Bible Definitions

NOTE: You will find many other definitions scattered throughout all my 107 teachings on this website.

I have made the definitions in this listing as simple as possible and as non-religious and non-theological sounding as possible—in plain English.

These definitions are not for every word, subject or topic in the Bible. They are simply a few definitions I have picked up that make sense to me after teaching the Bible and related subjects for many years.

I certainly do not expect you to agree with some of these definitions, but if they help you a little and clarify some things for you, I’ll be satisfied.Because I am finite, My awareness and understanding is always changing and growing, so some of these definitions might change with time.

All these definitions have their roots in the Bible’s original languages of Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. I recommend you use a good Bible concordance to research these words and definitions for their supporting biblical references.

If someone brings to my attention that any of my definitions are incorrect, incomplete, or untrue, I will either update them or delete them.

Some of these definitions have been furnished to me by friends and other teachers of the Bible.

Abide: As in the phrase “abiding in Jesus, or Jesus and his Word abiding in me.” The awareness that one is completely settled in permanently, and living eternally “at home,” in Father God’s heart of all-embracing, limitless love.

Adoption: Throughout the Roman Empire, when a child in the family reached the ages of 18 – 20, it was a custom for the parents to hold a public “adoption ceremony” announcing and proclaiming that the child was now mature enough to be involved in (or take over) the family business or profession. That’s the word picture of adoption in the Bible. It is not someone being adopted into the family of God; people are born again into the family of God, not adopted. My own view is that Jesus’ adoption ceremony occurred when He was baptized by John, God exclaimed He was pleased with Jesus, his Son, anointed Jesus with Holy Spirit, and then Jesus began working at the “family business” according to Acts 10: 38.

All: Everything. Complete. Entire. Total. Nothing Excluded. The whole quantity.

Belief: A response to revelation from God about the Bible and about Himself. It is not a self-motivated act of my will or mind to believe something, but simply a response to something Holy Spirit reveals to me.

Bible: God’s complete, final, written revelation of Himself to all humanity. Modern scientific research by epistomologists, linguists, phonologists, dialectologists, philologists, archaeologists, paleontologists, and similar areas of science inform us that most modern translations are very close to the meanings of the original languages, Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek—approaching almost 99% accuracy. The Bible has stood the test of time! God gave us the Bible not merely to inform us, but to transform us. (Jesus is God’s final, complete living revelation of Himself to all humanity.) Jesus is the Living Word; the Bible is the written Word. The 2 words blend together as one.

Bless (or blessed): To be enriched. Joy-full. Fortunate. Delighted. Blissful. Content. To have genuine prosperity. Abundant goodness. The capacity to have permanent, eternal union and communion with God.

Born Again (also “born anew” or “born from above”): Upon a person’s invitation, Jesus enters a person’s spirit in his unbodied form of Holy Spirit, to remain inside that person for all time and eternity. When a person is born again, that person begins to become a completely new creation in their “inner being,” and God begins the lifelong process of restoring that person into his clear image as best seen in Jesus.

Breakthrough: A strikingly important advance. A sudden, unexpected, good event orchestrated by God on my behalf.

Communion: Coming-into-union…with God and with one another.

Day of the LORD: Events involved in what is commonly called the “end-times.” The actual end-times occurred from 66 to 72 A. D. when Jerusalem was destroyed, and over 1 million inhabitants of Jerusalem and the land of Israel were slaughtered by the Roman General Titus and his Legions.There are no horrible, devastating end-times yet to occur as believed and taught by many evangelical believers in Jesus. The only end-time event next to occur on God’s timetable is for Jesus to return to earth to consummate his Kingdom.

Death: When the human spirit exits the body to return to God.

Destiny: From behind the scenes, God is continually working out his ultimate purposes for a person.

Destruction (or Deconstruction): Reduce to rubble, always with the goal of reconstructing better and stronger. Religiously, it is to work at unlearning false and untrue dogma, to be replaced by that which is true in one’s relationship with God. It is to unlearn religion, to be replaced with a relationship with God.

Dogma (dogmatic): Any body of teaching or understanding that is authoritatively asserted by someone as being the only correct teaching or understanding. No human can have correct or complete knowledge, teaching, or understanding because every human is finite and limited. God alone can be dogmatic because He is infinite in knowledge and understanding. Rigid human dogma of any kind, especially religious dogma, is invariably wrong or lacking, because human knowledge is always in a state of growth, change, and transition.

Elect, Election (Also see Predestination): The Bible teaches that all people will eventually be redeemed, reconciled, and restored by God. However, God elects (chooses, selects) certain people to be born again in this life ahead of others. They are not the only ones to be born again, but only to be born again before others are, in order for God’s specific purposes to be worked out for those whom He pre-selects. Some people teach that only the “elect” will be saved eternally, while all others are pre-selected to suffer eternal conscious torment in hell. That is false teaching. Both election and predestination have nothing to do with whether or not people will spend eternity in either heaven or hell.

Eternal LIFE: God’s eternal, self-existent, uncreated, incorruptible, imperishable, undiminishable, inexhaustible, limitless, boundless, abundant, measureless LIFE He places within humans now…not in some distant future in eternity. God takes away our sin and death and replaces them with his own eternal LIFE.

Eternity: (Also see “time”): A timeless state of being in which there is no time that goes on and on and on infinitely. Eternity has no beginning, no time, and no end. It is a state of being “in” God as part of his very Person, nature, and character. God “inhabits” eternity where everything is absolutely simultaneous to Him. It is a state of timeliness, not unending time.

Faith: God has given to every human faith fashioned and suited to their unique being. It is trusting God’s promises and his ability to bring to pass what He promises. It is not conjuring up some sort of inner force to cause God to act. It’s not faith itself that’s important; it’s whether or not I use it and how I use it. Exercising my faith should not make me sweat!

Favor: Behind the scenes, God is continually and consistently proactive in my life, working out all things in my life for my ultimate good. (Also see “Grace”)

Fear of the Lord: Proverbs 1: 7, for example. It is not being afraid of God. It is recognizing God’s sovereignty, majesty, power, and holiness, resulting in a desire to do good and a repugnance of evil.

Finished (as in Jesus’ bold statement, “It is finished!”) From the Greek word, teleo, meaning that something is not only terminated, but carried out to the fullest extent. To end, to complete, to execute, to discharge (a debt). When Jesus exclaimed “It is finished!” there was nothing more that could be done for all humankind, yet we humans keep attempting to finish what Jesus already finished.

Flesh: Living primarily by my own understanding, sense, reason, and logic without input from Holy Spirit.

Forgive (forgiveness): The supernatural inner power God gives a person to pardon, spare, or relieve someone from the burden of an offense, including oneself as well as others.

Friend: A person (or God) whom I know intimately and love.

Giving: (money) to God and receiving from Him: Rather than giving my own definition, I’m simply going to furnish a few of the most important biblical references about the matter. Genesis 22: 14. Malachi 3: 8 – 11. Luke 6: 38. Acts 10: 20: 35. 2 Corinthians 9: 7. Philippians 4: 19. 3 John 2. I cannot give a clearer definition than those references. I will add only this one thought in regard to giving and receiving: Receiving follows giving, not vice versa!

Glory of God: God’s tangible, feelable, knowable, experience-able, overwhelming presence; his magnificence, his light in darkness, his manifest presence and power.

God: The sole, self-existent, uncreated, eternal Spirit-being, having no beginning and no end. Creator of all. Lover of all. Sustainer of all. Redeemer of all. Reconciler of all. Restorer of all. Eternally present with all and in all. He is omni-present, omniscient, omnipotent, omni-benevolent, and omniparient (the Source of all things). He eternally exists as three distinct persons, yet one God: the Trinity, Father, Son, and Spirit. God is a verb!

Gospel: Good News that God is in the process of redeeming, reconciling, and restoring all creation—including all humanity—to Himself. It is not good news if God only redeems a small portion of humanity, while a large segment of humanity burns forever in hell.

Grace: God freely gives me what I don’t deserve.(Also see “Mercy”and “Favor”) God loves all humanity so much that He lavishes upon us his extravagant, unearned, and undeserved favor as a free gift, including complete forgiveness and authentic spiritual freedom in and through Jesus.

Hell (Also see Lake of Fire): An English word translated from 1 Hebrew and 4 Greek words: sheol, hades, Gehenna, and tartarus. In all 4 cases, the Hebrew and Greek words mean only “the place of the dead, where the dead go, the grave.” In no case do the original words means a place of eternal conscious torment in never-ending fires. Yes, the Bible teaches about a “lake of fire” in the Book of Revelation, but that lake of fire is not hell. The popularization of the concept of an ever-burning hell came from a widely accepted classic poem, The Divine Comedy,” written by by an Italian, Dante Alighieri, who lived from 1265 to 1321 A.D. His poem was widely accepted by the masses and by the powerful church of the time, and became deeply imbedded in Christian theology without much question or contradiction ever since.

Holy: To be whole(sounds like hol-y) It means to be whole, complete, and mature, not sinless, perfect, or “holier-than-thou.”

Holy Spirit: Jesus’ unbodied other Self. The Breath of God. God in action throughout all creation. Jesus described Holy Spirit as a flowing river of living water, not a lake or a pond. He is the Divine Encourager, Comforter, Transformer, and Influencer.

Hope: Confident, optimistic trust and expectation in God with the foundation of such hope being the good that God has already done for me through Jesus. Confident, optimistic expectation for God to do something good based on the good He has done in the past.

Human: A spirit-being sent here to have a temporary, mortal human experience; not a human sent here to have a spiritual experience.

Human Makeup: Humans are created having body, soul (mind), and spirit: an indivisible tri-une being just as God is an indivisible tri-une Being.

Human Will: The Bible does not teach that humans have “free will.” Instead, human will is finite, limited, stubborn, rebellious toward God, and self-centered instead of God-centered. God’s will always prevails, and always trumps human will. It is incorrect to think finite human will is stronger than God’s all-powerful will.

Image of God: Humans are visible representations of the invisible God.

Intercede, Intercession (Also see Prayer): To requisition God’s unlimited, inexhaustible, abundant resources to meet the overwhelming needs of people for whom I intercede. It is not praying hard to get God’s attention, but to release his intentions. Praying harder does not work. God does all the work in response to our prayer and intercession.

Judgment (Justice): On most occasions throughout human history, much human judgment has been vindictive and retributive, not restorative and rehabilitative. We humans—being finite—tend to anthropomorphize and ascribe human judgment and justice to God. God is infinite. His justice and judgment—completely unlike human judgment and justice—is always to completely rehabilitate and fully restore. In brief, God’s judgment and justice is always to make all wrong things right!

Kingdom of God: Jesus is presently reigning as King of the Kingdom of Heaven. He will return to consummate that Kingdom on earth, with Jerusalem as his headquarters and seat of government. I am learning to see myself, my environment, my circumstances, my milieu, people with whom I interact—everything!—around me as Jesus sees them…because He and I are one in my spirit. Some of what I “see” is not visible to my physical eyes, nor with my 5 senses. In brief, I want a “God’s-eye” view of all life. I am learning to perceive everything with my “spirit senses” from within me where Jesus abides eternally. This is becoming my default view, my normal view, my new perspective, my new perception of everything: my Kingdomview, because I am a citizen of Jesus’ Kingdom, not of any of this world’s kingdoms. “The higher I am, the more clearly I can see.”

Lake of Fire (Also see Hell): Found only in Revelation 19 and 20 in the Bible. It is not an ever-burning fire of eternal conscious torment as the contexts clearly indicate. It must be pointed out that it is a lake of fire and brimstone. Brimstone is an old word for sulphur from which we get the word “sulfur,” a cleansing, healing agent, not an agent of punishment. The lake of fire cleanses and heals, as well as punish rehabilitatively; it does not punish eternally.

Lord: Master. One who is in complete charge.

Mercy: God doesn’t give me what I deserve. (See “Grace.”)

Miracles, Signs, and Wonders: They are simply the “works” of God as Jesus performed and demonstrated them. They are God-caused events beyond all bounds of human reason and logic, defying comprehension, expectation, explanation, and experience—for the sole purpose of God lovingly drawing all people to Himself through the completed work of God the Son, Jesus, who boldly promised He will inexorably draw all people to Himself.

Money: A medium of exchange. The lust or greedy grasping for money is the root of all evil—not money itself.

Neighbor: Defined as someone who is a “close-to-me” person. Spatial distance or geographical nearness have nothing to do with who is one’s neighbor. It is someone who is close-to-me relationally, whether that person lives next door or thousands of miles away. For example, I have a close-to-me neighbor who lives in Armenia, whereas I live in the USA.

Panentheism: Belief that God permeates everything in all creation.

Patience: Patience does not necessarily have anything to do with waiting. It is all about how I speak and act when something or someone (including God!) takes longer than I expected. Patience is one of his fruits of character Holy Spirit is growing within me.

Peace (Shalom): The webbing together of God, humans, and all creation in justice, fulfillment, and delight. It is far more than simple peace of mind or a cease-fire between enemies. It means universal flourishing, wholeness, and delight—a rich state of affairs in which natural needs are satisfied, and natural and supernatural gifts fruitfully employed, a state of affairs that inspires joy-full wonder as it’s Creator and Savior opens doors and welcomes all creation in which He delights. In brief, Shalom is the way things ought to be throughout all creation.

Perfect: Mature. Complete. Not flawless or sinless. The tri-une nature of humans (body, soul, spirit) functioning in complete harmony with one another.

Prayer (Also see Intercede):Ongoing, daily dialogue (not monologue) with God. The intimate dialogue between a loving Father and a well-loved child. It is not something I must work at, but is simply my daily, ongoing intimate relationship with my Father through Holy Spirit. Prayer doesn’t “work,” God works in response to prayer. I don’t need to pray hard; I need to pray easy, because God does the work, not my prayers.

Predestination: (Also see Elect): After God sovereignly elects (pre-selects) certain people to be saved ahead of others in this life, He then predestinates those elected people to work out his grand purposes for their lives, fulfilling their destinies. Both election and predestination have nothing to do with whether or not people will spend eternity in either heaven or hell.

Prophecy (in the New Testament): To build up (edify), encourage, comfort, and console oneself or others. It is one of the supernatural gifts of Holy Spirit. It does not foretell, prognosticate, or predict the future for either individuals or groups.

Prosperity: (See Joshua 1) To have enough for one’s life journey. (See “Success)

Rapture: An imaginative, human-contrived teaching about the manner in which Jesus will return to earth to establish his eternal Kingdom. Jesus will return, but the Rapture-event is not found in the Bible.

Religion: A body of teaching and understanding—a system of living—by which people attempt to make themselves acceptable to God by performing certain actions or activities. A set of behavioral standards derived from a person’s religious beliefs. Instead of religion, God offers a relationship with Him through the completed work of Jesus.

Repent: To change my mind, my will, my emotions, my attitudes, my worldview. As I change those inner aspects of who I am, then Holy Spirit empowers me and helps me change my outward behavior based upon those inner matters for which I have repented.

Restoration: From the Greek word, apokatastasis. The best biblical illustration of God’s restoration of all things is found in 1 Corinthians 15: 24 – 24, the true end of the Bible.

Rewards: The Bible teaches that rewards are relationships, not trophies, certificates, and the like. Rewards are given for successfully carrying out the work God has assigned a person. Awards, although not mentioned in the Bible, are similar to rewards. Prizes are given based upon one’s prevailing attitudes while serving Jesus. Another word for reward is “recompense.”

Saint: Anyone in whom Jesus lives in his unbodied form of Holy Spirit. Not someone who is holy, particularly religious, or “holier than thou.”

Satan (also known as Devil, Adversary, Destroyer, Enemy, Tempter, Accuser, etc.): A spirit-being created by God for the specific purpose to test, tempt, and falsely accuse humans in terms of their relationship with God. He is not a powerful angel that sinned and was cast out of Heaven. He is a foe specifically created by God, was utterly defeated by Jesus on the cross, and no longer has power or authority in one’s life except authority specifically granted by God for God’s eternal purposes for that person. Jesus is complete Victor over Satan, and “in” Jesus we have complete victory over him, too. Satan is not our greatest enemy; we are our own greatest enemy! God does not save a relatively few people to spend eternity in Heaven, while Satan takes the majority of humanity to spend eternal conscious torment in hell.

Sin: Daily making conscious choices and decision to live a self-centered life instead of a God-centered life. Having a delusion of independence and a false confidence in my ability to control my own life without God. We do not sin because we are born sinners. We are born sinless and become sinners when we sin.

Sophiology: Study about the infinite wisdom of God.

Speak (words, speech): Words can cause either life or death in oneself (self-talk) or in another person.

Storehouse: (See Malachi 3: 10) A place where goods of value are stored awaiting distribution.

Success: (Joshua 1) To steadily and consistently journey toward accomplishing God’s purposes for one’s life, according to one’s potential. Success is a journey, not a destination. Potential consists of three characteristics: 1. One’s desires. 2. One’s God-given talents and gifts. 3. One’s education and training. (See “Prosperity”)

Suicide: When a person decides to prematurely give one’s life back to God.

