What the Bible says about
(From Forerunner Commentary)
Jesus asks the man to do what had seemed impossible a moment before. At His command, the man places himself in full view of the synagogue's audience so that everyone present can witness it, and without even touching him, Jesus immediately heals him. When the man stretches out his hand for all to see, the crowd witnesses positive proof of Christ's power and holiness.
Despite the shame of his withered hand, the man still attends Sabbath services at the synagogue. He places a higher priority on worshipping God than on his personal discomfort. The principle illustrated here is that people should not use physical problems as an excuse for not going to church. A person should attend services when able.
The downside of missing services is that, eventually, spiritual problems with far more serious consequences will develop. No one can do much in service to God if he allows physical problems or handicaps to impede his worship and service of his Creator. In a sense, many of us suffer from withered hands. Sin so paralyzes us that we cannot serve God as we would like. Yet, anyone in God's church can be empowered to do the needed things for our Healer.
The real issue is faith. Jesus fulfills God's intention for the Sabbath day by restoring this man to health and strength. In answering Christ's call to step forward, the man shows what a little faith and obedience can do. This tests his courage and faith as he rises above his human fears. He entirely trusts Christ, and his healing is God's response.
Martin G. Collins
The Miracles of Jesus Christ: Healing a Withered Hand (Part Two)
This woman perceived and appreciated a greatness in Jesus that motivated her to so abase herself as to weep, cleanse His feet with her tears, kiss, and anoint them! Notice her emotion, courage, devotion (oblivious of public opinion), and humility (in performing the task of a slave). We can safely guess that Jesus had turned this woman from a life of sin. She may have been among the crowds who were convicted by His messages. When she heard He was nearby, she rushed to Simon's home, ignoring the scorn of others to express her gratitude to the One who had set her aright.
Her deed expressed her love and gratitude, springing from her recognition of or faith in His greatness as contrasted to her unworthiness. She felt obligated to respond in a way so memorable that God recorded it for all humanity for all time to witness. Note that the Bible shows human lips touching Jesus only twice: here and Judas' kiss of betrayal.
In contrast, Simon the Pharisee, evidently a man of some substance and ambition, was moved to invite the popular Jesus to his home. Self-concerned and inhospitable, he did not offer Jesus even the customary services a host normally provided visitors to his home.
From the context we can assume that he felt himself to be at least Jesus' equal. His conclusion that Jesus was no prophet probably suggests he felt superior to Him, that He was no more than an interesting celebrity. This biased self-evaluation in relation to Jesus produced in him no sense of obligation and thus no corresponding gratitude, humility, or act of love—let alone common courtesies.
Had he a heart at all? The scene unfolding at his respectable table scandalized him, but God thought it so inspiring, He recorded it for our benefit. Simon judged, "She is a sinner." "No, Simon," Jesus replied, "she was a sinner." In this lies a major clue to the difference between the two people.
Simon and the woman had something in common, according to the parable: Both were debtors to the same creditor, and neither could meet His obligation.
John W. Ritenbaugh
Passover, Obligation, and Love
This sobering scripture aims directly at anyone who is left standing, so to speak, at His coming. Christ looked down through the millennia, and saw us—looked into our hearts—and wondered, "Where is the faith?"
What faith is Jesus talking about? It cannot be in His existence because even the demons believe that (James 2:19). Demons also have a great deal of respect for God's power and sovereignty. What the demons do not believe in is God's love and all that springs from it. For instance, how could Satan have rebelled if he really believed in God's love for him? Perhaps the original iniquity found in Satan, the start of all trouble, was his lack of faith in God's love for him—"for whatever is not from faith is sin" (Romans 14:23). That faithlessness led to pride and vanity and ultimately to rebellion.
When Christ returns, will He find a people who believe how much God loves them and therefore will trust in Him no matter what the physical evidence looks like? That is the faith Christ is talking about in verse 8.
In the preceding verses, Christ contrasts the unjust judge, who could not care less, to the true God, who could not care or love more. The underlying subject of the parable is God's faithfulness and love, and Jesus gave it to encourage our faith in the Father's love.
Then, in verse 8, Christ says, "I tell you that [the Father] will avenge [the elect] speedily," followed immediately by, "Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?" A definition for nevertheless is "in spite of that." God will act speedily in His great love for us, yet in spite of that fact, people in the end time will still have difficulty believing in the depth of His love.
Our salvation depends on believing how special we are to God—how much He loves us. Jesus says in verse 1, "Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart." Along with prayer, this parable teaches us about not losing heart—enduring to the end. Knowing how much God loves us can give us the courage and hope we need to face and endure what is ahead.
Lamentations 3:21-23 (RSV) tells us what we have to remember and believe if we are to have the right kind of hope: "But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is thy faithfulness."
