Through the Bible for 2021!

November 6, 2021

This morning, I finished reading the Bible through for 2021! I praise God that He has seen fit to allow me another year of life in a country where I had the freedom to read the entire Bible one more time.

Lord willing, I hope to finish reading the Psalms at least one more time this year and read Revelation one more time by the end of the year.

Psalm 138:2 I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.

Copyright © 2011-2022 by Rajesh Gandhi. All rights reserved.

2 Chronicles 33:18 Now the rest of the acts of Manasseh, and his prayer unto his God, and the words of the seers that spake to him in the name of the LORD God of Israel, behold, they are written in the book of the kings of Israel. 19 His prayer also, and how God was intreated of him, and all his sin, and his trespass, and the places wherein he built high places, and set up groves and graven images, before he was humbled: behold, they are written among the sayings of the seers.

I have been studying the accounts about king Manasseh in 2 Kings 21 and 2 Chronicles 33 for some time now. Second Chronicles 33:19 has especially caught my attention because of what it reveals and where it says that information is revealed:

1. Exhaustive (?) information about Manasseh’s sinfulness

2. Specific details about his sinfulness that are explicitly stated: “the places wherein he built high places, and set up groves and graven images”

3. The revelation that this information was “written among the sayings of the seers,” who were prophets of God

Why has the Spirit inscripturated this information and thereby called our attention to the existence and recording of such detailed information about Manasseh’s sinfulness that is not provided in Scripture?

Copyright © 2011-2022 by Rajesh Gandhi. All rights reserved.

Scripture infallibly and inerrantly reveals that king Manasseh was a very wicked unbeliever who authentically had contact with multiple demons:

2 Kings 21:6 And he made his son pass through the fire, and observed times, and used enchantments, and dealt with familiar spirits and wizards: he wrought much wickedness in the sight of the LORD, to provoke him to anger.

2 Chronicles 33:6 And he caused his children to pass through the fire in the valley of the son of Hinnom: also he observed times, and used enchantments, and used witchcraft, and dealt with a familiar spirit, and with wizards: he wrought much evil in the sight of the LORD, to provoke him to anger.

We are not told what the nature of those dealings were or what he did so that he had those authentic encounters with demons.

We know with certainty that he did not get any information from any Scripture or from any godly prophet, priest, or other servant of God about how specifically to have those dealings with familiar spirits.

Considering in this way what has been revealed about Manasseh, we learn with certainty that without any need for any biblical information at all, unbelievers can and have had authentic encounters with demons and have known all that they needed to know and all that they needed to do to have such authentic encounters.

Conclusion

Because no biblical information is necessary for any unbeliever to know to have such authentic contact with demons, we do not have any basis to hold that they cannot have or have not had such authentic contact with demons in our day.

Because unbelievers can and have known all that they have needed to know and all that they have needed to do to have such contact, we have no basis to deny a priori the authenticity of such testimonies about contact with demons in our day.

Our not having specific biblical information about such occult practices does not mean in any way that we cannot know whether wicked people have had authentic encounters with demons in our day.

 

Copyright © 2011-2022 by Rajesh Gandhi. All rights reserved.

In God’s providence, He has directed me to spend a decade or more studying each of four different subjects. These subjects have been quite diverse.

Stewardship of the Physical Body

Prior to becoming a Christian, I earned a bachelor’s degree in Fitness Instruction and a master’s degree in Human Performance. After I was saved, God used that background to open up a graduate assistant position while I worked on a Masters in Bible.

After finishing that degree, He led me to serve on full-time staff for many years in helping believers be good stewards of their physical bodies.

During those years of coursework and ministry, I studied intensely everything that the Bible teaches about health, exercise, nutrition, and stewardship of the body. God gave me numerous opportunities over that time to speak to believers on these subjects.

Evangelism and Discipleship

Soon after I was saved, I became very active in evangelistic ministries successively in the two local churches that I have been a member of during my lifetime as a believer. All through those years, I studied intensely all that Scripture reveals about evangelism and discipleship ministries.

God gave me many opportunities to preach and teach on these subjects for a number of years, but it has been quite some time since I have had such opportunities. It’s puzzling to me that I have not had more opportunities to edify God’s people in this area.

