Mark Rathel is professor of theology at The Baptist College of Florida in Graceville.
Latest Articles by MARK A. RATHEL
Mar 2, 2014
Webster’s New World College Dictionary defines a proverb as “a short, traditional saying that expresses some obvious truth or familiar experience; adage; maxim.” Ben Franklin collected and published common American proverbs in his Poor Richard’s Almanac. For example, one famous Franklin proverb stated, “Early to bed, early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.” Franklin, however, did not live by this adage or maxim during the time he served as Ambassador to France and participated in Parisian nightlife.
Feb 23, 2014
Proverbs, in the words of one scholar, is “spirituality of the ordinary.” Proverbs instructs believers that worship encompasses all areas of life: home, business, government, personal relations, etc. Proverbs 1:7 summarizes the theme of Proverbs: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” Proverbs 1:2-7 expresses the purpose of Proverbs: to instruct in wisdom (2a), to assist in understanding wisdom sayings (2b), to provide moral instruction (v. 3), and to move the reader to maturity (v. 4). The early sections of Proverbs set forth Two Ways (wisdom and folly), personified as Two Women (wisdom and adulteress), and Two Destinies (Life and Destruction).
Feb 16, 2014
Peter boldly, publically professed his allegiance for Jesus. If everyone else abandons you, Peter said, I will never abandon you (Matt. 26.33). Further, he brashly claimed his willingness to die a martyr’s death (John 13:37).
Feb 9, 2014
“Doubting Thomas’” expressed the meaning of the resurrection of Jesus. Drawing a comparison to the famed words of Neil Armstrong, one theologian conveyed the significance of Thomas’ confession (my Lord and my God): “one small verbal step and a giant leap of faith and theology.” The resurrection of Jesus communicates the significance of the person of Jesus.
Feb 2, 2014
Who killed Jesus? Jesus died because normally opposing forces united against Him. The Jewish leadership requested the Romans to kill Jesus because of jealously over Jesus’ popularity and His teachings. The Jewish leadership, concerned about religious purity, determined to put Jesus to death. The religious legal charge was blasphemy; Jesus equated Himself with God. He was guilty but not in the manner the leadership thought. The Romans were famed for justice, yet the local Roman authority executed a man he knew was innocent on trumped of charge of treason. On another level, you and I killed Jesus. He died as our sin-bearer.
Jan 26, 2014
Jesus experienced the farce of a trial before Jewish leaders and the Roman procurator Pilate. The Apostle John depicts the Jewish religious leaders and Pilate as the subjects of the trial rather than Jesus. The Jewish leadership did not want to enter the Gentile Pilate’s headquarters to avoid ritual uncleanness (v. 28), yet their plan to kill Jesus defiled their heart. Before Pilate, Jesus quietly, yet confidently presented His claims. Before Jesus, Pilate vacillated and capitulated to political expediency.
Jan 19, 2014
I confess that my life has been easy. I prefer the easy path and avoid painful situations. Yet, I grieve for many people who experience unimaginable suffering. The human spirit can undergo horrendous suffering.
Jan 12, 2014
Psalm 139 possesses vital importance for two key issues of our day. First, the psalm affirms the sanctity of human life from conception to the grave. On January 22, 1973, the U. S. Supreme Court granted women the right to abortion until the point of viability of life outside the womb based upon a new doctrine of a right of privacy based on the Fourteenth Amendment. According to verse sixteen, God views the “formless” (the Hebrew term for ‘embryo”) in a relationship manner. Second, the psalm implicitly addressed the issue of religious liberty. The Psalm affirms God’s nature as all-knowing, all-present, creator, and holy. Therefore, the creator God is Lord of life rather than government authority. On January 25, 1525, a group of believers in Switzerland practiced believer’s baptism. In response, the city authorities of Zurich drowned the believers that practiced believer’s baptism. The city council reasoned—‘by water they sinner, by water they will be judged.” This week in January historically reminds believers of two interconnected issues: the sanctify of human life and religious freedom. Government impingement into the arena of the sanctity of human life is a key battleground of religious freedom.
Jan 5, 2014
The prayer of Jesus in John 17 serves as the model prayer. Appropriately, believers may designate this prayer “the Lord’s Prayer.” Another title given to this prayer is “The High Priestly Prayer” as Jesus intercedes for His immediate followers as well as believers throughout the centuries.” Since the prayer recalls the language of the Shepherd Discourse in John 10 in terms of the intimate knowledge between the sheep and the shepherd (John 10:14-15) as well as the Shepherd’s concern upon the oneness of the flock (John 10:16), some designate this prayer the “Shepherd’s Prayer.”
Dec 29, 2013
The Spirit is the forgotten member of the Holy Trinity. Perhaps the KJV terminology of Holy Ghost contributed to the comfortableness many Christians feel regarding the person of the Holy Spirit. Briefly, the biblical teachings about the Spirit set forth three truths. First, the primary role of the Spirit is the exaltation of the Son. Second, The appellative “Holy” means that the Spirit’s primary role in the life of a believer is to produce holiness. Holiness involves both separation from worldliness and separation to the mission of God. Third, the biblical witness contrasted the power of the Spirit of God with the weakness of human beings.