Exegetical Snippets
Share things from this site
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  

Exegetical Snippets Repository

[no_toc]

This page is a repository of exegetical snippets of bible passages submitted to thedebriefing.net.

They do not represent the view of the editor or of other authors on thedebriefing.net. If they are clearly ‘way out’ they won’t be put on this page.

A snippet is just a small part of something bigger. So this page is not an archive of articles on bible passages. Just a collection of ideas around various bible passages which are not necessarily fully developed in the authors mind, or not substantial enough to be given a full page in the “Solid Food” archive.

There may or may not be an author attached to it, depending on the author’s preference.

Snippets?

We believe the bible is God’s inspired word, communicating to us things that are otherwise unknowable. However, God has revealed things ‘piecemeal’ and so each piece needs to be separately examined, understood, explained then put into the ‘big picture whole’.

This needs to happen in every generation. This explanation of biblical texts is called by it’s Greek term “exegesis”.

A few things we need to understand about explaining the bible.

  1. The organised Church and it’s clergy do not have a monopoly on exegesis.
  2. God can speak through anyone. Anyone can have an insight into a passage. They don’t have to be a ‘Prophet’ though their insight by definition is ‘prophetic’.
  3. Most ideas are not fully developed and so authors don’t publish or submit them. But they might prompt someone else to add to their thought (s). Eventually a better understanding of what God is communicating to us might come about. But the ideas, regardless of how complete or incomplete need to be there.
  4. Ideas should be ‘tested’. Effectively, consider them, then comment.

 

Is there any idea you have about a bible passage.

Submit it here or via the contact page.

You should get some comments.

 


Genesis 1:26-28

See the following http://101.0.115.80/~thedebri.routing.yourhost.co/articles/solid-food/image-of-god/ in which Agios Dimitrios examines the “image” of God – what it is and what it isn’t

[collapse]
Genesis 1:26-31

by James Fratzia, Dec 2020

God creates humankind.

LXX

26 καὶ εἶπεν  θεός ποιήσωμεν ἄνθρωπον κατ’ εἰκόνα ἡμετέραν καὶ καθ’ ὁμοίωσιν καὶ ἀρχέτωσαν τῶν ἰχθύων τῆς θαλάσσης καὶ τῶν πετεινῶν τοῦ οὐρανοῦ καὶ τῶν κτηνῶν καὶ πάσης τῆς γῆς καὶ πάντων τῶν ἑρπετῶν τῶν ἑρπόντων ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς
27 καὶ ἐποίησεν  θεὸς τὸν ἄνθρωπον κατ’ εἰκόνα θεοῦ ἐποίησεν αὐτόν ἄρσεν καὶ θῆλυ ἐποίησεν αὐτούς
28 καὶ ηὐλόγησεν αὐτοὺς  θεὸς λέγων αὐξάνεσθε καὶ πληθύνεσθε καὶ πληρώσατε τὴν γῆν καὶ κατακυριεύσατε αὐτῆς καὶ ἄρχετε τῶν ἰχθύων τῆς θαλάσσης καὶ τῶν πετεινῶν τοῦ οὐρανοῦ καὶ πάντων τῶν κτηνῶν καὶ πάσης τῆς γῆς καὶ πάντων τῶν ἑρπετῶν τῶν ἑρπόντων ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς
29 καὶ εἶπεν  θεός ἰδοὺ δέδωκα ὑμῖν πᾶν χόρτον σπόριμον σπεῖρον σπέρμα  ἐστιν ἐπάνω πάσης τῆς γῆς καὶ πᾶν ξύλον  ἔχει ἐν ἑαυτῷ καρπὸν σπέρματος σπορίμου ὑμῖν ἔσται εἰς βρῶσιν
30 καὶ πᾶσι τοῖς θηρίοις τῆς γῆς καὶ πᾶσι τοῖς πετεινοῖς τοῦ οὐρανοῦ καὶ παντὶ ἑρπετῷ τῷ ἕρποντι ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς  ἔχει ἐν ἑαυτῷ ψυχὴν ζωῆς πάντα χόρτον χλωρὸν εἰς βρῶσιν καὶ ἐγένετο οὕτως
31 καὶ εἶδεν  θεὸς τὰ πάντα ὅσα ἐποίησεν καὶ ἰδοὺ καλὰ λίαν καὶ ἐγένετο ἑσπέρα καὶ ἐγένετο πρωί ἡμέρα ἕκτη

English translation from Hebrew and LXX (NASB)

26 Then God said, “[ai]Let Us make mankind in Our image, according to Our likeness; and [aj]let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the livestock and over all the earth, and over every crawling thing that crawls on the earth.” 27 So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28 God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that [ak]moves on the earth.” 29 Then God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the [al]surface of all the earth, and every tree [am]which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you; 30 and to every animal of the earth and to every bird of the sky and to everything that [an]moves on the earth [ao]which has life, I have given every green plant for food”; and it was so. 31 And God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.

v21-25

God makes all the creatures “after their kind

  • But he does not make the man “after his kind”. Why?
    • traditionally, his ‘kind‘ doesn’t exit. Adam is the first of his ‘kind
    • alternatively, his ‘kind‘ does exist outside the Eden but is not in God’s image / likeness

v26

  1. ἡμετέραν = our. That is plural. Possibilities include
    • Father, Son & Holy Spirit?
    • God the Creator addressing other spiritual beings created by God in the spiritual realm who are witnesses to the physical creation.
      • Job 38:4–7 overtly describes the ‘sons of God’ (created spiritual beings) being present as witnesses of the physical creation
  2. κατ’ εἰκόνα ἡμετέραν =  according to our imageκαθ’ ὁμοίωσιν = according to our likeness
    1. Most English translations just have image and image. Not image and likeness. They are similar concepts.
    2. humanity are not simply animals. Humans are uniquely different. Compare to the previous creation of creatures which are always according to their kind – κατὰ γένος.
      • the purpose of humanity as God’s imagers is to rule. God is ruler of all things, therefore by ruling, were a ‘like’ Him, bearing His ‘likeness‘.
    3. possibility that humans intrinsically share something with spiritual beings. It is likely that this is related to humanity’s subsequently declared  function to rule over the physical creation
      • does this  make them sons of God (beney elohim) with God himself being the unique uncreated almighty elohim presiding over them in a ‘heavenly assembly’ as described in Psalm 82, Psalm 89 & Job 1.
      • does this make them part of God’s ruling body with perhaps God ruling through the rule of spiritual beings  in the spiritual realm and God ruling His physical creation through his imagers – humankind.

v27

humankind (man) = male and female. Man is not males alone

v28 God blessed them (καὶ ηὐλόγησεν αὐτοὺς  θεὸς

This is a prodrome to God giving them their role and the means to achive their role.

v31

after looking at all that He had made, God declared it to be very good (καλὰ λίαν). On all other previous days of creation the declaration was simply that it was good (καλa) 

The creation of humanity as God’s imagers is the pinnacle of the Creation of the physical universe. It follows that humanity has a special role in God’s plan.

[collapse]
Genesis 2:1-25

by James Fratzia, Dec 2020

The man exercises rule, and God creates the woman, a suitable helper.

LXX

26 καὶ εἶπεν  θεός ποιήσωμεν ἄνθρωπον κατ’ εἰκόνα ἡμετέραν καὶ καθ’ ὁμοίωσιν καὶ ἀρχέτωσαν τῶν ἰχθύων τῆς θαλάσσης καὶ τῶν πετεινῶν τοῦ οὐρανοῦ καὶ τῶν κτηνῶν καὶ πάσης τῆς γῆς καὶ πάντων τῶν ἑρπετῶν τῶν ἑρπόντων ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς
27 καὶ ἐποίησεν  θεὸς τὸν ἄνθρωπον κατ’ εἰκόνα θεοῦ ἐποίησεν αὐτόν ἄρσεν καὶ θῆλυ ἐποίησεν αὐτούς
28 καὶ ηὐλόγησεν αὐτοὺς  θεὸς λέγων αὐξάνεσθε καὶ πληθύνεσθε καὶ πληρώσατε τὴν γῆν καὶ κατακυριεύσατε αὐτῆς καὶ ἄρχετε τῶν ἰχθύων τῆς θαλάσσης καὶ τῶν πετεινῶν τοῦ οὐρανοῦ καὶ πάντων τῶν κτηνῶν καὶ πάσης τῆς γῆς καὶ πάντων τῶν ἑρπετῶν τῶν ἑρπόντων ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς
29 καὶ εἶπεν  θεός ἰδοὺ δέδωκα ὑμῖν πᾶν χόρτον σπόριμον σπεῖρον σπέρμα  ἐστιν ἐπάνω πάσης τῆς γῆς καὶ πᾶν ξύλον  ἔχει ἐν ἑαυτῷ καρπὸν σπέρματος σπορίμου ὑμῖν ἔσται εἰς βρῶσιν
30 καὶ πᾶσι τοῖς θηρίοις τῆς γῆς καὶ πᾶσι τοῖς πετεινοῖς τοῦ οὐρανοῦ καὶ παντὶ ἑρπετῷ τῷ ἕρποντι ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς  ἔχει ἐν ἑαυτῷ ψυχὴν ζωῆς πάντα χόρτον χλωρὸν εἰς βρῶσιν καὶ ἐγένετο οὕτως
31 καὶ εἶδεν  θεὸς τὰ πάντα ὅσα ἐποίησεν καὶ ἰδοὺ καλὰ λίαν καὶ ἐγένετο ἑσπέρα καὶ ἐγένετο πρωί ἡμέρα ἕκτη

English translation from Hebrew and LXX (NASB)

26 Then God said, “[ai]Let Us make mankind in Our image, according to Our likeness; and [aj]let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the livestock and over all the earth, and over every crawling thing that crawls on the earth.” 27 So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28 God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that [ak]moves on the earth.” 29 Then God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the [al]surface of all the earth, and every tree [am]which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you; 30 and to every animal of the earth and to every bird of the sky and to everything that [an]moves on the earth [ao]which has life, I have given every green plant for food”; and it was so. 31 And God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.

v 15

a male is created

the male is put in the garden of Eden to cultivate & ‘tend/protect/take care of’ it Genesis 2:15

  • καὶ ἔθετο αὐτὸν ἐν τῷ παραδείσῳ ἐργάζεσθαι αὐτὸν καὶ φυλάσσειν
  • working the garden (cultivating) and looking after it (caring for it) = fundamental ongoing training in creativity + rule
  • there is no woman
  • this is ‘not good‘ – the first time the Creation narrative says something is not good
  • But this is not fulfilling Genesis 2:28
    • the male is waiting for a suitable helper – the female to be complete
    • both the male and the female must learn wisdom to rule effectively. So they do not bear children at this time and do not go out into the world while they ‘learn’ – they stay in this special place

v16-17

Adonai, God, gave the person this order: “You may freely eat from every tree in the garden 17 except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. You are not to eat from it, because on the day that you eat from it, it will become certain that you will die.”

