Resources & Aides
In Part 2 of this essay we will continue in addressing tools that greatly enhance studying God’s Word. As the New Testament was communicated and written in the Koiné Greek language (with perhaps two exceptions ~ See Endnote #60), according to the providence of God; it is incumbent upon us as God’s children to avail ourselves of every opportunity to attain meaning according to the understanding of that language, in an effort to comprehend exactly what God desires to say to us by “rightly dividing the word of truth,” not only in properly grasping what the plain text says, but in also gleaning every nuance that adds shades of meaning in the process.
First, let us revisit the particularities of the unusual formatting of this essay in order to profit from it.
Key to the Text
Within these essays, grammatical terms, such as: verbs, nouns, verbal nouns, prepositions, conjunctions, participles; as well as: tense, mood, voice, person, number, case, gender, are identified by the use of non-italicized and non-bold light blue font.
Foreign language words (Hebrew, Greek, Aramaic, and Latin) are shown in italicized and bold light blue fonts.
Endnote reference numbers are displayed in bold light blue small fonts, in superscript.
The author’s writing style and teaching method indulges in run-on sentences, colored text and italicized text for emphasis; and (mammoth parentheses, which are presented in gray font [the use of parentheses within parentheses are done in brackets identified in violet font], all in order to aid in the readability of long sentences).
The use of expansive Endnotes at the bottom of each essay are sometimes meant to be a lesson in itself.
The author seeks to teach about many different subjects, while presenting information on a singular topic.
This type of teaching is also subject to repetitious presentations, in order to foster remembrance (as per: Phil. 1:3; 2 Pet. 1:12-13, 3:1-2); all in an effort to display the congruence found in God’s Word as seen across the spectrum of sixty-six books which are a single volume (2 Tim. 3:16; 2 Pet. 3:1-2; Acts 20:27), with a single author; God, concerning His Will for man (Heb. 4:12-13; 2 Tim. 3:15-17); done in order to aid in pointing out the Biblical reasons for having faith in the God of the Bible, and our Lord Jesus Christ.
Both the Hebrew and the Greek have their own particular differences which are utilized by God, and which presents God’s message to man in a diversity of style and effectiveness that complement each other.
The Hebrew (Old Testament) language displays vividness, conciseness, simplicity and denseness, and is very poetic and therefore necessitates many more English words in its translation is due to its vagueness; and therefore its ability to utilize puns, and many other rhetorical devices; which add color and nuances to the language beautifully.
Whereas in comparison, the Greek Koiné language (New Testament) is beautiful, rich, and harmonious, a very specific language, technical, efficient and effective; an excellent tool for vigorous thought and religious devotion.
These are characteristics which make it an excellent language for debate, philosophy, logic, and science, due to its strength and vigor; a language of argument with a vocabulary and style that penetrate and clarify phenomena rather than simply describe verbiage.
It takes many more English words to translate a single Greek word into English, yet for a different reason than the Hebrew, because of its specificity and exactness. It is perhaps the most precise form of expression found in any language, far beyond the English, Latin, or Oriental languages.
This is one of the closest to perfect languages in man’s existence, making it more than appropriate as God’s tool of communication to man.
Concerning the precision and methodical nature of Koiné (Greek: “common“) Greek; it should be understood that the Hebrew Old Testament Scriptures were translated into this “common“ (common dialect, as opposed to Attic dialect; Koiné Greek is an ancestor of modern Greek and the first supra-regional dialect in Greece, becoming the lingua franca for the Eastern Mediterranean and ancient Near East throughout the Roman period due to the conquest of Alexander the Great [336 BC to 323 BC], and therefore became the common language of the known world ~ 300 BC to AD 300), Koiné Greek three centuries before the time of Christ, known as the Septuagint (meaning: “seventy,” [the abbreviation LXX is found in your Bible margins when referring to it, and come from the Roman alphabet symbolizing “70”] because seventy [72?] translators were used in its translation. It took fifteen years to finish, from 285 to 270 B.C., and was commissioned and paid for by Ptolemy II Philadelphus [285-245 B.C.], his father was Ptolemy I, one of the four generals who slit up the kingdom of Alexander the Great after his death. Ptolemy I and his son ruled the area of Egypt), and was what Christ and the disciples used as their Scripture in their day.
This is why many times there is an inconsistency between our New Testament quotations of Old Testament passages, and the Old Testament passages themselves. The reason that the two Testaments are not exactly the same is that our Protestant Old Testament is based upon the Hebrew Masoretic text (the Hebrew Old Testament that was not codified until the 8th century A.D. ~ for more concerning this please see the below Endnote 68 entitled: “Concerning the Old Testament Language“), and Jesus and the disciples were quoting from the Greek Septuagint translation of the (Hebrew) Old Testament Scriptures, which explains the differences seen between the two (many Christian translators believe that the 8th century Hebrew Jewish translators used variant Hebrew words in the Masoretic translation to attempt to distance their translation from the Christian Bible which at the time used the Septuagint Old Testament; they believed Christianity was a evil cult), translations.
The supernatural outcome of having a (Septuagint) Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament is the ability to specifically understand the Hebrew words used in the Old Testament, as they are laid next to the (specific) Greek – paralleled.
So as to define the Hebrew according to the Greek; thus setting aside the vagueness that was originally introduced, as well as gaining the ability to cross-reference each with each other, and have both of the Testaments comparable at the same time.
And in the process, acquiring greater insight into both; as seen in the New Testament quotes of the Old Testament which are made more precise and clear, and the Old Testament prophecies fulfilled in the New Testament with greater understanding.
It’s like God presented Himself in the Old Testament while still behind a veil to the Jews (“the Hebrews“), more mysterious and at arm’s length.
Yet, in the New Testament, Jesus revealed God in a more personal, detailed and intimate manner, in Himself (which is where we get the idea of: “having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour“).
We also have God presenting His written word in the specificity of the Greek language in the New Testament, and eventually (c. 280 BC) presenting a more precisely regarding the Old Testament as seen in the Septuagint.
Jesus Christ is the revelation of God the Father that was never seen before in such specificity. In the Old Testament we see the actions of God; in the New Testament we see this personality in the person of Jesus Christ.
Both of these languages are dead languages, meaning that they are permanently set – they do not change (which is important to us, in that consistency and uniformity are assured), and are therefore excellent tools for translation purposes with set meanings; even though our English is a living language, which is fluid – always changing; and therefore mandates a greater deliberation in translation.
Differences with the English
Even though Greek and Hebrew are permanently set languages; due the fact that our English language is alive and changing, for us to simply utilize an English dictionary to understand Biblical words is very problematic.
Also, there are distinctions within any vernacular whereas words in one language that don’t exist in another, or variations where more than one word exist in the one and not the other.
A good example of this type of difference can be seen in the use of the word: “another,” in the Koiné Greek. In the English there is only one meaning to this word, yet in the Greek there are a few.
In the Greek there is: “another of the same kind or type;” and there is: “another of a different kind or type.” An example of this can be seen in (comparing Acts 7:18 and) John 14:16, which states:
“And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever”
Here, in this first form of the Greek word: “another“ (Greek: allos) means: “another of the same kind“, in connecting Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit as being of the same essence.
Yet, when Stephen states in Acts 7:18, “Till another king arose, which knew not Joseph“, wherein this second form of the word: “another” (Greek: heteros), that of: “another of a different type;” here the martyr Stephen, while addressing the High Priest, just before his stoning, was speaking about the children of Israel being delivered from Egypt, when he declares that “another” Pharaoh (Pharaoh means: “king” in Egyptian) arose (wherein he was of a different type than his predecessors who were Egyptian, which he was not).
We further learn from the prophet Isaiah that this Pharaoh was an Assyrian(Isa. 52:4), which may explain why he was unaware of Joseph, having not been raised during his youth in the awareness of how God delivered all of Egypt using Joseph, and therefore not holding Joseph and the God of Israel in great esteem.
According to the history of Egypt, occasionally their kings were not Egyptian.
It has been chronicled that these kings “of another type” – of another race were usually much more authoritarian due to their inability to be accepted by the masses of Egyptians, and ruled with an iron hand, while also being willing to mistreat any other non-Egyptians in order to ingratiate themselves with the Egyptian majority.
It would make sense that this new Assyrian king would attempt to curry favor with the Egyptians by enslaving the Israelites who had become affluent in Egypt, holding the best land, great positions and power; which would be taken away and given back to the Egyptians.
Understanding the potential diversity of the word “another,” and the particular meaning of this usage of the word does not change the fact that the new pharaoh did not hold Joseph and the Israelites in esteem; yet it does expose the King’s motivations, and render greater validity to God’s Word as it makes more sense concerning what it records.
Nuance Builds Faith ~ Romans 10:17
What this should do in understanding the nuance of this usage of the word “another” is build faith in the reader that this Bible vindicates itself; cross referencing meaning, adding greater insight, and in the process building faith that this is the “Word of God,” (which leads to the inescapable conclusion that God doesexist, having authored the Bible, and that if this is true, then what He has said in the Bible is trustworthy, and He is deserving of our faith). Literally fulfilling Romans 10:17, which states:
“so then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by [“through” ~ what is said in] the word of God.“
Though reiterated ad nauseam (which is Biblical according to: Phil. 3:1; Tit. 3:8; 2 Pet. 1:12-13; 3:1-2), within this website, faith is not only a one time aspect concerning salvation; faith is also a day-by-day walk, a process (as A. T. Robertson says concerning Eph. 2:8, “Grace is God’s part, faith is ours“) in which the believer grows more and more.
Romans 10:17 is a declaration of what faith is to be based upon (in order to maintain Scriptural context we must understand that Rom. 10:17 starts with the Greek word, “ara,” rendered: “so,” in the KJV ~ yet, more literally meaning: “therefore.” This initial word indicates that verse 17 is a conclusion concerning the previous 16 verses – a summation of what was prior concerning how Christians are to live their lives. Believers are to live in faith that is based upon God’s Word – which is consistent because – salvation starts with the Word of God [“Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth forever” ~ 1 Peter 1:23], and ends with the Word of God [“…the word of God is quick [“alive“] and powerful…” ~ Hebrews 4:12]. Both aspects of faith are a part of the same process; not a process that attempts to achieve salvation [because once salvation is received, it cannot be lost]; but in maturing it, or stated Biblically: “working out our salvation” ~ Phil. 2:12; please see the treatment of this passage below) – which is God’s Word, in written form – what we call the Holy Scripture – The Bible.
Therefore, faith is to be based upon what God has said in His Word, as opposed to our own experiences. While experience may add to faith, if a person’s faith is based solely or even mainly upon experience (which can be common these days), then it is based upon human senses (the word experience mandates the use of the five senses ~ the human senses), which are inconsistent and opposed in Scripture (“for we walk by faith, not by sight” 2 Cor. 5:7).
As stated in the “Our Purpose” section of the “About Us” page: there are three foundational issues that this ministry is concerned with maintaining, they are:
The preeminence of Jesus Christ (See ~ LINK)
The authority of God’s Word (See LINK)
The comprehension of authentic Biblical faith (See LINK)
These foundational issues are addressed in propagating the gospel (Matt. 28:19-20); wherein the preeminence of Christ (Joh. 5:39), and the affirmation that the Bible is the authoritative Word of God (Heb. 4:12; 1 Pet. 1:23; Matt. 24:35), and that Biblical faith is the catalyst and source of faith (“faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” ~ Romans 10:17; “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth forever” ~ 1 Peter 1:23), are supreme.
Therefore, the following is presented in considering of the place that the authority of God’s Word is meant to have in the life of the believer, and in recognition of the constant attack on its credibility, with the far to frequent outcome of believers devaluing its role in their lives with spiritual defeat that follows.
God’s Word, the Bible is our sole guide and rule; which contains the knowledge of “the way” (as 1st century Christianity was referred to), wherein eternal life is obtained, and the Christian walk of faith is sustained.
In The Name Of…
Before further considering “The Word of God,” we need to understand it in comparison to “The Name of God.” As a young man growing up in the church there was a Biblical expression which always caught my ear, and sounded somewhat unusual, it was: “in the name of the Lord.” One example of this can be found in John 3:18, which states:
“he that believeth upon him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten son of God“
Another example is found in Luke 13:35, which states:
“behold, your house is left unto you desolate: and verily I say to you, ye shall not see me, until the time come when ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.”
It always struck me as strange when I heard the expression, “in the name of,” when referring to “the Lord,” it just sounded curious and unusual. It was not until having been a Christian for years, that I came to understand that this was a very specific term that had a particular meaning, and that this particular meaning has been consistently understood for thousands of years, it simply means: “by the authority of…” (it is amazing how many people miss this, even reference works such as: “Believers Bible Commentary,” which I use often ~ see Random House College Dictionary for the validity of the meaning of this expression).
Examples are still seen in our common vernacular in such expressions as when a police officer states: “stop in the name [authority] of the law” (which was first used concerning law-enforcement during the medieval era with Sheriff’s); or when ambassadors who would act “in the name[authority] of a country.”
It was the Medo-Persians that were first noted in using this expression, and it was commonly used during the time of the Greeks and the Romans, which included the time during the writing of the New Testament and the Old Testament as well. This term is repetitively used 63 times in the Bible (Please see “Rightly Dividing The Word Of Truth… ~ Addendum #5 ~ “In The Name Of…” ~ Link).
Romans 14:11 is a quotation taken from Isaiah 45:23, which states:
“every knee shall bow, and every tongue confess to God.”
Philippians 2:10-11 brings greater clarity to the meaning of this verse, when this expression “at the name of” is added, which states:
“That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven and things in earth and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father“
It is in thus understanding the power connected with the name or authority of God and Jesus that the following becomes quite intriguing. The above Philippians (which is a quotation of Isaiah 45:23) passage indicates the fulfillment of the Isaiah passage in that God is glorified at the acknowledgment of the authority (“Name”) of Jesus Christ. This, along with the other 63 passages indicates the importance that God’s Name holds.
