Bible · Church · Church Authority · Commandments · Traditions

Traditions – 3

In our last two passages in Matthew and Mark, we looked at the corruption of a tradition by the elders. A tradition based on the fifth commandment, relating to honoring your parents. Jesus brought us back to the original authority, and put the religious leaders in their place.

Prior to Jesus rebuke, many may have considered the ongoing tradition of the elders as being an acceptable method of worshipping God. Jesus laid that idea to rest. This leads my suspicious mind to consider whether some of our current practices are actually creating traditions that may be avoiding teaching of the Apostles for the church.

Hopefully we will gain some understanding from the remaining passages that speak of traditions provided to the church.

Now I commend you because you remember me in everything and maintain the traditions even as I delivered them to you. – 1 Corinthians 11:2

Ok, so this passage from Paul, the apostle to the Gentiles, is commending the Corinthian church that they are maintaining the traditions he had delivered unto the church. A promising start in this study. Interesting that Paul provided a tradition (or multiple traditions) that he expected them to follow. But our question has to be – What were these traditions?

Immediately after this verse, Paul delves into the controversial head covering teaching, which speaks of authority, headship and honor. Fifteen verses later, he speaks of instructions (traditions?) that he does not commend the church for, that is, in their keeping of the Lord’s Supper. At the turn of the page, in the beginning of the next chapter, Paul makes a topical shift to spiritual gifts. Therefore, I would suggest Paul refers to two traditions in chapter 11.

Head Covering

If you have been following this blog, you may remember a post supplied on May 21st, where I provided a link for some teaching on 1 Corinthians 11:13-15. (See Let Me Tell You a Story – Head Coverings). In that post I spoke of my own struggle with this topic of head covering and found some answers in the link provided. Nevertheless, the intent of this post is to consider the tradition Paul handed down to the Corinthian church, what it was, was it cultural and are we to follow this tradition even today.

After the last two posts, where Jesus corrected the religious teachers and brought them back to the original authority, I am fearful of finding some excuse or reason to avoid this teaching. I suppose my concern is that I don’t quite understand this teaching.

Is it a tradition that emphasizes headship and honor, using a culturally accepted practice (long hair on a woman) to indicate submission and honor to her head? Or is it a tradition that is non-cultural, that is every lady in all of the churches worldwide, needs to have a covering in order to honor her head, her husband.

In two verses prior to 1 Corinthians 11:5, where a covering of the wife’s head is referred to, note that the submission of Christ to God is not described “visually”, i.e. with or without a covering on His head.

But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God. – 1 Corinthians 11:3

but every wife who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head, since it is the same as if her head were shaven. – 1 Corinthians 11:5

As I mentioned in the linked post above, my family and I attended a brethren chapel for years where this passage was referred to in order to justify coverings on ladies heads while in worship. As a baptist entering into this environment, I had many questions, and struggled with it for quite a while. One fine believer told me that the entire passage made sense when he read the last phrase in the tenth verse.

That is why a wife ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels. – 1 Corinthians 11:10

His logic seemed irrefutable. The angels would have no concern for cultural practices, so this practice, that of covering a wife’s head in honor of her husband must be universal and not simply cultural.

This argument was convincing and nearly tipped me into accepting this as God’s intent, until I did a bit of digging and found that “angels” could be translated as messengers and may be simply referring to a company of men attending the church service.

In this passage, headship and authority is the principal theme, and my understanding is that the covering/veil used by the Corinthians was their culturally acceptable manner of displaying who was head and who wasn’t head. A definite order of responsibility (not of worth) is addressed in this passage.

This tradition, of headship, and of displaying the headship within the church has become derelict with our modern Christian lives. The modern church rebels against any hint of a man being the head, and of the woman honoring the husband. A full front attack on manhood has been active for decades, and the church, except for a small minority, has faithfully followed this tempting teaching.

It is a rare family that exercises this tradition, and that has a family order of a male head, with a submissive wife and obedient children. This, I believe is the intent of this tradition Paul speaks of within the church, and it’s natural outflow into all of the believers life.

Now before you claim I am some misogynistic woman hater, please slow down. I love women. I personally have hung out with a lovely person who is a woman for over forty years. She is truly my help meet and my best friend. I would be lost without her. Beyond my biased feelings toward this lady I know, I have also found that that some of the most spiritual people I have met happen to be women.

You see, sometimes folk get confused when dealing with this topic. They think the spirituality of a person is dependent on outward position or visibility. But this is not so! A quiet woman may have more influence with God than some flamboyant “in your face” preacher. Remember we are dealing with the Kingdom of God, a Kingdom that, in the world’s eyes, is completely upside down.

