These notes are a resource accompanying the message rather than a sermon outline.
That allowed me to hoist a sail to try and catch the wind/breath/Spirit of God.
Introduction: Discovering treasures new and old as we all obey our Lord’s command to love one another, e.g. across all ages, grandparents to children and grandchildren.
love one another – John 13:34; 15:12, 17; Romans 12:10; 13:8; 1 Thessalonians 4:9; 1 Peter 1:22; 1 John 3:11, 23; 4:7, 11, 12; 2 John 5
serve one another – Galatians 5:21; 1 Peter 5:5
accept one another – Romans 15:7
strengthen one another – Romans 14:19
help one another – Hebrews 3:13; 10:24
encourage one another – Hebrews 10:25
forgive one another – Ephesians 4:32; Colossians 3:13
submit to one another – Ephesians 5:21
carry one another’s burdens – Galatians 6:2
be tolerant with one another – Ephesians 4:2; Colossians 3:13
be concerned for one another – Hebrews 10:24
be kind and tender-hearted to one another – Ephesians 4:32
Two quick, simple ways to do that, e.g. in a home group, or any group.
(1) In pairs or threes, say what you appreciate or admire about the other person.
(2) Pray a blessing for the other person (many of you will get an inspired word).
Treasures New & Old
He said to them, ‘Therefore every teacher of the law who has become a disciple in the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his storeroom new treasures as well as old.’ (Matthew 13:52 NIV)
The Amplified Version calls those treasures the fresh as well as the familiar.
Jesus is the best example of revealing both new and old treasures, as shown in the rest of the passage from Matthew 13:53-58.
Here are some examples of the new transforming the old.
The old transformed
Jesus knew the old and familiar better than anyone, and constantly demonstrated the new fresh treasures of the kingdom, fulfilling and completing the old in himself.
Prayer. The Old Testament is full of examples and commands to pray (e.g. 2 Chronicles 7:14; Jeremiah 33:3). Jesus taught us to pray from the heart, not just lots of words (e.g. Matthew 6:5-15) because God already knows all we need. He taught us to pray, “Our Father …” Intimate and personal, as he prayed.
The Ten Commandments were familiar but Jesus gave them fresh new meaning and fulfilled them, as in the Sermon on the Mount (e.g. Matthew 6:17-48). Jesus loved the rich young ruler who had obeyed all the commandments from his youth, but challenged him to forsake everything and take up his cross and follow Jesus (Mark 10:17-22).
The familiar Palm 23 has fresh meaning when we see it fulfilled in Jesus: “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep” (John 10:11).
Jesus fulfilled the Servant Songs in Isaiah (Isaiah 42:1–4; Isaiah 49:1–6; Isaiah 50:4–11; and Isaiah 52:13–53:12) giving them dramatic new meaning. The Ethiopian officer in charge of the Queen’s treasury found Jesus in Isaiah 53 and was baptized (Acts 8:26-40).
Jesus gave new meaning to the familiar passage in Isaiah 61:1-2 in his home village in the synagogue at Nazareth after his baptism in water and in the Spirit. He declared and demonstrated it.
‘The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.’ (Lk 4:18-19 NIV)
Jesus declared and demonstrated God’s kingdom. He still does, including in and through us. That’s in the Riverlife mission statement: “We are a family embracing the Father’s presence, releasing empowered people who declare and demonstrate Christ’s kingdom.”
The new transforming us
Faith in Jesus, and faith in God, transform us. God’s Spirit is with us and within us to enable us to demonstrate Christ’s Kingdom. Even Jesus said, “By myself I can do nothing” (John 5:30).
People in Nazareth found it hard to believe in God’s power in Jesus. They saw him as the local carpenter, not as God’s Son.
Matthew and Mark tell how amazed Jesus was at their unbelief. Luke tells us how furious the people were (Mt 13:54-58; Mk 6:1-6; Lk 4:16-30).
The Gospels record two times when Jesus was amazed. This was one. He was amazed at their lack of faith, their unbelief. Their unbelief prevented him from doing mighty miracles (Mt 13:58; Mark 6:6).
In contrast, Jesus was amazed by the faith he saw in a Gentile centurion who understood authority: “Just say the word, and my servant will be healed” (Mt 8:10; Lk 7:9).
We live in a time when millions of believers are discovering the new treasures of God’s kingdom. I want to give you examples. This can build faith for us to believe for more of God’s kingdom to come among us all.
(5) Ephesus – Acts 19. 12 people were baptized and prayed for and filled with God’s Spirit.
Example: I baptized a friend in a creek at a church camp and he was also Spirit-filled and drunk or overwhelmed in the Spirit.
We can, and need to respond in faith and glad obedience (e.g. expectant, obedient dog wagging its tail).
We too can pray, “Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief” (Mark 9:24). That’s our way into blessing, and to bless others in the power of God’s Spirit.
Here’s a comment from the Introduction to The Life of Jesus (with a free PDF). A trinity of three physical metaphors helps me to be constantly aware of, and grateful for, God’s presence with us always:
(1) Light surrounds you. By it you can read this. The sun always shines, even when it’s hidden from us. Light shines around us though we may be unaware of it. God is light and in him there is no darkness at all. We can live in his light.
(2) Blood pumps through your body right now, cleansing and healing. We may be unaware of it until reactions like alarm alerts us to our beating heart. Jesus’ blood cleanses from all sin, always. We can trust him for he is with us.
(3) We may breathe without being aware of it, or we can be aware and take deep breaths, as you may have done just now! Breath purifies our lungs and body. God is Spirit and like breath or fresh breeze, he can purify us.
A prayer, from the Preface to The Life of Jesus (free on renewaljournal.com): Thank you Lord for all you’ve done. Forgive me for any wrong in my life. I trust in you and give my life to you.
For personal reflection or to select some for a small group discussion and prayer.
What Old Testament treasures especially inspire or encourage you?
Examples: Psalm 23; 2 Chronicles 7:14; Jeremiah 33:3.
What Old Testament treasures really challenge you?
Examples: Exodus 20; Psalm 51.
What New Testament treasures especially inspire or encourage you?
Examples: John 3:16-18; Luke 11:9-13.
What New Testament treasures really challenge you?
Examples: 1 John 3:16-18; John 7:37-39.
What old or familiar traditions do you still appreciate?
Examples: Psalms; hymns.
What new or fresh traditions to you really appreciate?
Examples: Scripture in Song; using spiritual gifts.
What does being filled with the Spirit mean for you?
Examples: Luke 4:14-30; Ephesians 5:18-20.
On the last day of the festival, the great day, while Jesus was standing there, he cried out, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me, and let the one who believes in me drink. As the Scripture has said, ‘Out of the believer’s heart shall flow rivers of living water.’”
Now he said this about the Spirit, which believers in him were to receive … (John 7:37-39)
The Feast of Tabernacles lasted one week, beginning on the fifteenth day of the month of Tishri (September or October), five days after the Day of Atonement, at the end of the harvest. The Jewish people built temporary shelters for the feast to remember their deliverance from Egypt by the hand of God.
Jesus revealed himself at this Feast as the prophesied Messiah, the Anointed One sent by God. This caused conflict among his listeners, some believing in him and many not. Temple police had been sent to arrest him. He pointed to Scripture which he came to fulfil. The Living Water he spoke of is the Holy Spirit (John 7:39). Here are some of those Scriptures.
Moses said: The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own people; you shall heed such a prophet. … Then the Lord replied to me: “They are right in what they have said. I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their own people; I will put my words in the mouth of the prophet, who shall speak to them everything that I command.
(Deuteronomy 18:15, 17-18)
Repent therefore, and turn to God so that your sins may be wiped out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Messiah appointed for you, that is, Jesus, who must remain in heaven until the time of universal restoration that God announced long ago through his holy prophets. Moses said, ‘The Lord your God will raise up for you from your own people a prophet like me. You must listen to whatever he tells you. And it will be that everyone who does not listen to that prophet will be utterly rooted out of the people.’ And all the prophets, as many as have spoken, from Samuel and those after him, also predicted these days.
