Is “should” a mistranslation in Romans 6:4?


by Shawn Brasseaux

No! Recently, this author was reading a commentary on Romans 6:4, which verse we look at now: “Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death, that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” Allegedly, “should” was a “misleading” translation of the New Testament Greek here; the commentator preferred “shall.” With all due respect, he did not know what he was talking about. He should have taken the position of faith; instead, he chose unbelief, and was himself misleading his audience. Our 50 King James scholars were fully competent in identifying and rendering the Bible from its original languages into the receptor language (English). Either we are Bible believers, or we are Bible unbelievers. We either have a final authority, or we do not. Either we agree with the Scriptures, or we do not.

According to The Oxford English Dictionary, “should” expresses something appropriate or likely, whereas “shall” indicates a command or something definitely forthcoming. In order to see how each word affects the meaning of Romans 6:4, we will read it both ways:

  • “Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death, that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” (King James)
  • “Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death, that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also shall walk in newness of life.” (commentator’s suggestion)

In the King James, walking in newness of life is suitable or proper for the Christian. The sense here is: “Since I am dead with Christ, buried with Christ, and raised with Christ, it only makes sense that I behave accordingly.” As for the commentator’s private interpretation, walking in newness of life is a mandate and/or certainty for the Christian. This logic is as follows: “Since I am dead with Christ, buried with Christ, and raised with Christ, I will or must behave accordingly.” (The commentator’s Calvinistic propensities could not be more evident: the elect will produce fruit, or they are not really the elect! Faith without works is dead! Holy living or maintaining good works must demonstrate faith, or it is not genuine faith and the person is not a Christian. Such “perseverance of the saints” is one of the cardinal teachings of “Reformed” theology.)

We must forgo the legalistic biases of the aforementioned Calvinistic commentator (thankfully, he is now in Heaven and reformed indeed!). Grace is not about mandates or obligations, being forced to behave a certain way in order to “prove our salvation.” Rather, grace “beseeches” (asks or requests) us to conduct ourselves in accordance with our identity in Christ: “I beseech [not order, demand, or command!] you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Romans 12:1-2).

Here are some other times where God’s grace “beseeches” (not commands, demands, or orders!) us to walk as the members of the Body of Christ that we are:

  • Ephesians 4:1: “I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called,….”
  • Philippians 4:2: “I beseech Euodias, and beseech Syntyche, that they be of the same mind in the Lord.”
  • 1 Thessalonians 4:1: “[1] Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more…. [10] And indeed ye do it toward all the brethren which are in all Macedonia: but we beseech you, brethren, that ye increase more and more;….”
  • Philemon 9-10: “Yet for love’s sake I rather beseech thee, being such an one as Paul the aged, and now also a prisoner of Jesus Christ. I beseech thee for my son Onesimus, whom I have begotten in my bonds:….”

Just to make sure there is no misunderstanding, God cares how we live as believers in Christ. Never should anyone be led to conclude grace means we can do whatever we want without gendering God’s sorrow or reaping any negative consequences. “And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption” (Ephesians 4:30). “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not” (Galatians 6:7-9).

All of Romans chapter 6 should be read: “[1] What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? [2] God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? [3] Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? [4] Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. [5] For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: [6] Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. [7] For he that is dead is freed from sin. [8] Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: [9] Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. [10] For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. [11] Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.

“[12] Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. [13] Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. [14] For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. [15] What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. [16] Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?

“[17] But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. [18] Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness. [19] I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness. [20] For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness. [21] What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death. [22] But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. [23] For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Someone could have believed on Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour, but either failed to understand God’s grace or was never told God’s grace aims to produce good works in the believer. Since the Apostle Paul did not walk in light of Romans chapter 6, he fell into the trap of flesh-walking (sin) in chapter 7, but Romans chapter 8 corrected his mind by reemphasizing the truths of chapter 6. He thus gained victory over sin on a daily basis in chapter 8. We should be upstanding citizens—but, will we choose to be? If we want to behave like carnal (fleshly) Christians, we can, but we had better not complain when someone scoffs, “I care not to be a Christian! My religion teaches me to live better than your ‘Jesus’ does!” We should eat to live—but we can always decide to starve and die. Likewise, if we want to deprive ourselves of sound (grace) Bible doctrine, we may do so—and our Christian life will wither and decay! It is the believer’s choice, left up to us; grace values free will. Brethren, let us use our volition for good, and not for evil!

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:8-10).

“For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works”
(Titus 2:11-14).

Also see:
» Is grace a “license to sin?”
» How are we God’s “workmanship?”
» Does God see us Christians as sinners?
» Once Christians fall into gross sin, will God use them again?
» How do we not live after the flesh if we live in bodies of flesh?
» Why do some Christians persistently behave like lost people?

