Daily Archives: March 16, 2021

New Dead Sea Scroll Fragments Have Been Found For The First Time In 60 Years, And This Is What They Say… — The Economic Collapse

We just witnessed one of the most exciting archaeological discoveries in decades.  For the first time in 60 years, new Dead Sea Scroll fragments have been discovered, and Israeli authorities are telling us that archaeologists will continue to carefully search the area to see if they can find more.  Due to the extremely dry conditions in the region, the fragments that have been recovered are extremely well preserved even though they appear to have been written before the time of Christ.  But to me, the biggest part of this story is what the fragments actually say.

We’ll get to that in a moment, but first I want to talk about where we are at on the calendar.

When the sun went down on Saturday, March 13th that marked the beginning of a new year on the calendar that God gave us in the Bible.  Of course hardly anyone in the world actually acknowledges it as “the new year”, but sunset on Saturday was when the first day of the first month of the year began according to the Biblical calendar.

And since this also happened as the seventh day of the week was ending, sunset on Saturday also marked the beginning of a brand new week.

So it was one of those rare instances when a Biblical day, a Biblical week, a Biblical month and a Biblical year all started at the exact same moment.

Personally, I believe that this is very significant.

And just a couple of days later, it has been announced that portions of the Dead Sea Scrolls have been discovered for the first time in 60 years

Dozens of fragments of a Dead Sea Scroll bearing biblical text have been found by archaeologists working in the Judean Desert, the Israeli government said Tuesday.

The fragments are the first pieces of the Dead Sea Scrolls found in around 60 years and were recovered from a cave where Jewish rebels against the Roman Empire hid around 1,900 years ago, according to a government press release.

It was certainly not easy to get to the location where these fragments were found.  In fact, we are being told that archaeologists “had to rappel down a sheer cliff” in order to get to them…

The discovery was part of an Israeli government project launched in 2017 to survey the caves of the Judean Desert and recover artifacts before looters could steal them. Per an IAA statement, researchers had to rappel down a sheer cliff to reach the Cave of Horror, which is surrounded by gorges and located some 260 feet below a cliff top.

“The desert team showed exceptional courage, dedication and devotion to purpose, rappelling down to caves located between heaven and earth, digging and sifting through them, enduring thick and suffocating dust, and returning with gifts of immeasurable worth for mankind,” says IAA Director Israel Hasson in the statement.

That cave is known as “the Cave of Horror” because 40 skeletons were found there during excavations in the 1960s.

And based on coins that were just discovered in the cave, authorities believe that they are able to identify the year when the scrolls were originally hidden there

Based on the style of the Greek script, the scroll fragments appear to have been written in the first century B.C. Based on coins found in the cave, the scroll was probably brought to the cave in A.D. 135 at the end of a Jewish revolt against the Romans named for its leader, Bar Kokhba.

Researchers say it indicates that Greek was widely spoken in the Jewish community at the time, in addition to Hebrew and Aramaic. The texts are entirely in Greek except for the Tetragrammaton, the revered four-letter name of God, which appears in the fragments in Ancient Hebrew characters.

But as I mentioned above, to me the most important part of the story is what is actually said on the scroll fragments.

Some of the fragments are a Greek translation of Zechariah 8:16-17

One fragment, written in Greek with God’s name appearing in paleo-Hebrew, quotes Zechariah 8:16-17: “These are the things you are to do: Speak the truth to one another, render true and perfect justice in your gates. And do not contrive evil against one another, and do not love perjury, because all those are things that I hate – declares the LORD.”

Interestingly, instead of using the Greek word for “gates”, the Greek word for “streets” is used in this instance.

Just as we sometimes use different English words when translating the Old Testament from Hebrew into English in our time, so also would different word choices sometimes be made when translating the Old Testament from Hebrew to Greek in ancient times.

And I find it fascinating that these verses have suddenly captured the attention of the entire globe at this moment in history.  We definitely do not “render true and perfect justice” and we love to “contrive evil”, and so we are doing the exact opposite of what we are instructed to do in this passage.

The other scroll fragments that were found come from Nahum 1:5-6

Another features Nahum 1:5–6, which indicates: “The mountains quake because of Him, And the hills melt. The earth heaves before Him, The world and all that dwell therein. Who can stand before His wrath? Who can resist His fury? His anger pours out like fire, and rocks are shattered because of Him.”

As you can see, these verses describe God’s judgment.

Throughout the Scriptures, we are told that if we follow God’s ways and keep His commandments we will be blessed, but if we reject His ways and His commandments we will be cursed.

Obviously, America has chosen the latter, and if we stay on this path our story is not going to end well.

Could it be possible that these Dead Sea Scroll fragments were hidden away for all these centuries just to be revealed at such a time as this?

Stranger things have happened.

And I would continue to keep your eyes on the land of Israel, because I believe that a lot more really strange things will be happening in the months and years ahead.

New Dead Sea Scroll Fragments Have Been Found For The First Time In 60 Years, And This Is What They Say… — The Economic Collapse

Grace to You Exposes Evangelicalism’s Gentle and Lowly Soft Underbelly — Protestia

Dane Ortlund, senior pastor of Naperville Presbyterian Church and son of woke Gospel Coalition contributor Ray Ortund (who famously told Christians to read the Koran after the Bible), released his book Gentle and Lowly in April of 2020 to near-universal acclaim and it became (at least in evangelical circles) a runaway bestseller. Churches gobbled up copies for study as weary Christians responded to the book’s premise of showing its readers the true heart of Christ.

It earned the accolades and praises of doctrinal stalwarts like Russell Moore, the always manly Paul David Tripp, the clearly-not-feminist Rosaria Butterfield, and “no way he’s still gay” Sam Allberry on top of being named the Gospel Coalition’s “Popular Theology” book of the year.

Yet even with this clearly solid list of endorsements, something was amiss. It took a comprehensive, theological, and critical review from the editors at Grace to You to expose the book’s theological and Christological imbalances, but most tellingly it exposed (once again) the doctrinal and dispositional softness of modern evangelicalism.

Soft and effeminate evangelicals were aghast that the team at Grace to You (long the sworn enemies of woke evangelicalism) would dare to criticize such a tender and empathetic take on the person of Christ. The book was (ironically) given away at the 2020 Shepherd’s Conference, but upon a closer read merited a more in-depth analysis by Jeremiah Johnson and the Grace to You team.

While scripture is clear about Christ’s gentle and lowly heart (Matthew 11:29), Ortlund’s book characterizes gentleness and lowliness as the primary and defining characteristics of Jesus, writing on page 18 that this verse is “the one place in the Bible where the Son of God pulls back the veil and lets us peer way down into the core of who he is.” Of course, orthodox Christianity understands the entire revealed Word of God to be a revelation of who He is, and the divine simplicity of God to mean that all of His attributes work together to comprise His holiness. Simply, one characteristic does not outweigh the others – Christ’s sword is not tempered by his gentleness, nor is God internally conflicted as Ortlund seems to teach on page 40 – “Mercy is natural to him. Punishment is unnatural.”

Most ridiculously, the very premise of the book is that the modern church is beset by a scourge of Christians who hold a view of God that is too judgmental and holy. That is, if only Christians could understand how Jesus “feel[s] about his people amid all their sins and failures” (book description), we might stop “suspect[ing] that we have deeply disappointed Him” or that we have “permanently diminished our usefulness to the Lord” (from the book’s introduction). Both of the aforementioned feelings are sinful for the Christian, for the record.

Instead, the modern church is infected by a Christianity that does not take God’s judgment and righteousness seriously enough. It is not that our view of God is not gentle and lowly enough, it is that our view of God is not holy enough. We don’t take Christ’s hatred for sin seriously enough. The reason Christians flocked to the comforting arms of Gentle and Lowly‘s premise is the exact same reason we flock to seeker-sensitive ministries that feed us what we want to hear and teachers who seem to compete for who can best soften and equivocate the Gospel so as not to offend anyone. Ortlund’s Gospel “presentation” in the book follows the same man-focused pattern, as revealed in Grace to You’s critique:

Nowhere is the danger of his imprecision more evident than in Ortlund’s discussion of the gospel. He writes, “Here is the promise of the gospel and the message of the whole Bible: In Jesus Christ, we are given a friend who will always enjoy rather than refuse our presence” (p. 115). Elsewhere he argues, “If the actions of Jesus are reflective of who he most deeply is, we cannot avoid the conclusion that it is the very fallenness which he came to undo that is most irresistibly attractive to him” (p. 30). You read that right—Ortlund says your sin is what makes you most attractive to your holy Savior. Put another way, “It is not our loveliness that wins his love. It is our unloveliness” (p. 75).

In the same way we are being fooled into navigating by feelings and accepting them as automatically valid (you know, empathy) despite the clear teaching of Jeremiah 17:9, we are being told that the church needs a softer understanding of the character of Christ, and there are plenty of beaten-down, feckless Christian leaders anxious to be self-affirmed by this characterization. The premise (and indeed the book itself) affirms what so many Christians want to hear: Jesus is a soft, emotional crier just like them. If Christ has to fight, he fights with the feelz.

While there are plenty of examples on Twitter of “gentle and lowly” Christian leaders responding to Grace to You’s critique without the (admittedly subjective) gentleness and lowliness they demand from others, perhaps the best example of the kind of softness the critique exposed comes from none other than Ray Ortlund, who will apparently mute critical voices on Twitter because he needs “uplifting” voices in his life (not Bereans or discerners, of course):

Grace to You Exposes Evangelicalism’s Gentle and Lowly Soft Underbelly — Protestia

Does Scripture Really Say That? A Critical Appraisal of “Gentle and Lowly” — Grace to You Blog

A book purportedly offering true comfort and security has taken the Christian world by storm. Dane Ortlund’s Gentle and Lowly has enjoyed immense popularity and near-universal praise. This runaway bestseller dominates study groups, Christian book clubs, and personal reading plans throughout the church. It’s possible—perhaps even likely—that you received a copy as a gift this past Christmas. A few people whose opinions we value highly (and generally agree with) have strongly recommended the book and given it five-star reviews. But we think it deserves a little more critical scrutiny.READ MORE

Does Scripture Really Say That? A Critical Appraisal of “Gentle and Lowly” — Grace to You Blog

A COMING COVID CATASTROPHE — Absolute Truth from the Word of God

Brethren, I will not pretend to understand much of the medical language in this “warning.” I WILL say that I have always felt that these vaccines were meant for harm and not for good to mankind. I pray that some who read this and watch the video, are doctors or scientists who will comprehend what this man is saying. It seems to me that he has truly put his life on the line by telling the world the TRUTH about Covid 19 and these VACCINES!

From z3news.com

“A Coming Covid Catastrophe” – Geert Vanden Bossche, DVM, PhD Virology – MUST READ!


“A Coming Covid Catastrophe” – Geert Vanden Bossche, DVM, PhD Virology – MUST READ!

Dr. Geert Vanden Bossche, DVM, PhD virology, independent seasoned vaccine researcher, previous SPO at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and SPM at GAVI is urging WHO and world political leaders to immediately halt all ongoing Covid-19 mass vaccination campaigns as there is compelling evidence that they will soon dramatically worsen the consequences of the current pandemic. Published 26 February 2021

Please do not miss this 11 page document (in link provided below) on the coming Catastrophe if the Vaccine Campaign is not stopped immediately:

“A Coming Covid Catastrophe” 11 page Document PLEASE READ!


A COMING COVID CATASTROPHE — Absolute Truth from the Word of God

March 16 Evening Quotes of The Day

“Unwilling to Go to Heaven Without Company”
Ephesians 2:6

A soul under assurance is unwilling to go to heaven without company. He is often crying out, “Father, bless this soul too, and crown that soul too. Let us to heaven together, let us be made happy together.”


Ritzema, E., & Vince, E. (Eds.). (2013). 300 Quotations for Preachers from the Puritans. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

Faith Receives What We Need from Christ
Acts 13:39; Romans 3:28; Galatians 3:7–9

With respect to justification, faith is a merely passive thing, bringing nothing of our own to win the favor of God, but receiving what we need from Christ.


Ritzema, E. (2013). 300 Quotations for Preachers from the Reformation. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

March 16 Evening Verse of The Day

12:1 Did God call Abram from Ur or from Haran? According to 11:31, it was Abram’s father Terah who decided to move his family from Ur in Mesopotamia to Canaan, though we are not told why. The context of 11:31–12:1–3 suggests that Abram was in Haran rather than Ur when God summoned him to Canaan, yet according to Stephen in Ac 7:2, God appeared to Abram in Mesopotamia “before he settled in Haran” and called him to leave for a new land. A possible solution is that God spoke to Abram while he was in Ur and that this formed part of Terah’s motive for moving his family from Ur. God could later have repeated his summons to Abram, telling him to proceed on to Canaan after his father died in Haran (Gn 11:32).[1]

12:1 said. The call came to Abraham in Ur before his father died, not in Haran (15:7).

the land. The scope of this land grant will be progressively defined (12:7; 13:14–17; 15:18–21).[2]

12:1 said to Abram Since the biblical genealogies indicate that Abram is the 10th generation from Shem, the son of Noah, it has been 10 generations since Yahweh spoke directly to anyone according to the biblical account. Previously, God gave humanity a blessing and promise after the flood. Now, after the judgment of the Tower of Babel (11:1–9), God speaks a blessing to the world again through Abram.

Go out from your land Abram is living in Haran in northwestern Mesopotamia. Yahweh’s command that Abram go is followed by three details: Abram is to leave his country or land, his birthplace or homeland, and his father’s household. The list increases in intimacy and importance.

relatives The Hebrew word used here, moledeth, can refer to someone’s native land (Ruth 2:11; Jer 22:10), though it sometimes refers to relatives or children (Gen 43:7; 48:6). In this context, a reference to “birthplace” makes the most sense because the extended family is subsumed under the following reference to “father’s house.”

the land Referring to the land of Canaan (v. 5). This is the first of three promises to Abram.[3]

12:1 God’s invitation to Abram challenges him to abandon the normal sources of personal identity and security: his family and country. To obey, Abram must trust God implicitly; all human support is largely removed. The promised outcomes are conditional on Abram’s obedience. said. In Acts 7:2–3, Stephen has God calling Abram before he lived in Haran; the ESV footnote, “had said,” shows that the grammar allows for this reading.

12:1 God will give Abram a great name, in contrast to the self-exalting desire in Babel (11:4). The choice of Abram narrows down the line of the offspring of the woman (3:15) to Abram’s offspring. Ultimately, Abraham is great as a progenitor of Christ (Rom. 9:5).[4]

12:1 To the land. Abram was still in Haran (11:31) when the call was repeated (Ac 7:2) to go to Canaan.[5] 12:1 — “Get out of your country, from your family and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you .… ”

God always connects obedience with blessing, even when He does not sketch out the full details of what that blessing may be.

to Life’s
How can I become a more obedient child of God?
Gen. 12:1
Obedience is a major characteristic of a person who is mighty in spirit. Generally speaking, obedience characterized the faith of Abraham from his first encounter with God until his death.

1.    All obedience begins with faith in the sovereignty of God.

If we fail to believe in God’s sovereignty, we will find it difficult to obey Him. Abraham based his relationship with God on his confidence that God would do what He had promised (Rom. 4:20, 21). Until we study and meditate on God’s Word, we will never learn to trust Him. Faith comes by hearing the Word of God and responding in confident trust (Rom. 10:17).

2.    We grow in obedience by waiting for God’s timing.

God is very time conscious—not in terms of minutes and seconds, but in regard to our acting in obedience according to His schedule. Throughout the Scriptures we find Him moving in “the fullness of time” (Gal. 4:4). He is neither early nor late. Ever.

3.    We continue to grow in obedience by refusing to subject God’s plan to “common sense” or the reasoning of the world.

Some things that God requires look ridiculous from a human perspective. God told Abraham he would have a son through whom He would bless the entire world. Yet He allowed Abraham’s obedience to be severely tested—first by requiring him to wait nearly a quarter of a century before providing the promised provision, and later by requiring him to offer Isaac as a sacrifice. When God saw the obedience of Abraham’s heart, He provided a ram in Isaac’s place.

4.    The final step: prompt obedience.

If you long to obey God, you will not hesitate when He tells you to do something. Many times we fail to obey God because we fear the consequences. Yet He never requires us to do anything outside His will for our lives. Our only responsibility is to obey; God’s responsibility is to take care of the consequences of our obedience.

Our sensitivity to God’s will increases as we obey Him. Along the way, He provides glimpses of the blessings waiting for us. God always blesses obedience. You can trust Him, obey Him, and be blessed. Or you can disobey Him and spend the rest of your life wondering what He would have done had you obeyed Him. Once you glimpse the blessings of obedience, however, the consequences no longer matter.

See the Life Principles Index for further study:

21.  Obedience always brings blessing.

22.  To walk in the Spirit is to obey the initial promptings of the Spirit.[6]

12:1 The name Yahweh, translated as Lord, is not explained until Ex. 3:14, 15. But the readers of Genesis needed to know that the one who spoke to Abram is the same Yahweh who later would form the nation of Israel and who had created all things (Gen. 2:4). To a world that believed in many gods, the name of the true and living God was significant. The account begins with the revelation of the word of the Lord, the irrupting grace of Yahweh, with He who sovereignly breaks into the lives of needy people from without. Gen. 1:3 records God speaking the words, “let there be light.” Genesis 12:1 shows Yahweh speaking to Abram in words of great grace (7:1; 8:15, the words of Yahweh to Noah). John 1:1 speaks of the incarnation of the Word. In all the Bible the message is the same; it is Yahweh, the Lord, who reaches out to people, who reveals Himself, who extends His great grace. had said: God had spoken the promise to Abram in Ur (11:31). Now that Abram’s father had died and been buried in Haran, Abram recalled Yahweh’s words and acted upon them. Abram means “Exalted Father.” Later it will be changed to Abraham, meaning “Father of Many.” Get out: Verses 1–3 are poetry, aiding memorability and a sense of solemnity and gravity (14:19, 20; 16:11, 12; 25:23). country … family … father’s house: Here are three levels of ever-increasing demands on the life of Abram and Sarai. The country was the region of his dwelling, the family was his clan, and his father’s house was where he had responsibility and leadership. Upon the death of Terah, Abram would have become the leader of the family group. God’s commands to Abram were intensely demanding because they caused him to leave his place, his clan, and his family in a world where such actions were simply not done. Only the poverty-stricken or the defeated would wander; only the landless and the fugitive would move about and leave their ancestral homes. But the Lord’s words to Abram commanded that he was to leave everything and go to a place that God would not even define until Abram got there: a land that I will show you.[7]

1. Now the Lord had said unto Abram. That an absurd division of these chapters may not trouble the readers, let them connect this sentence with the last two verses of the previous chapter. Moses had before said, that Terah and Abram had departed from their country to dwell in the land of Canaan. He now explains that they had not been impelled by levity, as rash and fickle men are wont to be; nor had been drawn to other regions by disgust with their own country, as morose persons frequently are; nor were fugitives on account of crime; nor were led away by any foolish hope, or by any allurements, as many are hurried hither and thither by their own desires; but that Abram had been divinely commanded to go forth, and had not moved a foot but as he was guided by the word of God. They who explain the passage to mean, that God spoke to Abram after the death of his father, are easily refuted by the very words of Moses: for if Abram was already without a country, and was sojourning as a stranger elsewhere, the command of God would have been superfluous, ‘Depart from thy land, from thy country, and from thy father’s house.’ The authority of Stephen is also added, who certainly deserves to be accounted a suitable interpreter of this passage: now he plainly testifies, that God appeared to Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, before he dwelt in Charran; he then recites this oracle which we are now explaining; and at length concludes, that, for this reason, Abraham migrated from Chaldea. Nor is that to be overlooked which God afterwards repeats, (15:7,) ‘I am the Lord that brought thee out of Ur of the Chaldees;’ for we thence infer, that the Divine Hand was not for the first time stretched out to him after he had dwelt in Charran, but while he yet remained at home in Chaldea. Truly this command of God, respecting which doubts are foolishly entertained, ought to be deemed by us sufficient to disprove the contrary error. For God could not have spoken thus, except to a man who had been, up to that time, settled in his nest, having his affairs underanged, and living quietly and tranquilly among his relatives, without any change in his mode of life; otherwise, the answer would have been readily given, ‘I have left my country, I am far removed from my kindred.’ In short, Moses records this oracle, in order that we may know that this long journey was undertaken by Abram, and his father Terah, at the command of God. Whence it also appears, that Terah was not so far deluded by superstitions as to be destitute of the fear of God. It was difficult for the old man, already broken and failing in health, to tear himself away from his own country. Some true religion, therefore, although smothered, still remained in his mind. Therefore, when he knew that the place, from which his son was commanded to depart, was accursed, it was his wish not to perish there; but he joined himself as an associate with him whom the Lord was about to deliver. What a witness, I demand, will he prove, in the last day, to condemn our indolence! Easy and plausible was the excuse which he might have alleged; namely, that he would remain quietly at home, because he had received no command. But he, though blind in the darkness of unbelief, yet opened his eyes to the beam of light which shot across his path; while we remain unmoved when the Divine vocation directly shines upon us. Moreover, this calling of Abram is a signal instance of the gratuitous mercy of God. Had Abram been beforehand with God by any merit of works? Had Abram come to him, or conciliated his favour? nay, we must ever recall to mind, (what I have before adduced from the passage in Joshua,) that he was plunged in the filth of idolatry; and now God freely stretches forth his hand to bring back the wanderer. He deigns to open his sacred mouth, that he may show to one, deceived by Satan’s wiles, the way of salvation. And it is wonderful, that a man, miserable and lost, should have the preference given him, over so many holy worshippers of God; that the covenant of life should be placed in his possession; that the Church should be revived in him, and he himself constituted the father of all the faithful. But this is done designedly, in order that the manifestation of the grace of God might become the more conspicuous in his person. For he is an example of the vocation of us all; for in him we perceive, that, by the mere mercy of God, those things which are not are raised from nothing, in order that they may begin to be something.

Get thee out of thy country. This accumulation of words may seem to be superfluous. To which also may be added, that Moses, in other places so concise, here expresses a plain and easy matter in three different forms of speech. But the case is quite otherwise. For since exile is in itself sorrowful, and the sweetness of their native soil holds nearly all men bound to itself, God strenuously persists in his command to leave the country, for the purpose of thoroughly penetrating the mind of Abram. If he had said in a single word, Leave thy country, this indeed would not lightly have pained his mind; but Abram is still more deeply affected, when he hears that he must renounce his kindred and his father’s house. Yet it is not to be supposed, that God takes a cruel pleasure in the trouble of his servants; but he thus tries all their affections, that he may not leave any lurking-places undiscovered in their hearts. We see many persons zealous for a short time, who afterwards become frozen; whence is this, but because they build without a foundation? Therefore God determined, thoroughly to rouse all the senses of Abram, that he might undertake nothing rashly or inconsiderately; lest, repenting soon afterwards, he should veer with the wind, and return. Wherefore, if we desire to follow God with constancy, it behoves us carefully to meditate on all the inconveniences, all the difficulties, all the dangers which await us; that not only a hasty zeal may produce fading flowers, but that from a deep and well-fixed root of piety, we may bring forth fruit in our whole life.

