Two diametrically opposed ideas concerning Biblical scholarship are seldom understood:
There is wisdom that is transient, and wisdom that is transcendent. There are scholars whom the world recognizes, and there are scholars that God recognizes. People in this world who earn an academic status as a scholar in the field of biblical studies, are considered by this world as experts, qualified to make conclusions about the Bible.
According to God who is the source of the words in the Bible, He does not recognize any academic status in the world that denies His existence, or denies that the Bible is His word. God recognizes only persons who have been born again by the Spirit, and have received the gift of the Holy Spirit, as people eligible to be a biblical scholar (John 3:3). It is by the Spirit that a person is able to understand who God is, and what He has said.
No person born on earth, but not born a second time by the Spirit, can ever understand God or the depths of His Word, neither can they be a genuine biblical scholar. It is by the Spirit that a person is given the ability to understand the scriptures and make valid conclusions.
Jesus said that the depths of scripture are hidden from the unbeliever: “You are permitted to understand the secrets (gr. mystērion) of the Kingdom of Heaven, but others are not…For they look, but they don’t really see. They hear, but they don’t really listen or understand.” ~Matthew 13:11-16
The Koine-Greek, “mystērion,” is a silence imposed by God towards anyone who is not His.
According To The Author Of The Bible, There Are 7 Requirements For A Person Who Will Be A True Bible Scholar:
- They must believe God Exists (Hebrews 11:6).
- They must seek to know God with all of their heart (Jeremiah 29:13).
- They must first repent from all sin (Matthew 4:17).
- They must be born again by faith in Jesus’ death and resurrection (Acts 16:31).
- They must be filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38).
- They must diligently study the entire Bible for a lifetime (Daniel 2:21).
- They must continue to believe in Jesus for all their life (Matthew 24:13).
1. The First Requirement: Believe God Exists
“It is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.” ~Hebrews 11:6
The idea that we must first believe God exists before He will reveal Himself to us, makes no sense to those who do not believe God exists. In the mind of the unbeliever, God must prove He exists before they will believe. The problem for these individuals is that God has set the rules for who He will reveal Himself to.
If we think about this we will realize that we humans do the exact same thing: we do not reveal who we are, to people who don’t really want to know us.
From God’s transcendent view of eternity, He knows that He has already proven He exists by the things that He made. He knows that He sent His Son to earth, so that the issue of whether God exists or not, would be settled. He knows that there are 66 books, written by 40 authors, over a 1,450 year period of time, that records His revelation of who He is, to the world.
God said that He has proven His existence three ways:
God said that every person knows He exists, but they suppress this knowledge and pretend He does not exist, so they can live as they choose:
“God shows his anger from heaven against all sinful, wicked people who suppress the truth by their wickedness. They know the truth about God because what may be known of God is manifest (gr. phaneros) in them. For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.“ ~Romans 1:18-20
The Koine-Greek, “phaneros,” is a truth that is plainly known, apparent, inherent. This knowledge of God that Paul describes, is not a general education we gain in the world by study; it is a knowledge that God gives to every person, planted inside their being when He created us.
The Koine-Greek word for this internal, inherent knowledge that is manifest in us, is very specific in that it describes an internal, hard-wired knowledge that is resident within every human being. This is why God will not hear our excuse that we didn’t know, or “there is no evidence for His existence.” He knows, that we know.
Jude asked Jesus why He did not reveal Himself to the whole world. Jesus said that He only reveals who He really is, to people who love Him. These people, He comes to make His home inside them.
“Judas (not Judas Iscariot, but the other disciple with that name) said to him, “Lord, why are you going to reveal yourself only to us and not to the world at large?” Jesus replied, “All who love me will do what I say. My Father will love them, and we will come and make our home with each of them. Anyone who doesn’t love me will not obey me. ” ~John 14:22-24
In the book of Acts, Peter told Cornelius that Jesus called Him and the Apostles who saw Him, to be His witnesses. Peter said that when Jesus had been crucified and rose from the dead, He did not appear to the general public, but only to those who already believed in Him. Peter said Jesus showed Himself alive so that these men would be His witnesses and tell the world what they had seen:
“And we apostles are witnesses of all he did throughout Judea and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a cross, but God raised him to life on the third day. Then God allowed him to appear, not to the general public, but to us whom God had chosen in advance to be his witnesses. We were those who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. And he ordered us to preach everywhere and to testify that Jesus is the one appointed by God to be the judge of all—the living and the dead.” ~Acts 10:39-42
It is important to understand that God only reveals Himself to people who are genuinely seeking Him. We are able to know who Jesus is and fall in love with Him, by reading the eyewitness testimony about Him in the New Testament. If we deny that what these men wrote about Jesus, is true, we will not be able to know Him and discover how wonderful He is.
Every Person Knows That God Exists—But They Suppress This Knowledge
From God’s perspective, He has proven He exists. He knows that the evidence is sufficient for any honest person to conclude He must exist.
- The universe proves God exists
- Human life proves God exists
- The Bible proves God exists
- God came to earth in the Old Testament
- He offers us salvation after repentance
- God came to earth in the New Testament
- Jesus proved He is God by His miracles
- Men saw Jesus; they wrote that Jesus is God
- Jesus said He is the Savior God promised.
- If we trust in Jesus for our salvation, God will save us.
Because God created every person with an internal knowledge that He exists, and because of the seven points of evidence listed above, no human excuse will ever be accepted by God. It is important to note that even when people saw Jesus perform miracles that only God is capable of, most people who were there at that time, still did not believe in Jesus.
John wrote: “But despite all the miraculous signs Jesus had done, most of the people still did not believe in him.” ~John 12:37
Jesus said: “But you haven’t believed in me even though you have seen me.” ~John 6:36
This is confirmation that evidence alone does not convince any person that God exists. It is also a matter of the will that must be surrendered, in order for anyone to know God. No person who has not surrendered their life to God, first, is capable of genuine biblical scholarship.
What is most interesting about what John recorded is that people who deny the existence of God; deny the New Testament is true—God prevents them from believing the evidence, until they acknowledge He exists, and Jesus is who He claims to be. This is a marker for us of the intelligence and transcendence of God. He knew all these things before He created the universe. He determined that He would only reveal the depths of His word, and who He really is, to the people He knew in advance, would believe. Incredible!
It is interesting that atheists don’t understand that they can’t understand the Bible, because God has prohibited them from understanding the Bible, because they refuse to understand.
2. They must seek to know God with all of their heart
“In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.” ~Jeremiah 29:13
The people who sincerely search for God, always find Him. He is not hidden from the diligent seeker. It is the desire of God that every person might know Him and have a personal relationship with Him.
