Tag Archives: Bible

Bible Passages: In Context or Out of Context?

Everybody has a favourite Bible verse or several that they keep referencing to. Whether you are a pastor, missionary, seminary professor, student or the average pew dweller, you must have at least one passage you have memorized. We find them engraved on plaques, in greeting cards, on calendars or quoted on other items around the house.

But how many of the most popular ones do we know the biblical context? How many of them are loved by some and others keep them out of their lives?

“Which verses are you referring to?” you may be asking.

A popular one that we see around, especially in late spring, coinciding with graduation season, is Jeremiah 29:11, which is a promise of God’s plans, His will for His people. 

This is what the Lord says: “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place. For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. (Jeremiah 29:10-12, NIV. Emphasis added.)

According to several folks I know, this passage holds absolutely no promise for Christians today. What is their reason? The historical context of Jeremiah is the prophet warning the inhabitants of the Kingdom of Judah of their impeding doom. The Babylonians are coming and will destroy the nation. In verse 10, Jeremiah prophecies the length of time of the exile, 70 years. The kingdom of God’s people is destroyed, which seems to go against this promise of prosperity. According to some people I’ve talked with in order to hold on to this promise you have to be able to “remember” your time in the Babylonian exile, which no one today can.

Instead of dismissing Jeremiah 29 as a promise only for the exiles or the returning exiles, why can’t we take a promise for ourselves? What would the spiritual implications or personal context for twenty-first century Christians be?

“The plans I have for you, to prosper and not to harm…” says the Lord (paraphrase). God’s plan is for us to prosper… God’s plan in for Him not to harm us… So what’s the issue here? Just because the Lord’s plan is for something, does that necessarily mean in the physical sense or in monetarily? By no means.

Although the “Prosperity Gospel” movement has claimed this promise for themselves, in a twisted  and materialistic sense, that does not mean that we cannot hold to this promise in a spiritual sense.

Here is a popular phrase from Joshua 24:15 (one version), which many who reject the Jeremiah passage hold on to.

“Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”

The problem is there are major sections of the passage missing. Missing to fit their personal theological views? To each their own reason.

Here is the full passage from Joshua 24:

Now fear the Lord and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your ancestors worshiped beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” (vs. 14-15, NIV. Emphasis added.)

While Jeremiah was written to the exiles, Joshua was written to the Israelites who had just conquered the Promise Land. If you dismiss Jeremiah for the sole reason that you cannot remember being in the exile, then we have to reject this passage on similar grounds, we cannot remember our time as slaves in Egypt.

Why is one passage rejected while the other is not? Is one more inspired? Can it’s promise be more easily understood or applied today? Absolutely not. Both passages are in equal standing.

Instead of rejecting passages due to false gospels claiming them we need to studying all the contexts of the passage in light of how it fits in the grand picture of God’s redemptive story. Once this is all said and done, we can safely look at how it applies to our personal lives, and our culture.

We can examine many more passages that are accepted and rejected. I will leave it at this. When you are reading your Bible, studying it alone or in a group, please remember the four types of contexts before you claim it or reject it: historical, cultural, literature, and theological. The final one is personal context, this is when you can apply the truths found in the passages to your own life.

God bless.


The Fourth Member of the Holy Trinity

The issue of the Holy Members of the Trinity: God the Father, Christ the Son, and the Holy Spirit. These are the three members of the Holy Trinity. Why then do many Christians act as if there is a fourth much holier member?

The Holy Bible points us to the Truth, because it contains messages of the Truth, but in itself the Bible isn’t “The Truth”. This title belongs to Jesus Christ , and to Him alone. For Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6, HCSB).

If the Bible was “The Truth” then all we would need is the Bible and not a personal relationship with Christ Jesus.

Do you follow the Bible or the Author of the Bible? It the Holy Bible the fourth member of the Holy Trinity or is it the message from the Holy Trinity?

Jesus Said, “I AM”

Jesus said,
“I AM the bread of life.” Come to Me if you are hungry, I will give you manna from heaven.
“I AM the light of the world.” Come to Me if you are in darkness, I will show you eternal life.
“I AM the door of the sheep.” Come to Me if you are lost, I will give you a family of true bliss.
“I AM the good shepherd.” Come to Me if you are weary, I will give you rest and guard against your foes.
“I AM the resurrection and the life.” Come to Me if you are dead, I will set your spirit alight with the Holy Spirit.
“I AM the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”
“I AM the vine and you are the branches.” Be rooted in Me and I will bestow unto you the fruit of My labour.

These are partially my paraphrase of Jesus Christ’s message in the Gospel of John.

Seven Divine Covenants

Adam was formed,
By wisdom of creation.

Noah was saved,
From waters of renewal.

Abraham was called,
To lands of promise.

Moses was sent,
With fires of conviction.

David was anointed,
For thrones of kings.

Yeshua was slain,
His blood our redemption.

