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Bible Insights

How Much Do We Love Others?

The Depth of Love is Revealed by How Much We are Willing to Give Up

It is easy to say we love others. It is harder to show it, to prove our words through action. Despite what I may profess, I fear I may be more selfish than I care to admit. I may not love those closest to me as fully as I think I do. And to be honest, I may not love those who are not so close that much at all.

However Jesus shows his love for us by dying in our place. We mess up; we deserve punishment. In fact our mistakes are so many, that our sentence is death.

Out of his deep love for us Jesus volunteers to take our place and receive our punishment. He dies so we don’t have to. This is the ultimate expression of true love.

Yes, there are some I would die for. But not everyone. My love has limits. God’s love does not. Jesus proves that.

Yet as incredible as it seems, Paul offers to take love one step farther. His love for his people is so deep, his compassion so strong, that he is willing to be forever separated from Jesus if it will save them, the Jewish people.

Not some of them, but all of them, even those who are trying to kill him and want him dead.

Paul claims he is willing to spend eternity in hell, forever separated from Jesus, so that his people can spend eternity in heaven, forever in community with Jesus.

He offers to give up so much. Frankly I wonder if he really means it or maybe it’s just hyperbole, an exaggeration to make his point.

Of course he can’t actually carry out such a grand offer, an extravagant show of love. Yet this certainly gives me something to consider, professing love deeply like Paul and showing it profoundly like Jesus.

Are we willing to die for others? Would we go to hell so others can go to heaven? 

[Read through the Bible with us this year. Today’s reading is Romans 8-10, and today’s post is on Romans 9:3.]

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.

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Christian Living

Are You a Person of Integrity?

Righteousness is Another Word for Integrity

Someone once surprised me, catching me off guard by calling me a “man of integrity.” Though honored by their perception, I shook my head. Yes, I aspire to be a person of integrity, but I’m not there. I have a long way to go and will never fully arrive. Still it’s a worthy pursuit.

Do You Cheat at Solitaire?

I recall someone saying that integrity is doing the right thing when no one is looking. I suspect most of you have never played solitaire old school, using a deck of cards, but it’s an easy way to understand this idea of integrity in private.

As someone who has played solitaire with cards, I understand this too well. Holding cards in our hands makes it all too easy to peek at what lies ahead.

Yes, there have been times of integrity when I refused to cheat. And there have been other times when I gave in because I felt that peeking was my only chance to win.

That’s a lack of integrity.

How we play solitaire seems like a small thing with little consequence. But it’s indicative of the whole person. If we maintain our integrity in small things that no one sees, we’re much more likely to do so with the important things that people do see.

It takes conducting both our private and public life well to be a person of integrity.

Are You Honest and Moral?

Two key components of integrity are honesty and morality. Honesty speaks truth even when it’s difficult to do so.

Dishonesty can occur by saying what is untruthful. But it can also occur by not saying what needs saying. Withholding needed information is just as dishonest as speaking lies.

Morality is doing the right thing. It means living the right way. The Bible calls this righteousness, which is not a very popular topic in today’s culture. In fact, morality is not very popular either.

Both honesty and morality are integral requirements for a person of integrity.

Do You Wrap-up Things Well?

I’ve often said that a person reveals their true character by how they leave a job.

Do they quit without notice, leaving their employer in a difficult situation? Or do they give their two-week’s notice and then work hard until the last hour, striving to wrap up their projects and leave on the best possible terms?

That’s integrity.

But this goes beyond ending well each time we leave a job. It’s finishing everything with excellence. It’s completing what we start. When you launch into a project do people suspect you’ll never finish? Or do they know they can depend on you to complete what you said you would do?

That’s a person of integrity.

Will You Finish Strong?

The final wrap-up occurs at the end of our lives. Will we finish the race strong? That was Paul’s goal (Acts 20:24 and 2 Timothy 4:7). Too many people coast toward the finish line of life, and some even give up or make a U-turn to head in the wrong direction.

As for me, I don’t want to lose sight of the goal. I want to run hard to get there. I want to finish strong. I want to be a person of integrity when my life here on earth winds down.

Be a Person of Integrity

Becoming a person of integrity is not a grand, one-time decision. It’s a series of little decisions, moment by moment, day by day. Each one of these helps us establish a habit of integrity. Each one helps us move toward the goal of being a person of integrity.

