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Peter DeHaan News

New Book: Love One Another

40 Daily Reflections from the letters of 1, 2, and 3 John

Imagine what the world would look like today if Christians learned to radiate the love of Jesus to everyone around them.

Love One Another is a devotional Bible study for Christians who want to foster a deeper appreciation for the two greatest commandments of all time: To love God and to love others.

Come inspire your soul and nourish your spirit with this thought-provoking, faith-building devotional from Peter DeHaan, beloved Christian author and founder of the A Bible a Day website.

If you’re searching for a Christian Bible study with lifetime application, Love One Another was written specifically for you. In his fresh and insightful manner, Peter DeHaan walks you through the New Testament books of 1, 2, and 3 John to take you straight to the heart of Christ’s powerful message of love.

Perfect for individuals, families, or small groups, this Bible study offers practical, insightful, and encouraging truths for believers from all walks of life.

Get your copy today.

Discover practical, insightful, and encouraging truths in Love One Another, a devotional Bible study to foster a deeper appreciation for the two greatest commandments: To love God and to love others.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.

Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Peter DeHaan News

New Online Bible Study

Get a Free Online Bible Study for Your Small Group, Sunday School Class, or Meeting

Peter DeHaan, a lifetime student of the Bible and prolific Christian author, announced that starting on Monday, January 2, 2023, he’ll post an online Bible study. The first lesson of the study will go live at 8 a.m. EST on the first Monday of January. Then on each subsequent Monday, the next lesson will post.

The first online Bible study is on the beloved book of John, the gospel of Jesus from the apostle John.

Author Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity

“These online Bible studies come from my popular Dear Theophilus series of devotional Bible studies,” DeHaan said. “Though they’re already available in e-book, paperback, and hardcover, I’m excited to share them online to facilitate group discussion.”

Use the online Bible study for your small group, Sunday school class, or Bible study, on whatever day you meet.

Groups can adapt the study for whatever schedule works best for their meetings.

As a former small group director, Peter also shares meeting tips to help users maximize their time together.

In addition, the next four studies have been announced. Each one will follow online as soon as one study wraps up.

Learn more about these online Bible studies.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.

Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Christian Living

Are You Reading the Bible or a Secondary Source?

Be Careful When You Study Books about the Bible

I recently heard about a minister who said that none of his seminary classes studied the Bible. Instead, each professor had students study books about the Bible. Though this minister learned theology, he knew the Bible from a distance in a sterile, formal manner. He didn’t know Scripture in an up close and personal way.

I wonder how widespread this is. I fear that it may be. Thinking back to the thousands of sermons I’ve heard, I’d call some of these messages Bible lite or Bible basic. A few didn’t even mention Scripture. It’s a sad reflection on seminary degrees, on the overall failure of advanced education to produce practical application.

This is why I don’t study theology as an intellectual pursuit.

My College Experience

Yet I get this practice. In college I took an elective class on C S Lewis. I was most excited about what I’d learn—until I read the syllabus.

During the semester, we only read one book by Lewis. The rest of our time—most of the class—we spent reading about Lewis. These scholarly tomes—authored by academics who had spent their career studying Lewis—left me bored and “none the richer” when it came to Lewis’s writing and his wisdom.

Aside from reading Mere Christianity, that class did little else to enhance my appreciation for the work of C S Lewis. (I’d already read The Great Divorce, The Screwtape Letters, and several other of his books.)

Books about the Bible

Am I saying we shouldn’t read books about the Bible? No.

But we must be careful in how many we read. If we only read books about the Bible and never actually read the Bible itself, something is out of balance.

Books about Scripture that help us to better read, study, and understand the Bible are ideal resources. This is the goal of every book I write about the Bible, including me Dear Theophilus Bible studies, Christian devotionals, and Bible resources. My books are not the end but the means to move into a deeper understanding of Scripture.

