Coheirs with Christ

Romans 8:17 (NASB) says the following:

“and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.”

So what does it mean to be a fellow heir/coheir/joint heir with Christ? This week’s sharing material covers just that! It also tackles two side, yet important, issues, i.e.

i) What are our inheritance?

ii) What is the nature of our inheritance?

 

Attachments:

Coheirs With Christ (Participants Notes)

Coheirs With Christ (Slides)

 

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the individual author, and they do not reflect in any way those of the institutions to which he is affiliated.

Walking with God

Guest Contributor: Zech Chan

Continuing the series on 1 John being conducted, this portion will be on 1 John 1:5-10. This portion is a direct continuation of the first 4 verses which, in the last session, wanted to convey that man’s joy is complete when in fellowship with God. This portion of the text focuses on how we can achieve this fellowship with God.

With any relationship we choose to be in (either with a significant other or a friend), generally we have certain standards before we can be with that person. For example, if I were to choose a girlfriend, there will be some criteria that I personally have before I choose to be in a relationship. Similarly, God has a requirement we need to meet before we can enter into fellowship with Him.

God has a requirement we need to meet before we can enter into fellowship with Him. Click To Tweet

John starts 1 John 1:5 with “This is the message we have heard from him”, as a claim to authority that he and the apostles themselves witnessed, heard and learned from Jesus personally and the message was that God is light and that there is no darkness in him at all. This claim of God being light and the contrast of darkness to the light is repeated by John throughout verses 5 to 10 (e.g. verse 6 that immediately follow talks about traits of those walking in the dark).

Light when referring to God, as Calvin explains, is God’s pureness and perfection which reveals all things that are sinful. For example, in Isaiah 6:5, when Isaiah has a vision of God, he says “for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips.” Therefore, God being light is a testament to God’s holiness and in as John writes later in 1 John 3:5 “In him there is no sin(darkness).”

John also uses light and truth interchangeably as he also uses sin and darkness. In verse 6, John argues that if we still walk in darkness while still claiming to have fellowship with God, we do not practice the truth. One would also surmise that if one is walking in the darkness, he is not walking in the light. Verse 7 also further uses it similarly when one claims to be walking in the light and having fellowship with one another by the blood of Jesus which cleanses us from all sin.

Not only that, there is a claim that walking in the light allows one to have fellowship with one another, this not only means with God but also with the body of believers and this is only possible through the Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross and our confession and repentance of sins. Therefore, for the one seeking God and wanting to be in fellowship with Him, there needs to first be a repentance of sins, having faith in the work that Jesus has done on the cross and taking hold of the assurance in 1 John 1:9 that God is faithful to His promises to us of forgiveness and salvation but not only that, He is also just as Jesus has already paid our debts on the cross.

However, there is another dimension to having fellowship with God besides the work that has been accomplished by Jesus and that is our daily response to Christ. In verse 7, the blood of Jesus his Son (continually) cleanses us from all sin. As Matthew Henry said, “The Christian life is a life of continued repentance, humiliation for and mortification of sin, of continual faith in, thankfulness for, and love to the Redeemer, and hopeful joyful expectation of a day of glorious redemption, in which the believer shall be fully and finally acquired, and sin abolished for ever.” As we still live in a world that is of sin, a Christian is still fallible to sin and how one responds to their sin will be an indication of that believer.

In verse 8, the one that claims to be sinless is deceiving himself and that the truth is not in them. A Christian who has had his past, present and future sins forgiven on the cross does not lose his salvation when he sins but rather he does not experience it in his walk until he confesses his sin. The confession of sin is not the cause or condition of salvation nor the manifestation of it but rather it is descriptive of the person, one who is subject to God’s will and has experienced his grace and love of forgiveness.

A Christian who has had his past, present and future sins forgiven on the cross does not lose his salvation when he sins but rather he does not experience it in his walk until he confesses his sin. Click To Tweet

In conclusion, God who is holy cannot tolerate sin. As people who are born with sin, we cannot naturally have a relationship with God. However, through the work of Christ on the cross, the one who believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life and will continually walk in the light of God, being committed to walk in His ways daily.

