Previous Bible Questions and Answers

 

Did Jesus Really Exist?

HE WAS neither rich nor powerful. He did not even have a home that he could call his own. Yet his teachings have influenced millions. Did Jesus Christ really exist? What do both modern and ancient authorities say?

  • Michael Grant, a historian and an expert on ancient classical civilization, noted: “If we apply to the New Testament, as we should, the same sort of criteria as we should apply to other ancient writings containing historical material, we can no more reject Jesus’ existence than we can reject the existence of a mass of pagan personages whose reality as historical figures is never questioned.”

  • Rudolf Bultmann, a professor of New Testament studies, stated: “The doubt as to whether Jesus really existed is unfounded and not worth refutation. No sane person can doubt that Jesus stands as founder behind the historical movement whose first distinct stage is represented by the oldest Palestinian community [of Christians].”

  • Will Durant, a historian, writer, and philosopher, wrote: “That a few simple men [the Gospel writers] should in one generation have invented so powerful and appealing a personality, so lofty an ethic and so inspiring a vision of human brotherhood, would be a miracle far more incredible than any recorded in the Gospels.”

  • Albert Einstein, a German-born Jewish physicist, asserted: “I am a Jew, but I am enthralled by the luminous figure of the Nazarene.” When asked if he viewed Jesus as a historical person, he responded: “Unquestionably! No one can read the Gospels without feeling the actual presence of Jesus. His personality pulsates in every word. No myth is filled with such life.”

“No one can read the Gospels without feeling the actual presence of Jesus.”​—Albert Einstein

 WHAT DOES HISTORY REVEAL?

The most detailed record of Jesus’ life and ministry is recorded in the Bible accounts known as the Gospels​—Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John​—named after the men who wrote them. In addition, a number of early non-Christian sources name him.

TACITUS

(c. 56-120 C.E., or Common Era) Tacitus is considered to be one of the greatest of the ancient Roman historians. His Annals deal with the Roman Empire from 14 C.E. to 68 C.E. (Jesus died in 33 C.E.) Tacitus wrote that when a great fire devastated Rome in 64 C.E., Emperor Nero was considered responsible. But Tacitus wrote that Nero accused the Christians in order to “scotch the rumour.” Then Tacitus said: “Christus, the founder of the name [Christian], had undergone the death penalty in the reign of Tiberius, by sentence of the procurator Pontius Pilatus.”​—Annals, XV, 44.

SUETONIUS

(c. 69–a. 122 C.E.) In his Lives of the Caesars, this Roman historian recorded events during the reigns of the first 11 Roman emperors. The section on Claudius refers to turmoil among the Jews in Rome that was likely caused by disputes over Jesus. (Acts 18:2) Suetonius wrote: “Since the Jews constantly made disturbances at the instigation of Chrestus [Christus], he [Claudius] expelled them from Rome.” (The Deified Claudius, XXV, 4) Although wrongly accusing Jesus of creating disturbances, Suetonius did not doubt his existence.

PLINY THE YOUNGER

(c. 61-113 C.E.) This Roman author and administrator in Bithynia (modern Turkey) wrote to Roman Emperor Trajan about how to deal with the Christians in that province. Pliny said that he tried to force Christians to recant, executing any who refused to do so. He explained: “Those who . . . repeated after me an invocation to the [pagan] Gods, and offered adoration, with wine and frankincense, to your image . . . and who finally cursed Christ . . . , I thought it proper to discharge.”​—Pliny—​Letters, Book X, XCVI.

 FLAVIUS JOSEPHUS

(c. 37-100 C.E.) This Jewish priest and historian states that Annas, a Jewish high priest who continued to wield political influence, “convened the judges of the Sanhedrin [the Jewish high court] and brought before them a man named James, the brother of Jesus who was called the Christ.”​—Jewish Antiquities, XX, 200.

THE TALMUD

This collection of Jewish rabbinic writings, dating from the third to the sixth centuries C.E., shows that even Jesus’ enemies affirmed his existence. One passage says that on “the Passover Yeshu [Jesus] the Nazarean was hanged,” which is historically correct. (Babylonian Talmud, Sanhedrin 43a, Munich Codex; see John 19:14-16.) Another states: “May we produce no son or pupil who disgraces himself in public like the Nazarene”​—a title often applied to Jesus.​—Babylonian Talmud, Berakoth 17b, footnote, Munich Codex; see Luke 18:37.

EVIDENCE FROM THE BIBLE

The Gospels give us a comprehensive account of Jesus’ life and ministry, including specific details about people, places, and times​—the hallmarks of authentic history. An example is found at Luke 3:1, 2, which helps us to establish the exact date when a man named John the Baptist, a forerunner of Jesus, commenced his work.

“All Scripture is inspired of God.”​—2 Timothy 3:16

Luke wrote: “In the 15th year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, Herod was district ruler of Galilee, Philip his brother was district ruler of the country of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias was district ruler of Abilene, in the days of chief priest Annas and of Caiaphas, God’s declaration came to John the son of Zechariah in the wilderness.” This detailed, precise list enables us to establish that “God’s declaration came to John” in the year 29 C.E.

 The seven public figures Luke names are well-known to historians. That said, for a time certain critics did question the existence of Pontius Pilate and Lysanias. But the critics spoke too soon. Ancient inscriptions bearing the names of those two officials have been discovered, confirming Luke’s accuracy.

WHY DOES IT MATTER?

Jesus taught people about the Kingdom of God, a world government

The question of Jesus’ existence matters because his teachings matter. For example, Jesus taught people how to live happy, fulfilling lives.He also promised a time when mankind will live in true peace and security, united under a single world government called “the Kingdom of God.”​—Luke 4:43.

The designation “the Kingdom of God” is appropriate because this world government will express God’s sovereignty over the earth. (Revelation 11:15) Jesus made that fact clear when he said in his model prayer: “Our Father in the heavens, . . . let your Kingdom come. Let your will take place . . . on earth.” (Matthew 6:9, 10) What will Kingdom rule mean for mankind? Consider the following:

  • Warfare and civil strife will cease.​—Psalm 46:8-11.

  • Wickedness, including greed and corruption, will be gone forever, along with ungodly people.​—Psalm 37:10, 11.

  • The Kingdom’s subjects will enjoy meaningful, productive work.​—Isaiah 65:21, 22.

  • The earth will fully recover from its present sick state and produce bountiful crops.​—Psalm 72:16; Isaiah 11:9.

Some people may consider those promises wishful thinking. But is it not wishful thinking to trust in human efforts? Consider: Even in spite of spectacular advances in education, science, and technology, millions today feel deeply insecure and uncertain about tomorrow. And daily we see evidence of economic, political, and religious oppression, as well as greed and corruption. Yes, the reality is that human rule is a failure!​—Ecclesiastes 8:9.

At the very least, the question of Jesus’ existence merits our consideration. * As 2 Corinthians 1:19, 20 states: “No matter how many the promises of God are, they have become ‘yes’ by means of [Christ].”

 

Jesus’ Resurrection  - Did It Really Happen?

In the spring of 33 C.E., Jesus the Nazarene was executed. He had been falsely charged with sedition, savagely beaten, and nailed to a stake. He died in excruciating pain. But God raised him back to life, and 40 days later, Jesus ascended to heaven.

This extraordinary account comes to us from the four Gospels of the Christian Greek Scriptures, commonly called the New Testament. Did those things really happen? That is a pertinent and serious question. If they did not, Christian faith is valueless and the hope of eternal life in Paradise is nothing more than a wishful dream. (1 Corinthians 15:14) On the other hand, if those events really did happen, then there is a bright future for mankind, one in which you can share. So, are the Gospel accounts fact or fiction?

WHAT THE FACTS SHOW

Unlike fanciful legends, the Gospel writings reflect painstaking accuracy and attention to detail. For example, they abound with names of real places, many of which can be visited today. They tell about real people, whose existence has been corroborated by secular historians.​—Luke 3:1, 2, 23.

