Ask Your Preacher
Who or what are the sons of God in Genesis 6? I’m not sure if they are literal, as in someone like Jesus, or figurative. Please help; I'm not understanding this very well.
Dear Guess Who,
The sons of God referred to in Gen 6:2 are mortal men. This language seems confusing at first, but it is perfectly scriptural to refer to mankind as ‘sons and daughters of God’. In fact, Jesus mentions that we are all sons of God (Jhn 10:34-36). Gal 3:26 refers to christians as children of God. Humans are made in the image of God (Gen 1:27), and that makes Him our Father (Eph 4:6). Gen 6:2 is simply stating that men married women, had children, and populated the earth.
How do I get into the Bible and how do I read the Bible?
Starting To Study
Dear Starting To Study,
The key to any kind of worship or Bible study is to make it a regular habit. Daniel had a habit of praying (Dan 6:10). Make a decision to put Bible study into your day first (Matt 6:33) and schedule other things around it. Most people fail to study their Bibles because it isn’t a part of their regular life. Make it a part of your morning routine, your lunch break, or bedtime ritual. Somehow schedule it into your life and make it a habit.
After you do that, it is just a matter of what you want to learn first. Many people read a Psalm a day, a chapter of Proverbs each week, or use a ‘read the Bible in a year program’, or you grab one of those five things you want to look at and read away. Any of these is a perfectly acceptable system. In fact, you can buy Bibles that are organized, so that you read a little of the Old Testament and a little of the New Testament every day. For new Bible students, I often recommend reading the gospel of Matthew or the gospel of John first, so that you become acquainted with Christ’s life; then follow that up with the book of Acts and familiarize yourself with the first century church.
The goal is to study your Bible, not just read it. God tells us to study to show ourselves approved (2 Tim 2:15) and to meditate upon God’s Word (Ps 119:15). You could read through an entire book of the Bible in an hour or so but fail to appreciate any of it. Read your Bible with a notepad beside you and a pen or highlighter in hand. Write down your questions and get them answered. Highlight meaningful verses. If you don’t understand something, don’t move on until you do. It is more important that you understand than that you read a large portion of text. And lastly, enjoy your Bible reading time; you are reading the most influential and meaningful book on the planet!
It troubles me that God caused an evil spirit to come on King Saul. I don't know another place in Scripture that says He does this. Does God do that today?
God Is Good
Dear God Is Good,
God caused that evil spirit to come upon Saul because Saul had turned away from the Lord (1 Sam 16:14). Saul had failed to serve the Lord, and God withdrew His blessings from him and rejected Saul as king (1 Sam 16:1). God didn’t randomly curse Saul; Saul had made choices that earned punishment. As far as whether God does that today, Rom 1:21 says that God allows the hearts of the wicked to be darkened, and He removes His protection from them. How God does that, we don't know, but He does warn that He punishes the wicked.
Explain please why in Malachi chapter 4 it refers to the ‘Sun’ of righteousness and not the ‘Son’ of righteousness as the New Testament claims. Thank you.
Mal 4:2 is using poetic and figurative language to describe what life will be like for christians. “The sun of righteousness will arise with healing in its wings” isn’t meant to be read literally. The sun doesn’t have anything to do with morality, and the sun also doesn’t have wings. The language is metaphorical and should be treated just like we use metaphorical language today. Malachi 4:2 is saying that when Christ comes, His people will be blessed with warmth to the soul like the sun provides warmth to the body; they will be blessed with liberty like wings are to a bird, and they will have the healing that forgiveness brings the soul.
The other day, I asked myself, “Was a Gentile in Moses’ day able to become one of God’s people?” I was (for some reason) told the opposite.
A Change In Mind
Dear A Change In Mind,
People were able to convert to Judaism if they wanted to. Ex 12:48 specifically says that if a man wanted to participate in the holy offerings of the Jewish nation and eat the Passover, he could be circumcised. When he did that, he would become “as one born in the land”. God did allow for people to convert to Judaism. Probably the most famous convert to Judaism was Ruth. Ruth was originally from the nation of Moab (Ruth 1:4), but eventually, she converted and chose to serve Jehovah (Ruth 1:16).