Scripture Notes.


Matthew 8:26; Mark 4:39-40.

It would be a mistake to conclude that because the order is different in the scriptures an error had been made either by Matthew or by Mark. The Spirit of God has chosen the events to be recorded, and He has also arranged the method in which they were to be recorded. If therefore Matthew puts the chiding of the disciples for their unbelief before the rebuking of the winds and the sea, and Mark gives the inverse order, the question is not "'Which is correct?" but, "What is the special significance intended by the change?" In Matthew's gospel faith, or the want of it - unbelief, is more prominent than in the other gospels, and for the reason that the characteristic presentation of Christ in it is that of the Messiah. As Son of David and Son of Abraham (chapter 1:1) He was presented to the Jews for acceptance, and consequently it is in harmony with the subject of the gospel that the unbelief of the disciples should 'be brought into prominence. In Mark, on the other hand, where our blessed Lord is seen rather as the servant prophet, His tenderness in pacifying the fears of His terrified disciples is displayed before He stills the raging storm and the sea. Which of the two things actually came first is not needful for us to know, but the devout reader of the Word will delightedly ponder these distinctions in the assurance that they ever contain some precious instruction concerning the person and the ways of our blessed Lord.


1 John 2:16-17.

"Desire" and "lust" are really the same word, as may be seen from many passages. For example, the word translated "lust" in the above scripture is the same as that in Phil. 1:23 (and a number of other places), where it could only be rendered "desire." It is the thing longed for that characterises the nature of the feeling cherished. If the object of the craving is good, according to God, then it is a holy desire. Thus the Lord Himself uses the word in question when He says to His disciples, "With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer." (Luke 22:15.) When the object, on the other hand, is evil, then the desire for it is "lust." Hence the apostle employs the word when he speaks of the "lusts of our flesh." (Ephesians 2:3.) There is consequently an important distinction to be noted. "Lust," as James teaches, has its origin in ourselves (chapter 1:14), but holy "desire" is the fruit of the action of the Spirit of God in the believer.


1 Timothy 2:13.

In this scripture the apostle adduces God's order in creation in support of his direction that a woman was not to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. In 1 Cor. 11 he points out "that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man." These two scriptures, if duly considered and rightly apprehended, are ample to settle every difficulty, often felt, as to whether a woman may not, in some special circumstances, speak or pray in the presence of men. The case submitted is whether a Christian woman, the head of a household, is precluded from giving thanks at her own table, if an unconverted man were there as a visitor. That the head should be bowed and thanks be given all would admit; but whether audible thanksgiving would not violate the creational order, and ignore the headship of man over the woman, may well be a question. Still, as already said, silent and unconcealed thanksgivings can, in every such case, always be rendered.


1 Thessalonians 1:10.

Whether waiting for God's Son from heaven ("out of the heavens") in this scripture refers to the rapture or to the appearing (although we have no doubt that the former is in the view of the Spirit of God) is scarcely the question. The apostle is presenting the conversion of the Thessalonians, and the object of the mighty change which had been wrought, viz., to serve the living and true God, and to maintain the attitude of the expectation of the Son of God from heaven. Really, he adduces the altered character of their lives and their waiting for Christ in proof of their conversion. They had become followers of the apostles and of the Lord in receiving the word with much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost; they had become "ensamples to all that believe in Macedonia and Achaia;" and their testimony, as well as their "faith to God-ward," had been so widely declared that the apostles did not need "to speak anything. For they themselves show of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols," etc. We learn therefore that the whole of the Christian's life is to be devoted to serving the living and true God, to be governed wholly by God's will, even as the blessed Lord Himself came not to do His own will, but the will of Him who had sent Him; and that, while thus serving God, he is to await the Lord's return. It may be that the expression "His Son from heaven" includes His coming for, and His return with, His saints. It will help the reader as to this if he carefully examine 1 Thess. 2:19-20, 1 Thess. 3:12-13, 1 Thess. 4:13-18, 1 Thess. 5:23, in their several connections. But let it ever be remembered that, while it is most important to have scriptural thoughts upon this subject, and thus to understand the nature of the coming of Christ, the main thing for our souls is to be constantly in the practical power of waiting for His return.