Meanwhile, many of the Corinthians, when they heard Paul, believed and were baptized. He lived there a year and six months, Teaching the word of God among them.
But when Gallio was proconsul of Achaia, the Jews with one accord rose up against Paul and brought him before the judgment seat, saying, “This man persuades men to worship God contrary to the law.”
But when Paul was about to open his mouth, Gallio said to the Jews, “If indeed it were a matter of wrong or of wicked crime, you Jews, it would be reasonable that I should bear with you; but if they are questions about words and names and your own law, look to it yourselves. For I do not want to be a judge of these matters.”
And he drove them from the judgment seat.
Then all the Greeks laid hold on Sosthenes, the ruler of the synagogue, and beat him before the judgment seat. Gallio did not care about any of these things.
Paul, having stayed after this many more days, took his leave of the brothers, and sailed from there for Syria, together with Priscilla and Aquila. He shaved his head in Cenchreae, for he had a vow. He came to Ephesus, and he left them there; but he himself entered into the synagogue, and reasoned with the Jews. When they asked him to stay with them a longer time, he declined; but taking his leave of them, and saying, “I must by all means keep this coming feast in Jerusalem, but I will return again to you if God wills,” he set sail from Ephesus.
When he had landed at Caesarea, he went up and greeted the Assembly, and went down to Antioch. Having spent some time there, he departed, and went through the region of Galatia, and Phrygia, in order, confirming all the disciples.
Timothy was imprisoned. They had endured a hard struggle with sufferings, sometimes being publicly exposed to abuse and affliction, and sometimes being partners with those so treated. They had compassion on the prisoners, and joyfully accepted the plundering of their property, knowing that they themselves had a better possession and an abiding one. For we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and keep their souls, not counting the cost.
Now a certain Jew named Apollos, an Alexandrian by race, an eloquent man, came to Ephesus. He was mighty in the Scriptures. This man had been instructed in the Way of the Lord; and being fervent in spirit, he spoke and Taught accurately the things concerning Jesus, although he knew only the baptism of John. He began to speak boldly in the synagogue. But when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him aside, and explained to him the Way of God more accurately. When he had determined to pass over into Achaia, the brothers encouraged him, and wrote to the disciples to receive him, saying also, “Timothy has been released. Greet all your leaders and all the saints. Those who come from Italy send you greetings.”
When Apollos had come into Achaia, he greatly helped those who had believed through grace; for he powerfully refuted the Jews, publicly showing by the Scriptures that Jesus was the Christ.
Now about this time, what we now call the Letter to the Hebrews was of great encouragement to those Hebrews who were persecuted for their faith in Jesus, giving them cause for confident expectation, with stern warnings of the wrathful judgment to come from God on those who turn away from Christ, who apostatize—warning of his condemnation of every apostate, every one who has spurned the Son of God and counted as nothing the blood with which he was sanctified to God as if it was something unholy, merely ordinary, and common, outraging the Spirit of grace. What he said to them he says to us:
- God, having in the past spoken to the fathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, has at the end of these days spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, through whom also he made the worlds. His Son is the radiance of his glory, the very image of his substance, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purified us of our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high; having become so much better than the angels, as he has inherited a more excellent name than they have. For to which of the angels did he say at any time,
- “You are my Son. Today have I become your Father”?
- and again,
- “I will be to him a Father, and he will be to me a Son”?
- Again, when he brings in the firstborn into the world he says,
- “Let all the angels of God worship him.”
- Of the angels he says,
- “Who makes his angels winds, and his servants a flame of fire.”
- But of the Son he says,
- “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever. The scepter of uprightness is the scepter of your Kingdom. You have loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness above your fellows.”
- “You, Lord, in the beginning, laid the foundation of the earth. The heavens are the works of your hands. They will perish, but you continue. They all will grow old as a garment does. You will roll them up like a mantle, and they will be changed; but you are the same. Your years will not fail.”
- But to which of the angels has he said at any time,
- “Sit at my right hand, unto the day I make your enemies the footstool of your feet”?
- Are they not all serving spirits, sent out to do service for the sake of those who will inherit salvation?
- Therefore we ought to pay greater attention to the things that were heard, lest perhaps we drift away. For if the word spoken through angels proved steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense; how will we escape if we neglect so great a salvation—which at the first having been spoken through the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard; God also testifying with them, both by signs and wonders, by various works of power, and by gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to his own will? For he did not subject the world to come, of which we speak, to angels. But one has somewhere testified, saying,
- “What is man, that you think of him? Or the son of man, that you care for him? You made him a little lower than the angels. You crowned him with glory and honor. You have put all things in subjection under his feet.”
- For in that he subjected all things to him, he left nothing that is not subject to him. But now we do not yet see all things subjected to him. But we see him who has been made a little lower than the angels, Jesus, because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that by the grace of God he should taste of death for everyone. For it became him, for whom are all things, and through whom are all things, in bringing many children to glory, to make the author of their salvation perfect through sufferings. For both he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified are all from one, for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brothers, saying,
- “I will declare your name to my brothers. Among them of the congregation I will sing your praise.”
- “I will put my trust in him.”
- “Behold, here I am with the children whom God has given me.”
- Since then the children have shared in flesh and blood, he also himself in the same way partook of the same, that through death he might bring to nothing him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and might deliver all of them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. For most certainly, he does not give help to angels, but he gives help to the offspring of Abraham. Therefore he was obligated in all things to be made like his brothers, that he might become a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make atonement for the sins of the people. For in that he himself has suffered being tempted, he is able to help those who are tempted.
- Therefore, holy brothers, partakers of a heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, Jesus; who was faithful to him who appointed him, as also was Moses in all his house. For he has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses, because he who built the house has more honor than the house. For every house is built by someone; but he who built all things is God. Moses indeed was faithful in all his house as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were afterward to be spoken, but Christ is faithful as a Son over his house; whose house we are, if we hold fast our confidence and the glorying of our hope, our confident expectation, firm to the end. Therefore, even as the Holy Spirit says,
- “Today if you will hear his voice, do not harden your hearts, as in the rebellion, like as in the day of the trial in the wilderness, where your fathers tested me by proving me, and saw my deeds for forty years. Therefore I was displeased with that generation, and said, ‘They always err in their heart, but they did not know my ways;’ as I swore in my wrath, ‘They will not enter into my rest.’ ”
- Beware, brothers, lest perhaps there be in any one of you an evil heart of unbelief, in falling away from the living God; but exhort one another day by day, so long as it is called “today”; lest any one of you be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. For we have become partakers of Christ, if we hold fast the beginning of our confidence firm to the end: while it is said,
- “Today if you will hear his voice, do not harden your hearts, as in the rebellion.”
- For who, when they heard, rebelled? Did not all those who came out of Egypt by Moses? With whom was he displeased forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the wilderness? To whom did he swear that they would not enter into his rest, but to those who were disobedient? We see that they were not able to enter in because of unbelief.
- Let us fear therefore, lest perhaps any one of you should seem to have come short of a promise of entering into his rest. For indeed we have had good news preached to us, even as they also did, but the word they heard did not profit them, because it was not mixed with faith by those who heard. For we who have believed do enter into that rest, even as he has said, “As I swore in my wrath, they will not enter into my rest”; although the works were finished from the foundation of the world. For he has said this somewhere about the seventh day,
- “God rested on the seventh day from all his works”;
- and in this place again,
- “They will not enter into my rest.”
- Seeing therefore it remains that some should enter therein, and they to whom the good news was before preached failed to enter in because of disobedience, he again defines a certain day, today, saying through David so long a time afterward (just as has been said),
- “Today if you will hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.”
- For if Joshua had given them rest, he would not have spoken afterward of another day. There remains therefore a Sabbath rest for the people of God. For he who has entered into his rest has himself also rested from his own works, as God did from his. Let us therefore give diligence to enter into that rest, lest anyone fall after the same example of disobedience. For the word of God is living and active, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and is able to discern the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
- There is no creature that is hidden from his sight, but all things are naked and laid open before the eyes of him to whom we must give an account. Having then a great High Priest, who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold tightly to our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities, but one who has been in all points tempted like we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore draw near with boldness to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy, and may find grace for help in time of need.
- For every high priest of Aaron, being taken from among men, is appointed for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins. The high priest of Aaron can deal gently with those who are ignorant and going astray, because he himself is also surrounded with weakness. Because of this, he must offer sacrifices for sins for the people, as well as for himself. Nobody takes this honor on himself, but he is called by God, just like Aaron was. So also Christ did not glorify himself to be made a High Priest, but it was he who said to him,
- “You are my Son. Today I have become your Father.”
- As he says also in another place,
- “You are a Priest forever, after the order of Melchizedek.”
- He, in the days of his flesh, having offered up prayers and petitions with strong crying and tears to him who was able to save him from death, and having been heard for his godly fear, though he was a Son, yet learned obedience by the things which he suffered. Having been made perfect, he became to all of those who obey him the author of eternal salvation, named by God a High Priest after the order of Melchizedek. About him We have many words to say, and hard to interpret, seeing you have become dull of hearing. For although by this time you should be Teachers, you again need to have someone Teach you the rudiments of the first principles of the revelations of God. You have come to need milk, and not solid food. For everyone who lives on milk is not experienced in the word of righteousness, for he is a baby. But solid food is for those who are full grown, who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern good and evil.
- Therefore leaving the Teaching of the first principles of Christ, let us press on to perfection—not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works, of faith toward God, of the Teaching of baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. This will we do, if God permits. For concerning those who were once enlightened and tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the age to come, and then fell away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance; seeing they crucify the Son of God for themselves again, and put him to open shame. For the land which has drunk the rain that comes often on it, and produces a crop suitable for them for whose sake it is also tilled, receives blessing from God; but if it bears thorns and thistles, it is rejected and near being cursed, whose end is to be burned. But, beloved, We are persuaded of better things for you, and things that accompany salvation, even though We speak like this. For God is not unrighteous, so as to forget your work and the labor of love which you showed toward his name, in that you served the saints, and still do serve them. We desire that each one of you may show the same diligence in the fullness of confident expectation even to the end, that you will not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherited the promises. For when God made a promise to Abraham, since he could swear by no one greater, he swore by himself, saying,
- “Surely blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply you.”
- Thus, having patiently endured, he obtained the promise. For men indeed swear by a greater one, and in every dispute of theirs the oath is final for confirmation. In this way God, being determined to show more abundantly to the heirs of the promise the immutability of his counsel, interposed with an oath; that by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we may have a strong encouragement, who have fled for refuge to take hold of the expectation set before us. This expectation we have as an anchor of the soul, an expectation both sure and steadfast and entering into that which is within the veil; where as a forerunner Jesus entered for us, having become a High Priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.
- For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, Priest of God Most High, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him, to whom also Abraham divided a tenth part of all (being first, Melchizedek, by interpretation, “king of righteousness”, and then also king of Salem, which is “king of peace”; without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like the Son of God), remains a Priest continually. Now consider how great this man was, to whom even Abraham, the patriarch, gave a tenth out of the best plunder. They indeed of the sons of Levi who receive the priest’s office have a commandment to take tithes of the people according to the law of Moses, that is, of their brothers, though these have come out of the body of Abraham, but he whose genealogy is not counted from them has accepted tithes from Abraham, and has blessed him who has the promises. But without any dispute the lesser is blessed by the greater. Here people who die receive tithes, but there one receives tithes of whom it is testified that he lives. We can say that through Abraham even Levi, who receives tithes, has paid tithes, for he was yet in the body of his father when Melchizedek met him. Now if there were perfection through the Levitical priesthood (for under it the people have received the law), what further need was there for another Priest to arise after the order of Melchizedek, and not be called after the order of Aaron? For the priesthood being changed, there is of necessity a change made also in the law of Moses. For he of whom these things are said belongs to another tribe, from which no one has officiated at the altar. For it is evident that our Lord has sprung out of Judah, about which tribe Moses spoke nothing concerning priesthood. This is yet more abundantly evident, if after the likeness of Melchizedek there arises another Priest, who has been made, not after the law of a fleshly commandment, but after the power of an endless life: for it is testified,
- “You are a Priest forever, according to the order of Melchizedek.”
- For there is an annulling of a foregoing commandment because of its weakness and uselessness (for the law of Moses made nothing perfect), and a bringing in of a better expectation, through which we draw near to God. Inasmuch as he was not made Priest without the taking of an oath (for they indeed have been made priests of Aaron without an oath), but he with an oath by him that says of him,
- “The Lord swore and will not change his mind, ‘You are a Priest forever, according to the order of Melchizedek.’ ”
- By so much, Jesus has become the collateral of a better covenant. Many, indeed, have been made priests of Aaron, because they are hindered from continuing by death. But he, because he lives forever, has his Priesthood unchangeable. Therefore he is also able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, seeing that he lives forever to make intercession for them.
- For such a High Priest was fitting for us: holy, guiltless, undefiled, separated from sinners, and made higher than the heavens; who does not need, like those high priests of Aaron, to offer up sacrifices daily, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. For he did this once for all, when he offered up himself. For the law of Moses appoints men as high priests of Aaron who have weakness, but the word of the oath which came after the law appoints a Son forever who has been perfected.
- Now in the things which We are saying, the main point is this. We have such a High Priest, who sat down on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, a servant of the sanctuary, and of the true Tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, not man. For every high priest of Aaron is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices. Therefore it is necessary that this High Priest also have something to offer. For if he were on earth, he would not be a priest at all, seeing there are priests of Aaron who offer the gifts according to the law of Moses; who serve a copy and shadow of the heavenly things, even as Moses was warned by God when he was about to make the tabernacle, for he said,
- “See, you shall make everything according to the pattern that was shown to you on the mountain.”
- But now he has obtained a more excellent ministry, by so much as he is also the mediator of a better covenant, which on better promises has been given as law. For if that first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second. For finding fault with them, he said,
- “Behold, the days come”, says the Lord, “that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah; not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers, in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; for they did not continue in my covenant, and I disregarded them,” says the Lord. “For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel. After those days,” says the Lord; “I will put my laws into their mind, I will also write them on their heart. I will be their God, and they will be my people. They will not Teach every man his fellow citizen, and every man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for all will know me, from their least to their greatest. For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness. I will remember their sins and lawless deeds no more.”
- In that he says, “A new covenant”, he has made the first old. But that which is becoming old and grows aged is near to vanishing away.
- Now indeed even the first covenant had ordinances of divine service, and an earthly sanctuary. For a tabernacle was prepared. In the first part were the lamp stand, the table, and the show bread; which is called the Holy Place. After the second veil was the tabernacle which is called the Holy of Holies, having a golden altar of incense, and the ark of the covenant overlaid on all sides with gold, in which was a golden pot holding the manna, Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tablets of the covenant; and above it cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat, of which things We cannot speak now in detail. Now these things having been thus prepared, the priests of Aaron go in continually into the first tabernacle, accomplishing the services, but into the second the high priest of Aaron alone, once in the year, not without blood, which he offers for himself, and for the errors of the people. The Holy Spirit is indicating this, that the way into the Holy Place was not yet revealed while the first tabernacle was still standing; which is a symbol of the present age, where gifts and sacrifices are offered that are incapable of making the conscience of the worshiper perfect; having only to do with meats and drinks and various washings, bodily ordinances, imposed up to a time of reformation.
- But Christ having come as a High Priest of the coming good things, through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation, nor yet through the blood of goats and calves, but through his own blood, entered in once for all into the Holy Place, having obtained eternal redemption. For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling those who have been defiled, sanctify to the cleanness of the flesh: how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without defect to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? For this reason he is the mediator of a new covenant, since a death has occurred for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance. For where there is a last will and testament, the death of him who made it must be established. For a will is in force where there has been death, for it is never in force while he who made it lives. Therefore even the first covenant has not been ratified without blood. For when every commandment of the law had been spoken by Moses to all the people, he took the blood of the calves and the goats, with water and scarlet wool and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, saying,
- “This is the blood of the covenant which God has commanded you.”
- Moreover he sprinkled the tabernacle and all the vessels of the ministry in the same way with the blood. According to the law of Moses, nearly everything is cleansed with blood, and apart from shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. It was necessary therefore that the copies of the things in the heavens should be cleansed with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. For Christ has not entered into holy places made with hands, which are representations of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us; nor yet that he should offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest of Aaron enters into the holy place year by year with blood not his own, or else he must have suffered repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But now once at the end of this age, he has made his appearance, to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. As it is appointed for men to die once, and after this, judgment, so Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but salvation to those who are eagerly waiting for him.
- For the law of Moses, having a shadow of the good to come, not the very image of the things, can never with the same sacrifices year by year, which they offer continually, make perfect those who draw near. Or else would they not have ceased to be offered? The worshipers, having been once cleansed, would have had no more consciousness of sins. But in those sacrifices there is a yearly reminder of sins. For it is impossible that the blood of bulls and goats should take away sins. This is why when he comes into the world, he says,
- “Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but you prepared a body for me. You had no pleasure in whole burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin. Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come (in the scroll of the book it is written of me) to do your will, O God.’ ”
- In the above saying,
- “Sacrifices and offerings and whole burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin you did not desire, neither had pleasure in them”
- (those which are offered according to the law of Moses), then he adds,
- “Behold, I have come to do your will.”
- He removes the first, that he may establish the second, that will by which we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. Every priest of Aaron in fact stands day by day serving and repeatedly offering the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins, but he, when he had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down on the right hand of God; from that time waiting for the moment when his enemies are made the footstool of his feet. For by one offering he has perfected forever those who are being sanctified. The Holy Spirit also testifies to us, for after saying,
- “This is the covenant that I will make with them: ‘After those days,’ says the Lord, ‘I will put my laws on their heart, I will also write them on their mind;’ ”
- then he says,
- “I will remember their sins and their offenses no more.”
- Now where forgiveness of these is, there is no more offering for sin. Having therefore, brothers, firm confidence to enter into the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way he has opened for us through the veil, that is to say, by his flesh; and having a great Priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full confidence of faith, having our heart sprinkled from an evil conscience, and having our body washed with pure water, let us hold fast the confession of our confident expectation without wavering; for he who promised is faithful.
- Let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good works, not forsaking our own assembling together, as the habitual custom of some is, but exhorting one another; and so much the more, as you see the Day approaching. For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remains no more a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of certain judgment, and an inferno of fire which will devour the adversaries. A man who disregards Moses’s law dies without compassion on the word of two or three witnesses. How much worse punishment do you think he will be judged worthy of who has rejected the Son of God, and has despised the blood of the covenant with which he was sanctified as unholy, and has outrageously insulted the Spirit of grace? For we know him who said,
- “Vengeance belongs to me,” says the Lord, “I will repay.”
- “The Lord will judge his people.”
- It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
- But remember the former days, in which, after you were enlightened, you endured a great struggle with sufferings; partly, being exposed to both reproaches and oppressions; and partly, becoming partakers with those who were treated so. For you had compassion on those in chains, and joyfully accepted the plundering of your possessions, knowing that you have for yourselves a better possession and a more enduring one. Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you need endurance, so that, having done the will of God, you may receive the promise.
- “In a very little while, he who comes will come, and will not wait. But the righteous will live by faith. If he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him.”
- But we are not of those who shrink back to destruction, but of those who have faith to the saving of the soul.
- Now faith is the confident expectation of things hoped for, things expected, the certainty of things not seen. For by this, the ancients obtained testimony.
- By faith, we understand that the cosmos has been framed by the word of God, so that what is seen has not been made out of things which are visible.
- By faith, Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, through which he had testimony given to him that he was righteous, God testifying with respect to his gifts; and through it he, being dead, still speaks.
- By faith, Enoch was translated, so that he would not see death, and he was not found, because God translated him. For he has had testimony given to him that before his translation he had been well pleasing to God. Without faith it is impossible to be well pleasing to him, for he who comes to God must believe that he exists, and that he is a rewarder of those who seek him.
- By faith, Noah, being warned about things not yet seen, carefully heeded the warning, and prepared a ship for the saving of his house, through which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.
- By faith, Abraham, when he was called, obeyed to go out to the place which he was to receive for an inheritance. He went out, not knowing where he went. By faith, he lived as an alien in the land of promise, as in a land not his own, dwelling in tents, with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise. For he looked for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God. By faith, even Sarah herself received power to conceive, and she bore a child when she was past age, since she counted him faithful who had promised. Therefore as many as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as innumerable as the sand which is by the sea shore, were fathered by one man, and him as good as dead.
- These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them and embraced them from afar, and having confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For those who say such things make it clear that they are seeking a country of their own. If indeed they had been thinking of that country from which they went out, they would have had enough time to return. But now they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed of them, to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.
- By faith, Abraham, being tested, offered up Isaac. Yes, he who had gladly received the promises was offering up his one and only son; even he to whom it was said, “your offspring will be accounted as from Isaac”; concluding that God is able to raise up even from the dead. Figuratively speaking, he also did receive him back from the dead.
- By faith, Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau, even concerning things to come.
- By faith, Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, and worshiped, leaning on the top of his staff.
- By faith, Joseph, when his end was near, made mention of the departure of the children of Israel; and gave instructions concerning his bones.
- By faith, Moses, when he was born, was hidden for three months by his parents, because they saw that he was a beautiful child, and they were not afraid of the king’s commandment.
- By faith, Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to share ill treatment with God’s people, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a time; accounting the reproach of being God’s Anointed One greater riches than the treasures of Egypt; for he looked to the reward. By faith, he left Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible. By faith, he kept the Passover, and the sprinkling of the blood, that the destroyer of the firstborn should not touch them. By faith, they passed through the Red Sea as on dry land. When the Egyptians tried to do so, they were swallowed up.
- By faith, the walls of Jericho fell down, after they had been encircled for seven days. By faith, Rahab the prostitute, did not perish with those who were disobedient, having received the spies in peace.
- What more shall I say? For the time would fail me if I told of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and the prophets; who, through faith subdued kingdoms, worked out righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, from weakness were made strong, grew mighty in war, and caused foreign armies to flee. Women received their dead by resurrection. Others were tortured, not accepting release, that they might obtain a better resurrection. Others were tried by mocking and scourging, yes, moreover by bonds and imprisonment. They were stoned. They were sawn apart. They were tempted. They were slain with the sword. They went around in sheep skins and in goat skins; being destitute, afflicted, ill-treated (of whom the world was not worthy), wandering in deserts, mountains, caves, and the holes of the earth. These all, having had testimony given to them through their faith, did not receive the promise, God having provided some better thing concerning us, so that apart from us they should not be made perfect.
- Therefore let us also, seeing we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, lay aside every weight and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising its shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him who has endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, that you do not grow weary, fainting in your souls. You have not yet resisted to blood, striving against sin; and you have forgotten the exhortation which reasons with you as with children,
- “My son, do not take lightly the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when you are reproved by him; For whom the Lord loves, he chastens, and scourges every son whom he receives.”
- It is for discipline that you endure. God deals with you as with children, for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? But if you are without discipline, of which all have been made partakers, then are you illegitimate, and not children. Furthermore, we had the fathers of our flesh to discipline us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much rather be in subjection to the Father of spirits, and live? For they indeed, for a few days, punished us as seemed good to them; but he for our profit, that we may be partakers of his holiness. All chastening seems for the present to be not joyous but grievous; yet afterward it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been exercised thereby. Therefore lift up the hands that hang down and the feeble knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that which is lame may not be dislocated, but rather be healed. Follow after peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no man will see the Lord, looking carefully lest there be any man who falls short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and many be defiled by it; lest there be any sexually immoral person, or profane person, like Esau, who sold his birthright for one meal. For you know that even when he afterward desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for a change of mind though he sought it diligently with tears. For you have not come to a mountain that might be touched, and that burned with fire, and to blackness, darkness, storm, the sound of a trumpet, and the tremendous voice of words; which those who heard it begged that not one more word should be spoken to them, for they could not tolerate even that which was commanded,
- “If even an animal touches the mountain, it shall be stoned”;
- and so fearful was the appearance that Moses said,
- “I am terrified and trembling.”
- But you have come to Mount Zion, and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable multitudes of angels, to the general Assembly and Assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better than that of Abel.
- See that you do not refuse him who speaks. For if they did not escape when they refused him who warned on the earth, how much more will we not escape who turn away from him who warns from heaven, whose voice shook the earth then, but now he has promised, saying,
- “Yet once more I will shake not only the earth, but also the heavens.”
- This phrase, “Yet once more”, signifies the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that have been made, that those things which are not shaken may remain. Therefore, receiving a Kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us have grace, through which we serve God acceptably, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.
- Let brotherly love continue. Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for in doing so, some have entertained angels without knowing it. Remember those who are in bonds, as bound with them; and those who are ill-treated, since you are also in the body. Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the bed be undefiled: but God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterers.
- Be free from the love of money, content with such things as you have, for he has said,
- “I will in no way leave you, neither will I in any way forsake you.”
- So that with good courage we say,
- “The Lord is my helper. I will not fear. What can man do to me?”
- Remember your leaders, men who spoke to you the word of God, and considering the results of their conduct, imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Do not be carried away by variant and strange Teachings, for it is good that the heart be established by grace, not by food, through which those who were so occupied were not benefited. We have an altar from which those who serve the holy tabernacle have no right to eat. For the bodies of those animals, whose blood is brought into the holy place by the high priest as an offering for sin, are burned outside of the camp. Therefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people through his own blood, suffered outside of the gate. Let us therefore go out to him outside of the camp, bearing his reproach. For we do not have here an enduring city, but we seek that which is to come. Through him, then, let us offer up a sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of lips which proclaim allegiance to his name. But do not forget to be doing good and sharing, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.
- Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they watch on behalf of your souls, as those who will give account, that they may do this with joy, and not with groaning, for that would be unprofitable for you.
- Pray for Us, for We are persuaded that We have a good conscience, desiring to live honorably in all things. I strongly urge you to do this, that I may be restored to you sooner.
- Now may the God of peace, who brought again from the dead the great shepherd of the sheep with the blood of an eternal covenant, our Lord Jesus, make you complete in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is well pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.
- But I exhort you, brothers, endure the word of exhortation, for I have written to you in few words. Know that our brother Timothy has been freed, with whom, if he comes shortly, I will see you.
Greet all of your leaders and all the saints.
Those who have come from Italy greet you.
Grace be with you all. Amen.
While Apollos was at Corinth, Paul, having passed through the upper country, came to Ephesus, and found certain disciples. He said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?”
They said to him, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.”
He said, “Into what then were you baptized?”
They said, “Into John’s baptism.”
Paul said, “John indeed baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying to the people that they should believe in the one who would come after him, that is, in Jesus.”
When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus, in the name of the Lord Jesus they were baptized. When Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke with other languages and prophesied. Thus tongues are a sign not for believers but for unbelievers. For though they were indeed true believers in John’s baptism and disciples before Paul came to them, they had not believed there is a Holy Spirit and, like Apollos before them, had known nothing of baptism into Christ Jesus. Thus tongues are a sign for unbelievers, disciples who are ignorant of the fullness of the truth. They were about twelve men in all. He entered into the synagogue, and spoke boldly for a period of three months, reasoning and persuading about the things concerning God’s Kingdom. In the law it is written,
- “By men of strange tongues and by the lips of foreigners will I speak to this people, and even then they will not listen to me, says the Lord.”
But when some were hardened and disobedient, speaking evil of the Way before the multitude, he departed from them, and separated the disciples, reasoning daily in the school of Tyrannus. This continued for two years, so that all those who lived in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks.
God worked special miracles by the hands of Paul, so that even handkerchiefs or aprons were carried away from his body to the sick, and the evil spirits went out. But some of the itinerant Jews, exorcists, took on themselves to invoke over those who had the evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, “We adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preaches.”
There were seven sons of one Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, who did this. The evil spirit answered, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know, but who are you?”
The man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, and overpowered them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded. This became known to all, both Jews and Greeks, who lived at Ephesus. Fear fell on them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified. Many also of those who had believed came, confessing, and declaring their deeds. Many of those who practiced magical arts brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all. They counted their price, and found it to be fifty thousand pieces of silver. So the word of the Lord was growing and becoming mighty.
Now after these things had ended, Paul determined in the spirit, when he had passed through Macedonia and Achaia, to go to Jerusalem, saying, “After I have been there, I must also see Rome.”
Having sent into Macedonia two of those who served him, Timothy and Erastus, he himself stayed in Asia for a while.
Meanwhile, Agrippina, ceaselessly pursuing her intrigues to bring her son Nero to power, eliminated her opponents among Claudius’s palace advisers.
The great foreign-policy problem of the time was that of Armenia. The Armenians had long chafed under Roman rule, and in the emperor Claudius’s last years before Nero’s reign a Parthian prince named Tiridates, Tiridates the First, had made himself king of Armenia with the support of its people. The Armenians had already played a role in the early history of Roman-Parthian relations. In both Crassus’s and Antony’s campaigns (ending 53 and 31 B.C., near the end of the Roman Republic in 27 B.C.), the Armenian king had a large role as a guide, and “betrayer,” as some sources state. Since the reign of Augustus Caesar, it had been Roman policy to appoint vassal kings there and so make Armenia a buffer state against Parthia and the kings of the east. An advance on Armenia from one side was often interpreted as a pretext for war by the other. Thirty-three years before, in A.D. 20, Parthian generals who conquered the regions of northern India had declared independence to form the “Indo-Parthian Kingdom.” Roman-Parthian relations had become increasingly centered on Armenia, which was geopolitically situated between the Roman Empire and Parthia, Rome’s implacable foe in the east, “the kings of the east”. Throughout the remaining history of Roman-Parthian relations, Armenia would have the role of a “buffer state” between the two powers. The political turmoil in the Parthian Empire was also a significant factor, which has been attributed to the lack of open war during the early Pax Romana period; for the Parthians had also a number of problems on their other borders, and now, about A.D. 52-53, the Parthian prince Tiridates had made himself king of Armenia with the support of its people.
During the reign of Claudius, at the time of the famine, as a warning from heaven, the “river Euphrates was dried up to prepare the way for the kings of the east”, making it passable.
Claudius’s behavior in court varied upredictably; sometimes he was careful and keen-witted, sometimes thoughtless and hasty, sometimes entirely foolish and apparently senseless. Suetonius offers a multitude of examples. It is said that in one case, he wrote out this following verdict: “I decide in favor of the party which has told the truth.” His erratic behavior brought him into widespread, open contempt. Old people said that litigants so rudely imposed on his good nature that not only would they call him to come back after he had closed the court, but they would even catch hold of the hem of his imperial toga or his feet in their attempts to detain him, and he allowed this. A Greek who became angry with him called him an old man and an idiot; and an eques, a Roman knight, falsely charged with obscene behavior with women by enemies who would stop at nothing, when he saw that Claudius entertained and admitted evidence from some common prostitutes against him, he threw a stylus and some wax record tablets in his face, badly gashing him, and cursed him as stupid and cruel. Suetonius does not say that any of these were executed.
He assumed the office of censor, the office of administrator and director of public morals, an office which had lapsed sixty years before, but he proved to be inconsistent in this also, both generally in his guiding principles and in particular decisions. An infamous seducer of girls and married women brought before him escaped conviction with only an admonition from him to restrain his passions, or at least to be more careful, saying, “Why should I concern myself with who your mistress is?” A Greek nobleman was deprived of Roman citizenship because he could not speak Latin when Claudius insisted he speak for himself in his own words. The information collected by his agents against many persons of rank proved to be inaccurate. Most of those charged with being bachelors or childless or too poor to maintain their position were in fact married, or fathers with families, or financially quite secure instead. He purchased a beautiful silver chariot offered for sale in the Sigilaria marketplace, and ordered it hacked to pieces while he watched. He showed his bloodthirstiness equally in both important and trivial matters. When it was judged necessary to extract evidence by torture, or when murderers of their own fathers were sentenced to punishment, he permitted no delay, commanding the law to take its course in his presence while he watched. He ruled that gladiatorial combatants who accidentally fell down should have their throats cut, especially the retiarii, the net fighters, whose death agony was hidden by the face shield of their helmets. He compelled one of his own attendants to enter the arena and fight in his toga. At the merest hint of danger to himself he took immediate action against his suspected enemy. Anyone who claimed to have dreamed more than once that another person had murdered him or was plotting his assassination, and pointed out to the emperor that person as the one in the dreams, he sentenced that person to death as having been certainly convicted by this evidence as proof of guilt. He built many public works, and studied Greek with great application, even writing in Greek twenty volumes of Etruscan history and eight of Carthaginian, and he added to the Latin alphabet three letters of his own invention which he insisted were most necessary; and having already written a book on the subject he met with no obstacle to their official adoption by the Senate. Several written documents containing these invented letters were afterward still found in the records of the Senate, and extant at the time of Suetonius.
The faith of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ having been spread among men by the Apostles and brothers, the enemy of salvation, seeking to capture the imperial city, sent Simon Magus there, the man who was previously rebuked by Peter in Samaria for seeking to purchase from the Apostles the power of laying hands on believers who had been baptized that they might receive the Holy Spirit. Thereafter avoiding the Apostles, he had quickly fled overseas from East to West so that he could live as he pleased. With the enemy assisting his sorcery, he attached to himself many in Rome and deceived them. Simon worked many magic rites during Claudius’s reign, by the demons who possessed him. At Rome he was deemed to be a god, and was honored as a god with a statue erected on a site in the River Tiber between the two bridges. It carries an inscription in Latin, which many have interpreted as saying SIMONI DEO SANCTO, which means “To Simon the Holy God”. Nearly all Samaritans and a few in other nations at the time of the Apostles also confessed him as the Supreme God and worshiped him. A woman named Helen, who had previously lived in a brothel at Tyre and traveled around with him, his worshipers called the First Emanation from him, his original Thought and Concept.
According to tradition, Simon took the lead in all heresies leading away from Christ, and primary among them the gnostics, who are trained in sorcery and magical arts. His original followers, while displaying the outward form of religious piety, and pretending to have the modest philosophy of the Christians which is famous among all for purity of life, turn from Christ and prostrate themselves in idolatry before pictures and images of Simon and Helen. They worship them with incense, sacrifices and libations, and their more secret rituals are so full of frenzy, madness, and degradation that it is not only impossible to commit them to writing in detail, but to even utter them with the lips and tongue to decent persons in words without causing scandal. They include the so-called “deep things of Satan”, and they glory in their shame. The most disgusting and foul crime imaginable is completely surpassed by the utterly repulsive heresy of these worshipers, drenched in vice, who take advantage of the needs of weak women, burdened with sins and moved by various impulses, who will listen to anybody and are ever learning, yet never coming to a knowledge of the truth. They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption.
This was the wickedness which that malignant power, the enemy of all good, and the robber of human salvation, made use of, in order to make Simon Magus the father and author of this heresy. In Rome his success was short-lived. For during the same reign of Claudius, about A.D. 53, the gracious Providence of God brought Peter also to Rome. Peter, with Mark accompanying him as he Taught the Good News of light and the Word that saves souls, having come at last to Rome, extinguished and immediately destroyed Simon’s power, along with the man himself. According to tradition he fell headlong into the Tiber and drowned.
In Claudius’s final years he made it abundantly clear that he had repented of marrying Agrippina and of adopting her son Nero. He declared that he wanted it known that his own son Britannicus had finally come of age because, even while still immature, he was tall enough to wear a toga, which he claimed would provide the Roman people with evidence that he was “a true-born Caesar”. He soon afterward wrote his will and compelled all of the magistrates to put their seals on it as witnesses. But Agrippina, being now accused of multiple crimes by informers, as well as by her own conscience, prevented any further action by him.
In A.D. 54 Claudius was assassinated by his fourth wife Agrippina, who poisoned him and took charge of the empire for her son Nero.
It was about this time, in A.D. 54, that Philip the Apostle, the first Episcopos of Byzantium, was martyred at Heliopolis, in Phrygia. He was scourged, thrown into prison, and afterward crucified.
Nero was now become the fifth Roman emperor, the stepson and heir of the emperor Claudius. Nero’s father, Gnaeus Domitius Ahenobarbus, had died fourteen years before, about A.D. 40, and Nero was then brought up by his mother, Agrippina the Younger, a great-granddaughter of the emperor Augustus. After poisoning her second husband, Agrippina helped, in A.D. 48, to bring about the murder of Valeria Messalina, her predecessor as the wife of Claudius. She next incestuously became the wife of the emperor Claudius, her uncle, and persuaded him to favor Nero, her son by a previous marriage, for the succession, over the rightful claim of his own son, Britannicus, and to also marry his daughter, Octavia, to Nero. Two years later, in 50, concerning the Gentiles who believe in Christ, the Apostles and Presbyters together with the Holy Spirit and Peter and James had written their decision that they should observe no such thing as circumcision and the law of Moses, except that they should keep themselves from food offered to idols, from blood, from strangled things, and from sexual immorality. At that time Paul wrote to the Galatians and the Thessalonians, and established communities of believers throughout Greece and Asia. This was during the reign of Claudius. Peter had come to Rome. And over the next four years, ceaselessly pursuing her intrigues to bring Nero to power, Agrippina eliminated her opponents among Claudius’s palace advisers. She probably had Claudius himself poisoned in A.D. 54, to insure the succession of Nero, rather than Claudius’s own son Britannicus. Claudius Caesar died after a reign of almost fourteen years, poisoned by his wife, Agrippina. Brought up in this atmosphere, Nero might well have begun to behave like a monster upon his accession as emperor in 54 but, in fact, he behaved quite otherwise. Claudius had put forty senators to death, but, between 54 and the year 62, there were no like incidents in Nero’s reign.
