Category Archives: Bible

SECULAR, STOIC, OR SCRIPTURE ON DEATH?

I read things on a regular basis that trumpet the glories of the Stoic way of life.  It got me thinking about three options when it comes to death:

SECULAR folks think death is something we should not think of.  We need to get distracted with lesser things.  Ernest Becker talked about these things in his Pulitzer winning book, The Denial of Death.

STOICS say we ought to face death bravely as it is so “natural.”  Everyone has to experience it.  Hunker down and face the music.  Stop complaining you weak-willed soul!

SCRIPTURE tells us that death is our final enemy (I Cor. 15:26).  Satan uses death to terrorize us (Heb. 2:14,15).  Christ says he has abolished death (II Tim. 1:10).  We long for eternity (Ecc. 3:11).  Death is not the way it was suppose to be.  We can face it (contra the SECULARIST), but we don’t face it in our own strength (contra the STOIC). 

 

FF Bruce

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Bruce’s knowledge of the Bible was prodigious. Those who knew him well believed that he had the whole Bible, in the original languages and in several translations, committed to memory.

When he was asked a question about the Bible, he did not have to look up the text. He would sometimes take off his glasses, close his eyes as if he were scrolling the text in his mind and then comment in such an exact manner that one knew he was referring to the Hebrew or Greek text, which he either translated or paraphrased in his answer.

If he were in an academic context, the reference might be directly to the original language; in speaking to students who were not necessarily theologians, he would normally use a contemporary translation; in church he would use the appropriate translation familiar to the majority of his hearers, whether the Revised Standard Version, the New International Version, the New English Bible, the King James Version or in conservative Brethren circles, the New Translation by John Nelson Darby, again normally quoting exactly from memory.

He also seemed to know all the hymns of the classical and evangelical Christian traditions by heart as well as a large body of secular poetry–English, Scottish, Greek and Latin. (239)

HT: http://newtestamentperspectives.blogspot.com/2008/01/beautiful-mind-ability-of-ff-bruce.html

BIBLE CONUNDRUM! CAN YOU HELP?

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I often interact with Christians who “believe” the Bible, but don’t read it very much.

I know several non-Christians who don’t believe the Bible, but still read it.

“Ah,” you say, the non-Christians read it for the wrong reason.  They just want to be literate.
“True,” I concede, but what about the Christians who don’t read the Bible?!
I await your answer…

THE DEEP THINGS OF SATAN

Yes, you read that correctly.  It is actually what John says in the book of Revelation.  I am currently reading the book of Revelation for my devotions. 

Here is Rev. 2:24 from the New American Standard Version of the Bible:

“But I say to you, the rest who are in Thyatira, who do not hold this teaching, who have not known the deep things of Satan, as they call them—I place no other burden on you.

According to Gary Burge in his terrific work on John’s gospel, John likes to allow for double meanings at times.

It seems that the “deep things of Satan” could both be a sort of mockery, and it seems to describe a Gnostic-like (Gnosticism does not kick in this early, more of second century reality) idea of special knowledge for certain, select folks.

Either way, the deep things of Satan are unimpressive in light of the riches of the true gospel!

WHY DO WE ALLOW IT?!

From Pastor Mike Woodruff:
Years ago, while traveling in troubled parts of Africa with Tim Dearborn – then a senior member of World Vision’s leadership team – I wondered why God allowed so much suffering. Dearborn reframed the question, asking why we allow it. He noted that if Christians gave ten percent of their income away, which he argued was a starting point, we could: 1) Wipe out extreme poverty; 2) Provide a 6thgrade education to everyone; 3) Provide clean water to everyone; and 4) Double every church budget and double every mission budget in the world and still have hundreds of billions of dollars left over. He argued back then that the question is not: when is God going to provide, or when are we going to be generous, but when are we going to be faithful and obedient? 
 
I called Tim last week to see if he wanted to update his thinking. He said the numbers still hold, and then observed that there were four things that got the Jews in trouble during the Old Testament era: 1) a failure to circumcise; 2) a failure to tithe; 3) a failure to keep the Sabbath; and 4) a failure to welcome the stranger. He argues that these were all issues of trust. In every situation they (we) were being asked to give something up something they did not want to give up. With circumcision – well, there is no desire to give up anything on that front. With the tithe, it’s money. With the Sabbath, it’s time, and with our home, it’s control / privacy. On all four fronts, obedience protects us from idolatry and helps us learn to trust God.