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I find it hard to analize 2 Cor.5 16 & 17. Both verses have conjunction “therefore”. Where is it grounded specifically? Any idea on these brothers?
Here are some thoughts on this passage, Mildred. I’ve phrased 5:11-6:2, as that seems to be one paragraph. I’m planning to make a separate post on this entire text, so let me just answer your question here following a brief discussion of the outline of the whole text. (There’s an image of my phrase at the bottom of this post.)
The main point of 11-17 (the first half of this passage) is the reason why Paul is writing to them in the way he is: so that they can boast about him rather than those who brag about their outward appearance.
Within that, in answer to your question, Mildred, I’m interpreting 16-17 as two parallel Inferences from 14-15. Verse 16 is a negative result of Christ’s love controlling Paul, and verse 17 is a positive result.
I’ll post on the entire text in Passage Discussions shortly. Does that answer help, Mildred?
@Luke-Kieser Sorry for taking so long to reply, Luke! Somehow I just saw this.
There is the capability to markup text in the Look-up module, actually! If you create a new Look-up module and click through the Tour that appears, you’ll see some details on using the Markup feature.
I hope that helps!
Are there areas in my life where I’ve stopped looking to Scripture, where I’ve stopped being reformed by the word of God? I’m still thinking through these questions. I want the Bible to be an open book, and I want to submit my life, my doctrine, and my ministry to the life-giving words of the King. It’s amazing though, how easy it is to just drift away from this life-giving doctrine in the small, daily decisions of life and ministry. We just stop asking. We just stop looking. We just stop digging. We just stop reading.
That’s very challenging, Nate. I’ve just been thinking about this in the area of parenting boys and girls (since my wife and I have a young son, and are expecting a baby girl early next year). As I’ve thought about doing that, specifically with raising a boy to become a man and a girl to become a woman, I’ve come to feel profoundly ignorant about what Scripture says about the specific roles of men and women. What characteristics should I endeavour to train in my son, specific to his masculinity? How about my daughter, specific to her femininity? What does Scripture say about their adult lives that I should be training them towards? For “the boy is the father of the man,” as the saying goes.
So I’ve decided to do some serious study on this, and I’ll be sharing some results in upcoming FB Lives. It’s just too easy to assume the axioms and thought processes of the world, instead of assuming the principles of Scripture because I’m building my life on their bedrock, and their truths become just “the hum of the gears of my mind in neutral” (to borrow an image from John Piper). But that requires digging and hard work, as you said; we are too often lazy.
How do you live out this doctrine in life and ministry? Have you seen examples of people who know who have lived out this doctrine well? Have you seen examples of people who have functionally abandoned this doctrine even if they still affirm it on paper?
So the way I’m going to try to live out this doctrine is by not just reading and studying the Scripture verse by verse and chapter by chapter, but by exploring specific topics throughout the Scripture.
There was a man in a previous church I was a member in, when I was a teenager, who lived out the authority and sufficiency of Scripture. He would talk about various topics and bring Scriptural principles to bear on them—things I hadn’t thought of before. He helped me see how important it is to live scripturally.
Hi Mildred! I started to answer your question yesterday, but realized I wanted to study it more deeply for myself first. So I am working on a phrase of 2 Cor 5:11-6:2, and will post the results (and the answer to your question) when I’m finished.
Instead of being arrogant, the Corinthians must excommunicate the incestuous church member so that he might be saved, because sin corrupts and the Corinthians are God’s people, and because it is the church’s job to judge its members.
In these verses, Paul gives the same command to the Corinthian church with three different emphases, and for three different reasons (see the Series relationship between verses 1-5, 6-8, and 9-11).
1. Let’s first examine the three different descriptions of church discipline.
First, the church must remove the sinner from among them (2c); this is also called delivering over "to Satan for the destruction of the flesh" (5b-c). If a church practices church membership, so that not everyone who comes to a church service is a “member,” they can obey this command by removing the person from their position as member, without attempting to force them to stop attending church.
The language of delivering someone “to Satan” sounds strange to our ears, but when we combine this description with the language of removal from the church in verse 2, we can see that to be cut off from membership in a local part of the body of Christ means to be exposed to Satan’s power, who exercises power and deception over the sinful world (2 Cor 4:4; 1 John 5:19).
