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Digging Deeper: The Flood in the New Testament

Author: Mr. Kenneth Frank | Faculty in Theology, Living Education


Estimated reading time: 8 min. 40 sec.

Did you know that Jesus referenced the great flood of Noah’s day to describe the world’s unrepentant state before His Second Coming?

There are vital lessons for our day from Jesus’ relating this story. Skeptics today question whether this flood ever occurred, stating it was legendary or merely symbolic. Others may accept its reality but challenge whether the flood was universal or only local. There is a direct and conclusive way for Christians to verify the details of this Genesis account: by closely reading the New Testament. This Digging Deeper delves into the New Testament’s reference to this dramatic story to motivate humanity to heed Jesus’ warnings about world conditions before His return.

The first passage that mentions the flood in NT

The great flood of Noah’s day (sometimes referred to as the “Genesis Flood” or “Noah’s Flood”) is mentioned in six New Testament passages. The first is: “But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be” (Matthew 24:36-39 KJV throughout).

Notice that Jesus affirms that such a flood actually occurred and that it took them all away. This story was quite familiar to His listeners since He did not have to recount the entire drama. Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words states that the Greek word translated flood is: “kataklusmos (G2627), ‘a deluge’ (Eng., ‘cataclysm’), akin to katakluzo, ‘to inundate,’ 2 Peter 3:6, is used of the ‘flood’ in Noah’s time, Matthew 24:38, 39; Luke 17:27; 2 Peter 2:5” (e-Sword 13.0). Noah’s Flood was a cataclysmic deluge of the entire planet. Many Jews of the time thought the flood prefigured the day of judgment to come.

The King James Study Bible comments on these verses: ” … we are given a comparison to the days of Noe (Noah and the Flood), which illustrate and prefigure the condition of humanity at the time of Christ’s return. The last generation, like the one of Noah’s day, is pleasure-oriented and self-gratifying by eating and drinking. The reference to marrying and giving in marriage may refer to carrying on the normal course of life without heeding the impending judgment” (Tecarta Bible App).

As in Noah’s day, people will be unprepared for the destruction to come due to neglecting God’s warnings. R.C.H. Lenski in his Commentary on the New Testament wrote: “In the days preceding the deluge men were wholly unconcerned (ἦσαν with an indefinite subject). They spent the 120 years which God had fixed as the limit of his grace ‘eating (πρώγειν, “to munch,” audible eating, used in John 6:54–58) and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage’ as though no judgment were impending. These are neutral actions that are not sinful in themselves; but they obtain a sinister significance when the total disregard of God’s warnings is observed which underlies this conduct. These men should have repented in sackcloth and in ashes” (Bible Analyzer 5.4.1.22).

The second passage is:

“And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all” (Luke 7:26-27). When He said it “destroyed them all,” Jesus considered it a universal flood since He used it as a historical precedent for massive destruction of the world’s population at His return resulting from open sin. The NIV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible notes: “Ancient Jewish sources depicted Noah’s generation (Ge 6:11–13) and Sodom (Ge 18:20; 19:4–9), sometimes together, as the epitome of evil. The point here is that they thought only of life as usual, and sudden judgment took them by surprise (Ge 7:21–23; 19:24–25)” (Tecarta Bible App).

Sudden destruction will catch most people unprepared at Jesus’ return. R.C.H. Lenski in his Commentary on the New Testament described the people of Noah’s day: “They disregarded absolutely all warning and lived on as though the warnings meant nothing. The four verbs which are without connectives are dramatic, all are imperfect tenses to express customary actions. It is a masterly description of that blind, secure, unbelieving, ungodly generation of Noah’s day, whose successors are with us now and shall fill the world when the Son of man comes” (Bible Analyzer 5.4.1.22).

The third passage is:

“By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith” (Hebrews 11:7). The KJV Study Bible notes: “Noah was asked by God to do in faith things that were incongruous with his former experience. He had never seen rain (Genesis 2:5), and yet God told him to build an ark because of a coming flood (Genesis 6:13–17)” (Tecarta Bible App). The NKJ Study Bible adds further: “Noah had never seen (v. 1) the flood God revealed to him. Yet he believed God in spite of this and heeded His warnings. His faith not only saved him from the deluge but also from God’s judgment, for He became an heir of righteousness” (Ibid.).

