Jun 03

WHERE DOES THE SOUL/SPIRIT GO AFTER DEATH? (1)

The title of this series of articles addresses a subject that is on the mind of many! At the same time, it addresses a subject that is greatly misunderstood. Because of this misunderstanding a number of teachings have come forth which are false. It is understood by most people that death is going to occur to all of us, unless Jesus comes first! This verse nails down this simple truth: “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” (Heb. 9:27). These inspired words establish two truths: 1) all are going to die; and 2) after death all will be judged. There is one other truth in these words, but it is implied. Between death and judgment, there is, of necessity, a resurrection.
First, let us identify at least one verse that has led to false teaching. A careful study of the verse will clear up the point, which some, in fact, a great many misunderstand. The verse is Acts 2:27: “Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.” If we use “hermeneutics 101” which earlier articles have addressed. Let me recall for the reader’s aid, the four points: 1) Who is speaking, 2) to whom is he speaking, 3) when was it said/written, and 4) why was it said/written? In answering the first of the four, it requires a little thinking, as Peter is speaking, but he is quoting David, who wrote: “For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption” (Psa. 16:10). Therefore, we discover that three must be understood as the one speaking/writing these words: 1) the Holy Spirit who gave inspiration to the text, 2) David, who first wrote the words, and 3) Peter, who said the words on the first Pentecost after the ascension of Christ into heaven. Second, Peter in Acts 2:27 is speaking to the Jews in Jerusalem. Third, Peter’s words were spoken at the beginning of “the age of Christ.” By the words, “the age of Christ,” is meant the age when Christ is the authority. Fourth, it was said to teach the truth; 1) by showing the fulfillment of the prophesy of David; in the resurrection of Jesus; and 2) to address the resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth; 3) that by the resurrection, God identified that Jesus is the Son of God. This brings us to the text itself.
Peter is proving by the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus that he is the Christ; as he fulfilled prophesy. First he showed that David was not writing of himself. Peter starts with these words: “Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day” (Acts 2:29). First, David was not writing of himself, as Peter said by pointing out that David died, was buried, and his sepulcher was with them even on the day of Pentecost. Clearly Peter has started to prove the resurrection of Jesus. In other words, David’s body was, even as Peter spoke, still in his sepulcher! Second, “Therefore, (David, frw) being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne” (verse 30). Peter, by the Holy Spirit who is the true author of both David and Peter’s words; was proving that God would raise Jesus, the Messiah, whom the Jews were even at that time expecting to appear. It is also very important to notice, that after the resurrection, Jesus was to “sit on his throne” and his throne is in heaven and not on earth. Third, “He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption” (verse 31). David in the long ago, wrote of the resurrection of Christ (the Greek “Christos” and means: “anointed.” Fourth, Peter said: “This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses” (verse 32). Let us keep in mind, that in the resurrection of Jesus, God was proving that he was his Son: “And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead” (Rom. 1:4).
With the above facts in mind, we take up the one point of this, our first article on the subject, the word “hell” into which Jesus went as his spirit departed from his body. It is unfortunate that the translators of the King James Version of the Greek New Testament, translated three different Greek words into one English word. The word in our text is the Greek, “hadēs” which means: “the realm of the dead.” It is not the place of the dead body but the spirit/soul.
Therefore, Jesus’ spirit/soul went into a realm which the Holy Spirit identifies as “Hades.” In the next article, we will study the Hadean realm.

–Frank R. Williams

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May 26

DEATH, WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT IT?

