Category Archives: Bible Study

Problems with the Christian Doctrine of the Trinity

As Jesus, in the eyes of the Trinitarian, is God, then everything in the Bible which applies to God must equally apply to him, as all three parts of the Trinity are co-equal. However this results in many contradictions or paradoxes and aren’t something that can be explained from scripture.

  • Jesus is visible, but God is invisible

Christ is exactly like God, who cannot be seen. He is the first-born Son, superior to all creation. (Colossians 1:15)

  • Jesus was seen, but God was never seen

No one has ever seen God. The only Son, who is truly God and is closest to the Father, has shown us what God is like. (John 1:18)

Only God lives forever! And he lives in light that no one can come near. No human has ever seen God or ever can see him. God will be honored, and his power will last forever. Amen. (1 Timothy 6:16)

  • Jesus was tempted, but God cannot be tempted

The Holy Spirit led Jesus into the desert, so that the devil could test him. After Jesus had gone without eating for forty days and nights, he was very hungry. Then the devil came to him and said, “If you are God’s Son, tell these stones to turn into bread.” Jesus answered, “The Scriptures say: ‘No one can live only on food. People need every word that God has spoken.’ ” Next, the devil took Jesus to the holy city and had him stand on the highest part of the temple. The devil said, “If you are God’s Son, jump off. The Scriptures say: ‘God will give his angels orders about you. They will catch you in their arms, and you won’t hurt your feet on the stones.’ ” Jesus answered, “The Scriptures also say, ‘Don’t try to test the Lord your God!’ ” Finally, the devil took Jesus up on a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms on earth and their power. The devil said to him, “I will give all this to you, if you will bow down and worship me.” Jesus answered, “Go away Satan! The Scriptures say: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve only him.’ ” Then the devil left Jesus, and angels came to help him. (Matthew 4:1-11)

Don’t blame God when you are tempted! God cannot be tempted by evil, and he doesn’t use evil to tempt others. (James 1:13)

  • “Made like his brothers and sisters in every respect”, but God is not like them at all, since he is God and does not possess “fallen nature”, which is why he couldn’t send himself

He had to be one of us, so that he could serve God as our merciful and faithful high priest and sacrifice himself for the forgiveness of our sins. (Hebrews 2:17)

  • Jesus died on the cross despite God being eternal

I pray that honor and glory will always be given to the only God, who lives forever and is the invisible and eternal King! Amen. (1 Timothy 1:17)

  • Jesus was “Raised from the dead” and “released from the pains of death” by the Father, though God can never die

Now hurry! Tell his disciples that he has been raised to life and is on his way to Galilee. Go there, and you will see him. That is what I came to tell you.” (Matthew 28:7)

But God set him free from death and raised him to life. Death could not hold him in its power. (Acts 2:24)

  • Jesus had to depend on his Father for the power to do miraculous works

Don’t you believe that I am one with the Father and that the Father is one with me? What I say isn’t said on my own. The Father who lives in me does these things. (John 14:10)

  • Jesus did not know everything, yet God does

No one knows the day or hour. The angels in heaven don’t know, and the Son himself doesn’t know. Only the Father knows. (Matthew 24:36)

  • Jesus and God are co-equal, but they are supposedly “God” and “not-God” at the same time.

United in Prayer

The new church, established in the events following the receiving of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, was an intense affair! Riding on the back of the newly risen and ascended Christ, the church was growing at a phenomenal rate, with a momentum that could have crashed through mountains. The council tried to stop them. They failed. Peter and John were tried before the council for proclaiming Jesus’ resurrection from dead, for it meant that if true the Jewish leaders had put an innocent man to death and they just didn’t want that sort of publicity. Shutting them up was a good option.

Unable to hold them in light of the incontestable evidence before them though (the healed lame man standing before them made sure of that), the council reluctantly let them go, on one condition. To speak no more of the name of Jesus, a condition accompanied by many threats, but no punishment. With no legal grounds to stop them, they tried to frighten them into silence.

It didn’t work. After being released (Acts 4:23), Peter and John went back to their friends and told them everything that had happened. Rather than being downhearted and feeling fearful they lifted up their voices together and united in prayer to God, praising his name and acknowledging the persecution of Jesus and the work done through him. They were aware of the threats that they faced and asked for boldness to continue spread the gospel in Jesus’ name.

You don’t see the church suffering from a lack of confidence in Acts, or feeling inferior. Compared to the Jewish council, or the Roman authorities, the church wasn’t much to look at and they didn’t have any say in the running of the temple, or synagogues. What they did recognise though was that God was in control and while they couldn’t control everything around them, they could raise their voices in praise to God and let Him do the work for them, without fear.

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. (Jer 29:11)

Their request in this united prayer was in response to a need that arose. The leaders were trying to silence them, so they asked simply and directly for boldness so they could be a strong voice for Jesus. It wasn’t a long list of small requests, but what was really needed at the time.

