Jesus meets Nathanael.

by K.W. Leslie, 26 February 2024

John 1.43-51.

You recall after Jesus met Andrew and Philip, Andrew was so impressed by Jesus he went and brought Jesus his brother Simon, whom Jesus named Peter. But Andrew wasn’t the only eager evangelist in the pair; Philip went and brought his friend Nathanael to Jesus.

Nathanael appears twice in John, and therefore twice in the bible. He’s from Cana, Galilee; Jn 21.2 a village a few clicks away from Nazareth, so he knows Nazareth, and certainly isn’t impressed by it. Likewise isn’t impressed when Philip suggests he’s found Messiah… and Messiah’s from Nazareth of all places.

Because Nathanael is obviously a regular Jesus-follower, and because Christians are under some weird misconception that Jesus had only 12 regular followers (when he so obviously had more, including two guys who were just as qualified to become apostles as the Twelve Ac 1.21-23), they’ve tried to meld Nathanael together with one of the Twelve. Historically that’s been Bartholemew, because in the lists of the Twelve, Bartholemew and Philip get lumped together, and historians think they ministered together, both before and after Jesus’s rapture. Bartholemew is our translation of ܒܪ ܬܘܠܡܝ/bar Tulmay, “son of Talmai,” and since that’s not Bartholemew’s proper name, the argument is Nathanael was his proper name; he’d be Nathanael bar Talmai, or “Nathanael-Bartholemew,” as some Christians call him. But there’s no actual evidence Nathanael and Bartholemew are the same guy. Just some ninth-century Christian who had a theory, and it got popular.

All we know about Nathanael is what Jesus testified about him: He’s Israeli, and he’s really honest.

John 1.43-51 KWL
43 The next day Jesus wants to go to the Galilee,
and finds Philip and tells him, “Follow me.”
44 Philip is from Bethsaida,
from the city of Andrew and Peter.
45 Philip finds Nathanael and tells him,
“I found the man
of whom Moses writes about in the Law,
and the Prophets write about:
Jesus bar Joseph,
the man from Nazareth.”
46 Nathanael tells him, “Out of Nazareth?
Can anything good be from there?”
Philip tells him, “Come and see.”
 
47 Jesus sees Nathanael coming to him,
and says about him, “Look!
Truly an Israeli in whom there’s no deceit.”
48 Nathanael tells him, “From where do you know me?”
In reply Jesus tells him, “Before Philip called you,
when you were being under the fig tree,
I saw you.”
49 Nathanael replies, “Rabbi, you’re God’s son.
You’re king of Israel.”
50 In reply Jesus tells him,
“Because I tell you I saw you under the fig tree,
you trust me?
You’ll see bigger things than this.”
51 Jesus told him, “Amen amen, I promise you all:
You’ll see the sky has opened up,
and God’s angels are going up and coming down
upon the Son of Man.”

The devil used to lead heavenly worship?

by K.W. Leslie, 20 February 2024

Every time I’ve heard this myth, it’s come from either a music pastor, a worship leader, or a musician. You can probably guess why. If not, I’ll spell it out for you later.

It’s part of the myth that Satan used to be someone important in heaven; in fact it was previously named Lucifer, the greatest of all angels, if not the head angel. Lucifer was the prettiest and most sparkly of all angels. Better and smarter and mightier than every angel there was, and God bestowed upon it power and authority and responsibilities and blessings… but it got full of itself, rebelled, and fell.

I should point out only the rebelled-and-fell part of the story comes from bible, Rv 12.7-9 and the reason the devil did so is rather simple: Jesus came to earth to save and rule it, and the devil doesn’t like this plan at all. Rv 12.1-6 But it was defeated by the actual mightiest angel, Michael.

If the story sounds like Satan’s fudging its résumé, of course it is. Satan’s a dirty liar, remember? Jn 8.44 Problem is, Christians have fallen for it, and still share it with one another. Still teach it to newbies. We think it’s true. We forget we’re not to trust the devil; even when it tells the truth, there’s deception involved, ’cause it’s trying to lead us to destruction. That’s what it does.

Anyway. Part of this greatest-of-all-angels idea leads Christian musicians to this particular myth: What’s the very most important job in heaven? Why, worshiping God of course. So Satan did that for a living. It led worship. It led the heavenly choir.

