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Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. John 8:32

Another 'institution' which, along with the synagogue, naturally came into existence due to necessity and expediency, was the diaconate or the table servers for the poor widows. Chronicled in Acts 6.

Wow, how we long for the church to again become a health and welfare provider!

OK. In other words, the first Christians were not met with permanent "church blueprints" for all people in all ages in all places. But rather a few abiding principles which also left room for change according to the changing landscape. Where the spirit is - there is liberty. 

If the Almighty has not forbidden something - and it is beneficial for the edification of others, by all means, prayerfully consider such a course.

As for the interior of a synagogue, the benches were positioned toward Jerusalem. This gives new meaning to Jesus' conversation with the woman at the well:  

"Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you say that in Jerusalem is the place where people ought to worship.” Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. ... But the hour is coming, and is now here when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth. For the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth."

Our Lord is declaring here that location is no longer important in the big picture of worship and life. Whether public house of worship or private house meeting - both of these are mere physical locations. God is seeking SPIRITUAL worship irrespective of the physical location. 

Carefully observe that Jesus did not teach: "But the hour is coming and is now here when the true worshipers will worship the Father in private houses only." Yet this is what house church purists maintain. Personally, I have heard it and I have read it online and in several books. In reality, it just makes us all look a little backward...

If house meetings were the only legitimate form of church structure for all people in all places for all time, Jesus surely would have had something specific to say about it. Instead, he attended both small household meetings and large public meetings, too. As did his apostles. On many recorded occasions. Over a period of many years.

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The Spreading Flame, by F.F. Bruce,  page 185: The Growing Day: Epilogue

Christianity was organized for catastrophe....

The Story of the Christian Church of the first three centuries is largely a commentary on this. In the fiercest of tribulations Christianity proved its capacity for survival, and not for mere survival, but for actual victory. And the victory was won by spiritual weapons alone.

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David,

All of this information is very helpful and interesting. What I am intrigued about is how the synagogue came about as a practical way to meet several needs. Since it was not specifically commanded in the Law under Moses, it could be seen by some as an innovation. 

Yet Jesus and the apostles saw the gatherings as providing an opportunity to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ.  I suppose that criticisms could have been brought forth against some of the practices as can be said against any group of people. 

Yet no where in the NT does Jesus or any of His apostles condemn the practice of synagogue worship itself. My point is that patterns of meeting and gatherings that are not found explicitly in the bible are not all necessarily wrong. Each situation should be judged on its own merits or faults, IMO.

For example, some people say that Sunday School for children at church is unbiblical. We know that the primary responsibility to teach the children on the parents. However, we have seen the benefits in our own lives growing up and learning about God from others besides our own parents.

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Allow me to share a couple of more short passages from a writer, Alfred Edersheim, who was considered an expert witness in this matter. From Chapters 17 and 18 of his Sketches of Jewish Social Life

Of course, the synagogue system is not in every way to be equated with the church.

As a rule, synagogues were built at the expense of the congregation, though perhaps assisted by richer neighbours. Sometimes, as we know, they were erected at the cost of private individuals, which was supposed to involve special merit. In other cases, more particularly when the number of Jews was small, a large room in a private house was set apart for the purpose. This also passed into the early Church, as we gather from Acts 2:46, 5:42. Accordingly we understand the apostolic expression, "Church in the house" (Rom 16:3,5; 1 Cor 16:19; Col 4:15; Phile 2), as implying that in all these and other instances a room in a private house had been set apart, in which the Christians regularly assembled for their worship. Synagogues were consecrated by prayer, although, even thus, the ceremony was not deemed completed till after the ordinary prayers had been offered by some one, though it were a passing stranger. Rules of decorum, analogous to those enforced in the Temple, were enjoined on those who attended the synagogue. Decency and cleanliness in dress, quietness and reverence in demeanour, are prescribed with almost wearisome details and distinctions. Money collections were only to be made for the poor or for the redemption of captives.

Also:.

 It was customary to have service in the synagogues, not only on Sabbaths and feast-days, but also on the second and fifth days of the week (Monday and Thursday), when the country-people came to market, and when the local Sanhedrim also sat for the adjudication of minor causes. At such week-day services only three persons were called up to read in the law; on new moon's day and on the intermediate days of a festive week, four; on festive days - when a section from the prophets was also read - five; and on the day of atonement, six. Even a minor was allowed to read, and, if qualified, to act as translator from the Hebrew to the Aramaic.

Takeaway: There were no money collections to pay the "Staff" or the rulers or the chief rulers of the synagogues. Yes, there appear to have been chief rulers of some sort. Note the word only in the first quotation.

Even children could participate in the formal readings. I find this last point interesting in view of the previous discussions from years ago on the various house church forums. It was regularly asserted that the scriptures had little usefulness in the early church because that vast majority of Christians were illiterate.

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Thanks David.  Great stuff!

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Hi dear readers and my dear brother Dan,

Much can be said about the synagogue. Here's a good summary from James Gall:

"We must next observe that the worship of the synagogues formed no part of the Levitical system that was done away. This worship was purely Abrahamic both in its character and purpose. There was nothing symbolic and nothing ritualistic in it. There were no sacred men connected with it, for the priests had no standing there. The synagogue itself was not a sacred building and its worship was purely spiritual and spontaneous. It was the glory of the temple that everything that was done in it was according to a prescribed law; it was the glory of the synagogue that there was no prescribed ritual, but only the spontaneous worship of the heart.

We have already shown that the Christian Church was molded on the synagogue, or rather it was its continuation, and not on the temple system. The elders of the Church were the analog of the elders of the synagogue, their duties being the same. The worship of the Apostolic Church was the analog of the worship of the synagogue, for we look in vain throughout the New Testament for the slightest trace of temple worship in the synagogues or house churches. There were no priests in the Christian Church because the Church itself was a royal priesthood, and their High Priest was Christ.

The adoption of the temple theory produced a complete revolution in the Christian Church, which changed its character, because it necessitated the introduction of the canonical element, in order to imitate the temple service."

From Acts 13:15: And after the reading of the law and the prophets the rulers of the synagogue sent unto them, saying, Ye men and brethren, if ye have any word of exhortation for the people, say on. The 'say on' reminds us of the freedom there. Access which the apostles and the Christ made regular use of. But that friendly environment only lasted so long and we recall Jesus' words that some would later be driven out of the synagogues.

I think I read somewhere that there were more than 300 synagogues in Jerusalem. It's perfectly conceivable to me that in a rare case a whole synagogue would believe in Jesus. So, they would have no reason to abandon their building. What we do know is that the synagogue served as a daily community center of sorts. Also in that day very few copies of the scriptures existed. The synagogue would have been the library for these scrolls and a learning center, too, for all ages.  

When we consider the precision and detail of the temple and tabernacle, we can be amazed that the synagogue system just seem to emerge on it's own. As it should have - all those born again love the brethren. And they desire to be in fellowship with the ones whom they love.

God no longer seeks those who will worship in this mountain or in this or that place but those who will worship him in truth. So, back to your question. Christians must honor the Lord with their substance. Proverbs 3:9. Just as the horses bells were to be "holiness to the Lord". So... If someone has a house or a tree house or a house boat or any kind of property or structure - of course it can and should be used for the Kingdom. Especially now that the world is becoming more and more urbanized and building dedicated "church buildings" is all but impossible in most major markets.

In that day shall there be inscribed upon the bells of the horses, HOLINESS UNTO THE LORD. Zech. 14:20. In other words - everything dedicated to the Son of God and every thought in submission to Him.

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this will work well in places where people access the english bible as well , they have read and understood , and they do not have language barrier, but in africa and kenya, i think, first things first, because one language i a barrier, two, access even to the bible itself whatever version for each believer sound  a nightmare , greek version of the bible is not even accessible and probably as per my knowledge not even all learning instituion have them. i wish all those who have gone astep further blessing, but we must learn to brigde the gap of christianity , if we are to sail in same level and operate as the body of christ, fully in fuctionality

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Good thing I waited till today to join!

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I totally agree with this post. Do you know of a fellowship close to you?

