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Herman Bavinck b. 1854 – d. 1921

Herman Bavinck b. 1854 – d. 1921

Herman Bavinck (13 December 1854, Hoogeveen, Drenthe – 29 July 1921, Amsterdam) was a Dutch Reformed theologian and churchman. He was a significant scholar in the Calvinist tradition, alongside Abraham Kuyper and B. B. Warfield. Notable work four volume Reformed Dogmatics. Vol. 1 Prolegomena; Vol. 2 God and Creation; Vol. 3 Sin and Salvation; Vol. 4 Holy Spirit, Church, and New Creation. From Wikipedia

Herman Bavinck quotes:

“The resurrection is the fundamental restoration of all culture.” – Herman Bavinck, The Philosophy of Revelation

“And these two things, the love of God and Christ’s satisfaction, had to and could go hand in hand because we were simultaneously the object of his love as his creatures and the object of his wrath as sinners.” – Herman Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics Volume 3: Sin and Salvation in Christ

“Without revelation religion sinks back into a pernicious superstition.” – Herman Bavinck, The Philosophy of Revelation

“The cross is the divine settlement with the divine condemnation of sin.” – Herman Bavinck, The Philosophy of Revelation

“The task of dogmatics is precisely to rationally reproduce the content of revelation that relates to the knowledge of God.” – Herman Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics : Volume 1: Prolegomena

“The more deeply we live, the more we feel in sympathy with Augustine, and the less with Pelagius.” – Herman Bavinck, The Philosophy of Revelation

“Thus the true, the good and the beautiful which ethical culture seeks can only come to perfection when the absolute good is at the same time the almighty, divine will, which not only prescribes the good in the moral law, but also works it effectually in man himself. The heteronomy of law and the autonomy of man are reconciled only by this theonomy.” – Herman Bavinck, The Philosophy of Revelation

“Revelation in nature and revelation in Scripture form, in alliance with each other, a harmonious unity which satisfies the requirements of the intellect and the needs of the heart alike.” – Herman Bavinck, The Philosophy of Revelation

“We have no historical testimony to the development of polytheism into pure monotheism;” – Herman Bavinck, The Philosophy of Revelation

“If the moral law or the ideal good indeed exists outside of us, then it must be grounded in and be one with the Godhead.” – Herman Bavinck, The Philosophy of Revelation

“By banishing metaphysics, materialism has no longer an ethical system, knows no longer the distinction between good and evil, possesses no moral law, no duty, no virtue, and no highest good.” – Herman Bavinck, The Philosophy of Revelation

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Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way…

Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way… By Jack Kettler

“Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way, for his wrath is quickly kindled. Blessed are all who take refuge in him.” (Psalm 2:12 ESV)

What does Kiss mean in the passage? In addition, who is the Son? In Psalm 2:7 we learn who the Son is:

“I will tell of the decree: The LORD said to me, “You are my Son; today I have begotten you.” (Psalm 2:7 ESV)

From Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary on Psalm 2:7 we learn who the Son is:

“2:7-9 – The kingdom of the Messiah is founded upon an eternal decree of God the Father. This our Lord Jesus often referred to, as what he governed himself by. God hath said unto him, Thou art my Son, and it becomes each of us to say to him, Thou art my Lord, my Sovereign’. The Son, in asking the heathen for his inheritance, desires their happiness in him; so that he pleads for them, ever lives to do so, and is able to save to the uttermost, and he shall have multitudes of willing, loyal subjects, among them. Christians are the possession of the Lord Jesus; they are to him for a name and a praise. God the Father gives them to him, when, by his Spirit and grace, he works upon them to submit to the Lord Jesus.” (1)

Various translations of Psalms 2:12:

Submit to God’s royal son… (New Living Translation)

Do homage to the Son… (New American Standard Bible)

Show respect to his son… (Contemporary English Version)

Pay homage to the Son… (Christian Standard Bible)

Kiss the Chosen One… (Young’s Literal Translation)

From Strong’s Lexicon:


נַשְּׁקוּ־ (naš·šə·qū-)

Verb – Piel – Imperative – masculine plural

Strong’s Hebrew 5401: 1) to put together, kiss 1a) (Qal) to kiss 1b) (Piel) to kiss 1c) (Hiphil) to touch gently 2) to handle, be equipped with 2a) (Qal) to be equipped

From KJV today:

The KJV translates “נשׁקו־בר (nashku bar)” as “kiss the son.” The meaning of the verb “נשׁקו (nashku)” is not so much in dispute. “Kiss” is the literal translation (Brown-Driver-Briggs’ Hebrew Definitions) and “do homage” is a paraphrase of “kiss.” The idea is that kissing demonstrates the subject’s reverence towards the master. The KJV keeps the literal rendering.

Kiss from Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance:

armed men, rule, kiss, that touched

A primitive root (identical with nasaq, through the idea of fastening up; compare chazaq, chashaq); to kiss, literally or figuratively (touch); also (as a mode of attachment), to equip with weapons — armed (men), rule, kiss, that touched.

Synonyms for the various translations of nashaq:

Submit – yield, give way, back down, bow, defer, agree, consent, accede, conform, acquiesce, comply, and accept

Homage – respect, honor, tribute, allegiance, devotion, loyalty, praise

Respect – esteem, regard, and acclaim, admiration, appreciation, estimation, favor, popularity, recognition, veneration, awe, reverence, deference, honor, praise, homage

Kiss – endearment, salutation, salute, homage

Son in Psalm 2:7 from Strong’s Concordance:

ben: son

Original Word: בֵּן

Part of Speech: Noun Masculine

Transliteration: ben

Phonetic Spelling: (bane)

Definition: son

The Son in Psalm 2:12 from Strong’s Lexicon:

the Son,

בַ֡ר (ḇar)

Noun – masculine singular

Strong’s Hebrew 1248: 1) son, heir

What is the difference between ben and bar in verse 7 and 12?

Both do indeed mean “son” or “son of.” But “ben” בן is Hebrew and “bar” בר is Aramaic. … Bar is Aramaic, and Ben is Hebrew. Bar-Mitzvah comes from the Aramaic. The Bar-Mitzvah is the religious ceremony of initiation for a Jewish boy who has reached the age of 13 and is ready to observe religious principles and worthy to take part in community worship.

Two significant Cross References for Psalms 2:12:

“And they said to the mountains and the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of the One seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb.” (Revelation 6:16 Berean Study Bible)

“Be merciful to me, O God; be merciful to me, for in you my soul takes refuge; in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge, till the storms of destruction pass by.” (Psalm 57:1 ESV)

If you refuse to do “Homage” or to “Kiss” the Son of God, you will experience the warning spelled out in the passage, “…lest he be angry, and you perish in the way, for his wrath is quickly kindled.” (ESV)

From Matthew Poole’s Commentary on Psalm 2:12:

“Kiss, in token of your subjection and adoration; whereof this was a sign among the Eastern nations, as is manifest both from Scripture, as 1 Samuel 10:1 1 Kings 19:18 Hosea 13:2, and from heathen authors. Submit to his person and government.

The Son, to wit, the Son of God, as appears from Psalm 2:7, called here the Son, by way of eminency, and in a singular manner; which agrees much better to Christ than to David, who is never particularly called by this name.

And ye perish from the way, i.e. be taken out of the way by death or destruction; or, perish out of the way, i.e. by losing the right way, by taking wrong and evil courses, the end of which will be your certain and utter ruin; or, for the way, i.e. for your evil way or manner of living, for your perverse and foolish course of opposing my Son instead of submitting to him. Or, in (which particle is oft. understood) the way, i.e. in your wicked way or course, in the midst of your plots and rebellions against him; and so you will die in your sins, as it is expressed, John 8:24, which is a sad aggravation of their death, and therefore here fitly proposed as a powerful argument to dissuade them from such dangerous and destructive courses.

