Leonard Ravenhill Quotes

Some of the great quotes from one of God’s anointed prophets. 

 

“Today’s church wants to be raptured from responsibility.”

“The early church was married to poverty, prisons and persecutions. Today, the church is married to prosperity, personality, and popularity.”

“If weak in prayer, we are weak everywhere.”

“How can you have a dead service with a living Christ?”

“A man may study because his brain is hungry for knowledge, even Bible knowledge. But he prays because his soul is hungry for God.”

“Men give advice; God gives guidance.”

“Many of us are hunting mice – while lions devour the land.”

“A man who is intimate with God will never be intimidated by men.”

“No man – I don’t care how colossal his intellect – No man is greater than his prayer life.”

“Better for you to have one sleepless night on earth than millions in hell.”

“Are the things you are living for worth Christ dying for?”

“A sinning man stops praying, a praying man stops sinning.”

“Let your iniquities be given speech and hiss and torment you until you repent!”

“The only reason we don’t have revival is because we are willing to live without it!”

“God pity us that after years of writing, using mountains of paper and rivers of ink, exhausting flashy terminology about the biggest revival meetings in history, we are still faced with gross corruption in every nation, as well as with the most prayerless church age since Pentecost.”

“Church unity comes from corporate humility.”

“Nobody else can give you a clean heart but God.”

“Smart men walked on the moon, daring men walked on the ocean floor, but wise men walk with God.”

“You can’t develop character by reading books. You develop it from conflict.”

“I doubt that more than two percent of professing Christians in the United States are truly born again.”

“One of these days some simple soul will pick up the Book of God, read it, and believe it. Then the rest of us will be embarrassed.”

“When there’s something in the Bible that churches don’t like, they call it legalism.”

“Why is there this criminal indifference to the lostness of men? Our condemnation is that we know how to live better than we are living.”

“The Church used to be a lifeboat rescuing the perishing. Now she is a cruise ship recruiting the promising.”

“The opportunity of a lifetime must be seized within the lifetime of the opportunity.”

“My main ambition in life is to be on the devil’s most wanted list.”

“If Jesus had preached the same message that ministers preach today, He would never have been crucified.”

“No man is greater than his prayer life. The pastor who is not praying is playing; the people who are not praying are straying. The pulpit can be a shop window to display one’s talents; the prayer closet allows no showing off.”

“Entertainment is the devil’s substitute for joy”

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A “Syntopical Analysis” of two Saints using the Word of God to defend against Paganism during there time

Athanasius uses the Word to triumph over paganism in a defense for a Creator. Philosophers declared that if there was a God who created everything there had to be preexistent matter for which the Creator used to create other material things. Athanasius replies by appealing to Matthew 19:4-6. In addition to showing that the philosophers remove the definition of what it means to be by definition a “creator (51).” A creator in the sense of being able to create anything out of nothing that formerly had no being. Moreover, Athanasius also refutes the Epicureans who held that the universe came into being by chance. Athanasius uses the Word of God further to defend against the unbelieving Jews. Athanasius uses at least seven prophesies from the Old Testament to show disbelieving Jews that Jesus Christ is the Messiah (84-86). Finally the most thorough case Athanasius makes against the Pagans is the case for Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. Employing verses such as 1 Corinthians 15:21-22 to defend the life of Jesus. Athanasius also incorporates Hebrews 2:14-15, and 11:35 to defend Jesus’ death and resurrection. As well as employing verses and others to show why Jesus Christ had to come down and pay the penalty of death because of man’s fallen state. He shows the necessity for everyone to believe in Jesus’ resurrection to have eternal life. Paganism suffered during this time primarily because Athanasius used the Word of God to show that Christianity is a rational belief in Scripture.

In contrast to Athanasius work Augustine uses the City of God to refute those who believe that Christianity was responsible for the social riots that were caused by the barbarian invasion. In fact Augustine believes that the invasion of Rome was brought upon them not because of Christianity but because of its absence. He states, “The true God leaves those who do not worship Him to their own devices (33).” Augustine further shows the foolishness of the gods by showing the complete destruction of Troy and further questioning if the gods being unable to protect the most devout cities. Next, Augustine shows the folly of the god Jupiter who was Rome’s great god. He shows how polytheism as opposed to monotheism is ridiculous because there is no explanation for a god who calls oneself great and yet be apart of a family of gods that are required to do what the one God of Christianity can do alone. Furthermore, Augustine argues against the pagan poetry and plays during the Roman times that depicted the Roman gods. The poets, and actors of such plays would depict their gods full of vices. Thus the no one seriously should consider worshiping a god full of failures. In all of this Augustine simply writes that because Rome was built on mans glory and his imaginative god their reward was just for their invasion. In defense of the Christian faith one word that defines the whole reason why Christianity could not have been responsible for the invasion on Rome is happiness. Augustine shows that man’s happiness can only be found in God and not in the gods who cannot even give eternal life. Augustine is also different from Athanasius in that he show the rational for believing in God without the Bible.

Augustine defense is similar to Athanasius defense for Christianity. When Augustine exposits Genesis 3 he as well as Athanasius shows that the Christian God is not the creator of evil. Both authors agree that if God created all things to be good that evil was not a creation of Gods. However Athanasius does not go as far in to say that it was because of mans disobedience for the existence of evil like Augustine does. They also both show with substantial evidence the weaknesses for paganism and why it is irrational for one not to accept the Christian God. Another similarity and perhaps more obvious is that these two authors dealt with similar problem. Christianity needed to give a defense for the faith during a time when it was absolutely crucial or otherwise the pagans would have been more successful in smothering Christianity. One way in which these authors essentially argued the same thing is that they both showed that faith in God is a rational belief and that Christianity is not a foolish thing to believe in. 

THE PROBLEM OF EVIL: SAINT AUGUSTINE

The question of evil has been a timeless question asked all throughout the ages. Still today the question passes over onto the twentieth century with the same negative overtone. The question has existed in many forms but the main idea of the question has never changed. That is if there was a loving and sovereign God how could he permit evil in the world? The Christian faith has had to appeal to this question for as long as it has been challenge by those who do not accept the Christian God. Saint Augustine dealt with this question in his work called The Confessions and it was during a time when the Christian faith would have been greatly scrutinized by its enemies. Augustine addresses this question of evil in a profound way that has reverberated effects in todays culture. The argument is that evil exists and entered into the world as a result of man’s free will and not by God because he created all things to be good.

