Do the words “to be” belong in Romans 1:7 and 1 Corinthians 1:2?


by Shawn Brasseaux

God’s Holy Word says in Romans 1:7: “To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.” And, 1 Corinthians 1:2: “Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours:” In the King James Bible, the words “to be” are italicized in both verses. This means they are not in the underlying Greek text, but our 1611 translators supplied them in English to complete the thought.

One commentator, representing the common position on this matter, wrote: “This salutation to those ‘called saints’ at Corinth (the words ‘to be’ are not in the original) makes it clear that all who ‘in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord’ are the saints of God.” Notice that the people who complain about the King James Bible’s italicized words justify their claims by pointing out, for example, the “unnecessary” words “to be” in Romans 1:7 and 1 Corinthians 1:2. (A troubled woman asked me about this many years back after a minister told her that very thing.) Most suggest we eliminate those two little words—two common “proof texts” used to show we can toss out the italicized words in the King James Bible without damaging the text. Is that so, friends? Or, could we actually be robbing ourselves of so much by omitting so little? Let us see!

People want the Bible’s “called to be saints” to read “called saints.” They attempt to make “saints” serve as a title or name in the verses. However, this is problematic. I am certainly no Greek scholar, but I have no doubt that our 50 King James Bible translators were. If, after all their dozen-plus reviews, they deemed it necessary to insert “to be” to complete the thought in English, I will trust their judgment over any preacher today in this world of “itching ears” and rampant apostasy! While King James Bible critics often use these two verses and two words to attack the italicized words, it can be easily demonstrated that the italicized words are necessary if the English Bible is to make sense. Scores of examples can be provided, but, in this study, we limit ourselves to these two.

The teaching of Romans 1:7 and 1 Corinthians 1:2 is not (as some suppose) merely a title or name “saints” but rather a function (appointed or invited to act a certain way—behaving as a “sanctified one,” walking as a “set apart one”). As the King James Bible shows with its italicized words, the emphasis is not on the name but rather the appointment to a specific behavior. A verse list will be provided later in this study to show the instances when the word “saints” serves as a title. Instead of making verses say what we want them to say, we need to leave all the words—including the italicized words—in the verses. The Bible is the authority and we are not!

“Called to be saints” is found only in Romans and 1 Corinthians because these are two of the most basic Christian living books. It is not so much that they are Christians but rather they should pursue Christian/grace living because their calling is Christian/grace living. They need to be acting like saints—God has appointed them to behave a certain way, to operate in a defined manner, and they need to be reminded of that. Romans is the introductory Book to grace living, Christian living in the Dispensation of Grace. We are to conduct our lives as saints, and Romans educates us how to do that. First Corinthians addresses believers who are not living in their Christian identity. They are not following the Book of Romans by faith. They must be reminded of the task God has called, invited, appointed them to fulfill.


Notice these Pauline salutations that employ “saints” as a title rather than an appointment or invitation to service:

  • 2 Corinthians 1:1: “Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, unto the church of God which is at Corinth, with all the saints which are in all Achaia:….”
  • Ephesians 1:1: “Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus:….”
  • Philippians 1:1: “Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons:….”
  • Colossians 1:2: “To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ which are at Colosse: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Did you see that, dear friend? When the Holy Spirit wanted to open a Pauline epistle with the word “saints” serving as a title, the above verses show us that He did not write “called saints.” He simply said “the saints.” Therefore, we should not try to make Romans 1:7 and 1 Corinthians 1:2 “called to be saints” (function) into “called saints” (title)—we have no authority to remove ANY words from the Bible! The word “called” implies an appointment/invitation to something rather than a title or name bestowed. Again, I am no Greek scholar, but I can read English. When “called” is used, “saints” is an invitation or appointment. When “called” is not used, “saints” is a title. Removing “to be” will only obscure this nuance, this subtle shade of meaning.


Romans 1:1: “Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God,….” And, 1 Corinthians 1:1: “Paul called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother,….”

While King James critics complain about the “called to be saints” phrase, I have never once heard them ever gripe about “called to be an apostle” (same grammatical structure—same word “called,” and same italicized words “to be”). Unlike with Romans 1:7 and 1 Corinthians 1:2, they leave those words “to be” there! Why? (Ask them, not me. I am completely puzzled by them! Perhaps they are more interested in bashing God’s precious words than believing them?)

With the case of the Christians in Rome and Corinth, they are to be functioning as saints rather than merely holding a title/name “saints.” Notice how “apostle” is not a title in Romans 1:1 and 1 Corinthians 1:7—it is a function. Father God, through the Lord Jesus Christ, invited or appointed Paul to be His spokesman, His “sent-one” to the Gentiles:

  • Romans 1:1: “Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God,….”
  • 1 Corinthians 1:1: “Paul called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother,….”

Now, watch “apostle” function as a title/name (no word “calling” attached, please note):

  • Galatians 1:1: “Paul, an apostle, (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead; )….”
  • Ephesians 1:1: “Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus:….”
  • Colossians 1:1: “Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timotheus our brother,….”
  • 1 Timothy 1:1: “Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the commandment of God our Saviour, and Lord Jesus Christ, which is our hope;….”
  • 2 Timothy 1:1: “Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, according to the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus,….”
  • Titus 1:1: “Paul, a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God’s elect, and the acknowledging of the truth which is after godliness;….”


When God the Holy Spirit wanted the word to function as a title/name (whether “apostle” or “saint”), there was no “calling” involved. When He preferred to use the word as an invitation/appointment, “called” was attached. Therefore, we see that the italicized words “to be” belong in Romans 1:7 and 1 Corinthians 1:2 in the King James Bible! Leave them there!

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Also see:
» Is the King James word “borrow” a mistranslation in Exodus 3:22?
» What does the King James Bible mean—“my reins?”
» “From his shoulders and upward he was higher?”

What are “lewd fellows of the baser sort?”


by Shawn Brasseaux

Our King James Bible abounds with interesting phraseology and Acts 17:5 is no exception. It says, “But the Jews which believed not, moved with envy, took unto them certain lewd fellows of the baser sort, and gathered a company, and set all the city on an uproar, and assaulted the house of Jason, and sought to bring them out to the people.” As a pastor friend often comments about the verse, “You may not understand that expression ‘lewd fellows of the baser sort’ but you at least know it does not sound good!” We will analyze the phrase and learn just how “bad” it really is. Context first, though.

While Paul and Silas were conducting Paul’s second apostolic journey, they came to Macedonia (northern Greece), to a city named Thessalonica, where there was a Jewish synagogue. For two or three weeks, Paul reasoned with them out of the Scriptures. He used the Old Testament to prove that Jesus was Christ. Some in the audience believed the Gospel of the Grace of God—Christ Jesus died for their sins, He was buried, and He rose again the third day (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). Luke writes in chapter 17 of Acts, verse 4, a great multitude of religious Greeks and many chief women believed unto eternal life. Acts 17:5 (the verse in question) picks up the account. Satan was very upset!

Unbelieving Jews who followed Paul everywhere, became envious that God was now working amongst and saving the pagan Gentiles. In response to Paul’s ministry triumphs in Thessalonica, these lost Jews gathered a mob of the worst people they could locate. These men were “lewd” (wicked), but to make it worse, they were “of the baser sort” (the worst of the worst!). That mob then caused a riot in Thessalonica. It physically attacked a Christian, Jason, and his household. After that intense day, Paul and Silas by night barely escaped to nearby Berea with their lives (verses 6-10)!

Saints, may we learn this simple lesson. Let us brush off the silly and snide comments, awful frowns, and rude gestures from the lost world. After all, the Bible says Christians have been assaulted (literally) “by worse!”

Also see:
» If dispensational Bible study is true, how come so few believe it?
» Why do people get angry when we share right division?
» “If God peradventure will give them repentance…?”

Who are “the fatherless and widows” of James 1:27?


by Shawn Brasseaux

James 1:27 says, “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.” “Christian” ministries and philanthropic organizations often use this verse as their motto, but do they know what it is really talking about? Hardly! Make no mistake, dear friends, we commend people who do their very best to help the needy (particularly orphans and widows). We are not here to criticize or diminish their work. Our thoughts and hearts go out to the world’s orphans and widows. Nevertheless, we should use God’s Word very carefully. Why are those in James 1:27 “fatherless” and “widows?” What is their specific “affliction?” Are there unique circumstances in place, situations starkly different from the plight of today’s orphans and widows? What verses can help us interpret James 1:27? Let us search the Scriptures!


For many centuries, theologians, pastors, and church members have stumbled and fallen over the Book of James because they do not understand where it fits on the Bible timeline. In a desperate attempt to reconcile its legalistic (Law-keeping) passages with Paul’s anti-legalistic passages, they change its doctrine and force it into our Dispensation of Grace, God’s current program. This will not work, as Paul and James are writing to two separate peoples living under totally different circumstances. Rather than destroying one or the other—“this verse does not mean what it says,” “throw away the Book of James!,” et cetera—we need to understand those passages are to be “rightly divided” (2 Timothy 2:15). James and Paul are not meant to teach the same thing!

In this the Dispensation of Grace, the nation Israel is “fallen” and “blinded.” Notice what the Holy Spirit through Paul wrote in Romans chapter 11: “[11] I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy. [12] Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fulness? [13] For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office: …. [25] For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.”

James 1:1 says: “James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting.” In contrast to Paul writing about Israel as a non-issue, James writes to Israel indicating Israel is an issue. James and Paul can no way be harmonized here. Paul is writing to “you Gentiles” as “the apostle of the Gentiles” (Romans 11:13). Contrariwise, James is writing “to the twelve tribes.” These 12 tribes would obviously be the 12 tribes of the nation Israel. If these audiences are different (they are), and if their circumstances are different (they are), we have no reason to force James and Paul together… unless we have a denomination to defend or a church tradition to maintain (and that describes most people who appeal to Scripture)!

Let us get back to James 1:1. In light of James writing to “the twelve tribes”—the nation Israel—we can see that the “fatherless” and “widows” describes people within Israel’s program. They are not those today in our Dispensation of Grace but rather people living in the prophetic program. Who will be without parents and spouses in the future?