But a little, i.e. the least degree, of his anger is very terrible, much more the heat and height of it, caused by such a desperate provocation as this is. Or, for his wrath will be kindled shortly, or suddenly, or within a very little time, as this word is used, Psalm 81:14 Song of Solomon 3:4 Isaiah 26:20. His patience will not last always, but will shortly be turned into fury; and therefore take heed that you neither deny nor delay subjection to him, but speedily comply with his offers and commands before it be too late.

They that put their trust in him; who put themselves under his power and protection, believing in him, and expecting safety and happiness from him; which cannot with any colour be applied to David, who always dissuades all men from putting their trust in princes, or in any men or thing besides or below God, Psalm 20:7 44:6 62:6-8 118:8 146:3, and every where; and therefore it would very ill have become him to invite others to put their trust in him. And he is pronounced cursed that trusteth in man, Jeremiah 17:5. But Christ is every where propounded as an object of trust, not only in the New Testament, but also in the Old, as Isaiah 28:16; and therefore they are most truly and fitly said to be

blessed that put their trust in him. Under which sentence the contrary is implied, that they are most cursed and miserable creatures that provoke and oppose him; and so cursed and miserable that David dreaded the very thoughts and mention of it, and therefore expresseth it by the contrary and blessed condition of his friends and subjects. And such-like significations of the miseries of sinners by the blessedness of others opposed to them we have Matthew 23:39 Revelation 14:13.” (2)

Why the translation of nashaq, Kiss?

“In favor of the traditional translation are the context of the psalm (submission to the Lord and to the anointed), the proposal by Delitzsch that the sequence bar pen (“Son, lest”) avoids the dissonance of ben pen (KD, 1:98), and the suggestion by Craigie that the usage of the Aramaism may be intentionally directed to the foreign nations (Psalms 1-50, p. 64).” (3)

In closing, consider John Calvin on Psalm chapter 2:12:

“Psalm 2:12

12. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when [29] his wrath is kindled in a moment. O blessed are all who put their trust in him.

David expresses yet more distinctly what kind of fear and service God requires. Since it is the will of God to reign by the hand of his Son, and since he has engraved on his person the marks and insignia of his own glory, the proper proof of our obedience and piety towards him is reverently to embrace his Son, whom he has appointed king over us, according to the declaration,

“He that honoureth not the Son, honoureth not the Father who hath sent him,” (John 5:23)

The term kiss refers to the solemn token or sign of honor which subjects were wont to yield to their sovereigns. The sum is that God is defrauded of his honor if he is slot served in Christ. The Hebrew word vr Bar, signifies both a son and an elect person; but in whatever way you take it, the meaning will remain the same. Christ was truly chosen of the Father, who has given him all power, that he alone should stand pre-eminent above both men and angels. On which account also he is said to be “sealed” by God, (John 6:27) because a peculiar dignity was, conferred upon him, which removes him to a distance from all creatures. Some interpreters expound it, kiss or embrace what is pure, [30], which is a strange and rather forced interpretation. For my part, I willingly retain the name of son, which answers well to a former sentence, where it was said, “Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee.”

What follows immediately after is a warning to those who despise Christ, that their pride shall not go unpunished, as if he had said, As Christ is not despised without indignity being done to the Father, who hath adorned him with his own glory, so the Father himself will not allow such an invasion of his sacred rights to pass unpunished. And to teach them to beware of vainly deceiving themselves with the hope of a lengthened delay, and from their present ease indulging themselves in vain pleasures, they are plainly told that his wrath will be kindled in a moment. For we see, when God for a time connives at the wicked, and bears with them, how they abuse this forbearance, by growing more presumptuous, because they do not think of his judgments otherwise, than according to sight and feeling. Some interpreters, I know, explain the Hebrew word kmt, Camoat, which we have rendered, in a moment, in a different way, namely, that as soon as God’s wrath is kindled in even a small degree, it will be all over with the reprobate. But it is more suitable to apply it to time, and to view it as a warning to the proud not to harden themselves in their stupidity and indifference, nor flatter themselves from the patience of God, with the hope of escaping unpunished. Moreover, although this word appears to be put for the purpose of giving a reason of what goes before, [31] namely, why those who refuse to kiss the Son shall perish, and although the Hebrew word ky, ki, signifies more frequently for than when, yet I am unwilling to depart from the commonly received translation, and have thought it proper to render the original word by the adverb when, which denotes both the reason and time of what is predicated. Some explain the phrases, to perish from the way, as meaning, a perverse way, or wicked manner of listing. Others resolve it thus, lest your way perish, according to that saying of the first psalm, the way of the ungodly shall perish. But I am rather inclined to attach to the words a different meaning, and to view them as a denunciation against the ungodly, by which they are warned that the wrath of God will cut them off when they think themselves to be only in the middle of their race. We know how the despisers of God are accustomed to flatter themselves in prosperity, and run to great excess in riot. The prophet, therefore, with great propriety, threatens that when they shall say, Peace and safety, reckoning themselves at a great distance from their end, they shall be cut off by a sudden destruction, (1 Thessalonians 5:3)

The concluding sentence of the psalm qualifies what was formerly said concerning the severity of Christ; for his iron rod and the fiery wrath of God would strike terror into all men without distinction, unless this comfort had been added. Having, therefore discoursed concerning the terrible judgment which hangs over the unbelieving, he now encourages God’s faithful and devout servants to entertain good hope, by setting forth the sweetness of his grace. Paul likewise observes the same order, (2 Corinthians 10:6) for having declared that vengeance was in readiness against the disobedient, he immediately adds addressing himself to believers “When your obedience is fulfilled.” Now, we understand the meaning of the Psalmist. As believers might have applied to themselves the severity of which he makes mention, he opens to them a sanctuary of hope, whither they may flee, in order not to be overwhelmed by the terror of God’s wrath; [32] just as Joel (Joel 2:32) also after having summoned the ungodly to the awful judgment-seat of God, which of itself is terrible to men, [33] immediately subjoins the comfort, Whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved. For it appears to me that this exclamation, Blessed are all they that put their trust in him, [34] should be read as a distinct sentence by itself. The pronoun him may be referred as well to God as to Christ, but, in my judgment, it agrees better with the whole scope of the psalm to understand it of Christ, whom the Psalmist before enjoined kings and judges of the earth to kiss.”

Calvin’s Footnotes:

[29] Ou, car son, or, for his. — Fr. Marg.

[30] The word vr, Bar, which here signifies son, is also sometimes used to denote pure, as it is in Job 11:4, Psalm 24:4 and Psalm 73:1. In this former sense it is a Chaldee word, in the latter it is a Hebrew one. This rendering, of which Calvin disapproves, is substantially that of the Septuagint, which reads, draxasthe paideias, literally, lay hold upon instruction. But as the Arabic version of the Psalms, which generally follows the Septuagint, has used here (and in many other places, where the Septuangint has paideias) a word which signifies not only instruction, but good morals, virtue, Street thinks that the authors of the Septuangint, by paideias, meant good morals, or virtue in general, and that they understand vr, Bar, as a general expression for the same thing. The Chaldee, Vulgate, and Ethiopic version, also render vr, Bar, by a word meaning doctrine or discipline. “This is a remarkable case,” says Dr. Adam Clark, “and especially that in so pure a piece of Hebrew as this poem is, a Chaldee word should have been found, vr, Bar, instead of vn, Ben, which adds nothing to the strength of the expression, or the elegance of the poetry. I know that vr, Bar, is also pure Hebrew as well as Chaldee; but it is taken in the former language in the sense of purifying, the versions probably understood it so here. Embrace that which is pure, namely, the doctrine of God.”