Faith to Face Our Trials
1 Corinthians 16:13-14
Paul instructs us: "Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong. Let all your things be done with charity" (I Corinthians 16:13-14; King James Version). Several generations ago, "quit you like men" was a frequently heard phrase in English-speaking countries. To modern ears, quit means "to stop" or "to give up,' but it can also mean "to conduct oneself in a specified way."
The phrase the King James Version translates as "quit you like men," James Moffatt renders as "play the man"; the Revised Standard Version, "be courageous"; and The Amplified Bible, "act like men." Phillips, however, separates verses 13-14 into a paragraph of their own, giving it a sub-heading that says, "A little sermon in a nutshell!" He translates the verse as follows: "Be on your guard, stand firm in the faith, live like men, be strong! Let everything that you do be done in love."
The Greek word translated as "quit you like men" is andrizomai, which is used just this one time in the Bible. It is an imperative, a word of command, and it literally means "be men."
Now, the women and teens reading this should not bail out at this point because Paul is giving instructions here to Christians in general, not just men, as we see in I Corinthians 1:1-2:
Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ, through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother. To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all who in every place call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours. [Emphasis ours]
Is he talking to just the men here? I think not.
At the end of I Corinthians 16, Paul is closing out his rather long letter and giving his final exhortation. Right after this "little sermon in a nutshell," he mentions Aquila and Priscilla in verse 19. This husband-and-wife team are mentioned six times in Paul's letters, always fondly and always together. They are as one. Thus, right after Paul tells us to "be men," he writes warmly of his good friend, Priscilla.
Lastly, Paul teaches in Galatians 3:28 that there is neither male nor female, but we are all one in Christ Jesus. So if men must "get in touch with their feminine side," as we are so often told in today's feminized society, then the ladies in the church should pay attention, along with the men, to how being a man is necessary to our Christian life!
As many know, the Old Testament was originally written in Hebrew, and it was later translated into other languages. The translation into Greek, called the Septuagint, is one of the oldest of these, the earliest parts dating from around 300 BC. The Greek word andrizomai, used only once in the Greek New Testament, appears 25 times in the Septuagint. A few verses from the book of Joshua will show how andrizomai was translated from the Hebrew into Greek and then again into English, giving us a better understanding of what Paul was saying in I Corinthians 16:13:
Be strong and of good courage. . . . Only be strong and very courageous. . . . Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage . . . be strong and of good courage." (Joshua 1:6-7, 9, 18)
Here, andrizomai is translated "be . . . of good courage." A literal interpretation of andrizomai would be, as we saw above, "play the man," "live like men," "act like men," or simply "be men"—and that is what Paul is saying: Be men. He is writing to a church living at the same time as he, speaking the same Greek language, and having the same cultural influences, and he could expect his audience to know what he meant. They certainly did.
But we are nearly two millennia removed from those days, which is why the Septuagint is helpful. Paul is telling us to have courage. When Paul says, "Quit ye like men," it is the same as telling us to be courageous. Commentator Albert Barnes says in his Notes that Paul means a man is not "a coward, or timid, or alarmed at enemies, but [is] to be bold and brave." This applies to all Christians, no matter the age or gender. The idea is summed up in the word "courage."
Courage and the Dog Soldier
1 Corinthians 16:13
Paul is giving us a command here, an imperative, but it actually goes further. In I Corinthians 16:13, there are four imperatives in this one verse, which is itself just six words in the original Greek: 1) watch, 2) stand fast in the faith, 3) be men (courageous), and 4) be strong.
The word watch means "to keep awake, be vigilant, be watchful." For us, that means keeping an eye on the world around us, and more importantly, paying attention to our spiritual condition. To stand fast in the faith means "to be stationary (anchored), to persevere, to be convicted of our beliefs." As we saw, to be men is "to be courageous," but not so much in a physical sense as in the convictions of our spiritual life. Finally, to be strong implies "to increase in vigor, to be strengthened, to increase in faith."
These four imperatives can be viewed in military terms, and Paul uses such terms quite often in his epistles. Living in the days of Roman rule, he commonly saw Roman legions in his travels. His audience, also living within the Empire, was quite familiar with soldiers and their duties.
We can imagine a sentry on guard duty, at attention, peering into the night, listening intently for any unusual noise. He has to fight off sleep lest the enemy sneak up on him and kill him, opening the camp to attack. We can realize how this applies to Christian life.
The other imperatives—standing fast in the faith, being strong, and living like men—are also better understood as military imagery. Many are familiar with the story of the Battle of Thermopylae in 480 BC, when Sparta's King Leonidas and his 300 Spartans, along with 700 Thespians, 400 Thebans, and perhaps a few hundred others, fought to the death against the million-man army of Persian Emperor Xerxes. King Leonidas and his men knew that they would die; they knew the odds were overwhelmingly against them. But they felt compelled to try to stop the enemy and save their country.
