~*~ Being Mindful of the Often Neglected Holy Spirit~*~

As James R White wrote in his work called “The Forgotten Trinity”,  

“There is a reason why the Holy Spirit does not receive the same level and kind of attention that is focused upon the Father and the Son: it is not His purpose to attract that kind of attention to himself… One result of this voluntary role of the Spirit in the work of salvation’ is that the evidences of His personality and deity are not as numerous or obvious as those for the Father or the Son. He is not “up front” and is not spoken of as often as the other persons. Some take this as evidence of inferiority, but as we have noted before, difference in function does not indicate inferiority of nature.”

With this being said, we notice that there often is a kind of theological and early pattern within the early Jesus movement’s cultic practices being very dyadic. This structure focused on the work of God in the Son, Messiah, Jesus, which culminated in the atoning death on the cross, ascension, exaltation, and continued session and Vice Regenctcy of Jesus. Over the history of the church, there have also been many theological debates that focused the attention of the church on the status of Jesus as Divine/God/Yahweh/Lord/Son of God. No one has really questioned or doubted the devotion worthy to God the Father. Jesus has been debated and some think of Jesus as a god, view Jesus as worthy of worship alongside the Father. The one even Trinitarians often neglect is the Spirit. How do we include the proper reverence due to the Spirit that is often neglected?  

A few years ago, I noticed I was one who was neglecting the cultic reverence of the Spirit in my life. I thought about being a Trinitarian, and only thinking of the work of God in the Son. I thought about it and said to myself, I am a defender of the Doctrine of the Trinity, how is my prayer and religious devotion to God binary/dyadic and not more Triune in practice. This is when I began to read the book I mentioned earlier by James R White. He offered some good ideas on how to recognize the work of the Spirit more in your daily walk with God and how to include Him more in our worship/devotional practice. 

For one, what do we do without the breath of God? This may seem like a weird question but in the languages of the Bible, Holy Spirit means/is..

—1. רוּהַ breeze, breath:

Koehler, L., Baumgartner, W., Richardson, M. E. J., & Stamm, J. J. (1994–2000). The Hebrew and Aramaic lexicon of the Old Testament (electronic ed., p. 1198). Leiden: E.J. Brill.

-2. πνεῦμα/ἅγιον πνεῦμα

⑤ God’s being as controlling influence, with focus on association with humans, Spirit, spirit

Because of its heavenly origin and nature this Spirit is called (the) Holy Spirit (cp. PGM 4, 510 ἵνα πνεύσῃ ἐν ἐμοὶ τὸ ἱερὸν πνεῦμα.—Neither Philo nor Josephus called the Spirit πν. ἅγιον; the former used θεῖον or θεοῦ πν., the latter πν. θεῖον: Ant. 4, 118; 8, 408; 10, 239; but ἅγιον πνεῦμα Orig. C. Cels 1, 40, 16).

Arndt, W., Danker, F. W., Bauer, W., & Gingrich, F. W. (2000). A Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament and other early Christian literature (3rd ed., p. 834). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

The Holy Spirit is a personal Eternal personal force that draws and comforts the believer. As the promised helper that Jesus promised, he guides us when we fall short, encourages us when down, and gives us life daily in every breath. In a sense, the action of the Holy Spirit of God is the most prevalent and imminent aspect of God that we experience daily. In a very real yet mystical way, the Spirit is self-evident in every breath we take. Sometimes, taking time out to think about what we may frequently neglect, you come to realize the reality that was forgotten or neglected is more evident than you ever realized. 

When it comes to invoking or including the Spirit in one’s devotional or prayers, think more about the fact that within your prayer life, you include more or less the Spirit in your thoughts. For one, the Spirit is what drew us to Christ’s adoption offered to us in his blood. This act is one that brought the Spirit of God to a point that it was released for all who sought Him. In this, Many came to know and experience the Spirit of God and have a renewal of mind and heart to be Christ-centered. These actions can be revered and honored with a more consistent attitude of awareness of the work of the Spirit in the life of the Church and individuals in their daily walk. In the Spirit, we have more than we may think to be grateful of. 

James R. White. Forgotten Trinity, The (p. 139). Kindle Edition.

His Kingdom and Justification

His Kingdom and Justification

            In the New Testament, we come to know and see the kingdom of God/Heaven become the center point of much of the synoptic tradition. From the beginning of Jesus ministry, we find Jesus after his baptism and embedment temptation in the wilderness, the Gospel of Mark has Jesus proclaiming to all who were willing to hear that the time was now. Jesus went into Galilee proclaiming the gospel of God 15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled and the kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe in the gospel!” [1] This proclamation from Jesus should be understood as Jesus making the claim that the Rule of God had approached and it’s now required for all to be prepared for His judgment. This judgment is one against sin in all forms. The glorious sovereign governance of God has returned to the temple and to His people, the Israelites. Undenounced to the Israelites, God was coming to judge the world and them for their lack of faith in the will of God. Though the people of God had expected His return, they were not quite expecting the one that came or the manner of man that redemption was to come to the world.

