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.

Adversus Trinitas

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