  • Note that the woman has not yet been created
  • the male is given this instruction and clearly the woman is also instructed (I would argue by the male and almost certainly God)
  • God does not impart law. He imparts wisdom. It is unwise to eat or you will die.
    • This does not mean evil exists yet. It doesn’t. God does not create evil

v18 the male alone is incomplete – Adonai, God, said, “It isn’t good that the person should be alone. I will make for him a companion suitable for helping him.” – καὶ εἶπεν κύριος  θεός οὐ καλὸν εἶναι τὸν ἄνθρωπον μόνον ποιήσωμεν αὐτῷ βοηθὸν κατ’ αὐτόν

  • the male needs a female co-ruler in order for his rule to be good and for man to fulfil their function

v19-20 What is the significance of the man naming the animals?

He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name.

  1. there was no suitable helper
    • the helper needs to be in the image/likeness of God
    • no biological or human-created creature could perform this function.
  2. the man exercised authority / rule over the animals by naming them. God had the ultimate right to name them, but he allowed his imager to exercise that rule.
  3. a profound creative exercise. In Genesis 2:19 , God permits the man to exercise a creative rule under God’s authority.
    • This is how God governs the universe, both visible and invisible. He chooses the participation of his own representatives in performing His work
      • this is what God does as He performs His work through the apostles in Acts, and through all Christians.

v21-23  God creates a woman out of the tissues of the man.

  1. And man names her. Though at first glance it appears similar to exercising his rule over the animals, what the man does is quite different when he calls her woman.
    • This is different to the animals amongst whom there is no suitable helper.

the man identifies her as ‘self’. Like himself. v23The man said,

“This is now bone of my bones
    and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called ‘woman,’
    for she was taken out of man.”

The woman is no different to him.  Together they are God’s image. It reflects the summary statement in Genesis 1:27

  • This is an exclamation of equivalence, not a statement of dominion over the woman.
  • Traditional commentators, noting the similarity of ‘naming’ the animals, claim it is an exclamation of superiority

“So God created humankind in his own image;
in the image of God he created him:
male and female he created them.”

Alone, the image is incomplete. Presumably because it cannot perform its role of multiplying, subduing the earth effectively as co-rulers who reflect the image of God.

  • Hence,
    • 24 That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh
    • When they are ‘one’, that is,
      • entirely collaborative and positive freely chosen relationship with one another
        • without exploitation, domination, manipulation of one another
        • despite inherent vulnerabilities to these negative relations, they are never actualised because they do not know ‘good and evilGenesis 2:8 , Genesis 3:4-5
      • So the relationship between the man and the woman is entirely positive 25 Adam and his wife / the woman were both naked, and they felt no shame.”

Genesis 2 ends

  1. with the man and the woman both in the garden of Eden, not going out filling the earth and subduing it. We do see rule over the animals and the plants (through cultivation)
  2. They are ‘one flesh’ + “They were both naked, the man and his wife, and they were not ashamed.”
    • What this means exactly is unclear.
      • at the very least it means there is no ‘problem’ between them. There is no fear, no exploitation, no manipulation, no misuse, no demeaning, no ridicule, no negative aspect to their co-existence.
        • Certainly it is related to feeling shamed in Genesis 3:7 ; Genesis 3:10
        • Possibly related to Genesis 3:16 where childbirth is presaged & Genesis 3:20 where she is pronounced Zoe / Eve as mother of the living.
          • Perhaps a hint there that her pregnancy is premature. That is, if the purpose of being confined to Eden is to learn wisdom, how to rule.
          • Pregnancy should occur afterward when they move out into the rest of the earth (the wild part of the earth outside the Garden of Eden).
  3. The garden is a special place distinct from the rest of the universe
    1. God is there, man is there and spiritual beings are there, all interacting together.
    2. God’s throne amongst his governors who are sharing, being taught by God and gaining wisdom to rule
    3. Evil (and human death) does not exist
[collapse]
Genesis 3:1-22

by James Fratzia, Dec 2020

Humanity rebel against God

LXX

1  δὲ ὄφις ἦν φρονιμώτατος πάντων τῶν θηρίων τῶν ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς ὧν ἐποίησεν κύριος  θεός καὶ εἶπεν  ὄφις τῇ γυναικί τί ὅτι εἶπεν  θεός οὐ μὴ φάγητε ἀπὸ παντὸς ξύλου τοῦ ἐν τῷ παραδείσῳ
2 καὶ εἶπεν  γυνὴ τῷ ὄφει ἀπὸ καρποῦ ξύλου τοῦ παραδείσου φαγόμεθα
3 ἀπὸ δὲ καρποῦ τοῦ ξύλου  ἐστιν ἐν μέσῳ τοῦ παραδείσου εἶπεν  θεός οὐ φάγεσθε ἀπ’ αὐτοῦ οὐδὲ μὴ ἅψησθε αὐτοῦ ἵνα μὴ ἀποθάνητε
4 καὶ εἶπεν  ὄφις τῇ γυναικί οὐ θανάτῳ ἀποθανεῖσθε
5 ᾔδει γὰρ  θεὸς ὅτι ἐν  ἂν ἡμέρᾳ φάγητε ἀπ’ αὐτοῦ διανοιχθήσονται ὑμῶν οἱ ὀφθαλμοί καὶ ἔσεσθε ὡς θεοὶ γινώσκοντες καλὸν καὶ πονηρόν
6 καὶ εἶδεν  γυνὴ ὅτι καλὸν τὸ ξύλον εἰς βρῶσιν καὶ ὅτι ἀρεστὸν τοῖς ὀφθαλμοῖς ἰδεῖν καὶ ὡραῖόν ἐστιν τοῦ κατανοῆσαι καὶ λαβοῦσα τοῦ καρποῦ αὐτοῦ ἔφαγεν καὶ ἔδωκεν καὶ τῷ ἀνδρὶ αὐτῆς μετ’ αὐτῆς καὶ ἔφαγον
7 καὶ διηνοίχθησαν οἱ ὀφθαλμοὶ τῶν δύο καὶ ἔγνωσαν ὅτι γυμνοὶ ἦσαν καὶ ἔρραψαν φύλλα συκῆς καὶ ἐποίησαν ἑαυτοῖς περιζώματα

English translation from Hebrew and LXX (NASB)

3:1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, “Indeed, has God said, ‘You shall not eat from [a]any tree of the garden’?” The woman said to the serpent, “From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat; but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die.’” The serpent said to the woman, “You surely will not die! For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves [b]loin coverings.

v1

Opening issue for Chapter 3 is why is the man and the woman not going out ‘multiplying and filling all the earthGenesis 1:28?

  • Why does God put them in the garden ‘to cultivate and protect/tend/ care for it’ (ie rule it)?   “Adonai, God, took the person and put him in the garden of ‘Eden to cultivate and protect / tend /care for it. Genesis 2:15
    • the garden cannot be all the earth (which is to be filled and subdued) because it is geographically limited. It is in the east (Genesis 2:8)  limited by the the source of four tributaries (Genesis 2:10-14).
    • they are not multiplying here. The woman does not get pregnant. Perhaps they don’t know sex. Perhaps their sexual relations do not lead to pregnancy.

Next, three additional questions come to mind immediately as we read on.

  1. what is the serpent doing in the garden with humanity and God?
  2. Why is Eve not surprised that the serpent is speaking?
  3. Is the serpent simply a snake or is the serpent something greater than a snake?

