Archives For Exposition

I have actively participated in many discussions on Sharper Iron since November of 2018. In this post, I have compiled nearly all my discussion posts on music and worship as well as on other topics.

In addition, I have also listed other discussions that I did not start, but I did participate in them. The numbered listing for my posts on music and worship are in chronological order; those in the second listing are grouped by topic.

Posts on Music and Worship

  1. How does God want Christians to profit concerning worship from Exodus 32:17-20?
  2. Is Exodus 32:17-18 divine revelation about worship music? | SHARPER IRON
  3. Does Job 41:11b apply to all musical styles/genres?
  4. Bible passages that guide us about secular/unbelieving criticisms of Christian worship music/ministry?
  5. What does Scripture teach about all music without words?
  6. Are there any Bible passages that specifically support the use of music to evangelize unbelievers?
  7. Little interest in discussing what the Bible says about music
  8. Does Scripture record that musical instruments were used in pagan worship?
  9. Best books that support the use of CCM, CWM, etc?
  10. Adding Regular Corporate Shouting of Praise in Our Worship
  11. What does Genesis 4:21 teach us about music?
  12. What does Genesis 31:27 teach us about music?
  13. We Must Heed the Vital Message of 1 Corinthians 10:18-20
  14. Did OT Israel create anything new in terms of music?
  15. Who do you think is the most important musician in human history?
  16. “Why a Series on Psalms?” | SHARPER IRON
  17. Does God accept worship from some unbelievers?
  18. What Is the Greatest/Best Sacred Song of All Time?
  19. What Does 1 Samuel 16:14-23 teach about music?
  20. Who do you believe is the greatest songwriter of all time?
  21. How many classes of *living* beings exist that produce music?
  22. What Does 1 Corinthians 2:14 Teach about What Unbelievers Cannot Know?
  23. Does Romans 8:19-22 apply to music without words?
  24. What Do Daniel 3:5, 7, 10, and 15 Reveal about Worship Music?
  25. Wrong Views, Disunity, and “The Worship Wars”
  26. Does God love all kinds of music because He invented it all?
  27. The Bible and Music: What Does God Want Us to Know, Believe, and Do?
  28. Was Jesus of Nazareth the Greatest Singer and Musician of All Time?
  29. Divine Selectivity in Worship: What Should We Believe?
  30. Shamanism, Percussion, and First Corinthians 6:12
  31. Did the Israelites Use Drum-Like Instruments in The Worship in the Solomonic Temple?
  32. Are Some Kinds of Instrumental Music Objectively Better Than Others?

Posts on Other Topics or Other Discussions That I Did Not Start

Steve Pettit and the Skillman Family

Public worship and Exodus 28:42: “from hips to the thighs”

Golden Calf in Psalm 106

How Acts 7:39-41 Illumines A Proper Understanding of the Golden Calf Incident (GCI)

Is food good but amoral? | SHARPER IRON

Why is 1 Timothy 5:23 in the Bible?

Does Scripture teach that cremation is an acceptable practice for believers?

“Is Cremation Christian”?

How does God want Christians to profit concerning evangelism from Acts 22:14-15?

Toward a More Accurate Theology of Evangelism

Ezekiel 40-48: National Israel, the Church, or something else?

How are you going to keep yourself unspotted from the world?


Does *the Bible Itself* “Use” Guilt by Association (GBA)?

Two Important Insights from the Biblical Record about Manasseh

What perspicuity of the Scripture does not mean

What Is Sound Doctrine concerning the Doctrinal Importance of Narratives in Scripture?

Was Solomon a true believer who “lost his salvation”?

Copyright © 2011-2024 by Rajesh Gandhi. All rights reserved.

In several previous articles, I have treated Scripture concerning various aspects of the surpassing musical wisdom of Solomon. Beyond the evidence that God has given us in Scripture for Solomon’s surpassingly excellent wisdom concerning songs and singing, He has even provided us with explicit revelation concerning Solomon’s surpassing excellence concerning two musical instruments.

Surpassingly Excellent Harps and Psalteries

Using algum trees supplied to him by Huram, Solomon made harps and psalteries:

2 Chronicles 9:11 And the king made of the algum trees terraces to the house of the LORD, and to the king’s palace, and harps and psalteries for singers: and there were none such seen before in the land of Judah.

This revelation is striking for what it says about the harps and psalteries that Solomon made—”there were none such seen before in the land of Judah.” The harps and psalteries that Solomon made were the finest that had ever been seen in Judah!