The problem for man is that he does not always seek God with all of His heart. At best many people only make a superficial attempt at knowing God. They go to church on occasion; they read parts of the Bible once in a while; they sing the songs in church; they might even become involved in serving or ministry.
If we want to know someone and be a part of their life, we must spend time with them. We must make an attempt and do things that will bring us closer to people we care about. A relationship with God is no different. He knows—He can tell—when someone is really seeking to know Him. There is an exuberance in the life of a person seeking to know God.
At the final judgment many people will say to Jesus that they know Him, but He will say that He never knew them (Matthew 7:23). There is a difference between knowing about someone and actually being known by them. It is by relationship that someone considers us their friend. When we spend time with someone and seek to know who they are, they can tell that we want a relationship with them. It is after a period of time that we become known and considered a friend. This works exactly the same way with God.
People who will tell Jesus that they knew Him at their judgment, never made an attempt at knowing Jesus or doing what He said. They have only a superficial knowledge of Him, and they had never turned from their sins to fully follow Him with all of their heart.
Unless a person first acknowledges the internal witness in them that God exists, (Hebrews 11:6) and makes a concerted effort to know God, they will never know Him. If a person becomes a militant against God and the Bible, He will remain hidden from this person, forever.
3. They must first repent from all sin
“From then on Jesus began to preach, “Repent of your sins and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near.” ~Matthew 4:17
Jesus said: “You will perish, unless you repent of your sins and turn to God…I tell you again that unless you repent, you will perish.” ~Luke 13:3-5
The central message of the entire Bible is that a person must first repent of their sins, before they can begin a relationship with God. Without repentance from our sins, God will not accept us. We cannot continue in our sins and expect Jesus to forgive the sins we have already committed. When the Pharisees brought the woman caught in the act of adultery, Jesus forgave her, then told her, “go and sin no more” (John 8:11).
A condition of God’s forgiveness is our heartfelt sorrow over our sins that caused Jesus to leave heaven and die for our sins. If we genuinely understand what it cost Jesus to pay for our sins, then we will feel sincere remorse and never want to sin again.
This being said, no person who first feels sorrow over their sins, and is willing to forsake them in order to receive the forgiveness Jesus made possible, will not sin again. This is one of the greatest struggles that new Christians experience. It is the idea of some new believers that after they surrender their life to Jesus, they will no longer have struggles with sin. This is not true.
I have been a Christian for almost 48 years and I still struggle with sin just as much as I did when I was first saved in 1975. The difference is that I understand today that when Jesus died for my sins, it was for ALL of them. He knew about my struggles today, and everything I will fail to do correctly, for my entire life. Jesus died for all sins; past, present, and future.
My standing before God does not depend upon my ability to sin, less. If this was true I would have been disqualified decades ago. My acceptance by God is based upon what Jesus accomplished for me at the cross. Every sin of my life was nailed to the cross with Jesus when He died. When Jesus died, all my sins died with Him.
“We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin. For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin. And since we died with Christ, we know we will also live with him. We are sure of this because Christ was raised from the dead, and he will never die again. Death no longer has any power over him. When he died, he died once to break the power of sin. But now that he lives, he lives for the glory of God. So you also should consider yourselves to be dead to the power of sin and alive to God through Christ Jesus.” ~Romans 6:6-11
“Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there.” ~Galatians 5:24
These things being said, as I have come to know the incredible kindness and grace of the Lord in forgiving me, I do not want to sin any more. I take careful steps in my life to not sin, because I know that they caused such great suffering for Jesus when He died for me. I do not take advantage of the Grace God poured out upon me. Forgiveness and grace from God, is not a license to sin more. It is a compelling reason to never sin again.
“Well then, since God’s grace has set us free from the law, does that mean we can go on sinning? Of course not! Don’t you realize that you become the slave of whatever you choose to obey? You can be a slave to sin, which leads to death, or you can choose to obey God, which leads to righteous living.” ~Romans 6:15-16
The Apostle John wrote in his first letter that when we sin and turn to Jesus for forgiveness, He will always forgive us and cleanse us of all unrighteousness. I have to do this daily, if you understand what I am saying.
“If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.” ~1 John 1:8-9
The Progressive Christian Movement And Sin
There is a new view of the Bible today that is taught by people in the Progressive Christian Movement, that God is not concerned about our sins, because Jesus has forgiven them all.
Progressive Christians believe that what was formerly defined as sexual sins, Jesus never condemned. It is the view of this movement that Jesus never said anything about same-sex persons. They say that Jesus is not against transgender persons. He loves same-sex couples and transgender individuals.
Some hold that the Laws of Moses which forbids same-sex couples, was abolished under Christ. Just as we no longer are bound by the Laws of Moses concerning eating shellfish, mixing fabrics, or the other strange laws Moses instituted, same-sex and transgender persons are included in the Christian church today. If we understand who Jesus really is, this view of the Progressive Christian Church will become clear.
Jesus did not have His beginning in the New Testament. John states that Jesus has always existed. John begins His Gospel about Jesus with the words:
“In the beginning the Word (Jesus) already existed. The Word was with God,
and the Word was God. He existed in the beginning with God. God created everything through him, and nothing was created except through him. The Word gave life to everything that was created, and his life brought light to everyone. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.” ~John 1:1-5
Paul confirms that Jesus is the Creator of all that exists, and He has existed forever as God:
“Jesus is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation, for through him God created everything in the heavenly realms and on earth.” ~Colossians 1:15-16
“Long ago God spoke many times and in many ways to our ancestors through the prophets. And now in these final days, he has spoken to us through his Son. God promised everything to the Son as an inheritance, and through the Son he created the universe.” ~Hebrews 1:1-2
Before Jesus came to earth and took the body of a man, He existed eternally as God. Jesus came to earth many times, and we see His appearances throughout the Old Testament:
- To Hagar, when she was cast out of Abraham’s house (Genesis 16:7).
- To Abraham, when he was in the greatest testing of his life (Genesis 22:11).
- To Gideon, when he was frightened and discouraged (Judges 6:11-12)
- To Israel, promised by the Lord that He would never break His covenant with their nation (Judges 2:1).
- To Abraham, when He came with two angels to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19:24).
In Genesis chapter 19, the Lord, Yahweh, came to Sodom and Gomorrah with the two angels, and it was He who brought down fire upon Sodom and Gomorrah and destroyed all those committing same-sex sins in these two cities.
“Then the LORD (Yahweh) rained down fire and burning sulfur from the sky on Sodom and Gomorrah. He utterly destroyed them, along with the other cities and villages of the plain, wiping out all the people and every bit of vegetation.” ~Genesis 19:24-26
The Koine-Greek texts of the New Testament refer to Jesus as the same Lord, of the New Testament, as the Lord-Yahweh, seen the Old Testament. The translators of the Greek into English recognized that the writers of these texts in Koine-Greek, had no doubt that Jesus is the same Lord-Yahweh, as the Lord-Yahweh described in Genesis 19 and other places of the Old Testament.
