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Introduction to Personal Bible Study - Videos (2007)

4 short introductory video studies First recorded in 2007, posted to GodTube in 2010  These short videos were made nearly 14 years ago. ...

Monday, June 26, 2023

The Pairings in Acts 1:13

 Now let's examine the assumption we noted above: "both' is limited to Jerusalem and Judea; Samaria unto the ends of the land (or to the dispersion).

"And when they were come in, they went up into an upper room, where abode both Peter, and James, and John and Andrew, Philip, and Thomas, Bartholomew, and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus and Simon Zelotes, and Judas the brother of James

-Acts 1:13

καὶ ὅτε εἰσῆλθον ἀνέβησαν  εἰς τὸ ὑπερῷον οὗ ἦσαν καταμένοντες ὅ τε πέτρος καὶ ἰάκωβος καὶ ἰωάννης καὶ ἀνδρέας φίλιππος καὶ θωμᾶς βαρθολομαῖος καὶ ματθαῖος, ἰάκωβος ἁλφαίου καὶ σίμων ὁ ζηλωτὴς καὶ ἰούδας ἰακώβου

How are we to read "both" in this verse? If we take a literal translation of the Greek (using a direct Greek to English translator), we get:

And then they went up to who lived both Peter and Jacob [James] and John and Andrew Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, Jacob Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot, and Judas Jacob


And in the Revised Version:

and when they had entered, they went up to the upper room, where they were staying, [both] Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot and Judas the son of James

Notice the groupings:

  • Peter and John
  • James and Andrew
  • Philip and Thomas
  • Bartholomew and Matthew,
  • James and Simon
  • and Judas

A quick look at the ministry in the Book of Acts, we see Peter and John linked. Peter and John are mentioned together in Acts 3. In Acts 4 Peter and John are arrested together. They are mentioned twice there together. Finally, in Acts 8, Peter and John are again together. This is well into the Acts age and well after the commission of Acts 1, yet the Apostles were still in Jerusalem.

Now when the apostles who were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them, who, when they had come down, prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit.
-Acts 8:14-15 (NKJV)

We will look, next time, a little more closely at the believing Gentiles in Caesarea. It is important to note Peter's calling, the region of Caesarea, the events in that house, and the reaction of the Jews.

But I digress. Peter and John are a group unto themselves in Acts 1. We God dealing in pairs much in the ministry of the Gospel accounts and in the Acts Age, The Lord sent the 70 out two-by-two.

After these things the Lord appointed seventy others also, and sent them two by two before His face into every city and place where He Himself was about to go.

-Luke 10:1 (NKJV)

We can see this in Paul's ministry as well (Paul and Barnabas then Paul and Silas).

When we apply this pattern to the listing in Acts 13, we can start to see:

Both Peter and John and BOTH James and Andrew, BOTH Philip and Thomas, BOTH James and Simon, and Judas (there only being 11 at the time, this is the other Judas and before Matthias was chosen). 

This use of "both" following its use earlier in Acts 1 helps to see more clearly the use of "both" as not only a pairing of two, but of pairs of two. While this latter is not as definitive, in context of the calling of the twelve in the Gospel accounts and as revealed in Acts epistles, we can get more clarity about the "commission" of Acts 1:8. When we can see their commission to Judah and Israel, we can start to understand the Book of Acts better and the we can start to rightly divide the epistles. 

Hopefully we can understand why the Apostles said and did in the Book of Acts itself and discard any thought that any "church" today is an "Acts church." I think we can clearly demonstrates that there s no such thing in the current age and that we shouldn't pretend there is.

Tuesday, June 20, 2023

Both Ends of the "Great Commission"

 Back in 2019 we examined one aspect of what some call "The Great Commission." In that study looked at the word translated "earth." We proposed that the word can be and is sometimes translated as "land," referring to Israel's promised land and kingdom.

That study can be reviewed here:  Uttermost Parts of the Planet?

In this brief study, we want to examine a Greek word used in the commission of Acts 1:8. As we do, we remember that this commission was given to the chosen apostles of the Lamb; those who were promised that one day they would sit on 12 thrones judging the 12 tribes of Israel in the earthly kingdom.