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Did you write this song?

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What do you all think about the synagogue of the First Century? It did not originate in the law of God under Moses, nor in the days of the Davidic Kingdom. It probably developed during the Babylonian captivity, when the Jews did not have access to their temple. If someone knows of any command of God to establish the synagogue system, please let me know.

Yet, Jesus made a habit, as did many others in Israel in His time, of attending these gatherings.

My question is this: if Jesus, Paul and others made use of this form of assembly to spread the Good News of the Kingdom, why would other means of organizing gatherings, as long as they served God's purpose be forbidden?

The core teachings of Jesus are to be shared and demonstrated to the world. Why should we not be open to both old and new opportunities to do this? We can gather in public parks, restaurants, homes or even in buildings dedicated to Christian meetings. The Holy Spirit has not ceased to lead us in a variety of ways to accomplish God's will in the earth.

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     Hi all. Hi Timothy.

Let's continue to leisurely explore this interesting and important subject. All truth comes from the Almighty and his Son. Therefore we are always eager to learn new things. Or to see confirmation of the old.

Timothy, can you further clarify your position? In other NT letters, 1 Peter and Phillipians for example, mention is made of leadership of some sort. Are these legitimate, spirit-inspired documents in your estimation?

True enough, most modern scholars and museum curators reject these letters as not from Paul and of a later date. However, it must be said that most modern scholars reject the idea of inspiration as well. Even the supernatural altogether, frequently. I sometimes wonder what motivates most modern scholars to teach others and to write books about a God which really cannot be known or even exists.

With regard to the word which was slipped into 1 Timothy 6:11, I need further assistance. Looking at all these translations, new and old, it does not appear to me that the forger successfully, enduringly introduced hierarchy or pagan practices into the scriptures or the church. I would have expected at least from the Catholic translations to have highlighted it. Since they are so keen on a priest controlled, priest dictated church life - beginning, middle and end.

If there were in these letters a clear passage about a regional bishop or a guy who had the sole right to speak and to preside at the Lord's table - that would be very suspicious to me.

Can you reference another source (book or website) where the early church was changed by the insertion of this particular word and verse (eusebia in 1 Timothy 6:11)? And as being the basis of something huge, previously unknown? Yes, we realize that many of the historians and church fathers were biased and occasionally way off the mark.

In Timothy as well as Acts, I see elder appointment. So, I have difficulty rejecting 1 Timothy on the basis that teaches a new kind of church government with professional priestly churchmen at the top. This, of course, is just one of many challenges brought against the so-called pastoral letters.

Let me add that one of the house church movement's most prolific writers and influencers, Robert Banks, who has written scholarly books on the subject since the early 90's also refers to "Paul's undisputed letters". So, yours is not to be regarded a silly opinion. Not at all.

The question is whether the alleged negative evidence overcomes the alleged positive evidence.

Let us prove all things. Hold to that which is good.

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Brothers & sisters, I think most believers in this house church forum would agree Jesus came to restore God's original intention at Creation, which was also expressed at Mt. Sinai: everyone can be a priest, everyone can have a personal relationship with Him. It is undisputable that Jesus taught that God's ways/laws are greater than man's, and that function is greater than title. (For whoever does the will of my father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother, Matt. 12:50. But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all brothers, Matt. 23:8). The same is true when we look at the "offices" within the Body of Christ: they are functions or roles--not titles. In the same way that one can operate as both an employee, and manager, and a business owner or shareholder. They are different aspects of the same thing; albeit, different roles. Had the Lord wanted another Aaronic priesthood (if you remember, He didn't want the first), He would have done so and established a tithe to support it. Instead, He said “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant (Matt 20:25-26). That we are all brothers and sisters in Christ, whether free or slave, Jew or Greek; and when we gather together, every one of us is to have a psalm, a teaching, a revelation, a tongue, an interpretation. The very idea of hierarchy as after the system of the world--or even of the nation of Israel--is anathema to what we are to do as one Body in Christ, unified under Christ Jesus by the Holy Spirit in us. This is not to say there is not a natural organization within the Body of Christ--is there not a type of natural organization within the home? Of course. And yet, we are all brothers and sisters under the same Head of authority, so then who is to lord over our faith (II Cor 1:24 "Not for that we have dominion over your faith, but are helpers of your joy: for by faith ye stand")? Surely not any particular leader or man-appointed position. And yet, we do see natural leadership among us in service and example--gifted in this grace or that, yet all directed by the Word, the Spirit, some cultural considerations of appropriateness, and the very giftings we exercise. And yet, we are not all recipients of the same giftings or measure of gifts. And neither are those who are approved or graced in one area, in any way superior to the grace and gifts given to us. Surely, the hand cannot say to the foot, "I have no use for you." Nor can the foot say to the hand that it is superior or an overlord of the hand. We are all the body, and it is unfortunate that some have taken separate Scriptures--whether one believes or not in the authenticity of I Tim. or Titus--and thrown out the totality or whole of God's Word, so as to misrepresent the message itself. We know from Scripture that ekklesia in the home is the primary God's model of fellowship in Scripture, yet there are those who desire to to enslave us to their own private doctrines/beliefs, their own man-inspired religious system (auditorium churches of various denominations), and think we're the better for it. Yet God, in His eternal wisdom, sent Jesus Christ to live, teach, die, and be raised again, in order to join us together with God our Father, through Christ Jesus, so that we may be free from sin and man's ever-burdening traditions. So, no, I do not reject leadership within the ekklesia as it is naturally apparent; but neither do I believe the church should be subject to anarchy and chaos. The Lord will work within His Body--spread far and wide, throughout various cultures--to work out the small things in accordance with what each person--and each separate ekklesia of believers--allows. In the meantime, our only focus is Christ Jesus, His life, death, and resurrection, and the message of hope we live and share with others in the hope that they, too, will come to know Christ and the power of His resurrection.

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we are in kenya,please help us with bibles 

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hello House church, am using my talent to bless the body of Christ, inspire, motivate, encourage , heal, 

here is my youtube channel,

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6P_LiNRsRXQ

 kindly share, like, subcribe, comment, let us grow together, as well as those who feel led to join their hands with mien to make a difference through sharing bibles, and empowering content creators, through sponship program to produce both audio and video music, are welcome , my email is lagloc@yahoo.com image_transcoder.php?o=bx_froala_image&h=44&dpx=1&t=1657194089

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The big picture - what is it? Is the good news that there is a perfect Saviour of the World or is the Gospel the good news of a perfect book about the matter?

If the latter is your view then it might be helpful to look more closely. As I have had to do myself in my own journey. There actually are variations in the documents and fragments which remain. Most do not remain. The vast majority of these discrepancies, imo, are minor. Thankfully. But there are thousands of them.

We cannot deny these facts. If we do, the latest skeptic or textual critic will declare: Ahh haa, silly Christian - I got you! I got you now! Your whole belief system in God and in the Bible fall to the ground... Game OVER.

Another issue which must be approached: Can we believe that the church fathers compiled the real canon (the group of authentic books in scripture) correctly...  when they often held to other views which were erroneous?

The Almighty surely saw down through history and was aware of these things. He could have easily engraved the titles of real books of the Bible on a stone tablet or "golden plates". (Lucky Mormons...)

We also must remember that those "who turned the world upside down" were not carrying under their arms what most today believe to be a complete copy of the Scripture. Still, their success was huge!

Back to my question? What is the good news and why is it dependent upon a perfect book in order to be valid? God has already revealed Himself through creation, false though it be. And his laws are already written on our hearts. Yet we suppress them, Him, and are unthankful. Just as Romans chapter 1 reveals:

The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools.

These are interesting facts. They suggest to me that God does not "let people off the hook" merely because they might find problems in the written forms of his revelation which are available today. The good news is that He is a personal loving God, each day making friends of his former enemies. Causing his sun to shine on the just and unjust.

These facts alone from the mighty letter to the Romans do not solve the riddle of church structure, I admit. Just trying to get the big picture rather than going straight to the details. The details are many.

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Hi all, I hope you are well as July calls our names. 

