Rick and Jonathan talk about how mainstream and biblical topics mix in today's world. This is a discussion from several different angles that will make you think about the Bible like you never have before!
Can Good Things Ever Be Bad?
As Christians, we face the potential for deep trouble each and every day. Why? We live in an age of knowledge, choice, technology and accessibility. This would all be thoroughly awesome, except for one thing. These opportunities come with a healthy dose of what I will call an “entitlement of excess.” Because we can, we therefore feel we must. Many of the myriads of things available to us are good and healthy. We can learn to garden, sew and carve wood by watching videos online. We can be part of several social communities without the disadvantage of distance. Amazingly, we can learn about other cultures, appreciate art and music from anywhere, read, absorb and watch to our heart's content. So, how much is too much? Where should we draw a line, and more importantly, why should we draw lines?
You'd think the question of good things potentially becoming bad would be easy for Christians. Colossians 3:17 tells us, “Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.” This seems so simple – do whatever you are going do with thankfulness to God and in Jesus' name, and you are fine. Keep Jesus in mind and carry on! While there is powerful truth in this, it is far from complete.
Can we take advantage of others?
What if we are blatantly taking advantage of others and doing it in the name of Jesus? Is that okay? Of course not! What if we are supporting an organization we know does bad things but supports what we think are good and godly causes? Is that okay? Still no, but perhaps this is not as easy to determine. What if we are engaged in good and healthy human activities that directly or indirectly interfere with our Christianity? Is that okay? Hmmm, we may need to think about this. How much do they interfere? Is it really interference or is it just minor inconvenience?
Is it really that bad?
The “Is it really that bad?” question is a life altering query. How are we make Christian decisions, assessing the countless ways we can occupy our time? How do we clearly quantify when something that starts out worth our time and effort but ends up being an unprofitable path to continue on? To adequately answer these questions, we obviously need the Bible. More than that, we need the relevant Scriptures put in order to follow their guidance.
Don't miss downloading our Decision Tree here
Check out our March 1, 2021 podcast, “Can Good Things Ever be Bad?” for more. We put the complex process of finding godly guidelines for all aspects of life into a Decision Tree. We pose the important questions and attach Scriptures to them as guidance. Then we put the several levels of questions needed to secure a God-honoring answer in sequence. The result is a roadmap to guide us with every life decision regarding things like friends, leisure, research, curiosity and hobbies. We can choose if the good things in our lives remain good. Join us and find out how!
How Did the Apostle Paul Handle a Slave Owner?
Talking about slavery is a sensitive issue, and rightfully so. We live in an age where we recognize that ALL people have rights. We now live in a time where no group of people or any working class should ever be separated from those rights. This was not always so. Many ancient societies survived on the backs of slaves. These were often comprised of conquered peoples or those who were generationally born into servitude. Christianity had its beginnings in the context of such societies. With such inequity, how could Christianity survive and even flourish? Could slaves AND their owners both thrive under Christ? Fortunately, the Bible gives us a powerful view of how this actually worked in those days. Let’s walk through the true story of two men on opposite ends of this spectrum and see how the Apostle Paul helped them both maintain their faithfulness to Christ and each other.
Towards the end of his life, the Apostle Paul found himself a prisoner of the Roman Empire because of accusations some made that he was subverting the Empire by preaching Christianity. Being a Roman citizen gave him certain advantages, like being on house arrest. He was not able to go anywhere, but he was able to have visitors. It was during this time that a runaway slave named Onesimus came to see him. Onesimus was a slave of Philemon, who had been converted to Christianity by Paul. Although a slave owner, Philemon was an active and faithful brother in Christ and was well known for his service to others.
Paul faced problems this visit from Onesimus
* Roman law stated that harboring a runaway slave made you liable for any losses that runaway cost their master.
* The penalties for runaway slaves went as far as crucifixion, so aiding them could be interpreted as being complicit in their lawbreaking.
* There was the matter of just and fair treatment for Philemon. Paul would certainly not want to hurt his dear friend in any way, regardless of Roman law.
On top of all this, the Apostle Paul ends up converts Onesimus to Christianity! What should he do now? How do you find the path to doing the right thing for everyone involved without breaking the law? And how do you see to it that the right thing is done when you yourself are on house arrest and cannot personally follow up?
Check out our February 22, 2021 podcast, “How Did the Apostle Paul Handle a Slave Owner?” for answers. We examine the letter that Paul wrote to Philemon on behalf of Onesimus line by line. Then we find wise, spiritually-sound and legally-compliant advice all wrapped up in rock solid compassion and reasoning. We get a powerful glimpse into the heart and mind of the Apostle Paul in a way that is not revealed in any of his other writings. Don’t miss this opportunity to see wisdom unfold that conquers social inequity, wrongdoing and the reconciling of two very different individuals!
How Vital Are My Vows of Marriage?
