Archive for January, 2021

As Followers of Christ we are co-workers looking out for the needs of the poorest among us. 1 Cor. 16 whole chapter

January 29, 2021

We now come to the last chapter of 1 Corinthians namely chapter 16.  When this letter was originally written there were no chapter and verses added to it.  Let us remember that this was a letter St Paul wrote and it involved real people who loved Jesus Christ and wanted to serve him. We sometimes might think that there wasn’t much social movement in the ancient world.  With the Roman peace at the time of St Paul people could move around freely and this is one of the main reasons why the Church grew so fast.  The churches at this time also at times knew how to move on the international scale.  Let’s begin by looking at the whole chapter;

Instructions and Greetings

1 Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I directed the churches of Galatia, so do you also. 2 On the first day of every week each one of you is to put aside and save, as he may prosper, so that no collections be made when I come. 3 When I arrive, whomever you may approve, I will send them with letters to carry your gift to Jerusalem; 4 and if it is fitting for me to go also, they will go with me.

5 But I will come to you after I go through Macedonia, for I am going through Macedonia; 6 and perhaps I will stay with you, or even spend the winter, so that you may send me on my way wherever I may go. 7 For I do not wish to see you now just in passing; for I hope to remain with you for some time, if the Lord permits. 8 But I will remain in Ephesus until Pentecost; 9 for a wide door for effective service has opened to me, and there are many adversaries.

10 Now if Timothy comes, see that he is with you without cause to be afraid, for he is doing the Lord’s work, as I also am. 11 So let no one despise him. But send him on his way in peace, so that he may come to me; for I expect him with the brethren.

12 But concerning Apollos our brother, I encouraged him greatly to come to you with the brethren; and it was not at all his desire to come now, but he will come when he has opportunity.

13 Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. 14 Let all that you do be done in love.

15 Now I urge you, brethren (you know the household of Stephanas, that they were the first fruits of Achaia, and that they have devoted themselves for ministry to the saints), 16 that you also be in subjection to such men and to everyone who helps in the work and labours. 17 I rejoice over the coming of Stephanas and Fortunatus and Achaicus, because they have supplied what was lacking on your part. 18 For they have refreshed my spirit and yours. Therefore, acknowledge such men.

19 The churches of Asia greet you. Aquila and Prisca greet you heartily in the Lord, with the church that is in their house. 20 All the brethren greet you. Greet one another with a holy kiss.

21 The greeting is in my own hand—Paul. 22 If anyone does not love the Lord, he is to be accursed. Maranatha. 23 The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you. 24 My love be with you all in Christ Jesus. Amen. 1 Corinthians 16 NASB

You can see straight away that there was a collection for the Church in Jerusalem.  The Church is one big family and wherever there is a need, the needs were met.  Paul wanted to spend time at Corinth and eventually stayed there for a while.  This chapter is buzzing with life with itinerant preachers and teachers passing through and building the church.  At the same time however, there were the trouble makes inside the Church trying to take advantage.   Verse 22 is a hard verse.  If anyone does not love the Lord let him be accursed.   I don’t believe he is talking about outsiders but those who wiggles there way into the Church pretending to be part of the church and bringing false teachings with them.  There are a lot of names in this chapter;

  • Timothy
  • Apollos
  • household of Stephanas
  • Stephanas and Fortunatus and Achaicus
  • Aquila and Prisca
  • We know about Timothy because two letters were sent to him and he was an important ambassador for the Gospel.  Paul really trusted him.
  • Apollos was a top theologian and some think that he wrote the book of Hebrews because of its Alexandrian style not Paul.  The first four verses of Hebrews are one sentence.  I don’t believe that Paul could have written this way.
  • “Stephanas has been supposed by some to have been the repentant “jailer of Philippi” (comp. Acts 16:33). The First Epistle to the Corinthians was written from Ephesus some six years after the jailer’s conversion, and he was with the apostle there at that time.” From
  •   “  I was glad when Stephanas, Fortunatus and Achaicus arrived, because they have supplied what was lacking from you Teignmouth Shore, writing in Ellicott’s Commentary for Modern Readers, suggests that Stephanas, Fortunatus and Achaicus had come from Corinth to Ephesus, probably with the letter from the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 7:1) to which Paul was sending a response.[6] Paul urged the church in Corinth to “be in subjection to such men and to everyone who helps in the work and labours” and to “acknowledge such men”.” From
  • Priscilla (/prɪˈsɪlə/; Greek: Πρίσκιλλα, Priskilla or sometimes misspelled as Priscila) and Aquila (/ˈækwɪlə/; Greek: Ἀκύλας, Akylas) were a first century Christian missionary married couple described in the New Testament. Aquila is traditionally listed among the Seventy Disciples. They lived, worked, and travelled with the Apostle Paul, who described them as his “fellow workers in Christ Jesus” (Romans 16:3).[1]  Priscilla and Aquila are described in the New Testament as providing a presence that strengthened the early Christian churches. Paul was generous in his recognition and acknowledgment of his indebtedness to them (Romans 16:3–4). Together, they are credited with instructing Apollos, a major evangelist of the first century, and “[explaining] to him the way of God more accurately” (Acts 18:26).  It is thought by some to be possible, in light of her apparent prominence, that Priscilla held the office of presbyter.[2] She also is thought by some to be the anonymous author of the Epistle to the Hebrews.[3] from

So, we have some very powerful members in the Church.  I found it interesting that some think that Priscilla wrote the Book of Hebrews.  I would ask the question; Was she trained in Alexandrian grammar?  She would need this in her job description.  If the answer is ‘no’, then she is certainly not a contender.  That brings us to the end of our study on 1 Corinthians! Wow what a city! Life in the first century then wasn’t necessarily that slow.  I am so glad that this book is in the Bible because it helps us now in the 21st century.  They were ordinary people just like us today and they also had fast food shops like we have.  They were into beauty and staying clean like we are.  They were a literate society like we are.  They had children and family problems and quarrels like we have today.   We really need to listen to what God is trying to teach us in this letter of St Paul.