[31] Pour rendre raison du precedent ascavoir pour quoy c’est qu’ila periront. — Fr.

[32] Pour n’estre point accablez de la frayeur d’ire de Dieu. — Fr.

[33] Qui de soy est espouvantable aux hommes — Fr.

[34] The word ‘sry, ashre, which occurs in the beginning of the psalm, is also used here; and therefore, the word may be rendered, O the blessednesses of all those who put their trust in him.” (4)


1. Matthew Henry, Concise Commentary, Psalms, (Nashville, Tennessee, Thomas Nelson), p. 798.

2. Matthew Poole’s Commentary on the Holy Bible, vol. 2, (Peabody, Massachusetts, Hendrickson Publishers, 1985) p. 4.

3. Willem A. VanGemeren, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, ed. Frank E. Gaebelein, vol. 5 (Grand Rapids, Michigan, Zondervan, 1991), p. 72.

4. John Calvin, Calvin’s Commentaries, Psalms, Volume 1V, (Grand Rapids, Michigan, Baker Book House Reprinted 1979), pp. 24-25.

“To God, only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ forever. Amen.” (Romans 16:27) and “heirs according to the promise.” (Galatians 3:28, 29)

Mr. Kettler has previously published articles in the Chalcedon Report and Contra Mundum. He and his wife Marea attend the Westminster, CO, RPCNA Church. Mr. Kettler is the author of the book defending the Reformed Faith against attacks, titled: The Religion That Started in a Hat. Available at:

For more study:


Interlinear Greek • Interlinear Hebrew • Strong’s Numbers • Englishman’s Greek Concordance • Englishman’s Hebrew Concordance • Parallel Texts

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Abraham Kuyper

Abraham Kuijper (/ˈkaɪpər/; Dutch: [ˈaːbraːɦɑm ˈkœypər]; 29 October 1837 – 8 November 1920), publicly known as Abraham Kuyper, was Prime Minister of the Netherlands between 1901 and 1905, an influential neo-Calvinist theologian and also a journalist. He established the Reformed Churches in the Netherlands, which upon its foundation became the second largest Reformed denomination in the country behind the state-supported Dutch Reformed Church.

In addition, he founded a newspaper, the Free University of Amsterdam and the Anti-Revolutionary Party. In religious affairs, he sought to adapt the Dutch Reformed Church to challenges posed by the loss of state financial aid and by increasing religious pluralism in the wake of splits that the church had undergone in the 19th century, rising Dutch nationalism, and the Arminian religious revivals of his day which denied predestination.[1] He vigorously denounced modernism in theology as a fad that would pass away. In politics, he dominated the Anti-Revolutionary Party (ARP) from its founding in 1879 to his death in 1920. He promoted pillarisation, the social expression of the anti-thesis in public life, whereby Protestant, Catholic and secular elements each had their own independent schools, universities and social organizations. From Wikipedia

Abraham Kuyper quotes:

“There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry, Mine!” – Abraham Kuyper

“When principles that run against your deepest convictions begin to win the day, then battle is your calling, and peace has become sin; you must, at the price of dearest peace, lay your convictions bare before friend and enemy, with all the fire of your faith.” – Abraham Kuyper

“Whatever man may stand, whatever he may do, to whatever he may apply his hand – in agriculture, in commerce, and in industry, or his mind, in the world of art, and science – he is, in whatsoever it may be, constantly standing before the face of God. He is employed in the service of his God. He has strictly to obey his God. And above all, he has to aim at the glory of his God.” – Abraham Kuyper

“The question is not if the candidate’s heart is favorable to Christianity, but if he has Christ as his starting point even for politics, and will speak out His name!” – Abraham Kuyper

“The Holy Scripture is like a diamond: in the dark it is like a piece of glass, but as soon as the light strikes it the water begins to sparkle, and the scintillation of life greets us.” – Abraham Kuyper

“Every State-formation, every assertion of the power of the magistrate, every mechanical means of compelling order and of guaranteeing a safe course of life is therefore always something unnatural;” – Abraham Kuyper

“All authority of governments on earth originates from the Sovereignty of God alone.” – Abraham Kuyper

“Calvinism has a sharply-defined starting-point of its own for the three fundamental relations of all human existence: viz., our relation to God, to man, and to the world. For our relation to God: an immediate fellowship of man with Eternal, independently of priest or church. For the relation of man to man: the recognition in each person of human worth, which is his by virtue of his creation after the Divine likeness, and therefore of the equality of all men before God and his magistrate. And for our relation to the world: the recognition that in the whole world the curse is restrained by grace, that the life of the world is to be honored in its independence, and that we must, in every domain, discover the treasure and develop the potencies hidden by God in nature and in human life.” – Abraham Kuyper

Mr. Kettler has previously published articles in the Chalcedon Report and Contra Mundum. He and his wife Marea attend the Westminster, CO, RPCNA Church. Mr. Kettler is the author of the book defending the Reformed Faith against attacks, titled: The Religion That Started in a Hat. Available at:

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Jesus, “It is written” and Paul, “Do not go beyond what is written”

Jesus, “It is written” and Paul, “Do not go beyond what is written” By Jack Kettler*

When Jesus and the apostle Paul declared the above, they are referring to Scripture. Our Lord, followed by the apostle Paul, is setting forth the written Scriptures as the highest authority.

As in previous studies, definitions will be looked at along with scriptures, commentary evidence, and confessional support for the purpose to glorify God in how to live.



Also called: Holy Scripture, Holy Writ or the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments


The Scriptures as God speaking:

The apostle Paul in the book of Romans, says, “For the Scripture saith.” It is significant to note when one consults Isaiah 28:16 whom the apostle is quoting, one finds that it is God speaking. Scripture references itself to reinforce its authority.

Looking at the text in Isaiah that Paul is quoting:

“Therefore thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste.” (Isaiah 28:16)
(Underlining emphasis is mine throughout this study)

Another example of this is in Romans:

“For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might show my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth.” (Romans 9:17)

Was God speaking or the Scriptures? If there is any doubt, we know for sure after reading Exodus 9:16 that it is God speaking, whereas, Romans says, “the Scripture saith.”

Again, looking at the text, Paul is quoting from Exodus. Notice the personal pronouns:

“And in very deed for this cause have I raised thee up, for to shew in thee my power; and that my name may be declared throughout all the earth.” (Exodus 9:16)

Therefore, God and the Scriptures are so closely identified as to be synonymous. In essence, we learn from these examples, “thus saith the Lord God” and the phrase “the Scriptures saith” can be and are used interchangeably.

Part 1, Jesus “it is written:”

The importance of the written Scriptures:

Christ’s view of Scripture:

“If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken.” (John 10:35)

The Scriptures to be written down:

God’s Word was to be written down and set forth as truth that is superior to the oral traditions and the utterances of men. The inscription of God’s Word is the prima facie blueprint that is outlined in the Scriptures.

The inscription of God’s Word gives us an objective divine standard to determine the truth.

