Discussion Question and Answer:
This section contains questions that have been asked and the answers I gave. They address a multitude of different subjects and offer explanations from a Biblical point of view. These topics are my own writings. If you would like to debate, question, or contribute to an article in this section, send me an email to Michael@ PreciseBible.com .
Charles Michael Lassiter
001. Why Do You Study Greek And Hebrew, and What Does That Have To Do With The Bible?
The New Testament was written in Koine Greek and completed about 96 A.D. Jerome later translated it into Latin about the 3rd century A.D., English versions came much later than that. The Old Testament was originally written in Hebrew, mostly around the 14th century B.C., yet we only have manuscripts surviving from the 7th to 10th centuries B.C. It was later translated into Classical Greek around 275 B.C. This too was translated into English at a much later date. The original Hebrew and the Koine Greek manuscripts are the inspired word of God. The English translations are sometimes poor in conveying the ideas meant by the original authors.
This is the very reason that I went to seminary and spent 3 years studying the Koine Greek language and a year and a half studying the Hebrew language. I wanted to be able to check the original for myself. I have been involved with the languages since 1983. I can't say I know everything, but I do know how to figure out exactly what it says in the original. I am also able to teach the languages if you would like to learn - just let me know. I am hoping to get a Greek and Hebrew class going too. This puts many religious groups on the defensive, especially pastors, and I often get into trouble for knowing too much. It has been a real struggle to try to explain these things to Christians, because they often feel insecure if you question their favorite English translation. I try to be careful about this and not overwhelm the faith of some.
002. In Daniel, a week is 7 years. Any chance in Genesis the same is true, that a day is actually a year?
In Daniel, the phrase "70 weeks of years" is used to define the time period of the end time. This is deliberately stated to explain the text to mean that a week is 7 years. (and by the way, a day would be a year) .I have thought that the day of the Lord may refer to a year, but this is just a theory. That is not the case in Genesis. The word YOM (day) in Hebrew means exactly one day. In fact the days are counted from evening to evening, so they are defined exactly so there is no mistake. A Hebrew day starts at sundown and ends at sundown the next day and includes the morning. Genesis is not a prophecy, and Daniel's account is a prophecy. Nowhere in Genesis does it mean or explain it to be anything other than a day. Also, if you substitute a year in place of a day, many passages would make no sense. Daniel is only referring to his prophecy, and it can only be applied to the prophecy. He explains his prophecy and it's explained in other places in scripture.
Some people use one verse in the Bible to claim that a thousand years is a day, to support evolution, but that is not correct. Here is that verse below. It is not defining a day to mean a thousand years for a prophecy, but is saying that God is not constricted by time. Many have taken this verse and confused a lot of people. This is the only passage in the Bible mentioning a thousand year contrast, and it is only used one time. It is also not consistent with Daniel which makes a day equal to a year.
2 Peter 3:8 But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.
9. The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.
10. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.
003. In caves, the water wears down rocks smoothly. Yet, in places like the Grand Canyon the rock is not smooth, it is ripped from the edges of the canyon like a sudden violent flood. Can you explain this?
When water flows quickly, it rips things jaggedly. When it flows slow and smooth it polishes things. The grand canyon was ripped out quickly. I am sure if you went there and looked at the rocks in the bottom of the river, they would be smooth from the waves flowing over them. The canyon was formed rapidly and the lower parts flowed slowly for years afterwards. No river could have made that canyon over time, it was a wash out. I believe most caves are also washouts that happened during the flood via sinkholes which drained the waters of the flood underground. Then, lesser streams and leaks in the cave walls polished many areas of the caves slowly over the years and deposited minerals there on the sides forming stalactites. When the flood occurred, these layers of limestone and rock had been laid down quickly by flood water sediments from the flood and had not hardened into rock as they are today. It would not have taken much to make a washout at that time, but it takes a lot to wash one out now after hardening.
004. Stephen writes: Where do different churches come up with not having or having musical instruments in church? I check out your sight on occasion and enjoy it.
You ask a great question. There are certainly a lot of opinions about music in church. In fact it may be one of the most divisive issues for us today. It seems like music has become more important than Bible study. People used to argue over Bible Doctrine in the church, now they just argue over the music style.
Lets start here. The Bible does not actually tell us what style of music to use or how to perform it. In fact it is very vague about the subject. The main issue in music seems to be that you do it from the heart as worship unto the Lord. The style is immaterial. Israel, in the Old Testament had all the instruments of an orchestra and they used them all to worship God, and they did it loudly. Of course we are not Israel, since Israel exists today as a separate entity. Christianity broke the mold from Judaism. The early church met in homes and they sang hymns. Jesus sang them, and so did all the disciples and Paul. Look at these verses:
Matthew 26: 29. But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom.
