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Bible Insights

Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life

The source of life, truth, and the way to Father God is through Jesus

The disciple Thomas wants to go where Jesus will go but doesn’t know how to proceed. He seeks clarification. Jesus gives him a five part answer, which another disciple John records for us.

Jesus says, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me,” (John 14:6, NIV).

I Am

In the Old Testament God the Father effectively tells Moses to think of him as “I am.” When Jesus repeats this phrase in his concise answer we are reminded that Jesus also exists as God, in the form of God the Son.

The Way

Jesus is the path to God the Father. Jesus points us in the right direction and provides the means for us to get there.

The Truth

Jesus personifies truth. He exemplifies truth, proclaims truth, and models truth. We can rely on the words of Jesus as true.

The Life

Not only does Jesus give us life, he is life. As taking part in creation, he emerges as one with life eternal.

As God the Son, Jesus provides us with the path to God the Father. Click To Tweet

The Door to Father God

The first four parts of Jesus’s answer, culminate in his conclusion: it is through him that we are reconciled with God the Father.

Jesus is the way. He provides all that we need for our journey in this life and into the next.

[Read through the Bible with us this year. Today’s reading is John 13-15, and today’s post is on John 14:5-6.]

Read more in Peter’s new book, Living Water: 40 Reflections on Jesus’s Life and Love from the Gospel of John, available everywhere 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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Bible Insights

Jesus and Justice

Our Savior Came to Heal and to Save

After giving us four chapters of historical narrative, Isaiah shifts back to more prophecy. His future-focused look tells us about Jesus and justice.

Though Jesus is God’s Son, as our Savior—the Messiah—he is also God’s servant, who will come to earth in service of Father God to restore us into a right relationship with him. God chose Jesus to redeem his people, for God delights in him.

Under the power of God’s Spirit, the Messiah will champion justice. This justice isn’t only for the nation of Judah, but it’s for all nations—all people, everyone. This Savior will not proclaim his message with loud, boisterous words but with gentleness. He will protect the weak and encourage those who struggle.

Jesus

Jesus will faithfully promote justice, never wavering from his mission. Through his followers, both then and now, he will persist until he spreads justice throughout the whole world.

Centuries after Isaiah’s prophecy, when Jesus comes to earth, he will come to heal and to save. Today most people seek Jesus for his saving power, while two thousand years ago people came to him more for his healing power.

Where does justice fit into all this?

Justice

The people in the Old Testament expected that the promised Savior would come as a military leader to rescue them from their oppressors. They assumed he would be an actual king, in the line of King David, ushering in an era of justice.

They believed that at his arrival, the Jews would finally receive fair treatment meted out by a morally righteous leader. He would be true in all he does, governing his people with excellence and protecting them from the immoral oppression of ungodly leaders from opposing nations.

Many people today seek a Savior who will provide them with justice. They need Jesus. Click To Tweet

Most of us don’t see Jesus today as a physical Savior but as a spiritual Savior. However, throughout the world, many people struggle under the weight of oppressive regimes. They need physical deliverance. They seek the Savior who will provide them with justice. They need Jesus.

We all do.

[Read through the Bible with us this year. Today’s reading is Isaiah 42-45 and today’s post is on Isaiah 42:1.]

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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Bible Insights

What is Eternal Life?

When Does Eternal Life Begin

The phrase eternal life occurs forty-two times in the Bible. But what exactly does this mean? Do you know that eternal life begins now?

Some think that it is a synonym for heaven. If we believe in Jesus, we will go to heaven when we die. That is what eternal life means. That’s a good start to our understanding of the phrase, but that’s not all there is to it. There’s more, much more.

As we read the Bible, we get a sense of our life eternal beginning now, here in this world. We learn this from the apostle John, whose references to eternal life are often present tense. This means that it begins now.

Eternal life begins here on earth through Jesus. Click To Tweet

When we follow Jesus, our life eternal with him, and through him, begins immediately. Right now. Today. It begins here on earth through Jesus and continues into heaven when our physical bodies die.

