04 January 2021

A Few Thoughts about James 3:13-18

James 3:13-18 NRSV Who is wise and understanding among you? Show by your good life that your works are done with gentleness born of wisdom. 14 But if you have bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not be boastful and false to the truth. 15 Such wisdom does not come down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, devilish. 16 For where there is envy and selfish ambition, there will also be disorder and wickedness of every kind. 17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without a trace of partiality or hypocrisy. 18 And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace for those who make peace.

A problem arises. A solution is needed. A question is raised. An answer is needed.

To solve these, one needs knowledge and wisdom.

Knowledge is knowing the facts about the problem and what caused it, then wisdom is needed to apply experience of previous and similar problems, ideas to what caused it and how to solve it, studies to confirm a solution, and apply them to the problem.

We have problems in life.

Wisdom is needed to solve these problems.

According to the Bible, there are two sources of wisdom—God and other.

Often the solution comes from wisdom that has these factors—envy, selfish ambition, ignoring the truth (conceal it, keep a lid on it, etc.), which leads to greater problems. This wisdom is described at earthly, unspiritual, and devilish. Envy combined with selfish ambition leads to disorder and every kind of wickedness.

The solution that is needed must come from above, which is the opposite of the earthly. This wisdom is described as pure, peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy, full of good fruits (the effects of good wisdom), no partiality, and no hypocrisy.

Earthly wisdom has another facet: 1 Corinthians 1:20-21 NLT So where does this leave the philosophers, the scholars, and the world’s brilliant debaters? God has made the wisdom of this world look foolish. 21 Since God in his wisdom saw to it that the world would never know him through human wisdom, he has used our foolish preaching to save those who believe.

Earthly wisdom has a warning: Proverbs 28:26 NLT Those who trust their own insight are foolish, but anyone who walks in wisdom is safe.

Godly wisdom has this component which no other wisdom has—God knows the future.

B1 Isaiah 42:9 NLT Everything I prophesied has come true, and now I will prophesy again. I will tell you the future before it happens.

B2 Colossians 2:2-3 NIV My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, 3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

B3 Psalm 147:5 NIV Great is our Lord and mighty in power; his understanding has no limit.

Worldly wisdom is

B1 Earthly—this is worldly. It cares about worldly values and goals. It tends to be selfish and self-promoting.

C1 Worldly and godly are opposites with opposite motives and effects. Titus 2:12 NIV It teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age.

C2 Christians are instructed—Galatians 5:24 NRSV And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

D1 This doesn’t mean that it is evil to sleep, work, eat, have sex with your spouse, etc.

D2 This does mean that this goal and lifestyle of desire is the me first attitude.

C3 Compare Galatians 5:19-21, Ephesians 2:3, and Romans 8:5-9.

B2 Sensual is finding pleasure in selfish things instead of godly things.

C1 We are to first seek the kingdom of God.

C2 Compare

D1 Ecclesiastes 2:8 AFV I also gathered silver and gold to myself, and the treasure of kings and of the provinces. I got men singers and women singers for myself, even the sensual delights of the sons of men, and many women.

D2 Isaiah 47:8 GNB Listen to this, you lover of pleasure, you that think you are safe and secure. You claim you are as great as God—that there is no one else like you. You thought that you would never be a widow or suffer the loss of your children.

B3 Devilish, that is, demoniacally.

C1 This is the wisdom that the devil has and uses. He hates God or pretends to be God with God’s wisdom to deceive or presenting wisdom that is the opposite of God’s character and wisdom.

C2 Genesis 3:4 NRSV But the serpent said to the woman, "You will not die.

C3 See his wisdom(?) in Job 1:6-12.

C4 Scheming to achieve. James 4:1-2 NLT What is causing the quarrels and fights among you? Don’t they come from the evil desires at war within you? 2 You want what you don’t have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous of what others have, but you can’t get it, so you fight and wage war to take it away from them. Yet you don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it.