The opposite is also true. Each time we fail to do what is right, each time we take a shortcut because it’s expedient, and each time we spew a white lie because it’s easier than speaking truth, we move away from integrity.

These also combine over time to lessen our integrity. We then risk becoming dishonest, immoral, and corrupt.

When I think of integrity, I think of righteousness. The opposite of righteousness is unrighteousness. The Bible talks a lot about that—and warns against it.

Each day I strive toward the goal of righteousness, with the intent of becoming a person of integrity. This is not only to serve as an example to others, but also as an act of worship to God. I long to one day hear him say, “Well done good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:21).

May it be so.

[Read through the Bible with us this year. Today’s reading is Acts 20-22 and today’s post is on Acts 20:24.]

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.

Bogged Down Reading the Bible?

10 Essential Bible Reading Tips, from Peter DeHaan

Get the Bible Reading Tip Sheet: “10 Tips to Turn Bible Reading from Drudgery to Delight.”

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Bible Insights

Can We Be Baptized For Dead People?

Understand How to Respond to This Perplexing Practice

A perplexing verse in Paul’s letter to his friends in Corinth mentions being baptized for dead people. What in the world does this mean? It sounds heretical.

Can we be baptized for dead people? Well, I suppose so, but we shouldn’t expect it to accomplish anything. Should we be baptized for dead people? No.

Though the meaning of this verse is unclear—and I won’t attempt to clarify it—we should keep two things in mind:

First, it is likely a reference to an issue confronting only the church in Corinth since it is not mentioned anywhere else in the Bible.

Though we don’t know the background for this particular issue, we do know the Corinthian church had many issues, with this being one of them.

Let’s not make this our issue by adopting their misguided practice. After all, they had many unwise practices.

Second, and most importantly, is that Paul shares this procedure in a descriptive manner. He is simply describing something other people are doing. Paul does not command we do this, he does not recommend we do this, and he does not model this.

If we did everything the Bible described, we’d be a sorry lot.

Instead let’s look at what the Bible commands. That will keep us busy for a long time.

[Read through the Bible with us this year. Today’s reading is 1 Corinthians 14-16, and today’s post is on 1 Corinthians 15:29.]

Read more in Peter’s book, Love is Patient (book 7 in the Dear Theophilus series).

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

As Jesus’s Followers We Are to Live in Perfect Unity

We Glorify God and Serve as the Most Effective Witness When We Get Along

I write a lot about the importance of Christian unity. This is because Jesus prayed that we would be one, and I embrace his request and vision as imperative. If we profess to following Jesus, we need to all get along. We must live in unity, perfect unity.

I’m not just talking about unity within your congregation, though that’s important. I’m not alluding to unity within your denomination, though that’s important too. And I’m not even referring to unity with those churches that agree with yours.

True unity addresses the entire church of Jesus, that’s all who follow him. He wants us all to get along. Every one of us. This includes other Christians we disagree with—especially those we disagree with.

Jesus Prayed for Our Unity

In Jesus’s lengthy prayer before he died for us, he wrapped up by praying for all his future followers that we would get along and be one, just as he and his Father are one (John 17:23). Their example is one of perfect unity, and we must pursue it with all diligence.

Jesus Died for Our Unity

Jesus died as the ultimate sin sacrifice to redeem us—to make us right with Father God—and bring about unity to all things in heaven and on earth through him. All things include us—it especially includes us (Ephesians 1:7-10).

We Are to Live in Unity

Furthermore, Paul urges the Ephesians—and by extension us—to live a life worthy of our calling, to be humble, gentle, patient, and loving, to make every effort to live in unity. This is because we are one body, through one Spirit, called to one hope, through one Lord, one faith, and one baptism, from one God (Ephesians 4:1-6). We are to be one. This is what it means to live in perfect unity and why we should do so.

True Love Results in Unity

Paul also writes as God’s chosen people—as followers of Jesus—we are to live with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. We are to bear with one another and forgive one another, just as Jesus forgave us. These all fall under the umbrella of love, working together to produce perfect unity (Colossians 3:12-14).

