Love unfeigned

It’s how we show true compassion for one another.

Romans 12:9-10 – “Let love be unfeigned. Abhor that which is evil; cling to that which is good. Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honor preferring one another…”

When love is encouraged in the NT writings, it is expressed with a Greek adjective sometimes translated in older versions of the Bible as unfeigned. While this can come across as an antiquated English word, the concept is a valid one. I think the word unfeigned captures it well and deserves much more use among believers today.

In ancient Greek culture, actors were called hypocrites because they would wear masks and pretend to be someone else. To feign can mean to impersonate someone else, or to act hypocritically, or to disguise one’s true intent. To feign is essentially to fake something. By contrast, if someone’s intent is unfeigned, it is therefore without hypocrisy; it is sincere, with no hidden agenda or misrepresentation.

Peter encouraged the believers to practice unfeigned love among themselves, saying it was an indication of pure souls who were following the truth of the Spirit of God.

1 Peter 1:22 – “Seeing you all have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that you all love one another with a pure heart fervently…”

Paul also encouraged compassion and love for one another that is real and without hypocrisy. It was not to be just for show or out of sense of compulsion, but it was to be genuine, sincere and from the heart. Paul stated this was characteristic of how the apostles operated within their physical service to the congregations:

2 Corinthians 6:3, 6 – “[We have given] no offence in any thing, that the ministry would not be blamed: … By pureness, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned…”

They had demonstrated all of their compassionate help and the sincerity of their ministry by providing shared resources and diligent teaching among the scattered believers through the most unimaginable difficulties of physical circumstances.

2 Corinthians 6:4-5 – “But in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses, in beatings, in imprisonments, in riots, in labors, in watchfulness, in fastings…”

All of these things, Paul says, were demonstrations of their unfeigned love for the brethren; this is what unfeigned love looks like in practice.

The apostle John also condemns love that is expressed as lip service only and juxtaposes that aberration to the ideal of biblical love.

1 John 3:18 – “Little children, let us not love in word or speech only, but in action and in truth.”

Peter, Paul, and John were all pointing believers toward true compassionate love for one another that actually produces fruitful actions on behalf of others. John especially gets right to the heart of the matter by stating that Yeshua set the standard by laying down his life as an act of the purest and most sincere love.

1 John 3:16-17 – “This is how we have come to know love: He laid down his life for us. We should also lay down our lives for our brethren. If anyone has this world’s goods and sees a fellow believer in need but withholds compassion from him ​– ​how does God’s love reside in him?”

According to these biblical principles, love unfeigned is a love that acts sincerely and through all difficulties to place the needs of others above ourselves. This should prompt us to thoughtfully and prayerfully consider the true level of our love and compassion for one another today.


If you enjoy these daily blog posts, be sure to visit the growing archive of the Core of the Bible podcast. Each week we take a more in-depth look at one of the various topics presented in the daily blog. You can view the podcast archive on our Podcast Page, at Core of the Bible on Simplecast, or your favorite podcast streaming service.

Now also on YouTube, find us at: Core of the Bible on YouTube.

Questions or comments? Feel free to email me directly at coreofthebible@gmail.com.

The eternal hegemony of the kingdom of God

Political world domination takes a back seat to the real Authority over the world.

Hegemony is not a word that is often used today, and if it is, it is typically conveyed with a negative connotation. The Oxford Dictionary describes hegemony as: “leadership or dominance, especially by one country or social group over others.” The Merriam-Webster definition is similar: “the social, cultural, ideological, or economic influence exerted by a dominant group.”

The Merriam-Webster definition provides some added background of the word:

“Hegemony was first used in English in the mid-16th century in reference to the control once wielded by the ancient Greek states, and it was reapplied in later centuries as other nations subsequently rose to power. By the 19th century, it had acquired a second sense referring to the social or cultural influence wielded by a dominant member over others of its kind, such as the domination within an industry by a business conglomerate over smaller businesses.”

Synonyms include words like: leadership, dominance, dominion, supremacy, ascendancy, predominance, primacy, authority, mastery, control, power, sway, rule, sovereignty.

Now, in the sense of geopolitical strategies and governmental power over regions of the world, historically there have always been dominant civilizations. The Bible mentions ancient world-stage players such as Babylon, Assyria, Greece, Rome. More modern examples might include the 18-19th century British Empire, or the Nazi expansionism in the early 20th century which sparked the last World War.

Yet, viewed from the lofty perch of our current perspective in time looking back over the millennia, one constant theme emerges: they all pass away. This does not imply that they were or are without significance, but history has shown how one civilization or empire is always succeeded by another.

As believers in the God of the Bible, whether we recognize the specificity of the term or not, we are believers of an eternal hegemony: the kingdom of God. This is easily demonstrated by the terms used to describe his kingdom. In Hebrew, the term for his kingdom is the mamlakah, meaning kingdom, sovereignty, dominion, reign. In Greek the word is basileia, meaning kingdom, sovereignty, royal power.

