BIBLE STUDIES

Are There Heroes in the Bible?

The Society has such a strong relationship with heroes that we find various occasions to celebrate these people.

It's easy enough to find heroes in our personal lives, society, and the books we consume, but are there such obvious heroes in the Bible?

In fact, as Christians, we can identify individuals in our lives as heroes based on the sense of morality taught to us by Jesus.

With these two truths, we can distinguish people as heroes for not only overcoming their sinful nature, but doing so in a way that supports, encourages, and uplifts other people.

Who are these heroes of the Bible?

1. DANIEL

"So the king gave the order, and they brought Daniel and threw him into the lions' den.

The king said to Daniel, 'May your God, whom you continually serve, rescue you!'" "Then Daniel spoke with the king: 'May the king live forever.

Daniel, our first hero, portrayed this truth after disobeying an ordinance put in place by King Darius.

King Darius's subordinates, called the satraps, set themselves up as the villains of this particular story, acting as the foil for the hero Daniel.

Daniel faced King Darius' consequence, only his trip to the lion's den did not end in death.

2. DAVID

"David said to the Philistine, 'You come against me with a sword, spear, and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord of Armies, the God of the ranks of Israel—you have defied him.'" "David put his hand in the bag, took out a stone, slung it, and hit the Philistine on his forehead.

Christians today can easily recognize David as a hero for two reasons: showcasing an unwavering faith in God and standing up to a much larger foe.

With nothing but a rock, a slingshot, and plenty of faith, David routed his opponent.

This is another example of someone showcasing the power of faith and putting God first. David did not enter into battle proclaiming the significance of man, but rather his reverence for God.

Faith, putting others before himself, and defeating a mighty foe, David has become emblematic of any hero facing a giant enemy.

3. MOSES

"As for you, lift up your staff, stretch out your hand over the sea, and divide it so that the Israelites can go through the sea on dry ground."

Moses displayed himself as a hero by performing several good deeds on behalf of God and his people.

Much of what Moses did was to get the Israelites to the Promised Land; only Moses himself did not ever reach such a place.

Even with this sad truth, in the next chapter, Moses blesses his people and speaks highly of God.

Moses portrays a painful sacrifice that not many would make, knowing that in the end, others would inherit a benefit and he would not.

4. JESUS

What more noteworthy biblical hero is there than Jesus?

After Jesus' death, He returned, having conquered what many fear is the end; He shows us that we can find salvation through Him.

Through His actions, Jesus overcame numerous enemies: Satan, His persecutors, and death.

Jesus was a hero throughout every chapter of His life on Earth, a reason why every believer and almost every nonbeliever knows the word.

Not hero, but Jesus.

How Should We View the Concept of Heroes of the Bible?

Heroism involves sacrifice, sometimes a sacrifice that means people reap a benefit that the hero does not.

There are definite similarities between our biblical heroes and those we see around us day-to-day.

However, what the biblical heroes utilize just as much as the other traits is faith in God.

If we want to be both heroes and Christians, we have to make sure we are not just serving humankind or ourselves; we have to serve God.

Heroes make a difference in their homes, communities, nations, and the entire world, not just today or the past, but also for the future - and they always will.



What Do Propitiation and Expiation Mean in the Bible?

You get a speeding ticket. This ticket is a transgression of traffic law, resulting in a fine that must be paid.

These terms are theologically dense and highly nuanced.

Despite this legal connotation, propitiation and expiation are not dry or lifeless words.

Knowing the subtle nuances behind these terms, then, helps us uncover the radical message of the gospel.

Are there subtle differences between these two terms?

  1. The Meaning of Propitiation

In the example of the speeding ticket, propitiation would refer to the act of paying the ticket. Paying the speeding ticket appeases the anger of the courts.

Firstly, rather than appeasing God’s anger, propitiation is understood to assuage God’s “wrath.” This may seem like splitting hairs, but the nuance between wrath and anger is critical.

More importantly, however, the biblical use of propitiation describes something that God does for humanity, not something humanity does for God.

John writes, “This is love: not that we loved God, but that God loved us, and sent his Son as a propitiation for our sins” .

Biblically, propitiation for our sins is found only in the love of God, as revealed in the sacrifice of Jesus.

