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The obedience and the submission to those who rule over the saints

28 September 2018

The obedience and the submission to those who rule over the saints

THECHURCHIt is written: “Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you” (Hebrews 13:17).

God has appointed some men over the sheep, which He purchased with His own blood, that they may shepherd His sheep. These men are the elders, who are called also ‘those who have the rule over the saints’, because their job is to rule over the flock of the Lord. The elders are men like us to whom God has given power to shepherd His Church; therefore, the sheep must obey them and be subject to them. They watch out for the souls of the faithful and if they see that the sheep do not heed their teachings and exhortations, they begin to do their job with grief, they no longer do it with joy. However, it must be clear that those who disobey their leaders do not do what is right in the sight of God.

Paul, Silas and Timothy said to the saints of Thessalonica: “And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you; And to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake” (1 Thessalonians 5:12-13). Therefore the elders who rule well, who labor in word and doctrine, and are diligent to convict those who contradict and warn those who are unruly, who clearly show that they care for the flock of the Lord, must be respected and held in the highest regard in love because of their work on behalf of the sheep of the Lord. Paul wrote to the Corinthians: “I urge you, brothers, to submit … to everyone who joins in the work, and labors at it” (1 Corinthians 16:15,16 – NIV), and since those who rule over the saints devote themselves to the service of the saints, using the authority and the ability they have received from God to minister to the saints, the saints must submit to them.

Brothers, you must understand that those who grumble against those who have been appointed by God over His people grumble against God; and also that the wrath of God comes upon those who envy and rebel against the leaders appointed by God to shepherd His flock. I am going to show you from the Scripture what I have just stated.

During the journey of the children of Israel across the wilderness, it came to pass that the Israelites grumbled against Moses and Aaron and rebelled against them. Before speaking of their grumblings and rebellion, however, I find it necessary to remind you who Moses and Aaron were and how they became the leaders of the children of Israel. Moses and Aaron were brothers and they descended from Levi. When Moses fled from the face of Pharaoh, he went to the land of Midian where he married one of the daughters of Jethro, the priest of Midian. There, in the land of Midian, Moses tended the flock of Jethro, his father-in-law. And when forty years had passed, the angel of the Lord appeared to Moses and sent him to Egypt together with Aaron that he might bring the children of Israel out of Egypt. In the Psalms it is written: “He sent Moses his servant, and Aaron whom He had chosen” (Psalm 105:26). Therefore, Aaron was chosen by God. However Moses also was chosen by God, for he is called “His chosen one” (Psalm 106:23 – NKJV). Therefore, both Moses and Aaron were chosen by God and appointed over the congregation of Israel, they did not appoint themselves leaders of the children of Israel, it was God who appointed them leaders of the children of Israel (consider also that God said these words to Moses: “See, I have made you as God to Pharaoh” Exodus 7:1 – NKJV). Now, after God brought the children of Israel out of Egypt by signs and wonders and the children of Israel had gone on dry ground through the midst of the Red Sea, the children of Israel came to the Wilderness of Sin. Then “the whole congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness: And the children of Israel said unto them, Would to God we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the flesh pots, and when we did eat bread to the full; for ye have brought us forth into this wilderness, to kill this whole assembly with hunger. Then said the LORD unto Moses, Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a certain rate every day, that I may prove them, whether they will walk in my law, or no. And it shall come to pass, that on the sixth day they shall prepare that which they bring in; and it shall be twice as much as they gather daily. And Moses and Aaron said unto all the children of Israel, At even, then ye shall know that the LORD hath brought you out from the land of Egypt: And in the morning, then ye shall see the glory of the LORD; for that he heareth your murmurings against the LORD: and what are we, that ye murmur against us? And Moses said, This shall be, when the LORD shall give you in the evening flesh to eat, and in the morning bread to the full; for that the LORD heareth your murmurings which ye murmur against him: and what are we? your murmurings are not against us, but against the LORD” (Exodus 16:2-8). As you can see, brothers, those words that the children of Israel spoke against Moses and Aaron were spoken against God and not against men. Read more…

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We have been saved to do good works

24 September 2018

We have been saved to do good works

holy-bibleWe have been saved by grace apart from good works

The apostle John says: “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 4:10).

Brethren, God first loved us; we cannot say that we first loved Him because all of us were once dead in our trespasses, we were all enemies of God because we fulfilled the desires of the flesh and of the mind; we were hateful and hating one another and thus we were dead because “anyone who does not love remains in death” (1 John 3:14 – NIV) and did not know God because “he who does not love does not know God, for God is love” (1 John 4:8 – NKJV). Each of us had turned to his own way; recalling the years we spent serving sin, we have to say that we also once walked according to the course of this world, we also conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, and thus we deserved to be cast into the fire of hell to be punished for our sins. “But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ …” (Ephesians 2:4-5) and saved us from the fire of hell. God manifested His great love toward us “in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8) so that we might receive freely eternal life, and so we are bound to give thanks to Him continually for His indescribable gift, that is, eternal life, He has given to us. Consider this: God has given us eternal life not by good works which we have done, but according to His great mercy for us; we have received eternal life by grace, through faith, as it is written: “He who believes in the Son has everlasting life” (John 3:36NKJV). Consider this also: the ransom for the redemption of our soul was paid fully by Jesus Christ. One doesn’t have to pay anything for the redemption of his soul because Christ, before breathing His last, said: “It is finished” (John 19:30), that’s why salvation is obtained freely, through faith in Christ apart from the works of the law.

The importance of good works in the life of a believer

As I said before, we were not saved by good works. However we were saved to do good works, as it is written that Christ “gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works” (Titus 2:14) and that “we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10).

Therefore, brothers, just as we once showed our folly by doing evil things, so now we ought to show our wisdom by doing good works. Good works are useful because through them we make our call and election sure (2 Peter 1:10), and we cause those who see them to glorify our God who is in heaven, as Jesus said: “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).

Good works are so important that James, the brother of Jesus, said that if faith “does not have works, is dead” (James 2:17 – NKJV) and that “as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also” (James 2:26 – NKJV). Therefore, faith without good works is of no value because it is dead, while faith working through love (Galatians 5:6) is of great value in the sight of God.

