Monday, July 30, 2012


The final concept that is important to grasp in order to correctly interpret and understand the bible is the discovery of the difference between a timeless truth and a regulation for a certain people at a certain time. This will conclude the four that I've chosen to mention. The first three were...

Grammatical Integrity,
Historical Integrity,
Contextual Integrity.

Now learning to know the difference between a timeless truth and a regulation for a specific people and a specific time is the final one. By the way, none of these are original with me which is quite obvious but I'll confess nonetheless. I've gleaned them from the study of numerous people whom I respect and appreciate and who are a lot smarter than am I regarding all things biblical. Some of those people are dead and some are still living, but none of them would mind us learning from what they've written or said, I'm sure. 

There was a word intended for the generation and specific people and congregations that received the letters and writings we call the bible, which is the original meaning intended by the writers under inspiration. Then there is also a truth for the now which was intended by God and which the true author, the Holy Spirit, desires to make personal to us. The truth that transcends the past to the present is what we could call a timeless principle, although all of the scripture is truth from God as we all know.

That said, I need to emphasis that no one persons idea in this area of bible interpretation is the final word for correctness, including mine. But every person needs to wrestle with it in order to have a good grasp of the biblical materials and an ear for the Word of God as God has given it in scripture. Remember, it is too easy to say, "The bible means what it says." It is far more accurate to say, "The bible says what it means and our job is to find out that meaning." It is to that end I've belabored the point with these three posts.

Let's begin by admitting that the first three, by and large, lead you to the fourth. In other words, if you will adequately do the first three it will generally result in the fourth being easy to see and understand. Someone has said, "Clearly, Scripture is not a collection of timeless truths. Although some of its truths are timeless, others parts of the Bible are designed for a specific situation in a specific culture, and it would be wrong for us to take them out of that context and impose them on modern situations. First-century men were advised to pray with their hands raised (1 Tim. 2:8). Slaves were advised to submit even to harsh masters (1 Pet. 2:18). Virgins were advised to remain virgins (1 Cor. 7:26). Women were told how to dress when they prayed (1 Cor. 11:5), and men were given advice regarding hair length (v. 14)" 

As an example to help us understand the difference, we'll take 1 Timothy 2:8. It says..."I will therefore that men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath or doubting." Is the writer [Paul the Apostle] saying that God is commanding men when they pray to lift their hands? Most of us think not. Why?  The word used here translated "will" is a much milder word than is used other places and is not an expression of a command. That fact can be found in John A.T. Robertson's word studies if you do the first step I called the grammatical integrity work or the study of the language. If he had meant it literally then we are to pray in a certain posture [hands raised] and with a certain inner attitude. [Never angry or doubtful when we pray.]

So did he, in fact, intend us to read it as literal? I don't think so. The language is showing that Paul was saying that he thought it was the right thing for men to pray with a purity about their intention or motive for praying. ["holy hands" raised is a colloquialism for purity in prayer. It would be the same as me saying you were driving as fast as lightning down the road. Don't take me literally on that. It is a present day colloquialism for speed.] There is to be that purity of motive along with an attitude clear of any anger and doubt.

Then, were one faithful to the historical integrity mentioned above, he or she would also find that the people of that day DID NOT normally bow heads and close their eyes to pray. That would lend weight to the method of prayer being a cultural thing and not a command. So the language and history do not demand a literal obedience to a certain method or posture while praying as something commanded by Paul.

Finally, in context, Paul was writing to a particular situation in the Church in Ephesus where Timothy was pastoring. There were those present in worship who had been a big disturbance to the entire congregation. [Including a woman and her husband who were not getting along described in the next few verses.] They were making a problem of themselves with anger and were casting doubt on the teaching they had previously received from Paul himself about the creation order. 

So Paul was here addressing those who were a disturbance. He is saying they were to be careful when they participated in public prayers that their actions [Illustrated by the lifting of hands which they generally did as they prayed.] and their attitudes [Called wrath or anger and doubt here.] were to never be divisive.

