new testament

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Blog 8 of Lent, and, Why understanding the history, culture and language of the Bible is important!

Published February 27, 2016 by thinkinbout

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This is an important one. This is one that I have often heard twisted maybe more than any other piece of Scripture, and one in which people claim shows St. Paul’s sexism. They couldn’t be more wrong.

First, I’ll copy and paste this email I sent to myself a decade ago (don’t know who wrote it), and then add my thoughts. I have also heard a sermon about this from Michael Youseff, but unfortunately I do not know the title of that sermon. Anyway, the sermon and this piece concur.

“Should Christian women avoid wearing jewelry or braids?

I also want women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God.
—1 Timothy 2:9-10, NIV
These verses might throw you for a loop if your Bible-reading plan calls for an arbitrary number of verses a day. But if you read the Bible a book at a time and you have the ten minutes it takes to read this epistle all in one chunk, you notice two things: First, that the entire second chapter deals with the worship service, so Paul is not talking about how women should dress when they go grocery shopping. Second, that Paul addressed this epistle specifically to Timothy, not to us. We are reading this epistle, so to speak, over Timothy’s shoulder:
To Timothy my true son in the faith
—1 Timothy 1:2, NIV
Therefore, if we apply this passage directly, without taking the context or Timothy’s immediate needs into account, our interpretation isn’t biblical.
Every time I go to the mall and see how the people are dressed, I wonder how we could have had a shipwreck this far inland. But even in this age of fashionable grunge, clothing says a lot about you. For example, it is fairly safe to presume that a man dressed in a tuxedo is probably not on his way to the harbor to unload a ship. And a woman who is standing on a street corner in a bad neighborhood at night in fishnet stockings, a clear vinyl skirt, and too much makeup, is not likely to be a nun. So if I were a modern apostle writing to the pastor of a church located near a red-light district, I would say, “your women should not be wearing fishnet stockings and clear vinyl skirts.” By that I would not mean that if fashion changes and fishnet stockings become respectable, you should still not wear them, I just mean that however the entrepreneurs of the horizontal industry should happen to dress, you shouldn’t.
However, the situation wasn’t quite that extreme for Timothy. In those days, braids and jewelry were ostentatious, beauty-pageant type things. Paul’s concern was not about braids and jewelry, but about vanity and ostentatiousness. It’s important not to turn the worship service into a beauty pageant, because women would spend all their time competing and none of it worshiping. It can send the poor women home in tears and puff the rich women up with pride, and this is not supposed to be the outcome of Christian worship.
So I think we should interpret Paul as giving specific instructions to Timothy that were applicable to his immediate needs and circumstances, from which we should derive the principle that Christian women should dress appropriately—neither too severely, nor too wildly. Paul did not speak of men, not because the principle does not apply to them, but because men’s clothing wasn’t the problem in Timothy’s church and Paul’s immediate purpose was to address Timothy’s needs. We should apply the same rules to men, because the underlying principle is applicable everywhere and to everyone. We should all dress modestly and appropriately, not sticking out in one extreme or the other.
Well, that’s what Paul said in 1 Timothy 2:9—what we should not wear. In 1 Timothy 2:10, Paul talks about what we should wear. And this brings to mind the popular saying that you are never fully dressed without a smile. I suppose that would be true for us if we were secular people, because we live in a shallow society that shuns people who are sad. If we are secular people, concerned only about getting ahead, we should always smile, so that we won’t suffer any disadvantage. But if we are Christians, we have something better than cheerfulness—we have the love of God, which is so strong we don’t need to plaster our faces with fake smiles, and we do not need to avoid sad people. In fact, Jesus sent us to seek them out and lift them up.
A doctor is never fully dressed for work without a stethoscope, nor a mason without a trowel, nor a carpenter without a hammer. A Christian is never fully dressed without the good deeds that are appropriate for those who profess to worship God.”