       During the time in which Augustine lived the question of evil would have certainly been one of the main inquires during his era. The period of history when Augustine made an appeal to this question was during a time for Christians where evil seemed to exist more then any other century. Augustine was born in the fourth century and in the earlier century Christianity was still recovering from the persecution under Emperor Decius. It was Decius who sought to restore Rome to its former beauty by worshiping the gods, which was being undermined by Christianity. As a result Decius set out to create as many apostates of the Christian faith by torturing them. Following this Christians experienced a few years of peace but would soon enter into the worst persecution the church would ever be exposed to under the Roman Empire. Entering into the fourth century under the reign of Emperor Diocleaetian he would set the standard as being the most notorious leader for the Christian faith. Similar to Decius, Diocleaetian wanted to create as many apostates in the Church. However Diocleaetian would spare Christians from the torture if they would simply hand over their texts for him to burn. Thus many Christians succumbed to this condition, which would cause latter problems in the Churches across Rome.However those who did not give up their scripture would be tortured to death in an assortment of ways from crucifixion to being burned at the stake. This served as a public example for all Christians who refused to worship the gods. The persecution hit the Church rapidly. And it vanished the same way in entered. Under the influence of Galerius, Diocleaetian suddenly stopped the persecution of the Christians. 

       When Augustine was born in the forth century he was living in the thoughts of the aftermath of all this persecution. Constantine followed Diocleaetian and brought upon the Roman Emperor a manifestation of restoration and prosperity to the Christian faith. The question naturally arises out of this that is how could God allow all of these terrible acts to happen to his own people? Augustine was first introduced to this problem of evil at a very early age. Being a follower of Manichaeism it “taught that the universe was made up of two powerful forces, Good and Evil, which were eternally opposed.” Augustine would later leave that faith and become a Christian sometime in the early years of his life. In Augustine’s Confession the discussion of good and evil begins with God. Augustine argues that God is absolutely good and that there can be no corruption in Him. Augustine employs words such as “supreme good” and “best good.”He is the highest conceivable being of goodness and Augustine adds that what God wills for himself is good which “he himself is that same good.” Furthermore Jesus exhorts that all men be perfect as his Heavenly father is perfect in Matthew 7:35. Thus there exists this perfectly good God, in whom no evil could exist because it is contradictory to his character. Consequently a good God could not create anything that is not good.

       Therefore if evil is not good as Augustine contends then it was not created. That is because all things that God created is good. Moreover all created substances created by God have a state of being so if evil does not have a state of being then it follows that it is nothing.However evil does exist as some form in the world because there are clear objective moral values that are actually evil. This is the dilemma because evil does exist all though God did not create it. This is where Augustine transitions over to man’s free will.

       Man’s free will begins in the Garden of Eden.The Garden of Eden is a place in the Bible that reads that God created this perfect environment for man to dwell. God created all things and all things were good. The perfect environment that God made was a place where God could come down and have fellowship with man. The passage also says that in the Garden God placed a tree in the center and God told man not to eat from it. The tree was good but God gave the man free will to obey or disobey God if he chose to eat of the tree. Otherwise there is no reason for God to command man to not eat of the forbidden tree. God gave him a choice. Thus when man in his free will choose to eat of the tree that God told him not to, man deliberately displayed disobedience to God and evil entered into the world. Since all things were created good then evil Augustine calls it a corruption of that good.

       Thus this corruption exists like a malfunction in the brain, a disorder that prevents the complete goodness in men. Augustine shows that evil is a depravity of goodness.Consequently evil exist in the form that it takes away some of the goodness that God had created in each man because everything God created was good. Nolan B. Harmon rightly adds that Evil is found in “not adhering” to God, a type of falling away that was given man as a choice. Once more evil does exist because it robs men of their goodness, thus making them evil, because they are not all good but partially good. So man is responsible for the evil in the world because God created everything to be good.

       There is a disease that Augustine believes is the worst disease in the world. This disease claims more lives then any other disease. It is a disease that everyone who ever lived, lives and will live is going to suffer under. This disease is called sin, which is evil. Evil that exists in the form of thousands of persecuted Christians and horrific crimes that were taking place in the Roman Empire. Evil that has spread to all men everywhere it man is utterly hopeless. However Augustine advocates that there is a cure. The Gospel calls him the great physician. Man’s free will is responsible for the evil that exist in the world, but it is also man’s free will to restore the goodness that God created in all men from the beginning of all time if they chose to accept Christ as their savior.

Bibliography

            Augustine, Aurelius. The Confessions of Saint Augustine Translated by John K, Ryan New York: Image, 1960

            Bauer, Susan Wise. The History of the Medieval World, New York N.Y: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc, 2010

            Gonzalez, Justo L. The Story of Christianity, 2 vols. Rev. and updated, 2nd ed. New York: HarperOne, 2010.

            Harmon, B. Nolan, Jr, “Saint Augustine and the Problem of Evil,” Religion in Life, Vol, XIV, New York: Abingdon-Cokesbury Press 1945.


 
 

The Merciful God of the Old Testament

There is a gross manifestation that is once again gripping the attraction of this new and becoming era of academia of new discoveries in fields all across science. It is a problem that has existed in the Church for centuries. The issue is the same topic of debate since it first appeared. Except with one difference, which is that it is now disguised behind the mask of intellectualism. The topic in discussion is that the God of the Old Testament is an unjust and tyrannical God who is not great. Once again the accusation intends to, as it always has to expose the Church and end the Christian religion. However as history has proved the Bible has survived more than two thousand years of scrutiny and still remains as strong as it did before. Are the claims that argue against the God of the Old Testament really true? Appealing to the Old Testament and more specifically the Book of Deuteronomy one will see that there is insurmountable evidence that defends against these audacious accusations.