What I've done in this interpretation of this verse is an attempt to be faithful to the language or text, while being knowledgeable of the history, and all the while let the context be involved in getting to what Paul meant when he wrote it under inspiration. This will allow the Holy Spirit to make clear its original meaning and, by way of application, any meaning to my own life and time.

I will say parenthetically here that the above words are the reason for the view of 1 Timothy 2:12 that I now hold to instead of the one I once held to and which many of my friends disagree with me about. I'll address that at another time.

So, honestly, there may be several different levels at which we see truth being presented in the bible that become clear as one navigates the pages of scripture. Those are, as someone has said.....

Obsolete situations---These would be guiding principles or commands which address specific situations and there is generally no timeless principle to transfer. [Such as Israel told to take a specified number of paces outside the camp to defecate.]

Normal patterns---These are principles that can be seen because because of language that was normal for them but do speak to us by example in some fashion about some issue. [As shown in the 1 Timothy 2:8 verse.] In these places the timeless principle is really an example about something generally.

Universal Principles---These are principles or truths that are fundamental and found everywhere in scripture. They may not even be specific commands, but, because they are seen as healthy for relationships, for example, such as going to a person who has hurt you instead of running them down to someone else, those principles become part of your belief system that guides your life. They impact your behavior greatly

Moral Absolutes---These are timeless commands that apply to all situations and times. [Such as "Thou shalt not commit adultery."] Jesus was free as God to deepen some of those, and He did, saying if we look with lust we are already adulterers, and our obedience is to His final say or word about ANY timeless command.

My trust is that this lengthy and often complicated writing will ultimately bring some help to those who are serious about the study of the bible and hearing and obeying the Lord. It is a given that, while I've been addressing what we are responsible and wise to do in study and research, there is a sense in which the very nature of the scriptures do not allow us to understand them at all apart from the person and work of the HOLY SPIRIT.

The bible is after all a supernatural book written in a supernatural fashion, in its original manuscripts, for a supernaturally born again group of people. That is the very core of the reason many people will NEVER understand scripture. But when that new birth experience has come, understanding does follow, slow though it may be, and never complete, it is adequate for guidance for the living of life in relationship to God and others. I trust you will enjoy the study of the library of books we call the bible for the rest of your life.

Paul B.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


We have looked at two principles for interpreting scripture that are to be remembered as we study the Bible. The first was grammatical integrity and the second was historical integrity. Remember, I'm using the word 'integrity' with it's definition of "soundness or completeness." To have a sound and complete understanding of what is being said and meant by any passage of scripture one needs to use certain guiding principles. We will now look at the remaining two briefly.

The third principle that a person needs to work with when interpreting a passage of scripture is what I would call contextual integrity. This one is extremely important. I've not tried to rank these principles and it may not be necessary to do so since all are very important, but this one may well top any attempt to create a list. So let's think about the context principle.

Have you ever seen a person take a verse of scripture to back up any kind of conceivable point they are trying to make? I think you can prove ANY point you wish to by quoting a verse of scripture. I read one person who read 2 Kings 2:23-25 and asked..."A PROPHET OF GOD SENDS 2 FEMALE BEARS TO KILL 42 CHILDREN FOR CALLING HIM “BALD HEAD. HOW CAN YOU BELIEVE IN A LOVING GOD WHEN HE ALLOWS BEARS TO DESTROY CHILDREN?" [All caps was indicating the questioner was shouting I suppose.]

Admittedly, this passage needs some understanding. Using our first principle we discover that the word translated 'children' is a Hebrew word meaning "strong young men." It was a word used to describe young soldiers which would rule out the English word "children" entirely. It is referring to young men who were probably followers of the false prophets who were angry at Elijah's ascension. [Isaac was called "Little Naarim" when he was 28 years old.]