Unto a land that I will show thee. This is another test to prove the faith of Abram. For why does not God immediately point out the land, except for the purpose of keeping his servant in suspense, that he may the better try the truth of his attachment to the word of God? as if he would say, ‘I command thee to go forth with closed eyes, and forbid thee to inquire whither I am about to lead thee, until, having renounced thy country, thou shalt have given thyself wholly to me.’ And this is the true proof of our obedience, when we are not wise in our own eyes, but commit ourselves entirely unto the Lord. Whensoever, therefore, he requires anything of us, we must not be so solicitous about success, as to allow fear and anxiety to retard our course. For it is better, with closed eyes, to follow God as our guide, than, by relying on our own prudence, to wander through those circuitous paths which it devises for us. Should any one object, that this statement is at variance with the former sentence, in which Moses declared that Terah and Abram departed from their own country, that they might come into the land of Canaan: the solution is easy, if we admit a prolepsis in the expression of Moses; such as follows in this very chapter, in the use of the name Bethel; and such as frequently occurs in the Scriptures. They knew not whither they were going; but because they had resolved to go whithersoever God might call them, Moses, speaking in his own person, mentions the land, which, though hitherto unknown to them both, was afterwards revealed to Abram alone. It is therefore true, that they departed with the design of coming to the land of Canaan; because, having received the promise concerning a land which was to be shown them, they suffered themselves to be governed by God, until he should actually bestow what he had promised. Nevertheless it may be, that God, having proved the devotedness of Abram, soon afterwards removed all doubt from his mind. For we do not know at what precise moment of time, God would intimate to him, what it was his will to conceal only for a season. It is enough that Abram declared himself to be truly obedient to God, when, having cast all his care on God’s providence, and having discharged, as it were, into His bosom, whatever might have impeded him, he did not hesitate to leave his own country, uncertain where, at length, he might plant his foot; for, by this method, the wisdom of the flesh was reduced to order, and all his affections, at the same time, were subdued. Yet it may be asked, why God sent his servant into the land of Canaan rather than into the East, where he could have lived with some other of the holy fathers? Some (in order that the change may not seem to have been made for the worse) will have it, that he was led thither, for the purpose of dwelling with his ancestor Shem, whom they imagine to have been Melchizedek. But if such were the counsel of God, it is strange that Abram bent his steps in a different direction; nay, we do not read that he met with Melchizedek, till he was returning from the battle in the plain of Sodom. But, in its proper place, we shall see how frivolous is the imagination, that Melchizedek was Shem. As it concerns the subject now in hand, we infer, from the result which at length followed, that God’s design was very different from what these men suppose. The nations of Canaan, on account of their deplorable wickedness, were devoted to destruction. God required his servant to sojourn among them for a time, that, by faith, he might perceive himself to be the heir of that land, the actual possession of which was reserved for his posterity to a long period after his own death. Wherefore he was commanded to cross over into that country, for this sole reason, that it was to be evacuated by its inhabitants, for the purpose of being given to his seed for a possession. And it was of great importance, that Abram, Isaac, and Jacob, should be strangers in that land, and should by faith embrace the dominion over it, which had been divinely promised them, in order that their posterity might, with the greater courage, gird themselves to take possession of it.[8]

1. Reader! Is not this call of God to Abram, similar to the calls of his grace, in the present hour! Psalm. 65:10. 2 Cor. 6:17, 18.—“Into the south:” e. the southern part of Canaan which lay north-east of Egypt.[9]

12:1. And Yahweh said to Abram, ‘Go forth from your land and from your relatives and from the house of your father to the land which I will show you.’

Yahweh now dramatically enters the picture to deliver his seed during a wicked and fallen age. He is the subject of this account, as he speaks and calls Abram to follow him. His call is a command: the first words to Abram are ‘Go forth …’. The construction of this injunction in Hebrew is an imperative followed by a preposition connected to the personal pronoun ‘you’. The latter is called dativus ethicus; it means that the action is reflected back on the subject. The entire construction makes the command emphatic; it has a commanding force. God is urgently demanding that Abram leave his land.2

Abram is called to relinquish some very important things. These are listed in descending order from the largest to the smallest. He is to forsake ‘land’ or ‘country’; then ‘relatives’ or ‘clan structure’; and, finally, the ‘house of your father’—his immediate family. He is simply directed to abandon his roots, and to go to a place that he does not know. God merely calls that place ‘the land’—it has a definite article so it evidently has a particular reference, yet God does not reveal the name of the place.

A problem arises regarding the timing of this call. Terah and Abram were already on their way to Canaan, so how are we to understand this call after their departure? Perhaps it is an example of hysterologia, which is a purposeful transposition of events by the author. In that case its purpose is to show that God had called them out of Ur of the Chaldeans, yet their obedience is incomplete—something is standing in the way of their keeping the command of God. The hindrance may have been Terah himself, since he does not leave with Abram. It is also possible that what we see is a second call to leave Mesopotamia—Abram is lingering, so God forcefully directs him to depart from that pagan land.4[10]

12:1 / Yahweh addressed Abram, ordering him to leave his country, his people, and his father’s household. The text offers no description of the manner of Yahweh’s appearing, no superfluous detail to detract from the definiteness of this call. In Hebrew a play on sounds in the command “leave” (lek leka) underscores its urgency (cf. 22:2). God identified precisely what Abram was to leave by using three terms that move from the general to the specific; the threefold repetition stresses that Abram had to separate completely from his family. “Country” is the region around Haran. “People” is the larger ethnic group to which Abram belonged. “His father’s household” was his extended family, identified in the preceding genealogy of Terah. People in the Western world who prize the freedom of moving freely from place to place fail to realize how demanding this call was for Abram. A father’s house was the basis of a person’s identity, livelihood, and security; most ancients never wanted to leave the solidarity of the family. For Abram, however, God’s command demanded that he shift his orientation and security from his lineage and his homeland to God and his promises.

Why did God demand that Abram leave Haran in order to become the bearer of these promises? The answer probably lies in the cultural practices of that day. If Abram had begun to worship only one God in Haran, he would have placed his life in jeopardy. For example, his new devotion would have led to his absence from various celebrations such as the great new year’s festival at which the destinies for the coming year were set. The community would have frowned at his absence on such important occasions. Should they have tolerated Abram’s presence, the citizens would have immediately considered that the gods were angry at them if disaster struck Haran. They would have blamed Abram, and at best they would have banished him. Consequently, for Abram to follow God with singleness of purpose, he needed to leave Haran and wander about in a land under no sovereignty but God’s.[11]

1  Yahweh’s first and last words to Abram (12:1; 22:1) begin with an imperative (“Go.… Take …”). Both times the imperative is followed by a triple object: “Go forth from (1) your country, (2) your homeland, (3) your father’s house”; “Take (1) your son, (2) your only son whom you love, (3) Isaac.” The objects in 12:1 are arranged in a sequence of less intimate to more intimate. Each succeeding phrase narrows the base as far as Abram is concerned. In both chs. 12 and 22 God’s directive to Abram falls short of supplying explicit directions; Abram is simply pointed in the right direction. About the terminal point of that pilgrimage he is unclear. Here he is told to go to a land “which I will show you.” In ch. 22 he is told to take Isaac to a mountain “of which I shall tell you.”

The covenant is not mentioned at this point; that will come in ch. 15. Both the command of God (v. 1) and the promises of God (vv. 2–3) antedate the implementation of the covenant. Moreover, Abram’s faith is also in operation prior to his commitment to be Yahweh’s servant. The only thing made clear to Abram is that where he is now (Haran) is not where he is to remain. Haran is not to become a domicile for him any more than the ark was to become such for Noah. Interestingly, the promise to give the land to Abram (v. 7) follows the promise to show the land to Abram (v. 1), and “show” becomes “give” only when Abram makes his move.

There is no problem with calling the Haran area Abram’s country and the territory in which he is located your father’s house. But in what sense is Haran his homeland? Heb. môleḏeṯ (from yālaḏ) can mean “birthplace,” and if that is the case here, then we would have further support for Abram coming from Upper Mesopotamia. In some OT passages (esp. Gen. 43:7; 48:6; Esth. 8:6) this word is translated as “descendants, offspring, kindred,” perhaps suggesting that Haran was the place where his family and descendants lived. And yet it would be strange to refer to Haran as the land where Abram’s family settled before he had even one descendant, though such a reference might simply be proleptic.[12]

Father Abram

Genesis 12:1

The Lord had said to Abram, “Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you.”

With the exception of Jesus Christ, Abraham is probably the most important person in the Bible. One indication of this is the amount of space given to him. Although only eleven chapters of Genesis are devoted to the entire two thousand or more years of the world’s history preceding him—a period encompassing at least nineteen earlier generations—fourteen chapters are used to set forth the life of this one man. The history of Abraham and his immediate descendants fills the great middle portion of Genesis (chapters 12–36).

Abram (for that was his name at the beginning) was a man of faith, and it is for this reason that he is a giant in Scripture. Moses was a great lawgiver. He received the Ten Commandments and other laws from God on Sinai and delivered them to the people. Under God he was instrumental in leading the nation out of its Egyptian bondage. Joshua was a great military leader. He guided the nation across the Jordan River to the conquest of Palestine. David was Israel’s most brilliant king. He brought Israel to a position of great power in the Near East and expressed their deepest religious emotions in some of the best-loved psalms. Daniel was an outstanding statesman. Elijah was among the great prophets. Each of these, like many other prophets and leaders, was a giant. But each would have confessed in an instant that Abram was his father in faith. And this is true of the New Testament personalities as well. Paul, especially, looked back to Abram as the greatest of all examples of how God’s people are to be justified by faith and to live by faith.

In the early chapters of Genesis we are told of God’s promise to Abram that he would be the father of many nations. This promise was fulfilled both physically and spiritually. On the physical side, Abram became the father of the Jewish people through his son Isaac. It was of this line that the Messiah was born. Abram also became the father of many of the Arab tribes through his son Ishmael. On the spiritual side, he has become the father of a great host of believers whose numbers are now swelled by Christians of many tongues and nations.

No one can understand the Old Testament without understanding Abram, for in many ways the history of redemption begins with God’s call to him. The record of Abram’s life contains the Bible’s first mention of God’s righteousness (Gen. 15:6). Matthew includes Jesus’ genealogy in his Gospel in order to trace the beginnings of salvation back to Abram (Matt. 1:1). Luke includes Zechariah’s declaration that Jesus’ birth occurred in fulfillment of God’s promise to Abram:

“Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel,

because he has come and has redeemed his people …

to show mercy to our fathers

and to remember his holy covenant,

the oath he swore to our father Abraham.”

Luke 1:68, 72–73

Great sections of the New Testament explain the significance of Abram. To support the doctrine of justification by grace through faith, an entire chapter of Romans refers to God’s dealing with Abram. Two chapters of Galatians refer to Abram’s life to prove that salvation is given apart from good works. One of the longest paragraphs in Hebrews 11 is devoted to the growth of faith in the life of this Hebrew patriarch.

Abram is called “God’s friend” three times in Scripture (2 Chron. 20:7; Isa. 41:8; James 2:23). Why is Abram particularly called “God’s friend”? Is it not because he believed God and lived a life characterized by faith? This is what stands out in the life of Abram. Job speaks to us of hope, Hosea of divine love. But Abram is the great example of faith. This is necessary for any who would be God’s friend, for, as Hebrews says, “without faith it is impossible to please God” (Heb. 11:6).

The epithet “friend” exalts Abram, but it also brings the patriarch down to our level. Most of us are aware that we will never become lawgivers like Moses. We are unlikely to become generals for God like Joshua, or kings like David. We will not be prophets, except in the sense that we are all called to be witnesses for Christ. But although we cannot be lawgivers, kings, generals, or prophets, we can be what Abram was—a man who heard God and believed that God can be trusted to do what he says he will do, and who based his entire life on that conviction.

No Good in Abram

After an introduction like this, it comes as a shock to learn that the first thing to be said about Abram is that there was nothing in Abram himself that commended him to God. God does not look down from heaven to find a person who has a bit of saving faith or a bit of righteousness and then say, “Oh, isn’t this wonderful! I’ve found somebody with a little bit of true faith! That makes it possible for me to save him. I think I will.” When God looks down from heaven, he sees that all are without faith. Indeed, it is even worse than that. He sees, as Genesis 6:5 puts it, “that every inclination of the thoughts of [man’s] heart was only evil all the time.” Where could God possibly find any righteousness or any faith in a heart or mind like that? It does not exist. God’s evaluation is:

“There is no one righteous, not even one;

there is no one who understands,

no one who seeks God.

All have turned away,

they have together become worthless;

there is no one who does good,

not even one.”

Romans 3:10–12

This basic biblical principle is illustrated graphically by Abram, for Abram came from a family that had apparently sunk to the level of worshiping idols rather than the true God. This means that Abram may have originally been an idol-worshiper himself. We have to go carefully at this point, for although there is good evidence for Abram’s idolatrous background, it is probably nevertheless also true that in various places there were some individuals who retained a knowledge of the true God, and Abram may have been in contact with some of them. Melchizedek is one such individual. He is introduced later on, in Genesis 14. There is also the godly line of patriarchal descent to Abram through those descendants of Noah listed in Genesis 11, beginning with God-fearing Shem and continuing through Arphaxad, Shelah, Eber, Peleg, Reu, Serug, Nahor, and Terah. Some of these seem to have lived into the lifetime of Abram and may have communicated the knowledge of the true God to him. On the other hand, there was spiritual decline in the centuries preceding Abram’s birth, and we are not told that any in this line actually remembered and worshiped God as the patriarchs between Adam and Noah had done (Genesis 5).

The evidence seems rather clear that Abram had an idolatrous background. Consider the following passages. At the very end of the Book of Joshua there is a chapter that contains Joshua’s final charge to the people of Israel shortly before his death. He wanted to give them a spiritual challenge, so he began by reminding them of their pagan past. He said, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘Long ago your forefathers, including Terah the father of Abraham and Nahor, lived beyond the River and worshiped other gods. But I took your father Abraham from the land beyond the River and led him throughout Canaan and gave him many descendants.’ … Now fear the Lord and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your forefathers worshiped beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord” (Josh. 24:2–3, 14). This passage does not say explicitly that Abram himself worshiped false gods. But it does say that Terah, his father, did, and it may imply that this was also true of Abram. He is called “father” in verse 3, and it is in the preceding verse that the nation’s “forefathers” are said to have been idolaters. The passage is certainly a statement that Abram came from a pagan ancestry.

The same idea seems to be present in Isaiah 51, where the prophet calls upon the people to look to their undistinguished past.

Look to the rock from which you were cut

and to the quarry from which you were hewn;

look to Abraham, your father,

and to Sarah, who gave you birth.

Isaiah 51:1–2

The thrust is that there was nothing in the ancestry of the Jewish people that could commend them to God.

A third passage is even more conclusive, for it involves an incident from the life of Abram’s grandson Jacob; that is, from Abram’s own family. Jacob was a schemer—even his name means “supplanter”—and he was so underhanded that he made his brother angry enough to want to kill him. Jacob was forced to escape for his life. Where was he to go? Jacob did what many people do when they are cast adrift by life: He went back to his roots. Jacob journeyed to Mesopotamia, the place from which his grandfather Abram had come. There he met Laban, his uncle, and later married two of Laban’s daughters, Leah and Rachel. He also came to own a large share of the family’s sheep and cattle.

As time passed, bad feelings developed between Jacob and his uncle. So in Genesis 31 we are told that Jacob decided to return to the land of Canaan, choosing a moment when Laban was away on business. When Laban returned, his nephew, his daughters, and much of the property were gone. The household gods also were missing. Laban set out in pursuit. When he overtook the band that Jacob was leading, he chided Jacob for his action and accused him of having stolen the idols. A search was made, but the idols were not found. It was not because they were not there, however. Jacob’s wife Rachel had stolen them and had hidden them under her camel’s saddle. This episode in Genesis 31 shows not only that Abram’s family worshiped idols but that idols were still owned and cherished at least three generations after God had called Abram out of Mesopotamia.

God’s Call

It was this Abram whom God saw and chose to be the father of many nations. God did not say, “Here is a man with some faith. I will be able to use him to bless the nations.” God saw that there was nothing in Abram that could possibly commend him as an object of God’s favor, just as there is nothing in us that can commend us to God either. But God said, “I am going to save this man. He has done nothing to merit my choice. But I am going to save him anyway, and I am going to bless him so abundantly that millions of those who will be in heaven one day will trace their spiritual ancestry to him.”

The record of Abram’s life begins in Genesis 12:1: “The Lord had said to Abram, ‘Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you.’ ” There are two rather important facts about this call of God to Abram. First, it involved a decisive separation from his past. It is true that Abram had no good in him that could possibly commend him to God. Neither did he seek God. But this does not mean that there was nothing for Abram to do once God had initiated the relationship. An integral part of God’s call was the command to Abram to leave his country, his people, and his father’s household.

There is an intensifying of this command as God expresses it, beginning with the call to leave his country and ending with the call to leave his father’s household. Having to leave the pleasant countryside of Ur must have troubled Abram. It used to be thought that Ur of the Chaldeans was in upper Mesopotamia, where tradition has placed it, but today it is thought to have been at Mugheir, near the Persian Gulf. Over the centuries the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers have deposited silt at the northern end of the gulf (just as the Mississippi has deposited tons of debris in the area of the Mississippi delta at New Orleans) so that the sea has been driven back from Ur for about one hundred miles. But in ancient times Ur was a port city that flourished on trade moving back and forth along the coastal waterways. The land itself was luxuriant. It was watered by the two great rivers, and its rich soil produced corn and date-palm crops in abundance. There were apples, grapes, pomegranates, and tamarisks growing wild. It was no small thing to leave a country like that and set off across the Arabian desert to an unknown and presumably less desirable land. Yet this is what God told Abram to do. He said, “Leave your country.…”

He also commanded Abram to leave his people. This must have been difficult, as those who have been transplanted from their own culture into another culture can testify. Moreover, this was even more momentous for Abram since in that day being among one’s own people meant acceptance, prosperity, and security—above all, security! Abram was being asked to leave this and go out nearly alone into a world filled with what he would have to regard as potential enemies. Yet God told him to do it. He said, “Leave … your people.”

Then there was his father’s household—that is, his immediate relations. It would not have been so bad perhaps if they could all have migrated as a clan, for then Abram would have had company and a measure of support and protection. But no! He was being asked to leave these too—leave his father and mother, his brothers and sisters, his uncles, aunts, nephews, nieces, grandfathers, and grandmothers. (As it turned out, a few of these came with him, but their coming turned out not to be for Abram’s spiritual good.) Why did God call him to leave his people? It was not that God was being harsh, demanding sacrifice of Abram simply for the sake of demanding sacrifice. Abram’s departure was necessary for his spiritual growth. His environment was not conducive to that growth. His family would not help him in the pilgrimage. Therefore, he was to leave his country, his people, and his father’s household.

Does this sound familiar? It should, for it is the call of Christ to each of his followers: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self?” (Luke 9:23–25). A little later in the chapter in which these verses occur we have an illustration of what Jesus meant. He called one man to follow him, and that man replied that he must first go and attend to the funeral arrangements for his father. Jesus said, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God” (Luke 9:60).

Another person said that he was willing to follow Christ but that he first wanted to go back and say good-by to his family. Jesus answered, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God” (Luke 9:62).

This does not mean that one cannot be a Christian and have a family too, of course. But it does mean that we cannot serve God and an ungodly family at the same time. It does not even mean that we must leave all “good” times behind. On the contrary, as Jesus himself said, “No one who has left home or wife or brothers or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God will fail to receive many times as much in this age and, in the age to come, eternal life” (Luke 18:29–30). What makes this separation possible is that it is not chiefly a separation from, though some have had to bear that. It is especially a separation to—separation to God and the manifold blessings of his spiritual kingdom.

When Faith is Weak

The second thing that needs to be noted about God’s call to Abram is that it probably came to him on at least two occasions, which suggests that Abram started out after receiving the first call but faltered or stopped along the way. The New International Version rendering of Genesis 12:1 (“The Lord had said to Abram …”) is possibly intended to reconcile Genesis 12:1 with Acts 7:2 and to explain how Abram and his father Terah got to Haran, from which Abram set out again after his father’s death. But the Hebrew text does not actually say “had said.” It reads “said”; and this means that God presumably called Abram once when he was in Ur of the Chaldees, as Stephen says explicitly in his speech before the Sanhedrin (Acts 7:2), and then again after he had settled down in Haran (cf. Gen. 15:7; Neh. 9:7).

This means that although Abram believed God enough to start out on his journey after God had appeared to him in Ur, his faith was still weak and needed much cultivation. It is a way of saying that one does not need to be a spiritual giant to become a follower of God—after all, none of us is a spiritual giant. All one has to do is begin to follow him.

That is really what this study of Abram is about. The goal is that you might begin the life of Christian discipleship or, if you have already begun, that you might get on with the journey of faith to which God has called you. You can be in one of three places spiritually. You can be an unbeliever with no awareness of spiritual things. You can be an unbeliever with a dawning awareness of spiritual things. Or you can be a believer.

If you are an unbeliever with no spiritual understanding, the life of Abram should be a message of hope for you. Before God came to him Abram had no understanding either. He had no knowledge of the true God. He was under the influence of his pagan environment. Yet God saved him by grace. It may be that God will work in your life in a similar way, especially as you hear and try to understand the teaching of God’s Word.

If you are an unbeliever who is nevertheless awakening to spiritual things and seeking to understand who God is and what he requires of you, then Abram’s life is one from which you can learn. Abram responded to God because God had first taken an interest in him. He answered because God had called. In the same way, if you are awakening to the claims of the gospel, it is because God is already at work within you. You must drop anything that holds you back and respond as he speaks. You must follow as he leads.

The third type of person is the Christian, the believer in Christ. Perhaps you are a believer. If so, this study of the life of Abram is for you also. It shows how one man, not much better or much worse than most of his contemporaries, heard the call of God and was willing to abandon everything for the sake of the blessings God set before him. He left his country, but he found a new country and even looked beyond it to that heavenly country and that city with foundations, whose builder and maker is God. He left his people, but he became the father of a new people. He left his father’s house, but he found room in the house of God in heaven prepared for him by the Lord Jesus Christ. So will it be for you. Those blessings are for all who set out on this pilgrimage.[13]

[1] McDowell, S., Mathews, K. A., & Luter, A. B., Jr. (2017). Genesis. In S. McDowell (Ed.), The Apologetics Study Bible for Students (p. 18). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

[2] Sproul, R. C. (Ed.). (2005). The Reformation Study Bible: English Standard Version (p. 29). Orlando, FL; Lake Mary, FL: Ligonier Ministries.

[3] Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Ge 12:1). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

[4] Crossway Bibles. (2008). The ESV Study Bible (p. 71). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[5] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). The MacArthur study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Ge 12:1). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[6] Stanley, C. F. (2005). The Charles F. Stanley life principles Bible: New King James Version (Ge 12:1). Nashville, TN: Nelson Bibles.

[7] Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (1999). Nelson’s new illustrated Bible commentary (pp. 26–27). Nashville: T. Nelson Publishers.

[8] Calvin, J., & King, J. (2010). Commentary on the First Book of Moses Called Genesis (Vol. 1, pp. 341–346). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

[9] Hawker, R. (2013). Poor Man’s Old Testament Commentary: Genesis–Numbers (Vol. 1, p. 50). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

[10] Currid, J. D. (n.d.). A Study Commentary on Genesis: Genesis 1:1–25:18 (Vol. 1, pp. 250–251). Darlington, England: Evangelical Press.

[11] Hartley, J. E. (2012). Genesis. (W. W. Gasque, R. L. Hubbard Jr., & R. K. Johnston, Eds.) (pp. 131–132). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[12] Hamilton, V. P. (1990). The Book of Genesis, Chapters 1–17 (pp. 370–371). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

[13] Boice, J. M. (1998). Genesis: an expositional commentary (pp. 435–442). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

March 16 Afternoon Quotes of The Day

America Founded on a Creed
2 Peter 2:13–17

America is the only nation in the world that is founded on a creed. That creed is set forth with dogmatic and even theological lucidity in the Declaration of Independence; perhaps the only piece of practical politics that is also theoretical politics and also great literature. It enunciates that all men are equal in their claim to justice, that governments exist to give them that justice, and that their authority is for that reason just. It certainly does condemn anarchism, and it does also by inference condemn atheism, since it clearly names the Creator as the ultimate authority from whom these equal rights are derived. Nobody expects a modern political system to proceed logically in the application of such dogmas, and in the matter of God and Government it is naturally God whose claim is taken more lightly. The point is that there is a creed, if not about divine, at least about human things.


