Archives For Interpretation

“That’s just one verse, and we should not base our doctrine and practice on just one verse.” I have heard and seen a number of statements to this effect.

Is it right to base doctrine and practice on just one verse?

Nearly Universal Practice Based on One Verse

I have probably attended more than a hundred baptismal services. With very, very few exceptions, every person that I have seen baptize other people baptized them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

They have done so in keeping with key teaching that Christ gave to His disciples when He commissioned them:

Matthew 28:18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

To put this nearly universal practice based on this verse into a proper biblical perspective, we need to consider what else the Bible teaches on the subject.

Baptism in the Triune Name is Not Seen Anywhere Else in the NT

Aside from Matthew 28:19, no other passage in the Gospels speaks of baptizing people in the triune name of God. The book of Acts does not have any records of anyone ever baptizing anyone in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

Moreover, the Epistles do not have any teaching about baptizing with that formula. Similarly, there is no teaching about doing so in the book of Revelation.

Therefore, Jesus’ teaching about baptism in the triune name of God is never seen anywhere else in the NT.

Discussion

Many believers likely think that we should not base our doctrine and practice on just one verse. A thorough examination of Scripture, however, shows definitively that only one verse supports the nearly universal practice of baptizing in the triune name of the Father, the Son, and the Spirit.

Conclusion

If we should not base our doctrine and practice on just one verse, the doctrine and practice of nearly the entire Church today concerning how we should baptize people is not what it should be.

Is it right to base doctrine and practice on just one verse?

In his gospel message at Caesarea, the apostle Peter proclaimed one of the finest one-verse summaries of the life of Jesus of Nazareth, God’s Christ:

Acts 10:38 How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.

God powerfully used this content—along with everything else that he preached—to save all of Peter’s unsaved hearers on that occasion! A careful examination of this glorious gospel verse shows that Peter proclaimed a gospel message that many may question is suitable content to include in evangelism.

The Gospel Is a Trinitarian Message

First, Peter spoke of God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit in this gospel statement. He, therefore, gave a Trinitarian gospel message to his hearers. We should not think that witnessing that speaks only about Jesus is the best way because it keeps the message simpler.

The Gospel is a God-and-Jesus Message

Second, in addition to teaching us to give sinners a trinitarian gospel message, Acts 10:38 teaches us to give them a God-and-Jesus message. Note carefully, this verse does not itself directly testify that Jesus is God, even though that certainly is true.

Remarkably, this key gospel statement highlights that God anointed Jesus and that God was with Jesus. Neither of these truths is reducible to stating that Jesus was Himself fully God!

The Gospel is a Jesus-and-the-Devil Message

Third, Peter did not just preach a gospel message about God and human sinners—he testified of Jesus’ delivering multitudes of sinners from a sinful supernatural spirit being, the devil. Because many in our day deny the existence of supernatural evil, testifying to this content is all the more important today.

Furthermore, Peter did not think that telling sinners that Jesus lived a perfect sinless life (when he testified that Jesus “went about doing good”) was all that they needed to hear about His life. Instead, he also talked about His healing all that were oppressed of the devil. This aspect of the life of Jesus is a vital truth that we need to communicate to sinners (cf. 1 John 3:8).

Application

Using Acts 10:38 carefully in your evangelism is one of the best ways to communicate numerous vital truths to lost people! I urge you strongly to use this premier gospel verse in your evangelism.

First Samuel 16:14-23 speaks repeatedly of an “evil spirit” from God that tormented Saul. Does this phrase mean that God sent a demon to afflict Saul?

To answer this question, we need to look closely at certain aspects of the Hebrew words used to speak of that “evil spirit.” In 1 Samuel 16, ruah rangah is used repeatedly to speak of what was on Saul that troubled him.

1 Sam. 16:14  But the Spirit of the LORD departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the LORD troubled him.