Of course, this is no one’s favorite subject, but no one gets out of this world, of this life, without death! The basic meaning of the word “death” is separation. However, Merriam-Webster gives the following as the meaning of the word death: “a permanent cessation of all vital functions: the end of life.” Another definition is: “the act of dying; the end of life; the total and permanent cessation of all the vital functions of an organism.” Still another gave: “the event of dying or departure from life.” From a purely medical standpoint this may work, but it does not really help us much. It will be noted that the word “separation” does not appear in any these sources. Therefore, let us look at the Greek word, which is “tanatos” and means: “separation from the life” (Strong 2288). Thayer says: “that separation (whether natural or violent) of the soul and the body by which the life on earth is ended.”
Having now before us the correct and understandable meaning of the word “death,” let us look at an inspired use of the word: “For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also (James 2:24). It is the word “without” that helps us here, it is the Greek “kho-rece’” and means: “at a space, that is, separately or apart from.” Now, we do not have the word “death” in this verse, but we have the word “dead;” which is the Greek “nek-ros’” and refers to “a corpse,” dead” (Strong)! Now, Thayer says: “1) one that has breathed his last, lifeless,” then, “destitute of life, without life, inanimate.” Therefore, “the body without (separately or apart from) the spirit is dead (lifeless, destitute of life, without life, inanimate)! If a body is “without” the spirit it is dead; then, the spirit has been separated from the body. Thus, death occurs when the “spirit” has separated from the “body.” This separation is unseeable!
So, you are asking what is this all about? First, death is a most sobering subject and one we do not like to think about, let alone talk about! Second, it is the end of opportunity, as in whatever we are going to do, it must be done before death! Third, at death one’s eternal destiny is sealed and unchangeable! These words appear in Hebrews: “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” (Heb. 9:27). Of course, to a good student of the Bible, it is understood, implied, necessary, that there is a resurrection between death and the judgment. Otherwise, what is judgement? Therefore, when addressing the subject of death; we have entered two areas we like to avoid: 1) death and 2) the judgment! For just assuredly, as there is death, there is the judgment! Paul wrote: “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad” (1 Cor. 5:10).
So, you are still asking, what is this all about? It is about the fact; there are approximately 6,744 deaths in the U.S. per day. On Sunday, there are 6,744 people who will not see Monday! This means that all opportunity to do any act has ended! Here we might correctly use the words: “Whatever will be, will be!” Meaning that for 6,744 people all opportunity has ended, never to be changed! This is the sobering reality for 6,744 souls/ spirits!
There is the meaning of death for the living! The death of others gives the living, you and me, opportunity to take the time God has given us to follow Paul’s words: “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates? (2 Cor. 13:5). Just how careful should we be in this effort? The word the Holy Spirit had Paul use, which is our word, “examine,” is the Greek “peirazō” and it means: “test: for the purpose of ascertaining his quantity of.” Adam Clarke wrote of the word: “Try yourselves; pierce your hearts; bore yourselves throughout!”
What was Paul points? He answers: “how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?” The word “reprobates” is the Greek “adokimos” and expresses the idea of “not standing the test, not approved.” Can you hear Jesus say: “depart from me, ye that work iniquity” (Matt. 7:23)? One last thought, we have no idea who will be among the 6,744, who will never see Monday!

– Frank R. Williams

Permanent link to this article: http://okcsbs.com/death-what-do-you-think-about-it/

May 20

“WHAT IS TRUTH?’” (2)

Truth is one of the most interesting studies a person may engage in! However, many stand with Pilate, and continue to ask: “What is truth,” as though there is no such thing as “truth.” Like one plus one, may at some time not equal two! Cut it up anyway you like; such as: one half of one, plus one half of one, plus one, still equals two. Is a foot, as it  appears on a ruler, ever less or more than twelve inches? You can cut the ruler in half, each piece having six inches; but the two halves still add up to twelve inches! In order words, it always takes twelve inches to equal a foot. Just think of a world, where one country had a foot that only measures ten inches; while another has, a foot equaling fourteen inches.

There have been times in antiquity where systems of measurement were defined locally: the different units might be defined independently according to the length of a king’s thumb or the size of his foot, the length of his stride, the length of his arm, but this meant, that with the change of kings, so would follow a change of measurements! Then, there was the problem of trying to purchase something in another county; you order something to be made which is to be ten feet long; but the second country had a different standard of measurement. No one would ever be sure what he might get!

Now, let us take the above and apply it to “truth!” As Pilate asked: “What is truth?” (John 8:38).  Church one has one “truth,” church two has another “truth,” and on and on it goes. You can see, the problem is like a different standard, based upon the length of a king’s foot, but this is a man-made teaching! The measurement of how long a foot is, can be determined by man. All they must do to set a standard, which is agreed upon by other countries; thus, when you call for a piece of lumber to be ten feet long, you know what to expect when it arrives. Of course, this writer is aware of an unfinished ten-foot board and a finished ten-foot board. A finished two-by-four is only one and a three-quarter inch by three and three-quarters inches. If you should look how old houses were built, you may find unfinished lumber, but this is understood! When our “fathers” called for a ten-foot board, they knew it would be unfinished and so they built with it! But this was understood, as it related to lumber but can never be the case of “truth!” There is no unfinished “truth!” Jude wrote: “Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints” (verse 3).  Here attention is called to the Greek word used by the Holy Spirit. It is “hapax” and means: “1) once, one time, 2) once for all (time, frw). It is the same word used in Hebrews: “So Christ was once (hapax: once, one time; once for all time) offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation” (Heb. 9:28).  Therefore, Jude using the word given by the Holy Spirt is saying that: “the faith which was once – once for all time – delivered unto the saints.” There is no need to go looking for, or expecting a new revelation; once the “truth” was delivered, it was not going to be delivered again, nor would ever be a “new” or another revelation!  On this point, Paul wrote: “marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ” (Gal. 1:6-7). So, “what is truth?” It is “the faith which was once for all time delivered unto the saints!”

