Chapter 12: The Biblical
Archer and Charles Welty
e have seen that the content or
teaching of the Qur’an betrays a basic misunderstanding of Holy Scripture
in a number of ways. Here are seven areas of difficulty:
It assumes a harmony in history and
doctrine as between the Bible and the Qur’an which clearly does not exist
in point of fact, and which cannot be accounted for by any subsequent
alteration in the text of the Bible after Mohammed’s time, in view of the
fact that manuscripts still exist containing the same text of Scripture as
we have today, but which were copied out several centuries before
The contents of the Qur’an fail to
demonstrate the merciful compassion of God which it affirms at the
beginning of every sura, for it teaches that fallen man must earn his
salvation by good works and religious observances that may possibly (but
not certainly) make him eligible for divine forgiveness.
The Qur’an confesses a completely
righteous God of justice, and yet presents Him as one who may forgive the
guilty without requiring any atonement for his guilt—a procedure
which mars or corrupts God’s holiness and makes Him out to be on Satan’s
side as the justifier of the ungodly in contravention of His own moral
The Qur’anic summons to islam or
total surrender to God completely overlooks the barrier of the
self-centered, self-seeking heart of fallen man, whose basic motive is
fear of eternal punishment rather than a loving gratitude for the
completely unearned love and compassion of a God who took upon Himself the
work of atonement upon the cross of Calvary. Only on the basis of
Christ’s atonement is true islam possible.
The Qur’an furnishes no sure basis for
hope in the forgiveness of God or the attainment of heaven, but only an
uncertain possibility that God may after all forgive a repentant sinner on
the basis of his good works and religious observances, even though his
sinful heart has never been cleansed by a self-condemning repentance or
transformed by the sanctifying work of God the Holy Spirit.
The Qur’an, for all the honor it gives to
Jesus as a human prophet, fails to come to terms with the true nature of
Christ as both God and man in two distinct natures, and one person—without
which He could not be the Savior of mankind as the effectual substitute
for sinners on the shameful cross of Calvary. Thus the Qur’an
deprives Jesus of any role whatsoever in the work of salvation, and
presents Him simply as a teacher of salvation through the good works of
the unredeemed sinner himself.
The Qur’an totally misinterprets the
Triune nature of God as set forth in Holy Scripture, referring to it as
three separate gods in partnership with one another, rather than accepting
the Biblical testimony to one eternal God in three persons, Father, Son
and Holy Spirit, equal in substance but distinct in nature and function.
Bible on Christ
consideration should be adduced before we conclude this apologetic for the
authority of the Bible over the claims of the Qur’an—the amazing power of
the Jesus Christ of Scripture to affect the lives of men and women today
as they face their utter inability to save themselves or to insure their
acceptance before God. Jesus comes to us in Holy Scripture as God
Incarnate, who cared enough for our soul to endure the humiliation of
taking unto Himself a human nature, united with His divine being, and
living a life of perfect holiness in complete fulfillment of the Law of
God. He then went all the way to endure the shameful death of the
Cross, in order to present Himself on Calvary as our sin-bearer and
substitute. Hence Jesus as our divine-human Redeemer furnishes the
only (and the only possible) solution to the problem of how God could
remain just and yet accept as righteous those who were ungodly and then
transform them into redeemed children of God.
this, He comes to us through Scripture as merciful and compassionate,
willing to die for us who are utterly guilty and unworthy of the least of
His favor. It is on the ground of what God did rather than what
good we have done or ever could do, that gives us sinners a sure and solid
ground for hope and assurance that the love of God has reached down to us
in our need. He has made it possible for us through the New Birth
to become new creatures, living for the Lord and bound for heaven
according to His gracious promise. This establishes a warm, vital
personal relationship with the person of God as our loving Redeemer,
rather than a God who merely lays down rules which we have to follow in
our own human strength or be utterly lost.
Only in the
Bible, then, do we find a true realization of the opening line of each
sura of the Qur’an:
bismi’ ‘llahi ‘lrahmani ‘lrahim.
And only in
the surrender of faith taught in the Gospel do we find it possible to
experience true islam.
Bible on Christ’s Birth
The Biblical record of the birth of
Jesus is quite clear and is told simply in the first chapter of Matthew’s
Gospel and the first and second chapters of Luke’s Gospel.
Matthew’s Gospel records the event as follows:
birth of Jesus Christ happened in this way. When his mother Mary was
engaged to Joseph, before they lived together she was discovered to be
pregnant by the Holy Spirit. Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man
and unwilling to disgrace her, decided to divorce her secretly.
had thought about it, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream
and said, “Joseph, son of David, don’t be afraid to take Mary as your
wife, for what has been conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She
will give birth to a son, and you are to name him Jesus, because he is
the one who will save his people from their sins.”
this happened to fulfill what was declared by the Lord through the
prophet when he said,
“See, a virgin will become pregnant
and give birth to a son,
and they will name him Immanuel,”
means, “God with us.” When Joseph got up from his sleep, he did as the
angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary as his wife. He did
not have marital relations with her
until she had given birth to a son;
and he named him Jesus.
Luke’s Gospel also records a visit by an angel and, in addition to naming
the angel as Gabriel, paints a somewhat more detailed picture:
those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that the whole world
should be registered. This was the first registration taken while
Quirinius was governor of Syria. So all the people went to their hometowns
to be registered.
went up from the city of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of
David called Bethlehem, because he was a descendant of the household and
family of David. He went there to be registered with Mary, who had been
promised to him in marriage and was pregnant.
were there, the time came for her to have her baby, and she gave birth to
her first child, a son. She wrapped him in strips of cloth and laid him in
a manger, because there was not any room for them in the inn.
region there were shepherds living in the fields, watching their flock
during the night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of
the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. Then the angel said
to them, “Stop being afraid! Listen! I am bringing you good news of great
joy for all the people. Today your Savior, Christ the Lord, was born in
the city of David. And this will be a sign for you: You will find a baby
wrapped in strips of cloth and lying in a manger.”
multitude of the Heavenly Army appeared with the angel, praising God and
saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and peace on earth to people who
enjoy his favor!”
