To My Sons – Part 1

As one sun sets in David, another rises in Solomon.  Solomon acknowledged his responsibility as Israel’s new king in prayer:

“Now, O LORD my God, You have made Your servant king instead of my father David, but I am a little child; I do not know how to go out or come in.  and Your servant is in the midst of Your people whom You have chosen, a great people, too numerous to be numbered or counted.  Therefore, give to Your servant an understanding (literally, a hearing) heart to judge Your people, that I may discern between good and evil” (1 Kings 3.7-9). 

The LORD answered Solomon immediately and verbally:

“Because you have asked this thing, and have not asked long life for yourself, nor have asked riches for yourself, nor have asked the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern justice, behold, I have done according to your words; see, I have given you a wise and understanding heart, so that there has not been anyone like you before you, nor shall any like you arise after you” (1 Kings 3.12-13).  



The Hebrew mishle (translated proverbs in Proverbs 1.1) communicates the idea of a wise saying that usually comes by way of comparison.  The Greek word for parable carries the idea of setting items side by side for comparison.  The English word proverb does not fit the wider scope conveyed by the Hebrew concept.  These are the maxims and wise counsels of Solomon.  They teach and instruct in a memorable way.

  • To know wisdom and instruction – wisdom is competence or skill; instruction is a disciplined process for gaining this competence or skill
.
  • To perceive the words of understanding – the ability to draw proper distinctions in life

.

Wisdom is something given by God and put into practice by man.  As a skill wisdom shows us how to practice.  Wisdom is using knowledge in a right way.  Instruction comes by way of chastening; it is teaching through discipline.

Wisdom is practical in that it provides common sense and the skill to navigate through the struggles of everyday life.  Wisdom is also intellectual in that it provides the hearer with a keen sense of curiosity and fascination.

Wisdom means more than accumulating facts or mental sharpness.  Psalm 107.27 introduces a word picture that hones the idea of biblical wisdom.  Sailors in this verse are said to reel to and fro on a ship like a drunken man.  The text then states that these men are at their wits’ end.  The marginal note in the New King James Version of the Bible communicates the idea of wisdom being swallowed or consumed.  That is, these men no longer have the skills needed to weather the storm.

Wisdom refers to the skill of living in a way that pleases God.  The will of God is found in the Word of God.  Wisdom provides the skill necessary to do God’s will God’s way.  We accomplish the will of God by obeying Him not through a series of intellectual attainments.

  • To receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, judgment, and equity – the instruction of wisdom is the discipline of insight.  Justice, judgment, and equity are synonyms which speak of the outcome of receiving such insight.  Justice communicates the idea of righteousness or right behavior.  It refers to our conduct, as in living a life of justice.  Judgment speaks of the ability to make decisions; to discern what is right between things which differ.  Equity speaks of moral integrity, uprightness in character.  It is to be principled.
  • To give prudence to the simple – prudence in the sense of subtlety and craftiness; in the context, it means to detect that in others.  This is similar to the challenge Jesus gave to be as “wise as serpents.”  The ability to escape the wiles of the devil and his sons of disobedience is to be prudent.  “A prudent man foresees evil and hides himself, but the simple pass on and are punished” (Proverbs 22.3).
  • To the young man knowledge and discretion – information that has wholeness to it; integrity (knowledge lived and proven in the realm of experience) and discretion; the ability to think thorough a situation.  These things often elude the simple and the young; simple people are open-hearted people who are susceptible to the external impressions of others and often easily misled.

It is not enough for you to know.  You must develop the skill of applying what you know.  Spend time on what really matters.  Pursue wisdom.  It is certainly the principal thing in life.

Faith in Romans – Part 12

“Knowing this …we believe …reckon …present …obeyed” (Romans 6.6, 8, 11, 13, 17).

These five verbs within Romans 6 demonstrate the process by which we have power over sin as children of God.  This is the process by which we bear fruit to holiness for the glory of God.  Unfortunately, we often circumvent this biblical process.  So, faith is an inseparable part of this process of overcoming sin.

