Monday, January 27, 2014


Winona Lake, Indiana 1974

This book is the best book on the Interpretation of Prophecy currently available. It takes one from Methodology, History, Principles, Nature, Language, to Hermeneutical Issues in Prophecy. He firmly holds and explains the importance of the literal interpretation of prophecy. Dealing with figurative, symbolical, poetic, and parables in prophecy. He gives understanding of the kinds of fulfillment. He also adds appendixes dealing with some of the most controversial issues, including the New Jerusalem, Millennial Sacrifices, Daniel 11, Pretribulational Rapture, and many more.

I have used this book for many years and found it to be a valuable aid to understanding and dealing the interpretation of prophecy. It is reader friendly and clear. You will not go wrong with this book. Everyone interested in the interpretation of prophecy must have it on their shelf. 

The book is available at Amazon.

Friday, January 24, 2014


Besides giving himself as an example of exercising the mind of Christ in humble service (2:18-19), Paul now turns to two others that exemplify such service: Timothy and Epaphroditus. This is supported by the context of encouraging the mind of Christ in humble service. It is supported by the stress of Christ as a humble servant (2:6-11); the example of his own service as a libation poured out for their sake (2:18); and now as modeled in Timothy and Epaphroditus. Both are coming to Philippi for the mutual benefit of the Philippians and Paul.

  1. Timothy—Phil 2:19-24

Paul’s intention is to send Timothy to Philippi. Paul saw Timothy as a good fit for them. He knew them and they knew him. There was a relationship of mutual respect. His purpose was “that I also may be encouraged when I learn of your condition” (Phil. 2:19). This must be seen in the light of Paul’s desire to see them (Phil. 1:26, Rom. 15:23), and his hope to visit them himself (Phil. 1:24; Rom. 15:28). He sends Timothy so he may be encouraged about them before he is able to arrive himself. The last phrase, and especially the words, “that I also” indicates a mutual benefit.[1] It indicates a twofold purpose: that they both will be encouraged when they learn of his condition, and he of theirs. This is an intermediate step before Paul can come to them. It also indicates that he has hope that Rome will release him and that he will be able to continue his travels and ministry, although prospect of martyrdom is still possible. There is still a degree of uncertainty in Paul being able to fulfill the hope of coming to them.

They will certainly benefit from Timothy coming to them because of his humble ministry to them. His humility is marked by:

a.       Like-mindedness—“For I have no one [else] of kindred spirit…” (Phil. 2:20a). The word isopsuchon, translated like-minded or kindred spirit, and means being of the same mind and spirit and is used only here in the New Testament. It translates a rare word, literal “like-souled.”[2] There is some vagueness here, but clearly indicates an identity of thought between Timothy and Paul.[3] Just as there is equality between Jesus Christ and the Father in deity, so Timothy was equal to Paul in character and thought.[4] This is supported by their father-son relationship (Phil 2:22). They displayed the mind of Christ (Phil. 2:5 cf. 1 Cor. 2:12).

b.      Genuine Concern—“who will genuinely be concerned for your welfare” (Phil. 2:20b). There are three key concepts or words that draw our attention. The primary one is the verb—concerned. It is the Greek word merimnao, meaning care, concern, anxious, or to feel an interest in. It is a regard for others. Second, his concern was genuine. The adverb is the Greek word gnesios, meaning natural, sincerely, truly, or real. Also used of Timothy in 1 Timothy 1:2. Here it speaks of the nature of his concern. Third, his concern is centered on the saints at Philippi. The phrase is literally, “things concerning you.” He will look after them with genuine concern and in an upright manner. He wanted to help them in their weakness and strengths to build them up in the Lord.

