Category Archives: Bible study

The other TULIP

If you are familiar with Calvinism you probably know of the acronym TULIP which stands for the five points that Calvinists believe in.

Total depravity

Unconditional election

Limited atonement

Irresistible grace

Perseverance of the saints

There is another TULIP acronym which isn’t as well known.

T — Total Humility

U — Unconditional Kindness

L — Limited Criticism

I — Irresistible Graciousness

P — Perseverance in Patience

I learned about the second TULIP from this article: The Doctrines of Graciousness   I recommend this for every Calvinist reading this post.  Anyone believing the first five points also needs the second five.  And if you are a Christian who isn’t a Calvinist you need the second TULIP even if you don’t believe the first.

I learned of the article from a link in this blog post:  Your theological crisis was preordained…

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Between death and resurrection

Adam’s sin brought death to the whole human race.  There are a few exceptions to this.  Enoch and Elijah never experienced death and all believers who are alive when the rapture takes place will never die, but for most who have ever lived life ends with death.

Everyone who has died or who will die in the future will be resurrected.

Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voiceand come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment.  (John 5:28-29)

But what will it be like between death and resurrection?  Most Christians believe the dead will continue to exist in a state of consciousness but some believe they are be in a state of soul sleep and not aware of anything that is going on. Read the rest of this entry

The naked man

Shortly before his arrest Jesus spent time by himself in prayer.

And they went to a place called Gethsemane. And he said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.”

And he took with him Peter and James and John, and began to be greatly distressed and troubled. And he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death. Remain here and watch.”

And going a little farther, he fell on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. And he said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.”

And he came and found them sleeping, and he said to Peter, “Simon, are you asleep? Could you not watch one hour? Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

And again he went away and prayed, saying the same words. And again he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were very heavy, and they did not know what to answer him. And he came the third time and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? It is enough; the hour has come. The Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.Rise, let us be going; see, my betrayer is at hand.”  (Mark 14:32-42)

This incident was also recorded by Matthew and Luke. Read the rest of this entry

Righteous people

God told Abraham that he was going to judge Sodom for its sins.  Lot, Abraham’s nephew, lived in Sodom and this fact prompted Abraham to intercede for the city.

Then Abraham drew near and said, “Will you indeed sweep away the righteous with the wicked? Suppose there are fifty righteous within the city. Will you then sweep away the place and not spare it for the fifty righteous who are in it? Far be it from you to do such a thing, to put the righteous to death with the wicked, so that the righteous fare as the wicked! Far be that from you! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do what is just?” 

And the Lord said, “If I find at Sodom fifty righteous in the city, I will spare the whole place for their sake.”

. . . . .

Then he said, “Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak again but this once. Suppose ten are found there.”

He answered, “For the sake of ten I will not destroy it.”  (Genesis 18:23-26,32)

Read the rest of this entry

Job’s rewards

Most of you are familiar with the story of Job.  He was a man who feared God and he was very wealthy.

There was a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job, and that man was blameless and upright, one who feared God and turned away from evil. There were born to him seven sons and three daughters.He possessed 7,000 sheep, 3,000 camels, 500 yoke of oxen, and 500 female donkeys, and very many servants, so that this man was the greatest of all the people of the east.  (Job 1:1-3)

Satan claimed that Job served God not out of sincerity but because God had made him wealthy.  God allowed Satan to test Job by taking away his wealth.  Job lost his wealth, his children, and his health.  His wife urged him to curse God and die.    He was also afflicted with three “friends” who claimed that Job had brought his misfortunes on himself by sinning.

Job insisted he was innocent and wanted God to explain the reason for his suffering, but his faith in God never wavered.  In the end God did appear to him but rather than explaining the reason for what had happened he asked Job a series of questions that revealed his superiority to Job.  As a result Job came to know God better than he had before. Read the rest of this entry

Praying for prisoners

King Herod began to persecute the church.