Live in Perfect Unity

As followers of Jesus, we must get along. We must live in unity with one another. This is an answer to his prayer for us, glorifies Father God, and serves as our most effective witness to a watching world who needs Jesus to save them.

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.

Bogged Down Reading the Bible?

10 Essential Bible Reading Tips, from Peter DeHaan

Get the Bible Reading Tip Sheet: “10 Tips to Turn Bible Reading from Drudgery to Delight.”

​Enter your info and receive the free Bible Reading Tip Sheet and be added to Peter’s email list.

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Christian Living

What Happened to Integrity?

May Our Life Honor God and Be an Example to Others

Integrity is largely missing in our world today. It looms as an out-of-date concept. Many even mock it as restrictive, limiting our desire to act however we want.

Integrity is an unwavering adherence to moral principles and ethical behavior. It’s being honest. It’s sound moral character.

Given this definition, don’t we want to deal with people of integrity? Certainly we expect the companies we do business with to act with integrity. But many do not.

Don’t we want our friends—especially our closest ones—to be people of integrity? And we desire that our family and loved ones will live lives of integrity.

Yet we must wonder if we act with the same integrity that we expect from others.

Integrity is also biblical.

Consider Job

In the Bible we see Job as a man of integrity. Even Satan, Job’s accuser, views him as a man of integrity (Job 2:3). So does Job’s wife (Job 2:9). And even Job himself (Job 27:5). In the end, God rewards him for it.

Other People in the Bible

The Old Testament says that David leads the people with integrity (Psalm 78:72). And Hananiah is a trustworthy man of integrity (Nehemiah 7:2).

Paul self identifies as a man of integrity (2 Corinthians 1:12). And he encourages Titus to do the same (Titus 2:7-8).

Lessons from Proverbs

The book of proverbs also covers this topic.

If we walk in integrity, we will walk securely (Proverbs 10:9).

Our integrity will guide us (Proverbs 11:3) and guard us (Proverbs 13:6).

Last, the bloodthirsty—implicitly evil people—will hate those with integrity (Proverbs 29:10).

Leadership

In Paul’s instructions to Timothy, he teaches his protegee to appoint leaders in the area. They must be people of integrity (1 Timothy 3:8), just as we expect from all our church leaders and spiritual mentors.

The Integrity of Jesus

Most importantly, we see throughout the four biographies of Jesus that he is a man of integrity.

Even Jesus’s detractors confirm this (Matthew 22:16 and Mark 12:14). Though their words may be disingenuous, complimenting him to catch him off guard, we realize they acknowledge an underlying truth that even they’re aware of.

Jesus’s life serves as an example for us to emulate, the best model we could follow. As we seek to be like Jesus, we will be people of integrity.

And as people of integrity, we will honor him, be an example to others, and serve as a witness to the world. And our actions will speak more powerfully than our words.

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.

Bogged Down Reading the Bible?

10 Essential Bible Reading Tips, from Peter DeHaan

Get the Bible Reading Tip Sheet: “10 Tips to Turn Bible Reading from Drudgery to Delight.”

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Bible Insights

3 Unusual Examples of God’s Healing Power

God Uses His People to Heal the Hurting

Elisha dies, but his influence lives on. Yes, Elisha continues to teach us today, thousands of years after his death, through the words recorded about him in the Bible. However, he also has a practical effect on someone postmortem. It’s one example of God’s amazing healing power through his people.

1. The Healing Power of Elisha’s Bones

A man dies, and his friends are burying him when a gang of bandits come into view. Not wanting to end up like their buddy, the pallbearers dump the body in the nearest tomb.

It happens to be Elisha’s final resting place. When the body touches the bones of Elisha, the dead man becomes undead and jumps to his feet (2 Kings 13:21).

This is an amazing example of God’s power to heal. It’s the ultimate healing: resurrection. But that’s not all. Here are two more stories.

2. The Healing Power of Peter’s Shadow

The Bible also tells about people bringing their infirmed friends and placing them on the street where they expect Peter to travel. They hope Peter’s shadow might fall on the sick as he passes by.

Though the Bible doesn’t explicitly say that people received healing this way, why would they go to this trouble if Peter’s shadow hadn’t healed others in the past? (Acts 5:15).

3. The Healing Power of Paul’s Handkerchief

Later in the book of Acts, we read about God doing astonishing miracles through Paul. This supernatural power is so extraordinary that even handkerchiefs and aprons that Paul touches have the power to heal people.