Theology: The Bible is God’s complete, final, written revelation of Himself to all humanity. By means of both the Bible and creation, I study and learn about God’s person, character, and nature and the way He works throughout all creation, including his altogether good purposes for earth, and especially how He lovingly relates to and works among all humanity.

(My Personal Theology): I am a Bible-believing follower of Jesus who has saved me from sin and death and replaced those with his own eternal LIFE. I hold to the generally accepted beliefs of orthodox biblical faith including belief that God is three persons, yet one God: the trinity, Father, Son, and Spirit. I also believe—based solidly on the Bible—that God will ultimately redeem, restore, and reconcile all creation—including all humanity!–to Himself through the completed work of God the Son, Jesus, who boldly promised He will inexorably draw all humanity to Himself.

Time (Also see “Eternity”): Time was created by God and has a beginning and an end; it is a measurable, fixed, limited, created phenomena. Time does not go on and on and on infinitely. Time will end at some point at the end of the finite ages and be “swallowed” up into eternity.

Truth: Jesus. All truth is embodied and personified in Jesus. Truth alone doesn’t set people free; it is knowing the truth (Jesus) that sets people free.

Victory: We don’t obtain victory by fighting against something or someone (Satan? Demons?). Jesus has already obtained victory for us—in this life and in death. We simply place our faith in his victory on our behalf. We are more than victorious conquerors through Jesus.

Wisdom: Jesus is our Wisdom (1 Corinthians 1: 30) Wisdom is personified as Jesus’ feminine qualities in Proverbs. Wisdom is twofold. First, it is comprehensive insight into what God is doing throughout all creation, including his altogether good purposes for earth, and especially how He lovingly relates to and works among all humanity. Second, it is to make good choices and decisions based on that comprehensive insight. The two aspects of wisdom go hand in hand; one is no good without the other.

Witness: Always a noun in the Bible; not something we are to do; believers in Jesus are witnesses simply by the lifestyle they live.

Worship: Having love, reverence, admiration, and gratitude throughout one’s day—24/7–for God’s eternal, abiding Presence in one’s life. It is daily and eternally experiencing Emmanuel (God always fully with and in a person). It is simply being conscious that one is serving God by going about one’s daily routine with an awareness of God’s presence at all times and in all situations and circumstances. All of life is sacred; there is no difference between sacred and secular.

Wrath: What is considered to be God’s wrath is simply when God turns people over to their own destructive ways. See Romans 1, for example.


Bill Boylan

Revised and Updated January 2023

Joy-Full Giving

[NOTE:  This teaching was originally presented on September 26, 2021, as my Sunday morning message to the congregation of the local church I attend; you may view the message by going to mydestinyfamily/messages, or view it on Youtube.]  

Can you believe this statement from the Bible?:  “…God loves a cheerful giver.”  Or, as another translation states:  “…God loves hilarious generosity!”  C’mon, what normal, logical, rational person believes that sort of thing?  Well, my wife and I do!  We love giving money to God generously and cheerfully.  We realize this puts us in a minority group of people who cheerfully and generously give money to God; we love giving money to God when He asks us to, and then clearly directs us in our giving!

This message I shared on a Sunday morning with our local church congregation was not a typical message by a Pastor or by someone from a church’s Finance Committee attempting to raise funds for a project or to persuade people to give more money to the church.  No, it was not about trying to persuade people to give money to someone, to a church, to a ministry, to a missionary, or to anyone or anything else.  It was definitely not some sort of phony“health and wealth” teaching that has messed up the lives of millions of people in terms of their giving money to God.

But, this teaching based on that Sunday morning message IS about giving money to God.  Period!  How, when, where, and how much money to give to God.  It will a teaching covering a broad overview—a bird’s-eye view—of what the Bible has to say about giving some of God’s money back to Him. If you’re not interested in giving some of God’s money back to Him, reading this teaching will be a complete waste of your time.      

Yes, this teaching is only about giving money to God:  why, how, when, where, and how much.  I hope it will help you learn how to give money to God with pleasure, not from pressure.    It’s also about how to be truly successful and prosperous according to the Bible.  If that doesn’t interest you, reading this teaching really will be a waste of your time.  Honestly!

Also, this is not what some churches typically call a “Stewardship Sunday” message when once a year—usually in the fall—many churches ask people to give financial pledges for the upcoming year.  I just spoke the other day with a person who attends another church here in the city where I live who told me she and her husband dread their church’s upcoming Stewardship Sunday when they’re strongly pressured to pledge a certain amount of money they will give to their church during the upcoming year.  And, if they’re not present at church for Stewardship Sunday, they’ll be contacted in person the following week to sign their annual pledge. 

I won’t be asking you for any sort of pledge.  I tell you this right “up front” to make it easy to read this teaching—so you won’t feel threatened.  There won’t be any surprises—I won’t be asking for money or any pledge at the end my teaching.

Here’s a brief summary of my own history of giving money to God.  I was raised in a pretty typical middle-class family in which God was seldom, if ever, given any attention or mentioned except in cursing.  I rarely visited a church while I was growing up; in fact, I clearly remember only two occasions when I was ever inside a church building; there may have been other occasions that I don’t remember.  I attended Sunday School only once or twice.  In fact, because some neighborhood  children attended a Sunday School at a church near us, my mother felt it would be a good idea for me to attend with them—and gave me some coins to put in the Sunday School offering. 

Instead of going to Sunday School, however, I stopped to play on the playground at our neighborhood elementary school I attended.  When I returned home, I lied to my mother about how much I had enjoyed Sunday School. The next week, I used my Sunday School coins to buy candy.

I do remember thinking something like this when I used those coins to buy candy:  “If God exists, why would He need people to give money to Him?”

I never owned a Bible growing up, and I don’t recall ever looking inside a Bible. 

I joined the military at age 17, and was born again into God’s family at age 18 and decided to become a lifelong follower of Jesus.  Something inside me (God?) told me I needed to attend a church the following Sunday after I invited Jesus into my life; I located a church building that displayed a cross on top of it, although I didn’t know what “brand” of church it was.  I also bought one of those huge family Bibles and began to read it voraciously. 

Also, something (God again?) inside of me told me I should give 10% of my income to God; I had never heard of tithing or giving 10% of one’s income to God, but I chose to obey that “voice” inside me by giving $7.00 that first Sunday I attended church.  I was earning $69.00 a month in the military at that time, and computed that $7.00 was 10% of my earnings.

That Sunday in church I first heard the expression Givers become old and better.  Getters become old and bitter.  I made a quality decision that Sunday morning to be a lifelong giver to God because I didn’t want to grow old and bitter!

Now, here are the first two biblical references I want to examine for this teaching—to sort of set the stage for the remainder of the teaching.

Acts 20: 35 claims that Jesus stated, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”   If you disagree with Jesus’s clear statement, take that up with Him, not with me.  We’ve been taught the exact opposite all our lives:  by our families and friends, in our schools, and by our society as a whole; we’ve been taught it is bettter to receive than to give.  Long ago, I chose to believe Jesus!  You must make your own decision whether or not to believe what Jesus said.  Was He lying…exaggerating…or was He stating an undeniable truth?   Do you believe it is more blessed to give than to receive?

I’ll introduce the second key reference by stating this:  If you and I were best friends, and I told you I have something really, really important to tell you—something more important than anything else—because we are good friends, you would probably believe that what I want to tell you is of major importance.  John, one of Jesus’ closest friends, wrote these words:  “Beloved, above everything else I want you to prosper and be in good health, even as your soul prospers.” 

John said that above everything else God wants us to prosper.  A little later in this teaching, I’ll teach what “prosper” means according to the Bible.

Next, I want to refer you to 1 Timothy 6: 10 in the Bible:  “The love of money is the root of all evil.”   That reference from the Bible has been misquoted millions of times by millions of people—thinking it says “Money is the root of all evil.”   No!   Money itself is not the root of all evil; it’s the love, lust or greedy grasping for money that’s the root of all evil, not money itself.

I’ve lived many years on planet earth and have learned much about this world’s systems and its ways—especially about money and how it’s handled and used. I can tell you without fear of contradiction that the love of money truly is the root of all evil—in business, in economics, in politics, in education, in technology, in various “isms” that dominate the world from time to time—including capitalism—and even in religion and the church.  

You do know, don’t you, that millions of people have been killed throughout history because of the greed for money?  Millions have spent their entire lives attempting to accumulate money…only to find they must leave every penny of it behind when they leave this life.   Millions have spent their entire lives trying to take other peoples’ money from them one way or another, and if they get it they want more. 

Now I want to tell you about 3 books that are very important in terms of learning how to properly give money to God.  The first book is the Bible.  The Bible uses the word “money” 800 times, and money or similar words are used over 2,300 times in the Bible!  Money is a major theme of the Bible, not an isolated or minor theme.

The second book I want to mention is one of my books I have written titled LIFEgiving.  In fact, this teaching comes from various sections of my book.  If I could, I would simply give you a free copy of my book…and then you wouldn’t need to study this teaching.  Parenthetically, I do not make any money from the sale of my books; all proceeds go into a special fund our ministry uses for various giving purposes.

Before mentioning the third book, I’ll share this brief background to the book.  In 1947, from the rolling hills of eastern Oklahoma, a young, unknown Pastor burst on the world scene with a fresh, renewed message about healing that had been lost for centuries.  But that young Pastor also brought to the world a renewed teaching about giving money to God that Jesus and Paul taught—a message that had been overlooked and forgotten for centuries as religious leaders demanded and sometimes forced people to give money to God—teaching people that they owed money to God as a debt they had to pay Him. 

That young man was Oral Roberts. Oral wrote a little paperback book, Miracle of Seed Faith.    In essence, Oral Roberts wrote that we should give money to God as a seed we sow, NOT as a debt we owe!  Oral’s book is so important to my own thinking that I have re-read this book every year since the 1970’s just to keep my giving on target. 

All 3 of these books can be purchased at  The third book is out-of-print, but Amazon has many pre-owned copies in good shape.

Now, let’s briefly consider what the Bible says about success and prosperity.  A basic reference for those two subjects is the Old Testament Book of Joshua, chapter one, verses 7 and 8:  “Only be strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do according to all the law which Moses my servant commanded you; do not turn from the right hand of to the left, that you may have success and prosperity wherever you go.  This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it.  For then you shall make your way prosperous, and then you will succeed.

Without going into a lot of detail about that reference, I will simply define both “success” and “prosperity” from the Bible:

Success is to steadily and consistently move toward accomplishing God’s purposes for my life according to my potential. *   Success is a journey, not a destination.

*Potential consists of three factors:  1.  My God-given skills, abilities, and talents.  2.  My training and education.  3.  My God-given desires

Prosperity is to have enough for my success-journey.

Notice that those definitions do not say anything about money!  Contrast and compare those biblical definitions of success and prosperity with this world’s typical definitions that are all about money.  Incidentally, the opposite of “prosperity” is “poverty.”  Without going into a lot of detail, neither prosperity nor poverty really have anything to do with money; rather, both prosperity and poverty are mindsets—mental and emotional beliefs and feelings.  A person can hold either a prosperity mindset or a poverty mindset, neither really having anything to do with money.  Both prosperity and poverty are “in our heads”!

Next, I want you to turn in your own Bible to three other references about money…before reading any further in this teaching.  The first reference is Deuteronomy 8: 18 in the Old Testament portion of the Bible.  Here’s what it says in most Bibles:  “Remember it’s God who gives you the power to acquire wealth…”  The Message Bible expands that statement in more modern English:  “If you start thinking to yourselves, ‘I did all this.  And all by myself.  I’m rich.  It’s all mine!’  –well, think again.  Remember that God, your God, gave you the strength to produce all this wealth…”

The second reference is Matthew 6: 19 -21 in the New Testament portion of the Bible:  “Don’t hoard treasure down here where it gets eaten by moths and corroded by rust or—worse!—stolen by burglars.  Stockpile treasures in heaven, where it’s safe from moth and rust and burglars.  It’s obvious, isn’t it?  The place where your treasure is, is the place you will most want to be, and end up being.”  (The Message Translation)

My own view about this reference is that rust, moths, and burglars can be understood and equated in our modern times as periods of economic inflation, depression, and recession.  For my wife and me, if we’re following Jesus’ admonition in this reference, those three economic conditions that affect the world’s systems from time to time will not affect our personal finances—if we obey this statement by Jesus.

The next reference is Philippians 4: 19:  “You can be sure that God will take care of everything you need, his generosity exceeding even yours in the glory that pours from Jesus.”  (The Message Translation)  It’s important to understand at this point that for centuries scholars and commentators have noted that all humans have 3 basic needs:  food, clothing, and shelter; in most of our modern cultures and societies there are additional needs, too.  Needs are somewhat governed by the society and culture in which we live, varying from culture to culture based on “levels” of life.

We must always understand there are differences between needs and wants; sometimes they are one and the same, but for the most part they are different.  Keep in mind that needs are things we require; wants are things we desire.

The next reference I want us to consider is 1 Corinthians 8: 5 in the New Testament.  To be a successful, joy-full giver, you must first give control of your life to God.  Some people call this surrendering to God or dedicating your entire life to God.  If you are not willing to do that, you will never be a successful giver.  If you and God cooperating together can mutually control your life overall, then God has final control of your life, including your money.  In real life, when a person surrenders to another person, that other person from that moment on has total control of the life of the person who has surrendered.   God wants total control of your entire life, including your money!

Here’s another reference in the Bible that is often quoted and memorized, but often misunderstood.  It’s Psalm 37:  “I don’t get stressed out and fret because of evil doers, and I’m not envious of them.  I trust in God and try to do good; I am joyful about my relationship with God.  I commit my life to God, giving Him all my burdens too heavy for me to carry all by myself.  I quietly rest in my relationship with God.  I wait patiently for God to act on my behalf.  When I do these things, then and only then does He give me the desires of my heart.

  Many people often quote this reference—sometimes over and over as a mantra, but are very disappointed when the mantra doesn’t “work” for them.  Why not?  Because their desires and God’s desires have not blended and become the same. They have simply desired something without ensuring their desire is what God also desires for them.  We humans are often very self-centered and self-absorbed, and desire things without ever determining if those things are what God desires for us too.

For a moment or so, let’s think about money itself.  What is money Money is merely a medium of exchange, a tool, not a goal we feel we must pursue and reach a specific amount at some point in our lives such as when it’s time to retire.  If you have some currency or coins with you right now, I want you to take a look at them.  They’re just paper and metal, often not having any real value except for the value we give them as mediums of exchange for goods and services. 

I must tell you at this point that for many reasons I don’t have time to discuss here, many people are actually threatened by money, feeling it is evil to pursue or accumulate it; we must not allow ourselves to be threatened by money:  it’s just paper and metal.  Money itself is not some evil substance waiting to trap us and ruin our lives.  Because of some false teaching they’ve learned along the way, some people honestly feel that it’s actually more holy, more spiritual, or more godly to be poor, to not have much money.  That’s a lie that’s been mistakenly foisted upon people for centuries.  It’s just not true!  Don’t believe it…

Next, I want us to understand that giving to God is about more than money, although this teaching is primarily about giving money to God.  There are actually three areas of most of our lives, portions of which God wants us to give to Him:  our time, our talents, and our treasures (money).  For me, there’s a fourth area:  my teachings.

The next thing I want to bring to your attention in this God’s-eye teaching about giving money to God is a statement Jesus made in Matthew 6: 24 and in Luke 6: 13:  “No person can serve two masters; for either he or she will hate the one and love the other, or else that person will be loyal to the one and despise the other.  You cannot serve God and mammon.”

In this reference, Jesus is clearly referring to money.  You see, mammon was the Syrian god of money in those days.  Just about every Syrian household in those days would likely have a little statue or idol somewhere on a shelf in their home that they worshipped:  their god mammon.  Jesus was saying in effect, that people could worship either the one True and Living God…or they could worship the false god of money—mammon, not both.  You must ask yourself:  “Who am I worshipping?”

Now we come to a very crucial matter about giving money to God.  Why give money to God?  God doesn’t need money!  He’s not poor.  He’s not homeless.  He’s not bankrupt.  He’s not begging you to give Him money.  He doesn’t have overdue bills piling up.  He’s not overdrawn on his bank account.  He’s not lost a lot of money on some bad investments.  His investments haven’t decreased in value because of the falling stock market.  No one has broken into his safe deposit box and stolen his stored valuables.  He hasn’t lost his 401k.  No, God doesn’t need money.  If that’s the case, why does God want us to give Him money?

There are many similar references in the Bible, but I want to examine Luke 6: 38 in some detail to attempt to answer the question, “Why does God want us to give money to Him?”