Let’s look for instance at the faith of Abraham, our father. Now, Abraham believed God and it was accounted to him for righteousness (therefore it was his faith that was accounted to him for righteousness), and this happened before the birth of Isaac. After Isaac was born, while Isaac was still a boy, God gave this order to Abraham: “Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of” (Genesis 22:2) and Abraham obeyed God for he arose, took his son and went to the place of which God had told him in order to offer Isaac there as a burnt offering. But as you know, when Abraham was about to slay his son God stopped him and Abraham offered a ram up for a burnt offering instead of his son. Then God told him that He would bless him and that in his seed all the nations of the earth would be blessed because he had obeyed His voice. Now, the Scripture says: “By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called: Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure” (Hebrews 11:17-19). That means that when Abraham was tested by God, his faith did not cease working but continued to work by doing what God commanded him to do. In regard to this event of the life of Abraham, James said: “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” (James 2:21-23). As you can see, the faith of Abraham was made perfect (or complete) by what he did.

I would like you to notice that it is written: “By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac” (Hebrews 11:17), therefore Abraham acted out of faith – Abel also acted out of faith, as it is written: “By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain…” (Hebrews 11:4). So the Scripture teaches us that every good work we are called to do, we have to do it by faith. Besides this, it teaches that every time there is a need among the brethren we are tested (as Abraham was tested) by God because God commands us to distribute to the needs of the saints, as it is written: “Share with God’s people who are in need” (Romans 12:13 – NIV), and through this commandment He tests us to see whether we are willing to help those who are in need or not, whether we love the brethren in tongue or in deed and truth, whether we fear Him or not. Is it not written that good works were prepared by God beforehand? Therefore it is God who creates certain needs among the brethren in order to test our faith and our love. He wants to see whether we are willing to obey Him or not. Of course, in the midst of this test the tempter tempts us to disobey this commandment, but we know how to overcome the devil, for the Scripture tells us: “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7). Read more…

Repentance and faith

21 September 2018

Repentance and faith

REDEMPTION

God’s salvation can be experienced by a man through repentance and faith in the Gospel, that’s why Jesus said to the Jews: “Repent ye, and believe the gospel” (Mark 1:15), and Paul testified to Jews, and also to Greeks, repentance toward God and faith toward the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 20:21).

To repent means to be sorry and grieved for one’s sins; therefore when a man repents of his sins he recognizes that he is a sinner in the sight of God and he is sorry for the sins he has committed because he recognizes that he has broken the commandments of God, who is Holy and Right. Besides this, he decides not to sin any longer and to bear fruits worthy of repentance. In other words, he decides to turn to the Lord from his evil ways to live a holy and right life. In the Gospel according to Matthew there is this parable, which Jesus spoke to the chief priests and the elders of Israel, which shows what happens when someone repents: “A certain man had two sons; and he came to the first, and said, Son, go work to day in my vineyard. He answered and said, I will not: but afterward he repented, and went. And he came to the second, and said likewise. And he answered and said, I go, sir: and went not” (Matthew 21:28-30). As you can see, at first the first son refused to obey his father, but afterwards he repented and decided to go to work in his father’s vineyard. That son recognized he had given a wrong answer to his father, and decided to obey his father. Therefore, a man must recognize that he has disobeyed God by breaking His commandments, and must decide to forsake his rebellious conduct and begin a new life. That’s what I preach to people.

However, repentance is not enough, because a man must also believe in the Gospel, that is to say, he must believe that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, died for our sins and rose again the third day for our justification. For the Scripture says that to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness (Romans 4:5). Those who believe, therefore, receive remission of sins and are reconciled to God by their faith in the name of Jesus (Acts 10:43). Besides this, they are delivered from the bondage of sin (Romans 6:5-7,22), and they receive eternal life (John 3:16,36; 6:47), so they are no longer afraid of death because they are sure that after death they will go to heaven to be with the Lord Jesus Christ.

When a sinner has repented of his sins, forsaken them and believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, we affirm that he has turned to the Lord from his evil ways to serve the living and true God (1 Thessalonians 1:9). He is no longer the same person, his life has changed, he has a new mind, a new heart, new desires and purposes. In other words, he is born again.

In conclusion, I want to say that both repentance and faith are granted by God, for it is written with regard to repentance: “Then God has also granted to the Gentiles repentance to life” (Acts 11:18 – NKJV) and: “Him God has exalted to His right hand to be Prince and Saviour, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins” (Acts 5:31 – NKJV); while with regard to faith it is written that “it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8). Shall we say then that a man’s conversion is determined by God? Yes, because Peter said to the Jews: “Unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities” (Acts 3:26). That does not mean that man does not possess a will, but rather that God uses the will of man to fulfil what He purposed before the foundation of the world. Obviously, when a person turns to the Lord he does not know that God predestined him to repent and to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ; this is unknown to him. But we will come back to this subject later. Read more…

Demons

17 September 2018

Demons

demonologyDemons are evil spirits or unclean spirits which are under the leadership of Satan, who is called “the prince of demons” (Matthew 12:24NIV). Demons are his obedient subjects, who do his will. Satan carries on his wicked work with them.

As far as their origin is concerned, the Scripture doesn’t say how they came into being. Demons believe that there is one God, and tremble (James 2:19).

Please note the following thing: in the New Testament the KJV speaks of demons as “devils”. However, the underlying Greek word is not diabolos, the term for the devil (Satan), but daimonion which is rightly rendered as “demons” in the NKJV and NIV.

The demons in the days of Jesus

In the days of Jesus there were many people possessed by demons in Israel. And Jesus cast out many demons.

