Thoughts and Truth from the Impossible Life

Koran Affirms Holy Bible As Perfect Word of God

  1. Some Say Injil equals the Gospels of New Testament:

Toward the other end of the spectrum is Cyril Glasse, a western Muslim scholar. He uses three different names for the Injil interchangeably, Gospels of Jesusthe Gospel, and New Testament::

Three sections of the Bible are cited by the Koran as being Divinely revealed: the Pentateuch, or Books of Moses (Tawrat); the Psalms of David (Zabur); and the Gospels of Jesus (Injil)…
However, the Gospels and Psalms have found no place in an Islamic canon and their contents are mostly ignored and unknown to Muslims. Moreover, the Gospel poses particular difficulties in Islam. Leaving aside the distinction between direct revelation from God, which is the case of the Koran (in Arabic tanzil, which corresponds to sruti in Sanskrit), and secondary inspiration (in Arabic ilham, the equivalent of smrti in Sanskrit), which is the case of the Gospels, the Christian Gospel clashes with Islamic understanding of doctrine on several points, most importantly regarding the nature of Jesus…
Muslims believe that the New Testament as used by Christians is incorrect and has, somehow, been falsified. (Glasse, Ibid., pg. 72.).

So there is divergence, but it is only a matter of degree. Because of supposed corruption, some Muslims refuse to accept the New Testament as the Injil.

  1. Some Say Injil equals the New Testament:

Some, despite supposed corruption, do identify the two as one and the same. Hughes made an interesting comment along this line back in 1885:

Injil is used in the Qur’an, and in the Traditions, and in all Muhammadan theological works of an early date, for the revelations made by God to Jesus. But in recent works it is applied by Muhammadans to the New Testament. (Hughes, Dictionary of Islam, pg. 211.)

For some Muslims it is difficult to conceive of the fact that Hazrat Isa (pbuh) did not speak or write the Injil. A multiplicity of authors for the various New Testament books is a new concept to them.

  1. All (?) Say Zabur equals the Psalms of Hazrat Dawud (David):

The Zabur or Psalms, does not seem to be a big issue. Except for the comment by Cyril Glasse above about the Psalms, very little is said or discussed about this matter.

  1. Some Say Tawrat, Zabur and Injil equals the Bible:

To top this all off, reference must be made to Abd-al-Rahman Azzam, respected Muslim leader and founder of the Arab League, as well as one who was instrumental in steering Malcolm X towards a more orthodox Islam:

The Imam Ibn-al-Qayyim said, “God (may He be praised and glorified) sent His messengers and revealed His books that people may measure with the justice on which Heaven and earth have dwelt.” (Azzam, The Eternal Message of Muhammad, pg. 102.)

In commenting on this quote, Azzam says, “By books is meant the ones revealed by God: the Bible, the Koran.” (Azzam, Ibid., pg. 102n.) Azzam equated the other three heavenly books with none other than today’s Holy Bible.

 

  1. The Injil.

Injil” is Arabic for euaggelion in Greek, evangel or gospel in English. The term occurs twelve times in the holy Koran:

We sent after them Jesus son of Mary, and bestowed on him the Gospel; and We ordained in the hearts of those who followed him Compassion and Mercy. (surah 57:27)

This particular reference is of interest for several reasons. First, it states that Hazrat Isa was given the Gospel by God, from which Muslims infer that the real Gospel (i.e. real New Testament) came from the mouth and pen of the prophet Isa. Second, as an aside, God made Christians to have two distinctive qualities — compassion and mercy. It is reminicent of the heading of most surahs of the Koran, and the common formula for blessing and beginning any good work: Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim, “In the name of Allah, most gracious, most merciful”. It seems that Christians are said to have the character of Allah! What a testimony the holy Koran gives regarding followers of Hazrat Isa! Third, this verse is the only one out of twelve specific mentions of the Injil or Gospel in the Koran that does not also mention the Tawrat (Law). The Injil is almost always coupled with the Tawrat (see also 3:3, 48, 65; 9:111; 5:49, 50, 69, 71, 113):

Muhammad is the Apostle of God; and those who are with him are strong against Unbelievers, (but) compassionate amongst each other. Thou wilt see them bow and prostrate themselves (in prayer), seeking Grace from God and (His) Good Pleasure. On their faces are their marks, (being) the traces of their prostration. This is their similitude in the Tawrat; and their similitude in the Gospel is: Like a seed which sends forth its blade, then makes it strong; it then becomes thick, and it stands on its own stem, (filling) the sowers with wonder and delight… (surah 48:29)

The verse states that the Prophet’s Companions were a mixture of humililty and strength. Strong against enemies of God, humble toward God and other believers. It says that their humble prostration in prayer is like that found in theTawrat (cp. Numbers 16:22, “Moses and Aaron fell facedown…”). Then it says that the strength and victory of Muslims is like that spoken of in the Gospel, apparently referring to the parables of Isa:

…A man scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. All by itself the soil produces grain — first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head… …like a mustard seed, which is the smallest seed you plant in the ground. Yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds of the air can perch in its shade. (Mark 4:26-28, 31-32)

The group of Muslims started off small but grew quickly to become an international force. However, the main point we need to see is that this is one of ten Koranic references which couple the Law and the Gospel closely together, implying that the totality of the Jewish and Christian Scriptures can be summed up in the phrase “the Law and the Gospel”. One more example:

Those who follow the messenger, the Prophet who can neither read nor write, whom they will find described in the Torah and the Gospel (which are) with them. (surah 7:157, Pickthall)

 

FROM:   http://www.injil.org/Kalimatullah/revelations.html#injil

Bible

August 11, 2012 Posted by | Christianity / God, Understanding Islam | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Where does the Holy Bible say it is the Word of God

Question 1: Where does the Holy Bible say it is the Word of God? Answer: many places –

“Thus says the Lord” occurs over 400 times in the Old Testament.
“God said” occurs 42 times in the Old Testament and four times in the New Testament.
“God spoke” occurs 9 times in the Old Testament and 3 times in the New Testament.
“The Spirit of the Lord spoke” through people in 2 Sam. 23:2; 1 Kings 22:24; 2 Chron. 20:14.

If appealing to the Bible in a general sense isn’t good enough. Let’s consider that Jesus said the Law, the Prophets, and the Psalms (all of the Old Testament) were Scripture and that the Scriptures cannot be broken, cannot fail (John 10:35).
Some might say that there are instances of verses that “contain” God’s word, but that it doesn’t mean the Bible is God’s word. The problem is addressed by Jesus.

Luke 24:44-45, “Now He said to them, ‘These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.’ 45 Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures. ”
Notice that Jesus speaks about what is written regarding him in the Old Testament. Then Luke writes that Jesus opened their mind to understand the Scriptures. What Scriptures? The Law (Moses), the Prophets, and the Psalms. This was a common designation for the Old Testament. Therefore, Jesus says that the written form of the Old Testament is Scripture. Jesus goes on to deal with the religious leaders who would violate these Scriptures which he called “the word of God.”

Matt 15:6, “he is not to honor his father or his mother. And thus you invalidated the word of God for the sake of your tradition.”
Mark 7:13, “thus invalidating the word of God by your tradition which you have handed down; and you do many things such as that.”
John 10:35 “If he called them gods, to whom the word of God came (and the Scripture cannot be broken).”
Jesus never said the scriptures contain the word of God. He said they were the word of God. Therefore, we can see that the word of God is the written form of Scripture. In fact, we are told by Paul not to exceed what is written. Note, Paul doesn’t say to not exceed the parts of the scripture that contain God’s word, he says not to exceed what is written!

1 Cor. 4:6, “Now these things, brethren, I have figuratively applied to myself and Apollos for your sakes, that in us you might learn not to exceed what is written, in order that no one of you might become arrogant in behalf of one against the other.”
It is the written form that is proclaimed as being Scripture, unbreakable, the word of God, and the standard of which we are not to exceed. This can only be true, if the written form is the Word of God.

Revelation 17:17 For God hath put in their hearts to fulfil his will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled.

 

July 24, 2012 Posted by | Christianity / God, Daily Gospel, Understanding Islam | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Is God All Powerful or Not?

Essentially, all false religions and cults have one goal in mind: To get you to stop trusting the words of the living God and instead, put your trust in their organization. As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord and we will trust His word over the lies, rumors, heresies, doubts, and traditions of these false organizations. But what about you? When the question of the authority of Scripture comes up are you going to believe the empty words of false prophets, teachers, popes, and organizations, or the words of God Himself?

GalaxyFor the most part these counterfeit groups would agree that God created the heavens and the earth and that He is the architect of everything from the vastness of the galaxies yet to be discovered by man, to the tiniest microorganisms that are more complex than any supercomputers that we could ever build. And with few exceptions I’m confident that these groups also believe that God sustains His creation and that He’s omnipotent, omniscient, and all powerful.

Yet ironically they do not believe He had or has the power to sustain and preserve His word from generation to generation. How convenient for them that the God of all creation has this one weakness (that their popes, prophets, and programs can help God out with).

God was very clear about the tenacity of His Word: It is forever settled in Heaven (Psalm 119:89), it endures forever (Isaiah 40:8, 1 Peter 1:25), the smallest letter or stroke of the law shall not pass (Matthew 5:18), and Heaven and earth will pass away before His word does (Matthew 24:35, Mark 13:31, Luke 16:17, Luke 21:33).

Yet the false prophets will have you believe that the sovereign God who created and sustains the universe simply could not ensure the preservation of His own Word, but their “new revelation” on the other hand, is accurate and can be trusted in spite of the fact that their doctrines keep being added to, subtracted from, and changing from prophet to prophet, from leader to leader, and from pope to pope.

Bible The Scriptures are for our instruction and to provide hope (Romans 15:4), for teaching (Deuteronomy 11:9, 2 Chronicles 17:9), for equipping Christians for good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17), and it gives us assurance of salvation (1 John 5:13).


Furthermore, God’s Word 
is more precious than silver and gold (Psalm 119:72), it’s a lamp, a light, and the way of life (Proverbs 6:23), it’s a lamp unto our feet (Psalm 119:105), it teaches us to fear the Lord (Deuteronomy 17:19), it purifies (Psalm 119:9), it gives understanding to the simple (Psalm 119:130), it teaches us so that we can walk in His paths (Isaiah 2:3), it sanctifies (John 17:17, Ephesians 5:26), it testifies to Jesus Christ (John 5:39), it leads us to Jesus Christ (Galatians 3:24), and it judges our thoughts and attitudes (Hebrews 4:12).

When you consider what God’s Word does, you can see why false religions and cults wish to separate you from it! If they can drive a wedge between you and the word of God, then they will have successfully separated you from the only source by which to measure truth. Then you are easy prey for their new revelations, their other gospels (Galatians 1:6-9), and their false christs.

July 8, 2012 Posted by | Christianity / God, Societal / Cultural Issues, Understanding Islam | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Luke Chapter 24 Verses 44 and 45

Luke 24:44 Now He said to them, “ These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.”

Luke 24:45 “Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures”

June 9, 2012 Posted by | Christianity / God, Daily Gospel | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Only Begotten Son Phrase Explained

Our Lord Jesus Christ

The Only Begotten Son
(ὁ μονογενὴς υἱός)

by Michael Marlowe

My purpose here is to discuss the meaning of the word μονογενής (monogenes) as used in the New Testament, the Septuagint, and in other ancient writings. I am especially interested in its use by the Apostle John in his Gospel and in his first Epistle, and its use in the Nicene Creed of A.D. 325. I will argue that the rendering “one and only” is semantically reductionistic and theologically inadequate.

The Greek word μονογενής is an adjective compounded of μονος “only” and γενος “species, race, family, offspring, kind.” In usage, with few exceptions it refers to an only son or daughter. When used in reference to a son, it cannot mean “one of a kind,” because the parent is also of the same kind. The meaning is, the son is the only offspring of the parent, not the only existing person of his kind. And so in the Greek translation of the book of Tobit, when Raguel praises God for having mercy on δυο μονογενεις (8:17), he does not mean that his daughter Sara and Tobias were two “unique” persons; he means that they were both only-begotten children of their fathers. In Luke’s Gospel, the word is used in reference to an only child in 7:12, 8:42, and 9:38. In the Epistle to the Hebrews, it is said that when Abraham was ready to sacrifice Isaac he was offering up τον μονογενή, “his only-begotten” (11:17), because although Abraham had another son, God had said that only in Isaac shall Abraham’s seed (σπερμα) be named. (Πίστει προσενήνοχεν Ἀβραὰμ τὸν Ἰσαὰκ πειραζόμενος, καὶ τὸν μονογενῆ προσέφερεν ὁ τὰς ἐπαγγελίας ἀναδεξάμενος, πρὸς ὃν ἐλαλήθη ὅτι Ἐν Ἰσαὰκ κληθήσεταί σοι σπέρμα). 1 When the word μονογενής is used in reference to a son or daughter, it always means “only-begotten.”

There are a few places where the word has been understood to mean, “one of a kind” or “incomparable.” For instance, in his article “The One and Only Son” Richard Longenecker calls attention to an occurrence in one early Christian source, an epistle written by Clement of Rome:

Writing about the same time as the fourth evangelist (i.e. A.D. 95-96), Clement of Rome (1 Clement 25) spoke of the Phoenix, that mysterious bird of the East, as monogenes—that is, as “unique” or “the only one of its kind”:

Let us consider the marvelous sign which is seen in the regions of the east, that is, in the regions about Arabia. There is a bird, which is named the Phoenix. This, being the only one of its kind (touto monogenes hyparchon), lives for 500 years; and when it reaches the time of its dissolution that it should die, it makes for itself a coffin of frankincense and myrrh and other spices, into which in the fulness of time it enters and then dies. But as the flesh rots, a certain worm is engendered, which is nurtured from the moisture of the dead creature, and puts forth wings. Then when it has grown lusty, it takes up that coffin where are the bones of its parent, and carrying them, it journeys from the country of Arabia even unto Egypt, to the place called the City of the Sun—and in full daylight and in the sight of all, it flies to the altar of the Sun and lays them on it. And this done, it then returns. So the priests examine the registers of the times, and they find that it has come when the five hundredth year is completed. 2

The problem here is that Longenecker does not give us any reason to think that the semantic component “begotten” is absent. In this context, we even see the author dwelling upon the strange manner in which the Phoenix engenders its one offspring. Why should we think that there is no idea of “begetting” in the word monogenes in this context? We also note that in the immediately preceding paragraph (which Longenecker does not quote) the author is comparing the resurrection of the dead to the regeneration of a plant through its seed:

Let us consider, beloved, how the Lord continually proves to us that there shall be a future resurrection, of which He has rendered the Lord Jesus Christ the first-fruits by raising Him from the dead. Let us contemplate, beloved, the resurrection which is at all times taking place. Day and night declare to us a resurrection. The night sinks to sleep, and the day arises; the day [again] departs, and the night comes on. Let us behold the fruits [of the earth], how the sowing of grain takes place. The sower goes forth, and casts it into the ground; and the seed being thus scattered, though dry and naked when it fell upon the earth, is gradually dissolved. Then out of its dissolution the mighty power of the providence of the Lord raises it up again, and from one seed many arise and bring forth fruit. 3

Here we may see a reason why the word monogenes is used in connection with the Phoenix: in contrast with the numerous offspring of the plants (“from one seed many arise”) the Phoenix is the only offspring (monogenes) of its parent. It is probably right to emphasize the mono “only” here, as Longenecker does, but there is no good reason to say that the genes must mean “kind” without any connotation of “begotten.”

Longenecker also argues that the Septuagint’s usage of μονογενής for the Hebrew יָחִיד (yachid, “only”) in some of the Psalms indicates “more general meanings for the term as well, depending on the context.” He maintains that “in Psalms 25:16 and 68:6 (LXX) the idea of ‘the only one’ is nuanced to mean ‘desolate’ or ‘solitary’ or ‘all alone’ …” (p. 121). But his reference to Psalm 68:6 here is a mistake, because the word used in the Septuagint translation of Psalm 68:6 is μονοτροπος (“living alone, solitary”), not μονογενής. 4 Concerning Psalm 25:16 (where the word does occur), we might ask why μονογενής is used by the translator if he wanted to convey the sense “alone,” because in Greek the ordinary word for “alone” is μονος (and that is the word we find in the version of Symmachus at this point). So why does μονογενής appear here instead? It seems unlikely that the Septuagint translator would have reached for this unusual word to convey the meaning “alone” when he could have done that more idiomatically with the word μονος. It may be that he habitually associated the Hebrew adjective yahid with only children (in 7 of the 11 occurrences of this word in the Hebrew Bible, it refers to only children), and so he assumed that the word meant “only begotten.” In any case, the Septuagint translators often used stereotyped renderings, in which Greek words are used mechanically, without attention to the context or the semantic nuances of the Hebrew words. 5 Hence the use of μονογενής here. We cannot always determine the meaning of Greek words in the Septuagint by equating them with the meaning of the original Hebrew words, because the translator may not have understood the Hebrew the way we understand it. Longenecker then goes on to suggest that the word μονογενής means “priceless and irreplaceable” in Psalms 22:20 and 35:17. Here again he is trying to establish the meaning of the Greek word by associating it with the contextual nuances of a Hebrew word. This method is unsound. The meanings of the Hebrew words cannot be poured into the Greek words like this. The Greek words have their own meanings, and they often represent an interpretation which is at variance with the true meaning of the Hebrew. 6

Rhetorically, the strongest point in Longenecker’s argument comes when he quotes a statement found in a philosophical poem written by Parmenides (fifth century B.C.): “The sixth-fifth century B.C. philosopher Parmenides spoke of Being as ‘ungenerated [ageneton], imperishable, whole, unique [monogenes], and without end’ (Frag. 8.3-4), thereby ignoring—particularly in parallel with ageneton—any idea of generation in the word as might be found etymologically in genos.” (p. 121.) Obviously in this context the word μουνογενες (the old Ionic form ofμονογενής) could not have been meant to carry the implication that “Being” is “begotten.” But it is by no means clear how the proposed sense “unique” (used in some recent translations of the poem) makes sense in the context either. In this poem Parmenides teaches that our perception of change and motion is an illusion, and that an unchanging and unitary “Being” is the only reality. What could he mean by saying that this universal stuff of reality is “one of a kind”? Some scholars have suggested that Parmenides is using μουνογενες in the sense “of one kind” or “homogeneous,” i.e., not compounded of different elements. This would make good sense in the context, but there is no other attestation for that sense of the word. Others have decided that the word μουνογενες was not present in the original text. John Burnet argued that the word μουνογενες obtained its place in the text when someone tried to interpret the original wording of the text along the lines of Plato’s statements about the cosmos in his Timaeus. He eliminates it by emending the text to read ως αγενητον εον και ανωλεθρον εστιν, εστι γαρ ουλομελες τε και ατρεμες ηδ’ ατελεστον, which he translates, “what is is uncreated and indestructible; for it is complete, immovable, and without end.” 7 John R. Wilson proposes a different emendation: ως αγενητον εον και ανωλεθρον εστιν ουλον μουνομελες τε και ατρεμες ηδε τελεστον, in which μουνομελες “single-limbed” replaces μουνογενες. 8 Wilson mentions the proposed sense “one of a kind” for μονογενής and μουνογενες, but he rejects it, because classical scholars who have suggested this meaning “rely mostly on two passages from Plato’s Timaeus,” he says, in which the sense “only begotten” seems more suitable to the context if we only recognize that the word is being used pleonastically. We will not take a position on the correct solution to interpretive problems in Parmenides and Plato, but clearly, classical scholars who have specialized in the reconstruction and interpretation of Parmenides’ poem have looked upon the μουνογενες here as a problem. It can hardly be used to demonstrate the meaning of the word—especially for the Koine Greek in which John’s Gospel was written, more than five hundred years later. We conclude that this example has no probative value.