“Give to God constantly and generously and He will constantly and generously give back to you, shaken back and forth and stomped down to make room for more.  He will pour out abundants gifts on you with such an overflowing measure that it will gush out and spill over the top!  Giving, not getting is God’s way.  God will use other people to generously give back to you when you give to Him.  Your measurement of generosity becomes the measurement of what you will receive back from God.” (Paraphrased from various translations)

It is NOT ungodly, unspiritual, or unholy to expect God to give money back to you after your have freely and joy-fully given money to Him!  Yes, to meet your needs you can expect God to give money back to you in miraculous ways after you have given money to Him.  Luke 6: 38 is simply one representative reference about giving and receiving, planting and harvesting, sowing and reaping money.  Multitudes of people have come to believe from mistaken and false teaching that you should never expect money back from God when you give money to Him.  If you believe that or feel that way, you are believing a lie, something you’ve come to believe that’s just not true.  

Here are two other major references about giving and receiving, planting and harvesting, sowing and reaping money:  2 Corinthians 8: 1 – 5.  2 Corinthians 9: 1 – 11Myabe you’ve read them before many times, but I encourage you to re-read them once again in the light of Luke 6: 38.  Beginning with Genesis 8: 22 in your Bible, the Bible is replete with hundreds of other references about giving and receiving, planting and harvesting, sowing and reaping in terms of giving money to God.

Now let’s take a little time to think about how to give money to God. 

There are 3 would-be “tyrants” who strongly seek to have you give money to God for all the wrong reasons.  Those 3 tyrants are 1.  Emotional appeals.  2.  Urgency.  3.  Overwhelming needs.  Those 3 tyrants will always seek to control your giving money to God, and if you give based solely on those tyrants, they will keep on trying to control your giving…over and over and over and over and over… They will never let up if you give in to their appeals! 

You hear such tyrants on radio, on television on social media, and—unfortunately—even in churches.  Don’t listen to them.  Don’t give in to them.  They will leave you exhausted and—in some cases—even broke and penniless.  I’m sure that each of you has heard of at least one relative or friend who has become bankrupt by giving money based on one or all three of those 3 tyrants.  Maybe you have lost money by yielding to such tyrants…

Instead of giving in to those three tyrants, here are three simple principles to follow about giving money to God:  1.  Ask God.  2.  If God says, “No,” that’s it—no guilt.  However, if God says “Yes,” then ask Him “How much?”  3.  Obey Him!  My wife and I—and many of our friends and acquaintances—have followed these three simple principles for many years.

At this point many people falter a little because they have not been properly taught that God “speaks” to people, answering them if they ask Him such questions.  God does speak.  He does answer.  Here’s how…  There are five principal ways God speaks to people; God is certainly not limited to speaking in only these five ways, but time, practice, and experience have taught many people these are the five principal ways God speaks to humans:

One:  Through the Bible. 

Two: By God implanting and imbedding his thoughts into our thoughts; we have to learn by experience and practice to determine which are God’s thoughts and which are our thoughts. 

Three:  By dreams, images, visions, pictures, etc., on the “viewing screens” of our spirits; also, God speaks to us through our creative imaginations. 

Four:  By gentle, but persistent nudgings, and urgings that just will not go away. 

Five:  By means of speaking or praying in tongues, and then immediately thereafter interpreting in our native language what we have just spoken in tongues.

In this teaching, I have attempted to give you a broad overview—a bird’s-eye view—of what the Bible teaches about giving money to God.  I have given you only a few key Bible references about giving to God.  There are literally hundreds more biblical references about the subject.  I hope that if you have really taken to heart the few references I have given you, that from now on God will open your eyes to see all the other references—as you read and study your Bible about cheerfully and generously giving money to God for the right reasons.

I conclude this teaching by praying above all things that you will enjoy true success and genuine prosperity for your life journey wherever it takes you.  I pray you will enjoy true success and prosperity depending on how and why you choose to give money to God, your attitude when you give, and your willingness to receive back from God after you’ve given.

Before I close this teaching, I invite you to read a companion teaching on this website titled Acres of Diamonds.  I won’t tell you much about it except to say that it’s an intriguing true story about giving money to God, about genuine success and prosperity, and miraculous ways in which God sometimes gives money back to people.  

Finally, I encourage you to purchase my book, LIFEgiving, for much more information and teaching about giving money to God; remember I don’t personally receive any income from the sale of my books.

Bill Boylan
Revised and Updated February 2023

Are You Adopted?

This teaching is primarily about the biblical subject of adoption, but I’ve been perplexed (and sometimes troubled) for many, many years about a teaching among many of God’s children called “The Manifested Sons.”  God has not prompted me to teach anything about that subject and adoption until just recently.  This teaching will be an overview of both the biblical concept of adoption and a view called “The Manifested Sons.”

The biblical subject of adoption is pretty straightforward—when properly understood—and not controversial.  However, the subject of the manifested sons is another matter altogether; it’s very contentious and controversial.  I’ve seen it’s adherents split churches and families.  I’m only sharing from my present understanding and current state of awareness;  I may be wrong about some of the things you’ll read in this teaching, and I’m open to honest, well-intended correction and discussion. BUT, I am not open to negative attacks upon me personally because of what I presently understand and believe.

With that in mind, I often tell people that when reading the Bible, believe what you read, not read what you believe!

Among many people who read and study the Bible, Romans 8: 19 about the manifestation of the sons of God holds some sort of strange fascination and fixation for them.  An extensive body of teaching about this single reference in Romans can be found here and there in literature, in sermons, and on the worldwide web.  Most of such material is fascinating to read or listen to.  Unfortunately, my own view is that many people who are fascinated and captivated by that reference are misguided and mistaken in what they have come to believe about it.

Here, in essence, is what such people teach about Romans 8: 19…  They believe that at some point in this life an elite group of “manifested sons” (and daughters) who are followers of Jesus will miraculously be manifested, revealed, or unveiled on earth by God sometime shortly before Jesus returns to establish his Kingdom.  Through those manifested sons, God is going to perform powerful miracles, signs, and wonders to lovingly draw people to Himself.  Such an elite group of manifested sons will be more mature, more informed, and more filled with God than ordinary, normal, typical believers in Jesus.

There are some variations in what I wrote in the paragraph above, but that’s the gist of what those who hold that view believe and teach based on Romans 8: 19.  Unfortunately it’s a widespread teaching that seems to have captivated many followers of Jesus who constantly strive and hope they will be among those elite, manifested sons; I personally know a number of people who spend a great deal of their time trying hard to become one of those manifested sons; I feel such efforts are futile, misguided, and wasted.  One cannot work or strive to become a manifested son (or daughter); God alone reveals who are his manifested sons and daughters.

In our modern era, one of the first men to teach and spread that view about the manifested sons through his prolific writings was George Hawtin from North Battlefield, Saskatchewan, Canada, who first began to spread this view as part of the so-called “Latter Rain Revival” that began in approximately 1949.  You can read many of his teachings on the internet.

Okay, now let’s take a look at Romans 8: 19 where it states:  “For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing [manifestation] of the sons of God.”  A couple of more modern English translations read this way:  “The entire universe is standing on tiptoe, yearning to see the unveiling [manifestation] of God’s glorious sons and daughters.”  (The Passion Translation)  “There is a singular event the entire creation awaits with bated breath: to witness the unveiling [manifestation] of the sons of God.”  (My translation)

I always attempt to teach that any Bible reference must be studied in context and in its historical setting; that is certainly true of Romans 8: 19.    To begin to fully answer the question about what both Romans 8: 19 and adoption into the family of God means, we must always first look at the context in which the references occur. 

In a broad sense, the context of the entire eighth chapter of Romans is about the new and exciting relationship the believer in Jesus enjoys with Holy Spirit who comes to permanently reside in them when they are born again:  that is, people begin to enjoy new LIFE because Holy Spirit now lives in them, as contrasted and compared with one’s old pre-Jesus life of spiritual sin and death before being born again.  Through Holy Spirit’s LIFE inside the believer in Jesus, the very LIFE of Jesus is displayed in the believer, not only in this life but in the life to come.

The more immediate context of verse 19 is verses 18 – 29, a paragraph contrasting the sufferings of believers in Jesus with the glorious future awaiting them when their bodies are resurrected from death and enter Jesus’ coming Kingdom on earth.  Now let’s begin to look at what the Bible teaches about the biblical concept of adoption within both this broader and immediate context; we’ll come back to Romans 8: 19 later.

The Bible uses the word “adoption” only 5 times in the New Testament:  Romans 8: 15, Romans 8: 23, Romans 9: 4, Galatians 4: 5, and Ephesians 1: 5.  The fact that the word appears only those 5 times doesn’t mean it’s not an important theme in the New Testament; it is a major theme, and the explanation of the word requires we study many other references and put them all together to arrive at a definition of the biblical word, adoption.

In two of the references about adoption—Romans 9: 4 and Galatians 4: 5—adoption seems to refer specifically to the Israelites or Jews; we won’t cover that form or method of adoption in this teaching.  That leaves us with Romans 8: 15 and 23 and Ephesians 1: 5 to deal with.  Romans 8: 15 uses the word adoption, but does not define it nor tell when adoption occurs; Ephesians 1: 5 is the same—not stating when adoption occurs. 

Of those five references about adoption, only Romans 8: 23 indicates clearly that adoption occurs when the bodies of Jesus’ followers are resurrected after they have died.  Other references throughout the New Testament teach us that the bodies of Jesus believers are resurrected when Jesus returns to earth to establish his eternal Kingdom.  For example, the 15th chapter of 1 Corinthians is the key reference in the Bible about resurrection of the body.

The Bible clearly teaches that humans are a “trinity,” or tri-une beings fashioned after God’s tri-une being:  Father, Son, and Spirit.  A foundational reference for that concept is 1 Thessalonians 5: 23.

The Bible teaches that the human spirit is redeemed (made alive) at the time one is born again into the family of God.  The Bible also teaches that the human soul (mind, will, emotions, etc.) begins to be renewed when a person is born again, and that mental renewal process continues throughout the lifetime of one who has been born again and chosen to become a follower of Jesus. 

That leaves the human body yet to be redeemed or renewed when the body is resurrected from death when Jesus returns. Jesus’s return seems from Romans 8: 23 (and many other corroborating biblical references) to be the precise point when Jesus’ followers are adopted.  We’ll explain that specific adoption later in this teaching.

It is generally believed by many thousands of people in the evangelical world that people who are born again and become followers of Jesus were “adopted” into God’s family of believers.  That is NOT true!  We are born into the family of God, not adopted!  I won’t even begin to cite the many references that teach we are born into the family of God, but four reference come readily  to mind as being representative of the many other references:  1 Peter 1:  23:  “For through the eternal and living Word of God you have been born again. And this seed that he planted within you can never be destroyed but will live and grow inside of you forever.”  

Second, in John 3: 1 – 8, Jesus speaks very clearly about the need for people to be born again.  Third, in James 1: 8, the writer states:  “God is delighted to give us birth by the truth of his infallible Word so that we would fulfill his chosen destiny for us and become the favorite ones throughout all creation.”  (The Passion Translation)

Fourth, John 1:12 and 13 read this way:  “But as many as received [Jesus, God the Son], to them He gave the authority to become children of God, to those who believe in his Name:  who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of humans, but of God.”

The four references I have just cited are only four of numerous references that teach believers in Jesus are born into God’s family, NOT adopted.  If you mistakenly believe you were adopted, not born, into God’s family, your mistaken belief can strongly influence how you see yourself as a member of the family of God; that is, you may mistakenly feel you are not as authentic or well-loved as a member of God’s family as is a brother or sister who was born into the family—that you are a “step-brother” of “step-sister” who was merely adopted.    

Keep in mind that throughout the New Testament there are two “words” of God:  Jesus is the living Word of God and the Bible is the written word of God.  Both together give new birth to people;  in a very real way, the living Word (Jesus) and the written word are one and the same and really cannot be separated. 

In the 24th chapter of Luke’s Gospel, Jesus explained that the Old Testament was really all about Him; of course we know that the four Gospels are about Jesus, and the remainder of the New Testament after the four Gospels is about Jesus’ relationship with the Church He is building.  Thus, the entire Bible is about Jesus:  The living Word and the written word:  one and the same.  Both the Living Word and the written Word together give new, second birth to those people who become part of the family of God.

I encourage you not to embrace the mistaken view that God adopted you into his family.  No!  You were lovingly born into the family of God and you will remain a child of God born into his family through all the ages of time and into Eternal Realms. You were not adopted into God’s family!

Now…here’s the crux of this teaching you are reading.  Many scholars feel that Romans 8: 19 about the manifested sons of God is a description of what occurs when a person is adopted into God’s family in this life.  As mentioned above, I’m not sure that’s true; I may be wrong and I’m open to correction, but for now I do not believe that the manifestation of the sons of God (nor adoption) occurs in this life.  As noted above, Romans 8: 23 clearly indicates that adoption occurs when Jesus returns…and that seems to be when the sons of God are manifested, revealed, or unveiled…or adopted.

The manifestation of God’s sons (and daughters) occurs upon Jesus’ return to earth to establish his eternal Kingdom; the adoption of God’s sons (and daughters) occurs simultaneously, but they are two separate events; even though separate events, they are closely intertwined and connected.

The manifestation of God’s children is when it first becomes clear and evident to all waiting creation who God’s born again children really are; in this life no one but God (and the individual person) ever knows with certainty who are God’s born again sons and daughters.  Only God and individual persons know what’s really inside people—in their hearts.  Sometimes people who profess to be children of God aren’t—but only God and that person know the truth of the matter in this life; upon Jesus’ return, the entire universe will know for certain who was and who wasn’t God’s born again child in this life…because they will then be clearly revealed, manifested, become evident, or made known.  

Yes, upon Jesus’ return to earth, the adoption of God’s children (as described later) will occur simultaneously with the manifestation of God’s sons and daughters.  Two separate events, but closely connected.

I might point out also that the Bible clearly teaches there are two resurrections of people from the dead.  In John 5: 29 Jesus clearly stated there are two resurrections:  one for those who have done good, the other for those who have done evil.  Revelation chapters 19 and 20 (especially 20: 5) seem to confirm Jesus’ statement about two resurrections.  There are other teachings on this website which explain resurrection more fully.

It would seem that the bodies of believers in Jesus are raised from the dead in the first resurrection, and pre-believers in Jesus at the second resurrection.  In between the two resurrections, it appears that there is a thousand-year period some call the Millennium in which all resurrected followers of Jesus rule and reign on the earth with Jesus.  Many Bible scholars believe and teach that the 1,000 year Millennial period  may not necessarily be a literal 1,000 years; they believe the 1,000 years is symbolic and may be much, much longer than 1,000 years.  In the second resurrection, pre-believers in Jesus (those who have not been born again in this life) are resurrected to have their sin and evil cleansed from them in the lake of fire that burns for ages of time…but not forever!

Nowhere does the Bible state that an elite group of Jesus’ followers become manifested sons in this life.  ALL believers are adopted and become manifested sons at the first resurrection.  There will NOT be an elite group of manifested sons in this life before the first resurrection!  

Before we go any further with this study, I want to cover a couple of foundational truths; without first understanding these foundational truths, the main theme of this teaching will be unclear.

First, the Bible teaches clearly that in terms of a person’s spiritual growth after being born again, there are “stages” or levels of spiritual growth and development.  When one is born again, one does not immediately become a mature follower of Jesus.  The same is true for one’s mental “growth” after a person is born again, but we won’t cover such mental growth in this teaching, other than to say that such references as Romans 12: 1 and 2 refer to such mental growth.  Again, other teachings on this website explain our mental renewal, growth, and transformation after we are born into God’s family.

As to spiritual growth after a person is born again, the Bible clearly teaches that spiritually one is first a newborn baby, just as in the natural realm.  For example, here are two primary references about newly born spiritual babies and infants; I hope you will look up these references and study them for yourself:  1 Peter 2: 2, and Hebrews 5: 13.  The next stage is spiritual childhood:  Romans 9: 26, 1 Corinthians 14: 20, Ephesians 4: 14.  Then we find teenagers and young adults:  1 John 3: 2 (see our explanation of this reference later in this teaching).  The New Testament is not clear that any believers in Jesus become fully mature spiritual adults in this life…and adopted because they have become fully mature.  

There are no time parameters about when followers of Jesus reach each of those stages of growth in this mortal life; some develop and “grow” faster than others, some slower.  When we die and our bodies are later resurrected and re-joined with our spirits, we enter the afterlife at the same level of spiritual and mental development as when we left this life.   

I feel it should be pointed out that just as it sometimes occurs in the natural realm that some people are stunted in their growth physically because of some congenital abnormality, illness, accident, or disease, it is also true that for reasons known only to God some believers in Jesus are stunted in their spiritual and mental growth, leading to ongoing immaturity during this mortal life.

The Bible clearly teaches that we immediately receive new, glorified spiritual bodies when we are resurrected, but there is no indication in the Bible that spiritually or mentally we magically and immediately become all “grown up” and mature immediately when we enter the next life.  In fact, just the opposite is true:  we enter the next life at the same stage of spiritual and mental development as when we leave this life;  we continue to grow and develop spiritually and mentally throughout eternity.  We are not magically transformed into perfectly mature spiritually and mentally redeemed and restored immortal beings the moment after we die!    

I speculate—but I am not certain by any means—that beginning with Jesus’ return and throughout that Millennial period is when believers in Jesus are adopted as they continue to grow and become fully mature enough to be adopted…each in his or her order as they progress through that 1,000 year period. 

