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Why Was Jesus Born in a Manger? (Luke 2:7)


In this episode of Boardies, Stick tackles the question, “Why was Jesus born in a manger?” based on Luke 2:7.

luke 2.7 - traditional manger scene finalChristmas is a wonderful time of year! Its array of bright lights, cozy fires, and enchanting decorations charm us all over again each and every year. Its atmosphere of peacefulness and coziness makes us feel warm and fuzzy inside. But unfortunately, our Western culture has taken that same peaceful, cozy atmosphere and applied it to the Christmas manger story. I say “unfortunately”, because the Christmas story was anything but peaceful and cozy. Contrary to popular opinion, Jesus born in a manger was not a pleasant experience. Not only was the environment filthy, but the circumstance was humiliating and shameful.

Now before you call me a Scrooge or say my heart is three sizes too small, hear me out. I like Christmas! I enjoy the fun activities! I admire all the colorful decorations! And I will be the first to admit that the manger story is intended to bring peace and joy to the hearts of humanity (Luke 2:10, 14, 18, 20). But just because the first advent of the Messiah meant hope for the nations does not mean his arrival was peaceful or comfortable. Quite the contrary. His grim entrance into this world played a crucial role into why the world has hope in the first place. Jesus was born into a moment of suffering in order to show that He will one day end it. That’s the real message of the manger story. Let me walk through three stages of this story that point to its disparaging nature.


When we think about Joseph and Mary traveling to Bethlehem, I am sure a few pictures come to mind. One might be a dark, starry night. Another might be Mary sitting on a donkey. Both of these could be true, but the Gospel of Luke, which records the journey, does not mention either detail. In all likelihood, Mary traveled on some kind of animal, like a donkey or a camel, because she was pregnant. But it is doubtful that they traveled at night, because they would be susceptible to robbers along the way. Even traveling by day, though, in those days was a risk (Luke 10:30). It still would have been dangerous.

luke 2.7 - journey final

Whatever the case, what we do know is that the trip was quite far. The distance from Nazareth to Bethlehem is no small hike. In fact, it would not even be considered a long hike by our standards. The journey was at least 90 miles on foot—assuming, of course, they broke with modern Jewish custom and traveled through the heart of Samaria. The Pharisees at that time refused to associate with Samaritans and would, therefore, walk around their region. If they honored the custom and walked around Samaria, the distance would have been much greater, up to 120 miles. Needless to say, it would have been exhausting.

But such a long trip was not uncommon for people in those days. Every year thousands of Jews would make the trip from Galilee (where Nazareth was located) to Jerusalem (not far from Bethlehem). Yet, we must consider the fact that Mary was 9-months pregnant. This adds a tricky factor into the equation. Now, a 90-mile journey becomes more than just exhausting. It would have been equally uncomfortable and slow. And there was always the added risk of Mary giving birth along the way.

luke 2.7 - census finalBut the trip was necessary, because Caesar Augustus ordered a worldwide census mandating every citizen to return to his hometown. Joseph’s hometown was Bethlehem and, since he was betrothed to Mary, she had to register with him there (Luke 2:1–5). This couple was caught in the middle of a political nightmare. We think high taxes or a government shutdown is a big deal. Imagine if you were forced to return by foot to your hometown hundreds of miles away just because the government wanted to flex its muscles to the rest of the world with a census! All this, 9-months pregnant? It would have been horribly inconvenient for Mary and Joseph.

The journey was dangerous, exhausting, uncomfortable, and inconvenient. There was nothing magical about this experience.


The innkeeper has been a staple character in so many Christmas story retellings, but the truth is there was no innkeeper, because there was no inn. The word translated “inn” by many English versions is actually “guest room” [Greek, κατάλυμα] (Luke 2:7). We know this is a guest room in someone’s house and not an inn, because the word always means “guest room” or “upper room” in other parts of Scripture (like the “upper room” where Jesus dined with His disciples; see Luke 22:11; cf. Mark 14:14). Moreover, Luke uses an entirely different word when he wants to talk about an inn [Greek, πανδοχεύς, for innkeeper] (Luke 10:35).

The difference is significant. Luke does not envision a neutral third-party denying Joseph and Mary access to a bedroom in his motel. He implies it was a relative of Joseph’s (or at least a good friend). And that would be consistent with the social environment of the culture. Jews were very hospitable, especially to family. So, it’s not unreasonable to assume Joseph reached out to family in his hometown for a place to stay.

But the text tells us they could not stay in the guest room, because “there was no place for them” (Luke 2:7). This could mean one of two things:

Option 1: There was no space for Joseph and Mary in the room. That is the traditional and natural interpretation. The census would have brought people from all over the map back to Bethlehem for registration, and it’s entirely possible that the guest room Joseph wanted to stay in was already filled by the time he and Mary arrived into town.

Option 2: There was no opportunity given to Joseph and Mary to get a room. This does not seem as likely at first glance, because “no place” sounds like a synonym for “no space”. However, the Greek word for “place” [τόπος] can also mean “chance” or “opportunity”. So which one is it? “Place” or “opportunity”? The first translation seems best based on the description of the verse. But the broader context and backdrop of Luke’s Gospel may suggest otherwise.

From the beginning of the book, Luke has portrayed Jesus as one subjected to Israel’s exile (Luke 1:48, 52–53, 68, 71, 74, 76, 78–79). Although Israel had returned from captivity several hundred years prior, the Major and Minor Prophets project that Israel will remain in a state of exile until the Messiah comes. They may be free to a degree, but they are not functioning to the level God promised they would, as the center of the world, as those who would lead the nations. This is the definition of exile and Jesus must be born into it in order to break it. A harsh rejection at the time of Jesus’ birth fits the exilic setting prophesied about him (Isaiah 7:14–15).

luke 2.7 - rejection finalIn addition, the fact that Joseph was still betrothed to Mary would not have sat well with Joseph’s relatives. Let’s not forget that Joseph was planning to call off the wedding, because he found out Mary was pregnant (Matthew 1:19). Joseph’s initial reaction to dismiss her was generous and kind toward Mary, because Old Testament law prescribed that she be stoned for the indiscretion that got her pregnant (Deuteronomy 22:23–24). This was the best Joseph could do for Mary. He could not marry her, because she was a virgin, who in his eyes just committed adultery. So he was left with one of two options: He could either have her stoned in front of the entire city or let her go quietly. He chose the latter, because he was merciful and compassionate. And if it was not for an angel explaining to him in a dream that the pregnancy was from the Holy Spirit, he would have gone through with it.