  1. There is something we must know.  That is, we must be well-acquainted with a very important fact.  Our old man was crucified with Christ, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin (Romans 6.6).  Those who die are freed from sin!
  2. There is something we must believe.  Romans 6.8 says that “if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him.”  We shall live with Him in Heaven, but that is not what this passage is emphasizing.  We shall live with Him now on earth.  We must believe that the resurrected Christ lives in and through us in the present (see Galatians 2.20).  This is eternal life:  to know Christ and believe that He will grant us resurrection power to live a life well-pleasing to God because of our dependence upon His Son.
  3. There is something we must reckon.  We have the righteousness of Christ and power over sin.  Therefore, we must count that as true and start living an eternal quality of life.  This is an imputed reality.  But for all of it’s potential, I must count it as such.  If we have a million dollars in the bank and never use our debit card, who is responsible for such foolishness?  We are!  Bank on it.  You are indeed dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus!  Live out the life that you have …or don’t and keep spinning your wheels.
  4. There is something we must present.  Present is used in the sense of dedicating for service.  We must present ourselves to God as being alive from the dead.  That is, we must dedicate ourselves to His service.  What does this look like (see Romans 6.12-14)?  It’s a life of righteousness to God.  We behave in a Christlike way because we are no longer law-driveromans_6_11_by_blugi-d38zf5on but grace-driven.
  5. There is something we must obey.  Now, we have reached the step of obedience.  Know, believe, reckon, and present all lay the foundation for obedience.  Christians go from one extreme to the other.  They usually begin with obedience, but it is an obedience that is self-reliant and flesh-driven.  They have returned to self-righteousness.  This is sin leading to death.  However, if we know that we are crucified with Christ, depend upon His life at work in and through us, appropriate that life for our own by counting this to be true, and dedicate ourselves to the service of God, only then is our obedience Spirit-filled.  This allows us to demonstrate the righteousness of Christ in the things we think, do, and say.  Thus, we glorify God and not self.  This is “obedience leading to righteousness” (Romans 6.16).

Explore the Book Lessons: Overview

BaxterJ. Sidlow Baxter’s Explore the Book is one of the most helpful surveys of the whole Bible I’ve read.  It was first published in 1960 in five volumes.  You can purchase them all in one volume by clicking the image to the left.  It is also available on Kindle.  I’m sad to say that it is not available on Logos to date.

I believe that it would be good to take your family, Sunday school, or small group through this book.  I am preparing lessons that will appear here in the months ahead.  They are based upon Baxter, but deviate here and there.  This first lesson provides the reader with a succinct overview of the Scripture.

The Bible consists of 66 individual books. There are two major divisions: the Old Testament and the New Testament. The Old Testament is made up of 39 books and the NT consists of 27 books.

The Old Testament

The Old Testament begins with a group of 17 books connected by a group of 5 books to another group of 17 books. The first grouping of 17 begin with Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. This is a five-fold subdivision of the first grouping of 17 books. Moses is the author of these five books. They are historical. Some refer to these books as the Pentateuch (Five Books), the Books of Moses, or the Books of the Law. They are five historical books.

Next we find Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 and 2 Samuel, 1 and 2 Kings, 1 and 2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther. All of these 12 books are historical in nature. The first 17 books of the OT fall into two subdivisions of five and 12. The 12 books may be further divided into two more sub-divisions of nine and three. The last three (Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther) are set at a time after Israel is expelled from the land and during the repatriation of the remnant. So there are five pre-Canaan historical books called the Pentateuch, nine in-Canaan historical books, and three post-exile historical books (5-9-3).

There is a bridge of five books connecting the two large blocks of 17. These are Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and the Song of Solomon. The 17 books preceding these five are historical in nature. But these five are individual, experiential books. The first 17 were national, and these five are personal. They deal with the individual human heart. The 17 historical books are narrative; these five are poetic. They are five experiential poetic books.

This leaves us with the final grouping of 17. This books are all prophetical books: Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi. Just as the historical division could be further sub-divided, even so with the prophetic division. The first five books are called Major Prophets. The remaining 12 are called Minor Prophets.

We call the first five prophetic books major because in Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel there are basic features of all OT prophecy. They also contain a more comprehensive scheme of Messianic prediction.

  • Isaiah – The Suffering Savior and the Victorious Sovereign
  • Jeremiah/Lamentations – The Righteous Branch of David and the Restorer of the Remnant
  • Ezekiel – The Perfect Shepherd-King
  • Daniel – The Kingdom of God Victorious over the Kingdoms of Man

Finally, these five books are major because they contain more revelation than each of the Minor Prophets. Lamentations is significant because it connects the two pre-exile prophets with the two post-exile prophets. It divides them positionally and historically. It marks the destruction of Jerusalem and the division of the pre- and post-exilic periods. It also marks the cessation of David’s reign and the dispersion of God’s children, Israel.