THE CASE FOR GOD IS NOT MERCIFUL

       The problem explained in more detail is that the God in the Old Testament is completely different from the God of the New Testament. The New Testament portrays a God of love and good virtue who inspired Paul to exhort believers to think upon things that are pure, right, and lovely (Philippians 4:8).In contrast to that some critics portray the God of the Old Testament as an unjust, maniacal, contradictory being who relishes in the destruction of innocent people groups. One of the worlds leading and most respected scientist in the secular world today, Richard Dawkins has stated the objection clear and argues that God is not a loving God in his book the God Delusion. The God of the Old Testament is arguable the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticide, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully. Richard Dawkin’s strong admonishment demands strong evidence. Another critic who offers a more complete view of the argument is Christopher Hitchens. He appeals to how the God of the Old Testament is terribly contradictory. In his book god is not Great he first points to what seems to be a weakness in the text by writing God establishes that, “Thou shall not murder” in Exodus 20:13 to which God then commands the Israelites to slaughter the people in the Israelite camp for their idolatry. In addition to this Christopher Hitchens also points to the massacre that occurred in Egypt when the Holy Spirit killed probably more then three thousand infants to bring to pass what Moses had warned the Egyptians about. Secondly, Christopher Hitchens goes on to argue that God’s Ten Commandments are foolishness.He states an obvious fact that the Ten Commandments are simply objective moral values, values that exist in all societies. Everyone inherently knows that it is not advantageous to steal, rape, murder, or covet. Thus what Christopher Hitchens is attacking is the fact that the commandments are not really commandments but facts of nature. Consequently serving no purpose for the Israelites because humans are born with moral values. Thirdly, Hitchens goes on to question why the commandments exclude laws about “the protection of children from cruelty,” rape, slavery and genocide. His point is that God forbids the Israelites to do everything except those actions that the Israelites are already practicing with the exception of murdering. The Israelites all throughout the Old Testament appear to be performing acts of slavery, genocide, and cruelty. And in other occurrences that would appear as rape. What Hitchens also tires to make more difficult to understand is why Moses commands the Israelites to stone their sons if they rebel against their parents and flee.

EVIDENCE FOR GODS GREAT MERCY

       Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins claims are strong however a simple and a more comprehensive understanding of the text in Deuteronomy and a thorough study in the Bible reveals that their claims are simply hasty generalizations. Beginning with Moses Ten Commandments. The Ten Commandments are essentially moral values that humans inherently live by with the exception of the first five commands. However before the Ten Commandments there were no other Laws that the Israelites had for their people. The Ten Commandments primary purpose was to show that the people of Israel are guilty before a Holy God. No one could follow the law it was impossible, which indicates the standard of the God of the Bible. God’s standard is so high that no one can ever be completely sinless.

Subsequently the rationale behind God’s command to order the Israelites to kill anything that breathes (Duet. 20:16) is because God had promised the Land of Canaan to the Israelites. Reading the entire Old Testament one cannot ignore the fact that God demands just rulers and just people. Moreover God does not take pleasure in destroying the wicked. In Ezekiel 33:11 it reads that, “So to them, As I live, declares the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his own way and live; turn back from your evil ways, for why will you die. . .” Remember also the account of Jonah. God sends a prophet to Nineveh to warn them of the impending destruction to come if they do not repent. Deuteronomy 4:11 states, “And should not I pity Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know their right hand from their left, and also much cattle?” God pitied the Nineties. God had sorrow and compassion for the misfortune of these people. In addition to this before Moses’ time remember also the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. God was deeply compassionate to save the people whose outcry was great against them, and “their sin [was] very grave” (Duet. 18:20). Abraham appeals to God five times and and pleads that if there are at-least ten who are righteous will God not spare them (Gn. 18:32). And God replies answering, “For the sake of ten I will not destroy it” (Duet. 18:32). God is extremely merciful and his judgment is right. These people’s sin’s were “grave.” The unjust will be punished and the just will be rewarded. With the Canaanites God had given them 400 hundred years to repent and turn from their wickedness (Gen. 15:13). The abominations of the Canaanites were also extensive (Gen. 15:16; Lev. 18:21, 24-30; Duet. 9:4-5, 12:29-31, 18:10). Richard Dawkins earlier accused God as being genocidal. This is the deliberate act of killing off a large group of people. Nowhere in the Bible does God command the Israelites to commit genocide. Dr. William Lane Craig points out that God is clearing the land for the people of Israel to dwell in. Those who opposed to leaving the cities were killed but if they had fled God did not condone the Israelites to go out beyond the land of Canaan to hunt after and slaughter every single Canaanite until they no longer existed. Thus God is not genocidal and neither does he want to destroy people groups unless they are to be punished. God used Israel as their divine judgment for not obeying Him. And God also used the Babylonians hundreds of years later to punish his own people for committing adultery and numerous of other sins.  Moreover the Assyrians were used to judge the Babylonians for their sins as well. Deuteronomy 7:9 that God has, “steadfast Love” and that, “God loves justice (Isa.61:8).” God is also perfect (Ps. 18:30). Thus God is perfectly just and perfectly loving. Dr. William Lane Craig argues that God is the objective moral standard of what is good and bad. Therefore he is able to determine what is punishable and not punishable and the acts of the Canaanites were acts deserving punishment.

Another example of God’s mercy is found in Deuteronomy 9. In this Chapter Moses recalls the account when Israel constructed the golden calf. When Moses had descended from the mountain with the law written on two tablets, there before him was Israel worshipping the calf. Despite the disobedience and faithlessness the Israelites displayed before their God, God still shows that He wants to be in a relationship with His people. After Moses reproofed the people God tells Moses to ascend the mountain again and rewrite the Law. Thus God is fully committed and dedicated to His people. Further evidence of God’s mercy displayed in Deuteronomy is chapter 10 verses 22. It states, “Your fathers went down to Egypt seventy persons, and now the LORD your God has made you as numerous as the stars of heaven.” Yet still today one can see that this promise is still true. The Jewish people are the oldest religious people that still exist from antiquity. God has not abandoned His people.

One controversial passage in Deuteronomy is chapter 13. Within the context of Moses warning God’s people to avoid idolatry by any means (Deut. 12:19-32) God gives Moses the message to kill anyone in the Israelite camp if they serve another god (13:6-18). This could appear envious and vindictive, yet God is still extending mercy upon His people. In the Shema (6:4-9) Moses clearly writes that there is only one God, and He alone desires all of our praises. Therefore if God the one who created all things is one, then for His people to serve other created things that are not gods is the real criminal act. God is protecting His people from Himself. That is, God is a Holy God (Isa. 6:3) and thus He cannot tolerate idolatry and sinfulness and must punish all sin because He is also just (Isa. 61:8). Consequently, God will punish whoever brings upon the disease of idolatry to spare the entire nation of Israel.