 Jesus himself is mentioned by secular writers of the first and second centuries. His manner of death, as described in the Gospels, agrees with Roman execution methods of the time. Moreover, events are related in a factual and candid manner​—even portraying some of Jesus’ disciples unfavourably. (Matthew 26:56; Luke 22:24-26; John 18:10, 11) All these factors strongly indicate that the Gospel writers were honest and accurate in what they wrote about Jesus

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WHAT ABOUT JESUS’ RESURRECTION?

While it is generally accepted that Jesus lived and died, some would question his resurrection. Even his apostles did not believe the initial report of his having returned to life. (Luke 24:11) All doubt was removed, however, when they and other disciples saw the resurrected Jesus on separate occasions. In fact, in one case, there were more than 500 eyewitnesses present.​—1 Corinthians 15:6.

At the risk of being arrested and killed, the disciples courageously proclaimed Jesus’ resurrection to all​—even to the very ones who had executed him. (Acts 4:1-3, 10, 19, 20; 5:27-32) Would so many disciples have been so bold if they were not absolutely sure that Jesus had really been resurrected? In fact, the reality of the resurrection of Jesus is the driving force behind the impact that Christianity has had on the world both then and now.

The Gospel accounts of Jesus’ death and resurrection bear all the necessary marks of an authentic historical record. Carefully reading them will convince you that these events really happened. Your conviction can be further strengthened when you understand why they took place. The next article will explain

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Why Is There Not More Secular Support?

Given the profound influence that Jesus had on the world, should we expect more in the way of contemporary non-Biblical corroboration? Not necessarily. For one thing, the Gospels were written almost 2,000 years ago. Few other writings of that time have survived. (1 Peter 1:24, 25) Then, too, it is unlikely that the many who opposed Jesus would write anything that would lend credibility to the reports about him.

Regarding Jesus’ resurrection, Peter, one of his apostles, explained: “God raised this one up on the third day and allowed him to become manifest, not to all the people, but to witnesses appointed beforehand by God, to us, who ate and drank with him after his rising from the dead.” (Acts 10:40, 41) Why not to all the people? Matthew’s Gospel tells us that when the religious enemies heard reports of Jesus’ resurrection, they schemed to suppress them.​—Matthew 28:11-15.

Does this mean that Jesus wanted his resurrection to be kept secret? No, for Peter went on to say: “He ordered us to preach to the people and to give a thorough witness that this is the one decreed by God to be judge of the living and the dead.” True Christians have done and are doing just that.​—Acts 10:42.

 

What Is the Holy Spirit?

The Bible’s answer

The holy spirit is God’s power in action, his active force. (Micah 3:8; Luke 1:​35) God sends out his spirit by projecting his energy to any place to accomplish his will.​—Psalm 104:30; 139:7.

In the Bible, the word “spirit” is translated from the Hebrew word ruʹach and the Greek word pneuʹma. Most often, those words refer to God’s active force, or holy spirit. (Genesis 1:2) However, the Bible also uses those words in other senses:

These meanings all share the sense of something invisible to humans that produces visible effects. Similarly, the spirit of God, “like the wind, is invisible, immaterial and powerful.”​—An Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, by W. E. Vine.

The Bible also refers to God’s holy spirit as his “hands” or “fingers.” (Psalm 8:3; 19:1; Luke 11:20; compare Matthew 12:28.) Just as a craftsman uses his hands and fingers to do his work, God has used his spirit to produce such results as the following:

The holy spirit is not a person

By referring to God’s spirit as his “hands,” “fingers,” or “breath,” the Bible shows that the holy spirit is not a person. (Exodus 15:​8, 10) A craftsman’s hands cannot function independent of his mind and body; likewise, God’s holy spirit operates only as he directs it. (Luke 11:13) The Bible also compares God’s spirit to water and associates it with such things as faith and knowledge. These comparisons all point to the impersonal nature of the holy spirit.​—Isaiah 44:3; Acts 6:5; 2 Corinthians 6:6.

The Bible gives the names of Jehovah God and of his Son, Jesus Christ; yet, nowhere does it name the holy spirit. (Isaiah 42:8; Luke 1:​31) When the Christian martyr Stephen was given a miraculous heavenly vision, he saw only two persons, not three. The Bible says: “He, being full of holy spirit, gazed into heaven and caught sight of God’s glory and of Jesus standing at God’s right hand.” (Acts 7:​55) The holy spirit was God’s power in action, enabling Stephen to see the vision.

Misconceptions about the holy spirit

Misconception: The “Holy Ghost,” or holy spirit, is a person and is part of the Trinity, as stated at 1 John 5:​7, 8 in the King James version of the Bible.

Fact: The King James version of the Bible includes at 1 John 5:​7, 8 the words “in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. And there are three that bear witness in earth.” However, researchers have found that those words were not written by the apostle John and so do not belong in the Bible. Professor Bruce M. Metzger wrote: “That these words are spurious and have no right to stand in the New Testament is certain.”​—A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament

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Misconception: The Bible personifies the holy spirit, and this proves that it is a person.

Fact: The Scriptures do at times personify the holy spirit, but this does not prove that the holy spirit is a person. The Bible also personifies wisdom, death, and sin. (Proverbs 1:​20; Romans 5:​17, 21) For example, wisdom is said to have “works” and “children,” and sin is depicted as seducing, killing, and working out covetousness.​—Matthew 11:19; Luke 7:​35; Romans 7:​8, 11.

Similarly, when the apostle John quoted Jesus, he personified the holy spirit as a “helper” (paraclete) that would give evidence, guide, speak, hear, declare, glorify, and receive. He used masculine personal pronouns such as “he” or “him” when referring to that “helper.” (John 16:​7-​15) However, he did so because the Greek word for “helper” (pa·raʹkle·tos) is a masculine noun and requires a masculine pronoun according to the rules of Greek grammar. When John referred to the holy spirit using the neuter noun pneuʹma, he used the genderless pronoun “it.”​—John 14:16, 17.

Misconception: Baptism in the name of the holy spirit proves that it is a person.

Fact: The Bible sometimes uses “name” to stand for power or authority. (Deuteronomy 18:​5, 19-​22; Esther 8:​10) This is similar to its use in the English expression “in the name of the law,” which does not mean that the law is a person. A person who is baptized “in the name of” the holy spirit recognizes the power and role of the holy spirit in accomplishing God’s will.​—Matthew 28:19.

Misconception: Jesus’ apostles and other early disciples believed that the holy spirit was a person.

Fact: The Bible does not say that, nor does history. The Encyclopædia Britannica states: “The definition that the Holy Spirit was a distinct divine Person . . . came at the Council of Constantinople in ad 381.” This was over 250 years after the last of the apostles had died.

 

Is Jesus the only way to Heaven?

Yes, Jesus is the only way to heaven. Such an exclusive statement may confuse, surprise, or even offend, but it is true nonetheless. The Bible teaches that there is no other way to salvation than through Jesus Christ. Jesus Himself says in John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” He is not a way, as in one of many; He is the way, as in the one and only. No one, regardless of reputation, achievement, special knowledge, or personal holiness, can come to God the Father except through Jesus.

Jesus is the only way to heaven for several reasons. Jesus was “chosen by God” to be the Saviour (1 Peter 2:4). Jesus is the only One to have come down from heaven and returned there (John 3:13). He is the only person to have lived a perfect human life (Hebrews 4:15). He is the only sacrifice for sin (1 John 2:2; Hebrews 10:26). He alone fulfilled the Law and the Prophets (Matthew 5:17). He is the only man to have conquered death forever (Hebrews 2:14–15). He is the only Mediator between God and man (1 Timothy 2:5). He is the only man whom God has “exalted . . . to the highest place” (Philippians 2:9).

