Taking the Epistle

A biblical journey through the epistles

Tag Archives: good

Does God give only good gifts? – Matthew 7:7-11

20140726-015823.jpg

Pic – Daddy daughter date circa 2014

Does God give only good gifts? – Matthew 7:7-11 – 07/01/2016

Where am I going with this?

This is top of my mind this week due to my child having her birthday; it is a bookmark of a reminder of another year of blessings with the cutest kid I know and lamentations that I see some of me in her. It also reminded me of a teachable moment that happened at a birthday party five years ago. I want also to look at the gospel of Matthew as the text for this verse…

Matthew 7:7 (ESV) “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. 9 Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? 11 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!

Imagine the scene…

You are at a birthday party for a toddler who appears not to be enjoying the birthday party and especially seems not to be enjoying getting gifts, now as someone who is older this puzzles you because at your parties that is the highlight. Let’s look at it from the toddler’s point of view…

You are now the toddler and this party has been a stressful affair, everyone your parents know has handled you, cuddled you, loved on you and despite the highlight of having ice cream and cake they are now playing this weird game with you where they all sit around you in a circle, take pictures of you, your dad is milling around with a video camera and now you mother and grandmother are playing this weird game with you where they make you rip off the paper of toys and once it is unwrapped they take it off you and make you unwrap another toy, which they again take away from you, you feel frustrated and have no other option but to scream and cry.

Was I really abusing my child?

Before someone calls CWS on me, the child was unwrapping birthday presents and they were all played with at some point in the shelf life of the toy. But from the child’s perspective this was torture, she saw something fun that seemed appropriate for her to touch and then her parents didn’t allow her to do what she wanted and in some cases blocked her from carrying out her will so she vented her frustration at her father and mother.

Of course we had a plan and we could see more than she could in her situation and we would restore these gifts to her and after the unwrapping was over she asked in her own way and we let her play with stuff.

Have you ever felt like that with God? Never? Well you are better than me then because I will be honest and say I am a whiner! How many times have you went to God first and asked in faith expecting an answer, now it may not be an answer you like but I like to know why or at least know the reason what is happening to me. I know and I trust in God however I do like to complain!

God is the giver of all things, our finances, our possessions all that we have set up as our “mini idols” it is all his and we are simply custodians of what he has trusted us with, Jesus introduces us to the giving nature of God and shows us that his gifts are much greater than the gifts that we would give each other and he uses the purity of heart as a good contrast. We have to also understand though that God will not allow things to happen that are our rampant heart’s desire because they would ruin us. (Do we ask for serpent like things that really would not help us or glorify God? Could that an example of how close or far away our hearts are to God’s will) The gifts that he gives to us are always good as God wants the best for us.

How good is that gift?

The answer to that question is confirmed in a scripture in the epistle of James…

James 1:17 (ESV) Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.

Again we have confirmation that God grants good gifts only, please don’t take from that I don’t mean that we are exempt from bad things happening to us because I have certainly had “teachable moments” but many have been caused due to paths I have started on. Does that mean we will all win the National Lottery or all have Ferrari’s? If it would corrupt us and ruin us then I doubt God would allow that as a “gift”. He may allow financial pressure to be released on you but there is no guarantee of “free money”.

James describes it as not just a good gift but also a perfect gift and we see that God is only interested in gifting us with things that will be good for us. I liken it to fast food where I know that a cheeseburger tastes good but I also know that if I eat the same unhealthy thing three times a day for the rest of my life I will harm myself. How many cheeseburgers are you praying for? Maybe time for an assessment of your wants and needs in your prayer life?

Are you grateful for what you receive? I know many (I am in that number) who will have a 911 prayer request that God has granted me and then later I forget to be grateful to God in prayer, he does not require that and he sees my heart and knows that I am grateful but in the same manner I would consider it good manners to than someone who has blessed me how much more should I thank Him to whom all blessings flow?

James concludes with the idea that God is constant, never changing, no variation and you know where you stand with God, there is no “gifting’s based on whether God is having a good day” God is already more mature or all-knowing and wiser than we will ever be, there is no need to change and another thing that is constant is the good nature and giving nature of God, it is something that is assured because he is that good, good father!