Wisdom from above, that is, godly

B1 Pure

C1 Without taint of sin in thoughts, desires, words, and deeds. It is perfect.

C2 1 John 3:3 GNB Everyone who has this hope in Christ keeps himself pure, just as Christ is pure.

B2 Peaceable

C1 Bringing rest and contentment.

C2 Hebrews 12:11 GNB When we are punished, it seems to us at the time something to make us sad, not glad. Later, however, those who have been disciplined by such punishment reap the peaceful reward of a righteous life.

B3 Gentle

C1 Kind, treating people well without abuse.

C2 Titus 3:2 NIV to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and always to be gentle toward everyone.

B4 Willing to yield

C1 rather, persuaded; the reverse of obstinacy, the pride of a false consistency, or a set persistence in one’s own way. [Whedon]

C2 It is used one time. Compare Romans 9:20 and Acts 15:39.

B5 Full of mercy

C1 Willing to examine the circumstances, willing to confess evil, humbling oneself, cooperation, etc. the sentence of the law should not be carried out to its fullest.

C2 This is a good passage to also show the contrast between grace and mercy (Ephesians 2:2-9) Ephesians 2:3-5 NIV All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. 4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions--it is by grace you have been saved.

B6 Full of good fruits (the effects of good wisdom)

C1 Fruits is usually associated with results.

C2 Galatians 5:22-23 MEV But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 meekness, and self-control; against such there is no law.

B7 Without partiality

C1 Apply attitudes, treatment, rules, etc. the same for all people whether people of faith or not, enemies or friends, etc.

C2 Leviticus 19:15 NLT Do not twist justice in legal matters by favoring the poor or being partial to the rich and powerful. Always judge people fairly.

C3 1 Timothy 5:21 Common New Testament I charge you, in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus and of the elect angels, to keep these instructions without partiality, doing nothing out of favoritism.

B8 Without hypocrisy

C1 We act the same in public and private in what we say, what we do, how we treat people, etc. Our yes is yes, and our no is no.

C2 Romans 12:9 NRSV Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good.

C3 Isaiah 29:13 NRSV The Lord said: Because these people draw near with their mouths and honor me with their lips, while their hearts are far from me, and their worship of me is a human commandment learned by rote.

How to obtain God’s wisdom

B1 Ask. James 1:5 NLT If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. An example would be Daniel in Daniel 2:23.

B2 Having others pray with and for us. Paul is our example. Ephesians 1:16-17 NLT I have not stopped thanking God for you. I pray for you constantly, 17 asking God, the glorious Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to give you spiritual wisdom and insight so that you might grow in your knowledge of God.

B3 Psalms 25:4-5 NIV Show me your ways, LORD, teach me your paths. 5 Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.

C1 God gives wisdom by showing us. These are human examples of success and failure in the Bible.

C2 God gives wisdom by teaching us. This is discipline.

D1 Discipline is not punishment. Discipline is teaching us. Punishment is administered for breaking rules.

D2 God teaches us verbally, illustrations, examples, etc. (Jesus’s ministry on earth).

D3 When we err, we learn a lesson. God will remind us if we try again. If we do not respond, He can punish.

D4 He teaches us through others teaching, experience, counsel. (These things must be done in God’s way).

D5 He teaches us with truth, not lies, errors, or deceptions.

C3 God gives wisdom by guidance. This can come from reminding us of something (it must agree with Scripture and not contrary), others, thinking on Scripture, etc.

C4 God’s ways is His lifestyle. God’s “paths” is His way of life and worldview. God’s guidance is in truth.

C5 God gives us hope, that is, an expectation that He will give us wisdom. We do not know when.

Our prayer: Psalms 86:11 NLT Teach me your ways, O LORD, that I may live according to your truth! Grant me purity of heart, so that I may honor you.