Truth does not change, based upon what church you are a member of, truth by its very nature, never changes and is the same here, there, and elsewhere!  Yes, there are many who try to convince us, that they have the “truth,” but don’t you believe it, unless it comes from the word of God. If you have three churches, each teaching a different doctrine; one thing for sure, at least two of them are wrong and maybe all three are wrong!

My friends, if you value your own soul, you must have the same spirit as the prophets of old, who “enquired and searched diligently” the prophecies of old (1 Pet. 1:10); we must “enquire and search diligently” for the truth. If I may, the whole truth and nothing but the truth!

–Frank R. Williams

 

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May 13

MOTHER

There is one word that speaks more than most other words; and we each have one. Mother is the most beautiful; no, we are not talking about her looks but her character. If you desire to show love, just show a mother; if you want to explain kindness, just bring on a mother; if you are trying to tell someone about gentleness, reveal a mother; and if you are searching for sacrifice, find a mother.

On the other hand, the ugliest, the most hideous, the most disappointing, is an unfaithful mother!  Just stop for a moment and read: “And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women” (Luke 1:28). Mary was “highly favoured,” but just what does this mean? The Greek word, which gives us real understanding; is “charitoō” and in this context, cares the idea of being “compass with favour;” but what kind of “favour?” The angel said, “the Lord is with thee;” and truly this alone would be a blessing so high! In what way was Mary “highly favoured;” not as one might first think!  The angel followed with these words: “the Lord is with thee!” At the same time, the Lord had been with and was even at this moment, with many!  Yet these words are said to Mary and there is more to these words than normally expressed. Mary, a woman among other women, but the Lord is with her! With her, unlike the Lord had ever been with another! For the angel said to Mary: “blessed art thou among women.”  Never had any woman heard these words with the meaning they had as spoken to Mary! Never and not even at that time in history; nor never again would a woman hear such words as they relate to Mary conceiving!

Just what kind of woman was Mary? Surprisingly, the inspired record does not reveal a great deal about the character of Mary. But then, we do not need many words, even inspired words, written about Mary to know what kind of woman she was; for the fact standing alone, that God chose this young woman to be the mother of the Son of God, made her unlike any other woman!  Read slowly the following; “Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit” (Matt. 1:18). Mary was to give birth to a child, and we know, she was to give birth to male child; this when she had never “known” a man. With the guarded words of the Holy Spirit, Matthew wrote: “before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit.” No woman had ever been so “highly favoured!”  Without any doubt, whatever words give honor to a woman, Mary surpassed them all. In her we find the epitome of womanhood and motherhood. Keep in mind, it was God who “highly favoured” her! In fact, Mary was the “handmaid” of God, read these words: “And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her” (Luke 1:38).  Have you ever thought about the word “handmaid?”  Get this now, as the angel talks with Mary, she concludes that she is the “handmaid of the Lord.” It was not the angel who told her that she would be the “handmaid of the Lord;” but Mary upon hearing the words the angel said to her, she concluded and then said: “Behold the handmaid of the Lord.” The Greek word is “doulē” and means: “a female slave!” Mary willingly gave herself to the words of the angel, and said: “be it unto me according to thy word” and the angel upon hearing Mary’s words, understood her surrender to the word of the Lord; “And the angel departed from her.”

One other point as we look at the words of Elisabeth, the mother of John, who baptized. Mary had gone to visit Elisabeth and “saluted Elisabeth.” Now here is the point: “And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit:  And she spake out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb” (Luke 1:41 – 42).  Friends, these are the words spoken by Elisabeth, but revealed by the Holy Spirit!  Therefore, it is an affirmation of the Holy Spirit that Mary was “Blessed” “among women,” as in all women. The Greek word used here, is “eulogeō” and expresses the idea of one who is favoured of God, but notice Elisabeth uses the same word (In both English and Greek) as she says: “and blessed is the fruit of thy womb.” But these were not Elisabeth’s words, but those of the Holy Spirit speaking in Elisabeth!

