Salutation2 Timothy 1:1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus
by the will of God, for the sake of the promise of life that is in Christ Jesus,
2 To Timothy, my beloved child:
Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.
Thanksgiving and Encouragement3 I am grateful to God—whom I worship with a clear conscience, as my ancestors did—when I remember you constantly in my prayers night and day. 4 Recalling your tears, I long to see you so that I may be filled with joy. 5 I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that lived first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, lives in you. 6 For this reason I remind you to rekindle the gift of God that is within you through the laying on of my hands; 7 for God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but rather a spirit of power and of love and of self-discipline.
8 Do not be ashamed, then, of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner, but join with me in suffering for the Gospel, relying on the power of God, 9 who saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works but according to his own purpose and grace. This grace was given to us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, 10 but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the Gospel. 11 For this Gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher, 12 and for this reason I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, for I know the one in whom I have put my trust, and I am sure that he is able to guard until that day what I have entrusted to him. 13 Hold to the standard of sound teaching that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 14 Guard the good treasure entrusted to you, with the help of the Holy Spirit living in us.
15 You are aware that all who are in Asia have turned away from me, including Phygelus and Hermogenes. 16 May the Lord grant mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, because he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chain; 17 when he arrived in Rome, he eagerly searched for me and found me 18 —may the Lord grant that he will find mercy from the Lord on that day! And you know very well how much service he rendered in Ephesus.
A Good Soldier of Christ Jesus2 Timothy 2:1 You then, my child, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus; 2 and what you have heard from me through many witnesses entrust to faithful people who will be able to teach others as well. 3 Share in suffering like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. 4 No one serving in the army gets entangled in everyday affairs; the soldier’s aim is to please the enlisting officer. 5 And in the case of an athlete, no one is crowned without competing according to the rules. 6 It is the farmer who does the work who ought to have the first share of the crops. 7 Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in all things.
8 Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, a descendant of David—that is my Gospel, 9 for which I suffer hardship, even to the point of being chained like a criminal. But the word of God is not chained. 10 Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, so that they may also obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory. 11 The saying is sure:
If we have died with him, we will also live with him;
12 if we endure, we will also reign with him;
if we deny him, he will also deny us;
13 if we are faithless, he remains faithful—
for he cannot deny himself.
A Worker Approved by God
20 In a large house there are utensils not only of gold and silver but also of wood and clay, some for special use, some for ordinary. 21 All who cleanse themselves of the things I have mentioned will become special utensils, dedicated and useful to the owner of the house, ready for every good work. 22 Shun youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. 23 Have nothing to do with stupid and senseless controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. 24 And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kindly to everyone, an apt teacher, patient, 25 correcting opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant that they will repent and come to know the truth, 26 and that they may escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will.
Godlessness in the Last Days2 Timothy 3:1 You must understand this, that in the last days distressing times will come. 2 For people will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 inhuman, implacable, slanderers, profligates, brutes, haters of good, 4 treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 holding to the outward form of godliness but denying its power. Avoid them! 6 For among them are those who make their way into households and captivate silly women, overwhelmed by their sins and swayed by all kinds of desires, 7 who are always being instructed and can never arrive at a knowledge of the truth. 8 As Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these people, of corrupt mind and counterfeit faith, also oppose the truth. 9 But they will not make much progress, because, as in the case of those two men, their folly will become plain to everyone.
Paul’s Charge to Timothy10 Now you have observed my teaching, my conduct, my aim in life, my faith, my patience, my love, my steadfastness, 11 my persecutions, and my suffering the things that happened to me in Antioch, Iconium, and Lystra. What persecutions I endured! Yet the Lord rescued me from all of them. 12 Indeed, all who want to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. 13 But wicked people and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving others and being deceived. 14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it, 15 and how from childhood you have known the sacred writings that are able to instruct you for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 so that everyone who belongs to God may be proficient, equipped for every good work.
2 Timothy 4:1 In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I solemnly urge you: 2 proclaim the message; be persistent whether the time is favorable or unfavorable; convince, rebuke, and encourage, with the utmost patience in teaching. 3 For the time is coming when people will not put up with sound doctrine, but having itching ears, they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own desires, 4 and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander away to myths. 5 As for you, always be sober, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, carry out your ministry fully.
6 As for me, I am already being poured out as a libation, and the time of my departure has come. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 From now on there is reserved for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will give me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have longed for his appearing.
Personal Instructions9 Do your best to come to me soon, 10 for Demas, in love with this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica; Crescens has gone to Galatia, Titus to Dalmatia. 11 Only Luke is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, for he is useful in my ministry. 12 I have sent Tychicus to Ephesus. 13 When you come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, also the books, and above all the parchments. 14 Alexander the coppersmith did me great harm; the Lord will pay him back for his deeds. 15 You also must beware of him, for he strongly opposed our message.
16 At my first defense no one came to my support, but all deserted me. May it not be counted against them! 17 But the Lord stood by me and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. So I was rescued from the lion’s mouth. 18 The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and save me for his heavenly kingdom. To him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.
Final Greetings and Benediction19 Greet Prisca and Aquila, and the household of Onesiphorus. 20 Erastus remained in Corinth; Trophimus I left ill in Miletus. 21 Do your best to come before winter. Eubulus sends greetings to you, as do Pudens and Linus and Claudia and all the brothers and sisters.
22 The Lord be with your spirit. Grace be with you.
The Holy Bible: containing the Old and New Testaments with the Apocryphal / Deuterocanonical Books [New Revised Standard Version]
What I'm Reading
Is There Any Evidence for Jesus Outside the Bible?
By J. Warner Wallace 10/30/2017
The reliable Gospel eyewitness accounts aren’t the only ancient description of Jesus. There are also non-Christian descriptions of Jesus from the late 1st to 5th Century. What do the non-Biblical accounts say about Jesus and how are we to assess them? It’s been my experience that two people can examine the same event (or even the same historical character) and disagree about what they have seen. Many years ago President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, and the entire event was captured on video tape. There were hundreds of eyewitnesses. The tapes were watched over and over again. Yet, in the midst of such a robust eyewitness record, people still argue to this day about what they saw and what actually happened. Was it a lone shooter or an elaborate conspiracy? Something very similar occurred when the World Trade Center was attacked by terrorists. Most of us either saw the attack live on television or watched the video for months afterward. But the event is still interpreted in a variety of ways. Was this the act of international terrorists or an elaborate governmental conspiracy? Two well documented historical events with a rich set of evidences. In spite of this, both events have been interpreted in a variety of ways. It shouldn’t surprise us then to find the historical records of Jesus Christ might also experience the same type of scrutiny and diverse interpretation. Did Jesus truly live, minister, died and rise from the grave as the Gospels record or was it an elaborate conspiracy? One thing we know about the Kennedy assassination and the World Trade Center attack: regardless of interpretation, there were eyewitnesses to the events, and the events did truly occur. In a similar manner, the ancient evidence related to Jesus reveals there were eyewitnesses and He did exist in history. Is there any evidence for Jesus outside the Bible? Yes, and the ancient non-Christian interpretations (and critical commentaries) of the Gospel accounts serve to strengthen the core claims of the New Testament.
Hostile Non-Biblical Pagan Accounts | There are a number of ancient classical accounts of Jesus from pagan, non-Christian sources. These accounts are generally hostile to Christianity; some ancient authors denied the miraculous nature of Jesus and the events surrounding His life:
Thallus (52AD) | Thallus is perhaps the earliest secular writer to mention Jesus and he is so ancient his writings don’t even exist anymore. But Julius Africanus, writing around 221AD does quote Thallus who previously tried to explain away the darkness occurring at Jesus’ crucifixion:
“On the whole world there pressed a most fearful darkness; and the rocks were rent by an earthquake, and many places in Judea and other districts were thrown down. This darkness Thallus, in the third book of his History, calls, as appears to me without reason, an eclipse of the sun.” (Julius Africanus, Chronography, 18:1)
If only more of Thallus’ record could be found, we might find more confirmation of Jesus’ crucifixion. But there are some things we can conclude from this account: Jesus lived, He was crucified, and there was an earthquake and darkness at the point of His crucifixion.
J. Warner Wallace is a Cold-Case Detective, a Christian Case Maker, and the author of:
In the Face of Terror, Let’s Help Restore the Body of Christ
By Deacon Keith A. Fournier 10/30/2017
On October 6, 2017, the Libyan police found the bodies of the 21 Coptic Christian Martyrs. They were murdered by Islamist Jihadists on February 15, 2015. The last words they uttered were words of prayer and praise.
