For Ezra had devoted himself to the study and observance of the Law of the LORD, and to teaching its decrees and laws in Israel. (Ezra 7:10.)

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Judy's Email Questions

I set forth her question with my answer right after it. These are from December 18, 2012.

QUESTION 1.

I have a few things rattling around in my head that I wanted to pose to you.

Do you consider Peter's letters to be "inspired" as you've used the term in relation to John and Matthew? 

RESPONSE 1

When Peter is remembering Jesus' words, then Peter is inspired. If Peter says the Holy Spirit told him something, I trust him and would believe he is speaking in that moment with inspiration. That means when Peter is writing a pastoral letter, and does not ascribe a specific statement to inspiration / "The Lord told me" then Peter is not asking us to take his words as inspired.

QUESTION 2

Do you read the Book of Acts with caution as it relates to establishing theology vs. being an historical record?

RESPONSE 2

I read Acts as a reliable account by Luke. I think he records what he was told and heard or researched. He is not concerned with consistency between accounts, which shows the integrity of Luke. For example, Paul's account of the vision in Acts 9, 22, and 26 all materially conflict with each other. In Acts 9, the men hear the voice but see no one. In Acts 22, they do not hear the voice, but see a light. In Acts 26 the men do not see the light which alone blinds Paul. Luke is being honest. I believe Luke was writing Theophilus for purposes of the trial being set up at Rome to examine Paul which is where the final chapters of Luke all point. So Luke was simply a compiler of a file, trying evidently to make Paul look good but not distorting Paul's accounts to make Paul look always consistent. Thus, Luke was not trying to prove any particular theology. He was likely trying to evoke sympathy for Paul who was on trial. This is not the same as defending a particular theology of Paul.

QUESTION 3

What is the role of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer?  I am  finding that the verses that come to my mind as I think about the Holy Spirit are largely from my past reading of Paul's letters.   If you have written something about that, or have a reference you can point me to,  that will be great.  It's possible I just haven't gotten down the list  that far yet on your site :-)

RESPONSE 3

Jesus said the persistent widow who keeps begging for justice is an example of what a believer should do to ask for the Holy Spirit. (See Luke 18:1-8.) If you keep persisting in asking, God will give it. Now what does it mean? It does not mean talking in glossalia. Look on my site about that. Instead, it means having a heart to please God, and being strong and courageous which the Spirit can give. The Spirit also protects, and brings to mind even of believers 2000 years later the words of Jesus. This is what guards us from despair, sin, and unjustified guilt. The Spirit will come and reside upon us and become our guide to understand Jesus' words, Jesus says.

COMMENT 4

I am finding that my prayer time is changing...how I pray; to Whom I pray; for what I pray

RESPONSE 4

I pray as Jesus taught us to pray --- to the Father. I use very reverentially the name of Yahweh within Jesus' prayer. I pray "let your name be sanctified and honored among all peoples -- the name of Yahweh," and then I bow my head to show respect. I pray individual prayer items or at the end in the name of "your Son Yah-Shua," which means Salvation of Yah, as Jesus taught.

COMMENT 5

Some of my questions aren't at the place where they are easy to even formulate yet.  But most importantly, my desire is for YHWH to lead me in the way of understanding; it is He and His Son Whom I  want to know; to be led in the way of Truth...through the narrow gate.   Last night and today the "cost" of being Jesus' disciple is coming to  mind....laying down my life; losing my life to save it; taking up my  cross...  So much to learn...may His words overtake any others that may  seek to confuse.

RESPONSE 5

Yes, the Father spoke from heaven twice --at the baptism and transfiguration -- "Listen to Him." Jesus' words have penetrating power, and will cleanse your mind of error. Paulinism is confused -- sometimes right, sometimes wrong. And therein lies the seduction. Jesus' words by contrast are bright, honed in on the spiritual issues we all face, consistent and true. Jesus thus provides alone the WAY to eternal life.

EXHORTATION

Judy, I sense you are on the right path. Keep following Jesus. And on my website is the reconstructed version of Matthew from S. Rives "The Original Gospel of Matthew." I read it periodically, and it is refreshing. It is the ASV version plus 49 additional quotes of the Hebrew Matthew by early church commentators from the "Hebrew" Matthew between 90 AD and 425 AD. Nothing controversial. Just a few more messages of our Lord. See this link
Take a look in particular at chapters 5-6 -- the Sermon on the Mount.
Blessings of Yah to you,
Doug