30. And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives.
31. Then saith Jesus unto them, All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad.
Acts 16:24. Who, having received such a charge, thrust them into the inner prison, and made their feet fast in the stocks.
25. And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them.
26. And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one's bands were loosed.
They had no instruments in these verses, they just sang. The main thing was that they had sincere worship. In fact, the only requirement the scriptures make for Christian music is that we make a joyful noise. Look at these verses: Exodus 20:18, Psalm 33:3, 66:1, 81:1, 95:1, 98:4,6. Any music style is acceptable if done joyfully from the heart.
I think we get into trouble because people are selfish and proud. They have their own taste or preferences in music, some music they like and some they don't. This should never be a reason to divide the people of God. I think all styles are acceptable, if people can just agree to do it as unto the Lord. Agreeing with each other is part of Love, and our culture struggles with this greatly. I like the old hymns because they are humble and full of scripture. I also like modern music because of its quality. I do think there is a problem, when music lyrics present ideas opposed to scripture. It should not be used for worship. But, the words can be changed, so that it glorifies God. Some styles of music, like country music, often glorify immorality. But, even with this, the style is fine, the words must be changed to glorify God or it is not acceptable worship.
I will go a step further. Some modern music with its heavy beat originated from African pagan ritual. The problem is not with the instruments, but with what they were doing with them. They were doing satanic worship. This created a rift in modern churches because rock and roll, which began as rebellion in the sixties, eventually moved into the church as a counter culture. It was the expression of the me generation and incompatible to the humility of simple worship. Next came Hollywood, which promoted fame, movie stars and professional music. Our culture morphed us into believing that the only people who should make music are the good looking professional singers. This too was an attack on humble worship. I think we should sing and play instruments and do it as well as we can, but we should always remember that it is not about us or our music, but about Him.
I think much of the the controversy today began with 2 extreme viewpoints from our recent history. One extreme was started by the group called Church of Christ. They took the legalistic position that since the Bible does not mention much about music, that we should not use instruments at all and they actually forbid their use. This is misguided and wrong. If you look at Ephesians 5:19, the word melody, in the Greek means to pluck an instrument. They get around this by saying that the verse tells us to make melody in our hearts, but any musician knows that you can make a melody in your heart and also on your instrument simultaneously. The Church of Christ people fail to acknowledge Revelation 5:8, 14:2 and 15:2 where it mentions that people will be playing harps in heaven. I don't know what thay will do when God gives them a harp to play and they don't want to play it for God - should be interesting !!
The other extreme viewpoint that has caused much harm in the church is the movement toward professionalism and secular music. Our culture has conditioned us to believe that any imperfection in music is no longer acceptable. I think this mind set has come from much pride, fame and fortune. God invented music and gave it to us as a gift to praise Him, not as a means of making money and gaining power over other individuals. The first musician was Jubal, who invented the first instruments for worship. Also, a relative named Tubal, made it possible to use metal instruments to do the same. Look at Genesis 4:21 and 22. We have come a long way from there, but we have lost the original intent of playing music for the sole purpose of praise and worship to God who invented it.
Christians today, do not get their ideas about music from the Bible, but from the world. This is the real problem. If we love the Lord, we will use everything we have to glorify God, including our instruments and our voices. And we are commanded to do everything humbly and to the glory of God. Look at Acts 12:23, Romans 1:23, 4:20, 15:7, 17, 1 Corinthians 10:31.
The main thing is to glorify God in all that we do. We must also be careful not to offend our Christian brothers in anything, but we must humbly discuss and resolve our differences in light of the word. Music is a gift from God and should always be used for his glory, And the church should come together and agree on the way to do this.
I hope this helps. These are mostly my thoughts from what I have read in scripture, and many Christians may not see it this way. I hope you will keep in touch and let me know your thoughts too. I don't have all the answers, but I know the guy who does (Jesus).
005 What sways you the most in determining how you live your life as a Christian? Is it the Bible, the Holy Spirit, the teachings of your church, friends, family, tradition, TV, etc. or all of these, and why do you believe this?
I am convinced the Bible is the only source for determining how we should live our lives as Christians. Secondly, the Holy spirit is the only person capable of implementing those changes and events into our lives. The rest is open to deception and error. So first, a correct understanding of what God is saying through scripture, implemented and discerned by the power of a Holy Spirit filled life, leads to a proper way of living the Christian life. Any other means, whether it be derived from church tradition, friends, family, TV, or any other means, is susceptible to wrong application.