However, in spite of this, what is baffling is that there is something that holds yet more prominence with God than even His own Name – His Word. Psalms 138:2, states:
“I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.”
On the face of this it seems unusual, until there is the realization that, “what good is a name if you can’t believe what the person says;” (hence the old express: “a man is only as good as his word”), it is the credibility of a man’s word, his ability to be trusted that far out weights his name, title or station in life.
This explains why when God had a message, a directive, or a commandment; “the word of the Lord” was a common introduction that was used. Thus this expression is used hundreds of times in the Old Testament, and became synonymous with the written books which came from those oracles of God.
“The Word of God,” is another synonym that was and is used concerning God’s communication to man through the prophets, which were written down and codified into what we refer to as the Bible.
The term, “Bible” is Latin for “book,” yet when the definite article, “THE” is used it is indicative of a particular singular book, the most important book ever to have existed, to be appropriately coupled with the word “Holy” (Greek: hagos [G40], means: “sacred,” “separated to” rather than “separated from,” “consecrated” and is synonymous with purity and religious devotion), as in “The Holy Bible.”
The Word of God
The Bible declares itself to be the Word of God (Isa. 55:10-11; 1 Cor. 2:13; 14:37; 2 Cor. 5:19-20; 1 Thess. 2:4, 2:13; 2 Thess. 2:14-15; 1 Tim. 4:1; 2 Tim. 3:16; 1 Pet. 1:25; 2 Pet. 3:1-2, 15-16; Jud. 1:3; Rev. 1:1-3), not written by man, but God’s words to men, the basis of life and salvation.
If we do not have a documented rulebook, then the rules will be inconsistent and unworthy of our trust; if we cannot maintain credibility in the guide manual, then its guidance cannot be held on to in faith concerning life and death.
These are facts, it is God who created us this way and determined to use men in revealing His rules and guidance – to say exactly what He wanted to convey to man in written form, which we call the Bible.
There are many internal proofs that exhibit that the Scripture was written outside of our time domain, as seen in prophecies (able to tell the ending from the beginning ~ Isaiah 46:9-10), which is an achievement that man cannot do.
It is when the realization that it is God, and God alone that is the author of the Bible, the only One capable of engineering the internal proofs of God’s Word, utilizing prophecies and many other faith building nuances (wherein the Holy Spirit can lead a person to the place of total faith in God’s Word ~ John 8:47); and therefore, promoting not only faith in the Bible, but by extension faith in its Author: this and this alone is Biblical faith.
The Whole Counsel of God ~ Is Complete
Paul, recognizing that he would never see the Church at Ephesus again, the Church that he established and spent over three years personally building; requested to meet the elders (leaders, Pastors) to say his last goodbye.
This event is recorded in Acts 20:17-38. Paul makes a very insightful comment as documented in Acts 20:27, which states:
“For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God“
This word “counsel” is (Greek:) boule, which is also translated: “will,” “purpose,” “intention as a result of reflection,” or “decree“; and carries with it the idea of all of the known communication of God (which reads literally in the Greek, “the whole counsel of God“), which is recognized without decent as a synonym for the “Word of Lord,” God’s revelation to man as seen in the Old Testament and the New Testament writings,’ which are referred as the Bible (we understand that the Bible is the “Whole Counsel of God” to man, referred to as The Scripture, The Holy Bible, The Word of God; that according to Jude 1:3, [which says: “Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.”], the expression: “once delivered unto the saints,” in the Greek is understood to mean that “the faith,” refers to the “Word of God” being completed [shut-up] and presented to the saints – “the Church.” This means it is done, finished – “The Whole Counsel of God” = “the faith“ [with the definite article “THE” ~ Please see “FAITH… ~ Part 1,” section: “Faith ~ Its Application” ~ Link] which is synonym a God’s written Word in written form is completed, it is “once” and for all concluded and accomplished – delivered and given to the Church, God’s saints).
Therefore, God’s Word – the Bible is complete, it is done. There are not new revelations, just hidden ones within God’s Word. If someone says he says he has something new, or attempts to add to God’s Word – he is a liar, and is in violation of Acts 20:27, and Jude 1:3.
The Importance of the Greek
This will be the shortest section within this essay. The necessity of any examples should be unwarranted as this essay displays dozens of examples of how digging into the Greek exhibits shades of nuance and meaning that are unseen when translated into the English narrative.
It is the color and specificity of the Koiné Greek which displays why God chose it to be the preeminent language with which He would use to communicate to man. If I have not made this point by now, I have failed; and nothing more can be said.
The following list of books is based upon 35 years of Christian Bible study, whereas I have learned not to trust a book simply because a supposed reputable Christian publisher produces it.
All of the major Christian publishers are now secular corporations which publish many carnal self-centered works, as well as Spirit based volumes, they all even publish Christian cult books as well. Having owned almost 2000 Christian research books, it might seem obvious I have a fondness for Biblical research and study; and love books.
However, I am now persuaded that perhaps only a few hundred of those books in my collection (which are classics of mainline theology, accepted by a majority of Christian orthodoxy) are completely beyond reproach.
Part of the problem is that of those authors (that are no doubt committed born-again believers, whose integrity I trust) that produce dictionaries, commentaries, word studies, lexicons, and Greek aids and resource manuals (any volume that necessitates the use of a Greek New Testament as a base source document which they must work from), which are beyond repute; if their source Greek New Testaments are untrustworthy, even if a majority of their work is wholly accurate, it is that very small part which may be somewhat off-base or incorrect that I fear utilizing to the extent that my research might present an incorrect conclusion. After reading the below section, entitled: “Landmines and Lies,” you will understand what I am referring to.
Four Levels of Addressing the Languages
When it comes to addressing the Greek or Hebrew, there are (very simply put) 4 levels of studying the languages, beyond the English translation of the plain text of the Bible.
1st Level ~ Bible Dictionaries
The 1st level of addressing Biblical languages is that of utilizing Bible Dictionaries. These type of General dictionaries are topical and meant to convey information on given subjects, and therefore usually concern language translation at a elementary level in regards to the exact usage of a particular word (or are more limited concerning the range of words listed) within any given text, and will not (normally) give the full nuance of the word.
These type of dictionaries, when addressing a specific word, are appropriate for the generic translation of the word, however, in the Greek the same word may have many different renderings, with only a single letter change which differentiates itself from another usage of the same word (by changing an inflection).
Some of these dictionaries may do an excellent job on a particular word translation when they specifically explain the grammar of the word, though this is not normally their purpose.
In utilizing these general dictionaries, there will times when you will look up a word and it is not the word you are seeking concerning a specific passage, Word Studies that address specific words in specific passages are meant for this type of study. A few examples (not set up in a bibliography format) of these general dictionaries (authors that utilize the Alexandrian Codex are identified with a red Asterisk*) are:
• Unger’s Bible Dictionary; Merrill Unger ~ Good resource, generic words• Elwell’s Evangelical Dictionary of Theology; Walter A. Elwell ~ Good resource, generic words
• Smith’s Bible Dictionary; William Smith ~ Excellent resource, generic words
• Easton’s Bible Dictionary; M.G. Easton ~ Good resource, generic words• Harper’s Bible Dictionary; Madeleine S. Miller & J. Lane Miller ~ Good resource, generic words
• The New Concise Bible Dictionary; Derek Williams ~ Generic words, verify any controversial issues
• New Bible Dictionary; J.D. Douglas, F.F. Bruce, J. I. Packer,* N. Hillyer, D. Guthrie, A.R. Millard, D.J. Wiseman ~ Generic words
• Holman Bible Dictionary;
Trent C. Butler ~ Excellent resource, especially concerning some specific words
2nd Level ~ Word Dictionaries
The 2nd level of addressing Biblical languages is that of Generic Word Dictionaries. These address individual words (as these words are presented in a generic sense), and the Greek characteristics as they are seen across a wide spectrum of usages of a word, while many times listing the many passages concerning the specific word it addresses, yet these normally do not address a specific word in a specific passage, which may be different from other passages which usage a variance of what is presented as the same of word.
The oldest and most trusted is Strong’s Concordance(a complete alphabetical list of words using a numbering system, identifying there location within the text) and Dictionary (a generic dictionary found in the back of Strong’s that renders many generic attributes of a particular word, this is still not specific concerning the word as it is utilized in a particular passage, and the word may be spelt different [a Morpheme or Portmanteau], than other usages in which Strong’s does not differentiate), with each Greek and Hebrew word given a number for identification, referred to as Strong’s numbering system.
The Strong’s numbering system has become the gold standard concerning Hebrew and Greek words, yet the lack of addressing the precise word, according to a precise passage becomes apparent when you contrast Strong’s dictionary with a “Greek-English Interlinear New Testament” (which is a New Testament Bible, with the English translation paralleled on the outer edge of one side of the page and an alternate translation on the other edge; and in the middle the Greek text [Romanized or non-Romanized] shown with the English words below each Greek word – many times with Strong’s numbering system utilized), which will display the exact spelling of a word (where repetitively, Greek words are combined together producing abnormal spelling, and hereafter referred to as “phrases”) of an particular passage, as compared to Strong’s generic reference to a singular word standing alone, which is spelt different.
Strong’s was originally produced using (the Greek Textus Receptus New Testament, used to produce the KJB) the King James Bible as its source New Testament; however, currently the Strong’s is also produced in the newer translations; those Bibles based upon New Testament manuscripts found since the 1800, commonly referred to as the Alexandrian codices (See “Rightly Dividing The Word Of Truth… ~ Addendum #2” – “Two Main Problems in Studying God’s Word” – link).
These type of generic Bible word dictionaries are also found in the back of many Bibles, yet they are usually only superficial at best, and many times void of the nuances of the word, even to the point of misrepresentation (with the notable exception of certain study Bibles where the verbs and nouns are broken down [“parsed”], and address words according to the specific passage).
A few examples (not set up in a bibliography format) of these generic word dictionaries are:
Bible Word Dictionaries (standalone and embedded in other resources)
• Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance, Complete and Unabridged (with Dictionaries of Hebrew and Greek Words); James Strong ~ Very generic
• King James Concordance (a computer program module); unidentified author & not copyrighted~ Very unreliable & inconsistent ~ we advise to avoid
• Thompson Chain-Reference Bible; Frank Charles Thompson (dictionary built into the “Chain Topics”) ~ Very good resource, generic words
• Master Study Bible; Holman Bible Publishers (dictionary built into the “Encyclopedia”) ~ Very good resource, generic words
• The MacArthur Study Bible; John MacArthur (dictionary built into the concordance) ~ Excellent resource, specific and generic words
3rd Level ~ Word Studies
The 3rd level of addressing Biblical languages is that of using Word Studies or Word Study Dictionaries according to the specific passage in question, where the verbs and nouns are parsed (breaking down the noun cases and declensions, and the verb inflections), rendering a complete and thorough understanding of the precise word concerning the specific passage.
Perhaps the most relevant for most of us is addressing the inflection of verbs (action words), which are referred to as parsing a verb, with the parts of the verb being: tense, voice, mood, person, & number (without getting into the difference between infinite and non-infinite verbs or of the two main categories: transitive verbs, or intransitive verbs; or of copulative [linking] verbs).
Nouns become a little bit harder in addressing because of the different type of cases, but the fruit of such investigations become immense, as exemplified concerning the different kind of noun cases in addressing the subject of “the faith of Jesus Christ,” which exhibits a previously untaught aspect of the life of Jesus Christ (See “Essence vs. Attributes“ – LINK), which is the faith Christ lived by in pleasing the Father (See “Jesus ~ The Ultimate Example of Faith” – LINK).
It is these types of lack of insights into the Greek grammar, which have been neglected by the English-speaking world, that have contributed to misunderstandings developed over the last few hundred years (wherein scholars due to a lack of knowledge of the grammar have taken positions based upon common sense; such as, believing that Christ must maintain His divine attribute of Omnipotence [“All Powerful”], when He set aside His attributes of Omniscience [“All Knowing”] and Omnipresence [“Existing Everywhere All At Once, Non-locality”]); in order to maintain His divinity), wherein individuals who did not study the Greek, created traditions within Christendom which have become barriers to understanding the truth found in God’s Word, such as the “faith of Jesus Christ.”
Yet, much easier to address are the Greek verbs in which you do not have to be a student of Greek in order to break down (“parse”) ; which give some of the deepest insights in most situations, as the verb is the action which helps define the subject matter.
In an effort to fully understand everything God has said in His Word, we need to understand every specific word God intentionally used, and one of the best tools to accomplish this is Word Studies (as well as Hebrew-English and Greek-English lexicons) which aid us in understanding syntax and proper grammar.
We need to understand that they are two facets in the area translation, that of the grammar (the makeup of the word), and the semantics (the meaning of the word); that must be determined in any word study that we undertake. As you will see from the below examples, God’s Word is very precise; and such problems as the debate concerning Eternal Security are answered by simply understanding exactly what the Greek said according to the grammar, especially in light of the verbs used.
