• Christian Living,  New Testament,  Theology

    Is God in Control of My Sickness?

    Nobody enjoys sickness or infirmity. Whether it is a significant disease or a minor sickness, infirmities often are a source of consternation and complaint. Regardless of whether it is our own sickness, or the sickness of a loved one, Christians are constantly driven to questions about God’s relationship to sickness and suffering. Does God have control over sickness? Sickness and God’s Glory One of my favorite passages which addresses the issue of sickness or infirmity and God’s control is John 9. As Jesus and His disciples traveled in Jerusalem, they pass by a man who was blind from birth. The disciples ask Jesus, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” (John 9:2). The assumption behind the disciples’ question is that sin and sickness are connected. The disciples supposed that it was either the blind man’s sin, or his parents’ sin that brought about the…

  • Ethics,  New Testament,  Old Testament

    Homosexuality was Added to the Bible in 1946

    It is becoming more and more popular to argue that the Bible speaking against homosexuality is a recent innovation that was added to the Bible to make Scripture anti-gay. One very common iteration of the argument is that the word “homosexual” was not in any Bible prior to 1946. The implication of such argumentation is that the Bible does not speak against homosexuality, and that the church should therefore accept a gay lifestyle as being compatible with biblical teaching. Those who put forward such argumentation typically point to Luther’s German translation of 1 Corinthians 6:9, which uses the word Knabenschänder, or “boy molester” rather than the typical idea of homosexual found in modern translations. Additionally, proponents point to the KJV translation, done in 1611, which translated 1 Corinthians 6:9 as, “nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind.” It was not until 1946 with the translation of the RSV that…

  • Christian Living,  Culture,  Ethics,  New Testament

    Avoid Every Appearance of Evil (1 Thess 5:22)

    Growing up I often heard the King James Version rendition of 1 Thessalonians 5:22, “Abstain from all appearance of evil.” The implication of course was that Christians should avoid even the appearance of evil, not just evil actions themselves. Unfortunately this verse, like many others, has often been misinterpreted and misapplied. English Translations of 1 Thessalonians 5:22 KJV Abstain from all appearance of evil. NKJV Abstain from every form of evil. ESV Abstain from every form of evil. HCSB/CSB Stay away from every kind of evil. NIV Reject every kind of evil. NASB Abstain from every form of evil. NET Stay away from every form of evil. Comparing the various English translations, we can see that only the KJV translates this verse as “appearance of evil.” There is a significant difference between “appearance of evil” and “form/kind of evil.” Hence, we note that it is the KJV against the rest of the English translations. Although some would use this difference…

  • Christian Living,  Church,  New Testament

    Should Christians Confess their Sins?

    One question I periodically come across is whether there a place for Christians to confess their sins after conversion. Obviously it is an integral part of Christianity to believe that all sin (past, present, and future) has been dealt with by Christ on the cross. He has paid for all sin in full, assuring the believer of forgiveness and a future hope of eternity with Christ in heaven. So, is there any need to confess sin after conversion? A verse that is central to whether or not we should confess our sins after we are saved is 1 John 1:9. At first reading, 1 John 1:9 seems to imply that believers ought to confess their sins. However, some have argued that if 1 John 1:9 teaches believers are to confess their sins after conversion, then this would undermine the very heart of the gospel. The Broad Biblical Teaching on Forgiveness…

  • Church,  New Testament

    Titus 1:6 – Children Who Believe? Or Faithful?

