“And further, by these, my son, be admonished: of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh.” (Ecc. 12:12), but there is only one book written by God.

How many copies are sold and how that compares with the #1 best seller is irrelevant (Matt. 24:35). Many have tried to destroy the Bible. People like Matthew Henry have even predicted its disappearance.

Continue reading WHY STUDY THE BIBLE?


Christians are called to battle against Satan and sin. Satan is the captain of the army of spiritual wickedness.  We are called to fight him and his angels.  The Lord reveals that  “. . . we wrestle . . . against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Eph. 6:12).  Jesus is our captain in this fight (Heb. 2:10).  Some so-called soldiers of Christ’s army have the heart of a traitor, who has already made peace with the enemy.  Their excuse is that ‘we are human’ and therefore as long as we live we will always sin.  For them, Satan is a stronger captain than Jesus Christ as long as we are on earth.  Satan wins a simple ‘word battle.’  There is no genuine fight.  Their half-hearted ‘battle’ is a mockery of Christ, for they believe that Satan will always win some of the battles.  Why wage a war against sin when the battle will be lost anyway?  Is this the kind of Captain that Christians have?  Is our Captain a sure loser?  Why not at least put up some kind of battle?  Surely something is wrong with this attitude!

Some interpret 1 John 1:8 to say “we will always sin as long as we are on earth.” The Greek language in this verse is in the indicative present active tense.  Thus, to them, 1 John 1:8 says: “If we say that we have no sin (now, present tense), we deceive ourselves.”  According to this interpretation, when we come out of the waters of baptism and say that we have no sin (now, indicative present active tense), we deceive ourselves.  Who would believe that?  According to this argument, when we confess our sins, then God is not faithful and just to forgive us our sins, because we can never say we do not have (now, indicative present active tense) sin, for if we do, we are deceivers.  Who will believe that?  After rising from the waters of baptism we can say we have (indicative present active tense) no sin.  When we confess our sins to our Father and he forgives, we can say we have no sin.  Not even the traitors would accept their own argument on these points.  The present active tense argument does not teach what they want it to teach.

To fit their doctrine they must restate the scripture to read: If we say (or think) that we will not sin from time to time we deceive ourselves.  This would clearly teach their doctrine but that is not what 1 John 1:8 says.  He states that “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves.”  We have already showed that the scriptures teach that there are times when we can say that we have no sin  in the sense of sin on God’s record.  God does forgive and it is possible to state that we have no sin (on God’s record) most of the time.  Second, the scriptures do not say that we will always be sinning in the sense that there will never be a time on earth that we will not be committing sins.  We know that we are not always sinning.  Third, to teach their doctrine we would have to change the scripture as stated above.  This is simply not what God says.  What is the Lord saying when he states that we can not “say that we have no sin?”

The only way this scripture makes sense is in the context of verse 10. God said “If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us” (1 John 1:10).  The expressions in verses 8 and 10 are almost synonymous.  Some in New Testament times were saying they had not sinned.  They were also stating that Jesus did not come in the flesh (1 John 4:3).  This was the doctrine of the antichrist, of which there were many in John’s lifetime (1 John 2:18).  Today we call them “Docetics,” forerunners to the Gnostics.  To them, the flesh was not real.  Thus anything done in the flesh was not real.  If what was done in the flesh were not real, then their sin was not real, and they claimed to have no sin.  If they had no sin, then they did not need a Savior to save them from sin.  This is the context of verse 8: if we say we have no sin – that is – if we say that we have not sinned (in our lifetime) we deceive ourselves, for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23).

The purpose for John writing this book is in direct opposition to their interpretation of 1 John 1: 8.  Immediately in 1 John 2:1, he shows us he is not saying that we will always sin from time to time. He said  “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not” (1 John 2:1). How could he teach that it is not possible to come to the point where we do not sin, and then immediately state that he is writing so we will not sin? John did not waste his time writing that book.  His purpose is possible.  It is possible that we will come to the point where we will not sin.  Look at Zacharias and Elisabeth who lived under the old law.  They grew in heart to the point that when John the Baptist was born, the Lord says: “And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless” (Luke 1:6).  If Zacharias and Elisabeth could walk in all the commandments and Old Testament ordinances of the Lord blamelessly, surely God has power to help us to walk in the same steps of faith, under a far better law, with far better promises. We can come to the point where we are “walking in all the (New Testament) commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.”  Jesus overcame the world (John 16:33) and he can show us how to gain the victory over the same world (1 John 5:4).  As these lessons progress we will see God’s plan or pathway to overcome the world.

SCRIPTURAL LOVE: Comprised of Many Parts

Love is not merely one entity but is made up of many different parts.  There are many different kinds of love.  Bible love is by no means the same as the world’s love.  “God is love” (1 John 4:8, 16).  God is surely not the same as the world!  God’s love is comprised of many different parts.  He lists several of these parts in what has been called the ‘love chapter’ (1 Cor. 13).

Love  1)  “suffereth long, and  2)  is kind; charity  3)  envieth not; charity  4)  vaunteth not itself,  5)  is not puffed up, 6)  Doth not behave itself unseemly,  7)  seeketh not her own,  8)  is not easily provoked,  9)  thinketh no evil;  10)  Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but  11)  rejoiceth in the truth;” (1 Cor. 13:4-8).

