What is Hermeneutics?

Is hermeneutics a way to avoid accepting what the text says? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

There is often a rabid fundamentalism that takes place in America and other Western societies. Because we are so individualistic, we think everything is about us and so when it comes to a text, such as the text of Scripture, well that is about us. Since this is also God’s Word to us supposedly, God would obviously write it in a way that is easy for us to understand. I mean, if we were God, we would do that. Right? Surely we wouldn’t deliver a message that is essential for our eternal salvation and then have it be hard to understand? No. The text must be understood easily and we absolutely then must read it literally. By literally, I do not mean according to the intent of the author, but in a more wooden sense of “The text says what it means and it means what it says.”

The ironic thing is there are Christians and atheists who both agree on this and they are both fundamentalists. The fundamentalist Christian believes everything in the Bible is absolutely true and usually does so on just “faith.” If it says six days, it means six days and keep that science stuff away from me. We’re going to go with what the Word of God says. The atheist meanwhile looks at the text and says “If the text says slavery, it means slavery. I don’t need to hear anything about historical context.” The atheist will tend to disbelieve everything in the Bible. Both approach the text with the same mindset in many ways.

And both of them resist any notion of hermeneutics.

So what is hermeneutics?

In ancient Greece, the gods were way up there and we humans were down here below. Who would be the go-between? Quite often, Hermes was the messenger of the gods. His name is behind the word. Hermes was the one who interpreted the message of the gods for us. The word Hermeneutics comes from that and it means the art of interpretation. Some of you might be tempted to say that that applies only to the Bible. It doesn’t. It applies everywhere. You’re using hermeneutics right now to interpret what I say. You use it to interpret body language or oral communication as well. Let’s go with the example of a newspaper.

When you open the newspaper, you expect most stories you read in there will be at least attempts to write out truthful accounts. Yet even in these accounts, you could expect to read some metaphorical language. For instance, if you go to the Sports team and you read about a game that was played where one team massacred another, you don’t expect that you’ll find that on a page talking about crime. You know it’s metaphorical language. If you turn over to the comics, you’ll suddenly find you’re reading the language differently. If you go to the advice column, you find still something different. If you go to the letters to the editor, you will find different language and perhaps even opinions that disagree with the perspective of the newspaper as a whole.

All of this is hermeneutics.

Keep in mind in all of this, I am assuming the text has a meaning. The words on the page really mean something and some interpretations are right and some are wrong. It’s important to realize also that just because you think a text means something, that does not mean that what it says is true. You could be a Muslim for instance, and interpret the NT to teach that Jesus died by crucifixion. You’d agree that the text is teaching this, but you would just say the text is wrong. You could be a pluralist and say that the text teaches that Jesus is the only way to salvation. You’d disagree with this, but you’d say the text teaches this. You could be an atheist and say the text teaches Jesus did actual miracles. You’d disagree, but this would be what the text is saying.

When saying that the Bible needs to be interpreted, this is because it is from a different time, culture, place, and language. In fact, if you want to go with what the text says, unless you read the original languages, you’re not reading what the text says. You’re already reading an interpretation. Even in the same language, there can be difficulties. Many of us could not read Shakespeare as he wrote it. For an illustration of this, just consider the KJV. It was just fine for the time it was written in, but many words have changed meaning since then and there are figures of speech that we no longer use. It is for this reason that translations have to keep being updated. Languages do not stay static like that.

Now is this an exact science? Can you reach a point where you say it is absolutely definitive that this is what the text means? No, but if we follow those standards then science itself is not an exact science. Any interpretation of the scientific data could be overturned. It is not written in stone. The more we study it, the more likely it looks that a certain viewpoint is correct. For instance, the huge majority of biologists today agree evolution best explains our origins. That means that if this is overturned, there must be some powerful evidence otherwise that evolution did not occur. That does not mean that such is impossible theoretically.

In the same way, there are many interpretations we can be quite sure of. There are also many Biblical passages that will leave us scratching our heads and wondering what the heck is going on in them. It would be a mistake to hang your Christianity on every single issue in the Bible and on every one of your interpretations being correct. It requires work. If you want to say your interpretation is correct, you need to give a reason why you think so and then leave it to others to respond. Unfortunately, with the fundamentalist mindset, we’ve grown lazy and prefer that the text should do all the work for us.

But in interpretation, there is no excuse for laziness.

Hermeneutics is not a dirty word. We all do it everyday without realizing it. The question is not are you going to interpret the text. You will. The question is if you are going to do a good job or not.

And if you take the fundamentalist attitude, you’re already saying you’re not going to do a good job.

And if you’re not willing to study a text, don’t bother debating it. There’s no reason to take anyone seriously who has not studied the issue.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Book Plunge: Jesus Inquest

What do I think of Charles Foster’s book published by Thomas Nelson? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Jesus Inquest is a remarkable book that you’ve never really heard of most likely, but you honestly should have. The book is written by Charles Foster who is a barrister in the U.K., which if you don’t know means he understands the rules of law quite well. He was a believer in the resurrection of Jesus but found many defenses quite lacking. His questions weren’t being answered and he doesn’t care much for many works of apologetics by Christians. He wanted to put forward the case from the opposite end as strongly as he could and see how he could respond.

Thus, you have a dialogue between two people, X and Y. Foster writes out both dialogues and Y is the position of the Christian defending the resurrection of Jesus. X throws out most any objection that he can which means sometimes he will hold contradictory positions, but this is because Foster is trying to be as thorough as possible. X will use popular objections, such as ideas that Jesus traveled to India after somehow surviving the crucifixion, as well as more scholarly objections. He’ll use crank theories like the Talpiot Tomb as well as real theories like the hallucination hypothesis.

X’s case is quite often indeed impressive. One can read his side and think “I wonder how Y will answer that when he gets there.” Due to the wide range of subjects covered, there’s no doubt Foster did a lot of research for this book. In the end after examining both sides, Foster still has a strong case that Jesus did in fact rise from the dead and the objections from the other side can be answered and for the most part, they are answered quite admirably.

Some readers might be troubled that Foster doesn’t take an approach of Inerrancy, but that could also be a help since so many Christians marry Inerrancy to Scripture. Foster does not believe the accounts of the resurrection in the Gospels can be reconciled, but oh well. That does not damage one iota his central trust based on the evidence that the resurrection is a historical event, which should be a wake-up call to all the people out there who think it is absolutely essential to have Inerrancy if one is going to proclaim the resurrection effectively.