We read about this eternal dominion of God in our Bibles, and even sing about it in our hymns and psalms. Here is just a small representative sampling:

Psalm 33:8 – Let all the earth fear Yahweh; let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him!
Psalm 47:2, 7 – For Yahweh, the Most High, is to be feared, a great king over all the earth. … For God is the King of all the earth; sing praises with a psalm!
Psalm 57:11 – Be exalted, O God, above the heavens! Let your glory be over all the earth!

Psalm 83 even goes so far as to urge the overthrow of the surrounding nations to Israel in defence of God’s own glory and protection of his people.

Psalm 83:1-2, 17-18 – O God, do not keep silence; do not hold your peace or be still, O God! For behold, your enemies make an uproar; those who hate you have raised their heads. … Let them be put to shame and dismayed forever; let them perish in disgrace, that they may know that you alone, whose name is Yahweh, are the Most High over all the earth.

This is the kingdom that Yeshua ushered in to the reality of this world two thousand years ago.

Matthew 4:17 – From that time Yeshua began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
Matthew 24:14 – And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.

The world’s most famous prayer, the Lord’s prayer, even contains the revolutionary concept of God’s kingdom coming to earth with His will, not the will of the nations, being accomplished in its fulfillment.

Matthew 6:10 – Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

But this is not a kingdom we fight flesh and blood to establish. Our warfare is not defined by the weapons of this world, but it is just as difficult a struggle, if not more so, than the occupation of a foreign army in a land not their own. Paul conveyed some of the struggles the apostles fought in their establishment of various congregations, and revealed their weapons were not those of hardened steel, but of righteous actions and overpowering wisdom of God.

2 Corinthians 6:4, 7 – but as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: by great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, … by truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left…

2 Corinthians 10:3-5 – For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Messiah…

Yeshua himself conveyed how the kingdom of God was not something that would be fought for on the battlefields of this earth, but it was a real and enduring kingdom nonetheless.

John 18:36 – Yeshua answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.”

While the kingdom may not be physically originating from this world, it is no less encompassing than any world-dominating empire of the past. However, this kingdom will not pass away like the civilizations of the past. The prophet Yeshua said it was like the mustard seed that would grow “larger than all the other garden plants.”

Matthew 13:31-32 – “He put another parable before them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his field. It is the smallest of all seeds, but when it has grown it is larger than all the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.”

Daniel was so bold to pronounce that this kingdom would grow to fill the earth and not only last forever but put to rest all other kingdoms of this world; that is the very definition of hegemony.

Daniel 2:44 – “And in the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed, nor shall the kingdom be left to another people. It shall break in pieces all these kingdoms and bring them to an end, and it shall stand forever…”

Hegemony may have a negative connotation today, but remember that we serve a world-dominating King and look forward with anticipation to his dominion and rule over the hearts of men of all nations, where swords are beat into plowshares, and his peace reigns supreme over all.


If you enjoy these daily blog posts, be sure to visit the growing archive of the Core of the Bible podcast. Each week we take a more in-depth look at one of the various topics presented in the daily blog. You can view the podcast archive on our Podcast Page, at Core of the Bible on Simplecast, or your favorite podcast streaming service.

Now also on YouTube, find us at: Core of the Bible on YouTube.

Questions or comments? Feel free to email me directly at coreofthebible@gmail.com.

David’s recipe for righteousness

We should honor God with purity of heart.

Psalm 101:1-4 – I will sing of faithful mercy and of right judgments; to you, O Yahweh, I will sing.
I will study the way that is blameless. When shall I attain it?
I will walk with integrity of heart within my house; I will not set before my eyes anything that is base [Belial].
I hate the work of those who fall away; it shall not cling to me.
Perverseness [twisted, distorted] of heart shall be far from me; I will know nothing of evil.

This psalm is attributed to David, and as such, it would seem that he set standards for himself that would cause him to be known as a man after God’s own heart. Each of these few verses speak to a way of maintaining and kindling purity of heart, which Yeshua mentioned would be a requirement of those who seek God.

Matthew 5:8 – “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.

David himself also extolled the virtues of those who are pure of heart.

Psalm 24:3-5 – Who may ascend the mountain of the LORD? Who may stand in his holy place? The one who has clean hands and a pure heart, who has not appealed to what is false, and who has not sworn deceitfully. He will receive blessing from the LORD, and righteousness from the God of his salvation.

In Psalm 101, David lays out some general, practical principles that we can consider in our walk of righteousness.

“I will sing of faithful mercy and of right judgments; to you, O Yahweh, I will sing.” Firstly, David mentions the power of song and singing to Yahweh. Recounting beloved hymns of faith that are correct in doctrine is a key way of meditating on God’s faithful mercy and of his correct judgments. Honoring God in song, even singing softly to oneself or listening to music that honors him can keep the mind focused on him throughout the day.

“I will study the way that is blameless. When shall I attain it?” David expresses his eagerness for learning the way of righteousness. Meditating on God’s Word throughout the day keeps one’s heart in a place of right action when confronted with the challenges that present themselves.