Perhaps the best known of these types of word studies is “Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words,” though it can be much too superficial many times. The following examples (not set up in a bibliography format) do a more thorough and meticulous job:
Old Testament Word Study Dictionaries
• Wilson’s Old Testament Word Studies; William Wilson (appears to be based on the Hebrew Masoretic text) ~ Very good resource, specific words
New Testament Word Study Dictionaries
• Word Studies in the Greek New Testament, Kenneth S. Wuest (based on Textus Receptus / King James Translation) ~ Excellent – excellent resource, specific words
• The Complete Word Study New Testament with Greek Parallel, Spiros Zodhiates(available in King James Translation / Textus Receptus, as well as New Modern Translations / Alexandrian text) ~ Excellent – excellent resource, specific words
• Word Meanings in the New Testament; Ralph Earl (based on Textus Receptus / King James Translation, with variant references to New Modern Translations / Alexandrian text) ~ Excellent resource, specific words
Combined Word Study Dictionaries
• Vincent’s Word Study; Marvin R. Vincent* ~ Excellent resource, specific words• Expository Dictionary of Bible Words; Larry Richards ~ Excellent resource, specific words
• Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, W. E. Vine, Merrill F. Unger, & William White, Jr. (the Greek mainly is primarily based on the King James Translation / Textus Receptus, with variant references to New Modern Translations / Alexandrian text) ~ Excellent resource, specific words
• Hebrew-Greek Key Study Bible & Word Studies, Spiros Zodhiates (available in King James Translation / Textus Receptus, as well as New Modern Translations / Alexandrian text) ~ Excellent – excellent resource, specific words
What should be addressed as MORE IMPORTANT than Word Studies is Grammatical Codes. Grammatical codes are an index system which identifies parts of the verb or noun in order to understand the specificity of the word.
Many of the Internet Bible programs, such as e-Sword (which is this author’s favorite, and is utilized as my full-time Bible housed within a tablet laptop – a convertible Toshiba), offers the use of different grammatical codes as well as Word Studies and other Biblical tools. A few examples (not set up in a bibliography format) are:
• Robinson’s Morphological Analysis Codes; Maurice A. Robinson (uses Byzantine text only) ~ Excellent – excellent resource, specific words
• Word Pictures in the New Testament; Archibald Thomas Robertson(uses the “Critical Text” / Alexandrian Codices) ~ Due to the use of the text used, we advise to avoid A. T. Robertson and anyone associated with him
Though commentaries by nature are not designed for the preciseness and specificity of word studies; occasionally when dealing with specific uses of a word, when they refer to specific Greek words utilized in specific places, some commentaries MAY become beneficial in defining Greek and Hebrew words according to the grammar.
Though on many occasions, without explaining the exactness of the grammar or how the definitions of the word are achieved, they can present summations and conclusions of a specific word which are insightful and present further resources for investigation.
For this reason, they become resources which may be used in tracking down a specific word within a specific text, yet always with caution concerning any generic definitions presented, which might necessitate due diligence in verifying by cross referencing other resources. A few excellent examples (not set up in a bibliography format) are:
• Albert Barnes Notes on the Bible; Albert Barnes (very insightful) ~ Excellent resource when addressing specific words• The Victor Bible Background Commentary: New Testament; Lawrence O. Richards ~ Excellent resource, specific and generic words
• Believers Bible Commentary; William McDonald ~ Specific and generic words, cross-referencing may be necessary
• New Bible Commentary; G.J. Wenham, J.A. Motyer, D.A. Carson, R.T. France ~ Specific and generic words, cross-referencing may be necessary
• Evangelical Commentary on the Bible; Walter A. Elwell ~ Specific and generic words• The KJV Parallel Bible Commentary; E.G. Dobson, C.L. Feinberg, E.E. Hindson, W.M. Kroll, H.L. Willmington ~ Specific and generic words
Bible Handbooks & Aids
• Halley’s Bible Handbook; H. H. Halley ~ Very good reference, has been the gold standard for many years, perhaps outdated
• Hayford’s Bible Handbook; Jack W. Hayford ~ Excellent resource from a conservative Pentecostal perspective
• Eerdman’s Handbook to the Bible; William B. Eermans publishing company ~ Simplistic, yet accurate
• Nelson’s Complete Book of the Bible Maps and Charts; Thomas Nelson publishers ~ Good resource, though generic when dealing with words
• Nelson’s Illustrated Encyclopedia of Bible Facts; J. I. Packer*, Merrill C. Tenney, William white, Jr. ~ Excellent – excellent resource, specific words
• International Standard Bible Encyclopedia; James Orr*
• Insight into the Bible Times and Customs; G. Christian Weiss ~ Excellent resource, specific and generic words
• Manners and Customs in the Bible; Victor H. Matthews ~ Excellent resource, specific and generic words
The 4th level of addressing Biblical languages is that of becoming a student of the language itself, which mandates a commitment, yet is very rewarding. Having become used to Romanized (In linguistics, Romanization refers to the representation of a written word [letter by letter] with the Roman [Modern Latin] alphabet, as seen in the English; as opposed to the original language letters.) lettering, I personally find Greek much easier than Hebrew, though there are those that disagree.
What to Look For
It is the 3rd level of addressing the languages, which is that of using Bible Word Studies that many of us can utilize in handling God’s Word accurately.
This means instead of just turning to the back of our Bibles, where there are alphabetical dictionaries or topical sections addressing individual generic words, that we turn to a Bible Word Study which address specific words as they are used in specific Scriptures; especially word studies which thoroughly break down the grammar – using grammatical aides (not simply a commentary where the author summarizes meaning, but where each specific part of the verb or noun are defined and explained), which help us to parse (which is to break down the grammar of a word) the words (especially verbs, which define action); this is where some of the greatest insights can be achieved for the student of the Bible.
Who to Look For
One such example of a good source can be found in “The Complete Word Study” series of books by Spiros Zodhiates. In particular his book: “The Complete Word Study New Testament with Greek Parllel,62” is very good. His Bible, “Hebrew Greek Key Study Bible,” is good, except it only utilizes a portion of the words (as well as complete commentaries on individual words, that is more like a summation of the word as it is used within that verse, with his own commentary – which I don’t care for very much, as this is more subjective according to his own interpretation of the text), referred to as “keywords,” whereas the “Complete Word Study” gives grammatical notations (which are objective – as much as possible – allowing for the student to come to their own conclusions according to the grammar, yet there are always those that have a different interpretation; or even those that are more sophisticated in handling the grammar, which is the one downside to using word studies as compared to the language itself) of almost all words within the text.
Though I find myself not always agreeing with Spiros form of interpretation concerning his commentary notes, those topical opinions he holds concerning the interpretation of certain text in regards to certain issues (It is not the breakdown of the words that I disagree with, it is a few of his interpretations of what those words mean when he gets into the area of doctrines that I attempt to avoid [which is minor] ~ yet his individual definitions of words are very good. I think he is better than Joseph Henry Thayer, who is accused of being a Unitarian. His accusers state that there is a warning in the publisher’s introduction of Thayer’s lexicon warning the readers that Thayer is a Unitarian [Unitarians do not believe in the Trinity, and therefore do not believe in the deity of Jesus Christ]; however, my version of his lexicon does not state that. The reason that he is not listed by this website is partly because of Thayer’s own open statements concerning his lack of belief in the inerrancy of Scripture [which would not disqualify him as a translator altogether, as long as he translated according to the text, and made no changes himself], but more importantly his allegiance with, and use of the New Testament translation of Westcott and Hort [which is solely based upon the Alexandrian codices – which is addressed below], as his source Greek New Testament for his lexicon. Spiros is a born-again believer who is orthodox in his doctrine, and committed in his Christian walk. He discipled a person I look to as a teacher, Wayne Barber), yet any differences I hold with him are minor (and it is probably me that is wrong), and there is the advantage that he is a native of Greece – with insights in the language which are immense.
My most favorite Greek translator, who I consider the best source for unraveling the nuances and intricacies of the Greek is Dr. Kenneth S. Wuest,63 who is very informative and simple to understand. Unfortunately, he died before completing all of the New Testament, yet he has a 3 volume Bible Word Study series (plus his literal New Testament translation, which makes up the 4th book in the series), which is my most favorite set of commentaries on the Greek language of the New Testament, even though it does not define the grammar according to the inflection or declensions, giving specific indications concerning the breakdown of any words. He explains the Greek grammar in a summation style that is concise, yet thorough.
More than anything else I have to admit that I find myself like-minded concerning his theology and his hermeneutics. I have found an immense amount of previously unknown and profitable material in which my faith has grown concerning the Bible, and the God who authored it. My favorite book of this set is volume number 3, whose binding has collapsed, and pages unattached, with notes and highlights reminiscent of the artwork of a 5-year-old.
Yet, it is the in-depth insights from Wuest, perhaps more than any other source, wherein my faith in God’s Word has grown immeasurably. As perhaps a sad and unfortunate commentary of the times we live in this volume sells for 50 percent of its original market price due to the lack of purchases. (Please see the “Rightly Dividing The Word Of Truth… ~ Addendum ~ Bible Study Resources” – Link; for an expanded list, including: Bible Commentaries, Bible Encyclopedias, Bible Dictionaries, Hebrew & Greek Word Studies, Interlinears, Lexicons, Grammatical Code Resources, Hermeneutical volumes, Theological Dictionaries, Bible Surveys, Biblical Doctrine Editions, Cultural Insights Guides; references on: Typology, Figures of Speech, Biblical Symbols, and Biblical Counseling Manuals.).
An issue that is beyond the scope and logistics of this current essay is that of Bible translation. All of the above mentioned resources are contingent upon source Greek New Testament (the Hebrew Old Testament is not relevant to the debate of textual criticism) manuscripts that were utilized in their production. The controversy of Bible translation has two points of contention, one is the translation style, and the other is the group of manuscripts that are to be utilized.
Basically, concerning Greek Biblical New Testament manuscripts there are two main groups referred to ask as text-types; one is identified as Byzantine text-types (text types identify the type of writing form), and the other is identified as the Alexandrian text type.
They achieved their names based upon either the time, the Byzantine period, and the locality of their production, during the Byzantine Empire; or as in the case of the Alexandrian Codex is their locality found in the Egypt (though many of these documents were found in other places Alexandria is believed to be their point of origination).
Concerning the different types of translation styles, commonly referred to as “Literary Biblical Criticism” (is a branch of literary criticism that is concerned with the identification and removal a transcriptional errors in the text or manuscript), which is divided between “Lower Criticism” (or “Textual Criticism;” which seeks to understand what God has said and means in His Word, and has continued form the New Testament church until the eighteenth century), and “Higher Criticism” of the 1700’s (of the Bible, which implied a lack of divine inspiration as a book written by men); there is a vast difference concerning their approach to the Bible in regards to Biblical inspiration and inerrancy.
Yet, there are individual translators within this group which believe in the divine inspiration of the original autographs of the Bible, and are mainly concerned with utilization of the most accurate New Testament manuscripts, as compared to those which contain corruption; either intentionally or unintentionally, as compared to the original documents.
However, many of these sincere individuals utilize what are considered by some to be contaminated manuscripts, from a contaminated text type group.
This is meant to be a very brief introduction concerning the controversy of Bible translation, with the perspective this author presented as an addendum (Please see the “Rightly Dividing The Word Of Truth… ~ Addendum ~ Bible Study Resources” ~ Link)
For those aware of the controversy, and favor the use of the Byzantine texts (especially the Textus Receptus), the following authors and volumes are suggested:
Concerning ~ Older English Bibles the following are offered: The King James Bible (easier to use, has Strong’s numbering system and grammatical codes for parsing, and many resources are based upon it – a long history with all problems defined), Tyndale’s Bible(hard to read or do Word Studies), Great Bible (hard to read or do Word Studies), Geneva Bible (there is a revision out, but we have not researched it – does it use Byzantine text for correction, or Alexandrian?), and Bishop’s Bible, (hard to read or do Word Studies).
Concerning ~ Newer English Bibles & Bible Aids (these are listed by the individuals that in their research only use Byzantine manuscripts in producing Bibles, Bible aids and resources), the following list of individuals and their Bible translation work are offered: Jay P. Green Sr., Maurice A Robinson, William G Pierpont, F.H.A. Scrivener, Wilbur N. Pickering, George Ricker Berry, Thomas Newberry, Samuel Bagster, Wesley J. Perschbacher, Zane C. Hodges, Arthur L. Farstad, Robert Dick Wilson, Earl Radmacher, John William Burgon, Gary F. Zeolla, and Dr. Donald A. Waite.
Concerning ~ Bible Societies: “The Trinitarian Bible Society,” who relies solely on the Textus Receptus.
Concerning ~ Greek & Hebrew Lexicons & Interlinears & Translations:
The New Analytical Greek Lexicon, Wesley J. Perschbacher (it is especially helpful as it list words found not only in the Critical Text like many lexicons but also words and word forms found only in the Textus Receptus and the Majority Text).
A Concise Lexicon to the Biblical Languages: Hebrew, Greek, & English, Jay P. Green, & Maurice A Robinson, Ph.D; (“Numerically Coded to Strong’s Concordance, & page Cross Referenced to: Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew Lexicon, Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon, Bauer-Arndt-Gingrich Greek Lexicon and Kittels Theological Dictionary”)
Interlinear Greek-English New Testament: Third Edition, Jay P. Green, Sr.
Analytical-Literal Translation of the New Testament: Third Edition(ALT3), Gary Zeolla(it is based on the most up-to-date and accurate Greek Text, the Byzantine Majority Text: Second Edition). And the Companion Volume to the Analytical-Literal Translation: Third Edition, Gary Zeolla.
Lastly, concerning handling God’s Word, these two points need to be made.
We must enter into a prayerful attitude of expectancy before approaching God’s Word, that of a Bible student, a learner; as opposed to simply picking up out Bible to prove out own presuppositions. This Book is sacred, it is separate, it is from the God of the universe, it is GOD’S WORD.
Studying God’s Word should be an act of faith, trusting that God will lead us as long as we lay down our pride, presuppositions, and religious assumptions; in anticipation of His guidance. One of the marks of the mature Believer is that of humility, yet not only humility in his daily walk; but how he approaches God’s Word.
The following story may be valuable in considering how we should approach God’s Word.
There was a young man and a young girl deeply in love, who waited to complete college and save money before getting married. Their love and commitment to each other and to God aided them in restraining their passions until their wedding night. A few days before they were to be wed, the young man was notified that he was drafted into the Army and was ordered to report for duty the day after his wedding.