Given that the Israelites had been using these two instruments in divine worship prior to God’s giving Solomon the all-excelling wisdom, understanding, and knowledge that He gave him (cf. 1 Chron. 13:8), we thus learn from this explicit biblical statement that these instruments were superior even to the best harps and psalteries that the Israelites had previously been using for the worship of God! Moreover, given that Solomon made these instruments with the wisdom that God gave him that excelled “all the wisdom of Egypt” (1 Kings 4:30), we have certainty that these instruments were superior to any harps and psalteries that the Egyptians had ever had.


Based on what God has explicitly revealed to us about the harps and psalteries that Solomon made, we learn that the all-excelling wisdom, understanding, and knowledge that God gave Solomon included all-excelling wisdom, understanding, and knowledge about these two key musical instruments that God Himself ordained were to be used to worship Him (Ps. 33:2-3; 98:5; 150:3). Through Solomon, God thus gave to the Israelites the finest harps and psalteries in the world so that they would be used in His temple to glorify Him with the finest music in all the world!

Copyright © 2011-2024 by Rajesh Gandhi. All rights reserved.

Scripture explicitly reveals some information about Solomon and music that could be easily overlooked:

Ecclesiastes 2:8 I gathered me also silver and gold, and the peculiar treasure of kings and of the provinces: I gat me men singers and women singers, and the delights of the sons of men, as musical instruments, and that of all sorts.

The Spirit here reveals to us that Solomon acquired for himself male and female singers. Given the context of this information in its own verse (his statements in the first part of the verse that he acquired the most precious metals and the distinctive treasure of kings), we understand that these were not just ordinary singers—they were singers who knew how to sing at excelling levels and did so.

In order to rightly assess the fuller significance of this information, we must learn more from Scripture about how Solomon acquired these singers.

Solomon Acquired Singers through All-Excelling Wisdom

Rightly assessing just how good these singers were requires that we give careful attention to what the broader context within the book teaches us about how Solomon acquired these singers:

Ecclesiastes 1:16 I communed with mine own heart, saying, Lo, I am come to great estate, and have gotten more wisdom than all they that have been before me in Jerusalem: yea, my heart had great experience of wisdom and knowledge. 17 And I gave my heart to know wisdom, and to know madness and folly: I perceived that this also is vexation of spirit.

These passages show that Solomon knew that he had excelled in wisdom above everyone that had been before him in Jerusalem (Eccl. 1:16). His knowing that he had that all-surpassing knowledge makes what he then says even more remarkable—he applied his heart to know wisdom (Eccl. 1:17a)!

When, therefore, we read in Eccl. 2:1-8 of all the areas in which Solomon applied his heart to know wisdom—including his acquiring to himself male and female singers (Eccl. 2:8)—we must hold that Solomon got those singers to himself by giving his heart to know wisdom about singers and singing.

We further know that this interpretation is correct because Solomon explicitly said even earlier in the book that he gave his heart to search out and seek by wisdom concerning all things that are done under heaven, which, of necessity, therefore, included wisdom concerning singers and their singing:

Ecclesiastes 1:13 And I gave my heart to seek and search out by wisdom concerning all things that are done under heaven: this sore travail hath God given to the sons of man to be exercised therewith.

Given that God enlarged Solomon’s heart exceedingly and gave him exceedingly much wisdom, understanding, and knowledge (1 Kings 4:29; 2 Chron. 1:12) and given that he applied his heart to seek and search out by wisdom concerning everything that is done (Eccl. 1:13), we can be certain that Solomon acquired these singers through the application of all-excelling wisdom, understanding, and knowledge!


Based on this line of biblical reasoning, we learn all the following from the biblical information about Solomon’s acquiring singers for himself:

As the richest king ever (cf. 1 Kings 3:13; cf. 10:23), Solomon had the position, power, and wealth to acquire for himself the finest singers possible. As the wisest person ever in the history of the world (except for Jesus of Nazareth), king Solomon had the unparalleled wisdom, understanding, and knowledge to rightly assess who were the finest singers that he could get for himself.

These two considerations coupled with the explicit statement that by way of necessary application shows us that Solomon sought out and acquired these singers by applying his heart to that matter proves that Solomon had to have and did have all-excelling wisdom not just concerning musical lyrics but also concerning the singing of those lyrics and who the people were who could sing them in the best ways possible.