They bring these garments to people who need healing. The people who receive them are cured and evil spirits are cast out, even though Paul isn’t physically present (Acts 19:11-12).

God’s Power to Heal Is in Us

God’s healing power occurs through a dead man’s bones, a shadow, and articles of clothing. Is God still in the business of healing people? How can these examples inform our view of miracles and how we act today?

[Read through the Bible this year. Today’s reading is 2 Kings 11-13, and today’s post is on 2 Kings 13:21.]

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

5 New Testament Ideas for Church

Discover What the Bible Teaches About Meeting Together

While considering a better New Testament approach to church, we talked about the three key perspectives that Jesus changed: meeting in homes, serving as priests, and helping those in need.

Then we looked at ten more New Testament practices: relying on the Holy Spirit, worship, prayer, fasting, community, eating together, caring for our people, valuing one another, helping others, and informal leadership.

Now we’ll look at five more tangible ideas of church and meeting together from the pages of the New Testament.

1. The Acts 2 Church

Just days after Pentecost, the people who follow Jesus are hanging out. This is the first church. What do they do?

Luke records their activities:

  • They learn about Jesus. Think of this as a new believer’s class. Remember, they’re mostly all new to their faith in Jesus. This is teaching.
  • They spend time with each other. This is fellowship.
  • They share meals. This is community.
  • They pray. This is connecting with God.
  • They meet every day at the temple were people outside their group are. This is outreach.
  • They also meet in homes. This is fellowship.
  • They share all their possessions. This is generosity.
  • They praise God. This is worship.

As a result, more people join them every day. This is what the early church does and how God blesses them (Acts 2:42–47).

What significant is what they don’t do. There’s no mention of weekly meetings, sermons, music, or offerings. If we’re serious about church in its purest form, the early church in Acts 2 gives us much to contemplate when we consider how our church should function today.

2. The Acts 4 Example

As the book of Acts unfolds with its historical narrative of the early church, Luke notes two more characteristics of that church: unity and sharing everything (Acts 4:32).

First, the church is of one heart and mind, just as Jesus prayed (John 17:21). Their actions are consistent with his prayer that they would be one then, just as we would be one today. Jesus prayed it, and the early church does it.

Unity describes what everyone of us should pursue and what every church should be. Jesus yearns for us to be united. Over the centuries Jesus’s followers in his church have done a poor job living in unity, as one.

Second, no one claims their possessions as their own. This isn’t a mine-versus-yours mentality. Everything is ours. They have a group perspective and act in the community’s best interest. They do it out of love for each other. They share everything they have. Not some, not half, but all.

This example is hard for many in our first-world churches to follow today, though not as much for congregations in developing countries. Regardless, while we might do well to hold our possessions loosely, this isn’t a command. Later Peter confirms that sharing resources is optional (Acts 5:4).

From Acts 4 we see an example of unity and generosity. This complete generosity, however, is a practice that happens at this snapshot of time for the early church. We will do well to consider how we can apply it today.

3. Paul’s Perspective

Now let’s look at a third passage. In it, Paul instructs the church in Corinth of how their meetings should proceed (1 Corinthians 14:26–31). While Paul writes to the Corinthian church, there’s no reason why we shouldn’t follow his directives as well today.

Paul opens by saying “each of you.” This means everyone should participate. The idea of all those present taking part suggests an egalitarian community gathering, where everyone contributes, and everyone ministers to each other.

This removes the divide between leader and follower, which happens in today’s church services. During a typical church service today a few people lead, while most people watch.

This means that only some are active during the service, while most sit as passive observers, as if going to a concert or attending a lecture.

Instead Paul wants everyone involved, where each person can minister to one another. He lists five activities that should take place.

Sing a Song

First, when we meet, we should sing a hymn or share a song. This could mean playing a musical instrument so that others can sing along. For those who can’t play an instrument or lead others in singing, a modern-day option might be to play a recording of a song.

Anyone can do that. Our singing could also mean—it probably means—launching into a song or chorus a cappella as the Holy Spirit leads.

Teach a Lesson

Second, the same approach applies for giving a word of instruction. We don’t need to preach a half-hour to an hour-long sermon. In this case less is more.