Now that is not to say these other things are not valuable. We need Christian fellowship and interaction, but those things should never determine our theology, rather they should be a result of a properly determined theology. Otherwise, chaos and error will abound and the cause for Christ will be a lost one. ...Paul described it as making shipwreck of the faith. I see this all the time in our postmodern world. People confuse Christianity with being nice. Yes Christians should be very nice, but are all nice people Christians - no way? If the definition of Christianity is to be nice, then Jesus was not always a very good example, because he spoke some very harsh things at times.
We must re-evaluate our definitions for living our lives in light of a very deep understanding of scripture, coupled with an understanding of the ministry of the Holy Spirit, or we will always get it wrong.
006 Why does Romans 11:29 say the gifts are irrevocable?
First, Romans 11:29 says the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. This is according to the King James Version. The New American Standard uses unrepentant.
Thanks for pointing out this verse. I did a little research that I found quite interesting. Both words are wrong. The Greek word used is AMETAMELETOS. The word cannot mean unrepentant, since there is another word AMETANOIA which would definitely mean that. If Paul had meant that word he would have used that exact word, but he didn't.
AMETAMELETOS breaks down into three Greek word forms:
A is a negative particle, META means with, and MELETOS means to care. So we get basicly not - with - caring in the Greek. The actual meaning is: without remorse or regret or grief.
In 2 cor 7:8 and 9, Paul uses two words together. He speaks of not having regret AMETAMELETOS for his letter after he realized it
lead to repentance METANOIA. Here the 2 different words are clear with out a doubt.
I actually could not find a word that means revoke or irrevocable in the Greek Bible. So this tells me that this is a modern attempt
to put something in modern terms that failed miserably. KJV used unrepentant, which is wrong, but the New American Standard
apparently changed it to irrevocable, which is worse.The closest thing I could find to irrevocable would be this passage:
Hebrews 7:21 (For those priests were made without an oath; but this with an oath by him that said unto him, The Lord sware and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec:) The idea here is stronger toward the idea of irrevocable, but the words are still unrepentant because, the legal jargon of irrevocable is just not a part of the mindset or thinking of the Greeks. Apparently they didn't revoke things as we revoke a driver's license, but rather they swore something by an oath and they refused to repent or change their minds about it. That is just the way they thought back then, and revoke is definitely out of place in the Bible. Repentant means to simply change your mind, revoke sounds like you go after the guy and hunt him down, and you make sure he never drives again without a license. That is not God's approach here.
My in-depth Greek theological dictionary gave a lot more insight into the word. AMETANOIA is without repentance, while AMETAMELETOS
is without remorse. That is a big difference. repentance is regret leading to a change of heart, while remorse is simply a regret with no positive follow up action. Peter betrayed Jesus by denying him, but he later repented and came back to Jesus. Judas felt sorry for his betrayal, yet never came to Jesus, but rather went out and hanged himself. No repentance here. In fact remorse would be a first step toward repentance leading to salvation. Yet Judas stopped at step one, while peter went all the way.
In fact, I am so glad you pointed this out. Its fascinating. Look at this verse:
KJV Matthew 27:3 Then Judas, which had betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned, repented himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders,
The KJV is definitely wrong here, and I would suspect that this verse, the way it is written, has confused many poor souls. But yet the New American Standard gets it right here
NAS Matthew 27:3 Then when Judas, who had betrayed Him, saw that He had been condemned, he felt remorse and returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders,
See the difference? The word here is METAMELETOS, and definitely should be remorse, not repentance. It is very clear in Greek.
Actually there are passages referring to God repenting or changing his mind, but remember, that God never changes, so these passages are called anthropomorphisms, meaning that they give human qualities to God merely to help us to understand his action in human terms even though the event does not actually occur that way. God never repents, because he does not need to, he never sins, yet the word shows that it did grieve the heart of God and normally it would cause a man to change his mind. So the bottom line is that in Rom 11:29. I see the best way I could translate this from what I see in the Greek text is like this:
Precise Bible Version: The gifts and the calling of God are without remorse.
The implication is that when God calls you and gives you gifts to serve him, there is no regret, grief, or remorse on the part of anyone involved, they are a blessing. I think this should encourage us that a properly recognized gift, and properly used gift, should be a blessing from God and not a pain in the butt to others!