1 We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves.

It is a well known popular proverb that "the devil can quote Scripture." The charitable man of ignorance, quoting these words for such a purpose, is an example of it. Nothing is more grievous to sound sense than to hear cogent words misapplied. How easy it is to do so, while all the while appearing to be arguing most justly. The apparent justness of it is the measure of its mischievousness and aggravatingness.

Thus the hypocritical libertine justifies his flagitious ways by quoting Paul: "All things are lawful unto me." Thus too the Papist extenuates the claims, practices and pretences of the Roman priesthood, by quoting Leviticus, and the words of Christ to the apostles: "Whosesoever sins ye remit, they are remitted." And thus charitable and mischief-working ignorance would plead for connivance at error and sin by quoting "we that are strong ought to bear with the infirmities of the weak".

The sense of words must always be taken from their connection. Paul was speaking of brethren all alike believing and obedient to the gospel of their salvation. Some, however, had a weakness in relation to meats and drinks, inherited from the law which had only just ended in Christ. Paul says that strong brethren were not to reject such brethren, or ridicule their weakness, but rather bear with them and be careful to do and say nothing that would place a stumbling block in their way. The "strong" and "weak" brethren of the passage were both "in the faith."

The "bearing" Paul recommends had no reference to the doctrines and precepts of that faith, but to certain things lying outside of it. He did not mean that brethren faithful to the doctrines and commandments of Christ were to "bear" with those who were loose and uncertain in their allegiance to these. On the contrary, you find in the same epistle, in the very next chapter, (16:17, ) that he commands them to

"avoid" those who "caused divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which they had learned."

He meant that strong faithful brethren were to bear with weak faithful brethren in matters not affecting the faith and practice which united them in Christ.

The lesson is serviceable in our own day, in both the ways of it. There are matters which do not affect the principles or precepts of the gospel in which a magnanimous forbearance will be exercised by all right-minded brethren towards those who may not have sufficient vigour of judgment to see their way clearly. On the other hand, there are principles and practices with which there is to be no forbearance whatever.

If a man should object to almsgiving, for instance, it would be a violation of Paul's words to say that because

"we that are strong ought to bear with the infirmities of the weak,"

therefore, those desiring to be obedient are to give in to this man's scruples, and suppress among themselves obedience to the second great commandment. Suppose he were to find fault with baptism as a needless preliminary to fellowship, as an obstacle keeping back many people; or suppose he were to complain of the gospel being preached as essential to salvation; or suppose he were to find fault with prayer or object to praise in the assemblies of the saints, instead of being called on to bear with such, as "weak" brethren, in the sense of giving in to their ignorant whims, the faithful would rather be under an obligation to apply the principle before us in the opening:

"if any man thinketh himself to be a brother, let him show it by consenting to the wholesome words of the Lord Jesus; but if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant."

And if any man be so ignorant as to stand in the way of the principles or practices of the house of God, which is the pillar and ground of the truth, he brings himself within the stern injunction of John, which commands us to refuse our "God-speed" to any who bring not the doctrine of Christ; and Paul's command to "reject" a man that is an heretic, after the first and second admonition.

Forbearance and faithfulness must never part company.

Sunday Morning 56

The Christadelphian, July 1874

2 Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification.

‬It is far more important at such a time as this to establish truth-believers than to contradict errorists.

The Christadelphian Dec 1896

‭"‬BRETHREN have only to send the genuine spiritual thing to find an enthusiastic welcome in the‭ ‬Christadelphian.‭" ‬These were the words of brother Roberts some years since in a letter to the writer.‭ ‬Our brother also added:‭ "‬The secret of acceptable writing is,‭ ‬1,‭ ‬to have something to say,‭ ‬and‭ ‬2,‭ ‬to say it in the fewest and best chosen words.‭ ‬Brief sentences‭; ‬simple words‭; ‬ideas clear and strong.‭

This is the style that pleases and benefits.‭ ‬The reader gets the meaning without labour,‭ ‬and is drawn on by the mere pleasure of the exercise.‭ ‬I am much afflicted by contributions the reverse of this.‭ ‬I am correspondingly gratified by the right article when it comes:‭ ‬but this is a rare experience.‭" ‬If writers will contribute,‭ ‬and the Editor make selections upon these lines,‭ ‬then will our Magazine be able to maintain its character among the brethren.‭

What is wanted is quality,‭ ‬not quantity-truth,‭ ‬not speculation-Christ,‭ ‬not man.‭ ‬The‭ ‬Christadelphian should be a haven of edification,‭ ‬comfort and rest for weary pilgrims,‭ ‬not a field for conflict,‭ ‬wrestling,‭ ‬and slaughter. ATJ

‭The Christadelphian, Jan 1899

5 Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus:

Consolation implies a previously grieved and afflicted state. Such has been Israel's state for ages. Such is the state more or less, of all who make the hope of Israel their portion, and who thereby become incorporate in the "commonwealth of Israel" to whom the promises belong. The "consolation of Israel" for which Simeon waited is that for which they wait. When it comes, it will be real, adequate, and everlasting.

Shall we not with patience wait?

Seasons 2.29

10 And again he saith, Rejoice, ye Gentiles, with his people.

From its infancy, then, the ecclesia was associated with the offering of song, and that heritage which they shared with the House of Asaph was reinforced by the epistles.

The first of these came from James, who wrote at a time when the ecclesia was still largely composed of Jewish believers, 13 whose musical lineage was still strongly connected to the music of the temple.

