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Basics For Understanding the Bible

It’s sometimes not as hard as we make it....
This note is not meant to be sarcastic (OK, a little, but delivered good-naturedly) .  Its goal is to get us to start to look at scripture in the context in which we find them. We must remember the 6 things we need to consider in our scripture interpretation.
The PERSON who wrote it The PEOPLE to whom it is written The PLACE it involves The PERIOD (or age) in which it was written The PURPOSE for which it is written The PLAN around which it is written 
We must also take every word literally. This applies to literary techniques such  as figures of speech, hyperbole, sarcasm, parables, etc. That might sound contradictory, but when the text tells us something is a parable, for example, we understand it as such in context of a literal speaker, audience, etc.


God hath spoken, "at sundry times," as well as "in divers manners" (Heb 1:1). And, if we are to understand what He has spoken, we must learn to distinguish, not only the va…

The Non-Prison Epistles - Part 5

We come to my final thoughts on this subject (I'm assuming!). One of the central tenets of my ministry is that I am no one's guru. You have one theology to worry about in this life: your own. I'll answer for what I do, believe, and teach, but so will every individual. I encourage everyone to test my teachings against the full witness of scripture. So it is with my thoughts on Titus and 1 Timothy.

One thing about which I am very convinced; the final seven epistles of Paul are given to me. When I test the address on the envelope, I see only these seven addressed to the Body of this day. I see the Book of John addressed to the world and we come to know life through the name of the Son of God through that inspired text.

For those who want to claim promises or conditions in other parts of scripture, well, that is between you and the Lord.

With this in mind, I would conclude this series by saying that I believe that Titus and 1 Timothy are part of the revelation to the Body, but…

Israel: A Blessing and a Cursing

I have recently opined on these pages regarding Israel. In earlier studies, I have contended that the Revelation is for Israel. In fact, the vast majority of scripture is about Israel (including the Synoptic Gospels, The Acts, the 14 Acts-Age epistles). Israel was chosen as the channel of God's blessings to the Nations after the Nations failed to heed his warnings.
Israel is the subject of many prophecies yet to be fulfilled (including her New Covenant). We have no right to claim their future blessings or promises. 

We have looked at a number of scriptures, but I wanted to pull out just a section of Zechariah's prophecy. Jews (as a race) have certainly been a blessing in many ways. Scientific and Medical advances; art, literature, music, have all befitted from the contributions of the Jewish people. But as we have seen in previous studies, they are currently set aside as God deals with all people apart from Israel in this Dispensation of the Mystery of God.

Israel, just befor…

The Non-Prison Epistles - Part 4

I don't want the final point from our last study to be lost. The gifts during the Acts Age, to individuals, were a witness. The gifts of the Post-Acts Age are to the whole Body for the purpose of making known the Dispensation of the Mystery.

We now come to the final three offices noted in the epistles.

Teachers didáskalosApostles apóstolosProphets prophḗtēsEvangelists euangelistḗsPastors poimḗnOverseers epískoposElders presbýterosDeacons diákonos

BISHOP/OVERSEER/ELDER
An "overseer" or "bishop," in either dispensation, is very similar to a pastor/shepherd. This is made clear in the Acts.
For I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God. Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. -Acts 20:27-29
It appears that this is …

The Non-Prison Epistles - Part 3

If you're wondering when I include the Greek and/or Hebrew in my posts, it's not to be clever, but rather so we know what word the Holy Spirit has chosen. There are three primary reasons for this. First, we can see where else a word may have been used and compare contexts. Second, the English translators may have used the same English word for different Greek words, causing confusion. Third, We can look up the original meaning of a word instead of relying on the possibly biased opinion of the translators.

In Part 3 we will briefly look at the next three offices on our list.
Teachers didáskalosApostles apóstolosProphets prophḗtēsEvangelists euangelistḗsPastors poimḗnOverseers epískoposElders presbýterosDeacons diákonos
To add some additional context to these studies, we will recall the difference between the "bodies" and "churches" active in the Acts Age and the "Body" and "Church" of the Post-Acts (current) Age. In the Acts, a local churc…

The Non-Prison Epistles - Part 2

Let's start Part 2 by (primarily) assuming the two non-Prison epistles (Titus, 1 Timothy) of the Dispensation of the Mystery contain instructions for the entire age. That is, they still apply, in full, today. With that in mind, we again list the offices noted in different places throughout all seven epistles (along with the Greek transliteration) and investigate the first tow on our list.
Teachers didáskalosApostles apóstolosProphets prophḗtēsEvangelists euangelistḗsPastors poimḗnOverseers epískoposElders presbýterosDeacons diákonos

TEACHERS

Surely we have men and women who teach in this hour. I just published a short study on women teaching men. What we need to say, however, is that any and all teaching in this age needs to reflect the Dispensation of the Mystery. Even a study of the Pentateuch needs to be seen from the perspective of the economy of today.