When we look at the New Testament, the kingdom of God was first prefigured by John the Baptist in his announcement from the wilderness that we should prepare the way for Yahweh. This call is one that John saw himself of not being worthy of. He was in the wilderness crying out looking like a wild man, similar to Elijah, baptizing people in the Jordan. His ministry was one of washing with water. He took precedence from the Tanakh witch taught Man was to sanctify himself via circumcision of the heart to heart. He knew that God wanted us to set ourself apart for Himself to reflect His presence on Earth as caretakers of the people in the land. As we reflect on the book of Isaiah, Isaiah 61 teaches that the good news of God was that God never neglected His people and will care for them. He does and did hear the cries of the orphans and will bring them from injustice to peace and freedom from oppression. This comes ultimately in the blood of Christ. With Christ being the one whom proclaimed to his own Nasserites in Luke 4 that He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to send out in freedom those who are oppressed, 19 to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord.”[2] This favor that was offered to them is that Christ would be a ransom for many and in wounds, we would be healed. The message of the messiah is one that was probably seen as contrary to the expectations of the Jews. According to the Faithlife Study Bible, “During the first century ad, many Jews believed that the Messiah would initiate this reign, which was based on passages like Malachi 3:1–5; Zechariah 9:9–10; Isaiah 9:1–7; and Isaiah 52:13–53:12. They also believed that the kingdom would be established through political or military means (compare Matt 26:51–53; Luke 22:47–53)—but Jesus ushered in the kingdom in a radically unexpected way. He announced that the kingdom had come upon those whom He freed from demons (Matt 12:28); He taught that the kingdom should be received like a child (Mark 10:15) and explained that it belongs to the impoverished (Luke 6:20). Jesus declared the kingdom of God as a present reality that could be experienced by those He taught and to whom He ministered.”[3] With such a robust view of the kingdom of God that had been inaugurated in the coming of the Messiah, we must take into consideration the impactions of the work of Christ and how that affects the believing community directly.

            In Genesis 15 we read an important notion that is very much related to Jesus and his work in bringing the kingdom of God to this earth. With Abraham as the Father of many and the Father of the Faith, we learn that there was nothing unique about Abrahams calling other than his belief in the word of God. And he (Abram) believed in Yahweh, and he reckoned [imputed] it to him as righteousness. [4] Abraham was not the one who justified himself. God is he who Justifies the sinner. With rightiousness being something that is a free gift from God, we can not earn such from Him. As such, His rule is one that has total control over us. With God in the driver seat, we are coworkers and vessels of truth to the nations. This means that Jesus initiated the kingdom on earth, and wherever God’s will is carried out, the kingdom is a reality. [5] With making himself the offering that God will accept on our behave, He works on our behave as our savior. He lived a life like us on earth, dealt with temptation and yet concurred all forms of temptation of the evil one. He obeyed God to the point of death as our substitute. He was rewarded with victory over sin and death and brought into the throne room of God as the image of God, the outworking of His will on earth and in heaven. He gave his life that we may live a life more abundantly. All this happened and is happening until the concession of all things. Currently Christ reigns as Vice Regent of God’s universe.  Crowned with the Crown of God, he reigns on our behave, as the one sacrifice that did atone for sins on the cross. His intersession and session is in our favor and this blessing is one that is applied to us via the Faith that God has given to us. As Turner suggests, “God’s reign was inaugurated during Jesus’ earthly ministry and will be consummated when He returns (Turner, Matthew, 22).”[6] This is why he is worthy of worship. He completed his mission and it pleased God to not spare the son for our sake. God knew that his rule would be known. He set the covenant anew in the blood of Christ. This is a covenant where we will, as Daniel 7 prefigured, inherit the kingdom and domaining rule with Christ via his imputation of rigorousness to the people called saints that worship this one like a son of man.

            Early in the church there was disputes among the Jewish based communities and Paul. Primarily with Paul, there was a major issue among the church that Paul was whether Gentile followers of Jesus would be required to follow the laws of the Old Testament. Should they become Jews for Jesus was a Jew? How should they respond now that Christ had been crucified and resurrected and now that Gentile believers were coming to faith from Paul’s missionary work? In Paul’s letters, his argument is that the mercy of Christ extends to all people. When reflecting on what Christ has done, Paul emphasizes the freedom that Jesus has granted us—and our responsibility to do what Jesus expects of us, to fully love others.[7] This grant from Christ is not something that we have to repay to Christ for once received. No. We are vessels of his truth through his work on our behave in the Spirit.