His advice to those suffering trial was to express it in prayer, and for those filled with joy to express it in praise. But his specific injunction to "sing psalms" was an invitation for the ecclesia to take up the spirit of the House of Asaph.

Surely the Spirit guided this phrase, for its only use in the New Testament was drawn from its only use in the Old, when to Asaph and his family first had this exhortation been given. Now it was the privilege of the believers to sing psalms with understanding, and to guard the heritage of doctrine which was so precious to their community. 14

But although the beginnings of the ecclesia in Jerusalem were essentially Jewish, the Truth began to spread, from Judaea to Samaria, and from thence to the uttermost parts of the earth, until the ecclesias of the Gentiles would eventually outnumber their Jewish counterparts.

How then might those from other lands participate in the worship of Yahweh? And were they even permitted to do so, given that only the Levites in the temple were authorised to sing on behalf of the people?

It was Paul who gave the most detailed advice, as he wrote concerning the musical arrangements that should prevail in ecclesias everywhere. He understood, as the apostle to the Gentiles, that the practices of the Jewish ecclesia must find their way into Gentile congregations, and in writing to these believers in other lands he encouraged them to take up the privilege of rejoicing before the Father in song.

Reasoning from scripture, he offered a trilogy of texts from Old Testament passages to show that the inclusion of the Gentiles into the hymn of praise had always been a matter of divine testimony. 15 But the finest warrant for his advice was already to be found in the hymn of the House of Asaph, which, so long before the apostle, had exhorted both Jew and Gentile alike to sing unto Yahweh. 16

13 Hence his form of address to "the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad" (James 1:1). The reference to their dispersion places his epistle within the epoch which followed the scattering abroad of the Jewish ecclesia after the death of Stephen (Acts 8:1).

14 The phrase "sing psalms" (James 5:13) is drawn from the psalm given to Asaph and his family (1 Chronicles 16:9). The expression in Psalm 105:2 is but a later form of this original psalm. Even the language is matched, for "sing psalms" (James 5:13) is the Greek word psallo ('to pluck and to play with the fingers'), while the same phrase (1 Chronicles 16:9) is the Hebrew zamar ('to make music'), with an associated word meaning to strike with the fingers.

15 In rapid succession (Romans 15:9-11) Paul gave threefold proof for the inclusion of the Gentiles in singing praise to God (Psalm 18:49; Deuteronomy 32:43; Psalm 117:1).

16 To the Jew (1 Chronicles 16:9) and to the Gentile (verse 23).

Bro Roger Lewis - The House of Asaph Ch 14

13 Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the holy spirit.

Joy and peace in believing

A true understanding of the gospel leads to firm belief and faith, and this in turn creates joy (Gr. char a: cheerfulness) as the wonderful privileges of this knowledge are borne in mind, and peace (Gr. eirene: unity) is experienced in fellowship with one another, and with Christ and God.

The prayer of Paul was in contrast to the state of argumentation and antagonism which obviously existed in the ecclesia (see ch. 14:10). The word "fill" (Gr. pleroo) has the idea of "to make replete; to cram full"; thus to fill to the brim. One who is so completely filled with joy and peace is unlikely to perpetrate animosity and antagonism towards his brethren.

The Christadelphian Expositor

13 Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the holy spirit.

We need God's help and guidance every moment: in everything we do, in every step we take -- however simple or trivial. This is the whole secret of life.

Without this, we do not have a chance. Without this, we are just blind, perishing animals, bumbling out our sad, brief, faceless existence to death and oblivion. Train yourself to keep God in the very forefront of your mind at ALL times. Let Him totally dominate your thoughts. Making pleasing Him your only motive and desire.

Keep pulling your mind back to this, over and over. It will wander, for we are all, and will always be, very much children -- but never give up forcing it back. Don't worry over the failures: we can't change anything that's past. Just keep concentrating on the effort. This is reality. This is living. This alone is joy and peace

Bro Growcott - Search Me O God

14 And I myself also am persuaded of you, my brethren, that ye also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another.


-Character is greater and higher than money, intellect, or love, because it determines the use and direction of these three. It is the character of the rich man which determines whether he shall be a benefactor or a curse.

It is character which determines whether the learned man shall use his knowledge as a destructive or as a constructive force in society.

It is character which determines whether love shall be a passion-working havoc in human life or a grace beautifying and ennobling life. Character is the determining force behind money. talent, love, and so it is the greatest force in human life.

The Christadelphian, Nov 1898

30 Now I beseech you, brethren, for the Lord Jesus Christ's sake, and for the love of the Spirit, that ye strive together with me in your prayers to God for me;

 The Name "Christadelphian."

In the same way, "Christian" has become inexpressive, as the definition of a true believer. A Christian, in the first century, was one who received the doctrine of Christ as apostolically expounded, and who made the commandments of Christ the rule of his life.

In our day, it means an inhabitant of Christendom, without reference to individual faith or practice. We escape this confusion by adopting another name, which Jesus applied to his disciples. He called them "My brethren" (Jno. xx 17; Heb. ii 11) -- therefore, brethren of Christ.

As the English form of this name would be acknowledged by thousands who do not fulfil its conditions, it is convenient to accept it in its Greek form (Anglicised) -- CHRISTADELPHIAN -- which none will own to but those who endorse its implied testimony, that no one belongs to Christ who does not believe the Gospel of the Kingdom, and obey the commandments of Christ.

The Ecclesial Guide