I seem to remember a passage in the word which speaks of the beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit.

but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious. – 1 Peter 3:4

Consider your family order. If you are a man in the family, love your wife, cherish her, team with her, talk with her (not at her!) and give yourself for her. Lead her into godly decisions and encourage her.

If you are a lady who seeks to honor God, honor your husband. Give him the freedom to make mistakes, support him when you “know” he is wrong. Discuss the issues with him, and trust God in your husbands discussions. (Yelling “I told you so” is not a godly action!) Don’t emasculate him! He desperately needs your support! And, by the way, the Lord is looking for a gentle and quiet (not a forceful and argumentative) spirit in supporting your mate.

As an aside, and for your reference, I am supplying a few verses of Paul’s teaching regarding headship. It may be of some use in helping you understand the apostles teaching, and in defending the order of headship (authority and accountability) within a church, and a family.

Head of every woman is man

But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God. – 1 Corinthians 11:3

Woman is the glory of man

For a man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God, but woman is the glory of man. – 1 Corinthians 11:7

Woman was created from the man

For man was not made from woman, but woman from man. – 1 Corinthians 11:8

Woman was created for the man

Neither was man created for woman, but woman for man. – 1 Corinthians 11:9

As mentioned in the beginning of this post, I believe the apostle addresses two traditions for the church in this chapter, and since I am a bit long in the tooth with this post, will defer to the next one to discuss the Lord’s Supper as a tradition


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Devotional · Hymns · Old Testament · Psalms

Psalms for Psome – Ps 39 – C

Psalm 39 is a psalm of confession, including an appeal to God’s eternality in considering our existence, our time on this earth as being nothing.

In our last post on Psalm 39, I sought to understand David’s poetical language describing his existence in relation to God’s existence.

When comparing any time unit, whether 10 seconds or 50,000,000 millennium, the result is the same. Time is insignificant since the comparison is somewhat ridiculous. Be that as it may, David compared and walked away beat up.

As I thought on it, trying to understand David’s thoughts, I also came away feeling a bit hopeless, somewhat out of sync. As you many remember, I brought a New Testament passage into the study to try to find some balance, and thankfully it was helpful.

But as I consider these portions of the Psalms, I need to read the psalm as a whole, for David’s reaction to his previous writing had produced in him the same hopelessness I expressed above, and yet he continues with the following.

7 “And now, O Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in you.
8 Deliver me from all my transgressions. Do not make me the scorn of the fool!
9 I am mute; I do not open my mouth, for it is you who have done it.
10 Remove your stroke from me; I am spent by the hostility of your hand.
11 When you discipline a man with rebukes for sin, you consume like a moth what is dear to him; surely all mankind is a mere breath! Selah

For what do I wait? Waiting speaks of a time element, and David does not condemn this action of waiting. It is not wasted effort as we may assume from the previous passage, where he talks of the futility of our efforts and the fruit of our work passing to those we know not.

This waiting is for a specific action, and the waiting is required due to David’s hope being in God. His hope is not in his own efforts, that is in restraining his heart from expressing his thoughts, his tongue from wagging and flopping in front of his enemies!

Our first few verses in this psalm spoke of David’s effort to “shut up” in front of his enemies. God has accomplished this fruit in David’s life. It seems this “muteness” God accomplished in David’s life may be associated with a stroke from God, a hostility of God’s hand.

This stroke, or blow from God is sometimes associated in the Old Testament with leprosy, although in this instance, I believe David is using the term metaphorically. David is expressing God’s solution to his “yapping” problem as an affliction or a wound, what we may consider as a trial or testing.

This stroke is also described as a “hostility” of God’s hand. This term hostility is used only once in the Word and it also describes a “blow”, and includes a thought of contention or conflict.

David begs for this stroke to be removed, he is under a trial that is teaching, no accomplishing its intended effects, yet David is begging for it’s removal.

How often have we been under a trial and sought to be out of it? Of course as we request prayers for release from God’s stroke, we are often counselled to rejoice in the trial, and James does exhort us in this manner.

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. – James 1:2-3

But note that the passage is training us to rejoice when we meet trials of various kinds, for the sake of the resulting patience that will be produced. To joy for the end result. Is this not similar to the outlook the One who took the ultimate stroke for us? He despised the shame, but since He considered the end result, He took joy.

looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. – Hebrews 12:2

David summarizes the stroke of God on his life by speaking of how God disciplines a man with rebukes. It is good to know that we have a God who cares for us to the point of rebuking us, of disciplining us, of providing a “stroke” upon us to direct us, and to train us.

