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John Calvin puts forward a very simple reason why love is the greatest gift: “Because faith and hope are our own: love is diffused among others.” In other words, faith and hope benefit the possessor, but love always benefits another. In John 13:34–35 Jesus says, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Love always requires an “other” as an object; love cannot remain within itself, and that is part of what makes love the greatest gift.

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Jesus once told about two men.  One was rich and the other was a beggar.

 

There was a rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. And at his gate was laid a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores,who desired to be fed with what fell from the rich man’s table. Moreover, even the dogs came and licked his sores. 

Luke 16:19-21 ESV

 

The two men died and their fates were very different.

 

The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s side.The rich man also died and was buried,and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side. 

Luke 16:22,23 ESV

 

The rich man made two requests of Abraham.

 

And he called out, “Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in anguish in this flame.”

 

But Abraham said, “Child, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner bad things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, in order that those who would pass from here to you may not be able, and none may cross from there to us.”

 

And he said, “Then I beg you, father, to send him to my father’s house—for I have five brothers—so that he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment.” 

Luke 16:24-28 ESV

 

He asked for relief from his suffering and he asked that his brothers be warned so they would not suffer what he did.  It seems to me that these are reasonable requests for someone in his situation, but recently it occurred to me that there is something significant about what he did not say.  He never asked why he was suffering or complained that he was being punished unjustly.

 

It seems strange that he didn’t say anything about this.  No doubt he knew that his suffering was going to last eternally.  Most people seem to think that an eternity of punishment is too much for the sins we commit in this life and while he was alive his conduct seems to say that he didn’t consider himself a sinner at all.

 

Something must have happened to bring about a massive change in his attitude.  An incident in the life of Isaiah tells us what it might have been.

 

In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called to another and said:

 

“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts;
the whole earth is full of his glory!”

 

And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke.And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!”  

Isaiah 6:1-5 ESV

 

When Isaiah had this vision he was already a prophet of God and had made the prophecies found in the first five chapters of his book.  The sight of God’s holiness showed him that the was really a sinner who didn’t deserve any good from God.

 

Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a burning coal that he had taken with tongs from the altar.And he touched my mouth and said: “Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for.” 

Isaiah 6:6,7 ESV

 

It was only after God took away his guilt that he was able to continue serving God.

 

None of us realizes how guilty we really are because we lack any standard against which we can measure our sin.  We often see that there are others who seem worse than we are so we find it hard to believe that we deserve eternal punishment.  It is only when we get some idea of the holiness of God that our guilt becomes real to us.  Sometimes the Bible helps us to understand this.  I have heard people say that reading the Bible makes them feel guilty.  They are being exposed to the light of God’s holiness so that they will see their need of forgiveness.

 

Today, if you aren’t saved you can receive eternal life by submitting to Jesus.  If you fail to do this you will still submit to him but it will be too late for this submission to result in salvation.

 

Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. 

Philippians 2:9-11 ESV

 

Those whom God condemns to Hell will praise him because they will know that his judgment is just and they deserve the punishment they are suffering.

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1 hour ago, theophilus said:

He never asked why he was suffering or complained that he was being punished unjustly.

It seems strange that he didn’t say anything about this.

I don't find it strange at all.  First, it is not unreasonable to believe he knew exactly why he was suffering.  Consequently he would certainly known that it was not unjust.  Second, it was not germane to the story.  In other words, it was not the point of the story and therefore moot.

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No, I am with Theo on this one.  Reading this story for the first time, just stumbling across it in a reading through the Gospels as a new Christian, the story seems to imply that the Rich Man was damned BECAUSE he was rich and the poor man was blessed BECAUSE he was poor (which is encouraging if you are poor, but doesn’t really brag on God as a just Judge).

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11 hours ago, atpollard said:

No, I am with Theo on this one.  Reading this story for the first time, just stumbling across it in a reading through the Gospels as a new Christian, the story seems to imply that the Rich Man was damned BECAUSE he was rich and the poor man was blessed BECAUSE he was poor (which is encouraging if you are poor, but doesn’t really brag on God as a just Judge).

