Thursday, May 5, 2016

Ascension Day and the National Day of Prayer

Today (May 5), is the National Day of Prayer. On The National Day of Prayer Task Force website we learn that, "The National Day of Prayer is an annual observance held on the first Thursday of May, inviting people of all faiths to pray for the nation. It was created in 1952 by a joint resolution of the United States Congress, and signed into law by President Harry S. Truman...It exists to communicate with every individual the need for personal repentance and prayer, to create appropriate materials, and to mobilize the Christian community to intercede for America’s leaders and its families." There is also a link on the main page of the NDP website to President Obama's official presidential decree calling on all Americans to pray for their country.

The Apostle Paul urges us to pray for our leaders in 1 Timothy 2:1-6, "First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.  For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time." 

The Prophet Jeremiah (29:7), writing to the exiles in Babylon encouraged them to, " the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare." 

In the book of Job (12:23-25) we read, "He makes nations great, and he destroys them; he enlarges nations, and leads them away. He takes away understanding from the chiefs of the people of the earth and makes them wander in a pathless waste. They grope in the dark without light, and he makes them stagger like a drunken man." 

Indeed the Biblical teachings to pray for our nation, her leaders, and to return to the Lord 
Ascension of the Lord
God is voluminous in scope. It is particularly interesting this year that the call for a national day of prayer falls on the day of the "Ascension of the Lord"--the day when we are intentional to remember that the Lord Jesus physically ascended to heaven to sit at the right hand of God the Father Almighty.

Dr. Philip Ryken shares that the fact that Jesus bodily ascended into heaven means the forgiveness of sins is assured. Jesus is our advocate; our great high priest who pleads that the eternal Judge will have mercy on our sins. As our defense attorney he raises his wounded, nail pierced hands in the courts of heaven as the proof that the price of our guilt has been full paid. (Luke: Reformed Expository Commentary, 696. Also, see Hebrews 9:14) In the 1 Timothy quote above we read that there is only one mediator between God and humanity--the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all.

That the Lord Jesus, fully human and fully God, has ascended to heaven means that humanity itself has  now been elevated to the most exalted place of highest possible authority.  Theologian Frances Turretin commented that, "the dust of earth now sits on the throne of heaven." Jesus has breached the chasm of sin and darkness brought about by the disobedience with our first parents, and furthermore, he is able to be with all people at all times through the sending/outpouring of the Holy Spirit into the world. Jesus is fully human, which means he is not omnipresent--he sits at the right hand of the Father--but through the sending of the Holy Spirit, Jesus is actually able to be closer to the people of the world, desiring intimate relationships with them as he offers perfect prayer and perfect worship on their behalf to our Heavenly Father.

James Torrance writes, "The good news is that God comes to us in Jesus to stand in for us and bring to fulfillment his purposes of worship and communion. Jesus comes to be the priest of creation to do for us, men and women, what we failed to do, to offer to the Father the worship and the praise we failed to offer, to glorify God by a life of perfect love and obedience, to be the one true servant of the Lord...Jesus comes as our brother to be our great high priest, to carry on his loving heart the joys, the sorrows, the prayers, the conflicts of all his creatures, to reconcile all things to God, and to intercede for all nations as out eternal mediator and advocate. He comes to stand in for us in the presence of the Father, when in our failure and bewilderment we do not know how to pray as we ought to, or forget to pray altogether..." (Worship, Community, and the Triune God of Grace, 14).

Romans 8:24ff proclaims,"The Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express." This is good news for us today as we gather to pray for our city, state, nation, and world because we do not have the perfect words of intercession that God desires...and that's ok! God has provided through the sending of the  Holy Spirit a means to lift our prayers through the Spirit's prayers, and present them to the Lord Jesus, our great high priest, who is mediating on our behalf with our Heavenly Father. It is Jesus who offers the perfect words, prayers, and worship that God the Father desires.

If the Lord Jesus had not bodily ascended to the right hand of our Father this would not be possible. He could not be our intercessor and the Spirit would be poured out onto/into the people of the world. Let us trust in God's loving Providence as we sincerely pour out our hearts to God to heal and protect our nation as we await the day of Jesus' bodily return to heal and recreate the world!