Observe the clear commands that are outlined in God’s Word about this:

“For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning…” (Romans 15:4)

“And Moses wrote all the words of the Lord… And he [Moses] took the book of the covenant, and read in the audience of the people…” (Exodus 24:4, 7)

“Now go, write it before them in a table, and note it in a book, that it may be for the time to come forever and ever.” (Isaiah 30:8)

“Take thee a roll of a book, and write therein all the words that I have spoken unto thee against Israel, and against Judah, and against all the nations, from the day I spake unto thee, from the days of Josiah, even unto this day.” (Jeremiah 36:2)

“Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersover thou goest. This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth, but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou have good success.” (Joshua 1:7-8)

“And the Lord answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it.” (Habakkuk 2:2)

“Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, what thou seest, write in a book and send it unto the seven churches…” (Revelation 1:11)

God’s Word was to be written down so that His people could know how to live in a way pleasing to Him and be able to know right from wrong. Apart from the objective written standard of Scripture, man is left with his own subjective opinions or the subjective opinions of others.

Because of Scriptural authority, the biblical writers, appeal to what had been written:

A few examples are:

“Then stood up Jeshua the son of Jozadak, and his brethren the priests, and Zerrubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and his brethren, and builded the altar of the God of Israel, to offer burnt offerings thereon, as it is written in the law of Moses the man of God.” (Ezra 3:2)

“But he answered and said, It is written, man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:4)

“And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.” (Luke 4:4)

“For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.” (1Corinthians 1:19)

“Because it is written, be ye holy; for I am holy.” (1Peter 1:16)

When Jesus says, “it is written,” or “have ye not read” it was the end of the debate for Him. In Matthew 4:10, Christ used this very phrase when He rebuffed Satan during the wilderness temptation. Indeed, Jesus used “it is written” to preface His teaching or to end an argument numerous times.

Moreover, there is not one example in Scripture where Christ’s human opponents questioned the authority of Scripture after Jesus used this argument. Jesus used the Scriptures as the final court of appeal. Christ and the apostle Paul viewed the written Scripture as authoritative and cited them frequently.

Our Lord’s appeal to “it is written” is repeated in Matthew 4:4; 21:13; Mark 9:12; John 8:17. The phrase “it is written” is a reference to the Word of God. In addition, when Jesus quotes the Old Testament or says, “it is written,” this should inspire confidence in the Scriptures because Furthermore, Jesus is establishing the Scriptures as God’s highest authority.

In fact, doing a word search on “It is written” you find:

“it” AND “is” AND “written” occurs 311 times in 93 verses in the KJV.

In addition, there are numerous places where Christ and the apostles quote the Old Testament directly. For example, in Matthew 19:4-5, Jesus quotes Genesis 2:24. In Hebrews 1:5, the writer is mentioning Psalms 2:7.

The irrefutable apologetic, the Scriptures:

Additionally, in Acts 18:24, 28, we learn of Apollos who was “mighty in the Scriptures” and convinced the Jews publicly that Jesus was Christ from the Scriptures. Apollos’s method sheds important light on how important the Scriptures are. Apollos did not use testimonials or new revelations to convince the Jews; he used the Scriptures as his apologetic.

Seeing this apologetic pattern in Scripture:

“And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.” (Luke 24:27)

“Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they, which testify of me.” (John 5:39)

“Having therefore obtained help of God, I continue unto this day, witnessing both to small and great, saying none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come.” (Acts 26:22)

“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, [Paul most certainly is including the New Testament writings here] and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” (2Timothy 3:16)

The word “inspired” comes from a Greek word meaning “God-breathed.” Peter uses the same Greek word for “Scripture” (γραφὴ) to describe the writings of the apostle Paul (γραφὰς plural form of the same word) in 2Peter 3:16.

Part 2, Paul “Do not go beyond what is written:”

In light of the above on the Scriptures, consider Paul’s unequivocal declaration:

“I have applied all these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, brothers that you may learn by us not to go beyond what is written that none of you may be puffed up in favor of one against another.” (1Corinthians 4:6 ESV)

In the Tyndale New Testament Commentary on First Corinthians, Leon Morris makes the following comment about the 1Corinthians 4:6 passage:

“‘not go beyond what is written’ was a catch-cry familiar to Paul and his readers, directing attention to the need for conformity to Scripture.” (1)

We can learn more about what Paul means by the phrase “not to beyond what is written” from Simon J. Kistemaker:

“b. Learning. “That from us you might learn not to go beyond what is written.” Scholars have spilled much ink in an effort to explain this part of the text. A few examples show various ways to translate this phrase:

“That you may learn in us not to think beyond what is written” (NKJV)

“May you learn from us not to go beyond what is set down” (NAB)

“So that you may learn from us the meaning of the saying, ‘Do not go beyond what is written’ ” (NIV)

“You may be taught the truth of the words, ‘Nothing beyond what is written’ ” (Cassirer)

These examples reveal not so much different translations of the Greek text as differences in understanding the text itself. Some scholars are of the opinion that the words “not to go beyond what is written” are an unintelligible gloss that should be deleted. But there is no textual evidence to substantiate the claim that these words are a gloss. Furthermore, omission of these words makes the verse itself incoherent. Most scholars think that these words “are evidently a proverb or a principle in proverbial form.” It may have been a saying that was current in the political arena of Paul’s day and served to promote unity. Paul, say these scholars, uses a maxim familiar in Corinthian circles to urge an end to the divisions in the church and to foster unity.

Nonetheless, when Paul borrows the phrase what is written, is he referring to the Old Testament Scriptures? Presumably, yes! The proverb itself must convey a message, which in the context of the two epistles to the Corinthians signifies the Scriptures. And in these letters, the Greek word gegraptai (it is written) frequently introduces quotations from the Scriptures. Paul quotes repeatedly from the books of the Law, the Prophets, and the Writings. In total, there are seventeen Old Testament quotations in I Corinthians and ten in II Corinthians.

Paul’s stern warning to the Corinthians not to go beyond what is written appropriates additional meaning in chapter 10. After citing a few incidents from the history of the people of Israel, he asserts: “Now these things happened to them as a warning and were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come” (10:11). It would indeed be too restrictive to limit Paul’s warning “not to go beyond what is written” to the six Scripture passages, he has quoted in the first three chapters of I Corinthians (1:19, 31; 2:9, 16; 3:19, 20). Conclusively, Paul refers to the entire Old Testament revelation.” (2)

Simon J. Kistemaker most certainly makes a convincing case that phrase from the apostle Paul is referring to is the written Scriptures.

Concluding Comments:

When Jesus said, “it is written,” He established beyond all doubt that the Scriptures are the Word of God. In addition, in this study, a pattern is seen that when we read “the Scriptures saith” it is identical to God speaking. When Jesus rebuked Satan said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written, “‘You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve’” (Matthew 4:10).

In Matthew 4:11 we read “Then the devil left him…” Jesus vanquished the Devil by His appeal to the authoritative Word of God.

As seen, there is a clear pattern in Scripture of appealing to what had been previously written. This pattern establishes a normative rule for using the Scriptures to determine the truth. Therefore, using the Scriptures to interpret the Scriptures and allowing them to be the highest or final court of appeal is biblical and it is the duty of God’s people to submit to their authority. This is so because when the Scriptures speak, it is God speaking!

Therefore, when Jesus said, “It is written,” this confines the debate to the Scripture. Likewise, as Paul has said, we are “Do not to go beyond what is written” establishes the parameters of the debate.

