Must I have a degree in music to sing or play an instrument at a local church?


by Shawn Brasseaux

Sadly, some have indeed been turned away from music in a local assembly or singing in its choir because they lacked formal training (a college degree, professional tutoring). This is an example of using human viewpoint to gauge church matters. (It is no different from the self-absorbed declaration, “You cannot preach at our church unless you have graduated from our denomination’s seminary or Bible College!”)

It is quite advantageous to have some familiarity with music if you so choose to become involved with a local church’s music ministry. Someone may say, “I can play the piano, but not that well.” Another may declare, “I sing solo—‘so low’ so others cannot hear.” In fact, this author will be quite bold in writing the following. As with some people who should not be teaching and yet are, there are some people who should not be singing and yet are. (It does not matter how many advanced degrees they have!!) If there is no underlying sound Bible doctrine, they would do themselves and others much good by staying quiet until they learn the truth instead of singing erroneous material. (Please see our “appropriate hymns” study linked at the end of this article.)

Colossians 3:16: Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” Ephesians 5:18-19: “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….” As long as our heart attitude is right (faith in God’s Word rightly divided, not showing off or seeking worship ourselves), and we are singing or playing music in accordance with grace doctrine, this is really all that our Heavenly Father requires concerning a music ministry. God surely does not mind “amateurs.” As long as we are playing or singing from the heart, that is all that matters. God the Holy Spirit can sense our motives; let Him be the Judge, for He will surely do right!

The author is reminded of a time, many years ago, when one of his former pastors claimed a particular man in the assembly “was not a good singer.” However, the pastor would never insult the man to his face; rather, he would let the man sing at music time but spoke about it behind his back to other church members. The pastor prided himself as a professional, accomplished singer. Recently, this author learned that the pastor is now suffering from dementia. Failing memory caused him to retire from preaching and then from singing. He cannot remember how to sing or preach! As for the brother “who could not sing,” he is a friend of the author. The man is a Christian, and he undoubtedly loves the Lord and His Word. While not formally trained in music, he ultimately sang for the Lord’s pleasure. It made no difference if some condescending, fleshly preacher approved. Keep that in mind, friend!

As for those who seek man’s approval concerning any ministry in the church, we close with two verses. Firstly, “Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God(Luke 16:15). Secondly, “For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ(Galatians 1:10).

Also see:
» What if I was never thanked?
» Which hymns are appropriate for us grace believers to sing?
» What is wrong with “praise and worship?”

Was Priscilla “lead teacher in her family?”


by Shawn Brasseaux

Advocates of women preachers and Christian women teaching men point to assorted verses for Scriptural support. The case of Priscilla, a Christian lady of the New Testament Scriptures, forms the foundation for one of their arguments. Allegedly, she is “lead teacher in her family.” Is that so? “For what saith the Scriptures?”

Priscilla appears on six occasions in a King James Bible (2 Timothy 4:19 shortens her name to “Prisca”). She is continually paired with her husband, Aquila. This Jewish couple was saved under the Apostle Paul’s ministry and served as his spiritual coworkers. Read the only passages that feature Priscilla:

  • Acts 18:2: “And found a certain Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, lately come from Italy, with his wife Priscilla; (because that Claudius had commanded all Jews to depart from Rome: ) and came unto them.”
  • Acts 18:18: “And Paul after this tarried there yet a good while, and then took his leave of the brethren, and sailed thence into Syria, and with him Priscilla and Aquila; having shorn his head in Cenchrea: for he had a vow.”
  • Acts 18:26: “And he began to speak boldly in the synagogue: whom when Aquila and Priscilla had heard, they took him unto them, and expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly.”
  • Romans 16:3: “Greet Priscilla and Aquila my helpers in Christ Jesus:”
  • 1 Corinthians 16:19:“The churches of Asia salute you. Aquila and Priscilla salute you much in the Lord, with the church that is in their house.”
  • 2 Timothy 4:19: “Salute Prisca and Aquila, and the household of Onesiphorus.”

Supposedly, since Priscilla’s name “always” precedes Aquila’s name, she was the dominant one in the relationship (and thus, the Bible teacher of her family). That is simply not true, as a careful reading of the Bible text shows us. When first introduced to us, Aquila comes before Priscilla (Acts 18:2). In journeys, she appears first (Acts 18:18). When being greeted, she is first (Romans 16:3; 2 Timothy 4:19); when greeting others, she is second, after Aquila (1 Corinthians 16:19). In the case of teaching, Aquila comes first, then Priscilla (Acts 18:26). Priscilla never dominates her husband with respect to teaching ministry or family. Aquila leads in teaching, just as God the Holy Spirit tells us in 1 Timothy chapter 2, Ephesians chapter 5, and 1 Corinthians chapter 11.

  • First Timothy chapter 2: “[11] Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. [12] But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. [13] For Adam was first formed, then Eve. [14] And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression. [15] Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety.”
  • Ephesians chapter 5:“[22] Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. [23] For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. [24] Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.”
  • First Corinthians 11:3: “But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.”

Thus, a woman who takes the lead in a local assembly or marriage/family does so due t one of two reasons: (1) no man has the courage to guide the church or marriage/family so she dominates, or (2) a man is leading but her flesh compels her to compete against him. Even though neither situation is ideal, it is better to have the first than the latter. Someone has to lead, so if the man fails, then the woman will have to step in. When no man was willing to be used of God as a prophet (speaker), then He resorted to employing women/prophetesses (Exodus 15:20; Judges 4:4; 2 Kings 22:14; 2 Chronicles 34:22; Isaiah 8:3; Luke 2:36). If neither man nor woman were available, the LORD God spoke through a donkey (Numbers 22:28-30)!

We can learn a great deal by looking to our first parents, Adam and Eve. Eve did not submit to her husband’s spiritual headship, and he was unwilling to be her spiritual leader. Overall, they both failed to function in their God-given capacities. Hence, the human race fell into sin! If the local church does not learn this lesson, if the family does not learn this lesson, if the marriage does not learn this lesson, you can be sure trouble and destruction will abound (1 Timothy 2:11-15—quoted earlier)!

Genesis chapter 3: “[1] Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? [2] And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: [3] But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. [4] And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: [5] For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. [6] And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.”

Adam did not remind his wife of what the LORD God told him (Genesis 2:16-17), and Eve did not ask Adam what God told him to tell her. Eve listened to Satan’s evil doctrine, and Adam stood there—and did nothing to stop her. In fact, Adam went right along with his wife—she led him, and he let her usurp his role! Absolutely, Priscilla knew better than to repeat the gross error of our mother Eve… and Aquila knew better than to repeat the gross error of our father Adam!

Also see:
» Should women serve in the ministry?
» Should women speak in church? May they ask questions?
» Are Galatians 3:28 and 1 Timothy 2:11-12 contradictory?

“So shall we ever be with the Lord?”


by Shawn Brasseaux

A recurrent idea among Christians is that the Church the Body of Christ will return with the Lord Jesus Christ at His Second Coming. Various and sundry verses are offered as support. However, a careful examination of the Holy Scriptures demonstrates this to be a total misunderstanding of both the purpose of the Body and the objective of the Second Coming. (For more info, please see our related studies linked at the end of this article.)