I would have liked to have seen something more said about the honor-shame aspect of the resurrection. I hope that in the future, this will be something spoken of more. There are hints of it here and there, but I think these hints can be refined into an argument that is much more powerful than people realize. Christianity after all broke all the rules of the culture and it should have died out just as soon as it started and yet somehow it dominated the Roman empire and thrives today. This is something else that needs to be explained.

Foster’s book is excellent and I would place it as essential reading for anyone wanting to defend the resurrection. Included also are appendices on how Jesus died on the cross, The Shroud of Turin, the Talpiot tomb, and the Gospel of Peter. Get this book and read it today.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Deeper Waters Podcast 8/29/2015: Rodney Reeves and Randy Richards

What’s coming up on the next episode of the Deeper Waters Podcast? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Paul. Our world would be different without him, and yet there are a variety of opinions about him. Some people see him as the one who got the Gospel right and was the world’s greatest missionary. Some people see him as the one who took the wonderful Jesus movement and turned it into something it wasn’t. Some see him as a man with a guilt-stricken conscience who wrestled against the pain of what he had done to the church. Some see him as a lunatic who was caught up with having visionary experiences on the level of a mad man. So who exactly was this man that has produced such varying degrees of either admiration or hatred for him?

Awhile back, I reviewed the book Rediscovering Paul. I conclude it is one of the most thorough books that I have read on Paul and his impact in the world. I am also pleased to state that two of its authors will be on the show this Saturday. One is a returning guest, Dr. Randolph Richards. The other is making his first appearance and that is Dr. Rodney Reeves. So who are they? Let’s start with Dr. Reeves first as it will be his first time on the show.

publicity photo

In his own words:

I’ve been married over thirty-six years to Sheri (Richardson) Reeves, who is a Speech and Language Pathologist for Citizens Memorial Hospital, Bolivar, MO.

We have three children: Andrew (28) lives in Kansas City, MO; Emma (24) lives in Chicago, IL; and Grace (19) who is a first-year student at Belhaven University, Jackson, MS. Sheri and I are members of the First Baptist Church, Bolivar, MO.

I’m in my sixteenth year at Southwest Baptist University, Bolivar, MO, as the Redford Professor of Biblical Studies, also serving as Dean of The Courts Redford College of Theology and Ministry. I teach courses in New Testament and Greek.

I’m an SBU alumnus (1979), and I graduated from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Ft. Worth, TX (MDiv, 1982; PhD, 1986). I did part of my doctoral study at Oxford University, UK (1985-86).

Prior to coming to SBU, I served as Senior Pastor, Central Baptist Church, Jonesboro, AR (1995-2000), and associate professor of New Testament at Williams Baptist College, Walnut Ridge, AR (1987-1995).

I have written several articles for scholarly journals, textbooks, dictionaries, handbooks, and magazines. I’ve written four books: A Genuine Faith: How to Follow Jesus Today (Baker Books, 2005); Rediscovering Paul: An Introduction to His World, Letters and Theology, co-authored by David B. Capes and E. Randolph Richards (InterVarsity Press, 2007); Spirituality according to Paul: Imitating the Apostle of Christ (InterVarsity Press, 2011). My newest book, Rediscovering Jesus: An Introduction to Biblical, Religious and Cultural Perspectives on Christ (once again co-authored by Capes and Richards, InterVarsity Press, 2015) was released this summer. And I’m currently working on a commentary on the Gospel of Matthew, Story of God Bible Commentary, ed. Scot McKnight (Zondervan Publishing, 2016?).

My hobbies are fishing, camping, golfing, and reading.

I made a vow to God many years ago to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to minister to the Body of Christ. I have tried to keep that promise as a member of a Baptist Church, as a minister, and as a college professor. I study Scripture because I want to be a committed disciple of Jesus. I teach biblical studies in an effort to serve the needs of the Church. I’m a part of the academic community here at SBU in hopes of advancing the Kingdom of God, trying to encourage each other to fulfill Jesus’ commandment: to love God with all of our heart, soul, strength, and mind, and to love our neighbor as ourselves. Therefore, I see my work here as part of the whole kingdom enterprise of teaching students to be servants of Christ for a world that needs him.

And moving on to Dr. Richards:

Richards arms crossed smallest size

Dr. Randy Richards loves training students for ministry, both domestically and internationally. He has been teaching since 1986, originally at a state university and then abroad at an Indonesian seminary. Upon returning to the States, Dr. Richards has served at two Christian universities before joining Palm Beach Atlantic University as the Dean of the School of Ministry in 2006.

His wife Stacia has joyfully accompanied him from jungles of Indonesia to rice fields in Arkansas to beautiful South Florida. They have two fine sons. Josh (Ph.D. 2012, University of St Andrews, Scotland) is a university professor in English. Jacob (Ph.D. 2014, College of Medicine, University of Florida) is a medical researcher.

Dr. Richards has authored or co-authored seven books and dozens of articles. Recently, he has published Rediscovering Jesus (InterVarsity, 2015; Misreading Scripture with Western Eyes, with Brandon O’Brien (InterVarsity, 2012), “Reading, Writing, and the Production and Transmission of Manuscripts” in The Background of the New Testament: An Examination of the Context of Early Christianity (Baker, 2013), “Will the Real Author Please Stand Up? The Author in Greco-Roman Letter Writing” in Come Let Us Reason: New Essays in Christian Apologetics (B&H, 2012), “Pauline Prescripts and Greco-Roman Epistolary Convention” in Christian Origins and Classical Culture: Social and Literary Contexts for the New Testament (Brill, 2012), and a dozen articles in The Baker Illustrated Bible Dictionary (Baker, 2013).

He has just finished another popular book, Paul Behaving Badly, and is finishing A Little Book for New Bible Scholars, both with InterVarsity Press and due out in 2016. He is also completing chapters in two other books and several dictionary articles.

Dr. Richards is a popular lecturer, speaker and preacher, recently in places as diverse as Wycliffe Hall (Oxford), Kathmandu, and Kenya. He was a Senior Scholar at the IRLBR Summer Summit at Tyndale House (Cambride) in 2013. He regularly conducts missionary training workshops, and currently serves as a Teaching Pastor at Grace Fellowship Church in West Palm Beach.

