Questions, Answers, & Comments

Comments on the video lesson: "Justification through Faith" ( May 12, 2022):

This note is actually in reference to last week's lesson, for clarification. Last week,in a reference in passing to Hebrews 13:4, I ( Sandra B.), said that the term " whoremonger" in that verse did not just mean sexual promiscuity , or the lack of discretion, but all fornication, in general. That was not incorrect; because, according to Strong and Vine, it is actually Strong's ( Strong 's Exhaustive Concordance's; and Vine's Expository Dictionary's) second definition for the term. Strong actually uses the term "fornicator" before he begins to render out the term from the Greek word "Pornos", N.T. definition 4205; but Strong, Thayer ( Thayer's Greek Lexicon), and Vine all define this term first as meaning:
1" A man who prostitutes his body to another's lust for hire"
2"A male prostitute"
3 "A man who indulges in 'unlawful' sexual intercourse, a fornicator"
{ The term "harlot"-  the Greek word "Porne"- was used in the New testament for a woman who prostituted herself ].

The general, "catch-all" term for fornication/fornicator, comes from the same root word  as "pornos"  used in Heb.13:4 for "whoremonger"; and that word is , according to Strong, " porneia". It is defined as meaning, "Illicit sexual intercourse". He then names all sexual activity that falls into this category ( "adultery", "fornication", "homosexuality"," lesbianism", incest," bestiality", etc.). 
Strong's definition G4203 for fornication, "porneuo", has a similar definition.

The point here is that the only acceptable form of a sexual relationship to God, according to Scripture, is between a husband and wife in a monogamous, heterosexual marriage. At a later time we will discuss this topic more, as well as why there was polygamy/ concubinage sometimes in the O.T., though not acceptable to God, even then.

* All references to Greek terms can be accessed in the online version(s) of Strong's Exhaustive Concordance. Strong's Online version contains a reference for all Old and New Testament words. The Blue Letter Bible edition (also online) contains a reference to Vine's Expository Dictionary for all N.T. words. Just click on "View Entry". Strong also has references to Thayer's Greek Lexicon. All 3 of these Bible expositors have hardback editions, as well.
Blessings,
S. Brown





Comments on the  video lesson ( April 28, 2022), " Women Called by God":


I will attempt to keep my comments here as brief as possible.  I would just like to make a couple of points . Galatians 3:28 tells us that in Christ that there is "neither Jew nor Greek...bond nor free... male nor female..."; so that should make us stop and consider what that means in real terms, particularly concerning women , because of today's lesson. In 1Timothy 2:8-15, Paul makes some statements that , on the face of them, would seem to rule out women teaching or having any leadership role in the Body of Christ; yet as we saw ( or will see) in the lesson, Priscilla taught Apollos, and co-pastored a church with her husband. We also saw Junia , who many Bible scholars today believe had an apostolic calling and mantle. [ We didn't discuss her; but on the negative side, there was a woman called "Jezebel", who was a false prophetess and teacher in the church at Thyatira ( See Revelation 2:18-29). Notice 2 things about this passage: 


(1) The church apparently recognized her as a minister ( although a self-appointed prophetess), even though she was a woman


(2) Jesus rebuked them for what they allowed her to teach and practice in the Thyatiran church, but not for allowing a woman to teach.


In 1 Corinthians , Chs. 11 and 14, women were instructed to either cover their heads to show respect to their husbands, or to not talk out with questions during an assembly, but ask their husbands  at home if there was something that they wanted to know. This appears to be further indication of disorder in an already disorderly church with many problems, which Paul was addressing. However , it's clear from reading the text in in 1 Cor. 11:5, that women did speak on spiritual matters during the worship service.


