BIBLE IN TEN

The first 60 episodes are from portions of Genesis. Since Feb 2021 we began a daily commentary in the the book of Acts since it is certain that almost all major theological errors within the church arise by a misapplication, or a misuse, of the book of Acts. If the book is taken in its proper light, it is an invaluable tool for understanding what God is doing in the redemptive narrative in human history. If it is taken incorrectly, failed doctrine, and even heretical ideas, will arise (and consistently have arisen) within the church. Let us consider the book of Acts in its proper light. In doing so, these errors in thinking and theology will be avoided. The book of Acts is comprised of 28 chapters of 1007 verses (as in the NKJV). Therefore, a daily evaluation of Acts, one verse per day, will take approximately 2.76 years to complete.

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Episodes

13 minutes ago

Thursday, 29 September 2022   So I sent to you immediately, and you have done well to come. Now therefore, we are all present before God, to hear all the things commanded you by God.” Acts 10:33   In the previous verse, Cornelius continued his reason for having Peter called as he conveyed the words of the messenger from God. Now, he finishes this side of the conversation, beginning with the words, “So I sent to you immediately.”   This is exactly what happened as was stated in verses 10:7, 8 –   “And when the angel who spoke to him had departed, Cornelius called two of his household servants and a devout soldier from among those who waited on him continually. 8 So when he had explained all these things to them, he sent them to Joppa.”   Not even waiting for the next day, he had immediately followed through with the words spoken to him. With that, he next says to Peter, “and you have done well to come.” The words more appropriately read, “and you did well, having come.”   Cornelius acknowledges Peter’s presence, demonstrating gratefulness through the words conveyed. It is the same formula used when Paul addressed those at Philippi –   “Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. 13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. 14 Nevertheless you have done well that you shared in my distress.” Philippians 5:13,14   After his compliment to Peter, he begins his finishing thought, saying, “Now therefore, we are all present before God.”   Cornelius acknowledges on behalf of all assembled his understanding of God’s omnipresence and ability to discern the hearts of those assembled. Even if his understanding of the nature of God was limited, he had deduced enough to know that God was fully sovereign over His creation, including His creatures, and that He had expectations of man who walked in His presence. His words convey the idea that God was attending the meeting with the same attention that He had when He created the universe. Having noted this, he finishes with, “to hear all the things commanded you by God.”   The Alexandrian text, used by many translations, says, “to hear all the things having been commanded you by the Lord” (BLB). Determining which is original, God or Lord, is difficult. If Cornelius was either aware of Jesus, or if Peter had told him he was a messenger of Jesus as they entered in verse 10:27, then saying “Lord” would make more sense. If Cornelius was not yet aware of Jesus yet, then saying “God” would make more sense.   The coming verses do not really clear that up and could be taken either way, but because Jesus is God, it doesn’t change the overall narrative greatly. God sent Jesus to accomplish His mission. The command rested upon Him, and He fulfilled it, including giving His commands to the people. Peter was fully aware of this, and he had been given his further commission during the trance which was specifically tied to his speaking to Cornelius.   Peter will explain the ministry of Jesus going back to the time of John’s baptizing, including the words “that word you know, which was proclaimed throughout Judea.” However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that Cornelius was aware that Jesus was the Messiah. All it means is that he had likely heard about Jesus in some fashion. This is certain because it will go on to say –   “Him God raised up on the third day, and showed Him openly, 41 not to all the people, but to witnesses chosen before by God, even to us who ate and drank with Him after He arose from the dead.” Acts 10:40, 41   If the resurrection was not known to all the people, then it means that not all the people knew that Jesus was, in fact, the Messiah. As such, the story in Cornelius’ mind may be that another failed messianic figure had come among the people. The extent of the knowledge of who Jesus was by Cornelius cannot be known. But what he will need to know will be fully presented as the verses continue.   Life application: It is rare to come across a person who has never heard of Jesus, even people in other cultures around the world usually have some limited knowledge of Him. This is no different than most people having heard of Buddha or Muhammed. Just because someone has heard of a person, it doesn’t really tell you much about the extent of that person’s knowledge.   In the US today, knowing there was a “Jesus” who started Christianity is almost universal. And yet, even in supposed Christian churches, there may be very little knowledge beyond that about who He is or what is expected by Him. Our responsibility as saved believers in Jesus is to explain the meaning of Jesus’ coming and what it means to the state of humanity.   Once the truth of Jesus has been explained, there is still the necessary instruction that not only is He God and that He is the focus of the gospel, but it should be explained that He is the only path of restoration with God. This is not a part of the gospel itself, but it is an important point about Jesus that should be explained. If not, there may remain confusion in people’s minds about the exclusivity of what Jesus has done. This should not be the state of anyone who has accepted the simple gospel.   The sooner sound discipleship is introduced, the chances will be all the better that this person will rightly repeat the message of Jesus to others. And so, be prepared to give the important basic points about the faith that will keep that individual, and those he next talks to, from heading down erroneous paths of thinking.   Lord God, help us to be clear in our presentation of who Jesus is and what He means to the state of all people before You. Give us wisdom in our presentation of Him and help us to be strong in our stand concerning those points about Him that must be conveyed for a new believer to be solidly grounded in his thinking about the faith. Amen.

