Judges Bible Study

Judges ~ Lesson 4

Previous Lessons: 1, 2, 3,

Read Judges 3:7-31

Questions to Consider

1. Go back to lesson 3 (link above) and review your answer to the first part of question 5, Israel’s pattern of sin and repentance in 2:16-23. We will be examining the periods of the three judges in today’s passage against that pattern.

Review also your answer to the second part of question 5, every individual vs. the vast majority of Israel. If there were not a remnant of faithful Israelites in each era, where did faithful men like Othniel, Ehud, and Shamgar come from? Are you part of the faithful remnant of genuinely regenerated Believers in the visible church today? What is it like to remain faithful to Christ and His Word when professing Christians around you are mired in sin, false doctrine, or idolatry? Consider what it must have been like for the remnant of faithful Israelites to stay true to the Lord while surrounded by “God’s people” who were immersed in sin, false doctrine, and idolatry.

2. As you study today, use your Bible’s maps to identify as many of the locations mentioned in the text as possible.

Were Mesopotamia (8), Moab (12), and Philistia (31) pagan nations, or nations that worshiped the Lord? Why did God judge and discipline Israel for their idolatry by raising up pagan nations against them? Does God discipline Believers’ sin in a similar way today?

Did the pagan nations triumph over God and His people in the end? (10, 30, 31) What happened to them? How does this point ahead to Christ ultimately conquering the enemy?

3. Read 7-11. What do we know about Othniel besides what is mentioned here? Read these passages. What do we know about Caleb? Two faithful brothers. What might we be able to infer about their parents and they way they raised Othniel and Caleb? Why is it important to raise our children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord?

How does the period of Othniel’s judgeship in 7-11 fit Israel’s pattern of sin and repentance in 2:16-23?

4. Read 12-30. What was God’s message to Eglon (20)? As I read this passage, the thought occurs to me that God’s judgment of sin is often messy, bloody, gross, and painful. Think about the physical gore that accompanied God’s judgment against the sin of Eglon. Now think about the physical gore of Christ’s scourging and crucifixion that accompanied God’s judgment of our sin poured out on Him. How does this physical, tangible gore in judgment paint a picture for us of how messy, bloody, gross, and painful sin itself is?

5. Compare the intricate details God gives us about Ehud and his victory over Eglon to the one sentence He gives us about Shamgar and his victory over the Philistines (31). Why do you think there’s such a discrepancy in the amount of detail God gives us? Is this an indicator that Ehud was more important or more faithful than Shamgar was? Why not? How might this help us understand, especially in light of today’s evangelical celebrity culture, that neither fame nor obscurity are a measure of a Christian’s faithfulness to the Lord or effectiveness in the work of Kingdom?

6. How long was Israel under the oppression of Mesopotamia (8)? Of Moab (14)? As we continue our study in Judges, take note of how long Israel was under oppression before they finally cried out to the Lord for help. Why do you think it took them so long to humble themselves and throw themselves on the mercy of God? Why do we as individual sinners often do the same thing – running from God for years, or even a lifetime, before humbling ourselves and bowing the knee to Christ?

7. As we continue to study Judges, notice that after each judge conquered the enemy and remained alive, the people followed and obeyed God, but after he died, the people forgot the Lord and wandered away from Him (10-12). Jesus, our perfect and permanent Judge, conquered the enemy by His death burial, and resurrection, and remains alive today and for eternity. How does the fact that Christ is living and will never die affect His followers’ obedience and faithfulness to Him? If Jesus had stayed in the grave, would people still be following Him today?