Joseph was a rare man of integrity in Israel. His family in Bethlehem were likely not as forgiving. No matter how much Joseph may have tried to explain the situation, it’s hard to imagine they would believe him. He would have been disowned for choosing to stay with Mary.

For these reasons, I think it is best to translate “no place” as “no opportunity”. Joseph and Mary were not wanted, because Joseph decided to go ahead with the marriage, despite learning that Mary was pregnant out of wedlock. This would not be as hard to swallow if they were turned down by a random innkeeper. But since the family was likely related to Joseph, the sting of ostracization is that much greater. There was nothing inviting about this situation.


Although Joseph’s relatives may have disowned him, their hospitality prevented them from banishing the couple to their doom. As I mentioned before, the Jewish culture was very hospitable and they knew turning Joseph and Mary away would have put them in real danger. But they were also fiercely loyal to the Law. For this reason, I believe the family disowned them in spirit, but not in presence. They still brought them into their home, but they did not allow them to use the guest room. Instead, they offered them the “stable” where the animals stayed. They did this for two reasons:

First, it was the only other open and available space in their house. Contrary to Western conception, the stable was not a wooden barn. It was the lowest room inside the house allowing the body heat of the animals to rise and warm the rest of the home. Joseph and Mary, in all likelihood, stayed in the house with this family, but they stayed in a lower room full of animals, not a guest room.

Second, it was a way to shame Joseph and Mary. Forcing them to stay with the animals was a way to both preserve their lives and humiliate them. It sent a message that said, “We’re not so heartless that we would let you die, but we don’t consider you even human anymore. You’re just one of the animals” (And you thought your in-laws were harsh!). Our culture loves animals, so it’s difficult for us to see this as a shameful place to stay. But in those days, no one would willfully stay with animals. It was an unthinkable abomination (Luke 15:15–16).

luke 2.7 - stone manger final

Joseph and Mary reached a whole new low. They were outcasts in the eyes of the town in public and their families in private. And now, they were treated like the animals they had to spend their days with. To make matters worse, this is the place where Mary had to give birth. Keep in mind, the conditions are beyond unsanitary and there was likely no help from the family upstairs. Joseph, a man whom Mary probably did not know well, was her only advocate and nurse. What’s more, there was no place to lay the baby once He was born. They had to resort to a manger, which was one of the animal’s feeding troughs. It was not cute and wooden like most manger sets depict. It was hard and uncomfortable, because the manger was made of stone, as most were back in those days

luke 2.7 - low point final

Joseph and Mary hit rock bottom, and this is why I say in the video that this was Mary’s darkest hour, the worst moment of her life. She was treated as an outcast for something wrong she did not do. On top of that, she had to give birth to Jesus in the filthiest place you can imagine with little to no help. And if that still doesn’t put things in perspective, bear in mind Mary is probably only 13-16 years old at this time. There was nothing adorable about this scene.


It’s not the story we’re used to hearing, and maybe it rubs your fur the wrong way. But this is the real setting behind Jesus and the manger. It was miserable and disgraceful. It was disgusting and forgettable. But God wanted it that way. He engineered all the events of that era to make Jesus’ birth an awful experience. It wasn’t because He was heartless or maniacal. It was because He was proving a point. As Israel was in exile, so was its Messiah. As Israel suffered the pains of life, so did its Messiah. In order to show full power over a daunting situation, you first have to be fully immersed in it. And God did just that. He submerged His own Son into the depths of exile so that one day at the cross He would spell its doom.

luke 2.7 - mary happy final

As hard as Mary had it, she knew all this. And we know she knew all this, because Luke 2:19 tells us as much, “But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart.” Most of us would have been begging to forget this day. But not Mary. She understood what was going on. She knew that the One she was giving birth to was going to end all the shame she was enduring and the pain she was suffering. The Messiah in her womb kept her going and became the reason she went out of her way to remember every detail about that awful day. As bad as the Christmas manger looked, God turned it into a sign of peace and hope, much like the cross Jesus would die on, “And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!’” (Luke 2:12–14).




A whiteboard summary of the book of Obadiah

broken-iphone-6It’s inevitable. It happens to us all. One day your smart phone will die and you will be forced to buy another one. The moment it breaks, you feel lost and broken yourself. You lament to yourself, “Oh, the times we had together!” But you are quickly cheered up by the sight of a brand new model at the store and upon purchase you completely forget you even had another phone in the first place! As much as our smart phones mean to us at the time, they are never missed once they are replaced. This is the natural and expected reaction of anyone who has the option of a Plan B. A fail-safe or a fall back option makes it far easier to manage the loss of an original plan, because you have an alternative you can turn to.


Obadiah 01 FINALThere is a situation found in the Bible just like this. God formed, not one, but two babies in Rebecca’s womb: Jacob and Esau (Gen 25:21–26). This was not by accident. This was by design. Twins look the same. They act the same. They ARE the same! Of course, I’m being a bit facetious, but as an identical twin myself, even I can say with absolute confidence that twins are basically the same. Twins are perfect candidates to put the Plan B theory to the test. God chose Jacob and his descendants (Israel) as His people and He unequivocally rejected Esau and his descendants (Edom). But think about it: If things go bad with Israel, God has a legitimate Plan B in the waiting with Edom. The question is: Will God ever use this back door?