The setting (context) is the risen Lord Jesus concluding his 40-day teaching on the Kingdom to the future judges of the coming Kingdom in Jerusalem. The only detail the Savior left out was when the Kingdom would be restored to Israel (not to the "Church"). But, surely, the Kingdom will be restored.

The former account I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, until the day in which He was taken up, after He through the Holy Spirit had given commandments to the apostles whom He had chosen, to whom He also presented Himself alive after His suffering by many infallible proofs, being seen by them during forty days and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God. And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, “which,” He said, “you have heard from Me; for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, “Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” And He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority.

-Acts 1:1-7 

We are not privy to what the risen Lord taught them for those 40 days. That is the Lord's prerogative. We have no need to know. This is what the Holy Spirit does preserve for us through Luke's account in the Acts:

  • The Lord gave specific commandments to the chosen apostles
  • They were not to depart Jerusalem until the promised Holy Spirit (w/gifts) fell
  • The Davidic Kingdom would be restored to Israel
  • The timing was under the Father's authority

We know from Acts 3 (post-Pentecost) that the main condition is the repentance of Israel.

Ye men of Israel... brethren... Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord. and that He may send Jesus Christ, who was preached to you before, whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began.

The angel Gabriel reiterated the promises to the fathers (cp. Rom 15:8) in the prophets to Mary when she conceived.

He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.”

-Luke 1:32-33

We pause to remind ourselves it was Gabriel who reveled God's timeline to the prophet Daniel. That prophecy was interpreted for Daniel by Gabriel. In his explanation, he was very clear, "Understand, son of man, that the vision refers to the time of the end.” (Dan 8:17b).

We note, also, that Paul at his trial late in the Acts age, testified that he spoke "nothing" that was not spoken by Moses and the Prophets. He stated as late as Acts 28 that he was in chains for "the hope of Israel."

All these things concerning the earthly Kingdom concern Israel. The commission of Acts 1 is no different. Israel's hope and Kingdom is the context. In our previous study, linked above, pointing to that commission's scope we did not focus on one word. That word is the word BOTH. We want to see "both" in its connection to the "land" and the calling of Israel by the apostles to Israel.

We stopped in verse 7 of Acts 1 above, but now let's look at  the oft-quoted verse 8.

But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judæa, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

-Acts 1:8 (KJV)

but ye shall receive power at the coming of the Holy Spirit upon you, and ye shall be witnesses to me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and Samaria, and unto the end of the earth.'

-Acts 1:8 (Young's Literal Translation)

The KJV and YLT use "both" in their translation. Some modern versions do as well (ESV, NASB, etc.). Many other versions do not (NKJV, etc.). I believe one of the reasons for this is a bias on the part of the translators. So familiar with the assumed usage and application of this verse (assuming all the Bible is spoken to all people in all ages), they ignore its context and find "both" to be unimportant. The versions that do use "both" probably assume the dual nature of the word is limited to Jerusalem and Judea. We'll look at that in our next study on Acts 1:13. For now, we return to 1:8. 

The Greek word translated "both" is "τέ." As with many words, it can mean different things in different contexts. Luke uses it three times in Acts 1, here in verse 8, and also in verses 1 and 13. When used with a list of things, "both" should be considered. Now, I haven't looked up every use, but the few I hve from the gospel accounts and the Acts using this word, "both" is implied. That is, two things.

As just one example, the NKJV, which does not use "both" in verse 8 for "τέ," does use "both" for "τέ" in verse 1:

The former account I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach

Just out of curiosity, I checked 1:8 in the Reformed Bible of choice, the 1599 Geneva Bible.

But ye shall receive power of the holy Ghost, when he shall come on you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. -Acts 1:8


For those keeping score at home, Young's Literal Translation uses "both" in all three verses in Acts where where "τέ' is found.

I used an online translator, Koine Greek to English. This greatly helped me see more clearly the intent of Luke and the Holy Spirit in the commission to the apostles to the circumcision; a commission they obey throughout the Acts.

let the power of the Holy Spirit come upon you, and bear witness to me, both in Jerusalem, and in all of Judah, and in Samaria, and to the rest of the Earth.

Without being dogmatic, but in light of the immediate context of Acts 1 (the restoration of the Kingdom to and in Israel) and the calling of the twelve to go to Israel alone as the future judges of the twelve tribes, we can look at Acts 1:8 the following way.

