Thursday, July 31, 2008

Archaeology: the synagogue at Capernaum

Archaeologists have restored a synagogue that stood there some 350 years after Jesus' time. However, recently it was discovered that this synagogue was built over the foundation of the synagogue from Jesus' time, confirming that this is the place where important Bible events took place.

The ancient synagogue still has two inscriptions, one in Greek and the other in Aramaic, that remember the benefactors that helped in the construction of the building. There are also carvings of five- and six-pointed starts and of palm trees.

Capernaum served as Jesus' headquarters during His ministry in Galilee. According to Mark 1:21-26, 3:1-6, Luke 4:31-37, and John 6:59, Jesus both taught and healed people in the synagogue.

Kyle Campbell

Monday, July 28, 2008

The worm in the apple

How does a worm get inside an apple? Maybe you think it burrows in from the outside. Scientists have shown that it comes from the inside. How does he get in there? Simple. A worm lays an egg in the apple blossom. Later the worm hatches in the heart of the apple, and eats its way out.

Sin, like the worm, begins in the heart and works outward through a person's thoughts, words, and actions. For this reason, David once wrote, "Create in me a clean heart, O God" (Psalm 51:10). Life offers us two choices: (1) Follow the works of the flesh; or (2) demonstrate the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:19-24). One's reward is spiritual death and the other's reward is eternal life.

Jesus told us to chose either the broad way to death or the narrow way to life (Matthew 7:13-14). There is no middle road! Those who choose the way of Christ must put wickedness out of their hearts, for it is there that sin is born (Matthew 15:18-20; James 1:14-15). Why not remove the "worm of sin" from your heart today through obedience to the cleansing blood of Jesus (1 John 1:7). This is the only way to eternal life!

Kyle Campbell

Monday, July 21, 2008

Archaeology: the Moabite Stone

In 1968, a stone slab over three feet tall was found near Dibon, east of the Dead Sea. Inscribed on the stone were the accomplishments of Mesha, king of Moab around 860 B.C. This stone is sometimes called the Mesha Stele.

The ancient Moabites were relatives of the Israelites according to Genesis 19:37. One this stone King Mesha brags of having driven the Israelites out of his land. The king of Moab rebelled against the king of Israel after the death of King Ahab of Israel (2 Kings 3).

The Moabite Stone is one of the earliest finds that mention biblical people. The stone says that King Omri and his son Ahab "humbled" Moab for many years. After Ahab's death, King Mesha said he had "triumphed" over Ahab's family and that Israel had "perished forever." Some scholars say that the stone also contains a reference to the "house of David."

Kyle Campbell

Sunday, July 13, 2008

What good is archaeology?

If you were to go to any major university to study the Bible, you would probably be told that historical events in the Bible are to be treated as myths, legends, and folklore. We need to have confidence in the Bible. Archaeology, a relative newcomer among the physical sciences, has provided exciting and dramatic confirmation of the Bible's accuracy.

Archaeology enhances our knowledge of the economic, cultural, social, and political background of biblical passages. Also, archaeology contributes to the understanding of other religions which bordered Israel. Old Testament history is full of archaeological discoveries which have helped confirm the accounts of the Bible. Geisler said, "In every period of Old Testament history, we find that there is good evidence from archaeology that the scripture speak the truth. In many instances, the scriptures even reflect firsthand knowledge of the times and customs it describes. While many have doubted the accuracy of the Bible, time and continued research have consistently demonstrated that the word of God is better informed than its critics."

Whole books are not large enough to contain all the finds that have bolstered confidence in the historical reliability of the Bible. The role which archaeology is performing in New Testament research in expediting scientific study, balancing critical theory, illustrating, elucidating, supplementing, and authenticating historical and cultural backgrounds is a bright spot in the future of criticism of the biblical text. F. F. Bruce said, "For the most part the service which archaeology has rendered to New Testament studies is the filling in of the contemporary background, against which we can read the record with enhanced comprehension and appreciation. And this background is a first century background. The New Testament narrative just will not fit into a second century background."

Archaeology is of great help in better understanding the Bible (both the testaments), in dealing with critical questions regarding the Bible and in gaining an appreciation of the ancient world. This type of study is very faith-building. It assures us that the Bible is not legend and myth; it is history. Several upcoming posts will discuss various Old and New Testament archeological discoveries so that we can see how it helps to establish the validity of the scriptures.

Kyle Campbell

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Strychnine and water

It is very sad today to look into the denominational world and see their vigor and effort to spread God's word. The music today of some "religious" bands points to ideas such as Christ's return and the defeat of the Devil. But when you look at the method being done for this message, it has actually already been secretly tainted by Satan. The problem with this message is that Satan has not been defeated but he is driving this proposed worship of God.

This is not new for Satan. Satan has always always used deception as one of his tricks. Second Corinthians 11:13-14 reads, "For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light." It is clear from this text that Satan and those who follow him will stop at nothing to condemn souls. They are even willing to put on the appearance of something right in order to deceive.

When we look at music today, it may be filled with praise for God, but that will not overlook the fact that if you do it with a instrument, you are walking without the authority of Christ and to be in such a place will bring His wrath. These situations are heartbreakers because there is so much zeal but it is removed from truth. I am reminded of an example my Grandma told me, "You can get a glass of pure water and put just a little strychnine in it and it will still kill a man." It's the same way with music today. You may have 99% good message and theme, but the 1% that condemns you is without the authority of God.

Shane Millard

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

The compound nature of sin

How many times have you found yourself saying this line, "It's only this one little thing?" If you are anything like me, we often find ourselves trying to compromise with sin by saying that it is ONLY lying, or ONLY envy, or ONLY anger. But what if one sin was not only one, but a few others coupled inside of it? In Colossians 3, we have a list of sins, completed by greed, which Paul says, "amounts to idolatry." From here we see a concept that is prevalent in other parts of the Bible: that one sin is usually not just one sin, but a combination of other ones. Greed possesses a life; it, in essence, is an idol. Take the same with fornication. Oftentimes, fornication is not simply just the act of fornication, but rather the combination of lust, covetousness, and passion.

I'm definitely not saying that condemnation is higher from sin to sin, but rather that we need to realize the extremity of what we say and what we do. There is no sin that will condemn you any more than the others, as each sin can condemn you to Hell equally (James 2:10). Many times, however, our sin is not as "innocent" as just a single act, but rather many displeasing acts towards God. Let us keep this in mind the next time we have the temptation to think that it is "only one little sin."

Brady Cook