The 12 Minor Prophets amplify various aspects of prophecy, but do not shape it the way the Major Prophets do. They conform to the framework formed in Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Daniel. They also subdivide into nine pre-exilic prophets and three post-exilic prophets (Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi). Thus, the last three historical books (Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther) correspond with the last three prophetic books.

Therefore, the Old Testament consists of 39 books. Two groups of 17 connected by a bridge of 5. The groups of 17 are further sub-divided into three groups of five, nine, and three. The five books dealing with the individual human heart bridges the two five, nine, three subdivisions. Thus, we can remember the books of the Old Testament with the numerical outline: 5-9-3/5/5-9-3.

Over 30 writers contributed to the Old Testament throughout a span of 1,200 years. They wrote in different places, to different audiences, and for different purposes. Their writings were gathered together by God into a cohesive plurality which we call the Old Testament. Therefore, behind the human authors, God the Holy Spirit controlled the divine design of this collection.

The New Testament

Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and Acts are the only historical books within the New Testament. They are foundational for everything that follows and stand together. Therefore the New Testament begins even as the Old Testament did.

The next nine letters are all written to Christian churches: Romans, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 and 2 Thessalonians. These are nine doctrinal letters.

Four letters are then written to individuals: 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, and Philemon. These are four pastoral/personal letters.

Then a group of nine follow the pastoral/personal letters: Hebrews, James, 1 and 2 Peter, 1, 2, and 3 John, Jude, and Revelation. These nine are not addressed to Christian churches in the way the first nine are. Hebrews, James, and 1 and 2 Peter are written to the dispersed Hebrew Christians. 1, 2, and 3 John, Jude, and Revelation are more general in nature. They might be termed Hebrew letters in the sense that they were written by Jews, but not to Jews. It may be best to designate the first eight as General Epistles and classify Revelation not as a letter, but as prophetic literature.

Here I depart from Baxter.  He calls the nine Hebrew Christian Epistles.  Thus, he includes Revelation as a letter.  I think this is a bit forced to provide symmetry (Nine Christian Church Epistles linked by Four Pastoral and Personal Epistles to Nine Hebrew Christian Epistles).  I’m not comfortable with 1, 2, and 3 John being classified as Hebrew Christian Epistles.  Revelation is clearly prophetic.  While it has the seven letters written to the seven churches, they are not Hebrew churches.  Also, this only accounts for Revelation 2-3.  Here are the diagrams with the changes I’ve made then:

Bible Overview Charts

Faith in Romans – Part 11

“Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace …access …[and] hope” (Romans 5.1-5).

Romans_5-1Paul begins Romans 5 with three benefits which belong to us as believers:  peace, access, and hope.  But before the benefits, he reminds us that we are justified by faith.  Everything within Romans 5-8 is for the believer …to nurture are growth in Christ.  Note what Paul states in Romans 5.1:  “Therefore, having been justified by faith…”  That is, it’s a done deal.  We believed in the Lord Jesus Christ “who was delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised because of our justification” (Romans 4.25).  All of our sins (past, present, and future) are gone because Jesus was delivered up for them.  So our justification is never nullified by our future sin.  I am not saved based upon my future performance; I am saved by Jesus’ past once-for-all performance!  Jesus said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears my word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life” (John 5.24). We have passed from death into life …never to return again.

Justification and sanctification are related in this way:  they both come to us by grace through faith.  We are no longer in Adam; we are now in Christ.  We have the righteousness of God.  The people in our lives and the circumstances unfolding in our lives do not need to change; we do.  Romans 5.1-5 makes it plain that we will suffer and experience tribulation, but that will make us more like Christ and give us the hope we need to be convinced that we are children of God. 

Growth within a believer is a gradual process.  As we are delivered from the power of sin, we realize the benefits of our righteous standing with God due to the work of His Son.  Sin reigned in death, but now grace must reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord (Romans 5.21). 

