Ask Your Preacher
If the writers of the New Testament were supposed to be inspired by the Holy Spirit, then why would some seem to indicate that they were not inspired in their writings? For example, Paul, in 1 Cor 7:12, said it was him, not the Lord, speaking. Also in 1 Cor 1:16, Paul said he forgot who he had baptized. If he was under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, how could he forget? Why would he make such a statement?
1 Cor 7:12 and 1 Cor 1:16 need to be addressed separately because they have different explanations for why they were written as they were. When the Holy Spirit inspired the apostles, He made sure that every word they wrote down was exactly as it should be (1 Cor 2:13, 2 Pet 1:21). The Holy Spirit inspired what Paul wrote, but that didn’t change the fact that Paul was human. The Holy Spirit wanted us to know that Paul couldn’t remember exactly who he had baptized in Corinth – probably because He was emphasizing the fact that it didn’t matter who did the baptizing (1 Cor 1:14-15). There is no contradiction between Paul the man forgetting who he baptized and Paul, the inspired writer, documenting his own memory lapse. That explains 1 Cor 1:16.
Now, let’s take a look at 1 Cor 7:12. In 1 Corinthians 7, Paul is addressing marriage questions. Some of those questions had already been addressed by Jesus when He walked this earth. When Paul reiterated a teaching that Jesus had already covered (such as the fact that two christians couldn’t divorce for just any old reason), he wrote, “I give charge, not I, but the Lord” because he was referring to Jesus’ previous teachings (1 Cor 7:10-11, Matt 19:3-9). However, there were some marriage issues that Jesus hadn’t addressed – such as when a christian was married to an unbeliever. Jesus didn’t address this issue because there was no need to talk about marriage to unbelievers when He was preaching to only the Jews. Marriage to unbelievers only became an issue once Gentiles (non-Jews) began converting. When addressing these new marriage issues, Paul clarified that he was providing a teaching in addition to what Jesus had already taught by writing, “say I, not the Lord”. What Paul was teaching wasn’t opinion; it was simply a new teaching on marriage that had never been addressed.
Why did Jesus quite frequently refer to himself as the "Son of Man" (Matt 16:13) when it is so essential to our faith and salvation to recognize and confess him to be the "Son of the living God" (Matt 16:16-19)?
Dear Name Confusion,
Jesus was both Son of Man and Son of God – it is one of the great and awesome truths of the Bible. Jesus was completely Deity, and completely human at the same time. Verses like Jhn 1:1-3 and Col 3:15-17 make it clear that Jesus was and always has been God. He is eternal and existed before man – Jesus even said so Himself (Jhn 8:58). However, if Jesus had simply been God pretending to be a human, His sinless life wouldn’t have been nearly as impressive. Instead, we are told that Jesus suffered in all things exactly as all other people do – yet without sin (Heb 4:15). In all things, Jesus was a flesh-formed human just like the rest of us (Heb 2:17-18). Jesus often used the term ‘Son of Man’ because He spent a lot of His life emphasizing His humanity and empathy with the pains of mankind. Jesus spent little time pointing out His deity – His life did that for Him (Matt 27:54).
Where is the command, example, or necessary inference for a church owning property?
Book, Chapter, Verse
Dear Book, Chapter, Verse,
Every command that you find in the Bible has specific and general qualities to it. For example, when God told Noah to build the ark, He told Noah to use a specific kind of wood (gopher wood – Gen 6:14) and build the ark to specific dimensions (Gen 6:15-16), but He left the details of how to cut, fasten, and construct the ark up to Noah. It would have been wrong for Noah to use oak or birch, and it would have been wrong for Noah to change the dimensions of the ark, but aside from that, Noah had freedom to use his own wisdom in the engineering of the ark. The things that God was specific on, Noah had to be specific on to… but the things God was general about, Noah had freedom to decide for himself.
Another way of saying this is that anything required to fulfill a command is inherent within the command. This means that if I ask someone to fill my car with gasoline, by default, I have given them permission to drive my car and take it to a gas station of their choosing. Why? Because driving my car and going to a gas station are necessary to fulfill that command, and I didn’t tell them which gas station I wanted, so I’ve left that to their discretion.
Both of these examples lead us back to your question. The command that gives a congregation the authority to own property can be found in Heb 10:24-25 and 1 Cor 14:26. In both those verses, the church is commanded to assemble. We are told that we must assemble, or we will be displeasing to God… but we aren’t told where to assemble; that detail is left to our discretion. We could meet in homes (if we had ones that were big enough), we could meet in a park (if it were legal and weather permitting), or we could buy some property and a building to use. All of those options would be permissible, and each congregation has the freedom to decide where they wish to assemble because God has commanded us to meet regularly, but He left the details to us.
What does the Bible say about present-day demon possession?
Afraid Of The Dark
Dear Afraid Of The Dark,
Evil spirits are real, but they were cast out and their powers greatly reduced by Christ and the apostles. Demon possession ended not long after the days of Christ. Jesus made it clear that one of His jobs was to bind the devil and take His strength away by casting out his demons (Matt 12:28-29). When Jesus’ disciples had come back from their evangelism trips and related to Him that they had cast out many demons, Jesus told them that they were defeating Satan by getting rid of Satan’s demonic minions (Lk 10:17-18). When Jesus and His disciples cast out demons, they did it permanently (Lk 8:30-33) and bound Satan by their acts. We no longer have to deal with such overt attacks by the devil because he has been bound by Christ’s sacrifice (Rev. 20:2). Demon possession no longer exists; the devil must use subtler methods to deceive us now.
My idea about the Holy Spirit is He started to be part of christians after Jesus’ ascension because Jesus promised His disciples to be indwelt in order for them to do marvelous works in the kingdom. My question is: what made the Old Testament believers do God's Will if the Holy Spirit was not yet given to them until the New Testament? What power enabled the early believers in the Old Testament?
The Holy Spirit doesn’t control the actions of every christian; He teaches us through the Word of God. The Holy Spirit came and gave the apostles the ability to precisely teach, preach, and write down what God intended for mankind to know (see “What The Holy Spirit Does” for further details).
The Holy Spirit has always interacted with mankind, but in the Christian era, He has specifically worked through Jesus, Jesus’ apostles, and prophets (Heb 1:1-2). The Old Testament prophets also spoke as the Spirit gave them power (2 Pet 1:21). God specifically said that the Old Testament prophets spoke through the Holy Spirit’s wisdom (Ex 31:1-3, 1 Sam 11:6, 2 Chr 15:1… just to name a few examples).
The Holy Spirit doesn’t force or control the actions of people. He has given us the words of life that we might choose to do what is right when we read and understand God’s Will (Eph 3:3-4).