This was just a quick study but perhaps I want to later look at the book even deeper but I have to say those who followed this study will have a greater understanding of what life was like for Christians at the time of Paul.  Not long after these times great persecutions came into the ancient world. The destruction of the temple in AD 70; the burning of Christians and feeding them to the lions under Nero and other emperors of the time.  The Jewish and Christian religions made it through to the modern era which is an amazing feat. 

The Image of God, the Fall and the way back home from the far country

January 29, 2021



We have spent a few weeks looking at the Fall and how people are not in their own power able to rebuild their relationship with God.   Before the fall it was beautiful and after the fall darkness fell on to the human race and onto creation.  In the grand scheme of things God became a man in the Person of Jesus Christ.  Being more specific; the God-Man Jesus Christ came into the world and opened the way of salvation for us.  It was a very high price to pay but God paid this price through the atonement. He paid the price, the propitiation for our sins.

Although God is a God of love this cannot be decoupled from his justice.  Christians talk about a ‘Holy God.’  According to the Genesis story humanity rebelled against God thus judgement needed to be meted out.  The death of Jesus Christ was the means used to turn away the wrath of God from us and by faith in Christ we can have eternal life. Jesus Christ our Lord took the complete and utter wrath of God on himself.  This is the propitiation.  The death and suffering of Christ was the propitiatory act; the act of turning God’s wrath away from us.  This is true love that Christ died for his church even while we were outside of God’s kingdom.

In simple terms:

propitiation = the turning of Gods wrath away by sacrifice.

There is a theory that the Devil held humanity as a ransom and Jesus paid it.  This is absolutely not true.  It was disproved by Anselm in the 12thcentury in a book called Cur Deus Homo? (Why did God become a man?).  Humanities problem was the Fall.  We messed up big time and we deserved to die but a way was made for us to return to that pristine condition at the end of time by being brought by the Holy Spirit in Christ to have fellowship with God for all eternity.  Anyhow this is by way of an introduction to Bavincks next section which is to do with us as the fallen image of God and then he talks about the conscience and on the latter topic he goes really deep.

Thus, we have been created in the image of God but if it wasn’t for God we would have been completely separated from the Divine life for all eternity. Bavinck writes in his intro:

“Sin seeks to destroy and annihilate everything. But God did not allow that to happen because he had a different and higher purpose for humanity— namely, a people to proclaim his praise. God maintains his creation and tempers the inclination to evil. He did not need to do it; that he does is a gift. All of life and all of humanity” are under judgment and fall within the purview of patience, of God’s forbearance.”(Bavinck Ethics volume 1, page 147 page reference updated 06-02-2021)

We spent a long time looking at sin and what we learned is that it pulls us away from God into complete separation from God.  God did not forget the human race as He created it.  Bavinck in his introduction reminds us that God see everything.  Purview is an interesting word he uses. A synonym for purview is remit.  If you were a manger it would point to the limits of your authority in the place that you work.  God’s remit is the whole of creation and he watches over it.  Bavinck here in the introduction basically says that God holds back evil from the totality that it can go to.  So how evil can humanity be.  I think we already know the answer to that question.  Millions of people have already been killed due the evil that human societies have carried within them.

We were created in the image of God and the Fall caused us to become prodigal and rebellious.   As Bavinck says God did not need to temper the dark side of humanity but he does.  We will continue working on this later on in the Week.  It has been a busy Week but by God’s grace I will add more to this very soon.



We can look forward to eternity; death is certainly not the end!

January 23, 2021

35 But someone will say, “How are the dead raised? And with what kind of body do they come?” 36 You fool! That which you sow does not come to life unless it dies; 37 and that which you sow, you do not sow the body which is to be, but a bare grain, perhaps of wheat or of something else. 38 But God gives it a body just as He wished, and to each of the seeds a body of its own. 39 All flesh is not the same flesh, but there is one flesh of men, and another flesh of beasts, and another flesh of birds, and another of fish. 40 There are also heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, but the glory of the heavenly is one, and the glory of the earthly is another. 41 There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for star differs from star in glory.

Verse 35 -42

Paul now starts to put correction on the Corinthians thinking.  Paul is going to follow through the logic, so the opening statement is also his intention.

•          How are the dead raised?

•          What kind of body do they come?

According to the.

Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges

Paul is covering ground that the Pharisees and Sadducees would have covered. The two sides; one side disagreeing with a real resurrection of the body and the other side agreeing about the resurrection of the body. So, he goes into smaller detail explaining that there are different types of body; fauna, animal, celestial bodies such as the moon and stars.

Paul starts by the simple fact that unless a seed (body) dies there cannot be another body.  Ver36 this argument is seen in nature.

42 So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown a perishable body, it is raised an imperishable body; 43 it is sown in dishonour, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; 44 it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. 45 So also it is written, “The first MAN, Adam, BECAME A LIVING SOUL.” The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. 46 However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural; then the spiritual. 47 The first man is from the earth, earthy; the second man is from heaven. 48 As is the earthy, so also are those who are earthy; and as is the heavenly, so also are those who are heavenly. 49 Just as we have borne the image of the earthy, we will also bear the image of the heavenly.