Secondly, the church must purge out the sinful leaven from their group (7a-c). Jewish believers under the Mosaic Covenant were to remove all leaven from their homes when celebrating Passover (Ex 13:7). Leaven pictured sin, and this ritual underscored God’s requirement that his people be holy (Lev 11:45). So, in the New Covenant, must believers be separate from sin; this requires the removal of unrepentant sinners from the midst of God’s covenant people.
Thirdly, the church must completely dissociate itself from the so-called brother who is living in unrepentant sin (9, 11a, 11h). Paul had told the church in a previous letter, now lost, that they should not associate with immoral people; he makes clear in this letter that he is speaking only of immoral people who claim to be believers (“who bears the name of brother,” 11a). They are not even to eat a meal with such a person.
2. Now let’s look at the three reasons Paul gives for the action he commands the church to take.
First, the purpose of the excommunication is the eschatological salvation of the soul of the sinner (5c-e). “The day of the Lord” refers to Christ’s Second Coming—the end of history and the time of judgment. God will use the destruction of the “flesh,” which could refer to the sinful nature, as a means to preserve this man’s soul, to move him to turn from his sin and toward the Lord (see Col 1:22-23).
Secondly, the reason for the excommunication is the identity of the church as God’s new Israel, rescued from God’s wrath by the sacrifice of Christ (7c-d). Christ is “our Passover lamb”; he is the reality which the OT Passover sacrifices were pointing to (7d). We should “celebrate the festival” of the Passover, therefore, not literally but figuratively, putting away “the leaven of malice and evil” (8a, 8b). Since we are God’s NT people, we must live out the fulfilment of the picture of the Passover: lives of holiness because we have been redeemed from death. That necessitates church discipline if a member refuses to repent of open sin.
Thirdly, another reason for the excommunication is the church’s responsibility to act in judgment toward those inside the church (12). God will judge “those outside”—that is, those who are not called “brother” (11a)—but the church must judge “those inside the church” (12b).
What does it meant to “judge”: to condemn angrily? To harshly denounce? No, because Paul is urging one action upon this church, in several different terms, as we saw earlier (removing the sinner, delivering to Satan, purging out leaven, and not associating with the sinner). And “judging” is part of the third member of this Series, dissociating with the sinner. Therefore, for the church as a whole to “judge” someone is to remove them from the church.
And that judgment is the church’s responsibility—one which they are sinning if they refuse to carry out! The church has the responsibility to declare who are in Christ and who are not; and in a church discipline situation, the church must say to a member who is involved in grievous, public sin, “We can no longer affirm your profession of faith and say that we believe you are a Christian.” That person may be a Christian, but since there is fruit that denies this church, the church must exercise judgment and treat the person as an outsider.
Does the New Testament require believers to abstain from eating meat with blood in it? In short, are there food laws in the Old Testament that New Testament believers must keep? I will come to a conclusion at the end of this post!
To correctly interpret this passage, there are two relationships that must especially be studied and understood: the Inference in 19-21, and the Ground within it, in 21a-b.
- The Inference that the believers shouldn’t “trouble” the Gentiles is based on James’s quotation of Amos 9:11-12 (with some alterations). The prophecy was that God would rebuild the house of David (or perhaps “tent” refers to the temple), and that this was being fulfilled in both Jews and Gentiles, who together formed the church. And Gentiles who believed “are called by my name,” God says—thus making them full members of his people, without the need for circumcision or observance of food laws. “Therefore,” James says, “we should not stand in God’s way,” as Peter had concluded in Acts 11:17, “by forcing them to observe the Mosaic Law.”
They should not “trouble” the Gentiles (by telling them they had to be circumcised to be saved, or as something necessary for the Christian life - see verses 5-11). Rather (the Positive shows this), they should ask them to abstain from four practices. (And this was not a human idea, as the text of the letter says in verse 28: “it has seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us.”)
- And the Ground in 21a-b is vital for understanding James’s decision to instruct the Gentiles to do this. Why did James think they should tell the Gentiles to abstain from four things? Because the Mosaic Law is proclaimed in every city, and has been for centuries. Thus the Gentiles knew what practices were against the Jewish law, and so could abstain from them.