We’ll be talking about this fascinating book and the life of Paul. What kind of world did he live in? What was it like writing his letters? What can we learn from them? What about his relationship with Judaism? What difference does he make today?

Please be listening to the next episode of the Deeper Waters Podcast and go to the ITunes store and leave a review.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

What Is Required For Happiness?

Do we have what we need to be happy? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

We could say that happiness is a modern fixation in some ways. If we just say it like that, we would be wrong. Aristotle said that happiness was what we were all seeking. What is different is what was meant by happiness. For Aristotle, it largely consisted of your reputation and how you were seen by others. Aristotle did not believe in an afterlife and yet said the happiness of a person could be changed after they died. Why? You could have descendants that are horrible people and ruin your reputation. This is a happiness that is really based on the way others perceive you and if you’re spoken well of in society.

Fast forward about 2,300-2,400 years.

Today, we have the self-esteem movement. You have to feel good in yourself. You have to be able to look at yourself and think you are a good person. We are all raised being taught that we are special and we have this idea that life should work out a certain way for us. Note also that the emphasis is on how we feel. How we feel is really one of the most fluid and changing things about us, and yet we base so much on it. You can go from feeling miserable to feeling happy very quickly and vice-versa. We often say that we should not care what other people think about us, but in reality, we all care, and to some extent we should.

Now if we’re talking about that stranger on the internet who doesn’t know you from Adam and makes one statement to you, yeah. You might not want to take that too seriously. If we’re talking about people who are close to you, yeah. You might want to take that seriously. Of course, that doesn’t mean that these people are always right, but you should heed them more. It’s one reason I’ve surrounded myself with some people who I know will shoot me straight and when they say something, I work to take what they say seriously. Number one of course is that if my wife says something to me about me, I try to take it seriously.

To get back to self-esteem again, if what we are going to do is to look at how we feel at the time to determine our happiness, we’re going to be in trouble. Now there is nothing wrong with feeling happy, just as there is nothing wrong with feeling love. There is also at times nothing wrong with feeling sorrow. If there are times that we do not feel sorrow, we have to ask if there is something wrong with us.

In fact, I needed to take a little break at this point so I went to scroll Facebook some and saw a news story about a reporter and a photographer who were in a live news broadcast when shots rang out. The story does not end well. Both of them were killed. I saw their pictures up there and a message that they are loved. You know what? That leaves me with sorrow. These people were robbed from their families and other loved ones through no fault of their own. This day will be a tragedy for many people until the day that they die. I have sorrow there and I rightly should. Unfortunately, most likely I’ll just have sorrow but won’t do much about it to help, although perhaps just writing this can raise awareness.

So yes, we should feel sorrow at times, but we can’t always control that we’ll feel happy. If our feelings were so under our control, we would just make ourselves feel happy. What is more under control is our thinking and rarely do we do anything with that. Our feelings should follow our thoughts. Usually it’s the other way around. As long as we do that, we are always living in reactionary mode. What do we do when the feelings are too intense? At times, just let them run their course. If you encounter someone who has lost a loved one to death recently, don’t try to reason them out of their feeling. They should feel it now. Let them cry it out of themselves or whatever they need to do since people grieve in different ways. Of course, they should not be allowed any self-harm of any sort, but let them just feel.

Now when we’re ready to think about these matters, let’s start thinking about that happiness. As Christians, we should take this extremely seriously. We are supposed to bring a message to the world that we in fact call “Good news.” Is it really good? Do we really believe it to be good? What do we need to be happy? There are many things that we want, but what is a necessity? What is it that without this thing, we absolutely cannot be happy.

Let me start with my own self as an example. When it comes to loves in my life outside of Christ, my wife comes to mind first. Do I love her? Absolutely. Do I want to grow old with her? You bet. Does she make me happy? Yep. However, I have to ask “Is my wife absolutely necessary for my happiness?” No. She’s not. If I say she is, I’ve in fact made her an idol. In fact, she and I have talked about this. We’ve talked about people who say Heaven would not be Heaven unless their spouse was there with them. There’s no problem in wanting them there with you. You should. What the problem is is in making them a necessity.

How about knowledge and books? Yeah. I really enjoy what I do with apologetics. I would never want in my old age to lose my thinking capacity. I remember telling my father-in-law that I figure in our position, we never retire. We could never stop doing apologetics. It’s just what we love. Indeed it is, but is it necessary for our happiness? No. After all, when we’re around the throne of Jesus in eternity, we will not be debating with atheists I think on apologetics. We will not have room for doubt. Now there will still be knowledge and learning, but knowledge for the sake of knowledge is not what we need.

How about family and friends? These are great, but they fall under the same rubric as the spouse. You should celebrate all the ones that you have, but you must realize that your happiness cannot be dependent on them. To do so is still idolatry.

So what is the one foundation whereby a man can rest and have happiness? It would need to be something that can last, let’s go with eternal. Something that is consistent. This would be something that would not change. It would need to be something without limits because all other joys we have in this life get exhausted after awhile. What could that be? Only one fits the bill. God.

And since God is best revealed in Jesus, Jesus is essential to that. We have the whole of the blessed Trinity to keep us happy and if we cannot find happiness in God, we will not find it anywhere else. There is no other place that can give that kind of happiness. We can find all manner of little joys to keep us going from time to time, but nothing that will truly last. We will be wandering without a foundation.

So if we have that happiness, what do we do with everything else? We celebrate it. Your spouse is not necessary for your happiness, but God gave them to you. Celebrate them. Your passions and interests are not necessary, but celebrate them. Your family and friends are not necessary, but God gave them. Celebrate them. This gets us into thankfulness again. Be thankful realizing that every good thing in your life is a sign of the grace of God.

What happens when suffering comes? It’s okay to mourn. Just don’t stay there. Realize even your mourning and sorrow is to be different. When we lose a loved one to death, we mourn, but we do keep in mind the resurrection. When suffering comes in our life, we have sorrow, but we realize God is in control of all and that He is working all for our good. We place ourselves and our future not in our hands but in the hands of God. We look to Him and we can even be angry with Him and say we don’t understand what is going on and why it is allowed to happen, but that we are going to trust Him.