My answer to these questions is that the garden in Eden appears to be a meeting place in common for spiritual beings, Adam with Eve and God the Creator. Perhaps it is a place where wisdom is being imparted to the man and the woman to fulfil God’s purposes

    1. Is this part of the nature of the garden of Eden. That is, a special place on earth where the spiritual realm and the physical realm and God Himself connect together.
      • If this is so, is this a place of God’s rule over all He created – spiritual and physical?
        • If this is so, are spiritual rulers really only in existence to facilitate the governance of the physical realm where humanity are God’s imagers?
          • In that case, was the woman’s willingness to listen to the ‘serpent‘ actually reasonable,  as the man and the woman seek to understand better how to rule the creation?
    2. If the Garden of Eden isn’t a common meeting place, why is it special?
      • So special that God has to throw Adam & Eve out of the Garden of Eden (v24 ἐξέβαλεν τὸν Αδαμ) into the world and barr their way back into it (v24  καὶ ἔταξεν τὰ χερουβιμ καὶ τὴν φλογίνην ῥομφαίαν where existed the ‘Tree of Life’ (24 ξύλου τῆς ζωῆς) following their rebellion against God (and the beginning of humanity’s suffering, which is a consequence of their choice to rule ‘independently’ of the Creator)
      • Is this the place where humanity could liaise with other members of the ruling council and God Himself concerning the exercise of their rule with wisdom (v6 Eve saw that a ‘forbidden’ tree was desirable to make one wise).
      • The presence of  ‘the tree was desirable to make one wise‘ v6
      • Is it also special because this is the place where they could access immortality through the ‘Tree of Life’ (24 ξύλου τῆς ζωῆς)
    3. Is the’ serpent‘ something more magnificent and convincing than a ‘talking snake?
      1. See Ezekiel 28:11-19, almost certainly referencing the ‘serpent

12 “Son of man, take up a lamentation over the king of Tyre and say to him, ‘Thus says the Lord God,

“You [d]had the seal of perfection,
Full of wisdom and perfect in beauty.
13 “You were in Eden, the garden of God;
Every precious stone was your covering:
The ruby, the topaz and the diamond;
The beryl, the onyx and the jasper;
The lapis lazuli, the turquoise and the emerald;
And the gold, the workmanship of your [e]settings and [f]sockets,
Was in you.
On the day that you were created
They were prepared.
14 “You were the anointed cherub who [g]covers,
And I placed you there.
You were on the holy mountain of God;
You walked in the midst of the stones of fire.
15 “You were blameless in your ways
From the day you were created
Until unrighteousness was found in you.
16 “By the abundance of your trade
[h]You were internally filled with violence,
And you sinned;
Therefore I have cast you as profane
From the mountain of God.
And I have destroyed you, O [i]covering cherub,
From the midst of the stones of fire.
17 “Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty;
You corrupted your wisdom by reason of your splendor.
I cast you to the ground;
I put you before kings,
That they may see you.
18 “By the multitude of your iniquities,
In the unrighteousness of your trade
You profaned your sanctuaries.
Therefore I have brought fire from the midst of you;
It has consumed you,
And I have turned you to ashes on the earth
In the eyes of all who see you.
19 All who know you among the peoples
Are appalled at you;
You have become [j]terrified
And you will cease to be forever.”’”

2. In Isaiah 14 in the midst of a tirade against the King of Babylon God says

“How you have fallen from heaven,
[g]star of the morning, son of the dawn!
You have been cut down to the earth,
You who have weakened the nations!
13 “But you said in your heart,
‘I will ascend to heaven;
I will raise my throne above the stars of God,
And I will sit on the mount of assembly
In the recesses of the north.
14 ‘I will ascend above the heights of the clouds;
I will make myself like the Most High.’”

This appears to reference the ‘serpent’ also.

To say that the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made is slightly misleading in the translation.

The ‘serpent’ is described as ‘φρονιμώτατος‘ in LXX = most ingenious (adj.), more ingenious (adj.), related to φρόνιμος (-η) -ον prudent-wise (adj.) possessing sagacity or discernment from “φρήν”(personal-visceral-opinion), hence thoughtful/mindful, prudent/sensible/shrewd. Often rendered “wise”, but distinct from “σοφός”(learned/skilled-wise)or “συνετός”(intelligent) 1 2. The Hebrew  word ‘arum’ clearly has negative overtones in the book of Job (cf. Job 5:12; 15:5), “crafty”, and positive overtones in Proverbs (cf. Prov 12:16, 23; 13:16; 14:8, 15, 18; 22:3; 27:12), “wise”, “shrewd”, “sensible”, “prudent”, “clever”.

The serpent speaks truthfully when he says to Eve “Indeed, has God said, ‘You shall not eat from any (alternatively every) tree of the garden’?”  

v3

the woman knows God doesn’t want them to eat from this tree because they ‘will die’. You shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die.’” The woman understands this and so does the man. She says this to the serpent.

  • If misdirection of the serpent is that the fruit is good for attaining wisdom, is God’s instruction to not ‘eat of the fruit because you will die‘ law, or is it wisdom? Like telling someone not to jump off a cliff is wisdom and not illegal.
    • Certainly this like law “You shall not”. Or is it simply wisdom because law is only relevant when there is ‘knowledge of good and evil’?
    • Or both wisdom and law.
    • Is man under law here? Or is man under law when the image is corrupted?
    • humankind are not under law until they know good and evil. In contrast, the gods (spiritual beings like the serpent know good and evil and therefore are under law. God knows good and evil but is not tempted by evil because God is inherently good. But humanity are not inherently good. So they can be tempted by evil.

v4

A better translation of οὐ θανάτῳ ἀποθανεῖσθε” is  “The serpent said to the woman, “It is not true that you will surely die;” (Complete Jewish Bible)

  • here is deception. “You will not to death die” LXX (my translation). But it implies something less than death would occur.
  • The deception begins by creating ‘wriggle room’, blurring the clear outcome of death expressed by God for eating the fruit. And the deception continues in v5

v5

Here the deception continues with the sweetener of gaining wisdom. According to the serpent, the benefit of eating of the ‘deadly’ tree is that  ἔσεσθε ὡς θεοὶ γινώσκοντες καλὸν καὶ πονηρόν –  you will be like God, knowing good and evil.

  • bur more than gaining wisdom, the serpent’s sweetener is that eating the deadly tree to gaining a higher wisdom, one possessed either by God, or by gods (LXX).
    • the serpent does have wisdom  – Ezekiel 28:17 17 “Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty; You corrupted your wisdom by reason of your splendor. I cast you to the ground;
    • if it is to gain wisdom like God, then they can proceed from the garden to perform their mission
      • the serpent appears to be helping them to go out of the garden and perform their role on earth
      • this doesn’t seem deceptive by itself, only when contrasted with God’s explicit warning of the consequences of eating.
    • if it is to gain wisdom like the gods (spiritual beings), then it is the sort of wisdom that spiritual beings like the serpent might be imparting to the man and the woman in the garden. So it is ‘desirable‘.
    • why is the serpent seeking to deceive them?
      • what role do spiritual beings like ‘the serpent‘ perform in God’s governance of all that exists?
        • is the serpent a satan, like in Job 1. Someone who brings accusation.
        • Certainly there are passages, such as the watchers or ‘holy ones‘ (Daniel 4:17 – regarding Nebukadnezzar King of Babylon), who are spiritual beings who pronounce God’s judgment when His law is transgressed. Do beings like the serpent function or even govern according to law set out by God – like a bureaucracy. If so, it is not surprising that the law is therefore mediated via spiritual beings.
          • I speculate that though spiritual beings are bound by law, man is not inherently bound by law in the unfallen state. Man is designed to rule in a way that spiritual beings are not. According to wisdom and not law.
        • Man is in the image of God and can therefore exercise wisdom above law, which is arguably a greater faculty than obedience to law. Is that the nature of God’s instruction to the man and woman about the tree. It is not wise to touch or eat it?
          • Note is the law and death comes through law mediated by spiritual beings in God’s creation, the contrast in the NT is stark. Grace, mercy, revelation and life come directly from god through His SOn Jesus and the Holy Spirit. His indwelling in the regenerate believer means there is inherent goodness to oppose that old self which is tempted by evil
          • In Chapter 2 Godf says to the man don’t eat it. Here in Chapter 3 the woman goes one step further to say cannot touch it either.
      • perhaps as an executor of law is the serpent seeking to have the man and the woman killed as transgressors?
        • against this : the nature of their death is by obtaining the knowledge of good and evil. So it isn’t in the first instance for law-breaking
        • nevertheless, Jesus probably means this when he describes the devil as a murderer from the beginning John 8:44.
        • either way he wants them dead
      • is the serpent’s motive to usurp the supremacy of God by forcing God to act against God’s own plans because of the law the serpent must oversee.
        • In other words, by accusing the man and the woman the serpent certainly wins before the heavenly council, and God must comply with this ruling by the serpent (a satan).
          • Is this the means by which the serpent raises his throne above Gods – Isaiah 14:13 13 “But you said in your heart,
            ‘I will ascend to heaven;
            I will raise my throne above the stars of God,
            And I will sit on the mount of assembly
      • the serpent calls evil good. A feature common amongst people opposed to God. Isaiah 5:20

v6

καὶ εἶδεν  γυνὴ ὅτι καλὸν τὸ ξύλον

The presence of  ‘the tree was desirable to make one wise‘ v6 .

  1. Is this an essential function of the Garden of Eden. A place where God’s imagers could gain wisdom to perform their role of rule?
    • Is the serpent’s temptation of Even therefore reasonable 3 4?
    • One cannot fault the woman for considering the serpent’s suggestion , if the time in the garden is a time of learning in preparation of their ruling role as GGod’s imagers in the rest of the earth.
    • Did Eve weigh up ‘the serpent’s‘ suggestions naively and in ‘good faith’, looking for ‘wisdom’
    • God does not appear to be imposing censorship in out modern human political sense. An open exchange of ideas, weighing up of arguments καὶ εἶδεν  γυνὴ ὅτι καλὸν τὸ ξύλον.
    • She did not know evil, so she did not understand that there may be deception occuring
    • The fundamental mistake here is that God is all-wise. If God said they will surely die, then there is no alternative nuancing of that wisdom. It is the most essential element of sin – the departure from God’s rule. His rule is exercised in many ways and one of these it revelation (which is in itself the ultimate wisdom).

v7  Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized that they were naked. So they sewed fig leaves together to make themselves loincloths

