A Whole Bible, Paul’s Teachings: Stepmother, Passover, Circumcision

We are now up to 87 videos on our Youtube channel and over 1,000 views (total) covering nine chapters of our book Whole Bible Christianity and a few other topics. Yay! We’re working on the tenth chapter scripts now, which will be longer than just what is in the book and include more helpful biblical information on application of the Word to daily living. In the meantime, take a look at this video we are highlighting today.

Usually we hear that Paul converted to Christianity, except there was no Christianity such as we know it today in his time. He was a model of a Law-following Jew. He never stopped abiding in His Messiah’s Word. He taught the Law, filled with the Spirit and love, as it was intended – a lifestyle and discipleship method. See our video Whole Bible Objections: Paul Says It’s Okay, Can’t Do, It’s A Curse. Many of his teachings have been sliced and diced and taught differently. But when we just read the Word, we can see he held to the ancient, unified message of the Father and Jesus.

Paul doesn’t make up any new commandment for stepmoms in 1 Corinthians 5:1-2. He certainly doesn’t cherry-pick nor does he apply only the law he chooses. Not only does he say that the Corinthians should be following this Law, he implies it is a natural fact everyone (even the non-believing Gentiles) knows. In other words, God’s people should at least have the sense God gave a pagan. He also gives the punishment for the sin outlined in Torah – “purge the evil from among you.” (Deuteronomy 13:5, 17:7, 12, 21:21, 22:21). Later, it looks like they were “obedient in all things” (2 Corinthians 2:1-11) although they didn’t stone the guy with the stepmom wife because we don’t have the power of capital punishment. Our alternative is from Matthew 18 – confront for repentance and cast out if we have to.

In 1 Corinthians 11:23-34 it is obvious that the meal is the Passover (verse 23 “the night (our Lord) was betrayed”). The misnamed “Lord’s Supper” is in reality the Passover before His crucifixion (Matthew 17:7; Mark 14:12; Luke 22:8, 15). It is not communion. This is a problem for those who insist on separating the Law into civil, ceremonial, and moral sections. The Passover is clearly ceremonial in their view. But the Corinthians (and probably the rest of the “church”) are celebrating the feast. The reason we don’t spot this is because it is taught wrongly that they are celebrating some sort of “communion” ceremony.

The issue with circumcision is the same as other places, which is that circumcision doesn’t save anyone. Never has, never will. Becoming a Jew or following some Laws does not save a person and never has. A person follows the Laws because they are saved. In other words, a person following God by faith is justified. Circumcision is a sign after the fact (as in Genesis 17).

Keep three things firmly in mind as you are reading Paul’s writings. One is that he doesn’t downgrade or speak negatively about God’s Law. Ever. But like his Messiah he’s not so fond of man’s laws. Two is that the Law was never meant to save anyone. Law was added as a guidepost because of transgressions increasing (see our video A Whole Faith: Continuous through Generations). Israel was “saved” first then given instruction on living a saved life. Three is that the word “law” can mean any law including natural law, Roman law, God’s Law, man’s traditions especially Jewish ones, and physical laws. Law is improperly thought of as a legal relationship to earn merit which can be traded for salvation.

If you don’t like the Law and have been trained to reject it, then Paul’s writings will look anti-Law. However, if you have a heart of flesh with His Law written on it, then Paul’s writings are easy to understand and completely fit in with the rest of Scripture.

Shalom,
Bruce

New Video: A Whole Faith: Six Assumptions about Bible Interpretation

Hello All,
Thank you for your continued support of whole Bible Christianity. New on our youtube channel is the next video based on our book Whole Bible Christianity. This one covers six assumptions that undergird whole Bible Christian Bible interpretation. They are 1) His Word is the highest authority. 2) It reveals, it doesn’t conceal God. 3) It is clear, plain and easy to understand if we do what we read. 4) It means what He intends which is our definition of a literal interpretation. 5) It is self-explaining, or, the Bible interprets the Bible assuming we use the entire book. 6) His Word requires a response. Whether you embrace it or run and hide, it doesn’t just allow you to sit there like a bump on a log.