Jesus destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah because of their same-sex sin. He was against this sin then, and He was against same-sex sin in the New Testament texts. God has never changed His mind about sexual sin. It has been consistent throughout the entire Bible.
The Three Parts Of God’s Law For The Israelites:
ONE: The Ceremonial Law was specifically given to Israel for worship (Leviticus). These laws were instituted for the purpose of preparing the Israelites for the time when their Messiah would arrive, and ended with the appearance of Jesus as the Messiah. These law described and regulated the procedure for sacrifices and the requirement that were necessary because of sin. The believer in Christ today, no longer must keep the ceremonial laws of Moses because Christ has fulfilled all of these for us.
TWO: The Civil Law was applicable to the Children of Israel for their daily living (Deuteronomy 24). The body of these laws are the primary source of misunderstanding for many people today. These civil laws were only for the Israelites and are not applicable to the believer in Christ today. While the principles behind these laws still have an enduring benefit for everyone today, their actual strict observance is not required. Many of the principles of these laws are highlighted in the text of the New Testament as proper behavior for those who trust in Christ.
THREE: The Moral Law is illustrated by the Ten Commandments. They are the direct commandments of God, and demand obedience (Exodus 20:13). These laws are applicable for every generation and will never end.
The question for us today is whether God expects us to also keep the Ceremonial and Civil laws described by Leviticus and Deuteronomy. This question came up not long after the Christian church began in the first century. The Jews who observed Gentiles coming to Christ, insisted that they also keep the laws of Moses.
Acts 15:1 While Paul and Barnabas were at Antioch of Syria, some men from Judea arrived and began to teach the believers: “Unless you are circumcised as required by the law of Moses, you cannot be saved.”
Acts 15:5-6 But then some of the believers who belonged to the sect of the Pharisees stood up and insisted, “The Gentile converts must be circumcised and required to follow the law of Moses.” So the apostles and elders met together to resolve this issue.
The question of whether the Christian church was required to keep all the laws of Moses as they believed upon Jesus, was address in the Book of Acts, chapter 15. A determination was made by all the Apostles that under the New Covenant of Salvation that was made possible by Jesus’ death and resurrection, the Laws of Moses were no longer applicable to those who believe in Jesus, with the exception of four:
- Do not eat meat sacrificed to idols.
- Do not commit sexual sin
- Do not eat meat where the blood has not been bled out.
- Do not drink blood.
Acts 15:11-21 We believe that we are all saved the same way, by the undeserved grace of the Lord Jesus… And so my judgment is that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God. Instead, we should write and tell them to 1. abstain from eating food offered to idols, 2. from sexual immorality, 3. from eating the meat of strangled animals, and 4. from consuming blood. For these laws of Moses have been preached in Jewish synagogues in every city on every Sabbath for many generations.
These strange Old Testament laws of mixing fabrics, stoning people to death for sins, daughters sold into slavery, and laws regulating menstruation, genital emission, and many others, were only applicable for the Children of Israel, before Messiah arrived. The purpose of these strict laws were to establish the holiness of God in the minds of the people. Anyone who wanted to approach the God of the Hebrews, must also be holy and separate from the practices of the pagan nations that surrounded them.
The purpose of God’s laws for the Children of Israel was intended as an example to the world that those who will know and worship the God of the Bible must be separate from the traditions of this world. This is the basis of the word “Holy.”
Some of the Pharisees accused Jesus of seeking to do away with the Laws of Moses, but Jesus said just the opposite:
Matthew 5:17-20 Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.
Jesus said that all of the laws of Moses were still in effect, but they are fulfilled by His death and resurrection. Every person who seeks to be redeemed from their sins by the death and resurrection of Jesus, He fulfilled these laws for us. By Jesus’ perfect life in keeping all these Old Testament laws faultlessly, we also fulfill all of these laws.
As Jesus’ death takes our sins away, His righteousness imparts perfection to us. Jesus came and lived a perfect life and kept all the Laws of Moses for us, because we are not capable of this perfection ourselves. Everyone who places all their trust in Jesus for the forgiveness of their sins, and receives the salvation He offers the world, is seen by God as also perfectly keeping all the laws of God.
Jesus clarified this issue by saying that not even the “jot or tittle,” the smallest marks on the Hebrew words, will be done away with. Jesus said that anyone who breaks or teaches others to not obey these laws will be held accountable by God. Jesus said that our righteousness must exceed the righteousness of the scribes and the Pharisees, if we will enter heaven. It is by placing our salvation in the hands of Jesus that we fulfill even the Jot and Tittle of the Law and are fully qualified for heaven.
Are We Free To Choose Our Gender?
It is the view of transgender persons that Jesus never said anything about whether a person could choose their own gender. This community believes that some people are in the wrong body and they are simply correcting a mistake that has been made. These persons feel that they are actually a woman, though they have a man’s body; or a man, though they have a woman’s body.
In order to accept this assertion, we would have to believe that God—who created all that exists, who is perfect in every regard, and never makes a mistake—made an error when He created some people. Of course this proposition is absurd. God created men as men, and women as women, and He knew exactly what He was doing.
“Jesus answered and said to them, “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ and said, “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’?” ~Matthew 19:4-5
Jesus takes us back to the beginning when He first created Adam and Eve. He purposely made people male or female—understood by our anatomical structure at birth. He never makes a mistake in who he creates people to be. It is we who are sometimes confused about ourselves. We can find truth in believing what God said, and not what our feelings or this world says about us. We were made by Jesus as men or women, determined by our physical identity at birth, and He has a wonderful plan for each of us, as the gender He created for us.
The reason the issue of gender identity is so important is that either what God said about human sexuality is true or it is not. Did He created us male and female or are we free to choose our own sexual identity? Jesus clarifies this issue, by confirming that when He began to create humans, He only made two genders, male and female, and these birth genders are immutable.
If God exists then He must be perfect in every regard. He must know the answers to every question we will have during our lives. As God, it is impossible that He could make a mistake. These things being true, when God said there are only two genders, male and female, He is telling us the truth.
A Living Sacrifice
Paul wrote to the Christian church at Rome with a special emphasis on how we use our bodies to bring glory to God:
“And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.” ~Romans 12:1-2
It is important to understand that what God has said from the beginning concerning sin, has never changed. What we do with our bodies is of great concern to God. If we use our bodies for sexual sin, this has always been a grievous offense to God. When we turn from our sins and decide to trust in Jesus for the rest of our life, God comes to live inside us.
In his letter to the church at Corinth, Paul emphasized that just as a man commits sexual sin with a prostitute, that any use of the body in any sexual sin, makes that person one with the other, and this offends God who lives in us.
