Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Reading Hebrews 001

Hoberltz observes; “The book of Hebrews emphasizes the importance of believers living with a few to view to future in the Lord’ millennial kingdom.” (Eschatological Salvation of Hebrews, Bibliotheca Sacra, January 1988, 83].  The main thesis dealing the superiority of Christ [Ibid). He is superior in His Person and Work. The superiority of Christ applies both to Israel and the church (cf. 1 cor. 12:12-13).

Sunday, November 4, 2018

The defence by Paul— Acts 28:17-23.

This meeting took place three days after arriving in Rome. Paul initiated the contact. Rome had a high presence of Jews (50,000),[1] and even in the Army, they had basically their own region known as the Trans Tiberim.[2] Larkin tells us that a number of Synagogue names have been recovered.[3] Luke records the conversation. This, like others since Paul is a prisoner, is a defense speech being made to the Jews at Rome. Some has made note of the echoing of Jesus trail language in this defense.[4] This meeting affirms five things:

(1) First, is Paul’s declaration of innocence. He “had done nothing against our people or the customs of our fathers” (28:17). He is identifying with his people by the use of the word our. This is also reinforced by calling them brethren, meaning fellow Jews. He wants his fellow countrymen to know he did nothing against his people or the customs.

(2) Second, His innocence was recognized by the Romans. He informs them that the Romans “were willing to release me because there was no ground for putting me to death” (28:18). This is a common theme in the last half of Acts (23:29; 25:18-19, 25; 26:31-32).

(3) Third, because of the Jews objection, “I was force to appeal to Caesar” (28:19a cf. 26:11).  It is clear that he made the appeal for his own protection. The irony is that he is still held and faces charges in spite of his innocence.

(4) Fourth, He wants them to know he does not have any accusation against Israel (28:19b). The word for accusation is a legal term meaning to have legal cause. This may well be said because a counter-suit may have been on the Jewish minds. Paul had no intent to punish the Jews, nor that he held ill-will toward them. He only wanted to be acquitted.

(5) Fifth, He is a prisoner “for the sake of the hope of Israel” (28:20). This is another common theme in to Paul and his ministry in Acts (23:6; 24:15; 26:6-7). There is confusion about this statement among dispensationalist. Some hold that the phrase refers to the earthly kingdom and that Paul was preaching the earthly kingdom up to this point in Acts, not the church the body of Christ.[5] This goes against Scripture. [1] Because at the same time he was also in bonds because of the Mystery (Eph. 6:19-20). This applies to his first Roman imprisonment; the very same that Luke writes about in Acts 28. He writes about the mystery before he went to Rome (Romans 16:25). To hold that Paul was only preaching the earthly kingdom up to this point is nonsense. [2] It is clear that Paul was imprisoned because he preached to the Gentiles the message of Grace. All one has to do is read the pre-prison epistles of Paul (cf. Romans 3:24; 6:14; 9:23-24). It is clear that Paul preached to the Gentiles the gospel of Grace, long before Acts 28. [3] It displays a misunderstanding of the phrase—the hope of Israel. The key to understanding the phrase is Acts 26:6-7.[6] It is clear that the hope is connected to the promise. The promise takes us back to Abraham and the promise given the fathers. This hope has a two-fold application; one to a person (Christ), and as an eschatological hope that will be fulfilled by the coming of the person. For a more precise definition of the Hope of Israel see Jeremiah 14:8; 17:13, where the Savior of Israel is called “the Hope of Israel.” Paul preached Jesus Christ both as the hope of Israel and to the Gentiles the mystery of Christ (Col. 1:27). In this context the hope of Israel refers to the person of Jesus Christ, the resurrected Savor of both Israel and the Church. The Hope of Israel is a person, not an event; although the person brings in the event (the earthly kingdom).  [4] Paul was in chains not for preaching the earthy kingdom, but the preaching the resurrection of the crucified Christ (Messiah). Stam is correct saying: “by examining the Scriptures concerned, any sincere student will learn that Paul was ‘bound with this chain,’ not for proclaiming that which Israel hope for, the kingdom, but for proclaiming that which was the basis of her hopes, the resurrection.[7] See Acts 23:6; 24:14, 15; 25:18-19; 26:6-8. Paul firmly believed that Jesus Christ (Messiah) was their hope, and would return to establish Himself as the King of His kingdom (cf. Romans 11:25-27). They needed to realize their hope—the resurrected Savor.