So, in the previous section Paul answered the first of his intentions that there are various types of bodies.  He is now intending to explain the second question from verse 35.

What kind of body do they come?

Paul gives the contrasts of the resurrected to the natural man.

Buried                        resurrected

perishable                   imperishable

Dishonour                   Glory

weakness                   power

natural body          spiritual body

Paul tells the Corinthians what type of body will be when we are resurrected.   We should take encouragement from this.

Paul doesn’t stop here but he goes into detail how God would accomplish this. Jesus Christ: Being fully God and fully man was in the perfect position to make this happen.

So, let us dig a little deeper by looking at verse 45

45 So also it is written, “The first MAN, Adam, BECAME A LIVING SOUL.” The last Adam became a life-giving spirit.

This is very important, and it is sometimes overlooked. My first point is that when Adam was created, he was perfect and there is no reason why he would not have lived forever but unfortunately, He sinned and the whole human race died.  Not literally but the separation and broken relationship from God.  God did not give up on the human race but sent his Son and through the son we are brought back into this divine fellowship by faith and grace.

So let us work out how this resurrection works and why it works;

46 However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural; then the spiritual. 47 The first man is from the earth, earthy; the second man is from heaven. 48 As is the earthy, so also are those who are earthy; and as is the heavenly, so also are those who are heavenly. 49 Just as we have borne the image of the earthy, we will also bear the image of the heavenly.

Paul is following God’s creation. For there to be life death came first.  From this life would spring up.  Adam is like the original natural seed that falls into the ground.  This needs to take place so that there can be a resurrection for eternal fellowship with God.  This is our destiny and it was our destiny from before the foundation of the world.

The Mystery of Resurrection

50 Now I say this, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 51 Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 53 For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54 But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, “DEATH IS SWALLOWED UP in victory. 55 O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR VICTORY? O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR STING?” 56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; 57 but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord. 1 Corinthians 15:35-58

Death is cruel and in the natural world because of the fall there is a sting in death.  The sting of death is that we are separated from our relatives; we can be separated from God. But it does not have to be that way and in Jesus Christ through the cross and his resurrection this situation by faith can be reversed.  As it says in these verses the perishable will become imperishable and the mortal will become immortal.  Verse 37 tells us that the victory over death is through Jesus Christ. 

Isaiah 25:8 says.

“8 He will swallow up death for all time,

And the Lord GOD will wipe tears away from all faces,

And He will remove the reproach of His people from all the earth.

For the LORD has spoken. “(NASB)

This idea of a resurrection is especially alive in Ezekiel.

“12 Therefore prophesy and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD, “Behold, I will open your graves and cause you to come up out of your graves, My people; and I will bring you into the land of Israel. 13 Then you will know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves and caused you to come up out of your graves, My people. 14 I will put My Spirit within you, and you will come to life, and I will place you on your own land. Then you will know that I, the LORD, have spoken and done it,” declares the LORD.’” Ezekiel 37:12-14 NASB

So then, the idea of resurrection my friends from the time of the great prophets into the New Testament spoke of the defeat of death.  At the last trumpet call we will all be changed.  This work was achieved through Jesus Christ.  In the last verse “58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord. “1 Corinthians 15:58 NASB

All we are asked to do is stay steadfast and continue to work and live for the Lord. 1 Corinthians is very interesting at many different levels.  These early believers would have known some of the eyewitnesses.  These eyewitnesses to the resurrection of Christ had started to die and perhaps they started to lose hope.  Perhaps some of them started to doubt in the resurrection.  Paul came at the right time to dispel these doubts. St Paul reminded the Corinthians of these basic Bible truths that culminated in Jesus Christ and in the Lord, the Corinthians and us in the 21st century will have a taste the resurrection too.  This is the great promise. The hope of the resurrection started in the Old Testament and was fulfilled in the new.  This really excites me about the future.  We can look forward to eternity; death is certainly not the end!

Are words the most powerful weapon or healing tool that we have?

January 23, 2021


There is a rhyme that says;

Sticks and stones

May break my bones

But words cannot hurt me.


By David Cantelli

This is obviously not true. Words are very powerful and whole nations can stand or fall with them.  Trump is a prime example that could have led to a civil war in the USA in the middle of a plague.  I can also say that we have all said things we ought never to have said.  So today we are looking at Bavincks teaching from his ethics in relation to the abuse of words.  (Pages 128-129 Reformed Ethics)

So, Bavinck says, “The root of these sins is the vanity or futility of the mind (Eph4:17 So this I say, and affirm together with the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind, Ephesians 4:17),  the result of being cut loose from life, from the Word, from God’s Logos”

These empty words, sins, go against the Trinity, Against the Son of God, the Logos. The Logos is found within Johns Gospel “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God and the Word became a human being and lived among us”.  In the Eternal Trinity, The Logos was there at the creation of the world.  When we talk about the Logos we talk about the God-Man Jesus Christ. The Logos who is The Lord who saves his people and is the Messiah the anointed King as God the Father’s representative on earth.  The kings of Israel held the title of Messiah, but they only pointed to the true Messiah, The Lord Jesus Christ.  So then in Christianity the very meaning of Word relates to Jesus Christ.  So then when we read Bavincks words, we ought to take stock of this.


