Thursday, December 31, 2009

Some things never change...

From the First Oration of Gregory Nazianzen (St. Gregory the Theologian), in 379 A.D. (found here [PDF], p.24)

[There are] persons who in the theatres perform wrestling
matches in public, but not that kind of wrestling in which
the victory is won according to the rules of the sport, but a
kind to deceive the eyes of those who are ignorant in such
matters, and to catch applause...


And now you know why I don't watch Pro Wrestling. :P

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Perseverance of the Saints: Part 2

This is going to be quite short, since no less a luminary than John Calvin himself has already addressed this (which I discovered after posting Part 1). His commentary can be found here.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Sincere Milk of the Word

Preaching today has become, for an alarming portion of the church1, a circus. Preachers have the attitude that if they don't out-entertain everyone else, people will not listen. (This is largely true, if the "people" in question are unregenerate, which is, unfortunately, the case for the majority of people in "churches" nowadays. But I digress.)

In the circles in which I personally ran (until recently), a solid exegesis of Scripture is almost unheard of. In fact, in that society, the more a preacher can manipulate the crowd's emotions through jokes, "tear-jerker" stories, etc., the more accolades he receives. (Off-topic: preachers should not be looking for accolades.)

A couple of months ago (at the initial time of writing), I had the opportunity to converse with with a well-known (in his religio-social group) pastor over lunch. He is popular for his funny, upbeat, topical messages. I asked him why he preaches mostly topical sermons. His response was, essentially, two-fold:
  1. Expository messages are too much work to prepare.
  2. Expository messages are not relevant to his audience.

Before we continue, let me put a caveat on the first one, and an explanation on the second:
  1. This man is not a lazy man. He was not saying that having to work to put together a sermon is a bad thing because it takes away from his fishing time. Not at all. He was saying it's a bad thing because he has too many other duties as the pastor of a church that regularly runs 600+. It is my opinion that most equivalent pastors would agree that this is their case as well.

  2. Nor was he being flippant. He is very sincere about his duties (as he understands them), and believes that expository messages are detrimental to his performance of those duties. To be specific, he used an example of when he walked through the book of Revelation in a series of Wednesday night Bible Studies. He pointed out that, "I had this one couple over here whose marriage was falling apart, another one over here whose teenager had just run off, and this brand new Christian in the front row who needed discipling, not eschatology. Additionally, there was a family about to leave the church,".... et cetera..."and learning about which vial comes first, and how many heads the beast has, was not addressing their needs." Now, that's true. However, perhaps there is more to Revelation than vials and heads? And there are sixty-five other books of the Bible that are also "profitable for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness," on which he could do studies. :)

That said, let's continue.

Do I have a "beef" against Topical preaching? Yes and no. No, if it's done right. But what is "done right"?

Most pastors (fundamental or otherwise) claim a certain hermeneutic for scriptural exegesis. (I know, I know — "Um...what did he just say?") In layman's terms, they claim that the Bible must be interpreted using a certain set of rules, without which there will be misunderstanding at best, outright abuse of the Scriptures at worst. This "set of rules" is called a "hermeneutic", and the application of the "hermeneutic" to the biblical text results in "exegesis", or the explanation of what it means.

Every preacher or Bible teacher has a hermeneutic and does exegesis — whether he realizes it or not, and whether he calls it by those terms or not.

My "beef" is with topical messages in which the hermeneutic is faulty, resulting in abusive exegesis.

Abusive exegesis has been, apparently, a perennial problem, even from the beginning of the church. The Apostle Peter mentioned the problem in the conclusion of his second epistle:
There are some things in them [Paul's epistles] that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures.2


So the preacher's first point above is true: preparation for an expository message (which tends to be heavy on the exegesis) is a lot of work! But I would contend that it's actually less work than preparing a topical message with proper exegesis.

The reason I say this is that topical messages are frequently done using verses from several (possibly unrelated) passages, chained together. That means that, in order to make sure he is not mangling what the Bible actually says, the preacher must do good exegesis of each passage, and then make sure that what they actually say is, in fact, addressing the topic upon which he wishes to speak.

(NOTE: Whether or not he puts the exegesis into his actual sermon to the people is irrelevant. He's got to do it in study, just to be sure he's not going off the deep end.)

Conversely, an expository message generally addresses only one passage, and so the preacher only needs to do the exegesis for that one passage. (I'm painting with a broad brush here, of course, for reasons of space — I don't have room to address every combination of passages. This post is already too long, and I've still got more to say!)

In my opinion, any preacher who is not willing to do the work necessary to make sure he does not "twist" the Scriptures needs to find another job. But if he is willing to do the work, preparing an expository message around one passage is going to be much quicker than having to prepare a message around several passages.

So what if he is willing to do the work, but he finds himself lacking the time because of his other duties as pastor? The solution to this is delegation, as we see in Acts 6:2-4,
Then the twelve called the multitude of the disciples unto them, and said, It is not reason that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables. Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business. But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word.


Too often, a pastor will get it into his head that, to be a leader, he must go above and beyond in every area of work in which he encourages his people to participate. For example, if he tells his people that personal, door-to-door soul-winning is important, then "bless God, I'd better be out there myself at least 10 or 15 hours a week!"3 These things are time-consuming, yes, but frequently more so because of a misplaced sense of quantity necessary for leadership.

Another activity that might get a preacher bogged down is going to conferences. Conferences are cool — I'm not saying they're evil! But if the preacher has to be at every conference, camp, and retreat put on throughout the year by his particular socio-religious circle, he seriously needs to rethink his priorities.

This is why the position of pastor in the New Testament is referred to as "bishop", coming from a Greek word which means "superintendent", or "administrator". The very name of the position indicates that the man must know how to properly order his work.

In conclusion, preachers need to make the time and put in the effort to feed the flock of God which has been entrusted to their care with solid, exegetical instruction, and not just entertain them. Methinks that they will discover that it's actually less work than they though — and definitely less than if they were to properly prepare their topical sermons!

Oh, and it's even less work in the long run because as we all know, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." (II Hesitations 3:8)

OK, I'd better stop now. :)
-----------------------------------------------------------
1The Protestant branch, anyway.
22 Pet. 3:16b
3BTW: We were taught this exact statement at Bible College.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Perseverance of the Saints: Part 1

In the course of research completely unrelated to this entry, I used e-Sword to search the Bible for the word "root".

First item on the list was Deuteronomy 29:18:

Lest there should be among you man, or woman, or family, or tribe, whose heart turneth away this day from the LORD our God, to go and serve the gods of these nations; lest there should be among you a root that beareth gall and wormwood;


I immediately remembered that Hebrews 12:15 is similarly phrased:

Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled;


But they are not phrased exactly the same — not in English, at least. To determine whether the author of Hebrews was, in fact, quoting Deut. 29:18, I took a look at the Greek behind both verses1.

Here is the Greek for the verse in Deuteronomy:

μή τίς ἐστιν ἐν ὑμῖν ἀνὴρ ἢ γυνὴ ἢ πατριὰ ἢ φυλή, τίνος ἡ διάνοια ἐξέκλινεν ἀπὸ κυρίου τοῦ θεοῦ ὑμῶν πορεύεσθαι λατρεύειν τοῖς θεοῖς τῶν ἐθνῶν ἐκείνων; μή τίς ἐστιν ἐν ὑμῖν ῥίζα ἄνω φύουσα ἐν χολῇ καὶ πικρίᾳ;


Here is the Greek for the verse in Hebrews:

ἐπισκοποῦντες μή τις ὑστερῶν ἀπὸ τῆς χάριτος τοῦ Θεοῦ, μή τις ῥίζα πικρίας ἄνω φύουσα ἐνοχλῇ καὶ διὰ ταύτης μιανθῶσι πολλοί,


In case you didn't catch it, take a look at the similar phrases in parallel:

μή τίς ἐστιν ἐν ὑμῖν ῥίζα ἄνω φύουσα ἐν χολῇ καὶ πικρίᾳ;
(Deut.)

μή τις ῥίζα πικρίας ἄνω φύουσα ἐνοχλῇ
(Heb.)


Now, if we remove the phrase "ἐστιν ἐν ὑμῖν" ("should be among you") for reasons we'll get to a little further down, we see:

μή τίς ῥίζα ἄνω φύουσα ἐν χολῇ καὶ πικρίᾳ;
(Deut.)

μή τις ῥίζα πικρίας ἄνω φύουσα ἐνοχλῇ
(Heb.)


I think by this point we can say with confidence that the author of Hebrews was in fact quoting Deuteronomy. But it's not an exact quote. Why? How is it changed, and is that significant?

Before we continue, we need to pull our train of thought into the station and pick up a few Greek passengers who will help us with the basic Greek vocabulary involved with these verses.