1 Sam. 16:14 וְר֧וּחַ יְהוָ֛ה סָ֖רָה מֵעִ֣ם שָׁא֑וּל וּבִֽעֲתַ֥תּוּ רֽוּחַ־רָעָ֖ה מֵאֵ֥ת יְהוָֽה׃

1 Sam. 16:15  And Saul’s servants said unto him, Behold now, an evil spirit from God troubleth thee.

1 Sam. 16:15 וַיֹּאמְר֥וּ עַבְדֵֽי־שָׁא֖וּל אֵלָ֑יו הִנֵּה־נָ֧א רֽוּחַ־אֱלֹהִ֛ים רָעָ֖ה מְבַעִתֶּֽךָ׃

1 Sam. 16:16  Let our lord now command thy servants, which are before thee, to seek out a man, who is a cunning player on an harp: and it shall come to pass, when the evil spirit from God is upon thee, that he shall play with his hand, and thou shalt be well.

1 Sam. 16:16 יֹאמַר־נָ֤א אֲדֹנֵ֙נוּ֙ עֲבָדֶ֣יךָ לְפָנֶ֔יךָ יְבַקְשׁ֕וּ אִ֕ישׁ יֹדֵ֖עַ מְנַגֵּ֣ן בַּכִּנּ֑וֹר וְהָיָ֗ה בִּֽהְי֙וֹת עָלֶ֤יךָ רֽוּחַ־אֱלֹהִים֙ רָעָ֔ה וְנִגֵּ֥ן בְּיָד֖וֹ וְט֥וֹב לָֽךְ׃ פ

1 Sam. 16:23  And it came to pass, when the evil spirit from God was upon Saul, that David took an harp, and played with his hand: so Saul was refreshed, and was well, and the evil spirit departed from him.

1 Sam. 16:23 וְהָיָ֗ה בִּֽהְי֤וֹת רֽוּחַ־אֱלֹהִים֙ אֶל־שָׁא֔וּל וְלָקַ֥ח דָּוִ֛ד אֶת־הַכִּנּ֖וֹר וְנִגֵּ֣ן בְּיָד֑וֹ וְרָוַ֤ח לְשָׁאוּל֙ וְט֣וֹב ל֔וֹ וְסָ֥רָה מֵעָלָ֖יו ר֥וּחַ הָרָעָֽה׃ 

Many interpreters believe that ruah rangah in this passage should be understood to denote a demon that God sent to afflict Saul. Some, however, deny that interpretation and argue that it means that some kind of impersonal influence from God came on Saul to trouble him.

To determine which understanding is correct, we need to examine a later passage where the Spirit speaks of the coming of that same “evil spirit” on Saul.

Ruah Rangah in 1 Samuel 18

In 1 Samuel 18, the Spirit uses the verb tsalah to speak of the coming of that same “evil spirit” (Heb. ruah rangah) on Saul on a later occasion:

1 Sam. 18:10 And it came to pass on the morrow, that the evil spirit from God came upon Saul, and he prophesied in the midst of the house: and David played with his hand, as at other times: and there was a javelin in Saul’s hand.

1 Sam. 18:10 וַיְהִ֣י מִֽמָּחֳרָ֗ת וַתִּצְלַ֣ח רוּחַ֩ אֱלֹהִ֙ים׀ רָעָ֤ה׀ אֶל־שָׁאוּל֙ וַיִּתְנַבֵּ֣א בְתוֹךְ־הַבַּ֔יִת וְדָוִ֛ד מְנַגֵּ֥ן בְּיָד֖וֹ כְּי֣וֹם׀ בְּי֑וֹם וְהַחֲנִ֖ית בְּיַד־שָׁאֽוּל׃

According to HOL, this verb means “to be strong, effective, powerful” when it is used with ruah earlier in the book in 1 Samuel 10:6.In 1 Samuel 18:10, therefore, the use of this verb with ruah as its subject conveys that the “evil spirit,” whatever that phrase signifies, came powerfully on Saul.

The following examination of all the other occurrences of tsalah in the Hebrew OT in which it has the same meaning shows us how we must understand what ruah rangah denotes in 1 Samuel 18 (and also in 1 Samuel 16 because the activity of the same spirit is in view in both passages).

Tsalah in Judges

In Judges, tsalah with that meaning occurs three times. Each time, ruah is used as the subject and signifies that the Spirit came powerfully on Samson.

Jdg. 14:6 And the Spirit of the LORD came mightily upon him, and he rent him as he would have rent a kid, and he had nothing in his hand: but he told not his father or his mother what he had done.