We must also conclude, therefore, that Solomonic Israelite kinds of singing were the best kinds of singing in the world (cf. God’s revealing that Solomon’s wisdom excelled “all the wisdom of Egypt” (1 Kings 4:30), which necessarily therefore included all Egyptian wisdom about singing and kinds of singing). We thus have biblical basis to hold that through Solomon God gave Israel the best singers, singing, and kinds of singing in all the world.

See also The Importance of the All-Excelling Musical Supremacy of Solomon’s Wisdom

Copyright © 2011-2024 by Rajesh Gandhi. All rights reserved.

To fully understand and accept the all-excelling musical supremacy of the wisdom that God gave Solomon, we must rightly appreciate and accept the importance of Solomon’s all-excelling calling to build a house for the name of the Lord. The following nine passages reveal these truths to us:

2 Sam. 7:12 And when thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 He shall build an house for my name, and I will stablish the throne of his kingdom for ever.

1 Chron. 22:5 And David said, Solomon my son is young and tender, and the house that is to be builded for the LORD must be exceeding magnifical, of fame and of glory throughout all countries: I will therefore now make preparation for it. So David prepared abundantly before his death.

1 Chron. 22:9 Behold, a son shall be born to thee, who shall be a man of rest; and I will give him rest from all his enemies round about: for his name shall be Solomon, and I will give peace and quietness unto Israel in his days. 10 He shall build an house for my name; and he shall be my son, and I will be his father; and I will establish the throne of his kingdom over Israel for ever.

1 Chron. 29:1 Furthermore David the king said unto all the congregation, Solomon my son, whom alone God hath chosen, is yet young and tender, and the work is great: for the palace is not for man, but for the LORD God.

1 Chron. 29:25 And the LORD magnified Solomon exceedingly in the sight of all Israel, and bestowed upon him such royal majesty as had not been on any king before him in Israel.

2 Chron. 1:1 And Solomon the son of David was strengthened in his kingdom, and the LORD his God was with him, and magnified him exceedingly.

2 Chron. 2:1 And Solomon determined to build an house for the name of the LORD, and an house for his kingdom.

2 Chron. 2:4 Behold, I build an house to the name of the LORD my God, to dedicate it to him, and to burn before him sweet incense, and for the continual shewbread, and for the burnt offerings morning and evening, on the sabbaths, and on the new moons, and on the solemn feasts of the LORD our God. This is an ordinance for ever to Israel. 5 And the house which I build is great: for great is our God above all gods.

2 Chron. 2:9 Even to prepare me timber in abundance: for the house which I am about to build shall be wonderful great.

These passages profoundly and abundantly set forth the matchless glory of the Solomonic temple. Unlike any other physical structure ever built by any other peoples in the history of the world, this house was a house for the name of the LORD (2 Chron. 2:1).

This house had to be and was of unmatched greatness because it was “not for man, but for the LORD God” (1 Chron. 29:1) who was and is great “above all gods” (2 Chron. 2:5). This house was “wonderful great” (2 Chron. 2:9). It had to be and was “exceeding magnifical, of fame and of glory throughout all countries” (1 Chron. 22:5).

The combined force of all these inspired statements shows that there has never been another physical structure in the history of the world that has even remotely compared to the greatness of the Solomonic temple. Keeping that truth in mind and accounting for the divinely ordained immense importance of music in the Solomonic temple (for example, 2 Chron. 5:11-14), we must accept and recognize that God gave Solomon the all-excelling musical wisdom, understanding, and knowledge that He did because the music of that temple had to be the greatest music ever in the history of the world for the sake of the glory of the one and only living and true God!

Copyright © 2011-2024 by Rajesh Gandhi. All rights reserved.

To appreciate rightly the supremacy of the musical wisdom that Solomon had, we need to account for his excelling musical background.

1. Solomon was the son of king David who was a prophet (Acts 2:30) who was an extraordinarily skilled harpist who had the Spirit on him (1 Sam. 16).

Solomon undoubtedly had extensive exposure to David’s excelling playing of instrumental music. Moreover, Solomon very likely had considerable exposure to other supernaturally gifted instrumentalists as well (cf. 1 Chron. 6:31-32; 9:33; 1 Chron. 15-16).

Through hearing and observing such supernaturally skillful instrumental music being played, Solomon was thus given vast knowledge and understanding of excelling kinds of instrumental music even before God gave to him surpassingly great wisdom, understanding, and knowledge so that he surpassed even David in those areas (cf. 1 Kings 3:12; 2 Chron. 1:12).

2. Solomon was the son of “the sweet psalmist of Israel” (2 Sam. 23:1) who gave to Israel around 75 perfect songs through divine inspiration. No other human being had ever had such excelling supernatural skillfulness in producing such songs in all human history prior to David.