In closing, Chapter I. – Of the Holy Scripture – Westminster Confession of Faith:

“I. Although the light of nature, and the works of creation and providence, do so far manifest the goodness, wisdom, and power of God, as to leave men inexcusable; yet are they not sufficient to give that knowledge of God, and of his will, which is necessary unto salvation; therefore it pleased the Lord, at sundry times, and in divers manners, to reveal himself, and to declare that his will unto his Church; and afterwards for the better preserving and propagating of the truth, and for the more sure establishment and comfort of the Church against the corruption of the flesh, and the malice of Satan and of the world, to commit the same wholly unto writing; which maketh the holy Scripture to be most necessary; those former ways of God’s revealing his will unto his people being now ceased.

II. Under the name of Holy Scripture, or the Word of God written, are now contained all the Books of the Old and New Testament, which are these:

Of the Old Testament

Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, I Samuel, 2 Samuel, I Kings, 2 Kings, I Chronicles, 2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, The Song of Songs, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi

Of the New Testament

Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Acts, Romans, 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, I Thessalonians, 2 Thessalonians, I Timothy, 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon, Hebrews, James, I Peter, 2 Peter, First, Second, and Third Epistles of John, Jude, Revelation

All which are given by inspiration of God, to be the rule of faith and life.

III. The books commonly called Apocrypha, not being of divine inspiration, are no part of the Canon of Scripture; and therefore are of no authority in the Church of God, nor to be any otherwise approved, or made use of, than other human writings.

IV. The authority of the holy Scripture, for which it ought to be believed and obeyed, dependeth not upon the testimony of any man or Church, but wholly upon God (who is truth itself), the Author thereof; and therefore it is to be received, because it is the Word of God.

V. We may be moved and induced by the testimony of the Church to an high and reverent esteem of the holy Scripture; and the heavenliness of the matter, the efficacy of the doctrine, the majesty of the style, the consent of all the parts, the scope of the whole (which is to give all glory to God), the full discovery it makes of the only way of man’s salvation, the many other incomparable excellencies, and the entire perfection thereof, are arguments whereby it doth abundantly evidence itself to be the Word of God; yet, notwithstanding, our full persuasion and assurance of the infallible truth and divine authority thereof, is from the inward work of the Holy Spirit, bearing witness by and with the Word in our hearts.

VI. The whole counsel of God, concerning all things necessary for his own glory, man’s salvation, faith, and life, is either expressly set down in Scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from Scripture: unto which nothing at any time is to be added, whether by new revelations of the Spirit, or traditions of men. Nevertheless we acknowledge the inward illumination of the Spirit of God to be necessary for the saving understanding of such things as are revealed in the Word; and that there are some circumstances concerning the worship of God, and the government of the Church, common to human actions and societies, which are to be ordered by the light of nature and Christian prudence, according to the general rules of the Word, which are always to be observed.

VII. All things in Scripture are not alike plain in themselves, nor alike clear unto all; yet those things which are necessary to be known, believed, and observed, for salvation, are so clearly propounded and opened in some place of Scripture or other, that not only the learned, but the unlearned, in a due use of the ordinary means, may attain unto a sufficient understanding of them.

VIII. The Old Testament in Hebrew (which was the native language of the people of God of old), and the New Testament in Greek (which at the time of the writing of it was most generally known to the nations), being immediately inspired by God, and by his singular care and providence kept pure in all ages, are therefore authentical; so as in all controversies of religion the Church is finally to appeal unto them. But because these original tongues are not known to all the people of God who have right unto, and interest in, the Scriptures, and are commanded, in the fear of God, to read and search them, therefore they are to be translated into the language of every people unto which they come, that the Word of God dwelling plentifully in all, they may worship him in an acceptable manner, and, through patience and comfort of the Scriptures, may have hope.

IX. The infallible rule of interpretation of Scripture, is the Scripture itself; and therefore, when there is a question about the true and full sense of any scripture (which is not manifold, but one), it may be searched and known by other places that speak more clearly.

X. The Supreme Judge, by which all controversies of religion are to be determined, and all decrees of councils, opinions of ancient writers, doctrines of men, and private spirits, are to be examined, and in whose sentence we are to rest, can be no other but the Holy Spirit speaking in the Scripture.”

“For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword…” (Hebrews 4:12)


1. Leon Morris, The Tyndale New Testament Commentary 1Corinthians, (Grand Rapids, Michigan, Inter-Varsity Press, and Eerdmans, 1983), p. 78.

2. Simon J. Kistemaker, New Testament Commentary, 1Corinthians, (Grand Rapids, Michigan, Baker Book House, 1986), p. 134-135.

“To God, only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ forever. Amen.” (Romans 16:27) and “heirs according to the promise.” (Galatians 3:28, 29)

Mr. Kettler has previously published articles in the Chalcedon Report and Contra Mundum. He and his wife Marea attend the Westminster, CO, RPCNA Church. Mr. Kettler is the author of the book defending the Reformed Faith against attacks, titled: The Religion That Started in a Hat. Available at:

* The above article has been adapted from the book The Religion That Started in a Hat By Jack Kettler

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Kettler Dispatch Re: Francis A. Schaeffer

Francis A. Schaeffer b. 1912 – d. 1984

Francis August Schaeffer was an American evangelical theologian, philosopher, and Presbyterian pastor. He is best known for co-founding the L’Abri community in Switzerland with his wife Edith Schaeffer, née Seville. Wikipedia


“We must realize that the Reformation world view leads in the direction of government freedom. But the humanist world view with inevitable certainty leads in the direction of statism. This is so because humanists, having no god, must put something at the center, and it is inevitably society, government, or the state.” – Francis A. Schaeffer

“I am convinced that when Nietzsche came to Switzerland and went insane, it was not because of venereal disease, though he did have this disease. Rather, it was because he understood that insanity was the only philosophic answer if the infinite-personal God does not exist.” – Francis A. Schaeffer

“If we as Christians do not speak out as authoritarian governments grow from within or come from outside, eventually we or our children will be the enemy of society and the state. No truly authoritarian government can tolerate those who have real absolute by which to judge its arbitrary absolutes and who speak out and act upon that absolute.” – Francis A. Schaeffer

“If there is no final place for civil disobedience, then the government has been made autonomous, and as such, it has been put in the place of the living God.” – Francis A. Schaeffer

“True spirituality covers all of reality. There are things the Bible tells us to do as absolutes, which are sinful – which do not conform to the character of God. But aside from these things the Lordship of Christ covers all of life and all of life equally. It is not only that true spirituality covers all of life, but it covers all parts of the spectrum of life equally. In this sense there is nothing concerning reality that is not spiritual.” – Francis A. Schaeffer

“To make no decision in regard to the growth of authoritarian government is already a decision for it.” – Francis A. Schaeffer

“The moral absolutes rest upon God’s character. The moral commands He has given to men are an expression of His character. Men as created in His image are to live by choice on the basis of what God is. The standards of morality are determined by what conforms to His character, while those things which do not conform are immoral.” – Francis A. Schaeffer

“Most people catch their presuppositions from their family and surrounding society, the way that a child catches the measles. But people with understanding realize that their presuppositions should be *chosen* after a careful consideration of which worldview is true.” – Francis A. Schaeffer

“If man is not made in the image of God, nothing then stands in the way of inhumanity. There is no good reason why mankind should be perceived as special. Human life is cheapened. We can see this in many of the major issues being debated in our society today: abortion, infanticide, and euthanasia, the increase of child abuse and violence of all kinds, pornography …, and the routine torture of political prisoners in many parts of the world, the crime explosion, and the random violence which surrounds us.” – Francis A. Schaeffer

“When a man comes under the blood of Christ, his whole capacity as a man is refashioned. His soul is saved, yes, but so are his mind and his body. True spirituality means the lordship of Christ over the total man.” – Francis A. Schaeffer

