RSS

Monthly Archives: June 2008

Faith Is The Substance Of Things Hoped For

Question Text:   What is the meaning of Faith is the substance of things hoped for (Hebrews 11:1)? 
               
Answer Text  Your question indicates that you are probably using the KJV of the Bible for your study of God`s Word. The KJV was translated some 400 years ago and the language that is used in that version is so profound and wonderful that no other trnslation of the Bible could possibly be compared with it for the same. But over the years the English language has changed and we are told that there are more than 300 words in the KJV which we still use today, but with a different meaning. So some one living in our times will surely find it difficult to understand what the translators meant when they used those words. Therefore it is very essential to keep a modern version of the Bible along with the KJV for our study of the Scripture. There are so many different translations available and one begins to wonder what to do with all of those stuff out there. May I suggest you to keep the New Living Translation along with KJV as you study the Scripture. NLT uses up-to-date language and when they take a little freedom to deviate from the original they will give the literal meaning of it in the margin. So it is like using three versions side by side. You have KJV which is very close to the original but the language is old, NLT which gives the meaning in modern language and NLT margin tells you what exactly is the literal translation of the original.

Now coming to Heb.11:1, I shall give you a very quick word-study and also a few other translations and I think the meaning would be clear.

The word used is: ὑπόστασις in the Greek. (hupostasis)

Total KJV Occurrences: 5 confidence, (2) 2Co_11:17, Heb_3:14

confident, (1) 2Co_9:4

person, (1) Heb_1:3

substance, (1) Heb_11:1

 In other words only in Heb.11:1 even KJV uses the word `substance` to translate the original word. Confidence, confident,  person are the other renderings.

Now look at different tanslations of Heb.11:1. Heb 11:1 Now faith is the essence of things being hoped, the evidence of things not having been seen.(LITV)

Heb 11:1 To have faith is to be sure of the things we hope for, to be certain of the things we cannot see.(GNB)

Heb 11:1 Faith makes us sure of what we hope for and gives us proof of what we cannot see.(CEV)

Heb 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, and the sign that the things not seen are true.(BBE)

Heb 11:1 Now faith is assurance of things hoped for, a conviction of things not seen.(ASV)

So permit me to express the meaning of Heb.11:1 in the following way. `Now faith is assurance, or confidence, or being sure of the things we hope for`. I hope the answer is helpful.

Advertisements
 
Leave a comment

Posted by on June 25, 2008 in Bible Questions

 

Tags: ,

Mary’s Prayer

Question Text  Before Mary was visited by the angel What kind of prayer would she have been praying. In that era would she have had a set prayer or would she be praying a personal prayer? 
               
Answer Text  In the Biblical era you may notice that all prayers were personal prayers. All the prayers that are made mention of in the Scriptures are all personal prayers. It looks that there is no exemption to this rule. So we may conclude without any doubt that the prayers that Mary prayed before she was visited by the angel were surely her personal prayers. Set prayers came into vogue after Christianity became a formal religion with all its practices which are not found or attested in the Scriptures. While set prayers have a lot to their credit, personal prayers surpass them all as it is simply a heart to heart communion with God. Hannah in the Old Testament is a typical exampe (1Sam.1:12-13). Kindly observe that all the prayers listed in the Bible, Invariably they were all pesonal prayers.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on June 14, 2008 in Prayer

 

Tags: ,

Improving Prayer Life

Question Text  How can I improve my prayer life? 
               
Answer Text  It is a great question. Everyone does not have a desire to pray. I believe the desire is given by God Himself (Phil.2:13). He can only give us the desire. Decision is always ours. So cash on your desire and make a positive decision that you are indeed going to improve your prayer life and stick with your decision till prayer becomes a habit with you.

There must be basically two important ponts in your decision to improve your prayer life. First is the amount of time you are going to spend in prayer. I suggest a minimum of one hour per day is the least if at all you want to make any impression. Less than that would be too meager a prayer time. The next important thing is the place where you will spend that time in. Just as all of us have a living room, a dinning room and a bed room, each of us needs to have a place where we go for prayer. You can easily convert your bed room into pryer room or if you can afford another room it is still better. Or convert your study into your prayer room. The place too is important as we are all people of habit, a fixed time and a fixed place will draw our hearts to prayer.  The best pose in prayer is to kneel.  Kneel beside a cot or a chair with an open Bible and a hymn book.