What’s happening to our Christian brethren in the Middle East and North Africa is true martyrdom, Christian martyrdom. The English word, martyr, is from a Greek word which means witness. The Christian Church has always proclaimed the shedding of one’s blood in fidelity to Jesus Christ is the final witness to the Christian Faith.
Few of us in the West know this kind of martyrdom. Still, we are called to bear witness, together, to a culture that has forgotten God and wanders aimlessly in a new land of Nod. (Gen. 4:16)
Unfortunately, our divisions weaken our capacity to do so.
The Blood of Martyrs | The jihadists who murder as an expression of their religion see Christians as enemies. Their media company produced a video titled, “A Message Signed with Blood to The Nation of the Cross.” In it, they boasted of the beheading of our Coptic Christian brethren. A spokesman proclaimed:
The Just Shall Live by Faith
By John Piper 10/31/82
The situation which Habakkuk faces is the imminent invasion of the southern kingdom of Judah by the Chaldeans (who are the same as the Babylonians). This invasion eventually happened at the end of the sixth century BC, and Jerusalem fell to Nebuchadnezzar in 586 BC. The Lord revealed to Habakkuk beforehand that Judah was going to be punished for her sin by the Chaldeans.
Unlike Joel and Zephaniah and Amos, Habakkuk does not even mention the possibility that destruction could be averted. He does not call for national repentance. It is too late. Instead, he predicts the destruction of Judah, and beyond that the doom of the Chaldeans themselves. And he promises that the only way to preserve your life through the judgment is by faith. So even though destruction is decreed for the nation, there is hope for individuals who hold fast their confidence in God. The full-blown doctrine of justification by faith, as Paul taught it in Romans and Galatians, is not yet here. But the seed is here. So what I would like to do today is survey the content of this prophetic book, then focus on its main point and how it unfolds in the New Testament as the great gospel truth of justification by faith.
Judah’s Wickedness and Coming Judgment | After introducing the book as a “burden” which he received from God, Habakkuk cries out in Habakkuk 1:2–4 that Judah is full of violence and perverted justice. For example, verse 4: “So the law is slacked and justice never goes forth. For the wicked surround the righteous, so justice goes forth perverted.” Amos had warned the northern kingdom that injustice would bring judgment, and in 722 BC Assyria swept the northern kingdom away. Now here is the southern kingdom of Judah, 130 years later, guilty of the same offenses. They had not learned anything.
So in Habakkuk 1:5–11 God foretells what he intends to do. Verse 6: “For lo, I am rousing the Chaldeans, that bitter and hasty nation, who march through the breadth of the earth, to seize habitations not their own.” God is in control of the nations. He swings them like a sword to chastise his people. The Chaldeans will come against Judah as God’s rod of correction. But verse 12 expresses the confidence Habakkuk has that God will not utterly destroy his people. “Art thou not from everlasting, O Lord my God, my Holy One? We shall not die. O Lord, thou hast ordained them as a judgment; and thou, O Rock, hast established them for chastisement.” God is rousing the Chaldeans against his people, but it is not for annihilation but for correction and chastisement.
The Chaldeans’ Wickedness and Coming Judgment | Then in 1:13–17 Habakkuk shows that he is not satisfied that the proud (Habakkuk 1:11) and violent (Habakkuk 1:14, 15) and idolatrous (Habakkuk 1:16) Chaldeans should themselves escape the judgment of God. They certainly are no more righteous than Judah (Habakkuk1:13), even if God is using them to do his righteous work of judgment. So he protests in verse 17: “Is he (i.e., the Chaldean nation), then, to keep on emptying his net, and mercilessly slaying nations forever?”
John Piper Books:
- Reading the Bible Supernaturally: Seeing and Savoring the Glory of God in Scripture
- Don't Waste Your Life
- Desiring God, Revised Edition: Meditations of a Christian Hedonist
- When I Don't Desire God (Redesign): How to Fight for Joy
- A Peculiar Glory: How the Christian Scriptures Reveal Their Complete Truthfulness
- Future Grace, Revised Edition: The Purifying Power of the Promises of God
- When the Darkness Will Not Lift: Doing What We Can While We Wait for God--and Joy
- This Momentary Marriage: A Parable of Permanence
- Five Points: Towards a Deeper Experience of God's Grace
- Seeing and Savoring Jesus Christ (Revised Edition)
- Living in the Light: Money, Sex and Power
- The Pleasures of God: Meditations on God's Delight in Being God
- Taste and See: Savoring the Supremacy of God in All of Life
- A Camaraderie of Confidence: The Fruit of Unfailing Faith in the Lives of Charles Spurgeon, George Müller, and Hudson Taylor
- A Camaraderie of Confidence: The Fruit of Unfailing Faith in the Lives of Charles Spurgeon, George Müller, and Hudson Taylor
- Let the Nations Be Glad!: The Supremacy of God in Missions
- God Is the Gospel: Meditations on God's Love as the Gift of Himself
- Rethinking Retirement: Finishing Life for the Glory of Christ
- The Legacy of Sovereign Joy: God's Triumphant Grace in the Lives of Augustine, Luther, and Calvin
- Doctrine Matters: Ten Theological Trademarks From a Lifetime of Preaching
- A Hunger for God (Redesign): Desiring God through Fasting and Prayer
- The Dangerous Duty of Delight: The Glorified God and the Satisfied Soul
- Battling Unbelief: Defeating Sin with Superior Pleasure
- Brothers, We Are Not Professionals: A Plea to Pastors for Radical Ministry, Updated and Expanded Edition
- The Supremacy of God in Preaching
- Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (Redesign): A Response to Evangelical Feminism
- Risk Is Right: Better to Lose Your Life Than to Waste It
- Filling Up the Afflictions of Christ: The Cost of Bringing the Gospel to the Nations in the Lives of William Tyndale, Adoniram Judson, and John Paton (The Swans Are Not Silent)
- A Godward Heart: Treasuring the God Who Loves You
- The Roots of Endurance: Invincible Perseverance in the Lives of John Newton, Charles Simeon, and William Wilberforce
- Don't Waste Your Cancer
- Bloodlines: Race, Cross, and the Christian
- The Hidden Smile of God: The Fruit of Affliction in the Lives of John Bunyan, William Cowper, and David Brainerd
- Seeing Beauty and Saying Beautifully: The Power of Poetic Effort in the Work of George Herbert, George Whitefield, and C. S. Lewis
- Suffering and the Sovereignty of God
- Desiring God: Meditations of a Christian Hedonist
- The Justification of God: An Exegetical and Theological Study of Romans 9:1-23
- Finally Alive
- A Godward Life: Seeing the Supremacy of God in All of Life
- Spectacular Sins (Redesign): And Their Global Purpose in the Glory of Christ
- Pierced by the Word: Thirty-One Meditations for Your Soul
- God's Passion for His Glory: Living the Vision of Jonathan Edwards (With the Complete Text of The End for Which God Created the World)
- Life as a Vapor: Thirty-One Meditations for Your Faith
- Think: The Life of the Mind and the Love of God
- 50 Crucial Questions: An Overview of Central Concerns about Manhood and Womanhood
- What Jesus Demands from the World (Paperback Edition)
- What's the Difference?: Manhood and Womanhood Defined According to the Bible
- Contending for Our All: Defending Truth and Treasuring Christ in the Lives of Athanasius, John Owen, and J. Gresham Machen
- Finish the Mission: Bringing the Gospel to the Unreached and Unengaged
- John Calvin and His Passion for the Majesty of God
- A Hunger for God: Desiring God through Fasting and Prayer
- Does God Desire All to Be Saved?
- Preparing for Marriage: Help for Christian Couples
- The Dawning of Indestructible Joy: Daily Readings for Advent
- The Future of Justification: A Response to N. T. Wright
- The Satisfied Soul: Showing the Supremacy of God in All of Life
- Thinking. Loving. Doing.: A Call to Glorify God with Heart and Mind
- A Hunger for God (Redesign): Desiring God through Fasting and Prayer
- Quest for Joy (Pack of 25) (Proclaiming the Gospel)
- Ruth: Under the Wings of God
- Not a Day Care: The Devastating Consequences of Abandoning Truth
What Is Truth?
By John MacArthur
One of the most profound and eternally significant questions in the Bible was posed by an unbeliever. Pilate — the man who handed Jesus over to be crucified — turned to Jesus in His final hour, and asked, "What is truth?" It was a rhetorical question, a cynical response to what Jesus had just revealed: "I have come into the world, to testify to the truth."
Two thousand years later, the whole world breathes Pilate's cynicism. Some say truth is a power play, a metanarrative constructed by the elite for the purpose of controlling the ignorant masses. To some, truth is subjective, the individual world of preference and opinion. Others believe truth is a collective judgment, the product of cultural consensus, and still others flatly deny the concept of truth altogether.
