Before he escaped across the Yalu River into China, Park Chin-Mae was a border guard, tasked with keeping North Korea’s citizens locked inside their own country and keeping contraband — especially Bibles — out of the country.
“They know the Bible is the enemy,” Chin-Mae said of his fellow border guards.
But once he fled to South Korea, Chin-Mae began attending Christian services at a resettlement center. He was tasked with laying out Bibles before the service began. As he did so, he realized he was safely holding in his hands the same book that could have gotten him killed on the other side of the border.
He started to read the Bible and soon found himself drawn to follow the Christ he had encountered in its pages. “I didn’t just read it like any other book; I read it and I took every word of the Bible into my heart,” he said.
Chin-Mae is safely out of North Korea, but many followers of Christ are still trapped and suffering inside the secretive nation. And it’s not only North Korea where our Christian brothers and sisters suffer. Believers face persecution in more than 70 other nations.
For more than 50 years, The Voice of the Martyrs has helped Christians persecuted for their witness around the world. VOM founder Richard Wurmbrand said of this work, “Our duty is to give a piece of bread to the wives and families of persecuted and jailed believers.”
That need still exists today. When Christians’ homes and churches are burned, or pastors and evangelists are beaten, imprisoned or killed, families are often left without financial support. VOM responds by helping persecuted Christians with living expenses, children’s educational needs, relocation within their nation, vocational training and other forms of assistance.
“For God loved the world so much that He gave His One and Only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)
Alternate Chronology of the Crucifixion of Jesus
Like Christmas, celebrating Jesus’ birth, we may celebrate these events of the crucifixion on symbolic days which remind us of the literal events, even though we may not be following their exact chronology or dates.
Some scholars argue for a crucifixion on the Thursday of Holy Week followed by two Sabbath days, the Passover Sabbath on Friday and the regular Sabbath on the Saturday of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Passover is one day while the Feast of Unleavened Bread lasts for seven days.
Jesus led the Last Supper with his disciples on the same Jewish day, after sunset, that he died, the day the Passover lambs were killed, to be eaten that night on the special Passover Sabbath (the next Jewish day, as the day ended at sunset).
John also allows for this: Now it was the day of Preparation, and the next day was to be a special Sabbath (John 19:31, see also John 13:1).
This chronology correlates with Jesus’ predictions:
For just as Jonah was for three days and three nights in the belly of the sea monster, so for three days and three nights the Son of Man will be in the heart of the earth (Matthew 12:40).
Then he took the twelve aside and said to them, ‘See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written about the Son of Man by the prophets will be accomplished. 32 For he will be handed over to the Gentiles; and he will be mocked and insulted and spat upon. 33 After they have flogged him, they will kill him, and on the third day he will rise again’ (Luke 18:31-33).
The confusion arose because all the gospels say that there was a rush to get his body off the cross and buried before sundown because the “Sabbath” was near. Everyone assumed the reference to “the Sabbath” had to be Saturday so the crucifixion must have been on a Friday. However, as Jews know, the day of Passover itself is also a “Sabbath” or rest day no matter what weekday it falls on. In the year 30 AD Friday, the 15th of the Jewish month Nisan was also a Sabbath so two Sabbaths occurred back to back Friday and Saturday. Matthew seems to know this as he says that the women who visited Jesus’ tomb came early Sunday morning “after the Sabbaths” (Matthew 28:1).
As is often the case, the gospel of John preserves a more accurate chronology of what went on. John specifies that the Wednesday night “last supper” was “before the festival of Passover.” He also notes that when Jesus’ accusers delivered him to be crucified on Thursday morning they would not enter Pilate’s courtyard because they would be defiled and would not be able to eat the Passover that evening (John 18:28). John knows that the Jews would be eating their traditional Seder meal Thursday evening.
Reading Mark, Matthew, and Luke one can get the impression that the “last supper” was the Passover meal. Some have even argued that Jesus might have eaten the Passover meal a day early—knowing ahead of time that he would be dead. But the fact is, Jesus ate no Passover meal in 30 CE. When the Passover meal began at sundown on Thursday, Jesus was dead. He had been hastily put in a tomb until after the festival when a proper funeral could be arranged.
That discussion sent me checking the plural Sabbaths in Matthew 28:1. It is plural and can be used for either Sabbaths or Sabbath, as also in Matthew 12:1. Most translators opt for singular, but a few retain the literal plural, such as these for Matthew 12:1 and 28:1.
At that time did Jesus go on the sabbaths through the corn, and his disciples were hungry, and they began to pluck ears, and to eat, (Young’s Literal Translation, by Robert Young who compiled Young’s Analytical Concordance.)
