THE EARLY YEARS OF CANONIZATION
(A Study On How And When We Got The New Testament)
Victor M. Eskew
The canonization of the Scriptures is not a
subject that members of the church study very often. Canonization
refers to the process of collecting and organizing all of the
inspired books into a complete work. In the book, A General
Introduction to the Bible, Giesler and Nix define
canonization as: ...the recognition and collection of the
God-inspired, authoritative books of the sacred Scriptures
Most people tell us that the
canonization of the Scriptures came about in the latter part of
the fourth century. In fact, the Catholic Church tells us that
she is the one who determined what books were to be included in
the Bible and delivered them to the public. This reasoning makes
it appear that the early church was not concerned about the
collection of the inspired texts. It also makes one wonder
whether there was a standard that really guided the church during
those years between the close of the first century and 397, the
date when the canon is said to have been determined.
We want to look at three points that
will help us to see that the canonization of the Scripture was
always an important concern of the church. In addition, we want
to show that the early church had ways (given to it by God) to
determine which books belonged in the canon (New Testament)
without any possibility of error.
Paul was one of the main writers of the
New Testament. If Hebrews is his, he wrote fourteen of the
twenty-seven books of the New Testament. His books were penned to
specific churches at times. However, Paul did not want these
books to stay just within those churches. He commanded for them
to be passed on and read by others as well. And when this
epistle is read among you, cause that it be read also in the
church of the Laodiceans; and that ye likewise read the epistle
from Laodicea (Col. 4:16). This indicates that the
inspired messages were circulating throughout the first century
churches. In 2 Peter 3:16, Peter refers to all his
(Pauls) epistles. He was aware that many existed. In
addition, Peter refers to Pauls letters as
scripture. Scriptures were the inspired writings given
to men by God. Thus, the early church was aware of the inspired
writings, recognized them, and accepted them as the Word of God.
The question now arises concerning the
second, third and even fourth centuries. The apostles were all
dead. We are told the canon was not developed until the end of
the fourth century. This raises some questions. Did Christians
during the second, third and fourth centuries have the inspired
Word of God? Did they know which books were inspired and which
were not? Were they concerned about the canonization of the
Scriptures? The answer to these questions is Yes. They
also had a full-proof way of knowing which books were inspired
and which were not.
The apostles of Christ had the ability
to distribute miraculous gifts to members of the body of Christ.
This was done by the laying on of apostolic hands. This ability
was manifested in the city of Samaria after Philip converted many
who were lost. Now when the apostles which were at
Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they
sent unto them Peter and John: who, when they were come down,
prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost: (for as
yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in
the name of the Lord Jesus.) Then laid they their hands on them,
and they received the Holy Ghost (Acts 8:14-17).
The powers that were distributed to
these new converts are referred to as the gifts of the Holy
Spirit. There were nine gifts listed in 1 Corinthians 12:7-11.
Each person received a gift at the discretion of the Holy Spirit.
But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to
profit withal. For to one is given by the Spirit the word of
wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same
Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit; to another
the gifts of healing by the same Spirit, to another the
working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another
discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of
tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: but
all these worketh that one and selfsame Spirit, dividing to every
man severally as he will (I Cor. 12:7-11). These gifts
served numerous functions. They furnished these young churches
with the revelation they needed to function as the body of
Christ. They would also enable them to be able to determine which
writings that came to them were divinely inspired and which were
Three of the gifts are of particular
value to this study: the word of wisdom, the word of
knowledge, and discerning of spirits. Lets
briefly define each of these gifts.
The gift of Wisdom involved the
skill and discretion in imparting Christian truth
(Strong). Wisdom is intelligence, then practical action in
accord with it. Here it is speech full of Gods wisdom (ICo.
2:7) under the impulse of the Spirit of God (Robertson).
The gift of Knowledge had to do
with insight into things lawful and unlawful for
Christians (Strong). Robertson says: This gift is
insight (illumination) according to (kata) the same
The gift of Discerning of Spirits
dealt with the ability to distinguish and judge. Vincent notes
that it was the ability to distinguish between the different
prophetic utterances, whether they proceed from true or false
spirits. See ITi. 4:1; IJo 4:1; IJo 4:2.