But the second principle dealing with history and even the third which we will address today, contextual integrity, would show much more about this strange passage, were all considered in interpretation rather than simply trying to prove a point that God is not  a loving God to allow something like is described here..

In fact, the entire incident is actually meaningless and grotesque without using the first three principles. But who's going to research grammar, history or context when you've got a point to prove? No one except for those who legitimately wish to discover what the bible is REALLY saying and means.

Suffice it to say that God's judgment fell upon a mob of young men, possibly from a school for Baal prophets nearby, who were mocking the translation of Elijah [Go up] and heaping scorn upon God's prophet Elisha. [Saying "Thou bald head" was much like throwing a shoe is today in the middle eastern culture.] Whatever else can be said by way of interpretation of language, history and context, you see the quick assumption made by the comment above to prove a point is meaningless to truth.

Let me illustrate the need for context with another passage. In fact, it's my favorite illustration. It is in Matthew 18:20 where Jesus said, "Where two or three are gathered in My name, there am I in the midst of them." Now does He mean if there is just one person He's not there? He can't mean that because He indwells EVERY believer. Well, does He mean when you have just have a few show up for a Sunday night service He promises to be there just like He's there when a large crowd shows up? Is that what the verse is meaning? I don't think so. I think He's present regardless of whatever the specific number of people who might be gathering. Then what does it mean?

Well, in context, [There's that needed principle.] Jesus is dealing with a believer having to confront another believer who has gone into scandalous behavior. [Offend doesn't mean offend as in English but as in Greek.] It's speaking about when you may know, for a fact, of another brother or sister who is living scandalously and how you would then have a responsibility to go to that brother or sister. Notice you don't tell someone else about it, you go to the person. You don't report it to the Pastor, you go to the person.

If it isn't resolved THEN you take someone with you. If necessary, eventually even the entire Church may need to be involved. But always realize this passage is saying that the presence of Jesus is with you in those difficult moments in a very special way. That is the message of that passage when the context is considered.

Further, the passage says if the individual doesn't receive you even when confronted by the entire Church, you are to let them go. You accept their decision of saying,  "I don't want anything to do with you, I don't want anything to do with God, I'm going my chosen way." It will and should break your heart, but you are to let them go. In fact, you begin to love them as you love lost people needing the grace of God. [That's the way we are to view infidels or unbelievers. There is a withdrawing passage in 11 Corinthians 5, but that's a horse of a different color entirely.]

But to the two or three that ORIGINALLY gathered to try to correct and help the brother or sister, Jesus is saying that He is never more with us than when we are gathered in His name specifically to do an act of recovery or discipline. That's tough stuff. So tough that few churches or Christians are willing to do it in our day.  But when it IS done, He's there in a very special way. That really is a powerful thing to me.

Now it doesn't take away at all from the importance of His presence being with a small group as well as a large group. It is true that God IS  there. But that's not what this Matthew 18 passage is addressing at all. With a contextual understanding you have a whole different spin on that verse and what was intended when Jesus spoke those words. How do you get that?  You get it from the context.

The fourth and final principle is the discovering of the difference between a timeless truth and a regulation for a certain people at a certain time. Now the reason I'm going to need to stay around this point for a spell is as soon as I say that someone is going to disagree and say there is no such thing in the bible as a difference between timeless truths and specific regulation to specific people. All of the Bible is for All of us. I'm wasting their time as far as they are concerned.

My answer is....well, my answer is too long for this post. I'll do it more justice by dedicating the next one to it specifically.  There will obviously be a part three to all this. Until then, blessings.

Paul B.

Monday, July 23, 2012


Any serious bible study involves several steps that result in good Biblical interpretation. These are not steps intended just for scholars but are essential for anyone who wishes to know what the bible truly says and means. For the next couple of posts I want to present some basic steps that will show how to interpret the text of the bible in a fashion that involves some integrity.