Make your prayer a habit, united together with other believers in recognising that God is in control and that he can help you achieve His will. Keep it simple. Ask him for your daily needs, anything that empowers us to speak His word and don’t forget to acknowledge God for who He is!

Bible Mnemonics – The Minor Prophets

Ever found it a struggle to remember the order of the Minor Prophets in the Bible? I’m sure we all have at times. I’m not even sure they remembered to include Habakkuk in my Bible, I can never seem to find it!

Forget no longer because we’ve created this simple Bible mnemonic to help you remember!

Humourous Jokes About Orange Jelly Might Not Help Zookeepers Hurling Zebra Milk.

All you have to do is remember some funny orange jelly not helping a zookeeper to throw zebra milk.

minor-prophets

What other mnemonics do you use to remember the books of the Bible?

Oh, by the way… what do you call someone with jelly in one ear and custard in the other?

A trifle deaf.

Was Peter the First Pope?

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Pope Benedict XVI stepped down as the 265th Pope at the end of last month, the first to resign for 600 years. The cardinals have gathered in Rome and the elaborate process of electing the next Pope will begin very shortly.

There are 1.2 billion Roman Catholics in the world, and the Pope is regarded as having divine authority, so it’s a pretty important position in the eyes of the Catholics! The conclave will be held in the Sistine chapel and they will want to push things through so there is a new Pope in place by the start of the Easter week.

Catholics have a long held tradition that Simon Peter was the first Pope, but does that idea carry any weight when we look at the Bible? We look at this question and others in our latest Bible Study on Was Peter the First Pope?

What is Repentance?

imageAnyone with even a small amount of Bible knowledge realises that God is looking for us to ‘repent’. However we might wonder what ‘repentance’ actually is.

What does one do when one ‘repents’? Rather than simply defining the word, a Biblical example will help to demonstrate the meaning of repentance and more importantly how God responds when someone repents.

King in Trouble

2 Samuel Chapters 11 and 12 record a very sad period in the life of a king of Israel. The man was King David. Whilst his army was away at battle he committed adultery with the wife of one of his army generals. Then, when he learnt that she was pregnant, David arranged for her husband to be murdered. Summarising the two chapters which speak of this event we see the following:

  

2 Samuel Event
11:1-4 David commits adultery with a woman called Bathsheba
11:5 Bathsheba told David she was pregnant − with his child
11:6-13 David tries to get Bathsheba’s husband Uriah to sleep with his wife so that the child would appear to be his
11:14-25 David arranged to have Uriah murdered
11:26-27 David married Bathsheba
12:1-4 About 9 months later God sends the prophet Nathan to confront David about what he had done in committing adultery and murdering Uriah. He did this by telling David a story – much like the parables we find in the New Testament
12:5-6 David correctly identifies what should be done to the man who has done what the prophet Nathan talks about
12:7-12 The prophet Nathan then explains to David that he was the person in the wrong in the story that he had just told David. He then went on to tell David that he would be punished for what he had done
12:13 David repents − he actually said ‘I have sinned’


Repentance Defined

So we see that repentance means acknowledging that we are sinners. The example given is to teach us that in general terms we are sinners. It does not mean that we should confess to being adulterers or murderers, unless of course we are! The encouraging thing to notice is that when David repented, God forgave him. The Scripture explains it like this:

David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.” And Nathan said to David, “The Lord also has put away your sin; you shall not die. (2 Samuel 12:13).

But the matter didn’t end there for David wrote a number of Psalms about this whole incident, Psalm 32 being one of them. In the Psalm he speaks of the turmoil in his mind before he confessed his sin. He said:

“When I kept silent, my bones grew old through my groaning all the day long” (Psalm 32:3).

He was in such distress that David decided to repent before Nathan came to see him. For the Psalm continues:

I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,” and You forgave the iniquity of my sin (Psalm 32:5).

The outcome of that repentance is seen in the words of Nathan: “The Lord also has put away your sin; you shall not die”. That gracious act of forgiveness is what David was referring to when he said: “You forgave the iniquity of my sin”.

What about Us?

What we have been looking at is not simply a Bible story. The New Testament says David’s experience can be ours. For in Romans chapter 4 the apostle Paul quotes Psalm 32:1-2 to describe the wonderful position of those who have been forgiven by God. Paul takes the personal experience of David “the man” (in Psalm 32:1) and shows it has a general application to all who would repent saying “those” (in Romans 4:7).

David also describes the blessedness of the man to whom God imputes righteousness apart from works: “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven,and whose sins are covered; blessed is the man to whom the Lord shall not impute sin” (Romans 4:6–8).

We noticed that God waited almost a year before sending Nathan to speak with David. Why did He wait so long? After all if God had intervened immediately Uriah would not have been murdered by David. In the way that He waited for David to repent we see how God works. The New Testament explains it like this:

The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9).

So the question we need to ask ourselves is how far are we along the road to repentance? How much longer will God have to wait for us?

Scripture has this wonderful promise for all of us:

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).