c.       Unselfish Manifestation of Christ—“For they all seek after their own interest, not those of Christ Jesus” (Phil. 2:21). Here Paul gives the characteristics of unselfishness by way of contrast. We must point out the following in Paul’s method: First, he seems to use hyperbole or exaggeration for the intent of contrasting Timothy’s concern as compared to others.[5] “All” should not be taken in the absolute sense. Welch’s suggestion that this is a generalization of the nature of humanity is going too far.[6] This should not be taken as a condemnation of others; rather a reinforcing of the depth of Timothy’s concern for them over others. His unselfishness supersedes that of others. “Paul was not given to flattery, but he always gave honor and praise where it was due (cf. Rom. 13:7).”[7] Second, the word for (gar) provides the ground for Timothy’s concern. It is a connector word with verse 20. A selfish person lets his own concerns override his concerns of others. Timothy was not like that. He exemplified what Paul wrote in Philippians 2:3-4. Third, the chief concern of Timothy was centered upon Jesus Christ. It speaks of his commitment to Christ’s work.

d.      A Servants Heart—“But you know of his proven worth, that he served with me in the furtherance of the gospel like a child [serving] his father” (Phil. 2:22). Remember, Timothy was introduced as a servant (Phil. 1:1). To have the mind of Christ is to have a mind of a servant (Phil. 2:7). Timothy exemplified a servant who had the humble mind of Christ. Gromacki brings out three aspects of Timothy being a servant:[8] First, He was a proven servant. They knew of his proven worth as a servant. While Timothy was still young, he was no novice, nor inexperienced. The word proven is the Greek word dokimon, used exclusively by Paul in the New Testament, which indicates the dual ideas of the process and results of testing or trial (Rom. 5:4; 2 Cor. 8:4). It is the state of being tried and approved. It embraces the truth that Timothy stood the test and has proven his worth. Second, He was a cooperative servant. He served with Paul. A servant is not a competitor, but a co-worker with others. Third, he was a gospel servant. His aim in serving was for the “furtherance of the gospel.”  This is to be the aim of every servant, no matter in what area he serves.

      It should be pointed out that Timothy did not serve without handicaps. Every servant is human and has certain handicaps. The Scriptures give us three concerning Timothy:[9] First, his youth. He was young; therefore people had a tendency of dismiss him. However, Paul warns Timothy—“Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather…show yourself an example of those who believe” (1 Timothy 4:10). Second, a sensitive nature or temperament. This is indicated by Paul’s words to the Corinthians—“Now if Timothy comes, see that he is with you without cause to be afraid, for he is doing the Lord’s work” (1 Cor. 16:10). He warns Timothy that “God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline” (2 Tim. 1:7). Third, a physical or medical problem condition in the form of stomach problems. Thus, Paul instructed him—“No longer drink water [exclusively], but us a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments” (1 Tim. 5:23).  Two important conclusions are to be made from this. First, handicaps and weaknesses do not disqualify or disable one from service. Second, handicaps and weaknesses aid us in being humble (cf. 2 Cor. 12:7).

Paul’s intent was twofold: First to send Timothy to them. “Therefore I hope to send him immediately, as soon as I see how things go with me” (Phil. 1:23). It also indicates there will be a somewhat short delay in Timothy’s coming because he was needed to help with some matters of Paul. It is not clearly indicated what these matters may be. Many assume it is the outcome of his trial, but it does not say so. It may have been personal matters that needed attention. We simple do not know. Whatever it may be, it was causing a delay temporarily. But it is denotes a certainty of his coming to them.

Second, Paul likewise intends to come when he is available to travel: “And I trust in the Lord that I myself also will be coming shortly” (Phil. 1:24). This speaks of his expectation to be released by Rome as a result of the outcome of the trial.

To be continued

[1]  Eadie, PHILIPPIANS (2:19), np.
[3]  Silva, PHILIPPIANS, 158.
[4]  Gromacki, STAND UNITED IN JOY, 120.
[5]  Silva, PHILIPPIANS, 158.
[6]  Charles H. Welch, THE PRIZE OF THE HIGH CALLING, 127.
[7]  Baker, Understanding the Body of Christ, 89.
[8]  Gromacki, STAND UNITED IN JOY, 122-123.

