The Bible contains many teachings that are commonly avoided or obscured in mainstream Christianity. Can your minister correctly answer these seven questions from the Bible?
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Several months ago, The Real Truth published an article addressing seven questions most preachers are unable to answer correctly from their Bibles. The response to that article has warranted seven more questions our readers can take to their ministers.
To many the Bible is a confusing book, written in code. Left discouraged, most feel they must believe what their pastors teach, assuming they are being instructed from God’s Word. However, those teachers are at best only partly correct.
Do not assume you know the biblical answer to each of these questions. Read each, and their proofs, with an open mind—and an open Bible! You will learn more about God’s Word than you have ever thought possible.
After our original “Seven Questions” article, a number of ministers wrote stating they “enjoyed” answering the questions we posed. Such responses were insightful, because their replies confirmed that they gave the standard answers—ignoring Scripture or using only snippets of verses completely out of context. Do not be fooled by carefully chosen excerpts used in each case to explain away a series of clear biblical passages.
Our goal is not to explain every argument for a particular doctrine, but to give readers the foundation—and the starting point—to understand basic truths of the Bible. Each question covered is explained in much greater detail (including “proof texts”) in the literature referenced after each question. You will find it helpful to read this literature before approaching your minister.
Do not allow a pastor to sweep aside the questions with human reasoning. Man’s opinions never apply to any teaching of God. Without God’s help, human beings are incapable of properly assessing true and false spiritual knowledge (Isa. 55:8-9). Jesus Christ warns against ministers who ignore, reject or dismiss the plain truths of the Bible to follow what is popular.
Allow Christ’s words to frame the rest of the article.
Jesus Christ had harsh words for the religious leaders of His day and all who follow their ways: “Well has Esaias [Isaiah] prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. Howbeit in vain do they worship Me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men…And He said unto them, Full well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your own tradition” (Mark 7:6-9).
Again, open your Bible and examine the scriptures covered. Will you believe God’s Word on any particular subject?—or are you willing to “lay aside the commandment of God” and keep “the tradition of men”?
The most misunderstood, confused and butchered teaching in the Bible is also the most fundamental. Billions assume many things about the gospel. Different denominations have created gospels of healing, salvation and grace, to name a few.
The word gospel means “good news.” When properly understood, the gospel is marvelous good news, far greater than the narrow focus brought by so many.
“Gospel” is found 101 times throughout the Bible. Sometimes it is found alone, and other times with the phrases “of the kingdom,” “of the kingdom of God,” or “of the kingdom of heaven.” It is also tied to Jesus Christ, in that it is His message. The phrase “gospel of Christ” appears 11 times in the New Testament.
These passages have unnecessarily confused many Bible students. Simple English grammar makes them plain and the meaning obvious. The preposition “of” always denotes possession. The “gospel of Christ” could easily be written as “Christ’s gospel.” Breaking it down even further, the “gospel of Christ” could be written as “Christ’s good news.” When Scripture describes the gospel as “of the kingdom of heaven,” it is heaven’s kingdom—meaning it is God’s kingdom, since heaven is where He resides.
Tying this with the numerous times the gospel is attached to the kingdom of God (meaning God’s kingdom), the picture clarifies further. Since “kingdom” is a King James term meaning government, and “of” denotes possession, “kingdom of God” can be written as “government of God” or “God’s government” (ruled by the Family of God).
Now let’s put everything together. “Christ’s gospel of the kingdom of God” can be expressed as “Christ’s good news of God’s government.” How plain! Jesus’ good news was the announcement of God’s government coming to earth.
There is no need to complicate the subject. Mankind has narrowed the gospel to a message of healing, salvation or even a message about the person of Jesus Christ. How sad that Christ’s real message is lost in the confusion! When the Bible is taken at face value, its meaning and purpose is always greater than what men narrowly purport.
God takes the truth of the gospel seriously. The apostle Paul warns the first-century Church—and all Christians thereafter—that some would “pervert the gospel of Christ” (Gal. 1:7). He goes on to state twice that any who do this are cursed (vs. 8-9)!
That is a serious warning from God!
Jesus Christ and Christians through the ages were put to death for this important message. Of course, God demands the true gospel to be taught.
Is your minister—your church!—teaching Christ’s good news of the coming government of God? Almost certainly, NO!
For more, read Which Is the True Gospel?
Confusion abounds about what is the Godhead. Attempts to fuse the Holy Spirit, the Father and Jesus Christ into one Being have made certain scriptures appear contradictory. This need not be so. Paul told the Corinthian brethren that there was simplicity in Christ (II Cor. 11:3).
Untangling the Gordian knot of the trinity doctrine begins in the gospel of John. The first chapter describes the earliest time period revealed in the Bible: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God” (vs. 1-2).
