The Cold Within:

Six humans trapped by happenstance In black and bitter cold

Each possessed a stick of wood, Or so the story's told.

Their dying fire in need of logs,

The first woman held hers back For on the faces around the fire She noticed one was black.

The next man looking 'cross the way Saw one not of his church And couldn't bring himself to give The fire his stick of birch.

The third one sat in tattered clothes He gave his coat a hitch, Why should his log be put to use To warm the idle rich?

The rich man just sat back and thought Of the wealth he had in store, And how to keep what he had earned From the lazy, shiftless poor.

The black man's face bespoke revenge As the fire passed from his sight, For all he saw in his stick of wood Was a chance to spite the white?

And the last man of this forlorn group Did naught except for gain, Giving only to those who gave Was how he played the game?

The logs held tight in death's stilled hands Was proof of human sin? They didn't die from the cold without, They died from the cold within.

Author Unknown


The Road to Noteworthy by Jill Carattini

A Slice of Infinity
The Road to Noteworthy
Jill Carattini

Sometimes a newspaper headline tells as much as the article itself. A recent caption confessing "India Embraces Superlatives" promptly won my attention. The article summarized the growing obsession in India with holding Guinness World Records. "How do you stand out in a land with a billion people?" the article inquires. The answers are as extreme as the superlatives themselves: longest backwards run, fastest drinker of a bottle of ketchup, smallest writing on a mustard seed, longest ear hair ever grown. "We are desperate to be acknowledged by the world as being worthy," says a columnist for the Times of India. "We hunt for any signs that the external world recognizes us, and then we celebrate them." To distinguish oneself in one of the biggest crowds in the world, embracing superlatives is imperative.

Ironically, there could not be a more common human behavior. Though India might be embracing a unique path to superlatives, the road to noteworthy is one of the oldest, most well-traveled paths in the world. We are constantly about the work of distinguishing ourselves from whatever crowd we find ourselves standing in. From increased interests in book writing and extreme sports, to becoming one of reality television's idols, aspirations to be the fastest or the richest or the greatest are nothing new.

But the ever-spinning world of the best and the brightest reaches well beyond personal aspirations. Thus, the best bottled water can no longer be simply from a source in Texas; it must be from the coldest waters of the highest springs of the Swiss Alps. Grocers now have 12 kinds of bottled water on their shelves, each promising a better superlative. Of course, by nature, superlatives only exist because there are less extreme idols, talents, and water by comparison. The word is derived from the Latin superlatus, which means "carried beyond." Though it is not always clear what standard we are using for comparison, it is arguable that we are now about the business of carrying absolutely everything "beyond." A recent report on NPR showed that the number of choices in a grocery store in 1969 was somewhere around 7,000. Walking into the average grocery store today we are confronted with 50,000 choices. Sometimes it seems we are intent on the endless pursuit of out-doing our own superlatives.

It is in the midst of this wearying competition with ourselves and every crowd that the church stands tall to do what it does best: not finger-wagging, not nay-saying, but extending a resonant, viable, and hopeful alternative. When Jesus proclaimed "whoever loses his life for my sake will find it" he was stating something essential for the one desperate to be acknowledged as worthy. Knowing who we are without our records and superlatives, knowing that all our efforts cannot give us what we need, knowing that worth is something quite different than standing out in a crowd is the starting point for finding life as it exists most abundantly.

Jill Carattini is senior associate writer at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries in Atlanta, Georgia.

Click here to read the article from their website.


Modern Wisdom from Paul's Second Letter to Timothy:

2 Timothy 3:16-17 NIV, All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, (17) so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

Almost from start to finish, in Paul’s Second Letter to Timothy, we read of encouragement and instruction. A warning against false doctrine and persecution of sound doctrine is clearly made throughout this entire letter. It is typical in ancient Greek letters that the word chairein (English for “greetings”) be used in introduction. Peter and Paul, some of the most powerful authors of Scripture, modified this tradition by replacing chairein with charis which is translated, “grace”. To charis they added a Jewish custom of greeting by adding “peace” to the phrase. [1] For example, Paul begins Second Timothy with these words, “To Timothy, my dear son: Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.” (1:2 NIV[2])

Keep The Pattern of Sound Teaching:

Paul remembers the tears of Timothy and reminds him to keep his gift, given by God, alive! Timidity and fear is not from God (1:4-7)! God has granted us power, love and self-discipline. We should never be ashamed to testify of our Lord. The testimony or teachings that Timothy has gained from Paul is to be kept as "the pattern of sound teaching" (1:13). Paul clearly indicates that these teachings of truth are to be well guarded (1:14). Paul indicates to us that these teachings of truth are an entrusted deposit that should be guarded and passed on. It is obvious then that theological persecution and defectors of the faith were rampant in Ephesus. It appears Paul and Timothy has experienced or at least is aware of much persecution for the gospel.

In spite of this persecution we are to be "strong in the grace" (2:1) from Christ Jesus. These teachings of Paul were to be entrusted to "reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others." Paul here foresees persecution and seeks to maintain the persecuted teachings of truth. To Paul the Christian life is like a soldier (2:4) in an army, an athlete in a foot race (2:5), and a "hardworking farmer" (2:6) who should receive his reward for labor. All these metaphors indicate involvement in persecution, battles, running, and hard work. From these things we suffer because we do not tend to want to do them for great lengths. We are constantly to be reminded that we are in an active, engaged, battle against those who oppose truth. Paul tells Timothy though that even though he, himself, is chained "God's word is not chained" (2:9). Because of this Paul endures the things that he does.

A natural consequence of battle, running and hard work is that we train and become adept at each task. As we handle the scriptures there is little difference in application of effort. Paul tells Timothy that we are to be approved workmen, without shame, as he correctly handles the word of truth (2:15). It is a diligent and deliberate effort that even those in ministry can tend to avoid. To excel and cause the truth to triumph requires diligent effort on the part of believers. Godless chatter does nothing to help anything and it is wise to avoid foolish and stupid arguments, since they often lead to quarrels (2:16).

Terrible Times:

Paul begins chapter three with a warning that "terrible times" (3:1) will come in the last days. These terrible times are specifically mentioned as containing people stricken with pride, disobedience, unholy, brutal and etc. He encourages Timothy to "have nothing to do with them." These types of men "oppose the truth" and they have "depraved minds." (See 3:8) So far, Paul has mentioned three different sets of men in this letter. They are Phygellus and Hermogenes (1:15) who proved to be ashamed of the truth. Hymenaeus and Philetus (2:17, 18), as Paul states, erred concerning the truth. Jannes and Jambres (3:8), the OT figures who resisted Moses before Pharaoh, but were also resisting truth [3]. It is prevalent in our post-modern society for individuals to shun the gospel because they are ashamed to defend its statements. Does this mean the gospel cannot be defended? Most definitely not. In the times of Paul it meant grave persecution to be identified with Paul and those fellow believers. You would be a marked person by the establishment of their times. Therefore, true and unwavering commitment to one’s faith was essential.

Authority and Inspiration of the Text:

Paul reminds Timothy that he knows of his controversial teachings and that, not only he, but "everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted." Nonetheless, Timothy is commanded to continue in what he has learned (See 3:10-12). Paul draws closer to the end of his letter by informing Timothy of the authority and inspiration of the Scriptures (3:16-17). Possibly, this was encouragement to Timothy in spite of the persecution he was facing about his Christian views which stem directly from his interpretation of OT texts, which in large part, was the message of the gospel of Christ.

