Life applications found In The Life Of Simon Peter, for small Groups

This series is intended for an adult small group. It is an in-depth study of Simon Peter. The age group could range from young adults to ancient adults. It is a class of committed mature Christians. The time allotted for the class is about an hour and a half per lesson, but the students at my church are enthusiastic and typically do not mind the class running over a little. This document is basically like a script. It runs through the lesson how it is planned and includes Scripture and time for discussion. Parts that are in italics are either Bible readings or places of discussion, question and answer. In these sections this could be me talking or anyone bringing up these points in discussion format rather than lecture.]

Check this out:

Eze. 22: 30
NET ©

“I looked for a man from among them who would repair the wall and stand in the gap before me on behalf of the land, so that I would not destroy it, but I found no one.”

Standing in the gap, like Moses had done: “So he said he would destroy them — had not Moses, his chosen one, stood in the breach before him to keep his wrath from destroying them” (Psa 106:23)… (Jeremiah had been told no longer to pray for them: Jer 11:14.)

The Babylonians would come in and destroy Jerusalem.

Jesus was the Servant who could stand in the gap. No man was ever sufficient.

It is amazing how many prophecies are fulfilled and foreshadows of Christ in the OT. I love reading the OT just for that purpose.

Jacob i loved Esau I hated

When I first saw this in Romans 9, I was confused and struggled. How was it that God, who is love, hate someone?

When studying the Bible, it is crucially important to always study the context of a particular Bible verse or passage. In these instances, the Prophet Malachi and the Apostle Paul are using the name “Esau” to refer to the Edomites, who were the descendants of Esau. Isaac and Rebekah had two sons, Esau and Jacob. God chose Jacob (whom He later renamed Israel) to be the father of His chosen people, the Israelites. God rejected Esau (who was also called Edom), and did not choose him to be the father of His chosen people. Esau’s and his descendants, the Edomites, were in many ways blessed by God (Genesis 33:9; Genesis chapter 36).

So, considering the context, God loving Jacob and hating Esau has nothing to do with the human emotions of love and hate. It has everything to do with God choosing one man and his descendants and rejecting another man and his descendants. God choose Abraham out of all the men in the world. The Bible very well could say, “Abraham I loved, and every other man I hated.” God choose Abraham’s son Isaac instead of Abraham’s son Ishmael. The Bible very well could say, “Isaac I loved, and Ishmael I hated.”

Here is a note from the NEXT Bible : The context indicates this is technical covenant vocabulary in which “love” and “hate” are synonymous with “choose” and “reject” respectively (see Deut 7:8; Jer 31:3; Hos 3:1; 9:15; 11:1).

Romans chapter 9 makes it abundantly clear that loving Jacob and hating Esau was entirely related to which of them God chose. Hundreds of years after Jacob and Esau had died, the Israelites and Edomites became bitter enemies. The Edomites often aided Israel’s enemies in attacks on Israel. Esau’s descendants brought God’s curse on themselves. Genesis 27:29, “May nations serve you and peoples bow down to you. Be lord over your brothers, and may the sons of your mother bow down to you. May those who curse you be cursed and those who bless you be blessed.”

Some sources:
http://www.gotquestions.org/Jacob-Esau-love-hate.html
http://net.bible.org/passage.php?passage=Mal+1:2-3
http://www.meguiar.addr.com/Jacob_Esau.htm

In Daniel

The stories of Daniel and friends are so real and exciting to read /hear! These narrative stories are some of my favorite stories in the entire Bible.

Faithfulness of God requires the faithfulness of his people.

Whether God can and will protect his people from the all too visible power of kings who do not recognize the God of Israel depends on the faithfulness and obedience of his people.

God’s faithfulness is demonstrated in his deliverance of Daniel and his friends.

Daniel and his friends were faithful to God and God delivered them on several occasions (I will highlight a few):
1. Diet test.
2. The fire
3. Den of lions
4. Visions

Theological points in relation to ‘faithfulness’:

At Creation we were created In His image. We were to be like God.

Be as I am (holy, faithful, righteous, just, loving)…there is the side of human responsibility.

we have no excuses: With the New Covenant, the law is on our hearts.

Another amazing OT passage, Christians today forget!