If you follow Jesus, you can begin enjoying his eternal life today.

[See verses about eternal life in the NIV Bible, John 5:24, John 3:14-21, John 5:39-40, John 3:34-36.]

Read more in Peter’s new book, Living Water: 40 Reflections on Jesus’s Life and Love from the Gospel of John, available everywhere 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

Martin Luther Supported the Sacrament of Penance

But Luther believed the Pope had no power over purgatory

Martin Luther’s second group of ninety-five theses addressed the pope’s authority over purgatory, or to be more correct, the pope’s lack of authority. Martin asserted that the pope had no power when it came to remitting sins and their penalty in purgatory.

Though some accounts claim Luther found no biblical support for purgatory itself, as well as the Sacrament of Penance, his ninety-five theses don’t support this position.

Martin Luther’s 95 Theses: Celebrating the Protestant Reformation in the 21st Century

He agreed that the Sacrament of Penance allows for forgiveness of sins to those who are truly sorry for their actions. He didn’t criticize penance. The difference between the Sacrament of Penance and the pope’s greatly expanded extension of the concept may not be immediately apparent, but the distinction is significant.

The essential aspects of penance reside in admitting mistakes and being remorseful for them. After meeting these conditions, the priest offers forgiveness for the confessed sins.

What the pope had approved, however, was far different. He removed the elements of confession and repentance. Then he replaced them with a monetary payment.

Next, the scope of forgiveness expanded to cover all sins, not specific ones. And last, instead of addressing forgiveness in this life, the pope authorized a future forgiveness in death.

Martin made his view clear: The pope had overreached. The papal indulgences didn’t, and couldn’t, remove guilt. These full indulgences fell short of being able to reconcile people with God, which comes solely from sincere repentance.

The extent of the pope’s actual authority was limited to what he imposed, not what God established. The pope didn’t have a stockpile of eternal credits. He couldn’t subjectively transfer salvation to others.

Even if one person could go beyond what God requires, they couldn’t save their excess to use later for someone else, as some people believed. Only Jesus can do that. And he did. He freely offered forgiveness to all who believe, without any involvement of the pope.

Martin Luther concluded that the pope had no real authority over purgatory. Click To Tweet

From this Martin concluded that the pope had no real authority over purgatory. Martin argued that if the pope truly did have power to release one person from purgatory that he should release all people. That out of love he could free everyone.

This would effectively abolish purgatory. And if the pope intentionally left people in purgatory merely to raise money, his actions accounted for nothing more than greed.

Martin did, however, identify one thing the pope could do in relation to purgatory. He could pray for the early release of the people there, an action any member of the clergy could exercise.

Prior to Martin, others had proclaimed salvation only through Jesus and questioned the pope’s authority over purgatory. They did this without being charged with heresy. Had Martin restricted the focus to these points, he might have escaped the firestorm of attacks that followed. But he took one more step.

Read more about Martin Luther and the Protestant Reformation in Peter DeHaan’s book Martin Luther’s 95 Theses: Celebrating the Protestant Reformation in the 21st Century. Buy it today to discover more about Martin Luther and his history-changing 95 theses.

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

There’s No Shortcut to Heaven: Buying Full Indulgences Won’t Help

Martin Luther worried that buying full indulgences served to hinder salvation

What most raised the ire of the Church against Martin Luther and his ninety-five theses, however, was not his claim of salvation through Jesus alone or the pope having no power over purgatory, but his bold statement that full indulgences served to hinder salvation.

False Security

Martin realized indulgences instilled a false sense of spiritual security in those who bought them. It was as if they had purchased a pass to enter heaven; they were good to go. Then they could live their life as they wanted, without regard for what God wanted.

Instead, the people’s complete trust in papal indulgences to secure their salvation removed the requirement of repentance and damned them for eternity.

With their certificate of indulgence in hand, a full indulgence, the people no longer felt a need to repent, Mark 1:15, or to work out their salvation by doing good and helping the poor, Philippians 2:12.

