Saturday, June 2, 2018

Following is information relative to the Bible Conference we will be hosting in Central Kentucky in September 2018.

Grace Evangel Fellowship
“Recognizing Christ as the Ultimate Savior of All!”

2018 Kentucky Independent Bible Conference
A gathering of those wishing to consider the Scriptures “concordantly”
Sponsored by Grace Evangel Fellowship, P O Box 6, Wilmore, Kentucky 40390
Bob & Jill Evely (

Friday, September 14th – The Evely farm, 285 Bradford Lane, Harrodsburg, KY 40330

5:00 p.m.
Beginning at 5 p.m. I will have a campfire going and will be happy to grill any hamburgers or hot dogs you want to bring. This is a bring-your-own event as we have no way of knowing the numbers that will attend.
6:30 p.m.
Bob will deliver an opening message to set the theme of the conference. A time of discussion will follow.
7:30 p.m.
Fellowship time. If you have a musical instrument (guitar, etc) feel free to bring it with you. We may choose to have a bit of a jam session.

About the Evely farm: We have a 32x48 covered pavilion where we will meet. The sides are open so dress for the weather. Bring your own chairs. We have 30 acres with lots of trails to hike. If you are inclined, be sure to bring tennis shoes or hiking boots, and other clothing appropriate for outdoor hiking.

Saturday, September 15th – The Evely farm

8:30 a.m.
“The Visitation” (the four gospel accounts)

12:00 Noon
Lunch (The Evelys will provide sandwiches. Please bring your own drinks. And if you prefer a different menu item please bring that with you.)

1:00 p.m.
“The Waiting” (the Circumcision epistles) and “The Pause” (Pauline epistles)

5:00 p.m.
Dinner break. (The Evelys will provide chili and bread. Please bring your own drinks. And if you prefer a different menu item please bring that with you.)

6:30 p.m.
Continued discussion and fellowship.

About the format: For each new topic Bob will begin by providing an overview based on his studies, and we will then go into a conversation involving all who are present. We will have opportunity to ask questions of one another and share thoughts from our own studies and contemplation of the Scriptures.

Sunday, September 16th – The Evely farm

8:30 a.m.
“The Return of the King” (Revelation)

11:00 a.m.
Closing remarks & discussion

12:00 Noon
Adjournment (though all are welcome to stay longer to hike around the farm, fellowship, or grill lunch.)

Bring folding chairs, good shoes for outdoors, bug spray, etc. The entire
conference will be outdoors (under shelter). Those wishing to camp …
there is ample space on the grounds to accommodate. We will have
porta potties and a washing station setup.

A bit more about the conference format:

Bob’s comments will be based on his recently completed series of books:
·         The Visitation
·         The Waiting
·         The Pause
·         The Return of the King

It is not necessary that you have a copy of these books as Bob will be sharing a brief overview of each segment before our time of discussion. Most of our time will be in discussion; not in listening to Bob (or anyone else).

Those who have done their own studies … please come prepared to share from your notes. But you’ll need to keep it brief. Our goal at this conference will be to examine the New Testament from 30,000 feet … an “overview” of these Scriptures and not a detailed examination of any given passage or passages.

There is a place for a study of trees, but if one devotes their entire energy to studying the tree he will not appreciate the forest. Our goal here will be to consider the forest, with a special focus on contemplating how all portions of the Scriptures fit together.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Almost Persuaded

I wanted to share this excellent article from the Nov 2017 edition of Grace & Truth Magazine. You can find more information on this publication at