    According to the NASB, Titus 1:6 states that leaders in the church must have children who believe. In other words, a church leader who has children, must have children who believe (i.e., Christians). Leadership certaintly is a high calling. The significance of leadership is magnified within the Church because of the importance of the Church as a unified witness of God’s plan of redemption to the watching world. For this reason, Paul clearly lays out two lists of leadership qualifications which give the standard of character for the would-be leader in the Church (1 Tim 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9). These lists are essentially the same, although a few differences exist. As noted above, the biggest difference is Titus 1:6, which seems to mandate that an elder have children who believe (i.e., Christian children). On the other hand, other translations choose the phrase “faithful children” instead of children who believe. A brief…

  • New Testament,  Theology

    Posts about Prophets, Apostles, and Spiritual Gifts

    The topics of prophets, Apostles, and spiritual gifts are of interest to many people. For ease of reference, this post will serve as an index of sorts, pointing inquiring individuals to some of my thoughts on spiritual gifts, and more specifically, the cessation of the miraculous gifts. What follows is a listing of the various post titles with a brief description of the contents. Are Apostles for the Church Today? Historically it has been common to acknowledge that the office of Apostle has passed from the church. However, there are more and more individuals today who are arguing for the continuation of Apostolic authority. There are at least four reasons why there are no Apostles in the church today. Prophets and Prophetic Revelation Prophets are closely tied to the office of Apostle (cf. Eph 2:20; 4:11), so this is another important discussion. It is in vogue today to redefine prophecy,…

  • New Testament,  Textual Criticism

    Why James Translates Jacob in the New Testament

    In James 1:1 we read, “James, a bond-servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes who are dispersed abroad: Greetings.” James is the English word for Ἰάκωβος in the Greek. However, Ἰάκωβος is simply a Greek form for the name of Jacob in the OT (יַעֲקֹב). Why do we use the name James for the name Jacob in the New Testament? Why James Rather than Jacob? One theory is that during that translation of the King James Bible, the king forced the translators to substitute the king’s name for Jacob in the New Testament because he wanted his name in the Bible. This view is assuredly incorrect, especially since the name James was used by the Wycliffe translation in the 14th century. One cannot be dogmatic on the issue, but the following seems to be the best reconstruction we can do as to why James…

  • New Testament,  Theology

    The Link between Salvation and Good Works

    Many people do not connect good works with salvation at all. As a case in point, I remember a time about five or six years ago I had the opportunity to have a conversation from a man from Texas. As we talked about Jesus and the church, he mentioned that everyone went to church in the South and that it was a way of life. When I pressed him further, he admitted that there were many in the South who would verbally identify as Christians but live just as pagan as anybody else. When I asked this man how someone goes to heaven he articulated a very clean and precise presentation of the gospel. He told me that going to heaven was only possible through Christ’s sacrifice and that good works play no part in earning salvation. At that moment I was kind of stunned, because he was articulating a…

  • New Testament,  Theology

    Three Stages of a Christian’s Sanctification

    It is popular in New Testament scholarship to view sanctification only in a positional sense. It is true that much of the New Testament refers to sanctification in a positional sense, meaning our standing before God as being special and set apart. While this is undoubtedly true, there are good arguments to utilize sanctification terminology to refer to the entire process of our salvation, from the initial stages to our ultimate glorification in heaven. Thus, we can think of our sanctification as involving three distinct stages. Positional Sanctification The word is self refers to making holy, or setting something apart. Thus, we are not surprised when Hebrews 10:10 says that we have positional sanctification because of the once-for-all death of Christ. This positional sanctification is even granted to the worldly believers in Corinth (1 Cor 1:2). Thus, when we speak of sanctification, we must acknowledge that there is a positional…

  • New Testament

    What Does Lukewarm Mean in Rev 3:16?

    In Revelation 3:14-22 Jesus addresses the church of Laodicea and sternly rebukes their deeds. He says, “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot. So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth” (vv. 15-16). The most popular interpretation of Revelation 3:16, and particularly the nuance of “lukewarm” is as follows. The hot water stood for people who follow God, the cold water stood for people who reject God, and lukewarm stood for nominal Christianity. This interpretation holds that lukewarm Christianity is deplorable to Christ and that it would be better to be completely opposed to Christ than to be lukewarm, or nominally committed to Him. Although many commentators I respect hold to some variation of this position, I have since become convinced of what I think is a better understanding of…