Homework

  • In today’s passage, we see Israel whoring after the gods of pagan nations, and God raising up those nations in judgment and discipline against Israel. How does this paradigm demonstrate that the very sin we love and cling to will destroy us if we don’t repent of it? Read my article When Animals Attack. Are there any sins in your life that you’re “cuddling up to”? How could that sin turn on you and destroy you? Spend some time in prayer, confessing your sin and repenting. Ask God for the strength to turn away from that sin and to resist temptation.
  • Notice in today’s passage how difficult times led Israel to humble themselves and cry out to the Lord, putting themselves in the right and godly posture of fully depending on His grace and mercy. Also notice that in times of peace and ease, when the land had rest for many years (11, 30), that this was conducive to Israel forgetting the Lord (7), and pridefully trusting in themselves, giving in to the lusts of their flesh, and wandering off into idolatry. Have you ever experienced this in your own life? Think about a difficult time you’ve been through that led you to cry out to the Lord and depend more fully on Him. How is it sometimes more challenging to stay faithful to God when life is going well for us? Make a list of some ways you can fortify yourself spiritually during the good times that will help you stay faithful to Him during those good times and will also help you to depend on and trust God during the hard times.

Suggested Memory Verse

Mailbag

The Mailbag: Nursing Home Ministry Questions

I recently received some questions about nursing home ministry, so I thought I’d put all the answers I’ve given in the past in one post so they’d be handy.

Originally published January 22, 2018:
The Mailbag:
Men attending women’s Bible study class at nursing home

A female relative of mine teaches a women’s Bible study at a Catholic nursing home (my relative is a Protestant Christian). Sometimes, a male resident or two – none of whom are saved – will wander in and attend her class. Occasionally, one of them attempts to correct her according to Catholic doctrine. Even though she’s not technically teaching “in the church” (1 Timothy 2:12) she’s uncomfortable with men attending the class, as well as with having to biblically correct their unscriptural Catholic doctrine. On the other hand, she shares the gospel every time she teaches, and she doesn’t want to turn away anyone who might receive the good news and be saved. What should she do?

I love it when Christians think deeply about issues like this. It is encouraging to interact with godly people who want to be obedient to Christ, and it pushes me to desire to obey Him better myself.

Foreword:

Just to lay a quick foundation for my answer to this question, it needs to be understood that people who currently believe and practice Catholic doctrine as it is written in Catholic documents are not saved. There are numerous unbiblical beliefs Catholics hold to (which I will not go into right now because that’s beyond the scope of this article) but for the purposes of understanding my answer, in a nutshell, the Catholic religion does not teach salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone (in fact, Catholicism anathematizes {condemns to Hell} anyone who teaches this), works must be included in the salvation process. If you believe your own good works play any part in earning your salvation, you are not saved. Salvation is all of Christ, and Christ alone.

✢✢✢✢

I am assuming that whoever invited this teacher to teach a Bible study in the nursing home knows that she is Protestant and will be teaching Protestant (biblical) doctrine. I am also assuming that the person who invited her to teach is OK with this. I would not advise someone to give the appearance of teaching in compliance with Catholic doctrine and then surreptitiously “sneaking in” Protestant doctrine. That’s deceitful and dishonest, and it would be understandable for the Catholic residents to be correcting her.

✢✢✢✢

If you’re unclear as to why having men in her Bible study class is a dilemma for the female teacher, I’d encourage you to read these two articles before moving on to my answer:

Jill in the Pulpit

Rock Your Role FAQs (this article expands on my brief comments below)

Here are my thoughts on the issue:

1. If the people attending the study are Catholic, then the female teacher is evangelizing the lost outside of the church, not discipling (teaching) Believers who are the church, unless some of those attending the study have gotten saved (the question indicates none of the male “drop ins” are saved). Evangelism falls under the “do” of the Great Commission, not the “don’t” of 1 Timothy 2:12. (see #11)

2. We always have to keep the definition of “church” in mind when we’re talking about women teaching or holding authority over men “in the church.” The gathered body of Believers is the church, not the building in which they meet. The mere fact that a group meets in a nursing home, house, park, community center, or other edifice that isn’t a church building doesn’t automatically mean a woman is free to teach men (see #7). It doesn’t automatically mean she can’t teach them either.

3. If the male attendees are being disruptive and introducing false doctrine, the teacher is well within her biblical rights and wisdom to say that this a women’s only group and exclude the men. (The same would apply to excluding any women who behave the same way.)

4. If, at some point, genuinely regenerated men begin attending the class because they want to be taught the Bible, praise God! The best case scenario would be for the teacher to go to her pastor, explain the dilemma, and have him ask one of the associate pastors, elders, or another appropriate male church member to volunteer to teach the men.