(Acts 3:22-24. Peter preaching on the Day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit was poured out.)
As Scripture has said …
For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour my spirit upon your descendants, and my blessing on your offspring. 4 They shall spring up like a green tamarisk, like willows by flowing streams.
Ho, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and you that have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.
The Lord will guide you continually, and satisfy your needs in parched places, and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters never fail.
Then he brought me back to the entrance of the temple; there, water was flowing from below the threshold of the temple toward the east (for the temple faced east); and the water was flowing down from below the south end of the threshold of the temple, south of the altar. Then he brought me out by way of the north gate, and led me around on the outside to the outer gate that faces toward the east; and the water was coming out on the south side.
(Ezekiel 47:1-2. and the rest of the chapter)
Jesus cried out in a loud voice in the temple when he spoke about the Living Water.
Ultimate fulfilment in the last chapter of the Bible:
Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city. On either side of the river is the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, producing its fruit each month; and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.
Aramaic, a Semitic language, was the common language of the Near East from the 6th century BC. It replaced Hebrew locally as the language of the Jews from 450BC when the Jews returned from exile in Babylon. Most of the Old Testament is in Hebrew, but some later passages are in Aramaic as in Daniel and Ezra. The Passion Translation often refers to Aramaic texts of the New Testament.
I began reading The Passion Translation (TPT) as an interesting paraphrase and then discovered it is indeed a careful dynamic translation with detailed notes citing the earliest available Aramaic and Hebrew versions as well as the Greek.
Photo: The oldest complete Bible, c350.
Codex Sinaiticus, a manuscript of the Christian Bible written in the middle of the fourth century, contains the Old Testament translated into Greek and the earliest complete copy of the Christian New Testament. The hand-written text is in Greek.
Take Matthew, for example. TPT’s Introduction to Matthew’s Gospel says:
“There continues to be debate over the original language of Matthew’s account. In AD 170 Eusebius quoted Irenaeus as saying, “Matthew published his gospel among the Hebrews in their own language, while Peter and Paul in Rome were preaching and founding the church.”
Irenaeus, a disciple of the apostle John, wrote extensively about Scripture. He comments on how Matthew wrote especially for Jewish Christians and Jews. Matthew quotes 60 times from the Old Testament. He shows how Jesus, the Son of David (a Hebrew Messianic title), fulfilled the Hebrew Scriptures.
It is widely known that Aramaic was the language that Jesus, the apostles, and the earliest Christians spoke. It was the dominant language in most settings Jesus taught, probably the first language of most Galileans outside urban areas and the common tongue of most Judeans. It was the lingua franca of the Middle East until around the third century. Recent biblical scholarship has begun tracing many of Jesus’ teachings back to an original Aramaic source. Some even argue the original Greek manuscripts were translations of even more original Aramaic sources. For instance, Jesus’ famous “Son of Man” reference doesn’t make sense in the Greek; it’s a downright Semitic, non-Hellenized, Aramaic figure of speech if there ever was one. And an ironic wordplay can be discerned in Matthew 23:24, where “gnat” (qamla) and “camel” (gamla) are in obvious parallelism, signifying an Aramaic layer beneath the Bible. (https://www.thepassiontranslation.com/faqs)
As I began reading through The Passion Translation (TPT), I found its footnotes very interesting. TPT constantly refers to the earliest known Hebrew and Aramaic texts as well as Greek manuscripts. So I started noting some of those intriguing references.
Parables and Allegories
Let’s begin with that reference to Matthew 23:24 – “What blind guides! Nitpickers! You will spoon out a gnat from your drink, yet at the same time you’ve gulped down a camel without realizing it!” (TPT) The note for that verse says that this is best seen as an Aramaic pun. It’s even more interesting that this accusation by Jesus is part of his indictment and denunciation of the religious scholars and leaders. That was part of his provocative teaching and parables leading to his arrest, trials, and execution.
Jesus often used parables, allegories, and even hyperbole. Take, for example, his confusing and apparently extreme statement in Matthew 19:24 about being rich, translated in TPT as “In fact, it’s easier to stuff a heavy rope through the eye of a needle than it is for the wealthy to enter into God’s kingdom realm.” The Note on that verse says, “As translated from the Aramaic. The Greek is ‘to stuff a camel through the eye of a needle.’ The Aramaic word for both ‘rope’ and ‘camel’ is the homonym gamla. This could be an instance of the Aramaic text being misread by the Greek translators as ‘camel’ instead of ‘rope.’ Regardless, this becomes a metaphor for something impossible.”
Then I had to look up ‘homonym’. It means each of two or more words having the same spelling or pronunciation but with different meanings. So the Aramaic gamla can be translated as gnat, rope, camel, or more! That’s just one example of the challenges facing Bible translators.
Similarly, I also had to look up ‘hendiadys’ (one through two – a figure of speech used for emphasis) in TPT’s note on Matthew 3:11, Holy Spirit and fire – ‘This last clause is a hendiadys and could be translated “He will baptize you in the raging fire of the Holy Spirit.”‘
Likewise, the Hebrew Matthew clarifies some difficult passages like Matthew 11:12 – “The kingdom of heaven is entered into by force, and violent ones take hold of it” – translated in TPT as “the realm of heaven’s kingdom is bursting forth, and passionate people have taken hold of its power.” The note on that verse adds, “This is one of the most difficult passages in Matthew to translate from the Greek. When the Greek words are translated into Hebrew it becomes a clear reference to Mic. 2:12-13 and includes the ‘breaking forth (Hb. peretz).'” Micah 2:13 (NKJV) includes:
The one who breaks open will come up before them; They will break out, Pass through the gate, And go out by it; Their king will pass before them, With the Lord at their head.
I found Matthew 13:3, 34-35 especially interesting in TPT, in that chapter of parables:
“He taught them many things by using stories, parables that would illustrate spiritual truths” (Mt 13:3) with the note: “The Aramaic and Greek use a word for ‘parable’ that means ‘a metaphor, allegory, simile, illustration, comparison, figure of speech, riddle, or enigmatic saying that is meant to stimulate intense thought.'”
“Whenever Jesus addressed the crowds, he always spoke in allegories. He never spoke without using parables. He did this in order to fulfill the prophecy:
I will speak to you in allegories.
I will reveal secrets that have been concealed
since before the foundation of the world.” (Mt 13:34-35)
That quote is from Psalm 78:2 – “A parable and a proverb are hidden in what I say – an intriguing riddle from the past.”
See also Proverbs 25:2 – “God conceals the revelation of his word in the hiding place of his glory.”
The note concerning ‘word’ in TPT adds: “the Hebrew is dabar, which is translated more than 800 times in the Old Testament as ‘word’. There is a beautiful poetry in the Hebrew text. The word for ‘hide’ is cahar and the word for ‘word’ is dabar. The Hebrew is actually ‘Kabod (glory) cathar (hidden) dabar (word).”
Arabs or ravens?
I remember being surprised to learn at college that the Hebrew for Arab and raven have the same consonants. Did Arabs or ravens feed Elijah (1 Kings 17:1-7)? After Elijah confronted King Ahab and Jezebel, God told him to hide by the Wadi Cherith east of the Jordan. There they brought him bread and meat, morning and evening, and he drank from the wadi till it dried up in the drought. Who fed him? It’s a miracle, either way!
Hermeneutics – interpretation and meaning – can be tricky! Most scholars go for ‘ravens’ here, but there may be wriggle room.
“A couple of commentaries mention that scholars dispute that Elijah was fed by ravens and instead think the word in 1 Kings 17:4-6 ought to be translated black arabs or perhaps “Orbites, i.e., inhabitants of Orbo.” …
“What is meant by ‘the ravens’ [‘orevim]? The problem is the consonantal text allows for the reading of ‘Arab’ instead of raven. …
Some translations use the word ‘crows’. So possibilities may range among ravens, crows, Orbites, Orebites, or Arabs!