[1]  Larkin, ACTS, 386.
[2]  Bock, BECNT: ACTS, 751.
[3]  Larkin, ACTS, 38.
[4]  Witherington, ACTS, 797.
[5]  Commonly known as the Acts 28 position in dispensationalism.
[6]  See our comments on Acts 26:6-7.
[7]  Stam, ACTS, 215.

Monday, September 24, 2018


The theological significance of Acts 9.

This event cannot be overstated. Included are:

· The exaltation of the earthly Jesus. The truth is dynamic and transparent: The earthly Jesus is the exalted Christ. The crucified Jesus was the resurrected Christ. The resurrection is the cornerstone of the gospel. It cannot be denied. Paul experienced the Resurrected One; the vision revealed the uniqueness and deity of the One whom he is doing everything to erase from human history. Now he is converted to established that person and name throughout the world.

· The reality of divine grace apart from the Law. His conversion came not by the Law, which he was serving, but despite it. It was an act of divine grace upon one who deserved divine judgment. His testimony becomes that God called him through His grace alone, apart from the Law (cf. Gal. 1:15). Becker remarks:The zealot for the law becomes an apostle who, more consistently than any other, champions the cause of law-free Gentile Christianity.”[1] It is because this experience had taught him in a living and vital way that the deeds of the Law could not bring salvation, only grace could be the channel of salvation (Eph. 2:8-9; Titus 2:11; 3:4-7).

· The commission to the Gentiles. The call and commission of Paul as the Apostle of the Gentiles cannot be denied in this event. The picture of the conversion points to that fact. On this road, Saul the Jew was struck down and blinded, to rise and be given a new vision of God’s message of grace to the Gentiles. His commission is given personally by the person of Christ (Acts 26:16-18) and confirmed by Ananias (9:15-16; 22:15). Paul now becomes the transitional figure from the gospel of the circumcision (the message and apostleship of the Twelve), to the gospel and apostleship of the uncircumcision for the Gentiles (Gal. 2:7). Paul would establish this call by his distinctive “mystery” of inclusion of Jew and Gentile into one body of which Christ is the head (Eph. 2:11-3:12). His mission is as an instrument of Christ, with a message that had been hiding in God until revealed through him (Eph. 3:8-9). Ralston correctly observes:The Damascus Road experience constituted the Apostle Paul’s theological center pin.[2]

· The conversion of Saul marks the beginning of a radical change or transition in the administration of God. The nation of Israel will now be set aside temporarily, and a new administration of the mystery program will be revealed (Rom. 11:25 cf. Eph. 3:8-10). However, this change of doctrine, tradition, and practice would take time. This time is known as the transition period. It began with Saul’s conversion and lasted until the destruction of the Temple in 70 AD when it is impossible to carry out the old traditions. It is not simply a conflict between Jews and Gentiles, but a conflict between two practices. Aldrich observes that this transition was necessary because of the ever-present natural inertia and resistance to change. It was not an easy transition from the traditions and doctrines of Judaism to the new light and glory of grace.”[3] DeWitt correctly observes that a dispensation coversa distinctive era of salvation history created and sustained by a newly revealed phrase of the plan of God.[4] The conversion of Paul and the revelation given to him marks a new phrase in the plan of God. It is a new dispensation based on the new revelation of what Paul calls the mystery. In point of fact, Paul calls this new development a dispensation (Eph. 3:2-3). The program now changes from a “Jews only” message (Acts 11:19) to a message of “no difference” between Jew and Gentile message (Acts 15:9; Rom. 10:12). However, the gospel continued to be preached to the Jew “first” during this period. The call of repentance will continue to be to the Jews throughout this time, as it was when they preached to the Jews only (cf. Acts 3:19; 10:43; 11:18; 17:30; 26:18, 20). Even in Paul’s ministry this is evident by the fact that in every place visited the message was begun in the synagogues, to the Jew first, only when forced did he withdraw from the synagogue.