In the Four Gospels, we remember that the Lord Jesus talked at great length about Israel’s believing remnant suffering persecution during the end times. (Please remember He was not telling them new material. Centuries prior to His earthly ministry, many psalms and other “Old Testament” passages were written to, about, and from the perspective of, those precious Jewish kingdom saints suffering under Satan’s cruel reign still future from us. For starters, see Psalm 7, Psalm 9, Psalm 10, the whole Book of Job, and Daniel chapters 3 and 6.)

Read what the Lord Jesus said in Matthew chapter 10: “[17] But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues; [18] And ye shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles. [19] But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak. [20] For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you. [21] And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death. [22] And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved. [23] But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another: for verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come….”

Reading from Matthew chapter 10 once more: “[34] Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. [35] For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. [36] And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household. [37] He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. [38] And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. [39] He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.”

Mark 13:9-13: “[9] But take heed to yourselves: for they shall deliver you up to councils; and in the synagogues ye shall be beaten: and ye shall be brought before rulers and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them. [10] And the gospel must first be published among all nations. [11] But when they shall lead you, and deliver you up, take no thought beforehand what ye shall speak, neither do ye premeditate: but whatsoever shall be given you in that hour, that speak ye: for it is not ye that speak, but the Holy Ghost. [12] Now the brother shall betray the brother to death, and the father the son; and children shall rise up against their parents, and shall cause them to be put to death. [13] And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.”

Luke 21:12-17: “[12] But before all these, they shall lay their hands on you, and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues, and into prisons, being brought before kings and rulers for my name’s sake. [13] And it shall turn to you for a testimony. [14] Settle it therefore in your hearts, not to meditate before what ye shall answer: [15] For I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist. [16] And ye shall be betrayed both by parents, and brethren, and kinsfolks, and friends; and some of you shall they cause to be put to death. [17] And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake.”

1 Peter 1:6-7: “[6] Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: [7] That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:”

1 Peter 2:19-23: “[19] For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully. [20] For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God. [21] For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: [22] Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: [23] Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously:”

1 Peter 3:14-17: “[14] But and if ye suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled; [15] But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: [16] Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ. [17] For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing.

1 Peter 4:12-19: “[12] Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: [13] But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. [14] If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified. [15] But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men’s matters. [16] Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf. [17] For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? [18] And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear? [19] Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.”

1 Peter 5:8-11: “[8] Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: [9] Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. [10] But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you. [11] To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.”

Revelation 13:15: “And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.” How were they killed? They are going to be beheaded, as Revelation 20:4 reports: “And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.”

One final note before we summarize and conclude. In the persecution that followed Stephen’s martyrdom in Acts chapter 7, we read of the Jewish believers in Christ being “scattered abroad.” This passage links to the “scattered abroad” twelve tribes mentioned in James 1:1. What believing Israel experienced in early Acts, believing Israel will experience in the future during the time of the Antichrist. Saul of Tarsus, before he was saved and became the Apostle Paul, had a ministry that was against Christ. That was a picture of what the Antichrist will do after our dispensation ends.

Notice whom Saul of Tarsus arrested in Acts chapter 8: “[1] And Saul was consenting unto his death. And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles. [2] And devout men carried Stephen to his burial, and made great lamentation over him. [3] As for Saul, he made havock of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison. [4] Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word.” (These men and women had families, did they not? These would have also been the “fatherless” and “widows” of James 1:27.)


What the Lord Jesus said in Matthew chapter 10 succinctly summarizes the reasons for the “fatherless” and “widows” in James 1:27: “[21] And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death. [22] And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved. [34] Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. [35] For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. [36] And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household. [37] He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. [38] And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. [39] He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.”

Luke 21:16-17 provides additional information on this subject: “[16] And ye shall be betrayed both by parents, and brethren, and kinsfolks, and friends; and some of you shall they cause to be put to death. [17] And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake.”

It is overwhelmingly clear that the “fatherless” and “widows” of James 1:27 are people who have been bereaved of their loved ones because of the Antichrist and his brutal regime during the seven-year Tribulation. Innumerable Jewish believers in Christ, who will refuse to worship the Antichrist and take his mark, will be betrayed by their relatives who follow the Antichrist. They will be imprisoned and/or lose their lives—men, women, boys, and girls. There will be deep, deep divisions between believers and unbelievers: Satan will cause unbelievers to mercilessly persecute and abuse those Messianic Jews (Christ’s followers). Women will lose their husbands and men will lose their wives. Children will lose their parents. Brothers and sisters will turn in their siblings to the Antichrist’s government. Children will betray their parents. Spouses will turn in their husbands.

James 1:27 sits in the midst of false religion—the Antichrist’s pagan, idolatrous system. Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this….” What God wants the audience of James to do is take care of those who have lost their loved ones because of Jesus Christ. They died rejecting the Antichrist, refusing to take his mark and worship his image.

Also see:
» Who are “the poor” in Galatians 2:10?
» Will Israel’s Little Flock be put to death or not?
» What is the “falling away” of 2 Thessalonians 2:3?

Who are “the poor” in Galatians 2:10?


by Shawn Brasseaux

We read the Apostle Paul’s words in Galatians 2:9-10: “[9] And when James, Cephas [Peter], and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision. [10] Only they would that we should remember the poor; the same which I also was forward to do.” Churches, charities, and other philanthropic organizations today commonly use verse 10 as their theme. Is this appropriate? Exactly who are these “poor?” Are they common, everyday underprivileged people as commonly assumed? If not, why are they “poor?”

A few quick introductory statements about Galatians chapter 2 must be made first. Approximately A.D. 50, some 20 years after Christ died on Calvary, Apostles/Prophets Barnabas and Saul/Paul met in Jerusalem to explain to the Apostles of the Little Flock (led by James, Peter, and John) what God the Holy Spirit was doing amongst the Gentiles through Paul’s special ministry and with his special message. Before parting, James, Peter, and John urged Paul and Barnabas to “remember the poor” (Galatians 2:10). Paul said that he was “forward”—diligent, eager, prompt, earnest—to do just that. As his epistles bear out, Paul was true to his word. He was hardworking in remembering these “poor.” Now, back to the original question. Who were they, and why were they poor?


In two of Paul’s “Acts” epistles, we learn about some poor saints in Jerusalem. Notice these excerpts from Romans and 1 Corinthians. By the way, these were written after Galatians chapter 2 (in accordance with Paul’s promise to “remember the poor”).

Romans 15:25-28: “[25] But now I go unto Jerusalem to minister unto the saints. [26] For it hath pleased them of Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution for the poor saints which are at Jerusalem. [27] It hath pleased them verily; and their debtors they are. For if the Gentiles have been made partakers of their spiritual things, their duty is also to minister unto them in carnal things. [28] When therefore I have performed this, and have sealed to them this fruit, I will come by you into Spain.”

First Corinthians 16:1-4: “[1] Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye. [2] Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come. [3] And when I come, whomsoever ye shall approve by your letters, them will I send to bring your liberality unto Jerusalem. [4] And if it be meet that I go also, they shall go with me.”

So, Romans 15:26 says, “the poor saints which are at Jerusalem.” First Corinthians 16:1-4 refers to “the collection for the saints” and the bringing of those goods to “Jerusalem.” The “poor” in Galatians 2:10 were not (as some suppose) ordinary poverty-stricken people. They were believers in Jesus Christ. More specifically, they were members of the Little Flock, the circumcision (Jewish) believers converted under Jesus’ earthly ministry, as well as under the ministry of Peter and the 11. But, what caused them to be poor?


Why were the saints in Jerusalem suffering financial hardships? Were they lazy, disabled, oppressed by the government, lacking an education, et cetera? Not at all, friends. They were following God’s Word by faith. Again, we let the Bible speak for itself.

The Lord Jesus instructed His followers in Luke 12:30-34: “[30] For all these [material] things do the nations of the world seek after: and your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things. [31] But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you. [32] Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. [33] Sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth. [34] For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” (Notice verse 33—the Lord commanded His Jewish followers to sell their possessions.)

By faith, they did just that in Acts 2:42-47: “[42] And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. [43] And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles. [44] And all that believed were together, and had all things common; [45] And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. [46] And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, [47] Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.”

Also, Acts 4:31-37: “[31] And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness. [32] And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common. [33] And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all. [34] Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold, [35] And laid them down at the apostles’ feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need. [36] And Joses, who by the apostles was surnamed Barnabas, (which is, being interpreted, The son of consolation,) a Levite, and of the country of Cyprus, [37] Having land, sold it, and brought the money, and laid it at the apostles’ feet.”

Why did the Lord Jesus Christ want them to sell their possessions though? Remember, the Jewish kingdom saints during the Acts period were waiting for the Antichrist to arrive. They had no idea that it would be at least 2,000 years before he would come. Now, we understand that our Dispensation of Grace has to run its course before the Antichrist appears. In light of the coming Antichrist, the Lord Jesus warned His Jewish audience not to be attached to material riches. They were to seek “first” God’s kingdom and His righteousness (Matthew 8:33)—the spiritual things (primarily, sins dealt with by them coming to Christ). Then and only then would material blessings come from God. (Those material blessings will ultimately come when Jesus Christ returns at His Second Coming, when He will set up God’s earthly kingdom of peace and prosperity.)

Retaining any material wealth would entice these Jewish kingdom saints to follow the Antichrist. After all, the Antichrist’s economic system precludes buying or selling until his blasphemous mark is taken and his image is worshipped. The Apostle John writes in Revelation 13:15-18: “[15] And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed. [16] And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: [17] And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. [18] Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.”

To remove the temptation of holding on to material wealth, Jesus Christ instructed His Jewish believers to sell their material possessions. As we already saw in Acts chapters 2 and 4, the kingdom saints in Jerusalem lived off that one common fund of pooled wealth. They assumed that Jesus Christ would return within their lifetime and return to them all the prosperity they lost (a restoration of all they relinquished for Christ’s sake—see Matthew 19:29 and Mark 10:29-30). However, with no interest paid, and Jesus Christ’s Second Coming not occurring during the Acts period, the common fund in Jerusalem ran dry by the time of mid-Acts (certainly by chapter 15 / Galatians chapter 2). Their economic woes were exacerbated by the famine that occurred in the final verses of Acts chapter 11 (we will address this shortly).