The young man was sent to the front line of the war, and every night he would write long letters expressing his love, as well as his dreams for the future with his new bride. Each and every day he received a new letter from His bride, and after few months he received the greatest surprise, that he was going to be a father.
What a miracle child, truly this was a blessing from God because they both wanted to have children immediately. And when his son was born, he started writing letters him, sharing all the things that he wanted to say to his son, those things that were closest to us heart, those things that would make him into a good person, those things that God had taught him over the years, according to the Bible.
At a certain point the young man’s platoon changed locations, with him no longer receiving letters from His wife, and his letters never reaching her. However, as the months roll by he continued to send letter after letter to His wife and young son.
He spent hours telling his young son everything he wanted to say as a father, and everything he knew was important to becoming a man. Due to his platoon moving around frequently, he had not received a letter from his wife in over 2 years, yet he kept writing, never aware that his letters were not reaching her as well.
Finally, after 3 years of war, the young man’s tour of duty was complete. However, the day before he was to leave for home he was killed in action. The grief of this young mother was almost too much to bear, and she even had thoughts of suicide, but having this little boy somehow made it bearable. After a couple of months, she was contacted by the Army; they have located her husband’s lost letters.
They delivered a duffel bag full of love letters from her deceased young husband. With a broken heart, and tears of joy; each day she would read one of those letters to her precious little boy. It took years to go through them all, and then she started all over again. The young boy grew up never having seen the face of his father, yet knowing his father’s heart, displayed in letter after letter.
You and I hold in our hands a love letter from our Heavenly Father, written in the blood of His Son upon a wooden cross 2000 years ago64, wherein God sacrificed the most valuable thing in existence, His One and only Son; who loved us so much that it was not the nails of man that held him on that tree, but by His love for you and me. Therefore, how should we treat this love letter – God’s Word.
Areas of Abuse
The following 7 Areas of Abuse exhibit redundant misapplications of Scriptures concerning Biblical doctrine. The word doctrine by extension has been understood to be those underlying principles (a rule, or body of ideas) exhibited in God’s Word. Yet, the word “doctrine” comes from the Greek work didaskalia (2 Tim. 3:16) and simply means “teachings.”
Therefore, any subject matter or teaching in the Bible is actually doctrine. And whereas certain doctrine may have greater or lesser effect on us as individuals, it is in understanding that any teaching that is directed from God, is to be held equally as important, as they are God’s communication to us.
- Doctrine Corrected by Linguistics – Biblical Word Meanings According to Grammar
- Gaining Greater Meaning – Out of the Text, According to word Nuances
- Misapplication – Applying Text outside of its Context, Changing the Meaning of Words
- Misapplication – Applying Text outside of its Context, Generalizing What Is Specific
- Biblical Words – Which in the English have Changed in their Meaning
- Extra-Biblical Expressions – Given Biblical Weight
- Expressions & Axioms – Not Found in the Bible
To best understand exactly what God is saying in any given text we need to examine the original language that He chose to use. First, we need a short Linguistics lesson so we can see for ourselves what the text says.
Linguistics is the scientific study of language69 with many sub-fields, both major and minor. Several of the sub-fields of linguistics are concerned with the major components of language, such as: phonetics which is concerned with the sounds of languages, phonology which addresses the way sounds are used in individual languages, morphology which addresses the form and structure of words (“grammar,” the study of grammar reveals how language works), syntax, which addresses their interrelation in sentences, and semantics which is the study of meaning.69 It is in the area of semantics, “the meaning of words,” via grammar that we will concentrate.
The New Testament was written in Koiné (Greek: “common“) Greek, whereas the Old Testament was originally written in Hebrew. Three centuries before Christ, the Old Testament was translated into Greek, commonly referred to as the Septuagint (the abbreviation LXX refers to this; and is the Roman numerals for 70, which is what “Septuagint” means ~ there were 70 translators which created it). The protestant OT is made up of the (Hebrew) Tanach, which is the Hebrew Scripture, which consists of
2) The “Prophets,” &
3) The “Writings.”
The Septuagint is (mainly) quoted in the New Testament, and thereby authorized by Jesus in His use of it. This explains why many times in are current translations of the Protestant New Testament quotations of an Old Testament passage, the text is different, because the Protestant Old Testament does not come from the Greek Septuagint, but from the Hebrew Masoretic text which was translated 1000 years afterward (due to the Jews wishing to disassociate any connection with Christianity and therefore creating a new Hebrew translation of the Old Testament Scriptures.
Doctrine Corrected by Linguistics –
Biblical Word Meanings According to Grammar
Ephesians 2:8-10 ~“For by grace you have been saved…”
When dealing with the subject of salvation (Greek: Soteriology = “the study of salvation”) from a Biblical foundation, perhaps the most well-known, most thorough, and most insightful treatment of the subject is found in the above passage.
By investigating the Greek grammar of this verse the doctrine of Eternal Security is established, as well as the refutation of the false doctrine of Conditional Security.
The keywords concerning the subject of salvation in this text, is the phrase “have been saved” (which in the Greek is a single word), sesosmenoi 70in the Greek. By examining this word, we shall uncover unseen shades of meaning. The Bible is not found to be obscure if one does not study the original languages concerning what God is saying in His Word.
Studying the Holy Scriptures in the languages God chose to communicate through has been compared to adding color to a black and white picture. The black and white picture gives meaning; color simple adds a fuller understanding, more emphases, and in some cases adds greater clarity.
If God chose those languages to communicate the Gospel (Greek: “Good News“) to all of mankind, who are we to imply it is of no importance to search out their fullest meaning as found in the original languages, especially in this day and age when it is so easy to do. Sesosmenoi71 is a verb, which is an action, something that is done. The following explains how verbs function in Koiné Greek.
Greek verbs potentially have five aspects: mood, tense, voice, person, and number (without getting into the difference between infinite & non-infinite verbs or of the two main categories: transitive verbs, or intransitive verbs; or of copulative [linking] verbs), they reveal:
Far more than a lexigraphical definition, they convey:
~ Who is performing the action.
~ Whether just one, or more than one is doing or receiving the action.
~ When the action is done, and if it continues.
~ Whether it is a single event or process.
~ Whether it is an actual happening, a complete reality, a command, or something wished for.
~ Whether the subject (a person ?) of the verb is an active or passive participant (or both!)
The Greek word
sesosmenoi 71 is outlined as such:
1. The (Periphrastic) Participle Mood (PPM) stresses the state brought about by the finished results of the action. It reinforces the concept of the subject being completely saved, with no possibility of being or becoming unsaved.
The present participle expresses continuous or repeated action and is used to signify action that is contemporaneous with the leading verb, whether the action occurs in the past, present, or future. Salvation can be understood in three tense, past tense, present tense, future tense. Salvation was secured at the cross of Jesus Christ, is being worked out as sanctification in the life of the Believer, and we will receive its full benefit at the Bema Seat of Jesus Christ.
sesosmenoi is in the Nominative Case means that the verb is the topic (focus, theme, and issue) of the sentence. Salvation is the focus of attention in the text: not “grace” (though, it is how salvation is obtained), not “faith” (though, it is the vehicle that delivers salvation), not “yourselves” (though, people are the ones being saved), not “the gift” (though, that’s what salvation is), not “of works” (though, “works” are not how we get saved, though “good works” will be eventually produced ~ Eph. 2:10), not “lest anyone should boast” (though, this is why God will not let salvation be worked for or earned).
The focus of this verse is God’s free unmerited gift of salvation to those that will believe. Salvation is not a trade for faith, though one must have faith to receive salvation.
Because salvation is the focus and there are no conditions in order to achieve it; the person that therefore obtains it cannot lose it by no longer meeting those conditions, as it was obtained through grace (non-merited favor), by faith, yet made possible by the sacrifice of another, Jesus Christ. It is He who obtained it and therefore it is only He who can cancel it, and this is never found in God’s Word (Rom. 8:34-39) – it would display a lack of foreknowledge for Christ to give what He would later be forced to take back, He is not an “Indian giver.”
3. The Passive Voice indicates that the subject (in this case: “person”) receives the action of the verb, rather than producing the action itself. The action of the verb was done by someone else; in this case God, the subject only receives the benefit of the action. God and God alone saves the subject by salvation.
4. It is in the Second Person, meaning what is being said is intended for the reader, the person who is reading this passage, the person who meets the conditions in the passage. Therefore, the person reading this passage, which lives by faith; shall(was – is – will) be saved.
5. It is in the Plural Number, meaning what is being said is meant for all who read it. God wants all of those who read this passage, who meets the conditions of this passage to know they are saved, through no act of their own, by His grace alone through faith.
An illustration would be if salvation were like owning a car so you could have the freedom to drive where you want and not be restrained by a lack of mobility, and faith is like having a license that allows you the privilege of driving the car. Because you have passed your driver’s test that does mean someone will give you a car, you cannot go to a car dealership and trade your privilege to drive for an automobile. Someone has to pay for the automobile.
A Main Grammatical Insight
Again, concerning the Participle Mood, when someone is saved, they are completely saved. They cannot be more saved, or less saved. Salvation is something that once gained – it can never ever, ever be lost; it can never ever, ever be undone. This rhetoric expresses the vigorous emphasis that the grammar conveys. Once you have it, you have it!
A Main Grammatical Insight
Because the word “saved” is in the Perfect Tense, it is completed in the past, with results that affect the present, which therefore affect the future because of the nature of what salvation is, eternal (“That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.” ~ Joh. 3:15).
It was paid for at the cross (past, they have been saved ~ By His “LOVE,” ~ John 3:16), it is working in the believer’s life daily(present, they are being saved ~ According to “FAITH” ~ Rom. 4:12), and it will come to its fulfillment at the Bema Seat of Christ (future, they will be saved ~ In “HOPE” ~ Tit. 1:2; 2:13; 3:7).
These three tenses are best seen in the born-again believer’s life in that salvation has justified them (past, at the cross), is sanctifying them (present, as the Holy Spirit works in their life), and will glorify them (future, at the Bema set).
Positionally, the believers are made “alive together with Christ [by grace you have been saved], and raised … up with Him, and seated … with Him in the heavenly places, in Christ Jesus.”73 However, functionally, they are still here on earth, living out their life; living out their salvation, which is guaranteed with a seal(The Holy Spirit, a promise that cannot be broken, positive proof of ownership), which is the indwelling of the74Holy Spirit.
Gaining Greater Meaning –
Out of the Text, According to the word Nuances
John 19:30 ~ “…, he said, It is finished…”
“When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.”
Perhaps one of the best examples of gaining greater understanding of a text according to understanding the specific meaning of a Greek Word can be seen in the last words of Jesus hanging from the cross.
John 19:30 records the last of seven statements that Jesus made from the cross when He said: Tetélestai, translated in the English, “it is finished,” which is in the:
Perfect Tense The Action is Completed in the Past (Results in the Present)
The perfect tense in Greek describes an action which is viewed as having been completed in the past, once and for all, not needing to be repeated, while having ramifications in the present, and Tetélestai is in the:
Indicative Mood: Mood of Certainty (A Reality). The indicative mood is a simple statement of fact.
While true the Greek word Tetélestai encapsulates the idea of completion, yet a fuller understanding of this word according to recent archaeological digs displays the full nuance that can be gleaned by a closer examination of this Greek word.
What has come to be understood is that while the Greek word Tetélestai connotatively (generally) means “completed,” or “finished,” yet in this spelling and usage it denotatively (specifically) means, “paid in full.”
The Greek word Tetélestai has been found written corner to corner (catty-corner) on trust deeds concerning property ownership in the area of Judea when mortgages (leases) were paid off. We must understand that according to Gods direction land was never to be sold, it was to stay within the boundaries of the tribe that it was dedicated, but it could be leased, returning to the original owner during the year of Jubilee.
The word Tetélestai was also found written on certain Roman documents concerning the confinement of prisoners in the area of Judea at the time of Christ, when they had completed their sentence; therefore at a later time if he was accused of being an escaped criminal he could prove he had “paid is debt to society” in full (when a prisoner was given a certain amount of time, whenever a year was completed it was noted in the document, therefore when five years was sentenced and then served, there were five separate entries, one for each year validating that he not only paid the price, but that he paid it in full, year by year).
The Romans were very strict in their accountability and their bookkeeping, and if a Roman soldier lost a prisoner that he was guarding he would have to pay off the remainder of the sentence, so the guards were ambitious to always have an accurate total of the time the prisoner had paid in case there was an escape. This is the reason why the head jailer was going to commit suicide when God had opened up the gate doors, and shackles of the prisoners, among who where Paul and Silas.
The head jailer was aware that with all those prisoners escaping he would spend the rest of this life paying off their sentences. Whereas, the Hebrews never had a form of incarceration, the Romans used it throughout the known world. When a defendant was found guilty of a crime, he was given a “Bill of Ordinances,” which contained not only the charges, but the amount of time that he would serve as punishment.
The Greek expression, cheirographon dogma, which is translated “handwriting of ordinances,” as noted by Paul in Colossians 2:14, is actually a technical term referring to this “bill of ordinances,” from which we have our American euphemism, “debt to society,” that we get from this expression. Yet, in archaeological digs it was noted that whenever a prisoner had paid his debt to society, Tetélestai would be written corner to corner, the same as on paid mortgages.
The relevance of the full meaning of this word is immense to the Christian. It could be said that Jesus completed His mission (of bringing peace or love to the earth), it could be said that Jesus completed His teachings (of wisdom), it could be said that Jesus was referring to finishing His life or even the vinegar.
Yet, these superficial general explanations do not fit the grammar of this word, in context. Jesus did come and teach, yet Christ’s specific mission was to die for the sins of the world, and it was His death for the sins of mankind that He had “paid in full.” What this passage means is that Christians cannot add anything to their salvation, not one dime; because Jesus paid every cent.
