Well, it’s been a long time since I’ve posted on here. I’ve been working 60-70 hours a week (at 2 jobs) and still am…but I ended up doing some writing tonight that I’ll toss on here since it’s both a) long enough to be a post and b) of possible interest to some. Because I’m already past my bedtime by 2 hours, there’s no pictures or editting tonight; just some quick Bible study that’s a horribly rough draft.
I won’t bother with the story of why I’m writing this, but I’m going to answer a single question. What is the Baptism of the Holy Spirit in the New Testament?
Let’s look at every single instance that the Greek verb Baptizo (“baptize”) and the term Pneuma (“Spirit”) appear together in the Scripture. For those that don’t trust me, look at the results here:
A few years ago, I was teaching a class on hermeneutics while I was struggling through my antiviral therapy for Hepatitis C. In that class, we would spend part of the class going through the hermeneutical rules we had learned and attempt to apply them to difficult texts. It was a very enjoyable exercise for most, and one of the difficult texts we tackled was 1 Corinthians 11:2-16. I’ve recently been asked about 1 Corinthians 11 and the issue of head covering, and that question comes up regularly for me. Knowing that convictions on an issue come through personally working through the Scripture instead of having someone spoon-feed you an answer, I wanted to provide my bible study on 1 Corinthians 11 for the benefit of a few readers.
I’ve modified it a slight to incorporate a little more interpretive helps, seeing that I’m not there personally with you to help answer questions. Also, you may want to refresh yourself on the basic rules of Bible study here. Also, here’s some basic rules that are part of every Bible study I write:
The text upon which the study is based is ESV.
No flippies. Scripture interprets Scripture, sure, but the main focus of the way I study the Bible is to draw meaning from the text at hand. That means no flipping to other chapters, unless you’re told otherwise. Most Christians love to toss out the “Scripture interprets Scripture” line, but in practice it becomes an excuse for what I call “concordant exegesis”: using a concordance to interpret the text rather than the nouns and verbs in their various ascending circles of context (sentence, paragraph, pericope, logical argument, book, testament, theology, history, geography). One should never use one verse to “interpret” another just because they share a common term in an English translation. Dragging the meaning of terms from one passage, in an entirely different context, into another, is a guaranteed way to misunderstand whatever text is currently in front of your eyes. It’s a horrible interpretive habit that has become sanctified simply because it’s common.
Dig here. Most of the questions are actually as simple as they seem. In my Bible studies, I try to “go deep”, which means I go deep into what the author wrote in this text. That means getting the surface reading right: the terms, the grammar, and the argument/example/principle being put forward. If you miss that but find a whole bunch of cool speculative intertextual or typological connections, you’ve ultimately missed the meaning of the text. When that happens, your Bible Study becomes the exegetical equivalent of all icing and no cake. It might sound great at first, but around 4 pounds into a 9 pound pail of chocolate buttercreme icing, you’ll have an involuntary change of heart (and stomach).
Believe me, I’ve tried…and painfully lost a bet in the process.
Harder questions are marked. An asterisk (*) question is a “think a little more about this” question. That’s my indication that the question is not a surface level question.
In this day, there is no shortage of confusion about Heaven: it’s one of the topics of Christian theology that innumerable unbalanced and unregenerate people love to focus on (that and angels, which is highly related). There is no shortage of fools and frauds that claim to have insight into Heaven; what it’s like, the nature of it, who goes there, etc. Also, the last twenty years or so has produced a gaggle of I Went To Heaven books where some clown claimed to go to Heaven and get the inside scoop (every single one of those people is lying, and I explain why here). There’s no shortage of claims about Heaven out there, and it gets prettycrazy. Try and survive a few minutes of this barking-mad insanity, which is shockingly peddled by the New Apostolic Reformation crowd (Just kidding…I’m not shocked for a second).
So in an effort to help sort through the mess of misinformation, I took my youth group through a brief exploration of the topic of Heaven.
Although I’m not blogging these days, I’m still very active. I’ve recently been doing some pulpit fill at Grace Fellowship Church Chilliwack. I’ve briskly preached through 1 Thessalonians, and as I was doing my prep for 1 Thess. 4:13-18, I was working through the idea of Christ’s “coming”, and hammering through the term parousia (translated “coming” in 1 Thess. 4:15, as well as many other places) in the New Testament. For interests of time, I won’t go through all the information I found, but I also want to put some helpful information on here for anyone who is interested in working through the issue (and the people who were listening to the sermon and struggling to keep up).
When Paul mentions Christ’s parousia in 1 Thess. 4:15, it’s a term with some specific background and meaning. Examining the background and meaning is helpful in sorting out what Paul’s aiming at in 1 Thess. 4:15.
There are a bunch of passages in scripture that I used to ignore, mostly because I didn’t know what to do with them. I’m guessing that you’re possibly like me; you know that certain passages are there but you’ve never really tackled them satisfactorily. In a discussion I had with a noted prosperity preacher (who shall remain anonymous), one specific passage came up and I got thinking about how he twisted it. He seemed to be making a fairly simple observation, but it was a text that I knew I had never sorted through and now I was forced to deal with it.
The text was Matthew 17:20.
What does a person do with Jesus teaching on faith in Matthew 17:20?
“…if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.”
It seems to be suggesting something rather extreme.