Inerrancy: Pesher

Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters where we are diving into the ocean of truth. We’ve been looking lately at the doctrine of Inerrancy. I’ve been looking at the way that the Jews would have interpreted Scripture in the time of Christ to help with our understanding. Tonight, I’m going to look at Pesher.

Pesher essentially means “This for that.” Consider how last time I wrote, I wrote about how Matthew used Hosea’s prophecy of “Out of Egypt, I called my Son.” Immediately, the atheist objector stands up and shouts “Foul! Hosea was talking about Israel! He wasn’t talking about Jesus! Matthew is misusing Scripture!”

Of course, we know the atheist wants to make sure Scripture is being used properly…

But in any event, we still have to answer the objection as the NT use of the OT is quite puzzling to many Christians. Did Jesus really not fulfill the prophecies of Messiah if the testament to them is so flimsy?

Matthew did Pesher. It was a common practice for his time. In the Qumran community, they often used this to speak of themselves or of their Teacher of Righteousness. The community saw a parallel between what was going on in the life of the writer of the OT and what was going on in their own times. Usually, this would be connected with an eschatological fulfillment, as it was in Christ’s time.

Jesus used this when he spoke of the Pharisees and how Isaiah was right when he prophesied about them saying that they honored God with their lips, but their hearts are far from Him. Jesus was not saying that Isaiah was directly speaking of the Pharisees, but he had in mind people like the Pharisees. The Pharisees would have seen this as a serious charge as they were being compared to apostate Israel, the very Israel that was judged by YHWH Himself.

Events in the life of Israel were often seen in a similar sort of way. In 1 Corinthians, Paul talks about passing through the waters and compares it to Israel going through the Red Sea and how that was a sort of baptism. Considering the constant contrast between the church and Israel in the Bible, we should be looking at such events. Can we learn anything about how we are to behave? Remember, Paul told us that the events were written not just for the benefit of Israel, but also for our benefit.

I personally find pesher to be a very enjoyable style to look for and it’s one we should keep in mind. Let us not be hesitant to check the OT texts and see if there are parallels that are being missed. If pesher is being used, then why is it being used? How is the situation in the lifetime of Christ or in the case of the Qumran community, their own life, an example of what was going on back then? What is the connection with the past? Remember for the Jews, YHWH was Lord over all of history and it was tied together. The pronouncements of God were still very much active and in a time of great eschatological fulfillment, as was the time of Christ, much of pesher would have been going on.

It will be awhile before next time. I will be out of town for a few days. I hope what has been written is sufficient to keep you reading until then.

Inerrancy: Midrash

Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters where we are diving into the ocean of truth. Lately, Inerrancy has been our topic of study. In looking at that, I have chosen to look at some of the ways the text of Scripture has been interpreted and today, we are going to take a look at midrash.

Midrash is a very difficult term to define. It is a kind of commentary on a text where it seeks to look beyond just the face value of a text and tries to find a deeper meaning that is in the text. Does this take place in the New Testament? Without a doubt, it most certainly does.

If there was one place in the New Testament where this takes place, it would be in the book of Hebrews. Hebrews has the author regularly pulling out an old testament reference and then expounding on it far more than it is likely that the original writer thought could.

Hence, there is much repetition in the book. The writer wants to drive the point home about what he is getting at by taking a text that his readers would know about, particularly readers who were quite familiar with the beliefs and practices of Judaism, and showing how these texts actually pointed to something beyond just themselves.

Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts. This refrain repeats throughout the early part of the book and the writer asks us what does it mean to harden our hearts? What does it mean to hear his voice? What does it mean when the time is referred to as today? Was God saying something for just the people back then, or saying something for us today?

There are other such references in Hebrews. We are told of the story of Melchizedek and how Melchizedek points to someone beyond himself. We are also told about how “The Lord said to my Lord, sit at my right hand.” (Which is the most quoted OT verse in the NT so it could possibly be one we should take seriously.)

