Ancient city at the modern site of Izmir, Turkey. Smyrna surrounded a well-protected harbor on the Aegean Coast at the outlet of the Hermus River. The city lay at the foot of Mount Pagus and is located about 35 miles north of Ephesus. Extensive trade to and from Asia passed through the city. During the first century A.D. Smyrna reigned as one of the grandest cities of all Asia. Strabo (64 B.C- A.D. 20s), the Greek geographer, called Smyrna “the most beautiful city of all” cities along this coast. A large temple there, dedicated to Emperor Tiberius, boasted Smyrna’s close alliance with the Empire. Continue reading DEFINITION OF THE DAY “SMYRNA”
No, it’s not normal if you mean that people hear God’s audible voice daily. God uses a variety of ways to communicate with us. No one can predict when God will speak in an audible voice. Continue reading IS IT NORMAL FOR PEOPLE TO HEAR THE AUDIBLE VOICE OF GOD?
Several Bible passages emphasize a Christian’s preeminent commitment to love-not merely a sentimental, warm feeling, but a choice of the will to put other people’s welfare ahead of one’s own by showing respect, considering their feelings, and praying on their behalf. Continue reading IS IT OKAY FOR A CHIRSTIAN TO INTENSELY DISLIKE ANOTHER BELIEVER?
Conservative churches that discourage or ban use of alcoholic beverages are bewildered at the production of wine as Jesus’ first miracle. Such churches have sometimes insisted that the wine in John 2 was nonalcoholic, despite the wedding guests’ unusual delight and appreciation of it. Surely, Jesus did make very good wine, yet not hint of alcoholic abuse clouds this account. Continue reading DOES JESUS’ MIRACLE AT CANA ENCOURAGE THE USE OF ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES?
Children of Bible times, just like kids today, played games of make-believe. These children described by Jesus were pretending to be attending weddings and funerals. They called all their friends to join the fun, but some refused to play. Continue reading BIBLE CUSTOMS AND CURIOSITIES (NOT IN THE GAME)
The jailer at Philippi was sleeping soundly while Paul and Silas sang praises to God at midnight. But God caused an earthquake that left him wide awake and terrified. All the locked prison doors swung open and all the prisoners were freed of their constraints. Since his own blood would be shed if they escaped, he probably saw his life flash before his eyes. Continue reading MEN OF THE BIBLE (THE PHILIPPIAN JAILER: FINDING SALVATION)
Roman Catholic tradition maintains that Peter is buried beneath the magnificent structure in Rome which bears his name-Saint Peter’s Basilica. Although the New Testament does not report a visit of Peter to Rome, there is historical evidence that he spent at least part of the latter portion of his life there. There are also extra-biblical references (such as the Acts of Peter) and numerous references in the writings of second and third-century church scholars which confirm that Peter died in Rome. Eusebius gives A.D. 68 as the approximate date of Peter’s death. Continue reading MANNERS AND CUSTOMS OF THE BIBLE (WHERE IS PETER BURIED?)
Contrary to the popular conception of the pastor who only works one day a week, real pastoral ministry is tough, draining, and emotionally taxing. It’s not for the faint of heart. It requires a unique combination of battle toughness and fatherly tenderness. A pastor is closely connected to the lives of the people he serves, and vicariously experiences both joy and heartbreak that his people experience. When a young man gets married, the pastor rejoices. When the same young man gets cancer, the pastor is heartbroken. When a couple has a child, the pastor is elated. When the same couple gets divorced five years later, the pastor is heartbroken. Continue reading HOW TO ENCOURAGE YOUR PASTOR!
Ancient Israelites attached a severe social stigma to rape. A young woman victim was “ruined”-she became an outcast with no means of financial support and no prospects for a family of her own. So the law imposed on the perpetrator the responsibility of care for the victim-providing her a home and family-at considerable cost to him. Such an arrangement also reduced the need of the victim’s family to seek forcible revenge, thus sparing the culture much violence. Continue reading OLD TESTAMENT LAW REQUITES A MAN WHO RAPES A VIRGIN TO MARRY HER. WHY FORCE THE VICTIM OF SUCH A TERRIBLE CRIME MARRY THE PERPETRATOR?
The beauty of flowers and the way they bloom and flourish makes them a good image for many spiritual themes, including love, transience, and the glory of God. Two Hebrew words are translated as “flower:” perach means to break forth, bud, sprout, or burst; tsuwts evokes images of shining, sparkling, or gleaming. The first connotes spontaneous growth, while the second focuses on beauty. Continue reading SIGNS AND SYMBOLS OF THE BIBLE (FLOWERS)