It is not difficult to see how these
three gifts would be of great value in determining whether a
letter sent to the church was inspired or not. These miraculous
abilities enabled the churches to collect, as authoritative, only
those writings which God desired for them to have. The power of
the Holy Spirit would not make a mistake. The Spirit knew which
writings were His and which were not. This was precisely the
ability mentioned by John in his first epistle. But ye
have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things. ...But
the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and
ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing
teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even
as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him (I John
Individuals who had received these
miraculous gifts lived well into the second century. Polycarp, a
disciple of John, became a martyr in A.D. 166. When we read the
writings of men of that period, they quote from all twenty-seven
books found within our present New Testament. Their quotes are
intended to be authoritative statements. Again, we are impressed
with the fact that the books of our New Testament were in
existence, they were known, and they were quoted as being
We have seen: 1) The first and second
century churches recognized that the writings of the apostles and
prophets were circulating among the churches; and, along with
other writings, they were able to distinguish between those which
were inspired of God and which were not; 2) Men quoted from every
book of our present New Testament in the second century.
We now come to our third point. In the
second century, the Muritorian Fragment was written. The
Muritorian Fragment is the oldest known list of New
Testament books. It was discovered by Ludovico Antonio Muratori
in a manuscript in the Ambrosian Library in Milan, and published
by him in 1740. It is called a fragment because the beginning is
missing. Although the manuscript in which it appears was copied
during the seventh century, the list itself is dated to about 170
because its author refers to the episcopate of Pius I of Rome
(died 157) as recent (bible-researcher.com). Two things are
of importance about this fragment. First, the date is important.
The fragment dates back to A.D. 170. Second, the list is
important. This was a list of books the church considered to be
divinely inspired and authoritative. In an article on the
Muratorian Fragment by James R. Adair, Jr., we learn which books
were included on this list. Mr. Adair writes; The fragment
begins with what is probably a mutilated reference to Mark, and
Luke and John are mentioned as the third and fourth gospels,
respectively. It is probable that Matthew was mentioned in a
missing portion of the original. Thirteen letters are attributed
to Paul and are enumerated in the following order: Corinthians,
Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, Galatians, Thessalonians,
Romans, Philemon, Titus, and Timothy (the two letters to the
Corinthians, Thessalonians, and Timothy are acknowledged). ...
Finally, Jude and two letters of John are mentioned approvingly,
as are the Wisdom of Solomon and the apocalypses of John and
Peter (although the latter is said to be rejected by some).
Every book of our New Testament, except Hebrews and one of
Johns letters is on this list. The canon was being formed.
The books of the New Testament were being recognized as being
divinely inspired of God. They were accepted as the authority of
This study has been intended to be
faith-building. It helps to assure us that we have the same Word
of God today that the early church had. After the death of the
apostles, the church quickly began to collect their writings into
a canon of sacred Scripture. These books have been preserved for
us in the New Testament. As Jesus declared: Heaven and
earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away
(Matt. 24:35). Peter echoed this sentiment in his first epistle:
But the word of the Lord endureth forever (I
The Bible, the Word of God, was revealed
in the first century. It has been collected and preserved unto
this very day! Let us study it, apply it, and teach it to others.
It will judge men in the last day (John 12:48).
312 Franklin Dr.
Paris, TN 38242
Table of Contents
PRAYING TO JESUS AND
THE HOLY SPIRIT
Garland M. Robinson
There are three members (personalities) of the
Godhead: God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit
(Acts 17:29; John 5:18; Col. 2:9; Acts 5:3-4). Some conclude we
can pray to any one or all three with Gods approval. What
does the Bible say?
How did Jesus answer this question? He
instructed his disciples to pray to the Father. When thou
prayest... pray to thy Father. ... After this manner
therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy name (Matt. 6:6,9). We are not only
instructed to pray to the Father, but to do so in the name of
Jesus. ...That whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father
in my name (John 15:16). And whatsoever ye
shall ask in my name. ... If ye shall ask any thing
in my name (John 14:13-14). Jesus says to his
apostles, and in that day ye shall ask me nothing.
Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the
father in my name. ... At that day ye shall ask in my
name (John 16:23,26). Since Jesus has said we are
to pray to the Father in his name, why not do it the
way he said do it? Why wouldnt the Lords own
instructions be sufficient to answer the question, to whom
do we pray? What else would the Lord have to say to get us
to understand to whom prayer is to be addressed?
To pray in the name of Jesus simply
means that we pray by or upon his authority. He is the one who
instructs us to pray. The inspired apostle said, And
WHATSOEVER ye do in WORD or DEED do ALL in the NAME OF THE LORD
JESUS (Col. 3:17). If we, at our own option, can pray to
Jesus or the Holy Spirit instead of God the Father, then we must
have authority from the Bible to do so. But where is such
authority? To what verse shall we turn that gives us that
If we direct our prayer to Jesus, in whose
name do we pray? Upon whose authority do we pray in such fashion?
