Romans 1 Part 5

New King James Version 21. because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.

The Resultant Version 21. Because that, knowing God, they do not glorify Him as God, neither do they thank Him; but they become empty in their reasonings, and their unintelligent hearts are darkened.

Because of God manifesting it to them and because of the creation around them that they can clearly see, they know there is a God and they know His aspects: His power, His right to rule, His goodness, and His demand that they be good as well. They know all these things and are not ignorant of them. The problem is that knowing all this they still do not glorify Him as God. “Glory” has to do with recognition and esteem. While they know God, they do not give Him in their minds and hearts the recognition that He deserves. This starts the downward spiral of mankind away from God and into sin, ignorance, and destruction. This is the downward spiral of mankind in general, though it is often the downward spiral of individuals as well. Whole cultures and societies go through this downward spiral. Yet it starts here: not recognizing the God they know exists.

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Romans 1 Part 4

New King James Version 16. For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.

Paul has just declared that he is ready to proclaim the gospel to the Romans just as he has in so many other places. What is the gospel Paul was proclaiming? Before we try to answer this specific question, let us first consider what a gospel really is. “Gospel” is the Greek word euangellion, which means a “good message.” Yet a gospel is good because it is the right message. If your house is on fire and someone shouts, “Fire! Get out!” that is not exactly good news. But if your house really is on fire, it is the right news, and the news you need to hear. A gospel is spoken in view of a specific need, in the case of the fire the need for knowing there is a fire so you can respond to get out of the house and save yourself. A gospel also contains an element of promise. The promise in the case of the fire is only implied, but the implication is that if you get out of the house you will not be in danger of dying in the fire.

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Romans 1 Part 3

New King James Version 11. For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift, so that you may be established—

Paul testifies to these Romans that he longs to see them. That is why he was constantly making request of God that he be allowed to go to Rome. His desire is not just to come for a visit, but to come for their benefit. Particularly he mentions imparting a spiritual gift to them.

The word “spiritual” in English is commonly used but little understood. The word is used with such ignorance of what a spiritual thing truly is that it ends up meaning very little. People will speak of a spiritual man without having the slightest idea what kind of man that would be. They will say that heaven is a spiritual place without any idea of what sort of place might properly be termed “spiritual.” Yet when the Bible uses this word It uses it with a meaning, and we must discover what that meaning is if we wish to know what it is that God wanted to tell us about these gifts Paul wanted to impart.

If we would study out the word “spiritual” in the Bible we would find that it is largely a New Testament word, not really appearing in the Old Testament. (A “spiritual man” in Hosea 9:7 is a man of the Spirit in Hebrew, there being no Hebrew word for “spiritual.”) In the New Testament the word is pneumatikos, related to the word for “spirit,” pneuma. If we would study the occurrences of the word pneumatikos, we would find that I Corinthians 10:1-4 stands out significantly in helping us define just what a “spiritual” thing is. Read the rest of this entry »

Romans 1 Part 2

New King James Version 7. 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.

The Resultant Version 7. To all who are in Rome, beloved of God, positioned to be holy ones:
Grace to you and peace from God our Father, even the Lord Jesus Christ.

Notice that this epistle, this letter, is written to all who are in Rome. In other words, it is written to all the interested parties. This might include Jews who are believers, but it also might include Jews who are not believers who might be interested to read it. There might be Gentiles who have become proselytes to the Jewish religion who might be interested to read it. And there also might be Gentiles who have believed elsewhere and moved to Rome who might be interested to read it. Yet at the same time I do not believe any Gentiles have at this time been preached to while actually in Rome. Remember that Paul is the apostle to the Gentiles, as he himself says in Romans 11:13, “For I speak to you Gentiles; inasmuch as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry.Read the rest of this entry »

Romans 1

New King James Version 1. Paul, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated to the gospel of God

The Resultant Version 1. Paul, a slave of Jesus Christ; a called, commissioned one; separated unto the gospel of God

This epistle or letter starts with the name of Paul, as all Paul’s books start. This was not an uncommon way to begin a letter in those days. Since their common medium to write on was a scroll, it would be inconvenient to roll to the end of the scroll to find out who wrote it and then roll back, so they generally put the name of the author on top. Yet this was not a hard-and-fast rule. Many of the general epistles do not start this way, and have no author’s name on top. Yet Paul’s always do. This is one thing that causes us to question whether Hebrews could have been written by Paul, as many believe it was. Paul in every one of his thirteen books we know he wrote put his name as the first word of his epistle. Why if he wrote Hebrews would he not have done so? This fact alone makes Paul’s authorship of the book of Hebrews seem unlikely.

