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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: 10/25/2021 6:26 AM EST Commentary for Deuteronomy 17:18[Knowing the Law of Moses]
“write for himself a copy of this law.” It was vital for the prosperity of the kingdom (and the everlasting life of the king personally) that he obey the Law of Moses and that he was instructed from the Law in what his people were to do so that they obeyed God. Having his own personal copy of the Law in his own handwriting ensured that he had the Law handy to read and review at all times. Of course handwriting a copy the Law of Moses would take months, but it was that important to God that he know the Law. Sadly, there is no record that any king of Israel ever did that, and many things the kings did can be seen to be in ignorance of, or disobedience to, the Law. Christians today are not commanded to write a personal copy of the Bible to have for themselves, but Christians would be much better off if they read the Bible every day, learned what it said, and made a diligent effort to obey it.
“the Levitical priests.” The Masoretic Hebrew text reads, “the priests the Levites.” Every priest was also a Levite. [For more on the Levitical priests, see commentary on 2 Chron. 30:27].
Date added or revised: 10/22/2021 5:41 AM EST Commentary for Deuteronomy 12:5[Worship where God is]
“even to his habitation you must seek, and there you must come.” At the time of Deuteronomy 12:5, Israel was still in their 40-year period of wandering in the desert, and the people worshipped Yahweh right where they were because the Tabernacle was traveling with them from place to place. Also, before this time, in the time of the patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac, etc.), people worshipped Yahweh wherever they were, just as Abraham did when he traveled and set up altars in different places. Now God makes it clear that things are going to change. God said that people would have to come to where He was to worship Him in the way He wanted. We know from history that the first Temple, Solomon’s Temple, was still some 500 years in the future, but God was preparing His people for His personal presence at a singular place of worship, a place where people could go and be with God more intimately.
Ultimately, God was not going to be worshipped by different people who were in different places but all worshipping at the same time (although that is the way worship is done today, in the Administration of Grace in which we live; cp. Eph. 3:2). Ultimately, God wanted everyone to come to where God was making His presence known. Historically, this...Read More
Date added or revised: 9/26/2021 8:45 AM EST Commentary for Deuteronomy 12:28[Listen to and obey God]
“listen to and obey.” The Hebrew text is more literally just “hear,” or “listen to,” but “hear” was often used idiomatically as “obey” (some scholars refer to this as the “pregnant” sense of the word). In this context, the full sense of the word is “listen to and obey,” which is why some English versions have “listen to,” while others have “obey." This verse teaches a great lesson. If people want things to go well with them, especially in the next life, they must listen to and obey God. Sadly, the “listen to” part often gets skipped because most people do not carefully read, and read over and over for understanding and depth of meaning, the Bible, the Word of God. Then, with the “listen to” part being skipped, the people often don’t really know what or how to obey, so they end up disobeying in ignorance.
[For more on the idiomatic sense, the “pregnant sense” of some biblical words, see commentary on Luke 23:42].
Date added or revised: 9/8/2021 12:01 PM EST Commentary for Exodus 1:19[Lies and civil disobedience]
“and give birth before the midwife comes to them.” This statement is a lie, an untruth. It has been debated for generations as to whether telling a lie is always wrong or there are times when telling a lie is acceptable to God. The philosopher Immanuel Kant believed that telling a lie was always wrong, while the Christian pastor and philosopher Dietrich Bonhoeffer believed that God supported people telling lies in certain situations. The biblical evidence is that Bonhoeffer was correct. God has always allowed people to defend themselves, their families, and other people. Self-defense is a basic tenant of God’s justice and biblical truth. For example, the general biblical tenant is to not kill, but killing is allowed if that killing is in self-defense. It would be incongruous for God to allow for killing in self-defense but not allow a person to lie in self defense in order to defend their life or the lives of others. There are many times when evil governments would kill good people, such as we see here in Egypt, and those good people are often saved by untruths that people tell to the government or its representatives.
There are quite a few records in the Bible of people telling untruths to protect themselves or others. Here...Read More
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, cold, and difficult to understand, 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