We also answer the question, “Can the Bible be trusted?” (Of course it can.)

Enjoy, subscribe, and shalom.
Bruce

Do What Jesus Did

From the book Whole Bible Christianity chapter 9 Whole Bible Instruction section titled “Do What Jesus Did”

Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written, “ ‘He will command his angels concerning you,’ and “ ‘On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.’ ” Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’ ” (Matthew 4:5–7, ESV)

Guideline four here might be a little more obvious if we realize that the word “put” is the same word as “test.” Literally, “test God with a test.” And testing is exactly what we think it is. We do not make God prove Himself with tests of our own making. This is what the deceiver was trying to get Jesus to do by throwing Himself off of the Temple. Testing like this includes a lack of belief and even outright disobedience. The Satan quoted parts of Scripture (he’s skilled at part-Bible doctrine) and Jesus responds with the missing sections.

16“You shall not put the Lord your God to the test, as you tested Him at Massah. 17“You should diligently keep the commandments of the Lord your God, and His testimonies and His statutes which He has commanded you. (Deuteronomy 6:16-17 NASB95)

Israel “tested” God at Massah (a word that means “test”) by moaning and complaining about the lack of water, and faulting God for failing to provide. They were questioning whether God was present, and disobedience followed. Instead, they should’ve had patience and trusted that God would not have led them to that place without providing water.

7He named the place Massah and Meribah because of the quarrel of the sons of Israel, and because they tested the Lord, saying, “Is the Lord among us, or not?” (Exodus 17:7 NASB95)

In effect, they were saying that God couldn’t or wouldn’t follow through. That implied either He was too dumb to know they needed water or was deliberately messing with them. They were saying that God did something wrong on purpose. They made up a fault in God and were using that to remove Him from the throne and put themselves in His place. Testing God in this way is nothing more than high-handed disobedience, and shows we do not trust God’s Word. When we test Him with a test of our own making, it is because we are afraid He won’t live up to His Word. Or that we want to use a perceived failure of the test for an excuse to go our own way.

A different kind of test is laid out for us in Malachi. This testing is approved by God.

10“Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this,” says the Lord of hosts, “if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows. (Malachi 3:10 NASB95)

The testing mentioned here is within the bounds of obedience, as in “obey the Lord, and in so doing test Him and see that His Word is true. He will deliver as He promised.” We don’t test God by disobedience; we test Him by trusting His Word and obeying it.

When we decide on our own to switch the Sabbath to another day, this is also testing God with a test. He doesn’t immediately (or apparently) zap us, so we think we’re okay. Then we go on to break other laws. If we eat bacon and don’t drop dead we keep eating. We presume on His grace, making it cheaper. Then we compound our sin by sharing the results of the test with others. We encourage them to test Him in a sinful way also. It just keeps getting worse and worse. Either we stick with the whole of His Word, carefully and exactly, as Jesus did, or we test Him to justify our own knowledge and pride. I think I’ll pick the testing of obedience, myself.

Shalom

Continuity Central to Whole Bible Belief

A big issue addressed in the book Whole Bible Christianity is that of continuity. There are those who teach that the Bible is a series of starts and stops in the plan of God. They see Israel and the church separated, the Law stopped and grace started, and so on. Their version of God appears to routinely change His plans because of man’s lack of cooperation. This is called discontinuity.

We see continuity in God’s plan. He doesn’t have a series of starts and stops in His work because He can’t figure out what man is going to do next. He’s always been on top of things, has one plan (He calls it a Promise) one Body, and one faith. That faith is delivered to us in plain language, repeated over and over, hasn’t failed yet, and will not fail. The Body has been around since the beginning and we are privileged to have many outstanding members such as Ruth, Rahab, Noah, David, Daniel, Isaiah, Huldah, Paul, Andrew, Matthew, and all the others named and unnamed. The Promise is Jesus the Messiah, who made possible a reunion (a union broken in the Garden by disobedience) with God by His death and resurrection. The message is clear: abide in His Word and live. Reject it and die.