God bless and I pray this was a blessing and please feel free to like, share or comment on here or whatever social media platforms you use as the Lord leads you to, as always I love questions about this or any other article so please feel free to fill in the form below, all comments are moderated to avoid profanity.
TTE
TGBTG
SDG

Advertisements

Gods authority is challenged by the serpent – Genesis 3:1-7

downloadfile-24.jpeg

Gods authority is challenged by the serpent – Genesis 3:1-7 – 04/19/2016

Genesis 3:1 (ESV) Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” 2 And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, 3 but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’” 4 But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. 5 For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. 7 Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.

This article is designed to be a slightly more in depth article than I did in the “creation series” elsewhere on this website, Lord willing I hope to look at the full creation week and examine the case for a Biblical creation from the mindset that the bible is accurate and a honest and truthful source of history in how we came to be here. I am not here to attack other mindsets as I appreciate that not everyone shares my view of a biblical history and I do welcome lively debate on the subject regardless of your thoughts or beliefs on how the earth was made.

In order to look at this from a biblical context we must first look at the text in question starting in chapter three verse one…

V1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?”

As the title suggests this was the first challenge to the authority of God and although the text does not clearly state that this was Satan, however elsewhere in the bible it does make it clear, let’s look at the book of Ezekiel…

Ezekiel 28:13 (ESV) You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone was your covering, sardius, topaz, and diamond, beryl, onyx, and jasper, sapphire, emerald, and carbuncle; and crafted in gold were your settings and your engravings. On the day that you were created they were prepared. 14 You were an anointed guardian cherub. I placed you; you were on the holy mountain of God; in the midst of the stones of fire you walked. 15 You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created, till unrighteousness was found in you. 16 In the abundance of your trade you were filled with violence in your midst, and you sinned; so I cast you as a profane thing from the mountain of God, and I destroyed you, O guardian cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire. 17 Your heart was proud because of your beauty; you corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor. I cast you to the ground; I exposed you before kings, to feast their eyes on you. 18 By the multitude of your iniquities, in the unrighteousness of your trade you profaned your sanctuaries; so I brought fire out from your midst; it consumed you, and I turned you to ashes on the earth in the sight of all who saw you. 19 All who know you among the peoples are appalled at you; you have come to a dreadful end and shall be no more forever.”

And we read that the serpent was crafty and cunning and this is a warning to us today not to engage Satan in a battle of wits or attempt to even outsmart or try to do battle with the word of God against Satan, he knows the word of God and knows how to twist it to suit his ends and we see this in this text that this is what he tries to do with Eve. It is important to recognize that Satan is a created being; he is not equal or equivalent to God. To elevate him to such stature is giving him what he desires most, to have the power of God. He can be defeated and Jesus is more than a match for him.

He understood the woman and understood that by going to the woman and attacking the one that the command was not explicitly given (see Genesis 2:15 onwards) to he may expose a weakness in the relationship of the man and the woman. The question is not a friendly one and exposed by Satan’s purpose in all of our lives that is explained in John 10 where he is listed as “the thief”…

John 10:10 (ESV) The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. 11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. 13 He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. 17 For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.”

I know all about Satan’s plan in this area as often times we have been attacked as a family unit when either myself or my wife has been at their weakest and here is how he attacked “He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” He decided to go against the very word of God and whilst this may be a bold assertion for us mere mortals, Satan genuinely believes that he is equivalent to God and will attempt to place himself in that place.

He would have had foreknowledge of whether Adam did a good job telling Eve God’s plan for the garden and he approached it in a manner taking what God had said as a positive (He gave them so much to eat and a perfect paradise to roam in) and the devil focused in on the ONE LIMITATION that was given and even then he asked the question in a manner that was designed to trip up Eve.

V2 And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, 3 but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’”

Eve was really proud to be asked this question and answered him in the first place and secondly that she answered in her own pride and here is the first mistakes made in this whole unfortunate encounter. She also does not name the tree by name and lastly she adds her own addition to the end of the command from God. Here is what God actually said…

Genesis 2:15 (ESV) The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. 16 And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”

No-one expects Eve to repeat the command verbatim but she was not supposed to add to the words of God and this is what Satan jumped on. She added the “nor shall you touch it” and whilst it may have been a sound policy to avoid temptations she was not bound by that recommendation by God and I see that a lot with Christians who bind themselves up in a whole bunch of traditional dogma that is not actually biblical and have been passed down as a tradition as opposed to sound theology. Eve really had a poor understanding of what God had actually said and did not understand the heart behind it. This for me as a man, husband and father falls squarely on Adams shoulders as he was the one who was supposed to take care of that.