Messiah will return,
In His eternal Glory.

For the Sake of Fighting

I’ve heard this many times, people (random strangers) arguing with someone for the sake of “being right”. Most issues people raise primarily concern children and pets. Why are strangers so animate about how others care for their young and animals? Quite frankly I believe it should be “NONE OF THEIR BUSINESS!” Now the only two exceptions of this are in cases of obvious abuse and neglect, and even then it needs to be “OBVIOUS!”

A good friend of mine had this happen to her right in front of her children. In her case it was regarding their puppy who was safe and comfortable in their van with the windows rolled down a wee bit on a cool spring afternoon. Tell me this: what is wrong with this picture? Was the dog being abused? No! Was he neglected? No! Pets can be left alone for long durations of time. The windows cracked open allowed air to pass through and his owners only went into the store for less then half an hour.

The angry woman threatened to break open a window and “free” the dog. I’m not sure if she was a dog owner herself, and to be honest that doesn’t matter. It shouldn’t matter. From what I’ve heard the woman in question was the vicious type who always “wants to be right”, she “needs to be right” at all times. She, like so many others, picks fights and threatens others over her small and irrelevant opinions.

Recently I was sitting in one of my favorite coffee shops and heard a lady mention to another customer regarding a similar experience with her child. A stranger accused her of being a “bad mother” because she left her stroller for a brief time, few seconds, so she could remedy the difficulty she had with getting it over or around an obstacle. Was the child being abused? No! What he or she being neglected? I would honestly say No! (I don’t know the whole story here and quite frankly it’s beside the point.)

The moral of this essay is “Don’t judge a complete stranger until you know the whole story.” I don’t want to see or hear families being torn apart because as fool has the selfish and delusional need to be always right.

Jesus said, “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” (Matthew 7:1-5, ESV)

The most common paraphrase of this passage is “Judge not least ye be judged”. This can go for many other aspects of life. Another common example is non-parents accusing new parents of treating their child wrongly. “Judge not least ye be judged!” If know the entire story will you have the same opinion? Think about it.

God Has a Plan

When time began
God had a plan;
His Son He would give
To those who now live.

They rejected He
Who made others see,
The Truth He would give
To those who want to Live.

When time will end
God’s plan then fulfilled.
Eternal Life He now gives
To His sons, who will truly Live.

[Last three lines of stanza three have been edited on July 26, 2015. The original just didn’t sound right to me. It took a few days of reading and re-reading this poem before I found the right words to place there. God bless and enjoy.]

Why In Such a Hurry?

This is a question I’m always asking the road when vehicle after vehicle passes me with such speed it surprises me they don’t flip over into the left side ditch. This post goes out to Christians who (by merit) should be holding to a similar worldview as I do.

Now I’m not saying I’m perfect nor better than anyone else. At times I am just as guilty as the next person. This is just as much a reminder to me as it is rhetoric to self-proclaimed Christians.

“So,” I ask you, “what’s your problem?” Going over the speed limit out of habit. Really? That’s the issue? That can’t be it. Well, there’s more to it than that. “The real problem is obeying the law of the land.”

What I’m referring to when I say “the law of the land” is the laws which by nature are neutral. That is the laws which don’t infringe on anyone’s religious or moral (human) rights.

Let’s take a look at what God’s Holy Word tells us on the subject matter:

“Everyone must submit to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except from God, and those that exist are instituted by God. So then, the one who resists the authority is opposing God’s command, and those who oppose it will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have its approval. For government is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, because it does not carry the sword for no reason. For government is God’s servant, an avenger that brings wrath on the one who does wrong. Therefore, you must submit, not only because of wrath, but also because of your conscience. And for this reason you pay taxes, since the authorities are God’s public servants, continually attending to these tasks. Pay your obligations to everyone: taxes to those you owe taxes, tolls to those you owe tolls, respect to those you owe respect, and honor to those you owe honor” (Romans 13:1-7, HCSB).

The question that often arises in regards to this passage is: what if the law of the land contradicts God’s commands? “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and most important command” (Matthew 22:37-38, HCSB).

With that said the answer is simple: obedience to God must take precedence, then obeying the laws set forth by the government.

Riddle me this: why do you feel the abundant urge to go over the assigned speed limits on a regular biases? Can you not slow down in life and on the road? Give yourself more time for the journey and less time for road rage.

Yes, you heard me right. I said road rage. One thing I’ve noticed is those who rely on high speeds and reckless behaviour while behind the wheel tend to exhibit road rage more frequently then the cautious drivers. And this road rage tents to be directed towards the cautious drivers.

This also goes for red lights and stop signs (even if you are turning right). Stop means stop, at least that’s what I was taught in grade school.

Please, obey the law of the land as long as it doesn’t contradict God’s commands. By doing so you are obeying God. Disobeying God has no other name then Sin.

[This is my first short essay I wrote entirely on my smart phone before I edited and posted it.]