Years ago, when this author began coming to the knowledge of the truth, better understanding the Word of God rightly divided, he struggled to make sense of the above matter. Were we returning with Christ at His Second Coming, as he had been led to believe for so many years? First Thessalonians 4:17 nagged him: “Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” What should we make of the phrase, “so shall we ever be with the Lord?” Will we be physically “with” the Lord Jesus when He steps onto the Mount of Olives at His Second Coming? Will we be reigning “with” Him on Earth in Israel’s Davidic kingdom? “For what saith the Scriptures?”

Like most individuals, this author assumed the “and so shall we ever be with the Lord” clause meant that we must be in close proximity to Christ at all times once we are raptured. After He takes us into Heaven in that split second of time (1 Corinthians 15:51-58; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18), we will never again leave His side. Wherever He is, we will always be beside Him. Is that what “with the Lord” means in 1 Thessalonians 4:17? No, as this explanation is contrary to many verses in Paul’s writings (we will get to those shortly). First, we need to review the basics.

Creation consists of “heaven and earth” (Genesis 1:1). Offices govern both realms—thrones, dominions, principalities, powers, mights, and every name that is named (Ephesians 1:21; Colossians 1:16). Satan has usurped and corrupted these offices but Father God will bring them all under His authority again through His Son Jesus Christ. In “the dispensation of the fulness of times,” our Heavenly Father shall gather all governments under one Head, Jesus Christ (Ephesians 1:9-10). He has thus formed the nation Israel to be His earthly people, and the Church the Body of Christ to be His heavenly people. It is one overall kingdom, functioning in two realms, for one eternal purpose! The Lord Jesus Christ will be glorified forever—regardless of the angels and the humans who refuse to participate and accomplish it.

We the Church the Body of Christ have a heavenly destiny not an earthly destiny. Our realm of blessings and influence is the heavenly places. Observe the following:

  • 2 Corinthians 5:1: “For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.”
  • Ephesians 1:3: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:….”
  • Ephesians 1:20,22-23: “Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places,…. And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.”
  • Ephesians 2:6: “And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:….”
  • Ephesians 3:10: “To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God,….”
  • Philippians 3:20: “For our conversation [lifestyle reflecting citizenship] is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:….”
  • Colossians 1:5: “For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel;…..”
  • Colossians 1:16,20: “For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:…. And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.”
  • 2 Timothy 4:18: “And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”

Consider all the above verses. We are installed to serve in the heavenly places prior to the Second Coming (in perfect accordance with Revelation 12:7-12—Satan and his angels evicted from the second heaven to make room for us there). Therefore, it certainly would not be appropriate for us to use one verse (1 Thessalonians 4:17) to teach that we will come down with Christ to reign on Earth with Him. So, what of “so shall we ever be with the Lord?” In what sense are we “with” Him? Let us quickly survey verses that show us how the English (King James) Bible employs “with” in sentences.


  • Acts 8:31: “And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him.”
  • Galatians 2:3: “But neither Titus, who was with me, being a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised:….”
  • Matthew 9:10: “And it came to pass, as Jesus sat at meat in the house, behold, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with him and his disciples.” (A similar idea is found in Matthew 14:9 and Acts 11:3.)
  • Matthew 4:21: “And going on from thence, he saw other two brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and he called them.”
  • Acts 11:12: “And the Spirit bade me go with them, nothing doubting. Moreover these six brethren accompanied me, and we entered into the man’s house:….”

(You may also consult Acts 20:14, 2 Timothy 4:11, John 13:18, Acts 9:7, Acts 9:19, Matthew 26:23, Mark 14:18-20, Acts 23:19, Philemon 13, and Acts 27:2.)

The above verses contain probably the most frequent definition of how we use the word “with.” Considering all that has gone before, however, there must be another sense 1 Thessalonians 4:17 is using the word. Our destiny is the heavenly places, recall.


  • Acts 16:34: “And when he had brought them into his house, he set meat before them, and rejoiced, believing in God with all his house.”
  • Romans 1:12: “That is, that I may be comforted together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me.”
  • John 13:8: “Peter saith unto him, Thou shalt never wash my feet. Jesus answered him, If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me.”
  • Philippians 2:18: “For the same cause also do ye joy, and rejoice with me.”
  • Luke 11:23: “He that is not with me is against me: and he that gathereth not with me scattereth.” Matthew 12:30: “He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.”
  • Luke 1:58: “And her neighbours and her cousins heard how the Lord had shewed great mercy upon her; and they rejoiced with her.”
  • Romans 15:30: “Now I beseech you, brethren, for the Lord Jesus Christ’s sake, and for the love of the Spirit, that ye strive together with me in your prayers to God for me;….”
  • 1 Corinthians 12:26: “And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it.”
  • Galatians 2:20: “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.”

The idea in these verses is connecting to others around a common goal or experience—rejoicing with others, mourning with others, praying with others, trusting in God with others, and so on. Physical distance is not under consideration. We can do these things with others around the world, though they are quite far from us bodily. If we look at the Bible’s testimony as a whole, this seems to be the most probable notion being communicated by “with” in 1 Thessalonians 4:17.


First Thessalonians 4:17 says, “Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” The word “with” here is not to be understood in the sense of sitting face-to-face, or side-by-side with another. Scripture also employs the term as united around a mutual action or experience. There is solidarity or camaraderie, teammates achieving one end, fellowshipping as concerning one matter.

In Revelation 3:21, the Lord Jesus says to Israel, “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.” Certainly, Christ is not speaking of one or two thrones in which He, the Father, and all believing Jews will sit around each other. Close physical proximity is not the issue—that would be most absurd. The idea rather is one of unity in reigning (as in, shared authority or mutual power). Redeemed Israelites are extensions of His earthly authority, just as we (the Body of Christ) are extensions of His heavenly authority. For us to be “with” Christ (1 Thessalonians 4:17) is not about us returning to Earth, but rather sharing His governmental influence in creation—namely, the heavenly places—as Israel will share His influence in the offices of Earth’s government.

One passage to summarize with now is 2 Timothy 2:10-13: “Therefore I endure all things for the elect’s sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory. It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him: If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us: If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.” The “reigning with him” is defined in chapter 4 and verse 18 as entering “his heavenly kingdom.” (Notice the idea of teammates throughout these verses. There is no hint of next-door neighbors but individuals associating around a joint conclusion.)

The idea in 1 Thessalonians 4:17 “with the Lord” means we are on His team, ruling and reigning with Him, but in what realm? Paul’s epistles always speak of our (Body of Christ) realm as the heavenly kingdom. In the ages to come, the Lord will be exercising governmental authority and we will be too. It is all one enormous kingdom, spanning between Heaven and Earth, all to exalt Jesus Christ the Lord of glory. Lastly, remember, we can only be so close to Him physically. Millions of believers from the last 20 centuries will be in Heaven. We cannot all be within arm’s reach of Him, and yet we will be “with Him.” Surely, something beyond physical closeness is under consideration in 1 Thessalonians 4:17.