Do we pray to Jesus in the name of Jesus, or in the name of the
Father, or in the name of the Holy Spirit? We find no command, no
example nor anything implied in the Bible of any such practice!
Notice the words of Robert R. Taylor, Jr. as
he speaks about wisdom and how it is obtained. His text is James
1:5, If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that
giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be
...James tells us the how of
wisdoms possession ask of God. ... Note that he did
not tell them to study human philosophy. He did not tell them to
sit at the feet of worldly-wise possessors who think they have
the last word of any human difficulty. He told them to pray. Then
he supplies us with some imperative instructions.
We are to pray to God. James did not
believe nor urge that we pray to a departed saint like Abraham,
Jacob, Moses, Joshua, Samuel, Elijah, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel, a
minor prophet or one of the apostles in the New Testament. He did
not say to pray to a departed ancestor like a father, mother or
grandparent. These prayers would not avail.
Many today are confused about whether we
are to pray to the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit or all three.
I recently received a question in the mail touching whether we
should pray to Jesus or not. James says ask God. This is the
Father. He did not say, Pray to my Elder Brother the
Christ. He did not say pray to the Holy Spirit. Jesus taught
the disciples in the Model Prayer to pray, Our Father, which
art in heaven... (Matt. 6:9). He was in their very midst and
yet did not command, Pray to Me. In his own recorded
prayers in the New Testament Jesus NEVER prayed to Himself, never
to the Spirit, never to an angel, never to mother Mary and never
to a departed saint. The invocation of saints, prominent in
Catholic circles, is NOT a Biblical doctrine. Stephen, in Acts 7,
is not an exception. He was an inspired man and had direct
communication back and forth with heaven having seen a vision of
the standing Jesus at Gods right hand. What he said to the
Lord directly is in the same class as Ananias conversation
with Jesus relative to Saul of Tarsus in Acts 9:10-14. Here is a
back and forth conversation between the Glorified Jesus in heaven
and a faithful disciple in Damascus when the miraculous was still
available. The apostles and prophets of the New Testament
consistently taught that prayers are prayed to God in the name of
Christ as Paul clearly and cogently taught in Ephesians
James says that such prayers of
Gods faithful children will be heard and answered. If prayed
sincerely and in full harmony with Gods Word, every
prayer will be heard and heeded. It may be a yes; that is an
answer. It may be a no; that is an answer. It may be that God
will give us something different and far better than that we
asked; this also is an answer a precious one.
James gives us the blessed assurance
that God is generous in His giving. He gives to all; He gives
generously. There is no way we can duplicate this. We cannot give
to all and surely cannot give generously to all regardless of the
extent of earthly possessions. Some things only Heaven can
Furthermore, He does not upbraid us. He
does not cast it back in our teeth. He does not say, You
asked for this only yesterday or last week and here you are
asking it again! Far too often this is a human reaction
between mates, between parents and children or among various
relationships where there are givers and recipients. It goes
something like this, What! You are asking this again! I have
granted your requests repeatedly and now you are asking more of
the same! God gives; He gives to all; He gives to all
generously; He does not cast it back in our teeth when the next
requests are made. Generous Jehovah combines both generosity and
wisdom. Wisdom guides and governs God in all His bequeathed gifts
to mankind generally and His people particularly. His physical
gifts are for all such as air, food, water, etc. The spiritual
gifts He gives are reserved for His people only as per Ephesians
1:3. This is a marvelous motivation for being a child of the
Sovereign of the Universe Jehovah God. (end quote)
Why do people stray so far from the Bible?
Why not just follow what it says? Theres no need to make it
complicated. When we do what those of the first century did to
obey God and be found in His favor, then we will be accepted with
God just as they were. Are you ready to follow the steps of the
Savior wherever they lead?
Table of Contents
THE BIBLE IS THE COMPLETE
REVELATION OF GODS WILL
Roderick L. Ross
The inspired, eternal word of God, the Holy Bible,
is sufficient for all things the Christian needs to be pleasing
unto God. All scripture is given by the inspiration of
God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction,
for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be
perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works (II
Tim. 3:16,17). The revealed word of God completely (thoroughly)
furnishes the man of God unto all not some, but ALL
THE HOLY BIBLE IS INCOMPARABLE
The Bible authorizes every good work that
Christians are to do. According as his divine power hath
given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness,
through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and
virtue: whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious
promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine
nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world
through lust (II Peter 1:3-4).