· The message of grace is the caused a conflict that arose is evidenced in the first epistle of Paul—Galatians. In this epistle, we see it is a conflict between the circumcision and the believing uncircumcision—their message, traditions, and practices (Gal. 2:1-21). It is a conflict between a law/ritual system based on the Old Testament and a free grace system based on the new revelation given to Paul for us today. Freedom from the Mosaic Law system was at the heart of Paul’s mission from the inception of his work and ministry. This transition from one system to the other would continue in conflict with the rest of the book of Acts. The existence of a transition period is vital for a correct understanding of the book of Acts. The transitional period is marked by three turning points in the rest of Acts:

· The Conversion of Paul (Acts 9) and calling as “the apostle of the Gentiles”

·It marks  the beginning the outbreak against Paul (Acts 22:22) showing the Jews rejecting Paul’s message.

·The final outgoing to the Gentiles (Acts 28:28) indicating the coming final judgment upon the nation (not individual Jews).

[2]  Ralston, ‘The Theological Significance of Paul’s Conversion ,“ 214.
[3]  Aldrich, Roy L. ”The Transition Problem in Acts,” BIB-SAC, July 1957, 236.

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Reflections of Romans #10


Romans 2:1-29

The words “wherefore” connect Romans 2 with the last verses of chapter 1. It is a transitional conjunction. Most see Paul turns to the Jews. Others see Paul’s argument against the Jews not starting until verse 17.[1] However, the chapter emphasizes the impartiality of God’s judgment. Moo points out that the best solution to understand the transition is “not to describe (mainly) Gentile sin, and mainly against Jews.”[2] The religious and the moralist can be as guilty as the heathen. Sin is a sin! All sinners will be accountable to the judgment of God. Thus, the scope is universal. Paul makes important observations: (1) The accusation that they that judge others arewithout excuse” (1:1). (2) They are guilty of the same things. Moral superiority is a bogus claim.

The chapter gives the principles of the judgment of God.[3] These principles are fixed.

God’s Judgment is “according to the truth (2:2-4). The opening phrase “but we are sure [know-NASV]” is a formula of common ground (2:2, also found in 3:19; 8:28). The moralist condemns himself and judgment of God. However, evil desires constitute sin as well as evil actions. The stress is on God’s judgment. It denotes the fairness of God’s judgment. It is the incontestable truth. The bases of judgment begin with truth. It speaks of truth in its essence. The word the before truth is not in the Greek text. It speaks and means by the facts of the case.[4] God judges by what exists (truth), not what merely appears to be.

Paul points out the things man condemns what they do themselves (2:3). The delusion is that of their superior attitude thus thinking about earning them an exemption.  It is nothing but self-deception. He confronts these moralists by indicating they cannot escape the judgment of God. He condemns them by their actions. He states the truthfulness of the of their actions to criticize the statement is emphatic, “bringing out the folly of such of assumption of partiality on the part of God.[5] It is held as an echo from Isa 57:3-13.[6] Also, they show contempt for the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering of God. (2:4). These are three genitives to describe the attitude of God. They despise these attitudes of God “not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance,” This points to the following: (1) the ignorance of man. (2) A key is the goodness of God. Morris denotes that “even God’s judgments must be seen in a context of mercy; they are meant to lead people to repentance and forgiveness.”[7] (3) Goodness speaks of grace and benevolence. (4) Repentance is a positive not a negative. Repentance is a change of mind. It is turning from faithlessness toward faith and trust in God. It is not a change of action but leads to a change of action. 

Judgment according to accumulated guilt (2:5). “But after” may better be understood as because of or on account of.[8]  Paul gives the reason as to why they have not repented, their “hardness [stubbornness] and impenitent heart.” The article connects these two items, making them one. Such a condition has a long history (Deut. 9:27; 10:16; Jer. 4:4; Ezek. 3:7). The result is that they “treaurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God.” The word treaurest[9] means to store up. What is being stored up is wrath. It will be manifest on the day of revelation and judgment. It speaks of the final judgment (Rev. 20). God is just. That day will reveal the deceifulness of the heart.

