More Answers to Biblical Questions
Scriptural Replies to Common Questions
Perhaps it isn't surprising that disputes arise among
Christians about the proper understanding of Scripture, since there are millions
of believers. Typically, an open mind and honest, prayerful reading
of the Bible can solve these issues. Let's study some of those
questions in this article.
DOES THE BIBLE HAVE RACIAL FAVORITES?
and other groups assert the Bible teaches that some races can be
saved, while others can't reach heaven. Their arguments are a mixture of
verses and alleged historical assertions. With race being such a
hot topic these days, we could surely use some Godly wisdom on this
Let's briefly see what Scripture teaches about God's view toward
differing people and races.
In Revelation chapters 6 and 7, John described a vision of
heaven, and the souls of the people there. John writes: "After this
I had a vision of a great multitude, which no one could count, from
every nation, race, people and tongue. They stood before the throne of
the Lamb, wearing white robes and holding palm branches in their
hands. They cried out in a loud voice: 'Salvation comes from our God,
who is seated on the throne, and from the Lamb.'" (Rev. 9-10).
Here is a very clear answer to this question, since the Bible is telling
us the souls of those saved in heaven will be from every nation,
race, people and tongue.
We could also consider other Scriptural lessons that God shows no
partiality towards any race. Paul said: "There is neither
Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor freeman, there is neither male
nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus." (Gal.
3:28). Jesus spoke with and taught the Samaritans during His earthly ministry
(see Jn. 4:4-42), a racial taboo that shocked many, since it
conflicted with the prejudices of Jesus' times. In the Old Testament, God
warns the Israelites: "You shall not molest or oppress an alien,
for you were once aliens yourselves in the land of Egypt." (Ex.
Acts 8 recounts the story of an Ethiopian eunuch, a black man, being baptized by a
deacon of the church. Jesus' parable of the Good Samaritan (cf. Lk.
10:29-37) is the prototype lesson that teaches us to love all of our
neighbors, regardless of race, color or language. Only Godly love will we
heal divisions of nations, ethnic groups and races: that's the clear
meaning of Scripture. Is this what you and your Bible group believe?
While Identity Christians are taught to quote Scriptures that seem to imply racial inferiors, these other Scriptures clearly show us a different picture. God is not confused! There can only be one truth on this issue. So we must not misunderstand the Scriptures, and allow ourselves to think that a God of Love has created superior and inferior races. Let's pray for a proper application of God's Word to heal racial
wounds. Let's pray for peace and justice among all people!
Some churches practice infant baptism; others
claim that only adults can legitimately be baptized. Who's right? Let's
First, notice that no Scripture verse actually says: 'baptize
or 'both adults and children can be baptized'
(similarly, no Biblical command exists for baptism by immersion only, nor
forbidding baptism by pouring water). But there are many verses that do
resolve the infant baptism issue.
Consider Acts chapter 16, where Paul and Silas are talking with
their jailer, who asks: "'Sirs, what must I do to be saved?' And
they said, 'Believe in the Lord Jesus and you and your household will be
saved.' So they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to everyone in his
house. He took them in that hour and bathed their wounds, then he
and all his family were baptized at once." (Acts 16:30-33).
'family', the sacred writer is indicating that there were at
least three people counting the jailer and his immediate kin. A
'household' can mean the jailer's servants and the servant's family as well.
In those days of large families it was likely that young children
before the age of reason or even infants and toddlers were among
That isn't the only such New Testament verse. Consider First
Corinthians 1:16, where Paul says "I baptized the household of
Stephanas...", or Acts 16:15, referring to the baptism of Lydia: "After she
and her whole household were baptized...". Lydia was "a dealer
in purple cloth" (Acts 16:14), so she was well-to-do and would have
had servants in her household, besides her family members. Such verses,
reinforced by early Christian writing just after the New Testament era, all
point to the ancient practice of infant baptism.
Still more Biblical evidence favors infant baptism. Consider
Jesus' words: "Let the little children come unto me, and do not
prevent them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these." (Lk.
18:16; cf. Mk. 10:14). Jesus taught: "Amen, Amen, I say to you, no one
can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water (i.e.: baptism)
and the Spirit." (Jn. 3:5) His Word makes Baptism necessary for
salvation, so surely He doesn't want us to prevent the children from coming
In the Old Covenant, God ordered children eight days old to
be circumcised (Gen. 17:10-14; cf. Acts 7:8), so why shouldn't
New Covenant children be baptized into God's family? Jesus'
commission to the Apostles (Mt. 28:19) was to make disciples of "...all
nations...", which can also be translated as all 'peoples' or 'tribes.' Jesus
came into the world to save everyone, that means children too!
also Acts 2:38-39; Mk. 7:27; 9:37).
IS JESUS' CHURCH VISIBLE?
We know Jesus established an enduring
church from Mt. 16:18. But some preachers claim the church Jesus started
was a 'spiritual body of believers,' not a specific church or
religious group; that the church is 'invisible.' Is that true?