Our primary calling is to teach the Mystery itself. For it dictates not only how we see the rest of scripture, but it opens o…

The Non-Prison Epistles - Part 1

I referenced the two epistles of Paul to Gentiles written post-Acts in myrecent entry on women teaching men. It is in these epistles where we find instructions for the selection elders and deacons. I have proposed that these instructions were primarily for those transitioning from the Jew-centered church of the Acts Age to the post-Acts Body which knows no Jew or Gentile.

I would like to look at this approach from both sides. That is, I would like to briefly address both the idea that these two books are different from the other five Post-Acts epistles and also the idea that that they are still applicable in every way today. I don't believe either view does violence to the scripture.

This post will primarily be background material for those not yet familiar with the Dispensation of the Mystery.

Recall there are 21 epistles which fall into three groups of seven:

Acts Age (7)Post-Acts (7) Apostles to the Jews/Dispersion (7) RomansEphesians1 PeterGalatiansColossians2 Peter1 Corint…

More on Modern Israel

We recently looked at modern-day Israel and how we are to view her in light of scripture rightly divided. I want to step back and take another look with a wider lens. The scripture, starting in Genesis 12 with the calling of Abram, is almost entirely centered around Israel with the exception of Paul's final seven epistles.

Israel was chosen from among the nations to be God's channel of blessing to the world. You will not see a gentile or a gentile nation mentioned in these scriptures apart from some connection to the nation of Israel or a Jew. The most obvious example is the great nations of Egypt, Babylon, Medo-Persia, and the Roman Empire. We also have the great cities of Nineveh, Athens, and Rome itself. World empires and great cities only seen through the lens of Israel and the Jews.

But today we live in the post-Acts Age of the Silence of God and the setting aside of Israel. It is truly a blessed age. The riches of God's heavenly blessings are offered to all men. The …

Can Women Teach Men?

The question of whether women can teach men in the context of Christianity is an interesting one. Generally speaking, the more liberal to apostate churches allow women to teach while the more evangelical to fundamental do not.

I havewritten critically on the "clergy system" previously and I do not recognize titles. So, the question of "women pastors" is a non-starter. I don't believe in men being "Pastors" (capital P). The danger of having women pastors is the same as having men pastors. But even within that system, while I do not believe women cannot teach men, they are more prone to deception.

Here is our passage in 1 Timothy 2 from the KJV:

Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression. Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearin…

Quick Thought on The Gap Theory

I was reading a synopsis of a recent book critiquing the Gap Theory. It, in part, reads:

"Taking on all arguments for both Gap Theory and the Day-Age Theory, Fields outlines the clear facts and proofs for Young Earth Creationism."
I think the foundation of the error seems to be the necessity of holding to a "Young Earth." We can certainly hold to a literal 6-day creation and also hold that the earth is impossibly old. The ideas are independent. I hold to both. I hold that the earth was created in perfection, sin entered, it was cast into chaos for an indeterminate amount of time, then God started his 6-day re-creation.
For thus says the Lord, who created the heavens (he is God!), who formed the earth and made it (he established it; he did not create it a chaos, he formed it to be inhabited!): “I am the Lord, and there is no other. -Isaiah 45:18 (RSV
God created an earth which was not in chaos. In Gen 1:2, that earth "became without form [chaotic] and void."…

A Fresh Look at the Enemies of the Cross of Christ

For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame—who set their mind on earthly things. -Phil 3:18-19
I recently heard the phrase "enemies of the cross of Christ" used in reference to unbelievers. But if we note the context, Paul is juxtaposing Christians who follow his pattern of suffering with those who take the road of accommodation and comfort. And that comfort does not just come from the world, it comes from within Christendom.

Surely there is a temptation to avoid conflict, criticism, ostracism, and persecution by joining the world and hiding one's beliefs so as to be accepted. But there is also a temptation to subdue biblical truths in order to foster a false unity and an acceptance within Christendom.

Be diligent to come to me quickly; for Demas has forsaken me, having loved this present world, and has d…