Judgment according to works (2:6-10). Works matter. Paul declares God will “render to every man according to his deeds (works).” There are no exceptions. It includes both Jews and Gentiles (2:9; 10). It is reinforced two times in this section. Newell points out it is “life-choices,” that is in question here.[10] It will not deal with what we intended or hoped or wanted to do (cf. Ps. 62:12; Matt. 16:27; et al.), but what we did (works). There are four facts:

· Paul probably meant that if a person obeys God perfectly ("who by perseverance in doing good"), he or she will receive "eternal life." However, notice the word “seek” which means to search after, to pursue, or seek. What they are seeking is described as glory, honor and immorality, and eternal life. All of this is part from the law. Salvation by works is a hyporthtical posibility.

· Omitted is any reference to redemption or the necessity of the work of Christ.

· Those who do not obey God perfectly receive wrath. Later Paul would clarify that no one can obey God perfectly, so all are under His wrath (3:23-24). The idea that one earns salvation by good works is full folly. Salvation comes as a gift of faith (Eph. 2:8-9; Titus 3:5; cf. John 3:20; 6:40). Those who do not obey God perfectly receive wrath. Later he would clarify that no one can obey God perfectly, so all are under His wrath (3:23-24). Moralist and the unbelievers store up “condemnation” (2:5).

· The material of 2:7-8 is in reverse and everted order.[11] Judgment is on the moralist who does “work good”—Jew or Gentile (2:9).

Judgment is without respect of a person  (2:11-12). The statement is a conclusion of 2:6-10.[12] Romans 2: is reinforced by Eph. 6:9; Col. 3:25; and James 2:1. The idea of favoritism with God is denied. Gods judgement is impartial. The idea of being making eternal life by works is a hypothetical.  It is an indication that supports that man falls short of God’s righteousness.

The law matters little (2:12). Sin invades those who work according to the law and those without the law. Moo points out that it speaks to “the division of the world.”[13] The world with the law and those without the law.  It reinforces the idea of the impartiality of God. It speaks to His moral character, imposing the aphorism (2;2) of the truth without respect for the person. Truth is the absolute quality of judgment.

Judgment is based on obedience to the truth, not knowledge (2:13-15). The verses of the paragraph are a sub-section.[14]  It is marked off by a parenthesis (KJV). Paul immediately gives a principle of judgment.  It is not intellectualism of the truth; it is doing the truth. Truth is the standard of obedience. It is the main point of the paragraph. The section presents the following facts: (1) It contrasts the between knowing the truth and obedience, between hearers and doers of the law (cf. James 1:22; 25). (2) It is complete obedience brings “justified” speaks of the final judgement. (3) Paul refers to the Gentiles not to commend them but to censure the Jews who were given the Law.[15] (4) There is balanced parallelism presented: “as many as sin without the law will perish” and “those who sin in the law will be judged will be judged through the law.” (5) The works of the law are active in excusing one. It shows sin as universal.

God will judge according to the secret counsel of based on the gospel of Paul (2;16). There was to explicitly elements of judgment. The emphasis is still on the future judgment. First is the secret counsel of the heart. It is the subject of the judgment. No man will be able to keep secrets hidden. These secrets are known to God (cf. 1 Samuel 16:7; Psa. 139:1, 23; Jer. 17:10, Heb. 4:12). Second, the hidden things will be made clear, “by Jesus Christ.” Christ is the agent of judgment. Jesus will “no longer a patient and willing Redeemer, but God’s appointed Judge in righteousness! (Acts 17:31) Observes Newell.[16] Third, it standard is “my Gospel” a reference to the gospel of grace that was committed to Paul (cf. Rom. 16:25). Paul also calls it the mystery which was hidden in God but revealed to him (Eph. 3:1-10).