Even before God gave to Solomon surpassingly great wisdom, understanding, and knowledge so that he surpassed even David in those areas (cf. 1 Kings 3:12; 2 Chron. 1:12), Solomon therefore almost certainly had had direct exposure to all of those perfect songs from God. What’s more Solomon did not just have such exposure to the lyrics of those perfect songs, he would have had considerable opportunity to hear his father and other supernaturally skilled singers (cf. 1 Chron. 6:31-32; 9:33; 1 Chron. 15-16) sing those songs before God made him (Solomon) a surpassingly excellent producer of songs himself.

These two considerations about Solomon’s background, therefore, should greatly heighten our appreciation and acceptance of the reality of Solomon’s all-surpassing musical wisdom, understanding, and knowledge concerning songs, singing, musical instruments, and playing instrumental music.

Copyright © 2011-2024 by Rajesh Gandhi. All rights reserved.

Friends, I’m looking for thoughtful feedback on the possible pros and cons of the following train of thought:

I have been studying the subject of the Bible and music intensely for the past twelve years. I have been working on a book on that subject for several years now.

Because I want to profit as many people as possible and as soon as possible with all my work in this area, I am considering disseminating the material of my book in a lengthy series of blog posts instead of an e-book or a printed book.

Doing it as a series of blog posts allows me to instantly make my work available all over the world and gives me total control of everything about how that material is formatted and does so at no additional cost to me. It also allows me to continually revise anything in my work on an instantaneous, ongoing basis.

It also removes inherent limitations that other formats have with what can be included (for example, printed books cannot provide live links to other articles on my site as well as on other sites; illustrations by necessity have many limitations that would not be true on a blog post).


Copyright © 2011-2024 by Rajesh Gandhi. All rights reserved.

The love of a mother for her children is a very special kind of love. Second Samuel 21 provides an account that instructively reveals to us the glory of one mother’s love for her children.

Losing Children through Judicial Execution

Because Saul had slain the Gibeonites, God informed David that He had afflicted the land with a famine (2 Sam. 21:1). David inquired of the Gibeonites about what they would have him do to atone for Saul’s grievous sin (2 Sam. 21:2-3).

The Gibeonites told David that they wanted him to deliver seven descendants of Saul to them so that they could “hang them up unto the LORD in Gibeah” (2 Sam. 21:4-6). David complied with their request by giving them two sons of Rizpah that she bore to Saul and five sons of Michal the daughter of Saul (2 Sam. 21:7-9a).

The Gibeonites “hanged them in the hill before the LORD” at the beginning of the barley harvest:

2 Samuel 21:9 And he delivered them into the hands of the Gibeonites, and they hanged them in the hill before the LORD: and they fell all seven together, and were put to death in the days of harvest, in the first days, in the beginning of barley harvest.

What Rizpah then did after the execution of her sons reveals something special about her love for them as their mother.

A Mother’s Ongoing Love for Her Children

Even though her sons were dead, Rizpah continued to protect their dead bodies for an extended time:

2 Samuel 21:10 And Rizpah the daughter of Aiah took sackcloth, and spread it for her upon the rock, from the beginning of harvest until water dropped upon them out of heaven, and suffered neither the birds of the air to rest on them by day, nor the beasts of the field by night.

Out of her ongoing love for her children, she did not allow either the birds or the beasts of the field to prey on their dead bodies. One wonders what all it must have entailed for her especially to be able to keep wild beasts from devouring their dead bodies by night!

She displayed the glory of her love as a mother by all that she did to protect the dead bodies of her sons.


Even though the spirits had long departed from the dead bodies of her sons, Rizpah lovingly protected their bodies from scavengers. Her actions show that she certainly did not believe that the dead bodies of her sons were merely empty shells of very little or no worth.

Her actions teach us that we must understand that the dead bodies of our loved ones are still special and worthy of loving treatment and protection. They are not essentially worthless, empty shells to be disposed of by whatever means are most convenient for us.

Learning from what Rizpah did for the dead bodies of her sons out of her glorious love for them, we should reject all means of the disposing of the dead bodies of our loved ones that unnaturally destroy those bodies. Cremation and other manmade destructive means of the disposing of human bodies after death have no legitimate place in the lives of those who continue to love their own after their loved ones have died.

Instead, we should choose to bury the dead bodies of our loved ones as a display of our love of loyalty to them even after they have died.