Notice, ALL THINGS that pertain unto life and
godliness are supplied by His divine power. Through these things
(i.e., the words revealed) we are allowed to be partakers of the
divine nature. Doctrine, reproof, correction, and instruction are
provided by the word of God.
The Holy Spirit provides all things
within the inspired word. Through his [the Spirits] inspired
word, he converts (I Cor. 4:15; James 1:18; I Peter 1:23),
saves (John 17:17; Acts 11:14; I Cor. 15:1-2; Psalm 19:7),
produces faith (Rom. 10:17; John 20:30-31; Luke 1:3-4;
8:12), sanctifies (John 17:17; Eph. 5:26; II Thess. 2:13),
cleanses (John 15:2; Eph. 5:26), purifies (I Peter
1:22), quickens (Psalm 119:50; Eph. 2:1,5; John 6:63),
enlightens (Psalm 19:8; 119:30), gives
understanding (Job 32:8; Psalm 119:104,130; II Tim. 3:15),
leads (Psalm 73:24; 119:105), comforts (I Thess.
3:2; 4:18; Rom. 15:4), produces spiritual growth (Acts
20:32; Col. 1:10,11; II Peter 3:18), produces fruit (Col.
1:5-10; Gal. 5:22,23; [Col. 1:5-10 is an inspired commentary on
how the Spirit produces fruit of the Galatians 5:22-23; it is
through the word of truth, the word of God]), strengthens
(II Tim. 2:1-2; Rev. 12:11; read Rom. 10:17 in relation to
Hebrews 11), regulates our lives (I Tim. 3:14-15),
admonishes (I Cor. 4:14), guards (II Tim. 3:13-15),
stirs up (II Peter 1:12-13) and exhorts (I Peter
5:12). (Roger E. Dickson, Direct Operation of the Holy Spirit in
Conversion and Sanctification, Contending for the Faith).
The word of God provides man with all these
things. The law of the LORD is perfect, converting
the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise
the simple. The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing
the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure,
enlightening the eyes. The fear of the LORD is clean,
enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and
righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea,
than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the
honeycomb (Psalm 19:7-10).
This all-sufficient word is once for all
delivered unto the saints (Jude 3, ASV). It did not need to be
delivered twice once was sufficient. There is nothing
further that we need. No further revelation is necessary. No
further revelation has come, the Bible is all-sufficient.
Compare the Bible with any supposed revelation
from God or a god found among men. There is no comparison! All of
the sacred writings of the world wane in comparison with
the glorious word of God. The beauty, the majesty, the unity, the
accuracy, the truthfulness, the completeness of the Bible far
surpass any of the pseudo-revelations.
The Bible stands alone in the literature of
the entire world as THE REVELATION OF GOD.
4345 Lawrence Rd.
Baltimore, OH 43105
Table of Contents
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO
WALK AFTER THE SPIRIT?
The Bible commands us to walk after the
Spirit and not after the flesh. In Romans 8:1,4 we
read, There is therefore now no condemnation to them which
are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after
the Spirit. This I say then, Walk in the
Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For
the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the
flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other... If we
live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit
To walk in or after
the Spirit does not mean the Holy Spirit operates on our heart
directly and guides us through each day in a miraculous way. Many
say this, but such an idea or practice is totally foreign to the
New Testament (the Bible).
To walk in the Spirit or
after the Spirit means to walk or live according to the
teaching of the Spirit. All scripture is given by
inspiration of God (II Tim. 3:16). Holy men of God spake
as they were moved by the Holy Spirit (II Peter 1:21). The
Bible is the Spirits WORD whereby we live! Therefore,
we walk by FAITH, not by SIGHT (II Cor. 5:7). That is,
we live according to THE FAITH (the Gospel, the New Testament,
Heb. 9:16-17) that was once and for all delivered by the Holy
Spirit (Jude 3) and not according to what seems right in our own
eyes. There was a time when God allowed men to walk according to
sight (Acts 14:16), but not any longer (Acts 17:30; Prov. 14:12).
Man has never been able to guide himself spiritually (Jer. 10:23;
Prov. 14:12). When we walk according to the Spirits teaching
(the New Testament), we walk as children of light (Eph. 5:8; I
John 1:7). We walk/live according to Gods commandments (II
Jesus said, I am the light of the
world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness,
but shall have the light of life (John 8:12). When one obeys
the Gospel by repenting of sins (Acts 17:30; 2:38),
confessing Jesus as the Christ, the Son of God (Rom. 10:10)
and being baptized in water (Acts 2:38; 22:16), he/she
puts away the old man of sin (walking after the lusts of the
flesh) and is raised to walk a newness of life
Are you living according to the teaching
of the Spirit?