2 days ago

Wednesday, 28 September 2022   Send therefore to Joppa and call Simon here, whose surname is Peter. He is lodging in the house of Simon, a tanner, by the sea. When he comes, he will speak to you.’ Acts 10:32   In the previous verse, Cornelius noted the words of the messenger sent from God, saying, “Your prayers and your alms have come up for a memorial before God.” The words of verse 10:32 now continue his thought. They follow closely after the words of verses 10:5, 6 –   (10:5, 6) “Now send men to Joppa, and send for Simon whose surname is Peter. 6 He is lodging with Simon, a tanner, whose house is by the sea. He will tell you what you must do.”   (10:32) “Send therefore to Joppa and call Simon here, whose surname is Peter. He is lodging in the house of Simon, a tanner, by the sea. When he comes, he will speak to you.”   Cornelius is carefully explaining exactly what occurred so that Peter is fully aware of what transpired and of what is expected of him. To get a full sense of the meaning of the words, please refer to the commentaries on Acts 10:5, 6.   Life application: There is a great division among people about how the Bible is to be translated. Cornelius does not explain to Peter word for word what the messenger said to him. However, he carefully gives the substance of what the angel has said.   In Bible translations, some demand an exact and literal rendering of what is said in the originals (literal translation). Doing this can make the translation unintelligible to the reader because various words and idioms do not convey the same meaning as to the original audience.   Some think that a dynamic equivalence is the best way to go. That is having the “quality of a translation in which the message of the original text has been so transported into the receptor language that the response of the receptor is essentially like that of the original receptors” (Eugene Nida). The meaning is “sense for sense.”   The original audience received the words of the writer, and their minds had a sense of what the meaning was. Likewise, when translated into another language, the desired goal is for the translation to carry the same sense.   For example, “He was killed with the mouth of the sword” (Hebrew thought) becomes “He was killed with the edge of the sword (English thought).” Another example might be that of 1 Kings 18:21, “Until when are you leaping on the two branches?” That becomes “How long will you falter between two opinions?” The first is an idiomatic expression that means nothing to an English reader. Hence, a literal translation really says nothing to the mind. In this, the original words are not conveyed, only a sense of what they mean is.   There are many (almost innumerable) other types of Bible translations, each claiming it is the “best and most reliable.” But the fact is that any translation can only go so far in its ability to convey the true meaning of what is said. Before Bibles were common, plays about the gospel message helped explain the Bible to people. That would be a sort of verbal paraphrase to convey meaning. Is that wrong? Obviously not. We watch movies about Jesus all the time.   In church on Sunday, a reliable pastor will read a passage of Scripture and then take the time to describe it in one of various ways, such as from a moral, a historical, a prophetic, or a typological explanation. Is one “more right” than another? Not if the word is properly explained. We should not get so caught up in a single translation or a single way of instructing from the Bible that we dismiss other ways of transmitting the message.   This will lead to arrogance, judgmentalism, finger-pointing, and congregations that are actually unbalanced and unhealthy. If you don’t know that, go sit in a King James Only congregation for a couple of Sundays. The Bible will give you exactly what you are willing to take from it. If you don’t read it, it will give you nothing. If you read it in one fallible translation, you will think of its contents only from that perspective.   If you read many translations, you will get a broader view of what is being said. You will be able to more accurately evaluate what is going on and what the meaning of various literary styles will convey. If you study the original languages, you will become even more proficient in the nuances of what is being conveyed. If you study the land from which the narratives are penned, you will gain even greater insights into the original intent of the authors. And so on.   Be careful to always handle the Bible with the utmost care and respect but understand that because it comes from the mind of God, what is being conveyed can be explored and explained in a multitude of ways, none of which are incorrect. But they may be insufficient in fully explaining all of what the original intent may mean. Above all, pray to the Lord for guidance, insight, and wisdom in His word when you read it. And you cannot get those things unless... you actually read it.   Heavenly Father, what a joy and a blessing it is to receive Your word each day, to drink from it as the coolest of water, to revel in it as the greatest treat, and to share it as the most precious gift. What a treasure it is that we possess when we have Your word. Thank You for Your precious word. Amen.

3 days ago

Tuesday, 27 September 2022   and said, ‘Cornelius, your prayer has been heard, and your alms are remembered in the sight of God. Acts 10:31   The previous verse began Cornelius’ explanation of how it came to be that he had summoned Peter to come and speak to him. He noted the coming of the man in bright clothing. The man stood before Cornelius “and said, ‘Cornelius, your prayer has been heard.’”   In verse 4, at the time of the visitation, it said, “your prayers.” Now, Cornelius says, “your prayer.” No contradiction needs to be assumed here. Rather, Cornelius is most likely focusing his mind on the single most important aspect of his prayers, meaning how to be righteous before God.   Cornelius, as previously noted in earlier commentaries, understood that there was a disconnect between him and God. He understood his sinful nature, he grasped God’s perfection and realized that He could not abide with his sin. He also knew that condemnation was his default position. This can all be deduced from Cornelius’ attitude, habits, and lifestyle. He sought out the truth that could set him free from the burden his soul felt laid upon him.   Because of this heart attitude, and because this was certainly his most consuming thought and his most constant prayer, he notes it in the singular. This prayer was issued again and again, making it one prayer repeated many times. With this surely being the reason for his words, he continues with the words of the messenger, saying, “and your alms.”   It is the same word spoken by the messenger. Cornelius repeats this portion exactly as it was conveyed to him. Together, his prayer and his alms “are remembered in the sight of God.”   In verse 10:4, the messenger said, “have come up for a memorial before God.” Cornelius uses terminology that explains rather than repeats the words of the messenger. His prayers had ascended as a memorial before God. As such, they are remembered in the sight of God. A memorial is something to bring to remembrance. To be “before” someone is to be “in the sight of” that person.   Cornelius has clearly explained the matter to Peter. For those who would say his words are not the words of the angel and are a fabrication, the fact is that those same people would say of an exact repeat of his words, “Luke just copied the words from verse 10:4. This is just a fabrication.” But the words spoken by Cornelius now are reasonable, they fully explain the matter, and they are how any normal person would explain the events they had experienced a few days earlier.   Life application: In Isaiah, there is an excellent connection to the words of Cornelius as spoken to Peter –   “Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened,That it cannot save;Nor His ear heavy,That it cannot hear.2 But your iniquities have separated you from your God;And your sins have hidden His face from you,So that He will not hear.” Isaiah 59:1, 2   Sin is what keeps our prayers from being heard by God. As all people have sinned, there is a disconnect between us and God that keeps our prayers from being heard. In the case of Cornelius, he had faith that God existed. He also knew that if the infinite gap that stood between us and God was to be bridged, it would have to be from the top down.   This is the prayer that God can hear because it removes us (meaning our attempts at reconciliation) from the equation. This is why Jesus gave this parable to Israel –   “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other men—extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.’ 13 And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’ 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” Luke 18:10-14   The tax collector removed himself from the equation as far as reconciliation is concerned. He threw himself at the mercy of God and begged His forgiveness. God can deal with such a person. The arrogant Pharisee placed himself before God as if they were equals, expecting God to see his self-righteousness and reward him. God cannot deal with such arrogance.   This explains the worthy or unworthy manner in which one takes the Lord’s Supper as explained in 1 Corinthians 11. The purpose of taking the Lord’s Supper is “to proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes” (vs. 26). It is an acknowledgment that Christ had to die for our sins and only because we are in Christ are we found acceptable to God. The fact is, that without Jesus, there is nothing in us worthy of salvation or even an explanation from God about anything. But thanks be to God for Jesus Christ who alone makes us worthy. Yes, thanks be to God for our Lord Jesus.   Lord God, praises alone belong to You. Without Your glorious hand of reconciliation and restoration through Jesus, we would be utterly swept away. But because of Him, we have been brought near to You. Thank You. We praise You forever and ever because of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

