Over the years, I’ve had people ask me questions about Jesus, God, and the Bible. I have compiled a few of those questions and answered them below. I hope that you will find the answers informative and that they will encourage you in your walk with the Lord.
Q: I’ve been baptized in Jesus’s name. Though I pray daily, I don’t read the Bible daily and I don’t attend church weekly. When I die will I go to heaven or hell?
A: Being baptized does not assure one’s salvation. Even reading the Bible daily and going to church regularly do not assure you of a place in heaven. There is only one way to avoid hell and go to heaven. Jesus said that we must be “born again” to enter the kingdom of God (see John 3:5-8). If you have not been “born again,” you will go to hell. But I have good news for you! The Bible also tells us how we can be born again. To be born again, you must receive Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior: “…if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Romans 10:9-10). If you have not made such a confession but have a desire to do this, simply pray this prayer sincerely:
“Dear Jesus, I believe that you died for me and that you rose again on the third day. I confess to you that I am a sinner and that I need your love and forgiveness. Come into my life, forgive my sins, and give me eternal life. I believe that God has raised you from the dead, and I now confess you as my Lord. Thank you for causing me to be born again!”
If you have received Jesus as your personal Savior, I want to encourage you to find a Spirit-filled church that can help you grow in the things of the Lord.
Q: How do we know Jesus is God?
A: The Bible, which is the final authority for every Christian, says in John 1:1, 14, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us…” Philippians 2:6, 7: “Who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.” These verses refer to Jesus Christ. They tell us that Jesus is God who became man and lived here on earth. If Jesus is not God, then we, of all people—that is to say Christians—are the most to be pitied. If Jesus is not God, then we have no hope for eternal life because a mere man could not ascend into heaven and sit at the Father’s right hand as the Scriptures record. I would encourage you to ask the Holy Spirit to open up your eyes to the fact that Jesus Christ is true God and true man. Come before Him in prayer and ask Him to reveal Himself to you in a personal way. If you are honestly seeking for the truth, then I know that He will do this for you.
Q: Why should I read the whole Bible?
A: The Bible is God’s primary method of communicating with His creation, mankind. It is His revealed Word and will to man. Through reading and studying the Bible, you can meet, get to know, and establish a one-on-one relationship with the one true God, your creator. As such, the Bible can be your best friend. Its two major divisions, the Old Testament and the New Testament, both point to Jesus as the redeemer of the human race. The Old Testament prepared the way for Jesus, and the New Testament prepares a people to receive Him. That’s why it’s so important for you to read every book in the Bible—you can behold Jesus in every book of the Bible! Each book reveals to you Jesus and His love for you. When you read the whole Bible, you will recognize the unity of the Bible, and can apply its truths to every area of your life.
Q: How do you know God wrote the Bible?
A: The Bible claims God as its author, and a knowledge of the Word makes this apparent. There are 66 books in the Bible—written by more than 30 different persons over a period of thousands of years, and yet there is a consistent theme running from Genesis to Revelation. The Bible describes the fall of man, his utter sinfulness, and God’s redemptive plan through the blood sacrifice of His Son. If the scriptures were not written by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the mortal men who penned them surely would not present man as totally depraved and in need of salvation. Man’s “religion” always teaches access to God through human effort, but the Bible clearly states that mankind is dead in trespasses and sin. Dead men can’t work their way to God; they can only accept God’s provision of a new life in Christ Jesus. Each of the prophets declared that it was the Word of the Lord that came to them; and with the exception of end-time prophecy, all prophecy has been fulfilled to the letter—even as God said it would be (2 Timothy 3:15-17; 2 Peter 1:20-21).
Q: Is the Bible really God’s infallible Word?
A: Yes, the Bible is God’s infallible Word. Even though there are Scriptures which, when read, may seem “inconsistent,” one must know the whole counsel of God’s Word to see there is no contradiction.
Q: What is the difference between the Old Testament and the New Testament?