One of the weakest points in Longenecker’s article comes when he argues that the μονογενες τεκνον πατρι in line 898 of Aeschylus’ Agamemnon “must mean something like ‘the favored or chosen child of his father’” because Agamemnon “was not the only child of Atreus.” But if we look at the context we see that when Agamemnon’s treacherous wife uses the phrase μονογενες τεκνον πατρι, she is employing a metaphor. The phrase comes within a series of exuberant comparisons:

But now, having born all this, my heart freed from its anxiety, I would hail my husband here as the watchdog of the fold, the savior forestay of the ship, firm-based pillar of the lofty roof, only-begotten son of a father, or land glimpsed by men at sea beyond their hope, dawn most fair to look upon after storm, the gushing stream to thirsty wayfarer—sweet is it to escape all stress of need. Such truly are the greetings of which I deem him worthy. (trans. Herbert Weir Smyth)

Agamemnon is a watchdog, a forestay, a pillar. His appearance is like the sight of land to sailors who had given up hope, the dawn after a storm, a stream. His return is like that of an “only-begotten son of a father,” upon whom all the family’s happiness depends. These are certainly metaphorical comparisons, and not to be taken literally. And they are deliberately extravagant. In his response, Agamemnon even objects to the words of her “wide-mouthed, extravagant exclaim” as a deification which will bring upon him the jealous anger of the gods. In this ironic way Aeschylus foreshadows and sets in motion the tragic fate of Agamemnon. Longenecker ignores the context and misses the point. He treats the μονογενες τεκνον πατρι literalistically, as if it were some matter-of-fact statement about Agamemnon’s family.

Passing on from Longenecker to others who have argued similarly, we find the same low quality of scholarship, in which the arguments depend entirely upon a few dubious examples, in combination with word-study fallacies. In 1953 Dale Moody wrote an article titled “The Translation of John 3:16 in the Revised Standard Version,” which is often cited by others. At the end of this article he declares that 1 Clement 15:2 (“there is a bird which is called the Phoenix …”) “shows clearly that the above conclusions on monogenes are correct,” because “the Phoenix was neither born nor begotten, but it could be monogenes, the only one of its kind!” Apparently Moody never looked at the passage to which he refers, which explicitly describes how a succession of solitary Phoenixes are begotten and born, by some autogenic process. The passage even decribes how the Phoenix disposes of the bones of its parent. It is “one of its kind” only in the sense that there is just one living at any one time. As we noted above, Clement’s whole interest in this mythological bird lies in its death and rebirth.

Another place where μονογενής is said to mean only “unique” or “incomparable” is in the Wisdom of Solomon, a Jewish book written probably in Alexandria about 100 B.C. In it we find a hymn to God’s “Wisdom” in which it is said that “there is in her a spirit quick of understanding, holy, μονογενες, manifold,” and so forth (7:22). But even here it seems that the sense “only-begotten” is not unlikely, because Wisdom in this book is personified. She is called “the artificer of all things” (7:22), “all-powerful, all-surveying” (7:23), “the breath of the power of God,” an “effluence” of His glory (7:25), an “effulgence from everlasting light, an unspotted mirror of the working of God, and an image of his goodness” (7:26), and so on. She “proclaimeth her noble birth (ευγενεια) in that it is given to her to live with (συμβιωσις) God” (8:3). 9 In the midst of such language, in which the author speaks of the noble birth of a personified Wisdom living with and emanating from God, we can hardly refuse to take μονογενής as a biological metaphor. Clearly this praise of Wisdom is inspired by Proverbs 8:22 ff., in which God brings forth (Septuagintγεννα “begets”) Wisdom “from everlasting, from the beginning.”

In John’s Gospel and First Epistle the same words and concepts are used to describe the special relationship of Jesus to God. The word μονογενὴς is used as an adjective modifying “Son,” and once as a substantive. He uses the word in five places. I give the literal translation from the English Revised Version of 1881, with the corresponding Greek text:

English Revised Version Souter’s Greek Text
John 1:14. And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us (and we beheld his glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father), full of grace and truth. Καὶ ὁ λόγος σὰρξ ἐγένετο, καὶ ἐσκήνωσεν ἐν ἡμῖν (καὶ ἐθεασάμεθα τὴν δόξαν αὐτοῦ, δόξαν ὡς μονογενοῦς παρὰ πατρός), πλήρης χάριτος καὶ ἀληθείας.
John 1:18. No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him. Θεὸν οὐδεὶς ἑώρακεν πώποτε· ὁ μονογενὴς υἱός, ὁ ὢν εἰς τὸν κόλπον τοῦ πατρὸς, ἐκεῖνος ἐξηγήσατο. (Some manuscripts read μονογενὴς θεός “the only-begotten God” here instead ofὁ μονογενὴς υἱός.)
John 3:16. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have eternal life. Οὕτως γὰρ ἠγάπησεν ὁ θεὸς τὸν κόσμον, ὥστε τὸν υἱὸν αὐτοῦ τὸν μονογενῆ ἔδωκεν, ἵνα πᾶς ὁ πιστεύων εἰς αὐτὸν μὴ ἀπόληται, ἀλλ᾽ ἔχῃ ζωὴν αἰώνιον.
John 3:18. He that believeth on him is not judged: he that believeth not hath been judged already, because he hath not believed on the name of the only begotten Son of God. ὁ πιστεύων εἰς αὐτὸν οὐ κρίνεται· ὁ δὲ μὴ πιστεύων ἤδη κέκριται, ὅτι μὴ πεπίστευκεν εἰς τὸ ὄνομα τοῦ μονογενοῦς υἱοῦ τοῦ θεοῦ.
1 John 4:9. Herein was the love of God manifested in us, that God hath sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. ἐν τούτῳ ἐφανερώθη ἡ ἀγάπη τοῦ θεοῦ ἐν ἡμῖν, ὅτι τὸν υἱὸν αὐτοῦ τὸν μονογενῆ ἀπέσταλκεν ὁ θεὸς εἰς τὸν κόσμον, ἵνα ζήσωμεν δι᾽ αὐτοῦ.

In four of the five places the word is used as an adjective modifying “Son,” and in one of these (1:18) the Son is said to be “in the bosom of the Father.” In the one place where it occurs as a substantive (1:14), it is followed by the prepositional phrase “from the Father,” which implies sonship. And so we see that in every occurrence John is using the word as a biological metaphor, in which Christ is the “Only Begotten Son” of the Father.

Is there any doctrinal importance in this? Yes, there is. The biological metaphor, in which the Son (and only the Son) shares the genus of the Father, conveys the idea that Jesus Christ is a truegenetic Son, having the same divine nature or essence as the Father. The meaning of the word μονογενὴς here is not just “only” or “one and only,” as in the RSV, NIV, and ESV translations. John is not saying that the Son is “one of a kind.” He is saying that Christ is the second of a kind, uniquely sharing the genus of the Father because he is the only begotten Son of the Father, as in the KJV, ERV, and NASB. In the early centuries of Christianity, this point of exegesis acquired great importance. During the fourth century a teaching known as the Arian heresy (which maintained that the Son was a created being) threatened the Church, and in response to it the orthodox Fathers emphasized that the Scripture speaks of a begetting of the Son, not a creation. On that Scriptural basis they maintained that the Son must be understood to be of the same essence as the Father (ὁμοούσιος τῷ πατρί). They further explained that when Scripture speaks of this “begetting” it refers to something taking place in eternity, not within time, and so there were never a time when the Father was without the Son. The orthodox teaching on this subject was set forth in the Creed adopted by the Council of Nicæa in A.D. 325:

Πιστευομεν εις ενα θεον πατερα παντοκρατορα, παντων ορατων τε και αορατων ποιητην. Και εις ενα κυριον Ιησουν Χριστον τον υιον του θεου, γεννθεντα εκ του πατρος μονογενη, τουτεστιν εκ της ουσιας του πατρος, θεον εκ θεου, φως εκ φωτος, θεον αληθινον εκ θεου αληθινου, γεννηθεντα, ου ποιηθεντα, ομοουσιον τω πατρι, δι ου τα παντα εγενετο, τα τε εν τω ουρανω και τα επι της γης· τον δι ημας τους ανθρωπους και δια την ημετεραν σωτηριαν κατελθοντα και σαρκωθεντα και ενανθρωπησαντα, παθοντα, και ανασταντα τη τριτη ημερα, ανελθοντα εις τους ουρανους, και ερχομενον κριναι ζωντας και νεκρους. Και εις το αγιον πνευμα. Τους δε λεγοντας, οτι ην ποτε οτε ουκ ην, και πριν γεννηθηναι ουκ ην, και οτι εξ ουκ οντων εγενετο, η εξ ετερας υποστασεως η ουσιας φασκοντας ειναι, [η κτιστον,] τρεπτον η αλλοιωτον τον υιον του θεου, [τουτους] αναθεματιζει η καθολικη [και αποστολικη] εκκλησια. We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of all things visible and invisible. And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, begotten of the Father the only begotten; that is, of the essence of the Father, God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, of one substance (ὁμοούσιον) with the Father; by whom all things were made both in heaven and on earth; who for us men, and for our salvation, came down and was incarnate and was made man; he suffered, and the third day he rose again, ascended into heaven; from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead. And in the Holy Ghost. But those who say: ‘There was once when he was not;’ and ‘He was not before he was made;’ and ‘He was made out of nothing,’ or, ‘He is of another substance’ or ‘essence,’ or ‘The Son of God is created,’ or ‘changeable,’ or ‘alterable’—they are condemned by the holy catholic and apostolic Church. 10

Athanasius in his Defence of the Nicene Definition (ca. 353), points to the word μονογενής in John 1:14 as one Scriptural proof for the teaching.

It has been shown above, and must be believed as true, that the Word is from the Father, and the only Offspring proper to Him and natural. For whence may one conceive the Son to be, who is the Wisdom and the Word, in whom all things came to be, but from God Himself? However, the Scriptures also teach us this…. John in saying, “The Only-begotten Son which is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared Him,” spoke of what He had learned from the Saviour. Besides, what else does “in the bosom” intimate, but the Son’s genuine generation from the Father? 11

The Nicene Creed was revised at the Council of Constantinople in A.D. 381, and in this revised form (known as the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed) it continues to be used by the Greek Orthodox Church, the Roman Catholic Church, and by some Protestant churches, as a confession of faith. Most Lutherans recite this Creed during their worship services at least once a month. Even those who do not use this Creed in their liturgies generally acknowledge the correctness of its teaching. Most Protestant confessions and summaries of doctrine have incorporated its language. For instance, the Westminster Confession (used as a doctrinal standard in conservative Presbyterian churches) reflects the Nicene teaching of the eternal generation of the Son in one of its paragraphs concerning the Trinity: “In the unity of the Godhead there be three persons, of one substance, power, and eternity: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost: the Father is of none, neither begotten, nor proceeding; the Son is eternally begotten of the Father; the Holy Ghost eternally proceeding from the Father and the Son.” (chapter 2, paragraph 3.) In this confession, a Scripture reference following the words “eternally begotten of the Father” points to John 1:14 and 1:18, as support for the doctrine.

If the word “begotten” as applied to Christ has had such importance in the history of Christian doctrine, why have some modern versions of the Bible omitted the “begotten” in their renderings of the verses quoted above?

It is because many modern scholars have rejected the interpretation of Scripture embodied in the Nicene Creed. These scholars maintain that the Nicene Creed’s interpretation of Scripture is wrong, and they argue that the traditional rendering “only begotten” represents a dogmatically-motivated misinterpretation of the Greek word μονογενής. As one Baptist scholar puts it,

The phrase “only begotten” derives directly from Jerome (340?-420 A.D.) who replaced unicus (only), the reading of the Old Latin, with unigenitus (only begotten) as he translated the Latin Vulgate. Jerome’s concern was to refute the Arian doctrine that claimed the Son was not begotten but made. This led Jerome to impose the terminology of the Nicene creed (325 A.D.) onto the New Testament. 12

This author gives the translators who have preferred “only begotten” too little credit, as if this phrase in the early English versions were merely an unthinking imitation of the Vulgate’sunigenitus, and retained in some modern versions only by the force of a verbal tradition. But the translators of the King James Version were not just imitating the Vulgate when they translatedμονογενής as “only begotten.” They translated it thus because they understood it thus, in agreement with the interpretation of the word given in the Nicene Creed. And the author’s contention that Jerome imposed the terminology of the Nicene creed onto the Scriptures when he used unigenitus is unjustifiable. It is no imposition on the word to translate it thus. 13 Athanasius and the other Greek Fathers of the early fourth century did not need any Latin version to interpret this word for them, and in their disputes with the Arians they frequently explained it in the sense, “only-begotten,” with exegetical emphasis on the “begotten.” In one place Athanasius says very plainly that Christ is called “Only-begotten, because of his generation from the Father.” 14 In other places his use of the word is so connected with other words for “begetting” that it is impossible to suppose that it did not carry the meaning “only begotten.” 15 If this were not enough, modern scholarly support for this understanding of the word is certainly not lacking either. “Only-begotten” is given as a sense for μονογενής in Lust’s Greek-English Lexicon of the Septuagint(2nd ed., Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 2003). In the 2nd ed. of the BAGD lexicon (1979) it is said that “the meanings only, unique may be quite adequate for all its occurrences” in the Johannine literature (p. 527), but the lexicon also presents the traditional view, in which the word is understood to mean “only-begotten.” See also the article on monogenes by Büchsel in Kittel’s Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, vol. 4, pp. 737-41. Büchsel concludes that in John’s Gospel the word denotes “more than the uniqueness or incomparability of Jesus,” because it also “denotes the origin of Jesus … as the only-begotten.” For a full discussion of this matter see John V. Dahms, “The Johannine Use of Monogenes Reconsidered,” New Testament Studies 29 (1983), pp. 222-232. Dahms concludes, “the external evidence, especially from Philo, Justin, and Tertullian, and the internal evidence from the context of its occurrences, makes clear that ‘only begotten’ is the most accurate translation after all.” 16 On the popular level, the recently published Reformation Study Bible (Ligonier Ministries, 2005), edited by a panel of respected conservative scholars, includes this note on the phrase “the only Son” in John 1:14 — “This phrase translates a single Greek word and explicitly points to the eternal generation of the Son in the Trinity.” 17

The truth is, those who do not acknowledge this meaning of the word μονογενής in the Johannine writings are themselves dogmatically motivated. Their preferred translation—“only”—is an undertranslation which hides from view a Scriptural datum that supports the Christology of the ancient Creed but which happens to be unpopular with modern theologians.

There is a tendency among modern theologians to “divide the Substance” of the Godhead (cf. the warning against this in the Athanasian Creed) by positing such independence and equality of the Persons of the Trinity that we can no longer conceive of them as being one God. Some modern theologians have little use for the term ὁμοούσιος (“one essence”), and they cannot abide the idea that there is any ontological priority of the Father in the Trinity, because this is too “hierarchical” and “patriarchal” for our egalitarian age. The Son and the Spirit must be made totally equal to the Father in all respects, even if it means making them into three Gods. This trend is largely driven by liberal theologians who favor the new “social Trinity” concept (Moltmann being prominent among them), which imagines the Trinity to be like a voluntary society of persons who are not ontologically connected.

Among the more conservative thinkers there are also some who have criticized the Nicene Creed because they refuse any explanation of the relationship between Father and Son which describes the Son as being secondary to the Father in his “mode of subsistence.” In their view, it “detracts from the glory of the Son,” as Robert Reymond puts it. This appears to be an over-reaction to modern Unitarianism. Reymond claims that John Calvin was also opposed to the “eternally begotten” teaching of the Nicene Creed for this reason, but he has misinterpreted Calvin.18 We see a good motive here, because Reymond wishes to defend the divinity of Christ, but he is still wrong. Tritheism is no less heretical than Unitarianism. 19

One often encounters in liberal writers some statement to the effect that the Nicene doctrine of eternal generation derives from the emanationist metaphysics of ancient pagan philosophy, rather than from the Bible. Not that they care what the Bible says—they only wish to discredit the Nicene Creed in the eyes of those who do care what the Bible teaches. Unfortunately, in recent years this idea has been picked up by some relatively conservative theologians also, such as Paul Helm. In lectures and articles he has repeated this canard, alleging that the Nicene teachings concerning the begetting of the Son and the procession of the Spirit “derive not from the New Testament but from pagan philosophy, from Neoplatonism.” 20 But anyone who is really familiar with Neo-Platonism will readily see how implausible it is to maintain that the Nicene Fathers borrowed any element of their Christology from this pagan philosophy. We give a brief description of it from Neve’s History of Christian Thought:

With Neo-Platonism we enter the third century of the Christian era. The characteristic defender of Neo-Platonism was Plotinus, who lived in the years A.D. 204-269. His system was epitomized by his pupil Porphyry in the six Enneads. “The fundamental conception of this important work,” says Weber (History of Philosophy, p. 167), “is emanatistic pantheism. It looks upon the world as an ‘overflow,’ as a diffusion of the divine life, and upon its ‘reabsorption’ in God as the final goal of existence.” This is the monistic trend in the system of Plotinus, in which the world first emanates from God and then returns to Him.

a. The emanation or overflow. God is a simple, perfect, absolute existence. He is One, and in Him there is no plurality or diversity. Furthermore He transcends all being and knowledge. His transcendence precludes any positive statement we may make concerning Him. If we attempt to say anything about Him by way of definition, we simply limit Him. Hence we can only say what He is not. We cannot even say that He thinks or feels or wills. Therefore we must be content with negative statements. So far as human knowledge, whether theological or philosophical, is concerned, Plotinus insisted very strongly upon God’s unapproachableness and His differentiation from the world.