Originally published February 18, 2019
The Mailbag: Potpourri (Prayer quilts, Discouraged husband, Jesus Calling at the CPC…)

I need some direction. I’ve been teaching/sharing God’s Word at a nursing home for over two years on Sunday mornings. We have mostly women, but there are two men who join us. I was asked by the nursing home to lead our little church because they haven’t been able to find any men willing to do it. That’s my dilemma, I know Paul said he wouldn’t allow a woman to teach men, I don’t know how to handle this. I myself am not part of any other church, so I don’t have a pastor to help. I’ve reached out to some churches, but no one is getting back to me. Since we can’t find a man willing to lead, am I okay to keep doing what I’m doing? 

That is quite the dilemma! Let me see if I can help.

You started your e-mail by saying, “I need some direction,” so I hope you’ll be open to some direction that’s in a bit of a different direction than the one you’re asking about.

It’s wonderful that you’re wanting to help out at the nursing home and teach God’s Word. We need more women in mercy ministries like this, and I’m sure you’re a joy and a blessing to the ladies. But I’m afraid there’s a bigger issue you need to deal with than whether or not to be teaching at the nursing home.

You need to find a doctrinally sound church, become a member of it, and attend and serve it faithfully. Church membership, fellowship, and service are not optional for Christians (Basic Training: 7 Reasons Church is Not Optional and Non-Negotiable for Christians).

The Bible knows nothing of unchurched Christians, and serving at the nursing home is not a reason not to be joined to a local church. You could always serve at the nursing home on Sunday afternoons after worshiping at your own church, or serve on another day. If you’re asking around at churches for someone to volunteer on Sunday mornings, this is why you’re not getting much of a response – you’re contacting churches. Pastors and their church members are supposed to be in church on Sunday mornings, not somewhere else.

I know you might be thinking that your group of ladies at the nursing home is your church because you called it “our little church”. It might be an awesome group of ladies with super close fellowship, but what you have there is a women’s Bible study class, not a church. It doesn’t have a pastor, elders, or deacons. It doesn’t have a membership, so there’s no mechanism for church discipline. Nobody is giving offerings or serving the Body. You’re not performing the ordinances of baptism and the Lord’s Supper (I hope). This is not a church.

Have you ever been on an airplane and noticed that when the flight attendant gives the safety instructions, she always tells you to put on your own oxygen mask first before assisting others with theirs? It’s good advice in this situation too. Right now, you’re disobeying Scripture by not being joined to a local church, so you’re setting a sinful example for your ladies while simultaneously teaching them that they need to obey God’s Word. Put your mask on first. Repent and join a local church. You also need to be sitting under good preaching and teaching at your own church so you’ll have something to give these ladies and to keep your own theology on track so you can make sure what you’re teaching them doesn’t veer off into false doctrine. Put your mask on first. You can’t help other people breathe if you’re passing out from lack of oxygen. Finally, joining a local church will fix the problem you mentioned of, “I don’t have a pastor to help.” If you’ll put your mask on first by finding a good church to join, you will have a pastor, elders, deacons, and lots of other men to help.

When we do things God’s way, in God’s order, most of the secondary things, like your dilemma about the men at the nursing home, tend to fall into place. Tell you what. You find a good church to join – maybe one of the ones you contacted for help (check out the “Searching for a new church?” tab at the top of this page if you need it) – get plugged in, and ask your pastor for some help with this. If he can’t or won’t help you, write me back, and we’ll go from there, OK? I’ll bet you won’t need to.


Originally published July 5, 2021
The Mailbag: Asked and Answered

Is it appropriate for a woman chaplain to teach men, evangelizing and then answering questions using the Bible to present truth in nursing home one on one or in a coed worship service at the nursing home?

I think I must have a number of followers who visit and care for those in nursing homes, because I’ve received several questions over the years about nursing home ministry. Can I just take a moment to say – thank you so much. What a blessing and an encouragement you must be to those precious ladies and gentlemen.