02 January 2021

A Few Thoughts about Ephesians 4:22

Ephesians 4:22-24 EMTV that you put off, concerning your former way of life, the old man which is being corrupted according to the deceitful lusts, 23 and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and that you put on the new man which was created in the likeness of God, in true righteousness and holiness.

A change is the soul/spirit necessitates a change in lifestyle, worldview, rules, regulations, attitudes, doctrine, etc.

Put off is the idea of

B1 There is a difference between the material and immaterial—the flesh and the soul/spirit.

C1 The flesh is called various things

D1 A tent, as a house for the soul. 2 Peter 1:13-14 EMTV But I consider it right, as long as I am in this tent, to stir you up by a reminder, 14 knowing that the putting off of my tent is soon, just as our Lord Jesus Christ has made clear to me.

D2 James 2:26 EMTV For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

C2 Our real personality, etc. is our soul/spirit, which is also called the heart.

D1 The soul is more than just breath, as some teach. The soul is the source of evil and good.

E1 Breath doesn’t think and plan and is not a source of defilement. Matthew 15:18-20 NIV But the things that come out of a person's mouth come from the heart, and these defile them. 19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts—murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. 20 These are what defile a person; but eating with unwashed hands does not defile them.

E2 Our breath doesn’t think and know. 1 Corinthians 2:11 NIV For who knows a person's thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.

D2 The Lord Jesus plainly states: Then he said to them, "My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me. Matthew 26:38 NIV

D3 The body can be destroyed but the soul cannot. The soul isn’t sent to hell. Matthew 10:28 NIV Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.

B2 We are instructed to not act upon our fleshly desires. We are to lay aside these things. Fleshly desires are the way we desired, thought, and lived before placing our faith into Jesus Christ. Fleshly desires are described in Galatians 5:19-21.

B3 The “old man” is this worldview and lifestyle of without Christ. See Romans 6:6, Colossians 3:9, and “old man.”


B1 This renewal is the new birth. Compare the change

C1 Romans 12:1-2 NIV Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

C2 2 Corinthians 4:16 NRSV So we do not lose heart. Even though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day.

C3 The evil world is the kingdom of satan, his worldview, lifestyle, rules, and regulations. 1 John 5:4-5 NLT For every child of God defeats this evil world, and we achieve this victory through our faith. 5 And who can win this battle against the world? Only those who believe that Jesus is the Son of God.

B2 Spirit of our mind

C1 Definitely something different than the flesh.

C2 The spirit is a new creation. John 3:6 NIV Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.

C3 All has changed. 2 Corinthians 5:17-18 NRSV So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation.

Created in likeness of God

B1 The image of God restored. When Adam and Eve were created, they had the same worldview, lifestyle, desires, etc. as God. All of this changed when people rebelled against God’s will.

B2 We will see Him as He presently is so signifying having a new body to house of soul. This body will be holy, regenerated just as God has regenerated our soul when we believed into Jesus. 1 John 3:2 NLT Dear friends, we are already God’s children, but he has not yet shown us what we will be like when Christ appears. But we do know that we will be like him, for we will see him as he really is.

B3 1 Corinthians 15:49 NIV And just as we have borne the image of the earthly man, so shall we bear the image of the heavenly man.

B4 Romans 8:15 NIV The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, "Abba, Father.

True righteousness and holiness

B1 Righteousness and holiness is according to God’s standard.

C1 1 Peter 1:15-16 EMTV but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all manner of life, 16 because it is written, "Be holy, for I am holy.

C2 Ephesians 4:13 NLT This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ.

B2 For believers in Christ, we already have a new spirit. Since the spirit is new, let us live according to this newness.

B3 It is a standard and a test if we are true. 1 John 3:7 EMTV Little children, let no one deceive you. The one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous.

B4 We cannot be sinless but are to be blameless. Philippians 2:15 EMTV in order that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverted generation, among whom you shine as light bearers in the world.

B5 God is able to keep us. He has many ways of training (discipline) and leading us. Jude 1:24-25 EMTV Now to Him who is able to keep them from stumbling, and to make you stand before His glory, blameless with exultation, 25 To the only wise God our Savior, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and forever. Amen.

