JESUS’ JEWISH NEIGHBORHOOD–Part 2

GREEK THOUGHT VS. HEBREW THOUGHT In Part 1 we began our study of Jesus’ Jewish Neighborhood by looking at the importance of context when studying the scriptures. We learned that we must never forget that the Bible is essentially a Jewish document. Therefore, studying the Jewish context of the Bible opens up previously overlooked windows of meaning. To expand on that, this time I’m going to examine some differences between how the ancient Greeks thought versus how the ancient Hebrews thought. Greek Thought Beginning around the time of Alexander the Great in 323 B.C. to the death of Cleopatra VII in 30 B.C., “Greek thinking” gradually became the dominant influence in the region. Hellenism, as it came to be known, mixed the social and cultural traditions of Greek life with traditions of the various nations which Alexander had conquered. The Greeks were known for their philosophy. To the religious Greeks at the time of Jesus, right belief, or right ideas, was what was most important. They were more concerned with right thought, right mind, right purpose, and right doctrine. To them, knowledge was salvation. One merely had to say the right things and believe the right things. Saying and believing […]

JESUS’ JEWISH NEIGHBORHOOD–Part 1

By Bill Venard Author Ken Bailey is a prominent biblical scholar, known for his insights into the gospels based on his long familiarity with Middle Eastern culture and languages. He was once asked the question, “why is it important to study the Jewish roots of Christianity?” He answered: “suppose I spent my life going to a beach. I’ve seen waves splashing against rocks, ships on the water, fishermen casting lines. One day at this beach someone says, ‘Ken, I have two snorkels. Let’s go.’ Suddenly I see coral, seaweed, and fish. These undersea views in no way invalidate the beauty of what’s above. In my work, I’m looking for the coral and the fish.” As Christians are we willing to dive deep to discover the beauty, the depth and the wonder of what lies below the surface of the Word of God? We must never forget that the Bible is essentially a Jewish document. Therefore, studying the Jewish context of the Bible opens up previously overlooked windows of meaning. Also, I am convinced, will also deepen our faith and strengthen our walk with Jesus. It’s All About Context When teaching believers how to study the Bible I always start by […]

E17–Why Did God Become A Man?

The apostle Paul wrote, “AND WITHOUT CONTROVERSY GREAT IS THE MYSTERY OF GODLINESS: GOD WAS MANIFESTED IN THE FLESH…” Paul admits that the incarnation of God in the flesh is a great mystery. It is beyond the range of natural human understanding. Our finite minds cannot grasp with meaningful comprehension how this happened. It can only be known by Divine revelation in the Word of God and illumined by His Holy Spirit. But, “why?” is the question. In episode 17 that is the question that will be addressed: Why did God become a man?      

E18–Did Jesus Really Die?

Hi, friends! Did you know that the idea that Jesus never really died on the cross is making a comeback? I’m not kidding. There’s no doubt in the mind of any reasonable person that Jesus was crucified. There’s just too much historical evidence not only in the bible, but also in the writings of historians of the time. Thanks to social media today, this theory has a growing number of followers. In this episode I will be examining the question, “Did Jesus Really Die?” Please help me get the word out. Click “subscribe,” “share,” and “follow.” Thank you.

Be The Difference — Lesson 11: “Warning: Deal Quickly With Discouragement”

Elijah was the man of the hour. He courageously and fearlessly confronted King Ahab and the 850 false prophets on Mt. Carmel. He trusted God, prayed and fire fell from heaven. Then he prayed a short time later and skies that had been cloudless, suddenly filled with storm clouds that released torrents of rain for the first time in over three years. Immediately following that, God empowered Elijah to outrun King Ahab and his chariot down the mountain and twenty miles back to Jezreel. He had just experienced a spiritual high like most of us will never experience. At the close of chapter 18 it says, “the hand of the Lord was on Elijah.” That strikes me as being one of the biggest understatements in the entire Bible. That’s a little like someone who just won the Power Ball jackpot saying, “I picked up a little extra spending money over the weekend.” I think we can safely say that Elijah was on a roll. When Elijah came down off Mt. Carmel he was confronted with the harsh reality that one battle won does not mean the war is over. Maybe he started celebrating a little too early, or perhaps his […]

Be The Difference — Lesson 8: Pursue Personal Holiness (excerpt)

God’s Central Attribute The holiness of God is the central attribute of all of His attributes. All of His attributes reflect His holiness. His wisdom is a holy wisdom. His power is a holy power. His faithfulness is a holy faithfulness. His goodness, justice, mercy, and grace are all wrapped in perfect holiness. The apostle John wrote that “God is love.” Yet even God’s love comes from His holiness. Nothing that He does or says in His word has the least bit of sin, wickedness or evil attached to it; not the tiniest spot or shadow of sin. His holiness is so far above sin, that it is not even possible for it to touch Him. Everything is perfect holiness with God. In Isaiah 6:1-7, the prophet experienced a vision that none of us will experience until we stand before the Lord in heaven. He was overwhelmed with heavenly images the likes of which we will never know in this life. No matter how hard I try to paint word pictures in your minds, nothing can come close to what Isaiah witnessed firsthand. His vision was so clear to him that throughout the remainder of his book, Isaiah refers to […]

Be The Difference — Lesson 7: Hate Your Sin (excerpt)

Maybe you have never given much, or any, thought to what it means to hate your sin or why. Let me give you five reasons why you must hate your sin. First, the simple answer is because God hates sin. We must learn to hate what God hates and love what God loves. God hates sin because it is the very opposite of His nature. The psalmist describes God’s hatred of sin this way: “For You are not a God who takes pleasure in wickedness; no evil dwells with You.” The Bible describes sin as putrefying sores, defiling filth, darkness and a scarlet stain. Also, some sins that are often winked at separate us from God just as much as the so-called “biggies.” “But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear.” Sin always separates. God hates sin because He hates being separated from us. Second, sin tempts us to focus on worldly pleasure instead of God’s blessings. The psalmist says that those who have their sins forgiven can say, “You will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” […]

Sermon: Our Rabbi’s Prayer Commission

This is a recent sermon I gave at Harvest Bible Chapel in West Olive, Michigan, called Our Rabbi’s Prayer Commission. In it I try to bring out some of the 1st century Jewish background and perspective behind the “Lord’s Prayer” while trying to provide a better understanding of how Yeshua’s (Jesus’) 1st century disciples “may” have understood his teaching.

E16–Did Jesus Claim To Be God? Part 2

In Episode 16, I continue exploring the question, “Did Jesus Claim To Be God?” In Episode 15 I explained that Jesus claimed to be the Messiah and Son of God. This time I’ll look at his claim to be the Son of Man and what that meant. Also, I will look at some of Jesus’ teaching that implicitly make the case that his, in fact, God incarnate; God in human bodily form. I hope you will watch. Don’t forget to Like, Share and Subscribe. Bless you. Thank you for watching.