So, what is truth?
Here's a simple definition drawn from what the Bible teaches: Truth is that which is consistent with the mind, will, character, glory, and being of God. Even more to the point: Truth is the self-expression of God. That is the biblical meaning of truth. Because the definition of truth flows from God, truth is theological.
Truth is also ontological — which is a fancy way of saying it is the way things really are. Reality is what it is because God declared it so and made it so. Therefore God is the author, source, determiner, governor, arbiter, ultimate standard, and final judge of all truth.
The Old Testament refers to the Almighty as the "God of truth" (Deut. 32:4; Ps. 31:5; Is. 65:16). When Jesus said of Himself, "I am...the truth" (John 14:6, emphasis added), He was thereby making a profound claim about His own deity. He was also making it clear that all truth must ultimately be defined in terms of God and His eternal glory. After all, Jesus is "the brightness of [God's] glory and the express image of His person" (Heb. 1:3). He is truth incarnate — the perfect expression of God and therefore the absolute embodiment of all that is true.
Jesus also said that the written Word of God is truth. It does not merely contain nuggets of truth; it is pure, unchangeable, and inviolable truth that (according to Jesus) "cannot be broken" (John 10:35). Praying to His heavenly Father on behalf of His disciples, He said this: "Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth" (John 17:17). Moreover, the Word of God is eternal truth "which lives and abides forever" (1 Pet. 1:23).
From 1964 to 1966 Dr. MacArthur served as an associate pastor at Calvary Bible Church in Burbank , California and from 1966 to 1969 as a faculty representative for Talbot Theological Seminary, where he graduated with honors.
In 1969, John came to Grace Community Church . The emphasis of his pulpit ministry is the careful study and verse-by-verse exposition of the Bible, with special attention devoted to the historical and grammatical background behind each passage.Under John's leadership, Grace Community Church's two morning worship services fill the 3,000-seat auditorium to capacity. Several thousand members also participate each week in dozens of fellowship groups and training programs, led by members of the pastoral staff and lay leaders. These groups are dedicated to equipping members for ministry on local, national, and international levels.
In 1985, John became president of The Master's College (formerly Los Angeles Baptist College ), an accredited, four-year, liberal arts Christian college in Santa Clarita , California . In 1986, John founded The Master's Seminary, a graduate school dedicated to training men for full-time pastoral roles and missionary work. In addition to his administrative responsibilities, John regularly teaches Expository Preaching at the seminary and frequently speaks in chapel.
John is also president and featured teacher with Grace to You. Founded in 1969, Grace to You is the nonprofit organization responsible for developing, producing, and distributing John's books, audiocassettes, free sermons (MP3s) and the Grace to You, Portraits of Grace, and Grace to You Weekend radio programs. Grace to You airs thousands of times daily throughout the English speaking world reaching all major population centers in the United States, as well as Australia, Canada, Europe, India, New Zealand, the Philippines, and South Africa. It also airs more than 450 times daily in Spanish reaching 23 countries, including Mexico, Spain, Argentina, Chile, Peru, Venezuela, and Colombia.
Since completing his first best-selling book The Gospel According to Jesus, in 1988, John has written over 100 books and, through Grace to You and retail bookstores, distributed millions of copies worldwide.Many of John's books are available on CD-ROM and many titles have been translated into Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Marathi, Polish, Romanian, Russian, Spanish, and several other major languages.
John and his wife, Patricia, live in Southern California and have four grown children: Matt, Marcy, Mark, and Melinda.They also enjoy the enthusiastic company of their eleven grandchildren--Johnny, Ty, Jessy, KD, Olivia, Susannah, Gracie, Kylee, Andrew, Brooke and Elizabeth.
"MacArthur calls himself a "leaky dispensationalist"--meaning he rejects any and all "dispensational" soteriological innovations, holding to classic Reformed (i.e., Protestant, not "covenantal") soteriology. MacArthur's "dispensationalism" is eschatological and ecclesiological only. And given the fact that soteriology is central to our whole understanding of Christianity, whereas eschatology and ecclesiology deal primarily with secondary doctrines, it would be my assessment that MacArthur has far less in common with Ryrie than he would have with anyone who believes 1) that God's grace is efficacious for regeneration and sanctification as well as for justification, and 2) that God graciously guarantees the perseverance of all true believers." - Phil Johnson John MacArthur Books:
- 1 Biblical Doctrine: A Systematic Summary of Bible Truth
- 2 12 Ordinary Men: How the Master Shaped His Disciples for Greatness
- 3 12 Extraordinary Women: How God Shaped Women of the Bible
- 4 The MacArthur Bible Commentary
- 5 Fundamentals of the Faith: 13 Lessons to Grow in the Grace and Knowledge of Jesus Christ
- 6 NKJV, The MacArthur Study Bible: Revised & Updated Edition
- 7 Anxious for Nothing: God's Cure for the Cares of Your Soul
- 8 Romans: Grace, Truth, and Redemption
- 9 The Gospel According to Jesus: What Is Authentic Faith?
- 10 Strange Fire: The Danger of Offending the Holy Spirit
- 11 Counseling: How to Counsel Biblically
- 12 Ephesians: Our Immeasurable Blessings in Christ
- 13 How to Study the Bible
- 14 12 Ordinary Men Workbook
- 15 Revelation: The Christian's Ultimate Victory
- 16 The Gospel According to Paul: Embracing the Good News
- 17 12 Extraordinary Women Workbook
- 18 Saved without a Doubt: Being Sure of Your Salvation
- 19 Parables: The Mysteries of God's Kingdom Revealed
- 20 Because the Time is Near: Book of Revelation
- 21 Safe in the Arms of God: Truth from Heaven About the Death of a Child
- 22 Philippians: Christ, the Source of Joy and Strength
- 23 Fundamentals of the Faith Teacher's Guide: 13 Lessons to Grow in Grace & Knowledge
- 24 Acts: Spread of the Gospel
- 25 John
- 26 2nd Coming: Signs of Christ's Return & End of the Age
- 27 Revelation (MacArthur Bible Studies)
- 28 1 Perfect Life: Complete Story of the Lord Jesus
- 29 Ashamed of the Gospel (3rd Edition): When the Church Becomes Like the World
- 30 Hebrews: Christ: Perfect Sacrifice, Perfect Priest
- 31 Genesis 1 to 11: Creation, Sin, and the Nature of God
- 32 Slave: The Hidden Truth About Your Identity in Christ
- 33 Drawing Near: Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith
- 34 Alone with God: Rediscovering the Power and Passion of Prayer
- 35 Charismatic Chaos
- 36 Found: God's Will
- 37 NKJV, MacArthur Daily Bible: Read Through Bible in One Year
- 38 Colossians and Philemon: Completion and Reconciliation in Christ
- 39 The Glory of Heaven (Second Edition): The Truth about Heaven, Angels, and Eternal Life
- 40 Think Biblically! (Trade Paper): Recovering a Christian Worldview
- 41 Right Thinking in a World Gone Wrong: A Biblical Response to Today's Most Controversial Issues
- 42 Worship: The Ultimate Priority
- 43 Matthew: The Coming of the King (MacArthur Bible Studies)
- 44 The Book on Leadership
- 45 Pastoral Ministry: How to Shepherd Biblically (MacArthur Pastor's Library)
- 46 1 and 2 Peter: Courage in Times of Trouble (MacArthur Bible Studies)
- 47 Brave Dad: Raising Your Kids to Love and Follow God
- 48 KJV, Journal the Word Bible, Large Print
- 49 Ruth & Esther: Women of Faith, Bravery, and Hope (MacArthur Bible Studies)
- 50 Luke: The Savior of the World (MacArthur Bible Studies)
- 51 The Vanishing Conscience
- 52 The Battle for the Beginning
- 53 Hard to Believe: The High Cost and Infinite Value of Following Jesus
- 54 1 Kings 1 to 11, Proverbs, and Ecclesiastes: The Rise and Fall of Solomon (MacArthur Bible Studies)
- 55 1, 2, 3 John and Jude (MacArthur Bible Studies)
- 56 Daniel: God's Control Over Rulers and Nations (MacArthur Bible Studies)
- 57 1 and 2 Thessalonians and Titus: Living Faithfully in View of Christ's Coming (MacArthur Bible Studies)
- 58 The Discipline of Spiritual Discernment
- 59 Galatians: The Wondrous Grace of God (MacArthur Bible Studies)
- 60 Preaching: How to Preach Biblically (MacArthur Pastor's Library)
- 61 Called to Lead: 26 Leadership Lessons from the Life of the Apostle Paul
- 62 MacArthur's Quick Reference Guide to the Bible
- 63 The Truth About Forgiveness
- 64 The Gospel According to the Apostles
- 65 Fool's Gold?: Discerning Truth in an Age of Error
- 66 2 Samuel: David's Heart Revealed (MacArthur Bible Studies)
- 67 The Master's Plan for the Church
- 68 1, 2, 3 John and Jude: Established in Truth ... Marked by Love (MacArthur Bible Studies)
- 69 Joshua, Judges, and Ruth: Finally in the Land (MacArthur Bible Studies)
- 70 None Other: Discovering the God of the Bible
- 71 Strength for Today: Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith
- 72 Daniel and Esther: Israel in Exile (MacArthur Bible Studies)
- 73 The Only Way To Happiness: The Beatitudes (Foundations of the Faith)
- 74 Genesis 12 to 33: The Father of Israel (MacArthur Bible Studies)
- 75 What The Bible Says About Parenting Biblical Principle For Raising Godly Children
- 76 Genesis 34 to 50: Jacob and Egypt (MacArthur Bible Studies)
- 77 1 & 2 Timothy (MacArthur Bible Studies)
- 78 The Inerrant Word: Biblical, Historical, Theological, and Pastoral Perspectives
- 79 Reckless Faith: When the Church Loses Its Will to Discern
- 80 The Silent Shepherd: The Care, Comfort, and Correction of the Holy Spirit (John Macarthur Study)
- 81 1 Samuel: The Lives of Samuel and Saul (MacArthur Bible Studies)
- 82 The Truth War: Fighting for Certainty in an Age of Deception
- 83 Why Believe the Bible?