Jesus and Aramaic
Jesus spoke Aramaic, living among Aramaic-speaking people, and would also have known Egyptian from his youth in Egypt, and also Greek, the common language of the Roman Empire. The widely used common Koine Greek, different from classical Greek, became the language of early New Testament manuscripts.
Most New Testament translations derive from Greek manuscripts copied from earlier manuscripts. Notes in TPT often refer to Aramaic and Hebrew manuscripts, and I found those Notes fresh and often surprising.
The Word.TPT translates Luke 1:2 (those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word (AV)) as “his early disciples, who became loving servants of the Living Word.” The Note adds, “Translated literally from the Aramaic text. The Greek word is logos. Some have translated this rich term as ‘Word.’ It could also be translated ‘Message’ or ‘Blueprint.’ Jesus Christ is the eternal Word, the creative Word, and the Word made visible. He is the divine self-expression of all that God is, contains, and reveals in incarnated flesh. … God has perfectly expressed himself in Christ.” See also John 1:1-4.
The Manger.TPT Notes on Luke 2:7, 11-12 add interesting insights. “After wrapping the newborn baby in strips of cloth, they laid him in a feeding trough since there was no available space in any upper room in the village” (Luke 2:7). The Note adds, “This is the Greek word kataluma. This is not an ‘inn’ but simply the upstairs level of a home where guests would stay. .. It is likely that Joseph and Mary had to sleep downstairs in the main room of a relative’s house. The downstairs of a village home in that day was like an all-purpose room that served as a workshop during the day, and at night was used to shelter frail animals, while the rest of the flock was left outdoors. The kataluma was not a full-fledged barn or stable, but it did contain a drinking trough or manger cut in the bedrock. This was the likely place where the baby Jesus was placed after his birth.” The upper room, kataluma, is the word used for the room where Jesus ate his final Passover (Luke 22:12, 14).
“He is the Lord Yahweh, the Messiah. You will recognize him by this miracle sign: You will find a baby wrapped in strips of cloth and lying in a feeding trough!” (Luke 2:11-12). The Note on verse 11 adds, “Translated literally from the Aramaic text. This is one of the most amazing statements found in the Gospels declaring the deity of Jesus Christ.” And the note on verse 12 adds, “The shepherds that night were possibly near Bethlehem at Migdal Eder, ‘the [watch] tower of the flock.’ This would fulfill both the prophecies of Mic. 5:2 and Mic. 4:8, which say ‘to you it [he] will come, your dominion [kingdom] from old will arrive.’ It was at the lower floor of the watchtower (Migdal Eder) that the birthing of the Passover lambs would take place. Selected ewes that were about to give birth would be brought there. After the birth of the lambs, the priestly shepherds would wrap the lambs in cloth and lay them in a manger lined with soft hay to prevent them from hurting themselves, for Passover lambs must be unblemished with no bruise or broken bone. The miracle sign for these priestly shepherds would be a baby boy lying where the Passover lamb should be – in a manger, wrapped in strips of cloth. It was at the cradle of Jesus Christ that the kingdom from ancient times arrived on earth.” Bethlehem, David’s town where he was a shepherd, is only 8 miles from Jerusalem, now like a southern suburb.
Beatitudes. Many of us are familiar with “Blessed are the …” at the beginning of the chapters called the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5-7. A TPT Note adds, “The Aramaic word toowayhon means ‘enriched, happy, fortunate, delighted, blissful, content, blessed.’ Our English word blessed can indeed fit here, but toowayhon implies more – great happiness, prosperity, abundant goodness, and delight! The word also carries all of this meaning. Toowayhon means to have the capacity to enjoy union and communion with God. Because the meaning of the word goes beyond merely being ‘blessed,’ this translation uses different phrases for each of the Beatitudes.”
Prayer. The prayer Jesus taught, often called The Lord’s Prayer, has an enriched translation in TPT in Matthew 6:9-13:
Our Father, dwelling in the heavenly realms,
may the glory of your name
be the center on which our lives turn.*
Manifest your kingdom realm,
and cause your every purpose to be fulfilled on earth,
just as it is fulfilled in heaven.
We acknowledge you as our Provider
of all we need each day.
Forgive us the wrongs we have done as we ourselves
release forgiveness to those who have wronged us.
Rescue us every time we face tribulation
and set us free from evil.
For you are the King who rules
with power and glory forever.
* The Note on 6:9 adds: “An alternate reading of the Aramaic text. The Aramaic word for ‘name’ is shema (the Hebrew word shem), a word with multiple meanings. It can also be translated ‘light,’ ‘sound,’ or ‘atmosphere.’ … The Greek is ‘treated as holy.'”
Healing. Matthew 14:14 says, “So when Jesus landed he had a huge crowd waiting for him. Seeing so many people, his heart was deeply moved with compassion toward them, so he healed all the sick who were in the crowd.” A note in TPT adds, “The Aramaic is “he nurtured them in love and cured their frailties.”
Parables. Similarly, TPT Notes on parables are interesting and often surprising. “Whenever Jesus addressed the crowds, he always spoke in allegories. He never spoke without using parables” (Matthew 13:34 TPT). The Note on Mark 4:2, “He taught them many things by using parables to illustrate spiritual truths” (TPT) adds:
The Aramaic and Greek use a word for ‘parable’ that means “a metaphor,” “allegory,” ”simile,” ”illustration,” ”comparison,” “figure of speech,” “riddle.” “or enigmatic saying that is meant to stimulate intense thought.” Throughout Hebrew history, wise men, prophets, and teachers used parables and allegories as a preferred method of teaching spiritual truths. Poets would write their riddles and musicians would sing their proverbs with verbal imagery. Jesus always taught the people by using allegory and parables (Matt. 13:34; Mark 4:34).
I AM. This name for God is well known from Moses’ encounter with God. Jesus also used it for himself, after walking on the lake at night. He called out to his terrified disciples who thought they saw a ghost, “Don’t yield to fear. Have courage. It’s really me – I Am” (Mark 6:50). The TPT Note explains, “In both Greek and Aramaic, this reads ‘I Am’ (the living God), an obvious statement that Jesus is ‘the great I AM’ and there is nothing to be afraid of. This is the same statement God made to Moses in front of the burning bush. See also Matt. 14:27; John 8:58.”
Beloved. See Luke 3:22, “My Son, you are my beloved one. Through you I am fulfilled.” See Matt. 19:14, “I want little children to come to me, so never interfere with them when they want to come, for heaven’s kingdom realm is composed of beloved ones like these.” The note for Matt 19:14 adds, “As translated from the Aramaic, which uses the word ‘beloved’ found only twice in the New Testament. The Greek is ‘little children.'”
Highest honour. The Mark 10 passage about James (Jacob originally) and John wanting to sit beside Jesus in his kingdom includes verse 40: “it is for those for whom it has been prepared” (NRSV). The Aramaic elaborates as in TPT: “It is reserved for those whom grace has prepared them to have it.” The extensive note on this verse `describes how after each of the three times that Jesus prophesied his death and resurrection he had to rebuke his disciples: Mark 8:31 to Peter, and Mark 9:31 to the disciples arguing about being the greatest, and Mark 10:33 to James (Jacob) and John.
Hosanna. The Note for Mark 11:9 explains that Hosanna is an Aramaic word that means “O, save us now” or “bring the victory” adding “The crowds were recognizing Jesus as Yahweh’s Messiah. It is obvious that the people were expecting Jesus to immediately overthrow the Roman oppression and set the nation free.” That’s a key reason, along with him tossing traders out of the temple and his denouncing religious leaders, for the intense opposition from national leaders and his swift execution a few days later.