The most climatic point of God’s great mercy can be found in Chapter 28 through 30. Beginning in chapter 28 God promises all His people numerous blessings in they obey the commandments that have been given to the people (28:1-14). However if they do not obey the commandments that have been given to them they shall receive a significant amount of curses (v.15-68). This is important to note that perhaps 80 percent of chapter 28 is curses. For the reason that God demands faithfulness and obedience from His people or else they will experience His complete wrath. Since God is a one merciful God only does one fully understands how much God loves His people, until one fully understand how much God hates sin. When one realizes the seriousness for the consequences of sin, one can see the beauty of God’s love for His people when He choose to enter into a convent relationship with sinners, which is renewed in chapter 29. Finally in chapter 30 one reads that God will forgive His people if they turn and repent. There is no argument to suggest that God is not merciful. The evidence is clear and has been made explicit. The God of the Old Testament, like the New Testament is a merciful God.


            [1]I will use the ESV throughout, unless otherwise noted.

            [2]Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion, 1st Mariner Books ed. (Boston [Mass.]: Mariner Books, 2008), 51.

            [3]Christopher Hitchens, God Is Not Great : How Religion Poisons Everything, 1st trade ed. (New York: Twelve Hachette Book Group, 2009), 99-102.

            [4]Ibid., 98-101.

            [5]Ibid., 100.

            [6]Ibid., 106.

            [7]William Lane Craig, Slaughter the Canaanites. [on-line] http://www.reasonablefaith.org/slaughter-of-the-canaanites.

            [8]William Lane Craig and William Lane Craig, Reasonable Faith : Christian Truth and Apologetics, Rev. ed. (Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway Books, 1994), 172-79.

Death has no Sting: Augustines View

There is an inescapable reality that everyone is going to go through. The inevitable end for everyone is death. In todays society there continues to be attempts to avoid death at all possibilities. It exists in the form of medicines and other health aids all designed to put death off to the last minute. All these attempts are put in place because of the fear and trepidation that has portrayed death. Death has characterized the human race since the beginning of time and nowhere has there been one who has escaped its demise with the exception of Jesus Christ. Moreover, the only difference between one dying man and another is how they are going to prepare for this terrible end.Saint Augustine argues that the punishment of death for all those who believe in Jesus Christ is no longer a part of life to be feared in but to rejoice in.

The punishment of death that Saint Augustine writes about in the City of God is Adam’s fall. As a result of Adam’s fall all of man and, “his descendants are by birth-subject to sin and death.”Death from a Biblical perspective tells of a place where men are sent and where there is much torment and pain.Many people around the world also look at death with sorrow and distress. It is a realm that is cold and breathless. A place where one can no longer be with their family or friends thus making it frightening because many see the hopelessness in death. Augustine further adds that, “death comes to the soul when God abandons it, just as death comes to the body when the soul departs.(251)” This is also very frightening because it is hard to imagine that the body that one has now will biodegrade into the ground. If Augustine is right then what he is saying is that our physical bodies will no longer exist. That is because it is impossible for the body to live without the soul.

The reason why Augustine writes about death being so frightening is because of its strong counter opposite, life. “It is because any sort of life is a real good, while pain is an evil (251).” The real good that Augustine is talking about is the goodness that God has put in all of creation from the beginning (Gen.1:33; 1 Tim 4:4). Augustine argues in Confessions that the only thing that is good is God himself. For that reason pain is an evil because it is not good or because it is not from God. Therefore death is the separation from that “real good.” However because of the fall of man sin enter upon all men and all of humanity is going to be separated from this real good known by death. All men, Augustine points out are under the first Adam (251). The first Adam is the actual Adam who ate of the fruit that God told him not to eat of (Gen. 3:6). Paul writes in Romans 5:12, “Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all men sinned.” In addition to, Paul is also talking about a spiritual death. An idea that Augustine alludes to, “which occurs when the life of the soul (which is God) abandons it (261). In the Garden of Eden God told Adam that if he ate from the tree of knowledge of good and evil he would die (Gen. 2:17). Yet when Adam did eat from the tree he did not die physically but spiritually. Adam was separated from God who is the real good so in that sense he was separated from God. In another sense because he is separated from God he cannot experience God’s goodness which is life because of his disobedience resulting in physical death. Thus not only does physical death pass upon all men but everyone is also born into the spiritual death that Adam underwent in the fall.

Despite the desperate state that all of humanity is in there is hope. Although Augustine never directly calls Jesus the second Adam, he does write that, “through the grace of the Mediator Christ . . . [one] is freed from the bondage of sin, they do no pass to that second death which is both penal and eternal (254).” Augustine is writing about the substitution that took place when Jesus died for humanity’s sins. Jesus Christ served as the propitiation giving all men who believe in Him the gift of salvation to receive this “real good” that was lost when Adam fell. This was necessary because God  is a just (Isa 61:8) and holy (Isa 6:3) as well as loving (1 John 4:8) God. Through His Son He fulfills all those attributes. Not only did Jesus Christ die but he also ascended into heaven (Acts 1:9; Eph. 1:20). Paul adds that those who believe in Christ are “made alive” in Christ as well (Eph. 2:5). Thus providing an escape goat for all those who believe. Consequently, all those who believe in Christ subsidiary work on the cross will be raised up with Christ when death comes upon them. Augustine further supports this by adding that through the, “greater and more wonderful grace of the Savior, the punishment of sin serves the purposes of sanctity (254).” When Saints die they no longer have anything to fear because death as Augustine writes serves as a way for Believers in Christ to become completely Holy as the Father in Heaven is Holy who is the only “real good” that can give life. Death for a Christian is life leading to life eternal with the ultimate good who is God. Therefore Christians have great hope in death because it reunites them with God. This is exactly what Augustine meant when he wrote, “Undoubtedly, death is the penalty of all who come to birth on earth as descendants of the first man; nevertheless, if the penalty is paid (Christ death on the Cross) in the name of justice and piety, it becomes a new birth in heaven (257).” In contrast to the Biblical perspective one idea of what goodness is comes from Aristotle. He writes of the ultimate good as the “thing” that is pursued for and liked for only for its own sake. This is important because it shows the hopelessness that the world has without Christ. For the reason that it shows that in this worldview the only thing that is good is found in man’s abilities to pursue after some thing. Therefore if man’s ultimate good is found with man then the fear still remains in death because it is not the real good, which is life.

Since there is life in Christ after death, “it secures for the soul a grace that is a security against all punishment for sin (257).” This is a problem because Augustine is also implying that there is also another form of life after death for those who are not in Christ. Thus escaping the fear of life after death that exists in hell. If there is “punishment for sin” then it assumes that the person cannot be truly dead in one sense because to be completely dead it means that one can not feel anything.  In Winston A. Van Horne journal, St. Augustine: Death and Political Resistance, he writes that,

“After the Day of Judgment the souls of the unredeemed will be reunited with their bodies which were destroyed by the first death. This union will be eternal. Their dying bodies will convulse with pain eternally, and they will be terrified forever by the approach of death, without ever having the relief that death brings to those who suffer. The unredeemed will thus be forever dying but never dead, forever in death but never after death.”