God will judge by reality, not by religion (2:17-29). This is the final verdict of the chapter. This has been called the “ignored passage” in Romans.[17] While it talks about the possibility of obeying and acceptance of the Gentiles, in reality, it is for brings to the religious Jew. It aims to show the infidelity and bias of the Jews. This section points our three things:

(1)   The advantages of being religious. Paul is speaking directly to his fellows Jews. You rest in the law, know the will of God revealed in the law; instructed in the law; boast in being a guide to the blind; instructors of the foolish, having a form of knowledge (17-20).

(2)   Their failure under the law: they do not teach themselves; disobey the law by not living up to the teaching of the law (21-22). The results are to dishonor the Law and God; they cause blasphemy among the Gentiles; By disobedience they circumcision brings infective their circumcision. (2:23-27).

(3)   The conclusion (2:28-29), the outward religion of being a Jew turns them into a heathen. A real Jew is an inward, caused by the circumcision of the heart; it is spiritual, not fleshly; who seeks the praise of God, not of men. “Faith lays hold of the promise and the signs are the pledges of God’s fulfillment of them,”[18]  The Jews never could understand this, making them the judgment of God. Religion does not save us—only Christ does.


[1] William R. Newell, ROMANS: VERSE BY VERSE, 55.
[2]  Douglas J. Moo, NICNT: ROMANS, 128.
[3] William R. Newell, ROMANS: VERSE BY VERSE, 54ff.
[4] John Murray, NICNT: ROMANS, [Grand Rapids, Eerdmans, 1968], 57.
[5]  C.E.B. Cranfield, ICC: ROMANS, [Edinburgh, T & T Clark, 1975], 143.
[6] Richard N. Longenecker, NIGTC: ROMANS [Grand Rapids, Eerdmans, 2016], 248.
[7]  Leon Morris, PNTC; ROMANS [Grand Rapids, Eerdmans, 1988], 111.
[8]   C.E.B Cranfield, ROMANS, 1:145.
[9]  qhsaupizeiV [present active indicative], to store, to collect or to lay up,
[10]  William R Newell, ROMANS: VERSE BY VERSE, 58.
[11] Richard N Longenecker, NIGTC: ROMANS, 258.
[12] Ibid, 259.
[13]  Douglas J. Moo, NICNT; ROMANS, 145.
[14]  C.E.B Cranfield, ICC: ROMANS, 1:153.
[15]  Richard N. Longenecker, NIGTC: ROMANS, 274.
[16]  William R. Newell, ROMANS: VERSE BY VERSE, 65.
[17] Richard N. Longenecker, NIGTC: ROMANS, 291.
[18]  W.H. Griffith Thomas, ROMANS, 92.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Hebrews 1:7

The Angels are Subordinate Servants—1:7

This fourth quotation of Hebrews is from Psalm 104:4—a creation psalm. The phrase “And of the angels He says” makes clear that the preacher is describing the angels. The conjunction “and” is coordinating v. 6 with 7-12. “Who makes His angels winds, and His ministers a flame of fire.” This quotation is directed to the angels, not Christ. The text describes the angels as winds, or spirits (KJV). It is a quote from Psalm 104:4 (LXX 103). The original Hebrew has a different emphasis, there it is God “makes the winds his messengers, flames of fire his servants[1] The Psalm is that of sovereign praise to the creator. It speaks of God over His creation. The word winds are the word pneuma, which means the wind, the air in motion, breath, spirit, a spiritual being. It denotes their incorporeal spiritual nature. Ross suggests that God arrayed His angels with physical phenomena, similar to the way He often manifested Himself.[2] Hughes notes the rendering ‘winds’ rather than ‘spirits’ is contextually required, however; for, if the latter were correct, then a consistently parallel interpretation should be sought for the description of God’s servants as fiery flames.”[3] Marshall confirms the context calls for the translation; “he makes winds of his angels and a flame of fire his servants.”[4]

The intent of the quotation is debated. Three views are given
  • God changes angels into wind and fire for His purpose; a view held by Jewish rabbinic teaching.
  • The angels assume the form of wind and fire. 
  • It is a comparison between angels and these forces. The best view in my humble opinion is the Wind speaks of invisibility and fire as an instrument of judgment. Kent mentions thatGod uses angels as His instruments to carry out His will, just as the winds and flaming fire are agents of swift destruction.”[5] The main point, however, is the transitory and mutable nature of angels compared to the eternality of the Son.”[6] They are subordinates to carry out the will of God.