4 days ago

Monday, 26 September 2022   So Cornelius said, “Four days ago I was fasting until this hour; and at the ninth hour I prayed in my house, and behold, a man stood before me in bright clothing, Acts 10:30   The previous verse noted Peter’s words which questioned Cornelius as to why he had been sent for. With that, it now says, “So Cornelius said, ‘Four days ago I was fasting until this hour.’” Some texts (and thus some translations) say, “Four days ago to this hour, at the ninth hour.” As such, there is nothing noted about him fasting and the explanation of the hours of the day is slightly altered.   Either way, the point is that Cornelius is recounting that it was four days prior to the current day when the events that started the matter began to occur. Regardless of the text used, it literally says, “from the fourth day.” Cornelius is reckoning backward from the day in which he is now speaking.   Whether he fasted or not doesn’t change the overall message. One would think that the note about fasting would more likely be dropped out by accident than inserted without justification, but either way, Cornelius continues, saying, “and at the ninth hour I prayed in my house.”   This would be in accord with his nature which was described in verse 10:2. There it said that he “prayed to God always.” It was during the time while he was in prayer, that he says, “and behold, a man stood before me.”   Verse 4:3 said, “About the ninth hour of the day he saw clearly in a vision an angel of God coming in.” His words to Peter about it being the ninth hour are supported by this. And more, the angel (Greek: messenger) is now described as being a man. This does not mean he is not an angel. The angel Gabriel is described as a man in Daniel 9:21.   As such, it could be an angel, or it could be a man (such as Enoch or Elijah who stand before the Lord to this day). Either way, the text clearly identifies him as a messenger of God. And more, Cornelius says he was “in bright clothing.”   The word here is not the same as that used for Jesus’ garments at the transfiguration. It was used, however, to describe the “gorgeous robe” that was placed upon Jesus in Luke 23:11 during His trial before Herod. The word is lampros. It signifies that which is radiant. It is used by James to describe a person dressed in fine clothes and it is used five times in Revelation to describe various things (see Revelation 15:6, 18:14, 19:8, 22:1, and 22:16).   Life application: Cornelius’ description of the garments of the messenger from God is the same used of the seven angels who are “clothed in pure bright linen” in Revelation 15:6 and of those who are the bride of the Lamb in Revelation 19:8. There it says that they are arrayed in “fine linen, clean and bright.”   As such, this does not answer if the messenger from God is an angel or a man. Either way, he came to Cornelius with a message that changed his life and it has been documented to show us how the inclusion of the Gentiles into the church was brought about. It is true that the Ethiopian eunuch has already been included in it, but Peter was not there to validate that. The account now includes Peter to specifically ensure that it is fully agreed upon that Gentiles can be included in the church and that they are not bound by adherence to the law before being accepted by the Spirit.   What is wonderful to consider is that someday the redeemed of the Lord will be clothed in magnificent garments. This signifies the righteousness of Christ that has been imputed to us. When we consider what lies ahead, we must consider that it was all because the Lord first acted to redeem us. May we never forget that we have been brought back to God by God in the giving of His Son for us. Let us remember the great cost that was needed for our reconciliation. May we forever and ever hail the Lamb of God, our Lord Jesus Christ, for what He has done.   Lord God, thank You that You have brought us back to Yourself. May we never assume that it is because of our goodness, but because of Your great love, grace, and mercy that we have been reconciled to You. Thank You. Great things You have done! Hallelujah and amen.   

