John T. Willis

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Announcement of Jesus' Birth--Luke 1:26-38

The story of the announcement of the birth of Jesus in Luke 1:26-38 is strikingly similar to the announcement of the birth of John the Baptist in Luke 1:5-25. These announcements are very similar to the announcements of Ishmael (Genesis 16:1-6), Isaac (Genesis 17:15-22; 18:1-15; 21:1-7), Samson (Judges 13:2-25), and Samuel
(1 Samuel 1:1-20).

1. The narrator introduces the parents--1:5-10, 26-27
2. The angel Gabriel appears to the parents--1:11,19, 28
3. The angel Gabriel says to the parents: "Do not fear"--1:13, 30
4. The wife will bear a son--1:13, 31
5. You shall call him John or Jesus--1:13, 31
6. He shall be great--1:15, 32
7. Zechariah's question: "How shall I know?" Mary's question: "How shall it be?"
1:18, 34
8. The angel Gabriel's answer: I have been sent to announce this to you; and The holy spirit will come upon you--1:19, 35.

I. The Narrator introduces the parents Joseph and Mary--Luke 1:26-27.
a. In the sixth month of Elizabeth's pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth. 1:26.
b. Mary was a virgin engaged to Joseph. 1:27.

II. The Angel Gabriel announces to Mary that Jesus will be born--Luke 1:28-31.
a. Gabriel states that Mary is "favored" and "The Lord is with you." 1:28. The declaration: "The Lord is with you," is a common assurance throughout scripture. See for example: Exodus 3:12; Joshua 1:5; Judges 6:16; 1 Samuel 16:18; 17:37; 18:12, 14, 28. The language in 1:28 is very similar to Zephaniah 3:14-17.
b. But Mary was very perplexed over this announcement. 1:29.
c. The angel Gabriel assured her: "Do not be afraid." Then he promises her that she will have a son and call him Jesus. 1:30-31.

III. The Angel Gabriel describes Jesus using FIVE terms--Luke 1:32-33 [which is
clearly based on 2 Samuel 7:9, 13, 14, 16).
a. He will be GREAT.
b. He will be called "the Son of the Most High." This is a royal term denoting an earthly king. See 2 Samuel 7:14; Psalm 89:25-27.
c. God will give him the throne of David.
d. He will reign over the house of Jacob forever.
e. Of his kingdom there will be no end.

IV. Mary questions Gabriel, and Gabriel assures him Jesus will be born--Luke 1:34-38.
a. Mary does not believe this will happen because she is a virgin. 1:34.
b. Gabriel declares that the Holy Spirit will come upon her, Mary will conceive and give birth to Jesus, who will be called "Son of God" and "holy." 1:35.
c. Gabriel tells Mary that Elizabeth is old but conceive and will have a son. Both of these births are possible because: "Nothing will be impossible with God." This assurance is miraculous, and occurs often in scripture: see for example Genesis 18:14; Jeremiah 32:27; Job 42:2; Zechariah 8:6. 1:36-37.
d. Mary concedes. She says: "Let it be with me according to your word." Then Gabrial departed. 1:38.

This is a powerful, uplifting, encouraging story. I hope this will encourage YOU.

Share YOUR insights and ideas with others. Let me hear from YOU.

John Willis

Friday, October 21, 2011

Biblical Female Teachers, Deacons, Elders, Preachers--Part 6

As we continue our study of Biblical Female Teachers, Deacons, Elders, and Preachers, in this blog we will discuss what the Bible teaches about female elders. We have already dealt with introductory matters, with female teachers, and female deacons.

I. The New Testament uses SIX synonymous terms for the function of "elder."
a. Elder--Greek presbuteros, presbutes, presbutis. The different cognates of this root appear 74 times in the New Testament. In most texts, these terms appear with reference to the elders of the Jews: see for example: Matthew 15:2; 16:21; 21:23; Mark 7:3, 5; Luke 7:3; 9:22; Acts 4:5, 8. [PLEASE find all these passages by using YOUR concordance]. Most of these texts do not specify whether these "elders" are males or females. A few texts designate them as "males"--for example, Acts 2:17;
1 Peter 5:1 [Peter identifies himself as an "elder"] a few texts designate them as "females"--1 Timothy 5:2; Titus 2:3.
b. Presbyter. This is simply a TRANSLITERATION from Greek into English. Hence, in modern times there are "presbyters" in the Presbyterian and other denominations. These denominations usually use males and females.
c. Shepherd--Greek poimen. The verb poimaino and the noun poimen appear 28 times in the New Testament. Usually, these terms refer to a shepherd with sheep literally or figuratively. See for example Matthew 2:6; Luke 17:7; John 10:2, 11, 12, 14, 16. [PLEASE consult YOUR concordance to study all these texts]. The Bible [Old or New Testament] never designates a "shepherd" as a male or a female, but texts like Exodus 2:16-19 implies that both males and females tended sheep. Hebrews 13:20 and
1 Peter 2:25 refer to Jesus Christ as "shepherd." Ephesians 4:11 couples "shepherds" with "teachers." It is obvious that according to the Bible both males and females were teachers in the church of God; hence, naturally "shepherds" would be both males and females. "Shepherd" is not a "gender specific" term, but a term about a person who cares for sheep.
d. Pastor. The English word "pastor" is from the Latin "pastores," which means "shepherd."
e. Overseer. Greek episkopos with various cognates from this root. This term appears 11 times in the New Testament. The meaning of this term is very obscure. For example, Acts 1:20 refers to Matthias. 1 Peter 2:25 refers to Jesus Christ as a parallel to "shepherd."
f. Bishop. The English word "bishop" is a TRANSLITERATION adapted to English from the Greek episkopos=[e]p[b]isk[h]op[os]. Thus, "bishop" is identical with "overseer."

II. The New Testament contains precious few texts about elders. Here is the list.
Acts 11:30 [?]
Acts 14:23
Acts 15:2, 4, 6, 22, 23; 16:4 [all concerning the Jerusalem council]
Acts 20:17-38
Acts 21:18
Philippians 1:1
1 Timothy 3:1-7; 5:1-2, 17, 19
Titus 1:5-9
James 5:14
1 Peter 5:1-5
2 John 1 [?]; 3 John 1 [?]

III. The function of elders is to care for the sheep in every way.
a. Ezekiel 34:1-16 paints a clear picture of the function of a shepherd.
b. Some people insist that the expression "the husband of one wife" in 1 Timothy 3:2 and Titus 1:6 PROVES that ONLY MALES can be elders. But this term is NOT GENDER SPECIFIC. Rather, it has to do with "spouses." Hence, the New Revised Standard Version translates this better as: "married only once."
c. The situation in Philippians centers on two women, Euodia and Syntyche [see specifically Philippians 4:2]. These two women were obviously prominent influential people in the church at Philippi. In all likelihood, "bishops" in Philippians 1:1 includes Euodia and Syntyche.

IV. For a long time, numerous books and articles have been written on "the role of elders" in the church. ALL who write such books are VERY CREATIVE, because there is ALMOST NO EVIDENCE about the function of elders in the church. That elders are MALE ONLY is nothing but an assumption. To be sure, 1 Peter 5:1-4 specifically identifies Peter, a male, as an elder. At the same time, Paul instructs Timothy to speak kindly to "an older man" and "older women."

V. Because of a very long human tradition, local churches may choose to select MALES ONLY as elders or shepherds. Biblically, both males and females fit the function of elders or shepherds.

Share YOUR insights and thoughts with others. Let me hear from YOU.

John Willis