angels had left them and gone back to heaven, the shepherds said to one
another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see what has taken place that the Lord
has told us about.” So they went quickly and found Mary and Joseph with
the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they saw this, they repeated
what they had been told about this child. All who heard it were amazed at
what the shepherds told them, but Mary continued to treasure in her heart
all these things and to ponder them. Then the shepherds returned to their
flock, glorifying and praising God for everything they had heard and seen,
just as it had been told to them.
days had passed, the child was circumcised and named Jesus, the name given
him by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.
time came for their purification according to the law of Moses, Joseph and
Mary took Jesus up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord, as it is
written in the law of the Lord, “Every firstborn son is to be designated
as holy to the Lord.” They also offered a sacrifice according to what is
specified in the law of the Lord: “a pair of turtledoves or two young
Now a man
named Simeon was in Jerusalem. This man was righteous and devout. He was
waiting for the one who would comfort Israel, and the Holy Spirit rested
on him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not
die until he had seen the Lord’s Christ. Moved by the Spirit, he went into
the temple. When the parents brought the child Jesus to do for him what
was customary under the law, Simeon took the child in his arms and praised
you are allowing your servant to leave in peace according to your word.
For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you prepared for all people to
see—a light that will reveal salvation to the gentiles and bring glory to
your people Israel.”
father and mother kept wondering at the things being said about him. Then
Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother, “This child is destined
to cause many in Israel to fall or rise. He will be a sign that will be
disputed, so that the inner thoughts of many people might be revealed.
Indeed, a sword will pierce your own soul, too.”
Now Anna, a
prophetess, was also there. She was a descendant of Phanuel from the
tribe of Asher. She was very old, having lived with her husband for seven
years after her marriage, and then as a widow for eighty-four years. She
never left the temple, but continued to worship there night and day with
times of fasting and prayer. Just then she came forward and began to thank
God and to speak about the child to all who were waiting for the
redemption of Jerusalem.
After doing everything required by the law of
the Lord, Joseph and Mary returned to their hometown of Nazareth in
Galilee. Meanwhile, the child continued to grow and to become strong. He
was filled with wisdom, and God’s favor was with him.
picture, then, is that Jesus was born in a stable, not under a palm tree
as the Qur’an maintains. Mary is not regarded as having fasted or
taken a vow of silence after the birth. And unlike the Qur’an,
which denies the divine nature of the new-born Messiah, the Bible clearly
says that he will be referred to as Immanuel—”God with us.”
See, a virgin will become pregnant and give birth to a son, and they will
name him Emmanuel, which means, “God with us.”
with us” is hardly a title for a mere human child.
The Bible on Christ’s Apostleship
teaches that Jesus came not simply to preach and to warn, as did Mohammed,
according to the Qur’an. Jesus came personally to seek out sinful
man and personally to save mankind from eternal damnation.
For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save
Mohammed, who directed people to God alone, Jesus directs people to
Himself. Jesus tells us in Matthew 11:28, “Come to me, all of you
who are weary and loaded down with burdens, and I will give you rest.” In His last recorded
conversation with His disciples, Jesus told them:
“Do not let your
hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me.”
These are not the words of a mere
apostle. Not one of the apostles of the early church ever spoke
this way, nor did any of the prophets of the Old Testament times ever
speak this way.
The Bible on Christ’s Deity
As we have
seen, the Qur’an not only denies the deity of Jesus Christ, but actually
pronounces a curse on Christians who ascribe deity to Him.
…the Christians call Christ the Son of God. That is a saying from
their mouth; (In this) they but imitate what the Unbelievers of old used
to say. God’s curse be on them: how they are deluded away from the truth!
plain historical fact of the matter is that Jesus Himself spoke in terms
which clearly indicate He claimed to be God Incarnate. Jesus’
statements about Himself can only lead us to the conclusion that Jesus
cannot be just a great moral teacher or just another apostle. His
words are, as C. S. Lewis has commented, either the words of a lunatic or the words of God Himself.
There is no middle ground.
His disciples that the only way anyone could come to God was through Him
and that by knowing Jesus, His disciples not only knew God, but had
actually seen God by seeing Jesus Himself. Consider these comments
spoken by Jesus about Himself when, during a discourse on his up-coming
death, Philip asks Jesus how he would know the way to where Jesus was
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and
the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you have known
me, you will also know my Father. From now on you know him and have seen
to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and that will satisfy us.”
to him, “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not
know me? The person who has seen me has seen the Father. So how can you
say, ‘Show us the Father’? You believe, don’t you, that I am in the Father
and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my
own. It is the Father who dwells in me who does his works. Believe me, I
am in the Father and the Father is in me. Otherwise, believe me because of
the works themselves.
truly I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I
am doing. He will do even greater works than these because I am going to
the Father. I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may
be glorified in the Son. If you ask me for anything in my name, I will do
These are the words of either a madman
or of God Himself. In an earlier confrontation before the stubborn
Jewish leaders, Jesus claimed to have known Abraham personally.
[Jesus said to them,] “I am testifying about
myself, and the Father who sent me is testifying about me.” Then they said
to him, “Where is this Father of yours?”
replied, “You do not know me or my Father. If you had known me, you would
have known my Father also.” He spoke these words in the treasury, while he
was teaching in the temple. Yet no one arrested him, because his hour had
not yet come.
Later on he
said to them again, “I am going away, and you will look for me, but you
will die in your sins. You cannot come where I am going.”
So the Jews
said, “He isn’t going to kill himself, is he? Is that why he said, ‘You
cannot come where I am going’?”
He said to
them, “You are from below, I am from above. You are of this world, but I
am not of this world. That is why I told you that you will die in your
sins. For unless you believe that I am he, you will die in your sins.”
said to him, “Who are you?”
them, “What have I been telling you all along? I have much to say about
you and to condemn you for. But the one who sent me is truthful, and what
I have heard from him I declare to the world.”
realize that he was talking to them about the Father. So Jesus told them,
“When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he,
and that I do nothing on my own authority. Instead, I speak only what the
Father has taught me. Moreover, the one who sent me is with me. He has
never left me alone because I always do what pleases him.” While he was
saying these things, many believed in him.
said to those Jews who had believed in him, “If you continue in my word,
you are really my disciples. And you will know the truth, and the truth
will set you free.”
to him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves to
anybody. So how can you say, ‘You will be set free’?”
answered them, “Truly, truly I tell you that everyone who commits sin is a
slave of sin. The slave does not remain in the household forever, but the
son does remain forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free
“I know that
you are Abraham’s descendants. Yet you are trying to kill me because my
word finds no reception among you. I declare what I have seen in my
Father’s presence, and you are doing what you have heard from your
to him, “Our father is Abraham!”
to them, “If you were Abraham’s children, you would be doing what Abraham
did. But now you are trying to kill me, a man who has told you the truth
that I heard from God. Abraham would not have done that. You are doing
your father’s works.”
