The Techniques of the Christian Life

Christian Data Resources presents:

The Techniques of the Christian Life

Featuring:

The Nature of God

The Nature of Man

The Technique of Confessing Sins

The Technique of Faith Rest

The Technique of Bible Study

The Technique of Spirituality

Thinking Divine Viewpoint

The Technique of Prayer

Basic Bible
Doctrine
The
Trinity
Predestination
(Election)
Abortion:
Is it Wrong?
Christian
Education
True Christianity
(The Epistles)
The Techniques of
the Christian Life
Is Killing
Ever Right?
Science and
the Bible
Unborn Black
Lives Matter
The Role of
Government
Living the
Christian Life

 

The Bible Questions index
 

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Ace Ventura says, “Yes” to Socialism

Last week, Jim Carrey ( better knows as Ace Ventura) said, “We have to say yes to socialism–to the word and everything. We have to stop apologizing.”

Columnist Laureano Márquez wrote a response to Ace’s comments in the Venezuelan periodical Runrunes. Márquez argued that socialism is the root cause of the Venezuela’s current state of crisis:

“Dear Jim, I admire you a lot, but sometimes it seems that the inability of Hollywood stars to understand politics is directly proportional to their talent. Perhaps for you, as for all humanity, the word ‘socialism’ sounds beautiful.” He went on to explain that many define socialism as “the antithesis of selfishness, synonym of concern for others; support for the weakest and their needs; and, of seeking health and education for all.” However, Marquez said that socialism today has “deep threats.”

“In Venezuela, what we find is that our regime is not – for God’s sake – the antithesis of selfishness. In Venezuela, dear Jim, from what I have just told you, there is no equitable distribution of wealth. Wealth is concentrated, as rarely before in our history, in very few hands.” Marquez explained that people in Venezuela are “at God’s mercy” and are fleeing the country “however way they can” as they do not have access to medication, food or other basic needs.

“This is a tragedy that is compounded by the denial of a regime that claims that the population has never been better.”

Under socialism, Ace wouldn’t be a rich Hollywood celebrity with an automatic platform for spouting off about politics. As socialism in history has always taught us, he probably wouldn’t even have enough food for his family. Try living in Venezuela, Ace.

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Chelsea Decides What is “Un-Christian”

This week, Chelsea Clinton said: “When I think about all of the statistics that are painful, of what women are confronting today in our country, and what even more women confronted pre-Roe, and how many women died, and how many more women were maimed because of unsafe abortion practices – we just can’t go back to that. That’s unconscionable to me. Also, and I’m sure this will unleash another wave of hate in my direction, but as a deeply religious person, it’s also un-Christian, to me.”

Let’s examine her statements in detail:

When she said, “When I think about all of the statistics that are painful,” was she talking about the pain of all the unborn children as they suffered a painful death from scalpels and chemicals?

When she said, ” … what women are confronting today in our country,” to what was she comparing this pain? Women have more rights, freedoms, and privileges today than at any time in our country’s history. They’re even allowed to kill their own unborn children–a
“freedom” that none of the rest of us have toward any other segment of our population.

She asked, “How many women died (having abortions in pre-Roe America)?” Whether its a few hundred, a few thousand, or a few hundred thousand, it’s still hardly a fraction of the 45 million unborn children who have been killed in post-Roe America.

When she said, “As a deeply religious person,” she obviously meant that she attempts to earn God’s favor through piety and devotion. I don’t doubt that she is pious, meaning that she has a dutiful spirit of reverence for God or an earnest wish to fulfill religious obligations. I believe that she has hypocritical concern about virtue and religious devotion in sanctimonious self-seeking ways. Her falsely earnest and falsely sincere subjectivity provides motivation for some ostensibly good objectives. She has a certain devotion to godly worship, and she may even pray to what she believes is a “higher power.”

When she said, “I’m sure this will unleash another wave of hate in my direction,” she was, of course, referring to her calling it un-Christian to place legal restrictions on abortion, as we do on other forms of murder. Although I disagree with her, I don’t hate her.