Garland M. Robinson
Table of Contents
THEY PROFESS THAT THEY KNOW GOD,
BUT IN WORKS THEY DENY HIM
The above words form the opening statement in
Titus 1:16. The verse goes on to say, ...they deny him,
being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work
reprobate. In the context, the apostle Paul was writing
to Titus about the circumstances, the people, and the activities
that the latter would have to face and deal with on the island of
Crete. In the previous verse, Paul had specifically mentioned
those that are defiled and unbelieving. Such people, he said,
profess to know God, but in works they deny Him.
All serious Bible students are familiar with
the fact that Simon Peter denied Jesus three times. It is also
commonly known that Jesus said, But whosoever shall deny
me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in
heaven (Matt. 10:33). But, what about the concept of
denying the Lord with our actions? Remember, Titus 1:16 says
that some deny the Lord in/by their works. Despite their claims,
their behavior makes it evident that they are not really devoted
to and faithful to the God of heaven. Are you and I of that
number? Does our action undo/negate our professed allegiance to
If I sing, All to Jesus I
Surrender, but when it comes to my first-day-of-the-week
contribution, I grudgingly drop my leftovers that amount to one
or two percent of my income into the collection, my profession of
surrendering all for my Lord is not very truthful, is it?
If I sing, Seek Ye First the Kingdom
of God, but I have no intention of attending any service
of the church after the Sunday morning session because, honestly,
there are other matters that I count as more important on Sunday
night, during mid-week Bible study and any night of a Gospel
meeting, then do my works not deny my Lord and my professed
devotion to Him?
If I sing, Holy, Holy, Holy
in praise to the Creator, but outside of the churchs meeting
place I habitually take the Lords name in vain, then do I
really have reverence for the Lord, or do my actions deny such?
If I sing, I Want to Be a Soul Winner
for Jesus Every Day, but I wouldnt be caught dead
talking to a non-Christian about the Bible and the salvation that
is available through Jesus, then does my practice match my claim,
or am I denying my professed allegiance to my Lord and His Cause?
If I drive home to my denominational friends
the truth that we must go by the Bible, only by the Bible, and
always by the Bible, but when I find myself in a major mess
because I have unscripturally divorced and unscripturally formed
a second union that civil authorities call marriage and
I try to brush off my sinful actions by saying, Nobody is
perfect, does that not sound like I am denying my Lord by
casting aside what He said about these matters (Matt. 19:9)?
Some, like Peter, deny the Lord by claiming
they are not His. False teachers deny the Lord that bought them
with their damnable, destructive heresies (2 Peter 2:1). Yet
others deny the Lord by their actions (Titus 1:16). None of these
three forms of denial is commendable, defensible, or acceptable.
Any of them will cause a person to lose their soul. Regardless of
the manner in which we deny the Lord, ...if we deny him,
he also will deny us (2 Tim. 2:12).
If we say that we know God, then we need to
prove it: not by flaunting our faithfulness or by boasting about
our behavior, but rather by obeying Him that saved us.
And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep
his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not
his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him
(1 John 2:3,4). Who among us cannot understand such language?
Roger D. Campbell
120 Will Lewis Dr. SE
Cleveland, TN 37323
Table of Contents
THE PSALMISTS LOVE FOR GODS WORD
One of the greatest single chapters ever
written is the 119th Psalm. In this rich passage, David extols
the value of the Word of God. If we could imitate his attitude
and love toward the Word of God, we would be much better off.
Why did the Psalmist love the word of
Because it will help young people
succeed in life. Notice verse 9, Wherewithal shall the
young man cleanse his way? By taking heed thereto according to
thy word. David makes the point that young people can do
what is right and please God in the days of their youth. Today,
our culture states blatantly that the young are going to do wrong
(commit what is commonly held as immoral acts; drinking, dancing,
fornicating, drugs, etc.), regardless of what is taught to them
in childhood. God through David denies this lie (cf. John 8:44).
Davids son Solomon wrote Remember now thy creator in
the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the
years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in
them (Eccl. 12:1).
Even in the church the impression is
sometimes left that it is normal for young people to
leave the Lord and live like the world once they leave their
parents home. While it may occur more often than it should,
it is never acceptable to God and should not be condoned in any
way by the church (Gal. 6:7-8; Eph. 6:11).
