Living out our compassionate calling

True compassion is having the ability to confront injustice and corruption, helping those who cannot help themselves.

True compassion is having the ability to confront injustice and corruption, helping those who cannot help themselves.

Matthew 5:13 – “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt should lose its taste, how can it be made salty? It’s no longer good for anything but to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.”

In this verse and the ones following, believers are called to be the salt and the light of the world. Both of these metaphorically stand for that which purifies and enlightens. If what we do in this life is not making a positive difference in the lives of those around us, then we are like the salt which has lost its taste, no longer good for anything.

The life of a believer is one that is forged in the fires of conflict. Paul writes that as much as is possible with us, we need to live in peace with all men, which is true (Romans 12:8). But by the same token, truth and compassion cannot rest idle within us, allowing the world to deteriorate around us. The nature of salt and light is that of healing and greater insight, not rottenness and darkness. The world is already filled with rotten and dark things, and what purpose do we serve if we only turn a blind and unfeeling eye toward our generation?

Instead, as representatives of the Creator of all, our lives should be demonstrations of truth and compassion, living out the ideals that the Creator of all has for his Creation. We should be focusing our godly efforts on those things within our sphere of influence that result in positive outcomes for those who are currently afflicted. Affliction takes many forms within the dark corners of our world, yet we have been uniquely gifted with Spirit of God, the ultimate salt and light, to accomplish whatever needs to be done to meet needs and help others overcome adversities they may be facing.

This is how the kingdom of God expands, and how we demonstrate the ability to overcome evil by doing good (Romans 12:21). Though we may suffer through this process in the fires of conflict that can ensue, we can stand knowing that we have been faithful to our compassionate calling of being the salt and light when and where it was needed most.


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.

Meekness provides stability and strength with integrity

Believers should be shining the light, not cursing the darkness.

Believers should be shining the light, not cursing the darkness.

Matthew 5:5 – Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

Few are aware that this famous saying of Yeshua is actually a quote from the Psalms:

Psalm 37:10-11 – Yet a little while, and the wicked will be no more; though you look for them, they will not be found. But the meek will inherit the land and delight in abundant prosperity.

The depth of meaning provided by the reference in this psalm widens the scope to show the contrast between the wicked and the meek. The wicked, due to their unfaithfulness to Yahweh, were to be removed from the land. This is a principle borne out by the testimony of the prophets and the witness of history, as Israel was removed from its land due to its idolatrous practices; first by the Assyrians, and then by the Babylonians.

The wicked were those who were guilty of sin, criminal, hostile to God. But by contrast, those who were to be inheritors were those who were meek. The Hebrew meaning of this word is to be humble, lowly, poor, weak, and afflicted. When we overlay the Hebrew meaning with the Greek definition from Matthew 5 we get the idea of mildness and gentleness. Combined, the idea of humility, being lowly of mindset, fits well with the mild and gentle demeanor that should be a hallmark of all believers.

This same Greek word for meekness was a characteristic that was exemplified for us by Yeshua and encouraged by the apostles, most significantly in Peter’s epistle to the scattered believers.

Matthew 11:28-30 – “Come to me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. “Take up my yoke and learn from me, because I am lowly and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. “For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Matthew 21:5 – Tell Daughter Zion, “See, your King is coming to you, gentle, and mounted on a donkey, and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”

1 Peter 3:3-4 – Don’t let your beauty consist of outward things like elaborate hairstyles and wearing gold jewelry, but rather what is inside the heart ​– ​the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.

In our current generation of rampant criticism, politicization of fringe practices, and trampling of common sense and objectivity, many believers have been caught up in the swirl of sensationalism and self-promotion that continues to divide our society. However, our role in this world is to exemplify the qualities of mildness and gentleness, not as doormats for others to walk on, but as having great strength under control. We have a duty to speak out for what is right, but to do so with humility and reserve so that the reasonableness of truth can be shown for what it is.

1 Peter 3:15-16 – but in your hearts regard Messiah the Lord as holy, ready at any time to give a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you. Yet do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that when you are accused, those who disparage your good conduct in Messiah will be put to shame.