When it comes to the issue of salvation in regards to legalism and self-righteousness, there is an underlying motivation of pride that creates a mindset that is eager to find some kind of self recognition in having attributed to one’s own receiving of such a precious gift.
There is this arrogance within man that does not want to receive anything freely, not having done anything to earn it. We have all met individuals that refuse to take anything for free, even a compliment; and upon close examination it becomes obvious that their pride is the problem. Many times the same individuals display an inability to admit weakness or vulnerability, which goes hand in hand with this kind of pride of life.
Yet, when it comes to salvation we owe everything to God. When Christ died on the cross, He paid the price in full, 100 percent, lacking nothing, and therefore it is on this that we must rest our faith. Concerning the salvation of man, Jesus Christ “paid in full” the requirements of the law, and appeased the justice of God the Father.
Applying Text outside of Its Context:
Changing the Meaning of Words
II Peter 1:20 ~ “…no prophecy of the Scripture is of any private interpretation”
Yet, within full context, verse 20 and 21 state concerning the Word of God as related to the two prior versus:
“Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.”
This Scripture has been abused over the centuries by many to imply and validate that there’s not just one view of interpreting a Scripture; that there are other different options for interpreting any given Scripture. However, in reality it states just the opposite. What comes out in the Greek is that there is not an individual way of interpreting the Scripture, apart from what is essentially meant in the text. There is only one interpretation, no other private or individual interpretation.
First, we should keep in mind that the word prophecy literally means: “to speak for another,” and while prophecy can speak of yet future events, this is not necessarily its meaning (As per Dr. William Smith , “The English word, ‘prophet’ comes from the Greek prophetes (profetes) [G4396], which signifies, in classical Greek, one who speaks for another, especially one who speaks for a god, and so interprets his will to man; hence, its essential meaning is “an interpreter”. The use of the word in its modern sense as “one who predicts” is post-classical. The larger sense of interpretation has not, however, been lost. In fact, the English word has been used in a closer sense“).
John the Baptist was referred to by Jesus as the greatest prophet (when He said: “amoung those that are born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist.” ~ Luk. 7:28), yet John never spoke about a future event, but he did represent God to the people, speaking for God. This is one of those misunderstandings concerning the real meaning of some Greek words, where a specific understanding of a word becomes its sole identification, where in fact the word actually means something much more general, which is often overlooked.
Where it may be acceptable to use the word “prophecy” concerning future events, though it is in actuality the simplicity of “speaking for another” (no matter what God wants to be said, whether it is future events, or current, the point is it’s what God wants to be said, not the type of tense implied) God that the word actually means, such as in the Ministry of John the Baptist.Therefore, we must guard against the desire to say that every prophet speaks of yet future events, but we can say that anyone speaking for God is prophesying for Him.
It is in understanding that every Sunday morning across America, thousands of ministers are prophesying for God, speaking for Him by articulating Holy Scripture; this is correctly using the word “prophecy,” and safeguards the integrity of God’s Word. God always says what He means, and means what He says, therefore we must correctly divide the Word of God according to what each individual word means, not the presumption that we attach to it.
Next, we should note the imperative of this verse, which starts the verse with, “knowing this first;” which concerns the following verse, verse 21 which says, “For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” So what we’re to understand is that verse 20 sets the stage for verse 21, therefore this is the foundational verse concerning the subject of Old Testament Scriptures where men spoke for God, and were moved according to the Holy Spirit.
Finally, concerning the grammar of this text, the verb used concerning interpretation is a verb that literally means “to lose,” and further reflects from usage that it is not a “private unloosening,” but a public one.The word “private” means “by itself,” which is to say that no passage of Scripture is to be interpreted “by itself;” that is, apart from the rest of the Word of God or apart from the Holy Spirit who gave it.
Prophecy did not come by the will of men, so it cannot be interpreted by the natural mind. The Spirit gave the Word, and the Spirit must teach us the Word (1 Cor. 2:9-16; Joh. 14:26; 16:13-14).
“Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.”
Many people believe that this verse states that men interacting together produces excellence from each other, by sharpen each other’s wit or understanding. The idea is that if Christians get together with other Christians they enhance or bring the best out of each other in discussion or behaviors, especially in light of the Holy Spirit utilizing the Word of God in their conversation, and in the area of discipleship.
There is no doubt that fellowship has these benefits, however that is not what the Scripture pertains to. The word “sharpeneth” (Hebrew: chadad) means to (literally) “make sharp,” or as this passage presents (figuratively) to make “severe.”
The oldest known root for it means: “to make shine, glow or reflect, by rubbing together.” Which is the primary reaction when iron is rubbed against iron (as with mirrors ~ Exo. 38:8; Job 37:18), with the eventual effect of making sharp. The idea is not that the metal sharpens the other metal, but that the action of the metal rubbing against the metal shines the metal making it reflective.
The point of the Scripture is making is that when friends get together and fellowship, they bring joy to the other; there is an excitement that takes hold, and adrenaline that is produced. And as the men reflect each other, and this joy becomes apparent their “countenance“(referring to their facial expressions ~ Gen. 4:5), reflects this joy.
Godly men getting together utilizing Holy Scripture can increase their knowledge and godly behavior, but this Scripture is not talking about this, and many times the opposite can occur, with arguments, broken relationships; and ungodliness being the outcome.
This Scripture is a common observation of the qualities that God built into men, not only believers, but within all men in their friendship – this Scripture also describes when friends sit watching a football game. We must remember that God communicates on many different levels and that if we attempt to spiritualize what is a simple observation, we distort God’s intended meaning (the Hebrew sages have confirmed the above for centuries). Many times we make literal what is figurative, or figurative what is literal.
I Corinthians 9:22 ~ “… I am made all things to all men…”
“to the weak I became as weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some...” (NKJV)
When Paul spoke about “…being all things to all men…” he was not saying to use the world’s contrivances or trappings, or any of the things that are popular in the world to attract people. Paul was not endorsing marketing techniques, which rely upon emotional manipulation, and attempt to utilize the frailties of humanity itself things, and make money.
Paul was not speaking about drawing people with gimmicks that would accomplish this, nor was he saying we should use complementary images to get people to listen. He was not talking about getting down and dirtying with the masses or of learning what makes the world tick. He was not even talking about using rock-n-roll music (The author is not opposed to the style of music, and therefore is not seeking to promote his own presuppositions) to get kids to listen to the gospel or giving away a meal or a bed for a night in exchange (using a hook) for listing to the Gospel. How condescending to the God of the universe that we have to manipulate people to listen to His Word.
We were given the great commission, but this is not man’s priority. Man’s priority is to glorify God first, and foremost. And to denigrate God’s glory in attempting to meet the great commission is carnal at best, and a ploy of the devil at its worst.What Paul was talking about was speaking to people in languages and terminologies that they understood.
When speaking to fishermen about Jesus, using terms that fisherman related too and that they easily comprehended. When Paul addressed Sheppard’s, he used terms and analogies that aided them in understanding Spiritual truth. When talking to children, use words that they would be familiar with.
The point being that the Gospel was to be taken to all people, in all places with all types of different backgrounds. It was to be made plain when necessary, deep when appropriate, and always as clear as possible. Rather than using big sounding, religious terms just to impress people, the message was what was important, not the verbiage used. As always we must look at this Scripture in the full context it was meant, 1 Corinthians 9:13-27 says:
“Do ye not know that they which minister about holy things live of the things of the temple? and they which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar? Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel. But I have used none of these things: neither have I written these things, that it should be so done unto me: for it were better for me to die, than that any man should make my glorying void. For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel! For if I do this thing willingly, I have a reward: but if against my will, a dispensation of the gospel is committed unto me. What is my reward then? Verily that, when I preach the gospel, I may make the gospel of Christ without charge, that I abuse not my power in the gospel. For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more. And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law; To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law. To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. And this I do for the gospel’s sake, that I might be partaker thereof with you. Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.”
The context is very straightforward; Paul was talking about the sacrifices that he made to preach the gospel. He started off by talking about how he worked and made a living while preaching. We must understand that I Corinthians is Paul’s second letter to the church at Corinth in response to questions that they had presented.
It is his response in chapter 9 to those that would question his apostleship and behavior, as there were others in the church that were misdirecting the church and questioning Paul’s authority.It is in this light that Paul tells them what he had gone through to be their spiritual father. In fact in chapter 4, verse 15, he states:
“For though ye have ten thousand instructers in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers: for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel.”
Paul declares the sacrificial love that he displayed by even making Himself stoop down to communicate people in language that they understand, rather than using the lofty and elegant philosophy for which Paul had been endowed, as is seen on Mars Hill, yet to the church at large he would become the same as it is here, speaking to them on their own level, in their own language, for their understanding.
This is why Paul says, “unto the Jews, I became ‘as’ a Jew,” and “to them under the law, ‘as’ under the law,” and “to the weak became I “as” weak.” The word “as” is used to indicate his form of communication to them, he talked to them in the vernacular that they understood, both in terminology and examples.
In our vernacular, we would say he spoke about fish to fishermen, and used fishing words and analogies to communicate the gospel of Jesus Christ.
The word “as” indicates a figurative usage, he did not become legalistic to those under the law, if he did, this he would violate the grace of Jesus Christ. He did not become weak and violate his own conscience to preach to those that were weak; this would have violated the gospel concerning Christ’s statement that those that loved Him would keep his Commandments.
This Scripture in no way states that we are to approach the world utilizing worldly techniques or behaviors. We are in the world, but not of the world.And one last point that needs to be made, it is evident from what Paul said that these were sacrificial acts that he did, not enjoying doing them, not for himself, yet when people talk about using the things of the world to witness to the ungodly, such as using rock ‘n roll music to witness the young people, it is not a sacrificial act, this is done by people that enjoy rock ‘n roll music (I’m talking about Christian bands that go secular, and play secular concerts supposedly to preach the gospel).
For this to be sacrificial, the same people (who love rock ‘n roll) would have to promote the classical style of music in the old hymns, for the benefit of older people, when they personally didn’t like the old hymn style of music. This would be sacrificial, and reflect what Paul was doing. Not finding a way to endorse what we like and use it for God. How many times have Christians simply used God to rationalize their own interests?
Philippians 2:12-13 ~ “… work out your own salvation…”
The following commentary excerpt exemplifies the common treatment (an excellent exegesis) of Philippians 2:12-13, which states:
“Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.”The “
KJV Parallel Bible Commentary,” systematically breaks down this passage with an orthodox interpretation.76
This refers to the verses that have proceeded. That of having the example of Christ’s humility to guide us and the exaltation of Christ to encourage us.
“My beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence”
There is always a tendency to relax obedience when the spiritual leader is absent, but the Philippians obeyed “much more” in Paul’s absence.
Keep on working out thoroughly in your own interests so as to achieve the desired results. Both freedom and responsibility are implied. In verses 12 and 13, we see divine sovereignty and human freedom in blessed cooperation. Our salvation is worked in by the Holy Spirit in answer to faith in God’s promises and it is worked out by the Holy Spirit by our obedience to God’s precepts.
It is always a matter of trust and obedience. The verse does not say, “work for” your salvation. The Philippians had already been saved. Salvation is all of grace (Eph 2:8-10), but is to be manifested in the daily life by glorifying Christ in everything. One must possess salvation first, and then work it out to its ultimate conclusion, namely, Christ-likeness. No one can live the Christian life until he has Christ. It is not a matter of the imitation of Christ, but the manifestation of Christ, the Holy Spirit reproducing the life of Christ in and through the believers.
“Your Own Salvation”
Salvation is a personal relationship; it is a divine work accomplished at Calvary. Salvation should be viewed in three tenses: past, justification; present, sanctification; and future, glorification.
“With fear and trembling”
These two words describe the anxiety of the person who distrusts his own ability to meet all the requirements, but nevertheless does his best to discharge his duty. This is not slavish fear, but wholesome, serious caution. It is the constant apprehension of the deceitfulness of the heart, taking heed lest we fall (I Cor. 10:12); or stop short of the final goal (II Pet. 1:1-11).
It is that desirable distrust of our own self-sufficiency and the consciousness that all depends on the grace of God. It is not fear of being lost, but fear of the failure of not walking in lowliness of mind, in true humility, and in unfailing obedience. It is fear of all that would rob us of our spiritual vitality and spiritual victory and of shrinking form all carelessness in matters of faith and life.
“For it is God which worketh in you”
For God is the one continually working effectually in you. This word is used in Galatians 2:8 (“wrought effectually”) and in I Thessalonians 2:13 (“effectually worketh”). We are God’s workmanship (Eph 2:10).
“Both to will and to do”
To keep on being willing and to keep on working. God is the source of all we need. The Holy Spirit dwelling within makes the abundant life a reality (not merely a possibility). The energy of God enables a Christian to desire God’s will and replace the Christian’s weakness with the needed power.
“Paul has no sympathy with a cold and dead orthodoxy of formalism that knows nothing of struggling and growth. He exhorts as if he were an Armenian in addressing men. He prays as if he was a Calvinist in addressing God, and feels no inconsistency in the two attitudes. Paul makes no attempt to reconcile divine sovereignty and human free agency, but boldly proclaims both.”
“Of his good pleasure”
For the sake of His good pleasure – His sovereign and gracious purpose. The Christian is called to unquestioned submission to God’s Will.
“Do all things without murmurings”
We are to keep on doing all things apart from murmuring. “Murmurings” mean to mutter, to murmur, an expression of secret and solemn discontent. This word (Greek: gongysmos) appears many times in the LXX (Septuagint) of the children of Israel in the wilderness and refers to their stubborn spirit.
Disputing refer to the thinking of a man deliberately with himself, rationalizing and calculating. This word is translated “imagination” in Romans 1:21. It has two distinct meanings: (1) inward questionings; and (2) outward disputing or discussions. Used here in the first sense it implies a doubtful spirit. We get our word “dialogue” from this word.