In the Gospels there are many passages which confirm this. Here are just a few of them: “At evening, when the sun had set, they brought to Him all who were sick and those who were demon-possessed …. Then He healed many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons; and He did not allow the demons to speak, because they knew him” (Mark 1:32,34 – NKJV); “And He was preaching in their synagogues throughout all Galilee, and casting out demons” (Mark 1:39 – NKJV). Jesus cast out demons by the Holy Spirit (Matthew 12:28), but the scribes and the Pharisees accused Him of casting out demons by Beelzebub, that is, the prince of demons (Matthew 12:24). So Jesus rebuked them, saying: “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand: And if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself; how shall then his kingdom stand? And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils [demons], by whom do your children cast them out? therefore they shall be your judges. But if I cast out devils [demons] by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you. Or else how can one enter into a strong man’s house, and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man? and then he will spoil his house. He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad. Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men. And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come. Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by his fruit. O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things. But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned” (Matthew 12:25-37). As you can see, Satan cannot cast out Satan, so anyone who is under the power of Satan cannot cast out demons. That is confirmed by the following incident which occurred in the province of Asia while Paul was there: “Some Jews who went around driving out evil spirits tried to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who were demon-possessed. They would say, ‘In the name of Jesus, whom Paul preaches, I command you to come out.’ Seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this. The evil spirit answered them, ‘Jesus I know and Paul I know about, but who are you?’ Then the man who had the evil spirit jumped on them and overpowered them all. He gave them such a beating that they ran out of the house naked and bleeding. When this became known to the Jews and Greeks living in Ephesus, they were all seized with fear, and the name of the Lord Jesus was held in high honor” (Acts 19:13-17 – NIV).

Jesus gave His apostles power over demons to cast them out (Matthew 10:1) and commanded them to cast out demons (Matthew 10:8), and His apostles cast out many demons (Mark 6:13) in obedience to His command.

The different kinds of demons

As in the kingdom of God there are different kinds of good spirits (cherubim, seraphim, an archangel, and angels) which have different jobs, so is in the kingdom of the prince of the power of the air (that is, the devil), for in it there are various kinds of evils spirits (demons).

There are evil spirits which cause dumbness and deafness like that evil spirit which Jesus cast out of a boy, as it is written in the Gospel according to Mark: “And when he came to his disciples, he saw a great multitude about them, and the scribes questioning with them. And straightway all the people, when they beheld him, were greatly amazed, and running to him saluted him. And he asked the scribes, What question ye with them? And one of the multitude answered and said, Master, I have brought unto thee my son, which hath a dumb spirit; And wheresoever he taketh him, he teareth him: and he foameth, and gnasheth with his teeth, and pineth away: and I spake to thy disciples that they should cast him out; and they could not. He answereth him, and saith, O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him unto me. And they brought him unto him: and when he saw him, straightway the spirit tare him; and he fell on the ground, and wallowed foaming. And he asked his father, How long is it ago since this came unto him? And he said, Of a child. And ofttimes it hath cast him into the fire, and into the waters, to destroy him: but if thou canst do any thing, have compassion on us, and help us. Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth. And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief. When Jesus saw that the people came running together, he rebuked the foul spirit, saying unto him, Thou dumb and deaf spirit, I charge thee, come out of him, and enter no more into him. And the spirit cried, and rent him sore, and came out of him: and he was as one dead; insomuch that many said, He is dead. But Jesus took him by the hand, and lifted him up; and he arose” (Mark 9:14-27). In the Gospel according to Matthew we find another case of a person who was dumb because of a dumb spirit and was able to speak only after Jesus cast out the demon he had, for it is written: “As they went out, behold, they brought to him a dumb man possessed with a devil [demon]. And when the devil [demon] was cast out, the dumb spake: and the multitudes marvelled, saying, It was never so seen in Israel(Matthew 9:32-33). Therefore some of those who are dumb and deaf have a demon, which causes dumbness and deafness; so in these cases, in order to see these persons healed of their dumbness and deafness, this kind of demon must first be discerned and then cast out. Pay attention to this: I have not said that all those who are dumb and deaf have a dumb and deaf demon which causes their sickness, but that some of them have a dumb and deaf demon, for the fact that a person is deaf and dumb does not necessarily mean that he has a dumb and deaf spirit, it can be so, but this is not always the case. It is erroneous – according to the Scripture – to state that every deaf or dumb person is demon-possessed, for just as in the days of Jesus there were many dumb and deaf people who were not demon-possessed at all but simply sick – that’s why Jesus did not cast any demon out of them, but He just healed them (Mark 7:32-37) – so today there are many dumb and deaf people who do not need to be delivered from demons, but simply healed of their sickness. Read more…

The Angel of the Lord

14 September 2018

The Angel of the Lord

ANGELOLOGY

In the Old Testament there are many references to “the angel of the Lord” (here are some of them: Genesis 16:7; 22:11; Exodus 3:2; Judges 13:3), who is called also “the angel of his presence” (Isaiah 63:9). Who was that angel? He was a special heavenly being, for God said to the Israelites: “My name is in Him” (Exodus 23:21), and when one day that angel was asked by Manoah, the father of Samson, what was his name, he answered: “Why do you ask My name, seeing it is wonderful?” (Judges 13:18 – NKJV). That angel, therefore, was God, or rather the Son of God (who was God) in His pre-existent state. So, that angel was not a creature, but the Second Person of the Trinity, who manifested Himself in angelic form.

Please note this: the expression “the angel of the Lord” in Matthew 1:20; 28:2; Luke 2:9; Acts 5:19; 8:26; and 12:7,23 in the KJV is a mistranslation, for the correct translation is “an angel of the Lord” (NKJV). Read more…

The transmission of the Bible

10 September 2018

The transmission of the Bible

THEBIBLEThe Canon

The word ‘canon’ literally means ‘a straight rod’, or ‘a ruler’ and when it is applied to the Scriptures, it means the list of divinely inspired books which are the only basis for faith and practice in the life of the Church.