C.S. Keener suggests, "The belief in the inspiration of prophecy and (usually in a somewhat different sense) poetry and music was widespread in Mediterranean antiquity. This belief was naturally applied to books of prophecy, and most of the Old Testament was attributed to prophets. Paul’s claim for Scripture’s inspiration matches Old Testament designations for the law and divine prophecies as “God’s word.” Like Paul, Judaism virtually universally accepted the Old Testament as God’s word." [4]

It was imperative that Timothy be not ashamed of a gospel that was contained in a New Covenant and that fulfilled the Old. Primarily, in 3:16, Paul is referencing the complete OT, but also to the existent NT texts of that time. In Paul's first letter he quotes Luke 10:7 and references it as Scripture. Peter also spoke of Paul's letters as scriptures (2 Peter 3:16). Therefore, it is quite certain the early church had a high view of the letters of Paul; they were on par with OT scriptures themselves.

Paul warned Timothy of the Authority of Scripture. The NET Bible renders 3:16-17:

Every scripture is inspired by God and useful for teaching, for reproof, for
correction, and for training in righteousness, 3:17 that
the person dedicated to God may be capable and equipped for every good
The Scriptures, inspired by God, are for our teaching, censuring or rebuking, correction and are able to train us in righteousness. The Scriptures, when a person is wholely committed to God, will equip them with every good work. Rememeber, Paul is writing this epistle to Timothy, likely the pastor of Ephesus. He is encouraging Timothy, and us today, to lean upon the Scriptures for these are breathed of God and are living and able to equip us.

Let us look again, afresh, at the Scriptures. It should be our desire for them cut away our presuppositions and let the Holy Spirit guide us, illuminate us, back to the Authority of Scripture. It can give faith in "terrible times". It can give peace to unrested souls.

Wisdom For Now:

Many of the same principles in this Pauline discourse carry over into our daily lives as Christians. We are not to be ashamed of truth, we are soldiers in spiritual battle, we are to be diligent students of God's Word, we are to avoid foolish and stupid arguments, those who oppose truth still walk the streets of our world, persecution will come to all who live a godly life, and "all scripture" is useful for our guidance and correction in righteousness.

We must guard our constitutions. We must solidify our core doctriens and uphold them. We should not allow tradition to impede the process of evangelism. In that same notion, we should never sacrifice holiness and the biblical demand for separation. To what ends we nuance our principles will forevermore reveal our diversity. The New Testament church has experienced flux in polity since its existence. We should draw the line however when technology and deductive interpretations (might Paul say, "What?") demand we divide and not a matter of soteriology.

An idyllic notion that once a person becomes a believer that then they enter into a peaceful, passive utopia is actually foreign to the concepts provided in Scripture. As Paul has made clear in these texts above, believers are in a battle, engaged in a race, and should constantly be diligent with the handling of His Word. Christian Johnson once noted, “A Bible that’s falling apart probably belongs to someone who isn’t.” It is imperative that, in these endtimes, we handle God’s Word rightly and while being led by the Holy Spirit. We are stewards of the deposit of truth, it is imperative that we maintain it and proclaim it, unashamedly, to a world inculcated with falsity and gilded realities.


1. This idea comes form Grasping God’s Word-Second Edition, pg. 245 © 2001, 2005 by J. Scott Duvall and J. Daniel Hays

2. NIV is used here on unless indicated otherwise.

3. The idea of this analogy was obtained by Believer's Bible Commentary : Old and New Testaments (2 Ti 3:8). MacDonald, W., & Farstad, A. (1997, c1995). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

4. Keener, C. S., & InterVarsity Press. (1993). The IVP Bible background commentary : New Testament (2 Ti 3:16). Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press.


Evidence That Christ Was Raised From The Dead?

I believe that we can prove that Jesus Christ, an actual historical figure, was raised from the dead. I believe this position can be reached in much the same fashion that we determine certain other historical truths that we presently know today.

Jesus was a well- known figure in Israel (Roman Historian—Tacitus and Jewish Roman Historian—Josephus). His burial site was known by many people. In fact Matthew records the exact location of Jesus' tomb. He states, "And Joseph of Arimathea took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen cloth and laid it in his own new tomb" (Matt. 27:59). Mark says that Joseph was "a prominent member of the Council" (Mark 15:43). It would have been counterproductive for the writers to invent a man of such prominence, name him specifically, and designate the tomb site, since eyewitnesses would have easily discredited the author's fallacious claims.

5 weeks after Christ’s crucifixion He is resurrected and over 10,000 Jews are following Him and claiming that he is the initiator of a new religion, and they are willing to give up or alter all of their social and religious institutions that they had been taught since childhood that are so vitally important to them. All because of a man who was God manifest in the flesh; died, was buried and truly was resurrected!

The resurrection works to solidify other apologetic or philosophical issues as well. The existence of God is such a one. Using the fact of Christ’s resurrection then, who raised Christ? No human, known today, has the power to raise the dead. It also is useful in combating Mormonism. For example, the reports of Jesus’ appearances are held to be similar to those of Joseph Smith. Possibly most devastating is the fact that all 12 of the disciples maintained the faith and were willing to suffer, if not die, for this faith. Out of the eleven witnesses to the golden tablets given Smith, six of those witnesses later left the Mormon faith.

Remember The Jesus Seminar?

Many news sources (TV, Magazines, Internet), not many moons ago, were incredibly biased with their presentation of The Jesus Seminar. Personally, I doubt I would write the editor nor the producers of these shows. I believe an editor of a scholarly magazine should realize the type of logic and argument he is creating, a biased one. There are some things to bear in mind as we interpret the media's spin on such issues.

First, anytime he is writing he is setting the tenor or opinion of many people. Realizing this, he would or should realize that his information share be balanced and accountable. To cite a con or a pro, only, in a pro or con argument is not intellectually honest.

Second, if any doubt remained as to a need of revision, I would tell the editor that the “Jesus Seminar has made no secret about its contention that the orthodox conception of Jesus is outdated and ought to be rejected”[1] and therefore any representation from them is completely preconceived in that notion. Such an attempt at criteria setting is not even acceptable in a courtroom wherein there is a prosecutor and a defendant. Ironically, it seems that Christ is on trial, once again a few thousand years later, and once again the outcome is decided by some. Truth will triumph.

[1]Habermas, G. R., & Habermas, G. R. (1996). The historical Jesus : Ancient evidence for the life of Christ. Rev. ed. of: Ancient evidence for the life of Jesus. (138). Joplin, Mo.: College Press Pub. Co.

Is The Bible Our Only Source for Data About Jesus Christ?

Some feel that the bible is the only source for information concerning our Lord Jesus. First, I is necessary to know that any information concerning our Lord coming from the Scripture is indeed credible, at the very least. The underlying texts of the Scriptures are more reliable, prolific, and verifiable than many ancient documents (Homer’s Iliad) that are used in higher learning to perpetuate and portray certain historical truths of many cultures, e.g. Roman, Greek. There are numerous testimonies to the truthfulness of Scripture and as a result we can feel confident in the message and data of the scriptures.