When we study the Bible, we can rely on the Holy Spirit to teach us and help us better understand the text. Click To Tweet

Though I occasionally consult resources as I study Scripture, it’s not often. But I’m grateful for those books and the authors who wrote them. Mostly, however, I rely on the Holy Spirit to teach me and help me better understand a text.

As I move forward in studying Scripture, I find I use books less and the Holy Spirit more. This is as it should be.

Scripture Points Us to God

The point of the Bible, of course, is to point us to God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—and deepen our connection with him. Learning about Scripture for the sake of learning is a shallow pursuit that offers no eternal value. Yet too many fall into this trap, including, I fear, some seminaries.

This is why I encourage daily Bible reading and studying. It’s become a lifelong habit for me, and I pray that it becomes one for you too.

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Christian Living

How to Meditate on God’s Word

Discover How to Get More from Your Time Spent with Scripture

Reading and studying the Bible is a great start to better understanding Scripture and the truth in holds. I highly recommend daily Bible reading and encourage everyone to do so—both those who follow Jesus and those who are curious about him. But to get even more from a passage, the key is to meditate on God’s Word.

Though I read the Bible every day and study Scripture most every day, I don’t meditate on it as often as I should or as often as I’d like to. But when I do, the insights I get are profound.

That’s why I wish I’d spend more time to meditate on God’s Word. Emphasize the word time. It takes time to meditate on Scripture.

Though I schedule time to read the Bible—and relish my investment in learning more about God and myself, meditating on the passage requires more time and—though the reward is sweeter—the results aren’t as vast, just deeper.

Here are my tips to achieve the best outcomes when we meditate on God’s word:

Read Slowly

The first key is to slow down. I learned this when studying the gospel of John while researching and writing my book Living Water. To grasp meaning from John’s poetic writing required that I slowed down from my regular reading pace to allow the words to sink in.

Decreasing our speed is even more important when we meditate on God’s Word. We must slow down and be deliberate. Focus on each phrase of each sentence, even each word.

Consider its significance and what its presence may teach. This is how we get insight we’d normally miss reading at our normal pace.

Read Over and Over

The second key is repetition. This is not a rote reading to log a certain number of reps but an intentional rereading to get more from the text.

Though when reading slowly, I sometimes reread a sentence to make sure I haven’t missed something, this rereading is different. It’s examining the same passage on multiple days, with each pass revealing more insight into the text.

Some people recommend rereading the same text seven times, one day each week. Yet seven isn’t a magic number when we meditate on God’s Word. It’s more of a guideline.

Sometimes new truths emerge on my fourth or fifth read, while other times I gain a deeper understanding on my tenth pass.

This requires patience, which may be the reason few people invest the time to meditate on God’s Word.

Pause to Reflect

Next, don’t rush from one phrase or sentence to the next. Instead, pause to consider the words. Yes, we may have already determined our primary understanding of the text, but consider a fresh perspective, a secondary meaning, or a deeper truth.

The Bible is multilayered with significance buried within, but it takes digging to find it. This is why we must be willing to pause from our reading and consider carefully what we’ve just read.

Write Observations

Record the insights we uncover as we meditate on God’s Word. This may be in a journal or computer file. Having spent several decades immersing myself into Scripture, I have a computer document for each book of the Bible and have notes for each chapter of each book.

Don’t let my lifetime of results, however, intimidate you from beginning. Remember, I once started with nothing.

Instead, let my outcome encourage you to envision what you can achieve if you commit yourself to meditating on a regular basis.

When we seek direction from the Holy Spirit, our insights become much greater. Click To Tweet

Seek Holy Spirit Guidance

My parting tip is not the final one but instead an overarching principle. Each step for meditating on God’s Word requires seeking Holy Spirit guidance if we are to achieve the best results.

Yes, these first four tips do produce results if we rely on our own intellect, but when we seek direction from the Holy Spirit, our insights become much greater.