...And they lived happily ever after! This is such a promising and bliss-filled ending that is sought after and hoped for by so many. Who wouldn’t want the prospect of happiness and contentment as a recipe for their married life in all their coming days? The truth of the matter is that at the rate present-day society is going, this dream - even for a Christian marriage - is a mere fantasy for most married couples. I know this sounds harsh, but the reality is, there are two things about marriage that most of us do not understand. First and foremost, it is not a love-driven relationship, but a commitment-driven relationship that is fed by love. Secondly, it is a lot of work. Though it sounds hard, even daunting, it is profoundly worth the effort! So, how hard should we be willing to keep this commitment? How unbreakable and important are the “’til death do us part” vows we took?
The Bible is filled with all kinds of promises
Some are between God and humanity, or between God and individuals. Others are between nations, and others are between families or individuals. These promises can vary in sacredness according to how the parties make them. Rest assured, whenever God makes a promise, it is more solemn than anything we can imagine. So, what about the promises we make to one another?
Sacred promises in the Bible are called covenants
The word comes from an ancient ritual having to do with walking between the two halves of a slaughtered animal to seal the agreement. Afterwards, the animal was eaten in a feast symbolizing the unity of the agreement. Marriage is not only called a covenant in Scripture, it is called a “covenant of God.” This means that God was invited to witness the making of the agreement. It is written in Genesis regarding the union of Adam and Eve that the man and woman became one flesh. Jesus later adds that what God has joined together, let no man separate.
These details make it clear that the Bible defines marriage as the highest and most sacred promise two human beings can make. Sound a bit scary? It should! What are we supposed to do now that we know this? If we are struggling with marriage, what does God expect? What if we have done sinful things to dismantle our marriage, is there a specific path we should take? What do we do if we have lost our spouse? How do we handle the sacredness of what we had?
Check out our February 15, 2021 podcast, “How Vital Are My Vows of Marriage?” for more on Christian marriage. We address all these questions with scriptural principles. We also review the sacredness of several of God’s own promises to model the kind of focus we should have with our covenants. Finally, we look into the depths of what we can do to keep any marriage strong and growing. Marriage is no small task. It challenges you, presses you and changes you. It also can bless you in ways you never thought possible. Find out how!
What Does Moses the Deliverer Teach Us About Jesus?
Two of the most dramatic lives recorded in the Bible belong to Moses and Jesus. The heroics of Moses life extended over a lifetime of 120 years, whereas Jesus’ heroics were all accomplished within a 33-year lifetime. Despite the dramatic time differences, there are startling similarities between these two deliverers. Moses’ life was recorded and detailed in four Old Testament books of the Bible. Jesus' life was recorded and detailed in four New Testament books. Both of them were plainly or prophetically referenced throughout the entire Bible. They each executed the two greatest deliverances in the history of mankind – Moses walked his people out of Egypt, and Jesus ransomed the entire human race from sin. This all just scratches the surface! As we look into specific events of Moses' life as deliverer of a nation, we will see inspiring revelations into the life of Jesus as deliverer of the world. Comparing Moses to Jesus makes for a revealing Bible study, as there is an extensive list of striking similarities between the two.
The Bible points to comparisons
Moses told Israel there would come a prophet from among them who would be like him. The Bible unequivocally tells us he was speaking about Jesus. This revelation by Moses invites us to investigate the significant comparisons between these two leaders. By Moses prophesying that Jesus would be like him, it stands to reason that Moses' life would a be pattern for Jesus’ life. Sure enough, we find that the similarities from the beginning to the end of these two lives are staggering.
For example, think about the simple comparisons between these two lives in relation to their birth and infancy. Both Moses and Jesus were born at times when Israel was not a free nation. They were both were born to parents who were faithful to God. As infants, both of their lives were under threat by the present governing powers of their time. Even though Moses was raised as an Egyptian prince, his birth parents had a powerful influence on him. Parenting and nurturing a deliverer is no easy task, and God chose parents who were up to the task. Moses grew up, left Egypt and renounced his Egyptian upbringing. Jesus was taken to Egypt for protection from Herod and literally came out of Egypt just as Moses did.
Check out our February 1, 2021 podcast, “What Does Moses the Deliverer Teach Us About Jesus?” for more. We compare the characters of Moses and Jesus and look at their leadership. This episode even includes a comparison of some of the miracles they each performed.
Why would God tell us so much about Jesus by way of Moses’ experiences?
There are many reasons, not the least of which is to remind us that God always had a plan. God foreshadowed the actions and responses of Jesus as the world’s savior in Moses’ life as deliverer of Israel. The message here is one of great comfort. God has everything in His ultimate control. He does not need to make things up as He goes; rather, He creates His plan and watches it unfold!