- 84 Divine Design: God's Complementary Roles for Men and Women
- 85 Exodus and Numbers: The Exodus from Egypt (MacArthur Bible Studies)
- 86 Evangelism: How to Share the Gospel Faithfully (MacArthur Pastor's Library)
- 87 1 Corinthians (MacArthur Bible Studies)
- 88 The Power of Suffering: Strengthening Your Faith in the Refiner's Fire
- 89 Standing Strong: How to Resist the Enemy of Your Soul (John MacArthur Study)
- 90 The Keys to Spiritual Growth: Unlocking the Riches of God
- 91 The Truth About Lordship of Christ
- 92 A Faith to Grow On
- 93 12 Unlikely Heroes Study Guide: How God Commissioned Unexpected People
- 94 The God Who Loves: He Will Do Whatever It Takes To Draw Us To Him
- 95 The Murder of Jesus
- 96 The Jesus You Can't Ignore: What You Must Learn from the Bold Confrontations of Christ
The net did not break
By Lydia McGrew
The last coincidence in Chapter I of this book concerns an appearance of Jesus in John 21 to his disciples after his resurrection. Obviously, that coincidence concerns a miracle, since the conversation in which it is embedded could not have taken place at any time before Jesus’ resurrection. But another miracle is recorded in the same passage: The disciples haul in a great draught of fish after casting their net on the other side of the boat at Jesus’ command (John 21.4– 12).
This miracle bears a notable resemblance to a story told in Luke 5.4– 11.24 There, too, the disciples have fished all night and have caught nothing. There, too, Jesus gives them a command to do something they would not otherwise have done. In Luke the command is to launch out into the deep during the daytime after an unsuccessful night and try again. In John the command is to cast the net onto the other side of the boat. In both stories Peter is central. In Luke it is Peter’s boat that goes out again at Jesus’ command after Peter has expressed skepticism and has made it clear that he is obeying only to please Jesus (Luke 5.5). In John, Peter invites the other disciples to come fishing with him (John 21.3), it is Peter who throws himself into the sea to go as quickly as possible to Jesus after another disciple recognizes Jesus (v 7), and it is Peter who draws the net up onto the shore (v 11). Both stories are followed by a memorable exchange between Jesus and Peter. In Luke, Peter falls at Jesus’ feet and begs Jesus to depart from him, a sinful man (Luke 5.8). Jesus reassures him that from now on he will be a “fisher of men” (Luke 5.10). In John the catch of fish is followed by Jesus’ probing Peter, asking if he loves him and enjoining him to feed his sheep. Both fish miracles are connected with following Jesus. Luke says that after the miracle of the fish the disciples left all and followed him (Luke 5.11). In John, Jesus pointedly commands Peter, “Follow me” (John 21.19– 22).
Do all of these parallels mean that John merely made up the miracle of the fish after Jesus’ resurrection, copying it from Luke? Not at all. begin with, my list of parallels in the previous paragraph was deliberately cherry-picked to emphasize similarities. One could just as easily emphasize differences. In Luke, the boat is at the shore when Jesus starts to give orders. In John, the disciples are out on the water when Jesus shows up. In Luke, Peter expresses reluctance. In John, there is no record of any argument when Jesus says to cast the net on the other side. In Luke, the fish are dragged into the boats (Luke 5.7). In John, the fish are towed to land and pulled up onto the shore (John 21.8, 11). In Luke, there is no meal of fish after the catch; in John, there is. And so forth. One can often produce an appearance of astonishing similarity merely by selecting details to give that impression.
John’s account, moreover, is full of unique, vivid detail. John lists the seven disciples who went on the fishing expedition, giving names to all but two of them (v 2). John says that Peter had to put on a garment before flinging himself into the water because he was “stripped for work” (v 7). The boat came in dragging the fish in the net because they were only about a hundred yards from shore (v 8). When they came to land they saw a fire of coals with bread and fish (v 9). Peter dragged the fish ashore in response to a command by Jesus to bring some of the fish they had caught (v 10). There were 153 fish (v 11).
Here I want to focus on one detail emphasized in John 21.11: “And although there were so many [fish], the net was not torn.” This point is striking because John does not include the earlier miracle of the fish, recorded in Luke, anywhere in his own Gospel. One might read John’s account by itself and think that he is merely mentioning the fact that the net did not break despite the size of the haul. Taken by itself, this might be only another circumstantial detail such as those I listed in the previous paragraph. But, if one considers the hypothesis that these miracles actually occurred, another reason for John’s mentioning this point comes to mind: John remembered that there had been an earlier, similar, miracle, and he remembered that that time the net did break:
(Lk 5:5–7) 5 And Simon answered, “Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets.” 6 And when they had done this, they enclosed a large number of fish, and their nets were breaking. 7 They signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink. ESV
In the miracle reported in John 21, there was only one boat, but there were no such mishaps. “Although there were so many [fish], the net was not torn.” Nor did any boat begin to sink.
These details do not fit an hypothesis that John is exaggerating the earlier miracle and thus producing a made-up miracle in his own Gospel. If anything, the fact that the catch of fish in Luke not only broke the nets but also began to sink two boats might mean that the number of fish in Luke is greater than the number in John 21. But given that John 21 also says that they could not haul the catch into the boat because of the quantity of fish (v 6), it is difficult to tell which number is supposed to be greater. This is exactly what we would expect if the events actually took place. One account isn’t copied, magnified, or manipulated from the other. One isn’t meant to look like a greater or lesser miracle than the other. Rather, they are just different— two accounts of two different events that vary in random details as two different, but in some respects similar, events might vary. And John, remembering that earlier catch and mentally noting the contrast, mentions, “The net was not torn.”
Hidden in Plain View: Undesigned Coincidences in the Gospels and Acts
One Day at a Time Trusting God with My Incurable Disease
By Tabor Laughlin 10/31/2017
In middle school, my mother started having some strange symptoms following a bad car accident. She easily felt dizzy, to the point that she couldn’t drive anymore. She began losing control over her muscles. She would kick her legs around uncontrollably, and she experienced constant twitching. We knew that something was wrong, but doctors could not figure out what it was.
During my freshman year in high school, a neurologist finally suggested that she fly to California to get tested for a specific neurological disease called Huntington’s Disease (HD). My mom and dad went together. The results came in. She did have this incurable neurological disease.
God Saved Me Through Her Disease | When I heard my mom’s diagnosis, I became incredibly depressed and spent many hours each day of my freshman year of high school looking at pornography. Depressed and hopeless, I realized that I could no longer try to fight through life alone. I felt the emptiness of my life.
But at my lowest point, the Lord began to slowly awaken me. I started going with friends to a Bible study on Wednesday nights. In a way I never would have expected, the Lord was using my mom’s disease to draw me to himself.
I soon became close to the youth pastor who led the Bible study, as well as with the other high school guys who went. For the first time in my life, I started to read the Bible on my own and asked lots of questions about it. I continued for another five years, still not truly committing to the Lord. It wasn’t until I was a sophomore in college that I fully put my trust in the Lord and became a new creation.
Supreme Court Could Hear Case on Religion and Abortion in California
By Grace Carr 10/30/2017
A challenge to a California law which mandates pregnancy crisis centers provide its clients with abortion and contraceptive information may soon head to the Supreme Court.