For the sake of clarity, let's have a separate, retitled thread for this important and fascinating topic. The original thread will remain open of course. Readers can find the subject at a later date if the title is more concise. An unaltered copy of the original  is just below.

Dear Timothy, you just relocated - and not from a short distance. Moving is one of the most stressful events in a persons's life, they say. And you have some other major projects you are also working on.

So, a special thank you for posting your carefully considered views on this subject. Yes, we are glad you "brought it up." This subject which extends into so many other areas. The subjects of hoaxes, forgeries, and higher criticism should indeed hold our attention. Because the truth, like a torch, the more it is shaken - the brighter it will shine. And whatever is not true, it should be exposed even if beloved traditions are affected.

Let's pray for more discernment and love as we enter the future together. And just as the Master told his disciples that they would do greater things - let us also learn greater things than before. Becoming doers of the words - not mere hearers, deceiving  ourselves.   ~~~   D Anderson, serving as forum administrator. 

Begin quoted portion. Anyone can reply below:

     Dear Brothers and Sisters: 


I have been studying the language of the New Testament and its linguistic Pragmatics for over 50 years.  I am as confident about my salvation as I am in what I am going to say to you on this subject.    

1 Timothy and Titus are the products of an insidious, surreptitious, ruthless, purely Machiavellian  forger.   There is no scribe helping Paul here.   This is one part:

1 Timothy 6:11,

Σὺ δέ, ὦ ἄνθρωπε [a]θεοῦ, ταῦτα φεῦγε· δίωκε δὲ δικαιοσύνην, εὐσέβειαν, πίστιν, ἀγάπην, ὑπομονήν, [b]πραϋπαθίαν.

 Look what this servant of the d….. sandwiches between “Righteousness” and “faith,” δικαιοσύνην, εὐσέβειαν, πίστιν, and then he finishes his clause with “endurance” and finally, with “gentleness.”  Who would argue with "righteousness" or “gentleness”?  Never mind what has been slipped in the middle.


 The human brain hears the first word in a sentence LOUDER than words in the middle, and the word at the end is the word the brain hears last and the LOUDEST.

Have you every had a teen-aged son?  Ever hear something like this?

 “Dad, mom asked me to go to the store for her to get some milk, cheese, butter, and bread, so can I have the keys to the car?”  

We need milk and bread, right?

Watch this:

“Dad, mom asked me to go to the store for her to get some milk, cheese, and butter.   I have to stop at my girlfriend’s house for mom for just a second, but her house is next to the bakery.  We are out of bread.  Can I have the keys to the car?”

 It is still really all about “milk and bread,” right?  Or, did we add something slippery in the middle?


 Look what this snake added between “righteousness” and “faith,” or δικαιοσύνην, εὐσέβειαν, πίστιν.

The author slipped in the word εὐσέβειa, or eusebia, between righteousness and faith, two great things if you are a Christian.   Sir, he hid it, and masterfully disguised something that he was taken from paganism.  

 Eusebia in the Greco-Roman world was city-state sponsored, city-state priest controlled, passed on from their ancestors, ritual-prayer-animal sacrifices.  It was the “ritual hoky-poky” of the Greco-Roman temples, and these rituals were law, and attending them was law.  

Do you want the bulls to grow strong?  Well, you have to get the right guy, on the right day, in the right temple, with the right incense, to the right god, with the right cut of the right knife, with the moon just right, and the right stars, to get the bulls next year to grow strong.  Eusebia was the metaphysics of the ancient world.  

Do you want the wheat to grow?  Well, there was a correct ritual with specific steps for that, and only the priests of that temple owned the ritual.  You had to pay him to get the hoky-pokey.  That was Greco-Roman "piety."  

Somewhere between 20% and 50% of all women in the Greco-Roman world died in childbirth.  That isn’t good, right?  Well, if you don’t want that to happen you have to pay the right temple, and the right priest, to do the right “eusebia.”  There is nothing you can do to get it right because only the temple-church-priest owns the ritual.  

Ever hear of a guy named Socrates? People think that he was put to death because he “corrupted the youth of Athens.” That isn’t true. Read Plato’s Apology. He was acquitted of that charge. He was put to death because he was “a-eusebia,” he wouldn’t do his city-state’s sacrifices. He refused to do them. That put the entire city into danger because those ordained rites, city-state rites, city-state mandated rituals kept the people, city, and even the world safe. A-Eusebia was in every sense of the word treason.


Take a second look at Mark 1:1.

“Begins the Good News of Jesus the Messiah.” The oldest versions of Mark do not even say “Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God.” It doesn’t say that. The real Mark 1:1, Begins the Good News of Jesus the Messiah, lines up with Mark 8:29, and Mark 8:29 is exactly the same as Revelations 1:1-10. The entire emphasis is on Messiah. Why?

Ever notice that they had to ask Jesus, “Teach us to pray!” Hold it! These are Jews. Why doesn’t anybody know how to pray to God on their OWN? Did you notice where Jesus says "Go into your house, go into your closet, and pray, God will see you"? Remember that? What is the big deal? Well, in the ancient world your prayers had to be out in the open. Sunday, right? What time? 11 to 12PM, right? Okay, what hour is Apollo Hour? Ever notice that a lot of Baptist Churches look like a Greek temple with a wide white starcase in front?

The metaphysics of the ancient world was called "eusebia." It was step-by-step, priest controlled, priest dictated, as old as the stones, priest-owned correct rites. There was one for every day, every week, every Apollo Day (Sunday), every New Star, every harvest, you name it. And they had to be led and out in the open. See your Illiad chapter 4. Remember Menelaus challenges Paris to go man to man. But, only with a god-certified ritual-rite contract in the OPEN with the sacrifices of King Priam. The sacrifice had to be outside under the sky.

Okay, let's say the author of 1 Timothy meant it in a “New Testament” way. Excuse me, but Jesus died on the Cross to get rid of it. Eusebia is the “correct rite,” and that cost money, lots and lots and lots of money, money for everything in your life. It was the core of Greco-Roman religious life. There was absolutely no such thing as “theology.” There was only “Orthopraxy,” the right rite, and the right rite was a patternistic ritual controlled by the temple, which no one could go into, by the appointed priest. The word is nowhere to be found in the Gospels, ever. Reason? It isn’t Christian. It is in fact the very opposition of Christianity. Go ahead. Look for the word in the Gospels or in Romans. Good luck with that.

That is what the author of 1 Timothyis slipping into Christianity. Jesus’ lesson on the matter, however, was that nobody, absolutely owned the keys to Christian Fellowship. Nobody owned the keys to prayer, nobody. There are a handful of things that Jesus absolutely demanded that we do not do. In the Greek language, the strongest direct order to never, ever, under any circumstances, ever title yourself as a priest, rabbi, minister, pastor, Doctor of Theology, professor of Jesus, absolutely none of it. Banned. Matthew 23 contains the strongest direct order from Jesus. Start to finish, read Matthew and Mark again and look for where Jesus gives direct orders not to do something.

Those were the words from Jesus’ mouth, so they didn't have anything in the Gospels or an athentic letter to build it. So, they did what they had to do, they dressed themselves up as Paul, although the author of 1 Timothy is very, very careful not to lie, ie., the author ever says, “This is Paul writing to you from X.” All the author says is “Paul the Apostle.” The implication is only in the mind of the reader. The only evidence in the text of 1 Timothy that Paul wrote it is that the early 4th century "church" said so.

Without 1 Timothy and Titus, Constantine the 1st had NOTHING in the New Testament to put himself on top of a worldly church organization, and he needed money for walls, lots of walls. Moreover, when King James wanted a new Bible for England, did he invite a single Greek speaking person to sit on his panel? No, he did not. Without 1 Timothy and Titus King James had no New Testament scripture from the Gospels to build a state-run church. Most of the scholars on his board read Latin.