Ritzema, E. (Ed.). (2012). 300 Quotations for Preachers. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

Sometimes Confident, Sometimes Doubtful
Proverbs 11:14; 16:23

It usually happens that the greater number of persons of sense—or I might say that all such—trust the judgment of another person rather than their own in doubtful cases, and that those who have a clear judgment in the affairs of others, however obscure, frequently hesitate and are undecided about their own.


Ritzema, E., & Brant, R. (Eds.). (2013). 300 quotations for preachers from the Medieval church. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

16 Mar 2021 News Briefing


Mexican President AMLO Blames Biden’s ‘America Last’ Border Policies for Illegal Immigration, Cartel Crime
Reuters recently reported on Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s belief that President Joe Biden’s immigration policy is incentivizing not only a surge in illegal immigration but also drug cartel activity. The lack of focus on border security on the part of the Biden administration has served as a greenlight for cartels to ratchet up their drug trafficking operations.

185 Union Pensions Got Their $86 Billion Piece Of The COVID-19 Rescue “Pie”
The $86 billion is a taxpayer bailout for about 185 union pension plans that are so close to collapse that without the rescue, more than a million retired truck drivers, retail clerks, builders and others could be forced to forgo retirement income. There’s more money in this to bailout union pension funds, than all the money combined for vaccine distribution and testing.

Haifa Bay – Persian Gulf railway moves ahead
“The Peace Railway,” backed by China, could be one of Israel’s most important geopolitical projects in the coming years. Last week’s announcement by the Ministry of Transport that the rail link from “Haifa Bay to the Persian Gulf” was officially moving ahead in the National Planning Commission remained under the media radar.

GOP House leader to Biden: Come here to the border to see what you’ve done
In an interview Monday at the southern border, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy called on President Biden to come see for himself that the surge of migrants since he took office is “more than a crisis.” McCarthy said Biden’s reversal of Trump policies is to blame.

Jesus a Racist? ‘Gay Pastor’ Claims Jesus Used ‘Racial Slur,’ ‘Repented of His Racism’
An openly homosexual man who reports to have received his pastoral and theology degree from the conservative Moody Bible Institute, and who is now a so-called LGBT+ activist and author, claims that Jesus used a “racial slur” and “repented of his racism”—essentially calling Jesus a sinner—in a controversial video now circulating online. The now viral TikTok video shows Brandan Robertson stating that Jesus had “prejudices and biases” and was stood up to by a woman who spoke “truth to power,” causing Jesus to “repent of his racism” and heal her daughter.

North Korea tells US to avoid ‘causing a stink’ if it wants peace
“We take this opportunity to warn the new US administration trying hard to give off powder smell in our land,” Kim said in a statement carried by state news agency KCNA. “If it wants to sleep in peace for coming four years, it had better refrain from causing a stink at its first step.”

‘Israel will be hit by 2,000 missiles a day in future war’ – IDF general
Israel will come under an onslaught of 2,000 rockets and missiles every day during a future war with Hezbollah in Lebanon, OC Home Front Command Maj.-Gen. Uri Gordin warned on Monday. “Our enemies on the different fronts need to know that if needed, we will activate a powerful military that has never been seen before,” Gordin said.

Turkey prepares to clash with Israel, Greece and EU over East Med
Turkey has sent a diplomatic note to Greece and Israel claiming that it must seek “its permission before assuming work on a proposed undersea power cable in eastern Mediterranean waters,” according to reports which emerged in Turkey on Monday night.

Sandstorm turns Beijing skies yellow
Beijing was cloaked in thick yellow smog yesterday with pollution levels surging off the charts as the worst sandstorm in a decade descended on China’s capital from the Gobi desert. City residents used goggles, masks and hairnets to protect themselves from the choking dust and sand, with landmarks including the Forbidden City partly obscured behind an apocalyptic-looking haze.

Floods and volcanic ashfall affect thousands in Ecuador
QUITO (AFP) – Floods and ashfall from rumbling volcano Sangay have destroyed around 60,000 hectares of land and crops across Ecuador, affecting 350,000 people, the risk management service (SNGRE) said on Saturday.

Pope calls for ‘new world order’ after coronavirus pandemic
Aligning with the call among globalist leaders for a “Great Reset” in response to the coronavirus pandemic, Pope Francis makes the case for a “new world order” in a book to be published Tuesday. That world, he explains in “God and the World to Come,” is characterized by a shift from financial speculation, fossil fuels and military build-up to a green economy based on inclusiveness, reports Breitbart News. The pope said justice can be healed “by building a new world order based on solidarity, studying innovative methods to eradicate bullying, poverty and corruption,”

Brazil: Police Raid Evangelical Church that Prayed for 2nd Holocaust
Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro has demonstrated that he is arguably the most pro-Israel president in Brazil’s history. Now he appears to be showing that he is also among the most pro-Jewish. This is evidenced by a recent event on Friday whereby the Brazilian Federal police raided the church of a pastor who prayed with his congregants for another Holocaust … .

California to Teach Aztec Idolatry Just in Time for Annual Human Sacrifice Holiday
Buried in the dizzying array of subjects included in the new Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum (ESMC) being considered by the California Department of Education for its 10,000 public schools serving a total of 6 million students is a course studying Aztec gods of war. If the curriculum is passed, students will be taking part in an Aztec ritual of chanting and clapping just in time to take part in Toxcatl, the month in which human sacrifices were made to honor the Aztec gods. One of the key authors … claimed that the principal, perhaps the only function of education must be as a political tool to train the “oppressed” to overthrow “white supremacy.”

Preparation for War with Turkey? IDF holds naval drill with Greece and Cyprus
Israel carried out a joint naval exercise on Friday with Greece and Cyprus, the Israeli military said in a statement. The drill, called “Noble Dina,” took place in the Mediterranean Sea to the west of Cyprus and was led by the Israeli Navy. Turkey is hostile to both Greece and Cyprus.

Netanyahu at Site of Messianic Prophecy:: With God’s help, we’ll Protect Israel Eternally
Gush Etzion was first settled by Jews in 1927 when the community of Migdal Eder (the tower of the flock) was established. The farming community was wiped out in an Arab pogrom two years later. Migdal Eder was first mentioned in Genesis and is described as being near the burial place of Rachel. Netanyahu said “together, we will build Israel, we’ll protect Israel and with God’s help, we will ensure the eternity of the nation of Israel.”

Seismic Roundup: Chance Of Eruption Increases, Grindavík Residents Fed Up
While last night was a fairly calm one in Reykjanes, seismically speaking, an earthquake with a magnitude of 5.4 struck yesterday at about 14:15 near Fagradalsfjall. People in nearby Grindavík are reaching the end of their patience with the constant quakes, and scientists believe the chances of a volcanic eruption are increasing. “I’m just hoping that a rift opens up there that releases the tension here,” Sigurður Enoksson of Grindavík told Vísir. “This has become more annoying than a football game.”

George Floyd’s Brother Ends $14.7 Million GoFundMe Memorial Account… One Day Before Release Of 3-Month Old Toxicology Report Revealing Floyd Died Of Overdose
Two days after George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis, MN, his brother, Philonise Floyd started a GoFundMe account to raise money for his estate and for grief counseling.

Medical apartheid: Israel imposes “green passport” program barring unvaccinated from participation in society
A second holocaust is brewing thanks to the Wuhan coronavirus (Covid-19) crisis, and ground zero for it, ironically enough, is Israel. There, citizens are being told that in order to participate in the “new normal,” they must be vaccinated with experimental gene therapy injections that the government says are necessary to stymie the spread of the Chinese virus.

Make your assets INVISIBLE before the govt. LOOTING begins
It’s now abundantly obvious that the globalists are deliberately driving our world into a debt bomb currency collapse. This is being engineered with massive government spending under the cover of “covid relief” bailout programs. In the US, Democrats are currently pushing a $1.9 trillion covid “relief” bailout / blowout, and this is just phase one of what they have in mind.

Black Lives Matter Terrorists Continue To Hold America Hostage As Rapper Lil Baby Turns Grammys Into Platform For Anti-Cop Social Justice Demands
Last summer, the fine folks of ANTIFA and Black Lives Matter set a record never before reached by any group ever in the 244-year history of the United States of America. They created riots on the streets of every major democratically-controlled city across the country, which resulted in 2 rapes, 12 people murdered and $2 billion dollars in damage. But, they are quick to tell you, it’s the police that are the real threat. Hmm…

Major winter storm described by NWS as ‘historic and crippling’ slams U.S.
A major winter storm described by the National Weather Service (NWS) as “historic and crippling” lashed parts of the U.S., bringing up to 1.2 m (4 feet) of snow over the weekend. More than 2 000 flights were canceled and over 54 000 customers were left without power on Sunday, March 14, 2021.

Massive sandstorm forms over Mongolia, hits China’s capital Beijing as the worst in a decade
A massive sandstorm formed over Mongolia on Sunday, March 14, 2021, and moved into northern China, sweeping over capital Beijing on Monday as the city’s worst sandstorm in a decade. In Mongolia, the storm left at least 341 people missing.

How About A Nice Game Of Chess, Next Move Checkmate, The People Will Soon Know The Truth
Trump and the patriots have put everything into motion. The plan has been going on behind the scenes and Trump is now waiting for the right moment to strike. There are two triggers as of right now, the first Durham the second is the elections and [NP].

Exposed Airline Employee Training Reveals That America’s Enslavement Will Greatly Worsen!
In the past ten days, I have received 3 communications from airline employees who are concerned over the nature of their new Covid training and the protocols that they are going to be forced to observe. In addition to the new airline draconian covid rules, mix in a little computer-based-training about how evil and racist White people are, we have a clear view of the future of the American society.

Biden Relief Bill – Whitehouse Live broadcast Hoax
Biden relief bill live broadcast on March 12, 2021 shows Biden in the Rose Garden at the Whitehouse. The problem with the Biden Relief Bill LIVE broadcast from the Rose Garden at the Whitehouse is…Biden wasn’t at the Rose Garden or on Whitehouse grounds…again.

 We Are Entering Into A Brave, New World Of Artificial Intelligence Where Humans And God Are Outdated
On April 19, Mayflower Autonomous Ship (MAS) will depart from Plymouth, England and arrive at Plymouth, Massachusetts about 3,000 miles and two weeks later. The new 50-foot ship, which won’t carry any human passengers or even crew, will roughly take the same route as its predecessor. If you think this is a good thing, then you haven’t read your bible.

“Operation Mile High”: NYC Jet Exec Indicted For Trafficking Children
New York Attorney General Letitia James today announced the indictment of Paul Alexander, 57, of the Bronx, a Level 3 Sex Offender, for sex trafficking young girls throughout New York City. Alexander’s indictment is the result of a long-term joint investigation between the Office of the Attorney General’s (OAG) Organized Crime Task Force (OCTF) and the New York City Police Department’s (NYPD) Vice Major Case Squad, Human Trafficking Team.

House Judiciary GOP leaders demand Amazon answers to allegations of censorship against conservative viewpoints
In a letter to current Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, Reps. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and Ken Buck (R-Colo.) requested that the prominent cloud services provider turn over documents and information on its alleged censorship activities.

Video: Fauci And Chuck Todd Say More Pandemics Coming Because Of Climate Change
Appearing on NBC News Sunday Dr Fauci and host Chuck Todd declared that more pandemics are on the way because of climate change and “the globalization”.

America Will Never See This Type Of Alien Disclosure On Tucker Carlson
Our only enemies are not the Chinese, the Russians and the American-hating United Nations and the World Health Organization. Yes, we are involved in a life and death struggle in the physical realm. FEMA camps and guillotines are real and they are awaiting their final victims, Americans…However, the ultimate danger comes from what we often cannot see. However, God’s Holy Word gives us ample warning.

Headlines – 3/16/2021

PA, Hamas condemn Kosovo for opening embassy in Jerusalem

Palestinian rivals Fatah, Hamas set to meet in Cairo to discuss elections

‘It is not Lebanon and Gaza – Egypt is the hottest and most active border’

‘Winds are shifting’: US lawmakers criticise Israel in two rare letters

Senators Call on Biden to Condemn Israel’s Land Grab

US lawmakers call on Biden Administration to oppose Israeli annexation of Palestinian land, home demolitions

Netanyahu calls off campaign event in south after threat from Gaza terror group

Liberman warns Bennett allowing 5th election will end career

Antisemitism is ‘Global Problem,’ Says UN Official in Virtual Conference on Fighting Anti-Jewish Hatred

Turkey tells Israel, Greece, EU to seek permission for work in east Med waters

With gas alliance moored to Turkey tensions, Israel tacks toward energy security

Blaming Israel for cargo ship blast, Iran warns it has right to respond

Iran releases footage of Revolutionary Guards ‘missile city’ base

Iran’s Revolutionary Guard inaugurates new underground missile facility

Zarif urges US return to nuke deal before onset of Iran’s ‘lame-duck government’

Kushner calls Biden move on Iran ‘smart’

7 rockets target Iraq base housing US troops; 5 hit nearby village

Putin foe Alexei Navalny says he’s locked up in ‘concentration camp’

First Russia poisoned him. Now this is the prison camp for Alexey Navalny

How Putin keeps his grip over Russia, even with support waning

India’s digital media regulation sparks fears of curbs on press freedom

North Korea warns Biden administration to avoid ‘causing a stink’ if it wants peace

Factory Fires Point to China Tensions as Violence Escalates in Myanmar

Japan, US to share China concern as ministers meet in Tokyo

Boris Johnson to make protests that cause ‘annoyance’ illegal, with prison sentences of up to 10 years

Migrants stuck at Mexico border thought they’d get easier entry: ‘Biden promised us!’

Terror suspects are part of border surge, says Rep. John Katko

Security officials to scale back fencing around US Capitol

Democrats roll out coordinated effort to save Newsom from recall effort as D-Day approaches

Newsom won’t ‘take this recall attempt lying down’ as Democrats launch defense

Judge may unseal Fulton absentee ballots for fraud investigation

Washington Post panned for massive correction to Trump-Georgia election story: ‘So, they made up quotes’

The Washington Post’s Fake Trump Quote Scandal Is a Lot Worse Than You Think

Retail Bitcoin Traders Rival Wall Street Buyers as Mania Builds

Pennsylvania woman allegedly created deepfake images of cheerleading gym members to cyberbully them, according to criminal complaint

5.3 magnitude earthquake hits near Kokopo, Papua New Guinea

5.2 magnitude earthquake hits the Kermadec Islands region

5.2 magnitude earthquake hits the Kermadec Islands region

5.1 magnitude earthquake hits the Kermadec Islands region

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near Sakai, Japan

Magnitude 4.8 earthquake shakes buildings in Tokyo, no tsunami warning

242 earthquakes in 24 hours, high-temperature volcanic gases at Taal volcano, Philippines

Quaking in their beds, sleepless Icelanders await volcanic eruption

Sabancaya volcano in Peru erupts to 24,000ft

Popocateptl volcano in Mexico erupts to 20,000ft

Reventador volcano in Ecuador erupts to 15,000ft

Fuego volcano in Guatemala eurpts to 15,000ft

Pacaya volcano in Guatemala erupts to 14,000ft

Sinabung volcano in Indonesia erupts to 14,000ft

Semeru volcano in Indonesia erupts to 13,000ft

Large landslide on the banks of Knappensee produces 1.5 m (4.9 feet) high tsunami, Germany

Biggest total from record-shattering snowstorm tops 50 inches in Cheyenne, Wyoming

Record-breaking blizzard is worst to hit Denver in nearly 15 years

Major winter storm described by NWS as ‘historic and crippling’ slams U.S.

Texas electricity company Griddy declares bankruptcy as winter storm fallout continues

‘Widespread severe weather threat’ possible for millions in the South this week

Sandstorm creates ‘airpocalypse’ in China

Desert Dust Sweeps Into Beijing, Causing China’s Worst Sandstorm In 10 Years

Intense sandstorm sweeps over Saudi Arabia

The Jesuits partner with descendants of slaves they owned and sold to raise $100 million for racial justice

Top Biden nominee claims taxpayer-funded abortion is necessary for ‘racial justice’

Biden admin. asks Supreme Court to drop cases challenging ban on Title X funding of abortion clinics

Biden, no stranger to inappropriate touching accusations, gives Cuomo pass

John Crist contemplated suicide amid sexual misconduct allegations: Prayer ‘kept me on earth’

Vatican Rules Out Blessings for Same-Sex Relationships, Despite Calls for Liberalization

Vatican says Church ‘doesn’t have power’ to bless ‘sin’ of same-sex unions

Marvel Comics to introduce a gay Captain America designed by transgender artist

Natalie Portman Rewrites ‘Skewed Gender’ Fairy Tales

Regular booster vaccines are the future in battle with COVID-19 virus, top genome expert says

US, China mount pressure ahead of WHO report on origins of COVID pandemic

China’s COVID-19 Timeline Questioned After Official Claims to Be Vaccinated in March 2020

Major European nations suspend use of AstraZeneca shot, as WHO says it’s safe

Germany suspends use of AstraZeneca vaccine, along with Italy, France, Spain

Nearly 400,000 AstraZeneca Vaccine Doses Seized in Italy After Teacher’s Death

Israeli group claims government is guilty of violating Nuremberg Code, crimes against humanity in vaccination campaign

Facebook to label vaccine posts to combat COVID-19 misinfo

US prison guards refusing vaccine despite COVID-19 outbreaks

Vaccine brawl riles House

Biden says ‘local preachers’ better than Trump for convincing ‘MAGA folks’ to take COVID-19 vaccine

White House would welcome Trump urging supporters to get vaccinated

Covid-19 cases plunge 83% among US nursing home staff, despite vaccine hesitancy

CDC urges against spring break festivities as beachfront culture wars heat up

Autistic 4-year-old Arkansas boy kicked off flight for not wearing mask despite doctor’s note

Religious Freedom Advocate Celebrates Big Wins for Constitutional Rights at Pandemic’s 1st Anniversary

Source: Tracking the Birth Pangs – News and Links (trackingbibleprophecy.org)

Apostasy Watch Tuesday 3-16-21

Glenn Stanton – Why It’s Impossible For Christianity To Ever Endorse Transsexuality

Former Abuser Resigns as Pastor After Church is Ousted from Southern Baptist Convention

Gay Dude, Jonathan Merritt, Praises Theologian for Embracing Sodomy

Gay CNN Host Says Church Needs to Re-Evaluate Beliefs on Homosexuality Because God is Okay With It

Biden Urges Pastors and Priests to Promote Coronavirus Vaccine, Masks to MAGA Americans

Pope Francis Calls for New World Order After the Pandemic

California Curriculum Leads Kids in Chant to Aztec God of Human Sacrifice

Federal Court Orders HHS to Release Additional Information on Fetal Organ Purchases

Planned Parenthood Closes Three Abortion Centers in Washington State Amid Financial Struggles

Source: Daily News and Commentary (apostasywatch.com)

Mid-Day Snapshot · Mar. 16, 2021

Mid-Day Digest


“An unlimited power to tax involves, necessarily, a power to destroy; because there is a limit beyond which no institution and no property can bear taxation.” —John Marshall (1819)

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Who’s Up for Paying Higher Taxes?

Nate Jackson

As President Joe Biden and President-in-Waiting Kamala Harris embark on a tour of the country to inform us all just how popular their $1.9 trillion Not-COVID Relief legislation really is, there are rumors swirling that the bill for that bill is coming due. That’s right — stay tuned for the biggest tax hike in three decades.

Of course, we warned during the campaign that Biden-Harris intended to “roll back” the Republican tax cuts of 2017, so this isn’t unexpected. And technically, the tax hike isn’t being floated to pay for the pandemic bill; it’s for more spending coming down the pike.

Bloomberg broke the story: “Unlike the $1.9 trillion Covid-19 stimulus act, the next initiative, which is expected to be even bigger, won’t rely just on government debt as a funding source.” Tax hikes would hit the higher brackets as well as the corporate rate, likely raising it to 28% from 21% — making corporate taxes 33% higher than they are now. (Many news stories are getting this wrong and saying it’s only a 7% increase.) Remember too that many small businesses pay the highest individual rate, which would likely rise back to nearly 40%.

It’s never a great time to jack up tax rates, but nothing says “reopen the economy after a pandemic” like telling businesses “here’s your bigger tax bill.” One might almost begin to think this is an orchestrated economic disaster.

This also isn’t just about revenue, as if somehow Democrats have suddenly found religion on balancing the budget. After all, even liberal projections expect only $2.1 trillion in additional revenue over 10 years, which wouldn’t even cover the deficit this year. Moreover, that revenue claim is based on the errant assumption that a massive tax hike on businesses won’t change economic behavior.

“For the Biden administration,” adds Bloomberg, “the planned changes are an opportunity not just to fund key initiatives like infrastructure, climate and expanded help for poorer Americans, but also to address what Democrats argue are inequities in the tax system itself [emphasis added].”

Fact-check: The tax system is definitely inequitable, by design. Contrary to Democrat talking points about a “fair share,” high earners already pay the vast majority of taxes.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen won’t rule out Elizabeth Warren’s wealth tax, either. “President Biden during the campaign proposed a higher tax rate on corporations, on individuals and on payments, capital gains and dividend payments that are received,” she said, “and those are alternatives that address — that are similar in their impact to a wealth tax.” Yellen also said a wealth tax is “something that we haven’t decided yet and can look at.”

Democrats hope to sow division by stoking envy as a way to increase the popularity of paying for all the spending they’ve done. Unfortunately, it’ll work with millions of Americans, because Democrats have willing propagandists in the Leftmedia. But make no mistake: Tax hikes always hurt economic growth. It’s just a matter of how well the economy can cope with a blow like that while it’s trying to regain footing after the pandemic.

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The Post Gets Caught Faking the News

Douglas Andrews

Fake news, anyone?

If you thought the mainstream media’s malpractice toward Donald Trump couldn’t have been any worse, the elitist hacks at The Washington Post would like you to hold their chardonnays. Decency, it seems, also Dies in Darkness.

As Fox News reports, “The Washington Post made a massive correction Monday to a January report about a phone call between then-President Donald Trump and Georgia elections investigator Frances Watson, admitting it wrongly attributed multiple quotes to Trump based on an anonymous source.”

How does a paper stay in business when it admits to having “wrongly attributed multiple quotes” to a sitting U.S. president? This wasn’t some anonymous bureaucrat weighing in on an obscure policy matter; this was The World’s Most Important Man, and this was one of the world’s most influential newspapers making up, er, stuff about him.

“The Post,” Fox News continues, “initially reported Trump had told an official working in Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger’s office to ‘find the fraud’ in the state, which he lost narrowly to Joe Biden, and that she would be a ‘national hero’ if she did.”

But a newly emerged recording proves the former president never said any such thing. Instead, Trump said that Georgia elections investigator Frances Watson would be “praised” when the “right answer comes out,” and he encouraged her to closely examine mail-in ballots in Atlanta’s deep-blue Fulton County. It’s all right here for any journalist with integrity to listen to and then accurately transcribe.

But, no, according to the Post and every other news outlet that lazily picked it up, Trump said, “Find the fraud.” And we heard it over and over and over again. Remember?

As for collateral damage, there’s plenty of it. And not just because so many other outlets gullibly (or perhaps wishfully) aired the slop served up to them by the Post.

As Washington Examiner columnist Becket Adams points out, “It’s one thing if a single news outlet publishes a fraudulent anonymously sourced ‘scoop.’ It’s another thing entirely if multiple newsrooms claim they independently ‘confirmed’ the fraudulent ‘scoop’ with anonymous sources of their own. The former can reasonably be explained away as a simple error; the latter is not so simple. It’s unrealistic so many sources would be wrong about the same thing.”

But they were. NBC News, USA Today, ABC News, PBS News Hour, and CNN all claimed that they independently confirmed the original story with anonymous sources of their own — which means that all five confirmed that Donald Trump said things he never actually said.