Some whole writings could have midrashic underpinnings. For instance, I take the first five chapters of Matthew to be recording historical events, but I also think that Matthew is using a midrashic telling of the stories to show that Jesus is the new Israel.

Matthew has early on the miraculous birth followed by the escape from death into Egypt, just as Israel escaped death. (And Israel was of miraculous descent through Isaac) Next, Israel was called out of Egypt just as Jesus was. (Matthew’s quoting of Hosea 11:1 helps show that) Then, Jesus passes through the waters of baptism (The waters of the Red Sea for Israel. Paul calls this a baptism in 1 Corinthians 10.) Then, Jesus is tempted in the wilderness, just as Israel was. Finally, Jesus goes on top of the mountain and gives the new law, just as Moses went up to get the law. We have the text saying that Jesus opened his mouth at the top of the mountain. The idea is that if Jesus is the one giving the law, well let’s go back to the OT and think “Who was it who gave the law from the mountain?” Well it was God. Do we see Matthew having a high view of Jesus?

None of that denies historicity. In fact, it can take historicity and give us a deeper view of the life of Christ.

Question: If it was found out somehow that the event was not historical and Matthew was writing midrash, would that damage inerrancy?

Answer: No.

If Matthew is writing this as an account to not be taken literally but to picture Jesus as the new Israel, then there is no error for it assumes that if Matthew wrote X, Matthew meant it to be literal. However, if Matthew wrote midrash, it does not follow necessarily that it’s to be taken literally and thus, there is no error. Now for the record, I don’t think Matthew was writing that. I think he was writing history. I think there are good arguments for that. However, this isn’t an all-or-nothing game. It isn’t “The whole thing is literal or none of it is,” or “The whole thing is midrash or none of it is.” It can be both-and.

What the case is will be left for the ones who are more biblical historians and scholars, but what we have is a style of interpretation the Jews used. Let us not dispense of it entirely.

We shall continue next time.

Inerrancy: Literal

Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters where we are diving into the ocean of truth. I’ve lately started a series on inerrancy. In going with this look, I would like to suggest some ways in which we can interpret a text. To begin with, I am going to start with the most obvious one for most of us, and the one we probably use the most, the literal approach.

Have you ever wondered what it would mean if we took the Bible literally as much as possible? Many of us say we would. Well there was someone named Finis Jennings Dake who did just that. In fact, if you get his Study Bible, you will find that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, each have a body, a soul, and a spirit. (Ever wonder where Hinn got it from?)

Something’s wrong there.

Often times, we will see a poll being said about how many Americans believe the Bible should be interpreted literally. If I got that question asked to me by a pollster, I would have to say “Depends.” Why? There are definitely times where you should take it literally, and there are definitely times you should not. For example, on the latter, if we all took Jesus’s commands about lust literally, we would all be blind right now.

Literal readings can work well with events like narratives, but even narratives themselves can be filled with other parts that should not be taken literally, such as hyperbole happening or the writer using metaphors to describe something or even possibly apocalyptic language. How do you know which is which? Well there is no ardent rule that we have set down that can determine the truth each and every time, so the best method overall is to try to study the culture and language.

If that is not the easiest route, it is good to also consult with those who do, though keep in mind with all authorities you contact, even myself, that we are not the Holy Spirit and we are all fallible people who can error in our interpretations of the text. As one who believes in inerrancy, I do believe the Scripture cannot error, but our interpretations of Scripture certainly can.

When reading the text literally, do always be on the look out for figures of speech and events of that sort. I believe the events of Joshua and Judges for instance, particularly since I just finished Joshua and I’m going through Judges now in my own reading, are by and large literal truth, but I do believe that there is rich symbolism in some parts. I would say the majority however is literal.