When they burnt Jon of Arc at the stake, guess which book in the New Testament they threw in her face? She was not convicted of witchcraft. She was acquited of that. Read her trial and then read Titus again. Look for this, “Let nobody, anyone, scoff at your authority,” or perhaps, “Let nobody belittle your authority.” How about, “Let no one challenge your authority.” The Greek is really difficult to put exactly into English because we do not live in a vertically bolted world, while the Greco-Roman world was bolted rock solid top to bottom. For example, by around 1000 AD, 1 out of 10 men in Constantinople was a eunuch. What relevancy is that? Well, think of all the rapists we have. Why don't we just ... them or shoot them? Ultimately, we don't live in a ancient society were the entire culture is vertically bolted. According to Arrian, a servant once sat in Alexander's throne. He cut off his head.

Some versions translate “eusebia” as “piety,” but since when is paying a priest to slash a bull’s throat before a god correctly in any way part of Jesus’ “Good News”?

What eusebia did do, however, was put salvation, the gods’ favor, correct worship, solely into the hands of a city-state-controlled temple. Eusebia was legally mandated, mandatory city-state rituals. Ever have that feeling that you "Have to go to church at 11AM on Apollo Day? When you walk out it is about 12PM. Question: what is the Sun at 12-1PM?

It wasn’t just the word “church” that they twisted. Worse than that, they twisted who is in charge of your walk with Jesus, while Jesus died on the Cross so you would have your own direct dial, Holy Spirit HotSpot connection. In 312 AD, that had to go, and so Constantine made it illegal not to go to "Church."

1 Timothy and Titus are the greatest hoaxes to ever be inflicted on humanity. Wallace in Texas might still put 1 Timothy and Titus into the 1st century. But how does 4th century early Byzantine state-temple controlled Christianity suddenly jump back to the 1st century? Answer: The people who did it wanted paganism slipped into Christianity because they wanted to use it to make money. In paganism you had to go to the priest/pastor/minister, whatever word floats your trireme, for a direct connection to God.  Money, it cost money.

One of Eusebius of Caesarea’s biggest lies was that Constantine was a Christian. That myth is still taught, and it is a lie. Read what Gibbon says about Eusebius of Caesarea as a "historian." He calls him the outright biggest liar of any historian. For example, after Constantine’s so-called conversion, he later cut off his son’s head, as a "Christian," and then after that boiled his wife alive.  Notice that Constantine refused baptism all the way up until two or three days before he died.  He knew he was dying.  My cat is more Christian that Constantine the 1st.

Whoever wrote 1 Timothy 6:11 was one of Eusebius of Caesarea’s pals. Jesus didn’t give Christians any power, station, or authority over anyone, not ever apostle over apostle.

 So they did what they had to do to get control over it.  

 They forged them, and they are masterpieces.  1 Timothy and Titus are absolute masterpieces of forgery.  1 Timothy and Titus are faker than a 3-dollar denarius.

1 Timothy and Titus haven’t been listed as 1st century documents by almost all archivists in real universities with programs in Greek papyrology since the 19th century.

Matthew 23: 8-11, If you look, you will see all the words available to the author in the 1st century AD to cover the concepts of teacher, pastor, minister, rabbi, and invent any word you want, but the only ordination Jesus himself granted was brother. No, not friends, brother. Well he didn't say High, Holy, Sacred Hippo. That is right. He didn't because he adamantly covered the entire concept.

Do I trust the words of Jesus, or, do I push Jesus aside because “The Church” said Paul wrote 1 Timothy and Titus and that is the only evidence that there is?  

Friends, Eusebius of Caesarea is not my savior.

Although there are some hold outs, but they are not just "scholars"; people who put them in the 1st century are also paid "preachers," I am nevertheless required to say this because Evangelical Christians will not recognize that these letters are not identified as 1st century documents by the overwhelming majority or Critical Texual New Testament Scholars.  

I will not bring this up again.  I am required to say this just once so that you have at least heard this once. 

  • 4288

Dear Brothers and Sisters: 


 I have been studying the language of the New Testament and its linguistic Pragmatics for over 50 years.  I am as confident about my salvation as I am in what I am going to say to you on this subject.    

1 Timothy and Titus are the products of an insidious, surreptitious, ruthless, purely Machiavellian  forger.   There is no scribe helping Paul here.   This is one part:

1 Timothy 6:11,

Σὺ δέ, ὦ ἄνθρωπε [a]θεοῦ, ταῦτα φεῦγε· δίωκε δὲ δικαιοσύνην, εὐσέβειαν, πίστιν, ἀγάπην, ὑπομονήν, [b]πραϋπαθίαν.

 Look what this servant of the d….. sandwiches between “Righteousness” and “faith,” δικαιοσύνην, εὐσέβειαν, πίστιν, and then he finishes his clause with “endurance” and finally, with “gentleness.”  Who would argue with "righteousness" or “gentleness”?  Never mind what has been slipped in the middle.


 The human brain hears the first word in a sentence LOUDER than words in the middle, and the word at the end is the word the brain hears last and the LOUDEST.

 

Have you every had a teen-aged son?  Ever hear something like this?

 “Dad, mom asked me to go to the store for her to get some milk, cheese, butter, and bread, so can I have the keys to the car?”  

We need milk and bread, right?

Watch this:

 

“Dad, mom asked me to go to the store for her to get some milk, cheese, and butter.   I have to stop at my girlfriend’s house for mom for just a second, but her house is next to the bakery.  We are out of bread.  Can I have the keys to the car?”

 It is still really all about “milk and bread,” right?  Or, did we add something slippery in the middle?


 Look what this snake added between “righteousness” and “faith,” or δικαιοσύνην, εὐσέβειαν, πίστιν.

 

  The author slipped in the word εὐσέβειa, or eusebia, between righteousness and faith, two great things if you are a Christian.   Sir, he hid it, and masterfully disguised something that he was taken from paganism.  

 Eusebia in the Greco-Roman world was city-state sponsored, city-state priest controlled, passed on from their ancestors, ritual-prayer-animal sacrifices.  It was the “ritual hoky-poky” of the Greco-Roman temples, and these rituals were law, and attending them was law.  

Do you want the bulls to grow strong?  Well, you have to get the right guy, on the right day, in the right temple, with the right incense, to the right god, with the right cut of the right knife, with the moon just right, and the right stars, to get the bulls next year to grow strong.  Eusebia was the metaphysics of the ancient world.  

Do you want the wheat to grow?  Well, there was a correct ritual with specific steps for that, and only the priests of that temple owned the ritual.  You had to pay him to get the hoky-pokey.  That was Greco-Roman "piety."  

Somewhere between 20% and 50% of all women in the Greco-Roman world died in childbirth.  That isn’t good, right?  Well, if you don’t want that to happen you have to pay the right temple, and the right priest, to do the right “eusebia.”  There is nothing you can do to get it right because only the temple-church-priest owns the ritual.  

Ever hear of a guy named Socrates? People think that he was put to death because he “corrupted the youth of Athens.” That isn’t true. Read Plato’s Apology. He was acquitted of that charge. He was put to death because he was “a-eusebia,” he wouldn’t do his city-state’s sacrifices. He refused to do them. That put the entire city into danger because those ordained rites, city-state rites, city-state mandated rituals kept the people, city, and even the world safe. A-Eusebia was in every sense of the word treason.

Take a second look at Mark 1:1.

“Begins the Good News of Jesus the Messiah.” The oldest versions of Mark do not even say “Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God.” It doesn’t say that. The real Mark 1:1, Begins the Good News of Jesus the Messiah, lines up with Mark 8:29, and Mark 8:29 is exactly the same as Revelations 1:1-10. The entire emphasis is on Messiah. Why?

Ever notice that they had to ask Jesus, “Teach us to pray!” Hold it! These are Jews. Why doesn’t anybody know how to pray to God on their OWN? Did you notice where Jesus says "Go into your house, go into your closet, and pray, God will see you"? Remember that? What is the big deal? Well, in the ancient world your prayers had to be out in the open. Sunday, right? What time? 11 to 12PM, right? Okay, what hour is Apollo Hour? Ever notice that a lot of Baptist Churches look like a Greek temple with a wide white starcase in front?

