Bible Q&A – Answers

“The entirety of Your word is truth.” Psalm 119:160a

There are so many questions that people might have about the Bible that are left unanswered. Here we seek to answer them citing Scripture and showing reasoning where applicable. Before we begin, there are some things to consider that we will state plainly here:

  1. The Bible is the authoritative, inerrant, plenary Word of God (2 Timothy 3:16-17; Psalm 119:160).
  2. There are some things that are matters of faith, and others that are matters of opinion (Romans 14).
  3. Matters of faith are clearly taught in the Bible, and the fate of our souls depends upon these matters.
  4. Matters of opinion are less clear, and we have freedom to believe them or not without fear for our souls.
  5. Some of the questions that are answered below are matters of faith, and we strive to be very clear on those issues.
  6. When it comes to matters of opinion, further reasoning is required.
  7. When quoting and linking passages of Scripture, we will be using the New King James Version unless otherwise stated.
  8. This page is to archive and supplement our articles in the Rutherford Weekly.
  9. Some of these answers might anger you — we simply ask that you pursue truth with an open mind and consider all of what the Bible has to say.
  10. The order of the contents below does not reflect the order in which the questions will be answered.

Table of Contents:

What is the significance of the number of fish caught in John 21?
God is love, but what about judgment?
What does the Bible say about homosexuality?
What did God do before Creation?
If we were born in Christ’s image, why aren’t we invisible?
What about “once saved always saved”?
Why are there mosquitoes?
Do our loved ones come back to visit us as angels?
What about separation and divorce?
What about heaven?
What about Freemasonry?
What is God’s name?
What about communism?
Why did Jesus wait until the end of the Last Supper to wash the
     disciples’ feet?
Why are some healed and some not?
Did God command genocide? If so, why?
What about denominations?
Where is the spirit after death before the resurrection?
What about the mistreatment of animals?

 

What is the significance of the number of fish caught in John 21?     table of contents

There are some things in Scripture that are just not stated, and this is among them. By way of summary, let us look at the passage. This takes place right after the resurrection of our Lord, and the disciples decide to go fishing on a boat in the Sea of Galilee. They fish all night and catch nothing. Jesus arrives at the beach and tells them to cast their net on the right side of the boat. They comply and catch so many fish that they need help hauling all of them to shore.

“Simon Peter went up and dragged the net to land, full of large fish,
one hundred and fifty-three; and although there were so many, the net was not broken.”
~John 21:11 NKJV

So why 153 fish? What significance does this number hold? Various theologians and thinkers have tried to come up with a symbolic, numerological answer to this question, from Augustine to Jerome, and even some modern scholars. But really, the most likely explanation is that this is evidence that what we read in John 21 is an eye-witness account. This lends further credence to the reality of the resurrection of Jesus and the validity of the Gospel of John. It shows that our faith is rooted in evidence, showing that Jesus is who the Bible says He is: the Son of God who takes away the sins of the world (Matthew 16:16; John 1:29; 20:31).

Additional: Augustine of Hippo, subject to the trend of his time of treating everything in Scripture as allegory, decided that, since 153 was the 17th triangular number (the sum of the first 17 integers), then it represented divine grace (7) and law (10). Seven represented the number of the fruits of the Spirit, and ten represented the Ten Commandments. Jerome believed it was the number of species of fish in the Sea of Galilee. Other scholars think it foreshadowed that they would be great “fishers of men,” along with several other increasingly unlikely interpretations. Generally speaking, however, the simplest answer is the more likely one — that it is evidence of John’s eye-witness account.

 

God is love, but what about judgment?     table of contents

This is a great question! It should be noted that it is impossible to talk about His love properly without also talking about judgment.

God is, without a doubt, love.

“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.”
1 John 4:7-8 NKJV

There are two clarification questions we must ask now that we have established that God is love: How should we define love? In what way(s) does He show His love toward us?

Before we answer these, there are a few other traits God possesses that we should also establish.

God is faithful. This means that God keeps His promises (1 Corinthians 1:9).

God is holy. Holiness is not something we understand very well today. It is a state of being pure, free of sin, righteous. It is a separation for a specific purpose. God partially defines it when He said this to the Israelites, “And you shall be holy to Me, for I the LORD am holy, and have separated you from the peoples, that you should be Mine” (Leviticus 20:26).

God also demands to be treated as holy, which means He gets to decide what the standards of holiness are. He has this right because He is the Creator of us all (Genesis 1:1). He gets to set those standards—they are not up to us. Since God is righteous (Psalm 36:6), it would be unfair for Him to expect us to meet these standards without letting us know what they are. Thankfully, He has given us the Bible wherein these standards are written (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

These things explain the nature of God, things about Himself that He cannot change. I am grateful He has given us His Scriptures to tell us how to please Him.

God is just. If a judge were to try a case and set free a clearly guilty man, would you ever trust that judge to bring you justice? Did he show any love toward the plaintiff? No and no. While the judge uses the civil law code to bring people to justice, our Lord uses His standards of holiness codified in His Word. Jesus tells us that it will be His words that will judge us on the last day (John 12:48).

The problem is, since we are all guilty of not meeting His standards, we are all deserving of death, we are all deserving of judgment (Romans 3:23; 6:23a). Next time, we will see how all of God’s perfect traits work together through His Son Jesus.