Let’s unravel your question just a bit because there are several issues at play:

First of all, should a woman even be a chaplain? I don’t want to give an across the board “no” because “chaplain” is such a catch-all term these days, and different organizations (hospitals, prisons, the military, nursing homes, etc.) probably all have different job descriptions for their chaplains which may or may not require a woman in that position to violate Scripture.

But if I were asked, “Should women be chaplains?” and I had to give a yes or no answer, my answer would be no, for the simple reason that most lost people (or even Christians) aren’t going to differentiate a chaplain from a pastor. To them, a chaplain is just a pastor who works in a hospital (or wherever) instead of a church. And it’s unbiblical for women to be pastors, so you don’t want to give the evil appearance of someone living in unrepentant sin. Even if you’re not technically violating Scripture in your position, you appear to be.

OK, for your next several questions, it’s immaterial whether or not these things take place in a nursing home:

Is it OK for women to evangelize (share the plan of salvation with a lost person) and answer biblical questions one on one with a man? Yes. Carefully and with wisdom: Rock Your Role FAQs #11

Is it OK for a woman to evangelize (share the plan of salvation with lost people) a co-ed group? Not if she’s essentially preaching a sermon and functioning as a preacher, which is what I’m inferring by your use of the term “worship service”. Rock Your Role FAQs #11

If it’s something more akin to you hanging out with 5 or 6 friends, some male and some female, and you start sharing the gospel with them, that’s different. That’s really more like a one on one situation.

Is it OK for a woman to preach/teach in or lead a co-ed worship service? No, regardless of the venue or her title. Rock Your Role FAQs #7 Rock Your Role: Jill in the Pulpit


If you have a question about: a Bible passage, an aspect of theology, a current issue in Christianity, or how to biblically handle a family, life, or church situation, comment below (I’ll hold all questions in queue {unpublished} for a future edition of The Mailbag) or send me an e-mail or private message. If your question is chosen for publication, your anonymity will be protected.

Judges Bible Study

Judges ~ Lesson 3

Previous Lessons: 1, 2,

Read Judges 2:6-3:6

Questions to Consider

1. The passages in last week’s lesson (lesson 2, link above), and today’s lesson are, in essence, parts 1 & 2 of the introduction to Judges. Review lesson 2. As you’re studying today’s lesson, consider how it hinges upon last week’s lesson.

2. Compare 2:6-10 to 1:1, with regard to Joshua. Explain the function of 2:6-10 at the beginning of today’s passage when it’s clear from 1:1 that Joshua is already dead. (Note the Hebrew tendency to sometimes favor grouping concepts or topics together instead of writing in a linear, chronological order.) Skim back over 1:1-26, and briefly explain who “the elders who outlived Joshua” (2:7) and “all that generation” (2:10) were. How does 2:6-10 transition us from the era of Joshua to the era of the judges?

3. How does 2:10 explain 2:11-13? How does 2:11-15 fulfill 2:1-3? Explain in your own words how the Canaanite gods became a snare to Israel. Do you think, when the Israelites were worshiping those gods, that they felt, or considered themselves ensnared?

Have you ever made an idol of something in your life – perhaps your marriage, your children, your job, your popularity, your looks, even a ministry you were involved in? When you were engaged in that sin of idolatry, did you feel, or consider yourself ensnared? Explain how idolatry can deceive a person into not even realizing she’s ensnared, and how this relates to, and shows us the importance of, the first two Commandments.

4. Compare 2:14-15 with 1 John 4:8, and explain how and why these passages do not conflict with one another. (Try to figure it out on your own first, but if you’re hopelessly stuck, click here for a hint.)

5. Judges 2:16-23 is sort of a “CliffsNotes” of the rest of the book. In your own words, make a step by step outline of the pattern of sin and repentance Israel repeated throughout the era of the judges. Do you see any similarities between Israel’s pattern of sin and repentance and your own? Any differences?

When this passage refers to “Israel/they/them,” do you think it means every single individual alive in Israel at the time, or does it mean the vast majority of Israel? In other words, even in Israel’s darkest days of idolatry, were there a few Israelites who remained faithful to God? (Keep this question in mind as we continue to study Judges.) Do you see any similarities between the majority of Israel in this passage, and the majority of the visible church today?