Jesus meets Simon Peter.

by K.W. Leslie, 19 February 2024

John 1.40-42.

After John the baptist had pointed Jesus out to two of his students, Andrew and Philip, the kids followed Jesus, who turned round, recognized their zeal, and decided right there to have them on his team. When they asked Jesus where he was staying, middle eastern hospitality kicked in, and Jesus invited them to stay with him the rest of the day. Jn 1.39

It being the 10th hour of the day (around 4:30pm), and Jewish days ending at sundown, there was only an hour or two left of the day. It may mean Jesus invited them for an overnight stay—it was too late for them to go home without getting mugged—which meant hours of talking about God with the Son of God himself. Or he shooed them out of the place right after sundown so they could get home, but the hour or two they spent with him was just enough for them to realize Jesus is the real deal.

Either way, it got one of the students, Andrew, to go get his brother Simon and bring him to Jesus. Both these young men were looking for Messiah, and Andrew was entirely sure that’s exactly who Jesus is, so of course he brought Simon to him to see for himself. That’s what you’d do, isn’t it?

John 1.40-42 KWL
40 Andrew, brother of Simon Peter,
is one of the two students heeding John the baptist
and following Jesus.
41 This student first finds his own brother Simon,
and tells him, “We found Messiah!” (i.e. Christ).
42 Andrew brings Simon to Jesus.
Looking him over, Jesus says, “You’re Simon bar John.
You’ll be called Kifa” (i.e. Peter).

So here’s where the author of John introduces us to Peter—and tells us Jesus is the one who named him that. Well, named him ܟܐܦܐ/kifá, Aramaic for “a stone, a rock; a stone vessel, stone column, stone idol, or precious stone.” John transliterates that into Κηφᾶς/Kifás (adding the -s ending you’d find in Greek names), and apparently plenty of Greek-speakers knew him by that name; Paul included, who calls him Kifás more than once. 1Co 1.12, 3.22, 9.5, 15.5, Ga 2.9 But John likewise identifies him by the Greek translation of his name, Πέτρος/Pétros, which also means “a stone, a rock.”

I have heard various Christians claim the female variant of pétros, πέτρα/pétra, means a big rock… and pétros meant a small rock, like a pebble. Unfortunately, I believed this garbage and taught it myself. It’s bunk. Besides, Jesus didn’t name him Pétros; he named him Kifá. The Aramaic/Syriac word usually means one of those big giant rocks you take refuge under, Jb 30.6 or build great things on top of.

This, folks, is why it’s important to know historical context as well as grammatical: Even though John was written in Greek, understand Jesus wasn’t speaking and teaching in Greek. It’s why John includes Aramaic words (like “Messiah”) and their translations. Assume everything happened in the Greek language, and you’ll assume Jesus did give Simon a nickname meaning “pebble.” Understand the background, and you’ll realize Jesus intentionally meant “a stone, a rock.”

Jesus wasn’t giving Simon an ironic or humiliating nickname. We do that. Preachers who think it’s funny and harmless to mock their friends, and not at all a character deficiency, do that. Jesus doesn’t trash-talk his followers. He saves the mockery for evil, and proud, unrepentant evildoers.

St. Valentine’s Day.

by K.W. Leslie, 14 February 2024

As you should know, saints days are usually the day a saint died.

In Roman Catholic thinking, this’d be the day the Christian actually became a saint, ’cause now there’s no chance whatsoever of them ever quitting Jesus—why would you, now that you’ve been with him in heaven?—so their sainthood is absolutely a done deal. Whereas those of us on earth: Meh. You’re Christian now; we don’t yet know how well you’ll hold up when the poo-poo really hits the fan. ’Cause some of those people back in Roman Empire times who could’ve been martyred saints, as soon as the Romans even threatened to smack ’em around a little, they quickly denounced Jesus and promised to worship the Emperor. So much for their sainthood.

So… how well might you hold up under persecution? Heck, in a country where Christians don’t even get persecuted (except in their own minds), how well might you hold up even when you’re simply suffering? ’Cause plenty of people seem to have a rather low breaking point. Parents die?—even though everybody’s parents die?—quit Jesus. Not cured of whatever ailment you really wanna be cured of?—quit Jesus. Don’t get that job you were convinced God was gonna grant you?—quit Jesus. One of the pastors quietly suggested next Sunday you might experiment with underarm deodorant?—quit Jesus. If these triggers are starting to sound stupid… well, some people get triggered by the pettiest things. “Deny yourself, take up your cross and follow me” Mt 16.24 doesn’t appeal to a culture which denies itself nothing.