Jdg. 14:6 וַתִּצְלַ֙ח עָלָ֜יו ר֣וּחַ יְהוָ֗ה וַֽיְשַׁסְּעֵ֙הוּ֙ כְּשַׁסַּ֣ע הַגְּדִ֔י וּמְא֖וּמָה אֵ֣ין בְּיָד֑וֹ וְלֹ֤א הִגִּיד֙ לְאָבִ֣יו וּלְאִמּ֔וֹ אֵ֖ת אֲשֶׁ֥ר עָשָֽׂה׃

Jdg. 14:19 And the Spirit of the LORD came upon him, and he went down to Ashkelon, and slew thirty men of them, and took their spoil, and gave change of garments unto them which expounded the riddle. And his anger was kindled, and he went up to his father’s house.

Jdg. 14:19 וַתִּצְלַ֙ח עָלָ֜יו ר֣וּחַ יְהוָ֗ה וַיֵּ֙רֶד אַשְׁקְל֜וֹן וַיַּ֥ךְ מֵהֶ֣ם׀ שְׁלֹשִׁ֣ים אִ֗ישׁ וַיִּקַּח֙ אֶת־חֲלִ֣יצוֹתָ֔ם וַיִּתֵּן֙ הַחֲלִיפ֔וֹת לְמַגִּידֵ֖י הַחִידָ֑ה וַיִּ֣חַר אַפּ֔וֹ וַיַּ֖עַל בֵּ֥ית אָבִֽיהוּ׃ פ

Jdg. 15:14 And when he came unto Lehi, the Philistines shouted against him: and the Spirit of the LORD came mightily upon him, and the cords that were upon his arms became as flax that was burnt with fire, and his bands loosed from off his hands.

Jdg. 15:14 הוּא־בָ֣א עַד־לֶ֔חִי וּפְלִשְׁתִּ֖ים הֵרִ֣יעוּ לִקְרָאת֑וֹ וַתִּצְלַ֙ח עָלָ֜יו ר֣וּחַ יְהוָ֗ה וַתִּהְיֶ֙ינָה הָעֲבֹתִ֜ים אֲשֶׁ֣ר עַל־זְרוֹעוֹתָ֗יו כַּפִּשְׁתִּים֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר בָּעֲר֣וּ בָאֵ֔שׁ וַיִּמַּ֥סּוּ אֱסוּרָ֖יו מֵעַ֥ל יָדָֽיו׃

Tsalah in First Samuel

Aside from its occurrence in 1 Samuel 18:10, which we will examine later, tsalah occurs with that meaning four other times in First Samuel. Each time, ruah as its subject signifies that the Spirit came powerfully on someone, either Saul or David.

1 Sam. 10:6 And the Spirit of the LORD will come upon thee, and thou shalt prophesy with them, and shalt be turned into another man.

1 Sam. 10:6 וְצָלְחָ֤ה עָלֶ֙יךָ֙ ר֣וּחַ יְהוָ֔ה וְהִתְנַבִּ֖יתָ עִמָּ֑ם וְנֶהְפַּכְתָּ֖ לְאִ֥ישׁ אַחֵֽר׃

1 Sam. 10:10 And when they came thither to the hill, behold, a company of prophets met him; and the Spirit of God came upon him, and he prophesied among them.

1 Sam. 10:10 וַיָּבֹ֤אוּ שָׁם֙ הַגִּבְעָ֔תָה וְהִנֵּ֥ה חֶֽבֶל־נְבִאִ֖ים לִקְרָאת֑וֹ וַתִּצְלַ֤ח עָלָיו֙ ר֣וּחַ אֱלֹהִ֔ים וַיִּתְנַבֵּ֖א בְּתוֹכָֽם׃

1 Sam. 11:6 And the Spirit of God came upon Saul when he heard those tidings, and his anger was kindled greatly.

1 Sam. 11:6 וַתִּצְלַ֤ח רֽוּחַ־אֱלֹהִים֙ עַל־שָׁא֔וּל (בְּשָׁמְעוֹ) [כְּשָׁמְע֖וֹ] אֶת־הַדְּבָרִ֣ים הָאֵ֑לֶּה וַיִּ֥חַר אַפּ֖וֹ מְאֹֽד׃

1 Sam. 16:13 Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brethren: and the Spirit of the LORD came upon David from that day forward. So Samuel rose up, and went to Ramah.

