A Lamp to my Feet – 1 Corinthians 3:7-9 Discussion


This past week we have been looking at, in the hopes of committing to memory, 1 Corinthians 3:7-9. This passage was prompted by an active conversation here and on Twitter about the article published last Friday on Election, Predestination, and what the bible says about the two. I invited you to study this passage this week and I hope that you were able to do so.  
I realize that as Christmas is right around the corner this will be a tough time of year to be working on a memory verse each week, but I also know that you can do it. At least try. The worst that will happen is that you don’t get it memorized, but you did spend time that week meditating on God’s Word; that’s really all that matters. 
I digress. For those of you who did not have a chance to review the passage this week or commit it to memory, you may view it below. After taking a few moments to read it, I would love to read your thoughts on the passage. What is the meaning? How can this apply to Christians today? 
 

1 Corinthians 3:7-9 (ESV)

So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labor. For we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s field, God’s building. 
 
Make sure you are subscribed to new posts by email (signup below if you are not) so that you don’t miss what is coming up this week. As this is the month we celebrate the birth of Christ the memory verses will be following along that theme (a new passage every Monday morning). I hope that this is a beneficial study for you. Also, later this month we will be studying The Significance of Christmas. Make sure you sign up and share. You don’t want to miss all that we will learn this month 🙂
 

A Lamp to My Feet Reminder – Psalms 119:1-4


This week we were meditating on and memorizing Psalm 119:1-4. If you were able to participate in the challenge this week, go ahead a leave a comment saying so and and be sure to include your thoughts on the passage.

Maybe you forgot about the challenge this week, or were not able to get it memorized? Take a look at the passage below for a few minutes and share your thoughts with us. It is never too late to slow down and reflect on a passage from God’s Word.

Psalm 119:1-4 (ESV)

Blessed are those whose way is blameless,
who walk in the law of the Lord!

Blessed are those who keep his testimonies,
who seek him with their whole heart,

who also do no wrong,
but walk in his ways!

You have commanded your precepts
to be kept diligently.

Also, there are a few buttons below this post that make it easy for you to share this verse with friends and family. I invite you to do so!

I look forward to reading your thoughts on the passage this week 🙂

The Inerrancy and Inspiration of The Bible


The Bible, Van Gogh, 1885

Upon sitting down to read and study the Bible, one needs to have several questions answered before they can begin to allow the Scripture to have an impact on their life. These questions should address the authority of the Bible (which will also address the author of the Bible), the inspiration of the Bible, and the inerrancy of the Bible.

The first question stated above is the most important question to answer before one can begin to take what the Bible says and try to live by it. When it is said that the Bible has authority, what is being said is: on any topic, issue, question, etc., that the Bible speaks to, one is to defer to what is says. In other words, the Bible is the authority on everything that it speaks to.

The answer above presupposes one very important belief, that God is the author of the

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Bible. Because of this, the authority that the Bible holds is much greater than if man were the author. The writer of a law must have the authority to enforce that law. The same principle applies to the authority of Scripture.

The main reason the Bible holds so much authority is because God is the author. One question off of this is how did God write it? The answer, He inspired man to do so. What is meant is that under guidance from the Holy Spirit, God gave the inspiration of what was to be written, to the human authors of the Bible. This does not mean that he dictated to them what He wanted written, he merely inspired them with what was to be written. They were free to use the language of their day, and write with their personalities intact.

This author bases his belief of inspiration on the following passage: “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness”.[1]

A major component of the inspiration of Scripture is that it is also inerrant. This author subscribes to the inerrancy of Scripture and bases his belief on the first, and strongest of four arguments, which is the Biblical argument. This argument has five main points that support its views, but the most important is the first and last. The first point states that “the Bible teaches its own inspiration, and this requires inerrancy. The Scriptures are the breath of God (2. Tim. 3:16), which guarantees they are without error”.[2]  And the breath of God statement is addressed in the fifth point which says, “Repeatedly, the Scriptures teach that God cannot lie…If, then, the Bible is from God and his character is behind it, it must be inerrant and infallible”.[3]