When we fast forward about 1,000 years of history—say to around 850 B.C.—we see this tension unfold. Israel and Edom at this point are well-established nations with a rather heated rivalry. Up to this point, Israel has always been the unanimous victor. But during the reign of Jehoram, King of Judah, “Edom revolted from the rule of Judah and set up a king of their own” (2 Chr 21:8). For the first time, Edom is no longer standing in Israel’s shadow. They are now an equal and things will never go back to the way they used to be (2 Chr 21:10). As all this unfolds, King Jehoram drags the entire nation into such terrible idolatry that God stirs up the Philistines and the Arabians to attack Jerusalem and plunder all its possessions (2 Chr 21:16–17). This is the setting behind the book of Obadiah. God is punishing Israel for their sin and allows Edom to join the raiding party after the battle was over. The unthinkable has just happened. Edom now has the upper hand and Israel is faced with an awful realization: God may have just ditched us for Plan B, our twin!

Obadiah 02 FINAL

Obadiah is written in response to this reaction square in the aftermath of this catastrophe and its message to Israel is stunning: God’s love has no Plan B. It never did. Edom was never second-string nipping at Israel’s heels for the starting job. That was never God’s plan for Edom. Quite the opposite, actually. God MADE Edom look like Plan B from the very beginning to prove His undying love for Israel. He gave Himself a back door to show He will never use it. The prophecy of Obadiah is the book of the Bible that explains the nature of God’s undying love for Israel through the lens of their hated brother, Edom.

The Confidence of God’s Undying Love (Obadiah 1–9)

Obadiah 03 FINALIsrael needs to know right from the get-go that God still chooses them, and the best way to convey that in this scenario is to prophesy about Edom’s utter destruction (vv. 1–9). When Israel sees how far Edom will fall (vv. 3–4), how much Edom will lose (vv. 5–6), and how great Edom will suffer (vv. 7–9), they are reminded how much God loves them as opposed to Edom.

The Consistency of God’s Undying Love (Obadiah 10–16)

Obadiah 05 FINALIt is not enough that Israel knows God loves them right now. They need to know He will love them to the end. So, in verses 10–16 God takes a panoramic picture of Edom’s fate from the present time to the end times. They raided Jerusalem in 850 B.C. (vv. 10–11), they will raid it again and murder any survivors in 586 B.C. (vv. 12–14), and they will do something terrible in Jerusalem at the end of history worthy of apocalyptic judgment (vv. 15–16). From generation to generation God sets Edom up as the scapegoat of His wrath in order to prove He loves Israel, not Edom. His love for them is constant and will never change.

The Consummation of God’s Undying Love (Obadiah 17–21)

Obadiah 06 FINAL

Up to this point, Israel only knows God’s love by the way He treats Edom. But how does God plan to show His love directly to Israel? The final verses of Obadiah tell us (vv. 17–21). First, He brings a remnant safely through the fire of His wrath and refines their hearts in the process (v. 17). Second, He gives Edom into Israel’s hands for a swift and exhaustive punishment (v. 18). Third, He extends Israel’s borders to include every land He promised them (vv. 19–20). Fourth, He gives them positions of authority to reign judicially over His kingdom (v. 21). This marks the consummation of God’s undying love for Israel. Every wrong will be made right and every promise will be fulfilled.

How God treats Edom accentuates the power and strength of God’s love for Israel (Mal 1:2–5). Without a foil like Edom, we would never come to understand how deep God’s love really is. It is an undying loyalty with unwavering confidence, measured consistency, and picture-perfect consummation. According to God, there simply is not and never will be a Plan B.


But when we fast forward roughly another 1,000 years—say to around 27–33 A.D.—we come across a situation not too unlike God’s undying love for Israel displayed by judgment against Edom. God also shows His undying love for us in the person of His Son, Jesus Christ. In a way, how God says He will treat Edom to save Israel sets up for how He treated His Son to save humanity. Without a doubt, Jesus is no Edom and our salvation is spiritual, not national. But the theological principle is the same. On the cross God treated Jesus in the same way He treated Edom, this time, not to save His people from international holocaust, but to save them from their sins. Romans 8:31–39 brings this out clearly:

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Obadiah 07 FINAL

The same God, who promises to slaughter Edom as proof of His love, slaughtered His very own Son as the ultimate proof of His love. One death will save a nation from extinction. The other saves a multitude from hell. Jesus, therefore, heightens the magnitude of God’s love.

But He also serves as the explanation for how God can love so devoutly. Israel was a nation full of sinners. The Church is a congregation full of sinners. How can God love us all so irrevocably? Jesus is the answer. In Him Christians stands righteous, even though they are blatantly sinful. And in Him Jews will one day stand righteous, even though they are just as sinful. All because Jesus is their substitute. Jesus is the key to God’s undying love (Rom 5:8; 1 John 4:9–10).


Obadiah may be a lost book in the darkest corner of your Bible, but it tells us a priceless message about God’s love: When God loves you, you are loved for good. When God chooses you, there is no going back. Obadiah is, in a sense, the 1 John of the Old Testament. It offers the hope of assurance of salvation. Sure, 1 John describes spiritual salvation while Obadiah pictures national salvation. But again, the theological principle is the same. God’s choice is irreversible (Rom 9:6–13). It always has been. It always will be. And the same holds true for us today. God’s choice in salvation is irreversible. The death of Christ seals eternal life for those who trust in Him. Nothing can change that. Nothing will change that. There is no Plan B.



What Does She Will Be Saved Through Childbearing Mean? (1 Timothy 2:15)


In this episode of Boardies, Stick is asked the question, “What does ‘She will be saved through childbearing’ mean?” from 1 Timothy 2:15.

There is nothing quite as remarkable as childbirth. That moment you get to hold a newborn for the very first time; the child snuggled tightly in cozy cloth; your arms wrapped tenderly around him or her. It warms your heart and brings you an indescribable measure of joy that has no comparison.

Newborn and mother

Even so, childbirth is a unique privilege for women that is sadly undervalued today. And in a culture that not only tolerates abortion, but also endorses and defends it, childbirth is even horrifically devalued. With vibrant contrast, the Bible has high praise for childbirth. God showed Leah kindness when he opened her womb in order to compensate for Jacob’s lack of love toward her (Gen 29:31). He gave Hannah joy when He finally allowed her to conceive after years of infertility (1 Sam 1:20; 2:1). He took Elizabeth’s shame away when He enabled her to get pregnant with John the Baptist (Luke 1:24–25).

