Archive for the ‘Bible Study’ Category

Verses Supporting the Trinity in the Bible

Wednesday, December 15th, 2010

Gen 1:26, “Then God Said, ‘Let us make man in our image, in our likeness…”

So who is the “us” this verse refers to?  My friend Jay explained to me the three common positions:

  1. It’s a reference to the Trinity
  2. It’s a literary technique showing glory through what’s known as a “majestic plural” (yeah, news to me too)
  3. God is speaking in front of a celestial audience.  Therefore, the “us” refers to man being created in the image of God and other spiritual beings.

I prefer the first explanation.

Then the next day I heard Hank Hanegraaff talking about the Trinity on his Bible Answer Man radio show.  A caller was arguing with him about whether the concept of the Trinity was really in the Bible.  Hank gave the following mnemonics for some supporting verses.  I didn’t find his mnemonics that easy to remember, but had fun looking up all these verses:

The Father is God

Several verses with 1:3 references:

1 Corinthians 1:3, “Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Ephesians 1:3, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing…”

1 Peter 1:3, “Praise to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!  In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead…”

The Holy Spirit is God

The acrostic ACTS:

A

Acts 5:3-4, “Then Peter said, "Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land?  Didn’t it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied to men but to God."

C

2 Corinthians 3:16-17, “…whenever anyone 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 freedom.”

T

1 Timothy 4:1, “The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.”

S

Supplementary passages such as Psalm 139, “Where can I go from your Spirit?  … If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there…”

Jesus is God

The first chapters of John, Colossians, Hebrews, and Revelation. 

Take the letters: J C H R and think, “Jesus Christ Has Risen!”  I made this mnemonic up.

John 1

“He [Jesus] was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him…” (vs 10)

“No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father’s side, has made him known.” (vs 18)

Verse 18 is interesting because it talks about there being only one God, and yet that God is at that God’s side.  Confusing!

Colossians 1

Jesus is the image of invisible God – Firstborn of all creation – By Jesus all things were created in heaven and on earth – Jesus is before all things, and in him all things hold together – God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in Jesus (vs 15-20)

Hebrews 1

“… but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word.” (vs 2-3)

Revelation 1

“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.” (vs 8 )

“Then he [Jesus] placed his right hand on me and said, ‘Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever!  And I hold the keys of death and Hades.’” (vs 17-18)

These two verses prove Jesus is God by substitution: 

  1. The Lord God Almighty = Alpha and Omega
  2. Jesus Christ = Alpha and Omega
  3. Therefore: Lord God Almighty = Jesus Christ

wow, can’t believe I’m using something from my logic class in college.

But wait, there’s more! 

Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in the Same Verse

All three persons of the Trinity are referred to in the following verses, which you can remember by the mnemonic: ABC

(A)nnunciation

Luke 1:35, “The angel answered, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.’”

(B)aptism

Luke 3:22, “…and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: ‘You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.’”

(C)ommision

Matthew 28:19-20, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you."

And lastly, a verse alluding to the Trinity concept from the Old Testament:

Isaiah 9:6, “For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

Did Paul claim to be Authoritative?

Tuesday, April 20th, 2010

gavel
How many times have you heard someone quote 2 Timothy 3:16, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness…” and thought to yourself, “Did Paul really mean for us to consider the very words he was penning to Timothy Scripture as well?”

It’s an interesting question and got me wondering if Paul ever claimed to be authoritative.

As brought up in my last post, of the thirteen books found in the New Testament penned by Paul, only 1 Corinthians directly claims to be written for all Christians. “To … all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ – their Lord and ours” (1 Corinthians 1:2).

So in answering the question, “Did Paul himself claim to be Authoritative,” I will – at least in this post – limit my scrutiny to the book of 1 Corinthians.