The apostles to the circumcision, who carried the gospel to the circumcision (Galatians 2:7-8) were commissioned to take the gospel of the Kingdom to Judah ("Jerusalem and in all Judea") AND to Israel (Samaria and to the rest of the land/earth). "Both."

This would be to all 12 tribes. Two which made up Judah and the Ten tribes of the Northern Kingdom, Israel. The Ten tribes are connected to the dispersion (although some from all 12 tribes were in the dispersion). So, we note, again, to whom both Peter and James directed their epistles.

James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greetings.

-James 1:1

To the pilgrims of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father

-1 Peter 1:1-2a

We cannot insert a Gentile "church" into these epistles. James addresses those meeting in "synagogues" (James 2:2). Unfortunately, the King James version translates synagogue there as "assembly." This is the only time they translate it such. In every other case, it reads, "synagogue." Men imposing their theology on the Holy Spirit's inspiration. 

I'd like to refer to John Calvin's commentary on 1 Peter here. I choose Calvin not because he divides scripture as I do, but because even Calvin understood that the dispersion must mean Jews.

To the sojourners They who think that all the godly are thus called, because they are strangers in the world, and are advancing towards the celestial country, are much mistaken, and this mistake is evident from the word dispersion which immediately follows; for this can apply only to the Jews, not only because they were banished from their own country and scattered here and there, but also because they had been driven out of that land which had been promised to them by the Lord as a perpetual inheritance. He indeed afterwards calls all the faithful sojourners, because they are pilgrims on the earth; but the reason here is different. They were sojourners, because they had been dispersed, some in Pontus, some in Galatia, and some in Bithynia. It is nothing strange that he designed this Epistle more especially for the Jews, for he knew that he was appointed in a particular manner their apostle, as Paul teaches us in Galatians 2:8. In the countries he enumerates, he includes the whole of Asia Minor, from the Euxine to Cappadocia.


When we rightly divide the Acts and the Acts Age epistles, when we understand the calling and commission of the Lord's chosen apostles, we can start to see the differences between the earthly hope of Israel and the hope of the Body in the far above the heavens. We can see the difference between the physical Temple and physical Kingdom in the promised land and the spiritual temple and spiritual kingdom in heavenly places.

Pause and read that last sentence again. I named four things, but they represent only two hopes. This is how the Holy Spirit has preserved the commission of the Kingdom in Acts 1:8. Four places noted representing two places. 

We are going to again take up the use of "both" in our next study, but regardless, in light of the calling of Peter and the twelve, in light of the limitation of the Gospel of the Kingdom to Israel, and in light of the earthly hope of Israel in view, we can certainly see that the commission many take today for themselves should be limited to that group and to that calling under that hope in that age.

[Your city] is not "your Jerusalem." When the Lord speaks of Jerusalem, we need to read "Jerusalem." 

Sunday, June 18, 2023

The Podcast Has Gone to Video

 My podcast, "Brooklyn's Dad Talks About Everything" (available on Spotify and most podcast services) has been audio only since its inception. There are 122 audio podcasts available as audio-only. The most recent episodes (Season 2, Eps 48-49) have both am audio and a video component.

The podcast studies are more conversational than the blog. Most episodes are theology-based, but we occasionally take a dip into current events and culture.  I have posted links to certain podcasts if they are relevant to a particular blog entry.

Today, I invite you to enjoy the new video format.


finding scriptural gems in every age

Link to SPOTIFY Podcast Page (all 124 audio podcasts)

Thursday, June 15, 2023

Matthew Henry's Commentary on Jeremiah 31 (The New Covenant)

Let us note what John Calvin stated in his commentary concerning The Lord's desire in regard to those who would worship him.

God disdains the forced services of men, and chooses to be worshipped freely and willingly

I'm sure the Calvinist has some theological explanation for Calvin's apparently clear statement here. He is stating that God Himself will never "force" men against their wills to serve Him. For such an idea is abhorrent to God. I think it is reasonable to conclude that Calvin is arguing that our service to God must originate from our own free will. We must choose to serve him.

I note this statement from Calvin, because, I believe, it is a good example of how truths can find there way through error. Personally, I think Calvin's view of the will is far more flecible than those who call themselves Calvinist's in our day. 