Jesus spoke of Himself as the only way to heaven in several places besides John 14:6. He presented Himself as the object of faith in Matthew 7:21–27. He said His words are life (John 6:63). He promised that those who believe in Him will have eternal life (John 3:14–15). He is the gate of the sheep (John 10:7); the bread of life (John 6:35); and the resurrection (John 11:25). No one else can rightly claim those titles.

The apostles’ preaching focused on the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus. Peter, speaking to the Sanhedrin, clearly proclaimed Jesus as the only way to heaven: “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). Paul, speaking to the synagogue in Antioch, singled out Jesus as the Saviour: “I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. Through him everyone who believes is set free from every sin” (Acts 13:38–39). John, writing to the church at large, specifies the name of Christ as the basis of our forgiveness: “I am writing to you, dear children, because your sins have been forgiven on account of his name” (1 John 2:12). No one but Jesus can forgive sin.

Eternal life in heaven is made possible only through Christ. Jesus prayed, “Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent” (John 17:3). To receive God’s free gift of salvation, we must look to Jesus and Jesus alone. We must trust in Jesus’ death on the cross as our payment for sin and in His resurrection. “This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe” (Romans 3:22).

At one point in Jesus’ ministry, many of the crowd were turning their backs on Him and leaving in hopes of finding another saviour. Jesus asked the Twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?” (John 6:67, ESV). Peter’s reply is exactly right: “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God” (John 6:68–69, ESV). May we all share Peter’s faith that eternal life resides only in Jesus Christ.

 

Does God exist?

Whether God exists is the most important question any person can consider. Opinions on God are everywhere, but answering the question does God exist? demands more than a few seconds of attention and involves a wide range of ideas and evidence. Ultimately, what we see in human experience, science, logic, and history leads to a confident answer: yes, God exists.

Often, this question is posed as “Can you prove  God exists?” The problem is that, while truth itself is absolute, there are virtually zero instances of absolute proof outside of pure logic and mathematics. Courtrooms don’t require absolute proof, for that reason; rather, they seek to dispel “reasonable doubt” and consider what’s “most probable.”

It’s equally flawed to demand “proof of God” that no person could ever reject. Neither evidence nor people function that way in the real world. “Encountering” facts and “accepting” them are profoundly different. Airtight, sound arguments are still “unconvincing” to those determined to disbelieve. For that person, it’s not “proof,” even if it would convince almost anyone else. A person’s intent is more influential than any evidence encountered.

That means “faith” is necessary—and not just regarding God’s existence. Perfect knowledge is beyond our ability. Bias and prejudice cloud our views. There will always be a gap between what we can “know” and what we “believe.” This applies equally across the spectrum from skeptics to believers. We cannot possibly know every detail involved every time we sit in a chair, eat food, or climb stairs. Such actions all express a measure of faith. We act, despite what we don’t know, because of what we do know. That’s the essence of biblical faith, including faith in the existence of God. We trust in what is known, leading us to action, despite a less-than-absolute understanding (Hebrews 11:6).

Whether or not one acknowledges God, the decision involves faith. Belief in God does not require blind faith (John 20:29), but neither can it overcome malicious resistance (John 5:39–40). What is fair is to point to human experience, logic, and empirical evidence to inform the answer.

Does God exist? – Human Experience

Discussing the existence of God usually starts with logical arguments. That makes sense, but it’s not how human beings normally operate. No one starts devoid of all perspective, waiting to follow a robotically rational path before forming an opinion. People interpret life based on the world around them. So looking at the existence of God ought to start with experiences. Afterwards, we can use logic to assess those views.

Evidence of God exists in daily human experiences (Romans 1:19–20; Psalm 19:1; Ecclesiastes 3:11). This includes our innate sense of morality. It applies to the apparent design of the universe around us. Human life compels belief that truth, deception, love, hate, goodness, evil, etc., are real and meaningful. The overwhelming majority of people throughout history were inclined to believe in a reality greater than the physical.

Those experiences are not conclusive, of course. Instead, God uses general revelation as an invitation (Revelation 3:20). Common experiences are meant to emphasize that we ought to seek further answers (Matthew 7:7–8). Those who ignore or disdain that invitation don’t have the excuse of being ignorant (Romans 1:18; Psalm 14:1).

Does God exist? – Human Logic

Three of the more powerful logical suggestions of God’s existence are the cosmological, teleological, and moral arguments.

The cosmological argument considers the principle of cause and effect. Each effect is the result of some cause, and each cause is the effect of a prior cause. However, that chain of causes cannot go on infinitely into the past, or else the chain would never actually start. Logic demands something eternally existent and not itself the effect of anything else. Our universe, clearly, is not eternal or uncaused. Logic points to God: the uncreated, eternal measure of all other things, the First Cause of our reality.

The teleological argument examines the structure of the universe. The largest galactic scales, our solar system, our DNA, subatomic particles—everything gives the appearance of having been purposefully arranged. This trait is so strong that even hardened atheists are constantly fumbling to explain away the appearance of design.

Nothing about subatomic particles or forces indicates they must be arranged the way they are. Yet, if they were not exactly as they are, complex matter—and life—would be impossible. Dozens of universal constants coordinate with mind-boggling precision just to make life possible, let alone actual. Science has never observed or explained life arising from non-life, yet it also shows a sudden onset of complex organisms. Archaeologists who see the words I am here on a cave wall would universally assume intelligent action. Meanwhile, human DNA represents a coding structure beyond the ability of the best human engineers. The weight of this evidence, logically, favours the idea of an Intelligent Designer—God—as an explanation.

The moral argument takes note of concepts like good and evil, ethics, and so forth. It’s notable that these are discussions of “what should be,” not merely “what is.” Moral principles are drastically disconnected from the ruthless, selfish reasoning that one would expect of a creature randomly evolved to survive at any cost. The very idea that human beings think in non-physical, moral terms is striking. Beyond that, the fundamental content of human morals across cultures and history is identical.

Further, discussion of moral ideas leads inevitably to a crossroads. Either moral ideas are completely subjective, and therefore meaningless, or they must be grounded in some unchanging standard. Human experience doesn’t support the conclusion that morals mean nothing. The most reasonable explanation for why people think in moral terms and share moral ideals is a real moral law provided by a Moral Lawgiver, i.e., God.

Does God exist? – Human Science

The logical arguments above are inspired by observations. Concepts such as the Big Bang Theory demonstrate, at the very least, the scientific validity of a created, non-eternal universe. Likewise for the structure of DNA. Empirical data lends credibility to the idea of a biblical Creator and contradicts alternative explanations, such as an eternal universe or abiogenesis.

Archaeology also lends support to the Bible. People, events, and places depicted in Scripture have repeatedly been confirmed by secular discoveries. Many of these came after sceptics implied the Bible’s accounts were fictional.

History and literature, for their part, also support the existence of God. The preservation of the Bible is one example. Tracing the existing text so closely to the original events makes it more reliable. Judeo-Christian influence on culture, morality, human rights, and the birth of modern science also strongly indicates an approach aligned with truth.

Does God exist? – God in Us

Each of the prior categories is an entire field of study and the subject of thousands of books. Yet the existence of God is demonstrated most profoundly, for most people, in personal experience. It may be impossible to “prove” to others that you’re happy, for instance, but that doesn’t change the fact that you are. That’s not to say internal perspective outweighs objective truth, but complex truths are often powerfully supported by individual experiences. Changed lives, reformed attitudes, and answers to prayer are all part of our personal perception that God exists.

A personal sense of truth is the most compelling way we know God exists, and it’s God’s intent for all people to experience that sense. God came to earth personally, as a human being (2 Corinthians 4:6), so we could have a personal relationship with Him (John 14:6). Those who sincerely seek God will find Him (Matthew 7:7–8), resulting in the abiding presence of the Holy Spirit (John 14:26–27).

