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The Bible Its Authority and Interpretation. Table of Contents  Systematic Theology Systematic Theology Systematic Theology  Overview Overview  The.

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Presentation on theme: "The Bible Its Authority and Interpretation. Table of Contents  Systematic Theology Systematic Theology Systematic Theology  Overview Overview  The."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Bible Its Authority and Interpretation

2 Table of Contents  Systematic Theology Systematic Theology Systematic Theology  Overview Overview  The Canon The Canon The Canon  Old Testament Old Testament Old Testament  New Testament New Testament New Testament

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5 Theology  Greek theos – God  Greek logos – reason or speech  Result – “Rational discussion about God”

6 Systematic Theology The attempt to reduce religious truth to an organized system. Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, Walter A. Elwell, Editor Involves collecting and understanding all the relevant passages in the Bible on various topics and then summarizing their teachings clearly so that we know what to believe about each topic.

7 “Systematic”  Requires careful organization by topic  Requires finding and fairly treating ALL relevant Bible passages  Requires that summaries be accurately formulated

8 All Christians Practice Systematic Theology  “The Bible says that everyone who believes in Jesus Christ will be saved.”  “The Bible says that Jesus Christ is the only way to God.”  “The Bible says that Jesus is coming again.”

9 “God gives the truth in single threads which we must weave into a finished texture.” - Origen

10 What are Doctrines?  What the Bible teaches us today about some particular topic  Example: Bibliology  Example: Soteriology  Example: Ecclesiology  Example: Eschatology

11 Why Should Christians Study Theology?  We are not trying to “improve” on Scripture  We are not denying the clarity of Scripture  “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15 (ESV)

12 Branches of Theology  Systematic theology  Exegetical theology  Biblical theology  Historical theology  Practical theology

13 Exegetical Theology Unfolds the meaning of specific biblical texts and so provides systematic theology with its basic building blocks.

14 Biblical Theology Sets forth the doctrinal message of the books of the Bible in their historical setting.

15 Historical Theology Traces the science of God through the various eras of the church’s history. (chronological rather than topical or logical)

16 Practical Theology Applies the results of systematic theology to preaching, teaching, and counseling.

17 Systematic Theology  Incorporates the data of exegetical, biblical, and historical theology to construct a coherent explication of the Christian faith.  Systematic theology claims that God can be known and truths about God communicated in meaningful everyday language.

18 Application to Life  Summarizes doctrines so as to be understood today  Summarizes doctrines creating new words not found in Scripture: trinity, incarnation, deity of Christ

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20 Bibliology  The Authority of the Bible  The Interpretation of the Bible

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22 from Essential Truths of the Christian Faith, R.C. Sproul Revelation  Everything we know about Christianity has been revealed to us by God.  Reveal = unveil, uncover  Idle speculation about God is a fool’s errand. If we wish to know Him in truth, we must rely on what He tells us about Himself.

23 How God Revealed Himself  Nature  Dreams/visions  History  Scripture

24 The Zenith of God’s Revelation The incarnation of Jesus Christ “Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.” Hebrews 1:1-2 Hebrews 1:1-2

25 Two Chief Types of Revelation  General Revelation  Special Revelation

26 General Revelation General Revelation is “general” in two respects –  General in content  Revealed to a general audience

27 General Revelation: Content “The heavens declare the glory of God; The skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; Night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language Where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, Their words to the ends of the world.” Psalm 19:1-4

28 “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.” Romans 1:18-23

29 General Revelation “Revelation in nature does not give a full revelation of God. It does not give us the information about God the Redeemer that we find in the Bible. But the God who is revealed in nature is the same God who is revealed in Scripture.” - R. C. Sproul

30 General Revelation: Audience  The entire world is a stage for God.  “Hearers” include those who have not read the Bible or heard the gospel.

31 Denial of General Revelation  The atheist  “The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God.’” – Psalm 14:1  The agnostic  Declares that there is insufficient evidence to decide one way or the other about God’s existence.