1 Peter 2:12, 15 – Conduct yourselves honorably among the nations, so that when they slander you as evildoers, they will observe your good works and will glorify God … For it is God’s will that you silence the ignorance of foolish people by doing good.

We need more of this.


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 powerful witness of integrity

We can stand out as God’s own children by speaking and acting in truth at all times.

We can stand out as God’s own children by speaking and acting in truth at all times.

Titus 2:7-8 – “Show yourself in all respects a model of good deeds, and in your teaching show integrity, gravity, and wholesome speech that is above reproach, so that anyone who opposes us will be ashamed, having nothing bad to say about us.”

Throughout the letter to Titus, Paul is instructing him how to effectively oversee the people of God who have been left in his care. Titus was to appoint leaders over the congregations in each town in Crete, and to encourage godly behavior among them all.

In the process of doing so, however, Paul is aware he may encounter opposition from detractors, especially “those of the circumcision,” (1:10). He reminds him that “[t]hey profess to know God, but they deny him by their actions. They are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good work,” (1:16).

To counter those who would oppose him, Paul instructs Titus in a couple of areas. First, he encourages him to “be a model good deeds” in all things. In order for believers to be taken seriously, we must practice what we preach. We all know that if we say one thing but do another, we can be accused of hypocrisy which can hurt the message of the gospel of the kingdom.

Secondly, Paul relates to Titus that “in your teaching show integrity, gravity, and wholesome speech that is above reproach…” It’s not only in our actions that we must be consistent, but even in the smallest of things we may say that may be out of bounds. Those who would oppose the things of God will look for any inconsistency in what we say to try to detract from the kingdom message.

Yeshua exhibited this ability when he was confronted by those who would oppose him. Time after time, his firm and truthful responses would silence the crowd.

Matthew 22:46 – “No one was able to answer a word, and from that day on no one dared to question Him any further.”

Luke 14:6 – “And they were unable to answer these questions.”

Luke 20:39 – “Some of the scribes answered, ‘Teacher, You have spoken well!’ And they did not dare to question Him any further.”

The apostle Peter in a similar fashion encourages the believers’ deeds to match up with what it is they professed:

1 Peter 2:12 – “Conduct yourselves with such honor among the nations that, though they slander you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day He visits us.”

The integrity of the believer should be exhibited in the consistency of the message as well as the actions that go along with that message. If we profess to know God, then we should speak and act as those who have been renewed in the image of the One who calls us to himself. This is the greatest witness to the truth of the Word of God.


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 life of integrity that honors God

Believers should always be counted on to state the truth plainly.

Believers should always be counted on to state the truth plainly.

Matthew 5:33-37 – “Again, you have heard that it was said to our ancestors, You must not break your oath, but you must keep your oaths to the Lord. “But I tell you, don’t take an oath at all: either by heaven, because it is God’s throne; “or by the earth, because it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, because it is the city of the great King. “Do not swear by your head, because you cannot make a single hair white or black. “But let your ‘yes’ mean ‘yes,’ and your ‘no’ mean ‘no.’ Anything more than this is from the evil one.

The simplicity of this teaching cannot be overstated: simply be a person of your word. When you are asked about your motivation or actions, consider how black and white your answers should be. You should not have to appeal to other corroborating authorities; your life should be so steadfast and pure that when you are questioned about your actions or your beliefs, the simplicity of your yes or no answer will be believed.

James 5:12 – “Above all, my brothers and sisters, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or with any other oath. But let your “yes” mean “yes,” and your “no” mean “no,” so that you won’t fall under judgment.”

Echoing the words of Yeshua, James concludes that being forthright in all of one’s speech is one of the most necessary qualities of believers. In the context of the impending judgment that was about to fall upon Jerusalem, he encourages them to maintain their truthfulness by the integrity of their words and actions.

People typically have to resort to things outside themselves to “prove” that what they are saying is the truth, such as, “I swear to God,” (as if that means anything in general usage anymore) or “on my mother’s grave.” These colloquialisms demonstrate a sincerity that needs to be established on something important outside of one’s own self, some sort of reference to an outside authority or thing that is held sacred as a demonstration of the truth of a statement.