ATTENTION: We have released our new seven-hour Bible study series—“The Feasts of JEHOVAH.” These lessons are approximately 65 minutes each, totaling 7 1/2 hours. They are quite advanced, as they build on our five-lesson series “Israel’s Covenants” I taught a month ago. It is best to watch all seven videos in order, as they are progressive. May you be edified, encouraged, and enlightened! Enjoy!! Praise our Lord Jesus Christ! Click here to watch.

Also see:
» Will we return with Jesus Christ at His Second Coming?
» Who are the “saints” in 1 Thessalonians 3:13?
» Can you compare and contrast the prophetic program and the mystery program?

Can you explain 2 Corinthians 5:16?


by Shawn Brasseaux

“Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more.” Many preachers have grown quite disappointed and angry after reading or hearing these eternal words of the everlasting God. Why? What is so controversial here? What exactly does it mean to “know no man after the flesh?” How can Jesus Christ be “known after the flesh?” How can He not be “known after the flesh?”

The “flesh” here is something physical and literal (as opposed to the Bible’s other usage of the term—“flesh” in Romans 8:1, for example, is a metaphor for our sin nature). Specifically, in 2 Corinthians 5:16, “flesh” is circumcised (Jew) or uncircumcised (non-Jew, or Gentile). In other words, it refers to the differentiation underscored in Ephesians chapter 2: “[11] Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; [12] That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:….”

Verses 13-18 describe the Dispensation of Grace, the opposite of the previous two verses in the chapter: “[13] But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. [14] For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; [15] Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; [16] And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: [17] And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. [18] For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.”

In this the Dispensation of Grace, “but now,” there is no distinction between Jew (circumcision) and Gentile (uncircumcision). Almighty God only sees saved and lost, those in Christ and those in Adam, respectively. Turn to Galatians 5:6, “For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.” Now, Galatians 6:15: “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.” There is no longer an advantage of physical circumcision before God, and there is no more a disadvantage of physical uncircumcision before God. What He sees is the “new creature” (Galatians 6:15), the “one new man” (Ephesians 2:15), the Church the Body of Christ. These are all believers in Jesus Christ. God sees all unbelievers outside of that one Body. This is the only distinction God acknowledges today. Thus, 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” Any fleshly distinction is not important before God; that old identity has passed away, and the believer gains a spiritual identity in Christ.

Knowing a man “after the flesh” and “though we have known Christ after the flesh” all relates to the “time past” distinction highlighted in Ephesians 2:11-12. Jesus Christ’s earthly ministry, Matthew through John, operated on the basis of the division between Jew and Gentile, circumcision and uncircumcision, respectively. Ephesians 2:12 says we Gentiles (nations) were “without Christ.” Romans 9:4-5 says of the Jews, “and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came.” The “flesh” here is physically circumcised flesh, Jewish flesh. Christ’s earthly ministry was to the nation Israel only, and not to the nations (Gentiles). This can be easily proved from Scripture.

The Lord Jesus said in John 4:22: “Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews.” Notice the emphasis on “the Jews;” no Gentiles are in view here. Matthew 10:5-7: “[5] These twelve [apostles] Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: [6] But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. [7] And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Christ said in Matthew 15:24: “But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” Romans 15:8 summarizes, “Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision [Jews] for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers:….” This expression, was a minister,” is key—it is past tense in the King James Bible (changed in modern versions).

Back to 2 Corinthians 5:16, “Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more.” We want to concentrate on the phrase, “yet now henceforth know we him no more.” Now, with Paul’s ministry (the “but now” of Ephesians 2:13), we do not know Jesus Christ according to His earthly ministry, when there was a difference between Jew and Gentile. The middle wall of partition has been removed—God Himself has abolished it. We know Jesus Christ according to His “all-man” (Jew and Gentile) ministry. Again, this new program began with the Apostle Paul’s ministry and message.

First Timothy 2:4-7: “[4] Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. [5] For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; [6] Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time. [7] Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not; ) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity.” (Pay special attention to verse 7. Paul is the “due-time testifier” of Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork as sufficient payment for all sins—both Jew and Gentile. Prior to Paul, soul salvation was limited to Israel. See Isaiah 53:8 and Matthew 20:28, for example. Isaiah’s people and the “many” are Israel. No Gentiles are in view.)

Romans 3:22,29: “[22] Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:… [29] Is he the God of the Jews only? is he not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also:….” Romans 10:12: “For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.” Titus 2:11: “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,….” These “no-difference” statements, these “all-men” statements, could not be said of Christ’s earthly ministry. They were only true until the Lord Jesus Christ said them through Paul’s ministry. Notice more Pauline verses on this subject.

Romans chapter 1: “[5] By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name:…. [14] I am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise. [15] So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also. [16] For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” (Notice verse 5—“all nations.” Paul has an unrestricted apostleship to all nations. Contrast this with Peter and the 11 other Apostles, who had to preach to all Israel before going to all nations [Matthew 10:5-7; Matthew 28:18-20].)

Romans 16:25-26: “[25] Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, [26] But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith:…..” (Verse 26 says “all nations.” Paul has a ministry to all nations, where Peter and the 11 had to evangelize all Israel before preaching to all nations [Matthew 10:5-7; Matthew 28:18-20].)

It is therefore dangerous for people to continue with their mindless chant, “I follow Jesus, I do not follow Paul.” To “follow Jesus”—specifically, they mean the Four Gospel Records (Matthew through John)—means to know Him today in a manner in which God says we do not know Him today. The middle wall of partition that was up during the Four Gospel Records has since been done away. God has temporarily suspended that distinction between Jew and Gentile. He has changed the dispensations, the instructions given to man. Conditions that were true in Matthew through John are not necessarily true today, so it is more appropriate that we follow the Apostle Paul as he follows Jesus Christ rather than we “following Jesus.” We are not exalting Paul; we are exalting the Jesus Christ whom Paul preached, the Jesus Christ as presented in the mystery truth committed to Paul’s trust.

Paul wrote the following verses as God the Holy Spirit guided him:

  • 1 Corinthians 11:1: “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.”
  • Ephesians 5:1: “Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children;….”
  • 1 Corinthians 4:16: “Wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers of me.”
  • Philippians 3:17: “Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample.”
  • 1 Thessalonians 1:6: “And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost.”

We follow Paul as he follows Jesus Christ, and he follows Jesus Christ according to the revelation of the mystery (Romans 16:25-26). Part of that revelation is that all believing Jews and Gentiles in Paul’s Gospel (1 Corinthians 15:3-4) form the one Church the Body of Christ. You are here strongly encouraged to read Ephesians 2:11–3:11, with special emphasis on the verses in chapter 3.

Yet, 99 percent of “Christian” preaching and teaching today is Matthew through John. They proclaim God’s Word to Israel as though it were God’s Word to us Gentiles. It is all about God’s program for Israel and yet they speak of it as though it were for the Church the Body of Christ! Jesus Christ’s ministry through Paul is almost, and sometimes entirely, ignored. No wonder there is no power of God in our churches and lives. We stay focused on things God is not doing today, stressing concepts that are no longer applicable to God’s will for man. It is either (1) back to Pauline truth, or (2) onward to more apostasy!


