• You state that we must consider the "human" element of the writing. Should not we also consider God's greater target audience? What I mean is this; the Bible was written for a specific area with specific beliefs and practices, the middle east. many of the promises of reward are based on that cultures beliefs, there are many other examples but I think you get the idea of the question. I look forward to your answer.
  • Magnificent! Yes—and a model for us. How do we react when meanness and malice link arms to create misery? How do we cope when we become objects of a vendetta, finding ourselves surrounded by people who want to pull us down? How do I, as an author, handle contemptuous reviews of my books? From Paul’s example we learn that even at such times joy and peace are possible. We do not have to react as others want us to react. To a greater extent than we may yet have realized, we can choose what to think about (see 4:8). If we focus our mind on joy-inducing facts, we become impervious to those who would plunge us into misery, however great their hostility, however strong their influence, and however little we can do about them at present. God’s Plans for you. Pg. 113
    1. In light of Paul’s picture of the church growing as a body grows and as a building grows through the process of its erection, it seems regrettable that the phrase “church growth” should nowadays be used exclusively, as it seems to be, of numerical expansion, when the New Testament idea expressed by this phrase is not of quantitative but of qualitative advance. It is always wisest to use biblical phraseology in its biblical sense, and these texts make clear that the growth of the church in Paul’s mind is not a matter of recruits being added to the community (he had other words for that), but of the community being fitted for its destiny through the transforming power of Spirit-taught truth.
      1. The first thing to say about evil is that it is a reality, and we should not pretend that there is no such thing. Christian Scientists, like Hindu mystics, want to think it away as an illusion; others would see it as good in the making, or good misunderstood. But in the Bible evil is as real as good, and the distinction between them is ultimate. The second thing to say about evil is that it is an irrational and meaningless reality, making no sense, and only definable as good perverted. The third thing to say about evil is that God is handling it. At the cost of Calvary he has taken responsibility for bringing good out of it; already he has triumphed over it, and eventually he will eliminate it. The Christian contemplating evil is not a pessimist, for he knows that one day this mad and meaningless reality that destroys good shall be destroyed itself. Christ ensured this by conquering cosmic evil on the cross (see Colossians 2:15); he will finally snuff it out at his return. On that day the Christian expects to see that out of all his embroilments with the evil in and around him has come greater good for him, and greater glory for God, than could have been otherwise. That will finally vindicate the goodness and wisdom of God in giving evil so long a run in his world. Packer, J. I. (2007). Praying the Lord’s Prayer. Crossway Books.
        1. Christ’s church was to be, and now is, nothing more nor less than the Old Testament covenant community itself, in a new and fulfilled form that God had planned for it from the start. It is Israel internationalized and globally extended in, through, and under the unifying dominion of Jesus, the divine Saviour who is its King. It is God the Father’s family, as appears from the fact that Jesus taught his followers to think and speak of his Heavenly Father as theirs too. It is the risen Christ’s body and bride, destined for the ultimate in intimacy with him and the sharing of his life. It is the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, the unseen but potent divine facilitator who shows us that Jesus the Christ is real today, who sustains our trust in him and our love for him, who shapes and reconstructs our character in his likeness, and who supplies us with abilities for the mutual ministry that we sometimes call “body-life.” (“Fellowship of the Holy Spirit” in 2 Corintians 13:14 appears to mean both “partnership with the Spirit” and “partnership with others that is brought about by the Spirit.”) Packer J I. A passion for Faithfulness. Pg xvi
          1. The Christian principle of biblical authority means, on the one hand, that God purposes to direct the belief and behavior of his people through the revealed truth set forth in Holy Scripture; on the other hand it means that all our ideas about God should be measured, tested, and where necessary corrected and enlarged, by reference to biblical teaching. Authority as such is the right, claim, fitness, and by extension power, to control. Authority in Christianity belongs to God the Creator, who made us to know, love, and serve him, and his way of exercising his authority over us is by means of the truth and wisdom of his written Word. As from the human standpoint each biblical book was written to induce more consistent and wholehearted service of God, so from the divine standpoint the entire Bible has this purpose. And since the Father has now given the Son executive authority to rule the cosmos on his behalf (Matt. 28:18), Scripture now functions precisely as the instrument of Christ’s lordship over his followers. All Scripture is like Christ’s letters to the seven churches (Rev. 2–3) in this regard. J.I. Packer Concise Theology. 1993
            1. So asceticism, as such—voluntary abstinences, routines of self-deprivation and grueling austerity—is not the same thing as holiness, though some forms of asceticism may well find a place in a holy person’s life. Nor is formalism, in the sense of outward conformity in word and deed to the standards God has set, anything like holiness, though assuredly there is no holiness without such conformity. Nor is legalism, in the sense of doing things to earn God’s favor or to earn more of it than one has already, to be regarded as holiness. Holiness is always the saved sinner’s response of gratitude for grace received. The Pharisees of Jesus’ day made all three mistakes, yet were thought to be very holy people until Jesus told them the truth about themselves and the inadequacies of their supposed piety. After that, however, we dare not forget that holiness begins in the heart. Who wants to line up with those Pharisees? Charles Wesley wrote: O for a heart to praise my God, A heart from sin set free; A heart that always feels thy blood So freely shed for me; A heart resigned, submissive, meek, My great redeemer’s throne, Where only Christ is heard to speak, Where Jesus reigns alone; A heart in every thought renewed And full of love divine, Perfect and right and pure and good: A copy, Lord, of thine. It is with this focus, and this prayer, that real holiness begins. Packer, J. I. (2009). Rediscovering Holiness, pg 22, Regal Publications.