The Scriptures, however, are not the only data stream from which we can determine historical truths about the Life of Christ. Philosopher, Gary Habermas of Liberty University, lists several historical sources, from ancient historians, government officials, to Jewish, Gentile and even Gnostics, each containing data about Jesus Christ. For the sake of time we will only look three, briefly:

· Cornelius Tacitus (ca. AD 55–120) was a Roman historian who lived through the reigns of over a half dozen Roman emperors. He has been called the ‘greatest historian’ of ancient Rome, an individual generally acknowledged among scholars for his moral ‘integrity and essential goodness.’” 1[1] In two of his most recognized works Tacitus made at least one reference to the person of Christ and at least two to early Christianity. Below, Tacitus mentions Christ (“Christus”, from the Latin) as the leader of the Christians. He evens calls Christianity a “superstition” that was halted for a time but has erupted again. Tacitus records:

o “Consequently, to get rid of the report, Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment”[2]

· Gaius Suetonius Tranquillas, a Roman historian made one reference to Jesus and one to Christians is Suetonius was the chief secretary of Emperor Hadrian (AD 117–138), this provided him access to the imperial records. 8 He is recorded as saying:

o “Because the Jews at Rome caused continuous disturbances at the instigation of Chrestus, he expelled them from the city.” 10 [Chrestus, is a noted variant spelling. It is basically the same as the Tacitus usage]

· “Jewish historian Flavius Josephus was born in AD 37 or 38 and died in AD 97.” Josephus was a Pharisee by the age of 19. Early on Josephus was a soldier and even fought against the Romans. Later, however, he would become the court historian for emperor Vespasian.13[3] Professor Schlomo Pines of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem has rendered the saying of Josephus thusly:

o “At this time there was a wise man who was called Jesus. His conduct was good and (he) was known to be virtuous. And many people from among the Jews and the other nations became his disciples. Pilate condemned him to be crucified and to die. But those who had become his disciples did not abandon his discipleship. They reported that he had appeared to them three days after his crucifixion, and that he was alive; accordingly he was perhaps the Messiah, concerning whom the prophets have recounted wonders.” 20

 1 1Moses Hadas, “Introduction” to The Complete Works of Tacitus (New York: Random House, 1942), pp. IX, XIII-XIV.

[1]Habermas, G. R., & Habermas, G. R. (1996). The historical Jesus : Ancient evidence for the life of Christ. Rev. ed. of: Ancient evidence for the life of Jesus. (187). Joplin, Mo.: College Press Pub. Co.

[2]Habermas, G. R., & Habermas, G. R. (1996). The historical Jesus : Ancient evidence for the life of Christ. Rev. ed. of: Ancient evidence for the life of Jesus. (188). Joplin, Mo.: College Press Pub. Co.

 8 8Robert Graves, “Introduction” to Suetonius’ The Twelve Caesars, transl. by Robert Graves (Baltimore: Penguin, 1957), p. 7.

 10 10Suetonius, Claudius, 25.

[3]Habermas, G. R., & Habermas, G. R. (1996). The historical Jesus : Ancient evidence for the life of Christ. Rev. ed. of: Ancient evidence for the life of Jesus. (192). Joplin, Mo.: College Press Pub. Co.

 20 20Charlesworth, Jesus Within Judaism, p. 95.

Did Jesus Live?

Rarely is it the case but some actually doubt that Jesus ever lived. If such a statement was posed to me I would respond by informing that “even Rudolf Bultmann, in his program of demythologizing the New Testament, said, ‘By no means are we at the mercy of those who doubt or deny that Jesus ever lived.’” [1] Gary Habermas, a foremost Christian apologist, recognized the critical efforts of Bultmann but still concedes that he never doubted that Christ lived. In fact, even the most modern skeptical writings do not claim Christ never lived, they suggest that Christianities view of this actual historical figure is incorrect.

History, however, is not without its anomalies. G.A. Wells was just such a skeptic who denied Christ lived and even asserted that Paul’s writings developed before the Gospel’s and that he actually knew little, if anything, of Christ. This argument fails at the mention of a single text in the first Pauline epistle to the Corinthians. Paul states:

1 Corinthians 15:3 NKJV, For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,

Paul makes it adamantly clear that he has delivered something that he had received beforehand, not prior to his writings. What he delivered is that “Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures.” This indicates Paul’s familiarity with Jewish messianic prophecy and their fulfillment in Jesus Christ. Only God forgives sin and can remove them from our account; therefore to associate Jesus with atonement is to associate Him with deity.

The evidence is compelling that Christ lived not far from the times of Paul himself, in fact it could be called recently. “Paul refers to Jesus’ contemporaries: Cephas and the twelve (1 Cor. 15:5); the apostles, brothers of Christ, and Cephas (1 Cor. 9:5); James, the brother of the Lord, and the apostle Peter (Gal. 1:18–19); the apostles Peter, James, and John (Gal. 2:8–9); Peter alone (Gal. 2:11). The best explanation for the phrase “the third day” (1 Cor. 15:3–4) is that Paul had temporal interests in mind, and that these witnesses began to see Jesus three days after he was raised from the dead.”[2]

To further complicate such an hypothesis, Paul lets us know that many of the 500 people who saw the resurrected Christ were still alive for investigation (1 Corinthians 15:6). Paul wrote 1 Corinthians around 55-57 AD.

Recently, while preparing to build a new prison in Israel, an ancient church at Megiddo with the mosaic stating "the God, Jesus Christ" was found. This basically debunked delusional authors like Dan Brown (Da Vinci Code) and others who purport that Jesus was not viewed as God in the early church. It should even silence the rare critic who might suggest that Christ never lived. This ancient mosaic speaks volumes concerning Jesus Christ as God Himself.

 1 Rudolf Bultmann, “The Study of the Synoptic Gospels,” in Form Criticism, transl. by Frederick C. Grant (New York: Harper and Brothers, 1962), p. 60.

[1]Habermas, G. R., & Habermas, G. R. (1996). The historical Jesus : Ancient evidence for the life of Christ. Rev. ed. of: Ancient evidence for the life of Jesus. (27). Joplin, Mo.: College Press Pub. Co.

[2]Habermas, G. R., & Habermas, G. R. (1996). The historical Jesus : Ancient evidence for the life of Christ. Rev. ed. of: Ancient evidence for the life of Jesus. (31). Joplin, Mo.: College Press Pub. Co.

Musings About Translations and Textual Criticism:

A translation is moving meaning in one language to another. Or moving a meaning in a text, found in the source language, to the receptor language in such a way that it is coherent. Translation is not a simple task, by any means. For example, different languages have various vocabulary sizes; different languages place words in different forms, phrases, or clauses than another language may be used to. Or, the very fact that no two words are exactly alike should prove the arduous and sober task of translating.

The two main approaches are formal and functional equivalence. Both attempt to bring meaning to its readers but both do it in different fashions that can affect the “meaning”. Formal equivalence seeks to be as “word for word” as possible if not altogether. Functional equivalence (also known as dynamic equivalence) seeks to bring more practical or modern meaning to the ancient texts by rendering them in the receptor language as “meaning for meaning” as opposed to a literal approach. Personally, I favor the former yet will utilize the other as a supplement (typically the NIV). I have read, as I suggested others do previously, Leland Ryken’s work, The Word of God in English and am convinced that we should do our very best at being truthful to the original meaning of the author’s intent. For example, would Shakespeare really be Shakespeare if we edited much of what he wrote? Where does that slippery slope end up?

Some people disdain any other translation other than the KJV. I believe this notion to be idyllic but not accurate. One of the reasons that some uphold the KJV or another earlier text (Douay-Rheims Bible) is because they do not understand a need for textual criticism. The modern insurgence of a earlier manuscripts, than those of the KJV for sure, in the late 40's till today demands we understand the language that the bible was originally written as well as the type of people who were writing it as well as those who were receiving it also. Textual criticism seeks to find the original meaning in the plethora of mss available today. Using various methods in textual criticism the original meaning of the texts can be narrowed. It is equally important to obtain both a “high view” of scriptural authority as well as a positive view towards textual criticism. Usually, a deficiency in one or the other relates to a misunderstanding. Textual criticism seeks to make the original meaning available so that the translators can make clear to us God’s Word.

Illegal Immigration and the Church: Philanthropic Lawlessness

Here is a great article from The Christian Post. Here is an excerpt:

Christians are dividing over the issue of immigration – along lines not necessarily predictable by creed, denomination, or even political bent. The emotionally charged immigration issue is forcing Christians to consider not only the institutionalized response of churches, but also the individual requirements of faith.

