Psalm 37:21: "The wicked borroweth, and payeth not again [i.e., bad people don't repay their debts, either intentionally (because they refuse to do so) or because they have no money and are unable to do so]: but the righteous [people--those with high moral standards, such as born-again Christians] sheweth mercy, and giveth [food, money, assistance, etc.] [to others]."
Hebrews 11:6: "But without faith [without 'confidence' in God--in his fidelity (faithfulness, loyalty), truth, wisdom, promises] it is impossible to please him [God]: for he [or she] that cometh to God [in worship and prayer] must believe that he [God] is [real] [i.e., that he exists], and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently [earnestly, sincerely] seek him [see note below*]."
*Examples of rewards that people receive for diligently seeking God include salvation and answers to prayer.
1 Samuel 2:7: "The LORD [God] maketh [some people] poor, and maketh [some people] rich: he bringeth low [brings down, or humbles] [those who are full of pride] [i.e., allows them to be humiliated (feel ashamed or stupid)], and lifteth up [gives grace and honor to] [people who are humble (not arrogant, conceited, or full of pride)]."
Proverbs 20:28: "Mercy [goodness, kindness, faithfulness, compassion] and truth [as opposed to lying] preserve the king [and queen and people who are in charge of governments, companies, churches, etc.]: and his throne [referring to the kingdoms, governments, positions, etc., of kings and other leaders] is upholden [supported, sustained, made safe and secure] by mercy."
Salem Bible Church has an excellent commentary about this verse, including examples of kings in the Bible whose lives and thrones were (and were not) protected due to mercy and truth (or the lack of it).
The commentary concludes with:
"3. In this short proverb Solomon causes his readers to think about the importance of mercy and truth (loyal love and faithful steadfastness).
"a. They preserve the king and his government.
"b. God's loyal love and faithfulness protected the kings of Israel.
"c. The theocratic king's loyal love and faithfulness towards God kept him and his throne safe too.
"d. The theocratic king's loyal love and faithfulness towards his people kept him and his throne safe from upheaval and rebellion.
"e. The people's loyal love and faithfulness towards their king also kept him and their government safe.
"f. No matter how you slice it, these qualities are exceedingly valuable to any leader… to any people…
"g. Loyalty and faithfulness are needed for a business to function efficiently and effectively.
"h. Loyal love and faithfulness keep a local church strong and united.
"i. Loyal love and faithfulness keep families together and protects the sanctity of the home."
If you want to read the commentary, here's the link: www.salembible.org/proverbs-index/proverbs-20-index/proverbs-20_28/.
Proverbs 19:23: "The fear of the LORD [having honor, respect, and love for God] tendeth to life [results in God protecting us and prolonging our lives here on earth]: and he [or she] that hath it [a God-fearing attitude] shall abide [remain, continue to be] satisfied [pleased, content] [with his (or her) life]; he [or she] shall not be visited with evil [by God] [i.e., will not be punished or judged by God].
Regarding the last part of the verse, about not being visited with evil, Salem Bible Church's commentary says:
"4. This does not mean that bad things never happen to God fearing people. They DO.
"a. But if a God fearing person IS afflicted with evil and calamity in life, he can know that it was not a visitation of Divine chastening or judgment.
"b. Rather, it was a test allowed by God, not for his ruin, but for his good… and like Job he shall come forth as gold.
"c. Bad things may happen to God fearing people, but it does mean that they will not harm him."
And the commentary continues:
"h. The one who fears God is not visited with evil, because whatever kind of evil or calamity he may face, God is able to turn it to good… as He did with Daniel's friends [who were cast into the fiery furnace]… and with Job.
"i. All things work together for good to those who love God… and fear Him."
If you want to read the commentary, here's the link: www.salembible.org/proverbs-index/proverbs-19-index/proverbs-19_23/.
Proverbs 18:6: "A fool's lips enter into contention [a foolish person who speaks his or her mind will cause controversy and become involved in arguments and disagreements], and his [or her] mouth calleth for strokes [punches (referring to hitting or striking someone), meaning his or her words may also start a fight (either accidentally or on purpose), resulting in trouble for others and trouble for himself/herself]."
Salem Bible Church has a good commentary on this verse. In the conclusion, it says, "If you use your tongue like a sword and go around lashing out at people, eventually, you're going to have to pay a price."
It also says:"If you use your tongue to stir up the pot, eventually, you are going to get a whipping." "Depending on the circles you are traveling in, that 'whipping' could mean losing your job; it could mean losing your front teeth; a law suit; a gangster style assassination; loss of friends; getting beat up out of revenge… or publicly castigated on the six o'clock news.'"