But there is perhaps no greater honor given to childbirth than what is said in 1 Timothy 2:15, “Yet she will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control.” Childbirth is more than a source of immeasurable joy. It is a woman’s very salvation. But at the risk of grave theological error, we must ask the question, what does that mean? Certainly, it cannot mean that women are eternally saved by giving birth to children. That would make room for works-based salvation, which the Bible adamantly rejects. So what does “She will be saved through childbearing” mean then?


The list of answers is not short. Many have offered suggestions, but the overabundance of options has only muddied the waters. Heretical theories aside, here are some of the more popular ones:

  1. Women will be spiritually saved through the bearing of metaphorical children, who are faith, love, holiness, and self-control.
  2. Women will persevere in their faith through the bearing of children.
  3. Women will avoid falling into sin by rearing children with spiritual virtues.
  4. Women will be granted physical safety when they give birth.
  5. Eve will be spiritually saved through the birth of Jesus.
  6. Mary, the mother of Jesus, will be spiritually saved through the birth of Jesus.

While each of these proposals is safe for Christians to believe, they all come with their problems. For example, number 4 is easily debunked, because good Christian women suffer difficulty in labor all the time. God does not treat women in labor differently because of how spiritual they are. Number 6 is also problematic, because 1 Timothy 2 makes no mention of Mary, the mother of Jesus. To insert her into the storyline is out of bounds. But all of them fail to account for one factor, in particular, and that is context. The single greatest reason each answer is unsatisfactory is because it ignores the argument Paul is making. But when we factor in the context, First Timothy 2:15 presents itself as a promise that Eve (and all godly women with her) will be delivered from the shame she brought on herself at the Fall.

1Tim2v15 01 final


Now it is one thing for me to say this; it is another to prove it. What makes this theory more tenable than the others? It all has to do with that missing factor called context. And there are two levels of context I want to examine that offer strong evidence for this view.

The Semantic Context

Semantic is a big word, but it is just a word that means “the meaning of a word.” And it shouldn’t surprise us that words often come with a range of meanings. For example, the word “love” has a lot of meanings. Saying, “I love you,” to a significant other is far different than saying, “I love that place!” One is a romantic love, the other a preferential love.

Bible magnifying glass 02The same principle can be applied to the word “save.” Because we as Christians are obsessed with our salvation (and rightfully so), we tend to attach an eternal meaning to every occurrence of the word “save.” Often, it’s a good call. But this time, it’s not. That’s because “save” in Paul’s letters does not always have an eternal meaning. And the letter of 1 Timothy gives us a good example of this. First Timothy 4:16 says, “Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.” This verse cannot be talking about eternal salvation, because Pastor Timothy is already saved along with most of his congregation (“hearers”). So, if the meaning is not eternal, what is it? I would suggest it is reputational. By keeping a close eye on his conduct and preaching, Timothy can spare his church from undue negative perceptions. The world is watching, and, while it is impossible to disarm every unbelieving critic, God calls the church to live in a consistently winsome way before the world. Suffice it to say, a church’s uncompromising reputation is an important part of honoring God in that we model His faithful character.

This definition of “save” fits 1 Timothy 2:15. The woman will be spared a negative impression when she bears children who grow up to live in faith, love, and holiness with self-control. How this woman acquired a bad reputation and who is shaming her for it are questions yet to be answered. But for the time being, it is possible to imagine that childbearing could play a role in removing the sting of a bad reputation.

The Near Context

1Tim2v15 02 finalNear context in this case will refer to 1 Timothy 2:8–14, the verses leading up to 1 Timothy 2:15. But I want to pay special attention to verse 14, “Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor.” The woman talked about in 1 Timothy 2:15 appears to be Eve from verses 13 and 14. She is the nearest antecedent in the text, as grammarians would say. God promises that through childbirth Eve can be saved, if they (her children) continue in faith and love and holiness with self-control. In light of what is said in 2:14, Eve’s reputation seems to be the topic of discussion. She was deceived by the serpent, not Adam. Therefore, she bears a unique black mark of shame on her record. However, childbirth offers a wonderful opportunity at redemption explained by the Genesis story itself. God promised the serpent, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.” At these words Eve discovered that a child of hers would erase the stigma she created for herself just moments ago. Satan thought he had won. He thought he had beat God at His own game. He thought he had ruined Eve for good and began to laugh at her demise. Nothing could be further from the truth. Eve would give birth to a child who will crush Satan’s head. Childbirth will shut Satan’s mouth.

But 1 Timothy 2:15 also seems to indicate that this promise of redemption not only applies to Eve, but also to every woman who has the same expectation of and love for this child. First Timothy 2:15 is set in the context of women in the church and the example of Eve’s deception in the Garden of Eden (2:14) is used as one argument to forbid women from stepping into an authoritative role. In other words, the Apostle Paul correlates what happened in the Garden with how the church should operate today. Eve made a bad decision and therefore burdens her female descendants with bad consequences.

This is not to say that men are off the hook or are in any way better than women. In fact, Scripture speaks more to the failure of Adam than it does to Eve (Hos 6:7; Rom 5:12–21; 1 Cor 15:22). In Adam, the entire human race plunged into sin. But in Eve, the entire female line bears the weight of her shame. Because she took charge that day, instead of her husband Adam, she was the one seduced by Satan. She bears that responsibility as the head of the female human race. It may not seem fair that all women in succession reap the awful benefits of her decision, but that’s how God has set up humanity: “All for one and one for all.” After all, how could God raise us from the dead if there is no “all for one” (Rom 6:5; 1 Cor 15:13)?

1Tim2v15 03 finalAnd with this in mind, we find a blessing in disguise built into this collateral damage. If a bad decision for one resulted in bad consequences for all, a chance at redemption for one should roll over into a chance at redemption for all. It stands to reason that the opportunity offered in 1 Timothy 2:15 extends to all women as well. Through childbirth women have the chance to erase the black mark on their record. By giving birth to children and raising them to live like Jesus, mothers can present children as tangible evidence that the ultimate child has already come and crushed Satan’s head through His death and resurrection. When they exemplify qualities of faith, love, and holiness with self-control, they illustrate the character of Christ and demonstrate His power to change people’s lives. There is nothing more humiliating for Satan than having to watch his plan to trick Eve come back to bite him generation after generation.