About that time Herod the king laid violent hands on some who belonged to the church. He killed James the brother of John with the sword, and when he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded to arrest Peter also. This was during the days of Unleavened Bread. And when he had seized him, he put him in prison, delivering him over to four squads of soldiers to guard him, intending after the Passover to bring him out to the people. So Peter was kept in prison, but earnest prayer for him was made to God by the church.  (Acts 12:1-5)

The church prayed for Peter and their prayers were answered.

Now when Herod was about to bring him out, on that very night, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and sentries before the door were guarding the prison. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood next to him, and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side and woke him, saying, “Get up quickly.” And the chains fell off his hands.  (Acts 12:6,7)

When a believer is imprisoned because of his faith we should pray for him.  The church prayed for Peter and he was freed in response to their prayers.  But should we just pray that the imprisoned believer be released?  Paul might have held a different opinion. Read the rest of this entry

The synagogue and the Areopagus

God chose Paul to carry the gospel to the gentiles.  Wherever Paul went he preached to the gentiles but he also preached to his own people, the Jews.  Acts contains two detailed accounts of his preaching the gospel, once to the Jews and once to the gentiles.

During his first missionary journey Paul and Barnabas came to Antioch in Pisidia and attended the synagogue on the Sabbath.  They were invited to speak to the congregation and Paul gave this message. Read the rest of this entry

God’s hatred

A lot is said about God’s love.  It is the topic of the most well-known verse in the Bible.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.  (John 3:16)

But how often have you heard anyone say anything about God’s hatred?  Some people believe that God never hates anyone or anything because they believe all hatred is wrong and God never sins.  Here is what the Bible says about that.

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven . . . a time to love, and a time to hate.  (Ecclesiastes 3:1,8)

When we hate our hatred is usually sinful because we seldom know when hatred is called for.  (Our love can also be sinful.  We love something that God has told us we shouldn’t love or we love one thing more than another when we should love the second thing more.)  God always knows when it is the proper time to love or hate. Read the rest of this entry

Samuel and Eli

There was a certain man of Ramathaim-zophim of the hill country of Ephraim whose name was Elkanah the son of Jeroham, son of Elihu, son of Tohu, son of Zuph, an Ephrathite. He had two wives. The name of the one was Hannah, and the name of the other, Peninnah. And Peninnah had children, but Hannah had no children.  (1 Samuel 1:1,2)

Hannah desperately wanted a son and promised God that if he gave her a son she would give him back to God to serve him.

And she vowed a vow and said, “O LORD of hosts, if you will indeed look on the affliction of your servant and remember me and not forget your servant, but will give to your servant a son, then I will give him to the LORD all the days of his life, and no razor shall touch his head.”  (1 Samuel 1:11)

God answered her prayer.  God gave her a son and she named him Samuel.  When he was old enough she brought him to the house of God and gave him to Eli the priest.

And when she had weaned him, she took him up with her, along with a three-year-old bull, an ephah of flour, and a skin of wine, and she brought him to the house of the Lord at Shiloh. And the child was young.Then they slaughtered the bull, and they brought the child to Eli.  (1 Samuel 1:24,25)

Read the rest of this entry

Promises delayed

The Israelites spent 400 years in Egypt.  They were invited to settle in Egypt to escape the famine in their own land.  At first they were honored guests but that status changed.

Now there arose a new king over Egypt, who did not know Joseph. And he said to his people, “Behold, the people of Israel are too many and too mighty for us. Come, let us deal shrewdly with them, lest they multiply, and, if war breaks out, they join our enemies and fight against us and escape from the land.” 

Therefore they set taskmasters over them to afflict them with heavy burdens. They built for Pharaoh store cities, Pithom and Raamses.  (Exodus 1:8-11)

The people prayed to God for freedom from their bondage and God chose Moses to answer their prayers.