Kenneth Wuest states Concerning this passage:
applying text outside of it’s Context, Generalizing what is Specific
I Corinthians 8:1-13 ~ “…knowledge puffs up…”
If 1 Corinthians 8:1 is presented by itself, it will automatically be taken out of context. The whole chapter must be read together in order to understand the subject matter, which states:
“Now as touching things offered unto idols, we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth. And if any man think that he knoweth anything, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know. But if any man love God, the same is known of him. As concerning therefore the eating of those things that are offered in sacrifice unto idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is none other God but one. For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,) But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him. Howbeit there is not in every man that knowledge: for some with conscience of the idol unto this hour eat it as a thing offered unto an idol; and their conscience being weak is defiled. But meat commendeth us not to God: for neither, if we eat, are we the better; neither, if we eat not, are we the worse. But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumblingblock to them that are weak. For if any man see thee which hast knowledge sit at meat in the idol’s temple, shall not the conscience of him which is weak be emboldened to eat those things which are offered to idols; And through thy knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died? But when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ. Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend.”
The Corinthians were an intellectual, philosophic culture, who prided themselves on their intellectual superiority. In setting the mood, Paul’s starts out by reiterating a common Corinthian expression: “everyone has knowledge.”
In our English vernacular that would be the same as saying: ”it’s just common sense…,” in so doing Paul sarcastically points out that in spite of their intellectualism, they miss the fact that by abusing this knowledge, that it was obvious to all and therefore sign of ignorance. Paul points out that their knowledge is not superior when it doesn’t even acknowledge the rudiments of understanding that pride in knowledge is not smart.
And in this situation, it is a specific knowledge that there is nothing intrinsically wrong and eating sacrificed meat. And when those individuals that have that knowledge in believe that, yet still he sacrificed meat in front of brothers who do not have that insight, that this liberty becomes a stumbling block to the weaker brother.
In Paul’s inevitable way, he points out the stupidity of their arrogance in abusing another Christian brother according to their insights. The subject matter here is not knowledge in general, but a specific understanding that eating sacrificed meet does not spiritually harm you.
We understand that to puff-up refers to pride, as on two occasions each, Jesus and Paul both referred to pride as leaven, and one of the aspects of leaven is puffing up. The reason that leaven is a type of pride and therefore in essence the original sin, and by extension a typology of sin: is because leaven corrodes from the inside, puffing up with air, therefore filling up with emptiness, bringing in corruption in so doing.
So when Paul speaks about knowledge puffing up, many individuals use this to state that knowledge in particular produces pride. They usually do this whenever somebody uses the Word of God and they disagree with what’s been said. There are many that do not study God’s Word based upon a deviant understanding of this text. This rationality is most egregious to the Holy Spirit, if he used to keep people out of studying God’s Word. This is one of those areas where you need to find other supporting Scripture to validate this rather egregious presumption and in doing so you will not find any.
There is no other Scripture in the Bible to validate the premise that knowledge automatically produces pride. And to insinuate that knowledge creates pride anymore than any other behavior or acquisition is incorrect. We know that anything and everything can create pride, not just the acquisition of knowledge. But too automatically say that pride not just can create pride, but automatically does create pride, is a distortion of God’s Word.
Knowledge is a core function necessary for salvation, and is a requirement for faith. When someone lays aside the attribute of knowledge and reasoning, all they’re left with is emotions, and emotions when allowed to direct always lead to sin. It is our knowledge of God’s Word in how to apply it in a correct application that the Holy Spirit will bless in guiding our lives in a manner that glorifies God, in faith to him alone. Knowledge outside of God’s Word is foolishness; yet rejecting knowledge according to God’s Word is more foolish, having laid aside the truth after having acknowledged it.
Proverbs 29:18 ~ “Where there is no vision, the people perish…”
“Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he“
Many people have utilized this Scripture outside of its context, even to the extent of separating it within its own verse, and therefore misuse it. This Scripture is not saying that people without a general vision, goal, or purpose; perish. It is saying that God’s people, without God’s vision, which specifically concerns the law, will not therefore keep His law; will commit error, and not survive. There are two different aspects within this Scripture:
1) Is if God’s people do not maintain their perspective through the lens of God’s law, they will perish.
2) And that those who do correctly observe life according to God’s law and keep it, are happy.
It is easy to decipher within the language itself that there is only one subject matter here, and the vision referred to is that of acquiring God’s perspective, according to His law. This is not a Scripture to validate mission statements, goals, plans for a purpose; all of which are necessary, but this Scripture has nothing to do with them. It centers on God’s law, not mans need.
Hosea 4:6 ~ “my people are destroyed for lack of knowledge…”
“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.”
This Scripture too, is misused to indicate that a lack of general knowledge destroys a people. Yet, again when the Scripture is not cut-up, the last few words give insight into what knowledge it referrers to, that of the knowledge of God’s law.
To the Jew this indicated the Torah, which is the first five books of the Old Testament, in the Greek referred to as the Pentateuch. To the Jews of the Torah (the law), combined with the prophets and writings; made up the Tenach, which is the Old Testament as a whole.The second half of the Scripture indicates what knowledge is being referred to when he says: “seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.”
And whereas, people do perish due to a lack of some particular knowledge (such as: falling out of the boat and not knowing how to swim), this Scripture does not support this concept, yet it speaks of something much more important, that of people literally perishing, by not having knowledge of the literal Word of God.
which in the English Change their current Meaning
“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”
The word study, is used here is according to its Old English meaning of the word, which is quite diverse from our current meaning of the word. At the time of the King James writing study meant more than studiousness, but included the way that one related to the world. The word study had to do with a person’s behavior, his way of life, his mannerisms.
This Scripture states that we are to behave ourselves as a person that God has approved whereby He has given understanding, rightly interpreting God’s Word.What this implies is behaving in such a way that the words of the Bible are seen in the behaviors of the person. This is where the deed and the word become one, were James says “be ye doers of the word and not hearers only” (Jam. 1:22).
We are to study God’s Word. However, this Scripture is not to be utilized for this purpose. But there are many Scriptures which to point out the necessity of deeply studying God’s Word, such as when David said: “thy word will I hide in my heart that I do not sin against thee” (Psa. 119:11 & 19:4). In order to hide God’s Word in your heart (this does not mean emotions, but the whole inward man, especially the cognitive function), you must know it, as well as understand it.
These are both studious requirements, one of memorization, and the other systematic study. Therefore, one must study God’s Word in order to fulfill this example.
2 Thessalonians 2:7 ~ “…only he who now let us will let…”
“For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.”
The old English word for “let,” meant “to possess” or “control.” This is commonly seen today, and can be seen while visiting Great Britain. As you walk down the streets you will see signs in the windows of apartments, which state: “flat to let,” (“flat to possess”) meaning in our American English vernacular: “apartment to rent or control.”
The new modern translations have rendered this Greek word (katecho – arti) to “restrain,” or “hold.” A literal translation is: “…only he (neuter pronoun, commonly used to indicate the Holy Spirit) who now possesses will possess, until he be taken out of the way.”
The Holy Spirit does not merely hold back evil from occurring, as if there is a mystical supernatural phenomenon occurring, He controls how God work out His Will on earth, yet most effectively through the Church. He does more than stop evil, He fulfills the Father’s Will in a positive way, as seen in the furtherance of the Gospel around the world through believers.The Holy Spirit is functioning within the life of believer’s, who make up the church; and the Holy Spirit utilizes those believers as a restraining force against evil in the world.
However, it is not that the Holy Spirit will be taken out of the world (to abandon the earth), when the Church is Raptured; but that He will be taken out of the world in the sense that the believers will be taken out of the world, those that make up the Church in which the Holy Spirit lives. It must be first understood that the Church is a special group of believers in that the Holy Spirit indwells them (1 Cor. 6:11); this is not true of the Old Testament believers.
Jesus said, concerning the Holy Spirit in John 14:17, “…for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.” This is a reference to the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:4), which He referred to in Luke 24:49, when He told them, “but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.”
Prior to this, the Holy Spirit only temporally indwelt elders (Num. 11:17, 25, 26), judges (Judg. 3:10; 6:34; 11:29; 14:6), prophets (1 Sam. 10:10; 2 Chron. 15:1; 20:14; 24:20; Isa. 61:1 [dual fulfillment]; Eze. 11:5; Mic. 3:8), Kings (1 Sam. 16:13; 1 Chron. 28:12; Mar. 12:36; 1 Sam 11:6), and workers (Exo. 31:3) for a special purpose or event, but never lived within the normal believer.
The Church is special (1 Pet. 1:10) in that due to the indwelling of the Holy Spirit (Rom. 8:9) the power, Jesus spoke about in Luk. 24:49, was necessary for the Gospel to be taken to the whole earth (Rom. 8:11-31).
This will change when the Church believers are Raptured (1 Thess. 1:10), that is why the earth will become more evil than it has before since the time of Christ, when the Church was created, because of this special group of believers (the Church is the only group of people who become kings and priests ~ Rev. 1:5, 6; 5:10, a very special distinction) which house the indwelling of the Holy Spirit are gone.
One proof that the role of the Holy Spirit only changes after the Rapture, as compared to totally leaving the earth, is seen in that during the Tribulation individuals will be saved (Rev. 7:9-14), and we know that this is impossible without Holy Spirit for individuals to perceive and understand salvation according to God’s Word (2 Thess. 2:13; 1 Pet. 1:2).
The working of the Holy Spirit will return to how it was in the Old Testament, where He will lead people to God, and empowered certain people (the two witnesses ~ Rev. 11:3) to do miraculous signs and miracles, yet will not indwell the average believer in the same way as the Church.
One of the underlying problems with Scriptures being mis-stated or misapplied to a situation or event, is that normally the principle that people are trying to support is true and accurate, yet the particular Scripture they use, does not support it.
Many times what arises from this type of abuse is when people investigate the text and determine that the Scripture is misused, they will therefore invalidate the principle, due to its incorrect application or misuse.
When we manipulate God’s Word by twisting it into saying something that God did not intend for it to say, we thereby imply that the Word of God is insufficient in itself and fall’s short in some way. And as has been stated the tragedy of this type of misuse is that normally the principle that is misused can normally be found stated somewhere else in the Bible, though perhaps not as clear.
It is not enough to do the right thing; it must be done the right way. And we can’t do the wrong thing, for the right reason. To violate these two principles displays a implied lack of faith in God and His Word, the Holy Bible.
Rightly dividing God’s Word has to do with applying the Scripture of any doctrine contextually as to its local application, yet biblically concerning God’s consistency, both accurately and specifically.We must determine that God means what He says and says what He means, and that a literal application is necessary in any exegeses, except for those places which God utilizes typology according to the shadows and types He has already revealed to us, or according to the verbiage (Hebrew and Greek grammar, which is much more precise than the English that is used to translate it into) that He uses.
This is sometimes seen when language either uses figurative language (“as,” “like”), or is used in a way that cannot be taken literal due to an inability in the application (such as, we are told to: “mount up with wings”).Therefore, it is with discernment that the child of God, under the anointing of the Holy Spirit, utilizing the gifts given to the church in the form of scholars and teachers, that understand linguistics, as well as idioms and biblical typology; that we “rightly divides God’s Holy Word.”
Extra-Biblical Expressions – Given Biblical Weight
Yet, what must be understood is that if God in His infinite wisdom did not choose to communicate a given expression or thought, then obviously He felt that it was not worthy to be canonized, and therefore should not be used as a guideline or rule of faith by Christian leaders more than a mere suggestion.
Because if a Christian leader utilizes an expression concerning the conduct of a Christian, and states that this is appropriate behavior or thought, they in essence give it the same weight as Scripture, and by so doing imply its appropriateness in the canon, and therefore by effort or not add it to God’s Word. The following two examples are expressions abused by Christians and leaders as guidelines for behaviors on par with Holy Scripture.
1) “In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity”
2) “Christian growth is like a three-legged stool; prayer, Bible study, and Fellowship”
It must be first stated that though the next two sections appear to be opposed to unity and fellowship, this is not the case. It is simply in clarifying the preeminent importance that God’s Word is to hold in the life of the believer, that the following is presented.
The blessing of unity in fellowship is more than the “icing on the cake.” The essence of discipleship is achieved through fellowship, the empowerment and fortification that comes through fellowship is not to be downplayed. It is when we are not allowed the blessing of fellowship, that it’s importance is fully understood.
Therefore, please consider the following in light of the importance of the Word of God in maintaining doctrinal purity; yet never as a justification for isolation. When believers are isolated, without the ability of feedback from other believers, many times their spiritual growth is stunted or even perverted.
One of the benefits of positive Christian Fellowship, where the water of the Word, mixed with the leading of the Holy Spirit in other individual believers; this is where we can grow into Mature Christian disciples, grounded in God’s Word, and led by His spirit.
1) “In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity”
The main problem with utilizing this expression by Augustine of Hippo (354-430) is that it sets the stage for compromise concerning those things that are not considered essential, mainly anything other than salvation. However, this devalues Scripture concerning everything else, by subjugating it to a second class priority, and therefore deemphasizes those things that God has chosen to communicate, relegating them to a minor role.
While attempting to sound godly concerning unity, it is in direct contrast to what God’s Word says concerning the doctrines of the Bible. Believers we use passages which talk about not arguing about foolish stories, or fables, or genealogies; to back up this unbiblical expression.
Are we Augustinians or Christians
Part of the problem that must be understood in this expression is the fact that Augustine is not our rule of faith, nor our example of Christianity, Christ is. And concerning the subject of unity it was Christ Himself that said that He brought a sword (Matthew 10:34), and that because of Him families would be divided, (Matt. 10:35-36). Luke 12:51, states:
“Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay: but rather division.”
