Mark Rathel is professor of theology at The Baptist College of Florida in Graceville.
Latest Articles by MARK A. RATHEL
Apr 13, 2014
The core affirmation of the Christian faith is the amazing claim that “the Word became flesh” (John 1:14) died. The death of Jesus was not an accident, but the purposive plan of God. Jesus did not die as a victim. He voluntarily surrendered His life to death as He died for the sins of humanity.
Apr 6, 2014
The older I become the more I discover friendships mean more to me. As one who is an introvert by natural disposition, I particularly cherish the rich friendships I have within the community of faith. Not surprisingly, friendship is an important theme within God’s Wisdom Book. Proverbs contains godly wisdom for choosing friends, maintaining friends, and how to deal with friction points with our friends.
Mar 30, 2014
Years ago, I conducted a study of finances in Proverbs. I began by listing every reference to finances I could find within God’s Wisdom book. My list of financial passages from Proverbs filled up four long legal pad sheets. The implications of Proverbs financial teachings are radical.
Mar 23, 2014
I teach a class called Christian worldview. During the class, I teach a brief section titled, “You might be a slacker if. ...” The slacker or sluggard is an important character within the book of Proverbs. The Hebrew term translated “slacker” or “sluggard occurs 14 times. Proverbs sets forth contrasting types of people. For example, throughout the book Solomon contrasted the wise and the fool. Proverbs contrasted the lazy slacker with the diligent and the righteous. In God’s book of Wisdom, laziness is both a character flaw and a moral issue. The consequences of laziness are devastating.
Mar 16, 2014
Even worldly wisdom contains counsel related to the power and proper use of words. The following quotations from The Merriam-Webster Dictionary of Quotations illustrate the power of words. “Speech is a mirror of the soul: as a man speaks, so is he.” “The tongue of man is a twisty thing, there are plenty of words there of every kind.” As a preacher, this quote hurts: “What orators lack in depth they make up to you in length.”
Mar 9, 2014
One of the most popular philosophies in the late 20th century summarized its core teaching with the slogan, “You are what you choose.” This atheistic philosophy affirmed that what you choose is not important; rather the important matter is that you choose rather than following societal norms. Properly understood, “You are what you choose” summarizes the message of Proverbs. In contrast to existential philosophy, Proverbs emphasizes what you choose is vitally important. Proverbs sets forth two choices—the way of folly or the way of wisdom. The choice between the two has earthly and eternal consequences.
Mar 2, 2014
Webster’s New World College Dictionary defines a proverb as “a short, traditional saying that expresses some obvious truth or familiar experience; adage; maxim.” Ben Franklin collected and published common American proverbs in his Poor Richard’s Almanac. For example, one famous Franklin proverb stated, “Early to bed, early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.” Franklin, however, did not live by this adage or maxim during the time he served as Ambassador to France and participated in Parisian nightlife.
Feb 23, 2014
Proverbs, in the words of one scholar, is “spirituality of the ordinary.” Proverbs instructs believers that worship encompasses all areas of life: home, business, government, personal relations, etc. Proverbs 1:7 summarizes the theme of Proverbs: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” Proverbs 1:2-7 expresses the purpose of Proverbs: to instruct in wisdom (2a), to assist in understanding wisdom sayings (2b), to provide moral instruction (v. 3), and to move the reader to maturity (v. 4). The early sections of Proverbs set forth Two Ways (wisdom and folly), personified as Two Women (wisdom and adulteress), and Two Destinies (Life and Destruction).
Feb 16, 2014
Peter boldly, publically professed his allegiance for Jesus. If everyone else abandons you, Peter said, I will never abandon you (Matt. 26.33). Further, he brashly claimed his willingness to die a martyr’s death (John 13:37).
Feb 9, 2014
“Doubting Thomas’” expressed the meaning of the resurrection of Jesus. Drawing a comparison to the famed words of Neil Armstrong, one theologian conveyed the significance of Thomas’ confession (my Lord and my God): “one small verbal step and a giant leap of faith and theology.” The resurrection of Jesus communicates the significance of the person of Jesus.