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 Atlanta, 31 August 2016

This bulletin isn't the only place you'll find Bible study material. Every week a number of other items are added to my website ( Recent additions include material on the Sinner's Prayer, how America has become so secular, lesbian adoptions, and several Bible "contradictions." You'll find 4 new Q&As, numerous articles, and a podcast review of Risen, a fascinating movie about Jesus as seen through the eyes of a Roman soldier.

The International Bible Study Ministry churns out a great quantity of practical material -- over 10,000 pages now at the website. While most of the material is free, for access to the whole website you need to sign up. This especially pays off if you want to listen to entire podcast series (often 10 or 30 lessons), or to have access to detailed notes on every chapter of the N.T. (hundreds of studies). When you sign up, you're not only learning more Bible; you're helping to finance IBTM. For example, from 5 Sep to 8 Oct I'm teaching in 11 different countries, at no charge -- because your subscription, in effect, subsidizes my travel. Anyway, if you're unsure, please think about it. 

Biblical Words Series:

                    N.T. Greek  O.T. Hebrew – O.T. Aramaic


Our world this week appears only once in the N.T., although it was well known. According to Jesus, it's a word that should never be heard on his followers' lips:

"But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell" (Matt 5:22).

Raca, or Raka (Greek Ρακά) in the Aramaic and Hebrew of the Talmud (a few centuries after Christ), means "empty one" or "fool." In Aramaic, it's either ריקא or ריקה (rēqáh or rēqá'). The Jews used it as a term of contempt -- like calling someone a blockhead or jackass. The Lord teaches us to speak graciously (even of our enemies), and to avoid contempt, mocking, and other attitudes and actions unworthy of his followers.

We may instinctively feel that only "swear words" are wrong. But according to Jesus, it won't do simply to avoid profanity, since it's the unChristian sentiment behind such speech that is the real issue. This precludes, among other things, merely replacing an inappropriate term with a less offensive one. (For example, I believe this would include such phrases as "You jerk!", as well as exclamations like "What the... ?" and "bull crap.") 

For more on this, please read Q&A 0463, on profanity, and Q&A 0050, on unwholesome talk. To understand what "taking the Lord's name in vain" means -- I haven't met many Christians who understand this command -- please listen to my podcast on the 3rd Commandment.

Next week
Do we have to address God by a particular word? Are we in trouble if we mispronounce it? Come back to learn the truth about Yahweh.


Next week I'll write to you from Nicaragua. I'm teaching in Managua, the capital city, as well as in Malpaisillo, a town of 8000 a couple of hours outside the capital -- also where my brother and his wife live and farm (fish and fruit, providing full- and part-time employment for 14 persons).

In all three cities the topic requested is Dios y la Ciencia (God and Science).

Thanks for your support and prayers. And please, if you aren't a website member, sign up. It's easy, cheap, and opens up an ocean of resources for your ministry and your personal Bible study.

Your brother,
Douglas Jacoby

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