Happiness is what we all want, and it will not come easy. We will have to work at it. We will have to continually die to old ways of thinking and come back with new ways of thinking if we’re going to find the joy that we want. Joy must be worked for. It is given from God, but it is given to those who will receive it. Our God is working to make us holy and not happy in the worldly sense. If we are holy, we will have the true happiness we want.

So today, celebrate all that you have that is not necessary for your happiness as a gift, and when you think of what is most needed for your happiness, cling to that. Hold tight to it fiercely and don’t let it go. Let it show in your own life. You will not tell people the Good News well if they have no reason to think that you really show it.

In Christ,
Nick Peters


What does it mean to be thankful? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Thankfulness. What is it? Is it really that big of a deal? We live in an age today where we don’t really take the time to think about all the good things that we have. Our ancestors would be amazed that rather than go out and hunt for a meal or work for hours in a garden, we can just go the store and pick up something. Heck. We even have something called “fast food.” You can go and place an order at a restaurant and you can have a meal within a minute. (Although I do contend that sometimes fast food is a relative term.) Many of us today in our society are not struggling with not having food. Many of our pets even eat better than our ancestors did.

We also live in houses or apartments or some place that has a roof over our head. We sleep in beds and we have pillows. Earlier this year we did have a snowstorm where I live and not once in all of that were we fearing for our lives. Oh sure we were inconvenienced, but that’s about it. I could say I feared for my personal safety going down the steps at our house, but it was never a question of us asking “Are we going to survive this winter?”

If my wife and I decided to have a child together, there would no doubt be pain involved in childbirth, but there would not be great fear on Allie’s part that she would die in child labor. Why? Because you can go and receive constant medical treatment. You can even receive treatment for the pain of childbirth so it can be made as painless as possible. I happen to have a steel rod on my spine. It was painful, but imagine the wonder that we can do an operation like that today and today, I do function quite well for someone with a steel rod. How much medicine has advanced in our culture.

Travel is something else as well. While in Biblical times, Paul would spend months trying to traverse the Roman Empire, we could go through the whole of it in about a week if we really wanted to. If you wanted to just cover the distance, you could fly over it. Paul’s voyage in the Mediterranean years ago would never have happened in our society where boating is much easier. Sure there are still accidents at times, but these make the news because they are so exceptional.

Knowledge is also incredibly abundant for us. We can go to a library easily and get books and most all of us take our ability to read for granted. We ask about the ancient world “Why didn’t anyone write this stuff down?” because we so take it for granted that writing is the best way to get a message across. If we want a quick answer, we pop open our phones or tablets and just google our questions. Unfortunately, this can also lead to great ignorance as we don’t often know how to evaluate the information, but the possibility is there.

What about our personal relationships? Today, many of us in the West marry for love. That’s actually a recent innovation. Most in the past would have been interested in survival. That we can marry and marry for love is something amazing. Many people can make it through life just fine without having to get married. This is again something that we have taken for granted.

We can also interact with our friends so much easier who are far away. Thanks to technology like Facebook, I could instantly connect with and speak with high school friends of mine if I wanted to. I can use a phone and talk to most anyone all over the world. I do a show regularly through the medium of Skype and I can communicate with a known scholar practically immediately. What an age.

And even down to our entertainment, we have far more. We can go and watch a movie on a huge screen. We don’t have to wait on actors to show up in a play, although we can do that. We can watch a television show and we can have it recorded so that we can watch it again and again and again. We even have video games so we can play our games on a screen and have characters move in response to what we do. How amazing is all of this?!

And you know what?

We probably live in one of the least grateful times of all.

This is especially the case for we who are Christians. Right now, we live in a time of great freedom. Yes. We think that time of freedom could be nearing an end, but you know what? We lived with it for so long that we took it for granted. Many of us have not studied our Bibles because we do not consider the wonder that we have one. Go to a civilization where Christians are persecuted and imagine what some of them would do if they had just a page of Scripture. While many people the world over would love to have a Bible, we have many versions and translations all around us and many of them are collecting dust.

As someone with my own ministry that relies on donations, I remember my first thought was to go to the churches and see if they’d be willing to support. I was told not to. Why? Because the churches do not give. They will not support an apologetics ministry. I’ve found this to be the case quite often unfortunately. Churches have no real interest most of the time in an apologetics ministry. For many of us with ministries, we like to reap the harvest that has been planted, but we don’t want to take part in tilling in the garden at all. No doubt, there are many generous people out there, but it looks like many of us are not.

So how serious is thankfulness Biblically? Romans 1 is one of the hardest hitting passages on the wickedness of humanity. What does verse 21 say?

For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.

Part of the darkening was not giving thanks to God.

So what are we to give thanks for?

Every single thing.

Give thanks for the big things and the small things. Sometimes we speak of parking lot theology where God specifically answers a prayer for you to get a parking space close to the door of where you’re shopping. It’s laughable to think God is micromanaging the universe, but if you really need that and you get one, give thanks. If you don’t get one, give thanks that you can walk and build up some exercise. If any good thing comes to you, give thanks for it. But you know what? Scripture goes further.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds,

Did you hear that? Give thanks for suffering! That does not mean you view the suffering as a good thing in itself. Of course not. But if you’re a Christian, you are to know that God is using that suffering for your good. The question is are you going to resist it or not? Lately for instance, I’m trying to catch myself when I find myself worrying about something. Worry is a sin after all and I try to think “You know what? Worrying about this problem is not making it go away. It is not helping it. All it is doing is changing me for the worse.” Why worry then?

But why give thanks for the suffering? James tells us that God uses it to mature us and make us wise. How about Hebrews 12:7-11?

7 Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? 8 If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. 9 Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! 10 They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. 11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.

Look at the end of verse 10. “In order that we may share in His holiness.” God does this so you can be like Him. That is why you are disciplined. Isn’t that something good to go through in the long run then?

1 Peter 1:6-7.

In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7 These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.

Why suffering? So your faith may be proven genuine.

Romans 5:3-5.

Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

Our suffering will lead to hope. We will learn to rely on God all the more in suffering. It’s quite sad to think that many of us who live in an affluent society like America and have so much are so depressed, when I am told that poor Christians all over the world who live in poverty often have much more joy than we do and celebrate the goodness of God much more than we do.

That should embarrass us.

Romans 8:28-30.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.