During their hardships, God was true to His Word. Those Jerusalem saints had followed Jesus’ instructions, and had become poor in the process. There was no negligence on their part, so God honored their faithful obedience. Since they had sought God’s kingdom and His righteousness (converted to Christ by repentance and water baptism), material possessions were added unto them (just as Jesus said). Paul’s Gentile converts—members of the Church the Body of Christ—gave money and material goods to Paul and Barnabas for them to bring that aid to the poor saints at Jerusalem. The mystery program interrupted and delayed the prophetic program, so the Gentile saints of the mystery program blessed materially the Jewish saints of the prophetic program.

According to Acts chapter 11, there was a severe famine throughout the then-known world. That famine affected the Judaean (surrounding Jerusalem) saints during the mid-Acts period. Notice what Luke reports: “[28] And there stood up one of them named Agabus, and signified by the Spirit that there should be great dearth throughout all the world: which came to pass in the days of Claudius Caesar. [29] Then the disciples, every man according to his ability, determined to send relief unto the brethren which dwelt in Judaea: [30] Which also they did, and sent it to the elders by the hands of Barnabas and Saul.”

The Bible says Barnabas and Saul (Paul) brought supplies from the Gentile church at Antioch over to help the Jewish kingdom brethren in Judaea (again, the area surrounding Jerusalem). It is unclear how long this famine lasted—perhaps its effects were still felt as late as Acts chapter 15 (many years later). James, Peter, and John no doubt remembered how Barnabas and Paul assisted the poor saints in Jerusalem in Acts chapter 11 all those years earlier. In Galatians chapter 2 (Acts chapter 15), they wanted Barnabas and Paul to continue remembering those poor Jewish kingdom saints in Jerusalem. As Romans and 1 Corinthians demonstrated later, Paul kept his word and did just that!

Also see:
» Who are “the fatherless and widows” of James 1:27?
» Must I tithe 10 percent of my income?
» Why did God strike Ananias and Sapphira dead in Acts chapter 5?

Do Hosea 11:12 and Hosea 12:2 contradict?


by Shawn Brasseaux

Hosea 11:12: “Ephraim compasseth me about with lies, and the house of Israel with deceit: but Judah yet ruleth with God, and is faithful with the saints.”

Hosea 12:2: The LORD hath also a controversy with Judah, and will punish Jacob according to his ways; according to his doings will he recompense him.”

Hosea 11:12 says, “Judah yet ruleth with God, and is faithful with the saints.” There is nothing wrong here. However, in chapter 12, the following is found in verse 2: “The LORD hath also a controversy with Judah, and will punish Jacob according to his ways; according to his doings will he recompense him.” Is Judah “with God… faithful with the saints” (Hosea 11:12)? Yes. Then why does God have a “controversy with Judah” in Hosea 12:2? Is there a problem with the Bible text here?

Friend, the easiest explanation is usually the most likely. Here is the simplest answer. When the Prophet Hosea wrote/preached Hosea 11:12, Judah (Southern Kingdom) was still on God’s side. By the time of Hosea 12:2, however, a considerable amount of time has passed. Now, Judah is apostate, against God, sinful enough to where JEHOVAH God complains about them; they are now just as wicked as Israel (Northern Kingdom). Hosea’s ministry covered a long period of time—Dr. Scofield, citing Archbishop Ussher, estimates 60 years. Hosea chapter 11 is estimated to be 740 B.C. while chapter 12 is approximately 725 B.C. Over a period of as much as 15 years, Judah transformed from good to bad, righteous to evil.

What happened to Judah between Hosea chapters 11 and 12 is something all too familiar to us even today. We lead someone to Christ as personal Saviour, and he or she starts off in sound doctrine. That person attends Bible study, agrees with the doctrine, and seems to be progressing in spiritual maturity. Sometime later, he or she slips away into error, waxing worse and worse. While the person started off right, he or she ended up wrong. There are two separate conditions here, each at a different point in time.

Concerning Hosea 11:12 and Hosea 12:2, there is no need to cry out as the critics do, “Contradiction!” We have no reason to doubt the Bible, friend. Each verse is true at a specific point in time, but they are not true at the same time (use common sense). This is yet another proof that if we encounter a problem in Bible study, the problem is not with the Bible but rather with us! We should always give the Bible the benefit of the doubt—that is the viewpoint of the Bible believer anyway. Simple!

Also see:
» Why are Acts 9:7 and Acts 22:9 contradictory?
» Why does Acts 2:35 use “foes” but Psalm 110:1 use “enemies?”
» Do Matthew 10:10, Mark 6:8, and Luke 9:3 contradict?

Must I be a “King James Bible, Pauline dispensationalist” to have eternal life?


by Shawn Brasseaux

“Do I have to use the King James Bible dispensationally in order to be saved unto eternal life? If I use a modern Bible translation, will I go to Hell? If I do not rightly divide the word of truth, will I be barred from Heaven?”

Friend, thank you for that submission. I am more than glad to address it in this our special-edition 400th Bible Q&A study article!


Years ago, I met with a family member greatly confused about the Bible. She had claimed to be a Christian for several years, so I assumed she was already a justified lady. Thus, I proceeded to address her questions in that four-hour-long Bible study! She raised various denominational objections. I told her I was more than happy to show her how the rightly-divided Scriptures addressed and refuted those criticisms. Carefully, we walked through the Bible timeline, learning how to separate the nation Israel from the Church the Body of Christ, prophecy from mystery, Peter from Paul, and so on. Since she was using a modern version riddled with errors, we also touched on King James Bible authority. At the end, I thought it was a very beneficial discussion—even I had profited from it.

Finally, she asked me, “Do I have to know all of this to be saved into Heaven?” Dear friends, I was downright flabbergasted (an understatement)! Here, she had claimed to be a Christian, she had claimed to be going to Heaven, but now it had become clear to me (and her) that she was neither. Immediately, I told her not to worry about all the verses I shared with her just moments prior. I shared with her the plain and simple Gospel of Grace right there, telling her all about how she needed to trust in Christ’s finished crosswork as sufficient payment for her sins. From there onward, she knew exactly how to have eternal life; I left her home and let her think about it.

About one week later, I asked that family member if she had ever trusted Christ as her personal Saviour. “No,” she told me. I gave her the Gospel one more time, but she seemed unconcerned about it at that point. Thereafter, I no longer mentioned the subject and she never got back with me. In fact, she has not spoken to us in years and has no intention of speaking to us. What a travesty, dear friends, but how we value free will! With me, there will be no “arm twisting” or forcing people onto their knees! If they want to live without Jesus Christ, they can. If they want to die without Jesus Christ, we give them their wish!

Beloved, the aforementioned account accentuates the necessity of this special-edition Bible Q&A article. Must someone use a King James Bible rightly divided to go to Heaven? Will a Christian who uses a modern English Bible go to Hell? Will a non-dispensationalist Christian miss Heaven? We are delighted to take this opportunity to set the record straight. In doing so, we will (also) answer the charges of our detractors!


Friends, we must never confuse salvation from Hell unto eternal life in Heaven, with salvation from error unto spiritual understanding and growth. There are various types of “salvation” in the Bible. Contrary to popular belief, the word does not always refer to deliverance from sin and eternal hellfire. For example, consider the following:

  • We Christians can be “saved” from despair by having hope in God’s Word that He will resurrect us physically and give us glorified bodies (Romans 8:24).
  • By virtue of the “pre-Tribulation Rapture,” we Christians will be “saved” from all of the Antichrist’s reign and deception (2 Thessalonians 2:13).
  • We can be “saved” from shame (Philippians 1:19-20) and discouragement (2 Corinthians 1:6).
  • The mother of Samuel, Hannah, rejoiced because God had “saved” her from infertility and embarrassment (1 Samuel 2:1).
  • God told Gideon He would use him to “save” Israel from their oppressors the Midianites (Judges 6:14).
  • As we will see in this study, the Bible mentions us being “saved” from false teaching, doctrinal lies (1 Timothy 4:16; 2 Timothy 3:15).

This is just a partial listing, but it proves the point sufficiently. Let us now return to the topic of “salvation” as it pertains to deliverance from Hell unto eternal life in Heaven. Salvation into Heaven is all about what Jesus Christ did for us at Calvary, not what we do for Him or what we do not do for Him. The following simple Scriptures emphasize faith in Jesus Christ and His finished crosswork, rather than our works, as all that is necessary for us to have an eternal home in Heaven.

Romans 3:23-28: “[23] For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; [24] Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: [25] Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; [26] To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. [27] Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. [28] Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.”

Romans 4:1-5: “[1] What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found? [2] For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God. [3] For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. [4] Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. [5] But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.”

Ephesians 2:8-9: “[8] For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: [9] Not of works, lest any man should boast.”

Galatians 2:16-21: “[16] Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified. [17] But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is therefore Christ the minister of sin? God forbid. [18] For if I build again the things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor. [19] For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God. [20] I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. [21] I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.”

Titus 3:4-7: “[4] But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, [5] Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; [6] Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; [7] That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”

How are we justified, or made right, or declared righteous, before Almighty God? What does the Bible say? What did Romans 3:26-28 say earlier? “[26] To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. [27] Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. [28] Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.” 

What did we read in Romans 4:5? “But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.” What did Galatians 2:16 declare? “[16] Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.” What did we learn from Titus 3:5? “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;….”

Romans 3:26 said we are to “believe in Jesus” to be justified before God. Romans 4:5 says we are to “believe on him that justifieth the ungodly” in order to be declared righteous. Galatians 2:16 declared we are “not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.” Titus 3:5 said we are saved “not by works of righteousness which we have done,” “but according to his mercy he saved us….”

While it is always important to know what is in a Bible verse, it is equally important to notice what is not in the verse. Notice how there is nothing in these verses about understanding the various dispensations in the Bible. There is nothing about Paul’s special ministry, or how to separate it from the ministry of Peter and 11. There is nothing about distinguishing between the prophetic program and the mystery program. There is nothing about God’s earthly kingdom versus God’s heavenly kingdom. There is nothing about the nation Israel versus the Church the Body of Christ. There is nothing about good and bad Bible versions. While they are indeed important issues in Christian living and Christian understanding, they are not necessary for justification (becoming a Christian). Such information cannot benefit lost people. Lost people need to be saved from, forgiven of, their sins. Common sense dictates that they cannot adopt a Christian view of the Bible until they become Christians!