Having stated those foundational truths, now let us continue our study about adoption in the New Testament.

Back to Romans 8: 19:  What does it mean that all creation waits with eager anticipation for God’s sons to be revealed or manifested?  The word translated “sons” refers not to children or teenagers, but to spiritually mature sons and daughters of God.    

When Paul wrote to the Jesus believers in the cities of Galatia, he clearly showed the purpose for which God sent Jesus:  “But when the fullness of time was come, God sent forth His Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that are under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.” (Galatians 4: 4 and 5)  This seems to refer specifically to Israelites or Jewish believers in Jesus, but there are many other references teaching us that Jesus has also redeemed all those not under the law, i.e. all non-Jewish believers in Jesus, Gentiles.

Generally speaking the biblical truth of adoption by God is not clearly understood, simply because many readers and students of the Bible mistakenly believe that God’s adoption is the same as human adoption practices.  To those of us who live in the modern world of adopting children, adoption means something entirely different from the meaning it has in the Bible.  When we in the modern world think of adoption, we think of an orphan or a homeless child being adopted by loving parents who either cannot have biological children or their own, or who simply want to have a larger family of children for various reasons. 

By contrast, the biblical picture of adoption is a public ceremony in which a young male (or female) as a teenager—or early post-teenager—in a family who proved their responsibility and faithfulness to the parents and to the entire family are proclaimed “grown up” and entitled to all the rights and responsibilities of a fully grown adult ready to take over the family business or profession.  This public ceremony was called an adoption ceremony; it was widely practiced by the Romans; that is what the Bible is referring to when it mentions adoption. 

At the ceremony of adoption, with friends, neighbors, and relatives present, the parents publicly  proclaimed that their adolescent child was now considered their fully grown, adult child.  This proclamation gave the now adult child certain privileges not enjoyed by the child before this time. These privileges were very important, and understanding them will teach us much about our individual relationship with God our Father.  The adoption ceremony is when God declares each fully grown child to be thoroughly and completely his own born, adult child, and finally to be Home where he or she belongs.

First, the child after the adoption ceremony was given the right to use his or her father’s name. The newly adult child could buy or sell or do business in his or her father’s name. In short, the new adult child was given power of attorney for the family. Second, at the adoption ceremony the child was given access to his or her inheritance, and thus was able to use the wealth that the father had saved for the child.  From then on, the newly “adopted” adult no longer had to depend upon the parent for the distribution of the inheritance.  Third, at the adoption ceremony the adopted child was given full equality with the father.

Parenthetically, the modern Jewish practice of bar mitzvah or bat mitzvah is patterned loosely after the Roman and biblical practice of adoption; that’s a long story in and of itself that I won’t cover in this teaching.

My own view is that such adoption ceremonies referred to in the Bible begin to occur when our bodies are resurrected, and continue to occur during the Millennial period as each redeemed believer in Jesus matures in Jesus’ Kingdom on earth throughout that time.

Without any solid biblical evidence, there are some students of the Bible that speculate certain spiritually mature followers of Jesus have been adopted in this life because of their spiritual maturity.  They claim, for example, that certain followers of Jesus such as Paul and Peter, St Augustine, Martin Luther, John Calvin, Billy Graham, and others throughout 2,000+ years of church history have been mature enough that for all practical purposes they became adopted sons and daughters of God.  Personally, I’m not certain that is true.

I’m not a scholar of biblical languages, and make no claim to being a Greek scholar, but any good Greek-English lexicon or concordance can give us much help about the true meaning of original words. They list three words in the Greek New Testament which clearly indicate three stages in our progression toward becoming mature followers of Jesus. 

These words are:

1. Teknion. This is the equivalent of our English word infant. An example of this word can be found in Matt. 18: 2.

2. Teknon. This word means an adolescent or youth. An example of this word is found in 1 John 3: 2 where in most translations the word is “sons,” leading to an incorrect understanding.  The word sons gives the wrong impression. The word is actually defined as adolescents, youths, and children, and it should read, “Beloved, now are we the children of God.” So the writer goes on: “It does not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that when He shall appear, we shall be like Him.” That seems to me to be the point when children in the family of God begin to be  adopted as mature sons or daughters, i.e. when Jesus appears—and throughout the 1,000 year Millennium.  Romans 8: 23 seems to reinforce this view that when we are bodily resurrected that is when God’s adoptions begin to occur.

3. Huios. The Greek word Huios means a mature child, a child who has received the rite of adoption. An example of this word is found in Heb. 1: 2 where the writer says that “God has spoken to us by His Son (Huios)… whom He has appointed heir of everything.” If we look closely at the life of Jesus in the four Gospels, we will plainly see that His life and experience progressed from infancy through adolescence to full adoption, or from teknion (infancy) to teknon (youth) to huios. My own view is that Jesus was “adopted” (in the Roman sense of the word) by God the Father when Jesus was baptized in water by John, and Holy Spirit filled Jesus in a “public ceremony.”

When all believers in Jesus are resurrected from among the dead at Jesus’ second coming to establish his Kingdom, they will then begin to become fully grown, adopted sons and daughters in the family of God who will rule and reign (with power and authority) with Jesus in his Kingdom through the remaining ages of time and then in Eternal Realms.  Although fully grown and mature, they will still continue to learn, grow, and mature even more throughout eternity.  Lacking biblical evidence, it does not appear, however, that in this life some believers in Jesus become mature enough that God adopts them in the sense we have seen in this teaching.

But for now, my present level of understanding and current state of awareness informs me that adoption of all God’s children begin to occur when Jesus returns to earth to establish his eternal Kingdom.  And…there will not be an elite group of adopted, “manifested sons” in this life before Jesus’ return to establish his Eternal Kingdom. All Jesus’s true sons and daughters will be manifested—exhibited—to all creation at that time, not in this life.

Although already lovingly born into God’s family, I eagerly await my public adoption ceremony in God’s timing after Jesus returns…and my manifestation or unveiling as a son of God.  How about you?  Are you preparing for YOUR public adoption ceremony before the throne of God with other redeemed humans looking on surrounded by angels, Seraphim, Cherubim, and other created beings?  And…do you understand that all creation longs to see you exhibited to them as a revealed, manifested son or daughter of God?

Bill Boylan
Life Enrichment Services, Inc.
Revised and Updated December 2022


February 2023: This post is always “under construction.”

We include only “positive,” encouraging testimonials from readers and students. Most of the “negative” testimonials are generally of two types: 1. Someone wanting to insert their own rigid dogma, or 2. Someone wanting to argue; arguments create heat not light, and are generally by people who simply want their own way–not really interested in open discussions.


“While praying and searching for truth about troubling long-held beliefs, I thank God for putting me in touch with Bill Boylan and his teachings. First, I read his book about his visit to Heaven, which confirmed my long held false beliefs about hell,  judgement, salvation, etc. Since then, I have been blessed by Bill’s encouragement, and studying the wealth of information through his teachings on his web site. I highly recommend his books and teachings, laid out simply and so beautifully inspiring. May God bless him richly,  and you!!” –Nita M, New Zealand 

“My Journey to apokatastasis: I grew up in a traditional church with much ritual and liturgy. It was a time when television preachers began to gain air time. I heard fear of war, pestilence, poverty, and the punishment of hell. The theme was Jesus is the answer or else something terrible will happen to you. After the disillusionment of life set in, God began to open my spiritual eyes. God led me to a Spirit-filled church. I began to study the Bible and scholarly works about the Bible. I prayed for wisdom, knowledge, and understanding. I learned and experienced God’s plan to ultimately restore the earth and all humanity. The doomsday preachers, their books, and the fear they generated are gone from my spirit. Bill Boylan was helpful in my quest for truth. It is wonderful to know increasingly, day by day, that my loved ones, friends, and enemies will be made whole, beyond the grave.” –Ron V, South Dakota

“Bill,  I have more than enjoyed your teachings.  They have helped me more than you can know. You have been very gracious to answer my questions.  I feel favored and highly blessed by God for the understanding I have gleaned from the things you teach.” –Bonnie M, Montana

“Howdy! I could have sworn I’ve been to this web site before but after browsing through some of the posts I realized it’s new to me. Regardless, I’m definitely delighted I stumbled upon it and I’ll be bookmarking it and checking back often!” –Ian J, Ireland

“We stumbled over here from a different page and thought I might check things out. I like what I see so now I am following you. Look forward to exploring your web page again.” –Charise G, Belgium

“Admiring the persistence you put into your blog and detailed information you present. It’s good to come across a blog every once in a while that isn’t the same unwanted rehashed information. Fantastic read! I’ve bookmarked your site and I’m including your RSS feeds to my Google account.” –Jaquita, Honduras

“Greetings! This is my first visit to your blog! We are a team of volunteers and starting a new initiative in a community in the same niche. Your blog provided us valuable information to work on. You have done a outstanding job! ” –Chris H, Germany

“For 43 years I searched numerous Christian denominations and even Messianic Jewish Churches, and where was Jesus? I had chased the elusive carrot in attempts to please God and at least somewhere try to earn His love for me, but I could not find the real Jesus.

“It came to a head in 2019. I had been to many conferences that year, each with the hope of finding the missing link in my life–the real Jesus. Each conference was special in its own way, and I even had metal miraculously dissolved in my back from a gun accident…but where was Jesus?

“With no hope remaining, I went to a conference in Atlanta only because I had previously committed to attending. I honestly didn’t believe Jesus would be there either. I had heard so many say, ‘God told me…’ with no fruit to show. Again, where was Jesus? I finally knew I wasn’t going to find the real Jesus I was seeking by means of church or religion. I tried for seven hours to get out of Atlanta and the conference, to no avail. I knew God wanted me to return to the conference that afternoon, and even there I told God, ‘I know you are real, but I am done with trying to find you in church and religion. You are not there. I am done.’

“That very afternoon, God miraculously showed me He and Jesus are real. There is a song by Godfrey Birtell called, “Just One Touch From the King, Changes Everything”. That day the one touch from God changed my life. Father God and Jesus showed up physically, mentally, and spiritually–and the deep sadness of my life melted into peace.

“When I returned home, I knew I was different and prayed for God to show me authentic Jesus-believers who had no agenda to use me to further their ‘ministries’–people who loved Jesus and were happy just to be His children…friends to walk with who really knew Jesus. I still didn’t know Him. I only knew about Him. I had been a practicing Christian for 43 years, but didn’t really know Him yet as a real Person who loved me. 

“God answered my prayer by putting Bill Boylan in my life. I had heard he discipled people and taught them how to walk with Jesus as a friend. I joined a Bible Study he was teaching at our church to check this out. I happened to question the word ‘all.’ in class. His response was, ‘Does ‘all’ mean all?’ That was the secret I had been searching for. Yes, Jesus died for ‘all’!

“From that day on, Bill has been my mentor, friend, confidant, and leader into Jesus, the Father and Holy Spirit. Our journeys had many of the same heartaches and hardships. The victory he found in the ‘real’ Jesus has been an inspiration for victory to me. Bill always led me to Jesus instead of telling me what to do. Yes…I finally found Jesus in my friend and older brother in Jesus, Bill Boylan. I cannot thank God enough for the journey I have had and the things I have learned through it. And for renewing my faith that Jesus is still living in the church–because of the faithfulness He showed me in my big brother, Bill.

“This renewed trust in God’s goodness, has opened doors again of trust and relationships with good men and women who have a love relationship with our Heavenly Father. Jesus is in the church and the church is alive with Holy Spirit…one person at a time…each walking hand in hand with Jesus, participating in the dream of the Father– that we would be one with Father, Son, and Spirit.” –Patty, New Mexico 

“I’ve tried to read the Bible many times through the years (I’m now 84 years old), and every time I’ve picked it up and read a few pages I’ve put it back down because it just seemed too ‘mysterious.’ I could never understand it. Not long ago I came across this website and with nothing else to do began to read some of your teachings, Bill. Wow! Your teachings are so plain, clear, and simple that all of a sudden I went back to the Bible and began to read it again. It’s much clearer to me now, thanks to your teachings. As a result, I have placed my late-in-life faith in Jesus as my eternal Savior! –Brendan, Ireland

“Bill, I’m a lapsed (Roman) Catholic, now 75 years old. Because my early Catholic teachings were so rigid and dogmatic, I gave up on religion when I attended college. Lately, I’ve been searching for God again–not for religion, but for a real relationship with Him. Your teachings have brought me back to the God of my childhood who I now realize has loved me all along through the years; long ago I gave up on religion, but not on God. Then recently, you gave me a copy of The Passion Translation of the New Testament; by reading that I have found the loving God of my childhood again. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. –Carol, South Dakota

The Lord’s Prayer…So-Called

The Lord’s Prayer—so-called—is not exclusively Jesus’ prayer; rather it is a means of prayer, a prayer outline that Jesus taught his disciples upon their request.  In fact, it seems that the only time the disciples may have asked Jesus to specifically teach them anything was when they asked Him to teach them how to pray  as He prayed.  (Luke 11: 1) 

The disciples were keenly aware that Jesus prayed much differently than the religious leaders of his day; they were impressed by the way He prayed much differently—and more personally—than anything they had seen or heard previously.  There is no indication that Jesus intended the Lord’s Prayer to be a rote prayer to be prayed.  He was giving the disciples (and us) a model prayer, an outline that could be used to “fill in the blanks” while praying.

Jesus began teaching the disciples by saying, “Pray in this manner…”  (Matthew 6: 9)  In saying that, Jesus was not indicating that this was to be the disciples’ only prayer or that those were to be the only words they were ever to use while praying; it was not meant to be a substitute for their ongoing, personal prayers.  It seems Jesus was saying that He wanted them (and us) to use these words as a pattern prayer.  This teaching includes some of my own thoughts about prayer I’ve learned and used through the years…and some thoughts I’ve gleaned from Oral Roberts, the most prominent “healing evangelist” in the 20th century.

There is another teaching on this website titled Prayer that I invite you to study as a companion teaching to this one.

Here are the words to the Lord’s Prayer as commonly prayed by millions of people in churches throughout the world and when they pray individually at home, at work, at school, etc.  There are minor differences in some of the wording in various churches, people groups, languages, and cultures around the world, but this is the wording in how it is commonly taught and prayed in modern English.  However, it must be noted that a number of churches still use the wording of the King James translation of the Bible in 1611 A.D.:

Our Father Who is in Heaven,
Hallowed be your Name.
Your Kingdom Come,
Your will be done on earth
As it is in Heaven
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses [sins],
As we forgive those who trespass [sin] against us.
Lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil.
For yours is the Kingdom
And the power and the glory forever.

I hasten to state that I personally have no problem with people using this as a rote prayer—as long as it does not become “vain repetition” Jesus warned against (Matthew 6: 7)   For many years, I have often prayed it as a rote prayer in various setting where it seemed appropriate…but when using it as a rote prayer, I am always aware of the deeper meaning of each of its phrases.

Since it was a model prayer or outline Jesus was teaching his disciples, I will break it down by phrases and teach some of what Jesus was likely teaching his disciples “between the lines.”

Our Father…

The belief that God was a close, personal loving Father was not prominent in the Old Testament life of the Israelites before the time of Jesus; yes, the word Father was used occasionally, but more often other names of God were used when people prayed.  The word Father was first used in a deeply personal way by Jesus when He addressed God as Father.

When Jesus called God Father it signified the closeness the Father and Jesus enjoyed.  It revealed that Jesus and his Father were intimately and personally related as loving Father and well-loved Son.  It was a new dimension—a new reality—that Jesus brought from the Old Testament into the New Testament…and into the NOW, into the present in the lives of people.  God was no longer to be understood or seen as distant and aloof, out of the close reach of people when they prayed to Him.

In a sense, the word Father as Jesus used it seemed to “wrap up” and encompass the various names of God by which people approached Him before Jesus came on the scene and taught them this new way of understanding that God was personal and in the NOW of peoples’ lives.  All of the various attributes of God characterized by his numerous Names in the Old Testament, are summarized by the New Testament Title, Father (“Abba,” “Daddy”).   Three of the more familiar “titles” of God previously used when praying, thinking about, and approaching God were:

Jahweh (JHWH)is God’s covenantal Name—The I Am, The Wholly Self-Existent One (Isaiah 12: 2).

 Adonai is another Name used in place of Jahweh, which was considered by many to be too “holy” and sacred to be spoken aloud.

El; Elohim (plural in Hebrew) (2 Kings 19: 15)  is God’s transcendant Name—He is the One, True and Living God, the  Supreme, Powerful God.  The God who alone creates.   