5 days ago

Sunday, 25 September 2022   “Therefore I came without objection as soon as I was sent for. I ask, then, for what reason have you sent for me?” Acts 10:29   Peter, having gone into the house of Cornelius, said to those inside, “You know how unlawful it is for a Jewish man to keep company with or go to one of another nation. But God has shown me that I should not call any man common or unclean.” With that, he next says, “Therefore I came without objection.”   Here is a word found only once in Scripture, anantirrétós. It is an adverb meaning without hesitation or promptly, but it carries with it the sense of without opposition or objection. The matter was set forth and Peter immediately agreed to return based on Cornelius’ request. This was obviously initiated by the trance in which he heard the voice and saw the vision. Based on that, and based on the words of the messengers of verse 10:22, he knew that this was a matter that God had determined to come about. And so, he says, that he came “as soon as I was sent for.”   They left on the next day, obviously meaning that the day was expired enough that a stay at the house of Simon the tanner was necessary before actually departing. On the next day, they left and started the journey to Caesarea. Now that he had arrived, he immediately asks for clarification of the summons with the words, “I ask, then, for what reason have you sent for me?”   Verse 10:22 explained the reason sufficiently for Peter to depart with the messengers. If there was anything else that they knew, it is certain that they talked about it on the way to Caesarea. And so, what Peter is asking for is a more detailed explanation directly from the mouth of Cornelius. This will allow the entire event, from the first moments until the present, to be brought out in front of all of those gathered with him. Whatever God had wanted to occur would be completely expressed in the presence of all, thus providing an entire house filled with witnesses.   Life application: There are times in recorded Christian history, even in recent history, where a multitude of people have gathered together and claimed Spirit-led revelation. In fact, it happens in many churches every Sunday. Visiting one of those churches, it is obvious that what occurs does not match what is prescribed in the Bible. As such, the events cannot be of the Spirit.   One could then say, “Well then, how can you say that what is recorded in the Bible is any different? Where is the proof?” Obviously, there is no proof. However, there is sufficient evidence within Scripture to establish that what is recorded there is reliable. Anyone who truly determines to find out if Scripture is telling the truth will find out that it is. The finest minds of the last two thousand years have studied this book and found it reliable. And more, those who have vehemently tried to oppose it in order to have it proven false have failed to do so.   There will naturally be an element of faith required in accepting the message of the Bible and the reliability of accounts like the one recorded in Acts 10, but this is not a blind step of faith into the unknown. Rather, it is a step of faith into God’s revealed light that has been carefully recorded and upheld throughout the millennia.   On the other hand, those gatherings mentioned above that do not match with Scripture cannot be reliably trusted, no matter how many people are involved. Mass psychosis occurs among people all the time. It happens among secular populations, among adherents to various religions and cults around the world, and it happens within uninformed or purposefully manipulated bodies of those gathered under the umbrella of Christianity.   There must be a standard by which those things are based, and that standard must be the basis of the faith. As Jesus is the basis of the faith, and as the word of God is the instrument by which God explains Jesus, then such events must be based upon an accurate analysis of the word of God in order to be true.   A simple example of this is the speaking of tongues. Scripture defines what tongues are, meaning a known language. Scripture says –   “If anyone speaks in a tongue, let there be two or at the most three, each in turn, and let one interpret. 28 But if there is no interpreter, let him keep silent in church, and let him speak to himself and to God.” 1 Corinthians 14:27, 28   If a gathering does not match these parameters where tongues are spoken, then it is not led by the Spirit. That is perfectly simple to determine. Determining whether something is of God or not is to be conducted in this manner.   The modern Pentecostal movement, which was spawned by the Azusa Street revival, was filled with speaking in tongues by the entire audience. As this does not conform to what Paul said as he was led by the Spirit to write Scripture, and as Pentecostal gatherings to this day continue to not match what Scripture says, then it is obvious that this is a false movement based on something other than the Spirit of God.   Be wise, be discerning, and learn your Bible – in context.   Glorious God Almighty, thank You for Your word. By knowing it and applying it to our lives, we can be kept from false teachers and false gatherings of people who claim special powers and gifts. We have a record of how the church was established and of the miracles that took place when it was. What more do we need? We can now live by faith in what You have done. Thank You that Your word is sufficient for our lives, doctrine, and the practice of our faith. Amen.

6 days ago

Saturday, 24 September 2022   Then he said to them, “You know how unlawful it is for a Jewish man to keep company with or go to one of another nation. But God has shown me that I should not call any man common or unclean. Acts 10:28   Peter has now fully entered the house of Cornelius and is before all those gathered together. With that context remembered, it next says, “Then he said to them.”   It is Peter who speaks, thus setting the tone for what must be conveyed. A change from the normal way things were within society has taken place that must be explained. This will then set the tone for the rest of what is conveyed. Peter now explains that change, saying, “You know how unlawful it is.”   What he will convey is not actually a point of Mosaic law but rather of Pharisaic law. However, because of their traditions and standards, the thought permeated society to a wide degree. Those who diverged from such implicit laws were considered lowly and contemptible. The unlawful matter that Peter is referring to is “for a Jewish man to keep company with or go to one of another nation.”   The word translated as “keep company” signifies to join to. Both it and the word translated as “go to” are in the verse where Philip was told to come near and join with the chariot of the Ethiopian eunuch –   “Then the Spirit said to Philip, ‘Go near and overtake this chariot.’” Acts 8:39   Hence, the Spirit had already shown that what Peter is saying is incorrect. It is a misapplication or even a twisting of what God allows. Further, the word translated as “another nation,” allophulos, is found only here in the New Testament. It speaks of one who belongs to another tribe or race, a foreigner. The utterly ridiculous nature of this is seen time and again in Scripture. Innumerable examples can be found where exactly that occurred.   David had men of other nations as his chief men, such as Uriah the Hittite. He also spent time among the Philistines while Saul was king. Solomon entertained the Queen of Sheba, inviting her into his palace and associating with her.   The prohibitions found in the Law of Moses were to separate Israel from the nations of Canaan and their idolatrous and immoral practices. But the very same passages that speak of those things, such as Leviticus 18 actually include the thought of associating with foreign people –   “Do not defile yourselves with any of these things; for by all these the nations are defiled, which I am casting out before you. 25 For the land is defiled; therefore I visit the punishment of its iniquity upon it, and the land vomits out its inhabitants. 26 You shall therefore keep My statutes and My judgments, and shall not commit any of these abominations, either any of your own nation or any stranger who dwells among you 27 (for all these abominations the men of the land have done, who were before you, and thus the land is defiled), 28 lest the land vomit you out also when you defile it, as it vomited out the nations that were before you. 29 For whoever commits any of these abominations, the persons who commit them shall be cut off from among their people.” Leviticus 18:24-29   Further, the pilgrim feasts of Israel clearly invited foreigners to be enjoined to the people of Israel in their times of celebration –   “You shall rejoice before the Lord your God, you and your son and your daughter, your male servant and your female servant, the Levite who is within your gates, the stranger and the fatherless and the widow who are among you, at the place where the Lord your God chooses to make His name abide. 12 And you shall remember that you were a slave in Egypt, and you shall be careful to observe these statutes.” Deuteronomy 16:11, 12   In those words, the ger, or stranger, means an alien or foreigner. The law Peter is now conveying is one that is not Scriptural but cultural. Despite that, it permeated the thinking of Jewish society. This will be seen in chapter 11 –   “Now the apostles and brethren who were in Judea heard that the Gentiles had also received the word of God. 2 And when Peter came up to Jerusalem, those of the circumcision contended with him, 3 saying, ‘You went in to uncircumcised men and ate with them!’” Acts 11:1-3   One can see that the congregation of believers was astonished at what Peter had done and was clearly upset by his actions. As for Peter and why he has done this, he explains it to those in Cornelius’ house, saying, “But God has shown me that I should not call any man common or unclean.”   The word “me” is emphatic and is given as a complete contrast to the words “You know.” In other words –   You know how unlawful it is ... To me, however, God has shown.   This takes the reader back to the trance Peter was in and the words, “What God has cleansed you must not call common.” Peter came to understand that the foods that were deemed acceptable to the nations to eat were not something that defiled those people. God had pronounced to Noah in Genesis 9:3 that every moving thing that lives was acceptable as food.   Israel was given a dietary law that did not void that pronouncement by God to Noah (meaning the people of the world). Rather, the law added restrictions to Israel, but it did not end the freedoms of the people of the world. Hence, the people of the world could not be considered common or unclean by eating those things even if Israel could. Therefore, it was the law – a law that had been fulfilled and ended by Christ – that made them unclean for Israel.   Therefore, the addition of the laws of the Pharisees twisted what God had said but it was not something that God ever intended, as is evidenced in His word.   Life application: The Pharisees added to the law of God. This is one of the main things Jesus rebuked them for. And he did it time and again. The same is true with denominations, churches, pastors, preachers, and teachers – and even lay people – to this day. We add our own pet peeves to what we find acceptable or unacceptable when we teach others about supposed Christian morality. This is legalism and it is as harmful as ignoring precepts found in the word.   Churches set their own arbitrary standards of morality. No dancing. No skirts on women above the knees. Men must wear ties in church. No soft drinks. No pork (heaven forbid!). Such teachings are damaging because they stem from man, not from God. We cannot go unscathed when this occurs. Churches will become legalistic and increasingly demanding. Eventually, a standard of conformity exists that demands allegiance to the leader and not to God.   Be careful to evaluate all things. If a church has cultural standards, respect them. In other words, if you go to an Arab church in Nazareth, you want to be sensitive to the cultural mores of the congregation. If you attend a Korean church in Sarasota, Florida, the same is true. Those cultural mores are not the same as church doctrines. If the church sets forth unbiblical doctrines, then head for the door. Be wise in understanding the differences and be respectful to the congregants if their practices are cultural but not unbiblical. Of this thinking, Vincent’s Word Studies says –   “It is interesting, in this connection, to note the ‘Honour all men’ of 1 Peter 2:17. It is obvious that the pride of class, resting on mere differences of culture, and showing itself in acts and words of contempt, is, from one point of view, even less excusable than that which at least imagined that it rested on a religious basis, while from another, it is less inveterate, and therefore more easily curable.”   Lord God, may we never add to Your word that which You have set forth for Your people. If Your word says something is acceptable, then we are not to condemn it. If Your word prohibits something, then we are not to tolerate it. If Your word does not address the issue, then give us the wisdom to determine what is proper based on a right understanding of the rest of Your precious word. To Your glory, we pray. Amen.

