Thursday, January 30, 2014

Was Jesus an "Only Child"?

The Bible teaches that Mary and Joseph had other children besides Jesus. Note the following passages:
“While He was still speaking to the crowds, behold, His mother and brothers were standing outside, seeking to speak to Him. Someone said to Him, “Behold, Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside seeking to speak to You.” (Matt. 12:46-47). 
When Jesus had finished these parables, He departed from there. He came to His hometown and began teaching them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished, and said, “Where did this man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers? Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not His mother called Mary, and His brothers, James and Joseph and Simon and Judas? And His sisters, are they not all with us? Where then did this man get all these things?” (Matthew 13:53-56)

These two passages and others teach that Jesus had brothers and sisters. One would not be wrong in saying that they were His “half-siblings”, since Joseph was not His real father (God was), but nevertheless, these passages show that Jesus was not an only child.

By Cliff Sabroe 
Quotes from NASB95

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

In what language was the Bible originally written?

It may shock us to learn that the Bible was not originally written in English. In fact, the Bible was not written in its entirety at one time. It is actually 66 books written by about 40 authors over a period of 1600 years. The Bible was not written in just one language. There are 3 different languages originally used in the Bible. Those languages are as follows:

Hebrew: Hebrew is the language used in most of the Old Testament. Hebrew, as a language was very suitable for the purpose of the Old Testament. Geisler and Nix point out, 
The Old Testament was primarily the biography of a people and God’s dealings with them. Hebrew was the primary language in which the Old Testament was written, and it was particularly suited for this kind of biographical expression for at least two reasons.
  • It is a pictorial language, speaking with vivid, bold metaphors that challenge and dramatize the story...
  • Further, Hebrew is a personal language. It addresses itself to the heart and emotions rather than merely to the mind or reason. (328).
Aramaic: Is a minor language of the Old Testament, it has scattered occurrences in a few books, and large portions of the book of Daniel and Ezra are also written in Aramaic. 

Greek: Greek is the language of the New Testament. Like Hebrew, it was well-suited for its role. Geisler notes:

The foundation of God’s revelation of Christ was laid in the biography of the Old Testament. The interpretation of the revelation of Christ was made in the theological language of the New Testament. New Testament Greek was appropriately adapted to the end of propositionalizing and propagating the truth about Christ for two basic reasons.
  • Greek was an intellectual language. It was more a language of the mind than of the heart, a fact to which the great Greek philosophers gave abundant evidence...It was a language that could more easily render the credible into the intelligible than could Hebrew. It was for this reason that New Testament Greek was a most useful medium for expressing the propositional truth of the New Testament, as Hebrew was for expressing the biographical truth of the Old Testament.
  • Greek was nearly a universal language. (329).

A study of the languages of the Bible can be very rewarding. One can clearly observe God’s hand at work in the formation of Bibles, even down to the very languages it was written in.

Image courtesy of - 
Quotes from Geisler, Norman and William E. Nix  A General Introduction to the Bible. Chicago: Moody Press, 1986.
Post Author - Cliff Sabroe

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Is it my fault as a parent (according to Proverbs 22:6), if my adult child is unfaithful to God?

Proverbs is a wonderful book! It is full of timeless statements of wisdom that are applicable even today. Proverbs is one of those books that no matter when you pick it up, you will always find a jewel or a nugget of wisdom that will help you through your day.

Because of the nature of wisdom literature (like the book of Proverbs or Psalms), you will find statements that seem contradictory, impossible, incorrect or even absurd. This is why caution must be employed when making a dogmatic conclusion from the book.

The verse under consideration in this post is (Proverbs 22:6) which reads:
Train up a child in the way he should go, Even when he is old he will not depart from it.
This verse should be viewed as a general truth and not an absolute rule about parenting. Parents who train up their children right, may still have a child who chooses not obey when they are older. Jesus was a the perfect teacher, but even one of His disciples betrayed Him. The general rule is if a parent is training up their child correct, that child is more likely to be faithful as an adult. 

People have free will, sometimes even those with the best parents choose to make poor decisions as adults. God gave mankind perfect instruction, but yet some men do not obey.

In conclusion, just because your child decided to not follow God as an adult, it does not always mean that you did a bad job as a parent. Some children are brought up in godless homes and become Christians as adults. On the other hand, some children have a godly upbringing and still choose to rebel as adults.

by Cliff Sabroe - Quotes from NASB95, Image from BabyBlessed.blogspot

Does 2 Peter 3:8 Teach that One Day of Creation could actually be 1000 years?

The text of 2 Peter 3:8 reads:
But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day.
Often times those who support what is called the “Day Age Theory” present this verse as proof for their idea that each day of Creation was longer than 24 hours. 

This verse is NOT dealing with the length of the days of creation. This verse falls in a context about “mockers”.  Peter says that there will be people who will mock the belief in the second coming of Jesus.
Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts, and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation.” (2 Peter 3:3-4)
These mockers were using the duration of time between Jesus’ ascension and return as proof that He would never come again. In this letter Peter assures the Christians that Jesus WILL come again someday, but not according to our schedule. To humans, a few years seems like an eternity and 2000 years an impossibility. God is not impatient like us, God existed before time. To God there is really no differences between waiting 1 year or 1000 years because he is not constrained by time and space.

Also, notice the words he chooses to employ in verse 8 . Peter does not say one day “IS” a thousand years, but instead he says “IS LIKE” a thousand years. What Peter is doing is showing that God is patient and will work on His time schedule and not ours. We should be thankful for God’s patience. If God was was impatient as most humans are, we would not have had the chance to repent and become partakers of salvation.
The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9).

By Cliff Sabroe - Quotes from NASB95 Bible. Image from Wikipedia

Monday, January 6, 2014

What does the word “Amen” mean?

The word “Amen” is used throughout the Old and New Testaments. It is used at the end of several books and many of the Psalms. The word is used to conclude prayers and even as a title for Jesus in (Revelation 3:14). “Amen” can be said in private or in public (as is the case in 1 Corinthians 14:6).
Otherwise if you bless in the spirit only, how will the one who fills the place of the ungifted say the "Amen " at your giving of thanks, since he does not know what you are saying?
“Amen” defined
The word is a declaration of affirmation, it is an expression of agreement or approval. It is often defined as “so be it”. When a person says “amen”, they are expressing their approval or agreement about what has just been said or done. When used at the end of a prayer, it is an interjection to signify the conclusion of the prayer, and to express a desire for the requests of the prayer to be fulfilled according to God’s will.

Origin of the word
The origin of the word “Amen” is ancient Hebrew. Its usage is replete throughout ancient Judaism as well as early Christianity. Although its origin is Hebrew, it is used in Arabic and other languages. The word “Amen” has even been adopted into Islam.

When should I say “Amen”?

Some use the word as a general statement of agreement (i.e. “amen to that”), however, the word is primarily used in a religious setting. It is very much biblical to close a prayer with “amen”, or say “amen” when wanting express agreement with a religious statement or practice (i.e. during a sermon or after a hymn).  

Post By Cliff Sabroe - Image courtesy of Wikipedia, Scripture quote from NASU95