In contrast to this common way of thinking, Yeshua and James are encouraging believers to be so thoroughly imbued with integrity that their lives ARE the reference to their sincerity; when they say they have done something or are going to do something, they do it. If they say they have not done something or are not going to do something, they remain firm. There is no need to appeal to an outside authority greater than themselves to demonstrate the truth of what they are attesting to.

This type of black and white integrity is liberating. It frees one from always needing to appeal to some other reference as a means of demonstrating truth; people believe what you say simply because you have said it. You gain a reputation for being a person of your word, and that is all that is needed if any behavior or commitments have been called into question.

This is a quality sorely required in the lives of believers, because we represent the One who always does what he says. If for no other reason, a life of integrity mimics the actions of our Father, and brings honor to his name.


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 wisdom of God that guides believers

Staying close to God should cause us to exhibit his characteristics.

The Bible has many different genres of writings: historical (like the books of Kings, Chronicles, gospels, Acts), general instruction (epistles of Paul), wisdom (Job, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, Wisdom of Solomon, and Ecclesiasticus) and prophecy and apocalypse. Whether one includes the apocryphal books of Wisdom of Solomon and Ecclesiasticus in the canon, the concept of a personification of Wisdom in a female character is represented in the wisdom literature, sometimes referred to as Lady Wisdom.

The inception of this character is revealed in the book of Proverbs:

Proverbs 8:22-23 – “Yahweh possessed me at the beginning of his way, before his works of long ago. I was formed before ancient times, from the beginning, before the earth began.”

In the poetic style of the Hebrew, Wisdom is represented as imbued within the very foundation of the Creation itself, guiding and working alongside Yahweh as the reality of this physical universe was created. From this, many Christians have come to see this passage as literally speaking to a pre-incarnate Yeshua as co-Creator with Yahweh God. It is clear that in this passage wisdom is represented as an attribute of God himself, however, I would align this as a figurative representation more closely with his Spirit than a pre-incarnate Yeshua.

As such, the godly aspects of wisdom are said to be desirous for learning, long life, and righteousness. Because of this, believers should demonstrate the same characteristics that are learned by remaining close to the Wisdom of God.

Proverbs 8:6-9 – “Listen, for I speak of noble things, and what my lips say is right. For my mouth tells the truth, and wickedness is detestable to my lips. All the words from my mouth are righteous; none of them are deceptive or perverse. All of them are clear to the perceptive, and right to those who discover knowledge.”

If wisdom is an emanation of godly characteristics, then these qualities should be evident within the lives of believers, as well. Our speech should be based on noble things, speaking what is right at all times, always speaking the truth with righteousness without any deception. The things we say should constantly guide those who desire to know more about God and to help them discover more about him.

As believers in the one true God, we should always represent him honestly and knowledgeably. As an example of this, the apostle Paul’s admonition to Timothy was to ensure he was grounded in the truth, working hard to teach others what was right about God.

2 Timothy 2:15 – “Be diligent to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who doesn’t need to be ashamed, correctly teaching the word of truth.”

We also should work diligently and prayerfully to ensure we possess the wisdom that comes from God, speaking righteously and honestly about him at all times, so that we may faithfully guide others to also find the truth in him.


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.

What is “the faith” we are to contend for?

Characteristics that should be evident in the lives of believers.

Jude 1:3-4 – Dear friends, although I was eager to write you about the salvation we share, I found it necessary to write, appealing to you to contend for the faith that was delivered to the saints once for all. For some people, who were designated for this judgment long ago, have come in by stealth; they are ungodly, turning the grace of our God into sensuality and denying Yeshua the Anointed One, our only Master and Lord.”

This passage has been well-known over the years as a rallying-point for believers to ensure they are holding fast to “the faith.” Jude clearly wanted to provide warning to those to whom he was writing about some ungodly people who had stealthily come among the true believers. They were those who rejected, denied, or contradicted the teaching of Yeshua, and were perverting the grace of God into brash and wantonly spiteful exhibitions of outrageous conduct, which he then goes on to describe in detail.