If you want to read the commentary, here's the link: www.salembible.org/proverbs-index/proverbs-18-index/proverbs-18_6/.
Proverbs 17:6: "Children's children [grandchildren] are the crown [symbol of honor and glory] of old men [in other words, grandfathers usually glory in (rejoice over, take pride in) their grandchildren]; and the glory of children [i.e., people who usually bring delight (pleasure, joy) to children] are their fathers [especially those who love and obey God]."
In a perfect world, we could all be proud of our families and our heritage.
For a more detailed explanation of the above verse, click here: www.salembible.org/proverbs-index/proverbs-17-index/proverbs-17_6/
If you're a dad, I want to wish you
HAPPY FATHER'S DAY!
Proverbs 23:31-32: "Look not thou upon [don't look with desire at] the wine when it is red [in Bible times, the best wine was red], when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright [evenly or smoothly, as when it is poured into a glass or is swirled in a glass]. At the last [drink, or in the end, after you drink the wine, or the consequences of drinking wine are that] it biteth like a serpent [snake], and stingeth like an adder [venomous (poisonous) snake]."
In other words, don't let the inviting appearance of wine fool you. Simply looking at a glass of wine (or other type of alcoholic beverage) may cause you to yield to temptation (to drink it) and become drunk and end up doing bad things.
Pastor Jim Delany of Salem Bible Church says that when a person drinks wine, "The initial pleasure is short lived, but the consequences can seem to last forever."
In his commentary on verses 31-35, Pastor Delany lists many of the ways that getting drunk can adversely affect your life, and at the end of the commentary, he concludes that:
"1. Solomon did not beat around the bush in describing alcohol. No one should ever read this chapter [Proverbs 23] and wonder what he thought about it!
"a. Vs. 20 - Don't associate with winebibbers.
"b. Vs. 29 - It produces woe, contentions, babblings, wounds, bloodshot eyes.
"c. Vs. 31 - Don't even look at it!
"d. Vs. 32 - It is appealing, but in the end, it bites like a poisonous snake.
"e. Vs. 33 - It causes you to lust after immoral women and causes you to utter perverse things.
"f. … it makes you sick [verse 34] and it is addicting [verse 35].
"2. It never ceases to amaze me how many believers CLAIM that the Bible does not forbid alcohol, and that it is a matter of liberty and choice."
If you want to read the commentary, here's the link: www.salembible.org/proverbs-index/proverbs-23-index/proverbs-23_31-35/.
Note: In the above-mentioned commentary, Pastor Delany referred to the following verses from Proverbs 23:
20 Be not among winebibbers; among riotous eaters of flesh:
29 Who hath woe? who hath sorrow? who hath contentions? who hath babbling? who hath wounds without cause? who hath redness of eyes?
31 Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright.
32 At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder.
33 Thine eyes shall behold strange women, and thine heart shall utter perverse things.
34 Yea, thou shalt be as he that lieth down in the midst of the sea, or as he that lieth upon the top of a mast.
35 They have stricken me, shalt thou say, and I was not sick; they have beaten me, and I felt it not: when shall I awake? I will seek it yet again.
Matthew 21:22 [After cursing the fig tree that had leaves but no fruit, Jesus said to his twelve disciples: "And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask [for] in prayer, believing [that your prayer will be heard by God and will be answered according to his will], ye shall receive."
According to Albert Barnes: "This promise was evidently a special one, given to them in regard to working miracles. To them it was true, but it is manifest that we have no right to apply this promise to ourselves. It was desired especially for the apostles; nor have we a right to turn it from its original meaning. There are other promises in, abundance on which we 'may' rely in prayer, with confident assurance that our prayers will be heard …"
(Source for above quote: https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/matthew-21.html, "Verses 12-22")
Then he refers us to the following verses as one example of the Bible's promise that our prayers will be answered:
-- Matthew 7:7-11: "Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?"
Proverbs 14:34: "Righteousness [behavior that is morally justifiable or right] exalteth [brings honor to] a nation: but sin is a reproach [disgrace, shame] to any [group of] people."
Salem Bible Church has two commentaries on this verse, both of which end with the following conclusions:
"1. History is replete with illustrations of the truth in this proverb: nations are judged… nations rise and fall according to their works.
"2. When sin, pride, corruption, immorality, greed, cruelty, and injustice prevail-eventually that nation falls… as Rome, which crumbled from within.