The church has a tremendous interest, morally and practically, in preserving the rule of law. From a moral perspective, Scripture teaches that we are to submit to the governing authorities appointed by God. Churches especially ought to honor conscientious immigrants who follow the laws of the land and not undermine their difficult and virtuous choices by systematically condoning illegal behavior. And practically, American churches ought to venerate and cherish the law because it is the guarantor of their religious freedom.


A Pauline Warning for Modern Times:

For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. 1 Timothy 6:10 NIV

In Pauline fashion, Bishop J. C. Ryle once stated that, “Money, in truth, is one of the most unsatisfying of possessions. It takes away some cares, no doubt; but it brings with it quite as many cares as it takes away. There is trouble in the getting of it. There is anxiety in the keeping of it. There are temptations in the use of it. There is guilt in the abuse of it. There is sorrow in the losing of it. There is perplexity in the disposing of it. Two-thirds of all the strifes, quarrels, and lawsuits in the world arise from one simple cause—money!”

At the beginning of chapter six, using the NIV (from hereon) translation, Paul continues his counsel to Timothy about the subject of relationships. Contrary to bible critics in our modern culture, Paul also encourages slaves to serve their masters because they want to, and not necessarily because they must. In 1-2 Paul warns both the slave and the master that favoritism is not expected in believing masters

False Teachers Masquerade for Money Under the Mask of Ministry:

Paul finally gets to what some have said is the core message of this chapter. “The false teachers masqueraded their desire for money beneath the mask of ministry (1 Tim. 6:5, 10; 2 Tim. 3:2), Paul said a leader could not be a lover of money (aphilargyron, 1 Tim. 3:3), since the “love of money is a root of all kinds of evil” (6:10). The ministry is no place to get rich or be consumed with the desire for more money. Contentment in whatever financial condition one finds himself is what Paul modeled and taught for all.”

Paul warns his audience about the perils of riches and that some false prophets are using the gospel for financial gain. Paul, possibly realizing that his words might be misunderstood, gives further clarification. Godliness is a “great gain” but it must be accompanied by contentment.

The Root Produces "all kinds of evils":

Paul’s declares that the powerful root called the “love of money” produces “all kinds of evil.” In the preceding passages, Paul addresses false teachers that strive for worldly gain. In fact, later, in his second epistle to Timothy Paul has a similar warning yet again (See (2:14-18). It is obvious then that Paul is intent on bringing attention and detail to the habits of the false prophet in this discourse. In both of these passages Paul is writing about debate and heated arguments, fighting over words, constant wrangling, and such like. Paul carefully tells us of the damages to the Body of Christ, which is incurred by such practices.

Some contend that, “It is not clear whether Paul’s opponents preach that godliness is a means of gain or simply use religion as a means of gain.” However, the wording of the NIV makes it plain that in the locale of Timothy certain people envisioned the Gospel as a “means for financial gain.” (See 6:5) Paul warns against such attitudes by telling them that “godliness with contentment is great gain” (6:6). Paul makes a clear contrast here, the polar opposite of “contentment” is lust for more things or to get rich and have more money. These very “money hungry” believers had wandered away from the faith in pursuits of financial gain.

Are Our Times Any Different?

It seems that our times are not much different. Of course, certain cultural nuances do not exist anymore, but the very act of using the gospel only as a tool for financial gain is clearly condemned. Money makes things work and is therefore essential in the practical scheme of things. So the meaning here should not be that there is never any monetary remuneration for the “laborer” because “those who preach the gospel should receive their living from the Gospel.” (c.f. Luke 10:7 and 1 Corinthians 9:4-15). In modern times, the application here will necessarily involve money at some point.

1 Timothy 6:10a contains a theological principle that we can apply today, just as relevantly. First, 6:10a is actually a part of a more ancient proverb. Therefore, it held definite and transferable meaning that was resident and relevant for himself and Timothy, at least. We should be wise to avoid constantly seeking lusts and riches or gain. This type of environment is the seed bed for all kinds of evils. Second, we should heed the voice of elders who would warn us against such roots. In verse eleven, Paul takes the application further and actually warns Timothy of falling prey to this same deception (6:11). We would be wise to allow the work of Godliness to be active in our lives, accompanied by contentment in the Holy Spirit’s leading.

Currently our world is seething with a desire for scintillation and theatrics in the ministering of the gospel. Many have taken the viewers of Television and followers by way Internet to the cleaners literally, financially speaking. Charlatans and impostors lurk on Television and radio stations waiting for financial profit from the Godly. Their lust and desire for money and power has caused them to exploit even the most sincere seekers. This is evil, but it comes to those who lust for money.

Competitiveness and Riches:

It is important to our movement that we do not enter a more competitive modus operandi. Competitiveness is fine when placed well, but if not guided can to lead to very unscrupulous deeds…especially when a lust for money has seized the will of a minister(s). As our globe advances we must be cautious to avoid the snare of the prophets. The snare of lusting for money and riches can lead them into falsehood. The link here is undeniable, in some sense.

1 Timothy 6:10b states, “Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” This portion of the verse is cause and effect. “The last part of the verse emphasizes once again the effect that the desire for wealth has on people.” This lust leads a person to lose the innocent eagerness of Godliness and is subverted to an eagerness for “money”. The Greek term for “wandered” here is a passive verb that means to lead astray or swerve from. Because the verb is passive indicates that the action is being done to the one who has “wandered” as opposed to an active verb, which would indicate it was being done by the person. There are many places in our ministry that we dare not travel; however, with lust as our guide exploration into uncharted territory often seems too easy—often to our demise.

It is cause and effect. We cannot allow a lust for riches and gain, or an improper sense of competitiveness with false doctrine, to satiate our spirits. Such will lead to “all kinds of evils.”


1. Grasping God’s Word-Second Edition, pg. 178 © 2001, 2005 by J. Scott Duvall and J. Daniel Hays

2. Practical Religion by J. C. Ryle, p. 215 (6:10) © 1998, Banner of Truth Publishers.

3. A Biblical Theology of the New Testament (electronic ed.) by Zuck, R. B. (363). Chicago: Moody Press.

4. The IVP Bible background commentary : New Testament by Keener, C. S., & InterVarsity Press. (1993). (1 Ti 6:5). Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press.

5. Ibid. 1 Tmothy 6:10

6. A handbook on Paul's letters to Timothy and to Titus. UBS handbook series; Helps for translators (150). Arichea, D. C., & Hatton, H. (1995). New York: United Bible Societies.


Musings about the Doctrine of Illumination:

The illumination of the Holy Spirit is necessary for believers to fully or completely understand the meaning of scripture. In fact, D.L. Moody once said, "The Bible without the Holy Spirit is a sun-dial by moonlight." "The unsaved man cannot experience the illuminating ministry of the Spirit since he is blinded to the truth of God (1 Co 2:14). This does not mean be cannot learn anything of the facts of the Bible, but he considers what he knows as foolishness."

The Bible is God-breathed (Grk. theopneustos) and consequently is unique among any work of literature to this day. Because of this, it is necessary that man receives illumination, divinely given, to aid in understanding the Bible (1 Corinthans 2:11). To this illumination we must concede, it is the work of the Holy Spirit (John 14:16-17; 16:13). The work of illumination needs little prerequisite, it seems all is needed is faith in our Lord and a willingness to allow His Spirit to lead us (John 14:16-17). Illumination is key for the academic student beginning his study of the Scriptures.