See also Three Reasons Why Cremation is Unbiblical

The Biblical Importance of a Proper Burial

Copyright © 2011-2024 by Rajesh Gandhi. All rights reserved.

We live in a day when more and more believers are choosing cremation instead of burial. Scripture, however, provides abundant revelation that shows that burial and not cremation is the right choice for every believer to make.

This post treats a premier reason for choosing burial instead of cremation. It does so by applying Micah 6:8 to what Scripture reveals about the importance of burial in 2 Samuel 2:4-6.

What Loyal People Do for a Deceased Person

When the men of Jabeshgilead heard what the Philistines had done to Saul and to his sons, they acted at great personal cost (“went all night”) to ensure that Saul and his sons would be buried:

1 Samuel 31:11 And when the inhabitants of Jabeshgilead heard of that which the Philistines had done to Saul; 12 All the valiant men arose, and went all night, and took the body of Saul and the bodies of his sons from the wall of Bethshan, and came to Jabesh, and burnt them there. 13 And they took their bones, and buried them under a tree at Jabesh, and fasted seven days.

Later, king David was informed of what these men had done:

2 Samuel 2:4 And the men of Judah came, and there they anointed David king over the house of Judah. And they told David, saying, That the men of Jabeshgilead were they that buried Saul.

When David learned of what they had done, David declared that what they had done to bury1 Saul showed kindness (Heb. hesed) to Saul:

 2 Samuel 2:5 And David sent messengers unto the men of Jabeshgilead, and said unto them, Blessed be ye of the LORD, that ye have shewed this kindness [hesed] unto your lord, even unto Saul, and have buried him. 6 And now the LORD shew kindness and truth unto you: and I also will requite you this kindness, because ye have done this thing.

Holladay defines hesed as ‘loyalty’ (A Concise Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament, 111). We thus learn from Scripture that burying a deceased person is how we show our loyalty to him.

God Requires Us to Love Loyalty

One of the most famous passages in Scripture teaches us that God requires us to love mercy (hesed):

Micah 6:8 He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy [hesed], and to walk humbly with thy God?

This passage that instructs believers to love hesed shows us that God requires that we love loyalty.

Applying Micah 6:8 to 2 Samuel 2:4-6

God has instructed us that He requires that we love loyalty (Micah 6:8). He has also revealed that loyalty to a deceased person is shown by burying that person (2 Sam. 2:4-6).

In obedience to God, therefore, believers should show that they love loyalty by burying a deceased person. Burial—not cremation—is the right thing for all believers to do for a deceased person.


Let us choose burial to display our love of loyalty to a deceased person.

1 See my post Three Reasons for Why Cremation Is Unbiblical for an explanation of why the account in 1 Samuel 31:11-13 does not support cremation at all.

Picture Credit: M. Shires

Copyright © 2011-2024 by Rajesh Gandhi. All rights reserved.

Does the Bible teach that having a burial is important? Scripture has much to say about that issue, including a key statement by Solomon:

Ecclesiastes 6:3 If a man beget an hundred children, and live many years, so that the days of his years be many, and his soul be not filled with good, and also that he have no burial; I say, that an untimely birth is better than he.

Although Ecclesiastes 6:3 speaks explicitly about not having a burial as a very bad thing, some believers today hold that the verse is not talking about having a burial per se. Rather, they hold that the verse is teaching about the importance of not having a funeral and not necessarily the importance of a person’s not being buried.

Lamenting and Mourning Distinguished from Being Buried

Examining the following passages that speak about burial shows us that this interpretation is wrong because all the passages distinguish lamenting and mourning for the dead loved one, which is typically a very important part of funerals, from burying that loved one:

Gen. 50:7 And Joseph went up to bury his father: and with him went up all the servants of Pharaoh, the elders of his house, and all the elders of the land of Egypt . . . 10 And they came to the threshingfloor of Atad, which is beyond Jordan, and there they mourned with a great and very sore lamentation: and he made a mourning for his father seven days . . . 13 For his sons carried him into the land of Canaan, and buried him in the cave of the field of Machpelah, which Abraham bought with the field for a possession of a buryingplace of Ephron the Hittite, before Mamre.

1 Sam. 25:1 And Samuel died; and all the Israelites were gathered together, and lamented him, and buried him in his house at Ramah. And David arose, and went down to the wilderness of Paran.

1 Sam. 28:3 Now Samuel was dead, and all Israel had lamented him, and buried him in Ramah, even in his own city. And Saul had put away those that had familiar spirits, and the wizards, out of the land.

2 Sam. 3:32 And they buried Abner in Hebron: and the king lifted up his voice, and wept at the grave of Abner; and all the people wept.

