Plato wrote of a conversation between Socrates and a man named Euthyphro in which this question was raised: Does God command us to do things because they are good or are they good because God commands them? Many people feel that either answer creates a problem. If God commands us to do things because they are good that implies that there is a standard of goodness independent of God to which he must conform. If the things God commands are good because he commands them then good and evil exist only because of God’s arbitrary decision to call certain thing good and others evil. This problem is known as the Euthyphro dilemma.
God commands parents to teach their children the Bible.
And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.
There are people who don’t believe the Bible and don’t think it should be taught to children. Some claim that parents who teach their children the Bible are brainwashing them. Those who make this claim are right; children who are taught the Bible are being brainwashed.
The word “doublethink” was first used by George Orwell in his novel 1984. It means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them.
Orwell invented the word but the practice existed long before he was born. First Kings 18 describes the contest between Elijah and the prophets of Baal to determine who is the true God. Here is what Elijah said to the people.
And Elijah came near to all the people and said, “How long will you go limping between two different opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him.”
1 Kings 18:21
Some of the people practiced doublethink by worshipping both Baal and the LORD. God condemned this practice and demanded that they choose one side or the other.
Everyone who is familiar with the Bible knows that God commanded Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac. Most don’t realize that before this Abraham had been commanded to sacrifice his other son, Ishmael.
While he was in one of the cities, there came a man full of leprosy. And when he saw Jesus, he fell on his face and begged him, “Lord, if you will, you can make me clean.” And Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, “I will; be clean.” And immediately the leprosy left him.
And he charged him to tell no one, but “go and show yourself to the priest, and make an offering for your cleansing, as Moses commanded, for a proof to them.”
Jesus told him to go to the priest because the Mosaic law required that an offering be made by anyone who had been cleansed from leprosy.
Mr. Smith owned several acres of land just outside of a city on the coast. He dreamed of living a life of luxury and seeing the world but had no hope of fulfilling those dreams because he was stuck in a job that paid him barely enough to live on.
How did life originate? Most people believe that it began with a process called abiogenesis, the development of living organisms from nonliving mater. According to this belief a very simple life form came into existence and over millions of year its descendants changed through the process of evolution to produce the large variety of life that exists today.
Not everyone believes in abiogenesis and evolution. Some people believe the Bible’s account of how life originated; it was created by God only a few thousand years ago.
Believers in abiogenesis and creation both agree that new varieties of life are constantly being produced by a process called natural selection. An examination of how this process works might show whether abiogenesis or creation is the most likely starting point for it.
When the disciples of Jesus asked him to teach them to pray he gave them a model prayer called the Lord’s prayer which included this request:
Give us each day our daily bread.
We ask this because our bodies need food in order to function properly. But we need more than just nourishment for our bodies. Read the rest of this entry
Why should we study the Bible? Second Timothy 3:16 gives us four reasons.
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness. Read the rest of this entry
When we were young our parents stressed the importance of always washing our hands before we eat. In the Bible it was customary for a host to offer his guests water so they could wash their feet before eating.
Abraham lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, three men were standing in front of him. When he saw them, he ran from the tent door to meet them and bowed himself to the earth and said, “O Lord, if I have found favor in your sight, do not pass by your servant. Let a little water be brought, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree, while I bring a morsel of bread, that you may refresh yourselves, and after that you may pass on—since you have come to your servant.”
So they said, “Do as you have said.”
Genesis 18:2-5 Read the rest of this entry
If we want to understand the Bible well we must not only read it but spend time thinking about what it says. Here is how the Bible describes the person whom God blesses.
His delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night.
What does it mean to meditate day and night? Do we have to stay awake and think about the Bible rather than sleeping? Read the rest of this entry
There are a lot of misconceptions about what the Bible says about creation. For example, many people think that the Bible says that God created the entire universe in six days. But is this really true? We need to take a careful look both at what the Bible says and what it doesn’t say. Read the rest of this entry
Where did the water go? This question is sometimes asked by those who don’t believe there was a worldwide flood. They think such a flood is impossible because there would be no place for the water to go after the flood was over. But there is a simple answer to this question. The water didn’t go anywhere; the flood ended when parts of the earth’s surface rose up to form the continents and islands that exist today.
You covered it with the deep as with a garment;
the waters stood above the mountains.
At your rebuke they fled;
at the sound of your thunder they took to flight.
The mountains rose, the valleys sank down
to the place that you appointed for them.
You set a boundary that they may not pass,
so that they might not again cover the earth.
What is it like to be a Christian who believes the Bible’s teaching that homosexual activity is a sin and who realizes that he is sexually attracted to others of his sex? Wesley Hill knows the answer to that question. He decided that the only way he could be obedient to the Bible was to live a life of celibacy. He has written a book called Washed and Waiting in which he describes his experiences. Here is what he says about his reasons for writing the book: Read the rest of this entry
The Bible reveals that God is a trinity consisting of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. This is clearly taught in the New Testament but it can also be found in the Old Testament.
Elisha began as a servant to Elijah and later took his place as prophet after Elijah was taken up to heaven. He had a servant named Gehazi. It is possible that he was preparing Gehazi to eventually be his successor just as he had been Elijah’s successor. Read the rest of this entry
Once three men went on an ocean cruise. One of them was an athlete who was in top physical condition and was a champion swimmer. The second knew how to swim and occasionally exercised but generally didn’t attach much importance to keeping fit. The third was a couch potato who didn’t know how to swim and was too lazy to ever exercise. There were plenty of things they could do on the ship to occupy their time and they became so interested in these activities that they didn’t bother to keep track of where the ship was.
To give prudence to the simple, knowledge and discretion to the youth. Let the wise hear and increase in learning, and the one who understands obtain guidance.
In Luke 16:19-31 Jesus tells the story of a rich man and a beggar named Lazarus and describes how they lived in this life and what their circumstances were after they died. Read the rest of this entry
The Bible contains four accounts of the life of Jesus which are very different from each other and each one contains some information that isn’t in the others. Some of the differences are so great that the gospels almost seem to contradict each other. Why would God inspire men to write four different accounts rather than just one?