2. Meaning of Expiation

In the example of the speeding ticket, expiation would refer to the renewed relationship with the legal system resulting from the payment of the ticket. Once payment is made, the ticket no longer exists.

Whereas propitiation refers to what God does in response to our sin, expiation refers to the forgiveness we realize because of Christ’s sacrifice.

The biblical word often used to describe this renewed relationship is the word “atonement.” In fact, in many ways, the words expiation and atonement are interchangeable.

When the word is taken apart, atonement means “at-one-ment.” Scripturally, then, atonement refers to the re-establishment of a covenant relationship with God.

In Christ, this atonement shifted away from the continual sacrifice of animals to the one-time sacrifice of Christ on the cross

How Propitiation and Expiation Work Together

Without the crucifixion, the resurrection is nonsensical; without the resurrection, the crucifixion holds no meaning. The two must be held together and be understood to refer to one thing: God’s loving gift of salvation.

Propitiation refers to the activity of Jesus.

Propitiation describes Jesus enduring the cross as a living sacrifice for us.

John states that Jesus is the propitiation, the atoning sacrifice, for the sins of the world .

And just like the crucifixion and resurrection, propitiation and expiation must be held together and be seen to refer to one thing: the removal of sin through Christ’s sacrifice of the cross.

ELIJAH

The Bible story of Elijah is found in the Old Testament, in the first book of Kings chapters 17 and 18. Elijah's story begins by introducing the state of affairs for the people of Israel.

When Elijah returned the boy to his mother, the woman could recognize that Elijah was a man of God and was amazed.

The story continues as Elijah confronts the evil king, Ahab, about being the cause of problems for the people of Israel.

Elijah challenges Ahab to a demonstration of his deity, Baal, versus the God of Elijah at Mount Carmel.

When it is Elijah's turn he boldly drenches the sacrament with water to display his supreme trust in God to start a fire despite being wet. Then Elijah began to pray:

“O Lord, God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, let it be known today

that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have

Answer me, O Lord,

answer me, so these people will know that you, O Lord, are God,

God then sent down a fire that completely engulfed the sacrament in flames and the people of Israel rejoiced with a newfound faith in God.

Not only do we see evidence of this man threaded throughout portions of the Old Testament, but we also find mention of him sprinkled in the New Testament as well.


  • So who was Elijah?

How did his faith intertwine with his everyday living?

Let’s take a look at fifteen attributes of Elijah and see how this man of faith encourages us in our own faith today.  

1. Elijah was a Prophet


Elijah’s message and the meaning of his name go together like a fresh glass of milk and warm cookies.

As a prophet he adamantly shared God’s message and warnings.

Elijah came near to all the people, and said, “How long will you waver between the two sides?

The people didn’t say a word.


 2. Elijah was a Man Who Heard God


Include Elijah on this list. Call him a man who heard God.

Peppered throughout 1 Kings 17- 22 as well as in 2 Kings 1 & 2, we see instances of Elijah leaning his ear.

Then Yahweh’s word came to him… 1 Kings 17:2 WEB

He came to a cave there, and camped there; and behold, Yahweh’s word came to him, and he said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” 1 Kings 19:9 WEB

 3. Elijah was a Man who Walked in Obedience

Multiple times God directed Elijah to speak hard truths, trust for provision when circumstances appeared bleak, or stand firm in faith of God’s promises being fulfilled.

Time and time again, Elijah set the example of loyal obedience to God our Father.

So he went and did according to Yahweh’s word; for he went and lived by the brook Cherith that is before the Jordan.

1 Kings 17:5 WEB

 4. Elijah was a Man Who Experienced God’s Provision

Elijah drank in God’s promises and found his needs quenched by the Almighty’s hand.

God’s provision displayed powerfully and beautifully in the life of Elijah.

I have commanded the ravens to feed you there.” 1 Kings 17:4 WEB

The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning, and bread and meat in the evening; and he drank from the brook.

 5. Elijah Was a Prayer Warrior

We see Elijah in communion with God many times throughout the Old Testament.

He stands as a voice encouraging all to grab prayer and be a warrior, to know the LORD is God and follow him.

Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain, and it didn’t rain on the earth for three years and six months.


James 5:17 WEB

6. Elijah Expected Miracles

We see miracles threaded throughout Elijah’s ministry.

A bull offering doused in water, enough to overflow and fill the surrounding trench, proved no match for the fire of God.

I’d consider that a miracle at the hands of God Almighty.

Then Yahweh’s fire fell, and consumed the burnt offering, the wood, the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench.

 Jezebel coaxed her husband, King Ahab, into Baal worship versus God worship.

Ahab did evil in the eyes of the Lord, forsaking the Lord’s commandments.

Follow the thread as he confronts Ahab then challenges followers of Baal with water, an offering, and fire—all noted in 1 Kings 18.

He answered, “I have not troubled Israel; but you, and your father’s house, in that you have forsaken Yahweh’s commandments, and you have followed the Baals.

1 Kings 18:18 WEB

7. Elijah was Brave

The message Elijah championed rang clear and seemingly easy, but not everyone wanted to hear its contents.

An unwelcomed message, however, didn’t deter Elijah.

He bravely championed God Almighty and the messages given from Above, even when those messages offered challenges, correction, or bad news for the one receiving them.

He answered him, “It is I. Go, tell your lord, ‘Behold, Elijah is here!’” 1 Kings 18:8 WEB

 9. Elijah was a Man who Held Belief When Situations Turned Dim

Many times Elijah found himself in the midst of a seemingly dimming situation.

But he held belief.

When promised rain remained absent, Elijah held belief, sending his servant to check the horizon seven times.

He said, “Go again” seven times.

10. Elijah Ran in Fear

The man who stood in solid obedience and courage also ran in fear.

Throughout 1 Kings 19 we see Elijah grappling amid the battle with fear.

The fear clawing and scratching at Elijah dissolves.

So yes, Elijah ran in fear, but he also found courage through God.

11. Elijah Faced Discouragement

When I read 1 Kings 19’s account of Elijah fleeing from the clutches of evil Jezebel, I breathe a sigh of relief.

The sigh isn’t birthed by the fact that Elijah fled or that Jezebel tossed her evil threats his way.

The sigh rises from yet another realization that Elijah was a real person facing authentic, human emotions.

Reading Elijah’s account reassures we’re not alone

12. Elijah was Tempted by a Small Vision

How easy it is to view life through the lens of human vision.

A small vision, focus of the human kind, assured he was the only follower of God left, that everyone else had fallen into worship of the false god, Baal.

In 1 King’s 19:18, we see mention of 7,000 Israelites who refused to bow a knee to Baal.

We can trust the vision of our heavenly Father.

the prophet mentioned earlier, clung to Elijah.


When the sons of the prophets who were at Jericho over against him saw him, they said, “The spirit of Elijah rests on Elisha.” They came to meet him, and bowed themselves to the ground before him.

Imagine the view: Elijah standing alongside Moses, the two conversing with Jesus.

The three together, Moses, Elijah, and Jesus, represented fulfillment of the promise of salvation.

For a more thorough view of the prophet, we can read through 1 Kings 17-22, 2 Kings 1-2, Malachi 4:5-6, Matthew 17:1-13, John 1:21, and James 5:17. Then, when someone asks us, “Who was Elijah?” we’ll have an answer straight from the Bible.


IF IT'S NOT BECAUSE OF GOD

 If God is love, we were created in His image to exemplify love to each other, and love is everlasting… just how did we get so far off track?

“We love because he first loved us.” We wouldn’t know what love is if it wasn’t for God.

For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.” I hate to be in debt to someone.

And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.” No list of Bible love passages is complete without reference to 1 Corinthians 13. In fact, this is the first of several references to the “love chapter.” That’s because it is chock full of truth that should influence how we feel about love.

“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.

It’s the essence of being a Christ-follower and as a hopeless, broken world watches us, they question, “If hope does not disappoint us, why are Christians disappointed all the time?” Before we can answer that question, we need to define what hope is.

The basis of Christian hope is found in Hebrews 11:1, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for.” The Greek word for hope in this passage is ‘hypostasis.