Soli Deo Gloria! To God alone be all the glory! 

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Lesson 9: John 18:5-8 “I am He.”

Context: The last I am statement of Jesus in this study is found at John 18:5-8 where at three different times, rapid-fire, he makes the assertion “I am he.” The Greek manuscript omits the “he” which means that Jesus actually answered with “I am”, which coincides with the solemn, divine name for God initially found at Exodus 3:14. This passage falls within a larger framework that begins at John 18:1 and extends through the trial, passion, crucifixion, death, and burial of Jesus at John 19:42. It is worth noting that the three I am statements for this week’s study are not prepositional statements like the previous seven (minus Lesson #4 “Before Abraham was, I am” at John 8:58).

Study: John chapter 17 is known as Jesus’ High Priestly Prayer. It is among the most intimate of all of Jesus’ words that we have in the gospels. Take time, as a group, to read this prayer together aloud (John 17:1-26). It sets the stage for Jesus’ arrest in chapter 18.
·      Are there any passages that touch your heart in this prayer?
·      What do you think is on Jesus’ mind as he offers this intimate prayer to his Heavenly Father?
·      What is the locus of this prayer?
·      What do you make of 17:1-5? Is this foreshadowing?

As we transition to chapter 18’s “I am” statements, take time to read aloud as a small group John 18:1-11. At 18:2 John states that Jesus and his disciples went across the Kidron Valley to a garden. This is the Garden of Gethsemane. The very brief reflection below, written by Dr. Peter Leithart, was found on the March 8, 2016 online edition of First Things Magazine. Please take time to read it out loud as a small group.

The word “Gethsemane” means, “wine-press of oil.” It’s built from the same Hebrew root as Gath-Hepher, “the wine-press of the well,” a city in the tribal area of Zebulun, the birthplace of Jonah, and Gath-Rimmon, the “wine-press of the pomegranate,” a town in Dan. One of the five cities of Philistia, the hometown of Goliath and later the home of David in exile, was “Gath,” which means simply “wine-press.”

Located among the olive groves of the Mount of Olives, Gethsemane was an enclosed area, a garden that contained an olive press. Olives harvested from the mountain would be brought to Gethsemane at the foot of the mountain, where the olives were beaten or trampled underfoot to produce oil, oil for anointings, for cooking, for light, for medicine.

This is where Jesus goes after finishing the Passover meal with His disciples. There He grieves to the point of death, falls on His face, begs His Father to take the cup away. There He is betrayed by Judas and abandoned by His disciples. There Jesus is arrested and given over into the hands of sinners. In Gethsemane, Jesus is pressed out, beaten, trampled. In Gethsemane, the garden of the olive press, Jesus begins the sufferings that will culminate in the cross.

Jesus is the olive tree. He is the true Israel, He is the land and source of Israel’s fruitfulness, the guarding cherub of the Most Holy Place, carved from “oil wood.” He is the fruitful source of Israel’s oil, which brightens the face as wine gladdens the heart. He comes with the oil of gladness, and comes as the Good Samaritan for the healing of nations. He provides the oil that lights the lamps, that keeps Israel illuminated with the fire of the Spirit.

All that depends on the process that begins in Gethsemane. Without Gethsemane, without passing through the garden of the olive press, Jesus can do none of this. He goes to Gethsemane so that oil can be wrung from Him, so that it can be poured out for and in us.

David the anointed king followed this same path. Betrayed by his son Absalom and his close friend Ahitophel, David had to flee Jerusalem, and he fled to the east, across the Kidron Valley, up the Mount of Olives, weeping as he went. David too was pressed out, cut down, so that the kingdom could be renewed.

In Scripture, oil is a frequent image of the Spirit. Jesus comes to us full of the Spirit, and that Spirit is going to be ours, but that Spirit becomes ours only when Jesus is pressed and pierced so that the oil of the Spirit that is in Him can be trodden out, so that we can enjoy the “beaten oil” of the Spirit. Jesus is the fleece of Gideon, full of the Spirit, but then wrung out so that the entire land can filled with dew. Jesus is the Christ, the Anointed One, but the Christ makes Christians, other anointed ones, only if He is pressed and trodden underfoot.