Un-Christian

Then she said, “It’s also un-Christian,” meaning it would be un-Christian to make abortion illegal again. I think she has Christianity confused with Christendom; that is, “the Christian world,” or “our Christian country.” Christendom is a religion as describe above, but Christianity is a relationship with Jesus Christ, and we learn about that relationship via the Bible, the Word of God. The ultimate question concerning abortion is whether by the Word of God in Scripture abortion is an act of the murder of an innocent child. Is a developing unborn child a human being whose life is thus sacred to God? Does a woman’s right to the treatment of her own body extend to her treatment of her child’s body?

The Bible on Abortion

First of all, where does life begin? Genesis 2:7 says, “Then the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breaths of life, and man became a living being.” Originally, this verse tells us, that God formed man’s physical body from the ground like a potter shaping a vessel from clay. This produced a lifeless shell without capacity for anything. There are several names in the Bible for this shell. 2 Corinthians 5:1 and 4 refer to it as a tent. 2 Corinthians 5:6 refers to this shell as a home. 1 Thessalonians 4:4 refer to the human body as a vessel. Then this verse tells us that God Himself breathed into this earth body that he has formed, into this shell, and he breathed into it the breath of lives. And notice that the Hebrew is plural. It is unfortunately not always so translated. There should be an “s” at the end of the “breaths” of life. It is the breaths of lives that were breathed into him because there were two kinds of lives that were breathed into man. First of all there was soul life that was breathed into man which constitutes his mentality, his emotions, and his will for relating to people. There was also breathed into man a spirit life which gave him a human spirit and capacity for fellowship with God.

The earth shell then at that moment became a living being, and it had full capacity for fellowship with God. Now since the sin of Adam in Eden, all are born spiritually dead, and they must be made alive spiritually to God by the inbreathing of the Holy Spirit at the point of salvation when faith is placed in Christ as Savior. So, again, for our spiritual contact with God, as for Adam’s, there had to be an inbreathing of God. For us there has to be an inbreathing of the Holy Spirit for us to come alive spiritually.

Does God create a new life then with each baby? The answer is, “Yes.” A few Scriptures: First of all, Job 33:4 says, “The Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life.” Job said, “I came into life. I came into being a living being as a result of an act of God which gave me that life.” Ecclesiastes 12:7 says, “Then the dust will return to the earth as it was and the Spirit will return to the God who gave it.” When did God give that spirit? At the point when this child was born. At the point when this child was conceived he was given that spirit. Isaiah 42:5 says, “Thus says God the Lord who created the heavens and stretched them out, Who spread out the earth and its offspring, Who gives breath to the people on it and spirit to those who walk in it. Zechariah 12:1 says, “The burden of the Word of the Lord concerning Israel: Thus declares the LORD who stretches out the heavens, lays the foundations of the earth, and forms the spirit of man within him. One more in the New Testament, Hebrews 12:9 says, “Furthermore we had earthly fathers to discipline us and we respected them. Shall we not much rather be subject to the Father of spirits and live?”

What these verses all say is one thing: that God creates human life. But it does not say when in the birth process he does that. It may be at conception. It may be at viability when the child can prematurely live outside of the mother’s body. Or it may be at birth when he takes his first breath. Adam’s creation, of course, was different and cannot apply here because his situation was a creation as a mature person, and it differs from the situation of his posterity. What happens when the baby takes his first breath is merely the manifestation of the soul and spirit life that he already possesses in the womb as a human being. As we will see, the evidences for that soul life being there have been demonstrated in a variety of ways, and we will look at some of those. But the whole point is that at whatever point God puts in that spirit and soul life, He does it with that child that has been conceived and is in the form of being developed. And when that baby takes that first breath and becomes a full operational human being outside of the mother’s body, that soul and spirit life that he possesses is simply a manifestation of what he already had inside the womb. He was never anything but a bonafide human being. Life for Adam began when God breathed into him, but life for his posterity then begins at conception in the womb before there’s any physical development, before there’s any birth.

Now the next question is, once we’ve established that we’re dealing with a human being in the womb, a person who has not yet been born, what kind of legal rights does that unborn child have? Now we’re zeroing in on the real issue here. One of the places we can get some guidance is how God treated the unborn in the theocracy of Judaism in the Old Testament system. What were the legal rights of the unborn?