Then the Lord said, “I have surely seen the affliction of my people who are in Egypt and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters. I know their sufferings, and I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land to a good and broad land, a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. And now, behold, the cry of the people of Israel has come to me, and I have also seen the oppression with which the Egyptians oppress them. Come, I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring my people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.”   (Exodus 3:7-10)
 

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Meeting Melchizedek

Abraham’s nephew Lot separated himself from Abraham and went to live in Sodom.  His decision soon got him in trouble. Genesis 14:1-16 describes how a coalition of kings led by Chedorlaomer overcame Sodom and its allies and took as prisoners the people of those cities, including Lot.  When Abraham heard of this he called out his followers and rescued Lot and the other captives.

After his return from the defeat of Chedorlaomer and the kings who were with him, the king of Sodom went out to meet him at the Valley of Shaveh (that is, the King’s Valley).  (Genesis 14:17)

But before the king of Sodom met him he encountered Melchizedek.

And Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. (He was priest of God Most High.) And he blessed him and said,

“Blessed be Abram by God Most High,
    Possessor of heaven and earth;
and blessed be God Most High,
    who has delivered your enemies into your hand!”

And Abram gave him a tenth of everything.  (Genesis 14:18-20)

Read the rest of this entry

The source of our righteousness

Here is the intorduction to Psalm 18.

To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David, the servant of the Lord, who addressed the words of this song to the Lord on the day when the Lord delivered him from the hand of all his enemies, and from the hand of Saul. 

(David celebrated his deliverance from the hand of his enemies and from the hand of Saul.  Even though Saul had often tried to kill him, David apparently didn’t consider him an enemy.)

David begins the psalm by describing past troubles when his life seemed to be in danger.  He called to God for help and God rescured him and gave him victory over his enemies.  He said that God delivered him because of his righteousness. Read the rest of this entry

The church and Daniel’s 70 week prophecy

Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully, inquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories.  (1 Peter 1:10,11)

The Old Testament prophets tell us of the suffering Christ experienced when he was crucified; they tell us of the glory associeated with his rule over the earth during the Millennium.  But what do they say about the time between these two events, the time in which we are living now?  The answer is: not much.  In fact they say nothing about the most important aspect of this era, the formation of the church.  The apostle Paul was given the task of revealing this truth to us.

When you read this, you can perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to the sons of men in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit. This mystery is that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.  (Ephesians 3:4-6)

The Old Testament teaches that Gentiles will be saved; it never tells of the formation of a new body composed of both Jews and Gentiles.  Paul not only teaches us about this body but he also tells how it will be removed from the earth through the event known as the rapture. Read the rest of this entry

Will we be married in Heaven?

Most people get married at some time during their life.  What happens when married people die?  Are they still married?  Some Sadducees once asked Jesus that question.

The same day Sadducees came to him, who say that there is no resurrection, and they asked him a question, saying, “Teacher, Moses said, ‘If a man dies having no children, his brother must marry the widow and raise up offspring for his brother.’ Now there were seven brothers among us. The first married and died, and having no offspring left his wife to his brother. So too the second and third, down to the seventh. After them all, the woman died. In the resurrection, therefore, of the seven, whose wife will she be? For they all had her.”

But Jesus answered them, “You are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God. For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven.”  (Matthew 22:23-30)

It is clear that the marriages we enter into on earth will no longer exist in Heaven but the Bible speaks of a different kind of marriage that will exist there. Read the rest of this entry

Moving the embassy to Jerusalem

On December 6 President Trump announced that the United States embassy in Israel would be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.  Since Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, this seems like a reasonable step to take, yet this decision has been met with protests all over the world.  The United Nations voted 128 to 9 to condemn it.  The Palestinians have objected and threatened violence because they consider Jerusalem to be their capital.

Israel is unique among the nations of the world.  It began when God told Abraham to go to another land and promised to make a great nation of his descendants.

Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”  (Genesis 12:1-3)

Abraham had two sons, Isaac and Ishmael.  The descendants of Isaac became the nation of Israel and fulfilled God’s promise to make Abraham a great nation.  Jerusalem became the capital of Israel.  God’s temple was there and it was where Jesus was crucified, fulfilling the promise that all families of the earth would be blessed in Abraham. Read the rest of this entry

No True Scotsman – not always a fallacy

There is a logical fallacy known as the “No true Scotsman” fallacy.  Here is how it is described in Wikipedia.