Whether we’re reading, studying, or meditating on God’s Word, the Holy Spirit can amplify what we’re doing. Jesus told his disciples that the Father would send them an Advocate, the Holy Spirit, to teach them all things (John 14:26).

Just as the Holy Spirit taught Jesus’s followers 2,000 years ago, he can teach us today. All we need to do is ask him to speak to us and guide us when we meditate on God’s Word.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.

Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Christian Living

Immerse Yourself in the Bible

Meditate On God’s Word by Reading a Passage Over and Over

I advocate reading the Bible every day. To make the most out of it requires a plan, such as reading through the Bible in the year. I do this often, but sometimes I want to slow down and focus on a specific text. It’s an issue of quantity versus quality.

To meditate on God’s Word requires taking time and pursuing a quality approach over a quantity mindset. One way to do this is to read a passage over and over. This can occur in one sitting, or, even better, over multiple days. This is how we can immerse ourselves in the Bible.

1 John

I’ve been doing this with the book of 1 John for the past few weeks. Each time I go through John’s letter, I gain new insight. Often, I see something that seems so obvious and wonder why I never noticed it before. Such is the case with immersing myself in 1 John.

First John is a delightful book in the Bible that most people don't give enough attention to. Click To Tweet

So many people revere the gospel of John, and I’m surprised their affection for the apostle’s words don’t carry over to his three letters in the Bible. I hope to change that.

First John, I’m discovering, is a delightful book that most people don’t give enough attention to. It has many parallels with the gospel of John, which I covered in my book Living Water.

Love One Another

Now I’m working on the follow-up book, Love One Another, that covers 1 John, 2 John, and 3 John. I’m really excited about the insights I’m seeing and can’t wait to share them with you.

As I immerse myself in the Bible—as I immerse myself in this passage of Scripture—I rely on the Holy Spirit for guidance, which is another technique to meditate on the Bible.

I have my outline done for the book and have begun writing. You can follow my progress on my Coming Soon page. And, of course, once I publish the book, you’ll find it on my Books page. Look for Love One Another.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.

Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Christian Living

Meditating on God’s Word

Our Actions Are Birthed Through Our Thoughts

It’s essential to read the Bible, but beyond that we should also study Scripture. Even more important, however, is meditating on God’s Word. This is because when we meditate on what the Bible says, it changes what we think about, which affects what we do.

Read the Bible

As followers of Jesus, we learn more about him and how to be his disciples through Scripture. By reading the Bible we get a glimpse into the life of Jesus to see what he said and what he did. Then we can emulate his actions and obey his teachings to become more Christlike.

Study Scripture

Reading the Bible is a great start. I do it every day and encourage everyone to do with as well. Yet beyond reading God’s holy word is to examine it. We should study Scripture.

In the Old Testament we see Ezra devoting himself to studying the law, that is the Jewish Scripture—the Old Testament of the Bible—specifically the Torah, the first five books of the Bible (Ezra 7:10).

In the New Testament, Jesus commends the Jews for their diligent study of the scriptures, which testify about him (John 5:39). Today we have both the Old and New Testaments for us to read and study so we can learn more about Jesus—and about God.

Meditating on God’s Word changes what we think about, which affects what we do. Click To Tweet

Meditate on God’s Word

Studying scripture is a rewarding endeavor, but we must make sure we don’t do it to amass knowledge but to inform our understanding of God. Paul warns the church in Corinth to pursue love over knowledge, saying that knowledge puffs up (1 Corinthians 8:1).

Though the context of Paul’s instruction is about food sacrificed to idols, his warning to not allow ourselves to become proud over our knowledge is a warning we should all heed. We don’t want to take pride in our knowledge about the Bible, to become puffed up by what we know.

Instead, we should take the next step and meditate on it. We should hide God’s Word in our hearts (Psalm 119:11). We do this as we read, study, and meditate on the Bible.