The question does God exist?, therefore, cannot demand an answer using absolute proof, but we can point people to where the weight of evidence leads. Accepting the existence of God is not a blind-faith leap into the dark. It’s a trusting step out of the dark into a well-lit room where many things are made clear.

 

Is the Bible truly God’s Word?

Our answer to this question will not only determine how we view the Bible and its importance to our lives, but also it will ultimately have an eternal impact on us. If the Bible is truly God’s Word, then we should cherish it, study it, obey it, and fully trust it. If the Bible is the Word of God, then to dismiss it is to dismiss God Himself.

The fact that God gave us the Bible is an evidence and illustration of His love for us. The term “revelation” simply means that God communicated to mankind what He is like and how we can have a right relationship with Him. These are things that we could not have known had God not divinely revealed them to us in the Bible. Although God’s revelation of Himself in the Bible was given progressively over approximately 1500 years, it has always contained everything man needs to know about God in order to have a right relationship with Him. If the Bible is truly the Word of God, then it is the final authority for all matters of faith, religious practice, and morals.

The question we must ask ourselves is how can we know that the Bible is the Word of God and not just a good book? What is unique about the Bible that sets it apart from all other religious books ever written? Is there any evidence that the Bible is truly God’s Word? These types of questions must be seriously examined if we are to determine the validity of the Bible’s claim to be the very Word of God, divinely inspired, and totally sufficient for all matters of faith and practice. There can be no doubt that the Bible does claim to be the very Word of God. This is clearly seen in Paul’s commendation to Timothy: “… from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:15-17).

There are both internal and external evidences that the Bible is truly God’s Word. The internal evidences are those things within the Bible that testify of its divine origin. One of the first internal evidences that the Bible is truly God’s Word is seen in its unity. Even though it is really sixty-six individual books, written on three continents, in three different languages, over a period of approximately 1500 years, by more than 40 authors who came from many walks of life, the Bible remains one unified book from beginning to end without contradiction. This unity is unique from all other books and is evidence of the divine origin of the words which God moved men to record.

Another of the internal evidences that indicates the Bible is truly God’s Word is the prophecies contained within its pages. The Bible contains hundreds of detailed prophecies relating to the future of individual nations including Israel, certain cities, and mankind. Other prophecies concern the coming of One who would be the Messiah, the Saviour of all who would believe in Him. Unlike the prophecies found in other religious books or those by men such as Nostradamus, biblical prophecies are extremely detailed. There are over three hundred prophecies concerning Jesus Christ in the Old Testament. Not only was it foretold where He would be born and His lineage, but also how He would die and that He would rise again. There simply is no logical way to explain the fulfilled prophecies in the Bible other than by divine origin. There is no other religious book with the extent or type of predictive prophecy that the Bible contains.

A third internal evidence of the divine origin of the Bible is its unique authority and power. While this evidence is more subjective than the first two, it is no less a powerful testimony of the divine origin of the Bible. The Bible’s authority is unlike any other book ever written. This authority and power are best seen in the way countless lives have been transformed by the supernatural power of God’s Word. Drug addicts have been cured by it, homosexuals set free by it, derelicts and deadbeats transformed by it, hardened criminals reformed by it, sinners rebuked by it, and hate turned to love by it. The Bible does possess a dynamic and transforming power that is only possible because it is truly God’s Word.

There are also external evidences that indicate the Bible is truly the Word of God. One is the historicity of the Bible. Because the Bible details historical events, its truthfulness and accuracy are subject to verification like any other historical document. Through both archaeological evidences and other writings, the historical accounts of the Bible have been proven time and time again to be accurate and true. In fact, all the archaeological and manuscript evidence supporting the Bible makes it the best-documented book from the ancient world. The fact that the Bible accurately and truthfully records historically verifiable events is a great indication of its truthfulness when dealing with religious subjects and doctrines and helps substantiate its claim to be the very Word of God.

Another external evidence that the Bible is truly God’s Word is the integrity of its human authors. As mentioned earlier, God used men from many walks of life to record His words. In studying the lives of these men, we find them to be honest and sincere. The fact that they were willing to die often excruciating deaths for what they believed testifies that these ordinary yet honest men truly believed God had spoken to them. The men who wrote the New Testament and many hundreds of other believers (1 Corinthians 15:6) knew the truth of their message because they had seen and spent time with Jesus Christ after He had risen from the dead. Seeing the risen Christ had a tremendous impact on them. They went from hiding in fear to being willing to die for the message God had revealed to them. Their lives and deaths testify to the fact that the Bible truly is God’s Word.

A final external evidence that the Bible is truly God’s Word is the indestructibility of the Bible. Because of its importance and its claim to be the very Word of God, the Bible has suffered more vicious attacks and attempts to destroy it than any other book in history. From early Roman Emperors like Diocletian, through communist dictators and on to modern-day atheists and agnostics, the Bible has withstood and outlasted all of its attackers and is still today the most widely published book in the world.

Throughout time, skeptics have regarded the Bible as mythological, but archaeology has confirmed it as historical. Opponents have attacked its teaching as primitive and outdated, but its moral and legal concepts and teachings have had a positive influence on societies and cultures throughout the world. It continues to be attacked by pseudo-science, psychology, and political movements, yet it remains just as true and relevant today as it was when it was first written. It is a book that has transformed countless lives and cultures throughout the last 2000 years. No matter how its opponents try to attack, destroy, or discredit it, the Bible remains; its veracity and impact on lives is unmistakable. The accuracy which has been preserved despite every attempt to corrupt, attack, or destroy it is clear testimony to the fact that the Bible is truly God’s Word and is supernaturally protected by Him. It should not surprise us that, no matter how the Bible is attacked, it always comes out unchanged and unscathed. After all, Jesus said, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away” (Mark 13:31). After looking at the evidence, one can say without a doubt that, yes, the Bible is truly God’s Word.

 

If there is no God, from Rev. Roy Almquist

A minister recently spoke with a person who is facing a personal crisis through the illness of a loved one. She shared with him the challenges she is experiencing from friends, who, like Job’s friends, are asking her how she can believe in God when someone she loves is so ill. She said she did not know how to respond.

As is often the case in life, the minister did not have much time to prepare an answer for her. He did remind her that God never promised us that life would be perfect or that faith would assure us that we would be under a plastic shield of protection.

 

But we do believe in a God whom we have come to know through Jesus Christ and this God has promised to hold us in loving arms.

The minister encouraged her to ask her friends: If there is no God, to whom will they turn in a moment of crisis? Will they find greater comfort in entrusting themselves to emptiness or a void? At the time of death will they find consolation in nothing?

 

Frankly, I would prefer the promise: …”though you pass through the waters, I will be with you, through the flame it will not consume you.” [Isaiah 43] …”neither power from above or power from below will be able to separate us from the love of God.” [Romans 8] … “in my Father’s house there are many rooms. I go to prepare a place for you and I will come again to take you where I am.” [John 14].

 

What Does the Holy Spirit Do for Us?

To grasp how God’s Spirit works in our lives, we must understand what God's Spirit is. In Scripture, the Holy Spirit is described as the power and essence of God at work in our lives. This divine power enables us to follow Him, being "led by the Spirit of God” (Romans 8:14).

By the Spirit dwelling within us we are the children of God. What does God's Holy Spirit do for us as Christians?

 

● God's Spirit doesn't drive, drag or push us around; it leads us. It will not prevent us from sinning, nor will it force us to do what's right. It leads us, and we must be willing to follow.

 

● The Holy Spirit keeps us in contact with God's mind. God's Spirit works with our mind.

 

● Through the Holy Spirit, we can be influenced by God for the good. This is in contrast to the evil

influence from the world around us and our own corrupt human nature.

 

● The Holy Spirit provides a deeper understanding of God’s Word and His will for humanity (1 Corinthians 2:9-11). Without the Spirit, a person cannot understand God’s divinely expressed Word and will, “for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” (verse 14).