Sunday, January 19, 2014


Was doing some reading on Acts 6. Was reading in Witherington's commentary and he indicates these parallels between the killing of Jesus and the killing of Stephen:[1]

    1. The trial before the Sanhedrin and the High Priest (Mark 14:53 / Acts 6:12, 7:1).
    2. False Witnesses (Mark 14:56-57; Matt. 26:60-61 / Acts 6:13).
    3. Testimony of the destruction of the Temple (Mark 14:58; Matthew  26:61; / Acts 6:14).
    4. The temple “made with hands” (Mark 15:58 / Acts 7:48).
    5. The Son of Man saying (Mark 24:62 / Acts 7:56).
    6. Blasphemy charged (Mark 14:64, Matt. 26:63 / Acts 6:11).
    7. The question of the High Priest Caiaphas  (Mark 14:61; Matt. 26:63 / Acts 7:1).
    8. Committal of spirit (Luke 23:46 / Acts 7:59).
    9. Cry out with a loud voice (Mark 15:34, 37 / Acts 7:60).
    10.  Intercession for his enemies forgiveness (Luke 23:34 / Acts 7:60).

[1]  Ben Witherington III, THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES: A SOCIO-RHETORICAL COMMENTARY, (Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, 1998). 253.

Thursday, January 16, 2014



God has demonstrated His power in both Christ and the Believer. He did so “in accordance with the working of the strength of His might” (1:19b). This phrase modifies “the surpassing greatness of His power.” His power works according (kata) to His working, strength, and might. These words all speak of His power. The three words describe this power (dunamis). The word working is the Greek word energeia, where we get the word energy; it is active or actual power, as the verb means to act, to work, it is released energy. It is also used of Paul in Ephesians 3:7; 4:16. In each case it is active energy, i.e. translated best as “working.” “It is the active exercise of supernatural power.”[1] The second word, strength (kratos), used here and Ephesians 6:10, and refers strength, might, dominion, mastery. It is the presence of strength, and indicates natural strength.[2] The third word is might (ischus) denoting “strength, power, might, ability,” denoting possessed power. It has the sense of power, or capacity. There is no question the focus is on God’s active power. Campbell sums up verse 19, “Paul wants believers to know the surpassing greatness of God’s power unto them, which energizes in accordance with his reservoir of strength and might.”[3] The word for greatness means to go beyond the mark, thus surpass or exceed. It is surpassing greatness.

How God displayed the Greatness of His power:

  • Resurrection of Christ. (1:20). The available power has been displayed in a visible concrete event; the raising of Jesus from the dead. It was that power “which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead” (1:20). The word brought is the Greek word evergesen, meaning He worked in Christ by raising Him. It speaks of God’s power in action which was demonstrated in Christ’s resurrection. The verse is a demonstration of how God used His power when He energized Christ enabling Him to rise from the dead. This power of working is transcendent (life from death), experiential (to us), and resurrected power.
  • The Exaltation of Christ (1:20-21).  This energy also exalted Him when God “seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly [places]” (1:20). The event was inaugurated by His ascension (Luke 24:50-53; Acts 1:9-11). Paul declares in Colossians 2:15, “When He had disarmed the rulers and authorities, He made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through Him.” This is a visible demonstration of His power to those who looked on. The event is a measurement of divine power toward us believers. He ascends to be exalted at the right hand of God. Seating at the right hand of God denotes sovereignty, deity, and authority. The right hand is a place of honor, position, and blessedness. Notice, He is located “in heavenly places,” not on earth or an earthly throne. Christ is not sitting upon David’s throne today, but upon His throne in heaven, seated at the right hand of God. David’s throne has to do with Israel; Christ in heavenly places at the right hand of God has to do with the Church, the Body of Christ.

    This is an exalted position—“far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the age to come” (1:21). God the Father displays His power by placing Christ above every rule, authority, and dominion. The word all is the Greek word pases, and can be translated by the word all or by the word every. Hoehner notes that, “This expresses that Christ’s position in the heavenlies is above ‘every kind of’ power that exists.”[4]  It likely refers back to the OT referring to angelic powers. The four names here are found in later Jewish writings where there are ten classes, or hierarchy of angels.[5] He is “far above” them denotes superiority. The terms rule, authority, power, and dominion, are titles or ranks, of which Christ is superior over those who hold such titles. “And every name that is named” is a phrase that continues the thought of superiority. Jesus is greater than any name in heaven and earth. Thus, God has exercised His power to not only resurrect Jesus Christ, but to raise him and exalt him at His right hand. 