How did it happen? As Matt Margolis at PJ Media reports, “The fact that the recording of the call was found in the trash folder of a Georgia state official’s computer seems to suggest that one or more Georgia state officials conspired to come up with a damaging version of the phone call, leaked the phony details to the media, and then covered up evidence of the actual call.”

Donald Trump, for his part, must be enjoying his retirement, because he appears to be taking the news pretty well.

“While I appreciate the Washington Post’s correction, which immediately makes the Georgia Witch Hunt a non-story, the original story was a Hoax, right from the very beginning,” he said in a statement sent by his Save America PAC. The rest of it is here. Donald Trump may not always be right, but he’s always been right about fake news.

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Vatican Reasserts Catholic Church’s Stance Against Same-Sex Marriage

Thomas Gallatin

The Vatican released a statement Monday reaffirming the Catholic Church’s historic doctrine opposing homosexual acts, including so-called same-sex marriage and same-sex unions. The reason given by the Vatican for maintaining its doctrinal position is simple: Since God “does not and cannot bless sin … the Church does not have, and cannot have, the power to bless unions of persons of the same sex.”

The Vatican explains, “It is not licit to impart a blessing on relationships, or partnerships, even stable, that involve sexual activity outside of marriage (i.e., outside the indissoluble union of a man and a woman open in itself to the transmission of life), as in the case of the unions between persons of the same sex.” And the Vatican is clear that its opposition to same-sex unions is not subject to any “benefits” real or perceived from those individuals engaged in such doctrinally illicit relationships. “The presence in such relationships of positive elements, which are in themselves to be valued and appreciated, cannot justify these relationships and render them legitimate objects of an ecclesial blessing, since the positive elements exist within the context of a union not ordered to the Creator’s plan.”

In noting that God does not and cannot bless sin, the statement says, “[God] blesses sinful man, so that he may recognize that he is part of his plan of love and allow himself to be changed by him. He in fact ‘takes us as we are, but never leaves us as we are.’”

The Vatican’s statement is unequivocal in reaffirming the Catholic Church’s doctrine on what constitutes biblical marriage, and is also unequivocal in condemning homosexual acts as sinful. This unambiguous statement is a far cry from Pope Francis’s comments last year when he appeared to endorse the possibility of the Church’s acceptance of same-sex civil unions.

Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League, welcomed the statement. “This finishes it,” he said. “There’s nothing left to discuss. It’s non-negotiable. The Vatican left nothing on the table with these people pushing this agenda. It made it very clear that the Church can bless homosexuals as individuals, but it will never ever bless homosexual unions, never mind gay marriage.”

On behalf of the “most religious president” in history, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki responded to a question regarding what nominal Catholic Joe Biden thought of the Vatican’s statement. The president “continues to believe and support same-sex unions,” she said, “and he’s long had that position.” No surprise there, as Biden has no problem claiming his “Catholic faith” while opposing the Church’s teachings on a myriad of central moral issues, including first and foremost his promotion of abortion. In truth, it is leftist humanism that Biden most believes in, not the infallible word of God.

Another Colossal Fauci Fail

Mark Alexander

In his address to the nation last week, ironically on the anniversary of when the ChiCom-controlled puppets at the World Health Organization declared the ChiCom Virus a pandemic, President Joe Biden brazenly took credit for the success of the Trump administration’s vaccine development and distribution plan.

Despite that success, Biden decreed, “We will issue guidance on what you can and cannot do when fully vaccinated.” He further advised, “My message to you is this: Listen to Dr. Fauci, one of the most distinguished and trusted voices in the world.”

Fact is, as I noted last week on Fauci’s opposition to “the science” regarding herd immunity, this 80-year-old lifelong DC bureaucrat, having been in the bowels of various federal agencies since 1968, is long past his expiration date.

Now comes revelation of another colossal Fauci fail.

Recall that after the Coronavirus Task Force, with Fauci at the helm, issued its 15 Days to Slow the Spread recommendations in March of 2020, Fauci dictated to the nation that a key factor in social distancing was that we all had to stay six feet away from each other. Fauci’s six-foot diktat was one of the factors that resulted in shutting down school systems, restaurants, etc. — wrecking the U.S. economy and millions of American lives.

For most of the last year, that six-foot mandate has been the hard-and-fast rule, except, of course, for all those “peaceful protests” against the leftist “systemic racism” lie and all those “racist police.” Apparently, the risk of those super-spreader riots was acceptable.

Recall that, according to the protest permission slip issued by more than 1,200 “public health professionals, infectious diseases professionals, and community stakeholders,” the burn, loot, and murder hordes were justified because “White supremacy is a lethal public health issue that predates and contributes to COVID-19.” And according to Johns Hopkins epidemiologist Jennifer Nuzzo, DrPH, “In this moment the public health risks of not protesting to demand an end to systemic racism greatly exceed the harms of the virus.” Those sentimental absurdities were echoed by other “health professionals.”

That woke nonsense notwithstanding, it turns out “the science” Fauci used regarding distancing was not the actual science. As the Demos’ “summer of rage” was cranking up in June, a British medical journal, The Lancet, published a study noting, “For the general public, evidence shows that physical distancing of more than 1 m is highly effective…” In other words, three feet or more, not a minimum of six feet, is highly effective at preventing viral spread.

This week Fauci was asked about a more recent study by his CNN sycophant, Jake Tapper: “Does this study suggest to you that three feet is good enough?” Fauci responded, “It does, indeed.” He added, “And I can assure you, within a reasonable period of time, quite reasonable, [the CDC] will be giving guidelines according to the data that they have. It won’t be very long, I promise you.”

That’s it? No apology for being disastrously wrong? Apparently, being Fauci means never having to say you’re sorry! Fauci’s revelation is just a year too late for the disaster he authored, but again, in Biden’s words, “Listen to Dr. Fauci, one of the most distinguished and trusted voices in the world.” Trust them — they’re from the government.

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Time to Embrace Consequence Culture for the Left

Harold Hutchison

When grassroots Patriots have called out the online mobs for trying to get celebrities like Gina Carano fired, some have responded that it’s part of “consequence culture” — reminding us of the old saying that actions have consequences. Well, that’s fine and dandy, since there are plenty of consequences that the Left and the Beltway Establishment wing of the Republican Party need to face. After all, we should have one set of rules for everybody, right?

For instance, let’s look at the long track record of the Left pushing lies about Republicans being the latest equivalent of Nazis and/or the Ku Klux Klan who were scheming to impose a new version of Jim Crow via so-called “voter suppression” — which is really an effort to prevent the repeat of the bulk-mail ballots that turned 2020 into chaos. The denial of the consequences of these lies among the pundit class — at least outside of Dennis Prager — has been appalling.

The problem is that the lack of pushback against those lies from many of those who sought to lead the Republican Party means there is a good chance that many fellow Americans, including those who count votes in Democrat strongholds, may honestly believe that today’s Republicans, conservatives, and grassroots Patriots are really the next iteration of Nazis/Klansmen. There are consequences for the false tying of conservatives/Republicans to these icons of evil from history. It doesn’t stop at discrimination against conservatives.

Prager raises the possibility that those who bought the lie that Republicans are Nazis who colluded with Russia may very well have felt a moral obligation to defeat President Donald Trump’s reelection by any means necessary, including “fortifying” an election, or as many Trump supporters view it, cheating. If leftists want to claim Trump’s use of a not-so-scientific term for COVID-19 causes hate crimes, then why shouldn’t their lies about Republicans and conservatives also have consequences?

Furthermore, as we asked earlier, if they really see grassroots Patriots as al-Qaida, as some left-wing “national security experts” quoted by The Root do, can we really assume that people okay with dropping bombs on political opponents would not be willing to unleash a flood of bulk-mail ballots while degrading safeguards against fraud? Would they oppose the tactics of New York’s Cuomo-James regime against the NRA — which has conveniently been labeled a domestic terrorist organization, by the way? Would it not be okay to use something akin to Operation Choke Point to squelch conservative media or alternative social media sites like Gab?

In a very real sense, grassroots Patriots already imposed consequences on the Left and the establishment for a long list of failures and abuses — they backed Donald Trump over many other candidates, some with good track records, as a form of political chemotherapy.

Another consequence of the Left’s words and the establishment’s reaction (or lack thereof) is the changed mindset emerging on the Right. By falsely tying Republicans, conservatives, and grassroots Patriots to some of history’s biggest exemplars of evil, the Left has made it easier for otherwise decent people to justify departing from the norms — even to the abuse of power. After all, loyal Patriot Post reader, to paraphrase Prager’s question, how far would you be willing to go to keep Nazis, Klansmen, and domestic terrorists who are colluding with Russia from gaining power in this country?

In addition to raising that question, grassroots Patriots, conservatives, and Republicans are denying the Left the benefit of the doubt. They’re willing to presume the worst about the actions of the Left (actions that seem to reflect the principles of totalitarian regimes), and they’re willing to take measures to protect their fortunes, their liberties, and even their lives from an abusive Left, including demanding action against the redlining of conservatism.

Leftists are talking “consequence culture” as a justification for their usual abuses and disregard for the First Amendment. Grassroots Patriots need to fight back and hold leftists accountable for their words and actions — and demand that those who seek to lead or speak for the cause of Liberty do the same.

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Dems Are Pushing Anti-Gun Agenda

Thomas Gallatin

Democrats don’t want women or minorities having easy access to their Second Amendment rights. That might be the logical conclusion one would arrive at after seeing the congressional Democrats’ gun control agenda.

The House recently passed two gun control bills with nearly universal Democrat support. The first would impose background checks on all private person-to-person firearm sales, while the other bill pushes the background check out to 10 days, forcing many individuals to wait longer to exercise their 2A rights.

How are these bills especially antagonistic toward women and minorities? As the Wall Street Journal editorial board observes, “The bills are aimed at making it harder to acquire and own guns. Democrats are betting that background checks are popular, but the result in practice may be to spur more gun sales.” Yet as the National Shooting Sports Foundation discovered last year, some 40% of all firearm sales were to women, and of those, 58% were black. Thus, the impact of the new bills would disproportionately hurt minority women.

Representative Ben Cline (R-VA) argued that all the Democrats’ bills would accomplish is to make Second Amendment rights harder for Americans to access while doing nothing to address crime. “I will not stand by and allow our rights to be stripped away,” Cline said. “My colleagues on the other side of the aisle claim that these bills will save lives. However, nothing in them would have stopped any of the recent mass casualty shootings that have occurred in our country. Rather than go after criminals who break the law, Democrats want to create a false narrative that will criminalize private gun ownership. Democrats will tell you that these bills close loopholes. But the loophole they believe exists is that law-abiding Americans are even able to own guns in the first place.”

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Cancel Culture Claims Two More Scalps

Douglas Andrews

In a column last week, our Thomas Gallatin wondered whether cancel culture had peaked or if it was just getting underway.

Where did he net out? “Unfortunately, the most likely answer is that cancel culture has only just begun,” he concluded. “The leftist revolutionaries smell blood in the water as companies fearful of being the next victim of the woke mob willingly run to the front of the line to declare their solidarity with the cause, canceling ‘offenses’ before even being challenged. Buckle in for a bumpy ride.”

It’s hard to disagree, and the recent case of the canceled Georgetown Law professors is just the latest example. One of them was summarily fired for uttering what appears to have been an inconvenient fact on a Zoom call, while the other was forced to resign for “failing to correct” his “racist” colleague.

This Twitter post is what started the firestorm. It includes a video showing the two adjunct professors discussing student performance during the aftermath of a Zoom call that had just concluded. Unbeknownst to the two, Hassan Ahmad, presumably a student, was recording the call when Sellers lamented that a subset of a certain racially distinct group of students seemed to consistently perform poorly in her class. Uh-oh.

“You know what? I hate to say this, I end up having this angst every semester that a lot of my lower ones are blacks,” said Sellers as her adjunct professorial career light began to flicker. “Happens almost every semester and it’s like, ‘Oh, come on.’ I get some really good ones but there are also usually some that are just plain at the bottom. It drives me crazy … so I feel bad.”

Her colleague, Batson, mostly seemed to nod in agreement. And that was apparently his crime: failure to correct.

“Georgetown Law negotiations Professors Sandra Sellers and David Batson being openly racist on a recorded Zoom call,” Ahmad tweeted with his recording of the video call, which has since received more than 1.1 million views. “Beyond unacceptable.”

But if we listen closely to what Sellers says, is she really being racist or merely matter-of-fact? It didn’t seem to matter to Law School Dean Bill Treanor, who addressed the Georgetown Law community last week. “As I wrote to you last night,” he began, “I am appalled that two members of our faculty engaged in a conversation that included reprehensible statements concerning the evaluation of Black students. I have further reviewed the incident and have now spoken to Professor Sellers and Professor Batson, giving each the opportunity to provide any additional context. I informed Professor Sellers that I was terminating her relationship with Georgetown Law effective immediately.”

As for Batson, the ax fell on him too. “A Georgetown law professor has resigned, reports Fox News, “following his participation in a Zoom call with a colleague whose comments about her Black students having a lower academic performance every semester led to her being fired. On Saturday, a Georgetown spokesperson confirmed … that Georgetown law professor David Batson had submitted his resignation letter and that Georgetown Law Dean Bill Treanor had accepted.”

It’s hard not to feel a bit sorry for these two. As Power Line’s Paul Mirengoff notes, “It’s normal that when a law school admits Blacks whose credentials show them to be less likely than the average student to perform well academically, the school will find itself with classes in which Blacks disproportionately are ‘at the bottom.’ It’s normal that a professor will feel ‘angst’ over this. … The point is that Sellers’ angst is not evidence of racism. If anything, it’s evidence of the opposite.”

The other point, of course, is that facts are no longer just stubborn things, as John Adams once put it. In the age of cancel culture, they’ve become fireable things.

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In Brief: Pastor Michael Youssef on Wokeism in the Church

There’s a good chance you have friends that have been captivated by unscriptural social justice activism in the church. In an interview with The Christian Post, Pastor Michael Youssef cautions that fealty to such dogma is “deadly as far as the Gospel of Jesus Christ is concerned”:

Those same battles that I fought in the mainline denominations [as an Episcopal in the 1980s] are now invading the evangelical churched. It’s the same arguments, the same lingo, and the same words repeating themselves with such precision [that] I am deeply, deeply concerned. …

Bowing to woke culture allows you to avoid rejection by culture and society. It’s a very, very popular message that is now being preached from many evangelical pulpits; traditionally Bible-believing, Gospel-preaching churches. We have gone so far that it just grieves me to the point that I literally sometimes just weep tears.

I’ve always believed, as goes the pulpit, so goes the pew. As goes the pew, so goes the culture. As a pastor, I put the full blame on us, right in our laps, because we want to be liked, loved, and followed on social media by millions of people. Pastors are the culprits. We need to be about Jesus, not about being liked, because that is deadly as far as the Gospel of Jesus Christ is concerned.

Regarding Critical Race Theory, he notes:

It’s a very Marxist ideology that people are taking very seriously. The idea of the oppressed and the oppressors is not that simple. Now we have private Christian schools here in Atlanta where white children are apologizing to black kids. Apologizing for what? They are innocent; they haven’t done anything. It’s crazy; it’s just going insane.

And on the issue of child-rearing, he observes:

The home is number one [anchor], the church is number two and school is number three. Even if the school is working against the kids, if they have the strength in the home and in the church, they will make it. But when the church avoids talking about issues or goes along with culture, then kids are confused.

Read more of Pastor Youssef’s insightful interview here.

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Jordan Candler

Top of the Fold

“People on the terrorist watch list have been nabbed trying to cross the border as part of the latest surge of migrants, congressional Republicans revealed during a trip to the border Monday. They said agents reported having caught migrants from Yemen, Iran and Sri Lanka amid the much larger numbers of Haitians, Central Americans and others. … The lawmakers said smuggling organizations are using the massive numbers of regular migrants to create chaos, sending large groups over to overwhelm and distract Border Patrol agents.”

  • Unity! Lefty lawmaker acknowledges Democrats will exploit procedural tactic to pass massive infrastructure bill without Republicans (Daily Caller)

“Maryland Sen. Ben Cardin admitted Monday that Democrats will pass a future infrastructure bill through the budget reconciliation process. … The budget reconciliation process allows the Senate to pass legislation via a simple majority vote, avoiding the possibility of a filibuster. … Democrats are considering a new infrastructure package that would center [around] renewable energy.”

Government & Politics

Odds & Ends

  • Two men charged with assaulting Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick with chemical spray; autopsy results still have not been released (Fox News)
  • “Incredible potential to taint the jury pool”: Defense in Derek Chauvin trial asks judge to delay the trial following $27 million settlement (AP)
  • “A purely precautionary measure”: Major European nations suspend use of AstraZeneca vaccine due to a few dozen reports of blood clots (AP)
  • Columbia University joins 75-some schools hosting segregated graduation ceremonies (Daily Wire)

Stranger Than Fiction

  • Washington man arrested for allegedly stealing 400-pound slide, mounting it to child’s bunk bed at his home (Fox News)


  • Previously paralyzed toddler walks out of hospital, and it’s exactly what you need to see today (Disrn)

Closing Arguments

  • Policy: Border crisis: Incompetence or part of the president’s plan? (Daily Signal)
  • Policy: How to end Biden’s fake climate apocalypse (American Spectator)
  • Humor: Woman who thought being a princess was too hard wants to run for president (Babylon Bee)

For more of today’s editors’ choice headlines, visit Headline Report.

The Patriot Post is a certified ad-free news service, unlike third-party commercial news sites linked on this page, which may also require a paid subscription.

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What Did She Think Was Going to Happen? — Brandon Tatum breaks down a Tennessee police officer’s deadly encounter with a black suspect.

The George Floyd Autonomous Zone — It’s murderous, but nobody cares about these killings.

The Woke Award Shows — Award shows, like the Oscars, are beating themselves up for their history of white supremacy.




For more of today’s columns, visit Right Opinion.


Insight: “The tyranny of the many would be when one body takes over the rights of others, and then exercises its power to change the laws in its favor.” —Voltaire (1694-1778)

“It was the woke supremacists, by the way, who said that me and Herschel Walker were the coon squad. [Leftmedia talkingheads] are at their wit’s end because there are African Americans willing to speak their minds from a conservative perspective.” —Senator Tim Scott

For the record: “In this [American Rescue Plan Act], if you’re a [minority] farmer, your loan will be forgiven up to 120%. … But if you’re a white person … no forgiveness. That’s reparations. What does that have to do with COVID?” —Senator Lindsey Graham (As the New York Post reports, the bill “sets aside $10.4 billion for agriculture support, with about half of that amount set aside for minority farmers,” yet “African Americans own about 35,000 farms in the United States — less than 2 percent of the nation’s total.”)

Observations: “Biden’s speech [was] profoundly dispiriting, mean-spirited, ungrateful, petty, and otherwise wanting in good qualities. The state of mind reflected in it was craven and deceitful. … [He] can’t even fake sincerity.” —political analyst Scott Johnson

Friendly fire: “You’re not gonna win the battle for the 21st century if you are a silly people and Americans are a silly people. … You know who doesn’t care that there’s a stereotype of a Chinese man in a Dr. Seuss book? China. … We’re not losing to China. We lost. The returns just haven’t all come in yet. They made robots that check a kid’s temperature and got … back in school. Most of our kids are still pretending to take Zoom classes while they watch TikTok and [their] brain cells slowly commit ritual suicide.” —Bill Maher

Belly laugh of the week: “I am not part of the political club. And you know what? I’m proud of it.” —Andrew Cuomo, who actually inherited the “political club” from his father, former Governor Mario Cuomo, as did his brother, CNN’s Chris Cuomo

Non compos mentis: “Eliminating the Hyde Amendment is a matter of economic and racial justice because it most significantly impacts Medicaid recipients, who are low-income and more likely to be women of color.” —Shalanda Young, Biden’s nominee for deputy director of the White House Office of Management and Budget

Race bait: “I do absolutely agree that [Georgia’s Republican election reform] racist. It is a redux of Jim Crow, in a suit and tie.” —Stacey Abrams

Racism: “There is nothing white people can say and do that is creative, profound, and intimidating.” —Salem College professor Dr. Kimya Nuru

And last… “Want to see some serious racism? Study the history of how gun control laws have been used.” —Congressman Burgess Owens

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For more of today’s memes, visit the Memesters Union.



For more of today’s cartoons, visit the Cartoons archive.

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WOKE SUPREMACY Dinesh D’Souza Podcast Ep47

In this episode, Dinesh takes up Senator Tim Scott’s equation of “woke supremacy” and “white supremacy,” arguing that woke supremacy is actually a form of white supremacy. Dinesh reveals how the Washington Post and New York Times have gone full Pravda in their lies about Trump and their devotional coverage of Biden.

March 16 Morning Quotes of The Day

Without Justice, Kingdoms Are Robberies
Leviticus 19:15; Job 34:18; Isaiah 10:1–4; Ezekiel 22:29

Justice being taken away, then, what are kingdoms but great robberies?


Ritzema, E. (2013). 300 Quotations for Preachers from the Early Church. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

The Legitimate Effects of God’s Love
John 3:16; 1 John 4:7–11

The love of God is infinite, eternal, immutable, sovereign. We can love him because he loved us. It produces gratitude, delight, zeal, filial reverence, obedience. It elevates the soul above the creature. It purifies all the affections. This is the legitimate effect. Where God is understood, and where his love is really enjoyed, these effects follow.


Ritzema, E., & Vince, E. (Eds.). (2013). 300 quotations for preachers from the Modern church. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

March 16 Morning Verse of The Day

3:16 The words teaching and admonishing express the means of how the gospel is to dwell among believers. Singing and gratitude characterize the manner of this teaching and admonishing.[1]

3:16 This is the only time the phrase “the word of Christ” is used in the N.T. Other references refer to “the word of God” and “the word of the Lord.” “The word of Christ” refers to the revealed word, whether spoken by Christ or of Christ. “Dwell in you” refers to the body of believers as well as the individual. Judaism is a singing religion, but Christianity is even more profoundly a singing faith than any other in history. Singing makes conventional instructional channels, such as teaching and preaching, even more useful vehicles for acquiring wisdom. The Colossians are to emphasize the ministry of teaching and admonition by the singing of psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs.[2]

3:16 dwell in you richly. Because the believer is united with Christ (3:3 note), not only the “word of Christ,” but Christ Himself lives in the hearts of the faithful (Gal. 2:20; Eph. 3:17; cf. Rom. 8:9). With God’s wisdom present in this way (3:3; cf. 1 Cor. 1:30), the ethical demands of Christian love can be lived out in every part of life, including the everyday responsibilities that are reviewed in 3:18–4:6).

teaching and admonishing. The first half of this verse is strongly reminiscent of 1:28. In the ministry of the Colossians to one another, the word of Christ will be as effective as the presence of the apostle himself.

psalms and hymns and spiritual songs. In the Greek translation of the Old Testament, the three nouns used in this phrase are often synonymous. It is not likely that in Colossians they designate three separate types of song (Eph. 5:19). See theological note “Music in the Church” on the next page.[3]

3:16 word of Christ Refers either to the gospel message about Christ or to Christ’s teaching (as opposed to human philosophies or traditions; Col 2:8).

psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs Refers to a variety of songs used in Christian worship, probably including the ot psalms.[4]

3:16 The word of Christ probably refers to the teaching about Christ as well as the words of Christ himself, which were part of the oral traditions passed on to believers in the early years after Christ ascended to heaven, before the Gospels had been written. Psalms and hymns and spiritual songs (see note on Eph. 5:19) is one means of teaching and admonishing. Corporate worship has a teaching function through the lyrics of its songs. This was particularly important in the oral culture of Paul’s day.[5]

3:16 word of Christ. This is Scripture, the Holy Spirit inspired Scripture, the word of revelation He brought into the world. richly dwell within you. See notes on Eph 5:18. “Richly” may be more fully rendered “abundantly or extravagantly rich,” and “dwell” means “to live in” or “to be at home.” Scripture should permeate every aspect of the believer’s life and control every thought, word, and deed (cf. Ps 119:11; Mt 13:9; Php 2:16; 2Ti 2:15). This concept is parallel to being filled with the Spirit in Eph 5:18 since the results of each are the same. In Eph 5:18, the power and motivation for all the effects is the filling of the Holy Spirit; here it is the word richly dwelling. Those two realities are really one. The Holy Spirit fills the life controlled by His Word. This emphasizes that the filling of the Spirit is not some ecstatic or emotional experience, but a steady controlling of the life by obedience to the truth of God’s Word. psalms and hymns and spiritual songs. See note on Eph 5:19.[6]

3:16 — Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs .…

The “you” Paul has in mind here is plural—“you” as in “all of you in the church of Jesus.” We cannot grow into maturity in Christ Jesus without the encouragement, help, and even the needs of others.[7]

3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly is apparently a parallel thought to Paul’s statement in Eph. 5:18 where he says to be “filled with the Spirit.” Both here and in Ephesians, the result of being “filled” with the Spirit or the word of Christ is singing (Eph. 5:19–21). The psalms are the psalms found in the OT, the “songbook” of the early church as well as of Israel. The hymns would be the songs of the church that reflected the new truth in Christ. Examples of such hymns are found in 1:15–20; Phil. 2:5–11; 1 Tim. 3:16. Spiritual songs may have been other kinds of songs praising God.[8]

3:16. The importance of God’s Word cannot be overstated. Believers cannot grow into spiritual maturity unless they consistently feed on the word of Christ, the Bible. To dwell (enoikeō) means “to permeate” or “to live in,” and God desires that believers allow His Word to live in their hearts and lives. Plans and decisions will be made in wisdom if Christians look first to Scripture for guidance.