6. How does 2:16-23, and, indeed, the whole book of Judges, point us to Jesus, the perfect judge who permanently saves?

7. In 2:21-3:6, God speaks of testing Israel. How did He test them? Why did He test them? Did they pass or fail the test? Read these passages. Does God test Christians today? How does He test Christians? Why does He test Christians? Did God test Israel, or Christians today, because He doesn’t know how they will respond to the test and He needs to find out?


Homework

  • Now that you’ve worked through parts 1 and 2 (lessons 2 and 3) of the introduction to Judges, outline or describe the way these two parts fit together. How does foundational disobedience (part 1) beget further disobedience (part 2)?
  • Review what you learned in #7. Looking back over your life, can you recall a time when God was testing you? Did you pass or fail the test? How did God use that test to grow you and strengthen your faith? Repent of any way in which you failed that test, and give God the glory for any way in which you were able to be obedient to Him in that test. During your prayer time this week, ask God to help you look at the trials in your life as tests of your faithfulness and ask Him to strengthen you to pass those tests and to grow you through those tests.

Suggested Memory Verse

Mailbag

The Mailbag: Potpourri (What to do about Litton?…Couple teaching at marriage conference…False teachers- deluded or deceived?…You don’t need a Bible study)

Welcome to another “potpourri” edition of The Mailbag, where I give short(er) answers to several questions rather than a long answer to one question.

I like to take the opportunity in these potpourri editions to let new readers know about my comments/e-mail/messages policy. I’m not able to respond individually to most e-mails and messages, so here are some helpful hints for getting your questions answered more quickly. Remember, the search bar (at the very bottom of each page) can be a helpful tool!

Or maybe I answered your question already? Check out my article The Mailbag: Top 10 FAQs to see if your question has been answered and to get some helpful resources.


Biblically speaking, what would be the appropriate Christian response to Ed Litton’s plagiarism? More precisely, what should that response be among the masses who will never have access to Litton or those closest to him?

It’s a great question with an answer that will leave most of us Southern Baptists frustrated, I’m afraid.

To quickly catch up readers who aren’t in the know: Newly elected president of the Southern Baptist Convention, Ed Litton, has been caught in numerous instances of preaching plagiarized sermons going back several years. Many have called upon him to repent and step down as president. As far as I’m aware, to date, he has neither biblically repented nor commented on stepping down. There is no mechanism in place in SBC governing documents for removing a sitting president from office. (For more details, see the “June” and “July” sections of my article What’s Going On in the Southern Baptist Convention?)

There are several responses that could be appropriate in this situation for the average Southern Baptists who doesn’t know or have personal access to Ed Litton:

  • Pray. It is always appropriate to pray for someone who is sinning to repent. Additionally, if this situation is to be resolved biblically, God is the only One powerful enough to resolve it and wise enough to know the best way to resolve it. You also need to pray for your pastor as he guides your church to decide whether to stay in or leave the SBC, and you and your family need to pray together about your pastor’s decision and whether or not you can abide by it.
  • Inform. If you and your church are going to remain in the SBC for now, you have to stay informed on the major issues, and this is one of them. (That’s why I wrote the “What’s going on…” article linked above, to help you stay informed.) Keep yourself informed, keep your pastor informed, and keep your Sunday School class, circle of friends, and any other appropriate people at church informed. Ask your pastor how things stand with your local SBC association, and whether or not, and how, it might be appropriate for you or someone else to keep the association informed.
  • Connect. I would strongly suggest joining, following on social media, subscribing to the newsletter/email list, etc. of both the Conservative Baptist Network and Founders Ministries. If any action is taken on the plagiarism issue or any other problematic issue in the SBC, it will likely spring from one or both of these groups, and you and your church will want to consider joining forces with them.
  • Take action(?). There are a few ways to take action in this situation as an individual, such as sending Litton a (kindly worded, non-harassing) email urging him to repent and step down, expressing your concerns to the appropriate SBC leadership, or possibly starting a petition of some sort, but I would really suggest getting some advice from your pastor first.

