Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Bible Time Questions

During our family Bible reading this past week, we’ve been working through the book of Ephesians—go figure, it’s been on my mind a lot lately. Last night we read the first half of chapter four.

In this short passage you will find two major problems; one that the children brought up and one that I saw but did not mention. The first problem was felt by all three of my oldest children.

Here is the text that caused all the confusion:
So that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.
Ephesians 4:14 ESV
As soon as we were done reading the section and began our discussion, Karis said, “But dad, I thought we were supposed to be like children," referring to this text.
And [Jesus] said, "Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
Matthew 18:3 ESV
So which is it? It is both! We are to grow up to mature manhood in Christ by becoming childlike. Not in the sense that we are tossed to and fro by every random doctrine, but in that we hold fast to God’s word and trust it fully. And so Paul can also say in his first letter to the Corinthians, who were acting very childish by the way:
When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.
1 Corinthians 13:11 ESV
The other problem in the text was over my head, so I didn’t bring it up at all last night. I worked through it a little in my reading this morning, but I don’t have a good solution yet. Here is the problem, Ephesians 4:8 reads:
Therefore it says, "When he ascended on high he led a host of captives, and he gave gifts to men."
Ephesians 4:8 ESV
The question is, where does the Bible say this? Answer: nowhere. In Psalm 68, David uses similar words, but he means the opposite.
You ascended on high, leading a host of captives in your train and receiving gifts among men, even among the rebellious, that the LORD God may dwell there.
Psalm 68:18 ESV
So is this king receiving gifts from men, or giving gifts to men? Again, I image the answer is both. And here I keep my childlike trust in God’s word and gird up my mind like a man to figure out what Paul is saying. For I believe God’s promise through Paul:
Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything.
2 Timothy 2:7 ESV
If and when I find a good solution to this problem, I’ll comment on it. Until then, if you have a good solution, please post a comment as well.

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