Exodus 21:22

Exodus 21:22 is the key passage that establishes whether an unborn child is a human being, and if you take its life, it’s an act of murder: “And if men struggle with each other,” that is, two men get into a fight with one another. “… and strike a woman with child …” She is pregnant, and incidentally this Hebrew word “child” is the same word which is applied to an unborn child or a born child. The Hebrew has no word such as “fetus” or any word that would distinguish between the child who is in the womb and the child who is outside of the womb. In the process of their fight, one of the men loses his temper toward her, and he reaches over and strikes her. “… and he strike a woman with child so that she has a miscarriage…” The result is that she has a miscarriage. “… yet there is no further injury, he shall surely be fined, as the woman’s husband may demand of him, and he shall pay as the judges decide.” The key word there, of course, is “miscarriage.” We have to know what that word means.

The word “miscarriage” in the Hebrew bible looks like this: It’s the word “yatsa.” This word means “to come out,” and it is the word for miscarriage that is applied only to live birth. That’s the key. This word is never applied to a miscarriage where the child is stillborn. It never applies to a baby that is born dead. It is applied to a premature live birth. So, the translation here would be much better if they said “premature,” which some versions of the Bible do. It should have said that this man hits this woman and the result is that she has a premature delivery, but the child here is born alive. There is no question about it. “Yatsa” clarifies that for us.

There are other places in the Old Testament where this Hebrew word is used that give us a little more insight. Genesis 25:26 in the birth of Jacob and Esau: “Now the first came forth red all over like a hairy garment and they named him Esau, and afterwards his brother came forth (“yatsa,” or to be born) with his hand holding onto Esau’s feet so his name was called Jacob, and Isaac was 60 years old when she gave birth to them. Obviously this word “yatsa” here is referring to a live birth. Both of these boys were born, and they were born alive.

Genesis 38:28-30 has this word used again: “Moreover it took place while she was giving birth (“yatsa”). One put out the hand and the midwife took and tied a scarlet thread on his hand saying, ‘This one came out first.’ But it came about as he drew back his hand that behold his brother came out (“yatsa,” or “came out”). Then she said, “What a breach you have made for yourself.” So, he was named Perez. And afterward his brother came out who had the scarlet thread on his hand and his name was Zerah. There you have again two children born, both of them born live, and this Hebrew word is used which can only be used for live birth.

Look at Job 3:11: “Why did I not die at birth? Come forth (‘yatsa’) from the womb and expire?” Job is berating his condition wishing that he had died when he came out of the womb. How did he come out? Dead? No, he came out alive because this word in itself tells us that that was his condition. Then Jeremiah 1:5 says, “Before I formed you, God says, in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I concentrated you. I have appointed you a prophet to the nation (speaking of Jeremiah) before you were born (‘yatsa’).” So, again we have this demonstration that these are live births.

Now coming back with that information to Exodus 21:22, that gives us an absolute clue as to what verse 22 is saying. These men struggle with each other. One of them strikes a woman with child so that she has a “yatsa.” What she has is a premature delivery, and yet there is no further injury. That refers to both of them—no further injuries to the mother or to the child. She’s alright and the baby is viable and able to live outside of the womb.

We have this further reinforced by the fact that there are Hebrew words (and here is where the language helps us again) which mean being born dead, stillbirth, so that there is an exact word that could have been used if this woman had a miscarriage and had a dead baby. That’s what it means “no further injury.” The child was born prematurely. He was not born dead. One of those Hebrew words is “shakol,” and this word used in several places. Let’s look at a couple so that you will get some idea of the difference.

Genesis 31:38 says, “These twenty years I’ve been with you, Jacob says to his father-in-law, your ewes and your female goats have not miscarried nor have I eaten the rams of your flocks.” When he says that they haven’t miscarried, what he is saying is that they have not been born dead. Exodus 23:26 says, “There shall be no miscarrying or barren in your land. I will fulfill the number of your days.” Here is the promise to Israel in the land. There shall be no one miscarrying, and because it uses the word “shakol” there, we know that what this is saying is that there’s no one who is going to be giving birth to dead babies. There will be no stillborn condition.

This is also found in Job 21:10. Job who is distressed over his obvious terrible trial that he is undergoing. Job 21:10 says, “His ox mates without fail. His cows calve and does not abort.” Here the animals are not born dead. Then one more in Hosea 9:14: “Give them Oh Lord. What wilt thou give them? Give them a miscarrying womb and dry breasts.” Here judgment is being called upon Israel’s enemies. And what did they say? Give them a condition where the children are born dead (“shakol” children), and therefore the breasts are dry because there’s no one to feed.