What does “brutish” mean?


by Shawn Brasseaux

The Authorized Version mentions “brutish” individuals some 13 times. What is the implication? Before commenting, it is important we look at the verses first:

  • Psalm 49:10: “For he seeth that wise men die, likewise the fool and the brutish person perish, and leave their wealth to others.”
  • Psalm 92:6: “A brutish man knoweth not; neither doth a fool understand this.”
  • Psalm 94:8: “Understand, ye brutish among the people: and ye fools, when will ye be wise?”
  • Proverbs 12:1: “Whoso loveth instruction loveth knowledge: but he that hateth reproof is brutish.”
  • Proverbs 30:2: “Surely I am more brutish than any man, and have not the understanding of a man.”
  • Isaiah 19:11: “Surely the princes of Zoan are fools, the counsel of the wise counsellors of Pharaoh is become brutish: how say ye unto Pharaoh, I am the son of the wise, the son of ancient kings?”
  • Jeremiah 10:8,14,21: “[8] But they are altogether brutish and foolish: the stock is a doctrine of vanities…. [14] Every man is brutish in his knowledge: every founder is confounded by the graven image: for his molten image is falsehood, and there is no breath in them…. [21] For the pastors are become brutish, and have not sought the LORD: therefore they shall not prosper, and all their flocks shall be scattered.”
  • Jeremiah 51:17: “Every man is brutish by his knowledge; every founder is confounded by the graven image: for his molten image is falsehood, and there is no breath in them.”
  • Ezekiel 21:31: “And I will pour out mine indignation upon thee, I will blow against thee in the fire of my wrath, and deliver thee into the hand of brutish men, and skilful to destroy.”
  • 2 Peter 2:12: “But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption;….”
  • Jude 10: “But these speak evil of those things which they know not: but what they know naturally, as brute beasts, in those things they corrupt themselves.”

Using the context clues in these passages, we see “brutish” and “brute” are associated with foolishness—especially a lack of knowledge, wisdom, or understanding. Basically, it is to be irrational or stupid. By the way, the Greek word rendered “brute” in 2 Peter and Jude is “alogos” (literally “no thought”), translated “unreasonable” in Acts 25:27: “For it seemeth to me unreasonable to send a prisoner, and not withal to signify the crimes laid against him.”

Also see:
» What is the “madness” of Luke 6:11?
» What does “sottish” mean?
» What is a “lunatick?”

If meat-eating occurred only after the Flood, who was eating the animal sacrifices prior?


by Shawn Brasseaux

Not to diminish this question, but a scoffer once asked it in hopes of using it as a “gotcha” or “captious” inquiry. The goal was not to gain spiritual light but rather pose an unanswerable question to the Christian and make him look foolish. Provided we ask in faith, we will learn this is really a non-issue, a trivial matter, easily addressed.

Whether in Judaism or even pagan (heathen) religions, animal sacrifices were at least partially eaten: “And Aaron and his sons shall eat the flesh of the ram, and the bread that is in the basket by the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. And they shall eat those things wherewith the atonement was made, to consecrate and to sanctify them: but a stranger shall not eat thereof, because they are holy. And if ought of the flesh of the consecrations, or of the bread, remain unto the morning, then thou shalt burn the remainder with fire: it shall not be eaten, because it is holy” (Exodus 29:32-34). “Speak unto Aaron and to his sons, saying, This is the law of the sin offering: In the place where the burnt offering is killed shall the sin offering be killed before the LORD: it is most holy. The priest that offereth it for sin shall eat it: in the holy place shall it be eaten, in the court of the tabernacle of the congregation…. All the males among the priests shall eat thereof: it is most holy” (Leviticus 6:25-26,29). Various other verses throughout Leviticus read similarly.

The argument goes like this: If there were animal sacrifices offered before the Great Flood of Noah’s day, but there was no meat-eating until after the Great Flood (Genesis 9:1-4; cf. Genesis 1:29-31), then who was eating the animal sacrifices prior to the Great Flood? Scripture does not provide us with many details concerning the pre-Flood sacrificial system, but we can use the Law of Moses issued centuries later to understand the matter and answer the question.