Nero was sixteen in the year anno domini fifty-four when news of Claudius’s death was announced.
Upon the death of Claudius Agrippina at once had Nero proclaimed emperor by the Praetorian Guard, whose prefect, Sextus Afranius Burrus, was her partisan; she also immediately eliminated the powerful freedman Tiberius Claudius Narcissus, who had always opposed her aims. Nero presented himself to the Guards later the same day between the sixth and seventh hours Roman time, between noon and one o’clock, twelve and thirteen hundred hours military time, because the interpretation of ugly omens had ruled out an earlier appearance. After being acclaimed imperator on the steps of the palace, he was carried by litter to the camp of the Praetorian Guard, where he briefly addressed the troops. Then he visited the Senate House. The Senate thus had to accept a fait accompli as the will of the Roman gods. He refused only one of the many high honorific titles voted to him, because of his youth: Pater Patriae, Father of His Country. He remained there to nightfall. For the first time absolute power in the Roman Empire was vested in a mere boy, who was not yet seventeen. The testimony of contemporaries depicts Nero at this time as a handsome young man of fine presence but with soft, weak features and a restless spirit.
He began his reign by making a show of virtuous civil behavior, giving the dead Claudius a lavish funeral, at which he delivered the oration himself, and then deifying him. Afterward, as a guarantee of his virtuous intentions he promised to model his rule on the principles laid down by Augustus Caesar.
The following year, in A.D. 55, Agrippina completed her work with the poisoning of Britannicus; and some contemporaries suggest that it was Nero himself who afterward poisoned Britannicus. Most people thought both Claudius and his son Britannicus had been poisoned. Agrippina had confidently expected to control the government, but the Praetorian prefect, Sextus Afranius Burrus, formerly her partisan, and Nero’s old tutor, the Stoic philosopher Lucius Annaeus Seneca, though they owed their influence to Agrippina, were not content to remain her tools. They encouraged Nero to act independently of her, and this resulted in Nero growing increasingly distant in his relations with his mother.
To his credit he put an end to the practice of secret trials before the emperor and the dominance of corrupt freedmen, and he accorded more independence to the Senate. When he could not abolish some of the heavier taxes, he lowered them. He gave the people four hundred sesterces each, secured annual salaries for distinguished but impoverished senators, in some cases in the amount of five hundred thousand sesterces, and granted the Praetorian cohorts a free monthly issue of grain. Nero also inaugurated competitions in poetry, in the theatre, and in athletics as counterattractions to gladiatorial combats. He saw to it that assistance was provided to cities that had suffered disaster and, at the request of the Jewish historian Josephus, gave aid to the Jews.
Meanwhile, the imperial government had some success in the east. In response, Nero’s new government took vigorous action, appointing an able general, Gnaeus Domitius Corbulo, to the command.
Again, the great foreign-policy problem of the time was Armenia. Roman-Parthian relations had become increasingly centered on Armenia, geopolitically situated between the Roman Empire and Parthia, Rome’s implacable foe in the east. Thirty-five years before, in A.D. 20, Parthian generals who conquered the regions of northern India had declared independence to form the “Indo-Parthian Kingdom.” Throughout the remaining history of Roman-Parthian relations, since the reign of Augustus, it had been Roman policy to make Armenia a buffer state against Parthia and the kings of the east by appointing vassal kings there. An advance on Armenia from one side was often interpreted as an act of war by the other. The Armenians had long chafed under Roman rule, and in the emperor Claudius’s last years before Nero’s reign the Parthian prince Tiridates had made himself king of Armenia with the support of its people; the Parthians also had a number of problems on their other borders. For this reason, Nero’s new government took vigorous action, appointing an able general, Gnaeus Domitius Corbulo, to the command in the east.
Two years after Nero’s accession as emperor of Rome in 54, and about one year after Britannicus was poisoned in 55, Nero soon became infamous for his personal debaucheries and extravagances. His nocturnal rioting in the streets was a scandal as early as A.D. 56.
In 56 Agrippina was forced into retirement. From that time, Burrus and Seneca were the effective rulers of the empire. While directing the government themselves, Burrus and Seneca had largely left Nero uncontrolled to pursue his own tastes and pleasures. Seneca urged Nero to use his autocratic powers conscientiously, but he obviously failed to harness the boy’s more generous impulses to his responsibilities.
At first Nero hated signing death sentences, and the extortions of Roman tax collectors on the populace over the next two years 56-57 led him in A.D. 58 to unrealistically suggest that the customs dues should be abolished. Even later Nero was capable of conceiving grandiose plans for conquests or for the creation of public works, but for the most part he used his position simply to gratify his own personal pleasures.
Nero quickly became bored with his wife Octavia; he tried to strangle her on several occasions. He had fallen in love with Poppaea Sabina, the young wife of the senator Otho. Otho was born into a family that had held the consulship under Augustus. He had married Poppaea Sabina. But when the emperor Nero took Poppaea for his mistress in A.D. 58, Otho was sent from Rome to govern Lusitania. For the next ten years Otho ruled this province with integrity.
Now about this same period, during the reign of Nero, the Roman-Parthian War of A.D. 58 to 63 began.
Up to the year A.D. 59, Nero’s biographers judiciously cite only acts of generosity and clemency on his account. His government forbade contests in the circus involving bloodshed, banned capital punishment, reduced taxes, and accorded permission to slaves to bring civil complaints against unjust or cruel masters. Nero himself pardoned writers of epigrams against him and even those who plotted against him, and secret trials were few. The law of treason was dormant: he put no senators to death.
The emergence of real brutality in Nero under the malign influence of the genius of the emperor can be fixed in the thirty-five month period A.D. 59 through 62 beginning with the open killing of his own mother on his orders in A.D. 59. He was led to the murder of Agrippina by her insanity and her fury at seeing her son slip out of her control. Having disposed of his mother Agrippina, Nero proceeded to murder his powerful aunt Domitia. When he found her confined to bed with severe constipation, he ordered the doctors, in violation of the Hippocratic Oath, to give her a laxative of fatal strength, and then, just before she died, he seized her property and tore up her will, thus avoiding legal complications.
Seeing that he could do what he liked without fear of censure or retribution, Nero began to give free rein to inordinate artistic pretensions. He fancied himself not only a poet but also a charioteer and lyre player, and in A.D. 59 or 60 he began to give public performances; later he appeared on the stage, and the theatre furnished him with the pretext to assume every kind of role. To the Romans these antics seemed to be scandalous breaches of civic dignity and decorum, offenses against the dignity of the people of Rome, the crime of maiestas. However, as Caligula before him had shown, the Roman constitution contained no provision allowing the Senate and the people of Rome any legal authority to charge the emperor with crime or to depose him. Nero even dreamed of abandoning the throne of Rome in order to fulfill his poetical and musical gifts, though he did not act on these immature, juvenile ambitions. God allowed Nero to expose the fraudulent superstition of the worship of the gods of Rome and the genius of the emperor, the folly of the pagan religion of the Senate and the people of Rome.
In Judea, where secular matters were going from bad to worse, the governor Felix had to capture imposters and brigands on a daily basis. When the high priest Jonathan continually urged him to improve his administration, Felix hired sicarii, “dagger-men”, terrorist Assassins, to murder him. When they were not punished, the sicarii boldly attacked their enemies with hidden daggers, even in the Temple area, defiling the Temple.
An Egyptian imposter promised his followers to make the walls of Jerusalem fall down at his command. Felix attacked them on the Mount of Olives and killed four hundred, taking two hundred prisoners, although the imposter escaped.
At Caesarea, a quarrel broke out between Jews and Syrians over equal civil rights. The Jews claimed precedence because Herod had founded the city, while the Syrians asserted that the place had been Strato’s Tower before Herod, without any Jew living there. When both sides started stoning each other, Felix intervened with his troops and many Jews were killed. He then sent leaders of both parties to argue their case before Nero in Rome.
By this time, Paul had already preached the Good News of Christ from Jerusalem and as far round as Illyricum, in labors abundantly, in prisons abundantly, in stripes above measure, close to death often. Five times from the Jews he received forty stripes minus one. Three times he was beaten with rods. Once he was stoned. Three times he suffered shipwreck. He had been a night and a day in the deep. He had been in travels often, in perils of rivers, perils of robbers, perils from his own countrymen, perils from the Gentiles, perils in the city, perils in the wilderness, perils in the sea, perils among false brothers; in labor and travail, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, and in cold and nakedness. Besides those things that are outside the Assembly, there is that which pressed on him daily, anxiety for all the assemblies.
But now Paul rejoiced at the coming of Stephanas, Fortunatus, and Achaicus from Corinth. They reported the condition of the Assembly there and delivered to him the letter the Corinthians had written to him about several matters of concern. Paul wrote the following letter:
- Paul, called to be an Apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Our brother Sosthenes, to the Assembly of God which is at Corinth; those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ in every place, both theirs and ours: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
- I always thank my God concerning you, for the grace of God which was given you in Christ Jesus; that in everything you were enriched in him, in all speech and all knowledge; even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you: so that you come behind in no gift; waiting for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ; who will also confirm you to the end, blameless in the Day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, through whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord.
- Now I beg you, brothers, through the name of our Lord, Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfected together in the same mind and in the same judgment. For it has been reported to me concerning you, my brothers, by those who are from Chloe’s household, that there are contentions among you. Now I mean this, that each one of you says, “I follow Paul,” “I follow Apollos,” “I follow Cephas,” and, “I follow Christ.” Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized into the name of Paul? I thank God that I baptized none of you, except Crispus and Gaius, so that no one should say that I had baptized you into my own name. (I also baptized the household of Stephanas; besides them, I do not know whether I baptized any other.) For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the Good News—not in wisdom of words, so that the cross of Christ would not be made void. For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are dying, but to us who are saved it is the power of God. For it is written,
- “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, I will bring the discernment of the discerning to nothing.”
- Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the rhetorical debater of this age? Has God not made foolish the wisdom of this world? For seeing that in the wisdom of God, the world through its wisdom did not know God, it was God’s good pleasure through the foolishness of the preaching to save those who believe. For Jews ask for signs, Greeks seek after wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified; a stumbling block to Jews, and foolishness to Greeks, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. For you see your calling, brothers, that not many are wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, and not many noble; but God chose the foolish things of the world that he might put to shame those who are wise. God chose the weak things of the world, that he might put to shame the things that are strong; and God chose the lowly things of the world, and the things that are despised, and the things that are not, that he might bring to nothing the things that are: that no flesh should boast before God. Because of him, you are alive in Christ Jesus, who was made to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption: that, according as it is written,
- “He who boasts, let him boast in the Lord.”
- When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know anything among you, except Jesus Christ, and him crucified. I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling. My speech and my preaching were not in persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith would stand not in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God. We speak wisdom, however, among those who are mature; yet a wisdom not of this world, nor of the rulers of this world, who are destined to become nothing. But We impart a secret and hidden mystery, the wisdom of God, which God foreordained before the worlds for our glory, which none of the rulers of this world has known. For had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But as it is written,
- “Things which the eye did not see, and the ear did not hear, which did not enter into the heart of man, these God has prepared for those who love him.”
- But to Us, God revealed them through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. For who among men knows the things of a man, except the spirit of the man, which is in him? Even so, no one knows the things of God, except God’s Spirit. But we received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is from God, that we might know the things that were freely given to us by God. Which things also We speak, not in words which man’s wisdom Teaches, but which the Holy Spirit Teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual things. Now the natural man does not receive the things of God’s Spirit, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot know them, because they are spiritually judged. But he who is spiritual judges all things, and he himself is judged by no one.
- “For who has known the mind of the Lord, that he should instruct him?”
- But we have Christ’s mind.
- Brothers, I could not speak to you as to spiritual, but as to fleshly, as to babies in Christ. I fed you with milk, not with meat; for you were not yet ready. Indeed, not even now are you ready, for you are still fleshly. For insofar as there is jealousy, strife, and factions among you, are you not fleshly, and do you not walk in the ways of men? For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not fleshly? Who then is Apollos, and who is Paul, but servants through whom you believed; and each as the Lord gave to him? I planted. Apollos watered. But God gave the increase. So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase. Now he who plants and he who waters are the same, but each will receive his own reward according to his own labor. For we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s farming, God’s building. According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another builds on it. But let each man be careful how he builds on it. For no one can lay any other foundation than that which has been laid, which is Jesus Christ. But if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay, or stubble; each man’s work will be revealed. For the Day will declare it, because it is revealed in fire; and the fire itself will test what sort of work each man’s work is. If any man’s work remains which he built on it, he will receive a reward. If any man’s work is burned, he will suffer loss, but he himself will be saved, but as through fire.
- Do You Corinthians not know that You together are a Temple of God, and that God’s Spirit lives in You? If anyone destroys God’s Temple, God will destroy him; for God’s Temple is holy, which You are together.
- Let no one deceive himself. If anyone thinks that he is wise among You in this world, let him become a fool, that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written,
- “He has taken the wise in their craftiness.”
- And again,
- “The Lord knows the reasoning of the wise, that it is worthless.”
- Therefore let no one boast in men. For all things are yours, whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come. All are Yours, and You are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s.
- So let a man think of us as Christ’s servants, and stewards of God’s mysteries. Here, moreover, it is required of stewards, that they be found faithful. But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you, or by man’s judgment. Yes, I do not judge my own self. For I know nothing against myself. Yet I am not justified by this, but he who judges me is the Lord. Therefore judge nothing before the time, before the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and reveal the counsels of the hearts. Then each man will get his praise from God.
- Now these things, brothers, I have in a figure transferred to myself and Apollos for your sakes, that in us you might learn not to think beyond the things which are written, that none of you be puffed up against one another. For who makes you different? And what do you have that you did not receive? But if you did receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it? You are already filled. You have already become rich. You have come to reign without us. Yes, and I wish that you did reign, that we also might reign with you. For, I think that God has displayed us, the Apostles, last of all, like men sentenced to death. For we are made a spectacle to the world, both to angels and men. We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are wise in Christ. We are weak, but you are strong. You have honor, but we have dishonor. Even to this present hour we hunger, thirst, are naked, are beaten, and have no certain dwelling place. We toil, working with our own hands. When people curse us, we bless. Being persecuted, we endure. Being defamed, we entreat. We are made as the filth of the world, the dirt scoured off by all, even to now. I do not write these things to shame you, but to admonish you as my beloved children. For though you have ten thousand tutors in Christ, yet not many fathers. For in Christ Jesus, I became your father through the Good News. I beg you therefore, be imitators of me. Because of this I have sent Timothy to you, who is my beloved and faithful child in the Lord, who will remind you of my ways which are in Christ, even as I Teach everywhere in every Assembly. Now some are puffed up, as though I were not coming to you. But I will come to you shortly, if the Lord is willing. And I will know, not the word of those who are puffed up, but the power. For God’s Kingdom is not in word, but in power. What do you want? Shall I come to you with a rod, or in love and a spirit of gentleness?
- It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and such sexual immorality as is not even named among the Gentiles, that one has his father’s wife. You are puffed up, and did not rather mourn, that he who had done this deed might be removed from among you. For I most certainly, as being absent in body but present in spirit, have already, as though I were present, judged him who has done this thing. In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, you being gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, are to deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the Day of the Lord Jesus.
- Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little yeast leavens the whole lump? Purge out the old yeast, that you may be a new lump, even as you are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, has been sacrificed in our place. Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old yeast, neither with the yeast of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. I wrote to you in my letter to have no company with sexual sinners; yet not at all meaning with the sexual sinners of this world, or with the covetous and extortioners, or with idolaters; for then you would have to leave the world. But as it is, I wrote to you not to associate with anyone who is called a brother who is a sexual sinner, or covetous, or an idolater, or a slanderer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner. Do not even eat with such a person. For what have I to do with also judging those who are outside? Do you not judge those who are within? But those who are outside, God judges.
- “Put away the wicked man from among yourselves.”
- Dare any of you, having a matter against his neighbor, go to law before the unrighteous, and not before the saints? Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world is judged by you, are you unworthy to judge the smallest matters? Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more, things that pertain to this life? If then, you have to judge things pertaining to this life, do you set them to judge who are of no account in the Assembly? I say this to move you to shame. Is there not even one wise man among you who would be able to decide between his brothers? But brother goes to law with brother, and that before unbelievers! Therefore it is already altogether a defect in you, that you have lawsuits one with another. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be defrauded? No, but you yourselves do wrong, and defraud, and that against your brothers. Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit God’s Kingdom? Do not be deceived. Neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor male prostitutes, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor slanderers, nor extortioners, will inherit God’s Kingdom. Such were some of you, but you were washed. But you were sanctified. But you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and in the Spirit of our God.
- “All things are lawful for me”,
- but not all things are expedient.
- “All things are lawful for me”
- but I will not be brought under the power of anything.
- “Foods for the belly, and the belly for foods”,
- but God will bring to nothing both it and them. But the body is not for sexual immorality, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body. Now God raised up the Lord, and will also raise us up by his power. Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them members of a prostitute? May it never be! Or do you not know that he who is joined to a prostitute is one body? For,
- “The two”, he says, “will become one flesh.”
- But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit. Flee sexual immorality!
- “Every sin that a man does is outside the body,”
- but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a Temple of the Holy Spirit which is in you, which you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. Therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.
- Now concerning the things about which you wrote to me: it is good for a man not to touch a woman. But, because of the temptation to sexual immorality, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband. Let the husband render to his wife her marital sexual rights, and likewise also the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband. Likewise also the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife. Do not deprive one another sexually, unless it is by consent for a season, that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer, and may be together again, that Satan not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.
- But this I say by way of concession, not of commandment. Yet I wish that all men were like me. However each man has his own gift from God, one of this kind, and another of that kind. But I say to the unmarried and to widows, it is good for them if they remain even as I am. But if they do not have self-control, let them marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with desire. But to the married I command—not I, but the Lord—that the wife not leave her husband (but if she departs, let her remain unmarried, or else be reconciled to her husband), and that the husband not leave his wife.
- But to the rest I—not the Lord—say, if any brother has an unbelieving wife, and she is content to live with him, let him not leave her. The woman who has an unbelieving husband, and he is content to live with her, let her not leave her husband. For the unbelieving husband is sanctified in the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified in the husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but now they are holy. Yet if the unbeliever departs, let there be separation. The brother or the sister is not under bondage in such cases, but God has called us in peace. For how do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife? Only, as the Lord has distributed to each man, as God has called each, so let him walk. So I command in all the assemblies.
- Was anyone called having been circumcised? Let him not become uncircumcised. Has anyone been called in uncircumcision? Let him not be circumcised. Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but the keeping of the commandments of God. Let each man stay in that calling in which he was called. Were you called being a bondservant? Do not let that bother you, but if you get an opportunity to become free, use it. For he who was called in the Lord being a bondservant is the Lord’s free man. Likewise he who was called being free is Christ’s bondservant. You were bought with a price. Do not become bondservants of men. Brothers, let each man, in whatever condition he was called, stay in that condition with God.
- Now concerning virgins, I have no commandment from the Lord, but I give my judgment as one who has obtained mercy from the Lord to be trustworthy. I think that it is good therefore, because of the distress that is on us, that it is good for a man to be as he is. Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be freed. Are you free from a wife? Do not seek a wife. But if you marry, you have not sinned. If a virgin marries, she has not sinned. Yet such will have oppression in the flesh, and I want to spare you. But I say this, brothers: the time is short, that from now on, both those who have wives may be as though they had none; and those who weep, as though they did not weep; and those who rejoice, as though they did not rejoice; and those who buy, as though they did not possess; and those who use the world, as not using it to the fullest. For the current way of this world passes away. But I desire to have you to be free from cares. He who is unmarried is concerned for the things of the Lord, how he may please the Lord; but he who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how he may please his wife.
- There is also a difference between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman cares about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit. But she who is married cares about the things of the world—how she may please her husband. This I say for your own profit; not that I may ensnare you, but for that which is appropriate, and that you may attend to the Lord without distraction. But if any man thinks that he is behaving inappropriately toward his virgin, if she is past the flower of her age, and if need so requires, let him do what he desires. He does not sin. Let them marry. But he who stands steadfast in his heart, having no necessity, but has power over his own heart, to keep his own virgin, does well. So then both he who gives his own virgin in marriage does well, and he who does not give her in marriage does better. A wife is bound by law for as long as her husband lives; but if the husband is dead, she is free to be married to whomever she desires, only in the Lord. But she is happier if she stays as she is, in my judgment, and I think that I also have God’s Spirit.
- Now concerning things sacrificed to idols: We know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. But if anyone imagines that he knows anything, he does not yet know as he ought to know. But if anyone loves God, the same is known by him. Therefore concerning the eating of things sacrificed to idols, we know that no idol has any existing reality, and that there is no other God but one. For though there are things that are called “gods”, whether in the heavens or on earth; as there are many “gods” and many “lords”; yet to us there is one God, the Father, from whom all things are, and for whom we exist; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things are, and through him we exist. However, that knowledge is not in all men. But some, with consciousness of the idol even now, eat things as if they actually belong to an idol, and their conscience, being weak, is defiled. But food will not commend us to God. For neither, if we do not eat, are we the worse; nor, if we eat, are we the better. But be careful that this liberty of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak. For if a man sees you who have knowledge sitting at table in an idol’s temple, will not his conscience, if weak, be emboldened to eat things dedicated to idols? And through your knowledge, he who is weak perishes, the brother for whose sake Christ died. Thus, sinning against the brothers, and wounding their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ. Therefore if food causes my brother to stumble, I will eat no meat forever more, that I do not cause my brother to stumble.
- Am I not free? Am I not an Apostle? Have I not seen Jesus Christ, our Lord? Are you not my work in the Lord? If to others I am not an Apostle, yet at least I am to you; for you are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord. My defense to those who examine me is this. Have We no right to eat and to drink? Have We no right to take along a wife who is a believer, even as the rest of the Apostles, and the brothers of the Lord, and Cephas? Or have only Barnabas and I no right to not work? What soldier ever serves at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard, and does not eat of its fruit? Or who feeds a flock, and does not drink from the milk? Do I speak these things according to the ways of men? Or does the law not also say the same thing? For it is written in the law of Moses,
- “You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain.”
- Is it for the oxen that God cares, or does he say it assuredly for our sake? Yes, it was written for our sake, because he who plows ought to plow in expectation, and he who threshes in expectation should partake of his expectation. If We sowed among you spiritual goods, is it a great thing if We reap your fleshly things? If others partake of this right over you, do not We yet more? Nevertheless We did not use this right, but We bear all things, that We may cause no hindrance to the Good News of Christ. Do you not know that those who are engaged in the Temple services eat from the things of the Temple, and those who serve at the altar have their portion from the offerings? Even so the Lord ordained that those who proclaim the Good News should make their living from the Good News.
- But I have used none of these rights, and I do not write these things to secure them from you; for I would rather die, than that anyone should make my ground for boasting void. For if I preach the Good News, I have no ground for boasting; for necessity is laid on me; but woe to me, if I do not preach the Good News. For if I do this of my own will, I have a reward. But if not of my own will, I have been entrusted with a commission. What then is my reward? That, when I preach the Good News, I may present the Good News of Christ without charge, so as not to press my rights according to my authority in the Good News. For though I am free from all, I have brought myself under bondage to all, that I might win more. To the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might win Jews; to those who are under the law of Moses, as under the law, that I might win those who are under the law; to those who are without law, as without law (not being without law toward God, but under the law of Christ), that I might win those who are without law. To the weak I became as weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men, that I may by all means save some. Now I do this for the sake of the Good News, that I may be a joint partaker of its benefit. Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run like that, that you may win. Every man who strives in the games exercises self-control in all things. Now they do it to receive a corruptible crown, but we an incorruptible. I therefore run like that, as not uncertainly. I box like that, as not beating the air, shadowboxing, but I beat my body and bring it into submission, lest by any means, after I have preached to others, I myself should be disqualified.
- Now I want you aware, brothers, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; and were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea; and all ate the same spiritual food; and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of a spiritual rock that followed them, and the rock was Christ. However with most of them, God was not well pleased, for they perished in the wilderness. Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. Do not be idolaters, as some of them were. As it is written,
- “The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.”
- Let us not indulge in committing sexual immorality, as some of them did, and in one day twenty-three thousand fell. Let us not test the Anointed One, as some of them tested, and perished by the serpents. Do not grumble, as some of them also grumbled, and perished by the destroyer. Now all these things happened to them by way of example, and they were written for our admonition, on whom the end of the ages has come. Therefore let him who thinks he stands be careful that he does not fall. No temptation has seized you that is not common to man. God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted above what you are able, but will with the temptation also make a way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. Therefore, my beloved, flee from participating in the ritual worship of idols. I speak as to wise men. Judge what I say.
- The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not a partaking of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not a partaking of the body of Christ? Because there is one loaf of bread, we, who are many, are one body; for we all partake of the one loaf of bread. Consider Israel according to the flesh. Do not those who eat the sacrifices share in the altar?
- What am I saying then? That a thing sacrificed to idols is anything, or that an idol is anything? But I say that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to demons, and not to God, and I do not desire that you would have fellowship with demons. You cannot drink both the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot partake both of the table of the Lord, and of the table of demons. Or do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than he?
- “All things are lawful for me”,
- but not all things are profitable.
- “All things are lawful for me”
- but not all things build up.
- Let no one seek his own, but each one his neighbor’s good. Whatever is sold in the meat market, eat, asking no question for the sake of conscience, for
- “the earth is the Lord’s, and its fullness.”
- But if one of those who do not believe invites you to a meal, and you are inclined to go, eat whatever is set before you, asking no questions for the sake of conscience. But if anyone says to you, “This was offered to idols,” do not eat it for the sake of the one who told you, and for the sake of conscience. For
- “the earth is the Lord’s, and all its fullness.”
- I mean the other’s conscience, not your own conscience. Why is my liberty judged by another conscience? If I partake with thankfulness, why am I denounced for that for which I give thanks? Whether therefore you eat, or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. Give no occasions of offense to Jews, or to Greeks, or to the Assembly of God; even as I also please all men in all things, not seeking my own profit, but the profit of the many, that they may be saved. Be imitators of me, even as I also am of Christ.
- Now I praise you, brothers, that you remember me in all things, and hold firm the traditions, even as I delivered them to you. But I would have you know that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is the man, and the head of Christ is God. Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonors his head. But every woman praying or prophesying with her head unveiled dishonors her head. For it is one and the same thing as if she were shaved. For if a woman is not covered, let her hair also be cut off. But if it is shameful for a woman to have her hair cut off or shaved, let her be covered. For a man indeed ought not to have his head covered, because he is the image and glory of God, but the woman is the glory of the man. For man is not from woman, but woman from man; for man was not created for the woman, but woman for the man. For this cause the woman ought to have authority on her head, because of the angels.
- Nevertheless, in the Lord, neither is the woman independent of the man, nor the man independent of the woman. For as woman came from man, so a man also is born from a woman; but all things are from God. Judge for yourselves. Is it appropriate that a woman pray to God unveiled? Does not even nature itself Teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a dishonor to him? But if a woman has long hair, it is a glory to her, for her hair is given to her for a covering. But if any man seeks to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither do God’s assemblies.
- Now in giving you this command, I do not praise you, that you come together not for the better but for the worse. For first of all, when you come together in the Assembly, I hear that divisions exist among you, and I partly believe it. For there must also be factions among you, that those who are approved may be revealed among you. When therefore you assemble yourselves together, it is not the Lord’s Supper that you eat. For in your eating each one takes his Own Supper first. One is hungry, and another is drunken. What, do you not have houses to eat and to drink in? Or do you despise God’s Assembly, and put them to shame who do not have? What shall I tell you? Shall I praise you? In this I do not praise you.
- For I received from the Lord that which I delivered also to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night in which he was betrayed took bread. When he had given thanks, he broke it, and said,
- “Take, eat. This is my body, which is broken for you. Do this in memory of me.”
- In the same way he also took the cup, after supper, saying,
- “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink, in memory of me.”
- For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death before he comes. Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks the Lord’s cup in a way unworthy of the Lord will be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread, and drink of the cup. For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy way eats and drinks judgment to himself, if he does not discern the Lord’s body. For this cause many among you are weak and sickly, and not a few sleep. For if we discerned ourselves, we would not be judged. But when we are judged, we are punished by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world. Therefore, my brothers, when you come together to eat, wait for one another. But if anyone is hungry, let him eat at home, lest your coming together be for judgment. The rest I will set in order whenever I come.
- Now concerning spiritual charisms, brothers, I do not want you to be ignorant. You know that when you were heathen, you were led away to those mute idols, however you might have been led. Therefore I make known to you that no man speaking by God’s Spirit says, “Jesus is accursed.” No one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” but by the Holy Spirit.
- Now there are various kinds of charisms, but the same Spirit. There are various kinds of service, and the same Lord. There are various kinds of workings, but the same God, who works all things in all. But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the profit of all. For to one is given through the Spirit the word of wisdom, and to another the word of knowledge, according to the same Spirit; to another faith, by the same Spirit; and to another gifts of healings, by the same Spirit; and to another workings of miracles; and to another prophecy; and to another discerning of spirits; to another different kinds of languages; and to another the interpretation of languages. But the one and the same Spirit produces all of these, distributing to each one separately as he desires.
- For as the body is one, and has many members, and all the members of the body, being many, are one body; so also is Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether bond or free; and were all given to drink into one Spirit. For the body is not one member, but many. If the foot would say, “Because I am not the hand, I am not part of the body,” it is not therefore not part of the body. If the ear would say, “Because I am not the eye, I am not part of the body,” it is not therefore not part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole were hearing, where would the smelling be? But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body, just as he desired. If they were all one member, where would the body be? But now they are many members, but one body. The eye cannot tell the hand, “I have no need for you,” or again the head to the feet, “I have no need for you.” No, much rather, those members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary. Those parts of the body which we think to be less presentable, on those we bestow more abundant care; and our unpresentable parts have more abundant propriety; whereas our presentable parts have no such need. But God composed the body together, giving more abundant honor to the inferior part, that there should be no division in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another. When one member suffers, all the members suffer with it. Or when one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.
- Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually. God has set some in the Assembly: first Apostles, second prophets, third Teachers, then miracle workers, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, and various kinds of languages. Are all Apostles? Are all prophets? Are all Teachers? Are all miracle workers? Do all have gifts of healings? Do all speak with various languages? Do all interpret? But earnestly desire the best gifts. Moreover, I show a most excellent way to you.
- If I speak with the languages of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become loud brass, or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I dole out all my goods to feed the poor, and if I give my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.
- Love is patient and is kind; love does not envy. Love does not brag, is not proud, does not behave itself inappropriately, does not seek its own way, is not provoked, takes no account of evil; does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, confidently expects all things, endures all things. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will be done away with. Where there are various languages, they will cease. Where there is knowledge, it will be done away with. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part; but when that which is complete has come, then that which is partial will be done away with. When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I felt as a child, I thought as a child. Now that I have become a man, I have put away childish things. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I will know fully, even as I am also fully known. But now faith, confident expectation, and love remain—these three. The greatest of these is love.
- Follow after love, and earnestly desire spiritual charisms, but especially that you may prophesy. For he who speaks in another language speaks not to men, but to God; for no one understands; but in the Spirit he speaks mysteries. But he who prophesies speaks to men for their edification, exhortation, and consolation. He who speaks in another language edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the Assembly. Now I desire to have you all speak with other languages, but would rather that you prophesy. For he is greater who prophesies than he who speaks with other languages, unless he interprets, that the Assembly may be built up.
- But now, brothers, if I come to you speaking with other languages, what would I profit you, unless I speak to you either by way of revelation, or of knowledge, or of prophesying, or of Teaching? Even things without life, giving a voice, whether pipe or harp, if they did not give a distinction in the sounds, how would it be known what is piped or harped? For if the trumpet gave an uncertain sound, who would prepare himself for war? So also you, unless you uttered by the tongue words easy to understand, how would it be known what is spoken? For you would be speaking into the air. There are, it may be, so many kinds of sounds in the world, and none of them is without meaning. If then I do not know the meaning of the sound, I would be to him who speaks a foreigner, and he who speaks would be a foreigner to me. So also you, since you are zealous for spiritual charisms, seek that you may abound to the building up of the Assembly. Therefore let him who speaks in another language pray that he may interpret. For if I pray in another language, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful.
- What now? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also. I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also. Otherwise if you bless with the spirit, how will he who fills the place of the unlearned say the “Amen” at your giving of thanks, seeing he does not know what you say? For you most certainly give thanks well, but the other person is not built up. I thank my God, I speak with other languages more than you all. However in the Assembly I would rather speak five words with my understanding, that I might instruct others also, than ten thousand words in another language.
- Brothers, do not be children in thoughts, yet in malice be babies, but in thoughts be mature. In the law it is written,
- “By men of strange languages and by the lips of strangers I will speak to this people. Not even thus will they hear me, says the Lord.”
- Therefore other languages are for a sign, not to those who believe, but to the unbelieving; but prophesying is for a sign, not to the unbelieving, but to those who believe. If therefore the whole Assembly is assembled together and all speak with other languages, and unlearned or unbelieving people come in, will they not say that you are crazy? But if all prophesy, and someone unbelieving or unlearned comes in, he is reproved by all, and he is judged by all. And thus the secrets of his heart are revealed. So he will fall down on his face and worship God, declaring that God is among you indeed.
- Why is it, brothers, that when you come together, each one of you has a psalm, has a Teaching, has a revelation, has another language, has an interpretation? Let all things be done to build each other up. If any man speaks in another language, let it be two, or at the most three, and in turn; and let one interpret. But if there is no interpreter, let him keep silent in the assembly, and let him speak to himself, and to God. Let the prophets speak, two or three, and let the others discern. But if a revelation is made to another sitting by, let the first keep silent. For you all can prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be exhorted. The spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets, for God is not a God of confusion, but of peace.
- As in all the assemblies of the saints, let your wives keep silent in the assemblies, for it has not been permitted for them to chatter; but let them be in subjection, as the law of Moses also says. If they desire to learn anything, let them ask their own husbands at home, for it is shameful for a woman to chatter in the Assembly. What? Was it from you that the word of God went out? Or did it come to you alone? If any man thinks himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him recognize the things which I write to you, that they are the commandment of the Lord. But if anyone is ignorant, let him be ignorant. Therefore, brothers, desire earnestly to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking with other languages. Let all things be done decently and in order.
- Now I declare to you, brothers, the Good News which I preached to you, which also you received, in which you also stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold firmly the word which I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to over five hundred brothers at once, most of whom remain even now, but some have also fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the Apostles, and last of all, as to the child born at the wrong time, he appeared to me also. For I am the least of the Apostles, who am not worthy to be called an Apostle, because I persecuted the Assembly of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am. His grace which was given to me was not futile, but I worked more than all of them; yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me. Whether then it is I or they, so we preach, and so you believed.
- Now if Christ is preached, that he has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, neither has Christ been raised. If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain, and your faith also is in vain. Yes, we are found false witnesses of God, because we testified about God that he raised up Christ, whom he did not raise up, if it is so that the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, neither has Christ been raised. If Christ has not been raised, your faith is vain; you are still in your sins. Then they also who are fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If we have only confident expectation in Christ in this life, we are of all men most pitiable.
- But now Christ has been raised from the dead. He is the first fruits of those who are asleep. For since death came by man, the resurrection of the dead also came by man. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, then those who are Christ’s, at his coming. Then the end comes, when he will deliver up the Kingdom to God, even the Father; when he will have abolished all rule and all authority and power. For he must reign up unto the day he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy that will be abolished is death. For,
- “He put all things in subjection under his feet.”
- But when he says, “All things are put in subjection”, it is evident that he who subjected all things to him is excepted. When all things have been subjected to him, then the Son will also himself be subjected to him who subjected all things to him, that God may be all in all. Or else what will they do who are baptized for the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why then are they baptized for the dead? Why do we also stand in jeopardy every hour? I affirm, by the boasting in you which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, that I die daily. If I fought with animals at Ephesus for human purposes, what does it profit me? If the dead are not raised, then
- “let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.”
- Do not be deceived!
- “Evil companionships corrupt good morals.”
- Come to your senses, and do not sin, for some have no knowledge of God. I say this to your shame.
- But someone will say, “How are the dead raised?” and, “With what kind of body do they come?” You foolish one, that which you yourself sow is not made alive unless it dies. That which you sow, you do not sow the body that will be, but a bare grain, maybe of wheat, or of some other kind. But God gives it a body as he chooses, and to each seed a body of its own. Not all flesh is the same flesh, but there is one flesh of men, another flesh of animals, another of fish, and another of birds. There are also celestial bodies, and terrestrial bodies; but the glory of the celestial differs from that of the terrestrial. There is one glory of the sun, another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for one star differs from another star in glory. So also is the resurrection of the dead. The body is sown perishable; it is raised imperishable. It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power. It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body and there is also a spiritual body. So also it is written,
- “The first man, Adam, became a living soul.”