A: The purpose of the Old Testament is to show us man’s creation, his sin (fall), and to show us God’s preparation for a redeemer to come who would make salvation available to all men. This redeemer (Jesus) came through the Jewish nation; thus, the Old Testament is the story of their history—good and bad. In the New Testament we have the manifestation of the redeemer and His manifestation through His people (those who receive Him). We also see the culmination of God’s plan of redemption in the book of Revelation.
Q: Which version of the Bible do you believe is the most accurate?
A: From the time that God confused language at the tower of Babel until now, the human race has been trying to communicate through the imperfect vehicle of foreign languages. The Bible was written in Hebrews, Aramaic, and Greek. Because different words can be translated in a variety of ways, we have different Bible versions, which essentially are different translations. Modern translations are taken from the original Greek and Hebrew; but even so, there is still a problem in that one word can have various shades and meanings and thereby can be translated differently. So, each person who translates a work must do it on the basis of the context in which the word is written in order to determine the original meaning. Different scholars have different opinions on how these words should be translated; thus, we have a variety of translations, and all of these translations depend upon the text from which that particular language was translated. My personal preference is the New King James Version.
Q: What does it mean to walk with God every day? How can I walk with Him every day?
A: “To walk with God” means to live your life in harmony with Christ’s life in you. This comes about through prayer and Bible study. Speak to God in prayer and let Him speak to you through the Bible.
Q: Please explain what “rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15) means.
A: The Bible says that no Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, but that Scripture is to be interpreted through the revelation of the Holy Spirit. “Rightly dividing the word of truth” refers to this and means to take the Scriptures within the context they are given in order to interpret the Scriptures. Not only are we to take Scriptures within the context that they are given in the chapter but also within the context of the Old and New Testaments as well. You must take into consideration the full counsel of God in light of how Jesus revealed the Father to us while He was here on earth.
Q: Marilyn, please explain the Trinity. If Jesus is God and the Holy Spirit is God and God the Father is God, how can Jesus sit at the right hand of Himself?
A: The concept of the Trinity (three-in-one and one-in-three) is ultimately a mystery to our human, finite minds! I can only tell you what I understand about it as I read through the Bible. Ultimately the truth about the Godhead must be accepted by faith so long as we are in these human bodies. Although the word “trinity” is never mentioned in the Bible, its existence is clearly spoken of in Matthew 28:19 and 2 Corinthians 13:14. God is one (Deuteronomy 6:4) yet made up of three distinct persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
Just as a family is one unit made up of several family members, so the Godhead is one unit with three members. Each person of the Trinity has a specific role, differing from the other two; and yet together, they make up a single unit with a single purpose, carrying out a perfect and complete plan.
The Heavenly Father is the architect or planner of the Trinity; Jesus is the contractor or the one who carries out the plan; and the Holy Spirit is the laborer or the one who gives life to the plan. Let’s look at the creation record. The Father planned it, Jesus did it, and the Holy Spirit gave it life. These three distinct roles, or ministries, of the Trinity can be seen in the creation of man and the birth and resurrection of Jesus in the flesh. (See Genesis 1:2; 1:26; and John 1:2).
The Old Testament Scriptures which refer to God as one God, literally mean that He is a unit, not that He is only one individual. When you see this relationship, you can understand that Jesus the Son can sit at the right-hand of the Father.
Q: Please explain what happened during the years between Malachi and Matthew.
A: The years between the time of Malachi and Matthew were years in which Israel had no prophet. No new Words of God were communicated, and no prophets nor spokesmen were available to Israel. According to Jewish history, Israel was occupied and ruled by foreigners and there were several uprisings such as the Maccabean uprising—but for the most part these times of rebellion had little positive result. During this time, the Roman Empire was expanding and eventually controlled much of the known world—including Israel. It was during the time of the Roman occupation of Israel that God raised up two intercessors—Anna and Simeon—who prayed that they might see the Redeemer. The answer to their prayers was manifested in Jesus. (See Luke 2:25-38).