The Holy Spirit aids the searching by making clear or plain the meaning of Scripture. I believe this is what the scriptures preclude when it suggests that the Holy Spirit will "lead" into all truth (John 16:13). Carl Henry said, "God intends that Scripture should function in our lives as his Spirit-illumined Word. It is the Spirit who opens man’s being to a keen personal awareness of God’s revelation. The Spirit empowers us to receive and appropriate the Scriptures, and promotes in us a normative theological comprehension for a transformed life. The Spirit gives a vital current focus to historical revelation and makes it powerfully real."

Many thinkers, and practically we do as well, use what is called the Hermeneutical Spiral. It is a process of learning, where we begin with presuppositions (which we all have) that we use to interpret the text, initially. We then modify our presuppositions according to what we have learned from the Scriptures. We do this again and again, allowing the text to reconcile our presuppositions each time. Thus drawing closer to not only the authorial intent of the Scripture writers but also the understanding being given to us in modern times. The literal meaning of each text will never change, but sometimes multiple theological principles emerge just as fresh and relevant. Intellectually honesty can lead someone to the truth, but it will not cause them to embrace truth. I believe those who yield to the Holy Spirit in this process will embrace truth.

It is quite true that "human history, including language and behavior, bears significantly on Scripture." However, this does not negate the fact that the Spirit is needed yet still. "Replacing the Holy Spirit as inspirer and illuminator of the scriptural word with environmental inspiration and illumination is something far different. When the critic emphasizes that the Bible is inescapably conditioned by its cultural setting, he all too often exaggerates the impact of ancient culture on Scripture and minimizes or neglects the impact of modern culture on the critic." "R. C. Sproul reminds us in Knowing Scripture, the twentieth-century secular mind-set is a far more formidable obstacle to accurate interpretation of the Bible than is its conditioning by ancient culture."

Since illumination is an intangible process by a divine act it is quite hard to translate such a thing into our sense of feel or look. If we "feel" illumination then it must be through visceral or mental prodding of the Holy Spirit prompting us to further truth. We can possibly "feel" the work of illumination in our understanding, as it is broadened. In Psalms 118, the psalmist recognized his need for divine aid in understanding the Scriptures. He prayed that his eyes would be opened (v. 18). As our eyes are opened we "feel" the light of truth shine upon us.

References in Order of Appearance:

1. Green, M. P. (1989). Illustrations for Biblical Preaching : Over 1500 sermon illustrations arranged by topic and indexed exhaustively (Revised edition of: The expositor's illustration file.). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House

2. Ryrie, C. C. (1995, c1972). A survey of Bible doctrine. Chicago: Moody Press.

3. Henry, C. F. H. (1999). God, revelation, and authority. Originally published: Waco, Tex. : Word Books, c1976-c1983. (4:273). Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway Books.


Exploring the Book of Jonah

The NIV titles each section of the book of Jonah. We shall work from these general titles to formulate a coherent understanding of each. First, Jonah Flees from the Lord. The son of Amattai flees a call from God to evangelize Nineveh the capital of the Assyrians--considered heathens by the Jews. After attempting a voyage away from God Jonah finds himself in the belly of a fish for three days and three nights.

Second, Jonah's Prayer from the Belly of the Fish. In obvious consternation Jonah seeks out the divine right of prayer. The overwhelming threat before Jonah causes him to conclude that God has "banished" him (2:4). In spite of that he continue to pray and pledge his "song of thanksgiving" (2:9). Miraculously the fish vomits Jonah onto dry land.

Third, Jonah Goes to Nineveh. The Lord told Jonah, a second time, to go to Nineveh but this time Jonah's obeys God's command. Wasting no time, "on the first day", Jonah proclaims that Nineveh will be "overturned" by God. The Ninevites believe and make humble obeisance. God responds with "compassion and did not bring upon them the destruction he had threatened." (3:9).

Fourth, Jonah's Anger at God's Compassion. The turning of Nineveh did not please Jonah. In a childish manner, possibly, Jonah goes away and sits "east of the city" to "see what would happen to the city." God causes a vine to grow and shelter Jonah from the heat. This makes Jonah "very happy". Yet, as quick as the vine was alive it died by the worm. This disturbed Jonah, but ironically, the fate of over 120,000 people did not. God tells Jonah that he has great cause to "be concerned about that great city."

Jonah 1:13-16: Contextual Analysis

Jonah, the son of Amittai, was chosen by God and God spoke a command to "go" to Nineveh. Interestingly enough, Christ would later utter this same word, in the Greek NT, in fulfillment of the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19). Initially, the transgressions of the Ninevites are not explored. The text gives Jonah a simple command to go to Nineveh and "preach against it" because of its wickedness that has ascended before God.

In hopes of escaping the divine edict Jonah finds himself aboard a vessel that was destined for a storm and would later find himself in a fish's belly. Amidst this storm utter chaos has broken out yet Jonah was, as was Christ in the Gospels during a storm at sea as well, asleep in the hull of the ship.

While using the tradition of "casting lots" the responsibility of fault rests accurately upon Jonah. This may not be too coincidental since Jonah had already told them he was running from the Lord (vs. 10). They question, "Tell us, who is really responsible..." Personal introspective questions follow that actually seek Jonah's religious persuasion. After hearing that he was a Hebrew the fellow voyagers became "terrified" and they began to as "What have you done?" This and subsequent responses might indicate that these voyagers held high regard for the Hebrew God.

After the voyagers desperately search for a solution, Jonah finally tells them to "throw him into the sea." Possibly reserving Capital Punishment for a later time the voyages continue to "row back to land", in vain hopes however. Ironically, these men who possibly worshipped other gods began to call on the Hebrew God and crying "O Lord" because they did not wish to be accountable for killing an innocent man. This portion of the text also has some Christological affinity. For example, the crucifixion of Christ contains Pilate washing his hands in hopes of removing the blood of the innocent--as were these voyagers.

After throwing Jonah overboard the "sea grew calm." Because of this the voyagers made vows and sacrifices to the Lord. In further Christological fashion, Jonah is in the belly of the fish (seemingly certain death) for three days.

Haggai: Four Short Sermons for a Wayward People:

Dr. Gleason Archer, very early in his survey of the OT book of Haggai, notes that “of all the books of the Old Testament, this one enjoys the unusual status of being uncontested by all critics of every persuasion. It is acknowledged to be the work of the prophet Haggai himself, and the date it assigns to each message is accepted as reliable.” The book of Haggai then is an exceptional corpus of writings.

The prophet Haggai, himself, was the tenth, in natural order, of the Minor Prophets yet he is the first to have prophesied after Israel’s captivity. Scholars are unsure, however, of the tribe, parentage, history and tradition of Haggai as a person. The name Haggai itself means “festival”. Some conclude that this may refer to Haggai possibly being born on Passover or some popular festival in Old Testament worship.

When the ruler of the Persian Empire, Cambysses, mysteriously dies while in Egypt in 522 B.C., one of his generals, Darius, replaces him. In the same year of this political and historical transition God had a plan for two prophets. Dr. James Smith notes that God “raised up two prophets, Haggai and Zechariah. In August of 520 b.c. Haggai preached a blistering sermon in which he challenged the people of Judea to build God’s temple. The work resumed immediately. Three other messages of Haggai are recorded. All were delivered before the end of the year 520 b.c.. Just before Haggai delivered his last oracle, Zechariah was called to deliver his first message. He too focused on the work of temple building.”

Gleason and Smith suggest that the theme of his prophetic book is about rebuilding the Temple or keeping His program and house then God will prosper them. Haggai contains 38 verses of text, making it second only to Obadiah in brevity.