    Honestly, I can pretty much guarantee any effort like that from an individual is going to be ignored. If the Resolutions Committee can refuse to allow a vote on a resolution proffered by 1300+ Southern Baptists, they’re not going to pay an ounce of attention to an email or a petition. Bluntly, you and I aren’t important enough to matter to those in SBC leadership. Your pastor probably isn’t either, nor the director of your association, nor even the head of your state convention. Maybe if somebody with enough power, position, and platform made enough noise about Litton stepping down (or any of these other issues) maybe, something might get done. But at this point, I’m not even sure who that might be.

    All of which brings us full circle to our first and most effective response: pray. This is a mess that only God can clean up.

My husband and I were talking about women teaching/preaching to men, and he brought up an interesting question: what about when your church has a marriage conference and there is a husband/wife team who comes and they both teach?

Thanks for asking this question, because this seems to be a common teaching model for marriage and family conferences. It seems like a complicated situation to us, but it’s not to God. He said what He said in Scripture, and He means it, regardless of the circumstances.

A Christian conference is a gathering of the church body for the purpose of biblical instruction. That is a context in which Scripture’s prohibition of women instructing men in the Scriptures applies (see #7 here). So whenever the husband/wife team are addressing the co-ed audience, they just need to make sure that the wife is not giving biblical instruction to the group at large. That should fall to the husband.

That doesn’t mean that the wife can’t open her mouth at all in front of the group. It would be fine for her to…

  • give her personal testimony
  • offer practical advice (ex: “Joe and I have found it really helpful in our marriage to start the day off in prayer and a discussion of that day’s schedule.” “Guys, we ladies really like foot massages!”, etc.)
  • speak directly to the women in the audience about their role, behavior, or attitude in marriage as needed (Ex: “Ladies, Ephesians 5 is clear that we are to submit to our husbands.”)
  • answer any questions during a Q&A time that don’t require her to exposit Scripture to a male questioner
  • ask a question or make a brief, non-exhortational comment after her husband gives the biblical instruction portion of the session (ex: “Honey, I’m thinking some people might need a little clarification on what ‘depriving one another’ means in 1 Corinthians 7. Can you explain that to us a little more?” “Yes, 1 Peter 3:1-6 has always been so helpful to me as I strive to be a godly wife. And verse 7 has some good instruction for husbands, right, Joe?”)

And, of course, the conference can be structured so there are times of co-ed instruction and times when the wife teaches the women and the husband teaches the men.

For a husband and wife team who are doctrinally sound, spiritually mature, and committed to obeying Scripture, it shouldn’t be that difficult to lead a conference like this in a biblical way.

As far as whether or not to attend a marriage conference in which a husband and wife team will be speaking to a co-ed audience, you’ll have to do your homework to find out how committed they are to obeying Scripture in this regard. Listen to some of their previous conferences, if they’re coming to your church, ask your pastor about it, or you could try emailing the couple and asking them.


I know that some of the false teachers we see on TV are delusional and really think they create things on the same level as God, but are some people genuinely confused and simply don’t understand that what they are teaching and believing is false? Are the ones who are just confused still heretics and false teachers?

Let’s take that last question first. If you teach false doctrine or heresy, you’re a false teacher or a heretic, regardless of your motive. Whether you think what you’re teaching is right, or you know it’s wrong and you teach it anyway, the end result is the same: you’re teaching error.

Now let’s clarify the first part of your question a bit, because you bring an interesting point to the table with the word “delusional”. “Delusional” is really mental health terminology rather than biblical terminology. Is it possible some of these folks are truly mentally unbalanced? Yes. But you know what else looks a lot like mental illness in some cases? Demon possession. And I’m convinced that at least a few of these heretics are demon possessed.

But I do think the truly possessed are in the minority, and the majority are simply deceived. They are of their father the devil, so they speak his language and their will is to do his desires:

Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot bear to hear my word. You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies…Whoever is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God.”

John 8:43-44, 47

And this holds true whether we perceive the false teacher to be a conniving, greedy charlatan, or a “good guy” who’s just “honestly mistaken”. It’s also true whether or not he’s made a conscious decision to proactively serve Satan by knowingly teaching false doctrine. There are only two potential masters in a person’s life, Christ or Satan, and if you’re not a slave of Christ, you’re enslaved to Satan. There’s no middle ground for lost “nice people”. The “honestly mistaken” guy who’s teaching false doctrine is still doing his master’s bidding, he’s just deceived into thinking his master is Christ.