Mary, possessed character pleasing to God! Therefore, there are no higher words a person may speak in describing a mother, than for her to be called in truth, a “handmaid” of God!

Frank R. Williams

 

Permanent link to this article: http://okcsbs.com/mother/

May 06

“WHAT IS TRUTH?’” (1)

To the person who reads the New Testament, the words which serve as the subject of this article, will be identified immediately, as the question which Pontius Pilate asked Jesus. Truth is the desire of all honest people, no matter the field. Whether the subject is justice, science, math, or religion, the honest person is one who seeks truth and nothing but the truth! Of course, to the dishonest person, truth means nothing at all. As such a person is only interested in what will serve him best! The difference between the honest and the dishonest is clearly seen when it comes to truth; and asking the question “what is truth?”
However, we are continually surprised to see the dishonest person. You see, to the honest person, it seems so simple, to be a person who only desires truth; that to be confronted with a person who deals in dishonesty! Just look around at the number of churches, a number which continues to grow. Yet, every one of them will “shout” to the whole world, we are the church which Jesus said: “I will build my church” (Matt. 16:18)! To the honest person, it takes no time at all, to see the answer cannot be truth!
The world, and many religious people, stand with Pilate in asking: What is truth?” Have you studied the context of Pilate’s question? The verse reads: “Pilate saith unto him, What is truth? And when he had said this, he went out again unto the Jews, and saith unto them, I find in him no fault at all” (John 18:38). More than likely there is much said between Pilate and Jesus which the Holy Spirit did not record; but we have all we need to know, in accordance with the wisdom of God. Keep in mind as this is read, after Pilate had asked his question, John wrote that: “he went out again unto the Jews.” Did he give Jesus time to answer, or does his actions reveal a lack of interest in truth; if so he may have simply just asked a question? In the life of Pilate truth was not all that important, as his first interest was in keeping his power! Nevertheless, it is time to look at the context.
Starting with verse twenty-eight of John chapter eighteen, we learn that the Jews brought Jesus to Pilate after taking him to Caiaphas, who was high priest according to the Romans, as the Romans had removed Annas, who would have been the high priest according to the law of Moses; but was not the high priest recognized by Roman authority, as they had appointed Caiphas. The Jews were covering all “bases” as their first desire and intent was to have Jesus crucified. Therefore, they were trying to appease both their countryman and the Romans! The Jews having delivered Jesus to Pilate, who asked: “What accusation bring ye against this man?” (verse 29). Not surprising, the Jews answer: “They answered and said unto him, If he were not a malefactor, we would not have delivered him up unto thee” (verse 30). They were putting themselves forward as “honest!” Honesty was not on their mind! Pilate replied: “Take ye him, and judge him according to your law” (verse 31). Naturally they had an answer, which also reveals a real lack of interest in “truth;” as they said: “It is not lawful for us to put any man to death.” They were showing their own dishonesty; as they would murder Stephen (Acts 8:58), but now they desired the Romans to do their evil deed!
Pilate calls Jesus into the “judgment hall;” and his first question: “Art thou the King of the Jews?” (verse 33). This reveals that he had some knowledge of what was going on among the Jews. After more talk, Pilate asked: “what hast thou done?” (verse 35). This appears to be a natural question, as in fact, the Jews had brought Jesus to Pilate with the expressed purpose to have him put to death! Jesus’ answer is most revealing as to the nature of his kingdom: “My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence” (verse 36). This caused Pilate to ask another question: “Art thou a king then?” (verse 37). Jesus replies: “Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.” (verse 37). It is here that Pilate questioned: “What is truth?” (verse 38).
Pilate came face to face with “truth,” but his desire was to keep his power; and by doing so, reveals a truth that many, like Pilate, do not desire to hear and to take action upon: “truth!” So, he appeals to a “custom:” by saying: “ye have a custom” (verse 39). My friends, “customs” must never trump “truth!”
“Truth” is the foundation upon which the church that Jesus said: “I will build” stands! It is truth, truth obeyed, that saves (John 8:32). So, where do you stand, upon “truth,” or do you appeal to some “custom?”