See 1 Kings 18:30-41, when the Prophet Elijah proposed a test to see if Baal were God or JEHOVAH were God: “[30] And Elijah said unto all the people, Come near unto me. And all the people came near unto him. And he repaired the altar of the LORD that was broken down. [31] And Elijah took twelve stones, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, unto whom the word of the LORD came, saying, Israel shall be thy name: [32] And with the stones he built an altar in the name of the LORD: and he made a trench about the altar, as great as would contain two measures of seed. [33] And he put the wood in order, and cut the bullock in pieces, and laid him on the wood, and said, Fill four barrels with water, and pour it on the burnt sacrifice, and on the wood. [34] And he said, Do it the second time. And they did it the second time. And he said, Do it the third time. And they did it the third time. [35] And the water ran round about the altar; and he filled the trench also with water.

“[36] And it came to pass at the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that Elijah the prophet came near, and said, LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, let it be known this day that thou art God in Israel, and that I am thy servant, and that I have done all these things at thy word. [37] Hear me, O LORD, hear me, that this people may know that thou art the LORD God, and that thou hast turned their heart back again. [38] Then the fire of the LORD fell, and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench. [39] And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces: and they said, The LORD, he is the God; the LORD, he is the God. [40] And Elijah said unto them, Take the prophets of Baal; let not one of them escape. And they took them: and Elijah brought them down to the brook Kishon, and slew them there.”

Pay close attention to verse 38, re-reading it: “Then the fire of the LORD fell, and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench.” Now, go to pre-Flood verses such as Genesis 3:21: “Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them.” The first animal sacrifices are implied here, and we have no reason to believe God’s fire from Heaven did not fall upon these slain animals and consume them. Such would have also been the case with Abel (but not Cain) in chapter 4: “[1] And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the LORD. [2] And she again bare his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. [3] And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD. [4] And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. [5] But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell.”

Also see:
» How did God “testify” of Abel’s gifts?

» Why did God reject Cain’s offering?
» Can you explain Genesis 4:7?
» Why did God demand blood sacrifices?
» What did Jesus mean, “I will have mercy and not sacrifice?”

What does “sottish” mean?


by Shawn Brasseaux

Jeremiah 4:22 employs the word: “For my people is foolish, they have not known me; they are sottish children, and they have none understanding: they are wise to do evil, but to do good they have no knowledge.” It is such strong language, but it is warranted. The Prophet Jeremiah conducted his ministry in Judah 600 years before Christ, during a time of great apostasy—a falling away from the truth. He preached before and during the Babylonian Captivity, God’s judgment on the Southern Kingdom for its persistent idolatry.

“And I will utter my judgments against them touching all their wickedness, who have forsaken me, and have burned incense unto other gods, and worshipped the works of their own hands (Jeremiah 1:16). “For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water…. For of old time I have broken thy yoke, and burst thy bands; and thou saidst, I will not transgress; when upon every high hill and under every green tree thou wanderest, playing the harlot(Jeremiah 2:13,20).

“As the thief is ashamed when he is found, so is the house of Israel ashamed; they, their kings, their princes, and their priests, and their prophets. Saying to a stock [wooden idol], Thou art my father; and to a stone [stone idol], Thou hast brought me forth: for they have turned their back unto me, and not their face: but in the time of their trouble they will say, Arise, and save us. But where are thy gods that thou hast made thee? let them arise, if they can save thee in the time of thy trouble: for according to the number of thy cities are thy gods, O Judah. Wherefore will ye plead with me? ye all have transgressed against me, saith the LORD. In vain have I smitten your children; they received no correction: your own sword hath devoured your prophets, like a destroying lion. O generation, see ye the word of the LORD. Have I been a wilderness unto Israel? a land of darkness? wherefore say my people, We are lords; we will come no more unto thee? Can a maid forget her ornaments, or a bride her attire? yet my people have forgotten me days without number (Jeremiah 2:26-32).

“If thou wilt return, O Israel, saith the LORD, return unto me: and if thou wilt put away thine abominations out of my sight, then shalt thou not remove. And thou shalt swear, The LORD liveth, in truth, in judgment, and in righteousness; and the nations shall bless themselves in him, and in him shall they glory. For thus saith the LORD to the men of Judah and Jerusalem, Break up your fallow ground, and sow not among thorns. Circumcise yourselves to the LORD, and take away the foreskins of your heart, ye men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem: lest my fury come forth like fire, and burn that none can quench it, because of the evil of your doings” (Jeremiah 4:1-4).

Back to verse 22 of Jeremiah chapter 4. “For my people is foolish, they have not known me; they are sottish children, and they have none understanding: they are wise to do evil, but to do good they have no knowledge.” The Jews are spiritually senseless, insane, lunatic. Instead of heeding sound Bible doctrine—especially the Law of Moses—they are thinking like idolatrous heathen. Rather than being spiritual adults, they are mere children; immaturity has so crippled them, and their religious silliness shows throughout the Book of Jeremiah as well as much of the Old Testament Scriptures! It is in this context that the adjective “sottish” appears. The word simply means foolish, with the Hebrew term (“sakal”) translated “fool” or “foolish” in Ecclesiastes (2:19; 7:17; 10:3,14) and Jeremiah (5:21). It is therefore no coincidence “sottish” is from the Middle English word indicating “fool.”