Although God is the source of all things, He nevertheless did not create the world. For one thing, He does not need the world; and for another thing, He does not will to create the world. The world is only an emanation or “overflow” from God. In this process of emanation or overflow, there are three stages: (1) the Nous, or pure in mind; (2) the Psyche or Soul; and (3) Matter. Through the union of the soul with matter arises the world of phenomena, and the soul thereby becomes bound up with mortality and evil. The entrance of the soul into the human body constitutes a genuine fall, caused by the soul fixing its gaze upon the earth rather than upon God. While the body is fundamentally evil, still the soul may be benefited by its period of tabernacling in the body. It will thus gain cognizance of evil, and learn to utilize its own powers, thus starting on its return to God.

b. The Return or Absorption. The process is now reversed, and the development proceeds from the lower to the higher. It is the task of the soul to return to God by severing its connections with the crass materiality of the body and by rising higher and higher in gradual stages. Failure to do this will send the soul after death into another body, either human or animal or vegetable, according to the nature and depth of its sin. The pure souls are colonized in the stars; only the very ripest may return entirely to God. The means by which this ascending development takes place are the mystical ecstasy and ascetic ethics. In the state of mystical ecstasy the soul transcends itself, rises to the world of ideas where it not only recognizes that it is God, but actually becomes God. 21

Also relevant to our subject is Neve’s description of the earlier Gnostic heresies, in which the concept of divine emanations played an important role.

The Emanation Theory. This theory which was held especially by the Alexandrians [he means the Alexandrian Gnostics –M.D.M.] and was extensively developed by them, served to explain how the world and man came into existence. The system of Valentinus [circa A.D. 150] in particular had a highly fantastic and speculative process of cosmogony [birth of the world] and theogony [birth of the gods]. From the hidden God there emanated a long series of divine essences (aeons) whose inherent divine power diminished inversely with the distance of removal from the original divine source. This process of depotentialization continued until a point was reached where the spiritual element came into contact with matter and was imprisoned in a material body. Thus man and the world were created.

The Creator. The last link in the theogonic chain was the Creator or demiurge. He was thought to occupy a middle position between the world of spirit and the world of matter, and was usually identified with the Jehovah-God of the Old Testament. Although not absolutely hostile and evil, he was an inferior and antagonistic being—a blind intelligence, who was ignorant of the good God and who had unwittingly brought the world and man into existence. Arguing from the characteristics of the Jewish Law as described by Jesus, the Valentinian Ptolomaeus maintained that they could not have originated from the devil. It must have come from the demiurge—the “middle God” or “just God” (Epiphanius Pan., h. 31:3-1 [sic]), who was regarded as an angelic being not free from malice and who governed with a loveless external justice. (p. 54)

Can we really suppose that Athanasius and the other Fathers of the Church borrowed their Christology from such philosophy? At several important points it is antithetical to the teachings of the Bible and obviously repugnant to orthodox Christian theology. Surely Helm is wrong when he asserts that the Christian teaching concerning the eternal generation of the Son derives from this source. The mere fact that an idea of emanation is present in both demonstrates nothing. 22 One might as well claim that the Christian teaching about the immortality of the soul derives from Neo-Platonic teachings about the soul’s adventures after the death of the body. And in fact there are some who do make this claim—liberals and cultists, who make a hobby of attacking the Nicene Creed. Helm’s idea that there is a connection between the Christology of the Nicene Creed and the pantheistic emanations of Neo-Platonism is not only unreasonable, it is irresponsible, because it lends aid to the enemies of orthodox Christianity.

I will quote now from Roger Beckwith’s answer to Helm and Reymond in “The Calvinist doctrine of the Trinity” (The Churchman 115/4 [Winter 2001], pp. 308-315). Beckwith wrongly associates their views with the Calvinistic tradition in his article, because he has taken Reymond’s claims about Calvin’s teaching at face value (hence the title “The Calvinist doctrine of the Trinity”), and he fails to notice the modernistic origins of Helm’s critique of the Nicene Creed. But he gives a concise and convincing reply to their contention that the doctrine is unscriptural.

Though Calvinist theologians have in general followed the Nicene teaching, with or without the support of their master, some, without going as far as Professor Helm, have ventured to deny the begetting of the Son by the Father in eternity. A good example of this can be found in a recent book where the author, Robert Reymond, lists the main biblical passages usually quoted in support of this doctrine, and claims that they either do not, or do not certainly, teach it. They fall into four classes. First are the many passages which use the expressions ‘Father’ and ‘Son’. He says that these should be viewed as simply denoting ‘sameness of nature, and in Jesus’ case, equality with the Father with respect to his deity (see John 10:30-36)’. It is difficult to regard this as an adequate account, for though it is certainly true that there is a sameness of nature between the two Persons and that both are God, the names ‘Father’ and ‘Son’ imply a reason for this sameness, namely, the begetting of the Son by the Father. The sameness of nature, which enables the Son to reveal the Father (John 1:18; 12:45; 14:9), is a result of this fact. We saw above that the relationship of Father and Son, including the love it involves, already existed in eternity, so it is not just a way of speaking which depends on the incarnation; and if this is so, the begetting of the Son by the Father in eternity is necessarily implied. 23

The second class of passage comprises those in which the term monogenes is used, traditionally translated ‘only-begotten’. These are all, with the exception of one, in the writings of John — John 1:14, 18; 3:16, 18; 1 John 4:9, together with Hebrews 11:17. All the Johannine passages refer to Jesus, but the passage in Hebrews refers to Isaac. It is widely held today that the term should simply be translated ‘only’, not ‘only-begotten’, and when (outside the New Testament) it is used without reference to children this is certainly so; but because of the extreme frequency of the language of begetting and being born (the same term in Greek) in the Johannine literature, it is held by some that ‘only-begotten’ is, in this case, a better translation. It certainly seems to make better sense in John 1:14, where the word is used without a noun, and also in John 1:18, if ‘God’ and not ‘Son’ is the noun in question (as some maintain, following a variant reading). In the former verse, ‘glory as of the only-begotten from the Father’ is more meaningful than ‘glory as of the only one from the Father’, and in the latter verse ‘the only-begotten God’ can more meaningfully be said to make the Father known than ‘the only God’ can. Furthermore, if 1 John 5:18 refers to Jesus as ‘he that was begotten of God’, which is what most commentators believe, it is hard not to see this as relevant to the interpretation of the five passages containing monogenes, especially the three in which (as in this verse) the Father is called ‘God’.

The third and fourth classes of passage contain only one passage each, John 5:26 and 1 John 5:18. Of John 5:26, Reymond claims that it refers to the Son’s incarnate role, as Messiah. It is noteworthy, however, that the passage uses the eternal names of the two Persons, ‘the Father’ and ‘the Son’. If, then, it does mean that the Father has given the incarnate Son to have life in himself, this might well be because he had already given him, as the eternal Son, to have life in himself. And this would conform with John 1:4, which says of the Word or Son of God, not just from the time of the incarnation but from the time of the creation — ‘In him was life’.

Much less doubt attaches to 1 John 5:18. Although its interpretation is not beyond question, the difference of tense between ‘whosoever is begotten of God’ (perfect) and ‘he that was begotten of God’ (aorist) leads most commentators to see the latter phrase as referring to a different person from the former, namely Christ. And the time when Christ was begotten of God would have to be the time when the relationship of Father and Son commenced, namely, in eternity.

The biblical basis of the credal doctrine of the Trinity appears, therefore, to be secure. We can be thankful that the Fathers embodied in Creeds the exegetical conclusions which they had so patiently worked out, since this enables churches that use the Creeds to keep those conclusions constantly before their minds. The positive contribution which Calvin made to the exposition of the doctrine, by emphasising the three Persons and their equality, as each being God, was a valuable one, but the doubt cast by some later Calvinists on the eternal impartation of the divine being and nature by one Person to another has been a regrettable development and, insofar as Calvin was responsible for it, he has had a negative influence also. This negative development has involved an attenuation of trinitarian doctrine and a reductionist approach to the biblical evidence on which it rests, and of these tendencies Professor Helm’s lecture is a rather extreme example.

Finally, it must not be supposed that all translators who have preferred “only” over “only begotten” are deliberately undertranslating the word μονογενής for theological reasons. Many translators simply wish to keep their translations simple and idiomatic, and the word “begotten” does not commend itself to those who are trying to translate the text into a familiar and contemporary style of English. It may also be that some translators prefer to leave out the “begotten” because they fear that laymen will misinterpret this to mean that the Son had a beginning in time. 24 Unfortunately, by failing to convey the “begotten” component of meaning in the word μονογενής they are in effect discarding centuries of careful theological exegesis, and it seems that we can hardly afford this loss in our generation. We need more theological literacy in the churches today, and it is not helpful when translators strip theologically important words from the text of the English Bible. The rendering “only begotten,” or some other equivalent expression, should at least be indicated in the footnotes of English versions, and it is the duty of pastors to explain what this means.

Let what was confessed by the Fathers at Nicæa prevail. —Athanasius, Letters, lxi to Maximus, A.D. 371.

Michael Marlowe
Trinity Sunday, 2006


Notes

1. Notwithstanding D.A. Carson’s contention that in Hebrews 11:17 μονογενής “clearly cannot mean ‘only begotten son’” (Exegetical Fallacies [Baker, 1984], p. 29), commentators on the epistle to the Hebrews have never thought that the use of a term meaning “only begotten” in reference to Isaac is very problematic. Calvin writes in his commentary on Hebrews: “It may, however, be asked, why is Isaac called the only begotten, for Ishmael was born before him and was still living. To this the answer is, that by God’s express command he was driven from the family, so that he was accounted as one dead, at least he held no place among Abraham’s children.” (Calvin Translation Society ed., trans. John Owen [Edinburgh, 1853], p. 287.) Similarly, Marcus Dods explains that Isaac is called “only begotten” because “irrespective of any other children Abraham had had or might have, it had been said to him … in Isaac shall a seed be named to thee (Gen. xxi. 12.); that is to say, it is Isaac and his descendants who shall be known as Abraham’s seed” (Expositor’s Greek Testament vol. 4 [London, 1900], p. 358). These explanations are quite adequate. There is no need to suppose a meaning of “unique” for the word μονογενής here if only we will read the entire sentence, including verse 18.

2. Richard Longenecker, “the One and Only Son,” chapter 11 in The NIV: The Making of a Contemporary Translation (International Bible Society, 1991), p. 122. For his quotation of the passage from 1 Clement, Longenecker has used J.B. Lightfoot’s translation (without attribution), with only a few changes for the sake of modern English.

3. English translation from Alexander Roberts, James Donaldson, and A. C. Coxe, eds., The Ante-Nicene Fathers: Translations of the Writings of the Fathers down to A.D. 325. Vol. 1. The Apostolic Fathers; Justin Martyr; Irenaeus. (Edinburgh, 1885; reprinted Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1953).

4. Perhaps Longenecker has confused the Septuagint with the version done by Aquila, which does have the word μονογενής here. There are a number of such careless errors of fact in Longenecker’s article. He states that “in Genesis 22:2, 12, 16, and Jubilees 18:2, 11, 15 (possibly also Jos. Antiq. 1:222), monogenes is used of Isaac in the sense of Abraham’s ‘favored,’ ‘chosen,’ or ‘unique’ son, vis-a-vis Ishmael.” (pp. 121-22.) But in fact the Septuagint does not have the word μονογενής in Genesis 22. It has the word αγαπητος, “beloved.” The word μονογενής does not occur at all in the Pentateuch of the Septuagint. It is hard to understand why Longenecker is citing Jubilees here, because there is no extant Greek text for the Book of Jubilees. And the manuscripts of the Ethiopic version of this book (upon which we rely for any indication of the wording in the lost Greek version) do not indicate μονογενής in the places Longenecker cites. They indicate αγαπητος (in line with the Septuagint version of Genesis 22) or πρωτοτοκος “first born.” Probably Longenecker just assumed that the Septuagint used the word in reference to Isaac in Genesis 22 because the Epistle to the Hebrews (which often quotes from the Septuagint) uses the word in reference to Isaac in 11:17. But strangely, later in the same paragraph he writes, “the LXX also renders yahid by agapetos (Gen. 22:2, 12, 16 …”, which seems to indicate that he was aware of the fact that the Septuagint uses αγαπητος instead of μονογενής in Genesis 22. In the same paragraph he also asserts that “in Psalms of Solomon 18:4 and Ezra 6:58, Israel is referred to as both prototokos and God’s monogenes” (p. 122), but there is no “Ezra 6:58.” Evidently in this case he has been confused by a statement in Büchsel’s article in the TDNT, which says that “There is a striking use of μονογενής in Ps.Sol. 18:4 : ‘Thy chastisement comes upon us (in love) as the first born and the only begotten son.’ With this may be compared 4 Esr. 6:58 : ‘But we, thy people, whom thou hast called the first born, the only begotten, the dearest friend, are given up into their hands.’” Here Büchsel is referring to the Latin text of Fourth Esdras (also called Second Esdras), a book for which there is no extant Greek text. Apparently Longenecker mistook it for a reference to the Greek text of the canonical book of Ezra in the Septuagint. Longenecker does not seem to have looked at the texts he refers to; he is instead relying upon secondary sources, which we misunderstands, and so he misleads the reader into thinking that the word μονογενής is present in the cited texts.

5. Septuagint scholar Johan Lust writes, “For some Hebrew words, the translators employed a stereotyped Greek equivalent, disregarding the context and semantic nuances. Thus, שלום was translated as a rule byειρηνη, although the semantic field covered by the Greek word does not coincide with that of the Hebrew. It is well known that this led to Greek sentences which must have been hard to understand for native Greek speakers, e.g. when David speaks of the ειρηνην του πολεμου (the peace of the war) in 2 Sam 11.7.” (Introduction to A Greek-English Lexicon of the Septuagint [Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 2003], pp. xviii-xix).

6. Longenecker’s idea that a meaning of “priceless and irreplaceable” can be established for the word on the basis of these two occurrences (Psalms 22:20 and 35:17) in the Septuagint has no merit. Büchsel argues more plausibly that when the Septuagint uses μονογενής in these places “the reference is to the uniqueness of the soul,” with a translation “possible on the basis of the general use of μονογενής for ‘unique,’ ‘unparalleled,’ ‘incomparable.’” (“μονογενής,” in Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, ed. Gerhard Kittel, English edition, vol. 4 [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1967], pp. 738-9). But he would have done better to compare these occurrences with the one in Psalm 25:16, which he calls “an unfortunate translation based on the mistaken belief that here, too, יָחִיד should be rendered μονογενής.” (p. 739, n. 7.) On the word-study fallacy committed by Longenecker here, cf. the complaint of Adolf Deissmann: “People think that the problem is solved by ascertaining what Hebrew word or words are represented by the Septuagint word. They then look up the meaning of the Hebrew and thus obtain what they consider the ‘meaning’ of the Septuagint word. Equivalence of the words—an obvious fact, easily ascertainable—is taken without further ado to denote equivalence in the ideas conveyed. People forget that the Septuagint has often substituted words of its own rather than translated. All translation, in fact, implies some, if only a slight, alteration of the sense of the original. The meaning of a Septuagint word cannot be deduced from the original which it translates or replaces but only from other remains of the Greek language” (The Philology of the Greek Bible, trans. by L. Strachan [London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1908], pp. 88-89).

7. John Burnet, Early Greek Philosophy, 3rd edition. London: A & C Black Ltd., 1920. Burnet explains in a note: “I prefer to read εστι γαρ ουλομελες with Plutarch (Adv. Col. 1114 c). Proklos (in Parm. 1152, 24) also readουλομελες. Simplicius, who has μουνογενες here, calls the One of Parmenides ολομελες elsewhere (Phys. p. 137, 15). The reading of [Plut.] Strom. 5, μουνον μουνογενες, helps to explain the confusion. We have only to suppose that the letters μ, ν, γ were written above the line in the Academy copy of Parmenides by some one who had Tim. 31 b 3 in mind. Parmenides could not call what is ‘only-begotten,’ though the Pythagoreans might call the world so.” Even without this last sentence (in which the meaning “only begotten” is assumed for μουνογενες), Burnet’s argument for the emendation is quite adequate. Scholars generally admit that problems of interpretation in classical literature are often best solved by such text-critical emendations. The text of Parmenides’ poem (written in the fifth century B.C.) is preserved only in quotations of it made in the works of later writers. In this portion of it, the text derives from quotations included in a commentary on Aristotle’s Physics by Simplicius of Cilicia, written in the sixth century A.D.—more than a thousand years after Parmenides. According to the ordinary canons of textual criticism, such a gap in the documentary evidence for the text of the original composition warrants a high degree of uncertainty about its original wording; and the likelihood of corruption is increased by the abstruse nature of the text. Even scholars who specialize in the interpretation of the Pre-Socratic philosophical texts have said that Parmenides is “extremely difficult to understand and seems self-contradictory to many who study him … Michael C. Stokes observes that Parmenides wrote in ‘riddling fashion,’ and Jonathan Barnes contends that ‘Parmenides’s Greek is desperately hard to understand’ and that aspects of it represent an ‘almost impenetrable obscurity’” (http://www.enotes.com/classical-medieval-criticism/parmenides, accessed 27 Dec. 2006). It is very unlikely that his poem has come down to us without any corruption.

8. John R. Wilson, “Parmenides, B 8. 4,” The Classical Quarterly, New Series, Vol. 20, No. 1. (May, 1970), pp. 32-34. Wilson explains: “A solution is to eliminate the awkward prefix in Plutarch and the illogical suffix in Simplicius, and so arrive at the compound μουνομελες, ‘single-limbed’ which is an effective and logical amplification of ουλον. Unlike ουλομελες, μουνομελες assertively denies any possibility of subdivision, an idea which is duly worked out at 8. 22 ff. … And far from being unattested, the word is used by Empedocles [B 58], presumably in imitation of Parmenides, to convey exactly that sense of indivisibility which we require here” (p. 34).