Fast forward to 1 Timothy 2:8-15. Paul wrote to Timothy as the overseer of the Ephesian church ( See Ch 1:3). He devotes the second half of  chapter 2 to the appropriate attire and demeanor of Christian women, and states that they would be saved in child-bearing if they lived a life that was pleasing to God; so verse 12 , in particular, which speaks of a woman not teaching, nor usurping authority over "the " man ( and then  the verses that follow speaking about Adam being created first, and then Eve  initially being "in the transgression" after Creation), doesn't seem to "fit" the overall context of the entire chapter. However, those verses would make a lot more sense in that passage if Paul were/was addressing an issue in the church at Ephesus that he speaks of in his epistle to the Ephesians (  Ch 5), concerning the relationship between husbands and wives. He tells the husbands to  love, care for ,cherish their wives, as much as they do their own bodies, and as deeply as Christ cares for the church, and gave Himself for it. He tells the wives to show honor, and deep respect/reverence toward their husbands. Overall, Paul's instructions in 1 Corinthians, in Ephesians, and in 1 Timothy , Ch.2 , all seem to be addressing natural life/husband-wife  issues regarding family order and treatment of husbands . Strong's Concordance Online, which includes comments from Vine's Expository Dictionary  of New Testament Words , gives the following definitions for the term "usurp": 

James Strong:


"One who acts on his own authority; autocratic": 

" An absolute master"


William Edny Vine defines it as :


 " to exercise authority on one's own account"; " to domineer over" 


It's possible that Paul was speaking of women not teaching or being in leadership roles in the church in 1 Timothy 2:12. Some  theologians, such as Dr. Ben Witherington, renowned Wesleyan Methodist pastor, and seminary professor , assert that there could have been an issue of specific women who were unlearned, and/or teachers of false doctrine at Ephesus ( as we saw at Thyatira in Revelation, Ch.2). Other proponents of women in ministry hold similar, plausible views; but it is also possible, from the overall context, that Paul was speaking of a wife not lording it over her husband in being domineering. In the lesson you have seen, or will see, there were powerful, anointed women of God in the Old and New Testaments. Deborah, Priscilla, and probably Junia, as well, were all women in leadership roles in the Kingdom of God; and it does not follow logically, nor from the standpoint of the Kingdom of God, when we live under the New Covenant- " ...a better covenant, which was  established upon better promises"( See Hebrews 8:6) , and"... have gone from glory to glory" ( See 2 Corinthians 3:18), and still do so in our spiritual understanding and growth in all ways today- that a Deborah could be used mightily by God in Old Testament times, and not be in New Testament times. I encourage you to study this topic further; and be persuaded in your own hearts and minds.


Blessings,

Sandra Thomas- Brown


P.S. Please excuse my sluggishness on the video. I was tired, but needed to get it done.


*****


Comments on  " No Distractions, No Diversions"( Feb.16th,'22)


I have decided to remove  the first section of my comments here on this lesson because they cannot do the subject justice without a full  lesson , and can only cause confusion.



On homosexuality: The Old Testament addresses the subject more directly than the New Testament; but it is clear from Romans 1:22-27, and 1 Corinthians 6:9,  that it is not an acceptable lifestyle to God under either testament. The terms "fornication" and "sexual immorality"in the New Testament come from the Greek word "porneia", and are often used as catch-all terms to describe all forms of sexual activity that are scripturally unacceptable to God, from singles having sex, to adultery, to gay and lesbian sex/relationships,..  . It has to be understood that God treats all sexual sin the same today. Without repentance ( a change of heart and a turning away from sin); receiving Jesus as Lord and Savior, and true discipleship, the Bible teaches that they, and all others, will perish in the end. Let me make 2 brief points here:

 

1: God is not against sex. He created it, and not just for reproduction, as some people believe. If you have ever read " The Song of Solomon", you know that. There are other verses and scripture passages that also bear this out, such as 1 Corinthians Ch.7, in which married couples  ( both the husband and the wife) are taught that they are to fulfill the sexual needs and desires of their partners-within reason, of course, with respect for each other, and without violating the consciences of each other in some way by engaging in some acts. 


2: There are not a lot of places in the New Testament where specific sins are spelled out. In some instances, some sins are named or listed, such as in Galatians Ch.5; Colossians Ch, 3, etc.; but as the Bible says, " The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against ALL [ all types/forms] of ungodliness and unrighteousness..." ( Romans 1:18), and not just sexual sins-even as we see when we  read the entirety of Romans 1; so we need to be sober-minded about everything that displeases the Lord.  