The sum of all things for the Christian is to glorify God.  We do this by displaying God’s character to the world.  This is the manifestation of the righteousness He has given us.  Our position in Christ is settled.  He was delivered up for all our offenses.  But our growth and sanctification depend upon the resurrection power of Christ.  We are free from the power of sin as we depend upon that resurrection power.  This is ongoing faith and dependence.  Yet as a Christian, we may choose to remain in bondage to sin.  That is a discouraging realization, but it need not be.  This is why Paul not only reminds us that we are justified, but also that we have peace, access, and hope through our Lord Jesus Christ. 

Believes All Things

“Love ….believes all things” (1 Corinthians 13.7).

Is love gullible?  Is it deluded when it comes to the true nature of mankind?  Is this what Scripture means when we are told love believes all things?  No, but love is eager to believe the best about people and put the most favorable spin upon motives and actions which seem questionable.

Love is not naive.  Believing all things does not equate with playing the part of a fool.  It does not mean that we should believe the world is flat, black is white, or 2 + 2 = 5.  Love believes all things in the sense that we give people the benefit of the doubt.  When we doubt, love necessitates that we do not make judgments hastily.

We are often too quick to believe all the things people say about others.  Instead of believing the best about a person, we assume the worst.  Love does not ask us to trust when the basis for that trust has been destroyed.  Yet love gives the benefit of the doubt when doubt exists.  Love trusts in the good intentions of other people as much as possible.

As a Christian, we have a social responsibility to inject hope into a sad, dejected, and increasingly jaded society.  We must not lose faith or hope when it comes to what the Lord Jesus Christ can and will do in the lives of the people for whom we pray.  There truly is no hopeless case in our midst.  There are not limitations to the love of God and no limitations to the love of His children.  Be confident in God who changes people.

Love believes all things.  It retains faith in God who can change the vilest sinner.  Refuse to take failure as final.  Pray for and love those cast away by the world and unfortunately cast away by many Christians.  Love believes all things.

Faith in Romans – Part 10

Part 9

“Now it was not written for [Abraham’s] sake alone that [righteousness] was imputed to him, but also for us. [Righteousness] shall be imputed to us who believe in Him who raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead, who was delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised because of our justification” (Romans 4.23-25).  

The resurrection of Jesus Christ occurred in order to take away our offenses and to make us right with God.  God’s power is demonstrated in His ability to create something out of nothing, to give Isaac to essentially dead parents, and to raise up His own Son from the dead.  God’s power also clears away our sin and declares us righteous.  How could He do this?  He made Jesus Christ who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might have the righteousness of God in Him (2 Corinthians 5.21).

Abraham believed God.  Do you?  Do you believe that Jesus Christ was delivered up and crucified because of your offenses?  Do you believe He was raised from the dead because of your justification?

How much did Abraham know about Jesus Christ of Nazareth?  Unless the LORD revealed to him something not recorded in the Word, he knew very little.  But what God did reveal to Abraham, Abraham believed.

We have a clear understanding of who Jesus Christ is and what Jesus Christ did for us.  We have a strong framework for faith.  God has made it clear.  Jesus Christ is the One “who was delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised because of our justification” (Romans 4.25).  Do you believe that?  It really is that simple.

To others you may produce very little by way of spiritual fruitfulness.  Abraham and Sarah were basically dead.  Yet they had a son, and Abraham clung to that hope because of the God who introduced it.  Improbable?  Most assuredly!  Yet, he believed God.  Contrary to hope, in hope he believed.  And all things are possible for the person who believes.

The gospel for Abraham was, “In you all the nations shall be blessed” (Galatians 3.8).  The gospel for you is that Jesus Christ, the God-Man, “was delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised because of our justification” (Romans 4.25).  He believed.  Do you?

  1. No one is justified by works.  Self-righteousness will lead many to perish with or without the law.  You are no longer ignorant of God’s righteousness.  Do not seek to establish your own righteousness.  Submit to the righteousness of God (Romans 10.3).
  2. There is no doctrine more important to get right than this one.  Your are justified by faith.  Faith unlocks the door to justification and it opens up a new world to the new creation God made us to be.  “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.”  So now that we are justified by faith let us “watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, and be strong” (1 Corinthians 16.13).