I see your point and I can understand why one could hold that view.  However one must taken into account the cultural context.  First, I submit the real issue concerns status.  The ancient world was predominantly a two-class system and this ends up being a reversal of fortunes.  Many would have thought the rich man was bless by God (because of his riches) while Lazarus was suffering for some sin.  Jesus turns that idea on it head.  Wealth is not necessarily an indication of God's blessing any more than suffering is necessarily an indication sinfulness.

 

Second, note the text states "at his gate (i.e. the rich man gate) was laid a poor man named Lazarus."  This means that every time the rich man left his home he would have to pass Lazarus.  This means the rich man "who feasted sumptuously every day" knew that Lazarus was right outside his gate hungry.  I think the text makes it clear rich man's problem was not his wealth but his complete lack of compassion for his neighbor.

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3 minutes ago, Origen said:

I see your point and I can understand why one could hold that view.  However one must taken into account the cultural context.  First, I submit the real issue concerns status.  The ancient world was predominantly a two-class system and this ends up being a reversal of fortunes.  Many would have thought the rich man was bless by God (because of his riches) while Lazarus was suffering for some sin.  Jesus turns that idea on it head.  Wealth is not necessarily an indication of God's blessing any more than suffering is necessarily an indication sinfulness.

 

Second, note the text states "at his gate was laid a poor man named Lazarus."  This means that every time the rich man left his home he would have to pass Lazarus.  This means the rich man "who feasted sumptuously every day" knew that Lazarus was right outside his gate hungry.  I think the text makes it clear rich man's problem was not his wealth but his complete lack of compassion for his neighbor.

I can agree with all of that. However, there is a sense in which that is esigesis (but not in a bad way).  By that, I simply mean that one cannot naturally come to the text of the Bible with ‘apriori’ knowledge of First Century Middle-Eastern Culture.  So that information and insight must be taught/learned from some extra-biblical source (the value of a good teacher).  On the other hand, it is possible to read the words on the page and see for oneself (pure exegesis) that the Rich Man did not complain that his fate was unfair.

 

That is an observation worth pointing out (in my opinion).

 

I have to agree though, that the last part about the ‘brothers’ not believing even if someone comes back from the dead and tells them is a sledgehammer of irony.  Someone named Lazarus eventually does die and comes back to life 4 days later (according to Jewish tradition, after the soul has permanently left the body) ... most of his Jewish ‘brothers’ (children of Jacob)  didn’t believe Lazarus about whoJesus was.  Then Jesus himself came back from the dead, and most of His ‘brothers’ (children of Jacob) didn’t believe Him either.  So the “story” of Lazarus and the Rich Man was almost more of a “prophecy” than a “parable”.  

 

You’ve just gotta love God’s sense of humor.

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On 4/6/2019 at 3:23 PM, atpollard said:

You’ve just gotta love God’s sense of humor.

I actually laughed for a moment for a different reason while thinking about parables. I was thinking of the popular Christian cliche and understanding of 1 Corinthians 14:33.

 

How many times have we heard someone suggests when they are attempting to understand a verse say God is not the author of confusion?

 

The way the person suggests "confusion" I wonder why God causes derision, delusion, and even speaks in Parables.

 

Kinda off topic but someone I believe elsewhere pointed out that God cannot lie, therefore he can't say what is false. In other words a fictional account could not be taught by God to convey a spiritual truth through a parable.

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On 4/6/2019 at 3:23 PM, atpollard said:

I can agree with all of that. However, there is a sense in which that is esigesis (but not in a bad way).  By that, I simply mean that one cannot naturally come to the text of the Bible with ‘apriori’ knowledge of First Century Middle-Eastern Culture.  So that information and insight must be taught/learned from some extra-biblical source (the value of a good teacher).  On the other hand, it is possible to read the words on the page and see for oneself (pure exegesis) that the Rich Man did not complain that his fate was unfair.

 

That is an observation worth pointing out (in my opinion).

I don't think that's eisegesis. Matter of fact historical context is used in proper exegesis.