32 General Revelation  Mediate  Immediate

33 Mediate General Revelation  Transmitted through an intermediary  A medium  For example, the heavens declare God’s glory

34 Immediate General Revelation  God revealing himself directly to the human mind  “That there exists in the human mind, and indeed by natural instinct, some sense of Deity, we hold to be beyond dispute, since God himself…has endued all men with some idea of his Godhead, the memory of which he constantly renews and occasionally enlarges.”John Calvin

35 “For all who have sinned without the law will also perish without the law, and all who have sinned under the law will be judged by the law. For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified. For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus.” Romans 2:12-16

36 Special Revelation

37 “But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:14-17

38 Special Revelation and the Bible “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.“Matthew 4:4  The Bible is the Word of God

39 Special Revelation General Revelation To all

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41 Inspiration “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17  Human authors, but the ultimate source and superintendent is God.

42 Inspiration GOD Human Authors Bible

43 Inspiration  God did not dictate his word to human authors; they wrote through their own personalities  The Bible is infallible and inerrant  Original autographs no longer exist  Today’s translations  It is true and trustworthy

44 Inspiration Inspiration is... Verbal: Extends to the very words of Scripture, not just teachings. Plenary: Extends to everything in the Bible, not just parts that speak on matters of faith and practice.

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46 Key Terms Revelation: The act whereby God reveals truth to mankind through both special revelation (Scripture) and general revelation (nature, conscience, etc.) Inspiration: The act whereby God guided the writers of Scripture, giving them His words while fully using the human element within man to produce the Scriptures. Illumination: The act whereby God enlightens people to understand His revelation and its relevance to their lives.

47 Revelation InspirationIllumination

48 The Bible  Life comes with an instruction manual  Do not attempt to live life without reading the instruction manual  If the Bible is not from God, then God is irrelevant -- He doesn’t care anyway.  BUT -- God has spoken!

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50 “Canon”  Canon = the list of all books that belong to the Bible  Means “rule” or “measuring rod”  God determines the canon

51 Questions HHHHow do we know that the books we have in the Bible are the right ones? WWWWho has the authority to determine what books can be called Scripture? WWWWhy do the Roman Catholics include extra books in their Bible?

52 Question  Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and members of other cults have claimed present-day revelations from God that they count equal to the Bible in authority. What reasons can be given to indicate the falsity of those claims?

53 Moses … said to them, "Take to heart all the words by which I am warning you today, that you may command them to your children, that they may be careful to do all the words of this law. For it is no empty word for you, but your very life, and by this word you shall live long in the land that you are going over the Jordan to possess." Deuteronomy 32: Why it is important

54 Moses … said to them, "Take to heart all the words by which I am warning you today, that you may command them to your children, that they may be careful to do all the words of this law. For it is no empty word for you, but your very life, and by this word you shall live long in the land that you are going over the Jordan to possess." Deuteronomy 32: Why it is important But your very life

55 Accuracy of the Canon is Critical “You shall not add to the word that I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God that I command you.” Deuteronomy 4:2

56 The Old Testament Canon  Oldest Collection of God’s Words:  The Ten Commandments  “And he gave to Moses, when he had finished speaking with him on Mount Sinai, the two tablets of the testimony, tablets of stone, written with the finger of God.”Exodus 31:18  “The tablets were the work of God, and the writing was the writing of God, engraved on the tablets.” Exodus 32:16

57 The Old Testament Canon  The Pentateuch  Joshua  “And Joshua wrote these words in the Book of the Law of God.” Joshua 24:26  Surprising in light of the command not to add to God’s word  Thus God must have commanded him to add them

58 Old Testament Human Authors  “Then Samuel told the people the rights and duties of the kingship, and he wrote them in a book and laid it up before the Lord.” I Samuel 10:25

59 Old Testament Human Authors  “Now the rest of the Acts of Hezekiah, and his good deeds, behold, they are written in the vision of Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz, in the Book of the Kings of Judah and Israel.” 2 Chronicles 32:32

60 Old Testament Human Authors  “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: Write in a book all the words that I have spoken to you.” Jeremiah 30:2

61 No Further Additions to the OT after ~435 B.C.  Last books:  Ezra  Nehemiah  Esther  Malachi

62 The Septuagint  Translation of OT from Hebrew to Greek  Translated 284 – 247 B.C.  Latin septuaginta means “seventy”  Often designated by “LXX”

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64 Canonization of Scripture Five Tests for Canonicity of OT 1. Did Christ and the NT attest to its authority? 2. Do extrabiblical Jewish writers affirm it? 3. Is the book consistent with other revelation? 4. Was it written by a prophet or someone of divine authority? 5. Does the body of Christ recognize it?