For the record, I'm using the word "integrity" here in its meaning of "soundness" or "completeness." I'll state what those steps are, define them, and then illustrate them. I'm writing this for the many of you who are not Pastors, and yet, for some reason, read this blog. I hope they help you in your study of the scriptures.

The first step or principle I'll mention is what I call grammatical integrity. [Soundness] This is having an involvement with the grammar, language, and syntax of a passage. It refers to a procedure called doing an "exegesis" of the text. Don't be afraid of that word. Exegesis simply means going to the text and "exiting" or "extracting" from the text what is being said in it with as little of your own bias or preconceived ideas as possible. It's just learning to let the text do the talking.

What is done all too often, by many, is what's technically called eisegesis. [Reading INTO the text rather than drawing OUT of the text.] Eisegesis is, I believe, a very dangerous thing and at best ends up with a shallow kind of understanding especially when someone is responsible for teaching the scriptures to others.

Eisegesis happens like this, you get an idea of what you want to convey to people and you go find some verses to support your idea. You have no clue what those verses are really saying but they sound like what you're wanting to talk about and you just use those verses as if they are addressing your already predetermined idea. Do you see this? That is shallow at best but very dangerous at worst. This is especially so when teaching. It's assuming what a text means instead of letting a text say what it means.

Now some of you are thinking you're left in the dust right now since you don't know Greek or Hebrew. This does take some involvement at some level in the original languages I'll admit, BUT, the fact is, I don't think you need to know Greek or Hebrew to do this step at all. There are a couple of tools that will help.

One tool is what's called an Interlinear bible. You will find an on-line edition here. This enables you to see the Greek words to each verse of every book in the New Testament. With this tool you can find the Greek words identified with the English word and begin your work of interpreting a passage.

A good Bible dictionary will also help. One that I would recommend is called the Collin Brown Bible Dictionary. It's a big thick book but has just about any word that is needed as you study the scriptures. You will be able to find a real solid entomology of any word including the history of the word, where it comes from, and even its uses in classical Greek, New Testament uses and things of that nature. You can also find it here online here..

A Biblical dictionary can be extremely helpful to any serious student of the Word. It will give the true meaning intended by any word used in the original language and that is really essential. Everyone needs a good Bible dictionary.

A prime example of what I'm talking about is in James where this is said, "For anyone who is a hearer of the Word and not a doer is like a natural man, as a man who looks at his natural face in the mirror once he has looked away and gone away, has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was." The word for "looks" in verses 23 and 24 [KJV Beholdeth] and the word "look" in verse 25 that says "But one who looks into the perfect law and continues therein..." are two entirely different words translated into English as "looks."

They appear in English to basically be the same word meaning the same thing. They don't. The Greek language shows them as different and an Interlinear bible with a dictionary would reveal this. The first one means "to glance." The second one means "to gaze." You wouldn't notice the difference without the original being seen and checking a Bible dictionary.

Knowing this, I could then, with integity, say,"We forget what we see in the mirror [The bible] about what God tells us because we tend to GLANCE at it. But when we GAZE at the bible our lives are different. It is too often the opposite. Grammatical integrity in textual study would have shown that.

Then there is the second step which I'll define as historic integrity or understanding the historic and cultural realities that surround the text. This helps to explain not just what is being said but why certain things are being said. Understanding the historic and cultural realities of an apostolic letter for example will help explain why certain things are being taught or exhorted in that particular letter at that particular time. Failing in this can result in wrong and inaccurate application.

I will give you an example that isn't earth shaking but is one of working in the history area when studying passages like First Corinthians 5, 12 and 14. Those are the chapters about not getting drunk at the communion table and the women being silent that Paul stated to the Corinthians if you recall.

When you get into the history of the Corinthian people and what was part of their history before they were redeemed you find they were part of what is now commonly called the "mystery religions." One of the teachings of the mystery religions was that ecstasy equalled spirituality.

