Christian Ministry

biblical answers to tough questions
Bible questions and answers
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I want to assure everyone who has written to me in recent months that I have personally read each email and taken to heart what was said. I am not above being corrected or reproved but rather gladly receive it. Even those who have emailed me to correct me have been kind, sincerely concerned, and respectful.

Due to an overwhelming amount of emails I receive daily, I am not able to answer them right away. However, I will respond back in due time. In the meantime, I will continue to seek and listen to the Lord for His clear direction. I want to be extremely careful to speak according to the scriptures and not take them out of context. My desire is to be wholly governed by the Word of God.

Again, I want to thank every pastor and believer who has written to me. It has shown me your great love and concern for the body of Christ.

Below is a list of previously asked questions and answers:

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Steve Evans asks, "How do we know that St. Paul was a member of
     the Sanhedrin government?"

    We know that Paul was a Pharisee because Paul writes in Philippians 3:5: "as touching the law, a Pharisee." However, regarding his involvement with the Sanhedrin, the Bible doesn't definitively say. The Sanhedrin was the highest Jewish council in the 1st century. It consisted of 71 members and was precided over by the high priest. The Sanhedrin consisted of two main Jewish parties (the Sadducees and the Pharisees). Since the high priest resided, the Sadduceean priestly party seems to have predominated, but some leading Pharisees also were members like Gamaliel.

    Acts 22:3 mentions that Paul was taught and trained by Gamaliel - a highly-regarded member of the Sanhedrin (Acts 5:34). As a result, Paul became very zealous for the traditions (teachings) of his people (Galatians 1:14). However, whether Paul followed in Gamaliel's footsteps as a member of the 71 member Sanhedrin is not specifically mentioned in the Bible.

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Merri Shaffner asks, "How much did Goliath's spear weigh?"

    Well, I Samuel 17:7 says the following: "And the staff of his (Goliath's) spear was like a weaver's beam; and his spear's head weighed six hundred shekels of iron: and one bearing a shield went before him."

    1 shekel = .403 ounces
    16 ounces = pound

    Therefore 600 shekels x .403 ounces = 241.8 ounces
    241.8 ounces / 16 ounces = 15.11 pounds

    Please note that the head of Goliath's spear weighed approximately 15.11 pounds; his staff must have weighed between 20-50 pounds. Therefore, it is possible that Goliath's spear weighed as much as 65 pounds!

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Merri Shaffner also asks, "How old was David when he slew

    The Bible does not say how old David was when he fought Goliath, but it does give us an approximation.

    I Samuel 17:42 says the following: "And when the Philistine looked about, and saw David, he disdained him: for he was but a youth, and ruddy, and of a fair countenance."

    According to Roget's Thesaurus, Youth is defined as "the time of life between childhood and maturity." David had not yet reached his full growth and development which constitutes maturity; therefore David was probably around the ages of 12-16 when he killed the Philistine giant named Goliath.

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Garrett Deese asks, "I am looking for a verse that states that you
     shouldn't dwell on the past but rather you should push on for the
     future. So far I have come up with Philippians 3:13. Are there any

    Actually not verbatim, but the wonderful thing about the Word of God is that many verses fit together to collectively form or express the same principle of determination. Determination is purposing not to quit but to continue on, regardless of opposition.

    Forget those things which are behind you and reach forth unto those things which are before (Philippians 3:13); for God is doing a new thing. When things seem difficult, He will make a way in the wilderness and a stream in the desert. (Isaiah 43:19). Don't look back though; for no man having put his hand to the plough, and looking back is fit for the kingdom of God (Luke 9:62). Remember, run the race of life keeping your eyes on Jesus and be an overcomer so you may obtain the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. (I Corinthians 9:24, Philippians 3:14, Revelation 3:21).

    Don't let anything move you or direct your focus elsewhere but stay on the narrow path in order that you may be able to finish the course of life with joy and allow God to use you to your utmost potential. (Acts 20:24).

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Mr. Heaton asks, "I believe Christ said 'I will be with you always.'
     Please confirm if possible and if possible where."

    Jesus said in Matthew 26:11 "For ye have the poor always with you; but me ye have not always." Jesus spoke this because He was soon to be crucified on the cross and after his resurrection, He would ascend into heaven to sit at the right hand of the Father. He would be with them in Spirit but not in the flesh. For in John 14:16 Jesus said, "And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter (the Holy Spirit), that he may abide with you for ever.

    In Matthew 28:20b, as Jesus was ascending into heaven, He said to His disciples, "and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen." A good companion verse to this scripture can be found in Hebrews 13:5c "for he hath said, 'I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee'."

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Matthew Morine says, "You do realize that without being baptized
     you can not be saved. (I Pet 3:21.)"