David again goes poetic, describing the sin that was so dear to him, as a moth consumed. A moth consumed? Some verses translate this phrase as the moth consuming, others as the moth being consumed. I have no idea which is the correct grammatical translation, but the picture of a moth consuming something is clear in my mind.

You see, growing up in our country home, my mother had a cedar closet. Dad built it so she could store her very best blankets and comforters. Remember, that as a Canadian, blankets and comforters were critical possessions in the depth of the January cold!

I remember only once that she opened it while I was with her, and the smell was awesome. All the walls of the closet had unstained, unvarnished cedar lining, and when it opened, the fragrance was almost overpowering.

I occasionally would return to the closet and take a secret woof of the cedar, but my mom wouldn’t have approved. You see, the cedar was installed to keep moths from attacking those precious blankets. If the cedar smell was exhausted, moths would inevitably eat the blankets, slowly destroying it, and given enough time, the blanket would be consumed.

In this passage, David equates God to the moth. God consumes (like a moth) that which is dear to the saint, that which is sin. Slowly, imperceptibly, God is at work, destroying the sin in your life, sometimes through a stroke or blow, as in this passage for David, and sometimes through other means.

Consider this poetic picture the next time you are under a disciplinary action from the Father, for He is seeking to direct our hearts to the only One we should hope in!


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Bible · Faith · Jesus the Messiah · Old Testament in New Testament · Prophecy

Old Testament Messianic Prophecies – Prophecy #183

Bible Scroll

The prophecy of the Lord Jesus for our consideration and edification, written centuries prior to His earthly existence is

Prophecy #183
Description
To establish an everlasting kingdom
Old Testament Prophecy
 Isaiah 9:7
Of the increase of his government and of peace
    there will be no end,
on the throne of David and over his kingdom,
    to establish it and to uphold it
with justice and with righteousness
    from this time forth and forevermore.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.
New Testament Fullfillment
Luke 1:32-33
He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David,

and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”

If you are just joining this blog, or are a first time visitor, welcome to Considering the Bible. We would like to offer a document that provides over 350 prophecies of the Messiah found in the Old Testament for your consideration.

I make no claim to be able to comment on every one of these amazing prophecies in the future, but will occasionally bring one to the readers attention for their edification.

Hopefully you will follow “Considering the Bible” and begin an interaction with us


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Bible · Christian Security · Conditional Security · Doctrinal · Interpretation · OSAS

Conditional Security – Hebrews 7:25

Hebrews 7:25

25 Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.

I would like to look at what seems to be an unassailable eternal security stronghold verse today. My intent is to look at the verse for what it says, in relation to the believers security .

So often I have found that in my zeal to understand the Word that I find “my truth”.  What  I mean is that I may have an agenda or teaching, and find support for it in the Word.  This is a difficult issue to handle, since I am not a blank slate, but I come to the Scriptures with a history, a bias and a weak mind.

With my limitations clearly stated, I still intend to consider how the passage relates to the security of the believer, with an honest mind and open heart.

Conditional or Eternal Security

Is it the authors intent to discuss the eternal security question?  Lets consider the phrases in this verse and try to understand what the apostle (or apostolic representative) is trying to say.

He is Able

Roget thesaurus gives me my first clue as to what is being communicated to us as believers.  The thesaurus has a definition for “able” as “capable of performing”, “having an innate capacity”, and uses words like capable, competent and strong as synonyms.

Strong’s dictionary is also helpful.  

“Able” is the translation of the greek word dunamai, a very familiar greek term for many believers.
G1410, dunamai, Of uncertain affinity; to be able or possible: – be able, can (do, + -not), could, may, might, be possible, be of power.

Hopefully, it is obvious to you, as it is to me, that to be able to perform an action does not inform us that the action is being (or even will be) performed!  It is simply a description of the capacity of the Messiah, in His office of High Priest.  And yet we know He is a loving and merciful God.

Shall we presume that since He has the ability to save to the uttermost, that He will do so independently of all other considerations?  Is the eternal security doctrine falling into this trap?

Is there a condition upon which the ability to save to the uttermost becomes reality in a persons life?  And is this reality in a persons life that which is the security believers seek?

Coming to God

The condition in this passage is that those that will be saved, must come unto God by Him.

It is important at this point in the study to realize that all verbs in this passage are “present tense” which in the Greek signifies continuous or habitual action, and often reflects a lifestyle.

