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Featured Difficult Important Biblical Texts

Discussion in 'Bible Study Forum' started by Berserk, Sep 6, 2019.

  1. Berserk

    Berserk Active Member

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    This thread is intended to draw attention to the elusive meaning of several ambiguous but spiritually important biblical texts. Please make your case for your interpretation, resisting the temptation to pontificate without evidence on what you think the text should mean.
    Let me begin the thread with these 4 texts and then add more later:

    (1) "We have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially those who believe (1 Timothy 4:10)."
    (a) What is meant by "especially?" This word initially seems to imply that God is ultimately going to save everyone, believer and unbeliever alike.
    (b) In what sense is God the Savior of all unbelievers? It seems forced to assume the meaning that God is especially the Savior of all current believers, but will also be the Savior of unbelievers who later convert in this life.

    (2) "In my flesh I am completing what is lacking in Christ's sufferings for the sake of His body, the church (Colossians 1:24)."
    (a) Christ's suffering on the cross is surely sufficient for our salvation. So why does Paul seem to imply here that Christ's sufferings are in some way lacking or deficient and that his own sufferings can compensate for this deficiency?
    (b) What does this verse imply about the spirituality of the sufferings of believers for the sake of the church?

    (3) Pray then like this...Thy kingdom come (Matthew 6:9-10)."
    (a) Suppose God answered this petition. How would we recognize the answer?
    (b) The Lord's Prayer also instructs us to pray for God's will to be done. What do we lose if we pray for God's will, but not for His kingdom to come?
    (c) Jesus seems to imply that the coming of the kingdom of God is not automatic; so its coming must be the subject of petitionary prayer. What do we lose if we ignore Jesus' petition and directly engage God in petitionary prayer to meet our needs and the needs of the church?
    (c) In Aramaic the word for "kingdom" ("malchut") means "reign" or realm." How do these nuances solve the mystery of this required petition?

    (4) "From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of God has suffered violence and the violent take it by force (Matthew 11:12)."
    Luke 16:16 is the closest parallel to this saying, but does not seem to remove the difficulty in interpretation. What does it mean to take the kingdom of God "by force?"
     
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  2. Enoch111

    Enoch111 Well-Known Member

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    It is really quite simple. While Christ is indeed the Savior of the world, He is especially the Lord and Savior of those who have believed on Him, called upon His name and been saved, and received Him as Lord and Savior. Since He is active only in their lives, He is especially their Savior.
    God the Father has designated and delegated His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, to be the Savior of the world. And since He took upon Himself the sins of the whole world, and paid the penalty in full, all could be saved if all would obey the Gospel (repent and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ).
     
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  3. Berserk

    Berserk Active Member

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    Your politically correct response ignores the apparent implication that God is the actual (not just the theoretical) Savior of unbelievers as well. Also how can God be the Savior of all unbelievers if only the foreordained elect are saved? This text does not yield its meaning as easily as you imply.
     
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  4. marks

    marks Well-Known Member

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    Parallel passage:

    Romans 5
    7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.
    8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
    9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.
    10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.
    11 And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the reconciliation.

    Much love!
     
  5. marks

    marks Well-Known Member

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    Curious . . . what makes Enoch's post PC?
     
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  6. marks

    marks Well-Known Member

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    Explanatory Passage:

    Acts 9
    13 Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem:
    14 And here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name.
    15 But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel:
    16 For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name's sake.

    I prefer more literal translations:

    24 Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body's sake, which is the church:

    "the afflictions of Christ" being all Genetive Case tells us that there are afflictions that are from Christ, His afflictions, or afflictions which come from Him.

    Consider . . . we are strongest when we are weak, we are weakest when we are afflicted, and God had amazing and wonderful work for Paul to do.

    God showed Paul what he would suffer. Paul apparently know the laps of his race in advance. And by this time, he is, it seems, counting down to the finish line.

    Much love!
     
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2019
  7. marks

    marks Well-Known Member

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    Hard to know how to respond unless I know what your difficulty with this passage is.