 

● The Holy spirit makes overcoming sin possible. There is nothing too difficult for us with the power of God working in our lives.

 

● God's Spirit helps us in our weakness. The apostle Paul, speaking for all of us, said, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13).

 

●The Holy Spirit convicts our conscience and helps us see sin as it really is. Jesus Christ said it would “convict the world of sin” (John 16:8). God’s Spirit within us, working with our conscience, helps us to recognise and avoid sin. It “will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment” (same verse).

 

●The Holy Spirit produces godly fruit in our lives. Just as an apple tree produces apples, God’s Spirit produces a particular type of fruit in the life of a Christian – love, joy, peace, long suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).

 

●The Holy Spirit comforts and encourages us. Jesus Christ promised to send His followers “another Comforter” (John 14:16-17). True comfort and reassurance come from the Spirit of God dwelling in us. We need not be unduly worried about the future or what may happen to us. God’s Spirit gives us the assurance that whatever happens will ultimately work out for the good “to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28).

 

What are the attributes of God?

The Bible, God’s Word, tells us what God is like and what He is not like. Without the authority of the Bible, any attempt to explain God’s attributes would be no better than an opinion, which by itself is often incorrect, especially in understanding God (Job 42:7). To say that it is important for us to try to understand what God is like is a huge understatement. Failure to do so can cause us to set up, chase after, and worship false gods contrary to His will (Exodus 20:3-5).

Only what God has chosen to reveal of Himself can be known. One of God’s attributes or qualities is “light,” meaning that He is self-revealing in information of Himself (Isaiah 60:19; James 1:17). The fact that God has revealed knowledge of Himself should not be neglected (Hebrews 4:1). Creation, the Bible, and the Word made flesh (Jesus Christ) will help us to know what God is like.

Let’s start by understanding that God is our Creator and that we are a part of His creation (Genesis 1:1; Psalm 24:1) and are created in His image. Man is above the rest of creation and was given dominion over it (Genesis 1:26-28). Creation is marred by the fall but still offers a glimpse of God’s works (Genesis 3:17-18; Romans 1:19-20). By considering creation’s vastness, complexity, beauty, and order, we can have a sense of the awesomeness of God.

Reading through some of the names of God can be helpful in our search of what God is like. They are as follows:

Elohim - strong One, divine (Genesis 1:1)
Adonai - Lord, indicating a Master-to-servant relationship (Exodus 4:10, 13)
El Elyon - Most High, the strongest One (Genesis 14:20)
El Roi - the strong One who sees (Genesis 16:13)
El Shaddai - Almighty God (Genesis 17:1)
El Olam - Everlasting God (Isaiah 40:28)
Yahweh - LORD “I Am,” meaning the eternal self-existent God (Exodus 3:13, 14).

God is eternal, meaning He had no beginning and His existence will never end. He is immortal and infinite (Deuteronomy 33:27; Psalm 90:2; 1 Timothy 1:17). God is immutable, meaning He is unchanging; this in turn means that God is absolutely reliable and trustworthy (Malachi 3:6; Numbers 23:19; Psalm 102:26, 27). God is incomparable; there is no one like Him in works or being. He is unequalled and perfect (2 Samuel 7:22; Psalm 86:8; Isaiah 40:25; Matthew 5:48). God is inscrutable, unfathomable, unsearchable, and past finding out as far as understanding Him completely (Isaiah 40:28; Psalm 145:3; Romans 11:33, 34).

God is just; He is no respecter of persons in the sense of showing favouritism (Deuteronomy 32:4; Psalm 18:30). God is omnipotent; He is all-powerful and can do anything that pleases Him, but His actions will always be in accord with the rest of His character (Revelation 19:6; Jeremiah 32:17, 27). God is omnipresent, meaning He is present everywhere, but this does not mean that God is everything (Psalm 139:7-13; Jeremiah 23:23). God is omniscient, meaning He knows the past, present, and future, including what we are thinking at any given moment. Since He knows everything, His justice will always be administered fairly (Psalm 139:1-5; Proverbs 5:21).

God is one; not only is there no other, but He is alone in being able to meet the deepest needs and longings of our hearts. God alone is worthy of our worship and devotion (Deuteronomy 6:4). God is righteous, meaning that God cannot and will not pass over wrongdoing. It is because of God’s righteousness and justice that, in order for our sins to be forgiven, Jesus had to experience God’s wrath when our sins were placed upon Him (Exodus 9:27; Matthew 27:45-46; Romans 3:21-26).

God is sovereign, meaning He is supreme. All of His creation put together cannot thwart His purposes (Psalm 93:1; 95:3; Jeremiah 23:20). God is spirit, meaning He is invisible (John 1:18; 4:24). God is a Trinity. He is three in one, the same in substance, equal in power and glory. God is truth, He will remain incorruptible and cannot lie (Psalm 117:2; 1 Samuel 15:29).

God is holy, separated from all moral defilement and hostile toward it. God sees all evil and it angers Him. God is referred to as a consuming fire (Isaiah 6:3; Habakkuk 1:13; Exodus 3:2, 4-5; Hebrews 12:29). God is gracious, and His grace includes His goodness, kindness, mercy, and love. If it were not for God’s grace, His holiness would exclude us from His presence. Thankfully, this is not the case, for He desires to know each of us personally (Exodus 34:6; Psalm 31:19; 1 Peter 1:3; John 3:16, 17:3).

Since God is an infinite Being, no human can fully answer this God-sized question, but through God’s Word, we can understand much about who God is and what He is like. May we all wholeheartedly continue to seek after Him (Jeremiah 29:13).

 

What is Christianity and what do Christians believe?

The core beliefs of Christianity are summarized in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4. Jesus died for our sins, was buried, was resurrected, and thereby offers salvation to all who will receive Him in faith. Unique among all other faiths, Christianity is more about a relationship than religious practices. Instead of adhering to a list of “do’s and don’ts,” the goal of a Christian is to cultivate a close walk with God. That relationship is made possible because of the work of Jesus Christ and the ministry of the Holy Spirit.

Beyond these core beliefs, there are many other items that are, or at least should be, indicative of what Christianity is and what Christians believe. Christians believe that the Bible is the inspired, “God-breathed” Word of God and that its teaching is the final authority in all matters of faith and practice (2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:20-21). Christians believe in one God that exists in three persons—the Father, the Son (Jesus Christ), and the Holy Spirit.

Christians believe that mankind was created specifically to have a relationship with God, but sin separates all men from God (Romans 3:23; 5:12). Christianity teaches that Jesus Christ walked this earth, fully God, and yet fully man (Philippians 2:6-11), and died on the cross. Christians believe that after His death, Christ was buried, He rose again, and now lives at the right hand of the Father, making intercession for the believers forever (Hebrews 7:25). Christianity proclaims that Jesus’ death on the cross was sufficient to completely pay the sin debt owed by all men and this is what restores the broken relationship between God and man (Hebrews 9:11-14; 10:10; Romans 5:8; 6:23).

Christianity teaches that in order to be saved and be granted entrance into heaven after death, one must place one’s faith entirely in the finished work of Christ on the cross. If we believe that Christ died in our place and paid the price of our own sins, and rose again, then we are saved. There is nothing that anyone can do to earn salvation. We cannot be “good enough” to please God on our own, because we are all sinners (Isaiah 53:6; 64:6-7). There is nothing more to be done, because Christ has done all the work! When He was on the cross, Jesus said, “It is finished” (John 19:30), meaning that the work of redemption was completed.

According to Christianity, salvation is freedom from the old sin nature and freedom to pursue a right relationship with God. Where we were once slaves to sin, we are now slaves to Christ (Romans 6:15-22). As long as believers live on this earth in their sinful bodies, they will engage in a constant struggle with sin. However, Christians can have victory in the struggle with sin by studying and applying God’s Word in their lives and being controlled by the Holy Spirit—that is, submitting to the Spirit’s leading in everyday circumstances.