Rejecting God’s wisdom for her (Deuteronomy 4:1-10), Israel did not guard herself from the foolishness of the evil world system around her. What was true of the Gentiles at the Tower of Babel ultimately became applicable to Israel as well! “For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen” (Romans 1:20-25).

Thankfully, in the Millennium, Israel will be given new spiritual leaders, people who will teach her sound Bible doctrine so she can think as the LORD God designed them to think. Pay close attention to verse 15 below (contrasted with Jeremiah 4:22).

Jeremiah 3:13-21: “[13] Only acknowledge thine iniquity, that thou hast transgressed against the LORD thy God, and hast scattered thy ways to the strangers under every green tree, and ye have not obeyed my voice, saith the LORD. [14] Turn, O backsliding children, saith the LORD; for I am married unto you: and I will take you one of a city, and two of a family, and I will bring you to Zion: [15] And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding. [16] And it shall come to pass, when ye be multiplied and increased in the land, in those days, saith the LORD, they shall say no more, The ark of the covenant of the LORD: neither shall it come to mind: neither shall they remember it; neither shall they visit it; neither shall that be done any more. [17] At that time they shall call Jerusalem the throne of the LORD; and all the nations shall be gathered unto it, to the name of the LORD, to Jerusalem: neither shall they walk any more after the imagination of their evil heart. [18] In those days the house of Judah shall walk with the house of Israel, and they shall come together out of the land of the north to the land that I have given for an inheritance unto your fathers. [19] But I said, How shall I put thee among the children, and give thee a pleasant land, a goodly heritage of the hosts of nations? and I said, Thou shalt call me, My father; and shalt not turn away from me. [20] Surely as a wife treacherously departeth from her husband, so have ye dealt treacherously with me, O house of Israel, saith the LORD. [21] A voice was heard upon the high places, weeping and supplications of the children of Israel: for they have perverted their way, and they have forgotten the LORD their God.

“Sottish” can also mean “stupefied with or as if with drink; drunken.” This is another key to explaining Israel’s lack of mental acuity in the spiritual realm. Revelation chapter 17, descriptive of the Antichrist’s (future) false religious system, relays the following: “[1] And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither; I will shew unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters: [2] With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication. [3] So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. [4] And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication: [5] And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.”

The “wine” that will make the world and Israel drunken in the future under the Antichrist is false religion, Baal worship, pagan idolatry. Here is exactly what polluted the world and Israel during Old Testament times (especially throughout Jeremiah’s ministry). The Whore of Babylon is the culmination of the pagan idolatry that began at the Tower of Babel some 4,000 years ago. Even today, we believers in Christ are told not only to avoid inebriation with physical wine, but also not be drunk with figurative wine (mind-altering false teaching).

See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God” (Ephesians 5:15-21).

Read Jeremiah 4:22 again: “For my people is foolish, they have not known me; they are sottish children, and they have none understanding: they are wise to do evil, but to do good they have no knowledge.” This stands in contrast to the Holy Spirit’s will for the Body of Christ in Romans 16:19: “For your obedience is come abroad unto all men. I am glad therefore on your behalf: but yet I would have you wise [skilled] unto that which is good, and simple [uninformed, ignorant] concerning evil.Have we been faithful in following Romans here? Nay! Have we grasped even the basics of the Dispensation of Grace as found in Romans? Nay!

Throughout the 20 centuries of its existence, the professing Body of Christ has been skillful in reciting denominational creeds and prayers, knowledgeable of the writings of the church fathers, and mindful of intellectual gymnastics and conspiracy theories, but—after 2,000 years of having a completed Holy Bible—can it identify what Father God is doing today and what He would have us do today? Nay! Beloved, we are following in the footsteps of ancient “sottish” Israel! If we are to grow up in grace, we had better listen to the Lord Jesus Christ speaking through the Apostle Paul, the Bible Books of Romans through Philemon!

Also see:
» What is a “lunatick?”
» What is the “madness” of Luke 6:11?
» What are some tips for faster spiritual growth?
» How do I know if I am maturing in the Word of God?

What is “surfeiting?”


by Shawn Brasseaux

We find the term only once in the Authorized Version, Luke 21:34 of the Olivet Discourse: “And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares.” The context, of course, is awaiting the “day” of Christ’s Second Coming: “[27] And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. [28] And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.”