    Much love!
     
  8. ScottA

    ScottA Well-Known Member

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    The context is Paul passing the baton to (teaching) Timothy. He has named Jesus as savior of all, because there is no other savior by whom men can be saved. But the purpose of God to salvation, is by design, specifically to the believer, meaning to those who believe their report.
     
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  9. ScottA

    ScottA Well-Known Member

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    Not "lacking" but rather [including] His body, the church.
     
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  10. Berserk

    Berserk Active Member

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    Marks,
    Please explain your alleged parallelisms. For example, how is Christ's word to Ananias explain the expression "I complete in my own body what is lacking or deficient in the sufferings of Christ for His body, the church? In what sense is Christ's suffering "lacking" or "defeicient?" And what is your interpretation of the other problematic texts cited in the OP?
     
  11. ScottA

    ScottA Well-Known Member

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    The prayer is simple, as if to pray that all that must be finished, is finished. But indeed, men do pray to the contrary, prolonging the day.
     
  12. Berserk

    Berserk Active Member

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    On what basis do you read that interpretation into the mystical coming of God's kingdom, which by implication is previously absent?
     
  13. ScottA

    ScottA Well-Known Member

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    Jesus simply notes the rebellion against God, "violence."

    As for "the days of John the Baptist", Jesus notes the "type" or "sign" manifest in John, of God's servants or "messenger" "preparing" His way since the beginning.
     
  14. ScottA

    ScottA Well-Known Member

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    If we have the mind of Christ...we do not "interpret", but simply say or explain. Do you not see that the entire prayer is just a summary of all God's business start to finish? I do.
     
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  15. Berserk

    Berserk Active Member

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    But what does it mean for the violent to take the reign of God (the kingdom) by force? This question has vexed modern NT scholars for generations. Prof. George Eldon Ladd omitted this text in his book "Jesus and the Kingdom."
     
  16. ScottA

    ScottA Well-Known Member

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    The coup attempt by Satan is violent spiritual war against God. Which "heaven suffered until now"...that is until Christ.
     
  17. marks

    marks Well-Known Member

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    Your turn.
     
  18. Episkopos

    Episkopos Well-Known Member

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    Very good topic...

    Not all who say they believe are obedient...and not all who don't claim to be believer are disobedient. It is like the story Jesus told of the 2 sons. One said he would obey and the other said he wouldn't...or just didn't avow that he would. In the story it was the one who said he wouldn't that DID obey...and vice versa.

    It is about DOING the will of the Father.

    Mat. 7:21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall
    enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that does
    the will of my Father which is in heaven.



    So then salvation is not about beliefs and lip service. It is based on obedience. We will all be judged by our works...not our various opinions concerning religious dogmatics as many mistakenly suppose.

    So then among the righteous (but not the saints) will be people of every belief system in the world...whether Muslim of Hindu or whatever. All who are accepted by God for their works. God judges...we don't.

    1 John 2:2
    2 And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2019
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  19. Episkopos

    Episkopos Well-Known Member

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    This is a bad English rendering of the text. The translators obviously didn't understand what Harpazo (Greek word mistranslated as force) meant. We enter into the kingdom of God by being translated into it by God. Harpazo means to be taken away...or translated...where we get the idea of "rapture" from.

    God translates us into the realm of Zion where Jesus abides. It follows the same idea as this verse...

    Colossians 1:13
    13 Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:


    This is akin to Enoch who was translated...bodily...into heaven...whereas we who abide in Christ are translated only in the Spirit. The body remains here.

    I think, in effect, that this verse is so little understood...that most will opt for the obscure rendering found in the translations....rather than understanding it by comparison with other similar statements using slightly different wordings. (let alone by actual experience of it)
     
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  20. Episkopos

    Episkopos Well-Known Member

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    Actually it was a religiously indoctrinated response. A bad answer to your honest question.

    God so loved the whole world...not just privileged white folks. (and they not so much actually)
     
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