Yet the Word of God should also impact the lives of others. Believers are to engage in teaching and admonishing others with the Word, making sure that they learn the Scriptures and avoid doctrinal error. The psalms and hymns and spiritual songs Paul mentions refers to singing in one’s worship to the Lord.

Parallels between this verse and Eph 5:18–21 suggest that to let the word of Christ dwell in you richly is what Paul means by being filled with the Spirit.[9]

3:16 There is disagreement as to how verse 16 should be punctuated. There was no punctuation in the original language of the NT, and the meaning of such a verse as this is largely determined by the punctuation marks that are used. We suggest the following: Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another; in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.

There are thus three sections to the verse. First, we are to let the word of Christ dwell in us richly. The word of Christ refers to the teachings of Christ as found in the Bible. As we saturate our hearts and minds with His holy word, and seek to walk in obedience to it, then the word of Christ is really at home in our hearts.

The second thought is that in all wisdom we should be teaching and admonishing one another. Every Christian has a responsibility to his brothers and sisters in Christ concerning this matter. Teaching has to do with doctrine, whereas admonishing has to do with duty. We owe it to our brethren to share our knowledge of the Scripture with them, and to seek to help by practical and godly counsel. When teaching and admonishing are given in wisdom, they are more likely to find acceptance than when we speak with force but unwisely or without love.

The third thing is that with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs we should sing with grace in our hearts to the Lord. Psalms describe those inspired utterances which are found in the book by that name, which were sung as part of Israel’s worship. Hymns, on the other hand, are generally understood as songs of worship and praise addressed to God the Father or to the Lord Jesus Christ. For example:

Jesus! the very thought of Thee

With sweetness fills my breast;

But sweeter far Thy face to see,

And in Thy presence rest.

Attributed to Bernard of Clairvaux

These hymns are not inspired in the same sense as the psalms. Spiritual songs refer to religious poetry describing Christian experience. An illustration of this might be found in the words:

O what peace we often forfeit,

O what needless pain we bear,

All because we do not carry

Everything to God in prayer.

Joseph Scriven

Using these various types of songs we should sing with grace or thanksgiving, in our hearts to the Lord. At this point it might be well to say that the Christian should use discernment in the type of music he uses. Much of the so-called “Christian” music of today is light and frothy. A great deal of this music is utterly contrary to Scripture, and still more is so similar to the world’s “pop” and rock that it is a discredit to the name of Christ.

Verse 16 is very similar to Ephesians 5:18, 19, where we read: “And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.” In Colossians 3:16, the main difference is that instead of saying “be filled with the Spirit,” Paul says: “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly.” In other words, being filled with the Spirit and being filled with God’s word are both requisites for living joyful, useful, fruitful lives. We shall not be filled with the Spirit unless we are saturated with God’s word; and the study of God’s word will not be effective unless we yield up our inmost being to the control of the Holy Spirit. Can we not therefore conclude that to be filled with the Spirit means to be filled with God’s word? It is not some mysterious, emotional crisis that comes in the life, but rather day by day feeding on the Scriptures, meditating on them, obeying them, and living by them.[10]

3:16. The new life Christians must “put on” is one in which the Word of Christ dwells richly. Christ’s words were recorded by Spirit-guided apostles (cf. John 14:26; 16:13; 20:31). The words of the Bible, God’s written Word, are to dwell in believers. That is, by study, meditation, and application of the Word, it becomes a permanent abiding part of one’s life. When the words of Christ become part of a believer’s nature, they spring forth naturally and daily in psalms (songs from the Book of Psalms), hymns (other songs of praise), and spiritual songs (as opposed to secular odes) with gratitude (en tē chariti; lit., “in grace”). This can mean either (a) God’s grace, (b) graciousness in Christian singing, or (c) Christian thanks. As suggested by the NIV it probably has the third meaning. Such joyful singing is not only to please oneself or others but is to be praise to God. Through this Spirit-filled kind of life (cf. Eph. 5:18–19), Christians can teach (instruct) and admonish (“counsel”) one another (Col. 3:16; cf. “admonishing and teaching” in 1:28) if it is done with all wisdom (sophia; cf. 1:9; 2:3; 4:5) and not tactlessly (cf. Gal. 6:1).[11]

16 In a letter which emphasizes the person and work of Christ, Paul refers to the word of Christ, rather than ‘the word of God’ (1:25) or ‘the Lord’s own word’ (1 Thes. 4:15). Of Christ could mean that Christ himself is the speaker when his word is proclaimed, but it probably refers to the message that centres on Christ, the word of truth, i.e. the gospel (1:5). That word is to have its gracious and glorious way in their lives, individually and as a community. The rich indwelling of Christ’s word (cf. Rom. 8:11; 2 Cor. 6:16; 2 Tim. 1:5 for the indwelling of God himself, the Holy Spirit and faith) would occur when they came together, listened to this word as it was expounded to them and bowed to its authority. They are to teach and warn one another in a thoughtful and tactful way, activities that would take place in Spirit-inspired psalms, hymns and songs as the Colossians praised God with their whole being. Psalms, hymns and spiritual songs is a broad expression and includes OT psalms, liturgical hymns as well as spontaneous Christian songs.[12]

3:16. If believers are to be transformed into the character of Christ, the word of Christ should find a home in our hearts. It should not come and go, show up occasionally, or be something we visit like a vacation spot. As Eugene Peterson translates this phrase, “Let the Word of Christ—the Message—have the run of the house. Give it plenty of room in your lives” (Peterson, 504).

The parallel between Colossians 3:16–4:1 and Ephesians 5:18–6:9 must not be missed. The structure and terminology are almost identical. The Ephesians passage exhorts believers to be filled with the Spirit, whereas the Colossians passage exhorts believers to let the Word of Christ dwell in them. The two concepts must be synonymous. The external results are the same. The internal effect is the same. The believer is to be “under the influence” of the word of Christ and the indwelling Holy Spirit. The reason for the Colossians’ emphasis on Christ is expected in a book so devoted to his centrality and supremacy. Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in hearts to God (v. 16). When the word of Christ finds a comfortable home in individual believers and in the new community, there will be teaching (positive instruction), admonishing one another (negative correction), and thankful worship, evidenced by singing and gratitude.[13]

3:16 “Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you” This is a PRESENT ACTIVE IMPERATIVE SECOND PERSON PLURAL. “The word of Christ” can refer to (1) the gospel; (2) His personal presence or (3) the Spirit. Notice that this dwelling is not automatic. Believers must co-operate in the Christian life as they do in salvation.

There is another Greek manuscript variation here which is similar to that in vv. 13 and 15. Scribes tended to unify Paul’s expressions. The phrase “word of Christ,” is a unique expression found only here in the NT. Therefore, it was changed to “word of God” (MSS A, C*) or “word of the Lord” (MS א*). By far the best Greek manuscripts, P46, א2, B, C2, D, F, G, and most ancient translations have “word of Christ.”

The outlines of Eph. and Col. are very similar. The parallel to this verse in Eph. is 5:18! The Spirit-filled life is daily Christlikeness or allowing the word of Christ and the mind of Christ to guide in every area, especially interpersonal relationships.

There is an ambiguity in this verse concerning the Greek PREPOSITION “in” (en). It can also be translated “among.” “In” would have an individual focus, while “among” a corporate focus (cf. 1:27).

© “with all wisdom” This is a play on the false teachers’ overemphasis on human knowledge. The word of Christ (the Spirit-filled life) is true wisdom. Wisdom is a person (cf. Prov. 8:22–31) and a lifestyle, not isolated truth or creeds.

© “with psalms” The NKJV and NASB translations imply “teaching with songs,” but the NRSV and NJB imply “teachers with songs in their hearts.” TEV implies worshiping God with songs.

The modern controversy over musical preference in worship could be addressed by this verse (and Eph. 5:19) in that several different types of music are mentioned: (1) psalms; (2) hymns; and (3) spiritual songs. Although we cannot identify all the types it is obvious that the early church used several different forms of music. The key is the heart of the worshiper, not the form of the music (cf. 3:17).[14]

16. Paul has just been saying. “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts.” At first glance a believer might well ask, however, “If I do this am I not building the edifice of my hope and trust upon a rather insecure, subjective foundation?” After further thought, however, he answers, “Not at all, for I have peace when in my inmost being I, by God’s sovereign grace, resolve to live in accordance with the objective word of Christ.” Verses 15 and 16 must therefore not be separated. By obedience to the gospel peace is conveyed to the heart. So Paul continues, Let the word of Christ dwell among you richly. The objective, special revelation that proceeds from (and concerns) Christ—“the Christ-word”—should govern every thought, word, and deed, yes even the hidden drives and motivations of every member, and thus should bear sway among them all, and this richly, “bearing much fruit” (John 15:5). This will happen if believers heed the word (Matt. 13:9), handle it rightly (2 Tim. 2:15), hide it in their hearts (Ps. 119:11), and hold it forth to others as being in truth “the word of life” (Phil. 2:16). Though when the apostle wrote this, “the word of Christ” had not yet been entrusted to the written page in the form and to the extent in which we now have it, this does not cancel the fact that for Paul and for all believers in his day as well as, in broader scope, for us today, “All scripture (is) God-breathed and useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be equipped, for every good work thoroughly equipped” (see N.T.C. on 2 Tim. 3:16, 17). The logical continuation is: in all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another.137

For the explanation of these words see on 1:28, where essentially the same thought is expressed in an almost identical statement. The differences are as follows: (1) in 1:28 the apostle relates what he, Timothy, etc., are doing; here (in Col. 3:16) he admonishes the Colossian believers what they should be doing. In both cases the content is the same: admonishing and teaching. Believers, by virtue of their “office” as believers—let them not forget that they are clothed with that office!—should do what Paul and his associates are doing by virtue of their office, respectively as apostle and apostolic delegates. Each person must do it in accordance with the rights and duties of his particular office. (2) In 1:28 the object is somewhat broader, “every man.” Here (Col. 3:16) the emphasis is rather on mutual teaching and admonition. And (3) in 1:28 the phrase “in all wisdom” is placed last. In the Colossian passage it is placed first, perhaps to underscore the thought conveyed in the immediately preceding adverb “richly,” as if to say, “If the word of Christ is to dwell among you richly, then in all wisdom you should admonish and teach each other.”

There is something else that should also be done if the word of Christ is to dwell among the Colossians richly. It is stated in these words: (and) by means of psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs singing to God in a thankful spirit,139 with all your heart.

Paul clearly recognizes the edifying nature of God-glorifying singing. As to the meaning of the terms psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs (see also Eph. 5:19) a little investigation quickly shows that it may not be easy to distinguish sharply between these three. It is possible that there is here some overlapping of meanings. Thus, in connection with psalms it is natural to think of the Old Testament Psalter, and, in support of this view, to appeal to Luke 20:42; 24:44; Acts 1:20; 13:33. So far there is no difficulty. However, expositors are by no means agreed that this can also be the meaning of the word psalm in 1 Cor. 14:26 (“When you assemble, each one has a psalm”).

As to hymns, in the New Testament the word hymn is found only in our present passage (Col. 3:16) and in Eph. 5:19. Augustine, in more than one place, states that a hymn has three essentials: it must be sung; it must be praise; it must be to God. According to this definition it would be possible for an Old Testament psalm, sung in praise to God, to be also a hymn. Thus when Jesus and his disciples were about to leave the Upper Room in order to go to the Mount of Olives, they “hymned” (Matt. 26:30; Mark 14:26). It is held by many that what they hymned was Psalm 115–118. According to Acts 16:25 in the Philippian prison Paul and Silas were hymning to God. Is it not altogether probable that some, if not all, of these hymns were psalms? Cf. also Heb. 2:12. But if Augustine’s definition is correct there are also hymns that do not belong to the Old Testament Psalter; such hymns as the Magnificat (Luke 1:46–55) and the Benedictus (Luke 1:68–79). Fragments of other New Testament hymns seem to be embedded in the letters of Paul (Eph. 5:14; Col. 1:15–20; 1 Tim. 3:16, and perhaps others).

The word song or ode (in the sense of poem intended to be sung) occurs not only in Eph. 5:19 and Col. 3:16 but also in Rev. 5:9; 14:3, where “the new song” is indicated, and in Rev. 15:3, where the reference is to “the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb,” These are not Old Testament Psalms. Moreover, a song or ode is not necessarily a sacred song. In the present case the fact that it is, indeed, sacred is shown by the addition of the adjective spiritual.

All in all, then, it would seem that when here in Col. 3:16 the apostle uses these three terms, apparently distinguishing them at least to some extent, the term psalms has reference, at least mainly, to the Old Testament Psalter; hymns mainly to New Testament songs of praise to God or to Christ; and spiritual songs mainly to any other sacred songs dwelling on themes other than direct praise to God or to Christ.

The point that must not be ignored is this, that these songs must be sung in a thankful spirit. The songs must be poured forth sincerely, rising from within the humbly grateful hearts of believers. It has been said that next to Scripture itself a good Psalter-Hymnal is the richest fountain of edification. Not only are its songs a source of daily nourishment for the church, but they also serve as a very effective vehicle for the outpouring of confession of sin, gratitude, spiritual joy, rapture. Whether sung in the regular worship-service on the Lord’s Day, at a midweek meeting, in social gatherings, in connection with family-worship, at a festive occasion, or privately, they are a tonic for the soul and promote the glory of God. They do this because they fix the interest upon the indwelling word of Christ, and carry the attention away from that worldly cacophony by which people with low moral standards are being emotionally overstimulated.

The passage under discussion has often been used in support of this or that theory with respect to what may or may not be sung in the official worship-service. Perhaps it is correct to say that the appeal is justified if one is satisfied with a few broad, general principles; for example, (1) In our services the psalms should not be neglected. (2) As to hymns, in the stricter sense of songs of praise, “It is probably true that a larger proportion of the religious poems which are used in public praise should be ‘hymns’ in the stricter sense. They should be addressed to God. Too many are subjective, not to say sentimental, and express only personal experiences and aspirations which are sometimes lacking in reality” Charles E. Erdman (op. cit., p. 91).

For the rest, it is well to bear in mind that Paul’s purpose is not to lay down detailed rules and regulations pertaining to ecclesiastical liturgy. He is interested in showing the Colossians and all those to whom or by whom the letter would be read how they may grow in grace, and may manifest rightly the power of the indwelling word. His admonition, therefore, can be applied to every type of Christian gathering, whether on the Sabbath or during the week, whether in church or at home or anywhere else.[15]

Ver. 16. Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly.

The Word of Christ:—

  1. What is it? The Scriptures of the Old and New Testament. 1. Christ is their author. 2. He is their subject-matter—they testify of Him. Christ is the Word, the wisdom of God, the truth; and truth as well as grace came by Him.
  2. How shall we treat it? 1. Let it dwell in us. It must not be as a stranger, or a visitor, or as an acquaintance with whom we are not specially intimate, or as a friend away and seldom seen, but rather as a resident member of our family with whom we are in constant and loving communication. 2. Let it dwell in you. It is not enough that it be in our house, study, pocket, and so at hand. It must be in our heart, pervading our whole spiritual nature, directing and controlling all our life and conduct. “Thy Word have I hid in my heart.” “Out of the heart are the issues of life.” 3. Let it dwell in you richly, plentifully, profoundly. This implies—(1) An intimate knowledge of the truth. (2) A believing, saving experience of the truth. We should seek to understand it in its inmost compass; in all its bearings and relations, and then gladly receive it, in the love of it, into good and honest hearts (James 1:2). (T. W. Sydnor.)

The school of the Word:—

  1. The lesson-book. The Word of Christ, so called, because—1. He is its central theme. The beginning of the story of the race is told that the first Adam may prepare the way for the second: then the mass of the race is forgotten, and one chosen family selected because Christ was to come out of it. The songs, prophecies, teachings of the Old Testament are full of Christ, and its characters are as fragments of the perfect character of Jesus. The ethics of the book find their full manifestation in Him. The Gospels are biographies of Him, and the Epistles expositions of the truths of that biography. 2. It was originated by Christ. Some write of what they see or hear, but Christ produces the history He causes to be recorded. He not only breathed His Spirit upon men’s minds that they might write its doctrines; He produced the facts which are the basis of the doctrines. Pardon is taught; but He made the atonement by His death. Immortality is taught; but He revealed it first by His resurrection. 3. He dwells in it. Men are in quest of Christ, and seek Him in sacraments and holy things and places. But we have “not to ascend into heaven to bring Him down,” &c. “The Word is nigh thee.” Christ is in His Word, not as Plato in his republic or Shakespeare in his plays, but as a living and operating power. “My words are spirit, and they are life.” 4. Through it He works. There is not a process of grace promised or commended that it does not promote. (1) Conviction of sin. “The entrance of Thy Word giveth liglit.” “The Word is powerful, sharper than any two-edged sword.” (2) Conversion. “The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul.” (3) Salvation from sin, “Thy Word have I hid in my heart,” &c. (4) Edification. “The Word of His grane … is able to build you up,” &c. (5) All sound Christian profit. “Is profitable for doctrine,” &c.
  2. The school. 1. The Church generally. Christ appointed the Church to teach His Word, and His Word forms the basis of her creeds, and the final authority when those creeds are questioned. It is to be exalted in her worship, commemorated in her sacraments, and proclaimed and defended in her pulpits. 2. The school of devotion; the prayer-meeting. 3. The school of experience; the class or fellowship-meeting. 4. The school of the family, where children learn theology, and the Divine character and administration, by object-lessons, by what father and mother say and do. 5. But pre-eminently is the Sunday school the school of the Word.

III. The teacher. 1. His qualification. The Word is to dwell in him richly—in his tongue as its expounder; in his memory as a student; in his heart as a believer: so that when he prays he uses it, when he teaches texts come to his tongue-ends, and as he lives he illustrates it. It must so dwell in him that he will delight in it, love to quote it, go to sleep in times of storm resting upon it, and use it in the hour of death as the key to the kingdom. 2. His method. (1) Teaching; (2) admonishing; (3) translating into life. (Bishop Vincent.)

The indwelling of the Word:—There is nothing easier than to hear the Word with a general regard, and few things more difficult than to receive it as a principle of spiritual life. Satan hinders; cumbering with much business, diverting with trifles, or disturbing with wicked imaginations or affections.

  1. The word of Christ. 1. In a special and limited sense this is the gospel, because He preached and published it. 2. In a larger sense it is both Testaments, for He is the author of both. 3. Then in listening to Bible teaching we are listening to Christ Himself. “The Word” is one of His titles, and He would have us honour it by honouring the Scriptures which testify of Him. 4. It is sometimes called the Word of the Kingdom, because it shows the way to the kingdom of grace, that we may be partakers of the kingdom of glory; “the Word of life,” because the instrument of regeneration and spiritual sustentation. 5. But though necessary, how many unnecessary things are preferred before it. It is the polar star which shines out in the spiritual firmament to point you to Christ; and yet in how many instances is the glimmering taper of human reason preferred! It opens a well of life; yet many choose the broken cistern.
  2. Its dwelling-place. 1. It is to dwell. (1) This points out a contrast between a settled and vagrant life. With the mere wanderer we hold little in common: the resident is well known. As you give yourself up to the study of the sacred oracles, the mind of the Spirit becomes imparted to your own. (2) This is an allusion to God’s “dwelling” in the Holy of Holies. Christ’s Word is to be as the Shekinah. 2. It is to dwell within: not in the understanding merely to enlighten it, nor in the judgment to inform and convince it, but to be deeply seated and treasured up in the heart. “I will write My law in their inward parts,” &c. And unless it is so written it is quite certain that we have no interest in the covenant. (1) It is to dwell there as a man dwells in his own house, which he is proud of calling his castle, and which is not as a temporary tent. “If ye continue in My Word,” &c. How many there are who give it only the entertainment of a wayfaring man who obtains with difficulty a lodging for the night, and in the morning is gone. (2) In order thus to dwell it must be mixed with faith. Without faith it may produce various effects: it may make you, like Herod, “do many things,” and induce you, like Felix, “to hear Paul gladly”; it may produce feelings of wonder, &c.; but it is only when received in faith that it can really profit.

III. The measure in which it is to dwell in us. 1. Richly: not as a scanty stream, but as a full flowing river. You are not to be content with partial views of God’s truth. The whole written Word is the soul’s pasturage. “All Scripture … is profitable.” “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word,” &c. 2. This requires prayerful searching, and much more than reading in haste a chapter in the morning or at night. We do not search after worldly wealth so. 3. This rich indwelling will be fruitful in (1) comfort; (2) holiness; (3) revived spiritual life. (T. Watson, B.A.)

The indwelling Word of Christ:—1. This exhortation is connected with the exhortation out of which it springs (vers. 14–15); and with the outward expression in which it finds vent (ver. 16). 2. The Word of Christ is not His personal teaching merely, but the whole Bible as His present Word, affording the materials of present speech. 3. Its indwelling is personal, and is not to be evaporated, as if it referred to the Church collective (Rom. 8:11; 2 Cor. 6:16; Eph. 3:17; 2 Tim. 1:5, 14).