[1] Harris, W. H., III, Ritzema, E., Brannan, R., Mangum, D., Dunham, J., Reimer, J. A., & Wierenga, M. (Eds.). (2012). The Lexham English Bible (Mk 1:14–15). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

[2] Harris, W. H., III, Ritzema, E., Brannan, R., Mangum, D., Dunham, J., Reimer, J. A., & Wierenga, M. (Eds.). (2012). The Lexham English Bible (Lk 4:18–19). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

[3] Goldsworthy, M. (2012, 2016). The Kingdom of God: Already but Not Yet. In Faithlife Study Bible. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

[4] Harris, W. H., III, Ritzema, E., Brannan, R., Mangum, D., Dunham, J., Reimer, J. A., & Wierenga, M. (Eds.). (2012). The Lexham English Bible (Ge 15:6). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

[5] Goldsworthy, M. (2012, 2016). The Kingdom of God: Already but Not Yet. In Faithlife Study Bible. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

[6] Long, M. T. (2016). Sermon on the Mount/Plain, Comparison. In J. D. Barry, D. Bomar, D. R. Brown, R. Klippenstein, D. Mangum, C. Sinclair Wolcott, … W. Widder (Eds.), The Lexham Bible Dictionary. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

[7] Barry, J. D., Mailhot, J., Bomar, D., Ritzema, E., & Sinclair-Wolcott, C. (Eds.). (2014). DIY Bible Study. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

~*~God’s Love for Man: Privation from Him and His Gift of Redemption~*~

God’s Love for Man: Privation from Him and His Gift of Redemption

What is a human being that you think of him?

What is a child of humankind that you care for him? [1]

Questions such as the ones asked of the psalmist are very deep and profound upon deeper reflection. In fact, it could be said that this aspect of reflection is one where we as creators in God’s world realize our absolute reliance on Him in all things. How so? Personally, I look around at my life knowing things that I have done in the past would be clear violations of His law. My whole noetic structure fell as soon as I exchanged His truth for my lie about what seemed appealing. Yet knowing God is holy, I should be judged in His sight for my actions. With, reading the Bible I learn that there is more to the story. In light of sin, God as Covenant Redeemer does more than forgives us for our sins. He offers humans in His Son salvation and eternal life. This essay will take a brief look at the Biblical History and Covenantal Relationship God made with Man as, the consequential realities of sin, and show that from the beginning, God has established a people for himself that He would redeem in his Son.

The Creator of All and Lord of the Covenant

In the beginning, God created all things. Acting as Creator, God established Himself over all things as to them being subjected to His will and decree. He primarily did this via a Covenantal Relationship in Word. In Psalms 8 we learn that God’s speech, personified as the Word, proceeds from the mouth of the Lord, and it is never to return void. I believe that this action underlines the way in which God keeps His laws and statues. When He speaks, things happen, and they maintain their stability in this “sending out and retuning to” motif. This is important to consider because when God made the universe, He also did not impart in all the creation His likeness or image. With Man, we learn that we are made in His image and likeness. As such we are to reflect His character on a creaturely level. This was, as to the teaching of the Bible, the experience of man prior to him breaking God’s command to not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God made that what he made ‘good’, yet with Man, this good creature fell from the grace he was in, to being removed from the garden, and realizing that the wages of sin was death. Though Man fell, God judged, and covered their nakedness with “skins”.  As stated in this commentary, when “God made coats of skins (this) taught them to make these for themselves. This implies the institution of animal sacrifice, which was undoubtedly of divine appointment, and instruction in the only acceptable mode of worship for sinful creatures, through faith in a Redeemer (Hebrews 9:22).[2]