  • compare to Genesis 2:25  v 25 καὶ ἦσαν οἱ δύο γυμνοί  τε Αδαμ καὶ  γυνὴ αὐτοῦ καὶ οὐκ ᾐσχύνοντο  They were both naked, the man (Adam) and his wife (woman), and they were not ashamed.
  • ᾐσχύνοντο = From aischos (disfigurement, i.e. Disgrace to disfigureπρόσωπονHomer, Iliad 18, 24, and many others.); to feel shame (for oneself) — be ashamed, to make shameful, to suffuse with shame, make ashamed- to dishonor: the LXX. Proverbs 29:15.
    1. the image of God borne by humanity is now disfigured or corrupted
    2. the man and woman are ashamed because they recognise in themselves the desire to do the wrong thing by the other – wrong motives
      • the nature of God’s wisdom is that God recognises what is wrong and what is right Daniel 2:20-22, and chooses right, because He is all-knowing and fore-knowing (Isaiah 44:7) God and because God is good, and because doing good is best, Romans 11:33-34.
        • Only God is perfectly wise, Isaiah 28:29 ; Jeremiah 10:7 ; Job 28:12-24 ; Romans 16:27 . Perfect wisdom is tied up with inherent goodness and  being all-knowing 1 Samuel 2:3, though it is more than those two elements. Being Creator has something to do with it, Psalm 104:24 ; Proverbs 3:19-20 ; Isaiah 40:12-14 ; Jeremiah 10:12. And God cannot be other than HimselfIsaiah 31:2 ; Job 12:13-25 ; 2 Timothy 2:13. God cannot do evil because evil is not a temptation for God, James 1:13 . God cannot lie, Titus 1:2 . His wisdom and knowledge are actually cannot be totally comprehended by anyone other than Himself Isaiah 40:28 ; Isaiah 55:9 ; Job 21:22 ; Romans 11:33 God never exercises His power outside His own nature.
      • inherent goodness is not in our nature Matthew 19:17 , and I argue never was even before the fall in Genesis 3.
        • Our goodness was always to be derived from God’s wisdom, and this carries on even after the fall, Proverbs 2:6 ; Micah 6:8 ; James 1:5.
        • God, knowing evil sees it in our hearts. We cannot hide it,  1 Chronicles 29:9. Therefore they felt ashamed.
    3. the man and woman are ashamed also because suddenly their attitude to one another has changed. Doing evil to one another is now a temptation, as is the need to protect themselves from each other.
      1. man blaming the woman & God
      2. the woman doing the wrong thing by the man?what thing – breaching the collaborative decision making. Ruling him. But also implicitly blaming God for the presence of the serpent and the serpent’s deceit
      3. neither of them dealing with the ‘elephant in the room’ – the all-knowing God had warned them they would die, had given them the ultimate wisdom.
    4. the use of nakedness and shame is a euphemism in understandable language for contemporary readers concerned not with physical nakedness, but the evil motives in each of them which are on view, and the covering is a euphemism from contemporary life of the tendency for humans to hide their true motives and vulnerabilitites
  • Evil now exists.
    • God already ‘knew’ what evil was, but the man and the woman did not.
    • The serpent knew God knew it. I believe the serpent also knew what evil was as well and spoke truthfully that they would ‘be like God‘ or like the ‘gods‘ (spiritual beings like himself), though deceitfully (Genesis 3:5)
      • But man is not inherently good so ‘cannot handle’ the knowledge of good and evil without being tempted by evil.
      • perhaps the woman and the man believed that by knowing what the gods/God knew their learning of wisdom would be accelerated and they would be able to leave the garden and go into the world, multiplying, filling it, and ruling it.

They heard the voice of Adonai, God, walking in the garden at the time of the evening breeze, so the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of Adonai, God, among the trees in the garden. Adonai, God, called to the man, “Where are you?” 10 He answered, “I heard your voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, so I hid myself.” 11 He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree from which I ordered you not to eat?” 12 The man replied, “The woman you gave to be with me — she gave me fruit from the tree, and I ate.” 13 Adonai, God, said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” The woman answered, “The serpent tricked me, so I ate.”

v12

Note the genuineness of the man’s response. But the response demonstrates the knowledge of good and evil.

  • She was meant to help him not tell him what to do. But on view is not simply her failure to collaborate but his own failure to collaborate also by standing firm in the wisdom God imparted to them about the dangers of the fruit
  • Furthermore, he ‘passes the buck’ for his mistake by blaming both the woman and to God for giving her to him.
  • Finding fault in others, being outraged at the failures of others, rather than oneself is a core expression of moral depravity. Note Jesus explaining this foundation of hypocrisy Matthew 7:3-5

God approached the man first. Is this important?

    • the man failed to challenge the woman – which is the intent of being two co-rulers as God’s imagers in creation
    • the man was formed first.
      • The priority is important, but is overemphasised in 1 Corinthians 11 to inappropriately justify oppression of women. The use of this fact to justify the subjugation of women is being taught in the church at Corinth (1 Corinthians 11:8-10) by the eloquent preachers whom the apostle Paul opposes and the apostle opposes this misuse of priority in creation 1 Corinthians 11: 1616 But if anyone is inclined to be contentious, we have no such practice, nor have the churches of God,” (often mistranslated, eg NIV)
      • the male priority in creation reflects male ‘headship’ which is actually not about control or male authority. Headship means responsibility to do the right thing, regardless of the influence of a woman. 1 Timothy 2:13.
      • So in Genesis 3:12, the man fails the wisdom of ‘headship’ which men subsequently misuse to justify control and abuse of women, rather than take responsibility for doing the right and wise thing.

v13 Note the genuineness of the woman’s response. The serpent did deceive her. But she still acted inappropriately

  • Is the fact that she sinned first important. But it is important not because it demonstrates a moral flaw or other weakness in women. It is because she acted without collaboration with the man with whom she was to together as God’s imagers and rulers. Look at 1 Timothy 2:14 and think about it. 
  • The fact that she sinned first is not an indication of some inherent moral weakness or flaw in females.

v15 Eternal battle between the serpent and the woman’s descendants

 I will put enmity
    between you and the woman,
    and between your offspring(or seed)  and hers

v16 καὶ πρὸς τὸν ἄνδρα σου  ἀποστροφή σου καὶ αὐτός σου κυριεύσει = and to your husband submission, and he will dominate/rule you

v20 Adam names his wife just as he named the animals.

  • A sign of the Adam’s ‘authority’/ domination over her.
    • This is not the way God intended male and females to relate to one another. It is a consequence of a broken image. God tells eve this is what will happen in Genesis 3:16.
  • note in the LXXX he names her Zoe ἐκάλεσεν Αδαμ τὸ ὄνομα τῆς γυναικὸς αὐτοῦ Ζωή” 
  • The complete Jewish Bible translates this as “The man called his wife Havah [life], because she was the mother of all living.
    • Is this the first example of a man sinning against a woman because of her gender, the first example of misogyny?
    • Does he name her because he will have more than one wife?
    • Why is she ‘life‘, the ‘mother of all the living’?
      • is it the promise inherent in her seed’s eternal battle with ‘the serpent‘, or between a specific ‘seed’ (Jesus) and ‘the serpent
      • is it that there are other women whose offspring do not have ‘life‘ (perhaps because they are not in the ‘image‘ or ‘likeness‘ and therefore dead)
      • Is she already pregnant – has this got anything to do with the shame at their nakedness.
        • and has this to do with not being ready to go out into the world multiply and fill and subdue it

NOTE:  the knowledge of good and evil 

  • We do not know the mechanism of acquisition by the man and the woman
  • God has it
  • the gods have it. Genesis 3:22-23 22 Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, knowing good and evil; and now, he might stretch out his hand, and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever”
  • it is not inherent in humankind, for us to be human in the original created sense in Genesis 1 & 2, nor for the necessary to fulfil our mission. ALl that is necessary is wise rule
    • note that some strands of Christian Theology have argued that sex is at the core of this knowledge, and that the fall in Genesis 3 was necessary so that humanity can procreate and fulfil our mission.
      • I think at the very least this is wrong, it creates a denigration of sexuality that is not Biblical because sexuality is a wonderful gift given by God to enhance marriage, and at worst makes sexuality a dirty and degrading behaviour justifying many sins ‘in God’s name’
  • once there is knowledge of good and evil in beings not inherently good and therefore tempted by evil, there needs to be law to control that evil. Therefore, all humanity suddenly were under law. This is a law written on all the hearts of human beings Romans 2:14-15. It is this legal test that all humans fail and therefore will be destroyed unless saved by Jesus, Romans 1:18-25. In other words, once the good and evil is known human beings must live according to law. And this leads to death because no-one can fulfil the requirements of the law written on all our hearts Romans 3:23 . The Mosaic Law was an additional set of requirements for the Israelites to obey, directly given to them by God and overtly referencing God. Yet none were justified by observing the religious rules and regulations, or other elements of the Mosaic law. For humanity to live free, meaningful and hopeful lives, for human beings to be saved, they must be saved from law Galatians 3:13 . They must live according to wisdom, rather than law, and Jesus is the one who liberates them from it, Romans 10:4 ; Galatians 2:16.
  • law enters human existence at this point in the history of our species. There are atually two laws at work
    • the first is physical law. We are subject to the physical laws of the universe in which we exist and die under those laws. Like gravity when we jump off a cliff kills us. Things in our environment degrade and kill us eventually.
    • the second is moral law described above written on all our hearts.
    • so the man and the woman aare cast out of the garden where they are immortal, as is the serpent. Cast out to eventually die, Genesis 3:23. under the physical laws of the universe for transgressing the moral law written on our hearts because of our knowledge of good and evil. This is present because there is a residual wisdom present from being image-bearers of God, no matter how broken that image might be.
    • redeemed humanity are not under moral or physical law any longer except that the old self will die but the new re-created self in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17) will ive on in a physical body in the new heavens and new earth.