This is quite likely one of the greatest ones of them all if not the greatest. If you can believe the first verse, you can live everything in your life differently. God tells you that EVERYTHING will work for your good. Not some things. All things. This does not mean all things are good. Of course not. It does mean that all things come through the hand of God first. Christians aren’t to even mourn the same way as the lost do when their loved ones die. As Paul says, we mourn, but not like those who have no hope. We can even have hope in the face of death that we will be resurrected.

Are we really thankful?

We do not have what we have because we are so special a lot of times. We have it because of the generosity of God. If you can take a look at your life and stop and realize that at least one thing you have is good, that is enough. I have seen this dramatic change in my own life. For instance, my wife and I are cat owners. Meet our little Shiro. (His name is the Japanese word for white.)



I remember one night in the sorrows of depression watching little Shiro come into the living room where I was. I was for some reason I don’t remember feeling sorry for myself. I just watched him and saw him start to play with something and thought about how good that is. It just hit me then. There are truly many things that are good and I had just taken them for granted. Shiro didn’t have to be a part of my life, but he is. This thankfulness causes me to appreciate things more than normal. I can even think of the water bottle I have next to me. Thankfulness makes me realize that having such easy access to water is something my ancestors would have celebrated. It really makes me appreciate the taste of my water all the more.

There was a time a couple of years ago when I had a fundraiser held for Deeper Waters with Premier Jewelry. We had advertised it well and were hoping to get a lot of customers come by. You could count the number we had come by on one hand honestly. That part was disappointing, but they still bought some jewelry. We bought enough that I could get basic equipment for my computer. The equipment was enough for me to get the podcast started which I think has been a great part of my ministry. I gave thanks. God didn’t owe me a single penny that night. He is not in any debt to me. I am in great debt to Him. Still, despite Him having the right to demand everything of me, He instead gives me so much.

When we are not thankful, we take things for granted. We act like it all came about through our own power and means. We are not properly honoring God. One of the highest compliments I get from people is when they praise the way I treat my wife. Now I love getting compliments on intellectual ability being an apologist, but many people can do that. Only one person on this world gets to have the privilege of being a husband to my wife. That is one job I never want to fail at. When someone compliments me on that, it is the greatest honor. Yet my devotion I think could also stem from the old joke about the way nerds are with their women. We’re so convinced that we can never get a wife that when we find one, we treasure her all the more because we look at her and say “Well it sure isn’t because of anything really special in me that she’s with me today.” (Seriously. I’m a 120 pound or so weakling and I have no access to huge amounts of money. My wife did not marry me for looks or money definitely.)

My great joy from this blog post would be to see you think about the good things in your own life. Give thanks for them. Celebrate them. They did not have to be there. Every great thing you have is a blessing of God. Treat it that way. Perhaps one reason God does not do things for us we would like Him to do is we have failed to appreciate the good things that He’s already done for us.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

On The Duggars

What are my thoughts on the Duggar happenings? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Okay. Let’s state some things up front.

I understand the Duggars have a TV show. I’ve never watched it. I don’t really care to. It doesn’t interest me at all.

I also of course know about the information about Josh Duggar molesting his sisters when he was younger. I happen to know that most people didn’t mind broadcasting that everywhere though I’m sure his sisters certainly didn’t appreciate it.

I also know that Josh Duggar had a position with the Family Research Council. I am saying nothing about them other than their being seen as a conservative organization. I also know that he had an account on Ashley Madison and was unfaithful to his wife Anna. I think everything I’ve said so far is accepted and there are no major debates on those issues.

So let’s get down to what it means.

First off, Josh Duggar has been charged with being a hypocrite. That charge is absolutely true, but there’s something interesting about it. The only way you can be a hypocrite is if you really do have some moral standards that you are expected to live by. In this case, Christians are therefore expected to honor the union of one man and one woman in marriage. We are supposed to be champions of the sanctity of marriage whether we’re married or not. We are supposed to walk as Jesus walked. If you are someone who does not have any moral standards at all, you cannot be called a hypocrite.

Second, the things that Josh Duggar has done are in fact evil. Let’s not deny that for a second. Let’s not pretend that what he’s done is no big deal. No. It is a huge deal. Molesting sisters at a younger age is a big deal. Being a hypocrite is a big deal. Engaging in sexual sin and being unfaithful to your wife who you promised to be in a sacred covenant with is a big deal. There are reasons why people do such things of course, but there can be no justification for them. When Christians speak of justification, we never mean to say that sin is justified. Sin never is. We mean that sinners are put in right relationship with God. They are forgiven, but they can only be forgiven if they have done something that needs to be forgiven and they have repented for.

So let’s get down to some major issues.

There are many critics of the marriage movement today that talk about how Christians are all for the sanctity of marriage supposedly and yet they have a high rate of divorce and adultery and any other sins in their own marriages.

Let’s not take that lightly.

Yes. I know about Shaunti Feldhahn’s research on Christian marriages that shows that marriages that attend church together, study the Bible together, pray together, and just take Christianity seriously together are far less prone to divorce. I know about this and I agree with it. That does not change the reality that Christians divorce. Whenever divorce happens, we should see it as a tragedy.

“But Nick! Sometimes women and children are being abused in marriages by husbands who are just awful and the wives end up divorcing so they and their children can be safe. Are you saying that’s a tragedy?”

Yep. Absolutely.


It’s a tragedy that two people who enter into the most sacred union between a man and a woman and make a covenant before God and men to love and honor each other until death do them part and give themselves to each other in an exclusive union reach the point where they can’t even live together and especially because of fear of serious harm to one of them. That is a tragedy. In fact, even in cases where I would have recommended the woman clear out of there and get a divorce to keep her and her children safe, I would still say that it was a tragedy because marriage should never have to come to that.

Yet at the same time, there is something highly admirable about what Josh’s wife is doing. She is working to forgive and to move on. You know what? This will take time. This is hard no doubt, but marriage should be a place where forgiveness is a virtue held in high esteem. Anna could easily leave Josh right now and frankly, she’d be biblically justified in doing so, but while divorce is an option in her case, it is not a necessity and she has indeed chosen to honor marriage. It’s easy to honor marriage when both parties are doing everything that they ought to do right. It’s not as easy when one or both is not doing so.

