Saturday, July 7, 2018

John 3 Being born of water and the Spirit

Additional note: Being born of water and the Spirit

There have been four main ways in which this expression has been interpreted:
1. Baptism in water by John the Baptist and baptism in the Spirit by Jesus. In support of this view is the fact that all previous references to ‘water’ in this Gospel relate to John’s baptizing ministry (1:26, 31, 33), and in 1:33 his baptizing ministry with water is compared to Jesus’ baptizing ministry with the Spirit. Accordingly, Jesus is saying that entrance to the kingdom involves submission to John’s baptism with water for repentance and Jesus’ baptism with the Spirit.
2. Christian water baptism and spiritual regeneration. In support of this view it can be said that the original readers of this Gospel would have seen in the reference to water an allusion to Christian baptism (rather than John’s baptism), and so the reference to being born of water and the Spirit would denote submission to Christian baptism, which in the early church was connected with the reception of the Spirit (Acts 2:38).
3. Natural birth and spiritual regeneration. Being born of water is a metaphor for natural human birth, water being an allusion either to amniotic fluid or semen, so Jesus was saying that to enter the kingdom one must be born spiritually as well as physically; by the Spirit as well as by water. In support of this view is the fact that in 3:6 Jesus contrasts being born of the flesh (physical birth) with being born of the Spirit (spiritual regeneration).
4. Spiritual regeneration alone is depicted with a double metaphor. In support of this view is the fact that elsewhere in this Gospel water functions as a metaphor for the Spirit (4:10, 13–15; 7:38) as it also does in places in the OT (e.g. Ezek. 36:25–27). The expression ‘water and the Spirit’ is a hendiadys, a figure of speech using two different words to denote one thing, something suggested by the fact that both ‘water’ and ‘Spirit’ are anarthrous (without the article) and governed by the one preposition (lit. ‘of water and spirit’, ex hydatos kai pneumatos).19 Jesus is saying that to enter the kingdom one must be born of water, i.e. of the Spirit. This view is also supported by the fact that in this passage Jesus uses a number of parallel expressions that are all related to seeing and entering the kingdom: 3:3: ‘born again / from above’; 3:5: ‘born of water and the Spirit’; 3:7: ‘born again / from above’; 3:8: ‘born of the Spirit’. If all these expressions are in fact parallel and synonymous, then to be ‘born again / from above’ and to be ‘born of water and the Spirit’ mean the same as to be ‘born of the Spirit’.

Colin G. Kruse, John: An Introduction and Commentary, vol. 4, Tyndale New Testament Commentaries (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2003), 108–110.

What is truth?

Three Views on Truth by Aaron Brake

Historically, there have been three dominant theories of truth put forth by philosophers:[1]

First, there is the pragmatic theory of truth: truth is what works. 

Second, there is the coherence theory of truth: truth is logical consistency (coherence) among a set of beliefs an individual holds. 

Finally, there is the correspondence theory of truth: truth is when an idea, belief, or statement matches (or corresponds with) the way the world actually is (reality).

Our belief in the resurrection is not true simply because it works for us (the pragmatic view) nor because it is consistent with our web of Christian belief (the coherence view). The Christian belief in the resurrection of Christ is true because it is an objective fact of history that corresponds with reality! Indeed, how could the early Christians point to the empty tomb as verifiable evidence of the resurrection unless, in fact, the tomb was empty?