This further supports the fear of physical death. That is the fear of going to a place where the sensation of pain will never cease without ever dying. But, Christ died in place of the first and second death giving both literal and physical resurrected bodies without pain or suffering thus taking away the fear of death for the saints.

Dead to sins, Alive in Christ!

Paul’s letter to the Ephesians begins with his doctrinal convictions in the first three chapters followed by an application of his convictions in the latter three chapters. Within both these sections Paul emphatically stresses the importance of unity in the Church. More specifically in Chapter two he employs language such as, “made us alive together with Christ” and “raised us up with him” (Eph. 2:5; 6).

 This would have meant a radically new understanding of Jesus’ mission described by himself as this being the great mystery of the Kingdom of Heaven (Mark 4:11-12). It is that Christ has died for the Jews as well as the Gentiles. Thus being the mediator for all men. This concept was revolutionary to the Jews and in Chapter two of Ephesians Paul speaks as a Jew to Gentiles that they too can come into a relationship with the Messiah. It is the message of how God’s great mercy gave life to all mankind, hopeless sinners, and how everyone can come into a right standing before the Father.

The authorship of Ephesians has always been ascribed to Paul until recently. The question of who really wrote the letter of Ephesians has and since been challenged as late as the eighteenth and early ninetieth century.

 The letter states that Paul is the author. In Ephesians it reads, “Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus,” as well as other all give evidence in the text that it does in fact assume that Paul is the author (Eph. 1:1, 3:1). However, Paul’s authenticity of this letter to the Ephesians is being scrutinized for reasons such as the language and grammar use, the style of the authors writing, as well as the relationship of Ephesians to other known Pauline letters.

 There is also within the text external and internal evidence that support both sides for and against Pauline authorship.

The external evidence that supports Pauline authorship from general to specific is listed as follows. The first defense for Paul’s authorship is that it is quoted by the early Apostolic Church Fathers. The Church Fathers had lived closed to the time of the publication of Paul’s letter and their writings quote Paul as being the author. It was Ignatius who wrote that, “Ye are associates and fellow students of the mysteries with Paul, who in every letter makes mention of you in Christ Jesus.”

 Furthermore, Polycarp who also lived in the first century, may have been responsible for the circulation of the letter of Ephesians. Thus he could have served as a viable eyewitness for Ignatius who said that St. Paul was the author.

 Moreover Paul is ascribed to being the author in the second century from the writings of Irenaeus that say, Ptolemais the disciple of Hippolytus, attributes Saint Paul as the author.

 Even Tertullian, Clement of Alexandria, and Origen all defend the authorship of that Paul.  In addition to this the Muratorian Fragment written in the third century also gives authorship to Paul.

 

There are three strong evidences that are internally found in the Epistle that indicates Paul as the author of Ephesians. The first proof for evidence has already be mentioned it is that the Epistle assumes that Paul is the author. All through-out the text Paul who is addressed in the first verse and other verses convey that he is the singular subject pronoun. Paul also asks the people to pray for him in order that he would proclaim the gospel boldly (Eph. 6:19-20).

 Further evidence that supports Paul’s authorship is the close relationship it has with Ephesians twin letter Colossians. Colossians is incontrovertibly assumed by scholars to be written by Paul. Peter O’Brien points to Leslie Mittons statistics that “shows of the 1,570 words in Colossians 34 percent are paralleled in Ephesians, while 26.5 percent of the 2,411 words in Ephesians are paralleled in Colossians.”

 That is a total of more then fifty percent of the words in both books that have a corresponding relationship with each other. Finally the style of Ephesians is similar to other Pauline letters. The language used in the long sentences found in the eulogy, praise, prayer and doxology all have characteristic of Paul’s writing.

 The similarities of these characteristic exist not only in Ephesians but Romans and First Corinthians as well as Philemon.

 

There are also three internally strong evidences that argue that Paul was not the author. The first defense is the impersonal character of Paul in Ephesians. Paul mentions that he is the author (1:1; 3:1) of Ephesians and as a suffering prisoner for Christ, the gospels and the gentiles (3:1, 13; 4:1; 6:19, 20) but nowhere does Paul give details of his suffering or imprisonment.

 Thus showing a lack of empathy with his audience and a indication that Ephesians may be a work of pseudonymity. Moreover there are forty-one words that are only used in Ephesians while another 84 words are not found anywhere in Paul’s writings.

 The second argument against Paul’s authorship is the letter equivocal dependency upon Colossians. Further suggesting that Ephesians may have been a word of pseudonymity. The argument is that the prologue, thanksgiving period, and discussion of Paul’s suffering are all paralleled to Colossians.

 Finally the third argument against Paul’s authorship is the theological emphases on Christ’s exaltation instead of His Death. In addition to this, Paul also emphases more on salvation rather then justification.

 

The counter argument for the opposing Pauline authorship follows accordingly. The problem with the first argument is that it puts boundaries around Paul’s writing. What textual critics will do is take what they know from other Pauline letters that are irrefutably assumed to be his, and argue that Paul is unable to operate outside the boundaries of his own writings. Thus tying Paul to his own letters and taking away his freedom to work outside of his own mind. The second argument cannot be found conclusive because there is simply a lack of evidence to suggest which letter depends on which letter. The only conclusion that can be drawn is that no one can, “come down firmly in favor of the priority of either letter.”

 The third argument also ties Paul to his former writings. Thus keeping Paul from maneuvering freely within his writings. This is especially difficult to reconcile when taken in the fact that Paul is writing to a different crowd with different problems.

The audience that Paul was writing to is also not clear. In verse one of chapter one it reads, “To the saints who are in Ephesus,” assumes that this letter was written to the Ephesians. However the phrase “in Ephesus” is not found in early manuscripts.

 It was then added latter but  it has thus been proposed that this Epistle has more then likely a circular letter for the Churches around Ephesus. Thus explaining why Paul lacks a sense of intimacy with his audience. Since Paul had spent more then two years with the Christians in Ephesians during his second mission trip in Acts 19-20. This would also explain why Paul does not addresses a specific problem in the Church because he is writing to all the Churches across what is known today in the providences of Turkey and Greece. It is clear that Paul is addressing a Church because he is writing “to the saints (1:1).” These are Christians who are “raised up with Him and seated” (2:6) with the father in the heavenly places. The Epistle is also very focused on the Gentile Christians. For two reasons, one is because this letter is being sent to an area that is largely Gentile. And the other reason is that Paul calls them Gentiles (2:11; 3:1).

