Vol. 4, No. 3
Since You Asked
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I would like to know what happened to Job's wife. I know what kind of woman she was, but I don't know whatever happened to her. Thank you, Kartinia Morton, Washington, D.C.
The Bible does not address what became of Job's wife. In the conclusion of the Book of Job (chapter 42), Job was wonderfully blessed by God, which offset Job's former losses. Job's physical wealth doubled. Also, Job was blessed with seven sons and three daughters. The mother of a godly man's children is the man's wife. Since there is no indication that Job, for whatever reason, married a different wife than the one mentioned earlier in the Book of Job, apparently she enjoyed the same blessings Job did, especially the ten children. Otherwise, respecting details we wish we knew that the Bible does not address, we must take Deuteronomy 29:29 to heart, which says: "The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law."
I enjoy your web page. I was searching for an article on deacons, found it, but it didn't answer my question which is, is a divorced man, who has a scriptural divorce and is remarried, able to be a deacon? The question is an issue; some say yes, some say the scriptures aren't specific about this. One qualification, the husband of one wife. Would appreciate your thoughts and scripture on this. Thank you for your time, a sister in Christ, Zella Bluthardt
Commentators are not unanimous as to whether the biblical phrase "husband of one wife" prohibits polygamy or a second marriage for those who would be elders (1 Timothy 3:2) or deacons (1 Timothy 3:12). For instance, Albert Barnes and Adam Clarke view the phrase as pertaining to polygamy, not biblically lawful second marriages.
(1) It is the most obvious meaning of the language, and it would doubtless be thus understood by those to whom it was addressed. At a time when polygamy was not uncommon, to say that a man should "have but one wife" would be naturally understood as prohibiting polygamy. (2) The marriage of a second wife, after the death of the first, is nowhere spoken of in the Scriptures as wrong. The marriage of a widow to a second husband is expressely declared to be proper (1 Cor 7:39); and it is not unfair to infer from that permission that it is equally lawful and proper for man to marry the second time. But if it is lawful for any man it is right for a minister [bishop, ler] of the gospel. No reason can be assigned against such marriages in his case, which would not be equally valid in any other. ("1 Tim 3:2," Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)
He must be the husband of one wife. He should be a married man, but he should be no polygamist; and have only one wife, i.e. one at a time. It does not mean that, if he has been married, and his wife die, he should never marry another. ("1 Tim 3:2," Adam Clarke's Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1996 by Biblesoft)
Robertson, likewise, concludes that the prohibition pertains to polygamy and that there is no doubt that this is all that the verse conveys. "One at a time, clearly." ("1 Tim 3:2," Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft & Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament. Copyright (c) 1985 by Broadman Press)
However, the Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary says, "As in 1 Tim 5:9 'wife of one man' implies a woman married but once, so 'husband of one wife' must mean the same." Matthew Henry wrote that both polygamy and remarriage disqualified such candidates. ("1 Tim 3:1-7," Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible: New Modern Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1991 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.) Vincent concludes that the primary reference was to second marriages (e.g., following divorce or death). ("1 Tim 3:2," Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)
The Greek word for "one" in both 1 Timothy 3:2 and 3:12 differs from the Greek word for "one" in 1 Timothy 5:9. The latter's definition includes the idea of "only" whereas the former's definition does not include the idea of "only." It occurs to me that for the qualifications for elders and deacons to not address polygamy would have been an oversight in an era when polygamy was common. The apparent reference in the simple, unadorned phrase does not pertain to second, otherwise biblically lawful marriages but to polygamous marriages.
It is admirable that brethren carefully endeavor to apply Scripture. However, we also must cautiously guard against making applications that go beyond what the Bible teaches, even with the best of intentions.
I have a relative in another state who has been worshipping at a congregation where the elders have decided that all members should partake of the Lord's Supper twice each Sunday. Have you ever heard of this before? If you have time, please send me your thoughts on this. I know "there is nothing new under the sun," but I have never heard of this before. Thanks for your comments. In Christ, Ken Gardner
While I have heard brethren think out loud respecting the observance of communion at each worship period on Sundays, this is my first knowledge of any congregation implementing this practice. Doubtless, those who propose this dual observance of the Lord's Supper on Sunday, corresponding with assembling twice on Sunday which most congregations do, are sincerely trying to be guided by the New Testament and please God. Such persons' sincerity and devotion to God are not questioned.
The apostle Paul corrected abuses in the church of God at Corinth regarding its observance of the Lord's Supper (1 Corinthians 11:20-30). In that context, among other admonitions, the apostle wrote: "For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come" (1 Corinthians 11:26). He addressed the manner (1 Corinthians 11:27, 29 'worthily') in which the communion was to be observed, but he did not stipulate the frequency, surely because they needed no correction about the frequency of observance (i.e., frequency was not part of the Corinthian error). However, brethren who contemplate observing communion twice on the Lord's Day because we typically assemble twice on the Lord's Day read into this verse a frequency that is simply not there. The commentator, Albert Barnes, correctly notes of this verse and the words "as often," "Whenever you do this." ("1 Cor 11:26," Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)
The Bible student must turn elsewhere in the New Testament to discern the frequency of observing the communion, namely, Acts 20:7. "And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight." There is nothing in this verse that suggests a frequency greater than once weekly on the Lord's Day, Sunday on our English calendars.
Of course, we ought to be interested in biblical authority. "And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him" (Colossians 3:17). From 1 Corinthians 11:26 and Acts 20:7, Christians are authorized (required) to 'worthily' observe the Lord's Supper each "first day of the week." Biblical authorization for commemoration of the Lord's Supper once weekly in a worthy manner is all that is authorized.