This speaks volumes when you consider the verb “come” in this text. Those that are being saved, even to the uttermost, are those who come (continuously) to God via the Great High Priest.

This is the condition upon which His abilities to save are released.

But lets consider one more aspect that I found intriguing.

To the Uttermost

When the author is describing the abilities of our Great High Priest, he states that Jesus is able to save “to the uttermost”  I have always come away from this verse, wondering what exactly this means and I am glad this study is forcing me to consider it.  You see, what I have found is that “to the uttermost” refers to the result of the sanctifying work of God in a believers life.

Uttermost is the English translation of the Greek παντελής (pantelēs). This word speaks of completely, or perfectly, that the action being performed is finished. It is a rare word in the New Testament, used only in Hebrews 7:25 (our verse today) and in Luke 13:11 in a negative sense.

Luke 13:11

And, behold, there was a woman which had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bowed together, and could in no wise lift up herself.

She could in no wise lift herself up.  She could not “completely” lift herself up. She couldn’t “finish” standing straight!

If the eternal security teaching is true, then I would have hoped that the previous term would have a time element associated with it.  What I mean is that the saving action of our Great High Priest would be perpetual based on my initial coming to Him.  Sadly, I am not sure this verse supports such a teaching.

So lets recap

To be able to do something does not necessarily imply action.

The Great High Priest has conditions to be met prior to a saving work being performed.

Those coming to God are described as continuously coming.  A lifestyle of coming to God! With each coming, the High Priest is able to save, that is completely save.  (I take this to mean in a sanctifying process.)

Praise God.

But I still have a problem!

He Ever Liveth

Lets consider the next phrase – He ever liveth to make intercession.  Again the present tense, He is always alive in order to always make intercession.

I suppose at this point I have a question that I am not sure if the verse answers.

Does He make intercession for us since we are His children, or does He make intercession for us as we come to God by Him?

I am not going to loose any sleep over it, since we both know that as believers, we are to constantly seek His favor and help.

It is just so great that He is there when we seek Him. He is Good, and He is able! Let us seek Him.


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Bible · Faith · Jesus the Messiah · Old Testament in New Testament · Prophecy

Old Testament Messianic Prophecies – Prophecy #182

Bible Scroll

The prophecy of the Lord Jesus for our consideration and edification, written centuries prior to His earthly existence is

Prophecy #182
Description
The Prince of Peace, Sar Shalom
Old Testament Prophecy
 Isaiah 9:6
For to us a child is born,
    to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon[a] his shoulder,
    and his name shall be called[b]
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace
New Testament Fullfillment
John 16:33
I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

If you are just joining this blog, or are a first time visitor, welcome to Considering the Bible. We would like to offer a document that provides over 350 prophecies of the Messiah found in the Old Testament for your consideration.

I make no claim to be able to comment on every one of these amazing prophecies in the future, but will occasionally bring one to the readers attention for their edification.

Hopefully you will follow “Considering the Bible” and begin an interaction with us


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Bible

Simple Thoughts – Savior of the World

Occasionally I will be dwelling on a verse or passage, ruminating on the message, (or to be honest, wandering off into some undisciplined daydreaming), and the Lord will bless me with a truth that is so obvious, so fresh and such a blessing that I just want to share it with you.

Such is the following passage, for as I was on my way to work this morning, this passage below opened up a bit to me. The truth is a well known doctrine, one that is so well known that is seems to be, I don’t know how to express it without being a complete loser, but that seems so much as “ho hum”, that is so “whatever”.

Let’s read the passage and then I hope I can explain myself.

Many Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me all that I ever did.” So when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them, and he stayed there two days. And many more believed because of his word. They said to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world.”

John 4:39-42 ESV

Many who have known of the Lord’s mercies mentally would give assent to this teaching, that is that Jesus is the Savior of the world, but with various exceptions that I have no intention of entering into. What I would like to consider is the context this statement was made in.

Jesus is in Samaria, where the religious elite, dag nab it, even the average Jew would not consider venturing into. No self respecting Jew would cross Samaria to get to the other side of the area, nor would they help a looser Samaritan, or even visit the depicable people for any reason. The Samaritan dirt was exceptionally dirty! The Samaritans were considered spiritual apostates of the worst kind, those who mixed idolatry with Moses. Horrible people in the eyes of the spiritually superior. Just horrible

But Jesus…

Jesus ventured into this dark territory risking the shame of it all, associating with those who were not worthy.