Jude is urging the “saints” or holy, set-apart ones to contend and struggle for the “commonly held” salvation, “the faith” that he says was entrusted or transmitted to them once. What is this “faith” or “salvation”? We should have a better understanding of it in order to know how to earnestly contend for it.

Well, we do know from the context of what it is not, as Jude describes in detail the sinful activities of those who had rejected the teaching of Yeshua. They were rebellious toward all authority, they bore no fruit, they were irreverent, living for themselves and whatever they could gain. They did not have the Spirit of God, and because of this they had no accurate spiritual discernment. Therefore, they distorted the truth of God into whatever suited their own desires, and yet mingled among the believers as if they were part of them, causing division.

From this summary we can review the opposites of these traits to see the aspects of those who hold the true faith. Those of the common faith accept and cling to the teaching of Yeshua. They willingly submit to all authority and demonstrate reverence toward God and others. They live for others, not themselves only, and bear much fruit for God. They possess the Spirit of God and pray earnestly, seeking to enhance their understanding to accurately discern the truth of God. They modify their behaviors based on the truth of God and seek the unity of God’s people and the love of God.

Jude encourages them further:

Jude 1:20-21 – But you, dear friends, as you build yourselves up in your most holy faith, praying in the holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting expectantly for the mercy of our Lord Yeshua, the Anointed One, for eternal life.

To build themselves up and to grow in the faith and to diligently struggle against those who were false is what Jude was urging these believers to do. In the same way, we should be equally passionate and committed to the truth of God, and to consistently and earnestly pray for guidance in being fruitful in accomplishing God’s will for us in this generation.


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 pattern of God’s compassion for us to follow

Through sacrifice, God teaches mercy and compassion.

Matthew 9:11-13 – When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners? ” Now when he heard this, he said, “It is not those who are well who need a doctor, but those who are sick. Go and learn what this means: I desire mercy and not sacrifice. For I didn’t come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

To those who would wonder why Yeshua was reaching out to those who were not considered worthy by the religious elite, Yeshua directs them to “go and learn what this means.” He then points them to a passage in the book of the prophet Hosea, which, when we read it in its context, helps us to understand what this emphasis is, and should be.

Hosea 6:4-6 – “O Ephraim, what shall I do with you? O Judah, what shall I do with you? For your wavering loyalty and kindness are transient like the morning cloud and like the dew that goes away early. Therefore, I have hewn them in pieces by the words of the prophets; I have slain them by the words of My mouth; My judgments pronounced upon them by the prophets are like the light that shines forth, obvious to all. For I desire and delight in steadfast mercy, rather than sacrifice, and in the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings”

Hosea then goes on to describe the heinous sins of Israel that they have committed and the justification of God’s coming wrath upon them. They claimed that they were righteous because they were doing all of the religious rites (sacrifices and offerings) and yet God was still angry with them.

This points to the religious hypocrisy of that generation which Yeshua then deftly applies to the leaders of his generation. They claimed to be righteous and yet were as compassionless as the generation of judgment pronounced by Hosea.

Matthew 23:13, 15 – “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. For you don’t go in, and you don’t allow those entering to go in. … “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to make one convert, and when he becomes one, you make him twice as fit for hell as you are!

Yeshua had no words to spare when it came to condemning the self-righteous hypocrisy of the religious leaders of his day. Rather than endless sacrifices, God truly desired that they would learn of his mercy through the sacrifices, that they would come to understand he was allowing them grace and mercy through substitutionary offerings. Instead, they only took away from that process a legal code of rules that God requires to be appeased, and in the process of doing so they neglected the very ones whom God desired they would mimic his mercy to: the outcasts of his people.

The God of the universe is a God of mercy, and he desires we simply exhibit compassion to all others, especially those who may seem unworthy by any other religious standard. Instead of sacrifice, mercy; instead of burnt offerings, knowledge of him.

1 Timothy 2:3-4 – This is good, and it pleases God our Savior, who wants everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

Through the knowledge of God’s mercy available to all through the life and ministry of Yeshua, God has provided the compassionate pattern for us to follow with all others to whom we can minister in our generation. If there are sacrifices involved, it may be the sacrifice of our social status in order to reach out with compassion to those who need it most, because the knowledge of God brings life.

