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Below you will see a list of some of the most recent edits and updates to the REV commentary. If you click the “Read More” link at the end of each update, it will open the commentary page in a new browser window or tab.
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Each commentary edit or update is separated by a solid line and includes the time of entry, the book and verse reference, and a short statement about what has been added or changed in that commentary entry along with a preview of the commentary.
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Date added or revised: 7/23/2021 11:45 AM EST Commentary for Matthew 15:24[Jesus was sent to the Israelites]
“I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” At first glance, Jesus’ statement concerning the healing of the Syrophoenician woman’s daughter seems hard and cold, and perhaps even wrong, but we must understand it in the context of his earthly mission and what God sent him to do.
The Greek word translated “sent” is the common Greek word apostellō (#649 ἀποστέλλω), from which we get the English word “apostle,” meaning, “one who is sent.” Apostellō often simply means “to send away, dismiss, allow one to depart.” However, it often has the meaning listed first in the BDAG Greek-English lexicon, which is “to dispatch someone for the achievement of some objective,” and that is the meaning it has here in Matthew 15:24. That is why R. C. H. Lenski translated the word as “commissioned,” that Jesus was only commissioned to go to the lost sheep of Israel (Lenski, The Interpretation of St. Matthew’s Gospel). Jesus was commissioned by God to go to the lost sheep of Israel; that was the specific mission God sent him on, and although that mission involved being the sin-offering for the sins of the world (cp. 2 Cor. 5:21), in his earthly ministry he was specifically to go to Israel and call it back to God.
Date added or revised: 7/12/2021 11:09 PM EST Commentary for Revelation 21:1[A New Heaven and a New Earth]
“a new heaven and a new earth.” This is the new heaven and earth of the Everlasting Kingdom, and it will last forever. This new heaven and earth replaces the heaven and the earth that came before it, and it is totally different from that former heaven and earth. The heavens and earth have gone through changes and will change again in the future. The Bible describes four of those times: the pre-Fall Edenic earth; the present evil earth; Christ’s Millennial Kingdom on earth; and the New Heavens and Earth of the Everlasting Kingdom.
THE PRE-FALL EDENIC EARTH. When God created Adam and Eve, the heavens and earth were “very good” (Gen. 1:31). People and animals all ate plants (Gen. 1:29-30), and there was peace on earth. God gave Adam and Eve dominion over the world (Gen. 1:28), and they were apparently running it very well. [The pre-Fall Edenic earth is not included in the chart below].
THE PRESENT EVIL EARTH. After the Edenic phase, the next phase of the heavens and earth is the one we live in today, which is fallen and evil (Gal. 1:4). When Adam and Eve sinned, the dominion of the world that God gave them was transferred to the Devil (cp. Luke 4:6). At that point, the Devil became the “ruler of the world” (John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11)...Read More
Date added or revised: 6/29/2021 4:46 PM EST Commentary for Proverbs 11:30[Irony emphasized the text]
“takes away souls from death.” The Hebrew phrase “takes away souls” is generally used of taking a life, that is. killing. But here in Proverbs 11:30, by irony, the meaning is exactly the opposite; the wise person “takes” or “captures” a soul from death. Wise and righteous people save lives in this life and lead people to everlasting life in the next (cp. Prov. 14:25).
It is the irony in this verse that would normally catch the attention of the reader and cause them to stop and ponder the meaning of the verse, and it is verses like this that, when translated literally, can be so confusing, especially to a new believer. It is easy to see how a person would be confused when the first stanza of the proverb says the righteous person is a tree of life but the second stanza says the wise person “takes away souls.” The mature believer gets the irony and sees how God uses that irony to emphasize that wise people save the lives of other people, both here and now, and forever. The REV translation makes the Hebrew text easier for the beginning Bible reader by adding italics to clarify the meaning of the verse.