ἐν "en" (prep.)

in

καὶ "kay" (conj.)

and

ἄνω "anoe" (adj.)

up

ῥίζα "hridza" (n.)

root

πικρίᾳ "pikria" (n.)

bitterness

πικρίας "pikrias" (adj.)

bitter

χολῇ "kholee" (n.)

poison2

ἐνοχλῇ "enokhlee" (v.)

troubles3

Ok, now that they are on board, we also need to do some maintenance on the engine, with the following note:

The English translators of Heb. 12:15 rendered "ῥίζα πικρίας" as "root of bitterness"; but it literally reads "root bitter", or, compensating for Greek word order: "bitter root". This doesn't change the meaning at all; but we do need to note the change from Deuteronomy 29:18 LXX, which literally reads, "root springing up in...bitterness", to Hebrews 12:15, which literally reads, "bitter root springing up".

Ok, now we can fire up the boilers and get this train headed back out on the tracks.

Why did the author of Hebrews make this change?4 I'll give you the answer up front: So that he could make a clever play on words with the phrase "ἐν χολῇ" in the original. Specifically, he has conflated "ἐν χολῇ" into one word and flipped "χ" (one letter), and "ο", producing "ἐνοχλῇ", which literally means "to crowd in". (He dropped the "καὶ", because it was no longer needed, "πικρία" having been moved to earlier in the sentence.) So he has changed "in gall and" to "crowd [you] in."

(Incidentally, this is now the verb of the sentence, which is why "ἐστιν ἐν ὑμῖν" was removed. (See, I told you we'd get to it. :) But I digress...)

So what does all this have to do with anything? What does it mean? What is he trying to teach with this obviously intentional change?

We'll get to that in part two. :)

In the mean while, I've changed my blog settings so that I don't have to preview the comments before they show up, so feel free to comment. (I will delete any comments that I do not deem apropos, such as profane or advertising comments.)

---------------------------------
1"But the OT was written in Hebrew!" Yes, and it was translated into Greek in the form of the Septuagint, or the "LXX". The Greek LXX was the version most often quoted by Jesus and the Apostles. (I need to do some more research before I can confidently write "exclusively quoted".)

Also, the versification is slightly different in the LXX, so Deuteronomy 29:18 KJV is actually verse 17 in the LXX. For consistency, I will refer to it as verse 18 throughout this post.

2"χολῇ" in Deut. 29:18 is the translation of the Hebrew ראשׁ ("rosh"), which refers to poison.

3Third person present active singular of the infinitive "ἐνοχλέω": "to crowd in, to annoy, to trouble." This is just "ἐν ὀχλέω", but as one word. We have already seen that "ἐν" means "in", and "ὀχλέω" means "to mob", or "to crowd", from the noun "ὄχλος", which is "a crowd, multitude, the common people".

4Some might say that this was unintentional — i.e. a copyist's error. However, I would contend that it was intentional, based on the fact that, in order to make grammatical room for the change, the writer 1) altered the word order and part of speech for "πικρίας", appropriately dropping a related conjunction in consequence, and 2) removed an entire phrase, changing the verb of the sentence. If this were merely a copyist's error, such precise changes would not have been made to adjust for the grammatical difference made by the so-called "error".

Friday, November 20, 2009

Something we forget sometimes...

This article from Parchment and Pen is really good.

I particularly like the quote at the end, from Thomas Oden:

Because of piety’s penchant for taking itself too seriously, theology–more than literary, humanistic, and scientific studies–does well to nurture a modest, unguarded sense of comedy. Some comic sensibility is required to keep in due proportion the pompous pretensions of the study of divinity. I invite the kind of laughter that wells up not from cynicism about reflection on God but from the ironic contradictions accompanying such reflections. Theology is intrinsically funny. This comes from glimpsing the incongruity of humans thinking about God. I have often laughed at myself as these sentences went through their tortuous stages of formation. I invite you to look for the comic dimension of divinity that stalks every page. It is not blasphemy to grasp the human contradiction for what it is. The most enjoyable of all subjects has to be God, because God is the source of all joy.


That's good stuff. :)

Friday, November 6, 2009

Great Thought....not original to me, of course. :)

Found this on another blog today:

"A certain merchant in Caesarea sent his servant to the market to buy some provisions. Before very long, the servant returned looking frightened and pale. His master inquired of him the reason for his trembling.

In a trembling voice he said, 'While in the market place I was jostled by a man in the crowd, and when I turned around I saw it was the Angel of Death. He looked at me and made a threatening gesture. Master, please lend me your horse, for I must go to Samaria, where the Angel of Death will not find me!'

The merchant agreed, and the servant mounted the horse and galloped away in great haste. Later that day, the merchant went down to the marketplace, and saw the Angel of Death standing in the crowd. He approached him and said, 'Why did you make a threatening gesture to my servant when you saw him this morning?'

'That was not a threatening gesture,' said the Angel. 'It was only a start of surprise. I was astonished to see him in Caesarea, for I have an appointment with him tonight in Samaria.'"

Monday, November 2, 2009

Great Illustration...

A sick man turned to his doctor, as he was leaving the room after paying a visit, and said, "Doctor, I am afraid to die. Tell me what lies on the other side."

Very quietly the doctor said, "I don't know."
"You don't know? You, a Christian man, do not know what is on the other side?"

The doctor was holding the handle of the door, on the other side of which came a sound of scratching and whining, and as he opened the door a dog sprang into the room and leaped on him with an eager show of gladness.

Turning to the patient, the doctor said, "Did you notice my dog? He's never been in this room before. He didn't know what was inside. He knew nothing except that his master was here, and when the door opened he sprang in without fear. I know little of what is on the other side of death, but I do know one thing: I know my Master is there, and that is enough. And when the door opens, I shall pass through with no fear, but with gladness."

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Sidetakers, and the whole counsel of God...

I recently found a site called Sidetakers. The gist of the site is that you can anonymously post individual questions asking for advice, or "sides", where each of the people in a dispute can post his/her side of "the story". The other users of the site can then comment and/or vote their advice.

I came across this post, titled "I hate my sister because of the things she has done, am I a bad person?" It's a very sad situation, as you can see:

My older sister, has always bullied me since I was little.
When she started to grow up my parents gave her all the attention because she was a bit of a 'lose cannon". She did drugs, drank heavily and slept around. She made fun of me in public at school, and always took everyone elses side.
My sister when reaching 18 left home and told no1 where she was going. She contacted noone for 6months, we all thought she was dead. I found her through some of my friends, only because of how upset my parents were. She didnt want to be found.
When she left, she started a lot of rumours, about myself and the rest of my family, she got child services called on my parents cause of all her lies.
To this day (5 years on) she still treats me like dirt, when my parents arent around she will hit me and speak to me like crap. She puts all my friends down and my boyfriend and when no one is around treats them like dirt.
I try to be nice to her, but after recent events where she tried to turn my mum against me, have i realised i hate her and cannot bare to look at her face.
Everyone tells me im a bad person cause no one can hate family. In my mind, she has never been family, family doesnt treat family like that.

I responded with the following:

I like what waterbug said: "Love her from a distance, and pray for her."

To do this properly, you /must/ run to Jesus. (If you don't know Him, find someone who does, and have them introduce you.)

The reason I say this is that He has been in your situation, and has demonstrated the best, most righteous loving-kindness toward those who hate Him. No other role model even comes close.

How so? Well, to put it succinctly: "He came to His own, and His own received Him not." (John 1:11) And again, "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." (John 3:16) And again, "...Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person -- though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die -- but God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5:8)

What do I mean? Well, let me explain. You see, God says the following about us humans:

"There is none righteous, no, not one:
There is none that understands,
there is none that seeks after God.

They are all gone out of the way,
they are together become unprofitable;
there is none that does good, no, not one.

Their throat is an open sepulchre;
with their tongues they have used deceit;
the poison of asps is under their lips:
whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness:
their feet are swift to shed blood:
destruction and misery are in their ways:
and the way of peace have they not known:
there is no fear of God before their eyes." (Romans 3:10-18)

God created us, and loves us, and wants us to enjoy Him forever. But it is written:

"Why do the heathen rage,
and the people imagine a vain thing?
The kings of the earth set themselves,
and the rulers take counsel together,
against Yahweh, and against His anointed [Christ],
saying,

'Let us break their bands asunder,
and cast away their cords from us.'" (Psalm 2:1-3)

We want nothing to do with Him Who is the source of all love and blessing. You see, every one us (you, me, and your sister included) has railed against Him, and hated Him, "without a cause" (John 15:25). Indeed,

"He is despised and rejected of man;
a man of sorrows, and aquainted with grief:
and we hid as it were our faces from him;
he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

Surely He has borne our griefs,
and carried our sorrows:
yet we did esteem Him stricken,
smitten of God,
and afflicted.

But He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities:
the chastisement of our peace was upon Him;
and with His stripes we are healed.

All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have turned every one to his own way;
and Yahweh has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.

He was oppressed, and He was afflicted,
yet He opened not his mouth:
He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter,
and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb,
so He opens not His mouth.