There’s another word as well, as if that one wasn’t enough. There is another one that the Holy Spirit could have used in Exodus 21:22, if this woman’s child would have been born dead as a result of the fight. It’s the Hebrew word “nephal.” This word also carries the same condition, the same idea, of being born dead. You’ll find this in Job 3:16 and in Psalm 50:8.

So, what happened to this woman in the fight here in Exodus 21:22 is that she had a premature delivery. She delivered a preemie. It was not that the child was killed in the process. Then it says if there’s no other injury, the guilty man is going to have to pay an appropriate fine to the husband as determined by him and the judges. The reason for this is that the woman has suffered mental and emotional stress and therefore she is to be recompensed for that by the fine.

Now let’s go down to Exodus 21:23. Supposing the worst thing happened. The baby is killed as a result of this deliberate striking of the woman. “But if there is injury” (and the words “any further” you see are in italics—that’s not in the Hebrew, forget them because it confuses the picture here). “But if there is injury.” What kind of injury? The next phrase gives us a clue. “Then you shall appoint (and forget “as a penalty” again—those are in italics), you shall appoint life for life.” So, the further injury is very clearly the death of the unborn child. And if it says there will be life or life, it is telling us that this man who deliberately struck this woman, caused her to have a premature delivery, and delivered a dead baby, he has been responsible for bringing about an abortion of death, and he will pay for it with his life. Does the Bible teach against abortion? You bet it does. It was a capital crime in Israel and the language here in the Hebrew makes it very clear what we’re dealing with here.

The injury here is furthermore a word that refers to something physical. It can be a bruise or can be death. The injury contemplated here again applies either to the mother or to the unborn child. And here the offender is to be penalized as per the injury he caused—life for life. That refers to capital punishment for the death of either the mother or the child by his deliberate attack.

What was brought about by someone as an unintentional death was not to be punished with execution. Under those conditions a person was to flee to one of the cities of refuge. Deuteronomy 19:4-13 describe that. So, if it was inadvertent unintentional taking of a life, that’s manslaughter, and therefore it was not dealt with as a capital crime. But here this man deliberately did it. And verse 24 then goes on to say, “Eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise.” What is the purpose of all that? It’s telling us that the punishment must fit the crime—punishment commensurate with the crime, and the worst punishment is taking this life for murder. If he does something less, then he is dealt with accordingly in terms of what he actually did.

So, Exodus 21:24 indicates punishment for a deliberate attack. So, Scripture, guiding the Old Testament theocracy to establish the righteousness of God, gave full legal protection to the unborn child. That was the question we proposed? Does that child have legal protection? Our wise Supreme Court said, “No the child does not. He is not a person until he takes his first breath.”

The “M” Word

So, a premeditated abortion under the theocracy of God was clearly murder of a human being. The penalty for premeditated abortion is a death of the responsible parties. Today it would be the mother and the doctors (and the abortion clinics). There is no permission given for abortion in the Bible whatsoever, and there is clearly a condemnation of it. The U.S. Supreme Court, with its decision in favor of abortion, has drenched our land with the blood of millions of innocent children who have been murdered by abortion (and that’s the word), and judgment is coming upon this nation for that.

Regarding the Old Testament law, some might argue and do: So why didn’t the Old Testament give a specific prohibition against abortion? It gives many prohibitions. Why didn’t it, when it said, “Thou shalt not murder,” include some explanation, some caution concerning that. Well there are several good reasons:

First of all, childlessness was viewed as a curse among the Jews. So, it would be unthinkable to bring a curse upon yourself by killing your own child. You’ll find that in Deuteronomy 25:6, Ruth 4:5, and Jeremiah 1:19. It was a curse to be childless, so people wouldn’t bring that upon themselves.

Secondly, children were viewed as a gift from God, so a parent one would be spurning a gift from God by abortion (Genesis 33:5, Psalm 113:9, 127:3). Furthermore, the Bible teaches that God grants conception, and the one who fears God does not terminate a work of God such as a pregnancy, and all pregnancies are the work of God (Genesis 29:33, 30:22, 1 Samuel 1:19-20). Also abortion was not practiced in Old Testament times. So, there really wasn’t any need for a prohibition against it. Even the ancient pagan civilizations recoiled from the concept of abortion. They didn’t recoil from burning their born children alive in offerings to Baal, but they recoiled from the idea of aborting an unborn child. The Old Testament is silent on abortion per se, but that does not justify the practice we’ve seen from the text in this passage.