Psalms 40:3 NIV He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the LORD and put their trust in him.

Psalms 68:19 NIV Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens.

Psalms 86:12 NLT With all my heart I will praise you, O Lord my God. I will give glory to your name forever.

31 December 2020

A Few Thoughts about God’s Repentance

1 Samuel 15:35 KJV And Samuel came no more to see Saul until the day of his death: nevertheless Samuel mourned for Saul: and the LORD repented that he had made Saul king over Israel.

Does God repent?

The word repent

B1 The Hebrew word translated mourn is אָבַל ʼâbal. It means to be languid, to walk with the head cast down (Source is Gesenius’s Hebrew and Chaldee Lexicon). It has the idea of mourning, wailing in sorrow, and lamenting. It was not a happy day for Samuel. This isn’t a one-time short emotion; it is much longer period of grieving. See 1 Samuel 16:1 and note below.

B2 The Hebrew word translated repent is נָחַם nâcham. It means to breathe deeply, thus any strong emotion bringing this physical response, so pity, comfort, grieve, be sorry for, repent. When used about humans it signifies repent as in turning from sinning to not sinning and from sin to God. When used about God it signifies repent as in turning from happiness and joy to sorrow. God wants to communicate His feelings so humans can understand Him better.

C1 Genesis 5:29 NIV He named him Noah and said, "He will comfort us in the labor and painful toil of our hands caused by the ground the LORD has cursed. See also Genesis 37:35

C2 God does not change His mind on His unconditional promises, His worldview, His lifestyle, or laws. Numbers 23:19 NIV God is not human, that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?

C3 Psalm 90:13 KJV Return, O Lord, how long? and let it repent thee concerning thy servants. The word repent in this passage refers to pity or have compassion (still the idea of breathing deeply). See other translations here.

I understand 1 Samuel 15:35 as follows. You study it for yourself.

B1 Israel wanted a king (as the nations around them had). Thus, rejecting God as their king. 1 Samuel 8:5 NRSV and said to him, "You are old and your sons do not follow in your ways; appoint for us, then, a king to govern us, like other nations. It would be helpful if you read the context (1 Samuel 8:3-9).

B2 Granting them a king is punishment on one hand, yet a fulfillment of prophesies about the coming Messiah. A king was allowed.

B3 A king was chosen from the nation of Israel. God choose Saul son of Kish. This shows

C1 God is still sovereign over Israel and does the choosing, not the people.

C2 God choose Saul.

C3 God’s promises to Saul were conditional. 1 Samuel 12:14-15 NLT “Now if you fear and worship the LORD and listen to his voice, and if you do not rebel against the LORD’s commands, then both you and your king will show that you recognize the LORD as your God. 15 But if you rebel against the LORD’s commands and refuse to listen to him, then his hand will be as heavy upon you as it was upon your ancestors.

B4 God knew Saul’s future choices and actions. God knew that eventually Saul would disobey, and Saul would be unchosen. God was not surprised about Saul’s disobedience and disbelief.

B5 God’s repentance would be understood as God having emotions of being sad that His chosen would rebel and sin. God is not sad that He choose Saul. Saul had a choice to believe and obey or not believe and disobey. Choices have consequences. Saul had made feigned repentance several times, but God is not deceived by such action.

B6 1 Samuel 29 and verse 35 are not contradictory.

C1 Believer’s Bible Commentary notes:

Verses 29 and 35 seem to be contradictory. The first says that God does not change His mind or relent, while the second says that He regretted making Saul king. Verse 29 describes God in His essential character. He is unchanging and unchangeable, the immutable One. Verse 35 means that a change in Saul's conduct required a corresponding change in God's plans and purposes for him. To be consistent with His attributes, God must bless obedience and punish disobedience.