Studying Scripture puts the Bible’s words in our minds; meditating on God’s Word puts it in our hearts. This is where it needs to be; this is where it must be if we are to apply what we read in the Bible to what we do and say.

Drive Our Actions

As we meditate on the Bible—as we hide God’s Word in our hearts—the desired outcome is that we won’t sin against God (Psalm 119:11). Though meditating on God’s Word won’t make us sinless, it will help us to sin less.

This is because what we put into our minds influences what comes out of our mouths and what our body does. Meditating on God’s Word changes what we think about, which affects what we do.

The old computer saying is GIGO—garbage in garbage out. What we enter into a computer is what we can expect to get out of it.

The same is true in our lives. If we fill our minds with junk—with the thoughts of the world, evil, and ideas contrary to the Word of God—that’s what we can expect our minds and our bodies to produce.

Yet if we fill our mind with the thoughts of God, by meditating on God’s Word, we can expect a positive and God-honoring result.

May it be so.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.

Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Peter DeHaan News

New Book: Dr. Luke

(Dear Theophilus series, books 1–2)

Want to learn more about the Gospel of Luke? Seek insights from the book of Acts?

Doctor Luke wrote the two powerful New Testament books of Luke and Acts, giving us a compelling one-two punch into better understanding the life of Jesus and the work of his followers.

Grow in your faith and deepen your understanding of Jesus and his church from these two amazing books in this special box set.

In Dr Luke, lifetime student of the Bible and founder of the website ABibleADay, Peter DeHaan, digs deep into the beloved Gospel of Luke to unearth 40 thought-provoking gems that can inform your beliefs and transform your life. Then build on that foundation by exploring 40 more jewels from the book of Acts.

Part devotional. Part Bible study. Life changing. No fluff.

In this book, you’ll discover:

  • The way Luke viewed God, and how his view might change your view
  • The people who angered Jesus the most, why they frustrated him, and how this applies to us today
  • The importance of community and getting along
  • The example to minister to each other, serve as priests, and tell others about Jesus
  • The model of sharing life with other believers

In Dr. Luke you’ll encounter eye-opening insights from passages you thought were familiar. Find fresh truths as you gain a broader appreciation of Luke’s biography of Jesus and the account of his followers as they formed the Christian church.

Ideal for both individual or group study, this book includes scripture references and questions inviting readers to go deeper.

Get the Dr Luke book today to expand your understanding of Jesus and his church.

[This was first published as Dear Theophilus Box Set, Dr. Luke.]

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.

Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Christian Living

Start Each Day with God

Make Spending Time with the Almighty a Priority

God deserves our best, not whatever’s left over at the end of the day—if anything. This may be why he told the Israelites to give to him their first fruits, the first of their harvest (Exodus 23:16). That’s why we should start each day with God, with a focus on our Lord.

Here are some ideas to start each day with God.

Seek Him Before You Get Up

Before I leave my bed each morning, I turn my focus to God. I thank him for what happened yesterday, for the sleep that rejuvenated me, and the potential of the day ahead. I begin my day with a focus on him, which sets the foundation for what happens next.

Give Him Your Day and Invite Him into It

Before I arise, I thrust my arms into the air in a physical display of worship, giving the Almighty my day and inviting him into it. And the days when this feels the most difficult to do are the days when I need it the most.

Thoughts of trying to navigate the day without my Lord’s help are foolish.

Morning Prayers

At this point I’ve thanked God and prayed for my day. I’m up and have used the mindless task of shaving to shake the slumber from my soul. I’ve done some basic exercises and am (mostly) alert.

I now ask for God’s blessings on my family, for future generations of my family, and those closest to me. This prepares me for what follows.

Read and Study His Word

Next, I spent time reading and studying his Word. Sometimes this is part of a regular reading plan. I often make notes about key insights the Holy Spirit reveals to me from that passage. Though most people do this in a journal, I do it on my computer, organizing my observations by book, chapter, and verse. This way I can merge my thoughts for the day with observations from prior readings.