Also, because an event is literal, that does not mean it does not have a deeper meaning. Consider in the gospels when Jesus curses the fig tree. I believe that that literally happened. I believe that that is also an apocalyptic warning where Jesus is comparing the fig tree to Israel and how Israel had all the appearance of having fruit, but had no fruit, and judgment was to come. Remember, it is not always an either/or game.

The bottom line again at this point is to study and study more. Always be learning and always be open to the fact that you could be wrong. That rule goes for myself also.

We shall continue next time.

How Do We Interpret?

Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters where we are diving into the ocean of truth. It seems there’s a lot of interest in inerrancy and thus, I invite readers to also go to our Facebook page where you can follow along and see what happens on the blog as it happens. I would hope that it also becomes a good place for discussion and debate.

Regularly, from the non-Christian community, we can be asked how it is we are to interpret texts. It seems like the Bible is all literal or all figurative. This certainly isn’t the case. My reply to such a question is the same each time. “How are we to interpret Plato? Aristotle? Chaucer? Shakespeare?” Think of any great writer. How do we interpret them?

Well you have to do the study. If a term seems hard to understand, you look it up or you consider if the culture has changed and you need to study the culture. Yet somehow, so many people think the Bible is exempt from this. It seems we often have a view of the Bible that somehow, no study is required to understand it.

This is not a good view to have. The Bible is divine in origin, but it is also through human hands. I am told that Mark does not have good Greek, but Luke certainly does. All the writers wrote on their own level. We know some texts are Pauline because of the style with which he wrote.

In the Old Testament, I am also told that Isaiah has simply elegant Hebrew. I am sure there are writers whose Hebrew was hardly stellar. However, each were inspired by God to write, although I do not believe each was dictated what they were to write.

While some may prefer to take the literal right off the bat every time, this is not necessarily the right way. Can we compare with other ancient writings and see how they were written? Why should we expect that Moses wrote in a style amenable to 21st century man? Moses would have written in a way understandable by his contemporaries.

Believe it or not, the Bible was not written just for our day, age, and place. One wonders what it could mean if people alive 500 years from now could wonder why God didn’t speak directly the way that they speak. We could say that that’s ridiculous, but modern man, especially in America at least, seems to do that.

So unfortunately for most of us who want the answers handed to us and wonder why God didn’t just spell everything out, we have to study the text. Not just the text, but we also have to study the culture and the time that the text was written in. If we do not learn the languages, we need to rely on those who do, although hopefully, more of us will learn the languages. We must remember that God is looking for disciples and not just converts.

And maybe once we do that, so many “contradictions” in the text will just disappear.

A starter on Inerrancy

Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters where we are diving into the ocean of truth. Tonight, I’m going to start a new look at the doctrine of inerrancy. To begin with, I will state that I do hold to the doctrine of inerrancy. There are some ways I believe inerrancy is not understood however.

In our modern western culture, it’s easy to think that the Bible was written for people in our place and time. We have found a way to center the world around us. We seek to do that which will promote us and further our good. There is hardly any interest in doing something for the sake of another.

It is odd that we take this approach with the Bible that we do not with Plato, Aristotle, Homer, Augustine, Aquinas, Shakespeare, or many other works. One can read the works of Flannery O’Connor and think she was racist when really, she was just writing using the terminology of her time. We often accuse atheists of chronological snobbery with their assumption that modern times are automatically the best times and our moral beliefs are the standard, when we are often guilty of literary snobbery, thinking that our style of studying literature should be the way all literature was written.

Much of our writing today is not as colorful as it could be, and I do not mean profanity by that. It is slow prose with no vivid imagery to it. This is because we are not familiar with other works of literature in part and because we live in an image-saturated culture where we tend to pre-think in images due to TV and other related media.

Thus, we live in a world where metaphors and such are highly absent. The only way we often understand things is in a straight-forward manner. The beauty of such great language is lost. Does this affect the way that we read our Bibles? The sad reality is that it does.