They said to
him, “We are not illegitimate children. We have one Father, God himself.”
them, “If God were your Father, you would have loved me, because I came
from God and am here. For I have not come on my own accord, but he sent
me. Why don’t you understand my language? It’s because you can’t listen to
my words. You belong to your father the devil, and you want to carry out
the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning and has
never stood by the truth, since there is no truth in him. Whenever he
tells a lie he speaks in character, for he is a liar and the father of
lies. But it is because I speak the truth that you do not believe me. Can
any of you prove me guilty of sin? If I am telling the truth, why don’t
you believe me? The one who belongs to God listens to the words of God.
The reason you do not listen is because you do not belong to God.”
replied to him, “Surely we are right in saying that you are a Samaritan
and have a demon, aren’t we?” Jesus answered, “I don’t have a demon. On
the contrary, I honor my Father, and you dishonor me. I don’t seek my own
glory. There is one who seeks it, and he is the Judge. Truly, truly I tell
you, if anyone keeps my word, he will never see death at all.”
Jews said to him, “Now we really know that you have a demon. Abraham died,
and so did the prophets, but you say, ‘If anyone keeps my word, he will
never taste death at all.’ You aren’t greater than our father Abraham, who
died, are you? The prophets also died. Who are you making yourself out to
answered, “If I were trying to glorify myself, my glory would mean
nothing. It is my Father who glorifies me, of whom you say, ‘He is our
God.’ You don’t know him, but I know him. If I were to say that I don’t
know him, I would be a liar like you. But I do know him and keep his word.
Your father Abraham rejoiced that he would see my day, and he saw it and
Jews said to him, “You are not even fifty years old, yet you have seen
said to them, “Truly, truly I tell you, before there was an Abraham, I
am!” At this, they picked up stones to throw at him, but Jesus hid himself
and went out of the temple.
The Jews clearly understood that Jesus
was claiming to be God, an act of blasphemy if the claim were false.
They attempted to stone him, which was the Old Testament penalty for
In another confrontation with the
Jewish leaders, Jesus was charged with being demon possessed. In
that incident, Jesus compared Himself with a shepherd who takes care of
His flock. He said that other religious leaders who came before him
were merely “thieves and robbers.” By implication, impostors after
Him were also to be considered “thieves and robbers.” During the
confrontation, the Jewish leaders openly charged Jesus with blasphemy.
truly I tell you, the person who does not enter the sheepfold through the
gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a bandit. The one
who enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. It is to him the
gatekeeper opens the gate, and it is his voice the sheep hear. He calls
his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has driven out all his
own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they
recognize his voice. They will never follow a stranger, but will run away
from him because they do not recognize the voice of strangers.” Jesus used
this illustration with them, but they didn’t understand what he was saying
Jesus said, “Truly, truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who
came before me are thieves and bandits, but the sheep did not listen to
them. I am the gate. If anyone enters through me, he will be saved. He
will come in and go out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal,
slaughter, and destroy. I have come that they may have life, and have it
“I am the
good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The
hired hand, who is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep, sees the
wolf coming, deserts the sheep, and runs away. So the wolf snatches them
and scatters them. For he is a hired hand, and the sheep do not matter to
him. I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the
Father knows me and I know the Father. And I lay down my life for the
sheep. I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. I must lead
these also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock
and one shepherd. This is why the Father loves me, because I lay down my
life in order to take it back again. No one is taking it from me; I lay it
down of my own free will. I have the authority to lay it down, and I have
the authority to take it back again. This is a command that I have
received from my Father.”
there was a division among the Jews because of these words. Many of them
were saying, “He has a demon and is insane. Why bother listening to him?”
saying, “These are not the words of a man who is demon-possessed. A demon
cannot open the eyes of the blind, can it?”
was taking place in Jerusalem. It was winter, and Jesus was walking around
in the temple inside the open porch of Solomon. So the Jews surrounded him
and said to him, “How long are you going to keep us in suspense? If you
are the Christ,
tell us so plainly.”
answered them, “I have told you, but you do not believe it. The works that
I do in my Father’s name testify on my behalf, but you do not believe
because you do not belong to my sheep. My sheep hear my voice. I know
them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never
perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. What my Father has
given me is greater than all else, and no one can snatch it from the
Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.”
Jews picked up stones to stone him to death.
replied to them, “I have shown you many good works from my Father. For
which of them are you going to stone me?”
answered him, “We are not going to stone you for a good work but for
blasphemy, because you, a mere man, are making yourself God!”
replied to them, “Is it not written in your law, ‘I said, “You are gods”‘?
If he called those to whom the word of God came ‘gods’ (and the Scripture
cannot be set aside), how can you say to the one whom the Father has
consecrated and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I
said, ‘I am the Son of God’? If I am not doing my Father’s works, do not
believe me. But if I am doing them, even though you do not believe me,
believe the works, so that you may know and understand that the Father is
in me and I am in the Father.” Again they tried to seize him, but he
slipped away out of their hands.
Then he went away again across the Jordan to the
place where John had been baptizing at first, and he remained there. Many
people came to him and kept saying, “John never performed a sign, but all
the things that John said about this man were true!” And many believed in
It is clear, therefore, that Jesus
believed and taught that He was God Incarnate. The statements He
made were either those of a madman or those of God the Son who became a
man so that, by dying on the cross at Calvary, he might pay the penalty
for sin. The apostles teach in their epistles that Jesus is God.
For example, consider these excerpts from Paul’s letter to Titus:
At the right time he revealed his message
through the proclamation that was entrusted to me by the command of
God our Savior.
Instead, they are to
show complete and perfect loyalty, so that in every way they may make the
teaching about God our Savior more attractive.