“I hate the work of those who fall away; it shall not cling to me.” He mentions his distaste for the lack of passion for Yahweh exhibited by those who sway from the path. Not that he would not have anything to do with them, but that their reluctance to maintain the right way is a characteristic that he does not want to be associated with himself.

“Perverseness of heart shall be far from me; I will know nothing of evil.” The Hebrew term maintains that a heart that is twisted or distorted from the wisdom of God is considered perverse; he wants nothing to do with it. To know nothing of evil is to resist exposing oneself to the negative influences of the culture around us, whether on social media or in the workplace. Resisting the distortion of evil is a requirement for maintaining purity of heart.

“I will walk with integrity of heart within my house; I will not set before my eyes anything that is base.” Even in the privacy of his home, David commits that he would not yield to the temptation to focus on something in secret that he would not be open to participate in in the presence of other believers.

The word for anything that is base is the word Belial, well-known in the annals of Scripture for that which draws one away from God.

Deuteronomy 13:13 – Certain men, the children of Belial, are gone out from among you, and have withdrawn the inhabitants of their city, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which you have not known…
1 Samuel 2:12 – Now the sons of Eli were sons of Belial; they did not know Yahweh.

Paul speaks of this unequal yoking of believers with unbelievers, those of Belial:

2 Corinthians 6:14-16 – Don’t become partners with those who do not believe. For what partnership is there between righteousness and lawlessness? Or what fellowship does light have with darkness? What agreement does Christ have with Belial? Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? And what agreement does the temple of God have with idols?

Paul then quotes a collection of beautiful Old Testament passages illustrating how believers in Messiah are the temple of the living God.

2 Corinthians 6:16-18 – What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, “I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you, and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty.”

As we recount our position in Messiah, we should honor God with this same purity of heart that radiates from within his temple. By following the example of David and the outline of purity of heart that he provides, we can fulfill our role in this generation of being examples of righteousness to others.


If you enjoy these daily blog posts, be sure to visit the growing archive of the Core of the Bible podcast. Each week we take a more in-depth look at one of the various topics presented in the daily blog. You can view the podcast archive on our Podcast Page, at Core of the Bible on Simplecast, or your favorite podcast streaming service.

Now also on YouTube! Just getting started, but new videos will be added regularly on many different topics, find us at: Core of the Bible on YouTube.

Questions or comments? Feel free to email me directly at coreofthebible@gmail.com.

Being set apart is both an appointment and a challenge

All aspects of our life should be under constant scrutiny by us.

“Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, set apart for the Good News of God,”

Romans 1:1

This idea of being set apart is a recurring theme all throughout the Bible. The phrase here indicates something or someone that is set apart as distinct, or marked off by a boundary. This marking off or separation can be applied in a negative sense, or in a positive sense as a type of appointment.

“Blessed are you when men shall hate you, and when they shall exclude and mock you, and throw out your name as evil, for the Son of Man’s sake.”

Luke 6:22

This exclusion here demonstrates how the Jews were prophesied by Yeshua as separating the believers in Messiah from their own ranks.  Thinking they were doing something to honor God, they rejected the believers as essentially being heretics.

In a positive sense, the term could be used as a way of demonstrating a type of appointment, as mentioned in Romans 1 above with the apostle Paul, and also with Paul and Barnabas being appointed by the body of believers.

“As they served the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, “Separate Barnabas and Saul for me, for the work to which I have called them.””

Acts 13:2

Paul carries this idea of separation over into the life of the collective congregation of believers as well.

“Don’t be unequally yoked with unbelievers, for what fellowship have righteousness and iniquity? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? … Therefore, “‘Come out from among them, and be separate,’ says the Lord.  ‘Touch no unclean thing. I will receive you.  I will be to you a Father. You will be to me sons and daughters,’ says the Lord Almighty.” Having therefore these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.”

2 Corinthians 6:14,17-18; 7:1

Paul equates this separation as being a form of holiness. This practice is a hallmark of believers everywhere, who are to be separating themselves from the unrighteousness and lawlessness of their respective cultures. Paul here encourages all believers to perfect holiness, that is to bring to fulfillment or bring to conclusion, this holiness, or separation from unrighteousness, in all that we do and say. All aspects of our life should be under constant scrutiny by us, to where we prune everything that is unfruitful or potentially harmful. Anything that does not conform to the Word of God in our lives needs to be carefully, yet ruthlessly, removed.

This is the life that we have been called to, and one that bears a legacy of honor and the everlasting promise of blessing from the One who calls us.

“I will be to you a Father. You will be to me sons and daughters,’ says the Lord Almighty.””

2 Corinthians 6:18

If you enjoy these daily blog posts, be sure to visit the growing archive of the Core of the Bible podcast. Each week we take a more in-depth look at one of the various topics presented in the daily blog. You can view the podcast archive here.Questions or comments? Feel free to email me directly at coreofthebible@gmail.com.