Tuesday, August 27, 2013

What happened to Joseph (The Father of Jesus)? Why is he not mentioned at the crucifixion?

What does the Bible say about the earthly father of Jesus? There is a lot of speculation about Joseph. (How did he live? Why wasn’t he at the crucifixion?). The Bible Answer Show strives to only give Bible Answers. 

What the Bible Says About Joseph.
  • Hometown: Nazareth (Luke 2:4).
  • Father’s Name: Jacob (Matthew 1:16).
  • Betrothed to Mary and Later Becomes Her Husband: (Matthew 1:18, 1:24).
  • Keeps Mary a Virgin Until After the Birth of Jesus: (Matthew 1:24-25).
  • Obeys the Message of God Delivered By an Angel on Multiple Occasions: (Matthew 1:20-21, 2:13).
  • With Mary at the the Time of Christ’s Birth: (Luke 2:6).
  • Presents Jesus in the Temple in Accordance with the Law of Moses: (Luke 2:22-24).
  • Fleas to Egypt to Protect Jesus: (Matthew 2:14-15)
  • Ultimately Settles in Nazareth: (Luke 2:39)
  • Travels with his Family to Jerusalem for the Passover when Jesus is 12: (Luke 2:41-51).
  • A Carpenter by Trade: (Mark 6:3)
This is all the Bible says about Joseph. He is absent in the adult years of Jesus’ life. He is not mentioned at the Wedding at Cana or with Mary at the Crucifixion. This often leaves the reader perplexed. Why was he not there?

It is assumed that he most likely passed away during the teenage years of Jesus’ life. One’s life expectancy was not very long at this time, and we do not know how old he was when Jesus was born, thus, it is very likely that he died. Some would assert that he abandoned his family sometime during Jesus’ life, but this seems to be contrary to the faithful character he demonstrates throughout the Bible and is nothing more than wild speculation. Joseph was a godly man who obeyed God and helped raise the Messiah. Thanks be to God for this great example of faithfulness!

By Cliff Sabroe

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Should the church offer communion every week? Is the weekly observance of the Lord’s Supper Scriptural?

The Lord’s Supper is an integral part of Christian worship. Concerning the communion, the Apostle Paul wrote:
For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until He comes. (1 Corinthians 11:6).
Jesus Himself said that we are to take the communion in “remembrance” of Him (Luke 22:19). It is clear from Scripture that the Lord’s Supper is important. The question at hand is: How often should one take it? This post will present three important passages that help one conclude that the Lord’s Supper should be taken weekly.

#1 Acts 2:42 - “They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles' teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer”.

By itself, this passage shows that the “breaking of bread” (ie. Communion) was a regular practice of these early Christians. Although this passage does not teach what day it should be taken, it does show that it was taken often and that it was associated with teaching, fellowship and prayer.

#2 (1 Corinthians 11:17-33)

This is the most lengthy discourse in the New Testament concerning the purpose, methods and attitudes that are to be associated with the Lord’s Supper. In this section of Scripture there are multiple verses that declare the Communion occurs “when you meet together”. The question then must be asked: “When did the church ‘meet together’”? The early church gathered for worship on the First Day of the Week (Sunday). This is why Paul tells the Corinthian church “On the first day of every week each one of you is to put aside and save, as he may prosper, so that no collections be made when I come”. The church gathered together on Sundays as a congregation, this was also the time in which they gave.

#3 (Acts 20:7) - “On the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread, Paul began talking to them, intending to leave the next day, and he prolonged his message until midnight”.

This is strongest support in the Bible for the weekly observance of the Lord’s Supper. Note the explanation offered by Ray Van Neste:
Paul, on his way to Jerusalem has stopped at Troas. Here "on the first day of the week" he meets with the local church, and Luke directly states that the purpose of their gathering was "to break bread," i.e. to celebrate the Lord's Supper. This passage need not mean the Lord's Supper was the only purpose of their gathering, but it certainly is one prominent purpose and the one emphasized here. The centrality of communion to the weekly gathering is stated casually without explanation or defense, suggesting this practice was common among those Luke expected to read his account. These early Christians met weekly to celebrate the Lord's Supper (http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/tgc/2012/04/18/three-arguments-for-weekly-communion)  
It is important to recognize that Paul stayed in Troas until he had the opportunity to partake of the Lord’s Supper. He did not take it on any other day while he was there except Sunday. He had important mission to continue, yet he remained in Troas until he had participated in the communion.