The New Testament does not intimate that the early church assembled more than once on the Lord's Day. Doubtless, lack of opportunity to do so would have precluded such an option since the first day of the week then was not a day off as it has been often in America over the years. Early Christians, though, frequently did meet daily (Acts 2:46). However, there is neither indication nor authorization consequently respecting the infant church observing the Lord's Supper on any day than the first day of the week. Assembling, even to worship (Acts 4:23-31; 12:12) on days other than the first day of the week, Spirit-guided Christians did not observe the communion on the basis that the church or a part thereof assembled. Therefore, simply assembling twice on the Lord's Day neither requires nor authorizes Christians to observe the communion twice that day.
Personally, I would be slow to condemn individuals who sincerely sought to observe the communion twice on Sunday, though there is neither biblical authorization nor requirement to partake of it twice a week. I, though, would present the above information to them for their consideration and edification. However, for anyone, including an eldership, to require others to observe the communion twice on the Lord's Day would amount to making a law where God has not made one (Deuteronomy 4:2; Proverbs 30:6; Revelation 22:18-19). We must not go "above that which is written" (1 Corinthians 4:6) in the areas of religion where God through the Spirit has specified.
(see also http://www.gospelgazette.com/gazette/2002/feb/index.shtml#communion)
We are currently struggling with an issue concerning Communion. Is it okay to use individual cups, or do we have to drink out of one cup? Your opinion would be greatly appreciated, because it's really a problem issue within our church. Thanks. In Christ, Harry S
Sadly, the question you pose is one that has needlessly buffeted many congregations. The problem stems from the laudable desire to appeal to biblical authority coupled with an unfortunate misunderstanding of how to interpret language in general and biblical language in particular. For the most part, the same procedures by which one would understand language used daily, including among family members, is the same basis by which one correctly understands God's message in the Bible. Whereas even children typically understand the daily language about them, often people bring an artificial ignorance to biblical interpretation. For instance, almost no one of any age beyond toddlers has any difficulty at all understanding the difference between figurative and nonfigurative language as we speak to one another daily. Yet, interject Bible text into a discussion and even otherwise accomplished adults stumble over words and meanings that outside of a religious context every elementary school student understands. The foregoing, generally, is precisely the problem of whether in communion a congregation is authorized to use multiple cups or is restricted to sharing the same, single cup.
The troubling words "the cup" referring to communion appear in several New Testament passages (Matthew 26:26-29; Mark 14:23-25; Luke 22:15-20; 1 Corinthians 10:16, 21; 11:23-29). However, even an appeal to the first instance ought to satisfactorily allay any misgivings about this issue.
"And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom" (Matthew 26:27-29).
The words "the cup" figuratively refer to the contents of the cup, which Jesus identified as "this fruit of the vine." Likewise, the phrase "this is my blood" figuratively refers to the contents of the cup, which Jesus identified as "this fruit of the vine." Also stumbling over figurative language respecting the communion, the Catholic Church with its doctrine of transubstantiation and the Lutheran Church with its doctrine of consubstantiation have erroneously construed the phrases "this is my body" (Matthew 26:26) and "this is my blood" to mean the communion elements are actually the literal body and blood of Jesus Christ.
It is no more reasonable to conclude that the words "the cup" are literal and not figurative than it is to conclude with the Catholics and the Lutherans that the phrases "this is my body" and "this is my blood" are literal and not figurative, meaning the literal body and blood of Jesus Christ. One might as well argue that the communion elements are the literal body and blood of Jesus Christ as affirm that the literal "cup" is meant rather than the contents of the cup when our Lord instituted the communion. It is the same erroneous mishandling of Scripture, only differing over whether one stumbles over the words "the cup" or the phrases "this is my body" and "this is my blood."
Further, the phrase "drink ye all of it" ought to clarify whether the reference to "the cup" is figurative or literal. Try drinking a literal cup just once! It cannot be done; the reference is obviously to the contents, not to the container. The elements of the communion are the bread and the fruit of the vine, not literally "the Lord's table" (1 Corinthians 10:21) and the 'container.'
The type of figurative language employed in the verses above is the metaphor. The dictionary definition of a metaphor is: "a figure of speech in which a word or phrase literally denoting one kind of object or idea is used in place of another to suggest a likeness or analogy between them ..." (Merriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, (Springfield, Massachusetts: Merriam-Webster, Incorporated) 1993.) Perhaps, the following Scripture quotation, not pertaining to the communion, can help us better understand the use of this type of figurative language, which should promote a better understanding of how the same type of figurative language is used in passages about communion.
"The same day there came certain of the Pharisees, saying unto him, Get thee out, and depart hence: for Herod will kill thee. And he said unto them, Go ye, and tell that fox ..." (Luke 13:31-32).
Jesus referred to King Herod as a "fox." Herod did not suddenly sport pointy ears, a bushy tail and prance around on his hands and feet like a four-footed animal. Our Lord used figurative language, namely the metaphor, when referring to Herod. Similarly, someone might say about another today that "He is a snake in the grass"; who among us would think that such a person literally acquired the form and traits of snake.
We ordinarily know how to use figurative language in daily conversation and desperately need to have the same wits about us when we open the pages of inspiration to discern God's Word. Once my two-year-old grandson and I were playing with my model railroad and I told him to "Blow the train horn." He began blowing air. I said, "No, no, the little red button." He immediately stooped and began blowing air through his lips on to the train horn button. He's not two any more and he won't make that mistake again. We need to be careful that we don't approach God's Holy Word with the uninformed mindset of a two-year-old child.
The Book of Job