The End. Matt 24:13-14 TPT says about the coming trials, “But keep your hope to the end and you will experience life and deliverance.” The note on verse 13 adds, “As translated from the Aramaic. The Greek is ‘endure.'”
The Note on Mark 13:30 – “I assure you, this family will not pass away until all I have spoken comes to pass” adds, “As translated from the Aramaic, which employs a homonym that can be translated either ‘this generation will not pass away,’ or ‘this family will not pass away.’ The generation in which Jesus lived on earth had indeed passed away, but the Christian ‘family’ of believers remains and endures.” [homonym – each of two or more words having the same spelling or pronunciation but different meanings and origins.]
Passover. The Aramaic for Mark 14:23 “Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he gave it to them” gives more description: “Then taking the cup of wine and giving praises to the Father, he declared the new covenant with them” (TPT). They shared the Passover meal. “Then they sang a psalm and afterwards left for the Mount of Olives” (Mark 14:26 TPT). The Note adds, “The Aramaic is ‘They offered praise.’ It was the custom after celebrating the Passover seder to conclude with singing one of the Hallel psalms (Pss. 115-118).”
Gethsemane. The word Gethsemane is Aramaic for ‘oil press’. TPT translates Mark 14:32 as “Then Jesus led his disciples to an orchard called ‘The Oil Press.'” Located on the lower slopes of the Mount of Olives, this olive grove offered shade in the day and Jesus often went there with his disciples.
Praying in agony, “Jesus called for an angel of glory to strengthen him, and the angel appeared. He prayed even more passionately, like one being sacrificed, until he was in such intense agony of spirit that his sweat became drops of blood, dripping onto the ground” (Luke 22:43-44 TPT). The Notes add, “22:43 Translated from the Aramaic text. 22:44 The Aramaic text is literally ‘He prayed sacrificially.'”
“He prayed, ‘Abba, my Father, all things are possible for you. Please – don’t allow me to drink this cup of suffering! Yet what I want is not important, for I only desire to fulfill your plan for me'” (Mark 14:36 TPT). The Note adds: “The cup becomes a metaphor of the great suffering that Jesus had to endure that night in the garden. However, Jesus was not asking the Father for a way around the cross. Rather, he was asking God to keep him alive through this night of suffering so that he could carry the cross and take away our sins. According to the prophecies of the Old Testament, Jesus was to be pierced on a cross. We learn from Heb. 5:7 that Jesus’ prayer was answered that night as the cup was indeed taken from him. An angel of God came to strengthen him and deliver him from premature death (Matt. 26:39).”
Hebrews 5:7 states: “During Christ’s days on earth he pleaded with God, praying with passion and with tearful agony that God would spare him from death. And because of his perfect devotion his prayer was answered and he was delivered” (TPT).
The Cross. I found TPT’s Note on Matthew 27:37 surprising. It’s about the sign on the cross written in Aramaic/Hebrew, Greek and Latin.
“The words were ‘Jesus the Nazarene, King of the Jews.’ The first letters of each of the four words written on the sign in Aramaic (Hebrew) were Y-H-W-H (Y’shua Hanozi Wumelech a Yehudim). To write these letters, YHWH (also known as the Tetragrammaton), was the Hebrew form of writing the sacred name ‘Yahweh.’ No wonder the chief priests were so offended by this sign and insisted that Pilate change it.”
Ancient inscription reputedly found in a Golgotha tomb by St Helena, 326AD,
25cm walnut wood sign (top), enhanced script (bottom).
In Aramaic, Greek and Latin, JESUS OF NAZARETH KING OF THE JEWS
Mark 15:34 in TPT reads: “About three o’clock, Jesus shouted with a mighty voice in Aramaic, ‘Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?’ – that is, ‘My God, My God, why have you turned your back on me?'” The Notes add: “See Pss. 22:1; 42:9. The Aramaic can be translated ‘For this purpose you have spared me.’ … Every Greek text gives a transliteration of the Aramaic words and then translates them back into Greek.”
Resurrection. The risen Messiah appeared many times to his astounded and often unbelieving followers. He rebuked them for their lack of faith when he appeared to them as they ate at a meal (Mark 15:14). The passage in Mark 16:9-20 is omitted from some early manuscripts but included in the Aramaic and many Greek translations. It includes difficult statements such as “They will be supernaturally protected from snakes and from drinking anything poisonous. And they will lay hands on the sick and heal them” (Mark 15:18, see eg. Acts 28:1-10). Notes in PTP add: “Some scholars believe that this sentence contains two Aramaic idioms. To pick up snakes could be a picture of overcoming one’s enemies (‘snakes’), and drinking poison may be speaking of dealing with attacks on one’s character (poisonous words). The image is from Ps. 91:13.” That Psalm is especially interesting for the devil quoted it to tempt Jesus (Matt 4:6), but the verse following that quote speaks of trampling snakes under foot. Psalm 91:9-13:
Because you have made the Lord your refuge, the Most High your dwelling-place, 10 no evil shall befall you, no scourge come near your tent.
11 For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways. 12 On their hands they will bear you up, so that you will not dash your foot against a stone. 13 You will tread on the lion and the adder, the young lion and the serpent you will trample under foot. (NRSV)
Jesus commissioned his followers to go into all the world and preach the wonderful news of the gospel to everyone (Mark 15:15). They did. “And the apostles went out announcing the good news everywhere, as the Lord himself consistently worked with them, validating the message they preached with miracle-signs that accompanied them” (Mark 16:20 TPT).
The Early Church
Acts 2 tells the story of the Holy Spirit coming upon Jesus’ followers. TPT translates verse 1 as “On the day Pentecost was being fulfilled” and Notes: “Or ‘came to be fuilfilled.’ The Greek means ‘to fill completely (to be fulfilled).’
Then in verse 2, “Suddenly they heard the sound of a violent blast of wind rushing into the house from out of the heavenly realm.” TPT Notes add, “The Aramaic can be translated ‘like the roar of a groaning spirit.’ This mighty wind is for power; the breath of Jesus breathed into his disciples in John 20:22 was for life. … Although most believe this was in an upper room, it is possible to conclude from the Aramaic that it was the House of the Lord (the temple), where they all gathered to celebrate Pentecost. See also Luke 24:53.” That last verse of Luke’s Gospel says that following Jesus’ ascension, “Every day they went to the temple, praising and worshipping God” (TPT).
Certainly, Peter would have preached there to the huge crowds at the Pentecost festival. “When the people of the city heard the roaring sound, crowds came running to where it was coming from, stunned over what was happening because each one could hear the disciples speaking in his or her own language” (Acts 2:6 TPT).
The astonished crowds at the Passover festival were confused. “Bewildered, they said to one another, ‘Aren’t these all Galileans?'” (Acts 2:7 TPT) The Note adds, “It is likely they knew they were Galileans by their Aramaic dialect common in Galilee.”
“Peter stood up with the eleven apostles and shouted to the crowd” (Acts 2:14 TPT). The Note adds, “Peter was speaking under the anointing of the Holy Spirit. The tongues being spoken, along with the sound of the wind, drew the crowd. Peter would have spoken to them in the common language of Aramaic. Even with Galilean and Judean dialects, nearly all of the Jewish people present would understand his words.”
Peter declared that they had witnessed how God resurrected Jesus, and poured out his Spirit. “Now everyone in Israel can know for certain that Jesus, whom you crucified, is the one God has made both Lord and the Messiah” (Acts 2:36 TPT). The Note adds, “The Aramaic is ‘Lord Yahweh made him [from birth] to be both Elohim and Messiah.’ The Greek verb used for ‘made’ can also mean ‘brought forth.’ This is a clear statement of both Jesus’ humanity (God brought him forth by human birth) and his deity.”