7 days ago

Friday, 23 September 2022   And as he talked with him, he went in and found many who had come together. Acts 10:27   Cornelius had just fallen before Peter. That was followed by Peter correcting him for doing that. From there, it now says, “And as he talked with him.”   The contents are left unstated, but it was probably a general greeting accompanied by the normal personal things people say when they first meet. Being a present participle (literally: And talking with him), they engaged in conversation as they proceeded, such as, “We had a really nice trip. On the way, we stopped for the best falafel I’ve ever had. And now we are here to discover what the Lord intends for us to know.” Whatever was said, it continued as “he went in.”   This shows that Cornelius first met Peter outside of the house. Once Peter had raised him up, the conversation began, and they continued to talk even as they were entering. As they did, it notes that Peter “found many who had come together.”   One can think of the verse that says, “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6).   Cornelius diligently sought after God (contrary to the Calvinistic idea about man being unable to seek after Him). When he received his vision, he then wanted to share it with as many of his family and friends as he could. In other words, one can imagine his words to them, “I have told you for years about our need to consider God in all our ways. Now, I have been told that he has a message to share with me from a man in Joppa. He will arrive today, and I want you to be there to hear his message as well. Please, please come and hear what he has to say!”   This is the situation that now exists as Peter and Cornelius enter the house. Remembering that Peter is a Jew and that this would otherwise be considered culturally inappropriate, he will next inform this gathered audience of the reason he has nevertheless entered.   Life application: Peter has walked into the house of supposedly “unclean” Gentiles. A doctor will enter a room with sick people that others would not dare to enter. A fellow soldier will throw himself on top of a grenade that will surely kill him in order to save his brothers in arms. What exceptional thing are you willing to do to bring life to others? The examples of the doctor and the soldier may involve actions by those who are unbelievers, and yet they will risk their lives for others. This is their calling, and it is their honor to act.   We have a calling placed upon us that is intended to save, but it is not physical life we are considering. Rather, the message we possess – meaning that of the gospel – is the only message that can bring a person who stands already condemned before God (see John 3:18) to one who stands approved before God. And yet, are we too shy to share it? Are we embarrassed to share it? Are we too busy to share it?   What excuses do we need to drop in order to be obedient to the call that we have been given? Let us consider them, let us refine our thoughts, and then let us act by spreading this wonderful message. Cornelius called “many” to hear the message. Peter was willing to go into “many” despite the cultural barrier that would have otherwise prevented him from doing so. Consider this and redirect! Speak out the word of salvation!   Lord God, thank You for those who have been willing to accept danger in order to help save those who needed them in their time of distress. May they be a reminder to us that we can also help by bringing the saving message of Jesus to those who live out their lives in a permanent state of distress. We are all one heartbeat away from where eternity will place us. May we be willing to make a difference in where that eternity will be spent by them. Amen.