The people who claim that Paul was sexist do not understand this passage, and that is too bad. In fact, in high school especially, this was brought up and flung in my face to make me doubt my faith, or to show me that my religion was one of oppression of women. But they didn’t understand the times. They didn’t understand that these particular women to whom Paul was writing were dressing up for one another and that was taking focus off worship. Women like to dress up. If I could wear a ball gown and glitter everyday, I would. But church is not a time for dress up, it is to be a time of focus on God. Attention should be on Him and Him alone.

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Blog 7 of Lent: Being Born Again

Published February 27, 2016 by thinkinbout

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As I sometimes do, I am again blogging someone else’s words. Unfortunately I cannot give credit where credit is due because I emailed this to myself 8 years ago and neglected to copy and paste the name of the author.

“To be Born Again is not an exclusive “New Testament” Message, this was already been revealed by YaHWeH in the “Old Testament” (Tanakh in Hebrew).

To understand this better let us refer how John (Yochanan in Hebrew) narrates the discussion between Yeshua HaMashiach and Nicodemus regarding how a man can enter the Kingdom of YaHWeH .

John 3:3-7: “…Yeshua answered, Amein, amein, I say to you, Unless a man is born of water and the SPIRIT, he cannot enter into the kingdom of Elohim . That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is BORN OF THE SPIRIT is SPIRIT. Do not marvel that I said to you, YOU MUST BE BORN AGAIN. The SPIRIT breathes where He desires, and you hear His voice, but you do not know from where He comes, and where He goes; so is everyone who is BORN OF THE SPIRIT.Nicodemus answered and said to Him, How can these things be?”

Notice how our Messiah replied to Nicodemus in John 3:10 “Yeshua answered and said to him, ARE YOU THE TEACHER OF YISRAEL AND DO NOT KNOW THESE THINGS?” As a teacher of Israel , Nicodemus should have recognized what the Messiah meant about how one is to be born again, for this is what the Prophets have written long ago in the Tanakh (Old Testament)

We are Born of the Spirit when YaHWeH gives us a NEW HEART and a NEW SPIRIT. “And I will give them one HEART, and I will put a NEW SPIRIT within you. And I will remove the stony HEART out of their flesh, and will give them a HEART of flesh, so that they may walk in My statutes and keep My ordinances (TORAH, Word of YaHWeH), and do them. And they shall be My people, and I will be their Elohim.” Ezekiel 11:19-20

Deuteronomy 30:6 “Moreover YaHWeH your Elohim will circumcise your HEART and the HEART of your descendants, to love YaHWeH your Elohim with all your HEART and with all your Soul, SO THAT YOU MAY LIVE.” Circumcision is a covenant. In the Hebraic culture, to be in covenant means to have a relationship and agreement. YaHWeH desires to have a relationship with us – He desires to Circumcise our Hearts, and with this Covenant Relationship we gain LIFE.

Through this Covenant Relationship we shall know YaHWeH and His Word: “Behold, the days come, says YaHWeH, that I will cut a NEW COVENANT with the house of Yisrael, and with the house of Judah, not according to the covenant that I cut with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which covenant of Mine they broke, although I was a husband to them, says YaHWeH; but this shall be the covenant that I will cut with the house of Yisrael: After those days, says YaHWeH, I WILL PUT MY TORAH (WORD OF YAHWEH) IN THEIR INWARD PARTS, AND WRITE IT IN THEIR HEARTS; and I will be their Elohim, and they shall be My people. And they shall no more teach each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, Know YaHWeH; FOR THEY SHALL ALL KNOW ME, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says YaHWeH. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sins no more.” Jeremiah 31:31-34

Furthermore, having faith in the Word of YaHWeH is part of this Covenant Relationship as Prophet Jeremiah wrote, and according to David, the Word of Elohim converts a person, “The TORAH/Law of YaHWeH is perfect, converting the soul; the testimony of YaHWeH is sure, making the simple wise.” Psalm 19:7

Rabbi Cephas (Apostle Peter) concurs: “having been BORN AGAIN, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, through the living WORD OF YAHWEH ELOHIM, and abiding forever.” 1Peter 1:23

And so to conclude, the Message of being Born Again is as old as the Tanakh (Old Testament), it is not an exclusive “New Testament” Message.”