Peter’s anointed preaching convicted thousands. He said, “Repent and return to God, and each one of you must be baptized in the name of Jesus, the Anointed One, to have your sins removed. Then you may take hold of the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 23:38 TPT). The Note explains, “Peter was likely saying these words from the steps of the temple. Below him were dozens of mikveh (immersion pools used for the ceremonial cleanings of Jewish worshippers). Peter was pointing them to the cleansing that comes through the name and authority of Jesus Christ. The Aramaic is startling: ‘Be immersed in the name of Lord Yahweh Y’shua.’ Peter is clearly saying that Lord Yahweh and Jesus are one and the same.” 3,000 among the huge festival crowds believed Peter that day, repented, and were baptized.
Acts 2:42 tells how the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, mutual fellowship, sharing communion and prayer. The Note adds, “Or ‘breaking of bread.’ this was more than sharing meals, but participating together in observing the Lord’s Table. The Aramaic, which can be translated ‘the Eucharist’ or ‘holy communion,’ makes it even more explicit.
Acts 2:42-47 tells how the early church lived in awe of God and in mutual fellowship, sharing together, meeting needs, and meeting together daily to worship in the temple courts and in their homes. “And the Lord kept adding to their number daily those who were coming to life” (Acts 2:47 TPT). The Note explains, “As translated from the Aramaic. The Aramaic word for ‘church’ is the joining of ‘meet’ and ‘come.’ This word is an invitation to enter into fellowship with Christ and his people. The Greek word for ‘church’ is ekklesia, which means ‘called-out ones.‘”
The book of Acts tells the story of the supernatural and miraculous ways in which the Lord worked among them, adding to their number daily.
100 Bible Quotes gives you the most popular and well known Bible verses grouped in themes for easy memorization. Additional sections add other Bible passages. These quotations are from the world’s most famous book, now translated into 700 languages and additional New Testament translations into another 1500 languages.
Part 1: 100 Bible Quotes 1 God’s Love, God’s Greatness 2 God’s Presence, God’s Help 3 God’s Provision, God’s Guidance 4 God’s Kingdom, Faith 5 Jesus’ Authority, Jesus’ Help 6 With Jesus, In Jesus 7 Holy Spirit, Thoughts 8 Prayer, Promises 9 Love, Light 10 Joy, Peace 11 Strength, Wholeness 12 Choose, Salvation, Word of God
Part 2: Great Passages God’s Glory
Jesus Ten Commandments Declarations
Prayers Benedictions Love Psalms A – Z Verses Index Appendix 1: New Christian’s Guide Appendix 2: Books
From the Introduction
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. (Psalm 119:105)
Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You. (Psalm 119:11)
The grass withers, the flower fades,
But the word of our God stands forever.
(Isaiah 40:8; 1 Peter 1:24-25)
All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that everyone who belongs to God may be proficient, equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16 NRSV)
These four verses about God’s Word leapt into my mind as I started writing this book. Then I checked with Google and Bible Gateway (www.biblegateway.com) for the references and to compare translations. If you type one verse into Bible Gateway you can find a link to 50 different translations of that verse.
This book uses the New King James Version the most because it is closest in today’s English to the majestic Authorized Version (AV) and is easy to memorize. The AV uses italics for English words added into the text to make sense in English. I sometimes use the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) because it also follows the historic Authorized Version of 1611 but uses more current inclusive English, as in 2 Timothy 3:16 above. Sometimes I also use the popular New International Version (NIV).
The 100 passages or verses are easy to memorize, such as one or two verses each week for a year. Of course, it’s very easy to learn more than one or two a week, and you may already know many of these verses from memory. They are especially useful for new Christians, and for God’s Spirit to remind you when needed.
I have arranged these Bible verses or passages into themes of about four verses each to easily find similar verses or passages on that theme. You can also use it to memorize the verses in each theme in a month, or eight in a month, or more quickly.
The 100 Bible quotes are in large print for easy memorizing. It’s a good idea to learn the reference with the verse because you can then locate them easily in your Bible, compare translations, and refer to them when talking with someone such as a new Christian or someone interested in Christianity.
You can reproduce this book, or its verses, in any way you choose. God’s Word is not bound and we need to learn it, apply it to life, and share it widely. God’s Spirit will often remind you of verses you have learned, especially when you need them.
This book is freely available in PDF and Word versions in colour here and is also available in print and as an eBook. You can reproduce the PDF and Word versions in your social media or print your own copies.
Some of the themes
1 God’s Love John 3:16-17 God so loved the world
Romans 5:8 God has shown his love
Romans 8:38-39 who can separate us
1 John 4:9-10 God’s love revealed
God’s Greatness Psalm 86:10 you are great
Psalm 145:3 great is the Lord
Isaiah 55:8-9 heavens higher
Luke 1:37 nothing impossible
2 God’s Presence Exodus 33:14 my presence
Psalm 127:1 unless the Lord builds
Lamentations 3:22-23 new every morning
Hebrews 13:5 I will never leave
God’s Help Genesis 15:1 your shield
Isaiah 41:10 I am with you
Isaiah 41:13 I will help you
Philippians 4:6 not anxious
3 God’s Provision Matthew 6:33 seek first God’s kingdom
Psalm 37:4 delight yourself in the Lord
Romans 8:28 all things work together
Philippians 4:19 my God shall supply all
God’s Guidance Psalm 32:8 I will instruct you
Proverbs 3:5-6 he will direct your path
Romans 12:1-2 living sacrifice
Jeremiah 29:11-13 the plans I have
A – Z Bible Verses
A – Z Verses
As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. – Joshua 24:15 Ask and you will receive, seek and you will find, knock and the door will be opened to you – Matthew 7:7
Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved. – Acts 16:31 Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. – Ephesians 4:32
Cast your burden on the Lord and he will sustain you. – Psalm 55:22 Children obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. – Ephesians 6:1
Depart from evil and do good. – Psalm 34:14 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. – Philippians 4:6
Encourage one another and build each other up. 1 Thessalonians 5:11 Every good and perfect gift is from above – James 1:17
Fear not for I am with you. – Isaiah 43:5 For it is by grace you have been saved – Ephesians 2:8
God is our refuge and strength a very present help in trouble – Psalm 46:1 God is love – 1 John 4:8
Honour your father and your mother. – Exodus 20:12 He alone is my rock and my salvation, my stronghold; I will not be shaken – Psalm 62:6
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made – Psalm 139:14
I am the way, the truth, and the life – John 14:6
Jesus Christ is Lord – Philippians 2:11
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and today, and forever. – Hebrews 13:8
Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from telling lies – Psalm 34:13 Know that the Lord, He is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of His pasture – Psalm 100:3
Look unto me and be saved. – Isaiah 45:22 Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven. – Matthew 5:16
My house shall be called a house of prayer for all people – Psalm 56:7; Matthew 21:13
Make a joyful noise unto the Lord – Psalm 98:4
Nothing is impossible with God. – Luke 1:37 Now unto Him who is able to keep you from falling – Jude 24
O God you are my God earnestly will I seek you. – Psalm 63:1 O give thanks unto the Lord; for He is good. – Psalm 118:1
Praise the Lord! For it is good to sing praises to our God. – Psalm 147:1
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. – John 14:27
Quietly, wait for the salvation of the Lord. – Lamentations 3:26 Quench not the spirit. – 1 Thessalonians 5:19
Remember the Sabbath to keep it holy. – Exodus 20:8
Rejoice in the Lord always again I say rejoice. – Philippians 4:4
Seek the Lord while he may be found. – Isaiah 55:6
Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. – Matthew 6:33
This is the day that the Lord has made, we will rejoice and be glad in it. – Psalm 118:24
Trust in the Lord with all your heart – Proverbs 3:5
Under his wings you will find refuge – Psalm 91:4b
Understanding is a fountain of life to one who has it. – Proverbs 16:22 (NASB)
Very truly I tell you, the one who believes has eternal life. – John 6:47 Verily, verily, I say to you, whatever you shall ask the Father in my name, He will give it to you. – John 16:23
When I am afraid I will trust in you. – Psalm 56:3
We love because he first loved us. – 1 John 4:19
eXalt the Lord our God – Psalm 99:5
eXamine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith. – 2 Corinthians 13:5
You are the light of the world. – Matthew 5:14 You bought us with a price.- I Corinthians 6:20
Zion heard and was glad. – Psalm 97:8 Zeal for your house will consume me. – John 2:17
Photo: The oldest complete Bible, c350.