V4 But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. 5 For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

As stated prior, Satan jumped on this like a flash exposing her false doctrine he had planned this and from the first moment asking the question in the way he did he opened up this situation to his benefit. He did not have to discredit God’s word; he just had to make Eve doubt and want to defend it. That is how he got a foothold in that conversation and from this he then went on the attack.

He stated “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” He starts with questioning to make sure that Eve did not know what she was talking about and now moves in for the kill by contradicting God’s word. God’s word shows two good ways of dealing with the devil…

Jude 1:9 (ESV) But when the archangel Michael, contending with the devil, was disputing about the body of Moses, he did not presume to pronounce a blasphemous judgment, but said, “The Lord rebuke you.”

Ephesians 4:27 (ESV) and give no opportunity to the devil.

Basically the bible states that we should not be tackling him dead on and instead leaving him to the Lord because greater is he that is in us than the one who tempts us. The devil concentrates on what he believes the benefits would be to them if they carry out this sin. The most dangerous part of this that there was a little truth in that their eyes would be opened…to their sin and just how inferior and different they were to God. Satan promised the opposite, he played on the pride that was in the heart of the woman wanting to be like the one who created them and made them fall in the same way he did, by wanting to be equal with God.

V6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.

Satan focused on how good the food was and Eve looks at the food and is enticed by the very thing that we are warned about in the epistle that we call First John…

1st John 2:15 (ESV) Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. 17 And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.

Eve did all of that…

  • She gave into the desires of the flesh – when the woman saw that the tree was good for food
  • the desires of the eyes – was a delight to the eyes
  • and lastly the pride of life – desired to make one wise

Now the seed was sown Eve was sunk, she had backed herself into a corner and now wanted to go against God. This is a common story because every sin, whether it is a small sin like disobedience or a slightly larger one like lusting after another, they all start in the same manner, they start with pitching your tent closer and closer to the place of sin until the sin overtakes you. Whether that is a look that gravitates to a thought that cultivates a desire and concludes with an obsession it is all the same.

Up to this point it was all temptation and Eve still had to make the choice to sin and she chose that path but before you get to hard on Eve please note that it does state that her husband was with her and he took the fruit from his wife and ate it. As the man of the house he should have covered his wife and protected her from the devil. Eve was deceived but Adam had all the information direct from God and he chose to willingly rebel against God.

V7 Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.

True enough their eyes were opened and the promise was fulfilled, they saw their nakedness and understood shame for the first time. They understood exposure, they understood vulnerability and they were experiencing things that God did not want them to have to go through. We know this as guilt, suddenly everything was worse and they had realized that they had done something wrong and they decided to cover their shame with leaves and for the first time they had a desire to be modest. God made us to be beautiful in who we are, our sin and fallen nature is the reason we wear clothes.

Lord willing, in our next article in Genesis we will look at verses eight through thirteen in chapter three when we look at what happens the next time Adam and Eve talk to God. I pray that you are able to join us as we go through the bible, line by line and precept by precept.

God bless and I pray this was a blessing and please feel free to like, share or comment on here or whatever social media platforms you use as the Lord leads you to, as always I love questions about this or any other article so please feel free to fill in the form below, all comments are moderated to avoid profanity.
TTE
TGBTG
SDG

The creation of Man – Genesis 2:4-9 – 03/08/2016

downloadfile-24.jpeg

The creation of Man – Genesis 2:4-9 – 03/08/2016

Genesis 2:4 (ESV) These are the generations of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens. 5 When no bush of the field was yet in the land and no small plant of the field had yet sprung up—for the LORD God had not caused it to rain on the land, and there was no man to work the ground, 6 and a mist was going up from the land and was watering the whole face of the ground— 7 then the LORD God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature. 8 And the LORD God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed. 9 And out of the ground the LORD God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

This article is designed to be a slightly more in depth article than I did in the “creation series” elsewhere on this website, Lord willing I hope to look at the full creation week and examine the case for a Biblical creation from the mindset that the bible is accurate and a honest and truthful source of history in how we came to be here. I am not here to attack other mindsets as I appreciate that not everyone shares my view of a biblical history and I do welcome lively debate on the subject regardless of your thoughts or beliefs on how the earth was made.