On page 128 Bavinck gives us a list of scriptures.


4 and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. Ephesians 5:4


6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Ephesians 5:6

1 Tim.5:13

13 At the same time they also learn to be idle, as they go around from house to house; and not merely idle, but also gossips and busybodies, talking about things not proper to mention. 1 Timothy 5:13

1 Tim.6:20

20 O Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to you, avoiding worldly and empty chatter and the opposing arguments of what is falsely called “knowledge”— 1 Timothy 6:20


10 For there are many rebellious men, empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision, Titus 1:10

3 John.1:10

10 For this reason, if I come, I will call attention to his deeds which he does, unjustly accusing us with wicked words; and not satisfied with this, he himself does not receive the brethren, either, and he forbids those who desire to do so and puts them out of the church. 3 John 1:10


36 But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment. Matthew 12:36

So from the above list Bavinck gives us a list of negative things about talking;

·        Futility of the mind

·        Foolish talk and crude joking

·        Empty words

·        Gossips and bust bodies

·        Irreverent babble

·        Empty talkers

·        Talking wicked nonsense

·        On the day of judgement people will give an account for every careless word

The above list then is what we should certainly not do but in contrast to this we ought to as Bavinck quotes col.4:6;

6 Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person. Colossians 4:6

Scriptures standards for speech and talking then are very high. 

“Such spewing of idle words comes to expression in daily interaction, in polite phrases with which we misuse language and empty words of their content. Talleyrand is correct when he says, “language is created to conceal thoughts.” Such phraseology leads to excessive talking, to self-deception and to the deception of others. The word continues to have great power over people and betrays them by leading them astray into error and heresy. All great events have been called into being by a word (such as *revolution «freedom,” etc.). This happens in learning and science as well. People seek and love scholarship for themselves (egoism) instead of for God. Using vain words, ideas without content, or words in which one has placed faulty content gives rise to knowledge that is *demonic” (James 3:15), or to an earthly wisdom” (2 Cor. 1:12), *to falsely called ‘knowledge” (1 Tim” 6:20), or the *wisdom of this world” (1 Cor. 3:19). These result in a philosophy and a vain temptation that lead people astray with every *wind of doctrine” (Eph. 4:14). Scholarship is no longer valued as a path to the truth because that is considered unattainable and is therefore reduced to desire, thirst, mere exercise. The same is true in art, the symbolized word.  Art is reduced to form; it is no longer used to express the truth, to express the eternal, to express who we are. Its ideals and inspirations do not come’ from above, but from below. Only the figure, the form, and then, of course the physical, the naked form, captivates—a coarse realism… (Reformed Ethics  by Herman Bavinck page 129)”

There isn’t much I can add but Bavinck reminds us of the power of words.  Words can change governments.  Words can kill.

I just want to add that words also have the power to heal.  If we walk in Christian love and build each other in the faith and live the way the Lord Jesus asks us then with these small conversations perhaps our groups of friends and families will start to feel Gods healing and even be brought to a place of eternal redemption.


Do you love money or God?

January 17, 2021


Do you love money?

I suppose this Elvis song from the 1950’s is a way into the subject of money.  From a localized family point of view many battles take place because of money.  In this song the man is having a hard time and he is being dumped by the lover for another man. How might Herman Bavinck interpret this?

On pages 125 to 126 of Bavincks Ethics Bavinck talks about self-love in the form of loving their body and being double minded. There is certainly double mindedness going on in this song and shows how frail the human condition is. In our strength we cannot break away from this condition.

Moving on from what was just said; In Western societies Fridays and Saturdays are seen as the nights to have a good time on the town.    One dresses up in their finest attire and go out to drink and have fun with their friends.  A lot of money is spent.  Money is spent even at the expense of their own family.  In the UK for example night clubs are always full.  Hedonism is the in thing.  One lives to drink deep of the worldly pleasures whatever they might be.  The Corona virus by a lot of people is seen as a dampener on this.  I was reading digitally somewhere that some psychologist said that when this Covid19 thing is over the time will be ripe for a 1920’s type of rave to take place.

On the political side too, we have seen a lot of things happen over the last 4 years and with the attempt to overthrow democracy in the USA.  Money and power seem to go hand in hand.  Trump lost the election, so he tried with his friends to overthrow the election.  I’m not taking sides on the election, but I think people who hold places of power need to do some heart searching.  Are they in politics for the money and power first or are they servants of the people?  The same conundrum holds sway in the UK with Johnson and his allies.  Listen how he spoke before Trump lost office and after.  Politicians ought not be chameleons but stick to their beliefs and have some integrity. Merkel who is retiring from leadership has been from my point of such a person. If money and power are the driving force for someone in power then I am sorry, the agenda will somehow fail. 

So, we have seen on the micro level and the macro level that money and power used for the self can have a devastating impact on individuals and society.  Who can give us advice on how to move forward from this malaise? I can see from what I have said why the Bible is very unpopular.  The Bible attacks the gangrene and root of selfishness.  I can see why secularism and atheism are very popular because people want to live their lives the best way, they seem fit with no constraints.  The Bible gets wrongly attacked for having a high bar of ethics.  Yes, the Bible has a high bar of ethics and anyone who calls themselves a Christian is called to love their neighbour.  The theology of this high ethics is for those who belong to the church and yes, the church encourages those who are not members to also keep doing the right thing. It can be rightly said that the 10 commandments have had a positive input on Western society.  Now however the Churches reach in politics has a lot of the time been side-lined and what do we have?