So, while many religious systems require that a person do or not do certain things, Christianity is about believing that Christ died on the cross as payment for our own sins and rose again. Our sin debt is paid and we can have fellowship with God. We can have victory over our sin nature and walk in fellowship and obedience with God. That is true biblical Christianity.

 

What does it mean to accept Jesus as your personal Saviour?

Have you accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Saviour? To properly understand this question, you must first understand the terms “Jesus Christ,” “personal,” and “Saviour.”

Who is Jesus Christ? Many people will acknowledge Jesus Christ as a good man, a great teacher, or even a prophet of God. These things are definitely true of Jesus, but they do not fully define who He truly is. The Bible tells us that Jesus is God in the flesh, God in human form (see John 1:1, 14). God came to earth to teach us, heal us, correct us, forgive us—and die for us! Jesus Christ is God, the Creator, the sovereign Lord. Have you accepted this Jesus?

What is a Saviour, and why do we need a Saviour? The Bible tells us that we have all sinned; we have all committed evil acts (Romans 3:10-18). As a result of our sin, we deserve God’s anger and judgment. The only just punishment for sins committed against an infinite and eternal God is an infinite punishment (Romans 6:23; Revelation 20:11-15). That is why we need a Saviour!

Jesus Christ came to earth and died in our place. Jesus’ death was an infinite payment for our sins (2 Corinthians 5:21). Jesus died to pay the penalty for our sins (Romans 5:8). Jesus paid the price so that we would not have to. Jesus’ resurrection from the dead proved that His death was sufficient to pay the penalty for our sins. That is why Jesus is the one and only Saviour (John 14:6; Acts 4:12)! Are you trusting in Jesus as your Saviour?

Is Jesus your “personal” Saviour? Many people view Christianity as attending church, performing rituals, and/or not committing certain sins. That is not Christianity. True Christianity is a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Accepting Jesus as your personal Saviour means placing your own personal faith and trust in Him. No one is saved by the faith of others. No one is forgiven by doing certain deeds. The only way to be saved is to personally accept Jesus as your Saviour, trusting in His death as the payment for your sins and His resurrection as your guarantee of eternal life (John 3:16). Is Jesus personally your Saviour?

If you want to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Saviour, say the following words to God. Remember, saying this prayer or any other prayer will not save you. Only believing in Jesus Christ and His finished work on the cross for you can save you from sin. This prayer is simply a way to express to God your faith in Him and thank Him for providing for your salvation. “God, I know that I have sinned against You and deserve punishment. But I believe Jesus Christ took the punishment I deserve so that through faith in Him I could be forgiven. I receive Your offer of forgiveness and place my trust in You for salvation. I accept Jesus as my personal Saviour! Thank You for Your wonderful grace and forgiveness—the gift of eternal life! Amen!”

 

Who or What Is “the Alpha and the Omega”?

The Bible’s answer

“The Alpha and the Omega” refers to Jehovah God, the Almighty. This term occurs three times in the Bible.​—Revelation 1:8; 21:6; 22:13

 

Why does God call himself “the Alpha and the Omega”?

Alpha and omega are the first and last letters of the alphabet in Greek, the language used to write the part of the Bible commonly called the New Testament, which includes the book of Revelation. The respective positions of these letters in the Greek alphabet are used to illustrate that Jehovah alone is the beginning and the end. (Revelation 21:6) He was Almighty God in the infinite past, and he will continue to be Almighty God forever. He is the only one who is “from everlasting to everlasting.”​—Psalm 90:2.

 

Who is “the first and the last”?

The Bible applies this term both to Jehovah God and to his Son, Jesus, but with different meanings. Consider two examples.

  • At Isaiah 44:6, Jehovah says: “I am the first and I am the last. There is no God but me.” Here Jehovah highlights that he is the everlasting true God; besides him, there is no other. (Deuteronomy 4:​35, 39) In this case, then, the expression “the first and the last” has the same meaning as “the Alpha and the Omega.”

  • Additionally, the term “the First [pro’tos, not alpha] and the Last [e’skha·tos, not omega]” occurs at Revelation 1:​17, 18 and 2:8. In these verses, the context shows that the one referred to died and later returned to life. Thus, these verses cannot refer to God because he has never died. (Habakkuk 1:​12) However, Jesus died and was resurrected. (Acts 3:​13-​15) He was the first human to be resurrected to immortal spirit life in heaven, where he now lives “forever and ever.” (Revelation 1:​18; Colossians 1:​18) Jesus is the one who performs all resurrections thereafter. (John 6:​40, 44) Therefore, he was the last one to be resurrected directly by Jehovah. (Acts 10:40) In this sense, Jesus can properly be called “the First and the Last.”

 

Does Revelation 22:13 prove that Jesus is “the Alpha and the Omega”?

No. The speaker at Revelation 22:13 is not specifically identified, and there are various speakers in this chapter. Commenting on this section of Revelation, Professor William Barclay wrote: “Things are set down without any apparent order; . . . and it is often very difficult to be sure who is the actual speaker.” (The Revelation of John, Volume 2, Revised Edition, page 223) Thus, “the Alpha and the Omega” at Revelation 22:13 can be identified as the same Person given this title elsewhere in Revelation​—Jehovah God.

 

Why do Good People Suffer?

There has been a long standing question, human question that dates back for centuries and one which probably all of us ask from time to time. I hear that quite often. And I heard it this week and it's where people ask: “Why do good people suffer?” While people we may call wicked seem to survive and even survive well. This is an age old question often called the question of good and evil.

I was faced with it again during the week. When a lovely young father died it reminded me of my good friend Sandy Locke back in Scotland, one of the world's best. So this was a loving family man loved by family and friends, playing his part in making his home, his work, his community and even his world a better place. Why did he get cancer, why did he have to suffer, why did he have to die? The world is worse off for his passing. Someone spoke to me at his funeral asking questions along these lines and saying “there are other people in the world that we could all live without, other people whose own mother wouldn't miss them. Other people who are downright wicked. Why are they still alive and he's gone?” The age old question.

There are times when we may think like this. Personally I don't like to encourage talk like this. I don't want to think that anyone intends hating them and wishing them dead over another person but I have to say that I'm only human too. I actually asked that question myself when I had the funeral of this lovely young man. I didn't like the question.

Jesus did good like many others. Jesus bridged the gap between hating and warring parties; between Jews and occupying Romans; between Jews and the much despised Samaritans, he bridged the gap between the healthy and the sick, reaching out to touch them when others wouldn't give them the time of day. He loved all the people that he met, the unlovable. He loved all the people that he met and left everyone feeling better. He just brightened up people's days; brightened up people's lives. And boy did he suffer.

Why would someone like him suffer? People even called him evil. What's wrong with them? How could you call him evil? This week's Bible reading around the world church is from the gospel of Mark chapter 3 verses 20 to 35. What people were saying is that Jesus and all his good work was possessed by an evil spirit; it was their way of thinking in that time but what a thing to claim of someone like Jesus.

Those of faith are somewhat comforted by the faith response to the question of good and evil: “why do good people suffer while the wicked seemingly prosper”. Faith responds by saying and, it maybe not the best answer but this is the answer: It won't always be this way. There is a day coming when everyone will be rewarded for their deeds. Some will not like their reward for their wicked acts. But blessed will they be who have done good. I kind of hold on to that. And hope for that. We all hope there's recompense that someone will be rewarded. I know it's not a great answer. In this life especially we want to see it here and now. We don't want to wait but for those who believe there is life beyond this existence that is some comfort in that response. The balance there is reward for those have been good and died young.

 Besides which those who do good in their world wouldn't have it any other way. Not even by turning wicked if their years could be lengthened. They just wouldn't. Some people are happy to spend their life; literally spend their life; their own life doing good no matter the cost. And they would do it again. They wouldn't change paths. And so I'd like to encourage you all to persevere in doing good; the good that you do. And whatever measure it is, whatever small amount that you do.