1 Sam. 16:13 וַיִּקַּ֙ח שְׁמוּאֵ֜ל אֶת־קֶ֣רֶן הַשֶּׁ֗מֶן וַיִּמְשַׁ֣ח אֹתוֹ֘ בְּקֶ֣רֶב אֶחָיו֒ וַתִּצְלַ֤ח רֽוּחַ־יְהוָה֙ אֶל־דָּוִ֔ד מֵהַיּ֥וֹם הַה֖וּא וָמָ֑עְלָה וַיָּ֣קָם שְׁמוּאֵ֔ל וַיֵּ֖לֶךְ הָרָמָֽתָה׃ ס

Tsalah in Second Samuel

In its lone occurrence with that meaning in Second Samuel, tsalah does not have ruah as its subject. Instead, it has a large group of men as its subject and signifies that they rushed to the Jordan:

2 Sam. 19:17 And there were a thousand men of Benjamin with him, and Ziba the servant of the house of Saul, and his fifteen sons and his twenty servants with him; and they went over Jordan before the king.

2 Sam. 19:18 וְאֶ֙לֶף אִ֣ישׁ עִמּוֹ֘ מִבִּנְיָמִן֒ וְצִיבָ֗א נַ֚עַר בֵּ֣ית שָׁא֔וּל וַחֲמֵ֙שֶׁת עָשָׂ֥ר בָּנָ֛יו וְעֶשְׂרִ֥ים עֲבָדָ֖יו אִתּ֑וֹ וְצָלְח֥וּ הַיַּרְדֵּ֖ן לִפְנֵ֥י הַמֶּֽלֶךְ׃

Tsalah in Amos

In Amos, tsalah with that meaning occurs once. Although it does not have ruah as its subject, it has the Lord as its subject and signifies His breaking out powerfully to consume sinful people.

Amos 5:6 Seek the LORD, and ye shall live; lest he break out like fire in the house of Joseph, and devour it, and there be none to quench it in Bethel.

Amos 5:6 דִּרְשׁ֥וּ אֶת־יְהוָ֖ה וִֽחְי֑וּ פֶּן־יִצְלַ֤ח כָּאֵשׁ֙ בֵּ֣ית יוֹסֵ֔ף וְאָכְלָ֥ה וְאֵין־מְכַבֶּ֖ה לְבֵֽית־אֵֽל׃

Discussion

The Spirit uses tsalah seven times in Scripture to speak of His own coming on people (Judg. 14:6, 19; 15:14; 1 Sam. 10:6, 10; 11:6; 16:13). Each time, ruah is the subject of tsalah.

Aside from its occurrence that is in question in 1 Samuel 18:10, tsalah with the same meaning occurs two other times in Scripture (2 Sam. 19:18; Amos 5:6). In both passages, although ruah is not its subject, it does have a personal noun as its subject (a large group of men in 2 Sam. 19:18; the Lord in Amos 5:6).

This evidence shows that aside from the nature of its subject in 1 Samuel 18:10 that we have not yet determined, tsalah with that meaning in Scripture always has a personal noun as its subject.

First Samuel 18:10 is the only other occurrence in Scripture of tsalah with that meaning, and it has ruah as its subject there. In every other passage that the Spirit has used this noun and verb combination, ruah denotes the coming of the Spirit Himself, who is a personal being, on human beings.

We can be confident, therefore, that ruah in 1 Samuel 18:10 denotes a personal entity that was a spirit that came on Saul and not some impersonal influence from God that came on Saul.2 The phrase ruah rangah certainly signifies here that it was an evil spirit, that is, a demon that came on Saul.

Conclusion

A thorough examination of the Spirit’s use of tsalah in Scripture shows that ruah rangah denotes a demon from God that came powerfully on Saul in the incident recorded in 1 Samuel 18:10. Because that activity on Saul was the activity of the same “evil spirit” from God that the Spirit speaks repeatedly of in 1 Samuel 16, we can be certain that God did send a demon to afflict Saul on both occasions.