  1. Let the word of Christ dwell in you. 1. This implies a sense of the preciousness of Christ Himself realized by faith. (1) No one’s word will be precious to you unless he is precious whose word it is. The word of one you dislike will be contemptuously rejected; the word of one who is an object of indifference will pass swiftly by you. (2) How much of the Word of Christ may be missed unless He is precious. In many parts you think that He is only dimly and distantly to be found, and even passages fullest of Him do not bring Him as speaking personally to you. But it is only as it does that that the Bible is the Word of Christ. A friend’s letter is his word to me when by means of it I call him up before me in his own loved person speaking to me. Then it dwells in me. Thus, through my love to Him and His preciousness to me, Scriptures which seem to have little to do with Him may become His Word to me. 2. The preciousness of Christ’s Word, as well as of Christ Himself, is essential to its dwelling in you. (1) If Christ is precious, His Word must be precious. The word of a precious friend is precious even before you know what it contains. Its very outside is welcome. But it becomes more so as you study it, and especially if it be of real value. (2) Most Christians can name a text apparently having little to do with Christ, which has become, nevertheless, one of His best remembrancers. It is connected with some marked crisis; as a whisper of consolation, a breath of pity in sinfulness, felt as the Word of Christ just then wanted. (3) The way of finding Christ all through the Bible is not merely to get it to speak of Christ, but to get Christ to speak to you about it; and so to make it all His, i.e., let it all, every bit and fragment of it, be welded into your experience, with Christ living in you the hope of glory. (4) This may be by the Spirit being given in answer to the prayer of faith. He teaches you all things as said by Christ. Do not force it to tell of Christ formally, so as to offend critics and offend ordinary readers. Take it in its plain meaning, but expect that Christ in it may have some lesson to teach; some comfort to impart; some rebuke to administer. 3. The felt preciousness of real present and living intercourse between Christ and you will cause the Word, as His, to abide in you. (1) That Word sustains the intercourse, and is for colloquial uses. You are to dwell in Christ and He in you, but communion cannot long be maintained without language. We may dream of this mutual indwelling after some vague, sleepy fashion; but if it is to be more than a dream there must be talk between us. He Himself deals with this subject (John 15:7; 16:23). This can only be realized by the Comforter “bringing to remembrance whatsoever He hath said unto you.” His Word, then, must be the staple of the verbal intercourse. He uses it in speaking to you, and you in speaking to Him. (2) Thus used, it will dwell. Otherwise, while whole strings of texts or chapters may be retained in the memory, and may be glibly quoted, the virtue will be gone out of them. If you would have the Word to abide in you as the precious Word of a precious Saviour, you must always turn it to account in fellowship with Him.
  2. Richly. 1. In quantity. Let the mind and soul be richly stored. Ah! how much there is of the Bible that does not dwell in you because you do not realize it as the Word of Christ; whole chapters that have not been linked to any gracious dealing of Christ. 2. In quality. (1) A rich manure is one that enriches the soil; and it dwells in the soil richly in proportion as it enriches it, turning its hard, dry sterility into fruitful mould. So let the Word of Christ dwell in you as to enrich your souls. (2) But it must be as the Word of Christ. For such is the poverty and perversity of the soil, that otherwise even the Word will, instead of enriching the soul, become partaker of its deadness, and end in being as salt which has lost its savour. The letter killeth, but the Spirit giveth life, making it truly the living Word of a living Christ. (3) And how penetrating, as well as powerful, should be its virtue. It should reach to every nook of your life. 3. In correspondence to the riches of Him whose Word it is. Riches of goodness, glory, wisdom, knowledge, grace; unsearchable riches of Christ. 4. It is to dwell in you, not only as rich receivers, but dispensers. “Freely ye have received, freely give.” You are to be richly productive, fruit-bearing, in faith, in good works. 5. Notice the social bearing of the precept as embedded in the context (vers. 12–15 on the one hand, and ver. 16 on the other). In either view this indwelling is not to be like a mass of dead matter crammed into a dead receptacle; as bales are packed in a warehouse, or loads of unread learning are crowded on library shelves for show. Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth, the life, the hand must speak. (R. S. Candlish, D.D.)

Indwelling of the Word of Christ:—

  1. The Word of Christ. 1. The literal Word of Christ is one of the most wonderful things that ever has been in the world. Not from Roman rostrum, nor in terms of Greek philosophy, nor as a Jewish rabbi, but simply and naturally to simple and ordinary men wherever they could be got together, and as He spake the words seem to root themselves in the heart, and grew a living force in the life of the nation. Then came the alternative that He must keep silence or die; but He went on speaking till He said, “It is finished.” Immediately on His resurrection He began to speak, and when He went away He left nothing behind Him but His Word. At that time His life and death were unknown powers, and He did not leave the least written explanation of them, nor were the Gospels in existence at the time of this Epistle; but there was the Word of Christ in its newness and energy. 2. Whether or not that Word would have lived without a literary embodiment we are not required to settle. For evidently it was Christ’s purpose to condense His living speech into writings for the instruction of men. And there is clear reference here to the written as well as the spoken Word. Thus the phrase takes its most comprehensive sense—the gospel—all that is revealed of God for human salvation. 3. Manifestly all this lies solely in the Scriptures. There is authoritative Word of Christ for us nowhere else. But here the Book is all His. He has fulfilled it, explained it, inspired it, made it a living Word from first to last, that He might by His Spirit give it living and blessed applications.
  2. Its indwelling. Yield yourselves up as sacred dwellings to be occupied with it. 1. This means that other tenants are not to remain unless in full agreement with this chief dweller. Thoughts and words of men, plans of earthly ambition, pleasures of sin—away! All thoughts are to be ruled, all cares hallowed by it, and all enjoyments made safe and good. It must be this much, or it can be nothing vital. Christ’s Word in the morning, selfish prudence all through the day; Christ’s Word for religious service, the word of man for the mercantile transaction; Christ’s Word for sickness and death, other words for times of health and pleasure; will not do. The tenant will only occupy as sole possessor of the tenement. 2. Let it dwell. There is plenty of it to fill the wonderful house. (1) Down to the deepest base of life it will go, where passions lurk, and flowing round and through them, it will purge away what is unhallowed, leaving only wholesome forces to strengthen and perfect character. (2) Into the rooms that lie more open to common day, and more level with the world, where many busy feet come and go—where knowledge gathers her stores, prudence holds her scales, judgment records her decisions, diligence plies her tasks, acquisition counts her gains, and foresight watches the opening future; into all these the living Word will enter, and at her ingress the darkening shadow melts, the wrinkles of care are smoothed, and slippery things cease their blandishments, and injustice and unkindness hide their heads. (3) Up higher yet, where imagination lights her lamp, and invention stirs her fires, and desire bends the knee, looking upward, and hope sits watching with nothing between her and the stars. 3. Richly—in its best forms and sweetest fragrance, with all its luminous, guiding powers. Fill yourselves with it. Open all the doors, fling wide the windows. You have only to do that. You have not to make the Word: it is nigh thee in thy heart and in thy mouth if thou wilt but let it dwell in thee richly. 4. But here is more than a mere passive allowance. There is a direct appeal to the will and to the activity of the mind. The Word, abundant as it is, will not come to dwell at all without consent and careful and diligent endeavour. Much “wisdom” is needed for the due remembrance and seasonable entertainment of the various parts in order to apply it to meet the wants of life as they arise. In this every man must be his own minister. We do not need the whole Bible every day; we need it as we need corn in the granary, as the lamps by night. There is many a passage in reserve. We glance at them to-day with only a general interest, but the day will come when they will be as thousands of gold and silver. Meantime it is a great matter to know what is daily bread for this day. (1) Am I in the dark about myself, about the world? Then it will be wise to let the Word of Christ dwell in me as a revelation. (2) Am I doubting and desponding, finding few signs of grace? Then let me remember the Word of Christ as a word of assured salvation, saving the eyes from tears, the feet from falling, and the soul from death. (3) Am I, though calmed with forgiveness, very weak, and unfit for continuing the struggle of the nobler life? Then let me take some strong promise, adapted to the need, and drink it up as a fainting man would drink a cordial until I am refreshed. (4) Am I sorrowing? Can I forget “Let not your heart be troubled.” (5) Am I passing away from earth and time? More than ever do I need to take Him at His word: “I will not leave nor forsake.”

III. The outflow. One of the divinest and most necessary truths is that we must give in order to have. The Word of Christ, in order to secure continuance, must be always leaving us. Go among the mountains, and you will see that it is the living stream that flows away; and where it flows the grass is green, and the flowers bloom, and the cattle drink, and the children linger to dip the foot and hear the song. Yet the spring is in no way exhausted. It is fed by the drawing sun, the condensing mountains, the bountiful clouds, the wide sea. Let your inner life, nourished by the indwelling Word, have not ostentatious and noisy, but natural and continuous expression. Its light will come to you from the land of lights. So will you draw from the infinite ocean of Divine love (see vers. 16, 17). A beautiful life; a life of poetry and heart music; a life, too, open alike to all. (A. Raleigh, D.D.) Psalms and hymns and spiritual songs.—

  1. The Psalms of the Old Testament have no single and universally accepted designation in the Hebrew Scriptures. They first obtained such in the Septuagint. Psalm comes from a word signifying properly a touching, and then a touching of a stringed instrument with a plectrum, and next the instrument itself, and lastly the song sung with this musical accompaniment. It was in this latest stage that the word was adopted by the Septuagint, and to this agree the ecclesiastical definitions of it. In all probability the word here and in Eph. 5:19 refers to the inspired Psalms of the Hebrew canon, and certainly designates these on all other occasions where it is met with in the New Testament, with the doubtful exception of 1 Cor. 14:16. The psalms, then, which the apostle would have the faithful to sing to one another are those of David, Asaph, and the other sweet singers of Israel.
  2. Hymns. While the “psalm” by right of primogeniture, as at once the oldest and most venerable, occupies the foremost place, the Church of Christ does not restrict herself to such, but claims the freedom of bringing new things as well as old out of her treasure house, a new salvation demanding a new song. It was the essence of a Greek “hymn” that it should be addressed to, or be in praise of a god or a hero, i.e., a deified man, as Callisthenes reminded Alexander, who, claiming hymns for himself, or suffering them to be addressed to him, implicitly accepted divine honours. In the gradual breaking down of the distinction between the human and the divine which marked the fallen days of Greece and Rome, with the usurping on the part of men of divine honours, the hymn came more and more to be applied to men; although this was not without remonstrance. When the word was assumed into the language of the Church, this essential distinction clung to it still. A “psalm” might be a De profundis, the story of man’s deliverance, or a commemoration of mercies received; and of a “spiritual song” much the same could be said; a “hymn” must always be more or less of a Magnificat, a direct address of praise and glory to God. Augustine in more places than one states the essentials of a hymn. 1. It must be sung. 2. It must be praise. 3. It must be to God. But though “hymn” was a word freely adopted in the fourth century, it nowhere occurs in the early Fathers, probably because it was so steeped in heathenism, so linked with profane associations, there were so many hymns to Zeus, Hermes, Aphrodite, &c., that the early Christians shrank from it. We may confidently assume that the hymns referred to in the text were direct addresses to God, such as Luke 1:46–55, 68–79; Acts 4:24, and that which Paul and Silas sang in the Philippian dungeon (Acts 16:25). How noble, how magnificent uninspired hymns could prove we have evidence in the Te Deum, in the Veni Creator Spiritus, and in many a later heritage which the Church has acquired. That the Church, brought at the time when St. Paul wrote into a new and marvellous world of realities, would be rich in these we might be sure, even if no evidence existed to this effect. Of such evidence, however, there is abundance (Eph. 5:14; 1 Tim. 3:16; 2 Tim. 2:11–14). And as it was quite impossible that the Church, releasing itself from the Jewish synagogue, should fall into the same mistake as some portions of the Reformed Church, we may be sure that it adopted into liturgic use, not psalms only, but also hymns, singing them to Christ as God (Pliny, Ep. x. 96); though this we may conclude, more largely in Churches gathered out of the heathen world than in those wherein a strong Jewish element existed.

III. Spiritual songs. Ὀδή is the only word of this group which the Apocalypse knows (5:9; 14:3; 15:3). St. Paul, on the two occasions when he employs it, adds “spiritual” to it, and this, no doubt, because “Ode” by itself might mean any kind of song, as of battle, of harvest, or festal, or hymeneal, while “psalm,” from its Hebrew use, and “hymn,” from its Greek, did not need such qualification. The epithet thus applied does not affirm that these odes were Divinely inspired, any more than the spiritual man is an inspired man (1 Cor. 3:1; Gal. 6:1), but only that they were such as were composed by spiritual men, and moved in the sphere of spiritual things. How are we, then, to distinguish these from the former two. If “psalms” represent the heritage of sacred song derived by the Christian Church from the Jewish, the “hymns and spiritual songs” will cover what further in the same kind it produced out of its own bosom; but with a difference. What the hymns were we have seen; but Christian thought and feeling will soon have expanded into a wider range of poetic utterances than those in which there is a direct address to the Deity. If we turn, e.g., to Herbert’s Temple, or Keble’s Christian Year, there are many poems in both, which, as certainly they are not “psalms,” so as little do they possess the characteristics of hymns. “Spiritual songs” these might be fitly called; even as in almost all our collections of so-called “hymns” there are not a few which by much juster title would bear this name. (Archbishop Trench.)

The poets of the New Testament:—

  1. The extent of the poetic endowment in the primitive Churches. That it was extensively bestowed we may conceive—1. From the frequent reference made to it (1 Cor. 14:26). In Corinth it was valued as a charismata (see also Eph. 5:19; James 5:13). 2. From the universality of the preternatural endowment. The gift of the Spirit was generally bestowed, and this would rouse the poetic faculty in all who had it, and consecrate it to sacred uses. 3. From the universality of excited feelings in the apostolic Churches. Most of those who embraced religion were subject to extraordinary excitement, and poetry is the language of excited feelings. To the unconverted this inspiration was madness or intoxication.
  2. Its character. Poetical productions have a character. They are fruitful or barren, corrupt or chaste. There is much in our great poets repugnant to our sense of propriety and which we would fain suppress; but the mere fact that these early Christian poets were under the power of the Spirit would show that their poetry must have been high and pure. There are three things which determine the value of poetry. 1. Intellectual merit. This was high with the primitive Christians. “Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly.” Christian truth is calculated to incite the highest feelings of the soul, and these lofty emotions would find utterance in “psalms and hymns and spiritual songs.” The profoundest feelings of our nature can only be expressed in poetry. The highest strains of the orator are poetical. 2. Moral purity. “Admonishing one another.” This implies a deep concern for each other’s moral welfare. The basis of this concern is personal morality, and issued in strains that were morally improving. 3. Poetic conception. The ideas of the primitive Christians were imaginative and creative.

III. Its utility. Every Divine gift is bestowed for a useful purpose. What is the use of this? 1. For personal enjoyment. The true poet lives in a creation of his own, and in the deepest solitude he communes with the infinite source of light, life, love, and beauty. “Poetry,” said Coleridge, “has been to me its own exceeding great reward. It has soothed my affliction, it has endeared solitude, and it has given me the habit of wishing to discover the good and beautiful in all that surrounds me.” 2. As an element in public worship. Nothing adorns, enlivens, and augments the interest of public worship more than music. It secures the harmony of hearts as well as of voices. 3. It is of social utility. Poetry has exercised a powerful influence on society in all ages, for consolation, inspiration, &c. (P. L. Davies, M.A.)

The service of song:—

  1. The duty. 1. Singing is God’s ordinance, binding all sorts of men (Eph. 6:19; James 5:13; Psa. 66:1–2; 92:1; 135:3). This is a part of our piety, and is a most comely thing. 2. A Christian should recreate himself chiefly this way (James 5:13). God does not allow us to shoulder out this with other recreations. 3. We should sing in our houses as well as in our Churches. (1) For daily exercise (Psa. 101:1–2). (2) When Christians meet together (1 Cor. 14:26; Eph. 5:19).
  2. The manner. 1. We should teach and admonish by singing, and that—(1) ourselves, by considering the matter. (2) Others, as ministers in appointing hymns for the congregation, or masters of the family, or when Christians meet, there should be choice of such psalms as may comfort or rebuke according to occasion (1 Cor. 14:26). 2. We must sing with grace. This is diversely interpreted; some understand it of the dexterity that should be used in singing; others of the comeliness, right order, reverence, or delight of the heart; others of thanksgiving. But I think that to sing with grace is to exercise the graces of the heart in singing, i.e., with holy joy (Psa. 9:2); trust in God’s mercies (Psa. 13:5); a holy commemoration of God’s benefits (Psa. 47:6); yea, with the desire of our hearts that our singing may be acceptable (Psa. 104:33–34). 3. We must sing with our hearts, not with our tongues only for ostentation. To sing with the heart is to sing with the understanding (Psa. 47:7; 1 Cor. 14:14), with sense and feeling. Hence we are said to prepare our hearts before we sing (Psa. 57:7). Then we must sing earnestly and awake out of our lethargy (Psa. 57:8). 4. We must sing to the Lord (Eph. 5:19), both to God’s glory and with a sense of His presence, and upon a holy remembrance of His blessings.

III. The uses. 1. For instruction. When we are merry to sing psalms (James 5:13), yea, to account this a heavenly melody (Eph. 5:19). 2. For reproof of such as delight in profane songs. (N. Byfield.)

The conditions of the service of song:—

  1. Psalms, &c., must be spiritual. 1. As to the origin. As Moses, David, and others under the impulse of the Holy Spirit, composed their psalms, &c., so we, whether we sing the same or others, ought to do it under the same direction (Eph. 5:18, 19). 2. As to matter: they treat of spiritual things, relating to the glory of God and our salvation; not of secular and vain matters.
  2. They must be sung with grace. 1. With gratitude. The word sometimes means this (1 Cor. 15:57; 2 Cor. 2:14). Gratitude is not improperly joined to songs; because we are moved to sing in joyous and prosperous circumstances, in which condition thankfulness is binding and necessary. 2. With gracious affability, which conveys both pleasure and utility to the hearers; so that what Horace says concerning poets may be said of these spiritual songs. “They would both profit and delight.” So the word means in chap. 4:6, and Eph. 4:29.

III. They must be sung in the heart, i.e., from the inmost affection. And rightly is an ardent emotion required, for the action of singing declares the inward exultation of the heart. He therefore acts the hypocrite who sings with the heart asleep. Hence David not only tunes his voice to the harp, but his voice before either (Psa. 57:7–8). So Mary (Luke 1:46–47). Do not think one thing and sing another.

  1. They must be sung unto the Lord. The songs of Christians ought not to aim at promoting dissoluteness or gain; but to be employed in celebrating the praises of the Redeemer. Corollaries: 1. The custom of singing is useful, and is to be adopted in the assembling of Christians, as well in public as in private. 2. It is so to be performed, that they who hear may from thence derive spiritual pleasure and edification. Therefore farewell to all nugatory, and much more to impure songs. 3. In singing it ought to be our especial care that the heart be affected; they who neglect this, may perhaps please men by an artificial sweetness of voice, but they will displease God by an odious impurity of heart. 4. What things are done for cheerfulness and relaxation of the mind by Christians, ought to be of such a kind as are agreeable to Christ and religion: we must therefore detest the madness of those who cannot be cheerful without the reproach of Christ and the ridicule of religion. (Bp. Davenant.)

The service of song a means of Christian edification:—Whenever a great quickening of religious life comes, a great burst of Christian song comes with it. The mediæval Latin hymns cluster round the early pure days of the monastic orders; Luther’s rough stormy hymns were as powerful as his treatises; the mystic tenderness and rapture of Charles Wesley have become the possession of the whole Church. The early hymns were of a dogmatic character. No doubt just as in many a missionary Church a hymn is found to be the best vehicle for conveying the truth, so it was in these early Churches, which were made up largely of slaves and women—both uneducated. “Singing the gospel” is a very old invention though the name be new. In these early communities Paul said, “Every one of you hath a psalm, a doctrine.” If a man had some fragment of an old psalm, or some strain that had come fresh from the Christian heart, he might sing it, and his brethren would listen. We do not have that sort of psalmody now. But what a long way we have travelled from it to a modern congregation, standing with books that they scarcely look at, and “worshipping” in a hymn which half of them do not open their mouths to sing at all, and the other half do in a voice inaudible three pews off. (A. Maclaren, D.D.) The hymnology of the Church has from the first been a most important element in her holy progress and means of usefulness. A large part of the Bible is poetry. Instruction thus conveyed aids the memory and makes a greater impression on the mind. How constantly did David find relief in expressing his hopes and fears, his joys and sorrows in song; and in the record of his experience how precious is the boon he has left for the instruction and encouragement of God’s children in all ages. There was a special impressiveness in the use of psalms and hymns in the early Church. The first forms of literature in every country and in great national movements are for the most part in song. Thus it was in Greece; thus it was in Scotland. Facts of history, deeds of prowess, wonderful providences, are handed down in song, and are in this form better remembered and more easily preserved. In our own day, with the power of the printing press, this may not be so necessary; but when books had to be copied in MS., and books were scanty, the citation of song and psalm formed an important element of instruction. It has been said, by a well-known author, that if he were allowed to make the songs of a nation, he cared not who made the laws. The hymns of the Church have often been as the very shrine of spiritual life, for the preservation of doctrine, and the means of progress. How many cares have been relieved by some well-known hymn? How many Christians have crossed the river strong in the faith with the words of some precious stanza on their tongues which they learnt in the Sunday school? (J. Spence, D.D.) Singing with grace in your hearts unto the Lord.—Phrygia was proverbially a land of music. A music of wild excitement was used in the worship of Cybele, and of Salazion, the Phrygian Dionysos. Hence St. Paul might be the more anxious that Christian singing should be sweet and graceful in a Phryian Church. For a deep feeling of anxiety on the part of a ruler in the ancient Church that sacred song should be beautiful, see the story how Ignatius brought back the melody of angels heard in vision to his Church at Antioch (Socrates, Hist. vi. 8). Heartfelt singing is not voiceless singing (Psa. 111:1). The Psalmist’s praise was in his heart, but it must have been vocal also, for it was such praise as is offered in the “assembly.” The three conditions of sacred song are sweetness of vocal expression, fulness of inward devotion, direction to a Divine object. These are expressed in this clause. (1) As to outward expression—“gracefully, sweetly, so as to give pleasure and be attractive.” (2) As to inward devotion—“heartfelt.” (3) As to the Being addressed—“to the Lord.” The clue to the real meaning of the passage is to bear in mind that the apostle is speaking of singing as a Church duty, a part of the Church’s corporate life, a declaration of peace among her children, and a means of edification. The recognition of sweetness and pleasingness as an element of public worship is very interesting and important. Such care for singing, again, is quite of a piece with Paul’s high ideal of womanly grace and beauty in youth (1 Cor. 11:15), priestlike dignity in age (Titus 2:3), with his recognition of things “lovely” (Phil. 4:3), with his appeal to primary æsthetic instincts (1 Cor. 11:13), with his horror of “confusion” in public worship (1 Cor. 14:33), with the word for a grave and majestic beauty in public service expressed in that great foundation-rubric (1 Cor. 14:40). It shows how thoughtfully he considered local circumstances, and adapted his lessons to them. Phrygian music was apt to become the accompaniment of the passionate and unmanly wailing of Asian barbarism. As Plato says, “The Phrygian strain was adapted for sacred rites and fanatical excitement, being of almost frenzied wildness.” (Bp. Alexander.)

Power of a hymn:—On one of the days when President Garfield lay dying at the seaside, he was a little better, and was permitted to sit by the window, while Mrs. Garfield was in the adjoining room. Love, hope, and gratitude filled her heart as she sang the hymn commencing “Guide me, O Thou great Jehovah!” As the soft and plaintive notes floated into the sick chamber, the President turned his eyes up to Dr. Bliss, and asked, “Is that Crete” “Yes,” replied the doctor; “it is Mrs. Garfield.” “Quick, open the door a little,” anxiously responded the sick man. Dr. Bliss opened the door, and after listening a few moments Mr. Garfield exclaimed, as the large tears coursed down his sunken cheeks, “Glorious, Bliss, isn’t it?” (W. Baxendale.)

Power of a hymn:—A little boy came to one of our city missionaries, and holding out a dirty and well-worn bit of printed paper, said, “Please, sir, father sent me to get a clean paper like that.” Taking it from his hand the missionary found it was a bill with the hymn “Just as I am” printed upon it. He looked down into the little earnest face and asked the boy where he got it, and why he wanted a clean copy. “We found it, sir, in sister’s pocket after she died; and she used to sing it all the time she was sick, and loved it so much that father wanted to get a clean one to put in a frame to hang up. Won’t you give us one, sir?” (G. F. Pentecost, D.D.)