We have a very selfish society of citizens who think about their rights more than their neighbour. I see a lot of disgruntled young people who join gangs because they see it as their family. I see many young people in places like London go onto the streets to kill or be killed.  Well done you secularists for the breakup of the families in the name of whatever thing you follow. I also see the rich even get richer during this pandemic.   The church is called to help those who are vulnerable in society but unfortunately there are those who are in their ivory towers who only see their self-righteousness and have a false view of what righteousness really is.  I will save this topic for another day.  


The Bible has a lot to say about money and power, so it is useful as Bavinck does by looking at some Bible verses on the subject.  The following are verses chosen by Herman Bavinck on the subject;

Page 126-127 Reformed Ethics by Herman Bavinck

B. Spiritual Sins

1. the Love of Money

1 Tomothy 610

10 For the love of money is called the root of all evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. 1 Timothy 6:10

Job 3124-25

24 “If I have put my confidence in gold,
And called fine gold my trust,
25 If I have gloated because my wealth was great,
And because my hand had secured so much; Job 31:24-25

Luke 1215

15 Then He said to them, “Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions.” Luke 12:15

Luke 1613

13 No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and  wealth.” Luke 16:13

Matt. 19:24

24 Again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” Matthew 19:24

Matt. 6:16

16 “Whenever you fast, do not put on a gloomy face as the hypocrites do, for they neglect their appearance so that they will be noticed by men when they are fasting. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. Matthew 6:16

1 Timothy. 6:9

9  But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction. 1 Timothy 6:9


5 Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, “I WILL NEVER DESERT YOU, NOR WILL I EVER FORSAKE YOU,” Hebrews 13:5

1 Tim. 3:3

3  not addicted to wine or pugnacious, but gentle, peaceable, free from the love of money. 1 Timothy 3:3

2 Tim. 3:2

2 For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, 2 Timothy 3:2

Col. 3:5

5  Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to  immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry. Colossians 3:5

Eph. 5:5

5 For this you know with certainty, that no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Ephesians 5:5


Bavinck says; “The desire for money becomes a desire for the possession (not merely use) of money, because money is the greatest power on earth— everything can be obtained with money.  Money is thus truly Mammon on earth, Satan’s most powerful instrument of temptation. Desire for money turns us away from God and toward the earth…” (pages 127 – 128 Bavincks Ethics).

Obviously, it is a serious tool in the arsenal of weapons Satan has.  This is why in our day the ‘Prosperity Gospel’ is wrong as it indulges on a selfish act and in the name of God.  God is the opposite of Mammon.  God became a man and died a selfless way to save us from total separation from God.  God is not interested in houses, he is interested in people and that everyone can have enough to eat, not be homeless, be close to the sick et al. So then what is the center of your life; God or Mammon?


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Did Paul allow people to be baptized on behalf of the dead? My answer is no.

January 16, 2021

1 corinthians 15 29-34

Whole books have been written on verse 29.  The reason being is that is Paul talking about baptism on behalf of the dead.   I will go into these arguments in more detail, but I think this is a problem that is grammatically easy to resolve. The little word Otherwise is seriously important, and my argument is that Paul switches back to those who don’t believe in the resurrection.  Let us follow the logic

Verses 12 – 20 is about those who don’t believe in the resurrection.

Verses 21 – 28 is about those who believe in the resurrection.

Verse 29 switches topic again to those who don’t believe in the resurrection.

That word otherwise is my paraphrase interpretation rather than translation.

From the point of view of those who don’t believe in the resurrection is there any real point to be baptized on behalf of a dead person.  Then verse 30 He switches back to the 1st person plural pronoun we. Let us be clear from this vantage point the argument continues for the resurrection.  This section is pure ethics.  The Apostles ‘we’ are in danger of dying on a daily basis. This was not a problem for Paul because he has the hope of the resurrection.

29 Otherwise, what will those do who are baptized for the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why then are they baptized for them? 30 Why are we also in danger every hour? 31 I affirm, brethren, by the boasting in you which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily. 32 If from human motives I fought with wild beasts at Ephesus, what does it profit me? If the dead are not raised, LET US EAT AND DRINK, FOR TOMORROW WE DIE. 33  Do not be deceived: “Bad company corrupts good morals.” 34  Become sober-minded as you ought, and stop sinning; for some have no knowledge of God. I speak this to your shame. 1 Corinthians 15:29-34 NASB

Verse 29

Did Paul allow people to be baptized on behalf of the dead? My answer is no he didn’t.  Having said that though whole books have been written on this verse.    I will first give my view on this first.  Paul is writing in the third person plural.  No where in the verse or before or after the verse did Paul ever say that he agreed with baptism of the dead.   I have to admit though I think that there were Pagan traditions that obviously did believe and do this sort of thing somehow.  Halfway through this section Paul does mention human motives.  So, he is questioning things.  So, to get the meaning could I read … What are the human motives of those who are baptized on behalf of the dead?  What is the motives behind us as Apostles putting our lives in danger?  From Paul’s point of view Paul in Jesus Christ ‘dies daily’ for his beliefs and this is an affirmation.  In verse 32 Paul goes into uncertainties about people’s motives for what they do.  I don’t actually think he fought with wild beasts although it was a Roman thing to see at the gladiator’s ring.  There probably were gladiators that were just down the road from where he stayed because Corinth was a popular Roman resort where lots of soldiers would have retired to.  He goes on to quote, “Eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die!” Even more uncertainties going on.  Then Paul lets rip and gives the readers a good telling off! (in love) It seems to be the case that some of these believers may have got mixed up with the wrong crowd and were doubting the resurrection of the dead; People mythologizing and who did not know what they were talking about.  I think we see a battle of spiritual ideas going on here.  Christianity being at the forefront of a battle with Paganism. 