By C.S. Anderson
“For, even as, in Adam, all are dying, thus also,
in Christ shall all be vivified” (1Cor.15:22)
“God wills all mankind to be saved!”  But you say you cannot accept it as truth because it is so much out of line with the common accepted beliefs!
You will not have to study it, but just take a brief glimpse at this passage: 1 Cor. 15:22: “For even as in Adam, all are dying, thus also in Christ all shall be vivified.”  If we limit salvation to believers in Christ, more commonly termed “Christians”, we are bound to limit death to believers in Adam, and yet we know all are dying.  Then, again, we come face to face with this passage in Col. 1:20 “Through Him to reconcile all” ¾ or does it say: “the all, except Judas, Satan, Adam, Pharoah, etc.?”
The Good Shepherd searches long and hard until he finds the 99 sheep.  Then, does He say, with a heavy sigh: “I guess I’ll just have to let the other go?”  Or does He reason thus: “If I can recover 99, does it not speak well for the possibility of finding the last solitary one?”
After all, aside from these definite Divine declarations and many more throughout the Word, do you not wish that it were true?  Surely you would like to see every creature happy and serving God! Yes, my friend hesitatingly replies.  Well, then do you not think that God, our loving Heavenly Father, would like to see it that way even more so than you?  Jesus said: (Matt. 7:11) “If you, then, being wicked, have perceived how to be giving good gifts to your children, how much rather your heavenly Father?”  Still another faint, halting “yes” comes struggling through!  Again ¾ I press a little harder now:  If God would like all to be reconciled to Himself, ever so much more than you would, and still fails to accomplish it, is it because He lacks  the power?  Surely you agree He doesn’t lack the desire!  Is it really too hard for Him?  Can anything be too hard for God?  “No, I cannot say that this is impossible” comes the blushing reply.
Well, then, isn’t it just good judgment to forget all about the commonly accepted beliefs and disregard entirely all the tangled traditional teachings regarding salvation and fully accept the clear and definite Divine declaration that: “God wills all mankind to be saved?”  (1Tim. 2:4).
Even man, with his imperfect sense of justice and righteousness, requires of his enemies a “full surrender”, not compromising in the least with those whom he considers destroyers of the right.  Would God require less of those who have been opposed to Him?  Could He be supreme, while death, destruction or devil in any form holds full sway?  It is this vision of victory that elicits Paul’s “Thanks be unto God” (1 Cor. 15:57).  Victory again is in full view when our blessed Lord said:  “I will draw all to Myself” (John 12:32), and again: “To Him every knee shall bow” (Phil. 2:10:11).
This cannot be enforced worship because it is “to the glory of God, the Father”, and “The Father seeks only such to worship Him as worship Him in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24).  It is a grand and wonderful theme!  The beloved Psalmist reveled in it until he attained his highest note of praise: “Let everything that hath breath, praise ye the Lord” (Psa. 150).  Not even the least of the least was left out.  How else could He be “All in All” (1 Cor. 15:28)?
Yes, indeed, God wills all mankind to be saved!  And if He is “operating the all according to the counsel of His own will” (Eph. 1:11) then out whole earth, including all of its inhabitants, past, present, or to come, is but a little part.  God has sworn to “fill the earth with His glory” (Num. 14:21) ¾ a glory which, by His matchless grace, He will display in the oncoming eons, through the church, to the farthest out-reaches of His vast universe (Eph. 2:7).  All this is because “God is Love” (1 John 4:9).
God’s love is planning all
His wisdom is directing all
His power is controlling all

That He may be All in all.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Easter Means Resurrection for Everyone!

Easter means Resurrection for Everyone

[If you believe as I do; please share this post on your own page, or via email to your friends and associates.]

Those of you who know me, or who have heard me speak, read my book or other writings, or visited my web site ( know of my firm belief that God is in the process of ultimately saving ALL mankind. I base this not on wishful thinking; but on a careful study of the Bible which I am convinced is God’s revelation to us.

No; not the Bible that is used by most within the church today; those dumbed-down easy-to-read translations that have done more to corrupt God’s Word than to make it known to us. Nor do I give much credence to the leaders within most churches of our day … which are “churches of man” based more on tradition than on what God has revealed; and that are much different than the one, true, invisible church that God has created … one that requires no membership, nor creed, nor attendance. Satan (also known as the “Deceiver”) has done a good job of infiltrating the churches of our day, contaminating the Bible and the teachings of its leaders, to the point where there is great confusion that reigns through many differing teachings within the many different churches … with much error built-in to contaminate the truth. And as a result the church and its teachings are responsible for the creation of atheists who can see multitudes of fallacies and conflicts within the church’s teachings.