The only dispensational aspect an unsaved, or lost, person needs to understand is what was already covered in the above verses. Grace is the issue today rather than Law. While God demanded faith and various works in other dispensations, today, we are justified without the deeds of the Law, without joining Israel’s special religion (Judaism, founded upon the Law of Moses). Refer back to those Bible passages cited earlier, paying special attention to the emphasis on faith alone (without works). God is not operating a performance-based acceptance system today; He is operating a Jesus-Christ-based acceptance system. Father God accepts us in Christ Jesus, on the basis of Jesus Christ and God’s love for Him, us in Him and partaking of that love (Ephesians 1:6). Oh, dear friends, if you never get anything else out of the Bible, please get that! If you never get anything else out of this study, please get that! If you never get anything else out of our ministry, please get that!

Justification (being declared righteous before God) is not about us passing theological tests, knowing about dispensations, understanding Paul’s special ministry and message, discerning between the King James Bible and modern versions, separating prophecy from mystery, dividing Israel from the Body of Christ, et cetera. Again, that would be part of Christian living and Christian understanding, but not part of the Gospel that lost people need to believe to pass from spiritual death to spiritual life, Hell to Heaven, and Satan’s family to God’s family.

Notice the classic Gospel passage, Acts 16:30-31: “[30] And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? [31] And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.” The Philippian jailer asked the Apostle Paul and Silas what he had to do to be “saved.” Their answer was swift in coming and positive in content: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.” Once more, do you see anything about Bible versions or dispensational issues? No. The Philippian jailer is exhorted to trust, rely on, believe on Jesus Christ as his personal Saviour. That is all. How simple! He did just that and was immediately saved into Heaven. That Philippian jailer is in Heaven’s glory today, along with Paul, Silas, and all the other saints of the ages. If we are saved in Christ today, we will see them in Heaven one day!

In 1 Corinthians 15:1-4, Paul briefly summarized the Gospel that he preached: “[1] Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; [2] By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. [3] For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; [4] And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures….” (Notice the word “saved” in verse 2 is conditional. As pointed out in the introductory remarks, “salvation” here is not salvation into Heaven but rather deliverance from the misery found in verse 19. Some of the Corinthians were miserable because they denied Christ’s resurrection [verse 12].)

In Acts 20:24, Paul calls the above paragraph “the Gospel of the Grace of God.” Again, it is so easy that a small child can grasp it and believe unto eternal life: Christ died for our sins, He was buried, and He rose again the third day (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). We are saved by faith in that Gospel, apart from our works of any and every kind (water baptism, confession, repentance, walking aisles, giving money, praying a prayer, and so on). It is not necessary for salvation unto eternal life to know that Paul called that message “my Gospel” (Romans 2:16; Romans 16:25; 2 Timothy 2:8). Actually, I did not know that that was its correct title until many years after I trusted Jesus Christ as my personal Saviour. Furthermore, I know plenty of people who were justified by trusting that Gospel, but they did not learn until much later that it is called “Paul’s Gospel” or “the Gospel of Grace.” They, like me, did not learn about the various dispensations of the Bible and the various distinctions until several years later after they had passed from death to life.

Let us pause and have a quick review of what we have discussed thus far. As long as lost people know and believe the contents of the true Gospel for today, they do not have to know specific titles (“Paul’s Gospel,” or “the Gospel of Grace”) or the exact dispensation in which it sits (“the Dispensation of the Grace of God;” Ephesians 3:2). What is important is that they know our Gospel is “Christ died for our sins, He was buried, and He rose again the third day” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). What is important is that they “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and … be saved” (Acts 16:31). What is important is that they know our Gospel is not Acts 2:38 (“repent and be baptized”), not Mark 16:16 (“he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved”), and not any other legalistic Bible verse. Friend, if you have not already done so, please take a moment now to rely exclusively on Jesus Christ as your personal Saviour, that He died for your sins, that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day. Do not delay!

A thorough explanation of the Gospel of the Grace of God is Romans chapters 1-5. Paul does not deal with dispensational issues until chapters 9-11, after discussing Christian living/sanctification in chapters 6-8. This signifies to us that justification must be taken care of first, before we start focusing on the doctrines of sanctification and dispensations. If lost people get too laden down (overwhelmed) with Bible information that profits only Christians, it intimidates and discourages them, and we see exactly why they want to remain lost. Why? They believe they have to “know all this stuff” to be justified, and that simply is not true. (Go back to our opening story.)

We Pauline dispensationalists need to always be mindful to preach a clear Gospel message to a lost person before trying to share the deep truths of dispensational Bible study. We King James Bible users must always remember that a clear Gospel message should precede an in-depth discussion of Bible versions. We can mention “hints” of assorted spiritual topics to “break the ice,” but, when dealing with unsaved people, I have learned that we need to limit ourselves to the Gospel as much as possible. It is tempting to delve into major doctrinal issues, but there is no need to rush yourself or the person you are evangelizing. Please try to be as patient as possible with them, bringing them back to the Gospel when they sway the conversation onto other “religious” topics (this duration is to be defined within reason, of course, as some people just want to waste your time!). If they are sincere, you will have other opportunities to talk with them about other matters in-depth.


As (deliberately) thoroughly demonstrated above, Bible versions and dispensations are not necessary for salvation unto eternal life. Salvation into Heaven is a gift, and we do not work for a gift. We do not work to be Christians. However, we do work as Christians—this is practical sanctification (brought about by edification, a maturation of the inner man).

Read Ephesians 2:8-10: “[8] For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: [9] Not of works, lest any man should boast. [10] For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” As you can see for yourself, friend, Christian good works are clearly mentioned in verse 10. Father God saved us from sins and Hell, not merely to keep us from burning in His fiery wrath forever (which we deserve as sinners). He saved us for a purpose, and that purpose is “good works.” However, unless we have the proper English Bible text (King James Bible), and unless we know what Father God is doing today (we learn this via dispensational Bible study), then we will not know what God would have us to know and what “good works” He would have us do.

Notice 1 Timothy 4:1,16: “[1] Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;…. [16] Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.” Now, 2 Timothy 3:13-15: “[13] But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. [14] But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; [15] And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.”

Notice that, despite the widespread “deception” (2 Timothy 3:13) and “doctrines of devils” (1 Timothy 4:1), we can be “saved” from such lies (1 Timothy 4:16; 2 Timothy 3:15). The “salvation” here is deliverance from bad teaching, evil thinking, and falsehoods. Father God wants to save us Christians from false teaching. This is not the issue of being saved from Hell; we have moved on from that, remember. The Gospel has already been settled. We are now talking about members of the Body of Christ being rescued from bad doctrine.

According to the Book of 1 Timothy, chapter 2, verse 4: “[God our Saviour] Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.” “Saved” here is belief in the Gospel for justification—a lost person being forgiven of all sins, passing from death to life, from unsaved to saved, from non-Christian to Christian (instantaneous). Once this happens, God desires for that person to move to following the second part of His will. He wants him or her to “come unto the knowledge of the truth.” Everything after initial belief of the Gospel, justification, falls under the category of “come unto the knowledge of the truth.”

The issue of “coming unto the knowledge of the truth” is divided into two general realms: (1) recognizing pure Bible texts/versions and (2) identifying the proper Bible study system. These matters are Christian understanding and Christian living (life-long process). As mentioned, another name for this is “sanctification,” God setting apart the believer on a daily basis, for the believer to fulfill His will on a daily basis. As we Christians are “edified” (built up, strengthened by sound Bible doctrine), that doctrine will result in a change in lifestyle. It will be repeated for emphasis. Getting “saved” (justification) and “coming unto the knowledge of the truth” (practical sanctification) are two separate matters, certainly not to be confused with each other. They are both God’s will; neither should be ignored. However, they should come in that order.

The Bible versions issue is very complex, and it certainly cannot be exhaustively addressed here for brevity’s sake. Still, some comments must be made. Suffice it to say that there are basically two lines of Bible manuscripts. One is the preserved Greek New Testament line—the “Traditional Text,” “Antiochan/Syrian Text,” “Byzantine Text,” “Textus Receptus”/”Received Text,” “Majority Text,” or “Protestant Text.” Its text can be traced all the way back to the Apostles’ autographs (original manuscripts). Early English Bibles (including the King James Bible) came from this line of manuscripts.

The other text type is the depraved/corrupt Greek New Testament line—the “Critical Text,” “Alexandrian Text,” “Minority Text,” “Egyptian Text,” or “Roman Catholic Text.” This text-type is doctrinally dangerous. Its witnesses omit words and verses, add to verses, water down verses, and omit entire passages and books. Some of them contain forged Bible books (called the “Apocrypha”). They contain major theological mistakes. The modern English versions depend partly or entirely upon this manuscript family. The NIV, NASB, Amplified, ESV, Living Bible, NLT, Good News Bible, Jehovah’s Witness NWT, Roman Catholic bibles, and even parts of the NKJV, et cetera, all find their textual basis in these heretical manuscripts. Hence, modern English Bibles and the King James Bible read substantially different. The fundamental issue is not contemporary English verses older English; the issue is faulty versus reliable textual bases!

Friend, whenever you hear someone “correcting” the King James Bible (“you can remove this word….,” “that verse is uninspired and does not belong in the text,” “a better translation is….”), they (perhaps unwittingly—others deliberately) are using these perverted Roman Catholic manuscripts to attack the Protestant Bible! They are encouraging you to doubt Bible text. You can trust the King James Bible. It has faithfully served English-speaking Christians for over 405 years. Thus, you are highly recommended to use it, and it alone, as your final authority. (Other languages have their own versions, we understand, but those versions, if authoritative, will come from the same Traditional Text-type as our King James Bible. As we are an Anglophone ministry, such language matters do not concern us.) While these brief comments have not done the Bible versions issue justice, they are enough to set you on the right track in that regard.