We do not know Jesus Christ after the flesh any longer. We do not know any person after the flesh any longer. Christ’s earthly ministry, based on the middle wall of partition, is not how people should relate to God or each other today. From the time the Dispensation of Grace began with Paul’s salvation and ministry, Almighty God has revealed to us (mankind) how to no longer know or relate to people according to their fleshly identity. Unlike “time past,” physical circumcision and physical uncircumcision are not the issue today in the “but now.” Rather, we understand people to be either in Christ (saved, going to Heaven) or in Adam (lost, going to Hell).

The Bible says, in this Dispensation of Grace, there is no difference between Jew and Gentile. This was not true during Christ’s earthly ministry. Today, however, there is no spiritual advantage to being a Jew and there is no spiritual disadvantage to being a Gentile. Unless we recognize the radical dispensational change that occurred in the Book of Acts (particularly, with Paul’s conversion and commission in chapter 9), we will not understand that God is dealing differently with man today in the “but now” than how He dealt with him in “time past.” We will major on issues that God no longer emphasizes; we will ignore the issues that God currently upholds. Absolute confusion and disappointment are sure to result!

Also see:
» Did Peter and Paul preach the same Gospel?
» Did not God send messengers to Gentiles prior to Paul’s apostleship?
» How were Gentiles saved before our Dispensation of Grace?

Who are the “saints” in 1 Thessalonians 3:13?


by Shawn Brasseaux

The Bible says in 1 Thessalonians 3:13, “To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.” Are these “saints” Christians or angels?

A King James Bible critic quibbled that the word “saints” here is “an unfortunate and inappropriate translation.” He continued, “It is not believers but angelic beings.” Beloved, there is absolutely nothing “unfortunate” or “inappropriate” about how the 1611 translators handled the Greek text here. Any and every dependable Greek dictionary defines hagios as “holy, set apart; holy things or holy ones [saints].” A related word and concept is “sanctification.” “Saints” is a perfectly acceptable translation of the underlying Greek. The problem is not with the translation, but with people who are so “scholarly-minded” that they do not know how to use the English Bible!!

Such detractors, as you probably noticed, assume that the Bible term “saints” can only apply to believers. This is a misconception. Not merely can people be set apart for God’s purposes, but angels can be sanctified too. Consequently, Scripture speaks of the “elect angels” (1 Timothy 5:21) as the holy angels” (Revelation 14:10). They are in contrast to “the devil and his angels” (Matthew 25:41; cf. Revelation 12:7,9) and “the angels which kept not their first estate” (Jude 6). Since there are holy (good) angels, it is not surprising to find God’s Word calling them “saints.” Remember, they are set apart for the purpose for which God created them—they serve Him.

Look for yourself: God has no problem calling good angels “saints!”

  • Deuteronomy 33:2: “And he said, The LORD came from Sinai, and rose up from Seir unto them; he shined forth from mount Paran, and he came with ten thousands of saints: from his right hand went a fiery law for them.”
  • Job 15:15: “Behold, he putteth no trust in his saints; yea, the heavens are not clean in his sight.” Considering the connection to the “heavens,” these are angels as opposed to people. They are actually angels before they fell and followed Satan in his rebellion; hence, they have corrupted the heavens, or outer space (cf. Ephesians 6:12; Revelation 12:7-12).
  • Jude 14-15: “And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.” These saints are angels, not humans, not (Keep reading to see the parallel verses!)
  • Psalm 68:17: “The chariots of God are twenty thousand, even thousands of angels: the Lord is among them, as in Sinai, in the holy place.”
  • Matthew 16:27: “For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.”
  • Matthew 25:31: “When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:….”
  • Mark 8:38: “Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”
  • Luke 9:26: “For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father’s, and of the holy angels.”
  • 2 Thessalonians 1:7-8: “And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:….”
  • Revelation 19:14: “And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.” (These are not Christians, but angels. Let the earlier verses govern the interpretation.)


The critic denounced “saints” in 1 Thessalonians 3:13 because (as you saw) he contended that Jesus Christ returns with angels not Christians at His Second Coming. His critical remark was founded upon the notion that “saints” can only mean believers. Such a verse modification is wholly unnecessary. Our earlier brief survey of verses demonstrated that assumption to be incorrect. We do not have to change the Bible text to teach our favorite doctrine. Friends, that is heresy!! Actually, we should not adjust the Bible text to communicate our pet dogma; rather, we should modify our doctrine to fit the Bible.

(The justification for changing this verse is a misconception. Make note! The critical eye, quick to “correct” the Bible, does nothing more than pervert something that was originally sound. Good was perceived as evil, so changing it in an attempt to make it “better” actually introduces error that was never there in the first place.)

God’s Word is the final authority, not our opinions. How dangerous it is to alter the Holy Bible, when in God’s mind it does not change! Jesus Christ indeed does not return with Christians at the Second Coming, but we do not have to challenge or alter Scripture to show it. All we have to do is compare verses (we did earlier, and we will do more now).


We the Church the Body of Christ, those of us who have trusted the Lord Jesus Christ as our personal Saviour (1 Corinthians 15:3-4), our destiny is the heavenly places. If we are already in the heavenly places—and we are during the seven-year Tribulation—we have no reason to return to Earth at the Second Coming. We have already been established in the heavenly places, ruling and reigning for God’s glory. Notice our eternal destiny as members of the Body of Christ!

  • Ephesians 1:3: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:….”
  • Ephesians 1:20-23: “Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.”
  • Ephesians 2:6-7: “And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.”
  • 2 Corinthians 5:1: “For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.”
  • 2 Timothy 4:18: “And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”

Now, back to 1 Thessalonians 3:13!


As we observed, “saints” in Scripture can be a title for either believers or angels. The context indicates which one it is. As pertaining to 1 Thessalonians 3:13, “saints” is actually Christians. But, it is not speaking of any Christians—or even angelsreturning to Earth at the Second Coming (as often assumed—the error the aforementioned critic attempted, but failed, to correct). Actually, while the faultfinder was nitpicking and offering a “better” term, he was (in fact!) misreading the verse. He was doubly confused!

Read the verse carefully in context: “And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you: To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints” (1 Thessalonians 3:12-13).

This speaks of us Christians being presented before Father God. After the Rapture, our gathering together unto Christ in the air (2 Thessalonians 2:1; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18), we go to the Judgment Seat of Christ for our Christian doctrine and earthly service to be reviewed (Romans 14:10-12; 1 Corinthians 3:9-15; 2 Corinthians 5:9-10). After that, the Lord Jesus Christ will present us before the throne of His Heavenly Father. It is here that our Heavenly Father will appoint us to fulfill offices in the heavenly places. These roles will be consistent with our doctrine and service already determined at the Judgment Seat. Jesus Christ comes to Father God with His saints, Christians. Again, 1 Thessalonians 3:13 has nothing to do with Christians or angels at the Second Coming. The Second Coming is not in view here anyway.


Contrary to popular belief, the Bible does not restrict the word “saints” to believers or Christian people. According to some verses, angels can be set apart for God’s purposes as well. We must therefore rely on the context to restrict the definition (whether angels or people).