NOTES

  1. https://lexicon.katabiblon.com/index.php?lemma=%CF%86%CF%81%CE%BF%CE%BD%CE%B9%CE%BC%E1%BD%BD%CF%84%CE%B1%CF%84%CE%BF%CF%82
  2. Charlesworth claims that the serpent does not tempt Eve (it merely asks her a question!), it tells the truth (unlike God), is described as wise (not crafty), and is not a symbol of evil. J.H. Charlesworth, The Good and Evil Serpent (Anchor Yale Bible Reference Library; New Haven: Yale University Press, 2010), 294-96. Though this is not sustainable from the text, especially once God’s response is considered Genesis 3:14-15
  3. Recently James Charlesworth has written a massive book entitled The Good and Evil Serpent in which he argues that in the ancient Near East and classical world the serpent was mostly viewed positively, not negatively, and he claims this is also true of the Bible, including the serpent of Genesis 3. However, while his ancient Near Eastern and classical material are fascinating, I would point out that most references in the Bible indicate that the serpent was viewed negatively, and this is certainly the case in Genesis 3. https://www.bibleinterp.com/articles/2015/04/day398028.shtml quoting : S.G.F. Brandon, Creation Legends of the Ancient Near East (London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1963), 130, 135, 139; J.H. Charlesworth, The Good and Evil Serpent (Anchor Yale Bible Reference Library; New Haven: Yale University Press, 2010), 294-96 ;
  4. most frequently we read of serpents biting people (Gen 49:17Prov 23:32Eccles 10:811Jer 8:17Amos 5:199:3); they also symbolize the wicked (Ps. 40:5, ET 3; 58:5, ET 4) and are mentioned in connection with the dreadful wilderness and scorpions (Deut 8:15). In addition, the chaos monster defeated by Yahweh is depicted as a serpent (Job 26:13Isa 27:1). However, the bronze serpent Nehushtan is viewed positively in Num 21:8-9 (unlike in 2 Kgs 18:4, when it had become idolatrous), as are the apparently partially serpentine heavenly seraphim of Isaiah 6
  5. What Every Christian Ought to Know by Adrian Rogers 2005 ISBN 0-8054-2692-2 page 162
  6. General linguistics by Francis P. Dinneen 1995 ISBN 0-87840-278-0 page 118

 

[collapse]
Genesis 6:1-3

by James Fratzia, July 2015

The Bible talks of the ‘sons of God’ in Genesis 6:1-2 “when human beings began to increase in number on the earth and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw that the daughters of humans were beautiful, and they married any of them they chose”.

1. Some interpreters claim that in the Old Testament, the phrase “sons of God” (beney elohim) always refers only to ‘divine’ ‘beings’ and/or ‘angels’ (this is more of a ‘functional’ term). This is consistent with Rabbinical views and early Church Fathers. Job 1:6 and 2:1support their claim that sons of God refers to divine beings and/or angels. It is certainly reasonable to argue that all divine beings are elohim with God himself being the unique uncreated almighty elohim presiding over them in a ‘heavenly assembly’ as described in Psalm 82, Psalm 89 & Job 1. However, the phrase is used in Hosea 1:10 to refers to humans. Admittedly, Hosea used the singular form of the word “God,”El, whereas the writer of Genesis 6 used the plural form, elohim. It raises the possibility that humans intrinsically share something with divine beings which makes them sons of God (beney elohim)  – perhaps this is part of being made in God’s image’.

Some use Jude 6–7 to argue that the “sons of God were unfallen or heavenly beings and/or angels who then fell because they had sexual relations with female humans (adam). Apocryphal books, such as the Book of Enoch (quoted in the NT), refer to such beings. They then produced hybrid offspring who were ‘mighty men’, ‘men of renown’. There is no dispute with the notion that some of the elohim (divine beings) rebelled.

However, the assumption that divine beings and/or angels can have sexual relations who produce offspring with female humans is problematic. It is not the sex that is the problem because a number of possibilities make it possible. It is the production of offspring that is problematic. Though Satan (and other heavenly beings) are ‘spirit’ who can take on physical form, they cannot create as God does – they can only alter or corrupt what God has made. The production of hybrid spiritual-physical offspring  in this view is unlikely.

2. A common interpretations is that “sons of God” refers to the descendents of Seth, while the daughters of men” refers to the descendents of Cain. In other words, the righteous line of Seth intermarried with the unrighteous line of Cain resulting in corruption prompting the flood. The meaning of Naamah’s name, the reference to Noah’s wife call Naamah, and the fact that the sons of God saw that the daughter’s of mean were beautiful” is often used to make the connection.

I’ve always found this argument difficult because

  • it seems to me that the term sons of God’ can mean both humans and/or ‘divine’ beings. It seems to me that ‘divine’ beings cannot have offspring-producing sex with humans, let alone marry them. Jesus makes this clear with unambiguous reference to sex –γαμοῦσιν οὔτε γαμίζονται in Matthew 22:30, Mark 12:25. Sex in this case implies offspring.
  • why should the sons of God be limited to Seth’s ‘righteous’ line only. Was the calibre of antediluvian humanity as simple as some sort of righteousness based on genetic lineage? If Cain married his sister, was she also unrighteous, genetically. Was unrighteousness an inherited trait? This is hard to believe. I would expect the genetics of both lines to be the same and I can’t see any good evidence anywhere in Scripture that righteousness is based on genetics, pedigree or lineage.

3. Therefore, if both Cain and Seth’s lineage in this antediluvian era is of the line of Adam, then so is Lamech. Could it be that all of Adam’s genetic descendants are sons of God’ – perhaps designated as such because man is made in God’s image? As ‘sons of Adam, might they not be endowed beyond creativity, intelligence, and strength with biological superiority as well? It is clear that Lamech typifies that he in Cain’s line was not righteous but why should it be concluded that Seth’s line be considered all righteous. Maybe some were righteous and some were not in both lines.

At this point it seems to me that there is a direct link, interrupted simply by the genealogy in Genesis 5, between Lamech’s story in Genesis 4 and the account preceding the flood in Genesis 6. Could it be that Lamech (like Cain) is an example of a son of God”seeing that the daughters of men (adam in Hebrew) were beautiful and married any of them they chose. Unfortunately, this creates a foundational problem for many Christian theologians – the possibility of humans who are not in the image of God – not descendents of Adam and Eve – coexisting with, and perhaps pre-existing, Adam’s lineage.

This allows the possibility that Lamech as a son of God” is biologically superior to non-sons (other humans not of the line of Adam). Then, in the manner of Lamech overcoming the ‘young man (adam)’, could not any of the vastly superior ‘sons of God’ effectively pick and chose from the humans who are not sons? The sons of God presumably were less in number than the non-sons because we are told that man (adam) began to increase in number on the earth and daughters were born to them. By this time the descendents of Seth would be also be many, and it may be that many were ‘unrighteous’ and copied Cain and Lamech and chose wives from this pool?

If so, God had a problem with their interbreeding. The hybrids were definitely superior to the beast-like humanity from which their mothers came, though possibly deficient as ‘sons of God’. There may be a clue in God’s creation of Eve from Adam. Perhaps this represents an expectation of inbreeding within Adam’s line, continued in the geneology of Seth down to Noah but breached by those ‘sons of God’ who copied Lamech? It may be that these humans were best thought of as animals who were not in the image of God, who did not share something with the divine elohim but who were otherwise sufficiently human biologically to breed with Adam’s offspring. Not very smart, not creative, not physically as strong or fit as those created in God’s image.

It is likely that ‘giants’ (Nephilim) Genesis 6:4 are not the hybrid offspring. The passage implies the ‘giants’ (Nephilim) were there, perhaps as observers or encouragers of the production of these hybrids. They were there afterwards too, and disruptors of God’s plan for humanity (the Israelites fear entering the promised land under Moses because their spies identified ‘giants).

4. Another possible definition for the ‘sons of God’ is that to be a ‘son‘ of God, one must be directly created by God. In this case, created spiritual beings are ‘sons of God’ and so are Adam and Eve. But their genetic descendants, though in God’simage,‘ are not ‘sons of God’.There are a number of things to note here :

  • Jesus is the only ‘begotten‘ son of God. That is, he is unique and uncreated. In the same way, God the unique, transcendent, uncreated, all powerful all knowing Creator,  is still an elohim,  like created spiritual beings. The term  sons of Godhere does not apply to Jesus.
  • In the New testament, those who become Christians by divine re-creation are called  ‘sons of God’. They are ‘reborn‘ by God’s will.
  • The nation Israel is directly ‘created’ by God through the covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and called God’s ‘son‘ in the Old Testament.
  • Men began to call upon the name of the Lord‘ after Cain killed Abel, and Adam and Eve produced Seth. Could these ‘men’ be equated to born again Christian converts in the New Testament, and therefore, validly be called  ‘sons of God’? Are they directly re-created by God as well? In that case, is Genesis 6:1-2 referring to faithful  ‘sons of God’? That seems unlikely.
  • If the term  ‘sons of God’ can be ascribed functionally to those who rule (ideally under God’s sovereignty), whether in the spiritual realm or on earth, then the genetic line of Adam call all be correctly described as  sons of God’ point 3. above remains valid. The alternative is that the  ‘sons of God’ were not human and did actually breed with human women!
[collapse]
Genesis 4:17-25 Lamech

A detailed article can be found on this site

Article on Genesis 4:17-25 Lamech   

[collapse]
John 1:11

Posted by Agios Dimitrios on 2011-04-07

John 1:11

“He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him”

Who are these people?

  1. In the first instance “his own” are the Jews, particularly the nation as an entirety, including its religious establishment, those who studied the Scriptures, the zealots ‘for God’ but also the common people.
  2. However, the context has a more general scope, speaking of the entire creation (1:1-3), and all peoples, not just Jews (1:3,4; 1:7-9, 1:12-13)

Immediate application:

Ultimately, he is talking about all people past, present and future.

He is talking about us because if he came today the response would be the essentially the same.

