment and Reward of the Church.

    What is God's Will?


    Thanksgiving Leftovers.

    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.

    Literal Hell.

    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.

    Demon Influences.

    Sabbath Questions.

    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.

    Spiritual  Marathons.

    Christology:  Some Questions on the Life of Christ.

    Regarding Ichthys.

    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.

    Grammar Questions.

    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.

    Angelic Issues.

    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.

    Sabbath Observance.

    1st John 5:20 & Romans 6:23.

    Eschatology Questions.

    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.

    Combating Gnosticism.

    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.

    Spiritual Warfare.

    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.

    Eternal Rewards.

    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.

    Church History.

    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".

    Faith Healing.

    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?

    Confronting atheism.

    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?

    Interpreting Revelation

    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.

    The Passover.

    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?

    Six Questions.

    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?

    Church attendance.

    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?


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