Conclusion:
The overwhelming evidence from Scripture is that the early church partook of the Lord’s Supper every Sunday. Not only do we have examples of Christians communing on the First Day of the week, even the Apostle Paul participated in this behavior. 

The Bible Answer Show strives to only give answers directly from the Bible, however, this is one instance where the evidence from history helps reinforce Bible teaching. History records that the early church took the Lord’s Supper every Sunday. 

A man called Justin Martyr (AD 100 - AD 165) wrote concerning Sunday Worship. Justin was not an inspired Bible writer, but he does record in his First Apology the practice of the early church. Justin lived during the time just after the Apostles and what he writes should be strongly considered as being historically accurate. He writes:

...and on the day called Sunday, all who live in cities or in the country gather together to one place, and the memoirs of the apostles or the writings of the prophets are read, as long as time permits; then, when the reader has ceased, the president verbally instructs, and exhorts to the imitation of these good things. Then we all rise together and pray, and, as we before said, when our prayer is ended, bread and wine and water are brought, and the president in like manner offers prayers and thanksgivings, according to his ability, and the people assent, saying Amen; and there is a distribution to each, and a participation of that over which thanks have been given, and to those who are absent a portion is sent by the deacons. And they who are well to do, and willing, give what each thinks fit; and what is collected is deposited with the president, who succours the orphans and widows and those who, through sickness or any other cause, are in want, and those who are in bonds and the strangers sojourning among us, and in a word takes care of all who are in need. But Sunday is the day on which we all hold our common assembly, because it is the first day on which God, having wrought a change in the darkness and matter, made the world; and Jesus Christ our Saviour on the same day rose from the dead. (Justin Martyr, On Weekly Worship of the Christians (First Apology). (emp. added)

The Lord's Supper is an important weekly activity of the church. The Lord’s Supper is an awesome occasion in which God’s people come together and eat not to fill their stomachs but to focus on the atoning work of Jesus on the cross. It is a beautiful opportunity of praise, remembrance and reflection.Let us not make it into just an “act” to be observed, but a weekly event to experience. 

By Cliff Sabroe
Image from ChurchWares.com
Scripture Quotes - NASB95

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Is it ok to lift your hands while praying? Do you have to fold your hands and close your eyes? Is there are correct posture for prayer?

In the Bible you find many different postures for prayer recorded. What posture a person chooses to employ while praying seems to be often dependent upon the emotional state of the one offering the prayer. The Apostle Paul encouraged Christians to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). If our life is to be permeated with prayer one would assume that different postures of prayer would be acceptable. If I am praying while running on a treadmill or driving, my prayer posture will be very different from my bedside prayers or even a group prayer.

Examples of Prayer Postures in the New Testament
  • Lifting Hands (1 Timothy 2:8) - “Therefore I want the men everywhere to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or disputing”
  • Kneeling (Acts 20:36) - “When he had said these things, he knelt down and prayed with them all”.
  • Looking Upward (John 17:1) - “Jesus spoke these things; and lifting up His eyes to heaven, He said, "Father, the hour has come; glorify Your Son, that the Son may glorify You”
  • Looking Downward While Beating One’s Chest (Luke 18:13) - "But the tax collector, standing some distance away, was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven, but was beating his breast, saying, 'God, be merciful to me, the sinner!'
Answer
Yes, it is ok to lift your hands while praying, as are many different postures. Ultimately God is not really concerned with the externals of prayer, rather the attitude of one’s heart. If a person is overly focused on their posture while praying, they may fall into the trap of only praying to be seen, which Jesus condemned in (Matthew 6:5).
"When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full”.
One’s attitude, location, occasion and ability dictate how they should pray. When my heart is full of sorrow I may choose to drop to my knees, on the other-hand if I am expressing joy to God I may lift my hands look up toward the sky and declare “Thank You God!”. In a small group I may hold the hands of those around me and if I am in a congregational setting, I usually make the judgement call to emulate the posture of the one leading the prayer or at least those around me so as not to be a distraction or a disruption

In conclusion, pray all the time! Certain situations often call for certain postures and other times it is completely up to the discretion of the one praying. 

By Cliff Sabroe
Quotations from NASB95
Image of a Veiled Women Praying 200AD from scrollpublishing.com 

Thursday, August 8, 2013

What does it mean to be “rightly dividing the Word of Truth” (2 Timothy 2:15 KJV)? Does this mean that a person needs to understand the divisions of the Bible?

