Vital Lessons From The Biblical Text (English & Chinese)













Contained in the book are a series of articles written by various authors who have a great interest in the Word of God. The authors have many years of diligent study and teaching of the Biblical text. “Vital Lessons From the Biblical Text,” contains informative information relative to God, The Bible, Salvation and the Lord’s church. This material is printed in both English and Chinese with the hopes of helping people in different languages in their personal Bible studies.


Many thanks are expressed to all who helped in translating, typing, proofing, making suggestions and financially supporting of this work. May God be gloried and souls be saved and edified by these efforts. “Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen” (Ephesians 3:20–21).

















From whence did man come? Why is he here? Where is he going? Is this life all there is to our existence, or does mankind continue to live after he passes from his earthly life?

Is there are God? If there is a God, what are some of His attributes? Has God communicated with mankind? If he has communicated, what means did He use to communicate? Can man have fellowship with God? Does man need salvation? How is man saved? Is it possible for one to be sure he is saved? Finally, did Jesus Christ build His church? If Jesus did built His church, how can one find that church today? These are some important questions this book seeks to answer. The book is divided into four small sections that will discuss these matters. It is hoped the reader will benefit from its study.





B. B. Brother



“And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God” (John 6:69).




In a world where uncertainties exist, it is encouraging to know that we can be sure about some things. In fact, it is absolutely essential that we are sure about some matters. Even in every day affairs, we need to be sure about various matters. One needs to be sure he is taking food into his body that will nourish and strengthen him rather than poison that would harm and possibly kill him. Some have taken a contradictory and absurd position that one cannot know anything for sure. To such an one advocating this position, we simply ask, “Are you sure that one cannot know anything for sure?” If he answers yes, then he has demonstrated that his position is false – because he knows that one cannot know (a contradiction). If he answers no, then he has demonstrated that he doesn’t know that his position is true, and consequently one may indeed know some things.

It is important to realize that one doesn’t have to know everything to know something. A person can know that a certain liquid is milk without knowing of the whole process of how a cow produces milk. Also one can know certain matters relative to God, His Word, Salvation, etc., without knowing everything in the Bible.




There is nothing more important than being certain about the existence of God. Either there is a God or there is not a God. There is no middle of the road on this proposition. Atheists affirm they know there is no God. Theists affirm there is a God. Which position is correct? Can we be sure? Let’s examine some of the compelling evidences of God’s existence.




From where does life come?


There are only two possibilities to explain the existence of life. (1) Life came from dead matter, or (2) Life came from life. If one takes the position that life came from dead matter, he then has to ask, “From where did this matter come?” Is dead matter eternal? No. There are scientific evidences which prove that dead matter is not eternal (things wear out and/or run down, which proves they had a beginning and therefore are not eternal).


Scientifically, we know that life comes from life. The law of Bio-genesis shows that life comes only from life. Human beings, animals, and plants do not come from dead matter. There must be life for life to exist. Since life comes only from life, then life must have always existed. If there had ever been a time when life did not exist, there would be no life now. Yet, life does exist which proves that life must have always existed. When one studies “life” he realizes that not only must have life always existed, but it must have been intelligent life. For example, when one studies the complexity of the human body (its cellular makeup, respiratory system, skeleton system, circulatory system, etc., etc.), he understands that there must have been an intelligent Life that created human life.

Not only does one know that life produces life, but also life produces after its own kind. Human beings always produce human beings. Every couple depends on this law of reproduction. They know when they decide to have children that their offspring will in fact be human. Human couples do not produce cats, dogs, or other animals as their offspring. Likewise cats and dogs do not produce humans. They never have and they never will! Why is this the case? It is because everything produces after its own kind. This being true then evolution cannot be true because it requires one specie to produce a completely different specie. Dogs will never produce humans and vice versa.

The Bible gives us the answer on the origin of human, animal and plant life. It is in complete harmony with science – that life comes from life and therefore life has always existed. The intelligent Being Who has always existed is GOD. The Bible states; “Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God” (Psa. 90:2). The Bible also informs us that God created all things. “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” (Gen. 1:1). By reading all of Genesis chapter one a person learns that God created everything in six days. The method by which He created the world is His Word – “By the word of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth” (Psa. 33:6). And,

“For he spake, and it was [done]; he commanded, and it stood fast” (Psa. 33:9).

God also created things to reproduce after their own kind. “And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so. And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good” (Gen. 1:11-12).



Does every house have a builder?


If one were stranded on an island and came across a simple straw hut, he would know that someone had been there. Straw huts do not build themselves. A watch implies a maker. A house implies a builder. Likewise this world requires a Creator. The writer of the Book of Hebrews, expressed it this way – “For every house is builded by some man; but he that built all things is God” (Heb. 3:4). A person can examine the amazing world in which we live and stand in wonder at this great world. Astronomers and Marine-Biologists are amazed at this great world including its universe and oceans. The writer of Psalms declared – “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge. There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard. Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun, Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoiceth as a strong man to run a race. His going forth is from the end of the heaven, and his circuit unto the ends of it: and there is nothing hid from the heat thereof” (Psa. 19:1-6). The heavens above, including its sun, moon and stars declare God’s glory! This fact is universally perceived.

Paul, an apostle stated; “For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse” (Rom. 1:20). A person can look at the creation and know there has to be a Creator! This world did not create itself anymore than a house built itself.


Who is God?


There is one God – “But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him. ” (1Cor. 8:6). The word “God” denotes Deity. There is but one Deity. There are three persons who posses the one Divine nature. There is God, the Father (Mat. 6:9), God the Son- Jesus Christ (John 1:1-3) and God the Holy Spirit (Acts 5:3-4)


God is omniscient (all knowing). “O LORD, thou hast searched me, and known me. Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off. Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O LORD, thou knowest it altogether. Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it “(Psa. 139:1-6).


God is omnipresent (every where at the same time). “Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me. If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me. Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee” (Psa. 139:7-12).


God is omnipotent (all powerful). “And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the LORD appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect” (Gen. 17:1). “Is any thing too hard for the LORD? At the time appointed I will return unto thee, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son” (Gen. 18:14).


God is holy. “But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy” (1Peter 1:15-16).


God is love. “He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love” (1John 4:8).


God is near to all. “God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us” (Acts 17:24-27).


God is compassionate. “But he, being full of compassion, forgave their iniquity, and destroyed them not: yea, many a time turned he his anger away, and did not stir up all his wrath” (Psa. 78:38).



God is ready to forgive those who call upon Him. “For thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon thee” (Psa. 86:5).



B. B. Brother




The God of the Bible has many Divine Attributes each of which would be very worthy of our study. All people should know as much about God as He has revealed in His Word, the Bible. When one reads the very first verse of God’s Word, he learns that God is the Creator – “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth” (Genesis 1:1–2). Immediately, God introduces Himself as the Creator. Space and matter were brought into existence by God creating (“bara”) them. The context shows that God brought material into existence and consequently it (matter) is not eternal. Only God can bring something into existence out of nothing. This is exactly what He did in the creation. Not only did God create matter, but He also “made” objects from that which He had created (example – making man from the dust of the ground which He created).


Genesis chapter one is God-centered. The word “God” is found thirty-two times out of the thirty-one verses in this chapter. One will notice such statements as “God created,” “God said,” “God saw,” “God called,” “God made,” etc. The very first verse of the Bible not only introduces one to God, but it also refutes many false philosophies of man.


(1) It refutes atheism, because the universe was created by God.

(2) It refutes pantheism, for God is transcendent to that which He created.

(3) It refutes materialism, for matter had a beginning.

(4) It refutes dualism, because God was alone when He created.

(5) It refutes humanism, because God, not man, is the ultimate reality.

(6) It refutes evolutionism, because God created all things. (Morris, 38).


Both the Hebrew and English words for God have the root idea of One Whom is to be worshipped. Moses wrote;


And God spake all these words, saying, I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments (Exodus 20:1–7).


“When one realizes that the word ‘Elohim in Genesis 1:1 denotes a worshipful being, the only worshipful being, a being of all dignity and honor and authority, a being able out of nothing to create worlds and man, then a feeling of appreciation fills man’s heart, and he wants to show respect and adoration toward his God. ‘Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before Jehovah our Maker, for he is our God” (McCord, 11).




In order to illustrate the greatness of Jesus Christ, the Hebrews writer stated; “Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus; Who was faithful to him that appointed him, as also Moses was faithful in all his house. For this man was counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as he who hath builded the house hath more honour than the house. For every house is builded by some man; but he that built all things is God” (Hebrews 3:1–4).


Anyone, with the ability to reason, knows the validity of the above statement – every house is built by some man. A house does not build itself and the one who builds the house is greater than the house itself. It takes intelligence and ability to construct a house. While one might enjoy and appreciate the greatness of a magnificent building, he knows that it took someone of great intelligence to draw the blueprints and formulate the construction of the building. Likewise, one should be able to see and stand amazed at the world, its order, its creatures, and know there is someone of great intelligence and ability behind the design and construction of this world.


Bob Winton makes the following observations:


There are many clear indications of design in our world, including the following:


p<>{color:#000;}. The delicate balance of nature.

p<>{color:#000;}. The earth tilted to the exact degree to prevent extremes of heat and cold.

p<>{color:#000;}. The earth being the right distance from the sun, and rotating at the proper rate.

p<>{color:#000;}. The moon being the right distance from the earth to stir the oceans by causing tides, without allowing the tides to cover the earth.

p<>{color:#000;}. Unlike other things, water expands when it freezes; it becomes lighter and forms on the surface of the body of water, otherwise it would sink, killing marine life. Forming at the top, it produces a layer of insulation to keep the water below from freezing, thus preserving aquatic life.

p<>{color:#000;}. There are many cases in nature where reproduction of certain species of life requires cooperation between individuals of different species…. A certain type of wasp will catch a grasshopper, sting it in just the right place to cause it to be paralyzed, but not dead, so it can live on as a form of food. Then the wasp will put the grasshopper in the proper place, lay her eggs beside it, so that her offspring will hatch and feast on the hopper without killing the insect upon which they feed. The mother never sees her offspring. The first wasp must have done it right the first time or else there would be none of them around today! Only through God’s design could this wasp have lived (Commentary, NP).


“The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork” (Psalms 19:1). If one were to take the time to study such things as Astrometry, Oceanology, Physiology, Microbiology, etc., he would see great design all around us. Where there is design, there is a Designer. The Psalmist again stated; “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good” (Psalms 14:1).


Paul and Barnabas stopped the Lycaonians from sacrificing to them by saying; “And saying, Sirs, why do ye these things? We also are men of like passions with you, and preach unto you that ye should turn from these vanities unto the living God, which made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are therein: Who in times past suffered all nations to walk in their own ways. Nevertheless he left not himself without witness, in that he did good, and gave us rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness” (Acts 14:15–17). Paul said that God is, “the living God” and “that He made heaven, and the earth, and the sea and all things that are therein.”


Likewise, to the Athenians Paul declared the “unknown God.” He stated; “God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us: For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring. Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device” (Acts 17:24–30).


To the unbiased mind, one can know every house has a builder – “For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse” (Romans 1:20).




THE GODHEAD: The word “God” denoted Deity and not number. The Word of God had to inform us how many Gods. The Bible reveals to us there is but one God (Divine nature – Malachi 2:10). There are three Persons who possess this one Divine nature. There is God, the Father (John 3:16), God, the Son (John 1:1-2) and God, the Holy Spirit (Acts 5:3-4). All three persons were involved in the creation.


God created the heaven and the earth as declared in Genesis 1:1. James tells us that God is the Father of lights – “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning” (James 1:17). God is also the Father of our spirits – “Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live” (Hebrews 12:9).


Jesus Christ was involved in the creation as declared by John. He wrote; “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made” (John 1:1–3). This Word Who made all things was made flesh and dwelled among us – “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth” (John 1:14–15). Speaking of Jesus Christ, Paul wrote; “For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist” (Colossians 1:16–18). The Hebrews writer said; “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds” (Hebrews 1:1–2).


The Holy Spirit was also involved in the creation. Moses wrote; “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters” (Genesis 1:1–2). The book of Job declares; “By his spirit he hath garnished the heavens; his hand hath formed the crooked serpent” (Job 26:13).


GOD’S WORD: God created the world by speaking it into existence. Moses stated; “And God said, Let there be light: and there was light” (Genesis 1:3–4). The phrase “God said” is found ten times in Genesis chapter one. Over and over God is telling us how He created the worlds. Accordingly, the Psalmist declared; “By the word of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth,” and “For he spake, and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast” (Psalms 33:6,9).




GAP THEORY: Some teach there was a big gap in time between the first two verses of Genesis 1. This, of course, is very popular for those who want to believe the earth is very old, and seek to find a place for the so-called “geologic ages.” The theory is that God created the world (Gen. 1:1), then (some teach), there was a rebellion involving Satan and a pre-adamic race one earth and God destroyed that world and then later “re-created” the present world in six literal 24hour days. So it is alleged that the world could be billions of years old (per the geological record used by the evolutionists).


A couple of the arguments for the “Gap Theory” are: (1) The (mis)use of the words “bara” (create), and “asah” (made). It is alleged that since the word “bara” means to create, God first created the world (Gen. 1:1), but He destroyed it, then He had to re-make (“asah”) the world. (2) It is also alleged that the word translated “was” in Gen. 1:2 should be translated “became.” They would have the verse to read “And the earth became without form,” indicating a perfect creation at first but then a destruction.



Gap Theory Refuted: First, the words “bara” and “asah” are used interchangeably when used of God. God said “let us make man….” (Gen. 1:26), yet God “created man…” (Gen. 1:27). God did not “create” Adam, then destroy him and “make” him again. The same is stated regarding the heavens and the earth. God “created” the heavens and the earth, yet He “made” the heavens and the earth – “These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens” (Gen. 2:4). The words are used interchangeably when used of God. Second, there is nothing in the context that suggests a “gap” between the verses (or the ones following for that matter). Notice the word “and” in verse two, which shows a continuation of the previous words in verse one. No one would conceive of a “gap theory” simply by reading the text. Third, there are no scholarly translations that translate the word “was” as “became” in verse two. Fourth, Exodus 20:11 clearly states that everything that was created was created in the six days of Genesis one – “For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.” Fifth, Jesus stated , “But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female” (Mark 10:6). Male and Female were made “from the beginning.” Obviously, Jesus did not believe a gap existed – a long period of time – between these two verses.




Day Age Theory: Again some evidently not satisfied with simple Biblical truth, look for long periods of time for creation. The “Day Age Theory” affirms that the six days of Genesis one could have been long periods of time.

Day Age Theory Refuted: We agree that the days could have been long periods of time, if that is what God wanted. However, God tells us of what the day consisted – the evening and the morning, a 24hour period. Second, the Hebrew word for day (yom), when preceded by a numeral always means a 24 hour period in a non-prophetic usage. Third, Adam was created on the sixth day. If a day was thousands of years, we ask – “Did Adam live to see the seventh day?” Fourth, the Jewish observance of the Sabbath day shows that the days of Genesis one were 24 hour days. Moses wrote; “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it” (Exod. 20:8-11). The Jews were to start observing the sabbath day because the Lord observed a day of rest at the end of His creation week. How long did they rest? Whatever amount of time the Jews were to rest, would be the same amount of time of the seventh day of the creation week. Since they rested 24 hours, the seventh day of creation week must have been 24 hours.






The apex of the creation came on the sixth day when God created man. Man was created vastly different than all the rest of God’s creation. Man is the only creature created in the very image of God! The Bible says; “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them” (Genesis 1:26–28). What a thought – what a privilege to be created in God’s own image!


The part of man created in God’s image is not man’s physical features, for God does not have flesh and bone. God is a spirit. Consequently the part of man created in God’s image is his spirit. Man’s spirit survives the death of his body and returns unto God – “Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it” (Ecclesiastes 12:7). Paul wrote; “For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens” (2 Corinthians 5:1).


Consequently, man is not from the slime (evolution), but from the sublime (God). Man is not a little higher than the apes, but rather a little lower than God. The Psalmist exclaimed;


O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens. Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength because of thine enemies, that thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger. When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour. Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet: All sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field; The fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas. O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth!” (Psalms 8:1–9).


In exclaiming the omnipotence, omniscience and omnipresence of God, David stated;

For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them. How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee (Psalms 139:13–19).




God is the Creator. It is in Him that we live, move and have our being. It is by God that all things consist. He is worthy of our worship and adoration. Isaiah recorded; “Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding.” (Isaiah 40:28).


Man’s first obligation is to God. “Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” (Matthew 22:37–39).


Our God is a faithful Creator. We can commit to Him the very keeping of our souls. Peter wrote; “Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator” (1 Peter 4:19).


May we do as admonished by Solomon – “Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them” (Ecclesiastes 12:1).




Morris, Henry. The Genesis Record. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House, 1976.


McCord, Hugo. Getting Acquainted With God. Murfreesboro, TN: DeHoff Publication, No Date.


Winton, Bob. Commentary on Hebrews CD. 2007.



B. B. Brother


God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints, and to be had in reverence of all them that are about him” (Psalms 89:7).


He sent redemption unto his people: he hath commanded his covenant for ever: holy and reverend is his name” (Psalms 111:9).


God is to be reverenced. Understanding some of God’s attributes will help us have a better understanding why we indeed should stand in awe of God. This will help one in his attitude of worship and conduct before Jehovah God.


GOD IS ALL POWERFUL (OMNIPOTENT). God is declared to be “Almighty” – “And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the LORD appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect” (Genesis 17:1). His power is demonstrated by His creation. He (God) spoke this world into existence – “By the word of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth” (Psalms 33:6). “For he spake, and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast” (Psalms 33:9). He (Jesus), upholds all things by the word of His power – “Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;” (Hebrews 1:3). We are dependant upon God for our very being – “For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring” (Acts 17:28). We should be humbled realizing that we are in the presence of “ALMIGHTY GOD


GOD HAS ALL KNOWLEDGE (OMNISCIENT).He telleth the number of the stars; he calleth them all by their names. Great is our Lord, and of great power: his understanding is infinite” (Psalms 147:4-5). Can you imagine attempting to number the stars. God can and even calls them all by their names. God knows us intimately – “But the very hairs of your head are all numbered” (Matthew 10:30).


GOD IS OMNIPRESENT. He fills heaven and earth! Am I a God at hand, saith the LORD, and not a God afar off? Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? saith the LORD. Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the LORD” (Jeremiah 23:24). Read also Psalm 139:7-12.


GOD IS JUST. “He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he” (Deut. 32:4). God will reward the righteous and He will punish the disobedient. “Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you; And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day” (II Thessalonians 1:6-10).


GOD IS LOVE. “He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love” (I John 4:8). Because of man’s sin man deserved to die. But God still loved man. Justice says that someone must pay the penalty, but love desired man’s salvation. The answer is found in the following – “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).


GOD IS ALSO A GOD OF WRATH. God can be moved to anger. His anger is a righteous anger. His anger is against the wicked – “God judgeth the righteous, and God is angry with the wicked every day” (Psalms 7:11). Those who do not repent will suffer the wrath of God in the judgement – “But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God;” (Romans 2:5).


GOD IS A GOD OF MERCY. The word “mercy” denotes pity. God is merciful toward man. “And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth generation” (Exodus 34:6-7). Man should truly be thankful that God is merciful toward us in extending His mercy to us. God desires that each of us be saved and live with Him in heaven eternally.


GOD IS LONGSUFFERING. In the verse above it stated that the Lord God is merciful, gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth. The word longsuffering indicates God’s patience toward us. Although we have done wrong, God is longsuffering. This should not be taken as tolerance. God will hold us accountable for unforgiven sins. But he desires that we be forgiven and He has been longsuffering with us toward that end.


Let us appreciate God and His great attributes. Are you God’s child? He desires your salvation. He wants to bless you. Will you obey Him today? “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ” (Galatians 3:26-27).





The Bible: King James Version. Glasgow: Collins, 2008. Print.




B. B. Brother




And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots: And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD; And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the LORD: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears: But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked. And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins (Isaiah 11:1-5).


My appreciation is expressed to the eldership, deacons, preachers, and the fine congregation of the Southaven Church of Christ for hosting this lectureship on the Major Prophets. This volume will be a fine addition and companion to the previous Power lectureship on the Minor Prophets. I also appreciate the opportunity to discuss the wonderful topic of “Christ, the Branch.” It is hoped that this lesson will be such that will bring glory to God and edification to the church.




All are familiar with the word “branch.” It is used in the Bible both in a literal and in a figurative sense. It can be used as a literal shoot from a vine or tree that puts forth a branch. It is also used in the sense of a descendant. The Word of God figuratively uses this word to describe the prosperity of putting one’s faith in God; “He that trusteth in his riches shall fall: but the righteous shall flourish as a branch” (Proverbs 11:28). It is used to describe God’s people as they came out of Egypt and were planted as a vine in the land of Canaan (cf. Psalm 80:7-12). Christ states that He is the vine and His disciples are the branches (John 15:1-ff), illustrating how disciples must have fruit in Him or be cut off. (Interestingly, some think that the word “Nazarene” is from the root of the Hebrew word “hetser” translated branch in Isaiah 11:1.)


But this word also describes the Christ that was to come into the world. Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Zechariah all speak of Christ as “the Branch” (see Isaiah 11:1, Jeremiah 23:5, 33:15, Zechariah 3:8. 6:12-13).




There can be no doubt that the branch is a reference to Christ, because Paul, in Romans 15:12, quotes Isaiah 11 and applies it to the Gentiles coming into Christ. “And again, Esaias saith, There shall be a root of Jesse, and he that shall rise to reign over the Gentiles; in him shall the Gentiles trust” (Romans 15:12).

When a New Testament writer quotes an Old Testament prophesy and shows its fulfillment, that is the end of the matter. Isaiah is speaking about Christ!

As seen in our text the background of Isaiah 11:1 goes back to Jesse. He (Isaiah) said that a rod (or “shoot” ASV), would come forth out of Jesse and a “Branch” would grow out of his roots. Jesse is the father of David, (Ruth 4:17) and God had made a promise to David that out of his seed would come a king who would establish His kingdom.


And when thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build an house for my name, and I will stablish the throne of his kingdom for ever (II Samuel 7:12-13).


At times the house of Israel would become very small. It looked like it might even be destroyed. In Isaiah chapter 10, God is showing the destruction of Assyria (Israel’s enemy), yet there would be a remnant of Israel that would be spared. These would put their trust in the Lord.



And it shall come to pass in that day, that the remnant of Israel, and such as are escaped of the house of Jacob, shall no more again stay upon him that smote them; but shall stay upon the LORD, the Holy One of Israel, in truth. The remnant shall return, even the remnant of Jacob, unto the mighty God. For though thy people Israel be as the sand of the sea, yet a remnant of them shall return: the consumption decreed shall overflow with righteousness (Isaiah 10:20-22).


Although the forest of Assyria would be destroyed, there would come forth a shoot out of the stem of Jesse and a Branch shall grow out of His roots (cf. Isaiah 11:1). God’s spirit would rest upon Him and would rule with righteousness and equity.


Because of the sins of Israel, she would lose her power. In fact the earthly kingdom of Israel would end with Coniah. Jeremiah in his writings speaks of this.


Is this man Coniah a despised broken idol? Is he a vessel wherein is no pleasure? wherefore are they cast out, he and his seed, and are cast into a land which they know not? O earth, earth, earth, hear the word of the LORD. Thus saith the LORD, Write ye this man childless, a man that shall not prosper in his days: for no man of his seed shall prosper, sitting upon the throne of David, and ruling any more in Judah (Jeremiah 22:28-30).


Note carefully that the Lord said Coniah would be childless, and that he would not prosper in his days. He then makes this prophecy: “for no man of his seed shall prosper, sitting upon the throne of David, and ruling any more in Judah.” Thus the earthly kingdom of Judah comes to a close.

Keep in mind, however, that God promised to King David, that one from his seed (a descendant), would live and set up a kingdom. How could this be if the earthly kingdom of Judah came to a close with Coniah?

Interestingly, Jesus Christ is of the lineage of Coniah (cf. Matthew 1:12 “Jechonias” is the same as “Coniah”). One must remember that Jeremiah stated that no one of Coniah’s seed would prosper, sitting upon the throne of David and ruling any more in Judah (emp. mine B.B.) Jesus Christ, descendant of Coniah is not ruling in Judah, He reigns from heaven, where He sits on the right hand of God.


For David speaketh concerning him, I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved: Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope: Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance. Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day. Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne; He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption. This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear. For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, Until I make thy foes thy footstool. Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ (Acts 2:25-36).


Although Judah and Israel had been reduced to seemingly nothing because of sin, God would spare a remnant through whom the Branch would grow and bless His people. Amos, God’s courageous prophet, speaks of this in his book.


In that day will I raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen, and close up the breaches thereof; and I will raise up his ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old: That they may possess the remnant of Edom, and of all the heathen, which are called by my name, saith the LORD that doeth this (Amos 9:11-12).



This prophecy is quoted by James in Acts 15:16-17 and is applied to the New Testament age and in particular to the system set up by Jesus Christ, (i.e. Christianity). James then makes this remarkable and thought provoking statement: “Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world” (Acts 15:18).


Isaiah, the messianic prophet, shows that out of the remnant of God’s people, there would come a “shoot” out of Jesse and a “branch” would grow out of his roots. He would bless the world and give us peace. This peace is described by the figurative usage of the wolf dwelling with the lamb, the leopard lying down with the kid (goat), etc. The vicious animals would be tamed and their diets changed from carnivorous to being strictly vegetarian (cf. Isaiah 11:6-9).


This peace which the Messiah would bring is fulfilled in Christ. Paul spoke of this peace in Ephesians 2:13-17.


But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh (Ephesians 2:13-17).


When Jesus was born, an angelic host appeared to shepherds abiding in a field and sang, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men” (Luke 2:!4). This peace is fulfilled in Christ.



Jeremiah speaks of Jesus being “the righteous branch” that would grow up unto David (Jeremiah 23:5, 33:15). Zechariah, likewise, speaks prophetically of Christ, as “the Branch” in Zechariah 3:8 and 6:12-13. When this branch would come, God would remove the iniquity of that land in one day, “And speak unto him, saying, Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, Behold the man whose name is The BRANCH; and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of the LORD: Even he shall build the temple of the LORD; and he shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon his throne; and he shall be a priest upon his throne: and the counsel of peace shall be between them both.”


To understand this passage, one should know something of its background. Israel, because of her sins, had been carried into Assyrian captivity. Judah, the lower two tribes, did not learn from the mistake of Israel, and continued in her sins. Because of her sins, she likewise was carried into Babylonian captivity. Her first carrying away was in 606 B.C., then again in 597 B.C., then finally in 586 Babylon destroyed the temple and completed taking Judah into her captivity. After Nebuchadnezzar’s death in 562 B.C., Babylon had a series of weak rulers. In 549 B.C. Cyrus, a Persian, had defeated the Medes and united the Medes and Persians. In 539 B.C. Cyrus entered into Babylon and took the city. Isaiah had earlier prophesied that Cyrus would allow the Jews to return to their homeland (cf. Isaiah 44:24-45:7). Upon their return in 536 B.C., the Jews restored the altar and laid the foundation of the temple, which had been earlier destroyed. However, the work ceased for a period of sixteen years and God sent the prophets Haggai and Zechariah to stir up the hearts of the people for the purpose of encouraging them to complete their work. Haggai asked the question, “Is it time for you, O ye, to dwell in your ceiled houses, and this house lie waste?” (Haggai 1:4). Zechariah, who was contemporary with Haggai, prophesied of a temple that would be built by “the Branch.” God’s people and purpose would endure and “the Branch” would grow up out of His place.


Zechariah mentions at least six things regarding “the Branch.”


1) The Branch would grow up out of His place (v 12). Isaiah had prophesied, “For He shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him” (Isaiah 53:2). Here Christ is compared to “a tender plant” and as a “root out of a dry ground.” Attention is here given to the fact that He would grow out of a “dry ground.” There was nothing about the surroundings of Christ that added to His greatness. In fact, Israel was not a world power but was herself under subjection to Rome. Yet out of this dry ground, the Christ would come. There have been times when a person thought that a plant was dead and would start to uproot the plant only to discover there was a “shoot” coming from this plant which might grow into a mighty tree. Christ is the mighty branch that came up out of His place.


2) He shall build the temple of the Lord (v 12). Solomon’s temple had been destroyed by the Babylonians. Under Zerubbabel’s leadership the Jews had returned from the Babylonian captivity to rebuild this temple. Zechariah stirs up the hearts of the people to complete this work. Zechariah foretells that the Branch will also build the temple of the Lord. This temple which the Lord would build is the church of Christ. Writing to the church of God in Corinth Paul states: “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are” (I Corinthians 3:16-17).


In his second epistle to them, he shows how the temple is to be kept holy and separate from idols.


Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty (II Corinthians 6:14-18).


This same apostle will write to the Ephesians, impressing upon their minds that they are the temple of God.


And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit (Ephesians 2:20-22).


The temple under the Old Testament foreshadowed and gave way to the temple of the Lord in the New Testament. Other institutions fade in comparison to the glorious temple of the Lord. Interestingly, Paul doesn’t even mention to the Ephesians the temple of Diana, though it came to be one of the seven wonders of the world. It cannot compare to God’s holy temple. We are to remember that “God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands” (Acts 17:24).


3) He shall bear the glory (v 13). Jesus Christ is the builder of this temple and He likewise bears its glory.


Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish (Ephesians 5:25-27).


The church of Christ is indeed a glorious church and will be presented as such to Christ upon His second coming. It is in the church of our Lord that we glorify God. “Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen” (Ephesians 3:20-21). Notice is here given that one is to glorify God “in the church,” and not out of the church. It is sad that many do not see the true greatness of the church. Denominations have so confused the minds of the mass, that they think one is saved and glorifies God out of the church as easily and scripturally as one glorifies God in the church.


The church glorifies God in that it shows His manifold wisdom. “To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord:” (Ephesians 3:10-11).


Jesus Christ, the Branch, is the head of a great body, called the church. “And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence” (Colossians 1:18).


4) He shall sit and rule upon His throne (v 13). One notices that this “BRANCH” is a king. In fact, he is the only Potentate, the king of kings and Lord of Lords (I Timothy 6:16). He, today, sits and rules upon His throne. The Hebrew writer presents Him presently as king. “Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;” (Hebrews 1:3). He has His throne and rules with a sceptre of righteousness. “But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom” (Hebrews 1:8).


Sadly, some would like to dethrone the Christ and have Him reigning on some future date as an earthly king. They think that He is now on the Lord’s throne but will one day come back and occupy David’s throne. The simple truth is, David’s throne is the Lord’s throne. A comparison of I Kings 2:12 with I Chronicles 29:23 will reveal that while Solomon sat on David’s throne, he was sitting upon the Lord’s throne. They are one and the same.


Jesus Christ was promised to sit upon the throne of David and this has been fulfilled. In the context of II Samuel 12, David was assured; “And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established forever before thee: Thy throne shall be established forever” (v 16). This promise was reverberated in Luke 1:32-33. “He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.”

All of this was fulfilled at the resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ. Again, Peter settles this in Acts 2:30-33.


Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne; He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption. This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear.


Daniel by inspiration of God, had foreseen this event.


I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed (Daniel 7:13-14).


Jesus Christ does sit and rule upon His throne today. May all willingly submit to His rule.


5) He shall be a priest upon His throne. Under the Old Testament system, people made sacrifices through a separate priesthood known as the Levitical priesthood. Over the priesthood of that day was a high priest. Today Christians comprise a “royal priesthood,” and thus there is no separate priesthood. Jesus Christ serves as the Christian’s High Priest.


Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need (Hebrews 4:14-16).


But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood. Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them (Hebrews 7:24-25).


Zechariah informs us that Christ has a double function or office. He is a priest while He is on His throne. Thus Jesus is prophet, priest, and king. This is the greatness of the one called “the Branch.”


Jesus Christ is not an high priest after the lineage of Aaron, rather, He is an high priest after the order of Melchizedek. This had been foretold by the Psalmist in the long ago. “The LORD hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek” (Psalms 110:4). The Hebrew writer quotes the Psalmist and makes application to Christ. “As he saith also in another place, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek” (Hebrews 5:6).


6) The counsel of peace shall be between them both (v 13). The Branch that would grow up out of His place and build the temple of the Lord and bear the glory and sit and rule upon His throne gives the counsel of peace between his priesthood and kingship.


The world is ever seeking for lasting peace. Some turn to drugs, worldly (sinful) pleasures, etc. looking for peace and happiness. Jesus Christ offers peace to a troubled world. He is termed as the “Prince of Peace.”


For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this (Isaiah 9:6-7).


Again, note the connection between peace and the kingdom in the above passage. Remember that Zechariah had stated that “the counsel of peace shall be between them both.”


The book of Ephesians shows that true peace is to be found in only in Christ.

For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: (Ephesians 2:14-16).


If one is to have peace with God, he must be “in Christ.” Jesus said; “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).




Premillennialism teaches that the kingdom prophesied in the Old Testament has not yet been established. In spite of the multitude of scriptures which show that the kingdom has been established (Matthew 16:18; Colossians 1:13-14; John 3:3-5; Hebrews 12:28, etc.), premillennialism states that when Jesus returns, He will establish a kingdom in the city of Jerusalem and reign a literal one thousand years.


But, if premillennialism is true (which it is not), why didn’t Jesus set up His kingdom when He came the first time? The premillennialist answers, “the Jews rejected it.” The kingdom then, according to them, had to be postponed.


In accordance with this speculative theory, Scofield says this chapter is a prophetic picture of the glory of the future kingdom. This is the kingdom announced by John the Baptist as “at hand.” It was then rejected, but will be set up when David’s son returns in glory Note the impact of Scofield’s comments. John announced this kingdom as at hand, but he was wrong! (That is according to the premillennialist).


In similar fashion, W.E. Blackstone says, “Surely nothing is more plainly stated in the scriptures” than that the Israelites are to be restored to Canaan, and Jerusalem rebuilt. He uses (misuses B.B.) Isaiah 11:11 as one of his proof texts.


The major problem for those writers (and other premillennialists), is that the inspired writers of the New Testament quote these very passages and show their fulfillment in Christ. Paul, in Romans 15:12 quotes Isaiah 11:10 and shows its fulfillment in Christ. The peace described in Isaiah 11:6-ff is fulfilled in Christ recorded in Ephesians 2:14-16. The nations mentioned in Isaiah 11:11 are mentioned in Acts 2:9-11.


Rather than establishing premillennialism, Zechariah 6:12-13 disproves its theories. Zechariah states that Jesus will be a priest while He is on His throne. Yet Hebrews 8:4 says He will not be a priest while on the earth (remember the priests came from the tribe of Levi and Christ came from the tribe of Judah). If Christ will be a priest while on His throne, but will not be a priest on earth, then His throne will not be on the earth.


There are many other ways the prophets disprove man’s theory of premillennialism, but that is the subject of another writer of this book. The above are simply offered to show how the system of premillennialism does not fit with the passages dealing with “the Branch.”



There are many valuable lessons for us from the writings of the prophets. Below a few of them are stated as related to the subject of “Christ, the Branch.”


1) God is true to His promise. He promised that Christ would come through the lineage of David. (see II Samuel 7:12-13, Isaiah 11:1, Amos 9:11-12). God was true to His promise.


2) God’s care for His people. Although God’s people turned from Him, He still loved them and left a remnant. When man truly repented of his sins, God allowed him to come back into His fellowship.


3) The greatness of the church is seen in that it is the Lord’s temple. “The Branch” that was to come would build the Lord’s temple. This temple is the church of God (I Corinthians 1:1-2, 3:16-17).


4) Jesus Christ rules in righteousness. Jeremiah states: “In those days, and at that time, will I cause the Branch of righteousness to grow up unto David; and he shall execute judgment and righteousness in the land” (Jeremiah 33:15). The Hebrew writer says He rules in righteousness. “But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom. Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows” (Hebrews 1:8-9). America, and all the world, need to love righteousness and hate iniquity.


5) Christ is exalted. Zechariah states that the Branch would bear the glory of the Lord’s temple. May we glorify God in the church (Ephesians 3:20-21).



Although God’s people had turned away from Him and gave in to idolatry and been greatly reduced, a rod or shoot did come out of the stem of Jesse and a Branch did grow out of his roots. The world has been blessed by this Branch. Today, He offers salvation to all that come to Him. One day, He will return to receive the church unto Himself (Ephesians 5:25-27). May we love Him, honor Him, and obey Him.




William Wilson, Wilson’s Old Testament Word Studies; (Peabody, Hendrickson Publishers, N.D.), 48


William Edward Biederwolf, The Millennium Bible, (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1964), 59


W.E. Blackstone, Jesus Is Coming, (Old Tappen, N.J.: Fleming H. Revell, 1932), 162

Ibid, 167





B. B. Brother




“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Tim. 3:16–17).


The Bible has greatly influenced the world. It has found its way into the homes of the small and the great, to the unlearned and the highly educated. It has comforted more people in the time of sorrow than any other words from mankind. It serves as a moral compass for those weary of sin. Those who heed its message find a life filled with purpose and spiritual happiness. It truly has blessed mankind. Yet, it also sends out stern warnings to those who disobey its teachings. “To the one we are the savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things” (2 Cor. 2:16).


The Bible is different from any other book because it is the inspired Word of God. What is meant by the phrase “the inspiration of God?” Let’s look a little closer.




The word “inspiration,” comes from the Greek word “theopneustos” and literally means, “Divinely breathed in.” (Strong) In fact the English words, “given by inspiration of God,” found in 2 Tim. 3:16, come from the one (compound), Greek word “theopneustos.” This wonderful Book, called the Bible (biblos cf. Mat. 1:1), has come to us from God (Deity). It is not the literary work of a man or group of men. The Hebrews’ writer expressed it this way – “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds” (Heb.1:1–2). God has spoken. The Bible is the result of God speaking.




“The starting point in the discussion of the inspiration of inspiration is the claim of the Scriptures themselves. It is only proper that the Bible should be permitted to witness about its own nature. Once the claim is understood clearly, the character and credentials should be checked carefully; but the Scriptures should not be denied the opportunity to testify on their own behalf (Geisler & Nix 33)


The writers of the Bible claimed that the words they were speaking (or writing), did not originate with them. The phrase “thus saith the Lord” (and its equivalents, i.e. “God spake” and/ or “God said”), appears literally hundreds of times in the Bible. The writers and speakers of the message were thereby claiming their messages did not originate with themselves, but from God Himself. Additionally, the Scriptures explicitly claim to be Divinely inspired. As noted earlier, Paul stated; “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works”(2 Tim. 3:16–17). Though Paul, in this verse does not explain how the Scriptures are inspired, he nonetheless claims they are inspired. Likewise the Apostle Peter stated; “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost” (2 Peter 1:20–21). Peter is affirming that the scriptures did not come about as the result of man’s private interpretation. If they did not originate by man’s private interpretation, then how did they come to us? “Holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” These are some of the many passages, which explicitly claim inspiration for the Scriptures.

In addition to the implicit and explicit claims of the inspiration of the Scriptures, one also finds a illustration of inspiration. Luke records Peter’s statement regarding Judas, “Men and brethren, this scripture must needs have been fulfilled, which the Holy Ghost by the mouth of David spake before concerning Judas, which was guide to them that took Jesus” (Acts 1:16). Notice that “the Scripture” which was fulfilled was the results of “the Holy Ghost” speaking by the “mouth of David.” What David spoke was from the Holy Spirit (recorded in Psalms), and is called “Scripture.” This is a clear illustration of “Divine inspiration.”




False Views:


When discussing “inspiration” one must realize that what he means by “inspiration” may not be what the next man means, although he uses the same term. Modernism teaches the Bible is a compilation of men writing history and rejects much (or all) of the Divine revelation. Such false views as above leaves man to direct his own steps, which Jeremiah affirms that man is not capable of doing. Jeremiah wrote; “O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps.” (Jer.10:23).


Biblical View:


The Bible not only claims to be inspired (God breathed), it also tells one how it is inspired.


Verbal: The Scriptures claim to be verbally inspired, meaning God gave the writers the very words He wanted them to say. Both the Old and New Testaments claim verbal inspiration. David affirmed; “The Spirit of the LORD spake by me, and his word was in my tongue” (2 Sam. 23:2). God’s Word was in David’s tongue. Likewise, the prophet Jeremiah stated; “Then the LORD put forth his hand, and touched my mouth. And the LORD said unto me, Behold, I have put my words in thy mouth” (Jer. 1:9). Jesus promised the apostles when they went forth preaching His word, and when they were brought before those in authority, that they (inspired men) would be given the very words to say. Jesus said:


Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues; and ye shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles. But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak. For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you (Mat.10:16–20).


One should take note of the fact that the words would be given to these inspired men. It was not they who spoke, “but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you.” The apostle Paul claimed verbal inspiration, as seen in the following: “Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual” (1 Cor. 2:12–13).


Authoritative: Jesus, the apostles, and all faithful disciples looked to the Word of God as their authority. When Jesus was tempted, He appealed to the authority of the Scriptures. When Jesus was questioned by His critics, He appealed to the Scriptures (cf. Mat. 22:29-46). Even a causal reading of the Scriptures show how the apostles and others looked to God’s Word for their authority. Paul wrote; “And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him” (Col. 3:17).


Plenary: The Scriptures are full and completely inspired. Paul wrote; “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Tim. 3:16–17). Likewise, Jesus stated; “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.” (Matt 5:17–18). “The ‘jot’ was the smallest Hebrew letter, and the ‘tittle’ was the projection on certain Hebrew letters.”(Thompson and Harris, 132). Jesus taught the Scriptures were plenarily inspired!


Complete: The Scriptures are complete. The Old Testament foretells the New Testament and the New Testament fulfills and confirms the Old Testament. Jesus placed His endorsement on Old Testament events such as the creation (see Mat. 19:1-6), the flood (see Mat. 24:37-ff), Lot (see Luke 17:28), and many others. He placed His stamp of approval on the complete Old Testament (see Luke 24:27, 44). The New Testament is likewise complete. Prior to Jesus ascension back into heaven, He promised the Apostles that the Holy Spirit would guide them “into all truth.” John records; “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come” (John 16:13). Peter wrote that God has given us all things pertaining to life and godliness – “According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue” (2 Pet 1:3).


The Scriptures are the verbally, inerrant, plenary inspired Word of God. Strong warnings are placed near the beginning, the middle and end of the Divine revelation relative to adding to, taking away or altering the Word of God. Near the beginning of the Bible, Moses wrote; “Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you” (Deut. 4:2). Near the middle of the Scriptures, the Proverbs writer stated; “Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar” (Pro. 30:5–6). Then near the end of the Divine Book, John warned; “For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book” (Rev 22:18–19). Likewise Paul stated that a curse from God would be upon anyone who altered the Divine message. He wrote; “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed” (Gal 1:8–9).