…as we wait
for the blessed hope and the glorious appearance of our great God
and Savior, Jesus Christ.
In grace our Savior God appeared,
His love for mankind to make clear.
‘Twas not for deeds that we had done,
But by his steadfast love alone,
He saved us through a second birth,
Renewed us by the Spirit’s work,
And poured him out upon us, too,
Through Jesus Christ our Savior true.
And so, made right by his own grace,
life we now embrace.
In each of
these references, Paul refers to God as Savior and to Jesus as Savior.
At one point, he even refers to Jesus as “our great God and Savior,
Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13).
Bible on Christ’s Death and Resurrection
As we have seen, the Qur’an claims to
be a confirmation of the Bible. The Qur’an denies the death,
burial, and resurrection of Jesus. The Bible, however, claims that
Jesus died on the cross at Calvary, was buried in a borrowed tomb, and was
raised to life three days later. The event is recorded in all four
Gospels. Here is Mark’s account:
forced a certain passer-by who was coming in from the country to carry
Jesus’ cross. He was Simon of Cyrene, the father of Alexander and Rufus.
They took Jesus to a place called Golgotha, which means Skull Place. They
tried to give him wine mixed with myrrh, but he wouldn’t take it.
crucified him. They divided his clothes among themselves by throwing dice
to see what each one would get. It was nine in the morning when they
crucified him. The written notice of the charge against him read, “The
king of the Jews.” They crucified two bandits with him, one on his right
and the other on his left. Those who passed by kept insulting him,
shaking their heads, and saying, “Ha! You who were going to destroy the
sanctuary and rebuild it in three days—save yourself and come down from
In the same
way the high priests, along with the scribes, were also making fun of him
among themselves. They kept saying, “He saved others but can’t save
himself! Let the Christ, the king of Israel, come down from the cross now
so that we may see it and believe.” Even the men who were crucified with
him kept insulting him.
noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon.
o’clock Jesus cried out with a loud voice, “Eloi, eloi, lema
sabachthani?”, which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
When some of
the people standing there heard this, they said, “Listen! He’s calling for
ran and soaked a sponge in some sour wine. Then he put it on a stick and
offered Jesus a drink, saying, “Wait! Let’s see if Elijah comes to take
gave a loud cry and breathed his last. The curtain in the sanctuary was
torn in two from top to bottom. When the centurion who stood facing Jesus
saw how he had cried out and breathed his last, he said, “This man
certainly was the Son of God!”
were women watching from a distance. Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary
the mother of young James and Joseph, and Salome. They used to accompany
him and care for him while he was in Galilee. Many other women who had
come up to Jerusalem with him were there, too.
It was the
Day of Preparation, that is, the day before the Sabbath. Since it was
already evening, Joseph of Arimathea, a highly respected member of the
Council, who was waiting for the kingdom of God, went boldly to Pilate and
asked for the body of Jesus. Pilate wondered if Jesus had already died, so
he summoned the centurion to ask him if he was in fact dead. When he
learned from the centurion that he was dead, he let Joseph have the
corpse. Joseph bought some linen cloth, took the body down, and wrapped it
in the cloth. Then he laid it in a tomb that had been cut out of the rock
and rolled a stone against the door of the tomb. Now Mary Magdalene and
Mary the mother of Joseph saw where he was laid.
Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome
bought spices to go and anoint Jesus. Very early on the first day of the
week, when the sun had just come up, they were going to the tomb. They
kept saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the
entrance to the tomb?” Then they looked up and saw that the stone had been
rolled away. (For it was a very large stone.)
As they went
into the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the
right side, and they were utterly astonished. But he said to them, “Stop
being astonished! You are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was
crucified. He has been raised. He is not here. Look at the place where
they laid him. But go and tell his disciples, especially Peter, that he is
going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told
left the tomb and ran away, for shock and astonishment had overwhelmed
them. They didn’t say a thing to anyone, because they were afraid.
From this account, and that of the
other Gospels, there are only two possible conclusions the Muslim can
make. The first conclusion is to dismiss the account as either a
mistake by the witnesses or as a fabrication or lie. The second
conclusion is that Jesus died, was buried, and was resurrected, just as
the text states. Again, there is no middle ground.
As to mistakes or lies by the
witnesses, there was ample time for checking the tomb. No body was
found. And numerous accounts of post-resurrection appearances by
Jesus to the disciples would have to be fabrications compounded on top of
fabrications. Each of the disciples, plus the over 500
eyewitnesses, would have died or gone to their martyrs’ deaths defending
stories they knew they had fabricated. The Apostle Paul, an
eyewitness of the resurrected Christ, sums up the problem succinctly in
one of his letters to the Christians at Corinth:
For I passed on to you the most important points
of what I received: Christ died for our sins in keeping with the
Scriptures, he was buried, he was raised on the third day in keeping with
the Scriptures—and is still alive!—and he was seen by Cephas, and then by
the twelve. After that, he was seen by more than 500 brothers at one time,
most of whom are still alive, though some have died. Next he was seen by
James, then by all the apostles, and finally he was seen by me, as though
I were born abnormally late.
How probable is it that all these
people would have risked persecution, danger and death for what they knew
to be a lie?
Bible on Christ’s Disciples
Of all the portraits of characters
painted in the Bible, it can be said with absolute certainty that the
disciples were not Muslims, in spite of claims by the Qur’an to the
…said the Disciples [to Jesus]: “We are God’s helpers; we believe in God,
and do thou bear witness that we are Muslims.”
The picture that the Bible paints of
the disciples is very human, with doubt and faith mixed in with joy and
sorrow. These men are refreshingly human and honest. Even
Judas, the betrayer, is portrayed honestly for who he was. The
Bible paints no portraits of legendary exploits or super-heroes among any
of the disciples.
Bible on the Holy Spirit
Of specific interest to any discussion
of the Holy Spirit is the Muslim teaching that Mohammed was the “other
Comforter” of John 14:16. The Muslim position that Mohammed was the
“one who would come” is untenable on a number of grounds. First,
Jesus was speaking to a limited number of people in a specific setting.