The metaphysics of the ancient world was called "eusebia." It was step-by-step, priest controlled, priest dictated, as old as the stones, priest-owned correct rites. There was one for every day, every week, every Apollo Day (Sunday), every New Star, every harvest, you name it. And they had to be led and out in the open. See your Illiad chapter 4. Remember Menelaus challenges Paris to go man to man. But, only with a god-certified ritual-rite contract in the OPEN with the sacrifices of King Priam. The sacrifice had to be outside under the sky.

Okay, let's say the author of 1 Timothy meant it in a “New Testament” way. Excuse me, but Jesus died on the Cross to get rid of it. Eusebia is the “correct rite,” and that cost money, lots and lots and lots of money, money for everything in your life. It was the core of Greco-Roman religious life. There was absolutely no such thing as “theology.” There was only “Orthopraxy,” the right rite, and the right rite was a patternistic ritual controlled by the temple, which no one could go into, by the appointed priest. The word is nowhere to be found in the Gospels, ever. Reason? It isn’t Christian. It is in fact the very opposition of Christianity. Go ahead. Look for the word in the Gospels or in Romans. Good luck with that.

That is what the author of 1 Timothyis slipping into Christianity. Jesus’ lesson on the matter, however, was that nobody, absolutely owned the keys to Christian Fellowship. Nobody owned the keys to prayer, nobody. There are a handful of things that Jesus absolutely demanded that we do not do. In the Greek language, the strongest direct order to never, ever, under any circumstances, ever title yourself as a priest, rabbi, minister, pastor, Doctor of Theology, professor of Jesus, absolutely none of it. Banned. Matthew 23 contains the strongest direct order from Jesus. Start to finish, read Matthew and Mark again and look for where Jesus gives direct orders not to do something.

Those were the words from Jesus’ mouth, so they didn't have anything in the Gospels or an athentic letter to build it. So, they did what they had to do, they dressed themselves up as Paul, although the author of 1 Timothy is very, very careful not to lie, ie., the author ever says, “This is Paul writing to you from X.” All the author says is “Paul the Apostle.” The implication is only in the mind of the reader. The only evidence in the text of 1 Timothy that Paul wrote it is that the early 4th century "church" said so.

Without 1 Timothy and Titus, Constantine the 1st had NOTHING in the New Testament to put himself on top of a worldly church organization, and he needed money for walls, lots of walls. Moreover, when King James wanted a new Bible for England, did he invite a single Greek speaking person to sit on his panel? No, he did not. Without 1 Timothy and Titus King James had no New Testament scripture from the Gospels to build a state-run church. Most of the scholars on his board read Latin.

When they burnt Jon of Arc at the stake, guess which book in the New Testament they threw in her face? She was not convicted of witchcraft. She was acquited of that. Read her trial and then read Titus again. Look for this, “Let nobody, anyone, scoff at your authority,” or perhaps, “Let nobody belittle your authority.” How about, “Let no one challenge your authority.” The Greek is really difficult to put exactly into English because we do not live in a vertically bolted world, while the Greco-Roman world was bolted rock solid top to bottom. For example, by around 1000 AD, 1 out of 10 men in Constantinople was a eunuch. What relevancy is that? Well, think of all the rapists we have. Why don't we just ... them or shoot them? Ultimately, we don't live in a ancient society were the entire culture is vertically bolted. According to Arrian, a servant once sat in Alexander's throne. He cut off his head.

Some versions translate “eusebia” as “piety,” but since when is paying a priest to slash a bull’s throat before a god correctly in any way part of Jesus’ “Good News”?

What eusebia did do, however, was put salvation, the gods’ favor, correct worship, solely into the hands of a city-state-controlled temple. Eusebia was legally mandated, mandatory city-state rituals. Ever have that feeling that you "Have to go to church at 11AM on Apollo Day? When you walk out it is about 12PM. Question: what is the Sun at 12-1PM?

It wasn’t just the word “church” that they twisted. Worse than that, they twisted who is in charge of your walk with Jesus, while Jesus died on the Cross so you would have your own direct dial, Holy Spirit HotSpot connection. In 312 AD, that had to go, and so Constantine made it illegal not to go to "Church."

1 Timothy and Titus are the greatest hoaxes to ever be inflicted on humanity. Wallace in Texas might still put 1 Timothy and Titus into the 1st century. But how does 4th century early Byzantine state-temple controlled Christianity suddenly jump back to the 1st century? Answer: The people who did it wanted paganism slipped into Christianity because they wanted to use it to make money. In paganism you had to go to the priest/pastor/minister, whatever word floats your trireme, for a direct connection to God.  Money, it cost money.

One of Eusebius of Caesarea’s biggest lies was that Constantine was a Christian. That myth is still taught, and it is a lie. Read what Gibbon says about Eusebius of Caesarea as a "historian." He calls him the outright biggest liar of any historian. For example, after Constantine’s so-called conversion, he later cut off his son’s head, as a "Christian," and then after that boiled his wife alive.  Notice that Constantine refused baptism all the way up until two or three days before he died.  He knew he was dying.  My cat is more Christian that Constantine the 1st.

Whoever wrote 1 Timothy 6:11 was one of Eusebius of Caesarea’s pals. Jesus didn’t give Christians any power, station, or authority over anyone, not ever apostle over apostle.

 So they did what they had to do to get control over it.  

 They forged them, and they are masterpieces.  1 Timothy and Titus are absolute masterpieces of forgery.  1 Timothy and Titus are faker than a 3-dollar denarius.

1 Timothy and Titus haven’t been listed as 1st century documents by almost all archivists in real universities with programs in Greek papyrology since the 19th century.

Matthew 23: 8-11, If you look, you will see all the words available to the author in the 1st century AD to cover the concepts of teacher, pastor, minister, rabbi, and invent any word you want, but the only ordination Jesus himself granted was brother. No, not friends, brother. Well he didn't say High, Holy, Sacred Hippo. That is right. He didn't because he adamantly covered the entire concept.

Do I trust the words of Jesus, or, do I push Jesus aside because “The Church” said Paul wrote 1 Timothy and Titus and that is the only evidence that there is?  

Friends, Eusebius of Caesarea is not my savior.

Although there are some hold outs, but they are not just "scholars"; people who put them in the 1st century are also paid "preachers," I am nevertheless required to say this because Evangelical Christians will not recognize that these letters are not identified as 1st century documents by the overwhelming majority or Critical Texual New Testament Scholars.  

I will not bring this up again.  I am required to say this just once so that you have at least heard this once.  

    

 

  • 4568

Brother, Sir:

I feel most at home in Christ when other brothers are throwing fast balls, and they are throwing them hard.  To me, "fight a good fight" is a passage that I take within the context of the Pragmatics.  FirstL

I apologize.  I have been fighting a good fight with my heart.  I am older now, and I do not know how much time on Earth God has in mind for me.  I have been recovering from quadriple bypass, and now just getting on my feet.  Also, my job.  I am not normal in that I chose 50 years ago not to live in this world.  Rather than pursue a career, I chose to pursue one and one thing only.  That thing has been studying something called "Hellenistic Koine Greek."  And no, I do not mean getting big degrees, and going for doctor this, that, or doctor other thing.  While I have been to 6 universities, I did so only to learn Greek.  It means that I make my living do very odd jobs.  They are odd, lol!  At night, however, I have been studying the language of the New Testament, and its linguistic and Pragmatical context, for over 50 years.  I bought my first Greek grammar book in 1973.  It is on my book shelf.  I am getting old and weak.  I apologize for not getting back to you.  

Are you ready for a "Good fight?"

------------------------

Here is what I think. We base our "dogma" on faith, prayer, study, Fellowship, our walk with Jesus, and scripture. Scripture, we base our understanding on Scripture on what the hand of the author actually wrote, and is the name at the top of that plate, the actual person who that person claimed he was, or, who "tradition" asserts? In other words, we must base our scripture on "scripture." That is our starting point.

If you made it that far, then I am fully confident that Paul would agree you are ready to put on that cestus.    