9. In quotations from the Wisdom of Solomon I have used the English translation by Samuel Holmes in R.H. Charles, ed., The Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament in English, with Introductions and Critical and Explanatory Notes, vol. 1 (Oxford, 1913), pp. 518-568. In his introduction to the book, Holmes compares the author’s personification of Wisdom to the personification of the Word (Logos) in Philo, and observes that in Philo “The Logos is not unbegotten as God … On the other hand it is not begotten as man … We shall perhaps not be far wrong if we attribute the same idea to our author with regard to the personality of Wisdom.” (p. 528) And the obvious parallels here with John’s statements about the Son are too close to be ignored.

10. Greek text from Philip Schaff, Creeds of Christendom, vol. 2 (6th ed, 1931), p. 60; English translation from vol 1, pp. 28-29. The Nicene Creed normally recited in churches today is more properly called the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed. It is a revision of the original Creed, associated with the second ecumenical council, convened at Constantinople in A.D. 381. In it the relevant sentences read, Και εις ενα κυριον Ιησουν Χριστον, τον υιον του θεου τον μονογενη, τον εκ του πατρος γεννεθεντα προ παντων των αιωνων, φως εκ φωτος, θεον αληθινον εκ θεου αληθινου, γεννεθεντα, ου ποιεθεντα, ομοουσιον τω πατρι· δι ου τα παντα εγενετο …“And [we believe] in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one Being with the Father; through whom all things were made …”

11. English Translation by A. Robertson, from vol. 4 of A Select Library of the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers. In view of the importance attached to this point of exegesis by the Church Fathers, I find it hard to understand how Longenecker can insist upon the NIV’s rendering “One and Only.” He even maintains that “only begotten” is undesirable “particularly because it leaves open the possibility of an etymological emphasis on genes (the idea of generation).” (op cit., p. 126.) He not only disagrees with the interpretation of the word emphasized by Athanasius, he even objects to the rendering “only begotten” particularly because it “leaves open the possibility” of this interpretation!

12. Christopher Church, “Only Begotten,” in the Holman Bible Dictionary (Broadman & Holman, 1991).

13. Likewise John Calvin was certainly not “imposing the terminology of the Nicene Creed” upon the text of Scripture when he used the word unigenitus as a translation of μονογενής in his Latin commentary on the First Epistle of John. Rather, he simply recognized that unigenitus was the best Latin equivalent for the word, as did Jerome. See Calvin’s Latin text at 1 John 4:9 in the Calvin Translation Society’s edition of hisCommentaries on the Catholic Epistles (Edinburgh, 1855).

14. Μονογενὴς µὲν διὰ τὴν ἐκ Πατρὸς γέννησιν. Second Discourse against the Arians, § 62.

15. For example, at the beginning of his Expositio Fidei we find the words: Πιστεύομεν εἰς ἕνα ἀγέννητον θεόν, Πατέρα παντοκράτορα, πάντων ποιητὴν ὁρατῶν τε καὶ ἀοράτων, τὸν ἔχοντα ἀφ’ ἑαυτοῦ τὸ εἶναι· καὶ εἰς ἕνα μονογενῆ Λόγον, Σοφίαν, Υἱόν, ἐκ τοῦ Πατρὸς ἀνάρχως καὶ ἀϊδίως γεγεννημένον, “We believe in one Unbegotten God, Father Almighty, maker of all things both visible and invisible, that hath His being from Himself. And in one Only-begotten Word, Wisdom, Son, begotten of the Father without beginning and eternally.” (Greek text according to the Benedictine edition by Montfaucon, as reproduced in Thilo, Sancti Athanasii archiepiscopi Alexandrini Opera dogmatica selecta, Leipzig 1853.) It would be foolish to argue that in such a sentence μονογενῆ Λόγον means “One and Only Word,” especially after ἕνα.

16. D.A. Carson in his Exegetical Fallacies (Baker, 1984) offers a brief response to Dahms, in which he focuses on the Septuagint’s translation of Psalm 25:16, μονογενης … ειμι εγω (I am monogenes). The Hebrew here has the adjective yahid “only” used in a substantive sense, lit. “I am an only one.” Carson assumes that the Septuagint translator would have understood the Hebrew to mean “I am alone” or “lonely.” We grant that this is probably the meaning of the Hebrew, but if the Septuagint translator thought so, why does he not use the common word μονος here? We would expect μονος ειμι εγω if he had wanted to say “I am alone.” Carson further maintains that the translator cannot have meant “I am an only begotten one” here because “David wrote the Psalm, and David had many siblings” (p. 30, n. 13). But we cannot assume that the Greek translator interpreted this verse with David and his brothers in mind. The Psalms of David are poetry, they contain many hyperbolic and metaphorical statements that were not literally true of David (e.g. Psalm 22:14-18), and this would have been just as obvious to the Septuagint translators as it is to us.

17. Unfortunately, the English Standard Version translation used in this edition does not point to it. We hope that this defect is repaired in future editions of the ESV.

18. See Reymond’s New Systematic Theology of the Christian Faith (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1998), pp. 324-330. Reymond misunderstands various remarks in Calvin’s Institutes which are directed against the teachings of a contemporary, Valentine Gentile, as if they were directed against the Nicene Fathers. According to Calvin, “certain rascals” of his own time (Valentine Gentile and his disciples), asserted that the Father “in forming the Son and the Spirit, infused into them his own deity,” and thus in a “dreadful manner of speaking” they say that the Father is the only “essence giver.” In opposition to this teaching, Calvin affirms in the very words of the Nicene Creed, that Christ “is the Son of God because the Word was begotten by the Father before all ages.” (Institutes, 1.13.23). And again, in arguing against the errors of Servetus, who held that “the Word for the first time began to be when God opened his holy mouth in the creation of the universe,” Calvin asserts that “it is necessary to understand the Word as begotten of the Father before time” (1.13.7-8). Reymond completely misunderstands Calvin here if he equates the “dreadful manner of speaking” of Calvin’s “rascals” with the Nicene Creed itself. Reymond also badly misunderstands his words at the end of Book 1, chap. 13: “Certe nihil astute praeterii quod mihi adversum esse putarem: sed dum ecclesiae aedificationi studeo, multa non attingere consultius visum est, quae et parum prodessent, et lectores gravarent supervacua molestia. Quid enim disputare attinet, an semper generet Pater? quando stulte fingitur continuus actus generandi, ex quo liquet ab aeterno tres in Deo personas substitisse. (“Certainly I have not shrewdly omitted anything that I might think to be against me: but while I am zealous for the edification of the church, I felt that I would be better advised not to touch upon many things that would profit but little, and would burden my readers with useless trouble. For what is the point in disputing whether the Father always begets? Indeed, it is foolish to imagine a continuous act of begetting, since it is clear that three persons have subsisted in God from eternity.”) This is notdirected against the “eternally begotten” teaching of the Nicene Creed, as Reymond would have the reader think; rather, it is directed against the kind of scholastic debate found in Lombard’s Sentences, book 1, distinction 9, about the propriety of using the word semper (“always”) in connection with the generation of the Son, which might seem to imply a perpetual begetting within time. There is no indication in any of Calvin’s writings that he disagreed with the doctrine of eternal generation as set forth in the Nicene Creed. On the contrary: he positively affirms it, and uses it against Unitarian heretics of his time. In a withering review of Reymond’s book that appeared in the Westminster Theological Journal 62/2 (Fall 2000), pp. 314-319, Robert Letham takes him to task for his misrepresentation of Calvin: “Reymond cites one short paragraph from Warfield’s fine article ‘Calvin’s Doctrine of the Trinity’ to argue that Calvin rejected Nicene trinitarianism (334-35). This article is ninety-five pages long and Warfield repeatedly affirms Calvin’s approval of the Niceno-Constantinopolitan doctrine of the trinity. For instance, ‘It will have already become apparent … that in his doctrine of the Trinity Calvin departed in nothing from the doctrine which had been handed down from the orthodox Fathers.’ He also underlines Calvin’s ‘pervasive’ approval of eternal generation and eternal procession (244-45)! From this long article Reymond extracts one small paragraph and uses it to counter all Warfield has carefully stated over scores of pages. This is shoddy” (p. 319).

19. I do not see how one can hold that Father, Son and Holy Spirit must each have His own “attribute of self-existence,” as Reymond demands (A New Systematic Theology of the Christian Faith, p. 326), without breaking them into three Gods; and I see no Scriptural warrant for insisting upon self-existence as an “attribute” proper to the Son. It is more correct to say that self-existence pertains to the essence of divinity, which the Son shares, but not to the hypostasis of the Son as such. So we must reject Reymond’s idea that “it detracts from the glory of the Son” when an “attribute of self-existence” is not ascribed to the Son. As Charles Hodge says, “self-existence, independence, etc., are attributes of the divine essence, and not of one person in distinction from the others. It is the triune God who is self-existent and independent. Subordination as to the mode of subsistence and operation, is a scriptural fact; and so also is the perfect and equal godhead of the Father and the Son, and therefore these facts must be consistent.” (Systematic Theology, vol 1, p. 474.) Again, the motive for this appears to be good—Reymond imagines that he is defending the “glory of the Son” (p. 328) by rejecting the Nicene formulations—but we must be careful not to deny part of the Truth while defending another part of it. Tertullian once observed (in Against Praxeas, chap. 1), Varie diabolus aemulatus est veritatem. Adfectavit illam aliquando defendendo concutere. (In various ways the devil has vied with the Truth. Sometimes he has tried to shake it by defending it.)

20. See Helm’s article “Of God, and of the Holy Trinity: A Response to Dr. Beckwith,” The Churchman 115/4 (Winter 2001), pp. 350-357.

21. J.L. Neve, A History of Christian Thought, vol. 1 (Philadelphia: Muhlenberg Press, 1946), pp. 24-25.

22. In his treatise Against Praxeas Tertullian describes how the Word may be understood to be begotten by the Father, as an emanation of His eternal ratio (correctly interpreting the λόγος in John’s prologue as bothsermo “word” and ratio “reason”); and, is if to answer Helm’s charge of pagan philosophical influence in this conception, he writes, “If any man from this shall think that I am introducing some προβολη—that is to say, some prolation (prolatio) of one thing out of another, as Valentinus does when he sets forth æon from æon, one after another—then this is my first reply to you: Truth must not therefore refrain from the use of such a term, and its reality and meaning, because heresy also employs it. The fact is, heresy has rather taken it from Truth, in order to mould (struo) it into its own counterfeit. Was the Word of God put forth (prolatus est sermo dei) or not? Here take your stand with me, and flinch not. If He was put forth, then acknowledge that the true doctrine has a prolation; and never mind heresy, when in any point it mimics the truth. The question now is, in what sense each side uses a given thing and the word which expresses it.” The essential difference between the use of the emanation concept in the Church Fathers and its use in the metaphysics of Valentinus and Plotinus is that the former use it only to explain the generation of the Son and the procession of the Spirit in the Godhead, whereas the latter use it to explain the creation of the world. The Gnostics and Neo-Platonists taught that the whole universe consisted of a series of emanations from God.

23. Concerning the meaning of the terms “Father” and “Son,” Reymond urges that these words “must not be freighted with the Western ideas of source of being and superiority on the one hand and of subordination and dependency on the other. Rather, they should be viewed in the biblical sense as denoting sameness of nature, and in Jesus’ case, equality with the Father with respect to his Deity” (New Systematic Theology, p. 325). This attempt to characterize the concept of filial subordination as an unbiblical “Western idea” about the father-son relationship is quite unsupportable. If any distinction is to be drawn between the ancient Eastern and modern Western concepts of sonship, surely it is the ancient Eastern culture which emphasizes more strongly the subordination of the son to the father. The idea that an “equality” exists between family members is a distinctly modern and Western idea, and quite foreign to the Bible. But Beckwith’s answer here does not depend upon any cultural considerations like this. His point is that the biblical terms “Father” and “Son” in themselves necessarily include the idea of a begetting. The point is expressed more amply by William G. T. Shedd: “… these trinal names given to God [Father, Son, and Holy Spirit] in the baptismal formula and the apostolic benediction, actually force upon the trinitarian theologian, the ideas of paternity, generation, filiation, spiration, and procession. He cannot reflect upon the implication of these names without forming these ideas, and finding himself necessitated to concede their literal validity and objective reality. He cannot say that the first person is the Father, and then deny that he “begets.” He cannot say that the second person is the Son, and then deny that he is “begotten.” He cannot say that the third person is the Spirit, and then deny that he “proceeds” by “spiration” (spiritus quia spiratus) from the Father and Son. When therefore Augustin, like the primitive fathers generally, endeavors to illustrate this eternal, necessary, and constitutional energizing and activity (opera ad intra) in the Divine Essence, whereby the Son issues from the Father and the Spirit from Father and Son, by the emanation of sunbeam from sun, light from light, river from fountain, thought from mind, word from thought … nothing more is done than when by other well-known and commonly adopted analogies the Divine unity, or omniscence, or omnipresence, is sought to be illustrated. There is no analogy taken from the finite that will clear up the mystery of the infinite—whether it be the mystery of the eternity of God, or that of his trinity. But, at the same time, by the use of these analogies the mind is kept close up to the Biblical term or statement, and is not allowed to content itself with only a half-way understanding of it. Such a method brings thoroughness and clearness into the interpretation of the Word of God.” (“Introductory Essay” to Augustine’s On the Holy Trinity, in vol. 3 of Post Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church, ed. Schaff [Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1887]). It is no “pretentious metaphysical speculation,” as Reymond calls it (p. 337), when we merely recognize the plain implications of the biblical terms “Father” and “Son.”

24. One would like to think that translators who have a high view of scripture would not simply cut out an important word for fear that it would be misinterpreted, but it does seem likely that this motive is at work here. And the fears are certainly justified. I notice that in the Moody Handbook of Theology (Moody Bible Institute, 1989), Paul Enns in his explanation of the Trinity rightly explains that “the Son is eternally begotten from the Father (John 1:18; 3:16, 18; 1 John 4:9). The term generation suggests the Trinitarian relationship in that the Son is eternally begotten of the Father” (p. 200). But two pages later when he begins to deal with “those who deny the Trinity” on account of “problematic terms” which “seem to imply that Christ is inferior to the Father,” he asserts that “It is with reference to the humanity of Christ that the term begotten is used; it could never be used with reference to his deity. Begotten does not relate to Jesus’ being the Son of God.” (p. 202) He then goes on to explain that monogenes in John 1:14, 18, 3:16 and 1 John 4:9 means “unique” and not “only-begotten” (p. 203). Enns contradicts himself here, evidently because he is not really familiar with the doctrine of the eternal begetting and its Scriptural basis. If this is the case with writers of popular theological handbooks, how can untutored laymen be expected to interpret the “begetting” language of Scripture in an orthodox way? But this is where the teaching ministry of the church must come in.


C.S. Lewis on the Only-Begotten Son

from Mere Christianity

One of the creeds says that Christ is the Son of God “begotten, not created”; and it adds “begotten by his Father before all worlds.” Will you please get it quite clear that this has nothing to do with the fact that when Christ was born on earth as a man, that man was the son of a virgin? We are not now thinking about the Virgin Birth. We are thinking about something that happened before Nature was created at all, before time began. “Before all worlds” Christ is begotten, not created. What does it mean?

We don’t use the words begetting or begotten much in modern English, but everyone still knows what they mean. To beget is to become the father of: to create is to make. And the difference is this. When you beget, you beget something of the same kind as yourself. A man begets human babies, a beaver begets little beavers and a bird begets eggs which turn into little birds. But when you make, you make something of a different kind from yourself. A bird makes a nest, a beaver builds a dam, a man makes a wireless set—or he may make something more like himself than a wireless set: say, a statue. If he is a clever enough carver he may make a statue which is very like a man indeed. But, of course, it is not a real man; it only looks like one. It cannot breathe or think. It is not alive.

Now that is the first thing to get clear. What God begets is God; just as what man begets is man. What God creates is not God; just as what man makes is not man. That is why men are not Sons of God in the sense that Christ is. They may be like God in certain ways, but they are not things of the same kind. They are more like statues or pictures of God.

*     *     *     *     *     *

I said a few pages back that God is a Being which contains three Persons while remaining one Being, just as a cube contains six squares while remaining one body. But as soon as I begin trying to explain how these Persons are connected I have to use words which make it sound as if one of them was there before the others. The First Person is called the Father and the Second the Son. We say that the First begets or produces the second; we call it begetting, not making, because what He produces is of the same kind as Himself. In that way the word Father is the only word to use. But unfortunately it suggests that He is there first—just as a human father exists before his son. But that is not so. There is no before and after about it. And that is why I have spent some time trying to make clear how one thing can be the source, or cause, or origin, of another without being there before it. The Son exists because the Father exists: but there never was a tune before the Father produced the Son.

Perhaps the best way to think of it is this. I asked you just now to imagine those two books, and probably most of you did. That is, you made an act of imagination and as a result you had a mental picture. Quite obviously your act of imagining was the cause and the mental picture the result. But that does not mean that you first did the imagining and then got the picture. The moment you did it, the picture was there. Your will was keeping the picture before you all the time. Yet that act of will and the picture began at exactly the same moment and ended at the same moment. If there were a Being who had always existed and had always been imagining one thing, his act would always have been producing a mental picture; but the picture would be just as eternal as the act.

In the same way we must think of the Son always, so to speak, streaming forth from the Father, like light from a lamp, or heat from a fire, or thoughts from a mind. He is the self-expression of the Father—what the Father has to say. And there never was a time when He was not saying it. But have you noticed what is happening? All these pictures of light or heat are making it sound as if the Father and Son were two things instead of two Persons. So that after all, the New Testament picture of a Father and a Son turns out to be much more accurate than anything we try to substitute for it. That is what always happens when you go away from the words of the Bible. It is quite right to go away from them for a moment in order to make some special point clear. But you must always go back. Naturally God knows how to describe Himself much better than we know how to describe Him. He knows that Father and Son is more like the relation between the First and Second Persons than anything else we can think of. Much the most important thing to know is that it is a relation of love. The Father delights in His Son; the Son looks up to His Father.

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April 27, 2012 Posted by | Christianity / God, Daily Gospel | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Correct Understanding of Psalm 137 8 and 9

Man reading Psalms at the Western Wall. Jerusa...

Man reading Psalms at the Western Wall. Jerusalem, Israel/Palestine, March 2007 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Happy – that taketh and dasheth thy little ones – That is, So oppressive hast thou been to all under thy domination, as to become universally hated and detested; so that those who may have the last hand in thy destruction, and the total extermination of thy inhabitants, shall be reputed happy – shall be celebrated and extolled as those who have rid the world of a curse so grievous.

These prophetic declarations contain no excitement to any person or persons to commit acts of cruelty and barbarity; but are simply declarative of what would take place in the order of the retributive providence and justice of God, and the general opinion that should in consequence be expressed on the subject; therefore praying for the destruction of our enemies is totally out of the question.