ITS UNITY: The Bible is an amazing Book. Though written over a period of some 1600 years, by about 40 different human writers, living in different times and different places, it has a remarkable unity. George DeHoff observed:


The Bible consists of sixty-six books written by forty different men over a period of sixteen hundred years. It was written by kings, soldiers, shepherds, farmers and fishermen. It was begun by Moses in the lonely desert of Arabia and finished by John on the Isle of Patmos. Some of it was written in king’s palaces, some in shepherds’ tents, some beside still waters and part of it was written in prison. Part of the Bible was written by highly educated men and part of it was written by unlearned fishermen. It was written in different languages and different countries. Yet, when all the books of the Bible are brought together they blend into one great whole. They are a unit, hence The Book. There are no contradictions; there is no discord. It is never necessary to rewrite the Bible and bring it up to date. It is always up to date and was free from error from the beginning. These men could have written such a book only by divine guidance. Just as the materials for Solomon’s temple joined perfectly together because they were prepared under the direction of a great architect, so the books of the Bible blend harmoniously because they were written under the direction of the Holy Spirit of God (DeHoff 102,103).


Prophecy and Fulfillment: Prophets were God’s inspired spokesmen. They were both forth-tellers and fore-tellers. The work of the prophet was not always to foretell future events. They, at times, in fact much of the time, were forth-tellers of God’s Word, calling on the wayward to repent and encouraging the faithful. However, sometimes they did foretell things were to transpire many years later. A study of the various types along with their antitypes aid in the proving the inspiration of the Bible. A classic example, although we will not go into detail here, is the tabernacle as a type of the church and even heaven itself. The Passover lamb typified the Lamb of God who took away the sin of the world. In addition to the types and antitypes, there are the more familiar passages of Scriptures that foretell certain events and/or persons. Cyrus, for an example was mentioned by name over one hundred years before he was born and it was prophesied that he would allow the Jews to return to their homeland Israel. This was prophesied in Isaiah chapters 44 and 45 and was fulfilled during the time of Ezra (cf. 2 Chronicles 36, Ezra 1). Even secular historians refer to Cyrus allowing the Jews to return to their homeland. Isaiah prophesied of this over one hundred years before Cyrus was even born! Then there are the hundreds of Scriptures that foretold the events of Jesus’ live and death. Jesus fulfilled the prophecies minutely. Lest one says Jesus simply read about these prophesies and then made them come to pass, it should be observed that it would be impossible for one to choose the place where he is to be born (Bethlehem cf. Micah 5:2, Mat. 2:5-6). Neither could Jesus have chosen the things that would happen to Him after He was put to death! Yet these things were prophesied and fulfilled to the letter (no bone being broken, the piercing of His side, burial with the rich, His resurrection on the third day, etc., etc.).


Historical & Geographical Accuracy: Dealing with the historical accuracy of the Book of Acts, Wayne Jackson noted:


In Acts, Luke mentions thirty-two countries, fifty-four cities, and nine Mediterranean islands. He also mentions ninety-five persons, sixty-two of which are not named elsewhere in the New Testament. And his references, where checkable, are always correct. This is truly remarkable in view of the fact that the political-territorial situation of his day was in a constant flux. How does one account for Luke’s precision? Inspiration! (Jackson 27,28).



Scientific Accuracy: While it is true that the Scriptures were not written as a Science textbook, it is true that when the Scriptures speak of scientific matters it is always accurate. While in times past, people thought the world was flat, the Scriptures did not follow popular erroneous opinion. Isaiah wrote; “It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in” (Isa 40:22). God knew the earth is round and the only way Isaiah could have known it is God told him. Man had all sorts of false theories as to what holds up the earth. Job, however, made this true pre-scientific statement – “He stretcheth out the north over the empty place, and hangeth the earth upon nothing” (Job 26:7). How did Job know that God hangs the earth upon nothing? Inspiration! After reading Psalm 8:8, Matthew Fontaine Maury discovered there are in fact “paths of the seas,” just as the Psalmist declared. While Science books have to be corrected from time to time, the Scriptures are always scientifically accurate.




What are the ramifications of the Scriptures being the inspired Word of God? If the Scriptures are in fact inspired of God, then God exists, His Word is true, there is an objective standard of right or wrong, it is true that man has sinned and is in need of a Savior, that God has provided that Savior whose name is Jesus, there is a heaven to gain and a hell to shun.

It is not enough to believe the Scriptures are inspired of God. One must submit to their teachings. In so doing he will believe that Jesus is the Son of God (John 8:24), repent of his sins (Luke 13:3), confess the Christ (Acts 8:37, Rom. 10:10), and be immersed in water for the remission of his sins (Acts 2:38). The Lord will add him to “the church” (Acts 2:47), of which Jesus is “the head” and its “Savior” (Eph. 1:22-23, 5:23).




What a remarkable book, the Bible! It is unique! It alone is the verbally, plenary, inerrant, complete Word of God. In its rich pages one learns the answers to life’s most intriguing questions: (1) From whence did I come, (2) Why am I here, and (3) Where am I going?

Read it to be wise. Obey it to be saved.






All Scriptures references are from the King James Version unless otherwise indicated.



Works Cited


Bert Thompson and Brad Harrub, Investigating Christian Evidences, Montgomery, AL, Apologetics Press, 2003.


George W. DeHoff, Why We Believe The Bible, Murfreesboro, TN, DeHoff Publications, 1990.


Norman L. Geisler, William E. Nix, A General Introduction To The Bible,” Chicago, IL, Moddy Press, 1986.

Wayne Jackson, The Bible on Trial, Stockton, CA, Christian Courier Publication, 2009.


Strong’s Lexicon, Accordance Bible Program




The Bible is a very big book.  Actually, it is a library of 66 different books. There are 39 books in the Old Testament and 27 books in the New Testament. These books are all joined together because they have one common theme.  This theme is God’s plan to save man from his sins through Jesus Christ.  The first 39 books, the Old Testament, tell us that “Christ is coming.”  The first four books of the New Testament tell us that “Christ has come.”  The last 23 books of the New Testament tell us that “Christ is coming again.”
 In order to understand the Bible properly, one needs to ask five questions as he reads: (1) Who is speaking? (2) Who is spoken to? (3) When is he speaking? (4) What type of language is the speaker using? (5) What are the circumstances or conditions under which he is speaking?  If one can answer these five questions correctly, it will help him to understand the Word of God clearly.


Who is speaking?


     Everything in the Bible was written by men who were inspired by God. However, these inspired writers sometimes recorded by inspiration the words of evil men.  Even the words of Satan are found in the Bible (See Job 1:9-11; 2:4,5; Matthew 4:3,6,9).  These words are accurately recorded, but they are not recommended for us to follow today.  If one asks, “Who is speaking?” it will help him to know whether the words he is reading are words he should obey.


Who is spoken to?


     In Genesis 6:14, we have the following commandment of God: “Make yourself an ark of gopher wood.”  Is it necessary for us today to build a ship out of gopher wood in order to please God?   No, God does not want us to do this.  This command was given to Noah.  It was necessary for him to obey it in order to be saved from the great flood which God was going to send on all the world.  But this command does not apply to us today.  If we answer correctly, “Who is spoken to?” we will see this command was meant only for Noah.


When is the Bible writer speaking?


     Is the writer speaking to people such as Abraham and Isaac who lived in the Patriarchal Age when God revealed His will directly to the fathers?   Or, is he speaking to the people of Israel who lived under the Law God gave to Moses at Mt. Sinai?   Or, is he speaking to people today who live under the Law of Christ, which is the New Testament?
In the days of the Law of Moses under which Israel lived, animal sacrifices, sabbath keeping, special feast days, instrumental music and choirs and a special priesthood were all a part of required worship (Exodus 20:8-11; Leviticus 23; 1 Chronicles 25; 2 Chronicles 29:25; Psalm 150).  But Jesus fulfilled the Law, Psalms, and Prophets [the Old Testament] (Luke 24:44).  He has taken it away (Colossians 2:14).  Today, all men live under the Law of Christ, which is the New Testament (Hebrews 8:6-13).  If we ask, “When is he speaking?” it will let us see that these Old Testament laws of worship are not for us.  We must go to the New Testament to find how God wants us to worship Him today.


What type of language is the inspired writer using?


     All human languages have two types of speech:  literal and figurative. Literal language is the type which is found in the historical books of the Bible such as Genesis and Exodus, the book of Acts, etc. It is fact. Literal words must be understood to have their actual meaning.  In literal language, if a sheep is mentioned, it means a four legged animal which has wool on its back.
Figurative language is different. Words are used to represent ideas or  thoughts which are different from the actual meaning of the word.  For example: a sheep or lamb may be spoken of, but an animal is not meant. It is being used to represent something else which has some of the qualities of a sheep or lamb. Jesus was a man.  He is the Son of God.  But in figurative language in the Bible, He is sometimes spoken of as a lamb.  John the Baptist said of Jesus: “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29)! Lambs were used for sin offerings under the Law of Moses. John did not mean that Jesus was an actual lamb. But he meant that Jesus would be the offering for our sins.




What are the conditions or circumstances in which this writing is given?


     If we know the circumstances surrounding the writer at the time he writes, it will help us to understand what he is saying.  For example:  many people have great difficulty understanding the book of Revelation.  But if we know the circumstances under which the book was given, it will help us to understand its message. The writer of Revelation was John, the apostle.  He had been imprisoned by the Roman government on a rocky island called Patmos. This was done because he was a Christian. The heathen Roman government was persecuting the church of Christ near the end of the first century (about A.D. 95  to 100). The things which were revealed to John were “things which must shortly take place” (Revelation 1:1). The book of Revelation was intended to encourage those Christians who were being persecuted in the first century (Revelation 2:7,11,17,26; 3:5, 12, 21). Any time that Christians are persecuted, they can gain great encouragement from studying the book of Revelation.
The Bible is God’s inspired Book. It is His revelation to mankind.  But in order for us to understand the Bible, we must learn how to study it properly. We must “rightly divide the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). If we will ask these five simple questions as we study, we will find that we can indeed understand God’s Book!












Truth For The World





B. B. Brother




David exclaimed; “When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which Thou has ordained; What is man, that Thou art mindful of him? And the son of man, that Thou visitest him” (Psm. 8:3-4). David, being a shepherd, would have had many occasions to gaze upon the host of heaven (the moon and the stars), at night and behold its beauty. Upon contemplation of the heavens, he recognized they were the product of God’s creative handiwork. David realized the magnificence of God and of His creation. This same man penned; “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth His handy-work” (Psm. 19:1). Each person should stand in awe of God as he considers God’s creation. “I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well” (Psm. 139:14).


Genesis chapters one and two record the creation of the world. Someone has observed that the Bible is the only Book that can inform man of three very important bits of information; (1) From whence he came, (2) Why he is here and, (3) Where he is going. One’s attitude toward these three questions will determine his actions. If one believes that he came from slime rather than the sublime, he will act accordingly. If, however, he genuinely believes there is a Creator and that there is a divine purpose in life, then he will seek out that purpose and have meaning in his life. Genesis chapters one and two reveal God as our Creator.


Regarding Genesis one, Franklin Camp observed,


Perhaps a good title for this chapter would be “God-Centered.” The name of God is specifically referred to thirty–two times in this chapter. We read in verse one that “God created,” in verse two that “God moved,” in verse 3 that “God said,” in verse 4 that “God saw,” in verse 4 that “God divided (sic) in verse 5 that “God called,” in verse 7 that “God made,” in verse 17 that “God set,” in verse 21 that “God created,” and in verse 22 that “God blessed.” The phrase that “God said” is used ten times in Genesis 1.


The book of Genesis serves as the foundation for the rest of the Bible. If it is not true, then the rest of the Bible falls dues to its faulty foundation. If, on the other hand, Genesis is true then we have, as this Lectureship’s theme states, “Foundational Truth and the Unfolding of God’s Plan of Redemption.” Some have asserted that Genesis (especially chapters one through eleven), is not literal nor an historical record. Some would have people believe that Genesis is myth, allegorical or a poem. In refutation of this, Bert Thompson listed several reasons why Genesis is an historical, literal account and not mythical or a poem.


1. The style of these early chapters does not suggest such.

2. Jesus viewed them as historical (Matt. 19:4-6, John 5:46-47, Matt. 5:18, 23:35)

3. The inspired writers of the New Testament regarded the events of Genesis as historical.

4. Because of Genesis’ relation to the human redemption (man’s fall and God’s redemptive acts).

5. Because of the importance that Genesis plays in presenting and tracing the Messianic seed–line through history (Gen. 3:1-15).


Regarding the historicity of Genesis, Keil and Delitzsch observed;


The account of the creation, its commencement, progress, and completion, bears the marks, both in form and substance, as a historical document in which it is intended that we should accept as actual truth, not only the assertion that God created the heavens, and the earth, and all that lives and moves in the world, but also the description of the creation itself in all its several stages.


Genesis one and two are literal and historical. They record for us the creation of all things. In these two chapters one will find the foundation for the rest of God’s inspired revelation to mankind. It indeed is an interesting and valuable study.




As one opens his Bible he reads a very concise, but powerful statement – “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth” (Gen. 1:1).


Genesis sets the stage for the method and the manner of the teaching of the Bible. Note its simplicity and its breadth. It is simple enough for a child to understand and yet covers the whole matter of creation. This is an indication of the inspiration of the Bible. Man would never have conceived of stating, in such a simply way, things that have to do with creation, the introduction of God to man, and the discussion of creation as is set forth in this chapter. And yet, while it is stated in simple terms, it also has breadth that covers all that men will ever need to know concerning the matter. The first conception that one forms of God is based on Genesis 1. Since this is true, one can understand why this chapter is so important. A false conception of Genesis 1 leads to a false conception of God.


God is back of all things. He is eternal and is the First Great Cause (Psm. 90:2). When the beginning, began, God was already there. Guy N. Woods stated it the following way; “He who was in the beginning, did not begin, when the beginning began.” The beginning has reference to the creation of all things, including time, as we know it.


“In the beginning” is supported by scientific principles, which demand that there be a beginning. Matter is not eternal. The only two ultimate alternatives to explain the existence of the universe is (1) matter created itself, or (2) God created it. It is illogical and unscientific to affirm the first; it is both logical and scientific to affirm the second alternative.


The word “God” is from the Hebrew word “Elohim.” This word is plural in form. However, the text is not affirming there are three gods. There are many passages that affirm there is but “one God” (cf. Mal. 2:10). However, there is more that one person in the Godhead. The Bible teaches there are three distinct personalities in the Godhead. There is God, the Father (John 3:16), God, the Son (John 1:1-3), and God, the Holy Spirit (Acts 5:3-4). The word “God” denotes Deity and not number. There is one God (Divine nature), but three persons who possess this one Divine nature.


“Created” is from the word “bara.” Only God is able to create in the strictest sense. Only He can bring into existence something out of nothing. God “created” and “made” this world. He brought material into existence out of nothing, and also shaped the material that was brought into existence. Man cannot “create” material, he can only reshape such.


The heaven and the earth is that which God created. The heaven (heavens A.S.V.), refers to space, and the earth refers to the land (matter). Herbert Spencer noted five scientific principles that are contained in Genesis 1:1 – (1) “in the beginning” – time, (2) “God” – Force; (3) “created” – motion, (4) “the heaven” – space, (5) “earth” – matter.


At this point the earth was without form and void and darkness was upon the face of the deep. Light had not yet been created and the earth was “waste and void” (A.S.V.). The earth was without arrangement at this point. The “deep” has reference to the waters. The Spirit of God moved (or brooded), upon the face of the waters. The Spirit of God would brood upon the face of the waters throughout the entire creation days to bring about order and completion. “By his spirit he hath garnished the heavens; his hand hath formed the crooked serpent” (Job 26:13). The Bible teaches that all three persons of the Godhead were active in the creation. Two persons of the Godhead have already been noted in the text (the Father and the Spirit). John also informs us that Jesus, was active in the creation – “All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made” (John 1:3).

Gap Theory: Some teach there was a big gap in time between the first two verses of Genesis 1. This, of course, is very popular for those who want to believe the earth is very old, and seek to find a place for the so-called “geologic ages.” This would “harmonize” the “differences” between Genesis and Geology. The theory is that God created the world (Gen. 1:1), then (some teach), there was a rebellion involving Satan and a pre-adamic race one earth and God destroyed that world and then later “re-created” the present world in six literal 24 hour days. So it is alleged that the world could be billions of years old (per the geological record used by the evolutionists).

A couple of the arguments for the “Gap Theory” are: (1) The (mis)use of the words “bara” (create), and “asah” (made). It is alleged that since the word “bara” means to create, God first created the world (Gen. 1:1), but He destroyed it, then He had to re-make (“asah”) the world. (2) It is also alleged that the word translated “was” in Gen. 1:2 should be translated “became.” They would have the verse to read “And the earth became without form,” indicating a perfect creation at first but then a destruction.


Gap Theory Refuted: First, the words “bara” and “asah” are used interchangeably when used of God. God said “let us make man….” (Gen. 1:26), yet God “created man…” (Gen. 1:27). God did not “create” Adam, then destroy him and “make” him again. The same is stated regarding the heavens and the earth. God “created” the heavens and the earth, yet He “made” the heavens and the earth – “These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens” (Gen. 2:4). The words are used interchangeably when used of God. Second, there is nothing in the context that suggests a “gap” between the verses (or the ones following for that matter). Notice the word “and” in verse two, which shows a continuation of the previous words in verse one. No one would conceive of a “gap theory” simply by reading the text. Third, there are no scholarly translations that translate the word “was” as “became” in verse two. Fourth, Exodus 20:11 clearly states that everything that was created was created in the six days of Genesis one – “For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.” Fifth, Jesus stated , “But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female” (Mark 10:6). Male and Female were made “from the beginning.” Obviously, Jesus did not believe a gap existed – a long period of time – between these two verses.



Here is the first recording of God speaking. Illustrated here also is the power of God’s word. The world came into existence by God speaking it into existence. The Psalmist declared; “By the word of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth” (Psm. 33:6). And, “for he spake, and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast” (Psm. 33:9). God brought light into existence and then separated it from the darkness, thereby creating the first day. There is a period of light and a period of darkness. The earth must be rotating on its axis at this time. God defines His terms of morning and evening as “the first day.”


Day Age Theory: Again some evidently not satisfied with simple Biblical truth, look for long periods of time for creation. The “Day Age Theory” affirms that the six days of Genesis one could have been long periods of time.

Day Age Theory Refuted: We agree that the days could have been long periods of time, if that is what God wanted. However, God tells us of what the day consisted – the evening and the morning, (a 24 hour period). Second, the Hebrew word for day (yom), when preceded by a numeral always means a 24 hour period in a non-prophetic usage. Third, Adam was created on the sixth day. If a day was thousands of years, we ask – “Did Adam live to see the seventh day?” Fourth, the Jewish observance of the Sabbath day shows that the days of Genesis one were 24 hour days. Moses wrote; “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it” (Exod. 20:8-11). The Jews were to start observing the sabbath day because the Lord observed a day of rest at the end of His creation week. How long did they rest? What ever amount of time the Jews were to rest, would be the same amount of time of the seventh day of the creation week. Since they rested 24 hours, the seventh day of creation week must have been 24 hours.



The firmament is a “expanse of atmosphere .” “One the second day of creation, the waters covering the earth’s surface were divided into two great reservoirs – one below the firmament and one above, the firmament being the expanse above the earth now corresponding to the troposphere.” Curtis A. Cates writes;


Please notice that the waters below the firmament were divided from the waters which were above, not in, the firmament. One must not confuse this firmament [the atmosphere] with the firmament where the stars exist (1:16,17); or with the intermediate state, where Lazarus went (Luke 16:19-31); or with the heaven of heavens, where God’s throne exists (John 14:1-3; I Kings 8:27). The firmament is where the birds fly.




God now called for the waters to be gathered together into one place and the dry land appeared. This could have been done by depression and elevation. Regarding the water being gathered together into one place and the seas (plural), Coffman observes;

The waters were gather together into one place. An examination of a world map shows that all the seas are connected. Literally in one place; yet there are divisions which make it possible to correctly use the plural (seas). This is one of the many indications of the divine inspiration of the account given by Moses. Neither Moses, nor any other writer of that ancient time, had personal knowledge that could have led to such a statement.


We, of course, must keep in mind that since the time of creation there has also been a catastrophic event – the universal flood. God’s creative acts were good (verse 10).


After caused the dry land to appear, He then created vegetation. This is the first life on earth. It is interesting to notice that life first appeared on the dry land and not in the water (as claimed by the evolutionist). God put within the plants the ability to reproduce. Each plant life would produce seed “after his kind.” God, however, placed limitation in reproduction. Although mutations can occur within its “kind,” it is always harmful rather than helpful. Again, this is contrary to the teaching of evolution!


In verse 11 occurs the first mention of both “seed” and “kind.” Implanted in each created organism was a “seed,” programed to enable the continuing replication of that type of organism. The modern understanding of the extreme complexities of the so-called DNA molecule and the genetic code contained in it has reinforced the Biblical teaching of the stability of kinds. There is a tremendous amount of variational potential within each kind, facilitating the generation of distinct individuals and even many varieties within the kind, but nevertheless precluding the evolution of new kinds! A great deal of “horizontal” variation is easily possible, but no “vertical” changes.


Everything was created full grown. Therefore, even though plant life would be only one second old after creation, the apparent age would be quite different.




An interesting question arises from an observation of the light that was created on the first day and two great lights which God made on the fourth day. What was the light on the first day? It was observed earlier that there was a morning and an evening which equaled a “day.” This light must have been universal. Henry Morris explains;


On the first day, He said: “Let there be light!” (Hebrew or). On the fourth day, He said: “Let there be lights” (or light-givers, Hebrew ma-or). Intrinsic light first, then generators or light later, is the both logical and the Bible order. The chief purpose of both the light of the first three days and the light-givers of all later days was to “divide the light from the darkness” (verses 4, 18). The duration of the days and night was the same in each case, and the directions of light of light emanation on the earth from space must have been the same in each case.


In other words, God created light instantaneously, as though it emanated from the sun on the first day and then created the generator (sun) for it on the fourth day. God did not set up so sort of temporary light for the first three days and then destroy it to make the “other light” on the fourth day. Curtis A. Cates stated;


…Might not God have created localized light to come to earth as if from the sun and then three days later to create the sun, when he created the other stars, whereby he could keep the electro-magnetic radiation coming and thus be able to “walk off and leave it?” When one realizes that God created the stars, the host of heaven, on day four for man’s benefit, to be “for signs, and for seasons, and for days and years,” “to give light upon the earth” (Genesis 1:14,15), he sees the necessity of God’s having created the stars as well as the light for those stars as if the light had emanated from them for billions of years. Else, Adam would have seen very, very, few stars. An appropriate question is, “What would be most difficult for God” Create the sun first, the light first, or both at the same time? Which is less difficult for God? … The light created on day one must have been of the same nature and in the same degree as that produced by the sun on day four. The sun would simply be God’s method of giving the light permanence, producing and governing the light through the laws of nature.


These lights were for the purpose of “signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years.” “Signs” perhaps indicates the various star groupings. The seasons would be the various times of the year. Even it the canopy idea is true (and that it provided a much warmer climate universally), there could still be slight various of seasons in the year. Then, of course, there are the “days” and “years.”




Where the King James Version has “let the waters bring forth,” the American Standard Version records, “Let the waters swarm with swarms of living creatures.” Waters are now swarming with life. The amount of life found in a single drop of water is staggering to the mind. How small this life is, yet it is life! Not only are the bodies of water swarming with fish and living creatures, the heavens now have the various winged fowls flying in them. Again it is noted that everything was made “after their kind.” “And God saw that it was good.”




The sea and the air now being filled with life, God next created the land animals, both small and great. After this, something remarkable is stated; “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth” (Gen. 1:26). Man is distinct from the rest of God’s creation in that he is created in God’s image. Notice that God said “let us…” indicating the other two persons of the Godhead are active in creation.


Man is the offspring of God – “Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device” (Acts 17:29). While our physical bodies come from our parents, with some likenesses to them, it is God that forms the spirit within man (Zech. 12:1). God is called “the Father of spirits” (Heb. 12:9). Consequently, man has a spirit that survives the death of his body. Man’s spirit will exist eternally either in heaven or in hell. When the spirit departs from the body, the body dies, but the spirit continue to live. James wrote; “For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also” (James 2:26).

Man, being in the image of God, is a moral being. He has the ability to choose right or wrong (Josh. 24:15). He has the ability to worship his Creator. This is an observable universal trait and is uniquely human. Wherever mankind has lived, there have been evidences of his worshiping some higher being. Animals do not have this sense of “ought,” as does man. Not only was man created in the image of God, but he was given dominion over the creation. He also was commanded to be fruitful and multiple and replenish the earth. The word “replenish” is from an Hebrew word which means “to fill or be filled.” Man and animals were told to eat of every herb bearing seed. After the flood, man will begin to eat meat, in addition to the herbs.


Chapter one ends with this observation – “And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day” (Gen 1:31).




Moses records the summary of the creation week and states that God “rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had made.” The word “rested” simply means to “cease.” God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it because in it He “had rested.” It should be remembered that Moses is writing history. Also, one should notice that the blessing and the sanctifying of the seventh day did not take place the same time of God resting. The text says that God blessed it and sanctified the seventh day because in it He “had rested.” God rested on the seventh day of the week of creation and then later He blessed it and sanctified it. The word “sabbath” occurs the for the first time in Exodus 16:23 and is limited to one dispensation (the Jewish – or Mosaic – dispensation). The Jews were given the sabbath due to their rest from their Egyptian captivity. It was made known to them on Mount Sinai (Cf. Deut. 5:2,3,15; Neh. 9:13,14; Ezek. 20:10-13). Consequently, the sabbath was not observed from creation (as claimed by the Sabbatarians), but from the time of Mount Sinai.




Liberal critics assert that Genesis has two creation accounts. From this it is argued that there are two different authors. Wayne Jackson reviews these critics by stating;


The two records are supposed to involve Genesis 1:1-2:3 and Genesis 2:4-25. One author has written: “… it is evident that the Pentateuch cannot be the continuous work of a single author. This is shown by the existence of two differing accounts (doublets) of the same event: thus e.g. the story of creation in Gen. 1 and 2:4-ff….”


What these critics fail to realize is that Chapter two is a sequel to chapter one and gives more details in certain areas. It is not a contradiction or a different creation account by another author. One brother likened it to an “instant replay,” where the cameraman allows the viewer to go back and see an event in greater detail.



The word “generation” (toledoth), occurs ten times in the Book of Genesis. “Generation” is simply a heading to indicate the history of a people or event. The ten generations indicating the ten sections found in Genesis are as follows:


1. Generations of Heaven and Earth: 2:4 – 4:26

2. Generations of Adam: 5:1- 6:8

3. Generations of Noah: 6:9 – 9:22

4. Generations of the Sons of Noah: 10:1 – 11:9

5. Generations of Shem: 11:10 – 26

6. Generations of Terah: 11:27 – 25:11

7. Generations of Ishmael: 25:12 – 18

8. Generations of Isaac: 25:19 – 35:29

9. Generations of Esau: 36:1 – 37:1

10. Generations of Jacob: 37:2 – 50:26


As stated in the text, it had not rained, but a midst went up from the earth and watered the whole face of the ground. Just how long this condition lasted cannot be stated with certainty. However, it might be argued that such a condition lasted until after the flood, due to the fact that a rainbow was used a sign, which may indicate that it was seen following the flood for the very first time. Verse seven tells us that man was created from the dust of the ground and God breathed into man’s nostrils the breath of life and he became a living soul (animated). The reference here is not to man’s eternal spirit, but to the life principle. Breath of life is also affirmed of the lower animals (1:30, 7:22). Man, of course, does have a spirit that continues after death (as previously noted).




God prepared a “paradise” for the man whom he had created. It is seen from this that God desires to bless man. When man arrived on the earth, everything was ready for him. The location of this garden is uncertain. God had all things prepared for man, including the food that he was to eat. Two particular trees are mention in the text; (1) the tree of life and, (2) the tree of knowledge of good and evil. The tree of life was a source of life for those that would eat of it. Since the fall of man, he no longer has access to this tree but it is found again in heaven (Rev. 21-22). Man could eat of every tree, except the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Man was told that in the day he ate of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, he would surely die. Man was not created immortal for he had to eat of the tree of life in order to stay alive, and this would not be true if he were immortal by nature. Also, he would die as a result of being separated from the tree of life. Man, from his very creation, had the ability to choose. He was commanded not to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil and was informed of the consequence if he did eat of it.


Adam must have known between good and evil since God told him not to eat of the forbidden tree. He must have been able to distinguish between knowing to eat of the tree or not to eat of the tree. However, Adam did not know evil in the sense of participating in such. Once he ate of it, he knew of good and evil in another sense (a practical sense, having violated God’s law).


A river went out of Eden to water the garden and then it parted and became four heads. The four rivers are “Pison,” “Gihon,” “Hiddekel,” (or Tigris), and the “Euphrates.”Of all these rivers, the Euphrates is the most familiar to Bible students. The Pison and Gihon rivers cannot be located with any certainty, while it is thought that the Tigris and Euphrates can be located generally, although one should keep in mind that time and the flood have changed things.


Adam was placed in the garden with the charge of dressing and keeping the garden. It is worthy of notice that God did not intend for man to be lazy. God did not do for man, what man was capable of doing for himself. Man was to work even before sin entered into the world. Consequently, work in general is not a punishment for man sinning (although after the fall his work would be much more difficult cf. Gen. 3).


What death is indicated by the phrase, “for in the day thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die?” Although, there are good, sound brethren who disagree, it is my studied opinion that this death is spiritual in nature. The death indicated here would be separation from God’s fellowship. Sin is that which separates us from God (Isa. 59:1-2). Those who live in sin are said to be “dead” while they are alive (I Tim. 5:6). The Ephesians had been those who were dead, but had been made alive (Eph. 2:1-3). Paul states that death has passed upon all men, for all have sinned (Rom. 5:12). Some, however, have died physically who have not sinned (i.e. babies). Paul wrote; “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom. 6:23). The death in this passage is in contrast to eternal life (spiritual), therefore the death must be spiritual. Some hold that God meant physical death. It is true that physical death is a consequence of sin, since we are separated from the tree of life. Since both spirit death and physical death are consequences of sin, this writer sees no violation done to the text with either view, but my personal view is that the death contemplated in Genesis 2:17 is spiritual death.




“This verse gives the background to the creation of Eve and introduces the narrative of her beginning.” God said it was not good for man to be alone and He would make an help meet for man. Man is a social creature. The word “help meet” is the idea of someone who is helpful to him. They (man and woman), would be suitable to each other.


Adam was given the responsibility of naming every creature. This indicates Adam is a very intelligent being. Adam could see that every living creature had a mate, but there was not found an help meet for him. God puts Adam to sleep and takes one of his ribs and from such makes a woman. She is brought unto him and Adam states that she is “… bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called woman, because she was taken out of man” (Gen. 2:23). The time of this context must have been on the sixth day of creation.


Recorded here is the divine origin of marriage. Man is to leave his parent’s home and cleave unto his wife. Obviously, more than Adam and Eve are contemplated here in that Adam had no father and mother to leave. Husband and wife are to be “one flesh.” “One flesh” indicates a closeness, a togetherness. Jesus endorsed this account as recorded in Matthew 19:4-6.


Adam and Eve originally were naked and unashamed in the garden of Eden. This was before they sinned. One of the side effects of sin is a sense of shame. Later, God would clothe them, not to keep them warm, but to cover them due to their shame.




A study of the book of Genesis is a rich and rewarding study. It is a book of beginnings. It sets the stage for the rest of God’s divine revelation. Jesus and the apostles often referred to the events of this book as both historical and literal. If Genesis is the foundation for the rest of the Bible (and it is), then one can readily see the importance of the first two chapters of the first book of the Bible. “In the beginning, God….”


Franklin Camp, Outline on Genesis, unpublished notes, p. 5.


Bert Thompson, Essays in Apologetics, vol. 1 (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics press, 1984), pp. 148 – 152.

C. F. Kiel and F. Delitzch, Commentary on the Old Testament, vol. 1 (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1991), p. 37.


Camp, p.5


Bob Winton, Outlined Commentary on Genesis, (Gallipolis, OH: Bob Winton, 1987), p.9.


Winton, pp. 9 – 10.


Ibid, p. 11


Curtis A. Cates, The Noahic Flood, (Olive Branch, MS: Cates Publication, 1994), p. 39. I recommend this book for a further discussion of the Water Vapor Canopy.

Winton, p. 12.


Henry M. Morris, The Genesis Record,(Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1992), p.63.

Ibid, p. 65.

Curtis A. Cates, “And God said, Let There Be Light,” Gospel Advocate Periodical, cxxv, (November 3, 1983), p. 644


Wayne Jackson, “Are There Two Creation Accounts In Genesis?,” Reason and Revelation, XI, (March, 1991), p.9.


Personal conversation with Curtis A. Cates.


Winton, p. 26.



Curtis A. Cates




The foundation of Christianity has been attacked viciously for two millennia and its Book divine assailed most ruthlessly; BUT, “…the scripture cannot be broken” (John 10:35)! In spite of the vehement attempts to chase the Creator out of His universe, “…there is [still] a God in heaven” (Dan. 2:28).


Not unexpectedly since Genesis 1-11 is the very bedrock of the case for Christianity, an avalanche of criticism has come upon 1) the creation, 2) the temptation and the fall, 3) the promise of the Messiah born of the virgin, and 4) the universal flood. Amazingly, though, the very arguments used against Christianity become among the most formidable foes against atheistic, and so-called “theistic” [though this is a misnomer] evolution, and among the great evidences of Christianity. The author knows of no arguments against Christianity which are not, in fact, rather some of the strongest of the defense that, “Thou art Jehovah, even thou alone; thou has made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, and the earth and all things that are thereon, the seas and all that is in them, and thou preservest them all; and the host of heaven worshippeth thee” (Neh. 9:6). One sees this very clearly in “the evidences for a global, catastrophic flood.”


The Issue


Absolutely insurmountable for the evolutionist is the problem of the origin of the universe. For many years, he felt secure in his supposition that matter [the universe, or cosmos] is eternal and that “the present is the key to the past,” an unscientific philosophy and hypothesis known as uniformity. The scientific laws of thermodynamics, et al., explode the myth that the universe is eternal. Indeed, science is at a complete loss to make pronouncements regarding the origin of the universe.

The evolutionist, who practices his religion of Humanism [which includes atheism and evolution], must depend upon his faith in uniformity; that is, he postulates that present processes can be extrapolated into the past. In spite of the fact that the atheistic scientists claim to be objective and that they boast of the “proofs” and the “fact” of evolution, many evolutionists admit that they are very subjective, that they ignore the implications of “true science,” and that they practice “the religion of science.” Indeed, the “religion” of secular Humanism is being taught in public schools and universities at taxpayers’ expense, whereas one is absolutely forbidden to teach scientific creationism in the schools. The greatest farce [deception] being palmed off on youth is that God does not exist, that man is but a graduate beast, and that there are no moral absolutes!


In the “religion of science,” the uniformitarian claims to have developed an historical geologic timetable, a method of dating the rocks, and an evolutionary history of all life [from its springing into being from non-living matter to man], both plant and animal.


Of course, the above is in absolute conflict with the Bible. On the other hand, no conflict exists between scientific truth and Biblical truth. It exists only between scientism and the truth of the Word of God. The same Author of the Bible is the Creator and Sustainer of the universe. Truth is absolutely harmonious. The Bible speaks of catastrophism, that which accounts for great changes over a short period of time. Naturally, this is ruled out arbitrarily by the atheists [as they rule out God], for it does not fit their preconceived assumptions. Nonetheless, catastrophism is exactly what one sees in the geologic history of the earth!


The false religion of uniformity is exposed by Peter thus: “…in the last days mockers shall come with mockery, walking after their own lusts, and saying, Where is the promise of his coming? For, from the day that the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation [uniformitarianism]. For this they willfully forget that there were heavens from of old, and an earth compacted out of water and amidst water, by the word of God; by which means the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished [catastrophism]” (2 Pet. 3:3-6). If there is a God [and there is] who created the universe from nothing, creation ex nihilo [and He did], He can dip into the universe with catastrophic events anytime He wishes to suit His purposes [and He has]. When He sent the universal flood of Genesis 6-8, more destruction took place and more scientific implications developed than most have ever imagined. Though questions still exist in numerous areas, the discussion of the flood which follows seems to fit observed scientific data [not suppositions] and fits Biblical truth. Indeed, it explains amazingly many otherwise unanswered questions regarding such things as the age of the earth, the fossil record, the origin of coal and oil, the demise of the huge dinosaurs, the radical decrease in the age of man after the flood, the ice age, the Grand Canyon, etc.


The Fact of the Flood


The Psalmist wrote, “Bless Jehovah, O my soul…. Who laid the foundations of the earth, that it should not be moved forever. Thou coveredst it with the deep as with a vesture; The waters stood above the mountains. At thy rebuke they fled; At the voice of thy thunder they hasted away (The mountains rose, the valleys sank down) Unto the place which thou hadst founded for them. Thou has set a bound that they may not pass over; That they turn not again to cover the earth. He sendeth forth springs into the valleys; They run among the mountains” (Psa. 104:1, 5-10 ASV). When did the deep cover the earth, standing above the mountains? When did the mountains rise and valleys sink down? We know that on the third day of creation a great geologic upheaval took place, for God caused the dry land to appear on an earth earlier covered with the “deep.” The land must have been raised, the valleys correspondingly sinking (Gen. 1:9-13). Was this the occasion described above? Evidently not, for this would have ruled out the universal flood; please observe that God forbade the waters again to pass over the earth.


The flood was universal, though the evolutionists deny this catastrophe. A few of many evidences of the universal flood follow.


p<>{color:#000;}. The purpose of the flood was to kill every human being and all animals that lived on land and breathed air.

p<>{color:#000;}. The depth of the flood was sufficient to cover all the high hills under the whole heaven. And, this level [fifteen cubits above the tallest mountain; a hole in the bottom of the ark would have thwarted the purposes] was maintained for five months. Inasmuch as liquid water cannot be stacked [as ice can] and since water seeks its own level, it had to cover the whole earth—hydrolics. The height of Ararat alone, where the ark landed, is 17,000 feet, over three miles elevation.

p<>{color:#000;}. The duration of the flood included forty days of heavy rain, another 110 days in which the fountains of the great deep remained open, and a total length of time in the ark before they could disembark of a year and ten days.

p<>{color:#000;}. The geology of the flood includes another tremendous geologic upheaval, for “…on the same day were all the fountains of the great deep [same word as in Genesis 1:2] broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened” (Gen. 7:11)—subterranean waters. Notice—“all the fountains of the great deep”! This was not a few localized isolated volcanoes.

p<>{color:#000;}. The size of the ark was no less than 450×75×50 feet [calculating 18 inches per cubit; could be as large as 22-1/2 inches], three storied, with square footage of no less than 100,000 and volume of no less than 1,500,000 cubic feet, excluding the timbers, and with displacement tonnage of 24,000 tons. It likely floated one half depth—fifteen cubits, its carrying capacity equaling 550 to 600 standard railroad boxcars, a very large vessel. Not for another 4,500 years would another be built that size [1884]. Shaped like a box or chest or coffin [it was not going anywhere, therefore not pointed at the ends], the Hebrew for “ark” was used only twice, the other being the container in which Moses floated in the Nile. Testing on the shape [six times as long as wide] has shown it to be very stable, able to right itself from tilts of just less than 90 degrees, naturally heading into waves rather than being caught sideways in the troughs, and able to survive over 200 foot waves. The ark had a “light,” tsohar, not used elsewhere (Gen. 6:16), which was ventilation and light, being a space of one cubit left at the top of the ark’s walls and likely under an overhang in the ark’s roof. The Bible does not detail whether the ark’s roof was gabled or flat, likely gabled. The ark had one window, challon, which Noah opened and closed. And, the windows, arubbah, of heaven were opened when it rained—thus, three words for “window” in the context of Genesis 6-8. The ark was well braced by the three stores and the rooms, or nests. Some, viewing ancient people as “cavemen,” have questioned Noah’s ability to contruct the ark. Consider Stonehenge, the pyramids, and the exploits of the Phoenicians. Could Noah and his sons build it? Indeed. And, no doubt Noah had been blessed with riches [Cf. other patriarchs, as Job and Abraham]; they could have hired other builders; this writer has seen atheists build church buildings.

p<>{color:#000;}. Why was the ark needed at all? With 120 years of warning, they could have marched around the world to escape a localized flood. Why have the animals on the ark for a year? They could have escaped. How long did it take Lot to escape Sodom?

p<>{color:#000;}. The Lord testified that the flood came and “took them [those who lived at the time of Noah] all away” (Matt. 24:39); it is likened to the final destruction when Christ returns. Luke records, “…the flood came, and destroyed them all” (Luke 17:27). God’s moral purpose was to wipe out sin from the earth—not just a part of sin, not just a portion of the human race.

p<>{color:#000;}. Peter’s testimony is that only eight souls were saved from that catastrophe (1 Pet. 3:20). He believed in the universal flood, stating that the world, “being overflowed with water, perished” (2 Pet. 3:6). He placed the flood in the same category of the universal creation and of the universal destruction of the last day, “stored up for fire” (v.7).

p<>{color:#000;}. The covenant of the rainbow which God made with Noah promised that the same kind of destruction would never occur again. It was made with every man and with “every living creature” (Gen. 9:8-17). Has God violated this covenant with every local flood? He has if the skeptics are correct.

p<>{color:#000;}. The flood was not geographically local but anthropologically universal. With the evidence very clear that there could easily have been one billion people who inhabited the earth at the time of the flood and countless billions of animals, it is hardly credible that all the animals and men tarried in the Mesopotamian Valley.

p<>{color:#000;}. The Hebrew mabbul, “the flood,” applies only to the Genesis flood, as is true of the Greek kataklusmos, for “flood” (2 Pet. 2:5), which spared not the old world, Greek kosmos.

Since the flood was universal, the Psalmist must have been describing the implications of the flood. What saith the Scriptures and the facts of science?


The Earth’s Ante-Deluvian Condition


The conditions on earth prior to the flood were drastically different from the post-deluvian conditions. When God created the heaven and the earth, the earth was waste, void, and covered with darkness. Water [the “deep,” tehom] covered the whole earth. On day one, God also created light [for the nature of that “light,” please see the author’s article, “And God Said, ‘Let There Be Light,’” Gospel Advocate, November 3, 1983).


On day two, “God made the firmament [this firmament is where the birds fly, the atmosphere], and divided the waters which were under the firmament [on the earth’s surface, per the above] from the waters which were above [please note, not “in”] the firmament; and it was so” (Gen. 1:6-8). The waters above the firmament are significant; they are not in place now. What was their nature? What happened to them? How does this relate to the flood? What are their implications to pre-flood and post-flood conditions?


The earth must originally have been surrounded by a canopy of water (H20). Since water is found in three states—solid (ice), liquid (including droplets), and gas (vapor)—and since the canopy continued floating on the firmament and since ice and liquid are opaque in increasing thicknesses (Adam saw the sun, moon, and stars created on the fourth day), then the canopy must have been water vapor. Vapor is invisible, it is lighter than the atmosphere (a molecule of water has a molecular weight of only 18, whereas the atmosphere is composed mainly of Nitrogen ([N2=28], oxygen [O2=32, etc.), it would remain aloft until condensing and falling in the form of rain, hail, snow, etc. Since vapor must have particles on which to condense [nuclei of condensation], it would remain until such time that these nuclei were thrust into the canopy. The two most common sources of nuclei are sodium chloride, salt [NaC1] crystals, and volcanic dust. Thus, since vapor weighs but two/thirds as much as dry air, the canopy would not fall until condensation took place.