The Bible passages allow for a crucifixion on the Thursday of Holy Week, and even where Sabbath is used in the singular it does indicate that they found the stone rolled away on the first day of the week after that Sabbath.
That Friday may have been a special Passover Sabbath, not just the Saturday. Now it was the day of Preparation, and the next day was to be a special Sabbath. Because the Jewish leaders did not want the bodies left on the crosses during the Sabbath, they asked Pilate to have the legs broken and the bodies taken down (John 19:31).
Irrespective of the day, the great significance is that the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world was crucified on the Day of Preparation for the Passover, the day on which the Passover lamb was killed so that after sunset the Passover could be celebrated on the next Jewish day beginning after sunset.
John suggests this: Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that His hour had come that He should depart from this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end. 2 And supper being ended, the devil having already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray Him, 3 Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going to God, 4 rose from supper and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself. 5 After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded. (John 13:1-5)
The synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) describe how the meal with Jesus was celebrated as a Passover meal and Jesus gave it new meaning, telling us to “do this in remembrance of me” (Luke 22:19; 1 Corinthians 11:23-25).
Like Christmas, celebrating Jesus’ birth, we may celebrate these events of the crucifixion on symbolic days which remind us of the literal events, even though we may not be following their exact chronology or dates.
I’m content to follow the traditional chronology and dates, as in our diaries, perhaps as symbolic and liturgical reminders of the greatest events in human history.
The most loudly touted theory about the origins of the Christmas date(s) is that it was borrowed from pagan celebrations. There is another way to account for the origins of Christmas on December 25: Strange as it may seem, the key to dating Jesus’ birth may lie in the dating of Jesus’ death at Passover.
A blanket of snow covers the little town of Bethlehem, in Pieter Bruegel’s oil painting from 1566. Although Jesus’ birth is celebrated every year on December 25, Luke and the other gospel writers offer no hint about the specific time of year he was born. Photo: Scala/Art Resource, NY.
The earliest mention of December 25 as Jesus’ birthday comes from a mid-fourth-century Roman almanac that lists the death dates of various Christian bishops and martyrs. The first date listed, December 25, is marked: natus Christus in Betleem Judeae: “Christ was born in Bethlehem of Judea.”3 In about 400 C.E., Augustine of Hippo mentions a local dissident Christian group, the Donatists, who apparently kept Christmas festivals on December 25, but refused to celebrate the Epiphany on January 6, regarding it as an innovation. Since the Donatist group only emerged during the persecution under Diocletian in 312 C.E. and then remained stubbornly attached to the practices of that moment in time, they seem to represent an older North African Christian tradition.
In the East, January 6 [now Epiphany] was at first not associated with the magi alone, but with the Christmas story as a whole.
So, almost 300 years after Jesus was born, we finally find people observing his birth in mid-winter. But how had they settled on the dates December 25 and January 6?
There are two theories today: one extremely popular, the other less often heard outside scholarly circles (though far more ancient).4
The most loudly touted theory about the origins of the Christmas date(s) is that it was borrowed from pagan celebrations. The Romans had their mid-winter Saturnalia festival in late December; barbarian peoples of northern and western Europe kept holidays at similar times. To top it off, in 274 C.E., the Roman emperor Aurelian established a feast of the birth of Sol Invictus (the Unconquered Sun), on December 25. Christmas, the argument goes, is really a spin-off from these pagan solar festivals. According to this theory, early Christians deliberately chose these dates to encourage the spread of Christmas and Christianity throughout the Roman world: If Christmas looked like a pagan holiday, more pagans would be open to both the holiday and the God whose birth it celebrated. …
Connection between the traditional date of Jesus’ death and his birth.
There is another way to account for the origins of Christmas on December 25: Strange as it may seem, the key to dating Jesus’ birth may lie in the dating of Jesus’ death at Passover. This view was first suggested to the modern world by French scholar Louis Duchesne in the early 20th century and fully developed by American Thomas Talley in more recent years.8 But they were certainly not the first to note a connection between the traditional date of Jesus’ death and his birth.