- The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. However that which is spiritual is not first, but that which is natural, then that which is spiritual. The first man is of the earth, made of dust. The second man is the Lord from heaven. As is the one made of dust, such are those who are also made of dust; and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. As we have borne the image of those made of dust, let us also bear the image of the heavenly.
- Now I say this, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit God’s Kingdom; neither does the perishable inherit imperishable. Behold, I tell you a mystery. We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we will be changed. For this perishable body must become imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality. But when this perishable body will have become imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then what is written will happen:
- “Death is swallowed up in victory.”
- “Death, where is your sting? Hades, where is your victory?”
- The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law of Moses. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the Lord’s work, because you know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.
- Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I commanded the assemblies of Galatia, you do likewise. On the first day of the week, Sunday, let each one of you save, as he may prosper, that no collections be made when I come. When I arrive, I will send whoever you approve by letter to carry your gracious gift to Jerusalem. If it is best for me to go also, they will go with me. But I will come to you when I have passed through Macedonia, for I am passing through Macedonia. But with you it may be that I will stay, or even winter, that you may send me on my journey wherever I go. For I do not wish to see you now in passing, but I have a confident expectation to stay a while with you, if the Lord permits. But I will stay at Ephesus up to Pentecost, for a great and effective door has opened to me, and there are many adversaries. Now if Timothy comes, see that he is with you without fear, for he does the work of the Lord, as I also do. Therefore let no one despise him. But set him forward on his journey in peace, that he may come to me; for I expect him with the brothers.
- Now concerning Apollos, Our brother, I strongly urged him to come to you with the brothers; but it was not at all desirable that he come now; but he will come when he has an opportunity.
- Watch! Stand firm in the faith! Be courageous! Be strong! Let all that you do be done in love.
- Now I beg you, brothers (you know the house of Stephanas, that it is the first fruits of Achaia, and that they have set themselves to serve the saints), that you also be in subjection to such, and to everyone who helps in the work and labors. I rejoice at the coming of Stephanas, Fortunatus, and Achaicus; for that which was lacking on your part, they supplied. For they refreshed my spirit and yours. Therefore recognize such men.
- The assemblies of Asia greet you. Aquila and Priscilla greet you much in the Lord, together with the Assembly that is in their house. All the brothers greet you. Greet one another with a holy kiss.
- This greeting is by me, Paul, with my own hand. If any man does not love the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be accursed. Come, our true Lord! The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you. My love to all of you in Christ Jesus. Amen.
Timothy returned from Macedonia with news of the Assembly there. When Timothy returned he showed Paul that it had now pleased Macedonia and Achaia to make some contribution to the poor among the saints who are at Jerusalem. Paul now no longer having any place in these regions, desired to preach the Word in Spain. He had intended for a long time to go to Rome, and therefore he planned first to go to Jerusalem with the contribution; and when he had accomplished this, and had sealed to them this fruit, he would go on by way of Rome to Spain.
Paul wrote the following letter:
- Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an Apostle, set apart for the Good News of God, which he promised before through his prophets in the holy Scriptures, concerning his Son, who was born of the offspring of David according to the flesh, who was declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord, through whom We received grace and apostleship, for the obedience of faith among all the nations, for his name’s sake; among whom you are also called to belong to Jesus Christ; to all who are in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
- First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, that your faith is proclaimed throughout the whole world. For God is my witness, whom I serve in my spirit in the Good News of his Son, how unceasingly I make mention of you always in my prayers, requesting, if by any means now at last I may be prospered by the will of God to come to you. For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual charism, to the end that you may be confirmed; that is, that I with you may be encouraged in you, each of us by the other’s faith, both yours and mine.
- Now I do not desire to have you unaware, brothers, that I often planned to come to you, and so far was hindered, that I might reap some fruit among you also, even as among the rest of the Gentiles. I have an obligation both to Greeks and to foreigners, both to the wise and to the foolish. So, as much as is in me, I am eager to preach the Good News to you also who are in Rome. For I am not ashamed of the Good News of Christ, for it is the power of God for salvation for everyone who keeps faith; for the Jew first, and also for the Greek. For in it is revealed God’s righteousness by faith for faith. As it is written,
- “But he who by faith is righteous shall live.”
- For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known of God is revealed to them, for God revealed it to them. For the invisible things of him since the creation of the world are clearly seen, being perceived through the things that are made, even his everlasting power and divinity; that they may be without excuse. Because, being aware of God, they did not glorify him as God, neither gave thanks, but became vain in their reasoning, and their senseless heart was darkened.
- Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for the likeness of an image of corruptible man, and of birds, and four-footed animals, and creeping things. Therefore God also gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to uncleanness, that their bodies should be debased among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.
- For this reason, God gave them up to vile passions. For their women changed the natural function into that which is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural function with the woman, burned in their lust toward one another, men shamelessly doing what is inappropriate with men, and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error. Even as they refused to give God fitting acknowledgement, God gave them up to a debased mind, so ready to do those things which are not proper; being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, malice; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil habits, secret slanderers, backbiters, hateful to God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, without understanding, covenant breakers, without natural affection, unforgiving, unmerciful; who, knowing the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but also approve of those who practice them. Therefore you are without excuse, O man, whoever you are who judge. For in that which you judge another, you condemn yourself. For you who judge practice the same things.
- We know that the judgment of God is according to truth against those who practice such things. Do you think this, O man who judges those who practice such things, and do the same, that you will escape the judgment of God? Or do you despise the riches of his goodness, forbearance, and patience, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance? But according to your hardness and unrepentant heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath, revelation, and of the righteous judgment of God; who
- “will pay back to everyone according to their works”:
- to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory, honor, and incorruptibility, he gives eternal life; but to those who are self-seeking, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, will be wrath and indignation, oppression and anguish, on every soul of man who does evil, to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. But glory, honor, and peace go to every man who does good, to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For there is no partiality with God. For as many as have sinned without the law of Moses will also perish without the law. As many as have sinned under the law will be judged by the law. For it is not the hearers of the law of Moses who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law will be justified (for when Gentiles who do not have the law of Moses do by nature the things of the law of Moses, these, not having the law of Moses, are a law to themselves, in that they show the work of the law of Moses written in their hearts, their conscience testifying with them, and their thoughts among themselves accusing or else excusing them) in the day when God will judge the secrets of men, according to my Good News, by Jesus Christ.
- Indeed you bear the name of a Jew, and rest on the law of Moses, and glory in God, and know his will, and approve the things that are excellent, being instructed out of the law, and are confident that you yourself are a guide of the blind, a light to those who are in darkness, a corrector of the foolish, a Teacher of babies, having in the law of Moses the form of knowledge and of the truth. You therefore who Teach another, do you not Teach yourself? You who preach that a man should not steal, do you steal? You who say a man should not commit adultery. Do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? You who glory in the law, through your disobedience of the law do you dishonor God? For
- “the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you,”
- just as it is written. For circumcision indeed profits, if you are a doer of the law, but if you are a transgressor of the law, your circumcision has become uncircumcision. If therefore the uncircumcised keep the ordinances of the law, will his uncircumcision not be accounted as circumcision? Will not the uncircumcision which is by nature, if it fulfills the law, judge you, who with the letter and circumcision are a transgressor of the law? For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, neither is that circumcision which is outward in the flesh; but he is a Jew who is one inwardly, and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit not in the letter; whose praise is not from men, but from God.
- Then what advantage does the Jew have? Or what is the profit of circumcision? Much in every way! Because first of all, they were entrusted with the revelations of God. For what if some were without faith? Will their lack of faith nullify the faithfulness of God? May it never be! Yes, let God be found true, but every man a liar. As it is written,
- “That you might be justified in your words, and might prevail when you come into judgment.”
- But if our unrighteousness commends the righteousness of God, what will we say? Is God unrighteous who inflicts wrath? I speak like men do. May it never be! For then how will God judge the world? For if the truth of God through my lie abounded to his glory, why am I also still judged as a sinner? Why not (as We are slanderously reported, and as some affirm that We say), “Let us do evil, that good may come”? Those who say so are justly condemned. What then? Are We better than they? No, in no way. For We previously warned both Jews and Greeks, that they are all under sin. As it is written,
- “There is no one righteous; no, not one. There is no one who understands. There is no one who seeks after God. They have all turned aside. They have together become unprofitable. There is no one who does good, no, not so much as one.”
- “Their throat is an open tomb. With their tongues they have used deceit.”
- “The poison of vipers is under their lips”;
- “whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness.”
- “Their feet are swift to shed blood. Destruction and misery are in their ways. The way of peace, they have not known.”
- “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”
- Now we know that whatever things the law of Moses says, it speaks to those who are under the law of Moses, that every mouth may be closed, and all the world may be brought under the judgment of God. Because by the works of the law of Moses, no flesh will be justified in his sight. For through the law of Moses comes the awareness of sin. But now apart from the law, the righteousness of God has been revealed, being testified by the law of Moses and the prophets; even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ to all and on all those who believe, for there is no distinction. All have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God, being justified as a gift by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God sent to be an expiating sacrifice, through faith in his blood, to demonstrate his righteousness through the passing over of prior sins, in God’s forbearance; to demonstrate his righteousness at this present time, that he might himself be just, and the justifier of him who has faith in Jesus.
- Where then is the boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? Of works? No, but by a law of faith. We maintain therefore that a man is justified by faith apart from the works of the law of Moses. Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, since indeed there is one God who will justify the circumcised by faith, and the uncircumcised through faith. Do We then nullify the law of Moses through faith? May it never be! No, We establish, uphold and confirm the law.
- What then will we say that Abraham, our forefather, has found according to the flesh? For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the Scripture say?
- “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.”
- Now to him who works, the reward is not counted as grace, but as something owed. But to him who does not work, but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness. Even as David also pronounces blessing on the man to whom God counts righteousness apart from works,
- “Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man whom the Lord will by no means charge with sin.”
- Is this blessing then pronounced on the circumcised, or on the uncircumcised also? For we say that faith was accounted to Abraham for righteousness. How then was it counted? When he was in circumcision, or in uncircumcision? Not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision. He received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had while he was in uncircumcision, that he might be the father of all those who believe, though they might be in uncircumcision, that righteousness might also be accounted to them. He is the father of circumcision to those who not only are of the circumcision, but who also walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham, which he had in uncircumcision. For the promise to Abraham and to his offspring that he should be heir of the world was not through the law of Moses, but through the righteousness of faith. For if those who are of the law of Moses are heirs, faith is made void, and the promise is made of no effect. For the law of Moses produces wrath, for where there is no law, neither is there disobedience. For this cause it is of faith, that it may be according to grace, to the end that the promise may be sure to all the offspring, not to that only which is of the law of Moses, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all. As it is written,
- “I have made you a father of many nations.”
- This is in the presence of the God whom he believed: God, who gives life to the dead, and calls the things that are not, as though they were. Against expectation, Abraham in expectation believed, to the end that he might become a father of many nations, according to that which had been spoken,
- “So will your offspring be.”
- Without being weakened in faith, he did not consider his own body, already having been worn out, (he being about a hundred years old), and the deadness of Sarah’s womb. Yet, looking to the promise of God, he did not waver through unbelief, but grew strong through faith, giving glory to God, and being fully assured that what he had promised, he was also able to perform. Therefore it also was
- “credited to him for righteousness.”
- Now it was not written that it was accounted to him for his sake alone, but for our sake also, to whom it will be accounted, who believe in him who raised Jesus, our Lord, from the dead, who was delivered up for our trespasses, and was raised for our justification.
- Being therefore justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ; through whom we also have access by faith to this grace in which we stand. We rejoice in confident expectation of the glory of God. Not only this, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, confident expectation: and confident expectation does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. For while we were yet weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will hardly die for a righteous man. Yet perhaps for a good person someone would even dare to die. But God commends his own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
- Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we will be saved from God’s wrath through him. For if, while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we will be saved by his life. Not only so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received this reconciliation.
- Therefore as sin entered into the world through one man, and death through sin; so death passed to all men, because all sinned. For before the law of Moses, sin was in the world; but sin is not charged when there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam up to Moses, even over those whose sins were not like Adam’s disobedience, who is a foreshadowing of him who was to come. But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if by the trespass of the one the many died, much more did the grace of God, and the gift by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, abound to the many. The gift is not as through one who sinned: for the judgment came through one to condemnation, but the free gift after many trespasses comes to justification. For if by the trespass of the one, death reigned through the one; so much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one, Jesus Christ. So then as through one trespass, all men were condemned; even so through one act of righteousness, all men were justified to life. For as through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the one, the many will be made righteous. The law of Moses came in, that the trespass might be emphasized; but where sin was emphasized, grace was emphasized more exceedingly; that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
- What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may be more emphasized? May it never be! We who died to sin, how could we live in it any longer? Or do you not know that all we who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him through baptism to death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we also might walk in newness of life. For if we have become united with him in the likeness of his death, we will also be part of his resurrection; knowing this, that our old man was crucified with him, that the body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be in bondage to sin. For he who has died has been freed from sin. But if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him; knowing that Christ, being raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no more has dominion over him! For the death that he died, he died to sin once for all time; but the life that he lives, he lives to God. Thus consider yourselves also to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
- Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. Also, do not present your members to sin as instruments of unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God, as alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. For sin shall not have dominion over you. For you are not under law, but under grace. What then? Shall we sin, because we are not under law, but under grace? May it never be! Do you not know that when you present yourselves as servants and obey someone, you are the servants of whomever you obey; whether of sin to death, or of obedience to righteousness? But thanks be to God, that, whereas you were bondservants of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of Teaching to which you were delivered. Being made free from sin, you became bondservants, slaves of righteousness.
- I speak in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh, for as you presented your members as servants to uncleanness and to wickedness upon wickedness, even so now present your members as servants to righteousness for sanctification. For when you were servants of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. What fruit then did you have at that time in the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. But now, being made free from sin, and having become servants of God, you have your fruit of sanctification, and the result of eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
- Or do you not know, brothers (for I speak to men who know the law of Moses), that the law has dominion over a man only for as long as he lives? For the woman that has a husband is bound by law to the husband while he lives, but if the husband dies, she is discharged from the law of the husband. So then if, while the husband lives, she is joined to another man, she would be called an adulteress. But if the husband dies, she is free from the law, so that she is no adulteress, though she is joined to another man. Therefore, my brothers, you also were made dead to the law of Moses through the body of Christ, that you would be joined to another, to him who was raised from the dead, that we might produce fruit to God. For when we were in the flesh, the sinful passions which were through the law, worked in our members to bring out fruit to death. But now we have been discharged from the law of Moses, having died to that in which we were held; so that we serve in newness of the spirit, and not in oldness of the letter.
- What shall We say then? Is the law of Moses sin? May it never be! However, I would not have known sin, except through the law of Moses. For I would not have known coveting, unless the law had said,
- “You shall not covet.”
- But sin, finding occasion through the commandment, produced in me all kinds of coveting. For apart from the law of Moses, sin is dead. I was alive apart from the law once, but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died. The commandment, which was for life, this I found to be for death; for sin, finding occasion through the commandment, deceived me, and through it killed me. Therefore the law of Moses indeed is holy, and the commandment holy, and righteous, and good.
- Did then that which is good become death to me? May it never be! But sin, by working death to me through that which is good, might be shown to be sin; that through the commandment sin might become exceedingly sinful. For we know that the law of Moses is spiritual, but I am fleshly, sold under sin. For I do not know what I am doing. For I do not practice what I desire to do; but what I hate, that I do. But if that I do, is what I do not desire, I consent to the law of Moses that it is good. So now it is no more I that do it, but sin which dwells in me. For I know that in me, that is, in my flesh, dwells no good thing. For the desire is present with me, but I cannot find it in me to do that which is good. For the good which I desire, I do not practice; but the evil which I do not desire, that I do. But if that I do, is what I do not desire, it is no more I that do it, but sin which dwells in me. I find then the law, that, to me, while I desire to do good, evil is present. For I delight in God’s law after the inward man, but I see a different law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity under the law of sin which is in my members. What a wretched man I am! Who will deliver me out of the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ, our Lord! So then with the mind, I myself serve God’s law, but with the flesh, the sin’s law.
- There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set me free from the law of sin and of death. For what the law of Moses could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God did; sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh; that the ordinance of the law of Moses might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For the mind of the flesh is death, but the mind of the Spirit is life and peace; because the mind of the flesh is hostile toward God; for it is not subject to God’s law, neither indeed can it be. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if it is so that the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if any man does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not his. If Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the spirit is alive because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of him who raised up Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised up Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you. So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. For if you live after the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are children of God. For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!”
- The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God; and if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ; if indeed we suffer with him, that we may also be glorified with him. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which will be revealed toward us. For the creation waits with eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to vain futility, not of its own will, but because of him who subjected it, in expectation that the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of decay and gain the liberty of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and travails in pain together even now. Not only so, but Ourselves also, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, even We Ourselves groan within Ourselves, waiting for adoption, the redemption of Our body. For we were saved in confident expectation, but expectation that is seen is not expectation. For who confidently expects that which he sees? But if we expect that which we do not see, we wait for it with patience. In the same way, the Spirit also helps our weaknesses, for we do not know how to pray as we ought. But the Spirit himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. He who searches the hearts knows what is on the Spirit’s mind, because he makes intercession for the saints according to God’s will.
- We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, to those who are called according to his purpose. For whom he foreknew, he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. Whom he predestined, those he also called. Whom he called, those he also justified. Whom he justified, those he also glorified.
- What then shall We say about these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how would he not also with him freely give us all things? Who could bring a charge against God’s chosen ones? It is God who justifies. Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, yes rather, who was raised from the dead, who is at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.
- Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Could oppression, or anguish, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Even as it is written,
- “For your sake we are killed all day long. We were accounted as sheep for the slaughter.”
- No, in all these things, we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
- I tell the truth in Christ. I am not lying, my conscience testifying with me in the Holy Spirit, that I have great sorrow and unceasing pain in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brothers’ sake, my relatives according to the flesh, who are Israelites; whose is the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the service, and the promises; of whom are the fathers, and from whom is Christ as concerning the flesh, who is over all, God, blessed forever. Amen.
- But it is not as though the word of God has come to nothing. For they are not all Israel, that are of Israel. Neither, because they are Abraham’s offspring, are they all children. But,
- “your offspring will be accounted as from Isaac.”
- That is, it is not the children of the flesh who are children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as heirs. For this is a word of promise,
- “At the appointed time I will come, and Sarah will have a son.”
- Not only so, but Rebekah also conceived by one, by our father Isaac. For being not yet born, neither having done anything good or bad, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him who calls, it was said to her,
- “The elder will serve the younger.”
- Even as it is written,
- “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”
- What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? May it never be! For he said to Moses,
- “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.”
- So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who has mercy. For the Scripture says to Pharaoh,
- “For this very purpose I caused you to be raised up, that I might show in you my power, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.”
- So then, he has mercy on whom he desires, and he hardens whom he desires. You will say then to me, “Why does he still find fault? For who withstands his will?” But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed ask him who formed it, “Why did you make me like this?” Or has the potter not a right over the clay, from the same lump to make one part a vessel for honor, and another for dishonor? What if God, willing to show his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath made for destruction, and that he might make known the riches of his glory on vessels of mercy, which he prepared beforehand for glory, us, whom he also called, not from the Jews only, but also from the Gentiles? As he says also in Hosea,
- “I will call them ‘my people,’ which were not my people; and her ‘beloved,’ who was not beloved.”
- “It will be that in the place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’ There they will be called ‘children of the living God.’ ”
- Isaiah cries concerning Israel,
- “If the number of the children of Israel are as the sand of the sea, it is the remnant who will be saved; for He will finish the work and cut it short in righteousness, because the LORD will make a short work upon the earth.”
- As Isaiah has said before,
- “Unless the Lord of Armies had left us a seed, we would have become like Sodom, and would have been made like Gomorrah.”
- What shall We say then? That the Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, attained to righteousness, even the righteousness which is of faith; but Israel, pursuing a righteousness based on the law of Moses, did not fulfill the law of Moses. Why? Because they did not seek righteousness by faith, but as if righteousness were by works of the law of Moses. They stumbled over the stumbling stone; even as it is written,
- “Behold, I lay in Zion a stumbling stone and a rock of offense; and no one who believes in him will be disappointed.”
- Brothers, my heart’s desire and my prayer to God is for Israel, that they may be saved. For I testify about them that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. For being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God. For Christ is the fulfillment of the law of Moses for righteousness to everyone who believes. For Moses writes about the righteousness of the law,
- “The one who does them will live by them.”
- But the righteousness which is of faith says this,
- “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’ (that is, to bring Christ down); or, ‘Who will descend into the abyss?’ (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead.)”
- But what does it say?
- “The word is near you, in your mouth, and in your heart”;
- that is, the word of faith, which We preach: that if you will confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart, one believes unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the Scripture says,
- “Whoever believes in him will not be disappointed.”
- For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, and is rich to all who call on him. For,
- “Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
- How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in him whom they have not heard? How will they hear without a preacher? And how will they preach unless they are sent? As it is written:
- “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the Good News of peace, who bring glad tidings of good things!”
- But they did not all listen to the glad news. For Isaiah says,
- “Lord, who has believed our report?”
- So faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. But I say, did they not hear? Yes, most certainly,
- “Their sound went out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.”
- But I ask, did Israel not know? First Moses says,
- “I will provoke you to jealousy with that which is no nation, with a nation void of understanding I will make you angry.”
- Isaiah is very bold, and says,
- “I was found by those who did not seek me. I was revealed to those who did not ask for me.”
- But as to Israel he says,
- “All day long I stretched out my hands to a disobedient and contrary people.”
- I ask then, did God reject his people? May it never be! For I also am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. God did not reject his people, whom he foreknew. Or do you not know what the Scripture says about Elijah? How he pleads with God against Israel:
- “Lord, they have killed your prophets, they have broken down your altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life.”
- But how does God answer him?
- “I have reserved for myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to Baal.”
- Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace. And if by grace, then it is no longer from works of the law of Moses; otherwise grace is no longer grace. But if it is from works of the law of Moses, it is no longer grace; otherwise work is no longer work.
- What then? That which Israel seeks for, that he did not obtain, but the chosen ones obtained it, and the rest were hardened. According as it is written,
- “God gave them a spirit of stupor, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear, to this very day.”
- David says,
- “Let their table be made a snare, and a trap, a stumbling block, and a retribution to them. Let their eyes be darkened, that they may not see. Bow down their back always.”
- I ask then, did they stumble that they might fall? May it never be! But by their fall salvation has come to the Gentiles, to provoke them to jealousy. Now if their fall is the riches of the world, and their loss the riches of the Gentiles, how much more their fullness? For I speak to you who are Gentiles. Since then as I am an Apostle to Gentiles, I glorify my ministry; if by any means I may provoke to jealousy those who are my flesh, and may save some of them. For if the rejection of them is the reconciling of the world, what would their acceptance be, but life from the dead? If the first fruit is holy, so is the lump. If the root is holy, so are the branches. But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive, were grafted in among them, and became partaker with them of the root and of the richness of the olive tree; do not boast over the branches. But if you boast, it is not you who support the root, but the root supports you. You will say then, “Branches were broken off, that I might be grafted in.” True; by their unbelief they were broken off, and you stand by your faith. Do not be conceited, but fear; for if God did not spare the natural branches, neither will he spare you. See then the goodness and severity of God. Toward those who fell, severity; but toward you, goodness, if you continue in his goodness; otherwise you also will be cut off. They also, if they do not continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. For if you were cut out of that which is by nature a wild olive tree, and were grafted contrary to nature into a good olive tree, how much more will these, which are the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree? For I do not desire you to be ignorant, brothers, of this mystery, so that you will not be wise in your own conceits, that a partial hardening has happened to Israel, before the fullness of the Gentiles has come in, and so all Israel will be saved. Even as it is written,
- “There will come out of Zion the Deliverer, and he will turn away ungodliness from Jacob. This is my covenant to them, when I will take away their sins.”
- Concerning the Good News, they are enemies for your sake. But concerning the election, they are beloved for the fathers’ sake. For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. For as you in time past were disobedient to God, but now have obtained mercy by their disobedience, even so these also have now been disobedient, that by the mercy shown to you they may also obtain mercy. For God has shut up all under disobedience, that he might have mercy on all.
- Oh the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and the knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past tracing out!
- “For who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor?”
- “Or who has first given to him, so that it will be repaid to him again?”
- For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things. To him be the glory for ever! Amen.
- Therefore I urge you, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what is the good, well-pleasing, and perfect will of God. For I say, through the grace that was given me, to every man who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think reasonably, as God has apportioned to each person a measure of faith. For even as we have many members in one body, and all the members do not have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Having charisms differing according to the grace that was given to us, if prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of our faith; or service, let us give ourselves to service; or he who Teaches, to his Teaching; or he who exhorts, to his exhorting: he who gives, let him do it with liberality; he who rules, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.
- Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor that which is evil. Cling to that which is good. In love of the brothers be tenderly affectionate to one another; in honor preferring one another; not lagging in diligence; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord; rejoicing in confident expectation; enduring in troubles; continuing steadfastly in prayer; contributing to the needs of the saints; given to hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless, and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice. Weep with those who weep. Be of the same mind one toward another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own conceits. Repay no one evil for evil. Respect what is honorable in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as it is up to you, be at peace with all men. Do not seek revenge yourselves, beloved, but give place to God’s wrath. For it is written, “Vengeance belongs to me; I will repay, says the Lord.” Therefore
- “If your enemy is hungry, feed him. If he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in doing so, you will heap coals of fire on his head.”
- Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
- Let every soul be in subjection to the higher authorities, for there is no authority except from God, and those who exist are ordained by God. Therefore he who resists the authority, withstands the ordinance of God; and those who withstand will receive to themselves judgment. For rulers are not a terror to the good work, but to the evil. Do you desire to have no fear of the authority? Do that which is good, and you will have praise from the same, for he is a servant of God to you for good. But if you do that which is evil, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is a servant of God, an avenger for wrath to him who does evil. Therefore you need to be in subjection, not only because of the wrath, but also for conscience’ sake. For this reason you also pay taxes, for they are servants of God’s service, attending continually on this very thing. Therefore give everyone what you owe: if you owe taxes, pay taxes; if customs, then customs; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor. Owe no one anything, except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law of Moses.
- For the commandments,
- “You shall not commit adultery,”
“You shall not murder,”
“You shall not steal,”
“You shall not covet,”
- and whatever other commandments there are, are all summed up in this saying, namely,
- “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
- Love does not harm a neighbor. Love therefore is the fulfillment of the law of Moses. Do this, knowing the time, that it is already time for you to awaken out of sleep, for salvation is now nearer to us than when we first believed. The night is far gone, and the day is near. Let us therefore throw off the deeds of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. Let us walk properly, as in the day; not in reveling and drunkenness, not in sexual promiscuity and lustful acts, and not in strife and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, for its lusts.
- Now accept one who is weak in faith, but not for disputes over opinions. One man has faith to eat all things, but he who is weak eats only vegetables. Do not let him who eats despise him who does not eat. Do not let him who does not eat judge him who eats, for God has accepted him. Who are you who judge another’s servant? To his own Lord he stands or falls. Yes, he will be made to stand, for God has power to make him stand.
- One man esteems one day as more important. Another esteems every day alike. Let each man be fully assured in his own mind. He who observes the day, observes it to the Lord; and he who does not observe the day, to the Lord he does not observe it. He who eats, eats to the Lord, for he gives God thanks. He who does not eat, to the Lord he does not eat, and gives God thanks. For none of us lives to himself, and none dies to himself. For if we live, we live to the Lord. Or if we die, we die to the Lord. If therefore we live or die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died, rose, and lived again, that he might be Lord of both the dead and the living.
- But you, why do you judge your brother? Or you again, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. For it is written,
- “ ‘As I live,’ says the Lord, ‘to me every knee will bow. Every tongue will confess to God.’ ”
- So then each one of us will give account of himself to God. Therefore let us not judge one another any more, but judge this rather, that no man put a stumbling block in his brother’s way, or an occasion for falling. I know, and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus, that nothing is unclean of itself; except that to him who considers anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean. Yet if because of food your brother is grieved, you walk no longer in love. Do not destroy with your food him for whom Christ died. Then do not let your good be slandered, for God’s Kingdom is not eating and drinking, but righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit. For he who serves Christ in these things is acceptable to God and approved by men. So then, let us follow after things which make for peace, and things by which we may build one another up. Do not overthrow God’s work for food’s sake. All things indeed are clean, however it is evil for that man who creates a stumbling block by eating. It is good to not eat meat, drink wine, nor do anything by which your brother stumbles, is offended, or is made weak.
- Do you have faith? Have it to yourself before God. Happy is he who does not judge himself in that which he approves. But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because it is not of faith; and whatever is not of faith is sin.
- Now we who are strong ought to bear the weaknesses of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let each one of us please his neighbor for that which is good, to be building him up. For even Christ did not please himself. But, as it is written,
- “The reproaches of those who reproached you fell on me.”
- For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that through patience and through encouragement of the Scriptures we might have confident expectation. Now the God of patience and of encouragement grant you to be of the same mind one with another according to Christ Jesus, that with one accord you may with one mouth glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
- Therefore accept one another, even as Christ also accepted you, to the glory of God. Now I say that Christ has been made a servant of the circumcision for the truth of God, that he might confirm the promises given to the fathers, and that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy. As it is written,
- “Therefore will I give praise to you among the Gentiles, and sing to your name.”
- Again he says,
- “Rejoice, you Gentiles, with his people.”
- “Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles! Let all the peoples praise him.”
- Again, Isaiah says,
- “There will be the root of Jesse, he who arises to rule over the Gentiles; in him the Gentiles will have confident expectation.”
- Now may the God of confident expectation fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in confident expectation, in the power of the Holy Spirit. I myself am also persuaded about you, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish others. But I write the more boldly to you in part, as reminding you, because of the grace that was given to me by God, that I should be a servant of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles, serving as a Priest of the Good News of God, that the offering up of the Gentiles might be made acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit. I have therefore my boasting in Christ Jesus in things pertaining to God. For I will not dare to speak of any things except those which Christ worked through me, for the obedience of the Gentiles, by word and deed, in the power of signs and wonders, in the power of God’s Spirit; so that from Jerusalem, and around as far as to Illyricum, I have fully preached the Good News of Christ; yes, making it my aim to preach the Good News, not where Christ was already named, that I might not build on another’s foundation. But, as it is written,
- “They will see, to whom no news of him came. They who have not heard will understand.”
- Therefore also I was hindered these many times from coming to you, but now, no longer having any place in these regions, and having these many years a longing to come to you, whenever I travel to Spain, I will come to you. For I confidently expect to see you on my journey, and to be helped on my way there by you, if first I may enjoy your company for a while. But now, I say, I am going to Jerusalem, serving the saints. For it has been the good pleasure of Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution for the poor among the saints who are at Jerusalem. Yes, it has been their good pleasure, and they are their debtors. For if the Gentiles have been made partakers of their spiritual things, they owe it to them also to serve them in fleshly things. When therefore I have accomplished this, and have sealed to them this fruit, I will go on by way of you to Spain. I know that, when I come to you, I will come in the fullness of the blessing of the Good News of Christ.
- Now I beg you, brothers, by our Lord Jesus Christ, and by the love of the Spirit, that you strive together with me in your prayers to God for me, that I may be delivered from those who are disobedient in Judea, and that my service which I have for Jerusalem may be acceptable to the saints; that I may come to you in joy through the will of God, and together with you, find rest. Now the God of peace be with you all. Amen.
- I commend to you Phoebe, our sister, who is a Servant of the Assembly that is at Cenchreae, that you receive her in the Lord, in a way worthy of the saints, and that you assist her in whatever matter she may need from you, for she herself also has been a helper of many, and of my own self.
- Greet Prisca and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus, who for my life, laid down their own necks; to whom not only I give thanks, but also all the assemblies of the Gentiles.
Greet the Assembly that is in their house.
Greet Epaenetus, my beloved, who is the first fruits of Achaia to Christ.
Greet Mary, who labored much for us.
Greet Andronicus and Junia, my relatives and my fellow prisoners, who are well-known among the Apostles, who were also in Christ before me.
Greet Amplias, my beloved in the Lord.
Greet Urbanus, Our fellow worker in Christ, and Stachys, my beloved.
Greet Apelles, the approved in Christ.
Greet those who are of the household of Aristobulus.
Greet Herodion, my kinsman.
Greet them of the household of Narcissus, who are in the Lord.
Greet Tryphaena and Tryphosa, who labor in the Lord.
Greet Persis, the beloved, who labored much in the Lord.
Greet Rufus, the chosen in the Lord, and his mother and mine.
Greet Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermes, Patrobas, Hermas, and the brothers who are with them.
Greet Philologus and Julia, Nereus and his sister, and Olympas, and all the saints who are with them.
Greet one another with a holy kiss.
The assemblies of Christ greet you.
- Now I beg you, brothers, look out for those who are causing the divisions and occasions of stumbling, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and turn away from them. For those who are such do not serve our Lord, Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by their smooth and flattering speech, they deceive the hearts of the innocent. For your obedience has become known to all. I rejoice therefore over you. But I desire to have you wise in that which is good, but innocent in that which is evil. And the God of peace will quickly crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.
- Timothy, my fellow worker, greets you, as do Lucius, Jason, and Sosipater, my relatives.
I, Tertius, who write this letter, greet you in the Lord.
Gaius, my host and host of the whole Assembly, greets you.
Erastus, the treasurer of the city, greets you, as does Quartus, the brother.
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all! Amen.
- Now to him who is able to confirm you according to my Good News and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery which has been kept secret through long ages, but now is revealed, and by the Scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the eternal God, is made known for obedience of faith to all the nations; to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever! Amen.
Paul also planned to visit Corinth again, and he wrote the following letter:
- Paul, an Apostle of Christ Jesus through the will of God, and Timothy Our brother, to the Assembly of God which is at Corinth, with all the saints who are in the whole of Achaia: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
- Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort; who comforts us in all our affliction, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, through the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound to us, even so our comfort also abounds through Christ. But if we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation. If we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you the patient enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer. Our confident expectation for you is steadfast, knowing that, since you are partakers of the sufferings, so also are you of the comfort. For we do not desire to have you uninformed, brothers, concerning our affliction which happened to us in Asia, that we were weighed down exceedingly, beyond our power, so much that we despaired even of life. Yes, we ourselves have had the sentence of death within ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead, who delivered us out of so great a death, and does deliver; on whom we have set our confident expectation that he will also still deliver us; you also helping together on our behalf by your supplication; that, for the gift given to us by means of many, thanks may be given by many persons on your behalf. For our boasting is this: the testimony of our conscience, that in holiness and sincerity of God, not in fleshly wisdom but in the grace of God we behaved ourselves in the world, and more abundantly toward you. For we write no other things to you, than what you read or even acknowledge, and I confidently expect you will acknowledge to the end; as also you acknowledged us in part, that we are your boasting, even as you also are ours, in the day of our Lord Jesus.
- In this confidence, I was determined to come first to you, that you might have a second benefit; and by you to pass into Macedonia, and again from Macedonia to come to you, and to be sent forward by you on my journey to Judea. When I therefore was thus determined, did I show fickleness? Or the things that I purpose, do I purpose according to the flesh, that with me there should be the “Yes, yes” and the “No, no?” But as God is faithful, Our word toward you was not “Yes and no.” For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us, by me, Silvanus, and Timothy, was not “Yes and no,” but in him is “Yes.” For however many are the promises of God, in him is the “Yes.” Therefore also through him is the “Amen”, to the glory of God through us.
- Now he who confirms us with you in Christ, and anointed us, is God; who also sealed us, and gave us the down payment of the Spirit in our hearts. But I call God for a witness to my soul, that to spare you I did not come to Corinth. Not that we control your faith, but are fellow workers with you for your joy. For you stand firm in faith.
- But I determined this for myself, that I would not come to you again in sorrow. For if I make you sorry, then who will make me glad but he who is made sorry by me? And I wrote this very thing to you, so that, when I came, I would not have sorrow from them of whom I ought to rejoice; having confidence in you all, that my joy would be shared by all of you. For out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote to you with many tears, not that you should be made sorry, but that you might know the love that I have so abundantly for you. But if any has caused sorrow, he has caused sorrow, not to me, but in part (that I not press too heavily) to you all. This punishment which was inflicted by the many is sufficient for such a one; so that on the contrary you should rather forgive him and comfort him, lest by any means such a one should be swallowed up with his excessive sorrow. Therefore I beg you to confirm your love toward him. For to this end I also wrote, that I might know the proof of you, whether you are obedient in all things. Now I also forgive whomever you forgive anything. For if indeed I have forgiven anything, I have forgiven that one for your sakes in the presence of Christ, that no advantage may be gained over us by Satan; for We are not ignorant of his schemes.
- Now when I came to Troas for the Good News of Christ, and when a door was opened to me in the Lord, I had no relief for my spirit, because I did not find Titus, my brother, but taking my leave of them, I went out into Macedonia. Now thanks be to God, who always leads Us in triumph in Christ, and reveals through Us the sweet aroma of his knowledge in every place. For We are a sweet aroma of Christ to God, in those who are saved, and in those who perish; to the one a stench from death to death; to the other a sweet aroma from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things? For We are not as so many, peddling the word of God. But as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God, We speak in Christ.