The confession of sin is not the cause or condition of salvation nor the manifestation of it but rather it is descriptive of the person, one who is subject to God’s will and has experienced his grace and love of forgiveness. Click To Tweet

References

John Calvin, Commentaries on the Catholic Epistles, Grand Rapids, MI: Christian Classics Ethereal Library, 136-147

Matthew Henry, Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible. Retrieved from: https://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/matthew-henry-complete/1-john/1.html

John Gill, John Gills’ Exposition of the Bible. Retrieved from: https://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/gills-exposition-of-the-bible/1-john-1-9.html

Does the Bible Contain Error?

On the 15th of June 2018, I was given the opportunity to speak at a workshop, within a conference, on the question of whether the Bible contains error. [1] Instead of taking the usual harmonization approach, that is to look at apparent contradictions and resolve them, I decided to tackle the question from a textual criticism angle. There are plenty of books and websites dedicated to the former [2] whereas knowledge of the latter seems to be lacking amongst lay Christians.

Furthermore, I had previously presented on textual criticism [3] and found it to be able to adequately address the sub-questions provided by the organisers (i.e. why there are discrepancies in the Bible if it is the Word of God and how we can reconcile those discrepancies).

This time round, my presentation included the following additional content:

i) “Recent” developments re manuscripts [4], including the Mark fragment published in  Oxyrhynchus Papyri, volume LXXXIII

ii) An overview of the types of scribal errors, both intentional and unintentional ones

iii) A non-exhaustive list of institutions devoted to the field of textual criticism

iv) A non-exhaustive list of critical editions of the Old Testament (OT) and New Testament (NT)

v) A brief look at some OT and NT passages quoted in 1 Clement

 

[1]  “Workshop Overview.” Fairstival.my. Accessed June 6, 2018. http://fairstival.my/workshopsoverview/

[2] see page 4 of the slides in the attachment below

[3] Joshua Wu, “Manuscript Errors in the Bible?” LaikosTheologos.com. Accessed June 11, 2018. https://laikostheologos.com/manuscript-errors-in-the-bible/

[4] I put recent in inverted commas because according to the Egypt Exploration Society, the Mark fragment was “excavated … probably in 1903 …” [“P.Oxy LXXXIII 5345.” EES.ac.uk. Accessed June 11, 2018. https://www.ees.ac.uk/news/poxy-lxxxiii-5345]. The Dead Sea Scrolls, the other example cited, were also discovered in the 20th century [see “Discovery and Publication.” DeadSeaScrolls.org.il. Accessed June 11, 2018. https://www.deadseascrolls.org.il/learn-about-the-scrolls/discovery-and-publication].

 

Attachments:

Does the Bible Contain Error? (Slides)

Does the Bible Contain Error? (Participants Notes)

 

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the individual author, and they do not reflect in any way views of the institutions to which he is affiliated  and/or the other Laikos Theologos contributors.

 

Daniel 1-2

DANIEL 1

Introduction[2]

  • Dan 1:1-2 – Nebuchadnezzar conquers Jerusalem

David Guzik: “There is also no contradiction between Daniel, who says this happened in the third year of Jehoiakim, and Jeremiah 46:2, which says it was in the fourth year of Jehoiakim. Daniel reckoned a king’s years after the Babylonian method: the first year of a king’s reign begins at the start of the calendar year after he takes the throne. Jeremiah uses the Jewish method.

“It was customary for the Babylonians to consider the first year of a king’s reign as the year of accession and to call the next year the first year … Having spent most of his life in Babylon, it is only natural that Daniel should use a Babylonian form of chronology.” (Walvoord)”[3]

Zdravko Stefanovic: “The three major Babylonian invasions can be summarized as follows:

605 B.C. Members of the royal family and nobility, including Daniel and his friends were led to Babylon (2 Kings 24:1, 2; 2 Chron. 36:5-7).

597 B.C. King Jehoiachin, princes, and priests, including the prophet Ezekiel, were taken to Babylon (2 Kings 24:10-14; 2 Chron. 36:10).

586 B.C. King Zedekiah and all the remaining people other than the poor were exiled to Babylon (2 Kings 25:1-21; 2 Chron. 36:17-20).”[4]

Mark Copeland: “Daniel was contemporary with Jeremiah and Ezekiel

Jeremiah prophesied in Jerusalem before and during the Babylonian exile (626-528 B.C.)

Ezekiel prophesied in Babylon among the exiles (592-570 B.C.)