Christ as God’s Judicial Agent

After having served for many years in ministering to believers about stewardship of their bodies and about evangelism and discipleship, God dramatically redirected me to return for seminary work in a doctoral program. During those very hard years of working on that degree, God directed me to study with a passion everything that He has revealed in Scripture about Christ as His judicial agent.

During the years of working on that degree and for about a year afterwards, God gave me many opportunities to preach and teach on passages concerning the topic of my dissertation. Remarkably, however, I have had very few opportunities to do so in the past decade.

Acceptable Music for Corporate Worship

For at least the last decade, God has dramatically shifted the focus of my studies and ministry opportunities to an exhaustive study of everything in the Bible about music and worship. He has directed me to immerse myself profoundly in the book of Psalms during these years, beginning in 2012.

God has led me to write numerous articles about what Scripture reveals about music and worship and has given me several opportunities to speak multiple times on these subjects in a few churches. I am also writing a book about what God has given me in this area of study over this past decade.

Conclusion

Reflecting on how God has directed me during my Christian lifetime, I find it striking that God has led me to so intensively study these four different subjects during that time. Seeing how God has dramatically changed the focus of my studies and ministries more than once in my life makes me wonder what God may have in store for me in whatever years He has left for me to serve Him in this life.

God has been faithful in all these things in spite of much unfaithfulness on my part throughout these years. To God be the glory for all that He has done for and through me!

 

 

 

 

Copyright © 2011-2022 by Rajesh Gandhi. All rights reserved.

Psalms is my favorite book of the Bible. From 1990 to 2011, I read the Psalms 25 times.

In the past decade, God has directed me to read the Psalms many more times than I had read in all my previous years.

Year Times That I Read the Psalms
2012 25
2013 1
2014 1
2015 1
2016 3
2017 4
2018 6
2019 4
2020 5
2021 41 2 3
Total (2012-2021) 541 2 3

Having now read the book 79 times in my life, I hope to make it to 80 by the end of 2021 and to 100 by the end of 2025, Lord willing.

I praise God for giving me a special decade of reading the Psalms from 2012-2021!


1Update on 11/28/21: I have now read the book through 6 times this year, 56 times from 2012 to 2021, and 81 times in my life!

2Update on 12/11/21: I have now read the book through 7 times this year, 57 times from 2012 to 2021, and 82 times in my life!

3Update on 12/24/21: I have now read the book through 8 times this year, 58 times from 2012 to 2021, and 83 times in my life!

Copyright © 2011-2022 by Rajesh Gandhi. All rights reserved.

Two passages in the OT teach us a profound truth about the musical importance of the Hebrew verb halal.

First, 2 Chronicles 29:30 reveals to us that a key command given by Hezekiah and the princes to the Levites to minister musically used that verb to communicate what they were to do musically. Moreover, that same verse also reveals that the same verb was used to signify what the Levites did musically in obeying that command:

2 Chronicles 29:30 Moreover Hezekiah the king and the princes commanded the Levites to sing praise unto the LORD with the words of David, and of Asaph the seer. And they sang praises with gladness, and they bowed their heads and worshipped.

‎WTT 2 Chronicles 29:30

וַ֠יֹּאמֶר יְחִזְקִיָּ֙הוּ הַמֶּ֤לֶךְ וְהַשָּׂרִים֙ לַלְוִיִּ֔ם

לְהַלֵּל֙ לַֽיהוָ֔ה

בְּדִבְרֵ֥י דָוִ֖יד וְאָסָ֣ף הַחֹזֶ֑ה

וַֽיְהַלְלוּ֙ עַד־לְשִׂמְחָ֔ה וַֽיִּקְּד֖וּ וַיִּֽשְׁתַּחֲוֽוּ׃ פ

(2 Chr. 29:30 WTT)

The Hebrew text here thus teaches us that the verb halal is used twice in this verse to signify the singing of praises to God!

Second, the Hebrew text of Psalm 147:1 profoundly confirms this understanding by revealing that the command that has been widely transliterated as “Hallelujah” signified here the singing of praises to the Lord and not just speaking praise to Him:

Psalm 147:1 Praise ye the LORD: for it is good to sing praises unto our God; for it is pleasant; and praise is comely.