In addition, here are some of the other most familiar names and attributes of God used throughout the Old Testament.  There are many more; I carry in my own prayer guide a listing disclosing over 100 (!) more names and titles of God found throughout the Old Testament:

Jahweh-Tsidkenu:  God my righteousness (Jeremiah 23: 6)
Jahweh-M’Kadosh:  God who cleanses me (Leviticus 19: 2)
Jahweh-Shalom:  God my peace  (Judges 6: 24)
Jahweh-Shammah:  God is always a Living Presence in my life (Ezekiel 48: 35)
Jahweh-Rapha:  God who heals me  (Exodus 15: 26)
Jahweh-Jireh:  God provides for me  (Genesis 22: 14)
Jahweh-Nissi:  God under whose banner  I serve (Exodus 17: 15)
Jahweh-Ra’ah:  God my Shepherd (Psalm 23)
Jahweh-Saboath:  God, my Commander-In-Chief (1 Samuel 17: 45)
Jahweh-Tsaba:  God of Wealth Disbursement and Distribution (Zechariah 2: 8 and 9)
El Shaddai:  My All-Sufficient One (Psalm 91: 1)
El Olam:  The One who is Self-existent and Eternal (Deuteronomy 33: 27)
El-Elyon:  The Most High God (Genesis 14: 18; Acts 7: 48)
El Roi:  The God Who sees me (Genesis 16: 13) 
Immanuel:  The God who is eternally, fully present in me (Isaiah 7: 14; Matthew 1: 23)
Jehoshaphat:  Jahweh is Judge (Joel 3: 2)

It seems that when Jesus appeared on the scene and began using the title Father in a more intimate manner than had been used previously, He was summarizing and encapsulating all these Old Testament concepts of God all “rolled” into the one word Father, with whom He shared a deep and intimate relationship.  It was that relationship He was teaching his disciples to enter into also when He taught them to pray to “Our Father Who is in Heaven.”

Who IS…

This is an important little phrase in the Lord’s Prayer.  When we pray, we are praying to a God who is—a God who is in the NOW—the present—of our lives.  He’s not a God who was or who will be; He’s the one true and LIVING God!  He’s the God who IS…who never changes.  Yes, God is in the NOW of our lives.  He is ever-present in our lives.  He is the seven-day-a-week—the 24/7–the 365 days God.  He is with us every moment, every day, everywhere.  GOD IS!  God is never on vacation.  He never sleeps nor slumbers. 

He is always attentive to our every need:  body, soul, and spirit.  The challenge is that often we simply don’t acknowledge his personally present IS-ness; we all too often feel He might be too busy to listen to us.  Not so!  To God who is outside of time and space (but also fully present in time and space) everything is always absolutely simultaneous…and He always has ample time to devote to each one of us, to hear each one of us as we pray, to meet our needs when we present them to Him.  Yes, God IS. He is always fully present and fully attentive to each of us!

In Heaven…

Jesus wasn’t attempting to help us “locate” God.  Humans who believe in God instinctively know He is in Heaven.  The challenge is knowing He is also on earth.  When Jesus spoke of God as his Father in Heaven, He was speaking of the eternal resources God “stores up” in Heaven to dispense to us when we pray to Him.  Jesus is reminding his disciples—and us—that when we pray, we must remember that God is in Heaven.  And in God’s Heaven there is no shortage of any good thing.  God’s riches through Jesus are laid end-to-end in Heaven waiting to be given to us when we ask Him to meet our human needs here on earth.

In regard to this particular part of Jesus’ teaching about prayer to his disciples, one day a number of years ago while I was praying using the Lord’s Prayer as an outline, I had the following vision that helped me “see” more deeply what was going on in Heaven when we prayed:

“I had just begun my daily, early morning time of prayer and intercession.  When doing so, I often envision myself and the people I pray for that day striding up to massive, golden, double doors into God’s throne room.  Huge angelic beings often open the doors for us so we can stride boldly through them into the room.  Then, as we humbly bow in front of God, I sweep my arm around me to show Him the people I brought with me for whom I will be interceding.  As I did that this time, Jesus glanced to our left; I followed his glance and noticed he was looking at a door labeled “Supply Room.”  Another angelic being opened that door so I could peer inside.  It was a huge room, appearing much like a Sam’s Club or Costco with rows and rows of shelves reaching higher than I could see and stretching into the distance farther than I could see.  It is an infinite storehouse full of unlimited items.  I knew as I interceded for various people that morning, other angelic beings would emerge from that supply room to give people with me that for which I was praying and interceding.”

Hallowed (Honored) Be Your Name…

Jesus seemed to have deep feelings about the Name of God. He never used it irreverently, nor in vain, or as an obscenity. Coming down through 2,000+ years to us, I believe He is saying to us: “Have the same reverence I have for the Name of God.” My own brief prayer in respect to honoring God’s Name goes something like this: “God, your Name represents You and all that You are. Your very Name, God, tells me You are sovereign over all the affairs of your vast creation. You are sovereign over the affairs of my life today. Your Name says it all for me, and I honor You and your Name above everything else in my life today!”

Your Kingdom come…

Jesus expressed concern about the nations—the kingdoms—that then existed on the earth.  But He was even more concerned about another Kingdom—a higher Kingdom—God’s Kingdom.  We happen to live in earthly kingdoms (nations, governments, etc.).  These kingdoms are always rising and falling—even the “kingdom” you presently live in will ultimately fall.  All earth’s kingdoms are temporary. They are only so powerful, they are limited.  Jesus knew that such earthly kingdoms would never fully conquer all humanity.  He knew that such kingdoms had their limitations—that they all rise and fall over time. 

Jesus lived in the mighty Roman Empire, a kingdom that had spread over the then known world.  It had conquered many other nations during its rise to power.  But Jesus knew Rome would eventually fall and lose its power and control over multitudes of people.  Jesus was always focused on God’s coming Kingdom that would eventually cover the entire earth—a Kingdom in which people were free with liberty for all under God’s eternal, benevolent rulership.  

Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven…

Every time we pray using this portion of the Lord’s prayer as a springboard for our prayers, we are praying a revolutionary, radical prayer. We are literally praying for a new kind of Kingdom to come into being:  an eternal Kingdom of peace, of  justice, of freedom, of equality.  We are praying that what is in Heaven will come to be…down here on (and in) the earth, and that starts with me…because our bodies are made from the substances that are in the earth.  The will of God begins in Heaven where it is worked out perfectly, but comes to earth where it is not yet perfect.  It must be lived out in this “earthen vessel” as the Bible calls our bodies, our “earth suits” in which we live during this mortal life. (2 Corinthians 4: 7)

For me personally, when I pray using this portion of the Lord’s prayer as an outline, I have a listing of various people, events, and things I pray for—that the will of God will prevail and be accomplished in myself, my loved ones and close friends, my local church, my nation, the world at large, my readers and students, China and Chinese workers, and Belarus—the latter two nations are where I have visited and shared Good News about Jesus.  I pray also for other nations I have visited, but my main focus is on China and Belarus. 

You do know, don’t you, that many people are afraid of the will of God?   They feel if they do God’s will, somehow He will make them do something against their will or that is difficult or distasteful.   They mistakenly feel that doing God’s will might restrict their life, that their lives might become of less worth, but all I can write is that for me—doing God’s will—has given me a life of great joy!

 “God’s will be done” does not mean giving up my personal ability to make choices.  It does mean I let go of thought patterns, attitudes, and ways of living that limit me, so God can lead me in better ways. The will of God flows from his great love for us and for all humanity and is full of the love of God.  It is not difficult to live out the will of God because it is a life where one is right in the center of his will, and He lovingly provides all that is needed to do his will.

Give us today our daily bread…

I’m so glad Jesus didn’t leave this provision out in his model prayer.  In the English vernacular, bread is sometimes considered to be money, our material needs.  We are asking God to provide all our daily needs (not necessarily our wants—although sometimes our wants and needs are the same).  Jesus knows all about what we need to successfully live this life.  I’m so glad Jesus didn’t tell us “”God, sell us this day, our daily bread,” because we could never pay for or buy all God provides each of us—life itself, air, water, food, clothing and shelter, love, joy, peace, friendship, relationships, etc.

I believe Jesus is saying we need to see our loving heavenly Father as our ultimate Source of our total supply.  He’s talking about our loving heavenly Father who knows our needs for food, clothing, shelter, and—in our culture—reliable transportation, a house that becomes a home, decent clothing appropriate to our station in life, loving family relationships, and simply about God meeting all our needs by means of his “riches in glory” provided for us by Jesus through his completed and finished work on our behalf.  (Phillipians 4: 19)

Forgive us our trespasses [sins] as we forgive those who tresspass [sin] against us…

After Jesus concluded giving his disciples this pattern prayer, He then told them this:  “While you are praying, make sure you forgive the sins of others, for if you forgive the sins of other people, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.  But if you withhold forgiveness from others, your Father will withhold forgiveness from you.”  (Matthew 6: 14 and 15)

By telling the disciples this, Jesus was clearly indicating that we all sin!  We do things we shouldn’t do.  We say things we shouldn’t say.  We think things we shouldn’t think.  We are sinners, and God is loving and gracious to forgive us all our sins through the completed work of Jesus on our behalf.  There is one main Forgiver…and that is God.  But we must follow his example, and forgive others as He forgives us—freely with no strings attached.

When we don’t forgive others, our unforgiveness festers and grows inside us until it becomes what the Bible calls a “root of bitterness.”  (Hebrews 12: 15)  That root of bitterness can actually make us ill in both body and mind, and–sometimes—actually kill us. The older I get the better I can  “read” people:  their facial expressions, their body language, their eyes, etc.  I often see in people such extreme unforgiveness and bitterness to the point where it even shows in their faces and in the way they walk.  I have learned through the years this maxim:  For me, if it’s not instant forgiveness, it’s unforgiveness!   I don’t practice that perfectly, but I’m very sensitive to try to forgive others instantly.

A man once said, “I will never forgive so and so.”   The person he told that to replied, “Then pray that you will never sin and need forgiveness yourself!”

In practical terms, how do we live in an ongoing state of forgiveness?  We need to thank God for forgiving us our sins.   We need to instantly forgive others who sin against us—and release them from any unforgiveness we are secretly harboring, so our unforgiveness doesn’t grow into the deadly root of bitterness.  We need to thank God for forgiving those who have sinned against us.  Daily, we need to set our wills to continually forgive those who sin against us.

If we don’t forgive others, we often feel that holding on to our unforgiveness will somehow hurt them or remind them what they’ve done to us, when in fact most often our unforgiveness doesn’t hurt or affect them at all.  But unforgiveness can grow inside of us like a slow acting poison and hurt us rather than hurting the ones we don’t forgive.

If we are going to joyfully live in a daily state of being forgiven by God, we must forgive others!

Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil…

Elsewhere, the Bible is very clear when it states that God doesn’t tempt anyone:  “When you are tempted, don’t ever say ‘God is tempting me,’ for God is incapable of being tempted by evil and He is never the source of temptation.  Instead, each person’s own inner desires and thoughts drag them into evil and lures them away into the darkness of sin.  Evil desires give birth to evil actions, and when those evil actions fully mature they can kill you.  So my friends don’t be fooled by your own desires.”   (James 1: 13 – 15)

If we are tempted to sin, here’s another biblical reference that helps us deal with such temptation:  “When we experience temptation to sin, God will be faithful to us.  He will screen and filter the severity, nature, and timing of every temptation we face, so that we can bear it.  Each temptation is an opportunity to trust God more, for along with every temptation God has provided a way for us to escape the temptation, so that He will bring us out of it as victors!”  (1 Corinthians 10: 13) 

For Yours is the Kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever…

When Jesus said these words, He was living in a remote outpost of the mighty Roman Empire.  Most (not all) Roman soldiers and rulers were barbaric and cruel, often putting people under cruel servitude and dismal lifelong slavery.  The Roman masters and soldiers behaved as if Rome was going to rule the world forever…that Rome would always be the master kingdom.  But Jesus looked beyond Rome, beyond every other kingdom that would arise until the end of time…and He said:  “Father, Yours is THE Kingdom…and it’s full of all your power and all your glory for all time and eternity!”

Jesus was proclaiming that there is something far greater and more stable than the kingdom of Rome or any other earthly kingdoms…and that greater Kingdom is ruled by the King of kings and Lord of lords.  It’s interesting to note that Jesus will be King over lesser kings and Lord over lesser lords in God’s coming Kingdom.  Who are those lesser kings and lesser lords?  We will be!  (Revelation 1: 6 and 5: 10)

Some of what I pray when using the Lord’s prayer as a pattern prayer is that Jesus will one day sovereignly rule over all the kingdoms and nations of earth…including ruling NOW over my own “internal kingdoms” I have mistakenly established. I also pray to clearly comprehend that there is only one ultimate power in the universe (not two or more warring powers where the outcome is uncertain), that one ultimate power being God’s.  I pray that the only authentic power in my own life will be God’s…and thatI will submit to his inner power daily.  I pray to understand that there is no power in the universe and in my life except the power of Almighty God.

 Finally, I pray that I will continually honor God and humbly give Him all the glory due Him for all the ages of time and in coming Eternal Realms.


Amen means so be it…let it be done…it is accomplished…I give everything in my life over to God…God, work out in my life and in the lives of those for whom I’ve prayed your eternal good purposes for them…I believe You will do everything I’ve asked You to do…

Bill Boylan

Revised and Updated March 2023

Science(s) And The Bible

The following is a brief alphabetical listing I have compiled about various fields of studies, endeavors, pursuits, and strategies used in determining the Bible’s origins, authenticity, trustworthiness, reliability, veracity, translations, interpretations, and understanding.  This is not a teaching, per se, as are most of the other 100 + teachings on this website. The listing gives information about multiple fields of legitimate studies that contribute in one way or another to the makeup of the Bible we have today.  Tangentially, I have also included various people and events within the historical Church of Jesus (the worldwide Body of Jesus) that touch upon and flow from the Bible; after all, we only know about Jesus’ Church from the Bible.

At a very basic level, I want you to understand at the outset that I believe the Bible is God’s complete, final written revelation of Himself to all humankind.  I believe it to be error-free in its 3 original languages:  Hebrew, Aramiac, and Greek.  However, I hasten to say that there are minor errors in translation, but most of them have been resolved to the extent that reputable scholars estimate that the Bible is over 99% reliable and trustworthy in modern translations.

The remaining 1% really doesn’t affect the Bible’s overall teachings in any significant way; for the most part, it involves misplaced or omitted punctuation marks and a few sentences or paragraphs that might be misplaced or that might have been added to the original text by a translator.

In providing the following listing, I merely feel that some of my friends and students might be interested in this list, so I’m adding it to this website simply for information.  However, there are three teachings on this website that give a little insight about why God gave humanity the Bible, its history, how it was translated, why it was compiled in its present form, etc.  Those three teachings are:  The B-I-B-L-E, Bible Overview, and Bible Study Principles.

Many of the sciences in this listing are what are termed “soft” sciences (psychology, anthropology, and other “ologies”) as contrasted with “hard” sciences such as engineering, astrophysics, computer science, etc.  Even though they are considered soft sciences, they still use the same vigorous and rigid disciplines and methods of study that are used in the hard sciences.  In a very general sense, the soft sciences are about “discovery and conveying results of discoveries in meaningful terms,” whereas by contrast the hard sciences are about “both discovery and application,” the latter in terms of technology and inventions, for example.

The fields of study that contributed to the makeup of the Bible—and that touch upon the Bible tangentially—are not necessarily all “hard” sciences or technical sciences such as astrophysics, quantum physics, etc.;  nevertheless, they are legitimate fields of science of another nature—in other areas of research.  They are various fields of scientific endeavor and other types of studies in areas that connect with the Bible, relate to the Bible, and support the Bible.  However, many of the hard sciences are also used in studying and authenticating the Bible; those that seem most relevant are contained in this listing.

This listing also contains various entries about other areas of research and study that are presently being used by scholars in various fields of Bible study.  It also contains verious terms and definitions that I feel are the most important, relevant, and germaine to a Bible student’s overall knowledge of the Bible.

It must be noted that in a general sense, science attempts to answer “How” questions, whereas Bible scholars attempt to answer “Why” questions.  For example, scientists in many fields seek to answer how the universe and all within in it (including humanity) “works.”  Bible scholars attempt to answer questions such as why do humans exist and what is their purpose.

Also, it should be noted that authentic science and the Bible are not at war with one another; they are not mutually exclusive.  Scientific dogma and religious dogma may be at odds with one another, but if one is an open-minded scientist in other fields and another is an open-minded biblical scholar, science and the Bible do agree with one another.  There is no conflict between true science in other fields and Bible scholars who study the Bible scientifically.

All of these areas of study and research—and more—have come into play in determining the origin and history of the Bible, its translation, interpretation, and understanding, its intact transmission through many centuries, and in communicating its timeless message from one person to another for thousands of years.

Beginning with the Old Testament books of Job and then Genesis, God worked with and in various humans over a period of 1,500 years, causing them to write in their own words and languages (Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek) what He wanted written.  Later, under the guidance of the Spirit of God, various individuals and groups of people compiled those writings into a volume of 66 smaller “books” we now call the Bible.  Such writers and compilers were not automatons; they were various normal humans from many walks of life who simply wrote and compiled under the inspiration of God guiding and directing their thoughts from “behind the scenes,” so to speak.

It can be stated without legitimate contradiction that the Bible is the most well-researched Book in all of human history!