The Effects of Sin to the Image of God

When looking at the what happened to man in the transgression in the garden, sin totally corrupted the image of God. Man, according to Paul completely, when left to following their thoughts about things “suppress the truth in unrighteousness, exchanging truth for a lie”[3]. This exchange of truth for humanly wants is what shows the entire noetic effect of sin. Sin corrupts our thinking and deprives us from God’s union. With man always since Adam thinking contrary to God’s instruction, we are sinful in our thoughts and actions. Yet, Tanakh also includes several references to Yahweh overcoming death (e.g., Hos 13:14; 14:2; Isa 25:8; Song 8:6), to the rising of the dead (e.g., Psa 88:11; 2 Sam 13:21; Job 14:12; Ruth 4:5, 10), and to the dead being called to address the living (1 Sam 28:3–25). There are also passages that imply an ongoing relationship with Yahweh beyond death (Psa 16:9–11; 49:10–15; 73:23–28; Job 19:25–27).[4] We also know that even until our own day, members of the traditional Biblical faith and offshoots claim that God has not forgotten His people or covenants he established long ago in Abraham. Being made sure that God is and remains the covenant Lord of his people (Mal 3:5 5 A more distant eschatological note is sounded in v. 5, where the third-person pronouns referring to the messenger and the ʾādôn revert to the first person of v. 1, the subject of which is the Lord. He will come in the last days in judgment and will right the wrongs perpetrated by those who violate the Torah.[5] He did not leave them without hope and yet this hope is one that ultimately came in love to his people of the covenant.  

The Redemption of God: Love in a Gift

            When we think about Jesus, reading the Scriptures, we find out that Jesus is much more than what a mere man or prophet. Jesus is the one that was told to Adam and Eve in the garden to come from the seed of the woman in Genesis 3: 15. Luke 1:35 states that Jesus was born holy and God’s son, so in a since he did not inherent sin from his father but holiness. Knowing God is Holy and the redeemer of Israel in the book of Isaiah, we find that this makes more sense when looking at Jesus. As many scholars have suggested, “the Old Testament should be read as a messianic text, designed by its authors to promote a messianic hope.”[6] With God making good on his promise from the beginning with Adam and even in the coming of Christ, For God so loved the World, he gave a gift for the believing ones. This gift brings life from when we first died in the garden with Adam has been given in the blood of Christ. The Christology centered yet God focused theology of the Bible is one of a God that has always remain a redeemer.

Conclusion

            With sin being as affective to the whole of the Man in corrupting man’s intellect, one can see why many may focus on minor aspects of God’s judgment in the Bible to identify God as evil. He is not and can not be for He does not lie and He keeps His covenants from Creation until the end times. He is judge yet he is mindful and redeems. His redemption comes in his Son for His redeemed. This was promised from just after the Fall and now in the Son, Jesus, it has been made actual in His death on the cross. We shall be grateful that His word is true. As the author of Hebrews stated, 25 Therefore also He is able to save completely those who draw near to God through him, because He always lives in order to intercede on their behalf. [7]


[1] Harris, W. H., III, Ritzema, E., Brannan, R., Mangum, D., Dunham, J., Reimer, J. A., & Wierenga, M. (Eds.). (2012). The Lexham English Bible (Ps 8:4). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

[2] Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (1997). Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Vol. 1, p. 20). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

[3] Runge, S. E. (2014). High Definition Commentary: Romans (p. 25). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

[4] Shields, M. A. (2016). Death. In J. D. Barry, D. Bomar, D. R. Brown, R. Klippenstein, D. Mangum, C. Sinclair Wolcott, … W. Widder (Eds.), The Lexham Bible Dictionary. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

[5] Merrill, E. H. (2008). Malachi. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Daniel–Malachi (Revised Edition) (Vol. 8, p. 858). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[6] Rydelnik, Michael. The Messianic Hope (NAC Studies in Bible & Theology) (p. 146). B&H Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

[7] Harris, W. H., III, Ritzema, E., Brannan, R., Mangum, D., Dunham, J., Reimer, J. A., & Wierenga, M. (Eds.). (2012). The Lexham English Bible (Heb 7:25). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

~*~Dating p52~*~

When it comes to the New Testament, we have no early manuscript that state explixtly a dat of composition extant in the record. Often, this may seem like an issue that makes dating manuscripts from antiqu a rudd and hard issue.

P52 is the earliest assisted manuscriptin this long tradition held by Christians of the Gospels, namely The Gospel of John. Traditionall it has been viewed as coming about as early as 95 to commonly dated to the year 125 CE. With such a fixed date assigned to this document, it’s interstung when scholars suggest a misusage of belied dates of manuscripts.

Recently, a scholar has made ehedway on the seen with his criticisms of scholarship merely accepting dates assigned to manuscript with no arguments or defences for an assumed widespread consensus view in light of his criticisms of other scholars, he never actually suggested a date for the manuscripts p52. In fact his article is taken as meaning he has radically changed or assessed a new date to the earliest manuscript of the New Testament.

Sadly, many people have read the headline and not noticed even with the academic critisim of other scholars, Nonbori did not suggest a new date for the manuscripts. In fact his article suggested only a slight adjustment to the dating in genera

With all the fuss, the text is still most likely from second century. With this issue far from being settled, we should know that in general it’s wrong to affirm a date to an undated manuscript unless there is good reason to keep it in the same general time period. Also we should consider the fact that most scholars that date manuscripts based on their hand writtng, dates in general should be within a 25 year +/- scale.