It’s safe to say that childbirth is much bigger than we often give it credit for. Not only are mothers raising the next generation, pouring their lives into their children, and rearing them to fear the Lord and love their Savior, but they are also illustrating the power of the gospel by their parenting. Yes, it’s true that Satan tricked Eve. It’s true that the human race fell into sin. But it’s also true that God will vindicate that day with His very own Son, Jesus. Each and every child who grows up to love Christ and live like Him puts on a visible demonstration that Christ wins and Satan loses. And that makes a monumental impact in both the natural world and the supernatural.

With all this in mind, let me admonish everyone for a moment:

  • Mothers, I want you to feel encouraged and empowered by the faithful work you do in bearing and raising your children. There is no greater calling for you in this life. None.
  • Fathers, I want you to understand the enormous importance God places on your wife’s role as a mother. Seek to help her with that task as best as you can.
  • Ladies who are not mothers and perhaps never will be, I want you to never feel left out or somehow ostracized by a verse like this. You play a vital role in this endeavor by your faithful service in the church, and in so doing I firmly believe the blessings and promise of 1 Timothy 2:15 extend to you as well.
  • Gentlemen who are not fathers and perhaps never will be, I want you to avoid tuning out thinking you have no part to play in all this. You carry the torch of truth in the church and need to do everything in your power to uphold the value of motherhood as an emblem of the gospel.

What Does It Mean to Mount Up with Wings Like Eagles? (Isaiah 40:31)

In this episode of Boardies, Stick addresses the famous verse, Isaiah 40:31, and what it means to mount up with wings like eagles.



marshmallowBack in the 1970’s a psychologist by the name of Walter Mischel at Stanford University conducted a series of experiments on the unique subject of delayed gratification. Mischel arranged for a group of children to participate in the experiment in order to demonstrate the power of instant gratification and its ongoing influence into adulthood. He brought the children into a room one at a time and offered him or her a choice. The child could have a marshmallow now or wait 15 minutes and get two marshmallows. Some children were able to resist for the full 15 minutes, but many could not. Instant gratification kept some children from receiving something better, because the immediate pleasure of one marshmallow was more appealing than the delayed pleasure of two. Further studies of what would later become known as the Marshmallow Experiment confirmed that those children who opted for instant gratification seemed to have less success later in the life compared to those who chose delayed gratification. That’s because instant gratification is not just an adolescent trait; it plagues adults too.

And not much is different among Christians either. Many Christians apply promises they read in the Bible to the present without realizing the promise actually refers to something far better in the future. A classic example of this is Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” It is perhaps the most popular verse in the modern Christian era, because it is interpreted as a blank check of divine blessing on our present lives. This is why you see the verse decorating so many graduation cards, because people want Jeremiah 29:11 to be an instrument of instant gratification when it is, in fact, delayed gratification. Jeremiah 29:11 describes a point in the distant future when all Israel will repent and the world will be restored (Jer 29:12–13; cf. Deut 30:1–6; 1 Kgs 8:48–50; Dan 9). The plans God has for His people are not for financial welfare, a successful future at a new job, or even the hope of a restored marriage. His plans are for a much longer welfare, better future, and brighter hope in heaven made possible by His Son. That’s the real message of Jeremiah 29:11. It offers better hope in the form of delayed gratification, not instant.

x354-q80But Jeremiah 29:11 is not the only verse repackaged by Christians for instant gratification. There is another well known verse that is treated the same way: Isaiah 40:31, “But they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” While Jeremiah 29:11 is famous for its association with graduations, Isaiah 40:31 is celebrated for its association with gymnasiums, of all things, because of its inspirational charm. Its picture of strength and speed offers Christians promising motivation for a successful workout: “By God’s help, I will mount up with wings like an eagle. I will run and never grow weary. I will walk and never faint.” That’s a nice sentiment, but once again it is flawed in the same vein as Jeremiah 29:11. Its appeal for instant gratification ignores the real meaning of delayed gratification. Isaiah 40:31 is not promising strength for today, but rather strength for tomorrow. Like Jeremiah 29:11, Isaiah 40:31 is looking to the end of time when God will rescue His people from the suffering of this world and oppression of their enemies. Still, many Christians seem content to use Isaiah 40:31 as motivation for some immediate task at hand expecting God to energize them with supernatural or spiritual strength. But I want to challenge you think differently. I ask you to put aside the temptation for instant gratification for a moment and consider delayed gratification. I dare you to think bigger, because God’s plans are bigger. As Tom Hardy’s character in the movie Inception encouraged, “You mustn’t be afraid to dream a little bigger, darling.” Isaiah 40:31 is way bigger than getting strength for your next workout.


But how do we know Isaiah 40:31 is talking about something bigger, like the victorious culmination of history, and is not some kind of motivational figure of speech? I want to submit two main reasons.



First, there is clear evidence surrounding Isaiah 40:31. The first 39 chapters of Isaiah deals with God’s judgment against Israel for her sin. But it also mentions that God will rescue and restore Israel by judging the nations. God promises salvation. There’s no question about it. But now the big question becomes, “HOW will God save His people?” Isaiah 40 marks the transition into the last half of the book that explains just how He plans to do it. God will save with His unlimited power. Isaiah 40:10 summarizes the theme of the chapter, “Behold, the Lord GOD comes with might, and his arm rules for him.” It is by God’s strength alone that Israel will be delivered.