These final thoughts need noted before you study the following alphabetical listing:  God did not give the Bible to humanity so much to be scientifically analyzed; it was given to grip our inner beings, to inspire us without reason, logic, or emotions; it was given and is designed to touch the human spirit without analysis or explanation. It is God’s written revelation of Himself to all humanity:  his character, his nature, his person, his works throughout all creation, but especially how He lovingly relates to and works among all humanity.

Angelology:  The branch of theology studying about angels, God’s special messengers and servants of humanity

Anthropic Principles:  Study about the universe’s (God’s) strategic designs to accommodate humans

Anthropogenesis:  The study about human origins and development

Anthropography:  The distribution of humans on the planet based on languages, physical characteristics, etc.

Anthropomorphism:  The attributing of human characteristics to a god, animal, or inanimate thing

Apokatastasis:  A Greek word meaning God ultimately will lovingly redeem, restore, and reconcile all creationincluding all humanity—to Himself.

Apologetics:  A branch of Bible study having to do with explaining proofs of the Bible and Christianity

Archaeology:  Scientific study about the past and historical life and culture.  This science began to develop when the Industrial Revolution brought with it the need to move large quantitites of soil for industry, revealing artifacts that were clearly ancient. Not much was known about humanity’s ancient history until that time.

Artifact:  Any object made by humans—especially artifacts produced in the ancient world

Arminianism:  Major doctrines of the western Church based on the teachings of Jacob Arminius (1560 – 1609) that humankind has completely free will as contrasted with the teachings of Calvinism that humanity has limited will  (See Calvinism)

Asceticism:  People who lead austere lives of rigorous self-denial and self-discipline, denying themselves typical comforts and pleasures for religious purposes  

Astrophysics:  Study that deals primarily with the physical properties of the universe

Astronomy:  Study about the universe in general

Bibliolatry:  Making the Bible an idol rather than simply understanding it is God’s complete, final written revelation of Himself to humankind.   It generally leads to excessive adherence to a strictly literal understanding of the Bible and extreme dogmatism

Botany:  Study about plant life on earth

Calvinism:  A set of religious practices and beliefs of the western Church based on the teachings of John Calvin (1509 – 1564), often associated with a stern moral code.  It teaches the doctrine that only a relatively small percentage of humanity known as the “elect” will enjoy eternal salvation.  See Arminianism

Christology:  Study about the God-Human life of Jesus of Nazareth

Cognition:  Study about how humans learn and know

Cosmology:  Study about the origin and strructure of the universe

Cosmography (and Cosmogony):  Study about the earth and creation as a whole

Creationism:  Study about creation and origins

Cuneiform tablets:  Hard clay tablets produced in ancient Mesopotamia (and elsewhere), with written characters or inscriptions on them.  Today, almost a million of them exist in various museums throughout the world.  The tablets furnish information about all aspects of daily life in the ancient world, including a great deal of information pertaining to the Bible

Dead Sea Scrolls:  Hundreds of scrolls preserved in pottery jars discovered by accident by a Bedouin in 1947 about a mile west of the northwest corner of the Dead Sea.  They date from the last century B.C. to the first century A.D.  100 of the scrolls are biblical manuscripts, one of them containing the entire Old Testament Book of Isaiah

Demonology:  The study of demons or beliefs about them

Dogmatism:  Conveying to others that one’s own views about the Bible are the only correct views; that all other views are incorrect.  Dogmatism is flawed and incomplete simply because all humans are finite beings…and always limited in their knowledge and understanding.  Only God who is infinite in knowledge can be truly dogmatic

Ecclesiology:  Study about the Church, the Living Body of Jesus everywhere and everywhen

Eisegesis:  “Reading something into” a biblical text and explaining the text based on preconceptions.  While studying the Bible, people must not read what they believe, but believe  what they read

Emmanuel:  A Greek Word meaning God is fully present at all times with and within all humanity  (sometimes spelled Immanuel)   (See Immanent)

Epistomology:  Study about sources of the Bible

Eschatology:  Study about telos, the final consummation of all creation

Etymology:  Study about the origins and developments of words

Exegesis:  Explanation of words within the biblical text and explaining them based only on critical analysis.  While studying the Bible, people must believe what they read, not read what they believe

Fear of God:  Recognizing God’s majesty, power, and holiness, resulting in one’s desire to do good and a repugnance of evil

Figure of speech:  an expression, using words in a nonliteral sense or unusual manner to add emphasis, vividness, beauty, etc. to what is said or written.  Often they expose the inner structures of thought and the way ideas come to have meaning.  The original Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek, languages of the Bible use approximately 125 figures of speech 

Filioque Controversy:  In 1054 A.D., a great controversy arose within the then worldwide church that resulted in a schism between the Western Church and the Orthodox Church that has never been healed  (See Orthodox Church and Western Church)

Geneaology:  The science or study of family descent

Genotype:  Study of the fundamental constitution of human heredity

Geochronology:  Study about the age of the earth

Geography:  Study about the surface of the earth

 Geomorphology:  Study about the origin and nature of earth’s topographic features

Geophysics:  Study about the physics of the earth such as weather, winds, tides, etc.

Glossolalia:  Studying about speaking in unknown tongues

Grammatical-Historical Method:  The approach to Bible study that seeks to determine the original intended meaning of a biblical text by carefully examining the grammar, syntax, and literary type or genre, interpreting it in the light of its original historical setting.  That means doing a careful examination of the historic setting, as well as the culture and grammar, including contemporary idiom and grammatical structure

Hamartiology: Studying what the Bible teaches about sin and its consequences

Hermeneutics:  Studying how to properly interpret and understand the Bible to ensure intelletual honesty

History:  Knowledge of the past based on physical evidence, oral testimony, and written records

Homiletics:  The art of preparing teachings and sermons about the Bible which are intellectually honest, but “speak” to the spirit-nature of humanity

Hyperbole:  Exaggeration for effect, not to be taken literally.  Example:  “He’s strong as an ox”

Hypostatic Union:  Study about Jesus of Nazareth being fully God and fully human

Ideographic:  In certain languages, each sign represents an idea.  Compare “Phonetic”

Idiom:  The language or dialect of a people, class, or people-group.  Example:  “She heard something straight from the horse’s mouth.”  Idioms often differ from the original meaning

Image of God:  Humans are visible representations of the invisible God

Immanent (not imminent):  God is fully present throughout all creation…including in me  (See Emmanuel)

Infralapsarianism:  The belief by some biblical scholars that God developed his plans of salvation for humankind only after humankind fell and subsequently sinned (See Supralapsariansim)

Judgment, God’s:  To ultimately make all wrong things right [As contrasted with human judgment that is most often retributive and vindictive]

Legalism:  Generally, the belief that people can base their salvation on their own works and merit, rather than upon the finished work of Jesus.

Lexicography:  Studying about how to compile or write a dictionary of a given language

Linguistics:  The study about languages

Metaphor:  A figure of speech containing an implied comparison, in which a word or phrase ordinarily used of one thing is applied to another.  Example:  “All the world’s a stage”

Miracles, signs, and wonders:  God-caused events beyond all bounds of logic and reason, defying comprehension, explanation, expectation, and experience—for the purpose of God lovingly drawing all humanity to Himself through Jesus

Ontology: Studying about the nature of being or reality

Orthodox Church:  The Christian Church dominant in Russia, Greece, Romania, Bulgaria, etc., that split from the Western Church in 1054 A. D.  (See Filioque Controversy and Western Church)

Orthodoxy:  Study about having correct beliefs

Orthopraxis:  Study about right living

Ostracon:  shards of pottery from the ancient world with characters or inscriptions on them

Paleontology:  Study about prehistoric life forms and interactions

Palingenesias:  Study about new beginnings or “beginning again”

Parable:  A simile that has been extended to form a brief, coherent narrative with the purpose of teaching one, and only one, specific moral or spiritual truth. 

Paradox:  A statement that at first seems contradictory, unbelievable, or absurd, but that may be true.

Perichoresis:  Study about the true and living God being three Persons yet One God:  the Trinity, Father Son, and Spirit

Philology:  Study about written records to determine their authenticity

Phonetic:  In certain languages, each sign represents a sound.  Compare “Ideographic”

Pneumatology:  Study about Holy Spirit

Phonetics:  The study of speech sounds and their representation by certain symbols

Phraseology:  Study about the patterns of words

Planetology:  Study about planets and their moons

Polemics:  The learned and skilled practices of debate, argument, and controversy

Pragmatics:  The branch of linquistics dealing with the speaker’s or writer’s meanings or intentions in sentences

Scribes:  In ancient cultures, people who were trained in and became specialists in reading and writing—and in interpreting God’s laws

Semantics:  The branch of linquistics that deals with the nature, structure, and the development and changes of the meaning of speech forms and contextual meanings

Semiotics:  Studying about the use of signs and symbols in languages

Simile:  A figure of speech in which one thing is likened to another.  Example:  “She had a heart as big as a whale’s.”

Soteriology:  Study about God’s salvation of all humanity

Supralapsarianism:  The belief held by some that before God created humankind, He chose ahead of time only a relatively few humans to be granted LIFE in eternity with Him.  Moreover, He chose the majority of humankind to suffer eternal conscious torment  (See Infralapsarianism)

Teleology:  Study about purpose and destiny in humans

Theodicy:  Studying what the Bible teaches about God’s moral character, i.e., that He is altogether  good and not evil in any sense, thus attempting to justify that He is a God of perfectly good moral character

Theology:  Study about the person, character, and nature of God and how He works throughout all creation, including his good purposes for earth, and especially the way He lovingly works among all humanity  

Theophany:  A manifestation or visitation of God in human form before the time of Jesus of Nazareth

Transcendant:  God exists and operates everywhere and everywhen beyond his creation without limitation

Usus Lequendi:   Study about the usual mode of speaking. When applied to the Bible, it means the general biblical use of words.  To learn the meaning of biblical terms, their general use must be determined by comparing their contexts in the various places of their occurrence.  In other words, let the Bible explain the Bible, let the Bible be its own commentary upon the Bible

Western Church:  In 1054 A.D., the worldwide Church split into two major factions:  the Western Church (Generally Roman Catholicism and Protestantism) and the Orthodox Church of Russia, Bulgaria, Romania, etc.  (See Filioque Controversy and Orthodox Church)

Wisdom:  Comprehensive insight into what God is doing throughout all creation, his ultimate good purposes for earth, and especially his good purposes for all humanity…AND making correct  choices and decisions based on that comprehensive insight

Wrath, God’s:  What is considered God’s wrath is simply when God turns people over to their own sinful, self-destructive ways

Bill Boylan

Revised and Updated March 2023


When most people who are familiar with the Bible or Christianity hear or read the words “baptize” or “baptism,” they automatically think of being baptized in water as some sort of initiation rite into the Christian faith.  Many people might be surprised to learn that there is more than one type or mode of baptism besides water baptism taught in the New Testament portion of the Bible.

The Old Testament portion of the Bible does not have the word baptize in it.  However, the New Testament portion of the Bible contains the word baptize and its derivatives such as (John the) Baptist, baptism, baptisms, baptized, baptizes, baptizing, etc., over 100 times, making it a major theme of the New Testament.

The English word baptize comes from the Greek word baptizo that always means “to fully immerse” or “submerse.”  More about immersion later.   

To begin, there’s a reference in the Book of Hebrews in the New Testament that teaches about the “foundations” of the faith for those who are followers of Jesus (Hebrews 5: 9 – 6: 2).  One of those foundations is “baptisms,” and it is clearly plural.  Yes, there is more than one baptism mentioned and taught in the New Testament.  In each instance, it means to be fully immersed or submersed into something.

However, in the Book of Ephesians in the New Testament (Ephesians 4: 5), it states clearly that there is only 1 baptism.  How do we reconcile Hebrews 6: 2 and Ephesians 4: 5?  I’m really not sure that I personally can do that; I simply accept both of them as paradoxical true statements, and am leaving it up to God to make the seeming discrepancy clear to me; and I believe He will do that at some point when I really need to understand more about baptism. At the very least, perhaps the seeming discrepancy or paradox is that there is simply one baptism with several different applications.

Let’s begin by simply listing some of those other baptisms in addition to water baptism, and then we’ll take a deeper look into some of those other baptisms:

First, let’s take a quick look at just one clear water baptism in the New Testament.  (Acts 8: 26 – 38)  A follower of Jesus named Philip encountered the “secretary of the treasury” from Ethopia who was just returning to his homeland after visiting Israel; the secretary was reading from the Old Testament Book of Isaiah when Philip encountered him; he asked Philip to explain what he (the secretary) was reading; Philip did so.  Then they came to some water, and the secretary asked Philip to baptize (immerse) him in the water.  The record states, “Both Philip and the treasurer went down into the water, and Philip immersed him.”

I’m not going to deal in this teaching about how water baptism initially meant immersion or submersion, but later devolved into the way some followers of Jesus began to either dip or sprinkle people with water, rather than fully immerse them in water; perhaps I’ll teach more about those historical changes at another time.

Now, here’s that brief listing of other types or modes of baptism in the New Testament:

Matthew 20: 22 and 23:  Jesus spoke of a baptism He will be baptized with, but doesn’t specify what He will be baptized with.  The context seems to indicate it will be a baptism of suffering. The companion reference to this one is Mark 10: 38 and 39.

Matthew 21: 25:  Jesus spoke of John the Baptizer baptizing people; the text does not clearly indicate it was baptism in water.  However, this reference and others in context (along with writings throughout church history) clearly indicate John immersed in water.  Also see John 1: 31

Mark 1: 8:   John the Baptizer stated that Jesus will baptize people with Holy Spirit. 

Luke 3: 16:  Same as Mark 1: 8, but John the Baptizer added that Jesus will also baptize in fire.  

Luke 12: 50:  Jesus talked about a baptism He was to be baptized with, a baptism which distressed Him.

Acts 1: 5:  Jesus stated that people will be baptized in/with Holy Spirit.

Acts 19: 4:  Apparently John the Baptizer’s baptism in water indicated that the people being immersed were to repent (change their minds) when baptized in the water.

Romans 6: 4:  Being baptized into Jesus means one is baptized into his death.  Also see Galatians 3: 27

1 Corinthians 10: 2:  Baptized into Moses.

1 Corinthians 15: 29:  Baptized for (on behalf of) the dead.

Colossians 2: 12:  Buried with Jesus in baptism.

Now let’s examine each of those in just a bit more detail, but without going into any lengthy theological explanations.

First, the baptism of suffering and deep distress Jesus told his disciples that He must endure.  If we hold to the understanding that baptism means immersion, that means Jesus was to be “totally immersed” in suffering.  Why?  Isaiah 53: 4 – 6 probably teaches most clearly why Jesus was immersed in suffering:  it was on behalf of all humanity that He took upon Himself our sufferings so that ultimately all humanity will no longer have to suffer: 

“Surely Jesus bore our sicknesses, weaknesses, and distresses and carried all our sorrows and pain.  God struck Him down and afflicted Him on our behalf, in our place.  He was pierced for our transgressions, He was pulverized for our iniquities; the beatings He endured were for our peace, and by the blows that cut Him we are healed.”

Yes, Jesus was immersed in deep distress and suffering on our behalf:  your behalf, my behalf…so that ultimately we will no longer need to bear such suffering and distress that have befallen all humanity and that ultimately leads to our mortal deaths.

Both John the Baptizer and Jesus spoke about Jesus baptizing people in Holy Spirit.  I will not address that in this teaching because:  1.  There is another teaching on this website titled The Baptism In The Holy Spirit and 2.  I have written a book about Holy Spirit titled Friends Forever available at  I hasten to say I am not attempting to “push” or sell my book to you for personal profit; all proceeds from the sales of my books go directly into our ministry (Life Enrichment Services, Inc) account to minister to people in numerous ways.  

What does it mean that Jesus will baptize people in fire?  Again, I won’t cover that in this teaching simply because I refer you to another of my teachings on this website titled Fire that fully covers the matter of Jesus baptizing people in fire.

What about being baptized into Jesus’ death and being buried with Him in baptism?  The Bible is quite clear in various references that when Jesus died on the cross, in effect and in reality all humanity died with Him; He died on behalf of and in the place of all humanity…and all humanity died with Him.  The Bible teaches that the final result of human sin is death—not eternal conscious torment in hell!—but simply death as all humanity understands the phenomenon called death.  Human death occurs when the human spirit exits the human body and returns to God. We see that most clearly when the Bible states that when Jesus cried out, “It is finished! And bowing his head, He gave up his spirit.”   (John 19: 30)

There are other references in the Bible that teach us when Jesus’ body was buried in a tomb after his death on the cross (when all humanity died with Him) then all humans were buried with Him, too.  But that’s not the end of the matter.  The end of the matter is that the Bible teaches when Jesus arose and strode boldly out of that tomb, all humanity also arose with Him, and some day will stride boldly out of all the places we have been buried (or cremated, or “buried” at sea, or wherever):

“Behold, I’m telling you a mystery; we shall not all sleep [in death], but we shall all be changed—in an atomic moment, in the blink of an eye, at the last trumpet, for the last trumpet will sound, and [all] the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall all be changed…  Death is swallowed up in victory.”  1 Corinthians 15: 51 – 54  

Only one place in the entire Bible does it mention that believers in Jesus were being baptized for the dead (1 Corinthians 15: 29).  There is no other biblical reference for such a practice, nor is there any evidence that it was practiced in the early church.  That obscure reference has been argued about for centuries, and I’m certainly not going to resolve the matter in this teaching.  One major, worldwide church has even made being baptized for the dead a major tenet of its teachings; they do all sorts of geneaological research worldwide so that the church’s adherents are baptized on behalf of literally billions of dead people from around the world whose names they have located and archived.