The fourth passage is:

“Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water. The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 3:20-21). The Holman KJV Study Bible explains: “Noah and his family were saved by water, or brought safely through the floodwaters, whereas the wicked were destroyed (Genesis 7:22-23). Baptism in the NT corresponds to this OT event in that both involve breaks from past lives and a fresh start and entrance into new life” (Tecarta Bible App).

The fifth passage is:

“And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly” (2 Peter 2:5). The NKJ Study Bible comments: “Noah is called a preacher of righteousness because his righteous life put to shame the immoral lives of his neighbors. Noah’s building of the ark would certainly have given him the opportunity to explain the coming judgment and to invite people to repent and believe in God. But his entreaties fell on deaf ears, just as the truth of Christ’s atonement fell on the deaf ears of the false teachers of Peter’s day. Such indifference and unbelief brought the ungodly of Noah’s world to certain destruction” (Tecarta Bible App).

The sixth and final passage is:

“For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished” (2 Peter 3:6). In his Days of Praise article for February 5, 2018, John Morris wrote, “Peter uses extraordinary language. The word ‘overflowed’ in today’s verse translates the mighty Greek word katakluzo, from which we get our word ‘cataclysm’ …In the Greek New Testament, this word is only used to refer to Noah’s Flood (see Matthew 24:38-39; Luke 17:27; 2 Peter 2:5) …” This is the word described earlier in this article. The NKJ Study Bible additionally notes: “The scoffing teachers would choose to overlook events such as creation and the Flood. The people of Noah’s time did not believe in Noah’s warning because they had never experienced a flood.” (Tecarta Bible App).

To summarize the importance of the words of Jesus and the New Testament apostles, Henry Morris in his Days of Praise article for January 30, 2018 wrote: “This is what Jesus said, and what He believed, and therefore, those who are truly His disciples must also believe this. The destructive effects of the Flood can still be seen today not only in the biblical record, but also in the abundant evidences of cataclysmic destruction in the rocks and fossil graveyards all over the world. To refuse this evidence, as do many modern intellectuals, can only be because they ‘willingly are ignorant,’ as Peter said in referring to this testimony (2 Peter 3:5).”

Christians need only go back to the New Testament’s affirmation in the first century that the flood was real and globally destructive. Contrary to what some claim, there is ample biblical and geological evidence of a global flood. Faith in the words of Christ Who inspired the New Testament settles the matter satisfactorily for those who claim to be His disciples. Jesus referenced the flood account to warn people not to avoid His call for repentance as people did in the time of Noah. Believers who heed God’s word and respond like Noah will find ” … grace in the eyes of the LORD” (Genesis 6:8).

Ken Frank

Kenneth Frank was born and raised in New Jersey, USA and attended Ambassador College, graduating in 1973. He served in the Canadian ministry from 1973-1999, after which he returned to the USA to pastor churches in Maryland, Virginia, and North Carolina for 15 years. Having earned a BA degree from Ambassador College he later earned a MA degree from Grand Canyon University before being assigned to the Charlotte office to teach at Living University, now Living Education. Currently, he teaches the Survey of the Bible course to the on-campus students and writes the Digging Deeper column for our online Bible study program. He is married, has four children, and seven grandchildren.

Course Spotlight: The Genealogy of Christ

Have you ever wondered sometimes why the Bible mentions two genealogies of Christ – one in Matthew 1 and another in Luke 3? The most confusing thing about them is that they are totally different! Why are these two genealogies both in the Bible? Can we learn anything from them?

Course Spotlight from The Life Ministry and Teachings of Jesus Christ: (Unit 1) The Early Life of Christ

Digging Deeper: Open Thou Mine Eyes

Author: Mr. Kenneth Frank | Faculty in Theology, Living Education


Estimated reading time: 8 min. 40 sec.

