The Pursuit of God

Serious Topics for Serious Christians

Category Archives: Bible Help by Topic

A Mouthy Messiah: Why the Jews in Nazareth Tried to Kill Jesus

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In Luke 4, we find an interesting sequence of events. Jesus stands up in a synagogue, reads a portion of Isaiah 61, and when He sits down, everyone’s staring at Him like He just said something shocking.  What’s that about?

Well, first realize that there wasn’t an “Isaiah 61” to the Jews because their Scriptures weren’t divided into chapters.  Isaiah’s entire book would have been one long scroll for them.  Chapters were not added to the Bible until the 13th century A.D., and verses were then added in the mid-16th century.  All of the stuff you read about in the New Testament happened during the 1st century.

Now even though there weren’t chapters, Isaiah’s book is a series of visions and speeches which are stand alone thoughts.  To understand the context of a single verse, you need to find the start of the speech that it’s a part of, and read the whole speech.  Chapter headings can actually get in the way because they make you feel like a new speech is starting when sometimes the chapter break happens in the middle of the speech.  Either way, in the case of Jesus, He didn’t come anywhere close to reading a whole speech.  He just read a few lines from the middle of a long speech.  He really wasn’t modeling a good use of context—but then again, that wasn’t His purpose.  Read more of this post

The Resurrection of Christ: Why It Really Isn’t Critical for Christians

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The fact that someone is quoted by other people doesn’t mean their statement is true or profound.  As a Chinese proverb says: “Paper lets anything be written on it”—meaning that you can write something stupid or something wise and your paper will just sit there and take it.  So will the internet.  But what about your soul?  Is your soul just going to sit there bobbing its head and automatically amening every statement that it comes across about the Christian faith?  You are not a brainless idiot, so don’t act like one.  Instead, make use of the fact that the God of all Wisdom is generously making Himself available to you and ask Him what He thinks of authoritative statements others make about Him.

In our material, we pepper you with authoritative statements, but since you’re not an undiscerning piece of paper, you should not be accepting anything we say as true until you ask God what He thinks about the things we say.  After all, we could be putting out a bunch of useless malarkey.  Sure, we claim that God is the Source of our teaching, but what is that even worth?  A ton of people claim to be passing on pearls from God while they totally contradict each other.  Titles, degrees, and claims of authenticity are utterly worthless.  God is the only Teacher you can trust, so you need to be asking Him directly for wisdom in life.  Read more of this post

Debunking the Impact of Adam: Unlearning Lies About How God Judges You

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If my father hadn’t been an alcoholic, I wouldn’t be so messed up today.
If the coach had let me play, I would have won a scholarship.
If that stupid doctor hadn’t misdiagnosed me, I wouldn’t be dying right now.

Ever hear people talk like this?  Have you ever talked like this?  Blaming our current problems and miseries on the choices of other people can feel like a satisfying way to illicit sympathy while shirking all responsibility for our own choices.  After all, some jerk raped you, and that means you now have a free pass to wallow in a victim mentality for the rest of your life.  Or maybe you feel you can trace back your current health problems to the fact that your mother tried to have you aborted when you were still in her womb.  Now you can blame her for everything while you play the part of the eternal martyr.  See how it works?  It’s fun to blame other people.  It’s satisfying to point the blame in any direction but towards ourselves and make up all kinds of fantasies about how perfect our lives would have been if other humans hadn’t sabotaged us with their rotten choices or malicious actions.  But here’s the problem with playing the blame game: if God doesn’t agree to play as well, then we’re going to end up in a heap of trouble.  You see, we don’t get to judge ourselves. God is the One who judges us, and that means that we need to get an accurate understanding of how His judgment system works.  Read more of this post