In the case of 1 Thessalonians 3:13, the word means Christians not angels. However, that is not to say that this verse says Christians will return at the Second Coming (another common misconception). First Thessalonians 3:13 is Jesus Christ bringing Christians from the Judgment Seat of Christ, to stand before the throne of Father God, so Father God can designate their (our) roles in the government of the heavenly places!! If you want to see more about this special event, see Ephesians 5:27 and Colossians 1:22.

Also see:
» Do we have guardian angels?
» How many angels will be with Jesus Christ when He returns?
» Do angels age?

Which hymns are appropriate for us grace believers to sing?


by Shawn Brasseaux

Which hymns are suitable for us to sing? How can we recognize high-quality Christian songs? Which melodies best communicate the doctrines of God’s Word rightly divided? Not “For what saith the hymnals?” but rather “For what saith the Scriptures?”

Hymns are a great way to express our understanding of Bible truths. Unfortunately, they can also be an excellent method whereby we advertise our Bible ignorance. People frequently spend more time in denominational teaching than sound Bible study. They rely on the minister to read and “explain” (?) the Bible to them, but they do not read by themselves. Oftentimes, the preacher was educated in religious tradition—not pure Bible—at his seminary or Bible College. Since he lacks solid theology, he transfers his erroneous views to his church members. They then write spiritual songs reflecting that denominational doctrine. Congregants everywhere sing those published hymns, thus further reinforcing and disseminating the faulty doctrine. Those songs inspire other denominational hymns. People spend more time singing and writing hymns than studying Scripture. (The cycle repeats and repeats and repeats through the decades and centuries.) Therefore, what they believe is often found in the hymnal but not in the Bible. Friends, we should exercise great caution here. Memorizing hymn verses and ignoring Scripture verses is spiritually hazardous!

We should sing only what is true. If we claim to be Christians, if we assert to have the truth, but we sing lies (false doctrine), then we discredit ourselves and become a reproach to the name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Hymns should reinforce sound Bible doctrine (rightly divided Scripture); they should not teach error. This makes this whole matter of specious hymns most serious. Make no mistake: this is far from petty and pedantic!

Colossians 3:16 says, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” Ephesians 5:18-19 adds, “[18] And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; [19] Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;….” We should put God’s Word in our inner man first, and then that Word will express itself in songwriting and singing. Conversely, fallacious hymns are the result of a failure to study the Bible rightly divided. When the Holy Spirit is in control of our minds and hearts, then we will write and sing dispensationally-correct songs!

In this Bible study, we purpose to accomplish two goals. Firstly, we want to identify some of the more recognized hymns that are awkward. Secondly, we will offer possible enhancements to correct them. Please note that these changes are not original to this author; he is merely passing along discerning revisions that others have suggested through the years.

FACE-TO-FACE WITH CHRIST, MY SAVIOR” is a hymn that concerns meeting the Lord Jesus in the Rapture (our gathering together unto Him). It mentions in verse 2, “Only faintly now, I see Him, / With the darkling veil between, / But a blessed day is coming, / When His glory shall be seen.” Verse 3 reads, in part, “When the crooked ways are straightened, / And the dark things shall be plain.” These lyrics are then fed into 1 Corinthians 13:12. The Bible is thus said to be implying us entering Heaven when in fact the passage actually teaches the completion of the canon of Scripture. Unless we get this straight, we will force the Bible verse to say something it never said. It is better to just wholly disregard this hymn. The (God-inspired) Bible verse is more important than (man-inspired) hymn verse!!

Another religious song that is not conducive to learning and teaching sound Bible doctrine is “WE’LL UNDERSTAND IT BETTER BY AND BY.” The refrain is, “For we’ll understand it better by and by.” While it is true that we will understand all things in Heaven, it is self-defeating to sing praises to God to celebrate our current ignorance. How better it is to just discount this hymn altogether and go read the Bible to “understand better by and by!”

VICTORY IN JESUS” is a beautiful, old hymn but it promotes much worthless denominational teaching. Verse 1 says, in part: “I heard about His groaning, / Of His precious blood’s atoning, / Then I repented of my sins / And won the victory.” Instead of “Then I repented of my sins,” say, “Now I’m forgiven all my sins.” Today, there is simply too much confusion about repentance, and too little understanding of forgiveness. If we sing of forgiveness instead of repentance, we may suppress this spiritual mix-up. Its last two verses also can be modified to better reflect sound Bible doctrine. Verse 3 is greatly denominational.

Verse 2: “I heard about His healing, / Of His cleansing power revealing. / How He made the lame to walk again / And caused the blind to see; / And then I cried, ‘Dear Jesus, / Come and heal my broken spirit,’ / And somehow Jesus came and brought / To me the victory.” Verse 3: “I heard about a mansion / He has built for me in glory. / And I heard about the streets of gold / Beyond the crystal sea; / About the angels singing, / And the old redemption story, / And some sweet day I’ll sing up there / The song of victory.”

We could change verse 2 to read: “I heard about Paul’s message about the mystery, ‘Christ’s Body’ / How that Jesus Christ, the Living Head, He gave us liberty; / I heard that now His message of ‘Grace’ to all believers, it takes away the Law that was and gives the victory!” Verse 3 can altered to be: “I heard His resurrection gives hope to those who trust Him / I heard about that Blessed Hope to all who are in Him; / About our home in Heaven, and our bodies fashioned like His, / And I rejoice and shout ‘AMEN!’ We have the victory!”

THE CHURCH’S ONE FOUNDATION” is a song that claims that we the Church the Body of Christ are “his holy bride.” This is not true, and only confuses us with the nation Israel. “MARCHING TO ZION” is yet another hymn that blurs us with Israel. We need to skip this one completely as well. “THE OLD-TIME RELIGION” is quite inappropriate for us to sing, too. We do not have “religion;” yea, we do not want to go around singing a tune asking for religion. This will only confuse lost people listening to us. We want a relationship with God through Jesus Christ. Christianity is not a religion; it is a relationship with Father God through Calvary’s finished crosswork!

ABIDE WITH ME” should not be sung. We have no need to ask the Lord to stay with us over and over again as this song would have us do. If we have trusted Jesus Christ as our personal Saviour, believing in Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork as sufficient payment for our sins (1 Corinthians 15:3-4), God’s Holy Spirit indwells us and He will not (yea, never!) leave us. “And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption” (Ephesians 4:30). Ephesians 1:13-14: “In whom [Christ] ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.”

The hymn “BEULAH LAND” supposedly depicts Heaven. However, the Bible uses the term to explain the Earth, especially the Promised Land, when redeemed Israel enters her Millennial Kingdom. Isaiah 62:4: “Thou shalt no more be termed Forsaken; neither shall thy land any more be termed Desolate: but thou shalt be called Hephzibah, and thy land Beulah: for the LORD delighteth in thee, and thy land shall be married.” This is land on Earth, not in Heaven! It is better to just abandon this hymn altogether. We are not looking to partake of Israel’s hope; we are looking for God’s heavenly kingdom (2 Timothy 4:18).