In the days of Jesus the canon of the Old Testament was already confirmed (Jesus referred to this collection of inspired writings as ‘the Scripture’ [John 10:35] or ‘the law of Moses, the prophets and the psalms’ [Luke 24:44]), but not so for the New Testament, because the books which form the New Testament were written one at a time during the course of the first century. The canon of the New Testament was fixed in 397 after Christ by the Council of Cartage, which identified the sacred books by name; they were 27 and the list was the same list we posses now. However, it must be said that that list was just an official statement of what the universal Church had already accepted as canonical Scripture. In other words, the Church just declared officially which books were inspired and which books were not inspired. It is important to realize that a book did not become inspired by being included in the canon. Inclusion in the Canon was merely recognition of the authority the book already possessed. On the other hand, it must be said that the Council of Carthage added the books of the Apocrypha (Tobit, Judith, 1 and 2 Maccabees, Book of Wisdom, Book of Sirach or Ecclesiasticus, and the Book of Baruch, and some additions to the book of Esther and to the book of Daniel) to the canon of the Old Testament, even though those writings (which were written in the intertestamental period) are not inspired. Therefore, that Council made a mistake in adding those books to the canon, which books are considered canonical by the Roman Catholic Church (which officially included them in the canon in the sixteenth century). However, the Christians of the first centuries after Christ did not regard the Apocrypha as inspired books for the following reasons: 1) They contain contradictions, false doctrines and fanciful stories; 2) Neither Jesus Christ nor the apostles mentioned them; 3) They were not, and still are not, in the Hebrew canon.

Since I have just mentioned the Hebrew Canon, let me say also that it consists of 24 books, but these books are the same as the 39 books we possess in the Old Testament of our Bible. Therefore the only difference is the way the Jews count the Old Testament books. Here is how they count them:

Law (Torah): 1. Genesis; 2. Exodus; 3. Leviticus; 4. Numbers; 5. Deuteronomy.

Prophets (Nevi’im): 6. Joshua; 7. Judges; 8. Samuel (1st + 2nd); 9. Kings (1st + 2nd); 10. Isaiah; 11. Jeremiah; 12. Ezekiel; 13. The 12 ‘Minor’ Prophets (Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi).

Writings (Ketuvim): 14. Psalms; 15. Proverbs; 16. Job; 17. Song of Songs; 18. Ruth; 19. Lamentations; 20. Ecclesiastes; 21. Esther; 22. Daniel; 23. Ezra + Nehemiah; 24. Chronicles (1st + 2nd).

Transmission of the Old Testament

The original books of the Old Testament were written by various men, for instance the first five books of it (called Pentateuch) were written by the prophet Moses; many Psalms were written by David, the book of Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and the Song of Songs were written by king Solomon, the book of Isaiah by the prophet Isaiah, and so on. All the writers of these books were Jews by birth, so they belonged to the people of Israel.

The Old Testament books were written at various times over a period of approximately 1400 years (from around the fourteenth century to the first century before Christ) and the language in which they were written was Hebrew (except a few passages which are in the book of Daniel and the book of Ezra, which were written in Aramaic). They were written on parchments. In the days of the apostles (the first century after Christ) there were copies of those inspired books; those copies were written on parchments and they were read in the synagogues of the Jews who lived in Israel and of the Jews scattered among the nations.

Those Jews who had the job of writing copies of those books were called scribes (in Hebrew ‘soferim’) and in writing the holy books they had to observe very strict rules. By the sixth century after Christ the scribes were succeeded by a group known as the Masoretes (from the Hebrew massorah which means ‘tradition’), who continued to preserve the Sacred Scriptures for another five hundred years in a form known as the Masoretic Text. Babylonian, Palestine, and Tiberias were the main centers of Masoretic activity; but by the tenth century the Tiberian Masoretes, led by the family of Ben Asher, gained the ascendancy. Through subsequent editions, the ben Asher text became in the twelfth century the only recognized form of the Hebrew Scriptures. The oldest dated manuscript of the Ben Asher Text is the Leningrad Manuscript B19a (1008 after Christ). The third edition of Biblia Hebraica, published by Paul Kahle in 1937, was based on the manuscript of the Ben Asher Text. This is the Text on which is based the Hebrew Bible as well as the Old Testament of the NKJV, NASV and NIV. As for the Old Testament of the KJV, it is based on the Ben Chayyim Masoretic Text, which is the Masoretic Text used for the Hebrew Bibles for approximately 400 years prior to the 1937 edition of the Biblia Hebraica.

Today, among the Jews, there are still scribes who have the important job to copy the scroll of the Law. They observe strict rules (which are very old) when they write the books of Moses. I would like you to know some of these rules.

1. The Pentateuch must be written on the skin (parchment) of a clean animal. The parchment must be prepared specially for use as a scroll, with gallnut and lime and other chemicals that help to render it durable.

2. The ink must be black, durable, but not indelible. It is prepared according to a special recipe.

3. The number of lines on each column cannot be less than 48 nor more than 60. However, at the present day the forty-two-lined column is the generally accepted style of the scroll. Every line should be long enough to contain thirty letters.

4. The scribe must have before him a correct copy; he cannot write even a single word from memory; and he must pronounce every word before writing it. This is to prevent any duplications, or omissions of words.

5. Before writing the name of God, the scribe must say, ‘I am writing the name of God for the holiness of His name’. When the scribe has begun to write the name of God, he must not be interrupted until he has finished it.

6. Strict rules govern the forms of the letters, the spaces between the letters, the words, the lines, the portions, and the space between each of the Pentateutichal books.

7. If an error is found in the scroll, it must be corrected and re-examined by a competent person within thirty days; if 3 or 4 errors are found on one page the scroll must be discarded. A mistake in the writing of any of the names of God cannot be corrected since the name of God may not be erased, and the whole sheet must be replaced and the defective sheet discarded.

