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“The Inspired Apostle Paul” (A Study of 2 Peter 3:14—16)

We sometimes speak of artists or authors as “inspired.” We mean that they have incredible insight in their art or that their words are particularly moving or powerful. As if the gods were somehow breathing on them.

Ah, but there’s the difference in the biblical writers. The God, the only God, is breathing out His thoughts through the chosen writers. And in our text Peter is acknowledging the Apostle Paul as someone through whom the true God is speaking. But the truth of the Holy Spirit-led inspiration of Paul’s writings occurs in a section challenging the believer to “make every effort” in his Christian life.

I. Paul’s Message (v. 15)
“Our Lord’s patience means salvation!”

II. Paul’s Wisdom (v. 15)
“with the wisdom that God gave him”

III. Paul’s Consistency (v. 16)
“He writes the same way in all his letters . . .”

IV. Paul’s Complexity (v. 16)

“His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort . . .”

V. Paul’s Inspiration (v. 16)

[Paul’s writings] are distorted by unstable people “as they do the other Scriptures”!

 
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Posted by on October 29, 2020 in The Apostle Paul

 

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Babylon Bee Satire: The Entire Bible Is God’s Word!


MODESTO, CA—Tom Barber read through his Bible and highlighted passages as he went along, as many do, but unlike most people, he ended up highlighting every single passage in his Bible.

“I was going through and deciding what passages were worth emphasizing,” explained Barber, “but then I thought about how this is all the inspired Word of God. Am I supposed to say of some of God’s Word, ‘Eh. That’s just not worth remembering’? So I highlighted all of it, because it’s all great.”

Greg Hawkins, a theologian, said this was ridiculous. “Even God would admit that most of the Bible is just filler verses,” he said. “Especially the Old Testament. I mean, a lot of that just never gets quoted and will never in a million years end up on an inspirational poster with a picture of a sunset in the background.” Hawkins explained that the proper way to read the Bible is to pick out the “good stuff,” highlight that, and only ever read the rest when doing an in-depth Bible study on that particular chapter.

Barber, though, disagreed. “When I open my Bible, I can clearly see the important parts as I highlighted it — and it’s all of it. If you ask me what my favorite Bible verse is, it’s a 31,102-way tie.”

 
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Posted by on April 19, 2020 in Bible

 

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The Forgotten Third: Developing a Relationship with God the Holy Spirit — What Do We Learn from 2 Peter about the Holy Spirit?

There are two ways of approaching the doctrines of the Scriptures. One way is to collect all the data throughout the Bible into logical categories (called “systematic theology”). The other way is to work through individual books of the Bible, collecting the data on a particular subject (this is called “biblical theology,” although the term is used in other ways in less than conservative circles). When we ask, what does the epistle of 2 Peter say about God the Holy Spirit, we are taking a kind of biblical theology approach. Our conviction in these posts is that, while some believers overemphasize the Spirit, others overlook Him. We want to do neither, but long to have a balanced view of the Third Member of the Trinity.

What do we find when we unit-read (read straight through at one sitting) the epistle of 2 Peter? We find that there are several significant references to God the Holy Spirit:

Ch. 1– Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ,
To those who through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ have received a faith as precious as ours:
2 Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.
We have several “binitarian” references here (places where the Father and the Son are mentioned, but not the Spirit of God).

16 For we did not follow cleverly devised stories when we told you about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ in power, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. 17 He received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” Here we also have no reference to the Spirit.

20 Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation of things. 21 For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. Here is a clear reference to the Spirit of God. He “carried along” the biblical writers so that what they wrote was what God wanted written.

Although there are no further references to the Spirit of God that I can see in 2 Peter, His work in the prophets was crucial.

Praise God the Holy Spirit for His ministry of inspiration and preservation of the Word of God!

 

 

 
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Posted by on December 1, 2019 in The Holy Spirit

 

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The Forgotten Third: Developing a Relationship with God the Holy Spirit — What Do We Learn from 2 TIMOTHY about the Holy Spirit?

There are two ways of approaching the doctrines of the Scriptures. One way is to collect all the data throughout the Bible into logical categories (called “systematic theology”). The other way is to work through individual books of the Bible, collecting the data on a particular subject (this is called “biblical theology,” although the term is used in other ways in less than conservative circles). When we ask, what does the epistle of 2 Timothy say about God the Holy Spirit, we are taking a kind of biblical theology approach. Our conviction in these posts is that, while some believers overemphasize the Spirit, others overlook Him. We want to do neither, but long to have a balanced view of the Third Member of the Trinity.