1 Holladay, Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the OT (HOL) Hol7192 צלח: qal: pf. צָֽלְחָה, צָלֵֽחָה; impf. יִצְלַח, יִצְלָֽח, וַתִּצְלְחִי: — 1. be strong, effective, powerful, of rû­µ 1S 106; — 2. be of use Is 5417; — 3. succeed Nu 1441, be successful Je 121.

hif.: pf. הִצְלִיחַ, הִצְלִיחָה, חִצְלַחְתָּ, הִצְלִיחוֹ; impf. יַצְלִיחַ, וַיַּצְלַח, תַּצְלִיחִי; impv. הַצְלַח, הַצְלִיחָה; pt. מַצְלִיחַ: — 1. be successful, succeed, enjoy success 1K 2212; °îš maƒlî­µ successful man Gn 392; w. acc. in s.thg Dt 2829; — 2. w. acc. make s.thg succeed, bring s.thg to successful conclusion Gn 2421; — 3. make s.one prosper 2C 265. (pg 306)

2 As discussed earlier in this section, this interpretation is confirmed by the Spirit’s also using only a personal noun as the subject of tsalah in the only other occurrences of it with the same meaning in Scripture (2 Sam. 19:18; Amos 5:6).

Multitudes of people believe in reincarnation while multitudes of other people believe in the resurrection of the dead. Which one should people believe in?

The Bible plainly and emphatically teaches that people are not going to die and be reborn over and over again. It does so in various ways, especially by making known that Jesus died only once and that all people die only once.

Dying Only Once

Concerning Jesus, Scripture reveals that He died and God raised Him from the dead:

Rom. 6:9 Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him.

Jesus died only once; He will never die again! Death has no more dominion over Him!

Concerning all men, Scripture reveals that God has appointed that people die only once and are then judged by Him:

Heb. 9:27 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:

They do not die and then be reborn repeatedly, as reincarnation teaches.

These passages make clear that people should believe in the resurrection of the dead and not in reincarnation.

What about The Second Death?

Someone who is familiar with the Bible might object that the Bible speaks of the second death:

Rev. 20:11 And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. 12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. 13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. 14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

Revelation 21:8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.

Why should we believe in the resurrection of the dead when the Bible itself speaks of a second death? Doesn’t this teaching about the second death support believing instead in reincarnation?

To answer these questions properly, consider that although a surface reading of this passage might lead some to conclude that it contradicts what Hebrews 9:27 says about people’s dying only once, a proper reading shows that it does not contradict what Hebrews 9:27 and other passages teach.

To understand why, note that Scripture teaches that physical death is the separation of the body from the spirit:

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

The second death, however, is when people who were already dead stand before God and are then judged by Him:

Revelation 20:12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.

In order for people who were dead to stand again, they must experience bodily resurrection.

The second death, therefore, is not when people will die again physically. Rather, these are people who will be cast bodily into a lake of fire.

The Bible’s teaching about the second death does not support belief in reincarnation—people must believe in resurrection, not reincarnation.

The Right Response to These Truths

Reincarnation teaches that people’s bodies die but their souls live on and that they are reborn physically. Jesus, however, warned people to fear God who has the ability to destroy both the soul and the body:

Matthew 10:28 And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

People who die physically are not going to be reborn again and again. They will die once and then stand before God to be judged by Him.

In view of these truths, God wants all people to know what He is commanding to all people everywhere:

Acts 17:30 God . . . now commandeth all men every where to repent: 31 Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.

People should not believe in reincarnation. God wants all people to believe in the resurrection of the dead and has provided proof that they should do so by raising Jesus from the dead and fixing a day in which He will judge the world by Jesus.

By Jesus, believe in God, who raised Him up from the dead and gave Him glory so that your faith and hope might be in God.

1 Peter 1:21 Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God.

God wants you to believe not in reincarnation but in resurrection!

We are living in a time in world history when multitudes are concerned about having sufficient food and drink for them and their families. Two key passages provide vital revelation about how God has promised to certain people that He will provide the food and drink that they need.