I doubt he’d be authorised to preach anywhere. [Editor]

[collapse]
John 12:27-33

by James Fratzia, Easter Sunday : 27 March 2016

“27 “Now my soul is troubled. And what should I say—‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it is for this reason that I have come to this hour.28 Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.” 29 The crowd standing there heard it and said that it was thunder. Others said, “An angel has spoken to him.” 30 Jesus answered, “This voice has come for your sake, not for mine. 31 Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be driven out. 32 And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” 33 He said this to indicate the kind of death he was to die.”  John 12:27-33

John 12:33 What “kind of death” is Jesus going to die? (Greek: 33 τοῦτο δὲ ἔλεγεν σημαίνων ποίῳ θανάτῳ ἤμελλεν ἀποθνῄσκειν)

Jesus anticipates his upcoming death in v27 “Now My soul has become troubled“. He gives 4 features that distinguish Jesus’ death from all other deaths in history:

  1. He will glorify God when he dies on the cross v28
  2. His death will bring inevitable judgement upon the earth v31 and the basis of that judgement will be whether they believe Jesus and follow Jesus as the Son of God who is one with the Father. 44 And Jesus cried out and said, “He who believes in Me, does not believe in Me but in Him who sent Me. 45 He who sees Me sees the One who sent Me. 46 I have come as Light into the world, so that everyone who believes in Me will not remain in darkness. 47 If anyone hears My sayings and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world. 48 He who rejects Me and does not receive My sayings, has one who judges him; the word I spoke is what will judge him at the last day.” John 12:44-48. It is not a judgement simply because of individual human sin, but a judgement upon the earth because the only way to deal with sin justly and for any humans to survive at all is for the Father to send His Son to die for the sins of the world. That is, the world will be judged because Jesus has to die to pay for it’s sin.
  3. It is a death that will free humanity from the clutches of Satan who has enslaved them since Adam and Eve listened to Satan in the garden (Genesis 3: 15). In other words, his death will provide a victory over all the Spiritual beings in the spiritual realm opposed to God and enemies of humanity. Jesus speaks of this when Jesus is accused by the Jewish religious establishment of being Satan or a Prince from the spiritual realm, Mark 3:27.
  4. He “will will draw all men” to Himself v32. In other words, when he is lifted up, or exulted, he will become the gateway and the beacon for people to come to God.

Though this may refer to either the crucifixion itself, or the resurrection itself, it could easily refer to the entire death and resurrection which Jesus will soon experience. Against it including the resurrection is that this is to the glory of the Father’s name, rather than the glorification of the Son specifically which is ordinarily understood to refer to the resurrection. It is not surprising that Jesus tells this to his disciples in response to a group of Greeks (rather than Jews) wanting to see Him John 12:20.

It seems Jesus is indicating that the Jews will not listen (since they’ve already had so many dealings with God yet have not recognized, or simply rejected, His Son) so His mission is to save all people in all the nations, who since the Tower of Babel have been both enslaved to human sin and spiritual powers in rebellion against God, whom the Greeks represent.

But how does the upcoming death of Jesus glorify the Father in heaven v28? The answer is in John 12:24 24 Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. ”  The key word here isalone” which is a faithful translation of the words in the Greek text (“μόνος μένει“). Jesus is speaking of reversing the fall of God. Prior to being ejected from the Garden of Eden, God and man were in fellowship together. Though God is revealed in the Bible to be ‘three’ who are ‘one’ God, and though it appears there there were the spiritual beings in the heavenly realms prior to, and witnesses, to the creation of humanity, God created humanity ‘in his image‘ (Genesis 1:27) to have fellowship with humanity. I suggest that Jesus will glorify the Father by restoring fellowship between God and man, and thereby ensuring that neither human sin, nor the power of Satan ultimately thwart his good purposes in the creation of the universe (both visible and invisible) and the human creatures he placed over it.

[collapse]
Acts 9:15

9:15   Why does Paul’s commission include “carrying [Jesus’] name” before “the people of Israel“?

Possibilities to consider include:

1.      Jesus needed a 13th apostle to go to Israel too, along with the other twelve

2.      Paul was to be a witness of the truth to the other 12 apostles. He was to hold them to account because somehow they were incomplete as the ‘foundation’ of the church (Eph 3:20) without this accountability. This argument seems to have this evidence

a.      The 12 Apostles appear to have carried too much baggage from their “Jewish religion” and despite their insight and power, they  failed to see that  that the “power” that came upon them in Acts 1 was in order to “witness”, not just in Jerusalem but also “in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:4). Therefore:

                         i.      They didn’t get scattered with the rest of the church after the persecution of Stephen (Acts 8:1). Perhaps the Lord expected them to go but they didn’t obey his command.

                         ii.      They were “forced” to go to Samaria [by Jesus] after Philip had preached the gospel to them and they “believed”.

                         iii.      Now Paul is made the 13th apostle to keep them from allowing their baggage to “quench the Spirit” and to ensure that the gospel remains intact and goes to the ends of the earth.

               iv.      Why does God need to show Peter 3 times that man’s religion must not treat “as impure that which God has made clean” (Acts 10:15; 11:9). By being a curse under the law for law-breakers, Jesus fulfilled the law on behalf of all believers. Why does Peter “wonder about the meaning” of this vision (Acts 10:17)? Why does Jesus need to send men from Cornelius’s house to get him to understand that JESUS is the fulfillment of salvation for all people, not just Jews. 3 times reminds us of the 3 times Peter denied Christ. What effect do you think this connection between incomplete understanding of Jesus atoning sacrifice for all people regardless of ethnicity and denial of Jesus at his time of need might have on Peter? God has raised up a 13th apostle because in a sense his inclination is to ignore the implication that all people are now just as privileged to receive salvation through Jesus as are Jews. Now the risen Lord Jesus goes to great lengths to get Peter to accept this fact. Peter again must again humble himself before the grace & mercy that Jesus is showing him, despite the religious baggage from his past.

              v.       While the apostles remained in Jerusalem unscattered, persecuted Christians go to Cyprus and Cyrene and from there to Antioch and tell Greeks the gospel (Acts 11:19-21). The persecuted Christians seem to understand the call to be witnesses to the entire world (Acts 1:8) and act on it. Peter needs special effects to understand (Acts 11:17) and to accept non-Jews as brothers. Even after this, Paul needs to oppose him and insist that Peter remain faithful to this revelation.

b.      We see Paul in conflict with the apostles in the remainder of the NT from time to time (eg with Peter Gal 2:11). It appears that since they have God’s power in them, the conflict is usually resolved in unity. However, Barnabas is considered by Paul to have taken on a different gospel & perhaps some of the 12 in Jerusalem (Gal 2:14) turned a blind eye to it.

[collapse]
Acts 10:4

10:4   Why does the angel of the Lord say to Cornelius “Your prayers and gifts to the poor have come up as a memorial offering before God.”? How they be a “memorial” (Greek: mnhhosunon)?

  1. It is likely that Cornelius’ prayer and concern for the poor are a reflection of a heart that is right before God. Where it says “he and his family were devout and God-fearing” Scripture is declaring that even though he is not a Jew but an Italian Gentile, he is in fact one of God’s people. Jesus taught that “it is not what goes into a man’s mouth that makes him unclean, but what comes out of his mouth” (Matthew 15:11). This man’s expression of a sincere and genuine faith in God is based on the “fear of God” which is the beginning of spiritual wisdom. It is not the observance of religious rules, regulations and traditions that is the beginning of spiritual wisdom which unfortunately was the attitude of many of the the Jewish nation at the time of Jesus (and still is the false premise of many religious traditions today). Therefore, Cornelius accepts the gospel about the death of resurrection of Jesus (Acts 10:36-43) and receives the Holy Spirit (Acts 10:44-45) as promised by the Father for the authentic followers of God (Acts 1:4, 2:38). God “does not show favoritism  but accepts men from every nation who fear him and [therefore] do what is right ” (Acts 10:34-35). God doesn’t forget his people and their efforts to live as his people in a world that ridicules them, even a centurion in the Roman Imperial Army! It is a “memorial” because it reflects the membership of God’s people that Cornelius and his family already have as people who fear God. Their prayer and work for the poor do notmake them God’s people. They prayer and work for the poor are a reflection that they already are God’s people.
  2. In this passage we see the difference between the false promise of acceptability by God by religious performance made by many “humanitarian” religions, compared to the true acceptability by grace through faith in Jesus Christ – who he is, and what he has done for us. That is the proclamation of authentic Christianity!
[collapse]
Acts 11:27-30

11:27-30     The initial experiment of communal ownership of everything seems to have ended in Jerusalem. Here in Antioch there is no mention of such a practice. The church in Jerusalem just after Pentecost appears to have been a fulfillment of the OT Kingdom of Israel, with reversion to pre-king days and the installation of the 12 apostles as 12 judges. God is their king.  Since the famine will strike the entire Roman world (Acts 11:28), it is reasonable to assume that Antioch too will experience famine. The church in Antioch includes significant numbers of Gentiles and so a “Jewish” “new nation” organization might be inappropriate. Perhaps the previous communal experiment is why the famine will strike the church so hard in Jerusalem?

In Scripture, there appear to be two reasons for Christians to collect and use money corporately.

  1. One is to provide for relief of the needs of the poor. Here the poor are starving brothers in Jerusalem. Earlier in Acts it was the widows.
  2. the other might be to enable specific missionary activity, though it is likely Paul and Barnabas worked with their hands (see Paul’s approach in general 1 Cor 9, and in Ephesus Acts 20:32-35)
  3. either way it is under the Spirit’s direct guidance (Agabus’ prophetic activity v27)
[collapse]
Acts 12:12

12:12 “many were gathered together and were praying”

They were praying for Peter (12:5) who was about to be executed by Herod. This is what Christians do when they are being persecuted. But the effect of praying to a God who listens can be extraordinary. These persecuted Christians rely on God to act supernaturally for the glory of His name & to bring justice to his people against their oppressors.