In order to look at this from a biblical context we must first look at the text in question starting in chapter two verse four…

V4 These are the generations of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens.

In Genesis 1:1-2:3 we see a brief summary of all creation was created and often times we see critics of the bible point to the texts in Genesis 1 and Genesis 2 and claim that there is a discrepancy or contradiction in the scriptures. I must first advise that this is not the case. Genesis two is simply giving part of the creation account in much greater detail.

It would be like you inviting me to a party and charging me with the task of bringing chips, soda and dip for the chips. On the way there I text you and reconfirm that I am in the supermarket buying chips and dip. Imagine then I send you a further text telling you that I went to WalMart and bought a bag of Doritos, a bag of Cheetos, two bags of potato chips, 3 2 liters of soda, some fruit punch for the kids and 3 different dips. The second text gives much the same information as the first but in much greater detail; this is the same situation in this text.

The writer states that “These are the generations of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens.” That this was narrated to the writer as the writer was not there when God created, the writer was not omnipresent with God and he got the generations/genealogy/history directly from God who was indeed the primary witness.

We see the use of the word LORD in this passage, the name that was so holy to the Jewish people that they would remove the consonants and from that we get our pronunciation “Yahweh” and somewhere along the line some pronounced JHVH as “Jehovah”. When you see the name LORD it stands for the name of God, the bread giver, the true LORD of everything, the name that demands our reverence. The capitals are important as they show the correct translation.

V5 When no bush of the field was yet in the land and no small plant of the field had yet sprung up—for the LORD God had not caused it to rain on the land, and there was no man to work the ground, 6 and a mist was going up from the land and was watering the whole face of the ground—

The first thing that strikes me is that there has been no rain upon the land. This gives a great indication of what the climate was like that rain was not required to make the plants grow. The waters above the waters provided the perfect atmosphere to be inhabited and make things grow. Of course we have this confirmed by the fact that creation was deemed as “good” at this point having no death, no decay and only positive creation on the earth. The writer of Genesis two rewinds to before there was vegetation on Genesis one and we get a reconfirmation of some highlights of some of the points in chapter one.

God made the scene in an aged format, the rivers were rivers without rain, the plants sprouted without being planted, the trees had fruit ready for man to eat, the vegetation happened on the same day it was created. We don’t read on this day God planted a seed and six months later it came up. We are reminded of the order of creation in verse five in that man had not been created yet.

Verse six gives an indication of the tropical paradise by the description of how the mist was going up from the land and causing a precipitation cycle that did not require an actual rainfall. God had the creation all planned out to be a self-sufficient creation prior to the fall. We will go into that in greater detail LORD willing when we get to Genesis 3. All we need to complete this creation picture is the arrival of man…

V7 then the LORD God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.

So we were formed from DUST! Do you still have that self-pride and self-worth problems? I look at the creation in two ways, that we are who we are meant to be because we are made in God’s image so please do not doubt your value from a loving Father God, but we were made from the lowest materials available so please use this as a balance to keep your pride in check.

We have life by the gift of God; even in the beginning life did not happen except through the breath of God. Man became a living creature (or soul) and you will not see anywhere in scripture that God breathed life into the animals and despite the fact that we are made of something that is of little worth (when was the last time you saw someone spending millions of dollars on dust?) with the basest of components, it is literally next to nothing but with the touch of God it became his beloved creation.

V8 And the LORD God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed.

Here is the employ that God has for the man, he puts the man in the garden he created called Eden, this was a made to measure garden for Adam and was made to be the perfect place to live in. This is the creation that at the end of the creation week was called “very good”. At this time only Adam is mentioned, we are not introduced to Eve until later, all we know at this time was that this place was created for man, it truly was man’s special place, created just for him.