- Are we beginning again to commend ourselves? Or do we need, as do some, letters of commendation to you or from you? You are our letter, written in our hearts, known and read by all men; being revealed that you are a letter of Christ, served by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tablets of stone, but in tablets that are hearts of flesh. Such confidence we have through Christ toward God; not that we are sufficient of ourselves, to account anything as from ourselves; but our sufficiency is from God; who also made us sufficient as servants of a new covenant; not of the letter, but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. But if the service of death, written engraved on stones, came with glory, so that the children of Israel could not look steadfastly on the face of Moses for the glory of his face; which was passing away: will not service of the Spirit be with much more glory? For if the service of condemnation has glory, the service of righteousness exceeds much more in glory. For most certainly that which has been made glorious has not been made glorious in this respect, by reason of the glory that surpasses. For if that which passes away was with glory, much more that which remains is in glory.
- Having therefore such a confident expectation, We use great boldness of speech, and not as Moses, who put a veil on his face, so that the children of Israel would not look steadfastly on the end of that which was passing away. But their minds were hardened, for to this very day at the reading of the old covenant the same veil remains, because in Christ it passes away. But to this day, when Moses is read, a veil lies on their heart. But whenever one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face seeing the glory of the Lord as in a mirror, are transformed into the same image from glory to glory, even as from the Lord, the Spirit.
- Therefore seeing we have this ministry, even as we obtained mercy, we do not faint. But we have renounced the hidden things of shame, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by the manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. Even if our Good News is veiled, it is veiled in those who perish; in whom the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving, that the light of the Good News of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should not dawn on them. For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’s sake; seeing it is God who said,
- “Light will shine out of darkness,”
- who has shone in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
- But we have this treasure in clay vessels, that the exceeding greatness of the power may be of God, and not from ourselves. We are pressed on every side, yet not crushed; perplexed, yet not to despair; pursued, yet not forsaken; struck down, yet not destroyed; always carrying in the body the putting to death of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus’s sake, that the life also of Jesus may be revealed in our mortal flesh. So then death works in us, but life in you. But having the same spirit of faith, according to that which is written,
- “I believed, and therefore I spoke.”
- We also believe, and therefore also we speak; knowing that he who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus, and will present us with you. For all things are for your sakes, that the grace, being multiplied through the many, may cause the thanksgiving to abound to the glory of God. Therefore we do not faint, but though our outward man is decaying, yet our inward man is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is for the moment, works for us more and more exceedingly an eternal weight of glory; while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.
- For we know that if the earthly house of our tent is dissolved, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal, in the heavens. For most certainly in this we groan, longing to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven; if so be that being clothed we will not be found naked. For indeed we who are in this tent do groan, being burdened; not that we desire to be unclothed, but that we desire to be clothed, that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. Now he who made us for this very thing is God, who also gave to us the down payment of the Spirit.
- Therefore we are always confident and know that while we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord; for we walk by faith, not by sight. We are courageous, I say, and are willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be at home with the Lord. Therefore also we make it our aim, whether at home or absent, to be well pleasing to him. For we must all be exposed before the judgment seat of Christ; that each one may receive the things in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. Knowing therefore the fear of the Lord, we persuade men, but we are revealed to God; and I confidently expect that we are revealed also in your consciences. For we are not commending ourselves to you again, but speak as giving you occasion of boasting on our behalf, that you may have something to answer those who boast in appearance, and not in heart. For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God. Or if we are of sober mind, it is for you. For the love of Christ constrains us; because we judge thus, that one died for all, therefore all died. He died for all, that those who live should no longer live to themselves, but to him who for their sakes died and rose again. Therefore we know no one after the flesh from now on. Even though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now we know him so no more. Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old things have passed away. Behold, all things have become new. But all things are of God, who reconciled us to himself through Jesus Christ, and gave to us the ministry of reconciliation; namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself, not reckoning to them their trespasses, and having committed to us the word of reconciliation. We are therefore Ambassadors on behalf of Christ, as though God were entreating by us: We beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For him who knew no sin he made to be sin on our behalf; so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
- Working together, we entreat also that you not receive the grace of God in vain, for he says,
- “At an acceptable time I listened to you, in a day of salvation I helped you.”
- Behold, now is the acceptable time. Behold, now is the day of salvation. We give no occasion of stumbling in anything, that our service may not be blamed, but in everything commending ourselves, as servants of God, in great endurance, in afflictions, in hardships, in distresses, in beatings, in imprisonments, in riots, in labors, in watchings, in fastings; in pureness, in knowledge, in patience, in kindness, in the Holy Spirit, in sincere love, in the word of truth, in the power of God; by the armor of righteousness on the right hand and on the left, by glory and dishonor, by evil report and good report; as deceivers, and yet true; as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold, we live; as punished, and not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.
- Our mouth is open to you, Corinthians. Our heart is expansive. You are not restricted by Us, but you are restricted by your own affections. Now in return, I speak as to my children, you also be open wide. Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers, for what fellowship have righteousness and iniquity? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? What agreement has Christ with Belial? Or what portion has a believer with an unbeliever? What agreement has the Temple of God with idols? For You are the Temple of the living God. Even as God said,
- “I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they will be my people.”
- “ ‘Come out from among them, and be separate,’ says the Lord. ‘Touch no unclean thing. I will receive you. I will be to you a Father. You will be to me sons and daughters,’ says the Lord Almighty.”
- Having therefore these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. Open your hearts to us. We wronged no one. We corrupted no one. We took advantage of no one. I say this not to condemn you, for I have said before, that you are in our hearts to die together and live together. Great is my boldness of speech toward you. Great is my boasting on your behalf. I am filled with comfort. I overflow with joy in all Our affliction. For even when We had come into Macedonia, Our flesh had no relief, but We were afflicted on every side. Fightings were outside. Fear was inside. Nevertheless, he who comforts the lowly, God, comforted Us by the coming of Titus; and not by his coming only, but also by the comfort with which he was comforted in you, while he told Us of your longing, your mourning, and your zeal for me; so that I rejoiced still more.
- For though I made you sorry with my letter, I do not regret it, though I did regret it. For I see that my letter made you sorry, though just for a while. I now rejoice, not that you were made sorry, but that you were made sorry to repentance. For you were made sorry in a godly way, that you might suffer loss by Us in nothing. For godly sorrow produces repentance to salvation, which brings no regret. But the sorrow of the world produces death. For behold, this same thing, that you were made sorry in a godly way, what earnest care it worked in you. Yes, what defense, indignation, fear, longing, zeal, and vengeance! In everything you demonstrated yourselves to be pure in the matter. So although I wrote to you, I wrote not for his cause that did the wrong, nor for his cause that suffered the wrong, but that your earnest care for Us might be revealed in you in the sight of God. Therefore We have been comforted. In Our comfort We rejoiced the more exceedingly for the joy of Titus, because his spirit has been refreshed by you all. For if in anything I have boasted to him on your behalf, I was not disappointed. But as We spoke all things to you in truth, so Our glorying also which I made before Titus was found to be truth. His affection is more abundantly toward you, while he remembers all of your obedience, how with fear and trembling you received him. I rejoice that in everything I am confident concerning you.
- Moreover, brothers, We make known to you the grace of God which has been given in the assemblies of Macedonia; how that in much proof of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded to the riches of their liberality. For according to their power, I testify, yes and beyond their power, they gave of their own accord, begging Us with much entreaty to receive this grace and the fellowship in the service to the saints. This was not as We had expected, but first they gave their own selves to the Lord, and to Us through the will of God. So We urged Titus, that as he made a beginning before, so he would also complete in you this grace. But as you abound in everything, in faith, utterance, knowledge, all earnestness, and in your love to Us, see that you also abound in this grace. I speak not by way of commandment, but as proving through the earnestness of others the sincerity also of your love. For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that you through his poverty might become rich. I give a judgment in this: for this is expedient for you, who were the first to start a year ago, not only to do, but also to be willing. But now complete the doing also, that as there was the readiness to be willing, so there may be the completion also out of your ability. For if the readiness is there, it is acceptable according to what you have, not according to what you do not have. For this is not that others may be eased and you impoverished, but for equality. Your abundance at this present time supplies their lack, that their abundance also may become a supply for your lack; that there may be equality. As it is written,
- “He who gathered much had nothing left over, and he who gathered little had no lack.”
- But thanks be to God, who puts the same earnest care for you into the heart of Titus. For he indeed accepted Our exhortation, but being himself very earnest, he went out to you of his own accord. We have sent together with him the brother whose praise in the Good News is known through all the assemblies. Not only so, but who was also appointed by the assemblies to travel with Us in this grace, which is served by Us to the glory of the Lord himself, and to show Our readiness. We are avoiding this, that any man should blame Us concerning this abundance which is administered by Us. Having regard for honorable things, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men. We have sent with them Our brother, whom We have many times proved earnest in many things, but now much more earnest, by reason of the great confidence which he has in you. As for Titus, he is my partner and fellow worker for you. As for Our brothers, they are the Apostles of the assemblies, the glory of Christ. Therefore show the proof of your love to them in front of the assemblies, and of Our boasting on your behalf.
- It is indeed unnecessary for me to write to you concerning the service to the saints, for I know your readiness, of which I boast on your behalf to them of Macedonia, that Achaia has been prepared for the past year. Your zeal has stirred up very many of them. But I have sent the brothers that Our boasting on your behalf may not be in vain in this respect, that, just as I said, you may be prepared, so that I will not by any means, if anyone from Macedonia comes there with me and finds you unprepared, we (to say nothing of you) should be disappointed in this confident boasting. I thought it necessary therefore to entreat the brothers that they would go before to you, and arrange ahead of time the generous gift that you promised before, that the same might be ready as a matter of generosity, and not of greediness. Remember this: he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly. He who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Let each man give according as he has determined in his heart; not grudgingly, or under compulsion; for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, that you, always having all sufficiency in everything, may abound to every good work. As it is written,
- “He has scattered abroad, he has given to the poor. His righteousness remains forever.”
- Now may he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food, supply and multiply your seed for sowing, and increase the fruits of your righteousness; you being enriched in everything to all liberality, which produces through Us thanksgiving to God. For this service of giving that you perform not only makes up for lack among the saints, but abounds also through many givings of thanks to God; seeing that through the proof given by this service, they glorify God for the obedience of your confession to the Good News of Christ, and for the liberality of your material contribution to them and to all; while they themselves also, with supplication on your behalf, yearn for you by reason of the exceeding grace of God in you. Now thanks be to God for his unspeakable gift!
- Now I Paul, myself, entreat you by the humility and gentleness of Christ; I who in your presence am lowly among you, but being absent am bold toward you. Yes, I beg you that I may not, when present, show courage with the confidence with which I intend to be bold against some, who consider Us to be walking according to the flesh. For though We walk in the flesh, We do not wage war according to the flesh; for the weapons of Our warfare are not of the flesh, but mighty before God to the throwing down of strongholds, throwing down imaginations and every high thing that is exalted against the knowledge of God, and bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ; and being in readiness to avenge all disobedience, when your obedience will be made full. Do you look at things only as they appear in front of your face? If anyone trusts in himself that he is Christ’s, let him consider this again with himself, that, even as he is Christ’s, so also We are Christ’s. For though I should boast somewhat abundantly concerning Our authority, (which the Lord gave for building you up, and not for casting you down) I will not be disappointed, that I may not seem as if I desire to terrify you by my letters. For, “His letters”, they say, “are weighty and strong, but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech is despised.”
- Let such a person consider this, that what We are in word by letters when We are absent, such are We also in deed when We are present. For We are not bold to number or compare Ourselves with some of those who commend themselves. But they themselves, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves with themselves, are without understanding. But We will not boast beyond proper limits, but within the boundaries with which God appointed to Us, which reach even to you. For We do not stretch Ourselves too much, as though We did not reach to you. For We came even as far as to you with the Good News of Christ, not boasting beyond proper limits in other men’s labors, but having confident expectation that as your faith grows, We will be abundantly enlarged by you in Our sphere of influence, so as to preach the Good News even to the parts beyond you, not to boast in what someone else has already done. But
- “he who boasts, let him boast in the Lord.”
- For it is not he who commends himself who is approved, but whom the Lord commends.
- I wish that you would bear with me in a little foolishness, but indeed you do bear with me. For I am jealous over you with a godly jealousy. For I pledged you to one husband, that I might present you as a pure virgin to Christ. But I am afraid that somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve in his craftiness, so your minds might be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he who comes preaches another Jesus, whom We did not preach, or if you receive a different spirit, which you did not receive, or a different “good news”, which you did not accept, you put up with that well enough. For I reckon that I am not at all behind the very best Apostles. But though I am unskilled in speech, yet I am not unskilled in knowledge. No, in every way We have been revealed to you in all things. Or did I commit a sin in humbling myself that you might be exalted, because I preached to you God’s Good News free of charge? I robbed other assemblies, taking wages from them that I might serve you. When I was present with you and was in need, I was not a burden on anyone, for the brothers, when they came from Macedonia, supplied the measure of my need. In everything I kept myself from being burdensome to you, and I will continue to do so. As the truth of Christ is in me, no one will stop me from this boasting in the regions of Achaia. Why? Because I do not love you? God knows. But what I do, that I will do, that I may cut off occasion from them that desire an occasion, that in which they boast, they may be found even as We. For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as Christ’s Apostles. And no wonder, for even Satan masquerades as a messenger of light. It is no great thing therefore if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works.
- I say again, let no one think me foolish. But if so, yet receive me as foolish, that I also may boast a little. That which I speak, I do not speak according to the Lord, but as in foolishness, in this confidence of boasting. Seeing that many boast after the flesh, I will also boast. For you bear with the foolish gladly, being wise. For you bear with a man, if he brings you into bondage, if he devours you, if he takes you captive, if he exalts himself, if he strikes you on the face. I speak by way of disparagement, as though We had been weak. Yet in whatever way anyone is bold (I speak in foolishness), I am bold also.
- Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they the offspring of Abraham? So am I. Are they servants of Christ? (I speak as one beside himself) I am more so; in labors more abundantly, in prisons more abundantly, in stripes above measure, in deaths often. Five times from the Jews I received forty stripes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I suffered shipwreck. I have been a night and a day in the deep. I have been in travels often, in perils of rivers, perils of robbers, perils from my countrymen, perils from the Gentiles, perils in the city, perils in the wilderness, perils in the sea, perils among false brothers; in labor and travail, in vigils often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, and in cold and nakedness.
- Besides those things that are outside, there is that which presses on me daily, anxiety for all the assemblies. Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is caused to stumble, and I do not burn with indignation? If I must boast, I will boast of the things that concern my weakness. The God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ, he who is blessed forever more, knows that I do not lie. In Damascus the governor under King Aretas guarded the city of the Damascenes desiring to arrest me. Through a window I was let down in a basket by the wall, and escaped his hands.
- It is doubtless not profitable for me to boast. For I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord. I know a man in Christ, fourteen years ago (whether in the body, I do not know, or whether out of the body, I do not know; God knows), such a one caught up into the third heaven. I know such a man (whether in the body, or outside of the body, I do not know; God knows), how he was caught up into Paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter. On behalf of such a one I will boast, but on my own behalf I will not boast, except in my weaknesses. For if I would desire to boast, I will not be foolish; for I will speak the truth. But I refrain, so that no man may think more of me than that which he sees in me, or hears from me. By reason of the exceeding greatness of the revelations, that I should not be exalted excessively, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me, that I should not be exalted excessively. Concerning this thing, I begged the Lord three times that it might depart from me. He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Most gladly therefore I will rather glory in my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may rest on me.
- Therefore I take pleasure in weaknesses, in injuries, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then am I strong. I have become foolish in boasting. You compelled me, for I ought to have been commended by you, for in nothing was I inferior to the very best Apostles, though I am nothing. Truly the signs of an Apostle were worked among you in all patience, in signs and wonders and mighty works. For what is there in which you were made inferior to the rest of the assemblies, unless it is that I myself was not a burden to you? Forgive me this wrong.
- Behold, this is the third time I am ready to come to you, and I will not be a burden to you; for I seek not your possessions, but you. For the children ought not to save up for the parents, but the parents for the children. I will most gladly spend and be spent for your souls. If I love you more abundantly, am I loved the less? But be it so, I did not myself burden you. But, being crafty, I caught you with deception. Did I take advantage of you by anyone of them whom I have sent to you? I exhorted Titus, and I sent the brother with him. Did Titus take any advantage of you? Did we not walk in the same spirit? Did we not walk in the same steps? Again, do you think that We are excusing Ourselves to you? In the sight of God We speak in Christ. But all things, beloved, are for your edifying. For I am afraid that by any means, when I come, I might find you not the way I want to, and that I might be found by you as you do not desire; that by any means there would be strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, factions, slander, whisperings, proud thoughts, riots; that again when I come my God would humble me before you, and I would mourn for many of those who have sinned before now, and not repented of the uncleanness and sexual immorality and lustfulness which they committed.
- This is the third time I am coming to you.
- “At the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established.”
- I have said beforehand, and I do say beforehand, as when I was present the second time, so now, being absent, I write to those who have sinned before now, and to all the rest, that, if I come again, I will not spare; seeing that you seek a proof of Christ who speaks in me; who toward you is not weak, but is powerful in you. For he was crucified through weakness, yet he lives through the power of God. For We also are weak in him, but We will live with him through the power of God toward you. Examine your own selves, whether you are in the faith. Test your own selves. Or do you not know as to your own selves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified. But I confidently expect that you will know that We are not disqualified.
- Now I pray to God that you do no evil; not that We may appear approved, but that you may do that which is honorable, though We are as reprobate. For We can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth. For We rejoice when We are weak and you are strong. And this We also pray for, even your perfecting. For this cause I write these things while absent, that I may not deal sharply when present, according to the authority which the Lord gave me for building up, and not for tearing down.
- Finally, brothers, rejoice. Be perfected, be comforted, be of the same mind, live in peace, and the God of love and peace will be with you.
Greet one another with a holy kiss.
All the saints greet you.
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all. Amen.
Reading time about 3 hours 30 minutes.
Acts 18:8b, 11-23
Hebrews 10:32b-34, 39 adapted
Hebrews 13:23 adapted
—LXX Deuteronomy 32:43
—LXX Psalm 102:25-26
—LXX Psalm 8:5-6
—LXX Psalm 22:22
—LXX Psalm 95:7-8
—LXX Psalm 95:7-8 twice
—LXX Wisdom 18:15-16
—LXX Jeremiah 31:32-33
—LXX Isaiah 10:22
—LXX Psalm 40:6
—LXX Habakkuk 2:3-4
—LXX Genesis 5:24
—LXX Wisdom 4:10
—LXX Sirach 44:16
—LXX Genesis 47:31
—LXX 2 Maccabees 7:1-42
—LXX Proverbs 3:12
—LXX Sirach 25:23
—LXX Psalm 118:6
1 Corinthians 14:21-22 a sign for unbelievers
2 Corinthians 11:23b-38 adapted
—LXX Isaiah 29:14
—LXX Isaiah 40:13
—LXX Wisdom 9:13
—LXX Deuteronomy 17:7
—LXX Sirach 36:18
—LXX Sirach 37:28-30
—LXX Sirach 23:6
—LXX Wisdom 13:1-5
—LXX Wisdom 19:7
—LXX Baruch 4:7
—LXX Sirach 36:18
—LXX Sirach 37:28-30
—LXX 2 Maccabees 12:43-45
—LXX Hosea 13:14
—LXX Wisdom 13:1-10
—LXX Wisdom 13:1
—LXX Wisdom 11:15
—LXX Wisdom 12:24-27
—LXX Wisdom 13:10
—LXX Wisdom 14:8
—LXX Wisdom 14:12
—LXX Wisdom 14:24-27
—LXX Sirach 35:12
—LXX Isaiah 52:5
—LXX Psalm 51:4
—LXX Psalm 14:1
—LXX Psalm 14:3
—LXX Psalm 140:3
—LXX Psalm 10:7
—LXX Sirach 44:19
—LXX Wisdom 11:24-26
—LXX Wisdom 2:24
—LXX Exodus 9:16
—LXX Wisdom 15:7
—LXX Hosea 2:23
—LXX Isaiah 10:22
—LXX Isaiah 1:9
—LXX Isaiah 28:16
—LXX Isaiah 28:16 twice
—LXX Psalm 19:4
—LXX Isaiah 65:1-2
—LXX Psalm 69:22-23
—LXX Isaiah 59:20
—LXX Isaiah 40:13
—LXX Proverbs 25:21-22
—LXX Isaiah 11:10
—LXX Isaiah 52:15
—LXX Psalm 116:10
—LXX Isaiah 49:8
—LXX Wisdom 8:8
World English Bible text
Greek original text
Latin Vulgate text
Scofield Reference Bible (1917 Edition)
Conservative Bible text
multiple versions of any verse
multiple commentaries any passage
interlinear Bible: Hebrew, Greek, English
Bible maps (click initial letter of place name)
Bible Encyclopedias: Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature (studylight.org)
Catholic Encyclopedia Catholic Online (catholic.org)
Hebrew Calendar Converter See exact equivalents of Gregorian Calendar dates.
- —in Gregorian Calendar click the cursor in the day, month, or year fields, to highlight selection,
then use [Backspace ←] and [←] [→] right and left arrow keys in the day and year fields,
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Table of Old Testament quotes in the New Testament, in English translation, Joel Kalvesmaki 2013 (kalvesmaki.com)
List of 300 Septuagint Old Testament quotations in the New Testament, by Steve Rudd 2017 (bible.ca)
Table of LXX quotes and allusions in the New Testament
Church History (Eusebius): The Ecclesiastical History Of Eusebius Pamphilus: Bishop Of Caesarea, In Palestine (newadvent.org)
The Works of Flavius Josephus William Whiston, Translator, 1737 (sacred-texts.com)
Suetonius: Twelve Caesars: The Lives of the Twelve Caesars by C. Suetonius Tranquilus; To which are added His Lives of the Grammarians, Rhetoricians, and Poets. The Translation of Alexander Thomson, M.D., Revised and corrected by T. Forester, Esq., A.M. (Gutenberg.org)
Tacitus: The Annals, Written 109 A.C.E. Translated by Alfred John Church and William Jackson Brodribb
Sextus Aurelius Victor: Epitome De Caesaribus (roman-emperors.org)
Eutropius: Breviarium - Eutropius's Abridgement of Roman History (tertullian.org)
Cassius Dio: Roman History Epitome (penelope.uchicago.edu)
Early Christian Writings A.D. 30 through 380 (earlychristianwritings.com)
See Biblical Canon and Apocrypha.
Archaeology and the Book of Acts John McRay, Wheaton College Graduate School, Wheaton, IL 60187 pdf
Maps of Paul's journeys:
CHRONOLOGY OF THE ACTS AND EPISTLES OF THE NEW TESTAMENT See the following articles:
Eusebius: Church History: The Ecclesiastical History Of Eusebius Pamphilus: Bishop Of Caesarea, In Palestine (documentacatholicaomnia.eu) pdf
CLAUDIUS: Roman emperor
"When Gallio was proconsul of Achaia"
- Acts 18:12.
- He was proconsul from 1 May 51 to 1 May 52.
- Gallio was the son of Marcus Annaeus Seneca, a Spanish orator and financier, and the elder brother of Lucius Annaeus Seneca, the philosopher and tutor of Nero. He was proconsul of Achaia between A.D. 51 and 53, and headquartered at Corinth, where his judgment seat has been discovered by archaeologists.
- Proconsuls in the Roman system of government oversaw the administration of civil and military matters in a province, and were directly responsible to the Senate in Rome.
- See the following articles:
"Paul...went through the region of Galatia, and Phrygia, in order, establishing all the disciples. And Timothy was imprisoned...."
- Acts 18:23.
- This text has been amplified by an immediate addition, adapting Hebrews 10:32b-34, 39 and Hebrews 13:23 to provide the context in which Hebrews was read to the Christian assemblies of converted Jews and Gentiles suffering persecution.
Persecution of Christians by the Jews was increasing and many were imprisoned, suffering also the loss of their property (Hebrews 10:34).
See Acts 8:1; 9:2, 23, 29; 11:19; 12:1-3; 13:8, 45, 50; 14:2, 5, 19; 16:9, 22-23; 17:5-9, 13; 18:12.
In this context the information in Hebrews 10:32b-34, and 13:23 which mentions the release of Timothy (evidence that he had been imprisoned), has been adapted as a narrative of the persecutions that the assemblies of Christians were suffering, and for which they needed "establishing" by the preaching and encouragement of Paul. (Worse persecution was to come, a "fiery trial": 1 Peter 1:6-7; 4:12-19.)
"He was mighty in the Scriptures. This man had been instructed in the Way of the Lord; and being fervent in spirit, he spoke and Taught accurately the things concerning Jesus, although he knew only the baptism of John. He began to speak boldly in the synagogue. But when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him aside, and explained to him the Way of God more accurately."
- Acts 18:24-26
- From this passage of scripture we know that it is possible to have a profound knowledge of the whole text of the entire Bible and truly believe in Jesus and still not understand or be aware of the full gospel of the Lord.
- "to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God" Ephesians 3:8b-10.
- Although he was a profound scripture scholar, possibly even a scribe among the Alexandrian Jews, and fully believed in Jesus as the Messiah, Apollos was simply ignorant of the whole fullness of the truth, not knowing "more accurately" about Christian baptism and other truths of the faith, "the Way of God". Apollos needed further instruction "more accurately". Matthew 28:20 "teaching them to observe all that I have commanded". To Apollos' credit and honor, the Holy Spirit in the Bible testifies that he "taught accurately about Jesus" without twisting the scriptures. But Peter warns us that there are also those who "wrest (twist) [Paul's letters] to their own destruction as they do the other scriptures" 2 Peter 3:16; compare 2 Peter 1:19-20 "We have the prophetic word made more sure." It is evident that knowing the whole Bible text alone from beginning to end, "cover to cover", is not sufficient to have a sure understanding of its truth. The doctrine of the "full sufficiency of scripture" does not promise that the Bible reader's own personal understanding is fully sufficient in and of itself. See Hebrews 13:7, 17; 2 Thessalonians 2:15. As it is written, "Lean not to your own understanding" Proverbs 3:5; compare Sirach 3:24. It must be more accurately explained, so that what the Holy Spirit has revealed in the Bible will not be falsified by distortions or by ignorance of its fuller meaning.
See Exegesis, Hermeneutics, Sola spiritu and Cafeteria Christianity; compare the Catholic doctrine of an infallible Magisterium, and the meaning of Dogma.
The LETTER TO THE HEBREWS.
- The Book of Hebrews is a perfect supporting conclusion to the list of texts of OLD TESTAMENT Bible proofs that the long-expected Christ is Jesus. The whole of the argument of this Letter, in its warning to believers who have been enlightened and have already tasted of the heavenly gift and the powers of the age to come to not fall away from Christ, is a doctrine of conditional salvation, and a contradiction of the Calvinist doctrine of Unconditional eternal security.
- This outstanding exposition of scripture, which also stands as one of the finest pieces of world literature, is best read within the context of the interpretation of everything written about Jesus in the law of Moses and the prophets and the psalms, as presented here in this Harmony of the Gospel between Acts 18 and 19, and as an encouragement to remain faithful in the context of the discouraging persecution being inflicted on the believers by the Jews John 15:20.
- Andrew Schlafly is persuaded that Jesus himself wrote this work during the 40 days he appeared to the apostles he had chosen, while he was with them and spoke of the kingdom of God, and that he left it with them—just as Isaiah, Jeremiah and Daniel also entrusted their writings to their disciples, copies to be kept in earthen jars.
See Isaiah 8:16; Jeremiah 36 and 51:59-60; Daniel 12:4, 9. This is fully in accord with the practical and material secondary meaning of 2 Corinthians 4:5-7, "We have this treasure in earthen vessels". See Dead Sea scrolls.
Hebrews is written to the whole church as an encouragement to every follower of Christ to remain faithful during the persecutions they were already facing from the Jews and in the coming persecutions from the pagan nations which were certain to occur in centuries to come (Matthew 5:11-12; John 15:18-20). The same message of encouragement to persevere and remain faithful in the face of terrible persecution of Christianity is presented in the Book of Revelation.
The claim that Hebrews is from Jesus himself who is the perfection of God (Hebrews 1:3; 6:26; Colossians 1:19), is a highly controversial claim never advanced before the 21st century, based on the critically attested grammatically perfect Greek of the text, and the certainty that no human being could write perfect Greek. This claim was met with universal rejection by biblical scholars and theologians the moment it was publicly proposed. No mention of Jesus composing or dictating any writing is found in any early Christian writings or commentaries on scripture from the second century onward, other than the apocryphal Letters of Christ and Abgarus, also cited and quoted by Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History, Book I, chapter 13 Narrative concerning the Prince of Edessa.
- See supporting argument for Jesus as author in
Epistle to the Hebrews and Bible
- See also counter arguments and rebuttals in Mystery:Did Jesus Write the Epistle to the Hebrews?.
- John 20:17 can be read as supporting the confident assertion that Jesus was the author of Hebrews after his initial ascension into heaven.
Jesus first appeared to Mary Magdalene and said, "Touch me not, for I have not yet ascended to the Father" John 20:17. But afterward, he appeared to the other women on their way to tell the message of the angel to the apostles, and when they took hold of his feet he did not say, "Touch me not." Matthew 28:8-10. And when he appeared to the apostles in the upper room, he said, "Handle me and see." Luke 24:39. He said to Thomas eight days later, "Reach here your finger, and see my hands; and reach here your hand, and push it into my side." John 20:27. These passages suggest that Jesus had already ascended to the Father immediately after appearing to Mary Magdalene (John 20:17) and before appearing to the other women (Matthew 28:8-10) and the apostles (Luke 24:39; John 20:27). Thus, the claim that Jesus wrote Hebrews is not contradicted by the statements made in that book that the Son has already ascended into heaven and sat down at the right hand of the Father, and assumes that he then returned to earth, "appearing to them during forty days." Acts 1:3.
- Everything in the Book of Hebrews and the Gospels that could only have been known to Jesus he disclosed to his disciples during the forty days after his resurrection when he appeared to them, and spoke of the kingdom of God. They in turn shared this knowledge with their disciples in word and in writing. Matthew 10:27; Mark 4:22; Luke 12:2-3; John 16:12. Scripture does not say that Jesus wrote anything during that forty day period, or that he ever at any time told his disciples to write anything.
- Among the various authors of Hebrews historically proposed since the second century are Paul, Priscilla, Barnabas, Apollos, Timothy, Epaphras, Silas, Philip, Clement of Rome (Philippians 4:3), and others.
See multiple commentaries on Hebrews (biblehub.com).
See the following five articles:
"but in these days he has spoken to us by a Son"
- Hebrews 1:2.
- Third person reference to Jesus.
- This verse poses a difficulty for those who claim that this epistle was written by Jesus Christ Himself: He (God) has spoken to us (men, including the writer) through His Son (Jesus Christ) - which implies that His Son and the writer are different entities.
But upon closer investigation one realizes that many early Apostles, in imitation of Jesus, spoke about themselves in this modest style of using the third person, as when John referenced himself as the "One of his disciples, whom Jesus loved" (John 13:23, ESV) and Mark referenced himself as "but he left the linen cloth and ran away naked." (Mark 14:52, ESV) Jesus himself, of course, frequently referred to himself in the third person as in the phrase Son of Man.
- On the other hand, there is no other example where Jesus or an Apostle spoke about himself using both the first and the third person in the same sentence!
- The strongest internal textual evidence against Jesus being the author of the Letter to the Hebrews during the forty days he appeared to the disciples and spoke of the kingdom of God is in Hebrews 1:3, which says (past tense), "When he had made purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high..." (RSV). Conservative Bible scholars carefully consider the following facts in assessing the claim that Jesus is the author of Hebrews.
- On the day Jesus ascended into heaven and the disciples stood gazing into heaven as he went, "two men stood by them in white robes, and said, 'This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.' " (Acts 1:11 RSV). Peter later testified to the Jews that Jesus is "...the Christ appointed for you, whom heaven must receive until the time for establishing all that God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets...". (Acts 3:20-21 RSV). There is no evidence in scripture that Jesus after having ascended into heaven "and sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high" descended to earth in a second coming to write this document. The writer explicitly refers to the fact that Jesus "sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high" as being an already accomplished fact before Hebrews was written.
- Compare Acts 1:11 (already cited) and the following supportive texts:
- "But he, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God". Acts 7:55.
- "...their Master and yours is in heaven..." Ephesians 6:9.
- "...our commonwealth is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ..." Philippians 3:20.
- "When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory." Colossians 3:4.
- "Masters, treat your slaves justly and fairly, knowing that you also have a Master in heaven." Colossians 4:1.
- "...wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come." 1 Thessalonians 1:10.
- "For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the archangel's call, and with the sound of the trumpet of God." 1 Thessalonians 4:16.
- "...when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire" 2 Thessalonians 1:7.
- "But when Christ appeared as a high priest...he entered once for all into the Holy Place...thus securing an eternal redemption.'" Hebrews 9:11a, 12.
- "For Christ has entered, not into a sanctuary made with hands, a copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf...so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin, but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him." Hebrews 9:24 and 28.
- "But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, then to wait before his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet." Hebrews 10:12-13.
- "For he must reign before he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death." 1 Corinthians 15:25-26.
- "...Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers subject to him." 1 Peter 3:21b-22.
- "...whom heaven must receive before the time for establishing all that God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old" Acts 3:21.
- "he commands all men everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed, and of this he has given assurance to all men by raising him from the dead." Acts 17:31.
- In answer to the objection that the ascension of Christ into heaven is presented in Hebrews as a past event, supporters of the claim that Jesus is author of Hebrews can point to the Bible pattern of prophetic writing which includes the Semitic manner of referring to a divinely guaranteed future fulfillment as having already been accomplished, because it is an absolute certainty. The divine guarantee of the future is written in the past tense. Thus, Jesus as author of Hebrews is argued as having written in the past tense of his own future ascension to the glorious throne of God the Father as an already accomplished reality. See the following article:
- An alternative to the certainty of the future written as past is found in the actual post-ascension appearances of Jesus in the Book of Acts and to John on the island of Patmos. This activity takes place after "he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high" (Hebrews 1:3; Mark 16:19), and after the two men stood by them in white robes and said, "This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven" (Acts 1:10-11), and after Peter has testified to the men of Israel in Solomon's portico that they should repent, so that the Lord "may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus, whom heaven must receive until the time for establishing all that God spoke by the mouth of his prophets from of old" (Acts 3:11, 19-21). After his ascension into heaven in Acts 1:9-11, Jesus is seen again in Acts 7:56; 9:3-6, 10-16; 18:9-10; 22:17-21; 23:11 "the Lord stood by him"; and in Revelation 1:10-19. Without any contradiction he is in heaven while he appears on earth. "I am in the Father and the Father is in me" (John 14:11). "Our Father, who art in heaven" (Matthew 6:9). "I in them and thou in me, that they may become perfectly one" (John 17:23). Compare John 14:23, "and we will come to him and make our home with him." This would allow the possibility that he wrote or dictated the letter to the Hebrews after his ascension into heaven. According to Christian theology heaven is not limited by time and space, but it is closed to the wicked, who cannot enter (John 10:1-6; 1 Corinthians 6:9-10; Revelation 21:3, 27). This is a mystery.
- Against the authorship of Jesus there are also those passages all through the Letter to the Hebrews, emphasized in boldface here in the text of this Harmony of the Gospel, that Jesus cannot be saying of himself, even in referring to himself in the second and third person. The words "we, us, our" include the speaker and would need to be changed to "you" and "your":
- "spoken to us by his Son" Hebrews 1:2
(spoken to you by his Son)
- "purified us of our sins" Hebrews 1:3
(purified you of your sins)
- "we ought to pay greater attention to the things that were heard, lest perhaps we drift away" Hebrews 2:1
(you ought to pay greater attention to the things that were heard, lest perhaps you drift away)
- "how will we escape if we neglect so great a salvation...confirmed to us by those who heard" Hebrews 2:3
(how will you escape if you neglect so great a salvation...confirmed to you by those who heard)
- "whose house we are, if we hold fast" Hebrews 3:6
(whose house you are if you hold fast)
- "Let us therefore draw near with boldness to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy" Hebrews 4:16
(Let us together therefore draw near with boldness to the throne of grace, that you may receive mercy)
- "where as a forerunner Jesus entered for us" Hebrews 6:20
(where as a forerunner Jesus entered for you)
- "For Christ has not entered into holy places made with hands, which are representations of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us" Hebrews 9:24
(...now to appear in the presence of God for you)
- "Having therefore, brothers, boldness to enter into the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by the way which he dedicated for us...let us draw near with a true heart in fullness of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience" Hebrews 10:19-22
(Having therefore, brothers, boldness to enter into the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by the way which he dedicated for you...let us together draw near with a true heart in fullness of faith, having your hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience)
- "let us also, seeing we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, lay aside every weight and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus" Hebrews 12:1-2a
(let us together also, seeing you are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, lay aside every weight and the sin which so easily entangles you, and let us together run with patience the race that is set before you, looking to Jesus)
- "Through him, then, let us offer up a sacrifice of praise to God continually" Hebrews 13:15
(Through him, then, offer up a sacrifice of praise to God continually)
- "Pray for us" Hebrews 13:18
(Pray for the brothers)
- Probably the best scriptural response to the above objection is found in the words of Jesus in the Lord's Prayer and his word to Saul on the road to Damascus:
- "Our Father...give us this day...forgive us our debts...lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil" Matthew 6:9-13, also Luke 11:3-4.