The scrupulous care which the Jewish scribes take in writing the five books of the law leads us to think that the copies of the original documents have been handed down with substantial correctness for about 2000 years. Obviously, the copyists who copied the books of the Law and the other books of the Old Testament made some mistakes, – only the authors of the original books did not make any mistakes because they were inspired by God – that’s why the old manuscripts of the Old Testament sometimes differ from one another; however, it must be said that the differences don’t affect the doctrines of the Bible. What I have stated is confirmed by the Dead Sea Scrolls discovered in 1947, which are generally dated from about 200 to 50 before Christ. They include fragments, often minute, of every book in the Old Testament except Esther, one complete scroll of Isaiah and another of which approximately half has been lost, and a commentary on the first two chapters of Habakkuk containing most of their text. All these agree essentially with the ‘received text’ (the Masoretic Text) of the Old Testament except for orthographic variations or occasional variant readings hardly affecting the sense. Fragments, however, of Samuel and one of Jeremiah have a shortened form of the text like that of the Septuagint in these books. Since I have just mentioned the Septuagint, let me say something about it. The Septuagint is the Greek translation of the Old Testament made in Egypt in the third and second centuries before Christ. This Greek version of the Old Testament is called ‘Septuagint’ (from the Latin ‘septuaginta’ which means ‘seventy’) because it is said that was translated by seventy-two elders, six from each of the twelve tribes of Israel. The Pentateuch is reasonably well translated, but the rest of the books, especially the poetical books, are often very poorly done and even contain sheer absurdities (taken from the Jewish Midrash). Errors apart, this translation is now literal, now paraphrastic and now interpretative. It contains the Apocrypha, which are not inspired. Furthermore, the underlying Hebrew text differed in many places from the Masoretic text; so, for instance, the Septuagint represents a shortened form of the text of 1 and 2 Samuel and has the chapters of Jeremiah in an entirely different order. Yet, even though the Greek text itself is frequently corrupt, it is very often useful for recovering the original Hebrew text, if used with caution and skill. At first, the Jews welcomed this translation, however, two things rendered the Septuagint unwelcome in the long run to the Jews. Its divergence from the accepted text (afterward called the Masoretic text) was too evident; and it therefore could not serve as a basis for theological discussion or for homiletic interpretation. In addition to this, it had been adopted as Sacred Scriptures by the Christians, and this fact disturbed very much the Jews. Therefore, according to the Jews, a revision in the sense of the canonical Jewish text was necessary. This revision was made by a proselyte, Aquila, who lived during the reign of Hadrian (117-138). His translation is pedantic, and its Greek is uncouth. A second revision of the Septuagint was made toward the end of the second century by one Theodotion; his Greek gives a readable text. A third revision (perhaps dated to 170 after Christ) was made by Symmachus, a Samaritan convert to Judaism; its Greek is good.

Transmission of the New Testament

The books of the New Testament were written one at a time within the span of a century (the first century after Christ).

They were written in Greek by various men whose names were these: Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Paul, Peter, James, and Jude. The author of the epistle to the Hebrews is unknown; some say it was Paul who wrote it, some others say its author is Apollos, and others say Barnabas.

As soon as each book of the New Testament appeared, it started to be read among the churches, and to be copied by believers. By the end of the first century all the Gospels and all the epistles and the book of Revelation were written (the first epistles of Paul, along with perhaps the epistle of James, were written between 48 and 60 after Christ, and the Gospels and other books between 60 and 100).

Therefore, the period of transmission of the New Testament covers 1400 years from the time of composition (1st century) to the invention of the printing machine (15th century). The history is divided into three periods: (1) Papyrus period (1st -4th century), (2) Uncial period (4th-9th century), and (3) Minuscule period (9th – 15th century).

Papyrus period

At the time of the New Testament, and even long time before, papyrus was used for writing. It must be said, however, that at the time of the New Testament parchment also was used for writing, for Paul said to Timothy: “Bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas when you come – and the books, especially the parchments” (2 Timothy 4:13 – NKJV). Papyrus was found in Egypt and it came from a large water plant by that name. The soft tissue-strips within the stem were used to make papyrus sheets. A papyrus sheet had two layers consisting of the horizontal and vertical strips. Writing was done on the smoother side where the grain was horizontal. The length of a papyrus scroll depended on the length of the book of the New Testament written on it. However, it was impossible on papyrus to have a complete scroll of the New Testament (it would have taken a 60 meters – about 200 feet – scroll to contain the entire New Testament). Besides scroll-type papyrus manuscripts, there are also codices which are book-type papyrus manuscripts. There are a total of about one hundred papyri.

Uncial period

Uncial manuscripts are Greek manuscripts written in capital (majuscule) letters on vellum or parchment. There are about 300 extant uncial manuscripts. The more well-known ones are these:

1. Codex Sinaiticus. It was discovered by Tiscendorf in St Catherine’s monastery (which is at the foot of Mount Sinai) in 1844. There are 4 columns per page. Contains the complete New Testament (but it doesn’t contain passages such as Mark 16:9-20 and John 7:53-8:11) and has much of the Old Testament in Greek. It also contains the Epistle of Barnabas and most of the Shepherd of Ermas (early Christian writings which were widely used in teaching). Dated to about 350 after Christ.

2. Codex Alexandrinus. It is stored in the British Museum and is dated to about 400-450 after Christ. It is the longest and best known uncial manuscript. It contains the whole New Testament except for most of Matthew (from 1:1 through 25:6) and some parts of John (from 6:50 through 8:52) and 2 Corinthians (from 4:13 through 12:6). At the end are added some early Christian writings which were commonly used in teaching: the first Epistle of Clement, and the second Epistle of Clement up to 12:4. There are two columns per page.

3. Codex Vaticanus. It is kept in the Vatican library. It was found in 1481 and is dated to about 350 after Christ. There are 3 columns per page. Contains both Old Testament and New Testament, and Apocrypha. But almost the whole of Genesis, many Psalms (105:27-137:6), some passages of the Gospels (such as Mark 16:9-20; Luke 22:43; 23:34; John 7:53-8:11), Hebrews 9:14 to the end, the Pastoral Epistles, the epistle to Philemon and the Book of Revelation are missing.

4. Codex Ephraemi Rescriptus. ‘Rescriptus’ means ‘to write again’. It was a biblical manuscript which had been erased and Ephraem – one of the so called Church Fathers who lived during the 4th century – wrote a sermon on the recycled parchment. It contains parts of the New Testament except 2 Thessalonians and 2 John which are missing. It is dated to about 450 after Christ.

5. Codex Bezae. It is located in the Cambridge University Library. It is dated to the 6th century. It contains the Gospels and Acts in Greek and Latin, with some gaps from loss and mutilation of its pages. The Greek text is quite peculiar, with many interpolations found nowhere else, a few remarkable omissions and a capricious tendency to rephrase sentences.

Minuscule Period

The minuscules appeared a little later than the uncials. The letters are smaller, and in formal running hand.

The Greek Text of the New Testament

As far as the New Testament is concerned, it is a well known fact that there are many differences between the New Testament of the King James Version and the New Testament of the New International Version, which are two of the most popular Bible Translations in the English-speaking countries.