The ministry of Haggai lasted only four months, which Smith dates from “late August to mid-December of 520 b.c.” As was Zechariah, Haggai’s focus was on the building of the temple almost exclusively. At the arrival of Haggai the building of the Temple had been in an impasse for at least fifteen years. Smith also suggests that, “In six months Haggai accomplished more than any other Old Testament prophet. He was “a steam-engine in trousers” (Pfeiffer). By the time he retired or died, the work of reconstructing the house of God was well under way.

Gleason suggests a basic structure for the sermons in Haggai. We will use his model as a basic example. The first sermon, in 1:1-15, includes Haggai condemning the people for neglect. This very neglect was the very “cause of economic depression.” The second sermon, in 2:1-9, although less dramatic, is a prophecy that the “second temple will be more glorious than the first.” The third sermon, in 2:20-23, is a declaration that un-holiness contaminates sacrifice and that “selfishness leads to crop failure.” The latter occurs during the third in 2:10–19. The fourth sermon, in 2:20-23, is a glorious message that “God will finally triumph.

1. Archer, G. L. (1998, c1994). A survey of Old Testament introduction (3rd. ed.].) (469). Chicago: Moody Press.

2. Smith, J. E. (1992). The Minor Prophets. Joplin, Mo.: College Press.


John 14:31: Understanding the Enigma

The Farewell Discourse (FD heron) is popularly known as being 13:31 – 14:31 of John’s Gospel. D.A. Carson concludes[1] that the discussion concerning the FD encompasses a portion of scripture that has been both a “favorite passage for Christians” for “study and meditation” as well as “considerable debate.” As F.F. Bruce points out,[2] the debate has arisen from certain textual arrangements made by earlier translators of the texts, one being James Moffatt. His unique arrangements are found in his translation of the NT and possibly his commentaries on the Gospel of John. Moffatt held that chapters 15 and 16 were to be placed in the middle of 13:31.

The major challenge in textual structure relates then to the closing remarks of Christ in 14:31, “Arise, let us go from here” (NKJV). These words have proven to be enigmatic for many (hereon this phrase will be referenced as the “Enigma”). Determining the textual relevance or relationship of the data before and after that break is what remains pertinent to the minds of students. “The common response throughout the church’s history has been that the first two chapters, John 13-14, are set in the upper room, while chapters 15-17 continue the dialogue along the road to the Mount of Olives, culminating in the prayer of John 17.”[3]

Many interpret the Enigma in a way that it only has spiritual meaning; possibly akin to “arise, let us march to meet the prince of this world” (See Carson here). I do not hold this view and therefore do not see the Enigma phrase as being a pure theological statement. It is plausible “to regard the remainder of the discourse as taking place in the open air, although in 18:1 Jesus is said to have ‘left’ with his disciples, and it would be necessary to suppose that chs. 15–17 were uttered on the way to the Kidron Valley… Some have supposed that ch. 14 should follow ch. 17, but there is no evidence for such rearrangement. The only other alternative is to suppose that 14:31 implied an intention which was fulfilled some time later. On the whole the first suggestion is fraught with the least difficulties.”[4]

After uttering the Enigma it is also plausible that Jesus simply stood up (the disciples may or may not have stood with him) to finish the discourse before finally departing (in John 18:1), but the disciples lingered and conversation continued. Leon Morris “suggests it is possible that the group probably was slow in making its departure and so Jesus continued to teach them in the room. But he prefers the proposal of Lightfoot that it is a “stage in the teaching.”192I believe it plausible but unlikely that Christ was uttering a spiritual command to get up and prepare “to meet the enemy who is on the way already in the person of Judas and the soldiers with him.”[5]

Borchert states that the “view of speaking en route offers a difficulty that a walking band is hardly a conducive setting for communicating major segments of teaching.” He goes on to advocate that, “total rearrangement theories make the contemporary restructuring person wiser than the original writer and means that the present order is a purposeless collection of writings. However one seeks to solve the problem, I refuse to accept any theory that proposes that the logic of this tightly knit argument is to be disturbed by rearrangement.”[6]

My conclusion seems to be shared, at least in part, gree with that of Carson when he states, “it is possible that Jesus and his disciples did not in fact leave until after John 17. Anyone who has frequently invited home ten to twenty graduate students knows how common it is, after someone has announced it is time to go, for another half hour to slip past before anyone makes a serious move to leave.”

Good reason for this delay could stem from Christ’s earlier statements. Consider:

“before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that His hour had come that He should depart from this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end.” (John 13:1 NKJV)


[1] Carson, D.A. Pillar New Testament Commentary, The Gospel According to John. © 1991 Eerdman Publishing pg. 476

[2] F. F. Bruce, The Gospel and Epistles of John, (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1983, reprint 2004) pg. 292

[3] Carson, D.A. Pillar New Testament Commentary, The Gospel According to John. © 1991 Eerdman Publishing pg. 477

[4]Carson, D. A. (1994). New Bible commentary : 21st century edition. Rev. ed. of: The new Bible commentary. 3rd ed. / edited by D. Guthrie, J.A. Motyer. 1970. (4th ed.) (Jn 14:1). Leicester, England; Downers Grove, Ill., USA: Inter-Varsity Press.

[5] THE NET BIBLE®, New English Translation Bible Notes, John 14:31

[6]Borchert, G. L. (2002). Vol. 25B: John 12-21. The new American commentary, New International Version (136). Nashville: Broadman & Holman.


The Miraculous Messiah of the Fourth Gospel:

The ministry of Christ is very much concerned with the miraculous, supernatural events. People were often "amazed" by the acts of Christ. In fact, “the Gospels record a total of thirty-five separate miracles.”[1] In the Gospel of John, the very first miracle was the turning of water into wine, as recorded in 2:1–10. John wrote that the miracles performed by Christ, were “miraculous signs” (2:11) or just “signs” (NKJV). The Fourth Gospel has no deficiency in the presence of the miraculous. The miraculous happenings of Christ are only further evidences of an authentic Messiah. These evidences serve to identify Him as the Christ or "anointed one" in fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies (Isaiah 35:5–6; 61:1).

As John begins his prologue he reminds us of the most important Christological miracle—the Incarnation (John 1:1; 14, 1 Timothy 3:16). As John reminds us of the Creation story (John 1:1), the Incarnation of the Logos lays the context in which the rest of Jesus’ miracles will be performed.

Turning Water into Wine: Jesus the Creator

In the Gospel of John, the very first miracle was the turning of water into wine (2:1–10). This miracle was performed at a marriage. It is likely that the marriage took place in the home of some friend or relative of either Jesus or Nathanael. As in many ancient weddings, the most favored of wine was usually held until the end. It is possible that many withheld the best wine for last because many would have stopped drinking or would be very full at that time. In this particular wedding, however, the wine runs out. Mary, the mother of Jesus, asks that He do something about the apparent need of more wine. With only a few words and the heeding of the servants, suddenly the situation went from drought to inundation. Jesus had truly turned the water into wine. John claims this time, in 2:11, as the “beginning” (archē) of Jesus’ signs.

Creative miracles express a very special part of deity. The eternal God of the scripture is also the creator of all things. Jesus demonstrates that He has these very same creative powers. It should be mentioned as well, that this miracle occurs just after the Gospels record Christ being tempted by Christ. That which satan solicited with power Jesus gave to those who had genuine needs.

Healing of the Nobleman’s Son: Jesus the Healer

The second miracle performed by Christ is the healing of the nobleman’s son (4:46–54). Two chapters and one year after the first miracle Christ finds Himself, once again, at the very same place—Cana of Galilee. Here a nobleman, possibly an official for Herod, has heard of the miracles of Christ. He simply sees Christ and implores Him to heal his son. Contrary to probably the majority of His miracles, Jesus did not need to physically see or touch the boy to heal him. It was by the faith of this nobleman that his son was raised to life, with Christ never touching him and being about 20 miles away. In this instance we see that our Creator is even our healer.