THE KINGDOM IS COMING” is an additional inaccurate hymn. We are not looking for God’s kingdom to come here; Israel is (Matthew 6:10). We are looking to go and be with Him in the air (1 Thessalonians 4:17), not meet Him on the Earth (Job 19:25-27). “I’VE PITCHED MY TENT IN BEULAH” has the Christian singing as though he was once enslaved in Egypt and is now enjoying the Promised Land. This is downright preposterous because it has the Body of Christ claiming Israel’s history as its own. It is better to just disregard this hymn altogether. It is also best not to sing at all, “I AM BOUND FOR THE PROMISED LAND.” Heaven is not the Promised Land, and we do not need to steal Israel’s promises either. The song “IN THE GARDEN” has Jesus talking with the Christian on a daily basis. This can be misconstrued to mean that God speaks to us apart from His Word, the Holy Bible. It is better not to sing this hymn.

Although a good evangelistic song, “SEND THE LIGHT” says “we have heard the Macedonian call today.” In the Bible, the “Macedonian call” was the Apostle Paul’s vision in which he saw and heard a “man” inviting him to preach the Gospel in northern Greece (Acts 16:9-10). God uses no such supernatural experiences to lead us today. We have a completed Bible, so let us keep that Bible and toss out the mistaken hymns!

OLD-TIME POWER” features this chorus: “O Lord, send the power just now, / O Lord, send the power just now, / O Lord, send the power just now, / And baptize every one.” While probably sincere, the songwriter (like most) evidently believed our pattern is Acts chapter 2, the day of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit came upon the Jewish Messianic saints. There is nothing in Acts chapter 2 about us the Church the Body of Christ. Today’s Charismatics are wrong in that they keep trying to claim “the power of Pentecost” as their own—tongues, miracle healings, and other supernatural experiences. We do not need this so-called “baptism with the Holy Ghost.” There is a related hymn, “FALL FRESH ON ME,” containing the lyrics: “Spirit of the living God, Fall fresh on me, Spirit of the living God, fall fresh on me. Break me, milk me, mold me, fill me.” It would be utterly inappropriate for us to sing this, too. Also, the hymn “BREATHE ON ME” should be fully skipped because it has us asking the Holy Spirit to breathe on us. What mystical silliness!

I KNOW WHOM I HAVE BELIEVED” is a grand ol’ song highlighting the wonderful Bible truth of security in Christ, but it has some glaring doctrinal mistakes. Verse 1 says: “I know not why God’s wondrous grace / To me He hath made known, / Nor why, unworthy, Christ in love / Redeemed me for His own.” And, verse 3: “I know not how the Spirit moves, / Convincing men of sin, / Revealing Jesus through the Word, / Creating faith in Him.” This is nothing but singing about our ignorance again. “I know not… I know not.” The Bible says we do know! Therefore, we had better change the words to “I know now!” (Otherwise, unsaved people listening to us will leave, claiming, “Ha, see they do not know spiritual truth either! I had better go elsewhere if I want to find God’s Word!”)

When “THE SOLID ROCK” says in verse 2, “When darkness veils His lovely face,” we should change that to “When darkness seems to veil His face.” Else, we start repeating Israel’s legalistic passages—God punishing her because of her failure to keep the Mosaic Law (Deuteronomy 31:17-18,20; Isaiah 8:17; Isaiah 59:1-2; Ezekiel 39:29; Micah 3:4).

Verse 3 now: “His oath, His covenant, His blood / Support me in the whelming flood; / When all around my soul gives way, / He then is all my hope and stay.” We are under no covenants in the Dispensation of Grace. This verse should be altered, possibly to read, “His love, His mercy, and His grace, / Support and help me run the race. / When all around my soul gives way, / He still is all my Hope and Stay.”

The original verse 4 says, “When He shall come with trumpet sound, / Oh, may I then in Him be found; / Dressed in His righteousness alone, / Faultless to stand before the throne.” It is better to say, “When He shall come with trumpet sound, / Oh yes I will in Him be found; / Dressed in His righteousness alone, / Faultless to stand before the throne.” We do not want to sing that we “may” be found in Christ. We have assurance of salvation in Christ, not wishful thinking (2 Timothy 1:12; 2 Corinthians 5:8).

BLESSED ASSURANCE” says, “angels descending, Bring from above echoes of mercy, whispers of love” in verse 2. We can get into major theological trouble here, for this is a gateway to the Charismatic Movement. Angels have no ministry to us today. We do not look for angels, and we do not listen for “echoes of mercy” and “whispers of love.” We read the Bible if we want to hear from God. It would be more proper for us to sing, “I have His Spirit living within, I am in Christ, and free from all sin.”

It is better to eliminate entirely verse 3 of “ARE YOU WASHED IN THE BLOOD?, which says: “When the Bridegroom cometh will your robes be white? / Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb? / Will your soul be ready for the mansions bright, / And be washed in the blood of the Lamb?” This omission will keep us from again confusing ourselves with Israel and making her verses apply to us (Matthew 25:1-13; Matthew 9:14-17; John 14:2; et al.). Those passages are related to Christ’s Second Coming for Israel. They are not about His coming for us at the Rapture. Contrary to religious tradition, we are not the Bride of Christ and He is not our Groom. The Bible says we are the Body of Christ (Ephesians 1:22-23).

Verse 4 in some versions of “JESUS LOVES ME” says, “Jesus loves me! He will stay / Close by me all the way; / If I love Him when I die, / He will take me home on high.” This is highly unfortunate and actually heretical. We do not go to Heaven because we “love Jesus” when we die. This is nothing but works-religion. We go to Heaven because we have trusted in His blood sacrifice on the cross as sufficient payment for our sins (Ephesians 2:8-9; Romans 4:1-5; Titus 3:5)!

The two hymns “LET JESUS COME INTO YOUR HEART” and “LET HIM IN” promote a perverted interpretation of Revelation 3:20. This Bible verse is not about lost people letting Jesus into their heart so they can be saved unto eternal life. It rather discusses Jewish kingdom believers waiting in Israel’s program for Christ’s Second Coming to set up their kingdom on Earth. “REDEEMED” has a fourth verse, “I know I shall see in His beauty The King in whose law I delight….” We can sing this song, but it is better to skip this verse completely because it too applies to Christ’s Second Coming and Israel’s Millennial Kingdom (Isaiah 33:17).

BURIED WITH CHRIST” features the chorus: “Buried with Christ and dead unto sin; / Dying but living, Jesus within; / Ruling and reigning day after day, / Guiding and keeping all of the way.” This would be better worded, “Buried with Christ and dead unto sin; / Dying but living, Jesus within; / Rightly dividing God’s Word today / Jesus revealed His truth in this way.”

You may retain verse 1 of the hymn “UNSEARCHABLE RICHES,” but use verses 2 and 3 as written by Grace saints. (verse 2) “Oh, the unsearchable riches of Christ, / From other ages concealed. / Now, through the message of Grace He has given / These precious truths are revealed!” (verse 3) “His secret purpose He wants us to know, / Hidden no longer His plan. / Members of Christ, and His Body are we, / Highest of callings for man!”

