Daily Bread boxes now available!

 

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What better gift is there than the gift of God’s Word? Many of you currently receive “Daily Bread” emails, where I send out a key verse from that day’s readings from the One Year Bible. I’ve just developed a printed version of these “Daily Bread” verses—a gift box containing a card for each day of the year imprinted with an inspiring passage from that day’s reading in Scripture. Take a card out each day, read it, tuck it in your bathroom mirror, let it be the day’s bookmark, stick it on your fridge—any way you choose to have a constant, tangible reminder throughout the day of God’s Word. These cards can be used again and again, year after year.

To order a Daily Bread box, simply fill out the following form and make a $25 donation.  May the Word of God dwell in you richly this coming year and always!

 

 

Donate to Word Without Walls

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Q&A: Friends?

Proverbs 18:24 RSV: “There are friends who pretend to be friends, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” How could that be bad?  I then looked up different Bible versions. They were so different from one another.

Let’s start with a better translation, “A man has many friends, but there is one who loves, who clings more closely than a brother.”
The Hebrew is difficult in the first half of the verse, “A man of friends comes to ruin?” The Greek Old Testament says something like, “A man of friends toward friendship…” which some think means “comes to ruin,” and others think “must be friendly himself” (NKJV). No matter the exact meaning of the first half of the verse, the idea of many friends is being contrasted with a single friend of incomparable value (sticks closer than a brother). Solomon is not saying that having many friends is bad; not at all. Solomon is saying that among the many friends a person has, there is, at least the potential, of having a friend who genuinely loves you, who would sacrifice everything for you more reliably and readily than a family member. As Jesus said, “Greater love has no one than this, to lay down his life for his friend” (John 15:13).

Q&A: Tongues?

What is speaking in tongues in the Bible? Are there multiple different kinds? Is it speaking in all understandable languages at once, or is it speaking unknown languages? Is it an art form? Babbling like an infant? An expression of worship?

The word “tongue” has, as its primary meaning, that thing in your mouth that makes it possible, among other things, to articulate a language. Since the tongue is essential for speaking, especially speaking clearly (1 Corinthians 14:8-9), it came to be used to mean a language, as when a person speaks his or her “mother tongue.” One can verify that “tongue,” in the Bible, means an established language by the context in which the term occurs. For example, in Genesis 11:7 God talks about going down to those building the tower of Babel in order to confuse their “tongue” (Greek OT; Hebrew has “lip,” meaning speech, see Gen 11:1).

Acts 2:4-21 records how the apostles spoke in the native languages of the devout Jews who came to Jerusalem from every nation under heaven, speaking in these languages (tongues, verse 4, 11), as the Holy Spirit made them able. The purpose of God granting the apostles this ability on this occasion was not in order to communicate with these devout Jews, since the apostles could have spoken to them in Greek, Hebrew, or likely also Aramaic. The point of speaking to them in the languages of these foreign nations (listed in verses 9-11) was to prove at least two things; one, God’s redemptive work was accomplished in Christ for ALL people and, two, that God’s redemptive work is accomplished immediately by means of His Word (see Peter’s use of this argument in Acts 11 and 15, in reference to his visit to Cornelius’ house).

If one studies the occurrence of these special manifestations of the Holy Spirit in Acts, what we notice is that such special manifestations always come by way of the apostles (or the laying on of their hands) and include the “falling of” the Holy Spirit in order to make irrefutable confirmation of the grace of God accomplishing redemption in the presence of Jewish opposition (Acts 2, 10 (11 and 15 by reference)) or in order to prevent any future question about the certainty of God’s redemptive work (Acts 19). On other occasions, when there is no one present to contest or oppose the working of God’s Word, there is no laying on of hands, no special manifestation of the Holy Spirit, and no speaking in a foreign language, as in the case of Philip and the Ethiopian Eunuch (Acts 8) or the Philippian jailer and his family (Acts 16). Paul devouts much of 1 Corinthians 12-14 to addressing their misunderstanding about speaking in tongues/languages. Chapter 14 especially is difficult to understand without a slow and careful reading.

Q&A: Infallible?

How would you explain the difference between 2 Samuel 24:1 and 1 Chronicles 21:1?  How does this question apply to the doctrine of scriptural infallibility?

2 Samuel 24:1 “Again the anger of the Lord was aroused against Israel, and He moved David against them to say, ‘Go, number Israel and Judah'”

1 Chronicles 21:1 “Now Satan stood up against Israel and moved David to number Israel.”

Part of the difference has to do with the purpose and timing of Samuel and Chronicles, which is a study in itself. A more important part, which reveals how these two texts are complementary, has to do with the relationship between God and His creation, even that part of His creation that is in rebellion against Him.

Consider the insight this text provides:

Acts 4:27-28 “For truly against Your holy Servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, were gathered together to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose determined before to be done.”  

And:

Romans 8:28 “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”

All things in an almighty, all-knowing, all-loving God must serve His purposes, big and small, temporal and eternal. This is why Paul says there is no authority except from God (Romans 13:1). God used Satan who moved David to number Israel in order to bring both David and Israel to honesty about their rebellion and impenitence. Similarly, God used the crowd who cried for Jesus to be crucified, the religious leaders who provoked their cry, the Romans Soldiers, Pontius Pilate, Judas Iscariot, and the devil who was part of it all to crucify Jesus, but it was actually God, the Father Himself who condemned His own Son in order that He might redeem us from the curse of the law (Isaiah 53; 2 Corinthians 5:21).

For more on God’s predetermined will, see my article on Election in Ephesians.

This question further reveals the truth of the Bible’s infallibility by testing the truth of the biblical texts and by highlighting the absolute reliability of the God who gave us the Bible as an enduring, powerful, clear witness to the truth.

Click here to ask your own question.