Obviously, the first difference that can be clearly seen is the language, for the English of the King James Version is an archaic English since the translation was made several centuries ago. But there are other differences, such as omissions of words and phrases, word order, and tense. I will dwell a little upon the reason of these last differences I have just mentioned.

They exist because the King James Version is based on the ‘Received Text’ while the New International Version is based on the ‘Critical Text’ (which are two different Greek Texts of the New Testament since they are based on different manuscripts). These things can be said also about the New Testament differences existing between the Italian Bible Diodati Version, which dates back to the seventeenth century like the King James Version, and the Riveduta Version.

The Received Text or Textus Receptus

As I said before, during the first century (after Christ) God inspired some men to write the books of the New Testament, and they wrote exactly what the Holy Spirit moved them to write. So those books were free from error of any kind. However, it came to pass, during the centuries that followed, that scribes and printers made both unintentional changes (from faulty eyesight or by careless inspection of the original, from likeness of pronunciation or by incorrect spelling, from errors of memory or anticipation, by incorporations of marginal notes wrongly taken as corrections) and intentional changes (to make the meaning more plain, to harmonize related passages, to remove difficulties, to emphasize or safeguard important teachings) in the Greek text as they copied it. As a result, the manuscript copies of the New Testament we possess nowadays differ among themselves in numerous details.

Many attempts have been made to sort through the manuscripts of the New Testament and weed out the errors and mistakes of copyists, in order to restore the text to its original apostolic form. Those who have made such attempts have differed one from another in the resources at their disposal, their own personal abilities as text editors, and the principles followed in trying to restore the original text of the New Testament.

The two most famous attempts at restoring the original text of the New Testament are the Textus Receptus or Received Text, dating from the Reformation and post-Reformation era, and the Greek Text of B.F. Westcott and F. J. A. Hort, called ‘Critical Text’, first published in 1881. These two texts were based on differing collections of manuscripts, following different textual principles, at different stages in the on-going process of the discovery and evaluation of surviving New Testament manuscripts, and, not surprisingly, with often differing results.

The ‘Received Text’ is not a single text. It is a tradition of printed texts published during the time of the Protestant Reformation, that is, the 1500’s and early 1600’s. It includes the editions of Erasmus (5 editions: 1516, 1519, 1522, 1527, 1535) who was a Roman Catholic priest who opposed Luther and the Reformation; Robert Estienne – called also Stephens or Stephanus – (4 editions: 1546, 1549, 1550, 1551); Theodore de Beza (9 editions between 1565 and 1604); and the Elzevirs (3 editions: 1624, 1633, 1641). All these Greek texts show a close general uniformity because they are more or less reprints of the text (s) edited by Erasmus, with only minor variations. All these Received Text editions are based upon a small number of late medieval manuscripts. The King James Version (and the Italian Bible Diodati Version as well) is based upon the Received Text.

At this point, I need to speak about the Majority Text (also known as the Byzantine or Syriac text), which is derived from the plurality of all existing Greek manuscripts; since most of these manuscripts are late medieval manuscripts, there is family resemblance between the Received Text and the Majority Text. Therefore they are not the same thing. I say this because I know that the terms Textus Receptus and Majority Text are frequently used as though they were synonymous. Some scholars have estimated that the Majority Text differs from the Textus Receptus in over 1000 places. Therefore if we add this fact to the fact that the various editions of the Received Text differ from one another, we must recognize that the matter is quite difficult and complicated, it is not so simple as many depict it.

The Critical Text

In 1881 was published the Greek New Testament edited by Brooke Foss Westcott (1825-1901) and Fenton John Anthony Hort (1828-1892), which is probably the most famous of the so-called critical texts. Their Greek New Testament deliberately and substantially departed from the textus receptus on the basis of manuscript evidence. Even though the Westcott-Hort text was the ‘standard’ critical text for a generation or two, it is no longer considered such by anyone, and has not been for many years. Today, the ‘standard’ text or texts are the Nestle or Nestle-Aland text (1st edition, 1898; 27th edition, 1993) and/or the various editions of The Greek New Testament published by the United Bible Societies. However, it must be said that the Westcott-Hort text is part of the heritage of both the Nestle texts and the UBS texts – which are called ‘new textus receptus’ – for they do not differ a whole lot from the text produced by Westcott-Hort in 1881; as a result many modern versions are still influenced one way or another, much or less, by the Westcott-Hort critical text. One of these Bible versions is the New International Version (in the preface of this Bible we read that ‘the Greek text used in translating the New Testament was an eclectic one ….’, but Kenneth Barker, General editor of the NIV, said that the eclectic text is the UBSGNT and NA).

Westcott and Hort compiled their text by employing the two oldest then-known manuscripts, Vaticanus and Sinaiticus, as their text base. For according to them, the concurrence of these two manuscripts are very strong, and cannot be far from the original text. These two manuscripts are called ‘the earliest and most reliable manuscripts’ or ‘the oldest and best manuscripts’ (even though some important passages are missing, such as John 7:53-8:11 and Mark 16:9-20, and many mistakes are in them). Since their day, a good number of manuscripts as old and in some cases a century or more older than these two manuscripts have been discovered. With a general uniformity, these early manuscripts have supported the text type known as the Alexandrian text (because of its origin in Egypt) which the Westcott-Hort text presents. Of the early versions, the Westcott-Hort text has strong support in the various Coptic versions of the third and later centuries, plus frequent support in the Old Latin versions and the oldest forms of the Syriac, in particular the Sinaitic and Curetonian manuscripts whose text form dates to the second or third century. Jerome’s revision of the Old Latin, the Vulgate made about 400 after Christ, also gives frequent support to the Alexandrian text.

Which text shall we choose as superior?

To answer this question I quote some words written by Douglas Kutilek in one of his articles titled ‘Westcott & Hort vs. Textus receptus: Which is Superior?’, taken from http://www.bible-researcher.com/, because I agree with them.