With this being said… It would be better to date this manuscript within the period shortly after 125 CE. So if you hold to the early traditional date for p52 (ie 125 CE) we should remember and try to understand that that dating is too precise./exact. 125-175 CE would be more accurate but still somewhat questionable. 150-200 CE is a good general date for the manuscript.

 (PLENARY VERBAL INSPIRATION) GOD BREATHED SCRIPTURES

(PLENARY VERBAL INSPIRATION) GOD BREATHED SCRIPTURES

When many come to knowing some of the theories of the Bible that discuss and articulate a mode of what is called in most Christian circles, the doctrine of inspiration, many wonder or they assume wrongly that inspiration means God inspired or sparked a creative inpulse into the transcriber of the original works of the Bible,. Some think the notion of inspired text means that God acted as the author or scribe hearing a voice from heaven theory also, but is this the view of the Bible is portraying or just a modern day assumption of how the Bible itself mentions or discusses its own inspiration? What about God being like a ghost/phantum wrtitter making the authors or scribe ofd the original work of the Bible, controlling their body as their hand travesld across the page? is theis how the Bible articulates it inspiration or how it is known? Does the Bible even give us any hints at how the Bible is inspired in the first place?
Though it will not be my intention here to answer all these questions but in light of some common understandings of inspirition of the Bible and the diffrences of such a view from the Bible itself often are mythicized in our modern culture due to movies and media depictions of these events. So to begin with, Does the Bible give us a claim on its own inspiration? If so, what is and What does this tell us about our God? Can Man know that this is the Word of God?

When we open up the class reading for this post with these questions and mind, what do we find? I think that in light of the first s chapter of the class book, we should note that there are seemingly two inspiration theories that could be seen as quite Biblically grounded and takes the text of the text (and the implications of the belief) seriesoully, namely the Dictation theory and the Plenary Verbal Inspiration. How so?
Regarding the Dictation theory, we see that Scriptue teaches that God may have communicated a precise “word for word” message to human authors in text like Jer 26:2, Revelation 2:1,8). Also, it seems (as attested to in the synopyic problem found in tanakh and NT synoptoc gospels) that God allows for the authors of the text to speak via their own expressions of their own personalities. But does this answer the whoel question about the whole Bible? not really, and this is why the Verbal inpiration theory to be slightly more satifying than the dictaon theory.

In the verbal inspiration theory, the entire text attest to the contention that all Christians hold to in light of their theorlogy that must be considered, namly that the God of the Bible is a transendtal God that prevades history and space time and matter leaving evidence of his existence everywhere (Romans 1:18-20) to such an extent, according to the Bible, all man knows God and Gods existence is made clear to us all yet we suppress this truth in unrighoutousness. Why is this importatnt? Due to God being God, his “speach”/”word” attest to his atturbutes. This implys if true that God Himself can and does not and will not fail in getting his message across. As early in the Church histroy even, we have records that attest to such a POWER in the witness of the Scripture itself. Who said such?

Aristides, a converted Athenian philosopher, who lived and wrote about 125 AD and its interesting how he attested to this feature of the doctrine of inspiration, or as he puts “…it the power in the Scripture” that was avalible and readable in his era…

“The Christians, then, trace the beginning of their religion from Jesus the Messiah; and he is named the Son of God Most High. And it is said that God came down from heaven, and from a Hebrew virgin assumed and clothed himself with flesh; and the Son of God lived in a daughter of man. This is taught in the gospel, as it is called, which a short time was preached among them; and you also if you will read therein, may perceive the power which belongs to it. This Jesus, then, was born of the race of the Hebrews; and he had twelve disciples in order that the purpose of his incarnation might in time be accomplished. But he himself was pierced by the Jews, and he died and was buried; and they say that after three days he rose and ascended to heaven (Apol. 2).”
Notice that even well befor our modern era, the text we read changed lives and was seen to have “Precieved power that belongs to it (the Gospel)”

Not to mention the nature of the text in 1 Peter 3:15, we find that even here in the Apology of Aristides, the Scripture also teaches of itself the
BREATHING OUT of Scriptuer by God.
So as we speak, breath and have our being (in Christ as Scripture also teaches) God has inspired and preserved his text via a verbal reconizable authroty that isnt that merely of the over 40 authors of the Bible but are evidence that God inspirted and breathed out TRUTH and made that truth of himself known to us via his covenantal text we know today as the Bible.

-Courtney Thompson