Jesus ventured into this area and had the audacity to speak to a Samaritan, and not only to speak to a Samaritan, but a Samaritan woman, and adulterous Samaritan woman. The passage tells the story of Jesus confronting the woman with His identity, and with her sin (which is a result of understanding who He is!) And although He is the only One who has authority to judge and condemn, He freely speaks with her, is inviting to her and challenges her in her decisions. Some of the statements He provides to this dirty rotten sinner are absolutely mind blowing.

He tells her He is the Christ (John 4:26). The disciples were not given this direct of truth yet. This is the first time Jesus reveals His deity in the Gospels so clearly.

Eventually, the woman succumbs to the truth, believes who she is talking to, and runs off to the villagers she has lived with. Or should I say she has existed with, since I understand she was not a pillar of the community, but likely considered a bit of an outcast, a used up woman of little worth.

And she told the men. A woman speaking the gospel to men. (Remind you of any other time women carried good news to men?)

Such is the story I was listening to prior to the passage above. The Samaritan men believe this woman (small miracle!), and venture out to the well to see this spectacle.

Upon hearing the Messiah for themselves, many believed, and begged Him to remain in dirty ol’ Samaria. He stayed. He actually stayed with these dirty folk. And these dirty Samaritans spoke to the woman, saying…

we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world

Note that these unlearned, unschooled, spiritually dumb, deaf and dead sinners broke forth with a statement that many of the apostles would not catch for years to come. Those dirty Samaritans didn’t claim He was the Savior of the Jews, or King of the Jews.

No no no.

He is the Savior of the World.

The WORLD, my friends. In the Greek, it is the term kosmos, and includes the following meanings in the New Testament.

  1. an apt and harmonious arrangement or constitution, order, government
  2. ornament, decoration, adornment, i.e. the arrangement of the stars, ‘the heavenly hosts’, as the ornament of the heavens. 1 Pet. 3:3
  3. the world, the universe
  4. the circle of the earth, the earth
  5. the inhabitants of the earth, men, the human family
  6. the ungodly multitude; the whole mass of men alienated from God, and therefore hostile to the cause of Christ
  7. world affairs, the aggregate of things earthly
    1. the whole circle of earthly goods, endowments riches, advantages, pleasures, etc, which although hollow and frail and fleeting, stir desire, seduce from God and are obstacles to the cause of Christ
  8. any aggregate or general collection of particulars of any sort
    1. the Gentiles as contrasted to the Jews (Rom. 11:12 etc)

Now I don’t want to make this into a word study, other than for the sake of making my point. Notice that this term is spoken of in reference to the inhabitants of the earth (5), the ungodly multitude (6), even to the gentiles as contrasted with the Jews(8).

As I wander through the Word, I trip over areas that reveal the lifting up of the humble, and the tearing down of the proud. I think this is a prime example of this principal.

Those of the pure religion rubbed shoulders with the Holy One, listened to Him as a young man in the temple, watched His life blossom and exhibit wisdom they could not refute. Blinded by their religious superiority, they eventually condemned the Righteous One to death.

No so with those who had nothing to loose. Those who were outcasts, servants, the poor, sinners of the worst kind. These were drawn to Him, many sought Him out, and many were given revelations many of us in the modern church just accept without any wonder or amazement.

This is a sad commentary of where I am in my walk with Him.

Humble yourselves before the Lord. Do not let theology blind you to the God of all creation. Do not let religious faithfulness create a pride that plugs the ears.

God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble

I wanna be a bit more like these dirty Samaritans, for they understood Him to be the Savior of the World!



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Bible · Faith · Jesus the Messiah · Old Testament in New Testament · Prophecy

Old Testament Messianic Prophecies – Prophecy #181

Bible Scroll

The prophecy of the Lord Jesus for our consideration and edification, written centuries prior to His earthly existence is

Prophecy #181
Description
The Everlasting Father, Avi Adth
Old Testament Prophecy
 Isaiah 9:6
For to us a child is born,
    to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon[a] his shoulder,
    and his name shall be called[b]
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace
New Testament Fullfillment
John 8:58
Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.”
John 10:30
I and the Father are one.”

If you are just joining this blog, or are a first time visitor, welcome to Considering the Bible. We would like to offer a document that provides over 350 prophecies of the Messiah found in the Old Testament for your consideration.

I make no claim to be able to comment on every one of these amazing prophecies in the future, but will occasionally bring one to the readers attention for their edification.

Hopefully you will follow “Considering the Bible” and begin an interaction with us


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