Because it will complete what is
missing in a man. In verse 10 David writes, With my
whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy
commandments. Most people live empty lives. They search for
meaning in all the wrong places. Notice the counsel of Solomon,
Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God,
and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man
(Eccl. 12:13). If we go through our days on the earth without
God, we havent truly lived. The key to Davids life was
the fact that he sought God with his whole heart. We
too must be completely given to learning, loving and living the
will of God. Some people know just enough Bible to be miserable.
May we love the Lord and His word enough to follow Him wherever
He may lead (Luke 6:46).
Because it was a constant to which he
could always turn. In verse 11 we find, Thy word have I
hid in mine heart that I might not sin against thee. Once we
truly understand that the message of the Bible is from God and
for our benefit, our lives become more stable (II Tim. 3:16,17).
God has given us instructions to help us deal with every facet of
life; every difficulty; every dark day (II Tim. 2:15; Psalm 23).
We can overcome all obstacles with His divine guidance through
His word (Phil. 4:13). In a world that is constantly changing and
often seems to be leaving us behind, it is tremendously
comforting to know God does not change and His glorious message
of truth will continue to give us freedom (John 8:32).
Because it brings joy to the
recipient. David is exuberant in the knowledge that with
Gods guidance, life makes sense. Notice verse 16, I
will delight myself in thy statutes: I will not forget thy
word. Joy and pleasure are not always the same thing. We
typically view that which makes us happy (brings joy) as good.
But true happiness is much deeper and more lasting than a
moments pleasure. (As a side note, God is not against us
having pleasure in fact a faithful child of God should also
have a very good life, John 10:10). David has a great attitude
when it comes to the word of God. Far too many people have a poor
attitude concerning the Bible, mainly because they do not wish to
have their lives directed by (interfered with per their
view) anyone but themselves. David knew that he was in need of
Gods help (as are we all whether we wish to admit it or
Notice verse 97, O how I love thy
law! It is my meditation all the day. He loved the
instruction that he received. In verse 172 he adds, My
tongue shall speak of thy word: for all thy commandments are
righteousness. When we comprehend that God gave us His word
to help us (not to hinder us), our attitude will be better and
our hearts more receptive to His guiding hand.
Because it will guide us all the way
to heaven. In verse 105 we read, Thy word is a lamp unto
my feet and a light unto my path. The word of God will help
us and direct us in the hard times of life. Many grope in
darkness when the light of Jesus is just a moment away (Matt.
May we imitate the attitude of the
Psalmist in relation to the word of God.
Table of Contents
HOW THE CHURCH RECEIVES
The work of the church is unique. The New Testament
authorizes the church to work in three areas:
1) Evangelism teaching and preaching the Gospel
(Mark 16:15-16), 2) Edification teaching and
instructing its members (1 Thess. 5:11; Col. 3:16) and
3) Benevolence helping those in need of the
necessities of life (James 1:27; Gal. 6:10).
To do the work God has commanded the church to do
requires money (the funds necessary to carry out the work). God
has given instruction where and how the
church gets its money to do its work. It is by the free-will
offering of its members. The Scriptures authorize a collection to
be taken up each first day of the week. In 1 Corinthians 16:1-2
we read, Now concerning the collection for the saints, as
I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye.
Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay
by him in store, as God hath prospered him.... A
famine had made many destitute of the necessary things of life.
Churches of Christ everywhere were instructed to help the needy.
This passage tells them how to do it.
In the New Testament, you never read of the church of
Christ having chariot washes, bake sales, rummage sales, 10K
walks, etc., etc. to raise money for its work. There is no
Scripture that authorizes the church to solicit (request, seek,
beg) money, food, clothes (material goods) from non-members (the
general public). Therefore, you should never see the church of
Christ soliciting material things from those who are not members
of the church in order to help the church do the work God has
commanded the church to do.
Garland M. Robinson, Editor
Table of Contents
THE BLESSINGS OF BEING AN
An elders wife is a person greatly
blessed because she has a husband who is following Christ through
the Biblical teaching of Gods Word. Knowing and abiding in
Christ, she loves him deeply and treats him kindly so that his
prayers are not hindered. An elders wife must be
sure that she does not take advantage of her husbands
Christ-like manner and make any hardships for him to be an
overseer in Gods church.
An elders wife must never strive
to be the head of the household or to be demanding in any
way. She must be one who is submissive and has a quite,
gentle spirit not one who will drain his strength
attempting to keep Him under control. He has to give constantly
to his spiritual family and that must be the first priority in
his life, therefore his physical family must be one who is truly
helpful to him.
