Chapter 12
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Chapter 12: The Biblical Picture

by Gleason Archer and Charles Welty

W

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:

1.      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 Mohammed’s birth.

2.      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.

3.      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 guilta 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 law.

4.      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.

5.      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.

6.      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 personwithout 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.

7.      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.

The Bible on Christ

One final 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.

More than 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.

The 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:

Now the 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.

After he 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.”

Now all 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,”

which 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.[1]

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:

Now in 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.

Joseph, too, 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.

While they 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.

In that 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.”

Suddenly a 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!”

When the 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.

After eight days had passed, the child was circumcised and named Jesus, the name given him by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.

When the 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 pigeons.”

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 God, saying,

“Master, now 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.”

Jesus’ 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.[2]

The Biblical 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.”[3]

 God with us is hardly a title for a mere human child.

The Bible on Christ’s Apostleship

The Bible 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 the lost.”[4]

Unlike 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.”[5] 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! [6]

But the 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.

Jesus told 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 going:

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 him.”

Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and that will satisfy us.”

Jesus said 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, 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 it.”[7]

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?”

Jesus 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.”

Then they said to him, “Who are you?”

Jesus told 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.”

They didn’t 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.

So Jesus 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.”

They replied to him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves to anybody. So how can you say, ‘You will be set free’?”

Jesus 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 indeed!”

“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 father.”

They replied to him, “Our father is Abraham!”

Jesus said 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.”

Jesus told 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.”

The Jews 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.”

Then the 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 be?”

Jesus 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 was glad.”

Then the Jews said to him, “You are not even fifty years old, yet you have seen Abraham?”

Jesus 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.[8]

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 blasphemy.

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, 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 to them.

So again 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 abundantly.

“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.”

Once again 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?”

Others were saying, “These are not the words of a man who is demon-possessed. A demon cannot open the eyes of the blind, can it?”

Now Hanukkah 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,g tell us so plainly.”

Jesus 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.”

Again the Jews picked up stones to stone him to death.

Jesus replied to them, “I have shown you many good works from my Father. For which of them are you going to stone me?”

The Jews 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!”

Jesus 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 him there.[9]

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.[10]

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.[11]

…as we wait for the blessed hope and the glorious appearance of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.[12]

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,

Eternal life we now embrace.[13]

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).

The 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:

They 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.

Then they 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 the cross!”

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.

At twelve noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon.

At three 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 Elijah!”

So someone 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 him down!”

Then Jesus 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!”

Now there 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.

When the 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 you.”

So they 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.[14]

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. [15]

How probable is it that all these people would have risked persecution, danger and death for what they knew to be a lie?

The 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 contrary.

…said the Disciples [to Jesus]: “We are God’s helpers; we believe in God, and do thou bear witness that we are Muslims.” [16]

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.

The 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:

“If you 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.

“In a 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 him.”[17]

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.

In my 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?”

He answered 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.”

After saying 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.[18]

From the 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.

The 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?”[19]

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.

If 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.[20]

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.[21]

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.

The Bible 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?”

Jesus 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.”

When the crowds heard this, they were amazed at his teaching.[22]

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.

The last 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?[23]

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 dead.[24]

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.

The 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, “Get away from me, you who are accursed, into the eternal fire that has been prepared for the devil and his angels!”[25]

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.

The 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?”

He answered 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.”

They asked him, “Why, then, did Moses order us ‘to give a certificate of divorce and divorce her’?”

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.”

His disciples said to him, “If that is the relationship of a man with his wife, it’s not worth getting married!”

But he 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.”[26]

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.[27]

The 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.[28] No “sounding clay.”[29]

Read in the Name of your Lord Who has created, has created man from a clot of blood.

We created man from sounding clay,[30] 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 groundtrees 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.[31]

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.

The 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 10:9-16.

Around 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.”

But Peter said, “Absolutely not, Lord, for I have never eaten anything that is common or unclean!”

Again a 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 comments:

Now 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.

Now 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.

But not 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. [32]

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 eat.

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.[33]

In regards to dietary restrictions, the operative word, then, is “freedom.” What would benefit my friend and brother moremy 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.[34] 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, are we?

Everything 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.

Eat anything 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.[35]

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.”[36] 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.[37]

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.[38]

Jesus has some illuminating comments on prayer in his discourse about persistence and about the nature of God giving to His children:

Then he 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.

“What 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!”[39]

Jesus had some harsh things to say about prayers that followed a formula and never came from the heart.

“And 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.