    This exaltation is eternal—“not only this age but also the one to come” (1:21). This praise is comprehensive. His exaltation is permanent, it is not temporary. While Paul in this Epistle emphasizes the present (1:17; 2:5, 6, 10 all speak of the present), even Christ being seated at the right hand is in the present. However, Paul here does not stop with the present, but extends into the eternal future. He has already told us that the future holds the fullness of times, where all things are united in Christ (1:10), and complete redemption will be accomplished (1:14), and now His exaltation will continue. His sovereignty and exaltation is permanent and eternal.

  • The Subjection of Everything under Christ (1:22a). 

    And He put all things in subjection under His feet” (1:22). The text reads more literally: “And He subjected all things under His feet.”[6] This is no easy statement. It reads as this has happened, it is done. The word subjected in the Greek is an indicative aorist active, which normally indicates punctiliar action normally in the past, but not always. The indicative indicates the mood of certainty. Yet, there is a seeming conflict with the reality of it all. The phrase is victory language. For everything to be subjected to Him, enemies must be overthrown. We do not see that subjection manifested today. Scripture indicates the finality will not take place until sometime in the future (Cf. Heb. 2:8; 1 Cor. 15:23-28).  Because this subjection is not yet, Paul goes on to warn believers of the evil powers that war against us (Eph.6:10-17). Yet the statement reads as a realization. Why? The answer is grammatical, as Wallace points out: “The aorist indicative can be used to describe an event that is not yet past as though it were already completed.”[7] This is called a Proleptic Aorist. While it is not a common use, it seems the best way to understand the text. The idea that this verse refers to the Second Adam as humanity restored and elevated,[8] thus a realized eschatology having universal domination seems weak to me. Lenski’s view of taking the statement more general and that the feet reference should be taken in the sense of Matthew 5:35 does not satisfy. Paul’s language is stronger than Matthew in this instance, and fits better with Matthew’s statement in 22:44. What Paul is stating in this present passage is that the Father has made all things subjected to Christ (active voice indicates this is the action of God the Father), this was part of His exaltation. However, that is not the same as saying Christ has fully executed it. Christ clearly has not fully executed this authority at the present time. He is still dealing with man in grace, not judgment. He will enact it at the proper time when He presents the Kingdom to the Father. As, Hoehner points out, “God does have a plan and everything must follow according to that plan which will culminate at Christ’s return where the exercise of His control will be very evident.”[9]

  • The Head of the Body of Christ: the Church (1:22b-23).

    And gave Him as head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all” (1:22-23). The exaltation
    of Christ includes His Headship of the Church, the Body of Christ. This is a key aspect of Christ’s exaltation for today. DeWitt suggests this is the first step or beginning of the process of subjecting all things to himself.[10] The body is in subjection to the head. Colossians 1:18 also suggest this has begun with the church. Christ as head, and the church the body, indicate that the church is an extension of Christ, although not in sense of the church being Christ. Rather, in the sense that it is the instrument of Christ on earth today. The head works through the body. While, the head and body are two metaphors, in Ephesians and Colossians, they are combined. Paul clearly sees the head as the source of sustenance of the body (Col. 2:19; Eph. 4:5-6) and the controlling aspect of the body. The head controls the body. Thus the body is subjected to the head.

    The phrase “the fullness of Him who fills all in all” (1:33) is an interesting one. It is not an easy phrase to understand. There are at least 3 possible ways this could be understood: (1) Christ is filling the church. (2) The Church is filling Christ (cf. Col. 1:24), Or (3) the church is being filled to completeness (cf. Rom. 11:25). There is no easy solution to this phrase. The grammar is unclean and complex.[11] Of the three possible views, I reject number 3 on the grounds that it encourages the idea that the church is not complete. Is the body of Christ incomplete? As an organization it may be, but not as a living organism. The metaphor is that of an organism, the church as a body, and as such does not imply such an idea. When one is born the body is complete, there is nothing missing. It may be immature and developing, but it is not incomplete. When on is born, this complete body grows not to completeness, but to maturity. Likewise, the Church the Body of Christ is complete. There are no parts missing that need to added (such as an eye, or a toe, etc) to make it complete. Paul emphasizes the growth of the church and its members in Eph. 4:15-16. Any sense of completeness must not be looked upon of addition (which is hard mentally to do), but in the sense of completely mature.