Healing of the lame man at Bethesda: Jesus is God

Not only does this miracle include the lame being made to walk again, it involves a miracle performed on the Sabbath—even further statement of deity. There was a feast going on simultaneously as well, this caused even more crowds and attention. To heal on the Sabbath involved insanity or a statement of a higher authority. This miracles is positioned to gain the attention of the Jewish leaders by violating their ideas of the Sabbath. Essentially, this miracle gave Christ’s claims to deity broad publicity in the nation's capital. It also positioned Him to testify of His deity in the Sanhedrin. This publicity, however, brought about the decision to kill him (v. 18).

Ironically, the man by the pool did not even know who He was. This stands in contrast to the nobleman prior, who had previously heard of Christ’s powerful acts. The pool of Bethesda would have been busy and crowded. The pool was also used to wash animals for use in sacrifice as well. According to the text, an angel would visit and people would be healed. A custom developed that only one could be healed with each visit of the angel. Jesus interacts with the man and simply tells him to stand and walk. By healing this man Jesus demonstrates that He possessed powers that transcend all human intervention—He was God in the flesh.

Feeding of 5,000 men: Jesus the Bread of Life

This massive supper is the only one of Jesus' miracles that is told in all four Gospels (c.f. Matthew 14:13–33; Mark 6:32–52; Luke 9:10–17). Scholars are undecided as to exact location of this particular miracle, but it was probably not far from the northern side of the Sea of Galilee.

A crowd had gathered and no doubt many were present due to the nearness of the Passover. Once the crowd had spent time with Christ they grew hungry. Financing the meal was out of the question, but miraculous provision from a small boy’s lunch pack would suffice. With two fishes and five barley loaves Jesus fed what John records as 5,000 men. As most prudent cultures indicate, all leftovers are to be gathered at the end of mealtime. The disciples began to take up the leftovers and were able to accumulate 12 baskets full!

John records later comments of Jesus that give us insight into the fuller meaning of this miracle:

“For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world. (34) Then they said to Him, Lord, give us this bread always. (35) And Jesus said to them, I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.” (John 6:33-35 NKJV)

Christ tells us, above, that the “bread of God” is “He” who has come down from heaven. Ironically, Christ reveals to them that He is the bread of life. Coming to Christ ensures one that they do not hunger and he who “believes” on Christ shall not thirst.

Walking on water: Jesus Lord over Nature

After the miracle of feeding 5,000 Jesus ascends into the mountains to be alone. The text indicates Christ sought this solitude because his growing followership might force Him to be king. By a night’s sky the disciples sailed towards Capernaum, obviously Christ would tarry long to pray. Mark 6:48 indicates that the time was around 3 a.m. As they sailed a storm blew that caused rough sailing. About three or four miles out the disciples see Jesus walking towards them, on the water. This miracle plainly reveals that the Creator of all things can and even will exercise His sovereign control over the forces of nature.

Healing of the man born blind: Jesus the Light of the World

Once again Jesus performs a miracle (Chapter 9) on the Sabbath day. In fact, Wescott indicates that the Greek is quite emphatic and literally reads, “It was a sabbath on the day on which,”[2] On this day Christ brings light to the darkened eyes of a blind man. Christ’s violation of the Sabbath though, by restoring the sight of this man, angered the Pharisees. In fact, even the parents were called to testify which later gave testimony that this blind man had been so since birth. After intensely interrogating the ex-blind man they conclude that the blind man was born “completely” in sin; thereby condemning this man, by their power, into spiritual darkness—so they said.

Jesus came to bring light into the world, to illumine the hearts and minds of believers. Just prior to the healing of this blind man Christ had just told those following near that He was the “light of the world” (9:5). Indeed, what better way to prove this by bringing light to eyes that has never seen a mere glimpse of light itself?

Lazarus Raised from the dead: Jesus the Resurrection and life

This is a miracle (John 11) situated in irony. It can be determined that this miracle, involving the raising of the dead, probably occurred about a month before Jesus' own death. In fact, this was the third time Christ raised someone from the dead (Jairus's daughter, Mark 5:21–43; the son of the widow of Nain, Luke 7:11–17; and now Lazarus). Ironically, all of these miracles, especially this one, would climax in His own death and resurrection. Even more, this miracle was the very one which brought about a Sanhedrin decision to kill Jesus (John 11:53 ).

After being dead 4 days Lazarus was raised from the dead by Christ. Ironically, in verses 17-27, Christ had just prophesied of His future resurrection, albeit different from being raised from the dead, it does have great affinity.

Miraculous catch of 153 fish: Jesus the Provider

In John 21, the disciples had returned to Galilee, as Jesus had previously told them to do (Matthew 28:7, 10; Mark 16:7). Jesus went away into a certain mountain, for probably a set time. As is typical of the disciples, they resumed their old business and forgot the affairs of the spiritual. Some scholars attest that this location may have been at, or near, the same spot where two or three years before He had first called them to become fishers of men (Luke 5:1–11).

Besides giving them the call to feed the spiritually hungry, Christ gives them a miraculous catch of fish, as He had also done several years before. This particular miracle is actually the third time Christ has appeared to the disciples since His resurrection. He continues heavenly provision just prior to His ascension by providing for them once again.

Christ is our redeemer, our miracle worker. He is God in flesh.



[1] Charles C. Ryrie, The Ryrie Study Bible (nasb) (Chicago: Moody, 1978), 1973.

[2] The Gospel according to St. John Introduction and notes on the Authorized version. 1908. Greek text and "Revised version" on opposite pages.; Edited by Arthur Westcott. (B. F. Westcott & A. Westcott, Ed.) (146). London: J. Murray.


J. Rodman Williams

Here is a link to an invaluable resource from J. Rodman Williams of Regent University. Daniel Segraves, Robin Johnston, and other Oneness teachers also attend or have attended Regent as well. Regent is also the home of Vinson Synan who is one of the most esteemed Pentecostal historians and theologians to date. Williams presents Pentecostal Theology from several aspects. If you ever wonder what a Pentecostal's position on certain things should be, generally speaking, then this is a great place.

I highly recommend we all study his Ten Teachings (a basic Systematic Theology)and Scripture: God's Word. It will benefity any minister greatly. You can download much of his information from this website to save as a Word.doc or a .pdf for future use.

Note, as with any writing, you need to eat the meat and pick out the bones. Save us the "I only read Oneness authors post"! I am not saying you nor I agree with his teachings in whole but, overall he gives a much needed aspect in articulating a clear and broad Pentecostal Theology. Also, the word charismatic refers to the spiritual gifts and not a particular preference on holiness standards. So, even the Ultra-Con can glean a few things.

