Category Archives: Bible study
Book burning! What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear those words? Many people think of a tyrannical government which censors any ideas with which it disagrees and sometimes resorts to gathering books which promote those ideas and publicly burning them. This has actually taken place at times. The idea that book burning is wrong is so pervasive that some people believe it is wrong to destroy any book for any reason. Sometimes that can lead to problems. Read the rest of this entry
In Galatians 1:11 -2:10 Paul tells what happened to him after he first became a Christian. He ends the account by telling of a visit to Jerusalem.
Then after fourteen years I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, taking Titus along with me. I went up because of a revelation and set before them (though privately before those who seemed influential) the gospel that I proclaim among the Gentiles, in order to make sure I was not running or had not run in vain.But even Titus, who was with me, was not forced to be circumcised, though he was a Greek. (Galatians 2:1-3)
Jesus once told about two men. One was rich and the other was a beggar.
There was a rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. And at his gate was laid a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores,who desired to be fed with what fell from the rich man’s table. Moreover, even the dogs came and licked his sores. (Luke 16:19-21)
The two men died and their fates were very different. Read the rest of this entry
Jesus said, “A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and in his own household.” That was certainly true of Jesus. His mother Mary honored him because the angel Gabriel had foretold his birth and he had been born while she was still a virgin. Joseph honored him because after he discovered that Mary was pregnant an angel appeared to him in a dream to tell him that Jesus had been conceived by the Holy Spirit and that he would save his people from their sins. But after he was born Joseph and Mary had other children. There were four boys named James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas, and an unspecified number of girls. These children had not received the divine revelations their parents had and they thought that Jesus was just an ordinary person like them. Read the rest of this entry
I live in the United States where I enjoy the constitutional right to practice my religious beliefs and I face very little opposition in serving God. There are many Christians who don’t have this freedom. In the Middle East many Christians run the risk of being killed by Muslim extremists. Persecution of Christians is increasing in China. India is controlled by a Hindu nationalist party whose goal is to make India a completely Hindu nation. According to Open Doors North Korea is the place where Christians suffer the most persecution.
Paul had this to say about the suffering experienced by Christians. Read the rest of this entry
The Bible begins by telling us how God created the earth. But what was he doing before? God is eternal so surely the universe we live in is not the first of God’s works and it won’t be the last. Some people think Heaven will be boring because we will have nothing to do. In fact we will have plenty to do just learning what God has done in the past and observing what he does in the future. (I wonder if the words past and future will have any meaning. We live in time so for us some things have happened in the past and others are still in the future. Will this still be true in eternity?)
The Bible does reveal some things that happened before the earth was created. Read the rest of this entry
The Israelites were slaves in Egypt. They prayed for freedom and God heard their prayers. He appeared to Moses and appointed him to deliver the people.
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 13:7-10)
When you saw the title of this post you probably thought about Joseph in the Old Testament. Dreams played an important part in his life. When he was young he had dreams that were a source of antagonism between him and his family. Genesis 37:5-11
When he was in prison because he had been falsely accused by Potiphar’s wife he interpreted the dreams of two other prisoners. Genesis 40:1-23
He interpreted Pharaoh’s dreams and was made governor of Egypt. Genesis 41:14-26
But the Joseph in the New Testament also had dreams. When he learned that Mary was pregnant and was planning to divorce her God sent him a dream. Read the rest of this entry
Many people have had what are called near death experiences. They found themselves outside of their bodies and saw a bright light to which they were attracted, but before they could reach the light they were back in their bodies.
Opinions differ as to what really happened. Some think this was a real event and they actually left their bodies for a short time. Others think this was a delusion created by their minds. The Bible has many accounts of death but it never describes what goes on in the mind of a person who is dying, so we can’t use it to answer the question.
I have no personal opinion on the subject. Those who believe it is a real experience claim that this proves that life continues after the death of the body. I believe in the continuation of life because the Bible teaches it, so I don’t need any scientific confirmation. After we experience death ourselves we will no doubt learn the truth. Read the rest of this entry
Here is something I read on Facebook.
Do all infants who die go to Heaven?
by Joshua Arnold
I would like to prove that it is absolutely biblical to say that every human that dies in infancy goes to Heaven. Not only infants, but mentally handicapped people that are unable to grasp the reality of sin, and good and evil, but that’s not what I’m going to be discussing in this post. The post will be a quite long, and so it may not be very shareable, but God willing it will be informative, and worth the read. I don’t expect many people to read it all, but It should bring clarity and give rest to those confused or concerned with the matter. I answer a few common objections at the end.
Without a doubt in my mind, every single baby, unborn, stillborn, or born but dies before they are able to comprehend good and evil, goes straight to Heaven.
In fact, I believe that there is no greater display of God’s sovereign grace than a helpless baby, who has no personal, religious, or moral merits, inheriting the kingdom of Heaven by pure grace.
There are a couple things that must be understood about babies. Read the rest of this entry
Those of us who are saved were chosen for salvation before the world was even created.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. (Ephesians 1:3-6)
Since God has already decided who will be saved and who won’t there is no point in praying for the salvation of another person. If he has been predestined for salvation he will be saved; if he hasn’t been predestined he won’t be. Our prayers will have no effect. This seems like an unanswerable argument against praying that someone be saved. But Paul, the author of the above quote, wasn’t persuaded by it. He prayed for the salvation of his fellow Israelites. Read the rest of this entry
If you have become a Christian by putting your faith in Jesus Christ you are an exile and not living in your native country. When you became a Christian you acquired a new citizenship.