Micah 6:6-8 – What should I bring before Yahweh when I come to bow before God on high? Should I come before him with burnt offerings, with year-old calves? Would Yahweh be pleased with thousands of rams or with ten thousand streams of oil? Should I give my firstborn for my transgression, the offspring of my body for my own sin? Mankind, he has told each of you what is good and what it is Yahweh requires of you: to act justly, to love faithfulness, and to walk humbly with your God.


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.

How Yeshua describes his followers

There is no room for partial commitment.

John 8:30-32 – “As he was saying these things, many believed in him. So Yeshua said to the Jews who had believed him, ‘If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.'”

Yeshua says that in order to be his followers or disciples, one must abide in his word. What does this mean and how is it done?

Yeshua’s word is his teaching, the principles he sought to bring to the people of Israel from God. It is my belief that the bulk of Yeshua’s teaching is summarized in the Sermon on the Mount, but it includes all of his doctrinal statements throughout his public ministry among the Israelites.

John 8:40, 47 – “but now you seek to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. This is not what Abraham did. … Whoever is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God.”

Yeshua reiterated time and time again that the message he brought was from God, the Father. To abide in his word is to abide in the very teaching of God. When we are faithfully in the word, we can see how Yeshua’s teaching lines up in fulfillment with everything that God intended for his people.

The word abide is also a demonstration of the vigilance needed to be faithful in the word. It means to remain, to stay, or wait. Remaining in the word of Yeshua requires a great amount of fortitude and intention. Every day, we encounter challenges that can test our commitment to the word of God. Yeshua says that his disciples are the ones who stick it out and remain faithful regardless of what else may be going on in their lives.

Yeshua mentions two other benefits from remaining in his word: knowing the truth and being set free. The truth is a rare commodity these days, and having the confidence to assert and rely on the truthfulness of the word of God can be a welcome stabilizer in a sea of constantly shifting opinions.

There is also a freedom, not to do whatever we want, but a freedom from sin that allows us to obediently serve God. We have been set free to serve, and are now enabled to do so when we are disciples of Yeshua.

Are you a disciple of Yeshua, or are you instead a disciple of your pastor or church or denomination? Remaining vigilantly alert and aware in the word of God will free you from the hollow traditions and opinions of men and allow you to be empowered by the Spirit of God, bringing to life his very words in the presence of those who need to hear them most.


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.

Why do we have so many different denominations today?

Sometimes the truth is preserved better in fresh wineskins.

Acts 19:8-10 – “Then Paul went into the synagogue and spoke boldly there for three months, arguing persuasively about the kingdom of God. But when some of them stubbornly refused to believe and publicly maligned the Way, Paul took his disciples and left the synagogue to conduct daily discussions in the lecture hall of Tyrannus. This continued for two years, so that everyone who lived in the province of Asia, Jews and Greeks alike, heard the word of the Lord.”

While estimates vary widely based on how a denomination is defined, some estimates put the total current number of Christian denominations worldwide (2022) as approximately 43,000-45,000. Even if this number is exaggerated by a factor of 2, that would still mean over 20,000 different denominations. Why is this the case?

The passage in Acts 19 above illustrates to me why there are so many. As was his common practice, when Paul went to a new area to spread the gospel of the kingdom, he would typically begin in the local Jewish synagogue. Some might believe and trust in Messiah; most wouldn’t. In this case, the text says that “some of them [the Jews of the synagogue] stubbornly refused to believe and publicly maligned the Way…” They were not only not being receptive to the message that Paul was preaching, they actively began a campaign of discreditation against Paul and the believers.

To protect the disciples of the believing sect, what was becoming known as the Way, Paul decided to separate himself from the corrupt activities of the Jews against them and “took his disciples and left the synagogue to conduct daily discussions in the lecture hall…” What they did was essentially created a separate sect within Judaism, distinguishing between those who were Messiah believers, and those who were not.

