RESPONSE TO JOE IRBY

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9/15/16 - JOE, PHIL 2:6-8 TEACHES THE DIETY OF CHRIST AND HAS TWO PERSONS OF THE TRINITY IN VIEW. SEE IF YOU CAN REFUTE THIS WITHOUT VIOLATING THE RULES OF LANGUAGE, CONTEXT AND LOGIC. LINK TO THE STUDY

THE FIRST CHAPTER OF YOUR BOOKLET APPEARS IN THIS FONT COLOR

MY COMMENTS IN THIS FONT COLOR

CHRISTIAN GIVING - A SHORT NOTE

The key passage which describes giving by believers in this age is 2 Corinthians chapter 8 which the key verses are stipulated below. Note that exceptions which your group spoke of are exceptional; they do not change the rule of Christian giving which is voluntary and out of ones abundance, as led by the Spirit; beyond which of course the faithful believer might very well be led by the Spirit to go:

(2 Corinthians 8:12-14 NASB) 12 "For if the readiness [to give] is present, it is acceptable according to what a person has, not according to what he does not have. 13 For this is not for the ease of others and for your affliction, but by way of equality - 14 at this present time your abundance being a supply for their need, so that their abundance also may become a supply for your need, that there may be equality;"

WHAT CAN THE BIBLE TEACH US

A Booklet Published By Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, Inc

May 2015 Printing

CHAPTER ONE - WHO IS GOD?

CHILDREN ask lots of questions? You may explain something to them, but they often ask, 'Why?' And when you try to give them an answer, they may ask, 'But why?'

[This particular subject is not proved out here by you from Scripture, nor is it specifically dealt with in Scripture in a detailed manner. Hence inadvisable. Better to simply work your way through a passage(s) verse by verse on the subject of Who God is using words from the passage(s) as far as possible ]

2 Whether we are young or old, we all have questions. We may have questions about what we will eat or wear or buy. Or we may have important questions about life and the future. But when we don't find satisfying answers to these questions, we may stop looking for answers.

[This particular subject is not proved out here by you from Scripture, nor is it specifically dealt with in Scripture in a detailed manner. Hence inadvisable. Better to simply work your way through a passage(s) verse by verse on the subject of Who God is using words from the passage(s) as far as possible ]

3 Does the Bible have the answers to the important questions we ask? Some people may think so, but they feel that the Bible is too hard to understand. They may think that only teachers or priests have the answers. And others are too ashamed to admit that they don't know the answers. What do you think?

[This particular subject is not proved out here by you from Scripture, nor is it specifically dealt with in Scripture in a detailed manner. Hence inadvisable. Better to simply work your way through a passage(s) verse by verse on the subject of Who God is using words from the passage(s) as far as possible ]

4 You probably want answers to questions, such as: Why am I here? What will happen to me when I die? What is God like? Jesus, the famous Teacher, said: 'Keep on asking, and it will be given you; keep on seeking, and you will find; keep on knocking, and it will be opened to you." (Matthew 7:7) Don't give up until you find answers that you can trust.

[Jesus should not be referred to as "the famous Teacher," because that phrase does not appear in Scripture and it suggests that that is all that He is, which many do contend. Furthermore, this particular subject is not proved out here by you from Scripture, nor is it specifically dealt with in Scripture in a detailed manner. Hence inadvisable. Better to simply work your way through a passage(s) verse by verse on the subject of Who God is using words from the passage(s) as far as possible . Finally, your explanation of Mt 7:7 does not determine to whom Jesus is addressing and how one is to ask, seek, etc. There are rules by which Scripture must be interpreted by. Any deviation from those rules leads to not arriving at the truths from God's Word ]

5 Yes, if you 'keep on seeking,' you will find the answers in the Bible. (Proverbs 2:1-5)

[Not always true if you do not follow the rules of interpretation - not the least of which is citing passages from all over the Bible without connecting with the context and proving out the interpretation verse by verse . This is especially not true if you are not a child of God, born of God in the first place, hence without the Spirit of God to teach you all things]

These answers are not too hard to understand.

[Scripture is not always easy to understand. Many things get in the way, especially the human will, false teachers and the lack of the indwelling Holy Spirit]

What you learn will give you a happier life right now

[not scriptural]

and a wonderful hope for the future

[Not always true, depending upon whether or not one is a believer and the level of spiritual maturity each moment].

Let's talk about one question that has confused many people.