Rest and Reward

There is very good reason to come before the presence of the LORD with thanksgiving.  He is the great God, and the great King above all Gods (Psalm 95.2-3).  He is worthy of our worship.  We bow and kneel before Him alone (Psalm 95.6).  “For He is our God, and we are the people of His pasture, and the sheep of His hand” (Psalm 95.7).  The psalmist concludes with a bracing exhortation:

Today, if you will hear His voice:
“Do not harden your hearts, as in the rebellion,
As in the day of trial in the wilderness,
When your fathers tested Me;
They tried Me, though they saw My work.
For forty years I was grieved with that generation,
And said, ‘It is a people who go astray in their hearts,
And they do not know My ways.’
So I swore in My wrath,
‘They shall not enter My rest.'”
-Psalm 95.7b-11

What is the rest to which the psalmist refers?  The writer of Hebrews quotes this psalm twice in successive chapters (see Hebrews 3.7-11; 4.1-10).  The LORD leads us to rest.  You can lead a horse to water, but you cannot make him drink.  The LORD may lead us to rest, but we must not come short of it.  The rest of which the LORD speaks is the rest of our reward – our inheritance.

Our rest is not a location.  It is not sleep or a day off.  Some believe that rest is synonymous with Heaven.  Yet our rest does not refer to Heaven, but what awaits us once we get to Heaven.  As believers, we will go to Heaven because we trusted in Jesus Christ as our Savior by the grace of God.  We don’t enter Heaven because of our endurance.  That would be works-salvation.  Heaven is for those who trust in the finished work of Christ not the enduring work of men.  Heaven is assured regardless the level of commitment and faithfulness on the part of a believer (John 5.24; 6.47).  Our assurance rests on Jesus’ perfect commitment and faithfulness.

Joshua entered the promised land ready for battle.  He believed that the LORD would give Israel rest after the conflict with the Canaanites.  He won the war (Joshua), but Israel failed to follow through (Judges).  Many Christians start well.  They trust in Christ’s finished work.  They are called to press on and endure trials and suffering and overcome temptation.  As we rely upon the power of God’s Word and Spirit, we take ground.  We amass an inheritance in Heaven.  It is in store for us.  Yet by walking in the Spirit, we improve the quality of our lives here and now.  Our faith is strengthened, hope is bolstered, and the LORD is glorified.

The good news of Joshua’s day is the same good news preached to us.  That good news is that we have a rest waiting for us in the form of a reward.  Joshua’s audience, the psalmist’s audience, and the Hebrew Christians of the first century are all promised this rest.  It did not profit those in Joshua’s day because they didn’t rely upon the LORD; they rebelled instead.

Our inheritance is all God desires to give us.  We are assured of Heaven even if we backslide and fall away from the LORD.  We may not have that assurance because our feelings govern us, but we should rest assured of it.  If we fall away from the LORD, we will not receive our full rest.  Also, we will not live an eternal quality of life.  Our rest is our reward.  We must claim a full inheritance.

Christians have everything they need to amass a reward.  The wonderful blessing is that as we rest in Christ here on earth and accomplish our Father’s will, our reward in Heaven increases while our lives on earth gain more access, peace, and hope.  Truly, the most useful people on earth are those who are heavenly-minded.

Greek-English Lexion of the New Testament based on Semantic Domains

Above this article is the title of a Greek lexicon that I use quite a bit.  The title is shortened by Greek Geeks to the names of the two primary editors:  Johannes P. Louw and Eugene A. Nida (Louw-Nida).  The lexicon’s primary use is for translators.  It provides the translator with the meanings of related Greek words and a methodology for the translator.  The methodology of the authors is outlined in their preface:

  1. The classification of meanings of NT Greek words into domains and subdomains (based on the UBS dictionary edited by Barclay Newman).
  2. The authors verified the meanings and used other concordances and dictionaries to refine the work.
  3. The authors prepared definitions and notes for translators, linguists, and lexicographers.
  4. Their work underwent final editing, cross referencing (very useful), indexing, and proofreading

What sets this work apart from other lexicons is the concept of semantic domains.  The lexicon divides into 93 domains as follows:

  • Domains 1-12:  Objects and Entities
  • Domains 13-57:  Events
  • Domains 58-91:  Abstracts
  • Domain 92:  Discourse Referentials (personal pronouns and referential indicating reflexive, reciprocal, interrogative, relative, and demonstrative relations)
  • Domain 93:  Unique Referentials (proper names of persons and places)

The authors examined three major classes of semantic features to assign a particular word to it:

  1. Shared – lexical items which have shared meanings with one another
  2. Distinctive – lexical items which have separate meanings from one another
  3. Supplementary – lexical items which may be relevant in certain contexts or may play primarily a connotative or associative role

Domain 19.7-19.9 consists of three Greek verbs.  All three verbs involved share the features of hitting or striking.  However they have distinctive meaning as well.  The first means to strike or beat with the fist; the second means to strike or beat with a rod; the third means to beat with a whip.  Also, Domain 19.9 differs from 19.7-8 in that the latter two domains normally refer to officially sanctioned punishment.