But these four practices cannot be something necessary for obedient Christians at all times, because the whole point for James is that they not prescribe such things as necessary for salvation.
There is one exception in this list, however, since “sexual immorality” (20c) is condemned elsewhere in the NT. But the other members of this Series are not; in fact, several other places in the NT show that Christians are free to practice them (with the possible exception of “things polluted by idols,” depending on its exact meaning here - see 1 Corinthians 10:27-30).
For example, Acts 10:9-16 shows that we are not bound by Jewish food laws, since all foods are now clean to us. That means that a regulation like Deut 12:23 isn’t binding for us. Also, Colossians 2:16-17 and 20-23 says that we should not let ourselves be judged by anyone regarding “food and drink” (v. 16). There are other passages in the NT are clear that believers are not under the law as a covenant that prescribed what not to eat and so on.
So why did this church council ask Gentile believers to abstain from these things? The likely reason was to promote peace within the church; thus the motive behind it was love.
Paul wrote about this elsewhere, so this idea fits in the overall context of the New Testaments and food laws. For example, in Romans 15, Paul addressed a controversy within the Roman church about this, and urged seeking the good of one’s neighbors, so that they could glorify God together in unity, in spite of their difference conclusions (v. 1-6). In 1 Corinthians 8:13, Paul stated that if eating meat offered to an idol would cause his brother to sin, he would “never eat meat” in that case! He wrote in 1 Corinthians 9 that he “became as a Jew, in order to win Jews,” doing that "
for the sake of the gospel" (see verses 19-23).
So, to conclude, believers are not bound today by the food regulations in verse 20; however, we are bound not to do anything that would lead a brother or sister into soul-destroying sin.
Any thoughts from anyone on this difficult passage?
After they finished speaking, James replied, “Brothers, listen to me. 14 Simeon has related how God first visited the Gentiles, to take from them a people for his name. 15 And with this the words of the prophets agree, just as it is written, 16 “‘After this I will return, and I will rebuild the tent of David that has fallen; I will rebuild its ruins, and I will restore it, 17 that the remnant of mankind may seek the Lord, and all the Gentiles who are called by my name, says the Lord, who makes these things 18 known from of old.’ 19 Therefore my judgment is that we should not trouble those of the Gentiles who turn to God, 20 but should write to them to abstain from the things polluted by idols, and from sexual immorality, and from what has been strangled, and from blood. 21 For from ancient generations Moses has had in every city those who proclaim him, for he is read every Sabbath in the synagogues” (Acts 15:13-21 ESV).
It’s good to hear back from you after a long time! I’m glad you found the time to write such a detailed response.
Since your post covered so many points and so many Scriptures, I’m not going to try to respond to every assertion you made. I’m just going to address a few of your main statements and try to show where I think you’re going wrong in your interpretation. There is a different font for when I’m quoting you, and bold font in the paragraphs when I’m responding specifically to something you say.
"Let us first view Ephesians 4:11. Scripture clearly defines what their purpose is. It is to lead in the Unity of Faith. Nothing else is mentioned Unity of Faith is a status of the soul in gaining unity of life with the Lord, as a single Body Of Christ. And we also can apply biblical numerology with the number 5 which is grace so it is a favor upon us to help us in gaining at unity each one of us in our life with the Lord. Again to emphasize nothing about what the body of Christ is to do specifically and nothing specifically of how each of those offices would fulfill their commission."
Where do you get your definition of “unity of faith” as “a status of the soul in gaining unity of life with the Lord”? That’s nowhere in the text. And you can’t just apply biblical numerology whenever a number is used, as if every occurrence of “five” means God is talking about grace. The Scripture may be talking about grace in using the number five, but it must be clearly demonstrated in the text itself, in the words themselves, rather than reading in “grace” to the appearance of a number. That is called eisegesis rather than exegesis, as is defining “unity of the faith” the way you did. This sort of thing doesn’t bode well for the accuracy of the rest of your interpreting, unfortunately!
"Romans 11:13 is the first description of what an apostle does. An emissary creating connections that do not yet exist."
Again, where do you get your definition of apostle from, as “an emissary creating connections that do not yet exist”? That definition cannot be sustained by looking at the Greek, or by looking at the usage of the word in context. Romans 11:13 isn’t the first description of what an apostle does in the New Testament, either, since that verse doesn’t describe what an apostle does, and since the work of an apostle is described in Mark 6:7-13.