"» Greece became proud of their science and art
"» Rome became proud of its conquests
"» Great Britain (an empire which once championed the cause of Christ in missionary endeavors around the world) has now turned its back on Christianity
"» The USA is not exempt from this principle. Those great world powers became corrupt from within and declined in significance. Sin became a reproach to those nations.
"» Can the USA be far behind?
"3. Israel is God's LIGHT to the world of this principle. When Israel followed God's Law, they were exalted. When they departed from it, they were defeated and enslaved by enemies. Read the Old Testament, especially the book of Judges-this truth is repeated over and over again… as a constant object lesson to the nations."
If you want to read one or both of these commentaries, here are the links:
Mark 11:25-26 [Jesus said to his twelve disciples]: "And when ye stand praying [whenever you pray--standing, sitting, kneeling, etc.], forgive [others], if ye have ought [anything, like hatred or grudges] against any [anyone]: [do this so] that your Father also which is in heaven [God] may forgive you your trespasses [offenses, sins]. But if ye do not forgive [others for their trespasses], neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses."
Note to Christians: If we want God to answer our prayers, we need to follow this advice.
Titus 3:9-11 - Christians Shouldn't Argue About Unimportant Things
The apostle Paul gave this advice to Titus, who had accompanied him on some of his missionary trips and had been left behind on the island of Crete for a time to carry on and strengthen Paul's work with the Christian churches there:
Verse 9: "But avoid foolish questions, and genealogies [pointless discussions about ancestry, family histories, family trees], and contentions [disagreements, arguments], and strivings [heated debates] about the law [of Moses, referring to religious rites and ceremonies]; for they [all those things] are unprofitable and vain [useless]."
Verses 10-11: "A man [person] that is an heretick [meaning he or she tries to cause divisions within the church based on false teachings or beliefs] after the first and second admonition [warnings] [you should] reject [shun, avoid, stay away from]; Knowing that he [or she] that is such [a person (i.e., a heretic)] is subverted [corrupted, perverted, changed for the worse], and sinneth, being condemned of himself [or herself, by his or her conscience]."
Matthew 5:43-45 - Loving Our Enemies
During the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said to his disciples (and--via the Bible--to all Christians):
Verse 43: "Ye have heard that it hath been said [in Leviticus 19:18--see note below*], Thou shalt love thy neighbour [meaning, as interpreted by the Jews in this case, friends and people who treat you well], and hate thine enemy."
Verse 44: "But I [Jesus] say unto you,
-- Love [have goodwill and compassion for] your enemies,
-- bless [speak kindly to and say nothing bad about] them that curse you,
-- do good to them that hate you, and
-- pray for them which despitefully use [those who insult, mistreat, or falsely accuse] you, and persecute [harass or bully] you;"
Verse 45: "[Do these things (i.e., love, bless, do good to, and pray for your enemies)] [so] That ye may be the children of [you may resemble, imitate, be like] your Father [God] which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil [people] and on the good [people], and sendeth rain on the just [on law-abiding, morally good people] and on the unjust [bad people] [in other words, God lets the sun shine and the rain fall on all people]."
*The words and hate thine enemy that Jesus was referring to in verse 43 are not in the Bible. They were added later, by the scribes and Pharisees, to God's command (in the Old Testament) to love thy neighbour as thyself:
-- Leviticus 19:18: "Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD."
Regarding the addition, Charles Spurgeon said: "In this case a command of Scripture had a human antithesis fitted on to it by depraved minds and this human addition was mischievous. This is a common method, to append to the teaching of Scripture a something which seems to grow out of it, or to be a natural inference from it, which something may be false and wicked. This is a sad crime against the Word of the Lord. The Holy Spirit will only father his own words. He owns the precept, 'Thou shalt love thy neighbor,' but he hates the parasitical growth of 'hate thine enemy.' …"
(Source for above quote: https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/spe/matthew-5.html, "Verses 43-48")
1 Peter 2:2 [Advice for Christians, especially those who have recently been saved]: "As newborn babes [like newborn babies], desire the sincere [pure] milk of the word [of God--the Bible], [so] that ye may grow [spiritually] thereby:"
All Christians should have a desire to read the Bible. With the Holy Spirit's help, the more that we read, the more we'll understand. We begin with simple things, such as basic truths of the gospel (referred to as the "milk of the word"), and then progress to harder things ("meat").