If the Bible is correctly translated and correctly taught and understood, we see God’s amazing plan to take this fallen, confused world filled with wickedness and hate … and lead all mankind to the point where ALL are reconciled with God. None will ultimately be lost. None are destined for annihilation or endless torment in hell; for the Bible teaches neither (though the churches of man teach a little of each).

Does this negate the work of Christ? Hardly! It magnifies the work of Christ! Without Christ not a single one could be saved and reconciled with God. But because of Christ not a single one will be lost.

Does this mean that anything goes and that there is no such thing as sin or unacceptable behavior? Certainly not. There is an accounting. But the consequences of sin are finite; and the disciplinary correction of God is for a duration, and not endless.

Christ’s life, death and resurrection were necessary. Sin will be addressed and there are consequences and discipline. But at the end of the ages God’s plan will prevail, despite the opposition and stubbornness of the worst of men.

Christ lived just as we live. He died just as we will one day die. God raised Him from the dead just as He will one day raise us from the dead. Christ’s life, death and resurrection are documented facts. The implications of those events are monumental for all of us.

One day when God’s plan is completed all will be restored and reconciled. We will be reunited with all loved ones who have gone before. That is not wishful thinking or “hope” as man defines hope. It is a GUARANTEE provided in God’s revelation to us all.

So as we live with this knowledge and expectation, let us live a life that is worthy. Not what makes us feel good; but serving others and serving God in all that we do … at work, at home, in our neighborhood, at the grocery store … everywhere. Christ lives; and that means everything to us as we consider what lies ahead.

Sunday, September 29, 2013


Following is an article from Unsearchable Riches Magazine, Volume 32 (1941). This is a fictitious story created by Mr. A. E. Knoch and is a great illustration of the problem with "orthodox" Christianity which has strayed far from true Biblically-based faith. Trust not the "experts" (pastors, Bible teachers, authors), but study the Scriptures diligently and think for youself.

A story by A.E. Knoch (from Unsearchable Riches Magazine, Volume 32, 1941)

THE FUNERAL was over. I had gone partly out of curiosity, to see how old Mr. Aye would stand this new strain on his faith. He was known as an out and out God man, who believed his Bible from cover to cover, but had some strange ideas about its teachings. At least they appeared so to me, though I must confess my theology was very nebulous in its way. I could never give chapter and verse for anything I believed.

     The old man had lived a hard life, but it had not soured him. How would he bear the loss of his daughter? His wife had long since passed on. His only remaining child was the comfort of his declining years, and now a sudden accident, terrible and unavoidable, had taken her from him. This ought to show him how little God cared for him. This ought to break down his trust.

     I thought he was a bit callous and hard-hearted at the funeral. Hardly a tear did he shed. He seemed almost serene. I could not make up my mind whether he was buoyed up by his faith or just naturally too selfish and unfeeling to make any demonstration of grief. I determined that I would go and see him as soon as I decently could and satisfy my curiosity. After all, death is an awful and desperate reality and it was worth while to be able to face it as Mr. Aye did.

     I met him on the street not long after and wondered what I could say to comfort him. I did not want to disagree with him at such a time. So I wished him a hearty good morning and said, "You must miss your daughter, but I suppose she is enjoying the bliss of heaven now."

     "Yes," said he, "I do miss her much, but I'm quite sure she is not in heaven."

     "What!" said I, "Your daughter was one of the saintliest women I ever knew!"

     "I'm glad you think so well of her, but you do not catch my meaning. All I meant was that she is not in heaven yet—not until the resurrection—when Christ comes, and all His own will go together."

     "Then you don't believe the Bible, that we go to heaven when we die!"

     The old man smiled. "You are touching a tender spot when you hint that I don't believe the Bible. Suppose you come and see me and tell me where you find that in the Bible. You know I would like nothing better. The Old Book is my only solace. I am surely glad to see how interested you are in it!"

     Now that was quite a poser, wasn't it? The old man had turned the tables on me. So I made up my mind I would show him where he was wrong. The idea! Mary hadn't gone to heaven! I know some good church people who would mob him if they knew what he said. Why are people who study the Bible such a lot of fanatics? But the old man did not act like one, and I knew he would not speak lightly of a matter like that. I made up my mind I would show him.