Finally, what does it mean to be baptized into Moses?  Like being baptized for the dead, being baptized into Moses is mentioned only once in the New Testament:  “The Israelites in the wilderness were all baptized into Moses and in the cloud and in the sea.”  (1 Corinthians 10: 1 and 2)  The best commentators about this reference state that when the Israelites passed through the Red Sea on dry land, it was—in a sense—being immersed in water as followers of Jesus are immersed in waters of baptism.

When John the Baptizer baptized people in water it was a baptism of repentance.  What does repentance mean?  Again, I invite you to read another of my teachings on this website that explains the biblical concept of repentance:  Change Your Mind.

There you have it:  a brief foray through the New Testament examining what it has to say about various immersions besides being immersed in water as an initiatory rite for new followers of Jesus.  Perhaps at the very least, water baptism for followers of Jesus seems to be a “gateway” into other baptisms mentioned in the New Testament.

Here are my own six conclusions about the matter of multiple baptisms mentioned in the New Testament, water baptism being the gateway to other baptisms: 

1.  Water baptism symbolizes being united, melded, joined inseparably, etc., with Jesus (Galatians 3: 26 and 27).  2.  It symbolizes by Jesus his complete forgiveness, cancellation, or full payment for the sins of all humanity.  (Acts 2: 38)  3.  Water baptism is about identification with Jesus in his full payment for sin and ultimate resurrection to new, sin-free life for all humanity.  (Romans 6: 3 – 5)  4.  Water baptism ushers a living member of the worldwide, living Body of Jesus, into the church He has been building for over 2,000 years.  (1 Corinthians 12: 13)  5.  Baptism for repentance means that at the moment of baptism, the person being baptized begins a lifetime of changing and renewing their mind so that ultimately they develop a mind like that of Jesus.  (Romans 12: 1 and 2) 

It should be noted that each of these aspects of baptism are received by means of faith (Romans 6:  8 – 11), although water baptism is a real, tangible event that occurs in time and space.    

Bill Boylan

Revised and updated January 2023


This is my 100th teaching I’m placing on this website.  It may or may not be the last teaching I’ll place on the website.

Let me explain…  A couple of years ago, I had already placed about 60 teachings of my teachings on this website.  At that time, God spoke to me and said something like this (not an exact quote):  “Bill, before I call you Home on your last numbered day, I want you to have placed 100 teachings on your website.”  I understood that to mean that God wanted me to place a minimum of 100 teachings on the website, and that any time after that I might die; I didn’t understand that to mean that immediately after my 100th teaching I would die. 

[Note:  The concept of God apportioning each of us a finite number of days is found in Psalm 90: 12 and Exodus 23: 26 in the Old Testament portion of the Bible.]

When I’ve shared with some people about what God told me a couple of year ago, they have mistakenly understood that God meant that immediately after I place the 100th teaching on my website I would die.  Who knows?  Maybe that’s what God meant.  I don’t know.  I’m ready to continue this mortal life here for many more years until my last numbered day…or I’m ready to die and go Home.  We’ll see what happens!  Maybe as you’re reading this I will have died and gone Home.  Maybe not…  As of this writing, I’m now 85 years young and still going pretty strong for my age.  My wife, Anne, calls me “The Energizer Bunny” from the television commercials about Energizer batteries.

[Update: It’s now February 2023, and I have placed 107 teachings on this website; just to let you know I’m still alive and going strong!]

The title says this teaching is about love:  both God’s love and human love.  God’s love is complete and perfect.  Human love—because of human sin—is incomplete and imperfect.  Love is not only a feeling, it is also an action.  Love is not me-centered, it is other-centered.  Love acts.  Love gives.  Love serves.  Love is a verb!

One basic principle of Bible study is to study all the occurrences of a certain word, topic, or subject before arriving at a conclusion; that way, one avoids picking out “proof texts” to prove what one has already concluded ahead of time.  That’s not only an important principle of Bible study; it’s an important principle for studying any literature. 

It has been said that when reading the Bible, believe what you read, not read what you believe!

Another principle of Bible study is that there is usually a certain text, chapter, or book that sort of summarizes or encapsulates whatever subject one is studying.  For example, to study the subject of “love” in the Bible, 1 Corinthians chapter 13 summarizes that subject.  To study how God “speaks” to humans is summarized in John chapter 10, and so on for every subject or topic throughout the Bible.

For the most part, this teaching will be directly quoting from the Bible the main points it makes about love, and I make a few comments or offer a few explanations about the Bible references I’ll quote.

Let’s begin…  For purposes of this study, there are 3 main words used for “love” in the Bible in the original Greek, one of the 3 languages in which the Bible was written:  1.  Agape.  This is God’s own love.  The Bible states unequivocally that “God is love.”  (1 John 4: 8)   God’s very Person, nature, and character is love.  Everything God does originates with love and flows from his love to the entire creation, including all humanity.  God is only love; there is nothing about God that is not love.  God cannot not love and be loving.  God transfuses,  infuses, and literally pours his own love into humans by the direct action of Holy Spirit.  (Romans 5: 5).  Without God’s agape poured into us, we humans as a species are very unloving most of the time.

The 2nd word for love is phileo.  This is brotherly love, family love, generalized love that we humans experience and share with one another as part of our created nature and personalities.  As an example, the City of Philadelphia means city of brotherly love. We humans do not always display phileo, but I thank God for those who do.  Otherwise, because of the downward pull of human sin, we would be very unloving at times.

For example, I dearly love my wife…and my children…and my grandchildren…and my great-grandchildren…and my brother…and my friends…and my dog and cat…but my love is very flawed and incomplete, and I do not act very loving at times.  I wish that were not the case, but it is what it is…

The 3rd type of love is eros.  This is were we get the term erotic love, romantic love, sexual love.  Again, sometimes we humans do not always display and practice eros properly—as evidenced by fornication, adultery, prostitution, sexual abuse, and so on.

Actually, there are more than those 3 words used for love in the original languages of the Bible, but the 3 I mentioned include and incorporate—in a manner of speaking—the other words used for love.

Now having defined those three types of love, I’m going to focus on some of what the Bible teaches about agape, God’s love, God’s own Self-created love He pours into and shares with us humans as I mentioned above.  We have already seen that the Bible teaches about God’s type of love that He shares with humans.  Some humans use it properly, some use it improperly, some ignore it, some fight against it, but it’s there for us if we choose to exercise and display it in a godly manner.

The first significant use of the word love in the Bible is Deuteronomy 6: 5:  Attention, Israel!  God, our God!  God the one and only!  Love God, your God with all your heart, soul, and strength:  love Him with all that’s in you, love Him with all you’ve got!”  This is an early statement in the Bible that discloses the tri-une nature of humans:  “Heart” = our human spirit, “soul” = the human mind, and “strength” = the human body:  body, soul, and spirit:  three yet one, one yet three.

Now let’s examine from various biblical references just some random smatterings of what love is like and what it does.  The following 5 paragraphs are generalized statements from the Bible about what love is and how it acts toward others.

Want peace?  Psalm 119: 165 proclaims “Those who love God’s law (his revealed, written word, the Bible), shall have great peace.”  Want true biblical prosperity?  “Pray for peace for the city of Jerusalem; if you do, you will prosper.”  (Psalm 122: 6)That’s God’s promise to you, not mine!  Want your sins covered over (actually taken away—removed from you totally):  “[God’s] love covers all your offenses and sins.”  (Proverbs 10: 12)  Want genuine, rock-solid love that can’t be diminished?  “Many waters cannot quench love; it is invincible; flood waters can’t drown love, neither can torrents of rain put it out.”  (Song of Solomon 8: 7) 

Want everlasting love?  “God told his people that He would never quit loving them; expect from God love, love, and more love to continually draw you to Himself.”  (Jeremiah 31: 3)  Want God’s leading in your life?  “I lead my people along with unbreakable bands of love.”  (Hosea 11: 2)  Want to really and truly love God…and other people?  ‘You must love the Lord your God with all your spirit, with all your mind, and with all your strength…and love others as well as you love  yourself.”  (Matthew 22: 37)  Note this does not say to love your neighbor instead of yourself, but love your neighbor in the same way you love yourself.  How do you genuinely love yourself?  With God’s love infused into you!

Jesus tells us to love our enemies and do good to those who hate us.  Pray for the happiness of those who curse us.  Do unto others as we want them to do to and for us.  (Matthew 22: 37)  How in the world can we do that?!  Only with God’s agape love Holy Spirit pours into us.  Want to honestly love other people without religious hypocrisy?  “Love each other; that’s the only way ‘outsiders’ are going to know we are Jesus’ followers.”  (John 13: 34 and 35)  Want to remain absolutely bonded solidly to God’s love?  “Can anything in all creation ever separate us from Jesus’ love?  No!”  (Romans 8: 35)

Want to have wonderful qualities in your life that just won’t go away?  “But when Holy Spirit controls our lives, He will produce wonderful fruit from within us, much the same way that fruit grows in an orchard:  love for God and others, exuberance about life, serenity, patience, unfeigned kindness, goodness that serves others, loyal commitments, no need to force our way through life, gentleness, and self-control.  Against such, there is not law on earth that can bring charges!”  (Galatians 5: 22 and 23)

Want to be fearless and have a healthy mind and think positive thoughts?  “God has not given us spirits of fear, but Holy Spirit power and boldness, and love, and a healthy and positive mind.”  (2 Timothy 1: 7)

As stated earlier, the 5 paragraphs immediately above this one are just a relatively few smatterings about love found throughout the Bible; there are literally hundreds more references about love.

But now I want to take you to the main section of the Bible that summarizes and encapsulates what love is all about:  the 13th chapter of 1 Corinthians, I will amplify, paraphrase, and personalize what that chapter says in modern, readable English.  Here we go:

“If I could speak with power and eloquence any human or heavenly language, but don’t display and express myself with love, I’m only making meaningless, nonsense noises.  If I’m a power-full, gifted teacher of the Bible, speaking God’s words with his inner power, and revealing all the mysteries and hidden secrets of God—making everything as plain as day, and if I could move mountains with my faith, but I don’t love God and others, I’m nothing. 

If I were to give away to the poor everything I own, and even become a martyr for Jesus, but I don’t love God or others, I’ve gotten nowhere.  So…no matter what I say, no matter what I believe, no matter what I do—even if I boast about all my so-called sacrifices, I live a totally bankrupt life if I don’t love God and others.

[Note:  in the remainder of 1 Corinthians 13, you’ll notice I have written “God/love,”  That’s because God is love, and all other love flows from God’s love; in a sense, “God” and “love” are interchangeable.]

God/love never gives up.  God/love cares more for others than for self.  God/love doesn’t greedily want what others have—and be jealous and envious of what others have.  God/love isn’t proud and arrogant.  God/love isn’t rude and doesn’t force itself on others.  God/love  isn’t always “me first.”  God/love doesn’t fly off the handle.  God/love doesn’t “keep score” about the sins of other people. 

God/love is never happy about human injustice.  God/love rejoices when truth “wins.”  God/love puts up with everything—never gives up.  Love always trusts God and is full of hope in God.  God/love always looks for the best, and never looks longingly back at the past.  God/love never gives up on anybody or anything.

God/love lasts for all time and eternity.  Until God makes right every wrong, we need to trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly.  The best of everything is love.”

Chapter 13 of 1st Corinthians is not only about God, Who is perfect love, it’s also about those people in whom God lives and through whom He displays his love for others.

There you have somewhat of a condensed version of what the Bible teaches about love.  Love never fails.  We will continue to experience God’s love outpoured upon all humanity throughout all the remaining ages of time and thereafter in the coming Eternal State. God’s love will never be diminished but will always continue to grow and be poured out to his entire creation.

Early in the 20th century, here’s what one songwriter, Frederick M Lehman, wrote about the love of God:

“The love of God is greater far than tongue or pen can ever tell;
It goes beyond the highest star, and reaches to the lowest hell…
…O love of God, how rich and pure!
How measureless and strong!
It shall forevermore endure—the saints’ and angels’ song!”

At about the same time, another writer, Charles H Gabriel, wrote these words about the love of God:

“When with the ransomed in glory
His face I at last shall see,
‘Twill be my joy thro’ the ages
To sing of His love for me.

How marvelous, How wonderful!
And my song shall ever be:
How marvelous, How wonderful!
Is my Saviors love for me! 

Bill Boylan
Revised and Updated February 2023

Success and Prosperity

These days, ask almost anyone to define “success,” and they will answer something like this:  “Success is getting rich, success is achieving a good position in business, success is to gain popularity or fame, success is to be the best you can be in your chosen field, success is to raise my children properly, success is to get good grades in school, success is to live in a big home in a nice part of my community, success is to own and drive a BMW vehicle, success is to belong to the country club…ad infinitum.

Yes, when asked to define success, very seldom will anyone define success in terms of God, religion, church, spirituality, or the Bible.  The same is often true when most people are asked to define “prosperity.”  Most people will answer that question in terms of money.

Although this teaching is about success and prosperity in relation to God and the Bible, frankly, the Bible doesn’t have much to say about what we generally think of as Success and Prosperity by this world’s standards.  Thus, this teaching will be one of the shortest teachings on this website. 

God views both of those concepts much, much differently than we humans do.  In contrast with other subjects in the Bible that may contain hundreds of references about those subjects or topics, the Bible mentions “Success” (and its derivatives, such as successful and successfully) only 7 times.  It mentions “Prosper” (and its derivatives such as prosperity, and prosperous) only 83 times.

In a very real sense, God sort of lumps together his perception of both success and prosperity by the English words Bless and Blessings in the Bible.  We’ll consider those words word later in this teaching.

A basic principle of Bible study is to study all the occurrences of a certain word, topic, or subject before arriving at a conclusion; that way, one avoids picking out “proof texts” to prove what one has already concluded.  That’s not only an important principle of Bible study; it’s an important principle for studying any literature. 

Someone has wisely said that when reading the Bible, we must be careful to believe what we read, not read what we believe!

A second principle of Bible study is that there is usually a certain text, chapter, or book that sort of summarizes whatever subject one is studying.  For example, to study the subject of “love” in the Bible, 1 Corinthians chapter 13 summarizes that subject.  To study how God “speaks” to humans is summarized in John chapter 10, The Book of Proverbs encapsulates the Bible’s concept of wisdom, the first chapter of the Book of Joshua in the Old Testament summarizes and encapsulates both Success and Prosperity, and so on for every subject or topic throughout the Bible.

Let’s take a quick look at what God says in the first chapter of the Book of Joshua about both Success and Prosperity; God was speaking to the young man, Joshua, whom He selected to lead the people of Israel after Moses died; these words are found in Joshua 1: 7 – 9:

“[Joshua], be strong and very courageous.  Spend much of your time reading, meditating upon, and obeying my Word, and then you will be successful and prosperous in everything you do.  Study my Word continually.  Think about it day and night and be sure to obey all you read.

Only then will you achieve success and prosperity.  Yes, be strong and courageous, not afraid nor discouraged.  For I am the LORD your God, and I will be with you at all times wherever you  travel on your journey through life so that you don’t get off track!”

That reference in Joshua is the first mention of both success and prosperity in the Bible.  The last mention of prosperity is found in the little book of 3 John near the end of the Bible:

“Well-loved friend, I pray that above everything else you are prospering in every way and that you continually enjoy whole-person good health, just as your inner being is prospering.”

The Greek word for prosper in this reference is eudoomai, meaning “to be brought along on a smooth and prosperous journey, with God supplying all your needs as you travel.”

Now let me furnish you the English definition/translation of both success and prosperity as taken from the Hebrew and Greek languages in which the Bible was originally written:

Success is to always be regularly and consistently traveling toward accomplishing God’s purposes for my life—according to my potential.*  The journey is important, not the destination.”   * Potential consists of 3 attributes: 1. My God-given desires, 2.  My training and education, and 3. My God-given skills, gifts, and abilities.

Prosperity is for God to meet all my needs during my life’s journey.

Notice how success and prosperity are closely linked.  Also, notice that they have nothing to do with what most of humanity generally considers success and prosperity to be.  In a very real sense, authentic success and prosperity have nothing to do with money or the accumulation of material wealth and goods, but money as it relates to both success and prosperity cannot be overlooked.  By definition, money is “a medium of exchange.”

In such references as Philippians 4: 19 in the New Testament we find one (among many) of God’s promises that He “will fully satisfy every need we have according to his abundant riches in glory through Jesus.”  