So, one of the ways they believed helped them connect with their gods or goddesses, which they believed filled the universe, was to go into a divine frenzy and one of the things that helped them kick into their divine frenzy (that's what Plato actually called it) was drunkenness and sexuality. Lots of wine and lots of sex.

I never understood how on earth the Corinthians could get drunk at communion without being totally nuts. But they weren't really nuts at all. They just carried over into their new found faith the idea that drunkenness might help them experience Jesus like it had helped in their old religion. Getting drunk wasn't that much of a stretch for them at all because that was exactly what they had come out of. I am just giving you an example which, in this case doesn't change your life perhaps, but it might help you see why they were so willing to get drunk in Corinth. So now you understand why Paul was saying what was being said in that One Corinthian five passage.

This is particularly important when you begin to study what Paul said about "women being silent" and why that was so important to the Corinthians. I will speak to that as I address another point or two of good biblical interpretation next time.

Four total principles of interpretation will be presented that are very important as they will help us know the meaning of a passage of scripture. This time grammatical integrity and historical integrity and next time contextual integrity and timeless truth integrity which is knowing the difference between a timeless truth and a regulation for a certain people at a certain time.

Simply things but major errors can be avoided with a little knowledge of principles for correct interpretation. Don't worry. My final point will be that the Holy Spirit is the only One who can really enable us to understand Truth and to study the bible isn't accomplished by personal discipline.

More next time.

  • Paul B.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


My sister and brother-in-law, Betty and Frank Coy, had Mary and me over last night for a birthday supper celebrating my 72nd which is this next Thursday, July 19th. You can imagine what a great time the four of us had as we ate, laughed, talked and generally reminisced about our childhood and growing up years which included, as every one's history does, some great times and some sad times. By the way, the silhouette picture of the old people does NOT reflect any of the four of us who were there, it relates to what is about to be said.  [Smile] 

None of us could believe we've been around as long as we have or wound up being as old as we are. It was a fun visit with the four of us having a healthy time of laughter [and a few tear-like moments] over some of our history. 

We talked of our parents, all of whom have died, with Mary's mother the only one still living. My own mother died at 90 years of age about three years ago and the memory of her condition the months before her death is still with me. 

It got me to thinking about aging. It's tough getting older and, although I wouldn't personally change where I am right now for any other place I've ever been age-wise, honesty demands that I admit the fact that it is a little tough getting older. But what's even harder is caring for and dealing with older people as my sister and my brother and I did our mother, and Mary and her siblings are now doing with her mother. 

One of the reasons I've found it to be hard is, I've found that older people [much older than am I of course] sometimes wind up in a condition that reminds me of what I would call, for lack of a better word, "child-likeness."

Our kids as children, if you can recall those days at our age, often had an inability to remember things, do things for themselves, though you couldn't convince them of that, even to think logically sometimes about the consequences of actions often times. But they were children back then after all.

Adults, who've gotten aged, can be a little like children it seems to me. But children they're not. Adults they remain, at least chronologically, and to give of yourself to an adult in that situation or to bear responsibility for them, is not easy by any means. What is the secret? I don't know, and I doubt there IS a "secret" since all situations differ greatly.

But I did notice some things while caring for my mother. The biggest thing may well have been recognizing the fact that she could NOT do some things for herself and had to be guided even assisted when she couldn't. And yet there was the need to respect her as an adult all the while. For instance, when occasions arose where decisions had to be made about her life and possessions, they were made, yet her ideas, opinions, and felt needs had to carry some weight, as long as possible, in the mix for there to be real respect.

This fine line is not easy to find, walk, or maybe even understand. But as I look back on my own mom's passing, I think it may have been part of the process that helped me and my siblings during that time when we bore responsibility for her in ways that we hadn't previously.

Obviously, to communicate to an aged person that they are sometimes like children would be self defeating and disrespectful. So don't tell them that at all is my counsel to you. But do carry an awareness of it in your own heart. I think that will tend to soften your heart, still your anxiousness, and maybe even help you smile at some things that otherwise could create consternation or even hurt.