But will this deliverance come in the near future or in the distant future? At first glance, the answer seems unclear, because throughout the book Isaiah pictures two events where God delivers His people. One comes in the near future a few hundred years after Isaiah was written when Israel will be rescued temporarily. For example, Isaiah 10:24–27 encourages Israel not to be afraid of the Assyrians who are about to drag them off into exile, because God will destroy them and bring His people home. Is that what Isaiah 40:31 is referring to? It certainly is possible. But there is another time in Isaiah picturing the distant future where God will rescue His people permanently. Isaiah 11 moves on from the immediate fate of the nation to the far. It portrays the Messiah bringing justice to the whole world (vv. 1–5) and setting up a kingdom with unprecedented peace (vv. 6–9). Lions will live in harmony with cows and little kids will be able to treat them both like pets (v. 6b). Never before—with the lone exception of the Garden of Eden—has the world seen such peace where even children can play with the most dangerous animals and not be harmed. This illustrates a time that has not yet come. But it is at this time that Israel will return from a second exile, “In that day the Lord will extend his hand yet a second time to recover the remnant that remains of his people, from Assyria, from Egypt, from Pathros, from Cush, from Elam, from Shinar, from Hamath, and from the coastlands of the sea” (Isa 11:11). This verse makes a clear distinction between the events of chapter 10 and the events of chapter 11. There are two exiles, because God is extending His hand a “second time.” Israel may have returned from exile 2,500 years ago, but based on the clear language of verse 11 and the conditions catalogued in the prior 10 verses this cannot refer to the same event in Isaiah 10:24–27. Isaiah 11 is envisioning a separate, future event at the end of time itself.

So which one does Isaiah 40:31 refer to? An event in the near future or the distant? I submit that it is alluding to the distant future, a time when history will reach its climax. In the video, I mentioned three characteristics of the event described in Isaiah 40:31. Each characteristic is located in the uninterrupted text of Isaiah 40 and following, supporting the claim that Isaiah 40:31 is depicting an end times phenomenon.

Isa40v31.02finalFirst, the scope will be global, not local. Isaiah 42:1 says, “Behold my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen, in whom my soul delights; I have put my Spirit upon him; he will bring forth justice to the nations.” The grammar of this verse is important. Isaiah prophesies that the Servant will bring forth justice to the nations, plural, not singular. Assyria took the Northern Kingdom of Israel captive. But it is just one nation. Babylon took the Southern Kingdom of Israel captive. But it too is just one nation. God’s campaigns on Israel’s behalf have always been local, one nation at a time. But Isaiah 40:31 is nestled in a text that pictures a global war.Isa40v31.03final

Second, the plagues will be lethal, not just harmful. This will be covered in more detail below, but God promises to rescue His people from the nations with plagues. This should bring to mind the story of the exodus when God also sent plagues against Egypt to deliver His people from its grasp. At that time, the plagues were devastating, but not completely lethal. That is not to say people didn’t die. For example, the plague of flaming hail killed whatever human or animal was in the field (Ex 9:25) and the final plague killed every Egyptian firstborn (Ex 12:29). But most Egyptians survived the plagues. However, God’s global judgment discussed in the text surrounding Isaiah 40:31—which I will later demonstrate are plagues just like those during the exodus—are thoroughly lethal. Isaiah 41:11–12 promises, “Behold, all who are incensed against you shall be put to shame and confounded; those who strive against you shall be as nothing and shall perish. You shall seek those who contend with you, but you shall not find them; those who war against you shall be as nothing at all.” This hardly can apply to Israel exiled in Assyria and Babylon, because Israel has never faced a moment in her history when ALL WHO ARE INCENSED AGAINST HER have perished.

Isa40v31.04finalThird, the victory will be eternal, not temporal. Ever since Israel returned from the Assyrian and Babylonian exile, she has been at war. Whether it was Rome 2,000 years ago or Syria today, Israel has been in a perpetual state of conflict. But Isaiah 40:2 claims that a time will come when her warfare will end, “Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and cry to her that her warfare is ended.” No more war. No more conflict. This is a return from exile of a different sort. What was once temporal and deficient will finally be eternal and sufficient.

Isaiah 40:31 is sandwiched in the middle of these descriptions. Those who wait for the Lord will renew their strength, because the end has come and every wonderful promise will be fulfilled. Isaiah 40:31 anticipates a much grander moment than even the joyful return from exile a couple thousand years ago. It is a homecoming that will never end.



Isa40v31.05finalSecond, there is clear “exodus” language in Isaiah 40:31. In the video I point out an association in imagery between Isaiah 40:31 and Exodus 19:4, “You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself.” Isaiah 40:31 is not the only verse in the Bible that mentions eagles, but the imagery of an eagle applied to a person or a whole nation is quite rare. The connection then is intentional. It is a reference to Israel’s national identity. They are a people rescued on the back of God’s wings. The United States of America is not the only nation in human history to adopt the eagle as its national animal. Israel was first. Like the U.S., the eagle symbolized freedom for Israel. But unlike the U.S., God designed the eagle to be a picture of His uniquely powerful deliverance for Israel. It represents divine redemption on a grand scale. Therefore, Isaiah 40:31 is a promise that an event comparable to the exodus will happen again, an event I have dubbed the new exodus. And as we already discovered, this event will eclipse the magnitude of the exodus plagues.

But exactly how does Isaiah 40:31 predict this will happen? Are there any indications in the text that tell us what will happen? Isaiah 40:31 itself is mute on the subject. It just tells us that it will happen. But later revelation fills in many of the details. The book of Revelation describes the new exodus of Isaiah 40:31 in similar terms to the old exodus. But before it defines the nature of this new exodus, Revelation links arms with Isaiah 40:31 by mentioning the imagery of the eagle, “Then I looked, and I heard an eagle crying with a loud voice as it flew directly overhead, “Woe, woe, woe to those who dwell on the earth, at the blasts of the other trumpets that the three angels are about to blow!” (Rev 8:13). Revelation 8:13 brings Isaiah 40:31 to mind to connect what is about to happen to the promise of a new exodus in Isaiah. In other words, the events of Revelation are the new exodus and the world’s judgment is Israel’s salvation. Revelation then links arms with Exodus by reintroducing many of the plagues leveled against Egypt. It uses technical terms to categorize these plagues, such as seal, trumpet, and bowl judgments, but the book still labels them as plagues from time to time (Rev 9:18, 20; 11:6; 15:1, 6, 8; 16:9, 21; 18:4, 8; 21:9; 22:18). There are several plagues in Exodus that never happen in Revelation, but there are still many that carry over, albeit with greater intensity. There are at least six crossovers of plagues between the two books: (1) Locusts (Ex 10:12–15; Rev 9:1–11, (2) boils (Ex 9:9–11; Rev 16:2), (3) water to blood (Ex 7:14–24; Rev 16:3), (4) darkness (Ex 10:21–23; Rev 16:10), (5) frogs (Ex 8:1–7; Rev 16:13), and (6) hail stones (Rev 16:21; Ex 9:13–26). For the sake of space I want to look at only three of them.