- "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me" Acts 9:4.
- In support of the argument that Jesus is the author of Hebrews by dictation to his chosen amanuensis (just as Tertius wrote Paul's letter to the Romans, 16:22), is the fact that Jesus after having ascended into heaven appeared to chosen individuals on earth, including John, who at Jesus' command wrote the Book of Revelation. See the following texts:
- "...he fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, ..." Acts 9:4.
- "Now there was a disciple at Damascus named Ananias. The Lord said to him in a vision..." Acts 9:10-17.
- "...I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you to serve and bear witness to the things in which you have seen me and to those in which I will appear to you...". Acts 26:16.
- "Now write what you see, what is and what is to take place hereafter." Revelation 1:19.
- "And he who sat on the throne said, 'Behold, I make all things new.' Also he said, 'Write this...' " Revelation 21:5.
- A reasonable counter-argument to this response is the fact that every extant manuscript witness of the text of Hebrews, unlike the witness of the text of Revelation and the accounts of Jesus' appearances in Acts, lacks witness to any appearance of the Lord Jesus for the purpose of commanding the writing of this sacred text.
This leaves the Holy Spirit as the author of Hebrews, testifying to Jesus, and revealing things no man could have known, in accordance with the promises Jesus made on the night he was betrayed:
- when the Counselor comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness to me" John 15:26.
- I have yet many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you." John 16:12-14.
- This might account for the lack of an opening greeting with an identification of the author. The human author of Hebrews, inspired by the Spirit, like the Holy Spirit Himself, does not speak on his own behalf, but faithfully presents the message of Christ for those for whom he came, warning them to remain faithful to the one who is faithful, and not to fall away. Many of the words in the Old Testament prophets are written in the first person as directly from God, without saying, "Thus says the Lord", words which no man may say about himself but are written by the hands of the prophets, and they who hear these words understand that it is the Lord himself who speaks.
- However, the Book of Revelation does include an opening greeting "from him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne", and there John speaks of himself and what he himself saw on the Lord's day, and he tells us what the Lord said (Revelation 1:19); and at the end, the angel who spoke to him speaks directly to John and then he speaks directly as the Lord himself: "Behold, I am coming soon", and his hearers understand that it is the Lord himself who speaks through the mouth of the angel he has sent (Revelation 22:12-16). And while the message of Hebrews is fully inspired by the Spirit, as are all the other scriptures, the writer of Hebrews includes himself among those to whom the message is delivered as an exhortation, speaking of Jesus as he does in the third person, and delivering his message as a leader and representative of the people and as another man who has been saved by Christ, "How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation?".
- Thus, the appended comments at the end (Hebrews 13) would be the personal words of the writer of the message, or of another writer, which of themselves can stand alone as "my word of exhortation, for I have written to you briefly."
Read here The brief exhortation of Hebrews 13.
- "I have written to you briefly"! Briefly ! —The 12 chapters of the body of the Letter to the Hebrews is not "brief", even by the ancient standards of public oratory or any public address at any time in history. It is about the same length as 1 Corinthians and longer than 2 Corinthians. Only Romans and Revelation are longer than Hebrews. Its length is more than double any one of the lengthy speeches in the works of Josephus, Antiquities and Wars. The whole Book of Hebrews, thirteen chapters, takes about a half hour to read aloud. In contrast, the First Letter of Peter, which is "written briefly to you" (5:12), is only five chapters, fewer than 2,340 words (the RSV text of 1 Peter is exactly 2,338 words). And Hebrews is more than two and a half times the length of 1 Peter "written briefly to you". This internal textual evidence gives substance to the suggestion that the end of Hebrews, possibly all of chapter 13, is a brief addition to the work by another writer. The style of writing in chapter 13 is similar to Paul's admonitions to believers in other letters. Its subject is unrelated to the argument in the preceding 12 chapters. The suggestion that Paul took Hebrews and forwarded it to another assembly with his apostolic approbation and approval, and that he added comments of his own by attachment, is purely speculative, lacking any textual support. But it is not impossible. This might, however, explain why Hebrews was traditionally attributed to Paul, apart from the fact that it was usually included with collections of his writings, and in some very early manuscript copies of the New Testament is sometimes found placed immediately after his Epistle to the Romans, apparently because of its doctrinal importance.
- The most substantive argument against the claim that Jesus wrote Hebrews is the historical evidence from silence. This is not, however, an example of the logical fallacy of an "argument from silence". A writing by Jesus himself would surely rank among the most important pieces of literature in the history of writing, and would certainly have been highly revered and preserved by the Apostles and their successors as one of the greatest treasures of Christianity. Hebrews would have been the primary Handbook of the Apostles. They would have given it first place, even before the Gospels themselves, as being authored by the Lord Himself, just as the Bible is treasured and revered by Christians today as the word of God, above all that has ever been written and spoken in all of the subsequent centuries in defense and explanation of the pure truth of the Gospel, no matter how well-written and outstanding and excellently presented as evidence and argument—as the Bible occupies first place as the written word of God in the church, so Hebrews would have occupied first place as the written word of Jesus in the New Testament. None of the writings of the New Testament refers directly to Hebrews as the writing of Jesus; yet Peter refers by name to the letters of Paul, and Jude refers in general to the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints and by name he quotes Enoch. Moreover, Hebrews was not one of the protocanonical books of the New Testament, but was long disputed as one of the deuterocanonicals. In all of the centuries of Christianity prior to the 21st century, no discussion of the possibility of the authorship of Jesus is mentioned, discussed, debated, denounced, supported or insisted upon, by any writer, Bible commentator, apologist or controversialist, Christian, Orthodox, Catholic, Protestant, Independent, heretic, non-Christian, pagan, agnostic, or atheist, at any time from the First Century through the Twentieth Century. In matters of dispute over Christian doctrine, when analytical appeal to the whole of the scriptures of the Bible is inconclusive on the basis of sola scriptura, evidence of the constant and consistent tradition of Christian thought and teaching has usually been determinative. But there is no suggestion in Christian tradition that Jesus wrote Hebrews. The total lack of any discursive historical evidence that anyone has ever suggested that Jesus is the real author of Hebrews, appears as a compelling argument against the proposition that Jesus wrote Hebrews.
However, an intuitive perception that Jesus himself is speaking and admonishing us to remain faithful to our calling as Christians throughout the book of Hebrews is just as equally compelling to the believer. It is certainly received by the Church as scripture inspired by God.
- In conclusion, we have the following undeniable facts:
- The author of Hebrews is unknown to us.
- The message of Hebrews is not changed. Jesus is the Son of God, greater than angels, and whoever refuses to hear him and departs from him will be condemned to terrible punishment for having crucified him again by rejecting his sacrifice. Faithfulness to him in persecution even to death will have abundant compensation. Obedience to the leaders of his church is both a duty and an assurance of salvation.
"For to which of the angels did he say at any time"
- Hebrews 1:5
- The author of Hebrews argues that the Son is not an angel. God the Father never said to any angel, "You are my son". The rhetorical question of the author is equally expressed by the more straight-forward declarative form. To those who knew the scriptures the answer was obvious. The Son is "begotten, not made", but the angels scripture calls "sons of God" (Job 1:6; 2:1; 38:7) were created beings, creatures, not God. Compare Psalm 82:6 and John 10:34-35.
- Chapters 1 and 2 of Hebrews is an outstanding refutation of the false Arian doctrine of the Jehovah's Witnesses and Seventh-day Adventist Church that the Archangel Michael became incarnate as Jesus, then resumed his ministry as the archangel Michael after his ascension into heaven.
- See also the following articles:
"Let all the angels of God worship him."
- Hebrews 1:6
- According to biblical scholars the author quotes the Septuagint text, Deuteronomy 32:43.
- The King James Bible text says:
- Hebrews 1:6 "And again, when he bringeth in the first begotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him."
- Deuteronomy 32:43 (from the Hebrew text) "Rejoice, O ye nations, with his people: for he will avenge the blood of his servants, and will render vengeance to his adversaries, and will be merciful unto his land, and to his people."
- Psalm 97:7 (from the Hebrew text) "Confounded be all they that serve graven images, that boast themselves of idols: worship him, all ye gods."
- The Sir Lancelot C. L. Brenton translation of the LXX says:
- Deuteronomy 32:43 "Rejoice, ye heavens, with him, and let all the angels of God worship him; rejoice ye Gentiles, with his people, and let all the sons of God strengthen themselves in him; for he will avenge the blood of his sons, and he will render vengeance, and recompense justice to his enemies, and will reward them that hate him; and the Lord shall purge the land of his people."
- Compare the multiple translations of the Hebrew text of Deuteronomy 32:43.
See multiple commentaries on Deuteronomy 32:43 and Psalm 97:7.
- See the Greek-English parallel text of Deuteronomy 32 scroll down to verse 43.
"You will roll them up like a mantle, and they will be changed; but you are the same. Your years will not fail."
- Hebrews 1:12
- The author quotes the Septuagint text, Psalm 102:25-26.
"we ought to pay greater attention to the things that were heard, lest perhaps we drift away. … every transgression and disobedience ... how will we escape if we neglect so great a salvation"
- Hebrews 2:2-3
- Greek παράβασις και παρακον "transgression and disobedience"
παράβασις parabasis "transgression", παρακον parakon "disobedience", and throughout the Letter to the Hebrews.
- See the interlinear text of Hebrews 2:2 and all other texts in Hebrews keyed to Strong's number 3876 παρακον parakon, contrary, refusing to take heed:—disobedience.
The Greek vocabulary of the text explicitly refers to disobedience παρακον parakon as an act of the will, a "contrary refusing to take heed", and to transgression παράβασις parabasis as an act of the will, a "conscious violation".
- The whole argument of the author of Hebrews is based on the premise of the divinely revealed reality of the infused gift of God within the soul of every human being of the freedom of the will to choose to obey or to disobey joined to dire warnings of the consequence of disobedience, a premise which is utterly counter to the argument of John Calvin which fundamentally and absolutely denies the free will of the human soul to choose to obey or to disobey.
- It is the refusal to respond to the gift of the unmerited graces of repentance and enabling ability to humbly obey which God has freely poured out on all men everywhere which condemns them, of their own free will, in rejecting God who is not willing that any should perish; and most especially the rejection of the gift of salvation as being solely through the sacrifice of the blood of Jesus Christ the Son of God in the Holy Spirit of grace which condemns them, by falling away from him as the one Lord and Savior and High Priest of their souls, and rejection of the altar from which those who serve the tabernacle have no right to eat. See John 3:16-21 and Revelation 22:17 "whosoever will".
"You made him a little lower than the angels. You crowned him with glory and honor."
- Hebrews 2:7
- The author quotes the Septuagint text, Psalm 8:5-6
"I will declare your name to my brothers. Among them of the congregation I will sing your praise."
- Hebrews 2:12
- The author quotes the Septuagint text, Psalm 22:22
"our confidence and the glorying of our hope, our confident expectation"
- Hebrews 3:6
- KJV "the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope"
RSVCE "our confidence and pride in our hope"
- See multiple versions of Hebrews 3:6
- The Greek word here is ελπιδος elpidos, from ελπις elpis, "expectation, hope"
See Strong's number 1680 ελπις elpis
- Christian hope has not the same meaning or intent as the secular meaning of the word in ordinary 20th and 21st century culture when someone says "I hope [this or that]", that is, as a wishful desire or longing for something which is uncertain, and which might or might not happen or be fulfilled, a desire having a measure of anxiety and some anticipation of possible disappointment mixed with a more positive expectation, a preference among optional possibilities, but without any guarantee of fulfilled realization of what is hoped for. In contrast, the Christian theological virtue of Hope is a confident expectation of the fulfillment of God's promises, as in the prayer
- "O my God, I hope with complete trust that you will give me, through the merits of Jesus Christ, all necessary grace in this world and everlasting life in the world to come, for this is what you have promised and you always keep your promises."
- St. Paul expressed this virtue in 1 Thessalonians 4:13:
- "But we would not have you ignorant, brethren, concerning those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope."
- As he said also in Titus 1:2:
- "in hope of eternal life which God, who never lies, promised ages ago".
- And in Romans 4:21:
- "fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised."
- The word "hope" here in Hebrews 3:6 is expanded with the added phrase "confident expectation", and is frequently rendered in this Harmony of the Gospel as the word "expectation" according to its meaning and the intent of the author as evident throughout the whole New Testament (the literal sense of scripture) and the traditional understanding of the whole of Christian faith in God.
- Some more recent colloquial and paraphrased versions of the New Testament show an interpretation of "faith" and "hope" as being the same, and represent them both by the reading "trust", so that "faith in God" is "trust in God" and "hope in God" is "trust in God". This is not quite consistent with the use of James, who in his general epistle declares that faith is belief in the truth of God but not the same as hope:
- "What does it profit, my brethren, if a man says he has faith but has not works? Can his faith save him?...Show me your faith apart from your works, and I by my works will show you my faith. You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe--and shudder." James 2:14, 18b-19.
- Protestant doctrine primarily teaches faith as being confident believing trust in God's revelation and in the assured promise of salvation through Christ from the wrath to come on unbelievers. Demons therefore have no belief in God, they have no faith in God.
- Orthodox and Catholic doctrine teaches that demons believe but have no hope, having forfeited blessedness by their rebellion, that faith is belief in the truth that God has revealed in Jesus Christ, which even demons know beyond any doubt, and teaches that hope is confident trusting belief in God's revelation with the full expectation of the fulfillment of his promise of salvation through Christ alone from the wrath to come on the wicked who reject him. The virtue of love or charity comes from both faith and hope in God's goodness.
- Calvinist and Reformed Church Christians have been criticized as having no true Christian hope. They hold that all true believers will indefectibly persevere in the faith, being infallibly saved ("Irresistable Grace"); but ultimately they admit that there is no assurance for the individual Reformed or Calvinist believer that he or she is in fact one of the elect, and therefore they have no real personal assurance that they are right with God. While some individuals of the Reformed faith may be in doubt about the state of their souls in the sight of God, and whether they are actually among those He has irrevocably saved from hell, the Reformed doctrine teaches complete and absolute confidence and trust in the perfect and merciful justice of God, Who can do no wrong in His choosing from all eternity whom He will for the unmerited grace of salvation, and counsels those who are fearful to rest in the assurance of God's total goodness, and submit to His absolute Sovereignty.
This is very close to the doctrine of Islam on the need for total submission to the will of Allah "the Merciful and Compassionate". See Fatalism.
- Compare the following texts:
- Romans 9:14-24 "he has mercy upon whomever he wills, and he hardens the heart of whomever he wills...the vessels of wrath made for destruction"
- Acts 17:30 "calls all men everywhere to repent"
- 2 Peter 3:9 "not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance"
- Revelation 22:17 "and whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely" (KJV)
- The Bible clearly contradicts the Calvinist doctrine of limited atonement.
- Compare Eternal security (salvation) and Arminianism
"Today if you will hear his voice, do not harden your hearts, as in the rebellion"
- Hebrews 3:15
- The author quotes the Septuagint text, Psalm 95:7-8
"he again defines a certain day, today, saying through David so long a time afterward (just as has been said), “Today if you will hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.”
- Hebrews 4:7
- The author quotes the Septuagint text, Psalm 95:7-8 (twice)
"For the word of God is living and active, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and is able to discern the thoughts and intentions of the heart."
- Hebrews 4:12
- An allusion to the Septuagint text, Wisdom 18:15-16
"he was a Son, yet learned obedience by the things which he suffered."
- Hebrews 5:8
- "learned obedience"—Not in the sense of coming to an understanding of what he never knew before—the interpretation of those who teach that Jesus was not the Logos of the omniscient God—but the human experience in his flesh and soul of the consequences of being faithful to the will of God. A man may have complete knowledge of every technique and strategy of rescue operations, and have demonstrated infallible skill with complete proficiency of execution in training by application of that knowledge, but the actual personal experience of successfully rescuing those in danger of death by risking death to achieve it deepens appreciation of the meaning of the purpose and effectiveness of the knowledge he already has, without adding anything to what he already knows—knowing what the consequences will be to those he rescues, and the cost in danger to himself, he learns by success in facing such danger what it means to completely affirm what he already knows by obediently applying the principles of search and rescue with utmost skill for the saving of lives.
- He who was already "made perfect" from all eternity, in whom already was all knowledge and perfection, having learned all knowledge and perfection in himself in being begotten of the Father, who was already slain from the foundation of the world, according to the plan predestined by God to take place, in tasting death for every man, has manifested his perfection, in being perfected forever, by what he suffered in the flesh "in these last days".
KJV—Colossians 1:15-19; 2:3, 2:9; Revelation 13:8; 2 Timothy 1:9-10; Acts 4:28; 1 Peter 1:19-20; Hebrews 5:8-9; 1:1-3; Proverbs 8:22-23.
It is not that he suffered in such a way that his suffering perfected him who was already perfect, but rather that (according to the Greek grammar of the text) he who was made perfect, and was already perfected from all eternity, in manifesting the eternal culmination of his perfection, experienced suffering, having suffered. See interlinear text of Hebrews 5:9.
- See multiple commentaries on Hebrews 5:8.
- Christ is "made perfect" for us in our perception and evaluation of him, as seen by the evidence of the culmination of his love, in what he suffered for us while we were still his enemies because of our sinful nature, so that, by the verdict we are able to draw from the evidence before us, this makes him absolutely perfect, and perfected forever in the eyes of everyone who believes in him: Romans 5:8-10; 8:32; John 15:13; Ephesians 2:1-7; 1 Peter 3:18; 1 John 3:16; 4:9-11; Hebrews 2:9-10.
"You have come to need milk, and not solid food. For everyone who lives on milk is not experienced in the word of righteousness, for he is a baby. But solid food is for those who are full grown, who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern good and evil."
- Hebrews 5:12-13 WEB. See RSVCE
- See 1 Corinthians 3:2 "Brothers, I could not speak to you as to spiritual, but as to fleshly, as to babies in Christ. I fed you with milk, not with meat; for you were not yet ready." WEB. See RSVCE
- Compare parallel interlinear texts of Hebrews 5:12 and 5:13, and 1 Corinthians 3:2.
- Some have pointed to this parallel metaphoric imagery as one piece of evidence among others (such as Hebrews 13:23-25) that Paul is the author of Hebrews, assuming that this imagery (and the ending news and salutation) is characteristic of Paul and of no one else in the New Testament. They are apparently unaware of 1 Peter 2:2 (WEB) "Like newborn babes, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up to salvation" (RSV). Alone, this parallel between the phrasing of Hebrews 5:12-13 and 1 Corinthians 3:2, while convincing to some, is unconvincing to many, who point to the excellent written style of Hebrews in Greek as being wholly unlike that of Paul's less elegant Greek writing as consistently found throughout all of the other New Testament epistles inarguably attributed to him. See Historical-critical method (Higher criticism). Textual critics see any change by Paul to a more elegant style of writing as utterly impossible, even if he had an unparalleled opportunity without distraction or pressures (in Sabbath quiet and seclusion?) to carefully consider word by word and phrase by phrase how best to express his message of exhortation and encouragement to fellow Hebrew Christians in Greek—fellow Jewish converts tempted to abandon the "scandal of the cross", and the persecution of the Christian faith by their fellow Jews (Romans 10–11; 2 Corinthians 11:22), to embrace again the traditions of the fathers.
"leaving the teaching of the first principles of Christ"
- Hebrews 6:1
- "I fed you with milk, not with meat; for you were not yet ready." 1 Corinthians 3:2.
- These verses refer to the Christian Disciplina Arcani, Latin for the "Discipline of the Secret". During the first centuries of the proclamation of the Gospel the more sacred doctrinal mysteries of Christianity, the Trinity, the Incarnation, the Eucharist, were not to be revealed to pagans, and not even to new converts before they were baptized. There was real danger of sacrilege and blasphemy in addition to the ever-present twin threat of persecution and execution (martyrdom), which pressured many into committing apostasy by denying Jesus Christ the Son of God and desperately avoiding execution by betraying Christians to the authorities to be killed. See the following:
"about which tribe Moses spoke nothing concerning priesthood"
- Hebrews 7:14.
- Compare 2 Samuel 8:18b "and David's sons were priests"
- "David's sons were priests". Kohanim, literally "priests".
See כֹּהֲנִ֥ים kohanim and כֹּהֲנִ֥ kohen.
- Compare 1 Chronicles 18:17 "and David's sons were the chief officials in the service of the king".
- See interlinear text of 2 Samuel 8:18.
- See multiple versions of 2 Samuel 8:18.
- See multiple commentaries on 2 Samuel 8:18.
- See multiple commentaries on Hebrews 7:14.
- While Moses in the Torah "spoke nothing concerning priesthood", the inspired writer of the second part of the four-fold Book of the Kings (2 Samuel) prophetically states that David's sons were in fact "priests" kohanim, rather than sar (sarim) or nagid (nagidim)—Strong's numbers 8269 and 5057, both meaning "prince" and "chief ruler", apparently meaning in the terminology of his day (as seen in the text of 1 Chronicles 18:17) that they were David's exalted representatives, or chief court ministers and officials authorized to act in his name as ambassadors of his power as chosen by God—but more profoundly, and beyond the author's awareness, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, declaring in his writing the priesthood to come, in the Son of David and his representatives "according to the priesthood of Melchizedek" at the "altar from which those who serve the tabernacle have no right to eat" (Hebrews 13:10)—as Isaiah hiself, inspired by the Spirit, more profoundly, and beyond his awareness, declared the motherhood of Mary the virgin who should conceive and bear a divine Son (Greek Theotokos, "God-bearer"—defending Jesus' divine nature as God: see Council of Ephesus). The Jewish Masoretes, scandalized by the obvious meaning of Isaiah, replaced the word for "virgin" with the word for "young woman", to avoid the fulfillment of Isaiah's words in Jesus in accordance with the Christian interpretation of the Gospel of Matthew.
- Readers of the King James Bible Only do not see this word "priests" in the text of 2 Samuel 8:18 because the KJV translators, apparently scandalized by the obvious literal meaning of the text, chose to change the literal meaning of the words of scripture to an interpretive eisegetical reading that says, "and David's sons were chief rulers", instead of "priests". Compare Jeremiah 8:8
- "How can you say, 'We are wise, and the law of the LORD is with us'? But behold, the false pen of the scribes has made it into a lie."
- As with the removal of all of the prayers from the ancient rabbinical Greek text of the Book of Esther by the Reformers, which Jerome retained (see Apocrypha, Biblical Canon and Septuagint), this alteration of a text of the Bible undeniably erases an inspired prophesy of the priesthood of the Son of David from a page of the sacred scripture, but which is retained in the RSV, the RSVCE, NAB and other versions and translations of the Bible. (Compare the WEB version, and the Conservative Bible Project text of 2 Samuel 8:18.)
- Given the fact that the writer of Hebrews displays a profound knowledge and understanding of the sacred scriptures, it is remarkable that he does not refer to 2 Samuel 8:18 as a prophesy of the priesthood of Jesus descended from David according to the flesh (Romans 1:3). St. Paul likewise never refers to the text of 2 Samuel 8:18 regarding the priesthood of Jesus the Son of David. "Have mercy on us, O Lord, Son of David!" Matthew 20:30.
"he is also the mediator of a better covenant, which on better promises has been given as law."
- Hebrews 8:6b - WEB reading "given as law".
- KJV—"he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises."
- RSVCE—"the covenant he mediates is better, since it is enacted on better promises."
- νενομοθέτηται nenomothetetai "has been enacted"
—from νομοθετέω nomotheteó: to make law, to ordain by law—See Strong's number 3549.
- See interlinear text of Hebrews 8:6.
Compare parallel versions of Hebrews 8:6.
- See "law of Christ"—Romans 8:2; 13:10; 1 Corinthians 9:21; Galatians 5:14; 6:2; Hebrews 7:12; James 1:25; 2:8; 2:12; 1 John 3:4.
"not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers, in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt ... I will be their God, and they will be my people."
- Hebrews 8:9-10
- The author quotes the Septuagint text, Jeremiah 31:32-33.
"given to men to die once, and after that the judgment"
- Hebrews 9:27
- This text is taken as inspired proof that the doctrine of reincarnation contradicts the divinely revealed truth of God in the Bible. Reincarnation is rejected as a false teaching by all the major denominations of Christianity, Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant. It is allowed by certain liberal Christian theologians, the Unity Church, and the pagan religious sects and individual esoteric schools of metaphysics belonging to the New age movement.
"so Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but salvation to those who are eagerly waiting for him.
- Hebrews 9:28
- The author quotes the Septuagint text, Isaiah 10:22.
"Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but you prepared a body for me."
- Hebrews 10:5
- The author quotes the Septuagint text, Psalm 40:6.
"those who are being sanctified."
- Hebrews 10:14
- Greek ἁγιαζομένους hagiazomenous "sanctify, make sanctified, engender sanctification, being made holy", in a present ongoing sense, not past accomplished.
- See interlinear text of Hebrews 10:14.
Compare parallel versions of Hebrews 10:14.
The text does not say "has been sanctified", as if sanctification is a single, permanent, irrevocable act, done once, and forever, unalterable and unchanging, but ἁγιαζομένους hagiazomenous, "being sanctified"—now, in the present.
- The sanctification of the believer who is being sanctified is an ongoing, living, active process, not a single, static, decisive, irrevocable one-time event, permanently accomplished once for all time in the soul of the saved, which cannot be undone. The eating of a single meal does not keep a man alive for years and decades of life, but ongoing nourishment does. While the believer remains faithful salvation is occurring by the life of Christ through the Holy Spirit poured into the soul of the Christian, but if the believer "falls away" from him, the life of salvation is forfeit (Hebrews 6:4-6; 10:26-30). The believer is responsible for his and her salvation as a trust to be actively maintained throughout life by remaining faithful, as Paul says, "work out your own salvation with fear and trembling" (Philippians 2:12; 2 Peter 1:10; 3:17). God sanctifies the believer, and the believer also sanctifies himself and herself by his and her own persistently patient faith and obedience in producing much fruit and remaining pure.
See John 15:1-8; Acts 26:18 "sanctified by their faith in me"; 2 Corinthians 7:1 "let us cleanse ourselves"; 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5; 1 Timothy 4:16; Hebrews 2:11; 1 Peter 1:9; 3:15-16; 1 John 3:3; Luke 21:19; 9:23-26.
- Against this interpretation, the Calvinist is able to respond that those who are being sanctified are those who are being saved, one by one, out of all mankind, and are being gathered one by one collectively into the company of the elect. Similarly, those selected individuals who have been specially issued an advance ticket to attend an exclusive event "by-invitation-only" at a civic center, on the day of the event are all being admitted inside one by one. Once they are in they do not need to keep passing through the door to constantly be readmitted.
Compare Eternal security (salvation) and Calvinism.
"For you had compassion on those in chains"
- Hebrews 10:34a—World English Bible (WEB) reading
- KJV—"For ye had compassion of me in my bonds"
See interlinear text of Hebrews 10:34.
Compare multiple versions of Hebrews 10:34
- "ye had compassion of me in my bonds"—This defective reading of the Greek text as represented by the translators of the King James Version and others is primarily the eisegetical basis for the common assumption that Hebrews was written by Saint Paul. The true reading is not τοῖς δεσμοῖς μου tois desmois mou, literally, "that my bonds", but actually τοῖς δεσμίοις tois desmiois, “(you sympathized) with the prisoners”. From the Acts of the Apostles alone we have sufficient evidence that many Christians were imprisoned and put in chains (8:3; 9:1-2; 22:5, 19; 26:10). The early commentaries, as noted by Eusebius and others, proposed multiple authors of this epistle to the Hebrews, without arriving at any certainty of agreement about who actually wrote it. Andrew Schlafly firmly declares that it was written by Jesus himself—he was in fact bound and led away (Matthew 27:2; Mark 15:1; John 18:12, 24).
- While this text in Hebrews 10:34 has no (significant) doctrinal import, other important passages of the Bible have been mistranslated in ways that have been used to foster false doctrines of heretics and to justify polemical attacks on various Christian churches, denominations and groups on the basis of "proof texts" which have no linguistic support for such distorted readings from the actual Bible manuscript evidence.
"In a very little while, he who comes will come, and will not wait. But the righteous will live by faith. If he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him."
- Hebrews 10:37-38
- The author quotes the Septuagint text, Habakkuk 2:3-4.
"By faith, we understand that the cosmos has been framed by the word of God"
- Hebrews 11:3 - KJV "the worlds" - lit. "aeons - the ages".
- Here the Greek term κόσμος kosmos "cosmos" is used as a synonym for the NT αἰῶνας aiones (aeons) "worlds, universe".
Merriam-Webster definition of Aeon
Interlinear Hebrews 11:3
The text in Hebrews 11:3 οἱ αἰῶνες oi aiones denotes the worlds, the universe.
Compare Strong's number 2889 cosmos.
- See multiple versions of Hebrews 11:3
- See multiple commentaries on Hebrews 11:3
"Enoch was translated, so that he would not see death, and he was not found, because God translated him."
- Hebrews 11:5
- The author quotes the Septuagint text, Genesis 5:24.
- A direct allusion also to Wisdom 4:10 and Sirach 44:16.
"Others were tortured, not accepting their deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection."
- Hebrews 11:35.
- A direct allusion to the Septuagint text, 2 Maccabees 7:1-42, the witness of the Maccabean martyrs under Antiochus IV Epiphanes.
The Greek "epiphanes" means "manifest god". A Jewish paronomasia on his self-assumed title of divinity is "epimanes", "manifest maniac". Similarly, the name Apollyon is a paronomasia on "Apollonius", the name of the Syrian general under Antiochus IV (1 Maccabees 3:10-12; 2 Maccabees 3:5-7; 4:4, 21; Revelation 9:11.
See 2 Maccabees 7—in particular verses 9, 11, 14.
See also commentaries on Hebrews 11:35.
"For whom the Lord loves, he chastens, and scourges every son whom he receives."
- Hebrews 12:6
- The author quotes the Septuagint text, Proverbs 3:12.
"lift up the hands that hang down and the feeble knees"
- Hebrews 12:12
- An allusion to the Septuagint text, Sirach 25:23.
"The Lord is my helper. I will not fear. What can man do to me?"
- Hebrews 13:6
- The author quotes the Septuagint text, Psalm 118:6.
"variant and strange Teachings"
- Hebrews 13:9
- RSV "diverse", in the sense of "divergent, diverging, departing from" the norm of Christian doctrine.
- Many heretical teachings speciously claiming to be Christian have been falsely promoted as "legitimate forms of authentic variations of traditional Christian doctrine and worship, making the Gospel more relevant in its expression, and more acceptable within the current culture, and shedding new light on its spiritual depths for the more uncomplicated, ordinary people, without substantially altering the true meaning of what has been traditionally taught." Others claim to have rediscovered true doctrine that had been lost, which overturns the current traditional doctrinal teaching, but have no supporting historical evidence for their claim. Compare 1 Timothy 4:1 and 2 Peter 2:1-3.
See Liberal Christianity and Emerging church; also Syncretism and Deception.
"We have an altar from which those who serve the holy tabernacle have no right to eat."
- Hebrews 13:10.
10 ἔχομεν θυσιαστήριον ἐξ οὗ φαγεῖν οὐκ ἔχουσιν ἐξουσίαν οἱ τῇ σκηνῇ λατρεύοντες·
A controversial text.
- This verse has been traditionally understood by the majority of Christians as a clearly plain reference to partaking of Communion and sharing in the blood of Christ and sharing in the body of Christ (2 Peter 1:3-4; 1 Corinthians 10:16-21).
Many theologians, for example Fundamental Baptists, following the teachings of Berengar of Tours and Ulrich Zwingli, utterly repudiate such a reading as a perverse twisting of the meaning of scripture into blasphemous superstition and idolatry and an insult to Christ.
- The NABRE Catholic Bible footnote to Hebrews 13:10 says,
- "[13:10] We have an altar: this does not refer to the Eucharist, which is never clearly mentioned in Hebrews, but to the sacrifice of Christ."
- This same textual-critical interpretation of the one unique Christian altar as the sacrifice of Christ as high priest is found more fully expounded in Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible: Hebrews 13, scroll down to Verse 10.
- The textual-critical note on the altar of Hebrews 13:10 in the Catholic NABRE and in Pett's Commentary is applied to Hebrews as a separate work, considered by textual critics as having been originally written independently and apart from the context of the whole of the preaching of the New Testament, and before Hebrews was collected with the other books of scripture and constituted together with them as the Bible, which includes Jesus' words in John 6:32-58 and 1 Corinthians 10:16-21. This NABRE footnote critically assumes that the writer's argument knows nothing of partaking "of the table of the Lord" (1 Corinthians 10:15-22), that is, does not refer in any way to the Eucharist, because that particular doctrinal consideration is not relevant to his primary topic: the superiority of the sacrifice of Christ to the sacrifices of the priests on the altar of the tabernacle and the temple.
- When read within the context of the whole of the New Testament, with the Holy Spirit as the primary and unifying author of doctrine, Hebrews 13:10 does include reference to the Eucharist as a participation in eating from the one sacrifice of Christ and sharing in the body of Christ and the blood of Christ, which those who serve the holy tabernacle have no right to eat. See Historical-critical method (Higher criticism) and Hermeneutics.
- The Catholic Church dogmatically declares and defines the Bible in all of its parts as inspired and inerrantly infallible, since God is the primary author who cannot deceive or be deceived, but this dogmatic declaration does not include textual footnotes by theologians, bible scholars and textual critics within the definition of inspired scripture as infallibly free of error. See
–Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) numbers 101 through 141 ();
–Vatican II Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation Dei Verbum;
–and Divino Afflante Spiritu.
- "...from which those who serve the holy tabernacle have no right to eat." (Greek φάγος / φάγειν "eat").
Compare Exodus 12; Leviticus 6–7: "...eat it...eat of it...shall be eaten...".
It is entirely reasonable to ask: If the sacrifice of Christ on the altar of the Cross is the meaning of this text, then how do Christians actually eat from the altar of the cross? What is it that was offered on the altar of the cross? See multiple Protestant commentaries on Hebrews 13:10.
Compare the following articles:
- Both Protestant and Catholic theologians and Bible scholars emphasize that the true Christian altar is Jesus Christ himself offering himself body and blood, soul and divinity to God the Almighty Father and that this is the exegetical meaning of Hebrews 13:10. He is the one altar from which Christians eat and partake of the divine nature.
- Compare John 6:32-59. "he who eats my flesh"—Greek τρώγων trogon, "eat, gnaw, munch, crunch" (KJV "EATETH" Strong's number 5176).
- This form of the word τρώγω trogo is found in the New Testament only in the Gospel of John 6:54-58, and 13:18 ("He who ate my bread..."). It has a literal, physical concrete meaning only, unlike the more common Greek word φαγεῖν phagein "eat" which has both a literal and figurative or metaphorical meaning (see Strong's number 5315 φάγω phago, to eat, literally or figuratively).
- Biblical commentaries which unequivocally state that there is virtually no difference between the two words φάγω phago and τρώγω trogo reveal that the writer is either incompetent and ignorant of Greek or is being dishonest.
There is no linguistic evidence that this word for eat, eats, eating, ate, τρώγων, was used metaphorically as a figure of speech, but was simply only a literal, physical concrete term for chewing and craunching or grinding teeth (somewhat noisily) while eating, as in eating bread or meat.
See Strong's number 5176 τρώγω trogo, its concrete physical meaning probably strengthened from a collateral form of the base of trauma (wound) and tribos (rut, worn track) through the idea of corrosion or wear; or perhaps rather of a base of trugon (dove, murmuring, cooing sound) and trizo (to creak or squeak) through the idea of a craunching sound; to gnaw or chew, generally to simply eat.
The New American Bible (1986) footnote to John 6:54-58 states that the verb τρώγων used in these verses is not the classical Greek verb used of human eating, but that of animal eating: "munch", "gnaw". And it says this may be part of John's emphasis on the reality of the flesh and blood of Jesus, but also says the same verb eventually became the ordinary verb in Greek meaning "eat". However, it does not say that it ever became a metaphorical term allowing a figurative and spiritual meaning, such as delighting in the Lord's doctrinal teaching and "eating it up" and eagerly engaging in a long and involved deep study of the New Testament as "really sinking your teeth into it".
Instead, the Jews and even some of Jesus' own disciples actually understood him as intentionally expressing the literal meaning of chewing his flesh with their teeth, in John 6:52, 60, in which they understood that he literally meant to eat him. This unequivocal statement of Jesus provoked a response of incredulity: "How can this man give us his flesh to eat?" and, "This saying is hard; who can listen to it?" (or "who can accept it?"). This is identical to the objection raised against the doctrine of the real presence by Berengar of Tours, Ulrich Zwingli and others. Jesus responds to them by re-emphasizing what he said. He does not privately explain to his closest disciples, the apostles, that they and the others who had left him did not understand his meaning. He does not say that he was speaking parabolically, symbolically, spiritually. Instead, astonishingly, he only says to the Twelve, "Do you also want to leave?"