Did you know that humans are unable to understand the rich meaning of the Bible unless God opens their eyes to it?

Try as they might, people can read and reread the sacred text and yet never grasp the deep, underlying instruction from God’s Holy Book. They may discover surface details but the deeper truths of Scripture must be unlocked to trusting minds. The NIV Biblical Theology Study Bible explains: “Without the Lord’s intervention, we will miss the wonderful treasures in the word” (Tecarta Bible App). Bible readers must discover the frame of mind that God requires of inquirers. This Digging Deeper searches for this key to understanding.

Our primary text is: “Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law” (Psalm 119:18 KJV throughout). Notice that it is a prayer request from a believer who already had sufficient spiritual insight to recognize that he was still missing the even deeper significance of Scripture. He realized he was impeded from beholding wondrous things. That impediment was sin. Adam Clarke’s Commentary on the Bible elucidates: “The Holy Scriptures are plain enough; but the heart of man is darkened by sin. The Bible does not so much need a comment, as the soul does the light of the Holy Spirit. Were it not for the darkness of the human intellect, the things relative to salvation would be easily apprehended” (e-Sword 13.0).

A spiritual prognosis will specify what needs attention. Joseph S. Exell’s The Preacher’s Complete Homiletical Commentary details the human condition further: “I. That man by himself cannot see wondrous things. The Hebrew phrase is, ‘Unveil mine eyes;’ implying—1. That man is spiritually blind (Revelation 3:17; Job 11:12). (1.) By sin (Ephesians 4:18). (2.) By reason of ignorance. (3.) By reason of self-conceit (1 Corinthians 8:1-2). (4.) By reason of prejudice and disaffection (Luke 16:14; 2 Corinthians 4:4). 2. That man is not only thus naturally blind, but lacks that divine light which can alone reveal and illuminate the sacred mysteries. Man is both blind and in the dark. His therefore is ‘gross darkness.’ 3. That this blindness and darkness are universal. The Psalmist’s case before his prayer was not the exception, but the rule” (e-Sword 13.0).

Looking closer

Taking a closer look at some words used in our text will expand our understanding. The word open has the sense of “unveil.” The Dake Reference Bible notes that the Hebrew word is “galah (H1540), unveil; uncover; remove that which hinders sight (Psalm 119:18; Numbers 22:31…)” (Bible Analyzer 5.4.1.22). Dake’s illustrative verse, Numbers 22:31, comes from the account involving Balaam when his donkey spoke to him. The LORD had to open Balaam’s eyes to see an angel standing with a drawn sword causing him to bow his head and fall flat on his face in submission. Balaam had been blinded by his willfulness and sin.

The Bible is veiled to those who do not have “eyes to see.” Until one submits to God in repentant obedience the meaning of sacred text remains veiled. We need to pray for insight beyond our abilities. The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges explains this word open: “Natural sight is unable to discern the mysteries (cp. Psalm 119:27) of Divine revelation; hence this prayer for the removal of the veil from his eyes. Cp. 2 Kings 6:17 (a different word); Ephesians 1:17-18” (e-Sword 13.0).

The apostle Paul’s conversion illustrates this process: “And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost. And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized” (Act 9:17-18). From that point on, Paul had “eyes to see.” He became one of the most effective first-century apostles, writing 14 of our New Testament books employing this spiritual insight.

The word behold in Psalm 119:18 means “discern, or see clearly”. The author asks God to enable him to understand God’s revelation as He intends. In His first recorded sermon, Jesus said one of the reasons for His ministry was the “recovering of sight to the blind” (Luke 4:18). He will cure spiritual myopia.

The word wondrous too has special significance. The Ultimate Cross-reference Treasury defines this word as “the wondrous, spiritual, truths that lie hid beneath the letter” (e-Sword 13.0). Bible readers will discern surface teachings, but to grasp the deeper issues submissive prayer is required. The ESV Study Bible states that the wondrous things are: “Probably the wondrous works recorded there and what they reveal of God himself (cf. v. 27; Ex. 3:20; Josh. 3:5; Ps. 78:32; 145:5)” (Tecarta Bible App).