V9 And out of the ground the LORD God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

The last description we have of the garden is that it is beautiful, blossoming garden that God has created every tree to blossom and spring forth that is both pleasant to the eye and functional for good food. Talk about the easy life! God literally created everything that man could ask for, what a paradise but that does not sound much like the death and decay that we face today…

We see that God created two trees amongst the other trees and these have special significance and we will see why in the next article.

Lord willing, in our next article in Genesis we look at verses ten through seventeen where we understand the rivers of Eden and God gives man one rule to obey. I pray that you are able to join us as we go through the bible, line by line and precept by precept.

God bless and I pray this was a blessing and please feel free to like, share or comment on here or whatever social media platforms you use as the Lord leads you to, as always I love questions about this or any other article so please feel free to fill in the form below, all comments are moderated to avoid profanity.
TTE
TGBTG
SDG

Genesis One – Day Five – God makes the birds, the sea creatures and every living creature that moves – Genesis 1:20-23

downloadfile-24.jpeg

Genesis One – Day Five – God makes the birds, the sea creatures and every living creature that moves – Genesis 1:20-23 – 01/26/2016

Genesis 1:20 (ESV) And God said, “Let the waters swarm with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the heavens.” 21 So God created the great sea creatures and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarm, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 22 And God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.” 23 And there was evening and there was morning, the fifth day.

This article is designed to be a slightly more in depth article than I did in the “creation series” elsewhere on this website, Lord willing I hope to look at the full creation week and examine the case for a Biblical creation from the mindset that the bible is accurate and a honest and truthful source of history in how we came to be here. I am not here to attack other mindsets as I appreciate that not everyone shares my view of a biblical history and I do welcome lively debate on the subject regardless of your thoughts or beliefs on how the earth was made.

In order to look at this from a biblical context we must first look at the text in question starting in verse twenty…

V20 And God said, “Let the waters swarm with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the heavens.”

I love the rich wording here when it says “Let the waters swarm with swarms of living creatures” which shows the fullness that was created with just a few words. Think of the rich diversity you have when you go underwater, fish are in all shapes, all sizes all colors and the variety is tremendous. It shows a creator God who had limitless possibilities and just as a small demonstration of who he is as God he created such richness that has been summed up in eight small words.

God’s word is at odds with an evolutionary belief that creatures evolved from a single cell organism and evolved into the animals in the sea, the ones on land, the ones in the air and then at the pinnacle of evolution you have the “homo erectus” the human. God’s word states that was not the case, it does agree that humans came after the animals but it states quite clearly that God did it and they were created so that they could survive, so these were fully grown animals and not eggs or tadpoles.

V21 So God created the great sea creatures and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarm, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.

Again God created them “according to their kinds” and there was plenty of variation within fish and water dwelling mammals, you just have to go into your local pet store to have a small sampling of just how much variety there is. If I was to walk into my local PetSmart and say “can I have a fish please?” I could want a guppy but be handed a goldfish because the understanding would be different.

They are all according to their kinds, the fish don’t transform into birds and the birds don’t turn into dogs, the birds were created according to the bird kind, the eagle, the raven, the dove are exactly that all birds but all different. Another example is in my front room where I have a Labrador and a Queensland dog, they are two dogs and if the male Labrador was to mate with the Queensland then they would make …(wait for it)… A DOG! That would be a process known as macro evolution or a variation within kinds which has a solid scientific footing, but if you were to suggest that if they mated generation upon generation and suddenly they made another animal say a horse then that would be preposterous, however that is what you are asking me to swallow when you are saying that a fish landed on the land, sprouted legs and became a land dweller and through series of changes became a monkey and then a human. That process where two mate and it forms an intermediate species is called “macro-evolution” and that does not come from “micro-evolution”.

If this was the case then the fossil record would be littered with intermediate species bones and fragments that would blow the case for creation completely out of the water it is not there and if anything we have more fossils that show a worldwide flood where animals have been enveloped while eating others, not exactly millions of years there?

We have to come to one of three conclusions…

• Evolution happened slowly, creating billions of years of changes that the scientific evidence does not support
• The changes came in huge steps such as a lion mated or an elephant mated and created say a Rhino
• It was exactly as the bible said it happened and the earth is in fact younger than they think it is.

Obviously I have issues with the first two as to believe in either of those outcomes would require faith that I do not have. God continues his population control plan in verse twenty two…

V22 And God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.”