When time becomes unnecessary, we will be sharing in the Trinitarian Divine Life for eternity!

January 10, 2021

Note; My last blog has been updated about three times until we reached the end of verse 28.

My reflections on 1 Corinthians 15 verses 1-28

Paul begins his teachings with reminding them of what Christ did for us and that he did indeed rise from the dead with a real physical body. We also need to remember that Judaism and Christianity did not completely split at this time.  In fact, the life and work of Christ was about the perfection of Judaism and not all groups agreed with this.  One can see the fractures taking place over time.  Paul defends the resurrection of the physical body and our union with God at the end of times.

What we have learned so far is that there were some in Corinth that did not share Pauls optimism of a resurrection.  The possible places this could have come from could have been from those with a background in the mystery religions in Corinth at that time; and or Sadducee groups from within Judaism; and or from those who held gnostic tendencies of matter being evil therefore a salvific birth of the flesh or matter would be seen as completely abhorrent.  These three types of teachings were completely against the teachings of the Apostles and it also goes against the Judaic idea that when God created and gave the world life that it was ‘good’ and not ‘bad’. 

The Apostolic teaching is that Christ indeed did rise from the dead according to God’s plan and one day we will also rise from the dead.  The day will come when Jesus as the King will hand over everything to the Father including the greatest enemy ‘death’.  Then Christ will subject himself to the Father and the Church in Christ will be brought into the Trinitarian Divine Life and everything will be Perfect.

I want to finish by quoting one of my favourite Church Fathers from his Against Heresies Chapter 3.  The Apostolic Tradition is so reach with Apostolic Teaching;

As it has been clearly demonstrated that the Word, who existed in the beginning with God, by whom all things were made, who was also always present with mankind, was in these last days, according to the time appointed by the Father, united to His own workmanship, inasmuch as He became a man liable to suffering, [it follows] that every objection is set aside of those who say, “If our Lord was born at that time, Christ had therefore no previous existence.” For I have shown that the Son of God did not then begin to exist, being with the Father from the beginning; but when He became incarnate, and was made man, He commenced afresh the long line of human beings, and furnished us, in a brief, comprehensive manner, with salvation; so that what we had lost in Adam—namely, to be according to the image and likeness of God—that we might recover in Christ Jesus.

He has therefore, in His work of recapitulation, summed up all things, both waging war against our enemy, and crushing him who had at the beginning led us away captives in Adam, and trampled upon his head, as thou canst perceive in Genesis that God said to the serpent, “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; He shall be on the watch for (observabit) thy head, and thou on the watch for His heel.” For from that time, He who should be born of a woman, [namely] from the Virgin, after the likeness of Adam, was preached as keeping watch for the head of the serpent. This is the seed of which the apostle says in the Epistle to the Galatians, “that the law of works was established until the seed should come to whom the promise was made.” This fact is exhibited in a still clearer light in the same Epistle, where he thus speaks: “But when the fulness of time was come, God sent forth His Son, made of a woman.” For indeed the enemy would not have been fairly vanquished, unless it had been a man [born] of a woman who conquered him. For it was by means of a woman that he got the advantage over man at first, setting himself up as man’s opponent. And therefore does the Lord profess Himself to be the Son of man, comprising in Himself that original man out of whom the woman was fashioned (ex quo ea quae secundum mulierem est plasmatio facta est), in order that, as our species went down to death through a vanquished man, so we may ascend to life again through a victorious one; and as through a man death received the palm [of victory] against us, so again by a man we may receive the palm against death.

The tradition of alcohol since ancient times and as a society we still have not learned that it is not good for you!

January 9, 2021

Last time we looked at the abuse of alcohol; and we learned that it causes a lot of harm in the world.  Today we will continue to Look at Bavincks ideas on alcohol and what he can teach us.

We are still on sensual sins but now we start to look at strong drink.  In the same way as in the picture from the 19th century we start from a single drink of alcohol (page 121) and we start to go through the various steps.  At each step we start to lose something of ourselves.  

The Israelites certainly knew how to drink. Bavincks evidence comes from;

        11Woe to those who rise early in the morning that they may pursue strong drink,
Who stay up late in the evening that wine may inflame them! Isaiah 5:11


 22  Woe to those who are heroes in drinking wine
And valiant men in mixing strong drink, Isaiah 5:22

Strong drink  (shekar)שכר ) in Israel was usually made of ‘roses, fruit, honey and thistles'(page 121).  Although this drink was not as strong as modern drinks, one could still get seriously drunk from it.

Bavinck says; ‘It dulls the consciesness, both at the time and afterwards:  It removes the most noble leement – namely, the human is us.  It is an attack on, a destruction of the image of God, because self-consciousness is the trademark of humanity (page 121, Bavincks ethics )’.