“He put on righteousness as his breastplate, and the helmet of salvation on his head; he put on the garments of vengeance and wrapped himself in zeal as in a cloak.”

This is Isaiah 59:17!

Christians forget that and only recall later in Eph. 6 when Paul applies the Warrior aspect of our faith to us personally.

But what is important to remember is that The Lord is a Warrior…I think that we, Christians today, forget this. It is still true tody!

Check out Ex. 15:3, Isa. 42:13

Here is a cool document I found that shows how God, The Divine Warrior applies today and in the New Testament

Hezekiah’s sons?

Today I was reading Zephaniah and some commentary on it.
The first verse got me asking a question:
1The word of the LORD which came unto Zephaniah the son of Cushi, the son of Gedaliah, the son of Amariah, the son of Hezekiah, in the days of Josiah the son of Amon, king of Judah.

I think that both Zephaniah and Josiah are related.
Zephaniah is the son of Cushi, who is the son of Gedaliah, who is the son of Amariah, who is the son of Hezekiah.
And Joshia is the son of Amon, who is the son of Mannaseh, who is the son of Hezekiah.

Mt. 1:10: Hezekiah the father of Manasseh, Manasseh the father of Amon, Amon the father of Josiah

So basically Zephaniah and Josiah were cousins!

anti-intellectualism in the church

In the book, Love Your God With All Your Mind, J.P. Moreland writes that the growing anti-intellectualism in the church has resulted in the marginalization of Christianity in society and the emergence of the most secular culture the world has ever seen. The real problem for us shows up when tough times hit and our house-of-cards belief system tumbles down because we’re used to “putting our hands together” but not our heads.

Some theories why this is happening:

Christians are reading less, in general. Busy doing life. More time on internet. More time pursuing selfish ambitions.

One of the main reasons. Christians are reading less Bible! Without the Bible, Christians are not loving God with all their mind. They are not able to be ready at any moment to give a defense in what they believe.

The average reading level in America and the church is general is going down.

What do you think?

is it out of context?

An excerpt from “Hermeneutics for Missionary Preaching,” which will make a chapter of historical case study in Kim, Dae Ryeong‘s Ph.D. dissertation, “Toward A Missiological Approach to Hermeneutics for Gospel Proclamation in a Post-modern World.”

Don M. Wagner observes the abuse of theological method of Bible interpretation, especially in using Scripture fragments out of context. Therefore, he suggests the Compbell Morgan’s expository method as a solution to address the issue. His expository method is, if we summarize in a word, ‘interpretation in the context’—the synthesis of biblical text into its historical and literacy context. “The essential characteristic of the Morgan method is” he states, “the application of the context principle of Bible Study.” Each verse of Scripture cut out of its setting must first be understood in relation to what immediately precedes and follows, before one can properly evaluate its relation to theological subject (1957:93, 114). This principle of Bible exposition is exactly what Spurgeon also supports when he remarks: “We cannot expect to deliver much of the teachings of the Holy Scripture by picking out verse by verse, and holding these up at random. The process resembles too closely that of showing a house by exhibiting separate bricks” (Pattison 1902:84). “

Morgan makes a great point!
How often do we see this! -Scripture ripped out of context! And how it bothers me!


Stop sharing Gospel, stop being a minister

Think about it…
if we stop teaching the Word, preaching the Gospel, sharing the Good News…
then are we really ministers?
Our ministry should center on the Bible, the Holy Word of God.
When we stop using the Word, when we stop getting in the Gospel and feeding ourselves, and when we stop sharing that News with others, we are no longer ministering effectively!

Something to ponder,
Alex

Zondervan/ NIV

Okay so I made a note at the end of a recent post about Zondervan that there might actually be grounds to question about Zondervan and the NIV Bible.

To be upfront with you, I am not supporting any of these theories. I am making you aware of them. I really should do multiple posts, but here is a table of contents:
1. Homosexuality issue.
2. Gender neutral issue.
3. Dominion theology issue.
4. Issue of the blood.
5. General NIV hate club.

Why am I showing these theories? Mostly because I want to learn about them and see what other people think about them as well. Like I said, at least when I started this post, I was neutral towards the NIV and did not have much knowledge about these issues. After I explain each issue later in this post I may or may not take a side…..