And whereas this is concerning the division between believers and unbelievers, even within the same household; it is obvious that the unity of Christian brothers and sisters is a separate matter. And it would be heretical to attempt to state that the love of the brethren, and the unity therein is not paramount in the new testament. Yet, at what cost do we sacrifice God’s Word when it comes to the violation of doctrine; as well as when sin is condoned and contaminates the church in the process.
Brotherly love and Christian unity should never be an excuse to compromise the Word of God; as well as Christian behaviors of sin should never be tolerated openly in the church as a sign of supposed acceptance and unity.
An Example of Compromise Because of Unity – Corinth
Must we be reminded of Paul’s advise to the church at Corinth to discontinue fellowship with a brother who had an incestuous relationship (1 Cor. 5:11)? This is how God deals with sin within the church by excommunicating those that refuse to repent. Repentance means to: “change the mind,” not just the outward behavior.
They were to change their mental state in which their rationality for continuing in the sin exist, not just the sin itself. It is God’s Word, and its proper teaching that makes this apparent as well as possible. What this should show us is a contrast and comparison concerning how God feels about sin in the church as compared to the importance of unity.
This event is recorded in 1 Corinthians 5:1, which states:
“It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father’s wife“
The word: reported (Greek: akouetai [G191] is in the present tense and passive indicative; “to hear; yet so literally” ) and commonly (Greek: holos [G3654] “wholly” “altogether,” “everywhere“), when combined, and in this grammatical instance; in the Greek they literally amount to saying:
“it is absolutely or actually heard and spoke about everywhere, in such a matter that it is easily understood that it is tolerated and even promoted...”
However, it is the rest of the verse which is so astonishing; according to Robertson’s Word Pictures75, which deals specifically with the grammar parsed, concerning this phrase: “and such,” (Greek: kai toiaute), Robertson states that this is a: “climactic qualitative pronoun showing the revolting character of this particular case of illicit sexual intercourse.”
Robertson goes on to state concerning: “as it is not even among the Gentiles,“ (Greek: hoste gunaika tina patros echein), that it was the “Height of scorn. The Corinthian Christians were actually trying to win pagans to Christ and living more loosely than the Corinthians heathen among whom the very word ‘Corinthianize’ meant to ‘live in sexual wantonness and license’” (see Cicero pro Cluentio, v. 14).
The point is that the church at Corinth had disputes and divisions growing concerning the application of God’s Word in their life to the extent that they were living like the world, excepting sin, and compromising doctrine after doctrine of holy writ in order to fit in with their culture.
As they attempted to heal divisions, they did so by compromising doctrine.
It was their compromise concerning God’s Word that they exchanged for fellowship (we know this from the writings of the church fathers).
Paul had wrote this letter concerning questions that they had proposed (1 Cor. 7:1), as well as issues he had heard about from the household of Chloe (1 Cor. 1:11). Which were about divisions and cliques within the church, and the immorality that was so commonly practiced and accepted, which included open acceptance of incest (they were a modern church, they were sheik and cutting-edge; they use the newest technology, and were known for being innovative while always stylish – they were and affluent seaport and port of commerce, they were sophisticated and intellectuals, they were modern and progressive: they were us, the American Church of the 21st-century); they’re refusal to use church discipline (please see “Faith… ~ Part 1” ~ “Endnotes 3, 4, 5“ ~ Link), instead going to the secular courts concerning financial disputes; and their acceptance of immorality and the compromise of doctrine in order to maintain unity – which in the end brought the very division they sought to avoid.
How Far Will We Go
Currently; we have whole denominations that accept homosexuality, premarital sex and contraception for teens; wholesale acceptance of alcohol, inappropriate language and behavior; the propagation of secularism, the social gospel, social justice, socialism and Marxism; ordination of gay ministers, and female pastors; while teaching from the pulpit psychology, self-help, self-fulfillment, and self-centeredness; while completely negating Biblical doctrine: especially trials in faith, suffering for righteousness, sacrificial giving, dying to self, and living for Christ.
All of this to bring in the masses, to grow churches so that we have bigger coffers, and can build bigger more luxurious buildings with more technologies and creature comforts.
The Cost of Fellowship
By way of example (while not personally being an anti-catholic), what does a Christian have to do with fellowshipping with a Catholic that holds to the preeminent teaching of the Catholic Church, nothing. Yet, organizations from Promise Keepers, to Chuck Colson’s Prison Fellowship Ministries, to Rick Warren’s Purpose Driven affiliations; preach acceptance of non-Christian ministries, such as: Catholics, Jehovah Witnesses, and Mormons, with Rick Warren even stating that Muslims do not need to convert to Christianity to be saved.
It is amazing how many people will hold onto this one expression of Augustine concerning the importance of unity, yet would be amazed at some of the other insights that Augustine propagated. As a founding father of the doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church, it is beyond belief that the PRO-testants have allowed themselves to be brainwashed because this expression sounds so loving, yet has been used to devalue protestant doctrines for centuries.
Some of Augustine other views which might be considered heretical, if not at least unorthodox or words known being as exceptional, are:
“There is no salvation outside the [Catholic] church,” which flies in the face of Scripture which emphatically states that salvation is from God, based on faith in the atoning work of Jesus Christ on the cross. Yet, why is this heretical statement not quoted when one wishes to rationalize divergence within doctrines, as his expression concerning essentials does. Apparently Augustine did not think that salvation through faith was an essential.
According to Augustine’s allegorical influence, a majority of Scripture were delegated to figurative language rather than literal interpretation. His writings became the basis for the medieval Roman Catholic Church.
He did not believe in the Christophanies or Theophanous of the Old Testament, that is that Christ appeared in the Old Testament concerning meeting with Abraham at the oaks of Mamre, the Burning Bush, the Captain of the Lord’s host who met with Joshua, or the typologies prefigured in Hebrews as well.He believed that man was a duality (dichotomy) of soul and flesh, as opposed to the tracheotomy which held that man consisted of flesh, soul, and spirit.He believed that the Apocrypha belonged in the scriptural canon.
While holding to extreme predestination, he did not believe that salvation was obtained by faith alone, yet also believed that infants were regenerated by baptism, outside of the necessity of faith.
Augustine took the view that the Biblical text should not be interpreted literally, unless it contradicts what “we know from science and our God-given reason.”
For over 1500 years, theologians have understood Augustine’s treatment of the Word of God in an allegorical or figurative manner, and when the Bible disagreed with the excepted logic of the day, Augustine simply pronounced that the Bible was without error only concerning salvation, and that any other subjects that the Bible addressed were either mythical or figurative, or to grand to approach from the standpoint of man.
This is the foundation for his statement: “In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity.”
The writings of Augustine are replete with condescending, condemnations, and derogatory aspersions of those that did not agree with his Biblical interpretations of doctrine. It was very common for him to completely disregard whole doctrines using convincing tools of Rhetoric (he spent 20 years studying and teaching philosophy and Rhetoric, and continued to follow the teachings of Virgil, Cicero, and Aristotle. There was enough secular philosophy in his teachings that the philosophers Schopenhauer, and the Anti-Christian atheistic philosopher Nietzsche [who espoused and taught “God is Dead”], admired some of his writings and could agree with his philosophy), how unfortunate that Augustine never followed his own admonitions concerning allowing for liberty for others in doubtful things.
Yet, it is apparent that this expression was meant for his own defense, yet not for his own application. Many of his teaching sound divine, yet verbatim written records concerning his religious debates display a mean, short tempered, rude and ungodly behavior which does not jive with the writings which are attributed to him.
The main problem that exist when it comes to the issue of unity at any cost, is it sets the stage for compromise within Christian circles – it contradicts 2 Peter 1:20, which states:
“Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.”
As stated above, this Scripture has been misused over the centuries by many individuals who attempt to say that there’s more than one way of looking at God’s Word, that there are diverse interpretations of any biblical text, therefore condemning somebody else’s interpretation is unbiblical.
This appears godly because it presents tolerance; however this is an illusion, not represented within the whole council of God’s Word. There is only one way to interpret God’s Word, and that is the way God meant it to be interpreted, even if that appears to be intolerant.The whole of Christian doctrine is referred to as God’s Word, and thus preaching and teaching61 God’s Word, and guarding God’s Word is what we are called to do. 2 Timothy 4:1-7, states:
“I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine [teachings]. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine [teachings]; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry. For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith”
2) “Christian growth is like a three-legged stool, it is necessary to have: prayer, Bible study, & fellowship”
Whereas Christian fellowship is not only a pleasure, but fulfills the great commission concerning mentoring new believers in discipleship. However, through the centuries Christians have sometimes been forced into isolation, yet this lack of fellowship has not stunted their spiritual growth.
New believers need to be with mature believers, this is very important. Yet, to place fellowship on par with the God’s Word, and prayer; is unbiblical.
The main text used to support the importance of fellowship is found in Hebrews 10:24-25, which states:
“And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.”
The Reason for this Scripture
What is not so obvious in the English is the reference to the “day approaching,” which concerns the negative connotation concerning trials that were escalating for Christian Jews within the culture of Judaism. The idea was that many Jews in the church were forsaking Christian fellowship because of the persecution they were undergoing financially and socially.
To be excommunicated from the synagogue met not only social isolation, but a lack of ability to trade in goods, seek employment, or barter with fellow Jews. The author of Hebrews is making the point that the Jewish believers should provoke each other to living a Christian life of example, trusting God concerning their future while still maintaining fellowship especially, as trials and tribulations progressed.
The Importance of Fellowship
How much more so should this be our motivation to fellowship when there are not trials and tribulations? Fellowship is an intricate part of Christianity. However, again; to place it on the same level as the Holy Bible is incorrect and unbiblical. We must not do anything to take from the importance and preeminence that God’s Word holds in the life of the believer.
The enemy of the best can many times be the second best. Except for the supreme and singular preeminence of Jesus Christ, anything that is placed on par with God’s Word, such as fellowship, takes from the importance that God’s Word has in the life of a Christian, the two are never to be equated as synonymous.
We must fellowship together, but we must always understand that it is God’s Word that we hold as supreme in our lives. There are many individuals, especially within Pentecostal and charismatic denominations that have elevated fellowship to that of the Word, and now follow folly as experience leads them in their fellowship, rather than God’s Word.
The error of their ways is apparent to all who are grounded in God’s Word, as they now promote barking in the spirit, laughing in the spirit, shaking in the spirit; all because they have turned away from the preeminence of God’s Word in order to rationalize the carnality that they now indulge.
The Preeminence of God’s Word
As has been reiterated time after time, as The main subject of this ministry is faith, the main Scripture of this ministry is Romans 10:17, which states:
“so then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God“
It is this verse which establishes the root or basis of where faith comes from or what it is contingent upon, which is God’s Word. The decline of any denomination or religious organization can be marked at the point that they start to devalue God’s Word to the extent that it is no longer held as inerrant nor in the greatest of esteem.
It is at this point that faith is no longer growing with an these institutions, you cannot separate the book of faith in God’s word, you cannot have one without the other and be a growing Christian.
Yet, faith based upon God’s word is just not the vehicle of spiritual growth, it is the starting point of the Christian walk. As Peter calls it the incorruptible seed that germinates spiritual growth and is the essence of what is necessary to become born again, as stated in 1 Peter 1:23, which states:
“being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth forever.”
Yet, beyond understanding that being born again is according to God’s Word, and growing in faith is according to God’s Word; it is in the perception that it is this same faith that is necessary in pleasing God as well, as seen in Hebrews 11:6, which states:
“but without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”
One last insight concerning this verse is not as simplistic as some would maintain. The expression: “that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him,” does not hold the idea that those that are seeking a reward, are rewarded. But those that diligently seek Him receive the natural fruition of that labor in receiving Him. God will not be manipulated, He does not present a Gospel wherein those that seek a prize qualified for salvation, by holding a cognitive (mental) presupposition that they get what they asked for.
This is not what Biblical faith is about, about asking and receiving, this is a Santa Claus type of perception. And though this type of experiential form of religion which is equates the Word of God with fellowship, permeates much of the “Name it and Claim it” movement (unfortunately, there are many Christians deceived, yet saved within this group – powerless and ineffective in advancing God’s kingdom) according to the practitioners of the “word of faith” cult, those that are deceived and in the process deceiving others will be surprised when they stand before Christ, as goats on His left side.
God is not a bellhop, Santa Claus, or Obi-Wan Kenobi; He is the Lord God Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth, and it is by His grace that has drawn us to Himself, in establishing a relationship with Him based on faith in Him and Who He is; which is trust in all that He allows in our lives, and all that we ever are, or ever will be, according to His good Will – this is Biblical faith. And Fellowship, while an amazing blessing can never be equated with God’s Word, or the privilege we have to come to Him in prayer (submitting our will to his), growing in faith and grace.
Expressions & Axioms – Not Found in the Bible77
• Moderation in all things.
• Once saved, always saved.
• Spare the rod, spoil the child.
• To thine own self be true.
• Do unto others as you’d have them do unto you.
• God helps those who help themselves.
• Money is the root of all evil.
• Cleanliness is next to godliness.
• This too shall pass.
• God works in mysterious ways.
• The eye is the window to the soul.
• The lion shall lay down with the lamb.
• Pride comes before the fall.
“And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.”
Once Saved, Always Saved
This is not found in the Bible, though the concept is validated by such Scriptures as: Romans 8:35-39; Ephesians 1:4-6; Ephesians 1:13 (time does not permit for an accurate presentation concerning eternal security, please see our essay entitled “Salvation – Eternal Security”).
Spare of the Rod, Spoil the Child
This is not found in the Bible, but appears to be a misquotation from the following passages:
“He who withholds his rod hates his son, but he who loves him disciplines him diligently.”
“Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; the rod of discipline will remove it far from him.”
“Do not hold back discipline from the child, although you strike him with the rod, he will not die. You shall strike him with the rod and rescue his soul from Sheol.”
“The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child who gets his own way brings shame to his mother“ (Prov. 29:15)
To Thine Own Self Be True
This is not found in the Bible, it is taken from Shakespeare’s Hamlet.