2 Timothy 2:15 is powerful verse in an inspired letter by the Apostle Paul to the young preacher Timothy. Because of the phrase "rightly dividing the word of truth", people have mistakenly used this verse to teach about difference between the Old and New Testament. A proper understanding of the covenants is paramount to understanding the Bible. However, the question must be asked: Is this verse dealing the the divisions of the Bible?

Is “rightly dividing the Word of Truth” a good translation?
The King James Version is the only popular english version that translates this phrase in this way. Note how this phrase is translated in other versions:
  • correctly handles the word of truth. (NIV)
  • rightly handling the word of truth. (ESV)
  • accurately handling the word of truth. (NASB)
  • handling aright the word of truth. (ASV1901)
It should cause a Bible student to wonder about a particular translation of a passage if it is different than every other version. The word in the Greek New Testament for “rightly dividing” in (2 Timothy 2:15) is “orthotome√≥” and according to Thayer’s Greek Lexicon it means “to cut straight ways, i. e. to proceed by straight paths, hold a straight course, equivalent to to do right” (http://biblesuite.com/thayers/3718.htm).

In his Commentary on Timothy and Titus, Dr. Denny Petrillo well explains this phrase in context. He writes:
(Orthotomeo) - To cut straight and rightly; to cut a straight path through the word, giving it the proper interpretation. Because of that, some have said it is the cut between the Old and New Testaments...While this would include the correct treatment of God’s Word, this is not specifically what Paul is dealing with. Paul has the idea of treating the Word correctly. This is done by preaching it. (Petrillo. Emp. Added)
Conclusion:
From the text of 2 Timothy one can conclude that Timothy has become discouraged. His discouragement has caused him to become timid (1:7). This timidity may have caused him to neglect his preaching. Paul tells him in (2:15) that he needs to be “rightly handling the word of truth”. The way Timothy would do this would be through powerful Gospel preaching. 

There are differences between the Old and New Testament that one needs to understand. You can read about those differences (here). However, (2 Timothy 2:15) is a passage designed to encourage a preacher to not neglect his preaching of the Word of God!

By Cliff Sabroe - Works Cited: Thayer's Greek Lexicon/Biblesuite.com, NIV, ESV, NASB95, KJV and ASV1901 Bibles.Commentary on 1st and 2nd Timothy and Titus By Denny Petrillo. Image from bible.ca

What does (1 Corinthians 6:19) mean? My body is a temple of the Holy Spirit? Would this forbid me from doing anything that is bad for my body (ie. overeating, drinking caffeine etc.)?

Wisdom and common sense dictate that a person should take care of their bodies. God has blessed us with a body, and the principles of good stewardship would encourage one to make smart choices about what they eat and whether or not they exercise. 

There has been a lot of well-meaning Christians over the years who have wanted to keep people from harming themselves (like telling people not to smoke) who have used this verse as support for their advice. It is good to have Bible verses to support beliefs and teachings, however, when a person uses a verse out of context to support a belief or teaching they are misusing the text and hurting their argumentation.


What is the context of (1 Corinthians 6:19)?

Contextually 1 Corinthians 6:19 is a command for the Christian to not participate in sexual immorality.  Before using a single verse or verses to support a belief, it is wise to read the passages surrounding that verse to make sure you are using it the way the Bible author intended. Note the surrounding verses around (1 Corinthians 6:19):
Or do you not know that the one who joins himself to a prostitute is one body with her? For He says, “THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH.” But the one who joins himself to the Lord is one spirit with Him. Flee immorality. Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body. (1 Corinthians 6:16-20)
The point of the section of Scripture is "don't commit sexual sin"! The motivation for not committing sexual sin is the reality of the Christian being a temple of the Spirit. When a person is baptized into Christ they “receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38). At that point our bodies become a dwelling place for the Spirit. When one "joins himself with prostitute" it is as if he is defiling the very temple of God. 

Our bodies are designed to glorify God and not participate in sin. This passage does not apply to tattoos, piercings, eating fatty foods, not exercising or the many other points people try to make from it. It is, however, a great passage for proving the importance of not committing sexual sin.

Conclusion

You should take care of your body. You should encourage others to take care of their bodies. When you are healthy you will have more energy to spread the Gospel and help others. You do not have to have a verse to support this idea. Using a passage out of context does more harm than good.

By Cliff Sabroe
Quotes from - http://www.bibleanswershow.com/2012/11/can-christian-get-tattoo.html
Image from Wikipedia
Quotes from NASB95 Bible