In light of our blog posts on Jesus being “the way, the truth, and the life,” I want you to have confidence that you can lead someone to salvation and baptism of the Holy Spirit. This is a very simple, scriptural approach to these life-changing decisions.
How to Lead a Person to Christ
Open a Bible to Romans 10. Have the person you’re speaking with read aloud verses 9-10.
If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. (Romans 10:9-10 NIV)
Explain to them that because these Scriptures say that “it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved,” you are going to lead them in a short prayer, and they should repeat after you as you pray.
Allow the Holy Spirit to guide your prayer so that the candidate will be sure to:
Acknowledge that they are a sinner.
Ask the Father to cleanse him by the blood of Jesus for every sin they have committed—from the day they were born to this very moment.
Invite Jesus to come into their heart and be master and Lord of their life.
Thank God for saving their soul.
Ask them to read Romans 10:13 out loud: “Whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
Now, ask them to read it again, but this time them substitute their own name for “whoever” in this verse (some versions might say “everyone” or “whosoever”). Through doing this, they will realize that they have fulfilled the simple requirements of being saved according to God’s Word—whether or not they feel differently!
How to Pray with Someone to Receive the Holy Spirit Baptism
The candidate for Holy Spirit baptism is someone who is a born-again child of God. The work of the Holy Spirit is essential for Christian growth. Through this baptism, God empowers the believer to develop and express their new life in Jesus Christ.
Many people desire to be baptized with the Holy Spirit, but they don’t know how to do so. Frequently, I open the conversation by saying, “I would love to pray with you to receive the baptism with the Holy Spirit.” Then proceed to:
Open a Bible to Luke 11:10-13 and ask the candidate to read this passage out loud.
“For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
“Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (NIV)
These verses establish the way to receive the baptism with the Holy Spirit. We simply ask in faith because we know that our loving heavenly Father would never give us a “counterfeit.”
Ask them candidate to read Acts 2:4 out loud: “They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” Assure them that just as Jesus’s disciples spoke in tongues when the Holy Spirit came on them, they will also speak in tongues when they are baptized by the Holy Spirit.
Ask the candidate to read Romans 8:26-28 out loud. This will confirm the purpose and benefits of praying in tongues.
Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.
And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.
Lead the candidate in a short prayer, during which they ask the Father to baptize them with the Holy Spirit. Now, tell the candidate that, by faith, you are going to pray in the Spirit together. Encourage them to speak freely as the Holy Spirit directs regardless of how it may sound to the natural ear.
You should begin to pray out loud in tongues. After you have prayed awhile, you may want to sing in the Spirit (1 Corinthians 14:15).
Although the baptism with the Holy Spirit is a one-time event, the infilling of the Spirit goes on and on and never stops. Encourage them to pray in the Spirit every day and expect a new richness in their Christian experience.
Isabell is the daughter of Sarah Bowling and the granddaughter of Marilyn Hickey. She graduated from Oral Roberts University with her bachelors in Historical and Philosophical Theology and received the award for Theology Student of the Year upon graduation.
She is excited for what this next season brings and is looking forward to learning and growing under the tutelage of her mother and grandmother. In the future, she also hopes to continue her educational journey by seeking a graduate degree in Europe.
We are excited for Isabell to be our first guest blogger on Mondays with Marilyn. God put this message on her heart in light of John 14:6. We pray it blesses you today!
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6). This verse is from a portion of Scripture where Jesus is preparing His disciples for His death. In chapter 13, He washes their feet and here He is leaving His final words with them. He tells his friends that He is going before them to prepare a place for them. The apostle Thomas asks, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?” (John 14:5). Jesus responds to his worries by saying “I am the way!”
Family, how many times do we overthink the blessings of God? Jesus is telling his friends that there is a place for them, that He is preparing a blessing for them in the future! This is a good thing, a gift from Him. But Thomas is confused. He doesn’t know what Jesus means and He is uncomfortable with not knowing. He doesn’t want to miss out on any of the blessings that God has for him, so he asks Jesus for some clarification.