Previously, we have looked at Calvin's somewhat nuanced position on those some call the "Early Church Fathers. We also looked at Calvin's view of the conscience and its ability to determine that which is right and that which is wrong. In these (and in other posts quoting Calvin), in my estimation, we see a bit of flexibility in Calvin's views that we don't always see in those who take his name. That said, Calvin's lack of clarity on certain subjects is the result of his inability to separate the plan of God for the earth and the plan of God for the heavenly places.

The failure to make these distinctions has led Calvin and other Calvinists, like Matthew Henry, to try and insert themselves (rather selectively) into both plans. Let's take a brief look at Matthew Henry;s commentary on Jeremiah 31:31.

Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah (1599 Geneva Bible)

That God will renew his covenant with them, so that all these blessings they shall have, not by providence only, but by promise, and thereby they shall be both sweetened and secured. But this covenant refers to gospel times, the latter days that shall come; for of gospel grace the apostle understands it (Hebrews 8:8; Hebrews 8:9, c.), where this whole passage is quoted as a summary of the covenant of grace made with believers in Jesus Christ. Observe, 1. Who the persons are with whom this covenant is made--with the house of Israel and Judah, with the gospel church, the Israel of God on which peace shall be (Galatians 6:16), with the spiritual seed of believing Abraham and praying Jacob. Judah and Israel had been two separate kingdoms, but were united after their return, in the joint favours God bestowed upon them so Jews and Gentiles were in the gospel church and covenant.

-Henry's Complete Commentary on the Bible (Jeremiah 31, excerpt)

Note the use of "they" and them" in his opening statement. We like to note the importance of pronouns.  Henry is pointing to "the house of Israel, and the house of Judah," yet he is so determined to see God as having only one plan for all men of all ages that he forces himself to make Israel and Judah into the "church" (as he defines it). He states "but this covenant refers to gospel times" without warrant. He refences Paul's quote of the passage in Jeremiah, but fails to note that Paul, in the Acts Age, still speaks of the New Covenant as yet future and having not come in yet. The apostle also continues to use "the house of Israel, and the house of Judah."

“Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah— not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they did not continue in My covenant, and I disregarded them, says the Lord. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.

-Hebrews 8:8-10 (NKJV)

In that He says, “A new covenant,” He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.

-Hebrews 8:13 (NKJV)

The word translated "becoming obsolete" is the Greek word "palaióō." The King James Version translates this word as "decayeth." The idea is that it is essentially dead, but it has not fully gone away. The New Covenant could not come in because Israel had not repented. 

Peter promised in Acts 3 to "Ye men of Israel" that if they repented, God would send back Christ to restore all things. And we know from Acts 1 that the Lord taught the Apostles to the Circumcision that the Kingdom would be "restored" in Israel one day (Acts 1:6). He taught those who will one day sit on twelve thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel (Matthew 19:28; Luke 22:30) for 40 days about that kingdom, but he gave no timeline. The timeline is dependent on Israel's repentance.

When Paul writes late in his ministry of the Acts Age that the New Covenant is still future and that the Old Covenant is decaying, he is telling us that Israel had not repented. In Acts 28, Paul spoke with the Jewish leaders of Rome concerning "the hope of Israel" (Acts 28:20). He was "bound" for that hope.  We note here here that in his Post-Acts epistle of Ephesians, Paul states that he is in chains, "for you Gentiles." 

While the commentaries of Calvin and Henry can offer valuable thoughts and insights, their failure to see God's divisions, hopes, and ages in scripture blinds them to their own words of contradiction. 

The Old Covenant was a rotting corpse waiting for Israel to come to faith so the New Covenant could come in in full (as revealed in Jeremiah 31, Isaiah 61, etc.). When God revealed his new economy through the apostle Paul at the end of the Acts age, all covenants with Israel and the plan for the earthly blessings were set aside temporarily.

We have today, the enlightenment unto the truth of this age and calling which we must accept (Ephesians 1:18, etc.). This age will end and God will once again call out for Israel to repent and the offer of Acts 3 will again be in sight. Believing Israel, a remnant, will believe, and God will install the promised, restored Kingdom in the land.