Daniel prophesied in the capital of Babylon (605-586 B.C.)”[5]

Gene Taylor: “[Babylon] was also called “Shinar.” (Gen. 10:10; 11:2; Isa. 11:11) … and was later called “the land of the Chaldeans.” (Jer. 24:4; Ezek. 12:13).”[6]

Babylon’s system of indoctrination

Dan 1:3-4 – The best and the brightest of Jerusalem’s young men are chosen and taken to Babylon

Zdravko Stefanovic: “Daniel was one of the captives who were led from Jerusalem to Babylon. He and his friends were most probably between fifteen and eighteen years old when they were taken there.”[7]

Dan 1:5-7 – In Babylon, the Hebrew youths are groomed for the civil service

AIA Devotionals: “The conscious goal of the Babylonian captivity was cultural assimilation (making Jews think/act like Babylonians)”[8]

“…Daniel and his three friends also received new legal names that reflected the worldview Babylon wanted them to adopt. For example, in Hebrew the name Daniel means “God is my judge,” but Belteshazzar means “may a god protect his life” or “Goddess, protect the king” (vv. 6–7).”[9]

i) Hananiah: “Yahweh is gracious/merciful.”[10] became Shadrach: “The Command of [Aku].”

ii) Mishael: “Who is what God is!” (probable) became Meshach: “Who is What Aku Is?”

iii) Azariah: “Yahweh has helped.” became Abednego: “the servant of [the god] Nebo”[11]

Dan 1:8 – Daniel’s decision to be faithful

Zdravko Stefanovic: “As to why the young men decided to abstain from the rich royal food, scholars have put forward three proposals: dietary, political, and religious. The dietary reason had to do with the Mosaic prohibition against eating unclean animals and eating clean animals whose blood was not drained when slaughtered. The political reason had to do with the culture of the Bible: Eating with a person meant making an alliance or a covenant with that person. The religious reason may have been belief of the four Hebrews that no earthly king but only the God in heaven should be given credit for one’s success in life … The term choice food is consistently followed by the words “the king” to stress the fact that the king provided for the young men’s needs while they were in training. In other words, the young men were made “the king’s pensioners.””[12]

David Guzik: “Why did Daniel and his friends consider the king’s food defiled? First, it undoubtedly was not kosher. Second, it was probably sacrificed to idols. Third, it implied fellowship with Babylon’s cultural system.”[13]

The results of Daniel’s courageous decision

Dan 1:9 – God gives Daniel favor and goodwill with the authorities.

Dan 1:10-13 – Daniel suggests a plan

Dan 1:14-16 – Daniel and his companions are blessed for their faithfulness

Dan 1:17-21 – Daniel and his companions are blessed and promoted

DANIEL 2

Nebuchadnezzar’s dream

Dan 2:1 – The troubling dream

Dan 2:2-9 – Nebuchadnezzar demands to know the dream and its interpretation from his wise men

Dan 2:10-11 – The wise men explain the impossibility of Nebuchadnezzar’s request

Dan 2:12-13 – A furious Nebuchadnezzar sentences all his wise men to death

God reveals the dream to Daniel

Dan 2:14-16 – Daniel reacts to Nebuchadnezzar’s decree by asking for a brief extension

Dan 2:17-18 – Daniel asks his companions for prayer

Dan 2:20-23 – Daniel praises God for this revelation

The dream of Nebuchadnezzar and its interpretation

Dan 2:24-30 – Daniel is ushered into the king’s presence, and gives glory to God for revealing the dream

Dan 2:31-35 – Daniel describes Nebuchadnezzar’s dream

Dan 2:36-45 – The interpretation of the dream

J. Vernon McGee:

i) Babylon – head of gold

ii) Medo-Persia – chest & arms of silver

iii) Greece – belly and thighs of bronze / sides of brass

iv) Rome – legs of iron, with feet mixed with iron & clay[14]

Dan 2:46-49 – Nebuchadnezzar’s reaction to Daniel’s reporting of the dream and its interpretation

What can we learn from Daniel 1-2?