The scientific implications of such a canopy some 20,000 feet above the earth’s surface would include: 1) no rain prior to the flood [the mist went up “from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground” (Gen. 2:5,6)]; 2) rivers and seas different [“a river went out of Eden to water the Garden; and from thence it was parted, and became four heads” (Gen. 2:10), the opposite to present rivers, which flow from tributaries into the main rivers]; 3) the temperature of the atmosphere higher (the greenhouse effect) over all the surface of the earth, from pole to pole and from one side of the equator to the other—a veritable tropical paradise [water vapor would retain much of the electromagnetic radiation from the sun which is normally reradiated back to space, a characteristic known as albedo]; 4) protection from the ultraviolet [short wave-length] radiation from the sun, which causes skin cancer, aging, mutations of the R.N.A., the vapor canopy acting as a screen from harmful solar radiation, [random change is nearly always bad; consequently, in agriculture, as in medicine, the professionals go to a great extent to combat such (this in spite of the fact that the evolutionists have gone very reluctantly to mutations as the modus operandi of evolution)], explaining why the strain was relatively pure in the ante-deluvian world, and why Cain and Abel, et al., married sisters as well as partially why the average life span was over 900 years; and 5) increased atmospheric pressure, veritable natural hyperbaric oxygenation.


The Noahic Deluge


Noah’s flood was a major, universal catastrophe—the greatest single physical occurrence since creation. It has an extremely important place in the history of the world; to ignore the deluge—either ignorantly or prejudicially [willfully]—is incredibly to shut one’s eyes to amazing, phenomenal, powerful pressures, erosion, and destructive activity of the breakup of the fountains of the deep and of the waters covering all the high mountains for one-half year. Of course, this produces various types of neuroses in the atheist, the uniformitarian, for it destroys the very foundation of his religion. But, for the unprejudiced, it explains the existence of very many of the verities of science.


While the Holy Spirit was striving with man while Noah was preparing the ark (Heb. 11:7), God was preaching through Noah, “a preacher of righteousness,” to the antediluvian world, pleading for them to repent (2 Pet. 2:5; 1 Pet. 3:18-21; 1:10,11). At the end of 120 years (Gen 6:3), God caused the animals to “come unto thee, to keep them alive” in the ark (Gen. 6:20); Noah did not have to round them up. Edible food was also taken on the ark (Gen. 6:21). The additional number of clean animals taken on the ark was for the purpose of offering sacrifices, eating after the flood, etc. [Notice that various “kinds,” not “species,” were saved. The term “kind,” min, represents any major group of animals (or plants), which can reproduce. If two animals can breed, they are in the same kind. The Lord programmed in the D.N.A. many variations within the kinds (sometimes by evolutionists misleadingly called “microevolution”), but not “leaps” between the kinds, that is from one kind to another (called “macroevolution”). Many articles in the “learned” scientific journals debate between “lumpers” and “splitters” as to which animals belong in which species. Bible believers do not equate Biblical “kinds” with species. Noah did not save the countless species but rather the major groups of animals. The “kinds” are permanent, as they were created (1 Cor. 15:38,39).

After God shut Noah, his family, and the animals in the ark and after seven days, “In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month, on the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened. And the rain was upon the earth forty days and forty nights” (Gen. 7:11,12). God through His omniscience was prepared in His original creation for judgment upon man, in the case of man’s great wickedness. And, as always, God would practice the Law of Parsimony in bringing about this judgment, thus the use of very many natural phenomena, as well as the necessary miracles.


What caused the breaking up of the fountains of the deep has been the subject of much speculation; likely, it was set off miraculously. Notice that this began a chain reaction. The fountains throughout the earth were “cleaved open,” broken up, thrusting out huge amounts of magma and water. A vast subterranean water system must have existed prior to the flood, as is implied by the earlier flow of the rivers (Gen. 2:10-14). The vast quantities of volcanic ash and salt crystals thrust from the volcanoes and from the oceans would then have penetrated the vapor canopy. That, combined with the cooling effect of expanded gases, would cause the vapor to begin becoming liquid through condensation or solid (snow) through sublimation, then coalescing and falling in the form of rain, etc. It would rain elephants and dinosaurs, not “cats and dogs,” for forty days and nights. Interestingly, there is only about two inches of water in the atmosphere today. When the “floodgates,” or “sluiceways” were opened, a huge downpour [geshem in the Hebrew] came down.

Before the end of the forty days, all of the high mountains under the whole heaven were covered—and, the level of the water was maintained for another 110 days. How was this possible? The fountains of the deep were not closed for 150 days after they were broken up (Gen. 8:1-3). Only after they were closed did the waters begin to assuage (Gen. 7:24). Volcanoes are actually water generators. The writer and his family flew over Mount St. Helens and drove along the Toutle River and the Columbia River, observing the tremendous devastation of the pumice, ash, and millions of tons of water produced by this rather small volcano, May 18, 1980. It spewed its emissions well above ten miles into the atmosphere; the chickens in Yakima, Washington, went to roost because of the darkness, though it was noon on Sunday. Mount Etna produced 4,600,000 gallons of water per day over 100 days. Imagine the water thousands of volcanoes throughout the world could produce; no wonder the waters maintained their level for another 110 days after the canopy was rained out.

One can but begin to imagine the tremendous process of erosion, the upheavals of the earth’s crust, the tectonic activity, the transporting of huge amounts of sediment—rock debris, plants, animals, etc., the heat generated by magma being exposed at the surface, the uprooting of the plants and trees, the world-wide depositing of debris, et al.

Dear reader, was the ante-deluvian world overflowed with water, as Peter wrote? The fact that the universal flood took place is a major watershed between creation and evolution—catastrophism and uniformitarianism.


The Earth’s Post-Diluvian Condition


The condition of the earth after the flood was drastically different. The old world had been destroyed, with every land animal. The surface of the earth, for a first thing, now contained materials which had been deposited during the flood. These strata are universal and were water laid. What the uniformitarians believe were produced over hundreds of millions of years by local floods, or some such, were laid down during the year of the flood. Abundant is the scientific proof that each stratum is a discrete unit, laid down by water, within generally a short period of time, upon which other strata were immediately layered out. Worldwide conformity in the strata bespeaks a worldwide depositional period. This fits exactly with the Genesis flood, but not with atheistic uniformity. The evolutionary geologist has variously calculated the geologic column [the strata of sedimentary rock, such as one sees in a “cut” along a highway in hills or mountainous areas] to have been slowly deposited at an average rate of one foot per 2,000 years or less [over a period of from 600,000,000 to 1,000,000,000 years]. When one observes what is found in the geologic column, the layers of sedimentary deposit in the earth’s crust [averaging one mile in thickness over all the earth], he must be impressed with the case from the flood. The evolutionist preaches that while the layers of sediment were being deposited over the one billion years or more, evolution was taking place. Life had just been spontaneously galvanized into activity from dead matter [in clear contradiction to and violation of the law of biogenesis]; now it began its long upward journey by chance and accident [in clear violation of the principle of entropy, the second law of thermodynamics], evolving from a single-celled animal and red algae through the Line of Descent [protozoa—primitive metazoa—worms—fish—amphibians—reptiles—birds and mammals—man] to human beings. Thus, they say, the geologic column is the record of man’s evolution from the single cell. Indeed, the authorities among evolutionists proclaim that paleontology offers the only direct, historical, documented “evidence” of evolution. Thus, dear reader, if the geologic column can be shown to have been laid down in the Noahic flood, the evolutionary hypothesis collapses like a house of cards. [But, without even considering the flood, the study of the fossil record constitutes the strongest proof in science against evolution, for the forms of life which are fossilized in the strata do not evolve, they are unaltered, they appear suddenly as they will always appear, and there is not the slightest hint that one major group of animals evolved into another major group of animals—or plants. The museums are absolutely destitute of fossil “evidence” of evolution? AND, the evolutionists admit it, yet still arbitrarily rule out God and creation.]


Please notice the problems with the so-called “geologic timetable,” described above. First, it depends upon “index fossils,” preferably marine and extinct, by which certain periods might be dated. After Lyell and his followers formulated the timetable, numerous “index fossils” have been discovered today—living, not extinct at all (examples include the tuatara [extinct 135,000,000 years], the coelacanth [extinct 70,000,000 years], the Neopilena galathaea mollusk [extinct 280,000,000 years]). Interestingly, they are called “living fossils,” refuting the timing of the uniformity hypothesis.


Second, it depends upon the fossils in the strata moving from very simple life forms in the lower strata to increasingly complex life forms as the strata move to the upper levels. [Note: in no place on earth can a hollow-core drill be sunk through the strata in which the “geologic timetable” is found; instead, many of the strata are missing, countless ones are out of sequence, “million of years” (as the doctrine of uniformity calculates it) of old strata have been thrust on top of young strata, and “millions of years of strata” are inverted, a true problem for the evolutionist].


Third, it depends upon no complex forms being found in the lower strata, but such is not the case. Instead of seeing the evolutionary sequence presumed by the evolutionists, many very complicated forms of life are found also in the lowest strata. [Note: the uniformitarian paleontologist uses a very subjective method of dating; the fossils are dated by the stratum in which each is found—and the stratum is dated by the fossils found within it, a clear example of circular reasoning.]


Fourth, it depends upon the absence of polystrate fossils [fossils of petrified trees and very large animals which extend through more than one, sometimes many sedimentary strata]. Were the strata to be laid down very slowly [ruling out the catastrophe of the flood], the animals and trees would have long rotted before being covered with sediment over many thousands of years. However, tree trunks through tens of strata, representing supposedly thousands, perhaps millions of years are very common, countless numbers of which are horizontal and even upside down. Most of the limbs are missing, as well as many of the roots; they were not deposited in situ.


Fifth, it depends upon the absence of many other evidences in the strata of a rapid burial, such as ripple marks, rain drop prints, and tracks and trails left by birds, worms, dinosaurs, and reptiles, and man. Such required that the layers which capped the imprints cover them quickly after they were produced. These phenomena abound universally in the geologic column.


Sixth, it depends upon the absence of numerous substances, such as coal, dolostone, evaporites, conglomerate, greywacke, chert, etc., which evidently depend upon a catastrophe such as the flood to explain their existence in the strata. For example, coal has not been shown to be forming today anywhere on earth in fresh water peat bogs [more about coal to follow]. Of course, these substances are abundant in the strata.


Can the universal flood answer the above problems and explain the existence of these phenomena? Indeed! One, as the canopy was rained out at a catastrophic rate and as the fountains of the great deep were broken up, tremendous volumes of debris-laden flood waters transported and deposited multiplied tons and tons of plants, animals, and rocks. One can but imagine the indescribable numbers of trees uprooted from the earth, for example [the author has been amazed at seeing the violent destruction and vast wasteland left by a flash flood on Mt. LeConte the Great Smoky Mountains and by the eruption of Mount St. Helens]. This water-transported debris would be deposited according to the scientific principles of hydraulics.


Two, as the debris was being laid out in sediments by the flood waters, it would tend to be deposited in layers, with the sediments and organisms which were picked up by the waters first being deposited deepest in the sequence. This would include marine organisms and marine substances. Next would follow simple organisms, and those of greater density. The degree of the organisms mobility would influence their places in the strata, for those more mobile and larger, including man, could move more rapidly to higher ground, thus for a time escaping the onslaught of the flood waters. They would be in the less deep strata. Many, perhaps most of them would thus escape being laid down in the sediment, rather decaying on the surface or being devoured by scavengers in the sea. This explains the moving—in the main—from the simpler to increasingly complex animals in the strata, but it also explains—which uniformity fails to do—the presence in the lower strata of very complex life forms. Many may well have been trapped or sick and thus unable to motivate to higher levels. At times, one finds a fossil graveyard, containing fossilized remains of many animals naturally antagonistic to each other; evidently the catastrophe of the flood found them isolated together, transporting and burying them in one deposit. [Space will not permit discussing all the stratigraphy factors involved in the forming of the strata, such as lamination, cross lamination, ripple lamination, graded bedding, cross bedding, et al. One can easily observe debris being layered out as to degree of turbidity of currents, direction of currents, density and size grades of loads carried, etc., etc., on a small scale when he observes the layers of sediment which will be deposited by rain overnight in his garden. Very clear are the evidences of sorting which the transporting water accomplished.] Additionally, the reader must not get the idea that fossilization takes place every day under ordinary circumstances—an impression which the evolutionists would like to leave with people. Fossilization takes place under very special conditions, rarely occurring. Fossilization universally, simultaneously taking place, required by what is found in the strata, is not occurring today and is not possible under uniform conditions required by atheistic evolution.


Three, as the strata were formed, the trees which had been uprooted and transported by the rushing seas would be deposited, sometimes leaving huge lengths of their trunks exposed, around which other layers of sediment would be deposited as the direction and speed of flow changed [The speed of flow would influence the density, shape, et al. of the sediments laid out]. Since the root end of the stumps were heavier, they would tend to be deposited floating upright. However, the thickness of the sediment borne along by the water would sometimes cause a tree to be buried inclined or upside down. Dear reader, have you ever grown a tree upside down—through SOLID ROCK? The same principle applies to the huge, polystrate animals. [Note: before the solidification of the strata which were deposited during the flood, the forces of orogeny, or mountain-building, pushed the many strata up to great heights. The strata had not yet hardened into solid rock and thus bent and twisted, rather than being cracked and shattered as solid rock would be. The flood, not uniformity, explains this phenomenon and explodes the theory of uniformity.


Four, as the layers of sediment were being deposited, the flood caused conditions which formed the huge coal beds throughout the world. Coal is composed, in the main, of the carbon from plant debris, which beds cover continuously many thousands of square miles, compose beds of fifty feet or more thick, and are found in as many as one hundred strata in one given location. The uniformitarian explanation of coal’s formation is the autochthonous theory [fresh water peat bog origin], whereas the allochthonous process [water-transported origin] is held by those believing in Biblical catastrophism. The former fails to fit the facts of science, whereas the latter seems to explain what is known about coal. 1) Beds of coal are immediately above and below strata containing marine fossils and rocks—that is, deposits from the depths of the ocean, not fresh water. 2) Marine fossils and salt-water substances are prevalent in coal seams. 3) The tree trunks preserved in coal strata are sometimes found in horizontal and upside down positions, clearly water transported and deposited. 4) The hundreds, even thousands of feet of plant debris necessary for thick coal beds to be produced is not possible under uniformitarian conditions, only by its being transported in en masse. 5) Thick boulders in coal beds show transportation is by water rather than naturally occurring there, in situ. 6) No fresh water peat bogs have been shown to be producing or to have produced coal. 7) Coal does not require millions of years to be produced, as the theory of uniformity would preach. The allochthonous process fits the scientific facts and the Biblical flood.


The religion of uniformity has been unable to come up with an acceptable mechanism for oil’s origin; but, the flood accounts for the layering out of organic matter in the presence of water, and gives the explanation of the pressure and heat necessary for its change into petroleum. Involved in this process are the necessary chemicals being present and its buoyancy in water. And, more is being learned, from recent sediments of organic material, about the transformation into hydrocarbons taking place in just thousands, perhaps hundreds of years—not millions.


For a second thing, the tremendous and rapid cooling of the earth when the flood started answers the riddle of the frozen mammoths in the glaciers and permafrost of the Arctic regions—beasts so quickly frozen that their meat is still edible; tropical plants readily identifiable, undigested in their mouths and stomachs; and ivory tusks which have retained their animal matter [which makes them valuable]. This is proof, number one, of the universal tropical paradise prior to the flood, from pole to pole and, number two, of the ice age’s rapid onslaught. What precipitated such inundation of freezing temperatures and ice? The uniformitarian is without viable explanation.


When the fountains of the great deep were broken up, the ash which was thrust into the atmosphere reduced the amount of solar radiation which hit the earth. Meanwhile, the rainfall was especially heavy over areas of volcanic activity, causing reduced pressure in those areas. Thus, winds would have rushed from high pressure to low-pressure areas, causing storm areas of extremely cold air, hail, and snow. Since lower pressures cause air to expand and thus to cool, the surface temperature would drop very quickly to tens, perhaps hundreds of degrees below zero Fahrenheit, thus accounting for flower petals, poppies undigested and preserved in huge animals in what are now frozen wastelands.


For a third thing, not only does the canopy’s absence resulting from the flood account in part for a steady shortening of the lifetime of man—and animals—after the flood [from 900 to 70 years average], because it did very, very well then what the ozone [O3] layer does now quite well [ultraviolet rays deteriorate the D.N.A. and shorten life spans], but it also helps likely to explain the longer age span in another way. The atmospheric pressure with the canopy in place must have been at least double the present pressure, thus increasing the amount of oxygen in the atmosphere. Compare this with the effects of treating patients in hyperbaric chambers today; scientists are learning more about the slowing of the aging process in hyperbaric oxygenation. Also interesting is the implication regarding the dinosaurs. The bones in reptiles, unlike in other animals, continue to grow all their lives—longer lives, greater the sizes. Further, the lungs which the dinosaurs seemed to have could have oxygenated their huge bodies with the greater abundance of oxygen in the atmosphere [increased atmospheric pressure] but not in the decreased amount of oxygen, post-flood. Still further, the dinosaurs evidently could not endure the cooler temperatures and terrible winters after the flood, and could not find sufficient food to feed their huge bodies after the earth was no longer the tropical paradise [yes, Noah took dinosaurs on the ark, baby ones, but they could not endure the new climate], thus becoming extinct.

Space fails to show the many other scientific implication of the universal flood, such as the periods of vast glaciation, the origin of the Great Lakes and the Grand Canyon, the refutation of the dates assumed and dating processes used by the uniformitarians, the much more nearly accurate dating processes which show a young earth, the change of the animals from vegetarians to meat eaters at the time of the flood, the impossibility of the existence of the alluvial plain of the Mississippi River [except by the flood], the existence of the higher sea level and the continental shelves, the mountain building processes brought about by the flood, etc., etc.




Much work and study is still being done by the flood scientists and by others who believe that God sent the flood of Genesis 6-8. Though this chapter has been very brief, it is hoped that the reader’s faith is enhanced and that the youths [both older and younger] will see that the so-called “scientific” hypothesis concerning the earth’s geologic history is not the only possible “explanation.” Let Bible students be very slow in redefining and rejecting Bible truth in the attempt to getting it to “harmonize” with uniformity, evolution and Humanism. “The heavens that now are, and the earth, by the same word have been stored up for fire, being reserved against the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men” (2 Pet. 3:7).




B. B. Brother




God has communicated His will to mankind by means of words. David stated; “The Spirit of the LORD spake by me, and his word was in my tongue” (2 Sam 23:2). Likewise, the prophet Jeremiah wrote; “Then the LORD put forth his hand, and touched my mouth. And the LORD said unto me, Behold, I have put my words in thy mouth (Jer.1:9). The New Testament also claims to be verbally inspired. Paul wrote;


For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual (1 Cor. 2:11-13).


The Holy Spirit gave the very words that God wanted revealed unto mankind. By these “words” one can know the mind of God as far as much has been revealed.


Although God could have chosen a different method to communicate with us, He has chosen the method of “words.” Since God has chosen the “word method,” the rules of language apply to the Bible as they do to any other literary work. God has adapted His word to man’s intellect and ability so that man can understand His word. What is meant by the previous sentence is that man, as he is, can understand the Bible, as it is. God does not have to send the Holy directly upon the written word, nor directly upon the heart of man in order for man to understand God’s word. It is note worthy that the “common people” heard Jesus gladly (cf. Mark 12:37). They understood the spoken words of Jesus. We, likewise, can understand the written word of God. Paul stated to the Ephesians;


For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward: How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) (Eph 3:1-4).


When the Ephesians read Paul’s inspired words, they could understand. Later, in the same epistle, he encouraged them; “Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is” (Eph. 5:17). If mankind appreciates the fact that he can understand the word of God, he will be more inclined the study the precious word. By God’s word one can learn many wonderful things, such as “from whence he came,” “Why he is here,” and “where he is going.” He also can learn what he must do in order to be saved from his sins and have the blessed hope of heaven in the after awhile. David observed; “The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple” (Psa. 119:130).




It is important to have a correct understanding of the meanings of terms. Without such an understanding, there is confusion. Consequently, a little space is taken here to define three expressions. This particular chapter comes under the section of the book, “Hermeneutics And Exegesis.”


Hermeneutics: The word “hermeneutics” simply means “The science of interpretation.” Hence “Sacred hermeneutics is the science of interpretation of the scriptures” (Dungan,1).

Exegesis: The word “exegesis” comes from a compound Greek word meaning to “leading out” (Dungan, 1). Man is to bring out of the text what God placed into the text. The problem is that man is prone to read “into the text” what God did not place into the text. Such is known as “eisegesis” (leading into the text), rather than “exegesis” (leading out of the text). When a passage of Scripture has been properly exegeted, it is not, as some argue, “just your interpretation.” A passage is God’s word and should be properly exegeted by man. Correctly done, man’s inference is what God has stated (whether by direct statement or by implication).

Figures of Speech: “Figures of speech” has been defined as;

A mode of expression in which words are used out of their literal meaning or out of their ordinary use in order to add beauty or emotional intensity or to transfer the poet’s (or writer’s BB), sense impressions by comparing or identifying one thing with another that has a meaning familiar to the reader. Some important figures of speech are: simile, metaphor, personification, hyperbole and symbol (Angelfire, np).


Milton Terry observed that figures of speech suggest divine harmonies. He stated; “May we not safely affirm that the analogies traceable between the natural and spiritual worlds are part of a divine harmony which is the noblest mental exercise to discover and unfold” (Terry, 244).


We all use “figures of speech” in everyday language. Hardly ever, however, do we use some of the figures, such as parables or fables, in our normal conversations, but we do use similes, metonym, and metaphors profusely. Consequently, we are not totally unfamiliar with “figures of speech.” Neither should it surprise us that the Bible, (God’s word to man), often uses various figures of speech.

The various figures of speech of the Bible aid us in coming to a clear grasp of what God intends for us to understand and obey. With this in mind, attention is now given to some of the various figures of speech found in the Bible.




Parables: Perhaps one of the most familiar figures of speech to Bible students is the parable. Jesus was the master of parable usage! He often illustrated heavenly trues by these earthly symbols or figures. The word “parable” comes from the Greek “Parabole” (which is a compound word coming from “para” – “beside” and “ballein” – “to throw). Hence the word means to “throw beside.” Dungan observed; that a parable is “a placing beside or together, a comparing, comparison: a story by which something real in life is used as a means of presenting a moral thought” (Dungan, 227). Thayer, in his Greek lexicon gives a definition as “an earthly story with a heavenly meaning” (Thayer, NP).


Both the Old and New Testaments contain parables, but their usage is much more in the New Testament. Jesus tells us the purpose (“why”) He spoke in parables.

And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables? He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath. Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive: For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them (Mat. 13:10-15).

The Master taught in parables to cause some to understand and others (who rejected and even abused His message) to not understand. The fourfold purpose of a parable is (1) to reveal the truth, (2) to conceal the truth from those who would abuse it, (3) to embalm the truth in the hearts of those who hear it, and (4) to cause assent or agreement with the truth, at times even before they understand it applies to their situation). The actors in a parable are real. What is meant by this that the events depicted in a parable could in fact happen (Dungan, 228 – 231). Sometimes Jesus explained the parable and at other times the meaning and inferences are to be clearly drawn by the reader.

One of the most commonly known parables in the Bible is Jesus’ parable of the sower. Matthew’s account of the parable is as follows:

And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow; And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up: Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth: And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away. And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them: But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear (Mat. 13:3-9).

After giving the parable of the sower, Jesus then gives the following explanation:

Hear ye therefore the parable of the sower. When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side. But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it; Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended. He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful. But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty (Mat. 13:18-23).

Anyone who has ever been around gardening, agriculture or even learned of it in any fashion, clearly understands this parable. Jesus takes that which is known (the scattering or sowing of seed and the landing of the seed in the various types of soil) and throws it beside that which is unknown (the types of hearts and their reception or rejection of the word of God), and causes one to clearly understand the nature of people either rejecting or receiving God’s word. Other parables include the Parable of the Good Samaritan, the Parable of the Tares, as well as many, many others, all of which are great teaching and help us understanding the word of God.

FABLES: One of the definitions given to the word fable is “a short story with a moral, typically featuring animals as characters” (Oxford Dictionary). Likewise, Webster defines a fable as; “A fictitious story meant to teach a moral lesson: the characters are usually from the animal world” (Webster). It should, however, be noted that the characters are also from the inanimate world as well as the animals. The fable is not to be confused with a parable. Regarding the difference between the fable and the parable, Rod Rutherford stated;

Whereas fables are fictitious stories using animals and inanimate objects as actors to speak and perform in a way that they cannot possibly do in real life in order to set forth some useful truth or precept, parables are always based on reality. The actors in parables never do anything which they cannot actually do. The setting of parables is always in the real world. For example, the Parable of the Sower in Matthew 13 conveys a truth based upon the common practice in Palestine of broadcasting seed by hand in a plowed field. It is possible that such a sower was within sight of Jesus and the multitude as He taught this parable by the shores of Galilee (Rutherford).

The fable, as used in Hermeneutical figures of speech, are not to be confused myths and/or wives’ fables.

The word “fable” occurs in the New Testament in the ASV and KJV in five places I Tim. 1:4; 4:7; II Tim. 4:4; Tit. 1:14; II Pet. I: 16). It is used in these instances by the apostles, Paul and Peter, to indicate false teaching coming into the church. The particular nature of the false teaching designated by the word “fable” is difficult to determine. It may have reference to Gnostic tales or legends based upon, but certainly not a part of, Old Testament accounts, or it may refer to tales from the Apocrypha. Whatever its nature, it is condemned by the inspired apostles. The word translated as “fable” is the Greek word “muthos” from which we get our English word “myth.” It would perhaps best be rendered as “myth” in these passages (Rutherford, 257-258).

An example of the fable (as used in figures of speech), is seen in the Book of Judges.

And all the men of Shechem gathered together, and all the house of Millo, and went, and made Abimelech king, by the plain of the pillar that was in Shechem. And when they told it to Jotham, he went and stood in the top of mount Gerizim, and lifted up his voice, and cried, and said unto them, Hearken unto me, ye men of Shechem, that God may hearken unto you. The trees went forth on a time to anoint a king over them; and they said unto the olive tree, Reign thou over us. But the olive tree said unto them, Should I leave my fatness, wherewith by me they honour God and man, and go to be promoted over the trees? And the trees said to the fig tree, Come thou, and reign over us. But the fig tree said unto them, Should I forsake my sweetness, and my good fruit, and go to be promoted over the trees? Then said the trees unto the vine, Come thou, and reign over us. And the vine said unto them, Should I leave my wine, which cheereth God and man, and go to be promoted over the trees? Then said all the trees unto the bramble, Come thou, and reign over us. And the bramble said unto the trees, If in truth ye anoint me king over you, then come and put your trust in my shadow: and if not, let fire come out of the bramble, and devour the cedars of Lebanon. Now therefore, if ye have done truly and sincerely, in that ye have made Abimelech king, and if ye have dealt well with Jerubbaal and his house, and have done unto him according to the deserving of his hands; (For my father fought for you, and adventured his life far, and delivered you out of the hand of Midian: And ye are risen up against my father’s house this day, and have slain his sons, threescore and ten persons, upon one stone, and have made Abimelech, the son of his maidservant, king over the men of Shechem, because he is your brother;) If ye then have dealt truly and sincerely with Jerubbaal and with his house this day, then rejoice ye in Abimelech, and let him also rejoice in you: But if not, let fire come out from Abimelech, and devour the men of Shechem, and the house of Millo; and let fire come out from the men of Shechem, and from the house of Millo, and devour Abimelech. And Jotham ran away, and fled, and went to Beer, and dwelt there, for fear of Abimelech his brother (Judg. 9:6-21).

This fable is an obvious figurative account that teaches a vital lesson. Dungan observed that the teaching of this fable is “those least competent and worthy are the most ready to assume responsibilities and take command” (Dungan, 246). Another Biblical example of a fable is Jehoash’s fable found in 2 Kings 14:8-10.

Simile: One of the most often used figures of speech anywhere is the “simile.” A simile is simply when a thing of action or relation is liken to something else and uses the words “like” or “as.” Milton Terry helps our understanding of the simile by stating; “When a formal comparison is made between two different objects, so as to impress the mind with some resemblance or likeness, the figure is called a simile” (Terry, 254). We get the English word “simile” from the Latin “Similis” which means “like”. (Webster).

A few Bible examples illustrate the usage of similies. Luke, by inspiration recorded the events of the day of Pentecost:

And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance (Acts 2:1-4).

Peter stated there was “a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind.” He did not affirm there was a “rushing mighty wind” present on Pentecost, rather he affirmed there was a sound from heaven as a rushing mighty wind. He also said there appeared over the apostles “cloven tongues like as of fire.” Again, he did not affirm there was fire present on the day of Pentecost, but cloven tongues “like as of fire.” With the usage of simile, one can get a mental image of the scenes on that important day.

Paul exhorts husbands to love their wives – “So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself” (Eph. 5:28). Here one sees the comparison made by the usage of the word “as.” Husbands are to love their wives as they love their own bodies.

Jesus gave strong rebuke to the Pharisees with the use of similes. He stated;

Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness. Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity (Mat. 23:27-28).

Jesus did not say the Scribes and Pharisees were whited sepulchres (or tombs), but said they were “like unto” whited sepulchres. They appeared righteous outside, but were full of corruption inside, just as whited sepulchres appears beautiful on the outside, but within are full of dead men’s bones and uncleanness.

Similitude: A similitude is an extended simile frequently containing its own explanation. Dungan says of it that it is “a drawn–out or prolonged simile. It differs from an allegory in that it is constituted of similes, and not of metaphors. It differs from the parable, in that it is made from statements, but not woven into a story” (Dungan, 249). In a similitude the comparison is extended. The following is an example of a similitude:

Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it (Mat. 7:24-28).

The Psalms, as they contain much poetry, are filled with the usage of similitudes. The reader should keep in mind that the usages of figures of speech are not necessarily exclusive. What is meant by this is that the parables may contain similes and/or similitudes. While they are distinct from each other in definition, they are not exclusive of each other in their usage.

Metaphor: A metaphor is “an implied comparison, a word applied to something it is not, to suggest a resemblance” (Raystedman). It is a comparison made with the sign “like” or “as” specifically stated. The usage of a metaphor is seen in the following statement by Jesus;

The same day there came certain of the Pharisees, saying unto him, Get thee out, and depart hence: for Herod will kill thee. And he said unto them, Go ye, and tell that fox, Behold, I cast out devils, and I do cures to day and to morrow, and the third day I shall be perfected (Luke 13:31-32).

No one thinks that Jesus thought Herod was a literal fox. The word is used metaphorically of Herod. Herod is compared to a fox without Jesus using the words “like” or “as.” The meaning is implied, but not specifically stated.

Again, Jesus when instituting the Lord’s Supper used metaphors.

And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body. And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins (Mat. 26:26-28).

It is obvious the apostles did not believe they were eating the literal body of Jesus neither were drinking His literal blood. Christian do not eat the literal body of Jesus nor drink His literal blood. Jesus was still in His body and His blood was still coursing through His body. Jesus used what is termed as “metaphors.” The bread and the fruit of the vine (the cup), represented His body and His blood.

Jesus is compared to many things metaphorically. He is a Physician, a Shepherd, the Bread, the Way, the Door, the Vine, the Head, the Bridegroom, etc. (Monsor, 320).

Metonymy: Concerning the word “metonymy” Jerry Moffitt, wrote; “It is from the Greek compound word, metonumia, from meta (change) and onoma (a name or noun). Bullinger defines it thusly: “Metonymy is a figure by which one name or noun is used instead of another, to which it stands in a certain relation” (Moffitt, 186-187). An example of this is in the case where the word “Moses” is put in the place of his writing.

Dungan (and others) list four types of metonymy. There is metonymy of the cause. The cause is stated but the effect is intended. An example is; “But ye have not so learned Christ” (Eph. 4:20). Christ is stated but His teaching is what is meant. There is Metonymy of the effect. This is when the effect is put for the cause. Jesus stated; “I am the resurrection, and the life” (John 11:30). The cause of the resurrection and life is Jesus, but the effect is named. Then there is the metonymy of the subject. The subject is named but some property pertaining to it is meant. Such as the container put for that which it contains. The cup in the Lord’s Supper is put for the contained – the fruit of the vine (cf. Mat. 26:28-29). The world is put for its inhabitants – “God so loved the world” (John 3:16). Finally, there is Metonymy of the adjunct . The subject is intended, but the adjunct is specifically named – “circumcision” and/or “uncircumcision” are stated but Jews and/or Gentiles are what is meant – “Seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith” (Rom. 3:30), (Dungan, 271 – 300).

Allegory: An allegory is a figurative application of real facts. “The distinction in Scripture between a parable and an allegory is said to be, that a parable is a supposed history, an allegory a figurative application of real facts” (Dungan, 259). An allegory has also been described as an extended metaphor (Terry, 302).

The apostle Paul used an allegory to the Galatians to teach one is no longer under the law of Moses. He wrote:

Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law? For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman. But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise. Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar. For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children. But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all. For it is written, Rejoice, thou barren that bearest not; break forth and cry, thou that travailest not: for the desolate hath many more children than she which hath an husband. Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise. But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now. Nevertheless what saith the scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman. So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free (Gal. 4:21-31).

Paul (by inspiration) uses historical facts and makes a figurative application. He uses Sarah and Hagar, Mount Sinai and Jerusalem, Issac and Ishmael (real facts) and makes a figurative application of those facts. As Sarah was told to cast out the bondwoman and her son, the old law was also taken away. Notice again his application– “Nevertheless what saith the scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman. So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free” (Gal. 4:30-31).

Synecdoche: This word come from the compound Greek word, “sunekdokh,” (sun – “together” and ekdekhesthai “take up”). It is “a figure of speech in which a part is made to represent the whole or vice versa, as in England lost by six wickets (meaning the English cricket team)” (Oxford Dictionary). Luke records the words of Demetrius saying; “So that not only this our craft is in danger to be set at nought; but also that the temple of the great goddess Diana should be despised, and her magnificence should be destroyed, whom all Asia and the world worshippeth” (Acts 19:27). Obviously the whole world did not worship Diana, but is so stated as a whole for the part.

Another usage of the synecdoche is when time is put for a part of the time. “Everlasting” does not always mean an eternity. Moses recorded; “He that is born in thy house, and he that is bought with thy money, must needs be circumcised: and my covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant” (Gen. 17:13). Yet circumcision is not to be religiously practiced today. It was “an everlasting covenant” throughout the appointed time. There are many more usages of the synecdoche, but this should give the general idea.

Proverb: Most all Bible students are familiar with the book of Proverbs. A proverb is “a short, pithy sentence, containing a complete and valuable thought” (Dungan). Both Old and New Testaments contain proverbs. Luke records a proverb stated by our Lord, though we have no direct statement found in the words of Jesus. Paul stated; “I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). The words “It is more blessed to give than to receive” are short but full of valuable content. Peter illustrated to how repulsive it is for a child of God to turn away from God and go back into the world. He said; “But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire” (2 Pet. 2:22).

Irony: Irony is when one thing is said yet the opposite is meant. It often carries a kind of ridicule. Job’s so–called “friends” offered Job much advice relative to reason why he (Job) was suffering. They said that he must have sin in his life for him to be in so much pain and anguish. Job’s answer to them was, “No doubt but ye are the people, and wisdom shall die with you” (Job 12:2). Job was using a form of irony. He did not believe that they were the people and no one would have any wisdom when they died! He stated one thing and the very opposite is meant. He is simply saying they did not know whereof they spoke!The soldiers who crucified Jesus, mocked Him with the use of irony.

Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the common hall, and gathered unto him the whole band of soldiers. And they stripped him, and put on him a scarlet robe. And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand: and they bowed the knee before him, and mocked him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews (Mat. 27:27-29)!

When they stated “Hail, King of the Jews” they were using irony (which perhaps had even grown into sarcasm) and said this in a form of mockery or ridicule.

Sarcasm: The word “sarcasm” comes from the Greek “sarkasmos, from sarkazein ‘tear flesh’, later ‘gnash the teeth, speak bitterly’” (Oxford Dictionary). It differs from irony in its severity. I sometimes tell students that “Sarcasm is irony with its stinger out!” It is meant to sting or cut. Elijah used sarcasm on the false prophets of Baal. “And it came to pass at noon, that Elijah mocked them, and said, Cry aloud: for he is a god; either he is talking, or he is pursuing, or he is in a journey, or peradventure he sleepeth, and must be awaked” (1Kings 18:27).

Hyperbole: Hyperbole literally means to “throw beyond.” It is an “intentional exaggeration for the purpose of emphasis, or magnifying beyond reality” (Raystedman) Jesus used a hyperbole when He stated;

And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell. And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell (Mat. 5:29-30).

Jesus does not intend for us to literally pluck out our eyes nor cut off our right hands. This is an exaggeration for the sake of emphasis.

Personification: is when inanimate objects or beings are spoken of as having human characteristics. This could involve feelings as well as actions. The earth opening her mouth and swallowing is personification (cf, Num. 16:31-32). Paul uses personification when describing Biblical love. He wrote;

Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things (1 Cor. 13:4-7).

Love took on the nature of human characteristics. If we want to see if we are loving individuals, we can use our names in the place of “charity” and see how we measure up to God’s definition of love.

Apostrophe: is when the speaker turns away from the real audience and addresses another. The word comes from the Greek apo, from, and strephein, to turn, a turning away from or away from (Dungan, 322). Paul used apostrophe when writing on the topic of the resurrection. He wrote; “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory” (1 Cor. 15:55)? Likewise, David used apostrophe when he was in bereavement over his son Absalom. The Bible states; “And the king was much moved, and went up to the chamber over the gate, and wept: and as he went, thus he said, O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! would God I had died for thee, O Absalom, my son, my son” (2 Sam.18:33). He was speaking to Absalom, but Absalom was not present and David knew it when He cried out “O my son Absalom! would God I had died for thee, O Absalom, my son, my son.”

Prolepsis: Prolepsis is when objects are spoken of in anticipation. It comes from the Greek “pro” (before), and “lambanein” (to take), hence to take before hand (Dungan, 329). In the Bible Eve is called the mother of all living, yet at the time she was named she wasn’t the mother to anyone. Yet she would be the mother of all living in that all others would come from her (cf. Gen 3:20). We may speak of President Bush when he was a little boy, yet when he was a little boy, he wasn’t President. One may say he married his wife on a certain date. However, she was not his wife until he married her! When things are spoken of in the sense of anticipation it is prolepsis.

Anthropomorphism: is when human characteristics are attributed to God. We sometimes sing; “Hold to God’s unchanging hand.” Yet, God is a spirit and as spirit doesn’t have flesh and bone. The Bible often speaks of God’s hands, eyes, arm, etc. These expressions helps us grasp the unknown with the known. None of us know, express the very nature of God, yet we know that he is not human. He is Deity. Yet we come to know God through human concepts and/or expressions.


Figures of speech are very beautiful and help us by providing word pictures (concepts) of things which we are reading. Words of humility and exaltation are expressed through figures of speech in the form of metaphors, hyperboles, etc. Things are compared to other things with the use of similes so we can obtain a clear concept of what is being spoken. Parables help us understand and retain what we have learned with much greater ease. We have God’s Divine revelation given to us in literal and figurative language. God has communicated to us with words. Words are vehicles of communication. “The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple” (Psa. 119:130)


Bible, King James Version

Dungan, D. R. , Hermeneutics, Gospel Light Publishing Co. Delight AR, ND

Oxford University Press Dictionary, Corel WordPerfect, version 10

Moffitt, Jerry in Rightly Dividing the Word, Vol. 2, 5th Annual Shenandoah Lectures, Editor Terry Hightower, 1991

Monsor, J. W. , Types and Metaphors of the Bible, Gospel Advocate Co., Nashville, TN 1955

Rutherford, Rod, Rightly Dividing the Word, Vol. 2, 5th Annual Shenandoah Lectures, Editor Terry Hightower, 1991

Terry, Milton, Biblical Hermeneutics, Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapid, MI, ND

Thayer, Henry E-Sword Electronic Bible

Webster’s New World Dictionary, World Publishing CO. Cleveland and New York, 1957

WWW. Angelfire.com/ctr/evenoki/poetry/figuresofspeech.html








A ship loaded with passengers was sailing across the ocean. One night the ship began to sink. As the ship slowly sank into the water, its crew prepared the passengers so they would be saved from drowning. Some of the passengers believed the crew and obeyed what the crew told them to do. Others did not believe the ship was sinking and went back to sleep. All the people were in danger. All needed to be saved. But only those who believed the warnings and obeyed the instructions were saved. The rest drowned! Who was to blame for their drowning? They were to be blamed because they refused to accept the only message which could save them.

It is easy for us to see the need of salvation for people on a sinking ship. But we may miss the need for salvation from our own sins. All of us are in great danger because of our sins. One day we will all be judged by God (Hebrews 9:27). We will be judged according to our works (Revelation 20:12). None of us live a perfect life. We all make mistakes. We often do things we know are wrong. The Bible says: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). When we refuse to obey the will of God, we are guilty of sin (James 4:17). When we break the law of God, we are also sinning (1 John 3:4). Our sins separate us from God (Isaiah 59:1,2). All who are still in their sins on Judgment Day will be cast into Hell (Matthew 25:46; 2 Peter 2:4-9).

All through the Bible, God has warned us of our need to be saved from our sins. God punishes all who die in their sins, but He has also provided a way out of our sins so that we can be saved from Hell. God sent a Saviour, Jesus Christ, who died as an offering for our sins (1 Peter 2:24,25; 1 John 2:2).

Jesus came to this earth to die for our sins. Sin is so bad and the debt is so heavy that the sacrifice of God’s only begotten Son was the only thing that could pay the price. Jesus not only died for our sins, but He also rose from the dead to prove that death has no power over Him (Revelation 1:18).

By His resurrection, Jesus abolished death (2 Timothy 1:10). Those who believe in Him and obey His Gospel will one day be raised from the dead to eternal life.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the good news which tells of what the Savior did for us. It also tells how to accept the Savior so that we can be saved (Hebrews 5:8,9). We must believe in Him (John 8:24). We must repent of all our sins (Luke 13:3). We must confess our faith that “Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 10:32,33; Acts 8:37). We must be baptized so that our sins will be washed away (Mark 16:15,16; Acts 2:38; Romans 6:4).

If we do not listen to the warnings in God’s Word, we will be lost! If we believe God’s warning and obey His will, we will be saved. Jesus Christ is man’s only Savior. Will you not accept Him today by believing in Him and obeying His will?