In marriage, you are to forgive and you are to live in grace and that is honoring the sanctity of marriage. Marriage is a union where you honor the other person. Too often in marriage, we look at what the other person is doing for us. Instead, we must always ask what we are doing for the other person. You see, if people say we were damaging the sanctity of marriage first through divorce and adultery, they’re right. We were doing that. If we weren’t, we were allowing it. Now of course, I’m not saying we shouldn’t have grace for people who sin and repent, we absolutely must have grace.

In fact, that could be part of the scandal of what’s happening.

You see, the world is starting to learn that we Christians really believe in this thing called forgiveness. When the shooting happened in South Carolina, we saw that Christians were rushing out not to condemn but to forgive. With Josh Duggar, when he repented and confessed, that was enough. Sure, he might have consequences like losing his job and such and sure, he will lose trust, but that does not mean we want to punish him. We do not delight in bringing about suffering to him. Christians actually believe in reconciliation.

We believe in it because this is what Jesus did for us.

Anything we do to one another, we know that it cannot compare to what we have done to God. Whatever we might do to one another, we have done far worse to God, and God has forgiven us in Christ of all that we do. If God forgives us, we are obligated to forgive one another. For the Christian, forgiveness is not optional. It is mandatory. Walking as Jesus walked is not an option. It is a requirement. Christians are to be people whose lives are marked by forgiveness and we can only truly do that when we realize just how much we’ve been forgiven.

Forgiveness does not mean we condone the wrong that was done. We don’t. It means we value the relationship involved more and we don’t want to focus on the wrong that was done. That doesn’t mean that we’re foolhardy. It doesn’t mean a woman immediately reconciles with an abusive husband, but it should mean they are open to taking those steps if possible. Forgiveness does not mean forgetting. It does mean that there should be change on the part of the person who has been forgiven. It means that they should go and sin no more and when we realize that someone forgives us of a great wrong, we should seek to want to properly honor that person. We should all seek then to immensely honor Christ for what He’s forgiven us.

Marriage should be one of the main places where that happens. Marriage should be a place where we seek to please each other more than we seek to please ourselves and any time any of us look to our own pleasure and don’t seek the pleasure of our spouse, we are really ceasing to do marriage. Reality is we will all do this from time to time. This is also why it’s important to know how best to love and honor your spouse. Try and find little things even you can do that will help them along the way.

The reason the world does not honor the sanctity of marriage is that we went a long way to treating marriage like something common instead of the amazing and incredible union that it is. Part of having a good apologetic for marriage is going to be our doing marriage well. The best we can realize is to know what the way is and to walk in it. We are to do what we are told. We have too many people breaking apart because they do not feel like they are in love any more or any other such reason like that. It does not matter if you don’t feel like you are in love. Your marriage is not built on you being in love but on you being in covenant. That covenant should produce love, but the covenant is the foundation of the love.

If we want to present an excellent apologetic for marriage, one of the best ways to do that would be to be living great marriages out and part of that is going to be the scandal of forgiveness that takes place and living forgiveness out. We must make marriage a place of love. It can too often look like we didn’t care about marriage until the homosexuals came for it. It looks more often like we’re more interested in chicken sandwiches and Duck Dynasty than we are in marriage.

That must change.

We must never condone what Josh did, but gosh, maybe more of us could be like his wife.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Book Plunge: Rediscovering Jesus

What do I think about the new book from Rodney Reeves, Randy Richards, and David Capes published by IVP? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Rediscovering Jesus by Capes, Reeves, and Richards is a surprising read. Now I had read this book shortly after reading Rediscovering Paul so I was expecting something like that, but that isn’t exactly what I got. At the start, I was kind of disappointed hoping to find more about the culture of Jesus and especially looking at Jesus from an honor and shame perspective. That disappointment was only initial. As I got further into the book, I found myself quite intrigued and fascinated by what I was reading in the book and I found the idea for consideration a fascinating one.

This idea is to look at Jesus in isolation from the major sources that we have, such as the Gospel writers individually, the Pauline epistles, Hebrews, the general epistles, and Revelation. What would it be like if each source was the only source we had on Jesus? We usually take a composite of all we have on Jesus and then put that together and say this is the real Jesus. There is no fault in this, but looking at each case in isolation can be an interesting case study. Imagine how different our worldview would be if the only source we had on Jesus was the book of Revelation?

While these are fascinating, there is also a second section where we look at Jesus from other sources. What about the Gnostic Jesus such as popularized in works like The Da Vinci Code? What about the Jesus of Muslims who never died on the cross? What about the historical Jesus of modern historians who do not hold to the reality of miracles? What about the Mormon Jesus that looks like a Jesus made just for America? Speaking of that, what about the American Jesus as here in America, Jesus is used to promote and sell just about anything. Every side in every debate usually wants to try to claim Jesus. Finally, what about the Cinematic Jesus? Many of us have seen Hollywood movies about Jesus. Some are good. Some are not. How would we view Jesus if all we had were those movies to watch? (And since so few people read any more, this could become an increasingly common occurrence.)

For me, honestly the most fascinating section was the one on the American Jesus. This dealt with so much I see in my culture. It’s interesting we don’t talk about the French Jesus or the Japanese Jesus or the Italian Jesus. It’s more the American one. This one changes so much to being the super manly Jesus who takes the world like a man or the Prince Charming Jesus that every girl sings about as her boyfriend. This can be the pragmatic Jesus who is there to help us promote our culture, or it can be the Superman Jesus who rescues us when we’re in need, but then disappears. I do have to admit I am a Superman fan so I could see the parallels very easily and while I do think there are valid parallels, we do not want to see Jesus as identical with Superman. If there’s any chapter in the book I keep coming back to mentally, it’s this one. I will certainly be watching my culture much more.

I find this book to be one of the most eye-opening ones I have read in that sense. I do not think I ever paused to consider what it would mean if all I had to tell me about Jesus was just one particular source or one kind of source. How much richer off we are for having all these other sources! We can also be thankful for the non-Christian sources as well because these can highlight aspects of the Biblical Jesus that we might have lost sight of or they could show that the Jesus of the Bible is so much greater by contrast. If an outside source says something true about Jesus, we are the better for it. If it says something false, this can contrast with the true and we are the better.