The results of this separation bore much fruit for the work of God, as the final verse mentions that “this continued for two years, so that everyone who lived in the province of Asia, Jews and Greeks alike, heard the word of the Lord.”

While it seems counterintuitive, sometimes separation is the only way to maintain the integrity of the truth. The fruit in the blossoming congregation in Ephesus bore witness to the testimony of the effectiveness of this type of action.

However, today I believe the issue of most dividing congregations and denominations stems less from a stand for the truth and more from an affinity for particular opinions. Believers have historically split on differing opinions of doctrinal issues such as baptism, spiritual gifts, views on end times, etc., yet more and more commonly they will also split over non-essential things like worship styles and modes of attire. Yet each of these issues are spelled out in God’s word and have a specific significance, or they would not be in there in the first place.

So how can we tell the difference between a legit truth split and an opinion split? One key way is to ensure that any distinctions are focused on those who believe Messiah, and those who don’t, much like the Ephesian congregation as described here. Another significant way is to become so familiar with the whole of God’s word that clear understanding becomes readily apparent through the Spirit of God. Another way is to see the fruit or results in the lives of each of the groups who had split: which group is actually flourishing within the kingdom and which is fading away with only bitterness over having lost a portion of their fellowship?

Division is never an easy event to endure, and sometimes you may find that in order to “keep the peace” of the congregation, that you are the one who has to move on as your views have grown and perhaps theirs have not. One thing is certain, division over doctrine is nothing new and is destined to continue. Our focus should remain on what the clear uniting features are of God’s word, and allow those seeds to bear fruit wherever they can be planted and received as they are, the word of God. As Yeshua taught:

Matthew 7:6 – “Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you.”


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.

Peace-sowers amidst the chaos

The fruit of righteousness is borne of peaceful actions.

James 3:18 – And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who cultivate peace.

James writes that peace is a necessity among the believers. Taken in the context of to whom this letter was written, this is bold exhortation, indeed. These were the twelve tribes scattered among the nations, and believers who were currently undergoing persecution for their faith in Messiah.

James 1:2-3 – Consider it a great joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you experience various trials, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance.

To these believers undergoing harsh testing and being judged and challenged by their brothers and their families, James encourages peace. It was not the believer’s place to reflexively react to oppression and disunity around them. James encourages calmness at every turn as a demonstration of the righteous actions of God.

James 1:19-20 – My dear brothers and sisters, understand this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger, for human anger does not accomplish God’s righteousness.

The righteousness of God, according to James, is based on the wisdom of God.

James 3:13-14, 17 – Who among you is wise and understanding? By his good conduct he should show that his works are done in the gentleness that comes from wisdom. But if you have bitter envy and selfish ambition in your heart, don’t boast and deny the truth. … But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peace-loving, gentle, compliant, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without pretense.

James is encouraging gentleness in the pursuit of righteousness. God’s wisdom is “pure and peace-loving.” This is an echo of the words of Yeshua when he pronounced how the peacemakers would be considered children of God (Matthew 5:9). Contextually, Yeshua’s teaching on peacemaking is also in the context of persecution:

Matthew 5:10-12 – “Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for the kingdom of heaven is theirs. “You are blessed when they insult you and persecute you and falsely say every kind of evil against you because of me. “Be glad and rejoice, because your reward is great in heaven. For that is how they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

As believers, we can only exhibit true peace and gentleness when confronted with their opposites. When all is peaceful and calm, there is no admonition needed to peacemaking. However, when all is chaos, bitterness and unforgiveness, to remain a peacemaker in these environments becomes a testimony to the inward righteousness one has from God. This is where the believer becomes a witness to the truth of God’s wisdom. This is why James can say that “fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who cultivate peace.”

To be able to sow peace in tumultuous circumstances, one must be a cultivator of peace. This is a bedrock of the believing life, since there is no need to exacerbate chaos further. If we are looking for ways to bear fruit for
God, we should be looking for ways to sow seeds of peace into the fray of the daily culture we live in. Thereby, God’s wisdom is shown to be the pure truth that it is, and he will be glorified in those cultivators of peace that obey his word.


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