Are we nothing?

A few of weeks ago, a brother gave a prayer at church, and in the middle of the prayer, he said, “Father, we are nothing”. As soon as I heard this, the first thing that popped into my mind was, “Does the bible really say that?”. I reflected on it a bit, and realized that I have heard this or similar statements before from different people in different churches at different times. The idea that ‘we are nothing’ is something that has been perpetuated in churches for a long time. Persons say it out of a sense of piety, humility or self-deprecation. Others say it because they believe the bible teaches it. Either way, I find it to be counter-productive to faith and confidence of mind. The question I want to ask is whether the bible actually says it. So, let’s dive in and find out. Read More

Tricky Translation: behind or after

One of the most interesting, and also frustrating, things of studying the bible and comparing our English translations with the Koine Greek source is realizing that the translators often translate one Greek word as different English words. This can sometimes be a good thing, and other times be a bad thing. I want to examine the use of a particular word in Matthew 16. Jesus uses this same word twice in the passage, in succession, but the translators have translated it as two different words. I think that this course of action has created such a disconnect with what Jesus said from one verse to another than many Christians interpret those verses as distinct contexts. As such our understanding of what Jesus is really talking about has been skewed. Let’s see if we can straighten it out a bit. Read More

Who raised Jesus from the dead?

If you were asked about what you think is the most critical belief someone must have to be a Christian, what would that belief be? I don’t know about you, but for me, it would be that Jesus Christ rose from the dead. This is the main claim of the Gospels, and the Apostle Paul reiterates this point. We have accounts of how this happened, but the follow-up question that could be asked is, “Who raised Jesus from the dead?” I have heard claims that Jesus raised himself from the dead, because he was God and had the power to do so. However, how can a dead person raise himself? Also, if Jesus raised himself from the dead then why did the apostles not proclaim this clearly throughout the New Testament? Let’s examine Jesus’ words and the apostles’ words to see if we can figure this out. Read More

Jesus’ God and Thomas’ God

For most of my life, I have been told and believe that ‘Jesus is God’. We sing it in church. It is declared when affirming a creed. We hear the preacher make this statement. You can read it in many books and articles defending Christianity and the Trinity doctrine. You can also hear it being touted and defended by many theologians all over the world. The only problem with the expression, ‘Jesus is God’, is that it is not found anywhere in the bible, any bible, regardless of the translation. Isn’t that interesting?! But, shouldn’t it be somewhere in the bible? Well, there are some passages that seem to suggest that Jesus is God, and one such passage regards the apostle Thomas and his response to the risen Jesus appearing before him. Read More

Tricky Translation: little or few

Have you ever been to a church or maybe known individual Christians who discouraged people from being involved in sports or exercise? Or maybe you grew up in a church that discouraged people from participating in martial arts or joining a gym. Or maybe you haven’t and you find this introduction really weird. Yes, it is a little weird, as most people would never think that there is any conflict at all between sports/exercise and Christianity. However, I have met persons who have experienced this very conflict. The source of conflict is from an interpretation of a particular verse in the KJV Bible that compares “exercise” with “righteousness”. I came across this verse the other day, and decided to look at the original Greek, and found a very interesting translation twist. We have another tricky translation to unravel. Let’s check it out! Read More

Tricky Translation: interpretation or explanation

I recently heard a priest quote the verse that says “no prophesy of scripture is of private interpretation”. The person used this quote to defend the idea that non-clergy people should not be interpreting the Bible of their own understanding. They should listen to the traditional orthodox teachings passed down through the priesthood for one to truly understand the scriptures because it was originally passed down from holy men of God to them. When I heard this I recognized it to be the age old tactic of appealing to special exclusive knowledge to control the minds and hearts of people. It also is a really deceptive way to stop people from reading the scriptures, being led by the Spirit and getting close to God. Fundamentally, people in authority like to use the Bible to fool us into not reading it. Unfortunately, even the translation of the scriptures also sometimes make it difficult to fully understand the message that was intended. The use of the word, “interpretation”, in that verse makes it easy for someone to use that verse to convey the wrong message. Interestingly, “interpretation” may not be the best word to use to translate the Greek word it represents. Want to know why? Then, let’s have a look! Read More

Thoughts on Bias and the Bible

I have been attending church meetings since the first Sunday right after I was born. I have heard hundreds of sermons in church, on the radio, television and more recently on Youtube. I have given sermons at church, taught bible classes, and have been reading and studying the bible personally for many years. Interestingly, it has only been recently that I have noticed differences between what I hear about the bible and the actual words in the bible itself. Even more interesting is that I am also noticing differences with what English bibles state compared with what the original Greek New Testament or Hebrew Masoretic Text state. None of these observations are even touching the field of textual criticism between differing Greek text, but I digress. In this post, I want to share some of my thoughts on a few common things Christians say versus what the bible says or doesn’t say. Read More

Sermon Notes: Lessons of great faith

I was asked to give a short exhortation on faith at a church zoom meeting last month. After the brother who hosted the zoom meeting asked me to give the exhortation, I asked the Lord what I should speak about. As I continued to meditate on faith, the Lord led me to a passage about the Canaanite woman in Matthew 15. Jesus had only told two people in scripture that they had “great faith”, and this woman was one of them. It is an often overlooked passage, and I believe that many misunderstand its meaning and significance. There were five lessons that I highlighted in the exhortation that I gave. I want to share the lessons that the Lord showed me in this passage last month. Read More

Thorn in the flesh

For several years now, and more recently on Facebook, I have been hearing Christians say that Paul had a thorn in the flesh given to him by God that was some sort of agonizingly painful sickness or infirmity, and so we can’t always expect healing from God if the apostle experienced this. Every time I hear this it really disturbs me. I feel as though Christians are saying that God gives sickness to his children, and to me I feel like God is being falsely represented, and blamed, and that the faith of believers are being weakened and tainted. However, many similar comments have been made by very prominent preachers and pastors over the years from my observation. It is no wonder to me that many believers don’t believe that they can be healed in a real way and many give up very easily when they get sick. I want to look at this, and really get to the heart of the matter. Read More

Tricky Translation – Chief or First

Paul called himself the chief of sinners. We all know it. We all heard it. We all sing it. We all read it. If the apostle Paul can call himself the chief of sinners, then what about us? What are we? “We are lower than low. We are just guilty sinners”. This is what many Christians have heard and thought throughout the years in churches around the planet. Doctrines have been formulated around this idea. Great preachers have proclaimed powerful sermons around this idea of Paul being the chief of sinners. As a consequence of this, many Christians live defeated lives but are masquerading as pious and humble. What if Paul never said he was the chief of sinners? Well, maybe, instead of just accepting everything we hear, let’s take a deeper look. Read More