“Don’t you realize that if a man joins himself to a prostitute (or any sexual sin), he becomes one body with them? For the Scriptures say, “The two are united into one.” But the person who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with him. Run from sexual sin! No other sin so clearly affects the body as this one does. For sexual immorality is a sin against your own body. Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.” ~1 Corinthians 6:16-20
If we give our bodies to fornication, adultery, and same-sex sin, we bring God with us in these sins. It is not hard to understand how this offends Him, since He gave His life to free us from sin and its power.
There is no forgiveness of sins and eternal life, without complete repentance from all sins. If we are not willing to forsake our old life of sin, God will not hear us and give us eternal life.
If we repent, He is willing at that moment to cleanse us from all sin, and make us into a New Creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). It doesn’t matter how bad we think we are, or how bad people say we are, everyone can have forgiveness from Jesus, if they are willing to turn from their sins and trust in Jesus for the rest of their life.
Why The Emphasis On Sex And Gender, Regarding The Qualifications Of A Biblical Scholar?
In my conversations and debates with atheist, agnostic, and progressive Christian scholars, they have often identified themselves as a part of the LGBTQ community. It was clear to me in these discussions that one of the primary factors in their determination to reject the traditional view of the Bible as the Word of God in its entirety, was due to their objections over sex and gender that has been traditionally taught in the Christian church.
In order to define themselves as a “Christian,” many LGBTQ persons, have joined the Progressive Christian Church, which accepts same-sex and transgender persons.
It is important to define these persons in the context of what God said, and not the redefining principles that the Progressive Christian Movement has revised the Bible to mean.
4. They must be born again by faith in Jesus’ death and resurrection
“They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved, along with everyone in your household.” ~Acts 16:31
A premise to the endeavor of becoming a qualified biblical scholar, according to Jesus, is that a person must first be born again by the Spirit of God, and receive the gift of the Holy Spirit who comes to reside inside the true believer.
Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God.” ~John 3:3
The Koine-Greek word used in this verse for “see,” is, ὁράω (horaō); to perceive, discern, experience something by the Spirit. Jesus is saying that no person can truly understand the things of God and His Word, until they have experienced a second, spiritual birth. All humans experience a physical birth, but God only reveals the deep things of His Spirit and His Word, to those who have been born a second time by the Spirit of God.
A new life for a person born again by the Spirit of God, is the preeminent qualification for the person who will be known as a biblical scholar. It is this single attribute that distinguishes persons equipped and endowed with the ability to understand and discern the correct meaning of the texts for the Bible, and those who cannot.
Atheists often object to this idea because, they say, even Christians disagree over the correct meaning of biblical texts. This may be true concerning doctrinal principles regarding the church, but it is not true concerning the fundamental accuracy declared in the New Testament, concerning who Jesus is and what He accomplished for us at the cross.
Every born again believer in Jesus believes that Jesus came to earth as God dwelling in the body of a man; proved He is God by the performance of miracles only God is capable of; was arrested, accused of crimes He did not commit; was scourged; nailed to a cross, and died. Every born again believer holds that Jesus was raised from the dead on the third day, and that all of the testimony about Jesus in the New Testament, is the truth.
Genuine believers do no argue the other doctrinal principles of the Bible to the point of disunity, anger, hatred, or withdrawal from other believers. The true believer, born anew by the Spirit, agrees to disagree, in love, as Jesus commanded us.
Sidebar: In past months as I have had interaction with persons who are known as biblical scholars, such as James McGrath, and Joel Baden, I carefully reviewed what they have written regarding Jesus, and the Bible. Although others have stated that these two individuals are not atheists, their writing disagrees with this assertion. McGrath has written numerous essays regarding the Bible which define him, at best, a Progressive Christian, at worst, an atheist. I requested clarification from Joel Baden on his religious belief, he declined to tell me. The writing of Baden is also clearly atheist in substance, as he does not appear to believe the God of the Bible exists, or His word is true. It is not possible that a person who claims to be a Christian or a Jew, also denies the Bible as authoritatively, the Word of God. A Progressive Christian, is not a True Christian, according to the definition Jesus revealed in John chapter 3. A true Jew regards the Hebrew Bible as the Word of God. Please see item number 3 in this essay for details.
5. They must be filled with the Holy Spirit
“Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” ~Acts 2:38
In John 14, Jesus states that it is the Holy Spirit who conveys to a person, the ability to understand the Bible:
“If you love me, obey my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you. He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth.” ~John 14:15-17
It is the Spirit who brings to our remembrance, all of the scriptures of the Bible we have studied. When a person who is born again by the Spirit begins to study the Bible in order to learn who God is and be able to teach others about Him; it is the Holy Spirit who is the teacher:
“But when the Father sends the Advocate as my representative—that is, the Holy Spirit—he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you.” ~John 14:26
Only after real salvation has occurred, does God give a person the gift of the Holy Spirit, and it is by the Spirit that God enables a person to truly understand the depths and principles of God’s Word.
“You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you. (And remember that those who do not have the Spirit of Christ living in them do not belong to him at all.)” ~Romans 8:9
The indwelling of the Holy Spirit is a truth that many in the world do not know or understand. A person cannot simply state they are a Christian, and be a genuine Christian, according to Jesus, unless a person has been born again, and they have the Holy Spirit living inside them. An atheist scholar, or any other scholar who has not been born again, and has received the gift of the Holy Spirit, can never be a genuine biblical scholar, regardless their academic credential obtained in this world. This is according to Jesus and the New Testament scriptures.
Paul made a point of clarifying the preeminent need of the Holy Spirit inside anyone seeking to be a biblical scholar, as the only method, whereby, God imparts knowledge of Himself:
“But it was to us (who love Him) that God revealed these things by his Spirit. For his Spirit searches out everything and shows us God’s deep secrets. No one can know a person’s thoughts except that person’s own spirit, and no one can know God’s thoughts except God’s own Spirit. And we have received God’s Spirit (not the world’s spirit), so we can know the wonderful things God has freely given us.” ~1 Corinthians 2:10-12 (NLT) 10
This is the reason that some people begin following Jesus, but they are never born again. Without the Holy Spirit living us us, we are just ordinary citizens of earth. It is possible to imitate being a Christian. A person can use the correct words, attend church, become a pastor, go into the mission field, and continue for decades, without ever being born again. It is only when we turn from our sins and determine to live for Jesus for the rest of our life, that God accepts our request for salvation, and gives us the gift of the Holy Spirit.
“Peter replied, “Each of you must repent of your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.“ ~Acts 2:38
The only proof that anyone is genuinely born again—has the Holy Spirit, has received eternal life—is if they continue to believe in Jesus and trust Him for the rest of their life. God knew who would truly in Jesus and be born again, believe before He created anything. We can only know who the truly saved are by their continued trust in Jesus for all of their life.