1. Homosexuality issue
Zonderzan is in a lawsuit– $60 million federal lawsuit filed by a man who claims he and other homosexuals have suffered based on what the suit claims is a misinterpretation of the Bible.

n the passage in 1 Corinthians 6:9 the word translated ‘homosexuals’ is from the Greek word Arsenokoites and from Strong’s:

– one who lies with a male as with a female, sodomite, homosexual.
From a WordPress Blog:

“Zondervan doesn’t translate the Bible or own the copyright for any of the translations. Instead, she said in a statement, the company relies on the “scholarly judgment of credible translation committees.”

That is to say, setting aside whether the federal civil rights lawsuit is credible, the company says Bradley Fowler sued the wrong group.

His suit centers on one passage in scripture — 1 Corinthians 6:9 — and how it reads in Bibles published by Zondervan.

Fowler says Zondervan Bibles published in 1982 and 1987 use the word homosexuals among a list of those who are “wicked” or “unrighteous” and won’t inherit the kingdom of heaven.

Fowler says his family’s pastor used that Zondervan Bible, and because of it his family considered him a sinner and he suffered.

Now he is asking for an apology and $60 million.

“To compensate for the past 20 years of emotional duress and mental instability,” Fowler told 24 Hour News 8 in a phone interview.

He claims the company is misinterpreting the Bible by specifically using the word homosexuals. Fowler admits that every Bible printed is a translation, interpreted in some way, but he says specifically using that word is not a translation but a change.

Fowler says he came across the discrepancy while researching a book. He says Zondervan Bibles published in the 1980s use the word homosexuals in the Corinthian passage in question, but earlier and later ones don’t.

24 Hour News 8 went to a library to do some research of our own, and found Zondervan Bibles published both in the 80s and post-2000 use the word homosexuals in the passage.

Some translations, like the New American Standard, use the word. Others don’t.

The (regular) American Standard version uses the phrase “abusers of themselves with men.” The King James says “abusers of themselves with mankind.” Still others, like the New American Bible, use the word “sodomites.”

Fowler says the idea that those phrases are another way of saying homosexuals is a misinterpretation as well.”

As far as I can tell, this man does not have much of a case. It think Zondervan will do alright in this lawsuit…..
I think that this man does not know what he is talking about. And that yes, the main point is that he is a sinner and the truth of the Bible is hurting him a little. My forst response is to pray for the guy. He is close to truth and needs the Holy Spirit to help him understand it.

2. Gender Neutral Issue:

Gender Neutral question
WORLD
published an article in 1997, which attempts to convey a conspiracy of evangelical NIV Bible translation with radical social feminism.

Zondervan’s first response:
we intend in no way to advance a particular social agenda or stray from the original biblical texts. We don’t identify with these names. Our focus is strictly on maintaining the accuracy to the original biblical texts and readability of the translation of those texts. Whenever the original texts can be rendered more clearly in the English language, it is our commitment to do that.”

Originally they had no intention of producing a gender neutral Bible…but later that year, after more scrutinty from WORLD, The NIVI –New International Version Inclusive Language Edition …was produced.

Long story short, NIVI, is quite controversal. And there are a ton of heavy readings on it:
http://www.tniv.info/pdf/Strauss_CurrentIssues.pdf
http://www.equip.org/atf/cf/%7B9C4EE03A-F988-4091-84BD-F8E70A3B0215%7D/DI401.pdf
http://www.worldmag.com/articles/635
http://www.genderneutralbibles.com/index.php

Me personally, I have not read an NIVI or TNIV. So cannot compare it to the NIV or anything. But in theory I am agianst having such translations. Fells like it is pushing liberal ideas.

3. Dominionist theology:

” a grouping of theological systems with the common belief that society should be governed exclusively by the law of God as codified in the Bible, to the exclusion of secular law. The two main streams of Dominion Theology are Christian Reconstructionism and Kingdom Now theology. Though these two differ greatly in their general theological orientation (the first is strongly Reformed and Neo-Calvinistic, the second is Charismatic), they share a postmillenial vision in which the kingdom of God will be established on Earth through political and (in some cases) even military means, preparing the way for or enabling the return of Christ.

All strains of Dominion Theology are small minorities, and are rejected by most mainstream Christians as quite radical. However, Dominion Theology is seen by some as a subset of Dominionism, a term used by some social scientists and journalists to describe a theological form of political ideology, which they claim has broadly influenced the Christian Right in the United States, Canada, and Europe, within Protestant Christian evangelicalism and fundamentalism.”