At verse 5 the arresting party asks Jesus if he is Jesus of Nazareth. Not once, not twice—but three times Jesus states egw eimei, “I am.” It is as if in this culminating event of salvation history that Jesus is reiterating what he has already claimed throughout his ministry: I am the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; I am the bread of life; I am the light of the world; before Abraham was, I am; I am the gate for the sheep; I am the good shepherd; I am the resurrection and the life; I am the way, the truth, and the life; I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser; I AM HE.

Jesus was present in the pre-creation of the cosmos with the Father and Spirit, knowing, loving, and choosing us in his in-the-future-yet-to-come-sacrifice. He is the Lord of lords, the Son of God, the great I am. He humbled himself, emptying himself of his will—submitting to the will of his Father for the redemption of his people. There is none greater and worthy of worship than this King who became a lamb.

Close this study—and so, this series, by reviewing the magnitude of Jesus’ I am statements found above. What questions do you still have regarding Jesus’ claims?

Lesson 8: John 15:1 (15:5) “I Am the True Vine, and my Father is the Vinedresser”

"Christ the True Vine" 16th Century Greek Icon
Context: The “I am” statement of Jesus found at John 15:1 is part of a much larger passage regarding his last night on earth that extends from 13:1 (washing his disciples’ feet at the Passover dinner)-18:27 (the conclusion of Peter’s three denials). John 18:28 begins a new day (Friday) when Jesus will be brought before Pilate, the procurator (Roman governor), of Judea.

John 15:1 also falls within a smaller pericope that runs from 15:1-16:33 which is known as “The Farewell Discourse.” Finally, this passage also falls within a yet-smaller pericope that runs from 15:1-15:17. In referring to this passage, the ESV Reformation Study Bible states,
The union of Christ the Mediator and His redeemed people is portrayed in Scripture in a variety of ways. These portrayals work together in explaining the nature of this relationship. There is: (a) the foundation and the building (1Cor. 3:11; Eph. 2:20-22); (b) the vine and the branches (John 15:1-17; Romans 6:5); (c) the head and the body (1 Cor. 6:15, 19, 12:12; Eph. 1:22-23, 4:15-16; (d) the husband and the wife (Romans 7:4; Eph. 5:31-21; Rev. 19:7; and (e) Adam and his descendants (Romans 5:12, 18-21; 1 Cor. 15:22, 45, 49). The comparison with vine and branches indicates an organic union and a relation of complete dependence.[1]

In John 14 Jesus promised his disciples the several ways that he was going to come to them after his crucifixion and death—thus giving them their way to the Father and bringing the Truth and Life of the Father (in and through the Son) to them. In chapter 15 Jesus teaches the disciples (so us!) how, once he has come, we can make our home with him and so with his Father. The theme is no longer about Jesus coming, but about us abiding in him.[2]

Study: Begin the study of Jesus’ “I am” statement in John 15:1 (and 15:5) by reading, as a small group aloud, the entire pericope of John 15:1-17. This passage can be broken into two halves: 15:1-8 = Jesus invites his disciples to make their home with him and to pray; and 15:9-17 = Jesus invites his disciples to keep his love command and to pray.[3]

15:1 (15:5) is the last of the prepositional “I am” statements of Jesus in the Gospel According to John. It is worth noting that this is the only one that runs on into an additional claim—and the Father is the Vinedresser. Although the Son’s role is certainly central to understanding this passage, the Father’s role is note merely in the background: he trims and prunes the branches.[4]

Vine imagery is found throughout the literature of the ancient world, especially in Palestinian Judaism. In the Old Testament the vine is a common symbol for Israel, the covenant, chosen people of God (Psalm 80:9-16; Isaiah 5:1-7, 27:2ff; Jeremiah 2:21, 12:10ff, Ezekiel 15:1-8, 17:1-21, 19:10-14; and Hosea 10:1-2).
  • Read out loud Isaiah 5:1-7 as a sample of this rich Old Testament witness.