    View 2 is possible. However, like view 3, we have to ask ourselves in what sense does the church fill Christ? Is Christ incomplete without the church? He cannot be incomplete in His essence or character. His being God prevents this. The only possible answer is that we are to complete Christ in His purpose. Campbell seems to hold this when he writes: “The Church is ‘the fulness’…the completeness, the ultimate, and the epitome of God’s revealed purpose.”[12]

    View 1 seems to be the best in that it fits the best into the context of Ephesians. It indicates “that the church is filled by Christ who is being filled (by God) entirely or in every way.”[13] This view does at least 3 things:[14] First, by taking pleroma (fullness) as a passive, signifies the filling result is completed. Vine says it “points to the body as the filled receptacle of the power of Christ.”[15] Second, it fits with the rest of Ephesians in that Christ fills and completes the church rather than Christ being completed by the church. Third, it corresponds to Col. 1:19 and 2:9 that the fullness of God dwells in Christ, thus here it is God who filled all in all. God’s fullness is filling Christ and Christ is filling the church. Ephesians 4:10 reinforces this idea that His exaltation was “so He might fill all things.” Also see Ephesians 3:10, 4:13 where it is the individual’s responsibility to allow Christ to fill them with His character, power, and gifts.

This marks the end of Paul’s demonstration of how God manifested the greatness of His power. The power Paul prays for is to be a part of our lives. We are to draw upon that power. It ends His prayer for enlightenment.

[1]  Hoehner, Harold H,  EPHESIANS 270.
[2]  Michaelis III, W., “Kratos,” DICTIONARY OF THE NEW TESTAMENT, 3:467.
[3]  Campbell, Ernest, COMMENTARY OF EPHESIANS,  51.
[4]  Hoehner, 276.
[5]  Lincoln, Andrew L, WBC: EPHESIANS, 63. Wood, A. Skevinton, EBC: Ephesians, 30.
[7]  Wallace, GREEK GRAMAR: BEYOND THE BASICS, 563. Also see Earle, John, EPHESIANS, 297.
[8]  Eadie, 104. Also Lincoln, 66; Wood, 31.
[9]  Hoehner, 284.
[11]  For details of how the grammar can be taken, see Hoehner, 296-299. He identifies and discusses a number of ways that the grammar has been taken..
[12]  Campbell, 58.
[13]  Hoehner, 288.
[14]  Gleaned from Hoehner’s five points, 288-299.
[15]  Vine, EXPOSTIORY DISPENSATION, 2:136. Also see Hoehner, 288.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Things in Common between the Church and Israel

We dispensationalist believe that there is a distinction between Israel and the Church. However, it seems to me that we often overlook similarities that exist between the nation Israel and the Church the body of Christ. I am told that Charles Welch said at the end of his life that he spent his life time teaching the distinctive differences, that now someone should center upon the similarities. We do have things in common. Here are a few:
  • We have the same Savior—Jesus Christ.
  • We both have been redeemed by the blood of Christ
  • We both are related to Abraham
  • We both are to walk in worldly separation.  

Saturday, January 4, 2014


Scholars have notice parallels between Paul’s journey to Jerusalem and Jesus going to Jerusalem. Longenecker list these parallels:[1]
  • A similar plot by the Jews (Acts 20:3 cf. Luke 22:1-2)
  • A handing over to the Gentiles (Acts 21:11 cf. Luke 23:1, 11)
  • A triple prediction on the way to suffering (Acts 20:22-24; 21:4, 10-11 cf. Luke 9:22, 44; 18:21-34).
  • A steadfast resolution to go (Acts 21:13 cf. Luke 9:51).
  • A holy resignation to God’s will (Acts 21:14 cf. Luke 22:42).

[1]  Longenecker, Richard A, THE EXPOSITOR'S BIBLE COMMENTARY: ACTS 9:515


Sermon in a Nutshell

Text: Titus 3:3-8

  1. Our Condition before Grace 3:3
  2. The Coming of Grace 3:4-6
  3. Our Condition by Grace 3:7
  4. Our Compulsion by Grace 3:8