The need for spiritual discernment

Some cross-references are enlightening: “Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man” (1 Corinthians 2:12-15).

Paul’s declaration about comparing spiritual things with spiritual refers to employing Scripture to interpret Scripture – one of the most important Bible study principles. These verses explain a major problem people have in reading the Bible today: they try to read it using man’s wisdom instead of seeking God’s wisdom provided by the Holy Spirit. Without that, the words of Scripture are foolishness to them because they are spiritually discerned. This accounts for much of the biblical skepticism not only among the general public but even among biblical scholars today.

The word law at the end of our primary text does not refer only to God’s Old Testament legislation. The Hebrew word torah has the broader meaning of instruction or teaching. The Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary expounds it as: “The wonders of the law, not only its deep mysteries, but its practical truths, proceed ‘out of’ it only to the spiritually enlightened” (e-Sword 13.0). This is what it takes for “rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). Unless we discern properly, we are apt to misinterpret Scripture and attempt to apply it in ways not intended by the Author. Our primary text explains how Bible readers should discern the meaning of biblical truths to properly apply its teachings to their lives.

The need for communication with God

Albert Barnes’ Notes on the Bible explains God’s law as: “Out of the written word; out of the Scriptures. The word ‘law’ here is used to denote ‘all’ that God had revealed to mankind; all that is contained in the volume of inspiration. The truths taught here are:

(1) That there are deep, hidden, secret things in the word of God, which are not perceived by the natural man;

(2) That those things, when understood, are suited to excite wonder, or to fill the mind with admiring views of God;

(3) That a special illumination of God is necessary that man may perceive these things; and

(4) That the proper understanding of these things is connected with prayer, and can be hoped for only in answer to prayer” (e-Sword 13.0).

This brings forward another vital key for Bible study. Before beginning one’s daily Bible reading and study, students should pray that God will unfold its significance before the reader’s eyes. David Guzik’s Enduring Word Commentary elaborates: “In order to keep God’s word, must we not pray to understand it? What then is this prayer? Not – give me a plainer Bible – but open my eyes to know my Bible. Not – show me some new revelations beside the law – but make me behold the wonders of the law (Bridges)” (e-Sword 13.0). So many clamor today for “clearer, more modern” translations of the Bible when the chief problem is their spiritual blindness caused by sin. Our standard classic English Bible is clear enough to those who ask God to open their spiritual eyes. 

The Pulpit Commentary carries this thought further: “To how many the Bible is all dark and dull, incomprehensible in many parts, and void of interest in others! It is because the films of sin and prejudice have rendered their eyesight dark and dull. Let their eyes be but opened, and they will behold, not, as now they do, mere words, but wondrous things out of God’s Law” (e-Sword 13.0).

With a submissive mind willing to respond to what is read, God will surely enlighten the reader to what is required to deepen one’s relationship with Him. Such readers will receive life through God’s Word (Psalm 119:17). Bible study should be life-giving. Far too many never experience the word as God intends. Readers need to pray for open eyes so that the blinder of sin will be removed. Once Christians are in a harmonious relationship with Christ, spiritual blindness can be cured by this sincere request: “Open Thou mine eyes.”


Ken Frank

Course Spotlight: Lessons from Forgiveness

In some of our online courses, we have a “Student Thoughts” section where we ask a question to see what the students think. In Unit 4 of the Life Ministry and Teachings of Jesus Christ course, we asked the question:

As He is dying, Christ asks the Father to forgive the people (Luke 23:34). What lessons can we learn from Christ’s attitude during His crucifixion? 

Come take a look at some of the Student Responses below!


By Christ asking for God to forgive those who were crucifying Him, He showed exactly what He meant in Matthew 5:44 where He said to ” Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.” If we all could learn to do this today, we would be showing that Christ is indeed living through us.