He told his disciples who were gathered around Him that because He was
leaving He could, and would, send the “other Comforter.” The
scriptures which record the event read as follows:
love me, keep my commandments. I will ask the Father to give you another
Helper, to be with you always. He is the Spirit of truth, whom the world
cannot receive, for it neither sees him nor recognizes him. But you
recognize him, for he abides with you and will be in you. I am not going
to forsake you like orphans. I will come back to you.
little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me. Because
I live, you will live also. On that day you will know that I am in my
Father and that you are in me and that I am in you. The person who has my
commandments and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me
will be loved by my Father, and I, too, will love him and reveal myself to
From the above reference we learn that
the “other Comforter” is not human but spirit, specifically the “Spirit of
truth.” The Comforter is described as already known by the disciples
because “he lives with” them and “will be in” them. Mohammed
certainly did not live with them and would never be in them. Jesus
commented on the coming of the Comforter just prior to His ascension into
heaven. His words are recorded by Luke.
first book, Theophilus, I wrote about everything Jesus did and taught from
the beginning, up to the day when he was taken up to heaven after giving
orders by the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen. After he had
suffered, he had shown himself alive to them by many convincing proofs,
appearing to them through a period of forty days and telling them about
the kingdom of God.
While he was
meeting with them, he ordered them, “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for
the Father’s promise, about which you heard me speak. For John baptized
with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days
from now.” Now those who had come together began to ask him, “Lord, is
this the time when you will restore the kingdom to Israel?”
them, “It is not for you to know what times or periods the Father has set
by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit
comes on you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and
Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
this, he was taken up while they were watching, and a cloud took him out
of their sight. While he was going and they were gazing up toward heaven,
two men in white robes were standing right beside them. They asked, “Men
of Galilee, why do you stand looking up toward heaven? This same Jesus,
who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come back in the same way
you saw him go up into heaven.” Then they returned to Jerusalem from the
Mount of Olives, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day’s journey away.
above references, we can see that the coming of the Comforter was made to
a specific group of people, at a specific place, and for a
specific time period. The record indicates the people to
whom the promise was made were Christ’s immediate disciples; the place
where the coming took place was Jerusalem; and the time for the coming was
at Pentecost, fifty days after the Christ’s death. Mohammed’s
appearance in Arabia in the seventh century is consistent neither with the
requirements of fulfillment of the promise nor with the actual historical
record as written by Luke.
Also, it must be noted that Strong’s
Exhaustive Concordance defines “paraklytos” as one who is “summoned,
called to one’s side, esp. called to one’s aid;” “one who pleads another’s
cause before a judge, a pleader, counsel for defense, legal assistant; an
advocate;” “one who pleads another’s cause with one, an intercessor; so of
Christ in his exaltation at God’s right hand, pleading with God the Father
for the pardon of our sins;” and “in the widest sense, a helper,
succourer, aider, assistant; so of the Holy Spirit destined to take the
place of Christ with the apostles (after his ascension to the Father), to
lead them to a deeper knowledge of the gospel truth, and give them divine
strength needed to enable them to undergo trials and persecutions on
behalf of the divine kingdom.” The King James Version’s “Comforter”
derives from another meaning of the associated verb “paraklytos” which
often means “comfort” rather than “exhort.” Still another meaning of this
verb is “to call along side.” Not one of the elements of the translation
of “paraklytos” can be ascribed in any manner to Mohammed.
Bible on Prophets and Apostles
The Bible treats the subject of prophets with great seriousness. A
prophet, in the truest Old Testament sense of the word, was an individual
who spoke for God. The Bible describes the method God used when he
spoke to a prophet or prophetess and tells how to prove if an individual
really spoke for God.
Then the Lord came down in a pillar of cloud; he stood at the entrance to
the Tent and summoned Aaron and Miriam. When both of them stepped forward,
he said, “Listen to my words: When a prophet of the Lord is among you, I
reveal myself to him in visions, I speak to him in dreams. But this is not
true of my servant Moses; he is faithful in all my house. With him I speak
face to face, clearly and not in riddles; he sees the form of the Lord.
Why then were you not afraid to speak against my servant Moses?”
The Bible also gives some insight on
how Israel could recognize a false prophet. One test was if the
prophet led the nation away from God, he or she was a false prophet.
Another proof was if the events the prophet foretold never came to
pass. The penalty for false prophets was death by stoning.
a prophet, or one who foretells by dreams, appears among you and announces
to you a miraculous sign or wonder, and if the sign or wonder of which he
has spoken takes place, and he says, “Let us follow other gods” (gods you
have not known) “and let us worship them,” you must not listen to the
words of that prophet or dreamer. The Lord your God is testing you to find
out whether you love him with all your heart and with all your soul. It is
the Lord your God you must follow, and him you must revere. Keep his
commands and obey him; serve him and hold fast to him. That prophet or
dreamer must be put to death, because he preached rebellion against the
Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt and redeemed you from the land
of slavery; he has tried to turn you from the way the Lord your God
commanded you to follow. You must purge the evil from among you.
If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the
Lord does not take place or come true, that is a message the Lord has not
spoken. That prophet has spoken presumptuously. Do not be afraid of him.
False prophets, then, were a serious
threat to the religious and civil life of Israel and their presence in the
community were not to be taken lightly.
on the Resurrection of the Dead
The resurrection of the dead is
emphatically taught by the Bible. All men and women will live
forever. The only question is whether they will be raised to
eternal life or eternal damnation.
The Bible records an interesting
argument between Jesus and the Sadducees over the concept of the
resurrection. Jesus said the Sadducees were mistaken because they
knew neither the Scriptures nor the power of God.
That same day some Sadducees, who claim there is
no resurrection, came to Jesus and asked him, “Teacher, Moses said, ‘If a
man dies having no children, his brother must marry the widow and have
children for his brother.’ Now there were seven brothers among us. The
first one married and died, and since he had no children, he left his
widow to his brother. The same thing happened with the second brother, and
then the third, and finally with the rest of the brothers. Finally, the
woman died, too. Now in the resurrection, whose wife of the seven will she
be, since all of them had married her?”
answered them, “You are mistaken because you don’t know the Scriptures or
God’s power. For in the resurrection, people neither marry nor are given
in marriage but are like the angels in heaven. As for the resurrection
from the dead, haven’t you read what was spoken to you by God when he
said, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’?
He is not the God of the dead, but of the living.”
crowds heard this, they were amazed at his teaching.