WTT Psalm 147:1 הַ֥לְלוּ יָ֙הּ׀ כִּי־ט֭וֹב זַמְּרָ֣ה אֱלֹהֵ֑ינוּ כִּֽי־נָ֜עִים נָאוָ֥ה תְהִלָּֽה׃

In this verse, the command Hallelujah is directly explained as singing praise to Him by the use of the verb zamar (Heb. “to sing praise”) to signify what was good to do in obeying that command!

These passages thus teach us the profound musical importance of the Hebrew verb halal!

Copyright © 2011-2022 by Rajesh Gandhi. All rights reserved.

According to Scripture, demons are evil angelic beings. Luke 11:26 reveals that Jesus made a remarkable statement about these unclean spirits that must inform our theology of evil in a vital way:

Luke 11:24 When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest; and finding none, he saith, I will return unto my house whence I came out. 25 And when he cometh, he findeth it swept and garnished. 26 Then goeth he, and taketh to him seven other spirits more wicked than himself; and they enter in, and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first.

Jesus teaches us through this statement that all demons are not equally wicked—some unclean spirits are more wicked than other unclean spirits are!

Because Jesus did not explain this statement at all, what He said on that occasion does not provide us with any further understanding of its significance.

Although we do not know how and in what ways some demons are more wicked than others are, we must still accept this teaching from Jesus. If your theology of evil does not include this truth, your theology is unbiblical in that respect.

Does your theology of evil account for what Jesus said in Luke 11:26?

Copyright © 2011-2022 by Rajesh Gandhi. All rights reserved.

What Is Biblical Worship?

September 15, 2021

Looking at every occurrence of various forms of the word “worship” in Scripture, seven passages in the NT stand out to me as key statements about what worship is. Interestingly, they are from only two books of the NT.

Earthly Worship in the Gospel of Matthew

Matt. 8:2 And, behold, there came a leper and worshipped him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.

Matt. 9:18 While he spake these things unto them, behold, there came a certain ruler, and worshipped him, saying, My daughter is even now dead: but come and lay thy hand upon her, and she shall live.

Matt. 14:33 Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God.

Matt. 15:25 Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me.

These statements reveal that earthly worship includes praying to God and exclaiming truths to Him about who He is.

Heavenly Worship in Revelation

Rev. 7:11-12 And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God, 12 Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen.

Rev. 11:16-17 And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats, fell upon their faces, and worshipped God, 17 Saying, We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned.

Rev. 19:4 And the four and twenty elders and the four beasts fell down and worshipped God that sat on the throne, saying, Amen; Alleluia.

These passages are especially important because they reveal to us what the perfect worship in heaven looks like.

Based on these passages, we must understand that worship especially includes giving thanks to God, attributing glory to Him, and saying, “Amen,” and “Amen, Alleluia.”

Exhortation

Let us base our understanding of what biblical worship is from these key passages about earthly worship and heavenly worship. Let us also be diligent to say “Amen” and “Amen, Alleluia” regularly in our worship.

 

Copyright © 2011-2022 by Rajesh Gandhi. All rights reserved.

Is it an essential mark of a good preacher, teacher, or writer that he makes everything easy to understand for everyone? Scripture provides revelation that answers this important question decisively.

An Inspired Evaluation of Some Pauline Epistolary Teaching

The apostle Peter provides us with an inspired evaluation that some of Paul’s teaching in his epistles is not easy to understand:

2 Peter 3:16 As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.

Keeping in mind that the Spirit inspired Paul to write everything in all his epistles exactly as the Spirit wanted them to be, we learn that the perfect Writer, the Holy Spirit, has not written everything that He has given us in Scripture so that all of it is easy to understand for everyone.

It simply is not true that a good preacher, teacher, or writer makes or even can make everything easy to understand for everyone. Although Christian ministers should try to make their preaching, teaching, and writing as understandable as possible, they should not burden themselves with the faulty notion that everything that they say about every subject must be made easy to understand for everyone.

Conclusion

There are subjects and issues that cannot be made easy to understand for everyone. Let us beware holding the faulty notion that if something is not easy to understand, the one communicating that message has necessarily failed to communicate it properly.

Copyright © 2011-2022 by Rajesh Gandhi. All rights reserved.

Are You a Saint of God?

August 28, 2021

If you consider yourself to be a Christian, do you also consider yourself to be a saint of God?