- Fundamentalists and most evangelical Christians absolutely reject the plain, literal word trogon in these passages of the Gospel and firmly maintain that the literal meaning is impossible, an "idolatrous heresy" and impious superstition. Fundamentalist illustrator Jack Chick as a warning against Catholic doctrine graphically represents the communion wafers given to the people by Catholic priests as inhabited by demons which enslave them (1 Timothy 4:1). Many Christians firmly and boldly declare against the literal Catholic reading of the text of John 6 that to eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood is, instead, to be spiritually united to him entirely by fully accepting his person and his doctrine personally, accepting Jesus as one's own personal Savior and living the life of Christ (Galatians 2:20), thus drawing spiritual nourishment from him through the Holy Spirit.
- But solely on the basis of the text alone their doctrinal position has actually no linguistic foundation or basis in fact in these passages of the New Testament (John 6:54-58; 13:18). And no texts of these passages in the extant manuscripts of the Gospel of John have any other wording than the literal, concrete, physical term τρώγων. In addition to this fact, all biblical commentaries written on these passages, whether accepting or rejecting the literal reading of their meaning, quote the Greek text as we have it even now and admit the literal meaning of the Greek as posing a difficulty for some as to a proper interpretation. It is difficult only if the literal meaning of this strictly literal word is not doctrinally acceptable. As early as c. A.D. 110 Ignatius of Antioch wrote, "they do not admit that the Eucharist is the flesh of our Savior Jesus Christ, the flesh which suffered for our sins and which the Father, in His graciousness, raised from the dead." (Ad Smyrnaeans, 6). Those who do accept the literal meaning of the physical term τρώγων firmly and boldly declare that they only "take Jesus at his word".
- On the sola scriptura principle that scripture interprets scripture, the biblical metaphor of eating the flesh and drinking the blood of men is found all throughout the Bible to refer only to the violence done to the innocent, the orphan, the widow and the poor by the wicked oppressor, by corrupt nations and peoples, evil kings, governors and judges, by the tax collector and the landlord, "who eat up my people as if they were eating bread" (Psalm 14:4); and it also refers to the merited destruction inflicted on those oppressors in return by almighty God, in reprisal for their repressive and destructive policies and their acts of evil rapine in raids, invasion and war. Numbers 23:24; Deuteronomy 32:42-43; Psalms 16:4, 27:2, 30:9; Proverbs 29:10; Isaiah 49:26; Jeremiah 19:9, 46:10; Ezekiel 11:3-11, 39:17-20; Daniel 7:5; Micah 3:2-3; James 5:3; Revelation 19:18, 21.
- "...consume them in wrath, consume them till they are no more..." Psalm 59:13a; "...I will make your oppressors eat their own flesh, and they shall be drunk with their own blood as with wine." Isaiah 49:26a; "That day is the day of the Lord GOD of hosts, a day of vengeance, to avenge himself on his foes. The sword shall devour and be sated, and drink its fill of their blood." Jeremiah 46:10a.
The words of Jesus promise that those who eat his flesh and drink his blood have eternal life, and warned those listening to him that if they do not eat his flesh and drink his blood they do not have life. Those who eat the flesh and drink the blood of the sinless Jesus are not those who are punishing him in reprisal for any evil he has ever inflicted on mankind. He testified to the Father that those who crucified him knew not what they were doing, and asked him to forgive them. St. Paul stated that if the rulers of the world knew the secret and hidden wisdom of God, they would not have crucified him (1 Corinthians 2:8). But they did this out of envy and hatred for him (Matthew 27:17-18). John wrote that the Jews persecuted Jesus all the more because he called God his Father (John 5:16-18). None of these loved him. Simply on the basis of the biblical text alone, the interpretation that Jesus was using a metaphor is not supported by the evident pattern of metaphor as used in all the rest of the Bible, a metaphor signifying oppressive violence and cruelty, and the effect of the divine retribution inflicted on evil persecutors.
- There is historical and documentary evidence that early Greek and Latin Church doctrine before the year 110 already held to the literal meaning of actually eating the flesh and drinking the blood of Jesus in order to "be partakers of the divine nature" (2 Peter 1:4), pointing also to the words "my flesh is food indeed (ἀληθῶς alethos in fact, in reality, actually), my blood is drink indeed (ἀληθῶς alethos in fact, in reality, actually)". See Strong's number 230 alethos indeed, surely, of a surety, truly, of a truth, in truth, verily, very.
- John 6:52-58 (boldface emphasis added)
- 52 ἐμάχοντο οὖν πρὸς ἀλλήλους οἱ Ἰουδαῖοι λέγοντες· πῶς δύναται οὗτος ἡμῖν δοῦναι τὴν σάρκα φαγεῖν; 53 εἶπεν οὖν αὐτοῖς ὁ Ἰησοῦς· ἀμὴν ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν, ἐὰν μὴ φάγητε τὴν σάρκα τοῦ υἱοῦ τοῦ ἀνθρώπου καὶ πίητε αὐτοῦ τὸ αἷμα, οὐκ ἔχετε ζωὴν ἐν ἑαυτοῖς. 54 ὁ τρώγων μου τὴν σάρκα καὶ πίνων μου τὸ αἷμα ἔχει ζωὴν αἰώνιον, καὶ ἐγὼ ἀναστήσω αὐτὸν ἐν τῇ ἐσχάτῃ ἡμέρᾳ. 55 ἡ γὰρ σάρξ μου ἀληθῶς ἐστι βρῶσις, καὶ τὸ αἷμά μου ἀληθῶς ἐστι πόσις. 56 ὁ τρώγων μου τὴν σάρκα καὶ πίνων μου τὸ αἷμα ἐν ἐμοὶ μένει, κἀγὼ ἐν αὐτῷ. 57 καθὼς ἀπέστειλέ με ὁ ζῶν πατὴρ κἀγὼ ζῶ διὰ τὸν πατέρα, καὶ ὁ τρώγων με κἀκεῖνος ζήσεται δι’ ἐμέ. 58 οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ ἄρτος ὁ ἐκ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ καταβάς, οὐ καθὼς ἔφαγον οἱ πατέρες ὑμῶν τὸ μάννα καὶ ἀπέθανον· ὁ τρώγων τοῦτον τὸν ἄρτον ζήσεται εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα.
- John 13:18 (boldface emphasis added)
- 18 οὐ περὶ πάντων ὑμῶν λέγω· ἐγὼ οἶδα οὓς ἐξελεξάμην· ἀλλ’ ἵνα ἡ γραφὴ πληρωθῇ, ὁ τρώγων μετ’ ἐμοῦ τὸν ἄρτον ἐπῆρεν ἐπ’ ἐμὲ τὴν πτέρναν αὐτοῦ.
- (The following is edited, revised and adapted from an article in Wikipedia)—
- Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, and Roman Catholics, who together constitute the majority of Christians, hold that the consecrated elements in a valid celebration of the Eucharist indeed become the body and blood of Christ. This belief is held also by some Reform and Protestant Christian churches, Lutherans and Anglicans, though they generally deny transubstantiation.
- While there is a large body of theology noting the many Scriptural supports for transubstantiation, in general, Orthodox and Catholics consider it unnecessary to "prove" from texts of Scripture a belief that they see as held by Christians without interruption from the earliest, apostolic times. They point out that the Church and its teaching existed before it assembled and canonized the New Testament, and even before any individual part of the New Testament was written. They also point out that early Christians such as Ignatius of Antioch, Justin Martyr, and Clement of Rome (who were much closer to the event than those who later proposed a figurative interpretation of the Eucharist), described the Eucharist as truly the body and blood of Christ. They see nothing in Scripture that in any way contradicts this ancient Christian belief that the reality beneath the visible signs in the Eucharist is the body and blood of Christ and no longer bread and wine. Instead, they see this teaching as the same teaching in the Bible's reports of what Christ himself and Paul the Apostle taught.
- As scriptural support for this doctrine, as required by their sola scriptura position, Protestants who believe that in the Eucharist the bread and wine become the body and blood of Christ turn to the words of Jesus himself at his Last Supper, as reported in the Synoptic Gospels and Saint Paul's First Epistle to the Corinthians. In that context, Jesus said of what to all appearances were bread and wine: "This is my body ... this is my blood" or, in the case of what appeared to be wine, "... this cup is the new covenant in my blood".
- Many Protestants who hold to the literal meaning of the Bible inconsistently reject a literal interpretation of these words. They compare them to non-literal expressions by Jesus such as "I am the door", "I am the vine", "You are the salt of the earth ... You are the light of the world" (Matthew 5:13-14), "Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the Sadducees" (Matthew 16:6-12). In this last example, the disciples thought that the reason Jesus said it was because they had brought no bread; but Jesus explained that he was referring to the teaching of the Pharisees and the Sadducees.
- These Protestants add that "eating and drinking" is sometimes used metaphorically, as of Jeremiah "eating" God's words (Jeremiah 15:16), or David speaking of water as blood, since it was obtained at the risk of the lives of his men (2 Samuel 23:17).
- The word "is" has also been taken as indicating a metaphor. Those who hold that Jesus' words, "This is my body", "This is my blood", were not metaphorical claim that there is a marked contrast between metaphorical figurative expressions, which of their nature have a symbolic meaning, and what Jesus said about concrete things such as the bread and wine.
- In the phrase "This is my body" as expressed in the original Greek (Τοῦτό ἐστιν τὸ σῶμά μου), the word "τοῦτο" ("this" or "this thing") is a grammatically neuter pronoun, and so of the same grammatical gender as the noun "σῶμα" (body), but of a different grammatical gender from that of the word "ἄρτος" (bread), which is a masculine noun. Some claim that this is an indication of the change of the reality from bread (ἄρτος) to body (σῶμα).
- As indications that the bread and wine are indeed changed to the body and blood of Christ, appeal is made to expressions used by Saint Paul in his First Epistle to the Corinthians, in particular his rhetorical question, "The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ?" (1 Corinthians 10:16), and his statement, "Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord." (1 Corinthians 11:27). Protestant commentators, such as Matthew Henry (1662–1714) say that use of the word "bread" shows there has been no change.
- Paul's subsequent recommendation, "Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself" (1 Corinthians 11:28-29, emphasis added), has likewise been interpreted either as indicating the reality of the disputed change or as implying no such change. Marvin R. Vincent, in particular, objected to what he called the mistaken King James Version translation of κρῖμα in verse 29 as "damnation", rather more literally as "judgment".
- It has been noted that Paul wrote: "Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord" (emphases added). (KJV translators changed the word "or" to "and" for doctrinal reasons not supported by the actual text.) This has been interpreted as stating that unworthy participation and partaking of either the bread or the cup of the Lord involves guilt concerning both the body and blood of the Lord, as an indication of the presence of Christ in each of the two cases in support of the Catholic and Orthodox doctrine that the visible appearance of the bread conceals the real substance of the "body, blood, soul and divinity of Christ" and that the visible appearance of the wine conceals the real substance of the "body, blood, soul and divinity of Christ". Such an interpretation asserts that in receiving Communion the believer partakes of the divine nature of Jesus himself, which can transform those who partake of him.
- —(adapted from an article in Wikipedia: Transubstantiation: Interpretations of the New Testament -retrieved September 2016.)
- However, many of those who statistically and nominally belong to the majority of Christians—publicly representing themselves as members of those major denominations that officially teach the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist or Communion—do not believe in it. They are numerically a large minority. See for example the following article:
- But the majority of Christians "take him at his word", literally. The reasoning used by those who have been taught to believe that they actually receive in Communion the literal, Real Presence of Jesus Christ himself, is briefly exemplified in the Roman Catholic Baltimore Catechism #3 Lesson 22 - On the Holy Eucharist
- Q. 878. How do we know that it is possible to change one substance into another?
- A. We know that it is possible to change one substance into another, because (I) God changed water into blood during the plagues of Egypt; (2) Christ changed water into wine at the marriage of Cana; (3) Our own food is daily changed into the substance of our flesh and blood; and what God does gradually, He can also do instantly by an act of His will.
- Q. 879...in these changes the appearance also is changed, but in the Holy Eucharist only the substance is changed while the appearance remains the same.
- Q. 880. How do we show that Christ did change bread and wine into the substance of His body and blood?
- A. We show that Christ did change bread and wine into the substance of His body and blood: (I) From the words by which He promised the Holy Eucharist; (2) From the words by which He instituted the Holy Eucharist; (3) From the constant use of the Holy Eucharist in the Church since the time of the Apostles...
- See also Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) 1373-1381.
- Partaking in Communion of the Real Presence of Jesus Christ under the appearance of bread and wine is also seen as the complete fulfillment of all the prefiguring Levitical sacrifices made at the altar of the Tabernacle in the wilderness and the Temple, in which, after the offering is made, a portion of the consecrated sacrifice is given (back) to the worshipper to eat (Leviticus 1 through 8). "We have an altar from which those who serve the holy tabernacle have no right to eat." Hebrews 13:10.
- Fundamentalists and many Evangelical Christians firmly maintain that repeatedly offering Jesus to God as a sacrifice again and again in worship condemns to hell those who do so, "seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh" (KJV Hebrews 6:6b, in the context of Hebrews 6:4-8). "Crucify" here is understood to be the same as "sacrifice", and "sacrifice" is understood to mean "crucify", so that "the sacrifice of the Mass" is a "crucifixion of Jesus in the Mass", in which he "suffers repeatedly", but Hebrews states unequivocally that "He has no need, like those high priests, to offer sacrifices daily, first for his own sins and then for those of the people; he did this once for all when he offered up himself" (7:27),
- "For Christ has entered, not into a sanctuary made with hands, a copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf. Nor was it to offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the Holy Place yearly with blood not his own, for then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the age to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. And just as it is appointed for men to die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him."
- The Divine Liturgy of Orthodoxy and the Catholic Sacrifice of the Mass is held to be evidence of a "falling away" from the pure doctrine of Christ into blasphemy and superstition as part of the Great Apostasy, which they consistently teach began as early as the beginning of the second century. As evidence they cite the fact that as early as c. A.D. 110 Ignatius of Antioch wrote, "they do not admit that the Eucharist is the flesh of our Savior Jesus Christ, the flesh which suffered for our sins and which the Father, in His graciousness, raised from the dead." (Ad Smyrnaeans, 6). This is denounced as an abhorrent blasphemy, and as evidence of the early and almost immediate apostasy from the doctrine of Christ after the death of last of the apostles.
See the Fundamentalist article "The Apostasy: An Era of Spiritual Darkness".
Compare Matthew 28:20 "I am with you always", and John 14:16-17 "he will give you another Comforter, to be with you for ever, even the Spirit of truth" and John 16:13 "When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth", also Matthew 16:18 "I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it", and Hebrews 13:17 "Obey those who are over you and submit yourselves".
- Eastern Orthodox, Russian Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Catholics and Protestants who believe in the Real Presence, who together constitute the majority of Christians, respond that it is Jesus himself as the High Priest who offers himself to the Father and presents in worship at the altar on earth and in heaven his one, unique unrepeatable sacrifice of himself, made once only in a bloody manner for all time for all sinners, in eternity, and through all centuries now made continuously present without pause or interruption, without ceasing, before the Father in an unbloody manner, as in the upper room on the night he was betrayed, as both sacrifice and food for all his people in every time and place, that they all might "see the Son of Man" and "partake of the divine nature" (John 6:36, 40; 2 Peter 1:4). These Christians firmly and boldly declare according to their reading of the literal word τρώγων in the text of John 6 that to reverently eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood is to be physically and spiritually united to him entirely in his one, single uninterrupted sacrifice to God the Almighty Father by fully accepting his person and his doctrine personally, accepting Jesus as one's own personal Savior and living the life of Christ (Galatians 2:20), thus drawing spiritual nourishment from him through the Eucharist by the power of the Holy Spirit. For them, to receive Communion unworthily is to actually be personally guilty of the Body and Blood of the Lord (1 Corinthians 10:15-17, 11:29; Hebrews 12:18-24; 2 Peter 1:4; Acts 20:28; Ignatius ad Smyrnaeans 6). They firmly assert that this is the doctrine of the apostles, unbroken and continually preserved in the church since the first century. They interpret Hebrews 6:6 in the context of 10:26-31 as referring instead to a total repudiation of Eucharistic worship of God in Christ and the complete rejection and renunciation of apostolic Christian belief in Jesus as Lord and Savior sent by God, that is, as referring to complete Apostasy from the faith, "since they crucify the Son of God on their own account and hold him up to contempt" as did the Sanhedrin under Annas and Caiaphas, by utterly denouncing Christianity as a lie and returning to Judaism, for they "spurned the Son of God, and profaned the blood of the covenant" as a common and unholy thing, the "precious blood of Christ", the price of our salvation, made present in the Eucharist (Hebrews 10:29) that "ye might be partakers of the divine nature" (2 Peter 1:4; John 6:48-58 KJV).
- Doctrine determines interpretation. There appears to be no middle ground in the controversy over the interpretation of these verses in John's Gospel and Hebrews 13:10 "We have an altar from which those who serve the holy tabernacle have no right to eat.".
- If the consecrated bread and wine are not actually the body, blood, soul and divinity of Jesus Christ present in the physical appearances ("under the signs") of bread and wine as true signs of his Presence, but are simply "emblems" or symbols of his covenant, then to treat the natural, created bread and wine (or grape juice) made from wheat and grapes, blessed and then solemnly consecrated in worship of God, as if they are actually Jesus Christ himself who is God and man is to commit superstitious idolatry by worshiping created things ("creatures") as if they were God (Romans 1:25).
- If the blessed and solemnly consecrated bread and wine are actually the body, blood, soul and divinity of Jesus Christ present in the physical appearances ("under the signs") of bread and wine as true signs of his Presence, then to treat him present in this form as if they are only symbols, not signs of his Person, and as if they are only natural, created bread and wine made from wheat and grapes ("creatures"), presented as "emblems" or symbols of the covenant, and not actually Jesus Christ himself the high priest who is God and man truly and really present but veiled in this form, is to commit blasphemy and sacrilege against his Person, to crucify the Son of God afresh, and to treat as an unholy, ordinary thing the real blood of the covenant that bought and sanctifies God's people, the blood of God (Hebrews 10:28-31; 1 Corinthians 11:29; Acts 20:28; John 6:36).
- Note to the reader:
Conservapedia cannot tell readers what to believe. It can only present in encyclopedic form all the relevant reliable information, free of liberal and atheistic bias. After considering all the evidence, and carefully verifying it from other sources, the question that each reader must answer is: What does the Bible say? How do you read its meaning? What makes sense to you? This was the approach of Jesus himself (Luke 10:26; John 10:25-26, 38; John 8:46-47).
See Christian apologetics, Hermeneutics and Exegesis
See also C. S. Lewis's Mere Christianity, Josh McDowell's Evidence That Demands a Verdict, and the works of Peter Kreeft..
"let us go to him outside the camp"
- Hebrews 13:13
- This is a reference to the nation of the Jews as a whole, the people of Israel who rejected Jesus as Lord, and to unrepentant 1st century Judaism in general. The "camp" is the assembly of Israel under Moses encamped at Mount Sinai (compare Paul's analogy in Galatians 4:21–5:12).
- Jewish biblical exegetes and theologians then and now see the people of Israel as a pilgrim people encamped together and worshipping God in hope of deliverance from persecution and oppression on a journey through the wilderness of the world to the freedom of the Promised Land in the kingdom of the Son of David, the true Meshiach to come.
- To depart from their encampment is a metaphor for the counsel here given to Hebrew Christians to depart from a Judaism which does not acknowledge that Jesus is God's Meshiach, and go "beyond the pale", outside of Judaism, outside of Jerusalem, bearing his reproach and rejection from the Jews, to join with him in the assembly of his body, the church, "outside the camp".
"For though they were indeed true believers in Jesus and disciples before Paul came to them, they had not believed there is a Holy Spirit and, like Apollos before them, had known nothing of baptism into Christ Jesus."
- Amplification of Acts 19:1-7.
- Many Christians today are like Apollos, eloquent, versed in the scriptures, instructed in the Way of the Lord, fervent in spirit, speaking and teaching accurately the things concerning Jesus, believing in Jesus with all heart, soul, mind and strength, but, being ignorant of the fullness of truth and doctrine, need to have the Way of God expounded or explained more accurately (Acts 18:24-26). Like these disciples who knew only the baptism of John into repentance, many Christians today do not know the fullness of Christianity and the history of the unfoldment of Christian doctrine and are quite ignorant of Christ. Their simplicity of belief without knowledge deprives them of the deep fullness of spiritual understanding and practice, and of the richest possible blessings bestowed in Christ by the Holy Spirit from God the Father through a fuller knowledge of the truth. "You are quite ignorant of Christ. I say this to your shame." (see 1 Corinthians 15:34). Paul wrote to communities of true Christian believers who were nevertheless ignorant of the fullness of truth, correcting errors in belief, refuting false doctrines, and explaining more fully the Gospel of Christ, revealing depths of truth they had not previously received or known or understood "because you were not yet ready". See Hebrews 5:11 through 6:3; and 2 Peter 1:3-11 and 3:15-18; and 1 Corinthians 3:1-2. "If anyone imagines that he knows something, he does not yet know as he ought to know. But if one loves God, one is known by him." (1 Corinthians 8:2). It is possible to fully believe in Jesus Christ the only-begotten Son of God and the only Savior of man, and still be ignorant of the fullness of the truth of the Gospel and of Christian doctrine.
- The history of heresies is a history of the distortions of Christianity and of the Gospel with false or incomplete doctrines, and a history of the clarification of the truth of God's revelation to man in its fullness. However, those who are ignorant, and through no fault of their own do not know these things, who truly love God with all their heart, he will not abandon, for he is not willing that any should perish. God knows your heart. "Ask, and you shall receive. Seek, and you shall find. Knock, and it shall be opened to you. For every one who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened." Matthew 7:7-8.
This is why many devout believers transfer their Christian membership from one denomination to another.
"the school of Tyrannus"
- Acts 19:9
- See the following resources:
"There were seven sons of one Sceva, a Jewish chief priest..."
- Acts 19:14
- KJV "a Jew, and chief of the priests"
NRSV "a Jewish high priest"
NAB "a Jewish high priest"
- See multiple versions of Acts 19:14.
- This Sceva at this time was or had been one of the heads of the twenty-four classes of priests (1 Chronicles 24:1-19; Revelation 4:4; Luke 1:5). Sceva held the honorary title of "a high priest" or "a chief priest".
- The grammatical structure and context of the passage and knowledge of the customary honorific titles bestowed on Jewish priests of high office and rank within the active or inactive (retired) members of the Sanhedrin easily explains how this Sceva could be called a Jewish high priest when he apparently had never been president of the Supreme Court of Judaism, the Great Sanhedrin in Jerusalem (see Josephus, Antiquities 20.8.5  note d Whiston translation).
- Many independent and individual Bible students and scholars lacking sufficient knowledge (ignorance) of the literal sense of scripture (2 Peter 3:15-17) are either puzzled at the designating of Sceva as a high priest or they tend to conclude that Luke here is guilty of an error in calling Sceva "a Jewish high priest" Ίουδαίου Άρχιερίωυ, or they suppose that he knew of another (otherwise undocumented) name for the one who was the high priest in Jerusalem and the father of the seven sons mentioned here, because they believe that there could be only one official high priest of the Jews at a time, one man who alone held the dignity of that title, the president of the Sanhedrin and son of Aaron, who alone performed the sacrificial rites of the Day of Atonement within the Holy of Holies, and thus show that they are ignorant of the historical and cultural context of first century Judaism.
(Compare Luke 3:2 "the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas".)
- The original Sanhedrin was instituted in the time of the Maccabees, probably about 200 years before Christ. It was composed of 72 judges: the high priest was the president of this tribunal. The 72 members were made up of the chief priests and elders of the people and the scribes. The chief priests were such as had discharged the office of the high priest, and those who were the heads of the twenty-four classes of priests, who were called in an honorary way high or chief priests, but had never personally served as high priest. Sceva, the father of the seven sons who were itinerant exorcists, was one of these heads of the twenty-four classes of Jewish priests listed in 1 Chronicles 24.
See also Acts 4:6.
"anno domini fifty-four"
- Literally, "the Year of the Lord Fifty-four", A.D. 54, in the first century of the Christian Era (C.E.), which anti-Christian secularist historians call the Common Era (C.E.). (See Revisionism.)
- In what we now call the sixth century the monk Dionysius Exiguus was tasked by the Pope in Rome with revising the numbering of the years of the Julian Calendar. The Roman year 1286 A.U.C. was reckoned as the Year of the Lord (Jesus) 533. This revised dating was formally approved and adopted during the reign of Pope Boniface II (reigned 22 September 530 to 17 October 532), and then officially imposed during the reign of Pope John II (reigned 2 January 533 to 8 May 535) on what was calculated then to be the 500th year after the Resurrection of Jesus, A.D. 533.
- The revision of the calendar in the sixteenth century with the revised calculation of the occurrence of the Leap year is called the Gregorian Calendar, so named from Pope Gregory XIV (reigned 8 December 1590 to 16 October 1591). It is also called the Western Calendar.
- The Orthodox Christian east has continued to use the reckoning of the earlier revised Julian Calendar for the calculation of the seasons of worship, in particular the date for Easter. This is why the Catholic and Orthodox churches usually celebrate Easter at different times, and occasionally at the same time, whenever the cycles of the dates of the two calendars happen to converge. See
- The revisionist designation of C.E. as a rejection of A.D. "in the year of the Lord" was one of the reasons for the founding of Conservapedia by Andrew Schlafly.
"It was about this time, in A.D. 54, that Philip the Apostle, the first Episcopos of Byzantium, was martyred at Heliopolis, in Phrygia. He was scourged, thrown into prison, and afterward crucified."
"eliminated the powerful freedman Tiberius Claudius Narcissus"
- See the following sources:
- Equal to 100 denarii. A denarius, equal to 4 sesterces, was the usual daily wage of a common laborer.
"a Parthian prince named Tiridates had made himself king of Armenia with the support of its people."
- See the following articles:
Sabina Poppaea, later the wife of Nero.
- See Poppaea 2nd wife (armstrongeconomics.com)
"the young wife of the senator Otho"
- The same Otho who later became emperor after Galba. See article Otho.
"the Roman-Parthian War of A.D. 58 to 63 began."
- Amplification from history.
- Most Bible scholars date Paul's imprisonment during the historical period of this war. See the following:
- Compare Revelation 16:12 and Matthew 24:6.
See Book of Revelation: The Sixth Plague: the Irrevocable Parthian Attack and the Roman Response.
"When the high priest Jonathan continually urged him to improve his administration, Felix hired sicarii"
- Jonathan: according to some authorities the son of the high priest Ananias, the same high priest Annas before whom Christ was brought (John 18:13).
- See the following:
"I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, I will bring the discernment of the discerning to nothing."
- 1 Corinthians 1:19
- Paul quotes the Septuagint text, Isaiah 29:14.
"Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God. … Christ Jesus, who was made to us wisdom from God"
- 1 Corinthians 1:24, 30
- The early Church Fathers interpreted primary passages in the scriptures regarding wisdom from God as prophecies referring to the pre-incarnate Christ who became flesh and proclaimed to men on earth the Gospel of salvation in himself. See
Proverbs 1:20-33; 8:1–9:12; Wisdom 6:12–9:18; Sirach 24:1-22.
- See commentaries on 1 Corinthians 1:24; 1:30; and Proverbs 8:1.
- Jesus applied to himself the feminine image of the hen seeking to gather her brood under her wings (Matthew 23:37; Luke 13:34)
"But we impart a secret and hidden mystery, the wisdom of God, which God foreordained before the worlds for our glory, which none of the rulers of this world has known."
- See multiple versions of 1 Corinthians 2:7 and commentaries.
- This is a direct reference to initiation into the life and mystery of the Incarnation of Christ for our redemption and sanctification to eternal life in true worship in communion with God, in contrast to the secret teachings and rituals of the Mystery religions of the pagan world.
- Pagan rulers were frequently initiated into the "mysteries" of the cultic worship of the gods, as a part of the requirement of their office of authority as received from the gods, having secret teachings imparted to them about the origins of the world, the spiritual realms of the heavens, the hierarchies and powers of the gods, secrets of magic and sorcery, the creation of man, life, death, and immortality, which they were told to keep secret and not divulge to uninitiated persons on pain of death and a certainty of doom to unutterable misery in the next world as punishment for their violation of the sacred secrets of the gods.
See Orphic mysteries, Eleusinian mysteries, Gnosticism, Kabbalah, Rosicrucianism, Freemasonry, Theosophical Society, Mysticism, Esoteric, Hinduism, Buddhism, Alchemy, Occultism, Yoga, Cosmic Humanism, New age movement.
- But not even the pagan rulers of this world had been given the secret and hidden mystery of the wisdom of God in Christ Jesus the Lord and taught by his apostles and handed down, delivered to us (the Latin word, tradere "to deliver", is the origin of the word "tradition").
- During the first centuries of the proclamation of the Gospel the more sacred doctrinal mysteries of Christianity, the Trinity, the Incarnation, the Eucharist, were not to be revealed to pagans, and not even to new converts before they were baptized. There was real danger of inadvertently offering uncommitted new converts opportunities for personal sins of committing sacrilege and blasphemy, added to the ever-present twin threat of persecution and execution (martyrdom), which pressured many into committing apostasy by denying Jesus Christ the Son of God, thereby personally crucifying him again, and saving themselves from execution by offering sacrifice to the gods and betraying Christians to the authorities to be killed.
- See (again) the following:
"For who has known the mind of the Lord, that he should instruct him?"
- 1 Corinthians 2:16
- Paul quotes the Septuagint text, Isaiah 40:13.
- An allusion also to Wisdom 9:13.
"I fed you with milk, not with meat; for you were not yet ready."
- 1 Corinthians 3:2.
- "...leaving the teaching of the first principles of Christ..." Hebrews 6:1
- This "leaving" is not an abandoning of Christian teaching but an advancing forward from "the teaching of the first principles of Christ" as from the point of beginnings of basic Christian doctrines and practice to the point of more advanced understanding of the depth of God's revelation in Jesus Christ.
- These two verses 1 Corinthians 3:2 and Hebrews 6:1 refer to the Christian Disciplina Arcani, Latin for the "Discipline of the Secret". See the note immediately above: "we impart a secret and hidden mystery"— Greek μυστήριον mysterion "mystery".
See also the following texts of scripture:
1 Corinthians 2:7; 4:1; 13:2; 14:2; 15:51
Ephesians 1:9; 3:3, 4, 9; 5:32; 6:19;
Colossians 1:26, 27; 2:2; 4:3;
1 Timothy 3:9, 16;
"If anyone destroys God’s Temple, God will destroy him; for God’s Temple is holy, which You are."
- 1 Corinthians 3:17
- Paul is warning the Corinthians, and us, about those who divide the Assembly, the Church, who cause schisms, doctrinal splits and generate heresy, controversies which destroy Christian unity, who "draw away disciples after them" Acts 20:30. We call them founders of differing denominations. This historical fact is perhaps the greatest scandal of Christianity. Peter also sees the collective Christian community, the body of Christ, as the living Temple of God, 1 Peter 2:5 (cf. 4-10),
- "Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house".
- Thus, whoever tries to destroy the Church by division and schism God will destroy. Paul is warning his Corinthian believers against such people, and warning also those who are causing divisions that God will punish such rebellion. Clement of Rome also wrote an admonition regarding the divisive rebellion against pastoral authority in the Church at Corinth near the end of the first century (1 Clement).
- Compare Numbers chapter 16; 2 Peter 2:1-3; 1 John 2:18-19; and Jude verses 11 and 19 (vv.8-19).
- It is important to note that only those from the first century to the present day who instigate such destructive divisions are guilty and in danger of destruction. Descendants of those who followed them in trusting ignorance, unaware of their errors, are not those who caused divisions intended to destroy God's Temple, and they cannot be held guilty of destroying God's Temple. Efforts to reunite Christian believers through apologetics and interdenominational dialogue (debate) have been frustrated by those controversial doctrinal issues raised by those original, divisive persons who sowed dissension and division by their own particular partisanship and teachings. Ecumenical efforts are opposed by devout, Bible-believing Evangelicals and Fundamentalists as only misguided attempts to dilute the purity of Christian doctrine by compromise inspired by the Devil (1 Timothy 4:1; 2 Peter 2:1; Acts 20:30).
- See Ecumenical Movement and Great Apostasy.
"deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus."
- 1 Corinthians 5:5.
- Read by many as referring to excommunication.
- See multiple commentaries on 1 Corinthians 5:5.
Compare the following texts:
"Put away the wicked man from among yourselves."
- 1 Corinthians 5:13
- Paul quotes the Septuagint text, Deuteronomy 17:7.
"'All things are lawful for me', but not all things are expedient. 'All things are lawful for me', but I will not be brought under the power of anything. 'Foods for the belly, and the belly for foods', but God will bring to nothing both it and them. But the body is not for sexual immorality, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body"
- 1 Corinthians 6:12-13
- An allusion to the Septuagint text,
Sirach 36:18 and Sirach 23:6.
"how do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife?"
- 1 Corinthians 7:16
- The Greek word here is σώσεις soseis—the KJV word "save" keyed to Strong's number 4982 σώζω sozo, to save, i.e. deliver or protect (literal or figurative)—heal, preserve, save (self), do well, be (make) whole. It is directly related to σωτήρ soter "Savior" (Σωτήρ Soter)—Strong's number 4990.
- According to the Bible, God is the Savior of Israel, beside whom there is no savior, and Jesus the Son of God is the Savior (Σωτήρ) of the world and of all men and the one mediator between God and men (Psalm 106:21; Isaiah 43:3, 11; 45:15, 21; 49:26; 60:16; 63:8; Jeremiah 14:7-8; Hosea 1:7; 13:4; Zephaniah 3:17, 19; Zechariah 8:7, 13; 9:16; 10:6; 12:7; Matthew 1:21; 18:11; Luke 1:47; 2:11; John 4:42; 12:47; Acts 2:21, 47; 4:12; 5:31; 13:23; Romans 5:9-10; 10:13; Galatians 3:19-20; Ephesians 5:23; Philippians 3:20; 1 Timothy 1:1; 2:3, 5; 4:10; 2 Timothy 1:10, 15; Titus 1:3, 4; 2:10, 13; 3:4, 6; Hebrews 8:6; 9:15; 12:24; James 4:12; 2 Peter 1:1, 11; 2:20; 3:2, 18; 1 John 4:14; Jude 25.
- According to the plain, clear and simple reading of these verses there is no other Savior and no one else can save—Jesus is God our Savior.
- The Bible also clearly and plainly says that God has appointed many saviors who can actually save others, who have been sent as Jesus was sent, and that we are also told to save ourselves and to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling (Nehemiah 9:27; Obadiah 21; Mark 8:35; Luke 7:50; 9:24; 18:42; John 20:21-23 and 1 John 4:14; Acts 2:40; Romans 11:14; 1 Corinthians 1:21; 7:16; 9:22; 1 Timothy 4:16; Hebrews 11:7; James 5:15, 20; 1 Peter 3:21; 1 John 5:14-16; Jude 23.
See multiple commentaries on James 5:20.
- According to the plain, clear and simple reading of these verses there are many saviors who can save souls. Since all scripture is inspired by God (2 Timothy 3:16) and God cannot contradict himself (2 Timothy 2:13) and scripture cannot be broken (John 10:35) the Bible supports the doctrine that the saints can save souls from sin by their prayers and ministry (see also Genesis 20:17-18; Deuteronomy 33:2-3; Job 42:7-9; 2 Maccabees 15:14-16; Romans 8:26-27; 1 Corinthians 6:1-2; Philippians 2:13; 4:21-22; Revelation 8:3-4).
- The Catholic and Orthodox doctrine of the Intercession of the saints is condemned by Evangelical and Fundamentalist Christian doctrine as an apostate doctrine rooted in a fatal syncretistic compromise with paganism through the doctrines of demons (1 Timothy 4:1) by adopting the polytheist belief of many gods and goddesses, Mary and the saints—on the ground that there is only one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, and to say that they can save us is blasphemy against Christ and is plainly idolatry.
- Catholic and Orthodox apologists claim that this is a misrepresentation, that it is God the Holy Spirit Himself the Lord and giver of life who works in the saints and through their ministry by which souls are saved by Him through the authority He has given to Mary and the saints to act in the name of Jesus Christ the Lord in them as one body of Christ to the glory of God the Father. See Fallacy of analogy.
- Compare Intercession.
"For though there are things that are called “gods”, whether in the heavens or on earth; as there are many “gods” and many “lords”; yet to us there is one God, the Father, from whom all things are, and for whom we exist; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things are, and through him we exist."
- 1 Corinthians 8:5-6
- An allusion to the Septuagint text, Wisdom 13:1-5.
"Therefore if food causes my brother to stumble, I will eat no meat forever more, that I do not cause my brother to stumble."