SHOWERS OF BLESSING” has us the saints singing, “Showers of blessing, / Showers of blessing we need: / Mercy-drops round us are falling, / But for the showers we plead.” How totally unwarranted it is for us Christians to ask God for “showers of blessing!” Ephesians 1:3 says, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.” God has given us everything in Christ—we are “complete [lacking nothing] in Him” (Colossians 2:10). Now, we go around begging Him to give more?! Preposterous! Additionally, “showers of blessing” is a quotation of Ezekiel 34:26, “And I will make them and the places round about my hill a blessing; and I will cause the shower to come down in his season; there shall be showers of blessing.” These are not figurative showers as the hymn implies; they are literal rain, for the context shows vegetation growing. This is Christ’s Millennial Kingdom; it is Israel’s verse, not ours. And, there are no “mercy-drops!!”

STANDING ON THE PROMISES” has the following lyrics in verse 3: “Standing on the promises I now can see / Perfect, present cleansing in the blood for me; / Standing in the liberty where Christ makes free, / Standing on the promises of God.” And verse 5: “Standing on the promises I shall not fall, / Listening every moment to the Spirit’s call. / Resting in my Savior as my All in all, / Standing on the promises of God.”

We can enhance verse 3 to read: “Standing on the promises I now can see, / Romans through Philemon written just to me; / Standing fast in liberty Christ makes me free, / Standing on the promises of God.” We should not be “listening every moment to the Spirit’s call” as verse 5 implies. The Holy Spirit is not speaking to us apart from His Bible! Long ago, some Grace brethren changed verse 5 to read, “Standing on the promises, I shall not fall / Following the pattern of Apostle Paul / Resting in my Saviour who accomplished all / Standing on the promises of God.”

There is a hymn known as “THE LORD IS MY SHEPHERD,” which is largely Psalm 23 paraphrased and expanded. While Psalm 23 is God’s Word, we have no need to sing it; it is literal truth to be sung in a future time, after our Dispensation of Grace.

JESUS LOVES EVEN ME” says, “If one should ask of me, how can I tell? / Glory to Jesus, I know very well! / God’s Holy Spirit with mine doth agree, / Constantly witnessing Jesus loves me.” It would be better worded as follows: “If one should ask of me, how can I tell? / Glory to Jesus, I know very well! / The Holy Bible has shown me the key, / Rightly dividing what’s written to me!”

A grace brother, Pastor Ted Fellows, added verse 5 to the hymn, “THE BIBLE STANDS.” He wrote, “The Bible stands in the King James Version, / There it’s been preserved for me; / God’s Word in English, and without error, / And my final authority!”

THERE’S A SWEET, SWEET SPIRIT IN THIS PLACE” emphasizes the Lord’s presence as some Spirit who mysteriously floats around and hovers over an assembly. This is nothing but vain superstition (also Charismatic/Pentecostal-oriented). We have no reason to sing it. The Holy Spirit lives inside us the believers in Christ (1 Corinthians 3:16; 1 Corinthians 6:19; 2 Timothy 1:14). God, according to Scripture, does not live in manmade church buildings (Acts 17:24)!!

Finally, some of our most beloved Christmas hymns are in error. “WE THREE KINGS OF ORIENT ARE” declares there were three wise men and yet the Bible never says how many visited young Jesus. We do not know if they were kings, either. “THE FIRST NOEL” contains a similar error. Furthermore, it has the wise men visiting Jesus at the time of the shepherds, which the Bible does not support. This is all just vain religious tradition. The wise men visited Jesus in Nazareth when He was as much as two years old (Matthew 2:1-16) whereas the shepherds visited Him in Bethlehem when He was a newborn Baby (Luke 2:1-20). Martin Luther’s “AWAY IN A MANGER” song claims, “Be near me, Lord Jesus, / I ask Thee to stay / Close by me forever, / And love me, I pray.” Again, this is useless. Jesus Christ does not leave Christians.


Titus 2:1 instructs us, “But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine.” It is therefore only appropriate that we speak (and, by extension, sing) that which fits, or is in accordance with, sound Bible doctrine. This Bible study was an attempt to provide insight into how we not only believe sound Bible doctrine but also how we should actually work it into hymns. Our hymnals should be an aid in teaching rather than an aid in confusing.

Of course, this list is not exhaustive. Many lesser-known hymns, songs that that this author is not familiar with, could have been added and corrected here. What of those we have not covered in this study? (Are the modern “Contemporary Christian” songs any good? Usually not, as they are doctrinally shallow. Be extremely cautious here.) Friend, you will have to take God’s Word rightly divided and decide for yourself which songs are inappropriate for you (and/or your congregation) to sing. Use your renewed mind to write your own lyrics to replace doctrinally-deficient ones. If you have any background in music, you are strongly encouraged to compose brand-new dispensational songs that will glorify our Lord Jesus Christ (and reinforce sound Bible doctrine for hearers—saved and lost alike).

Dear saints, in closing, remember that the Bible is the standard. We get hymns from the Bible; we do not get the Bible from hymns. God the Holy Spirit inspired the Bible; He did not inspire hymns, no matter how beautiful, moving, or popular they are. The “good ol’ hymns,” “great songs of the faith,” are indeed our heritage—our link to the saints of God of centuries past—but our allegiance belongs first and foremost to the Holy Scriptures. We should be more fearful of changing the Bible to fit the hymns than altering the hymns to fit the Bible. The hymns are the creations of men; the Bible is the Word of Almighty God. I would rather correct the hymns than trade God’s eternal words for men’s temporal words. What about you?

Also see:
» Should I raise my hands in worship?
» Did David dance vulgarly?
» What is wrong with “praise and worship?”

Should women speak in church?


by Shawn Brasseaux

These inquiries stem from 1 Corinthians chapter 14: “[34] Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience as also saith the law. [35] And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.” Why are Christian women instructed here to be silent? How is it “a shame” (disgraceful) for them to talk in the assembly, especially with regards to asking questions?

Firstly, this “speaking” is not normal dialog. If we look at the context (verses 1-33 especially), we see the background is the spiritual gifts of prophesying (preaching) and speaking in tongues. The gift of tongues is the supernatural (Holy Spirit) empowerment of speaking in human dialects never formally learned (see Acts 2:1-11—especially verses 6-11). It has nothing whatsoever to do with some ecstatic, “angelic” gibberish that “God alone understands.”

According to our opening verses, men only (never women!) were to exercise the gifts of prophesying and tongues. The implication is that if women ever did prophesy or “speak in tongues,” it was NOT the Holy Spirit controlling her. Friend, contrary to what you might have seen and heard in Charismatic circles, God the Holy Spirit never, ever leads a woman to exercise the gifts of prophesying and tongues. It is the working of her sinful flesh, the working of Satan, but never the working of the God of the Bible. That is what the Bible says in 1 Corinthians 14:34. While you may not like it, while you may hate it, you cannot change it! Just leave it alone and believe it! 🙂

What about verse 35? “And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.” Again, this is not normal, everyday chitchat. It is something excessive and distracting, particularly women dominating the congregation. Women serve roles in the local assembly, but not in places where they appear to be functioning as men. The order of creation and marriage is man followed by woman. That pattern carries over into the local church.

First Timothy 2:11-15 tells us God’s plan for the functioning of the local assembly: “[11] Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. [12] But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. [13] For Adam was first formed, then Eve. [14] And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression. [15] Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety.” This is the proper cross-reference to 1 Corinthians 14:34-35.