Jude 1:22-23 [Advice for Christians about soul winning]: "And of some [people] have compassion [kindness and love], making a difference: And others save with fear [of hell], pulling them out of the fire; hating even [to come into contact with] the garment spotted by the [sins of the] flesh [which is a reference to leprosy--see note below*]."
Although we should hate other people's sins and try not to be defiled (made unclean, contaminated) by them, we should love those sinners and show them how to be saved. Be aware that people respond differently to how the gospel message is presented. Some get saved when they learn of God's love, and others get saved when they hear about hell.
*According to one Bible commentator: "… Leprosy in the East was a very loathsome disease, and fitly symbolises sin. And such was the virulence of his malady that none might approach or touch him; for there was uncleanness, not only in his personal touch, but in his garments. The garments became 'spotted by the flesh'; they partook of the infection, and brought beneath a ban the unfortunate who might touch them …"
(Source for quote: https://www.studylight.org/commentary/jude/1-23.html, "The Biblical Illustrator," "Abstinence from sin")
2 Samuel 23:2-3 - We Want and Need Godly Rulers
According to the Bible and Bible commentators, these are "the last words" of King David, referring to his last words under the inspiration of God and/or the last words that were spoken before his death.
Verse 2: "The spirit of the LORD [the Holy Spirit] spake [spoke] by [through] me [King David], and his [God's] word was in my tongue [meaning that King David's psalms were inspired by God]."
Verse 3: "The God of Israel [God the Father--Jehovah] said, [and] the Rock of Israel [God the Son--Jesus] spake [said] to me [King David], He [or she] that ruleth over men [and women and children] must be just [guided by truth, reason, justice, and fairness], ruling in the fear of God [with respect for and obedience to God]."
Regarding the phrase He that ruleth over men must be just in verse 3, John Trapp said: "… regimen without righteousness is but robbery with authority, and soon turneth into tyranny …" (Source: https://www.studylight.org/commentary/2-samuel/23-3.html, "John Trapp Complete Commentary")
Proverbs 7:25-27 - Warning About Sexual Immorality
In Proverbs 7, King Solomon is telling his son to stay away from "loose women" (prostitutes, harlots, whores, adulteresses, mistresses, etc.).
Regarding the sexually immoral woman, Solomon says:
Verse 25: "Let not thine heart decline to [turn aside to, lean toward] her ways, go not astray in her paths [i.e., stay on the right path and don't follow hers]."
Verse 26: For she hath cast down many wounded [men, like soldiers on a battlefield]: yea [yes], many strong men have been slain [killed, destroyed] by her." [In other words, she has afflicted many men with disease, guilt, shame, etc., and/or ruined their reputations. Examples from the Bible of men who were 'wounded' or 'slain' by immoral women include King David, King Solomon, and Samson.]
Verse 27: "Her house is the way to hell, going down to the chambers [rooms] of death."
Salem Bible Church has an excellent commentary on Proverbs 7:7-27 (you can read those verses in "Proverbs Chapter 7" below), which tells of a young man who becomes involved with a prostitute. In his commentary, Pastor Jim Delany describes the young man and his failures, the consequences of his actions, and the moral of the story. Verses 25-27 are addressed in the commentary under the heading "The Moral of the Story."
If you want to read the commentary, here's the link: www.salembible.org/proverbs-index/proverbs-7-index/proverbs-7_7-27/.
The article entitled "What is sexual immorality?" has even more reasons for heeding (paying attention to) Solomon's advice. If you want to read it, here's the link: https://www.gotquestions.org/sexual-immorality.html.
Romans 8:1 [Referring mostly to what he said in the preceding chapter, the apostle Paul wrote]: "There is therefore now no condemnation [by God, referring to punishment in hell for sin] to them which are in Christ Jesus [meaning those who are saved, or born again], who walk [live their lives] not after the flesh, but after the Spirit [of God] [i.e., as the Holy Spirit leads or prompts] [see examples of 'works of the flesh' and 'fruit of the spirit' in the note below*]."
*In Galatians 5:19-24, Paul says:
-- Verses 19-21: "Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God."
-- Verses 22-23: "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law."
-- Verse 24: "And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts."
Matthew 5:42: "Give to him [or her] that asketh thee [you] [for food and other basic necessities], and from him [or her] that would borrow [money] of thee [from you] turn not thou away [don't 'turn away,' don't say no]."
In other words, if a person is truly in need and asks you for food, money (or a loan), etc., you should do whatever you can to help him or her.