An elders wife will realize that
God gave the work of an elder to him, not to her, nor to both of
them. It is the elderships God-given responsibility to
shepherd the flock they oversee. Elders wives are part of
the congregation the elders oversee. She must not interfere and
take away from his authority. She realizes that his is one of the
most important works in the world. To make it as easy for him as
possible, she will do all the little jobs she can for him so that
he can give all possible time to his work. Likewise, she will be
a part of and attend every meeting and activity of the
congregation that she is physically capable of attending.
An elders wife must be positive,
encouraging and praying daily that God will give her husband the
wisdom of James 3:17, But the wisdom that is from above
is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated,
full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without
hypocrisy. His task is to serve and work and plan for the
building up of the whole body. She will emphasize his strengths
and not be discouraging and negative. She will respect, love,
submit, adapt to him and pray to be the wife her husband needs.
She will manage the household well and love and train the
children so they will have Christ first in their lives.
An elders wife must be one he
can trust in all aspects: tongue, dress, spending of money, and
conduct. She will be flexible, adapting to her husbands
schedule and life. She must be ready to change plans or entertain
company at any time. She will have a thankful and joyful spirit.
She knows these attributes can come only through truly abiding in
An elders wife must not be like
the women of the world who can easily be deceived and confused by
the words from ungodly people who demonstrate thoughtlessness and
unkindness. She will guard her heart to be objective and not
be overcome by her personal feelings. An elders wife must
constantly guard her tongue, never being a gossip or a busybody.
Her words must be uplifting, true, helpful and kind. She will
especially avoid being jealous or inquisitive regarding
confidential matters. As she prays in faith, with true humility
and complete dependence on God for strength, God will in time
cause her to grow in self discipline and controlled thoughts,
keeping her mind on things above that are noble, and of good
report, but most especially on the Lord and His great love.
Through Christs power, which He has promised to each of His
children, she will continue, more and more, to overcome the sins
of the heart that easily beset so many women.
An elders wife cannot be a weak
Christian. She cannot be a lukewarm Christian. She must be
one who puts the Lord first in her life. She cannot be a true
Christian or a true helpmeet without growing in faith,
virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly
kindness and love (II Peter 1:5-7). She can do this through
personal, daily Bible study and prayer. She will also meet with
other Christian sisters for fellowship, encouragement, study and
prayer. She will have open communication with her husband as they
strive together to overcome the specific sins or shortcomings
that may be weak in their lives.
As an elders wife, she will
strive to be aware of the physical and spiritual needs of others
and will do all she can in serving these needs (but not to
the neglect of her own family). She will be hospitable. She will
always look for opportunities to influence non-Christians to come
to the Lord. As she strives daily to grow in these areas of
outreach, she will be able to relinquish her husband for his
service with joy and not with self pity. She will have all that
she can possibly do. She only needs to open her eyes and look
around and become sensitive to the needs of others.
The rewards will be greater than
anything she can imagine as she grows in the fruit of the Spirit
(Gal. 5:22-23). Most assuredly, the peace that passes all
understanding will be with her always and most especially
during the trials that will surely come.
6 Warren Dr.
Belmont, MS 38827
(This is brother Goddards address as of Dec. 2009)
Table of Contents
My husband and I appreciated you very much when you were at
East Corinth church. Please put these people on your mailing list
if they are not on it now. Please start with October 2009. God
bless you ...Name Withheld, Selmer, TN. Please
add me to your mailing list to receive STOP. Thank you very
much ...M. L. Bush, New Ellenton, SC. Brother
Garland, as usual, some really great articles in the Sept/2009
issue of STOP. Really appreciate your publication. Keep up the
good work. God bless you ...Larry Acuff, Lithia Springs,
GA. Magnolia Bible College is closing on December 17,
2009. Please remove the college from Seek The Old Paths
mailing list ...John F. Gardner, Acting President,
Magnolia Bible College, Kosciusko, MS. A dear beloved
brother of Christ has been moved to a nursing home. Could you
please add his name to your current mailing list? This dear
brother is a precious soul who so enjoys receiving Bible based
material. I know he would be grateful for your help in receiving
STOP ...Billie White, Tuscaloosa, AL. Id
like to get my uncle on your list to receive STOP. Its my
way of thanking him for taking me to the church of Christ when I
was just a teenager ...Linda Whitehurst, Cassville, MO.