A second popular argument for inerrancy is the Historical argument. This argument believes that the Bible is inerrant because from the Apostles all the way through Church history, the truths in the Bible were assumed, not defended.[4]  A third argument is the Epistemological argument, which says, “If the Bible is not inerrant, then any claim it makes may be false”.[5]  This holds that every statement made in Scripture must be true for the entire text to be inerrant. The fourth, and final argument for the inerrancy of Scripture, is the Slippery Slope argument. This belief is quite simple: if one gives up the inerrancy of scripture they also surrender other Christian doctrines as well.[6]

Of the last three arguments listed, the weakest argument is the Slippery Slope argument. While this argument may be true, that a “denial of inerrancy starts one down a slope that is slippery,”[7] it is by no means a substantial argument to base one’s belief of inerrancy upon. This author argues for inerrancy and bases his argument on the Bible. The Bible is the ultimate authority, as it was written by God, and as God cannot lie, because it is not in His character to do so, everything written through the inspiration of His Holy Spirit, by the human authors, is without error.

As stated in the paragraphs above, this author believes: 1) that the Bible holds the final authority on all topics contained within its text, 2) that God is the author of the Bible, 3) that the Bible was written by human authors under the inspired guidance of the Holy Spirit, and 4) that the Bible is inerrant. As a result of these beliefs, this author looks to God’s Word for guidance on how to live his life on a day to day basis. This author believes that as he gets into God’s Word, God’s Word will get into him.

Footnotes:

  • [1] 2 Timothy 3:16, NKJV.
  • [2] Feinberg, P.D. “Bible, Inerrancy and Infallibility of.” in Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, ed. Elwell, A. Walter. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book house Company, 2001), 157.
  • [3] Ibid., 158.
  • [4] Ibid., 157.
  • [5] Ibid.
  • [6] Ibid., 158.
  • [7] Ibid.

Photo Credit:

Article header photo credit: The Bible by Vincent van Gogh (1885) http://www.terminartors.com/artworkprofile/Van_Gogh_Vincent-Still_Life_with_Bible

Bibliography Photo Credit: http://www.maicar.com/GML/Bibliography.html

Bibliography

Feinberg, P.D. “Bible, Inerrancy and Infallibility of.” in Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, ed. Elwell, A. Walter. 156-159. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book house Company, 2001.

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The Inerrancy and Inspiration of The Bible by Aaron M. Aiken is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at https://aaronaiken.wordpress.com/use-policy/.

What Does the Bible Say about Women in Ministry?


St. Teresa of Avila by Peter Paul Rubens (1615)

The early church in the book of Acts gives churches and Christians today a framework of how Christ intended his church to function. Part of this includes two offices, elders and deacons, that are used to accomplish Kingdom work in local churches and the surrounding areas. Today, there is not so much confusion over what these offices are to do, but who is permitted to hold them.

The office of “elder” is fulfilled primarily through that of teaching, oversight of the flock, and sharing in the ministry of Christ.[1] The role of a deacon, or deaconess, is fulfilled by service. If the elder is an overseer and teacher, than a deacon is a doer. The deacons are those that do service within the church for the church, “they are to be practical servants (and not necessarily teachers).”[2]

The requirements for an elder can be found quite clearly in 1 Timothy 3:2-7: “Therefore an

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overseer must be above reproach…husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive…He must not be a recent convert…he must be well thought of by outsiders” (ESV). Likewise, the requirements for a deacon are found in the next passage: “Deacons…must be dignified, not double-tongued, not addicted to much wine, not greedy for dishonest gain…wives must be dignified…husband of one wife, managing their children and households well” (vv. 8, 11, 12).

In light of the role women may play in ministry, it is important to understand Biblically what was the case and to be careful to apply this to our current Church practice. First, a woman may not be an elder. Paul is quite clear that women are not permitted to teach men (2:12), and that an elder must be able to teach (3:2). These two verses quickly rule out women filling the role of an elder. Also, woman are not permitted to rule over men (2:12) and as an elder one is an overseer (3:2) that must care for God’s church (v. 5).

The office of deacon is different than an elder in qualifications, responsibilities, and in that women are permitted to fill this office. Although Paul states that a deacon is to be the husband of one wife (v. 12) he also records that there were women who filled this office by serving in the New Testament church during his time of ministry (specifically Phoebe who was “a servant of the church at Canchreae” (Rom 16:1)).