Truth For the World



B. B. Brother


Throughout history it has been important to be in God’s appointed place at God’s appointed time. In Noah’s day it was important to be in the ark. “Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water. The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:” (I Peter 3:21). They had to be in the ark. In Moses day it was necessary for the Israelites to be in the house with the blood on it (see Exodus 12:21-23). Today, to receive spiritual blessings one must be in Christ.


ALL SPIRITUAL BLESSING ARE IN CHRIST: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:” (Ephesians 1:3). Thus, there are NO spiritual blessing out side of Christ!


WE ARE CHOSEN IN CHRIST: “According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:” (Ephesians 1:4).


WE HAVE THE ADOPTION OF CHILDREN BY JESUS CHRIST: “Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,” (Ephesians 1:5).


WE ARE ACCEPTED IN THE BELOVED: “To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved” (Ephesians 1:6).


REDEMPTION IS IN CHRIST: “In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;” (Ephesians 1:7).


ALL THINGS ARE GATHERED TOGETHER IN HIM: “That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:” (Ephesians 1:10).


WE HAVE OBTAINED AN INHERITANCE IN CHRIST: “In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:” (Ephesians 1:11).


ONE IS SEALED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT OF PROMISE IN CHRIST: “In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,” (Ephesians 1:13). One is approved by the Holy Spirit by means of the word.


Truly, one in Christ is rich! How does one get into Christ? “For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ” (Galatians 3:27). Are you “in Christ”?




B. B. Brother




It is important to know that one can please God. If one thinks of God as One Who is always angry and he must in someway appease God’s wrath, after awhile he may simply “give up” and conclude. It is impossible to please our heavenly Father. Jesus did not have such a misconception of the Father. He stated; “And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him” (John 8:29). Jesus did always those things that pleased the Father. While none is perfect, as is Jesus, and pleases God always in everything we do (for all of us sin), yet surely we do some things that please God! Not only did Jesus say He pleased the Father, but the Father Himself said that He was pleased with Jesus. Mathews records; “While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him” (Mat. 17:5). The Father was “well pleased” with Jesus.


We too can be pleasing unto God. Paul admonished Timothy, “Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier” (2 Tim 2:3-4). We can please Him Who has chosen us to be a soldier. God wants us to serve Him in confidence. Every good father desires his children to have confidence in him. If a child grows up thinking he can never please his father, after awhile he may quit trying. He certainly doesn’t desire to be around a father who is always angry and displeased with him. Likewise, if a child of God erroneously concludes that his heavenly Father is always angry with him and he can never please Him, he will not desire to be in His presence and may even quit trying to please Him. One reason the Israelites failed to inherit the promised land was they had a faulty concept of God. Their lack of faith in God caused them to say that God even hated them. Moses recorded; “Notwithstanding ye would not go up, but rebelled against the commandment of the LORD your God: And ye murmured in your tents, and said, Because the LORD hated us, he hath brought us forth out of the land of Egypt, to deliver us into the hand of the Amorites, to destroy us” (Deu. 1:26-27). Rather than exemplifying strong confidence in Jehovah they murmured that God hated them and that is why He brought them out of Egypt and led them into the hands of the Amorities that they should be destroyed! Yet, there were those that believed God and knew that God was true to His Word! Joshua and Caleb did exemplified faith and confidence in God. They knew that God would give them the promised land. But the congregation grew discouraged and would not go up to possess the land. As a result, none of that generation would enter the promise land, except Caleb and Joshua!


Hebrews chapter eleven demonstrates that Christians can please God! It shows us how we can be pleasing unto God. There are, however, conditions to pleasing God. He is not pleased with us when we lack confidence in Him and walk contrary to His Word. We must have faith to be pleasing unto God. The Hebrews writer noted; “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” (Heb. 11:6). The following discussion informs us what this “faith” is and how it is demonstrated in the lives of those who please God.




Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good report. Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear. By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh. By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God. But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith. (Hebrews 11:1–7)


11:1 Faith defined: The Hebrews’ writers tells us; “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Paul had just previously stated; “Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul” (Heb. 10:38-39). Paul had confidence that his brethren would not draw back but “believe unto the saving of the soul.” He now defines what “faith” is. It is the “substance of things hoped for.” The word “substance” means “a setting or placing under” (Thayer). Faith then is the under-girding. It is the catalyst that motivates us to go forward toward things that are “hoped for.” Regarding “hope,” Paul stated to the Romans; “For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it” (Rom. 8:24-25).

Hebrews continues by stating, “the evidence of things not seen.” From this, one learns that faith is not a leap in the dark. It is not the case that one walks so far based on evidence and then takes a leap into the dark because there is no more evidence. The reader should note that the Hebrews’ writer did not say, “by assumption Able offered,” or “by probability Noah built,” rather he stated “by faith Able offered,” and “by faith Noah built.”


There is evidence of things that are “not seen.” Simply because one has not seen something doesn’t mean that it does not exist. There other types of evidences other than eye-witness accounts. A person may see a house and know that someone built the house though he may not have ever met or seen the builder. Yet, there is evidence that someone existed and that this person or persons built the house. Biblical faith is based upon the Word of God. One must keep in mind that Biblical faith is not the same as assumption. Some may assume something is pleasing to God. He may believe this with all his heart. However, it can be contrary to God’s will and God is displeased with the action. Paul tells us, “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Rom. 10:17). When God, through His Word, tells us to do something, and we do it, that is an act of faith. The simple truth of the matter is that we must have a “thus saith the Lord,” for all that we do, otherwise such is not a matter of faith and is unauthorized. To the Christians in Colosse, Paul wrote; “And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him” (Col. 3:17). Unfortunately, many do things in word and in deed NOT in the name of the Lord Jesus, and simply assume that God is pleased!

These will learn in the judgment, if not before, that it was not pleasing unto God. “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Heb. 11:1).


11;2-3: Faith illustrated: God uses “the elders” as a illustration of faith. He states; “For by it the elders obtained a good report” (Heb. 11:2). Concerning these “elders”, Adam Clarke observed; “By the elders are meant ancestors, forefathers, such as the patriarchs and prophets, several of whom he afterwards particularly names, and produces some fact from the history of their lives” (Clarke).


“The worlds” are used as another illustration of faith. The record states; “Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear” (Heb. 11:3). It is an axiom that the worlds (including the planetary systems, etc.), did not (and could not), create themselves. How did the worlds come into existence? They were framed by the Word of God. How does one know this? Was any human present at the time of the creation of the worlds who can give an eye witness account of their formation? Obviously not! By faith we know that the worlds were created by the Word of God. Again there is ample evidence for this. One doesn’t simply assume that this is the way the worlds were created.

To the Romans Paul affirmed; “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse” (Rom. 1:18-20). It is interesting that Paul states in a paradox that the invisible things of God from the creation of the world are clearly seen. These things are understood by the things that are made. One can see the eternal power and Godhead (divinity). Consequently, mankind is without excuse. Some time ago, it was my privilege to visit a university campus in China. Speaking with some of the students on the campus, the subject of God and creation came up. One question asked me was, “Who created God?” The answer given was “No one created God because God is eternal.” This, of course, led to a discussion of origins. I asked him what he learned about life in Biology? Does life come from nothing, or from life? He stated that life came from life. I then stated to him, that this being true, then life has always existed, because if life comes from life, and there was ever a time when life did not exist, then there would be no life now. I then proceeded to explain that it was logical to believe in God and that it is also scientific to believe in God (cf. Biology).

To the Romans, Paul is stating that from the visible things one should conclude there is a creator. A design (the world) implies a Designer (God). Earlier in Hebrews, Paul stated; “For every house is builded by some man; but he that built all things is God” (Heb. 3:4). Likewise, the Psalmist wrote;

The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge. There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard. Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun, Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoiceth as a strong man to run a race. His going forth is from the end of the heaven, and his circuit unto the ends of it: and there is nothing hid from the heat thereof. (Psa. 19:1-6).


One is able to look at the creation and correctly conclude there is a Creator. However, it takes another revelation (the Word of God), to tell man what the Creator would have him do. Consequently, the Psalmist continued;

The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward (Psa. 19:7-11).


The world and the Word tell us there is a God. It is the Word that tells us Who God is and what His will is for our lives. When one opens the Bible, the first words from God that he will read are; “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth” (Gen. 1:1). The Psalmist informs us of the power and quickness of this action when he stated; “By the word of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth” and “For he spake, and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast” (Psa. 33:6,9). God created the worlds in a literal six, twenty-four hour days.

To the Jews, Moses commanded;


Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it (Exo. 20:8-11).


The Jews understood they were to keep the sabbath on the sixth day. A day that consisted of twenty-four hours. From the above analogy one learns that the creation days likewise consisted of twenty-fours. We know, by faith, how the worlds came into existence.


11:4-5,7 Faith demonstrated: It is always helpful to have a demonstration of a principle so one can emulate that example. God gives us several examples of the faith with which He is pleased. The first demonstration of a pleasing faith is Abel. The record states; “By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh” (Heb. 11:4). The occurrence of this action is recorded in Genesis chapter four. Both Cain and Abel brought an offering unto the Lord. The Lord had respect unto Abel and his offering but he had no respect for Cain’s. Why is this? The answer is found in the reading of Genesis four, Hebrews 11 and the principle stated in Romans 10:17. Able offered his sacrifice “by faith.” The Bible informs us that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. Consequently, to offer a sacrifice by faith is to offer it based upon the Word of the Lord. By inducing the evidence from the passages mentioned, the simply fact is that Able listened and obeyed God whereas Cain did not. Able obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts. As a result of his faith, though he is dead, he still speaks today. Thus in the very first recorded acts of worship, we have a record both of true worship and false worship. Able did not walk by assumption or by probability. He did not take a “leap into the dark.” He listened to God and did as God required.


The next demonstration of a faith that pleases God is the faith that was found in Enoch. The text says; “By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God” (Heb. 11:5). This remarkable event is recorded for us in Genesis 5:22-24. It states; “And Enoch lived sixty and five years, and begat Methuselah: And Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah three hundred years, and begat sons and daughters: And all the days of Enoch were three hundred sixty and five years: And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him” (Gen 5:21-24). Enoch, like Elijah, did not have to experience death. God simply took him? Why did God take him? Because he pleased God. How did he please God? By faith. The account in Genesis tells us that he “walked with God.” To walk with God is to walk in harmony with God. He, like Able mentioned before, listened to and obeyed God. It is interesting to note from the text that the Bible states that “he was not found.” The implication is that some must have sought for Enoch after his translation, but Enoch was not found. The reason is, “God had translated him.” A story is told that a little child was once asked by his Bible class teacher, what happen to Enoch? The child replied; “Enoch was a man who walked with God and he walked with God for a long time. Finally, God said to Enoch, “Enoch you have walked me for a long way, why don’t you go home with me? And, he did!” While the illustration of the teacher and the child is most likely fictitious, it illustrates a truth – If one walks with God, God will one day take him home with Him.


The other demonstration of a pleasing faith is the faith that is found in Noah. The Bibles states; “By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith” (Heb. 11:7). Most all people are aware of this historic event. Because people had turned away from God, “and GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart” (Gen. 6:5-6). God declared that He would destroy the world – “And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them” (Gen. 6:7). God sent a universal flood that destroyed every living creature that breathed. “And, behold, I, even I, do bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath of life, from under heaven; and every thing that is in the earth shall die (Gen. 6:17). Yet, there was a man who would not die in the flood. The Bible stated; “But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD” (Gen. 6:8). Why did Noah find grace in the eyes of the Lord? The record continues;

These are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God. And Noah begat three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth. The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth. And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth. Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch. And this is the fashion which thou shalt make it of: The length of the ark shall be three hundred cubits, the breadth of it fifty cubits, and the height of it thirty cubits. A window shalt thou make to the ark, and in a cubit shalt thou finish it above; and the door of the ark shalt thou set in the side thereof; with lower, second, and third stories shalt thou make it. And, behold, I, even I, do bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath of life, from under heaven; and every thing that is in the earth shall die. But with thee will I establish my covenant; and thou shalt come into the ark, thou, and thy sons, and thy wife, and thy sons’ wives with thee (Gen. 6:9-18).


It is stated that Noah was a “just man and perfect in his generations and Noah walked with God.” Noah was instructed to build an ark and that he and his family would be saved in the ark. The Hebrews’ writer stated that he prepared the ark “by faith” (Heb. 11:7). Obviously, Noah and his family did not build the ark by faith alone! In fact, Moses wrote; “Thus did Noah; according to all that God commanded him, so did he” (Gen. 6:22). “Faith only” advocates cannot find any support for their false position in Noah (nor any other passage in the Word of God). According to the Bible Noah was saved by many things. He was saved by God (Gen. 6). He was saved by grace (Gen.6:8), by faith (Heb. 11:7), by water (I Peter 3:20), by the Word of God (Gen. 6), by obedience (Gen. 6:22), by the love of God (Gen. 6), etc.

All of the above examples demonstrate that the faith that is pleasing unto God is a faith that takes God at His Word and responds in faithful obedience. There is a faith, however, that is not pleasing unto God. James explains;

What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead (Jam. 2:14-20)?



He further explained;

Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only. Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way? For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also (Jam. 2:21-26)


“Faith only” is a dead faith and does not please God. Even the devils believe and tremble. Some of the religious leaders in Jesus’ day, believe on Him, but they would not confess him. John stated; “Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue: For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God” (John 12:42-43). Obviously their faith in Jesus was not a saving faith! They would not even confess the Christ lest they should be put out of the synagogue. Someone has observed that the “devils believed and confessed they knew that Christ is the Son of God. Hence the chief rulers who refused to confess Christ didn’t even have enough faith to make a good demon!” The faith that pleases God is the faith that obeys from the heart.


11:6 Faith demanded: As stated at the beginning of this chapter, we should all desire to please God. After stating that Enoch pleased God, the Hebrews’ writer noted; “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” (Heb. 11:6). In order to please God, we must have faith. What is included in this “faith?” First, one must believe that God is. One must believe that God exists. In reality, God exists, whether one believes it or not. However, if one doesn’t believe God exists, he obviously is not going to attempt to walk in harmony with His will. However, one must not only believe that God is, but, second, one must also believe that God is a “rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” Reader friend, do you believe that God is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him? Do you have confidence in God even when times get tough? The problem with some who may believe in the existence of God is they really do not give true devotion to Him. Do they believe that God is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him? Why is it that some come to services only on Sunday mornings? Is He not the God of Sunday and Wednesday evenings also (Heb. 10:25, Mat. 6:33)? A good question to ask those who come only on Sunday mornings is, “why do you even come on Sunday mornings?” Is one present at services on Sunday mornings thinking maybe by doing so, one will not have to go to hell? This illustrates that one doesn’t really care about pleasing God, he just doesn’t want to go to hell. What if hell were not in the picture? How many would quit “serving” God completely?? In reality, there is a hell and those who disobey God are going there (Mat. 7:13-14, 21-24). Yet, God doesn’t want any to go to hell ( I Tim. 2:4, 2 Peter 3:9)? God doesn’t want us to serve Him only out of the fear of being lost. He is a loving Father who desires our devotion and respect. Those who genuinely love Him and serve Him will be rewarded greatly! There is a heaven to gain. Heaven is a place where there is no more death, no sorrow, no pain, no crying. It is a place of eternal fellowship with God and the redeemed


The faith that is demanded of us is an active obedient faith. We must believe that God is and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him. This faith will not only cause one to be at all the services in worship to God, but will also demonstrate itself in every action of obedience. Paul stated the faith of the Roman brethren was spoken of throughout the world. He wrote; “First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world” (Rom. 1:8). Then he later stated; “For your obedience is come abroad unto all men. I am glad therefore on your behalf: but yet I would have you wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil” (Rom. 16:19). Their faith was seen, it was spoken of throughout the world. Their obedience was come abroad unto all.









What a blessing to know that we can please God and that He can be pleased in us. At times we sing the song “Blessed Assurance.” One can have this blessed assurance. Paul wrote; “For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens” (2 Cor. 5:1). Likewise the apostle John wrote; “And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked” (1John 2:3-6). Jesus came that we might have life and have it more abundantly. He stated; “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly” (John 10:10).


In this chapter, we have seen faith defined, faith illustrated, faith demonstrated and faith demanded. May each of us so walk as to be pleasing to God.




The word “repent” in its various forms occurs more than 100 times in the Bible.  This shows the great importance of repentance. Nearly every church requires repentance from sin of those who wish to be members. However, repentance is a greatly misunderstood command of God. It is also a very difficult command.  Some have said it is the most difficult command in the Bible.

What is Repentance?

     Sometimes the best way to learn the meaning of a word is first to look at what it is not before looking at what it is.  Many people think repentance is just being sorry for one’s sins.  This is not what repentance is!   The apostle Paul wrote:    For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted;  but the sorrow of the world produces death (2 Corinthians 7:10).   If one is sorry for the sins he has committed, it will cause him to repent of them.  On Pentecost Day, the Jews who heard Peter preach Christ were cut to the heart.”  This shows they were very sorry for their sin of crucifying Jesus, but their sorrow for sin was not repentance.  Peter still had to tell them to Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins (Acts 2:37, 38).
If repentance is not being sorry for one’s sins, then what is repentance? According to all the teaching of the Bible, repentance is a change of one’s mind toward sin.  It is produced by godly sorrow for one’s sins. The result of this change of mind toward sin will be a change of life. A good example of what is involved in repentance is a parable that Jesus told: But what do you think? A man had two sons, and he came to the first and said, ‘Son, go, work today in my vineyard. He answered and said, ‘I will not,’ but afterward he regretted it and went (Matthew 21:28,29).  The son disobeyed his father. When he regretted (was sorry) for his disobedience, he changed his mind about his decision. He then did what his father had asked him to do. 
Repentance involves restitution. “Restitution” means that we will make right the things we have done wrong in so far as possible. If one has murdered another person, he can not restore that person back to life.  He can, however, help the widow and children of the man he has killed. If one has stolen money from another person, when he repents, he must return the money he has stolen. John the Baptist told the Pharisees and Sadducees: Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance (Matthew 3:8).

Who Should Repent?

     Those who are not Christians must repent of their sins in order to be saved.  Jesus commanded that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem[” *] (Luke 24:47).     Paul told the people of Athens that God []now commands all men everywhere to repent[] (Acts 17:30).  On Pentecost Day, Peter told the Jews who heard the Gospel and had cried out, [][*What shall we do?] to Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins(Acts 2:37, 38).
Christians who have sinned also need to repent. When Philip preached in Samaria, Simon, who had been a sorcerer, became a Christian. When he saw the apostles giving the gifts of the Holy Spirit by laying their hands on the Christians, he wanted to buy this power. But Peter said to him, Your money perish with you, because you thought that the gift of God could be purchased with money!  You have neither part nor portion in this matter, for your heart is not right in the sight of God.  Repent therefore of this your wickedness, and pray God if perhaps the thought of your heart may be forgiven you (Acts 8:20-22).

Why Should One Repent?

     We have already learned that godly sorrow produces repentance (2 Corinthians 7:10). In Jesus’ parable of the two sons, we learned that the son who refused to obey his father regretted his decision.  Therefore, he changed his mind and did his father’s will.  His regret (godly sorrow for his disobedience) caused him to repent and obey his father’s command (Matthew 21:28, 29).  One will repent if he is sorry for his sins. One will also repent of his sins when he understands God’s goodness toward him.  Paul asked, Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance? (Romans 2:4).  God loves us and sent His only begotten Son to die for our sins (John 3:16; 1 John 4:10; Romans 5:6-8).  God’s goodness should make us want to repent of our sins against Him. One will also repent of his sins because the Day of Judgment is coming.  Paul told the idolaters in Athens: Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed  a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained.  He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead (Acts 17:30, 31).  Christ is now ruling from the right hand of God in Heaven, but one day He will come again to raise the dead and judge the whole world (Acts 1:9-11; John 5:28, 29 ).  Everyone who is living and who has ever lived will be judged (Romans 14:12; 2 Corinthians 5:10).  We must repent of our sins so that we will not be condemned at the Judgment!

When Should One Repent?

The Jews on Pentecost repented the same day they heard the Gospel.  They were then baptized for the remission of their sins (Acts 2:37, 38, 41).   Since one can not be saved without repentance, then one should want to repent as soon as possible (Luke 13:3).  Life is short and uncertain (James 4:13-15).  Death is certain and will come to each one of us sooner or later (Hebrews 9:27).  We are going to be judged for our sins at the Last Day.  Therefore, we should repent immediately! The apostle Peter wrote:[*   “]The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance[”*] (2 Peter 3:9). Dear Reader, what about you?  Have you repented of your sins?  Have you been baptized for the remission of your sins?  If not, please do so today so that you will be prepared to meet the Lord.











Many honest, sincere religious people believe man is saved by grace alone. Others teach that man is saved by faith alone. Both of these groups deny that baptism (immersion in water) has anything to do with being saved from sins. What does the Bible say?

The Bible teaches that:(1) All spiritual blessings are in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 1:3);(2) Grace, faith, and love are found in Christ Jesus (1 Timothy 1:14; 2 Timothy 2:1; )(3) Salvation is found only in Christ Jesus (2 Timothy 2:10); (4) Those who are sanctified are in Christ Jesus (1 Corinthians 1:2); (5) Eternal life is found only in Christ Jesus (1 John 5:11,12); (6) Baptism puts one into Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:27).

Any reasonable, honest person will have to admit that if all spiritual blessings, grace, faith, love, salvation, sanctification, and eternal life are found in Christ Jesus, and if baptism puts one into Christ Jesus, then one must be baptized in order to enjoy these blessings. This plainly shows that baptism is essential (required) in order to be saved. To deny it is to deny the Word of God!

The Bible does not teach that baptism alone saves! However, it does teach that man is saved by baptism. Many religious people think, “He who believes is saved and should be baptized.” But Christ Jesus said: He who believes and is baptized will be saved” (Mark 16:16). Some teach, “Baptism does not save us.” But the inspired apostle Peter wrote: “There is also an antitype which now saves us – baptism” (1 Peter 3:21)! Which should we accept – the teaching of men, or the plain statements of the Word of God (John 12:48)?

In order to be saved, one must obey Christ Jesus (Hebrews 5:9). We are commanded to believe (John 3:16; Acts 16:31). But we are also commanded to be baptized (Acts 10:48). Therefore, one must believe and be baptized in order to be saved. This is exactly what the Lord Jesus stated in Mark 16:16: “He who believes and is baptized will be saved.” If one refuses to be baptized in order to be saved, he is denying the Word of God!

Certainly it is true that man is not saved by works of his devising (Ephesians 2:8,9; Titus 3:5), nor is he saved by the works of the Law of Moses (Galatians 3:10-12). But man is saved by obeying the works of God (John 14:15; Hebrews 5:9). Belief (faith) is a work of God (John 6:28,29). Baptism is also a work of God (Mark 16:16). The same loving Savior who spoke the words of John 6:28,29 also spoke the words of Mark 16:16. If one denies this, he denies Christ Jesus Who spoke them.

We are saved by the blood of Christ (Romans 5:9). Christ shed His blood in His death on the cross (John 19:34). We come into contact with the blood of Christ when we are baptized into His death (Romans 6:3). Without baptism, one cannot contact the saving blood of Jesus Christ. How can we deny this?

What is necessary to save man from his sins? It takes God’s part which is grace (Ephesians 2:8), mercy (Titus 3:5), Christ Jesus (Matthew 1:21); His life (Romans 5:10); His blood (Romans 5:9); and the Gospel of Christ (1 Corinthians 15:1-4). It also takes man’s part which is faith (Romans 5:1); works (James 2:24); calling on the name of the Lord (Romans 10:13); hope (Romans 8:24); our effort (Acts 2:40); and being baptized (1 Peter 3:21). The Bible does not teach that man is saved by anything alone! God, through His Word, the Bible, says it takes ALL of these things to save us from our sins. To deny such is to deny the Word of God!

Does baptism save? Yes, one must be baptized to be saved! If you believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God (John 8:24), and are willing to repent of your sins which separate you from God (Isaiah 59:1,2; Luke 13:3), and are willing to confess your faith in Christ as God’s Son (Acts 8:37; Romans 10:10), then why not be baptized into Christ now (Acts 16:33)? If you do, you will receive all the spiritual blessings which are found only in the Lord Jesus Christ!






Truth For The World



Garland Elkins


In this material we are studying about The New Birth as described by Christ in John 3.

John 3:3 says, “Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except one be born anew, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”


Then in John 3:5, Jesus answered, “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except one be born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God!”


Now the devil knows that there is no difference in these two statements. We know it too if we believe the Scriptures. The devil knows, as well as anyone else, that no man is ever saved until he is born again. He also knows that no man is ever born again until he is buried in water in the name of Christ for the remission of sins.


We are commanded to, “Give diligence to present thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, handling aright the word of truth” (2 Tim. 2:15).


Christ said, “and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”


He also said, “Ye search the scriptures, because ye think that in them ye have eternal life; and these are they which bear witness of me” (John 5:39).


And in Acts 17:11 we read, “Now these were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of the mind, examining the Scriptures daily, whether these things were so.”


At this time, I call to your attention John 3:1-12: “Now there was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: the same came unto him by night, and said to him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that thou doest, except God be with him. Jesus answered and said unto him, ‘Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except one be born anew, he cannot see the kingdom of God.’ Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb, and be born? Jesus answered, ‘Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except one be born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God! That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born anew. The wind bloweth where it will, and thou hearest the voice thereof, but knowest not whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.’ Nicodemus answered and said unto him, How can these things be? Jesus answered and said unto him, ‘Art thou the teacher of Israel, and understandest not these things?

Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that which we know, and bear witness of that which we have seen; and ye receive not our witness. If I told you earthly things and ye believe not, how shall ye believe if I tell you heavenly things?’”


I want us to analyze carefully the passages – especially John 3:3 and John 3:5. Our Lord pointed out the absolute necessity of the new birth when He said, “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except one be born anew, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”


Since water refers to baptism in this passage, Christ is simply saying that “except a man be baptized.” Of course, it includes the part that the Holy Spirit plays through His law, the New Testament. The Spirit uses His sword, “which is the word of God” (Eph. 6:17). Christ, in verse 3, points out the necessity of the new birth. And, in verse 5, He points out that it has two component parts – “water” and “of the Spirit.”


I have heard denominational preachers act as if it would choke them even to quote John 3:5 correctly. I have heard them via radio quote it time and again and pervert it by leaving water out and saying, “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God,” completely leaving water out of the quotation. They observed, as it were, the “passover.” They just passed right over the word water, and left it out. The truth is, the word water means water. If it does not mean water, how are they always so sure that the word Spirit means Spirit? I have never heard any of them in my life who doubted that fact. Spirit means Spirit. Well, if water does not mean water, how do they know that Spirit does not mean something else? If water means something else, then Spirit means something else. The truth is, water means water and Spirit means Spirit.


Let us look at three passages that are parallel. They are John 3:5, Ephesians 5:26 and Titus 3:5.


Let us first quote them. Jesus answered, “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except one be born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God!” (John 3:5). “That he might sanctify it, having cleansed it by the washing of water with the word” (Eph. 5:26). “Not by works done in righteousness, which we did ourselves, but according to his mercy he saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit” (Titus 3:5).


Note in John 3:5 that Christ points out the new birth consists of two parts. One must be “born of water and of the Spirit.” This is a good place to point out also that no one has been born again if he has had water sprinkled or poured upon him. This would be an utter impossibility. One cannot be born of that which is smaller than one’s self. It is admitted by all that a thimble full of water is too little to affect a birth. Therefore, one could not be born of water when he has had a little water sprinkled or poured on him. Now I want to prove this. Paul said in Colossians 1:18: “And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.”


Our Lord died and was placed in a borrowed tomb. On the third day He burst the bars of death and hell; that He came forth victorious and led captivity captive and gave gifts unto men when He ascended on high. Our Lord died, and was buried, and was covered from sight. A great stone was rolled against the door of the tomb.


Please note this carefully. Did you know that our Lord’s resurrection from the tomb is referred to as a birth? Some years after this wonderful event, Paul wrote about it in the words of Colossians 1:18. Note the expression, the firstborn from the dead. Our Lord, when dead, did not have just a little dirt sprinkled or poured on Him. He was put into Joseph’s new tomb; He was buried out of sight and a great stone was rolled to the mouth of the grave and on the third day He came forth, and the Bible says that was a birth from the dead. Therefore, one, when born of the water, is immersed, is buried, as was our Lord. In fact, Paul says that baptism is a burial. “Having been buried with him in baptism, wherein ye were also raised with him through faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead” (Col. 2:12).


Romans 6:4 says, “We were buried therefore with him through baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we also might walk in newness of life. Born of water, therefore, of necessity, requires an immersion in water for the remission of sins.”


Let us now look again at John 3:5. Christ says that when one is born again he is born of the Spirit. In John 3:8 he adds, “The wind bloweth where it will, and thou hearest the voice thereof, but knowest not whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit”


We are “born of water and of the Spirit. “ Now, the Holy Spirit operates, of course, through His law. This is taught in Romans 8:2. “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus made me free from the law of sin and of death.”


In James 1:21 we read, “Wherefore putting away all filthiness and overflowing of wickedness, receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.”


Therefore, the Holy Spirit participates. The word from which we get the word Spirit occurs 386 times in the Greek New Testament. 384 times it is translated Spirit or its equivalent, Ghost. One time it is translated “life” (Rev. 13:15). In John 3:8 it is translated “wind.” Some translations, including the Living Oracles translation, renders it this way, “The Spirit breathes where he will and thou hearest the report of him.” Well, how does that report come to us? In Romans 10:17 we read, “So belief cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ. Sometimes there are those who read this statement and imagine that when the Holy Spirit speaks that He speaks miraculously, directly, and mysteriously. They even have a song they sing which states, “something got hold of me.” I do not doubt something got hold of some of them, but it was emotionalism and misguided zeal, though I do not doubt their sincerity in many cases.


I want to raise this question, and hope you will remember the answer to it. How were the voices of the Old Testament prophets heard every Sabbath day? Here is the answer, “For they that dwell in Jerusalem, and their rulers, because they knew him not, nor the voices of the prophets which are read every sabbath, fulfilled them by condemning him” (Acts 13:27).


Now, what did he say? He said the voices of these prophets were heard every Sabbath. Well, how did they speak? They spoke by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit as stated in 2 Peter 1:21, “For no prophecy ever came by the will of man: but men spake from God, being moved by the Holy Spirit.”


But Acts 13:27 says that when their writings were read and when the prophets heard them read, these were the voices of the prophets that were heard each Sabbath. Therefore, we do not deny that the voice of the Holy Spirit is heard. But the question is, how? The Bible says that it is by His law in Romans 8:2.


Ephesians 6:17 says, “And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:”


I might cut down a tree with an axe. Now, the axe did not do it by itself, and I would not attempt to do it with my bare hands. There are two things true in this illustration. Number one, an axe was used; that was the instrument. Number two, there was someone on the other end of that axe exerting a force and bringing that force to bear on the tree. I want to make this especially clear, because sometimes people do misunderstand.


I want to make the point very clear that no person has ever yet been converted nor ever shall be converted without the participation of the Holy Spirit in that conversion. Let me emphasize that point again, I do not know how many people that I have heard say, “Oh, you don’t believe in the Holy Spirit, do you?” In every case, when a man is converted the Holy Spirit operates. But how does He do so? In Ephesians 6:17, Paul says, “and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. “


That is the way He operated upon the hearts of the people on the day of Pentecost. In Acts 2:37 we read, “Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and the rest of the apostles, Brethren, what shall we do?”


The Holy Spirit was using His sword, His word, through Peter, the gospel preacher, and when they heard the powerful and convincing words they were “pricked” or “cut” in their hearts. The Holy Spirit always participates in the conversion of an alien sinner, but He never operates in any fashion other than in using the New Testament, His word, the sword of the Spirit. Now, someone might say, “I would like for you to prove that.” I repeat a passage that I have already referred to which is James 1:21. “Wherefore putting away all filthiness and overflowing of wickedness, receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.”


Note that he said the word is “able” to save your souls. I asked a preacher this question some time past: “Since the Bible says that the word is able to save, why do you say that the Holy Spirit must operate independent of, and distinct from the word of God and in a mysterious, better felt than told fashion?” I could never get him to answer and I know why. He would have had to give up his doctrine or deny the Bible.


Why then are we to be born of the water and of the Spirit? It is in order that we might enter into the kingdom of God. It is an amazing thing to me that there are so many people who are teaching what they call premillennialism. That is just another way of saying another false doctrine. There are multiplied thousands of people who argue that the kingdom has not yet been set up. But I have never seen anyone contend for false doctrine who did not contradict their own false doctrine. These same people argue that they believe in the new birth. Now, if the kingdom has not been established, then there has never been anyone born of water and of the Spirit, because when one is born of water and of the Spirit, he enters the kingdom. He becomes a citizen of the Kingdom by the same process by which he is born of water and of the Spirit.


Another thing, if the kingdom has not been set up, then no one can partake of the Lord’s Supper scripturally. Christ said in Luke 22:29-30: “And I appoint unto you a kingdom, even as my Father appointed unto me, that ye may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom…” Even a premillennialist will go through the motion of taking the Lord’s Supper now and then. He, therefore, admits that the Lord’s Supper is to be taken during this Christian dispensation. But our Lord said, “My supper,” the Lord’s Supper, will never be participated in until it is taken in the kingdom. In 1 Corinthians, chapter eleven, we learn that when the church came together they partook of the Lord’s Supper. Therefore, the church and the kingdom are one and the same institution. The truth is that we are born of water and of the Spirit in order to enter into the kingdom of God.


Christ says that to enter the kingdom, one must be born “of water and of the Spirit,” Paul says in Ephesians 5:25-26 there is “the washing of water.” He is pointing out how these Ephesians entered the church of Christ. And he says, “having cleansed it by the washing of water with the word.” So, there is the “washing of water.” Christ says one must be “born of the Spirit.” Paul tells us how it is done. He says it is “by the word.” Christ says when one is “born of water and of the Spirit” he then “enters into the kingdom of God.” Paul says one is “cleansed.” The statements mean the same thing.


Let us now examine Titus 3:5. “Not by works done in righteousness, which we did ourselves, but according to his mercy he saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit.”


Now observe that Christ says in John 3:5, “born of water,” Paul says in Ephesians 5:26, “washing of water,” and in Titus 3:5 Paul says this is “the washing of regeneration.” What does the word “regenerate” means? It means to be born again; to be made new. Christ said we must be “born of water” while Paul says it is “the washing of water” and “the washing of regeneration.” But regeneration means to be born again. It is the washing that is characteristic of the new birth.


I raise the question and I want you to think seriously about it: Can you think of any act, any condition, any step in the plan of salvation for our being saved or entering the Church—which is the kingdom of Christ—that has water in it other than baptism? You may think and search until you are as old as Methuselah—969 years old—and you would never find where there is water in any of the conditions of pardon for the alien sinner except in baptism. There is no water in faith, at the point of faith; there is no water at the point of repentance; there is no water at the point of confession; but there is water in the act of baptism. Paul said that it is that washing that pertains to the new birth

or regeneration.


Let me give you a passage that says our bodies are to be washed with pure water. The element is water. Hebrews 10:22 says, “Let us draw near with a true heart in fullness of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience: and our body washed with pure water.”


I want you to note that the sprinkling is an allusion to the blood being applied to the heart while the washing is an allusion to being baptized.


In Hebrews 10:22 Paul says that our body is washed with “pure water” while in Titus 3:5 he refers to it as the “washing of regeneration.” So, the truth of the matter is that it can refer only to baptism. Baptism is the only act in the conditions of pardon for the alien sinner that has any water in it.


The truth is consistent and will stand. The only condition of pardon that has water in it is baptism. Let us condition some statements by various scholars on this subject. These statements do not, of course, have the authority the scriptures have, but I do think that it will be of value to read them. Some people think that those of us who are members of the church of Christ are the only people who have ever thought that water in John 3:5 refers to baptism. Many denominational scholars have given the correct meaning of John 3:5 because they valued their scholarship, although in their religious lives they may have practiced something else. William Wall, a reliable church historian of the Church of England, affirms that all writers from the time of Christ to the days of John Calvin said to be “born of water” means to be “baptized.”


Nicodemus was evidently confused by the knowledge that he had been born by a fleshly birth into covenant relation with God under the Old Dispensation and was therefore a citizen of the only kingdom he knew anything about. He apparently looked for a restoration of the “old Kingdom” to its ancient glory and thought that he must, as a citizen, share in the benefits of the only kingdom he anticipated-an earthly one! It came as a surprise to him that he must be “born again” to be in the kingdom of which Jesus spoke. He failed to understand the spiritual nature of the New Covenant and the spiritual nature of the New Kingdom and thus the need of being “born again.”


Now, born of water,” “washing of water,” and “washing of regeneration” refers to baptism. “Born of the Spirit,” “by the word“ this is the instrument that the Spirit uses-and “the renewal of the Holy Spirit”- are one and the same thing. Enter the kingdom,” “cleansed,” and “saved” refer to the same thing.


Many people say that when Christ told Nicodemus “ye must be born again,” that He was saying you have already been born of your mother, and the water of that birth was the water to which He alluded. They claim that He was telling him to be born of the Spirit and that there is no water involved. But, remember that Nicodemus asked Him the question, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?” Christ points out to him that He is not speaking of a physical birth-but of a spiritual one. He was not speaking of a child being born physically, but of the spiritual birth of a man.


“Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.”


Thus, he was speaking of the birth of a man-not a baby. Nicodemus, you are a man and I am not speaking of your being born again physically, but this is a spiritual birth and it consists of two elements, “water” and “Spirit.” “Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God


There are some who may say this means that the Holy Spirit will come in a mysterious way like the wind. I showed from Acts 13:27 that when the voices of the prophets were heard on the Sabbath, the writings of these men were being read. They heard their voices only in the sense that they read their writings. That is the only way the Spirit operates-through His word (Eph. 6:17; Rom. 8:2). Now you cannot see the wind but you can see the effect of it. I had a friend who, at one time, had been a drunkard, a dope addict, and in a denomination all at the same time. But this man, through the influence of the gospel, quit all of them, turned his back to all of them and became a Christian and later a gospel preacher. I may not be able to explain how God was able to put that much power in the gospel but He did, and it, the gospel, is “the power of God unto salvation” (Rom. 1:16). I, therefore, accept the gospel as God’s power.


I have said from the beginning that I was going to prove that being “born again” referred to baptism. In Acts 2:9-11 a number of nationalities are mentioned. Among them were people from Pontus, Judea, Cappadocia, Asia, and Phyrgia. When various ones from these places and others were “pricked in their heart” they asked Peter and the rest of the apostles, “men and brethren, what shall we do?” “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost (Acts 2:38).”


Now these people were baptized “for the remission of sins.” As you know, about three thousand people obeyed the gospel that day (Acts 2:41). Peter, some years later, wrote to these very people and he names some of them. “Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the elect who are sojourners of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappodicia, Asia, and Bithynia” (1 Peter 1:1). And in 1 Peter 1:23 he says, “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth forever.”


These people wanted to know what to do to be saved and Peter told them “repent and be baptized” and pointed out that this was “for the remission of sins.” Some years later Peter addressed them and called some of them by name. He said you were “born again.” Therefore, when he told them to be baptized for remission of sins, and when they did so, they were “born of water and of the Spirit.” They were born again-but they were baptized. Therefore, baptism is a part of the new birth and water, in John 3:5, refers to baptism.


Our Lord died for you. “Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us out of this present evil world, according to the will of our God and Father” (Gal. 1:4).


You can never be saved from your past sins until you hear the gospel and believe it (Acts 15:7), repent of your sins (Acts 17:30), confess your faith in Christ. (Rom. 10:10; Acts 8:37), and are baptized into Christ (Gal. 3:27), for remission of your sins (Acts 2:38). As an erring child of God you need to repent and confess your sins and pray to God for forgiveness (Acts 8:20-23; James 5:16; Rev. 2:5).



B. B. Brother


And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living

God” (John 6:69).



Among the things of which one should be sure, none is more important than salvation. Mankind has a soul that will survive the death of his body and will exist eternally in heaven or hell. Where one exists eternally depends on how he responds to the all important question; “what must I do to be saved?”


Jesus emphasized the soul’s importance when He stated; “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul” (Matthew 16:26)? As profitable as it might seem to “gain the whole world,” it is not as important as saving “his own soul.” You have a soul. It is very important. There is nothing of more value to you than your soul. Unfortunately, many do not value their souls very highly. People often times neglect their souls. The Bibles warns; “How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him (Hebrews 2:3). Also, many do not make sure that their soul is saved. Perhaps they listen to some preacher or priest and never check with the word of God. In this lesson, we want to address the all important subject, “you can be sure about salvation.”




When we are born into this world we are sinless. We do not inherit sin. God, through the prophet Ezekiel stated; “The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him” (Ezekiel 18:20). Jesus likens those who would enter into His kingdom to little children. The Bible records “At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:1-4). Again, showing the spiritual purity of children, the Bible states; “Then were there brought unto him little children, that he should put his hands on them, and pray: and the disciples rebuked them. But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 19:13-14). Jesus would not tell us to become as little children and “such is the kingdom of heaven,” if they were sinners or totally depraved.


People become sinners, in need of salvation, after they sin. But what is sin and how do we become sinners? God says; “Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law” (1John 3:4). Sin is defined as “the transgression of the law.” It is going beyond the limits or boundaries of God’s law. Again sin is defined as “unrighteousness.” John wrote; “All unrighteousness is sin: and there is a sin not unto death” (1John 5:17). Unrighteousness is failing to do what is right. In the above two passages, sin is seen as act of commission (“transgression of the law,”) and sin of omission (“all unrighteousness is sin”). Likewise James stated; “Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin” (James 4:17). From God’s definition of sin, one learns that sin is either something one does or fails to do, it is not something one inherits.


The Bibles teaches us that all of us at one time or another have sinned. We have transgressed God’s law and left undone what should be done. Consequently all have sinned. The book of Romans teaches the need of Jesus having come into this world to offer a sacrifice for the sins of the world. After showing that both Gentiles and Jews (all humanity) had sinned (Romans chapters 1 and 2), Paul wrote, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). The good news is that Christ came into the world to take away sin. When John saw Jesus, he declared; “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29b). God doesn’t simply overlook sin, but He will forgive sin. God is just, which means he cannot simply overlook our transgression. We would not respect human judges that simply overlooked the breaking of our laws. But even though God is just, he is also our “Justifier.” Paul wrote; “Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus” (Romans 3:24-26).


God desires our salvation. He wants all men to be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth (cf 1 Timothy 2:4). God sent Jesus into the world that we might be saved. John records; “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).




There is both a Divine side and human side to our salvation. God’s side of salvation includes such wonderful attributes as mercy, grace, love, the sacrifice of Christ, longsuffering, etc., etc. We could not be saved without these attributes of God. However, there is a human side to salvation also. If we did not have to do anything to be saved, then all people would be saved, for that is God’s desire, but yet not all men are saved. Jesus says there is something we must do. He stated; “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 7:21). Whom did Jesus say would enter into the kingdom of heaven? “He that doeth the will of my father which is in heaven.” What must we do to be saved?