He then shares these Biblical references with us;

1  Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler,
And whoever is intoxicated by it is not wise. Proverbs 20:1


 29 Who has woe? Who has sorrow?
Who has contentions? Who has complaining?
Who has wounds without cause?
Who has redness of eyes?
30 Those who linger long over wine,
Those who go to taste mixed wine.
31 Do not look on the wine when it is red,
When it sparkles in the cup,
When it goes down smoothly;
32 At the last it bites like a serpent
And stings like a viper.
33 Your eyes will see strange things
And your mind will utter perverse things.
34 And you will be like one who lies down in the middle of the sea,
Or like one who lies down on the top of a mast.
35 “They struck me, but I did not become ill;
They beat me, but I did not know it.
When shall I awake?
I will seek another drink.” Proverbs 23:29-35


 4 It is not for kings, O Lemuel,
It is not for kings to drink wine,
Or for rulers to desire strong drink, Proverbs 31:4


 13 Let us  behave properly as in the day, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual promiscuity and sensuality, not in strife and jealousy. Romans 13:13


 11 But actually, I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he is an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler—not even to eat with such a one. 1 Corinthians 5:11


 21 envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. Galatians 5:21


 18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit, Ephesians 5:18


 8  Deacons likewise must be men of dignity, not double-tongued,  or addicted to much wine  or fond of sordid gain, 1 Timothy 3:8


 3 For the time already past is sufficient for you to have carried out the desire of the Gentiles, having pursued a course of sensuality, lusts, drunkenness, carousing, drinking parties and abominable idolatries. 1 Peter 4:3

 I think we get the message about alcohol in the Bible.  He then continues to say that ‘in our day’ of these ‘sins of the belly’ have become a lot worse.  He continues talking about strong drink, alcoholism and opium.  He fixes opium on the Chinese and the Japanese, but I would add that the superpowers of the day used it as a way of inflicting damage on these countries so that it was easier to conquer. 

He finishes this section off about food and strong drink the sins of the belly.  

Although I kind of agree with Herman Bavinck about alcohol, I don’t think he went far enough.  Alcohol takes on many shapes and forms and moves into the real lives of the homeless.  If you talk to a lot of homeless why they take alcohol, the answer is simple; to stay warm.  The very thing that they take to stay warm is also the thing that is killing them literally, poisoning them slowly.  Who is guilty here?  We are all guilty because there should not be any homeless people in Western societies especially when it is cold.  I think the bigger sin is with those who hold the power and can cause change for the better but instead they are penny pinchers and make themselves even richer at the expense of the most vulnerable in society.

The resurrection order and our future lives as believers!

January 3, 2021

From time to time I will add to this page new verses until I get to the end of verse 28.

1 Corinthians 15 and the first section had a lot of ifs.  In this next section I only see our future life in Christ with a resurrected body.  This is a very important subject for all times and Paul does not hold back but shows us that in Christ we are going to have a real resurrected body.  After we die, if we stay in spirit form, how will someone know us?  On the other hand, if we have a real body then we can be recognised immediately. It is through our speech, the way we look, the gestures we show that people know who we are.  This is the inheritance we have in Christ.  In Christ we will be made perfect even as he is perfect.

20 But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep. 21 For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive. 23 But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ’s at His coming, 24 then comes the end, when He hands over the kingdom to the God and Father, when He has abolished all rule and all authority and power. 25 For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet. 26 The last enemy that will be abolished is death. 27 For HE HAS PUT ALL THINGS IN SUBJECTION UNDER HIS FEET. But when He says, “All things are put in subjection,” it is evident that He is excepted who put all things in subjection to Him. 28 When all things are subjected to Him, then the Son Himself also will be subjected to the One who subjected all things to Him, so that God may be all in all. 1 Corinthians 15:20-28 NASB

20 Νυνὶ δὲ Χριστὸς ἐγήγερται ἐκ νεκρῶν, ἀπαρχὴ τῶν κεκοιμημένων.

20 But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep.

This is very straight forward.  There are no ‘ifs’ here but certainty.  The phrase’ has been raised from the dead’ this is in the perfect tense.  The perfect tense an action that has happened in the past but has continual effect for all time.  Here Jesus is ‘the first fruits’.  He is the first man to be raised from the dead. The first fruits are the first agricultural offering to God, but I think it can also be used of the first person in a family to be born (especially in Jewish thought).  The equivalent to first fruit is Bikkurim meaning ‘promise to come’ (

With reference to the firstborn person, the Hebrew word is bekor.  A Jewish use of the term I find helpful to give us a deeper understanding of it being used for Christ;

Where it says first fruits(plural) I don’t know if I agree with the NASB here.  First fruit is in the feminine singular.  I would translate the verse as and now Christ has been raised from the dead who is the first fruit from those who are asleep.  Before being conclusive I think one needs to read and compare other translations and commentaries on this text.  This is my interpretation for what it is trying to say.  It may be that the translators wanted to somehow follow the Hebrew Bekkorim (plural)

There are other reasons why I would translate it as this.  If one reads all the verses up to verse 28 one can see that Christ is the subject not the church or the dead believers.

When we look at the section of ‘those who have fallen asleep’ this is a verbal noun or participle in Greek, and it is in the perfect! I find this encouraging because the sleep is in Christ the first fruit from the dead.  When we die, we will also sleep in Christ and we will rise with Christ.  This is our hope.  All the mystery religions found it Corinth could not give this promise;  

In relation to the mystery religions I found Terri D. Moore’s paper from Dallas theological seminary College very interesting;

Her dissertation on the mystery religions I think may have a lot more bearing on how we understand parts of 1 Corinthians.

I will continue to publish on this page until I hit verse 28 so if you are a subscriber you might not see this new add ons so please every few day have a look. It takes time to write this blog especially as I need to check my facts and make correct judgements. As I see the Bible as sacred scripture I feel it important to comment in a reverential way and give God the glory.