This account describes two God Beings. One is called the “Word.” Verse 14 makes clear that the Word is Jesus Christ: “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us…”
Who is the other God Being? Let Christ answer that question: “I can of My own self do nothing…because I seek not My own will, but the will of the Father which has sent Me” (John 5:30). The Word came to earth and became Jesus Christ, leaving the One who sent Him—the Father. Scores of other verses demonstrate the relationship between the human Jesus and the Father, who remained in heaven.
To further understand the name God, we must go to the beginning of the Bible. Genesis adds more details: “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness” (1:26).
Two points jump from this passage. God is referenced and is followed by plural terms—“us” and “our.” The Hebrew word translated God is Elohim, which is a uniplural term. (The singular is Eloah.)
Elohim always refers to more than one being. This is comparable to a father and son sharing the last name Smith. Both can be referred to as Smith. Of course, they are not the same person; they simply share the same name. In a similar manner, Jesus Christ and the Father share the name, God. This is a family relationship—the God Family—not a closed trinity that denies the very reason the God Family created man after “our image, after our likeness.”
Some confuse the terms Spirit of God and Spirit of Christ. One verse makes it clear that these are the same Spirit—the Holy Spirit: “But you are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His” (Rom. 8:9).
Space does not allow for the many verses proving that the Holy Spirit is not a person. Do not fall victim to preachers who attempt to prove the trinity by pointing to passages such as I John 5. Most scholars realize that half of verse 6 and all of verse 7 were inserted, and not found in the original Greek text. In verse 8, the translators added “in earth.” With proper context, this chapter explains that Christ’s baptism, blood and sacrifice did not “do away with” the Ten Commandments. Only clever, deceitful manipulation allows the trinity to be injected into this passage. Any thinking person who reads the entire chapter will realize it in no way espouses the trinity.
David C. Pack’s book The Trinity – Is God Three-In-One? explains this subject unlike anything else ever written.
How many times have you heard the adage, “Most people are inherently good, except for a few bad apples”? Most believe this to be true, leading them to strive to “make a difference.” Their thinking is that if the “good” people rise up and join together, the problems of the world can be fixed.
Let’s put aside human opinion and ask, “How does God answer this question?”
The philosophies, feelings and ideas of men are easy to dispel when one is willing to let the Bible interpret itself. Let’s begin with two short verses: “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23) and “the whole world lies in wickedness” (I John 5:19). Next read Romans 3:10-12: “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understands, there is none that seeks after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that does good, no, not one.” Together, these powerful verses describe the true state of humanity.
Allow God’s Word to focus on individuals. Notice each passage literally describes the hearts and minds of all people. The first of two verses is from the Old Testament: “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jer. 17:9).
The second verse adds a new element. Notice it is the carnal mind that is enmity (which can be translated “enemy” or “hostile”) against God. This makes the question of what distinguishes a Spirit-led mind from a carnal one extremely important.
No wonder Paul wrote a chapter earlier in Romans, “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwells no good thing” (7:18). Further, it becomes clear why Christ said even of Himself, “Why call you Me good? There is none good but One, that is, God” (Matt. 19:17).
Are you surprised at the plain clarity of these passages? Are you surprised to see that human beings are not inherently good?
God sees human beings and their conduct far differently from how we see ourselves. Our Creator is also able to recognize what each of us can become if we obey Him and become true Christians.
Our booklet Did God Create Human Nature? presents many more aspects of this subject.
While this question should not be confusing, billions have no idea. It can be answered with a verse we have already covered: “But you are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His” (Rom. 8:9). A Christian is one who has the Holy Spirit. It is that simple.
The next question should then be How can one acquire the “Spirit of Christ”? Jesus begins the answer in Mark 1: “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent you, and believe the gospel” (vs. 15).
This is one of Christ’s first commands. We are told to “repent,” which means to change. This may be the perfect summary of Christianity. It is a life of constant change from a carnal mind to one taking on the desires and character of God. As the second step in the Christian walk, it should now be clear why our opening question about the gospel is crucial—that you must believe in the true gospel Christ preached, the kingdom of God.
The apostle Peter’s sermon in Acts adds another element: “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (2:38). One must be baptized to receive the Holy Spirit.
Time and again, clear scriptures reveal the core teachings of the Bible.
Our booklet What Is True Conversion? expands much more on this question.
The subject of love is perhaps the single most popular teaching in Christendom. Each week, billions hear sermons about the “love of God,” how the “love of Jesus is in our hearts” and nearly every version of what is supposedly godly love. But is your minister teaching love as defined by the Bible?
Let’s start with a popular verse. The apostle Paul wrote, “The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy [Spirit] which is given unto us” (Rom. 5:5). As we have seen, having the Holy Spirit is the starting point of being a Christian. It is only through God’s Spirit that we can have true love—the love of God.
How does the Bible define the “love of God”?
The apostle John wrote, “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments: and His commandments are not grievous” (I John 5:3). We demonstrate the love of God if we happily keep God’s commandments. This makes perfect sense because God’s Law is “holy, just, good and spiritual” (Rom. 7:12, 14). Later in Romans, Paul adds more: “Love works no ill to his neighbor: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law” (13:10).