But I digress, ’cause today I’m gonna write about the martyr St. Valentine.

Of course the tricky part is which one. There have been many Christians named Valentinus, and some of them lived and died for Jesus, and back in antiquity some bishop decided to give one of them his very own feast day. In the west, bishop Gelasius 1 of Rome fixed it on 14 February. But which Valentinus is this day about? Well, we don’t know.

Well we don’t. This is one of those facts that’s been lost in antiquity. We don’t know anything about St. Valentine. Jesus does, ’cause Valentinus is one of his. That, I suppose, is what counts most.

We know of five ancient Christian martyrs with the name Valentinus. Three in particular, but really any of the five—or in fact none of them—could be the guy with the feast day. There’s no saying for certain. I don’t care which historian you’ve read who claims, “Oh it’s definitely this Valentinus”—it’s not definite at all. We don’t know. Unless some archaeologist finally gets hold of a document in which some bishop first proclaims a St. Valentine’s Day, we’re not gonna know. Some things in the universe are just gonna remain unknowns. Deal with it.

The five Valentinuses are:

  1. A presbyter who served in Rome, buried on the Flaminian Way in the late 200s. Orthodox Christians observe his feast day on 6 July.
  2. A bishop of Interamna (now Terni, in central Italy), killed during a trip to Rome in the year 269. The church of Terni claims this Valentinus died on 14 February, and he’s the St. Valentine… but of course they would. Orthodox Christians observe his feast day on 30 July.
  3. A member of a missionary team to north Africa (today’s Tunisia, Algeria, and Libya), who were all killed at once, and that’s everything we know about him.
  4. A bishop of Passau, who later became a hermit in northern Italy, and died in 475.
  5. A bishop of Genoa, who died in 295.

St. Valentine’s Day was part of the official Roman calendar till 1955, when Pope Pius 12 decided to consolidate a bunch of saints. Of course by then it was already part of popular culture. Medieval Christians had decided St. Valentine, whoever he was, was the patron saint of romantic love, and invented a few legends about how he secretly performed Christian weddings for couples, enraging the emperor, who had him killed for that, not for Jesus. Greeting card manufacturers of course spread the story he used to cut heart-shaped pieces of parchment and give them to other persecuted Christians to remind them of God’s love; which is also likely bogus, but it gives schoolchildren something nice to write about in their St. Valentine’s Day essays.

Ash Wednesday: Lent begins.

by K.W. Leslie, 13 February 2024

Ash Wednesday is tomorrow. It’s the first day of the Lenten fast. It gets its name from the western custom of putting ashes on our heads. What’s with the ashes? It comes from bible: Ashes were used to ritually purify sinners. Nu 19.9 So it’s to repeat that custom.

Varoius Christians figure it also comes from the ancient middle eastern custom of putting ashes on one’s head when grieving. 2Sa 13.19, Jb 2.8 What’re we grieving? Well, Easter comes after Holy Week, when Jesus died, so they’re kinda grieving Jesus’s death. Even though he’s alive now, their emphasis is his horrible suffering and death, and they mourn that. Lent is one of the ways they mourn that. So, ashes.

Thing is… in his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus tells us when we’re fasting not to broadcast it.

Matthew 6.16-18 NRSVue
16 “And whenever you fast, do not look somber, like the hypocrites, for they mark their faces to show others that they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. 17 But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, 18 so that your fasting may be seen not by others but by your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”

In many churches ashes are ritually sprinkled on one’s head, but in English-speaking countries the custom is to use the ashes to draw a cross on Christians’ foreheads. I don’t know how pleased Jesus is with those of us who wear these crosses on our foreheads all day. I think he’d much rather we show off our devotion by being fruity.

But over the past decade, mainline Christians have started to use the forehead-cross thingy as an outreach tool. Instead of only doing the ritual in their church buildings, their pastors go to public places with ashes, and draw crosses on anyone who asks.