Dominionism describes, in several distinct ways, a tendency among some conservative politically-active Christians, especially in the United States of America, to seek influence or control over secular civil government through political action — aiming either at a nation governed by Christians, or a nation governed by a conservative Christian understanding of biblical law. The use and application of this terminology is a matter of controversy.

(from Wikipedia)

There is something about Dominionism that I actually like! (To be perfectly honest!)
I like that in Dominionism, Christisans feel responsible and want to take social action. We as Christians have certian duties that require social action and responsibility!

I do see the negative side of Domininism. It is an etremist position.
The concept of Dominionism is based on the Bible’s text in Genesis 1:26. Most Christians interpret this verse as meaning that God gave humankind dominion over the Earth. Many consider this a mandate for stewardship rather than the assertion of total control. A more assertive interpretation of this verse is seen as a command that Christians bring all societies, around the world, under the rule of the Word of God, as they understand it. As Sara Diamond explains, in this view, Christians see themselves as “mandated to gradually occupy all secular institutions until Christ returns.”

And this can be a dangerous understanding of the verse. I think that is a little twisted and out of context! God certianly has given man rule over animals, but saying that he has given Christians world domination is quite a stretch! That is not right especially just from that one verse. Read it in context! And yes, God is calling us towards stewardship.

So I am not a fan of Dominionism. What I find strange, is how neo-calvinists and charismatics (both extremes) working together on this issue! And another weird finding is that Dominionism is related to the same people who believe in the New World Order Conspiracy.

Now the question is this, how is Zondervan a part of the Dominion theory? Well some people think that Zondervan and many of their books and theology that they believe in in general, is that of Dominionism theology.
To me, this feels like another conspiracy theory and it propbaly is no real threat. I am still buying books from Zondervan (wheter or not it is true.)
They do have books that push for social action and radical change in the World. But the authors are BIBLICALLY sound and the books of question are not radically Dominionistic, in my opinion. There really is a calling from God for us to be players of social justice and rightousness. So this theory is just merely conspiracy, I conclude.

4. The Blood of Jesus issue: There is an acusation that the NIV (along wiht several other modern translations are) / is bloodless. The issue here is blodd atonement. This is an issue that is unfortunate and does in fact bother me a little. But in the end it is debatable….
The arguement is really a technical issue and both sides of the argument can be stretched quite a bit! ( I recommend this article by James May) The issue is that the NIV tones down the blood of Jesus. The argument can cut both ways if you become a “KJV only” believer, becuase as May states “If the NIV is a bloodless Bible, then so are most of the manuscripts in the very family from which the KJV was translated. Of course it would be ridiculous to accuse the Byzantine manuscripts of not having the blood of Christ, but no more ridiculous than making the same accusation against the New International Version.” In the end it not worth laying down your life for either side. Sometimes it is great to look at many translations to get a fresh reading of the same scripture, it can really help you understnad the Word better. I find that helpful and useful many times.

For more on this topic do a search on : “KJV only” and “bloodless Bibles” for both sides of the debate.

5. NIV hate club:
All I can say is “WOW.” This website is really stupid and not really worth your time.
If you take a close look at some of their pages, there are some interesting arguments but still nothing even worht mentioning.
This website is angry and exegreatted way too much…..

Moving on…
So today looked at some intersting controversy surronding the NIV bible.
1. Homosexuality lawsuit. NIV gets my favor on this issue.
2. Gender neutral issue. The NIV is still okay with me, but the TNIV is something to avoid.
3. Dominion theology issue. The NIV is save. I even give props to Zondervan. Keep your eyes open though!
4. Issue of the blood. NIV is still okay in my opinion. The knive cuts both ways on this techincal issue.
5. General NIV hate club. Dumb site. NIV gets my favor, but it is still interesting to note some of the weird things the NIV hate club points out.

So overal, I am rooting for the NIV Bible. My favoraite translations recently:
1. HCSB (the Apologetic Study bible addiition)
2. NET Bible – relatively new check it out. Lots of scholars worked on putting this together, really neat!
3. NASB for deep study(Greek word meanings!!)
4. NLT for an easier read time to time