When I affirm inerrancy then, I am at the start affirming that the Bible does not contain errors and contradictions. However, there is no doubt that our interpretations of Scripture can involve errors and contradictions. We must always be open to the possibility that our interpretations can be wrong.

A problem with not realizing metaphor can be taking a text such as Numbers 23:19.

God is not human, that he should lie,
not a human being, that he should change his mind.
Does he speak and then not act?
Does he promise and not fulfill?

But what about Exodus 32:14?

Then the LORD relented and did not bring on his people the disaster he had threatened.

So at this point the atheist jumps up and down with glee realizing that a contradiction has occurred.

Or has it?

Could it be that one of these is a metaphor and one is not?

Now if we take both without considering the idea of metaphor, I think we would have a contradiction, but the Bible is a much richer text than that full of several literary techniques and flourishes. It is not a simple piece of literature despite what some may think and to study it, we need to be cognizant of the time and culture it was written in instead of assuming that people were just like us.

Why do I think Exodus 32 is the metaphor? The reason is that Numbers 23 is making a direct statement about the nature of God. He is saying “This is the way God is.” We see however in narrative often that there are literary devices used, such as God saying He will extend His arm or God walking through the Garden of Eden.

Not only that, I have several philosophical problems with God changing His mind. Am I to believe that God is ignorant? Is He no longer the God of all-truth? Yes. I know several open theists could complain at this one and if they want to, I’m more than happy to engage them on those issues. It will not be enough to say to me “Greek philosophy!” I need to be shown why my thinking and the thinking of the church throughout history has been wrong.

If it’s a metaphor, does that mean there is no truth to it? Not at all. The point of the narrative is in this case to show that Moses was being a mediator for Israel as Christ would be in the future. Our prayers don’t change God. God knows what we are to pray, although I would say He would not do what we would do had our prayers not been known. God knows in advance what we will pray and has in advance acted accordingly. Yes. I suspect there are many headaches coming about right now.

The literal truth then is that a mediator before God does hold back His wrath so that those of us on the other side of the mediator may be saved. Did God literally change His mind? No. Did God hold back his wrath after hearing from Moses? Yes. (All the while knowing Moses would do that however)

The same is true of passages that say God covers us with His wings or in talking about the might of God’s arm or the smoke coming from His nostrils. These are literary devices that contain great truth. What we need is a richer appreciation of literature and a deeper look at the text.

We shall continue next time.

One Year Later: It’s Worth it

Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters where we are diving into the ocean of truth. Tonight, I’m going to be wrapping up the series I’m on of looking at marriage one year later. I hope that it’s been illuminating to all readers despite their marital status. So, what final message will I end with?

Have fun.

Marriage is full of ups and downs. There are no perfect marriages. I do not believe Jesus was married, but if he had been, he would not have had a perfect marriage because he would have been married to an imperfect woman. If he could not have had a perfect one, don’t count on your having one either.

You have two people coming together with all their positives, yes, but also all their negatives. When you’re close to someone, it’s easy to get careless also and let some of those negatives show. In marriage, you get to see the person as they really are entirely. However, in seeing the other person, you can often see yourself as well. Can you control yourself enough to overcome your own faults and can you manage to not make the faults of the spouse everything?

However, you also get the fun and adventure, and that’s not just sex my male friends who might be thinking that since we tend to think about that the most. Marriage is an endless adventure as you’re connected to a person and every day you are constantly learning new things about that person.

These kinds of things are the things that could easily be taken for granted. That person has chosen to share their life with you and will always be a part of your life. Do not take them for granted. Do not act like their love is commonplace. I am constantly amazed when I hear the devotion that my wife has for me.

Do not lose sight of the simple pleasures. I find it amazing to realize I sleep in the same bed with a woman now and that I am at that phase of my life. It’s like being on a whole new plane. You really do change. To my male friends, I can assure you that marriage will change you and you will see the world through new eyes and you will find more and more your thinking changing, particularly with how you view the new woman in your life.