He was taken from prison and from judgement:
and who shall declare His generation?
for He was cut off out of the land of the living:
for the transgression of my people was He stricken.

And He made His grave with the wicked,
and with the rich in His death;
because He had done no violence,
neither was any deceit in His mouth.

Yet it pleased Yahweh to bruise [literally, 'crush'] Him;
He has put Him to grief:
when thou shalt make His soul an offering for sin,
He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days,
and the pleasure of Yahweh shall prosper in His hand.

He shall see the travail of His soul, and be satisfied:
by His knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many;
for He shall bear their iniquities.

Therefore will I divide Him a portion with the great,
and He shall divide the spoil with the strong;
because He has poured out His soul unto death:
and He was numbered with the transgressors;
and He bare the sin of many,
and made intercession for the transgressors." (Isaiah 53)

Note that /because/ He sacrificed Himself for our sins, His Father "prolong[ed] His days." That means, He raised Him from the dead, and now, "He is able to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him, seeing that He ever lives to make intercession for them."

That includes "saving" your situation with your sister. But you have to "come unto God," and you have to come to God "by Him." (He said, "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life; no man comes to the Father but by me." [John 14:6])

Meditate on His sacrifice, and believe on His name. Ask Him to assist you in doing what He said, regarding your sister:

"You have heard that it has been said,

'Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy.'

But I say unto you,

'Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;'

that you may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for He makes His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust." (Matthew 5:43-45)

(On a side note: there is a 5K character limit to the comments; and my reply is exactly 5K characters. :)

Anyway, I post this to make a point. Jesus is the answer to everything ("According as His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him that hath called us to glory and virtue..." 1 Pet. 1:3)

It may seem as though my comment is "off-topic", or "irrelevant", because I speak of the Gospel, instead of "directly" (as the world defines it) addressing the woman's issue. But there is no more relevant advice than saying, in essence, "The love of Christ as demonstrated on the Cross is what's called for here. For you and she both are sinners, hating God, and He gave His life for you. So, 'Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.'"

How often are we guilty of giving people our opinion and psychology instead of the Gospel of Jesus Christ? Of course, we can (and should!) apply it to their situation ("the light shines in darkness"), but if the central message of our counseling is not what He has done to fix their situation, then we are "the blind leading the blind." (And we both fall into the ditch.) Indeed, "if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled only to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God." (2 Cor. 4:3, 4 ESV)

So what then? should we not bring the gospel into the situations of the unbelievers, simply because Satan has blinded them to it's truth? God forbid,

"For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake. For God, who said, 'Let light shine out of darkness,' has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ." (2 Cor. 4:5, 6 ESV, emphasis mine)

God called light out of darkness, and how much more can He shine into the darkness of their hearts, and give the light of the knowledge of His glory, crushing the powers of darkness under His feet!

How dare we substitute our own "counsels" for "the whole counsel of God"! May it never be.

Christ is risen.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Eschatology -- Funny?

Just got done watching this video, entitled "An Evening of Eschatology", in which each of the three major views regarding the Millenium are presented, and discussed. The event was hosted by Bethlehem College and Seminary, produced by Desiring God, and moderated by Pastor John Piper.

I highly recommend this as a primer on the three views presented, and as a starting point for one's own internal journey in the area of eschatology. (If you don't know what "eschatology" is, watch the first few minutes of the video: they explain it in layman's terms.)

I never thought such a "dry" subject could be discussed so hilariously. I laughed more through those two hours than through the majority of "comedy" movies/shows I've seen, put together. These men are genuinely hilarious! You can tell they truly enjoy each other's company, even though, at the same time, they vociferously object to various points of each other's positions.

This video is also a great example of how believers can hold differing viewpoints on the "non-essentials", vigorously debate and defend those viewpoints, and still be one in Christ, because of the love of Christ flowing in and through them. Many Fundamentalists would do well to take note.

I hope you enjoy the video. Whether you enjoy it or not, feel free to comment below. :)

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

On the Deity of Christ: Christ Himself Claimed It (Intro.)

I have given some meditation to how to present the claims of Jesus clearly, regarding His Name.

There are many places in which Jesus' direct claims that He Himself is YHWH are recorded.

Unfortunately, however, most modern readers are unfamiliar with the Old Testament in general, and with Jewish thought on certain personages and passages found therein in particular, which are essential to recognition of the aforementioned claims by Jesus "to be equal with God". Therefore, the majority of these claims will not be immediately obvious. I cannot just quote the relevant passages from the Gospels (and the Revelation) and expect the reader to understand.

So, it will be my goal over the next couple (or more) posts on this sub-topic of this series, to lay the exegetical groundwork for comprehension not only of His claims, but of the stark clarity and exactitude of those claims.

I will be borrowing heavily from a couple of key sources, and cherry-picking several others, so I will footnote appropriately. If the footnote sections start getting really long, I may simply eliminate the actual notes, and do a final post of this sub-topic that will consist only of the endnotes (formerly footnotes). We'll see.

This ought to be interesting. :)

Monday, September 21, 2009

Oops...

I just realized that I have not continued the study on the Deity of Christ! I have several posts in Draft, but have been very busy, and not able to finish them. I should probably do that. :)

Thursday, September 10, 2009

B-Day...

Happy Birthday to me.
Happy Birthday to me.
May God richly bless me....
Happy Birthday to me.

:-D

Friday, September 4, 2009

Suggestion for new Bible version....

0. Start with the KJV.

1. Replace "thee" and "thou" with "you", and "ye" and "you [plural]" with "y'all" or "youse guys" (just kidding!); a subscript, such as "youp"; or just a marginal note.

2. Render the Tetragrammaton as "YHWH", not "the LORD". In addition, transliterate the other names of God with their underlying Hebrew/Aramaic (i.e. El Elohim, Adonai, etc.), since they are names. Marginally note the meaning (i.e. the translation).

3. Update the spellings and archaic words with the modern ones (i.e. musick -> music, emerods -> hemorrhoids).

4. Marginally note idiomatic expressions as such, and where possible explain the idiom.

5. Minimize the interference of chapter and verse divisions (viz. the New Cambridge Paragraph Bible).

6. Try to cut down on the number of translator inserted words.

I may update this list later on...that's all I can think of for now.

Friday, August 28, 2009

QOTD

Speaking to lost people who think that God's justice doesn't include horrible things like Hell and anger being poured out on the wicked, John Piper reminds them:
When blood flows as high as the horse's bridle, you will think differently about justice than when your biggest problem is an air conditioner that doesn't work.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Great description of our generation...

I was recently "In the Nick of Time", a blog by Kevin T. Bauder, and came across a series by him in which he lays the groundwork for any reasonable discussion of the propriety of theater as a medium.

In it, he makes a statement that applies generally, and not just to a discussion of theater. It is long, but worth quoting in it's entirety. You could replace "forbade theater" in the first sentence with whatever your favorite topic would be.

Generation after generation of believers thought that biblical principles forbade theater. My generation disagrees. To which group should I listen?

Suppose we were to gauge the spiritual depth of these two groups. The first group somehow preserved the faith through persecutions by pagans, betrayals by heretics, and the decadence of the Romish system. At enormous sacrifice they reformed a corrupted Christendom, built the great missionary movements, and conducted the great revivals and awakenings. When they were called upon to do so, they went triumphantly into martyrdom.

The second group is part of the so-called “boomer” generation. When we boomers were still in our teens, we set ourselves up as moral judges over our parents and their parents. Our apparent idealism turned out to be cynical, however, and the moment we discovered that we could make money we dropped everything else. If we worked hard, it was only so that we could play harder. We brought in the sexual revolution, widespread pornography, and abortion on demand. More than anything else, we demanded more and more amusements of greater and greater sophistication, but lower and lower morality. We established ourselves as the most narcissistic, self-obsessed, self-indulgent, hypocritical and swinish generation ever to occupy space. But wait till you see what we do when we retire!

Christian boomers have been far more influenced by the mores of our generation than we admit. There are exceptions, of course, but we had to be bribed into going to church with promises of entertainment and programs. When we came of age, the mission fields began to decline. Biblical literacy went on the wane. We managed to produce the most notoriously immoral ministry since the papacy of Alexander VI Borgia. We did, however, manage to score high at PacMan.

The Gen-Xers have not done noticeably better, except perhaps to score high at Halo 2. We have, in fact, reached a nadir in American Christianity. A fundamentalist pastor is arrested and charged with decades of child molestation. The head of the NAE steps down, admitting to a liaison with a homosexual prostitute. Christian “artists” believe that they are edifying the Lord’s people by shouting obscenities from the stage. A Christian lifestyle magazine recommends a Sports Illustrated swimsuit girl as a Christian role model. Believers sport bumper stickers like “For All You Do, This Blood’s for You,” and “Grace Happens.” Fundamentalists cannot even agree whether the New American Standard Bible should be treated as the Word of God.