Codex Sinaiticus, a manuscript of the Christian Bible written in the middle of the fourth century, contains the Old Testament translated into Greek and the earliest complete copy of the Christian New Testament. The hand-written text is in Greek.
The Bible has been translated into many languages from the biblical languages of Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek. As of October 2019 the full Bible has been translated into 698 languages (over 700 languages in 2020), the New Testament has been translated into an additional 1,548 languages and Bible portions or stories into 1,138 other languages. Thus at least some portions of the Bible have been translated into 3,384 languages. By 2020 that had increased to over 3,500 languages.
The King James Version (KJV), also known as the King James Bible (KJB) or simply the Authorized Version (AV), is an English translation of the Christian Bible for the Church of England, was commissioned in 1603 and completed as well as published in 1611 under the sponsorship of James VI and I.[a][b] The books of the King James Version include the 39 books of the Old Testament, an intertestamental section containing 14 books of the Apocrypha, and the 27 books of the New Testament. Noted for its “majesty of style”, the King James Version has been described as one of the most important books in English culture and a driving force in the shaping of the English-speaking world. (Wikipedia)
The translators of the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible, first published in 1989, acknowledged the majesty of the King James Version this way in their introductory word “to the reader”: ‘In the course of time, the King James Version came to be regarded as “the Authorized Version.” With good reason it has been termed “the noblest monument of English prose,” and it has entered, as no other book has, into the making of the personal character of the public institutions of the English-speaking peoples. We owe to it an incalculable debt.’
Many people now prefer the New King James Version (NKJV). Those who prefer more current or modern language may like to meditate on the translation of these timeless stories in the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV), now read in many churches and used for personal study and enjoyment. The NRSV uses inclusive language (as does the original Hebrew and Greek) and includes useful section headings. Where the passage under a section heading is repeated, or has a similar passage elsewhere in the Bible, the NRSV heading gives the other references. Headings for unique passages, not repeated elsewhere, have no references, as in the unique Christmas stories in Luke and Matthew. Likewise, the Good News Bible has section headings with references to other similar passages.
Millions of people disagree with what Israel Folau (Izzy) said or the way he said it, just as millions of people disagree with what the Bible says about a lot of things.
But the crucial issue here is not a Christian footballer, nor even the Bible. After all, Christianity has been violently opposed for 2,000 years since that crucifixion on Calvary.
The crucial issue is losing “freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, freedom of belief and freedom of religion” in this free land of the “fair go mate”.
Why religious freedom is a big issue in Australia:
Bernard Gaynor has a background in military intelligence with three tours of duty in Iraq with the Australian Army. Married with eight children, Bernard’s courageous advocacy has cost him more than $400,000 in legal fees. In the process of defending himself he has lost two homes and now lives in rental accommodation.
Since 2013 Bernard Gaynor has faced 50 separate allegations of wrongdoing. Not a single allegation against him has succeeded. He has also defended himself in military inquiries and state tribunals, before magistrates and even in the High Court in Canberra.
A Tasmanian bishop was sued for publishing his church’s and the Bible views on marriage. Some Ministers of Religion have been sued for preaching the biblical teaching on marriage.
A Victorian teacher launched legal action against a Christian college claiming she was discriminated against over her political and religious beliefs in support of same-sex marriage, setting up a test case over faith-based protections for religious schools.
On April 10, Israel Folau posted on his Instagram account the following message: “Warning: Drunks, Homosexuals, Adulterers, Liars, Fornicators, Thieves, Atheists, Idolators: Hell Awaits You. Repent! Only Jesus Saves.” Next to this big, bold statement was the message: “Those that are living in Sin will end up in Hell unless you repent. Jesus Christ loves you and is giving you time to turn away from your sin and come to him.”
This eye-catching text was from the Bible, a loose paraphrase of 1 Corinthians 6:9-10: “Do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.”
If someone else had posted this it would almost certainly have slipped under the radar. But Folau was being watched. Partly this is because of his brilliance as a footballer. He holds the record for the most tries scored in Super Rugby. In 2007 he won rugby league’s Dally M Rookie of the Year award for having scored the most tries in his debut year. In that same year he was the all-time youngest international player (he was 18 at the time). …
But it looks as though Folau was also being watched for an opportunity to punish him for being a Christian; indeed, for being a blunt defender of the classic, conservative Christian faith.
The attack on Folau provoked an unexpected reaction: many Aussies were unhappy. They flooded open-line radio with calls in support of the right of Folau to hold and express his faith. This support was not limited to the 52.1 percent of Australians who called themselves Christian in the 2016 census. A bucket load of callers took the line of “I don’t support what he said or the way he said it, but, hey the bloke’s obviously sincere so why is he being bashed up like this?”
Whether articulated or not, the underlying feeling of much of this response was: Australia is a free country. There was a distinct unease about the possibility of losing at least some degree of freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, freedom of belief and freedom of religion in this wide, brown land. …
This is no storm in a tea cup: this is central to Australia’s character as a nation and raises three questions: ● Why should there be penalties for defending classical Christianity? ● Why do the rights of one group trump all other rights? ● What is the actual content of the view he is defending? …
But as Folau’s short post indicates, there is more to the story. Here’s the completion of those words from the Bible quoted above: “Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many” (Hebrews 9:27-28).
There is the offer of God’s love and forgiveness and restoration: switching at life’s end from the bad option (separation, isolation, “hell”) to the good option (connection, community, “heaven”) as a free gift. From the point of view of classical Christianity, Folau saw people in danger and shouted out a warning. In other words, the intention of his message was the exact opposite to how it has been portrayed. And for that Folau is being punished.
In a landmark judgment, the UK Court of Appeal has upheld the rights of British Christians to freely express their faith by handing victory to former student social worker Felix Ngole. Overturning a High Court decision to uphold Felix’s expulsion from Sheffield University, the crucial outcome represents a major development of the law. It is now clear that Christians have the legal right to express biblical views on social media and elsewhere in public without fear for their professional careers. This is the first Court of Appeal judgment regarding freedom of expression of biblical views which sets limits on the rights of professional regulators to restrict free speech on social media.
The ruling is likely to be relied upon in hundreds of future cases. Felix was expelled in 2016 from his social work course at the University of Sheffield after quoting Bible verses on Facebook that were deemed critical of homosexuality. In 2015, he had entered into a discussion on Facebook over the imprisonment of Kim Davies, the Kentucky marriage registrar jailed for refusing to issue marriage licences to same-sex couples. During an online political debate, many views were exchanged on the Christian faith. A devout Christian, Felix quoted Bible verses affirming the traditional Christian opposition to same-sex marriage and of the sinful nature of homosexual activity.
Some months later, Felix was reported to the University of Sheffield by a fellow student and was subsequently disciplined in a Fitness to Practise hearing. He was informed that he had brought the social work profession into disrepute and was then expelled from the course, losing the career he had worked so hard for. In the court hearings, the university argued that Felix had ‘lacked insight’ into the effect of his posts on social media. During his Fitness to Practise hearing, the University had told him that the expression of his Christian views was unacceptable and he was effectively told either to renounce his faith or stay silent on pain of losing his career.
In the High Court hearing, the University of Sheffield implied that Felix was not allowed to express his Christian viewpoint on same-sex marriage or homosexuality on any public forum, including in a church. The Court of Appeal held that it was the university that was ‘lacking insight’ in not understanding a Christian viewpoint. In addition, the Court of Appeal praised Christian Concern co-founder Pastor Ade Omooba MBE for urging that the university seek caution and compromise. The Court of Appeal condemned the position of the university whereby people would live in fear if private expressions of views were overheard and could be reported anonymously.