Martin Luther’s 95 Theses: Celebrating the Protestant Reformation in the 21st Century

Help the Poor

Jesus, however, commends those who clothe the naked and care for the sick, Matthew 25:34-40. Yet all the attention given to buying indulgences removed the focus from those in need.

Jesus didn’t say, “Sell your cloak and buy an indulgence.” (He said to “sell your cloak and buy a sword,” Luke 22:36.)

Martin noted that when people paid for their indulgences, they in effect diverted money from the poor and even the needs of their own family. Instead, they redirected it to the Church. Full indulgences had the direct impact of producing less charity for those who needed it most.

Selling Full Indulgences Fund the Church

Instead it provided more money to those in power who already had too much. The Church wanted the people’s money. They had already downplayed helping the poor so they could receive more. The sale of indulgences advanced their unethical quest to get more of their followers’ cash.

Full indulgences were also dangerous because they encouraged complacency.

God’s work in the lives of his creation unfolds in a strange way. Only when a person feels completely lost can the light of God provide the needed illumination.

Yet the crutch of indulgences kept people from ever feeling utterly lost and in need of God. True peace comes from faith in Jesus, not by receiving absolution through the purchase of an indulgence.

Faith in Jesus

As a response to placing faith in Jesus comes the need to carry our cross to follow him as his disciple, Luke 14:27. We die to self to live for God. We deny our wishes and become crucified with Jesus, just like Paul, Galatians 2:20.

The cross of Jesus, not an indulgence from a pope, provides the way to cover our wrongs.

In response to placing faith in Jesus, we need to carry our cross to follow him as his disciple. Click To Tweet

The German people had long lived under the financial tyranny of the Church. They sought relief. Martin’s theses demanded financial liberation and resonated with them. They understood it. It became their manifesto against the Church’s corrupt money grab.

Luther’s 95 Theses

What most of the German people didn’t grasp, however, was Martin’s call to be crucified with Jesus. The people rallied around a vision of financial release from the Church’s practices, thanks to some of Martin’s theses.

As a result, the other theses accompanied them. This pushed the group of ninety-five theses forward, even if the people didn’t understand them all.

Though Martin understood his 95 theses, he had no idea of the problems they would cause.

Read more about Martin Luther and the Protestant Reformation in Peter DeHaan’s book Martin Luther’s 95 Theses: Celebrating the Protestant Reformation in the 21st Century. Buy it today to discover more about Martin Luther and his history-changing 95 theses.

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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Bible Insights

10 People Raised from the Dead in the Bible

Resurrections Occur in Both the Old and New Testaments

In the Bible, dead people return to life. This happens on ten occasions, with three resurrections occurring in the Old Testament and seven times in the New. Check out these stories of people supernaturally raised from the dead.

1. Son of a Widow in Zarephath

The first person the Bible records as raised from the dead is the son of a widow in Zarephath. Her boy gets sick, his illness gets worse, and he dies. The woman lashes out at Elijah, blaming him and God.

Elijah shoves aside her hurtful words. He goes to where the boy’s body lays, and he cries out to God. Three times he stretches himself over the dead body and asks God to return the child’s life. God does, and the boy’s mother affirms Elijah (1 King 17:17-24).

2. Shunammite Woman’s Son

Elijah’s successor, Elisha, also raises a boy from the dead. The boy labors in the field with his father and gets a headache. The pain intensifies, and at noon the boy dies. His mother, a Shunammite woman, searches for Elisha and tells him what happened.

He sends his servant Gehazi to go to lay Elisha’s staff on the boy to bring him back to life. Gehazi tries but is unsuccessful. When Elisha arrives, he prays to God and lays on top of the boy. The boy’s dead body begins to warm. Elisha paces the room a bit and tries again.

The boy sneezes seven times, and his eyes open. He’s alive (2 Kings 4:18–37).

3. An Unnamed Man

In one of the more bizarre resurrections, a dead man’s body is hastily thrown into Elisha’s tomb. When the dead body touches Elisha’s bones, it comes to life and stands up, very much alive (2 Kings 13:20–21).