This Paul is the same man whom we read of in the book of Acts, and he is writing this book during the period of history covered by the book of Acts. We have already looked at some of Paul’s other books written after Acts 28:28. At that time, Paul was the revealer of God’s truth for today. He was responsible for recording in Scripture the revelation of the secret, which fulfilled or filled full the Word of God, as he says in Colossians 1:25-26. He revealed the calling of believers that exists today, made up of all nations jointly and equally, Ephesians 3:6. Yet before Acts 28:28 and during the Acts period, Paul’s ministry was different. During Acts Paul was called as an apostle to carry the gospel to Gentiles, kings, and the sons of Israel, Acts 9:15. He carried the gospel outside the land of Israel where it had not yet been carried, Romans 15:20-21, which was mostly north and west of Israel. (Others must have already gone south and east.) He carried it as God’s agent to spread the kingdom of God on earth. Read the rest of this entry »

The book of Romans is the first of Paul’s epistles canonically in our Bibles, yet it is not the first book that Paul wrote. I believe that distinction goes to the book of Galatians, though some believe the first was I Thessalonians. The general epistles of James and John were all written by the time Paul wrote Romans, and most of the other general epistles may have been completed as well. Romans was probably Paul’s sixth book, following Galatians, I Thessalonians, II Thessalonians, I Corinthians, and II Corinthians.

One of the most important distinctions that defines the book of Romans is that it was one of Paul’s pre-Acts 28:28 books. Yet this fact should not deter us from seeing the true value of this book. In the words of Otis Q. Sellers, “Romans is the greatest of all epistles in the New Testament.” I would agree with this, putting Ephesians as a close second. Mr. Sellers also says that there is more truth here for everyone than in probably any other single book. He says this because he says there are more subjects that are dealt with here than in any other single book. This may well be true, though part of it might be that Romans is perhaps the longest of Paul’s epistles. But I would say Romans’ greatest value is in its teaching regarding salvation. Read the rest of this entry »

I received the following question:

I have a question about John 7:38. This verse quotes from the Old Testament sort of. I’m wondering if its a paraphrase quote, in which case many verses could be used to support it, or if its referring to a particular verse (which I can’t seem to find)

I agree that John 7:38 does not actually quote from the Old Testament. It just refers to many verses that talk of the fountain of living waters. Bullinger refers to Isaiah 12:3, 55:1, 58:11, Ezekiel 47:1, Joel 3:18, Zechariah 13:1, 14:8. I thought Otis Sellers, however, nailed it when he referred to a verse that Bullinger strangely omitted: Jeremiah 2:13, in which Jehovah calls Himself the fountain of living waters. “For My people have committed two evils: They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, And hewn themselves cisterns—broken cisterns that can hold no water.” (Jeremiah 17:13 is similar.) This identifies the fountain most clearly as Jehovah, and Jesus Christ makes that fountain to be available to the one who believes in Him!

Hope this helps.

I received the following question:

I had a quick, or maybe not so quick, question about the most favorite passage among universalists, 1 Tim 4:10. Now to be clear, I am not a universalist, but I do struggle with the simple meaning of this passage being that God is the savior of mankind, but especially believers. The reason I struggle with it is because it seems that the word for “all” (pas) is redundant and unnecessary in the verse if it is simply stating that God is the savior of humanity as such. There is no need to say that God is the savior of “all mankind”, but just simply “mankind” (anthropos). Why wouldn’t Paul say, “we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe.” (Strikethrough mine).

Perhaps there is some rule of the Greek grammar that I am not familiar with that makes this impossible, I don’t know.

I’ve also thought about the possibility of reading it like: ‘…we trust in the living God, the Savior of mankind, especially of those that believe’ – with the sense of giving God the title of: A. The Living God, and B. The Savior of Mankind. Therefore I am reading it like Paul was perhaps attributing to God these 2 titles… just a thought.

I’ve listened to your 1 Tim. book study on this topic, as well as Mr. Sellers, but I’m still struggling with it. Like I said, this is probably the preeminent of all passages of the Universalists, of which I’m afraid some of my own family have become as followers of AEKnoch…

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I received the following questions from a reader:

First off, I want to say how much I have enjoyed reading articles on your blog. I have grown up in church all my life and some of the explanations for things I have received just didn’t always make sense based on what I would read in the Bible, so you have helped shed light on many topics. I first found your website looking for an answer to the marriage in the afterlife debate which you have discussed. My dad has been a huge influence on my faith in Christ and he has always been a staunch believer that marriage would continue in the life to come, but many pastors I would talk to would either give me the answer that it wouldn’t continue or they would just say it was a mystery to them and they didn’t know. I got to the point where I felt that maybe they were correct since it was the majority view, but after finding your article it gave me great encouragement. I have since found many more people who have similar ideas to you and I have come to the realization that quite a few people believe marriage will be a part of the life to come. With that being said, I have a couple questions based on the article you wrote and wanted to see if you could provide an answer or your opinion which can help me clear a few things up. By the way, I have been married for three years and love my wife dearly.
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Psalm 72 Continued

9. Those who dwell in the wilderness will bow before Him,

Those who dwell in the wilderness will bow in the presence of this King Messiah. In our day (and more so in David’s), those who dwell far from other men often escape the control of nations and governments and are left largely free to govern themselves. Not so in this King’s government. All those who dwell in remote places will bow to His presence, for His rule will be enacted in all places. Not just in the cities and populous places, but also in the wilderness and remote places, all will come under His rule and acknowledge His lordship.

And His enemies will lick the dust.

If the wilderness dwellers must own His rule, then none shall be excepted. This includes also His enemies. They must acknowledge Him as their King, and will lick the dust before Him. Of course they do not literally eat soil, but this is a figure of speech metonymy, wherein dust-lickers are put for those who bow in complete subjugation. His enemies will be brought to complete submission and prostration before Him. Read the rest of this entry »