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Comments on the lesson, " What is Truth?" ( posted on 2/3/22)


In the first section of this lesson, Sandra B. gave objective and subjective definitions of "truth", according to Merriam-Webster's Online Dictionary, Strong's Exhaustive Concordance Online, and  by Bible expositor William Edny Vine ( Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words  in Strong's Concordance, online version, such as in The Blue
Letter Bible ). Here is how they define these terms:


 Webster's Dictionary:Truth (essential):

     " The real facts about something: the things that are true:..." The quality or state of being true"..." A statement or idea that is true or accepted as true"...

Webster's Dictionary: Truth ( full):

      " The body of real things, events, facts: Actuality"; " The state of being the case": Fact" ; " A transcendent , fundamental, or spiritual reality" ; " A judgment, proposition, or idea that is true or accepted as true" ; " The body of true statements or propositions"; " The property ( as of a statement) of being in accord with fact or reality"


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Strong's Exhaustive Concordance: Truth :


     From the Greek word , "Aletheia". Objective truth: " Verity"; " What is true in any matter under consideration"; " in reality, in fact, certainly"; " What is true in things appertaining to God and the duties of man, moral and religious truth"; " the true notions of God which are open to human reason without his supernatural intervention"; " the truth as taught in the Christian religion, respecting God and the execution of his purposes through Christ, and respecting the duties of man, opposing alike to the superstitions of the Gentiles and the inventions of the Jews, and the corrupt opinions and precepts of false teachers even among Christians"


   Strong's: Subjective Truth as a Personal Excellence- " that candor of mind which is free from affection, pretense, simulation, falsehood, deceit"

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Vine's Expository Dictionary on Objective Truth:

    " Signifying... the reality lying at the basis of an appearance, the manifested, veritable essence of a matter"


Vine's Expository Dictionary on Subjective Truth:

     " truthfulness.. not merely verbal, but sincerity and integrity of character"


_______

We will discuss these definitions at a later time; but the main takeaway for today is that subjective truth involves an individual's truthfulness in making assessments about various matters; but it is based on his or her own point of view, and may or  may not be fact-based. However, objective truth is what is real, actual, fact-based, apart from personal feelings,  beliefs, prejudices.




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Comment(s) on the lesson: " When the Time Comes":


The point that I ( Sandra B.) am making in this lesson is not that we should give up going on the Internet, altogether, but that we should be cautious, selective, and not receive anything and everything that we see and hear on various media and social media platforms, as [the] truth. 

 


Comment(s) on lesson: "A House Divided":


Please listen to this teaching, prayerfully. This lesson is not meant to be a blanket indictment against everybody in any racial group, but has been designed for the listener to examine, in a straightforward way, long-held beliefs and practices among certain, sizeable segments of the population. The lesson is also not meant to give the listener the impression that there is nothing that we as humans can do to make things better in tangible, meaningful ways, but to come to the understanding that  the solutions to many of the problems that we face are beyond man's abilities ( at least alone); and that we are dependent upon the Lord to bring change(s) that is optimum.



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Notes by Sandra Thomas Brown on the lesson, "Holding to Biblical Principles":


Point 1: I want to clarify something that I said in this teaching on modern-day prophets. Most prophets are people who love God,  would not intentionally mislead God's people, and are to be respected and heeded. However, 1 Corinthians 14:29, as well as other Scriptures, demonstrate that we are not to simply take everything that even the most seasoned of N.T. prophets  minister as the unadulterated Word of the Lord, just as we wouldn't receive a biblically unsound teaching from an otherwise respected and sound Bible teacher-preacher . Prophetic words are to be judged by ,ideally, fellow prophets, as well as church leaders/mature believers. Not doing this has led to problems and even error in some cases in the Body of Christ today. 