Psalm 139

We have, furthermore, one more point, and that’s in Psalm 139. Psalm 139 stresses the work of God in the womb. Psalm 139:1-16 deal with the life of King David and the stages of his life. The first stage is in verse 1, and I want you to notice the personal pronoun “me.” “The Lord oh Lord has searched me and known me.” The second stage of his life is verses 2-6 where he repeatedly uses the word “I” as he reviews his present condition with God. His last stage of life is in verses 7-12 where again he repeatedly uses the word “I” in reference to himself in dealing with God. Then when we come to verses 13-16, he goes back into the fetal stage of his life. He goes back into his life in the womb. We’re going to zero in on that. Verse 13 says, “For thou didst form my inward parts.” David is reviewing his condition from the womb to adulthood, and he uses these personal pronouns to show that he is the same person inside the womb as outside, and there was a continuity. Verse 13 says, “For thou didst form my inward parts. Thou didst weave me in my mother’s womb.” These words “form” and “weave” describe the work of God in this pregnancy. The formation of a living person in the womb is a creative work of God.

Job 10:8 speaks about being fashioned by God’s hand. Ecclesiastes 11:5 refers to the creative work of God in developing a child in the womb. So, there is a clear declaration here that what is formed in the world as the result of conception is not a mere chemical biological activity, but it is the creative work of God. It is not some automatic system that has no mind and direction behind it. Then in verse Psalm 139:14 he says, “I will give thanks to thee for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are thy works, and all my soul knows it very well.” “Wonderfully made” is a praise to God for His infinite ability. Psalm 8:3-5 indicate that man is the crown jewel of all the creative work of God. And David thanks God for the fact that he has been wonderfully made. Anybody who knows anything about the functioning of the human body, the fact that the capacity the human body has for taking care of itself, when its immune system is functioning, and to repair itself, is amazing. Only such nonsense of evolution would suggest that that could have come without a thoughtful guidance by the power of God.

Then notice Psalm 139:15, “My frame was not hidden from thee…” The frame refers to the skeletal structure of the little body in the world. “… when I was made in secret and skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth.” “Skillfully wrought” indicates that the work that God is doing is a work of embroidery. The child is God’s handcraft, and “the depths of the earth” is a poetic reference to the fact that he was hidden in his mother’s womb. This is a Hebrew expression for “deepest concealment.” What God does in the womb was not known until modern times with the onset and the availability of radiology to be able to look inside the womb and see what was going on. But David knew and he said that God was skillfully putting together all the pieces, embroidering, as it were. God knows always because he fashions one child at a time. Abortion then is the gross interrupting of a creative work of God which is in progress, by sinful human beings for social convenience.

Finally Psalm 139:16 says, “Thine eyes have seen my unformed substance. This refers to David when he was an embryo, beginning his life, beginning as a new person. Before the embryo takes human shape, God is already at work on it actively putting it together and structuring it. “And in thy book they were all written, the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them.” “Furthermore, David said, “I have a mission.” Every conception is a human being with a divine mission. “And God has recorded my mission, and He has recorded my appropriate life span to execute that mission. Please remember that. If you are still here, it’s because you haven’t completed your mission. When your particular mission is completed as per the plan of God, you will die. Nothing will prevent that. Nothing will be able to circumvent that. All of that is in the Book of God and it was decided when that sperm and egg cell came together and conception was begun. God’s work and God’s decisions were at that point.

So, the fetus is not a mere growth in the mother’s womb which can be removed like a bad appendix or infected tonsils. The fetus is not a “potential” human being. It is a human being which is maturing to adulthood. At no point after conception does a fetus “become” a human being. The Bible is clear that it is a human being in the image of God, and that’s why the deliberate killing of that child in the fight with the woman and her husband with this man was an act of murder on the part of that man, because he killed a bonafide human being. If he would have killed a bonafide human being he would have paid with his life for it.

Read the complete article on abortion.

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Matthew 4 – The Temptation of Christ

‘And the Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil’ Matthew 4. Owen, this seems a very strange thing to do? 