The court ruled that: “The expression of views on theological grounds does not necessarily connote that that person will discriminate on such grounds.” It was further recognised that Felix had never been shown to act in a discriminatory fashion. The outcome of this case will have significant implications for freedom of speech. Comments made by people on social media, often many years ago, have recently been arbitrarily used to silence viewpoints that people dislike or disagree with. Commenting on his win, Felix said: “‘My personal loss is gain for future Christians’. This is great news, not only for me and my family, but for everyone who cares about freedom of speech.
Felix continued ”I have suffered tremendously as a result of how I was treated by the University and I feel that 4 years of my life have been taken from me. Despite all this, I feel full of joy that what I have lost will be so much gain to Christians in the future as a result of this important ruling for freedom.” Andrea Williams, Chief Executive of the Christian Legal Centre, which supported Felix, said: “This is a watershed case for Christians and a resounding victory for freedom of speech. We are delighted that the Court of Appeal has seen the importance of this case and made a ruling that accords with common sense.”
Williams continued “It is shocking that the university sought to censor expression of the Bible in this way, and we hope this sends out a message of freedom across all universities and professions that Christians and others should be allowed to express their views without fear of censorship or discipline. “Christians now know that it is their legal right to express biblical views on social media or elsewhere without fear for their professional careers. This is a major development of the law and must be upheld and respected in all Christian freedom cases.
The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.
President Kennedy’s speechwriters attributed this quote to Edmund Burke.
Keyes says that the quote has not been successfully traced:
. . . which Kennedy attributed to Edmund Burke and which recently was judged the most popular quotation of modern times (in a poll conducted by editors of The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations). Even though it is clear by now that Burke is unlikely to have made this observation, no one has ever been able to determine who did.
Remember those in prison as if you were their fellow prisoners, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering (Hebrews 13:3).
It was just before dawn on a cold winter morning on the farm. I had just shifted a line of irrigation pipes in a crop of potatoes. My bare feet were encased in congealed, cold, numbing mud. My last task before breakfast was to start the irrigation pump. When I tried to kick start the motorbike my foot slipped off the kick starter and my big toe struck the metal foot peg. I felt nothing at the time but when I arrived at the pump I looked down and noticed lots of blood oozing through the mud on my feet! On closer inspection, I discovered that I had a very deep gash under my big toe. It was a really nasty injury which was surprising! I had not even felt it because my foot was so numb from the cold.
It seems to me that just as I was oblivious to the serious damage done to my body, we can be unaware of the damage that is done daily to the body of Christ.
Every day followers of Jesus around the world are subjected to ridicule, persecution, abuse, torture, abduction and even death. In a recent statement, the International Society for Human Rights said that 80% of all religious freedom violations in the world are directed against Christians. Shockingly, it is estimated that every five minutes a follower of Jesus is put to death somewhere in the world simply because they have faith in Jesus. Some have gone as far as to say that the current levels of persecution against Christians are worse today than at any time in history!
As followers of Jesus, we are spiritually connected to all of the other followers of Jesus around the globe. The Bible describes this union as just like being part of a body (1Co 12:12).
Just as pain from an injury in one part of our physical bodies affects the rest of our body, so to the pain and suffering of one part of our spiritual body should affect the whole in some way. So why don’t we always feel their pain? Perhaps we do not feel the pain and suffering of our brothers and sisters around the world because we are numbed by complacency, indifference, apathy or just plain ignorance.
I did not know that there was a problem with my toe until I went looking and noticed some disturbing signs. There are a number of organizations that help us be aware of what is happening for many of our brothers and sisters around the world; organizations such as the Barnabas Fund, the Voice of the Martyrs, or The Open Doors.
When I found out that my foot was injured, I immediately took action to give aid to my injured member. The bible says that we should empathize with our suffering family to the point of actually considering ourselves to be in their shoes.
Remember those in prison as if you were their fellow prisoners, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering. (Hebrews 13:3).
The following websites can provide specific information about the scope and pain that the body that you and your church are a part of is experiencing worldwide and may assist in providing information as to how we can aid those parts of the body that are hurting.
Lack of sleep is one of the most critical health issues for the homeless. An average of 225 homeless people seek safety and rest on the pews in the sanctuary of St. Boniface church in San Francisco every day, thanks to The Gubbio Project.
The Gubbio Project was co-founded in 2004 by community activists Shelly Roder and Father Louis Vitale as a non-denominational project of St. Boniface Neighborhood Center located in San Francisco’s Tenderloin neighborhood in response to the increasing numbers of homeless men and women in need of refuge from the streets.
“No questions are asked when our guests walk into the churches; in an effort to remove all barriers to entry, there are no sign-in sheets or intake forms. No one is ever turned away; all are welcomed, respected and treated with dignity,” the project’s website states.
While the church uses the front 1/3 of the sanctuary for church-goers to celebrate daily mass at 12:15 p.m., the Gubbio Project uses the back 2/3 of the sanctuary. “This sends a powerful message to our unhoused neighbors – they are in essence part of the community, not to be kicked out when those with homes come in to worship,” the non-profit organization says. “It also sends a message to those attending mass – the community includes the tired, the poor, those with mental health issues and those who are wet, cold and dirty.”
In addition to a place to rest, the church offers warm blankets, socks, hygiene kits, and massage services.
In the Bible we see a vision for equality between men and women, both male and female bearing together the image of God.
And the story of the Bible plays that out in amazing ways. Even in the Old Testament, you see a woman like Miriam leading a whole nation in worship. You see a woman like Deborah leading a nation politically, making judgments, making decisions, and even leading her country to war.
You see that women didn’t require a man to be a kind of mediator between them and God. They could pray directly to God. They didn’t need a husband or a father to have a relationship with God. Now sometimes people say, “Yeah, but come on, in Genesis alright, women and men both bear the image of God, but doesn’t the Bible call women sort of “helpers”. Isn’t that word there in Genesis?”
The word that is translated there “helper” is the word ezer and it’s not a term of domination or subjugation because God uses that name ezer to describe himself in his relationship to us as human beings. God is our ezer. He is our helper. It’s a powerful, strong, amazing, not sexist image.
And then we come to the New Testament. We see that Jesus directly resists the sexism that he sees and observes around him. There’s a story in John’s gospel in chapter four where a woman is talking to Jesus and the male disciples come and they see this. They see Jesus one on one with the woman. It says they’re amazed, they’re horrified, they’re staggered. What? To see him just talking one on one to a woman. Jesus considered women to be worthy of theological instruction.
It was a woman called Martha who was the recipient of one of the most amazing doctrinal statements of the New Testament: “I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live and they will never die.” Jesus just brought that to Martha.
And then you see this amazing pattern emerge as you read the New Testament where women sort of have this front row seat, and the extraordinary role of witnessing the core elements of the Christian faith. It’s Mary who is the primary witness to the incarnation, the virgin birth. It’s the women at the cross who are the primary witnesses to the crucifixion, to the atonement, to the cross of Jesus. The men have all disappeared apart from John. It’s women who were there witnessing the cross and then, of course, it is women who were first at the resurrection.
When you read the New Testament you see in the early church that women like Phoebe led the church in Rome. Women like Junia were considered to be outstanding by Paul among the apostles.
There are three verses which some people use to say that women should be subjugated.
In 1 Corinthians it talks about women being silent in church. Now how do we understand that? If you read the whole letter you see that in the same letter, the same author tells women how to prophecy when they prophesy in church, which meant speak publicly, and it says to have your head covered. That meant just modesty in those days. Don’t be showing off your body or your hair while you prophesy. So clearly, it didn’t mean women should never speak and be silent. It’s speaking to a specific group of women who were disrupting the services.
