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Questions and Answers

A collection of brief answers to many random questions that have come to us through the website over the years.

Can you clarify a point about the “Law of First Mention?”


Question: 
In the “Talk” on Genesis 22:1-8, it is stated that the first mention of the word “love” in the Bible is in Genesis 22:2 (NIV).  However, the word “love” is mentioned previously in Genesis 20:13 (NIV).

 I mention this because Dr. Reid repeatedly uses the “Law of First Mention” to expand and define God’s use of the word love.  Could this be a translation issue?   Is there a difference in the word “love” in the original Hebrew text?

 

Answer:  Yes, it’s a matter of translation.  The Hebrew word that’s used in Genesis 20:13 would probably be best translated, “right or kind duty.”  In fact, the Hebrew/Greek scholars who originally translated the Hebrew OT into the Greek Septuagint (LXX) used the Greek word for “righteousness” here.  On the other hand, in Genesis 22:2 they used the well-known Greek word agape for love.

 

 

Which “Harmony of the Gospels” book should I use for study?


Question:  On yesterday’s program you mentioned a book about the harmony of the gospels.  The Christian bookstore told me there are several different books.  Can you please tell me the name of the one you were referring to?

 

Answer:  The harmony of the Gospels Dr. Dave referred to was: “A Harmony of the Four Gospels” by Orville E. Daniel – Baker Book House.  However, any of the many harmonies of the gospels in the Christian book stores will do.  We would suggest getting a harmony of the gospels in the translation of the Bible that you prefer to read and study.

Did Jesus have a legal right to the throne of David?

Question:  I have a question concerning the eighth study in Luke’s gospel.  Dr. Dave says that Jesus had a legal right to the throne of David because of the genealogy that is recorded in Matthews gospel. Matthew tells us that Jesus is descended from Coniah – yet Jer 22:30 tells us that none of Coniah’s descendants shall occupy the throne of David.  So obviously there can be no legal right to the throne through this particular genealogy.  Luke must therefore record the legal right and spiritual right through Mary’s decent from Nathan.  I’m left scratching my head as to why Matthew, which was written for Jewish readership would record a genealogy, which invalidates a claim to the Davidic throne.  Do you think he did this to emphasis the fact that Joseph was not Jesus natural Father?  But at the same time showing that Jesus was legally a descendant of Abraham.

 

Answer:  To answer your question, read the concise Ryrie Study Bible note on Jeremiah 22:30 explaining “legal right.”  If you do not have ready access to a Ryrie Study Bible, send us your mailing address and we will send you a copy of the note.

 

Is the Bible finished? And who did Cain marry?


Question: 
1.  Is the Bible as is a finished work, or will God breathe any more inspired communications to man?

2.  Adam and Eve were the first two people that God made. They had two sons. Cain kills his brother. So now there are three. Cain marries. Please enlighten me as to where and how all these other people came about.

 

Answer: 
1.  The Bible is a finished work.  Jude 3.

2.  Cain married his sister.  Genesis 5:4.
This was not illegal before the God-given Law of Moses.  And it was not incest or immoral because it was marriage.

How did God “walk” in the garden of Eden?


Question:  Genesis 3:8 “And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden.”

 What does it mean by God walking in the garden when he doesn’t have a shape like any living being?

 

Answer:  “Walking in the garden” in Genesis 3:8 is figurative language for God’s presence—especially in relationship to the fellowship with Him that was available to Adam and Eve.

Think of it this way:  If you were confined to a wheelchair, you can still claim to “walk” by faith!

Is the King James Version the best translation of the Bible?


Question:  A co-worker has been telling me that the NKJV and other versions are different from the KJV and actually add and remove its content. He is convinced that the KJV is the only version that has stood the test of time and closest to the original translation as the others have adapted to make it more reader friendly. What are your views on this and how do respond?

 

Answer:  The King James Version is a very good and reliable version — but it is not the only good version!   The New King James Version and the New American Standard Version are also very good translations.

It is important to distinguish between “translations” and “paraphrases.”  Some modern versions are paraphrases (such as “The Message”).  As you mention, these versions are designed to make the Bible more easily understood to 21st century people, especially for those who are not very familiar with the Bible.  It’s best to use a translation (rather than a paraphrase) for serious Bible study.  A translation that includes study notes to clarify unfamiliar words or phrases would be especially helpful for study.