65 Canonization of Scripture Luke 24:44 “Now He said to them, ‘These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.’”

66 Canonization of Scripture Matthew 7:12 “Therefore, however you want people to treat you, so treat them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.”

67 Canonization of Scripture “Since Jesus is the Messiah, God in human flesh, He is the last word on all matters. He had the divine authority to endorse all Scripture or only some of it. He universally affirmed all Scripture, in every part, as the divine Word of God.” —Don Stewart The Ten Wonders of the Bible (Orange, CA: Dart Press, 1990), 123 “Since Jesus is the Messiah, God in human flesh, He is the last word on all matters. He had the divine authority to endorse all Scripture or only some of it. He universally affirmed all Scripture, in every part, as the divine Word of God.” —Don Stewart The Ten Wonders of the Bible (Orange, CA: Dart Press, 1990), 123

68 Canonization of Scripture Josephus “How firmly we have given credit to these books of our own nation is evident by what we do; for during so many ages as have already passed, no one has been so bold as either to add any thing to them, to take any thing from them, or to make any change in them; but it has become natural to all Jews immediately, and from their very birth, to esteem these books to contain Divine doctrines, and to persist in them, and, if occasion should arise, be willing to die for them. For it is no new thing for our captives, many of them in number, and frequently in time, to be seen to endure racks and deaths of all kinds upon the theatres, that they may not be obliged to say one word against our laws and the records that contain them.”

69 The Apocrypha

70  Records history of the Jewish people from ~435 B.C. to the time of Christ.  Means “hidden writings”  Alternate name: Deuterocanonical books (Literally, “second canon”)

71 The Apocrypha This group of writings, mostly written in Greek during the intertestamental period (400–100 B.C.), are contained in the Christian Septuagint and Latin Vulgate and accepted by Roman Catholics and some Eastern Orthodox as Scripture, but rejected by Jews and evangelical Protestants.

72 Greek Orthodox Deuterocanonical Roman Catholic Deuterocanonical Protestant Apocrypha 1 (3) Esdras Tobit Judith Additions to Esther Wisdom of Solomon Ecclesiasticus (Sirach) Baruch Epistle of Jeremiah Prayer of Azariah Story of Susanna Bel and the Dragon Prayer of Manasseh 1 Maccabees 2 Maccabees 3 Maccabees 4 Maccabees Psalm 151 Tobit Judith Additions to Esther Wisdom of Solomon Ecclesiasticus (Sirach) Baruch Epistle of Jeremiah Prayer of Azariah Story of Susanna Bel and the Dragon 1 Maccabees 2 Maccabees 1 (3) Esdras 2 (4) Esdras Tobit Judith Additions to Esther Wisdom of Solomon Ecclesiasticus (Sirach) Baruch Epistle of Jeremiah Prayer of Azariah Story of Susanna Bel and the Dragon Prayer of Manasseh 1 Maccabees 2 Maccabees

73 The Apocrypha Sirich 22:3 “It is a disgrace to be the father of an undisciplined son, and the birth of a daughter is a loss.”

74 The Apocrypha: No Prophet?  “So they tore down the altar and stored the stones in a convenient place on the temple hill until there should come a prophet to tell what to do with them.” 1 Maccabees 4:45-46  “[distress]…such as had not been since the time that prophets ceased to appear among them.”1 Maccabees 9:27

75 Josephus “From Artaxerxes to our own time a complete history has been written, but has not been deemed worthy of equal credit with the earlier records, because of the failure of the exact succession of the prophets.” Against Apion 1.14

76 Rabbinic Literature  “After the latter prophets Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi had died, the Holy Spirit departed from Israel.” Babylonian Talmud  The Qumran community, the Jewish sect that left behind the Dead Sea Scrolls, also awaited a prophet to follow in the footsteps of the last writers of the OT.