In Greek, it is “kraipale”—literally, “the head tossing about”—the giddiness and headache resulting from intoxication (excessive drinking of alcoholic beverages). The Latin equivalent is “crapula.” According to The Oxford English Dictionary, to “surfeit” is to engage in any excess—overdoing or overindulgence in general. A more specific context, such as the case of Luke 21:34, is overeating or drunkenness. Read the verse once more: “And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares.” The nation Israel is admonished to avoid anything that would distract her from preparing for Jesus’ Second Coming—mind-altering substances, entertainment, materialism, other forms of false teaching, and the like.

Read Matthew 24:36–25:30, Mark 13:32-37, Luke 17:26-37, and Luke 21:34-36 for additional encouragements about the Jews maintaining watchfulness for Christ’s return to end Daniel’s 70th Week and commence the Millennium. The Great Flood of Noah’s day overtook and destroyed the inattentive unbelievers, just like Christ’s Second Coming will surprise and kill those caught up in the affairs of this world (sins of the flesh and sins of the spirit). Christ Jesus thus exhorted Israel to concentrate on sound Bible doctrine, that which pointed to His return and subsequent earthly kingdom.

“Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever” (1 John 2:15-17).

Also see:
» Why were the disciples discouraged from looking up in Acts chapter 1?
» Who will accompany Jesus at His Second Coming?
» Why did Jesus tell Israel they do not know the date of His return?
» Does “neither the Son” belong in Matthew 24:36?

Why did Paul label the Athenians “too superstitious?”


by Shawn Brasseaux

The Apostle Paul has been censured for the words he preached in Acts 17:22 (King James Bible): “Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars’ hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious.” How could he be so “cruel,” so “insensitive” to the feelings of these prospective believers?

Here is an easy example of how modern Bible “scholarship” has employed human wisdom to soften the Scriptures. Man always endeavors to make himself look better than he really is, whereas God’s Word always takes a negative view of man. Bible translators, teachers, and preachers are thus always tempted to “tone down” any verses that may be perceived as “nasty” or “unfriendly.” Friends, if we cannot find the courage to preach all the words of God, then we are far better off shutting our mouths and saying absolutely nothing!

In Acts chapter 17, Paul is visiting Athens, Greece, the intellectual capital of the world in New Testament times. Read this excerpt: “[16] Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was stirred in him, when he saw the city wholly given to idolatry…. [22] Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars’ hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious. [23] For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you.”

As noted earlier, we want to concentrate on verse 22. Paul referred to these souls as “too superstitious.” It is an extremely long Greek word: “deisidaimonesterous.” Literally, it means “fearing more demons/devils than others.” In English, we would not say “too religious” because that is not as descriptive as “too superstitious.” The stronger word, the negative word, is “superstitious.” “Religious” obscures the wicked nature of the behavior. From God’s perspective, they were fanatics in heathenism. Remember, the city was “wholly [completely, entirely] given to idolatry” (verse 16). They had devotions, shrines, or altars dedicated to numerous deities. Yet, out of fear of perhaps overlooking a particular “higher power,” they added one particular memorial—a monument to “the unknown god” (verse 23). Had they not included this, they reasoned, that deity (if in existence) might possibly retaliate and punish them for their disrespectful negligence!

However, nearly every modern English version—including the NKJV—has the inferior reading “very religious” or “extremely religious” here. The offensive words “too superstitious” have been removed, so the thrust of Paul’s argument has been toned down (a mighty roar now a mere whimper). In the words of one English dictionary, to be “superstitious” is to “have an irrational fear of what is unknown or mysterious, especially in connection with religion.” This was precisely the problem of the Athenians: they dreaded a plethora of deities, including an “unknown god,” so it was much more than ordinary religion (paying homage to a known deity). The correct reading, the superior reading, is “too superstitious,” exactly as in our King James Bible. (Unless we are ungrateful for this light, and prefer the darkness of modern “scholarship.”)

If we would not fault Jesus for rightly calling unsaved people “hypocrites,” “blind guides,” “fools,” “vipers” (Matthew chapter 23); if we would not criticize John the Baptist for labelling lost people “vipers” in Luke chapter 3 (verse 7); then we should have no issue with Paul calling the pagan Athenians “too superstitious.” This is not brutal name-calling but rather a declaration of spiritual truth. Until lost people are told just how bad off they really are, until they come to the point of realizing they need to be saved from their sins, they have no ability to see the gravity of their situation. They must take care of their sin problem at Calvary (trusting Jesus Christ alone as their personal Saviour) or wind up taking care of it themselves in Hell and the Lake of Fire forever!