What shall we say then? Which text shall we choose as superior? We shall choose neither the Westcott-Hort text (or its modern kinsmen) nor the textus receptus (or the majority text) as our standard text, our text of last appeal. All these printed texts are compiled or edited texts, formed on the basis of the informed (or not-so-well-informed) opinions of fallible editors. Neither Erasmus nor Westcott and Hort (nor, need we say, any other text editor or group of editors) is omniscient or perfect in reasoning and judgment. Therefore, we refuse to be enslaved to the textual criticism opinions of either Erasmus or Westcott and Hort or for that matter any other scholars, whether Nestle, Aland, Metzger, Burgon, Hodges and Farstad, or anyone else. Rather, it is better to evaluate all variants in the text of the Greek New Testament on a reading by reading basis, that is, in those places where there are divergences in the manuscripts and between printed texts, the evidence for and against each reading should be thoroughly and carefully examined and weighed, and the arguments of the various schools of thought considered, and only then a judgment made. We do, or should do, this very thing in reading commentaries and theology books. We hear the evidence, consider the arguments, weigh the options, and then arrive at what we believe to be the honest truth. Can one be faulted for doing the same regarding the variants in the Greek New Testament? Our aim is to know precisely what the Apostles originally did write, this and nothing more, this and nothing else. And, frankly, just as there are times when we must honestly say, “I simply do not know for certain what this Bible verse or passage means,” there will be (and are) places in the Greek New Testament where the evidence is not clear cut,(1) and the arguments of the various schools of thought do not distinctly favor one reading over another. This means there will at times be a measure of uncertainty in defining precisely the exact wording of the Greek New Testament (just as there is in the interpretation of specific verses and passages), but this does not mean that there is uncertainty in the theology of the New Testament. Baptist theologian J. L. Dagg has well-stated the theological limits of the manuscript variations in the New Testament. Although the Scriptures were originally penned under the unerring guidance of the Holy Spirit, it does not follow, that a continued miracle has been wrought to preserve them from all error in transcribing. On the contrary, we know that manuscripts differ from each other; and where readings are various, but one of them can be correct. A miracle was needed in the original production of the Scriptures; and, accordingly, a miracle was wrought; but the preservation of the inspired word, in as much perfection as was necessary to answer the purpose for which it was given, did not require a miracle, and accordingly it was committed to the providence of God. Yet the providence which has preserved the divine oracles, has been special and remarkable….The consequence is, that, although the various readings found in the existing manuscripts, are numerous, we are able, in every case, to determine the correct reading, so far as is necessary for the establishment of our faith, or the direction of our practice in every important particular. So little, after all, do the copies differ from each other, that these minute differences, when viewed in contrast with their general agreement, render the fact of that agreement the more impressive, and may be said to serve, practically, rather to increase, than impair our confidence in their general correctness. Their utmost deviations do not change the direction of the line of truth; and if it seems in some points to widen the line a very little, the path that lies between their widest boundaries, is too narrow to permit us to stray (2). To this may be added the testimony of Sir Frederic G. Kenyon, the pre-eminent British authority on New Testament manuscripts at the turn of the twentieth century. In discussing the differences between the traditional and the Alexandrian text-types, in the light of God’s providential preservation of His word, he writes, We may indeed believe that He would not allow His Word to be seriously corrupted, or any part of it essential to man’s salvation to be lost or obscured; but the differences between the rival types of text is not one of doctrine. No fundamental point of doctrine rests upon a disputed reading: and the truths of Christianity are as certainly expressed in the text of Westcott and Hort as in that of Stephanus (3).

Notes

1. Even following rigidly the textual theory that “the majority rules” leaves a fair measure of doubt in a number of passages (especially in Revelation) where there is no numerical majority reading, the manuscripts exhibiting three or more variants, with none represented by 50% plus one (or more) of surviving witnesses. See the apparatus of Hodges & Farstad. And fleeing to the position, “I’ll just stick to the textus receptus,” doesn’t settle the matter, since the various t.r. editions differ widely among themselves — the Complutensian text — the first printed Greek New Testament — differing from the first Elzevir edition in 2,777 places, by Scrivener’s count (A Plain Introduction to the Criticism of the New Testament, first edition, p. 293), and in more than 2,300 from Stephanus’ 1550 edition (p. 300); Stephanus’ 1550 edition in turn differs from the Elzevir 1633 edition (these two have long been considered the standard textus receptus editions) in 286 places (p. 304).

2. J. L. Dagg, A Manual of Theology (Harrisonburg, Va.: Gano, 1982 reprint of 1857 edition), pp. 24, 25.

3. Frederic G. Kenyon, Handbook of the Textual Criticism of the New Testament (London: Macmillan and Co., 1901), p. 271.

The King James–New International Version controversy

The King James Version was published in 1611 in England, under the reign of King James I. The work of translation began in 1607 and was completed in 1610. It was made by 54 scholars, of whom only 48 were recorded since some passed away before the completion of the project. The Old Testament was based on the same Masoretic text as the previous versions, while the New Testament was based on the received text. However, it must be said that the translators of the King James Version did not follow exclusively any single printed edition of the New Testament in Greek; the edition most closely followed by them was Beza’s edition of 1598, but they departed from this edition for the reading in some other published Greek text at least 170 times, and in at least 60 places, the King James version translators abandoned all then-existing printed editions of the Greek New Testament, choosing instead to follow precisely the reading in the Latin Vulgate Version. Furthermore, it must be remembered that the original KJV of 1611 contained the Apocrypha, which are not inspired books, and that the KJV of 1611 was revised several times; the last revision was made in 1769 (the KJV used today is the 1769 edition).

After the King James Version many other English Bibles have appeared. One of the most popular and used English Bibles today is the New International Version, which was published in 1978. It was made by over a hundred scholars. For the Old Testament the standard Hebrew Text, the Masoretic text as published in the latest editions of Biblia Hebraica, was used throughout. The translators consulted the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Samaritan Pentateuch, and the more important early versions – the Septuagint, Symmachus and Theodotion; the Vulgate, The Syriach Peshitta, the Targums, and for the Psalms the Juxta Hebraica of Jerome. As far as the New Testament is concerned, as I said before, the Greek text used was an eclectic one, which is the UBSGNT and NA. Therefore, since the Greek Text of the New Testament on which the translators of the NIV based their translation is not the Received Text, there are many differences between the New Testament of the KJV and the one of the NIV.