Has the Bible Been Mistranslated and Misunderstood? (Part V)
“Words mean things” is a simple and powerful truism that certainly applies to our study of God’s word. In our mistranslation podcast series, we have endeavored to establish how much a text of Scripture can be changed by the mistranslation or misunderstanding of a single word. Every word of inspired Scripture can and should be scrutinized for its meaning. Mistranslations occur sometimes by accident, sometimes because of preconceived belief and sometimes to deliberately deceive. Confusion is the foundation of deception. Satan likes nothing better than planting seeds of error and seeing them called truth. But by God’s grace, we are blessed with all the needed tools to examine and clarify nearly all questions of mistranslation and misunderstanding. Of course, the holy spirit works with us in our continual search for the truth.
Love, love, love
You would think that something as straightforward as the English word “love” in the Bible would not raise any mistranslation alarms. Sadly, this is not the case. It turns out that our one English word “love” is translated from several Greek words with very different meanings. These different Greek words can mean anything from a benevolent selfless love, to the fraternal affection of team members, to the love of a family. What kind of love does God have for Jesus or for the world of humanity? How about the kind of love Jesus had for those closest to him, or for us? What kind of love are we supposed to have for whom? All these questions can be easily answered when we look at the original words and their meanings. Knowing the answers to these questions dramatically changes our understanding of our Christian calling.
How about the word used for “God” in the Bible? Here again, you would think it would be easy and that the word god would mean “God in heaven,” and that would be it. Nothing is further from the truth. This word has many scriptural applications, some of which are surprising. As we begin to uncover its varied usage, our understanding of the descriptions of God can become more well-rounded. We begin to see how the Bible uses some concepts of royalty that were familiar to the people of the time to describe God himself.
This brings us to the name that God has given us by which to address Him. Even though this name appears over 6,000 times in the Bible, many translations hardly ever translate it! Why? What is there about God’s name that keeps it hidden?
Check out our February 1, 2021 podcast, “Has the Bible been Mistranslated and Misunderstood? (Part V) for more. We clearly address these several questions regarding scriptural accuracy and meaning. We also delve into another mistranslation issue that changes everything about the major prophecy of Jesus’ return. What if the Christian world's current anticipation of Jesus’ return was based on a key mistranslation? Based on the original meaning of specific Greek words, what should our expectations of his return look like? Join us to find some unexpected answers! If you missed the previous parts of this series, start with Part I to begin your study...
Has the Bible Been Mistranslated and Misunderstood (Part IV)
For any Christian, understanding the Bible and its message should be of paramount importance. The fact that the Bible is a collection of books and letters written in ancient times by various authors presents a challenge to this understanding. We need to learn what is authentic, what is mistranslated and how it all harmonizes. We continue our exploration of how we got our Bible, and how the process of translation from the original languages requires precision in order to get the truths God intends. This is a necessary exercise because the Bible is the foundation of our faith. We depend upon an accurate and honest assessment of what it teaches so we in turn can believe and spread the true gospel message.
In the three previous parts of this series, we focused on several big questions about the Bible that never seem to go away:
* Why are some writings included in the sacred text and others excluded?
* Who were the decision makers regarding acceptable text, and what was their criteria?
* How did some verses or portions of verses get inserted into the Bible that weren't part of the original text?
* Did Jesus really believe in the Old Testament?
* What words are translated or interpreted in a way that is out of harmony with their true meaning? How would we know?
* What tools do we as individual students of the Bible have available to help us to personally study these things for ourselves?
Mistranslations can be small enough to be a nuisance and important enough to shake the fabric of one’s doctrinal belief. In this Part IV of our series, we considered both kinds of issues. Here is one example of a smaller issue: Did you know the King James Version of the Bible talks about unicorns? Turns out it mentions these fabled animals eleven times! So, what’s the truth of the matter? Is the Bible confirming that unicorns are real? If so, what does that do to the Bible’s credibility?
Several larger mistranslation issues have a direct bearing on fundamental Christian belief. Across the vast majority of Christian denominations, we find an unquestioned acceptance of how our churches are organized. Christianity has systems in place that are logical, cover needs and seem simple and practical. A deep study of Scripture and the ancient languages used reveals a simple yet significant misapplication of a specific word regarding church organization. Apply the correct meaning and watch what it changes!
Check out our January 25, 2021 podcast, “Has the Bible Been Mistranslated and Misunderstood? (Part IV)” for more. We look at several smaller mistranslations to find true meaning. Sometimes the difference is insignificant. But more often than not, the true meanings enhance the Bible’s harmony. We also examine another huge translation issue having to do with the major doctrine of what happens after the average person dies. Finding the truth on this opens our eyes to the Bible’s authentic message. Don’t miss this opportunity to be able to see some biblical truths for the first time! Continue your studies with Part V...
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This show gives great insight into the scriptures in a theologically impartial format. Answers to perplexing questions can be found in the Bible and Rick and Jonathon ask the tough questions and search the Bible for answers in a most unbiased manner.
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This has given me such a better understanding of the harder questions in Christianity. Rick and Jonathon take the time to thoroughly answer these hard questions backing up what they say with the Bible and are able to point out where we may have misconstrued the meaning over the years. Highly recommend!!!