I wrote earlier that what the Bible terms success can almost be considered as how “money” and “bless” are often linked; to illustrate that, this is Malachi 3: 8 – 11:

“How do I rob and cheat God?  I cheat Him by not giving Him my tithes and offerings.  God says, ‘Test Me; I will open the windows of heaven for you and pour out upon you blessings beyond your wildest dreams—such blessings that there won’t be enough room for them.”

Note that “tithe” means “ten percent” of a person’s income.”

Some people may argue that reference is from the Old Testament, and doesn’t apply to people living since then—that we are not told by God to give Him tithes anymore, because the New Testament doesn’t say much about tithing to God.  That thinking is faulty;  Why?  Because most (not all) of the people featured in the New Testament were Jewish or were familiar with Jewish life and practices; they had spent a lifetime understanding that to give a tithe to God was simply expected throughout a person’s normal lifetime.  For example, when Jesus mentioned tithing, it is clear that He understood tithing to be a normal part of Jewish life and practice.

In fact, a number of scholars of the New Testament have written that the people in the New Testament era believed that giving God a tenth of one’s income was normal and expected; moreover, many considered that giving God 10% of one’s income was just the starting point for giving money to God. 

That point is arguable; my own view is that 10% of my income is the least that God desires for me to give Him, but it is certainly not my intention to impose my own view upon any of my readers or students.  Tithing has been a controversial issue for centuries—one about which people have to make up their own minds.

Okay, we’ve looked at the concepts of success and prosperity, and we’ve briefly touched upon the subject of giving money to God.  Now I want to examine the matter of God’s blessings.  A number of different Hebrew and Greek words are used in the Bible for our English words Bless, Blessed, Blessings, and Blessedness. 

Various experts in the Hebrew and Greek languages in which the Bible was originally written inform us that those words all mean essentially the same thing:  “To flourish, to be whole, to be delighted, to be satisfied, to be blissful, to be content—because all our natural needs are met by God.  In more detail, those words have even more nuances:   “enriched, joyful, fortunate, delighted, blissful, content, abundant, goodness, the capacity to have union and communion with God.”  Finally, those scholars inform us that “to be blessed is the doorway to the Kingdom of God.”  

Note:  We must always be aware of the differences between our needs and our wants; they are often quite different, although in some cases they are one and the same.

We have briefly examined what the Bible teaches about Success and Prosperity, both of them being words and concepts from the Bible that don’t necessarily equate in any way with what multitudes of people mistakenly think they mean.  We have also looked tangentially at Bless and how money can be part of  success and prosperity, but money is not really what they are about.

Success, Prosperity, Bless, and Money are all touchy subjects, but I hope this teaching has given you just a little insight into the use of all four of those words in the Bible. 

I invite you to obtain a copy of one of my books, LIFEgiving, that covers the meanings of  those four words in much more detail. My book is available from  I am not “pushing” my book; I don’t receive royalties from any of my books; all royalties from my books go into our ministry account to purchase more books and literature that we usually give away for free.

I also invite you to read a companion teaching on this website titled Acres of Diamonds.

The great World War II civilian hero from England, Winston Churchill, pretty well summed up the matter of our journeys through this mortal life with this short statement:  

“I make a living by what I get.  I make a life by what I give!”

Bill Boylan
Revised and Updated March 2023

Get Wisdom!

About 1,000 years before the time of Jesus, the writer of the Old Testament Book of Proverbs in the Bible wrote:  “Get Wisdom!” (Proverb 4: 5)  In fact, the Book of Proverbs is nicknamed  by many people “The Book of Wisdom.”  The word ”wisdom” and its derivatives (such as wise, wisely, etc.) occurs over 500 times throughout the Bible, making it an important biblical subject.  Of course, we know that wisdom is an important attribute for any person to possess, regardless whether or not they believe the Bible.

The writer of most of the Proverbs in the biblical Book of Proverbs was a King of the ancient Israelites named Solomon.  Solomon became known for his proverbs about wisdom.  In fact, the Bible says King Solomon wrote 1500 proverbs, but we have only a relatively few of those 1500 written in the Book of Proverbs.  Near the beginning of Solomon’s reign, God asked Solomon “What shall I give you?”  Solomon’s response was to ask God to give him wisdom and knowledge.  (1 Chronicles 1: 10)  Later, Solomon wrote “Get Wisdom!” as we noted in the first paragraph above.

Sadly, toward the end of his life, Solomon was seduced into forsaking the One True and Living God who had given him wisdom—and began to worship dead idols and non-God gods; in a manner of speaking Solomon “lost” much of the wisdom God had given him, and late in life wrote that life had become empty, meaningless, and futile.  You can find those thoughts by Solomon in the Book of Ecclesiastes in the Old Testament portion of the Bible. That book’s rather curious title means “a teacher writing to his assembled students.”

One basic principle of Bible study is to study all the occurrences of a certain word, topic, or subject before arriving at a conclusion; that way, one avoids picking out “proof texts” to prove what one has already concluded.  That’s not only an important principle of Bible study; it’s an important principle for studying any literature.

Someone once quipped that when reading the Bible one should believe what one reads, rather than read what one already believes.

Another principle of Bible study is that there is usually a certain text, chapter, or book that sort of summarizes or encapsulates whatever subject one is studying.  For example, to study the subject of “love” in the Bible, 1 Corinthians chapter 13 summarizes that subject.  To study how God “speaks” to humans is summarized in John chapter 10, The Book of Proverbs encapsulates the Bible’s concept of wisdom, and so on for every subject or topic throughout the Bible.

Here’s the Bible’s definition of wisdom:  “Comprehensive insight into God’s purposes for the entire creation—including all humanity…AND making correct decisions and choices based on that comprehensive insight.”  The second part of that definition is very important in terms of our daily living and interacting with other peopleOf course, being human and finite, we can never get a complete grasp of all God’s infinite wisdom…and being human, all of our choices and decisions will never be totally correct.

That reference in Proverbs also states, “Get understanding.”  What is “understanding”?  It is similar to “knowledge” that is defined as “to acquire facts, data, and information and put them together into a meaningful whole.”  We all possess knowledge even if it’s limited in some way or even if we don’t put it together so it makes sense.  We begin to accumulate knowledge from the moment of conception, and continue to amass it until our final breath when our spirit leaves our body at the moment of death.  “Understanding” is also similar to wisdom; it means “to comprehend and make sense of one’s knowledge.”

Someone has quipped: “Knowledge is knowing what to do; wisdom is knowing whether or not to do it.  Knowledge is knowing what to say; wisdom is knowing whether or not to say it.”

Okay, we’ve given you basic, working definitions of wisdom, knowledge, and understanding.  Now let’s begin to examine more closely the concept of wisdom, and attempt to learn why God wants us to get wisdom. First, I urge you to understand that wisdom isn’t some ethereal concept that only philosophers and other “Ivory Tower” people need.  Wisdom is needed by virtually everyone so as to make at least partial sense of God’s creation…AND to at least attempt to make correct decisions and choices in one’s daily life based on that knowledge and understanding.

An amplified and paraphrased reading of Ecclesiastes 3: 11 sheds some light on how all our understanding and knowledge is only partial in this life:  “[God] has made everything beautiful in its time.  He also has planted the long ages of time in the hearts of all people.  However,  humans can never have more than partial insight and understanding of all that God does because of our finite limitations.”

Here’s an important, often overlooked fact about wisdom:  Wisdom is actually a Person, Jesus, God the Son!  Yes, Jesus is the personal embodiment of wisdom.  That is found in 1 Corinthians 1: 30.  Moreover, wisdom is not simply a philosophical concept; in the Book of Proverbs, wisdom is personified as a “she,” not an “it.”  Wisdom is characterized as a communicating person, not as a cold abstraction.  “She” is a caring personality, even though her tone sometimes implies scolding, while at the same time being encouraging. This personalized, communicating concept of wisdom is taught primarily in Proverbs 1: 20 – 33 (and in various other places throughout the Book of Proverbs).

For example, throughout the Book of Proverbs concepts like these in this paragraph and in the following three paragraphs are written about wisdom:  a person who finds wisdom is happy;  wisdom instructs people in right living; wisdom gives brilliant strategies for leadership; wisdom is something to be praised and celebrated; wisdom can be found in the hustle and bustle of daily living; God gives us wisdom as a generous gift from his hidden storehouse; wisdom brings true pleasure to one’s thinking and attitudes; God formed all creation from wisdom’s blueprints; to gain true wisdom is greater than gaining all the wealth of this world.

Continuing on in Proverbs, we find even more about the value of wisdom;  wisdom empowers people to live a good and godly life; wisdom reveals the true meaning of life; wisdom serves to protect us during our lifetimes; wisdom helps us live our mortal lives with integrity; after we receive God’s correction, wisdom snaps us back to reality; wisdom gives us the correct words to speak in various situations…and helps us know when to speak and whether or not to speak.

Yes, throughout Proverbs the writer tells us that wisdom will change our inner being for the good; wisdom is so priceless that it exceeds the value of any jewels; wisdom provides purpose and direction for our lives, giving us a sense of destiny; wisdom leads to true and authentic success; we can feast upon wisdom and build solid lives on a foundation of wisdom; wisdom causes us to be humble and teachable, not proud, arrogant know-it-alls; true wisdom properly applied is soothing and peaceful; wisdom softens our anger.

Words of wisdom spoken are like a fresh, flowing brook—like deep waters that spring from within us, bubbling up and quenching the thirst of others; we can learn to actually love wisdom so that our lives are vital and flourishing; wisdom gives us bright futures with authentic hope; wisdom gives us a more full, satisfying, and intimate relationship with God.           

The four paragraphs immediately above this one are just a smattering of truths about wisdom contained in the Book of Proverbs.  There is much, much more!  As already noted, wisdom is personified throughout the Book of Proverbs.  “Lady Wisdom” is a figure of speech for God the Father.  Wisdom invites us to live abundant lives of purpose, meaning, and destiny.  Also, as noted earlier, Jesus, God the Son, is wisdom personified:  1 Corinthians 1: 30, Colossians 2: 3, and Isaiah 11: 1 and 2.

Thus far, I have taught about how we need to get wisdom, defined wisdom, and written about some of the good things true wisdom can do for us in our daily lives as followers of Jesus.  The questions now arise, “How do we get wisdom?  Where does wisdom come from?  Of course, if you’ve been “reading between the lines,” so to speak, you already know that true wisdom originates with God; God gives true wisdom to people, but the question still remains about how to get wisdom.

In the New Testament portion of the Bible—near the end—there is a short book of only five chapters written by James, the half-brother of Jesus; James is actually his anglicized name; his Hebrew name was Jacob.  James’/Jacob’s book contains some very profound truths about wisdom, just as the Old Testament Book of Proverbs summarized the entire concept of wisdom.

Jacob says in chapter 1, verse 5 that if anyone lacks wisdom, simply ask God for it.  When asked, God will give the wisdom asked for…and He won’t make anyone feel stupid or dumb because they asked God for wisdom.  Have you ever asked another human a question, and they made you feel stupid for asking a “dumb question”?  God will never do such a thing, especially if we ask Him for wisdom.

However that text goes on to say that we must ask for wisdom with faith and confidence that God will answer, without doubting that we will receive wisdom.  If we don’t ask from that position of faith and confidence, Jacob says we will be ambivalent and unstable about the wisdom for which we ask; he says being undecided makes us become like rough seas driven every which way by the winds, causing us to waver about that for which we ask.

“If you feel you have God’s wisdom, understanding the ways He works throughout his creation, advertise it with a beautiful, steady, fruitful life guided by wisdom’s innate gentleness.  Build a good life based on wisdom’s firm foundation. Never brag or boast about what you’ve said or done and you’ll prove thereby that you truly do have God’s wisdom.  However, if you don’t truly have God’s wisdom about a matter, it will cause jealousy and bitter competition in your life, and you’ll try to deny it and compensate for it by boasting and being phony. 

Boasting that you are wise isn’t wisdom.  Twisting the truth to make yourself sound wise isn’t wisdom. It’s the furthest thing from wisdom.  For that has nothing to do with God’s authentic wisdom, but can best be described as the wisdom of this world, both self-centered and devilishly conniving. So wherever jealousy and self-centeredness are uncovered, you will find many troubles and every kind of meanness. 

God’s wisdom from above is always pure, filled with peace, is considerate, and teachable…as well as just plain polite.  It is filled with love and never displays prejudice or hypocrisy in any form, and it always bears the beautiful harvest of sincere right living!  Good seeds of wisdom’s fruit will be planted with peaceful acts by those who cherish making peace, resulting in harvests of goodness.”      (Various texts throughout the Book of James/Jacob, amplified and paraphrased)

There is another aspect of God’s wisdom that must not be overlooked.  It’s found in 1 Corinthians 12, a chapter in the New Testament that is largely about supernatural “gifts” that God dispenses to his church, the Body of Jesus—to help build up and “grow” the Body of Jesus and reach out to others who have not yet become followers of Jesus.  It is one of the so-called gifts of Holy Spirit:  the “word of wisdom.” 

A footnote in The Passion Translation of the Bible says this about the word of wisdom mentioned in verse 8 of chapter 12:  “It is a revelation gift of Holy Spirit to impart an understanding of insight and strategy that only God can give in specific situations.  This is more than simply learned wisdom, but the clearly crafted ‘word of wisdom’ from God to unlock the hearts of people and free the corporate Body of Jesus to move forward under God’s direction. 

This gift will express the direct wisdom of Holy Spirit, not that learned by the person exercising the gift. The best examples of this gift were [1] when Jesus saw Nathanael under the fig tree and knew his true character as a man without guile (John 1), and [2] when Jesus spoke to the woman at the well and unlocked her heart with words He could not have known solely by human wisdom.” (John 4)                (I have modified the footnote in a couple of places)

An example of God’s use of the “word of wisdom” in my own life occurred a number of years ago when I was counseling a young married couple; she was in the early stages of a pregnancy, but before this pregnancy, she had a number of miscarriages, and the young couple were worried that they might lose this baby too.  They asked me to pray for a good delivery and a healthy baby.  Just as I started to pray for them, I perceived that God was speaking a “word of wisdom” to me to share with them. 

Here is what God said to me:  “Bill, tell them to return to their ob/gyn physican and ask him to investigate the trophoblastic cells of the placenta.”  I had never before heard of that condition.  They quickly made an appointment with the physician and told him those exact words.  He responded, “Frankly, I had never thought of that possibility.”  The condition was corrected with medication and they had a healthy baby some months later.

Now I need to write a little bit about how God speaks to people, including their requests for wisdom. It goes without saying that a person querying God must believe that God speaks to people; if you don’t believe that, then this entire teaching has been of no value to you.  However, it is clear from the Bible and from thousands of years of human experience that God does speak to people.

On four occasions in the tenth chapter of John’s Gospel in the Bible, Jesus stated that those of us who are his “sheep” (his followers) hear his voice.  God does, indeed, speak to us; He is speaking to us all the time, far more clearly and distinctly than we imagine.  We “hear” his voice within the spirit component of our three-part beings (body, soul, spirit) by means of our inner “faith-sense.”  He generally speaks to us in a quiet, soft whisper within our spirits. 

The question is not, “Does God speak to me?”  Rather, the real question should be, “When is God not speaking to me?”  Do not be surprised at the Good Shepherd’s tender voice constantly whispering into your thoughts . . . from within you where He abides permanently in your spirit.      Keep in mind, however, it’s difficult for us to hear God if we’re doing all the talking!  But God is not limited to communicating with us only in a quiet, soft whisper; He can communicate with us in any manner He chooses. 

 However, He generally speaks to us from within in five distinct and clear ways:  1.  From the Bible, God’s written, LIFEgiving, transforming Word for all humanity.  2.  By inserting and imbedding his thoughts and creative ideas into our thoughts.  3.  By means of visions, images, pictures, our creative imaginations, and dreams He “broadcasts” to the “viewing screen” of our spirits.  4.  By means of strong but gentle, inner impressions, nudging, and urgings.  5.  By means of speaking in tongues with the interpretation.

Again, I don’t want to limit God speaking to us in only those five ways; He cannot be limited to our finite comprehension; we cannot “put Him in a box” and limit Him in any manner, but He does Self-limit his means of communication in order for us mortal humans to understand Him.

A prime biblical example of listening to God is found in the life of Samuel, an Old Testament prophet, when he was a boy.  Samuel was staying with a local priest.  In the night, Samuel heard a voice calling his name.  Thinking it was the priest calling him, Samuel ran to the priest’s bedroom to ask what the priest wanted.  The priest informed Samuel that it was God who had called Samuel’s name.  When Samuel heard the voice next time, he responded:  “Speak, God, for I’m listening.”  That was the beginning of a long lifetime relationship with God in which Samuel heard God speak to him many times.  The simple lesson to be learned from Samuel’s experience is:  God speaks.  Are we listening?

I want to encourage you:  Please do not be afraid to ask God for wisdom—either on-the-spot for specific situations or for general daily living.  God will give you wisdom!

Get wisdom!

Bill Boylan
Revised and Updated February 2023