The Plague of Water Turned to Blood

One of the most familiar plagues is when God turned the Nile River into blood. Exodus 7:14–24 recounts the story how Moses struck the Nile River with his staff and turned it all to blood. It killed every living creature in the river and produced a foul odor that made it impossible to drink. God pestered Egypt by taking their largest source of water and converting it into a disgusting, smelly, obnoxious waste dump. But the plague was more inconvenient than a complete disaster. Egypt had other sources for water and according to verse 24 they were able to dig around the Nile for clean water. However, the new version of this plague in Revelation is far more cataclysmic, “The second angel poured out his bowl into the sea, and it became like the blood of a corpse, and every living thing died that was in the sea. The third angel poured out his bowl into the rivers and the springs of water, and they became blood” (Rev 16:3–4). Every natural source of water on the planet is gone in an instant. There is nothing for the world to drink except blood. Revelation recognizes how fitting this plague is by pointing out the just irony of the situation, “Just are you, O Holy One . . . For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and you have given them blood to drink. It is what they deserve!” (vv. 5a, 6). In the new exodus God heightens the severity of this plague to bring justice to the whole world, so that His people will experience a full and complete deliverance. 

The Plague of Locusts

Exodus 10:12–15 pictures a swarm of locusts covering the land of Egypt. These insects devoured nearly every edible plant in the area, effectively starving the nation. It was a catastrophic event, but Egypt managed to survive on whatever reserves they had or perhaps even the locust themselves. There is a similar locust plague in Revelation, but it has an entirely different effect. God orders a swarm of locusts to escape from a bottomless pit and invade the planet. But these locusts are not targeting plants. Revelation 9:4 says, “They were told not to harm the grass of the earth or any green plant or any tree, but only those people who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads.” These are a breed of locusts with just one job: To torture humanity. Verse 5 says, “They were allowed to torment them for five months, but not to kill them, and their torment was like the torment of a scorpion when it stings someone.” Moreover, these locusts are not described as little plant-eating insects, “In appearance the locusts were like horses prepared for battle: on their heads were what looked like crowns of gold; their faces were like human faces, their hair like women’s hair, and their teeth like lions’ teeth; they had breastplates like breastplates of iron, and the noise of their wings was like the noise of many chariots with horses rushing into battle. They have tails and stings like scorpions, and their power to hurt people for five months is in their tails” (Rev 9:7–10). Like something out of a horror film, creatures unlike the world has ever seen will inflict the maximum amount of pain on humanity for five straight months. The similarity between the two plagues is undeniable. But the difference is equally striking.

The Plague of Hail Stones

The one plague I chose to illustrate in the video was the plague of hail stones. It was easy enough to depict and clearly communicated the similarities between the old and new exodus. Exodus 9:24 describes hail falling from the sky with flashes of fire, and if anyone was out in the open when this happened, they were struck with the hail and died (v. 25). The hailstorm was merciless to anyone who found themselves outside, but it was easily avoided by staying indoors. Yet, as expected, the hailstorm in Revelation ups the ante. Hail actually appears a few times throughout Revelation with subtle variation. It first shows up when an angel blows the first trumpet signaling a downpour of hail and fire. But God adds a special touch this time around: He mixes the hail and fire with blood. This new dimension suggests God has a more lethal intent than the original hail plague of the exodus. God wanted to cripple Egypt in the exodus. But now God intends to wipe wicked humanity off the face of the earth. The flaming hail ends up burning up one-third of the earth and acts as a down payment of more to come. The hailstorm shows up again in Revelation 16:21, “And great hailstones, about one hundred pounds each, fell from heaven on people; and they cursed God for the plague of the hail, because the plague was so severe.” Hailstones never get to be more than two pounds, but the hail of the final bowl judgment will be 50 times heavier and make it far more difficult to hide from.


Isaiah 40:31 forecasts a brand new exodus in the distant future. It will be comparable to the old exodus, but every plague will be far more severe. It will also widen its scope to include the entire world in order to ensure an everlasting victory for all of God’s people. All of this is communicated with one simple metaphor: The eagle.



Isaiah 40:31 is about delayed gratification, not instant. It offers a much bigger reward, but asks you in turn to wait for the Lord. Many people in the Old Testament patiently waited for this moment knowing full well they would never see it in their lifetimes. Hebrews 11 even catalogues a list of biblical characters who waited for the new exodus. People like Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Jacob, Moses, and Rahab were not waiting for God to act here and now. They waited for something they knew would happen long after they were gone. Hebrews 11:13 summarizes the patient nature of their faith well, “These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one.” (Heb 11:13).

I’m afraid Christians today are more focused on the “land from which they had gone out” (i.e., this life) more than the “better, heavenly country” (i.e., the new heavens and new earth of the new exodus), and they manipulate Isaiah 40:31 to fit this sentiment. But God calls us in Isaiah 40:31 to wait for the Lord. Those in the Old Testament did and He came. Now the New Testament asks us to wait again and He will come again, “Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn!” (2 Pet 3:11–12). Our job is not to wait for God to do something spectacular with our lives today (e.g., a good job, car, marriage, kids, success, etc.), even though He could and still might, but to live with holy poise as we wait for His new exodus to bring us home, “Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace” (2 Pet 3:14).


1 John

A whiteboard summary of the book of 1 John


Have you ever read a good book and wondered to yourself, “What makes this book so good?” There are so many reasons we could talk about as to why, but two of the most fundamental characteristics that must be present in almost every good book is structure and argument. Structure denotes how the book is organized. If it is thrown together haphazardly, it will be difficult to follow and likely unenjoyable. But it must also have a clear argument. This indicates the flow of the author’s thoughts or ideas. A dictionary may be well organized, but it is not designed to flow. There is both a science to writing (structure) and an art (argument). Both are necessary.