Monday, July 2, 2018

TRUTH - Sean McDowell
2,000 years ago Jesus said, “I am one of the ways, one of the truths, and one possible life.  If you want to come to the mother or the father through me that’s cool.  Go forth and live according to whatever feels right to you.”  Clearly, Jesus didn’t say that.  In fact, he said quite the opposite.  If you look in the New Testament you will find at least a hundred verses that make it clear that Jesus is the only way to God and the only way to experience an eternal relationship with the Father.  Truth is vitally important because eternity is at stake. 
Now philosophers use a term that seems fancy but I think you will find common sense, what’s called the correspondence theory of truth.  All this means is you have essentially a belief, an idea you hold about the world.  But then you have the world over here.  This is reality.  Now, truth is not a belief.  Truth is not a reality.  Truth is when your belief matches up with reality.  That’s what we mean by truth.  Have you ever noticed how much you base your entire life down to details, daily decisions on what you think is true? 
What if somebody says it is cold outside?  Have you checked whether that is true or whether that is false?  You can look at a weather app and see what information it gives you, or you could actually walk outside and see it for yourself.  If it is cold outside then your belief is truth.  If it is not cold outside then the belief is false.  We do this with historical issues such as the claim that Jesus rose from the grave, and we do this with scientific matters such as the claim, the belief that the universe had a beginning.  We actually do this on all sorts of issues.  We have a variety of beliefs and then we go see if the world is the way we take it to be.  If our beliefs match up they are true and if they don’t match up they’re false.  Remember our beliefs don’t create reality, but rather our beliefs should reflect reality. 
But, you might be thinking, "Wait a minute, when it comes to religious beliefs can’t you have your beliefs and I have mine?"  Aren’t your beliefs true for you, but my religious beliefs are true for me?  Not too long ago my father was speaking at a leadership event for about four hundred high school students, and in his session, my dad decided to walk out into the audience and interact with the students.  And he started by asking a simple question to a student that was there.  He said, “Do you think the Bible is true?” 
The student jumped in and said, “Yes, I think the Bible is true.” 
My dad said, “You think it’s scientific and historically accurate in everything it teaches that we properly understand.” 
And the student looked back at him and said, “Of course.” 
Then my dad looked back at him and said, “Why?”  And the student had no answer.  My dad went around the room and not a single student had a thoughtful answer about why he or she believed the Bible was true. 
Well, the session was done and my dad was walking toward the door in the back of the auditorium and the student comes running up to my father.  He goes, “Josh, Josh, I know the answer.  I know why the Bible is true.”    
He said, “Great. Why is the Bible true?” 
He looks at my father and says, “The Bible is true because I believe it.” 
My dad says, “Wait a minute.  The Bible is true because you believe it?  What about a Quran and a Muslim who believes the Quran?” 
This student looked my dad right back in the eyes and said, “If a Muslim believes the Quran is true then the Quran is true for him.” 
Now my dad gave back to the student a memorable and powerful response.  He said, “Here’s the difference between me and you.  You think the Bible is true because you believe it, but I believe the Bible because I think it is true.”  You see nothing is true or false because we believe it.  Our beliefs don’t change reality, but given how important truth is, let’s hope our beliefs match up with reality.
We’ve been talking about why truth is important, but let me share a story about my mom to help make this point really sink in.  So, my mom has come a long way with technology, but she honestly used to be afraid of anything technologically speaking.  When my mom picked up new technology, she would read the instructions letter by letter and follow it the best as she can.  Well, she got a computer up pops something that says close all windows.  So my mom decides to, and I think you see where this is going, get up from her chair, walk around the house, and close all the windows in the house.  When she told this story, I was a little bit embarrassed. We realized that truth has consequences.  In this case, I realized that truth has consequences.  But in many cases, confusing truth can lead to devastating consequences.  But when we know the truth, we are set free.  A computer is created to function in a certain way.  When we use it according to its design we are set free so we can accomplish things.  When we don’t know its design like in the story with my mom, what happens?  Confusion, frustrations, and sometimes significant consequences. 
I think one of the greatest lies and confusion of our age deals with the question of “What is freedom?” Have you ever thought in your life “What is real freedom?”  When I ask students to define freedom, they will say to me, “Freedom is being able to do whatever you what to do so long as no one is telling you how to live your life.  If it feels good, do it, and you’re free.”  Friends, that’s not freedom.  Living according to whatever feels good is going to enslave you to your passions.  Real freedom is when we embrace God’s design for our life which is to love him and to love other people.  That’s why Jesus said in John chapter three that if we live according to his design for our life, we live according to His truth.  Our works will be known to the world.  Real freedom is not living according to whatever we think is right but embracing God’s design for our life.  Real freedom is when we live in light of truth. 

Greek to Me

I recommend both of these as supplements to help you memorize endings and vocabulary even if you are using a different textbook.

For many students in seminary and Bible colleges, as well as self-taught students, Greek is the language of never-ending endings as well as being the seemingly impossible requirement of ans inflexible curriculum. The grammar in Greek to Me aims to encourage and motivate students to learn both grammar and vocabulary of Koine Greek in a new and productive way. The approach is new, yet it has been tried and tested with hundreds of students and the response has been overwhelmingly positive.
Greek to Me-by Lyle Story on Amazon 

I don't think that the physical cards are available anymore, but you can access them on the iPhone App "Biblical Greek Flashcards."  Each card has a picture that creates a mnemonic connection between the pronunciation and meaning.