Now, there are some supporters-defenders of the King James Version who criticize very harshly those who use the New International Version (as well as those who use other modern Bible versions) because – according to them – the readers of the NIV use a Bible which is not the Word of God since it is not based on the Received Text. To these King James Version supporters, the New International Version is a Bible that must be avoided, because it is not a true Bible, is a false Bible, and thus it is not the Word of God; the NIV is so much corrupt – because the Greek Text of the New Testament from which it has been translated into English is corrupt and thus a untrustworthy text – that those believers who read and study it are part of the apostate Church! Some call it even ‘A New Age Bible Version’ because according to them it upholds and confirms the doctrines of the New Age movement! In other words, the NIV is a Bible used by the devil to deceive believers into believing many heresies!! Therefore, the aim of these King James Version supporters is to turn as many believers as possible to the use of the King James Version, which is the ONLY Word of God!

I have examined carefully the position of ‘the King James only’ people and the position of those who use the New International Version (as well as the position of those who use other Bible Versions); I have studied the matters concerning this controversy, and these are the conclusions I have come to.

Omissions or additions?

Are we so sure that all the passages and words which are missing in the Critical Text were in the original text? I think that this is an important question that must be answered before going on. My answer is this: in my opinion, some of the passages and words which are not in the Critical Text but are in the Received Text actually were in the original documents, while there are some passages which are in the Received Text which were added to the original documents. However, there are other passages and words about which – I have to admit – I am not sure whether they were in the original documents or not.

The differences don’t affect the doctrines of Christianity

I am persuaded that all the differences existing in the New International Version, are not able to deceive those believers who read the NIV and to cause them to fall away, that is, to stray from the truth and deny the Lord Jesus Christ. Why? Because they don’t affect the doctrines of the Bible. The Trinity, the divinity of Jesus Christ, His virgin birth, His blameless life, His atoning death and His resurrection, and His ascension to heaven, and His return from heaven; the divinity and personality of the Holy Spirit; salvation by grace only through faith in Jesus Christ, the purpose of God according to election, the possibility of falling away, repentance and faith, the doctrine of baptisms, of laying on of hands, of life after death, of resurrection of the dead, of eternal judgement, and many other doctrines, are not set aside by the numerous differences. For all these doctrines are plainly taught by the New international Version and every believer who knows the Holy Scriptures and rightly divide them can prove these doctrines through the NIV. Therefore the Gospel of the grace of God can be preached using the New International Version as well, and not only using the King James Version, and people can be saved through that preaching. And the sound doctrine can be taught to the believers through the New International Version as well, and not only through the King James Version. So, if I had only the New International Version, I would preach and teach the same things I preach and teach using both the King James Version and the New King James Version (However, I urge those believers who use the NIV to consult the King James Version and the NKJV).

These things cannot be said about the Bible Versions of certain sects, such as the Bible of the Jehovah Witnesses, or the so called Inspired Version made by Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism, which is used by the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and some other Bibles, which contain many serious errors which affect many doctrines of Christianity; with regard to these Bibles, therefore, we must say that they have been twisted and manipulated by perverse people who deliberately decided to twist them in order to support and confirm their heresies. These kinds of Bibles are to be rejected. Read more…

The utility of the Bible

7 September 2018

The utility of the Bible

THEBIBLEPaul said to Timothy that the Holy Scriptures were able to make him wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus (2 Timothy 3:15) and also: “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 Timothy 3:16) and to the Romans he said: “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope” (Romans 15:4).

The Holy Scriptures are useful for teaching. What do they teach us? They teach us many things. Here are some of the things the Bible teaches us: God is one, eternal, unchanging, omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent, righteous, faithful, merciful, good, etc.; Jesus of Nazareth is the promised Messiah, the Son of God who according to the words of the prophets of old was to come into the world to save the world, who in the fulness of the time was sent from the Father to die for our sins and to rise again for our justification, and after His resurrection He appeared to His disciples and ascended to heaven; the Holy Spirit is a divine person, who works powerfully in the Church transforming the saints into Christ’s image and distributing His gifts; men are sinners and need to be reconciled to God, and the only way to be reconciled to God is to repent and believe in His beloved Son; that every man possesses an immortal soul, which is conscious after death, and depending on his spiritual state at death, goes either to paradise or to hell; one day all the dead will rise again, the righteous will rise to live, while the wicked will rise to be condemned; Jesus Christ will come back from heaven and will establish the Millennial Reign on earth during which He will reign with His saints; we must say ‘no’ to ungodliness and worldly passions, and live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in the present age.

Furthermore, the Holy Scriptures rebuke us when we sin; they correct us when we make mistakes; and they instruct us in righteousness so that we may be holy, right and wise in all our conduct. The Holy Scriptures comfort us when we are downcast and perplexed, and urges us to be patient till the coming of the Lord from heaven and to have faith in God in the midst of our distresses and afflictions for God is almighty and faithful. And last but not least, the Holy Scriptures help us refute all the false doctrines which are taught both in the Church and outside it; the Holy Scriptures are called “the sword of the Spirit” (Ephesians 6:17) and we use it to demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God (2 Corinthians 10:5).

The Holy Scriptures are indeed a fountain of wisdom and strength for all those who take delight in them. We can rely on them always, because they lead us in the paths of righteousness and peace.

Therefore, it is very important to know the Holy Scriptures, and we can know them only by reading and searching them. So I exhort all of you to read them, to search them, to meditate on them, and to let them dwell in you richly in all wisdom.

Trust in the Holy Scriptures and do what they say all the days of your life, you will be blessed and honoured by God; you will experience in your life the truthfulness and the faithfulness of the Word of God. Read more…

No Temas Sino Habla

Entonces él Señor dijo de noche en visión á Pablo: No temas, sino habla, y no calles: Porque yo estoy contigo, y ninguno te podrá hacer mal (Hechos 18:9-10)

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Tocai a trombeta em Sião, e dai o alarma no meu santo monte.

Egli è altresì scritto...

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Destatevi

"Suonate la tromba in Sion e date l'allarme sul mio santo monte" (Gioele 2:1)

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