The only discontinuity is in a break with God. We see discontinuity because it is in our heart. Continuity resumes when we restore our union with Him by His grace through faithful abiding in every word out of His mouth.

Paul’s Conversion

We’ve already figured out that Paul did not convert to Christianity and start writing new commands for a body that was separate from Israel. He was a model of a Law following Jew (chapter 6), and never stopped abiding in His Messiah’s Word. He taught the Law, filled with the Spirit and love, as it was intended – a lifestyle and discipleship method. Many of his teachings have been sliced and diced and taught differently. But when we just read the Word, we can see he held to the ancient, unified message of the Father and Jesus.

Keep three things firmly in mind as you are reading Paul’s writings. One is that he doesn’t downgrade or speak negatively about God’s Law. Ever. Man’s laws on the other hand he’s not so fond of. Two is that the Law was never meant to save anyone. Law was added as a guidepost because of transgressions increasing. Israel was “saved” first then given instruction on living a saved life. Three is that “law” can mean any law including natural law, Roman law, God’s Law, man’s traditions especially Jewish ones, and physical laws. Law is improperly thought of as a legal relationship to earn merit which some think they can trade for salvation.

If you don’t like the Law and have been trained to reject it, then Paul’s writings will look anti-Law. However, if you have a heart of flesh with His Law written on it, then Paul’s writings are easy to understand and easily fit in with the rest of Scripture.

The Word Reveals

God’s Word is intended by Him to reveal His character, will, plan and purpose to us. It was not written to conceal Him or what He intends for man.

29“The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our sons forever, that we may observe all the words of this law. (Deuteronomy 29:29 NASB95)

13For behold, He who forms mountains and creates the wind And declares to man what are His thoughts, He who makes dawn into darkness And treads on the high places of the earth, The Lord God of hosts is His name. (Amos 4:13 NASB95)

It would be somewhat nonsensical for Him to cause His words to be recorded, and no one could figure them out. God lets us in on what He is doing and will do, and what He expects from man. We have no excuse to be ignorant of what God requires. The Bible is preserved for us so that we can read it and learn about God. He made sure the words were written down so other generations would have information they could use to find Him.

16“Come near to Me, listen to this: From the first I have not spoken in secret, From the time it took place, I was there. And now the Lord God has sent Me, and His Spirit.” 17Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel, “I am the Lord your God, who teaches you to profit, Who leads you in the way you should go. 18“If only you had paid attention to My commandments! Then your well-being would have been like a river, And your righteousness like the waves of the sea. (Isaiah 48:16-18 NASB95)

7Surely the Lord God does nothing Unless He reveals His secret counsel To His servants the prophets. (Amos 3:7 NASB95)

One of the big reasons that the Reformation was so effective is that the Bible was translated into common languages. Everyone could compare the existing church with the one in the book of Acts. They didn’t match up too well, and reform was demanded. God meant the Bible to be understood, and to reveal His works and character and power to all generations, at least to those of the generations searching for Him.

‘Whole Bible Christianity’ chapter 4 section on It Reveals

Do What Jesus Did

Our Lord and Master gave us a number of rules for living the whole of the word. Some of them were indirect and stated in His parables. But some of them were direct. Technically, everything in the whole Book is from Jesus (all the words should be in red!) but here we are just speaking of what Jesus said directly during His incarnation at the temptation in the desert.

When confronted by evil, Jesus shows us practical defense. In Matthew chapter four, He made three statements to counter the Satan’s temptations, and all three statements came from “what is written” meaning Torah or the Law.