It is remarkable that whenever ancient Israel is referred to under this imagery it is the vine’s failure to produce good fruit that is emphasized, along with the corresponding threat of God’s judgment on the nation. Now, in contrast to such failure, Jesus boldly claims, “I am the true vine’, that is, the one to whom Israel pointed, the one that brings forth good fruit (when the people Israel failed). Carson writes that Jesus has already, in principle, superseded the temple, the Jewish feasts, Moses, various holy sites; and here he supersedes Israel as the very locus of the people of God![5]
  • Read out loud Psalm 80:7-8, 14-17. Perhaps of all of the available Old Testament passages, this one best brings together the themes of vine with the Son of Man.

At this point in the study do you understand the difference the people Israel being the “figurative vine” and Jesus being the “true vine?” Everything that God intended for Israel to be and do they failed at. Jesus, on the other hand, fulfills everything that God intended of his people Israel. By stating that he is the “true vine” he is really saying that he is “true Israel.”

To help clarify Jesus’ claim, Herman Ridderbos writes, “The main thing, however, is that Jesus, by [6]
"My Father is the Vinedresser" -Jesus
calling himself the true vine and, in immediate association therewith, his Father the planter and keeper of the vineyard, applies to himself this redemptive-historical description of the people of God. He thus becomes the one who represents or embodies the people.”

What image do you get in your mind when you read 15:2? Do you perceive the Father as loving and kind—a gentle gardener, or, do you perceive an angry, judgmental God?

The ESV Reformation Study Bible states, “No branch that is Christ’s can be wholly fruitless. But branches that belong to Christ will bear fruit, and undergo the pruning necessary to increase.”[7]
  • Does it make sense to you that only a loving gardener would prune away dead branches to benefit the living?
  • What do you think the fruits of a healthy vine look like?

  • What do you make of verse 3, “Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you”?
    • What word has Jesus spoken to the disciples that would make them clean?
    • The church has historically understood this statement to mean that whoever listens to Jesus’ Word with attention at any time is, ipso facto, being “cut” to the core. That is, Jesus’ Word cuts—cleanses, purifies, and purges.[8]
      • Has this been your experience with God’s Word?

Verses 5-8 (introduced by verse 4) focus on how disciples of Jesus are to abide/remain in him as a branch abides within the true vine. The central thoughts of verses 1-4 are repeated in 5-8 but without any mention of the gardener who prunes and cuts. Jesus states this clear teaching with simple starkness: a person either remains in the vine and is a fruit-bearing branch, or is thrown away and burned. The purpose of the branch is to bear MUCH fruit (verse 5), and the next verses show that this fruit is the consequence of prayer in Jesus’ name, and is to the Father’s glory (verses 7, 8, and 16). This suggests that the “fruit” in the vine imagery represents everything that is the product of effective prayer in Jesus’ name, including obedience to Jesus’ commands (verse 10), experience of Jesus’ joy (verse 11), love for one another (verse 12), and witness to the world (verses 16 and 27). This fruit is nothing less than the outcome of persevering dependence on the vine, driven by faith, embracing all of the believer’s life and the product of his witness.[9]

How do we bear fruit? How do we know who we are? How do we know if our faith is strong enough to stay on the vine and not be cut away?  The answer to this is found in verse 16,
You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.

Where does the gift of belief come from? Who gives the power to bear fruit? Who chooses the healthy vines? Who will protect that fruit? Who gives the strength to persevere in difficult times while continuing to bear fruit?

Soli Deo Gloria! To God Alone be All the Glory!

[1] ESV Reformation Study Bible (Phillipsburg: P&R Publishing, 2005), 1541.
[2] Bruner, Frederick Dale, The Gospel of John: A Commentary (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2012), 875.
[3] Ibid., 878 and 887.
[4] Carson, D.A., The Gospel According to John (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1991), 513.
[5] Ibid., 513.
[6] Ridderbos, Herman, The Gospel of John: A Theological Commentary (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1997), 515.
[7] ESV Reformation Study Bible, 1541.
[8] Bruner, 880.
[9] Carson, 517.