Saved by a hymn:—On board the ill-fated steamer Seawanhaka was one of the Fisk University singers. Before leaving the burning steamer and committing himself to the merciless waves, he carefully fastened upon himself and his wife life preservers. Some one cruelly dragged away that of his wife, leaving her without hope, except as she could cling to her husband. This she did, placing her hands firmly on his shoulders, and resting there until, her strength becoming exhausted, she said, “I can hold on no longer!” “Try a little longer,” was the response of the wearied and agonized husband, “let us sing ‘Rock of Ages.’ ” And as the sweet strains floated over the troubled waters, reaching the ears of the sinking and dying, little did they know, those sweet singers of Israel, whom they comforted. But, lo! as they sang, one after another of the exhausted ones were seen raising their heads above the overwhelming waves, joining with a last effort in the sweet, dying, pleading prayer, “Rock of Ages, cleft for me,” &c. With the song seemed to come strength; another and yet another was encouraged to renewed effort. Soon in the distance a boat was seen approaching! Could they hold out a little longer? Singing still, they tried, and soon with superhuman strength laid hold of the lifeboat, upon which they were borne in safety to land. This is no fiction; it was related by the singer himself, who said he believed Toplady’s sweet “Rock of Ages” saved many another besides himself and wife. And this was only salvation from temporal death I But, methinks, from the bright world yonder the good Toplady must be rejoicing that God ever taught him to write that hymn, which has helped to save so many from eternal death, as, catching its spirit, they have learned to cast themselves alone for help on that dear “Rock of Ages,”—cleft, sinner, for them, for you, and for me, and which ever stands rent asunder that it may shelter those who utter the cry, “Let me hide myself in Thee.” (Canadian Baptist).[16]

Let the word of Christ dwell in you (verse 16)

As usual in this letter Paul takes every opportunity to stress the centrality and sufficiency of Christ. Elsewhere, in a parallel passage, he can write to the believers about letting the Holy Spirit fill them. In Paul’s teaching there is never any question of Word and Spirit being separately experienced. The coming of the Word of God in the gospel is the coming of the Spirit, and the coming of the Spirit is the coming of the living and abiding Word of God. Therefore, to enjoy the fullness of the Spirit, a Christian must necessarily be filled with the word of Christ.

A Christian community is happy, therefore, if the word of Christ is richly, that is abundantly, available. But it may well be that the visitors looked to other sources by which a ‘word’ from God might come their way (cf. 2:4, 18, 20–22). If so (and how else did they get their authoritative messages?), this must have greatly influenced the teaching they gave, and the type of songs they used for praise: instead of being characterized by the word of Christ, there would be a significant admixture of human doctrines, i.e. of religious traditionalism.

For the apostle, therefore, the word of Christ must control all the ministries of the local church. First, there is the ministry of teaching. It is intriguing, in view of modern interest in lay ministry, that the work of teaching and admonishing, described in 1:28 as Paul’s major function, is here said to be the work of the local congregation, the people (laos) of God in one place. How could it be otherwise? A responsibility so vast must be shared. But it will not be carried out in all wisdom, that is with sufficient balance and relevance (1:9ff.) if the local congregation itself is not firmly under the word of Christ.

Secondly, there is the ministry of praise. Paul likes to pile synonyms together, although words that appear synonymous (e.g. as here, teach and admonish) sometimes carry different emphases. In the case of psalms and hymns and spiritual songs we shall be wise not to attempt a differentiation, for since the time of Jerome the problem has been debated, and is still unsolved! What is at issue here is the content of the young church’s hymns. The history of Christian awakening shows that whenever the word of Christ is recovered, it is received with great joy, a joy that can fully express itself only with songs of praise. What the apostle is concerned to see is that these songs are consistent with the word of Christ, or as we are bound to say nowadays, scriptural. A fair test of this is to be found by whether or not they echo a heartfelt spirit of thankfulness: genuine Christian praise is not primarily a vehicle for the expression of spiritual aspirations and experiences, so much as a celebration of God’s mighty acts in Christ. Lohse has an interesting comment on the normal translation:

This translation cannot account for the definite article which specifies charis as God’s bestowal of grace which gives life to the believers. The phrase en tē chariti reminds the readers of sola gratia (by grace alone) which is the sole basis of existence and creates the realm in which Christian life can exist and develop. This is the reason why God is praised.

Very well. A gospel of grace (1:6) must be echoed by songs of gratitude for grace.[17]

16. The tasks Paul described as his own in 1:28 are not his alone: they are for the whole church, as you teach and admonish one another, in the mutual forgiveness and trust of verses 12–15. This activity is further described in two ways. First, it is to be achieved by letting the word of Christ dwell in you richly. The first phrase could refer to the teaching about Jesus Christ, stories such as we now have in the Gospels; and certainly there is something attractively wholesome in Williams’ comment, ‘be at home in the Gospel story, and let it be at home in you, so that it may be always ready for use’. But it more likely refers to the gospel message announcing what God has done in and through Christ, which was set out in 1:15–20 and applied to the Colossian situation in 2:6ff.; or, just possibly, to the word which Christ speaks in the present by his Spirit. None of these possibilities, of course, should be played off against another: the gospel message and the word given in the present are both recognized as authentic by their conformity with the man Jesus himself. This word is to dwell in them ‘richly’: the church is to be stocked with good teaching as a palace is filled with treasures. The teaching is to be with all wisdom: the ‘word’ concerns Christ, Wisdom himself (2:3, etc.), and will be characterized by wisdom in the teachers.

This ministry of teaching and admonishing is to be part of a life of thankfulness that overflows into song: as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. Linking the two parts of the verse in this way suggests that the singing is not the sole or primary means of teaching, though Christian hymns and songs have often been a powerful means of implanting and clarifying Christian truth. Rather, the ministry of instruction should always be seen as one part of a total life characterized by grateful worship. ‘To God’ could go with ‘singing’ instead of ‘gratitude’. But niv and rsv probably express Paul’s meaning. ‘In your hearts’ gives the location, not of the singing (though it should of course be heartfelt), but of the gratitude.

The three different categories of song in this verse are not easy to distinguish. Older writers suggested that ‘psalms’ were probably accompanied, and that ‘songs’, being a more general word than ‘hymns’, is qualified with the adjective ‘spiritual’ to distinguish it from secular singing. ‘Psalms’ may actually refer to the Christian use of the Old Testament psalter, but should not be restricted to that; the early church was prolific in its adaptation of Old Testament themes to Christian use (see e.g. Rev. 5:9–10; 15:3–4, etc.), and in its composition of new material (see, perhaps, Phil. 2:6–11; Col. 1:15–20; 1 Tim. 3:16). Together these three terms indicate a variety and richness of Christian singing which should neither be stereotyped into one mould nor restricted simply to weekly public worship.[18]

16. Let the word of Christ dwell. He would have the doctrine of the gospel be familiarly known by them. Hence we may infer by what spirit those are actuated in the present day, who cruelly interdict the Christian people from making use of it, and furiously vociferate, that no pestilence is more to be dreaded, than that the reading of the Scriptures should be thrown open to the common people. For, unquestionably, Paul here addresses men and women of all ranks; nor would he simply have them take a slight taste merely of the word of Christ, but exhorts that it should dwell in them; that is, that it should have a settled abode, and that largely, that they may make it their aim to advance and in crease more and more every day. As, however, the desire of learning is extravagant on the part of many, while they pervert the word of the Lord for their own ambition, or for vain curiosity, or in some way corrupt it, he on this account adds, in all wisdom—that, being instructed by it, we may be wise as we ought to be.

Farther, he gives a short definition of this wisdom—that the Colossians teach one another. Teaching is taken here to mean profitable instruction, which tends to edification, as in Romans 12:7—He that teacheth, on teaching; also in Timothy—“All Scripture is profitable for teaching.” (2 Tim. 3:16.) This is the true use of Christ’s word. As, however, doctrine is sometimes in itself cold, and, as one says, when it is simply shewn what is right, virtue is praised2 and left to starve, he adds at the same time admonition, which is, as it were, a confirmation of doctrine and incitement to it. Nor does he mean that the word of Christ ought to be of benefit merely to individuals, that they may teach themselves, but he requires mutual teaching and admonition.

Psalms, hymns. He does not restrict the word of Christ to these particular departments, but rather intimates that all our communications should be adapted to edification, that even those which tend to hilarity may have no empty savour. “Leave to unbelievers that foolish delight which they take from ludicrous and frivolous jests and witticisms; and let your communications, not merely those that are grave, but those also that are joyful and exhilarating, contain something profitable. In place of their obscene, or at least barely modest and decent songs, it becomes you to make use of hymns and songs that sound forth God’s praise.” Farther, under these three terms he includes all kinds of songs. They are commonly distinguished in this way—that a psalm is that, in the singing of which some musical instrument besides the tongue is made use of: a hymn is properly a song of praise, whether it be sung simply with the voice or otherwise; while an ode contains not merely praises, but exhortations and other matters. He would have the songs of Christians, however, to be spiritual, not made up of frivolities and worthless trifles. For this has a connection with his argument.

The clause, in grace, Chrysostom explains in different ways. I, however, take it simply, as also afterwards, in chapter 4:6, where he says, “Let your speech be seasoned with salt, in grace,” that is, by way of a dexterity that may be agreeable, and may please the hearers by its profitableness, so that it may be opposed to buffoonery and similar trifles.

Singing in your hearts. This relates to disposition; for as we ought to stir up others, so we ought also to sing from the heart, that there may not be merely an external sound with the mouth. At the same time, we must not understand it as though he would have every one sing inwardly to himself, but he would have both conjoined, provided the heart goes before the tongue.[19]

3:16 / Here is a verse loaded with important truths. Paul has just spoken about the peace of Christ that is to rule in the believers’ hearts (3:15). Now he turns to another aspect of Christ, namely, the word of Christ. This phrase, taken as an objective genitive in Greek, means the words about Christ, that is, the gospel.

The word of Christ is to dwell within the believer and can do so either richly or feebly. Although the gospel certainly is “rich” in meaning, content, and so on, the Greek adverb richly definitely is intended to characterize the manner in which Christ’s message is to inhabit the believer: Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly.

The indwelling word will manifest itself in two ways: First, the Colossians are exhorted to teach and admonish one another with all wisdom. This is a pedagogical process (cf. 1:28) in which all members share responsibility. In light of Paul’s ministry as a teacher and Epaphras’ as a transmitter of tradition, this verse should not be taken to imply a deficiency in these church leaders.

The second manifestation of the word of Christ is in worship. Considerable research has gone into analyzing the different components mentioned, so it is not unusual for commentators to suggest that psalms (psalmois) may have their heritage in the Old Testament; hymns (hymnois) could include psalms but may be more Christian songs of praise to God or Christ; spiritual songs (ōdais) may be musical compositions originating from ecstatic utterances under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit (cf. 1 Cor. 14:16).

On the basis of this passage and a similar one in Ephesians 5:19, it is not possible to establish distinctions with any precision, even though there is a certain diversity about the three. It does help one to appreciate both the richness of Christian hymnody even at this early stage of the church’s life and the function of music within the context of worship. When such music is grounded in the word of God (i.e., doctrinal in content), it definitely serves a teaching and instructional function within the body.

Singing is to be expressed in a spirit of gratitude. Music may edify the members of a congregation, but its primary function is to render thanks to God. The word translated gratitude is charis, not the more common eucharistia. charis can also mean “grace,” and with the inclusion of the article (en tē chariti), Paul may be referring to the grace of God. When Christians sing “in the grace,” they sing by virtue of the grace of God which is theirs. (The niv rightly uses God rather than “Lord,” which has weaker manuscript evidence and probably represents an attempt to harmonize it with Eph. 5:19.)[20]

16 Paul continues with “Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly,” which might sound either semimystical or individualistic until one reads the next line: “as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.”162 That is to say, the message dwells among the fellowship as the members exercise a vigorous and comprehensive ministry of the Word. Like God and the Spirit and Christ (cf. 2 Cor 6:16; Rom 8:11), the “message” is to take up residence among the Colossians. Paul believes that logos/word becomes a dynamic reality that pervades a community.

The verse opens in Greek with “The message of Christ.” What is the “message” of Christ? Since the Greek term is logos (see above at 1:5) and since logos is translated “word,” and since “word” to many means “Word of God” as in Bible, many (over-and under-) interpret this verse to be a ministry of the Bible. For a succinct and comprehensive summary of the meaning of logos in the New Testament, I quote from the new edition of New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology and Exegesis, edited afresh by Moisés Silva:

The term’s wide semantic range is evident in the NT, where it can refer to a statement or utterance (Matt 5:37; 12:32; 15:12; Luke 20:20), a question (Matt 21:24), a command (Luke 4:36), a report or rumor (Matt 28:15; Mark 1:45; Luke 5:15; Acts 11:22), a discourse (Matt 15:12), a message or teaching (Luke 4:32; 10:39; John 4:41; 17:20; 1 Cor 15:2), oral as opp. to written communication (Acts 15:27; 2 Cor 10:10), a written book (Acts 1:1), a citation from Scripture (1 Cor 15:54), and mere words as opp. to power and action (1 Cor 4:19; 1 Thess 1:5).… Special significance attaches to the use of logos with ref. to divine revelation, to the words spoken by and about Jesus, and to Jesus himself as the Word.

Logos describes verbal communication: In the New Testament logos acquires a special gospel kind of communication, Jesus teaches in essence the logos about the kingdom of God, and inasmuch as Jesus is the essence of the gospel (1 Cor 15:3–8), Jesus himself is the Logos (John 1:1–14). Why? Back to the notion of “verbal communication,” because he is the express communication of the Father to the world about God’s plan for the world and its redemption through the Son. Hence, the logos “of Christ” in our passage will refer to the message or gospel-preaching about Jesus as the Messiah-King, Lord, and Savior (1:5, 25; 4:3). The logos was favored for early Christian gospeling about Jesus (e.g., Gal 6:6; 1 Cor 14:36; 2 Cor 2:17; cf. Acts 2:40–41; 10:36, 44; 12:24; 16:6; 17:11). In our context one has to note what Paul said of the gospel to the Corinthians, namely, that it was the “logos of reconciliation” (2 Cor 5:19), and Col 1:20 expands this thought to cosmic reconciliation in Christ. The implication of this expression in Col 3:16 is that their speaking to one another takes on a Christocentric shape in subject matter. Put in modern terms, the discussion is not so much about the Bible but what it says about Christ, whom the Bible serves and to whom the Bible points. Such a view does not diminish the significance of the Bible but reveals the subject matter of the Bible.

The logos is to indwell them “richly” (NIV), which refers to the manifest ways the logos is to take root among them as specified in the words that follow: “as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.” I prefer the term “abundantly” to “richly.” As God provides abundantly (1 Tim 6:17) and as the Spirit is poured out abundantly through King Jesus (Titus 3:6), so the logos indwells the Colossian fellowship abundantly—that is, pervading everything in all ways.

The specifics of the indwelling logos are now spelled out in these terms: first, teaching and admonishing are the primary logos acts within the fellowship, and second, they occur in psalms, hymns, and Spirit-prompted songs. This is a rare glimpse into the nature of early Christian corporate gatherings. What Paul says in 1 Cor 14:26 resembles what is said here: “What then shall we say, brothers and sisters? When you come together, each of you has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. Everything must be done so that the church may be built up.”

And so does Eph 5:18–20: “Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

But in Colossians we have a logos saturation, a Christ-shaped communication among the people of God and performed by each in the congregation (“one another”). At Col 1:28 much the same was said about the logos ministry of Paul and Timothy, and that verse gives us an orientation to our verse: “He is the one we proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ.”

Again, we encounter a Christocentric logos ministry of both teaching and admonishing, while 1:28 contained the teleology (“so that”) that sets the logos ministry in context. Our verse has less concern with that teleology and more of a concern with the means of the teaching and admonishing (3:17 will hint at teleology). To remind of what was said at 1:28, “teach and admonish” in 3:16 can overlap in meaning, so that admonishing is not just rebuking or warning but entails the kind of instruction that reminds and reveals and rebukes (or warns) and gets someone’s mind in proper shape (see 1 Thess 5:12, 14; 2 Thess 3:15; 1 Cor 4:14; Rom 15:14). If “admonish” focuses on the warning side of ecclesial catechesis, the term “teaching” focuses on the more informational, formational, and positive side of catechesis or paraenesis.171 This kind of “teaching” emphasizes both theological and moral instruction, the sort we find throughout Colossians. Most notably, Paul does not reserve teaching to one group of people (apostles, teachers, pastors, elders) but instead here reveals it to be a fellowship-wide activity. In context—unless somehow we can establish that his command of 3:16 applies only to males—this entails women teaching and admonishing men.

Their logos communication is “in all wisdom,” an expression much along the line of our comments at 1:9 and 1:28, with the added observation that Jesus himself is the incarnation of that wisdom (2:3). With the term “wisdom” Paul guides the Colossians to live in God’s world in God’s way, namely, in Christoformity—shaped by the life-giving and cosmos-reconciling grace in the life, death, resurrection, and exalted rule of Jesus. The sphere of the teaching and admonishment is the wisdom of knowing how to live a Christoform life.

Our instinct when it comes to instruction and admonishment is the classroom or the pulpit, if not an entire catechesis program, but Paul’s next words surprise: he envisions catechism of one another through song. This dialectical expression gets at the heart of Paul’s words: “If we regard the impartation of the word of Messiah as the goal of teaching, admonishing, and singing, then we are led to the conclusion that teaching is meant to take on a worshipful character while musical praise is to take on a didactic role in order to comprehensively impart the word. Christian teaching is not meant to be dry, but soaked in thankful praise. Similarly, singing is not purposed to be doctrinally benign but should comprise a pointer to the truth of Jesus Christ.” Colossians 1:15–20 fulfills such an expectation.

The terms for songs (psalms, hymns, songs) move from the classic Jewish prayer/songbook, the Psalms, to two terms with little distinction between them. Each term connotes singing unto the Lord as “songs from the Spirit,” so it is unlikely we should press distinctions between them.178 There is a debate about whether we should use “Spirit” or “spiritual songs” in our translations. The first term, “psalms,” refers to set songs in an already established singing or chanting tradition (the Psalms of the Old Testament) and very possibly accompanied by stringed instrument.180 Paul affirms the recitation or intoned chanting of the Psalms. “Hymns” refers to the growing poetic tradition about Christ in the earliest Christian churches (hence, Luke 1:46–55, 68–79; 2:29–32; Col 1:15–20; Phil 2:6–11). The third term (“songs”) is the least formal, and thus “songs from the Spirit [or spiritual]” may mean “spontaneous” or “inspired” or “charismatic” songs. A good example of such is 1 Macc 13:51: “On the twenty-third day of the second month, in the one hundred seventy-first year, the Jews entered it [the citadel at Jerusalem] with praise and palm branches, and with harps and cymbals and stringed instruments, and with hymns and songs, because a great enemy had been crushed and removed from Israel.”

But it is a mistake to think the word “spiritual” (CEB, rather than the NIV “from the Spirit”) in Col 3:16 can be divorced entirely from the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 14:15, 26; Eph 5:18–20) because what is “spiritual” for Paul is “Spirit-prompted” or “Spirit-ual.” So it is at least possible that glossolalic singing is in view (1 Cor 14:15). A solid case has been made that the songs contrast to the mystical music of the halakic mystics at Colossae (cf. 2:18–19, 23). With mystical music present in the heavenly tour in Testament of Job 48:3; 49:3; 50:1 and in the Apoc. Zeph. 8, Paul himself may have heard such music in his own ecstasies (1 Cor 13:1; 2 Cor 12:4). By anchoring songs in local worship, Paul grounds the Colossians in opposition to the heavenly mysticism of the opponents. The prepositional phrase “singing to God with gratitude” attached to “songs from the Spirit” is another bridge phrase: Does it attach itself to “songs from the Spirit” or to “singing to God” (NIV, CEB)? Once again there is no certainty, but I opt with the NIV and CEB in attaching it to “singing to God.” They are to praise187 God in a state of gratitude because of the cosmic reconciliation in which they are now participating. Furthermore, they are to do so “in their hearts,” which here refers to the depth of their praise.

Song in Pauline theology has an important role to play in communal catechesis, something known to many in discovering how much our theology has been shaped by songs. Nevertheless, we do tend to devalue music’s value for catechesis.[21]

16  What is meant by the injunction: “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly”? Does “in you” mean “within you” (as individual Christians) or “among you” (as a Christian community)? Perhaps it would be unwise to rule either alternative out completely, although the collective sense may be uppermost in view of the context. Let there be ample scope for the proclamation of the Christian message and the impartation of Christian teaching in their meetings. Christian teaching must be based on the teaching of Jesus himself; it must be unmistakably “the word of Christ.” It would “dwell richly” in their fellowship and in their hearts if they paid heed to what they heard, bowed to its authority, assimilated its lessons, and translated them into daily living.

The punctuation of this sentence is disputed, but it makes better sense if the phrase “in all wisdom” is attached to “teach and instruct” (not to “dwell richly”) and the words “in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs” modify the verb “singing” (and not “teach and instruct”).

The Colossian Christians, like those at Rome, should be able to instruct one another;151 but such instruction should be given wisely and tactfully. If wisdom or tact be absent, the instruction, however well intentioned, could provoke the opposite reaction to that which is designed.

Whatever view is taken of the punctuation or construction of the sentence, the collocation of the two participial clauses (as they are in the Greek text), “teaching and instructing …” and “singing …,” suggests that the singing might be a means of mutual edification as well as a vehicle of praise to God. In 1 Cor. 14:26 Paul insists that, when Christians come to their meetings prepared with a psalm or any other spiritual exercise, they must have regard to the essential requirements of general helpfulness and good order. In our present passage, as in the closely similar Eph. 5:19, antiphonal praise or solo singing at church meetings is probably recommended. We recall the younger Pliny’s report to the Emperor Trajan (A.D. 111–112) of the way in which Christians in Bithynia met on a fixed day before dawn and “recited an antiphonal hymn to Christ as God”; or Tertullian’s description eighty or ninety years later of the Christian love-feast at which, “after water for the hands and lights have been brought in, each is invited to sing to God in the presence of the others from what he knows of the holy scriptures or from his own heart.”154

It has been asked sometimes if a strict threefold classification of praise is signified in the mention of “psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs.” It is unlikely that any sharply demarcated division is intended, although the “psalms” might be drawn from the OT Psalter (which has supplied a chief vehicle for Christian praise from primitive times), the “hymns” might be Christian canticles (some of which are reproduced, in whole or in part, in the NT text), and the “spiritual songs” might be unpremeditated words sung “in the Spirit,”157 voicing holy aspirations.

Plainly, when early Christians came together for worship, they not only realized the presence of Christ in the breaking of the bread but also addressed prayers and praises to him in a manner which tacitly, and at times expressly, acknowledged him to be no less than God. If here the Colossian Christians are encouraged to sing in their hearts to God, the parallel Ephesian passage speaks of “singing and making melody in your hearts to the Lord” (meaning, presumably, Christ). The voice must express the praise of the heart if the singing is to be really addressed to God. Again, the necessity of a thankful spirit is emphasized, although the phrase rendered “with thanksgiving” might mean “with grace” or “in a state of grace.”[22]

16 The thankfulness to which Paul calls the Colossians was to be enthusiastically expressed in their corporate worship (cf. Lincoln, 648). Paul enjoins the assembly gathered for worship to “let the word of Christ dwell in [or among] [them] richly.” Like “peace of Christ” in v. 15, “word of Christ” is unparalleled in the NT (cf., however, 1 Th 1:8; 4:15: “the word of the Lord”). (Additionally, as with “the peace of Christ,” some later copyists altered “the word of Christ” to read “the word of God” or “the word of the Lord.”) While “the word of Christ” may refer to instruction proceeding from Christ (i.e., Jesus tradition), it more likely speaks of the message pertaining to Christ (i.e., the gospel; cf. 1:5, 29; so O’Brien, 206)—though arguably a wedge should not be driven too firmly between these alternatives (cf. Abbott, 290; Bruce, 157; Houlden, 207; Moule, 125; Dunn, 236). The proclamation of Christ, not the veneration of angels, was to be central in the Colossians’ worship (cf. Lincoln, 648; Dunn, 235–36). “The gospel is to have its gracious and glorious way in their lives” (O’Brien, 207).