Someone may counter that these qualities are mostly negative. Though many of these parts are negative, we can understand that for every negative there is generally a corresponding positive. if love does not vaunt itself, it must be humble.  If it does not behave itself ‘unseemly,’ it must behave itself ‘seemly.’  If love does not seek her own, then  it must seek other’s good, etc.  There are many other parts of God’s love which are not listed in 1 Corinthians 13.    Every good part of God is a part of his love and the love of Christ, who is “. . .the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person” (Heb. 1:3). If we grow in Christ’s love we are growing in the love of God.

If our love lacks kindness, longsuffering, humility, or any other part, it is not the complete (perfect) love of Christ.  We need to acquire each part to be “in the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.”  We grow into that complete love by keeping his commandments – which is the third part of the great commission – “Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you”  (Matt. 28:20).   We note what happens when someone has completely fulfilled the third part of the Great Commission.  He declares: “But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him” (I John 2:5).  Full obedience to the great commission ends in forming the perfect love of God in the disciple’s heart.  Willing obedience to even one of the commandments of God, will give us a part of the love of Christ.  Willingly obeying all of his commands will surely perfect (complete) all of the parts of Christ’s love in us.  This is in line with the definition of love that Jesus gave the apostles just before his crucifixion.

He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.  Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world?  Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.  He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me.  (John 14:21-24)

Loving God with some of our heart, soul and mind, means obeying some of his commandments.  Obeying the greatest command to “. . .love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind” (Matt. 22:37), is to keep all of his commandments.  Obedience to all of the commands will produce the complete love in our hearts (1 John 2:5).  This is identical to John’s definition in the last chapter of first John.

By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.  For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous (1 Jn 5:2-3).

Thus, if we obey the first part of the great commission, we will make disciples whose aim and goal is to be like their master by obeying all things whatsoever Christ commands (Matt. 28:19, 20).

The New Commandment Contrasted with the Royal Law

“A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another” (John 13:34).

The ‘new’ command is not the same as the ‘Royal Law’ (love thy neighbor as thyself) (Lev. 19:18; James 2:8).  They are very different.  The Royal Law has a different subject of its love.  The Royal Law directs its love toward the neighbor.  That can be anyone in need (Luke 10:29-37).  The new commandment directs that love only toward ‘one another,’ God’s children, ‘the least of these my brethren,’ not just anyone (John 13:34,35).

Neither is the ‘new’ command the same as the Royal Law in the content of that love.  The love of the Royal Law, is to love as we love ourselves – ‘love thy neighbour as thyself.’  The ‘new’ command  is to love ‘as I have loved you.’  Jesus’ love and our love are very different.  His love is far greater.  The Royal Law is satisfied with our love, but the new command requires us to grow to have Jesus’ love.

The new command is not all-encompassing.  It does not direct us to have Jesus’ love for his Father, his enemy, his neighbor or his friend.  The new command singularly directs us to love each other as Jesus loves God’s children (“as I have loved you”).  Jesus’ love toward God’s children is ‘perfect and entire, wanting nothing (James 1:4).  As long as we are lacking in any one part of Christ’s love, we can not love God’s children with Jesus’ complete love. He did not lack any part.  We must grow to have all of the parts of Christ’s love in our hearts in order to obey the new commandment.  This is identical with the ‘perfect love.’

We can not obey the new command the first day we hear it.  We can immediately obey the Royal Law.  Our love for ourselves already exists.  It is merely a question of redirecting that same love toward our neighbor.  However, loving one another as Christ loves us, can not be accomplished the same day.  To love as Christ loves, takes 1)knowing the love of Christ and 2) growing into that complete love which Christ has.  This surely is a new and beautiful commandment.  This is New Testament discipleship, the aim of the great commission, the purpose of God.


The great commission leads us to the mark God has set out for us – if we obey it.  The method that short-circuits the great commission saying “Go, teach (first principles), baptize, and then simply teach (to teach them to teach the first principles to others)” totally misses the mark.  Teaching them to teach the first principles to others is certainly a part of the command, but it is only one part of the command.  Jesus said “Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you. . .” (Matt. 28:20). If we teach ‘all things,’ we will teach the mark which God sets before each child of his.  What is the mark to which we are called to run?  Unless we know the mark (Phil. 3:14), how can we know the pathway that leads to the mark?  Philip was very wise when he asked this of Christ: “We know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?” (John 14:4, 5).  He did not know the mark nor did he know the pathway to reach that mark and knew it.  Jesus said “. . .no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6).    He was speaking of going to be with his Father in heaven.  The way to go to the Father is to follow in the steps of Christ and reach the mark which he reached. “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6).  Jesus knew the mark and knew the way to get to the mark.  He is the author and finisher of our race.  He made it, and he ran it ahead of us (Heb. 12:1-3).  He did not run the race so we do not have to run it.  He ran it so that we would have an example to follow as we run (1 Pet. 2:21).  We need to follow him and run to the mark to which he ran.

The Lord in working all things together for good for his purpose (goal, mark).  What is this purpose?  Notice the two qualifications required before he will work all things together for good for us.  Those who qualify, 1) love him, and 2) are called according to his purpose (Rom. 8:28).  He calls men so they will fulfill his purpose.  He tells us clearly in the next verse what he calls men to be (Rom. 8:29).  He calls men to “be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren” (Rom. 8:30).    This is the same purpose, aim, goal of a disciple. “It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord” (Matt. 10:25).  When the disciple is perfect, he is like his master (Luke 6:40).  We can see that the word ‘perfect’ in these verses is not used as the world commonly uses it today.  We need to explore this scriptural word ‘perfection’ as it is used in the scriptures.  What is New Testament perfection?