It should not be omitted that the Chaldee considers this Psalm a dialogue, which it thus divides: – The three first verses are supposed to have been spoken by the psalmist, By the rivers, etc. The Levites answer from the porch of the temple, in Psalm 137:4, How shall we sing, etc. The voice of the Holy Spirit responds in Psalm 137:5, Psalm 137:6, If I forget thee, etc. Michael, the prince of Jerusalem, answers in Psalm 137:7, Remember, O Lord, etc. Gabriel, the prince of Zion, then addresses the destroyer of the Babylonish nation, in Psalm 137:8, Psalm 137:9, Happy shall be he that rewardeth thee, etc. To slay all when a city was sacked, both male and female, old and young, was a common practice in ancient times.

March 22, 2012 Posted by | Christianity / God, Understanding Islam | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Some Facebook Revealed Truths

 

  • ‎1 challenge any Muslim Scholar or even Traveler Man to explain the many errors,absurd and inconsistent Quranic legend’s!!!!Psalm’s 1-1- Blessed is the man that walketh in the counsel of the WICKED,and standeth not in the way of SINNER’S,AND SITTETH not in the seat of SCORNER’S

    2- But his deliight is in Jehovah’s law,and in his law doth he MEDITATE day and night

    3-And he is a tree planted by the brook’s of water,which giveth its fruit in its season,and whose leaf fadeth not; and all that he doeth prosperth….

    4- The wicked are not so,but are as the chaff which the wind driveth away……

    5-Therefore the wicked shall not stand in Judgement,nor Sinner’ in the assembly of the Righteous…

    6-For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous,and the way of the ungodly shall perish.

    Psalm 1

    We saw in a previous treaty that Muhammad confused the period’s and the Character’s…Indeed,we read below that the Quran says that the Mother of JESUS was the sister of Aaron!!!

    Quote:- 19:28- ”(Mary) sister of Aaron!!! Thy FATHER was not a wicked man nor was thy MOTHER a Harlot…Now as we know MARY had no BROTHER’S

    Here is another great proof that we are dealing with lies,the Quran is a book of BABYLONIAN’S LEGEND’S!!!

    Quote’s 28:8:- And the people of Pharaoh took him up (MOSES) that he might become for them an enemy and a sorrow…Lo! Pharaoh and Haman and their host’s were ever sinning….

    False, the people of Pharaoh didn’t save MOSES from the NILE THINKING that he is their enemy later………

      • Jim Patterson: ‎Joe Craig, nice post. If i ever get data off of my recently deceased boot disk, i have a piece I wrote on the Mary daughter of ‘Imran (Amram) major koran debacle that uses suras 3, 19 and 66 for evidence. IMO, the whole ‘infallibility’ of “allah” falls apart on that one (and it becomes obvious that the writer of the koran was mo who got Mary mixed up with Miriam, the daughter of Amram). Hilali-Khan has tried to cover up the 19.28 mess, but they left the rest of the evidence intact, showing that they knew it was an embarrassment but were pretty dumb in their cover-up attempt.

      • Joe Craig thank you Jim Patterson for your reply…..but why do they get away with it…..any sane person would at least say what’s going on here…i dont believe for one minute that Mo was as stupid as everyone’s thinks.he played a good game of Deceivement……

        ·
      • Jim Patterson

        I totally agree that the evidence in so many cases is so overwhelming you have to wonder why muslims don’t start looking askance at these things. All i can figure is it is a case of truly blind faith. Most often when these things are pointed out i have noticed muslims falling back on rote repetitions of affirmations of their faith — a refusal to hear, IOW — a form of sticking their fingers in their ears and going LALALA…..
      • Erin Leslie This is so silly. Any knowledge of history or the Bible will show the Qur’an and Islam to be a total farce.

      • Kab Ashraf

        Most Muslims know little or nothing about history; most have not read the Koran in their own language. They rely on what the Imams tell them.

        Muslims are heavily invested in the cult. They revere a genocidal warlord as the best man ever; their role model whom they emulate, who copulated with a child and a corpse; who slew prisoners of war.

        We can not imagine or fathom the depth of evil they have subscribed to and are committed to. If they abandon it, the burden of sin will crush them like a mosquito hit by a brick.

      • Joe Craig Erin why is it so silly……if we don’t post information like this……then what’s the point of us being here…..?

      • Erin Leslie Your post is not silly, the Qur’an is silly.

      • Joe Craig Thank you Erin……Blessings..
  • _______________________________________________________________________________________________

      • Gilgamesh Jones IV LOL, SOMETHING IS WRONG WITH THIS PICTURE!!!

      • Pasta P. Zara wow….and still, Israel prevails….Awesome!

      • Gilgamesh Jones IV God decrees it will be so

      • Joe Craig Hasn’t Israel got Big BALLS….LIVING AMONGST THAT….

      • Pasta P. Zara This map should be testament of The greatness of Israel’s GOD.

      • Kab Ashraf End the unjust totalitarian Islamic occupation of Arabia, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Persia, Albania, Bosnea, etc. etal. and the invasion of Europe & America!!!

March 11, 2012 Posted by | Christianity / God, Constitutional Issues, Politics/Government/Freedom, Societal / Cultural Issues, Understanding Islam, World Affairs | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Psalm 1:1

Blessed is the man that walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful.

Psalm 1:1

English: Scroll of the Psalms

Psalm 1:1

February 14, 2012 Posted by | Christianity / God, Daily Gospel, Mormon Christianity | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

About the Song of Songs

The Aleppo Codex is a medieval manuscript of t...

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About the Song of Songs

The Song of Songs is a poem about love. The main speakers are a man, and the woman whom he loves.

At the start, the couple are not yet engaged. The woman is not sure about the man. She twice sends him away. She does not want to share his life.

But in the end, she learns to trust him. They marry. She is ready to become a mother. And she is glad to work with him. Her attitudes have become mature.

About the man

The man is King Solomon. Solomon was a great king, but he was not a proud man. He sincerely wanted to help his people. He worked hard to make their lives better. In fact, he liked to describe himself as a shepherd. A shepherd is a man whose job is to look after sheep. Once, Solomon’s father, David, worked as a real shepherd. Solomon was never a real shepherd. As king, he looked after people instead of sheep.

Actually, Solomon was not a good model for a husband. He had many wives. He married these women for political reasons. For example, he wanted his country to be at peace with Egypt. So he married the daughter of the king of Egypt. We do not know whether Solomon really loved all these women. But the woman in the Song of Solomon was different from these other women. Solomon loved her deeply. She really was special to him.

The Song of Songs seems to describe the man as if he were a better husband than Solomon. In fact, the man in the Song seems perfect. This is not the only place in the Bible where there is such a description. Psalm 72 is also about Solomon. But the Psalm seems to describe a king who is a better king than Solomon. Both passages are poetry. And both have the same explanation. Although the passages speak about Solomon, they were really describing God.

God is like Solomon in many ways. God is the greatest king. God looks after his people. So God is also like a shepherd (Psalm 23). (A shepherd is a man who looks after sheep. God looks after his people, rather than sheep.) And God loves the people who obey him. Especially, God loves the people who trust him completely. And these people are glad to do his work. God’s love is perfect although our love for him is often weak. This is exactly like the man in Song of Songs.

Solomon was the greatest king that the people in Israel ever knew. He was richer than any other king. The country was at peace. He achieved many great things and he built impressive buildings. So, he seemed to be the right king to choose as a description of God. But Solomon was certainly not perfect. He made terrible mistakes. At the end of his life, he even served false gods because of his foreign wives. Other books in the Bible describe these errors. But the Song of Songs does not. Instead, it gladly remembers the happy days when Solomon was a young king. At that time, he was loyal to God. And so, Solomon’s love for a young woman reminded everyone about the love of God.

About the woman

We do not know the name of the woman whom Solomon loved. The Bible simply calls her ‘the Shulamite’. This probably means that she was from a town called Shulem. This town was in the north of Israel. It belonged to the family of Issachar.

Solomon’s intentions for the woman soon become clear. He wants her to be his wife. But she hesitates to join him.

Proverbs 31:10-31 is a poem from the same time as Song of Songs. This poem lists the duties of a perfect wife. Clearly, such a woman was working very hard. Although her husband was wealthy, she was never lazy. She made sure that her husband never needed to worry about anything. So, he was able to carry out his work as a judge. This woman looked after him and their children. She also helped poor people. She impressed everyone by her hard work.

The woman in Song of Songs seems to hesitate for various reasons. At the start of the Song, she does not seem mature enough. Her words sometimes seem selfish. She may be a little lazy. But perhaps she also fears failure. In other words, she thinks that she will never be perfect enough for Solomon. Perhaps she knew the poem about the perfect wife in Proverbs 31:10-31. And she was afraid that she would disappoint Solomon.

But in the end, this woman becomes mature. She accepts Solomon’s offer of marriage. She shares with him everything that she has. And she is glad to join him in his great work. Like this woman, we often hesitate about our love for God. Our reasons are often the same as hers. We may be glad to invite God into our lives. But perhaps we are afraid to obey him completely. We may be selfish or lazy. We may be unsure about the work that God wants us to do. Or we may be afraid that we will fail. But God is always encouraging us to trust him more. He wants us to become better Christians. He wants us to become mature (Hebrews 6:1).

About marriage

We know some marriage traditions that existed at the time of the Song. We are not sure how these traditions relate to the events in the Song.

Parents would often arrange for the couple to become engaged (Judges 14:2). The man’s parents might select a wife that the man had not met (Genesis 24:4).

The woman would receive gifts when she became engaged (Genesis 24:22). The man’s family would arrange a procession to show the man’s wealth (Genesis 24:10). There would be parties (Genesis 24:28-33). The couple were not yet married. They did not live together. And they did not have sex. But they promised to marry. So they were different from people who were neither married nor engaged (Deuteronomy 22:22-29).

The engaged couple had to wait for their wedding. For example, Jacob waited 7 years for his wedding (Genesis 29:20). The man had to pay a price for his bride (1 Samuel 18:23-25).

The wedding itself would a great event. At the wedding, the man would come with his friends to his bride’s home. The man would take his wife away and lead her to his own home. The couple would be a married couple from the first night of the wedding. But the parties continued for several days (Judges 14:10-18).

About love

Our ideas about love today are often different from ancient ideas about love. Today, we often think about love as a mere emotion. For example, films always seem to show love as an emotion. Clearly, the couple in Song of Songs felt this emotion. But they did not marry merely because of this emotion. In fact, the woman twice decided to send away the man.

In ancient times, people thought above love as a decision. This still happens in some societies today. The couple decide to marry. Sometimes they may not even feel love as an emotion. But their decision is a declaration of love. For the rest of their lives, they will give themselves to each other. They will look after each other. And they will work hard to help each other. This is real love. And in the end, the couple in the Song of Songs show such real love to each other.

The meaning of the Song of Songs

The Song of Songs is, of course, a poem. It describes wonderful plants and beautiful animals. It describes special places. And it describes processions, dances and gardens. But the Song also has a more important meaning.

Parables and allegories are different types of stories. Both parables and allegories have a meaning. But there is a difference. Parables are very simple. And they are easy to understand. But allegories are very complex. Every detail in an allegory is important. And words have secret meanings.

There are many parables in the Bible. Jesus often used parables to each the people. The meaning of these parables is never complex.

Allegories became popular many centuries after the time of the Bible. People used to read allegories for entertainment, like novels today. And many people thought that the Song of Songs was an allegory. They tried to find secret meanings in its words. They thought that its real meaning must be very complex. They tried to find new meaning in every sentence.

We think that the Song of Songs is more like a parable. In other words, its meaning is simple to understand. Its meaning is:

·     God loves us. His love does not change.

·    But we are not always loyal to him. Perhaps we are selfish. So we do not always want to obey him.

·    God wants us to trust him more. Then, in the end, we shall be glad to obey him. And we shall be perfect for him.

Chapter 1

v1 The most beautiful of songs, by Solomon.

Verse 1

Solomon collected songs and proverbs (wise words). In the end, he had 3000 proverbs and 1005 songs. We still have over 600 proverbs that he collected. They are in the Book of Proverbs. Perhaps the songs in his collection included some Psalms. Or perhaps only one song from this collection still exists. This song is called the Song of Songs. And it was Solomon’s greatest song because it is about the love of God.

Love is a wonderful subject for a song. But the love of God is an even nobler subject.

The young woman and her hope for the future

The young woman

v2 Your lips give me many kisses.

Your love is better than wine.

v3 Your *perfume smells wonderful.

But your name is better than the best *perfume.

That is why the young women love you.

v4 Take me away with you, and we will run away.

Let the king bring me into his room.

Friends

          We are very happy for you.

We will say that your love is better than wine.

The young woman

                      How right the women are to love you!

v5 I am dark but lovely too, young women of Jerusalem.

I am dark like the tents of Kedar.

But I am beautiful as Solomon’s curtains.

v6 Do not stare at me because I am dark.

The sunshine has made me dark.

My brothers were angry with me.

They made me look after the *vineyards.

So I could not look after my own *vineyard.

v7      You are the only person that I love.

Tell me where you feed your sheep.

Tell me where you rest your sheep at midday.

Or I will be like a woman who *veils herself.

And I will sit among the *flocks of your friends.

Solomon

v8 You are such a beautiful woman!

Perhaps you do not know where to go.

Follow the tracks of the sheep.

Let your young goats eat by the *shepherd’s tents.

v9 Let me describe you, my *dear.

You are like a *mare of one of Pharaoh’s *chariots.

v10 Your hair is beautiful upon your cheeks.

So is your neck with its precious stones.

v11 We will make a chain of gold for you.

We will use silver to make you pretty.

Verses 2-4

This young woman likes Solomon very much. Her emotions feel very strong. In fact, she probably thinks that she loves him. But her attitudes are not yet mature. She wants the excitement of friendship with a very special man. But she will have great responsibility as his wife. And she is not yet thinking about this responsibility.

We do not think that the couple were actually kissing yet. The woman was probably imagining his kisses. She was very excited because of him.

When we become Christians, our attitudes are not mature. We know that God is wonderful. We want to thank him for his love. We are excited that he chose us to follow him. But perhaps we are not yet ready to serve him. His instructions seem like a problem instead of something wonderful. But God wants us to become more mature.

Verse 4

In this verse, the other women reply. They agree that Solomon is a wonderful man. Everybody seems to want his love.

Verses 5-6

The woman is aware that she is not perfect. She has two problems:

·     She thinks that her skin is too dark. She wants to marry the king. But she does not look like a princess. Instead, she looks like a young woman who works outside. So she is afraid that Solomon will not like her. But her fear is stupid. Solomon does not want a lazy wife who is pale! Instead, he wants a wife who will share his work. He wants a wife who will be responsible.

·     She has not looked after her own *vineyard. In other words, she has not done her own work. So she feels guilty. In the end, she will do this work (8:12). But she will not be working for herself. She will gladly give the profits to Solomon.

God does not want us to be lazy. God wants us to be responsible people. And God wants us to work for him. We do not work for God because we feel guilty. Instead, we gladly work for him because we love him (2 Corinthians 9:7).

Verse 7

The woman asks where she can meet Solomon. She does not want to follow him at a distance. She wants to be with him.

Her thought was a beautiful thought. Christians too should want to spend time with Jesus. There are other good things that we may enjoy. But the time that we spend in prayer is special time.

Verse 8

In his reply, Solomon tells the young woman about his work. Solomon pretends that he is looking after sheep. Really, Solomon is the king. His work is to look after people. So he invited the young woman to join him as he does his work.

Jesus also compared himself with a *shepherd (John 10:14). But really, Jesus is the greatest king (Revelation 19:16).

Verse 9

The horses that pulled *chariots were strong and brave. These were not lazy horses. They wanted to work hard. Pharaoh was the king of Egypt. He did not travel without a *chariot. His horses took him wherever he wanted to go.

Solomon seems to be discussing this woman’s attitudes. Perhaps she thinks that, as queen, she will have a life of leisure. But he is offering her worthwhile work as his queen. She will help him to rule the country.

Verses 10-11

The woman was not sure that she was beautiful enough for Solomon (1:6). But Solomon replies that she is very beautiful. And he will help her to be even more beautiful.

The special meal

The young woman

v12 The king is at his table.

The smell of my *perfume is in the air.

v13 My lover is like a collection of *perfumes.

This lies all night between my breasts.

v14 My lover is like a bundle of henna flowers.

These flowers are from Engedi.

It is where people make wine.

Solomon

v15 How beautiful you are, my *dear!

Oh! How beautiful!

You have eyes like *dove’s eyes.

The young woman

v16 You are so handsome, my *dear;

You are such a delight to me.

Our bed will be green.

v17 We can have wood from tall trees.

We can use it in our house.

We can use other types of wood for our ceiling.

Verses 12-14

Song of Songs 2:4 also seems to describe a special meal. Perhaps the meal begins at 1:12 and continues until 2:7.

Engedi is a place with many beautiful gardens. But its situation is unusual. It is in the middle of a desert. It would be difficult to get flowers from Engedi. So the flowers are a special gift.

The *perfumes also seem to be a special gift. And the woman will keep them next to her heart.

Verses 15-17

This is a very happy conversation. We think that, perhaps, the couple are using friendly humour.

Solomon says that the woman’s eyes are like doves (birds). Of course, doves live outside. So she jokes that the couple would need a green bed, like grass. Then the couple imagine the house. It could have tall trees for its walls. And its roof would be branches that spread out.

So the couple joke that they should not really be inside. She has already explained that she has to work outside (verse 6). And he replied that he wants her to join him in his outdoors work (verse 8).

Chapter 2

The young woman

v1      I am only a wild flower from Sharon,

a wild flower of the valleys.

Solomon

v2 You are like a wild flower,

a wild flower among *thorns.

You are my very *dear woman among women.

The young woman

v3 You are like an apple tree.

This tree is among the trees of the forest.

This is what you are like among young men.

I sit in your shade with great pleasure.

Your apples taste good. They are sweet.

v4 He has taken me to his house.

It is where he has special meals.

Everyone can see how much he loves me.

v5 He has made me strong again with his fruit.

I feel much better with his apples!

I am weak with love.

v6      His left hand is under my head.

And he touches me softly with his right hand.

v7 Women of Jerusalem, make a promise to me.

Think about the wild *gazelles and *deer as you make this promise.

Do not think about love until the right time.

Verses 1-3

The couple continue their happy conversation. But the subject changes. The couple talk about special plants that grow among wild plants. A beautiful wild flower could grow among *thorns. A fruit tree could grow in the forest. But we do not usually find such special plants among wild plants. It would be a rare and wonderful event.