Now, we move on to dispensational issues. Just because it is in the Bible, that does not mean that it is God speaking to or about you. The Bible says in Romans 11:13: “For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office.” Paul is our apostle—God’s spokesman to us, the nations of the world. We notice that Paul’s ministry sits in the chapter that declares the nation Israel as temporarily “fallen” (verses 11-12) and “blinded” (verse 25). Rather than God forming an earthly people, God is currently forming a heavenly people (more on this later). If Israel is not the issue today, the implication is that she was the issue in time past. We would be careful to make the distinction so as to not claim Israel’s verses as our own. Using Bible verses that were once true, but not true today, is a sure way to destroy the Bible text and us in the process.

The resurrected, ascended, and glorified Lord Jesus Christ reached down and saved Saul of Tarsus on the road to Damascus (Acts chapter 9). He made Saul (Paul) His spokesman to the world. As we noted earlier, He commissioned Paul with a special Gospel message that was unknown to man prior to that time. That “Gospel of the Grace of God” involves God justifying believing Jews and Gentiles (non-Jews), placing them into one body, the Church the Body of Christ, an entity separate and distinct from Israel and her covenants. You can read all about that in great detail in Ephesians chapters 2 and 3. Here, for brevity’s sake, we cite one verse, 1 Corinthians 12:13: “For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.”

Paul’s revelation is the final installment of revelation from God, “the mystery” (divine secret) now disclosed for all to read and delight in (Romans 16:25-26; 1 Corinthians 2:6-8; Ephesians 3:1-9; Colossians 1:23-29). “The Dispensation of the Grace of God” given to Paul by Jesus Christ has been passed down to us Gentiles (Ephesians 3:2). We do not go into pre-Paul verses in the Bible and try to find ourselves. For example, we do not go to Genesis through Malachi and attempt to find ourselves. We do not go to Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John—Christ’s earthly ministry—and try to find God’s words to us.

After all, Jesus Christ said in Matthew 15:24: “I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” He was not sent to us Gentiles in His earthly ministry! (And, yet, most of today’s “Christian” preaching is to Gentiles… and that preaching is of verses yanked out of context from Matthew through John, words spoken to Jews!!!) Jesus Christ’s words to us Gentiles are found in Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon. First Corinthians 14:37 says: “If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord.”

While also beyond the scope of this study, it is critical to make some cursory remarks about the layout of Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon. God the Holy Spirit arranged them in a very unique way. As discussed earlier, Romans is the most basic Bible Book of doctrine for this the Dispensation of the Grace of God. It presents the Gospel of the Grace of God in chapters 1-5—how a lost person becomes a Christian, or how the Christian life begins. Chapters 6-8 provide details about the new nature and identity the believer has been given in Christ. Romans chapters 9-11 explain the dispensational aspects (Israel is temporarily fallen, we are not Israel, Israel still has a hope and a place in God’s future dealings with man, et cetera). Chapters 12-16 are specific principles for daily Christian in a variety of circumstances (living among other Christians, among enemies, under governmental rule, in the world, among weaker Christians, et cetera).

Paul’s two Epistles to the Corinthians reprove Christians who failed to apply to life the doctrine presented in Romans (they followed man’s natural ways). Galatians issues correction for those who did not think according to God’s grace (that is, they reverted to a legalistic, Mosaic-law-keeping, system). Ephesians is a higher plane of the doctrine found in Romans, ultimately divulging the complex formation and heavenly destiny of the Church the Body of Christ. Philippians reproves the saints who are not behaving as Ephesians instructed—the one united Body of Christ. Colossians corrects Christians who are not following the Head, Jesus Christ, but rather numerous false religious systems (a mentality contrary to Ephesians).

The two Epistles to the Thessalonians exemplify the model (matured, diligent) Christian assembly and involve the two comings of the Lord Jesus Christ—the First Epistle deals with the Rapture (coming for the Body of Christ to end the Dispensation of Grace) while the Second Epistle focuses on the Second Coming (coming for the nation Israel to end the Tribulation period). Paul’s remaining Books—the four “Pastoral Epistles”—are 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, and Philemon. These deal with the establishment and administration of the local grace assembly or church. They are of special significance to church leaders, and should be read frequently by all people in the ministry. One final note here: Philemon is the capstone of Christian (grace) maturity, a fully-grown saint, godliness on fully display in the life of a member of the Body of Christ.

These 13 epistles are grace living—what God is doing today and what He wants us Christians to do today. Brethren, if we do not use God’s Word (in English, the King James Bible) and we do not use it His way (dispensationally), then our Christian life will not function properly. We will be operating on limited information, misinformation, or no information. There will be no solid doctrine for the Holy Spirit to use in our lives. We MUST have a reliable Bible text and we MUST have an understandable Bible study. Again, the Holy Spirit cannot work in our lives if we do not have God’s Word (Authorized Version, King James Bible). He certainly cannot work in our lives if we do not have God’s Word to and about us (Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon). Let us now look at the eternal results of our Christian edification (the type of teaching we incorporated into our lives will impact eternity, either negatively or positively).


In 2 Timothy 2:15, we read: “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” By “rightly dividing the word of truth,” using dispensational Bible study, we are looking for God’s approval. We are not interested in man’s approval—the preacher’s, the priest’s, the pope’s, or the professor’s. When will we ultimately learn of God’s approval of what we are doing in our Christian life? The Bible calls this day “the Judgment Seat of Christ.” It will take place in Heaven, after the Rapture, after Jesus Christ comes for us His Body, to take us away prior to the Antichrist’s arrival.

Notice 2 Corinthians chapter 5: “[9] Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him. [10] For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.” Do you see the issue of Christian service here? See, there are no lost people here. This judgment is reserved for Christians. It is not designed to judge them for their sins (those were paid for in full at Calvary) but rather judge/evaluate their Christian service. Was their “work” “good” or “bad?” Now, please notice that little preposition “in”—verse 10 says the “the things done in his body.” This is not “by” the body but “in” it—the soul is singled out here. What is in the soul? Good doctrine and bad doctrine! (Never, ever forget that the quality of doctrine matters!)

Turning to 1 Corinthians chapter 3, we see the Holy Spirit again referring to the “work” we Christians are to do and have: “[9] For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building. [10] According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. [11] For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. [12] Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; [13] Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. [14] If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. [15] If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.”

As always, while much could be said, we must limit ourselves to brief remarks. Notice the special ministry and the special doctrine committed to Paul (verses 10-11). There are six building materials a Christian can use in his or her life—gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, and stubble (verse 12). The doctrine that we believe today as Christians, that doctrine will be evaluated at the Judgment Seat of Christ. The doctrine that motivated us to do what we did in life, Jesus Christ will expose it for what it really is. He will look beyond what we did and beyond how much we did, to see why we did what we did. Was it the principles of grace (Pauline revelation) that guided us by the power of the Holy Spirit? Or, was it the Mosaic Law or some other form of legalistic, performance-based acceptance, system (religion), us struggling in our flesh?

If it was not the doctrine committed to Paul, it is (worthless) wood, hay, and stubble. It will amount to nothing—it will be burned up. If it is the doctrine committed to Paul, then it is gold, silver, and precious stones—these will remain. There will be a reward (due to gold, silver, and precious stones) and a loss of reward (due to wood, hay, and stubble). All Christians will have some reward because of the right Gospel message as their foundation. However, all Christians will lose some reward because of various denominational hang-ups, confusions, and errors. There is no one going to Hell here, please remember. There is loss of reward but not loss of righteousness.

How do we minimize our loss of reward at the Judgment Seat of Christ? How do we maximize our reward? We heed now, consider now, and apply by faith now what the Holy Spirit says through the Apostle Paul’s pen! The way we get rid of the traditions of men in our lives is look at the Bible rightly divided. Again, we do not grab elements from Israel’s program and try to force them on us. Our doctrine, duty, walk, and destiny as members of the Church the Body of Christ are found only in the Pauline epistles, Romans through Philemon. That does not mean that we throw away the rest of the Bible. Nay! On the contrary, we study all of the Bible, but we study all of the Bible in light of the final divine revelation given to the Apostle Paul.

While also beyond this article’s scope, we will briefly mention glorification. With the Body of Christ being the means whereby Jesus Christ will be glorified forever in the heavenly places, there is of necessity a “job-qualifications” system to appoint people to various ranks in those heavenly governments (such ranks are delineated in Ephesians 1:21, Ephesians 6:12, and Colossians 1:16). Our qualifications are determined at the Judgment Seat of Christ (previously discussed), and the appropriate reward is granted. That reward is a specific job or office in heaven’s governments (and all members of the Body of Christ will have them). The sound doctrine we had, the greater our reward, and the larger the capacity we have to bring honor to Jesus Christ in the heavenly places throughout the ages to come. We are not competing against other Christians, no—please do not misunderstand! We are striving to get the best reward in order to exalt in heaven’s governments the Person who died for us to be in Heaven in the first place!

Romans 8:18-19 provides us with a glimpse of that coming “glorification:” “[18] For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. [19] For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.” The “manifestation” of the sons of God is when God puts on display in outer space His children—specifically, us, the members of the Body of Christ. We will use the sound Bible doctrine we learned on Earth to carry out His plans for the heavenly places throughout eternity future. For brevity’s sake, we must stop here. We did not do this topic justice either, but we must move on and wrap up this study.


Friend, if you have followed our Bible Q&A studies from the very beginning, you know that we have never confused the issues of justification and practical sanctification. This article is another testament to that fact. Lost people becoming Christians, and Christians maturing (being edified) in the Word of God, are two separate matters. Unbelievers do not become Christians by adopting Christian Bible views—they become Christians by believing the Gospel of Grace! Christians must progress from the basics (the Gospel) to deeper Bible doctrines. Spiritual maturity is tantamount to victorious, enjoyable Christian living!

When a sinner trusts Jesus Christ as his or her personal Saviour, passing from death to life, moving from Satan’s family to God’s family, something radical happens. The sinner has not only escaped eternal hellfire (divine punishment for his sin), that sinner has been saved unto a new lifestyle and a new destiny. When Father God gave the believing sinner a new heart, that new nature gave him or her the capacity to experience God’s life. That new life cannot be brought into full experience, however, unless there is study of and progression in sound Bible doctrine.