One must HEAR the Word of God to be saved. Paul wrote; “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17). Faith comes by hearing the word of God, not by a direct operation of the Holy Spirit or some experience one has in life. God draws us through the process of hearing and learning. Jesus stated; “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day. It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me” (John 6:44-45).


One must also BELIEVE in Christ in order to be saved. Jesus said; “I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins” (John 8:24). Additionally, all must REPENT of their sins in order to be saved. Jesus said; “I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. (Luke 13:3). Paul told the Athenians; “And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent” (Acts 17:30). Repentance is a change of heart that will result in reformation of life. God has also said that one should CONFESS the Christ in order to be saved. Paul wrote that confession is unto salvation – “For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Romans 10:10). A Bible example of this confession is seen in Acts 8:37, “And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Acts 8:37). The final act that places one “into Christ” is BAPTISM. When the Gospel was preached in the city of Jerusalem the ones who crucified Jesus realized their sin. They asked; “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” The inspired answer is found in the following verse; “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost” (Acts 2:38). These who believed in Jesus were instructed to repent and be baptized in order to have their sins remitted (sent away). Earlier Jesus had instructed; “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned” (Mark 16:15-16). Jesus stated that belief and baptism were essential to salvation. One can understand why baptism is essential to salvation when he realizes that it is in baptism when God places us “in Christ.” Paul wrote; “For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ” (Galatians 3:27).


Salvation is found only in Christ. “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6). Paul said; “Therefore I endure all things for the elect’s sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory” (2 Timothy 2:10). Since salvation is found only in Christ, it is imperative that one be in Christ. Also, if one is in Christ, he can be sure of his salvation.







B. B. Brother



And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living

God.[”(John 6:69)]


“When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Who do men say I the Son of man am? And they said, some say that thou art John the Baptist; some Elias; and others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets, he saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, thou art the Christ the son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, that thou art Peter and upon this rock I will build my church: and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:13-18).


In the above scripture, Jesus stated “I will build my church.” There are many religious groups in the world all claiming a connection with God. How can a person know for sure which way is the right way? Is it possible to know which way is correct? Indeed it is! Jesus Christ has a church. It can be identified from the pages of God’s word. There are certain identifying marks of the church that belongs to Christ. If a person were to lose his automobile, he would look for it by looking for certain identifying characteristics. He would know the model, the color, the size, vehicle identification number, etc., of his automobile. While there might be some similar features of his automobile with other automobiles, he could know his from all others. Another automobile might be the same color as his, but not the same size or model or number. He would know that it is not his. Likewise, there are some churches that are similar to Christ’s church, but are not His! What are some identifying marks of Christ’s church?


Its Builder


Jesus Christ is the builder of His church. He said, “I will build my church” (Matthew 16:18). Any church that has a builder other than Jesus Christ is not the church that belongs to Christ. Denominations are founded upon men other than Jesus Christ (i.e. John Calvin, John Wesley, etc.). These churches were not built by Jesus Christ, and therefore do not belong to Him. The church of Christ (which is not a denomination) was built by Christ as recorded in Matthew 16:18.


Its Head


Any church that has any other person than Jesus Christ as its head cannot be the church of Christ. The Bible affirms that Jesus is the only head of His church. “And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all” (Ephesians 1:22-23). No Pope, Patriarch, nor any other man, is the head of Christ’s church. Christ is “the head.” He has all authority in heaven and in earth (Matthew 28:18).


Its Place and Time of Establishment


The church of Christ was established in the city of Jerusalem. Isaiah prophesied that the Lord’s house (the church) would be established and the law of the Lord would go forth from Jerusalem. “And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. And many people shall go and say, come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will work in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem” (Isaiah 2:2-3).


In addition to citing the city where the Lord’s house would be established, Isaiah, likewise, foretold the time of its establishment. He said it would happen “in the last days.” Peter identifies the “last days” as having begun on the day of Pentecost, “But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams” (Acts 2:16-17).


The Christian age or dispensation is the last days. It is called the last days because it is the last dispensation of time. At the end of the Christian dispensation, Christ will come, the judgement will take place, the wicked will go into everlasting punishment and the saved will enter into life eternal (Matthew 25:46).


Luke, in Acts chapter two, records the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy. The apostles were commanded to wait in Jerusalem until they received the baptism of the Holy Spirit (Luke 24:46:49). Consequently, they received this power on the day of Pentecost and preached the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The church (the Lord’s house), was established on this day and the word of the Lord went forth from the city of Jerusalem, as prophesied by Isaiah. The church of Christ was, therefore, established on the day of Pentecost (A.D.33), in the city of Jerusalem. Any church that had its beginning in any other city and at any other time cannot be the church of Christ.


Its Name


When one reads his Bible, he will learn that the church is identified by various designations. Jesus identified it as “my church” (Matthew 16:18). It is called “the church of God” in I Corinthians 1:2. When speaking of various congregations, Paul referred to them as “the churches of Christ” (Romans 16:16). One should keep in mind that there were not differing churches or denominations, but rather the church of Christ in different geographical locations. One does not read of denominational names in the Bible. There were no Baptists, Methodists, Seventh Day Adventist churches, etc. in the Bible. There are no Russian Orthodox Churches or Roman Catholic Churches in God’s word. God says “if any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God” (I Peter 4:11). One must speak in scriptural terminology. It is not scriptural to call the church something other than what God calls it. Any church that wears man’s name and /or has a name based on man’s doctrine is not the church of Christ. The church of Christ, however, is a scriptural designation, “The churches of Christ salute you” (Romans 16:16).





Its Worship


“God is a spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24). God says that all who worship Him, must worship Him in spirit and in truth. To worship God in truth is to worship Him according to God’s word. Jesus identified the truth as the word of God – “Sanctify them through thy truth, thy word is truth” (John 17:17). The word of God is to be our standard of how we worship God.


The New Testament reveals that there are five acts of worship in which we are to be engaged upon the first day of the week. We are to preach (or teach) God’s word (Acts 20:7), give as we have been prospered (I Corinthians 16:1-2), pray (I Thessalonians 5:17), sing, (vocal music-no mechanical instruments Ephesians 5:18-19, Colossians 3:16), and partake of the Lord’s Supper (Matthew 26:26-28, Acts 20:7). These are to be observed on each first day of the week, also known as “the Lord’s day” (Revelation 1:10). Any church that does not observe these items or adds to these items of worship, is not worshiping God according to the divine pattern.


Its Organization


God established His church exactly the way He wanted it. Man, however, has departed from God’s organization and has established churches different from the divine pattern. As stated earlier, Jesus Christ is the only head of the church (Ephesians 1:20-21). Each local church, is to be overseen by men known as elders (Acts 14:23). Other names for these elders are “overseers” (or “bishops”) and “pastors” (Acts 20:28, Ephesians 4:11). Each congregation is autonomous, serving Christ under its local eldership. Never was there a man, or a group of men over a number of churches. There are also special servants in the church of Christ known as “deacons” (Philippians 1:1). The qualifications for the elders and deacons can be found in I Timothy 3 and Titus 1. All Christians in the local church (including the preacher and the deacons), serve under the oversight of the elders. The elders are never to make any laws for God, nor change any existing law, they simply oversee the local church, making sure things are done scripturally. They are to shepherd the flock of God committed to their care (I Peter 5:1-4).


Its Terms of Entrance


How does one become a member of the church of Christ? According to the Bible, one was to believe in Jesus Christ as the Son of God. Jesus said, “I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins” (John 8:24). A person had to repent (turn away) from his sins. Again, Jesus said, “I tell you, Nay: but except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3). One had to confess that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God (Acts 8:37, Romans 10:10), and then be immersed in water for the purpose of remission (forgiveness) of sins. “Then Peter said unto them, Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost” (Acts 2:38). When one obeyed his Lord in these five acts, he was added to the church by the Lord. “Praising God, and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved” (Acts 2:47).


Likewise, today we must (1) hear God’s word, (2) believe in Christ, (3) repent of our sins, (4) confess the Christ, and (5) be immersed in water for the remission of sins. When we do this, the Lord will add us to His church.




The church of Christ is very important. Jesus purchased His church with His own blood (Acts 20:28). When He returns, He will take His church to heaven (Ephesians 5:23). If you have found yourself in some religious group other than the church of Christ, why not return to the Bible as your standard. One may identify the church of Christ by its builder, its head, its place and time of establishment, its names, its worship, its organization, and its terms of entrance. Many people have already come out of religions and churches not authorized of God. The Bible records, “But he answered and said, Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up” (Matthew 15:13).

If you have never obeyed God, may we encourage you to do the things listed above. Remember, these are God’s steps of salvation for all who would be saved.




Garland Elkins


The above statement, “Come and see” (John 1:39), was made by Jesus Christ in response to a question directed to Him by two of John’s disciples. The two accepted the Lord’s invitation to “Come and see” and as a result they left John to follow Jesus!


The church of Christ urges you to “Come and see” whether or not the church of Christ today is identical to the “churches of Christ” (Romans 16:16) of Paul’s day in its name, membership, worship, unity, organization, practice and mission. Following the New Testament completely is that which makes the true church of Christ.


The Lord added the saved to the church that Christ built (Acts 2:38-41, 47). There was no other church in existence. The same process of obedience that saved them caused the Lord to add them to His church (Acts 2:47).


Not until hundreds of years later was there a single denomination for one to join! Now there are hundreds of man-made churches but there is no reason to join any of them! Why not be just a Christian? A member of the Lord’s church (Matthew 16:18; Acts 2:47; Romans 16:16; Acts 26:28; I Peter 4:16)?




Christ promised to build but one church, when He said: “And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18). Paul tells us that Christ died for but one church: “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself for it” (Ephesians 5:25). The words “the church” mean but one. The pronoun “it” can refer to but one. So Christ loved one church; He died for one church; He built one church. Therefore He is the owner of but one church. The plural form “churches” is never used in the New Testament except in reference to a number of local congregations in a certain section of the country, as “the churches of Christ salute you” (Romans 16:16), “the churches of Judea” (Galatians 1:22).




It was founded in Jerusalem, on Pentecost, the first one after the resurrection of Christ. This is shown by a number of things. A short time before our Lord died He put the origin of the church in the future when He said: “Upon this rock I will build my church” (Matthew 16:18). Students of language know that “will build” is future tense of the verb and shows that the church had not been built when Jesus made this statement. However, beginning with this Pentecost the church was always referred to as present. It was on that day that “there were added unto them about three thousand souls” (Acts 2:41), “and the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved” (Acts 2:47). Never after Pentecost of Acts 2 was it referred to as something to be built. This proves that the church of Christ was established on Pentecost day of the second chapter of Acts. In fact, Peter declares that this was the beginning (Acts 11:15).




Christ is the head of it, the sole head. Paul says: “And hath put all things under His feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him that filleth all in all” (Ephesians 1:22, 23). “And He is the Head of the body, the church” (Colossians 1:18). These passages make it clear that when the New Testament speaks of the body of Christ, reference is not made to His physical but to His spiritual body, which is His church. Observe please: (1) Christ is the head of His church (Colossians 1:18; Ephesians 1:22, 23); (2) All that are in Christ are in His body (Galatians 3:27; Colossians 3:15); (3) All Christians are in Christ (Romans 6:3; II Corinthians 5:17); (4) Therefore, all Christians are in Christ’s church. Jesus came into the world to establish one, and only one institution through which to save mankind (Ephesians 3:10, 11, 21).





The church of Christ refuses to accept any human creed in religion. We definitely refuse any uninspired man’s statement, or system of statements, as our rule in religion. Articles of Religion, Confessions of Faith, Disciplines, Church Manuals and Creeds formulated by men are rejected. The word of God and the word of God alone — we accept as our standard. The following scriptures show this to be the only safe course: “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works” (II Timothy 3:16.17). Again Peter says: “According as His divine power Hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him that hath called us to glory and virtue” (II Peter 1:3). The same apostle said: “If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to Whom be praise and dominion forever and ever Amen” (I Peter 4:11). Therefore, we implore all to go back to the Bible. Remember the Bible is right!


The church of Christ has no creed but the Christ, the son of God. It pleads for the unity of all believers in Christ on the simple plan of speaking where the Bible speaks and by remaining silent where it is silent, by wearing Bible names and by doing Bible things in Bible ways. It seeks to obey the divine injunction given by Paul in I Corinthians 1:10: “Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.” Our aim is to fulfill the Lord’s prayer for unity as stated in John 17:21. We seek to plant New Testament churches through out the world after the New Testament pattern.




Belief in Christ (Acts 16:31); repentance of sins (Acts 17:30); confession of faith in Christ (Acts 8:36, 37); and baptism (Acts 2:38, 41, 47; Mark. 16:16; Acts 22:16). Peter declared “Baptism doth also now save us” (I Peter 3:21). We are saved by the blood of Christ which was shed in the death of Christ; but no accountable person ever contacts that blood until he is baptized into his death (Romans 6:3). Salvation is in Christ, (II Timothy 2:10) but one cannot get into Christ except by baptism (Galatians 3:27).




The items of worship are: Teaching (Acts 2:42; II Timothy 2:2); Praying (Acts 2:42); and Giving (I Corinthians 16:1, 2). Giving is an act of worship that must be done on a certain day of the week. As the original language clearly states, it was done on the first day of every week. Raffling contests and other such methods of raising money for the church were not practiced by the congregations under the direction of inspired men of the first century, and those who do such things today are not identical with congregations of the first century. Partaking of the Lord’s supper is another act of worship (I Corinthians 11:23-29). Does the New Testament specify a certain day for the observance of the Lord’s supper? Yes! The day is clearly pointed out in Acts 20:7. The only day anyone can partake of the Lord’s supper with the Lord’s approval is the first day of the week! A certain day of a certain month is never mentioned in connection with it. So it cannot be a yearly service. Neither is a certain day of the month mentioned. It cannot, therefore, be a monthly service. Singing is another act of worship (Ephesians 5:19; Hebrews 2:12). We are not just commanded to have music, but rather we are commanded to have a certain kind of music, that is singing. In Hebrews 2:12 we are told, “In the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee.” To add instrumental music to the singing is to go beyond Christ’s doctrine (II John 9-11). Any church that employs mechanical instruments in its worship is not identical with the New Testament church. But the true church of Christ limits its music to singing just as the church of the first century. The five acts of worship discussed above were the only acts of worship that the early church practiced. We search in vain for any other acts of worship enjoined upon Christians today.




Since early childhood I have heard people say that it does not make any difference what we believe, that if we are honest and sincere about it, God will save us anyway. Have you ever made such a statement? Most likely you have heard your preacher say the same thing. If he has, ask him for the verse in the Bible. You may have made this kind of statement because you have heard preachers make it, and naturally you thought it must be so. But if your preacher has been making it, he must have some reason for it since he claims to be following and teaching the Bible. He should make such statements providing the Bible says so. And if the Bible does say so, he will know where to find it. So ask him to give you the book, chapter, and verse.


Notice this scripture from II Thessalonians 2:11, 12: “And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” This indeed is a very plain statement. It positively says that some would “believe a lie.” Certainly there is a vast difference between believing a lie and believing the truth. The truth is recorded in the word of God. If it is not taught in the word of God, it must be a lie.


Does it make any difference which of these one believes? The general idea is that it does not matter, provided one is sincere. Of course, he could not believe anything unless he is sincere. A person might pretend to believe a thing and be insincere about it. But if he actually believes it, he must be sincere. So the Bible speaks of men who are sincere, for it actually says they will “believe a lie.” But what of their sincerity? Will that atone for their mistake? Will God save them anyway, just because they are honest about it? Is that what the Bible said? No, that is not the way it reads at all.


Observe verse 12 again: “That they all might be damned who believed not the truth.” Notice the word “damned.” This means the very opposite of “saved.” Yet we are told that certain men would be damned. But who were to be damned? All those who believed a lie or believed not the truth. It does make quite a difference what a person believes! For if one is to be saved, he must believe the truth. To believe something else will result in damnation—regardless of how sincere a person might be.


In II Timothy 2:5 we read this: “And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully.” When people say it makes no difference what we believe, they often add: “We are all striving for the same place anyway.” And evidently this is true. We are striving to reach heaven at last. But is striving the only thing that is necessary in order to reach that glorious reward? This is all that would be necessary if it makes no difference what we believe.


The Bible continues to tell us that striving alone is not sufficient—that a man may strive and still not be crowned, except he strive lawfully. The crowning referred to is the eternal reward in heaven—the crown of glory that fadeth not away. But yet a man may strive and still fail to receive the crown. Why? Because he may not strive lawfully. No person can reach that crown unless he strives lawfully! What does it mean to strive lawfully? It means to strive according to the law of the Lord. So if we strive contrary to that law we will not be crowned, regardless of how sincere we may be.


The law of the Lord is revealed in the New Testament. If we strive to go to heaven by some other way, we are not striving lawfully, and will not reach the destination we desire. These truths in the Bible clearly indicate that it does make a difference what a person believes and practices in religion.





With the Bible as our rule of faith and practice, containing as it does, the revelation of God’s will to us, we should be very anxious to do just the things it authorizes. This is especially true since we are saved from our past sins and become Christians only if we obey the truth (John 8:32; John. 17:17). Also we are to be judged by the word of the Lord (John 12:48). Where does the Bible say, “that inspired men ever invited alien sinners to the altar to pray for salvation?”


In Acts 22:16, we read of an alien sinner, engaged in prayer when the Lord sent a preacher to tell him what to do. Saul, who had been one of the worst enemies Christianity ever had, became convinced of the error of his way. He asked the Lord what He would have him to do (Acts 9:6). Jesus told him to go to Damascus and there he would be told what he must do (Acts 9:6). So he went to the city and waited for that information. Ananias, a gospel preacher, was sent to tell him what to do. When Ananias arrived he found Saul, the sinner, engaged in prayer. Many modern preachers would have told Saul to “pray on until you pray to pardon.” Did Ananias tell Saul to pray on? He did not! However, he told Saul exactly what God wanted him to do! He stopped Saul from praying and said: “And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord” (Acts 22:16). To “Arise,” means “to get up.” So Ananias told Saul to get up from his praying and do something else—to be baptized and wash away his sins. Has it ever occurred to you that the average preacher of our day would not tell an alien sinner what Ananias told Saul to do? That is, to “Arise,” and to “be baptized and wash away thy sins.” When one is thus baptized for the remission of his sins (Acts 2:38), he is obediently “calling on the name of the Lord” (Acts 22:16; Matthew 7:21; Luke 6:46).




We place value upon a thing by what is paid for it. It is obvious that God places the highest value upon the church since he was willing to give His only begotten Son for it (John 3:16; Ephesians 5:25). Christ not only loved the church enough to die for it (Ephesians 5:25), but His church is the only institution where the lost can find salvation (Acts 2:47; Ephesians 5:23).


We are dedicated to the restoration of New Testament Christianity. Won’t you lend your influence to this worthy goal? We are neither Catholic nor Protestant. We are simply Christians (Acts 26:28; I Peter 4:16). Isn’t this sufficient?

The Bible is God’s word. Please “Come and see” and then “Go and tell” others.


Garland Elkins


Do you ever ask: “In what direction must I go to find eternal bliss? Since eternity is forever, it is the most important thing in the world for us to do the will of God. This chapter is intended to point you to the Bible where we are told what we must do to inherit eternal life.


Twenty-first century technology is noted for its change. Each day, it seems, we have new and better ways of production, transportation, therapy, communications, etc.


But in this changing world, we still find that life, even at its very best, is full of trouble. And, a basic fact still faces us: it is appointed to man once to die; then the judgment. (Heb. 9:27.)


It is our purpose and plea to urge all men to go back to the Bible. We seek to “speak where the Bible speaks and to remain silent where the Bible is silent.” (I Peter 4:11.)


The time that you use in reading this material may be the best way you could possibly use the same amount of time. The few minutes spent in reading this material could conceivably enhance your hope of an eternity in heaven.


You can be just a Christian without being a part of any denomination. In these days of many sects and conflicting teachings isn’t it marvelous that one can be a Christian, a member of the Lord’s church, therefore saved from his past sins; yet not a member of any denomination or sect? There can be no doubt that all Christians of the first century were members of the Lord’s church. (Acts 2:47.) Yet they were members of no denomination for none existed.


Peter, Paul and all Christians belonged to the church; yet they belonged to no denomination. Question: “Why should any person claiming to be a Christian belong to a denomination today?”





People generally have become so accustomed to thinking of the church in terms of denominationalism that, in the minds of some, it is almost impossible to disassociate the church of the Lord from denominationalism. Yet when we read of the Lord’s church in the New Testament, very few, if any, think it is a denomination. I use the word denomination in the sense in which it is used in religion to refer to a sect or party. The world has a right and certainly a need to know wherein the Lord’s church is different.




Churches of Christ have a distinctive plea. The plea is: be neither Catholic nor Protestant but a simple Christian. First century disciples were neither Catholics nor Protestants for none of these denominations existed and did not until hundreds of years later. A person can be an American without joining any political party, Democrat, Republican, etc. Even so, one can be a Christian without joining any sect. In our day many think of the word “church” as synonymous with the word “denomination.” It is extremely difficult to get people to see that they can be Christians without being a part of any sect. In our country alone there are between two and three hundred sects; but the church of Christ is not a sect. Paul, though a member of the Lord’s church, denied that it was a sect. (Acts 24:5, 13, 14.)





The church for which our Lord gave His blood is far superior to any and/or all denominations. All denominations have been started by human rather than by divine authority.


It is a fact, both from the Bible and history, that the church of Christ was established and existed in the world for several centuries before Catholicism or Protestantism were known, and before the followers of Christ divided into various denominations. (Acts 2:22-47; Rom. 16:16.)


Preaching the same gospel and urging obedience to the same conditions of salvation will reproduce the church of Christ in any given community today. The seed of the kingdom is the word of God. (Luke 8:11.) The good soil is the “honest and good heart.” (Luke 8:15.) When the word of God was planted in the first century, it produced Christians (Acts 11:26; 26:28), and churches of Christ (Rom. 16:16.)


Since seed always produces after its kind (Gen. 1:11, 12; Gal. 6:7, 8), it will produce in this century what it produced in the first century. If not, why not?




First, I want to show that there was one and only one church in the first century. The New Testament, of course, will be the standard to which we must turn for our evidence.


The word “church” comes from the Greek word “ekklesia” and simply means the “called out.” The church of the New Testament was composed of people — people who were called out of darkness, by the gospel, into the light of the Son of God. (II Thess. 2:13, 14; Col. 1:13.)


Such a group of “called out” people in any community was called the “church” in that community. Therefore we read of “the church which was in Jerusalem.” (Acts 11:22.) Also, the church at Corinth (I Cor. 1:2), and the church at Thessalonica. (I Thess. 1:1.)


The congregations were spoken of as “churches of Christ” (Rom. 16:16), “the churches of Judea” (Gal. 1:22.), “The churches of Macedonia” (II Cor. 8:1), and “the churches of Galatia” (Gal. 1:2.) The plural form “churches” is never used except in reference to a number of local congregations in some section of the country.


When Paul wrote to the church in Rome, he said: “The churches of Christ salute you.” (Rom. 16:16.) In the area from which Paul was writing there were a number of congregations sending their greetings to the church in Rome.


Hence, Paul said: “The churches of Christ salute you.” It is a certain fact that if a number of congregations were called “Churches of Christ,” each individual congregation would be “a” church of Christ.


In I Corinthians 1:2, Paul addresses “the church of God which is at Corinth.” He wrote to Timothy after this fashion. “But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.” (I Tim. 3:15.) Here reference is made to “the church of the living

God.” These similar phrases are not proper names, but descriptive expressions which show how the church is related to Christ and his Father.






Perhaps no statement has been made more often by religious people than that “one church is as good as another.” However, this is not true, for the Bible teaches that there is but one church. It is recorded, “There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling.” (Eph. 4:4.) This passage clearly states that “there is one body.” In our day there are hundreds of conflicting religious bodies. It goes without saying that one body cannot mean hundreds of bodies.


But what does the Bible mean by “one body”? In Ephesians 1:22 and 23, we read, “And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, which is his body.” Note “. . . the church, which is his body.” So, the church is “the body,” and there is only “one” body.


Not only does Paul tell us that the church is the one body and that the body is the church (Col. 1:18), he further declares “But now are they many members, yet but one body” (I Cor. 12:20.) Since there is one body, then there is but one church of the New Testament. Furthermore, when Jesus promised to build the church he said, “… upon this rock I will build my church.” (Matt. 16:18.) He promised to build only one — His church, and not churches! We know the Lord built only one because that is all He promised to build. Then if He built but one, somebody else must have built all the others. Who will say that a church some man built is as good as the one that the Lord built? That is what a person would be forced to say if he contends that one church is as good as another.


In Colossians 1:18 it is declared: “And he is the head of the body, the church.” Note it does not say: “He is the head of the bodies, the churches.” There are the same number of churches as there are bodies, and the same number of bodies as there are heads. How many heads? He is the head! That means just one head, doesn’t it? So there is one head, one body, one church. And, since Jesus is the head of only one, somebody else must be the head of all others.


Do you believe that a church of which some man is the head is as good as the church of which Jesus is the head?


Further, we read that, “Christ also loved the church, and gave himself up for it.” (Eph. 5:25.) The words “the church” mean but one. The pronoun “it” can refer to but one. So Christ loved one church; he died for one church; he built one church. Hence, he is the owner of but one church — the church we read about in the New Testament.




It is an admitted fact that salvation can be had outside man-made churches, but salvation is not offered apart from the Lord’s church. The fact that it is generally admitted by those who advocate denominationalism that a person can be saved outside the membership of their church proves the uselessness of such churches! The Bible teaches that the true church is the family of God, the body of Christ, the kingdom of God. (I Tim. 3:15: Col. 1:18; Col. 1:13.) No person could expect to be saved outside of the family of God, the body of Christ, for Paul declares: “But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.” (I Cor. 12:18.) And, the Lord sees to it that all the saved are in the church. (Acts 2:47.)


Through the cross Christ reconciles men unto God “in one body” (Eph. 2:13-16), and that “one body” is the church. (Eph. 1:22, 23; Col. 1:18; I Cor. 12:20.) To contend that the Lord’s church is not essential, since it was purchased with the blood of Christ, is to take the position that the blood of Christ is non-essential! If one can be saved outside of Christ’s church, then one is forced to the position that Christ’s death was useless. Any doctrine which minimizes and belittles the death of Christ is false doctrine. Therefore, the doctrine that salvation can be enjoyed outside of the Lord’s church is false doctrine.


Popular statements relative to the church are: “We want people to be saved, and then let them join the church of their choice”; or, “One church is as good as another; the church does not save you.” When a person makes those kind of statements he thinks of the church simply in terms of denominationalism and, therefore, in terms of the doctrines and commandments of men. If one has reference to being saved outside of any and/or all denominational churches, that of course, is a different matter. It is true that one not only does not need to be in a denomination; in fact he should stay out of all denominations. A very good question is: “Can a person be saved in a denomination?” There is no doubt that a person can be saved outside of all of the Catholic and Protestant denominations, but the important question is: “Can a person be saved in a denomination?” One cannot be saved outside of the Lord’s church (Acts 2:47), therefore, to be in the Lord’s church is essential to salvation; but one never reads of anybody during the first century being in any denomination. In fact, Paul denied that the Lord’s church was a sect, and denied that anyone could prove that it was.

(Acts 24:5, 13, 14.) We must go deeper than emotional appeal if we would penetrate to the full significance of the question, “Can people be saved outside of the Lord’s church?”


Let us consider the question from another angle, (1) If a person can be saved outside of the Lord’s church as well as in it, that is equivalent to saying that he can be saved without the blood of Christ; for the Lord gave His blood to purchase the church and therefore only in the church does the blood save. (Acts 20:28; Eph. 5:25.) When one contends that he can be saved outside of the Lord’s church, he is saying that he has absolutely no need for the blood of Christ. (2) The Bible teaches that the church and the kingdom are the same institution (the disciples were to partake of the Lord’s

supper in His kingdom in Luke 22:18 and 19), but we learn that they did this in the church (I Cor. 1:1, 2; 11; 18-34); therefore, the church and the kingdom are one and the same institution! If a person could be saved outside of the church, that would mean he could be saved outside of the kingdom of God; that is he could be saved without submitting to God. But since there are but two kingdoms on earth — i.e., the kingdom of God and the kingdom of Satan, it follows that if a man can be saved outside of the church, he can be saved in the kingdom of Satan, and that would deny plain Bible teaching. (3) The New Testament teaches that the church of Christ is the family of God. (I Tim. 3:15.) If a man can be saved outside the family (or church) of God that would be equivalent to saying that one can be saved in the devil’s family. There are only two families on earth. Question: “Where is salvation? In the Lord’s family (the church) or in the devil’s family?” There are only two families on earth. Another question: “Does God have any children outside of His family? Can a man be saved while yet in the family of Satan?” These questions must be dealt with by every honest person when they are reaching a conclusion as to the necessity of membership in the Lord’s church.




The statement has been made many times that “the church does not save you.” Of course, we know that the church is not the savior. Jesus is the Savior (Matt. 1:21); but Jesus saves the church (Eph. 5:23), and the saved are in the church (Acts 2:47.) You can see that the statement “the church is not necessary to salvation,” when applied to the Lord’s church, is false.


We read, “For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church; and he is the savior of the body.” (Eph. 5:23.) If you will read the verses that follow in this chapter, you will readily see the term “body” refers to the church. So Christ is Savior of the church. This statement could not be true if men are saved out of the church, and before they enter the church. If such were true, then Christ would be the Savior of men out of the church, and therefore, while in the world, but not the Savior of men in the church. Yet Paul says that Christ is the Savior of the church.


If the Lord saves people out of the church, every person who goes into the church would be saved before he enters. We know that this is definitely not true, for Ephesians 5:23 shows us that the Lord saves those who enter the Church — not those on the outside! While the church is not the savior, it is the saved! Men must be in the church in order to be saved. (Acts 2:47; Eph. 5:23.) Their membership in the Lord’s church is an absolute necessity in order to be saved.




Surely no one would doubt the right of Christ to make the terms of admission into the church, since the church belongs to Him and all authority is given to Him. Hence, our interest should be: What does He require? He is the door, and we must enter in harmony with His will.




Jesus said: “If ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.” (Jno. 8:24.) He also said, “He that believeth not shall be damned.” (Mk. 16:16.) We must believe, for “without faith it is impossible to please him (God).” (Heb. 11:6.) Faith is the first step toward righteousness (Rom. 10:10), and, necessarily, the first step toward the church.






Christ requires that we must “repent” or “all likewise perish.” (Luke 13:3.) Repentance is a change of will (Mt. 21:28-31) and leads to life. (Acts 11:18.) God “now commandeth all men everywhere to repent.” (Acts 17:30.)




Christ made the good confession before Pilate. (I Tim. 6:13.) Peter made the good confession which is, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (Mt. 16:16.) This caused Christ to pronounce a blessing upon him. (Mt. 16:17.) Christ has promised that “Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.” (Mt. 10:32.) Confession with the mouth leads to salvation (Rom. 10:10) and must, therefore, precede the saved state.




No one can be saved from his past sins until he has been baptized according to our Lord’s statement in Mark 16:16. These were among our Lord’s last instructions to His apostles before leaving the earth. Our Lord said, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved.” Faith and baptism, in this passage, are joined by the coordinating conjunction and. Coordinate conjunctions join or unite elements of equal rank. Faith and baptism are thus joined in this sentence to obtain the same result — salvation. He that believeth (item No. 1) and is baptized (item No. 2) shall be saved (item No.3).


Paul taught that baptism is essential to salvation in Romans 6:3-4, “Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.”


Note that the statement made here by Paul is to the effect that men are baptized into Jesus Christ and that they also are baptized into His death.


If men can be saved without baptism, they can be saved out of Christ, because in this passage Paul declares that men are baptized into Christ. Can men be saved out of Christ? If men cannot be saved out of Christ, then they cannot be saved without baptism, because Paul says baptism puts people into Christ. Not only so, but we note that it was in the death of Christ that His blood was shed. We must, therefore, contact that blood in order to receive the benefits of His blood. Since the blood was shed in His death, we must reach the death of Christ in order to share its benefits. In Romans 6:3, it is affirmed that “we are baptized into his death.” We reach the death of Jesus Christ when we are baptized, not before we are baptized; and thus reach His blood and the benefits of His blood at that point. Since we are baptized into the death of Christ, and thus into the blood of Christ, then baptism is essential to the forgiveness of sins which is made possible by the blood of the Son of God.


Also, this passage shows that we walk in the newness of life, or that the new life comes after baptism. Observe please in Romans 6:4, “Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” Here is a burial and a resurrection. Paul tells us that, as Christ was raised from the dead, so we are raised to walk in newness of life. Many present-day preachers contend that we walk the new life before baptism, but Paul says that we are raised to walk in newness of life. The newness of life comes after baptism!


It is further seen that water baptism is essential to the salvation of the alien sinner from Galatians 3:26, 27, “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” Note that Paul points out two things: (1) We are children of God by faith. (2) We are children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.


Let us carefully study what Paul said. Paul, did you say, “We are children of God by faith” and stop with that? No. Did you say, “We are children of God by faith only?” No. Well, did you say, “We are children of God by faith out of Christ?” No! What, then, did you say? “Ye are all children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.” Friends, one must be in Christ Jesus in order to be saved. It is significant that the very next verse informs us how to get into Christ: “For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” Friends, you will never learn how to get into Christ in any other

way. You must be in Christ to be a child of God by faith. You can get into Christ only by being baptized into Christ!


Please consider honestly the necessity of baptism from these standpoints. 1. Baptism stands between the sinner and the salvation of his soul. (Mk. 16:16.) 2. Baptism stands between the sinner and remission of sins. (Acts 2:38.) 3. Baptism stands between the sinner and becoming a child of God. (Gal. 3:26, 27). 4. Baptism stands between the sinner and having his sins washed away. (Acts 22:16.) 5. Baptism stands between the sinner and getting into Christ. (Rom. 6:3.)




The word baptize comes from the Greek word “baptizo” and literally means “to dip, to immerse, to plunge.” Immersion was practiced by the church in apostolic times. Paul tells us that there is “one baptism” (Eph. 4:5), and he informs us in Colossians 2:12 and Romans 6:4 that baptism is a “burial.” This was water baptism, for Christ promised that He would be with them as long as time continues in the practicing of the baptism that He commanded. (Mt. 28:19, 20.) The only baptism the apostles and other Christians of the first century ever administered was water baptism. (Acts 10:47, 48;

Acts 8:35-40.)


The New Testament very clearly declares that baptism is a burial. History and statements from uninspired men (some of whom were founders of sects which practice sprinkling and pouring) with one voice admit that the New Testament teaches that baptism is a burial. These statements concur with the New Testament statements:


“And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him. And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing.” — Bible, Acts8:38,39.


“Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” — Bible, Romans 6:3, 4.


“One Lord, one faith, one baptism.” — Bible, Eph. 4:5.


“Novation, as before shown in the histories quoted, had water poured all over him in a bed. This happened not earlier than A.D. 251, probably 253. (Eusebius, p. 114) About eighty years after this time, when other sick and feeble persons were preferring this method introduced by Novation, so far as all authentic records inform us, a decree was issued, called ‘the 12th canon of the Council of Neocaesarea,’ against such pourings, inhibiting persons so poured upon from any participation in the honours of the ministry or priesthood.” — Christian Baptism, Campbell, p. 191.


Mosiem’s Ecclesiastical History — 1st Century: “The sacrament of baptism was administered in this century, without the public assemblies, in places appointed and prepared for the purpose and was performed by immersion of the whole body in the baptismal fount.” — Christian Baptism, Campbell, p. 186.


Wesley’s remark on Romans 6:4: “We are buried with him . . . alluding here to the ancient manner of baptizing by immersion.” — Christian Baptism, Campbell, p. 143.


In the 5th of the Smolcald articles drawn up by Luther, he says, “Baptism is nothing else than the word of God with immersion in water.” — Christian Baptism, Campbell, p. 144.


Calvin: “the word baptizo signifies to immerse, and it is certain that immersion was the practice of the ancient church.” Christian Baptism, Campbell, p. 145.




We cannot have just anything in our worship and still please God. The component parts of worship are stated by Christ in John 4:24. They involve:


1. Worshipping the right object — “God.”

2. Worshipping with right attitude — “in spirit.”

3. And, worshipping according to the will of the Lord — “in truth.” (Jno. 17:17.)

We are instructed how to worship after the church was established on the day of Pentecost. The early church taught in worship. (Acts 2:42; Acts 20:7.)


Prayer is another item of worship in the Lord’s church. (Acts 2:42.) Christians are told to “continue in prayer”; (Col. 4:2) and to “pray without ceasing.” (I Thess. 5:17.) Prayer is to be addressed to God, not Mary or some saint; and prayers are to be prayed in the name of Christ. (Eph. 5:20.)


The congregations in the days of the apostles gave their contributions as the Lord had prospered them, on the first day of every week. (I Cor. 16:1, 2.) This was a free-will offering. Though many Christians give more than ten percent, yet the tithe is not bound upon the church of the New Testament. The New Testament church is not bound by the Old Testament law of tithing. (Heb. 7:12.) Personally, I would not think of giving as little as ten percent; this is of my choosing (II Cor. 9:6-8) and not because I am bound by the Old Testament law of tithing.


The Lord’s church does not resort to raffling contests, socials and other such methods of raising money for the church. Such was not done by the congregations under the direction of inspired men of the first century, and those who do such things today are not identical to congregations of the first century. The church of the first century sang as an act of worship. (Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16.) We read in Hebrews 2:12, “Saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee.” Note please, “… in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto

thee. “ Nowhere are Christians authorized “in the midst of the church will I sing and play praise unto thee.”


The early Christians were limited in their making of music to vocal music — that is, to singing. They did not use organs, pianos, banjos, guitars or other mechanical instruments in their praise to God. They sang — they did not play. Any church today that employs such mechanical instruments in its worship is not identical to the New Testament church. The true church of Christ now limits its music to singing just as the church of the first century.




The scriptures are our standard of authority, and by them we “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.” (I Thess. 5:21.) However, it is profitable and encouraging to benefit from the study of faithful gospel preachers of the past, and to know that they also respected the scriptures, and therefore, rejected the use of instrumental music in the worship of the New Testament church.


No church can be a true church of Christ that corrupts its worship with the use of mechanical instruments of music! The faithful pioneers of the effort to restore New Testament Christianity, on the premise of speaking where the scriptures speak, and being silent where the scriptures are silent, correctly rejected the use of mechanical instruments of music in Christian worship, as a relic of popery, and therefore wholly unauthorized in Christian worship. Alexander Campbell said, “To all spiritually minded Christians such aids would be as a cowbell in a concert.” Robert Milligan affirmed

that instrumental music in Christian worship “is wholly unwarranted by anything that is either said or taught in the New Testament.” Jacob Creath said that the scriptures say no more about instruments of music “than they do of infant baptism.” Benjamin Franklin said: “Neither Christ nor the apostles authorized instrumental music, and no one used it in Christian worship till the man of sin was fully developed, and there was a full-grown pope. He is the gentlemen to whom we are indebted for the use of the organ in worship.” J. W. McGarvey said: “I hold that the use of the instrument is sinful, and I must not be requested to keep my mouth shut in the presence of sin, whether committed by a church or an individual.” Moses E. Lard declared: “The question of instrumental music in the church of Christ involves a great and sacred principle — that principle is the right of men to introduce innovations into the prescribed worship of God. That right we utterly deny — the churches of Christ will be wrecked the day the adverse side triumphs.”


“As a people we have from the first, and continually to the present, proclaimed that the New Testament, and that alone is our only full and perfect rule of faith of practice. We have declared a thousand times and more that whatever it does not teach we must not hold; and whatever it does not sanction we must not practice. He who ignores or repudiates these principles … has by the act become an apostate from our ranks; and the sooner he lifts his hand high, avows the fact, and goes out from amongst us the better, yes, verily, the better for us.


“Now in the light of the foregoing principles what defense can be urged for the introduction into some of our congregations of instrumental music? The answer which thunders into my ears from every page of the New Testament is NONE. Did Christ ever appoint it? Did the apostles ever sanction it? Or did any one of the primitive churches ever use it? Never. In what light then must we view him who attempts to introduce it into the churches of Christ of the present day? I answer, ‘An insulter of the authority of Christ, and as a defiant and impious innovator on the simplicity and purity of the ancient worship.’ In no other light can we view him, in no other light should he be viewed.” Moses E. Lard further commented: “But what shall be done with such churches? Of course, nothing. If they see fit to mortify the feelings of their brethren, to forsake the example of the primitive churches, to condemn the authority of Christ by resorting to will worship, to excite dissension, and to give rise to general scandal, they must do it. As a body, we can do nothing. Still we have three partial remedies left to us to which we should at once resort. 1. Let every preacher in our ranks resolve at once that he will never, under any circumstances or on any account, enter into a meeting house belonging to our brethren in which an organ stands. We beg and entreat our preaching brethren to adopt this as an unalterable rule of conduct. This and like evils must be checked, and the very speediest way to effect it is the one here suggested. 2. Let no brother who takes a letter from one church ever unite with another using an organ. Rather let him live out of the church than to go into such a den. 3. Let those brethren who oppose the introduction of an organ first remonstrate in gentle, kind, but decided terms. If their remonstrance is unheeded, and the organ is brought in, then let them at once, and without even the formality of asking for a letter, abandon the church so acting; and let all such members unite elsewhere. Thus these organ-grinding churches will in the lapse of time be broken down, or wholly apostatized, and the sooner they are in fragments the better for the cause of Christ. I have no sympathy with them, no fellowship for them, and so help me God never intend knowingly to put my foot into one of them. As a people, we claim to be engaged in an effort to return to the purity, simplicity, freedom from ostentation and pride, of the ancient apostolic churches. Let us, then, neither wink at anything standing in the way, nor compromise aught essential to this end. The moment we do so our unity is at an end, and our hopes are in the dust.” (Lard’s Quarterly, Vol. I, pg. 331-333.)




During the past thirty years, Guy N. Woods has become one of the best qualified scholars alive. He is a Bible scholar of national recognition. He has authored twelve religious books, including commentaries on the Books of John, Peter, James and Jude. One of his latest books is a self-teaching text on New Testament Greek. He is a lawyer, but instead of engaging in the practice of law, he has chosen to dedicate his life to the study and teaching of the Bible. His background in the study of law is demonstrated in his ability to present truth very clearly and concisely. His scholarship and many lectures in Bible themes put him in good standing when extemporaneously answering religious questions.