     So I borrowed a Bible. I don't know what has become of the one I won in Sunday School. Must have mislaid it. I thought I would get at least twenty texts to show that we went to heaven at death, but I was too rusty to find them. I remembered one about departing to be with Christ, but it didn't say anything about heaven. Finally I came to the conclusion that if I did not want to read the whole book, I would have to buy a concordance. I did this, and looked up the word "heaven."

There was a long list. But I could not find a single case where anyone went there when they died. I was so disgusted that I looked up "hell"—it was only a page or two further—and, sure enough, I found the passage I had often heard, "The wicked shall be turned into hell." But I also found that Christ went to hell when He died! Yes, there it was, "Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell." I couldn't swallow that without proof so I looked it up in the Bible itself. The concordance might be wrong. I turned to Acts and read Peter's speech at Pentecost. I had often heard of St. Peter. I thought he ought to know, for wasn't he the one who held the keys to heaven? Yes, there it was, just as it is in the concordance, "Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell." But I had another shock coming. Peter goes on to say that "David is not ascended into heaven." David, a man after God's own heart, and he is not in heaven! I gave up. If I kept on, the Bible would soon knock all my Christianity out of me. I knew I could put up a better argument without the Bible.

     I really didn't want to visit the old man, but I was doubly ashamed, seeing that his sorrow called me, and he had invited me as well. When I went, I proposed to forget about heaven and steer into safer channels.

     After the usual greetings we talked of his loss. But he quickly changed the subject, saying, "I hear you have bought a concordance. Jones, at the book store told me. You don't know how glad I am. You couldn't get a better book, unless it is the Bible itself. I hope you'll make good use of it. It's astonishing how many of our ideas about the Bible fall flat when we test them by means of a concordance. Did it damage your conception of heaven? I suppose you looked it up in the concordance. That's what you bought it for, wasn't it?"

     I'll have to give Jones a piece of my mind. Why did he need to tell Mr. Aye about that concordance? Here I was, trapped and helpless. So I tried to back out. "Yes," I said, "I bought a concordance, but I can't say that it was very satisfactory. I didn't find what I was looking for.

     But the old man held on. "Neither did I, at first, because I wanted to prove I was right, and the concordance usually proved I was wrong. But what did you find?"

     "Well, honestly, I couldn't find that anyone went to heaven When they died. In fact, St. Peter, who ought to know, says plainly that David hasn't gone there. But I had less trouble with hell. I found a place that says that the wicked will be turned into hell. Of course, that's all right, but what bothers me is that St. Peter says that Christ went there, too."

     "I suppose you were going to show me that all good people go to heaven at death."

     "Well, I know they do, at least I think I know, but I can't get the Bible to back me up in it."

     He smiled. "Why not let the Bible speak for itself? Or, rather, why not let God speak, for the Bible—in the original—is God's word. Why try to change it? You have learned a valuable lesson. Christianity, as usually interpreted, has drifted far from the Bible. In fact the Bible itself is sadly tinged with human ideas. The concordance will correct that. Does your concordance refer you to the original words or only to the English translation?"

     "I understand that I can find out what the original word is, but that is beyond me. I don't know a word of Greek or Hebrew."

     "You don't need to know them. Some concordances, even in English are based on the original, so that it is very easy. See, here is one. Let's take an example. Didn't you say that all the wicked were to be turned into hell? Let's look up the word "turn" in this index. You will see that it stands for ten different Hebrew words. The question is, what does it mean in this passage? I happen to know that it is shuv. Let us turn to it. See, it occurs over a thousand times. Notice how often it is translated return, come again, or go back, or some similar phrase."

     "What, you don't mean to suggest that it ought to read `The wicked shall return to hell?'"

     "Why not? If it means return in nine hundred and ninety-nine cases, why not in the thousandth?"

     "But that upsets the whole theology of hell. The wicked never have been there. So they can't return."