-GW

Jesus Christ had compassion on the world when He was suffering, because He saw the big picture of the Kingdom coming ahead. Suffering has a way of humbling a person to a point of understanding that cannot be understood by any other means. When we suffer, we draw close to God and He gives us a peace and clarity that helps us see beyond our suffering. Jesus had the ultimate vision of the Kingdom and could see that in the resurrection, the hearts of those that crucified Him would be cut deeply by their wrongful condemnation of Him. We as His followers have to forgive those that sin against us also in order to have our sins forgiven and be able to enter into the Kingdom.

-AL

Christ shows us through the recording of this statement the heartfelt love He has for His family, not wanting any to be lost. He taught this during His entire ministry in many ways, but He was so very concerned for these people who were treating Him in such a vile way during the scourging and crucifixion that He felt compelled to beg the Father to have mercy on them. I’ve felt, as most of us probably have, this overwhelming concern at times for my children and for others, because of the deep desire to see them succeed, that I’ve cried out on their behalf, sincerely, that the Father and Christ will have mercy, and not at all concerned at the time for myself.  Christ desires this heart in us to always care, to be quick to forgive, to be merciful, to teach, to guide, and to protect the rest of our family – in essence to think outside of ourselves.

-MA

Course Spotlight: Horsemen of Revelation

What do the white horse and its rider represent in Revelation 6? Some commentators mistakenly say that these represent Christ, because the imagery appears similar to the description of Christ given in Revelation 19. But when we compare the Revelation 19 description to the first horseman, we find notable differences.

Course Spotlight From The Life, Teachings, and Ministry of Jesus Christ: (Unit 3) The Judean Ministry

Digging Deeper: Things Too High For Me

Author: Mr. Kenneth Frank | Faculty in Theology, Living Education


Estimated reading time: 8 min. 40 sec.

Did you know that King David came to a place in life where he realized there were mysteries of life that were beyond his understanding and, as a result, boldly entrusted them to God – even as a weaned child trusts its mother?

His illustration may seem unusual, but there is a good reason he expressed it thus. Sometimes we rack our brains trying to figure out why things happen in life. We search and search for answers. We stew and fret almost to the point of exhaustion. David discovered a better way to handle life’s mysteries. This Digging Deeper searches the inspired mind of David for guidance on how to live a life that does not have all the answers but knows the One who does.

Psalm 131 is the scriptural basis for this study: “A Song of degrees of David. LORD, my heart is not haughty, nor mine eyes lofty: neither do I exercise myself in great matters, or in things too high for me. Surely I have behaved and quieted myself, as a child that is weaned of his mother: my soul is even as a weaned child. Let Israel hope in the LORD from henceforth and for ever” (Psalm 131:1-3 KJV throughout except where noted).

A Song of Ascents

Notice that this psalm is here described as “A Song of Degrees [or, Ascents] of David.” It is one of a special collection of psalms within the greater Psalter (Book of Psalms). The NIV Biblical Theology Study Bible explains: “Pss 120–134 are commonly called the ‘songs of ascents.’ The title denotes songs that pilgrims sang on their way up to Jerusalem for one of the major festivals (84:5–7; Exod 23:14–17; Deut 16:16; Mic 4:2; see Zech 14:16 and note). According to the OT spatial perspective, Jerusalem is always ‘up,’ regardless of the actual elevation of the starting point (2 Sam 6:12; Jer 31:6; Mic 4:2)” (Tecarta Bible App).

They are sometimes called “Pilgrim Songs”. Fausset’s Bible Dictionary reports that “The simple style, brevity, and transitions formed by retaining a word from the previous verse (e.g. Psalm 121:1-2, ‘from whence cometh my help; my help cometh,’ etc.), are suitable to pilgrim-song poetry” (e-Sword 13.0). The NIV Biblical Theology Study Bible illustrates this repetition in our psalm by quoting the NIV translation: “Ps 131 maintains the theme that concludes Ps 130 by repeating verbatim ‘Israel, put your hope in the LORD’ (Psalm 131:3; Psalm 130:7). Ps 131 expands on what it means to hope in the Lord—negatively (v. 1) and positively (v. 2)” (Tecarta Bible App).