We can often communicate much by speaking little. Saying something concisely in thirty seconds may be more meaningful than droning on for thirty minutes. Again, no preparation required. Everyone who’s present can do this.

All we need is a willingness to share something God taught us or that we learned through studying Scripture. In addition, we can rely on the Holy Spirit to tell us what to share during our meeting. It can build off what someone else has already said, or it may be a new topic.

Share a Revelation

Third, the idea of having a revelation to share will seem normal to some and mystical to others. Think of a revelation as special knowledge that God has given to us. He can do this through what we read or things we see. And it can be through Holy Spirit insight.

Regardless of the source of our revelation, Paul wants us to share our insights with those gathered.

Speak in Tongues

The last two items on the list may, or may not, be a comfortable activity. Speaking in tongues is the first of these two items. The Bible talks about speaking in tongues, and Paul instructs the people in Corinth how to do it. It’s biblical, and we should consider this for our church community.

But it may be optional, because Paul later says, if anyone speaks in tongues (1 Corinthians 14:27). This implies speaking in tongues is not a requirement. But he does give guidelines for when people do speak in tongues (1 Corinthians 14:27–30). We will do well to follow Paul’s words.

Interpret the Tongue

Fifth, after someone speaks in an unknown language, someone must interpret it. Implicitly, if no one can interpret the message, then the person shouldn’t share it (1 Corinthians 14:28). After all, how can words that no one understands build up the church? (1 Corinthians 14:8-9).

The Holy Spirit’s Role

These five items require no preparation, just a willingness to notice the direction of God’s Spirit. This means listening to the Holy Spirit and responding as he directs. Implicit in this, we will encounter times of silence as we wait and listen. Silence unnerves some people today. But listening to and obeying the Holy Spirit is central to the gatherings of the early church.

Paul says everything we do at our meetings must be for the purpose of building up the church, to strengthen the faith and community of those present. This means not doing or saying anything to elevate ourselves or draw attention to our abilities.

Instead we should humble ourselves and do things for the common good of Jesus’s church. This will best advance the kingdom of God and the good news of Jesus.

4. Don’t Forget Meeting Together

Note that Paul’s instructions to the Corinthian church, says when you come together, not if you come together. This reminds us that gathering with other followers of Jesus should be a regular occurrence, not optional (1 Corinthians 14:26).

The book of Hebrews confirms this idea of regular interaction when it warns to not give up meeting together. We do this to encourage others to better love and help each other (Hebrews 10:24–25).

This idea of coming together, of meeting with others, can occur on Sunday morning, or it can happen at any other day or time. The Bible doesn’t tell us when to meet. Gathering Sunday morning is merely a practice that developed over time.

Though many people interpret this instruction to not give up meeting together as a command to attend church, it isn’t. Not really. While meeting together can include going to church on Sunday, it should encompass much more.

It’s a call for intentional interaction with other followers of Jesus. Jesus says anywhere two or three people gather in his name—that is, they get together and place their focus on him—he will join them (Matthew 18:20).

Here are some ideas of how and where we can meet in Jesus’s name.

Meals

Most people enjoy meals with others, and most Christians pray before they eat. Isn’t this gathering in Jesus’s name? While we may eat some meals alone, we potentially have three times each day to connect with others and include Jesus when we eat. But do we make the most of these opportunities?

Coffee Shop

People often meet at coffee shops to hang out. If we include God in our meeting, either explicitly or implicitly, we assemble in his name.

Homes

Do you invite people into your home or see others in theirs? If we both love Jesus, doesn’t this become a get together which includes him? It should.

Outings

What about going on a picnic, to the game, the gym, or shopping? With intentionality, each of these can be another opportunity to meet with others in his name.

Small Groups

Many churches provide opportunities for attendees to form intentional gatherings with a small number of people. This facilitates connection and draws us to God. But this doesn’t need to be the result of a formal small group program in our church.

We can make our own small group whenever we wish, meeting in the name of Jesus.

Church

Yes, church is on this list of places where we can gather in the name of Jesus. I list it last because it might be the least important. This is because when we go to church, we usually do it wrong. Consider the rest of the verse to find out why.

People tend to skip that part. The reason we are to meet is so that we may encourage one another. The Bible says so, but how often do we do this at our church meetings?