Charismatic Pentecostal Theology by J. Rodman Williams


The Feast of Booths:

Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, (34) Speak to the children of Israel, saying: The fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the Feast of Tabernacles for seven days to the LORD. (35) On the first day there shall be a holy convocation. You shall do no customary work on it. (36) For seven days you shall offer an offering made by fire to the LORD. On the eighth day you shall have a holy convocation, and you shall offer an offering made by fire to the LORD. It is a sacred assembly, and you shall do no customary work on it. (37) These are the feasts of the LORD which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations, to offer an offering made by fire to the LORD, a burnt offering and a grain offering, a sacrifice and drink offerings, everything on its day-- (38) besides the Sabbaths of the LORD, besides your gifts, besides all your vows, and besides all your freewill offerings which you give to the LORD. (39) Also on the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when you have gathered in the fruit of the land, you shall keep the feast of the LORD for seven days; on the first day there shall be a sabbath-rest, and on the eighth day a sabbath-rest. (40) And you shall take for yourselves on the first day the fruit of beautiful trees, branches of palm trees, the boughs of leafy trees, and willows of the brook; and you shall rejoice before the LORD your God for seven days. (41) You shall keep it as a feast to the LORD for seven days in the year. It shall be a statute forever in your generations. You shall celebrate it in the seventh month. (42) You shall dwell in booths for seven days. All who are native Israelites shall dwell in booths, (43) that your generations may know that I made the children of Israel dwell in booths when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God." (44) So Moses declared to the children of Israel the feasts of the LORD. (Leviticus 23:33-44 NKJV)

We often speak of various Jewish feasts and celebrations in our theological pursuits. The Feast of Tabernacle (or "booths") is one such feast. It is one of the most unique feasts in Judaism, in my opinion. This is due to the peculiar instructions God gave the Israelites. The Feast of Tabernacle (FOT hereon) was the fourth in a set of annual festival celebrations of Judaism (2 Chron. 8:13; Ezra 3:4; Zech. 14:16). On the Gregorian calendar this time is fixed around September or October. This feast was so well known in Judaism and the Old Testament scriptures that it was simply referred to as "the feast" (1 Kings 8:2; 2 Chron. 5:3; 7:8; Neh. 8:14; Isa. 30:29; Ezek. 45:23,25).

FOT encompasses a variety of Jewish historical and Torahic (something finding origin in the Torah) meaning. Whatever its nuances might be it is clear that it is to be celebrated perpetually (vs. 41) and with rejoicing (vs. 40). Today, this particular feast includes a celebration of the fall harvest and God’s provision for Israel. It is generally a very celebrated and anticipated feast. As the Leviticus passage demonstrated, above, FOT has origin in the Torah (Lev. 23:29-43). It is a time for remembrance of Israel’s deliverance from Egypt and their subsequent wandering in the wilderness for forty years. During this time Israel lived in tents and worshiped at the Tabernacle which was also a tent, both having specifications from God on the way each was to be built.

FOT was held after harvest and vintage (Deut 16:13); it began on fifteenth of seventh month (Lev 23:34,39); lasted seven days (Lev 23:34,41; Deut 16:13,15); all males obliged to appear at (Ex 23:16,17); to be observed with rejoicing (Deut 16:14,15); perpetually (Lev 23:41); people dwelt in booths during (Lev 23:42; Neh 8:15,16); the law publicly read every seventh year at (Deut 31:10–12; Neh 8:18); to commemorate the sojourn of Israel in the desert (Lev 23:43) and had remarkable celebrations of at the dedication of Solomon’s temple (1 Kin 8:2,65) as well as after the Egyptian captivity (Ex 3:4; Neh 8:17).(1)

Today, when remembering this time Jews build small tabernacles or booths with walls of plaited branches and thatched roofs as God explicitly instructed in Leviticus 23:42. These booths/tents are still constructed in modern times. God instructed them to live in these booths for seven days. This served as a clear reminder of their days of tent living while wandering in the wilderness.

As we read the Leviticus passage, we can readily see that this event was a staged celebration by the Almighty Himself. Although, symbolisms and metaphors exist in this feast God makes it very plain his reasoning for this feast. It is encapsulated in vss. 42-44:

“You shall dwell in booths for seven days. All who are native Israelites shall dwell in booths, that your generations may know that I made the children of Israel dwell in booths when I brought them out of the land of Egypt:” (NKJV)

FOT “was instituted to remind the Israelites that their fathers dwelt in tents or booths in the wilderness (Leviticus 23:43), and to be an annual thanksgiving after all the crops of the land were gathered for the year (Leviticus 23:39). (2) It seems, then, that God’s express purpose is to cause Israel to remember His mercy and provision upon them by celebrating with the booths. A secondary purpose is to cause rejoicing and thanksgiving because of mercy and provision as well. A positve remembrance then can lead to thanksgiving and rejoicing.

The term "tabernacle" (rendered “booth” by KJV) or אהל in Old Testament Hebrew refers to a "tent of nomad" or a "dwelling" or a "sacred tent of Jehovah" (3) or a general covering. The idea was not, necessarily, to indicate Yahweh as the protector, preserver, and covering in heat and storm (Psalms. 27:5; 31:20; Isa. 4:6) only but to also serve as a celebration for the entire community, including family, slaves, widows, orphans, Levites, and sojourners (Deut. 16:13-15). It appears possible, then, for foreign slaves and those destitute and without familial connection, were to rejoice in the Feast!

As mentioned earlier, the Tabernacle in the Wilderness as well as the booths of the feast were to be built with explicit instruction from God. It was not a contrivance of man then, but something gifted to Israel, via Moses, by God.

Our savior, Jesus Christ, attended FOT. In fact, "after the Feast of Tabernacles in the temple, Jesus angers the Pharisees by claiming to be the light of the world" (4) as custom, FOT occurred in Jerusalem. After Christ arrived in Jerusalem and entered the Temple John’s Gospel proclaims,

"On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water. But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified. (John 7:38-39 NKJV)

The phrase “on the last day” means that this event occurred on the last day of FOT.

As mentioned just prior, Jesus also upset the Pharisees by proclaiming to be the “light of the world”. Those travelling to the Temple would bring lights and torches. To add to the significance, the golden lamps stands would also be lighted thereby illuminating the Temple. Prophetically, this looked forward to the coming of the Messiah—Jesus Christ. Shortly, after FOT, Jesus spoke and said,

“…I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” (John 8:12 NKJV)

By the pen of Luke, Paul carries this further at Antioch,

“For so the Lord has commanded us: I have set you as a light to the Gentiles, That you should be for salvation to the ends of the earth." (Acts 13:47 NKJV)

Paul tells us here that, not only is he sent to carry this light, but that this light is to be carried to the ends of the earth!

For certain, there are several nuances in this particular feast. However, there are at least two things, in FOT, that we have discussed prior that give some further meaning to practical Christian living.

First, as mentioned prior, a possible secondary purpose for FOT was to cause rejoicing and thanksgiving because of mercy and provision. Remember the recent death of a loved one does not always bring thanksgiving or rejoicing, but in some sense if the person is saved we should rejoice. So, positive remembrance should lead to thanksgiving and rejoicing. We should be careful in our daily lives and especially in public worship to always give proper remembrance (Rev. 2:4-5) and thanks (Eph. 5:20) to the great things that God has done.

Second, it appears all members then, even possible foreign slaves and those destitute and without familial connection, was to rejoice in the Feast. There is possible Christological symbolism here. In the NT Paul later tells us that it is by grace through faith that we have been saved. God's grace has been extended to all mankind (John 3:16); It is not the will of God for any man to perish (2 Peter 3:9); Race, gender, nor economic status are perquisite to salvation (Gal. 3:28). Likewise FOT extended rejoicing privileges to everyone regardless of status. Christ our covering and protection can be celebrated by ALL (John 3:16)!


  1. The MacArthur Study Bible (electronic ed.) (Re 21:27). MacArthur, J. J. (1997, c1997). Nashville: Word Pub.
  2. Enhanced Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon. Brown, F., Driver, S. R., & Briggs, C. A. (2000). Strong's, TWOT, and GK references Copyright 2000 by Logos Research Systems, Inc. (electronic ed.) (13). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems.
  3. Manners & Customs of the Bible. "Rewritten and updated by Harold J. Chadwick" Freeman, J. M., & Chadwick, H. J. (1998). --Cover.; Includes index. (Rev. ed.].) (123). North Brunswick, NJ: Bridge-Logos Publishers
  4. A Harmony of the Gospels. Robertson, A.T., , Harper & Row; New York` 1950.

Adversus Trinitas

"...unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins." (John 8:24 ESV)