[This particular subject (below) is not proved out here by you from Scripture, nor is it specifically dealt with in Scripture in a detailed manner. Hence inadvisable. Better to simply work your way through a germane passage of the subject of Who God is]

DOES GOD CARE ABOUT US OR IS HE CRUEL?

[Choose other wording. Everything appearing in this booklet must begin with words from God's Word followed by a proper examination of those words from a passage(s) in Scripture . That way the connection is always made to what God has said, and not to what people might think or with words that do not appear in Scripture]

6 Many people think that God doesn't care about us. They feel that if God really cared, the world would be very different. We see war, hatred, and misery everywhere. People get sick, they suffer, and they die. Some wonder, 'If God cares about us, why doesn't [He] stop all this suffering?'

[Choose other wording. Everything appearing in this booklet must begin with words from God's Word followed by a proper examination of those words from a passage(s) in Scripture . That way the connection is always made to what God has said, and not to what people might think or with words that do not appear in Scripture]

7 Religious leaders sometimes make people believe that God is cruel. When something terrible happens, thay say that it's God's will. They say that [He] wanted it to happen. When they say this, they are really blaming God.

[Choose other wording. Everything appearing in this booklet must begin with words from God's Word followed by a proper examination of those words from a passage(s) in Scripture. That way the connection is always made to what God has said, and not to what people might think or with words that do not appear in Scripture]

But the Bible teaches that God is never the source of evil. James 1:13 tells us that God does not test anyone with evil things. It says: 'When under trial, let no one say: 'I am being tried (or, tested) by God.' For with evil things God cannot be tried, nor does [He Himself] try anyone.' This means that even though God hasn't stopped bad things from happening, [He] never makes them happen. (Read Job 34:10-12)

[This is a huge topic and cannot be dealt with so minimally. There are other passages which are far better to examine, beginning with a heading from the words of God's Word and following the proper rules of interpretation ]

Let's use an example.

8 Imagine a young man who lives at home with his parents. His father loves him very much and has taught him how to make good decisions. Then, the young man rebels against his father and leaves home. He does bad things and gets into trouble. Would you blame the father for what happened because he didn't stop his son from leaving home? Of course not! (Luke 15:11-13) Like that father, God didn't stop humans when they chose to rebel and do what is bad. So when something bad happens, we should remember that God didn't make it happen. It would be unfair to blame God.

[This example must begin with a heading from the words of God's Word and be explained in detail in accordance with the normative rules of language, context and logic . Hence conclusions made above would not have been made. There are issues above that are not set in stone in the passage cited; and there are points that God made in the passage that are not addressed in #8]

9 There is a very good read on why God has not yet stopped bad things from happening. In Chapter 11, you will learn what the Bible says about this. But you can be sure that God loves us and that he is never to blame for our problems. In fact, [He] is the only One [Who] can solve them. - Isaiah 33:2.

[Chapter 11 is not better than this chapter relative to examining what God has to say on the matter. Although God is the only One Who can solve mankind's problems, Isaiah 33:2 does not establish this point by simply citing it! Another passage(s) must be examined in such a manner that the reader of this booklet can connect with the words of God's Word himself when he opens up his bible ]

10 God is holy. (Isaiah 6:3)

[Why not quote this verse out and then explain it within the words of God's Word, especially defining the word rendered "Holy" from the Hebrew! ]

Everything [He] does is pure, clean, and good.

[Prove it from Scripture! ]

So we can trust [Him].

[That does not necessarily follow. Prove it from another passage(s) that stipulates that God is trustworthy to fulfill what He has promised - promises that will benefit those who trust in Him ]

Humans are not like that. They sometimes do wrong things. And even the most honest ruler does not have the power to repair all the damage that bad people do. No one has as much power as God has. He can and will repair all the damage that has been done by bad people. He will remove all evil forever. - Read Psalm 37:9-11.

[Context of Ps 37:9-11, i.e., who, what, why, where, when, to whom, how must be explained so that this passage can be shown to mean that God will repair all the damage that has been done by bad people - which it does not say. First of all, all men are bad. Careful exegesis using the words from God's Word must be used to explain your point . Better to use a passage from the New Testament to better establish that God will restore the world to its original state, including all mankind who have trusted in His Son's propitiation for the sins of all mankind. (You have to put the gospel in here somewhere. Not all mankind will partake of this)]

HOW DOES GOD FEEL WHEN PEOPLE SUFFER?