— Frank R. Williams

Permanent link to this article: http://okcsbs.com/what-is-truth-1/

Apr 29

HERMENEUTICS (8)

In this last article dealing with “hermeneutics,” and really just looking at what we have called: “Hermeneutics 101;” we will undertake to reach an understanding of Peter’s words at the house of Cornelius. Of course, this means our attention will be directed to Acts chapter ten. Here we will answer those questions which fall within “hermeneutics 101:” 1) Who is talking, 2) To whom is he talking, 3) When was it spoken, and 4) Why was it said?
In answering the four questions, our aim is getting the foundation which puts our feet on sound ground, as we desire to reach a correct understanding of the inspired word of God! In doing this, we are within the words of Paul to Timothy: “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Tim. 2:15). Before even looking at the text of Acts 10:41-42; we must get a correct understanding; please notice the points that Paul makes to Timothy: 1) an obligation, “study;” 2) a desire and opportunity, “to shew thyself; 3) a most high end, “approved unto God; 4) a goal, “a workman that needeth not to be ashamed; and 5) the means of reaching the first four points: “rightly dividing the word of truth!” Clearly, every person has an obligation to: “rightly divide the word of truth!” With these thoughts in our mind, we turn our attention to the text under study.
First, who is speaking? We learn that the apostle Peter is speaking (Acts 10:21, 26, 34). Second, to whom is Peter speaking? Peter is speaking to Cornelius and all that were at this house (verse 24). Third, when is it being said? The time is after the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ; therefore, it was said during the early years of the “age of Christ.” (By using the words, “the age of Christ,” we mean the time, age, when people are under the authority of Christ.) And fourth, why was it said? It was said that Cornelius and all with him, had the opportunity to hear and obey the gospel of Christ and be saved! With the four questions now having been answered, let us turn our attention to the text of Acts 10:41-42.
The text reads: “Not to all the people, but unto witnesses chosen before of God, even to us, who did eat and drink with him after he rose from the dead. And he commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is he which was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead” (Acts 10:41-42). Now, why are these two verses so important that they need our attention? First, let us get the subject; Peter had just said: “And we are witnesses of all things which he did both in the land of the Jews, and in Jerusalem; whom they slew and hanged on a tree: Him God raised up the third day, and shewed him openly” (Acts 10:39-40). The subject is Jesus and what he did and what God did; Peter ends with: “whom they slew and hanged on a tree: Him God raised up the third day, and shewed him openly.” Second, it is remarkable to some, to learn that Luke as he writes of this event, that he uses the pronoun “we” when writing of what Peter said. Who is this “we?” Could it be Peter and the six brethren that came with him? No, once more as we learned in the last article, the inspired writer or speaker, being an apostle, used a plural pronoun when the apostles are the understood antiseant! Notice that Peter said, it was not given to everyone, to be “witnesses,” as Peter said it was not to all but: “Not to all the people, but unto witnesses chosen before of God.” This is followed with, as Peter further identifies who is included in the pronoun “we:” “even to us, who did eat and drink with him after he rose from the dead.” If you will recall Luke’s words as he opens “The Acts of the Apostles,” writing of Jesus:” “Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Spirit had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen: To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God” (Acts 1:2-3). These words go hand in hand with the words of our text! Then, in Acts 1: 8: “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Spirit is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” Therefore, Peter said: “Not to all the people, but unto witnesses chosen before of God.” If you will put Luke’s “witnesses” in chapter one, verse eight; with Peter’s “witnesses” in Acts ten, verses 39 and 41; then, you will know who the plural pronoun “we” is that Peter uses when he said the same thing in our text. The “witnesses” are the apostles!
However, Peter does not stop here, but said: “And he commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is he which was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead” (verse 42). What do we have? We have Peter’s “we” and now his “us” being the same group: the apostles of Christ; who are the “them” in Acts 1:2-3! This goes, once more, “hand in hand” with Jesus’ words: “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15; see verse 14, “the eleven”). Therefore, the “ye,” the “we,” the “them” and the “us,” are the apostles of Christ!
It must be understood that the apostles of Christ were a group, class, unlike any other! They were given “powers” and responsibilities that no others had!