Jesus said: “Sin will be rampant everywhere, and the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.” ~Matthew 24:12-13
The Holy Spirit Is Not Given To People Who Do Not Repent And Believe In Jesus For Their Salvation
Both John the Baptist and Jesus, began their public ministries with the words, “Repent and believe the Gospel.”
“In those days John the Baptist came to the Judean wilderness and began preaching. His message was,“Repent of your sins and turn to God.” ~Matthew 3:1-2
“From then on Jesus began to preach, “Repent of your sins and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near.” ~Matthew 4:17
Jesus said, “I tell you again that unless you all repent, you will all be lost” ~Luke 13:5
Paul Wrote: “You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you. (And remember that those who do not have the Spirit of Christ living in them do not belong to him at all.)” ~Romans 8:9
In Acts chapter 8, Philip went to Samaria to tell the people about Jesus. After he arrived, Peter and John joined him, and they all began to tell the people about salvation in Jesus. After people believed in Jesus, then, “Peter and John laid their hands upon these believers, and they received the Holy Spirit” (8:17).
A sorcerer there called Simon said he also believed and asked to buy the Holy Spirit so that he could have this power. Peter scolded Simon and said that God does not give the Holy Spirit to people who have not turned from their sins, and genuinely trust in Jesus.
Acts 8:9-10 “A man named Simon had been a sorcerer there for many years, amazing the people of Samaria and claiming to be someone great. Everyone, from the least to the greatest, often spoke of him as “the Great One—the Power of God.”
Acts 8:17-22 “Then Peter and John laid their hands upon these believers, and they received the Holy Spirit. When Simon saw that the Spirit was given when the apostles laid their hands on people, he offered them money to buy this power. “Let me have this power, too,” he exclaimed, “so that when I lay my hands on people, they will receive the Holy Spirit!” But Peter replied, “May your money be destroyed with you for thinking God’s gift can be bought! You can have no part in this, for your heart is not right with God. Repent of your wickedness and pray to the Lord.“
Simon claimed to be a believer, but his motives were all wrong; his heart was not right towards God. He could not receive the Holy Spirit until he sincerely turned from his sins and fully trusted in Jesus for salvation.
Jesus defined the persons whom God speaks to and imparts wisdom to, as those who are born again and receive the Holy Spirit. These two emblems of salvation are essential to be recognized by God as a genuine scholar. Jesus said that the Holy Spirit is the one who “leads us into all truth.” It is the Spirit of God who speaks to our spirit, and reveals the deep things of God’s Word.
“I will ask the Father, and he will give you…the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive him, because it isn’t looking for him and doesn’t recognize him. But you know him, because he lives with you now and later will be in you.” ~John 14:16-17
Paul wrote in his letter to the Christians at Corinth, that the texts of the Bible are “spiritually discerned.” This means that the scriptures in the Bible are not earthly literature that can be understood as other works of literature. The texts of the Bible have their origin in the mind of God and are transcendent human wisdom and knowledge. Only by God imparting knowledge to a person can they know the depths of what God has hidden in His word.
“These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” ~1 Corinthians 2:13-14
Paul wrote that all of the texts in the New Testament are scripture, the Word of God, equal in truth and authority to the scriptures of the Old Testament:
“For this reason we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the good news which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe.” ~1 Thessalonians 2:13
The Bible is not literature from antiquity that can be fully understood by a human mind. “Spiritually discerned,” means that the texts of the Bible have their origin in the mind of God, who is an eternal Spirit—possessing infinite wisdom and knowledge. The only way that a mortal human being can understand the eternal God, is if He imparts knowledge to the mind of the person seeking to understand God and His word. The method of transmission whereby this knowledge is transferred from God to the mind of a person, is by God’s Spirit—communicated to the spirit of the person seeking to understand God and His Word.
“For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children.” ~Romans 8:16
Led By The Spirit; Led By The Flesh
Jesus distinguishes people who are truly His, from those who belong to the world, by the type of “fruit” they produce in their life. People who are born again and have the Holy Spirit living in them, are led by the Spirit. This results in a particular type of fruit, or visible actions, that distinguish a person as a genuine Christian, one born again by the Spirit.
Jesus used the illustration of a grapevine and its branches, and the fruit that appears on these branches. The Father sent Jesus into the world, He is the gardner, the one who tends or manages the true believer.
Jesus is the only true grapevine, the original source of life, and the people who are born again and filled with the Spirit of God, are His branches. The true Christian is observed by the type of fruit their life produces. Jesus said that people who genuinely turn from their sins and are born again, produce different fruit in their life, than the pretend or false believer.
The prerequisite to producing the kind of fruit that proves we belong to Jesus, is that everyone who is genuinely born again, must remain attached to Jesus. If we separate ourselves from Him, we quickly wither and we produce no fruit. We must remain connected to Jesus in order to truly belong to Him. Anyone who departs from Jesus and never comes back to Him, never was His in the first place.
The people who do belong to Jesus, stay attached to Him, and they produce the kind of fruit that is only possible through the Holy Spirit living inside us. This fruit is described by Paul in Galatians 5:22
Jesus said: “I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more. You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me.
“Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. Anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned. But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted! When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father.” ~John 15:1-8 (NLT) 1
The Fruit Produced By The Genuine Believer
“But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!” ~Galatians 5:22-23
The pretend believer can imitate this fruit, but as with all imitations, eventually it is found to be a counterfeit. It is the Holy Spirit living inside the true believer, that empowers them to produce the true and lasting, “fruit of the Spirit.”
The Fruit Produced By The Pretend Believer
Prior to being born again, a person has only their sin nature, and not new nature that comes from the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. The pretend believer is still controlled by their sin-nature, and not by the Holy Spirit who lives only in the true believer. The desires of our sinful nature, produces the following results.
“When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.” ~Galatians 5:19-21
Without repentance from all sins; without a sincere desire to live for Jesus and not this world; our efforts to become a follower of Jesus will be unsuccessful. There are many people in these present days who have exhausted their human efforts to continue believing in Jesus and the Bible. I see them every day on social media stating they no longer believe.
Jesus said that there will be many in the Last Days who will call Him, “Lord,” but He says, “I never knew you.”
“Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter. On judgment day many will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’ But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.’” ~Matthew 7:21-23
Notice the final words of Jesus in this text: many who claim they are Christians, Jesus will say to them, “I never knew you…Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.”
This is a key verse in understanding true salvation, as opposed to a false claim. Those who are truly sorry for their sins may come to Jesus willing to turn from their sins and ask Him to forgive and cleanse them from their sins. These persons, whom Jesus said never were His, He states they are continuing to “break God’s laws.” This defines their claimed faith in Jesus as false; they never truly turned from their sins; they are still practicing their sins and are still breaking God’s laws.