God commands them to be fruitful and multiply, the earth was created to be populated and again the bible flies in the face of man’s logic that complains that there are too many people on earth. God created the earth to be inhabited and even with today’s numbers there is still plenty of room to be inhabited. Even in the USA there are vast lands that have no-one living on them for literally miles, and many other countries are like that also. Even in densely populated cities in the UK like Glasgow or London if you drive 20-30 miles out you see rural countryside, so we are hardly living on top of one another.

You have to remember, the land animals are not here yet! We just have the water borne and airborne animals thus far! There is no land dwelling creatures or man as of yet. Perhaps that is where evolution and the bible stop agreeing that man arrived last.

V23 And there was evening and there was morning, the fifth day.

And if we needed more confirmation, God names the day a day and calls it the fifth day, a literal day that was not to be interpreted any other way. LORD willing, next time we look at Genesis we will look at day six where God creates the land animals and makes man in their own image, I pray that you can make the next article and please check out Epistles page for our collection of bible studies on this and other books.

God bless and I pray this was a blessing and please feel free to like, share or comment on here or whatever social media platforms you use as the Lord leads you to, as always I love questions about this or any other article so please feel free to fill in the form below, all comments are moderated to avoid profanity.
TTE
TGBTG
SDG

Qualifications for Overseers

image

This bible study is part of a series on the book of 1st Timothy, in order to see the full series please check out our “epistle” page or alternatively please check out our page dedicated to the book of 1st Timothy for other studies in this book. 

When I set this blog up my intention was to explore the epistles and do the occasional bible study based on what I had studied and learned, what you are reading below is notes I have made. I have to confess that this bible study is basic in its content and is not prepared by a pastor and I have to admit I have no theological training; my hope in prayer is that someone will be blessed by the notes below.

Let’s start in verse one of the third chapter of First Timothy.

Qualifications for Overseers

1 The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task. 2 Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, 3 not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. 4 He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, 5 for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church? 6 He must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil. 7 Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace, into a snare of the devil.

Paul starts again by stating that right after he introduces that he will be speaking about the qualifications of an overseer, he establishes in the very first word that it will be a “he”. Paul states that it has to be a he, however that not all men are qualified and he will list qualifications below to help those who are called with finding suitable people in their task.

Episkopos

The Greek word (episkopos) which is translated as “bishop” or “overseer” means over – watcher literally someone God has charged to watch over the assembly, our closest English word is “overseer” nowadays it is not uncommon to see more than one “minister” or “pastor” in a larger assembly and some will fulfil different roles, some will be shepherds, some will be counsellors, some will be teachers and some will be evangelists, todays modern pastor will have to do many of these roles.

Timothy is reminded that the person who wants to do this does desire a good work; therefore he had to look for good guys that fulfil the criteria. It is not about elevation it is more about stepping up as an act of service and by taking this task on, you are willing to state that you are willing to serve more and do more work.

Careful of the “title chasers”

Conversely Timothy had not to look for those who chased titles, self-glory or individual honor. That is not service at all (perhaps self-service) which is why there were very steep qualifications in order to qualify.

I won’t get too deep into this but it does sadden me when major denominations with millions of Christian followers deviate from the word of God go away from the word of God and ordain women when there are perfectly able men to do the job.

Let’s look at the qualifications

1) Above reproach – Blameless, nothing in his life would cause attacks to the church, one who lives a righteous life. Really what you are looking at here is a man who cannot reasonably be accused and does not create wonder about why he is in that position. (many of these criteria’s will merge into each other)

2) The husband of one wife – Someone who is committed to his wife, a one woman man. Not someone prone to affairs, someone prone to straying, someone his wife can trust. Someone who is devoted to that one woman and not deviated to others, including fantasies such as pornography.

3) Sober-minded – someone who thinks with clarity, not given to going to extremes and is reliable. Someone who is trustworthy and knows how to handle difficult situations. Ministry can sometimes be difficult and you would not sent someone into a situation where someone was grieving that would constantly be joking and coming out with all manners of ill-timed and inappropriate conversation. Really we are looking at the man’s behavior that he would give a good counsel and not disqualify himself due to foolish conduct.