Each distinct meaning of a term within this lexicon is marked by a superscript letter of the alphabet.  The authors list the most common meaning first (a).  The meanings of each term are defined using the distinctive semantic features in the definition.  A dictionary provides the gloss.  Louw-Nida goes beyond the gloss to semantic features (e.g., ἐρημόομαι; ἐρήμωσις, εως or 20.41 is defined as “to suffer destruction, with the implication of being deserted and abandoned” as opposed to a gloss which states, “to be destroyed”).

The definitions in Louw-Nida provide a more exact understanding of the term within a given context.  Domain 17.3 (παρίσταμαι) may be glossed as “to stand near”.  But the term means to stand near with a friendly intent in John 19.26 and with a hostile intent in Acts 4.26.

The standard lexicon for Greek students is the Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament by Walter Bauer and translated and revised by W. F. Arndt, F. W. Gingrich, and most recently by F. W. Danker (known as BDAG).  I used this lexicon while taking Greek courses.  It provides a standard meaning for the Greek term with primary glosses.  As you read the entry for a given word in BDAG, additional translational glosses occur.  However, all these glosses are easily confused.  Many of the lexicons also lack a systematic treatment for idioms.  Louw-Nida provides a clear and systematic treatment for each.

Louw-Nida brings together meanings which are most closely related in semantic space.  The ranges of the meaning overlap.  For instance, the Greek term pneuma (transliteration of the Greek word πνεῦμα) refers to:

  1. Holy Spirit
  2. Non-material being (spirit)
  3. Evil, non-material being
  4. Ghost or apparition
  5. Inner being of a man
  6. Way of thinking; attitude
  7. Wind (air movement)
  8. Breath (air coming from the lungs)

Domain 26 lists psychological faculties (I’ve provided the transliteration):

  • Nous (26.14) – understanding, reasoning, thinking, and deciding
  • Kardia (26.3) – causative source of a person’s psychological life in its various aspects, but with special emphasis upon thoughts
  • Psuche (26.4) – essence of life in terms of thinking, willing, and feeling
  • Suneideisis (26.13) – distinguishing right from wrong (discernment)
  • Phrein (26.15) – thoughtful planning; implying wisdom and foresight
  • Pneuma (26.9) – nonmaterial, psychological faculty which is potentially sensitive and responsive to God

All the above terms refer to different aspects or modes of human personality viewed from different perspectives.  Yet overlap exists.  Both nous and kardia have considerable overlap.  Kardia reflects the Hebrew term, leb (heart), which was regarded as the center of intellectual life as opposed to emotional (the English word heart is different in this way).

Louw-Nida classifies different parts of speech together.  Positives and negatives are classified together as well.  This is a distinct advantage.  Cross-references also clarify the distinct meaning of a single term within a given context.

Utilizing this lexicon took some work before computer software made it very accessible.  I use Louw-Nida from an interlinear within the NKJV in Logos Bible Software.  But the lexicon is fun to read and browse through as well.  The indices help non-Greek students to begin study of an English word by using an English-Greek index.  Also available is a Greek-English index.  You may also begin with the biblical index.  By utilizing the biblical index you can find out everything written in the lexicon within a particular verse.  But Louw-Nida does not include every verse exhaustively.  The authors outline the method by which they determined which verses would be included within the Introduction.

The Introduction to Louw-Nida points up the most serious mistake people make in dealing with meanings of Greek terms:  they assume some type of one-to-one correspondence.  When a Greek student learns the meaning of a Greek word, he tends to latch onto that meaning as the sole meaning of the word.  For instance, the Greek term sarx generally means flesh.  Louw-Nida highlights distinct meanings by listing them in the index and reminding the reader with superscript letters.  The term sarx in the Greek index provides the following clarifications with Domain references:

     a.  flesh 8.63

     b.  body 8.4

     c.  people 9.11

     d.  human 9.12

     e.  nation 10.1

     f.  human nature 26.7

     g.  physical nature 58.10

     h.  life 23.90

All of the above are not definitions of sarx.  They are cues to various areas of meaning.  However, sarx does not simply mean flesh.  Sarx refers to the flesh of humans and animals (Revelation 19.17-18), to the human body (1 Timothy 3.16), and to human beings as physical beings (1 Peter 1.24).  It is used to modify the term fathers in Hebrews 12.9 (human father).  It is also used to designate race as in Romans 11.14.  1 Corinthians 1.26 uses the term to refer to human nature, but not merely physical like in Galatians 4.23.  Additionally, the term is used in several Greek idioms.  Louw-Nida identifies these.