Thank you for your question. Yes, this does seem somewhat strange.

These temptations were a necessary part of Christ’s earthly ministry. They constituted an attack by Satan against Jesus’ human nature–temptations that would have overcome any normal man. However, Jesus was no ordinary man. As the virgin-born God-man, His divine nature could not sin (1 Samuel 15:29), and this held his human nature in check. This does not mean that the impeccability of Christ denies the reality of Satan’s temptations. Satan’s rebellion against God has already been defeated in Christ’s atonement, but his rebellion is still real, even though the outcome of God’s victory is certain. The same is true for the temptation of Christ. The temptations were real, although the outcome was certain. In a demonstration of spirit and power, Jesus overcame the tempter, showing that He is the One who enables us to overcome temptation as well.

I hope this helps.

Thanks,

Owen

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Ending a Marriage

I am a 39-year old-woman that have been married close to 20 years. I am no longer attracted sexually to my husband and haven’t been in 10 years. I have been very much faithful through this time. However I will be 40 in a couple months and I don’t want to do another 20, because of the issue he has sexually. What do I do? 

Thank you for your question. I know that this is a very personal and trying issue for you, and I’ll simply try to answer it from a biblical perspective. Here are some Scriptures that seem to offer very straightforward answers to your question:

– 1 Corinthians 7:39 says, “A woman is bound to her husband as long as he lives.”

– 1 Corinthians 7:10-11 says, “To the married I give this command (not I, but the Lord): A wife must not separate from her husband. But if she does, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband. And a husband must not divorce his wife.”

– In Luke 16:18, Christ said “Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery, and the man who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.” Since Exodus 20:14 tells us that adultery is a sin, then it follows that the marriage of a divorced woman causes adultery, so this is wrong.

Also, it is true that the only valid biblical reasons for divorce are adultery and abandonment, and here are the scriptures supporting this:

– Matthew 5:32 “But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, makes her the victim of adultery, and anyone who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.”

– 1 Corinthians 7:13-16 says, “… if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him… But if the unbeliever leaves, let it be so. The brother or the sister is not bound in such circumstances.” I know that this probably isn’t the answer you want to hear, but the Scriptures indicate that it would be wrong to leave your husband, despite his shortcomings which include neither adultery nor abandonment.

For more information on love and marriage, please see my article entitled Love, Marriage, and Sex.

Thanks,

Owen

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Does God ordain every marriage?

My question is to the ordination of marriage: Does God ordain every marriage?

Thank you for your question. God ordains a marriage that is within the confines of His institution of marriage as He defined in His Word. Genesis 2:24 says that “… a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.” Ephesians 5:21-33 goes on to say that the husband and wife submit themselves to one another; they’re faithful to one another; and the husband loves his wife just as Christ loved the church. For more information on love and marriage, please see my article entitled Love, Marriage, and Sex.

Thanks,

Owen

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Mark and Luke

I never really thought about this before, but who were Mark and Luke since they weren’t one of the disciples?

Thank you for your question.

Mark’s full name was John Mark (Acts 12:12). His Christian life was influenced by his mother, Mary, as well as by his cousin, Barnabas, who took him with Paul on Paul’s first missionary journey (Acts 13:5). Halfway through this journey, Mark returned home (Acts 13:13). His departure caused Paul to not want to take him on his second missionary trip, and this caused Paul and Barnabas to part company (Acts 15:39). Instead, Barnabas set sail with Mark for the island of Cyprus. In later years however, Paul also commended Mark’s efforts in the ministry (2 Timothy 4:11).

Luke was a doctor, and one of Paul’s closest companions and fellow laborers (Colossians 4:14, Philemon 24, and 2 Timothy 4:11). Luke is also widely believed to be the author of the book of Acts as well.

I hope this helps.

Thanks,

Owen

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What Does Kingdom Mean in the Bible?

When the Bible Speaks of a Worldly or a Heavenly Kingdom – What is Kingdom?

Thank you for your question. It’s a tough one, because there are many different views of what the “kingdom” means in the scriptures. I adhere to a dispensational view, which is best described by Lewis Sperry Chafer, as follows:

1) The Kingdom of God – All intelligence creatures in heaven or on earth who are willingly subject to God.