Please use enclosed check to help mail literature, etc.
to prisoners as you see fit. I appreciate your work and share
STOP with others. It is nice to see Bettye Zumbrun mentioned
also. I only met her once but was impressed. Also, I would like
to have Euna Geeter (Summerville, GA) contact me. I am trying to
learn something about a family who lived in Summerville in the
long ago and wonder if they are still there in that area.
Continue to fight the good fight ...Sybil Taylor,
Bonifay, FL 32425. Refused. Return to sender
...Eloise Hulsey, Tyler, TX. Refused ...Don &
Jean Owens, Scottsboro, AL. Dear brother Garland, keep
up the good work. The Lord bless you and keep you. Could you send
some copies of STOP to the church at Culpeper? Lost my wife on
April 15, 2009. We were married 61 years 10 months. Miss
her! ...Culpeper, VA. Thank you for your
diligent efforts to produce this publication. Please remove from
your list Harold & Jackie Knipple. Contribution enclosed
...Burlison, TN. Good publication. Keep up the good
work ...James Sampson, Marshfield, WI. Your
efforts are greatly appreciated ...Robert M. Price,
Jacksonville, FL. Greetings in the name of our Lord
Jesus Christ. God bless the officers and members of STOP for the
effort of spreading the word of God. Continue the good work and
may the grace of God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ be upon
us ...Corazon Santiago, Los Angeles, CA. Dear
Seek The Old Paths! I just finished reading the copy of
Powerful Preaching that I picked up at church. It is a
wonderful Gospel paper. I would like to give you a list of people
that would really like to read good Gospel preaching. I am 84
years young and I copy Gospel papers and send them out each
month. Yours is one of them. I have over a hundred names and
getting more regularly. Im sending a little money for the
sending of the papers ...Jasper, AL. I have
been reading STOP for a number of years. I had one with me
Tuesday morning for Bible study and some of the people asked me
how I got it. I read the article in Vol. 20 No. 8 about the man
in prison and it made some of them want the paper. Please send us
some each month. We would appreciate it. Keep up the good
work ...Frank Neal, Sr., Rockvale, TN. Dear
Brother Robinson, I appreciate your efforts to proclaim the truth
regarding Biblical matters. Please apply this enclosed toward
your printing costs ...Wilma J. Stagner, Bowling Green,
KY. Dear Brother Robinson, I look forward to reading
each of your bulletins, they are filled with the truth and sound
doctrine based on Gods Word. I am 94 and a member of the
church in Oak Grove, MO. You held a meeting for us and I have
been getting your bulletin ever since. I pray that God will
continue to bless you in your work. In Christian love
...Marjorie Alley, Oak Grove, MO.
In the 1828 Dictionary by Noah Webster, bateful
is defined as contentious; given to strife;
exciting contention. It does not sound like I would want to
be described as bateful. Evidently some individuals are bateful.
The Bible warns about being this kind of person. God does not
like that kind of person. In the second chapter of Romans Paul
states that certain individuals will have Gods judgment come
down upon them. In verse eight, he says that those who do not
obey the truth, those that obey unrighteousness, indignation and
wrath will bring wrath upon themselves. He also says contentious
people will have the same end. Proverbs 26:21, states, As
coals are to burning coals, and wood to fire; so is a contentious
man to kindle strife. The bateful person will make
situations worse than they need to be. Just like throwing wood on
a fire will make the fire bigger and hotter, the bateful person
will take a stressful situation and make it become a situation of
great strife. In James 3:14-16, we find out that a person with
this attitude does not have the wisdom from heaven. God says a
person like this should not be proud of his actions. Instead a
person should do their very best to control such thoughts and the
tongue which speaks what the mind is thinking. Do not be a
bateful person. Control yourself. Control your tongue. Be a
person of peace. ...Mark McWhorter, Pell City, AL.
The work of writing, printing, preaching, TV,
radio, newspaper, etc. is going well. Theres never a moment
with nothing to do. As a matter of fact, theres not enough
time in the day to do all I would like to do and that needs to be
done. I love the work! Im still in need of personal support
but I know the Lord will provide. I appreciate so much those of
you who are helping spread the Gospel. To God be the glory.
Editor, Garland M. Robinson
Table of Contents
Bound Volumes can be ordered from:
Old Paths Publishing
2007 Francis Ferry Rd.
$5 postage paid
Bible Page |
Seek The Old Paths |
East End Church of Christ |
WSOJ Gospel Radio 24/7 from East End C/C
Old Paths Publishing Book Store / Lectureship