77 The OT Canon at the Time of Christ  There is no record of any dispute between Jesus and the Jews over the extent of the canon.  Jesus and the NT authors quote the OT over 295 times but never quote the Apocrypha.

78 170 A.D.  The earliest list of OT books that exits today was by Melito, bishop of Sardis.  He includes all OT books except Esther  No book of the Apocrypha is listed

79 404 A.D.  The Apocrypha was included by Jerome in his Latin Vulgate translation of the Bible.  …but he said that they were not part of the canon but merely “books of the church.”

80 Adopted by Roman Church  It was not until 1546 at the Council of Trent that the Roman church officially declared the Apocrypha to be part of the canon.  The Council was in response to the Protestant Reformation.  The Apocrypha supports justification by faith plus works.

81 The King James Version  Some may learn with dismay…  …that the Apocrypha was included with the KJV when it was originally translated.

82 The Apocrypha Is Not Scripture  They do not claim for themselves authority as the OT writings.  They were not regarded as part of the canon by the Jews.  They were not considered to be Scripture by Jesus or the NT authors.  They contain teachings inconsistent with the rest of the Bible.

83 The Old Testament Canon  Summary  Christians today should have no worry that anything needed has been left out or that anything that is not God’s words has been included.  Through God’s providential care, we have the Old Testament available to us.

84 The New Testament Canon

85 The Old Testament Closes  The Old Testament closes with the expectation of the Messiah to come who would be the greatest prophet of all.

86 Last Words of Old Testament "Behold, I send my messenger and he will prepare the way before me. And the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple; and the messenger of the covenant in whom you delight, behold, he is coming, says the Lord of hosts.” Malachi 3:1

87 "For behold, the day is coming, burning like an oven, when all the arrogant and all evildoers will be stubble. The day that is coming shall set them ablaze, says the Lord of hosts, so that it will leave them neither root nor branch. But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings. You shall go out leaping like calves from the stall. And you shall tread down the wicked, for they will be ashes under the soles of your feet, on the day when I act, says the Lord of hosts. Remember the law of my servant Moses, the statutes and rules that I commanded him at Horeb for all Israel. Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes. And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the land with a decree of utter destruction.“ Malachi 4

88 The New Testament  Consists primarily of the writings of the apostles.  It is primarily the apostles who are given the ability from the Holy Spirit to recall accurately the words and deeds of Jesus and to interpret them rightly for subsequent generations.

89 Christ’s Words to the Apostles “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.” John 14:26

90 Christ’s Words to the Apostles “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you.” John 16:13-14

91 Time of the Apostles Written Tradition (New Testament) Apostolic FathersTheologians 33AD100AD200AD400AD Unwritten Tradition (Apostles’ teaching) Development of the NT Canon Time of Apostolic Authority A.D.

92 Canonization of Scripture The New Testament attests to the acceptance of the authority of the words of the Apostles as being on par with that of God.

93 The Apostles’ Words from God 1 Corinthians 14:37 “If anyone thinks he is a prophet or spiritual, let him recognize that the things which I write to you are the Lord’s commandment.”

94 The Apostles’ Words from God 2 Corinthians 13:3 “…since you seek proof that Christ is speaking in me.”

95 The Apostles’ Words from God Galatians 1:8–9 “But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed!”

96 The Apostles’ Words from God 1 Thessalonians 2:13 “For this reason we also constantly thank God that when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but for what it really is, the word of God, which also performs its work in you who believe.” “For this reason we also constantly thank God that when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but for what it really is, the word of God, which also performs its work in you who believe.”

97 The Apostles’ Words from God 2 Thessalonians 2:15 “So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught, whether by word of mouth or by letter from us.”

98 The Apostles’ Words from God 2 Peter 3:1-2 “This is now the second letter that I am writing to you, beloved. In both of them I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder, that you should remember the predictions of the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior through your apostles.”

99 The Apostles’ Words from God 2 Peter 3:1-2 “This is now the second letter that I am writing to you, beloved. In both of them I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder, that you should remember the predictions of the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior through your apostles.”