If not, I encourage you to consider carefully that the NT speaks of Christians as being saints at least 47 times!

Acts

1. Acts 9:13 Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem:

2. Acts 9:32 And it came to pass, as Peter passed throughout all quarters, he came down also to the saints which dwelt at Lydda.

3. Acts 9:41 And he gave her his hand, and lifted her up, and when he had called the saints and widows, presented her alive.

4. Acts 26:10 Which thing I also did in Jerusalem: and many of the saints did I shut up in prison, having received authority from the chief priests; and when they were put to death, I gave my voice against them.

Pauline Epistles

1. Rom. 1:7 To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.

2. Rom. 8:27 And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.

3. Rom. 12:13 Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality.

4. Rom. 15:25 But now I go unto Jerusalem to minister unto the saints.

5. Rom. 15:26 For it hath pleased them of Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution for the poor saints which are at Jerusalem.

6. Rom. 15:31 That I may be delivered from them that do not believe in Judaea; and that my service which I have for Jerusalem may be accepted of the saints;

7. Rom. 16:2 That ye receive her in the Lord, as becometh saints, and that ye assist her in whatsoever business she hath need of you: for she hath been a succourer of many, and of myself also.

8. Rom. 16:15 Salute Philologus, and Julia, Nereus, and his sister, and Olympas, and all the saints which are with them.

9. 1 Cor. 1:2 Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours:

10. 1 Cor. 6:1 Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unjust, and not before the saints?

11. 1 Cor. 6:2 Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters?

12. 1 Cor. 14:33 For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.

13. 1 Cor. 16:1 Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye.

14. 1 Cor. 16:15 I beseech you, brethren, (ye know the house of Stephanas, that it is the firstfruits of Achaia, and that they have addicted themselves to the ministry of the saints,)

15. 2 Cor. 1:1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, unto the church of God which is at Corinth, with all the saints which are in all Achaia:

16. 2 Cor. 8:4 Praying us with much intreaty that we would receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints.

17. 2 Cor. 9:1 For as touching the ministering to the saints, it is superfluous for me to write to you:

18. 2 Cor. 9:12 For the administration of this service not only supplieth the want of the saints, but is abundant also by many thanksgivings unto God;

19. 2 Cor. 13:13 All the saints salute you.

20. Eph. 1:1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus:

21. Eph. 1:15 Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints,

22. Eph. 1:18 The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,

23. Eph. 2:19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;

24. Eph. 3:8 Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ;

25. Eph. 3:18 May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;

26. Eph. 4:12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:

27. Eph. 5:3 But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints;

28. Eph. 6:18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;

29. Phil. 1:1 Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons:

30. Phil. 4:21 Salute every saint in Christ Jesus. The brethren which are with me greet you.

31. Phil. 4:22 All the saints salute you, chiefly they that are of Caesar’s household.

32. Col. 1:2 To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ which are at Colosse: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

33. Col. 1:4 Since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love which ye have to all the saints,

34. Col. 1:12 Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light:

35. Col. 1:26 Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints:

36. 1 Thess. 3:13 To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.

37. 2 Thess. 1:10 When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.

38. 1 Tim. 5:10 Well reported of for good works; if she have brought up children, if she have lodged strangers, if she have washed the saints‘ feet, if she have relieved the afflicted, if she have diligently followed every good work.

39. Phlm. 1:5 Hearing of thy love and faith, which thou hast toward the Lord Jesus, and toward all saints;

40. Phlm. 1:7 For we have great joy and consolation in thy love, because the bowels of the saints are refreshed by thee, brother.

Non-Pauline Epistles

1. Heb. 6:10 For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister.

2. Heb. 13:24 Salute all them that have the rule over you, and all the saints. They of Italy salute you.

3. Jude 1:3 Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.

Exhortation

The NT abundantly teaches that Christians are saints of the Lord. If you are a Christian, you are a saint of God. Are you walking worthy of your calling to be a saint of the Lord (cf. Rom. 1:7; 1 Cor. 1:2)?

Furthermore, corporately, we need more preaching, teaching, and admonishing one another in singing about our being His saints and what that means about how we are to live.

Let us believe what God has said that we are His saints, and let us glorify Him by being entirely consecrated to Him as His saints!

Copyright © 2011-2022 by Rajesh Gandhi. All rights reserved.