All too often, believers use the excuse: “I have trusted that Jesus Christ died for my sins, was buried, and rose again the third day. Knowing I am saved is good enough for me. I do not care to learn in-depth Bible doctrine. That is too much studying, too much work, too much time I could do other things. What God did and will do with Israel makes no difference to me. I have no interest in learning about prophecy versus mystery, law versus grace, Earth versus Heaven, Peter versus Paul, and so on. Bible versions do not concern me, either—all versions are “good” to some extent and I like them all. I do not get bogged down with doctrinal points. Let me keep my membership at my local denominational church. I am going to escape Hell, and that is all that matters to me.”

The above is a very unfortunate condition and very common attitude. While these Christians will indeed go to Heaven, in the meantime, they will have a miserable time on Earth! They will not experience the Christian life to its fullest potential. They, having God’s Word, are so unbelievably unable to understand, use, and enjoy it. They do not know how to handle Bible “contradictions.” They do not know what God is doing today, and they do not know what He would have them do today. The Bible is a burden to them, and all they have is their worthless traditions of men. They do not separate prophecy from mystery, Israel from the Body of Christ, Peter from Paul, law from grace, and so on. That is why their Christian life is such a struggle and disappointment. God does not approve of their Christian service, and there will be a tremendous loss of reward at the Judgment Seat of Christ. They are not honoring Jesus Christ here, so they will have limited service to Him in the heavenly places in the ages to come. They need to take heed and reform!

Since they do not have God’s Word (King James Bible), they have no clear spiritual understanding and no source of spiritual nourishment. Therefore, they will continue in their state of immaturity, bewilderment, misinformation, shallow thinking, and so on. Since they do not use God’s Word God’s way (rightly divided), they are unable to extract the profit that God put in His Word. Thus, they are vulnerable to doubt/unbelief, Satan’s attacks, carnality (flesh-walking), failure, misery, confusion, and so on. From personal experience (and many others can testify to this), I can tell you that you as a Christian must have the right Bible text (King James Bible in English) if you are to understand the Bible. From personal experience (and many others can testify to this as well), Christian friend, I can tell you that your Christian life will mean so much more to you once you approach the Bible dispensationally.


(In order to further drive home the aforesaid points, we present another layer of evidence that one does not need to be a “King James Bible, Pauline dispensationalist” in order to go to Heaven.)

Interestingly, Christians in Bible days did not always have perfect theology. In the Pauline epistles, the Holy Spirit through the Apostle issued stern warnings to Christians who had abandoned grace teaching (dispensational Bible study) and believed false Bible manuscripts (Bible versions issue). Never once did He consign these people to Hell, telling them that they had lost their salvation in Christ, and that they would now not enter Heaven. However, it is not to say that these were minor blunders that could be ignored. These Christians were cautioned that they were inflicting great damage on their spiritual bodies. They were corrupting themselves and opposing God’s will for them: they were “grieving the Holy Spirit” (Ephesians 4:30), “quenching [stopping] the Spirit” (1 Thessalonians 5:19), “frustrating [opposing] the grace of God” (Galatians 2:21), and so on.


Notice how Galatians 4:21 indicates what was occurring in the churches of Galatia: “Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law?” These saints had placed themselves under a performance-based acceptance program—specifically, the Law of Moses. They had yanked out of context the Dispensation of Law that God had given to Moses for Israel’s obedience, and had forced it upon themselves. They should have been following “the Dispensation of the Grace of God” given to Paul and given to them through Paul (Ephesians 3:2). Like so many denominational “Christians” today, however, they were ignoring Paul’s special ministry and message. Hence, Paul firmly defended his apostleship in Galatians chapters 1 and 2. Furthermore, this is why he focused on defining and defending his “grace” message for the rest of the Book of Galatians.

Despite their immense spiritual confusion, never once does Paul accuse the Galatians of losing their justification, losing eternal life. He calls them “brethren” throughout the epistle that bears their name (1:11; 3:15; 4:12,28,31; 5:11,13; 6:1,18). He speaks of them as though they are still (presently) “the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:26). Galatians 3:2 implies that they still have the Holy Spirit—He still indwells them, having not left them. Galatians 3:28 says to them: “…for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.” The only people “in Christ Jesus” are believers, indicating that the Galatians were still going to Heaven. Even though they had allowed non-dispensational doctrine (Law of Moses) to deceive them and disrupt their Christian living, they were still secure in Christ.


The Thessalonian saints suffered great persecution for their faith in Christ. Notice 2 Thessalonians 2:1-3: “[1] Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, [2] That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. [3] Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition….” There are two issues here—Bible versions and dispensational Bible study.

Did you see the part about a “letter as from us” in verse 2? At least one false teacher penned an epistle, forged Paul’s name on that document, sent it to those believers, and that misinformation troubled them. It was an attempt to pass off spurious writings as inspired of God and apostolic in nature. (This occurs even today, when people claim corrupted manuscripts and their resultant English translations are “Holy Bibles.”) Let us remember the ancient warning well, friends: For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ” (2 Corinthians 2:17). These Thessalonians were led by that corrupted manuscript to believe they were living during the time of God’s wrath, commonly called the seven-year Tribulation. They thought they were suffering because they were in that awful time of human history. It was a lie straight from the pits of Hell!

As with the Galatians, Paul did not tell these believers in Thessalonica that they were now lost and going to Hell because they had let bad doctrine to deceive and trouble them. They believed a false Bible manuscript and ignored the concluding dispensational boundary between prophecy and mystery, but the Holy Spirit still led Paul to call the Thessalonians “brethren” numerous times (2 Thessalonians 1:3; 2:1,13,15; 3:1,6,13). Paul implied that the Thessalonians were going to be “gathered together unto Christ” with other believers at the Rapture (2 Thessalonians 2:1; 2 Thessalonians 3:5). He thought that they would be present when Jesus Christ would come to be “glorified in his saints” (2 Thessalonians 1:10)—they were some of those “saints!” Paul said they were suffering for “the kingdom of God”—that could only be true of believers (2 Thessalonians 1:5). He spoke of them as “obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ”—that would only be true of believers (2 Thessalonians 2:13).


While we could go on and on, it is enough. God does not expect lost people to pass theological tests to get into Heaven. Based on the verses and my experiences in the ministry all these years, I am afraid a lot of genuine Christians would miserably fail such exams and wind up in Hell quicker than a split-second! Unsaved people do not have to know about dispensational Bible study or Bible versions in order to be justified. Sad to say, there are millions of Christians today who have not got a clue about proper Bible study. Furthermore, they could not identify the pure Bible text (King James Bible and its underlying manuscripts) if their lives depended on it! Now we know why they are so confused about spiritual matters! (I did not understand the Bible versions issue and dispensational Bible study until over 10 years after I trusted the Lord as my personal Saviour! I was on my way to Heaven but how ignorant I was! Never do I want to return to such immaturity, ignorance, carnality, misery, confusion, and frustration!

“And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.”
(2 Timothy 2:24-26)

Also see:
» Has God’s Word failed?
» Is there a simple way to present the Grace Message to children and teens?
» Does it matter what Bible version I use?

How was Jesus Christ “raised again?” Why “again?”


by Shawn Brasseaux

The Scriptures tell us nearly two-dozen times that the Lord Jesus “rose again” or was “raised again.” Some people are puzzled by this, especially the adverb “again.” Is the Bible saying there were two resurrections of Jesus? We will take some time here to “de-mystify” this issue.

As noted earlier, the Bible says numerous times that Jesus was “raised again” or that He “rose again.” Notice how this is repeated again and again:

  • Matthew 16:21: “From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day.”
  • Matthew 17:9: “And as they came down from the mountain, Jesus charged them, saying, Tell the vision to no man, until the Son of man be risen again from the dead.”
  • Matthew 17:23: “And they shall kill him, and the third day he shall be raised again. And they were exceeding sorry.”
  • Matthew 20:19: “And shall deliver him to the Gentiles to mock, and to scourge, and to crucify him: and the third day he shall rise again.”
  • Matthew 26:32: “But after I am risen again, I will go before you into Galilee.”
  • Matthew 27:63: “Saying, Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while he was yet alive, After three days I will rise again.”
  • Mark 8:31: “And he began to teach them, that the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders, and of the chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again.”
  • Mark 10:34: “And they shall mock him, and shall scourge him, and shall spit upon him, and shall kill him: and the third day he shall rise again.”
  • Luke 18:33: “And they shall scourge him, and put him to death: and the third day he shall rise again.”
  • Luke 24:7: “Saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.”
  • John 20:9: “For as yet they knew not the scripture, that he must rise again from the dead.”
  • Acts 13:33: “God hath fulfilled the same unto us their children, in that he hath raised up Jesus again; as it is also written in the second psalm, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee.”
  • Acts 13:37: “But he, whom God raised again, saw no corruption.”
  • Acts 17:3: “Opening and alleging, that Christ must needs have suffered, and risen again from the dead; and that this Jesus, whom I preach unto you, is Christ.”
  • Romans 4:25: “Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.”
  • Romans 8:34: “Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.”
  • Romans 10:7: “Or, Who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.)”
  • 1 Corinthians 15:4: “And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:”
  • 2 Corinthians 5:15: “And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.”
  • 1 Thessalonians 4:14: “For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.”
  • Hebrews 13:20: “Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant,”


“Again” can be used in a variety of senses. According to The Oxford American English Dictionary, the primary usage is “once more; another time; anew; in addition.” (As in, “Will you spell your name again, please?”) Another way is “in an additional case or instance; moreover; besides; furthermore.” It can also be used in the sense of “on the other hand.” (As in, “It might happen, and again it might not.”) Yet another way it can be used is “back; in return; in reply.” (As in, “to answer again.”) Finally, “again” can be used to mean “to the same place or person.” (As in, “to return again.”) This last definition is how we should view Jesus Christ being “raised again.”

Notice what the Lord Himself said in John 10:18: “No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.” When He resurrected, He took something back that was His—yea, He took back His life!