The Reproductive Fact Act, AB 775, requires faith-based pregnancy centers — which exist to offer women alternate options to abortion and educate them on the multiple paths they can take regarding pregnancy — to tell their patients that the state will pay for both abortions and contraception as well as what kind of professional medical staff work at the clinic, according to the Huffington Post.
The National Institute For Family And Life Advocates challenged and appealed the law, arguing that forcing religious pregnancy centers to provide such information which goes against their interests is a violation of the constitutional right to free speech.
The issue is whether “the state of California can compel nonprofit, faith-based, pro-life licensed medical facilities, against their religious convictions and identity, to advertise a government program that provides free or low-cost abortions,” wrote American Center for Law and Justice attorney, Jay Alan Sekulow according to the LA Times.
The challenge comes after the California Legislature ruled in 2015 that the state’s pregnancy centers sometimes provide “intentionally deceptive advertising and counseling practices that often confuse, misinform and even intimidate women from making fully informed decisions,” the Times reported. The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals also rejected the claim that the mandatory abortion information violated the First Amendment, saying that providing information about abortion was simply informing patients of the health services available to them.
The Top 3 Regrets of 95-Year-Olds and How They Help Us Get a Heart of Wisdom
By Kevin Halloran 10/30/2017
“So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.” Psalm 90:12
One way to get a heart of wisdom is to learn from people more experienced from you and take to heart lessons they learned. There was a sociological study done several years ago that aimed at doing just that. This asked 50 people over the age of 95 this important question:
“If you could live your life again, what would you do differently?”
The question was left open-ended and a variety of answers poured in. After analyzing the results, sociologists found something very surprising.
Three answers constantly reemerged and dominated the study’s results:
1. If I could do it all over again, I would reflect more.
Devotionals, notes, poetry and more
Once and for all
(Nov 1) Bob Gass
‘He offered himself once and for all.’
(Heb 9:26) 26 for then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. ESV
There were many pieces of furniture in the tabernacle, and each served a different purpose. But there wasn’t a single seat. Do you know why? Because the priest’s work was never finished! The people sinned constantly, so lambs had to be constantly sacrificed to atone for their sins. However, when Jesus died, rose again and went back to heaven, the first thing He did was sit down (see Hebrews 10:12). That’s because the work of salvation was finished! The Bible says: ‘Christ did not have to offer himself many times. He wasn’t like a high priest who goes into the most holy place each year to offer the blood of an animal …instead…he offered himself once and for all, so that he could be a sacrifice that does away with sin’ (Hebrews 9:25-26 CEV). And because of Christ’s ‘once and for all’ sacrifice on the cross, you have direct access to God at any time. The moment you say, ‘Father, I come in the name of Jesus,’ you’re made welcome and all your needs are met. There’s a story from American Civil War days about a soldier sitting on a bench outside the White House looking depressed. A little boy passing by stopped and asked what was wrong. The soldier told him he needed to see President Lincoln but the guards wouldn’t let him in. Hearing this, the boy took him by the hand and led him directly into the president’s office. ‘Father,’ he said, ‘this man really needs to speak with you.’ That boy was the president’s son; he had direct and continuous access to his father. And because you belong to Jesus, you do too!
UCB The Word For Today
by Bill Federer
On this day, November 1, 1800, John Adams became the first U.S. President to move into the White House. The following day he wrote a letter to his wife, Abigail, in which he composed a beautiful prayer. A portion of that prayer was inscribed on the mantlepiece in the State Dining Room by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. It reads: “I pray Heaven to bestow the best of blessings on this house and all that shall hereafter inhabit it.” President Adams ended his prayer with the words: “May none but honest and wise men ever rule under this roof.”
by C.S. Lewis
Reflections on the Intimate Dialogue
Between Man and God
For whom are we to cater in revising the language? A country parson I know asked his sexton what he understood by indifferently in the phrase "truly and indifferently administer justice." The man replied, "It means making no difference between one chap and another." "And what would it mean if it said impartially?" asked the parson. "Don’t know. Never heard of it," said the sexton. Here, you see, we have a change intended to make things easier. But it does so neither for the educated, who understand indifferently already, nor for the wholly uneducated, who don't understand impartially. It helps only some middle area of the congregation which may not even be a majority. Let us hope the revisers will prepare for their work by a prolonged empirical study of popular speech as it actually is, not as we (a priori) assume it to be. How many scholars know (what I discovered by accident) that when uneducated people say impersonal they sometimes mean incorporeal?
What of expressions which are archaic but not unintelligible? ("Be ye lift up.') I find that people react to archaism most diversely. It antagonizes some; makes what is said unreal. To others, not necessarily more learned, it is highly numinous and a real aid to devotion. We can't please both.
I know there must be change. But is this the right moment? Two signs of the right moment occur to me. One would be a unity among us which enabled the Church-not some momentarily triumphant party-to speak through the new work with a united voice. The other would be the manifest presence, somewhere in the Church, of the specifically literary talent needed for composing a good prayer. Prose needs to be not only very good but very good in a very special way, if it is to stand up to reiterated reading aloud. Cranmer may have his defects as a theologian; as a stylist, he can play all the moderns, and many of his predecessors, off the field. I don't see either sign at the moment.
Yet we all want to be tinkering. Even I would gladly see "Let your light so shine before men" removed from the offertory. It sounds, in that context, so like an exhortation to do our alms that they may be seen by men.
I'd meant to follow up what you say about Rose Macaulay's letters, but that must wait till next week.
Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer
Compiled by Richard S. Adams
The test of character posed by the gentleness of God's approach to us is especially dangerous for those formed by the ideas that dominate our modern world. We live in a culture that has, for centuries now, cultivated the idea that the skeptical person is always smarter than one who believes. You can be almost as stupid as a cabbage, as long as you doubt. The fashion of the age has identified mental sharpness with a pose, not with genuine intellectual method and character. Only a very hardy individualist or social rebel -- or one desperate for another life -- therefore stands any chance of discovering the substantiality of the spiritual life today. Today it is the skeptics who are the social conformists, though because of powerful intellectual propaganda they continue to enjoy thinking of themselves as wildly individualistic and unbearably bright.
--- Dallas Willard Hearing God: Developing a Conversational Relationship with God
For age is opportunity no less
Than youth itself, though in another dress,
And as the Evening twilight fades away
The sky is filled with stars, invisible by day.
--- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow Henry Wadsworth Longfellow: Poems & Other Writings: (Library of America 118)
Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.
--- John F. Kennedy Therapist as Life Coach: An Introduction for Counselors and Other Helping Professionals (Revised and Expanded) (Norton Professional Books (Hardcover))
Shallow are the souls that have forgotten how to shudder.
--- Leon Kass
... from here, there and everywhere
Thanks to Meir Yona
Concerning Machaerus, And How Lucilius Bassus Took That Citadel, And Other Places.
1. Now Lucilius Bassus was sent as legate into Judea, and there he received the army from Cerealis Vitellianus, and took that citadel which was in Herodium, together with the garrison that was in it; after which he got together all the soldiery that was there, [which was a large body, but dispersed into several parties,] with the tenth legion, and resolved to make war upon Machaerus; for it was highly necessary that this citadel should be demolished, lest it might be a means of drawing away many into a rebellion, by reason of its strength; for the nature of the place was very capable of affording the surest hopes of safety to those that possessed it, as well as delay and fear to those that should attack it; for what was walled in was itself a very rocky hill, elevated to a very great height; which circumstance alone made it very hard to be subdued. It was also so contrived by nature, that it could not be easily ascended; for it is, as it were, ditched about with such valleys on all sides, and to such a depth, that the eye cannot reach their bottoms, and such as are not easily to be passed over, and even such as it is impossible to fill up with earth. For that valley which cuts it on the west extends to threescore furlongs, and did not end till it came to the lake Asphaltites; on the same side it was also that Machaerus had the tallest top of its hill elevated above the rest. But then for the valleys that lay on the north and south sides, although they be not so large as that already described, yet it is in like manner an impracticable thing to think of getting over them; and for the valley that lies on the east side, its depth is found to be no less than a hundred cubits. It extends as far as a mountain that lies over against Machaerus, with which it is bounded.