These are the three resurrections that occur in the Old Testament, one from Elijah and two from Elisha, albeit the second one after Elisha’s death. Interestingly, when Elisha gets ready to succeed Elijah, Elisha asks for a double portion of Elijah’s spirit.

God grants it, and we see it come to pass, with Elijah raising one person to life and Elisha resurrecting two (2 Kings 2:9–12).

4. Son of a Widow from Nain

In the New Testament, Jesus goes to the town of Nain. He sees a funeral possession and stops it. He tells the grieving mother, who is also a widow, to not cry. He commands the dead boy’s body to get up. The corpse sits up and talks (Luke 7:11–17).

5. Jairus’s Daughter

Another time, a synagogue leader, Jairus, begs Jesus to come to his house to heal his sick girl. Jesus agrees but another hurting person delays him along the way. Before he can get to Jairus’s house, the girl dies. Jesus tells Jairus to not worry and believe.

When Jesus arrives, he proclaims to the mourners gathered that she isn’t dead but merely sleeping. They mock him, knowing that she’s dead. Jesus takes her hand and tells her to get up. Life flows back into her body and she stands (Luke 8:40–56).

6. Lazarus

Lazarus is sick. His sisters, Mary and Martha, send for Jesus to come heal their ailing brother. Jesus doesn’t leave right away, and Lazarus dies.

By the time Jesus shows up, Lazarus has been dead and buried for four days. After interacting with the two mourning sisters, Jesus goes to the tomb were Lazarus’s body lays.

Jesus tells them to unseal the tomb, but the people object. They worry about the stench from Lazarus’s decaying body. But eventually they roll away the stone, unblocking the entrance to the tomb. Jesus commands Lazarus to come out. Lazarus does (John 11:1–44).

7. Many Holy People in Jerusalem

When Jesus dies, the curtain in the temple rips in half, the earth quakes, and tombs crack open. The bodies of many holy people buried in the cemetery come to life. They experience resurrection.

We don’t know their names or how many there are, but their reappearance would surely have astounded everyone (Matthew 27:50–53).

This mass resurrection symbolically shows Jesus’s victory over death, confirmed by many people rising from the dead. We see Jesus raising three specific people from the dead, along with many more who had lived holy lives.

8. Tabitha/Dorcas

In the early church, Peter also raises someone from the dead. Her name is Tabatha, also called Dorcas, and she lives in Joppa. When she dies the people in her hometown send for Peter.

When he arrives, he kneels and prays. Then he turns to the dead woman and tells her to get up. She opens her eyes, sees Peter, and sits up. Everyone is amazed (Acts 9:36–42).

9. Eutychus

Paul raises someone from the dead too, Eutychus. As Paul speaks to the people gathered, Eutychus, who sits in a window, falls asleep, and tumbles three stories to his death. Paul rushes down and throws his arms around the young man. He proclaims him alive. Then they celebrate (Acts 20:7–12).

Jesus’s victory over death changes everything forever. Click To Tweet

10. Jesus

These are all amazing, eye-opening resurrections, but the most significant is Jesus’s resurrection from the dead (Matthew 28:1–10, Mark 16:1–7, Luke 24:1–49, and John 20:1–29).

Jesus’s victory over death changes everything forever. By rising from the dead, he takes that power away from the devil and frees us from the grip of death (Hebrews 2:14–17).

Thank you, Jesus!

(Read about other biblical references about dead people coming alive.)

[Discover more about the Bible at ABibleADay.com: Bible FAQs, Bible Dictionary, Books of the Bible Overview, and Bible Reading Plans.]

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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Bible Insights

Do You Have Peace Like a River?

Isaiah Talks about Peace More Than Any Other Book in the Bible

Isaiah talks a lot about peace, mentioning it more than any other book in Scripture. One-tenth of the Bible’s references to peace occur in this one book. That’s a lot of peace in one place. And God is the source of this peace, peace like a river.