Consider these other related ideas in the Bible record:

  • John 6:39: “And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.” (Jesus Christ speaking of Him resurrecting His Israeli believers, yet future from us.)
  • John 11:23: “Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again.” (He is saying that Lazarus will live again.)
  • John 11:24: “Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” (See note at John 11:23 above.)
  • Luke 8:55: “And her spirit came again, and she arose straightway: and he commanded to give her meat.” (The little girl had life, she died, and Jesus gave her life again by raising her from the dead.)
  • Luke 9:8: “And of some, that Elias had appeared; and of others, that one of the old prophets was risen again.” (The “Old Testament” prophets were once living on Earth, and one of them was assumed to be living again on Earth and functioning as Jesus Christ. This, of course, was spiritual ignorance.)
  • Luke 9:19: “They answering said, John the Baptist; but some say, Elias; and others say, that one of the old prophets is risen again.” (See note on Luke 9:8 above.)
  • Luke 15:24: “For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.” (The father-son relationship was “dead,” non-functional, and then it resumed when the son returned to the father.)
  • Luke 15:32: “It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found.” (The brother was “dead” to the family in that he abandoned them. However, when he came back, the relationship continued as it did before.)
  • Hebrews 11:35: “Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection:” (The children of these women died physically, and then they were brought back to life. They resumed living as they had lived before.)


How did the Lord Jesus “rise again?How was He “raised again?” The issue is not that He was resurrected twice (as some erroneously conclude) but rather that He lived twice—those two lives were separated by a resurrection. He lived once, and then He was killed and buried. He resurrected and then He lived again. His life was restored to Him. “Raised again” encompasses both the resurrection itself and the beginning of the new life that follows it. It is life resumed, or life as though death never occurred.

Also see:
» Where was Jesus during those three days?
» Could you describe Jesus’ resurrected body?
» Why did Jesus weep when Lazarus died?

What was “the epistle from Laodicea?”


by Shawn Brasseaux

Colossians 4:16 says: “And when this epistle is read among you, cause that it be read also in the church of the Laodiceans; and that ye likewise read the epistle from Laodicea.” What was “the epistle from Laodicea?” A missing Bible Book—that is, one of the New Testament pseudepigraphal, or apocryphal, works? Could it be a Book in our Bible today but extant under a different name? We will dedicate this study to considering this most important matter.


One commentator writes the following about Colossians 4:16: “A separate letter from Paul, usually identified as the epistle to the Ephesians. The oldest manuscripts of Ephesians do not contain the words ‘in Ephesus,’ indicating that in all likelihood it was a circular letter intended for several churches in the region.”

Another Bible teacher says: “It seems unlikely that the Holy Spirit inspired this command to read the Laodicean epistle and then allow it to be lost. It is more likely that the Ephesians letter (which contains no personal names) was intended for all the churches of the region. Tychicus would have left it at Ephesus, where it was to be circulated to Laodicea and eventually to Colosse.”

One study Bible has this note: “Once this letter had been read among the Colossian believers, they were to send it or a copy of it to Laodicea. Paul apparently wrote a letter to the Laodiceans that was also to be read in Colossae. The epistle to the Laodiceans was either another of Paul’s epistles (Ephesians?) or a letter that has not been preserved.”

The “scholars” are generally agreed that the “epistle from Laodicea” was Paul’s Epistle to the Ephesians. However, as you noticed in their sample quotes, they admit this is speculative. They are not entirely sure themselves. Opinions and hunches aside, friends, are there any Bible verses that can help us here?


Could “the epistle from Laodicea” have been the Book of Ephesians? No. As noted by the first quoted “scholar,” bringing Ephesians into Colossians 4:16 means removing the words “at Ephesus” from Ephesians 1:1 (thus reducing Ephesians to a “circular,” general letter). After all, the “oldest” manuscripts do not have those words. Making Ephesians the “epistle from Laodicea” necessitates support of the modern textual critics’ claim that “the oldest manuscripts are the best and most reliable.” That itself is an absurd idea, since there have been corrupt Bible manuscripts from the earliest times.

Friends, false teaching existed 2,000 years ago. There were false prophets and false brethren 20 centuries ago. People lied 2,000 years ago just as much as they do today, you know! Refer to Galatians 1:6-9, 2 Corinthians 11:13-15, 2 Peter 2:1-3, et cetera. “Ye have perverted the words of the living God,” Jeremiah 23:36 rebuked the false prophets 600 years before Christ! Second Thessalonians 2:2 speaks of a forged letter, allegedly from Paul but actually from a false teacher. The Holy Spirit wrote through that same Apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 2:17: “For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ.” Beloved, there were “many”not “few” but “many”—people “corrupting” the Word of God 20 centuries ago. They were perverting the Bible while the Apostles were still living! Contrary to what textual critics tell us today, just because a manuscript is old, that does not automatically mean it is reliable.

When scholars talk about “the oldest and best Bible manuscripts,” what they really mean is Roman Catholic manuscripts that disagree amongst themselves over 3,000 times in the Four Gospels alone! They are worshipping Codices Vaticanus and Sinaiticus, manuscripts that omit verses, water down verses, add to verses, and outright question verses. These “ancient” and “reliable” witnesses even omit whole Bible Books on occasion! People use these very manuscripts as their “authority” to “correct” the (Protestant) King James Bible and its underlying manuscripts (commonly called the “Textus Receptus,” Latin for “Received Text”).

We must understand that the Apostle Paul wrote a lot of things that were not Scripture. For example, consider 1 Corinthians 5:9: “I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators:….” Prior to writing what we know of as the Bible Book of “First Corinthians,” Paul wrote an epistle to Corinth (that is not in our Bible canon). In 2 Peter 3:15, the Apostle Peter writes to the nation Israel: “And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you;….” Peter says Paul wrote to the Jews, and yet we do not have that writing in the Bible either.

Considering how the Bible writers knew when they were writing inspired Scripture, Paul no doubt knew when he was writing God’s Word and when he was just writing a regular (anthropogenic—man-originated) epistle. Notice how Paul recognized he was writing by the moving of the Holy Spirit in the case of First Corinthians: “If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord (1 Corinthians 14:37). There is a similar claim in 2 Timothy 3:16-17: “[16] All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: [17] That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” (Paul was obviously referring to all the Bible here.)

Based on what has gone before, here is what we know about “the epistle from Laodicea.” The Bible (Colossians 4:16) never actually calls that epistle from Laodicea “Scripture.” The epistle referenced in 1 Corinthians 5:9 is never called “Scripture” either, but it was profitable in instructing the Corinthians not to associate with fornicators. However, neither the actual first epistle to Corinth (not First Corinthians, please understand, but the one Paul wrote before it) nor the epistle from Laodicea were preserved in our Bible. We do not have a Bible book called “Laodiceans.” We do not have three Bible Books called Corinthians—only two Books. So, what should we conclude?


There is one of two possibilities as to the identity of “the epistle from Laodicea” mentioned in Colossians 4:16:

  1. INSPIRED EPISTLE? There was a Bible Book (that is, inspired of God) written by Paul to one assembly, and it was being passed from Laodicea onward to Colosse. Perhaps that epistle was Ephesians, Philippians, or one of Paul’s other prison epistles (1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, Titus, or Philemon).
  2. NON-INSPIRED EPISTLE? Paul wrote an epistle to Laodicea that was not inspired of God but still beneficial for Christians in Colosse to read (just as the epistle to Corinth referred in 1 Corinthians 5:9 was profitable to the Corinthian saints). In referencing it, the Holy Spirit was not endorsing “the epistle from Laodicea” as inspired. He was merely indicating that it was profitable (much like any modern-day Bible study aids—commentaries, Bible dictionaries, history books, language tools, encyclopedias).

Personally, I lean toward the second view (a non-inspired view). Paul wrote the “epistle from Laodicea,” but not under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Like the epistle referenced in 1 Corinthians 5:9, it contained useful information. Like that epistle in 1 Corinthians 5:9, however, it was not inspired of God. The first view (inspired view) is embraced by mainstream theologians and textual critics who attack and omit the words “at Ephesus” in Ephesians 1:1. It is dangerous in that respect, and that is why I shy away from it.

One final note to add, dear friends. While the first position appeals to those who want to solve the dilemma of “Why did God recommend Christians read that epistle from Laodicea if we Christians would lose access to it today?,” that view is not convincing enough for me to embrace it. It is better to hold to the non-inspired and non-canonical view of the “epistle from Laodicea,” so as to defend the integrity of Ephesians 1:1 and its canonical statement “at Ephesus.” In other words, I would rather “lose” that Laodicean epistle (not Scripture anyway) than lose the words of God, “at Ephesus.”

Also see:
» “Epistle” and “letter”—same or different?
» Did not Jesus speak words not recorded in Scripture?
» Who are the “prophets” of Romans 16:26?

Are there modern-day apostles and prophets?


by Shawn Brasseaux

Certain “Christian” groups boast of their modern-day “apostles” and “prophets”—Mormons and Charismatics are two major factions. They argue that unless all five offices are filled and active today—apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers (Ephesians 4:11)—the Church the Body of Christ cannot function properly. Thus, we will hear men (and even women!) today calling themselves “apostles” and “prophets.” Is this proper? Is it Scriptural? We will look at Bible verses and let them speak.

Ephesians 4:11-13 says: “[11] And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; [12] For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: [13] Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:….”

Notice verse 11—“he [Jesus Christ of verse 7] gave.” Paul wrote Ephesians at the end of the Acts period, when was under house arrest (see Acts 28:30-31). At the time of Ephesians, God was not “giving” (present tense) those gifts but rather He “gave” (past tense) those gifts. Those spiritual gifts were no longer being given to new people. The men who had those gifts were growing fewer and fewer because the gifts were no longer being given. There was something taking the place of these gifted men. Once the written Word of God was completed shortly after the Acts period, there was no more need for the limited-knowledge spiritual gifts program.

First Corinthians 13:8-13 says the following: “[8] Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. [9] For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. [10] But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. [11] When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. [12] For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. [13] And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.”