Solomon and the young woman had discovered each other. So they were very excited.

When we discover God’s love, we are very excited. It is wonderful to know that God loves us. But God is also very pleased that we are starting to love him (Luke 15:4-7, Luke 15:21-24).

Verse 4

Many young women like Solomon (1:3; 2:2). But this young woman is very special. Solomon makes a party for her. And he wants everyone to know that he has chosen her.

Verse 5

But this young woman does not seem to appreciate Solomon’s attention. She is not still excited. Instead, she complains that she feels weak. Solomon has provided wonderful food to make her strong.

Verse 6

Perhaps this woman is so weak that she falls. Perhaps Solomon has to hold her so that she does not hurt herself. His touch is gentle.

She should be very excited that he is touching her. But instead, she seems afraid. Their love seems to be developing too quickly. She is not sure that she is ready for him yet.

Verse 7

So she asks the other women to make a promise. She reminds them about wild animals called gazelles and deer. These animals do not mate before the proper time of year. And, like them, she does not want to marry Solomon until she is ready.

This young woman is not yet ready to be Solomon’s wife. She loves him. But her attitudes are not yet mature enough.

As Christians, we often love God deeply. But our attitudes are not always mature. God invites us to serve him. But we hesitate. God wants us to work for him. But we have other ideas. So we do whatever we want to do. We are not always loyal to God. But God still loves us. And he will teach us to love him better, if we are ready to learn.

Solomon proposes to the young woman

The young woman

v8 Listen! My lover!

Look! Here he comes!

He is jumping across the mountains.

He is jumping over the hills.

v9 My lover is like a *gazelle.

Or, like a young *deer.

He is like an animal that can run fast.

Look at him, as he stands next to the wall.

He looks in through the window.

He looks through the wooden bars.

v10 My lover speaks to me.

Solomon

Come then, woman whom I love.

My *dearest, come with me.

v11 Look, the winter is over,

the rains have come and gone.

v12 Flowers appear in the country;

birds are singing.

In the fields, people can hear the song of *doves.

v13 Young *figs are growing on the *fig trees.

Smell the flowers on the*vines.

Get up, my *dear, my beautiful lady.

Come with me.

v14 You are like a *dove that hides in holes in the cliffs.

It is as if you are hiding in secret places in the cliffs.

Let me see your face.

Let me hear your voice.

Your voice is so pleasant,

and your face is so lovely.

v15 Catch the foxes for us.

These little foxes spoil the *vineyard.

There are flowers in our *vineyard now.

The young woman

v16 My lover is mine,

and I am his!

My lover eats among the *lotuses.

v17 Turn, my lover,

until the day begins.

And until the shadows go away.

You should be like a *gazelle,

or a young *deer on the mountains of Bether.

Verses 8-9

Solomon visits the woman. But he does not enter her room. He stands outside and he calls her.

His character reminds her of a shy animal. He seems to behave like the animals that she spoke about in verse 7.

We think that Solomon was simply behaving politely. He did not want to be alone with the young woman. He wanted to be fair to her. He did not want to force her to join him. He simply wanted to invite her. She could either agree to or refuse his invitation.

God is also very gentle with us. He does not force us to obey him. He wants us to obey him because we love him. So he allows us to choose what we shall do.

Verses 10-13

This is a beautiful invitation. It is a description of spring. Solomon starts with a description of the country at the end of winter. Then he describes the start of spring. And now it is the time when animals mate. In fact, it is the time when she expected to be ready for him (verse 7).

Verses 14-15

So he is now inviting her to join him. There is work for them to do together. She suggested that she wanted to look after her *vineyard (1:8). In springtime, the farmers need young workers to look after the *vineyards. They have to chase away the foxes.

Of course, Solomon was the king. So we do not really suppose that he had to chase the foxes. But the couple always used events in the country to describe their love. So perhaps Solomon really wanted her to help with other problems.

God is very great. He does not need our help to do his work. But he chooses to work with us. He gives us responsibilities. And this is a great honour for us (Matthew 25:34-40). God will reward us when we do his work (Matthew 25:21).

Verse 16

The young woman does not seem to think seriously about the invitation. She does not agree that the time is right. Solomon said that she was like a flower (2:2). But she said that he had plenty of flowers to look at. He was like a wild animal that lived among the flowers. In other words, she was saying that he had other women to look at. She was speaking as if she were as important as him. Or, as if his invitation did not matter to her.

Verse 17

So she told him to go away. If he was like a shy animal, then he should go back to the hills. She would not join him.

Her decision was stupid. But he respected her. He went away.

Sometimes we may refuse to allow God to work in our lives. God will allow us to do our own things. But he still loves us. He still encourages us to trust him.

And when we are ready, he will be waiting for us.

Chapter 3

The young woman looks for Solomon

The young woman

v1 At night, when I was on my bed, I looked for my man.

He is the man that my heart loves.

I looked for him, but I did not find him!

v2      I will get up now.

I will go round the city.

In the streets and squares,

I will search for the man that I love.

So I looked for him but I could not find him.

v3      The guards who go about the city found me.

I asked them, ‘Have you seen the man that I love?’

v4      As soon as I left the guards, I found my man.

I found the man that I love.

I held him, and I would not let him go.

Then I took him to my mother’s house.

It was the room where I was born.

v5      Women of Jerusalem, make a promise to me.

Think about the wild *gazelles and *deer as you make this promise.

Do not think about love until the right time.

Verse 1

After Solomon proposed to the young woman (2:12), she sent him away (2:17). Soon, she is sorry about her decision. She cannot sleep. She hopes that he will return to her. But she is afraid that she may never see him again.

Sometimes we may think that God has left us. Perhaps we do something wrong, so we feel guilty. But God still cares about us. He wants us to confess our wrong actions to him. Then he will gladly forgive us (1 John 1:9).

Verses 2-3

The woman got up very early in the morning. The time was so early that the guards were still working. Their job was to protect the city during the night. She is looking everywhere for Solomon. And she asks the guards to help her. She seems desperate.

Solomon could have waited at the door. But he did not. He went away from her. He did not go far. But he still left. So she had to look for him.

Sometimes it feels as if we must look for God. Perhaps we refuse to obey him. And then we are sorry. We pray. But perhaps we do not feel that we are close to God again. God wants us to be humble. When we apologise to God, we must be sincere. God is always kind. He will not refuse us if we are humble. But he will oppose us if we continue to be proud (James 4:6-10).

Verse 4

When the young woman finds Solomon, she is not still proud. She now realises that she needs him. And she wants to be his wife. Last night she sent him away. Her proud words were very foolish. But this morning she invites him into her home. She wants him to meet her mother. It was the tradition that parents would arrange for the couple to become engaged (Judges 14:2; 2 Samuel 13:13).

Verse 5

The woman repeats her words from 2:7. But the meaning seems slightly different. She agrees that now is the right time for her and Solomon to become engaged. Their love feels wonderful. And she now knows that she needs him.

The procession

The young woman

v6      Somebody is coming from the desert.

And men are coming with clouds of smoke.

They come with *myrrh and *incense.

They have a wonderful smell.

v7      Look! It is Solomon’s carriage!

Sixty (60) soldiers guard it.

They are the best soldiers in Israel.

v8      All of them are skilful with the sword.

People have trained them to fight.

Their swords are at their sides.

They are ready for any danger during the night.

v9      King Solomon made the carriage for himself.

The wood came from Lebanon.

v10    He made the poles from silver.

And it has a gold base.

A purple cloth covers the seat.

The women of Jerusalem made the beautiful inside of the carriage.

They made it with grace.

v11    Women of Zion, come out and see King Solomon.

Look at the crown that his mother put on him.

This is the crown for his wedding.

And he is so happy because of his wedding.

Verse 6

The people in Israel loved special processions (Judges 21:19-23; 2 Samuel chapter 6). And they would organise processions for many reasons. So we cannot be sure about the reason for this procession.

Perhaps the procession is because the king and the young woman are engaged. Or perhaps it is their actual marriage procession.

Whatever the purpose of the procession may be, it reminds us about Solomon’s importance. Often in the Song, he behaves like any ordinary young man. But Solomon was not merely an ordinary young man. He was the king. In fact, he was Israel’s greatest king.

So Solomon has his wonderful procession. The procession even smells wonderful. The couple often speak about *myrrh and *incense. Such beautiful smells seem to describe love well. Their love, like a beautiful smell, makes them happy. And their love, like a beautiful smell, brings joy into the lives of other people too.

Verses 7-8

An ordinary young man would ask his friends to lead him to his bride. But Solomon’s procession is much better. Israel’s best soldiers act as his guard. They are wearing their uniforms. They are carrying their swords. These soldiers impress everyone who sees them. Everyone will realise that this is an important procession.

Verses 9-10

The carriage is beautiful. Solomon designed it himself. He used the best materials. He wants the procession to be perfect. He wants to impress his young woman. And he wants everyone to know that they are engaged.

Everybody is glad because of their good news. So other women help Solomon to make the carriage beautiful. Perhaps they arranged the flowers in the carriage. Perhaps they made beautiful things for the carriage.

Verse 11

The smell is wonderful (verse 6). Perhaps people could smell the procession even before they saw it.

Then the people would see the soldiers. They are impressive (verses 7-8).

Then people would see the carriage. It is beautiful (verses 9-10).

At last, people would see Solomon himself. He is wearing a crown.

And it is a special crown (verse 11).

Chapter 4

Solomon’s beautiful words about the woman whom he loves

Solomon

v1      My *dear, you are so beautiful!

Oh, you are beautiful!

Your eyes are behind your *veil.

They are like *doves.

Your hair is like a group of goats.

They are coming down from the mountain called Gilead.

v2      Your teeth are white like sheep whose wool is clean and neat.

Each sheep has its *twin.

None of the young sheep is alone.

v3      Your lips are like a red ribbon.

They are so lovely when you speak.

Your cheeks are red behind your *veil.

They are like a *pomegranate.

v4      Your neck is like a strong building.

This building stands above the castle that David built.

Your neck is round and smooth.

A thousand *shields hang on it.

All these *shields belong to soldiers.

v5      Your breasts are like two young *gazelles.

A *gazelle can have *twins.

These *twins eat among the flowers.

Your breasts are like these *twins.

v6      I will go to the mountain of *myrrh.

I will go to the hill of *incense.

I will go there until the day begins.

I will go there until the shadows disappear.

v7      You are beautiful, my *dear!

How perfect you are!

Verses 1-3

The couple often use descriptions that seem strange to us today. But they are describing things that they considered beautiful.

For example, wild goats on a mountain may not seem beautiful to us. But people who have seen the goats may think differently.

We also need to realise that this is not the record of a conversation. The Song of Songs is a poem. So the poet could write words that the couple would be too modest to say. The poet was not merely trying to record their words. He was also trying to show their attitudes.

Verses 1 and 3 mention a *veil. Young women used to cover their faces when a young man was present. Perhaps they wanted to show that they were modest. Or perhaps they did not want the man to stare at them. After the wedding, they might remove the *veil. In Genesis 29:18-25, Jacob could not recognise Leah because of her *veil. In some countries, women still wear *veils today. Solomon cannot see her entire face because of the *veil. But he still thinks that she is very beautiful.

Verse 4

Solomon seems to be describing her collar. The materials seemed to shine. Or perhaps she had precious stones on a chain round her neck.

This sight reminded Solomon about part of David’s castle. When the soldiers did not need their *shields, they would hang them on the wall. Everybody who saw the *shields would be glad. They would know that the country was at peace.

Verse 5

In other words, she is still very young. Compare 8:10. In chapter 8, she will be a mature woman. And she will be a good mother.

Verse 6

Solomon reminds the woman about her words in 2:17. Then, she told him to go away to the mountains. But now she wants him. So he jokes that he will go to the mountains. But he is not going away from her. Instead, he chooses the wonderful places where there are lovely smells. These smells will remind him about their love.

Verse 7

In chapter 4, Solomon chooses nice words when he speaks to the woman. These words remind her that they are engaged. (Or perhaps, they are married.) He calls her:

·     My *dear (verse 7). This means, ‘the woman whom I love’.

·     My sister (verse 10). Of course, she was not really his sister. But he could speak to her as easily as he could speak to a family member. And he could relax when he was with her.

·     My bride (verse 10). This could mean that the couple were already married. Or perhaps Solomon was excited to think that they would soon be married. So he was already calling her ‘my bride’.

Solomon

v8      Come with me from Lebanon, my bride.

Come with me from Lebanon.

Come down from the top of Amana,

from the top of Senir, the top of Hermon.

Come from the lions’ cave.

And from where *leopards live in the mountains.

v9      I want to love you with all of my heart, my sister.

I want to love you, my bride.

You gave me one look with your eyes,

You showed me one stone of your *jewels.

v10    Your love is a delight, my sister, my bride!

Your love is so much better than wine!

Your *perfume smells better than any *spice.

v11    Your lips are sweet.

They are like honey, my bride.

Honey and milk are under your tongue.

Your clothes have the smell of Lebanon.

v12    My sister, my bride, you are like a garden.

This is a garden that someone has locked.

You are like a place where there is fresh water.

It is a private place.

You are like a fountain that someone has closed.

v13    These plants grow in your garden:

·     *pomegranates with the best fruit

·     bushes and flowers that have a beautiful smell

·     v14 *perfume bushes and other flowers

·     many *spices

·     trees with *incense

·     *myrrh and the best *spices.

v15    You are like a fountain in a garden.

You are like a well of fresh water.

This water comes down quickly from the Lebanon mountains.

The young woman

v16    Wake up, north wind!

Come, south wind!

Blow on my garden.

Then its smell can spread everywhere.

Let my lover come into his garden.

Then he can taste its pleasant fruit.

Verse 8

We do not really think that the woman lived in these places. These are wonderful places. But they are also dangerous places.

We think that Solomon was saying, ‘You are so beautiful. I am surprised that someone so beautiful has come from my own country. I would imagine that you have come from elsewhere. I would like to imagine that you are from Lebanon. There the mountains are high. And the plants have wonderful smells. But there are also many dangers in those mountains. So let me rescue you! You will be safe with me.’

Verses 9-11

Their love seems very special:

·     She glanced at him. So he loves her.

·     He saw the chain round her neck. And he wanted her to be his bride.

·     He prefers her love rather than the best wine.

·     He prefers her *perfume rather than any other smell.

·     Her words seem so sweet (pleasant). He jokes that they are sweeter than honey.

·     In the mountains of Lebanon, many plants have beautiful smells. See verses 6 and 8. She seems to come from such a place. When he is with her, he seems to be able to smell the air from the mountains.

We might think that we are not important to God. Or, that God does not really care about us. But the Bible teaches that such ideas are wrong. God really does love us. He loves us so much that he sent Jesus to die for us (John 3:16). God loves us, and he wants us to love him too (Mark 12:30).

Verses 12-15

In fact, the woman did not come from Lebanon. So Solomon uses another description. Solomon had great knowledge about plants (1 Kings 4:33). He knew about plants with beautiful smells from many countries.

Solomon imagines that the woman has collected these plants. He imagines that she has a wonderful garden. But the garden is a secret garden. Its gate has a lock. Nobody can enter the garden to smell its plants.

Such a garden would need a good supply of water. Israel is often a dry country. And these plants would need plenty of water. So Solomon imagines a fountain in the garden. If the woman is not from Lebanon, then perhaps her water comes from Lebanon!

Of course, this garden does not really exist. Solomon is using his imagination. Really, Solomon is saying, ‘You are very special. I love to be in gardens. I love to smell the beautiful plants. I love to see plants from distant countries. But I feel happier with you than I have felt in any garden. Unusual plants interest me. But you interest me more. Beautiful smells make me happy. But when I smell your *perfume, I am even happier. I am happier, because you are near to me.’

Solomon’s words about the water mean, ‘A garden can become dry. Then its plants will die. And everyone will leave the garden in despair. But I shall never leave you. I always feel delight when I meet you. You always surprise me. I am always excited because of your love.’ Jesus used a similar description in John 7:37-39.

Verse 16

Solomon’s words are wonderful. But the young woman’s reply is also wonderful. She is pleased with Solomon’s words. She wants him to share her life. So she pretends to invite Solomon into her garden. And she tells him to enjoy the fruit.

But the young woman is not selfish. She wants everyone to be happy because of their love. She did not think that a beautiful garden should be secret. She wants everyone to smell the beautiful smells.

Solomon is pleased because of her reply. Her attitudes are the same as his. He is the king. And he believes that he should work hard. Then all the people will benefit. And she is starting to have the same ideas.

Chapter 5

Solomon

v1      I have come into my garden, my special young woman, my bride.

I have gathered my *myrrh and *spice.

I have eaten my honey.

I have eaten where the *bees store honey.

I have drunk my wine and milk.

Friends

          Friends, eat and drink!

Drink until you are full of love!

Verse 1

In 4:12-15, Solomon said that the young woman was like a beautiful garden. He described such a garden. It had beautiful fruit. And the plants smelled wonderful.

In 4:16, the woman pretended that she had such a garden. She invited Solomon into the garden. And she told him to taste the fruit.

Probably this garden did not really exist. The couple were merely pretending. This idea of a garden seemed a wonderful description of their love. In 5:1, they continue with this description.

Solomon says that he is now in the garden. She does not disappoint him. And her garden does not disappoint him. He says that he has found *myrrh and *spices. These plants smell wonderful. He has found honey, wine and milk. Solomon would be very happy in such a garden. Of course, he really means that he is very glad to be with this young woman.

And the couple’s friends encourage them. The friends can see that the couple are in love. And the friends are happy because of Solomon’s love for the young woman.

Solomon invites the young woman for the second time

When Solomon first proposed to the young woman, she refused him (Song 2:17 to Song 3:4). She soon felt sorry. She was sure that she had made a terrible mistake. So she searched for him. And the couple were engaged.

We think that perhaps Solomon now wants her to become his wife. He visits her again. But again, she is not ready for him.

The young woman

v2      I slept but, in a dream, I awoke.

Listen! My lover is knocking.

‘Open to me, my special young woman, my *dear,

my *dove, my perfect young woman.

My head is wet with *dew.

My hair is damp because of the night.’

v3      I have taken off my dress,

I do not want to put it on again.

I have washed my feet.

I do not want to make them dirty.

v4      My lover put his hand through the opening.

I was excited because he was near.

v5      I got up to open (the door) for my lover.

*Myrrh was falling off my hands.

Liquid *myrrh was falling from my fingers.

It fell onto the handles of the lock.

v6      I opened for my lover.