[Again, use words from God's Word instead of this heading]

11 How does God feel when [He] sees what is happening in the world and what you are going through? The Bible teaches that God "loves justice." (Psalm 37:28)

[Psalm 37:28 has a lot to explain, since no one but Christ is godly. First this passage is from the OT period. You have to endeavor to draw it into today's age. Simply citing this verse is not going to do it]

So [He] cares deeply about what is right and what is wrong.

[Bible passage proved out?]

He hates it when people suffer.

[Bible passage proved out?]

The Bible says that "[His] heart was saddened" when [He] saw the world filled with badness in the past. (Genesis 6:5, 6) God has not changed. (Malachi 3:6) The Bible says that God really cares about you. - Read 1 Peter 5:7.

[Again and again you are marrying cherry picked verses together without explanation, and without exegesis using the words from God's Word so that those who read this booklet and open up their own bibles and can prove it out themselves ]

12 The Bible also says that God created us in [His] image. (Genesis 1:26) This means that God made us with the same qualities that [He] has. So if you feel bad when you see innocent people suffer, God must feel even worse when [He] sees it!

[Only in His image. But do we have the same qualities that He has? The passage does not stipulate that - especially after the Fall. Prove out your points from Scripture . What passage says that God must feel even worse. Are not our feelings often sociopathic? Are there innocent people out there? Prove out your point. This is not a touchy feely God, but a Holy and Righteous One. His love is agapE - self-sacrificial]

13 The Bible teaches us that "God is love." (1 John 4:8)

[agapE - define agapE love according to this passage]

Everything God does is motivated by love. So we love because God loves. Think about this: If you had the power, would you remove all the suffering and injustice in the world? Of course you would, because you love people.

[Not all people love all people, especially evident now. Scripture never says this]

What about God? He has the power, and because [He] loves us, [He] will remove all suffering and injustice. You can be sure that every one of God's promises mentioned at the beginning of this book will come true!

[Prove it from Scripture]

But to be able to trust these promises, you need to know more about God.

GOD WANTS YOU TO KNOW HIM

[Can you prove this from Scripture. Previously you opened up the First Epistle of John. It has great answers there]

14 If you want to be someone's friend, what's the first thing you usually tell him! Your name. Does God have a name? Many religions say [His] name is God or Lord, but these are not names. They are just titles, like "king" or "president." God has told us that [His] name is Jehovah. Psalm 83:18 says: "May people know that [You], [Whose] name is Jehovah, [You] alone are the Most High over all the earth."

[God has a number of names and titles given to Him in Scripture not the least of which are ElOhîm and Yahweh, often Yahewh ElOhîm and Elyôn meaning the Most High, etc. - which is not pronounced properly using the English letters Jehovah. Each passage that gives a name to God must be investigated. Furthermore, the Greek names for God must not be ignored either. To demand that you must always call God by your own ideas in your own English pronounciation is not biblical.

(Psalm 83:18 NASB) "That they may know that You alone, Whose name is the [Hebrew:Yahweh] Are the Most High over all the earth."

(Genesis 1:1 NASB) "In the beginning God [Hebrew: ElOhîm, plural] created [Hebrew: bArA, singular] the heavens and the earth." - signifying a God with a plurality of personalities but singular in entity. Note plurality of majesty uses a plural verb!]

(Genesis 2:4 NASB) This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God [Yahweh ElOhîm] made earth and heaven.

Note that "the Word" Who became Human - Jesus Christ, (Jn 1:14); Who was there at the beginning of creation, (Jn 1:1a), hence uncreated and eternal; Who was with God [Greek: "pros"] on an equal level, (Jn 1:1b)- hence God; Who was God [Greek literally "and God was the Word," with no article before "God" at all], (Jn 1:1c); Who created all things, (Jn 1:3) - hence Creator God.

And the Spirit of God created all things, (Gen 1:2; Job 26:13; Ps 33:6) - hence Creator God. Three Personalities, one God. Just as man can express himself in more than one personality such as employee personality, husband personality, friend personality; so can God, albeit with infinite power.

Bible writers used God's name thousands of times. Jehovah wants you to know [His] name and to use it. He tells you [His] name so that you can become [His] friend.

[Passages please. Some contend that God has distanced Himself from flawed humanity and a world which has deteriorated from perfection. Prove your point. Don't just make conclusions out of thin air ]

15 God's name, Jehovah, has deep meaning. It means that God can fulfill any promise [He] makes and can accomplish [His] purpose.

