Wiley Richards is a retired professor of theology and philosophy at The Baptist College of Florida in Graceville.
Latest Articles by WILEY RICHARDS
Aug 26, 2014
The Bible assigns to humans the responsibility for having dominion over fish, fowl and every living thing that moves upon the earth (Gen. 1:28). We can easily discern God’s will for us as caretakers of the natural order. However, our assigned text concerns not humanity’s oversight of the creation, but Israel’s mandate to observe the Sabbath year (Lev. 25:4). To understand that divine mandate we will need to delve a little deeper into the background of the seventh day, seventh year and 50th year. We will conclude with a brief application to us as Christians.
Aug 18, 2014
A person rises no higher than his or her prayer life. The opposite is also true. Failure in prayer often leads to failure in actions and character. Prayer focuses upon God and His Kingdom, yet the Kingdom-building God builds Kingdom servants through prayer. The elderly Daniel was a prayer warrior. Prayer was a daily habit of the administrator.
Aug 12, 2014
In approaching our assigned texts for this study, we must note the word “therefore” in verse six. It could be interpreted to mean, “on the basis of what was just written.” It points to the important ideas that shed light on the subsequent discussion. Two merit our attention. First, the Bible refers to the time when “the Chief Shepherd” appears (v. 4). He is the Good Shepherd who lays down His life for His sheep (John 10:11) and knows them by name (John 10:14). He is the Great Shepherd through the blood of the everlasting covenant (Heb. 13:20). Second, Peter alludes to the crown of glory that does not fade away to be awarded at the Chief Shepherd’s appearing. James 1:12 speaks of the crown of life for those who love Jesus. Three other crowns are to be given out: the incorruptible crown for those practicing self-discipline (1 Cor. 9:25), the crown of rejoicing for the soul-winners (1 Thess. 2:19) and the crown of righteousness for those who love our Lord’s appearing (2 Tim. 4:8).
Aug 5, 2014
As we progress in our study of Peter’s writings, placing the writing in historical contest can be helpful. Peter wrote under the shadow of a sobering prophecy. Following his restoration and commission by Jesus after His resurrection, a portion of Jesus’ words were foreboding.
Jul 22, 2014
When witnessing to a woman in a home, I have sometimes asked her whether her husband is a Christian. It is not uncommon for her to say, “I don’t know. I will have to go ask him.” That answer tells me what it is she thinks indicates one’s spiritual condition, namely, whether one’s name is on a church roll somewhere. In fact, in conducting a funeral for a non-church attendee, family members go to a lot of trouble, hoping to find a record in church files that the deceased was a member. Being saved becomes equivalent to church membership. Remember, though, that just being good does not guarantee that one is saved. Let’s look at enduring faith.
Jul 22, 2014
In reading Peter’s epistles, I am reminded of a casual remark made by a former fellow student and dedicated pastor. He shared that as he tried to study in sermon preparation, his mind would wander from member to member as he recalled the special events they faced. He admitted his burden for them usually overcame his need to study. He would get up from his desk and go to them. He was not a dynamic preacher, but he was one of the best pastors I have known. When he was stricken with a terminal disease, he was steadfast in his dying commitment. Opining that we preachers must sometimes be called on to show people how to die, he did.
Jul 10, 2014
Peter and James, authors of New Testament books by those names, were intimately associated with Jesus. Neither Peter nor James ever directly quoted Jesus, but their epistles throb with allusions to the teachings of Jesus. Peter’s denials of Jesus did not negatively influence what he wrote. On the contrary, Peter’s writings reflect his profound appreciation for God’s grace. The opening words of the first epistle testify to the depth of his contact with Jesus and His teachings. Peter was not present when John the Baptist received his revelation from God at our Lord’s baptism. The Holy Spirit, dove-like, descended on Jesus and the Voice identified Him as the Son of God (John 1:32-34), but accounts probably spread. Further, Peter, James, and John heard the Voice from a cloud on the mountain which identified Jesus as God’s Son (Matt. 17:5).
Jul 3, 2014
As we have seen, Simon Peter opened his epistle with some heavy theology, beginning with the Trinity. He enticed us with the prospect of a divine inheritance in the life to come. However, he abruptly changes our attention to the impact the Gospel makes on our daily lives. With that in mind, I have adopted informal headings for each section to reflect the mood.
Jun 26, 2014
You may have heard the anecdote of the little boy about to sit down at the kitchen table when his mother told him to go wash his hands to get the germs off. The little boy blurted out, “Germs! Germs! Germs! Jesus! Jesus! Jesus!” That’s all I hear around this house, and I’ve never seen either one of them!” We can sympathize with his frustration, but in a few years if he should become ill, he will be grateful that somebody studied about germs, and they may even have found a cure for his illness. Give him a few more years and he will find himself burdened with moral failures and not know what to do. If he is lucky, someone will tell him about the crucified Man from Galilee who paid the debt of sin on His cross. The sinful boy, now a man, need not be broken in mind and body with his sins. God offers forgiveness for the repentant.
Jun 26, 2014
Abraham, originally known as Abram (Gen. 12:1), stands out as one of the most significant men in history. Followers of three world religions—Judaism, Islam and Christianity—trace their physical and/or spiritual heritage back to him. Christians look to him as the clearest example of the meaning of saving faith. Genesis 15:6 says, “Abram believed the Lord; and he credited it to him as righteousness.” Romans 4:3 quotes these words approvingly. Romans 4:5 adds for clarification, “But to the one who does not work, but believes on him who declares righteous the ungodly, his faith is credited for righteousness.” Our study in the Book of Hebrews highlights some of God’s qualities that point to our reasons for loving and trusting Him.