But my lover had left. He had gone.

I was so sad because he had gone.

I looked for him but I could not find him.

I called for him but he did not answer.

v7      The guards found me as they walked round the city.

They hit me and they bruised me.

There were guards on the wall.

They took away my coat.

v8      Make a promise to me, women of Jerusalem.

If you find my lover,

Tell him that I am weak.

I am weak because of love.

Verse 2

Perhaps the young woman has gone to bed early. This fact may seem unimportant. But the perfect wife in Proverbs 31:10-31 did not go to bed early. The perfect wife was still working even by night. And the perfect wife was never lazy.

But this young woman is already sleeping when Solomon visits. So the author of the Song shows us that she is not yet mature.

Solomon knocks at her door. The passage is like Revelation 3:20. In Revelation, Jesus asks us to invite him into our lives. Jesus is like someone who knocks at a door. And our lives are like that door. We have a choice. We can invite Jesus into our lives. Or we can refuse his love.

Solomon does not order the woman to open the door. Instead, he gently appeals to her. He reminds her about their love. He speaks beautiful words to her. He calls her ‘my *dear’. He calls her ‘my *dove’. And he calls her ‘my perfect young woman’.

Verse 3

We hear the woman’s reply. And we can hardly believe her to be the same young woman whom Solomon loves. She seems not to care about him. She is only thinking about herself.

Her excuses seem very unimportant. She does not want to put on her dress. And she does not want her feet to touch the ground. She has no proper reason to send Solomon away.

There are never any proper reasons to refuse God’s love. We may tell God to go away because we are lazy. We may refuse to spend time with him because we have other plans. But such explanations are merely poor excuses.

Verse 4

Solomon tries to open the door. But there is a lock on the door. He cannot enter. In 4:12, he said that she was like a garden. But there was a lock on the gate. She replied (4:16) that she wanted him to enter. And she wanted everyone to smell her beautiful plants.

These thoughts were wonderful. But they were merely ideas. The real test was in verse 2, when he actually came to her door. But she has a lock, so he cannot enter. She had said the right things. But the reality was different.

We may make wonderful promises to God. And at church, we may speak words of love to God. But the real test happens when we have troubles. Perhaps we are at home or we are working. Our behaviour then should show our love for God.

The young woman is excited when she briefly sees Solomon’s hand. Her attitudes change quickly. But she has already sent him away. She has already failed her test.

Verses 5-6

The woman does not hesitate now. Her excuses do not matter now. She rushes to prepare to see Solomon. She puts *myrrh, which has a beautiful smell, on her hands. And she opens the door. But nobody is there. She is too late.

Jesus told a story like this in Matthew 25:1-12. We must be careful not to miss the opportunities that God gives us. We should always be ready to do the things that God wants.

So the young woman is alone. She wanders round the city. She walks through the streets. There would not be any lights in the streets. So the city is dangerous at night. It is especially dangerous for a young woman who is alone.

Verse 7

This is a very sad verse. The guards are very cruel. Their behaviour is terrible. They laugh at the young woman. They hurt her. They hit her. They even take away her dress, so that she is ashamed.

The guards thought that the woman was very stupid to be out during the night. Only bad women would be outside during the night (Proverbs 7:9-10). Only evil people had a reason to be outside (Job 24:13-16).

Perhaps the guards do not believe that the woman is looking for Solomon.

Perhaps they think that she has spent the night with another man.

Perhaps they imagine that she deserves punishment.

As we become more mature Christians, our responsibilities increase (James 3:1).

And the devil may oppose us more (1 Peter 5:8-9).

New Christians make many mistakes. They do not need to worry about their errors. We simply teach them to confess their evil deeds to God. Then God forgives them, and they can learn to do the right things. It is as if God is waiting for them to trust him again (3:4).

Mature Christians should not make the same mistakes as new Christians. God will still forgive a mature Christian when that person confesses his errors. But the results of these errors may be more severe. God is training that person to be more responsible.

When Peter met Jesus, Peter was afraid. He told Jesus to go away. But Jesus was not angry. He simply told Peter not to be afraid (Luke 5:8-10). Later, Peter tried to tell Jesus that he was wrong. Jesus was stricter. He warned Peter that Peter’s ideas came from the devil (Mark 8:32-33). After the soldiers arrested Jesus, Peter was afraid. Three times, he denied that he knew Jesus (Mark 15:66-72). John’s behaviour was much more mature (John 19:26-27). So Peter was afraid when Jesus died. After Jesus became alive again, Jesus called Peter to serve him for a second time (John chapter 21).

Verse 8

In 2:5, the young woman was also weak because of love. Then Solomon’s love seemed too great for her. She was with the man whom she loves. And she was afraid.

Now she is weak again because of love. But Solomon is not with her. She is again afraid. She worries that she has lost him. And she is afraid that she will never be with him again.

In 2:7, she asked the women of Jerusalem to make a promise. She did not feel ready for love. She repeated these words in 3:5. But then she wanted his love. She was glad to be engaged to Solomon.

Now she asks the women of Jerusalem to make another promise. This promise seems very sad. She does not dare to ask for Solomon’s love again. She merely asks the other women to remind him about her. She simply asks them to tell him about her sad state. She seems to have hardly any hope.

Sometimes there can seem to be an interruption in our love for God. The fault is always ours. God’s love is always perfect. But if we do not confess our errors, the interruption may continue for years. In fact, the interruption may seem permanent. We might believe that we are not still real Christians. Or, that we shall never again love God as we used to. But God is very kind. He does not forget us. He still wants us to trust him again. He still wants us to know his love. He still wants to forgive us. So we should confess any evil deeds. And we should trust him again. God is waiting for us to return to him. He will not refuse us.

The young woman describes Solomon

The women of Jerusalem

v9      Beautiful woman, how is your lover different from other men?

Is your lover better than other lovers?

Is that why you ask us to make this promise?

The young woman

v10    My lover is fair and red.

He is noticeable among ten thousand men.

v11    His head is like the purest gold.

His hair has curves.

It is black like a *raven.

v12    His eyes are like *doves.

The *doves are by a stream.

The white part of his eyes is like milk.

It is as if someone has set his eyes like *jewels.

v13    His cheeks are like *spices in a garden.

Their flowers give a *perfume.

His lips are like *lotuses.

Liquid *myrrh seems to fall from his lips.

v14    His arms have a good shape.

They are like gold.

*Jewels cover his arms.

His stomach is like smooth *ivory.

He has covered it with *jewels.

v15    His legs are like *marble columns.

Someone has set them on a gold base.

He stands tall.

He is like the finest *cedar tree in Lebanon.

v16    Yes, women of Jerusalem, this is what my lover is like.

He has the sweetest mouth.

Everything about him is lovely.

Verse 9

The poet who wrote the Song is very clever. While the woman is still thinking about herself, she cannot find Solomon. She feels very unhappy, because she sent him away. But the poet wants her to think about Solomon. When she praises Solomon, she will find him.

When we think about ourselves, our thoughts are often selfish. But selfish thoughts are not the right attitudes for a person who loves.

Sometimes we can only think about our own troubles. We may blame other people. Or we may blame ourselves. Such thoughts are, in fact, selfish, because we only want to think about our own situation. Instead, we ought to pray, or, we ought to praise God (James 5:13).

The other women seem to have doubts about Solomon. They do not love him like the young woman. They suppose that he is actually like any other man. They make her explain why he is special to her.

But their words of doubt seem to encourage her to trust Solomon again. Because of their doubts, she begins to praise him again. And she again speaks the words of a woman who is in love.

Other people are often doubtful about our love for God. Their doubts can upset us. But their doubts can make us more confident to speak about God. If we concentrate on their doubts, we shall be sad. But if we think about God, we shall be more confident.

Verses 11-16

The woman describes Solomon to her friends. Her description may seem strange to us. But she is describing things that people thought to be very beautiful. Or, things that were very special.

Some of her descriptions sound like gardens. There are trees and flowers. There are beautiful smells. There are birds. And there are streams of water.

Other descriptions sound like a building. And the building contains the most expensive materials. There are gold and *jewels. There are *ivory and *marble. There are bases and columns.

Solomon was a very rich king. His workmen built great palaces and other buildings in Jerusalem. He used wood from Lebanon. The workmen cut flower shapes into the wood. And he used much gold (1 Kings chapters 6-7). So perhaps the woman was describing an actual building in Jerusalem. Or perhaps she was describing the gardens near the great buildings (Ecclesiastes 2:4-6).

‘Everything about him is lovely’ (verse 16). These are good words for Christians to use when they praise God. God is perfect. He deserves our honour. Nobody is like him. He is really wonderful. We should always praise him.

Chapter 6

The young woman meets Solomon again

The women of Jerusalem

v1      Where has your lover gone,

most beautiful among women?

Tell us which way your lover went.

Then we can help you to look for him.

The young woman

v2      My lover has gone down to his garden,

to the places where *spices grow.

He will eat food from the garden.

He will gather flowers there.

v3      I belong to my lover

and my lover belongs to me.

It is he who eats near the flowers.

Verse 1

The women of Jerusalem have heard the young woman’s description of Solomon. But they still do not realise why he is special. He seems to them like any other man (5:9). They do not love him, as the young woman does. But they are willing to help her. The man that she loves seems to have gone away. And the women of Jerusalem think that they can find him.

People who do not love God cannot explain our attitudes. They do not know why we love God. Perhaps they admire our sincere behaviour. Perhaps they would even like to be like us. But unless they themselves trust God, they will never really know God’s love. Until then, they will never know how anyone could be in love with God. Even the idea will seem strange to them.

Verses 2-3

The women were kind when they offered to help. But the young woman does not need their help. She remembered Solomon’s character. So she already knew where Solomon would be.

Jesus spoke about Christians as if they were sheep. At that time, a man would look after a small group of sheep. The man would lead the sheep into the fields. The sheep knew the man’s character. And they could even recognise his voice (John 10:2-5). So Jesus said, ‘My sheep (people) listen to my voice. I know them. And they follow me’ (John 10:27). As Christians, we learn God’s character. We learn how to trust him. And we learn to obey him.

The woman is right about the place where she can find Solomon. He is not angry with her. Instead, he speaks kind words to her again. He still loves her deeply.

Solomon’s kind words to the young woman

Solomon

v4      You are beautiful, my special young woman.

You are as beautiful as Tirzah,

as lovely as Jerusalem.

You are as wonderful as those great cities.

v5      Turn your eyes away from me.

They excite me too much!

Your hair is long.

It is like a *flock of goats that are coming down from Gilead.

v6      Your teeth are like a *flock of sheep.

Their wool is clean.

Each sheep has its *twin.

None of the sheep is alone.

v7      Your cheeks are red behind your *veil.

They are like the halves of a *pomegranate.

v8      There might be 60 queens.

There might be 80 women who live in the palace.

There might be too many *virgins to count.

v9      But my *dove, my perfect young woman, is special.

She is the only daughter of her mother.

Her mother prefers her to any other person.

The young women see her and they praise her.

There are queens and women in the palace.

They praise her too.

Verses 4-7

Solomon was speaking to the young woman who had just sent him away. But you would never guess this fact from his words. He speaks as if she has always obeyed him. He has many kind words to say to her. He repeats some phrases from chapter 4. He loves her as deeply as he used to love her. They had been apart. But their love was still the same.

Some couples always remind each other about their past mistakes. But God does not behave like this. He really forgives us.

Verses 8-9

In the end, Solomon would have 700 wives. And 300 other women lived with him in the palace (1 Kings 11:3). So we can see that Solomon is still a young man in this Song.

Solomon married these women for political reasons. They came from many countries. Solomon married all these women so that his country would be at peace. For example, he married the daughter of the king of Egypt. So Solomon’s country was at peace with Egypt. We do not think that this was a good plan. But this was how Solomon behaved.

So Solomon had many wives. These women lived in his palace. They were important women. But they probably did not really love Solomon. And he probably did not love them. But the young woman in Song of Solomon was different from these other women. Solomon really loved her. Everyone in the palace realised this fact. Even the other queens approved of Solomon’s love for this woman. They all knew that she really was special.

Many Christians behave rather like Solomon’s other wives. Such Christians like to be Christians. And they are glad to receive God’s good gifts. But they do not love God deeply. They do not try always to please God. They will never become mature Christians. In fact, they do not even want to be mature Christians.

We should be like the young woman who really loved Solomon. We should want to obey God. We should try to become mature Christians. We should learn the lessons that God teaches us.

Jesus taught us to love God with all our heart. And with all our mind. And with all our strength. Jesus said that this is God’s most important command (Mark 12:28-29).

The young woman’s beauty

The women of Jerusalem

v10    Who is this woman?

She seems to shine like the dawn.

She seems as beautiful as the moon.

She seems as bright as the sun.

She is as wonderful as the stars.

Verse 10

Solomon may be the speaker. But we think that this verse is probably the words of the other women. Solomon said in verse 9 that they were praising the young woman. She impresses them. And they seem curious about her.

At the start of the book, only Solomon could see the young woman’s beauty. The other women did not seem to think that she was beautiful. People might stare at her because her skin was dark (1:6). Even the young woman herself did not seem sure that she was beautiful.

But at the start of the book, the young woman was still a girl. Now she is older. And she is more mature. She has spent time with the king. And she has learned how to make herself beautiful.

Now other women can see her beauty too. They do not still complain that her skin is too dark. Instead, she is so beautiful that they compare her with the brightest lights.

The young woman becomes Solomon’s bride

The young woman

v11    I went down to the group of nut trees.

I went to see the young plants in the valley.

I went to see if the *vines were beginning to flower.

Or the *pomegranates were beginning to flower.

v12    Then my hope came true.

I was next to my prince.

We were in a *chariot.

The *chariots belonged to the king.

I was with people that I knew.

This happened before I realised it.

The women of Jerusalem

v13    Come back, come back, *Shulamite.

Come back, come back. Then we can stare at you.

Solomon

          Do not stare at the *Shulamite!

Do not stare as she dances the Mahanaim dance!

Verse 11

Solomon wants to check whether it is spring again. The couple often considered that spring would be the right time for their marriage (2:7, 2:10-13). Solomon often used *pomegranates as a description of the young woman’s face (4:3, 13; 6:7). Now he wants to see if she is ready for love.

Verse 12

Solomon is in a carriage again. There seems to be a procession. Everybody is very happy for the king. He had waited for a long time to be with the woman that he loves. But now she is ready for him. Now, she wants to go with him.

At a wedding, the tradition was that the bridegroom would go to the bride’s home. Then he would take the bride to his own home. And everyone would be very glad.

Verse 13

The other women do not want her to leave. They still want to enjoy her beauty. They ask her to stay with them. But perhaps they are merely pretending to ask her to stay. They know that she is now Solomon’s bride. So they must expect her to go with him.

Solomon replies. She is his bride. So now, he himself will look at her. He wants to enjoy her beauty.

The woman may be called the Shulamite because she comes from a town called Shulem. King David was Solomon’s father. When David was very old, his servants chose a woman called Abishag to live with him. Abishag was also a beautiful young woman. It seems that she came from the same town (1 Kings 1:1-4).

However, the word Shulamite is similar to the name Solomon. The couple are now married. So perhaps she now uses her husband’s name. In many countries today, women use their husband’s surname after marriage.

We do not know anything about the Mahanaim dance. But perhaps it was like the dance of the girls of Shiloh (Judges 21:21). As the girls danced there, the men chose their wives.

Chapter 7

Solomon describes the young woman, who has become his bride

Solomon

v1      You have *sandals on your feet.

Your feet are as beautiful as the feet of a prince’s daughter!

The curves of your legs are like *jewels.

They are like the work of a skilled worker.

v2      Your stomach is like a round cup.

It shall never have a lack of wine.

Your *waist is a heap of wheat.

Flowers are in a circle round it.

v3      Your breasts are like two young *gazelles.

A *gazelle can have *twins.

Your breasts are like these young*twins.

v4      Your neck is like a high, round building.

Someone has made the building with *ivory.

Your eyes are like the pools of Heshbon.

These pools are next to the gate of Bath Rabbim.

Your nose is like a high round building.

This building is in Lebanon.

It points towards Damascus.

v5      Your head is better than a crown.

It is like the mountain called Carmel.

Your hair is like silk.

It is long and smooth.

Although I am the king, I am excited to see it.

v6      You are so beautiful!

And you are so pleasant!

My special young woman, you are a delightful young woman!

v7      You are tall,

as tall as a *palm tree.

And your breasts are like its plentiful fruit.

v8      I said, ‘I will climb the *palm tree.

I will hold its fruit.’

I would like your breasts to be like groups of *grapes.

I would like your breath to smell like apples.

Verse 1

Solomon describes his beautiful bride. Perhaps he begins with her feet because she is dancing (6:13). Her movements are very graceful.

Verse 2

He associates her *waist with wine and wheat. People make wine from the fruit called grapes. Fruit and grain were the most important crops in ancient Israel. Solomon speaks about plentiful wine and wheat. So, he was describing a good harvest.

This verse is like 5:1. The woman does not disappoint Solomon. She is able to provide everything that he needs. She will work hard to supply everything for their family. But she is not merely a servant of her husband. All her actions show grace and love. She is like someone who arranges flowers round the wheat harvest.

Our work for God should not be merely a duty. We work for God because we love God. Every action should be an expression of our love (2 Corinthians 9:7).

Verse 3

This young woman is almost perfect for Solomon. But there is one problem. She is still very young. Solomon needed a son, who would be the king after him. But Solomon’s bride is not yet ready to become a mother. Solomon waited eagerly (verse 8).

In the Song, Solomon often has to wait. He needed to be patient twice when she sent him away. Now he must be patient again while he waits for her to become a mother.

God is very patient with us. He wants us to learn many new qualities (2 Peter 1:5-8). He wants us to be mature Christians (Hebrews 6:1). In the end, we shall be perfect for him (1 Corinthians 13:9-13).

Verses 4-6

This woman reminded Solomon about the country that he ruled. Solomon was a good king. He felt as if he belonged to his country. This woman was now his bride. And Solomon felt as if he belonged to her, also. But Solomon’s duty to his country did not oppose his duties to his bride. Because of his bride, Solomon would love his country better. She would help him as he ruled his country.

When he saw his bride, he also thought about his country.

And God does not love us less because he also loves other people. God wants us all to receive everything that he has for us. So we should be glad when other people trust God (Romans 11:11-12). God cares about people from many nations (John 10:16). We should be glad when God sends us to work for him. We should even be glad to go to people whom we may not like (Acts 1:8; John 4:9).