2) The Kingdom of Heaven – Any sort of empire that God may have on earth at a given time:

– Theocratic – Such as the nation of Israel had in Old Testament times

– Covenanted – This then became the nation hope of Israel.

– Predicted – Bible prophecy anticipates a glorious kingdom for Israel on the earth.

– Announced – The ministries of John the Baptist, Christ, and the Apostles announced the kingdom for the nation of Israel, but it was rejected.

– Postponed – As a result, the earthly kingdom was postponed until Christ returns (Second Advent).

– Mystery – The present state of Christendom are a mystery form of the kingdom (Matthew 13:11).

– Realized – The kingdom of heaven will finally come to realization during the end times, at the time of the millennium–the 1000 year reign of Christ on the earth.

Thanks,

Owen

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What was the Acid Test for Different Scripture being Added to the Bible?

Basically, the acid test for different Scripture being added to the Bible consisted of 15 criteria:

1) Quotations: A major argument for verifying the authenticity of scripture through the years has involved examining which books were quoted by the canonical books.  For example, some will argue that since none of the books of the Apocrypha are quoted in our Bible, then that serves as proof that they do not belong in our Bible.

2) Literature: Another closely related argument says that we need to study what other non-canonical literature claims about the Canon.  For example, the famous Jewish historian, Josephus, claims that the real Old Testament is the 22-book Jewish Old Testament like our 39-book Old Testament. This argument gains credibility because of the testimony of men who lived so close to Old Testament times.

3) Divine Inspiration: Some scholars believe that no other books claim to be divinely inspired as they believe the Old Testament does, by 2 Timothy 3:16.

4) Prophets: Scripture can only be recorded through the divine revelation from God.  Since there were no prophets during the period of the Apocrypha, how could it be divinely inspired?

5) Errors: Many scholars have rejected the Apocrypha on the basis of the errors and contradictions found within it. In some cases, scholars have reason to believe that some of the moral and spiritual discrepancies are false doctrine rather than translation errors.  Some even cite what they call absurdities, or passages that are completely silly, and in no way could belong in the Bible.

6) Style: Scholars also feel that they can identify canonical books by their style.

7) Apostolic Authority: The most important criterion for the books of the New Testament was Apostolic Authority. This meant that a canonical book had to have been written by someone with the Gift of Apostle. This was sometimes difficult to verify because some of the books did not identify within themselves who the author was, and others were believed to be forgeries.

8) Read in the churches: Another important test included verifying that each book had been read in the first century churches.  Obviously, this restriction also makes it necessary that the books were completed before the end of the first century.

9) Quoted by leaders: The books had to have been quoted by early church leaders of the first century, in their writings. This is closely associated with 2) under Old Testament.

10) Rule of Faith: The New Testament books had to be consistent with the Rule of Faith, or what the Apostles had orally taught.

11) The Holy Spirit: As proof of divine revelation, the church fathers had to be convinced that each book was written under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

12) Agreement: There had to be general agreement of the church fathers that each book was canonical.

13) Quotations: The books were given credibility when they were proven to have quoted other canonical books, as well as when other books quoted them as being scripture. This is again like 1) and 2) under Old Testament.

14) Claim Divine Inspiration: Church fathers said that each book had to claim divine inspiration, like 3) under Old Testament.

15) Edification: The books had to edify the church.

For more details, please see the following articles on my website:

https://christiandataresources.com/basicbibledoctrine.htm#thebibleitself

https://christiandataresources.com/canon.htm

https://christiandataresources.com/ph01-01_introtophilippians.htm#historical

I hope this helps.

Thanks,

Owen

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Gratitude is the Key to Prayer

I recently received a secular e-mail that said:

Take a moment to reflect on your day… What are three things you feel grateful for?
List them out:

1.
2.
3.

Regular practice of gratitude correlates with significant changes in the body’s biochemistry. Researchers have found that consistent practice produces major health benefits, including up to a 23% reduction in cortisol, a stress hormone associated with several health issues. Additionally, gratitude practice provides an opportunity to stay present in the moment and appreciate what we have rather than focus on what we don’t. This steady practice affords us the ability to avoid undesirable attitudes such as envy, anger, or judgment; and instead focus on more positive feelings and emotions.  

Then on that same day, I read Philippians 4:6 that talks tells us to prayer with thanksgiving. Somehow, my days at work immediately got much better, and I’m making it day by day.

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