The spiritual gifts were temporary, only necessary until the full revelation from God had been given to man. Knowing “in part” would result in “full knowledge.” Prophesying “in part” would be replaced by “full prophesying.” The partial would pass away, and the complete would come. All too often, there is the idea that spiritual gifts are to operate indefinitely, or until the Lord Jesus Christ returns. This is a theological speculation, and certainly not supported by Scripture. People stumble over the “that which is perfect is come” in verse 10. They contend that that “perfect” is Jesus “the perfect One” coming back to Earth. (An alternative view is that it is Christians dying and going to Heaven.) Both views are lacking because they do violence to the Scripture, reading things into the verses that the verses simply do not say.

There is nothing in 1 Corinthians chapter 13 about the Lord coming back. There is nothing in that chapter about going to Heaven either. The last reference to Christ’s “coming” in 1 Corinthians is chapter 11, verse 23. There is no mention of dying and going to Heaven in 1 Corinthians chapter 11 at all. God wants us to grow up now; we should not wait for Heaven until we act and think like spiritually mature people!

Ephesians 4:14 says to this point: “That we henceforth [from now onward—not in Heaven!] be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;….” How could God expect us not to be children now if we must wait until Heaven to grow up? See, as the verse indicates, that time of maturity has arrived—the “perfect” has already come. We have a completed revelation from God in the written 66 Books of the Holy Bible! Will we read it and think like mature adult children of God, or will we not read it and then plead ignorance of the very Book we claim to have?

It is important to notice what Ephesians 2:20-22 says about “apostles and prophets:” “[20] And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; [21] In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: [22] In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.” These “apostles and prophets” are associated with Paul’s ministry (they are also referred to in 1 Corinthians 12:28-29; Romans 16:26; 1 Corinthians 14:37; Ephesians 3:5). We know that these Apostles and Prophets are not the 12 Apostles and not the Old Testament Prophets because Ephesians 4:7-11 says Jesus Christ ordained these Apostles and Prophets after His ascension.

Ephesians 2:20 says that the Apostles and Prophets in the Body of Christ laid a foundation. This foundation does not need to be laid indefinitely any more than a physical foundation is to be installed indeterminately. A foundation is laid once, and then a structure is built on top of it. While the offices of the Apostles and Prophets were necessary to lay the foundation, the foundation has already been laid. The Apostles and Prophets in the Dispensation of Grace—headed by the chief “Apostle” and primary “Prophet” Paul/Saul (Acts 13:1-2; Romans 11:13)—preached and taught the special doctrine committed first to the Apostle Paul. The Lord Jesus Christ revealed the Dispensation of Grace directly to Paul, and then the Holy Spirit used Paul’s ministry (teaching, preaching, and writing) to educate those Apostles and Prophets. They then communicated it to the other saints of God.

Notice Ephesians 3:1-6: “[1] For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, [2] If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward: [3] How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, [4] Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) [5] Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; [6] That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel:….”

The “prophets” in the Body of Christ identified and copied Scripture. They wrote Scripture (Romans 16:26—“the scriptures of the prophets”). First Corinthians 14:37 says: “If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord.” The foundation for the Dispensation of Grace was preached and taught first and foremost by the Apostle Paul, just as he claimed by the Holy Spirit in 1 Corinthians chapter 3: “[10] According to the grace [ministry] of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. [11] For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” (More specifically, the “foundation” was “Jesus Christ… according to the revelation of the mystery,” or secret revealed by Christ first to Paul—Romans 16:25-26.)

The secondary Apostles and Prophets associated with the Body of Christ bolstered and spread what God began with Paul’s ministry. Their ministries continue even today—but not with new (modern-day) Apostles and Prophets. Rather, their ministries are perpetuated in the sense that we already discussed. Their ministries continue via the written, preserved Word of God, the words they once preached audibly and wrote down. Those ministries sustained the Body of Christ during the Acts period when there was no written and completed “New Testament” canon, but they have since given way to the written Word. They were influential in giving us the written Bible. Now that we have the written and preserved Bible, there is no more revelation needed from God. Modern-day apostles and prophets serve no purpose whatsoever because the ministries of the Apostles and Prophets of the A.D. first century are perpetuated through the written, preserved Word of God.

Notice in Colossians 1:24-28 what Paul’s apostleship and ministry were designed to accomplish: “[24] Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church: [25] Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God; [26] Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: [27] To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: [28] Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus:”

Verse 25 says Paul was “made a minister” in order to “fulfil the word of God.” Notice the word “fulfil,” as in “complete.” The doctrine, “dispensation,” or body of truth; that the resurrected, ascended, and glorified Lord Jesus Christ gave to Paul was to bring God’s revelation to a completion. That is the same idea presented in 1 Corinthians 13:8-13 (which we looked at earlier in this study). The “mystery” (secret) dispensation—the “Dispensation of the Grace of God” (Ephesians 3:2) exposes God’s secret will. What God kept hidden in Himself since eternity past, is now divulged in the Apostle Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon.

The Bible says in Ephesians 1:8-10: “[8] Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; [9] Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: [10] That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:” With the doctrine God committed to the Apostle Paul, we now know the secret of God’s eternal purpose. We have no need for modern-day apostles and prophets, people supposedly giving us “new” words from God, “new” insight from God. The foundation has already been laid, and there is nothing else for God to reveal to us. Friends, either we believe the Bible to be the final authority, or we disbelieve it. Either we believe Paul’s ministry and revelation bring God’s Word to a completion, or we do not.

By the way, I find it interesting that those who claim to be “prophets,” people supposedly “speaking for God” today, actually disregard a verse that exposes false prophets. First Corinthians 14:37 says: “If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord.” How many of today’s “prophets” pay any attention to the special commandments of the Lord written by the Apostle Paul in Romans through Philemon? None! Even if they were “prophets,” they would be, by the verse’s standards, false prophets! The test for knowing who is speaking on behalf of God today is to see if he or she recognizes Pauline revelation (not mixing Law and Grace, not mixing Israel with the Body of Christ, not mixing prophecy and mystery, not mixing time past with but now or the ages to come, not mixing Heaven and Earth, et cetera.)

When someone claims to be an “apostle” or a “prophet” today, he or she is claiming to be adding to the Scriptures. They deny the sufficiency of the 66 Books of the Bible. They claim that their words (sermons, books, et cetera) are equal in authority to the Holy Bible. Heresy! They are no different from the Roman Catholic Church that claims to determine what the Bible “is,” what the Bible “says,” and what the Bible “means.” Yes, they are no different from those who argue that the Apocrypha belong in the Bible canon. The Holy Scriptures are already written, they have been preserved for us as the King James Bible (in the English-speaking world), and they are enough to tell us everything that God wants us to know and equip us to do everything God wants us to do.

2 Timothy 3:16-17: “[16] All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: [17] That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.”

Do we believe those verses?

Also see:
» Who are the “prophets” in Romans 16:26?
» What is the difference between a “disciple” and an “apostle?”
» Was Paul a false prophet?

Why did God get angry with Balaam in Numbers 22:22?


by Shawn Brasseaux

God’s Word says in Numbers 22:20-22: “[20] And God came unto Balaam at night, and said unto him, If the men come to call thee, rise up, and go with them; but yet the word which I shall say unto thee, that shalt thou do. [21] And Balaam rose up in the morning, and saddled his ass, and went with the princes of Moab. [22] And God’s anger was kindled because he went: and the angel of the LORD stood in the way for an adversary against him. Now he was riding upon his ass, and his two servants were with him.” God told Balaam he could go (verse 20), but when Balaam went, the Bible says, “God’s anger was kindled because he went” (verse 22). How could God get angry when Balaam followed His directions? Is God being unreasonable here?

While much background could be provided, for brevity’s sake, comments will be greatly limited. Having just defeated the Amorites in chapter 21, the Israelites are traveling through Moab. Balak, king of the Moabites, is afraid that the Jews might now make war with him and slaughter his people. Thus, he recruits Balaam the prophet to come and curse Israel. If Balak can get Balaam to turn Israel’s God against her, then Israel will be taken care of and Balak and the Moabites will escape unharmed. Balak sends two delegations of men to Balaam, using monetary offers to entice Balaam to come and curse Israel.

Dropping in at verse 16 of chapter 22, we gain the flow of the passage in question: “[16] And they came to Balaam, and said to him, Thus saith Balak the son of Zippor, Let nothing, I pray thee, hinder thee from coming unto me: [17] For I will promote thee unto very great honour, and I will do whatsoever thou sayest unto me: come therefore, I pray thee, curse me this people. [18] And Balaam answered and said unto the servants of Balak, If Balak would give me his house full of silver and gold, I cannot go beyond the word of the LORD my God, to do less or more. [19] Now therefore, I pray you, tarry ye also here this night, that I may know what the LORD will say unto me more.

“[20] And God came unto Balaam at night, and said unto him, If the men come to call thee, rise up, and go with them; but yet the word which I shall say unto thee, that shalt thou do. [21] And Balaam rose up in the morning, and saddled his ass, and went with the princes of Moab. [22] And God’s anger was kindled because he went: and the angel of the LORD stood in the way for an adversary against him. Now he was riding upon his ass, and his two servants were with him.”

Clearly, God endorsed Balaam going with Balak’s servants (verse 20). Yet, when Balaam went (verse 21), the Bible says in verse 22: “God’s anger was kindled because he went.” Bible critics use this as a proof text to say that God is unfair, fickle, or perhaps even deceitful. Why did God disapprove of Balaam doing something He approved Balaam of doing? It is very important that we read verse 20 very, very carefully: “And God came unto Balaam at night, and said unto him, If the men come to call thee, rise up, and go with them; but yet the word which I shall say unto thee, that shalt thou do.” God attached a condition to Balaam’s departure. Only if Balak’s servants called Balaam was Balaam to go with them. Balak’s servants did not call Balaam. Balaam simply got up and went. There was disobedience to God’s words. Balaam did not actually believe what God said, so he did not do what God wanted him to do. God said he could go IF they asked. They did not ask and yet he went anyway. Balaam was in the wrong, and God had every right to be angry with him for his unbelief. What was Balaam’s problem? It was materialism!

Second Peter chapter 2: “[14] Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children: [15] Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness; [16] But was rebuked for his iniquity: the dumb ass speaking with man’s voice forbad the madness of the prophet.”

Jude 11: “Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core.”

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Also see:
» Was God “unfair” in striking Uzzah dead?
» How did King Saul die?
» Why does the Bible give two accounts of Judas’s death?