The resurrection of Jesus is the key
to Christianity. If there is no resurrection; the entire Christian
faith is worse than useless. It is a fraud, the Apostle Paul says,
if there is no resurrection.
Now if we
preach that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you keep
claiming there is no resurrection of the dead? If there is no resurrection
of the dead, then Christ has not been raised, and if Christ has not been
raised, then our message means nothing and your faith means nothing. In
addition, we are found to be false witnesses about God because we
testified on God’s behalf that he raised Christ—whom he did not raise if
in fact it is true that the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not
raised, then Christ has not been raised, and if Christ has not been
raised, your faith is worthless and you are still in your sins. Yes, even
those who have died in Christ are lost. If we have set our hopes on Christ
in this life only, we deserve more pity than any other people.
But at this
moment Christ stands risen from the dead, the first one offered in the
harvest of those who have died. For since death came through a man, the
resurrection of the dead also came through a man. For as in Adam all die,
so also in Christ will all be made alive. However, this will happen to
each person in the proper order: first Christ, then those who belong to
Christ when he comes. Then the end will come, when he hands over the
kingdom to God the Father after he has done away with every ruler and
every authority and power. For he must rule until God puts all his enemies
under his feet.
enemy to be done away with is death, for “God has put everything under his
feet.” Now when he says, “Everything has been put under him,” this clearly
excludes the one who put everything under him. But when everything has
been put under him, then the Son himself will also become subject to the
one who put everything under him, so that God may be all in all.
Otherwise, what will those people do who are being baptized for the dead?
If the dead are not raised at all, why are they being baptized for them?
Paul says the resurrection of Jesus is
the key to understanding and growing in the Christian faith:
I want to know Christ—what his resurrection
power is like and what it means to share in his sufferings by becoming
like him in his death, though I hope to experience the resurrection from
The Bible does not teach a
resurrection so the unbelievers can “understand” how they have erred, as
the Qur’an describes in Sura 16:38-39:
They [the unbelievers] swear their strongest
oaths by God, that God will not raise up those who die: Nay, but it is a
promise (binding) on Him in truth: but most among mankind realize it not,
(they must be raised up), in order that He may manifest to them the truth
of that wherein they differ, and that the rejecters of Truth may realize
that they had indeed (surrendered to) falsehood.
The Bible, instead, teaches that at the last day all will be raised again;
some to eternal life, others to eternal damnation.
Bible on Hell
The Bible teaches that hell is a real
place. It appears to have been originally created for the devil and
his angels, and not for man:
Then he will say to those on his left,
away from me, you who are accursed, into the eternal fire that has been
prepared for the devil and his angels!”
The book of
Revelation indicates that hell is the abode not only of the unrighteous
dead but also of Satan and his demons. In Luke 8:30-31, Jesus casts
a number of demons out of a man. They repeatedly beg him not to
cast them down to the Abyss.
Bible on Marriage and Divorce
The Bible allows divorce, but does not
approve of it. Jesus comments on divorce in a specific discourse:
Some Pharisees came to him in order to test him.
They asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any reason?”
them, “Haven’t you read that the one who made them at the beginning ‘made
them male and female’ and said, ‘That is why a man will leave his father
and mother and be united with his wife, and the two will become one
flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has
joined together, man must never separate.”
him, “Why, then, did Moses order us ‘to give a certificate of divorce and
He said to
them, “It was because of your hardness of heart that Moses allowed you to
divorce your wives. But from the beginning it was not this way. I tell you
that whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries
another woman commits adultery.”
disciples said to him, “If that is the relationship of a man with his
wife, it’s not worth getting married!”
said to them, “Not everyone can accept this saying, except those to whom
celibacy has been granted. For some men are celibate from birth, while
others are celibate because they have been made that way by others. Still
others are celibate because they have made themselves that way for the
sake of the kingdom of heaven. Let anyone accept this who can.”
The Bible, then, regulates the
practice of divorce and allows for the weaknesses of human nature.
Old Testament prohibitions include a prohibition against re-marrying a
former partner when the spouse of the re-married partner has died or has
divorced the new partner.
If a man marries a woman who becomes displeasing
to him because he finds something indecent about her, and he writes her a
certificate of divorce, gives it to her and sends her from his house, and
if after she leaves his house she becomes the wife of another man, and her
second husband dislikes her and writes her a certificate of divorce, gives
it to her and sends her from his house, or if he dies, then her first
husband, who divorced her, is not allowed to marry her again after she has
been defiled. That would be detestable in the eyes of the Lord. Do not
bring sin upon the land the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance.
Bible on the Creation of Man
The Bible depicts the creation of
mankind in a simple, straightforward manner. The story is told
without elements of myth or embellishment. The Bible says that man
was created from the dust of the earth as the last of God’s creative
works. All of God’s creation was called into existence by a spoken
word, the Bible says, all except for the first man. God, in effect,
got his fingernails dirty. Here’s what the text says in Genesis
2:7, as it unveils part of the mystery behind the origins of mankind:
The Lord God formed the man from the dust of the
ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man
became a living being.
The second chapter of Genesis,
beginning at verse 18 and continuing on through verse 24, tells us the
other half of this important story. God assigns the first man a
special task and, afterwards, God creates a special “helper” for him.
The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man
to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” Now the Lord God had
formed out of the ground all the beasts of the field and all the birds of
the air. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and
whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. So the
man gave names to all the livestock, the birds of the air and all the
beasts of the field. But for Adam no suitable helper was found. So the
Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was
sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and closed up the place with
flesh. Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the
man, and he brought her to the man. The man said, “This is now bone of my
bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called woman, for she was
taken out of man.” For this reason a man will leave his father and mother
and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.
There are no
elements of myth or poetry here. No drops of blood.
No “sounding clay.”
Read in the Name of your Lord Who has created, has created man from a clot
We created man from sounding clay,
from mud moulded into shape.