Another verse talks about men being the head of women. The Greek word is kephale and sometimes that has been taken to mean dominance or subjugation, but if you read the verse in context you see that God is the head of Christ. So if it means hierarchy, that doesn’t make sense of the Trinity. So whatever that kephale word means in terms of a relationship between a man and a woman in a marriage, it doesn’t mean domination. In fact, as we read anything about God’s kingdom, it is primarily about service, about love, about laying down our lives for one another.
Then there’s another verse in 1 Timothy 2 that talks about women not teaching, not being permitted to teach or have authority. Now remember, we’ve already been taught by women like Martha, by women like Mary. We’ve already seen that women like Priscilla taught. We know that Phoebe taught. She was in authority in the Roman church.
Paul was writing that letter of 1 Timothy to the leader of the Ephesian church, Timothy. And the context there was the worship of the goddess Artemis where women dominated and subjugated men in that culture and it seems that as those women got converted it had crept into the Ephesian church. So Paul is helping Timothy to correct that specific pastoral situation. And most likely those women were saying, “Well Paul says that everyone has sinned in Adam, that we all sinned in Adam.” They just heard about this guy Adam who caused the world to sin and then the second Adam, Jesus, and Paul is saying, “Timothy, you need to explain to them that Eve was involved.” She actually sinned first.
I want to finish with a quote from one of my favourite apologists, Dorothy L. Sayers.
She writes this about Jesus:
“Perhaps it is no wonder that the women were first at the Cradle and last at the Cross. They had never known a man like this Man – there never has been such another. A prophet and teacher who never nagged at them, never flattered or coaxed or patronized; who never made arch jokes about them, never treated them either as “The women, God help us!” or “The ladies, God bless them!”; who rebuked without querulousness and praised without condescension; who took their questions and arguments seriously; who never mapped out their sphere for them, never urged them to be feminine or jeered at them for being female; who had no axe to grind and no uneasy male dignity to defend; who took them as he found them and was completely unself-conscious. There is no act, no sermon, no parable in the whole Gospel that borrows its pungency from female perversity; nobody could possibly guess from the words and deeds of Jesus that there was anything “funny” about woman’s nature.”
1. You are invited to join us in your home praying each Saturday night and Sunday morning for your church services, its leaders, and for God to move powerfully among us all.
2. This is my invitation for you to be included among our informal groups of people committed to worship and prayer for at least an hour a week, in addition to church services. You can contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org to be included anonymously. Some people give at least one hour a day to worship and prayer. You may be doing that anyway so you may like to be included in this praying friends group. I love to play worship CDs or YouTube Mix worship as listed below.
Prayer and worship constantly rise to God globally, and we just add ours to encourage one another. I like to write a brief quote from Scripture daily in my diary in red biro, mostly truth impressed on me by God’s Spirit. It became inspiring journal entries for over 50 years. It’s easy to read through different translations of the New Testament in less than a year, one chapter a day. Or you could read each Gospel in a month, one chapter a day.
There are 260 chapters in the New Testament, so it’s easy to cover that in a year. Each Gospel has less than 30 chapters so it’s easy to read a Gospel in a month, a chapter a day.
There are 929 chapters in the Old Testament. This gives a total of 1189 chapters in the Bible. Psalm 117, the shortest chapter, is also the middle chapter of the Bible, being the 595th Chapter.
You could listen to background worship music for an hour or more as you worship and pray – in your chair or even in bed, with CDs and YouTube. YouTube video “Mix” gives you similar recordings – often a surprise.
Here are beautiful worship recordings you could play while you work and pray:
The Lord bless you and keep you; The Lord make His face shine upon you, And be gracious to you; The Lord lift up His countenance upon you, And give you peace. (Numbers 6:24-26 – Aaronic Blessing)
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen. (2 Corinthians 13:14)
Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen. (Ephesians 3:20-21)
Now unto Him who is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and forever. Amen. (Jude 24-25)
Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out! “For who has known themind of theLord? Orwho has become His counselor?” Orwho has first given to Him And it shall be repaid to him?” For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen.
A few Bible prayers you can pray as you read.
Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Yourname. Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earthas it is in heaven. Give us this day ourdaily bread. Andforgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, Butdeliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen. (Matthew 6:9-13)
Yours, O Lord, is the greatness, The power and the glory, The victory and the majesty; For all that is in heaven and in earth is Yours; Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, And You are exalted as head over all. Both riches and honor come from You, And You reign over all. In Your hand is power and might; In Your hand it is to make great And to give strength to all. Now therefore, our God, We thank You And praise Your glorious name. (1 Chronicles 29:11-13)
Have mercy upon me, O God, According to Your lovingkindness; According to the multitude of Your tender mercies, Blot out my transgressions. 2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, And cleanse me from my sin.
3 For I acknowledge my transgressions, And my sin is always before me. 4 Against You, You only, have I sinned, And done this evil in Your sight— That You may be found just [a]when You speak, And blameless when You judge.
5 Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me. 6 Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts, And in the hidden part You will make me to know wisdom.
7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. 8 Make me hear joy and gladness, That the bones You have broken may rejoice. 9 Hide Your face from my sins, And blot out all my iniquities.
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me. 11 Do not cast me away from Your presence, And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, And uphold me by Your generous Spirit. 13 Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, And sinners shall be converted to You.
14 Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God, The God of my salvation, And my tongue shall sing aloud of Your righteousness. 15 O Lord, open my lips, And my mouth shall show forth Your praise. 16 For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it; You do not delight in burnt offering. 17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, A broken and a contrite heart— These, O God, You will not despise. (Psalm 51:1-17)
Lord, You are God, who made heaven and earth and the sea, and all that is in them, who by the mouth of Your servant David have said:
‘Why did the nations rage, And the people plot vain things? The kings of the earth took their stand, And the rulers were gathered together Against theLordand against His Christ.’ …
Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word, by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus. (Acts 4:24-30; Psalm 2:1-2)
At Herrnhut, Zinzendorf visited all the adult members of the deeply divided community. He drew up a covenant calling upon them ‘to seek out and emphasize the points in which they agreed’ rather than stressing their differences. On 12 May 1727 they all signed an agreement to dedicate their lives, as he dedicated his, to the service of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The Moravian revival of 1727 was thus preceded and then sustained by extraordinary praying. A spirit of grace, unity and supplications grew among them.
On 16 July the Count poured out his soul in a prayer accompanied with a flood of tears. This prayer produced an extraordinary effect. The whole community began praying as never before.
On 22 July many of the community covenanted together on their own accord to meet often to pour out their hearts in prayer and hymns.
On 5 August the Count spent the whole night in prayer with about twelve or fourteen others following a large meeting for prayer at midnight where great emotion prevailed.
On Sunday, 10 August, Pastor Rothe, while leading the service at Herrnhut, was overwhelmed by the power of the Lord about noon. He sank down into the dust before God. So did the whole congregation. They continued till midnight in prayer and singing, weeping and praying.
On Wednesday, 13 August, the Holy Spirit was poured out on them all. Their prayers were answered in ways far beyond anyone’s expectations. Many of them decided to set aside certain times for continued earnest prayer.
On 26 August, twenty-four men and twenty-four women covenanted together to continue praying in intervals of one hour each, day and night, each hour allocated by lots to different people.
On 27 August, this new regulation began. Others joined the intercessors and the number involved increased to seventy-seven. They all carefully observed the hour which had been appointed for them. The intercessors had a weekly meeting where prayer needs were given to them.
The children, also touched powerfully by God, began a similar plan among themselves. Those who heard their infant supplications were deeply moved. The children’s prayers and supplications had a powerful effect on the whole community.
That astonishing prayer meeting beginning in 1727 went on for one hundred years. It was unique. Known as the Hourly Intercession, it involved relays of men and women in prayer without ceasing made to God. That prayer also led to action, especially evangelism. More than one hundred missionaries left that village community in the next twenty-five years, all constantly supported in prayer.