C2 College Press commentary notes:

We understand that it repented God that He had made Saul king when we look upon the act as man would look upon it. This is what we call an anthropomorphism—putting things in the form that man can understand. Most certainly we do not look upon the occurrence as a mistake on God’s part. God was grieved on account of Saul’s failure. Inasmuch as grief is a part of our repentance, God’s attitude resembles this part of repentance.

B7 Note 1 Samuel 16:1 LEB Then Yahweh said to Samuel, “How long will you mourn about Saul? I have rejected him from being king over Israel! Fill up your horn with oil and go. I will send you to Jesse the Bethlehemite, for I have chosen a king for myself among his sons. There is a difference between the mourning (אָבַל ʼâbal) of Samuel and God’s change of mind (נָחַם nâcham). Samuel still mourns, but of God, there is no mention of mourning.

B8 Note Jesus’s attitude of grief. Matthew 23:37 EMTV O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often would I have gathered your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! Compare Matthew 26:37.

B9 The Holy Spirit grieves. Ephesians 4:30 EMTV And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.

C1 Grieve here has the idea of distress, sorrowful, and vex. (Mounce)

C2 The fact that He can be grieved shows that the Holy Spirit is a Person, not a mere influence. It also means He loves us, because only a person who loves can be grieved. The favorite ministry of God's Spirit is to glorify Christ and to change the believer into His likeness (2Co_3:18). When a Christian sins, He has to turn from this ministry to one of restoration. It grieves Him to see the believer's spiritual progress interrupted by sin. He must then lead the Christian to the place of repentance and confession of sin. (Believer’s Bible Commentary)

C3 See Spurgeon’s devotion.

Jonah 3:10

B1 Translations

C1 Jonah 3:10 KJV And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not.

C2 Jonah 3:10 NRSV When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil ways, God changed his mind about the calamity that he had said he would bring upon them; and he did not do it.

B2 God said He would destroy Nineveh but had an unstated condition that if they would repent (they did), He would not destroy the city. Jonah 3:4-5 NRSV Jonah began to go into the city, going a day's walk. And he cried out, "Forty days more, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!" 5 And the people of Nineveh believed God; they proclaimed a fast, and everyone, great and small, put on sackcloth.

God grieves when we disbelieve, disobey, and bear the fruit of the flesh (Galatians 5:19-21). God is pleased when we believe, obey, and bear the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23).


B1 Does God repent?

B2 Does God repent?

B3 Repentance of God

30 December 2020

A Few Thoughts about Baptism


B1 Immersion which signifies identification with the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Romans 6:4-5 NIV We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. 5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his.

B2 Pouring which signifies the gift of the Holy Spirit in believers. All believers have the Holy Spirit in the tabernacle of the recreated heart.

C1 Acts 2:33 NIV Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear.

C2 Acts 10:45 NIV The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on Gentiles.

C3 Romans 5:5 NIV And hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

C4 John 1:33 NIV And I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, 'The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.'

C5 See also Romans 8:9, Romans 5:5, 1 Corinthians 1:22, Galatians 4:6, etc.

B3 Sprinkling which signifies the purifying the conscience.

C1 Hebrews 9:13-14 NIV The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean. 14 How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!

C2 Hebrews 12:22-24 NKJV But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, 23 to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, 24 to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel.

Questions at baptism

B1 Have you sinned by breaking the 10 Commandments?

B2 Do you agree that God is angry and will punish sin?

B3 Have you confessed you are a sinner and have repented.

B4 Have you asked God to forgive your sins?

B5 Have you placed faith into Jesus Christ alone for salvation?

B5 Do you renounce the works of the devil?

B6 Do you agree to study the Bible, pray, and plan to live the Christian life with God’s help?


B1 A testimony of being under the leadership of Jesus Christ.

C1 Israel by going under the sea (going on dry land in Exodus 14:21-22) acknowledged Moses as God’s anointed leader. Israel going through the Red Sea are signifying they are leaving the worldview, lifestyle, religion, etc. of Egypt. 1 Corinthians 10:2 NIV They were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea.