If a woman is usurping the authority over the man in the local assembly—or even in the marriage relationship—there is opposition to how God designed human life to operate. Satan will use this disorder to undermine those associations. If the Lord Jesus Christ is to be honored and glorified, the man leads in God’s Word (right way) while the woman follows him. First Corinthians chapter 11, verse 3, also written to the Corinthians, please note, says: “But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.” Ephesians chapter 5 adds: “[21] Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God. [22] Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. [23] For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. [24] Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.”

Unfortunately, because of sin, life is greatly complicated. Two problems arise concerning the marriage relationship and the local church arrangement. Firstly, the man may not lead in God’s way (right direction), so the woman who wants to do right must go against him. Sadly, he is not operating as God planned, so she has to act independently. Secondly, the man who does lead in God’s way (right direction) may encounter a woman who refuses to follow him because she wants to do wrong. Regrettably, she is not functioning as God intended. Such clashes hinder—and if left unaddressed will eventually destroy—the marriage and the local assembly. You had better believe it, friend, you had better believe it!!

There is spiritual safety when a woman follows her husband in sound Bible doctrine. Satan’s goal (he is most wise) is to remove the woman from the follower position and place her into the leader position, thereby defeating both man and woman—and ultimately disrupting God’s work in the marriage and local church. Go back to 1 Timothy 2:11-15, which describes how Satan manipulated Eve to stop following Adam, and how Adam willfully chose not to guide his wife when she did stop following him!! This is exactly how the human race fell… how sin made its entrance into the human condition. We would be fools to dismiss the role of the sexes as trivial and fluid. Today’s “gender identity” and “sex identity” exploration fads are most dangerous. They are the Adversary’s way of upending human society, especially marriages (families) and local churches.

For sake of emphasis, we read from 1 Timothy chapter 2 again: “[11] Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. [12] But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. [13] For Adam was first formed, then Eve. [14] And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression. [15] Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety.”

Returning to 1 Corinthians chapter 14, there were women preachers and women tongue-speakers in Corinth. The Holy Spirit through Paul thoroughly condemned them. Once more, we read: “[34] Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience as also saith the law. [35] And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.” Some may not like it, but that is what the Bible says. Let God be true, but every man a liar.

Why would the Holy Spirit forbid women from asking questions? Well, remember, it is the Corinthian women specifically. “Let YOUR women keep silence in the churches….” They were notorious for being disruptive, domineering, and masculine. This is the key to understanding the “women and head coverings” issue dealt with earlier in chapter 11. Christian women in Corinth were taking away from the men’s ministry there. Therefore, the Holy Spirit through the Apostle Paul admonished them to cease their wayward activities. (For more information, see our head coverings study linked at the end of this article.)

It has been said, more than once, that the modern Charismatic Movement would die out in a day if the women were removed from their roles. The same could be said of the Corinthian assembly—and that is exactly why the Holy Spirit wrote what He did through Paul. That mockery of Jesus Christ’s ministry was not to be ignored as “petty immaturity.” It was to be shut down entirely and immediately. Such words of rebuke thunder throughout unruly Christendom even now. “Let YOUR women keep silence in the churches….” Women (usurping the authority of the men) and men (failing to lead) are such a scourge in so many assemblies. Dear friends, the Church the Body of Christ has done such a pitiful job in learning these lessons from Corinth. After 2,000 years, even with the completed Word of God in our hands, professing Christians are struggling to get down even the basics in local church operations. No wonder they are so riddled with error!

Sometimes, even now, women will dominate question-and-answer sessions in local church settings or Bible conferences. Whether inadvertently or deliberately, it is still awkward, not conducive to learning, and contrary to Christian behavior. If one lady persists, or a group of ladies persist, in inquiry after inquiry after inquiry, it puts the authority and attention on them (when it should be on the [male] preachers and teachers—they have the task of teaching the Word of God). The (male) leaders should have the group’s attention, for God has given the teaching ministry over the whole group. (Go back to 1 Timothy 2:11-15—“[11] Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. [12] But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.”)

This author can just hear the objections, the critical remarks, to the study thus far. He will be swift to address them. This has nothing to do with men being more special or better than women. This is not misogyny. God the Holy Spirit does not hate women, and neither does this author. Again, the idea is headship. Someone has to take the lead and, because of creation, that is the man. Our sisters in Christ need to be very careful here, and not repeat the mistakes of the Corinthian women in Christ.

In all fairness, we are not going to leave out our Christian brothers. Friends, this is going to be offensive as well, but it must be said. If a lady in the assembly has an abundance of Bible questions, it is highly likely that her husband is at fault. The more she asks, the worse he appears. Why does this author say that? The Bible commands in verse 35 of 1 Corinthians chapter 14: “And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.” As noted earlier, God Almighty has given the husband the job of being his wife’s Bible teacher. If the wife knows little to nothing about Scripture, it is not the preacher’s fault! While she is responsible for her own decisions, the blame is (to a large degree) on her husband! Her husband is to be her spiritual guardian, and how he has failed miserably!! This was Adam’s fault—and, again, remember how the human race fell thereafter! It is a very serious matter, a grave issue indeed. Do not brush it off. He should take her home, and, in love, instruct her in their God’s words. At home, she can learn quietly without disturbing everyone in public. This is what Paul was urging the Corinthian men to do with their wives.


First Corinthians chapter 14 is controversial, a most “hot-button” issue: “[34] Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience as also saith the law. [35] And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.”

Surveying the entire First Epistle to Corinth, we could use several descriptors for their assembly. Two of the obvious ones are “chaotic” and “confused.” There were great disruptions, and Satan absolutely reveled in their Biblical ignorance, spiritual immaturity, and complete foolishness. Saints (yes, saints!) were abusing spiritual gifts, drawing attention to themselves. In our study here, we saw that women were not playing the submissive role. Rather, they were boisterous, overassertive, and unruly. Men were refusing to take the leadership roles and/or they were being outright rejected in leadership roles. Saints (yes, saints—women!) were drawing attention to themselves by preaching, speaking in tongues, and asking too many questions in public. The men in Corinth were failing to function as leaders and the women were overbearing instead of following.

As to be expected when God’s design is ignored, the Corinthian group suffered greatly from spiritual madness and mayhem. Hence, the Holy Spirit through Paul told the Corinthian women to keep silent and ask their husbands at home. There were simply too many disruptions, distractions, spectacles, and commotions—all dragging down the Lord’s ministry in Corinth. It is “a shame for women to speak in the church” (GOD says that Christian women who are not submissive in the local church and marriage relationship are disgraceful!!). It does not mean that women are forbidden to converse at all within the church building. It means they are not to exercise the gifts of prophesying and tongues. They are not to lead the entire congregation. The men in the assembly were to stop being wimps and set things in order.

Yes, women can speak in church. Indeed, they can ask questions. However, as we saw with the Corinthians, they can get carried away and draw the whole assembly into Satan’s trap. When women assume leadership positions—namely, teaching men—this is extremely threatening to all involved. We all (women and men) need to guard against this and see that it does not occur in our local churches!

Also see:
» Should Christian women wear head coverings?
» Should a woman lead a group in prayer?
» Should women serve in the ministry?