The baby Jesus flies down from heaven on the back of a cross, in this detail from Master Bertram’s 14th-century Annunciation scene. Jesus’ conception carried with it the promise of salvation through his death. It may be no coincidence, then, that the early church celebrated Jesus’ conception and death on the same calendar day: March 25, exactly nine months before December 25. Kunsthalle, Hamburg/Bridgeman Art Library, NY
Around 200 C.E. Tertullian of Carthage reported the calculation that the 14th of Nisan (the day of the crucifixion according to the Gospel of John) in the year Jesus diedc was equivalent to March 25 in the Roman (solar) calendar.9 March 25 is, of course, nine months before December 25; it was later recognized as the Feast of the Annunciation—the commemoration of Jesus’ conception.10 Thus, Jesus was believed to have been conceived and crucified on the same day of the year. Exactly nine months later, Jesus was born, on December 25.d
This idea appears in an anonymous Christian treatise titled On Solstices and Equinoxes, which appears to come from fourth-century North Africa. The treatise states: “Therefore our Lord was conceived on the eighth of the kalends of April in the month of March [March 25], which is the day of the passion of the Lord and of his conception. For on that day he was conceived on the same he suffered.”11 Based on this, the treatise dates Jesus’ birth to the winter solstice.
Augustine, too, was familiar with this association. In On the Trinity (c. 399–419) he writes: “For he [Jesus] is believed to have been conceived on the 25th of March, upon which day also he suffered; so the womb of the Virgin, in which he was conceived, where no one of mortals was begotten, corresponds to the new grave in which he was buried, wherein was never man laid, neither before him nor since. But he was born, according to tradition, upon December the 25th.”12
Learn about the magi in art and literature in “Witnessing the Divine” by Robin M. Jensen, originally published in Bible Review and now available for free in Bible History Daily.
In the East, too, the dates of Jesus’ conception and death were linked. But instead of working from the 14th of Nisan in the Hebrew calendar, the easterners used the 14th of the first spring month (Artemisios) in their local Greek calendar—April 6 to us. April 6 is, of course, exactly nine months before January 6—the eastern date for Christmas. In the East, too, we have evidence that April was associated with Jesus’ conception and crucifixion. Bishop Epiphanius of Salamis writes that on April 6, “The lamb was shut up in the spotless womb of the holy virgin, he who took away and takes away in perpetual sacrifice the sins of the world.”13 Even today, the Armenian Church celebrates the Annunciation in early April (on the 7th, not the 6th) and Christmas on January 6.e
Thus, we have Christians in two parts of the world calculating Jesus’ birth on the basis that his death and conception took place on the same day (March 25 or April 6) and coming up with two close but different results (December 25 and January 6).
Connecting Jesus’ conception and death in this way will certainly seem odd to modern readers, but it reflects ancient and medieval understandings of the whole of salvation being bound up together. One of the most poignant expressions of this belief is found in Christian art. In numerous paintings of the angel’s Annunciation to Mary—the moment of Jesus’ conception—the baby Jesus is shown gliding down from heaven on or with a small cross (see photo above of detail from Master Bertram’s Annunciation scene); a visual reminder that the conception brings the promise of salvation through Jesus’ death.
The notion that creation and redemption should occur at the same time of year is also reflected in ancient Jewish tradition, recorded in the Talmud. The Babylonian Talmud preserves a dispute between two early-second-century C.E. rabbis who share this view, but disagree on the date: Rabbi Eliezer states: “In Nisan the world was created; in Nisan the Patriarchs were born; on Passover Isaac was born … and in Nisan they [our ancestors] will be redeemed in time to come.” (The other rabbi, Joshua, dates these same events to the following month, Tishri.)14 Thus, the dates of Christmas and Epiphany may well have resulted from Christian theological reflection on such chronologies: Jesus would have been conceived on the same date he died, and born nine months later.15
In the end we are left with a question: How did December 25 become Christmas? We cannot be entirely sure. Elements of the festival that developed from the fourth century until modern times may well derive from pagan traditions. Yet the actual date might really derive more from Judaism—from Jesus’ death at Passover, and from the rabbinic notion that great things might be expected, again and again, at the same time of the year—than from paganism. Then again, in this notion of cycles and the return of God’s redemption, we may perhaps also be touching upon something that the pagan Romans who celebrated Sol Invictus, and many other peoples since, would have understood and claimed for their own, too.16
* I know of no other book like this one that provides rapid-fire, easy-to-read, factual literary snapshots of virtually every well-known revival since Pentecost. … I felt like I had grasped the overall picture of revival for the first time” ~ C Peter Wagner
Same 2020 text now as Revival Fires with Chapter 7: Twenty-first Century Revivals
* Amazing by Jo Swan: Full of true accounts of what happens to whole towns and cities when God’s people humble themselves, pray, and the Holy Spirit rushed through with his transforming power. Loved every minute of these stories. ~ Jo Swan
Bible StoryPictures & Models Bible Story Pictures & Models – PDF Amazon edition An activity book with 58 pictures and models for children and parents or teachers to enjoy.
* Bible Story Pictures & Models stands out above the rest, looks and sounds original, fun and very inspirational … Your illustrations and models are all terrific for them to color and create. It is all very well done and inviting for your targeted young readers. ~ Ellery Alouette.