6. They must diligently study the entire Bible, comparing scripture with scripture (Daniel 2:21)
Daniel said: “Praise the name of God forever and ever, for he has all wisdom and power. He controls the course of world events; he removes kings and sets up other kings. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the scholars. He reveals deep and mysterious things and knows what lies hidden in darkness, though he is surrounded by light.” ~Daniel 2:20-22
A person in the world may achieve the status of academic biblical scholar, in about six years. If the institution of their learning is teaching the entire Bible as the Word of God, and demonstrating how to “rightly divide the scriptures,” by comparing scripture with scripture, this will be time well spent. The student will learn the Bible and have this knowledge stored up for the future.
If the institution teaches students that the Bible is nothing more that ancient literature that may be evaluated as any other works of antiquity, this time spent in education, will be useless to the student. Under this procedure that does not emphasize learning the texts of the Bible, but instead, uses Secondary Sources and other secular, non-biblical sources to try and confirm whether or not a text in the Bible is reliable, the student will not have the capacity to give a scholarly exegesis of the texts.
A person may also undertake a diligent independent study of the Bible for a period of ten or more years, in order to achieve status as a genuine biblical scholar. When I began my education in learning the entire Bible, verse by verse, there were some who said that a person should never write a single commentary on the Bible, until after they have invested at least 25 years in its study.
In my opinion having experienced both the academic and independent study methods of learning, this is most productive academic process. Accessing a Bible-based university and independent study, will give the student the greatest ability to achieve true scholarship and make accurate conclusions.
A Transcendent Communication
The Bible is not merely ancient literature which can be understood as all other literature that exists on earth. God chose to communicate with us by the same method we humans use, words, but the words that God has recorded in the 66 books of the Bible, are “spiritually discerned.” This means that no mere human, still in their sins, can ever understand the depth of God’s Word.
For these reasons, a Doctorate in Biblical studies from a university, alone, can never make someone a genuine Biblical scholar. Jesus said that it is the Spirit who gives a scholar the ability to know the depths of God’s Word. Without the Spirit, without God living inside the believer, it is impossible to correctly understand the Bible.
I see this reality every day. Atheists constantly tell me that my interpretation of the Bible is not correct. When I ask what the correct view is, they cite an atheist scholar as their source and their conclusions are always in direct conflict with the texts of the Bible that define the correct exegesis.
How To Properly Exegete The Bible
In order to conduct a correct hermeneutical approach to the Bible, we must use only the Bible as our source. Although commentary from other born again scholars can be helpful in acquiring a foundation for correct exegesis, it is the similar texts found throughout the entire Bible, that is the greatest help for the diligent student of the Bible.
Commentary from an atheist or progressive scholar is not only of no help, it is nearly always and incorrect approach with disastrous conclusions. Why is this? Atheist scholars seldom use the texts of the Bible as their source for confirmation of a Biblical text. Atheist scholars rely on secondary sources and manners of literary criticism that reside outside the Bible. This is the primary reason that atheist scholars are incapable of correct exegesis of the Biblical text.
We don’t need any outside sources, commentaries, or the opinions of any scholar, including my own, to learn the Bible. In order to come to correct conclusions we only need to follow a few basic practices in our hermeneutical approach.
- Pray before beginning any study of the Bible and ask the Holy Spirit to teach us what the correct meaning is for the particular text we are seeking to understand.
- Study the texts we are seeking to understand, by reading them over and over again many times.
- Study the context of the particular scripture, in light of what is being stated before and after the text we are seeking to understand.
- Find parallel verses in other locations, from both the Old and New Testaments.
- Find the first place a text or word is mentioned in the Bible.
- Combine all of the similar texts on the subject at hand.
- Pray and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal the correct exegesis.
- Write a personal commentary based upon what the Holy Spirit teaches for the text, and continue to ponder all the scriptures that speak of similar context.
Although there are many formal procedures that are offered as a format for correct exegesis, these eight are my personal procedures. I have used this process for decades, and it has not failed to deliver a correct understanding of every text in the Bible.
I learned this procedure of Bible study, at the beginning of my education, from two of the world’s most proficient verse by verse exegetical teachers, ever to live on earth; the late pastor Chuck Smith, and Doctor Chuck Missler.
How Atheist Scholars Arrive At Their Conclusions
The procedure used in determining the conclusions that atheist scholars use to evaluate the Bible, are significantly different from the methods used by Spirit-filled Christian scholars.
- Reject the assumption that the Bible is true, and the writers were honest.
- Assume in advance that the texts of the Bible are nothing more than ancient literature from antiquity that can be analyzed and subjected to literary criticism, just as any other literature.
- Rely upon the university education these academic scholars received from their professors who taught them that God does not exist, and the Bible is not the Word of God.
- Review the conclusions already published by prominent atheist scholars and progressive Christians.
- Access secondary literary sources originating in secular and pagan writings of antiquity, comparing these narratives with the texts of the Bible.
- Ignore the extant manuscript evidence from the actual biblical texts that exist for the entire Bible.
- Arrive at conclusions based upon secular, non-biblical sources, and consensus among other atheist scholars.
- Publish conclusions that rely primarily on the opinion of the scholar who is writing the essay or book, citing other atheist scholars as their source for authority.
As you can see, these two methods are significantly divergent each other. The approach a born again follower of Jesus accesses as a scholar, to arrive at correct conclusions for any biblical texts, is in direct opposition to the methods used by persons who deny the existence of God, and the presupposition that the Bible is not the Word of God.
7. They must continue to believe in Jesus for all their life
“The one who endures to the end will be saved.” ~Matthew 24:13-14
In this world we often find great value in friendships that have lasted throughout our life. People who have been with us through the hard times, as well as the good times and still remain faithful to us, are a treasure. God is no different. Jesus stated that the most important quality among people who come to serve Him, is that they be found faithful.
“The master said, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!’” ~Matthew 25:23
When Jesus returns for His church as He promised (John 14:1-4); and as Paul described (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18), He will judge each one of us who lived our lives for Him, to determine what, if any, our reward will be (1 Corinthians 3:11-14). The basis of this judgment for reward is not how much we have done, or the size of our ministry. The entire foundation for rewards will be centered on our faithfulness. People who don’t give up and leave Jesus; people who don’t return to the world after following Jesus; people who stay close to Jesus—regardless the cost or difficulty—have the highest value to Jesus.
This world was never meant as our permanent home. We were born on earth to find out what Jesus has done for us, believe, and be saved. God has prepared a home for all who love Him after we depart this world. The determination for who will be a part of that perfect world, is what we do with Jesus.