I would say here that one of the main problems I see with your approach to texts is that you are pulling out verses that are scattered around the New Testament, instead of digging into them and examining their grammar and logic to discern their teaching.
You address prophets in your response as well, but I’m not going to discuss prophets here, since that is a debated topic that isn’t nearly as clear as the issue of who elders and overseers are, or whether or not the office of apostle has ceased.
"Elders in The Old Testament were generally tribal leaders. Positional leaders over others. Any other reference is about age in. This continues into the Gospels. Acts 11:30 is the first mention of ‘elders’ that were of a New Testament view. The New Testament view of elder stays until 22:5 when Old Testament usage is used for the Jewish leaders to the end of Acts. … "Elders - older wiser leaders to help guide the ‘tribe’, committed to each a type of group - like a local congregation. No specific authoritative capability based on the title but one is listened to and an influencer. and allowed to be there by defacto admission to the leader’s group."
Again, where do you get the fact that elders were tribal leaders or positional leaders in the Old Testament, and move that into the New Testament in your definition? And it is not true that elders had “no specific authoritative capability,” since Paul tells Timothy in 1 Timothy 5:17, "Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching.” (This also supports my claim that elders, overseers, and pastors are the same office, since to “rule” is the function of an overseer, and to “labor in preaching and teaching” is to “shepherd the flock of God” [1 Pet 5:2], which is the function of a pastor/shepherd.)
"Overseers - they would be designated and appointed leaders with authoritative responsibility."
Your definition of overseers is good, since it is supported by Scripture (“designated and appointed,” Titus 1:5, 7; “authoritative responsibility,” Titus 1:7, 9).
"These 2 titles are used without ever being singled out (except for qualifications) lie the 5Fold ministry roles. They also get mentioned often in story lines and points of receiving instruction. The 5fold ministry does not get definitions of what they are as gifts to The Body of Christ, except apostles and prophets. They have a clear mandate, which is to provide more for the Body of Jesus Christ to build upon. With the lack of definition via e·lucidation in Scripture, the only clear way would be by the definitions found in Bible Dictionaries and Lexicons."
It actually isn’t true that the titles “elder” and "overseer” aren’t singled out. Did you examine the verses I quoted? You need to interact with my points and show me where I am wrong, because the only possible interpretation I can see, based on careful exegesis of texts in their context, is that elder and overseer must be the same office. We don’t need to turn to dictionaries and lexicons here.
"[N]ever is there ever a transference of elders and overseers with any 5fold ministry. So they are discreet and different."
I’m not sure why you emphasize the “fivefold ministry” so much; the fact that they aren’t used transferrably in reference to bringing others to the unity of faith is irrelevant. They are clearly used interchangeably in passages I quoted in my earlier post.
"Apostles and prophets have a very strong inference while the work Jesus did was indeed finished on the cross it is not finished with His Resurrection. They are to keep building on the foundation of The Rock, Jesus Christ. ... [I]n all verbs and adverbs, nowhere is there any terminal end indicated or specified. With lack of dates or events or seasons, there is nothing to support any role or position specified in The New Testament fading away at all."
Yes, the work of the apostles continued after the resurrection, and there is no verse that teaches that apostleship will end. However, it is clear from the verses I referenced in my post, in Theological Discussions, “Has the office of apostle ceased?" that there cannot be apostles today. No-one alive today is an eyewitness of the risen Christ. Here is what I said there: "Can anyone today claim that God has chosen him, that Jesus has personally appointed him to be an apostle, and that he has seen the risen and glorified Jesus with his own eyes? Anyone can make such claims, of course, but that is a far cry from verifying them. Such claims would have to be substantiated by miracles, exorcisms, and healings. And where are these things found? I answer: nowhere. The original apostles actually did heal diseases (see Acts 3:1-10, 12-16 for one example), unlike the fraudulent claims of modern-day hucksters like Benny Hinn and Kenneth Copeland."
How would you respond to my interpretation of Scripture? For instance, how would you answer the question, “Can a person encounter the resurrected Christ in person today?”