     "I would not be so sure that we know all about this subject. Christ went there, as you have said. You will find that everyone, good or bad, goes there at death, if you will consult your concordance. But we were not going to talk of hell, but of heaven, What is your idea of heaven?"

     "Why, let me see, the Bible says it is a city, doesn't it, with streets of gold and gates of pearl?" I did not want to expose my ignorance, so I put it as a question. But he had no mercy on me.

     "Where does the Bible say this? Do you refer to the new Jerusalem, which comes down from God out of heaven" (Rev.21:2)?

     "Out of heaven—does it say that?"

     "Yes. It comes down to the earth. In fact, the kings of the earth bring their honor and glory into it."

     "Well, if that is not a description of heaven, I'm sure I don't know what it is like. I thought heaven and happiness were synonymous, that there was no sickness or sorrow or death, but that we had everything possible to please ourselves. Doesn't it say that there are many mansions in heaven?"

     "No. You refer to the text, `In my Father's house are many mansions.'" Have you never wondered how so many mansions could be in one house? Your concordance will show you that mansions is simply abodes. There were many little rooms in the temple, in which the priests lived while they were on duty. This has no reference to heaven. The apostles never went to heaven. Try to prove it if you want to be convinced."

     "If I take your word I won't have any Bible left." I had little enough of the Bible as it was, and this freehanded way of changing it roused all my religious scruples. But he only smiled.

     "Don't take my word. You have a concordance, you know. Which would you rather believe, the original or the translations?"

     "But the men who translated knew more than I do about these things." Why should I set myself up against them?"

     "Very good. Don't overrate your knowledge. But don't lean on any human authority when you can get the facts fresh from the fountain head. Do you think the translators did right in rendering shuv `turn' instead of `return?'"

     "No, I can't see that they did."

     "The principle of authority in matters of faith is most mischievous. When the `authorities' disagree there is confusion. When one authority is acknowledged it leads to spiritual slavery. In either case you will soon leave the pure spring of truth for the muddied waters of human tradition. But to return to heaven. Where is it? What is it? What shall we do there?"

     I saw how useless it would be for me to say anything, so I blurted out, "I don't know. I don't believe the Bible tells us."

     He smiled, and taking a Bible, handed it to me, saying, "I see you do not carry a sword, so here is one. Turn to the first verse in the whole book and read it."

     I read, "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth."

     He nodded, saying, "Now, can you tell me where heaven is?"

     "Why," said I, "heaven here means anything outside of the earth. This isn't the heaven where people go when they die."

     He smiled again, as he said, "How do you know that people go to heaven at death?"

     What a silly thing I had said! This was the very point I had not proved, and now I was taking it for granted! So I could only say, "Well, I don't know, but I thought I did."

     Continuing, he said, "If you will study your concordance and consider every place where heaven is mentioned in the Bible you will find that there are two locations. Sometimes it is confined to the atmosphere, the sky. But usually your definition is true—everything outside of the earth. Of course, in the visions of the Revelation the figures employed seems to suggest a large enclosed space with a door. But visions are the last places to go in seeking the literal meaning of words. The birds fly through heaven, and the sun, moon, and stars are in the heavens. Christ, the Lord, soared into the heavens, not at His death, but at His ascension. He disappeared in the empyrean. There is a heaven worth your while! Not a city covering a small part of the earth, but the boundless expanses of infinite space, sprinkled with stars, which are the abode of untold multitudes of celestial being, which the Bible calls "principalities and powers and mights and dominions," for these are the various forms of government which exist among them. Here you have the answer to your question. All atmospheric and stellar space is heaven."

     "Do you mean to say that there are beings in heaven who are not human, who have not died and gone there?"

     "Tradition dies hard, does it not? Christ is the only One Who has died and ascended into heaven. You found that David had not gone. Neither has anyone else. But that doesn't mean that the heavens are empty. Nor are they peopled merely with angels or messengers. There are orderly political powers, with myriads of subjects.