This is the generation whose word I am supposed to take? Of course. With all this obvious discernment going on, why wouldn’t I?


Quite a scathing (but not inaccurate) description of us. Definitely worth thinking about.

QOTD

"Today we are too much about what we do, and not enough about who we are." — Paul Washer

Monday, August 24, 2009

An important grammatical nuance of 1 Pet. 3:1,2

I was reading I Peter again the other day, and when I came to the beginning sentence of chapter 3, I noticed1 something in it's grammatical structure that I haven't noticed before. This item is not so much a correction of previous error in my thought on this sentence, but rather an expansion of it.

Before I get into what I noticed, let me repeat the sentence itself:

Likewise, ye wives, [be] in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; while they behold your chaste conversation [coupled] with fear.


First, let me point out that the popular teaching2 on this verse is that a believing woman's unbelieving may husband may yet be won through her biblical submission to his authority, even though he may (at first) reject the authority of the Scriptures.

Now on to the actual discovery, which is found at the end of the first verse. The application listed above implies a reading of "by the conversation of their wives", which, incidentally, is how the ASV, ESV, and RV render the text (as well as the 1909 Reina-Valera3).

However, the text rendered in the KJV is "of the wives".

It is not only the KJV that renders the text this way. In fact, the Bishop's and Geneva Bibles also give this reading. Additionally, there is no support in the Greek4 — in any of the major or minor variations — for "their" over "the". The manuscript evidence is 100% on this particular phrase, and the Vulgate witnesses the same5.

This reading ("the") seems to place the focus on the collective conversation of the entire group of "the" wives, in contradistinction to the usual focus of the individual conversations of the individual wives to "their" individual husbands.

Now, the individualistic application I first mentioned is, I believe, a valid application of this passage. However, in light of the grammatical nuance (of the implied reading versus the actual reading), coupled with the larger context of the book — I am beginning to think that the individualistic reading is not the primary interpretation of the verse.

Actually, the more I think about it, the more solidly opinionated I become that it is, in fact, harmful, in that it entirely loses the point the Holy Ghost, through Peter, is actually making in the larger context, completely missing the primary interpretation and application of the passage. Furthermore, the popular, individualist reading is an unnecessary limitation on the scope of the passage, because it is — evidently, I hope — included as a subset of the collectivist reading.

I will expound on what I believe6 to be the primary, collectivist interpretation in a follow-up post. In the mean while, 1) I need to go home and go to bed, and 2) I want to see your thoughts on this, via the comments.7


-----------------------
1When I say, "I noticed", I do not mean to imply that it was at all my own discovery, apart from the Spirit's teaching. I only phrase it this way because, this being a seed thought (not fully discussed and developed), I do not wish to blame the Spirit for this if I am wrong. Insofar as the thought is correct, it is the teaching of the Spirit, and not of myself. Insofar as I am incorrect, it is my own error.

2Indeed, I do not remember ever having heard the "larger context" that I am about to explore taught, nor have I read it in any commentary on the passage. Whether this is because it is not being taught or whether I just need to "get out more", I would be interested to discover. :)

3Largely held in KJV-preferred circles to be the Spanish equivalent of the KJV. It reads, "por la conversación de sus mujeres". "Sus" is the possessive plural, directly equivalent to "their".

4The entire phrase reads, διὰ τῆς τῶν γυναικῶν ἀναστροφῆς ἄνευ λόγου κερδηθήσονται. "The wives" is τῆς...ἀναστροφῆς. There is no possessive explicitly written or even implied. In fact, there is a Greek phrase "of their wives", used in two places in the Old Testament (LXX — Neh. 5:1; Jer. 44:9), which looks like this: τῶν γυναικῶν ὑμῶν. It stands to reason that if the Holy Spirit meant "of their wives", He would have had Peter write "of their wives" (though being dogmatic about it may be stretching the point, which you , indubitably by this time, get).

5per mulierum conversationem sine verbo lucri fiant. Once again, no possessive.

6Indeed, I have no source to draw upon for guidance (see footnote 2)! This fact does, of course, scare me, since I am of the opinion that, as ye olde Anonymous put it, "If it's new, it ain't true."

7Or you can contact me otherwise, if you know my contact info.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Great Article....

I just read this great article, on "Christ, the breath of our nostrils", out of Lamentations 4:20ff.

I think the Expostulation to sinners at the end is particularly well written. It has definite Jonathan Edwards overtones, don't you think? Particularly this bit:

Do you doubt that God would put you to torment? Look to the cross, where he was pleased to put his own Son to torment for sins, and look to the lives of Christians everywhere who, although indwelt by the Spirit of Christ himself, he is pleased to bring through many trials and tribulations; and do you doubt that he will have the heart to put you to shame and torment? Your life is fleeting and uncertain if Christ is not your breath, and it may be cut off at any time, and you will be plunged into the fiery chasm of God’s eternal wrath. Flee to Christ at once, or you will be left utterly without hope!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

On Elephants and Lies...

No, this is not a political post (although I might do one using this title on my political blog). :)

I was reading a book the other day, and I was once again reminded of an old analogy used by ecumenicalists to explain their god, and how he is the same god all the other religions have.

The analogy goes something like this:

There were once three blind men who came upon an elephant. They said to each other: "Well, this is a strange creature! What is it?" The first, who had caught the tail, said, "It is like a long rope." The second, touching the massive leg, replied, "That's impossible. This is very sturdy, like a strong oak tree! This creature is nothing like a rope." The third, hearing the descriptions of the others, and comparing it with the elephant's trunk, which was his point of contact, laughed, saying, "You're both very wrong! The creature is not a rope, nor a tree, but like a large snake. How could you both be so silly?"

The moral frequently given is that they were all right, and they were all wrong, for none of them could see the elephant in it's entirety, but could only encounter small parts of it.

The supposed application is this: the elephant is god, and we are the blind men. None of us is capable of knowing god's full shape, and so we fight and argue about what god looks like, but we are all right and we are all wrong. The Muslims, Jews, Hindu's, Taoists, Buddhists, Christians, etc. all worship the same god in different ways.

Immediately, the Holy Spirit pointed out several truths and several outright lies in this analogy. The truths first, as it's a fairly short list:

  1. God is wholly different from us in His very nature. (Ps. 50:21; Ps. 8; Is. 55:8-9)

  2. We are blind (John 9:39-41), and incapable of full comprehension of Him. (Deut. 29:29)

Now for the lies. (These are too long to put into list form.)

First, there is the underlying assumption that fallen, unconverted man is searching for God. But God says,

There is none righteous, no, not one:
there is not that understandeth,
there is none that seeketh after God.

They are all gone out of the way,
they are together become unprofitable;
there is none that doeth good, no, not one.

Their throat [is] an open sepulcher;
with their tongues they have used deceit;
the poison of asps [is] under their lips:
whose mouth [is] full of cursing and bitterness:
their feet [are] swift to shed blood:
destruction and misery [are] in their ways:
and the way of peace have they not known:
there is no fear of God before their eyes.
(Rom. 3:10ff, eph. mine)

And again, Jesus said,

And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.
...
No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.
(John 3:19-21; 6:44)

One more should suffice:

And you [hath he quickened,] who were dead in trespasses and sins; wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.

But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) and hath raised [us] up together, and made [us] sit together in heavenly [places] in Christ Jesus: that in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in [his] kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: [it is] the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
(Eph. 2:1-13)

...cf. this (esp. vss. 8, 9) with Heb. 11:6:
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.

'Nuff said.

Secondly, there is a blasphemous assumption, even if we were to seek after God without His drawing us, that we could discover anything about Him apart from what He reveals of Himself to us.

Moses said,

The secret [things belong] unto the LORD our God: but those [things which are] revealed [belong] unto us and to our children for ever, that [we] may do all the words of this law.
(Deut. 29:29)

Jesus reiterated:

All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and [he] to whomsoever the Son will reveal [him].
(Matt. 11:27)

Paul confirmed:

But as it is written, 'Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.' But God hath revealed [them] unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? Even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.

Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.

But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know [them,] because they are spiritually discerned.
(1 Cor. 2:10-14, eph. mine)

Once again, 'nuff said.

Corollary to this is an assumption that God has not revealed to us what we need to know about Himself, that we must figure it out on our own. But we've seen above that "God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit..."

Indeed, God reveals Himself fully in His Son Jesus Christ (John 1:18; 14:9; Col. 1:19), and we have direct access to His revelation of Himself in Jesus Christ by 1) the Scriptures (John 5:39) and His Spirit (John 14:16-18, 26; 15:26, 27; 16:13-16).

So, in conclusion, the analogy is a demonic deception, designed around assumptions that flatly deny the depravity of man and the revelation of God in Christ!