Those who follow the Jesus way will never render evil for evil. But will always follow his example in love for their enemies no matter the cost. Go on doing your good deeds. Make this world a better place no matter what the cost.

And blessed are the good makers.

Rev Kenneth Brown – from the spoken message 6th June 2021

 

What Is the Meaning of Life?

The Bible’s answer

The question of the meaning of life may be asked in many ways, such as Why are we here? or Does my life have a purpose? The Bible shows that our purpose in life is to build a friendship with God. Consider some of these fundamental truths that the Bible reveals:

God is our Creator. The Bible says: “It is [God] that has made us, and not we ourselves.”​—Psalm 100:3; Revelation 4:11.

 

God has a purpose for everything he creates, including us.​—Isaiah 45:18.

 

God created us with a “spiritual need,” which includes the desire to find meaning in life. (Matthew 5:3) He wants us to satisfy

        that desire.​—Psalm 145:16.

 

We fill our spiritual need by building a friendship with God. Although the idea of being God’s friend might seem far-fetched to

        some, the Bible gives us this encouragement: “Draw close to God, and he will draw close to you.”​ —James 4:8; 2:23.

 

To become God’s friend, we must live in harmony with his purpose for us. The Bible states this purpose at

        Ecclesiastes 12:13: “Have reverence for God, and obey his commands, because this is all that we were created for.”

                 ​—Good News Translation.

 

In the future, we can experience in full God’s original purpose for us when he eliminates suffering and grants everlasting

        life to his friends, those who worship him.​—Psalm 37:10, 11.

 

What Is the Will of God for My Life?

 

The Bible’s answer

God’s will is that you come to know him as a Person, draw close to him, and then love and serve him with your whole heart. (Matthew 22:37, 38; James 4:8) You can learn how to do God’s will from the life and teachings of Jesus. (John 7:16, 17) Jesus didn’t just talk about the will of God—he lived it. In fact, Jesus said that his purpose in life was “to do, not my will, but the will of him that sent me.”—John 6:38.

Do I need a special sign, vision, or calling to know what the will of God is for me?

No, because the Bible contains God’s message to mankind. It has what you need to be “completely equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16, 17) God wants you to use the Bible along with your “power of reason” to learn his will for you.—Romans 12:1, 2; Ephesians 5:17.

Can I really do God’s will?

Yes, you can, for the Bible says: “God’s commands are not too hard for us.” (1 John 5:3, Easy-to-Read Version) That’s not to say that obeying God’s commands is always easy. But the benefits you will gain far outweigh the effort you must put forth. Jesus himself said: “How happy are those who hear the word of God and obey it!”—Luke 11:28, Good News Translation.

 

Love – start to know the 9 Fruits of the Holy Spirit

 

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.” (Galatians 5:22)

 

These 9 fruits are major fruits and qualities that are coming direct from God Himself – and every Christian should do the best they can to work with the Holy Spirit in getting all 9 of these fruits worked into their personality.

Note the following:

  1. The word “Spirit” is with a capital “S” – which means these 9 fruits are coming directly from the Holy Spirit, not from ourselves.

  2. What this means is that God’s love, God’s peace, God’s joy, and God’s goodness can start to be transmitted up into our personality. These are His divine attributes and personality qualities that will start to move into the core of our personality.

  3. Think about the ramifications of this – that God the Father Himself is allowing us to share in a part of His divine nature by allowing His Holy Spirit to transmit and impart these nine divine qualities right up into our soul and personality!

 

This is why God the Father is specifically telling us in this verse that these 9 fruits are coming directly from His Holy Spirit – so that we can all fully appreciate the magnitude of such an experience.

Love – 1st fruit of the Spirit.

Here are some of the different definitions on what love is from the different Bible Dictionaries and Commentaries:

  • Unselfish, benevolent concern for another; brotherly concern; the object of brotherly concern or affection

  • The self-denying, self-sacrificing, Christ-like love which is the foundation of all other graces

  • Unselfish, loyal and benevolent concern for the well being of another

  • The high esteem which God has for His human children and the high regard which they, in turn, should have for Him and other people

  • To love, to have affection for someone; to like; to be a friend; the love of brothers for each other.

 

One of the main messages that comes through loud and clear from studying our Bible is the extreme importance that God the Father is placing on everyone to learn how to love Him, love ourselves, love one another, and to even go as far as to be able to love our enemies and those who will try and hurt us.

It is so important for each and every Christian to work very closely with the Holy Spirit to get this fruit worked up into the core of our personalities.

 

It is only when the love of the Holy Spirit starts to flow and enter into our personalities can we even begin to love God, love ourselves, and love one another to the degree and to the intensity that God would really like to see from each one of us.

 

This quality should be listed as the #1 quality you should really attempt to put on into the core of your soul and personality.

 

The Holy Spirit will be moving on you very early and very quickly to get this quality imparted into your mind, soul, and emotions due to the extreme importance of it in your walk with the Lord.

 

You can be the greatest man of God and have some of the greatest gifts of God flowing through you – but if you are not walking with all of this in the spirit of love and humility, it will have all been for naught.

 

Joy – continue to know the 9 Fruits of the Holy Spirit

 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.” (Galatians 5:22)

These 9 fruits are major fruits and qualities that are coming direct from God Himself – and every Christian should do the best they can to work with the Holy Spirit in getting all 9 of these fruits worked into their personality.

Note the following:

  1. The word “Spirit” is with a capital “S” – which means these 9 fruits are coming directly from the Holy Spirit, not from ourselves.

  2. What this means is that God’s love, God’s peace, God’s joy, and God’s goodness can start to be transmitted up into our personality. These are His divine attributes and personality qualities that will start to move into the core of our personality.

  3. Think about the ramifications of this – that God the Father Himself is allowing us to share in a part of His divine nature by allowing His Holy Spirit to transmit and impart these nine divine qualities right up into our soul and personality!

 

This is why God the Father is specifically telling us in this verse that these 9 fruits are coming directly from His Holy Spirit – so that we can all fully appreciate the magnitude of such an experience.

Joy

In the rough and tough world we live in with all of the crime, disorder, and bad things that can happen to anyone of us at anytime, many Christians have lost a lot of their joy in the Lord as a result of some of the beatings they have taken in this life.

Again, with the imperfections of our own fallen nature, and then you combine that with how people react differently to adversity – some Christians have literally had most, if not all of their joy in the Lord, knocked right out of them.

One of the things that God can fully restore in you is your joy in Him. And not only can the Lord fully restore what joy you used to have in Him, but He can also increase it to a much greater degree and intensity due to the wording in the above verse – with the quality of joy being one of the 9 specific fruits of His Holy Spirit!

Here are some of the different definitions of what real joy is all about:

  1. Great delight; gladness of heart

  2. The happy state that results from knowing and serving God

  3. That deep, abiding, inner rejoicing in the Lord

  4. To rejoice, to be glad

  5. Happy, joyful, cheerful, rejoicing, festive

 

Realize that God can transmit this divine quality right up into your personality – and this will be His joy, not your joy, once it starts to flow up into you.

Without God’s joy operating in your life, things can begin to dry up. Nothing is ever fun anymore. Everything can start to become a chore. Before you know it, you will want to start to withdraw from others and life in general.

Once God starts to release His joy into your system, you won’t be able to help but feel it. And once you are able to start feeling it again, it will become much easier for you to learn how to walk in joy in your own daily walk with the Lord.

The Bible says that the joy of the Lord is your strength.

The joy of the Lord can really give you an incredible surge of strength when you have to take on some really tough situations.

This is why each Christian should work very closely with the Holy Spirit in not only getting Him to put His joy into their lives, but to also keep it running through them on a very regular and consistent basis.

