Who Are the "Weak in Faith?" (Part 3)

Pompeii relief depicting a bull, ram, & boar prepared for sacrifice. (Project Gutenberg)

(Read the series so far)

Weakness is How Jesus Exercises Lordship.

Romans 14:4-13—The Servant and His Master

In Romans 14:4 Paul explains why the weak shouldn’t judge the strong: “Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand”1 (ESV). Only the master may give orders and judge whether his servant is in good standing. By this analogy, the weak and strong are servants of a Master who chooses to give different orders to different servants. Some clean the house; some cook. Therefore, the cook gets orders that apply to him but not to the maid.

The common view of the weak brother implies that there is one correct set of orders about which the weak and strong have different levels of maturity, understanding, and confidence. But this passage says that neither servant can be sure that his brother has the same requirements for good standing as he himself does. Read more about Who Are the "Weak in Faith?" (Part 3)

An Analysis of the Supreme Court's Gay Marriage Decision, Part 2

Read Part 1.

The Court’s Legal Justification For this Ruling

The Court justified its ruling requiring States to both license and recognize same-sex unions on four pillars. They are:1

  • individual autonomy and liberty
  • a two-person union is important to individuals
  • it safeguards children and families
  • it safeguards social order

These arguments, and the dissenting opinion, are analyzed below. Read more about An Analysis of the Supreme Court's Gay Marriage Decision, Part 2

An Analysis of the Supreme Court's Gay Marriage Decision, Part 1


On Friday, June 26 2015, the Supreme Court of the United States issued a landmark ruling about same-sex marriage. Here is what it determined:

The Fourteenth Amendment requires a State to license a marriage between two people of the same sex and to recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex when their marriage was lawfully licensed and performed out-of-State.1

What does the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution state? Here is Section 1, which is the portion relevant to this discussion: Read more about An Analysis of the Supreme Court's Gay Marriage Decision, Part 1

From the Archives: Canaan and the Curse

Originally posted in January of 2012. Read Part 1.

So Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done to him. 25 Then he said: “Cursed be Canaan; A servant of servants He shall be to his brethren.” 26 And he said: “Blessed be the LORD, The God of Shem, And may Canaan be his servant. 27 May God enlarge Japheth, And may he dwell in the tents of Shem; And may Canaan be his servant.” (NKJV, Genesis 9:24–27)

Canaan, son of Ham

By divine inspiration, Noah uttered his first prophecy about Canaan and his descendants: “He said, ‘Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be to his brothers’” (Gen. 9:25). The observant reader at this point will ask an obvious question: If Ham committed the act, why is his son Canaan cursed? Read more about From the Archives: Canaan and the Curse

Book Review - Invitation to Biblical Interpretation

Andreas J. Köstenberger, Richard Patterson
Kregel Academic & Professional (2011)
Hardcover, 896 pages

This large volume has already positioned itself as a premier textbook for hermeneutics for evangelicals. The authors; one an OT commentator, and one a NT commentator, have put a lot of thought into their production. The publisher has produced an attractive, well planned volume.

But why buy this book over others? The collaboration of Klein, Blomberg and Hubbard,Introduction to Biblical Interpretation (2nd ed.), covers all the main introductory issues. The Kaiser/Silva Introduction to Biblical Hermeneutics (2nd ed.), intriguingly allows digression between the authors. Bauer’s Inductive Bible Study updates Traina’s famous manual. I am partial to Zuck’s Basic Bible Interpretation as a “safe” starter. And, of course, there are many others. So what does this book have going for it? Read more about Book Review - Invitation to Biblical Interpretation

Who Are the "Weak in Faith?" (Part 2)

Relief with sacrifice to Asklepios (c. AD 320)

Sometimes the Weak Brother is Right

In 1 Corinthians 8-10, Paul wrote about idol meat. The one who avoided idol meat had a weak conscience. Romans 14 refers to meat-avoiding weak believers as well. Both passages warn the eaters that their eating could cause stumbling and destruction. Both argue for love over liberty. Both deal with standing and falling. However, though these passages deal with similar issues, the Corinthians were struggling with much closer involvement with idols.

In 1 Corinthians 8:1-7, the strong are said to have knowledge. Paul used two words for knowledge. First, γνῶσις, “knowledge,” is found in 1 Corinthians 8:1,7,10,11. The same word as a verb, γινώσκω, “I know,” is found in 1 Corinthians 8:2,3. Second, εἴδω, “I see” or “I understand,” occurs in four verses in 1 Corinthians 8:1 (know), 2 (know), 4 (know), 10 (see). These two words are somewhat interchangeable1. Romans 14:14a uses εἴδω, “I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus.” Romans 14 does not use γινώσκω. Read more about Who Are the "Weak in Faith?" (Part 2)

Summer Daze

Kuckles Down by Norman Rockwell

Chalk it up to the latent truancy that exists in parent and child alike, but I’ve been less than motivated these last few weeks. From the middle of May onward, I found myself slogging through the final projects, class picnics, and end-of-school year programs. I bought the ice cream, clapped for the perfect attendance awards, and sniffled through fifth-grade graduation. When the last bell rang, my kids weren’t the only ones ready to be done.

No more lunches to pack…
No more homework to muddle through…
No more waking up in the middle of the night to remember what I forgot…
At least for the next 104 days or so.

I grew up in a teacher’s home; in fact, it was a two-teacher home. Both my mother and father spent their days schooling future generations in the finer points of history and science. For our family, life existed in discreet increments of 9 weeks that gradually worked their way toward the ultimate goal of summer vacation. Dad often had to take odd jobs during his months off to make ends meet, but occasionally, every so often, there was a glorious summer when we had enough. He could stay with us, tend his garden, putter in his orchard, and simply enjoy working at home. Read more about Summer Daze

Legalism & Galatians: What Was Going on in Galatia?

Loathing toward legalism (and perceived legalism) is commonplace in today’s evangelical ministries, including those of fundamentalist heritage, and Galatians often plays a prominent role in how we think about legalism and Christian liberty.

But liberty is often misunderstood, and overreactions—as well as under-developed reactions—to legalism seem to be a growing problem. It’s no coincidence that the Galatian error, and Paul’s remedial teaching, is also often misunderstood. The result is that a letter that has great potential to help us with our present-day understanding of law, grace and liberty ends up contributing to confusion instead.

So the question in focus here is, to paraphrase the title, what was the Galatian problem? Read more about Legalism & Galatians: What Was Going on in Galatia?