Thursday Sep 22, 2022

Thursday, 22 September 2022   But Peter lifted him up, saying, “Stand up; I myself am also a man.” Acts 10:26   In the previous verse, as Peter was in the process of coming into the house, Cornelius met him, fell down at his feet, and worshiped him. Peter would have none of this and corrected him immediately. As Luke notes, “But Peter lifted him up.”   One can see him bending down and grabbing Cornelius by an arm, and carefully pulling him out of such a position. This is unlike Jesus who readily accepted such worship –   “When He had come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed Him. 2 And behold, a leper came and worshiped Him, saying, ‘Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.’3 Then Jesus put out His hand and touched him, saying, ‘I am willing; be cleansed.’ Immediately his leprosy was cleansed.” Matthew 8:1-3   That was the first such recorded incident in Matthew (aside from the Magi worshipping him when he was a child). This continues time and again in the gospels, and it continued after the resurrection as is seen in Matthew 28 –   “Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had appointed for them. 17 When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some doubted.18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’ Amen.” Matthew 28:16-20   The worshiping of Jesus continues after His ascension and it is explicitly noted that the angels of heaven worship Him in Hebrews 1 –   “But when He again brings the firstborn into the world, He says:‘Let all the angels of God worship Him.’” Hebrews 1:6   These recorded incidents have been given to show us the nature of Jesus the Man. In contrast to Him, Luke next records Peter’s words, “saying, ‘Stand up; I myself am also a man.’”   In this, Peter’s words do not contrast himself to Jesus by indicating that Jesus is not a man, but to indicate the type of Man He is. He is the God/Man, the Messiah. Cornelius does not yet know this, but he will be schooled on it in the verses ahead.   Life application: When the Jehovah’s Witnesses translate Matthew 28:17, they say, “When they saw him, they did obeisance, but some doubted.” As noted in the previous commentary, the word is proskuneó, and it can mean to do obeisance. But the context of Matthew 28:17 must come from an analysis of the rest of Scripture.   If it was common in the New Testament for people to be noted as paying obeisance to others, there might be a question about how to translate the word. But it is not a word that is carelessly tossed around in such a manner. It is plainly evident that the act recorded in Matthew 28 (and in Acts 1 after the resurrection) is an act of worship. The same word is found in Luke 4:8 –   “And Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Get behind Me, Satan! For it is written, “You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.”’”   Jesus understood the act of worship being extended to Him and He allowed it to continue because He is the Lord God. A right analysis of Scripture makes that perfectly clear. Hiding the word proskuneó by the translation “obeisance” does nothing to hide the truth of what is occurring. The context of the matter fully supports the idea that Jesus is God, that He allowed Himself to be worshiped, and the New Testament writers agreed with this.   We serve God when we serve Jesus, and we worship God when we do so through Jesus. He is the incarnate word of God who has come. Let us praise God for His goodness to us in the coming of Jesus Christ our Lord.   Lord God, the words of Scripture tell us the most wonderful story of all. How incredible it is that You have done what You have done to bring us back to Yourself. Thank You for the coming of Jesus Christ who has bridged the gap. We now are reconciled through Him! Thank You for what You have done, O God. Amen.

Wednesday Sep 21, 2022

Wednesday, 21 September 2022   As Peter was coming in, Cornelius met him and fell down at his feet and worshiped him. Acts 10:25   Cornelius was waiting for the arrival of Peter and those who came with him, and he had called his relatives and close friends to join him. Now, it says, “As Peter was coming in.”   The Greek is more specific and appropriately reads, “And when it came to pass that Peter entered.” While reading, Luke almost gives the sense of the events as if they are occurring. There is motion and response being conveyed. The idea here is that Peter had not fully entered the house because, in verse 10:27, it will note that he fully enters. It is at this moment that, “Cornelius met him.”   One can see how excitedly he anticipated the coming of Peter, knowing that he held the key to the promised words of the messenger that had been sent from God. And in this state of excited confusion, it next says, “and fell down at his feet and worshiped him.” Even as Peter was in the act of entering the house, Cornelius simply dropped to his knees and made obeisance to him. The word is proskuneó.   Using HELPS Word Studies as a guide to define the various ideas it conveys, it is from prós, “towards,” and kyneo, “to kiss.” It thus signifies to kiss the ground when prostrating before a superior; to worship, ready to fall down/prostrate oneself; to adore on one's knees; to “do obeisance.” HELPS also notes that, on Egyptian reliefs, worshipers are represented with an outstretched hand throwing a kiss to the deity, and so it has been (metaphorically) described as "the kissing-ground" between believers (the Bride) and Christ (the heavenly Bridegroom). The word suggests the willingness to make all necessary physical gestures of obeisance.   With these thoughts in mind, it can be seen that Cornelius may possibly think that Peter is the promised Messiah of Israel. Living in the land and being a man who feared God, it may be that he had heard of the promise of a coming Messiah. The messenger did not describe Peter, but simply said, “He will tell you what you must do” (10:6).   This is not unlike the question proposed to Jesus –   “Now a certain ruler asked Him, saying, ‘Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?’” Luke 18:18   Cornelius has been told that Peter will tell him what he must do, meaning that he has the answer to man’s problem. Possibly assuming that he has been sent by God, Cornelius fell at his feet and worshiped him. This is speculation, but it is well-grounded in the action he has taken. Although it is true Peter has been sent by God, meaning first by Jesus who is God as an apostle, and then by the Spirit who has directed him through the trance on the rooftop, he is neither the Messiah nor is he worthy of worship.   Life application: Cornelius was excited about hearing the good news. Not knowing the details of who Peter was, there was the assumption that he was worthy of special obeisance. That will be corrected in the coming verse. But the excitement of Cornelius to receive the good news is what is focused on in this verse.   He is not alone. There are people all over the world who are seeking out God in one way or another. This tells us that many really want to know the truth. Until the truth of God in Christ is presented to them, they are susceptible to being led astray. The Jehovah’s Witnesses are great at getting out and knocking on doors. If someone is presented with their false message before someone shares the true gospel, they very well may accept it.   From there, the process of brainwashing is quick and efficient. Few ever leave their cult. How sad it is to think that we could lose a family member, a close friend, or a coworker to them simply because we were unwilling to share our own faith. Lives are ruined by them because others have simply failed to act.   Be quick but precise, and be open to repeating your faith until it sinks in. There are others who are doing just that, but what they share is darkness, not the light of Christ. So be ready to share now, while you can!   Lord God, help us to speak out about our faith in Jesus. He is the only answer to the sin problem that infects us all. Without meeting the true Jesus, our sin will never be dealt with. And so, help us to be responsible with the faith we possess so that the truth of God in Christ is shared! Amen.  