    Correct! Baptized by the "indwelling of the Holy Spirit (Step 3)."

    I Peter 3:21 says: "The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:"

    Notice the phrase: "the answer of a good conscience toward God by the resurrection of Jesus Christ." It's by the blood of Jesus shed on the cross at Calvary and by the grace of God that we can receive eternal life. We must have a repentant heart and be willing to turn away from our sin. A good conscience pleases God; we cannot have a good conscience if we sin willfully however (Hebrews 10:26).

    However, if you are referring to baptism in water (step 4) or baptism in the Holy Spirit (step 5) that can not be so; for Luke 23:42-43 tells us: "And he (a criminal) said unto Jesus, 'Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom'." Jesus responds, "Verily, I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise."

    The unsaved criminal by repenting on the cross was granted eternal life in heaven by Jesus himself! The criminal could not be baptized in water; he was nailed to a cross.

    Therefore, you do not need to be water baptized to be saved. Being water baptized in Jesus' name makes you a stronger witness for Christ, for it is a public proclamation/demonstration of the work the Spirit of God has already done within you. All believers should be obedient and get water baptized, however and should earnestly desire the best gifts which come with the baptism in the Holy Ghost.

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Caryn Trotman asks, "Is Ishmael the Father of the Arabs?"

    Yes, Ishmael is the father of the Arabs (Genesis 17:20), while Abraham is the father of the Israelites (Genesis 17:5).

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E. Mendez asks, "What is witchcraft?"

    Witchcraft is counterfeit spiritual authority; it is using a spirit other than the Holy Spirit to dominate, manipulate, or control others. In addition, anything that one does through manipulation, hype, or soul power, regardless of how noble or spiritual one's goals are, is done in the counterfeit spiritual authority of witchcraft and is doomed to ultimate failure.

    One of the expressed goals of the witchcraft movement is to dilute, subjugate, and destroy biblical Christianity. The basic defense against witchcraft (counterfeit spiritual authority) is to walk in true spiritual authority. Estabishing one's life on truth, maintaining a life of humility, and trusting in the Lord Jesus Christ to accomplish what concerns us are essential if one is going to be free from the influence and pressure of witchcraft.

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Byrl Brockman asks, "Paul says there is only one baptism in the
     Bible, you mention two?"

    Well, Ephesians 4:5 does say that "There is one Lord, one faith, and one baptism" but we must be careful in isolating scripture from the Bible, for the Word of God builds upon itself and confirms its truth by other supporting scripture. We don't want to take the scriptures out of context and make a pretext.

    Scripture clearly tells us in Matthew 3:11: "I (John the Baptist) indeed baptize you with water unto repentance (water baptism): but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he (Jesus) shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire:"

    In Acts 19:1-3, Luke writes: "And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples, He said unto them, 'Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed?' And they said unto him, 'We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost.' And he (Paul) said unto them, 'Unto what then were ye baptized?' And they said, 'Unto John's baptism' (water baptism)."

    You see beloved, these men were disciples of Jesus, but they were not empowered with the gift of the Holy Spirit. In verse 6, however, Luke writes: "And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied."

    Finally, Hebrews 6:2 says: "Of the doctrine of baptisms. Notice the "s" in baptisms indicating more than one baptism. Thus we have two baptisms mentioned here: one by water and one by Holy Ghost Fire.

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Janine Tomlinson asks, "What's the equivalent of 30 pieces of silver,
     at that time?"

    In Matthew 26:15, Judas agreed to deliver Jesus to the chief priests for 30 pieces of silver.

    1 piece of silver (shekel) was equivalent to about 4 days' wages during that time. A shekel is equivalent to 25¢ in modern-day United States.

    Thirty pieces of silver is equivalent to $7.50 U.S.

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One of our visitors asks, "How long was it after Joseph was released
     from prison before he became king?"

    Well, actually Joseph never became king, he became a governor (chancellor) over the entire land of Egypt and was second in command next to Pharaoh.

    After Joseph's release from prison and his subsequent interpretation of Pharaoh's dreams, Joseph was immediately thrusted into his new leadership position. (Genesis 41).

    Talk about a rags to riches story!

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Mark Thomas and Steve Evans both ask, "How tall was Goliath?"

    Well the Bible says in I Samuel 17:4 that Goliath was six cubits and a span tall.

    1 cubit = 18 inches
    1 span = 9 inches

    6 cubits x 18 inches/cubit = 108 inches + 9 inches/span = 117 inches

    117 inches / 12 inches/foot = 9.75 feet

    This is equivalent to 9 feet 9 inches!

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Steve Driscoll asks, "Where in the Bible can I find the story of Jesus
     throwing the money lenders out of the Temple?"

    Matthew 21:12-13

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