Then to meaningfully spend one hour in God`s presence, divide one hour into several slots like first five minutes for praise, the next five minutes to search our hearts in God`s presence for any thing which might hinder our prayer being answered. This we do with the Word of God. Then spend the next ten minutes for reading a new portion and spend another ten minutes for meditation on that passage asking basically `what` `why`and `how` questions deriving at observation, interpretation and application of the passage. As we study God`s Word regulary like this, God will speak to us about our behaviour, He will reveal His will for us and He will also give us promises to base our prayers on.

Then spend the next twenty minutes for intercession, praying for world evangelisation, praying for spiritual growth of the church you are a member of, praying for others around us and their needs. Only specific prayers will bring back specific asnwers. So try to be very specific as far as you can. Then do not forget to pray for our needs as the Lord taught us to pray, `give us this day our daily bread`. As we end our prayer we need to thank Him for His grace and care and especially remember to thank Him for answering prayers specifically.

One thing to remember is that until prayer becomes a habit with us, please stick with your decision at whatever cost. Many give up after a few days! That is the most dangerous thing! Make prayer a daily habit without which you just can not do. May God bless you as you decide to improve your prayer life.

If you need further help there is a blogsite maintained just for promoting prayer awareness by the same author. There is a small book on prayer and there are many wonderful answers to prayer listed there. visit www.mathewpaul.org/pray-in-secret  and be benefited. God bless

 
1 Comment

Posted by on June 12, 2008 in Prayer

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

An Explanation Of Lk.16:1-12.

Question Text  what does luke 16:1-12 mean?explain please. 
               
Answer Text  This is a portion of the Scripture which gives a lot of discomfort to casual readers of the Bible. Here our Lord seems to appreciate the character of an unfaithful servant who showed more shrewdness when he was dismissed from work and the master appreciating his latter behavior is really hard to understand. In order to understand this story, one must know the difference between a parable and an allegory. A parable is a story told to bring home one point. But an allegory is a story where each participant or incident in the story represents some thing else in real life. There are several allegories in the Old Testament. Isa. 5:1-7 is a good example of an allegory. But there are many parables in the New Testament. The present one is a good example. It is told to teach one point and that one point is found in v.8.

The Lord commended his wisdom in that he planned for his future. If you begin to allegorize parables, you are going to end up in real trouble and come out with many funny interpretations of the Bible. Let us come to the story itself. Vv.1-7 is the parable. When an unfaithful steward was dismissed from work, he thought very carefully and he cunningly PLANNED FOR HIS FUTURE. Planning for his future was appreciated by the Lord. V.8 says that the children of this world are wiser than the children of light. How are they wiser? They are wiser because they plan for their future! Their only future is their retired life here on earth. They plan very well for the same. But the children of light are not wise enough to plan for their future which is ETERNITY. V9 our Lord says that we should use the ‘unrighteous mammon’ (earthly riches are unrighteous simply because they are earthly) which you have to leave one day, any way, to make friends for eternity. That means spend your money to win souls and the souls there in heaven because you used your money to spread the gospel will receive you gladly as they probably would not have heard about Christ if you had not shelled out your money to reach them with the gospel. V.10 is a simple statement of truth. One’s faithfulness is tested in small things. No one can be faithful in much if he is dishonest in small things. V11. Unrighteous mammon represents earthly riches. True riches at the latter part of the verse represent spiritual things. No one who is unfaithful in earthly things will ever be given spiritual responsibilities. So earthly riches/responsibilities given to you, are really a test of your faithfulness to God. V.12. Earthly riches are really not yours as you have to leave it one day and go. That is why it is described as ‘another’s’. Spiritual riches are yours forever to keep for ever. That is why it is described as ‘one’s own’.