- 1 Corinthians 8:13
- This is the same principle that Peter followed, when he visited the church at Antioch and withdrew from eating with the Gentiles while the circumcision party were present, and even Barnabas had followed his lead (Acts 15 and Galatians 2:11-21). Paul had withstood him to his face and accused him of hypocrisy on that occasion, as he testifies in his Letter to the Galatians, but later, in his remaining letters, such as this one, Paul has clearly repented of his judgment on Peter and relented; for he recommends and even urges believers to follow the same policy of tolerant sensitivity that he had seen Peter display at Antioch, a policy which he had called hypocrisy or insincerity but now calls mercy, for the sake of not encouraging weak Christians invited to a pagan banquet in the company of strong Christians to violate their consciences by following the stronger one's free example and thinking that by eating what God has created they are actually participating in the worship of an idol and breaking the first commandment (Exodus 20:3-6; Matthew 22:36-40). In his Epistle to the Romans (presented here in this Harmony as written after 1 Corinthians) Paul clearly states in Romans 14 and 15:
- "The faith that you have, keep between yourself and God; happy is he who has no reason to judge himself for what he approves. But he who has doubts is condemned, if he eats, because he does not act from faith; for whatever does not proceed from faith is sin. We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves; let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to edify him." Romans 14:22–15:2 RSVCE.
- Peter had already understood this principle of accommodation when Paul first rebuked him for acting accordingly. The issue is not the doctrine of Christ freeing us from the rituals of the Mosaic law, but the proper discipline of order and respect for authority according to Matthew 18:15-17; Romans 13:1-2; Hebrews 13:17; 1 Peter 5:5.
- See commentaries on Romans 14:23.
"our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea"
- 1 Corinthians 10:1
- An allusion to the Septuagint text, Wisdom 19:7.
"let him who thinks he stands be careful that he does not fall."
- 1 Corinthians 10:12.
- This is a doctrine of conditional salvation. Such a warning is in contradiction to the Calvinist doctrine of eternal security, because if eternal salvation cannot be lost, forfeited, or cancelled such a warning would never be given. Those who are not among the number of the chosen elect of God cannot fall away from what they never had. According to the whole of the context of the New Testament eternal salvation is available to "whosoever will" (Revelation 22:17) and such eternal stability can be lost (2 Peter 3:17).
- See Matthew 13:12; Mark 4:25; Luke 8:18 and 19:26.
"the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to demons, and not to God"
- 1 Corinthians 10:20
- An allusion to the Septuagint text, Baruch 4:7
"'All things are lawful for me', but not all things are profitable. 'All things are lawful for me' but not all things build up. Let no one seek his own, but each one his neighbor’s good. ...if anyone says to you, 'This was offered to idols,' do not eat it for the sake of the one who told you, and for the sake of conscience. For 'the earth is the Lord’s, and all its fullness.'"
- 1 Corinthians 10:23-26
- An allusion to the Septuagint text,
Sirach 36:18 and Sirach 37:28-30
"the woman ought to have authority on her head, because of the angels."
- 1 Corinthians 11:10.
- Paul is referring to specifically Greek and Roman cultural and moral instinctive understandings of the appropriate visual marks of what is fundamentally male and what is fundamentally female, which express the more fundamental reality of the natural moral law. (See Deuteronomy 22:5.) As centuries pass and cultures change the fundamental reality of male and female remains constant. In appealing to their a priori natural sense of the profoundly innate differences between masculine and feminine natures, he says, "Does not nature itself teach you?"
This is Paul's appeal to the natural law "written and engraved in the soul of each and every man, because it is human reason ordaining him to do good and forbidding him to sin". (from CCC n. 1954; Pope Leo XIII, Libertas praestantissimum, 597).
- The Roman Catholic Church has defined natural moral law in The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC), numbers 1954-1960.
- A man is not a woman and a woman is not a man.
A male is not female and a female is not male.
Whatever is masculine is not feminine and whatever is feminine is not masculine.
These are understood to be obvious facts a priori which need no evidential proof.
Pagan Corinthian Greek culture despised the distinction, and the designation "Corinthian youth, or man", "Corinthian girl, or woman", was synonymous with sexual perversion. Like any large commercial city, Corinth was a center for open and unbridled immorality. The city's location at the crossroads of international trade meant a constant flow of all kinds of people, ideas, and morals passing through Corinth. The temple of Aphrodite there, Roman Venus, fostered the practice of prostitution in the name of religion. The city's reputation for sexual license was widespread. So widely known did the immorality of Corinth become that the Greek author, Aristophanes (c. 450-385 B.C.) coined the Greek verb, “to Corinthianize”, to mean participation in immoral sexual practices, “to practice sexual immorality.” At one time the Greek geographer and historian Strabo (c. 63 B.C. to c. A.D. 24; flourished c. 7 B.C.) spoke of a thousand sacred temple prostitutes (priestesses) serving in the temple of Aphrodite in Corinth during its peak of prosperity. Archaeological evidence also suggests thriving homosexual practices. Adonis the lover of Aphrodite was said to have cut off his male genitalia in full devotion to identify more fully with her, and many of his devotees did the same, and dressed in women's clothing. A male prostitute was called a "dog" (Hebrew כלב keleb "dog" (KJV "the price of a dog", the hire or fee paid to a male prostitute) Deuteronomy 23:18—Greek μαλακός malakos KJV "effeminate" (RSVCE "fornicators") and άρσενοκοίτες arsenokoites KJV "abusers of themselves with mankind" (RSVCE "homosexuals") 1 Corinthians 6:9. Compare Cross dressing, Gender-neutral and Sex change theory. See the following resources:
- Compare multiple commentaries on 1 Corinthians 5:1 and multiple commentaries on 1 Corinthians 6:9.
- See commentaries on
"the woman ought to have authority on her head, because of the angels" 1 Corinthians 11:10;
also Romans 1:26 and 1:27.
- Among the Corinthians, refusal to wear a woman's veil, and the choosing of a woman to wear her hair cut short like a man, deprived women of the power of God and the blessing of God on them. Angels, obediently submissive to the holiness of truth in God, have the power and authority of truthfulness in them, and they also have authority to punish rebellion against God and nature. (Compare Paul in 2 Corinthians 10:6; 1 Corinthians 10:8-12; Luke 1:19-20; Acts 12:23; Hebrews 12:22-23.) See 100 Bible verses about Angels (openbible.info). Women who dare to reject outward signs of clear gender identity should be afraid of such marks of rebellion, because of the holy angels of God, and accept the crowning glory of adopting the appropriate visible outward signs of their true bodily nature in God.
- See the numerous Conservapedia articles dealing with homosexuality.
This disordered sexual orientation, whether circumstantial or voluntary, is a profound violation and rejection of the fundamental natures of man and woman, as both pathological and rebellious toward God. Just as there are physical deformities, there are psychological and spiritual deformities that are defilements of nature, both those that are pathological and those that are self-inflicted, requiring careful and prudent discernment. See Matthew 7:20-23.
"Now there are various kinds of charisms"
- 1 Corinthians 12:4
- RSV "Now there are varieties of gifts"
KJV "Now there are diversities of gifts"
The Greek word here is charismaton χαρισμάτων, from charisma, the origin of the words "charism" and "charismatic", gift and gifted.
"different kinds of languages ... the interpretation of languages"
- 1 Corinthians 12:10, 30; 14:27-28.
- Glossolalia. According to Paul, evidence of unbelief, and a sign to unbelievers within the community that their belief or understanding of Christian doctrine is incomplete, defective or in error.
- See marginal notes, Chapter Thirty-seven—scroll down to "the Holy Spirit fell on all those who heard the word...They of the circumcision who believed were amazed." Acts 10:44-45..
"when that which is complete has come, then that which is partial will be done away with."
- 1 Corinthians 13:10.
- Love is that which is complete ("perfect" KJV).
"There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and he who fears is not perfected in love." 1 John 4:18.
- In the context of this whole chapter, that which is "perfect" or "complete" is perfect love, which is God indwelling his people (compare Revelation 21:3).
- "God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him." (1 John 4:16 RSV)
Compare John 14:23; Matthew 5:48.)
- 1 Corinthians 13 begins with,
- "Love never ends" (RSV)—"Charity faileth not" (KJV).
- All else passes away. "So faith, hope, love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love." And "when that which is complete has come, then that which is partial will be done away with." (1 Corinthians 13:13 RSV).
2 Peter 1:19 "until the morning star rises in your hearts" RSV—"day star" KJV
Revelation 2:28 "I will give him the morning star"
Revelation 22:16 "I am the root and offspring of David, the bright morning star"
Malachi 4:2 KJV / Malachi 3:20 DR "for you the Sun of righteousness will rise with healing in his wings" KJV, DR, RSV—"healing in its rays" Catholic NAB.
- Christian Protestants and Fundamentalists are taught instead that the Bible itself is that which is perfect and has come. They believe the Bible is "that which is perfect" because it perfects the Christian's faith, and revealed by God as the definitive rule of the collective Christian body of the church, so that when it was finally and definitively completed by the apostles in the first century "with all 66 books" and therefore "the perfect word of God", then all other gifts of the Spirit other than the Inspired Word of God, the Holy Bible, such as apostles, prophets, miracles, healings, tongues, interpretations of tongues (1 Corinthians 12:27-30), were done away (but not the gifts of the Spirit such as teachers, helpers, administrators), so that eternal salvation in Christ is now by sola fide (Romans 1:17) nurtured and informed by sola scriptura (2 Timothy 3:16-17) and led by sola spiritu (Romans 8:14)—by faith alone, with the Bible alone, in the Spirit alone—the Bible-believing Christian, as led by the Holy Spirit of God, and trusting in Christ alone for salvation now and on the Day of Judgment. However, the Protestant canon of 66 books of the Bible of the Protestant Reformers was not defined as completed "with all 66 books" before the 16th century, and Martin Luther himself held that only 62 of them were inspired, because he dismissed as uninspired four of the books—Hebrews, James, Jude, and Revelation—relegating them to an appendix in his German Bible. See Biblical Canon and Apocrypha.
Compare the following articles:
- See multiple commentaries on 1 Corinthians 13:10
and 1 Peter 1:19 The prophetic doctrine of the apostolic church;
also 1 Timothy 3:15 and Revelation 21:3.
See also Biblical Canon and Bible.
- In contrast to the Christian perfection of agape, perfect love, the various forms of Mystery religion, from Zen Buddhism and Gnosticism in the first century to New Age Esotericism in the twentieth century and even now, promise their initiates an experiential (not intellectual) form of "illumination" of the whole mind and heart and spirit and body with a bright light like the sun, or brighter and more brilliant than the sun, which is a false light (2 Corinthians 11:14; Colossians 1:13), which rejects all the doctrines and tradition of Christianity, and actually has an intoxicating, exhilarating and addictive spiritual effect on the person. It appeals to and generates intellectual arrogance and elitism. Theistic forms often use biblical terms to promote their claims of offering "God Realization"—"Christ in you, the hope of glory"—"God indwelling the man"—"But we have the real light of Christ"—"You are God". See Cosmic Christ.
- The Apostle Paul says of Christianity, against these conceits, "But we have the mind of Christ." (1 Corinthians 2:16) Read the following relevant passages from the Bible:
1 Corinthians 1:20–2:16
Colossians 1:9-23; 2:2-19
1 Timothy 3:14-16.
- Compare 2 Peter 1:16–2:3 and 2 Timothy 3:12-17.
"I pray in another language, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful.
- 1 Corinthians 14:14
- "unfruitful"—Compare John 15:1-8
- See multiple commentaries on 1 Corinthians 14:14
"Therefore other languages are for a sign, not to those who believe, but to the unbelieving.... If therefore the whole Assembly is assembled together and all speak with other languages, and unlearned or unbelieving people come in, will they not say that you are crazy? "
- 1 Corinthians 14:22-23
- Many Christians reading this text are puzzled by what they see as a contradiction. If tongues are supposed to be a sign for unbelieving non-Christians as evidence of the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to bring them to belief, then why does Paul warn that everyone speaking all at once in tongues will instead make them think the whole group of Christian believers is crazy? No unbeliever would be convicted of sin and brought to believe in Christ by the phenomenon of speaking in tongues if he or she thinks it is a sign of insanity.
- Paul is not referring to non-Christians. He is addressing the problem of Christians who do not (yet) believe all that God has revealed to man. According to the context here and throughout the New Testament, the phenomenon of tongues is a sign of the presence of believers in God and His Son who still do not know the fullness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, who have not yet embraced the full doctrine of Christianity. This is a shock to many Christians who have embraced the Charismatic movement and have been taught that it is a sign of true belief, and of the presence of the Holy Spirit. According to Paul it is indeed a sign of the presence of the Holy Spirit, but a sign convicting the assembly of the presence of Christians who have not believed the fullness of the truth.
- Consider the following passages of scripture:
- Acts 2. The believing Jews who were unbelievers in Christ, who did not know, came to believe and were converted by the sign of tongues.
- Acts 9. The believing Christians of the circumcision party who were unbelievers in the salvation of the uncircumcised Gentiles, who did not know, came to believe and were converted by the sign of tongues.
- Acts 19. The believing disciples who were unbelievers in the Holy Spirit, who did not know, came to believe and were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus, and spoke in tongues as a sign.
- According to Paul, the presence of tongues is a sign of the presence of unbelievers within the believing community, who do not have the fullness of belief. For their sake, and the sake of outsiders also who are present, he urges those who speak in tongues to do so individually, one by one, not all together at once, and only two or three at most, but even then only if there is an interpreter, so that, as with the purpose of prophesy, what is uttered may be interpreted and understood, and convict both unbelievers and outsiders, disclosing the secrets of their hearts, "and so, falling on his face, he will worship God and declare that God is really among you." Thus, where glossolalia is manifested, unbelievers are present, who, even while they are active members of the believing community, yet because of their ignorance of Christian doctrine, need to come to a fuller knowledge of the truth. Thus, tongues are a sign not for believers but for unbelievers.
"Why is it, brothers, that when you come together, each one of you has a psalm, has a Teaching, has a revelation, has another language, has an interpretation?"
- 1 Corinthians 14:26
- See multiple versions of 1 Corinthians 14:26.
- Compare interlinear text of 1 Corinthians 14:26
- See multiple commentaries on 1 Corinthians 14:26
- Some read this text as a recommendation that every one of the congregation gathered for worship have ready his or her gift of the Spirit to share with the assembly. Some read it as suggesting that every individual member has all of the gifts of the Spirit mentioned here by Paul; others instead read it as suggesting as absurd that everyone has all the gifts of the Spirit; others reading it as suggesting that each member has at least one gift and that all of them are operative in the assembly as a whole.
- In the context of commanding order in the assembly and the avoidance of a confused simultaneous expression of the gifts of the Spirit by self-promoting individuals in competition for attention, the reading provided here in this Harmony of the Gospel (Conservative Version) shows Paul reproving the Corinthians for failing to keep in mind the benefit of the whole of the assembly, the whole of the Church, and the necessity of order, and the evidence of prideful disobedience to the Spirit by disorder, since "God is not the author of confusion".
- The initial phrase of 1 Corinthians 14:26 has been variously rendered in English, as seen in comparative readings of the versions. Given the context (on the general interpretive guiding principle of reading at least 3 verses before and 3 verses after the verse) Paul is demanding to know, as a good father, how it is that everyone of them thinks their gift is so important that it must be expressed during the worship service, and, in some instances, as with prophetic utterances and ecstatic glossolalia, how it is that they attempt to speak at the same time.
- The interrogative Greek pronoun τί ti, from τίς tis can be variously rendered: "how?", "what?", "why?", as already seen from the lexical standpoint presented in the interlinear text and in the Greek dictionary of Strong's Concordance number 5101 keyed to this verse. Given the context, Paul's question can be dynamically rendered as, "How is it, brothers, that when you come together, every single one of you...?" Having asked the question, he immediately says, "Let everything be done [instead] for edification"—that is, for building up the church, instead of producing individualistic confusion.
- The whole context of chapters 12 through 14 is the working together of each for the benefit of the whole, in coordinated cooperation and mutual respect of deferring to one another, and that each of them who feels unimportant and unable to contribute something outstanding is nevertheless indeed part of the body of Christ even if they fear they will not be so regarded if they have nothing to express aloud in the assembly during the worship service (12:15-16; see the whole context 12:4-27). Therefore Paul establishes limitations on the public expression of the gifts of the Spirit in the assembly:
- "Let all things be done to build each other up. If any man speaks in another language, let it be two, or at the most three, and in turn; and let one interpret. But if there is no interpreter, let him keep silent in the assembly, and let him speak to himself, and to God. Let the prophets speak, two or three, and let the others discern. But if a revelation is made to another sitting by, let the first keep silent. For you all can prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be exhorted. The spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets, for God is not a God of confusion, but of peace."
"If the dead are not raised, why are they baptized for the dead?"
- 1 Corinthians 15:29.
- An allusion to the Septuagint text, 2 Maccabees 12:43-45
- This is the only text in the entire Bible which speaks of being baptized for the dead, as an evidence (not the only evidence) of belief in the bodily resurrection of the dead. Paul says "they" without specifying who "they" are, and Paul never says, either here or elsewhere, "why are we baptized for the dead?".
- Throughout the early centuries of the Church up to and past the Reformation into the 18th century there is no documented evidence in any writings by Christian theologians or church leaders Orthodox, Catholic, Protestant which indicate in any way that Christians were ever baptized on behalf of the dead, even among the heretical sects of the 1st and 2nd centuries, and there is no mention of the practice as a doctrine of Christianity, primary, secondary or incidental, from the 2nd century through the Middle Ages into the 21st century. This silence in history appears to militate strongly against the claim of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) that the practice of baptism for the dead has been "restored".
- See the following sources for an overview of the interpretive controversy:
"Death, where is your sting? Hades, where is your victory?"
- 1 Corinthians 15:55
- Paul quotes the Septuagint text, Hosea 13:14
"During the reign of Claudius, at the time of the famine, as a warning from heaven, the "river Euphrates was dried up to prepare the way for the kings of the east".
- Compare Revelation 16:12 and commentaries.
- There were several famines during the reign of Claudius.
See Euphrates River (bible-history.com)
"The Roman soldiers first crossed the Euphrates under Lucullus, when the passage, in consequence of an accidental drought, was rendered much easier. (Plutarch, Lucullus 24)"
- See also:
- Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History, Book II, Chapter 8 —The Famine which took Place in the Reign of Claudius
- Suetonius, The Twelve Caesars, Claudius 18
- Josephus, Antiquities 20.2.5–20.3.4
"The faith of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ having been spread among men by the Apostles and brothers, the enemy of salvation, seeking to capture the imperial city, sent Simon Magus there..."
- Historical account of Simon Magus and his gnostic doctrines, from Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History, Book II, Chapters 13 and 14.
- This historical text has been inserted here according to its chronological position during the reign of Claudius Caesar.
"the so-called 'deep things of Satan' "
- Compare Revelation 2:24 and Genesis 3:5.
See also Romans 16:19 and Matthew 10:16.
"According to tradition he fell headlong into the Tiber and drowned."
- An amplification of Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History II, 15.
- See multiple commentaries on Acts 8:9 and 8:18.
See also the following articles:
- The collating and redaction of early historical and first century scriptural sources in chronological order demonstrates more clearly how many of the writings of the New Testament are responding to the seductively powerful pagan doctrines in the form of mystery religions—New Testament writings which even now pertain directly to modern forms of Gnosticism, Syncretism, Kabbalah, the teachings of the Jewish heretic Baruch Spinoza and Joseph Smith, Libertinism, the Theosophical Society, Rosicrucianism, New Age teachings, and misleading false doctrines about the Cosmic Christ. There is nothing "new" about the New Age.
- Catholics and Orthodox have vigorously responded to the fervent Evangelical and Fundamentalist warning that for 1600 years they have been teaching pagan religion in the name of a false Christ (The Great Apostasy) - Galatians 1:6-9; 2 Corinthians 11:4.
- See the following:
- See Orthodox Mysteries.
- Christian Fundamentalism has also been charged with being Gnosticism in disguise:
"In A.D. 54 Claudius was assassinated by his fourth wife Agrippina, who poisoned him and took charge of the empire for her son Nero.
- The accepted range of the textual critical dating of the Epistle to the Romans roughly corresponds to the date when Claudius was assassinated and Nero became emperor.
For the historical context see the following informative sources:
"Paul had preached the Good News of Christ from Jerusalem and as far round as Illyricum"
- See the following links to maps of Paul's journeys:
"I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual charism, to the end that you may be confirmed"
- Romans 1:11
- Greek στηριχθῆναι sterichthenai in many places in the New Testament is read and translated as "confirm" in several versions of the Bible, which the Orthodox and Catholics interpret as the sacrament of Confirmation for strengthening in the faith and imparting of charismatic gifts for the building up of the church, and therefore as the source of "some spiritual charism / some spiritual gift" Paul longed to bestow on them. This is perfectly consonant with his statement that by doing so "I with you may be encouraged in you, each of us by the other’s faith, both yours and mine." Evangelicals prefer the readings "spiritual gift" and "be established", "be encouraged / strengthened", "to the end ye may be established" (KJV), from which many derive the interpretation that Paul, not Peter, first "established" the Church at Rome, and was encouraged by their faith, and they also in turn were strengthened and encouraged and more firmly established in the faith by his faith and preaching when he did arrive. However it is read, Paul wrote this epistle to an already established Christian Assembly of believers in Rome, not having been there before (Romans 1:9-15), for he testifies already, even before he has come to them, "that your faith is proclaimed throughout the whole world." Romans 1:8.
Compare interlinear text of Romans 1:11 and parallel texts.
"For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, ... who exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.
- Romans 1:18-25
- A direct allusion to the Septuagint text, Wisdom 13:1-10
"For the invisible things of him since the creation of the world are clearly seen..."
- Romans 1:20
- A direct allusion to the Septuagint text, Wisdom 13:1
"the likeness of an image of corruptible man, and of birds, and four-footed animals, and creeping things"
- Romans 1:23
- A direct allusion to the Septuagint text,
Wisdom 11:15; Wisdom 12:24-27; Wisdom 13:10; Wisdom 14:8
- There is a profound difference between an idolatrous image being worshipped as if it were alive and inhabited by a god, a spirit-being inhabiting the image to be worshiped as a god different from and opposed to the one true God, a profound difference between that and representations of artistic beauty resembling God's own material creations which praise and honor both him and those who serve him, in worshiping only him.
- God himself commanded images of living things be made, but he also commanded that nothing made by a craftsman or by anyone should be worshipped as a god, gods of silver and gods of gold, gods of wood, gods of clay, and gods of stone. The intention in the heart is what makes the difference between an idolater and a person who directs worship toward God on seeing representations of virtue, and the beauty of holiness. "Man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart." 1 Samuel 16:7; Romans 14:10-12. The high priest Eli accused Hannah of drunkenness when he saw her lips move in devout prayer, but he was wrong. 1 Samuel 1:12-17. See Fallacy of analogy
- Exodus 20:3-6, 23; 36:1, 8, 35; 37:6-9, 17-21; 39:22-26;
- Numbers 21:8-9 and 2 Kings 18:3-5 the bronze serpent was a blessing, a miraculous image commanded by God, but the people later turned it into an idol and burned incense to it.
- 1 Chronicles 28:11, 18-19;
- 1 Kings 6:18, 23-35; 7:17-20, 23-29, 36, 42-44;
- Ezekiel 41:17-20 "carved likenesses of cherubim and palm trees, a palm tree between cherub and cherub. Every cherub had two faces: the face of a man toward the palm tree on the one side, and the face of a young lion toward the palm tree on the other side" (and these were inside the temple!); Ezekiel 17:25-26;
- Hebrews 8:5; 9:2-5.
- Cherubim are terrifying creatures with wings that fly; so are lions with claws and fangs, and oxen with sharp hooves and horns, men with weapons, and screaming eagles with talons and beaks:
- Genesis 3:24;
- Psalm 18:10-15;
- Ezekiel 9:3; 10:1-9, 15-20; 28:14, 16; 11:22; 41:18;
- Habakkuk 3:3-5;
- Revelation 22:8-9
- Men, oxen, trees, gourds, flowers are all living things that, along with angels, and cherubim have been worshiped as gods (Babyon, Persia, Egypt), and as the emblems and signs of the presence of the pagan gods, such as the vegetation and harvest gods Flora and Ceres (the origin of "cereal"). Yet God commanded images of his beautiful creatures of nature to be made as adornments of his temple for beauty in worshiping him.
- If God abhors all representations of plants, animals, men, and angelic beings, he would never have commanded these things be made for the tabernacle and for his temple. Jesus himself did not condemn the representations of these things in the Jerusalem temple rebuilt by Herod.
(cf. Philo On the Embassy to Gaius XXX-XXXII; Josephus, Antiquities and Wars; and frescoes and mosaics of people, animals and plants, discovered in 1st century Jewish synagogues).
- Pictures of Jesus in Sunday School, in illustrated Bibles, and in churches and homes of Christians are not idols worshipped as being in fact God Himself. Yet many persons insist that they are, and condemn both them, and those who have them as helps to stimulate devotion and Christian dedication and as reminders and sources of spiritual inspiration, condemning them as being pagan forms of false worship prompted by the Devil from the pit of hell to ensnare souls in the sin of idolatry.
- See Iconoclasm.
"Therefore God also gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to uncleanness ... and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error."
- Romans 1:24-27
- An allusion to the Septuagint text, Wisdom 14:12, 24-27.
"For there is no partiality with God."
- Romans 2:11
- An allusion to the Septuagint text, Sirach 35:12.
- This is a doctrine of Unlimited atonement in contradiction to the Calvinist doctrine of Limited atonement, in which God shows partiality to only some individuals among mankind by selectively choosing them alone as his elect for the unmerited gift of salvation and withholding it from all others.
- Compare 2 Peter 3:9—The Lord is "not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance."
"the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you"
- Romans 2:24
- Paul quotes the Septuagint text, Isaiah 52:5.
"That you might be justified in your words, and might prevail when you come into judgment"
- Romans 3:4
- Paul quotes the Septuagint text, Psalm 51:4.
"They have all turned aside. They have together become unprofitable. There is no one who does good, no, not so much as one."
- Romans 3:12
- Paul quotes the Septuagint text, Psalm 14:1, 3.
"Their throat is an open tomb. With their tongues they have used deceit.' 'The poison of vipers is under their lips"
- Romans 3:13
- Paul quotes the Septuagint text, Psalm 140:3.
"whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness."
- Romans 3:14
- Paul quotes the Septuagint text, Psalm 10:7.
"whom God sent to be an expiating sacrifice"
- Romans 3:25
- Compare the interlinear text of Romans 3:25 and multiple commentaries on Romans 3:25.
- The meaning of "expiate" varies according to the differing doctrinal theologies of various denominations.
- Some define it as a legal act granting total amnesty to the guilty party without demanding any punishment or restitution on the part of the guilty party to repair the harm or damage that was done; all of that is now henceforth all in the past and is no longer regarded as having any relevance for the present and the future. The guilty party is released unchanged, and is free to go;
- just as a criminal carrier of a visibly deadly disease but not dying is declared innocent henceforth, with all criminal records officially erased, and released unchanged without being cured of the disease and still visibly infected and dangerous, and henceforth has full and total immunity from prosecution for any harm that he or she now freely chooses to continue doing as before or chooses to invent anew: the authority has permanently declared them totally innocent, now and forever.
- Some define it as a covering over of corruption and guilt which remains intact in all of its evil character but is no longer mentioned or referred to;
- just as a carrier of disease, deliberately self-infected, with a monstrously disfigured face, and a foul-smelling, oozing sore, which cannot be repaired by medicine or surgery, is beautifully clothed and covered so that any observers will not be distressed by the sight (but the disease, the deformity and the smell remains), and the corruption is totally covered up and never mentioned.
- Some define it as not only the entire removal of all the corruption and evil in the character of the guilty party so that no defiling evil remains, but all of the damage and harm done to the innocent by the guilty party is completely repaired by another in such a way that no damage or ruin and pain remains, and the guilty party need do nothing in any way to make even the least token of reparation or apology for the fault or outrage committed;
- just as a terminally diseased and deformed person who in a deliberate rage destroyed and burned and mutilated the property and persons of others is not only completely cured of disease and deformity, but everything and everyone damaged and harmed by that person is totally restored by another without any participation or effort or apology on the part of the responsible party; and no health requirements are imposed or ever will be imposed.
- And some define it as a complete remission of the eternal guilt of sin and the full remission of the consequential eternal ruin culminating in death, with some non-permanent, long-term residual aftereffects remaining as the resultant temporal punishment, along with the remains of the damage inflicted on others, which eventually can be corrected with persistent personal effort and cooperation;
- just as a healing and forgiveness of the above terminally diseased and guilty party is declared and successfully performed by the presiding judge and physician free of charge, without the death penalty, but includes requiring at least some token act of repairing some of the actual damage done as a personal acknowledgement of the harm that was inflicted, with genuine sorrow, by personally making apology, restitution and repairs as far as possible, according to any remaining, very limited, ability to do so, as a reasonably merciful punishment, and submitting to probationary supervision, as a means of securing reformation of character, and obeying a non-payable, court-appointed, medically-prescribed recovery regimen of healthy maintenance of diet, exercise and counselling to prevent the recurrence of disease.
- See the following:
- Expiation - Encyclopedia of the Bible (biblegateway.com)
- Ransom - Encyclopedia of the Bible (biblegateway.com)
- Expiate (biblehub.com)
- Expiation (in the Bible) (encyclopedia.com)
- Definite Atonement - Theopedia (theopedia.com) Calvinism: "The elect are the only people whose sins are actually atoned for...He did not actually atone for all, because not all are saved."
- Limited vs. Unlimited Atonement Dan R. Smedra (withchrist.org) Calvinism: "He was not a propitiation for the sins of the whole world, but He is the propitiation for the whole world."
- The Extent of the Atonement: Limited Atonement Versus Unlimited Atonement by Ron Rhodes (earthlink.net) "'4-Point Calvinism'" includes "the doctrine that Christ's redemptive death was for all persons."
- Unlimited Atonement (religion.wikia.com) Arminianism: "The purpose of the atonement was universal - Jesus died on behalf of all people, not just the elect."
- Unlimited Atonement: Scripture Teaches Unlimited Atonement (biblestudymanuals.net) "...take these key terms to signify what they normatively mean within the context of each passage; i.e., it is a universal population of all mankind for whom Christ died, all races throughout history, elect and non-elect alike in the absence of any restrictive terms within the context."
- Doctrine of the Atonement - Catholic Encyclopedia (newadvent.org) "The Catholic doctrine on this subject is set forth in the sixth Session of the Council of Trent, chapter ii. ... 'that all men might receive the adoption of sons. Him God had proposed as a propitiator, through faith in His blood (Romans 3:25), for our sins, and not for our sins only, but also for those of the whole world (I John ii, 2).' "
- The Necessity of Baptism - Catechism of the Catholic Church, numbers 1256-1264 (scborromeo.org) Catholic doctrine on Baptism, Baptism of Desire, Baptism of Blood, and the residual effects of sins fully forgiven.
- Baptism of Desire, and Baptism of Blood (catholicessentials.net) Desire to do God's will, and giving one's life for the truth of Christ without opportunity for water baptism.
- Baptism and the Baptism of Desire By Raymond Taouk (catholicapologetics.info) Errors about the real meaning of salvation through Baptism of Desire.
- The Sacrament of Baptism - The Catechism of the Catholic Church (scborromeo.org) The official Catholic doctrine of Baptism.
- Purgatory - Catholic Encyclopedia (newadvent.org) - [The teaching] "That temporal punishment is due to sin, even after the sin itself has been pardoned by God, is clearly the teaching of Scripture."
- The Final Purgation, or Purgatory - The Catechism of the Catholic Church, numbers 1030-1032 (scborromeo) "All who die in God's grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation..." Catholicism teaches that the souls in purgatory have already been fully redeemed and saved from the eternal punishment of sin by the expiatory sacrifice of Christ.
- See also:
"I have made you a father of many nations."
- Romans 4:17
- An allusion to the Septuagint text,
Sirach 44:19 and Wisdom 11:24-26.
"as sin entered into the world through one man, and death through sin"
- Romans 5:12
- An allusion to the Septuagint text, Wisdom 2:24.
"all men were justified to life.
- Romans 5:18
- Some readers will ask, "If all have been saved by Christ, as Paul says here, then how can anyone be condemned to hell?"
- According to the doctrine of Universalism, as represented by the Universalist Churches, even the most evil and unrepentant sinners during their lives who died as enemies of God and man will finally attain the fullness of salvation and the bliss of heavenly glory by the gracious mercy of God's love, who "is not willing that any should perish" (2 Peter 3:9) "For who can resist his will?" (Romans 9:19).
- Jesus himself warned that those who do not do his Father's will to do what is good during their lifetime will "depart into everlasting fire" (Matthew 25:46) where they will be tormented forever (Revelation 14:9-11; 20:9-10, 15).
- According to Paul and the traditional teaching of the apostolic tradition of the Orthodox and Catholic Churches all mankind has been justified by the redemptive sacrifice of Christ on the cross, and the gift of salvation has been poured out on the whole human race, for "God is not willing that any should perish" (2 Peter 3:9), and those who are condemned to judgment are only those who freely and willingly sin, "without the fear of God before their eyes" (Psalm 36:1-2), and in their hearts, minds, souls and bodily acts are selfishly set against the will of God who has "created us in Christ Jesus for good works" (Ephesians 2:10).
- Scripture teaches that even in the womb it is possible to reject God (Psalm 58:3; John 9:2). Romans chapter 7 (see note below) is the teaching of Paul that those who inadvertently sin against their will, against their sincere desire and willingness to do good to please God, are not condemned. 1 John 1:9 states that if we confess to him our sins, "he is faithful and just, and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness." But "if we sin deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful prospect of judgment, and a fury of fire which will consume God's adversaries" (Hebrews 10:26). "Unless you repent, you will all likewise perish" (Luke 13:5). Those who willfully sin are those Paul is referring to when he speaks of "vessels of wrath made for destruction" and those who long to do the will of God are "vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory, even us whom he has called" (Romans 9:22-23). And Paul proclaims that God "commands all men everywhere to repent", not only the elect (Acts 17:30). Whoever fulfills the conditions set forth is qualified. Thus, each man, each woman, is individually responsible for their acceptance or rejection of the gift of salvation God has given to all through the sacrifice of his Son the Lord Christ Jesus. The wicked can freely come to salvation, and the saved can freely condemn themselves to hell. See Ezekiel 18:23-24.
- Catholic doctrine teaches that as long as the soul of the individual "places no obstacle in the way of the grace freely bestowed by God" that soul will be saved. This applies even to children in the womb, and to those who have no knowledge of the Gospel, who die without it, but whom God knows would have accepted the grace of salvation through baptism in Christ if only they had been presented with the opportunity of accepting it during their lifetime, if they had lived, "for God is not willing that any should perish". Catholic doctrine calls this "Baptism of Desire". See Romans 2:14-16; also Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) 1260 and 1261.
- Compare Antinomianism, Eternal security (salvation) and Cafeteria Christianity.
- Romans 5:8 and 2 Peter 3:9 are contradictions of the doctrine of Calvinism called double predestination, which teaches that God, by His almighty and omnipotent will, has irresistibly chosen only the elect for salvation to life and willingly and justly from all eternity condemned all others to damnation to the everlasting fire of hell, being fully willing that they should perish in everlasting torment (Revelation 14:9-11; 20:9-10, 15), because they are the vessels of wrath that he himself has made for destruction.
- Compare Arminianism and Invincible ignorance.
"do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts
- Romans 6:12
- Paul deals directly with the doctrine of "eternal security", which holds that, once one has received the free gift of salvation by accepting Christ Jesus as one's own personal savior, salvation cannot be lost, no matter how one lives thereafter, because eternal life in heaven with God is absolutely guaranteed.
In Romans 6 Paul condemns the belief that those "baptized into Christ" are free to sin. "Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means!" (6:15 RSV) "...you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to life." He does not say "of grace, which leads to life", but "of obedience [to virtue, to righteousness] which leads to life", for "the wages of sin is death."
In 8:12-13 Paul says, "So then, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh--for if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body you will live." Paul is explicit: if you belong to Christ and then freely commit all kinds of sin without shame, you will be condemned to hell, the "second death". Revelation 22:15. Compare Jude 4; 2 Peter 2:18-22; Revelation 2:14, 20-23; 1 John 5:2-5; Matthew 7:13-23.
- "Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting." Galatians 6:7-8 KJV
- See the following:
- Once Saved Always Saved - Fact or Fiction? (preparingforeternity.com) Eternal Security: "Salvation in Christ cannot be lost, no matter what one does, because salvation is not dependent on works, but faith in Christ alone. 'As it is written, The just shall live by faith alone.' 'For we hold that a man is justified by faith alone apart from works of the law.' " This is Martin Luther's reading of the meaning of Romans 1:17,3:28.
See Sola fide.