Paul would not have complimented or praised them for their careful pagan idolatry: “I have seen with my own eyes just how very religious you Athenians are!” (This is exactly the tone of the modern English versions in Acts 17:22.) We would expect a lost person, or a Christian thinking like a lost person, to speak such words. However, a Christian under the control of the Holy Spirit would condemn such behavior. It was far more than mere religion. It was extreme superstitious nonsense, as fear-based as a belief system could be. Paul took advantage of their agnosticism—their “without knowledge” of the one true God—and began to preach Jesus Christ to them. Yet, he never actually followed through with a clear Gospel message in Athens. Why? See our related study linked below!

Also see:
» Why did Paul not give the Gospel of Grace in Acts 17?
» Should we use the term “demons?”
» What are “curious arts?”
» What about those who have not heard?
» Why does the Bible say “Have no other gods before Me?”
» How do I know I am praying to the living God and not false gods?
» I believed the Gospel, so why do they not believe?

What is a “buckler?”


by Shawn Brasseaux

One clue to defining “buckler” is to notice verses frequently pair it with “shield.” The two words appear in the context of war or fighting. Notice these 16 occurrences of “buckler” in our King James Bible:

  • 2 Samuel 22:31: “As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the LORD is tried: he is a buckler to all them that trust in him.”
  • 1 Chronicles 5:18: “The sons of Reuben, and the Gadites, and half the tribe of Manasseh, of valiant men, men able to bear buckler and sword, and to shoot with bow, and skilful in war, were four and forty thousand seven hundred and threescore, that went out to the war.”
  • 1 Chronicles 12:8: “And of the Gadites there separated themselves unto David into the hold to the wilderness men of might, and men of war fit for the battle, that could handle shield and buckler, whose faces were like the faces of lions, and were as swift as the roes upon the mountains;….”
  • 2 Chronicles 23:9: “Moreover Jehoiada the priest delivered to the captains of hundreds spears, and bucklers, and shields, that had been king David’s, which were in the house of God.”
  • Job 15:26: “He runneth upon him, even on his neck, upon the thick bosses of his bucklers:….”
  • Psalm 18:2: “The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.”
  • Psalm 18:30: “As for God, his way is perfect: the word of the LORD is tried: he is a buckler to all those that trust in him.”
  • Psalm 35:2: Take hold of shield and buckler, and stand up for mine help.
  • Psalm 91:4: He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.
  • Proverbs 2:7: He layeth up sound wisdom for the righteous: he is a buckler to them that walk uprightly.
  • Song of Solomon 4:4: Thy neck is like the tower of David builded for an armoury, whereon there hang a thousand bucklers, all shields of mighty men.”
  • Jeremiah 46:3: “Order ye the buckler and shield, and draw near to battle.”
  • Ezekiel 23:24: “And they shall come against thee with chariots, wagons, and wheels, and with an assembly of people, which shall set against thee buckler and shield and helmet round about: and I will set judgment before them, and they shall judge thee according to their judgments.”
  • Ezekiel 26:8: “He shall slay with the sword thy daughters in the field: and he shall make a fort against thee, and cast a mount against thee, and lift up the buckler against thee.”
  • Ezekiel 38:4: “And I will turn thee back, and put hooks into thy jaws, and I will bring thee forth, and all thine army, horses and horsemen, all of them clothed with all sorts of armour, even a great company with bucklers and shields, all of them handling swords:….”
  • Ezekiel 39:9: “And they that dwell in the cities of Israel shall go forth, and shall set on fire and burn the weapons, both the shields and the bucklers, the bows and the arrows, and the handstaves, and the spears, and they shall burn them with fire seven years:….”

“Shield” is generic; “buckler” is more specific. A buckler is a small, round shield, worn on the forearm or held by a handle. Both are used for defense, protection against attacks. Interestingly, “buckler” is derived from the Middle French “bocler,” related to “boss” (as in a knob or projection—that is, the convex shape or bulge of a shield). Of course, you will remember Job 15:26: “He runneth upon him, even on his neck, upon the thick bosses of his bucklers:….”

In the case of Scripture, the LORD serves as refuge or safety to believers. The Adversary—in Hebrew, Satan—is always aiming to harm the physical bodies but especially the souls (spiritual bodies) of God’s people. Ephesians 6:10-20, which see, provides a description of this spiritual battle. “The shield of faith”—trusting sound Bible doctrine, rightly divided Scripture—is the key to “quenching [putting out, extinguishing] all the fiery darts of the wicked.” As touching the Psalmist (usually David), he represents Israel’s believing remnant surviving their persecution under the Antichrist.