The relationship takes hard work. The more serious a relationship is, the harder it is. The greater also, however, the rewards are.

There was a night we had one time that I have not forgotten the main part of. We were getting set to turn out the lights and I was reaching down from the bed to get something and moving in a way I shouldn’t have and started to fall. My wife gets quite concerned since I have a steel rod on my spine. Before anything could happen, she had immediately wrapped her arms around me and said “I won’t let you fall.”

That’s the way it is. You don’t let one another fall. You fight alongside each other on all the battles. Through good times and bad, you are a unit together. You are a new family. It is a privilege that is to be enjoyed. Thus, make the most of it and have fun together. You have the rest of your lives.

One Year Later: Why Wait?

Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters where we are diving into the ocean of truth. I’ve been writing lately on marriage and what has been learned after one year. The last time I wrote, I wrote about sex. I affirmed it as a very good gift of God to which I can picture someone asking “In our modern age, if it’s so good, why wait? What’s the big deal?”

This is a very real question and one that we need to be thinking more about. The temptations are there always even for those of us who are Christians. Being a Christian does not mean that you will never be tempted and if you think that, you are already prone to fall for temptation. When that temptation comes, you will need more than a few verses of Paul. You will in fact need the theology of Paul.

To begin with, sex is not just an action. It entails an action and the action is necessary of course, but it is much much more. In the sexual union, there is a connection with one’s spouse that cannot be expressed in any other way. It is using the deepest action possible to express the deepest commitment we can have between two people.

In fact, we in the Christian church should be pushing this more and more. It is amazing that those outside the church think of sex as “no big deal.” It’s something highly enjoyable, but it’s just something that you do. For us, it is not to be just something we do. It is supposed to be the highest love between humans expressed.

If you walk down the street and see someone you know, and they wave at you, you will take that action to mean something and smile or wave back. If, on the other hand, they extend to you the middle finger, you will be hurt and wonder what it is that you did to offend them. The bodily actions mean something.

So does the action of sex. If this action means something, it is important to find out what it does mean. Note that the marriage is portrayed as a parallel to God and Israel and to Christ and the church. In both cases, God is God and Christ is Christ and in both cases, God and Christ are in the male roles.

The men give their life to the women. They share their life with them and the woman is the one receiving. In the same way, the relationship between God and Israel and Christ and the church end in them implanting their own life into us. While that might seem crude to some readers, we must keep in mind as Christians that we believe that God designed sex. (Yes Christians. Keep that in mind if you have the desire to be prudish. God designed the system and he designed it to be enjoyed as well)

To not wait is to tell someone that you want them to give you all of them without having the protection of a covenant. Now some might say in response to this “Well would you drive a car without taking it for a test-drive?” Fair enough question. To the couple that wishes to ask this, I have but one question in reply.

“Which one of you is the driver and which one of you is the car?”

To do this action, is to put someone’s sexuality on a test and if they don’t measure up sexually, well they’re out. Who can really perform their best when they’re under that kind of pressure? Keep in mind also those of you who are unmarried, as there is an important truth to learn here about sex.

It gets better.

Your first time is not likely to be the best time ever, although no complaints really if it is, but as you and your lover grow used to one another more and more, things get better as you come to know the things that you like and the things that you don’t like. The two of you come to know one another better and how best to please one another.

If you judge the whole by the first time, it’s not really fair. You have yet to get started. (I highly recommend Kevin Leman’s book “Sheet Music” here) Take the time and if you wish, find some good material that will help you to improve your sex life. Keep in mind also that once you’re married, you can do what you want provided it does not shame or harm your spouse.

“Well if you do that, can’t you open you up to….a lot of stuff?”


That’s one of the great blessings of it. No matter how it turns out, you both know that you will wake up next to each other not just the next morning, but every other morning afterwards. You are in a covenant and even if it’s not the best time every time, you can always laugh about it and enjoy it still. (And you will have some times that are better than others)

“Well the person I’m interested in has already agreed to marry me.”