Frank R. Williams

Permanent link to this article: http://okcsbs.com/hermeneutics-8/

Apr 22

HERMENEUTICS (7)

In this seventh article on “Hermeneutics,” we are calling attention to basic Hermeneutics. For instance, if you were to read a letter with these words: “I will give you a million dollars;” does it mean that “you” will receive from “me” a million dollars? Sounds simple, does it not?
The first thing “you” need to do is locate the antecedent to the pronoun “I;” as the writer is unknown, unless his name appears on the letter. In this case, the first thing you would do is learn who wrote the letter. One thing for sure, you would know without much effort, the writer of the letter is not the “me,” for I do not have a million dollars! So, you would look at the address or name of the writer on the letter. Let us take “The Second Letter of Peter;” it starts with these words: “Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, …” (2 Pet. 1:1). Now we know the writer and his name is “Simon Peter,” but we also know more, he is “an apostle of Jesus Christ.” Now, here is something you may not have thought of that is in “Hermeneutics 101;” the “apostles” used a plural, at times when writing. For instance, in the third verse Peter wrote: “According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue;…” Who is the “us” in this verse? It is a case where Peter, an apostle of Christ, used the plural pronoun “us” to refer to a group and in this case, it refers to the apostles as a group! Therefore, the “us” in the words: “According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: …;” the “us” is referring to the apostles as a group or class.
Now, let us turn our attention to verse four: “Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: …” (verse 4). The pronoun “us” continues to be the apostles as a group! Jesus made the promise, “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: …” (John 16:13). The pronoun “you” is here the same as the pronoun “us” in Second Peter! The apostles were a group, unlike any other; and when Peter writes of the: “exceeding great and precious promises;” he is pointing to the fulfilling of the promise given to the apostles and not to you and me! Allow me to point out, that in the commentary of the beloved Guy N. Woods, it appears he failed to notice the pronouns; as he Wrote: “It is through the glory and the virture mentioned in the preceding verse that these precious and exceeding great promises have been vouchsafed to man.” He has the “exceeding great and precious promises” going to “man” in general, as he continued to write: “The promises are precious because of what they mean to the human soul.” If not to mankind in general, then, to Christians and this is just not the case! Why brother Woods failed to notice the change in pronouns, I do not know! However, before you fall out of your seat, let us read Peter’s next word: “that.” Peter used the Greek “hina” which is used to express: “in order that (denoting the purpose or the result)” (Strong G2443). So, what was the result of the apostles being guided “into all truth?” It was “that ye;” and Peter identifies who the pronoun “ye” are, as he wrote in the opening verse: “to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;” and by implication, it reaches to all who are the same in our day! Even in his opening statement, Peter makes a difference between “them” and “us!” The pronoun “them” in verse one refers to the same as the “ye” in verse four and so it is with the pronoun “us,” being a different group from “them,” and the “us” is the apostles of Christ!
With the above understanding in mind, let us read on as Peter wrote: “that by these (The “exceeding great and precious promises,” given to the apostles, frw) ye might be partakers of the divine nature.” Once more let me ask: Why were the apostles guided “into all truth,” or why were they given the “exceeding great and precious promises?” Peter answers: “that by these ye (By extension, you and I) might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” In “Hermeneutics 101,” we are required to notice, who the pronouns refer to! A failure to do so, may and often does cause us to reach a false conclusion! We must always: “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Tim. 2:15).
Here is the question: Are you, as you read the inspired word of God, always “rightly dividing the word of truth?” No, if we fail to notice and identify the pronouns and who they refer to!

Frank R. Williams

Permanent link to this article: http://okcsbs.com/hermeneutics-7/

Apr 15

HERMENEUTICS (6)