* The Queen’s Christmas & Easter Messages is an appealing, highly unusual and very creative anthology. ~ Alison Sherrington
* I haven’t seen anyone else draw the events of these years together in this way before. Using the Queen’s speeches not only ties in the unfolding events of our time but reveals a deep spiritual glue that provides a fascinating and intimate insight into the personal life of our Queen. A fascinating read. ~ Rev Philip Waugh
* A new and innovative approach to the Christmas Story and its clear message of peace and goodwill to all. It is a rewarding experience to read it from cover to cover. ~ Don Hill
* What an amazing collection! This has so many wonderful Christmas messages and is a great addition to any family during the holiday season. ~ Jenny & Benny
* This is a remarkable work and something quite unique that I’ve not come across before (and believe me I’ve seen most ideas). There is a huge appetite for devotional type books and I’m sure that this one will appeal to many people. ~ Russ Burg
* One of the most interesting devotionals ever! As a huge fan of all things Narnia, I am so grateful for this deeper aspect of the truths in C.S. Lewis’ stories. Geoff Waugh did a great job in crafting such a book as this. What a wonderful addition to any collection, and an inspiration to know Jesus more deeply. ~ Belinda S.
* You can read the Narnia tales as just good stories, but CS Lewis wanted people to see more. This book will help you see the many links with Jesus, the Lion of Judah. Use this to enhance your wonder and love of Christ. ~ Rev Dr John Olley
* Best companion work I know of. … Either for a young person who is interested in exploring more, or as a resource on a pastor’s desk, it is an invaluable companion to the original series. ~ Amazon Customer
* This is a great companion when you read, and is a stand-alone teaching on the depths of teaching that C.S. Lewis weaves into Aslan’s character. Definitely worth your time. ~ Steve Loopstra
* Looking for a great book to help you meditate on the wonder of Jesus in all his richness and grandeur and love? Geoff Waugh has helpfully and thoughtfully brought together wide-ranging biblical passages (not just a string of references for you to look up!), arranged in clearly titled sections (this book is a combination of his smaller books, The Lion of Judah nos. 1-6). Read this book prayerfully and you will not be the same! Then share it with others. ~ Dr John Olley.
* This book is full of information, biblical information. I have learned so much from it and what I wasn’t able to keep in my head, I had my handy highlighter, so I could go back to it and find it. It is a book of multiple books and it’s not that big, but it’s filled with so many facts and details. If you want to learn more from the Bible, this is the book to read. ~ A. Aldridge.
Hundreds of ideas for Christian groups with a wealth of activities, studies, prayers, and resources for groups of all ages. Contents are: Ideas for integrated Bible studies; Ideas for Bible studies and prayers; Ideas for church activities – devotional, educational, creative, serving, social, sporting; Ideas for all ages together; Ideas for building relationships.
This book offers a huge range of activities, arranged according to group activities. It provides a wide range of activities for many different kinds of groups. The first section, Ideas for Integrated Bible Studies, gives you four group studies on each of the themes or topics.
* Five Stars: I really enjoyed this book. It helped me to understand more about what I have been going through. ~ James Bird
Jesus on Dying Regrets– Blog Jesus on Dying Regrets – PDF Advice about the top 5 regrets of the dying Gift Edition in colour This small book explores Jesus’ advice about the top 5 regrets of dying patients. Those regrets are transformed into these positives: 1 Be true – “I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.” 2 Work wise – “I wish I didn’t work so hard.” 3 Express feelings – “I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.” 4 Stay connected – ” I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.” 5 Be happier – “I wish that I had let myself be happier.”
* I have read many similar stories, but this one exceeds them all. … Geoff has done well to not only be in so many places and seeing God at work but also writing a book about it all. ~ Barbara Vickridge
* I am enjoying these Journals a lot! Read about things that the Bible talks about, but they are happening in our day and age around the world. Some of the journal pages I skip over, but not many. The people of our day are being the army of our God and His work is advancing. Let us be encouraged and pray that God helps others bring glory to God and that we ourselves follow God’s directions in our own lives to let God shine thru us. Talk about getting a lot for your money! ~ Deborah Mares
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.'”
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.
Hundreds of ideas for Christian groups with a wealth of activities, studies, prayers and resources for groups of all ages. Contents are: Ideas for integrated Bible studies; Ideas for Bible studies and prayers; Ideas for church activities – devotional, educational, creative, serving, social, sporting; Ideas for all ages together; Ideas for building relationships.
This book offers a huge range of activities, arranged according to group activities. It provides a wide range of activities for many different kinds of groups. The first section, Ideas for Integrated Bible Studies, gives you four group studies on each of the themes or topics.