Nothing can stop [Him]. Only Jehovah can have this name.

[Exception: Sin and unbelief stops God from fulfilling God's promises of blessing. Passage and explanation please]

16 As we read earlier, Psalm 83:18 says about Jehovah: "You alone are the Most High." Also, Revelation 15:3 says: "Great and wonderful are [Your] works, Jehovah God, the Almighty. Righteous and true are your ways, King of eternity." What does the title "the Almighty" mean? It means that Jehovah is more powerful than anyone else in the universe. And the title "King of eternity" means that [He] has always existed. Psalm 90:2 explains that [He] is from eternity to eternity. Isn't that amazing!

[Just because the bible says this may not make it so. Can you prove that the Bible is a reliable source on this or any point? Aren't there other religious writings that are just as credible. Make your case! Use the proper means of interpretation ]

17 Only Jehovah is the Creator. Revelation 4:11 says: "You are worthy, Jehovah our God, to receive the glory and the honor and the power, because [You] created all things, and because of [Your] will they came into existence and were created." Yes, from the angels in heaven to the stars in the sky to the fruit on the trees and to the fish in the sea - Jehovah made everything you can think of!

[And according to Jn 1:1-14: "the Word" - an eternal Person Who became Human = Jesus Christ, (Jn 1:14), was there at the beginning of creation, hence uncreated and eternal, (Jn 1:1a), Who was on an equal level [Greek: pros] with God, (Jn 1:1b), hence God; and Who was God, (Jn 1:1c) - (there is no "a" indefinite article in the Greek); and Who created all things, (Jn 1:3); hence He, the Word, Jesus Christ was Creator and God.

And the Spirit of God created all things, (Gen 1:2; Job 26:13; Ps 33:6).

Yet all Personalities comprise one God, not three gods, for there are no lesser gods anyway, (Isa 45:5)]

18 When some people read about Jehovah's impressive qualities, they feel afraid and think, 'God is so powerful, so important, and so far away, why would [He] care about me?' But is that how God wants us to feel? Not at all. Jehovah wants to be close to us. The Bible says that God is "not far off from each one of us." (Acts 17:27) God wants you to draw close to [Him], and [He] promises that "[He] will draw close to you." (James 4:8).

[You need more exposition of these passages - giving the verses their due - to convince the reader that that is what they are saying. To whom is Paul speaking? Why then jump to James 4:8??? That's not the way to read the Bible. There is little to convince me when you keep bouncing all over the bible like a moth around a light. You have to settle into one passage at a time taking context into consideration and proving out every point you make, verse by verse ]

19 How can you become God's friend? Jesus said: "This means everlasting life, their coming to know you, the only true God, and the [One Whom You] sent, Jesus Christ." (John 17:3)

[Are you one of the Twelve whom Jesus is addressing in John 17 first hand? They have already received eternal life as the passage indicates. This passage has to do with their experiencing the eternal life in their mortal lives as they come to know God in that experience through a number of means which are expounded upon for all believers in the First Epistle of John if you examine it for your readers verse by verse. Eternal life is received by a moment of faith alone as Jesus said in Jn 3:16, 1 Jn 5:9-13 and so many other places. Note that the word "friend" does not appear in Jn 17. Something more than that is actually implied. A careful reading of the entire chapter is needed and must be presented. But it does not serve the readership of this booklet because the 12 Disciples are in view who are already saved and being specifically prayed for by Jesus. Another passage would be better suited for the booklet's audience like First John, verse by verse]

Keep on learning, and you will come to know Jehovah and Jesus.

[Not so until you believe in Him for eternal life, study God's Word properly .and follow what it says, albeit imperfectly, but through the grace of God be rewarded with friendship / fellowship with Almighty God, Yahweh ElOhîm. The First Epistle of John covers this subject very well. Cherry picking verses all over the Bible does not do that job. And most men will not choose to come to know ElOhîm Yahweh - the path is narrow not universal!]

And then you can have everlasting life.