2 Sam. 3:33 And the king lamented over Abner, and said, Died Abner as a fool dieth?

2 Chr. 35:24 His servants therefore took him out of that chariot, and put him in the second chariot that he had; and they brought him to Jerusalem, and he died, and was buried in one of the sepulchres of his fathers. And all Judah and Jerusalem mourned for Josiah.

2 Chr. 35:25 And Jeremiah lamented for Josiah: and all the singing men and the singing women spake of Josiah in their lamentations to this day, and made them an ordinance in Israel: and, behold, they are written in the lamentations.

Acts 8:2 And devout men carried Stephen to his burial, and made great lamentation over him.

Moreover, other passages clearly distinguish lamenting and mourning for dead people from burying them by revealing that none of these proper actions that are distinct from one another would be done for them:

Jer. 16:4 They shall die of grievous deaths; they shall not be lamented; neither shall they be buried; but they shall be as dung upon the face of the earth: and they shall be consumed by the sword, and by famine; and their carcases shall be meat for the fowls of heaven, and for the beasts of the earth.

Jer. 16:5 For thus saith the LORD, Enter not into the house of mourning, neither go to lament nor bemoan them: for I have taken away my peace from this people, saith the LORD, even lovingkindness and mercies. 6 Both the great and the small shall die in this land: they shall not be buried, neither shall men lament for them, nor cut themselves, nor make themselves bald for them:

Jer. 25:33 And the slain of the LORD shall be at that day from one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth: they shall not be lamented, neither gathered, nor buried; they shall be dung upon the ground.


Scripture plainly teaches us that burying someone is distinct from lamenting and mourning his death. Based on what all these passages teach, Ecclesiastes 6:3 does not speak (merely) of how bad it is for a person to not have a funeral—it greatly stresses just how bad it is for a person not in actuality to be buried!

See also my post Three Reasons Why Cremation Is Unbiblical

Copyright © 2011-2024 by Rajesh Gandhi. All rights reserved.

Acts is the premier book for us to learn what the apostles were commissioned to do in evangelism. Luke begins Acts by telling us that they were commissioned to be witnesses unto Christ:

Acts 1:1 The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, 2 Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen: 3 To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God:

4 And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. 5 For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence. 6 When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?

7 And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. 8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

As witnesses unto Christ, they were commissioned to tell people what they themselves had seen and had heard concerning Christ. Luke plainly tells us that Christ Himself showed Himself alive to them repeatedly over a 40-day period in many appearances to them. Acts 1:1-8, therefore, indisputably teaches us that Christ commissioned the apostles to witness to people that they had seen Him alive in those appearances and heard Him speak to them.

Later in Acts 1, Luke informs us that the apostolic company fully understood that what was central in their evangelism was that they were to be witnesses of His resurrection:

Acts 1:21 Wherefore of these men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, 22 Beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection.

No human being was an eyewitness of the actual Resurrection of Christ (the exact moment when Christ rose from the dead).

For the apostles, therefore, to be witnesses (people who tell others what they themselves have seen and heard), they had to tell people not just that Christ rose (something that none of them actually saw or heard in person), but also and especially, that they themselves in person saw and heard Him alive in the Resurrection appearances in which He repeatedly showed Himself to them in the 40-day period between the Resurrection and the Ascension.

The actual Resurrection was not what changed the apostles from their meeting in private to bold, continual witnesses of Christ. What transformed them was that they themselves saw and heard the risen Christ in His appearances to them. Acts 1:1-8 and 1:21-22 thus plainly teach us that testifying to the Resurrection appearances of Christ was central and essential for the apostles to be faithful witnesses to what Christ had commissioned them to do in their evangelism.

Furthermore, Luke provides further confirmation to us about what the apostles held that they had to do in fulfilling the commission that they had been given:

Acts 4:18 And they called them, and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus. 19 But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye. 20 For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.

This passage shows that the apostles had as their premier goal to speak what they themselves had seen and heard. We can be certain that their testifying to their eyewitness encounters with the risen Christ was the very center of their apostolic evangelism.

Whenever they possibly could, the apostolic company never just stated that Christ rose–they unendingly testified in addition that they had seen and heard Him in His resurrection appearances to them. Doing so was the essence of how they were commissioned to be witnesses of His Resurrection.

*This post uses extensively and is based on a series of comments that I myself posted elsewhere online concerning this subject.

Copyright © 2011-2024 by Rajesh Gandhi. All rights reserved.