4) Self-controlled – Is as you would expect someone who controls himself, is trustworthy, is upright and does not rage or “lose it” at the slightest miniscule thing. Self-control is a rare gift in a man.

5) Respectable – Can also be translated as “modest”, “dignified” or “orderly” any of these definitions would give a good example of the type of man that Paul is speaking of.

6) Hospitable – Willing to open their home to strangers and friends, their house is a house of ministry where people are always welcome and their house is an extension to the church where real ministry can happen in a smaller setting.

7) Able to teach – He has to be able to lead the assembly in sound doctrine. Notice it doesn’t state eloquence or be “society friendly” (unlike today when the first concern is how it looks) just the ability to break down doctrine and be skilled to teach either in a large group, small group or individual setting.

8) Not a drunkard – This is quite a hotly debated subject as to whether an overseer should drink wine. Personally, from my history and to err on the side of caution as to not stumble a weaker believer, it would be better to sacrifice personal comfort in order to not cause another to sin. 

Paul states “not a drunkard” and for me this goes hand in hand with “above reproach”, “sober minded” and “self-controlled”. I don’t know about you but if I was to see a man falling about and not in control of himself due to being drunk, those words would be the furthest from my mind!

Whilst it is not a “banned substance” I have seen folks who have been encouraged to drink by leadership in churches “go too far with their liberty” and having sin issues because of it. Not really good leadership and a steep price to pay for “liberty”. Paul certainly discourages choosing someone who has an unresolved issue with alcohol.

9) Not violent but gentle – not a brawler, can you imagine an assembly where a man who led it wanted to be involved in fist fights? Doesn’t really show Jesus gentle side as appears to be involved in whatever the latest battle is. Not quite the same as someone who wished to argue all the time, which comes next!

10) Not quarrelsome – Similar to the violent man, this one is violent of speech! Always contentious, always splitting people up, always fighting, always conflict. Why would you do that to your assembly?

11) Not a lover of money – We see this a lot in today’s church, the “career Pastors” or the ones who are in the ministry for the money that it generates. You can see these men’s hearts if you ask them to give up their lavishness for a 2 year ministry in the 3rd world. They would not be lining up to bear another’s burdens with the least of these. Another issue is that these men become covetous, always looking for the next big thing, keep up to date on the pulse of the newest movements to get new people in and he is never satisfied and always looking for more, bigger or better.

By being anchored in the temporary things such as money, the heavenly things are bound to be neglected. How can the man counsel others about the riches of heaven if he is focused on the riches in his own wallet?

12) He must manage his own household well – God has given the man a training environment in his own home. Paul states that those who wish to be leaders have to be effective leaders in their own homes. They have to lead their family in devotions; they have to lead the family in prayer.

13) He must not be a recent convert – One of the dangers of leadership is choosing the wrong man, too quickly. Perhaps he is a likeable man and appears good for leadership with one issue – He hasn’t been saved all that long!

Paul warns against doing this. I have seen this happen and I also have seen someone remove themselves out of ministry due to issues concerning this. Being in ministry is tough and it is not fair to an assembly or the person themselves to put them into a position they are not equipped to handle.

Obviously if it is an obvious calling from God and that would be acceptable, but Paul is speaking about a brand new believer, they can be swayed with erroneous doctrines and fall into errors that a more mature believer would not fall into.

Lastly in extreme cases you can burn a new believer out, cause them to doubt even their faith and you could lose him to the faith. It is always best to be cautious and cover any new appointments with care.

I have been in a missions church where I was perhaps given more than I should have been because it was “all hands on deck” but any training, any teaching, were all done supervised and careful care was taken before I was allowed to do it on my own. That is not distrust but simply good leadership.

14) He must be well thought of by outsiders – He must have a good report, a good testimony both in and out of the church, so much so that he even has the respect and people know what kind of man he is both in the assembly and out. His life must be a positive affirmation of his faith. He must be Salt and Light to those outside and his life must be the best advert for the faith of Christ Jesus.

Steep qualifications

Quite a long list huh? Which is why I stated it the qualifications were pretty steep. I think already I have ruled myself out from ever being an overseer!

Thank you again for finding this article and I pray these bible studies are a blessing. Please feel free to comment, like or share as the LORD leads you to.
TGBTG
TTE