No human being, as now constituted, can go to heaven unless by a special miracle. A great many of earth's inhabitants, notably the Jews of other dispensations and those of the nations who are blessed through them, will never go to heaven. They will dwell in the holy city, new Jerusalem, which is so often mistaken for heaven. Only, those of the present administration go to heaven, and they do not go until they are changed at the resurrection. Then they will be given bodies specially suited for travelling through space, with supernal functions and unlimited powers, and an aura so splendid and luminous that our present desires for food, clothing, and shelter, and our craving for physical gratification will he entirely absent" (1 Cor.15).

     Here I interrupted the steady flow of his speech, which was threatening to become a sermon. "What!" said I, "We are to have nothing good to eat, or to wear, and no mansions to live in? Why that's all the heaven most Christians are looking for!"

     But he went on. "Whatever there is of such blessings in the Bible are for those on earth, and we are speaking of heaven. Have you ever thought what the Bible teaches about happiness? It is not found in self-gratification. I would not be happy in a heaven where I had all I wished to eat and wear and every delight that heart could wish. These things pall. Man was not made to wallow in his own lusts. Such selfishness is the course of mankind today and it cannot be the bliss of heaven. All these are things. Things cannot satisfy. We want the companionship, the esteem, the love of our kind far more than mere creature comforts."

      As the old man's voice showed that he was tiring, I begged him to rest a while, and perhaps we could finish another time. But he wanted one word more.

     He continued. "There is a saying of Christ which tells us much of heaven, if it is a place of bliss. He said `It is more blessed to give than to receive.' How can the conventional heaven be a happy place, when it is all taken up with receiving? Even, if you have a place in the choir, as many imagine, and thrum a harp incessantly, do you think you would be happy?"

     He did not really expect an answer, but I interrupted. "But there is music in heaven, isn't there? I always thought I would enjoy that part of it. I can play a little."

     "Yes, doubtless there will be music, but true music is an outlet for emotion overfull, not a means for concocting pleasure. The music of heaven will be praise and adoration to the great Beneficiary. It is intended to make Him happy, not us. Yet this is the secret of heaven's happiness. The response of love reacting on itself."

     I was getting a bit impatient by this time, so burst out, "Well, what will we do when we get there? I'm beginning to wonder whether you have a definite idea yourself."

     A slight shadow crossed his face, but he smiled bravely. "Yes, I have some very definite ideas. But bear with me for a little, till I tell you a little of my life. As you know, I have been on the way a long time. When I was a young lad, my heart went out to the heathen and I hoped some day to he a missionary, and to share with them the glorious gospel I had received. You know how hard my life has been. I have taken it all as a preparatory course for a place as a foreign missionary. That is why I have seldom grumbled or murmured. I knew that God was for me, not against me. Well, I'm going to be a missionary."

     Once more a suspicion crossed my mind. Was he really sane? But the suggestion of a twinkle in his eye reassured me. Nevertheless, with a forced harshness I cried out "You a foreign missionary! Old as you are! Who will take you?"

     His face lighted up as he said, "That is what I'm going to do in heaven. That is what we are all going to do. Listen to this. `That in the ages to come He might shew the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness to us in Christ Jesus...We are blessed with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.' This reads far better in the new Concordant Version, which has it that we are blessed with every spiritual blessing among the celestials, in Christ. There is much more in Paul's epistle to the Ephesians. God is going to convert the Jews and through them the whole earth. They will be the great home Missionaries to bring the earth back into the bosom of Jehovah. We will be foreign missionaries. Their parish will be the earth. Ours will be the heavens. God is going to make Himself known through us to the myriad hosts of the heavens. Our bliss will be to bestow the boon of God's favor throughout the bounds of stellar space. Out of the munificence of God's grace we will gladden the hearts of His creatures in worlds we have never seen."

     "But," I interrupted, "you don't mean to say that you are going to preach to the angels, do you? They don't need your help. They are beyond anything you can do for them."

     But once more his eyes twinkled. "Use your concordance, and you will learn something about angels. The word simply means messenger, and is applied to men quite as freely as to heavenly beings. Men are not `angels' in the usually accepted sense. But Satan is an angel also. He is still in heaven——"

     But I could not let that pass. "Satan in heaven! Where do you get that? I found out that Christ went to hell, and now you say that Satan is in heaven! You're not going to tell me that's in the Bible!"