Other times my Bible reading and studying is in preparation for the book I’ll be working on that day. If I intend to write about a certain passage, I want to first fix my thoughts on it and meditate on it.

I’ve been doing morning Bible reading the longest and it’s ingrained into my day. It’s a lifelong habit that I formed. Only rarely do events distract me from it. I invest about fifteen minutes—though sometimes more—each morning focusing on Scripture.

This action is essential for me to best start my day with God.

Then Take Him Throughout Your Day

With these prerequisites complete, I feel ready to move into my plans for the day. But when I skimp on them, it’s not the best way to start each day with God.

End Your Day with Reflection and Thanksgiving

Though the focus of this post is about how we start each day with God, in some respects this effort begins the night before on how we end each day.

As I snuggle into bed my goal is to thank God for the day and what he enabled me to do. I pray for his blessing on my sleep and that even in my dreams I will hold every thought captive (2 Corinthians 10:5).

This is what I struggle with the most. This isn’t because of a lack of will, but because some nights I fall asleep before I can take this step, or I slip into slumber halfway through.

In case I missed doing this or fell short, that’s why I try to begin the next day by thanking God for the prior one.

We should start each day with God and give him our best. He deserves nothing less and there’s nothing we need more. Click To Tweet

Start Each Day with God

We should start each day with God and give him our best. He deserves nothing less and there’s nothing we need more. Though I don’t always do this as fully as I’d like to, this is how I try to start each day with God.

I pray that you have a regular rhythm for your day that begins with and focuses on our Lord. And if not, use these ideas to encourage you to move forward and place your focus on the Almighty as you begin each day.

Do you like this post? Want to read more? Check out Peter’s book, Bridging the Sacred-Secular Divide: Discovering the Spirituality of Every Day Life, available wherever books are sold.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.

Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Peter DeHaan News

For Unto Us

40 Prophetic Insights About Jesus, Justice, and Gentiles from the Prophet Isaiah

In a world of distractions, this devotional Bible study on Isaiah reminds us where to put our focus and what this faithful prophet can teach us.

Isaiah’s powerful words in the Old Testament look forward to a time when the Messiah will come, the much-anticipated king who will rule over Israel.

For Unto Us, by Peter DeHaan

Although Isaiah’s key message was directed toward the Israelites, his words still bring hope and comfort to a weary world today. For Unto Us: 40 Prophetic Insights About Jesus, Justice, and Gentiles from the Prophet Isaiah reminds us that Jesus not only came to dwell among us, but is still our wonderful counselor, mighty God, everlasting father, and prince of peace.

For Unto Us offers forty days of practical teaching and inspirational encouragement as we study the Old Testament prophecies of Isaiah and their connection to Jesus and how we live today.

This devotional Bible study offers a compelling look at Isaiah’s prophecies concerning the Messiah—the promised one of Israel who brings hope and peace.

For Unto Us will help you to:

  • hold on to a strong faith when times are uncertain
  • foster a sense of awe of who Jesus is and what he has accomplished
  • pursue justice for the vulnerable
  • embrace the coming savior who will welcome all people of all nations
  • inform our life today for a better tomorrow

For Unto Us gives accessible and no-nonsense insights into God’s most prolific prophet. You’ll learn how to connect his writing to your life and apply his words to your world today. With practical application questions and additional resources, you’ll discover an amazing prophet whose words can still inspire us.

For Unto Us is a great resource for those searching for an accessible and clear devotional on Isaiah that won’t overwhelm. Open the pages of this book, and uncover the truths of Scripture that bring comfort and hope each day. 

Get your copy of For Unto Us today.

[For Unto Us was originally published at Dear Theophilus, Isaiah.]

Read more about the book of Isaiah in For Unto Us: 40 Prophetic Insights About Jesus, Justice, and Gentiles from the Prophet Isaiah available in e-book, paperback, and hardcover.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.

Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Christian Living

What Is Sexual Immorality?

Live a Life of Purity and Avoid Being Sexually Immoral

In studying Revelation for my book, A New Heaven and a New Earth, two recurring phrases are sexual immorality and sexually immoral. The Bible decries this is something to avoid. But that begs the question: what is sexual immorality?

No Moral Absolutes?

The world teaches us that there are no moral absolutes. It asserts that it’s up to each person to determine what is morally right for them. This sounds nice. It’s accommodating, but remember in Judges when everyone did what was right in their own eyes? That is, everyone did as they saw fit (Judges 17:6).

This attitude of each person choosing their own moral path separated them from God, and they fell victim to a series of oppressors as a result. We can’t define what morality means at an individual level and expect our determination to please God.

Since it’s not going to work to decide for ourselves what it means to be sexually immoral, let’s look at what the Bible has to say.

Sexual Immorality in the Old Testament

Though we might assume this is an Old Testament concept, warnings about sexual immorality occur mostly in the New Testament.

There is one lone verse in the Old Testament about sexual immorality. You may guess it’s in reference to Sodom and Gomorrah, but it’s not. Ezekiel says that Sodom’s sin was their failure to help the poor and needy, Ezekiel 16:49. He doesn’t mention their sexual practices.

The one Old Testament reference to sexual immorality occurs when the men of Israel engage in sexual immorality with Moabite women, who use sex to entice the men to worshipping their gods instead of the true God. The Lord Almighty is not pleased (Numbers 25:1-3).

This doesn’t mean that the Old Testament is silent on the concept of sexual purity. The law of Moses repeatedly lists—with squirm-producing unease—the relatives who people can’t have sexual relationships with (Leviticus 18:6-23).

I’d have been much more comfortable with Moses simply saying to not have sex with a close relative and left it at that.

Sexual Immorality in the New Testament

In the New Testament, Jesus warns against sexual immorality, Luke covers it in the Book of Acts, and Paul writes about it to the various churches—especially the Corinthians.

And John’s epic end-time vision addresses sexual immorality too, making it abundantly clear that it’s something we should avoid.

What Does the Bible Teach?

In the NIV, Scripture prohibits adultery (sex between a married person and someone other than their spouse), mentioning it forty-five times.

The Bible decries prostitution (sex for money or personal gain), mentioning it thirty-six times, with prostitute showing up seventy-four more times.

Rape (forced or nonconsensual sex) appears nine times.

The evils of incest (sex between closely related relatives) is directly mentioned once, but the concept shows up repeatedly.

Though not mentioned in the NIV, the KJV speaks against fornication (sex between unmarried people) thirty-five times.

Lest there be any doubt, these two hundred various mentions of sexual conduct never occur in a positive manner in Scripture. We can, therefore, use these biblical passages to show us what it means to be sexually immoral.

Sexual immorality is sex outside of marriage. Click To Tweet

It’s clear from all these verses that sexual immorality is sex outside of marriage.

If our determination of sexuality doesn’t align with what the Bible teaches, then we’re out of step with what the Word of God proclaims and what God desires for us.

Even if society applauds us for doing so, God does not. In the end, it’s God’s opinion that matters, not the world’s.

What About Matters of Conscience?

The Bible makes it clear about what sexual behavior is acceptable and what is unacceptable. Paul, however, does make an allowance for conscience, but it may not be what you think.

Paul allows believers to pursue an even higher standard. Abstinence. Paul models this and recommends it as an ideal, but he doesn’t command it. He makes sure we realize it’s optional (1 Corinthians 7:1-7).

Given All This, What Is Sexual Immorality?

In the delusion of an anything-goes worldly mentality, as followers of Jesus we should adhere to the biblical teaching that sexual immorality is sex outside of marriage.

[Read through the Bible with us this year. Today’s reading is Numbers 25-27 and today’s post is on Numbers 25:1-3.]

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.

Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.