 

Exegesis in short is extracting the meaning that the author attempts to convey to an intended audience. Of course the author is going to convey in a way that the audience may understand. For example, a popular method in Jesus' parables is to use something the audience is familiar with such as sheep herding, farming, irrigation, metal working, etc etc.  Understanding each of those things according to the trade in context of those which were listening only helps to understand the author and intended meaning.

 

Eisegesis in short is shoehorning a foreign meaning into the authors mouth which they had no intention of ever conveying. Such eisegesis arrives at a message that could not be derived from grammatical, historical, and theological considerations which make up proper exegesis. 

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1 hour ago, William said:

I don't think that's eisegesis.

Ok, mister theological thesaurus ... What words describe what can be readily understood just from the text, vs what understanding requires extra-textural knowledge for the sentence or paragraph to make sense.

 

You po-po'd my use of "eisegesis", so suggest something to take its place.  🙂

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32 minutes ago, atpollard said:

Ok, mister theological thesaurus ... What words describe what can be readily understood just from the text, vs what understanding requires extra-textural knowledge for the sentence or paragraph to make sense.

 

You po-po'd my use of "eisegesis", so suggest something to take its place.  🙂

See, when you say just from the text are we suggesting translation or original text?

 

For example, Psalm 2:4

 

Kiss the Son,
    lest he be angry, and you perish in the way,
    for his wrath is quickly kindled.
Blessed are all who take refuge in him.

 

Should I plant a big wet one on Jesus' lips?

 

LGBT~Q say that 1 Samuel 20:41 promotes their agenda:

 

1 Samuel 20:41 And as soon as the boy had gone, David rose from beside the stone heap and fell on his face to the ground and bowed three times. And they kissed one another and wept with one another, David weeping the most.

 

Now anything I turn to outside the Bible seemingly is extra-biblical to understand? For example, lexicons, concordance, a scholar of language, a historian etc?

 

And lastly I'm not sure about the theological name for "an understanding derived only from what is written"? So much assumption is obviously stated in that as even our presuppositions come into play.

 

Interestingly, this is all about communication. Communication from the author to us and us to others from edification to the great commission. Lots of extra-biblical books could aid us along our mission from language, history, culture, and even other religions.

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A question for guys.

Talking about 

Quote

What words describe what can be readily understood just from the text,

What text ? limited to only the parable or to the Book of Luke 

  Reading the text Luk 16:1  And he said also unto his disciples,  We can see He is talking to His friends, guys that know His standards , which reads to me like He continuing more teaching of the same.

           Growing up hearing this story a number of times i do not remember thinking he went to hell for being rich, but for being selfish . Who desired to be fed with what fell from the rich man’s table. It does not say he was fed from that table .  Could be 65 years ago the Sunday School  teacher gave us kids the impression we carry. 

           How much text should/do we take into account when using text to understand this passage or that one.?  I get confused  I read  And he said also unto his disciples but i know He is also talking to us today . I read people asking Who was 'He she they ' talking to i want to yell are not the Scriptures written for all time and there for to us? 

 

 

 

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I mentioned cultural context in post 4 and its importance to the story.

 

Many people thought that suffering was a result of sin.  Even the disciples appeared to think that way.

 

As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth.  And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” (John 9:1-2)

 

Another example comes from Luke.

 

There were some present at that very time who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices.  And he answered them, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way?  No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.  Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem?  No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” (Luke 13:1-5)

 

The idea that misfortune\suffering was the result of sin was common and not just among the Jews.  However as we can see Jesus rejects such as idea.

 

And let us not forget about the book of Job.  The thinking of Job's friends is very clear.  Job was bless by God with riches and family.  Job loses everything and suffers with sickness.  His friends conclude the only explanation is that Job sinned.  These examples would be the cultural context Luke 16:19-31.  It is not foreign to the text but the normal thinking within the cultural at the time.

 

Exegesis is interpreting a text in order to understand the meaning intended by the author for the hearer\reader at that time.  The only way I know how to do that is to try and understand the ancient Near East/Mediterranean world of their time.  It is not about how I view it from my context but how they viewed within their own context.  It is true that one often has to dig a little deeper into background matters, but the examples given all come from the biblical text itself (i.e. Job, Luke, John).

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Very clear thanks . You guys often really help my understanding  .. 🙂

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