But when it comes to how we’re to regard and handle false teachers, it doesn’t really matter whether it’s delusion, deception, or demon possession, because God doesn’t require us to know what’s going on in their hearts and minds to be able to biblically evaluate them.

Our job is to evaluate what we can see – the person’s behavior, writings, sermons, teachings, and conversation – and determine whether or not it aligns with Scripture. If it doesn’t – regardless of what we think of the teacher’s motives or mental state – those teachings, and the person who teaches them, have no place in our churches or personal study materials.

The condition of the teacher’s heart and mind? That’s above our pay grade. We leave that to God.

Can a False Teacher Be a Christian?


I am looking for a Biblically sound women’s study on healthy eating habits and am hoping you can point me In the right direction? 

I think I’ve mentioned before that the top two questions readers ask me are, “Is _____ a false / sound teacher?” and “Can you recommend a Bible study on / for _____?”

I love the heart behind both of those questions because it tells me that the person asking wants biblical teaching, and nothing could make me happier. Truly.

But, no, I can’t point you in the direction of a doctrinally sound study on healthy eating habits for two reasons:

First, as a matter of principle, I don’t recommend what I call “canned” studies (books, workbooks, DVDs, etc.), even doctrinally sound ones, at all. I recommend women study (and teach) straight from the text of Scripture. You can read more about why I hold this position and how you can learn to study/teach straight from the Bible itself at the Bible Studies tab in the blue menu bar at the top of this page.

The second reason I can’t recommend such a study is that such a study does not exist. Here’s why. Doctrinally sound studies start with a passage of Scripture and teach you what it says. And other than condemning gluttony, and making a few general statements about using your body to glorify God rather than to sin, the Bible says nothing about healthy eating habits (at least not in the way we use that phrase in 21st century America). And any study that says it does is mishandling Scripture and taking it out of context, and, therefore, isn’t doctrinally sound.

A perfect example of this is false teacher Rick Warren’s book The Daniel Diet, which is based on a mishandling of Daniel 1:8-16. (Daniel didn’t refuse the king’s food because it was unhealthy or to lose weight, but to obey God’s law and to avoid making himself unclean. Also, you’ll notice v.15 says that after ten days on this “diet” Daniel and the boys were actually “fatter”.) I would also warn you away from Lysa TerKeurst’s Made to Crave since she is a false teacher as well. And, it would not surprise me to learn that a number of other false teachers have written health and diet “Bible studies”.

The truth is, you don’t need a Bible study, you need a new paradigm. The paradigm you and many, many Christian women are currently operating under, probably without even realizing it is, “I have an issue. A book or Bible study will give me the solution for it.”. That’s not necessarily a bad or sinful paradigm (in fact, like I said, it’s very good and right that your instinct is to turn to Scripture), it’s just that there’s a better, more biblical, more helpful paradigm which, in a nutshell is, “Pursue Christ and trust Him with your issues.”

Here’s what I’d recommend:

Read my article about biblical decision-making: Basic Training: 8 Steps to Finding God’s Will for Your Life and begin applying those principles to your walk with the Lord and your eating issues.

As you go about pursuing Christ, you can certainly study any biblical passages that relate to your particular issues of healthy eating. Are you failing to exercise self-control? Failing to be content? Is it an issue of laziness? Do you have an unbiblical view of your body itself? Maybe you have a particular medical condition that requires a new diet. You’ll have to prayerfully determine exactly what your issue is, then study (in context and rightly handled) the passages that pertain to that issue1, repent of any sin you might be committing, and trust, believe, and obey God’s Word.

Pray, pray, pray. Ask God to help you with what you’re studying in His Word, to help you lose weight, to see your body the way He sees it, etc.

Make an appointment with your doctor and ask what he recommends.

Get some godly counsel. Is there a godly older woman in your church who could disciple you through this? Or maybe there’s a nutritionist or dietitian who goes to your church2? If you’re not sure, ask your pastor.