2. Now when Alexander [Janneus], the king of the Jews, observed the nature of this place, he was the first who built a citadel here, which afterwards was demolished by Gabinius, when he made war against Aristobulus. But when Herod came to be king, he thought the place to be worthy of the utmost regard, and of being built upon in the firmest manner, and this especially because it lay so near to Arabia; for it is seated in a convenient place on that account, and hath a prospect toward that country; he therefore surrounded a large space of ground with walls and towers, and built a city there, out of which city there was a way that led up to the very citadel itself on the top of the mountain; nay, more than this, he built a wall round that top of the hill, and erected towers at the corners, of a hundred and sixty cubits high; in the middle of which place he built a palace, after a magnificent manner, wherein were large and beautiful edifices. He also made a great many reservoirs for the reception of water, that there might be plenty of it ready for all uses, and those in the properest places that were afforded him there. Thus did he, as it were, contend with the nature of the place, that he might exceed its natural strength and security [which yet itself rendered it hard to be taken] by those fortifications which were made by the hands of men. Moreover, he put a large quantity of darts and other machines of war into it, and contrived to get every thing thither that might any way contribute to its inhabitants' security, under the longest siege possible.
3. Now within this place there grew a sort of rue 10 that deserves our wonder on account of its largeness, for it was no way inferior to any fig tree whatsoever, either in height or in thickness; and the report is, that it had lasted ever since the times of Herod, and would probably have lasted much longer, had it not been cut down by those Jews who took possession of the place afterward. But still in that valley which encompasses the city on the north side there is a certain place called Baaras, which produces a root of the same name with itself 11 its color is like to that of flame, and towards the Evenings it sends out a certain ray like lightning. It is not easily taken by such as would do it, but recedes from their hands, nor will yield itself to be taken quietly, until either the urine of a woman, or her menstrual blood, be poured upon it; nay, even then it is certain death to those that touch it, unless any one take and hang the root itself down from his hand, and so carry it away. It may also be taken another way, without danger, which is this: they dig a trench quite round about it, till the hidden part of the root be very small, they then tie a dog to it, and when the dog tries hard to follow him that tied him, this root is easily plucked up, but the dog dies immediately, as if it were instead of the man that would take the plant away; nor after this need any one be afraid of taking it into their hands. Yet, after all this pains in getting, it is only valuable on account of one virtue it hath, that if it be only brought to sick persons, it quickly drives away those called demons, which are no other than the spirits of the wicked, that enter into men that are alive and kill them, unless they can obtain some help against them. Here are also fountains of hot water, that flow out of this place, which have a very different taste one from the other; for some of them are bitter, and others of them are plainly sweet. Here are also many eruptions of cold waters, and this not only in the places that lie lower, and have their fountains near one another, but, what is still more wonderful, here is to be seen a certain cave hard by, whose cavity is not deep, but it is covered over by a rock that is prominent; above this rock there stand up two [hills or] breasts, as it were, but a little distant one from another, the one of which sends out a fountain that is very cold, and the other sends out one that is very hot; which waters, when they are mingled together, compose a most pleasant bath; they are medicinal indeed for other maladies, but especially good for strengthening the nerves. This place has in it also mines of sulfur and alum.
The War of the Jews: The History of the Destruction of Jerusalem (complete edition, 7 books)
by D.H. Stern
but the righteous, like lions, feel sure of themselves.
2 A land which transgresses [is punished by] having many rulers;
but with a man of understanding and knowledge, stability is prolonged.
Complete Jewish Bible : An English Version of the Tanakh (Old Testament) and B'Rit Hadashah (New Testament)
A Daily Devotional by Oswald Chambers
Ye are not your own
Know ye not that … ye are not your own? --- 1 Cor. 6:19.
There is no such thing as a private life—‘a world within the world’—for a man or woman who is brought into fellowship with Jesus Christ’s sufferings. God breaks up the private life of His saints, and makes it a thoroughfare for the world on the one hand and for Himself on the other. No human being can stand that unless he is identified with Jesus Christ. We are not sanctified for ourselves, we are called into the fellowship of the Gospel, and things happen which have nothing to do with us, God is getting us into fellowship with Himself. Let Him have his way, if you do not, instead of being of the slightest use to God in His Redemptive work in the world, you will be a hindrance and a clog.
The first thing God does with us is to get us based on rugged Reality until we do not care what becomes of us individually as long as He gets His way for the purpose of His Redemption. Why shouldn’t we go through heartbreaks? Through these doorways God is opening up ways of fellowship with His Son. Most of us fall and collapse at the first grip of pain; we sit down on the threshold of God’s purpose and die away of self-pity, and all so-called Christian sympathy will aid us to our death-bed. But God will not. He comes with the grip of the pierced hand of His Son, and says—‘Enter into fellowship with Me; arise and shine.’ If through a broken heart God can bring His purposes to pass in the world, then thank Him for breaking your heart.
My Utmost for His Highest: Quality Paperback Edition
the Poetry of R.S. Thomas
Oh, I know it and don't
care. I know there is nothing in me
but cells and chromosomes
waiting to beget chromosomes
and cells. You could take me to pieces
and there would be no angel hard
by, wringing its hands over
the demolition of its temple.
I accept I'm predictable,
that of the thousands of choices
open to me the computer can calculate
the one I'll make. There is a woman
I know, who is the catalyst
of my conversions, who is
a mineral to dazzle. She will
grow old and her lovers will not
pardon her for it. I have made
her songs in the laboratory
of my understanding, explosives timed
to go off in the blandness of time's face.
Maimonides: Torah and Philosophic Quest
The recognition of this limitation, which can be established by rational arguments, makes it possible for one to fully embrace both the task of being a philosopher and of being a loyal Jew:
The utmost power of one who adheres to a law and who has acquired knowledge of true reality consists, in my opinion, in his refuting the proofs of the philosophers bearing on the eternity of the world. How sublime a thing it is when the ability is there to do it! And everyone who engages in speculation, who is perceptive, and who has acquired true knowledge of reality and does not deceive himself, knows that with regard to this question—namely the eternity of the world or its temporal creation—no cogent demonstration can be reached and that it is a point before which the intellect stops.
The acceptance of the doctrine of creation, on the basis of tradition, is made possible by a knowledge of epistemology. He who knows both the scope and the limits of demonstrative reason realizes that claims based upon authority have a legitimate place in the philosophical mind. Even Aristotle, according to Maimonides, appealed to the authority of consensus to establish belief in the eternity of the universe.
The condition for embracing philosophy and Judaism is one’s ability to discern the epistemological status of different types of statements. Regarding the talmudic statement that ascribes the following virtue to the wise man, “He questions according to the subject and replies according to the rule” (T.B. Avot 5:7), Maimonides comments:
He would question what is necessary to question relative to that matter; he would neither request a mathematical demonstration in the science of physics, nor an argument from physics in the mathematical sciences and matters of the like. If he were the one who were questioned, he would also answer in accordance with the subject of the question. [That is], if he would be questioned in subjects which by their nature require a proof, he will answer in accordance with the subject of the questioner with a proof. If he could be questioned in that which is beneath this [i.e., which does not require a proof], he will answer according to that which is his opinion and [according to] its [i.e., the subject’s] nature. Moreover, he would not be asked for the material cause to which he will offer the formal cause, or be asked for the formal cause to which he will offer the material cause. Rather, he will reply from the standpoint of the object [of the question], as it was said, “He questions according to the subject and replies according to the rule.” This will come to pass only after extraordinary wisdom.
The “extraordinary wisdom” which is required to discern appropriate criteria of knowledge is especially important for the Jew who embraces philosophy. The key to intellectually harmonizing philosophy with Judaism is knowledge of epistemology, insofar as this prevents one from confusing claims based upon authority with claims based upon reason. To confuse the two is to experience conflict and perplexity where they do not exist. The consequences of a limited knowledge of logic can lead not only to perplexity, but ultimately to apostasy. It is from this perspective that Maimonides interprets the talmudic parable dealing with the apostasy of Elisha ben Abuya:
Four men entered pardes and they were: Ben Azzai, Ben Zoma, Elisha Aḥer and Rabbi Akiva … Ben Azzai gazed and died … Ben Zoma gazed and went mad … Elisha Aher cut the roots … Rabbi Akiva entered in peace and departed in peace.
Maimonides identified pardes with the philosophical disciplines of physics and metaphysics. His interpretation of the reason that Rabbi Akiva was able to sustain his commitment to Judaism within pardes, whereas Elisha was not, is:
For if you stay your progress because of a dubious point; if you do not deceive yourself into believing that there is a demonstration with regard to matters that have not been demonstrated; if you do not hasten to reject and categorically to pronounce false any assertions whose contradictories have not been demonstrated; if, finally, you do not aspire to apprehend that which you are unable to apprehend—you will have achieved human perfection and attained the rank of Rabbi Akiva, peace be on him, who “entered in peace and went out in peace” when engaged in the theoretical study of these metaphysical matters. If, on the other hand, you aspire to apprehend things that are beyond your apprehension; or if you hasten to pronounce false, assertions the contradictories of which have not been demonstrated or that are possible, though very remotely so—you will have joined Elisha Aḥer.