Of these Psalms of Degrees, Easton’s Bible Dictionary declares “Four of them were written by David, one (Psalm 127:1-5) by Solomon, and the rest are anonymous” (e-Sword 13.0). The NKJ Study Bible explains this psalm’s authorship further: “Psalm 131, a psalm of trust, is one of four songs of ascent attributed to David (also Ps. 122; 124; 133). The structure of the poem is as follows: (1) a statement of humility (v. 1); (2) a portrait of trust (v. 2); (3) a call for hope (v. 3)” (Tecarta Bible App).

History of Ps. 131

There are at least a couple of explanations for the historical background of Psalm 131. The Treasury of Scriptural Knowledge offers two: “Some think that this Psalm was composed by David when accused by Saul and his courtiers that he affected [assumed prematurely] the crown; though others refer it to the time of the captivity; and consider it as containing a fair account of the manner in which the captives behaved themselves” (e-Sword 13.0).

Bible readers will remember that David was ordained before King Saul’s death by the prophet Samuel to replace Saul but David deliberately avoided any action that could be perceived as an attempt to overthrow Saul. He boldly declared that he would not lift up his hand against the Lord’s anointed (1 Samuel 26:9). Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible explains: “It is probable enough that (as most interpreters suggest) David made this protestation in answer to the calumnies of Saul and his courtiers, who represented David as an ambitious aspiring man, who, under pretence of a divine appointment, sought the kingdom, in the pride of his heart” (e-Sword 13.0). Instead of plotting against Saul, David waited upon the LORD for his induction into this royal office.

Theme: Pride vs. Humility

A closer look at the three verses of this magnificent psalm follows. One of this psalm’s central lessons is that God’s people must avoid presumption (v. 1). As noted earlier, Psalm 131:1 describes what it means to hope in the LORD – negatively. In it David expresses his humility by denouncing arrogance and pride. The NIV Biblical Theology Study Bible declares: “Believers who hope in the Lord submit to him. They are willing to leave certain questions unanswered because they have full confidence that the Lord knows the answers (Deut 29:29)” (Tecarta Bible App). The NKJ Study Bible notes further: “David presents himself with genuine humility, a delicate balance between self-abasement and arrogant pride. From the life of David we know that he was not always able to keep this balance. But it was his desire, and at times—by God’s grace—a reality in his life” (Tecarta Bible App).

One may wonder how readers should understand pride in this context. The Expository Notes of Dr. Constable defines it: “Pride is essentially a belief that one does not need God but is self-sufficient. Haughty or lofty looks with the eyes betray a proud attitude because they look down on other people with a feeling of superiority (cf. Psalm 18:27; Psalm 101:5; Proverbs 6:17; Proverbs 30:13). Pride also manifests itself in taking on projects for which one is not capable and thinking that one can handle them. The proud person overestimates his own abilities as well as his own importance. The humble person, however, has a realistic understanding of his or her capabilities and limitations (cf. Romans 12:3)” (e-Sword 13.).

Things “too high”

There is another important lesson from verse 1. Henry Morris in his Defender’s Study Bible comments on things too high for believers: “There are ‘great matters’ in the spiritual realm that, even for a mature believer, must be acknowledged humbly as ‘too high’ for us to understand until the Lord comes (note Psalm 139:6)”. The Treasury of Scriptural Knowledge adds even more to our understanding: “The great and wonderful things meant are God’s secret purposes, and sovereign means for their accomplishment, in which man is not called to co-operate, but to acquiesce. As David practiced this forbearance by the patient expectation of the kingdom, both before and after the death of Saul, so he here describes it as a characteristic of the chosen people – Joseph Addison Alexander” (e-Sword 13.).

There are notable cross-references to verse 1 teaching believers that some matters of life are beyond their comprehension. Here are just a few, progressing successively through the Bible:

1. “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” (Deuteronomy 29:29).

2. “Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it” (Psalm 139:5-6).

3. “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out” (Romans 11:33)!

4. “For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith” (Romans 12:3).