C2 Christians (those who have become believers by grace alone through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone) now acknowledge Jesus as leader of the church. We have died to the world’s lifestyle, worldview, and the authority of the devil (1 John 3:10 and John 8:44). Romans 6:3 NRSV Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?

B2 A testimony of have a cleared conscience coming from being regenerated.

C1 1 Peter 3:21 NLT And that water is a picture of baptism, which now saves you, not by removing dirt from your body, but as a response to God from a clean conscience. It is effective because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

C2 Hebrews 9:13-14 NIV The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean. 14 How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!

We are in Christian. Think of it as a set; Christ is the set. We are a member of that set, that is, in Christ. We become a member of Christ by grace alone through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone. See Luke 18:9-14.


B1 What Questions Should be asked and answered at one’s baptism?

B2 Three Questions (Wesleyan)

B3 Is baptism required for salvation?

29 December 2020

A Few Thoughts About Parables

The Parable of the Sower

Luke 8:1-10 WEL

1 It came about afterwards, that he went throughout every city and village, announcing and preaching the Good News about the Kingdom of God. The Twelve were with him, [as well as]

2 Certain women, who had been healed of evil spirits and sicknesses, Mary called Magdalene, from whom seven demons were cast out,

3 And Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod’s steward, and Susanna, and many others who assisted him from their assets.

4 When many people had come together and had come to him from every city, he spoke a parable.

5 “A seed planter went out to plant seed, and as he planted seed some fell by the roadside. It was trodden on and the birds of the air ate it.

6 “Some fell on a rock, and as soon as it was sprung up, it withered away, because it didn’t have enough moisture.

7 “Some fell among thorns. The thorns sprouted up with it and choked it out.

8 “Others fell on good ground, sprouted, and bare seed—a hundred times more.” After he had said these things, he called out, “He, who has ears to hear, must hear.”

9 His disciples asked him, saying, “What does this parable mean?”

10 He said, “It is given to you to know the mysteries of the Kingdom of God, but to others in parables, so that seeing, they might not see and hearing, they might not understand.

Why did Jesus speak in parables?

B1 Jesus had been ministering over 2 years. The people had heard Him and seen resurrections from dead, people healed of physical illness and demonic possession, the weather controlled, people feed from small amounts of food, etc. Some had believed; most did not.

B2 Those who did believe are His sheep (read all of John chapter 10 but especially John 10:14-27). The nonbelievers are not His sheep. Even though all Jews were part of the chosen nation and chosen people.

B3 The nonbelieving Jews are being punished. They still hear but do not understand. They could have asked but did not.

C1 Compare Matthew 21:45

C2 Clarke writes: The chief priests - perceived that he spoke of them - The most wholesome advice passes for an affront with those who have shut their hearts against the truth. When that which should lead to repentance only kindles the flame of malice and revenge, there is but little hope of the salvation of such persons.

B4 The believing Jews did not understand either, but they ask Him to explain the parable, at least most of the time. In our passage above, they do ask.

Didn’t Jesus want people to understand His teachings?

B1 Yes, but most did not choose to believe.

C1 Refuse to believe, even though they could have. John 3:36 NIV Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God's wrath remains on them.

C2 Unbelievers chose to disbelieve. 2 Thessalonians 2:12 NLT Then they will be condemned for enjoying evil rather than believing the truth.

B2 God opens their heart to believe.

C1 Example. The word was preached, and God initiated grace for people to believe. Acts 16:14 NIV One of those listening was a woman from the city of Thyatira named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth. She was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul's message.

C2 People did spiritual help to understand. 1 Corinthians 2:14 HCSB14 But the unbeliever does not welcome what comes from God’s Spirit, because it is foolishness to him; he is not able to understand it since it is evaluated spiritually.

C3 The Holy Spirit does that for all people, someplace and sometime in their life. John 16:8 GW He will come to convict the world of sin, to show the world what has God's approval, and to convince the world that God judges it.