Also see:
» What is the “present distress” of 1 Corinthians 7:26?
» What does “Quit you like men” mean?
» What does “fetch a compass” mean?
» What are “lewd fellows of the baser sort?”
» What does “suborned” mean in Acts 6:11?

What are “curious arts?”


by Shawn Brasseaux

In Acts 19:17-20, we read: “[17] And this was known to all the Jews and Greeks also dwelling at Ephesus; and fear fell on them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified. [18] And many that believed came, and confessed, and shewed their deeds. [19] Many of them also which used curious arts brought their books together, and burned them before all men: and they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver. [20] So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed.” Just what are “curious arts” anyway?

The Greek word our Authorized Version translators handled here is “perierga,” found only one other time in Scripture. It occurs in 1 Timothy 5:13: “And withal they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house; and not only idle, but tattlers also and busybodies [periergoi], speaking things which they ought not.” A “busybody” is simply a meddling or prying person, one too involved in the affairs or lives of others. Thayer’s Greek Lexicon defines the word as: “busy about trifles and neglectful of important matters, especially busy about other folks’ affairs, a busybody.”

In the case of “curious arts,” it would be an investigation into things unnecessary, useless, profitless. The pagans in Ephesus believed Paul’s Gospel of Grace (1 Corinthians 15:3-4), and they had such a radical change in lifestyle they subsequently brought their “curious arts” books and burned them in front of everyone. We should view these books as nothing more than volumes of magical spells or incantations or prayers. In other words, they had intruded into the occult, witchcraft, or sorcery! Such needless and worthless information was the Devil’s realm, so they as Christians rightfully destroyed them.

By the way, the value of the witchcraft books they burned was estimated to be 50,000 pieces of silver. These were likely drachmas, each silver coin worth about a day’s wages. In total, the price of these works was as much as 137 years’ salary!! However (please note), instead of selling them and thereby harming others, these saints burned those books. As opposed to distributing the literature to people who wanted them—relatives, neighbors, and friends who were still pagan—they destroyed those books so no one else would be polluted with the Satan worship that had deceived them! (Perhaps we can learn something here as well.)

Also see:
» Can you explain Acts 19:13-16?
» Why does the Bible say “have no other gods before Me?”
» How does Satan operate today?
» Should we pray to “bind evil spirits?”

Was Jesus the “young man” in Mark 16:5?


by Shawn Brasseaux


We read in chapter 16 of Mark: “[5] And entering into the sepulchre, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a long white garment; and they were affrighted. [6] And he saith unto them, Be not affrighted: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is risen; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him. [7] But go your way, tell his disciples and Peter that he goeth before you into Galilee: there shall ye see him, as he said unto you.”

Although wearing clothes similar to Christ’s raiment on the Mount of Transfiguration (Matthew 17:2; Mark 9:3; Luke 9:29), the “young man” of this passage in question could in no wise be Christ. Firstly, the man refers to Jesus in the third-person numerous times: he is risen… he is not here… where they laid him… tell his disciples… he goeth before you… there shall ye see himhe said unto you.” (He did not use first-person pronouns “I” and “me.”) If Jesus is said not to be present in the tomb (“he is not here;” verse 6), then the speaker could certainly not be Jesus, could He?

Secondly, Mary Magdalene alone saw the resurrected Christ first (Mark 16:9; John 20:11-18). Several women were there in Mark 16:5-7, so the young man in the tomb could not have been Jesus. Thirdly, that young man is never actually said to be the Lord Jesus either. Remember, we should always be careful when making assumptions concerning Scripture. In this case, there is simply too much evidence favoring the young man being an angel and not Christ.

Before leaving, we must point out one significant feature oft overlooked: the young man” was actually a 4,000-year-old being. Angels do not exhibit age!

Also see:
» Do angels age?

» Are angels women?
» Do people become angels when they die?
» Did the disciples go to the wrong tomb on Resurrection Sunday?
»  How is mankind “lower than the angels?”
» Does Mark 16:9-20 belong in the Bible?

Can you explain Acts 19:13-16?


by Shawn Brasseaux

Dr. Luke penned the following in Acts chapter 19: “[13] Then certain of the vagabond Jews, exorcists, took upon them to call over them which had evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, We adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preacheth. [14] And there were seven sons of one Sceva, a Jew, and chief of the priests, which did so. [15] And the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye? [16] And the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, and overcame them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.” To the say the least, like many accounts in the Book of Acts, this passage is quite unusual. What is its implication? Why did the Holy Spirit include it in Holy Writ? “For what saith the Scriptures?”