Confession, Penance & the Old Covenant Sacrificial System: Unlearn the Lies

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From the time of Moses to the death of Christ, Yahweh’s Old Covenant was in effect—a Covenant which the religion of Judaism claims to be based on, although in practice, modern day Judaism is a carnal mess.  During the days of the Old Covenant, there were many special rules about how sin was to be handled, and all Christians should have a basic understanding of what some of those rules were.  But here’s the problem: modern day Christian leaders are doing an abysmal job of educating people about how the Old Covenant worked.  The information we’re about to present to you is information that most of you will never hear taught in any church.  The Old Testament sacrificial system is one of those topics that Christian teachers avoid like a plague.  Why?  Well, most of them don’t understand how it works because they were never taught, and they just don’t care.  Among the few who do understand how the sacrificial system worked, you’ll be hard-pressed to find anyone who wants you to make the connections we’re going to spell out for you in this post.  Why?  Because keeping you in the dark about the sacrificial system is extremely profitable for Christian teachers. Don’t believe it?  When’s the last time you fell for the fat lie that God commands Christians to tithe?  When’s the last time you actually paid some inflated ego money to share his knowledge with you because you were so impressed with the fact that he knew the Bible better than you did?  As long as you think your spiritual leaders have some huge advantage over you, you’ll adore them, obey them, pay them, and follow them.  If you think that kind of thing isn’t addictive, you need to think again (see Shady Shepherd Tactics: Gaining Rank).  Read more of this post

Numerology, Gematria & Bible Codes: Being Stupid with Numbers

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Here’s how it works in the world of numerology.  First, you pick a number—any number.  Then you randomly pluck some concept out of the air that you want to associate with that number.  For example, you might decide that the number 4 represents healing.  Once you accept your own baloney as truth, then you start peddling it to other people.  So when your friend Judy finds out that she has a terminal illness and she comes to you for help, you say something like, “Take heart, Judy.  I’m sure you’ll be healed.  Look: four ducks are swimming in the pond, and four is the number of healing.  Clearly those ducks are a sign from God telling you that He’s promising to give you total healing.”  This is the kind of moron you turn into when you go down the road of numerology. Read more of this post

Why Christians Shouldn’t Celebrate Communion (aka The Eucharist)

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Holy Communion.  The Holy Eucharist.  The Lord’s Supper.  These are all names that Christians use to refer to a religious sacrament which involves a group of believers coming together and sampling two edible elements: some kind of bread product, and some grape related liquid.  Sometimes a loaf of bread is passed around and everyone rips a bite sized piece off of it.  Or sometimes a plate of small crackers are passed around like an offering plate and each person takes one.  Sometimes the liquid element is actual wine, other times it’s just grape juice.  Read more of this post

Judaism, Christianity & Biblical Commands: Sorting Out the Confusion

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The modern Christian Bible is filled with commandments, instructions, and guidelines—many of which are not applicable to Christians.  So before you pin up a copy of the Ten Commandments or start stressing over some rule that you find God laying down in Scriptures, you need to understand some basic facts about Bible commands.  So let’s get into it. Read more of this post

Understanding the Virgin Birth: Context & Mechanics

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The angel answered and said to Mary, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy Child shall be called the Son of God.” (Luke 1:35)

Whenever our Gods do something miraculous—like causing a virgin woman to become pregnant—humans can be counted on to become so obsessed with trying to understand the mechanics of the miracle that they miss the important lessons.  To avoid getting sidetracked by miracles in your own life, here’s a good rule to go by:

When God does something miraculous, focus on the why, not the how, and ask Him to help you learn everything He wants to teach you from the experience.

If you abide by this rule, you’ll steer clear of all kinds of silliness—such as dickering about exactly how Mary became pregnant.  Read more of this post

Understanding Yahweh: Stay On the Ancient Paths

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This is what Yahweh says: Stand by the roadways and look. Ask about the ancient paths: Which is the way to what is good? Then take it and find rest for yourselves. But they protested, “We won’t!” (Jer. 6:16)

Yet My people have forgotten Me. They burn incense to false idols that make them stumble in their ways on the ancient roads and walk on new paths, not the highway. (Jer. 18:15)

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What We Teach About the NT Epistles

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If you go to any Christian church (in any Christian denomination), you’ll be taught many things about what the NT writers say.  Much of that teaching will be wrong.  The Church grossly misrepresents what the Bible says, and she doesn’t even come close to teaching you how to properly apply its contents.

When we write articles that are focused on a particular passage of Scripture, our goal is to help you understand what the original author meant.  Some portions of Scripture include a lot of direct messages or quotations from God–especially in the OT prophetic books, the Torah, and the NT Gospels.  But God is not doing any of the talking in the NT epistles.  The NT epistles and the Psalms were written by humans, and many of those humans were not listening to God in their personal lives, thus their teaching is lousy. Read more of this post