I imagine that Thomas wanted Jesus to tell him one of two things. Either to describe the details of the place Jesus was preparing for him, or a step-by-step list on how to get there. Instead, Jesus says “I AM the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”
Thomas wanted an easy answer. He wanted Jesus to tell him what to do, when to do it, and what was on the other side. Instead, Jesus refocused him. “It’s all about me!” He said, “I am the way, you don’t need to do anything else except know me!”
How many times have you wanted Jesus to give you answers to your questions. “Jesus, what should I do for my next job? Jesus when will I get healed of this-or-that? Jesus, will my friends ever turn back to you?” These are questions that have answers, and it would be easy for Jesus to give us a simple answer. However, more often than not, He reminds us of who He is. Jesus is the answer. He knows it all, sees it all, and can do anything. So, when He responds to our questions and says, “Just be with me,” that is the most comforting thing He could say. How relieving is it to know that Jesus is the way? I think about all the different ways that I’ve failed, and I am filled with comfort knowing that it’s not by my own strength.
The next time you feel overwhelmed with your situations and all the “Jesus, why?” questions start to crowd your mind, remember, He is the answer. Take rest in Him. Know that He is the way, and He will get you through.
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6)
This is the sixth “I Am” statement Jesus makes in the Gospel of John and it’s our theme verse for the month of August. There are a few things I want to point out:
Jesus is the only way to the Father.
Jesus is the truth which reveals the Father.
Jesus if the life that brings regeneration (rebirth) to man.
As the way, the truth, and the life, Jesus was the embodiment of three basic Jewish concepts:
The Jews knew about the way.
In Deuteronomy 31:29, Moses warned the Israelites about straying from the way after his death:
“For I know that after my death you will become utterly corrupt, and turn aside from the way which I have commanded you. And evil will befall you in the latter days, because you will do evil in the sight of the Lord, to provoke Him to anger through the work of your hands.”
David asked to learn the way in Psalm 27:11:
Teach me Your way, O Lord,
And lead me in a smooth path.
Isaiah spoke about God leading us in the way:
Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying,
“This is the way, walk in it,”
Whenever you turn to the right hand
Or whenever you turn to the left. (Isaiah 30:21)
A few chapters later, Isaiah prophesied a return to the way:
A highway shall be there, and a road,
And it shall be called the Highway of Holiness.
The unclean shall not pass over it,
But it shall be for others.
Whoever walks the road, although a fool,
Shall not go astray. (Isaiah 35:8)
Jesus didn’t explain the way, He said, “I am the way.” Jesus didn’t give directions, He said, “I am the direction.” Jesus didn’t point His people there, He said “I will take you there.”
The Old Covenant taught the truth.
David professed to having walked in truth:
For Your lovingkindness is before my eyes,
And I have walked in Your truth. (Psalm 26:3)
David vowed to walk in God’s truth:
Teach me Your way, O Lord;
I will walk in Your truth. (Psalm 86:11)
The author of Psalm 119 chose truth:
I have chosen the way of truth. (v. 30)
A man can teach truth, but not walk in it. Jesus said, “I am the truth.” All moral perfection is found in Jesus, the truth.
The Scriptures emphasized life.
Moses commanded Israel to choose life in Deuteronomy 30:19:
“I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live.”
David trusted God to show him the road to life:
You will show me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore. (Psalm 16:11)
Solomon said correction and instruction give life:
For the commandment is a lamp,
And the law a light;
Reproofs of instruction are the way of life. (Proverbs 6:23)
Jesus isn’t just a path to life, He said, “I am the life.” Remember that Jesus demonstrated the sixth “I Am” statement in the healing of the nobleman’s son in John 4:46-53. The nobleman believed the truth in Christ, went on his way, and his son received life (vv. 50-51).
Jesus will do the same for us. He’ll be the truth and all we need. He’ll be the way and make a way for us. He’ll give us the life we need to please Him.