In this passage (Acts 12:1-25) we see extraordinary things happening as God sends an angel to rescue Peter, and as we see God judge and destroy their oppressor Herod. This is proof for the people of Tyre and Sidon that Jesus, not Herod (or the Roman Caesar) is King. One of the mysteries of evil is that God uses it to bring good, and so many Phonaecian (in Lebanon today) people are saved by believing & receiving Jesus (‘The word of the Lord continued to multiply’ 12:24).

The Christian God doesn’t always destroy those opposed to Him and who seek to harm his people. Sometimes He chooses to have mercy on the persecutor(s). God makes it clear ; “I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion” Exodus 33:19. God often chooses to relieve persecution in answer to prayer by causing a change of heart in the oppressor so that the oppressor turns to Jesus himself and is saved. This is what happened to Saul in Acts 9. This is the essence of the Christian response to their enemies. This what Jesus meant when he taught to love your enemies. That is, pray for deliverance, and that somehow in this deliverance, good will come to their enemies too – their enemies good is to turn to Jesus and be saved, and to be reconciled to both God and his people. It is probably in this sense that when oppression comes from the state or from other authorities (including ecclesiastical) that Christians “pray for” those “kings and authorities”, that they might avoid persecution from them and have peace as they live “quiet lives” of witness to Jesus (1 Timothy 2:1-7), but also that those kings and authorities might submit to Jesus too. So in this passage we see that in response to his own glory and in response to the prayer for justice from his people God who is normally “slow to anger” can suddenly flare up as a consuming fire. “For the Lord your God is a consuming fire”(Deuteronomy 4:24). No-one can argue that Herod didn’t deserve it for all the blood he had on his hands!

[collapse]
Acts 18:24-19:1

see article on The Apollos Heresy in the Church today 

Read the artcle The Apollos Heresy

Some people have queried by E-mail the apparent difference that talking to Priscilla & Aquilia made to Apollos between vv 25 & vv 27-28 in Acts 18.

 

Apollos is essentially doing the same thing pre and post his interaction with Priscilla & Aquilia. What the passage curiously doesn’t tell us (as is the pattern in Acts) is that Apollos received the Holy Spirit after talking with them. We are left wondering in regards to Apollos whether he has been baptised in the Holy Spirit. This question is brought into relief as we are immediately told that the disciples of John in Acts 201-2, who likewise had received only the ‘baptism of John, hadn’t even heard of the Holy Spirit. I believe that Priscilla & Aquilia explained the role of the Holy Spirit to Apollos in Acts 18:26. What Apollos certainly took away from that interaction was a doctrine of the Holy Spirit that would have included God’s initiative in salvation through the Holy Spirit and the ongoing ministry of the risen Lord Jesus by the Holy Spirit through the disciples to the world in the new age. That is, the ministry of Jesus by the Holy Spirit that we see in the book Acts, and which is exemplified and taught by the apostles, including Paul.

 

In other words, Apollos would have been ‘helpful to ‘those who had by grace believed (Acts 18:27) because he now understood (at least intellectually) the initiative of God in salvation through the gift of the Holy Spirit. For it is by grace you have believed, and this not of yourselves, it is the gift of God (Ephesians 2:8-90). This doctrine of the Holy Spirit in ‘salvation by grace through faith’ would have been useful in his public debates with the Jews (in Acts 18:28). That’s because it would explain the new covenant authenticity (as God’s people) of those who had by grace believed’. There is no reason to consider this public debate anything but an intellectual exercise. We’re not told that these debates were a demonstration of God’s power in any way. For example, Apollos could have intellectually overturned the Jewish argument that a person needs to be a Jew to be saved, or that they needed the right religious pedigree. He could have affirmed what John says in John 1:12-13; Yet to those who received Him, those who believed in His name, he gave the right to become children of God – children born not of natural descent , nor of  human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God”. Apollos would have now understood that believers received Him by the baptism of the Holy Spirit, whereas before Priscilla and Aquilia he probably would have though simply in terms of faith based on human reason from the Scriptures!

 

This ability to engage in intellectual argument in itself is not a sign of God’s power. However, it can be useful. In my view, this is similar to the usefulness of many eloquent teachers of doctrine in the church today.  However, unless they have received the baptism of the Holy Spirit, they are not saved, and their ultimate effect is not the unity of the Spirit, but division and factionalism caused by human intellect, wisdom and wrong motives.

James Fratzia  13 March 2005

[collapse]
Acts 21:16

Acts 21:16 Paul obeys the Jewish interpretation of the Law

“The next day Paul took the men and purified himself along with them. Then he went to the temple to give notice of the date when the days of purification would end and the offering would be made for each of them.”

Many argue that Paul was simply exhausted with continual conflict over the Jewish interpretation of the Law and tradition. James the apostle advises him to comply Acts 21:24. James has already shown compromise by imposing rules on Gentile believers in Acts 15:20.

Paul’s behaviour here is very much at odds with his veracious opposition to submission to the Jewish interpretation of the Law being a precondition for Gentiles becoming Christians. In fact, for anyone becoming a Christian. Take a look at the book of Galatians for example.

Paul appears meek here, and just does as James suggests. No dispute, he just does it. And ends up getting arrested, sent to Rome, and eventually killed as a Christian martyr (tradition).

In some ways he is reminiscent of Jesus after the Garden of Gethsemane, who just quietly goes like a lamb to the slaughter. Jesus had spent time in prayer all night, conferred with the Father one last time, then in a determined manner submitted to God’s will to death on a cross.

Is this what Paul does? Does Paul come to terms with God’s final demand of him, and just allow circumstances to enable him to submit to God’s plan. This is certainly whatActs 23:11 implies “The following night the Lord stood near Paul and said, “Take courage! As you have testified about me in Jerusalem, so you must also testify in Rome.”

So rather than be exhausted, he understood the bigger picture, recognising the Lord’s use of both the ‘compromising nature’ of James, and the animosity of the Jews to Christian freedom in the gospel, to enable him to humbly comply with the Lord’s purpose for him to go to Rome and testify to Jesus there.


 

While reading these passages in Acts what came to my mind was Paul’s ardent defense, unlike our Lord who spoke little in his defense when before Pilate. It seems to me that Paul’s compliance with the “purification rites” and “obedience to the law” was because he wanted to defend himself to the widest possible audience and on the greater issue – the resurrection of our Lord. His “appeal to Caesar” another indication of wider motives, he would have been set free if not for his appeal. Rather than “just allow circumstances to enable him to submit to God’s plan” I see Paul as cleverly and bravely manipulating his accusers and judges to achieve God’s plan for him.

[collapse]
Acts 24:15

It’s impossible to read these passages in Acts without again admiring the character of Paul. Acts 24:15 seems to be saying, amongst other things, that Paul’s actions are also for the benefit of those that are persecuting him

[collapse]
Romans 10:1-21

Submitted by James Fratzia on 2015-06-30 at 13:51:45

Romans 10

This passage is intriguing and means different things to different christian traditions. Some exegetical points from me :

Rom 9:33 is a merged quote from the Septuagint Isa 8:14;28:16 “33 As it is written:

“See, I lay in Zion a stone that causes people to stumble
and a rock that makes them fall,
and the one who believes in him will never be put to shame.”

this verse is the context for Romans 10. It refers to Jesus who makes righteousness by ‘works’ impossible.

Rom 10:9 “If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”

Rom 10:12 “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Humans first began to call upon the “name of the LORD” after Seth was born in Genesis 4:25. So since then, human’s who call upon the “name of the LORD” have been saved by faith. The link here is that the “name of the LORD” is about Jesus.

Again, quoting Isa 52:7 from the Septuagint Romans 10:14-15 refers to this good news (Rom 10:16) and says “How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”

These verses have been used over and over again by many christians and churches in reference to the work of missionaries and preachers of the gospel.

The following passages are interesting if that is true.

Firstly, “faith” consequent to “hearing” a “message” is on view in Romans 10:16-17. But how is this the work of christian missionaries and preachers if Rom 10:18 (quotingPsalm 19:4) true since the time of Seth Genesis 4:26, where faith is on view and there are no Christian missionaries. “But I ask: Did they not hear? Of course they did:

“Their voice has gone out into all the earth,
their words to the ends of the world.”

What is actually being ‘preached’ throughout the world (universe)? We are told in the Psalms it is the ‘glory of God’, seen in what has been made. It is hard to imagine what else has been preached to all the earth. This is probably what is referred to in Rom 1:15-20. This content is ‘heard’ “through the word about Christ” Rom 10:17.

This “word about Christ” is instrumental in God declaring in Isa 65:1 “I was found by those who did not seek me;
I revealed myself to those who did not ask for me.”

So this “word about Christ” ‘reveals’, and allows ‘hearing’, of ‘good news’ by those who aren’t listening (Gentiles), and is not heard by those who are listening (the cultic, ethnic nation of Israel) Romans 10:19, 10:21.

Secondly. the voice of the ‘preacher(s)’ “goes to the ends of the earth” Rom 10:18. This doesn’t sound to me like christian preaching and missionary work because it predates them. It sounds like the work of the Holy Spirit that allows people to see and hear the good news about Jesus, and is so well documented in the New Testament, but was operating before Christ, heard by listeners and expressed by them as faith (Hebrews 11:1-39). This ‘voice’ (Psalm 19:4) sounds like it causes internal change in the hearts of people who hear then, and in response they then accept Jesus by faith.

This is not unexpected. Ezekiel 36:26 says “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.”

This is something that is internal and spiritual (a “circumcision of the heart”) described in Romans 2:29 “No, a person is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a person’s praise is not from other people, but from God.”