Lesson 7: John 14:6 “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life…”

Context: This “I am” statement, in our contemporary culture, is perhaps the most confrontational. Jesus is making an exclusive claim regarding not only his divinity (deity) but also the power that comes with that claim. John 14:6 falls within the larger story of Passion/Holy Week which in John runs from chapters 13-19. John 14:6 also falls within a smaller pericope that begins at John 14:1 and extends through John 14:14. In chapter 13, which takes place on the same night and in the same location as chapter 14, Jesus washed his disciples feet, predicted that one of them would betray him, gave them a new commandment (the love commandment) and then foretold Peter’s denial. This is the night of the Last Supper; the night when Jesus would be arrested and brought to trial before the high priest Caiaphas in chapter 18.

Study: Begin this study of John 14:6 by reading out loud as a small group the entire pericope of which it is a part, John 14:1-14.

John 14:1-5—It is Jesus who is heading for the agony of the cross; it is Jesus who is deeply “troubled” in heart (John 12:27) and spirit (John 13:21). Yet on this night of nights, when of all times it would have been appropriate for Jesus’ followers to lend him emotional and spiritual support, he is still the one who gives, comforts, and instructs.[1] Verse 1 tells us that Jesus’ disciples were troubled which is the exact same Greek verb as used in two citations above. They are not troubled because they are rushing toward pain, humiliation, shame, or crucifixion—but because they are confused, uncertain of what Jesus is teaching them, and are threatened by his references to his imminent departure. However appropriate it may be to cite the words from verse 1, “Let not your hearts be troubled” at Christian funerals, they were first addressed to disciples who were under substantial emotional pressure and were on the blink of a spiritual and emotional catastrophic breakdown.

-What goes through your heart and mind when you read that Jesus was ministering to his disciples during his time of great need rather than them ministering to him?

-Does that impact your understanding of the heart of Christ Jesus? If it does, how?

In these verses Jesus is clearly relating his words to what he has just said to Peter at the close of chapter 13 (13:36-38). If Peter’s faith is about to shatter, will the other disciples be more stable in their trust of Jesus? It’s no wonder that the other eleven are upset!

How are the disciples to calm their fears at Jesus’ words? They are to “Believe in God, believe also in me.”[2] Two questions come from this statement of Jesus: 1) If Jesus invariably speaks the word of God and performs the acts of God (see John 5:19ff), should he not be trusted like God? and 2) If Jesus tells his followers not to let their hearts be troubled, must it not be because he has ample and justifiable reasons?

John 14:2-3 reveal that Jesus is going away to prepare a place for his disciples. He is going to his [3] “many mansions”). The image that Jesus is revealing to his disciples is a place of community/solidarity. Rather than thinking of heavenly reward as receiving a private mansion—it’s probably more accurate to think of our heavenly home as a place of supreme equality with one another—similar to a military barracks or perhaps a college dormitory. We will all dwell together in perfect community, nobody economically better off than anyone else, within the heavenly realm of God.
Father’s house where there are many rooms (Note the King James’ here uses the corrupted text

How do we get to this new home? Jesus’ answer at verse 3 is interesting. The term, “…I will take you to myself…” in Greek has the connotation of being on a ladder—that is, Jesus IS the stairway/ladder between heaven and earth (see Genesis 28:10-12 and John 1:51!)

At verses 4-5 Jesus tells his disciples that they know the way to where Jesus is going, but Thomas, honest and forthright as always, declares, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” This sets the stage for Jesus’ famous “I am” statement at John 14:6.

Let’s recap through paraphrase regarding what has just transpired in our reading:
Jesus: You know the way; you do not need to know where it leads.
Thomas: If we do not know the destination, how can we know the way?

In fact, Jesus has just explained the destination in verse 2-3 and advised them that they also know the way at verse 4. Thomas’ reply seems to indicate that he, and the other disciples, have not fully come to grips with what Jesus has said about the destination.