After the creation of man is set
forth, the Bible indicates that the first man and woman inhabited a
specific place on earth, and not in heaven or the spirit world, as the
Qur’an indicates. The Bible calls the place Eden. Here is
what the Bible says about Eden:
Now the Lord God had planted a garden in the
east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed. And the Lord God
made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were
pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were
the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. A river
watering the garden flowed from Eden; from there it was separated into
four headwaters. The name of the first is the Pishon; it winds through the
entire land of Havilah, where there is gold. (The gold of that land is
good; aromatic resin and onyx are also there.) The name of the second
river is the Gihon; it winds through the entire land of Cush. The name of
the third river is the Tigris; it runs along the east side of Asshur. And
the fourth river is the Euphrates. The Lord God took the man and put him
in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.
As we can see, Eden is recorded as
being a literal, physical place with a specific geographical location.
Eden’s geographic boundaries were delimited by four rivers, all of
which are listed by name. Some of the geologic characteristics of
the surrounding lands are also indicated. Accordingly, taking the
text at literal, face value, it is very difficult to believe that Eden was
anything but a real, physical place and that the first man and woman were
placed there by God, notwithstanding claims of the Qur’an to the contrary.
Bible on Dietary Restrictions and Alcohol
The Old Testament dietary restrictions
were, for the most part, superseded in the New Testament by a direct
revelation to the apostle Peter. The event is described in Acts
noon the next day, while they were on their way and coming close to the
town, Peter went up on the roof to pray. He became very hungry and wanted
to eat, and while the food was being prepared, he fell into a trance and
saw heaven open and something like a large linen sheet coming down, being
lowered by its four corners to the ground. In it were all kinds of
four-footed animals, reptiles, and birds of the air.
Then a voice
told him, “Get up, Peter! Kill something and eat it.”
said, “Absolutely not, Lord, for I have never eaten anything that is
common or unclean!”
voice came to him a second time, “You must stop calling unclean what God
has made clean.” This happened three times. Then the sheet was quickly
taken into heaven.
Like the Qur’an, the New Testament
addresses the problem of eating food sacrificed to idols. But the
problem is approached from a completely different point of view by the New
Testament. The Qur’an assumes that eating the food is wrong because
it was sacrificed to idols. The New Testament teaches that idols
are nothing and, accordingly, the problem is not with the food: the
problem is with the conscience of the eater. The apostle Paul
concerning food offered to idols: We know that we all possess knowledge.
Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. If anyone thinks he knows
something, he has not yet learned it as he ought to know it. But if anyone
loves God, he is known by him.
concerning eating food offered to idols: We know that no idol is real in
the world and that there is only one God. For even if there are “gods” in
heaven and on earth (as indeed there are many so-called “gods” and
“lords”), yet for us there is only one God, the Father, from whom
everything came into being and for whom we live. And there is only one
Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom everything came into being and through
whom we live.
everyone has this knowledge. Some people are so accustomed to idols that
they still think they are eating food offered to an idol, and since their
conscience is weak, it becomes contaminated. However, food will not bring
us closer to God. We are no worse off if we do not eat, and no better off
if we do.
The New Testament teaching is that
observance or non- observance of dietary restrictions must be tempered by
how it affects another believer in Christ, especially a “weak” believer.
If a believer’s eating of a “restricted” food causes another weaker
believer to eat what the weaker believes to be forbidden, and thereby
pricks his conscience, Paul says to avoid the problem altogether and not
But you must see to it that this right of yours
does not become a stumbling block to the weak. For if anyone with a weak
conscience sees you who have this knowledge eating in an idol’s temple, he
will be encouraged to eat what has been offered to idols, won’t he? In
that case, the weak brother for whom Christ died is destroyed by your
knowledge. When you sin against your brothers in this way and wound their
weak consciences, you are sinning against Christ. Therefore, if food
causes my brother to fall, I will never eat meat again, in order to keep
my brother from falling.
In regards to dietary restrictions,
the operative word, then, is “freedom.” What would benefit my friend and
brother more—my partaking of a certain food or my abstinence?
“Everything is permissible,” Paul says,
“but not everything is
helpful. Everything is permissible, but not everything builds up. No one
should seek his own welfare, but rather his neighbor’s.”
Paul continues with his discourse:
Look at the Israelites from a human point of
view. Those who eat the sacrifices share in what is on the altar, don’t
they? Am I suggesting that an offering made to idols means anything, or
that an idol itself means anything? Hardly! What they offer, they offer to
demons and not to God, and I do not want you to become partners with
demons. You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You
cannot eat at the table of the Lord and at the table of demons. Are we
trying to provoke the Lord to jealousy? We are not stronger than he is,
is permissible, but not everything is helpful. Everything is permissible,
but not everything builds up. No one should seek his own welfare, but
rather his neighbor’s.
that is sold in the meat market without raising any question about it on
the ground of conscience, for “the earth and everything in it belong to
the Lord.” If an unbeliever invites you to his house and you wish to go,
eat whatever is set before you, raising no question on the ground of
conscience. However, if someone says to you, “This was offered in
sacrifice,” don’t eat it, both out of consideration for the one who told
you and because of conscience. I mean, of course, his conscience, not
yours. For why should my freedom be judged by someone else’s conscience?
If I eat with thankfulness, why should I be denounced because of what I
am thankful for?
Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything to
the glory of God. Stop being stumbling blocks to Jews or Greeks or to the
church of God, just as I myself try to please everybody in every way, not
looking for my own advantage but for that of many people, so that they
might be saved.
The New Testament teaches, then, that
ritual dietary restrictions and ritual holiday observances are a sign of
spiritual weakness, not spiritual strength. As we have seen, the
apostle Paul writes: “However, food will not bring us closer to
God. We are no worse off if we do not eat, and no better off if we do.”
In fact, later on in the New Testament, the apostle Paul actually
instructed Timothy, his co-laborer, to drink wine because of his illness.
Stop drinking only water, but use a little wine
for your stomach because of your frequent illnesses.
The Bible on Prayer
The Bible teaches no prescribed time
or ordering of prayers. It was, however, often customary in Old
Testament times for the mighty men and women of faith to have regular
prayer times. This was not so much because they felt compelled by
religious law or ritual, but rather because they knew of the power and
personal satisfaction that comes from prayer. Daniel, for example,
is recorded as having prayed on a regular basis and at regular times
throughout the day.
Now when Daniel learned that the decree had been
published, he went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened
toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed,
giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before.