Trust like a weaned child

Psalm 131:2 describes what it means to hope in the LORD – positively. In it, David expresses his trust in God. He employs a metaphor of a weaned child. The ESV Study Bible explains: “…just as a weaned child is content simply having his mother’s presence, so the faithful worshiper is content with God’s presence, even when there are many things he would like God to explain (such as how one’s own little story relates to the big story…)” (Tecarta Bible App). The NIV Biblical Theology Study Bible describes a weaned child as “A young child anywhere from three to five years old. Just as a child of this age finds confidence in the presence of its mother, regardless of the circumstance, so the believer needs only the presence of their God to console them. Even though believers may not understand all that is happening or why it is happening (see v. 1 and note), they still confidently trust the Lord” (Ibid.).

In Psalm 131:3, David calls upon his readers for hope in the LORD forever. The Expository Notes of Dr. Constable provide a pertinent application for this psalms’ conclusion: “David called on the nation to follow his example and rest in confidence that the Lord would provide what His people needed. This dependent trust is a need God’s people never outgrow … This psalm is an excellent exposition of what it means to have faith as a child. We can trust God because He is who He is. We must trust Him because we are who we are” (e-Sword 13.0).


Ken Frank

Kenneth Frank was born and raised in New Jersey, USA and attended Ambassador College, graduating in 1973. He served in the Canadian ministry from 1973-1999, after which he returned to the USA to pastor churches in Maryland, Virginia, and North Carolina for 15 years. Having earned a BA degree from Ambassador College he later earned a MA degree from Grand Canyon University before being assigned to the Charlotte office to teach at Living University, now Living Education. Currently, he teaches the Survey of the Bible course to the on-campus students and writes the Digging Deeper column for our online Bible study program. He is married, has four children, and seven grandchildren.

Course Spotlight: Different Kinds of Prayer

The Old and New Testaments use a variety of words to refer to prayer. Each conveys a different shade of meaning and helps us understand a different aspect of our prayer life. These words can be grouped under three separate concepts, each of which is impor­tant and should be part of our regular relationship with God.

Course Spotlight From Tools for Christian Growth: Prayer

God’s Festivals – Pentecost

God wanted a family,

and from the beginning He made a plan for His children. Do you remember Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob? God worked with each of these men, and because they obeyed him, he decided to work out His plan through them to have a family. The children of Jacob (whose name you might remember God changed to “Israel”) would become the example  children for the rest of the world. God wants all people to be His children, but He had to start with a few people first to be an example for everyone else. So God was working out His plan for all people on earth through the example of the Children of Israel!

So what does this have to do with Pentecost? Just wait and see!


How it works:

This Study Guide is written for the purpose of helping parents teach their children vital Biblical topics in a focused, easy-to-follow format. Each section is not meant to be taught in one lesson, rather the topics are organized so parents can choose specific areas of focus and gear lessons toward the learning styles and ages of their children. Each topic is presented in a straightforward manner with accompanying verses for study. The main study should always come from the Scripture itself, while these lessons can act as a guide for reading passages from the Bible. Each lesson packet includes memory verses, questions for meaningful discussion, and activities (added at the end of the packet). Also, though some things may be labeled as Level 1, 2, or 3, the activities, questions, and scriptures for memorizing can be used to fit the needs and learning levels for children of all ages. Enjoy!


Second Thoughts: Redefining Masculinity

Author: Juliette McNair | Student, Living Education Charlotte 2021


Estimated reading time: 3 minutes, 55 seconds.

Several weeks ago, Mr. Jonathan McNair introduced the Christian Living unit on masculinity and femininity. He began his lecture on masculinity by presenting some of the different views of society—rather, he let us present these views to each other. Mr. McNair split us into groups for a little classroom activity. Each group was given an article that promoted a certain perspective on masculinity. After reading the article, we had to explain the author’s position to the class.

“It’s All About Definitions.”

We found some interesting opinions. Sadhguru, an Indian yogi and spiritualist, said, “A complete human being is an equilibrium between the masculine and the feminine.” On the other hand, for some, masculinity is toxic and contentious, something to be avoided altogether—a psychological sickness. The American Psychological Association stated that “traditional masculinity—marked by stoicism, competitiveness, dominance, and aggression—is, on the whole, harmful.” And yet another contingent believes real masculinity is embodied in physical strength, ruggedness, and courage. The website Focus on the Family asserted, “Womanhood is not as laden with inherent moral expectations. Manhood is….”