Tuesday Sep 20, 2022

Tuesday, 20 September 2022   And the following day they entered Caesarea. Now Cornelius was waiting for them, and had called together his relatives and close friends. Acts 10:24   The previous verse saw Peter heading to Caesarea along with some brothers from Joppa and his three escorts from Cornelius’ house. With that remembered, it now says, “And the following day they entered Caesarea.”   The traveling took part of the day, they would have lodged for the night, and they would have arrived at the house of Cornelius after entering Caesarea. Upon their arrival, it next says, “Now Cornelius was waiting for them.”   It was obvious that he was on pins and needles as he waited. One can see him sitting in a chair in his house, getting up, walking back and forth, sitting back down, fidgeting his feet, and getting up to walk back and forth again. Whatever plans may have existed before the vision, they would have been put on hold so that he would be at home when Peter arrived. Next, it says, “and had called together his relatives.”   Cornelius wasn’t one to hold his faith quietly. He knew that God had called him to this meeting, and he wanted his family to be there when it occurred. He knew that if God called, He had a purpose that extended beyond himself. And more, it says he also called his “close friends.”   The word translated as “close” is new to Scripture, anagkaios. It means “necessary.” Of this word, Vincent’s Word Studies says, “The word originally means necessary; hence of those who are bound by necessary or natural ties; blood-relations. But as relatives or kinsmen is expressed by συγγενεῖς, this must be taken in the sense of intimate friends, a meaning which it has in later Greek writers.”   Ultimately, the word means “what one cannot do without” or “indispensable.” Cornelius wanted to share the coming experience with those who were so closely knit to him that they were either family or the extended type of family that comes from a soul-to-soul bond, somewhat like what we read concerning David and Jonathan in the book of 1 Samuel –   “Now when he had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul.” 1 Samuel 18:1   This same sentiment is noted concerning David and Jonathan several more times, demonstrating the true bond that had developed between the two. Cornelius had such friends and wanted to share the events to come with them as well, knowing it meant something important would occur in their lives.   Life application: Are you saved? Have you believed the gospel? If so, how affected are you by that good news? Have you shared it with your family? Have you shared it with your friends? Have you shared it with your coworkers? Have you shared it with anyone?   Your life in Christ means that you have moved from death to life. You were condemned and destined to be forever separated from the goodness of God. Now, you are saved and will spend eternity in His presence, discovering who He is and being granted a type of existence that you cannot even fathom at this point. If those around you have not heard this good news, doesn’t that move you at all?   You may be the only person who ever takes the time to tell these people about what God has done for them in Christ, if they are willing to believe. If not you, then who? Have a heart, have compassion on their pitiful state, and be willing to share this wonderful news of life with those who are in need of hearing it. To the glory of God, may it be so.   Lord God, our lives are short, and time is moving along quickly. We do not have “tomorrow” except in hope. We may not arrive there. And so, help us to be wise and share the good news about Jesus while we have Today. Help us in this Lord. Grant us the desire and the ability to speak this wonderful news. Amen.

Monday Sep 19, 2022

Monday, 19 September 2022   Then he invited them in and lodged them.On the next day Peter went away with them, and some brethren from Joppa accompanied him. Acts 10:23   In the last verse, the messengers sent from Cornelius explained the reason for their coming to Peter. With that, it now says, “Then he invited them in and lodged them.” The word translated as “invited” is an aorist participle. “Then having invited them in, he lodged them.” The word translated as lodge is one that signifies entertaining a stranger. It was used in 10:6 where it said Peter was lodging with Simon the tanner.   The meaning is that Peter welcomed them into the house without question and entertained them. Despite being Gentiles, they were treated well and with proper respect. From there, it says, “On the next day Peter went away with them.”   Some translations drop the name Peter and add in an extra thought, saying, “on the next day, having arisen, he went forth with them.” The differences are small but are noted here to avoid confusion based on what translation is being read. The main point is that Peter was willing to both entertain the men and then to go with them, exactly as he was instructed to do in his vision while on the housetop. With this noted, it next says, “and some brethren from Joppa accompanied him.”   These words are more fully explained by Peter in Acts 11:12 –   “Then the Spirit told me to go with them, doubting nothing. Moreover, these six brethren accompanied me, and we entered the man’s house.”   As there were six with Peter, that means ten men traveled together to the house of Cornelius. It is a common thing in Acts and in the epistles for people to be noted as traveling together. In this case, Peter probably excitedly told those he knew what had happened concerning the vision and the divinely timed coming of the men. They would certainly want to be a part of whatever was going to come about in Caesarea. Along with that, they would be witnesses to the event and could testify to what they saw. As such, the group departed Joppa on the road to Caesarea.   Life application: Although we shouldn’t expect visions and trances to guide our movements today, it is still right to pray for the Lord to direct our steps and actions as we go forth. Along with that, we should submit ourselves to be used by Him when the opportunity arises. Asking Him to do this will set our minds on what is important. It also demonstrates that we are willing to include Him even in our general daily lives as we set out.   If we have an important or delicate matter to attend to, it may be wise to have one or more people join in. This is not simply an Old Testament or early church precept, but it is something that Paul writes of in his epistles as well –   “This will be the third time I am coming to you. ‘By the mouth of two or three witnesses every word shall be established.’” 2 Corinthians 13:1   Along with making that statement, Paul opened the letter to those at Corinth noting that he was accompanied by Timothy. Having one or more people come along at such times can give credence to a matter, keep false accusations from arising, and it can also provide needed moral support. So be sure to think things through before setting out and act with wisdom when dealing with important issues.   Lord God, give us wisdom as we deal with others. Things may appear simple or innocent and yet they may be complicated or planned by those who have a devious agenda. And so, Lord, be with us and help us to plan out our steps each day. And may we have the wisdom to include You in our prayers before we do. Help us to remember such things, O God. Amen.