 

Peace – continue to know the 9 Fruits of the Holy Spirit

 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.” (Galatians 5:22)

These 9 fruits are major fruits and qualities that are coming direct from God Himself – and every Christian should do the best they can to work with the Holy Spirit in getting all 9 of these fruits worked into their personality.

Note the following:

  1. The word “Spirit” is with a capital “S” – which means these 9 fruits are coming directly from the Holy Spirit, not from ourselves.

  2. What this means is that God’s love, God’s peace, God’s joy, and God’s goodness can start to be transmitted up into our personality. These are His divine attributes and personality qualities that will start to move into the core of our personality.

  3. Think about the ramifications of this – that God the Father Himself is allowing us to share in a part of His divine nature by allowing His Holy Spirit to transmit and impart these nine divine qualities right up into our soul and personality!

 

This is why God the Father is specifically telling us in this verse that these 9 fruits are coming directly from His Holy Spirit – so that we can all fully appreciate the magnitude of such an experience.

Peace

This is another major quality that we all need operating in our lives, especially with all of the uncertainty of this life and never knowing what is going to happen next.

Jobs are no longer as secure as they used to be. You never know when the company you work for may be bought out and your job will be gone in a flash.

Half of all marriages are still ending up in divorce.

With all of this kind of heightened activity that we are all forced to deal with on a daily basis, it becomes very easy to lose your sense of peace, especially your peace in the Lord.

Again, this is one of the 9 fruits of the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit can really help you pick up the slack if you start losing your own sense of peace over some of the storm clouds that could come against you in this life.

Realise that the Holy Spirit has His peace to give to you and that He can give it to you in great abundance.

Once His peace starts to flow up into your mind, soul, and emotions, it really is as the Bible says – a peace that surpasses all human understanding – especially when that peace comes in right in the middle of a severe storm cloud that you may be going through

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Here is how the quality of peace is described in some of the different Bible Dictionaries and Commentaries:

  1. The presence and experience of right relationships

  2. The tranquillity of soul

  3. Sense of well-being and fulfilment that comes from God and is dependent on His presence

  4. The inner tranquillity and poise of the Christian whose trust is in God through Christ

  5. Tranquillity, rest, harmony, the absence of agitation or discord

 

The quality of peace should be one of the main qualities that you should try and get worked up into your soul through the Holy Spirit. Without the peace of God operating in your life, you could become very easily rattled, shaken, tormented, and knocked right off your game in the Lord the first time any kind of adversity should ever come your way.

Long suffering – continue to know the 9 Fruits of the Holy Spirit.

 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.” (Galatians 5:22)

These 9 fruits are major fruits and qualities that are coming direct from God Himself – and every Christian should do the best they can to work with the Holy Spirit in getting all 9 of these fruits worked into their personality.

Note the following:

  1. The word “Spirit” is with a capital “S” – which means these 9 fruits are coming directly from the Holy Spirit, not from ourselves.

  2. What this means is that God’s love, God’s peace, God’s joy, and God’s goodness can start to be transmitted up into our personality. These are His divine attributes and personality qualities that will start to move into the core of our personality.

  3. Think about the ramifications of this – that God the Father Himself is allowing us to share in a part of His divine nature by allowing His Holy Spirit to transmit and impart these nine divine qualities right up into our soul and personality!

 

This is why God the Father is specifically telling us in this verse that these 9 fruits are coming directly from His Holy Spirit – so that we can all fully appreciate the magnitude of such an experience.

Long suffering

One of the main definitions of the word long suffering is that it is referring to patience. And patience is another sorely needed quality in the fast paced world in which we live in today.

Just watch people standing in line at the grocery store or at your local fast food restaurant and watch how short some people’s fuses are today.

Road rage is still a major problem on some of our highways. Look at someone the wrong way and they will want to try and take your head off.

With the fast-paced ways of our society, many people have had their fuses shortened up and it thus takes very little to set them off. As a result, many people have very little patience operating in their personalities today

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For Christians, this poses a major dilemma. One of the ways of our God is that He is a very patient and long suffering God. His ways are not our ways.

And one of the things you will find out very early on about His ways is that He works on a much slower time frame than we do. And unless you learn to adjust to His slower way of working things out, you will find yourself easily losing your patience with Him and how He wants to work things out in your life.

You will really have to work with the Holy Spirit on this particular quality to get it properly worked up into your personality.

The reason for this is that your own impatience will start to act up and try to override the patience and long suffering that the Holy Spirit will try and transmit to you. At times, it may become of battle of wills – your will against His will.

But once the Holy Spirit starts to try and manifest this quality up into your personality, then you have to try and move with it and allow it to get worked into your mind and emotions. If you do, then His patience will start to override your impatience, and before you know it, your fuses will start to lengthen and you will not lose your patience like you used to do.

Here are the different definitions for the word long suffering:

  1. Forbearance, patience

  2. Patient endurance and steadfastness under provocation

  3. Forbearance under ill-will, with no thought of retaliation

  4. Patience, endurance, steadfastness and forbearance

  5. Forbearance under suffering and endurance in the face of adversity

  6. Ability to endure persecution and ill-treatment

 

With the way all of these definitions are reading, you can really see why we all need the patience and long suffering of the Holy Spirit to start operating in our souls and personalities – especially when we are forced to face any kind of adversity. Sometimes it will be the patience and long suffering of the Holy Spirit that will be the only thing that will give you the ability to last the entire length of a bad trial.

Learn how to ride and flow with the patience of the Holy Spirit in your daily life and walk with the Lord – and you will then be able to enter into a much more restful, peaceful state within your mind and emotions.

 
 

Kindness – continue to know the 9 Fruits of the Holy Spirit

 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.” (Galatians 5:22)

These 9 fruits are major fruits and qualities that are coming direct from God Himself – and every Christian should do the best they can to work with the Holy Spirit in getting all 9 of these fruits worked into their personality.

Note the following:

  1. The word “Spirit” is with a capital “S” – which means these 9 fruits are coming directly from the Holy Spirit, not from ourselves.

  2. What this means is that God’s love, God’s peace, God’s joy, and God’s goodness can start to be transmitted up into our personality. These are His divine attributes and personality qualities that will start to move into the core of our personality.

  3. Think about the ramifications of this – that God the Father Himself is allowing us to share in a part of His divine nature by allowing His Holy Spirit to transmit and impart these nine divine qualities right up into our soul and personality!

This is why God the Father is specifically telling us in this verse that these 9 fruits are coming directly from His Holy Spirit – so that we can all fully appreciate the magnitude of such an experience.

Kindness

As a result of more people being impatient, having short fuses, and with everyone always being in a hurry – many people have lost the ability to treat others with kindness and respect.

A kind word, a kind action to another person can really do wonders for them.

When you really study the life of Jesus in the New Testament, you can really tell how kind He always was with other people in His dealings with them.

Jesus is without question, the ultimate role model for all of us of someone who was fully walking and operating in all 9 fruits of the Holy Spirit.

The quality of kindness will go hand in hand with the quality of love. Once the Holy Spirit starts to transmit His love up into you, the quality of kindness will follow right along with it. It will then become much easier for you to be able to be kind to others once the love of God starts to flow more into your personality.

Here are some of the different definitions of what real kindness is all about:

  1. Quality or state of being kind

  2. The steadfast love that maintains relationships through gracious aid in times of need

  3. Goodness of heart, serviceable, good, gracious, pleasant

  4. Love for mankind, hospitality, acts of kindness, readiness to help, human friendship, benevolence, taking thought of others

  5. Goodness in action, sweetness of disposition, gentleness in dealing with others, affability

  6. The ability to act for the welfare of those taxing your patience

 

As you can see from some of these different definitions, this is a very beautiful quality to have transmitted up into your soul and personality by the Holy Spirit. Not only will you be able to touch others with this godly quality, but you will also be able to touch yourself – because you will feel so much better about yourself if you can learn how to treat others with much more kindness and respect in your daily dealings and affairs with them.