“‎People have presuppositions… By ‘presuppositions’, we mean the basic way that an individual looks at life – his worldview. The grid through which he sees the world. Presuppositions rest upon that which a person considers to be the truth of what exists. A person’s presuppositions provide the basis for their values- and therefore the basis for their decisions.” – Francis A. Schaeffer

“In face of this modern nihilism, Christians are often lacking in courage. We tend to give the impression that we will hold on to the outward forms whatever happens, even if God really is not there. But the opposite ought to be true of us, so that people can see that we demand the truth of what is there and that we are not dealing merely with platitudes. In other words, it should be understood that we take this question of truth and personality so seriously that if God were not there we would be among the first of those who had the courage to step out of the queue.” – Francis A. Schaeffer

“If we as Christians do not speak out as authoritarian governments grow from within or come from outside, eventually we or our children will be the enemy of society and the state. No truly authoritarian government can tolerate those who have a real absolute by which to judge its arbitrary absolutes and who speak out and act upon the absolute. This was the issue with the early church in regard to the Roman Empire, and though the specific issue will in all probability take a different form than Caesar-worship, the basic issue of having an absolute by which to judge the state and society will be the same.” – Francis Schaeffer in How Should We Then Live?

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Images and Worship a primer


Images and Worship a primer By Jack Kettler

Images and Worship, a primer. This brief study will look at images of God in Worship, images to enhance Worship, images, and art that would distract from worship. In addition to its brevity, this primer is designed to provoke thought and discussion.

As in previous studies, definitions will be looked at along with scriptures, commentary evidence, and confessional support for the purpose to glorify God in how to live.

Images of God in Worship:

“You shall not make for yourself a carved image, (temuna) or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them …” (Exodus 20:4 ESV)

Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance

“image, likeness, similitude

Or tmunah {tem-oo-naw’}; from miyn; something portioned (i.e. Fashioned) out, as a shape, i.e. (indefinitely) phantom, or (specifically) embodiment, or (figuratively) manifestation (of favor) – image, likeness, similitude.”

Therefore, watch yourselves very carefully. Since you saw no form on the day that the LORD spoke to you at Horeb out of the midst of the fire, beware lest you act corruptly by making a carved image for yourselves, in the form of any figure, the likeness of male or female…” (Deuteronomy 4:15-16 ESV)

What is a graven image?

It is a carved idol or representation of a god used as an object of Worship. An image would include pictures.

From Keil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament on Deuteronomy 4:16:

“In the words, “The day (היּום, adverbial accusative) “that thou stoodest before Jehovah thy God at Horeb,” etc., Moses reminds the people of the leading features of those grand events: first of all of the fact that God directed him to gather the people together, that He might make known His words to them (Exodus 19:9.), that they were to learn to fear Him all their life long, and to teach their children also (יראה, inf., like שׂנאה, Deuteronomy 1:27); and secondly (Deuteronomy 4:11), that they came near to the mountain which burned in fire (cf. Exodus 19:17.). The expression, burning in fire “even to the heart of heaven,” i.e., quite into the sky, is a rhetorical description of the awful majesty of the pillar of fire, in which the glory of the Lord appeared upon Sinai, intended to impress deeply upon the minds of the people the remembrance of this manifestation of God. And the expression, “darkness, clouds, and thick darkness,” which is equivalent to the smoking of the great mountain (Exodus 19:18), is employed with the same object. And lastly (Deuteronomy 4:12, Deuteronomy 4:13), he reminds them that the Lord spoke out of the midst of the fire, and adds this important remark, to prepare the way for what is to follow, “Ye heard the sound of the words, but ye did not see a shape,” which not only agrees most fully with Exodus 24, where it is stated that the sight of the glory of Jehovah upon the mountain appeared to the people as they stood at the foot of the mountain “like devouring fire” (Deuteronomy 4:17), and that even the elders who “saw God” upon the mountain at the conclusion of the covenant saw no form of God (Deuteronomy 4:11), but also with Exodus 33:20, Exodus 33:23, according to which no man can see the face (פּנים) of God. Even the similitude (Temunah) of Jehovah, which Moses saw when the Lord spoke to him mouth to mouth (Numbers 12:8), was not the form of the essential being of God which was visible to his bodily eyes, but simply a manifestation of the glory of God answering to his own intuition and perceptive faculty, which is not to be regarded as a form of God which was an adequate representation of the divine nature. The true God has no such form which is visible to the human eye.” (1)

Making images of God are forbidden in all forms.

What about pictures of Christ, are they forbidden?

Images of Christ by James Durham

“And if it be said man’s soul cannot be painted, but his body may, and yet that picture representeth a man; I answer, it doth so, because he has but one nature, and what representeth that representeth the person; but it is not so with Christ: his Godhead is not a distinct part of the human nature, as the soul of man is (which is necessarily supposed in every living man), but a distinct nature, only united with the manhood in that one person, Christ, who has no fellow; therefore what representeth him must not represent a man only, but must represent Christ, Immanuel, God-man, otherwise it is not his image. Beside, there is no warrant for representing him in his manhood; nor any colourable possibility of it, but as men fancy; and shall that be called Christ’s portraiture? would that be called any other man’s portraiture which were drawn at men’s pleasure, without regard to the pattern? Again, there is no use of it; for either that image behooved to have but common estimation with other images, and that would wrong Christ, or a peculiar respect and reverence, and so it sinneth against the commandment that forbiddeth all religious reverence to images, but he being God and so the object of worship, we must either divide his natures, or say, that image or picture representeth not Christ.” (2)

Pictures of Christ by Loraine Boettner

“Closely akin to the use of images is that of pictures of Christ. And these, we are sorry to say, are often found in Protestant as well as Roman Catholic churches. But nowhere in the Bible, in either the Old or New Testament, is there a description of Christ’s physical features. No picture of Him was painted during His earthly ministry. The church had no pictures of Him during the first four centuries. The so-called pictures of Christ, like those of Mary and the saints, are merely the production of the artist’s imagination. . . . No picture can do justice to his personality, for he was not only human, but divine. And no picture can portray his deity. All such pictures are fatally defective. . . . For most people the so-called pictures of Christ are not an aid to worship but rather a hindrance, and for many they present a temptation to that very idolatry against which the Scriptures warn so clearly.” (3)

In light of the above, it can be said:

1. Pictures of Christ have no semblance to the way He actually looked. Christ’s glory cannot be captured in a picture, so they are necessarily inaccurate and false.

2. Since no one knows what Christ looked like, all pictures of Him are necessarily false.

3. Furthermore, since an imaginary picture of Christ cannot capture His deity, they are false.

The “Iconoclastic Council,” of 754 decreed that because Christ is God and man in one Person, it is not possible to make a true picture of Him, and thus that all pictures of Christ are idolatrous, whether venerated or not.

What about images of saints to enhance Worship? Can this be justified?

“…beware lest you act corruptly by making a carved image for yourselves, in the form of any figure, the likeness of male or female …” (Deuteronomy 4:16 ESV)

In some churches, you find statues or pictures of Mary, Joseph, and the Apostles. The churches that have statues usually hold to the doctrine of special sainthood of the apostles and others. Prayers asking for intercession are offered to these special saints. From one Roman Catholic website, it says, “Praying to the saints is praying to God, in a fundamental way.” This website goes on and says, “The authors of the Vatican II document Lumen Gentium (“light of the nations”) noted that it was important that we “suppliantly invoke” the saints and “have recourse to their prayers…”

Prayers for the intercession of the saints is a doctrine also held by the Eastern Orthodox Church. Eastern Orthodox Churches do not have statues. Instead, they use pictures called Icons, which are supposedly windows into heaven.