Then you should be willing to wait since you know that you will have that person.

After all, you don’t really know what will happen. I knew someone once who the night before his wedding, he and his bride-to-be were hit by a drunk driver. She died and he was hospitalized. If he’s remarried or not now, I do not know, but I know that if he waited, which I believe he did, he would have no shame before his future wife and could say he saved himself for her.

There are several couples who think they will get married, have sex, and then break apart. It does change the dynamic of the relationship. Having a covenant however helps seal that. As soon as you have the covenant, you know that it will not change as you’re in this until death do you part.

Now waiting is not easy. I recommend that if you’re in a home setting, never have it be just the two of you in the home. Let it be that anyone could come and find you. My parents and in-laws did this for us but were also very respective so we could get some good romantic time that did not involve having sex before we got married.

As much as I recommend husbands and wives pray together, I don’t recommend that for engaged or dating couples if they are physically together. Prayer can be an extremely connecting time and that emotional connection can be followed by a strong desire for the full connection. Don’t risk it at this point. You’ll have plenty of time together.

If you are watching pornographic material right now, stop immediately. This will not help your self-control and in fact will leave ghosts behind that can affect your future marriage. Never mind that Scripture has just a few things to say about lust. Save your desires for your spouse and remember to focus on them. They don’t need to think they are competing against a fake person on a screen.

Do be reading good books on the topic, even before marriage. If you have to, talk to someone you know who you can trust. I found myself talking to men and women both about anything I could in seeking help before my marriage. When it comes to the specifics of sex however, I recommend men talk to men and women to women.

Look forward to what you have coming and be ready to enjoy it and I pray you and your spouse will be able to be in the same position my wife and I are in. We both waited until that night, and we have no regrets about waiting.

One Year Later: What Is Sex?

Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters where we are diving into the ocean of truth. We’re going to be continuing our look at marriage one year later tonight talking about sex. After all, most disagreements in marriage center around parents, money, and sex. So what has been learned about sex after one year of marriage?

To begin with, this will not be a blog about physical techniques and moves and things of that sort. I have no problem with Christians studying that however as anything that can improve your sex life in marriage should be considered provided it is not immoral. This will also not be a peak into our bedroom. I will not state anything explicitly that my wife and I do together. I want this to be something that all married couples can learn from and all who are wanting to get married can think about.

If you go into marriage thinking sex will be like it is in the movies and on TV, you will find that it is not. It’s something quite different, but it is something really good still. An attitude that Christians need to get past is the one that thinks it is improper for Christians to enjoy sex. If anything, we should have the world coming to us wanting to know how to have better sex, rather than us going to the world.

The main joy of sex is the intimacy that you share with one person. It has been said that intimacy is better than sex, and I do agree. However, the best intimacy will lead to sex. The desire to be one with the person that you love is a strong one and building up that love will only make the sex better.

In sexuality, there is a complete openness between the husband and wife. For Adam and Eve, they were both naked and they felt no shame. Such is the case in a good marriage. Neither person needs to feel any shame in the bedroom. Unfortunately, due to some events in our lives, it can be easy to feel shame, but do not live with that shame in front of your spouse. Give them total openness.

My wife does love the way I look physically, but I know she would also agree that I am not a muscle man. In fact, I am underweight. However, I take great delight in knowing that she loves my body. Of course, she loves more than that, but that she loves that gives me great freedom when I am with her. Can I change my body to be even more attractive to her? Yes. However, my acceptance is not based on that change and I am working on that change as we speak.

Sex is an ultimate way of letting go. For the time being, there is no one else in the world. It is just you and your spouse and you are focusing the most on what can bring your spouse joy. Now in a sense, you do think about your own pleasures, but that is so your spouse can know what it is that you like and don’t like. When you get to sex however, let the rest of the world go away. For the time being, it is you and your spouse together sharing your love.