In fact, upon further meditation, it occurs to me that this analogy is very applicable to the god(s) of every religion but that of our Lord Christ. These religions indeed all serve the same god (1 Cor. 10:20, cf. Deut. 32:17), the god of this age, the prince and the power of the air (and/or his minions), and they will join them in their full punishment -- the wrath of God poured out upon them for all eterenity. (2 Thess. 1:7-9, 2 Pet. 2, 3)

Friday, August 7, 2009

QOTD

You don't tell men that they are saved; you tell men how to be saved. God tells them that they are saved.
— Paul Washer

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Monday, August 3, 2009

Well, that's interesting.

Turns out I'm a Covenant Theologian -- at least insofar as totally agreeing with this post makes me one. :)

This is, IMHO, a great breakdown of the Abrahamic Covenant and how it applies/doesn't apply to us (and the Jews, a.k.a. the "Israelites according to the flesh") today.

Let me know what you think!

Friday, July 31, 2009

Reply to Comment

"the anonymous" W. Holmes made a good point in the first comment on this post. This post is a reply to that. (I tried to do this as a second comment, but the Comments don't allow the "<sup>" HTML tag, which I use for my footnotes.

That said, here's my reply:
--------------------------------
Great thought, W. I completely concur. As Moses said in Deuteronomy 29:29,

"The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law."

What "things" are revealed to us now? All things (that we need to know, anyway), are revealed in Christ. Indeed, even though the "secret things belong unto the LORD", we can know all we need to know and understand about Him, since He has revealed Himself fully in Jesus Christ, His "Son...Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person,"1 and "[W]ho of God is make unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: that, according as it is written, 'He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.'"2,3 I am reminded of the Hymn, All I Need, which goes like this:

Jesus Christ is made to me,
All I need, all I need,
He alone is all my plea,
He is all I need.

[Refrain

Wisdom righteousness and pow’r,
Holiness forevermore,
My redemption full and sure,
He is all I need.]

Jesus is my all in all,
All I need, all I need,
While He keeps I cannot fall,
He is all I need.

[Refrain]

He redeemed me when He died,
All I need, all I need,
I with Him was crucified,
He is all I need.

[Refrain]

Glory, glory to the Lamb,
All I need, all I need,
By His Spirit sealed I am,
He is all I need.

[Refrain]
As I indicated previously, I can only pray that God will enable the man, by grace, to believe what his mind is telling him is impossible, so that, believing, he would 1) be saved, and 2) begin (through the Spirit, of course4), to "behold the beauty of the LORD", even though he mightwill not understand it all until we see Him face to face.5
--------------------------------
1Heb. 1:3a
21 Cor. 1:30
3Paul quotes Jeremiah 9:23-24, which is highly relevant here:

Thus saith the LORD, 'Let not the wise [man] glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty [man] glory in his might, let not the rich [man] glory in his riches: but let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I [am] the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these [things] I delight,' saith the LORD.
As a comment reply, this post is already getting long, so I'm going to leave the significance of Jer. 9:23, 24, and how it relates to W. Holmes' comment, this comment, and Paul's own letter (i.e. why Paul quoted it) as an exercise for the reader's meditation (and comments, hopefully).

:)
41 Cor. 2:9-16
51 Cor. 13:12

Thursday, July 30, 2009

QOTD

Should a hymn, which has endured the test of time, be stripped away from God’s people merely because it does not appeal to the ear of individuals who do not love God?

— Dan Miller, Pastor
From his article at Sharper Iron.org.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

First Meeting with JW's: Summary

I finally got together, this afternoon, with the Watchtowerites for a discussion over coffee. From our phone conversations setting up the meeting, I was let to believe that we would have at least 45 minutes, and possibly an hour.

For the last couple of weeks, I have been studying, as a refreshment and expanding of previous study, the topic of the Deity of Christ: that His title as the "unique Son of God" necessitates that He is "God the Son".

Well, we started the conversation by looking at the the Watchtower organization's "restoration of the name" to the New Testament. If you read the New World Translation, you will notice the name "Jehovah" popping up all over the New Testament, where it is not in the Greek. The Watchtower avers that the name was in the originals, but was written out of them in reverence for the name. They cite Hebrew Translations "from the 14th century onward" that include the Tetragrammaton ("YHWH"), which is where the name "Jehovah" comes from ("LORD" in the KJV Old Testament, or "JEHOVAH" in places).

Their NWT purports to have "restored" the divine Name JEHOVAH to the text, based on these Hebrew sources. I would have no problem with this, if they were consistent. However, there is scholarly evidence that they were arbitrarily selective in where they chose to "restore" the name or not, based on whether it seems to be supporting Christ's Deity or not.

I started with this evidence, and we looked at Hebrews 1:10 specifically.

Of course, they tended to interrupt me quite regularly, and barely let me finish any thought. But thankfully, the Lord allowed me to get them to look at the entire context of Heb. 1, see what was being said and why the OT was being quoted in v. 8-10, and about Whom. Then I showed them that the very Hebrew sources that the NWT relies on the restore the Name to the text use the Tetragrammaton (YHWH) in reference to the Son in v. 10.

They didn't like that at all. The following is, as best as I can remember, how the argument went from there:

The older fellow said, "I have a son. He is not me. How can the Son be God if there is only one God and that God is the Father?" I said, "It's the doctrine of the Trinity. God is One God in Three Persons. These persons are distinct Persons, yet One Being, of the same substance. It's as Jesus said, 'I and my Father are one.'"

He replied, "You are quoting John 10:30."

Me: "Correct."

Him: "Well, the Greek word there means 'one in purpose', not 'one in substance'."

Me: "Actually, it's 'hen', and it literally only means 'one', and has no shade of meaning except what is put on it through the context."

Him: "Exactly, but you have to look at how Jesus used it in other passages of the same kind. In John 17, He prays that the church may be 'one' as He is 'one' with the Father. He is not praying that the church be of the same substance with each other, or that they become God. He is praying that they be 'one' in purpose."

Me: "I do not disagree with your interpretation of the word in John 17. He does indeed use it to mean 'one in purpose' there. However, that is a completely different context, and He is saying a completely different thing."

Him: "But it's the same word!"

Me: "No, it's not. Let me give you an example. Let's say I say to you, 'Thanks!' [said very sarcastically, like 'thanks for nothing']. Then, James here comes over with the coffee (which he did), and I say, 'Thanks!' [said very sincerely and in a praising manner]. I, the same person, said exactly the same thing. But in two completely different contexts, and with exactly opposite meanings. That's the way language works. We cannot judge John 10:30 based on John 17, because they are two completely different situations. We have to judge John 10:30 based on the reaction and understanding of the people to whom He was talking, and whether He affirms their understanding to be correct or not."

We then read the passage.

Me (cont'd): "So you see, the Jews understood Him to be claiming to be God."

Him: "But they were apostate, and were wrong. They misunderstood Him."

Me: "Well, did they? Let's look at what His response is. The easy response to this, assuming you're right, is 'Hey, look, that's not what I'm saying. I'm just saying that my purpose is aligned with the Father's. I'm not God! That's preposterous.' Problem solved."

Me (cont'd): "But instead, He gives a defense from their own scriptures (Ps. 82 specifically) of His Deity."

Him: "That's not what He was saying. He was saying that other humans had been called 'gods', so what's the big deal calling Him a god?"

Me: "On the surface, it seems that way. However, let's look at their reaction to that, and see if they understood Him to be saying that. If so, they would have had no reason to stone Him, saying, 'Oh, ok. Sorry about the wanting to kill you and all. You're OK. had us worried there for a second, though.' Then they would all have a good laugh about it and go home."

Me (cont'd): "But that's not what happened. They wanted to kill Him even more. They understood that His defense was not, 'Well, you know, I'm not actually YHWH, that would be blasphemy. I'm just a god, in the same sense you are.' They understood that His defense was, 'Yeah, I am indeed YHWH, and the Scriptures affirm that I exist, and I'm telling you that I'm here now. Get used to it.'"

Him: "But the Son can't be the Father!"

Me: "I never said He is. They are two distinct Persons, but one is substance and essence, as well as in purpose."

Him: "It just doesn't make sense. There is only one God. I agree that Jesus is the Son of God, but He is not God the Son, and He is not YHWH."

Me: "The two are synonymous. By every standard of Scripture, both Old Testament and New, you cannot deny one and affirm the other. To deny one is to deny the other. And we know that if you deny the Son, you deny the Father, and you dwell in darkness: there is no life in you — you do not have everlasting life."

Him: "....!"

Him (looking physically pained): "Um, I just remembered...I've got to be somewhere. I've got to go. Nice meeting you."

Then he got up and walked away. I'm not saying he was running away, but his body language screamed "fleeing". Since I do not see the heart, but only the outside, I cannot exactly know his reason for such a hasty exit. However, I pray that the Holy Spirit is working on him and bearing witness in his heart that Jesus is, not just "the Son of God", as they define that term, but also, as the Scriptures clearly indicate, "God the Son."