Ask your co-worker, “What version do Christians in non-English-speaking countries read?”  Does your co-worker think Bible versions are translated into other languages from the KJV – or from the original languages?

What happened to OT saints when they died — before the Resurrection?

Question:  Some say Old Testament believers’ souls were not immediately resurrected to be with the Lord.  They went to a waiting place, because first the Lord must be born into this world, suffer the cross and then be resurrected…

Others state that He was the “first fruit”…..the first resurrection and that one of the proofs was when, after his death, the graves opened and gave up those who were believers and they were seen in the streets by many.   

So is it possible for you to find time to briefly explain what happened to the Old Testament saints when they died….prior to the resurrection of Christ?

 

Answer:  Not all evangelical students of the Word are agreed on the question that you raise.  It gets down to harmonizing Luke 16:19-31, Luke 23:43, 1 Peter 3:18-20 and especially Ephesians 4:8-9.  There are two main positions.

One group agrees essentially with the position you presented, that “led captivity captive” refers to the souls of the Old Testament saints being led into heaven after the work of Christ was finished.  The other camp says that “led captivity captive” refers to Christ’s victory over Satan and the demonic forces that held us captive under the power of death (Hebrews 2: 14) until the work of Christ was accomplished.  In this group’s opinion, “Abraham’s bosom” and “paradise” are expressions for Heaven and do not refer to a “compartment of Hades” from which OT believers were “led out” at the time of Christ’s death and resurrection.

Both positions agree that Matthew 27:52-53 was a bodily raising or bodily resurrection of a token number of OT saints.  If it was a bodily raising, then these saints died again!  If it was a bodily resurrection, then these saints are in glory today with the Lord as part of the “first fruits” of the great bodily resurrection to come.

Our position is essentially in the 2nd camp, and we’re persuaded that Matthew 27:52-53 refers to bodily resurrection.

 

 

 

What does the Bible says about interracial marriages?

 

Question:  I was wandering what the Bible says about mixed marriages such as black and white marriages. I live in a very prejudiced area, and people look down on couples like this. Can you please help me find what Jesus said about different or mixed races that married, and if according to the Bible these marriages are wrong.

 

Answer:  The Bible is against the “mixed” marriages of believers and unbelievers (2 Corinthians 6:14 ), but it is not against interracial marriages, or the marriage of a man and a women of different ethnic groups or social classes.  In fact, God rebuked Miriam and Aaron for criticizing the interracial marriage of Moses and his Cushite wife (Numbers 12).

Obviously, before any interracial marriage, a couple should be counseled that they may face problems in the society in which they live.

 

Is the Sabbath on Saturday or Sunday?


Question:
I am a new Christian.  My wife and I go to the Seventh Day Adventist church.  I believe the Sabbath to be Sunday and they believe it to be Saturday.  Who’s right?

 

Answer:  Saturday, the seventh day of the week,  is the Sabbath (Exodus 20:8-11).  It was the day of worship for the Jews under the Old Testament Law.  Romans 10:4 says that Christ is “the end of the Law” – not the end of the moral laws of God, but the civil and ceremonial regulations under the Mosaic Law, including the Sabbath laws of the Old Testament.

For Christians, Sunday, the first day of the week, is the Lord’s Day.  It is not a new Sabbath.  Applying the Sabbath laws of the Old Testament to Sunday would be putting ourselves back under the Mosaic Law from which we have been set free.

Because Sunday is the Lord’s Day (Revelation 1:10), Christians have made this their day of worship ever since the resurrection of Christ (Acts 20:7).  In fact, the Christian Sunday is great evidence for the resurrection of Christ.  How else can it be explained–especially since the early Christians were Jews!

Why do some question the authenticity of the last verses in Mark?


Question: 
Concerning the end of the Book of Mark…  if the Bible is the inspired word of God [2 Timothy 3:16-17], how did Mark 16:9-20 get in to the Book if it was not written by Mark.  (This question has come from one of my Muslim friends.) 

 

Answer:  The questions concerning the ending of Mark have to do with differing early handwritten manuscript copies – similar to the questions concerning John 7:53-8:11.  Since the autographs (original documents) are not extant (not available to us), we can’t be dogmatic on either passage.

For further information, listen to Dr Dave’s talk on these verses:  http://www.growingchristians.org/talks/mark_16b/