Difficult New Testament Passages

Studying Holy Scripture is a highly rewarding, lifelong endeavor.

This lesson examines several New Testament passages of scripture that raise questions that beg to be answered. Therefore, each major division of the lesson is presented under a heading that is a question posed by the scripture passages under consideration. Before the invention of printing by Johan Guttenburg in 1456, few people had Bibles because the cost of a one-handed copied Bible was a years wages of the average working man. When printed copies of the Bible became available in affordable abundance, virtually everyone who read the Bible became an interpreter of scripture. This created the need for finding the best answers possible for scriptures difficult to understand.


…….Election is a choice that was made by God from the beginning of life to create certain individuals for particular life tasks.

A. Election in Historical Context

Rom 9:9  For this is the word of promise, At this time will I come, and Sara shall have a son.

Rom 9:10  And not only this; but when Rebecca also had conceived by one, even by our father Isaac;

Rom 9:11  (For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;)

Rom 9:12  It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger.

Rom 9:13  As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.

Rom 9:14  What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid.

Rom 9:15  For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.

…….Many people get caught up on this scripture here, trying to prove that some people are destined to perform evil. I don’t believe it for a moment. I do believe God allows certain people in this world to be used to build testimonies in other’s lives, but all people come to the place of knowing that God is a God of love and salvation. Even Pharaoh of the great Exodus was given several chances to do what God wanted him to do.

Rom 9:16  So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.

…….No matter what our destiny in life is, whether it is of God or of personal choice, there is always mercy shown by God.

Rom 9:17  For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth.

Rom 9:18  Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.

…….For 400 years the Israelites were ordered to be slaves under hard labor. Pharaoh had his mind made up that he would punish every Israelite to build up his own kingdom. I believe that Pharaohs heart was hardened because the Lord knew without a shadow of doubt that He would voluntarily let His people go.

B. Election in Christian Context

1Pe 1:2  Elect (chosen, favorite) according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification (purification, concretely, holiness) of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.

…….The Apostle Peter here is speaking to all that have answered the call to follow the Lord. When we answer the call to live under the umbrella of salvation, it is accompanied by sanctification which can only be accomplished by the Spirit which directs us into obedience. We need the sanctification through the Spirit.

2Pe 1:3  According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:

2Pe 1:4  Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

2Pe 1:5  And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;

2Pe 1:6  And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;

2Pe 1:7  And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.

2Pe 1:8  For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

2Pe 1:9  But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.

2Pe 1:10  Wherefore the rather (most importantly), brethren, give diligence (endeavor, labor, study) to make your calling and election sure (stable, firm, steadfast): for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:

…….One thing a minister cannot lie about is the operation of the anointing. When we are truly laboring in the work of God, we must line up to His will and standards for the anointing to remain. The anointing is applied continuously to those who remain continuously in the calling and election of the Lord. While many people try to keep pressing through without the anointing, only the ones who remain in and through the Spirit will not fall.

2Pe 1:11  For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

…….In the result of our diligence of our calling and election, we will be granted an abundant entrance into the heavenly kingdom! I refuse to just make it by the skin of my teeth.


The Man of Sin: the Antichrist

…….While the antichrist is found in the Bible only in First John (2:18, 22, 4:3) and Second John (1:7), Christian Bible scholars see references to the Antichrist in figurative language in the Book of Daniel and The Revelation. Here is the apostle Paul’s only reference in his writings to what is believed to be terminology (“that man of sin…..the son of perdition” v. 3) for the Antichrist. There is agreement among Christians (Catholic Orthodox, Protestant, Evangelical, Pentecostal) that this scripture is about the antichrist, who, it is believed, will be an arch-enemy of Christ and the church with worldwide power briefly, near the end of age, and will be destroyed by Christ at his coming (2 Thessalonians 2:8).

2Th 2:1  Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him,

2Th 2:2  That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.

…….This is a direct warning that there will be a shaking towards the end of time. While the Antichrist may not be revealed right away, there will be a list of events that will happen that usher his appearance and we must be diligent.

2Th 2:3  Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;

…….There will be no one in heaven that barely made it. I believe the falling away will have its affect on those who have been hanging on by only feelings and emotions, those who lack faith and produce no fruit, and those that have not obeyed the Lord in His calling. Those who make it through the trials of this life and endure the temptations and overcome the fear will be ushered in with that great entrance!

2Th 2:4  Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.

2Th 2:5  Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?

…….There may be a moment in our life that the great teachers and preachers will shout allowed, don’t you remember the warnings that were given. Over and over we have encouraged to take the Lord serious! We must obey the compelling power of the Lord while He compels!

We Know Not What They Knew

……. The problem posed for us by this passage of scripture about the antichrist is found in verses 6-7. The identity of the restrainer of the antichrist was told to the Thessalonian Christians by Paul when he was with them (v. 5), but he did not include this information in this letter to them. Also, Paul never returned to this subject in any of his later letters in the New Testament. Therefore, regarding who or what is restraining the Antichrist from being revealed, the Thessalonians knew, but we do not know.

2Th 2:6  And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time.

2Th 2:7  For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.

…….Among the early church fathers there was a universal agreement that the Roman government was keeping the antichrist from being revealed. However, the Roman empire ceased to exist after AD 476. After this, there was speculation that world governments in general were keeping the Antichrist from being revealed. More recently, some have thought the church is keeping the antichrist from being revealed, until Christ catches away the church (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17). Others have thought the Holy Spirit is keeping the antichrist from being revealed, until he is taken out of the way with the catching away of the church. The fact is we do not know what the apostle Paul had in mind when he wrote about this.

2Th 2:8  And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:

2Th 2:9  Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,

2Th 2:10  And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.

…….Though there is much that we will never know about the Antichrist and the coming of the Lord until it happens, one thing we can be certain about is this; Jesus is coming and we don’t have to worry about who is right and who is wrong as long as our relationship is right with Him!

1Th 4:14  For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.

1Th 4:15  For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.

1Th 4:16  For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:

1Th 4:17  Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

1Th 4:18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.

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