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Question and Answer

What does Paul have to say about gender and homosexuality?

The rejection of both authority and absolute truth are characteristic of the postmodern age in general, and of the millennial generation in particular. Unfortunately, authority today is often associated with “oppression” rather than “order.” Meaning is considered relative rather than objective, even though people think their relativistic beliefs are absolute. Therefore, it is not that millennials actually reject authority; instead, they are substituting one authority for another they find acceptable: Their own authority. That is, in saying, “Paul is wrong; I cannot believe him,” in effect they are placing their judgment over the words of Paul; they are placing themselves in authority over Scripture. So, wisely, one should ask a Christian millennial who rejects the authority of Scripture, “Should I therefore agree with the authority of your words, or the authority of those who have determined that their belief is greater than the words of Paul?”

The goal is not to banter back and forth endlessly with a fool, as Proverbs indicate (Prov. 26:4–5; 29:9). Instead, the intent is to help the millennial see that their basis for rejecting Scripture is a preference to believe something palpable; it is not that Scripture is wrong, but that the millennial doesn’t like how this instruction feels. Again, therefore, it would then be good to ask such a Christian millennial another question: “Do you believe the words of Romans 10:13: ‘Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved?’”

If yes, then the person should embrace the rest of Paul’s words as equally true. If no, then the person needs you to explain the gospel to them.

I don’t see the phrase, “For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory” in Matthew 6:13. Is it part of Scripture?

Scholars who believe in the inerrancy and infallibility of the Old and New Testaments debate the origin of the Greek words behind the phrase, “For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory,” which is found in the King James Version. These words do not appear in the oldest Greek manuscripts we have, but they do appear in more than 98 percent of all available Greek manuscripts—though none of them gives evidence of this phrase before the late 4th century. The late appearance of the words argues against them being original, for the earlier manuscripts—the ones closest to the original manuscript penned by Matthew—would be more likely to contain the original wording than later manuscripts.

Just as Adam and Eve are historical figures—real people who lived on this Earth—so too is the serpent a historical figure.

In addition to a lack of earlier manuscript evidence, commentators on the Gospels in the early church, such as Origen, Tertullian, and Cyprian, do not seem to have had the words in the manuscripts available to them, for they make no comments on this phrase. Most modern translations omit these words from the text and include a footnote citing the lack of early textual evidence for this phrase.

The words likely were adapted from 1 Chronicles 29:11: “Yours, Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory. . . . Yours, Lord, is the kingdom.” Therefore, there is nothing wrong with praying the words, for they are true, even though they do not appear to have been part of the original text of Matthew 6:13.

Who or what was the serpent in the Garden of Eden?

We could dismiss the truthfulness of the biblical story, the need for the cross of Christ, and indeed Christian belief itself, if the serpent in the garden were merely a symbol of evil or a description of the human capacity to sin. Just as Adam and Eve are historical figures—real people who lived on this Earth—so too is the serpent a historical figure. His words about the eyes of Adam and Eve being opened were true, even though he twisted the command of God and neglected to mention the consequences of sin and death. In Genesis 3, God spoke to the serpent in judgment just as He spoke to Adam and Eve.

Both Paul and John identify the serpent as Satan (Rom. 16:20; Rev. 12:9; 20:2). This same Satan is the embodiment of evil and rebellion against God. He wreaked havoc upon Job, tempted our Lord to sin, sought Peter’s destruction, and possessed Judas in order to incite him to collaborate with those who brought false charges against the Lord Jesus (Job 1:6–7; 2:1–7; Matt. 4:10; Luke 22:31; John 13:27).

Paul makes a distinction between sin (Rom. 5:12) and Satan (Rom. 16:20). Consistently, Scripture reveals that sins are something people do, whereas Satan is a being who tempts people to sin and seeks the harm of God’s people. In Genesis 3, God pronounces separate judgments on the sins of Adam and Eve, the acts of the animal that allowed Satan to use it as a tool for tempting them, and the evil being himself, who will experience a death blow from a male offspring of the woman (Gen. 3:15).

BY Eric C. Redmond

Eric C. Redmond serves as an assistant professor of Bible at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago and as associate pastor of adult ministries at Calvary Memorial Church in Oak Park, Ill. He is married to Pam and they have five children. He is the author of Where Are All the Brothers? Straight Answers to Mens’ Questions about the Church (Crossway), a commentary on Jonah in the Christ-Centered Exposition Series (B&H Publishers), and a study guide on Ephesians in the Knowing the Bible series (Crossway).

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