How to use this book
Ideas for integrated Bibles studies The Great Experiment
Finding New Life
Living New Life
Great Chapters – Old Testament
Great Chapters – New Testament
Ideas for Bible studies and prayers Bible passages
Bible study methods
Bible reading and relationship building
Bible readings and prayers
Ideas for church activities Program emphases: Devotional, Educational, Creative, Serving, Social, Sporting
Witness and Sharing Weekend
Gifts Check List
Ideas for all ages together Activities involving young children and others
Activities involving older children and others
Family and church family questionnaires
Useful teaching activities
ABC of resource ideas
Simulation activities. Simulation Game: Build my Church
Ideas for building relationships Deep – ideas and attitudes
Deeper – ideals and values
Deepest – ideologies and commitments
What is your main love language?
This book is available in Paperback (print & colour) and as digital eBooks (Kindle and PDF).
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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
The Servant Songs (also called the Servant poems or the Songs of the Suffering Servant) are four songs in the Book of Isaiah in the Hebrew Bible, which include Isaiah 42:1-4; Isaiah 49:1-6; Isaiah 50:4-7; and Isaiah 52:13-53:12. They were first identified by Bernhard Duhm in his 1892 commentary on Isaiah. The songs are four poems written about a certain “servant of YHWH” (Hebrew: עבד יהוה, ‘eḇeḏ Yahweh). God calls the servant to lead the nations, but the servant is horribly abused among them. In the end, he is rewarded.
Some scholars regard Isaiah 61:1-3 as a fifth servant song, although the word “servant” (Hebrew: עבד, ‘eḇeḏ) is not mentioned in the passage. [Wikipedia]
Here are the Servant Songs from the New Revised Standard Version. You can compare other translations in The Bible Gateway
Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen, in whom my soul delights; I have put my spirit upon him; he will bring forth justice to the nations. 2 He will not cry or lift up his voice, or make it heard in the street; 3 a bruised reed he will not break, and a dimly burning wick he will not quench; he will faithfully bring forth justice. 4 He will not grow faint or be crushed until he has established justice in the earth; and the coastlands wait for his teaching.
Listen to me, O coastlands, pay attention, you peoples from far away! The Lord called me before I was born, while I was in my mother’s womb he named me. 2 He made my mouth like a sharp sword, in the shadow of his hand he hid me; he made me a polished arrow, in his quiver he hid me away. 3 And he said to me, ‘You are my servant, Israel, in whom I will be glorified.’ 4 But I said, ‘I have laboured in vain, I have spent my strength for nothing and vanity; yet surely my cause is with the Lord, and my reward with my God.’
5 And now the Lord says, who formed me in the womb to be his servant, to bring Jacob back to him, and that Israel might be gathered to him, for I am honoured in the sight of the Lord, and my God has become my strength— 6 he says, ‘It is too light a thing that you should be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to restore the survivors of Israel; I will give you as a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth.’
The Lord God has given me the tongue of a teacher, that I may know how to sustain the weary with a word. Morning by morning he wakens— wakens my ear to listen as those who are taught. 5 The Lord God has opened my ear, and I was not rebellious, I did not turn backwards. 6 I gave my back to those who struck me, and my cheeks to those who pulled out the beard; I did not hide my face from insult and spitting.
7 The Lord God helps me; therefore I have not been disgraced; therefore I have set my face like flint, and I know that I shall not be put to shame.
Isaiah 52:13 – 53:12
See, my servant shall prosper; he shall be exalted and lifted up, and shall be very high. 14 Just as there were many who were astonished at him[b] —so marred was his appearance, beyond human semblance, and his form beyond that of mortals— 15 so he shall startle many nations; kings shall shut their mouths because of him; for that which had not been told them they shall see, and that which they had not heard they shall contemplate.
Who has believed what we have heard? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? 2 For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. 3 He was despised and rejected by others; a man of suffering and acquainted with infirmity; and as one from whom others hide their faces he was despised, and we held him of no account.
4 Surely he has borne our infirmities and carried our diseases; yet we accounted him stricken, struck down by God, and afflicted. 5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the punishment that made us whole, and by his bruises we are healed. 6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have all turned to our own way, and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth. 8 By a perversion of justice he was taken away. Who could have imagined his future? For he was cut off from the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of my people. 9 They made his grave with the wicked and his tomb with the rich, although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth.
10 Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him with pain. When you make his life an offering for sin, he shall see his offspring, and shall prolong his days; through him the will of the Lord shall prosper. 11 Out of his anguish he shall see light; he shall find satisfaction through his knowledge. The righteous one, my servant, shall make many righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities. 12 Therefore I will allot him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he poured out himself to death, and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.
The spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me; he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed, to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and release to the prisoners; 2 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; 3 to provide for those who mourn in Zion— to give them a garland instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the mantle of praise instead of a faint spirit. They will be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, to display his glory.
See Luke 4:14-21
Then Jesus, filled with the power of the Spirit, returned to Galilee, and a report about him spread through all the surrounding country. 15 He began to teach in their synagogues and was praised by everyone.
16 When he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, he went to the synagogue on the sabbath day, as was his custom. He stood up to read, 17 and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written:
18 ‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, 19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.’
20 And he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. The eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. 21 Then he began to say to them, ‘Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.’
The chapter divisions commonly used today were developed by Stephen Langton, an Archbishop of Canterbury. Langton put the modern chapter divisions into place in around A.D. 1227. The Wycliffe English Bible of 1382 was the first Bible to use this chapter pattern. Since the Wycliffe Bible, nearly all Bible translations have followed Langton’s chapter divisions.
The Hebrew Old Testament was divided into verses by a Jewish rabbi by the name of Nathan in A.D. 1448. Robert Estienne, who was also known as Stephanus, was the first to divide the New Testament into standard numbered verses, in 1555. Stephanus essentially used Nathan’s verse divisions for the Old Testament. Since that time, beginning with the Geneva Bible (1560), the chapter and verse divisions employed by Stephanus have been accepted into nearly all the Bible versions (as in the King James Bible of 1611).
Gutenberg’s printing press, invented around 1440, made Bibles widely available, beginning with the Vulgate Bible in Latin (1450s) without chapters and verses. The use of chapters and verses became normal in the Scriptures from 1560.
Messiah, George Frideric Handel (1685-1759) Words compiled from the Holy Scriptures by Charles Jennens (1700-1773)
Messiah is an English-language oratorio composed in 1741 by George Friedrich Handel, with a scriptural text compiled by Charles Jennens from the King James Bible (1611), and from the version of the Psalms included with the Book of Common Prayer. The music for Messiah was completed in 24 days of swift composition. His servants would often find him in tears as he composed. When he completed “Hallelujah,” he reportedly told his servant, “I did think I did see all Heaven before me, and the great God Himself seated on His throne, with His company of Angels.” At the end of his manuscript, Handel wrote the letters “SDG”—Soli Deo Gloria, “To God alone the glory”.
In Part I the text begins with prophecies by Isaiah and others, and moves to the annunciation to the shepherds, the only “scene” taken from the Gospels. In Part II, Handel concentrates on the Passion and ends with the “Hallelujah” chorus. In Part III he covers the resurrection of the dead and Christ’s glorification in heaven.
When King George II attended a royal performance of Messiah he stood up for the Hallelujah Chorus in honour of the King of kings. When the king stood everyone in his presence had to stand. So it became the tradition for the audience to stand up when the Hallelujah Chorus is sung, as millions of us have done in honour of the King of kings.
Chorus — Revelation 19:6, 11:15, 19:16 Hallelujah! for the Lord God Omnipotent reigneth. The Kingdom of this world is become the Kingdom of our Lord, and of His Christ; and He shall reign for ever and ever. King of kings, and Lord of lords
and He shall reign for ever and ever. Hallelujah!
1. Sinfonia (Overture)
2. Tenor Recitative. — Isaiah 40:1-3
Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God. Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned. The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness: Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
3. Tenor Air — Isaiah 40:4
Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill made low, the crooked straight, and the rough places plain.
4. Chorus — Isaiah 40:5
And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.
5. Bass Recitative — Haggai 2:6,7; Malachi 3:1
Thus saith the Lord of Hosts; Yet once, a little while and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, the sea, and the dry land; And I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come.
The Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to His temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: Behold, He shall come, saith the Lord of Hosts.
6. Bass Air — Malachi 3:2
But who may abide the day of His coming? and who shall stand when He appeareth? For He is like a refiner’s fire.
7. Chorus — Malachi 3:3
And He shall purify the sons of Levi, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness.
8. Alto Recitative — Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23
Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a Son, and shall call his name Emmanuel, God with us.
9. Alto Air and Chorus — Isaiah 40:9; Isaiah 60:1
O thou that tellest good tidings to Zion, get thee up into the high mountain; O thou that tellest good tidings to Jerusalem, lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, and be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God!
Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.
10. Bass Recitative — Isaiah 60:2,3
For, behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people; but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and His glory shall be seen upon thee. And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising.
11. Bass Air — Isaiah 9:2
The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: and they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.