This world was lost when Adam sinned, and it had no hope of redemption. Only if God did something could we be saved. The Father sent the Son on a rescue mission to save anyone who was willing to turn from their sins, and trust fully in the death and resurrection of Jesus for their salvation.
Only people who remain faithful to Jesus for their entire life, are given the gift of eternal life.
Scholars In The World Who Do Not Believe God Exists, Are Not Biblical Scholars
Today the New Testament is under assault by an enemy disguised as a scholar. Millions of unsuspecting people have been fooled by the deception of best-selling authors that assert the New Testament is not to be trusted.
When we examine the backgrounds of these individuals, we discover that they are atheists who do not believe that God exists in the first place. How exactly can anyone trust the conclusions of an atheist scholar who claims to be an expert regarding the Bible, when he doesn’t believe the fundamental premise of these 66 books? In simpler terms, would you trust the opinions of a doctor who tells you that he doesn’t believe in medicine?
Atheist New Testament scholars do not believe the Bible is the eternal, inspired Word of God; they see these books as nothing more than ancient texts to be analyzed and scrutinized as any other works of antiquity.
Jesus Said That Those Who Are Not Born Again, He Prohibits These Persons From Understanding The Deep Principles Of The Bible
One of the interesting, but often overlooked facts of the New Testament, is that Jesus and the other writers of these texts made it clear that any person who has not exercised faith in Jesus as their Savior, which causes the Holy Spirit to come to take up residence within them, can properly understand the genuine hermeneutics of these narratives and how to conduct a proper exegesis of these texts.
The correct form of New Testament Criticism that should be conducted is to study, learn, and “rightly divide the word of truth.” Because God claims that these 66 books are from Him, they retain a certain supernatural origin, construction, purpose, and method for understanding them.
Atheist scholars think that this idea is preposterous, and see these 27 letters of the New Testament as nothing more than literature from antiquity to be analyzed as any other ancient texts.
This is the fatal error and the reason that so many atheists are not capable of understanding what they are attempting to study. A premise of the New Testament is that a person must first believe that God exists and that He is a rewarder of anyone who diligently seeks Him.
“And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.” `Hebrews 11:6
The type of genuine scholarship that is needed today regarding the New Testament is to learn what it says and how all of the texts of these 66 books work together for one common goal: to reveal who Jesus is to the world.
The view of atheist scholars is that the 27 books of the New Testament are not the Word of God, but merely ancient literature that resembles many other secular works of history.
With the advent of atheist New Testament scholars, the world has embraced the opinions of persons who don’t believe God exists, while trusting their authoritative ability to impeach the texts simply by their opinions.
Upon examination of the comments made by atheist scholars, we find that they provide us with no evidence to support their assertions, but rely solely on their opinions as scholars.
The question is, how can a person truly be an expert concerning the Bible, when he doesn’t believe God exists? The scriptures of the New Testament state that these texts cannot be interpreted or understood by anyone who has not been born again by the Spirit of God.
Jesus: John 3:3 “Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see (gr. opaw, perceive, understand) the Kingdom of God.”
To the unsaved, the texts of the New Testament are foolishness, and lack credibility; to the saved, they are the wisdom of God, and wiser than the wisdom of men.
Paul addressed this issue in his first letter to the Christians at Corinth:
“The message of the cross is foolish to those who are headed for destruction! But we who are being saved know it is the very power of God. As the Scriptures say,
“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise and discard the intelligence of the intelligent.”
So where does this leave the philosophers, the scholars, and the world’s brilliant debaters? God has made the wisdom of this world look foolish. Since God in his wisdom saw to it that the world would never know him through human wisdom, he has used our foolish preaching to save those who believe.” ~1 Corinthians 1:18-21
Jesus told His disciples that people who have not entered into a relationship with Him by faith and believed in what He has accomplished, they cannot understand the principles and precepts of the scriptures. God hides these things from unbelievers:
Jesus replied, “You are permitted to understand the secrets of the Kingdom of Heaven, but others are not. To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given, and they will have an abundance of knowledge. But for those who are not listening, even what little understanding they have will be taken away from them. That is why I use these parables,
For they look, but they don’t really see. They hear, but they don’t really listen or understand. This fulfills the prophecy of Isaiah that says,
‘When you hear what I say, you will not understand. When you see what I do, you will not comprehend. For the hearts of these people are hardened, and their ears cannot hear, and they have closed their eyes—so their eyes cannot see, and their ears cannot hear, and their hearts cannot understand, and they cannot turn to me and let me heal them.’ “But blessed are your eyes, because they see; and your ears, because they hear.” ~Matthew 13:11-16
Paul made it clear that the texts of the New Testament are for the sincere seekers of truth and those who already believe that Jesus is who He claimed to be. An atheist scholar is not capable of conducting a scholarly exegesis of these texts, because the God who is the source of these scriptures prevents the unbeliever and critic from understanding them or having the capacity to give accurate interpretation of these texts:
“But it was to us that God revealed these things by his Spirit. For his Spirit searches out everything and shows us God’s deep secrets. No one can know a person’s thoughts except that person’s own spirit, and no one can know God’s thoughts except God’s own Spirit. And we have received God’s Spirit (not the world’s spirit), so we can know the wonderful things God has freely given us.
When we tell you these things, we do not use words that come from human wisdom. Instead, we speak words given to us by the Spirit, using the Spirit’s words to explain spiritual truths. But people who aren’t spiritual can’t receive these truths from God’s Spirit. It all sounds foolish to them and they can’t understand it, for only those who are spiritual can understand what the Spirit means. Those who are spiritual can evaluate all things, but they themselves cannot be evaluated by others.” ~1 Corinthians 2:10-15
Jesus: John 3:3 “Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see (gr. opaw, perceive, understand) the Kingdom of God.”
Paul: 1 Corinthians 2:2-4: “For I decided that while I was with you I would forget everything except Jesus Christ, the one who was crucified. I came to you in weakness—timid and trembling. And my message and my preaching were very plain. Rather than using clever and persuasive speeches, I relied only on the power of the Holy Spirit.”
Paul: 1 Corinthians 2:10-16 “But it was to us that God revealed these things by his Spirit. For his Spirit searches out everything and shows us God’s deep secrets. No one can know a person’s thoughts except that person’s own spirit, and no one can know God’s thoughts except God’s own Spirit. And we have received God’s Spirit (not the world’s spirit), so we can know the wonderful things God has freely given us.
When we tell you these things, we do not use words that come from human wisdom. Instead, we speak words given to us by the Spirit, using the Spirit’s words to explain spiritual truths. But people who aren’t born again of the Spirit can’t receive these truths from God’s Spirit. It all sounds foolish to them and they can’t understand it, for only those who are spiritual can understand what the Spirit means. Those who are spiritual can evaluate all things, but they themselves cannot be evaluated by others. For, “Who can know the LORD’s thoughts? Who knows enough to teach him?” But we understand these things, for we have the mind of Christ.”