Isaiah’s most notable mention about peace concerns Jesus, declaring that he will be the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6–7). This passage opens with the familiar line, “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given (KJV). This Son (of God) will rule over us and his peace-filled reign will last forever.

Most of Isaiah’s passages about peace look forward to a time of future peacefulness. He talks about resting in peace, enjoying perfect peace, and living in peace. God calls his people to make peace with him. And he promises that peace will be the outcome of righteous living. Death for God’s people will usher us into eternal peace.

God will create peace for his people. And we are to proclaim peace as we promote the good news of God’s salvation (Isaiah 52:7). It’s a beautiful thing.

An oft-quoted one-liner about peace is God saying, “There’s no peace for the wicked” (Isaiah 52:7 and Isaiah 57:21, NIV). Isaiah writes this twice, so we’d better not miss it.

Peace Like a River

And last, but significant, Isaiah writes, “If only you had paid attention to my commands, your peace would have been like a river” (Isaiah 48:18, NIV). This is one of two verses about peace like a river (the other is Isaiah 66:12), which inspired a classic hymn “It Is Well with My Soul” (sometimes called “When Peace Like a River”). It praises God for the amazing peace he provides. And let’s not forget about the more contemporary chorus, “I’ve Got Peace like a River.”

We can find true peace from God here on earth now, and after that we’ll enjoy peace with him forever. Click To Tweet

We can find true peace from God here on earth now, and after that we’ll enjoy peace with him forever.

[Read through the Bible with us this year. Today’s reading is Isaiah 46-48, and today’s post is on Isaiah 48:18.]

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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Bible Insights

The Near Death Experience of Jonah

Live a life of obedience and without regret in order to finish strong

Most people know the story of Jonah: God sends Jonah to help Nineveh. But Jonah gets in a boat headed in the opposite direction. God sends a storm to get Jonah’s attention. Jonah implores the crew to throw him overboard in order to calm the storm.

After some prodding they toss him into the water. A fish swallows Jonah. God gives Jonah a three-day timeout. He has a near death experience. The fish spits out Jonah on dry land. Then Jonah obeys God.

But what happens between the crew throwing Jonah into the sea and the fish swallowing him? Jonah nearly drowns. It isn’t as if the fish is hanging out by the boat waiting to rescue Jonah.

No, Jonah goes in the water and fights to survive. He flails as long as he can. Out of strength he can fight no longer. He sinks. Water fills his lungs. He can’t breathe. Jonah is dying. His life flashes before his eyes. Then the fish comes and saves him. He doesn’t die after all.

How do I know this? I don’t. But Jonah’s prayer to God suggests his watery rescue comes at the last possible moment. He says, “When my life was ebbing away…,” (Jonah 2:7). In other words, he is about to die. His final thoughts are of God and God’s holy temple.

Jonah prays. He affirms God and promises to make good. Jonah acknowledges that salvation comes from God – in this case, his salvation is both literal and figurative.

Will our final thoughts be filled with regret over unfinished business and disobedience? Click To Tweet

When we get to the end of our life, what will we think about? Will our final thoughts be filled with regret over unfinished business and disobedience? Will we recall good times with family and friends?

Perhaps we will anticipate eternity with God. Or maybe we will pray. Will our final prayer be one of desperation or of peace?

Living in obedience to God and without regret is the surest way to make sure we finish this life strong. Then God will 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 Jonah 1-4, and today’s post is on Jonah 2:7-9.]

Learn more about all twelve of the Bible’s Minor Prophets in Peter’s book, Return to Me: 40 Prophetic Teachings about Unfaithfulness, Punishment, and Hope from the Minor Prophets

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

How Much Did Jesus Suffer When He Died for Us?

Jesus Died as the Ultimate Sacrifice So That We May Live

The Old Testament of the Bible overflows with instructions about offering sacrifices to God and how his people but them into practice. One of those sacrifices served as an annual sacrifice for the sins of the people.

The people had to repeat it each year because the sacrifice offered only partial coverage.