If we start back at verses 11-12, we will see the contrast: “[11] And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul: [12] So that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them.” During this time of the Acts transitional period, “special miracles” in the Apostle Paul’s ministry are being witnessed. The Holy Spirit is endorsing or authenticating Paul’s apostleship (cf. 2 Corinthians 12:12): what He did with Peter, He is now doing with Paul. Israel should take note of her God working amongst the Gentiles.

Remember the Apostle Peter’s miraculous demonstrations in chapter 5 of Acts: “[12] And by the hands of the apostles were many signs and wonders wrought among the people; (and they were all with one accord in Solomon’s porch. [13] And of the rest durst no man join himself to them: but the people magnified them. [14] And believers were the more added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women.) [15] Insomuch that they brought forth the sick into the streets, and laid them on beds and couches, that at the least the shadow of Peter passing by might overshadow some of them. [16] There came also a multitude out of the cities round about unto Jerusalem, bringing sick folks, and them which were vexed with unclean spirits: and they were healed every one.”

In the case of Paul’s healing handkerchiefs or aprons, these were used to heal the sick and cast out devils. Israel’s God, once working with the Little Flock (Israel’s believing remnant), is now working with Paul and the Body of Christ. The Book of Acts is the record of God’s transition from Israel to the Body of Christ, moving from prophecy to mystery. (See our related “Acts” studies linked at the end of this article for more information.) In stark contrast to Paul casting out devils (Acts 19:11-12), the Holy Spirit speaks of vagabond Jews unsuccessfully exorcising unclean spirits (verses 13-16). This documentation further reinforces the concepts of Paul’s apostleship and Israel’s unbelief during the Acts period.

To grasp the thrust of the verses, we run through Acts 19:13-16 again, this time expounding line upon line. Verse 13 once more: “Then certain of the vagabond Jews, exorcists, took upon them to call over them which had evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, We adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preacheth.” These Jews are “vagabond,” wanderers or drifters. Here is national Israel depicted, apostate and unbelieving, not knowing where they are going doctrinally (or what they are doing spiritually)! Presumptuous, having been audacious in assuming upon themselves some supernatural power over Satan’s evil spirit minions, they attempt to use Paul’s apostolic authority (for they have none themselves). They therefore declare to the devils, “We adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preacheth.”

Move to verse 14: “And there were seven sons of one Sceva, a Jew, and chief of the priests, which did so.” These priestly men—plus Sceva (“left-handed,” or weak) their father and leader—should be down in Jerusalem serving at the Temple. Instead, as noted already, they are roaming about near Ephesus (western Turkey). Their failure to uphold sound Bible doctrine proves fatal to their mission, as shown in verse 15: “And the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye?” This evil spirit recognizes Jesus’ authority and Paul’s authority, but rightly sees the sons of Sceva as defenseless. Unsurprisingly, charlatans do not intimidate a devil! Verse 16 informs us: “And the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, and overcame them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.” To say the least, this failed exorcism was most embarrassing! Such a disaster proved these sons of Sceva were nothing but counterfeit miracle-workers (cf. Matthew 7:21-23).

The news of this spread to nearby Ephesus, as verse 17 relates: “And this was known to all the Jews and Greeks also dwelling at Ephesus; and fear fell on them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified.” Finish the rest of the account: “[18] And many that believed came, and confessed, and shewed their deeds. [19] Many of them also which used curious arts [witchcraft/occult/idolatry/philosophy] brought their books together, and burned them before all men: and they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver. [20] So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed.” This is actually the start of the church at Ephesus, to which Paul would write the Book of Ephesians many years later. Once these pagans heard how the evil spirit acknowledged Jesus’ power as well as Paul’s apostolic power, but refused to obey the sons of Sceva, these heathen converted to Paul’s ministry. Verse 15 again: “And the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye?”

Saints, please remember us in your monthly giving—these websites do cost money to run! 🙂 You can donate securely here:, or email me at Do not forget about Bible Q&A s for sale at Thanks to all who give to and pray for us! By the way, ministry emails have really been backed up this year. I am handling them as much as humanly possible. Thanks for your patience. 🙂

Also see:
» Could you explain Acts 19:1-7?
» Why does the Book of Acts end so abruptly?
» Can you explain Paul’s ministry during Acts?
» Can you explain Peter and the 11’s ministry from Acts chapters 7 through 15?
» Is Israel “cast away,” or not? Has Israel “fallen,” or not?
» Should we use the word “demons?” Are they the same as devils?
» Why could the disciples not cast out the devil in Matthew 17:14-21?
» Does the Bible teach that mental illness is really devil possession?
» Is faith in Christ alone enough to go to Heaven? Do not the devils believe?