Jesus has some illuminating comments
on prayer in his discourse about persistence and about the nature of God
giving to His children:
said to them, “Suppose one of you has a friend, and you go to him at
midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, let me borrow three loaves of bread. A
friend of mine on a trip has dropped in on me, and I don’t have anything
to serve him.’ Suppose he answers from inside, ‘Stop bothering me! The
door is already locked, and my children are with me in bed. I can’t get up
and give you anything!’ I tell you, even though he doesn’t want to get up
and give him anything because he is his friend, he will get up and give
him whatever he needs because of his persistence. So I say to you: Keep
asking, and it will be given you. Keep searching, and you will find. Keep
knocking, and the door will be opened for you. For everyone who keeps
asking will receive, and the person who keeps searching will find, and the
person who keeps knocking will have the door opened.
father among you, if his son asks for bread, would give him a stone, or if
he asks for a fish, would give him a snake instead of the fish? Or if he
asks for an egg, would he give him a scorpion? So if you who are evil know
how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the Father in
heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who keep asking him!”
Jesus had some harsh things to say
about prayers that followed a formula and never came from the heart.
whenever you pray, don’t be like the hypocrites who love to stand in the
synagogues and on the street corners so that they will be seen by people.
Truly I tell you, they have their full reward! But whenever you pray, go
into your room, close the door, and pray to your Father who is in secret.
And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
you are praying, don’t say meaningless words like the gentiles do, for
they think they will be heard because of their wordiness. Don’t be like
them, because your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
The Bible, then, teaches that prayer
is not a formula to be taken at prescribed times and places, but rather is
an intimate expression of the believer’s heart and soul to God.
The Bible on Angels
The Bible is
quite clear on its teachings regarding angels. They are charged
with guarding the faithful.
They are recorded as
and being commanded to praise Him.
At the end time, they will return with Jesus Christ
and will be sent out by Him to remove evil doers and sin from God’s
At that time, they will be dispatched to gather together all of God’s
The Bible teaches that at one time in eternity past there was war in
heaven and the Devil and his angels were hurled down to earth.
The Bible on Friendship with Non-Believers
has no restrictions about friendship with non-believers. It does
not recommend marriages or business partnerships with non-believers,
but friendships are not restricted. In fact, in
9:22, the apostle Paul lays down some guidelines for a lifestyle that
encourages believers to have a form of “life-style evangelism” with
non-believers. He writes, “To the weak I became weak in
order to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by
all possible means I might save some of them.”
This advice is also true for our relationships with Muslims.
The Bible on Theft
injunctions against theft are part of the Ten Commandments.
shall not steal,” reads Exodus 20:15 and its re-cap in
The issue is truth in dealing with one another as well as in dealing
with God. In Leviticus, God tells the Israelites to
because I, the Lord your God, am holy.”
He then equates ethical treatment with neighbors as part of what it means
to be holy. God tells his people, “Do not steal. Do not lie. Do not
deceive one another.”
considers theft to be a dishonor to God’s name.
It also equates theft with one step of
a long pathway that will ultimately lead the believer to following other
The Bible also assumes that people brought up in the faith already know
that theft is wrong. For example, when the rich young ruler came to
Jesus and asked Him what he had to do to inherit eternal life, Jesus
replied: “You know the commandments: ‘Never murder.’ ‘Never commit
adultery.’ ‘Never steal.’ ‘Never give false testimony.’ ‘Never cheat.’
‘Honor your father and mother.’”
And the apostle Paul admonished teachers, “as you teach others, do
you fail to teach yourself? As you preach against stealing, do you steal?”
Qur’an, there is no harsh physical penalty for theft enjoined in the New
Testament. Encouragement is given, instead, for a clear conscience
and a clean testimony. Paul writes that after conversion to Christ…
The thief must no longer steal but must work
hard and do what is good with his own hands, so that he might have
something to give to the needy.
Paul adds that a Christian’s witness
is tied to his behavior with property that is not his own:
Slaves are to submit themselves to their masters
in everything, aiming to please them and not argue with them or steal from
them. Instead, they are to show complete and perfect loyalty, so that in
every way they may make the teaching about God our Savior more attractive.
destroys a believer’s testimony about Christ. The bottom line, Paul
For the commandments, “You must not commit
adultery; you must not murder; you must not steal; you must not covet,”
and every other commandment are summed up in this statement: “You must
love your neighbor as yourself.”
The Bible on Peace
In contrast to Mohammed’s call to take up the
sword, Jesus emphatically commanded his followers to put away their
swords. Consider this telling passage from Matthew’s Gospel:
Just then, while Jesus was still speaking,
Judas, one of the twelve, arrived. A large crowd armed with swords and
clubs was with him. They were from the high priests and elders of the
people. Now the betrayer personally had given them a signal, saying, “The
one I kiss is the man. Arrest him.”
immediately went up to Jesus and said, “Hello, Rabbi!” and kissed him
to him, “Friend, why are you here?” Then the other men came forward, took
hold of Jesus, and arrested him.
one of the men with Jesus reached out his hand, drew his sword, and struck
the high priest’s servant, cutting off his ear. Jesus said to him, “Put
your sword back in its place! For all who use a sword will be killed by a
sword. Don’t you think that I could call on my Father, and he would send
me more than twelve legions of angels now? How, then, would the Scriptures
be fulfilled that say this must happen?”
point Jesus said to the crowds, “Have you come out with swords and clubs
to arrest me as if I were a bandit? Day after day I sat teaching in the
temple, yet you didn’t arrest me. But all of this has happened so that the
writings of the prophets might be fulfilled.”
Then all the disciples deserted him and ran
And this example is to extend to everyday life,
too. Consider Paul’s admonition to the Christians at Corinth:
As long as there is jealousy and quarreling
among you, you are worldly and living by human standards, aren’t you?
on to warn not only of the source of, but also of the dire consequences
of, such behavior:
Now the works of the flesh are obvious: sexual
immorality, impurity, promiscuity, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, rivalry,
jealously, outbursts of anger, quarrels, conflicts, factions, envy,
murder, drunkenness, wild partying, and things like that. I am telling you
now, as I have told you in the past, that people who practice such things
will not inherit the kingdom of God.
solution, Paul says, lies in forgiveness:
Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, quarreling,
and slander be put away from you, along with all hatred. And be kind to
one another, compassionate, forgiving one another just as God has forgiven
you in Christ.