Please pray for him; his name is Lou. He told me his last name also, but I do not remember it. (To protect his privacy, I would not post it here anyway.)

After Lou's rather precipitous departure, James took over the conversation again — or rather I should say his wife did. About five minutes later (about 1:15), she mentioned that they had to leave for her doctor's appointment, which was, at most, about an hour away (I'm not going to say where, to protect her privacy). So I said, "Ok, so you have to leave by...oh...2:00?"

Their rather hasty response was, "Oh, no, we have to leave right now."

So we wrapped it up. I gave James the printout of the proof for the Name changing monkey-business that Watchtower was doing, including the actual Hebrew texts in question. I said, and he agreed, that we needed to do this again. I tentatively suggested Saturday. He said, "Call me."

I think next time, I'm going to suggest putting some official parameters in place for the conversation, to prevent us from getting into a zeal-based shouting match.

I have in mind, for example, that only one person at a time could be speaking, and they must indicate that they are finished speaking by a certain phrase or sentence. For example: "I yield the floor." or "Ok, I'm finished."

Another suggestion might be that, since only one person can be speaking at a time (see the first suggestion), all other parties would need to wait three full seconds before beginning their response, and that whoever wishes to respond raise his or her hand and be recognized by the person who just finished. If more than one wishes to speak, they both get to speak, but in the order that the one who is just finished talking chooses, if one doesn't submit to the other before the previous speaker can make his decision.

Let me know in the comments if you have any other potential "keeping it cordial" suggestions.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Update on the Discussion Over Coffee...

The JW I was talking to put off our meeting, because he wanted to bring along "a buddy," who wasn't able to make it that day. Then, on the newly appointed day (last Saturday), I called, and he put it off again, claiming he is tired from a long week of "Bible training". He asked to "tentatively" schedule it for Wednesday, to which I agreed.

I am going to attempt to record the conversation (with his permission, of course) if/when we finally get to it.

Friday, July 24, 2009

QOTD

Together for the Gospel, 2008 conference, Session 7: How the Supremacy of Christ Creates Radical Christian Sacrifice, by John Piper. Quote starts 13m23s.

The quote is in context of I Tim. 6:9, and pastoral ministry.

The world is not going to glorify Christ because they see that Christians are wealthy, and healthy, and prosperous.

Very simple reason why: that's what they live for!

So you use Jesus to get it? They use other means to get it. They're not impressed!

Jesus is the ticket? When the show starts, you throw the ticket away! They don't need your ticket. They're not impressed!

You should really listen to the sermon, since there are nuances of expression that don't come through in transcription. :)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Splitting the blog...

I just split this blog into two. I started a new blog called On Freedom and Oppression, and moved a few of the posts I had here over there.

Beholding the Beauty is still my main blog, since the majority of my posts are related to spiritual things, but I really got the sense that the political stuff needed it's own space to play in.

On the Deity of Christ: The Love of God Requires It

...but thou hast in love to my soul [delivered it] from the pit of corruption: for thou has cast all my sins behind thy back. (Isaiah 38:17)
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)
Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13
But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (Rom. 5:8)
Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love [is] the fulfilling of the law. (Rom. 13:10)
Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; and walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.
...
Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ loved the church, and gave himself for it...(Eph. 5:1, 2, 25)
But after that the kindness and love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but by his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior; that being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. (Titus 3:4-7)
Hereby perceive we the love [of God], because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down [our] lives for the brethren. (1 John 3:16)
Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son [to be] the propitiation for our sins. (1 John 4:10)
It is clear from these verses that love, as defined by God Himself, is shown best by sacrificing oneself.

According to Rom. 5:8, God demonstrated His own love toward us by sacrificing His Son on the cross for our sins.

It's glaringly obvious from this, that if the Son were a created being, separate from the Father in substance, that this is not a demonstration of God's love, but only of Christ's love.

In order for God (YHWH) to demonstrate His own love by His Son's sacrifice of Himself, The Son must also be YHWH.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

On the Deity of Christ: It's Importance

I'd like to start this series by asking the question: Why am I doing this? Why am I taking all this time to prove plainly from the Scriptures that Jesus is God -- not a created being inferior to the Father -- Who is one with the Father not just in purpose, but also in substance? What difference does it make whether we see Him as a created being or the One Who has no beginning?

Why is it important that we understand what the phrase "the Son of God" means?

First, Jesus thought it was important enough to explicitly take time to make sure His disciples "got it," and had the Holy Ghost record the lesson through Matthew.

When He was here, some of the people were confused about Who He was: His identity. Let's take a look (Matt. 16:13ff):

When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?

And they said, Some [say that thou art] John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.

He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?

And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou are the Christ, the Son of the living God.

And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed [it] unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.

But He starts out by asking who other people were saying that He was. Turns out other people thought He was all kinds of different great men, but all men nonetheless: nothing more.

Then, to correct this misperception in His disciples, He asks them Who they think He is. Peter speaks up and says, "You're the Christ, the Son of the living God." Jesus acknowledges this, even going so far as to say that the Father had revealed it to Peter, and giving Peter a high position in the early church as a direct reward for getting it right (see the rest of the passage).

So, first, Jesus thought it was important to understand correctly Who He is.

Secondly, it is essential to salvation. For someone to be saved, he must believe that Jesus is the Christ, and that He is the Son of God. To believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, you have to know what those terms mean. Let's start with the first part -- that you have to believe the terms -- by looking at John's first letter:

Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son. Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father... (1 John 2:22, 23a)

Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God. (1 John 4:15)

Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God... (1 John 5:1)

For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, [even] our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God? (1 John 5:5 [cf. Rev. 2:7, 11, 17, 26; 3:5, 12, 21; 21:7])

So we see that it is imperative for salvation that one believe that Jesus is 1) the Christ, and 2) the Son of God. This is the same formula that Peter gave, Thou art 1) the Christ, 2) the Son of the living God.

The way Peter said it, and Jesus confirmed, the phrase the Son of the living God is the Christ's identity -- i.e. Who He is. Therefore, if you deny that Jesus is the Christ, you also deny that He is the Son of God, and vice versa.

Also, John indicates (1 John 2:22, 23a - see above) that to "deny the Son" is to deny the Father also (v23). To "deny the Son" is to deny that Jesus is the Christ (v22).

So it's pretty important that we believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God.

It's elementary that you cannot believe something you don't understand. Jesus indicated this when He said, in His explanation of the parable of the sower,

But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth [it]... (Matthew 13:23a, emphasis mine)

The Ethiopian eunuch in Acts 8 was reading the words of Isaiah 53, but they did him no good because he didn't understand them. It wasn't until Phillip explained them, and he understood, that he was able to believe on Christ, of which the passage speaks. In fact, only upon understanding Phillip's explanation can he (v37) recite the creedal formula given earlier: I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.

Paul wrote to Timothy (1 Tim. 1:6, 7) that there were some who had turned aside unto vain jangling; desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm. People were trying to teach by parroting words, but they themselves didn't understand what the words really meant.

So we see it's actually very important not only 1) to believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, but also 2) to understand what those titles mean.

It is my contention, and that of the general church, that those titles have a specific meaning: one that defines Jesus as God, and not as a created being.

If it is true that the definition of the term "Son of God" does not include "a created being", then to say that Jesus is a created being is to deny that He is the Son of God, and is therefore to be an anti-Christ, who has not the Father or the Son, and who therefore has not eternal life. To put it colloquially, "this is heavy, dude." This is a very serious topic -- the "heaviest" topic ever!

It is my goal in this series On the Deity of Christ to prove, according to the Scriptures, that the definition of the terms "Son of God" and "the Christ" necessarily exclude the idea of "a created being," and necessarily include the idea that the One who holds those titles is God Almighty, a.k.a. Jehovah (or Yahweh -- however you want to translate YHWH), a.k.a. God the Son.

I am writing this series so that any who read it may know, from the Scriptures, what all goes into the phrase "the Son of God", and therefore, as John wrote (1 John 5:13), ...that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

On the Deity of Christ: Introduction

The place I work is an actual office, but it is in a neighborhood. As I was pulling into the parking lot, two gentlemen from the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society (commonly called the "Jehovah's Witnesses") were crossing the entrance. They waited to cross until I was parked, and started to address me through my open window.

Now, it has been some time since I had any substantial interaction with any from this (IMHO) cult, and I was in a particularly spunky mood today, so I grabbed by Bible off of the front seat next to me, and prepared for battle.

(Disclaimer: I make it sound as though my attitude was one of wanting to destroy these men. It was not. In fact, I realized that they are trapped in false teaching, and only want to destroy their belief in that. I want them to see our matchless God and Savior in all of His wondrous glory -- not as a created, and therefore necessarily inferior, being.)

They began the conversation by mentioning my Bible (it's a rather large one, and it was prominently displayed under my left arm when I exited the vehicle). Then they asked what I thought about what was going on in the world -- how bad it is, etc. (They use this in a good majority of the literature and initial interactions as a "hook" to get people interested and talking.)

