Ask Your Preacher
Why is the Old Testament put together with the New Testament? Jesus was a Jew, not a Christian. Jews did not or do not put the New Testament with their Torah, Tanakh, Halakha, etc. Jews see Jesus as a great prophet, not the Messiah. Christians only see Jesus as Messiah. Different religions, different books.
Apples And Oranges
Dear Apples And Oranges,
There is a great dispute in the religious world about what parts of the Bible to follow. Some people follow just the New Testament, some the Old Testament, and the majority fit somewhere in-between those two positions. The answer is in the word “testament”. Testament means ‘covenant’ or ‘contract’. There is the old contract that people followed before Christ came (Gal 3:24-25), and Christians are under the new law that Jesus set up (Rom 8:2). If you are going to be a Christian, the New Testament (i.e. new contract) is your rulebook.
So what use is the Old Testament to Christians? It is still a great teaching tool for several reasons:
- Examples of good and bad lifestyles (1 Cor 10:1-6, Heb 12:1)
- Prophecies about Jesus and His church (1 Pet 1:10-12)
- Explanations of where we came from (Gen 1:1)
- Knowledge of the world Jesus lived in
- God wrote it!
The Old Testament is not the place to go to find the specific standards you should live by, but it is a wonderful place to see God at work, interacting in the lives of men. God’s character never changes, and how He valued His old contract should impress upon us how important the new one is (Heb 2:1-3).
I have a son who is married, but he and his wife are separated. He is seeing other women and having sex with them. He stays with us, and so if he’s living with us and we know that’s what he’s doing, will that stop the blessing from coming in our house?
When a child becomes an adult, they are responsible for their own sins… but you are responsible for your household. Eli was sharply rebuked and cursed by God because he honored his sons above God’s law (1 Sam 2:29). When a love of family supersedes our love for the Lord – we’ve got big problems (Lk 14:26). You cannot control what your son does when he leaves your house – but until then, remember the words of Joshua: “As for me and for my house, we will serve the Lord” (Josh 24:15).
Why does it feel as though single parents aren’t accepted in the church? I’m a single parent of two boys, and when I go to church, it seems that people there are distant from us. Nobody, I believe, was asking to be placed in this type of situation.
It is hard to say why anyone feels like they aren’t accepted in their congregation. There are many reasons, and here are just a few:
- It may be because the congregation really is distant and are treating you unkindly. Of course, this is wrong. We are told that we shouldn’t have favoritism within the church (Jas 2:1-9). Christians should always strive to show love and kindness to all of mankind.
- It may be that your situation makes you feel isolated even though people aren’t trying to be distant. We often super-impose our own fears upon others, and our perceptions of reality aren’t always correct… especially when we have struggles that make us feel out of place – such as being a single parent in a congregation with few others facing that same difficulty. Each heart knows its own sorrow, and we can subconsciously isolate ourselves (Pr 14:10).
- It may also be that some people have been unkind or uncharitable to you in the past, and that has left a bad taste in your mouth. Eccl 7:21-22 warns us not to take to heart everything that others say – after all, we all stick our foot in our mouth from time to time. That being said, a poorly chosen word or action can certainly create distance.
These aren’t all the reasons that cause people to feel detached from a congregation – but they are some of the primary ones. We are sorry things have been so difficult for you. Hopefully, tomorrow brings better things.
Would you please give me an overview of John chapter 11? I know that it is telling us that death does not have the final say for those of us who are children of God, but I need a better understanding.
Dear Explanation Please,
John chapter 11 is about the resurrection of Lazarus. Lazarus lived in Bethany and had two sisters, Mary and Martha (Jhn 11:1). Lazarus became sick, and they sent word for Jesus (Jhn 11:3); Jesus purposefully delayed in coming to care for Lazarus (Jhn 11:6), so this event could glorify God (Jhn 11:4).
Eventually, Jesus traveled to Bethany to raise Lazarus from the dead (Jhn 11:11). The key verse to the whole chapter is Jhn 11:25 where Jesus refers to Himself as “the resurrection and the life”. Lazarus’ resurrection became a turning point in Jesus’ ministry. Many believed in Jesus because of the miraculous resurrection (Jhn 11:45), and conversely, the Pharisees began to seriously plot Jesus’ murder because of the popularity He gained from Lazarus’ resurrection (Jhn 11:47, Jhn 11:53). Lazarus’ resurrection was a real event that pointed to the real power of Jesus to save.
Why is it important that we have to say the Greek word for this or the Hebrew word for that is translated to mean this?
Dear Speak English,
It isn’t necessary to know the Greek or Hebrew words found in the Bible. Reading in the original language adds color, but you don’t have to know Greek/Hebrew to learn God’s will. However, you do need to be willing to dig in, compare verses, look up definitions, etc. Understanding the Bible is about being a student of God’s Word, and all students have to do their homework.
Even the hardest passages can always be understood by comparing them to the sum of God’s teachings (Ps 119:160). If you run into a difficult-to-understand passage (even Peter said that some Scripture is hard to understand – 2 Pet 3:16), it takes work to dig in and compare the other verses, but you can find the truth on the subject.
Anyone can understand the Bible in their own language, but that doesn’t mean everyone will just understand the Bible because doing so takes work. God tells us that we must hunger and thirst after righteousness if we want to be filled (Matt 5:6). He also says that it takes a love for the truth to be saved (2 Thess 2:10). That hunger and love will lead people to the truth.