It is not an easy task, this growing old. It's even harder to care for those getting older when that responsibility falls to you.  But as the years go by it may be we all will be in need of some understanding and even some information to help us know how to help those who are aging. I'm thinking it needs to be talked about. So I'm talking.

Paul B.  

Monday, July 09, 2012


Have you ever wondered what the Fruit of the Spirit called love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith and self-control" in Galatians 5 really looks like? I think it looks like boundaries. Let me explain. It will take a while. 

I think it might be fair to say that when it comes to understanding boundaries there should be no "one size fits all" kind of thinking. We are all from different backgrounds, at differing levels of maturity and possess different kinds of personal baggage. So, as I give my own understanding of the practice of boundaries, with illustrations, you would be wise to read it as testimonial rather than teaching. It may take much thought and some time for you to grasp your own boundary concepts.

My desire is that my journey and information will be something of a beacon for the journey you might have to take. But my understanding is based on Galatians 5:22-24.

Let me explain.

There are generally thought to be two categories of boundaries in relationships that are important to understand. External boundaries are one and internal boundaries are the other. The external boundary idea implies that there is a line for every person that is not to be crossed physically without permission. Much as the boundary between two nations like America and Mexico. Each nation is responsible to enforce the mutually agreed boundary that both have for a healthy relationship to exist. [We're not doing too well at present are we!]

To bring this to personal relationships, it speaks of where your skin is the beginning of your personhood and you take personal responsible for giving permission for anyone to touch you. If someone strikes you, physically abuses or assaults you, they have crossed a boundary and that is as much an act of aggression against you as it was for Germany to invade Poland in September of 1939 or Iraq to invade Kuwait in August of 1990.

This is commonly understood and accepted so we have laws to protect us against that kind of invasion and ways to deal with that kind of aggression. [Spousal abuse laws, rape laws, assault and battery, etc.] It would be wise for all Christians to see that we are free to use those laws for our protection when and where this kind of thing happens, even in marriage, since 1 Peter 2:13-15 doesn't make marriage an exception to this command written to Christians.

Internal boundaries are, however, a different kind of thing, but just as real. They are more subtle and more easily misunderstood and even dismissed by many people to their own pain in relationships. 

Internal boundaries are themselves best thought of as falling into certain categories. I found these in previous reading and study and have adapted them for my own use. Trust me, I've violated every one of them in my experience of growing.

The two columns below show what the boundaries internally are and the kind of words, talk, or actions that do, in fact, violate those boundaries. When someone makes assumptions about another’s internal state that person crosses an internal boundary and there will be consequences. Those consequences are broken relationships internally whether that brokenness is ever admitted orally or not. 

As someone I read said, " Boundaries are respect in action. Any time we speak to another person as if we know what they are thinking, feeling, or should think or feel, we cross a boundary. Crossing those boundaries always causes trouble. Just as violating a external boundary can lead to conflict, violating an internal boundary can lead to anger or disruption of a mutually respecting relationship." 

Now for the Kicker. And I think it is quite a kicker. Be honest with yourself as you answer this question. As you have read what has been written in these last four post on boundaries, were you basically thinking, "Well, this sure speaks to some of the people I know who don't respect boundaries as proven in the way they treat me."

If your answer is "yes," you may be in danger of missing the main point or issue. I don't want any of us to miss the point, writer included, so let me say it very carefully... 

The main point of boundaries... that are so necessary for healthy relationships... is that I... can discern my own motives, thoughts, intents, feelings, and actions... toward other I will not be a boundary violator and relationship destroyer.

It is true that on occasion I may have to deal with someone else overstepping a relational boundary with me, but it is not God's purpose for me to try and control or change another person. My goal is not changing others but it is to "be" to others what God is "being" to me in terms of our real relationship.

