Ask Your Preacher
Is not having enough money a "good" reason to postpone marriage? I (we) are poor college students but are emotionally and spiritually ready for marriage… just not financially. Bad reasoning?
Ready, But No Money
Dear Ready, But No Money,
There is no clear answer on something like this because each circumstance is different, but there are two Bible principles you want to keep in mind when deciding when to marry.
The first principle is that God tells us to plan ahead in all that we do. In Lk 14:28-32, Jesus explains that a man who doesn’t plan before building a tower or a king who doesn’t plan before going to war is a fool. As you know, marriage is a huge commitment, and there are a lot of important things to be prepared for when considering marriage. Finances are only one part of the picture, but they are something to factor in. So, thinking about the financial aspects of marriage makes you wise.
The second principle is found in 1 Cor 7:9. That verse explains that it is possible for a couple to wait too long before marriage, and it can lead to all sorts of problems… not the least of which is sinful pre-marital conduct. A couple that burns for one another isn’t weak; 1 Cor 7:9 explains that it is a natural and normal aspect of how God made men and women, but it is also something to consider when postponing marriage for too long. Some couples, in the desire to wait for the “perfect time” to get married – simply wait too long. Better to be poor and married than financially stable with regrets and unhappiness.
As we said, the answer isn’t simple. Finances should be considered, but waiting for riches isn’t right either. You have to use wisdom to balance these two principles and decide as a couple whether or not the time is right.
A close friend of mine is a devout Christian. She has Type 1 diabetes, but beyond taking insulin to stay alive, she ignores the health care system totally. She has medical insurance; I think she’s trusting her health to God almost 100%. Does the Word of God sanctify this? I know faith in God is important, but I am concerned…
Dear Troubled Friend,
If your question is whether or not a Christian is allowed to use doctors and medicine, the answer is ‘yes’. Paul told Timothy to take wine medicinally for a sick stomach (1 Tim 5:23), and Jas 5:14 describes the elders praying and using oil, a common general ointment, when someone is sick. God told mankind to take dominion of this world and use it for our good – this includes the creation and use of medicine (Gen 1:26). Using medicine is not in opposition to having faith in God. As for how much and when each individual should use medicine, that is up to each person’s discretion and wisdom.
I think God gave me a dream of heaven. Would God give somebody a dream of heaven during trying times to prove how much He loves me?
Dear Burdened Dreamer,
The days of dreams and visions have passed. In the past, God spoke to various people through dreams, visions, and prophecy, but today He speaks to us through His Son, Jesus Christ (Heb 1:1-2). Now that we have the complete and perfect Bible – there is no need for God to give people individual dreams or visions. It is through the Word of God that we learn how to live faithfully (Rom 10:17).
We are sure that your dreams mean something, but they don’t mean anything supernatural or prophetic. What you had was not a vision. Prophets have visions, and there are no more prophets since we have the perfect and complete Word of God (1 Cor 13:8-10). The human mind is a complex and wondrous thing (Ps 139:14). It is perfectly normal for our minds to make mental connections as we pray, study, sleep, etc. Those mental images aren’t visions; they are just your own thoughts as your mind meditates upon what you have said, read, or heard.
What things besides the Bible (e.g. a knowledge of history, culture, languages, etc.) are prerequisites to understanding the Bible? How can our plea be "Bible only" if so much additional knowledge is needed just to understand the Bible itself?
Dear No Theologian,
The Bible is the only thing we use as our guide, and anything that we can use to help better understand and appreciate the Bible is useful… but it all comes back to God’s Book. If someone doesn’t know how to read, they can still study their Bible by having others read it to them… but literacy sure makes them more effective students! You don’t need to know world history, Jewish culture, or Koiné Greek to learn the Bible, but they each offer things that can enhance your studies and give you a deeper knowledge of God’s Word. All of these are simply tools to help us be better Bible students… but in the end, knowing Bible is the goal and at the heart of all we do (Rom 1:16).
Is salvation by faith only or by both faith and works? Passages like Hab 2:4, Rom 1:17, 3:27-28, 4:2-5, 5:1, 10: 9-10, 11:6, Gal 2:16, 3:11-12, Eph 2:8-9, Tit 3:5, 2 Tim 1:9, and Php 3:9 all say that faith is just needed. Especially a standout here is Eph 2:8-9 because I see this verse used often by the Pentecostal/Evangelical Charismatic preachers to prove their idea that faith is all you need and nothing else, not even baptism. I often see these guys preach this idea to young people because they believe they will be more likely proselytes, especially someone who has never even touched a Bible in their entire lives.
But according to passages like Ps 62:12, Matt 16:27, Rom 2: 6-7, Pr 24:12, Eccl 12:14, Jer 17:10, 32:19, Jhn 5:29, 2 Cor 5:10, Php 2:12, Jas 2:14-26, Heb 6:10, 1 Peter 1:17, Job 34:11, Gal 6:7, Col 3: 23-24, and Rev 22:12, works do matter! So what are we saved by, and why are there some passages that talk about only faith and other passages talk about both faith and works?
Dear Mixed Messages,
The Bible says that we are saved by faith (Eph 2:8), but it never says that we are saved by faith only. The Scriptures mention a lot of things that are involved in our salvation. We are saved by hope (Rom 8:24). We are saved by baptism (1 Pet 3:21). We are saved by the love of the truth (2 Thess 2:10). All of these things are involved in your salvation. In order to understand a topic, we must look at the sum of God’s Word on that subject (Ps. 119:160).
We are told that in order to be saved, we must believe in Jesus (Jhn 3:16), repent of our sins (Acts 2:38), be baptized (Mk 16:16), and continue to grow in the knowledge of Christ through the Bible (2 Pet 3:18). Faith is hearing what God says (Rom 10:17)… and then acting upon it. James says that faith without works is dead (Jas 2:17). It is impossible to be a faithful person and live an unrepentant life. Faith is more than belief; even the demons believe in God (Jas 2:19). Faith is belief combined with action. We must be hearers and doers of God’s Word (Jas 1:22).