In his commentary on the Book of James, in discussing the last part of James 5:13, he makes the following timely comments: Let him sing praise.—(Psalleto, present active imperative of psallo, “in the New Testament to sing a hymn, to celebrate the praises of God in song,” (Thayer, Greek English Lexicon of the New Testament.) Literally, “Let him keep on singing.” The word occurs in I Cor. 14:15; Rom. 15:9; Eph. 5:19. It has had a varied meaning through the years. It has signified the act of plucking out the hair, snapping a carpenter’s string, twanging the strings of an instrument; and, in the New Testament, to sing. Its basic meaning, to pluck or twang, is thus metaphorically seen in its New Testament usage, in that the chords of the heart are to be “twanged” or played upon: “And be not drunken with wine, wherein is riot, but be filled with the Spirit; speaking one to another in psalms and hymns and spiritual song, singing and making melody (psallo) in your heart to the Lord.” (Eph. 5:19.) There are those who, in an effort to justify the use of mechanical instruments of music in Christian worship today, point to earlier meanings of the word, and urge that such significance should be assigned to it today. But those who thus do are unable to follow their own argument to its conclusion. It is conceded by the most avid defender of instrumental music in worship that one may acceptably approach God in public religious devotion without it; that its use is a matter of personal choice; and is, therefore, in the realm of expediency. But, if the instrument inheres in the word and to psallete is to use a stringed instrument, it follows that one cannot psallete without it. The instrument is either in the word, or it is not. If it is in it, one cannot worship God without an instrument of music; if it is not in it, then the argument fails. If it be urged that the instrument inheres in the word, the following conclusions irresistibly follow: (1) it is impossible to psallete, without an instrument of music; (2) since each individual is commanded to psallete, each must personally twang the strings of a mechanical instrument in worship to be acceptable; (3) to prepare people to worship acceptably would necessitate assisting them in such use; (4) only stringed instruments might properly be used, inasmuch as these are the only type which may be twanged or plucked. This would eliminate all wind instruments such as organs, horns, etc. In view of the fact that not one of the advocates of instrumental music in worship is willing to accept these obvious conclusions, it follows that they

have little respect for the argument they make.


Dozens of the world’s most profound Greek scholars, including all of those which have produced the major English translations, have borne witness to the fact that the New Testament meaning of the word does not include the use of a mechanical instrument; and that its meaning today is simply to sing. An interesting and significant side-light on this is the fact that the Greek Orthodox Churches—whose members are for the most part, Greek speaking people—have never used instrumental music in their worship. Those desiring to pursue the meaning of the word further will find a wealth of exceedingly valuable material in “Instrumental Music In Christian Worship,” by M. C. Kurfees, published by the Gospel Advocate Company, Nashville, Tennessee.


The use of such instruments in the Jewish order characteristic of the Old Testament period falls far short of justifying their use in Christian worship today. The burning of incense, the offering of animal sacrifices were a part of the worship in the former dispensation; we do not thence conclude that the burning of incense in Jewish devotions justifies an incense burner in the church today. Advocates of the doctrine of infant church membership attempt to sustain their position in precisely the same fashion. Were not infants a part of the Jewish economy? Ought they not therefore to be in

the church today? Those who so contend make out a case for church membership for babies as successfully as do those who seek to justify instrumental music in the church today in the same fashion. The truth is, God has ordained neither infant membership nor instrumental music in the church today, and those who practice either go beyond that which is written. (Deut. 4:2; Prov. 30:6; Rev. 22:18,19.) It is a well established historic fact which may be confirmed by consulting any reliable encyclopedia that instrumental music in so-called Christian worship was first used, in this dispensation, in A.D. 670, when introduced in to the Church of the Great Apostasy; and, it created such a furor therein that it was speedily removed to avert a split; and, it was not until about A.D. 800, that it came to be common in that ecclesiasticism. Our Lord never authorized it, no apostle ever sanctioned it, no New Testament writer ever commanded it, no New Testament church ever practiced it. It was born in the bosom of the apostasy, and is used with no greater sanction than the burning of incense, the counting of beads, the sprinkling of babies.


We walk by faith and not by sight (II Cor. 5:7); and, faith comes by hearing God’s word (Rom. 10:17.) It follows, therefore, that we are at liberty to do, in Christian worship, only those things specifically commanded; and, inasmuch as the New Testament is silent regarding the use of instrumental music in worship, we dare not use it. We are, however, commanded to sing and to make melody in our heart (not on an instrument!) and we are assured that such practice is acceptable to Him who commanded it. Authorized items of worship, to be performed on the Lord’s day—the first day of the week—are, teaching, singing, the contribution, the Lord’s Supper, and prayer. (Acts 2:42; Eph. 5:19; I Cor. 16:2; Acts 20:7.)


(Quoted from the Commentary from the Book of James, published by The Gospel Advocate Company, Nashville, Tennessee. Used by permission of B. C. Goodpasture, Editor and President) The early church, in addition to engaging in prayer, teaching, giving and singing, also partook of the Lord’s supper on the first day of the week. (Acts 20:7.) Let us observe:


1. The fact that Jesus commanded His disciples to partake of the supper. (Mt. 26:26-28; Lk. 22:19.) Paul mentions the same thing in I Corinthians 11:24, 25. It is therefore clearly revealed that the Lord commanded His people to eat of His supper.


2. Not only so, but the Lord’s people are commanded to assemble. (Heb. 10:25.) This command implies that some day is necessary. There could not be an assembly without some time for the assembly on some day. But what is the connection between eating the Lord’s supper and the assembly?


3. Simply this: The disciples ate the Lord’s supper when they assembled. (I Cor. 11:20.) They were perverting the institution by making a full meal out of it, and thus they were reprimanded for that. But the passage does reveal God’s will in the matter. This was not an eating at home, but when they came together into the, assembly to worship. When

they came together into one place (verse 20.)


4. Therefore, Christians came together for the purpose of eating the Lord’s supper. (I Cor. 11:33.) They were not to come together in public assembly to eat common meals — they were to eat such meals at home. (I Cor. 11:34.) Bear in mind the fact that the Lord’s supper is the only thing God has ever required Christians to eat in an assembly.


5. Now, if we can find when Christians assembled—or came together to eat the Lord’s supper we will know what day we are required to partake of the Lord’s supper. Here is the passage: “And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight.” (Acts 20:7.)


No one can scripturally partake of the Lord’s supper on any day other than “the first day of the week,” yet there are those that take it on a Thursday or some other day of the week. When they do so it is without any Bible authority. The Bible plainly teaches that it must be done on the first day of the week.


This cannot mean a yearly service or a monthly service. We never refer to an event that recurs annually as coming on a certain day of the week. We say that Independence Day comes on the fourth of July. We never say it comes on the first day of the week, though it may sometimes fall on that day. So it was with the passover of the Old Testament. It came on the 14th day of the first month, and that day was set aside as an annual religious service. If a certain day of the month had been mentioned it would have made it a monthly service. As the 14th day of the first month would designate an

annual service, and as the 10th day of the month would point out a monthly service, so the first day of the week specifies a weekly service.


The early church partook of the Lord’s supper on a weekly basis upon the first day of the week. (Acts 20:7.)


Since every week had a first day in it this means that they ate the Lord’s supper every first day of the week. This makes the Lord’s supper a weekly observance. I ask you, my readers, the following questions:


1. Do you partake of the Lord’s supper?

2. At what time do you partake of it?

3. How often do you partake of it?

4. Upon what scripture do you base your practice?




The Holy Spirit does not operate in a direct fashion upon the heart of a sinner to save him. He always operates through the preaching and teaching of the word. (I Cor. 1:21; Jas. 1:18, 21; Eph. 6:17.) Faith comes, not through a direct operation of the Spirit upon the heart, but through the word of God, for Jesus prayed for “them also which shall believe on me through their word.” (John 17:20.) Faith comes by hearing the word of God. (Rom. 10:17), not by a direct operation of the Holy Spirit upon the heart. Folk can believe as a result of what is written (Jno. 20:30, 31.). One does not need the Holy Spirit to convict him in a direct way before he can hear and understand. In Acts 4:4, we are told: “Howbeit many of them which heard the word believed.” They believed as a result of hearing and not a result of a direct operation of the Holy Spirit upon their hearts. The Gentiles’ faith came as a result of preaching and not as a result of a direct operation of the Holy Spirit. (Acts 15:7-9.) We read in Romans 10:13-14: “How shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard” showing that faith results from preaching and not by direct operation of the Holy Spirit upon the heart. It is written in Luke 8:12 that the devil removed the word from the heart lest the man should believe and be saved. The devil knows that a man is saved by the word of God and not by a direct operation of the Holy Spirit upon his heart. The gospel, not a direct operation of the Holy Spirit, is God’s power to save. (Rom. 1:16.) Paul said to the Corinthians, “I have begotten you through the gospel.” (I Cor. 4:15)—note, it was not by a direct operation of the Holy Spirit. Faith is not produced in the heart of sinner or saint by a direct operation of the Holy Spirit. Faith is produced in both saint and sinner by the word of God. (Acts 15:7, Gal. 3:2.)

Now a few thoughts concerning miracles: Real miracles such as done by apostles ceased by the time the New Testament was written. (Eph. 4:8-13.) “The faith” is here put for the truth of the New Testament. Paul preached: “The faith which once he destroyed.” (Gal. 1:23.) “Earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.” (Jude 3.)


“Till the unity of the faith” means till all parts of the faith or New Covenant could be revealed. Then miraculously endowed men ceased. Miracles and signs were for the purpose of revealing and confirming the word. When the word was all given and confirmed, they were no longer needed thus ceased. (Mk. 16:20; Heb. 2:3,4.) We are now to believe in Christ because of written miracles. (John 20:30, 31.) It is not a question of what God can do, but what he wills to do. It was never God’s purpose to have miracles continue in the church. Miracles were to “fail” “cease” and “vanish away. “ (I Cor. 13:8, 13.)




The church of Christ has no human creed. We are bound by no uninspired man’s statement, or system of statements, as our rule in religion. Church manuals, Confessions of Faith, Disciplines, Articles of Religion, and all creeds formulated by men are rejected. The word of God alone—we accept as our standard.


The Bible is the inspired word of God. (II Peter 1:21; I Cor. 2:13; I Thess. 2:13.) It contains all necessary information for our salvation and is perfect. (II Pet. 1:3; II Tim. 3:16, 17.) Why would anyone desire any other standard in religion?

It is the aim of the church of Christ to speak “as the oracles of God.” (I Pet. 4:11.)




The church of Christ is scriptural in organization. Following the New Testament pattern each congregation is autonomous. There is no council, association, conference, synod or other unscriptural body to dictate to the congregations. Jesus Christ is the only head of His church (Eph. 1:22, 23; Col. 1:18.) He has all authority in heaven and on earth. Popes and all clerical hierarchy which presume to head the church on earth fall under condemnation. (Mt, 28:18; Eph. 5:23; Acts 3:23.)


In each congregation when men can meet the qualifications from among the members elders are to be appointed. These men are charged with the oversight of the flock. (Acts 20:17, 28; I Pet. 5:1-4.) Paul appointed elders in the various churches which he established on his first missionary journey. (Acts 14:23.) Paul instructed Titus to remain in Crete that he might set in order the things that were lacking and appoint elders in every city. (Tit. 1:5.) The qualifications of elders are listed in I Timothy, chapter three, and in the first chapter of Titus.


The jurisdiction of elders does not extend beyond their home congregation. Modern ecclesiastical machinery finds no support in the New Testament. It rests upon the doctrines and precepts of men, and all such religion is vain. (Mt. 15:7-9.)


Assisting the elders are the deacons. Their qualifications are recorded in I Timothy 3:8-12.




As long as they follow the Bible, churches of Christ are the same all over the world. However, when you find a congregation claiming to be a church of Christ but using instrumental music in their worship (from a study of the New Testament it is easily seen that that particular congregation is worshipping in error), it is not true to the teaching of the New Testament. John affirms that those who go beyond the doctrine of Christ have not God. (II John 9-11.) He also affirms that those who bid “God speed” to those thus transgressing are also “partakers” of their “evil deeds.”


Where did any of the apostles ever command a congregation of Christ to use instrumental music in their worship? Which congregation of the first century used instrumental music in their worship? Where is the passage? Who can

find a passage and read it without comment that authorizes the instrument in the worship of the church of Christ? The New Testament is as silent as the tomb as far as giving any authority to use the instrument in the worship of the church!


The goal of every true congregation of Christ is to follow the New Testament completely in name, unity, practice, membership, worship, organization and mission. Following the New Testament pattern completely is that which

makes the church of Christ different. Members of the church of Christ make no claim of being right, except as they follow the Bible!


Even though a group of people are in error there is no way to prevent them from appropriating the scriptural designation church of Christ. However, if they use mechanical instruments of music in their worship to God it is easy to show those who respect the New Testament that they are not the true church regardless of what their claims may be!




The aim of true churches of Christ throughout the world is to restore Christianity as it was in the first century A.D. Our distinctive plea is for Christianity in its primitive purity — free from human names, creeds and traditions.


During the days of the apostles the Lord’s church existed as one united body, following the divine pattern as revealed by the apostles. (Mt. 28:20; Acts 4:32.) The “seed” or word of God (Lk. 8:11) was scattered far and wide, and wherever honest hearts received the word the fruit was always the same — just Christians. There was no such thing as “different kinds” of Christians for denominationalism was unknown. No one was ever asked, “Are you Protestant or Catholic?” — for such did not exist. No one ever asked, “To which faith do you belong?” — for there was only one faith. (Eph. 4:5.)


In a divided religious world the plea of true churches of Christ everywhere is for a complete restoration of the Lord’s church. We plead for people to go back over all the dark ages of corruption, to discard man-made names, creeds, doctrines, and commandments of men in the plan of salvation and worship, and barriers of every kind which divide men, and restore the Lord’s church as it was in the beginning. This is the only way that true religious unity can be obtained!


If you are desirous of finding the church that Jesus built (Matt. 16:18), how would you identify it? Here are some distinctive features: It claims Jesus Christ as its only head (Eph. 1:22-23); it wears his name and repudiates all human names a Cor. 1:10-13; Rom. 16:16; Acts11:26; 26-28; I Pet. 4:16); it is governed by New Testament teaching and has no manmade creed or discipline (II Tim. 3:16-17; I Pet. 4:11; Heb. 9:15-17). The Lord adds people to His church (Acts 2:47) as they are saved by obeying the gospel (II Thess. 1:7-9). Obedience to the gospel consists in believing (Mk. 16:16), repenting (Acts 3:19), confessing Christ as the Son of God (Acts 8:37), and being baptized (immersed for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38). The worship of the church consists of singing without mechanical accompaniment (Col. 3:16-17). prayers (Acts 2:42), teaching or doctrine (Acts 2:42), the Lord’s supper upon the first day of every week (Acts 20:7), and giving as prospered (1 Cor. 16:1-2). Its works consists in helping the needy (Jas. 1:27). self-edification by the word (Eph. 4:12), and preaching the gospel to all the world (Mk. 16:1516). Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for it (Eph. 5:25).


We plead with all to follow the scriptures- to accept the evidence which proves that the God of the Bible exists, that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, that truth is both absolute and attainable, that the Bible is the inspired word of God, that the Bible is an objective body of truth. Therefore, we accept and we urge all people to accept the Bible as our only rule of faith and practice (I Pet. 4:11; Phil. 4:16). The New Testament teaches that the church of Christ is the blood-bought body of Christ, purchased with his precious blood (Acts 20:28; Eph. 5:25-27). We urge all to obey the gospel (I Pet. 4:17-18) and to worship God according to the New Testament pattern (John 4:24; Acts 2:42). We plead for the restoration of New Testament Christianity, and every honest and accountable person can be a part of this great Bible plan (I Thess. 5:21). The Bible only makes Christians only, therefore, the only Christians! The New Testament teaches that there is one body (Rom. 12:4-5; I Cor. 12:13, 20; Eph. 2:16; 4:4; Col. 3:15). Three times we are informed that the body and the church refer to the same institution (Eph. 1:22-23; Col. 1:18, 24). Not only are we told that there is one body, but we are told that there is only one body (I Cor. 12:20). The mission of the church in the twentieth century, simply stated, is the same as it was in the first century. From the beginning the church followed the apostles' doctrine (Acts 2:42). The Lord intends the church to be the pillar and ground of the truth (I Tim. 3:15). Jesus is Lord and Christ was the subject of apostolic preaching (Acts 2:22, 36; II Tim. 2:2; 4:1-5; Gal. 6:14; I Cor. 1:23-24). To proclaim Christ correctly is to preach the truth relative to the kingdom (which is the church), the name (authority) of Christ, and baptism (Acts 8:5, 12). We must preach the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth on all subjects. We must teach the truth relative to New Testament worship, organization, and the necessity of living the Christian life. Let us ever remember that Christ came "to seek and to save the lost" (Lk. 19:10). Even so, it is the mission of the church to take His saving gospel to a lost and dying world that they may obey the gospel, and thus the Lord will add them to the church wherein is salvation (Acts 2:3841, 47; 20:28; Eph. 5:23). Once we are in the Lord's church, we must add the Christian graces, and if we will do this and remain faithful to the end, heaven will be ours (II Pet. 1:5-11).



B. B. Brother


“And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18).


“Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood” (Acts 20:28).


“Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen” (Ephesians 3:21).


The church of Christ is indeed a great institution. It was founded by Christ Himself. Perhaps if people would take a closer look at God’s Word relative to the church they would come to appreciate it more and be an active member of it. Let us note some reasons why the church is great.


IT WAS PURCHASED BY THE PRECIOUS BLOOD OF CHRIST. Notice again the scripture reference above *“Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you ove*rseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood” (Acts 20:28). This ought to show the value that God places upon her!


CHRIST IS HER HEAD. “And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all” (Ephesians 1:22-23). Christ is not the head over various fraternal orders, etc. He is the head of the church. The church must look to Him for directions. The church must not operate according to its own way of operation, but rather the way Christ wants it to operate. Christ is its “head” which gives it direction.


THE CHURCH IS THE BRIDE OF CHRIST. Paul stated to the church at Rome, “Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God” (Romans 7:4). See also Ephesians 5:22-33. In marriage two people become one or united. Likewise Christ and his bride are one. The church truly is great because she is married to Christ.


RECONCILIATION UNTO GOD IS IN THE ONE BODY (THE CHURCH). “And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:” (Ephesians 2:16). A person that would be reconciled (be on friendly terms) unto God must be in the place where Christ reconciles him unto God. The Bible affirms that this is in the church.


For the above reasons (plus multiplied others), the church is great. Are you in the Lord’s church? “For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit” (I Corinthians 12:13).
















罗 敏 译

































B.B. Brother文

孔凤云 译













上帝吩咐这一切的话说,我是耶和华你的上帝,曾将你从埃及地为奴之家领出来。除了我以外,你不可有别的上帝。不可为自己雕刻偶像,也不可作什么形象彷佛上天,下地,和地底下,水中的百物。不可跪拜那些像,也不可事奉它,因为我耶和华你的上帝是忌邪的上帝。恨我的,我必追讨他的罪,自父及子,直到三四代;爱我,守我诫命的,我必向他们发慈爱,直到千代。(出 20:17)






鲍勃•温顿(Bob Winton)作过以下观察:








“诸天述说上帝的荣耀,穹苍传扬他的手段。”(诗19:1)如果有人花时间学习天体测量学、生理学、微生物学等,他将看到我们周围充满伟大的设计。哪里有设计,哪里就有设计师。《诗篇》的作者再次说道:“愚顽人心里说,没有上帝。他们都是邪恶,行了可憎恶的事。没有一个人行善。” (诗14:1)

保罗和巴拿巴这样说:“诸君,为什么作这事呢。我们也是人,性情和你们一样。我们传福音给你们,是叫你们离弃这些虚妄,归向那创造天、地、海和其中万物的永生上帝。他在从前的世代,任凭万国各行其道。然而为自己未尝不显出证据来,就如常施恩惠,从天降雨,赏赐丰年,叫你们饮食饱足,满心喜乐。”(徒14:15-17) 保罗说上帝是“创造天、地、海和其中万物的永生上帝。”

同样地,保罗对雅典人公开宣称“未识之神”,他说道: “创造宇宙和其中万物的上帝,既是天地的主,就不住人手所造的殿。也不用人手服事,好像缺少什么,自己倒将生命、气息、万物,赐给万人。他从一本造出万族的人,住在全地上,并且预先定准他们的年限和所住的疆界。要叫他们寻求上帝,或者可以揣摩而得,其实他离我们各人不远。我们生活、动作、存留,都在乎他,就如你们作诗的,有人说,我们也是他所生的。我们既是上帝所生的,就不当以为上帝的神性像人用手艺、心思所雕刻的金、银、石。”(徒17:24-30)

对于没有偏见思想的人来说,都能明白房屋必有人建造——“自从造天地以来,上帝的永能和神性是明明可知的,虽是眼不能见,但藉着所造之物,就可以晓得,叫人无可推诿。” (罗 1:20)



神性:“上帝”一词表示神性,不可数。上帝的道必然告诉我们有多少位上帝。圣经向我们揭示只有一位具有神性的上帝(玛2:10)。这位上帝具有三个位格,三个位格共享一个神性,即父上帝(约3:16)、子上帝(约 1:1-2)、圣灵上帝(徒 5:3-4)。上帝的三个位格都参与了创世。

上帝创造天地,如《创世记》1章1节里所讲。雅各告诉我们上帝是众光之父,“各样美善的恩赐和各样全备的赏赐,都是从上头来的。从众光之父那里降下来的。在他并没有改变,也没有转动的影儿。”(雅1:17) 上帝是我们万灵的父。——“再者,我们曾有生身的父管教我们,我们尚且敬重他,何况万灵的父,我们岂不更当顺服他得生吗。”(来12:9)。

耶稣基督参与了创世。如约翰所记:“太初有道,道与上帝同在,道就是上帝。这道太初与上帝同在。万物是藉着他造的。凡被造的,没有一样不是藉着他造的。”(约1:1-3) 万物创造者的道成了肉身,且住在我们中间——“道成了肉身住在我们中间,充充满满的有恩典有真理。(我们也见过他的荣光,正是父独生子的荣光。”(约1:14-15) 论及耶稣基督,保罗写到:“因为万有都是靠他造的,无论是天上的,地上的,能看见的,不能看见的,或是有位的、主治的、执政的、掌权的,一概都是藉着他造的,又是为他造的。他在万有之先,万有也靠他而立。他也是教会全体之首。他是元始,是从死里首先复生的,使他可以在凡事上居首位。”(西1:16-18)《希伯来书》作者说:“上帝既在古时藉着众先知,多次多方地晓谕列祖,就在这末世,藉着他儿子晓谕我们,又早已立他为承受万有的,也曾藉着他创造诸世界。”(来1:1-2)


上帝的话: 上帝借着他的话创造了世界,并使之立定。摩西写到:“上帝说,要有光,就有了光。上帝看光是好的,就把光暗分开了。”(创1:3-4)“上帝说”一词在《创世记》1章出现十次。上帝反反复复地告诉我们他怎样创造了世界。因此,《诗篇》的作者宣称说:“诸天藉耶和华的命而造,万象藉他口中的气而成。……因为他说有,就有。命立,就立。”(诗33:6,9)



间隔论:有人教导说,在《创世记》1章1、2两节之间有极长的时间间隔。当然,这对一些相信地球是非常古老的,试图为“地质年代”之说找一席之地的人是深受欢迎的。这个理论是,上帝创造了世界 (创1:1), 那么(一些人教导),因撒旦和地上前亚当人类的背叛,上帝毁灭了世界,后来以每天24小时共6天时间“再创造”当今的世界。因此据说世界可能存在了数亿年(进化论者每每使用的地质学记录)。

因“间隔论”展开的一组讨论如下:(1) (错误)使用词语“bara”(创造)和“asah”(造)。辩解:因词语“bara” 意思是创造, 上帝首先创造世界(创1:1),可是他又毁灭了,后来他不得不再造(“asah ”)世界 (2) 再次辩解:在《创世记》1章2节里翻译过来的过去分词“是”本应该为“变成”。他们可能把这节理解为“地变成空虚混沌”,表示起初是完美的创造,后来遭到毁灭。

间隔论的反驳: 第一,上帝是交替使用词语“bara”(创造)和“asah”(造)的(创1:27),上帝说“我们要……造人”(创1:26),接着“上帝就……造人,……。” (创1:27) 上帝没有“创造”亚当,也没有毁灭他,更没有再“造”他。这同样可以说明天地的创造。上帝“创造”天地,他还“造”天地——“创造天地的来历,在耶和华上帝天地的日子,乃是这样。” (创2:4) 上帝交换使用这些词语。 第二,上下文没有暗示两节经文间有“间隔”(或一件事紧跟着下一件事)。注意经文第二节中的“and”(译者按:汉语译本没有翻译。可译“和”或“而”),表明是对前面第一节经文中词语的延续。直接地看这经文,没有人会产生“间隔论”的感觉。第三,没有按学术译法把第二节经文的“是”字译成“变成”。第四,《出埃及记》20章11清楚地陈述道,万物是在创世六日内造成的——“因为六日之内,耶和华造天、地、海和其中的万物,第七日便安息,所以耶和华赐福与安息日,定为圣日。”第五,耶稣表明,“但从起初创造的时候,上帝造人是造男造女。”(可10:6) 男人和女人在起初就被造。显然,耶稣不相信间隔的存在——在这两节经文之间——存在一个较长的时期。



一日千年论: 同样也有一些人显然不确信圣经真理,他们为创造寻找漫长的时间尺度。“一日千年论” 宣称《创世记》1章的六日创造可能会是一个很长的周期。

一日千年论反驳: 如果那是上帝所想的,我们同意创造时间可能是一个漫长期,然而,上帝告诉我们一日的持续时间——白天和晚上(24小时一个周期)。 第二,希伯来人一天时间(犹太日),以非预言用法用数字表示总意味着24小时。第三,亚当在第六天被造出,如果一天是一千年,我们会问“亚当能活着看见第七天吗?” 第四,犹太人遵守安息日显示,《创世记》一章里的一日是24小时。摩西写到:“当记念安息日,守为圣日。六日要劳碌作你一切的工,但第七日是向耶和华你上帝当守的安息日。这日你和你的儿女、仆婢、牲畜,并你城里寄居的客旅,无论何工都不可作。因为六日之内,耶和华造天、地、海和其中的万物,第七日便安息,所以耶和华赐福与安息日,定为圣日。”(出20:8-11) 犹太人开始遵守安息日因为上帝观察到安息日是在他创造日的结束。他们安息多久?曾经犹太人安息的时间将与创造日第七天的时间一样。因为他们安息24小时,创造日的第七日必定是24小时。



第六天上帝创造人,创造的高峰出现。人是远远不同于上帝创造的其它物。人是唯一按照上帝的形象被造的。圣经说:“上帝说,我们要照着我们的形像,按着我们的样式造人,使他们管理海里的鱼、空中的鸟、地上的牲畜和全地,并地上所爬的一切昆虫。上帝就照着自己的形象造人,乃是照着他的形象造男造女。”(创1:26-28) 多么伟大的想象——领受了照上帝形象受造的特权!

按照上帝的形象被造的部分不是指人的身体形像,因为上帝没有肉没有骨。上帝是个灵。因此,按照上帝的形象被造的部分是指他的灵。人的身体死后,人的灵要回到上帝那里——“尘土仍归于地,灵仍归于赐灵的上帝。”(传12:7) 保罗写到:“我们原知道,我们这地上的帐棚若拆毁了,必得上帝所造,不是人手所造,在天上永存的房屋。”(林后5:1)




我的肺腑是你所造的。我在母腹中,你已覆庇我。我要称谢你,因我受造,奇妙可畏。你的作为奇妙,这是我心深知道的。我要称谢你,我在暗中受造,在地的深处被联络。那时,我的形体并不向你隐藏。我未成形的体质,你的眼早已看见了。你所定的日子,我尚未度一日(或作我被造的肢体尚未有其一),你都写在你的册上了。神啊,你的意念向我何等宝贵。其数何等众多。我若数点,比海沙更多。我睡醒的时候,仍和你同。(诗 139:13-18)















1.Morris, Henry. The Genesis Record. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House, 1976.

2.McCord, Hugo. Getting Acquainted With God. Murfreesboro,TN: DeHoff Publication, No Date.

3.Winton, Bob. Commentary on Hebrews CD. 2007.



B.B. Brother文

孔凤云 译


“他在圣者的会中,是大有威严的上帝,比一切在他四围的更可畏惧。”(诗89:7)“他向百姓施行救赎,命定他的约,直到永远。他的名圣而可畏。”(诗111:9)上帝是值得称颂的。认识上帝的一些属性将有助于我们更好地理解为什么我们应该敬畏他, 有助于在耶和华上帝面前树立正确的敬拜态度和行为。


上帝被宣称为“全能的上帝”—— “在亚伯拉罕九十九岁时,上帝向他显现,对他说,我是全能的上帝,你当在我面前作完全人”( 创17:1)。 他的能力已经被他的创世证明了。他(上帝)用话语命定世界存在——“诸天借耶和华的命而造,万象借他口中的气而成。”(诗33:6)“ 因为他说有,就有。命立,就立。” (诗33:9) 他(耶稣)凭他有能力的话托住万物—— “他是上帝荣耀所发的光辉,是上帝本体的真像,常用他权能的命令托住万有,他洗净了人的罪,就坐在高天至大者的右边”(来1:3)。我们因依靠上帝而得以存在——“我们生活,动作,存留,都在乎他,就如你们作诗的,有人说,我们也是他所生的。” (徒17:28) 我们应该谦卑地认识到我们在“全能的上帝”面前。


“他数点星宿的数目,称它的名,我们的主为大,最有能力。” (诗 147:4-5) 你能想到可以数星星吗?上帝可以,甚至都能给命名。上帝对我们一清二白——“就是你们的头发,也都被数过了。”(太10:30)



他充满天地!“我岂为近处的上帝呢?不也为远处的上帝吗? 耶和华说,人岂能在隐密处藏身,使我看不见他呢? 耶和华说,我岂不充满天地吗?”(耶23:24) 再看《诗篇》139篇7-12行。



“他是磐石,他的作为完全,他所行的无不公平,是诚实无伪的上帝。又公义,又正直。”(申32:4) 上帝将赏善罚恶。“上帝既是公义的,就必将患难报应那加患难给你们的人。也必使你们这受患难的人,与我们同得平安。那时,主耶稣同他有能力的天使从天上在火焰中显现,要报应那不认识上帝,和那不听从我主耶稣福音的人。他们要受刑罚,就是永远沉沦,离开主的面和他权能的荣光。这正是主降临要在他圣徒的身上得荣耀,又在一切信的人身上显为希奇的那日子。我们对你们作的见证,你们也信了。”(帖后1:6-10)



“没有爱心的,就不认识上帝。因为上帝就是爱。”(约一4:8) 人因为有罪本该死。但上帝仍然爱人。 按照公义必有人得报应,但上帝的爱渴望人得救赎。这个答案在下面可以找到——“上帝爱世人,甚至将他的独生子赐给他们,叫一切信他的,不至灭亡,反得永生。”(约3:16)



上帝可能被激怒。 他的愤怒是正义的愤怒。他的愤怒是针对罪的——“上帝是公义的审判者,又是天天向恶人发怒的上帝。”(诗7:11) 不悔改的人将在审判中遭受上帝的烈怒——“你竟任着你刚硬不悔改的心,为自己积蓄忿怒,以致上帝震怒,显他公义审判的日子来到。”(罗2:5)



“怜悯”一词表示同情之意。上帝怜悯人。 “耶和华在他面前宣告说,耶和华,耶和华,是有怜悯有恩典的上帝,不轻易发怒,并有丰盛的慈爱和诚实。为千万人存留慈爱,赦免罪孽、过犯和罪恶,万不以有罪的为无罪,必追讨他的罪,自父及子,直到三四代。”(出34:6-7) 人应该真诚地感恩上帝对我们宽大的仁慈。上帝希望我们每个人得救和他永远在天堂。



上面的经文已经提到了耶和华,是有怜悯有恩典的上帝,有丰富的仁爱和真理。“忍耐”一词表示上帝对我们的容忍。虽然我们已经做错了,上帝却忍耐我们。这不应该被当作容忍 ,因上帝要就不可饶恕的罪问责我们,但他希望我们得到赦免,所以一直对我们宽容。





B.B. Brother文

孔凤云 译




由衷地感谢南海文基督的教会(Southaven Church of Christ)的长老、执事、教师和良善的会众,让我一直主讲小先知书。这册是对以前小先知书讲义上的教师职务权柄主题的很好补充和指导。再次感谢有这样的机会讨论“基督,枝子”这个极好的主题。希望这篇文章能荣耀上帝并造就教会。



大家都熟悉的“枝子”一词,在圣经的使用中,既作为字面意思又作为象征意思。在作字面意思使用时,指从葡萄藤或树发芽长成的枝子,也意指子孙后代。圣经以象征手法使用这个词来描述人们信仰上帝的兴旺。“依仗自己财物的,必跌倒。义人必发旺如青叶。”(箴11:28)用这个词来形容上帝的子民,他们逃出埃及,然后像葡萄树一样移植在迦南地。(参见诗80:7-12)基督曾声明他是葡萄树,门徒是枝子 (约15:5),并说明门徒如何在他里面结果子,不然就被剪掉。(有趣的是,有人认为“拿撒勒人”一词来自希伯来单词“hetser”的词根,该单词在《以赛亚书》11章1节中被译成枝子。)







你寿数满足,与你列祖同睡的时候,我必使你的后裔接续你的位。我也必坚定他的国。他必为我的名建造殿宇。我必坚定他的国位,直到永远。(撒下 7:12-13)。



虽然亚述国的森林将被毁坏,但从耶西的本会产出根,再长成枝子。 (参见赛11:1) 耶和华的灵必住在他身上,以公平公义治理国。


哥尼雅这人是被轻看,破坏的器皿吗?是无人喜爱的器皿吗?他和他的后裔为何被赶到不认识之地呢? 地啊,地啊,地啊,当听耶和华的话!耶和华如此说:“要写明这人算为无子,是平生不得亨通的,因为他后裔中再无一人得亨通,能坐在大卫的宝座上治理犹大。”(耶22:28-30)




大卫指着他说:“我看见主常在我眼前,他在我右边,叫我不至于摇动。所以我心里欢喜,我的灵(原文作“舌”)快乐。并且我的肉身要安居在指望中。因你必不将我的灵魂撇在阴间,也不叫你的圣者见朽坏。你已将生命的道路指示我,必叫我因见你的面,(或作“叫我在你面前”)得着满足的快乐。”弟兄们,先祖大卫的事,我可以明明地对你们说,他死了,也埋葬了,并且他的坟墓,直到今日还在我们这里。大卫既是先知,又晓得上帝曾向他起誓,要从他的后裔中,立一位坐在他的宝座上。就预先看明这事,讲论基督复活说:“他的灵魂不撇在阴间,他的肉身也不见朽坏。”这耶稣,上帝已经叫他复活了,我们都为这事作见证。他既被上帝的右手高举,(或作“他既高举在上帝的右边”)又从父受了所应许的圣灵,就把你们所看见所听见的,浇灌下来。大卫并没有升到天上,但自己说,主对我主说:“你坐在我的右边, 等我使你仇敌作你的脚凳。”故此,以色列全家当确实地知道,你们钉在十字架上的这位耶稣,上帝已经立他为主、为基督了。(徒2:25-36)




弥赛亚的先知以赛亚表示,出自上帝的余民,将从耶西产生一“根”以色列,他的后代将长出“枝子”。他将赐福世界,并给我们和平。这和平是以豺狼与羊共居现象象征地表达出来的,还有豹子与小山羊(羊羔)同卧等。各种动物都被驯服,他们的饮食习惯发生变化,从食肉性变成完全的素食性。(参见赛11:6-9) 弥赛亚带来的和平要在基督身上实现。保罗在《以弗所书》中论说了这种和平。

你们从前远离上帝的人,如今却在基督耶稣里,靠着他的血,已经得亲近了。因他使我们和睦,(原文作“因他是我们的和睦”)将两下合而为一,拆毁了中间隔断的墙。而且以自己的身体,废掉冤仇,就是那记在律法上的规条。为要将两下藉着自己造成一个新人,如此便成就了和睦。既在十字架上灭了冤仇,便藉这十字架,使两下归为一体,与上帝和好了,并且来传和平的福音给你们远处的人,也给那近处的人。 (弗2:13-17)

当耶稣出生时,天上的天使向旷野里的牧羊人显现并赞美:“在至高之处荣耀归与上帝,在地上平安归与他所喜悦的人。”(路2:14) 这种和平在基督身上实现了。

耶利米说基督是专为大卫兴起的“公义的苗裔”。(“苗裔”即“枝子”,耶23:5;33:15) 同样,撒迦利亚在《撒迦利亚书》中预见性地说基督为“苗裔”。(亚3:8;6:12-13) 当苗裔长成时,上帝会在一日之间除掉地上的罪孽:“对他说,万军之耶和华如此说:看哪,那名称为大卫苗裔的,他要在本处长起来。并要建造耶和华的殿。他要建造耶和华的殿,并担负尊荣,坐在位上掌王权。又必在位上作祭司,使两职之间筹定和平。” (亚6:12-13)

为了明白这段经文,应该知道有关此段经文的背景。因为以色列人犯罪,被掳到亚述囚禁起来,越来越少的两个支派之一的犹大支派,没有从以色列错误中吸取教训,继续重蹈覆辙。因为犹大支派的犯罪,同样被掳,这回却是被掳到巴比伦。第一次被掳在公元前606年,公元597年再次被掳,最后是公元前586年,巴比伦人来毁坏圣殿,完全占领犹大地。公元前562年尼布甲尼撒二世死后,巴比伦连续出现软弱无能的统治者。在公元前549年,波斯人居鲁士击败米堤亚,统一了米提亚和波斯。公元前539年,居鲁士入侵并占领了巴比伦。以赛亚很早就预言居鲁士将允许犹太人回归故土。(参见赛44:24-45:7) 直到公元前536年,犹太人回归,捣毁拜偶像的祭台,修缮早期被毁的圣殿台基,然而,修缮工作停了十六年,上帝派先知哈该和撒迦利亚激发人心,鼓励他们完成工作。哈该向以色列民提出这样的问题:“这殿仍然荒凉,你们自己还住天花板的房屋吗?”(该1:4) 撒迦利亚与哈该是同时代人,预言圣殿将由“苗裔”建造,上帝的民和旨意将继续,“苗裔”将从本处长起来。


1、苗裔将在本处长起来(12节)。以赛亚早已预言“他在耶和华面前生长如嫩芽,像根出于干地。他无佳形美容,我们看见他的时候,也无美貌使我们羡慕他。”(赛53:2) 这里,基督比作“嫩芽”和作为一个“出于干地的根”。注意,这里给出他将出于“干地”的事实。 关于基督,没有什么背景来增添他的伟大形象。 事实上,以色列不仅不是世界上的强国,而且还服在罗马的权下。然而基督就是要来到这样的干地上。曾经有一段时期人们认为,枯萎的植物连根拔起,仅仅发现这个植物发了一颗“芽”,也许哪天它会生长成参天大树。基督就是从他的本处发出的茂盛的枝子。









基督的教会真是荣耀的教会,在基督第二次降临的时候,将奉献给基督。我们在主的教会中荣耀上帝。“上帝能照着运行在我们心里的大力,充充足足的成就一切超过我们所求所想的。但愿他在教会中,并在基督耶稣里,得着荣耀,直到世世代代,永永远远。阿们。”(弗3:20-21) 注意这里提出,人要求“在教会里”荣耀上帝,不是在教会外面。悲哀的是,一些人没有明白教会的伟大。各宗各派已经迷惑了大众的思想,他们认为在教会外可以得救,也能荣耀上帝,既简单又符合圣经,就如同在教会中赞美上帝一样。


作为枝子的耶稣基督,“他也是教会全体之首。他是元始,是从死里首先复生的,使他可以在凡事上居首位。” (西1:18)

4、他将坐在位上掌王权。(弗1:20-23)有人注意到“枝子”是王。事实上,他是唯一的君王,万王之王,万主之主。(提前6:15)今天,他坐在他的宝座上掌权。《希伯来书》作者索性把他当作王描写。“他是上帝荣耀所发的光辉,是上帝本体的真像,常用他权能的命令托住万有,他洗净了人的罪,就坐在高天至大者的右边。” (来1:3) 他已掌权,带着公义的权杖统治。“论到子却说,上帝阿,你的宝座是永永远远的,你的国权是正直的。”(来1:8)


















如果一个人与上帝和平,他必定“在基督里”。耶稣说:“我将这事告诉你们,是叫你们在我里面有平安。在世上你们有苦难。但你们可以放心,我已经胜了世界。” (约16:33)



千禧年论者教导旧约关于上帝国的预言还没有应验。尽管大量的圣经经文显示上帝的国已经建立 (太16:18;西1:13-14;约3:3-5;来12:28等),千禧年论者却说要等耶稣再来的时候,他将在耶路撒冷城建立一个上帝的国并统治将近一千年。


根据这种理论推断,斯格菲尔德(Scofield)说这一章所叙述的正是预言未来上帝国荣耀的图景。施洗约翰宣称上帝的国“近了”时,却遭到了拒绝。 但当大卫的子孙从荣耀中回归时,上帝的国将被建立。 诸位要特别注意斯格菲尔德错误论述所产生的影响。显然他是根据千禧年理论而下的论断。

类似的情况还有布莱克斯督(W.E.Blackstone),他说:“以色列人将要回归迦南地,重建耶路撒冷,圣经中肯定没有什么比这些陈述更明确了。” 他其实是在谬用《以赛亚书》11章11节作为他的论据。







2、 上帝关心他的百姓。尽管上帝的民背离了他,他仍然爱他们,留有余数。当他的百姓真正为罪悔改时,上帝应许他们恢复与他的关系。

3、 教会的伟大有目共睹,因为他是上帝的殿。“枝子”降临建造了上帝的殿,这殿就是上帝的教会。 ( 林前1:1-2;3:16-17)

4、 耶稣基督施行公义。耶利米说道:“当那日子,那时候,我必使大卫公义的苗裔长起来。他必在地上施行公平和公义。”(耶33:15)《希伯来书》作者说他按公义管理,“论到子却说,上帝啊,你的宝座是永永远远的,你的国权是正直的。你喜爱公义,恨恶罪恶。所以上帝,就是你的上帝,用喜乐油膏你,胜过膏你的同伴。”(来1:8-9) 不仅美国,全世界都应该热爱真理,恨恶罪恶。




尽管上帝的百姓已经离开上帝转向偶像崇拜,人数大大减少,但根芽却真的来自耶西家族,苗裔从他本处发出。世界已经因这枝子得福。今天他给所有来到他面前的人提供了救赎, 有一天,他将回来接他的教会到自己的住处。(弗5:25-27)希望我们爱他,敬拜他,顺服他。




1 William Wilson.Wilson’s Old Testament Word Studies. Peabody, Hendrickson Publishers, N.D., 48.

2 William Edward Biederwolf.The Millennium Bible. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1964, 59.

3 W.E. Blackstone. Jesus Is Coming. Old Tappen, N.J.: Fleming H. Revell, 1932, 162.

4 Ibid, 167.







B.B. Brother文

方 进 译












探讨圣经是否源于上帝的启示应该首先从圣经经文本身出发。首先,应该允许圣经本身去为自身的属性作见证。找到明确的经文表述其源于上帝的启示这一属性,然后再去详细考查其是否具备这一属性并对这一属性加以证明;不管怎么讲,都不能剥夺圣经自身证明的机会。(Geisler & Nix 33)











我们应该注意到这个事实,即上帝把话赐给受启示的人,并不是他们自己在说,“而是父的灵在人的里面说话。” 使徒保罗同样认为圣经是藉着话语启示的,如下所示:“我们所领受的,并不是世上的灵,乃是从上帝来的灵,叫我们能知道上帝开恩赐给我们的事。并且我们讲说这些事,不是用人的智慧所指教的言语,乃是用圣灵所指教的言语,将属灵的话解释属灵的事。”(林前2:12-13)


成全性:圣经是完全从上帝的启示来的。保罗写道:“圣经都是上帝所默示的,于教训、督责、使人归正、教导人学义,都是有益的,叫属上帝的人得以完全,预备行各样的善事。”(提后3:16-17)同样,耶稣也说到:“莫想我来要废掉律法和先知;我来不是要废掉,乃是要成全。我实在告诉你们:就是到天地都废去了,律法的一点(jot)一画(tittle)也不能废去,都要成全。”Jot是指希伯来文中最小的字母,“tittle”是指希伯来字母上的小符号。”(Thompson and Harris,132)耶稣在这里教导圣经是完全从上帝启示来的。


圣经是藉着话语,完全准确无误的从上帝的启示来的。圣经的开篇、中间和结尾都警告我们,不要随意加添、删减和更改上帝的话。摩西在圣经的开篇写道:“所吩咐你们的话,你们不可加添,也不可删减,好叫你们遵守我所吩咐的,就是耶和华你们上帝的命令”(申4:2)。《箴言》作者在圣经中写道:“上帝的言语句句都是炼净的,投靠他的,他便作他们的盾牌。他的言语,你不可加添,恐怕他责备你,你就显为说谎的。”(箴30:5-6) 约翰在圣经的结尾也给我们警示:“我向一切听见这书上预言的作见证,若有人在这预言上加添什么,上帝必将写在这书上的灾祸加在他身上;这书上的预言,若有人删去什么,上帝必从这书上所写的生命树和圣城,删去他的份。”(启22:18-19)同样,保罗也曾提到上帝会咒诅那些随意更改所传信息的人,他写道:“但无论是我们,是天上来的使者,若传福音给你们,与我们所传给你们的不同,他就应当被咒诅。我们已经说了,现在又说,若有人传福音给你们,与你们所领受的不同,他就应当被咒诅。”(加1:8-9)




圣经是一部令人惊异的书。整本圣经的完成历时1600多年,虽然是由40多位不同时代不同地域的作者写成,但其内容与精义却一致的惊人。乔治·德豪夫(George DeHoff)写道:

“整本圣经共66卷,历时1600多年,由40多位作者写成。圣经的作者有君王、士兵、牧羊人、农民,还有渔夫。第一卷书是摩西在阿拉伯的旷野写就,最后一卷书是使徒约翰在拔摩岛上完成。有些书卷是在国王的宫殿里写的,有的是在牧羊人的帐篷里写的,有的在水边写的,而有些是在监狱里写的。圣经的作者有些是受过高等教育的,也有些是目不识丁的渔夫。圣经是在不同的国家和地区写成的,写作圣经的语言也不尽相同。然而把这些书卷拿到一起的时候,他们却彼此相合,融为一个整体,就成了圣经。各书卷之间没有矛盾,也不存在不一致的地方。有些人可能认为随着时代的变化,有必要重写圣经,而这完全是多此一举。圣经永远都不会落伍,也从来都没有错误。因为圣经的作者是按照上帝的启示写成的。就像所罗门建造圣殿所用的材料能完美的契合在一起,成为如此宏伟壮丽的圣殿,因为所有的一切都在一位伟大的建筑师的指挥下完成。圣经的各个书卷能够彼此相合,成为一体,因为是在上帝的灵的指示下写成的。” (DeHoff 102,103)





瓦勒·杰克森(Wayne Jackson)对《使徒行传》的注解显示出该卷书的历史精确性。在《使徒行传》中,路加提到了32个国家、54个城市、9个地中海岛屿。他还提到了95个人,虽然其中有62人没提名。他所使用的背景材料都是有据可查的,也是准确无误的。在路加所在的年代,政治局势不稳,区域划分也变化不断,能做到这一点几乎是不可能的。在这种混乱的情况下,路加是如何做到如此精确的呢?那就是上帝的启示!(Jackson 27,28)


尽管圣经不是一本有关科学的书籍,但谈到科学的问题时圣经也总是正确的。过去,人们总是认为地球是平的,但圣经没随大流,没有接受这个错误的观点。以赛亚写道:“上帝坐在地球大圈之上,地上的居民好像蝗虫。他铺张穹苍如幔子,展开诸天如可住的帐棚。”(赛40:22)上帝知道地球是圆的,以赛亚知道这一科学事实的唯一方式就是上帝告诉他。对于是什么在支撑着地球这一问题,人们有各种错误的看法,但约伯却给出了科学的解释:“上帝将北极铺在空中,将大地悬在虚空。”(伯26:7)约伯怎么知道地球是悬在太空的呢?那肯定是他得到了上帝的启示! 摩利(Matthew Fontaine Maury)读到《诗篇》8篇8行时,发现的确有“海道”。随着时间的推移,科学的书籍要不断地更新修改,但圣经却是永恒的真理。













1.Bert Thompsonand Brad Harrub. Investigating Christian Evidences. Montgomery,AL,Apologetics Press,2003.