In our relationship He is never demanding. He is never a control freak. He loves me enough to let me suffer the consequences of my own choices while, at the same time, never acting on the basis of what I might demand of Him. He never forces me to think or act a certain way.  He loves me too much to do that, and He could if He chose to. But He has a real love that is revealed in genuine self control. [That kind of love and self control are the fruit of His Spirit working in me as well.]

So now... re-read what has been written about external and internal boundaries and their violation with that in mind.

Do I refuse to violate anyones external boundaries? [Refuse to physically abuse anyone with whom I'm have a relationship]

Do I try to tell people how they should or ought to feel or, worse, do I say that I totally understand how they feel when no one possibly can? Do I tell people their feelings are wrong?

Do I assume I know what someone is thinking or wants without asking them? Do I assume or assign a motive to people? ["You're saying that because you think...Blank..."]

Do I negate a person's thought which they are expressing by giving my own without any interest in what they've just said? Do I speak for my wife [Or husband or kids] by assuming she [They] will do something because someone asks me... "Will you...blank..?...and I say "Sure we will."? [Thus, speaking for another person.]

Do I say to a person "If you don't believe this doctrine exactly the way I state it to be true, you are probably not a Christian. In fact, you obviously are a heretic."

Of course boundaries help protect from abuse in relationships and help bring about fulfilling relationships where honored, but, hear this now, our goal in life is not, ultimately, self-protection, or self-fulfillment. 

Our goal in life is to present the truth about a relationship with God that has been provided in the person and work of His Son, our Lord, Jesus Christ, and presenting that message not only with our lips, but with lives that back up what we say about love and grace. 

All this is possible only within the boundaries of personal responsibilities that begin with repentance and faith toward God and then by respectfully living in godly relationships with others as we give an answer for the hope in us.

In times of no persecution, Christians can speak that gospel freely for which we're grateful. But believability will come primarily as people see the truth of what we say in how we act within relationships.

In times of persecution, where no one cares about the gospel, much less boundaries, and even hate Christians, the question becomes are we able then and even willing to lay our lives down while people walk all over God's Truth, including boundaries? 

Our Lord did this when He was on this earth. He had His boundaries, but chose to suffer when God's purpose for Him was greater than any violated boundary. This, because being true to our first relationship, is most real and more significant than any other, including family.  So, we too, would be willing to suffer for the cause of the Kingdom.

It is this that enabled the people of Hebrews 11 to be willing to die rather than deny their faith and trust in God. But I will not get to that place in my walk of faith until and unless I am willing to live out boundaries that are revealed in my "Core values" right now. It is my relational core values that make my relationships real. [It is this that is real dying to one's own flesh IMHO.]

Remember what those relational core values are?

One---I'm created in His image, as is every human being, and have been created to have a real and healthy personal relationship with Him, myself, and others. Relationships are to be emphasized in that order.

Two---Any thing that mars or hinders His image in me is to be seen as less than His purpose for me. This is why sin had to be dealt with as only He could. This is also why unhealthy and controlling relationships, on my part or on the part of others, are less than His purpose for me.

Three--That image includes my body, mind, emotions, will, spirit, in other words, my total person. His Spirit has set me free to exercise, in freedom, all faculties that make up that image recognizing the ever present sin principle in me that remains until the resurrection.

Four--Any relationship that would rob me of personal responsibility for any portion of my personhood as a Christian is to be questioned and seen as unhealthy, if not harmful!

Five--A significant factor in building any healthy relationship is that it is to reflect what we are "being" in that relationship and not what we are "doing" in it. Relationships that are healthy depend on how we function in grace and truth not on how we perform in roles.

Six---The overriding purpose in my having other relationships, whether marriage or church or friend, is so I can mirror what He and I have together relationally. In order to be to others what He is being to me, it is essential that I not ignore the boundaries that are necessary for other relationships to be, in fact, healthy and mutually satisfying, rather than unhealthy and controlling.

My prayer is that this far too long and wordy blog series about boundaries will help light our way. mine included.

Paul B