The congregation is encouraged to let this word dwell, live, or abide richly in their midst as an operative, transformative force (cf. Harris, 167). How is it that “the word of Christ” is to make its home among the community? The answer appears to be, by means of the assembly’s ministry of teaching, admonishing, and singing. (The Greek syntax of this verse is complex and has occasioned much discussion [and confusion!] among commentators; cf. Moule, 125–26; Harris, 166–70.) Though Epaphras played a pivotal role in founding and instructing the Colossian assembly (1:7; 4:12; cf. Phm 23), he was not the only one who was meant to function in a teaching capacity. Notwithstanding the fact that Paul was an apostle grasped by God to admonish and teach all people in all wisdom (1:28), mutual, thoughtful, tactful instruction and admonition were privileges and responsibilities entrusted to the entire congregation (cf. Garland, 242; Lohse, 150–51).

It is possible that church members were meant to instruct and correct one another by means of “psalms and hymns and spiritual songs” (so NASB; cf. Eph 5:19). However, psalms, hymns, and songs may simply be descriptive of the various forms of congregational singing (so NIV). Even if one cannot say with certainty which reading is most likely on grammatical grounds (cf. Moule, 125; O’Brien, 208–9)—though I favor the NIV’s translation here (so also Dunn, 211, 237)—one may note that a positive, mutually reinforcing link is to exist between the church’s teaching and singing (cf. Bruce, 158; Houlden, 208; Lincoln, 649; Lohse, 151). The songs of the church can be both instructive/cognitive and responsive/emotive (cf. Lincoln, 651).

It is best not to try to differentiate too sharply among psalms (cf. 1 Co 14:26), hymns (cf. Ac 16:25; Heb 2:12), and songs (cf. Rev 5:9; 14:3; 15:3; so, rightly, Garland, 212; O’Brien, 209; Lohse, 151). From our vantage point, these three terms appear to be more or less synonymous (so also Dunn, 238–39, who nonetheless contends that “some range of songs is presumably in view, unless we assume that the authors are being needlessly tautologous”; cf. Lincoln, 649, who notes, “They are the three most common terms for religious songs in the LXX, where they are used interchangeably”). Regardless of those nuances now lost on us, these songs are depicted as “spiritual.” (Whether or not the adjective pneumatikos, “spiritual,” GK 4461, is meant to modify “psalms,” “hymns,” and “songs,” or merely “songs,” is an open question, though it arguably applies to all three nouns [so also O’Brien, 210; Lincoln, 649; Lohse, 151].) Some of these songs were probably set (cf. 1:15–20 [?]), while others were likely spontaneous and even glossalalic (cf. Dunn, 239). Taken together, these three terms reveal the rich variety of praise in the worship of the Pauline churches in particular, if not of the early church in general. Whatever the precise form and content of these songs, they were to be sung with a thankful or grateful heart toward God. Gratitude should well up within believers for the grace that God has bestowed on them in the Beloved (cf. Lohse, 152).[23]

The Word of Christ

Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. (3:16)

The word of Christ refers to the revelation He brought into the world, which is Scripture. Peace and thankfulness, as well as unity, love, and all the required virtues, flow from a mind controlled by Scripture. Dwell is from enoikeō and means “to live in,” or “to be at home.” Paul calls upon believers to let the Word take up residence and be at home in their lives. Plousiōs (richly) could also be translated “abundantly or extravagantly rich.” The truths of Scripture should permeate every aspect of the believer’s life and govern every thought, word, and deed. The Word dwells in us when we hear it (Matt. 13:9), handle it (2 Tim. 2:15), hide it (Ps. 119:11), and hold it fast (Phil. 2:16). To do those things, the Christian must read, study, and live the Word. To let the word of Christ richly dwell is identical to being filled with the Spirit (cf. Eph. 5:18). The Word in the heart and mind is the handle by which the Spirit turns the will. It is clear that these two concepts are identical because the passages that follow each are so similar.

Colossians 3:18–4:1 is a more brief parallel to Ephesians 5:19–6:9. The result of being filled with the Holy Spirit is the same as the result of letting the Word dwell in one’s life richly. Therefore, the two are the same spiritual reality viewed from two sides. To be filled with the Spirit is to be controlled by His Word. To have the Word dwelling richly is to be controlled by His Spirit. Since the Holy Spirit is the author and the power of the Word, the expressions are interchangeable.

Paul then mentions two specific results of the Word of Christ dwelling in the believer, one positive and the other negative: with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another. Teaching is the impartation of positive truth. Admonishing is the negative side of teaching. It means to warn people of the consequences of their behavior. Both are the result of a life overflowing with the Word of Christ.

Having the Word of Christ richly dwell in us produces not only information, but also emotion. It generates psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, and singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. Psalms were taken from the Old Testament psalter, the book of Psalms. They sang psalms put to music, much as we do today. Hymns were expressions of praise to God. It is thought that some portions of the New Testament (such as Col. 1:15–20 and Phil. 2:6–11) were originally hymns sung in the early church. Spiritual songs emphasized testimony (cf. Rev. 5:9–10). They express in song what God has done for us. (For more details on this theme, see my commentary, Ephesians, MacArthur New Testament Commentary [Chicago: Moody, 1986].)

Commentators are divided on whether chariti (thankfulness) should be translated “thankfulness” (as in the NIV and NASB) or “grace” (As in the KJV). Perhaps its use here encompasses both ideas: believers sing out of thankfulness for God’s grace. When Paul tells believers to sing in your hearts he does not mean not to sing with the voice. His concern is that the heart agree with the mouth (cf. Amos 5:23). Singing is to be directed to God as praise and worship offered to Him for His pleasure and glory. That it is edifying to believers is a byproduct of its main purpose.[24]

[1] Köstenberger, A. J. (2017). Colossians. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1898). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

[2] Criswell, W. A., Patterson, P., Clendenen, E. R., Akin, D. L., Chamberlin, M., Patterson, D. K., & Pogue, J. (Eds.). (1991). Believer’s Study Bible (electronic ed., Col 3:16). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[3] Sproul, R. C. (Ed.). (2005). The Reformation Study Bible: English Standard Version (p. 1733). Orlando, FL; Lake Mary, FL: Ligonier Ministries.

[4] Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Col 3:16). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

[5] Crossway Bibles. (2008). The ESV Study Bible (p. 2299). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[6] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). The MacArthur study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Col 3:16). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[7] Stanley, C. F. (2005). The Charles F. Stanley life principles Bible: New King James Version (Col 3:16). Nashville, TN: Nelson Bibles.

[8] Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (1999). Nelson’s new illustrated Bible commentary (p. 1567). Nashville: T. Nelson Publishers.

[9] Leach, S. R. (2010). The Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Colossians. In R. N. Wilkin (Ed.), The Grace New Testament Commentary (p. 924). Denton, TX: Grace Evangelical Society.

[10] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 2012). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[11] Geisler, N. L. (1985). Colossians. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 2, p. 682). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

[12] O’Brien, P. T. (1994). Colossians. In D. A. Carson, R. T. France, J. A. Motyer, & G. J. Wenham (Eds.), New Bible commentary: 21st century edition (4th ed., p. 1274). Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity Press.

[13] Anders, M. (1999). Galatians-Colossians (Vol. 8, pp. 331–332). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

[14] Utley, R. J. (1997). Paul Bound, the Gospel Unbound: Letters from Prison (Colossians, Ephesians and Philemon, then later, Philippians) (Vol. Volume 8, p. 45). Marshall, TX: Bible Lessons International.

[15] Hendriksen, W., & Kistemaker, S. J. (1953–2001). Exposition of Colossians and Philemon (Vol. 6, pp. 160–163). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

[16] Exell, J. S. (n.d.). The Biblical Illustrator: Philippians–Colossians (Vol. 2, pp. 238–246). New York; Chicago; Toronto; London; Edinburgh: Fleming H. Revell Company.

[17] Lucas, R. C. (1980). Fullness & freedom: the message of Colossians & Philemon (pp. 154–155). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

[18] Wright, N. T. (1986). Colossians and Philemon: an introduction and commentary (Vol. 12, pp. 148–149). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

[19] Calvin, J., & Pringle, J. (2010). Commentaries on the Epistles of Paul the Apostle to the Philippians, Colossians, and Thessalonians (pp. 216–218). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

[20] Patzia, A. G. (2011). Ephesians, Colossians, Philemon (pp. 81–82). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[21] McKnight, S. (2018). The Letter to the Colossians. (N. B. Stonehouse, F. F. Bruce, G. D. Fee, & J. B. Green, Eds.) (pp. 328–333). Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company.

[22] Bruce, F. F. (1984). The Epistles to the Colossians, to Philemon, and to the Ephesians (pp. 157–159). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

[23] Still, T. D. (2006). Colossians. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Ephesians–Philemon (Revised Edition) (Vol. 12, pp. 333–334). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[24] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1992). Colossians (pp. 159–160). Chicago: Moody Press.

Dead to Sin Alive to God in Christ Jesus | Possessing the Treasure

by Mike Ratliff

8 Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, 9 knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over Him. 10 For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. 11 Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Romans 6:8-11 (NASB) 

Instead of Christians being about religiosity in any form, the Bible clearly shows something entirely different in the purpose and mission of our Lord Jesus Christ. In Romans 1-5 the Apostle Paul makes it very clear that there is no person born of Adam who deserves anything, but eternal damnation from God because of his or her sin. However, God is merciful and justifies those whom He gives the gift of faith like Abraham. However, there is still the sin problem and Paul explains how our Lord Jesus’ sacrifice on the Cross paid the penalty for everyone who will believe the Gospel by faith.  Those who believe are justified by faith according to the grace of God, not according to their works. The righteousness of Christ is imputed to their account as their unrighteousness was imputed to Christ’s account as He hung on the Cross. This salvation is free and requires no law keeping on our part because Christ also fulfilled the Law for us. There are some who say this form of doctrine opens the door for licentiousness, that is, that Christians will be free to live sinfully because they are in Christ and can live any way they want. Is that what Paul taught?

1 What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? 2 May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it? 3 Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? 4 Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. Romans 6:1-4 (NASB) 

This is very clear. The Gospel Paul preached was not to live sinfully so that grace may abound. The Greek verb tenses here are Future Tense so he was speaking hypothetically. What is the reason that Paul gives for the argument to be rubbish? Those who are truly baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death. These are aorist, indicative, passive verbs that tell us that this is something done by God not us. Why were we baptized into Christ’s death? Consider the following passage from Ephesians.

20 But you did not learn Christ in this way, 21 if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Jesus, 22 that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, 23 and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth. Ephesians 4:20-24 (NASB) 

Here is v24 from the NA28 Greek text, “καὶ ἐνδύσασθαι τὸν καινὸν ἄνθρωπον τὸν κατὰ θεὸν κτισθέντα ἐν δικαιοσύνῃ καὶ ὁσιότητι τῆς ἀληθείας.“

Here is my personal translation, “and to put on the new man, which has been created according to the likeness of God in righteousness and holiness of the truth.” The words “new man” is translating καινὸν ἄνθρωπον. Καινὸν is the accusative, singular form of καινός (kainos), which refers to something new in quality as distinguished from something that is old and worn out. Ανθρωπον is the accusative, singular form of ἄνθρωπος (anthrōpos), which speaks of man as a “species” or race. It also refers not to a mere part of a man, but the whole man, every aspect of him.

The new man is something that has not existed before. He is inwardly transformed, which produces new character and new habits.

17 Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NASB) 

My brethren, all in Christ are new creations. We were baptized into Christ’s death. We are to live this life dead to this world, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.

5 For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, 6 knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; 7 for he who has died is freed from sin.
8 Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, 9 knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over Him. 10 For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. 11 Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.
12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts, 13 and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. 14 For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace. Romans 6:5-14 (NASB) 

This is to be our focus as we make disciples from all nations. As we obey the Great commission, we obey this as God sanctifies us through His cleansing fires. Yes, we do often become the walking wounded through this. I have been amazed as God continues to use some us who fall into that category. The world scoffs. The worldly leaders of the visible church considers us to be worthless and perhaps even worse. However, as we obey God in our ministries and live our lives according to this calling then we will naturally become separate from the world. The world loves its own and hates what is of God and that means those in the Compromised Church will hate us as well.

Soli Deo Gloria!

— Read on mikeratliff.wordpress.com/2021/03/15/dead-to-sin-alive-to-god-in-christ-jesus/

March 16 – The stars of Israel, and the Star of Israel — VCY America

March 16
Numbers 24:1-25:18
Luke 2:1-35
Psalm 59:1-17
Proverbs 11:14

Numbers 24:17 – The Star out of Jacob.  Not the numberless stars prophesied of in Genesis 15:5, 22:17, 26:4, 37:9, Exodus 32:13, Deuteronomy 1:10, 10:22, 28:62, 1 Chronicles 27:23, Nehemiah 9:23, Hebrews 11:12. Not the star of the Remphan (Amos 5:26, Acts 7:43), the morning star (literal translation of the word Lucifer, Isaiah 14:12), Wormwood (Revelation 8:10), the falling star (Revelation 9:1),  the twelve stars of Israel (Revelation 12:1),  third part of the stars that fell from heaven (Revelation 12:4).

This is the one whose star was seen in the east (Matthew 2:2), the day star (2 Peter 1:19), the holder of stars (Revelation 1:16), the bright and morning star (Revelation 22:16).

Numbers 25:3 – What is Baal-peor?

The Baal (false god) of Peor (the mountain Balak brought Balaam to). Here’s the Jewish Encyclopedia report.

Name of a Canaanitish god. Peor was a mountain in Moab (Num. xxiii. 28), whence the special locality Beth-peor (Deut. iii. 29, etc.) was designated. It gave its name to the Ba’al who was there worshiped, and to whose service Israel, before the entrance into Canaan, was, for a brief time, attracted (Num. xxv. 3, 5; Ps. cvi. 28). The god is himself also called “Peor” by abbreviation (Num. xxxi. 16; Josh. xxii. 17). It is commonly held that this form of Ba’al-worship especially called for sensual indulgence. The context seems to favor his view, on account of the shameful licentiousness into which many of the Israelites were there enticed. But all Ba’al-worship encouraged this sin; and Peor may not have been worse than many other shrines in this respect, though the evil there was certainly flagrant. In Hosea ix. 10 “Baal-peor” is the same as “Beth-peor,” and is contracted from “Beth-baal-peor.”


By the way – who was behind enticing the Israelites into apostasy? Balaam. (Numbers 31:16)

Numbers 25:14 – Zimri was the name of an Israelite who sinned and God commended the exercise of the death penalty on, kinda like Ted Bundy. Nobody would name their kid Ted Bundy. But someone named their kid Zimri, and he became a chariot captain, and later King in Israel. I King 16:9-10.

Luke 2:8 – What was special about the shepherds’ field?


The shepherds’ fields outside Bethlehem, to this day, play a central role in the Christmas celebrations in the Holy Land. Countless tourists have visited the fields between Bethlehem and Jerusalem. The church historian Eusebius linked these fields to a unique biblical location called Migdal Eder, which translated means the “tower of the flock”.

The first time Migdal Eder is mentioned in the Bible is in the account of Rachel, who died after giving birth to Benjamin, the youngest son of Jacob. “Then Israel journeyed and pitched his tent beyond the tower of Eder”, records Genesis 35:21.

This area on the outskirts of Bethlehem is also mentioned in the Talmudic writings. According to the Talmud, all cattle found in the area surrounding Jerusalem “as far as Migdal Eder” were deemed to be holy and consecrated and could only be used for sacrifices in the Temple, in particular for the peace and Passover sacrifices. There was thus a special, consecrated circle around the city of Jerusalem. – more at ICEJ.org

Luke 2:13-14 – George Frederic Handel’s Messiah captures this scene:

Luke 2:32 – The Light & Glory – was the Star of Jacob and the Sceptre of Israel!

Psalm 59:13 – This is a good example of an imprecatory Psalm. Do these violate the command to love your enemies? (Luke 6:27-29)

“It is important to recall the theological principles that underlie such psalms. These include: (1) the principle that vengeance belongs to God (Deut. 32:35Ps. 94:1) that excludes personal retaliation and necessitates appeal to God to punish the wicked (cp. Rom. 12:19); (2) the principle that God’s righteousness demands judgment on the wicked (Pss. 5:611:5–6); (3) the principle that God’s covenant love for the people of God necessitates intervention on their part (Pss. 5:759:1016–17); and (4) the principle of prayer that believers trust God with all their thoughts and desires.”1 (CARM.org)

Proverbs 11:14 – We’ll notice that many “business principles” are really “stolen Proverbs.” Why do Fortune 500 companies pay their board members over $200,000 per year? Because in the multitude of counsellors there is safety.

Share how reading thru the Bible has been a blessing to you! E-mail us at 2018bible@vcyamerica.org or call and leave a message at 414-885-5370.

March 16 – The stars of Israel, and the Star of Israel — VCY America

March 16 – A godly principle: take the risk of serving the Lord — Reformed Perspective

“Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord.” – Romans 12:11

Scripture reading: Ecclesiastes 11:1

Having introduced chapter 11 yesterday, we begin explaining it in detail today. Solomon first states a principle in verse 1 and then applies it in three ways. Today we will learn the principle stated in verse 1.

Notice the imagery. Casting your bread on the water seems a risky thing to do. Throw it out there and it will get waterlogged; you’ll never see it again. Yet, Scripture says, “You will find it after many days.” Not that you get it back literally, he is not talking about literal bread, rather it’s a call to be bold, to take risks.

Verses 3 &4 give an illustration. When it rains, the rain falls on the earth, a tree lies where it falls, and the wind comes the way it comes because they follow God’s purpose. We can do nothing about when it rains, how a tree falls, or when the winds blow. The point is simple: because we don’t control nature, in life you have to take risks.

Notice the call to take risks in verses 5-6. This time it is in light of God Almighty. Solomon is pointing out that God is in control, so we have to go forward by faith. He is sovereign and we don’t know how He will work, but we are still to boldly step out. What risk are we to boldly take? The passage makes it plain. (see v.2a; “sow” v.4a; v.6). Take the risk of serving God and giving to others. God will use you in people’s lives!

Suggestion for prayer

Pray the Holy Spirit will grant you boldness to serve the Lord today.

Rev. Henry Bartsch has been serving as pastor of the Trinity Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church (Chatham, Ontario) since 2003. He and his wife Tammy have seven children and two grandchildren. This daily devotional is also available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional.

March 16 – A godly principle: take the risk of serving the Lord — Reformed Perspective

Tuesday: Being a Skilled Workman | Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals

Theme: Being a Skilled Workman

In this week’s lessons, Paul reminds Timothy of those things he is to avoid, as well as those that he must practice, in order to please the Lord in his life and service.

Scripture: 2 Timothy 2:14-15

In talking about a workman, Paul uses a verb that is only found here in the New Testament, and that has caused some difficulty in interpretation. Paul writes in verse 15, “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.” Now if you know this verse from the King James Version, you remember that where the New International Version has “correctly handling,” the King James Version translates it as “rightly dividing.” The word is made up of two Greek words: ortho, which means “straight,” and tomeo, which means “to cut.” So putting the two words together you would have a literal translation of “cutting straightly” or “cutting rightly.” 

This is why the New International Version’s “correctly handling,” while not a bad translation of the Greek word, nevertheless misses the real strength of the image. Of course, it is true that we want to handle Scripture correctly. But the idea of “cutting straightly” adds something to our understanding. This verb that only occurs here in the New Testament is used in the Greek translation of the Old Testament, which is called the Septuagint. It is found in that well-known passage in Proverbs 3: “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight” (vv. 5-6). It’s this idea of having a straight path that is where this Greek word is used. In other words, God will cut a straight path for you. 

If Paul has this idea of a straight path in mind when he is writing to Timothy, he wants Timothy to teach the Bible not only correctly, but also in a way that is clear and discernible to his listeners. Perhaps Paul even had in mind the idea of Roman roads. They built roads that were straight and went right to their destination. They were not intended to be used for sightseeing. They did not wind all over to allow people to take in the scenery. They were cut straight and directly to get travelers to their destination. Now if the geography was such that they could not build their road in a straight line, of course they were bend it to get around what was in the way. But sometimes they would alter the terrain. If there was water in the way, they might decide to dam it up to put the road down. Or if there was a hill, they might cut some away. The straightness of Roman roads were really quite remarkable. Paul wants Timothy to be just as rigorous and purposeful in his preaching of the gospel. Paul wants Timothy’s teaching to be clear so as not to be misunderstood and used in the wrong way. Timothy is to preach the deep truths of the gospel in a way that people can understand them and live them out. 

Preachers get all kinds of comments after they have delivered a sermon. Some, admittedly, they try to forget; but others they remember. I suppose the comments that I really appreciate the most are when people tell me that I make the passage seem so simple. That really is what a preacher is called upon to do. We are not to try to sound profound and impress people with some difficult ideas that most hearing them will not understand. Rather, we are to make it as clear as we can. Now sometimes it’s hard to make it clear because there are times when we have difficulty understanding it ourselves. Some parts of the Bible are hard to understand. But when we get to those parts, our aim is to explain it in such a way that our listeners will learn what the Bible is teaching and then live out its truths in their lives. That’s what Paul wants Timothy to do. 

Paul wants Timothy to preach the Word the way a skilled workman does his job. When he is building a house, he makes sure that the walls are at right angles and that they are perpendicular to the ground. The doors are all hung at right angles and don’t stick when they open and close. A workman like that wants everything to be done well and exactly as it should be. That’s how Paul wants Timothy to carry out his ministry.

 Study Questions:

  1. Explain the meaning of the Greek verb in verse 15.
  2. How does the meaning of this verb apply to Timothy’s situation?

Application: Make a list of how you are to apply this study to your own life and ministry to which God has called you.

For Further Study: Download for free and listen to James Boice’s message, “Workers in the Truth.” (Discount will be applied at checkout.)

Think and Act Biblically from James Boice is a devotional of the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals. 

— Read on www.thinkandactbiblically.org/tab/tuesday-being-a-skilled-workman

A Stranger With You – Daily Devotional from Truth For Life

I am a stranger with You. You are my fellow-sufferer, my fellow-pilgrim. Oh, what joy to wander in such blessed company!

Yes, O Lord, with You, but not to You. All my natural alienation from You, Your grace has effectually removed; and now, in fellowship with Yourself, I walk through this sinful world as a pilgrim in a foreign country. You are a stranger in Your own world. Man forgets You, dishonors You, sets up new laws and alien customs, and knows You not.

When Your dear Son came unto His own, His own received Him not. He was in the world, and the world was made by Him, and the world did not recognize Him. There was never a foreigner who stood out from the inhabitants of any country as much as your beloved Son among His mother’s brethren. It is no marvel, then, if I who live the life of Jesus should be unknown and a stranger here below. Lord, I would not be a citizen where Jesus was an alien. His pierced hand has loosened the cords that once bound my soul to earth, and now I find myself a stranger in the land. My speech seems to these pagans among whom I dwell a strange tongue; my manners are singular, and my actions are outlandish. A prince would be more at home in the ghetto than I could ever be in the haunts of sinners.

But here is the sweetness of my circumstance: I am a stranger with You. You are my fellow-sufferer, my fellow-pilgrim. Oh, what joy to wander in such blessed company! My heart burns within me on the journey when You speak to me, and though I am a traveler, I am far more blessed than those who sit on thrones, and far more at home than those who live in their comfortable homes.

To me remains nor place, nor time:
My country is in every clime;
I can be calm and free from care
On any shore, since God is there.

While place we seek, or place we shun,
The soul finds happiness in none:
But with a God to guide our way,
‘Tis equal joy to go or stay.

One-Year Bible Reading Plan

— Read on http://www.truthforlife.org/resources/daily-devotionals/3/16/1/