2.George W. DeHoff. Why We Believe the Bible. Murfreesboro, TN, DeHoff Publications, 1990.

3.Norman L. Geisler. William E. Nix, A General Introduction to the Bible”. Chicago, IL, Moddy Press, 1986.

4.Wayne Jackson. The Bible on Trial, Stockton. CA, Christian Courier Publication, 2009.

5.Strong’s Lexicon. Accordance Bible Program.




谢同侠 译









作者是在对生活在族长时代的亚伯拉罕、以撒说话吗?在那个时代,上帝将他的旨意直接启示给先祖们。或者说他直接对生活在律法之下的以色列人说话呢?律法是上帝在西奈山赐给摩西的。或者说他直接对生活在基督律法之下的现代人说话?基督的律法就是新约。生活在摩西律法之下的以色列人,用动物祭祀,守安息日和特殊的节期,唱诗时用乐器伴奏,设立了特定的祭司制度等,这些都是敬拜上帝所要求做到的一部分。(出20:8-11;利23;代上25;代下29:25;诗150)耶稣虽然完全了摩西的律法、先知的预言(旧约)和诗篇上所记的(路24:44),但他又将它们撤去,涂抹了。(西2:14) 今天的人都生活在基督的律法之下,也就是生活在新约时代。(来8:6-13) 如果我们提出“他说话的时间”这样的问题时,我们就会明白旧约律法下的敬拜不适合我们新约时代的人。我们必须拿起新约,从中找到上帝对我们今天怎样敬拜他有什么要求。









孔凤云 译



大卫称颂道: “我观看你指头所造的天,并你所陈设的月亮星宿,便说,人算什么,你竟顾念他。世人算什么,你竟眷顾他。(诗 8:3-4) 大卫是个牧羊人。他可能经常在夜晚仰望苍天(月亮和星星)的主人,凝思星空,看着它的美,认出这些都是上帝亲手创造的产品,意识到上帝的伟大和创世的非凡。他又写到:“诸天述说上帝的荣耀,穹苍传扬他的手段。”(诗19:1) 面对上帝的创造物,每个人都应该敬畏他。“我要称谢你,因为我受造奇妙可畏。你的作为奇妙,这是我心深知道的。”(诗139:14)

《创世记》1、2章记载了万物的创造过程。有人已经看出圣经是向人们提供三个重要信息的唯一的一本书:(1)人从哪里来 (2)人为什么存在 (3)人将往何处去?人对这三个问题的看法将决定他的行为。如果一个人相信他是泥土造的而不是进化演变的,他将依此而行。然而,如果他真正相信有一个造物主,那他的生活就会有一个神圣的目标,他会寻求这个目标,使他的人生有意义。《创世记》1、2章揭示了上帝是人类的造物主。

在论及《创世记》1章时,富兰克林•坎普(Franklin Camp)观察到:

也许“以上帝为中心”是这章的好标题。在这章明确地提到上帝的名字有32次, 我们来看,1节“上帝创造”;2节“上帝运行”;3节“上帝说”;4节“上帝看”;“上帝分开”;5节“上帝称”;7节“上帝造出”;17节“上帝摆列”;21节“上帝造出”;22节“上帝赐福”。“上帝说”短语在《创世记》1章里使用了10次。 1

《创世记》是圣经其它书卷的基础。如果它不真实,圣经其它书卷就不成立,因为根基出了问题。从另一方面看,如果《创世记》是真实的,那么我们就有“真理的根基,且是借着上帝的救赎计划展开的”。有人已经宣称《创世记》(特别是1章到11章)既不是逐字记叙,也不是历史的记录。也有人总让人相信《创世记》是神话、寓言或诗章。为了反对这一说法,伯特•汤普森(Bert Thompson)列出以下几条理由来说明为什么《创世记》是史学、文学记述,而非神话、诗章。


2、耶稣将它们看作史实。(太 19:4-6;约 5:46-47;太 5:18;23:35)








天地的创造 (创1:1-2)

翻开圣经就能读到一个非常简明却有力量的陈述——“起初上帝创造天地。”(创 1:1)


上帝在万物的背后。他是永恒而首要的伟大动因。(诗 90:2) 起初,上帝已经存在。盖伊•伍兹(Guy N.Woods)这样说道:“万物之始,他已开始,他本身没有开始。”起初乃指万物的创造,包括时间,如我们所熟知的。


“上帝”一词来源于希伯来词Elohim(耶和华)。形式上,这个词是复数。可是,经文没有确认有三位上帝,许多经文肯定“只有一位上帝。”(参见玛2:10) 然而,一位上帝有多个位格存在。圣经里教导的上帝存在三个明显的位格:上帝-天父(约 3:16),上帝-儿子(约 1:1-3),上帝-圣灵 (徒5:3-4)。“上帝”一词表示神性,不可数名词。只有一位上帝(神的属性),但三个位格都拥有一位上帝的神性。

“创造”来自“ 巴拉”(bara)一词。唯有上帝能以最严格的意思施行创造。唯有他能从无创造有。上帝“创造”和“造”这个世界。他从无造出原料,也对原料进行加工塑造,制造实在的物质,以实体物存在。人类不可能“创造”原料,他仅仅再生存在物。

天地都是上帝创造的。天(在ASV版本里,“天”用的是复数)就是天空,地就是陆地(物质)。赫布特·斯宾瑟(Herbert Spencer)注意到《创世记》1章1节包涵五个科学根源:(1)“起初”——时间;(2)“上帝”——力量;(3)“创造”——动力;(4)“天”——空间;(5)“地”——物质。^6^

此时地是空虚混沌,渊面黑暗。 光还没有被创造,地是“空虚混沌”(ASV版本)。这时地还没有被整好。“渊”指大片的水。上帝的灵运行(或思考)在水面上。自创造的整个日子到出现完整秩序和结束,上帝的灵一直运行在水面上。“藉他的灵使天有妆饰,他的手刺杀快蛇。”(伯 26:13) 圣经告诉我们上帝的三个位格活跃在创造的过程中, 在该篇中上帝的两个位格已经记载了(父和灵)。约翰也告诉我们,耶稣也活跃在创造中——“万物是藉着他造的。凡被造的,没有一样不是藉着他造的。”(约1:3)


有人教导说,在《创世记》1章1、2两节之间有个极长的时间间隔。当然,这对一些相信地球是非常古老的,试图为“地质年代”之说找一席之地的人来说是受极受欢迎的。这将“调和”《创世记》和地质学之间的“不同点”。这个理论宣称,上帝创造了世界 (创1:1), 那么(一些人教导),因撒旦和地上前亚当人种的背叛,上帝毁灭了世界,后来以每天24小时共6天的时间“再创造”了目前的世界。因此还说世界可能是数亿年(进化论者每每使用的地质学记录)。

“间隔论”的两个辩解:(1) 关于“bara”(创造)和“asah”(造)两个词语的使用问题。他们断言,因词语“bara”的意思是创造, 上帝首先创造了世界(创1:1),可是他又毁灭了那个世界,后来他不得不再造(“asah”)了一个世界;(2)他们又提出这样的理由:《创世记》1章2节里翻译过来的过去分词“是”本应该为“变化”,这节应该理解为“地变为空虚混沌”,表示起初是完美的创造,后来遭到毁灭。



首先,上帝是交替使用词语“bara”(创造)和“asah”(造) (创 1:27),如上帝说“我们要……造人”(创1:26), 上帝就“造人……。” (创1:27) 上帝没有在“造”亚当后,毁灭他再“造”。就拿天地的创造来说也一样,上帝“创造”天地,他还“造”天地——“创造天地的来历,在耶和华上帝造天地的日子,乃是这样。”(创 2:4) 上帝交换使用这些词语。 第二,背景里没有暗含两节经文之间存在“间隔”(或一件事紧跟着下一件事)。注意第二节经文中的“和”,表明是对前一节经文中词语的延续。直接地看这经文,没有人会产生“间隔论”思维。第三,第二节经文没必要学究性地把“是”字翻译成“变化”。第四,《出埃及记》20章11节清楚地陈述,万物在创世六日内造成——“因为六日之内,耶和华造天、地、海,和其中的万物,第七日便安息,所以耶和华赐福与安息日,定为圣日。”
第五,耶稣表明,“但从起初创造的时候,上帝造人是造男造女。” (可10:6) 男人和女人在起初就被造。显然,耶稣不相信间隔的存在——一个较长的时期——存在于这两节经文中。



这里是上帝发话的最初记录。这里也说明了上帝的话大有能力。 世界的存在乃因上帝的话。诗篇作者宣称“诸天藉耶和华的命而造,万象藉他口中的气而成。”(诗33:6) 又说“因为他说有,就有。命立,就立。”(诗33:9) 上帝造光,接着分开黑暗,这是第一日。 有白天和黑夜,地球必定在此时旋转它的轴。上帝用“第一日”定义早晚的时间。

一日千年论: 有些人明显不确信圣经的真理,寻找创造的时间跨度。“一日千年论”宣称六日创造天地可能是一个很长的时间期。

一日千年论反驳: 如果那是上帝所想的,我们便同意创造时间可能是一个长时间期,然而,上帝告诉了我们一天的持续时间有多长——白天和晚上,即24小时一周期。 第二,希伯来语“白天”(yom),在前面加上个数字总意味着一天24小时。第三,亚当在第六天被造出来,假设一天是一千年,我们会问,“亚当能活着看见第七天吗?” 第四,犹太人守安息日显示,《创世记》里的“日”表明一天是24小时。摩西写到:“当记念安息日,守为圣日。六日要劳碌作你一切的工,但第七日是向耶和华你上帝当守的安息日。这一日你和你的儿女、仆婢、牲畜,并你城里寄居的客旅,无论何工都不可作。”(出20:8-11) 犹太人所守的安息日是上帝在他创世六日后定下的安息日。他们要安息多久?乃创造周的第七天整日安息。因为他们安息24小时,所以创造周的第七日必定是24小时。



天空是一个“广阔的大气层”,“创造的第二日,覆盖在地球表面上的水被分在两大储存区——一个在天空之下,一个在天空之上,天空变得广阔,在大地之上,与现在的对流层相符。”7 库提斯·凯茨(Curtis A. Cates)写到:

请注意:天空下的水与天空上(不是之间)的水分离。务必不能把大气的天空(大气层)与星星所在的天空(创1:16,17),或拉撒路去的中间地带(路16:19-31),与上帝宝座所在的天堂相混淆(约14:1-3; 王上8:27)。这里大气层的天空指鸟儿飞翔的地方。^8^










第四日——创造太阳、月亮和星星 (创1:14-19)

观察第一天创造的光,第四天创造的两大光体,一个有趣的问题出现了,第一天的光指什么呢?我们根据前面的观察得知,早晨加晚上等于一“天”。 这个光肯定是照耀全宇宙的。亨利·莫里斯(Henry Morris)解释道:


换句话说,上帝瞬间创造光,仿佛第一天从太阳那发射光,接着第四天为光造发光体(太阳)。上帝没有设立这样短暂的光维持三天,三天后毁灭它,第四天再造“其他光”。凯茨(Curtis A. Cates)说:








海和天空充满着生命,紧接着上帝创造了地上的动物,小的和大的都有。过后,记载了一件不寻常的事:“上帝说,我们要照着我们的形象,按着我们的样式造人,使他们管理海里的鱼、空中的鸟、地上的牲畜和全地,并地上所爬的一切昆虫。”(创1:26) 上帝使人区别于其它创造物,因为人是按照上帝的形象造的。请注意,上帝说:“我们要……”,表明上帝的两个位格在创造活动中起到了积极的作用。

人是上帝所生的——“我们既是上帝所生的,就不当以为上帝的神性像人用手艺、心思,所雕刻的金、银、石。”(徒17:29) 虽然我们的肉体身躯出自我们的父母,像他们几分,但是上帝造了人里面的灵。(亚12:1) 上帝被称为“万灵的父”。(来12:9) 因此,人的身体死后他的灵仍活着。人的灵永远存在着,或在地狱或在天堂。当灵分离他的身体时,身体死了,但是灵仍然活着。雅各写到:“身体


人,以上帝的形象存在,有道德的生命体。人有能力选择正确或错误。(书24:15) 有能力敬拜他的造物主,这是显而易见的普遍特点,这只存在于独特的人类中。不管人类住在哪儿,都有人类敬拜比他更高的存在物的证据。动物不像人类,动物没有“应该”意识。上帝不仅按照自己的形象造人,而且给了人管理其它创造物的权柄。上帝也命令亚当要生养众多,遍满地面。“遍满”的希伯来词意思是“充满或布满”。上帝又告诉人和动物,一切结种子的菜蔬都可以吃。洪水后,人除了吃菜蔬外,还开始吃肉。



创世总结 (创2:1-3)

摩西记录了创世日子的总结,写到“在第七日歇了他一切的工”。 词语“歇了”简意“停止”。上帝赐福给第七日,定为圣日,因为在这日他“安息了。”应该记得摩西记载的是历史。另外,赐福第七日和定为圣日与上帝歇工不是同时发生的。这节说上帝赐福第七日和定圣日因为在这日上帝“安息了”。上帝在创造一周的第七日歇了工,后来才赐福第七日将其圣化。“安息日”一词第一次出现在《出埃及记》16章23节,这日限定于人的食物分配量(犹太人-或摩西-分配)。 给犹太人定安息日是为他们脱离了在埃及受的奴役。这个命令在西奈山向犹太人颁布。(参见申5:2,3,15;尼9:13,14;结20:10-13) 因此,安息日不是从创世中开始遵守的(如守安息日派所声称的),而是从在以色列民到达西奈山时开始的。




自由派的批评家宣称《创世记》里有两次创世记载。以此得出有两个不同作者的结论。韦恩•杰克逊(Wayne Jackson)以陈述的方式作了验证,回应了这些批评家。


批评家没有意识到的是,第二章是第一章的续篇,在某些方面以详细的描述跟进,并不是相矛盾或由其他作者作的或不同的记录。 有个弟兄形象地将其比喻为“即时回放”。摄影师允许观众回顾和更详细地观看某段情节。^14^

创造天地的来历 (创2:4-7)








7、以实玛丽儿子们: 25:12-18


9、以扫的后代: 36:1-37:1



如经文所叙,当时的世代天还没有下过雨,但是中间的部分从地面上升,整个地面潮湿,只是这种状态持续多久没有明确地陈述。然而,这样的情形可能被认为一直持续到洪水之后,因而把彩虹作为标志来使用,可能表明洪水后首先看见的是彩虹。第七节告诉我们,人是用地上的尘土造的,上帝将生气吹在那人鼻孔里,那人就成了有灵的活人(生命的气息)。这里提到的生命的气息不是指人永远的灵,而是指生命的规律。低等动物也有生命的气息。(创1:30;7:22) 当然,人有灵,死后继续存在(如前所述)。


伊甸园 (创2:8-17)

上帝为他创造出来的人准备了一个“乐园”。由此可见,上帝是想赐福与人的。当人出现在地球时,一切都已为他准备好了。园子的位置不太确定。上帝为人类准备了万物,包括人吃的食物。在这段里提到了两个特别的树:(1) 生命树。 (2) 分别善恶的树。生命树是生命的源泉,人可以吃。但因人的堕落,不再允许接近这树,等进入天堂就能找到。(启21-22) 人可以吃各样树上的果子,只是分别善恶树上的果子,不可吃,人被告知吃的日子必定死。人不是一造下来就是永活的,因为他不得不吃生命树上果子维持生命,如果人天生就不朽那么这就错误了。同样,他与生命树分开的结果就是死亡。因为人来自独特的创造,有能力做出选择。上帝命令他不要吃分别善恶树上的果子,并告知吃的后果。





短语“你吃的日子必定死”表示的是什么的死呢?我认为,这里的死是指灵性的死,表示将与上帝的关系脱离。虽然有一些信仰虔诚而坚定的弟兄持不同意见。罪孽使我们与上帝隔绝(赛59:1-2),活在罪中的人仍是“死的”,尽管他们是活着的(提前5:6),以弗所人曾是死人,死在过犯罪恶之中,但活了过来。(弗2:1-3) 保罗说死临到众人,因为众人都犯了罪。(罗5:12)可是,有些人的肉体死了但没有犯罪(如婴儿)。保罗写道:“因为罪的工价乃是死。惟有上帝的恩赐,在我们的主基督耶稣里乃是永生。”(罗6:23)《创世记》在这里提及的死是与永生生命(灵魂)相对照的,因此,死必定是指灵魂的死。有人认为上帝的意思是指肉体的死亡。肉体死亡是罪的结果没有错,但那是因为离开了生命树。而肉体死亡和灵魂死亡都是犯罪的结果,笔者看不出这与经文的观点有任何相悖。因此我个人的观点是,《创世记》2章17节的死是指灵魂的死。


上帝造一个配偶帮助亚当 (创2:18-25)

这节交代了创造夏娃的背景,介绍她起源的故事。^15^ 上帝说,那人独居不好,我要为他造一个配偶帮助他。男人是社会人,“配偶”的意思是指这人是他的帮手。他们(男人和女人)将彼此适应。

分配给亚当命名每种动物的任务,足以表明亚当是非常聪明的,亚当看到一切生物都有配偶,只是他还没有遇见配偶帮助他。上帝使亚当沉睡,从他身上取了根肋骨,造成一个女人,领她到他跟前,亚当说“这是我骨中的骨,肉中的肉,可以称她为女人,因为她是从男人身上取出来的。”(创2:23) 从上下文可以确认那个时间必定是创造世界的第六日。





《创世记》这卷书,蕴含丰富的内容,非常值得研究和学习。它是圣经的开始,为上帝的其它预言启示作铺垫。耶稣和门徒常常引经据典地提及这卷书上的事件,如果《创世记》是圣经其它书卷的基础(本来就是),那么很容易看出圣经第一卷书前两章的重要性 , “起初,上帝……。”


1.Franklin Camp.Outline on Genesis. Unpublished Notes,p.5.

2.Bert Thompson. Essays in Apologetics . Vol.1. Montgomery, AL: Apologetics press,1984. pp.148-152.

3.C.F.Kiel and F.Delitzch. Commentary on the Old Testament. Vol.1. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1991. p.37.

4.Camp. p.5

5.Bob Winton. Outlined Commentary on Genesis. Gallipolis, OH: Bob Winton,1987. p.9.

6.Winton. pp.9-10.

7.Ibid. p.11

8.Curtis A.Cates. The Noahic Flood. Olive Branch, MS:Cates Publication,1994. p.39.

9.Winton. p.12.

10.Henry M. Morris. The Genesis Record. Grand Rapids,MI:Baker Book House,1992. p.63.

11.Ibid. p.65.

12.Curtis A. Cates.“And God Said, Let There Be Light”. Gospel Advocate Periodical. CXXV,November 3,1983. p.644.

13.Wayne Jackson,“Are There Two Creation Accounts In Genesis?,”Reason and Revelation,XI, (March,1991),p.9.

14.Personal Conversation with Curtis A. Cates.

15.Winton, p.26.



Curtis A. Cates

方 进 译




《创世记》1-11章反映了基督教的基本原则。毋庸置疑,该卷中各章的诸多事实必然引来无数批判:1)上帝的创造 2)诱惑与堕落 3)弥赛亚从童女而出的预言 4)全地洪水。但奇怪的是,正是那些用来驳斥基督教的论调反而成了推翻无神论以及所谓的“神导进化论”(尽管这是个错误的称呼)最强有力的证据,也成了基督教最有力的证明。作者所知道的用来反对基督教的论证无一不强有力地捍卫了这一真理:“你,唯独你,是耶和华!你造了天和天上的天,并天上的万象,地和地上的万物,海和海中所有的,这一切都是你所保存的;天军也都敬拜你。”(尼9:6)通过本文对全地毁灭性洪水的论述,我们能更清楚地看到这一点。


























洪水前后地球的境况是完全不同的。起初上帝创造天地,地是空虚混沌,四处黑暗,全地都被水(希伯来语用tehom,英语用deep)覆盖。第一天,上帝创造了光。^1^ 第二天,上帝创造了天空(这里的天空就是飞鸟飞翔的地方,也就是空气),将空气以下的水(指地球表面上的水)、空气以上(注意,不是空气里的水)的水分开了,事就这样成了。(创1:6-8)空气以上的水是非常重要的,只是现在已经没有了。空气以上的水是什么性质的?发生了什么?和洪水有什么关系?又是如何影响洪水前后地球的状况的?











挪亚蒙上帝的指示预备方舟。(来11:7)上帝藉挪亚传义道,叫洪水前时代的人悔改。(彼后2:5;彼前3:18-21;1:10, 11) 在最后的120年里(创6:3),上帝让各样动物到挪亚那里,各从其类,保全生命(创6:20),不需要挪亚自己去聚拢它们。各样食物也都准备妥当。^2^(创6:21)额外一些动物带到方舟上用于献祭,作洪水后的食物等。在科学类的学术杂志上,统合派和分割派经常就某个动物属于哪个物种发生激烈的争论。挪亚拯救的不是无数的物种,而是主要的动物群。“类”是永恒,也是上帝创造的。(林前15:38, 39)

上帝将挪亚一家人和动物关进方舟七天后,“当挪亚六百岁,二月十七日那一天,大渊的泉源都裂开了,天上的窗户也敞开了。四十昼夜降雨在地上。”(创7:11, 12)因上帝无所不知的属性,所以就在起初的创造中准备了对将来行恶的人施行惩罚,和平常一样,上帝会借助自然界的现象来实施自己的审判,有时候也会使用神迹奇事。
































1 Curtis A. Cates. “And God Said, ‘Let There Be Light,’” Gospel Advocate, November 3, 1983.

2 就算不考虑大洪水,化石的研究也能提供强有力的科学证据以证明进化论的错误,因为生命形式在地层中形成了化石,没有发生进化,他们是永恒不变的。这些生物都是突然出现的,没有一丝痕迹证明一种动物能进化成另一种动物或者植物。博物馆实在找不到能证明进化论的化石证据,进化论者自己也承认这一点,却仍专横地反对上帝和创造论。

3 注意,得以保全生命的是“各类”的动植物,而不是各“物种”。“各类”指任何主要的能繁殖或再生的动植物群。上帝允许这些动植物之间存在DNA上的细微变化(有时进化论者将其误解为所谓的“种类进化”),但不存在物种的跳跃,不可能从一个种类变成另一个种类(种外进化)。

4 注意:在这些沉积地层还没有固化之前,造山运动产生的压力使得很多地层隆起到很高的高度。这些地层因为还没有固化成坚硬的磐石,只是受力弯曲形成褶皱,而不是像岩石受力会断裂破碎。洪水解释了这一现象并粉碎了均变的错误理论。



B.B. Brother文

方 进 译













诠释学(Exegesis): 这个词源于一个复合希腊语词汇,意思是“导出”(Dungan,1),指人把上帝放在文本中的涵义引导出来。问题是人们总是容易带着自己的思想去研读上帝的话,而不能正确地理解上帝的话。这叫着“随私意诠释”(将自己的意思带进文本中),而不是“按文本诠释”(将文本的意思诠释出来)。如果正确诠释,就不是像有些争论所说的“这只是你的诠释。”圣经是上帝的话,应该得到合理正确的诠释。如果正确诠释,人们的推论就会顺着上帝的意思(不管是直接说明还是隐含表达)。

修辞(Figures of Speech): 这个词是指“修辞”:一种语言表达方式,增强感情和美感,使得词汇超越字面含义和常用含义;或者将诗人或作者抽象的感情化作读者熟悉的概念。常用的重要修辞手法有:明喻、暗喻、拟人、夸张和象征。(Angelfire,NP)

泰勒(Milton Terry)认为修辞手法能更好地揭示上帝创世的和谐。“自然界与精神世界的类似性恰巧证明了上帝所创造的世界是和谐一致的,这一点也是最值得揭示和思考的。(Terry,244)





比喻(Parable):也许研读圣经的学生最熟悉的修辞便是比喻了。耶稣是个比喻大师。他经常藉属世的事物来解释属灵的涵义。“比喻”这一词语源于希腊语“Parabole”。(这是个复合词,“para”是旁边的意思,“balleir”是扔的意思。) 所以这个词是“扔到旁边”的意思。敦甘(D.R.Dungan)认为比喻就是“故事和真理并排:借助可见的物质世界讲述一个故事,揭示抽象的道理。”(Dungan,227)泰耶(Henry Thayer)在他的希腊语词典中给出这样的解释:“属世的故事,属灵的涵义。”(Thayer,NP)











“他用比喻对他们讲许多道理,说:“有一个撒种的出去撒种。撒的时候,有落在路旁的,飞鸟来吃尽了。有落在土浅石头地上的,土既不深,发苗最快, 日头出来一晒,因为没有干了;有落在荆棘里的,荆棘长起来,把它挤住了;又有落在好土里的,就结实,有一百倍的,有六十倍的,有三十倍的。凡有耳可听的,就应当听!”(太13:3-9)




寓言(Fable):对于寓言,其中有个解释,即“通常以典型动物作为主人公,讲述小故事,阐明大道理”(牛津词典语)。同样,韦伯斯特给出了这样的定义:“把深刻的道理寓于简单的故事中,主人公常是一些典型动物”(韦伯斯特语)。但是,寓言的角色也可以是一些无生命的东西。寓言和比喻很容易混淆,对于两者的区别,路德福得(Rod Rutherford)认为:








明喻(Simile):另一个十分常用的修辞手法是明喻。明喻就是将一个事物比作与这个事物相似的另一事物,用“好像”、“比如”这样的词连接。泰勒这样表述来帮助我们理解:“用于有相似性的两个不同主体之间,这种修辞即明喻”。(Terry,254) 英语的“simile”一词源于拉丁语“similis”,意思是“像”。(Webster,1089)




保罗劝诫丈夫去爱他们的妻子——“丈夫也当照样爱妻子,如同爱自己的身子,爱妻子便是爱自己了。”(弗5:28) 这里我们可以看到作比较的词汇“如同”。丈夫爱自己的妻子要像爱自己的身体一样。














借代(Metonymy):关于“借代”,莫菲特(Jerry Moffitt)写道:“借代来自希腊语复合词metonumia,而meta是改变的意思,onama指一个名称或名词。” 布林格(Bullinger)这样定义:“借代是指用一个名词来代替另一个,两者之间有一定的关联性。”(Moffitt,186-187)

敦甘等学者列出了四种借代形式:1、原因借代(metonymy of the cause),即说出原因,表明结果。比如:“你们学了基督,却不是这样。”(弗4:20)说出了基督,但意指他的教导。2、结果借代(metonymy of the effect),即用结果来指代原因。耶稣说:“复活在我,生命也在我。”(约11:25)复活和生命的原因是耶稣,但这里却在阐明结果。3、主体借代(metonymy of subject),即用事物来指代相关的特征。比如用容器来指代里面所盛放的物品。主的晚餐的杯就是用来指代杯中所盛放的葡萄汁。(参见太26:28-29)世界就是指代世上的人——“上帝爱世人”(约3:16)。4、附属借代(metonymy of adjunct),目的在于主体,却提出附属物,比如用“受割礼”和“未受割礼”来指代犹太人和外邦人,“上帝既是一位,他就要因信称那受割礼的为义,也要因信称那未受割礼的为义。”(罗3:30)(Dungan,271-300)





提喻(Synecdoche):这个词来源于希腊语复合词“sunekdokh”(sun是一起的意思,ekdekhesthaishi 是占据的意思)。提喻是一种修辞手法,用部分来代表整体或以整体代表部分。路加记录底米丢的话:“这样,不独我们这事业被人藐视,就是大女神亚底米的庙也要被人轻忽,连亚西亚全地和普天下所敬拜的大女神之荣威也要消灭了。”(徒19:27)显然,并不是全世界都敬拜亚底米,这样说是用整体来代表部分。














呼语(Apostrophe):当说话人避开现有的观众而称呼另外的人们时,常使用呼语。该词来源于希腊语“apo”(出自的意思)和“strephein”(转开的意思)。(Dungan,322) 保罗在论述复活时,使用了呼语的手法:“死啊,你得胜的权势在哪里?死啊!你的毒钩在哪里?”(林前15:55)同样的,大卫在痛失爱子押沙龙的时候,也用到了呼语:“王就心里伤恸,上城门楼上去哀哭,一面走一面说:‘我儿押沙龙啊!我儿,我儿押沙龙啊!我恨不得替你死,押沙龙啊,我儿!我儿!’”(撒下18:33)他在和押沙龙说话,而押沙龙却不在身旁,当大卫哭喊“我儿押沙龙”的时候,他也知道这一点。





修辞手法很美妙,将文字勾勒出画面,帮助我们更好的理解所阅读的文字。谦虚和得意可以藉着隐喻和夸张等手法将其表达出来。 运用明喻,可以将一个事物比作另一事物,以帮助我们更清楚的理解该事物。比喻让我们轻松地理解我们所学到的知识。上帝通过字面和修辞的语言给予我们启示。上帝藉着话语与我们交流,因为话语是交流的媒介。“你的言语一解开就发出亮光,使愚人通达。”(诗119:130)


1.Bible, King James Version.

2.Dungan,D.R., Hermeneutics.Gospel Light Publishing Co. Delight AR,ND.

3.Oxford University Press Dictionary,Corel WordPerfect, Version 10.

4.Moffitt, Jerry. Rightly Dividing the Word, Vol. 2, 5th Annual Shenandoah Lectures, Editor Terry Hightower,1991.

5.Monsor,J.W.,Types and Metaphors of the Bible,Gospel Advocate Co.,Nashville,TN,1955.

6.Rutherford,Rod, Rightly Dividing the Word, Vol.2,5th Annual Shenandoah Lectures,Editor Terry Hightower,1991.

7.Terry,Milton, Biblical Hermeneutics, Zondervan Publishing House,Grand Rapid,MI,ND.

8.Thayer,Henry, E-Sword Electronic Bible.

9.Webster’s New World Dictionary, World Publishing CO. Cleveland and New York,1957.








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纵观圣经,上帝早已警告我们,我们都需要从罪中被拯救出来。上帝惩罚那些沉溺在罪中的人,但他也为我们提供了一条出路,使我们不犯罪,从而避免下地狱。上帝差遣了一位救世主,耶稣基督,为我们的罪做了挽回祭,钉死在了十字架上。(彼前2:24, 25;约一2:2)






罗 敏 译



纵观历史,按上帝所指定的时间,在上帝所指定的地点,顺服上帝的安排,是尤其重要的。在挪亚时代,最重要的事就是进入方舟。“就是那从前在挪亚预备方舟,上帝容忍等待的时候,不信从的人。当时进入方舟,藉着水得救的不多,只有八个人。这水所表明的洗礼,现在藉着耶稣基督复活,也拯救你们。这洗礼本不在乎除掉肉体的污秽,只求在上帝面前有无亏的良心。”(彼前3:21) 那个时代的人必须进入方舟。摩西时代的以色列人必须呆在涂血的房屋里。(参见出 12:21-23) 今天,人必须在基督里才能得到属灵的福气。

所有属灵的福气都在基督里:愿颂赞归与我们主耶稣基督的父上帝,他在基督里,曾赐给我们天上各样属灵的福气。(弗1:3) 因此,基督之外没有属灵的祝福。







在基督里受所应许的圣灵为印记:你们既听见真理的道,就是那叫你们得救的福音,也信了基督,既然信他,就受了所应许的圣灵为印记(弗1:13) 我们接受圣灵的检验,就是接受上帝话语的检验。真的,一个人在基督里是富有的!那一个人怎样进入基督呢?“你们受洗归入基督的,都是披戴基督了。”(加3:27) 你“在基督里”吗?




罗 敏 译



一个人要知道讨上帝喜悦的重要性。如果一个人想到上帝一直在生气,那就必须寻找某种方式来消除上帝的愤怒。而且不能做做就放弃,不然他就不可能讨上帝的喜悦。耶稣没有误解天父。耶稣说:“那差我来的,是与我同在。他没有撇下我独自在这里,因为我常作他所喜欢的事。” (约8:29) 耶稣总是做一些讨天父喜悦的事。因为除了耶稣,世上没有哪个人是完全的,所以我们做每件事都要讨上帝的喜悦(因为我们都在罪中)。然而可以肯定地说,我们做的有些事的确蒙上帝喜悦。并不仅仅耶稣自己说他得上帝的喜悦,而天父自己也说他喜悦耶稣。马太记载说:“说话之间,忽然有一朵光明的云彩遮盖他们。且有声音从云彩里出来说,这是我的爱子,我所喜悦的。你们

要听他。”(太17:5) 耶稣深受天父的喜悦。

我们也可以讨天父的喜悦。保罗曾告诫提摩太说:“你要和我同受苦难,好像基督耶稣的精兵。凡在军中当兵的,不将世务缠身,好叫那招他当兵的人喜悦。”(提后2:3-4) 我们能讨上帝喜悦,因为他已经招了我们当他的兵。上帝要我们满怀信心地侍奉他。好父亲总是希望他的孩子对他充满信心。孩子长大后,如果不想得父亲的喜悦,那他根本就不会作任何尝试。这样一来,他也就不愿意亲近父亲,如果父亲好发脾气,又不喜欢他,情况就会更糟。同理,如果上帝的儿女总是错误地以为上帝在惹他生气,就不愿意面对上帝,也就不可能得上帝的喜悦,甚至主动放弃讨上帝喜悦的努力。以色列人未能守住应许之地的理由之一就是他们对上帝所持的观念发生了偏差。他们对上帝缺乏充足的信心这一点致使他们认为上帝一直在忌恨他们。请看摩西的记载:“你们却不肯上去,竟违背了耶和华你们上帝的命令,在帐棚内发怨言说,耶和华因为恨我们,所以将我们从埃及地领出来,要交在亚摩利人手中,除灭我们。”(申1:26-27)他们没有对耶和华表示充足的信心,反而在窃窃私语,说上帝因为恨他们,才将他们从埃及地领出来,要交在亚摩利人手中,除灭他们。然而,毕竟还有信上帝的人,他们深知上帝是信实的,说话算数的。约书亚和迦勒便是对上帝持充分信心的杰出代表。他们深知上帝会领他们进入应许之地。但是以色列全会众正在逐渐丧失信心,不敢上去夺取那地。最终的结果表明,除了迦勒和约书亚外,以色列全会众没有人进入上帝的应许之地。






《希伯来书》作者保罗说:“信就是所望之事的实底,是未见之事的确据。”他在前一章就已经明确地指出:“ 只是义人必因信得生。他若退后,我心里就不喜欢他。我们却不是退后入沉沦的那等人,乃是有信心以致灵魂得救的人。(来10:38-39)令保罗深信不疑的是他的弟兄不会退后,而是有信心以致灵魂得救。至此,他就给“信”下了一个定义,即“所望之事的实底。” 名词“实底”的意思是“在底部设定” (Thayer),因此,信心就是从底部得到支撑。它促使我们对所盼望的采取积极的行动。所谓“盼望”,保罗曾在写给罗马人的书信中有所论及:“我们得救是在乎盼望。只是所见的盼望不是盼望。谁还盼望他所见的呢?但我们若盼望那所不见的,就必忍耐等候。”(罗 8:24-25)


“未见”之事总有确据。有些事情只是因为人们没有看见,也就以为不存在。谈及确据,除了眼见的确据之外,还有其它形式的确据。人们看见一间房屋,就知道这房屋为人所造,虽然没见过造房子的人。也就是说要证明房屋的建造者是容易的,因为房屋总是人建造的。圣经上所说的信是建立在上帝的话之上的。我们必须记住圣经上的信不能等同于假设。有些人可能会用假设来讨上帝的喜悦。然而,那却是与上帝的旨意背道而驰的。这样做不会讨上帝喜悦。保罗说:“可见信道是从听道来的,听道是从基督的话来的。”(罗10:17) 当上帝借着他的话语要求我们做什么或怎么做时,我们就怎么做,这才是信的行为,反之,就谈不上什么信心,也就毫无权柄。保罗在写给歌罗西教会的信中说:“无论作什么,或说话,或行事,都要奉主耶稣的名,藉着他感谢父上帝。”(西 3:17) 遗憾的是,许多人说话行事并没有奉主耶稣的名,而仅仅以为在讨上帝喜悦。但这不可能蒙上帝喜悦的事实,如果之前没有向他揭示的话,就必在将来审判时,让他彻底明白。因为“信就是所望之事的实底,是未见之事的确据。”



上帝用“古人”来阐明信。上帝说:“古人在这信上得了美好的证据。”(来11:2)关于这些古人,亚当·克拉克(Adam Clarke)是这样论述的:“这里的古人指的是先祖们,比如族长和先知。神在他们当中特别提到一些人,并用他们的生平事例来阐明事实。”


保罗在《罗马书》中曾这样断言:“原来上帝的忿怒,从天上显明在一切不虔不义的人身上,就是那些行不义阻挡真理的人。上帝的事情,人所能知道的,原显明在人心里。因为上帝已经给他们显明。自从造天地以来,上帝的永能和神性是明明可知的,虽是眼不能见,但藉着所造之物,就可以晓得,叫人无可推诿。”(罗1:18-20) 有趣的是,保罗在此使用了悖论的方式,将人眼所不能见的事物,藉着所造之物显明出来,让人对上帝的永能和神性明明可知,结果叫人无可推诿。前不久,我有幸走访了一所中国的大学。在校园里与几位大学生的闲聊中,我们谈到了上帝与创世的话题。有一个学生这样问我:“上帝是谁创造的?”我的回答是:“没有谁创造上帝,因为上帝是永恒的。”显然,这么回答就引来了一场关于万物起源的话题。我问他对生物的起源了解多少。生命是起源于无?还是来自生命?他说生命来自生命。接下来我就向他解释说,生命来自生命,这话没错。但那是在生命已经存在的前提下。因为如果生命来自生命,那必须有一段时期世上没有生命,不然现在就不可能有生命。我进一步向他解释信上帝并没有违背逻辑思维,也符合科学规律(可参见生物学原理)。