"And in my research I have done so far I found really interesting the translations usage of ‘pastor’ We in the western culture churches for hundreds of years emphasize pastors. And we have pastors of pastors. But that word in all major translations outside of Eph 4:11 appears zero times. So if the scholars for English translations in reading Greek felt pastors have such an important role for The Body of Christ, I would expect to see that reflected more than zero times."
As far as the word “pastors” goes, translators have almost nothing to do with how many times it appears. This is because they can’t translate a word that doesn’t mean “pastor” as “pastor.” And since the Greek word for pastor hardly appears in the NT, scholars won’t translate it more than it appears!
However, the idea behind the word pastor does appear more than once. The idea behind the noun translated “pastor” has to do with shepherding. For example, the noun “pastors” in the KJV is translated “shepherds” in the ESV in Ephesians 4:11. And it is used to describe literal shepherds in Luke 2:8, for example. So when a verb from the same root is used to describe the act of shepherding, it makes sense that the office of “pastor” is referred to. For example, in 1 Peter 5:1-2, Peter exhorts “the elders among you” to “shepherd the flock of God.” And then he tells them to do that in this manner: “exercising oversight,” thus using a related verb to the noun translated “overseer” in the NT. Could it be any clearer that these three offices are synonymous? Interpreting Scriptures in context and comparing them together necessarily and inevitably leads to this as the only possible conclusion that is faithful to Scripture: the office of elder, pastor, and overseer is one and the same.
"So in summary, no office has died out directly in Scripture nor shown they will. The 3 offices you have in the title are distinct. One is not another. Nowhere it that detailed."
No, the offices cannot be distinct. Again, you cannot study the passages I showed you and still assert this. That is indeed detailed clearly in the NT. I challenge you to address my claims from the Scriptures I used. For example, look at the terms in 1 Peter 5:1-2, as well as the nouns “elders” and “overseers” in Acts 20:17, 28, and please explain how elder and overseer are not synonymous in that text. I am willing to be corrected if my view can be shown to be inconsistent with passages of Scripture, interpreted in context according to grammar and logic.
To conclude, we must exegete the Scriptures by studying their grammar, their context, comparing Scripture with Scripture, and not by taking one passage as supreme to others (like the “fivefold ministry”) to overturn the clear exegesis of other passages. This is not rightly dividing the word of truth. This is what Biblearc exists to help you do: interpret verses grammatically and logically in context. To put it bluntly, in your post, you are not doing that.
Quoting Spurgeon is not the same thing as quoting the Bible, of course, but he explains what I’m saying so eloquently I need to include it: "We cannot expect to deliver much of the teaching of Holy Scripture by picking out verse by verse, and holding these up at random. The process resembles that of showing a house by exhibiting separate bricks. It would be an astounding absurdity if our friends used our private letters in this fashion, and interpreted them by short sentences disconnected and taken away from the context. Such expositors would make us out to say in every letter all we ever thought of, and a great many things besides far enough from our minds; while the real intent of our epistles would probably escape attention” (C. H. Spurgeon, Lectures to My Students: Commenting and Commentaries; Lectures Addressed to the Students of the Pastors’ College, Metropolitan Tabernacle., vol. 4 (New York: Sheldon & Company, 1876), 43).
Let us interact with specific Scriptures now, in our continuing conversation, sticking with exegesis of individual passages and verses. I urge you again, respond to my exegesis of 1 Peter 5:1-2 and Acts 20:17 and 28, just for starters, and show me how I am wrong. This is how we can discover the truth of Scripture!
What are the core courses that they are referring to?
Good question. Those are simply all the courses that we offer at any given time—so right now, that includes our seven courses: Paraphrase, Arcing, Bracketing, Phrasing, Didactics, Greek, and Hebrew.
1 It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that is not tolerated even among pagans, for a man has his father’s wife. 2 And you are arrogant! Ought you not rather to mourn? Let him who has done this be removed from among you. 3 For though absent in body, I am present in spirit; and as if present, I have already pronounced judgment on the one who did such a thing. 4 When you are assembled in the name of the Lord Jesus and my spirit is present, with the power of our Lord Jesus, 5 you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord. 6 Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? 7 Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. 8 Let us therefore celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. 9 I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— 10 not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. 11 But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one. 12 For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? 13 God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you” (1 Corinthians 5:1-13 ESV).