There are many different views on masculinity—but whose opinion is right? Mr. McNair was making a point through the exercise:

“If we’re going to have any sort of solid foundation on which to base our thoughts, we have to go to the Bible to define masculinity.”  

The words masculinity and femininity cannot be found in the Bible. What can be found are commands given specifically to men and commands given specifically to women. Based on this, Mr. McNair provided a working definition of masculinity: “The ability to fulfill the roles and responsibilities that God has specifically designed for a man.” For example, one of the biblical responsibilities Mr. McNair outlined was that men were given the ultimate responsibility to lead in the marriage relationship (Genesis 2:18-24; 1 Corinthians 11:3-12). Another characteristic of masculinity, according to Deuteronomy 22:5 and 1 Corinthians 11:14-15, is that a man is not to imitate a woman in dress, appearance, or even mannerisms.

Here is one more view some in society have on masculinity. This is a taste of the perspective my group encountered in our assigned article:

Masculine men are bold. Women are not…. Have you ever heard the phrase, “She is a woman of her word”? Me neither. Women make up their minds through their emotions. Since emotions are fleeting, they constantly change their minds…. Honesty, sincerity, loyalty, and integrity are all honorable masculine traits every man should have (“Top 10 Traits of Masculine Men,” LaneGoodwin.com).

A Matter of Character

While there are traits every man should have, are they solely masculine traits? For example, when Esther stood up and risked her life for her people (Esther 4:16), she was exercising courage—or boldness. Was she being masculine by doing so? No—she was exercising a character trait God intended for men and women. Submissiveness, which some might like to consider a feminine trait, is likewise a matter of Christian character. Both men and women are commanded to submit to authority and government (Romans 13:1-14).

Mr. McNair emphasized a fundamental truth: God intends the exact same character to be developed in both men and women, but exactly how it is developed is to be different for each. Through the different responsibilities God gave men and women—in the family, in the Church, in the community—both grow in the character of God Himself. Godly character is not unique to men or to women, but to true Christians.

True Masculinity

In this Christian Living unit, we learned what masculinity is—and what it isn’t. True masculinity is not a sickness or toxic. And, while it may be contentious, it is our society that makes it that way. Godly masculinity is not measured by physical strength and stature, but rather by a man’s willingness to fulfill the roles God intended for him. And though Jesus Christ came as a man, the opportunity to become like Him is not limited to men—men and women alike are responsible for developing true Christian character.

Even if we were somehow able to untangle the ridiculous web of opinions the world has on masculinity and even if we chose the most reasonable opinion, at the end of the day, we would be left with just that—an opinion. We would be left holding an inaccurate or incomplete pattern of what it means to be a man. But the Bible reveals the only opinion that really matters. God defined masculinity at creation, beginning with His command for Adam to leave his parents and become one with his wife (Genesis 2:24). When we choose to measure a man by his dedication to fulfilling God’s commands for him, we will see the redefining of a man—that is, a return to the true, original definition of masculinity.


Juliette McNair is a student at Living Education Charlotte. She works in the Editorial Department transcribing sermons and proofreading transcripts. She also assists Living Education by writing Second Thoughts essays and Forum/Assembly Summaries for the website. Juliette recently graduated from SUNY Cobleskill in Upstate New York with an A.A.S in Horticulture, a B.T in Plant Science, and a minor in English with a writing focus. She loves playing soccer on the beach, getting up early to watch the sunrise, and playing piano with the lights out.

Course Spotlight: Parable of the Sower

The parable of the sower is one of the few parables of which the Bible records Christ’s explanation. The parable itself is recorded in Matthew 13:3-9, but Christ’s explanation of it to His disciples is found in verses 18-23. The fact that the meaning is written out for us, means it must be especially important for us, as Christians, to consider.

Course Spotlight From The Life, Ministry, and Teachings of Jesus Christ: (Unit 2) The Galilean Ministry