Paul most likely wrote this Epistle while he was in Prison in Rome around the time of 61-62 A.D.

 During this time the Empire of Rome was under the rule of the notorious Nero. It was only two years later in the spring of 64 A.D. When Rome mysteriously caught on fire, and the persecution of Christians broke out. Thus, leading some scholars to believe that this letter was written later given Paul’s exhortation for the Christians to put on the full armor of God (6:13-17).

 However unlike the date the purpose of Paul’s letter is more explicit. It is clear that Paul’s purpose of writing Ephesians is to show the Gentiles that there is no longer a barrier between Jew and Gentile. Paul a Jew is urging the Gentiles that this was the reason why Christ has come (2:11-22). It is the message that Christ has chosen to save all men who are “dead in [their] trespasses and sins (2:1).” People who were separated from Christ (2:12) can now be brought near in Christ Jesus because of the blood (2:13) that he shed, which broke down the “wall of hostility (2:14),” between Jew and Gentile.

Ephesians 2:1-10 is nearly in the middle of Paul’s theological exhortation within the first three verses. Paul opens with a common salutation (1:1-2) found in his letters, which introduces himself and identifies the recipients he is writing to.

 Following this is another common Pauline characteristic where Paul expresses thanksgiving and praise.

 Paul expresses praise for every spiritual blessing (1:3-14), including praise for the redemption of the saviors blood for the forgiveness of sins (1:7). Subsequently, Paul then encourages believers to have knowledge and wisdom about the sovereignty of God (1:15-23). Paul mentions here the hope for all the saints who believe in the one that God raised from the dead in order that they may know the hope that God has called them to (1:17-20). In Chapter two Paul reminds the saints of God’s great mercy for hopeless sinners for all who believe unto good works (2:1-10). In this passage Paul exhorts the saints to remember that it is by God through Christ alone that men can be saved. Then in Ephesians 2:11-22 Paul expresses his purpose and the general theme for writing the book  of Ephesians, that is Christ death was for all men, Jew and Gentile, thus calling all men to be united. Finally in conclusion of Paul’s theological address he begins by describing his call to minister to the Gentiles and his purpose to unite the church by explaining the mystery of the Gospel (3:1-13). The mystery is that Jews and Gentiles through faith in Christ alone can be grafted into the body of believers and partake of the Salvation that the Jews were promised of.

In the final verses of Chapter three Paul praises for knowledge, power, strength, in order to know the love of Christ (3:14-21).

Next, Paul applies the theology he has exhorted in the first three chapters in the final three chapters. First by describing what it means to be unified in the Spirit (4:1-16) by strongly empathizing the oneness of Christ. Moreover, Paul tells the Saints to “put off” their old self, and “to be renewed in the sprit” of their minds (4:17-32). Following this Paul then exhorts the people in the area of Ephesus to be imitators of God by walking in love (5:1-19). As believers in Christ they are to walk in the light, because they are no longer slaves to sin. In the proceeding verses of chapter 5 and into chapter 6 Paul shows how one is to be filled by the Holy Spirit (5:15-6:9). One example is by “submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ (5:21).” Lastly before Paul concludes (6:21-23) with a prayer previously given (6:18-20) Paul commands all believers to put on the full armor of God (6:10-17).

In chapter 2:1-10 Paul captures what it means to be in Christ and how through him there is unity. Beginning in verse one Paul says, “And you,” that is the Gentiles that he is speaking to in the area of Ephesus. Further support for this is verse 11 where by Paul directly calls the people he is addressing Gentiles. In addition to this the area of Ephesus consists of what is today modern day Turkey or Asia Minor, and this area was largely a Gentile region. The Jews were more concentrated in Israel and especially Jerusalem, the land that God promised to the Abraham in the Old Testament (Gen. 12:7). However as Paul will make clear later in the passage Paul is not exclusively speaking to the Gentiles. Continuing further Paul addresses these Gentiles in the past tense, “were.” This is significant because the passage moves from past tense in verses 1-3, to present tense 4-6, then future tense concluding with verse 10. This word, “were” is connected to the phrase “dead in the trespasses and sins (2:1b).” This phrase that Paul uses introduces his argument to describe the state in which the Gentiles were in when they were outside of Christ. The word “dead” in this phrase does not explain a physical death but a spiritual death. Paul uses this word because it strongly conveys what it means not to be in Christ. One of the best ways to describe what it means to be spiritually dead is to describe what it means to be physically dead. To be physically dead means to be motionless, and cold. Unable to hear sounds, smell, or taste anything. A corpse that has not breath or life in it whatsoever, thus it means to be spiritually dead. Moreover, death comes upon all men because of their trespasses and sins. It is not clear what those who are outside of Christ have trespassed against but Paul is clearly talking about trespassing against God. The word “sin” is a failure or an error. A natural tendency to behave in an immoral act 

 It is also the act of deliberately doing what is contrary to God (The NIV application Commentary 109).

 In Romans 3:23 it says, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” There is a target that sinners fail to hit. However the adjective “dead” indicates that those who are outside of Christ are not even aiming for the target. 

Paul moves further on to describe three influences in which everyone one who is outside of Christ is under.

 The first influence of those who are dead spiritually is that they followed “the course of this world (2:2).” Paul is not writing about the physical world, Earth. Paul is pointing to all the facets in the world that do not glorify God. That which does not please God is sin. Paul is saying those who are outside of Christ followed after this one trait that God hates. The second influence that Paul uses to characterize those who are dead in their sins is that they follow, “the prince of the power of the air (2:2b). The prince that Paul is writing about is Satan. Satan is also known as the prince of all that is not light. That is because the light symbolizes God because “God is light, and in him is no darkness at all (1 John 1:5).” Darkness also represents the realm that the devil operates in. The “power of the air” is this realm. “According to the ancient worldview, the air formed the intermediate sphere between earth and heaven.”

