Scripture Notes


Genesis 22:7-8.

A question is asked concerning the word rendered "lamb" in this scripture. In a certain English version of the Old Testament, it is given as "sheep," and it is submitted that this is more accurate. It may be said at once that the word is employed both for a "sheep" and a "lamb"; and hence the context must guide as to its interpretation. In this place the Revised Version puts "lamb," and so does J.N. D. in his French Version; and we cannot but think that this is the mind of the Spirit of God. We come to this conclusion because we find that the same word is used, for example, in Exodus 12:3-4, 5, and in many passages in Leviticus, where the introduction of the term "sheep" would be manifestly unsuited. We cannot doubt therefore that "lamb" is the proper word in Genesis, as given in our Bible.


Hebrews 12:14.

The word here rendered "holiness" is used some ten times in the epistles, and is often given as "sanctification." It indicates, as another has said, the "practical effect produced: not the quality, but the character in activity"; or, as he says in another place, "sanctification … the sum and measure of it, the thing as an effect, as a whole, characteristically, not agiosune, the quality." For simple readers the meaning will be readily apprehended, if it is compared with another scripture (1 Cor. 1:30), where the same word is employed. There we read, "Of Him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us … sanctification." In Hebrews we are exhorted to "follow after … holiness [sanctification], without which no man shall see the Lord." What therefore, in the unspeakable grace of our God, Christ is made unto us, we, being in Him, are to follow after. The holiness in Hebrews will then signify correspondence with, or conformity to, Christ as glorified. It may further aid if another scripture is compared: "For their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth." (John 17:19.) From this we gather that Christ has set Himself apart, in His new condition as glorified, as the pattern for His people, and that they will be brought into conformity to Him through the application to their souls of the truth of what He is as the glorified Man, the Leader of a new race, the Second Man out of heaven. But it may be said, Will not all saints be like Christ when they see Him (1 John 3:2)? Why then should we be exhorted to follow or "pursue" after holiness? Because God would have us in communion with His own mind, and our hearts set upon His own end and object. He presents Christ glorified to us as His eternal thought for man, and He would have us diligently to pursue after its realisation. The practical effect of this truth is seen in Philippians 3, where the apostle says, "I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus." Holiness, according to God's thought, is seen in Christ glorified, and we are to follow after it as thus expressed; and we are urged forward in its diligent attainment by the reminder that without it no one will ever see the Lord. Then only when we see Him, will God's eternal purposes for His people - that they should be holy and without blame before Him in love - be accomplished and realised.


Colossians 3:13.

In this case the margin is correct, and it should read "complaint" instead of "quarrel." The difference is great, for there are many against whom we think we have ground for complaint with whom we have no quarrel. This word therefore goes deeper, and discerns the thoughts and intents of the heart. If, then, we have a complaint against any, we are to act as Christ has acted towards us - we are to forgive. But this refers, we judge, to the state of our hearts; and then, when confession is made, the forgiveness is to be pronounced. (See Luke 17:3-4.) In our own souls, should we even have ground for complaint, we are always to hold our brother as forgiven.