[Getting to know the Lord is not the way to have everlasting life. No man except Christ alone can qualify for that. But it is the way to closer fellowship with the Lord which is best learned verse by verse in the First Epistle of John without cherry picking so many verses from all over the Bible without consideration for context.. Salvation unto eternal life is solely by a moment of faith alone in Christ alone according to so many passages - never by any other means, (1 Jn 5:9-13 defines saving faith as well as any passage. Also Jn chapters 3, 6, Acts 16:30-31, Eph 1:13-14; 2:8-9 and many .). Even James chapters 1 and 2 say that, properly interpreted. Faith without works is dead, i.e., useless to provide friendship with God. But faith alone does account one the Righteousness of God unto eternal life. Take a look at Jas 2:21-24: Was not Abraham justified by faith unto righteousness and eternal life before God and then justified by works before men and became the friend of God as it says there and in Ro 4:1-2? - two kinds of justification: one before God by faith in Christ alone, the other before fellow men by works to become the friend of God. Hint: the word often rendered "alone" in Jas 2:24 is an adverb, not an adjective, and is best translated "only." See the YLT.. ]

For example, we have already learned that "God is love." (1 John 4:16)

[And what does that mean? Which kind of love and how was it demonstrated by God so we can emulate that love - there is a difference. But first, what must we do in order to emulate God's love? Better to go to the First Epistle of John and start at the beginning and finish through to the end, verse by verse. Note that 1 Jn 5:9-13 says eternal life is by faith alone]

But [He] also has many other beautiful qualities. The Bible tells us that Jehovah is "merciful and compassionate, slow to anger and abundant in loyal love and truth." (Exodus 34:6) Jehovah is "good and ready to forgive." (Psalm 86:5) God is patient and loyal. (2 Peter 3:9; Revelation 15:4) You will learn much more about [His] beautiful qualities as you read about [Him] in the Bible.

[But not by cherry picking verses like that without consideration of context and proper exegesis ]

20 How can you feel close to God if you cannot see [Him]? (John 1:18; 4:24; 1 Timothy 1:17) When you read about Jehovah in the Bible, you get to know [Him] as a real Person. (Psalm 27:4; Romans 1:20) As you learn more about Jehovah, you will love [Him] more and more and you will feel closer to [Him].

[But not by cherry picking verses like that without consideration of context. An examination of First John verse by verse is the answer ]

21 You will understand that Jehovah is our Father. (Matthew 6:9) He gave us life,

[Not all of us - it depends upon our response to the message of the gospel such as Jn 3:16, 1 Jn 5:9-13]

and [He] also wants us to have the best life possible. That is what a loving father would want for his children. (Psalm 36:9) yes, the Bible teaches that you can become Jehovah's friend. (James 2:23) Imagine that. Jehovah, the Creator of the universe, wants you to be his friend!

[But not by cherry picking verses like that without consideration of context . An examination of First John verse by verse is the answer. Getting to know the Lord is not the way to have everlasting life. That is by faith alone according to so many passages. Even James chapter 2 says that, properly interpreted verse by verse beginning with chapter one which addresses already saved believers from the beginning and throughout. Was not Abraham saved [the word there is justified in the sense of unto eternal life] before He became the friend of God as it says there?

22 Some people may want you to stop studying the Bible. They may fear that you will change your religion. But don't let anyone stop you from becoming Jehovah's friend. He is the best Friend you could ever have.

[This point is not stipulated in Scripture so there is no point in stating it. Simply make the Bible believable by expounding it properly and let the Holy Spirit do His work. No one is saved by being religious anyway: proper religion = friendship with God after one has expressed a moment of faith alone in Christ alone, Jn 3:16, Acts 16:31, Jn 5:24, 6:all; 1 Jn 5:9-13, and dozens more.]

23 As you study the Bible, there will be things that you don't understand. Don't be ashamed to ask questions or to ask for help. Jesus said that we should be humble, like little children. (Matthew 18:2-4)

[It does not take becoming like a child to study the bible properly. There are many teachings in Scripture that are difficult and require much study, beyond that of a child]

And children ask lots of questions. God wants you to find the answers. So study the Bible carefully to make sure that what you learn is the truth. - Read Acts 17:11.

[A single verse will not encourage someone to keep reading the Bible. You have not made your case for the Bible's reliability over all other books. Nor have you shown the proper way to study it to arrive at what it is saying. Why not the Quran, or Budda's writings? Billions follow these books]

24 The best way to learn about Jehovah is to study the Bible. In the next chapter, we will find out why the Bible is different from every other book.

[This chapter should have come first! But the way that the booklet keeps cherry picking verses so that the reader cannot really know the context of each passage is correctly being adhered to does not do the job. You have to adhere to the proper rules of interpretation of Scripture in order to make your point that the Bible is reliable. Because outside of those rules you can make the Bible say anything. Click here for a review of how the Bible is supposed to be read ]