  • Sometimes they’re Christians who go, “Oh I forgot it’s Ash Wednesday; I’m gotta go get my ashes!”
  • Sometimes they’re Christians who didn’t grow up with this ritual: “Ash Wednesday? What’s that? Well I’m Christian, so I’m gonna get a cross too.”
  • Sometimes they’re Christian jerks: “Oh that’s a Catholic thing; that’s as good as paganism or sorcery; I’m not doing that.”
  • And sometimes they’re pagans who think they’re Christian, or pagans who wanna try something “spiritual.”

Regardless, the mainliners’ goal is to get more people to think about Jesus than usual. It does do that.

𝘛𝘩𝘦 Antichrist.

by K.W. Leslie, 12 February 2024

When I write about antichrists, I of course mean people who are anti-Christ. They’re not just pagans who apathetically want nothing to do with Christ Jesus if they can help it; these folks actively oppose Christ and fight Christianity.

But when I write about antichrists, your average Evangelical gets confused. Because antichrist is a word they’re very familiar with… but they regularly define it wrong. They don’t mean just any individual who’s anti-Christ. They mean the Beast.

Θηρίον/Thiríon is the word the apostle John used to describe various animals in the visions Jesus gave him in Revelation. There are multiple thiría in his visions, same as there are weird animals in Daniel and other biblical apocalypses. None of them are literal animals; they only represent a literal being. Like the lamb with seven horns and seven eyes who looks like he’s been killed. Rv 5.6 That’s Jesus, who doesn’t literally have seven horns and eyes in his heavenly form; he’s been human since 7BC. Likewise this Beast isn’t literally as John described him below. (My translation. The dragon, by the way, is Satan. Rv 12.9)

Revelation 13.1-10 KWL
1 I see a Beast rising up from the sea,
which has 10 horns and seven heads,
and on its horns, 10 diadems;
and on its heads, slanderous names.
2 The Beast I see is like a panther;
its feet like a bear’s,
its mouth like a lion’s mouth.
The dragon gives it its power,
its throne, and great ability.
3 One of the Beast’s heads is as if maimed to death,
and its deadly wound is cured.
The whole world admires the Beast,
4 and worships the dragon which gives its ability to the Beast,
and worships the Beast, saying,
Is anyone like the Beast?”
and “Is anyone able to fight it?”
 
5 A mouth is given to the Beast
to speak great and slanderous things,
and it’s given power to do things
for 42 months.
6 The Beast opens its mouth to slander God,
to slander his name and his tabernacle
—the one in heaven he encamps in—
7 and the Beast is allowed
to make war with the saints and conquer us.
It’s given ability over every tribe,
people, language, and ethnicity.
8Everyone who dwells on earth will worship it—
everyone whose name wasn’t written
when the world was founded
in the life-book of the Lamb who was slain.
 
9 If one has an ear, hear:
10 If one is going into captivity,
they’re going into captivity.
If one is going to be stabbed to death,
they’re getting stabbed to death.
So should be the endurance and trust of the saints.

John then describes a Second Beast which gets everyone to worship both this first Beast, and an εἰκόνα/eikóna, “ikon,” of the first Beast; Rv 13.13-15 and forbids trade among everyone who isn’t personally marked with the Beast’s name or number. Rv 13.16-17 And so many people are fixated on the number, 666, I gave it its own article.

Jesus’s first two students.

by K.W. Leslie, 11 February 2024

John 1.35-39.

Honestly, the gospel of John doesn’t line up with the other gospels, which we call synoptics ’cause they often share the same point of view. John wasn’t really meant to: The author had likely read the other gospels, or at least Luke; and was filling in all their blank spots. So when the synoptics make it sound like Jesus first gathered his students in the Galilee, John corrects that: Jesus met ’em in Judea. John the baptist actually sent him his first two.

John 1.35-37 KWL
35 The next day John, and two of his students,
were standing in that place again.
36 Looking at Jesus walking by,
John said, “Look, God’s lamb!”
37 John’s two students heed what he says,
and follow Jesus.

The word μαθητής/mathitís, “student,” is regularly translated “disciple.” And plenty of Christians have the false idea that a disciple is somehow different from a student. A disciple, they claim, has a deep relationship with their teacher. They’re not just trying to learn from their master; they wanna be just like their master, like an apprentice. They wanna adopt the master’s lifestyle, not just their teachings. And other such profound-sounding rubbish.