What do we find when we unit-read (read straight through at one sitting) the epistle of 2 Timothy? We find that there is precious little reference to the Spirit of God in Titus! But here’s the one reference that we do have —

Ch. 1 – 6 For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. 7 For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.

13 What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus. 14 Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you—guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us.

Ch. 3 – 14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, 15 and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

From the reference in chapter one, we learn that we have the responsibility to “fan into flame the gift of God” given to us. We know from Romans 12, I Corinthians 12, Ephesians 4, and I Peter 4 that it is God the Holy Spirit who gives the gifts to serve the Lord. Here we are reminded that God’s Spirit does not make us timid, but rather gives us power, love, and self-discipline!

Later in chapter one we are challenged to “guard the good deposit that was entrusted” to us. We guard that good deposit “with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us”! He has taken up residence in us — and assists us in standing up for the truth!

The only other reference to the Spirit in 2 Timothy is an implicit one in chapter three. Here we have the fundamental statement that “all Scripture is God-breathed . . .” Who “breathes out” the Scripture? The Spirit of God, as Jesus promised in John 14-16. Let’s make sure we use the Scriptures in teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness. (to be continued)

 
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Posted by on October 15, 2019 in The Holy Spirit

 

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Some Thoughts on the Book “What’s the Least I Can Believe and Still Be a Christian?” (Post #9) EVERYTHING IN THE BIBLE SHOULD BE TAKEN LITERALLY!

This book by the United Methodist minister Martin Thielen entitled What’s the Least I Can Believe and Still Be a Christian? examines beliefs he thinks should be given up. His next chapter is entitled “Everything in the Bible Should Be Taken Literally” and his subtitle is: “Although we must always take the Bible seriously, we don’t always have to take it literally.”

[Just a few comments before I’ve even read his chapter! This is a common ploy of those who don’t like what the Bible teaches.  Attack it on a hermeneutical level! We’ve already seen that his method of interpretation allows him to see a clear statement like Acts 4:12’s “There is salvation in no one else” as poetic and devotional.  Let’s dive into this chapter and see what Thielen has to say.]

Thielen says there are three possible views of the Bible’s inspiration: (1) the Bible is all human; (2) the Bible is all divine; and (3) the Bible is human and divine.

He rejects the second view, for he says the Bible teaches such abominable things as: the earth is flat, slavery is approved by God, God killed all Job’s children to win a bet with the devil, creation took place six thousand years ago, etc. “The above examples are just a few of the massive problems that come with biblical inerrancy.” (47).

He can’t hold to inerrancy because of the apparent contradiction in the story of Judas’ death, the horrific story of Noah’s flood with God annihilating almost all living creatures, and the exaggerated accounts of David’s military victories.

Because the Bible has a human element, Thielen says, “they wrote it according to the worldview of their time, which was a prescientific world” (49).

So it is up to us what we accept as “literal” and to be affirmed as true.

MY RESPONSE: I searched in vain to find the hermeneutical principles that guide Thielen in his study of the Bible. He says nothing about context. He assumes that the “human” element of inspiration must mean that the Bible contains errors. It appears that whatever offends his sense of morality can easily be regarded as “poetic” or mythic.

And yet he can say, “I love the Bible. I believe that the Bible is true and trustworthy and reliable. I affirm the great truths of the Bible.” (50).

As we continue our study of this book, we will see if he “affirms the great truths of the Bible.” I’m not real optimistic.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on February 17, 2019 in inspiration

 

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Snarky Quotes (some wisdom, perhaps)

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a screen-shot-2016-09-30-at-12-39-50-pmsingle step. Of course, so does falling down a flight of stairs. (Richard Doty, Washington)

Never say die. I’ve tried, and it doesn’t actually make people die. (Tom McCudden, Durham, N.C.)

Never underestimate your ability to overestimate your ability. (Donna Lewis, Vienna)

Laughter is the best medicine, but in certain situations the Heimlich maneuver may be more appropriate. (Chuck Smith, Woodbridge)

You have to learn to crawl before you can grovel. (Art Grinath, Takoma Park)

If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs, you’re probably the executioner. (Elden Carnahan, Laurel)

You’ve got to kiss a lot of frogs before you find the prince. But he probably isn’t going to be interested in some frog-kisser. (Amanda Richards, Palatine, Ill.)

Aspire to greatness. But remember that no one ever assassinated a refrigerator repairman. (Bird Waring, New York)

A high tide lifts all boats, except those with a big gaping hole in the bottom.

Every failure is a step to success up a ladder that will eventually collapse under the weight of all those failures. (Stephen Dudzik, Olney)

 
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Posted by on November 24, 2016 in snarky quotes

 

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