              1. Glory” refers, first, to what God shows, and what shows God to us, namely, his own active presence with self-manifestation to eye or ear or both. In Old Testament times, and in the Old Testament text, the visual aspect of this glory was presented in symbols, principally two: dazzling white light, like that of the sun, such as shone from Moses’s face when he had been with God (2 Cor. 3:13), and a huge throne, occupied, such as Isaiah and Ezekiel saw (see Isaiah 6; Ezekiel 1). In the New Testament, by contrast, the awe-inspiring glory is in the face, or person (the Greek word can mean either), of the Lord Jesus Christ, who is God incarnate (2 Cor. 4:6; see John 1:14; 17:5, 24). Then, second, “glory” refers to what the godly give to their God, namely, praise in response to the praiseworthiness that he has shown to them. This is the sense of the word in 2 Corinthians 4:15. The first and second senses meet in the classical Anglican Eucharist, where the Prayer Book has us saying: “Heaven and earth are full of thy glory. Glory be to thee, O Lord Most High.” Praise to the One who is praiseworthy and adoration of the One who is adorable are basic aspects of the love of God with heart, mind, soul, and strength that Jesus identified as the Great Commandment of the law. Third, by an extension of the first meaning, “glory” points to God’s continued transforming work in us whereby “we all … beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another” (3:18). This is the glory that God bestows on his covenant children, those who have a living faith in Christ and are united to Christ, and in whom the Holy Spirit, the master mason in character building and habit forming, now dwells. Though truly supernatural, the transformation is not in this life physical; it consists, rather, in “the fruit of the Spirit … love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Gal. 5:22–23). The Spirit imparts in the heart, as a matter of purpose, the desire for and habit of thus realizing the moral profile of Jesus, which is Christlikeness in the most significant sense of that word. J.I. Packer. Weakness is the Way. Pg. 103.
                1. Glory” refers, first, to what God shows, and what shows God to us, namely, his own active presence with self-manifestation to eye or ear or both. In Old Testament times, and in the Old Testament text, the visual aspect of this glory was presented in symbols, principally two: dazzling white light, like that of the sun, such as shone from Moses’s face when he had been with God (2 Cor. 3:13), and a huge throne, occupied, such as Isaiah and Ezekiel saw (see Isaiah 6; Ezekiel 1). In the New Testament, by contrast, the awe-inspiring glory is in the face, or person (the Greek word can mean either), of the Lord Jesus Christ, who is God incarnate (2 Cor. 4:6; see John 1:14; 17:5, 24). Then, second, “glory” refers to what the godly give to their God, namely, praise in response to the praiseworthiness that he has shown to them. This is the sense of the word in 2 Corinthians 4:15. The first and second senses meet in the classical Anglican Eucharist, where the Prayer Book has us saying: “Heaven and earth are full of thy glory. Glory be to thee, O Lord Most High.” Praise to the One who is praiseworthy and adoration of the One who is adorable are basic aspects of the love of God with heart, mind, soul, and strength that Jesus identified as the Great Commandment of the law. Third, by an extension of the first meaning, “glory” points to God’s continued transforming work in us whereby “we all … beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another” (3:18). This is the glory that God bestows on his covenant children, those who have a living faith in Christ and are united to Christ, and in whom the Holy Spirit, the master mason in character building and habit forming, now dwells. Though truly supernatural, the transformation is not in this life physical; it consists, rather, in “the fruit of the Spirit … love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Gal. 5:22–23). The Spirit imparts in the heart, as a matter of purpose, the desire for and habit of thus realizing the moral profile of Jesus, which is Christlikeness in the most significant sense of that word. J.I. Packer. Weakness is the Way, pg 103-104.
                  1. The Lord stood at my side and gave me strength. 2 Timothy 4:17 The Lord first makes us conscious of our weakness, so that our hearts cry out, “I can’t handle this.” We go to the Lord to ask Him to remove the burden that we feel is crushing us. But Christ replies, “In my strength you can handle this, and in answer to your prayer, I will strengthen you to handle it.” Thus in the end our testimony, like Paul’s, is “I can do everything through him who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13, emphasis added). We find ourselves living (if I may put it this way) baptismally, with resurrection-out-of-death as the recurring shape of our experience. And we realize with ever-growing clarity that this is the fullest and profoundest expression of the empowered Christian life. Rediscovering Holiness, 236–237 My weakness is an opportunity for Christ’s strength.
                    1. The Holy Spirit and Jesus Christ the Savior The Spirit, whose creative power effected the conception of Jesus in Mary’s womb (Luke 1:35), was with and within the incarnate Son throughout his life on earth. He disclosed his presence to Jesus, to John, and perhaps to others by the apparition of the dove at Jesus’s baptism (Matt. 3:16–17; John 1:32–33), which convinced John that “this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.” The Spirit bearer, so John was told, would in due course be the Spirit giver. The Spirit at once led Jesus into the wilderness “to be tempted by the devil” (Matt. 4:1); he participated in all the Savior’s ministry (Luke 4:14), empowering his miracles (Matt. 12:28), prompting his joy (Luke 10:21), and sustaining him through the agony of Gethsemane for the greater agony of his atoning death (Heb. 9:14). As we Christians are upheld by the Holy Spirit in the life that we live with God and for God, so was our Savior before us. As we live in a simultaneous relationship with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, who are always together and never apart from each other, so were the Father and the Spirit together with the Son when he was on earth, as they are still and always will be. Packet, J. I. (2013). Taking God Seriously, pg 114