Verses 7-8

The woman’s problem is that she is not yet ready to become a mother (verse 3). But Solomon knows that the woman’s body will soon become mature. He speaks about the *palm tree. The fruit on the *palm tree is plentiful. He says that she will be like the *vine. The *vine also has plentiful fruit. So he is confident that she will have children.

The fruit on a tree is very small before it is ripe. But the fruit develops quickly. It becomes much bigger. The young woman was not yet ready to be a mother. Her breasts were not yet ready to feed a baby. But Solomon was confident that they would not have to wait long.

The young woman’s new attitudes as Solomon’s wife

The young woman

v9      I would like your mouth to smell like the best wine.

I hope that the wine goes straight to my lover.

I hope that it flows gently over his lips and teeth.

v10    I belong to my lover,

and he desires me.

v11    Come, my lover, let us go to the country.

Let us spend the night in the villages.

v12    Let us go early to the *vineyards.

We will see if the *vine has begun to flower.

Perhaps the *vines have flowers.

We will see if the *pomegranate trees have begun to flower.

There I will give you my love.

v13    You can smell the *mandrakes.

And you can smell all the special fruits that are near us.

Yes, I have saved many pleasant things for you, my lover.

There are both old and new things.

Verse 9

The young woman wants Solomon to receive everything that she can give to him. She does not want to keep anything for herself.

Verse 10

This verse shows how much her attitudes have changed:

·     In 2:16, she spoke as if her opinions were as important as his opinions. So, she had the right to send him away. She was glad that she impressed this noble young man. But her feelings about him were not mature.

·     In 6:3, her ideas are similar. But she does not speak as if she is so important. Solomon’s attitudes seems much more important to her than her own attitudes.

·     In 7:10, her attitudes are mature. She is not still thinking about herself. Her own feelings do not seem important. Solomon’s love for her seems more important than anything else. She does not even mention her own emotions.

When we first become Christians, our attitudes are not mature. We are glad that God loves us. But perhaps we do not really want to give him an important place in our lives. We may care more about our own feelings than we care about God.

As we become mature Christians, our attitudes change. We do not still care about our own feelings. Our only desire is to serve God. And our most important emotion is that we appreciate God’s great love.

Verses 11-12

The young woman is now showing the attitudes of a good wife. Like him, she wants to look at the plants. Like him, she wants to work in the country. Like him, she wants to know the state of the fruit plants. These are the attitudes of the perfect wife in Proverbs 31:10-31.

Of course, Solomon was not really a farmer. He was a king. But to Solomon, a king’s work seemed like a farmer’s work. Both kings and farmers look after the land. Of course, they do this in different ways. Farmers look after the soil and the plants. Kings look after the people who live on the land. And kings look after the borders of the country.

So perhaps the woman really means that they should make a royal visit to the country. They can see whether the people have problems. If so, the king may be able to help them. Christians look after other people because God loves us. We show our love to him by helping other people (Matthew 25:34-45).

Verse 13

The mandrake was a special plant. People used it to help women to have babies (Genesis 30:14-16). So we can see that Solomon’s bride now wants to become a mother.

She adds that she has many beautiful things to share with Solomon.

Jesus seems to refer to this verse in Matthew 13:52. He speaks about a man who has studied the Bible. This man has learned about God’s law. So he has learned to obey God. But this man has now learned from Jesus. The man has heard about God’s rule in heaven. And the man has gladly believed Jesus. Jesus said that such a man has many good things. They are both old and new things. It is as if the man has a store room. And the room is full of good things.

We should not merely obey God. We should also love God. Then we too will have many beautiful things for his delight.

Chapter 8

The young woman’s pleasure in her work for Solomon

The young woman

v1      I wish that you were like my brother.

My mother fed him at her breasts.

Then, if I found you outside, I would kiss you.

Nobody would say that it was wrong!

v2      I would lead you to my mother’s house.

She is the person who taught me.

I would give you wine with *spices.

And you could drink wine from my *pomegranates.

v3      Your left arm is under my head.

And your right arm holds me.

v4      Women of Jerusalem, make a promise to me.

Do not think about love until the right time.

Verse 1

Solomon said that the young woman was like a sister to him (5:1). In chapter 8, she copies this idea. She pretends that he is her brother. But her words may surprise us. She pretends that she is a young girl. And that Solomon is her little brother. She pretends that Solomon is younger than her.

At the time of the Bible, parents wanted to have very large families. For example, King David had 7 brothers. But the parents would not look after all the children constantly. Instead, they taught the older children to look after the younger children (1:6). So a little girl would look after a younger brother. This young woman has become Solomon’s wife. She believes that she must work hard in order to look after Solomon (Proverbs 31:10-31). But her many duties do not upset her. In fact, she is very happy. She is so happy that her work seems like a game. She speaks as if she is merely playing, like a little girl with her brother.

Her pleasure is immense. A little girl may kiss her younger brother as she plays. And so the young woman kisses Solomon. She is working hard. But whenever she has a spare moment, she expresses her love to Solomon.

In the book of Philippians, Paul had been working hard for God. Paul even called himself ‘a servant of Christ Jesus’ (Philippians 1:1). Now he was in prison because he was a Christian (Philippians 1:7). But Paul was not sad. He was still working for God continuously (Philippians 1:12-13). And he felt great joy (Philippians 1:4, Philippians 1:18, Philippians 2:2, Philippians 3:1, Philippians 4:4). He trusted God completely (Philippians 4:12-13). He loved God deeply (Philippians 3:8-11). He prayed often. And he always prayed with joy (Philippians 1:3-4).

Verses 2-3

The young woman continues to speak as if she is Solomon’s older sister. She would take her little brother back to her mother. This is a clever description. The young woman is reminding Solomon about 3:4. Then, she took Solomon to her mother. We think that the couple became engaged then.

The young woman prepares a beautiful drink for Solomon. Pomegranates are a special fruit. Solomon spoke often about his love of pomegranates (6:7, 7:12). The juice of pomegranates smells very beautiful.

In verse 3, the young woman repeats 2:6. Then he held her because she was too weak. Now she is strong. And she is working hard. But there is still time for their love. In fact, their love seems better than in chapter 2. Then she was not sure about him. And now she really enjoys his love.

Verse 4

She has said similar words before, in 2:7 and 3:5. But now her meaning seems different. Then she was not ready for Solomon. But now she knows his love. Perhaps she is advising the other women. They must not let emotions control their behaviour. They should decide carefully about marriage.

When we choose to love God, we are making a very important decision. God asks us to give our whole lives to him (Luke 14:25-30). Buy many people allow their emotions to guide them. Sometimes they are for God. And sometimes they are against God (Revelation 3:15-16). God wants us to trust him completely. So we must decide carefully. God promises wonderful things to the people who love him (1 John 5:2-5). But if we only want to satisfy our own desires, we do not really love God (Galatians 5:19-21).

Love and reality

The women of Jerusalem

v5      Who is this coming from the desert?

She is leaning on her lover.

The young woman

          I woke you under the apple tree.

It was the place where you were born.

It was the time when your mother struggled at your birth.

v6      Keep me near you like a *seal.

Keep the *seal on your arm

because love is as strong as death.

Strong love is as strong as death.

It quickly becomes like a flame.

And that flame becomes a great fire!

v7      If love were like fire, then even plentiful water could not put it out.

A river can be powerful.

But nothing can stop our love.

A man might offer all his wealth for love.

But someone else would not want this offer.

Verse 5

The young woman is joking that Solomon is like her younger brother. But the other women can see the reality. Really, she depends on Solomon. She has to lean on him. He is strong, and he supports her.

We have the same experience as we work for God. We may work very hard. But we are not working alone. We can only do God’s work because he supports us. We depend completely on him.

The couple are coming from the desert. They have been visiting the country that Solomon rules (7:11). They have seen the beautiful places (7:12). But now they are also visiting places where there are serious problems.

As we become mature Christians, God may prepare more difficult tasks for us (2 Corinthians 11:23-29). But God never sends us alone to do his work. God is always with us (Matthew 28:20).

The young woman continues her story about the children. But now her story seems more serious. She speaks about the struggle when a baby is born. Now she is not merely playing. Sometimes a girl must work hard when she looks after her baby brother. Sometimes the mother is too weak to help the girl. So the girl cannot play. She must stay with her younger brother continuously. The two must always be together.

The young woman needs to be with Solomon continuously. They must not leave each other. Their work is difficult. She depends on him.

Verse 6

People used a *seal instead of an envelope. The *seal would attach the papers firmly. The sender would place his own mark on the *seal. Nobody else would use the same mark. Solomon was the king. So his mark was very important. Solomon would place a *seal on each new law that he made. People knew that the law was genuine because of Solomon’s mark.

The young woman wants to be like a *seal. It is as if she wants to have Solomon’s mark.

The Bible also expresses such ideas elsewhere. It is as if God places a mark on his people (Galatians 6:17; Revelation 7:3-4). But it is as if the devil also places a mark on his own people (Revelation 13:16-17).

In Ephesians 1:13-14, God’s *seal means the gift of the Holy Spirit. God gives us the Holy Spirit to help us to know him better (Ephesians 1:17). God’s Holy Spirit will protect us through this life (Ephesians 6:10-18). The Holy Spirit helps Christians to love each other (Ephesians 4:3). The Holy Spirit teaches the Bible to us (Ephesians 6:17) and he helps us to pray (Ephesians 6:18).

Verse 6 becomes very serious. The young woman has been very happy with Solomon. But her attitudes are now mature. She realises that she will not always be happy. They may suffer terrible troubles. She cannot depend on her feelings. Her love for Solomon is not a mere emotion. She has decided to be his wife. Whatever happens, she will still love him. Nothing can ever change her mind.

Love is like death because her decision to marry was permanent. A dead person cannot return to life. And she can never return to the same state that she had before her marriage.

Love is like fire because love is very powerful. Her love for Solomon will not reduce because each day she will work to increase their love for each other. Her happy feelings will not last. But she realises that love is not merely happy feelings. Love is the decision that they made to look after each other. And even if they have troubles, that decision will become stronger. In fact, their troubles might even make their love stronger.

Our decision to love God should not be merely an emotion. Instead, we should make a firm decision always to trust him (James 1:6-8). We cannot forget him if we have problems. Instead, we should trust him more because of our troubles.

Verse 7

Water can put out a fire. But nothing can stop real love.

‘Nothing can separate us from Christ’s love. Trouble cannot separate us from Christ’s love. Pain cannot. People who oppose us cannot. Hunger cannot. Even if we are naked, there is no difference. Even danger and war cannot separate us from Christ’s love’ (Romans 8:35).

God loves us deeply (John 3:16). Jesus died for us because of his love for us (1 John 4:10). And we must trust God’s love (1 John 4:16).

Love is precious. It is more valuable than anything that we can own. But nobody can buy love. And nobody can buy God’s gifts (Acts 8:18-22). God’s love is a free gift (Isaiah 55:1-3).

A young sister

Friends

v8      We have a young sister.

And her breasts are still small.

A man might ask her to marry him.

But we will not know what to do.

v9      If she becomes like a wall,

we shall build her a silver *parapet.

If she becomes like a door,

we shall put *cedar boards round her.

Verses 8-9

This young sister is still a child. Once, Solomon’s wife was like this girl. Solomon’s wife was not always a mature woman (4:5). But now she is mature. And she has become the queen. So she is the model for this young girl. The girl’s relatives hope that the girl will also marry well. They want to work out how the girl can become a beautiful woman. Then perhaps she will be able to marry a great man like Solomon.

So the relatives have a plan for the girl. They will make her more beautiful. And they will improve her until she is perfect for marriage.

Silver is an expensive metal. And *cedar is an expensive wood. People did not use such materials in ordinary buildings. But they might use such precious materials for a palace.

God does not want Christians to be selfish. He offers his love to everyone. As Christians, we should tell everyone about God’s invitation (Revelation 22:17). And we should teach newer Christians how they can love God more.

Solomon’s wife makes him content

The young woman

v10    I am like a wall.

And my breasts have grown strong.

They are like the buildings that defend a wall.

I have made my husband content.

v11    Solomon had a *vineyard in Baal Hamon.

Men rented his *vineyard from him.

And each man brought fruit to him.

This fruit was worth 1000 pieces of silver.

v12    But my own *vineyard is mine to give.

The 1000 pieces of silver are for you, Solomon.

And 200 pieces of silver can pay the workers who look after the *vineyard.

Verse 10

At the start, perhaps we were not sure whether the young woman would ever become the queen. She was very young. Her attitudes were not mature.

But now we can see that she is a mature woman. And she is also a mother. Her husband is content because she has provided a child for him. The Bible does not actually mention the child. But we know about people’s attitudes at the time of Solomon. Solomon needed a son who would be the king after him. So, when the boy was born, Solomon would be content.

As our love for God increases, we do not want to satisfy our own desires. Instead, we gladly do whatever God wants us to do. We forget our own plans. His plans are much more important.

Verses 11-12

Many people produced fruit for Solomon. His palaces were large and he needed plenty of fruit. For most people, the production of fruit was just a business. They were working for the king. But they did not love the king.

The queen’s own *vineyard also produces fruit for Solomon. So she too is working for Solomon. But there is an important difference. She works for Solomon because she loves him. So she does not ask for any money. She gladly gives everything that she has to him.

The queen’s *vineyard is better than the other *vineyards. Their fruit is only worth 1000 pieces of silver. But the fruit from her *vineyard is worth 1200 pieces of silver. Her *vineyard is more successful because of her love. And she is generous with her workers.

Many people know God, but they do not really love him. Some people work for God merely in order to earn money. Perhaps they are selfish. Or perhaps they are not yet mature Christians (Philippians 1:15-17).

But people who really love God are glad to work for him. They do not care about money (Philippians 4:12). They only care about God’s plans.

A final word

Solomon

v13    Let me hear your voice from the garden, my *dear.

My friends are waiting to hear you speak.

The young woman

v14    Come with me, my lover.

Be like a *gazelle

or a young *deer on the mountains of *spice.

Verse 13

Solomon asked his queen to end the Song. Her words were special to him. And God also wants to hear our prayers (Luke 11:9; 1 Thessalonians 5:17; Revelation 5:8).

Verse 14

The queen reminds Solomon about her earlier words in 2:17. At that time, she told him to go way. But now she invites him to join her.

Together, they will be like strong, graceful animals. They will climb the most wonderful mountains (4:8). They will enjoy the smells of beautiful plants (4:13-16). They will explore the country that Solomon rules (7:11). And they will learn to love each other even more deeply.

Jesus said, ‘Love God. Love him with all your heart. Love him with all your spirit. Love him with all your mind. Love him with all your strength… And love other people as much as you love yourself. No other laws are as important as these laws’ (Mark 12:30-31).

Word List

bee ~ a type of insect.

cedar ~ a type of tall tree, or wood from the cedar tree.

chariot ~ a vehicle with two wheels. A horse pulls it.

dear ~ someone that you love in a special way.

deer ~ an animal.

dew ~ small amounts of water that appear on the ground during the night.

dove ~ a bird.

fig ~ a fruit.

flock ~ a group of sheep, goats or other animals.

fragrance ~ a smell, usually good.

gazelle ~ an animal.

grape ~ a small soft fruit.

incense ~ a *spice that produces a sweet smell.

ivory ~ part of an elephant (called the ‘tusk’). It is hard and white. People use ivory to make beautiful things.

jewel ~ a precious stone.

leopard ~ a dangerous animal.

lotus ~ a flower.

mandrakes ~ a plant with white flowers; part of the plant can look like a person.

marble ~ a very hard material; it is similar to stone; it can have colours.

mare ~ a female horse.

myrrh ~ something that comes from trees; people use it in *incense.

necklace ~ precious stones that people wear round their neck.

palm ~ a tree.

parapet ~ a low wall at the edge of a roof.

perfume ~ a sweet smell.

pomegranate ~ a fruit which is the size of an orange.

raven ~ a black bird.

sandal ~ a shoe that is open at the top.

seal ~ a material, usually with a design. People use it to make an envelope, or something similar, safe.

Shulamite ~ the woman may be called the Shulamite because she comes from a town called Shulem.

shepherd ~ someone who looks after sheep.

shield ~ a piece of metal that a soldier uses to protect himself.

spice ~ a special plant that has a strong smell and taste. People use spices to make *incense and *perfume.

symbol ~ something that represents something else; a sign of an object; something that actually means something else.

testament ~ collection of books in the Bible.

thorns ~ plants with sharp points that can hurt.

twin ~ one of a pair – both come from one mother in one birth.

veil ~ a piece of cloth; a woman wears it over her face; it is possible to see through it.

vine ~ a plant with fruit; grapes (a small, soft fruit) grow on them.

vineyards ~ a place where *vines grow.

virgin ~ a woman who has never had sex.

waist ~ the middle part of the body.

watchman ~ someone who guards a city or town. He looks for thieves.

Book List

Christ in all the Scriptures by A.M. Hodgkin

Various writings and sermons by C.H. Spurgeon, J. Wesley, G. Whitefield and other important writers

Various articles from The Temple Bible Dictionary edited by Ewing & Thomson

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible by Jamieson, Fausset and Brown

Young’s Analytical Concordance

Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance

Analytical Hebrew and Chaldee Lexicon by B. Davidson

Bibles – NIV, KJV, TEV, RSV, occasional use of Hebrew text, and other translations

January 29, 2012 Posted by | Christianity / God | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Emergency Bible Numbers

Emergency Bible Numbers

  – When you are sad, call on John 14

– When you don’t feel loved, call on Romans 8:38-39

– When you have sinned, call on 1 John 1:8-9

– When you are facing danger, call on Psalm 91

– When people have failed you, call on Psalm 27

– When God feel far from you, call on Psalm 139

– When your faith needs encouraging, call on Hebrews 11

– When you are scared, call on Psalm 23

– When you are worried, call on Matthew 6:25-34

– When you are hurt, call on Colossians 3:12-17

– When you feel no one is on your side, call on Romans 8:31-39

– When you are seeking rest, call on Matthew 11:25-30

– When you are suffering, call on Romans 8:18-30

– When you feel you’re failing, call on Psalm 121

– When you pray, call on Matthew 6:9-13

– When you need courage, call on Joshua 1

– When you are in need, call on Philippians 4:19

– When you are hated because of your faith, call on John 15

– When you are losing hope, call on 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17

– When you are seeking peace, call on John 14:27

– When you want to do good works, call on John 15

– When you want to live a happy life, call on Colossians 3:12-17

– When you don’t understand what God is doing, call on Isaiah 55:8-9

– When you want to get along with others, call on Romans 12:9-21

December 15, 2011 Posted by | Christianity / God | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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