Elisha Aḥer, the celebrated apostate of the Talmud, was led to apostasy due to his deficient knowledge of logic. Maimonides knew that when engaged in philosophical speculation, inability to analyze the logical status of different types of arguments would destroy one’s loyalty to tradition. If one forgets the distinction between speculative arguments, which are logically subject to appeals to authority, and demonstrative arguments (where such appeals are illegitimate), it will be impossible to maintain belief in Torah. To accept the Torah, one must believe in the doctrine of creation:
Know that with a belief in the creation of the world in time, all the miracles become possible and the Law becomes possible, and all questions that may be asked on this subject, vanish.
Were one to mistakenly accept the philosophers’ speculative arguments for the eternity of the universe as having the same force as a demonstrative proof, he would be compelled to abandon his allegiance to Torah. Belief in eternal necessity makes belief in revelation at Sinai logically impossible:
… if the philosophers would succeed in demonstrating eternity as Aristotle understands it, the Law as a whole would become void, and a shift to other opinions would take place.
This is where Elisha erred. He thought that the speculative arguments for eternity had the status of demonstrative proofs. He therefore found it impossible to remain within a tradition based upon a false belief in creation. Maimonides attempts to prevent such lapses as Elisha’s apostasy by offering the Guide as an epistemological map which leads the student along a route that integrates the claims of authority and reason.
Maimonides: Torah and Philosophic Quest
None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.
--- 1 Corinthians 2:8
Fitz-James Stephen thought that Pilate’s report of Christ’s trial would make, could it be found, one of the most arresting state papers in history. The Galilean Accent - Being Some Studies in the Christian Life And this is not only because of the prisoner’s personality, but because of the strong case that Pilate could make out for himself. There had been trouble before; there was always trouble with these pestilent Jews, with their mad hearts and touchy patriotism, quick to read offense in just nothing at all, and so unyielding about even their smallest rights. And Rome had laid it down that they must not be irritated. And yet here out of nowhere the old trouble was breaking out once more—and at the worst possible time in the whole year, when the city was thronged and overflowing far into the country on every side with multitudes of the fanatical creatures, two million of them, it is said, only too ready and willing to be inflamed. These wretched priests would soon have this inflammable mass ablaze, and once more the gutters would be running blood. And that was not to be. The orders given him were strict that bloodshed was to be avoided and that peace must be kept unbroken. Thus, looking at it from Pilate’s standpoint, it comes down to this, that it was to keep peace Christ’s cross was set up on Calvary.
“It is better for you that one man die for the people” (John 11:50), Caiaphas announced. And Pilate, put in a cruel dilemma, came at last to think that of it too. The man was innocent. But if he set him free, far worse was bound to happen; lives by the score would be sacrificed, and who could say where it would end? We must have peace. That was the one fixed point. And yet he hesitated, was unwilling. If only this had happened any other time! But with these Passover crowds about I cannot risk it. Peace we must have, and he must die. Quite plainly Pilate was impressed by Christ. Yet no doubt there is something in what Luther says. “Pilate took our Savior Christ to be a simple, honest, ignorant man, one perchance come out of a wilderness; a simple fellow, a hermit who knew or understood nothing of the world or of government.” Yes, it was a pity, but he must die.
--- Arthur John Gossip
Take Heart: Daily Devotions with the Church's Great Preachers
Council of Chalcedon
The old church of St. Euphemia, sitting atop a hill in Chalcedon across the Bosphorus from Constantinople, hosted the fourth great council of the church in the fall of 451. The emperor called the bishops together to combat a series of heresies about the person of Christ and to formulate a creed that would unite Christianity.
The nature of Christ was the chief theological question of the first 400 years of church history. Christendom as a whole remained unified in an orthodox faith, but periodic assaults by heretics forced the church in its councils to state its definition of Christ. The Council of Nicaea in 325 had affirmed Christ as fully God. But how, then, could he also be truly human?
The Council of Chalcedon tackled that problem, and it wasn’t pretty. Bishops and delegates shouted at each other in rough-and-tumble debates, interrupting each other, losing their tempers, shouting down speakers, and wreaking havoc. In the end, however, it managed to affirm that Jesus: (1) is fully God; (2) is fully human; (3) is one person; and (4) possesses two distinct natures. The Chalcedon document, one of the most important in church history, says in part:
Following the holy fathers, we confess with one voice that the one and only Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, is perfect in Godhead and perfect in manhood, truly God and truly man, that he is of one substance with the Father as God, he is also of one substance with us as man. He is like us in all things without sin. This one and the same Christ, Son, Lord, Only-begotten is made known in two natures (which exist) without confusion, without change, without division, without separation. The distinction of the natures is in no way taken away by their union, but rather the distinctive properties of each nature are preserved.
The Council of Chalcedon thus affirmed that Jesus Christ is one person having both a divine and a human nature. He is one Lord. He is both God and man.
And with that, the council dissolved on November 1, 451.
Here is the great mystery of our religion: Christ came as a human. The Spirit proved that he pleased God, and he was seen by angels. Christ was preached to the nations. People in this world put their faith in him, and he was taken up to glory.
--- 1 Timothy 3:16.
On This Day 365 Amazing And Inspiring Stories About Saints, Martyrs And Heroes
Daily Readings / CHARLES H. SPURGEON
Morning - November 1
“The church in thy house.” --- Philemon 2.
Is there a Church in this house? Are parents, children, friends, servants, all members of it? or are some still unconverted? Let us pause here and let the question go round—Am I a member of the Church in this house? How would father’s heart leap for joy, and mother’s eyes fill with holy tears if from the eldest to the youngest all were saved! Let us pray for this great mercy until the Lord shall grant it to us. Probably it had been the dearest object of Philemon’s desires to have all his household saved; but it was not at first granted him in its fulness. He had a wicked servant, Onesimus, who, having wronged him, ran away from his service. His master’s prayers followed him, and at last, as God would have it, Onesimus was led to hear Paul preach; his heart was touched, and he returned to Philemon, not only to be a faithful servant, but a brother beloved, adding another member to the Church in Philemon’s house. Is there an unconverted servant or child absent this Morning? Make special supplication that such may, on their return to their home, gladden all hearts with good news of what grace has done! Is there one present? Let him partake in the same earnest entreaty.
If there be such a Church in our house, let us order it well, and let all act as in the sight of God. Let us move in the common affairs of life with studied holiness, diligence, kindness, and integrity. More is expected of a Church than of an ordinary household; family worship must, in such a case, be more devout and hearty; internal love must be more warm and unbroken, and external conduct must be more sanctified and Christlike. We need not fear that the smallness of our number will put us out of the list of Churches, for the Holy Spirit has here enrolled a family-church in the inspired book of remembrance. As a Church let us now draw nigh to the great head of the one Church universal, and let us beseech him to give us grace to shine before men to the glory of his name.
Evening - November 1
“And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away: so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” --- Matthew 24:39.
Universal was the doom, neither rich nor poor escaped: the learned and the illiterate, the admired and the abhorred, the religious and the profane, the old and the young, all sank in one common ruin. Some had doubtless ridiculed the patriarch—where now their merry jests? Others had threatened him for his zeal which they counted madness—where now their boastings and hard speeches? The critic who judged the old man’s work is drowned in the same sea which covers his sneering companions. Those who spoke patronizingly of the good man’s fidelity to his convictions, but shared not in them, have sunk to rise no more, and the workers who for pay helped to build the wondrous ark, are all lost also. The flood swept them all away, and made no single exception. Even so, out of Christ, final destruction is sure to every man of woman born; no rank, possession, or character, shall suffice to save a single soul who has not believed in the Lord Jesus. My soul, behold this wide-spread judgment and tremble at it.
How marvellous the general apathy! they were all eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, till the awful Morning dawned. There was not one wise man upon earth out of the ark. Folly duped the whole race, folly as to self-preservation—the most foolish of all follies. Folly in doubting the most true God—the most malignant of fooleries. Strange, my soul, is it not? All men are negligent of their souls till grace gives them reason, then they leave their madness and act like rational beings, but not till then.
All, blessed be God, were safe in the ark, no ruin entered there. From the huge elephant down to the tiny mouse all were safe. The timid hare was equally secure with the courageous lion, the helpless cony as safe as the laborious ox. All are safe in Jesus. My soul, art thou in him?
Morning and Evening: A New Edition of the Classic Devotional Based on The Holy Bible, English Standard Version
COME, CHRISTIANS, JOIN TO SING
Christian Henry Bateman, 1813–1889
Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before Him with thanksgiving and extol Him with music and song. (Psalm 95:1)
A New Testament church should always be a singing church, for sacred song is the natural outpouring of joyous Christian hearts. Of all the world’s religions, only Christianity is a singing faith. But singing should not be limited to the church services; rather, it should become the Christian’s normal daily lifestyle.