If we leave church discouraged or fail to encourage others while we’re there, then we’ve missed the point of meeting together. While some people make a big deal out of going to church, they’re quick to miss that the reason is to provide encouragement. If we’re not doing that, then we might as well stay home.

5. What Jesus Says

Let’s return our discussion to Jesus.

Recall that after Jesus rises from the dead, he tells his followers to stay in Jerusalem, waiting for a surprise Father God has planned for them: the gift of the Holy Spirit to come upon them and give them supernatural power (Acts 1:4–5).

They wait, and the Holy Spirit shows up (Acts 2:1–4). Amazing things happen, and the number of Jesus’s followers explodes (Acts 2:41).

They wait in Jerusalem as instructed, and they receive the gift of Holy Spirit power as promised. But after all that, they remain in Jerusalem.

Instead they’re supposed to spread out and share Jesus’s good news around the world. He told them to do that too (Matthew 28:19–20). But they don’t. They stay put.

They don’t realize that God’s instructions to wait in Jerusalem doesn’t mean they’re supposed to stay there forever. Sometimes what God tells us to do is only for a season.

Then there’s something else for us to do. But if we don’t make that transition, we end up being in the wrong place, doing the wrong thing.

Instead of staying in Jerusalem—something they’re used to and comfortable with—their mission is to go into the world and make disciples (Matthew 28:19–20).

How well are we doing at going into the world and making disciples today? Are we staying put in our church—what we’re used to doing and where we’re comfortable—or are we looking outside of our church to do what Jesus said to do?

I suspect you know the answer.

Make Disciples

Today’s church falls short of being witnesses and making disciples. To do so requires an outward perspective, yet most all churches have an inward focus. They care for their own to the peril of others. Many churches ignore outsiders completely, sometimes even shunning them.

Yes, God values community and wants us to meet (Hebrews 10:25). And the Bible is packed with commands and examples of worshiping God.

Most churches do the meeting together part, albeit with varying degrees of success. Many of those churches have a time of worship as they meet, though perhaps not always “in the Spirit” or “in truth” as Jesus said to do (John 4:23–24).

Yet few churches look outside their walls to go into their community—let alone the world—to witness and make disciples. Though Jesus said to wait for the Holy Spirit, he didn’t say to wait for people to come to us, to enter our churches so we could witness and disciple them.

No, we’re supposed to leave our Sunday sanctuary to take this Jesus-mandated work to them. We can’t do that in a church building on Sunday morning, safely snug behind closed doors.

If we want to make disciples, we need to go out and find them. This brings us to the second part.

Go into the World

There is a time to come together and a time to worship, but there is also a time to go. And we need to give more attention to the going part.

I know of two churches that sent their congregations out into their community on Sunday mornings, foregoing the church service so they can be a church that serves. One church did it a few times and stopped after they saw little results and received much grumbling.

The other church regularly plans this a few times each year and receives a positive reception from their community.

These were both service initiatives, not outright evangelism. But the best—and easiest—way to talk to people about Jesus is to first serve them in his name.

Every church should make a positive impact on their community. They do this best by entering it. Yet so few do. They’re too focused on meeting together and worshiping instead of going out into the world to make disciples.

Summary

We will do well to reform our church practices to conform to these five biblical concepts.

  1. Follow the early church’s example to learn about Jesus, pursue fellowship and community, pray and worship, meet daily in public and in homes, and practice kindness.
  2. Pursue unity and generosity.
  3. Be ready to rely on the Holy Spirit to sing, teach, share a revelation, speak in tongues, and interpret a tongue.
  4. Refresh our idea of what meeting together means.
  5. Balance our inward efforts on church meetings and worship with an outward focus on going into the world to make disciples.

Pick one change to make and then pursue it.

Read more about this in Peter’s thought-provoking book, Jesus’s Broken Church, available in e-book, audiobook, 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.

Categories
Christian Living

Discover What the Bible Says about How to Treat One Another

Apply These Biblical Tips on How to Value Others

Throughout the New Testament we see instructions of how we should treat one another. Let’s call these the “one another” directives. We are to:

The last two of these one-another commands come from the mouth of Jesus. The rest of them are in the letters written by Paul, John, and Peter, as well as the author of Hebrews.

