Ask Your Preacher
Where did John the Baptist get his instruction to baptize? Is there a verse?
On Whose Authority?
Dear On Whose Authority,
Mk 1:1-4 says that John was a prophet sent by God to preach and prepare the way for Jesus. Mk 1:2 quotes from Isaiah and specifically says that John was God’s messenger.
By the time we get down to Mk 1:4 (which mentions John baptizing people), the context makes it clear that John was sent by God, and his baptism was from God, too.
How many times is the word ‘love’ used in the Bible?
I Heart Words
Dear I Heart Words,
The Greek language (the language of the New Testament) has several words that fit the English description of ‘love’:
- ‘Philos’ is the word for friendly love, companionship, and loyalty. This is the type of love shared between friends, comrades, and family. The verb ‘Philos’ is used 25 times in the New Testament.
- ‘Eros’ is the word for passion and romantic love. This is the type of love that is used to describe sensual attraction or longing. This word is never used in the New Testament.
- ‘Agape’ is the word used for honored love. This type of love is sacrificial and places the person or object in a position of honor. Agape love does what is in the best interest of the other person. ‘Agape’ is used 142 times in the New Testament.
- ‘Storge’ is used of family love. The love between brothers, sisters, parents, children, and close relatives. This word is used once in the New Testament.
My question is about Matthew 5:48. I know that it’s unlikely for us to do overnight, but would it be fair to say that if we truly wanted it, we could achieve perfection?
Dear Setting Goals,
It is possible to be perfect like Matt 5:48 says because Matt 5:48 isn’t talking about being sinless; it is talking about being equal in our love for all mankind, just like God designed us to be. The word ‘perfect’ simply means ‘complete’; it doesn’t always mean ‘without sin’. In the case of Matt 5:48, we are talking about being complete in our relationships with others. God loves both the good and the bad (Matt 5:45). We must do more than just love our friends (Matt 5:46-47); God wants us to love our enemies, too (Matt 5:44). The person that can show love toward both his friends and enemies (and some people can) is ‘perfect’… they still sin, but they are able to show complete love toward their fellow man.
Why in Deuteronomy chapter 13 does it call the people of God to kill non-believers? It seems pretty specific, and I just wonder why it asks us to even kill our family if they should try and lead us astray.
Bound To Family
Dear Bound To Family,
Deuteronomy 13 is an Old Testament command. The laws and commandments of the Old Testament are no longer binding. When Jesus died on the cross, He blotted out the ordinances of the Old Testament that condemned us (Col 2:14). The New Testament has surpassed and replaced the Old Contract written on tablets of stone (2 Cor 3:3-8). The Old Testament was designed to lead mankind to Christ, but now that Christ has come, we are no longer under the Old Covenant (Gal 3:24-25). The Old Testament was God’s law for the Jewish nation (which included laws for how the Jewish government was supposed to punish criminals), and the New Testament is God’s law for Christians. There is so much confusion over the Old Testament and New Testament that we have a short video tutorial on the subject on our YouTube channel. The video can be found here: http://youtu.be/8kPP0G9WSyo.
I know this might seem like a really basic question but... why do you go to church on Sundays? Isn't Saturday the seventh day?
Dear Weekend Warrior,
Christians go to church on the first day of the week because that is when the early church assembled. Saturday is the Sabbath day… but christians don’t have to worry about keeping the Sabbath. The word ‘sabbath’ means ‘rest’. The Sabbath day was a day that the nation of Israel was told to rest, stop working, and make holy to the Lord (Ex 31:15). This rule was so strict that a man was once stoned for collecting firewood on Saturday (Num 15:32-36). However, this was a Jewish command, not a Christian one. The Sabbath was part of the Old Testament law – a law that christians are no longer under (Gal 3:23-25). We are specifically told not to let anyone bind the Sabbath on us (Col 2:16). Christians worship Christ on the first day of the week – Sunday (Acts 20:7, 1 Cor 16:1-2). If you’d like more information on the difference between the Old Testament and the New Testament, we have a video tutorial on the subject here.