Make it a priority too. Many women can sadly make the mistake of thinking that they’ll give their husband sex when he starts doing some things around the house. The reality is that the husband is thinking “Well when she starts giving me sex, I will start doing things around the house.” If you are a woman reading this, I can practically guarantee to you that if you make this part a priority for your husband and make it a goal to seduce him, that he will start doing what you want as well. A happy man is a helpful man.

Will there be times you just can’t do sex for some reason? Of course. If so, then make sure you set aside a time definitely where you will and don’t back down on it. If you say to your husband “I can’t right now, but I am sure looking forward to it when you get home tonight,” you will not only affirm him, but you will give him something great to think about the whole day. (And keep this in mind women. He will be thinking about YOU the whole day)

And to my fellow men, make sure that your wife knows you value her for more than just sex. I personally think you should start helping around the house even if she isn’t giving sex. It is quite likely as well that once the wife sees that great devotion to her, she’ll be more eager to repay that devotion. As a female friend told me once, “Sex begins at breakfast.” Men cannot expect to not do anything all day, come home, watch TV, and then think that a little wink at night will immediately get their wives in the mood.

Your wife needs to be affirmed as a woman and not just sexually. She should not be seen as just the person you go to to get your kicks. What you two share together is not just to be a moment of awesome pleasure. It is also to be a moment that will solidify the bond of husband and wife.

In marriage then, sex is not just something you do because it’s fun, and by golly it is and should be! It is a powerful action. It conveys in it a passion that is far too powerful to be contained in mere words. I am not downplaying words, but I am not saying that the sexual act should be showing the passion that is so strong that words are just inadequate to express it.

Christians. Keep in mind that sex is God’s idea. He created it. He designed the system that drives it. He made it the pleasurable experience that it is. He also used it as a picture of the covenant He has with us. How often in the Bible is marriage used as an illustration of the love of God for His people? Do you really think then that sex is just something incidental to that?

If you do not think you have a strong desire for sex, pray for one and seek one out. There are numerous books that can help you with your sex life and would be fun for couples to go through together. I recommend “A Celebration of Sex” and “Intended for Pleasure.”

Keep in mind that this is God’s gift to you and your spouse. Enjoy it! Thank him for it! In fact, I followed the advice I’d seen before from someone and on our wedding night, I made sure to pray to ask God to bless our sex life together. Some of you are thinking “Well that seems odd.” Why? You pray before your meals and ask God to bless them? Why not ask Him to bless a most integral part of your marriage?

As I’ve said, this is a picture of God and His people, so really think about your sex life and what you can learn about God from it. (One can picture one spouse telling another that they want to study theology that night) In the midst of learning though, do not cease to enjoy. Let yourself go. There’s only one person you can do that with. Give yourself to them entirely body and soul. Let yourself be you around them and let them be them around you. It is in your total exposure to one another that you have the best intimacy and then, the best sex.

And let’s do this right people. It is a shame that we think the world has something we’re missing out on. If we believe Scripture, we should know that in married sex, the church has something that the world is missing out on.

Marriage One Year Later: In-laws

Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters where we are diving into the ocean of truth. I’m back from my trip and here to talk about Christian Marriage. Seeing as I just got back from visiting my in-laws, I figured that tonight would be a good time to write about in-laws.

There is a great danger in marriages that parents can become authorities that are controlling in a marriage. Both spouses can be tempted to call their parents at times and have their parents be the authority. It must be remembered in a marriage that the parents are not the final authority, especially since both sets could disagree.

When a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife and the two become one flesh, it does not mean abandoning all ties with parents. After all, in the biblical culture, it would have been common for the man and woman to still live in the same house as the parents. It does mean that a new family unit has been established however with its own authority.

This doesn’t mean that parents are useless. Parents can still provide good direction. They can still help out with issues seeing as many of them have been there before. However, they are not to be the ones that make the decision. That is to be to the husband and wife.