Daniel remained faithful to God when it seemed as though God was not faithful to him (1:1-4)

Daniel looked for God’s favour above man’s favour (1:4)

Daniel was persistent (1:8-11):

First – asked commander of the officials;

Second – asked overseer appointed by commander of the officials

Daniel was courteous in pursuing his convictions (1:12)

God is always in control (1:2, 9, 17)[1]

Daniel understood the importance of prayer (2:17-18)

Daniel had faithful friends alongside him (2:17)

It is by the will of God that kings are raised or deposed (2:21)

Daniel understood the importance of giving thanks to God (2:19-23)

Daniel was a witness for God (2:27-28, 47)

The kingdoms of men will result in destruction but the kingdom of God under the rule of the Messiah will result in glory (2:44-45)

Conclusion

Zdravko Stefanovic: “… in the story of chapter 2, Daniel is portrayed as a model of wisdom (Dan. 2:14), prayer (2:18), praise (vv. 19-23), and witness (vv. 27-28).”[15]

Thomas Nelson: “Daniel is one of the few well-known biblical characters about whom nothing negative is written. His life was characterized by faith, prayer, courage, consistency, and lack of compromise. This ‘greatly beloved’ man (9:23; 10:11, 19) was mentioned three times by his sixth-century B.C. contemporary Ezekiel as an example of righteousness.”[16]

 

[1] Thomas Nelson, Nelson’s Complete Book of Bible Maps & Charts (2010), p.236: “The theme of God’s sovereign control in the affairs of world history clearly emerges and provides comfort to the future church, as well as to the Jews whose nation was destroyed by the Babylonians. The Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, and Romans will come and go, but God will establish His kingdom through His redeemed people forever.”

[2] William S. Deal, Baker’s Pictorial Introduction to the Bible (1967), p.200: “That Daniel is the author of this book has been received both by the Jews and the Christian church throughout the centuries”; see also Thomas Nelson, Nelson’s Complete Book of Bible Maps & Charts (2010), p.233: “Daniel claimed to write this book (12:4), and he used the autobiographical first person from 7:2 onward. The Jewish Talmud agrees with this testimony, and Christ attributed a quote from 9:27 to ‘Daniel the prophet’ (Matt. 24:15).”

[3] David Guzik, “Study Guide for Daniel 1.” Blue Letter Bible. Accessed December 14, 2017. https://www.blueletterbible.org/Comm/archives/guzik_david/studyguide_dan/dan_1.cfm

[4] Zdravko Stefanovic, Daniel: Wisdom to the Wise : Commentary on the Book of Daniel (2007), p.49

[5] Mark Copeland, “Sermons from Daniel” (2002), p.3

[6] Gene Taylor, “A Study in the Book of Daniel” (1998), p.11

[7] Zdravko Stefanovic, Daniel: Wisdom to the Wise : Commentary on the Book of Daniel (2007), pp.16-17; see also p.52: “The expression …, “young men,” [in Daniel 1:4] means that the youth were in their adolescent years (Gen. 37:30).”

[8] “Daniel 1 Living By Identity in a Secular World.” AIA Devotionals. Accessed December 1, 2017. https://www.princeton.edu/~aia/files/talks/daniel1.pdf

[9] “In the Court of a Pagan King.” Ligonier Ministries. Accessed December 1, 2017. http://www.ligonier.org/learn/devotionals/court-pagan-king/

[10] Zdravko Stefanovic, Daniel: Wisdom to the Wise : Commentary on the Book of Daniel (2007), p.56

[11] Zdravko Stefanovic, Daniel: Wisdom to the Wise : Commentary on the Book of Daniel (2007), p.57; see also David Guzik, “Study Guide for Daniel 1.” Blue Letter Bible. Accessed December 15, 2017. https://www.blueletterbible.org/Comm/archives/guzik_david/studyguide_dan/dan_1.cfm: “Abed-Nego (meaning Servant of Nego).”

[12] Zdravko Stefanovic, Daniel: Wisdom to the Wise : Commentary on the Book of Daniel (2007), pp.57-58; see also David Guzik, “Study Guide for Daniel 1.” Blue Letter Bible. Accessed December 15, 2017. https://www.blueletterbible.org/Comm/archives/guzik_david/studyguide_dan/dan_1.cfm: “”By eastern standards to share a meal was to commit one’s self to friendship; it was of covenant significance.” (Baldwin)”

[13] David Guzik, “Study Guide for Daniel 1.” Blue Letter Bible. Accessed December 15, 2017. https://www.blueletterbible.org/Comm/archives/guzik_david/studyguide_dan/dan_1.cfm

[14] J. Vernon McGee, “Notes & Outlines Daniel.” Thru the Bible. Accessed December 16, 2017. http://www.ttb.org/docs/default-source/notes-outlines/no19_daniel.pdf?sfvrsn=2

