All of the apostles were chosen by the Lord for a reason. All of them shared in the ministry and apostleship, even Judas (Acts 1:25). Despite this equality, the gospel accounts reveal that on three different occasions, Jesus chose three of His apostles, separated them from the rest, and allowed them to see things that they were not permitted to tell the others.
Peter, James, and John seem to have formed an inner-circle within the Twelve. Why were these three men singled out? What was special about them? To address this question, we will first consider the occasions on which they were singled out, then we will consider the validity of some possible explanations. Continue reading » Peter, James, and John
There are individuals in the religious world today who claim to possess the miraculous gifts of the Holy Spirit. Religious programs portray televangelists speaking in tongues and healing the sick. However, excitement over these gifts is no longer limited to “charismatic” churches. In recent years, I have heard members of several different mainstream denominations claim to have the ability to speak in tongues.
No one can deny that the apostles and some other Christians in the New Testament possessed the ability to perform miracles. The question that we will address in this article is whether or not the Bible teaches that these same gifts exist today?
Continue reading » The Miraculous Gifts of the Holy Spirit
We must learn how to rightly divide the Scriptures if we are to properly understand God’s will (2 Timothy 2:15). While reading the Bible, it is essential that we take note of who is speaking and what he is saying. It is also important that we identify the one (ones) to whom he is speaking. Some Bible passages are universal in their application. Others apply only to specific groups or individuals. Many teachings of the Bible are perverted by men today simply because of a failure to recognize the intended recipients of a passage.
In John chapters 14-16, Jesus gave specific instructions and promises to the apostles. These promises were great, but they were only given to these specific individuals. Some of the confusion and error that exists on the subject of the Holy Spirit results from a failure to make this important distinction. Many read the Lord’s words given to the apostles and make application to themselves, without stopping to ask whether or not these promises were meant for all Christians.
In this article, we will examine these chapters and learn what the Holy Spirit was to do for the apostles.
Continue reading » The Holy Spirit and the Apostles
The gospel of John records several short conversations Jesus had as He began to attract disciples at the beginning His ministry. These conversations are contained in verse 35-51 of John 1.
One of John the Baptist’s disciples was Andrew. Two things led him to begin following Jesus. First, John proclaimed Jesus as “the Lamb of God.” Then, as Andrew heard Jesus speak, he became convinced that he had found “the Messiah.”
We do not have the words Jesus used that convinced Andrew that He was the anointed One. However, we do have words of Jesus available to us, that clearly show the truthfulness of Andrew’s conclusion.
Continue reading » The First Disciples of Jesus