I recommend the work wholeheartedly. It fortunately also comes with questions at the end that make it ideal for small group discussion.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Deeper Waters Podcast 8/22/2015: Greg Monette

What’s coming up on the Deeper Waters Podcast? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

The Apostle Paul says of Jesus in the 1 Cor. 15 creed that he was buried. Bart Ehrman says no. Which one is right? Greg Monette has come down hard on the side of burial and since he’s doing his Ph.D. on the topic of the burial of Jesus, then he’s certainly qualified to speak on this matter. So who is Greg Monette?


And in his words:

Greg Monette is the Canadian Representative for Faithlife Corporation, the makers of Logos Bible Software. Logos serves over 2.5 million customers and employs nearly 500 people at their head office in Bellingham, Washington.

Greg recently became an author for the first time with the release of his book The Wrong Jesus: Fact, Belief, Legend, Truth…Making Sense of What You’ve Heard (NavPress, 2014).

Greg earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from Saint Mary’s University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada and attainted both his Masters of Divinity and Master of Arts in Theology degrees from Acadia University’s Divinity College in Wolfville, Nova Scotia, Canada. He is currently writing his doctoral thesis in the field of Christian Origins through the University of Radboud in the Netherlands under the guidance of Jan Van der Watt and Michael Licona. His dissertation is on the burial of Jesus and ancient Jewish burial practices. He is a student member of the Society of Biblical Literature.

Greg has lectured in Canada, Israel, the U.K. and the United States.

He is a deeply passionate Canadian hockey fan who loves to read, travel, and spend time with his best friend and wife, Julie. He is also looking forward to Tom Brady and the New England Patriots winning their fifth Super Bowl very soon!

I’ve already recorded the interview which was an hour long, but this was certainly a fascinating interview as we delved into claims made by Ehrman that the burial of Jesus did not take place, as well as something at the start about the importance of teaching apologetics to young people based on Greg’s own experience in college. In looking at the burial, we discussed why it is that many scholars today are quite certain that Jesus was buried, so much so that Craig Evans among others uses terminology that indicates he thinks it’s a certainty. We discussed how Jews in Second Temple Judaism saw the purity of the land and why it is that the body of Jesus would be buried.

We also discussed questions relating to Joseph of Arimathea. Was he a real person? What about the problem that we do not know where Arimathea was? We talked about how Bart Ehrman in writing his section on the burial of Jesus neglected to interact with the very best scholars in the field who would speak on the matter and did not interact with the evidence of archaeology. We also discussed the idea of what if the burial account is just something that is created only for the purposes of getting to the resurrection?

This was a fascinating interview and I hope you’ll be listening to it! I will release it this Saturday!

In Christ,
Nick Peters

What Will You Live For?

Is there something out there worth living for? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Sometimes, I encounter people who will make a big deal about how they have enough commitment to die for Christ. Now that is a good thing. I am not knocking that for a moment. I would even hope that I could do that. I am not making a guarantee because I remember Peter in the Bible talked big and then he cowered, and this was a man who had walked with Jesus for years and seen him do miracles. Still, as impressive as it is to die for Christ, there is something even more impressive.

To live for Him.

Instead, we often chase after so many other things. My wife even wrote on this topic just today. Do we really consider Christ worth living for? Well let me try to see by comparing Christ with other things. These things can be good in themselves, but they are not the good.


By wealth, I don’t just mean money, but material goods. Again, there’s nothing wrong with material goods and if you have a lot of wealth, you are not an evil person. It could be you are a person God has blessed. If you have a gift of being able to make money, you should enjoy that gift. You should be willing to give to those who are less fortunate, but also you should be able to enjoy what your money can afford. Want to take the wife to Paris for a romantic weekend? Go ahead. Want to get a new Mercedes? Go ahead. It is not a sin to enjoy money if you happen to have it, though again, you should be generous with what you have. God loves a cheerful giver.

But in the end, that money will fade. The Great Depression taught us that money can vanish in an instant. You will not be treasured in the future because you have a lot of money and if you are, it could be that you are being treasured by the wrong people who want you more for your money than they do for you. As the old saying goes, you can’t take it with you. As another one goes, he who dies with the most toys, still dies.


You know, this is a big one with me. I like to go to bed having read something during the day and increased my knowledge. I love learning. I really do. Smart people can also be very liked. You can really impress someone if you know a lot of stuff. Yet Paul did rightly say that knowledge puffs up. All knowledge without love to it is a problem. We are not meant to be robots. If we are working on gaining knowledge, we are often gaining that knowledge towards another end. We want to apply that knowledge somehow in the world to make the world a better place. We dare not do it just for ourselves, which can bring us to another option.


It’s really nice to see a piece that you wrote be shared in the world. It’s nice to see people quoting you as an authority. It’s good to be liked and admired. There is no wrong in this and I think if people praise you for something legitimate and good, you should be able to delight in that, but you must remember as J.P. Moreland has said, that you’re here to serve a name and not to make one. Now of course, in many ways you do have to sell yourself to serve that name. Still, it is not about you.

Pride is something that I struggle with, though having a wife has certainly helped with that! She doesn’t want a prideful man. What I used to do as an activity to deal with it was to go into my room when I was single and close the door and get on my bed and pray. I would thank God for all He had done for me. I would thank Him that He had given me so many books and a mind capable of handling knowledge and the respect of so many people in the field. I would think of all the things I thought I had done well in my life and give Him thanks. Then after all of this, where I purposely built myself up, I would then say “And who am I to deserve this for it all comes from you?” It would take all the good things that I had going on then and then remind me that everything is really from God. It’s not because I’m so special, but it’s because He’s so special. I felt humbled every time as I remembered that as James says, every good gift comes from the Father above. I am a servant in His Kingdom.


Okay. This is a big one. There is definitely nothing wrong with a family. Family is one of the great goods God has provided and as I have said before, it’s the building block of civilization. You should love your family, yet we know in Scripture that family is to play a subservient role to Christ. If it comes to Christ or our families, we are to choose Christ. Your family is important, but they fallible people and they will let you down. They could also be taken from you at any moment. Sometimes the tragedy of death strikes without warning to people. If you ever put all your hope on one other person, even your own spouse, then you are going to be disappointed. Every person you meet is a finite person who can only do so much.


If anything is a god in American culture today, it’s sex. Internet pornography is rampant and look at so many of the great debates we have going on in America. They often involve sex in some way. Now I and most married men can understand this idea of living for sex. Hardly anything turns our heads the way the thought of sex does. How many of us men have done stupid stupid things all because we were trying to get the attentions of a girl? Of course, this is not to say women don’t desire sex as well and yes, women will often do stupid things just for a chance to have sex, but men are much more noted for this.