Husbands. Be sure also to be willing to stand up for your wife as well. Before we got married, my future mother-in-law told my future wife that she was sure that there would be a day come when I would stand up to my own mother in defense of my future bride. Indeed, that day did come.

Not only that, there have been times when I thought my own in-laws were in the wrong in a situation with my wife since marriage and I have stood up to them and let them know that. Sometimes, they have concerns that I do agree with. However, when I do not, I have made sure to stand up to them. Overall however, I am blessed to have very good in-laws who do delight in their son-in-law.

This is something important. If you’re a husband, your wife needs to know that you will stand up to anyone for her if you think you have to. While we could imagine a dashing knight standing up to a foul villain for the woman he loves, we sometimes forget that the hardest people to stand up to are not your enemies but your loved ones.

Ideally however, you should seek to have a good relationship with your new set of parents. I realize sometimes this can’t happen sadly. When it can however, do seek to please them provided they are not the first on your list to please. Your own parents have someone new that they can call their child now also. They too will have to get used to this new person as they do not know them as well as you do. (For my own self, my own in-laws would say I know their daughter better)

Overall, let your new in-laws be a blessing to you and make sure your own parents also know that your new spouse is the family priority in your life. They can still ask things of you, but they cannot ask you to put anything ahead of your marriage covenant. The spouse has to be #1.

We shall continue next time.

One Year Later: Different Interests

Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters where we are diving into the ocean of truth. I’ve been busy the last two days and I will be out of town the next two so there will be no blogs. However, before heading out tomorrow, I plan to write tonight about appreciating one another’s interests.

My wife and I do have really different interests. I am a bookworm and she is not. I prefer the intellectual and she prefers the emotional. However, we also have several similar interests. I married a girl who would much rather go see a James Bond film than a chick flick. When we visited my parents last, my Dad and her and I all went to see Green Lantern together.

Also, we enjoy many of the same games. We can talk together about Final Fantasy and Kingdom Hearts. We have a Wii and one day, I decided to go through the original Super Mario Brothers on it and she wanted to do so with me. (Unfortunately, even though I chose the challenging route of no warp zones, she still never got a turn. Oh well.)

But the different interests are the ones that take work. Some of these you will find that you enjoy. My wife likes the Samurai Warriors games and now I have found that I like them as well. She also likes a lot of Anime. Now there have been series we’ve watched together that I haven’t cared for, but there have been some I’ve really enjoyed. I even used Death Note when I spoke at ISCA this year.

On her end, she has gone through the entire series of Smallville with me. (There are still some unbelievers out there who think that the series ended in May. It can’t end! It has to be a trick! It’s too good to end!) Anyway, when the finale played in May, we were watching it together along with another friend of mine. I’ve also introduced her to other games that she’d never really seen. (We have a ten year age difference so I get to show her much she didn’t know about)

She prefers art, and honestly, I haven’t understood it. So one night I just ask her “Honey. What do you see there because honestly, I’m not seeing it.” Some people might think such a question rude, but she knew I was asking sincerely wanting to know, so I took the time to listen to what my wife was seeing and soon came to realize I was missing much in the world of art.

This is what we have to do. I have no doubt that my wife will never have the same interest in my field that I do and I won’t have the interest in hers that she does, but we can support one another. I may not be an artist, but I want to support her learning to be a good artist. She, meanwhile, is not an apologist, but she seeks to support me in my apologetic ministry.

Take the time to understand what your spouse loves. That’s showing interest in them. If you really don’t have the same passion, admit it, but don’t discourage it. I may never want to pick up a pencil and draw like she does, but I sure want to encourage her in it. She may never want to argue like I do, but she knows when the chance shows up to deal with the atheist, to step back because I will enjoy myself and it is something that energizes me.

As long as it does not detract from holiness, should you not support your spouse in what encourages them? Their world is part of yours too. If you don’t enjoy it, at least respect it and help them in it.

We shall continue next time.