[1]  NASV gives the more lateral translation
[2]  Allen P Ross, BIBLE KNOWEDGE COMMENTARY: OLD TESTAMENT: “PSALMS”, [Wheaton IL, Victor Books, 1985]. 869,
[3]  Philip Edgeumbe Hughes, HEBREWS, 62. 
[4]  I Howard Marshall, NIGTC: HEBREWS, 120.
[5]  Homer Kent, HEBREWS, 43.
[6]  David Allen, NAC: HEBREWS, 177.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Review: Best Books

John Glynn, BEST BIBLE BOOKS: NEW TESTAMENT RESOURCES, (Grand Rapids, Kregel, 2018).

For anyone interested in commentaries, this book is for you. It belongs on the desk of every Bible student, scholar, and Pastor. It is an excellent reference for anyone who buys and uses commentries. It is a revision of earlier works by Mr. Glynn. It is up to date. However, there have been changes from earlier editions: some good, some not so good.

There are certain things that disappointing.

The new editor has decided not to use the classification of text theological.

It does not cover older works by such scholars as Calvin, Luther, Eadie, and early commentaries which are still in print. Most commentaries are newer from the mid 80’s as the latest with few exceptions.

The classifications of best; good; and better are a little confusing.

There are good things to like about the book and are helpful.

The how to build a personal library, designed layperson, Bible college students, and Pastors.

It covers more than commentaries, such introductions surveys and theologies of the New Testament.

The heart of the book is commentaries on each book of the New Testament. They are divided into three sections: technical, semithnical, and special studies.

On each commentary, he comments on its approach, format, and usability. This section alone is most valuable.

This should be in every Pastor’s libaray. It is an over all improvement of the older edition, and a reliable resource.

Thanks to Kregel  Ministry for a copy of the book  in exchange for my review. 

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Christological of Hebrews

In Hebrews the use of the O.T. is mainly Christological. Christ is the crucial figure in the fulfillment of the O.T. text. The preacher does not refer to contemporary Judaism, but to the Old Covenant and priestly institutions as revealed in the Pentateuch.Christ stands in continuity with this system by fulfilling it.”[1] Christ is the goal of the Old Testament revelation. It appears that the readers had an insufficient view of Christ and His work, grace, and the Abrahamic promise. Cockerill observes: “To practice the old before Christ was to anticipate his fulfillment, to practice it after, however, is to deny his sufficiency.”[2] The theme is Christ being superior to the Old Testament ritualism— ritualism that is coming to an end. Christ’s superiority is brought out by the continued use of the word “better,” indicating Christ is better than the angels, Moses, and Abraham. One of the most significant Christological statements in Scripture is Hebrews 1:3-4, which centers upon His person. Christ is the Son of God, the Savior, and exalted Lord. The preacher presents one of the strongest theologies of Christ of the New Testament. The theology sections include:
  • He is the revelation of God (1:1-4).
  • He is superior to the angels (1:5-2:18)
  • He is superior to Moses (3:1-4:13).
  • He is the Sympathetic High Priest (4:14-5:10).
  • He is the Priest like Melchizedek (7:1-28).
  • High Priest is made perfect by Sacrifice (8:1-28)
  • Christ the Perfect Sacrifice (10:18)

The sermon centers upon Christ as High Priest (8:1, 13:10), which is the author’s most distinctive contribution to Christology. Only He deals with this subject. The doctrine of Christ’s High Priesthood is the theological center of the epistle.[3]

[1]  Gareth Lee Cockerill, NICNT: HEBREWS, 21.
[2]  Ibid, 40.
[3]  David MacLeod, “The Doctrinal Center of the Book of Hebrews,” BIBLIOTHECA-SACRA, July 1989, 293.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Brief understanding of John 2:23-25