Putting these two verses together demonstrates that the love of God is fulfilling the Law by keeping His commandments. Yet, amazingly, millions believe that God’s Law has been “nailed to the cross.”
How many sermons have you heard about “love” that ignored these fundamental verses? God’s only definition of love is not preached because it requires action! Godly love requires a Christian to obey.
After the last question, the purpose of the Ten Commandments—God’s Law—should be obvious. As a Being who says He is love (I John 4:8, 16), God (like any responsible parent) prescribes conduct that allows His children to lead happy, successful and abundant lives.
Sin leads to death (Rom. 6:23), so God has created laws to distinguish righteousness from sin: “What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. No, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shall not covet” (Rom. 7:7). With what you have learned thus far, the idea of dismissing the Ten Commandments should seem ridiculous.
However, let’s humor the notion that some or all of the Ten Commandments have been done away. Of the two notions, dismissing all the commandments is a more “honest” position; at least the proponent is saying he rejects all of the basic principles of the Bible.
Most ministers pick and choose individual commandments as being valid or invalid. Ask your minister if it is permissible to murder. His answer will be obvious. If he answers with a scripture, he will undoubtedly cite the Ten Commandments as God’s position on murder. The same will be true for adultery, stealing, lying, etc.
Taken in a general sense, most religionists say the Ten Commandments are an important “framework” of Christian conduct. However, if you discuss each commandment with them, you will find their doctrines force them to reject one or more of the ten, usually the Second and Fourth commands—regarding idolatry and the Sabbath, respectively.
Effectively, your minister is deciding that he has the authority to twist, modify or dismiss something God created!
Notice how God describes the Ten Commandments: “But whoso looks into the perfect law of liberty, and continues therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed” (Jms. 1:25). Chapter 2 of James, focusing on verse 12, proves the “law of liberty” is the Ten Commandments.
Our book The Ten Commandments – “Nailed to the Cross” or Required for Salvation? covers each commandment and its link to God’s love in much more detail.
The most important question in this article is rarely asked. While questions regarding doctrines are interesting and important, they are only the springboard to the real purpose for being a Christian—what has been called your “incredible human potential.”
Again, Romans sheds some light on this potential: “…that He [Christ] might be the firstborn among many brethren” (8:29). The key in this verse is the phrase “firstborn among many brethren.”
More details are revealed earlier in the same chapter: “But if the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken [give life to] your mortal bodies by His Spirit that dwells in you” (vs. 11).
Again, notice the parallels to what Christ has experienced and what is planned for man. “The whole creation groans and travails in pain together until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption [Greek: ‘sonship’ or ‘placing as a son’]…” (vs. 22-23).
The parallel should be clear. Further, our reward is covered in an inspiring passage that again parallels Christ! It is much greater than popular religion’s ridiculous concept of spending eternity floating on clouds in heaven:
“You made him [man] a little lower than the angels; You crowned him with glory and honor, and did set him over the works of Your hands: You have put all things [Moffatt translation renders ‘all things’ as ‘the universe’] in subjection under his feet. For in that He put all in subjection under him, He left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him.
“But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor…For it became Him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the Captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings” (Heb. 2:7-10).
The Christian goal is to be born into the kingdom of God, which is the family of God—to become an immortal spirit-being who will rule “all things”—the universe—under Jesus Christ! What could be more wonderful—more GLORIOUS?
Our booklet Why Do You Exist? provides much more understanding and scriptural proofs for this subject.
Now that you have read one or both of the “Seven Questions” articles, your knowledge of God’s truth has grown. What will you do with this precious understanding? You can choose to believe what the Bible plainly teaches or you can ignore Christ’s warning and “keep your own tradition” (Mark 7:9).
What choice will you make?
The Creator expects action! You must follow through with what you have read, or your new understanding will be lost: “Be you doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass [Greek: mirror]: for he beholds himself, and goes his way, and straightway forgets what manner of man he was” (Jms. 1:22-24).
When knowledge is not acted upon, it is lost. Life’s many cares and pursuits will fill your mind and you will “straightway forget” the precious truth you now understand.
False ministers will always try to confuse, explain away, blur or reject outright the truth of God’s Word. This has been happening for thousands of years. Of course, such men pose as true ministers to lure the unsuspecting—and unstudied—from God: “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works” (II Cor. 11:13-15).
If your minister dismisses plain scriptures, he is proving he is not a servant of Jesus Christ. So says your Bible!
No matter how sincere he may appear—and even be—he is sincerely wrong! Do not accept human reasoning or Scripture out of context in vain attempts to dismiss what you have learned. Ministers, church members, friends and family may not accept truth from God’s Word.
You must worry about how God sees your action—your conduct: “Wherefore, my beloved…work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” (Phil. 2:12).
Be willing to take the next step—be a doer of the Word! Work out your own salvation and experience God’s purpose for you. Fulfill your ultimate human potential!