Let's define what a "Bible Scholar" is.  A Bible Scholar is someone who can read Hellenistic Koine directly from an extent manuscript.  No, not the modern Greek alphabet that they print the Greek New Testament in today.  When we read Homeric, Classical, or Hellenistic Koine, or post-Hellenistic Koine, it looks something like this:

"There once was a Greek from Crete"
He farmed mostly wheat ...
But when he got to Rome, they just sent him home
Because he just never washed his feet.

If you picked up a manuscript written before 500 AD, and even later, it is going to look like this:

THEREONCEWASAGREEKFRO
MCRETEHEFARMEDMOSTLYW
HEATBUTWHENHEGOTTOROM
THEYJUSTSENTHIMHOMEBEC
AUSEHEJUSTNEVERWASHEDH
ISFEET

Now, turn that upside down. Rip it into 20 pieces, and find this

.....UTWHENHEGO .....
TOROMETHEY .....
SENTHIMHOMEBEC
AUSEHEJUSTNEVER
EET

There are about 550 extant Greek books that have been received from the ancient world.  A "Bible Scholar" can look at the above second version and tell you what page of, let's say, Marcus Aureleaus that that chopped up piece of papyri that is the size of a stamp came from.  He has read all of them, and all of them several times.  There are under 100 of these chaps in the entire world.  Most of us specialize in a handful of books.  Read one for 10 years and you almost have it.  We call these types "Critical Textual Scholars."  The dialects are very, very different, and the vocabulary of each author is often totally unque.  There were no dictionaries in Paul's world that we know of.  So spelling too, is tough.  You might find one writer use this, "ICOULDHAVEGONE" where another writer writes "IWOULDHAVEGONE," and the word is only used once by the author.

Ready?

99.9% of every critical textual scholar I have ever met, talk with, or read with, and I have met 4 at Oxford, agree that Paul's Philemon was in truth actually written by him. It is the real deal,Paul's authentic voice. His culture, his language, his grammar, his vocabulary, and his "tone." I have never met another Critical Text expert that would dispute that the historical Paul of Tarsus wrote Romans and Phileon. They spoke Greek in Tarsus.

I am very, very sorry, but 99.9% of those same people adamently do not accept that Titus was written by the historical Paul of Tarsus.  Oh, yes, you will meet many professional "pastors" who can read some Greek who will assert Titus was actually written by Paul.  However, no "museum level" library in the world lists Titus has having been produced in the 1st century.  None.  I believe the guy who runs the "New Testament Manuscript" group in Texas still lists Titus as 1st century.  However, he is a professional "pastor" who makes a living based off of it, and he has written zip on any Greek OTHER than the New Testament.  That disqualifies him.  You cannot be a witness in court for your own dad.  The court will not accept you as a "dispassionate witness," and he has no world class qualifications within the realm of Greek dialects.  Zero.  

Sir, your question centers on one of the hottest topics in "New Testament Textual Criticism."
So, before we talk about your quest, take a breath. If you place the world's best and most fluent readers of Ancient Greek into a room, and I have read with Greek priests who just didn't have a clue, and asked them to stand on one side of the other, not every one of them will stand on the side of Ephesians having been penned in the 1st century. Romans? No problem. Phileon and 1 Cor, no problem, but Ephesians ... Ephesians is about 50/50. There are reasons, real reasons for that, but to see them, you have to be able to read post-Hellenistic Koine as well as your native language, and even better.

To put this in modern context, modern day art forgers study the brushes of the work they are copying. They learn to mix the paint the same way, and they use the same materials to make brushes and paint. They will even steal another painting because they want the canvas. Canvas has pollen in it.

I am convenced for myself with Ephesians, but I have only studied it for two years from the manuscripts. 1 Tim and Titus, I have studied for over 20 years, studying only those two books, but within the Pragmatics or the language from 300 BC to 415 AD. I have written a book on it and a copy of it has been added to the main library at Oxford University. Oxford houses the largest library of Greek manuscripts in the world. My book on 1 Tim and Titus is in the private libraries of four Greek professors (Tutors) who are full time lecturers on Greek at Oxford.

For now, I will say only this about Ephesians, I hope it helps open some ideas.

Look at the word "pastor" in Ephesians 4:11.

Think about that word in "English." What is that? Make a list of things that you would "semantically associate" with the English word, "Pastor."

Now, brother, put on a pair of sandals.  Put on this cloth called a "hymation."  It isn't a toga, it is a gentleman's wrap, and we will give you a cloak over that.  

I'll take you to the library of Alexandria in exactly 60 AD, and you are going to go through the shelves with me looking for that word and how is it used.  Are you game?

Here is that sentence in Greek.  Don't feak!

καὶ αὐτὸς ἔδωκεν τοὺς μὲν ἀποστόλους, τοὺς δὲ προφήτας, τοὺς δὲ εὐαγγελιστάς, τοὺς δὲ ποιμένας καὶ διδασκάλους

Here is the word you are looking for in all those scrolls, ποιμένας.  That is masculine, plural, in the accusative for basically "poimenikos," a Hellenistic shephard.  However, because we have a manuscript called "The Didache" we know how they organized their Fellowships, and that 1st century Christians did not have a class of "shephards."  Remember at the end of Roman's 16:1.  The women is clearly an established head of the Fellowship, but Paul does not call her a "Goat Herder."  He calls her "THE" deacon, the very, very word he uses to describe himself when talking with Peter in Acts.  The exact same word.  When speaking with Peter he doesn't not call himself a "Goat Herder" for the Gentiles.  The word "deacon" in 1st century is closer to "nurse," or attendant, someone who gets your water for you from the river and fills your cistern, someone who takes your "potty pot" outside.  A "deaconios" puts a towel over your forehead when you are sick with fever.  This is Paul's word for himself when talking to Peter about his work among the Gentiles.  It is the same word his uses to introduce a woman in Romans 16:1.  Paul doesn't call her "Behold, the Goat Herder of Cencheae."  It is a very, very small detail.  Here:

Romans 16:1, NRSV, "I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a deacon[a] of the church at Cenchreae, "

First, let's get rid of the "C."  That is conventional 19th century English.  It isn't correct, sorry.  The name of the city is "Κεγχρεα."  It is more like "Kegchrea."  It was south of Athens.  It is a fishing villlage.  

Brother, this is a very, very fine detail.  See this, "a deacon of the church."  That is incorrect.  There is no indirect article in Hellenistic Koine Greek.  There is a "the," 36 of them actually, but no "a" anywhere in Koine.  It isn't in Homeric or Classical Greek either.  As an example, the translators of the NRSV arbitrarily added the "a" deacon.  There is no "The Deacon."

It should be translated like this, "Behold, to men and God, I present to you our sister Phoebe, deacon of the Fellowship in the fishing village of Kegchrea."  The verb for "behold" or "commend" is actually extremely old.  It is more Mycenaean than reflective of the Hellenistic Age.

If I had awarded you a 10th degree black belt in Japan for Japanese fencing, and the Emperor of Japan were at the ceremony, I would in Japanese Introduce you to God first, and in front of all the other "Grand Masters."  That is exactly what Paul is doing with this woman.

It is not "A Deacon."  She is "Phoebe, Deacon of the Fellowship at Kegchra, the small fishing village south of Athens."  

Why do they add "A"? Well, that is the very same word that Paul uses in Acts to lable himself before Peter.

Now, notice Paul addresses her as "Sister."  That, sir, is her title.  Compare that with Matthew 23:8-12.  This is who Christians addressed each other in the 1st century.  Get a copy of the Dichache.  It is the only 1st century "Fellowship Handbook" that we have.  It was found behind a wall in Constantinople in the late 19th century.  

Here is another one, and we can look at that in English.

".... unity in the faith."  In 60 AD, this "faith" was understood to mean "Trust."  I can share several examples in the literature of the period where someone says, "This is my slave.  I will sent him with you.  He is my most TRUSTED."  Another one is, "This is my maid.  Take her with you with this money.  She is my most trusted servant."