[15] Zdravko Stefanovic, Daniel: Wisdom to the Wise : Commentary on the Book of Daniel (2007), p.95

[16] Thomas Nelson, Nelson’s Complete Book of Bible Maps & Charts (2010), p.233

The Fatherhood of God

In a series on the “Family of God,” I was given the privilege to tackle the Fatherhood of God. David Tasker writes that, “[The Fatherhood of God is] not just another idea peripheral to the central core of biblical teaching and needs to be recognised as such.” [1]

The Fatherhood of God is a key concept in which a lot can be said. However, for the purposes of this sharing, I looked at the matter from 3 different perspectives (i.e. The Fatherhood of God in relation to Jesus, Israel, and Christians). This categorisation was adopted from Martin Manser’s Dictionary of Bible Themes (1996).

If you find the attached material useful for your personal edification and/or for the edification of your ministry/local church, please use them without hesitation. God bless!

[1] David Tasker, Ancient Near Eastern Literature and the Hebrew Scriptures About the Fatherhood of God (2004), p.1

 

Attachments:

The Fatherhood of God (Slides)

The Fatherhood of God (Participants Notes)

 

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the individual author, and they do not reflect in any way those of the institutions to which he is affiliated.

David – Prayer of Repentance

In a series on “Men of Prayer,” I had the opportunity to share about David. The following are the materials I produced for the sharing. Take note that the materials were prepared for a College & University audience and as such, is not as detailed as could be. However, if you find them useful for your personal edification and/or for the edification of your ministry/local church, please use them without hesitation. God bless!

Outline:

  • Preliminaries

– Old Testament (OT) and New Testament (NT) words for “repent,” “repentance”

  • David’s Sin

– 2 Samuel 11

  • David’s Prayer

– Psalms 51

  • David’s Restoration

– 2 Samuel 12; 1 Kings 9:4-5; 1 Kings 14:8

  • NT examples

– Saul/Paul (1 Timothy 1:12-16)

– The Pharisee & the Publican (Luke 18:9-14)

  • Modern day example

– David Berkowitz (Son of Sam killer)

  • Us

– Revelation 12:9-10; Hebrews 7:24-25; 1 John 2:1; 1 John 1:9

 

Attachments:

David – Prayer of Repentance (Slides)

David – Prayer of Repentance (Participant Notes)

 

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the individual author, and they do not reflect in any way those of the institutions to which he is affiliated.

Manuscript Errors in the Bible?

On the 17th of October 2017, I had the privilege of speaking at one of the sessions in a series on the Doctrine of Scripture, organised by my local church. Below is an outline of my approach to the question, “Manuscript Errors in the Bible?” (Session 2). Attached are the PowerPoint slides & participants’ notes, from the session.

[Please note that this is only meant to be a brief overview of the highly technical field of Textual Criticism. In the limited time I had, to present, I could not cover additional matters (e.g. manuscript text types) which I would have loved to. However, if you do find the resources below useful for your personal edification and/or for the edification of your ministry/local church, please use them without hesitation. God bless!]

Outline:

1) Introduction

  • Self
  •  Scholars referred to

2) Definitions

3) Manuscripts of NT vs Classical Texts

  • Comparison
  • Words in NT vs Variants in NT manuscripts

4) Scribal Work (Exercise)

  • Each person copies down as I dictate 7 verses [taken from Amos 2:9-16; see attachment titled Scribal Work (Exercise)]
  • Each “manuscript” will then be passed to person on the left/right and participants will take turns to read out each verse
  • Variants will then be identified and corrected

5) Types of Variants

  • Explain the 4 types (i.e. not meaningful & not viable, viable but not meaningful, meaningful but not viable, and viable & meaningful)
  • Go through a few examples of each type

6) Text Reconstruction (Exercise)

  • Each group receives 4 “manuscripts” [see attachment titled Text Reconstruction (Exercise)] from which they will attempt to discover the original wordings

7) What happens if we have no NT manuscripts?

8) Conclusion

Attachments:

Manuscript Errors in the Bible (Slides)

Manuscript Errors in the Bible? (Participants Notes)

Scribal Work (Exercise)

Text Reconstruction (Exercise)

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the individual author, and they do not reflect in any way those of the institutions to which he is affiliated.