– Luther Added The Word "Alone" to Romans 3:28? (beggersallreformation.blogspot.com)
– The Aquila Report - Justification by Faith Alone: Martin Luther and Romans 1:17. Justification is a righteousness that God gives freely to those who believe. (theaquilareport.com) The righteousness is a legal judgment, not a spiritual or ontological change
– Lingonier Ministries: Justification by Faith Alone: Martin Luther and Romans 1:17
R. C. Sproul describes the moment of awakening Martin Luther had as he read Romans 1:17 (video embedded) (lingonier.org)
– Martin Luther's Preface to The Epistle to the Romans pdf (newcreationlibrary.net)
– Sin boldly (Did Luther really mean it the way we use it today? (jpserrano.com) "Be a sinner, and let your sins be strong (sin boldly), but let your trust in Christ be stronger...No sin can separate us from Him, even if we were to kill or commit adultery thousands of times each day." (Martin Luther: Letter to Melanchthon)
– Total and Complete Forgiveness (thetrentonline.com) "But you don't confess your sins to God in order to be forgiven. You already have total and complete forgiveness because of the blood of Jesus."
Pastor Joseph Prince boldly asserts with complete confidence a scripture-based argument that all sins, past, present, and future are already forgiven, and there is no need to confess any sin committed. Salvation in Christ cannot be lost, no matter how heinous and vile the sin might be. All of your sins are already forgiven. God will never condemn you.
He contradicts the Bible's conditional-forgiveness teaching in 1 John 1:9:
"IF we confess our sins - [ then ] he will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness". (John does not say, "he has already forgiven all of our sins and cleansed us from all unrighteousness"—and he is not addressing his letter to unbelievers he is seeking to convert, asking them to confess their sins and receive Christ as their Savior once and for all, but to Christians who already believe and have hope in him.) See also James 5:14-16 and John 20:21-23
– The Truth About Martin Luther: And Why So Few Read His Works (jesus-is-savior.com)
Martin Luther's licentious blasphemy in his own words
– Catholic Bible 101: Luther's Revolution (catholicbible101.com)
Luther opened the door to licentious behavior
– Christians Shall Be Rewarded According to Their Works Trumpet Ministries, Inc. (wor.org)
A scripture-based argument that those who have been saved and afterward act wickedly will be irrevocably condemned to hell, unless they repent.
– Let God Be True!: Once Saved, Always Saved. One heresy leads to another heresy—requiring two lies! The lie of decisional regeneration needs the lie of guaranteed eternal life to comfort the "saved" that continue living in sin. (audio play option included) (letgodbetrue.com/sermons)
– Into the Light Ministries: The Truth About Unconditional Eternal Security (intothelight.org)
The author says it is a foul doctrine.
– Eternal Security: A lie from HELL - Part 2, Part 3 (three-part video) (youtube.com)
(Part 1 is accessible from the Youtube site.)
– Catholic priest preaches on sin and salvation (youtube.com)
– Purity of Heart, Pope John Paul II, General Audience of 10 December (ewtn.com)
– The Fallacy of Salvation and Justification by Faith Alone (dream-prophecy.blogspot)
Argument from scripture and the writings of the 19th century Swedish philosopher and visionary mystic Emanuel Swedenborg founder of The New Church (New Jerusalem Church)
(see Paul's warning against visionaries:
Colossians 2:18-19 with
commentaries on Colossians 2:18).
Romans chapter 6
1 John 3:4-18
- See also
commentaries on Ezekiel 18:24
commentaries on Matthew 7:21
commentaries on Matthew 12:33
commentaries on Matthew 25:29
commentaries on Revelation 22:12
- See Corporal and spiritual works of mercy.
"For sin shall not have dominion over you"
- Romans 6:14.
"shall not" DR, KJV
"will not" RSV, RSVCE.
- See multiple versions of Romans 6:14
- See also multiple commentaries on Romans 6:14.
Greek text ἁμαρτία γὰρ ὑμῶν οὐ κυριεύσει.
— This Greek word οὐ = "NOT", rules out, excludes, prohibits—more dynamically, "is not to have", "you are not to permit sin to have dominion".
See interlinear text of Romans 6:14.
- Within the context of this passage Paul is commanding "Thou shalt not".
- Another reading of the same text: "Sin is not to have dominion over you".
- The reading "will not have dominion" weakens the force of what Paul is saying. The reading "Sin will not have dominion over you" turns Paul's urgent exhortation to actively resist obeying the impulses of the flesh into a passive promise of grace for the future which will keep the Christian from sinning.
- Romans 7–11 taken alone is presented as clear scriptural support for the doctrine of predestinate election and Limited Atonement in Calvinism. Those who support Arminianism, and the superficially similar doctrines of Orthodoxy and Catholicism on free will and grace, oppose this doctrinal interpretation of Paul by Calvinism, and claim that this is a clear example of taking scripture out of context to use as a proof text to support a doctrine that the Bible as a whole does not support. See Predestination.
- Sola Fide: The Reformed Doctrine of Justification, by J. I. Packer - Ligonier Ministries (ligonier.org) "That trio of theological relatives—Pelagianism, Arminianism, and Romanism … The principles of Arminianism are the natural dictates of a carnal mind, which is enmity both to the law of God, and the gospel of Christ, and next to the dead sea of Popery (into which this stream runs), have, since Pelagius to this day, been the greatest plague of the Church of Christ."
- Works of James Arminius, Vol. 1 (ccel.org) The Public Disputations of Arminius —scroll down to I. On Predestination .
- The Doctrine of the Orthodox Church: the Basic Doctines - Orthodox Christian Information Center (orthodoxinfo.com) —scroll down to God and Man.
- The Council of Trent: On Justification, 13 February, 1547
- According to Paul the Christian is not set free of the personal obligation to voluntarily exercise every possible restraint on the passions of the flesh, assisted by divine grace, particularly within the context of his argument that the Christian is obligated to obey the moral law of God in Christ Jesus. Being redeemed in Christ and set free of the curse of sin which separates us from God, and being set free of the curse of the law of Moses which comes on those under the law who willfully disobey the law, because we are no longer under the law but under grace, does not set us free to unresistingly engage in sinful behaviors prompted by the impulses and passions of the flesh. He is condemning the false teachings of antinomianism and of the kind of unconditional eternal security which claims to be void of any moral obligation whatever to deliberately choose to "be holy in every aspect of your conduct" (1 Peter 1:15). He clearly says in verse 12 "Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal bodies, to make you obey their passions." All of this requires an act of the will. Any apparently automatic guarantee that "Sin will not have dominion over you" because of Christ is empty and untrue. "The false pen of the scribes has turned it into a lie" (Jeremiah 8:8). Many youths and adults who have converted to faith in Jesus Christ have discovered to their dismay that they still have impulses to sin, in contradiction to the words they read in their Bibles, "sin will not have dominion over you". Some of them have lost their faith in God's promises because of such interpretive readings which obscure the actual meaning of what Paul says in the Greek text and within the context of what he is saying here in his letter to the Christians in Rome. Paul's argument is in fact a demonstration that the free will of the believer must be exercised in actively resisting the involuntary impulses which naturally arise from the flesh, and from bad habits, and that an unresisting and passive obedience to the passions without fear of punishment is sin.
- In chapter 7 of Romans Paul offers consolation to those who heartily desire to avoid sin and find that they inadvertently, against their will, still sin. It is not what they desire, and without their consent. A lifetime of struggle may be necessary to overcome ingrained and involuntary impulses against holy virtue, and no one should give up the struggle against sin (see Hebrews 12:12-17). This is utterly different from those who decide to give free rein to the flesh to indulge freely in sin, "because we are going to sin anyway!", who give their willing consent to it, without fear of judgment, because "no sin can separate us from Christ". See the self-deception of Proof texts.
- Forgiveness and deliverance from the curse of sin, and the curse that falls on those who disobediently sin under the law of Moses, does not set the Christian free for unrestrained licentious behavior under the guise of "freedom" and "liberty" in Christ without any fear of judgment and punishment for sin: "They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption" (2 Peter 2:19). This explains what Paul was saying to those Christian believers ("in Christ") who pass judgment on unbelievers ("without Christ") for "all manner of wickedness" while they themselves "do the very same things" (Romans 1:29–2:11) "There is no fear before their eyes" (Romans 3:18; Psalm 36:1).
- "And think you this, O man, who judge them who do such things, and do the same, that you shall escape the judgment of God?"
- He is referring to the error of those who teach that freely committing sin is a way to emphasize the unmerited justice and mercy of God when he says (Romans 3:8): " 'Why not do evil that good may come?'—as some people slanderously charge us with saying, whose condemnation is just."
"There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus"
- Romans 8:1
- The entire context of Romans 6:1–8:13 shows that those who sin against their will to do good according to the law of righteousness in God, are not condemned for their unwilling and unintentional faults and offenses. Those who willingly sin in full cooperation with the lusts and passions of their flesh, while believing they are fully free and cannot be lost, are condemned for their licentiousness.
See the full context of Romans 6:1–8:13.
- See also the following:
"if it is so that the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if any man does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not his."
- Romans 8:9
- Paul here makes no distinction between the Spirit of God and the Spirit of Christ. According to Eastern Orthodox teaching, the Holy Spirit proceeds from God the Father alone, not from God the Son: the Son is born of the Father, but the Holy Spirit proceeds from him; birth and procession are two distinctly different operations within the Godhead of the Trinity in Unity. According to the Filioque clause ("and the Son"), which was added to the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed by the Roman Catholic Church, the Holy Spirit "proceedeth from the Father and the Son". According to Catholic teaching the Father and the Son as one God and as one simple and undivided originating principle of Divine Being is and are the one God, in Whom and from Whom proceeds the Holy Spirit of the Father and the Son from each to the other eternally in one mutual spiration or breath of God and proceeds from Him on the Church since the day of Pentecost—the Son is in the Father and the Father is in the Son (John 14:10-11 and 23; 14:26; 15:26; 16:14-15). This Catholic doctrine is held to be heretical by Orthodoxy and is one of the many points of doctrinal division between them. Protestantism does not generally debate the issue, and Protestant Christian denominations and churches almost universally proclaim the Apostles' Creed, which says nothing about the procession of the Spirit.
"We know that all things work together for good for those who love God...Whom he called, those he also justified. Whom he justified, those he also glorified"
- Romans 8:28-30
- Those who teach "universal atonement for all, the elect and non-elect alike" claim that God has predestined for salvation, justification and glory, anyone and everyone who accepts the will of God and Christ as Savior, all of those who respond, who by the grace poured out have chosen to love God. God "now commandeth all men everywhere to repent" (Acts 17:30), "not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance" (2 Peter 3:9); thus, "whosoever will, let hem take the water of life freely" (Revelation 22:17). Those who refuse the universal gift of repentance unto life by their resistance and refusal unto death, whom God predestined for glory, forfeit the gift of justification that was given to "all men everywhere" and the glory that could have been theirs.
Catholics and Orthodox apply this passage, "whom he justified, those he also glorified", especially to the Virgin Mary as the type of the woman clothed with the sun in Revelation 12.
See Immaculate Conception.
"I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion"
- Romans 9:15 RSVCE
- See also 9:16, 18-22.
- Romans 9 especially, in the center of chapters 7–11, has been regarded as "the great chapter of Calvinist doctrine of election", taken as scriptural support for Unconditional Election, Limited Atonement, and Irresistable Grace. But not when read within the context of the whole of the Bible, with its abundance of warnings to those who have been chosen and elect to be careful to not fall from grace. No one can fall from what is eternally secured, and no one can lose what can never be lost. For if the doctrine of Eternal Security is truth from God, then no warnings would be given, for those chosen elect who are eternally secured can never fall away and can never forfeit their security and any warning against what is defined and taught as totally impossible would be utterly superfluous and without any meaning. Therefore, the Calvinist doctrine of Eternal Security is false, and Salvation is absolutely conditional upon the requirement of faithfulness to Christ in persevering in doing good after being saved and not turning away from him to destruction after being saved. While nothing outside of us can take us out of his hand or separate us from the love of Christ, if we are not careful, we ourselves, within ourselves, from our hearts, can forget that we were cleansed, and can will to turn against him by rejecting him, by returning to sin, and find ourselves shut out. See Matthew 7:21-27 and John 15:1-10; 2 Peter 2:20-22.
"For this very purpose I caused you to be raised up, that I might show in you my power, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth"
- Romans 9:17
- Paul quotes the Septuagint text, Exodus 9:16.
"Or has the potter not a right over the clay, from the same lump to make one part a vessel for honor, and another for dishonor?"
- Romans 9:21
- An allusion to the Septuagint text, Wisdom 15:7.
"I will call them ‘my people,’ which were not my people; and her ‘beloved,’ who was not beloved."
- Romans 9:25
- Paul quotes the Septuagint text, Hosea 2:23.
"If the number of the children of Israel are as the sand of the sea, it is the remnant who will be saved"
- Romans 9:27
- Paul quotes the Septuagint text, Isaiah 10:22.
"Unless the Lord of Armies had left us a seed, we would have become like Sodom, and would have been made like Gomorrah."
- Romans 9:29
- Paul quotes the Septuagint text, Isaiah 1:9.
"Behold, I lay in Zion a stumbling stone and a rock of offense; and no one who believes in him will be disappointed."
- Romans 9:33
- Paul quotes the Septuagint text, Isaiah 28:16.
"Whoever believes in him will not be disappointed."
- Romans 10:11
- Paul quotes the Septuagint text, Isaiah 28:16 twice.
"Their sound went out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world."
- Romans 10:18
- Paul quotes the Septuagint text, Psalm 19:4.
"'I was found by those who did not seek me. I was revealed to those who did not ask for me.' But as to Israel he says, 'All day long I stretched out my hands to a disobedient and contrary people.'"
- Romans 10:20-21
- Paul quotes the Septuagint text, Isaiah 65:1-2.
"God did not reject his people, whom he foreknew."
- Romans 11:2
- Paul here does not say "those people he foreknew", but "his people, whom he foreknew". The whole people of Israel is here the subject of God's foreknowledge, "his people, whom he foreknew", and "the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable".
- According to Calvin, the foreknowledge, gifts and calling of those whom God foreknew cannot be revoked (Romans 11:29), and therefore those whom he foreknew, whom he has chosen and elected, all those on whom God has bestowed his gifts and calling, cannot be lost, and cannot be rejected, because the gifts and the calling are irrevocable.
- Paul says of God's people Israel, the whole people of Israel according to the context of the whole passage of Romans 11:1-12, "God did not reject his people, whom he foreknew." He is speaking in this context of the whole people of Israel, without exception, "who are Israelites" (Romans 9:4), "whose is the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the service, and the promises; of whom are the fathers, and from whom is Christ as concerning the flesh, who is over all, God, blessed forever. Amen." Romans 9:4-5. Yet of "his people" he "foreknew", Israel, to whom the gifts and calling are "irrevocable", "there is [only] a remnant, chosen by grace", and "Israel failed to obtain what it sought. The elect obtained it, but the rest were hardened." Romans 11:7. And Paul warns the elect, both Gentiles and Jews, "See then the goodness and severity of God. Toward those who fell, severity; but toward you, goodness, if —provided (Greek ἐὰν ean "if" conditional)— if you continue in his goodness; otherwise you also will be cut off." Romans 11:22. Those whom God has not rejected can be rejected. Those chosen by election can be lost, and they can become hardened. This is apparent from the whole context of Romans 9–11, in fact the whole context of the epistle to the Romans, and the context of the whole of the New Testament. John 15:1-6; Hebrews 3:12-14; Hebrews 6:4-8; 1 Corinthians 10:12; Romans 11:22; 2 Corinthians 5:17–6:1; 2 Peter 3:17.
"Let their table be made a snare, and a trap, a stumbling block, and a retribution to them. Let their eyes be darkened, that they may not see. Bow down their back always."
- Romans 11:9-10
- Paul quotes the Septuagint text, Isaiah 69:22-23.
"if by any means I may provoke to jealousy those who are my flesh, and may save some of them."
- Romans 11:13
- Paul here testifies that he saves members of his own people from sin. James 5:19-20 declares that any one of the "brethren" who brings back a sinner who wanders from the truth "will save his soul from death". Jesus declared that as the Father sent him, so he sends his apostles. And John states clearly in his first letter (1 John 4:14) that "the Father has sent his Son as the Savior of the world.
- According to Evangelical and Fundamentalist Christian doctrine there can be no other Savior than Jesus Christ alone, that there is only "one mediator between God and man" (1 Timothy 2:5), and that it is a false doctrine of demons and deceitful spirits (1 Timothy 4:1) that Mary the mother of Jesus and the saints on earth and in heaven can save anyone from sin. Paul himself by the Holy Spirit reveals that all who have been baptized into Christ are one body with him (1 Corinthians 12). The whole context of the New Testament demonstrates that the Lord Jesus Christ has appointed members of his body as saviors together with him by his power alone through the Holy Spirit. The apostolic tradition of Christianity holds in complete agreement with the Bible that Paul himself was a savior, that the members of the body of Christ are saviors of those who go astray from the truth, and that for those who ask, making requests for brothers committing what is not a mortal sin, God will give life (1 John 5:14-17), and by their prayers save them from hell. Preachers, missionaries and evangelists, and Christians witnessing to lost souls, are motivated to "seek and save that which is lost" (Romans 10:10-15; Matthew 9:36-38); and they understand that this does not in any way represent a contradiction of the Gospel of the salvation to be had solely in and through the Name of Jesus Christ alone. On this basis Orthodox and Catholic doctrine teaches that God saves through the Intercession and Prayers of his Saints, and thus that by the power of Christ in them they themselves are authorized by God to save people from sin and death. See Obadiah 21 and Exodus 14:15-16.
- Christians who do not know the whole of the Bible are at risk of being misled by people who misrepresent the meaning of passages of scripture for the purpose of polemical arguments against the truth of the Bible, and do not know how to give an answer to the sophistry of heretics, who claim as a basis for their arguments exact quotations of whole texts of the Bible according to the principle of sola scriptura. For example:
- "How can Paul say in Romans 11:13 that it is he who saves some of his people when the Bible clearly says that Jesus is the savior? Clearly Paul is setting himself up in place of Jesus!"
- "How can Christians say that the Bible is the Word of God when the Bible itself says that Jesus is the Word of God? Clearly they are replacing Jesus with the Bible!"
- "How can any Bible-believing Christian oppose any government on earth including the Nazis led by Adolf Hitler and the regimes of anti-Christian dictators and governments in the Middle East when the Bible itself commands absolute obedience to every established authority on earth because those authorities in power are established by God? Clearly God has ordained their authority and to disobey even the most obviously evil authority is to resist the ordinance of God! Even the Jews were commanded to obediently submit to the pagan, idol-worshipping Nebuchadnezzar!"
- This is an illustrative example of the kind of treacherous use of the Bible Saint Peter warned against in 2 Peter 3:15-18 and the reason that Paul praised those who kept to the traditions delivered to them, as he says in 2 Thessalonians 2:15 and 3:6, and 1 Corinthians 11:2; also Titus 3:9-11. (See Cafeteria Christianity.)
"There will come out of Zion the Deliverer, and he will turn away ungodliness from Jacob."
- Romans 11:26
- Paul quotes the Septuagint text, Isaiah 59:20.
"This is my covenant to them, when I will take away their sins."
- Romans 11:27
- Paul quotes the Septuagint text, Isaiah 27:9.
"For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable."
- Romans 11:29
- But the gifts and calling of God can be refused. Paul is speaking of the nation of Israel, the descendants of Jacob, to whom the promised Deliverer has irrevocably come. Calvinists cite this verse as proof of the doctrine of eternal security. However, Paul also says in the same place (Romans 11:20-22), "by their unbelief they were broken off, and you stand by your faith. Do not be conceited, but fear; for if God did not spare the natural branches, neither will he spare you. See then the goodness and severity of God. Toward those who fell, severity; but toward you, goodness, if you continue in his goodness; otherwise you also will be cut off."
"For who has known the mind of the Lord, that he should instruct him?"
- Romans 11:34
- Paul quotes the Septuagint text, Isaiah 40:13.
“If your enemy is hungry, feed him. If he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in doing so, you will heap coals of fire on his head.”
- Romans 12:20
- Paul quotes the Septuagint text, Proverbs 25:21-22.
- This is a direct reference to Proverbs 25:21-22, with Paul omitting "and the LORD will vindicate you". See commentaries on Romans 12:20 "heap coals of fire on his head" and Proverbs 25:22.
"There will be the root of Jesse, he who arises to rule over the Gentiles; in him the Gentiles will confidently hope."
- Romans 15:12
- Paul quotes the Septuagint text, Isaiah 11:10.
"They will see, to whom no news of him came. They who have not heard will understand."
- Romans 15:21
- Paul quotes the Septuagint text, Isaiah 52:15.
"I commend to you Phoebe Our sister, who is a Servant of the Assembly that is at Cenchreae...Erastus, the treasurer of the city, greets you, as does Quartus, the brother.
- Romans 16:1-23
- The objection that Paul contradicts himself in saying that he had never seen the Christian community of the church at Rome (Romans 1:9-15; 15:23-29), because it is "impossible" that he should know personally so many persons there in Rome to whom he gives personal greetings, if he had never been there, is easily answered by the existence of the Roman system of postal delivery throughout the empire by land and sea, and the evident possibility that not only had many of these persons known Paul personally, and had afterward traveled to Rome with his knowledge that they had gone there, but also that they themselves had written some correspondence to him letting him know how they were doing. He mentions Prisca and Aquila, Epaenetus from Asia where Paul is when he wrote Romans, Andronicas and Junias his "fellow prisoners" who had probably endured imprisonment with Paul in Syria, Greece or Asia, and his own relative Herodion.
- The fact that the Greek word διάκονον diakonon is translated as both "deacon" and "servant" has generated controversy over the issue of women's ordination, in particular in the Catholic Church which has the ordained diaconate included as part of the Sacrament of Holy Orders (see Acts 6:1-6 "and they prayed and laid their hands upon them."). It is worth noting that the feminine form of this word is not used here, διακόνισσα diaconissa "deaconess". It is not found in the extant witnesses of the text. See multiple Greek texts of Romans 16:1. Some versions of the Bible eisegetically read "deaconess" instead of "servant" where the text attests "deacon" διάκονον (which also means "servant" ! ), which some controversialists have used as a way of making the Bible appear to support a doctrinal teaching at odds with Orthodox and Catholic tradition, a doctrine which also has no apparent or certain supporting historical witness from the first ten centuries of orthodox Christianity. We do not read of ordination of deaconesses in the church. See Confirmation bias.
"Quartus, the brother"
- Romans 16:23
- Absolutely nothing is known of him outside of this verse in the New Testament, only that the mention of him in this context with the definite Greek article [ ό ] "ho" as a particularly unique individual
—"the brother" (Greek ό άδελφός ho adelphos)—
indicates that he was well-known and highly respected throughout the whole of the Christian community of the first century. (Some translators render the term instead as "a brother", simply as one among many brothers in the Church who happened to ask Paul to include his greeting to those in Rome. Compare the interlinear text of Romans 16:23 and multiple versions.)
- Paul elsewhere referred to "the brother who is famous among all the churches for his preaching of the gospel" 2 Corinthians 8:18.
This particular brother may or may not be Apollos ("mighty in the scriptures" Acts 18:24 KJV), or he may or may not be "Quartus, the brother".
- Whoever the brother is, he appears to be Paul's traveling companion ("our brother"); or he may be an entirely different individual.
2 Corinthians 8:22 "we are sending our brother whom we have often tested and found earnest in many matters".
2 Corinthians 12:18 "I urged Titus to go, and sent the brother with him."
The possibility that each of these passages refers to "Quartus, the brother", is purely speculative.
- See commentaries on Romans 16:23; 2 Corinthians 8:18; 8:22; 12:18.
"Now to him who is able to establish you ... to whom be the glory forever! Amen."
- Romans 16:25-27 / 14:24-26.
- This doxology is assigned variously to the end of chapters 14, 15 and 16 of Romans in the earlier manuscript tradition. Some manuscripts omit it entirely. The World English Bible footnote states,
- "the Textus Receptus places Romans 14:24-26 at the end of the Letter to the Romans instead of at the end of chapter 14, and numbers these verses 16:25-27."
- Both the Douay-Rheims Bible (DR) and the King James Bible (KJV) also place this doxology at the end of Romans as 16:25-27. The World English Bible (WEB) breaks with this tradition and places it earlier in the text at the end of chapter 14 as 14:24-26 instead of at the end of the Letter to the Romans.
- Biblical scholars point out that, "whether written by Paul or not", this doxology forms an admirable conclusion to the letter at this point, at the end of Romans as 16:25-27.
- 14:24 / 16:25 Now to him who is able to establish you according to my Good News and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery which has been kept secret through long ages,
14:25 / 16:26 but now is revealed, and by the Scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the eternal God, is made known for obedience of faith to all the nations;
14:26 / 16:27 to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever! Amen.
"Timothy Our brother"
- 2 Corinthians 1:1
- The strictly literalist method of interpretive reading of the Bible in taking the words of the Bible as "clearly self-evident in their plain and simple direct meaning" is here shown to be consistently false and absurd, a violation and twisting of the Bible.
- According to Acts 16:1 Timothy was the son of a Jewish woman and a Greek father.
- 1 Timothy 1:2 and 18, also 2 Timothy 1:2, says that Timothy is Paul's own son, his dearly beloved son.
- Colossians 1:1, 1 Thessalonians 3:2, and Philemon 1 say that Timothy is Paul's brother and the brother of other Christians related to Paul, "our brother".
- By strictly literalist interpretive reading, according to the clearly self-evident plain and simple direct meaning of the words, Timothy's father was a Greek, and Paul was a Jew of the tribe of Benjamin, so how can Timothy be Paul's own son?
- By strictly literalist interpretive reading, according to the clearly self-evident plain and simple direct meaning of the words, Timothy is Paul's own son, his dearly beloved son, so how can he be the son of a Greek father?
- By strictly literalist interpretive reading, according to the clearly self-evident plain and simple direct meaning of the words, Timothy is Paul's brother, Greek αδελφος adelphos (literally, "from the womb"), so how can he be Paul's own son, his dearly beloved son?
- By strictly literalist interpretive reading, according to the clearly self-evident plain and simple direct meaning of the words of these verses in the Bible itself, scripture clearly opposes scripture and the Bible obviously contradicts itself. The literalist method is clearly and plainly opposed to the truth, because of the absurdity of its resultant readings, its fruits, "and by their fruits ye shall know them".
- Someone will say that Timothy is Paul's son "in the faith", which is exactly what the Bible says. The assumption being made is that this is a metaphor. But the Bible does not say it is a metaphor. Christian parents who have children by nature who are being raised by them as Christians have sons and daughters in the faith. And here Timothy is Paul's son in the faith.
- Someone will say that any verse in the Bible must be read within the context of the whole Bible. The Bible does not say anywhere that this is to be done.
- According to Acts 1:15-16, by strictly literalist interpretive reading, according to the clearly self-evident plain and simple direct meaning of the words, 120 people were born from the womb of one woman; for by strictly literalist interpretive reading, according to the clearly self-evident plain and simple direct meaning of the word adelphoi, the plural form of adelphos, they were all brothers from the womb—that is clearly what it says. This is a clearly self-evident plain and simple absurdity.
- Peter himself warned against those "unlearned and unstable" persons who "wrest" (wrestle, twist) the scriptures to their own destruction (2 Peter 3:15-18). The evident absurdities produced by strict literalism in reading the Bible, without understanding its historical and cultural context, demonstrate clearly that the more ancient traditions and understandings of the meaning of the Bible as delivered to us by the apostles and handed down for centuries according to the constant mind of the church are shown to be more reliable and in accordance with the mind of Christ, the whole context of the Bible and the guidance of the Holy Spirit under the leadership of the Church, and make more reasonable sense, than the readings resulting from the literalist method proposed by so many fundamentalists which literally take away from the meaning of the words of the Bible (Matthew 28:20; John 14:16-17; 16:12-13; 1 Timothy 3:15; Hebrews 13:17; 2 Peter 1:19-20; Revelation 22:19). Also, the Bible literally nowhere says the just shall live by faith alone or that the Bible is the sole rule of faith. (Compare Romans 1:17; 3:28; James 2:24; 1 Timothy 6:3-5; 2 Timothy 3:16; John 20:30; 2 Thessalonians 2:15; 3:6)
- See Proof texting.
"confirms us with you in Christ, and anointed us, is God; who also sealed us, and gave us the down payment of the Spirit in our hearts.
- 2 Corinthians 1:21.
- This is read by many (Orthodox, Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran) as a description of the sacrament of Confirmation: the one being confirmed is anointed with chrism (holy oil) and sealed by God with the Holy Spirit through the laying on of the hands of a bishop, or by the priest the bishop has authorized to act with his authority for that occasion. They regard this as the sacramental form of Baptism in the Holy Spirit, which bestows on the Christian the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit. See commentaries.
Those who have been sacramentally confirmed and have afterward become active in the Charismatic movement claim that their experience of "outpourings of the Spirit" during charismatic prayer meetings is not the actual Baptism in the Holy Spirit itself, but simply a powerful activation of the gifts that were already present within them but dormant until released by their enthusiastic cooperation with the Holy Spirit Himself. See Pentecostalism and Holiness Movement.
" we are not as so many, peddling the word of God."
- 2 Corinthians 2:17.
- Paul is referring to those who become preachers of the Gospel in order to receive large financial gains through offerings and donations from Christians, "supposing that gain is godliness" (1 Timothy 6:5-6 KJV; see 2 Corinthians 12:17-18). See interlinear text of 2 Corinthians 2:17 and commentaries.
This "peddling of the word of God"—καπηλεύοντες kapēleuontes, "make a trade of, hawk, trade in, deal in, for the purpose of gain"—is seen today in the marketing strategies of those religious demagogues who cause scandal (Romans 2:24) by reaping huge incomes from donations solicited (some say emotionally extorted) from their devotees through mass evangelical revival meetings, radio and television broadcasts, and collection-offerings in what have been called "mega-churches" boasting thousands of families as members, who are seldom or never personally seen by their leaders—those chief pastors and evangelists who live as wealthy people, with mansions, expensive clothing and jewelry, cars and yachts, income properties, lawyers and seven-figure personal bank accounts.
It is an historical fact supported by abundant documentation that since the first century there have been multitudes of predatory individuals like Judas—who stole donations from the money box (John 12:6) and betrayed Christ for thirty pieces of silver—who have scandalously abused the ecclesiastical offices of deacon, pastor, priest, bishop, archbishop, metropolitan, patriarch and pope for personal financial and political gain, who have "lived on earth in luxury and in pleasure", who have fattened their hearts for a day of slaughter (James 5:5). This was one of the key issues of moral abuse at the heart of the Protestant Reformation, cited by the Reformers as evidence of the Great Apostasy (2 Thessalonians 2:3).
Historical observers of the controversy over ecclesiastical greed have pointed out that, by the same reasoning, if betrayal of the Gospel of Christ by many for the sake of personal gain is one of the primary evidences of Apostasy, then the betrayal of Judas Iscariot himself is a primary proof that Christ was a fraud and his doctrine false, because Judas himself was one of the Twelve Apostles. But they also cite abundant documentary evidence that throughout the centuries of Christianity before and during the Protestant Reformation a far greater numerical majority of individuals in ecclesiastical and pastoral roles, depriving themselves of personal advantage, have distributed abundant funds for the relief of suffering of their people, including the establishment of hospitals, orphanages, and schools, and the ransom of prisoners of war and persecution, and for the expense of public propagation of the Gospel of salvation through support of the missionary effort throughout the world.
Protestant Christianity too has likewise displayed abundant examples of individuals in pastoral and evangelical roles of leadership who have abused their positions of influence for the sake of personal indulgence and "filthy lucre", as already cited above (see 1 Timothy 3:3, 8; Titus 1:7, 11; 1 Peter 5:2). By the same reasoning used against Catholicism and Orthodoxy by the Reformers, these individuals are likewise evidence of Apostasy in Protestantism and are evidence that Protestant and Fundamentalist Christianity is likewise a false doctrine. But there is far more admirable evidence of self-sacrificing use of donations by Protestant leaders of churches and the bands of missionaries sent abroad by them, who likewise deny themselves, for the rescue, relief and benefit of the poor, homeless and suffering peoples of the world, and who freely proclaim the Gospel of salvation in Christ Jesus.
- See the command of Jesus Christ to his disciples in Matthew 10:8.
"I believed, and therefore I spoke."
- 2 Corinthians 4:13
- Paul quotes the Septuagint text, Psalm 116:10.
"At an acceptable time I listened to you, in a day of salvation I helped you."
- 2 Corinthians 6:2
- Paul quotes the Septuagint text, Isaiah 49:8.
"Apostles of the assemblies"
- 2 Corinthians 8:23.
- KJV "messengers of the churches".
- These ἀπόστολοι are missionary-ambassador-representatives of Christ sponsored and sent out by the congregations.
- The Greek text here says, ἀπόστολοι apostoloi "apostles" = "those sent", "ambassadors", "authorized representatives".
23 εἴτε ὑπὲρ Τίτου, κοινωνὸς ἐμὸς καὶ εἰς ὑμᾶς συνεργός· εἴτε ἀδελφοὶ ἡμῶν, ἀπόστολοι ἐκκλησιῶν, δόξα Χριστοῦ.
See Strong's number 652.
ἀπόστολοι apostoloi "apostles" is translated in the KJV as "messengers" in 2 Corinthians 8:23.
Compare exactly the same word ἀπόστολοι apostoloi "apostles", this time translated in the KJV as "ambassadors" in 2 Corinthians 5:20 "we are ambassadors for Christ".
The actual, specific Greek word for "messengers" is not ἀπόστολοι, but αγγλοι (plural aggloi/angloi = angels) from αγγλος (singular agglos/anglos = angel, "messenger").
The KJV translators read the two terms ἀπόστολοι and αγγλοι as synonymous, as having the same meaning. Compare
interlinear text of 2 Corinthians 8:23
parallel versions of 2 Corinthians 8:23.
The KJV avoids the reading "apostles" here with its Orthodox and Catholic connotations. The Douay-Rheims retains "apostles".
"For if he who comes preaches another Jesus, whom we did not preach, or if you receive a different spirit, which you did not receive, or a different “good news”, which you did not accept..."
- 2 Corinthians 11:4. Compare Galatians 1:6-9.
- Paul's reproach is a principal warning about the essential, evil strategy of the Devil and of cults and heresies, who fundmentally redefine terms that are scriptural and orthodox by altering their meaning, so that while they use the same religious vocabulary, the doctrines they teach and the terms they define are opposed to the revelation of God's truth and lead those they deceive into practicing sin and error as forms of righteousness, making them enemies of God and enemies of genuine righteousness by practicing a false religion.
- The Jews accused Jesus of essentially preaching another God, because he did not "keep the Sabbath" (John 9:16), and deliberately allowed himself to touch and be touched by those whom the law of Moses declared unclean, including dead persons.
See Deuteronomy 13, Leviticus 15:31 and Numbers 19:20.
- Heretics through the Christian centuries are all those who have been accused of corrupting and altering the doctrines and dogmas of orthodox catholic Christianity to invent another religion offering another Christ, another God and another Gospel of salvation. See
- See also Marcion, Gnosticism, Great Schism, Protestant Reformation, Theosophical Society, New age movement, Cosmic Christ.
- The majority of conservative Protestant Evangelicals and Fundamentalists accuse the Catholic and Orthodox Churches of preaching another Jesus and another Gospel by deceitfully offering the idolatrous worship of the pagan Roman religion of Emperor Constantine under the guise of Christianity.
- among them wax candles, the Latin language, confessing sins, priests dressing differently
For you bear with a man, if he brings you into bondage, if he devours you
- 2 Corinthians 11:20
- "devours you" A common Bible metaphor for aggressively extorting people's property, possessions, wealth, savings from them for any number of reasons, "consuming their substance", ruining them, merciless "blood suckers" taking what they have, usually under false pretenses, by claiming authority to do so or by applying psychological pressure, even bullying. It is also applied to governments that levy heavy taxes that impoverish the people, and heavy-handed landlords who gouge their tenants with oppressive rent, to local or regional crime organizations that demand "protection money", and to blackmailers. William Shakespeare's play The Merchant of Venice has given us an equivalent metaphor: "pound of flesh".
- On the sola scriptura principle that scripture interprets scripture, the biblical metaphor of eating the flesh and drinking the blood of men is found all throughout the Bible to refer only to those "who eat up my people as if they were eating bread" (Psalm 14:4); and it also refers to the merited destruction inflicted on those oppressors in return by almighty God, in reprisal for their repressive and destructive policies and their acts of evil rapine in raids, invasion and war.
- Many Protestant churches (not all) teach that in John 6:54 Jesus is speaking metaphorically when he says:
- "Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day." KJV
- Compare Numbers 23:24; Deuteronomy 32:42-43; 1 Kings 21:19; 22:38; Psalms 16:4, 27:2, 30:9, 59:13; Proverbs 29:10; Isaiah 49:26; Jeremiah 19:9, 46:10; Ezekiel 11:3-11; 39:17-20; Daniel 7:5; Micah 3:2-3; James 5:3; Revelation 16:6; 16:10; 17:6; 18:24; 19:18 19:21.
- See multiple versions of John 6:54 and articles
"Truly the signs of an Apostle were worked among you in all patience, in signs and wonders and mighty works."
- 2 Corinthians 12:12
- An allusion to the Septuagint text, Wisdom 8:8.