So yeah, sex is great of course, but what if this bizarre thought is true? What if that sex is a pointer to something else? What if the unity with nothing hidden between a man and a woman is meant to point to a unity with nothing hidden with God? In fact, that unity with God is capable of producing new life in us as God gives us His life.

Sex can be a great way to love other people, but if done wrong, it is a great way to use other people. Even if we’re married men and women, we must remember every act of sex is supposed to be a way to say “I love you” to your spouse. In fact, for many men, sex is the loudest way that their wives tell them that they love them. That’s the danger for both sexes. A man can easily say “If I give my wife what she wants, then I can get sex.” A wife can easily say “If I give my husband sex, then I can get what I want.” Both are wrong uses. Sex is supposed to be selfless and total giving with no strings attached.


Along with sex goes pleasure. Now I think play should be an important part of everyone’s life. Believe it or not, there are times I have been reading for awhile and I will stop and just pick up a game and say “I have to have some down time and play.” It’s necessary. Even Ecclesiastes tells us that of writing books there is no end and too much study will make you tired. There are many avenues of pleasure out there and not just sex. There’s sports. There’s food. There’s television. There’s gaming. There are many good things and the reality is these things have been made for us to enjoy.

At the same time, these do follow the law of diminished returns. If you become addicted to these things, it will take more to fill you as the old will not be enough. Get addicted to television and you will need to watch more. Get addicted to food and it will take more food to satisfy you every time. This is also the danger with pornography as it will take more and more to satisfy you. When these things in your life become tyrants, they are horrible tyrants. The only way to break free from them is to stop listening to their demands and to find a new master, but hopefully not one like these.

Pleasure is good, but if you’re just living for that high, it will require more and more. Now this might work if you find something high enough. More on that later.


Sometimes in the Christian church, we can often have an idea that we are to be good people and that is the point of Christianity. Christians should be good people, but that is not the point. We are good for the honor of God. Meanwhile, our atheist friends will tell us that you don’t need to believe in God to be good. They’re absolutely right. You don’t. The problem is they are also assuming the point of life is to be good. For what end? If you are good and in the end we all die in the cold death of a universe that fizzles out of energy, then what? Of course, there is no knocking being good as we should be. The building up of character however is meant for something beyond us. What does it mean to be good for goodness sake after all?


Love is certainly esteemed as a good today as many things that happen today are said to be okay because of love. Love unfortunately is often confused with sentiment instead of an active seeking of the good of the other for the sake of the other. We are all self-centered in our society so let’s not dare think that somehow we are easily moving past this. If you think love is a feeling, you are going to ruin yourself. Love can produce good feelings, but it is not a feeling. It is an active commitment to the good of another for the sake of that other and there are degrees of love. I love my wife. I love my parents. I love my sister and brothers-in-law. I love my in-laws. I love my friends. I love my extended family. I do not love those all the same way.

Love is good, but again, just like with pleasure, it is only when you find a higher source of love that you find something truly worth living for.


Now we come to the big one. At last we have something worth living for. How do we know this? Because God is infinite by definition and therefore, there is no limit to what He can do for us. He is good in nature. He is constant and unchanging so He will always be good. He will always be loving. He will always bring joy ultimately for He is the source of all joy. He alone can carry all of our burdens and He is the one who knows our hearts and He is the only one who can deal with the problem of evil in us that is truly keeping us away from the joy that we do desire.

You see, the reason we chase after these other things is because of the evil in us. These other things can be good, but if we turn them into the greatest good, they become evils for us. All of these things we should enjoy, but let us not lose sight of God.

And could it be we do not delight in God as much because we have made Him so abstract as to be unknowable or made Him so much of our buddy buddy or “Jesus is my boyfriend” kind of thing that we no longer see Him as a sovereign Lord we serve in awe?

And if we want to know who God truly is, well we have to look at Jesus. Philosophy can tell us many things about God and we should use it, but Jesus reveals God to us personally. All good theology must be informed by the knowledge of Jesus Christ.

In the end, with God, we will have something worth living for and if we do not see Him as worth living for, we need to seek to know Him better then.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Only God Can Judge Me

What are you really saying when you say only God can judge you? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

While at the mall Sunday, I happened to see someone wearing a t-shirt with a slogan I’ve seen lately that says “Only God can judge me.” I often wonder when I see this what exactly these people are thinking who claim something like this. I can think of a number of claims possibly being made.

The first is a claim to their fellow man. That is the claim that they cannot be judged by their fellow man. Now if they meant ultimate judgment, I would agree. No other man can make the final say as to your standing before God. They can give the opinion, but they do not have the final say. Yet there are many ways your fellow man can in fact judge you and ironically, when you say only God can judge me, you are making a judgment on your fellow man that they cannot judge you. Now do you mean to say that you alone are the only one that can only be judged by God? That’s quite a strong statement, but it would at least be consistent, but if you are making a statement that all of us can only be judged by God, then you are guilty of being inconsistent since you are judging everyone else by saying that they cannot judge you.

But let’s go to what’s most likely being said. It’s being said that only God has that ultimate say so. My concern with that is that do people really stop to think about what they’re saying? If you say only God can judge you, that should be a thought that’s frightening. Now of course, I realize we Christians are covered by the blood of Christ and we will be pronounced redeemed and justified, but it is still frightening. I was doing some morning reading of Scripture this morning and came across this in Job 13.

9 Would it turn out well if he examined you?
Could you deceive him as you might deceive a mortal?
10 He would surely call you to account
if you secretly showed partiality.
11 Would not his splendor terrify you?
Would not the dread of him fall on you?

Many of us I think do not take the judgment of God seriously. We will all stand before Him. There will be no hiding of anything. There will be no secrets. There will be no partiality or bribes. It will truly be justice. As Hebrews 10:31 tells us, it is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. Even if we’re Christians, there will be revelations and we will stand before God and give an account. Husbands will give an account for how they’ve raised their families. Wives will give an account of how they’ve treated their husbands. All of us will have to explain even the secret things that have gone on that we’ve hidden in our heart of hearts.

So you think only God can judge you? Ultimately, only He can.

I hope you’ll be living accordingly.

In Christ,
Nick Peters