But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. (Philippians 3:20)
Because of this our present status in this world is that of exile.
Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ,
To those who are elect exiles of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia. (1 Peter 1:10)
Sometimes animals behave more intelligently than humans.
Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth;
for the Lord has spoken:
“Children have I reared and brought up,
but they have rebelled against me.
The ox knows its owner,
and the donkey its master’s crib,
but Israel does not know,
my people do not understand.” (Isaiah 1:2,3)
If you feed an animal he will recognize you as being the source of his food; all of us have received blessings from God but many fail to acknowledge him as the source of those blessings.
But not all animals respond in the same way. Under the Mosaic law the ox was considered a clean animal. It was suitable for sacrifice and its flesh could be eaten. The ox knows it owner.
The donkey was an unclean animal. It was useful for farmwork and transportation, but it could not be eaten or offered as a sacrifice. The donkey’s focus was not on the owner himself but on the food he received from his owner. Read the rest of this entry
After the flood God told Noah and his sons to multiply and fill the earth. So what did they do?
Now the whole earth had one language and the same words. And as people migrated from the east, they found a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there. And they said to one another, “Come, let us make bricks, and burn them thoroughly.”
And they had brick for stone, and bitumen for mortar.Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth.” (Genesis 11:1-4)
One unanswered question regarding the Bible is the location of the Ark of the Covenant. I recently made this post, The ark of the covenant, in which I suggested that it is better that the ark remain hidden. If it were found it might become an object of worship. This morning, in reading through the Bible, I found something which suggests the ark will never be found.
And I will give you shepherds after my own heart, who will feed you with knowledge and understanding. And when you have multiplied and been fruitful in the land, in those days, declares the Lord, they shall no more say, “The ark of the covenant of the Lord.” It shall not come to mind or be remembered or missed; it shall not be made again.At that time Jerusalem shall be called the throne of the Lord, and all nations shall gather to it, to the presence of the Lord in Jerusalem, and they shall no more stubbornly follow their own evil heart. (Jeremiah 3:15-17)
Not only will no one find the ark, no one will ever make another ark to replace it. I have come to the conclusion that the ark was not lost but was deliberately hidden by God to make sure it never becomes a source of idolatry.
God has forbidden us to communicate with the dead in an effort to discover truth.
There shall not be found among you anyone who burns his son or his daughter as an offering, anyone who practices divination or tells fortunes or interprets omens, or a sorcerer or a charmer or a medium or a necromancer or one who inquires of the dead, for whoever does these things is an abomination to the LORD. (Deuteronomy 18:10-12)
In Luke 16:19-31 Jesus described the afterlife and revealed that God places some restrictions on the dead who wish to communicate with us. (Many believe this is a parable and not something that actually happened. I have discussed that in this post: Lazarus and the rich man – parable or actual event? ) When the rich man saw Abraham and Lazarus he asked that Lazarus be allowed to come to him to give him some relief from his suffering. Read the rest of this entry
Good cop/bad cop is a routine police sometimes us when interrogating suspects. The bad cop is hostile toward the suspect. The good cop is sympathetic and sometimes even restrains the bad cop. The suspect comes to accept the good cop as his friend and sometimes will give him the information the police are looking for.
The suspect comes to think of the two cops as being opposed to each other and he naturally sides with the one who is friendlier to him. In fact they are working together. From the suspect’s point of view they are both bad cops because they are trying to get him to give them information they need. From the point of view of law abiding citizens they are both good cops because they are trying to enforce the law and fight crime. Read the rest of this entry
A soft answer turns away wrath,
but a harsh word stirs up anger.
There will be times when others are angry at us. We can’t avoid this but we can choose how we respond to their anger. We can either give a soft answer, which will turn their wrath away, or we can respond with a harsh word, which will increase their anger. Two of the judges of Israel, Gideon and Jephthah, encountered the wrath of others in nearly identical circumstances but responded differently.
Gideon was a farmer. When he first appears in the Biblical account he is beating out wheat in a winepress to keep it hidden from the Midianite invaders of the land. The angel of the LORD appeared to him and told him he had been chosen to destroy the Midianites. He reluctantly accepted the assignment and after a successful war against the Midianites he encountered opposition from one of the other tribes of Israel, Ephraim. Read the rest of this entry
Matthew 6:9-13 contains the prayer known as the Lord’s Prayer. It contains the phrase “Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” Is this part of the prayer being answered today? It appears to me that most of the earth is rebelling against God’s will rather than following it.
The Bible tells us that God created the world and everything in it in six days and we should acknowledge him as our Creator. Humans have come up with the belief that the earth developed by natural processes over billions of years and that life arose by a process of evolution. This belief is such an integral part of our culture that even many Bible believers accept it and interpret the Bible in a way that accommodates the belief that the earth is old. I once believed in an old earth and reconciled this belief with the Bible by believing in the gap theory. Read the rest of this entry
YOLO stands for You Only Live Once. It is the philosophy that the life we are now living is the only we will ever have so we should make the best use of it by doing those things which bring us the greatest amount of pleasure now. Like any other philosophy it needs to be tested by comparing it with what the Bible teaches.
If the dead are not raised, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.” (1 Corinthians 15:32)
It is correct in one point. If the life we live now is all there is then the wisest course of action would be to get as much enjoyment as we can. But is this life really all we have?
It is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment. (Hebrews 9:27)
We do indeed only live once, but our existence doesn’t end when our body dies. Here is a description of the final judgment. Read the rest of this entry