I replied that my God is in control, that I "keep a weather eye on it", and contribute where I can to maintain freedom, but that ultimately, it's not my job to worry about it.

Well, they liked that answer (what's not to like?), so they moved on. They said, "Do you believe that Jesus is the Son of God?" I replied, "Of course, I believe that Jesus is the Son of God, a.k.a God the Son, the Second Person of the Trinity." Well, that got us started!

We had a very good discussion of the deity of Christ. I must give credit where credit is due. They argued reasonably, and without trying to change the subject (much). (This ability to stick to the subject is, in my experience with JW's, a rare thing). We ended the conversation cordially, when RCC's secretary showed up and told me I needed to get to work.

The man with whom I was primarily conversing suggested that we continue the conversation over coffee (he's buying), to which I agreed. I set this coming Saturday around noon as the time, so please pray that the Holy Spirit will use me and will work in this man's heart, to bring him out of the false religion, into true knowledge of our wonderful Savior.

But I digress: the point of this post is that, even during the discussion, the Holy Spirit showed me yet more proofs of Christ's Deity from the Scriptures, and I would like to share those with whoever cares to read them. I will address each one individually, in a series, over the next few weeks.

Enjoy, and feel free to comment.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Our Advocate: Jesus Christ the Righteous

The Lord is so good to me. He instructs me constantly, even in my faults. Over the weekend, He has taught me even more the value, meaning, and joy of sanctification: living daily in the grace of God by applying the same faith that brought justification -- faith in His Son.

This past week at Family Camp, Dr. Fox brought a great message on advocacy of Jesus, and how that relates to our daily forgiveness for sin. I really enjoyed the messages all week, and was greatly instructed in the Lord; and that message was no exception.

So, of course, I got an opportunity to apply that teaching. Unfortunately, I yielded to temptation in a certain area, and in doing so I sinned! (Don't look at me in that tone of voice! cf. Matt. 7:1-5; Rom. 2:1; 1 Cor. 4:5, James 4:11, 12; 1 John 1:8-10)

Instantly, the Holy Spirit worked me over with conviction, and assured me constantly that my fellowship with the Father was going to be pretty much nonexistent until we got this thing taken care of.

At once, having been reminded of the surpassing, eternal joy of fellowship with the Light, I greatly desired to be restored to Him. But I also greatly feared His wrath at having yielded to a temptation so obvious (and clearly warned against!). (Don't even ask -- I'm not going to tell you. As you are about to see, even God doesn't make it His business anymore, so why should you? :) )

After all,

...make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed. Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled; lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of mean sold his birthright.

For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears.

For ye are not come unto the mount that might be touched, and that burned with fire, nor unto blackness, and darkness, and tempest, and the sound of a trumpet, and the voice of words; which voice they that heard intreated that the word should not be spoken to the them any more (for they could not endure that which was commanded, 'And if so much as a beast touch the mountain, it shall be soned, or thrust through with a dart:' and so terrible was the sight, that Moses said, 'I exceedingly fear and quake'): but ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, and to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things that that of Abel.

See that ye refuse not him that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven: whose voice then shook the earth: but now he hath promised, saying, 'Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven.'"

And this word, 'Yet once more,' signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain. Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: for our God is a consuming fire.


And again,

For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Neither is their any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.


(Yikes! If you don't have a healthy fear of the Lord after understanding those passages...well, check your salvation. cf. 1 Cor. 2:14, Php. 2:12, Heb. 12:8)

Anyway, with the concept of being separated from fellowship with my wonderful Lord, and over something so stupid and temporary, the Holy Spirit brought me to my knees in godly sorrow and repentance.

But I was yet afraid to even "enter into his gates...into his courts" -- forget coming before Him with singing! Like the Hebrews before me, I could not look on the brightness of His glory and holiness.

Then the sweet Comforter (once His job of conviction was accomplished, He switched roles) reminded me that the wrath of God that I had brought on myself through my sin (Eph. 2:3, etc.), has already been poured out on Jesus at the Cross, and that, "Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin." He encouraged me to "...therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that [I would] obtain mercy."

Furthermore, He assured me that "the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin...And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous, and he is the propitation for our sins."

Additionally, He reminded me that I do not have to stand naked before the judgment bar and face the fierce wrath of God, which "cometh on the children of disobedience" (for Jesus is my advocate, standing at that bar for me, having already face that awesome wrath and "propitiated" [satisfied] it through His blood), and that "Therefore, being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: by whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God."

You see, it is only by living this life in the flesh "by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me" that I can overcome the world.

God promises that, when we come boldly1 to the throne of grace, not only will we receive mercy, but we will also "find grace to help in time of need." In other words, if we remember all this in future temptation, He will supply our need for strength and grant us grace to stand. "Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him to stand." For it is only by His grace that we will overcome the world, and we have access into said grace by our faith (which is also a gift -- so don't get a big head about it. :)

Once reminded of all this, the blessed Holy Spirit lovingly came along side me and brought me into the courtroom (through prayer), where He helped me to confess my guilt. As promised, Jesus also came along side and stood for me against my Adversary, the Devil (who was constantly railing against me, and accusing me before our Father).

Now, I am once again restored to fellowship with Him -- and how sweet it is! He continually makes me to rejoice in His love, and I sing with David:

"But let all those that put their trust in thee rejoice:
let them ever shout for joy, because thou defendest them:
let them also that love thy name be joyful in thee.

For thou, LORD, wilt bless the righteous;
with favor wilt thou compass him
as with a shield." (Ps. 5:11,12)

Sing with me!

"O come, let us sing
unto the LORD:
let us make a joyful noise
to the rock of our salvation.

Let us come before his presence
with thanksgiving,
and make a joyful noise unto him
with psalms.

For the LORD is a great God,
and a great King
above all gods.

In his hand
are the deep places of the earth:
the strength of the hills
is his also.

The sea is his,
and he made it:
and his hands formed
the dry land.

O come,
let us worship and bow down:
let us kneel
before the LORD our maker.

For he is our God;
and we are the people
of his pasture,
and the sheep
of his hand.

To day if ye will hear his voice,

'Harden not your heart, as in the provocation,
and as in the day of temptation in the wilderness:
when your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my work.

Forty years long was I grieved with this generation,
and said,

"It is a people that do err in their heart,
and they have not known my ways:"

Unto whom I sware in my wrath
that they should not enter into my rest.'" (Ps. 95)
" (Ps. 95:1,2)
---------------------------------------------------
1(trembling, for our God is a consuming fire, yet bold in the faith that the righteous Christ [who alone, because of His righteousness, can approach the throne] is our advocate and high priest, having satisfied the wrath of God through the shedding of His blood, to which God gave witness by raising Him from the dead by His Power)

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Praising Him

I waited patiently for the LORD;
and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry.

He brought me up also
out of an horrible pit,
out of the miry clay,
and set my feet upon a rock,
and established my goings.

And he hath put a new song in my mouth,
even praise unto our God:
many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the LORD.

(Ps. 40:1-3)
And he appointed certain of the Levites to minister before the ark of the LORD, and to record, and to thank and praise the LORD God of Israel:

Asaph the chief, and next to him, Zechariah, Jeiel, and Shemiramoth, and Jehiel, and Mattithiah, and Eliab, and Benaiah, and Obededom: and Jeiel with psalteris and with harps; but Asaph made a sound with cymbals; Benaiah also and Jahaziel the priests with trumpets continually before the ark of the covenant of God.

Then on that day David delivered first this psalm to thank the LORD into the hand of Asaph and his brethren.

"Give thanks unto the LORD,
call upon his name,
make known his deeds among the people.

Sing unto him,
sing psalms unto him,
talk ye of all his wondrous works.

Glory ye in his holy name:
let the heart of them rejoice
that seek the LORD .

Seek the LORD and his strenght,
seek his face continually.

Remember his marvelous works
that he hath done, his wonders,
and the judgments of his mouth;
...
Sing unto the LORD, all the earh;
shew forth from day to day his salvation.

Declare his glory
among the heathen;
his marvelous works
among all nations.

For great is the LORD,
and greatly to be praised:
he also is to be feared
above all gods.

For all the gods of the people are idols:
but the LORD made the heavens.

Glory and honor are in his presence;
strength and gladness are in his place.

Give unto the LORD,
ye kindreds of the people,
give unto the LORD
glory and strength.

Give unto the LORD
the glory due unto his name:
bring an offering, and come before him:
worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness.

Fear before him, all the earth:
the world also shall be stable, that it be not moved.

Let the heavens be glad, and
let the earth rejoice: and
let men say among the nations,
'The LORD reigneth.'

Let the sea roar,
and the fullness thereof:
let the fields rejoice,
and all that is therin.

Then shall the trees of the wood sing out at the presence of the LORD,
because he cometh to judge the earth.