Do Unto Others as You Would Have Them Do Unto You
This expression is not found in the Bible, the closest biblical idea is found in Matthew 7:12 which states:
“Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.”
God Helps Those Who Help Themselves
This expression is not found in the Bible, it was a statement was made famous by Benjamin Franklin in 1736, it may have originated with Sidney Algernon (1622-1683), in his “Discourses on Government.”
This idea is never found in Scripture, in fact it is antithetical to any teachings taught within the Bible concerning self-promotion and is at variance with the following passages:
“For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly….But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
“He who trusts in his own heart is a fool, but he who walks wisely will be delivered.”
“Thus says the LORD, ‘cursed is the man who trusts in mankind and makes flesh his strength, and whose heart turns away from the LORD.”
Money is the Root of All Evil
This expression is not found in the Bible, but is a misquotation of 1 Timothy 6:10, which states:
“For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.”
Cleanliness is Next to godliness
This expression is not in the Bible, it comes from a sermon by John Wesley entitled, “On Dress.” The book of Leviticus frequently deals with the issue of cleanliness and impurity so that the Children of Israel would be clean as a sign of separation from the surrounding nations. Yet in the New Testament, cleanliness finds mention in relation to the cleansing of the believer’s life, with the following passages which are similar.
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
(1 Joh. 1:9)
“You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.”
“Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.”
(2 Cor. 7:1)
“Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.”
This Too Shall Pass
Trials and difficult circumstances are difficult to bear and one comfort that many have come to share with friends assailed by trouble is the saying: “This too shall pass.” The possible origins of this are too many and varied to review in depth here.
An adequate question for the believer to ask though is how biblical is the comfort found in the reminder that “This too shall pass.” Really, we should be focusing on the promise of what awaits those who are believers. Romans 5 reminds the believer that suffering produces hope for the kingdom of God; if we simply take heart in the temporary end of a given earthly trial, we are finding comfort in the wrong thing.
God Works in Mysterious Ways
Though uncertain in origin and certainly not found in Scripture (the phrase may originate from William Cowper’s hymn “God Moves in a Mysterious Way”), God does work in ways curious and beyond the measure of our limited experience and conception; which is obvious. Deuteronomy 29:29 reminds us that: “The secret things belong to the Lord our God.”
The final chapters of Job present God’s reprimand of Job wherein He asks how Job could possibly understand or judge the reasons for God’s actions (Job being so far removed from God in power, wisdom, and longevity). And perhaps the biggest mystery is revealed us in Romans 8:28, which states:
“And we know that all thing work together for the good to those who love God and are called according to His purpose.”
Though we may not understand the purpose of our circumstances in God’s plan, we are assured that every detail will work for the benefit of the redeemed.
The Eyes Are the Windows to the Soul
This expression is not found in the Bible, but appears to be a misquotation of Matthew 6:22; which states:
“The eye is the lamp of the body; so then if your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light.”, and Luke 11:34 states:
“The eye is the lamp of your body; when your eye is clear, your whole body also is full of light; but when it is bad, your body also is full of darkness.”
The Lion Shall Lay Down With the Lamb
This expression is not found in the Bible, but appears to be a misquotation of Isaiah 11:6-7; which states:
“The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.”
And Isaiah 65:25 which states:
“The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together; and a little child shall lead them.”
Pride Comes Before the Fall
This expression is not found in the Bible, but appears to be a misquotation of Proverbs 16:18, which states:
“Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.”
In conclusion, concerning these last two sections (“Extra Biblical Expressions Given Biblical Weight” & “Expressions and Axioms Not Found in the Bible“); it must be understood that the authority of the Bible is assaulted when there is a lack of prohibition concerning these two subjects.
When there is not an effort to separate any expressions or axioms which are not in the Bible, from the Bible; there is an implication that the Bible should contain them: therefore the Bible is lacking by not containing them.
We must understand that if we hold the authority of the Bible as complete, then nothing is lacking, nothing has been sidestepped; the Bible says everything God wants it to say – and that settles it.
This is not to conclude that the Bible is meant to address every subject in existence, or that anything not stated in it, is incorrect. Both of these assumptions are absurd. The Bible is meant to be God’s communication to man concerning those things He wants to communicate; there are obvious statements and implementations, as well as hidden information which will be revealed in time, or according to the inspiration of the Holy Spirit to the reader.
The Bible has never presented itself as a guide concerning all that is, but rather as God’s revelation to man concerning what God desires to communicate, and anything given Biblical weight beyond this is unwise, as well is un-Biblical.
If God did not feel it necessary to speak about unity as Augustine did, it is wrong to give Augustine’s statement a divine endorsement that is neither suggested, nor implied in God’s Word.
To equate Fellowship on the same level as prayer, and Bible study; if not directly stated in God’s Word, should not be taught as a divine truth. Now there are those that say that neither one of these issues are presented as divine truths; yet, if they are presented as truth – the only other context would be in regards to that which is untrue.
What we must understand is that either something is accurate or inaccurate, truthful or untruthful, right or wrong.
When preachers and teachers present the above mentioned expressions as truth, while also speaking about God’s Word, there is an implementation here that all truth is God’s truth, and therefore worth consideration.
The point is this, these expressions are meant to be insightful, yet there is no way of doing this without indicating that they are absolutely true, which unfortunately is absolutely not the case. The apostles, as well as hundreds of thousands of believers have died for refusing to compromise concerning unity with the things of the world, or false doctrines; those same doctrines that are currently and commonly presented as nonessentials within many denominations and churches.
If one states that the only essential is salvation, you invalidate the rest of God’s Word by relegating everything else as not as important. Therefore, to belittle anything is God’s Word is wrong. It is these extra Biblical expressions given Biblical weight that cause harm within many denominations and churches as they deviate from the truth, yet with each compromise in doctrine, degree by degree, leaving the truth of God’s Word behind by compromising on what some say are nonessentials. Taking a stand concerning any doctrine in the Bible becomes uncomfortable when disagreeing with fellow Christians.
However, Christian brothers have come to a place of attempting to be accepting in order to be open concerning other Christians and denominations, believing that it is a display of grace to hold loosely to their own beliefs, while being able to say that someone else may be right rather than themselves.
Yet, we never see this displayed by the apostles, there was only one way that a doctrine was meant to be perceived (2 Pet.1:20-21), and that was the way that the apostle presented it. Paul does not allow for any other interpretation concerning the Scripture than what he presents, when he was opposed by another brother he was dominant at that opposition; yet never condemning the individual unless they presented a damnable heresy.
However, since we are not the apostles, but their descendents in the Lord, a sign of the grace that we should have when it comes to disagreeing with Christian Brothers, should be seen in the wisdom wherein we should agreed to disagree with each other concerning certain issues, and not allow that to disrupt our fellowship unless the issue is a damnable heresy.
This is not an attempt to define essentials and non-essentials, yet if there is agreement concerning the divinity of Christ, the atoning work of the cross, and the authority of the Word of God (without the presence of damnable heresies, those heresies which when held negate salvation); then fellowship with Christian Brothers of differing views should never be a problem.
Brotherly love is not synonymous with believing what each other believes. Mature love has to do with accepting others that believe differently, not in spite of those differences, but because of what Christ did for both of us. Sometimes the most loving thing that we can do is correct our brother, and yet there are other times where love means turning the cheek when our brother offends us; it is the indwelling of the Holy Spirit which instructs us which response is appropriate for each occasion, and the use of any extra-Biblical or un-Biblical expressions should never be done in such a way as to take the place of God’s Word, and the leading of the Holy Spirit concerning what we are to do.
This essay has been presented in the hope of equipping the Saints with tools in order to “rightly dividing God’s Word,” understanding that there are not diverse interpretations to any Scripture, but there is a singular interpretation that God meant, and means to convey to the believer. No one has it all right or all the Biblical answers due to the sin of the flesh we are all tainted by according to our own presuppositions, as well as human frames of reference which are all contaminated by the fallen nature.
It is Jesus’ lesson as presented in Matthew 25:14-30, that we should keep in mind concerning the issue of “rightly dividing God’s Word“ (“the word of truth“). This is the story of the talents, in which a man before leaving on a long journey “called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods” (Matt. 25:14), which our identified as “talents” (Greek: talanton, meaning: “the scale of the balance,” which later came to mean something “weighed,” hence a talent as a certain fixed weight for gold or silver, synonymous with a amount of silver or gold) in the next verse, expecting them to invest them while he was on his trip. Many have speculated on what the talents represented in this story, yet it is the previous verse which gives the obvious conclusion, it is the master’s goods, in our case “God’s goods,” those things that are owned by God which have great value.
The word “talent” has become synonymous with those “traits or abilities of people” based upon this Scripture, whereas originally it had to do with “weights of a balance,” yet now the word has to do with people’s ability because of that understanding of the story. Whereas “Spiritual Gifts” definitely would be included as “God’s goods,” however, also talents must be understood as those abilities and traits God has given to each one of us, that we are born with.
This would also be appropriate concerning the meaning of this word as well. The gist of the story is that the servants were given abilities or giftings to be used to enhance their employers realm while he was gone. They all had different abilities or giftings, yet were expected to invest them accordingly. Their success was not determined in contrast to each other, but only based upon how they used what they were given.
The second greatest gift God has given to us, after that of the life of His own Son in exchange for our own lives (wherein we become children in our and while God’s Spirit) – eternally speaking; is that of God’s Word. It is God’s Word that instructs and guides us. The Holy Spirit enables us to understand those things that God would say to us from His Word.
Therefore, as we all have different abilities in handling God’s Word, it is what we do with God’s Word – the commitment we maintain that will determine our eternal reward; yet this is always according to how we “rightly divide God’s Word,” in accordance to what we achieve for His kingdom.
All Scripture verses listed, unless otherwise noted, refer to the King James Version
60. The possible two exceptions are the book of Matthew and the book of Hebrews; both written in Hebrew – due to God’s desire to communicate in the language of the intended audience, which were the Jews ~ it must be remembered that nothing is done by coincidence, the Holy Spirit authors the inspiration of not only the words of the Bible, but also the language used, the specific grammar, even those things that are omitted; all in an effort to communicate across a wide spectrum of opportunities through object lessons in order to gain the maximum capacity of teaching man on a multiplicity of levels those things that God wishes to convey.
61. The Difference between Preaching and Teaching
Whereas teaching (teaching means: “to learn,” “instruction by word-of-mouth,” “educating a pupil,”) is educating further the believers of whatever belief system the teacher propagates ~ Gal. 6:6; Eph. 4:11-12; Col. 3:16. Concerning Christianity, the teacher and the preacher are both proclaimers of God’s Word, but their areas of service are different.
Whereas one is proclaiming the Gospel to the unbeliever, the unlearned; and the other is teaching the believer in greater depth God’s Word. In the Bible the words preaching and teaching are used concerning Christianity, Judaism, and false religions and beliefs; the question is not what is presented, but to whom it is presented.
62. THE COMPLETE WORD STUDY NEW TESTAMENT WITH GREEK PARALLEL, Dr. Spiros Zodhiates, PH T., AMG Publications, Chattanooga, TN 37422, USA, 1990.
63. WORD STUDIES IN THE GREEK NEW TESTAMENT, Dr. Kenneth S. Wuest, Wm. B. Eerdman’s Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, MI 49502, USA, 1990.
64. KOINONIA HOUSE, Founder: Dr. Chuck Missler, Coeur d’Alene, ID 83816, USA, 2008.
68. Concerning the Old Testament Language
The Masoretic Hebrew Text, which was created in the 9th century AD (also called Medieval Hebrew), due the Jews desire to distance themselves from the Christians who had also adopted their own Classical Hebrew text of the Old Testament. They commissioned a Hebrew revision based on work started a few centuries AD, yet not finished until after the creation of the Hebrew vowel-points system. There are current Greek/English lexicons of the Septuagint Old Testament, written in a parallel style for easy reading in the English, such as Brenton’s English translation. NOTE: A majority of the time when reading New Testament quotes of Old Testament passages it becomes evident that there are differences between the two. This is because the Old Testament Scripture that was utilized by those at the time of the New Testament, was the Greek Septuagint translation; which is quoted almost exclusively. It was created 3 centuries before Christ from the Classical Hebrew to the common vernacular of Koiné Greek, which was the language of the New Testament, and was the language of the world financial of Jesus’ day. Also, in utilizing a Greek Septuagint translation of the Old Testament, there is the ability to cross reference words between the Old Testament and the New Testament, consistently (How marvelous is our God!), and therefore gain greater exactness of the meanings of the Old Testament Scripture; the same Scripture that Jesus used, which He thereby validated. (BibleSpeak has an excellent computer text of the Septuagint- Brenton’s English translation)
69. ENCARTA, Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 2000©, 1993-1999 Microsoft Corporation.
70. For the sake of doing any further Greek word studies, the stand-alone Romanized transliteration of the word “saved” is sozo in the Greek, Strong’s Number 4982.
71. The text used is from the “H’ KAINH ΔΙΑΘΚΗ” translation by the Trinitarian Bible Society, and is a Byzantine text in accord with the Textus Receptus.
72. A GRAMMAR OF THE GREEK NEW TESTAMENT IN THE LIGHT OF HISTORICAL RESEARCH, Robinson, pp 514.
73. Ephesians 2:5,6
74. Ephesians 1:13,14; 4:30
75. ROBERTSON’S WORD PICTURES IN THE NEW TESTAMENT, Vol. IV, A. T. Robertson, Broadman Press Inc., Nashville, TN 37234, 1960, Page 446.
76. THE KJV PARALLEL BIBLE COMMENTARY, Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, TN 37234, USA 1994, pp 2440-2441.
77. Based in part upon the “Sayings not found in the Bible” from the Blue Letter Bible, @ www.blueletterbible.org