Date added or revised: 6/26/2021 8:47 AM EST Commentary for Mark 4:22[The Kingdom of God is hidden]
“For what is hidden is meant to be revealed.” Mark 4:21-22 (and Luke 8:16-17) are about the Kingdom of God being hidden, not about secret sins coming to light. The Greek text of Mark 4:22 uses a double negative, which can be seen in Young’s Literal Translation: “for there is not anything hid that may not be manifested.” This is difficult to reproduce in English because we do not use the double negative in the same way the Greeks did, and that difficulty explains why the English versions differ so widely in their translations. Some versions simply make the two negatives into a positive like the REV and NIV do for clarity in English.
The meaning of Mark 4:22 has been much discussed by scholars. This is in large part because the subject of the verse is not well understood. Many people believe that Mark 4:21-22 and Luke 8:16-17 are about hidden sins being revealed, but that is not what these verses are talking about. The reason for most of the discussion is that the Gospel of Mark uses the Greek preposition, hina, which in this context describes purpose and means, “in order to,” or, “for this purpose.” Thus, Mark is saying that the purpose of hiding the thing was in order to bring it out in the open at a later time. That is...Read More
Date added or revised: 6/22/2021 12:13 PM EST Commentary for 1 Corinthians 3:12[Building the Church]
“if anyone builds on the foundation using.” As we will see, all of these materials are important building materials. It has been debated as to whether the materials listed in the verse are actual building materials used as metaphors for the skills that people use to build the Body of Christ, or whether they are metaphors being used to point out that some building materials were good and others not good. While the different materials certainly had differing values and status to humans, they were all valuable building materials. In that light, the list of materials is similar to the list of individual parts of the body (and the Body of Christ) in 1 Corinthians 12:12-27. In that list, some parts of the body are “respectable,” while other parts seemed “weaker” “less honorable,” and “unrespectable” (1 Cor. 12:22-24). But God corrects worldly thinking by saying that the parts that seemed weaker “are more necessary” (1 Cor. 12:22). As it is with the parts of the body, so it is in building the Body of Christ. Some people seem to be important builders, running churches, doing missionary work, and such very visible work as that, and they are like the “gold” that shines. Other members of the Body of Christ are almost unseen, building up...Read More
Date added or revised: 6/6/2021 9:09 AM EST Commentary for John 14:30[Satan has no claim on Christ]
“the ruler of the world is coming.” The ruler of the world is Satan (cp. John 12:31; 16:11). The world is under his evil influence (1 John 5:19; see commentary on Luke 4:6). Christ taught that soon after he left to go to the Father there would be great tribulation in the world, and believers would be persecuted, tortured, and killed (Matt. 16:28; Matt. 24:4-13, 34; Mark 13:5-12, 30; Luke 21:8-19, 32). Now here at the Last Supper he told the apostles not to let themselves be troubled, but to be at peace even though evil is coming.
A number of scholars believe that Satan’s coming in John 14:30 has to do with Judas betraying Christ and thus setting up the crucifixion, and it is correct that Satan did come in an immediate way through his evil followers, including Judas and the ungodly religious leaders who engineered Christ’s torture and crucifixion. Knowing that fact helps explain why, right after saying that Satan was coming, Jesus made it clear that Satan did not have any power over him. Jesus did not want his apostles to be misled and become fearful when he was arrested—even in that terrible situation Jesus was still fulfilling the will of God in what was happening to him. From a fleshly perspective, the fact that Jesus was arrested,...Read More
Date added or revised: 5/25/2021 12:40 PM EST Commentary for Matthew 1:1[How was Jesus the Son of David?]
“the son of David, the son of Abraham.” The phrase “the Son of David” is a messianic title, and that is why it is listed before “the son of Abraham” even though Abraham lived before King David. God had promised David that his kingdom would never end (2 Sam. 7:16), and as a response to that revelation, David prayed a wonderful and heartfelt prayer to God (2 Sam. 7:18-29).
David’s kingdom would continue forever by way of the reign of the Messiah, who would live forever. People understood this, and so one of the messianic titles was “the Son of David.” When people call Jesus “the Son of David,” they are indicating that he is the Messiah.
The Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke use the title “Son of David,” but it does not appear in the Gospel of John due to the primacy of Jesus being the Son of God (see commentary on Mark 1:1, “the good news of Jesus Christ”). In fact Matthew, which portrays Christ as the king, shows people using the title “the Son of David” in six different records, whereas Mark and Luke only record people using the title “Son of David” in one record, the record of the blind men Jesus healed at Jericho. In the Gospels, people used the title Son of David to either indicate they thought Jesus might be the Messiah,...Read More
Date added or revised: 4/27/2021 11:45 AM EST Commentary for Job 21:7[Why do evil people live and prosper]
“Why do the wicked keep on living.” Many extremely wicked people live long and prosperous lives and become wealthy and powerful on earth. But why do the wicked get to defy God and live at all? Why do they not die quickly and thus are removed from the earth? The answer to that question is multifaceted. It has to do with God’s allowing people to make the freewill choice to be against him; it also has to do with what God promised Cain (Gen. 4:13-15; see commentary on Gen. 4:15). Also, that so many wicked people grow powerful has to do with the fact that the Devil is a major powerbroker in the world today and works immorally and illicitly behind the scenes to elevate his people. The Devil is in control of much of what goes on in the world and gives power to people he wants to elevate. He offered power and glory to Christ, who turned him down, and the wise Christian follows the example of Christ (cp. Luke 4:5-7; 1 John 5:19).
In large part due to the Devil’s help and also acting illegally and immorally, wicked people have risen to power and been harmful to others and the earth itself since the Fall of Adam and Eve. Also, however, because they are “of this world,” wicked people tend to pay closer attention to how to get ahead in life...Read More
Date added or revised: 4/19/2021 9:51 AM EST Commentary for John 21:15[Jesus’ three confrontations of Peter]
“Feed my lambs.” John 21:15-17 is a threefold confrontation between Jesus and Peter, in which just as Peter had a threefold denial of Christ, now Jesus gives Peter a threefold chance to reaffirm his relationship with Christ and receive a threefold guidance for Peter’s ministry. It is important to note that in this threefold confrontation between Jesus and Peter, at the end of each confrontation Jesus gives Peter a different command, and each one is important.
The first direction Jesus gives Peter is “Feed my lambs” (John 21:15). Taking good care of the new and inexperienced believers is vital for the Christian Faith and ensures a strong Christian flock in the future. Also, it demonstrates the heart of Christianity, which is to care for the young, old, weak, and disadvantaged.
At the end of the second confrontation, Jesus tells Peter to “shepherd my sheep” (John 21:16). In contrast to the lambs, the sheep are experienced believers, but they still need guidance and direction, and they need to be protected from wolves and other enemies (i.e., false teachers, false doctrines, and harmful pathways in life). Many times experienced believers get lost in the weeds of life, and a called and experienced shepherd is important to provide...Read More
Date added or revised: 4/14/2021 7:12 AM EST Commentary for Luke 24:39[Touching the resurrected Christ]
“Touch.” The Greek word translated “touch” is psēlaphaō (#5584 ψηλαφάω). This is the only time it occurs in the Four Gospels. The meaning of psēlaphaō in this context is to feel around on, touch all over, grope around on, all with the idea of touching and finding what you are looking for, and thus being completely convinced that Jesus is real and physically present, not just a vision or a ghost. The word “touch” does not communicate the depth of the meaning of the Greek, but the English vocabulary is limited due to sexual idioms that occur in English. For example, it would be wrong to translate the Bible such that Jesus said, “Grope me,” or “feel me,” although in technical dictionary English those meanings would be proper. However, due to English sexual idioms they are improper. Somewhat similarly, the translation in many of the older versions, “handle me,” gives the wrong impression today also. Jesus was telling the disciples to touch him until they were convinced he was a real person in a real body. He wanted them to be convinced he was real and never doubt his resurrection again.
We should not miss the contrast between Luke 24:39 and John 20:17. Here in Luke, Jesus invites the disciples to touch him all over if...Read More