对一个原理进行演示,总是很有帮助的,因为它可以为我们树立榜样。上帝给我们列举了几个讨他喜悦的信心榜样。第一个榜样是极具讨上帝喜悦信心的亚伯。圣经记载说:“亚伯因着信献祭与上帝,比该隐所献的更美,因此便得了称义的见证,就是上帝指他礼物作的见证。他虽然死了,却因这信,仍旧说话。”(来11:4) 这个事件记载在《创世记》4章里。该隐和亚伯都各自带着供物献给上帝。上帝看中了亚伯和他的供物,却看不中该隐和他的供物。为什么会这样呢?答案不仅仅在《创世记》4章里,还需要结合《希伯来书》11章以及《罗马书》10章17节的原则作深入的分析。亚伯献祭是因着信。而圣经教导说信道是从听道来的,听道是从上帝的话来的。因此,因信献祭就是按上帝的话献祭。根据上面所引用的几段经节,我们便可得出这样的结论,即亚伯听见上帝的话并且顺服了,而该隐根本就没听上帝的话。因此,亚伯便得了称义的见证,就是上帝指他礼物作的见证。他虽然死了,却因这信,至今还在说话。这也是关于敬拜标准的最早记载。这个记载向我们表明敬拜有真意的敬拜和假意的敬拜。亚伯的行为举止不是凭着某种假设或某种可能性,也不是贸然而为的轻举妄动。他听上帝的,并按上帝的要求来做。


第三个可举的榜样是因信而讨上帝喜悦的挪亚。圣经说:“挪亚因着信,既蒙上帝指示他未见的事,动了敬畏的心,预备了一只方舟,使他全家得救。因此就定了那世代的罪,自己也承受了那从信而来的义。”(来11:7)大多数人都知道这段话的历史背景。那时,人开始背离神,“耶和华见人在地上罪恶很大,终日所思想的尽都是恶。耶和华就后悔造人在地上,心中忧伤。”(创 6:5-6) 上帝宣告说他要除灭这个世界。“于是耶和华说,我要将所造的人和走兽,并昆虫,以及空中的飞鸟,都从地上除灭,因为我造他们后悔了。”(创6:7)上帝降下大雨,发起洪水,将地上一切有气息的生物都除灭了。“看哪!我要使洪水泛滥在地上,毁灭天下。凡地上有血肉,有气息的活物,无一不死。”(创6:17) 但有一人却没有死。圣经说:“惟有挪亚在耶和华眼前蒙恩。”(创6:8)为什么挪亚在上帝眼前蒙恩呢?圣经继续阐明:


圣经明确指出挪亚是个“义人,在当时的世代是个完全人。挪亚与上帝同行。” 挪亚受上帝指示建造方舟,以致他和他的家人好在方舟里保全生命。《希伯来书》作者说他预备方舟是“因着信”。(来11:7)显然,挪亚和他全家造方舟并非“单因着信”。而事实却正如摩西所说:“挪亚就这样行。凡上帝所吩咐的,他都照样行了。”(创6:22)而“单因着信”的鼓吹者不可能为他们的错误观点在挪亚身上找到任何支持(其实在整本圣经里也找不到任何支持的章节)。圣经表明,挪亚得救有如下几种原因:在上帝眼前蒙恩(创6:8);因着信(来11:7);藉着水(彼前3:20);听上帝的话(创6:13-21);顺服上帝的吩咐(创6:22)等。

















徐 林 译





有时候学习一个词语意思的最佳方法是先不要看它的意思是什么,而是先看它的意思不是什么。许多人认为悔改仅仅是为罪感到难过,这并不是真正的悔改!使徒保罗写到:“因为依着上帝的意思忧愁,就生出没有后悔的懊悔来,以致得救;但世俗的忧愁是叫人死。”(林后7:10) 假如一个人为他所犯的罪感到难过,这会引导他懊悔。在五旬节那天,犹太人听到彼得宣讲基督,“觉得扎心”,这表明他们为钉死耶稣这样的重罪感到十分难过,但是他们的忧伤难过不是悔改,彼得仍旧告诉他们说:“你们各人要悔改,奉耶稣基督的名受洗,叫你们的罪得赦。”(徒2:37,38)

如果说悔改不是因罪感感到难过,那什么是悔改呢?根据圣经所有的教训,悔改是一个人对罪懊悔而产生心意改变,这使得我们因为罪的原因,依着上帝的意思感到懊悔,对罪产生心意的改变将导致人生的改变。耶稣设了一个比喻讲了悔改的榜样:“一个人有两个儿子,他来对大儿子说:‘我儿,你今天到葡萄园里去做工’,他回答说: ‘我不去’,以后自己懊悔,就去了。”(太21:28,29) 这个儿子一开始不听他父亲的,当他为他的不顺从感到后悔(难过)时,他改变了他的决定,然后按照父亲吩咐的去做了。悔改涉及到修复或赔偿(restitution),意味着我们尽可能改变以前做错的事情。假如一个人谋杀了另一个人,他不能使死者复活,但是他能帮助死者的妻子和孩子们。假如一个人偷了另一个人的钱,当他悔改时,他必须把偷的钱还给人家。施洗约翰告诉法利赛人和撒都该人说:“你们要结出果子来,与悔改的心相称。”(太3:8)



那些还不是基督徒的人,必须为罪悔改,以致得救。耶稣命令说:“并且人要奉他的名传悔改、赦罪的道,从耶路撒冷起直传到万邦。”(路24:47) 保罗也告诉雅典人民:“如今却吩咐各处的人都要悔改。”(徒17:30) 五旬节那天,犹太人听到福音后觉得扎心,他们喊着说:“我们当怎样行?”彼得说:“你们各人要悔改,奉耶稣基督的名受洗,叫你们的罪得赦。”(徒2:37,38)基督徒犯罪后也应该悔改。当腓利在撒马利亚传福音的时候,西门曾经是个术士,后来成了基督徒,当他看到使徒按手在基督徒身上,便有圣灵的恩赐降下,他便想花钱买这能力,但是彼得对他说:“你的银子和你一同灭亡吧!因你想上帝的恩赐是可以用钱买的。你在这道上无分无关,因为在上帝面前,你的心不正。你当懊悔你这罪恶,祈求主,或者你心里的意念可得赦免。”(徒8:20-22)



我们已经知道,因为依着上帝的意思忧愁,就生出没有后悔的懊悔来。(林后7:10)在耶稣的两个儿子的比喻中,我们知道大儿子拒绝遵行他父亲的旨意,后来为他的决定后悔了,因此他改变了他的心意,并按他父亲的旨意去做。他的懊悔(为他的不顺从依着上帝的意思懊悔)使他悔改并遵行他父亲的命令。(太21:28,29) 假如一个人为他的罪感到难过他就会悔改。一个人明白了上帝对他的恩慈他也会悔改。保罗问道:“还是你藐视他丰富的恩慈、宽容、忍耐,不晓得他的恩慈是领你悔改呢?”(罗2:4)上帝爱世人,甚至将他的独生子赐给我们,为我们的罪而死(约3:16;约一4:10;罗5:6-8)上帝的恩慈使我们为自己的罪悔改。一个人要为自己的罪悔改,因为审判的日子快到了。保罗告诉那些雅典的拜偶像者:“世人蒙昧无知的时候,上帝并不监察。因为他已经定了日子,要藉着他所设立的人按公义审判天下,并且叫他从死里复活,给万人作可信的凭据。”(徒17:30,31)基督现在坐在上帝宝座的右边,但是有一天他会再来,使死人复活,并且审判全世界(徒1:9-11;约5:28, 29)我们每个活着的人以及曾经活过的人都将被审判。(罗14:12;林后5:10)我们必须为我们的罪悔改以免我们在审判的日子被咒诅!





章 亢





但圣经从来没有教导说单凭受洗就能得救。然而,圣经教导说人要得救,必须受洗。许多宗派领袖认为:“相信就已得救,受洗只是应该做的事情。”可是基督却说:“信而受洗的人才能得救。”(可16:16)也有人教训说,“受洗不能救人。”但使徒彼得受圣灵带领写下了这样的教导:“这水所表明的洗礼,现在籍着耶稣基督复活也拯救你们。”(彼前3:21)那我们应该接受谁的教导呢?——人的教导?还是上帝的教导?(约12:48)人要想得救,必须顺从耶稣基督。(来5:9)我们曾这样受命相信。(约3:16;徒16:31) 我们也曾受命要受洗。(徒10:48)因此就说,人为了得救必须相信和受洗。这是主耶稣基督在《马可福音》所下的明确的命令,即“信而受洗的必然得救。”(可16:16)人如果拒绝受洗,就是否定上帝的教训!

当然,真理教导说,人得救不是依靠自己设定的行为(弗2:8,9;多3:5),也不是遵行摩西的律法。(加3:10-12) 但人必须做上帝的工。(约14:15;来5:9) 相信基督就是做上帝的工。(约6:28-29)受洗也是做上帝的工。(可16:16)记载在这两卷书上的教训(约6:28-29;可16:16)乃出自同一位爱我们的救主,没有分别。人如果否定这一点,那他就是否定基督向他所发的命令。


人必须凭什么才能使罪得赦呢?在上帝那一边,就是人必须依靠上帝的恩典(弗2:8)、上帝的怜悯(多3:5)、耶稣基督(太1:21)、基督的生死 (罗5:10)、基督的宝血(罗5:9)、基督的福音 (林前15:1-4); 而在人这一边,就是人必须凭信心(罗 5:1)、行为(雅2:24)、求告主的名(罗10:13)、盼望(罗8:24)、努力(徒2:40)、受洗(彼前3:21)。圣经从来没有教导说单凭什么就可以得救!上帝,籍着他的话语——圣经,教导说要凭上述的全部才能使我们脱离罪恶。否定这一点,就是否定上帝的教导!

那么,受洗与得救的关系密切吗?是的,人必须受洗才能得救。如果你相信耶稣基督是上帝的儿子(约 8:24),愿意为那使我们与上帝隔绝的罪悔改(赛59:1,2;路13:3) ,并且愿意公开承认你信上帝的儿子耶稣基督(徒 8:37;罗10:10),那你为什么还不就现在受洗归入基督呢?(徒16:33) 如果你这样做了,那么你就可以得到那些只能在主耶稣基督里才有的一切的属灵的福气!



Garland Elkins文

敏 译









注意:在第一句经文里,基督提出了新生的两个要素。那就是人必须“从水和圣灵重生” 在此,耶稣也就从侧面指出“点水”或“洒水”都不符合“从水重生”的标准要求。一泼水或几滴水是绝不可能生出一个完整的人体的。下面我要来证明这一点。保罗论述说:“他也是教会全体之首。他是元始,是从死里首先复生的,使他可以在凡事上居首位。”(西1:18)













我之所以提出这个问题,是想让大家对这个问题有个严肃的思考。让我们想一想“水”、“受洗”和“救恩”或进入教会(基督的国)有什么必然的关系。是得救的行为吗?条件吗?步骤吗?我们可以思想并追溯到寿命最长,活到969岁的玛土撒拉,也绝对找不到一个罪人得救的条件里有水。我们的信仰不需要水;悔改不需要水;承认也不需要水,但是受洗却要用水。保罗说受洗涉及到重生或新生。让我们再看一段经文,来理解水洗的意义:“并我们心中天良的亏欠已经洒去,身体用清水洗净了,就当存着诚心,和充足的信心,来到上帝面前。(来10:22)我们要注意的是“洒去”暗指基督的血已触及我们的心;“洗净”暗指受洗。保罗在这里用“清水”,在《提多书》里说“重生的洗”(多3:5),所以事实的真相只能说 “受洗”涉及到水。而受洗也是罪人得饶恕唯一要采取的行为。

真理之所以站得住脚是因为它的一致性。罪人得饶恕的条件里唯一含有水的就是受洗。学者们对这个问题都作过陈述。虽然他们的陈述不像圣经那样含有权威性,但还是值得一读。有些人认为只有基督的教会成员才认为《约翰福音》3章5节所涉及的水指受洗。其实许多重视学术研究的宗派学者对这节经文的认识也是正确的。比如值得信赖的英国圣公会教会史专家威廉·沃尔(William Wall)曾声明说自基督时代至加尔文年代所有学者都认为“从水生”中的“水”指“受洗”。









我们虽然已经成为上帝的儿女,但我们仍然会犯错,因此我们需要悔改,认罪,还要祷告上帝求饶恕。(徒8:20-23;雅 5:16;启2:5)





章 亢 译



“我们已经信了,又知道你是上帝的圣者。”(约 6:69) 一个人在人生的万事要确定,再没有比得救更重要的事啦。人的肉体死亡后,人的灵魂还活着,而且是永远地活在天堂里或地狱里。人在哪儿永远活着,是根据他对一个重要问题做出的回应:“我必须做什么才能得救?”

耶稣在强调灵魂的重要性时曾说:“人若赚得全世界,赔上自己的生命,有什么益处呢?人还能拿什么换生命呢?”(太16:26) “赚得全世界”看上去是那么的有利可图,而使“灵魂”得救好像并不那么重要。你有灵魂,这很重要。任何东西都不及你的灵魂有价值。不幸的是,许多人没有高度重视自己的灵魂。人们甚至加倍地忽视自己的灵魂。圣经警告说:“我们若忽略这么大的救恩,怎能逃罪呢?这救恩起先是主亲自讲的,后来是听见的人给我们证实了。”(来 2:3)




我们出生降世本是无罪的。我们既不遗传也不继承罪。上帝借先知以西结的口说:“惟有犯罪的,他必死亡。儿子必不担当父亲的罪孽,父亲也不担当儿子的罪孽。义人的善果必归自己,恶人的恶报也必归自己。”(结18:20) 耶稣把那些愿意进入他王国的人比作小孩子。圣经记载“当时门徒进前来,问耶稣说,天国里谁是最大的。耶稣便叫一个小孩子来,使他站在他们当中,说,我实在告诉你们,你们若不回转,变成小孩子的样式,断不得进天国。所以凡自己谦卑像这小孩子的,他在天国里就是最大的。”(太18:1-4) 接着,为表明孩子的属灵纯洁性,圣经又说:“那时有人带着小孩子来见耶稣,要耶稣给他们按手祷告。门徒就责备那些人。耶稣说,让小孩子到我这里来,不要禁止他们。因为在天国的,正是这样的人。”(太19:13-14)

人犯罪后,成了罪人,就需要拯救。但罪是什么?我们又是怎样成为罪人的呢?上帝说:“凡犯罪的,就是违背律法。违背律法,就是罪。”(约一 3:4) 罪被定义为“违背律法”,就是人的行为举止超出了上帝律法所规定的范围和界限。罪也被定义为“不义”。约翰说:“凡不义的事都是罪。”(约一 5:17a) 不义就是碰到正确的事而没有做。在上述的两段经文中,罪被看作是一种触犯的行为(违背律法)和过失冒犯(“凡不义的事都是罪”)。雅各也说:“人若知道行善,却不去行,这就是他的罪了。”(雅4:17) 根据上帝对罪所下的定义,我们得知罪就是该做的事没做,不该做的事做了。

圣经教导说所有的人都在某个时候犯过罪。我们要么就是违背上帝的律法,要么就是碰到应该做的事而没有做。所以,所有的人都犯过罪。《罗马书》教导说这个世界需要耶稣来为这罪恶的世界献上赎罪祭。保罗在指出外邦人和犹太人(全体人类)都犯了罪 (罗1;2) 之后,接下来说:“因为世人都犯了罪,亏缺了上帝的荣耀。”(罗3:23)福音是指耶稣来到世界,除人罪孽。当约翰看见耶稣时,便宣告:“看哪,上帝的羔羊,除去(或作背负)世人罪孽的。”(约1:29b) 上帝绝不会简单地忽略罪,但却要赦免罪。上帝是公义的,是指他不会简单地忽略我们的过犯。我们不尊重法官是因为他们简单地忽略人的犯罪。但即便上帝是公义的,他也是我们的“辩护者”。保罗写道:“如今却蒙上帝的恩典,因基督耶稣的救赎,就白白的称义。上帝设立耶稣作挽回祭,是凭着耶稣的血,藉着人的信,要显明上帝的义。因为他用忍耐的心,宽容人先时所犯的罪。好在今时显明他的义,使人知道他自己为义,也称信耶稣的人为义。”(罗3:24-26)

上帝渴望我们得救。他愿意人人明白真道,蒙恩得救。(参见提前2:4) 上帝将耶稣赐给世人,让世人可以得救。约翰记载说:“上帝爱世人,甚至将他的独生子赐给他们,叫一切信他的,不至灭亡,反得永生。”(约3:16)



我们得救要依靠两个事实,一方面靠上帝,一方面在于我们自己。上帝拯救人是凭着上帝自己奇妙的属性——怜悯、恩典、爱以及基督的受苦、受难。要是没有上帝的这些属性,没有基督的奉献作为,我们就不可能被拯救。然而,在得救上,人自己这方面也要起作用。如果我们什么也不做,只是等着得救,那人人都可以得救了,何况那正是上帝所渴望的,可事实上,并不是人人都得救。耶稣说我们自己必须做些事情。他明确地指出:“凡称呼我主啊,主啊的人,不能都进天国。惟独遵行我天父旨意的人,才能进去。”(太7:21) 耶稣说谁能进天国呢?“惟独遵行我天父旨意的人,才能进去。”那我们必须


人要想得救必须听上帝的话。保罗写道:“可见信道是从听道来的,听道是从基督的话来的。”(罗10:17) 相信是从听见上帝的话来的,不是圣灵的直接做工,也不是人凭着自己的某些人生经历而得。上帝通过让我们经历听道和学习这样的过程来吸引我们。耶稣曾这样阐明:“若不是差我来的父吸引人,就没有能到我这里来的。到我这里来的,在末日我要叫他复活。在先知书上写着说,他们都要蒙上帝的教训。凡听见父之教训又学习的,就到我这里来。”(约 6:44-45)

为了得救,人还必须相信基督。“所以我对你们说,你们要死在罪中,你们若不信我是基督,必要死在罪中。”(约 8:24) 此外,人要想得救还必须认罪悔改。耶稣说:“我告诉你们,不是的。你们若不悔改,都要如此灭亡。”(路13:3) 保罗曾对雅典人说:“世人蒙昧无知的时侯,上帝并不监察,如今却吩咐各处的人都要悔改。”(徒17:30) 悔改是指人的内心发生改变,从而使人生发生改善。上帝又说人要想得救还必须承认基督。保罗记载了承认跟得救的关系——“因为人心里相信,就可以称义。口里承认,就可以得救。”(罗 10:10) 圣经记载的一个关于公开承认的典型事例是在《使徒行传》8章37节。 “腓利说,你若是一心相信就可以,他回答说,我信耶稣

基督是上帝的儿子。”(徒8:37) 然而,为了得救要做的最后一件事是受洗。当耶路撒冷那些将耶稣钉十字架的人听到福音开始意识到他们的罪孽时,他们大声问道:“弟兄们,我们当怎样行?”彼得激动地回答说:“你们各人要悔改,奉耶稣基督的名受洗,叫你们的罪得赦,就必领受所赐的圣灵。”(徒2:38) 那些相信耶稣的人便按着要求悔改、受洗、使罪得赦(除去罪)。起先,耶稣曾这样教导过:“他又对他们说,你们往普天下去,传福音给万民(万民原文作凡受造的)听。信而受洗的必然得救。不信的必被定罪。”(可16:15-16) 耶稣在此阐明了相信与受洗是得救的两个基本要素。当一个人意识到只有在受洗中上帝才把他“归入基督”时,他才算明白为什么受洗是得救的基本要素。保罗写道:“你们受洗归入基督的,都是披戴基督了。”(加3:27)

然而得救只在基督里起效应。“耶稣说,我就是道路,真理,生命。若不藉着我。没有人能到父那里去。”(约14:6) 保罗说:“所以我为选民凡事忍耐,叫他们也可以得着那在基督耶稣里的救恩和永远的荣耀。”(提后 2:10) 正因为得救只在基督里起效应,所以在基督里就成为势在必行。换句话说,一个人只要在基督里,他就能确信是否得救。







罗 敏 译


“我们已经信了,又知道你是上帝的圣者。 (约6:69)








任何一个教会,只要教会的元首不是耶稣基督,而是别的什么人,那这个教会就不可能是基督的教会。圣经确认耶稣是他教会的唯一元首。“又将万有服在他的脚下,使他为教会作万有之首。教会是他的身体,是那充满万有者所充满的。”(弗1:22-23) 基督的教会元首不是教皇,不是长老,也不是其他任何人。基督才是“元首”。他拥有天上、地下所有的权柄。(太28:18)



基督的教会是在耶路撒冷城建立的。以赛亚预言主的家(教会)将会建立,主的律法要从耶路撒冷发出。“末后的日子,耶和华殿的山必坚立,超乎诸山,高举过于万岭。万民都要流归这山。必有许多国的民前往,说:“来吧,我们登耶和华的山。奔雅各上帝的殿;主必将他的道教训我们,我们也要行他的路,因为训诲必出于锡安,耶和华的言语,必出于耶路撒冷。”(赛2:2-3) 以赛亚除了引证主的家要在哪座城建立之外,还预言了建立的时间。他说那要发生在“在末后的日子。” 彼得证明“末后的日子”是从五旬节那天开始的,“这正是先知约珥所说的。上帝说:在末后的日子,我要将我的灵浇灌凡有血气的,你们的儿女要说预言,你们的少年人要见异象,老年人要作异梦。”(徒 2:16-17)


路加在《使徒行传》2章,记载了以赛亚预言的应验。使徒们受命在耶路撒冷等候,直到他们领受圣灵的洗。(路24:46:49) 结果,他们就在五旬节那天领受了这个能力并开始传扬耶稣基督的福音。教会(主的家),就在那一天建立,主的话便从耶路撒冷发出,正如以赛亚所预言的。由此可知,基督的教会,是五旬节那天(公元33年),在耶路撒冷城建立。任何在其它城市、别的时间建立的教会,都不可能是基督的教会。


我们在阅读圣经时,会知道教会靠各种各样的名称来识别。耶稣用“我的教会”作鉴别。(太16::18)它在《哥林多前书》1章2节里被称作“上帝的教会”。当论及各个地方的聚会点时,保罗用“基督的众教会”来称呼。(罗16:16)我们应该记住本来就没有分别的教会和宗派,而只有地理位置不同的基督的教会。在圣经中,我们看不到宗派的名称。圣经中没有浸信会、卫理公会、基督复临安息日会等。在上帝的话里,找不到俄罗斯东正教会或罗马天主教会。上帝说“若有讲道的,要按着上帝的圣言讲。”(彼前 4:11) 开口讲道,必须依据圣经用辞。其实不是圣经怎么称呼教会,而是上帝怎么称呼教会。




“上帝是个灵,所以拜他的,必须用心灵和真理拜他。”(约4:24) 上帝说,凡敬拜他的人,必须用心灵和真理拜他。用真理敬拜上帝,就是根据上帝的话来敬拜他。耶稣确定上帝的话就是真理。“求你用真理使他们成圣。你的道就是真理。”(约17:17) 上帝的话语是我们敬拜上帝的标准。

新约启示我们要在每周的第一日按五个程序敬拜上帝。我们要传讲(或教导)上帝的话(徒20:7),要按着自己的进项奉献(林前16:1-2),要祷告(帖前5:17),要唱诗(声唱,不用无生命的乐器,弗5:18-19;西3:16)以及分享主的晚餐。(太 26:26-28;徒20:7)这些都是要在每一个七日的第一日,也就是主日(启1:10)遵守的。




上帝是完全按照他自己想要的方式来建立他的教会的。无论如何,人所建立的教会,总是与上帝的体制有距离,和上帝的模范有差异。如前所述,耶稣基督是教会的唯一元首。(弗 1:20-21) 监督各个地方教会的人称作长老。(徒14:23) 他们也称“监督”(或“主教”)和“牧师”。(徒20:28;弗 4:11) 每一个聚会点都是自治的,在当地长老的领导下侍奉基督。绝不是某个人,或一群人管理若干个教会。基督的教会里也有一些称作“执事”的专职侍奉者。(腓 1:1)





一个人怎么成为基督的教会的成员呢?依据圣经,一个人要相信耶稣基督是上帝的儿子。“所以我对你们说,你们要死在罪中,你们若不信我是基督,必要死在罪中。” (约 8:24) 一个人必须为罪悔改(转变)。耶稣又说:“我告诉你们,不是的。你们若不悔改,都要如此灭亡。”(路 13:3) 一个人必须承认耶稣是基督,是上帝的儿子。(徒8:37, 罗10:10) 然后为了罪得赦免而下水全身受洗。“彼得说,你们各人要悔改,奉耶稣基督的名受洗,叫你们的罪得赦,就必领受所赐的圣灵。”(徒2:38) 当一个人顺服上帝的这五项命令时,主就把他加添到自己的教会。“赞美上帝,得众民的喜爱。主将得救的人,天天加给他们。”(徒2:47) 今天我们同样必须(1)听上帝的话(2)相信基督(3)为我们的罪悔改(4)承认基督,然后(5)下水受洗,使罪得赦。




基督的教会是非常有地位的,因为这个教会是耶稣用自己的血买来的。(徒 20:28) 当耶稣再临时,他要把他的教会接到天上。(帖前4:1-17) 如果你发现自己不在基督的教会里,而在某个宗教团体中,那为什么不返回来以圣经为标准呢?一个人可以凭建造者、元首、建






Garland Elkins

罗 敏




几百年以后,出现了一个宗派教会,要求人人加入。而如今,人所设立的教会约有成百上千,其中没有哪一家能拿出充分的理由邀人加入。那你为什么不加入主的教会,成为基督的教会的一员呢?(太16:18;徒2:47;罗16:16;徒 26:28;彼前4:16)








基督是教会的头,是教会惟一的元首。保罗论说:“又将万有服在他的脚下,使他为教会作万有之首。教会是他的身体,是那充满万有者所充满的。”(弗1:22, 23) 又说:“他也是教会全体之首。他是元始,是从死里首先复生的,使他空已在凡事上居首位。”(西1:18)从这两段经文,我们可以清楚地看到,新约圣经所论述的“基督的身体”,不是指着基督的肉体说的,而是指着基督的灵体所言,而这个灵体就是他的教会。请看:(1) 他是教会全体/万有之首(西1:18;弗1:22, 23);(2) 归入基督就是归入他的身体 (加3:27;西3:15);(3)基督徒都是归入基督的(罗6:3;林后5:17);(4) 所以,基督徒都应该是在基督的教会里。因为耶稣来到世上只建立了一个,也是唯一的一个拯救人类的机构。(弗3:10,11,21)








那就是:心里相信基督(徒16:31);悔改自己的罪(徒17:30);口里承认基督(徒8:36-37);下水受洗(徒2:38, 41, 47;可16:16; 徒22:16)。彼得曾宣告:“这水所表明的洗礼,现在藉着耶稣基督复活。也拯救你们。”(彼前3:21)我们得救是靠基督死而流出的血,而人只在受洗归入基督的死时才接触到基督的血。(罗6:3)因为救恩只在基督里(提后2:10),但不受洗就不能进入基督。(加3:27)
















作为我们信仰规范和行为准则的圣经,记载了上帝的旨意,所以我们应该渴慕这些旨意,按着圣经的要求来做。人只有顺从上帝的真理,才能脱离我们过去的罪,而成为基督徒。(约8:32;17:17) 况且,审判世人的标准正是上帝的话。(约8:32;12:48) 圣经哪里提到“一个被圣灵充满的人曾经邀请罪人来到祭坛凭祈祷就使罪人蒙恩得救。

在《使徒行传》22章16节,我们读到,当上帝看见一个罪人正在求告时,上帝就打发一个传道人去告诉这个罪人下一步该怎么做。那个最跟基督教作对的扫罗,终于认识到自己走错了路。当扫罗求告上帝想知道他下一步该做什么时,耶稣就告诉他往大马士革去,当作的事,必有人告诉他。(徒9:6)扫罗就这样进了大马士革城,等待那个信息的兑现。上帝就拣选了传道人亚拿尼亚,打发他去迎接扫罗,向他转达上帝的旨意。当亚拿尼亚到达扫罗那里,发现这个罪人正在祈祷。要是现代传道人碰到这种情况,就会鼓励扫罗继续祈祷,直到祈祷被上帝听见而蒙宽恕。亚拿尼亚又没有鼓励扫罗继续祷告呢?可是亚拿尼亚没有这么做,而是明确地把上帝的要求转达给扫罗。他打断了扫罗的祈祷,对他说:“现在你为什么耽延呢,起来,求告他的名受洗,洗去你的罪。”(徒22:16)“起来”意思是“站起来”,当时扫罗一定是在跪着祷告,可亚拿尼亚却叫他起身去做别的事——去受洗,洗去他的罪。你有没有碰到这样的情况?一个平庸的传道人不会像亚拿尼亚那样传达上帝的旨意,不是要罪人“起来受洗,洗去你的罪。”当一个罪人为了罪得赦免而像这样受洗(徒2:38),他就是“求告上帝的名受洗。” (徒 22:16;太 7:21;路 6:46)








Garland Elkins

谢同侠 译

































保罗不仅告诉我们教会就是那唯一的身体,他的身体就是教会(西1:18),而且进一步强调:“但如今肢体是多的,身子却是一个。”(林前12:20)因为只有一个身体,也就只有一个新约的教会。而且,当耶稣应许要建立教会时,他说:“我要把我的教会建造在这磐石上。”(太16:18)他只应许建立一个教会——他的教会,而不是许多教会! 我们知道主只建立了一个教会,因为那是他应许建立的。如果他只建立了一个教会,那别的所谓的教会应该都是人所建立的。谁能说人建的教会和主建的教会差不多一样呢?我想如果谁坚持认为上帝所建的主的教会和其它教会差不多一样,那他可能是被逼无奈。








让我们从另一个角度来考虑这个问题:(1)如果一个在主的教会以外的人能和在主的教会里的人一样得救的话,无异是说没有基督的血人也可以得救;可是主的教会是基督用自己的血重价买来的,因此,人只有在基督的教会里,靠基督的血,才能得救。(徒20:28;弗5:25)如果有人认为自己可以在主的教会以外得救,那就是说他的得救绝对不需要依靠基督的血。(2)圣经教导我们教会和上帝的国是同一个机构,比如1世纪时耶稣要求门徒在他的国里领受圣餐(路22:18,19),但我们知道门徒们却是在教会里领圣餐的(林前1:1,2;11:18-34),所以,基督的教会和上帝的国是一回事,它们是同一个机构。 如果一个人在主的教会以外可以得救,那也就是说他在上帝的国以外可以得救,这也就意味着,他可以不顺服上帝的旨意就可以得救。世上只有两种国——上帝的国和撒旦的国。如果认为在基督的教会之外可以得救的话,那就是在撒旦的国里可以得救。这是明显违背圣经教训的。(3)新约教导说基督的教会就是上帝的家(提前3:15),如果一个人可以在上帝的家(教会)以外得救,也就是说他可以在魔鬼的家里得救。地上只有两个家。问题是:“救恩在哪里?在上帝的家还是在魔鬼的家?”世上只有两个家。但又产生了这样的问题:“上帝在自己的家以外还有孩子吗?在撒旦的家里也可以得救吗?”当诚实的人们正在考虑有没有必要成为主的教会的一员时,这些问题必须要得到解决。





















保罗在《罗马书》6章中曾教导,得救必须要受洗。“岂不知我们这受洗归入基督耶稣的人,是受洗归入他的死吗?所以,我们藉着洗礼归入死,与他一同埋葬,原是叫我们一举一动有新生的样式,像基督藉着父的荣耀从死里复活一样。”(罗 6:3-4)







请从以下几个角度认真思考受洗的必要性:1、受洗出现在罪人和他灵魂得救之间。(可16:16) 2、受洗出现在罪人和赦罪之间。(徒2:38) 3、受洗出现在罪人和成为上帝的儿子之间。(加3:26-27) 4、受洗出现在罪人和洗罪之间。(徒22:16) 5、受洗出现在罪人和归入基督之间。(罗6:3)










卫斯理(John Wesley)对《罗马书》6章4节的评论如下:“我们与他一同埋葬,这里提到了古时完全浸没的洗礼。” 马丁·路德(Martin Luther)引用5世纪斯摩卡尔德(Smolcald)的文章说:“受洗就是上帝所说的完全浸没在水中。”加尔文(Calvin)说:“Baptizo这个词的原意就是浸没,而且1世纪的教会的洗礼就是完全浸没在水中。” 3
















敬拜上帝时使用乐器的教会不可能是真正的基督的教会!那些致力于恢复真正新约基督教的信心坚定的先驱们,坚持“圣经说的,我们说,圣经没说的,我们不说”的原则。他们依据圣经,反对在基督的教会的敬拜中使用乐器,因为在敬拜中使用乐器不是来自上帝的权柄,却是教皇的遗产,所以绝对不许使用。坎贝尔(Alexander Campbell) 说:“对于用心灵敬拜上帝的基督徒来说,这种乐器的伴奏无异于一场音乐会中夹杂了牛颈铃的响声”。米利甘(Robert Milligan)也证明说,敬拜中使用乐器“在新约圣经中是找不到任何根据的。”柯瑞士(Jacob Creath )说圣经中没有提到乐器,也没有提到婴儿洗礼。弗兰克林(Benjamin Franklin)说:“基督和使徒都没有提到可以用乐器来敬拜,而且也没有人在教会的敬拜中使用乐器,直到一个罪人出现,就是教皇,而对于在敬拜中使用乐器,我们倒真要感激这位先生。”迈克伽威(J.W.McGarvey )说:“我认为在敬拜中使用乐器是犯罪的,在罪面前,我是不会闭口不言的。”拉德(Moses E.Lard )说:“在教会敬拜中使用乐器关系到一个很神圣的原则问题——那就是人有没有权利将自己的发明创造加进上帝既定的敬拜中去呢?我认为人没有这个权利。认同乐器敬拜一方的胜利之日,就是基督的教会受创之时。”





在过去的30年间,伍兹(Guy N. Woods)是尚在世的最杰出的学者之一。他是著名的圣经学者,著有12本宗教书籍,包括对圣经中《约翰福音》、《彼得前后书》、《雅各书》和《犹大书》的评论。他最近的一本书是关于希腊语版本新约的自学手册。他的本职工作是律师,但他却不从事律师事务,而是将毕生精力奉献给了圣经的研究和教学。他法律学的学术背景让他陈述事实清楚、明了、准确。他的圣经学识及丰富的圣经主题演讲能使他轻松应对面临的宗教问题。

他在《雅各书》的评论中,讨论到该书5章13节的最后部分。他评论说:“让他唱诗来赞美”(Psalleto,祈使句用 psallo),在新约中的意思就是唱诗赞美上帝。^5^ 而这里的字面意思也就是“让他不住的唱诗赞美上帝。”这个词还出现在《哥林多前书》14章15节、《罗马书》15章9节和《以弗所书》5章19节中。随着时间的推移,它的意思在不断地发生着变化。起初,它有弹拨头发的意思,也指木匠的拉线,或者拨乐器的弦,而在新约中,就是歌唱的意思。新约圣经用了该词的比喻意义,指弹拨人心里的弦,“当用诗章、颂词、灵歌,彼此对说,口唱心和地赞美(psallo)主。”(弗5:19)那些竭力想证明在教会敬拜中可以使用乐器的人,提出psallo这个词的原意用法,认为该词的原意也应该用到今天的教会中去。但是这些人的论证却并没有结论。那些最热心于在敬拜中使用乐器的人认为,在公共的宗教敬拜中,不用乐器,人也可以接近上帝,乐器的使用是个人选择的问题,因此在方便的时候才使用。如果乐器存在于这个词语中,psallete就是指使用弦乐器,那没有乐器人就不能psallete了。乐器要么在这个词语之中,要么不在。要是在的话,没有乐器,人就不能敬拜上帝,如果不在的话,那这个争论就不攻自破了。如果这个词意中含有乐器的话,那就可以得出以下的结论:1、没有乐器,敬拜上帝就不可能。2、因为上帝要求每个人都要赞美他,那每个人都要在敬拜的时候弹拨一件乐器的弦。3、要帮助敬拜的人用这种方式敬拜。4、只可以使用弦乐器,因为只有弦乐器是可以弹拨的,要排除所有吹奏的乐器,如管风琴、喇叭等。鉴于以上事实,没有哪个结论是那些鼓吹乐器敬拜的人乐于接受的,自然他们的论调也就不攻自破了。

很多著名的世界级希腊学者,包括已经有过主要的英语翻译作品的大师们都亲眼见证了新约中该词不包括使用乐器的意思,它今天的涵义就是口唱。有一个很有意思也很重要的趣闻说到希腊正教。虽然这个教会的成员大部分都说希腊语,但他们敬拜的时候从来不使用乐器。如果想继续深入研究这个问题,可以参考柯菲斯(M. C. Kurfees)的《基督徒敬拜中的乐器音乐》^6^ 一书,且能发现很多有价值的材料。



















圣灵不再直接运行在罪人的心中来拯救他,而是藉着上帝的话来起作用。(林前1:21;弗6:17)信心不是圣灵直接运行在人的心中产生的,而是藉着上帝的话得来的,因为耶稣祷告说,“也为那些因他们的话信我的人祈求。”(约17:20) 信道是从听道来的(罗10:17),而不是圣灵直接运行在人心中的结果。人因记在书上的而信。(约20:30-31)在一个人听道和理解真道之前,不需要圣灵直接运行在他身上,在《使徒行传》4章4节,我们读到:“但听道之人有许多信的”。他们信是因为听到了真道,不是圣灵直接的工作。外邦人的信心是因为宣教士传福音之道所产生的果效,而不是来自圣灵直接在他们心中作工。(徒15:7-9)我们在《罗马书》10章13-14节读到:“未曾听见他,怎能信他呢?”说明信心是来自于听见福音之道,并非来自于圣灵直接的作工。


下面是有关神迹的一些观点:真正的神迹到新约写成时就已经停止了。(弗4:8-13)“信”(the faith)在新约圣经里指真道,比如保罗说:“他原先所残害的真道。”(加1:23)还有《犹大书》3节说:“要为从前一次交付圣徒的真道竭力的争辩。”这里“真道”的原文用的都是“信”(the faith)。

“直到真理的合一” (“Till the unity of the faith”)的意思是新约所有的真理都被揭示出来之后,神迹就完全停止了。神迹奇事的目的是为了揭示并证明真道。当真理已经显现并被见证,就不再需要神迹奇事了。(可16:20;来2:3,4)我们今天可以因圣经中所记的神迹信基督。(约20:30,31)这不是上帝能不能做什么的问题,而是上帝要不要做什么的问题。让神迹奇事继续在教会中存在绝不是上帝的目的,所以,神迹早已停止、消失并归于无有了。(林前13:8,13)




圣经是上帝所启示的(彼前1:21;林前2:13;帖前2:2:13),包括所有救恩的信息,所以圣经是完全的。(彼后1:3;提前3:16,17) 为什么还需要什么人为的宗教标准呢?基督的教会的目的就是要“按照上帝的圣言讲。”(彼前4:11)
















在使徒时代,主的教会像一个身体一样存在着,按照上帝指示使徒的教导运行。(太28:20,徒4:32) 把“种子”或者“上帝的话”(路8:11)撒遍全地,落到诚实的心里,结出一样的果子——基督徒。那时候还没有不同派别的基督徒,因为宗派还没有产生。没有人会问“你是新教徒还是天主教徒?”,因为这些根本就不存在。也没有人问“你的信仰属哪一派?”因为只有一信。(弗4:5)


如果你渴望找到耶稣所建造的教会(太16:18),那你如何辨认呢?这里列举几个基督的教会的特点:基督的教会认为基督是唯一的头(弗1:22-23);基督的教会以基督的名字命名,拒绝一切人的名称(西1:10-13;罗16:16;徒11:26;26-28;彼前4:16);基督的教会以新约圣经为标准,不用其它人造的信条律例(提后3:16-17;彼前4:11;来9:15-17);当人听从福音得救的时候(帖后1:7-9),基督把他加进自己的教会(徒 2:47);听从福音包括相信(可16:16)、悔改(徒3:19)、承认基督是上帝的儿子(徒8:37)、受洗(徒2:38),指浸入水中,使罪得赦。基督的教会的敬拜还包括(不用乐器)唱诗(西3:16-17)、祷告(徒2:42)、证道(徒2:42)、(七日第一日)领圣餐(徒20:7)、奉献(林前16:1-2)。教会的工作包括帮助穷人;基督徒藉着上帝的话语自我提升;向全世界传讲福音。(可16:15-16)基督爱自己的教会,为教会舍己。(弗5:25)


新约圣经说只有一个身体。(罗12:4-5;林前12:13,20;弗2:16;4:4;西3:15) 圣经中有三处地方表明这个身体指的就是教会。(弗1:22-23;西1:18,24)圣经说身体只有一个。(林前12:20)








1 Christian Baptism, Campbell, p. 191.

2 Ibid.p.186.

3 Ibid.p.143-145.

4 Lard’s Quarterly, Vol. I, pg. 331-333.

5 Thayer, Greek English Lexicon of the New Testament.

6 M. C. Kurfees.Instrumental Music In Christian Worship. The Gospel Advocate Company, Nashville, Tennessee.

7 Quoted from The Commentary from the Book of James, published by The Gospel Advocate Company, Nashville, Tennessee. Used by permission of B. C. Goodpasture, Editor and President.




徐 林 译


“我还告诉你,你是彼得,我要把我的教会建造在这磐石上,阴间的权柄(权柄原文作门),不能胜过他。”(太16:18) 圣灵立你们作全群的监督,你们就当为自己谨慎,也为全群谨慎,牧养上帝的教会,就是他用自己血所买来的(或作救赎)。(徒20:28) 但愿他在教会中,并在基督耶稣里,得著荣耀,直到世世代代,永永远远。阿们。(弗3:21)




再注意圣经对上述观点的论述:“圣灵立你们作全群的监督,你们就当为自己谨慎,也为全群谨慎,牧养上帝的教会,就是他用自己血所买来的(或作救赎)。”(徒20:28) 这应该是在表明上帝赋予它一种价值。



“又将万有服在他的脚下,使他为教会作万有之首。教会是他的身体,是那充满万有者所充满的。 (弗1:22-23) 基督不是各宗各派的头。他是教会的元首。教会必须从方方面面留心关注他的指示。教会不应该根据自己的运作方式来进行运作,而是要按照基督想要的方式来运作。基督是指引方向的“元首”。




保罗对罗马的教会说“我的弟兄们,这样说来,你们藉着基督的身体,在律法上也是死了。叫你们归于(原文是嫁给)别人,就是归于(原文是嫁给)那从死里复活的,叫我们结果子给上帝。”(罗7:4) 再看《以弗所书》5章22-33节。在婚姻上,两人成为或连成一体。同样,基督和他的新妇也是一体。教会之所以伟大是因为她嫁给了基督。



“既在十字架上灭了冤仇,便藉这十字架,使两下归为一体,与上帝和好了。”(弗2:16) 一个人必须在基督与上帝和好之地才能与上帝和好。圣经确认这个地方就是教会。



Vital Lessons From The Biblical Text (English & Chinese)

  • ISBN: 9781370500475
  • Author: Billy Bland
  • Published: 2016-10-08 19:21:10
  • Words: 63978
Vital Lessons From The Biblical Text (English & Chinese) Vital Lessons From The Biblical Text (English & Chinese)