 The third influence that Paul adds is the pursuit of the fleshly passions. What is in important to point out in verse three is that Paul himself incorporates himself in the phrase, “among whom we all” that is Paul as well as the Jews are all under these three influences. Therefore Paul is clearly showing evidence that the Jews and the Gentiles share with in these influences. The third influence Paul really emphasizes on is how everyone will suffer under the pursuits of the flesh. Employing words such as “passions of our flesh,” and “body” as well as, “mankind (3).” The flesh is ones carnal desires to pursue what is right in ones own eyes. Not only does Paul say that those who are outside of Christ carried out these desires in the body but also the mind. Metaphorically speaking, Paul is essentially saying that everyone at one time has used the mind as a playground to workout the sexual desires of the flesh. Furthermore, “the works of the flesh are evident impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealously, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, [and] drunkenness (Gal. 5:19).” Paul then adds that they are also “by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind (Eph. 2:3).” All of mankind that is every living person that has lived, living, and will live were44 all at one time literally objects desiring the full punishment of God. 

Verse four unto verse seven Paul leads into the hope that hopeless sinners have in Christ. Paul begins with the conjunction, “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us (2:4).” There is a magnificent hope that Paul brilliantly employs by strongly contrasting how if it were not for God’s rich mercy then sinners would be totally doomed. The conjunction is only possible with a God who is rich in mercy. Otherwise there is no hope for anyone. Verse five Paul goes on to add that with Christ we are made alive with him and that it was by grace that humanity is saved by. Despite the fact that everyone was dead in their sins as indicated in verse one Christ makes those who believe in Him, alive through Him. Paul writes in the present tense. Believers in Christ are made alive with Christ in contrast to their former state, being dead in their sins. Verse six continues the contrast adding that through Jesus we are raised up and seated with Jesus in the heavenly places. Before, as a result of the three influences had God not exercised his mercy on humanity everyone would have been an object of divine wrath. God’s divine wrath is completely fulfilled in Hell, yet now those who are in Christ can be seated with Christ because Christ is seated at the, “right hand of the heavenly places (1:20).” Finally verse seven adds that God will also reward those who love Him by showing the “immeasurable riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.” This word grace appears many times in Ephesians 2:1-10. The word grace in Ephesians first appears in Chapter one. Then it is used more then ten times in the book of Ephesians. The word charis is the transliteration of the word grace when it first appears in Ephesians 2:5. Paul first uses this word “grace” in the way of meaning that it is grace by which we are saved. Secondly Paul uses this same verb in Ephesians 2:7 where the word “grace” seems to mean the type of love that God has to shown to those who believe in Him. Moreover, Paul also uses this verb in Ephesians 2:8. Here Paul transitions back to how he first used it in 2:5. That this is a grace by which men are saved. Looking within the context outside of Ephesians 2 is when this word seems to take upon a few more meanings. In 6:24 “grace” is used in a way in which one can give to other people. In 4:29 it is used by means of ministering to others. Further outside the context in the New Testament it appears more then 150 times. In light of the gospels Charis seems to mean a type of favor (Luke 2:52), as well as a type of fullness that Christ has (John 1:14). In addition to this it is also used in the same manner Paul uses it in John 1:17, in that it is by this “grace” in which was given by Christ. However the significant difference is that it is Christ’s grace to give, whereas in Ephesians 2 it is less explicit and the subject appears to be Gods grace. Finally in verses eight through ten Paul shows that God’s great mercy should lead one of faith unto good works. Firstly, because it was only by grace in which men are saved by through faith. If men could buy there way into heaven or work their way into heaven then God’s grace would not have been needed. However because it is only by God grace and that there was no other way by which humanity could be saved by God grace was not contingent but necessary. As a result if one of faith accepts this gift (v.8) through faith and not by his works (v.9) realizing that it had nothing to do with one then there necessarily follows an outflow of good works. 

When Paul writes about being dead in ones sins, one can appeal to the Old Testament account of Creation when God first created man and woman. In the creation story the author of Genesis tells the reader that God created this perfect place called Eden (Gen. 2:15). There was no sin because God created all things good (Gen. 1:31). In the Garden there it is described that God had placed two trees, one of life and the other knowledge of good and evil (Gen. 2:9). God gave man the will to obey him by commanding him not to eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. However as the discourse continues Adam does eat from the tree (Gen. 3:6) and as a result he was cast out from the paradise of Eden and cursed to toil and work the ground (3:14-19). That is what it means to be spiritually dead. Furthermore God tells Adam that if he eats from the tree of knowledge of good and evil he would die (2:17). However when Adam is put out of the Garden he is still alive physically. Thus because of Adam’s disobedience he was now forever and eternally incapable of ever entering into that sinless fellowship with God in the Garden of Eden. In Romans 5:12, Paul says, “Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned.” What happen is that all of humanity was encapsulated in the decision of whether Adam would obey or disobey God. Since Adam disobeyed God sin entered upon all men. In Psalm 51 David rightly said, “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.” Therefore everyone who ever lived, and currently lives and will live is brought into this world a sinner through the man Adam. In Ephesians though Paul clearly states that it was because of our “trespasses and sins in which you once walked” (2:1b-2a). Paul is saying that it is not Adam’s fault but everyone has disobeyed God.

There is a disease out there that is worse then cancer. There is a disease that has and will affect everyone who ever lives. This disease claims more life then malaria, and influenza. More destructive then HIV and Aids. This disease is called sin. Paul gives the diagnoses of this disease in the first three verses. God gives the cure to everyone through faith alone in Jesus Christ unto good works. The New Testament calls Him the great physician (Mark 2:17). However the cure can only be given to those who realize they have a disease that leads to death. The number one problem that prevents this is self-righteousness. A self-righteous person does not need a Savior because he sees no need for one. Even among Christians one needs to reflect on what God has done for them in their lives. One characteristic of being self-righteous is a life deficient of prayer. A self-righteous person believes that they do not need to depend upon God. Another characteristic is being un-teachable. This manifests itself in attacking and being overly critical of other people. This is one side of the phrase following the course of this world means. Jesus Christ is calling everyone to give up on them-selves and through him be united to do good works. Good works such as reading your Bible. It says in John 8:31 that “whoever does not abide in the word is not a disciple of Christ.” Good works include doing to will of the Father. The Father calls everyone to do the great Commission. Evangelizing by spreading the Gospel. One reason why people do not share the Gospel is not because they are unequipped to answer every question. It is neither because one is afraid of awkward conversations. The number one reason is because people do not truly believe that Christ has risen from the dead and that Jesus is the only way to Salvation. If one believes that they do not have this disease then one needs to return and find themselves in the first three verses. There is no one to far from Christ because man is finite. And because man is finite then sin in man can only be finite but God is eternal and His grace is immeasurable (Eph. 2:8) and He alone can wash away all of mans sins. God has provided this Salvation for everyone who believes through faith. Whoever is willing to accept this free gift (v.8) unto good works then He will seat those upon the, “heavenly places (v.6).”