Though Jesus predicted divisions (cf. Mt. 14:4-14), still our
Savior desired unity among believers. Unity and visibility are linked by
Christ. Note Jesus' prayer with the Apostles, "I pray not
only for them, but also for those who will believe in me through their
word, so that they may all be one, as you Father are in me, and I in
you, that they also may be in us, that the world may believe that you
sent me." (Jn. 17:20-21). Just as Jesus is one with the Father,
His followers should be "one", as a visible sign to the world so that
others may believe.
Teaching believers in Ephesus, Paul wrote: "I...urge you to
live in a manner worthy of the call you have received...striving to
preserve the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace: one body, one
Spirit, as you were also called to the one hope of your call: one Lord,
one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all
and through all and in all." (Eph. 4:1-6) Paul continued to
explain that there was a diversity of ministries and gifts that God gives to
believers: "for the building up of the Body of Christ until we all
attain to the unity of faith and knowledge of the Son of God..." (Eph.
4:12-13). "Therefore, putting away falsehood, speak the truth, each
one to his neighbor, for we are members of one another." (Eph.
4:25). "Let no one deceive you with empty arguments, for because of these
things the wrath of God is coming upon the disobedient." (Eph.
One of the common themes of Paul's epistles was warnings against
divisions (e.g.: 1 Cor. 1:10,13; 11:18). There are over a dozen New
Testament warnings against false teachers and prophets (e.g.: Mt. 24:11;
Mk. 13:22; Gal. 2:4; 2 Pet. 2:1, 1 Jn. 4:1; Rev. 16:13). These are
echoes of Jesus' call to unity, just as a body is one and doesn't fight
among the various body parts ('members'). We shouldn't be interested in
human opinions, no matter how sincere, but rather: "Try to
learn what is pleasing to the Lord." (Eph. 5:10). The Lord's way is
truth: "If you follow my teachings, you will truly be my
disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." (Jn.
This is contrasted with man's ways, the ways of self-interest and
personal opinions, exemplified and Scripturally condemned, as in:
"You shall not act as you have been here, everyone doing
what seems right to themselves..." (Deut. 12:8) or "You shall not
repeat a false report...Neither shall you allege the example of the many as an
excuse for wrongdoing." (Ex. 23:1, 2).
THE CHURCH, THE BRIDE OF CHRIST
Ephesians 5:23-32 teaches that
Jesus is wed to His Church, as a man should be devoted to his wife.
There is only one bride for Jesus, His Church. The mystery symbolized
in the loving bonds of the marriage union mirrors the loving call
for unity Jesus wants among His believers.
Jesus wanted His Church to settle disputes (cf. Mt. 18:17). That
requires visibility, since you must find the church to settle the dispute!
Jesus wanted glory (see Jn. 20:17:22-23) for His Church. Glory is
a visible quality, just as Jesus' glorification on the
mountain-top was visible to the disciples: "Jesus took Peter, James and
John...and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And He was transformed
before them: His face shone like the sun and His clothes became
as white as light." (Mt. 17:1,2). Jesus told His disciples:
"You are the light of the world. A city set on a mountain cannot be
hidden (see the drawing above - the Church is 'the city set on a mountain').
Nor do they light a lamp and then put it under the bushel
basket." (Mt. 5:14-15). Light, and the city on the mountain, are apt
symbols for His Church, as Jesus said: "I am the Light of the
world." (Jn. 8:12) and "I am the Way and the Truth and the Life."
Jesus is as united to the Church, as a bride is supposed to be to
a husband. Christ lights our way through the Church, guiding us:
"...into all truth." (Jn. 16:13). As Paul put it: "...you should
know how to act in the household of God, which is the church of the living
God, the pillar and foundation of truth." (1 Tim. 3:15). Scriptural evidence that the Church
is visible is overwhelming! We should heed the warnings against being
deceived into following the opinions of those who teach differently. Jesus
knew some believers would sincerely be misled: "I have other
sheep who are not of this fold. These also I must lead, and they will
hear my voice, and there will be one flock, one shepherd." (Jn.
Are you a Bible-believer? Then work for Christian unity, starting
by uniting yourself to the one Bride of Christ, the visible
Church Jesus established to 'guide us into all truth.'
WHY DID JESUS ALLOW DIVISIONS?
Many are understandably disturbed by spiritual
and religious divisions among His believers. Some want to think that
'just believing' is enough, that it should be 'simple' or almost
But consider this warning: "You believe that God is one. You
do well. Even the demons believe, and tremble." (Jas. 2:19:20; see
also Mt. 7:21-23). Paul explained divisions this way: "I hear
that...there are divisions among you, and...I believe it. There must be
factions among you in order that those who are approved among you may be
made known." (1 Cor. 11:18-19). Let's choose to be among the
God in His infinite wisdom knew before He created that man would
sin, that there'd be divisions among believers and all other things
that have and will take place in this world. We learned earlier in
this book that without the gift of free will, man would be little more
than a robot; so in wisdom and love, our Creator allowed us to
choose and learn from our mistakes. If we humble ourselves in love, and
choose according to His Will, then the blessing and rewards in
eternity will be unimaginably great! As Jesus taught us in the Lord's
Prayer, "Thy will be done!"
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