The Introduction provides five basic principles of semantic analysis and classification:

  1. There are “no synonyms,” in the sense that no two lexical items ever have completely the same meanings in all the contexts in which they might appear.  This is a more nuanced understanding of the term synonym.  It is helpful to understand that corresponding terms may be used for rhetorical purposes by a NT author., but no two terms are ever completely synonymous.
  2. Textual or extratextual context determines meaning.  By textual, the authors refer to a sentence, a paragraph, or an entire discourse.  Textual refers to writings by the same author, documents with the same literary genre, and text in the same language dealing with similar concepts and vocabulary.  Extratextual context refers to the historical and archaeological contexts.
  3. Meaning is defined by a set of distinctive features.
  4. Figurative meanings differ from their bases with respect to diversity in domains, differences in the degree of awareness of the relationship between literal and figurative meanings, and the extent of conventional usage.
  5. Both the different meanings of the same word and the related meanings of different words tend to be multidimensional.  The different meanings tend to form irregularly shaped constellations rather than neatly organized structures.

The fact that computer apps and software provide many linguistic tools for NT readers is a double-edged sword.  Some know just enough Greek to make themselves dangerous.  If we are not careful, we fail to understand the nature of a lexicon and the appropriate use of word study within the NT.  This leads to either a too expansive understanding of a Greek term within a given context, or it leads to a very narrow understanding over the many different places where a single term occurs.  Louw-Nida helps the NT reader avoid either of these extremes.  I am very grateful for this tool.

2016 Elections and Abortion

DNC Platform on Abortion:

The Democratic Party strongly and unequivocally supports Roe v. Wade and a woman’s right to make decisions regarding her pregnancy, including a safe and legal abortion, regardless of ability to pay. We oppose any and all efforts to weaken or undermine that right. Abortion is an intensely personal decision between a woman, her family, her doctor, and her clergy; there is no place for politicians or government to get in the way. We also recognize that health care and education help reduce the number of unintended pregnancies and thereby also reduce the need for abortions. We strongly and unequivocally support a woman’s decision to have a child by providing affordable health care and ensuring the availability of and access to programs that help women during pregnancy and after the birth of a child, including caring adoption programs.

RNC Platform on Abortion:

Faithful to the “self-evident” truths enshrined in the Declaration of Independence, we assert the sanctity of human life and affirm that the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed. We support a human life amendment to the Constitution and endorse legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment’s protections apply to unborn children. We oppose using public revenues to promote or perform abortion or fund organizations which perform or advocate it and will not fund or subsidize health care which includes abortion coverage. We support the appointment of judges who respect traditional family values and the sanctity of innocent human life.

…Republican leadership has led the effort to prohibit the barbaric practice of partial-birth abortion and permitted States to extend health care coverage to children before birth. We urge Congress to strengthen the Born Alive Infant Protection Act by enacting appropriate civil and criminal penalties on healthcare providers who fail to provide treatment and care to an infant who survives an abortion, including early induction delivery where the death of the infant is intended. We call for legislation to ban sex-selective abortions – gender discrimination in its most lethal form – and to protect from abortion unborn children who are capable of feeling pain; and we applaud U.S. House Republicans for leading the effort to protect the lives of pain-capable unborn children in the District of Columbia. We call for a ban on the use of body parts from aborted fetuses for research. We support and applaud adult stem cell research to develop lifesaving therapies, and we oppose the killing of embryos for their stem cells. We oppose federal funding of embryonic stem cell research.

We also salute the many States that have passed laws for informed consent, mandatory waiting periods prior to an abortion, and health-protective clinic regulation. We seek to protect young girls from exploitation through a parental consent requirement; and we affirm our moral obligation to assist, rather than penalize, women challenged by an unplanned pregnancy. We salute those who provide them with counseling and adoption alternatives and empower them to choose life, and we take comfort in the tremendous increase in adoptions that has followed Republican legislative initiatives.