That's what Albert Barnes says to do, in most cases, in his excellent commentary on this verse, which I am quoting in its entirety. However, he refers to several other important Bible verses (see note below*) that we should also take into consideration:
"Give to him that asketh thee - This is the general rule. It is better to give sometimes to an undeserving person than to turn away one who is really in need. It is good to be in the habit of giving. At the same time, the rule must be interpreted so as to be consistent with our duty to our families, 1 Timothy 5:8, and with other objects of justice and charity. It is seldom, perhaps never, good to give to a person who is able to work, 2 Thessalonians 3:10. To give to such is to encourage laziness, and to support the idle at the expense of the industrious. If such a one is indeed hungry, feed him; if he needs anything further, give him employment. If a widow, an orphan, a man of misfortune, or an infirmed man, lame, or sick, is at your door, never send any of them away empty. See Hebrews 13:2; Matthew 25:35-45. So this is true of a poor and needy friend that wishes to borrow. We are not to turn away or deny him. This deserves, however, some limitation. It must be done in consistency with other duties. To lend to every worthless man would be to throw away our property, encourage laziness and crime, and ruin our own families. It should be done consistently with every other obligation, and of this everyone is to be the judge. Perhaps our Saviour meant to teach that where there was a deserving friend or brother in need, we should lend to him without usury, and without standing much about the security."
(Source for above quote: https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/matthew-5.html, "Verse 42")
*These are the verses that were referenced in the above quote by Mr. Barnes:
-- 1 Timothy 5:8: "But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel."
-- 2 Thessalonians 3:10: "For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat."
-- Hebrews 13:2: "Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares."
-- Matthew 25:35-45: "For I [Jesus] was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me."
Romans 8:31 [The apostle Paul wrote to Christians in Rome]: "What shall we then say to these things [referring to what was discussed in preceding verses, especially concerning affliction and suffering]? If God be for us [if he is on our side--helping us, protecting us, etc.], who can be [successful in fighting] against us [and causing us harm]?"
1 Corinthians 15:57: "But thanks be to God, which giveth us [born-again Christians] the victory [over Satan, sin, death, hell, and the grave] through our Lord Jesus Christ [i.e., through his death on the cross (to pay for our sins), his burial in the tomb, and his resurrection (rising from the dead) a few days later--see verse below*]."
In addition to the above-mentioned victory, God gave us the gift of eternal life (see verse below**). Christians should also thank him for that.
*Matthew 12:40: "For as Jonas [Jonah] was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man [Jesus] be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth."
**Romans 6:23: "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."
1 Corinthians 15:33 [Writing to the Christian church at Corinth, the apostle Paul said]: "Be not deceived [don't be misled or fooled by false teachers, especially those who deny the resurrection]: [be aware that] evil communications [bad company, friends, and companions] corrupt good manners [destroy good morals, negatively influence your behavior (change it from good to bad)]."
According to Albert Barnes:
"… The sentiment of the passage is, that the contact of evil-minded men, or that the close friendship and conversation of those who hold erroneous opinions, or who are impure in their lives, tends to corrupt the morals, the heart, the sentiments of others. The particular thing to which Paul here applies it is the subject of the resurrection. Such contact would tend to corrupt the simplicity of their faith, and pervert their views of the truth of the gospel, and thus corrupt their lives. It is always true that such contact has a pernicious effect on the mind and the heart. It is done:
"(1) By their direct effort to corrupt the opinions, and to lead others into sin.
"(2) by the secret, silent influence of their words, and conversation, and example. We have less horror at vice by becoming familiar with it; we look with less alarm on error when we hear it often expressed; we become less watchful and cautious when we are constantly with the frivilous, the worldly, the unprincipled, and the vicious. Hence, Christ sought that there should be a pure society, and that his people should principally seek the friendship and conversation of each other, and withdraw from the world. It is in the way that Paul here refers to, that Christians embrace false doctrines; that they lose their spirituality, love of prayer, fervor of piety, and devotion to God. It is in this way that the simple are beguiled, the young corrupted, and that vice, and crime, and infidelity spread over the world."
(Source for quote: https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/1-corinthians-15.html, "Verse 33," "Evil Communications")
Psalm 101:3 [King David wrote this psalm]: "I will set no wicked thing [such as pornography] before mine eyes: I hate the work [motives, plans, and deeds] of them that turn aside [from righteousness]; it ['the work,' or thoughts, words, and actions of unrighteous people] shall not cleave [stick, cling] to me."
In other words, we shouldn't look at, think about, read, or have anything to do with ungodly things, or we may be affected by them in a bad way.