This section of John is one of the most challenging passages to grasp. It marks a transition from his wide-ranging ministry to a small ministry of individuals. This section has cause contention and debate weather their faith was fake or real. Scholars seem to be divided on the issue of faith. Some see it as speaking of weak faith (i.e., D. A. Carson, Frederic Louis Godet, Andreas J. Kostenberger, George R. Beasley-Murray, F.F. Bruce). Others see it as real faith although it may have been immature (i.e., Rodney Whitacre, Zane C. Hodges, Merrill C. Tenney, Ramsey Michaels, W. Hall Harris). Therefore, it calls us to a careful study of the passage.  In this transitional summary we see:

2:23 The Setting: “Now when He was in Jerusalem at the Passover,” marks the location of the events. While in the city, Jesus began to gain a following among the people. How long He was in the city is not explicitly given. We can deduce he was there during the Passover celebration and long enough to do wonderous deeds and start a following by his listeners.  

The reaction of the people: “many believe in His name.” A limited phrase, not found in other literature of the time, and found mainly in John’s writings.[1] The same expression is found in 1:12. It is clearly expressing that those who believe are those who “received Him” becoming the children of God. The majority of scholars imply this is not saving faith. There is no indication in the text this is not genuine. Two points indicate they are true believers:[2] (1) Damaging to the non-genuine is the fact affirmed in 3:18 that man is condemned because they do not believe in the Son. (2) The motif is one of John’s favorite expression for regenerating faith (cf. 1:12, 3:16, 18, 36; 4:39; 6:29, 39, 40; 7:38-39).

Beholding His signs which He was doing.” Many indicate that the people believed because of the signs (miracles—KJV). The Greek word[3] used means a sign, mark and miraculous token of Divine authority and power. However, if we are honest, the verse or phrase does not say their faith rested in the miracles or signs. Signs/miracles may be aids of faith, but it is not the object of faith in this verse. If signs are understood as miracles, Michaels points out there were not miracles recorded in this stay in Jerusalem.[4]  The text does not give any miracles. The cleansing of the temple may be considered as a sign of Messiahship. The Davidic covenant “laid the theological foundation for the everlasting kingdom of the eschatological Messiah.”[5]  

2:24 “But Jesus, on His part, was not entrusting Himself to them, for knew all men.” It is a difficult verse. A couple of observations; First the word “entrusting,” is the same word as “believing” of verse 23. It is an imperfect tense, representing the habitual attitude.[6] Second, the word is found in the negative in verse 24. There is a contrast been Jesus and the people.  Many view the faith of the people as a bogus. These hold the signs was the reason or the object of their faith, thus, rejection by Jesus. It was based on His knowledge of people.  Tenney points out that Jesus “was not satisfied with a superficial faith, even though it was genuine as far as it went.[7]  The phrase indicates that their faith is not passed through the dawn of discipleship. Hodges holds that Jesus is not downgrading their faith, which brings eternal life, rather Jesus is speaking of the subtheme of intimacy of fellowship (cf. 15:14).[8]

2:25 This is evidence of the omniscience of Jesus (cf. 1:47-48). It is a point of deity. Jesus “needed not that any should testify of man; for the knew what was in man.” It is interesting this statement is given just before he meets with Nicodemus.

[1]  Rudolf Bultmann, pisteuw, pistiV,” TDNT, 6:203.
[3] Shmeia [acusative] meaning a sign.
[4]  J. Ramsey Michaels, NICNT: JOHN, 172.
[5]  Gordon H. Johnson, “Messianic Trajectories of God’s Covenant Promise in David,” Herbert W Bateman IV, Darrell L. Bock, Gordan H. Johnson, JESUS THE MESSIAH, [Grand Rapids, Kregel, 2012] 65.
[6]  Leon Morris, NICNT: THE GOSPEL OF JOHN, [Grand Rapids, Eerdmans, 1977], 207.
[7]  Merrill C. Tenney, EBC: JOHN, 46.
[8] Zane C. Hodges, “Problem Passage in the Gospel of John, Part 2, Untrustworthy Believers,” BIBLOTHECA SACRA, April 1978, 139-152.