Do statues and pictures of the special saints used to facilitate divine intercession fall under the condemnation of Deuteronomy 4:16?

To answer this question, consider:

The Church of England’s “Thirty-Nine Articles” denounce the “invocation of saints” as “a fond thing, vainly invented, and grounded upon no warranty of Scripture, but rather repugnant to the Word of God” (Article XXII).

In answer to the question, yes pictures and statues that aid in or facilitate prayers to God or the saints violate Deuteronomy 4:6.

Can a church have pictures and statues not of God for decoration similar to stained glass windows or stylish carpets? Possibly, but the consideration of distraction from the preaching can be a real danger. Ugly carpeting and stained glass windows while not forbidden can be causes of distraction. If not for Worship, why there be a statue or picture of a saint placed in the sanctuary?

Are there Scriptural approved visual representations for Worship?

The sacraments of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper are visual representations of the gospel.

Can images and art distract from Worship? The danger of emotional experience:

Art and music can most certainly stimulate emotions. Emotional stimuli is not necessarily bad. However, do intensified emotions indicate something spiritual is happening? Not necessarily. Can emotions be confused with the movement of the Holy Spirit? Is so, then there is a danger of outside stimuli that can move the emotions and be confused with the work of the Holy Spirit?

Consider the dangers of visual stimuli in Worship:

“To my mind this means that we should avoid introducing other media in our sermons. If we are tempted to use them to aid our communication, we should understand that we are making our own job harder, not easier. If people’s brains are trained to love images and videos and want to click on to more and more of them, then the last thing we should do in the middle of our sustained preaching is to turn on that desire, to remind them of what they are missing, to set alongside our verbal the stimulus of the visual. This can only make it harder for people to listen after the image, not easier.” (4)

It times past there was much more concern about visual and emotional stimuli that could interfere with gospel preaching. The next entry shows historically how a safeguard was put in place to prevent this.

One paragraph from “Why a Genevan Robe?” By Dr. C. Matthew McMahon:

“The Genevan Robe aids the congregation in being reminded as to what is taking place – it is the elevation of the Word of God. As Paul states in 1Thessalonians 2:13, “For this reason we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe.” The Genevan Robe emphasizes the importance of heeding the Word of God, instead of worrying about how the pastor looks this week. Allow this example to make the point – after a service that I attended in a church I was visiting, I overheard two women talking immediately after the service. At first, I thought that these women were going to make a comment about the sermon that had been given. Instead, they began talking about something quite different. One woman said, “Didn’t the pastor look wonderful today?” The other responded (truly) by saying, “Yes, the crease in his pants is always so perfect.” I was taken back. Instead of concentrating on the Word of God being preached, these women (and it could have just as easily been the men) commented on how good the pastor looked that day. The personality, clothing, and demeanor of the pastor should not reflect the manner in which he dressed that day in a nice suit, but rather the Word of God should be the focal point where attention should be called. The Genevan Robe aids in the congregation’s focus on the Word of God, and is a lawful distraction from the personality, demeanor and clothing of the preacher who is standing in the pulpit to deliver that Word.” (5)

Historically some of the Puritans used the Geneva Robe and a hat to mask the preacher’s apparel and appearance. All the congregants saw was the minister’s face and his mouth moving to proclaim the Word of God. All attention was to be directed to the Word of God and not the man delivering the message.

A summary of Reformed Catechisms on images of God:

Lord’s Day 35 (Heidelberg Catechism, 1563)

96. Q. What does God require in the second commandment?

A. That we in no wise make any image of God, nor worship him in any other way than he has commanded in his word.

97. Q. May we, then, not make any image at all?

A. God neither can nor may be visibly represented in any way. As for creatures, though they may be visibly represented, yet God forbids us to make or have any likeness of them in order to worship them or serve God by them.

98. Q. But may not images be tolerated in the churches as books for the laity?

A. No; for we must not be wiser than God, who will not have his people taught by dumb images, but by the living preaching of his word.

Q. 109. What sins are forbidden in the second commandment?

A. The sins forbidden in the second commandment are, all devising, counseling, commanding, using, and any wise approving, any religious worship not instituted by God himself; the making any representation of God, of all or of any of the three persons, either inwardly in our mind, or outwardly in any kind of image or likeness of any creature whatsoever; all worshiping of it, or God in it or by it; the making of any representation of feigned deities, and all worship of them, or service belonging to them; all superstitious devices, corrupting the worship of God, adding to it, or taking from it, whether invented and taken up of ourselves, or received by tradition from others, though under the title of antiquity, custom, devotion, good intent, or any other pretense whatsoever; simony; sacrilege; all neglect, contempt, hindering, and opposing the worship and ordinances which God hath appointed. (Westminster Larger Catechism, 1647.)

It can be concluded that:

· All images of God and Christ in any form are forbidden

· Images and statues of the saints to facilitate Worship is forbidden

· All outside visual and emotional stimuli to effect Worship is dangerous

In closing, questions for discussion:

Can a musical performance at church cause an emotional response on the part of some in the audience, rather than a conversion based on the preaching of the gospel? If so, is this a danger? Can music and images to be used to get people to come to church? If so, is this a danger? What about images and art in general? For example, would it be wrong to look at a Leonardo Da Vinci painting of Christ in a museum? Does the regulative principle of Worship extend into private life? If so, would it be wrong to listen to instrumental music in the home?


1. Keil-Delitzsch, Commentary on the Old Testament, Deuteronomy, (Grand Rapids, Michigan, William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Reprinted 1985), p. 311-312.

2. James Durham, The Law Unsealed, or, A Practical Exposition of the Ten Commandments, (Glasgow. Printed by John Bryce), p. 89.

3. Loraine Boettner, Roman Catholicism, (Phillipsburg, New Jersey, Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing CO. signed copy 1984), p. 284.

4. Garry Williams, The World in the Church: A Distracted World, a Distracted Church? October 2015

5. Dr. C. Matthew McMahon, Why a Genevan Robe?


“To God, only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ forever. Amen.” (Romans 16:27) and “heirs according to the promise.” (Galatians 3:28, 29)

Mr. Kettler has previously published articles in the Chalcedon Report and Contra Mundum. He and his wife Marea attend the Westminster, CO, RPCNA Church. Mr. Kettler is the author of the book defending the Reformed Faith against attacks, titled: The Religion That Started in a Hat. Available at:

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Ephesians chapter 5, a devotional summary

Ephesians chapter 5, a devotional summary by Jack Kettler

As in previous studies, scriptures, commentary evidence, will be looked at for the purpose to glorify God in how to live.

Demonstrating Christ’s Love Ephesians 5:1, 2:

“Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children” (5:1).

“And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God” (5:2).

Flee from sexual immorality Ephesians 5:3-5:

“But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints” (5:30).

Cross References to verse Ephesians 5:3

“Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a man can commit is outside his body, but he who sins, sexually sins against his own body.” (1Corinthians 6:18)

“Put to death, therefore, the components of your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires, and greed, which is idolatry.” (Colossians 3:5)

From Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible on Ephesians 5:3:

“But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness … The apostle proceeds to dehort from several vices, which are unbecoming the dear children and followers of God; and which the love of Christ should constrain them to avoid: the first of these, which is simple “fornication”, is the sin which is committed between single or unmarried persons; and is contrary to the law of God, is a work of the flesh, and is against a man’s own body; it renders persons unfit for church communion, brings many temporal calamities upon them, and exposes them to divine wrath, and excludes from the kingdom of heaven, without repentance; and the reason why it is so often taken notice of is, because it was very frequent among the Gentiles, and not thought criminal: “all uncleanness” takes in adultery, incest, sodomy, and every unnatural lust; and “covetousness” seems not so much to design that sin which is commonly so called, namely, an immoderate desire after worldly things, as a greedy and insatiable appetite after the above lusts:

let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; that is, neither one or other of them; the sense is, that they should not be committed; so that there might be no occasion to speak of them, even though with abhorrence, as if there were no such vices in being; and much less should they be named with pleasure, and pleaded for: for thus it becomes such who are set apart by God the Father, whose sins are expiated by the blood of Christ, and whose hearts are sanctified by the Spirit of God; who profess the Gospel of Christ, and have a place and a name in God’s house, better than that of sons and daughters.” (1)

“Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving” (5:4).