12. Chorus — Isaiah 9:6
For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder: and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.
13. Pifa (Pastoral Symphony)
14. Soprano Recitative — Luke 2:8,9
There were shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flocks by night.
And lo! the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
15. Soprano Recitative — Luke 2:10,11
And the angel said unto them, Fear not; for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
16. Soprano Recitative — Luke 2:13
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
17. Chorus — Luke 2:14
Glory to God in the highest, and peace on earth, good will toward men.
18. Soprano Air — Zechariah 9:9,10
Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee. He is the righteous Savior. And he shall speak peace unto the heathen.
19. Alto Recitative — Isaiah 35:5,6
Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped. Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb shall sing.
20. Alto Air — Isaiah 40:11; Matthew 11:28, 29
He shall feed his flock like a shepherd; and he shall gather the lambs with His arm, and carry them in His bosom, and gently lead those that are with young.
Come unto Him, all ye that labour, that are heavy laden, and He shall give you rest. Take his yoke upon you, and learn of Him; for he is meek and lowly of heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
21. Chorus — Matthew 11:30
His yoke is easy, and His burthen is light.
22. Chorus — John 1:29
Behold the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sin of the world.
23. Alto Air — Isaiah 53:3; Isaiah 50:6
He was despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief.
He gave His back to the smiters, and His cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: He hid not His face from shame and spitting.
24. Chorus — Isaiah 53:4,5
Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows. He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him.
25. Chorus — Isaiah 53:5
And with His stripes we are healed.
26. Chorus — Isaiah 53:6
All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
27. Tenor Recitative — Psalm 22:7
All they that see Him laugh him to scorn: they shoot out their lips, and shake their heads, saying:
28. Chorus — Psalm 22:8
He trusted in God that He would deliver Him: let Him deliver Him, if he delight in Him.
29. Soprano Recitative — Psalm 69:20
Thy rebuke hath broken His heart; He is full of heaviness. He looked for some to have pity on Him but there was no man; neither found He any to comfort Him.
30. Soprano Air — Lamentations 1:12
Behold, and see if there be any sorrow like unto His sorrow!
31. Tenor Recitative — Isaiah 53:8
He was cut off out of the land of the living; for the transgression of Thy people was He stricken.
32. Tenor Air — Psalm 16:10
But Thou didst not leave His soul in hell; nor didst Thou suffer Thy Holy One to see corruption.
33. Chorus — Psalm 24:7-10
Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of Glory shall come in. Who is this King of Glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle. Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of Glory shall come in. Who is this King of Glory? The Lord of Hosts, He is the King of Glory.
34. Tenor Recitative — Hebrews 1:5
For unto which of the angels said He at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten hee?
35. Chorus — Hebrews 1:6
Let all the angels of God worship Him.
36. Bass Air — Psalm 68:18
Thou art gone up on high, Thou hast led captivity captive, and received gifts for men; yea, even for Thine enemies, that the Lord God might dwell among them.
37. Chorus — Psalm 68:11
The Lord gave the word: great was the company of the preachers.
38. Duetto for 2 Alto Solos and Chorus — Romans 10:15
How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!
[39. Chorus — Romans 10:18
Their sound is gone out into all lands, and their words unto the ends of the world. Not sung in the original performance.]
40. Bass Air — Psalm 2:1,2
Why do the nations so furiously rage together: why do the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth rise up, and the rulers take counsels together against the Lord and His anointed.
41. Chorus — Psalm 2:3
Let us break their bonds asunder, and cast away their yokes from us.
42. Tenor Recitative — Psalm 2:4
He that dwelleth in the heavens shall laugh them to scorn; the Lord shall have them in derision.
43. Tenor Air — Psalm 2:9
Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; Thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel. 44. Chorus — Revelation 19:6, 11:15, 19:16 Hallelujah! for the Lord God Omnipotent reigneth. The Kingdom of this world is become the Kingdom of our Lord, and of His Christ: and He shall reign for ever and ever. King of kings, Lord of lords.
45. Soprano Air — Job 19:25, 26; 1 Corinthians 15:20
I know that my redeemer liveth, and that He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: And though worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God.
For now is Christ risen from the dead, the firstfruits of them that sleep.
46. Chorus — 1 Corinthians 15:21, 22
Since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.
47. Bass Recitative — 1 Corinthians 15:51, 52
Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep; but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet.
48. Bass Air — 1 Corinthians 15:52, 53
The trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
49. Alto Air — 1 Corinthians 15:54b
Then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, “Death is swallowed up in victory.”
50. Duetto for Alto and Tenor — 1 Corinthians 15:55, 56
O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law.