Why are they hard to understand?

B1 Jesus did this on purpose. Those who seek an answer, asked Him.

B2 For us it is more difficult. Some are explained, as the Parable of the Sower and some are not.

How can we understand them?

B1 Read them in context.

B2 Interpret them in the plain, normal sense, not in the allegorical sense.

B3 Under who Jesus is speaking to, their beliefs, their culture, and the situation.

B4 Search for cross references of the same terms. Compare the 11 verses that have the word leaven to help understand the Parable of Leaven in Matthew 13:33.

List of parables. Various lists have from lower 30s to uppers 40s. Some explanations are partial. I didn’t include parallel passages. Study to be approved. All that Jesus did teaches a truth, a principle.


Taught In

Explained In


Matthew 13:1-9

Matthew 13:18-23

Wheat and Tares

Matthew 13:24-30

Matthew 13:36-43

Mustard Seed

Matthew 13:31-32


Matthew 13:33

Hidden Treasure

Matthew 13:44

Pearl of Great Value

Matthew 13:45-46


Matthew 13:47-48

Matthew 13:49-50

What Defiles

Matthew 15:10-14

Matthew 15:15-20

The Two Sons

Matthew 21:28-30

Matthew 21:31-32

Wicked Tenants

Matthew 21:33-41

The Cornerstone

Matthew 21:42-44

Wedding Feast

Matthew 22:1-14

Ten Virgins

Matthew 25:1-13


Matthew 25:14-28

Matthew 25:29-30


Mark 3:22-25

Luke 3:26-30

The Light Under Basket

Mark 4:21-25

Luke 8:17

Growing Seed

Mark 4:26-29

New and Old

Luke 5:36-39

Good Samaritan

Luke 10:25-35

Luke 10:29, 36-37

Rich Fool

Luke 12:16-20

Luke 12:13-15, 21

Barren Fig Tree

Luke 13:6-9

Narrow Door

Luke 13:22-27

Luke 13:28

Guests at Honor

Luke 14:7-10

Luke 14:11

Banquet Invitations

Luke 14:12-24

Lost Sheep

Luke 15:1-6

Luke 15:7

Lost Coin

Luke 15:8-9

Luke 15:10

Prodigal Son

Luke 15:11-32

Possibly Luke 15:10

Dishonest Manager

Luke 16:1-9

Luke 16:10-13

Persistent Widow

Luke 18:1-5

Luke 18:6-8

Pharisee and Tax Collector

Luke 18:9-13

Luke 18:14

Ten Minas

Luke 19:11-25, 27

Luke 19:26

Sprouting Leaves

Luke 21:29-30

Luke 21:31

Other illustrations, etc. could be added to this list as many do; see Luke 7:40-48.

Another list can be found here.

Another helpful article Parable by Kitto

The principal is to believe the Scriptures, see the basic principle, and live it.

28 December 2020

A Few Thoughts about God’s Character Traits from 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a Part 3

1 Corinthians 13:4-8a WEL Love is very patient and kind; love is not envious; love doesn’t brag about itself, is not haughty, 5 Doesn’t behave improperly, is not self-seeking; love isn’t easily aggravated, doesn’t keep a list of wrongs, 6 Doesn’t rejoice in injustice, but rejoices with the truth, 7 Bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, calmly endures all things. 8 Love never falls away,

The actions of love are in public and private. These definitions of love are character traits of God.

Part 1, Part 2


C11 Rejoices with the truth

D1 Most do not like the truth if it exposes them. John 3:20-21 NRSV For all who do evil hate the light and do not come to the light, so that their deeds may not be exposed. 21 But those who do what is true come to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that their deeds have been done in God.

D2 Any lie will do for many people, if they gain power and money without accountability. Isaiah 59:4 NLT No one cares about being fair and honest. The people’s lawsuits are based on lies. They conceive evil deeds and then give birth to sin.