Singing God’s praises provides many important benefits to believers. There is the awareness that God is pleased when the voice is lifted in praise: “He who offers praise honors me” (Psalm 50:23). Then we learn many important spiritual truths and concepts when we sing. For many of us, our first awareness that God loves us and that He loves all the children of the world was gained through a song sung at our mother’s knee or in the Sunday school nursery. Singing will also provide encouragement and comfort in times of need. Often when we are experiencing periods of discouragement and despondency, a simple hymn will come to mind and will be used of God to mend our fragile emotions. Also, singing is one of our best preparations for heaven. The Bible teaches that we will enjoy giving praise and singing throughout eternity.
This hymn was originally titled “Come, Children, Join to Sing.” It first appeared in 1843 in a collection Sacred Melodies for Sabbath Schools and Families, edited by the author of this text, Christian H. Bateman. Bateman served three Congregational churches in Scotland and England and then was ordained in the Anglican church.
Come, Christians, join to sing—Alleluia! Amen! Loud praise to Christ our King—Alleluia! Amen! Let all, with heart and voice, before His throne rejoice; praise is His gracious choice: Alleluia! Amen!
Come, lift your hearts on high—Alleluia! Amen! Let praises fill the sky—Alleluia! Amen! He is our Guide and Friend; to us He’ll condescend; His love shall never end: Alleluia! Amen!
Praise yet our Christ again—Alleluia! Amen! Life shall not end the strain—Alleluia! Amen! On heaven’s blissful shore His goodness we’ll adore, singing forevermore, “Alleluia! Amen!”
For Today: Psalm 95; 150; Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16; 1 Peter 2:9
When tempted to complain or feel despondent, determine to sing a song of praise. It is one of the best ways to experience calm and contentment when life becomes bleak. Try this musical message as you go ---
Amazing Grace: 366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions
Wednesday, November 1, 2017 | Holy Day
All Saints' Day
Years 1 & 2
Psalms Psalm 111, 112
Old Testament 2 Esdras 2:42–47
New Testament Hebrews 11:32–12:2
Index of Readings
Psalm 111, 112
1 Praise the LORD!
I will give thanks to the LORD with my whole heart,
in the company of the upright, in the congregation.
2 Great are the works of the LORD,
studied by all who delight in them.
3 Full of honor and majesty is his work,
and his righteousness endures forever.
4 He has gained renown by his wonderful deeds;
the LORD is gracious and merciful.
5 He provides food for those who fear him;
he is ever mindful of his covenant.
6 He has shown his people the power of his works,
in giving them the heritage of the nations.
7 The works of his hands are faithful and just;
all his precepts are trustworthy.
8 They are established forever and ever,
to be performed with faithfulness and uprightness.
9 He sent redemption to his people;
he has commanded his covenant forever.
Holy and awesome is his name.
10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom;
all those who practice it have a good understanding.
His praise endures forever.
1 Praise the LORD!
Happy are those who fear the LORD,
who greatly delight in his commandments.
2 Their descendants will be mighty in the land;
the generation of the upright will be blessed.
3 Wealth and riches are in their houses,
and their righteousness endures forever.
4 They rise in the darkness as a light for the upright;
they are gracious, merciful, and righteous.
5 It is well with those who deal generously and lend,
who conduct their affairs with justice.
6 For the righteous will never be moved;
they will be remembered forever.
7 They are not afraid of evil tidings;
their hearts are firm, secure in the LORD.
8 Their hearts are steady, they will not be afraid;
in the end they will look in triumph on their foes.
9 They have distributed freely, they have given to the poor;
their righteousness endures forever;
their horn is exalted in honor.
10 The wicked see it and are angry;
they gnash their teeth and melt away;
the desire of the wicked comes to nothing.
2 Esdras 2:42–47
42 I, Ezra, saw on Mount Zion a great multitude that I could not number, and they all were praising the Lord with songs. 43 In their midst was a young man of great stature, taller than any of the others, and on the head of each of them he placed a crown, but he was more exalted than they. And I was held spellbound. 44 Then I asked an angel, “Who are these, my lord?” 45 He answered and said to me, “These are they who have put off mortal clothing and have put on the immortal, and have confessed the name of God. Now they are being crowned, and receive palms.” 46 Then I said to the angel, “Who is that young man who is placing crowns on them and putting palms in their hands?” 47 He answered and said to me, “He is the Son of God, whom they confessed in the world.” So I began to praise those who had stood valiantly for the name of the Lord.
32 And what more should I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets— 33 who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions, 34 quenched raging fire, escaped the edge of the sword, won strength out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. 35 Women received their dead by resurrection. Others were tortured, refusing to accept release, in order to obtain a better resurrection. 36 Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. 37 They were stoned to death, they were sawn in two, they were killed by the sword; they went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, persecuted, tormented— 38 of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground.
39 Yet all these, though they were commended for their faith, did not receive what was promised, 40 since God had provided something better so that they would not, apart from us, be made perfect.
12 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, 2 looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God.
Psalms Psalm 148, 150
Old Testament Wisdom of Solomon 5:1–5, 14–16
New Testament Revelation 21:1–4, 22–22:5
Index of Readings
Psalm 148, 150
1 Praise the LORD!
Praise the LORD from the heavens;
praise him in the heights!
2 Praise him, all his angels;
praise him, all his host!
3 Praise him, sun and moon;
praise him, all you shining stars!
4 Praise him, you highest heavens,
and you waters above the heavens!
5 Let them praise the name of the LORD,
for he commanded and they were created.
6 He established them forever and ever;
he fixed their bounds, which cannot be passed.
7 Praise the LORD from the earth,
you sea monsters and all deeps,
8 fire and hail, snow and frost,
stormy wind fulfilling his command!
9 Mountains and all hills,
fruit trees and all cedars!
10 Wild animals and all cattle,
creeping things and flying birds!
11 Kings of the earth and all peoples,
princes and all rulers of the earth!
12 Young men and women alike,
old and young together!
13 Let them praise the name of the LORD,
for his name alone is exalted;
his glory is above earth and heaven.
14 He has raised up a horn for his people,
praise for all his faithful,
for the people of Israel who are close to him.
Praise the LORD!
1 Praise the LORD!
Praise God in his sanctuary;
praise him in his mighty firmament!
2 Praise him for his mighty deeds;
praise him according to his surpassing greatness!
3 Praise him with trumpet sound;
praise him with lute and harp!
4 Praise him with tambourine and dance;
praise him with strings and pipe!
5 Praise him with clanging cymbals;
praise him with loud clashing cymbals!
6 Let everything that breathes praise the LORD!
Praise the LORD!
Wisdom of Solomon 5:1–5, 14–16
5 Then the righteous will stand with great confidence
in the presence of those who have oppressed them
and those who make light of their labors.
2 When the unrighteous see them, they will be shaken with dreadful fear,
and they will be amazed at the unexpected salvation of the righteous.
3 They will speak to one another in repentance,
and in anguish of spirit they will groan, and say,
4 “These are persons whom we once held in derision
and made a byword of reproach—fools that we were!
We thought that their lives were madness
and that their end was without honor.
5 Why have they been numbered among the children of God?
And why is their lot among the saints?
14 Because the hope of the ungodly is like thistledown carried by the wind,
and like a light frost driven away by a storm;
it is dispersed like smoke before the wind,
and it passes like the remembrance of a guest who stays but a day.
15 But the righteous live forever,
and their reward is with the Lord;
the Most High takes care of them.
16 Therefore they will receive a glorious crown
and a beautiful diadem from the hand of the Lord,
because with his right hand he will cover them,
and with his arm he will shield them.
Revelation 21:1–4, 22–22:5
21 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2 And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying,
“See, the home of God is among mortals.
He will dwell with them as their God;
they will be his peoples,
and God himself will be with them;
4 he will wipe every tear from their eyes.
Death will be no more;
mourning and crying and pain will be no more,
for the first things have passed away.”
22 I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. 23 And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God is its light, and its lamp is the Lamb. 24 The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it. 25 Its gates will never be shut by day—and there will be no night there. 26 People will bring into it the glory and the honor of the nations. 27 But nothing unclean will enter it, nor anyone who practices abomination or falsehood, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life.
22 Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb 2 through the middle of the street of the city. On either side of the river is the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, producing its fruit each month; and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. 3 Nothing accursed will be found there any more. But the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him; 4 they will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. 5 And there will be no more night; they need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.
The Book of Common Prayer: And Administration of the Sacraments and Other Rites and Ceremonies of the Church