When to say ‘no’

But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean.

Acts 10:14 (KJV)

Not so, Lord – If the Lord came and commanded something of you, or showed you a vision, would you tell Him, “Sorry Lord, I aint doing it.”? Well Peter did. But then again, Peter was well versed in Torah, and he knew when to say “no”. He had never eaten anything unclean, and he wasn’t about to start now. Sure, we know now that the Lord was using a metaphor for Peter which represented the Gentiles (unclean). We can jump down to verse 28 and grasp the full meaning of the divine instruction, but Peter can’t. He’s living in the moment, and this vision seriously perplexes him. Why? Continue reading “When to say ‘no’”

Are You Saved?

Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead,

Philippians 3:13 (NASB)

Not laid hold – I’m often asked by other Christians an interesting question. It goes something like this, “If an accident were to happen right now, and you died, are you secure in your salvation? Would you be saved?” And in my former years I always responded emphatically, “Yes!” But I’ve been raised under the influence of main stream Christianity – Paul was not. Paul admits that he himself is not even sure he’s obtained salvation through the resurrection of the dead (Phil. 3:11). How is this possible? Paul is much more inline with the teachings of Christ than I am. Paul’s earnest desire is to be found in Christ, to receive the righteousness of Him by God through faith, to know Him and the power of His resurrection. Me, on the other hand… well I’m just trying to balance my family and work. My battles are much smaller than Paul’s, my trials aren’t life threatening, and because of this, my conviction is quite insignificant compared to Paul’s. Yeshua is the complete center of Paul’s life, and don’t get me wrong, He’s the center of my life too when I’m not completely focused on work, or putting the kids down for bed, or helping around the house. So why am I so sure of my salvation when Paul isn’t? Continue reading “Are You Saved?”

Bishops and Deacons

Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons:

Philippians 1:1 (KJV)

Bishops and deacons – It certainly appears that Paul was establishing churches, especially when he uses church oriented words like “bishops and deacons”. I don’t recall synagogues using this language in their structure, so clearly Paul left the synagogues to form churches that separated from the Jewish culture, right? Or are we being influenced by the preconceived theology of the translators once again? Continue reading “Bishops and Deacons”

Instructions from Paul

All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

2 Timothy 3:16 (KJV)

Instruction – We follow Yeshua and believe His sacrifice is the redeeming event that brings us into covenant with YHWH again. Now what? Where do we go from here? Continue reading “Instructions from Paul”

Correction is not without proof

All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

2 Timothy 3:16 (KJV)

Reproof/Correction – One isn’t without the other. In order for correction to happen, an error needs to be proven. Elegchos is that proof while epanorthōsis is the result, or the corrected action. We don’t just mysteriously change by some external power. There is teaching and learning involved. While the Spirit leads us to this point, or others may guide us to investigate more, and God Himself may call us, every one of these actions moves us to learn what is righteous and directed by YHWH so that we can live according with His will. Continue reading “Correction is not without proof”

The Basis of Doctrine

All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

2 Timothy 3:16 (KJV)

Doctrine – Now that we’ve established what Paul is referring to as scripture, we can dig into the rest of this verse. When Yeshua was challenged, or the Apostles confronted, what did they use to support their actions? The Tanakh. When Yeshua commenced his sermon on the mount, from where did He quote? The Tanakh. When Paul writes his letters, from where did he teach? The Tanakh. Scripture, which Paul defined as the Tanakh, was the basis of doctrine. Continue reading “The Basis of Doctrine”

What is Scripture?

All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

2 Timothy 3:16 (KJV)

Scripture – What is Paul referring to here in his letter to Timothy? Of course we, a couple thousand years later, love to use this verse in reference to the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, but that’s not what Paul is referring to. The New Testament, as we know it, didn’t exist during the time of Paul’s writings. The only Scripture that Paul knew was the Tanakh. In fact, every time you read the word “scripture” in the Bible, the New Testament isn’t part of it. Continue reading “What is Scripture?”

Convert or Repent?

And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 18:3 (KJV)

Converted – With this simple word comes an entire theology about the conversion of unbelievers into Christianity. Every time someone accepts Yeshua as their Savior we rejoice thinking that Christianity has grown by one more number. And because of this many actively pursue the unbelievers by preaching in the streets, passing out flyers, and even traveling to far off places with the hopes that they might convert others. If we get them to just believe in Yeshua, then alls well and our Greek understanding of conversion, a cognitive process, is fulfilled. Continue reading “Convert or Repent?”

Pavement of Stones

When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he brought Jesus forth, and sat down in the judgment seat in a place that is called the Pavement, but in the Hebrew, Gabbatha.

John 19:13 (KJV)

Gabbatha – Ready for some confusion? This is a Chaldean word with Aramaic origin, not translated into Greek, but left in its Hebrew pronunciation, and it ultimately means pavement. It’s only mentioned once in the New Testament, and its Hebrew equivalent is found only once in 2 Kings 16:17. Now remember it’s really not a Hebrew word, so there is no exact equivalent, but the meaning of the word in the Hebrew context can be found in 2 Kings. Continue reading “Pavement of Stones”

Coals of Fire

Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.

Romans 12:20 (KJV)

Heap coals of fire upon his head – Why is this the metaphor we’re made to associate with being kind to our enemies? Sounds rather drastic, doesn’t it?  Did people actually heap coals on people’s heads?  If so, how could it possibly be related to doing kindness to an enemy?  This phrase produces so many questions, but most of us probably just read past it without digging much further. Continue reading “Coals of Fire”