The moral is, if you are not faithful in earthly things, then you are never going to get spiritual riches which are going to be yours forever to keep. So be wise and plan for your future which is eternity. Use your earthly riches, which is going to fail you one day, to make as many eternal friends as is possible. Only the spiritual riches that you gained on earth are going to be with you as your own for ever to keep. May the Lord bless you.

Read articles on prayer and experiences in prayer at www.mathewpaul.org .
 

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on June 11, 2008 in Bible Questions

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

I Am Afraid

             
Question Text  I live in India where majority of the population are Hindus. hence in our daily life we come across lot many objects food and other articles which are related to Hinduism. Like the other day someone told me that it is good to keep camphor at home as it is a good cockroach repellant. Camphor is also used in Hindu temples for thei prayers. Now I already have some fear issues of objects related to Hindu prayers. I have purchased this camphor from a store and this camphor has never been used for any prayers in temples and is purely fresh. I would request you to pyay for me and release me from this fear and give me a comfortable answer so that these objects related to Hindu faith no more drags me into any fear. Also I have been having chronic fear problems for last 12 years. Kindly give me suitable verses for me which will help me release me form fear forever.

(For articles on prayer and experiences in prayer visit www.mathewpaul.org)

Answer Text  Yours is a very practical problem faced by many new believers who are from a Hindu background. According to Hinduism almost every thing around us has some religious significance. New believers in Christ who were brought up in such a backgorund find it some times very difficult to decide as to what to do and what not to do.

 Dt.7:25,26 very clearly tells us not to keep any relics that belong to idolatrous wroship any where in our residence. In Acts 19:18 and 19 we read about new believers who had practiced curious arts burnt their books when they became believers in Christ showing that they had made a clear cut turnigng away from their old ways of life. These verses tell us that we should have nothing what so ever to do with our old ways of life when we become believers in Christ.

 In 1Cor. 8 Paul spends a whole chapter on the issue of food offered to idols. It is good to study that passage well as Paul sets there some clear principles about that issue. In v.4 Paul says that idols are nothing. But every one does not have this knowledge (v.6). Therefore it is essential that we do nothing with a doubtful heart or we should do nothing which offends another believer. That is the principle to be followed.

Now let me talk about the case of camphor which you bought from shop. Remember camphor has no religiocity attatched to it at all. The only thing is they use camphor for their worship. But they also use coconut in their worship. They use plantain, milk, honey or even ghee in their worship. If you say, because they use camphor in their worship you can not use camphor at home to keep cockroaches away, you must also say that you are not going to use any of the things mentioned above as well. You can not even use fire or even water because they use both fire and water in their worship! I hope you got the point.

Hindus consider cow as one of their gods `Kamadheenu`. So are you not going to keep a cow at home or enjoy milk? I had a small dairy farm for some time with four or five animals at home!

God has graciously enlightened our minds and we have had the privilege to know the living God and we should be grateful for it. We should keep our lives holy and clean not doing any thing which would grieve the Spirit of God within us (Eph.4:30). Please read the whole paragraph and it will tell you what are the things which grieve the Holy Spirit.

Now your fear issue. Faith and fear cancells each other. If you have fear that means you do not have faith; on the other hand if you have faith you can not have fear. Luk 8:50 says `But when Jesus heard, He answered Him, saying, Do not fear, only believe and she shall be healed`.

 Faith is assurance; faith is evidence (Heb.11:1). Faith comes by hearing and hearing the Word of God (Rom.10:17). I suggest that you fill your heart with the Word of God so that fear will disappear. Psa.91 is a good portion of Scripture which you can memorize and keep reciting to yourself and fear will disapper if you believe those verses.

Here are a few other verse which help us fight fear. Ps 27:1,3, Ps 46:2, Ps 56:4, Pr 28:1, Isa 41:10, Isa 43:1, Isa 46:12, Lu 1:74, Ac 27:24, Php 1:28, Heb 13:6, 1Pe 3:14,15. There are ever so many such verses in the Bible.

I suggest that you take a small note book and keep recording new verses as and when you find them in your daily reading of the Scripture. And you will find that there is no place for fear in the life of a true Christian beleiver. May the Lord help you to live a victorious Christian life for His golry

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on June 8, 2008 in Christian life

 

Tags: , , , , , ,