Food and Drink Promised in Matthew 6:31-33

Matthew 6:31-33 is a premier passage in the Bible about what people are to do so that they will have the food and drink that they need to survive:

Matthew 6:31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? 32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. 33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

With these words, Jesus taught that people who seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness will have what they are to eat and to drink added to them.

Food and Drink Promised in Isaiah 33:13-16

Compare the teaching of Matthew 6:31-33 with what Isaiah 33:13-16 says:

Isaiah 33:13 Hear, ye that are far off, what I have done; and, ye that are near, acknowledge my might. 14 The sinners in Zion are afraid; fearfulness hath surprised the hypocrites. Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings? 15 He that walketh righteously, and speaketh uprightly; he that despiseth the gain of oppressions, that shaketh his hands from holding of bribes, that stoppeth his ears from hearing of blood, and shutteth his eyes from seeing evil; 16 He shall dwell on high: his place of defence shall be the munitions of rocks: bread shall be given him; his waters shall be sure.

This passage ends with a promise that bread and water will be provided to certain people, just as Matthew 6:31-33 does! Because God promises to provide the same things at the end of both passages, we know that what He teaches as the requirements for obtaining those promises in both passages are directly related.

Application

From the comparison presented above, we learn that seeking first the kingdom of God and His righteousness includes doing all the things that Isaiah 33:15 specifies: walking righteously, speaking uprightly, despising gaining by oppressions, rejecting bribes, stopping our ears from hearing about blood, and shutting our eyes from seeing evil. To have sufficient food and drink, we must be careful to do all these things in our seeking first God’s kingdom and righteousness.

Probably every believer who has been a believer for any length of time has encountered teaching about the main point or big idea of the following passage:

Matthew 28:18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

Most have been taught that this passage is “about” the Great Commission that Jesus gave to His apostles. Probably no one has ever thought or said that the main point or big idea of this passage is to teach us about the Holy Spirit.

A careful examination of nearly every sound work on systematic theology or NT theology would likely reveal, however, that this is an important passage for one’s formulating a proper understanding of what the Scripture teaches us about pneumatology. Any person who does not treat what this passage reveals about the Spirit in formulating their theology of the Spirit is a person who does not profit fully from revelation that God has intended him to profit from theologically.

As this brief but clear example shows, it is a faulty approach to hermeneutics and exegesis to insist that the main point/big idea of a passage is all that matters. Truth that God has revealed about a subject in a passage that does not have that subject as its main point or big idea is nonetheless truth that God wants us to profit from fully.

In one of his attempts to tempt Christ to sin, the devil made a remarkable declaration concerning his authority over all the kingdoms of the world:

Luke 4:5 And the devil, taking him up into an high mountain, shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. 6 And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it.

Making this statement, the devil proclaimed that he had authority over all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. He also made known that authority was delivered to him at some prior point and that he could give it to whomever he willed to give it.

When, why, and how was power over all the kingdoms of the world and their glory delivered over to the devil?

How should this truth illumine our understanding of world affairs?

Exodus 5:1 reveals what Moses and Aaron said to Pharaoh when they first met with him:

Exodus 5:1 And afterward Moses and Aaron went in, and told Pharaoh, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Let my people go, that they may hold a feast unto me in the wilderness.

When, however, we examine all the preceding statements in Exodus 3-4 about what God told them to say to Pharaoh, we do not find anything about His telling them to tell Pharaoh about their celebrating a feast to the Lord in the wilderness:

Exodus 3:18 And they shall hearken to thy voice: and thou shalt come, thou and the elders of Israel, unto the king of Egypt, and ye shall say unto him, The LORD God of the Hebrews hath met with us: and now let us go, we beseech thee, three days’ journey into the wilderness, that we may sacrifice to the LORD our God.

Exodus 4:22 And thou shalt say unto Pharaoh, Thus saith the LORD, Israel is my son, even my firstborn: 23 And I say unto thee, Let my son go, that he may serve me: and if thou refuse to let him go, behold, I will slay thy son, even thy firstborn.

How, then, do we explain what Moses and Aaron said to Pharaoh about celebrating a feast to Him in the wilderness?