Certainly, this encapsulates these four imperatives!
As stunning as that example is, we should bring it down to a more personal level: to an army of one. Outnumbered as they were, the Spartans and their allies still had other warriors fighting with them on either side, at least until the very end. What if we were absolutely by ourselves?
Courage and the Dog Soldier
1 Corinthians 16:13-14
Are we not in a spiritual fight? Do we not face an adversary that wants to destroy us? Have we not committed ourselves to give our lives, if necessary? Matthew Poole, who published his commentary in 1685, makes a good point when speaking of "quit ye like men" ("be brave", NKJV):
. . . you are as soldiers fighting against the world, the flesh, and the devil; do not behave yourselves like children, whom the least opposition will terrify and throw down; but like men, with a spiritual courage and fortitude, becoming such who have so good a Captain, and so good a cause.
The "captain of their salvation" (Hebrews 2:10) is our commanding officer in battle. Our Captain has given us the equipment we need to carry out our duties: these four imperatives. All of them—watching, standing firm in the faith, acting like men, and being strong—can be considered as masculine traits due to the military analogies; but they are not limited to men, nor should they be.
Satan has perverted the minds of today's world to the point that these traits are regarded negatively. Feminists might concede that men are strong and courageous, in some cases, but foolishly so. We are told that women are loving and nurturing and these qualities are to be preferred. So much so that homosexuality is considered normal and a man that truly acts like a man is abnormal—a Neanderthal. It is a mixed-up world indeed.
However, these traits are not mutually exclusive! Notice what Paul says in verse 14: "Let all that you do be done with love." Verse 13 is not for lumberjacks, and verse 14, for women and sensitive, new-age males! Not at all. As Christians, we are to "be men" and do all with love. Is not love showing concern for others? In the Christian fight, are not watching, standing in the faith, exhibiting courage, and being strong—in order to protect their loved ones and their way of life—showing love? Certainly!
The entire book of I Corinthians is, as Henry Halley says, "Mainly about Certain Church Disorders." Brethren met in their homes and small halls in one of the largest, richest, and most important cities of the Roman Empire. The brethren there were faced with decadence, temptation, and vices of every sort. They experienced corruption on a grand scale. There were factions and competing groups. Sound familiar? Truly, "there is nothing new under the sun" (Ecclesiastes 1:9).
Our lives to this point have been difficult, and more tough times lie ahead. We know that God will provide. God is faithful (I Corinthians 1:9), and we do not need to worry about how He will do it. Instead, we need to take care of our end of the deal: to be ever-vigilant, standing firm in the faith, courageous and strong, doing everything in concern for others. All this is summed up by andrizomai: quit ye like men!
Courage and the Dog Soldier
2 Thessalonians 2:15-17
So stand firm, and hold fast to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter. May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father (who has loved us and given us unending encouragement and unfailing hope by his grace), inspire you with courage and confidence in every good thing you say or do. (Phillips)
When we read I and II Thessalonians, it does not appear that these people were going through any hard or difficult persecution, yet things were happening within the church. He tells these people, "Holdon!" There must have been pressure coming from somewhere to turn these people away from the truths, the traditions, they had learned from the apostles.
That causes one to think that, even though their neighbors were not persecuting them, nonetheless something was happening. They were in danger of being persuaded to turn away from the things that they had been taught.
It appears as if the focus of this pressure to which they were subject was something mental, doctrinal, and theological. So he tells them to "hold fast." The words J.B. Phillips uses in his translation sound like the words spoken in war: "Hang on! Hold fast!" he says. "May God inspire you with courage!"
John W. Ritenbaugh
Endure as a Good Soldier
2 Timothy 1:6-7
According to Strong's Concordance, the final word of verse 7 is a noun meaning "discipline" or "self-control." Most modern translations render it as "self-control," but "sensible," "sobriety," "self-discipline," "self-restraint," "wise discretion," and "sound judgment" are also used.
God gives His Spirit to us to begin the spiritual creation that will bring us into His very image. Here, Paul ranks self-control right beside seemingly more "important" attributes of our Creator, such as courage, power, and love. Remember, however, that the "fruit" of God's Spirit is written in the singular; it is one fruit, a balanced package needed to make a son of God whole.
These verses tell us what kind of men God is creating. Men of courage, power, and love - and men who are self-governing, sensible, sober, restrained, and disciplined in their manner of life. These qualities are products of God's Spirit in us.
John W. Ritenbaugh
The Fruit of the Spirit: Self-Control
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