It is morning here, and I am at church. I know I shouldn’t be checking my phone. But I did. Ninno Jack Junior has just sent me a WhatsApp message, one that I usually should not have opened. But I did. The text was short: “Nevender has passed on.”
If there is a text that has proved complex for Bible readers, both ‘Lay’ and ‘scholarly,’ it is 1 John 5:16-17. I have sought various viewpoints and interpretations. I have read the passage over and again. The text remains complex, and the sin that leads to death seems to stay elusive.
One benefit of learning biblical languages is that you get to read the Bible in the dialect it was written. This can be quite a remarkable experience as you capture those nuances that are hard to translate. But also, the joy that comes with discovering clarity of the text in the original language where the translated passage is not so clear is enormous.
I hope this is a convenient time to have a chat, to have a conversation that matters. I have earnestly followed the discussion on social media and watched your excitement about the ‘Men of God’ in town. I understand. I too have some people whose teachings excite me. After all, we were created for praise and made for worship.
When I read Genesis 22, I am amazed at Abraham’s obedience. It seems like God just tells him to sacrifice Isaac in verse 2, and in verse 3 he is saddling his donkey with wood going! But is it as simple as it looks? I think we may have to scratch the surface and ask questions of the text.
When Paul writes in 2 Cor. 1:20 that ‘all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen to the glory of God through us,’ he is not referring to what we ask for.
Truth is freeing, but also frightening. In an age of political correctness, it is more appealing and deceptively rewarding to merely let truth slide under the rug, wear a smile on the street than invite conflict to your corner. The consequences of neglecting reality vary, from temporal to eternal.
The Greek word γλώσσα (glóssa) means tongue or language. A Tongue may refer to the physical organ (Mk 7:33, 1 Cor 14:9, James 1:26). It may also mean ‘the language used by a particular people in distinction from that of other nations.’ This is how it applies to Acts 2:11; Isa. 66:18; Dan. 3:4, 5:19. When used this way, it refers to a common language people speak, like English or Luganda or Chinese, or a language that is unintelligible to man.
Ron Highfield in his rather great book Great Is the Lord mentions that ‘(God’s) uniqueness is personal and incommunicable.’ He also says that ‘the biblical declaration of God’s uniqueness does not speak merely of divine nature.’
Today, during the class break of Systematic Theology One, I had a short conversation with a fellow seminary student about the doctrine of Inseparable operations. The main idea this teaching conveys is that in every action God does in the world, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit act inseparably, and indivisibly.