“For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God” (5:5).

Living in Christ’s Grace Ephesians 5:6-14:

“Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience” (5:6).

“Therefore do not become partners with them” (5:7);

“for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light” (5:8)

“(for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true),” (5:9)

“and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord” (5:10).

“Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them” (5:11).

“For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret” (5:12).

“But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible” (5:13),

“for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says, Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you” (5:14).

Living with Christ’s wisdom Ephesians 5:15-17:

“Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise” (5:15),

“making the best use of the time, because the days are evil” (5:16).

5:17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.

Warning against drunkenness and exhortation to praise God Ephesians 5:18-21:

“And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit” (5:18),

Cross References to Ephesian 5:18

“Wine is a mocker, strong drink is a brawler, and whoever is led astray by them is not wise.” (Proverbs 20:1)

“Those who linger over wine, those who go to taste mixed drinks.” (Proverbs 23:30)

“Do not gaze at wine while it is red, when it sparkles in the cup and goes down smoothly.” (Proverbs 23:31)

From Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers on Ephesians 5:18:

“(18) Be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess. —From the general idea of reckless levity, St. Paul passes on to the special sin of drunkenness, as not (like gluttony) primarily a gratification of the appetite, but as a reckless pursuit of excitement at all costs—glorified as an excitement of emotion, and even of wit and intellect, in such contemporary writers as Horace, and actually confused, as in the Dionysiac or Bacchanalian frenzy, with a divine inspiration. How necessary the admonition was we see by the directions as to the choice of clergy in the Pastoral Epistles (1Tim. 3:28; Titus 1:7; Titus 2:3); the more necessary, because (as 1Timothy 5:23 shows) the right use of wine was recognised. Hence St. Paul emphatically brands drunkenness as “excess,” a word properly signifying “recklessness”—“incapable of saving,” or denying itself anything, and naturally passing through this want of self-restraint into profligacy—rightly translated “riot” in Titus 1:6, 1Peter 4:4, as the corresponding adverb is rendered “riotous living” in Luke 15:13. For drunkenness is at once the effect and cause of utter recklessness. It is the effect of a self-abandonment, by which the sensual or passionate elements of the nature are stimulated to frenzy, while the self-controlling judgment is drugged to sleep. It is the cause of yet greater recklessness: for as these passions and appetites become jaded, they need stronger and stronger stimulants, till the whole nature, bodily and mental, is lost in delirium or stupor.

But be filled with the Spirit.—The antithesis is startling, but profoundly instructive. To the artificial and degrading excitement of drunkenness St. Paul boldly opposes the divine enthusiasm of the Spirit, one form of which was scoffingly compared to it on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:13). He is not content with warning us of its ruinous excess, or urging the strictness of stern self-restraint. Drunkenness comes from an unnatural craving for excitement, stimulated by unwholesome conditions of life, physical and mental. He would satisfy the craving, so far as it is natural, by a divine enthusiasm, brighter and stronger than even duty to God and man, breaking out in thanksgiving, adoration, and love.” (2)

“addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart” (5:19),

“giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (5:20),

“submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ” (5:21).

Exhortations to Wives and Husbands Ephesians 5:22-33:

“Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord” (5:22).

Cross References to Ephesians 5:22

“Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.” (Colossians 3:18)

“Wives, in the same way, submit yourselves to your husbands, so that even if they refuse to believe the word, they will be won over without words by the behavior of their wives.” (1Peter 3:1)

From Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary on Ephesians 5:22:

“22. (Eph. 6:9.) The Church’s relation to Christ in His everlasting purpose, is the foundation and archetype of the three greatest of earthly relations, that of husband and wife (Eph. 5:22-33), parent and child (Eph. 6:1-4), master and servant (Eph. 6:4-9). The oldest manuscripts omit “submit yourselves”; supplying it from Eph. 5:21, “Ye wives (submitting yourselves) unto your own husbands.” “Your own” is an argument for submissiveness on the part of the wives; it is not a stranger, but your own husbands whom you are called on to submit unto (compare Ge 3:16; 1Co 7:2; 14:34; Col 3:18; Tit 2:5; 1Pe 3:1-7). Those subjects ought to submit themselves, of whatever kind their superiors are. “Submit” is the term used of wives: “obey,” of children (Eph. 6:1), as there is a greater equality between wives and husbands, than between children and parents.

as unto the Lord—Submissiveness is rendered by the wife to the husband under the eye of Christ, and so is rendered to Christ Himself. The husband stands to the wife in the relation that the Lord does to the Church, and this is to be the ground of her submission: though that submission is inferior in kind and degree to that which she owes Christ (Eph. 5:24).”(3)

“For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior” (5:23).

“Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands” (5:24).

“Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her” (5:25),

Cross References to Ephesians 5:25

“Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.” (Colossians 3:19)

“Husbands, in the same way, treat your wives with consideration as a delicate vessel and with honor as fellow heirs of the gracious gift of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered.” (1Peter 3:7)

From Matthew Poole’s Commentary on Ephesians 5:25:

“Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, viz. with a sincere, pure, ardent, and constant affection. As they resemble Christ in the honour they have of being the heads of their wives, so they must likewise in performing the duty of loving them, under which all matrimonial duties are comprehended.

And gave himself for it; whereby he testified the greatness of his love.” (4)

“that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word” (5:26),

“so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish” (5:27).

“In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself” (5:28).

“For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church” (5:29),

“because we are members of his body” (5:30).

“Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh” (5:31).

“This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church” (5:32).

“However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband” (5:33).

All Scriptures from the English Standard Version (ESV)


1. John Gill, Exposition of the Old and New Testaments, Ephesians, (Grace Works, Multi-Media Labs), 2011, p. 105-106.

2. Charles John Ellicott, Bible Commentary for English Readers, Ephesians, Vol. 3, (London, England, Cassell and Company), p. 50.

3. Jamieson, Fausset and Brown, Commentary on the Whole Bible, (Grand Rapids, Michigan, Zondervan, 1977) p. 1295.

4. Matthew Poole’s Commentary on the Holy Bible, Vol. 3, (Peabody, Massachusetts, Hendrickson Publishers, 1985) p. 677.

“To God, only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ forever. Amen.” (Romans 16:27) and “heirs according to the promise.” (Galatians 3:28, 29)
Mr. Kettler has previously published articles in the Chalcedon Report and Contra Mundum. He and his wife Marea attend the Westminster, CO, RPCNA Church. Mr. Kettler is the author of the book defending the Reformed Faith against attacks, titled: The Religion That Started in a Hat. Available at:

Mr. Kettler has previously published articles in the Chalcedon Report and Contra Mundum. He and his wife Marea attend the Westminster, CO, RPCNA Church. Mr. Kettler is the author of the book defending the Reformed Faith against attacks, titled: The Religion That Started in a Hat. Available at:

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