God Language and Scripture

UnknownIn the beginning pages of this book it addresses the importance of learning the original language of any given text before interpretation. In addition to this the book also focuses on how knowing the original language should be used to interpret a text that is written in a different language. By way of illustration the author reveals the mistakes that people make when trying to figure out the meaning of a particular text written in a different language. The author argues that those who have tried to interpret the Bible in its original language make the mistake of narrowly focusing on the word construction and its history. Both of which are important yet not completely necessary in learning what the text actually means. That is the purpose of learning and studying any foreign text and that is figuring out the meaning. A reader reads for meaning not the construction of words. Knowing how the words form can help in determining the meaning but it is always subsistent to the meaning of the whole.

Chapter two dives into the question of how the Bible uses language? Does the Bible say anything about languages? And how should humans use their language responsibly in response to the other question? All of these questions are answered. It begins with a relatively systematic approach through the Bible to show that language is employed throughout the entire Bible. The author then makes the connection of how language connects everyone the divine God. There is also a discourse in this chapter on how humans have abused this language that God has given to everyone. One example that is briefly mentioned is the account of the Tower of babel. The author ends with the encouragement to readers the importance of how believers in Christ should use their language with sensitivity and responsibility. Reminding us from the words of Paul himself in Ephesians 5 verse 4, “Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving.”

Following this is the scientific study of language. The chapter title summarizes it completely. Beginning with the definition, linguist “see their task as one of discovery, analysis and explanation of how people actually use language.” Linguist main goal is to learn and understand how language was used during the time that it was used. It also studies how words change over time. In addition to this linguist study the sounds that different languages have. Moreover they study on whether language came before writing. The chapter then closes on the significance of studying language in how it exists in humanities and liberal arts.

Chapter four dives into the subject of language families. Language families are the relationships that one language has with another. It is also, metaphorically speaking the family tree of languages. One example of this is the Romance language, which includes French, Italian, Rumanian, and Spanish. Among other families there is also a Germanic family. Which includes Russian, Gothic, German, and Swedish. Language families also can connect with other families. There is evidence to believe that the Romance languages and Germanic languages at one time had a proto-language as well. The author personifies it by calling them “cousins.” Moreover these languages also have been found to be cousins of the Celtic family. Subsequently the author then begins to address the history of both the  Hebrew and Greek language. These languages are apart of the Northwest Semitic language family. There are two groups that this family divides into. One group is the Canaanite language, which is where the Hebrew language is in and the Aramaic languages, which the latter is found. Interestingly though, knowing these family connections have little importance in interpreting a text. However it does serve of serious importance when there is technicality. When tracing a language back to its development there are two focuses the internal and external history. Internal focus question refer to questions about the language changing while external questions include anything that refers to the general culture. To the end of this chapter the author details the origins of both the Hebrew and Greek language. One noteworthy of attention is that the original Greek language had to go through “radical changes” to make up what is known today as Koine Greek.

In the next section of the book it goes into the details and describes the biblical languages. The chapter focuses on two emphases one is the sound of language, which is also known as the study of phonology and the other is the subject on words, which is known as the study of lexicology. When it comes to interpreting a text in the Bible phonology has little to do with the actual meaning of the text. In fact the most fundamental principle of phonology, “is the need to distinguish between letters and sounds.” A smaller section within the subject on sounds is a stress on the importance of the dot in Hebrew words that distinguish the differences in their sounds. However one thing that was confusing is why the author chose to address the subject of the Hebrew consonants and vowels under phonology? Another question that was never answered in this chapter was how does the fact that Hebrew being a cognate language have anything to do with phonology? Cognation is simply the relationship between one language and another. This seems more like a subject that should under lexicology. Following this is the subject on lexicology. In this section the writer affirms the clarity and exactness of the ancient Greek language. Unlike Hebrew however there is more ambiguity with the meaning of the words because it does not have as many stems as Greek. These stems in the Greek language, depending on the context, can strongly convey the meaning that the author had intended. Nevertheless the meaning of certain word cannot be conclusively true in its perfect intended meaning. The author calls this the ambiguity of languages. All languages have this edge of ambiguity. Otherwise as the author states, “the number of words in everyone’s active vocabulary would grow to unmanageable proportions.”Adding that this is a necessary aspect to every language. Thus concluding chapter five.

Chapter six informs the reader of the importance of studying sentences. That is because it is necessary in order for words to communicate meanings and messages. Some words can function as a sentence independently to express an emotion but the words themselves are limited to a few sayings. After this the author moves on to inform the reader of the differences between the Greek, Hebrew, and English language. A common characteristic that exists between the Hebrew and English language is that word order determines meaning. Greek however has no rules concerning word order when it comes to meaning. Except to add emphasis on certain words by placing them in the front of the sentence. Following this is a detailed explanation of what time and aspect are. Greek is different from the English language in that it uses an augment to indicate what time the verb is taking place, while the English language may employ words such as yesterday, today, or tomorrow. Aspect however is not so clear in the English language unless otherwise noted. The Greek language however is more specific and uses the imperfect tense to indicate aspect. The author also looks closely at the meaning of words within its context. In fact he argues in support of using the Bible as a tool to interpret the Bible. It is important then to, “give special attention to the way sentences are joined, how they form paragraphs, and how the paragraphs combine to constitute larger units.”

Chapter seven proceeds on giving the textual transmission of the Word of God. Thus addressing textual criticism and ways in which a scribe may apply concepts like noise and redundancy. In addition to this the author adds the importance of studying the original language. Moreover he also adds three important factors that constitute for a beneficial understanding of the New Testament.(1) Mastery of the source language – certainly a much more sophisticated knowledge than one can acquire over a period of four or five years; (2) superb interpretive skills and breadth of knowledge so as not to muss the nuances of the original; and (3) a vey high aptitude for writing in the target language so as to express accurately both the cognitive and the affective elements of the message. Thus naturally leading into a discussion of different Bible translations and the dynamic equivalent versus the formal correspondence. The author of this book argues that a dynamic equivalent is a more faithful rendering of the text. In addition to understanding the importance of literal translations the dynamic equivalent will usually best convey what the author is trying to say. In conclusion the book ends with an exhortation of the necessity to pass on what one learns. It is the job the learner to become a teacher so that all will enjoy the riches of God’s Word.