Sir, in post-Hellenistic Koine Greek, the concept of "faith" as a "Religion" does not evolve until the early Byzantine era. Faith in Romans means "trust." Take a look at John 2 at the wedding at Cana. The dicipiles didn't have "trust" in Jesus until AFTER they saw the water change to wine. Sir, John does not record that Jesus' diciples "found a mutual religion" when they saw Jesus change water into wine. They found "trust" in him. That, sir, is 1st century "pistis," trust, and that is 1st century Koine. Writing around 150 AD in Koine Greek, the same language, Emperor Marcus Aureleus wrote (Refering to Christians), "Those who use only 'trust' as their process for their search for truth are foolish."

Doesn't Paul say in Romans, "Through reading of the word we find faith"?    In American English we could read that as "Through reading of the Word we come to Trust Jesus."  Sir, that is 1st century Greek.  There is no "blind faith" in 1st century Hellenistic Koine Greek.  The word meant "trust," and it didn't come to mean a "Religion" until hundreds of years later.  

Sir, just two words, in Ephesians, why are we using 4th century post-Hellenistic Koine litergical Greek back in the late 1st century?

Sir, I appeal to you, I think it is an honest question.  

There is solid stuff in Ephesians, but it is also filled with early 3rd - 4th century AD litergical Greek.
907-519-9838. Don't be shy.

You servant,

Timothy   

















  • 4579

David, it is amazing to me that today it has become necessary to make a great effort to state the obvious. Did you hear that recently it is controversial or even forbidden in some circles to state that "Women have babies?"

Jesus had many disciples but only 12 apostles. Out of the 12 He had a special relationship with Peter, James and John. He has placed each of us in the Body as it pleases Him. If people want to put unqualified people in charge, they will likely regret it later. On the other hand, if they reject those who he approves, many will suffer.

Furthermore, those who abuse their responsibility or neglect their responsibility to lead others will answer to God. I have seen it often and will see it again.

Thanks brother, for your help in clearing up some confusion for us!

  • 4618

What is the latest development, We Are the Church? Did you find peaceful resolution or was that not possible at the moment? 

I did not want to see this thread remain "hanging". Here are a few thoughts I'll share.

Elders are no big deal, say some... Yet, churches without official elders were considered incomplete without them. Titus 1:5: For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that were wanting and appoint elders in every city as I gave thee charge.

In the grand scheme of redemption, after Christ sat down at the right hand of God, he did supply shepherds to his church. These pastor-teachers are considered to be great gifts to the world. Ephesians 4:8-13: This is why it says: "When he ascended on high ,he led captives in his train and gave gifts to men." (What does “he ascended” mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions? He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.) It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

Two of the longest lists in the entire Bible explain the required qualifications of elders or shepherds. Also referred to as bishops or overseers. Therefore, if two long lists of qualifications describe legitimate leaders - surely this is significant.

Elders were appointed to be shepherds of Gods flock. The sheep are not exhorted to be mere self-feeders. But rather to honor their shepherds: 1 Thessalonians 5:12,14. Now we ask you, brothers and sisters, to acknowledge those who work hard among you, who care for you in the Lord and who admonish you. Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other.

1  Peter 5:1-4: The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed: FEED THE FLOCK of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being examples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.

Official shepherding or oversight is called a "good work". 1 Timothy 3:1. A task personally appointed by Jesus for the benefit of his church. Those who engage in it ultimately will be held accountable to Him. And will be rewarded according to their faithfulness. 

Finally, to maintain via an argument from the suppossed silence that "few NT letters were written to the leadership" is certainly erroneous. It would have opened the door to many private forgeries as well.

When the recorded letters arrived at the churches, addressed to the saints, the leadership would have naturally been included as the officers were a part of the saints, regardless of whether they are specifically addressed or not. The same conclusion applies to all the "one anothers" - these apply to everyone regardless of whether they are leaders or not. 

We must quickly add that some churches will not have qualified elders or deacons. God knows and understands. These will come in time, we hope. In the same way that a family without children is still a real family. 

Another detail often overlooked is that, in Scripture, local churches are city-churches or regional churches. Which brings up the question: Were the city churches the place of plural elders or was it the individual churches? Interesting, huh?

If someone sincerely desires in obedience to Christ and without regard to covetousness to humbly be a shepherd or pastor or life-coach or friend in the church of Christ - why would a person not desire such a relationship? I for one have benefitted countless times from formal and informal shepherding.

So, what or who is the origin of this over-reaction to faithful servant-leaders? For one thing, Americans love "individualism and freedom". Several modern writers in the organic church movement materially dismiss official leadership and point to the many "one another's" as if this covers everything. Apparently it does not cover everything. Which is why Jesus repeated himself over and over: Peter, do you love me? FEED MY LAMBS. John 21.

Therefore, leadership is not insignificant at all. True, too many church leaders have betrayed their office and their Master. But pretending their role is insignificant or non-existent is also a mistake.

Don't forget - there is no magic formula for guaranteed blessings with regard to church. God can bless in spite of church structures which may be lacking on this point or that. 

Yet, for the task ahead, we should seek to follow the most scriptural and simplest arrangment. As we follow the Lamb. The Lamb who looks upon the heart. 

May his blessings overtake YOU.

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Here is chapter four of a book I have been working on, "Light Of The World."

https://livingtruth.com/light-of-the-world-chapter-five-the-promised-family/

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Hi David,

So sorry to hear you are unwell.  Many of the people I know have had Covid (including both my sons and their families) and all have made a good recovery - although sometimes it has taken a while for the energy to come back.  Here in the UK it appears we are getting waves of cases every 3-4 months and the BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron subvariants seem adept at by-passing immunity - whether by vaccination or previous infection.  At least vaccination has meant that there are far fewer deaths and incidences of very serious illness. It must be really disappointing to miss the concert - although perhaps you will make two other people very happy!  No compensation at all, but maybe have a listen to some of my latest music:

https://theregime2.bandcamp.com/releases

All good wishes for a speedy recovery,

Graham


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Hello dear Graham. What a pleasant surprise for you to drop by. Thank you for the illustrative post. Here is the link for the image. Somewhere else I thought I read that the "the" was added. (Likely for another passage - not the one here in view.)

We just returned from North Carolina where we contracted COVID. We have no energy at all. Be back in a few days as God strengthens us. I look forward to it.

Oh my, I thought that plague was behind us. Especially with multiple vaccinations. Worse still, our tickets tonight for Justin Hayward and Mike Dawes will need to find new owners.

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Hi David.  Hope you don't mind if I make a few comments on your post.  In answer to the first question you pose, I think the I Corinthians passage is presumed to be refering to a "worship service" in part because of I Cor 11:18 which makes it clear that the context is the coming together of the group.  Personally I think it is question begging to translate ἐν ἐκκλησία as "in church" but that is how it is usually rendered.  I would prefer something more neutral like "assembly".  The other element which could be pointed to is the phrase κυριακὸν δεῖπνον φαγεῖν (1 Cor. 11:20) - which I spent some time discussing in my paper.  If this does indeed convey the meaning "Lord's Supper" then this would be another good reason for regarding this as a "worship service".  I tried to suggest that this is not necessarily the case but I am very much aware that many would disagree.   

You comment that "many in the Apostolic era had "all things in common" " but I think it is clear from Paul's comments in I Cor that this was not the case in the Corinthian community.  Other than the early chapters of Acts, I cannot think of any other early Christian writings which seem to presume this model of community but maybe I have missed something.

Your other question is easily answered.  The translators include "this" in I Cor 11:26 because it is in the Greek text!  The phrase is τὸν ἄρτον τοῦτον.  I have checked the TR, WH, SBL, UBS and NA and they all read this.  Neither does the UBS or NA28 give the omission of the demonstrative as a textual variant so I'm not sure how the table you included in your post was derived.

Best wishes,

Graham

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What a fascinating book the Bible is. And the more fascinating it becomes over time. 

Been thinking about the regular meals of early Christians. As those outside of the traditional church, we should be able to calmly examine this divisive subject with unlimited freedom.

So divisive it has been in the past - several have lost their lives as they stood by their "sacramental" convictions.

In this famous passage above, why is the context presumed to be a "worship service"? Many in the Apostolic era had "all things in common." Regular meals together would have been natural. They specifically "ate their meat with gladness."