     But he quietly proceeded: "Don't believe me! Read the opening chapter of Job. In the twelfth of Revelation, when he is cast out of heaven he takes a third of the heavenly host with him. At present we wrestle with sovereignties and authorities and world-mights, with the spiritual forces of wickedness among the celestials. So you see, heaven is not by any means the holy happy place which religious fiction fancies. We are not going to heaven to be happy, but to make it happy. You cannot gladden others without being blessed."

     The old man sat and mused for a while, but I did not speak. So he went on. "Love is the great thing. God loves me. Christ died for me to display God's affection. It has filled my heart to overflowing. I have tried to share it with my fellows, but O, so feebly and faithlessly. Yet I have known no joy so pure and permanent, no, bliss so ecstatic as comes to me when some straying sinner or seeking saint enjoys God's love through some word of mine. What will it be to be perfectly equipped with inexhaustible supplies of power and grace and fare forth into the celestial realms as an ambassador of peace to proclaim the evangel of God's limitless love to the celestials of the starry spheres? This—-this will be happiness—and heaven——I am very tired."

     Exhausted by his fervor, he sank into slumber. I rose softly and quietly made my way home. I had gained a glimpse of heaven. 

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

2 Timothy (The beginning of apostasy)

Here are a few excerpts from my study of 1 Timothy. The complete study, along with other Bible book studies, can be found at

All were turned away (1:15)

Of this you are aware, that all those in the province of Asia were turned from me, of whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes. This passage should shock us! Is not Paul considered the missionary apostle, who took Christianity to the nations … planting and nurturing churches? Is it not the understanding of modern-day Christianity that Paul’s work continued to flourish and grow into the churches of our day? Yet we see here that Paul’s work took a huge step back near the end of his life and ministry. There was an apostasy … a falling away. All in Asia had turned from him and from the truth he taught. Looking again at 1:13, when Paul said: Have a pattern of sound words, which you hear from me … we see that as the majority turned away from Paul they were turning away from the sound words proclaimed by Paul.

At what point did the organized church recover from this setback? At what point following Paul’s life did the majority of believers finally get it right, and stand for the truth. In Paul’s day truth is apparently in the hands of the minority, like Timothy and a select few … with the majority having turned from the truth. I would contend that since Paul’s day the organized church has continued in apostasy from the truth. Yes, there are believers that can be found in the pews of churches around the world … but the preachers, teachers, scholars, authors and other leaders within the organized church cannot be trusted for understanding and teaching the truth. Brothers and sisters, we are on our own. We cannot trust the organized church that is in apostasy from the truth, regardless of the denomination. All those in the province of Asia were turned from me. We must seek truth from the Scriptures, properly and carefully handled, with a focus on having a pattern of sound words.

Correctly cut the word of truth (2:15)

Endeavor to present yourself to God qualified, an unashamed worker, correctly cutting the word of truth. This goes beyond memorizing Scripture and applying it in superficial ways, ignoring the context. It is to know in which situations a Scriptural reference applies, and when it does not. As an example, to correctly cut the word of truth means we cannot take a Scripture directed to Israel and assume that it applies to the body of Christ. It may have been a word intended for a particular group of people at a particular point in time.

Come quickly (4:9)

Paul pleads with Timothy to come to him quickly, for he has been forsaken and abandoned by Demas, Crescens and Titus … and only Luke remains with him. Those forsaking Paul were loving the current eon more than the evangel and the things of God. Timothy is asked to bring with him Mark … and to bring the travelling cloak which I left in Troas with Carpus, and the scrolls, especially the vellums. (4:13) Travelling cloak could be a reference to a covering for the scrolls and vellums … writings Paul wished to preserve knowing his death was imminent, and knowing that the majority were already turning away from correct doctrine. How could truth be preserved after Paul’s death?