Let’s look at Romans 10:17 again.
NIV the word about Christ
NASB the word of Christ or the word concerning Christ
NRSV the word of Christ
NKJV the word of God
RSVCE preaching of Christ
Greek
1881 Westcott-Hort ρηματος χριστου
1550 Stephanus ρηματος θεου
Scrivener ρηματος θεου
SBLGNT ῥήματος Χριστοῦ

Often, the English “word” (of God) is a translation of the Greek word “λόγος” eg John 1:1-3. In Romans 10, the Greek word for “spoken word” or “utterance”, “ῥῆμα” is used many times. This “ῥῆμα” is is referring to a more personal spoken communication by Christ or the Holy Spirit5. A sort of directed specific communication related to inspiration, insight and understanding of the word..

“λόγος” also refers to the “word” of God, but appears less specific. It may convey content such as the “word” or communication that is written down in the Bible, or a deeper creative significance in the mystery of the person of Jesus and divinity, or even an alternative spirituality in Ancient Greek philosophy (λόγος is used by both Plato (c. 428–347 BC) and Aristotle (384–322 BC) along with ῥῆμα)6.

So here, in Romans 10, the instrumental ‘word’ which is voiced throughout all the earth, since the beginnings of human worship of God, which is revelatory to individuals specifically spoken to by God, who turn in faith to God, is not referring to simply to intellectual content. It is referring to a transformative communication to specific individuals from God. And the preacher, since the beginning of time, is Jesus Christ himself.

This is not the modern christian preaching and missionary movement.

[collapse]
1 Corinthians 1:12; 3:1-4, 16:12
1 Corinthians 3:18-4:16

Submitted by James Fratzia on 2015-7-22 at 15:07:45

1 Corinthians 3:18-4:16

In the Church in Corinth, people are following human leaders and using their alliegance to their ‘spiritual leaders’ to consider themselves superior to other ‘christians’ – to judge others. This follows the Greco-Roman traditional exultation of the philospher orators, or other ideologies proposed by charismatic or influential leaders, who provide wisdom. This should have nothing to do with christians meeting together as a church. But it does in Corinth. 1 Corinthians 3:18-20 18 Do not deceive yourselves. If any of you think you are wise by the standards of this age, you should become “fools” so that you may become wise. 19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight. As it is written: “He catches the wise in their craftiness”; 20 and again, “The Lord knows that the thoughts of the wise are futile.”

Sadly, such identification with specific preachers is common in churches today and throughout history. It is the pattern of the ‘world’ and it is futile. It is also fatal for our relationship with God. In this passage Paul argues essentially that christians follow Christ and only Christ. 1 Corinthians 3:21-23 So then, no more boasting about human leaders! All things are yours, 22 whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future—all are yours, 23 and you are of Christ, and Christ is of God.” ‘Cephas’ is the apostle Peter. Quite clearly, the papacy in Roman Catholicism is a historical example of following ‘Cephas’, and been puffed up about it.

Paul’s point when he says All things are yours, 22 whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future—all are yours,” is expanded in 1 Corinthians 4:1-4 This, then, is how you ought to regard us: as servants of Christ and as those entrusted with the mysteries God has revealed. Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful. I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court; indeed, I do not even judge myself. My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me. Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait until the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of the heart. At that time each will receive their praise from God.” 

The function of ‘leadership’ amongst Christians is not to have a following as is commonly understood in the world’s futile thought. It is not about the leader getting something in return – like money for preaching or leading or performing ‘magic’ in religious rituals. It is not about being a Chief Executive Officer, or running an institution or an organisation. A leader too has a relationship with Jesus which means that they too are ‘forgiven’, not ‘perfect’. A genuine leader doesn’t worry about whatever worldly standard is applied to them, and expects nothing in return – they do what God has equipped them to do for the benefit of God’s people and the glory of the risen Christ Jesus. So leadership is about encouraging Christians to be ‘self-sufficient’ in Jesus Christ, to recognise that they need no-one but Christ as their leader.

1 Corinthians 4:8 “Already you have all you want! Already you have become rich! You have begun to reign—and that without us! How I wish that you really had begun to reign so that we also might reign with you!

The really profound thing Paul is advocating to the Corinthians is that they are ‘kings’ who ‘reign’ simply because Christ chose them; simply because they live a life of faith following the risen Lord Jesus. This is a marvel to powerful beings in the spiritual realm when they look at what humans become when they move from being targets of God’s wrath to becoming His children in Christ. But it requires faith for christians living in a skeptical world to resist worldly thinking and trust Jesus alone to lead them through it perils.

1 Corinthians 4:9-12 For it seems to me that God has put us apostles on display at the end of the procession, like those condemned to die in the arena. We have been made a spectacle to the whole universe, to angels as well as to human beings. 10 We are fools for Christ, but you are so wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are strong! You are honored, we are dishonored! 11 To this very hour we go hungry and thirsty, we are in rags, we are brutally treated, we are homeless. 12 We work hard with our own hands.When we are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it; 13 when we are slandered, we answer kindly. We have become the scum of the earth, the garbage of the world—right up to this moment.” 

The Christian concept of leadership is ‘upside-down.’ Leaders should just do what they do – encourage christians to follow Jesus, and Him alone – because that is ‘authentic’ leadership. 1 Corinthians 4:2  Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful.” There should be nothing to gain for christian leadership but praise from God. 1 Corinthians 4:5 “At that time each will receive their praise from God”. Christians should be wary of leaders who gain material benefits “this very hour we go hungry and thirsty, we are in rags, we are brutally treated, we are homeless …….We work hard with our own hands”, high position, special status, or extra-ordinary praise etc from their brethren. Christian leadership should not expect or take benefits.

Authentic Christian leadership is always an encouragement because it reveals things to christians of which they may not be aware 1 Corinthians 4: 1 This, then, is how you ought to regard us: as servants of Christ and as those entrusted with the mysteries God has revealed. With renewed thinking, christians should recognise that leaders are equals who contribute what God has given them and requires them to contribute. Nothing more is required but to treat them as any other brother or sister in the Lord. Any Christian has the capacity to encourage other christians, whether they are leaders or not.

Paul is levelling all christians as equal in the eyes of God. There is no laity – clergy separation, no clerical model, no ‘paid ministry’ model here, no leader/follower model. 1 Corinthians 4:6 Now, brothers and sisters, I have applied these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, so that you may learn from us the meaning of the saying, “Do not go beyond what is written.”  This is necessary because all Christians as receive and share the same spirit (Ephesians 4) who empowers them; 1 Corinthians 4:7 For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?” 

Paul asks christians to immitate this approach in one of the shortest verses in the Bible; 1 Corinthians 4:16 16 Therefore I urge you to imitate me.” And Paul does so out of concern for christians in Corinth because many of them first heard of Jesus from Paul. His concern is as a father to a grown up child, not as a leader to a follower 1 Corinthians 4:14-15 14 I am writing this not to shame you but to warn you as my dear children.15 Even if you had ten thousand guardians in Christ, you do not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel.”

These things from this passage do not reflect historical, institutional Christianity do they? Jesus’ name has been exploited in history to build human ‘spiritual’ empires and exploit people just like the ‘name’ of God has been used to exploit people by all sorts of religion since time immemorial.

[collapse]
Philippians 1:18

Submitted by Agios Dimitrios on 2011-04-07 at 14:12:42

Philippians 1:18 “But what does it matter? the important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached.”

  1. Paul is making a comment on the importance of the testimonyabout Christ.
  2. Paul is also making a comment on that which consoles him. These people, even though they seek to do him harm, are actually doing something (not anything else) that is in accordance with Paul’s purposes.
  3. Paul is not saying it is OK to have people masquerading as authentic messengers of the gospel.
  4. Paul is not saying that Christians should ignore the motives of teachers/preachers because they preach the gospel. In fact, the overwhelming force of the NT is that such people must be dealt with and expelled from fellowship if necessary.
[collapse]
  1. https://lexicon.katabiblon.com/index.php?lemma=%CF%86%CF%81%CE%BF%CE%BD%CE%B9%CE%BC%E1%BD%BD%CF%84%CE%B1%CF%84%CE%BF%CF%82
  2. Charlesworth claims that the serpent does not tempt Eve (it merely asks her a question!), it tells the truth (unlike God), is described as wise (not crafty), and is not a symbol of evil. J.H. Charlesworth, The Good and Evil Serpent (Anchor Yale Bible Reference Library; New Haven: Yale University Press, 2010), 294-96. Though this is not sustainable from the text, especially once God’s response is considered Genesis 3:14-15
  3. Recently James Charlesworth has written a massive book entitled The Good and Evil Serpent in which he argues that in the ancient Near East and classical world the serpent was mostly viewed positively, not negatively, and he claims this is also true of the Bible, including the serpent of Genesis 3. However, while his ancient Near Eastern and classical material are fascinating, I would point out that most references in the Bible indicate that the serpent was viewed negatively, and this is certainly the case in Genesis 3. https://www.bibleinterp.com/articles/2015/04/day398028.shtml quoting : S.G.F. Brandon, Creation Legends of the Ancient Near East (London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1963), 130, 135, 139; J.H. Charlesworth, The Good and Evil Serpent (Anchor Yale Bible Reference Library; New Haven: Yale University Press, 2010), 294-96 ;
  4. most frequently we read of serpents biting people (Gen 49:17; Prov 23:32; Eccles 10:8, 11; Jer 8:17; Amos 5:19; 9:3); they also symbolize the wicked (Ps. 40:5, ET 3; 58:5, ET 4) and are mentioned in connection with the dreadful wilderness and scorpions (Deut 8:15). In addition, the chaos monster defeated by Yahweh is depicted as a serpent (Job 26:13; Isa 27:1). However, the bronze serpent Nehushtan is viewed positively in Num 21:8-9 (unlike in 2 Kgs 18:4, when it had become idolatrous), as are the apparently partially serpentine heavenly seraphim of Isaiah 6
  5. What Every Christian Ought to Know by Adrian Rogers 2005 ISBN 0-8054-2692-2 page 162
  6. General linguistics by Francis P. Dinneen 1995 ISBN 0-87840-278-0 page 118
Do you like this material?

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.