Paul wrote in the book of Hebrews, “Faith is the ‘hypostasis of things hoped for…” which literally means “that which underlies.” Meaning our faith in Christ underlies our hope, the deeper our faith is, the more difficult it is for hope to be overthrown and turned into disappointment.

Here, Paul tells us we have justice, peace, grace, perseverance, character, and hope which is all built on the faith we have in Christ. The kind of hope that does not disappoint that Paul is talking about here is the kind of hope that only God can give.

It is said that “Hope in God transcends the lost hopes of human frailty and sin and begins to take effect in our lives precisely when human hopes are gone” .
First, it may help to define what we mean when we as believers say “come to Jesus.” Jesus Himself invited people: “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

The number one way to help others come to Jesus is to grow in your own relationship with Jesus.

Give some thought to how you tell that story, giving Jesus his rightful place as your Redeemer, Savior, Friend, Change-Agent, and King. Just as you wouldn’t leave out key players in your story such as your parents or your spouse, don’t leave Jesus out of the narrative of your life when you are sharing it with someone else.

We can and should pray for our friends in private, but we can also tell them we will pray for them when they share something challenging in their lives, we can ask if they would like us to pray for them right then, and we can follow up with them on the matters we were praying about, asking how things are going. All of this, if not done in a pushy manner, communicates care and keeps the door open for further spiritual conversations down the road.

Prayerfully consider asking a friend to read the Bible with you, perhaps one of the Gospels which tell the story of Jesus’ life and ministry, with the purpose of answering the question: “Who was Jesus?” This Bible study can be informal and simply based on reading a chapter and discussing it, or you can use a prepared simple investigative Bible study such as the one found here.

Humility helps us avoid the temptation of envy and jealousy.

While humility guides our hearts away from envy and jealousy, love binds us together in unity.

Another way to avoid the temptation of envy and jealousy is to learn to rejoice with others.

Could it be that rejoicing, practicing humility, seeking God’s kingdom, denying ourselves, and practicing living life from the newness of self help us avoid the temptation of envy and jealousy?

As the feelings of envy and jealousy arise, we can commit our ways to the Lord and trust him to help us grow away from two similar yet different problems.

Tithing is important to understand and it is the aim of this article to discuss tithing statistics, what tithing actually is, and three truths concerning it.

Furthermore, in Numbers 18:26, God says to Moses, “Speak to the Levites and say to them: ‘When you receive from the Israelites the tithe I give you as your inheritance, you must present a tenth of that tithe as the Lord’s offering.’” Since the Levites were assigned to be the priests, they took the 10% of the of the tithe from the people.

The truth of the matter is that if God’s word says that tithing, with the right heart, will bring blessings, it will.

When it comes to the 54% of people that do tithe, the State of the Plate report on tithing discovered that 28% of people who tithe began doing it when they were in their childhood or teen years.

If you are reading this and are undecided about the topic of tithing, I challenge you to read all the Bible has to say about it with an open mind and heart.

FREEDOM IS A PRECIOUS GIFT

Freedom is a precious gift let's take a moment to stop and reflect on the beautiful gift of freedom that we enjoy in the world.

“For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm…” -Galatians 5:1

“Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God.” -1 Peter 2:16

“The framers of our Constitution meant we were to have freedom of religion, not freedom from religion.” -Billy Graham

We thank you for the freedom you have given to us, and for the price that was paid by Jesus so that we could live internally
 When a Woman Overcomes Life’s Hurts, I point out 10 steps to healing and wholeness that can help anyone – male or female – live like a new creation in Christ Jesus rather than the old, dysfunctional wounded people that the enemy of our souls wants us to believe that we are.

Psalm 103:12 tells us: "As far as the east is from the west so far has he removed our transgressions from us.” And in Isaiah 53:4-5 we are told: “Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows… He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities, the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.” Notice that every verse in Isaiah 53 referring to the healing that Christ offers us from the cross is past tense – even though it was a prophecy in the Old Testament about what was to come through the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.

Furthermore, the Apostle Paul modeled to us a life that is surrendered to Christ in which we have no personal rights, when he said “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.

When you grab hold of God’s definition of love as seen in the life of Christ and in Scripture , you will raise your standards higher and not repeat mistakes that cause you pain, including tolerating relationships with people who continue to hurt you.