Philosophy professor Bradley Dowden explains the fallacy as an “ad hoc rescue” of a refuted generalization attempt. The following is a simplified rendition of the fallacy:

Person A: “No Scotsman puts sugar on his porridge.”
Person B: “But my uncle Angus likes sugar with his porridge.”
Person A: “Ah yes, but no true Scotsman puts sugar on his porridge.”

This fallacy is often used in debates about evolution and creation.  The evolutionist claims that scientists believe in evolution.  The creationist points out that a lot of scientists believe in creation and reject evolution.  The evolutionist says that they are not true scientists.

Even Christians sometimes use this fallacy to dismiss other Christians with whom they disagree on doctrine.  I was once engaged in an internet discussion with someone who believed that the only true Christians were those who believed in the five points of Calvinism.  Anyone who rejected this belief was not a true Christian.  (If you don’t know what Calvinism is, you can find out here: What is Calvinism? )

Read the rest of this entry

The man who would not be king

Rudyard Kipling wrote a story called “The Man Who Would be King.”  It is about two Englishmen who took control of a small state in Afghanistan and set up a kingdom there.  You can read the story here.

The Bible tells of a man who would not be king.  He was offered the kingship of Israel and turned it down.  In view of what happened afterward I think he was wrong to do this.

The man’s name was Gideon.  You can read his story in Judges 6-8.  God called Gideon to deliver Israel from the Midianites.  With only 300 men he was able to overcome a Midianite army of 135,000.  The people of Israel were so grateful they offered to make him their ruler. Read the rest of this entry

Paving the road to Hell

Christianity is based on love.  It was love that made God send Jesus to die for our sins.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)

All that God wants from us can be summarized in two commands.

And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22:35-40)

We are saved through faith but love is more important than faith and is the only acceptable motivation for what we do. Read the rest of this entry

The suffering of Jesus

Before his arrest Jesus prayed that if it were possible he might avoid being crucified.

And he came out and went, as was his custom, to the Mount of Olives, and the disciples followed him. And when he came to the place, he said to them, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.”

And he withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed,saying, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” 

And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him. And being in agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground. And when he rose from prayer, he came to the disciples and found them sleeping for sorrow, and he said to them, “Why are you sleeping? Rise and pray that you may not enter into temptation.” (Luke 22:39-46)

He wanted to avoid the crucifixion but he submitted to God’s will and as you know it was God’s will for him to be crucified.  Read the rest of this entry

Leprosy

Leviticus 13 and 14 give God’s commands concerning leprosy.  Leviticus 13:1-44 tells how it was diagnosed.  A priest examined the skin of the person suspected of having leprosy and declared him clean or unclean on the basis of that examination.  The next two verses describe how a person declared unclean was to live.

The leprous person who has the disease shall wear torn clothes and let the hair of his head hang loose, and he shall cover his upper lip and cry out, “Unclean, unclean.” He shall remain unclean as long as he has the disease. He is unclean. He shall live alone. His dwelling shall be outside the camp. (Leviticus 13:45,46)

He was isolated and forbidden to have contact with those without leprosy.

Today the term “leprosy” is given to a disease called Hansen’s disease.  A comparison of Hansen’s disease and biblical leprosy shows that they are not the same.  Here is how the National Institute of Health describes Hansen’s disease.

Hansen’s disease (also known as leprosy) is a rare bacterial infection that affects the skin, nerves and mucous membranes. After exposure, it may take anywhere from 2 to 10 years to develop features of the condition. Once present, common signs and symptoms include skin lesions; muscle weakness or paralysis; eye problems that may lead to blindness; nosebleeds; severe pain; and/or numbness in the hands, feet, arms and legs.

Hansen’s disease

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