C12 Bears all things

D1 This is the idea of never gives up (NRSV), keeps out resentment (Vincent), puts up with, protects (NIV), covers the faults of others rather than delighting in them (Expositor’s Bible Commentary), keeps private things private (doesn’t gossip or betray secrets). Of course, if someone is in danger, we do not keep secrets because we love that person. Remember the Lord Jesus said to Love your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22:39 NLT).

D2 Verses

E1 Love must not tell secrets. Proverbs 11:13 NLT A gossip goes around telling secrets, but those who are trustworthy can keep a confidence.

E2 Not even in arguments. Proverbs 25:9 NLT When arguing with your neighbor, don’t betray another person’s secret.

E3 Ecclesiastes 3:7 NLT A time to tear and a time to mend. A time to be quiet and a time to speak.

C13 Believes all things

D1 This does mean to be gullible. It means reasonable. For example, if one comes and reveals to you that they have been abused or molested. We believe them.

D2 This idea is seen in judging people. We may be misunderstanding their actions. We need to examine this.

D3 True love does not accept public appearances, actions, speech as the highest thing to believe. What people do in private is more revealing. We are not to be gullible.

D4 Someone may have great credentials, following, books, etc. but that does not mean they are more believable than others.

D5 We must believe, but we must be a little skeptical. Acts 17:11 NLT And the people of Berea were more open-minded than those in Thessalonica, and they listened eagerly to Paul's message. They searched the Scriptures day after day to see if Paul and Silas were teaching the truth. [Emphasis is mine. They searched. They did not exercise blind faith].

C14 Hopes all things

D1 Hope is defined by Websters 1913: To desire with expectation or with belief in the possibility or prospect of obtaining; to look forward to as a thing desirable, with the expectation of obtaining it; to cherish hopes of.

D2 Remember these are character traits of God. God has this character trait of hope.

D3 Hope has an element of patience. Romans 8:25 CSB Now if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with patience.

D4 Hope depends on another’s trustworthiness. Hebrews 10:23 NET And let us hold unwaveringly to the hope that we confess, for the one who made the promise is trustworthy.

C15 Calmly endures all things

D1 Precept Austin comment on this attribute: To reiterate, this attribute of love means the believer endures patiently and triumphantly and is not passively putting up with the deluge of difficulties. Obviously a love that supernaturally endures like this can only be carried out by a believer who is filled with and strengthened by the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 3:16-note; Ephesians 5:18-note). The suffering which the apostles and early Christians had to endure for the sake of the gospel is eloquent testimony of their authentic, fervent love for God.

D2 This is why God does not give up on our failures.

D3 2 Timothy 2:10 NIV Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory.

D4 James 1:12 NLT God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.

D5 We are not to calmly endure sinful and bad attitudes, as well as what is unreasonable, foolish, proven to fail, etc.

C16 Never extinguishes

D1 Never comes to an end, is never replaced by anything else [Source is NIV Study Bible Notes]

D2 Love is superior to all other attributes or achievements because it never fails (13:8a). Of the familiar Christian triad—faith, hope, and love—which comprehends Christian existence as a whole for the present, love is the greatest (v.13), for it lasts forever. When the future age comes in its fullness, faith and hope will give way to sight (see Romans 4:14-22; 8:24-25). Then will remain only love, intimate, personal relationship with God (v.12). [Source is Asbury Bible Commentary]

D3 If we love the Lord Jesus as we must, we will obey His rules (John 14:15 and 1 John 2:5). If we do not love Him as we must, then Therefore, dear friends, since you have been forewarned, be on your guard that you do not get led astray by the error of these unprincipled men and fall from your firm grasp on the truth (2 Peter 3:17 NET).

D4 Psalm 6:4 NIV Turn, LORD, and deliver me; save me because of your unfailing love.

B2 How can we find strength to live this way?

Again, we learn about God character traits from Scripture. Think deeply about these things.