Some hold to the view that women are permitted to hold the office of elder and will reference Titus 2:3. What they fail to realize is that Paul states specifically, in verse four of Titus chapter two, that women are to teach “young women,” if they are going to teach. If Paul was permitting women to teach anyone of any age he would not have clarified his statement made in verse three. Some may also use Galatians 3:28 as a verse permitting woman to teach and be overseers. If they do use that verse for such a purpose they are grossly using it out of it’s context.

Others say that women should not be permitted to have any role in the church. There is simply no solid Biblical argument for such a view. Women played a large role in the ministry of Jesus (Matt. 27:55-56; Mark 15:40-41; Luke 8:1-3), were present at his crucifixion (Luke 23:27, 49, 55-56), instructed by an angel after his resurrection (Luke 24:6-8), and were present as helpers in the early church (Acts 1:14; 2:17-18; 9:36-43; 21:8-9; Rom. 16).

As far as limitations on women outside of the church go, there are none. Women can and do hold positions of authority over men (specifically in the workplace). In such a case, the wise man (and woman) will heed Romans 13: “be subject to the governing authorities…those that exist have been instituted by God” (v. 1).

With all of this being said, women can, and do, play a very important role in the local church. They can raise questions to have theological issues clarified. They can have leadership roles in the teaching of younger woman and children, and can also have very important roles in the management (specifically administration responsibilities) of the local church.

As stated previously, Jesus used women in his ministry. As this is the case, and where Biblically permitted, the church of today should not keep women from playing active roles in their ministry.

Footnotes:

  • [1] Wallace, R.S. “Elder.” in Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, ed. Elwell, A. Walter. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House Company, 2001), 369.
  • [2] Burge, G.M. “Deacon, Deaconess.” in Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, ed. Elwell, A. Walter. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House Company, 2001), 320.

BibliographyBurge, G.M. “Deacon, Deaconess.” in Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, ed. Elwell, A. Walter. 320. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House Company, 2001.

Wallace, R.S. “Elder.” in Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, ed. Elwell, A. Walter. 369. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House Company, 2001.

Photo Credits:

Article header photo credit: St. Teresa of Avila by Peter Paul Rubens (1615). http://wp.me/p1EaDQ-24

Bibliography Photo Credit: http://www.maicar.com/GML/Bibliography.html

Creative Commons License
What Does the Bible Say about Women in Ministry? by Aaron M. Aiken is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at https://aaronaiken.wordpress.com/use-policy/.

Theology and Church History Papers will be Published Soon


As you may or may not know, I am a full-time student at Liberty University Online. I am currently focusing on a major in Religion and a minor in nothing at this point. As a student, and if you ever were one yourself you will relate to this, I have to write a lot of papers to complete assignments. Studying religion has forced me to take a hard look at where I stand on theological topics (such as marriage, women in ministry, evil, etc), look back at the history of Christianity (specifically after the first century) and take a good look at several key passages of Scripture.

Something that I have not done here in a while is posted anything serious. Lots of pictures, random thoughts on technology, but nothing really focused on my studies and what eventually hope to teach somehow: the Bible.

Bible StudySo, beginning this Friday, I will post papers that I write for my LUO classes here, to this blog. They will range from theological, to historical, to  exegetical in nature, and I’m sure if you have any interest in religion or Christianity you will enjoy these papers.

That being said, here are a few disclaimers:

  • I will not publish a paper until it has been graded (this doesn’t really effect you, but just so you know)
  • All of my papers have to meet certain word counts, some are shorter than others. For example, my theology papers are considered short essays, and they cannot exceed 800 words. They are also assigned in a question/answer format, but our writing cannot show that this is the case. As such, not every point in some papers will be “unpacked” as much as I would like. The beauty of publishing them here is that we can discuss certain points that you feel should be opened up a bit more.
  • Your comments on my writing are appreciated but not necessary (especially if they are belittling). Although, if you consider yourself a good writer and have a few tips or advice, please feel free to share your thoughts.

My hope for this project is to continue the conversation that it started in my classes. Also, I hope to grow in my knowledge through interraction with some of you by discussing points and helping each other where we are weak in our understanding of God’s Word.

I hope that this is something that you will enjoy. I look forward to sharing my work with you.

Cheers,

Aaron
2 Timothy 3:16-17