Point 2:I made reference to a dream that one of my daughters had last year in the lesson. I believe that the Lord was speaking to her as to what He wants her to do ministry wise; but my real point in mentioning this was that He has been dealing with me about similar things, with a focal point on some of them from the book of Ezekiel.[ He has dealt with me about Ezekiel for years, but about specific things regarding it over the past several years]. Even though until more recently there have been things that I didn't understand, for the past 8 or 9 years, the Lord impressed upon me that there were events coming that many in the Body of Christ would not be prepared for; and some would  "fall away", as the Scriptures teach.


Point 3: I made a statement about not fighting natural battles. To be clear, there are times when military conflicts between opposing nations may be necessary and just. However, my point was that the church is not supposed to be engaged in hatred and violence against fellow citizens over differences.





"God's Unchanging Truth"


* Note by Sandra Thomas Brown on Summer Enrichment Lesson, " God's Unchanging Truth":

   During this lesson, I make a comment in passing on how slaves were introduced to Christianity in the midst of slavery. HOWEVER, I want to make it very clear that even though this was the one positive outcome of  the evil of slavery, that the institution [of slavery] was in no wise justifiable in the sight of God, as some people believe. Also, in trying to keep videos from becoming too lengthy, I omit some things on a subject to make a main point, and move on to the next point, as I did in this video when speaking of Noah's curse on his grandson, Canaan.

     I didn't talk much about the actual Scripture text because I wanted to focus on how many people have used this text in Genesis 9 to justify white supremacy/racism, slavery,etc.;but Ham dishonored his father, Noah,in some way, while he was drunk and unclothed in his tent.Noah's other 2 sons, Shem and Japheth, covered up their father, walking backwards so as not to see him, unclothed.  As a result, Noah did not curse his son, Ham for what he did, but one , and only one, of Ham's  four sons; and that was his son,Canaan, saying that Canaan would be subservient to Shem and Japheth, for Ham's sin(s). Genesis chapter 10:16-20 tells us who ALL of Canaan's sons or their tribes were, as well as their territories and borders. They were tribes such as the Amorites, Hittites;Jebusites,etc . The Jebusites lived in the area of Jerusalem; but the others spread out over the region in Lebanon, Turkey, Syria,etc .- not on the continent of Africa, as many white supremacists claim to justify white supremacy, white separatism,slavery; racism and discrimination,etc. It was Ham's other 3 sons , Cush; Mizraim; and Phut; who inhabited Africa; and these grandsons were NOT cursed by Noah. That being said, white supremacists generally do not limit their bigotry to black people, but believe, ironically and also wrongly, that Jews, and most Middle Easterners, Hispanics, Asians and others, are inferior and have a subordinate position in the world.The Word of God does not support any of these views. 

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Note on Summer Enrichment lesson, " Supplications, Prayers, Intercessions" ( August 5, 2021):


     In this lesson, I make a  comment to the effec that it's right for this country to take care of immigrants who come here to America. On that, I misspoke. I did not mean that the government should take care of immigrants.[ However, emergency medical care and things of that nature, should be extended to them, if they are not here, legally ]. I meant that the Word of God tells us how we should treat immigrants. God specifically instructed Israel as to how they should view immigrants, referred to as"strangers" or "strangers in the land" in a number of verses. A verse that captures God's disposition on immigrants , and what should be ours as Christians, is expressed in Leviticus 19:34 says:" But the stranger [ immigrant] that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself; for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God". Other Scriptures express this same idea. In Exodus 22:21, God commands the Children of Israel not to "vex", nor "oppress" the immigrant; and over and over- for example, in Exodus 23:9; Deuteronomy 10:19-God commands His people not to mistreat immigrants, but to accept and welcome them as if they were born in Israel because they, themselves, were once "strangers" in Egypt. 

     It's understandable that America has laws and processes surrounding immigration; but this country ( and particularly people who know the Lord) should not be disdainful of  immigrants. Native Americans welcomed into their land, America, "strangers" from Europe- the ancestors of many people here today. We may not be able to accept every person who applies to come to America; but there needs to be more humility, even-handedness, and a better attitude towards those who seek to come here, as well as those immigrants who are already here.