Yeah, rubbish. Because any student can become huge fans of their teacher and try to mimic them in all sorts of ways. I saw it in college with my fellow students; I saw it in my own students when I became a teacher. Some students get endlessly fascinated with their teacher’s personal lives, and wanna know what makes them tick. They’re still trying to figure out their own personalities, and figure this is the guy to emulate. Sometimes they’re right. Sometimes not!

In fact, there are all kinds of student-teacher relationships. Sometimes they’re all about academics, sometimes lifestyle, and sometimes a little of both. Sometimes teachers think, “I want successors, and that’s what I’m training,” and sometimes all we’re thinking is, “They need to know this stuff,” and nothing more. Certain teachers covet eager, worshipful pupils, and are jealous of other teachers who have ’em; they wanna be worshiped. Some of these relationships are very healthy; some are sick ’n twisted.

But saying, “A disciple is different from a student,” is rubbish. They’re synonyms.

And John and Jesus’s students were seeking religious instruction. They were products of the first-century Judean culture, in which religious kids sought a master, a רַ֣ב/rav, who’d teach them how to follow God, and be a devout Pharisee. (Or Samaritan, or Qumrani. Sadducees weren’t so worried about it.) So they sought a scribe who knew his bible, knew the Law and how to interpet it.

And if you were particularly fortunate, your rav would also be a prophet, filled with the Holy Spirit who spoke to ’em personally. Who might even grant you the Spirit, and now you could hear God. Wouldn’t that be awesome? (Forgetting, of course, people back then were in the nasty habit of killing prophets. But hey—hearing God!)

So when John identified Jesus as God’s lamb, you know his students immediately thought, “Well if John hears God, but John says this is the guy…” and off they went.

John the baptist’s testimony about Jesus.

by K.W. Leslie, 04 February 2024

John 1.29-37.

Some Christians like to say Jesus’s baptism is in all four gospels. Actually it’s not. The gospel of John never actually says Jesus was baptized.

Seriously; read the text. John says he saw the Holy Spirit descend upon Jesus—and the other gospels say the Spirit did that after Jesus came up out of the water—but in the gospel of John, John the baptist never says what was happening at the time. Never says he was in the middle of baptizing people, much less Jesus. Never says.

Because that’s not important to John the baptist. Identifying Jesus as the Lamb of God, is.

Here’s the text again, ’cause you probably won’t believe me. Feel free to compare it with other translations. None of ’em are gonna say, in this gospel, that John baptized Jesus. His baptism’s in the other three gospels. Not this one. And the apostle John probably didn’t include it because it’s in the other three gospels.

John 1.29-37 KWL
29 The next day John sees Jesus coming to him,
and says, “Look, God’s lamb, which takes up the world’s sin.
30 This is the one of whom I say,
‘The one coming after me has got in front of me,’
because he’s before me.” Jn 1.15
31 And I hadn’t known it was him!
But I come baptizing in water for this reason:
So that he might be revealed to Israel.
 
32 John gives witness, saying this:
“I had seen the Spirit, who descends from the sky like a pigeon,
and he had remained on Jesus.
33 And I hadn’t known it was him!
But the one who sends me to baptize in water,
that person tells me,
‘Upon whomever you might see the Spirit descend
and remain upon him,
this is the one who baptizes in the Holy Spirit.’
34 And I had seen this,
and had borne witness that this is God’s son.”
 
35 The next day John, and two of his students,
were standing in that place again.
36 Looking at Jesus walking by,
John said, “Look, God’s lamb!”
37 John’s two students heed what he says,
and follow Jesus.

Bad Christian or non-Christian?

by K.W. Leslie, 30 January 2024

Yep, it’s time to play everybody’s least-favorite game, “Bad Christian or non-Christian?”—the game in which we’re trying to discern whether or not a person’s saved.

I say “least-favorite” because I’ve been rebuked multiple times for playing this game. How dare I try to discern whether someone’s Christian or not. How dare I not take their word for it—if they call themselves Christian, why, that’s what they are!

…Well, unless they’re not Evangelical. Unless they’re Roman Catholic, or Orthodox, or Mormon, or mainliner. Unless they’re members of the opposition party. Unless they’re woke. Unless they’re gay. Unless they’ve trespassed in a way that, to these people’s minds, undermines or undoes their salvation.