Is it laziness on our part that we take a passage (verse) out of its context; or is it an honest mistake? Without being able to read the mind of another, I am unable to answer, but we sure have reason to question; why do preachers and others keep on taking the same verse out of its true context? Here we turn our attention once more to “Hermeneutics 101.” In the case before us, all one must do is read the context and ask the question: “What is the subject in which this verse appears?” Context is the first responsibility of the reader, teacher, or writer; if he is to quote another!
With this before us, here is a good time to call upon the words of James: “My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation” (James 3:1). First, we must understand the word “masters,” it come from the Greek word “didaskalos” and means: “1) a teacher; 2) in the NT one who teaches concerning the things of God, and the duties of man, 1a) one who is fitted to teach, or thinks himself so.” Second, it is the responsibility of the one who is to be a “teacher,” to study and understand the truth being taught in any verse or passage he is to teach on! Therefore, having studied and prepared to teach, in this case by writing, I must understand that James is warning everyone who would be a teacher/ preacher: “be not many masters;” but James is not writing about “masters” as it relates to “master” and “servant!” No, he is writing about one who would be a “teacher!” Third, the one who would be a “teacher” must understand James’ words: “we shall receive the greater condemnation!” Therefore, it behooves us to give all diligence to make sure we understand every verse in the context it appears and never be guilty of taking a “verse out of context!”
With the above firmly in mind, to use an old expression, “I take pen in hand to write!” In modern terms. “My fingers are upon the keyboard and I am prepared to write!” While understanding James’ warning that I: “shall receive the greater condemnation;” should I willfully be too lazy to study, so irresponsible that I have no fear to teach what James was not teaching, and what any verse I may use while taking it out of the context which the speaker or writer put the words in! Friends, I “stand” in fear, should I be too lazy or so irresponsible, that I may teach what Jesus or any other inspired writer wrote out of its context!
How many times have you heard or read Jesus’ words: “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them” (Matt. 18:20)? How many times have you heard or read where these words are used and applied to worship? Have you read the context? If so, how did you determine that it is a context of worship? Jesus is not speaking of worship! Now, read the following with care! If Jesus was speaking about worship, then, he has implied that one person cannot, yes, one person cannot worship God “in spirit and in truth” by himself! Suppose you are the only Christian is a place and it is the “first day of the week?” Here we need to understand the implication of a statement has the same authority as the statement its self! For it is the implication of the speaker or writer! Therefore, if Jesus was speaking of worship, then, he implied that one person cannot worship by himself! How many times have you prayed or sung a song of spiritual truth, being alone? Was it worship?
The context in which the words, “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them;” is identified by Jesus in these words: “Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee” (verse 15). The two or three witnesses are required because the truth of the charge is to be proven! Here is what Jesus said in identifying the context: “But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established” (verse 16). When the truth of the charge is established, by two or three witnesses, then, Jesus said: “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them” (verse 20). Let it be understood, that Jesus is never with false witnesses!
It should be easy to determine, just by reading Jesus’ words, that he is not speaking of worship! So, why do teachers/preachers/writers, keep on applying Jesus’ words to worship? Is it that they are too lazy to study the context and are just “parroting” what they have heard; that they do not care what the context is teaching; or is it that they just refuse to accept the context in which Jesus spoke? Shame on anyone who falls within any of these!

Frank R. Williams

Permanent link to this article: http://okcsbs.com/hermeneutics-6/

Apr 08

HERMENEUTICS (5)

Hermeneutics, as in “Hermeneutics 101,” now takes another step in determining the truth being taught in a verse. Basic to Hermeneutics as noted in the first four articles has for the most part, answered the questions: 1) Who is speaking; 2) To whom was it said; and 3) When was it said? In this article, we will look at the context in which a verse appears.
There are a few statements made in the Bible, that it does not matters in what the overall context may have been, in which a statement is made, it always means the same thing! Strange as this may seem, it is never the less true! Let me give two such statements: 1) Moses wrote: “Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man” (Gen. 9:6). No matter whatever the subject may be in a context, if these words appear within, they are nevertheless true! It was true in all three ages given in the Bible. It was true in the age of the Patriarchs, in which this statement appears; it was true in the age Moses, as Moses wrote: “And he that killeth any man shall surely be put to death” (Lev. 24:17); and it is true in the age of Christ, as Paul wrote: “For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil” (Rom. 13:4). If we can all agree that murdering another person is “evil,” then, we can agree that the person who murders another has done “evil.” Therefore, the civil government, which is God’s minister for good, is responsible “to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil” and the government “beareth not the sword in vain!” Therefore, the words of Moses in Genesis 9:6, are tr0ue in all ages, and in all the contexts in which it might appear!
A second statement made to the apostles of Christ, is true in whatever context the words may appear. In John chapters 13 – 16, Jesus is addressing his apostles and said to them: “If ye love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15). Is there a context in which these words would not be true? No! No matter what the subject, if these words were put in the context, they would be true! On the other hand, some statements in one context would not be true in another context. Take the word of Paul: “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Phil. 4:13). Let us say that I am in a weight lifting contest, before me is a weight of 1,000 pounds; I then quote Paul’s words: “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” Are the words of Paul true when put into this context? No! Yet, lifting weights is a “things;” therefore, it falls into “all things;” if we are to use Paul’s words without the limitations of the context! So, the word “all” must be kept in the context in which it appears. Just what is Paul’s context, wherein he used the words “all things?” “Hermeneutics 101” requires that we look at the context; Paul wrote: “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Phil 4:11-14). The context in which Paul is using the words “all things” is one of “I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.” Simply stated, it is a context when “things” are good and when “things” are bad! It is wrong to use his words in some other context! Notice what he wrote next: “Notwithstanding ye have well done, that ye did communicate with my affliction” (verse 15). This verse also is addressing Paul’s needs! It has absolutely nothing to do with lifting weights!
The thought is much like what Paul wrote in the Roman letter: “Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 8:37-39). Whatever our state, we can be faithful to Christ; so long as we put Christ first!
It is always wrong to take a text out of its context! “Hermeneutics 101” says, read the verse before and after to help get the context! Remember, “A text out of context is a pretext!”