The Ultimate Sacrifice

Jesus came as the ultimate sin sacrifice to end all sacrifices. He accomplished for all time what the Old Testament sacrifices could only cover annually.

When followers of Jesus look at his sacrifice, some celebrate him as the suffering Savior who died for our sins and others laud as the risen Savior who overcame death. Which is it? Both. Jesus died and defeated death so that we may live.

In his death as the ultimate sacrifice for all the mistakes we’ve made, Jesus suffered greatly. Each of the Bible’s four biographies about Jesus include the account of his sacrificial death: Matthew 27:32-61, Mark 15:21-47, Luke 23:26-56, and John 19:28-42.

Physical Pain

The first-century people who read these passages knew too well about the physical pain and suffering that crucified people endured. They witnessed it firsthand many times. Therefore, the writers of these accounts of Jesus’s crucifixion didn’t need to give details of the agony he endured.

The people understood it. They comprehended what Jesus underwent.

For us in the twenty-first century, we lack this firsthand understanding of the physical pain brought about by death through crucifixion. Yet a medical description of what Jesus underwent is truly horrific. But there’s more.

Emotional Pain

Beyond the physical trauma of receiving a beating beyond recognition, being nailed to a cross to suffer, and then dying, Jesus also endured emotional pain. All around him people mocked him, taunted him, and belittled him and his mission.

He worried about the future of his mother, Mary. He carried concern about his disciples wondering if they could manage without him. And when Jesus needed it most, his Father had to look away.

Spiritual Pain

Yet even more than the emotional agony and the physical trauma of his execution, Jesus endured a spiritual pain. It was most horrific.

Recall our embarrassment over the most shameful thing we’ve ever done. If you’re like me, you’d rather not. Now multiply that over a lifetime of mistakes. It’s a huge weight to shoulder. When King David considered this, he said that his guilt overwhelmed him. It was a burden he couldn’t bear (Psalm 38:4).

Now multiply one lifetime of shame times several billion people. That’s what Jesus bore when he died as the ultimate sacrifice for our sins. At that one moment, the sins of everyone who ever lived and ever will live all fell on Jesus.

What an overwhelming, incomprehensible weight to bear. Yet Jesus took all of our sins, for all people, for all time and sacrificially bore them so that we wouldn’t have to.

Jesus suffered, died, and overcame death so that we may live with him forever. Thank you, Jesus.

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

Should We Distinguish Between Christian and Biblical Worldviews?

Exploring Christian Practices That Lack Biblical Support

For years I’ve told people that I strive to write from a Christian worldview. That’s what I believed I was doing. I even regularly prayed that God would empower me to do so, that each word I wrote would embrace, support, and advance a Christian worldview.

However, I realized I don’t always write from a Christian worldview. In fact, I often question a Christian worldview because too much of it isn’t biblical. Too often I can’t find support in Scripture for many of the practices, traditions, and beliefs that most Christians include in their worldview.

As a result, my prayer has changed, asking God that I will consistently write from a biblical worldview. This is how I honor him and encourage others.

What’s a Worldview?

First a definition. A worldview is a set of perspectives through which we view and understand our world. More specifically, it’s a group’s collection of beliefs about life and how we fit into our world.

This means that a biblical worldview sees the world and our role in it through the lens of Scripture. The Bible informs those with the biblical worldview how to think and act.

Similarly, a Christian worldview is the set of beliefs that Christians have about their faith. The basis for this assemblage of ideas should be the Bible. If this were the case, a Christian worldview and a biblical worldview would be synonymous.

Unfortunately, there’s a disconnect. Too many things that comprise Christian perspectives and practices lack a biblical mandate. These topics often come up in my writing.

A Christian Worldview

Christian means to be like Christ, that is, to be like Jesus. As Christians (a word I usually avoid because it means different things to different people) we want to be like Jesus. The Bible is the best source to help us understand how to be like him (WWJD).

Our Christian worldview should emanate from Jesus, through the Bible.