Here is a quick rundown of what I found after sitting down and reading straight through the book of 1 Corinthians:

First, Paul actually lists a reason of proof that his message and preaching are authoritative, “My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power.” (2:4-5)

Paul then claims to have secret wisdom, which was revealed to him, “We speak of God’s secret wisdom, a wisdom that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began …. God has revealed it to us by his Spirit.” (2:7-10)

He lists “expert” in his job description, “By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as an expert builder…” (3:10)

Declares he has been entrusted with secret things, “Men ought to regard us as those … entrusted with the secret things of God.” (4:1)

Urges his readers (including us) to follow his example: “Therefore I urge you to imitate me,” (4:16) and, “I praise you for remembering me in everything and for holding to the teachings, just as I passed them on to you.” (11:2)

Appeals to outside testimony regarding consistency in his personal life, “I am sending to you Timothy… he will remind you of my way of life in Christ Jesus, which agrees with what I teach everywhere in every church.” (4:17)

Maintains he received teaching directly from the Lord: “For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread …” (11:23) and, “For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins…” (15:3)

Claims Jesus personally appeared to him, “…last of all he [Jesus] appeared to me also, as one abnormally born.” (15:8)

So I would say that in the instances listed above Paul does imply authority. However, he also appeals the reader to make a correct judgment regarding his words:

  • “I speak to sensible people; judge for yourselves what I say.” (10:15)
  • “If anybody thinks he is a prophet or spiritually gifted, let him acknowledge that what I am writing to you is the Lord’s command. If he ignores this, he himself will be ignored.” (14:37)

    So there you have it.

    Photo Credit: Courtroom One Gavel
  • To whom did Paul write his letters?

    Friday, April 16th, 2010

    old wrinkled letterA question I’ve had recently is, “Were Paul’s letters written to me or others?” I’ve wondered, “Am I reading someone else’s mail or are Paul’s writings general information relevant to all believers?”

    Let’s start with who Paul himself said his letters were written to:

    Romans 1:7
  • To all in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints
    1 Corinthians 1:2
  • To the church of God in Corinth,
  • to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be holy, together with
  • all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ
    2 Corinthians 1:1
  • To the church of God in Corinth, together with
  • all the saints throughout Achaia
    Galatians 1:2
  • To the churches in Galatia
    Ephesians 1:1
  • To the saints in Ephesus, the faithful in Christ Jesus
    Philippians 1:1
  • To all the saints in Christ Jesus at Philippi, together with the overseers and deacons
    Colossians 1:2 & 4:16
  • To the holy and faithful brothers in Christ at Colosse
  • After this letter has been read to you, see that it is also read in the church of the Laodiceans
    1 Thessalonians
  • To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ (1 Thessalonians 1:1)
  • Greet all the brothers with a holy kiss. I charge you before the Lord to have this letter read to all the brothers (1 Thessalonians 5:26-27)
    2 Thessalonians 1:1
  • To the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ
    1 Timothy 1:2
  • To Timothy my true son in the faith
    2 Timothy 1:2
  • To Timothy, my dear son
    Titus 1:4
  • To Titus, my true son in our common faith
    Philemon 1:1
  • To Philemon our dear friend and fellow worker,
  • to Apphia our sister,
  • to Archippus our fellow soldier and
  • to the church that meets in your home

    So there you have it. It is notable that the only book which clearly states it was designed for the general audience of all Christendom is 1 Corinthians.

    Two observations: 1) Paul told the Colossians to let the Laodiceans read their letter too. This could imply Paul felt his letter to the Colossians had broad application. 2) At the end of 1 Thessalonians Paul exhorts his letter be read to “all the brothers.” Again, this could mean he thought his letter had broad application to all of Christendom, or it may have just meant he wanted everyone in Thessalonica to hear it. In context, the latter seems to probable.

    In conclusion, the answer to the original question of, “Who did Paul write his letters to?” is, “In general, not explicitly to us.” However, that doesn’t mean they are not applicable for us, or that they do not contain truth relevant for us today. I think they do. I’m just saying those conclusions require inference.

    Photo Credit: Found: Love Letter — Envelope
  • Elders, Deacons, & Church Leadership

    Wednesday, March 31st, 2010

    How many leadership offices were there in the 1st century church? How were these offices appointed? What were the differences in duties and qualifications of these offices? And what’s more Biblical anyways: Pastors or Elders?

    These were only some of the questions we looked at in a recent study I led on, “Leadership Within the Local Church.”

    I put together the following handout worksheets which may be of use for someone else too in gaining familiarity with the verses in the Bible relating to these issues.

  • “Leadership in the Local Church” – our Bible Study HandoutPDF FormatMS Word Format
  • Quotes on Church leadership from Polycarp, Clement, IgnatiusPDF FormatMS Word Format