Any song that God has inspired to be in Scripture is a perfect song. Scripture reveals that God has provided us with a song that is a perfect love song!

“A Song of Loves”

The Spirit inspired Psalm 45 to begin with an explicit statement that it is a love song:

Psalm 45:1 <To the chief Musician upon Shoshannim, for the sons of Korah, Maschil, A Song of loves.> My heart is inditing a good matter: I speak of the things which I have made touching the king: my tongue is the pen of a ready writer.

From this divine love song, we learn many striking lessons that God intends us to profit from greatly. This post will only treat a few selected truths from the song. The post is by no mean an exhaustive treatment of the valuable lessons that this song provides.

The Subject of This Perfect Love Song

From the beginning of the song, we learn that the subject of this perfect love song is a king (Ps. 45:1). New Testament use of Psalm 45:6-7 teaches us that the ultimate Subject of this perfect love song is God’s own anointed King, the divine Messiah:

Psalm 45:6 Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: the sceptre of thy kingdom is a right sceptre. 7 Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness: therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.

Hebrews 1:8 But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom. 9 Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.

Fearful Activity Revealed in This Perfect Love Song

Second, the Spirit teaches us that this divine King is a mighty Warrior (Ps. 45:3-4) who will engage in fearful activity:

Psalm 45:5 Thine arrows are sharp in the heart of the king’s enemies; whereby the people fall under thee.

Strikingly, this perfect love song speaks explicitly of the King’s destroying His enemies in battle! We thus learn that far from being inappropriate content in a love song, fearful activity by the divine King as the Messianic Judge who judges evil people is fitting content to include in such a song!

The Glorious Character of the Subject of This Perfect Love Song

Third, this perfect love song highlights two key aspects of the glorious character of its Subject (Ps. 45:7). The first key aspect of the glorious character of the King is that He loves righteousness. The Spirit thus teaches us that extolling someone who loves what is right and loves doing right is fitting content for a perfect love song.

The second key aspect of the glorious character of the King is that He hates wickedness. Saying this, the Spirit teaches us that extolling someone who hates what is wicked and hates evildoing is also fitting content for a perfect love song.

Application

Psalm 45 is a perfect love song because God inspired it to be in Scripture. The lessons treated above teach us that speaking about the Messianic Judge as the divine King who renders divine judgment on wicked people is fitting content for a perfect love song!

Moreover, extolling the glorious character of the One who loves righteousness and hates wickedness is fitting content for a perfect love song!

We must sing songs of love that include this glorious content.

the danger of misspeaking about God when counselingMisspeaking about God is a very serious matter. In a shocking way, the book of Job instructs us to beware of doing so.

Misspeaking about God without intending to do so

Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar were good friends of Job who cared enough to come to visit him in his affliction. They were true believers in God. They desired to minister truth about God to Job that they thought would help him deal with his grave troubles.

To that end, these three friends discoursed at great length with Job about his situation. They seem to have had the best of intentions in what they said in their conversations with Job.

Shockingly, however, after they had finished talking to Job, God sternly reproved them for misspeaking about Him:

Job 42:7 And it was so, that after the LORD had spoken these words unto Job, the LORD said to Eliphaz the Temanite, My wrath is kindled against thee, and against thy two friends: for ye have not spoken of me the thing that is right, as my servant Job hath. 8 Therefore take unto you now seven bullocks and seven rams, and go to my servant Job, and offer up for yourselves a burnt offering; and my servant Job shall pray for you: for him will I accept: lest I deal with you after your folly, in that ye have not spoken of me the thing which is right, like my servant Job. 9 So Eliphaz the Temanite and Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite went, and did according as the LORD commanded them: the LORD also accepted Job.

God said that they had not spoken of Him what was right. He warned them that they had kindled His wrath because of what they had misspoken about Him!

God commanded them to offer burnt offerings because of their sinful speech about Him. Moreover, He ordered them to seek intercessory prayer from Job in order to deal properly with their sins.

We learn from God’s dealing with these men that they had misspoken about Him without intending to do so.

Application

Believers must exercise great care in what they say about God when counseling others so that they do not become guilty of misspeaking about God. Having good intentions is not enough—we must speak only what is right about God!