Added 04.01.2021

Verse 21

21 ἐπειδὴ γὰρ δι’ ἀνθρώπου θάνατος, καὶ δι’ ἀνθρώπου ἀνάστασις νεκρῶν·

. 21 For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead.

Here is a woody translation for you without verbs; ‘For since by a man death and by a man resurrection from the dead.’

The verb in the English translation was added to get the sense of the meaning!  Translators do these types of things to make it easier for us to understand the actual text.

For ‘by a man’ or ‘though a man’.  This man, human being is not mentioned yet but we know who he is talking about; Adam from the garden. It is through this man that death came into the world, but we also know that it was by a man, a human being namely Christ that there would be a resurrection from the dead. This is a very important verse because it compares Adam and Christ. They were both the same in that they were human beings, but they had different functions namely;

  • Through Adam came death
  • Through Christ came eternal life in a physical body

One man brought death to the human race and the other man eternal life.  I know who I want to follow! We don’t have any serious verbs in the comparison here, but we certainly get the meaning

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22 ὥσπερ γὰρ ἐν τῷ Ἀδὰμ πάντες ἀποθνῄσκουσιν, οὕτως καὶ ἐν τῷ Χριστῷ πάντες ζῳοποιηθήσονται.

22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive.

In this verse we now have the actual names of those who are responsible for life and death.  Adam and Christ are mentioned. Hosper gar is best translated as ‘For as’; The word ‘for’ is important because it points to what preceded it.  The important point we learned is that both Adam and Christ were fully human.

A theological digression

At the creation as Bavinck would say humanity did not lose their humanity until after the fall but sin changed their humanity somehow.  When we think of death it can mean for some non-being but as Bavinck says spiritual death is never none-being but rather a state.  He says on page 93, Reformed Ethics, Herman Bavinck. The state of natural humanity is generally called death.  This death means a life that is lived in opposition to God. In this natural state we stand corrupted and we need Jesus Christ by his Holy Spirit to bring new life into us.

To put it bluntly;

Jesus Christ died on the cross so that we may have eternal life, in the future, a new physical eternal life!  Looking at the verse again we have two verbs to die and to live.  The first verb in regard to Adam is in the present and now, but the second verb that relates to Christ, and us, is in the future!  Paul makes sure that we understand our future hope…


The resurrection and the events around it will follow a particular order;

  • Christ the First Fruit verse 23
  • Those who belong to Christ at his second coming verse 23
  • ‘The end’ When Christ hands over the Church (Kingdom) to the Father verse 24
  • This includes ‘death’ verse 26
  • When all things have been subjected to the Father
  • Then the Son will also subject himself to the Father.
  • Then there is ‘completion’ verse 28 all in all

From my reading of this text we are brought into to be sharers of this divine trinitarian life of God

So let us recap what we have learned. 

Verse 20; Christ has been raised from the dead intro

Verse 21; through an ordinary person death came into the world so to through an ordinary person life would enter the world once again.

Verse 22; Namely through Adam’s disobedience death came into the world but through the work of Christ all could be brought to life

Verse 23; The order of the resurrection and allied activities start; Christ the first fruit; His Church at his second coming

Verses 24- 26; At the end Christ will reign until all enemies including death are subjected to Christ.

Verses 27 -28; At the end when Christ is in complete control of everything good and bad, he will subject himself to the Father.  In Christ we are brought into the Divine Life of the Trinity in the ‘all in all’ perfection. 

Let us now look at some background stuff.  Psalm 8 is not any ordinary Psalm; For Christians it is a Messianic Psalm and it is about the Son of Man; one of the titles of Jesus Christ the anointed one.  This Psalm is seen as a reference to the Kingship of Christ in relationship to YHWH (Tetragrammaton).

The abuse of Alcohol; the alcoholic, the family and the greater society

January 3, 2021


It is the 3rdof January and I am fairly sure that many people celebrated the coming of the new year through drinking plenty of alcohol. As a social drink people do this to get over their inhibitions and have a good time.  I am also sure that many people the next day would have had a hangover.  I am not here to judge you, but I feel it is important to start to look at the facts about alcohol before we move onto looking at what Bavinck says about it.  Let us start in the 19th century with the following picture;

This is taken from

Let us look at the steps

The Drunkard’s Progress

Step 1. A glass with a friend.

Step 2. A glass to keep the cold out.

Step 3. A glass too much.

Step 4. Drunk and riotous.

Step 5. The summit attained. Jolly companions. A confirmed drunkard.

Step 6. Poverty and disease.

Step 7. Forsaken by Friends.

Step 8. Desperation and crime.

Step 9. Death by suicide.

You might look at the image and see the funny side to it but I have to say there is no funny side to suicide at the end or its effects on ones family.  It really does destroy lives.

As far as society is concerned the taxman always pays a lot of money to the alcoholics in some form or other.  The taxman and you the taxpayer pay to run the health service, policing, interventions et al.  Here is a graph from the same wiki;

As far as drugs are concerned the abuse of alcohol is the worst offender.  If you are a heavy drinker my advice would be to actually quit as there are many benefits;

1.     Food on the table for the family

2.     Better health

3.     Longevity of life

4.     In control of your mind

5.     Better friendships with people that care for you

6.     More likely to keep your job.

7.     Being more productive in society and not a leach on the health service.

The above is my take on the abuses of alcoholism but what does God think? This is a far more important question as it is sin and any sin including alcoholism keeps us separated from God.  Let us find out what Bavinck thinks about the issue.