Christians Are Unaware Of The Deception
The larger tragedy is that the Christian church tolerates this deception and, for the most part, does not openly speak out against the lies that are being told about the narratives of the New Testament.
Many Christian New Testament scholars also do not speak openly about the distortions and untruths of atheist scholars due to fear of reprisal.
As a result, most people in the world today don’t know that the primary voice they are hearing concerning the New Testament comes from people who don’t believe the narratives about Jesus are true.
I am not saying that the entire Bible should not be closely studied. The reality is that this important work has already been accomplished by some of the most brilliant minds in human history. Long before this present day, great scholars have spent their entire lives proving the integrity and reliability of the New Testament texts.
The claims put forth in the New Testament regarding Jesus are the greatest events ever to occur on earth. Whether they are true or not is of paramount importance.
Thankfully, brilliant men and women have endeavored to engage in extensive criticism of these texts in generations past; and in every regard, the narratives about Jesus have always been found true, reliable, and accurate.
Not once in the historical record of the past 2,000 years has any provable evidence been presented which impeaches the testimony of the men who state, in the New Testament, that they saw and heard the things they have written for the whole world.
Today atheists make assertions as either scholars, or militants, that the texts of the New Testament are fabricated, exist with untenable contradictions, and do not convey the truth concerning Jesus. Not a single one of these false assertions has been proven by evidence.
You will discover that there are many who are known as New Testament scholars, whose entire purpose is to act as an agent of atheism—to disrupt, impugn, and bring doubt to people who are considering, or already have, faith in Jesus. These are the enemies of Christ, and they have infiltrated the minds of unsuspecting people by the guise of scholarly expertise. The problem is that these persons do not believe the texts of the Bible they claim to be proficient in.
New Testament Scholarship is not biased, but many New Testament Scholars are. Every human being is capable of cognitive prejudice. People often choose their preferred conclusions and then seek to justify their choices by fallacious reasoning.
The failure of New Testament Criticism is that we who believe have allowed atheist scholars to inject false suppositions and conjecture into their conclusions and distort the true facts of the New Testament.
Atheist scholars do not accept that the New Testament texts are true and authoritative because they don’t believe God exists. Christian New Testament scholars believe the texts are inspired by God and are perfect the way they are. These narratives do not need to be proven authoritative today, because this difficult task has already been accomplished centuries before by some of the greatest minds ever to walk the earth.
Isaiah the prophet wrote 2,700 years ago, describing the wisdom that comes from God, in contrast to the wisdom of this world. God said: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise and discard the intelligence of the intelligent.” ~Isaiah 29:14
In Paul’s commentary regarding this statement by God’s through Isaiah, he wrote: in 1 Corinthians 1:20-21: “So where does this leave the philosophers, the scholars, and the world’s brilliant debaters? God has made the wisdom of this world look foolish. Since God in his wisdom saw to it that the world would never know him through human wisdom, he has used our foolish preaching to save those who believe.”
The God who created all that exists and is the source of all wisdom and knowledge, said that He does not recognize the wisdom of man. He does, however, recognize people who seek wisdom from His Word and study its precepts and principles sincerely and with a desire to know God.
The process that conveys expertise to a person in the world, is not the expertise that God recognizes. Obtaining an academic Phd, is not the same as obtaining a Biblical Phd. The first is recognition from the world that a person is qualified as an expert; the second is expertise that comes only from the Spirit of God and diligent study in the scriptures of the Bible.
 The New Testament Greek translation of Jesus as Lord, was understood by those who translated the Greek text into English, as the same person referred to in the Old Testament as Yahweh, or Jehovah, the LORD. Clearly, it was the intent of the translators to convey to their readers that Jesus as the Christ, or Messiah, as the Jehovah God, and Yahweh of the Old Testament.
Further evidence of this fact is observed by the Apostle Paul when he speaks of Jesus as “God” while taking the form of a man to become a bondservant and dying for the sins the world. Because of Jesus’ faithfulness and great sacrifice, His name has been exalted above all other names on earth and in heaven (Philippians 2:6-7).
“Though Jesus was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross.…”
Jesus took the form of a servant, and completed the sacrifice required for all of man’s sin. After Jesus rose from the dead, He was restored to His former place of honor as God, and took again, all of the rights as God. The complete fulfillment of this prophecy from Psalm 97:9, will occur when Jesus is established as ruler of the earth during His one-thousand-year reign. All those who inhabit His kingdom will bow their knees in submission to Jesus’ authority—if not willingly, by force (Philippians 2:10-11).
“Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
According to Psalms 97:9, the LORD (Jehovah) will be exalted above all gods.
- Jesus is also called LORD and God (Philippians 2:6-8).
- Jesus will be exalted above all other gods (Philippians 2:9-11).
- Therefore, Jesus is the same as Jehovah of the Old Testament.
Following this line of deduction—if both the Messiah (in Psalms 97:9) and Jesus (in the Book of Philippians) are called God (there is only one) and both are exalted above all other gods, then they are logically one and the same.
Jude confirms that it was Jesus who brought judgment to the rebellious Hebrews in Exodus, the angels who disobeyed God, and the men of Sodom and Gomorrah who were “filled with immorality and every kind of sexual perversion.”
So I want to remind you, though you already know these things, that Jesus first rescued the nation of Israel from Egypt, but later he destroyed those who did not remain faithful. And I remind you of the angels who did not stay within the limits of authority God gave them but left the place where they belonged. God has kept them securely chained in prisons of darkness, waiting for the great day of judgment. And don’t forget Sodom and Gomorrah and their neighboring towns, which were filled with immorality and every kind of sexual perversion. Those cities were destroyed by fire and serve as a warning of the eternal fire of God’s judgment. ~Jude 1:5-7
Jude states that it was Jesus who went to Sodom and Gomorrah with the two angels. It was Jesus, the Lord-Yahweh, who brought down fire from heaven and destroyed all the men of these two cities for their immorality and sexula perversion.
Then the Lord (Yahweh) rained down fire and burning sulfur from the sky on Sodom and Gomorrah. He utterly destroyed them, along with the other cities and villages of the plain, wiping out all the people and every bit of vegetation. ~Genesis 19:24-25
Categories: Apologetics, Atheists, Agnostics and Skeptics, Common errors of Atheists, Exegesis and Hermeneutics, God's Sovereignty, Literary authenticity of the New Testament, New Testament Criticism, No one is "good", Pretend Believers, Reliability of the Bible, Robert Clifton Robinson, Salvation through Jesus, Secondary Sources, The Four Gospels, We must repent