— Frank R. Williams

Permanent link to this article: http://okcsbs.com/hermeneutics-5/

Mar 31

HERMENEUTICS (4)

How many times have you read or heard the words, “house to house,” as it related to evangelism? Before going any further, let it be known that it is my opinion that the best way to do evangelism is in someone’s house, “sitting at the kitchen table!” We generally call this action, “personal evangelism.” It is face to face, the teacher can look the student in the eye, read the expressions on the face. Then, it may be that the lost person(s) is more comfortable in their own home. It is best for the one being taught to be at ease while studying the Bible. So, there is nothing wrong and it is even desirable, to take the gospel from, “house to house,” as the words relate to evangelism!
However, as we are studying “hermeneutics” and as we are calling it, “hermeneutics 101,” for we are looking at the simplest efforts in understanding the Bible. One of the most often failures in studying the Bible, or as in our case, a study of the New Testament, is a misunderstanding and miss use of pronouns! This is true, for if we apply a pronoun, which referred to others, such as the apostles, to ourselves, then, it may not require any action on our part at all! The apostles were given commandments which we are not required to obey! In fact, we do not have the ability to obey! They were given powers not given to us. For instance, they were baptized in the Holy Spirit; thus, they received what no others received; this gave them the ability to lay hands on others and impart the ability to speak in tongues: languages which they used in teaching/preaching the gospel to the lost. Here, allow me to use one word which includes all spiritual gifts (1 Cor. 12:9-11); this one word is “miraculous.” A non-biblical word which is used to describe what one does not learn or acquire through natural means. Read the following to help in understanding this very important point; “Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John: Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Spirit: (For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.) Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit (Acts 8:14 – 17). Please notice that Luke uses the words “Holy Spirit” to refer to the miraculous gifts which were received by the apostles laying their hands on some of those who had obeyed the gospel (Acts 8:12). Only the apostles had the ability to impart these miraculous gifts; thus, the necessity for the two apostles, Peter and John, to come to the city of Samaria. The apostles could do what Philip was not able to do: impart miraculous gifts! May I point out, we have used “hermeneutics” in gaining this truth! To the best of my knowledge, the New Testament does not say, or you cannot read in it; that only the apostles could impart “spiritual gifts,” but it does teach it! This may not be “hermeneutics 101,” but it is near it!
Surely you are wondering what happened to the point made in the opening paragraph! Just where does the New Testament use the words “house to house” as they refer to evangelism? The first time the three words are found is in Act 2:46 – “And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread FROM HOUSE TO HOUSE, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart;” however, the words “from house to house” do not refer to evangelism, but refers to members of the church as they were “breaking bread” which appears to be a common meal, as they “did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart.” The second time the words appear: “And how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have shewed you, and have taught you publickly, and FROM HOUSE TO HOUSE” (Acts 20:20). Here Paul is talking to the elders of the church in Ephesus (Acts 20:17). It is not a context of evangelism, but one of warning these elders! The third time the words appear: “And withal they learn to be idle, wandering about from HOUSE TO HOUSE; and not only idle, but tattlers also and busybodies, speaking things which they ought not” (I Tim. 5:13). With little effort, it is easy to see that this verse is not about evangelism!
So, what is the point? This article is not written to teach that we should not go “from house to house” in teaching the gospel to the lost: evangelism! But, to use “hermeneutics” is seeing the context; to use “hermeneutics” to arrive at the truth, to answer the questions: who is speaking and to whom!
Therefore, go “from house to house,” but do not use these verses as your authority which do not have anything to with evangelism! However, if one continues to read, starting at Acts 2:46 reading through verse 47; it would be learned that evangelism is in the overall context: “Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.” If there is: “added to the church daily,” there is evangelism in the overall context; however, it is not related to the words: “FROM HOUSE TO HOUSE!”

Frank R. Williams

Permanent link to this article: http://okcsbs.com/hermeneutics-4/

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