“When 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.[40]

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.[41] They are recorded as praising God[42] and being commanded to praise Him.[43] At the end time, they will return with Jesus Christ[44] and will be sent out by Him to remove evil doers and sin from God’s kingdom.[45] At that time, they will be dispatched to gather together all of God’s elect.[46] 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.[47]

The Bible on Friendship with Non-Believers

The Bible has no restrictions about friendship with non-believers. It does not recommend marriages or business partnerships with non-believers,[48] but friendships are not restricted. In fact, in First Corinthians 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

Biblical injunctions against theft are part of the Ten Commandments. “You shall not steal,” reads Exodus 20:15 and its re-cap in Deuteronomy 5:19. The issue is truth in dealing with one another as well as in dealing with God. In Leviticus, God tells the Israelites to “Be holy because I, the Lord your God, am holy.”[49] 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.”[50]

The Bible considers theft to be a dishonor to God’s name.[51] It also equates theft with one step of a long pathway that will ultimately lead the believer to following other gods.[52] 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.’”[53] And the apostle Paul admonished teachers, as you teach others, do you fail to teach yourself? As you preach against stealing, do you steal?[54]

Unlike the 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.[55]

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.[56]

Theft, then, destroys a believer’s testimony about Christ. The bottom line, Paul says, is:

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.”[57]

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.”

So Judas immediately went up to Jesus and said, “Hello, Rabbi!” and kissed him tenderly.

Jesus said to him, “Friend, why are you here?” Then the other men came forward, took hold of Jesus, and arrested him.

Suddenly, 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?”

At this 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 away.[58]

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?[59]

Paul went 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.[60]

The 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.[61]


[1]Matthew 1:18-25.

[2]Luke 2:1-40.

[3]Isaiah 7:14

[4]Luke 19:10

[5]John 14:1.

[6]Sura 9:30

[7]John 14:6-14.

[8]John 8:18-59.

[9]John 10:1-42.

[10]Titus 1:3.

[11]Titus 2:10.

[12]Titus 2:13.

[13]Titus 3:4-7.

[14]Mark 15:21-16:8.

[15]First Corinthians 15:6

[16]Sura 3:52

[17]John 14:15-21

[18]Acts 1:1-12

[19]Numbers 12:5-8.

[20]Deuteronomy 13:1-5.

[21]Deuteronomy 18:22.

[22]Matthew 22:23-33.

[23]First Corinthians 15:12-28.

[24]Philippians 3:10-11.

[25]Matthew 25:41.

[26]Matthew 19:3-12.

[27]Deuteronomy 24:1-4

[28]Sura 96:1

[29]Sura 15:26

[30]A type of clay common to Arabia, which produces a sound like pottery when it dries.

[31]Genesis 2:8-15.

[32]First Corinthians 8:1-8

[33]First Corinthians 8:1-13.

[34]First Corinthians 10:23-24.

[35]First Corinthians 10:19-33.

[36]First Corinthians 8:8.

[37]First Timothy 5:23

[38]Daniel 6:10.

[39]Luke 11:5-13.

[40]Matthew 6:5-8.

[41]For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; Psalm 91:11

[42]Praise the Lord, you his angels, you mighty ones who do his bidding, who obey his word. Psalm 103:20

[43]Praise him, all his angels, praise him, all his heavenly hosts. Psalm 148:2

[44]The Son of Man is going to come with his angels in his Father’s glory, and then he will repay everyone according to what he has done. Matthew 16:27

[45]The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will gather from his kingdom everything that causes others to sin and those who practice lawlessness. Matthew 13:41

[46]He will send out his angels with a loud trumpet blast, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to another. Matthew 24:31

[47]Then a war broke out in heaven. Michael and his angels fought with the dragon, and the dragon and its angels fought back. … The huge dragon was thrown down. That ancient serpent, called devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world, was thrown down to the earth, and its angels were thrown down with it. Revelation 12:7,9

[48]Stop becoming unevenly yoked with unbelievers. What partnership can righteousness have with lawlessness? What fellowship can light have with darkness? Second Corinthians 6:14

[49]Leviticus 19:2.

[50]Leviticus 19:11.

[51]Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, “Who is the Lord?” Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God. — Proverbs 30:8-9

[52]Will you steal and murder, commit adultery and perjury, burn incense to Baal and follow other gods you have not known? Jeremiah 7:9

[53]Mark 10:19.

[54]Romans 2:21.

[55]Ephesians 4:28.

[56]Titus 2:9-10

[57]Romans 13:9.

[58]Matthew 26:47-56

[59]1 Corinthians 3:3

[60]Galatians 5:19-21

[61]Ephesians 4:31-32

Introduction Chapter 1 Chapter 2 Chapter 3 Chapter 4 Chapter 5 Chapter 6 Chapter 7 Chapter 8 Chapter 9 Chapter 10 Chapter 11 Chapter 12 Chapter 13 Chapter 14 Appendix

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