Yet Christians hold many beliefs that don’t have a biblical basis. Christians pursue practices that lack a biblical mandate. Yes, this includes me. But I’m trying to shed these erroneous Christian pursuits that lack biblical support.

A Biblical Worldview

Because some ideas that we accept as Christian don’t have much of a biblical origin, I base my faith and my writing on what God says in the Bible. It’s more important than writing about what other people think is Christian—even if it offends.

When I read and study the Bible—both to inform my life and my writing—I strive to do so without interpreting it through the lens of traditions I’ve been taught and the practices I observe.

I don’t look for justification of our present Christian reality in the Bible to reinforce what we do and believe. Instead I seek to study the Bible to inform my perspectives and reform my practices.

Differences Between a Christian and Biblical Worldview

Over the years I’ve noticed many disconnects between what I read in the Bible and how society practices our Christian faith. This often includes my own practices and pursuits.

I can’t list them all in a short blog post. Even a book wouldn’t provide enough space. Knowing that it’s incomplete and without assigning any priority, here’s a quick list of some of the things most Christians accept as correct, even though there’s not much support, if any, for them in the Bible.

These often comprise their Christian worldview. Here are six considerations:

1. Go to Church on Sunday

I go to church most every Sunday. I’ve done so my whole life. But I’m still looking for a command in the Bible where Jesus, or anyone else for that matter, tells us to go to church each Sunday.

Yes, we’re to not give up meeting together, but that verse doesn’t say weekly or on Sunday (Hebrews 10:25).

2. Fold Your Hands, Close Your Eyes, and Bow Your Head When You Pray

My parents taught me to do these things as a child, and my wife and I taught them to our children.

Yet I’m still looking for a verse in Scripture to back up this practice. Though I often assume all three of these postures when I pray, I’m more likely to skip them.

3. Tithe to Your Local Church

I’ve often heard preachers implore the parishioners to tithe to the local church—that is, the organization that pays their salary. The tithe was an Old Testament command, which averaged about 23 percent a year, not ten. It went to support their national religious infrastructure, not local gatherings.

The New Testament contains no command the tithe. Instead we see a principal that all our possessions belong to God, which we must steward wisely to take care of ourselves and to bless others.

4. The Prayer of Salvation

Many people teach that to become a Christian you need to pray and ask Jesus into your heart. Jesus never said that. In fact, he gave different instructions to different people. The most common and general command was a call for people to follow him.

No prayer, no altar call, and no commitment card. Instead we simply do a U-turn (repent) and follow Jesus. (See my book How Big Is Your Tent?)

Salvation is a lifetime practice, not a one-time commitment.

5. Sunday Church Format

Most church services have two components: music and message, but sometimes they seem more like a concert followed by a lecture. Other services focus on worship and Communion, the Eucharist.

The Bible records all these things, and the early church did them, but I’m having trouble finding any verses that commands these activities or shows them as a regular practice that happened each Sunday. Instead the early church focused on meaningful community, something that most churches today struggle to fulfill with any significant degree.

6. The Lord’s Supper

Our practice of communion is another custom that diverges from the biblical narrative. I understand communion (an extension of Passover) as a practice that should happen at home, with our family, as part of a meal, and as an annual celebration in remembrance of Jesus.

Instead it’s become a Sunday ritual that happens at church, apart from a meal, and with little familial connection.

I use the Bible to better inform, and then reform, how I practice my Christian faith. Click To Tweet

Parting Thoughts

The above list may offend you. I get that. Writing about these things makes people mad. It challenges what we hold dear. We want to maintain the status quo.

Suggesting that these practices aren’t biblical can rattle the traditions that we cherish. Pursuing faith from a biblical worldview is an ongoing struggle for me. But this is one way that I work out my salvation (Philippians 2:12).

In doing so, I use the Bible to better inform, and then reform, how I practice my Christian faith. It’s not a comfortable path, but this journey takes me in the right direction. It’s a course to better embrace what the Bible teaches us about God and our relationship to him, society, and creation.

I hope you will travel with me as we move closer to Jesus.

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.