100 Canonization of Scripture The NT attests to the acceptance of other NT books as Scripture.

101 Canonization of Scripture 2 Peter 3:15–16 “And regard the patience of our Lord as salvation; just as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him, wrote to you, as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction.”

102 Canonization of Scripture 1 Timothy 5:18 “For the Scripture says, ‘you shall not muzzle an ox while he is threshing’ [Deuteronomy 25:4], and ‘The laborer is worthy of his wages’” [Luke 10:7].

103 Five Books Not Written by Apostles  Mark  Luke  Acts (written by Luke)  Hebrews  Jude

104 Mark, Luke, Acts & Jude  Mark was associated with – Peter  Luke was associated with – Paul  Jude associated with – James, the brother of Jesus

105 Hebrews  “But who actually wrote the epistle, only God knows.” – Origen, ~ 250 A.D.  Self-attesting  The church had the personal testimony of some living apostles to affirm the absolute divine authority of some books.  “My sheep hear my voice.” John 10:27

106 “His Master’s Voice” by Francis Barraud RCA Victor’s “Nipper”

107 Canonization of Scripture The writings of the early church fathers attest to the acceptance of many NT books: They quote them as Scripture. They quote them as Scripture. They draw a clear distinction between their writings and that of Scripture. They draw a clear distinction between their writings and that of Scripture. Marcion (c. 140), a Gnostic heretic, devised his own canon which excluded the entire OT and included only Luke (except Chap. 1 and 2) and the Pauline epistles (excluding the pastoral epistles). Marcion (c. 140), a Gnostic heretic, devised his own canon which excluded the entire OT and included only Luke (except Chap. 1 and 2) and the Pauline epistles (excluding the pastoral epistles).

108 Canonization of Scripture “From the early part of the second century of the Christian era, there is evidence that the letters of Paul were treasured not merely as isolated communications, but as a definite collection of writings, now commonly described as the Pauline corpus.” —Donald Guthrie New Testament Introduction (Downers Grove, Ill.: Inter-Varsity Press, 1990), 986 “From the early part of the second century of the Christian era, there is evidence that the letters of Paul were treasured not merely as isolated communications, but as a definite collection of writings, now commonly described as the Pauline corpus.” —Donald Guthrie New Testament Introduction (Downers Grove, Ill.: Inter-Varsity Press, 1990), 986

109 367 A.D. The 39 th Paschal Letter of Athanasius contained an exact list of the 27 NT books we have today. This was the list of books accepted by the churches in the eastern part of the Mediterranean world.

110 397 A.D. The Council of Carthage, representing the churches in the western part of the Mediterranean world, agreed with the eastern churches on the same list.

111 Canonization of Scripture “One thing must be emphatically stated. The New Testament books did not become authoritative for the Church because they were formally included in a canonical list; on the contrary, the Church included them in her canon because she already regarded them as divinely inspired, recognizing their innate worth and generally apostolic authority, direct or indirect. The first ecclesiastical councils to classify the canonical books were both held in North Africa—at Hippo Regius in 393 and at Carthage in 397—but what these councils did was not to impose something new upon the Christian communities but to codify what was already the general practice of those communities.” —F.F. Bruce The New Testament Documents: Are They Reliable? (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1994), 27 “One thing must be emphatically stated. The New Testament books did not become authoritative for the Church because they were formally included in a canonical list; on the contrary, the Church included them in her canon because she already regarded them as divinely inspired, recognizing their innate worth and generally apostolic authority, direct or indirect. The first ecclesiastical councils to classify the canonical books were both held in North Africa—at Hippo Regius in 393 and at Carthage in 397—but what these councils did was not to impose something new upon the Christian communities but to codify what was already the general practice of those communities.” —F.F. Bruce The New Testament Documents: Are They Reliable? (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1994), 27

112 Should we expect any more writings to be added to the canon? Hebrews 1:1-2 “Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.”

113 Heed the words from the last book of the canon:

114 Canonization of Scripture Revelation 1:3 “Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy, and heed the things which are written in it; for the time is near.”

115 Revelation 22:18-19 “I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.”

116 The Canon Today there exist no strong candidates for addition to the canon and no strong objections to any book presently in the canon.

117 Hebrews 4:12 “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”


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