Love One Another

The charge to love one another is the most common of them, mentioned ten times. Jesus, Paul, Peter, and John all tell us to love one another. Jesus says that loving one another is his new command to us (John 13:34-35).

Another time Jesus says that the greatest commandment of the Old Testament law is to fully love God, and the second most important one is to love others as much as we love ourselves (Matthew 22:35-40).

In a world that has multiple meanings for the word and a distorted understanding of how it functions, what does real love look like? How do we fully love one another? The Bible explains that too. Paul says that love:

  • is patient
  • is kind
  • does not envy
  • does not boast
  • is not proud
  • is not dishonorable of others
  • is not self-seeking
  • is not easily angered
  • keeps no record of wrongs
  • does not delight in evil
  • rejoices with the truth
  • always protects
  • always trusts
  • always hopes
  • always perseveres

From Gods perspective on the topic, love never fails (1 Corinthians 13:4-8).

We can then understand love as an overarching principle, a foundation for all others. Afterall, Paul does say that love stands above all else (1 Corinthians 13:13).

As a church, however, we’re doing a poor job of following these one-another instructions. If each person individually did their part to apply these commands in their every-day interactions, our church would be a much different place. And the world in which we live would be better off.

If each person did their part to apply these biblical instructions on how to treat one another, our church—and our world—would be a much better place.

Read more about this in Peter’s thought-provoking book, Jesus’s Broken Church, available in e-book, audiobook, 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 Does the Bible Mean When It Says, “All Scripture?”

The Whole Bible Can Teach Us about God and Instruct Us in His Ways

One verse I heard often at a particular church I attended was 2 Timothy 3:16. It says, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,” (KJV).

This verse was cited to remind us of the holiness and practical applicability of the Bible to inform our daily lives. According to this preacher, “all scripture” referred to the KJV, the only version he accepted.

However, let’s consider the phrase all scripture. When Paul wrote these words to Timothy, the New Testament didn’t exist. So Paul couldn’t have been referring to that text.

Yes, there were various portions of what later became the New Testament being circulated among the followers of Jesus, but they also shared other texts that didn’t make it into today’s Bible. Therefore, Paul couldn’t have meant for all scripture to encompass the New Testament.

From Paul’s perspective, when he said, all scripture, he envisioned the texts that were available to the Jewish people at that time. This would certainly include the Old Testament) and may have included other supporting religious documents).

The version of the Bible in use in Paul’s time was the Septuagint, a Greek translation of the Old Testament. The Septuagint included the thirty-nine books Protestants have in their Old Testament, but it also included more.

The Septuagint used during the lifetime of Jesus and Paul, also included the books we now call the Apocrypha. So these books of the Apocrypha would fall under Paul’s umbrella term of all scripture.

And for my preacher friend who insisted on reading the Bible in the KJV, I must point out that the original version of the KJV included the Apocrypha.

That’s something to think about.

If the Apocrypha is part of what Paul meant when he said, all scripture, then the Apocrypha is also “useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.”

The Books of the Apocrypha Included in the Septuagint Are:

See why Christians Should Consider the Entire Bible.

When Paul writes that all scripture is profitable, I take him seriously. And I encourage you to as well.

[Read through the Bible with us this year. Today’s reading is 2 Timothy 1-4 and today’s post is on 2 Timothy 3:16.]

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

Love Is Patient Audiobook

New Format Released

The audiobook for Love Is Patient is now available.

Joining the e-book, paperback, and hardcover formats of Love Is Patient, is the new audiobook. It is auto-narrated by Maxwell.

Love Is Patient is a devotional Bible study on 1 and 2 Corinthians, letters written by the apostle Paul to the fledging church in Corinth.

The Corinthian church had issues. Lots of them, just like many churches today. Through this chapter-by-chapter study, we’ll examine Paul’s teaching to this struggling church.

In this insightful exploration of 1 and 2 Corinthians, we’ll discern how his instructions to them two thousand years ago best apply to us today.

Love Is Patient Audio Sample

Love Is Patient is book 7 in the beloved Dear Theophilus series.

The audiobook is currently available from GooglePlay, Apple Books, and Kobo, with more outlets being added.

Get your copy of Love Is Patient today.

Love Is Patient Book Trailer