O give thanks unto the LORD;
for he is good;
for his mercy endureth for ever.

And say ye, 'Save us,
O God of our salvation,
and gather us together,
and deliver us from the heathen,
that we may give thanks to thy holy name,
and glory in thy praise.

Blessed by the LORD God of Israel for ever and ever."

And all the people said, "Amen," and praised the LORD.

(I Chron. 16:4-12, 23-36)
Sing praises to the LORD,
which dwelleth in Zion:
declare among the people his doings.
...
That I may shew forth all thy praise
in the gates of the daughter of Zion:
I will rejoice in thy salvation.
...
Put them in fear, O LORD:
that the nations may know themselves
to be but men. Selah.

(Psalm 9:11, 14, 20)
...they shall praise the LORD that seek him:
your hear shall live for ever.

All the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the LORD:
and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before thee.

(Ps. 22:26b, 27)
Rejoice in the LORD,
O ye righteous:
for praise is comely
for the upright.

Praise the LORD
with harp:
sing unto him
with the psaltery
and an instrument of ten strings.

Sing unto him
a new song;
play skilfully
with a loud noise.

For the word of the LORD
is right;
and all his works
are done in truth.

He loveth righteousness and judgment:
the earth is full
of the goodness of the LORD.

By the word of the LORD
were the heavens made;
and all the host of them
by the breath of his mouth.

He gathereth the waters of the sea
together as an heap:
he layeth up the depth
in storehouses.

Let all the earth
fear the LORD:
let all the inhabitants of the world
stand in awe of him.

(Ps. 33:1-8)
I will bless the LORD
at all time:
his praise shall continually
be in my mouth.

My soul shall make her boast
in the LORD:
the humble shall hear thereof,
and be glad.

O magnify the LORD
with me,
and let us exalt his name
together.

(Ps. 34:1-3)
I will give thee thanks
in the great congregation:
I will praise thee
among much people.

(Ps. 35:18)
My heart is fixed, O God,
my heart is fixed:
I will sing and give praise.

Awake up, my glory;
awake, psaltery and harp:
I myself will awake early.

I will praise thee, O Lord,
among the people:
I will sing unto thee
among the nations.

For thy mercy is great
unto the heavens,
and thy truth
unto the clouds.

Be thou exalted, O God,
above the heavens:
let thy glory be
above all the earth.

(Ps. 57:7-11)
Make a joyful noise unto God, all ye lands:
Sing forth the honor of his name:
make his praise glorious.

Say unto God,
'How terrible art thou
in thy works!
through the greatness of thy power
shall thine enemies submit themselves
unto thee.'

All the earth
shall worship thee,
and shall sing unto thee;
they shall sing
to thy name.
Selah.

Come and see the works of God:
he is terrible in his doing
toward the children of men.

He turned the sea into dry land:
they went through the flood on foot:
there did we rejoice in him.

He ruleth by his power for ever;
his eyes behold the nations:
let not the rebellious exalt themselves.
Selah.

O bless our God, ye people,
and make the voice of his praise
to be heard:

which holdeth our soul
in life,
and sufferth not our feet
to be moved.
...
Come and hear,
all ye that fear God,
and I will declare
what he hath done for my soul.

(Ps. 66:1-9, 16)
God be merciful unto us,
and bless us,
and cause his face to shine
upon us; Selah.


That thy way may be known
upon the earth,
thy saving health
among all nations.

Let the people praise thee,
O God:
let all the people praise thee.

O let the nations be glad
and sing for joy:
for thou shalt judge the people righteously,
and govern the nations upon the earth.
Selah.

Let the people praise thee,
O God;
let all the people praise thee.

Then shall the earth
yield her increase;
and God, even our own God,
shall bless us.

God shall bless us;
and all the ends of the earth
shall fear him.

(Ps. 67)
So we thy people and
sheep of thy pasture
will give thee thanks for ever:

we will shew forth thy praises
to all generations.

(Ps. 79:13)
O sing unto the LORD
a new song;
for he hath done
marvelous things:

his right hand, and
his holy arm,
hath gotten him the victory.

The LORD hath made known
his salvation:
his righteousness
hath he openly shewed
in the sight of the heathen.

He hath remembered
his mercy and
his truth
toward the house of Israel:

all the ends of the earth have seen
the salvation of our God.

Make a joyful noise
unto the LORD,
all the earth:

make a loud noise,
and rejoice,
and sing praise.

Sing unto the LORD
with the harp;
with the harp,
and the voice of a psalm.

With trumpets
and sound of cornet
make a joyful noise
before the LORD, the King.

Let the sea roar,
and the fullness thereof;
the world,
and they that dwell therein.

Let the floods
clap their hands:
let the hills
be joyful together
before the LORD;
for he cometh
to judge the earth:

with righteousness
shall he judge the world,
and the people
with equity.

(Ps. 98)
Then believed they
his words;
they sang
his praise.

(Ps. 106:12)
O that men would praise the LORD
for his goodness, and
for his wonderful works
to the children of men!

(Ps. 107:8, 15, 21, 31)
I will greatly praise the LORD
with my mouth;
yea, I will praise him
among the multitude.

(Ps. 109:30)
Wherefore should the heathen say,
'Where now is their God?'
...
But we will bless the LORD
from this time forth
and for evermore.

Praise the LORD.

(Ps. 115:2, 18)
O praise the LORD,
all ye nations:
praise him,
all ye people.

For his merciful kindness is great toward us:
and the truth of the LORD endureth for ever.

Praise ye the LORD.

(Ps. 117)
I will extol thee,
my God, O king;
and I will bless thy name
for ever and ever.

Every day
will I bless thee;
and I will praise thy name
for ever and ever.

Great is the LORD
and greatly to be prasied;
and his greatness is unsearchable.

One generation
shall praise thy works
to another,
and shall declare thy mighty acts.

I will speak
of the glorious honor
of thy majesty,
and of thy wondrous works.

And men shall speak
of the might
of thy terrible acts:
and I will declare thy greatness.

They shall abundantly utter the memory
of thy great goodness,
and shall sing
of thy righteousness.

The LORD is gracious,
and full of compassion;
slow to anger,
and of great mercy.

The LORD is good to all:
and his tender mercies
are over all his works.

All thy works
shall praise thee,
O LORD;
and thy saints
shall bless thee.

They shall speak
of the glory
of thy kingdom,
and talk
of thy power;

To make known to the sons of men
his mighty acts,
and the glorious majesty
of his kingdom.

Thy kingdom is
an everlasting kingdom,
and thy dominion endureth
throughout all generations.

The LORD upholdeth
all that fall,
and raiseth up
all those that be bowed down.

The eyes of all
wait upon thee;
and thou givest them their meat
in due season.

Thou openest thine hand,
and satisfiest the desire
of every living thing.

The LORD is righteous
in all his ways,
and holy
in all his works.

The LORD is nigh
unto all them that call upon him,
to all that call upon him
in truth.

He will fulfill the desire
of them that fear him:
he also will hear their cry,
and will save them.

The LORD preserveth
all them that love him:
but all the wicked
will he destroy.

My mouth shall speak
the praise of the LORD:
and let all flesh bless
his holy name
for ever and ever.

(Ps. 145)
Praise ye the LORD.

Praise ye the LORD
from the heavens:
praise him
in the heights.

Praise ye him,
all his angels:

praise ye him,
all his hosts.

Praise ye him,
sun and moon:

praise him,
all ye stars of light.

Praise him,
ye heavens of heavens,
and ye waters that be
above the heavens.

Let them praise the name of the LORD:
for he commanded,
and they were created.

He hath also stablished them
for ever and ever:
he hath made a decree
which shall not pass.

Praise the LORD
from the earth,
ye dragons,
and all deeps:

Fire, and hail;
snow, and vapor;
stormy wind
fulfilling his word:

Mountains, and all hills;
Fruitful trees, and all cedars:

Beasts, and all cattle;
creeping things, and flying fowl:

Kings of the earth, and all people;
princes, and all judges of the earth:

Both young men, and maidens;
old men, and children:

Let them praise the name of the LORD:
for his name alone
is excellent;
his glory
is above the earth and heaven.

He also exalteth the horn of his people,
the praise of all his saints;
even of the children of Israel,
a people near unto him.

Praise ye the LORD.

(Ps. 148)
And in that day thou shalt say,

"O LORD, I will praise thee:
though thou wast angry with me,
thine anger is turned away,
and thou comfortedst me.

Behold, God is my salvation;
I will trust, and not be afraid:
for the LORD JEHOVAH is
my strength and my song;
he also is become
my salvation."

Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation.

And in that day shall ye say,

"Praise the LORD,
call upon his name,
declare his doings among the people,
make mention that his name is exalted.

Sing unto the LORD;
for he hath done excellent things:
this is known in all the earth.

Cry and shout,
thou inhabitant of Zion:
for great is the Holy One of Israel
in the midst of thee."

(Is. 12)