Another question: Why did the translators add the word "this" in the above text?

In recent news, a government official was barred from Communion. Somewhere, a magician performed a trick and said: Hocus Pocus. Somewhere a lucky car collector boasted about "finding the holy grail." And somewhere a member of the Catholic church is sitting in Mass and realizing that modern chemistry can demonstrate that the wine does not become real blood.

All that aside, it should go without saying, but unfortunately it cannot, that we are dealing with a real meal here in 1st Corinthians. Real food, real nourishment. These hungry and happy disciples would

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Hey dear readers. I went back through the error logs for this site and discovered that many attempts had been made to join in but were met with an unfriendly "Spam Detected" warning. 

Unfortunately since the sign-up failed, there is no way to contact such persons - who certainly were not spammers.

This error just means that the service provider on the other end somehow had generated spam in the past. And had been blacklisted for spam.

We have corrected this issue. But are very sorry that some fell through the cracks. We hope they will try again.

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As always, we are seeking to enlarge our perception of worship and leadership and life. But not to take anything away from anyone. Our goal is that Christ will become our all in all. So in other words, if it is your habit to partake of a small portion of bread and juice - a few times each year. And call it "The Lord's Supper" and find fulfillment in your Creator in that moment... we will rejoice with you.

Others desire to go further and view every meal as a reminder of the Bread of Life and Water of Life. And that every Christian senior (elder) aspire to be an overseer (bishop). That every physical place on his earth is holy. Every day, also. That every believer is ordained (appointed) to ministry or service. As every thought becomes captive to Christ. And whether therefore we eat or drink, we do all with reference to our beloved King and Savior.

Some have a very symbolic view of all of life, you see. As always, you should prove all things by the Scriptures. 

The author is a faculty member at Yale University. He appears to have a "high church" background which makes his conclusions even more persuasive. Some of his other essays are here. This document appears by his kind permission.

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This essay might better be called: The Lack of Liturgy in the Early Church.

The author holds two degrees from Oxford University. Find more about him and his other fascinating research here. This document comes to you via his kind permission. 

As always, prove all things. And don't forget the background of those who sat at the "Last Supper". All were accustomed to a private Passover family feast. Where real food was consumed. 

Remember also that these possessed a Hebrew mentality of rich symbolism. They did not merely look at a rainbow - but in so doing they remembered God's mercy. As for rich symbolism, our Lord frequently employed it. "If you will have fellowship with me, you must eat my flesh and drink my blood."

Nothing is harder than laying aside a lifetime tradition or divesting your mind of previously held convictions. Yet we must if necessary. May the Almighty direct your steps.

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A biker who reads the Scriptures in the original language. We don't find these everyday, no? 

Good to hear from you, dear Timothy. We are aware that you are busy working on some important documents.

Tomorrow, I will post two short pieces which I hope you can comment upon when you come up for air. One from a guy at Oxford, another from Yale.

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I find it fulfilling to connect to meet and interact with Christians on this board.  I am not a "go to church" kind of Christian.  The Spirit leads me to hold that part of the meaning behind Mark 1:1, "Begins the Good News of Jesus Christ" (Minority Reading) is that the "Good News" is Jesus took mandatory pagan rituals to the cross with him.  I could spend a full day quoting scriptures that point to that.  To cut to it, "Did God make man for the sabbath, or did God make the Sabbath for man?  That is why the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbeth.  Remember when John baptized Jesus?  Remember that, "baptism for the forgiveness of sins."  In other words, no, you do not have to make "animal sacrefices, grain sacrifices, or ritual sacrifices" for the forgiveness of sins, and after that, Jesus gives us "The Spirit."  I find there are two kinds of Christians, ones who get that, and ones who don't.

To the former, I'll share something that happened to me last Sunday.  

It is a long story, but I have been recently hired by a motorcycle touring magazine to write for them.  It is a real blessing.  They needed a photograph to go with my column.  Well, - I have always found that Philip 1-2 is a clear guide on how God really wants us to live.  When I take Philip 2 and put it next to Matthew 23 I see a faith that stresses humity and servitude in a very, very literal sense.  How far I carry this is this.  Any speaker, Bible teacher, Christian professor, pastor, who introduces themselves with their honorific, I ... turn .... them .... off.  Matthew 23 is crystal clear, maybe you have to be able to see through the mud to see without a pair of Greek diving goggles, but the Pragmatics are right there.

I work for a living in the most grueling of circumstances.  However, I have recently been hired to write, lol!  I told the chief editor that I had a real challenge.  It is a motorcycle touring magazine, but I don't own a motorcycle, lol!  I gave mine to a charity.  He said, "Hum, - I'll work with you on that."  He asked for a photograph.  But, I don't own a motorcycle to sit on, stand by, or have a picture of me riding on.

"Sunday" morning was the day I had time to get that photo for him. I got down on my knees that morning and had to offer a very odd prayer. I cannot afford to buy a church building, and my house isn't big enough for even two cats. That is okay. I have listed my home as a "House Church," in Redding, CA, but one where we read from the Greek New Testament as our primary source for the Word of God when in the New Testament. Not one Christian has expressed an interest in that kind of Fellowship.

So I prayed, "God, let me take a Fellowship to the road." Within a month, lol, I was hired as Motorcycle Journalist, lol. But, I don't currently own one. I am working on another MA related to NT studies, and they are sucking the blood out of me.

I got on my knees last Sunday and my prayer went like this, "Lord, I need you to provide a motorcycle that I can sit on (not in a shop) for a photograph."

Then we went for a location hunt.

My wife had an idea, a funky, old brick wall as a background with me in a motorcycle jacket.  We found one, I got out, and we did our shoot.  That was it.  The photos communicated the idea of "Motorcycle tourer on a break."

I stepped back onto the road to walk over to my truck.  My wife called me back asking, "Are you sure that is good enough?"  I turned around with my back to the road for my reply, "I have to use what God supplies."

The very, very moment the word "supplies" came out of my mouth the ground started to shake.  I could feel it in my feet.  Then there was a sound, a rumble, then another, then another.

I turned to look and the Hells Angels with about 50 gang members began rolling up to where I was standing, with the "boss" stopping his bike 6 feet from where I was standing.  People don't believe that when John baptized Jesus, when Jesus came out of the water the heavens opened up and a dove desended on him.  I think that is both literally and a cultural allusion.

One of the leaders of the Hells Angels in California parked his motorcycle 6 feet away from where I was standing on the only Sunday I had to get a photo of me standing by a tough looking bike when I don't own one.  

I waited.  The biker got off his ride.  I smiled and said, "Sir, may my wife take a picture of me standing by your motorcycle?  I promise not to touch it."  He replied, "Sure, just don't take any pictures of us, not one."  After the shot I thanked the man, then asked him if I could ask some questions about his ride and why he liked it?  He said, "Ya, sure."

I cannot share what we talked about.  The Hells Angels have a hard rule.  They never talk to the media.  It is one of their biggest rules.  Still, Sunday morning, there I was, my first interview was with a Hells Angels rider and we talked about his motorcycle.  

In case there are those who haven't heard.  God did not make man for the sabbath, but he made the sabbeth for man, and thus he made the Son of Man the Lord of the sabbeth.  That suggests to me that every day is "Sunday."  The Good News frees me from ritualistic faith, that is part of what the "Water" is about, yet that also puts me in service (Philip 2) every single day.  

I offer that Jesus rejected both orthodoxy (correct theology) and orthopraxy (correct rituals), and turned his eyes towards "ortho" + "direct-action love," "agape."  


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Dan Beaty and his family have been involved with home churches since the 90's. His writings are based upon Scripture and experience, too. They are very easy to read. In fact you can listen to them as well. Just follow the link.

Dan has an important message for the church and for those outside of it as well. However, unlike the vast majority of Christian writers and teachers, he does not seek to monetize his work. Needless to say, the church today has a questionable relationship with regard to money, especially in the eyes of the world.

He's also and accomplished musician and a foreign missionary, too, with thousands of miles logged in for the Kingdom.

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