Ernest Martin, in his book, The Original Bible Restored, argues that when Paul wrote to Timothy his primary goal was that sound doctrine be preserved after his death. Therefore it was necessary for the apostles to leave behind an official documentation of truth. It would not make sense that the apostles would simply die and allow “church leaders” to set Scriptural standards. If they couldn’t trust the doctrines of many in their midst while they still lived, how could they depend on them to preserve correct doctrine in the future?

We know that many in Paul’s day were writing “gospels” (see Luke 1:1 and note the many publications in our present day that purport to be “lost scriptures”). There was a danger of losing the truth altogether if the apostles did not act to leave behind some official documentation.

Martin notes that Paul wanted John Mark, the author of the Gospel of Mark, to come with Timothy to perform a “service.” John Mark was at times an associate of Paul, but he was more closely tied to Peter who refers to him as “my son” (1 Peter 5:13). When asking Timothy to bring Mark, he also asks him to bring the traveling cloak which I left in Troas with Carpus, and the scrolls, especially the vellums (4:13). Cloak could refer to a receptacle for the scrolls and vellums (or parchments), much like the cover for a book, or a case. Martin hypothesizes that knowing his death was approaching, Paul asks Timothy and Mark to come to Rome with certain specific writings (the scrolls and vellums), and the “service” Paul intended for Mark was perhaps to take Paul’s inspired writings to Peter for inclusion in the Scriptural canon.

In light of the apostasy growing within the ecclesia, Paul’s impending death, and his concern for the preservation of truth, Martin’s hypothesis seems to make great sense. And while we cannot be sure that Martin is correct on all counts, one thing is certain … Paul sees the preservation of correct doctrine as essential.


Consider the change that has taken place between the writing of 1 Timothy and 2 Timothy. In 1 Timothy there were false teachers in the midst of the ecclesia (1:3-7), but Paul still emphasized the leadership of the body by supervisors and servants … bishops and deacons in the Authorized Version (chapter 3). Paul warned that in latter times some would depart from the faith (4:1). But still, elders that ruled well were to be honored (5:17).

But in 2 Timothy we hear that all in Asia had turned away (1:15). Instead of mentioning supervisors, servants or elders within the ecclesia, Timothy was instructed to commit the truth fo faithful men (2:2). Leaders such as Hymenaeus and Philetus were leading some astray, teaching that the resurrection had already occurred (2:18). Whereas 1 Timothy provided characteristics to be found within supervisor and servants who would lead the ecclesia, in 2 Timothy we simply read that a servant of the Lord was to be gentle and meek (2:24). Deceit and apostasy within the ecclesia were growing. In the last days, perilous times were to come (3:1). There would be a form of godliness that denied the power (3:5). Evil men would grow worse … and this referred to men within the ecclesia who would be deceiving and being deceived (3:13). The time would come when “they” (those within the ecclesia) would not endure sound doctrine (4:3). Demas, Crescens and Titus forsook Paul, preferring the present world (4:10).

And so we note the transition between a somewhat organized structure within the ecclesia in 1 Timothy … with an emphasis on supervisors and servants (bishops and deacons) … and the absence of structure in 2 Timothy where we see an emphasis on the individual servant of the Lord, and committing the truth to faithful men. And in the midst of this growing apostasy within the ecclesia … even within the leadership of the ecclesia … Paul knew his death was drawing near (4:6). So he makes provision for Timothy and Mark to gather his writings and to bring them to him, where he would make arrangements for these writings to be preserved after his death, in order that the truth might be preserved in the midst of growing apostasy (4:12).

With all of this in mind, does it not cause us to question the teachings propagated by the leaders within the organized church today? At what point following Paul’s death did the apostasy cease? At what point was spiritual truth, as proclaimed by Paul, finally recognized and taught by the majority within the church?

Charles Welch (Christian theologian and writer 1888-1967) observed that 2 Timothy reveals a church in ruins, and the discipline that was possible when the church was intact was no longer effective. So Timothy is instructed to exercise discipline upon himself, not upon others. (See 2:19; 3:5) Beware of the organized church. Seeks truth from the Scriptures, questioning doctrine being taught by the majority. Remember that even in Paul’s day, near the end of his life, the majority had rejected the truth and were in apostasy.