And, truly, this is what I would recommend to most of the women who write and ask me if I can recommend a Bible study or book on a very specific, personal life issue. Because it’s not necessarily about finding the “solution” to whatever your issue is. Often, it’s God giving you an issue to grow you, to move you to cry out to Him, and to lead you to depend on Him to carry you through whatever it is.

1If you’re not sure where to find those passages, ask your pastor or a godly friend for help. You can also Google “Bible verses about _____” and probably get some good lists of verses, but it’s imperative that you look those verses up and read them in context so you’ll know whether or not they actually apply.

2Don’t expect free advice or help just because it’s a church friend. Ask if you can make an appointment, and plan to pay the full fee just like you would if this person were a stranger.


If you have a question about: a Bible passage, an aspect of theology, a current issue in Christianity, or how to biblically handle a family, life, or church situation, comment below (I’ll hold all questions in queue {unpublished} for a future edition of The Mailbag) or send me an e-mail or private message. If your question is chosen for publication, your anonymity will be protected.

Judges Bible Study

Judges ~ Lesson 2

Welcome, ladies! Just a reminder, please do not skip Lesson 1 from last week (link below). Not only will it answer any questions you may have about the study itself, but if you want to study Judges properly, you must do the background work contained in Lesson 1.

Previous Lessons: 1

Read Judges 1:1-2:5

Questions to Consider

1. Review your notes from last week’s introductory lesson. What are some things to keep in mind as you begin to study the text of Judges today?

2. Carefully examine Deuteronomy 7. How does this passage serve as the historical backdrop for 1:1? How does Judges 1:1-2:5 carry out, and fail to carry out, Deuteronomy 7?

3. In your own words, and using your cross-references, describe what is happening in 1:1-3. Why was it important that the people inquired of the Lord? Were Judah and Simeon individuals?

4. Using the maps in your Bible, or these maps (scroll down to “Judges”), attempt to identify as many locations mentioned in today’s passage as possible, and describe, in your own words, the confrontations at each location.

5. In 1:27-36, who are Manasseh, Ephraim, Zebulun, Asher, Naphtali, and Dan? How did they fail to carry out God’s instructions from Deuteronomy 7?

6. In 2:2, God says to Israel, “You have not obeyed my voice.” List the ways Israel had disobeyed God. Did God give them “credit” for their partial obedience in 1:1-26? It has been said that “Partial obedience is disobedience.” Explain this statement in light of today’s passage.

Israel was a corporate body of God’s people, similar to the way the local church is a corporate body of God’s people. What happens to a local church when part of the body is walking in obedience, and part of the body is walking in disobedience?

7. At the end of 2:3, what was God’s main concern with Israel’s failure to drive the pagan nations out of the Promised Land? Think about what you know of Old Testament history from this point on. How did the Canaanite gods become a “snare” to Israel?

8. Examine these New Testament passages. How is what God teaches Christians in the New Testament about avoiding false teachers and professing Christians who live in unrepentant sin similar to God’s commands in Deuteronomy and Judges about driving out the pagans so Israel wouldn’t be drawn away by sin and false gods?

9. What was the people’s response to God pronouncing the consequences of their sin in 2:4-5? Does it seem from these verses that this was a godly grief over their sin or a worldly grief over the consequences? What kind of grief does God want us to have when confronted with our sin? Does God always remove the consequences of our sin when we repent? Watch, as we continue our study in Judges, to see if God removes the consequences of Israel’s sin.

10. Today’s passage lays the foundation for what is to come in the book of Judges. Describe the foundation Israel laid, and what you expect to see happen when they build on that foundation in the chapters to come.


Homework

  • Think about your church. Is there any way part of the body is walking in disobedience? How? Commit to praying for your church about this, and prayerfully consider whether you should speak to your pastor about it, and how you might influence your brothers and sisters in Christ toward obedience to Scripture.
  • Consider your relationships and partnerships in light of the New Testament passages linked in #8. Is there any way you need to “come out from among them and be ye separate”? Pray about how God would have you be set apart to Him when it comes to these relationships and partnerships.

Suggested Memory Verse