Over the years as I have put my WordBoard projects together, it has always been my intent to capture both the structure and the argument of a book. The structure of a book of the Bible would be equivalent to the outline. How has the author arranged his thoughts and how do we know it is organized that way? The argument of the book, on the other hand, represents the flow of his thoughts. What is the author’s logic and how does the outline or structure dictate this to us? Good Bible study attempts to answer both of these questions. You cannot understand the author’s intent without the flow and only an outline. But you will also have a difficult time determining the flow without an outline. Both are necessary.

It is my hope that each book summary conveys both the structure and the argument well. And if I did a good enough job, my goal is that the structure and argument are presented to you seamlessly.

With this in mind I want to begin something new with WordBoard. I want to start what I am calling a WordBlog. From now on I plan to accompany each video with a blog post. Each post will follow up the video a few days later and explain the evidence behind it. For Boardies, that will mean explaining in greater detail the evidence I have given in the video or offering more evidence, since Boardies are dealing with verses and not books. But book summaries will address the structure and argument of the book as I have presented them in the video. And I honestly cannot think of a better book to begin discussing structure and argument than 1 John.

1 John Blog 00

The Structure of 1 John

1 John Blog 01

In the video, I stated that the overarching purpose of the letter is to persuade Christians that Jesus is the very definition of truth. You should know, that purpose statement is not the general consensus. First John is usually described as a letter written to offer ways you can gain assurance of your salvation. The reason why scholars and pastors say this is because John gives a very clear purpose statement at the end of the letter, “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life” (1 John 5:13). In addition, John has already shown a tendency to put his purpose statements at the end of his books (see the Gospel of John 20:31). So, it would make sense to find such a purpose statement at the end of 1 John.

I do not want to minimize the significance of the assurance theme in 1 John. It is a very important piece to the puzzle. But the reason I do not accept this verse as the main purpose statement is because John provides three other statements just like it in the letter:

  1. “And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete” (1 John 1:4).
  2. “My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin” (1 John 2:1).
  3. “I write these things to you about those who are trying to deceive you” (1 John 2:26).
  4. “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life” (1 John 5:13).

1 John Blog 02There are actually four purpose statements in the book. Most commentaries ignore this, but I believe it is a very important feature to the letter of 1 John, because instead of giving us the purpose of the letter, it tells us its structure. One part is written so that their joy may be made full. Another, so that they may not sin. A third, so that they may become aware of false teachers among them. And the last, so that they may know they have eternal life. Four purpose statements. And those four make up the outline.

But in typical Johannine fashion, each purpose statement comes at the end of the section rather than the beginning, helping you seal off each part before a new one begins. So the outline for the book would be as follows:

  1. The truth of Christ leads to joy (1 John 1:1–4, purpose: 1:4)
  2. The joy of fellowship leads to sinlessness (1:5–2:2, purpose: 2:1)
  3. The sinfulness of others leads to awareness of false teachers (2:3–2:27, purpose: 2:26)
  4. The awareness of false teachers leads to a personal assurance of salvation (2:28–5:17, purpose: 5:13)
  5. Summary and Conclusion (5:18–21)

1 John Blog 03

The Argument of 1 John

But there is not only structure to this book; there is also argument. The book moves almost indistinctly from subject to subject, not only in its macrostructure (from purpose statement to purpose statement: 1:4; 2:1; 2:26; 5:13), but also in its microstructure (from paragraph to paragraph). Let me show you what I mean.

1 John Blog 04

There is a logical progression at a macro level. Truth embodied by Jesus Himself gets the ball rolling from the beginning. If you believe in Christ and all the important components He brings to the table, it unlocks a series of fundamental qualities that lead you to a firm conviction about Christ and what your life needs to look like relative to Him. The authenticity of Christ and all He is leads to immeasurable joy based on the fellowship it creates for us with God (1:1–4). Thatcommunity of joy with the Lord then becomes the basis for standing firm against sin (1:5–2:2). Sin then turns into an important gauge for how to recognize the false teachers and antichrists within our midst (2:3–27). And a clear awareness of those who are false sets up for a concrete conviction in our own souls that our salvation is in fact true.

There is also a logical progression at the micro level. For example, 1 John 2:28–3:6 sounds very similar to 1 John 3:7–12. Both address practicing righteousness (2:29; 3:7, 10), practicing sin (3:6, 8–9), and being born of God (2:29; 3:9). It might be tempting to lump these passages together, but I want to submit three reasons why I believe this is ill-advised. First, like I already said, John moves from subject to subject seamlessly all throughout the letter, not just here. Just because it sounds the same, does not mean it is. Second, John gives cues in the last half of the letter to signal to us when he is beginning a new subsection. Every time he addresses his audience with a title, such as “little children,” “beloved,” or “brothers,” and combines that with a subtle shift in emphasis, he is moving on to a different topic. In this case, John clues us in that the subject is changing in 3:7 when he says, “Little children, let no one deceive you.” The direct address is a strong indicator John is about to move on to something slightly different, and our suspicions are confirmed when we begin to see the topic change ever so slightly.

1 John Blog 05

In 2:28–3:6, John talked about practicing righteousness, practicing sin, and being born of God, in order to help his audience know how they can abide in Christ (2:28). The emphasis of the first section then is about abiding in Christ.But in 3:7, John shifts the subject to something new. He still uses many of the same talking points—practicing righteousness, practicing, sin, being born of God—but he uses them this time to help his audience see a clear difference between those who abide in Christ and those who abide in Satan.

1 John Blog 06

One has to do with staying in Christ (2:28–3:6). The other has to do with staying away from Satan (3:6–12). And I would be remiss if I did not reiterate that each of these two passages at the micro level merely serve to establish the final purpose statement, that awareness of those who are false lays the groundwork for assurance that we are in fact true.


That is how the book operates from front to back. It is engineered with an intricate strategy that presses together layer after layer of truth claims to get you to react differently, live differently, observe differently, and believe differently, until you are left with nothing but an ironclad conviction about the center of all truth, Christ Jesus our Lord.