4But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.’ ” (Matthew 4:4 NASB95)

7Jesus said to him, “On the other hand, it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’ ” (Matthew 4:7 NASB95)

10Then Jesus said to him, “Go, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.’ ” (Matthew 4:10 NASB95)

Each response is saying essentially the same thing in three different ways. On the surface what looks like three different temptations have the same goal. The Satan tries to get Jesus to abandon God’s will and do His own thing (in reality the Satan’s own thing).

We still get hammered with the same sort of temptations on a regular basis, and the defense used by the Master works just as well now as it did then.

‘Whole Bible Christianity’ chapter 9 Do What Jesus Did

The Believer’s Daily Bread

Some might’ve freaked out a little at our last post on reading the whole Bible. Jesus lost some disciples when He spoke of this concept too. So here’s a short explanation of what we think Jesus means by “eating His body and drinking His blood.”

Jesus describes the new covenant in the gospel of John in a different way. He calls it “eating (His) flesh and drinking (His) blood.”

53Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. 54Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. 55For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. 56He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. 57As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me. 58This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever. (John 6:53-58 KJV)

Remember, this was said at a time when there was no New Testament. You might think Jesus is talking about a so-called sacrament here. But the Protestant crackers and grape juice ceremony hadn’t been created. Neither had the mystical wafer the Catholics favor. It isn’t the feast of Passover or Unleavened Bread (1 Corinthians 10:16), and He’s not saying we should nibble His fingers, or tap His main artery like Dracula. There is life in His flesh and blood, but He doesn’t mean the tissue and corpuscles (although we could argue that point).

63“It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life. (John 6:63 NASB95)

All Jesus is talking about is consuming God’s Words for our souls like we do food for our bodies. Not such an odd concept. Jeremiah (Jeremiah 15:16) Ezekiel (Ezekiel 3) and John (Revelation 10:9) did it. Our new hearts of flesh are fed by the Word and it’s pumped to our limbs for action. This ‘reading and doing’ (hear or see and obey) the whole of the Word is the basis of whole Bible Christianity. His Words – all of them – are His body and blood. It’s not just the words in red that we colored in later. The word ‘obey’ is pretty much the same as ‘abide’ or ‘remain’ and goes along with “hear and see,” and “eat and drink His blood.” Life comes with abiding in God’s Word (John 6:35).

The Law is part of His body and blood. Real communion is to hear and follow. Salvation is faith in action – to hear, obey, abide, and exchange our ways of death for God’s Way of Life. To abide in His love through His Word. Jesus isn’t talking about a picnic, or mystic wafers and wine. He is talking about obedience.

‘Whole Bible Christianity’ chapter 1 section on The Believer’s Daily Bread

Third Time’s a Charm

The third time eating and drinking the whole of His body and blood from cover to cover will be even better. You will add depth to your realization that God is always in control, and you are His child not because of what you believe but because you love Him and can’t imagine leaving. You will know He loves you too, and will continue to guide you and bring forth fruit from within you, sometimes even when you don’t realize it. Connections between all of the previously misunderstood sections will become clearer. As His Word works its way through your heart, mind and literally your muscles and body parts, filling and changing you, you will wonder how you were making it in life before when you were so deaf, dumb, and blind.

Reading, and re-reading, doing and adding to our doing, over and over again, is all part of the salvation process. The more you read, the more you will understand. The more you act, the more you will understand. This is called being filled with the Word or “knowledge of His will” (Colossians 1:9-12). As your understanding grows, then teach it to others. Sooner or later (hopefully sooner) the Law (a.k.a. all of the Word) will be written on your heart, and you will know it and do it without having to be told. But keep reading and doing and teaching. This is love in action – love for God, and love for each other.

4“Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one! 5“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6“These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. 7“You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. 8“You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. 9“You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. (Deuteronomy 6:4-9 NASB95. See also Deuteronomy 11:19)

‘Whole Bible Christianity’ chapter 9 The Stages of Whole Bible Reading