Sunday Sep 18, 2022

Sunday, 18 September 2022   And they said, “Cornelius the centurion, a just man, one who fears God and has a good reputation among all the nation of the Jews, was divinely instructed by a holy angel to summon you to his house, and to hear words from you.” Acts 10:22   In the preceding verse, Peter came down and met with the men who were sent by Cornelius, asking “For what reason have you come?” Luke now continues with, “And they said, ‘Cornelius the centurion.’”   The word “the” is inserted by the translators. More correctly, it says, “Cornelius, a centurion.” He is identified by his name, previously unknown in the area of Joppa, and he is identified by his rank within the Roman army – being a soldier of low to mid-rank and with authority over a hundred men. Despite his not being a well-known figure, being a man who is not in any high position of authority, and certainly being a Gentile, the messengers continue with the words, “a just man.”   The word signifies one who has judicial approval. Such a person conforms to God’s being, such as his standard of what is right, and molds himself to God’s will. As such, he is upright. Peter may have had his memory called out at this time to the account found in Luke 7 –   “Now when He concluded all His sayings in the hearing of the people, He entered Capernaum. 2 And a certain centurion’s servant, who was dear to him, was sick and ready to die. 3 So when he heard about Jesus, he sent elders of the Jews to Him, pleading with Him to come and heal his servant. 4 And when they came to Jesus, they begged Him earnestly, saying that the one for whom He should do this was deserving, 5 ‘for he loves our nation, and has built us a synagogue.’” Luke 7:1-5   The centurion described there understood even what those of Israel failed to understand, and the account continues with –   “Then Jesus went with them. And when He was already not far from the house, the centurion sent friends to Him, saying to Him, ‘Lord, do not trouble Yourself, for I am not worthy that You should enter under my roof. 7 Therefore I did not even think myself worthy to come to You. But say the word, and my servant will be healed. 8 For I also am a man placed under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to one, “Go,” and he goes; and to another, “Come,” and he comes; and to my servant, “Do this,” and he does it.’ 9 When Jesus heard these things, He marveled at him, and turned around and said to the crowd that followed Him, ‘I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel!’ 10 And those who were sent, returning to the house, found the servant well who had been sick.” Luke 7:6-10   This centurion understood the power and authority of Jesus and also understood his own lowly position before the Lord. He could be described in a similar manner to Cornelius as is now presented to Peter. Continuing with that description, it next says, “one who fears God.”   It is the same word used to describe him in Acts 10:2, phobeó. It signifies to be alarmed, and thus to be afraid, to greatly fear, and hence to reverence. The description by Luke in verse 10:2 is also understood to be a right description by those under him. They also continue, saying, “and has a good reputation among all the nation of the Jews.”   The meaning is general in nature. If “all the nation” knew of Cornelius, it would have included Peter. Hence, the words mean that those of Israel who had encountered him or heard of him were aware of his noble character. This is the same as the Centurion in Luke 7. That centurion had built a synagogue for the people.   Therefore, whenever his name was brought into a conversation, the people would have said something like, “That guy, that centurion, he is a marvelous friend of Israel.” The same would be true with those who had heard of Cornelius. Along with this, these men continue by saying that Cornelius “was divinely instructed.”   The word translated as “divinely instructed” is chrématizó. It originally signified “to transact business.” HELPS Word Studies says, “to admonish on the basis of a valid standard (what has true worth); used of God admonishing (warning) people – based on what has real value to Him.”   Another example of this word that carries the same sense as here is found in Hebrews –   “By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.” Hebrews 11:7   As for Cornelius’ instruction, it was “by a holy angel.” It is the same word used in verses 10:3 and 10:7 when describing this messenger from God, but the men have affixed the word “holy” to the description. Though not included in the narrative, this would have been from the lips of Cornelius, acknowledging that the messenger was holy. This would be in accord with the description of verse 10:3 which acknowledged it was “an angel of God.” Next, continuing their words to Peter, they say it was this angel from God who was sent “to summon you to his house.”   This may have seemed unusual, suspicious, out of place, or whatever else to Peter. For all he might have known, it could be a setup to have him arrested for evangelizing. As such, the voice from heaven during his vision had said, “Arise therefore, go down and go with them, doubting nothing; for I have sent them” (Acts 10:20).   The way, with all of its possible contingencies, had been paved so that Peter would be fully aware that this was a divinely appointed meeting and that he should not hesitate to respond favorably to their request. With that understood, the verse ends with, “and to hear words from you.”   The word is rhéma. It signifies a word or a saying of any kind. Hence it is an utterance made on a topic. Cornelius was told that Peter would tell him “what he must do” (Acts 10:6). Therefore, the words to be spoken will be in relation to his relationship with God and how to positively affect it so that he might be saved. The hope of Cornelius’ life of piety was about to be realized when he is given the gospel concerning Jesus Christ.   Life application: First, this verse, along with verse 10:2, completely blows away the Calvinist doctrine that says that man does not have free will to seek out God.   Secondly, Cornelius is described very highly earlier in the chapter as well as in the words of this verse. And yet, his noble character falls short of the glory of God. Without hearing and responding to the gospel, he would remain as condemned as any sinner on the planet. One cannot work his way to heaven because the disconnect (an infinite gap between God and man) already exists.   This gap must be bridged, and it cannot be bridged by finite man. Hence, the incarnation where the infinite unites with the finite in the Person of Jesus is man’s only hope of reconciliation. The importance of this cannot be missed. Jesus wasn’t just a good man. He wasn’t just a man who lived out His life well before God. He is the sinless Man, and He is God. Only through His imputed perfection can we be restored to God.   Thank God that He has done this thing for us. Take time today to contemplate the incarnation, the perfect life of Jesus, the crucifixion, and the resurrection. God Himself was willing to enter into our fallen stream of human existence in order to reconcile us to Himself. Ponder this. Maybe you will ask as David asked –   “Lord, what is man, that You take knowledge of him?Or the son of man, that You are mindful of him?” Psalm 144:3   At this point, who knows the answer to this? But for those who come to God through Jesus Christ, we will have eternity to search it out. Thank God for Jesus Christ our Lord!   Heavenly Father, thank You for our Lord and our Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.