…Yeah, the people who rebuke me are nearly always playing “Bad Christian or non-Christian?” themselves. The only difference between them and me: Different metrics. They base it on whether these people claim to be a member of our religious tribe, whether they’ve recited the sinner’s prayer, and whether they’ve otherwise not trespassed against their personal peeves.

Me, I base it on the two requirements Jesus laid out in his Sermon on the Mount: Fruit and obedience.

Matthew 7.15-23 NET
15“Watch out for false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are voracious wolves. 16 You will recognize them by their fruit. Grapes are not gathered from thorns or figs from thistles, are they? 17 In the same way, every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree is not able to bear bad fruit, nor a bad tree to bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 So then, you will recognize them by their fruit.
21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter into the kingdom of heaven—only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. 22 On that day, many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, didn’t we prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many powerful deeds in your name?’ 23 Then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you. Go away from me, you lawbreakers!’ ”

Are they at the very least trying to exhibit the Spirit’s fruittrying to be more gracious, compassionate, empathetic, kind, patient, devout, peacemaking, humble? Are they at the very least trying to follow Jesus, not in a way which conforms to the crowd, but every once in a while opposes the crowd, because they recognize they have to abide by Christ Jesus’s higher standard?

I mean, if they’re not even trying—if instead they’re reveling in being dicks—we’re not just dealing with a bad Christian, a person who’s following Jesus but doing a poor job of it. We’re dealing with someone who knows Jesus teaches otherwise, but doesn’t give a rip; it’s more fun, and gets ’em more praise, to be evil. Jesus is in no way their Lord. They’re not Christian. They quit.

“All scripture is God-breathed and useful for…”

by K.W. Leslie, 28 January 2024

2 Timothy 3.16.

In pretty much every sermon and lesson I’ve heard about why we have a bible, and what the bible is for, preachers and teachers quote this verse. Which I’m gonna quote in the New International Version, because of the unique and very popular way they translate it.

2 Timothy 3.16-17 NIV
16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

The NIV describes the scriptures as God-breathed, and people really like describing it that way. It’s a very literal, perhaps too literal, translation of the word θεόπνευστος/theónefstos, “divinely inspired”—or as the KJV puts it, “by inspiration of God.” But the reason Christians like quoting this part, is to remind us the Holy Spirit inspired the books of the bible, so they’re not just any books. God’s behind them.

And sometimes these folks take this idea too far, and claim God’s in them, and they’re worthy of the same reverence God is. That’s idolatry, so let’s not go there. Don’t go replacing the Holy Spirit with the Holy Bible, like too many cessationists do. The Spirit doesn’t imbue the bible with divine powers, so all we now need to do is recite its verses like magic incantations and it’ll do stuff. That’s not its purpose. Reject those teachers who tell you otherwise.

But as for what its purpose actually is—well that’s the other reason people quote 1 Timothy 3.16. It’s so they can list these four things:

  • TEACHING (Greek διδασκαλίαν/didaskalían, “instruction”; KJV “doctrine”). Informing Christians what we should know about God, and how to follow Jesus.
  • REBUKING (ἐλεγμόν/elegmón; in the Textus Receptus ἔλεγχον/élenhon; both mean “disprove, reprimand, convince otherwise”). Challenging Christians who get God wrong, go too far, or sin.
  • CORRECTING (ἐπανόρθωσιν/epanórthosin, “correcting.”) Correcting Christians who lose focus, get off track, or forget what’s important. “Rebuking” deals with Christians who are seriously wrong; “correcting” with Christians who are just a bit off course.
  • TRAINING IN RIGHTEOUSNESS (παιδείαν τὴν ἐν δικαιοσύνῃ/pedeían tin en dikeosýni, “training about the right [way]”). Not just classroom instruction, but hands-on demonstration about how to fairly and morally treat others and behave.

They won’t always interpret these words the same way I have. I’ve been to churches where the main focus is correction. You don’t know the proper bible doctrines?—well, here they are; learn ’em and be orthodox like us. And when people object to our doctrines, learn some Christian apologetics so you can argue with them and win. As for behavior… well, don’t worry about actively following Jesus, for somehow that’s legalism; just don’t sin, for somehow that’s not.

But okay, those four things sound like really good reasons to study a bible. Thing is, they’re missing the most important one. Because they’re not reading the bible in context. You knew I was gonna get to context eventually, right?