51. Chorus — 1 Corinthians 15:57
But thanks be to God, who giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
52. Alto Air — Romans 8:31, 33, 34
If God be for us, who can be against us? Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is at the right hand of God, who makes intercession for us.
53. Chorus — Revelation 5:12, 13
Worthy is the Lamb that was slain, and hath redeemed us to God by His blood, to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing. Blessing and honour, glory and power to be unto Him that sitteth upon the throne and unto the Lamb, for ever and ever. Amen.
Part I 0:00:06 Sinfony. Grave; Allegro moderato 0:02:58 Comfort ye (Accompagnato, Tenoro). Larghetto e piano 0:05:43 Ev`ry valley shall be exalted (Aria, Tenoro). Andante 0:08:49 And the glory of the Lord (Chorus). Allegro; Adagio 0:11:10 Thus saith the Lord (Accompagnato, Basso). Recitativo 0:12:18 But who may abide (Aria, Alto). Larghetto; Prestissimo; Adagio 0:16:03 And He shall purify (Chorus). Allegro 0:18:12 Behold, a virgin shall conceive (Recitativo, Alto). 0:18:36 O thou that tellest good tidings to Zion (Aria, Alto). Andante 0:21:51 O thou that tellest good tidings to Zion (Chorus). 0:23:31 For behold, darkness shall cover the earth (Accompagnato, Basso). Andante larghetto 0:25:39 The people that walked in darkness (Aria, Basso). Larghetto 0:29:25 For unto us a child is born (Chorus). Andante allegro 0:33:26 Pifa. Larghetto e mezzo piano 0:35:36 There where shepherds (Recitativo, Accompagnato; Soprano). Andante; Allegro 0:36:58 Glory to god in the highest (Chorus). Allegro 0:39:00 Rejoice greatly (Aria, Soprano). Allegro 0:43:00 Then shall the eyes of the blind (Recitativo, Alto). [latter version] 0:43:24 He shall feed his flock (Aria, Alto). Larghetto e piano [latter version] 0:47:26 His yoke is easy (Chorus). Allegro
Part II 0:49:35 Behold the Lamb of God (Chorus). Largo 0:52:04 He was despised (Aria, Alto). Largo 1:00:40 Surely (Chorus). Largo e staccato 1:02:18 And with his stripes we are healed (Chorus). Alla breve, Moderato 1:03:48 All we like sheep have gone astray (Chorus). Allegro moderato; Adagio 1:07:37 All they that see Him (Accompagnato, Tenore). Larghetto 1:08:17 He trusted in God (Chorus). Allegro; Adagio 1:10:25 Thy rebuke hath broken His Heart (Accompagnato, Tenore). Largo 1:12:15 Behold, and see (Arioso, Tenore). Largo e piano 1:13:26 He was cut off (Accompagnato, Tenore). Recitativo 1:13:44 But Thou didst not leave His soul in Hell (Aria, Tenore). Andante larghetto 1:15:47 Lift up your heads (Chorus). A tempo ordinario 1:19:10 Unto which of the angels (Recitativo, Tenore). 1:19:28 Let all the angels of God worship Him (Chorus). Allegro 1:20:48 Thou art gone up high (Aria, Alto). Allegro larghetto 1:23:45 The Lord gave the word (Chorus). Andante allegro 1:24:50 How beautiful are the feet of them (Aria, Soprano). Larghetto :__:_ Their sound is gone out (Chorus). A tempo ordinario [missing] 1:29:20 Why do the nations rage (Aria, Basso). Allegro 1:31:57 Let us break their bonds (Chorus). Allegro e staccato 1:33:34 He that dwelleth in heaven (Recitativo, Tenore). 1:33:46 Thou shall break them (Aria, Tenore). Andante 1:35:57 Hallelujah (Chorus). Allegro
Part III 1:39:46 I know that my redeemer liveth (Aria, Soprano). Larghetto 1:45:10 Since by man came death (Chorus). Grave; Allegro 1:47:13 Behold, I tell you (Accompagnato, Basso). 1:47:12 The trumpet shall sound (Aria, Basso). Pomposo, ma non allegro; Adagio 1:55:30 Then shall be brought to pass (Recitativo, Alto). 1:44:45 O death, where is thy sting (Duetto; Alto, Tenore). Andante 1:57:17 But thanks be to God (Chorus). Andante; Adagio 1:59:13 If God is for us (Aria, Soprano). Larghetto; Adagio 2:03:25 Worthy is the Lamb (Chorus). Largo; Andante 2:04:43 Blessing and honour (Chorus). Larghetto; Adagio 2:06:38 Amen (Chorus). Allegro moderato; Adagio
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.”