Answering Bible Questions
Answering Bible Questions
By Paul R. Blake
I enjoy answering Bible questions nearly as much as a kid opening a Birthday present. It is a great way to connect with fellow Christians while challenging oneself to a closer examination of the word of God. Do it every chance you get; you may find it addicting!
“An Unworthy Manner”
(Last week, I received the following question from a fellow evangelist in Africa.) “My local congregation in Ghana is discussing the Lord's Supper. There has been a very hot debate regarding the actual meaning of 1Corinthians 11:27-29. Some are claiming that a Christian who is living in sin cannot partake of the Lord's Supper, while others also insist that the passage is rather dealing with the manner we partake of the Supper at the very time we are observing the Lord's Supper event. Please, we have been asked to do more consultations on the issue and therefore I need your intervention.”
Dear brother Appau, I am happy to share with you in a study of this question. While it is true that the context of 1Corinthians 11:17-34 addresses the casual manner in which they were eating the Lord's Supper, it is also true that Paul orders them in the same passage to examine themselves before eating. The fact is, even though we partake of the Supper as individuals, we must also be aware that we do so in fellowship with the Lord (Matt. 26:29), and with each other (1Cor. 10:16-17). If a Christian is living in sin or has been unfaithful, he is not in fellowship with the Lord nor with fellow Christians. Therefore, if he eats the Supper while out of fellowship with the Lord and Christians, all the while pretending to be in fellowship with them in spite of his sin, he is making a mockery of the Supper and abusing its authorized purpose. We can conclude that he is partaking of it in an unworthy manner.
Paul commanded Christians to examine themselves regularly, not just before the Supper: “Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you? -- unless indeed you are disqualified” (2Cor. 13:5). The clear implication is that should they find anything amiss in their lives upon examining themselves, they must correct it immediately before moving forward in any other matter of service. Otherwise, anything they do before the Lord is rejected, and that includes eating the Supper. Far too often, Christians living in sin or who have fallen away from the faith want to partake of the Supper and pretend they are in fellowship. In reality, they are not in fellowship while still in their sins; and by eating the Supper and pretending to be in fellowship with the Lord and His disciples, they make a mockery of the Supper. In other words, he “eats in an unworthy manner, eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord's body,” and is “guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.”
This is not to say that local church should refuse to allow them have the Supper; it is not their role to make such judgments. However, erring Christians should have enough integrity to not eat the Lord’s Supper until they have addressed their sins or unfaithfulness. If they eat the Supper, they compound the condemnation against themselves. Good Brother, eating the Lord’s Supper, given by the Lord to faithful Christians, is a privilege, not a right. And that privilege is withdrawn by the Lord when we walk unfaithfully before Him.
(This question came from brother Rody Gumpad, evangelist with the Tuguegarao church of Christ in the Philippines.) “My dear brother, Happy Monday night in the US! Kindly help me to understand more correctly the passage of James 5:17-18, please. No doubt on me that God answered the prayer of Elijah. The question is: was it universal no rain for 3 1/2 years or localized? What was the boundary, if any?”
Hello brother Gumpad. According to 1Kings 16, Elijah was traveling from the northern kingdom of Israel where Ahab was king and went to the southern extreme of Judah to the site of the old city of Jericho. When the famine began, Elijah was instructed by the Lord to go east to Cherith Brook at the eastern extreme of Palestine (1Kings 17). From there, he was told to go to Zarephath and then back to the mountain where he confronted Ahab and the priests of Baal. The drought and famine were three and a half years, and ended after the confrontation with Ahab (1Kings 18). All of the places where Elijah was sent by the Lord in that time were affected by the drought. We can reasonably conclude that all of Palestine was under the drought.
Genesis 41:56 describes another famine, but the text makes it clear that on that occasion the famine was worldwide. However, nothing was said about the drought afflicting the rest of the world in Elijah’s day. Therefore, it does not matter whether the drought was local or worldwide; what is important was that it impacted all of the areas under discussion in the text. The James 5 text speaks of the earth giving fruit and heaven giving rain. It does not say all of the earth and seems to be rather ambiguous in the way it is worded; therefore, we cannot add “all” into the text. The fact is: it is not important to our understanding to know whether it was local or worldwide. What is important to know is that where Elijah was, there was a drought; and when Elijah prayed, the drought ended.
A Moments Wisdom
--Do the best that you can. Those who count will know that about you.
--Truth is seldom at the extremes of human viewpoints.
--If you want something done right, give the task to someone who is already busy.
--When arguing with a fool, be certain he is not similarly engaged.
--Some days you get the bear. Other days the bear gets you.
--You can easily judge the character of a man by how he treats those who can do nothing for him.
--When you choose to look at the world with a narrow view, how narrow it seems. When you look at it in a mean way, how mean it seems. When you look at it selfishly, how selfish it seems. But when you look at it in a generous, friendly spirit, what wonderful people you will find in it!
Test Your Bible Knowledge of Jacob Blessing His Sons
1. This son is a “lion’s whelp” __________
2. This son is a “haven by the sea” __________
3. This son is a “strong donkey” __________
4. This son is a “viper along the path” __________
5. This son is a “deer let loose” __________
6. This son is a “fruitful bough” __________
7. This son is a “ravenous wolf” __________
11/21/21 AM - Is My Name Written There?; PM - Gaius My Host
11/28/21 AM - How Jesus Changed the World; PM - The Beam in My Own Eye
12/5/21 AM - Contentment: the Prince of Virtues; PM - O Give Thanks to the Lord (Themed Song Service)
12/12/21 AM - Harvesting the Fruit of Ignorance; PM - Habakkuk’s Prayer
12/19/21 AM - How to Amaze Jesus; PM - The Apostle Paul’s Mother
12/26/21 AM - “Given to Us in Christ Jesus Before Time Began”; PM - Our Words of Power