Here are the leading contenders in both parties:

Mrs. Hillary Clinton (D):

During the Democratic primary debate in Las Vegas this past October, Hillary Clinton said that Republicans and their sympathizers say, ‘You can’t have paid leave, you can’t provide health care.’ She then went on to conclude: “They don’t mind having big government to interfere with a woman’s right to choose and to try to take down Planned Parenthood. They’re fine with big government when it comes to that. I’m sick of it.” Mrs. Clinton is pro-choice.

Mr. Bernie Sanders (D):

Bernie Sanders believes in protecting a woman’s right to choose and has a lifetime pro-choice record. He co-sponsored the 1993 Freedom of Choice Act, which aimed to bar states from restricting the right to terminate a pregnancy before fetal viability or at any time when a termination is necessary to protect the health of a woman. He said in April of 2012, “We are not returning to the days of back-room abortions, when countless women died or were maimed. The decision about abortion must remain a decision for the woman, her family and physician to make, not the government.”

Mr. Donald Trump (R):

Donald Trump declared that he was pro-life after years of being pro-choice. He changed his view to pro-life based upon personal stories. He wants to fight Obama Care abortion funding. In 1999 Mr. Trump favored abortion rights, but respected those in opposition to abortion. The following year he said that he was pro-choice, but supported a ban on partial birth abortions.  He has now said that he pro-life.

Dr. Ben Carson (R):

Dr. Ben Carson stated in a Meet the Press interview in October that he would love to see Roe v. Wade overturned. During the same interview, he states that the hypothetical choice between the health of the mother and the health of the baby is extraordinarily rare. However, he believes there is room for discussion when the question does come up. He does not believe that one should kill a baby that is the result of rape or incest. Not only is he personally against abortion, he thinks we should be vocal about it. When Dr. Carson was a Democrat, he didn’t believe this. He was personally against abortion as a Democrat, but was not for causing anyone else to do anything about it. He changed because, “I began to think about it, if abolitionists a long time ago had said, ‘I don’t believe in slavery, but anybody else can do it if they want to,’ where would we be today.”

Senator Ted Cruz (R):

Senator Ted Cruz has been relentless about defunding Planned Parenthood. He is openly appalled by the selling of human body parts by the organization and has made it very clear. He has worked hard at making sure a vote made it to the senate floor. He supports prosecuting Planned Parenthood for criminal violations. He desires a ban on taxpayer funding of abortion and partial birth abortion. He called the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion a “dark anniversary”. He has not said if he will work to overturn it.

Senator Marco Rubio (R):

Senator Marco Rubio believes abortion is a complex issue. During an August, 2015 interview with Meet the Press, Senator Rubio said, “This is a difficult question. But when asked to make a decision between two very hard circumstances (life of the baby and the mother’s choice), I’ve personally reached the conclusion if I’m going to err, I’m going to err on the side of life. I’ll support any legislation that reduces the number of abortions.” He is not straightforward about a rape/incest exception. He would ban abortion after 20 weeks.  He is pro-life but understands that a woman’s right is the law. He would require ultrasounds before performing abortions, vote against stem cell research, and give legal protection to unborn children. He supports the prohibition of federal funding for abortion.

Crown or Cancer?

“The wise woman builds her house, but the foolish pulls it down with her hands” (Proverbs 14:1).

As wonderful as a wise woman is in the home, a foolish woman can pull down a home with tragic results.  The woman has power to build and power to destroy.  She strengthens, dignifies, and builds the home or she weakens, dishonors, and deconstructs the home.  

A foolish woman will bankrupt the home financially, ruin the reputation of her husband, and distract from the Lord’s work in her family.  A man will be so busy trying to please a foolish woman, he will have no time to do what God has called him to do.

Husbands of foolish women will not be able to trust their wives, the children will be out of control, and there will be a constant need to put fires of hostility out in the home.  Such wives will pull down the home with their hands.

  I’m thankful for a wife who walks with the Lord Jesus.  She is a builder.  I’m thankful she is beautiful on the outside; even more grateful she is beautiful on the inside.  Don’t be deceived by appearances.  As Warren Wiersbe put it, “A wife is either a crown or a cancer.”