John 14:6-16—READ together Jesus response to Thomas, John 14:6-7.
In this response Jesus has told his disciples that he is first of all “the way.” In Greek the first noun will bear greater weight than those that follow: i.e., the truth and life. Jesus is the way of God precisely because he is the truth of God (see 1:14) and the life of God (see 1:4; 3:14; and 11:25). Jesus is the truth, because he embodies the supreme revelation of God—that is, he himself “narrates” God (see 1:18), says and does exclusively  what the Father gives him to say and do (see 5:19ff; and 8:29), indeed he is properly called ‘God’ (1:1, 18; 20:28). He is God’s gracious self-disclosure, his “Word” made flesh (see1:14). Jesus is the life (see 1:4), the one who has “life in himself” (see 5:26), and “the resurrection and the life” (see 11:25). Only because he is the truth and the life can Jesus be the way for others to come to God, the way for his disciples to attain the many dwelling places in the Father’s house (verse 2-3), and therefore the answer to Thomas’s question at verse 5.

Jesus is not here commanding people to take the way that he himself takes. Rather, he IS the way. He is himself the Savior (see 4:42), the Lamb of God (see 1:29, 34), the one who so speaks that those who are in the graves hear his voice and come forth (see 5:28-29). He so mediates God’s truth and God’s life that he is the very way to God, the one who alone can say, “No one comes to the Father except through me.”[4]

Thomas à Kempis (1380-1471), in his famous book The Imitation of Christ, writes the following concerning this passage,
Follow thou me. I am the way and the truth and the life. Without the way there is no going; without the truth there is no knowing; without the life there is no living. I am the way which thou must follow; the truth which thou must believe; the life for which thou must hope. I am the inviolable way; the infallible truth, the never-ending life. I am the straightest way; the sovereign truth; life true, life blessed, life uncreated.[5]

How does this line up with the modern Western view that all religions are equally valid and all lead to God?

At verse 8 Philip STILL doesn’t get it. He, like his fellow disciples, is having a hard time wrapping their minds around the idea that Jesus IS the God of all creation; the Lord of all transcendent glory; the great I Am! So, he asks Jesus to show him God (the Father) right then and there.

Jesus’ response is tinged with sadness. His opponents do not recognize who he is because they have refused to be taught by Jesus—who is God (see 6:45). If those closest to him still display ignorance of who he is, despite their courageous loyalty to him, they attest their profound spiritual blindness. These men have been with Jesus day in and day out for approximately three years. How could they have had that close, intimate contact with the Lord and still not realize who he really was?

Over the next several verses Jesus makes several profound statements:

“Do you not believe that I am in the Father an the Father is in me?” (vs. 10)

“I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his work.” (v 10)
“Believe in me that I am in the father an the Father is in me, or else, believe on account of the works themselves.” (v. 11)

Jesus’ words cannot be much more direct to his disciples. He even tells them to pray IN HIS NAME!, “Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.” (v. 13) At his hour of most profound spiritual need, Jesus, rather than receiving help from his disciples finds himself giving more of himself away to them. His love for them is deep, passionate, and abiding.

Verse 14 has caused much trouble within the life of the church as the centuries have clicked by. “Name it—claim it” preachers and those who extol “The prosperity gospel” have made some wild, and I dare say wrong!, statements about this verse: “If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.”

How do you understand this verse within the greater context of the passage we have just studied? Left on its own it seems to teach that a person can ask for anything, as long as it is in Jesus’ name, and it will be given. Is that what our passage is teaching us?
This is not an easy teaching. People who are sick, exhausted, wounded, mourning, etc.…have struggled with this verse since the first century. Perhaps, in our humility and limited understanding, the best we can understand regarding this verse is that to pray in Jesus’ name is to identify with the crucified Christ and his purpose in the world. As Jesus was a servant/slave to the will of the Father (see Philippians chapter 2) we who are in union with him are called to be his servant/slave—that is, our prayers should focus on the mind and heart of Christ—that what brings him joy should bring us joy, and what grieves his heart should grieve ours. God does answer prayer—sometimes the answer is simply “no.”

Soli Deo Gloria!
To God alone be all the glory!

[1] Carson, D.A. The Gospel According to John (Eerdmans: Grand Rapids, 1991), 487.
[2] Some English translations will use the word “trust” instead of believe. They are the same Greek word.
[3] The KJV and NKJV use the Textus Receptus. To learn more about that document you can explore here: Most modern English translations of the New Testament use the Critical Text. To learn more you can explore here:
[4] Much of this material comes from Carson, John, 491.
[5] Kempis, Thomas à, The Imitation of Christ, 56.1