The Woman at the Well

The Woman at the Well, Gustave Doré, Mark Penrith

I’ve long been a fan of Gustave Doré illustrations. Here I’ve taken one of his sketches (The Woman at the Well; one of my favourite passages) and sooped it up a bit (David if you read this I’d be interested if your thinking has gone beyond music to other forms of art; I can’t get our last few line exchange out of my mind). I’m on holiday and not preaching this Sunday so I had a little time on my hands to experiment… What do you think? Is it a ja or nee? Click image to enlarge.

1 The Pharisees heard that Jesus was gaining and baptizing more disciples than John, 2 although in fact it was not Jesus who baptized, but his disciples. 3 When the Lord learned of this, he left Judea and went back once more to Galilee.

4 Now he had to go through Samaria. 5 So he came to a town in Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph. 6 Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about the sixth hour.

7 When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?” 8 (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.)

9 The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.)

10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”

11 “Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? 12 Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his flocks and herds?”

13 Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.”

16 He told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.”

17 “I have no husband,” she replied.

Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. 18 The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.”

19 “Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet. 20 Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.”

21 Jesus declared, “Believe me, woman, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 22 You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.”

25 The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”

26 Then Jesus declared, “I who speak to you am he.”

What happens when I die?

Catholic, Purgatory, Evangelical, response,  Intermediate state, Sheol, Hades, Limbo, Purgatory, Soul sleep, Bosom of Abraham, Heaven, Hell, Dante's Purgatorio by Gustave Doré

The three main contenders for “What happens when I die?” is the Evangelical Intermediary State, the Seventh Day Adventist’s Soul Sleep, and the Popish heresy of Purgatory. Image titled Dante’s Purgatorio by Gustave Doré. Click image to enlarge.

Nanny Ogg once declared, “The wages of sin is death, but so is the salary of virtue.” I guess that’s a tongue in cheek concession to the fact that death happens… to all and sundry. Big question is “What happens when I die”; I believe the Bible has one or two things to say.

You will die, will be raised and will face judgment (Hebrews 9:27; John 5:24 – 30). As the resurrection has not yet occurred (1 Thessalonians 4:13 – 18) the natural question is “What will happen to my soul in-between?”

The Old Testament teaches after death one’s soul rests in a state of conscious existence, Sheol (Isaiah 14:9 – 10; Ezekiel 32:17 – 32; Genesis 37:35). The New Testament clarifies, describing two realms separated by a great gulf: a place of comfort, Abraham’s bosom or paradise; and a place of torment, Hades (Luke 16:19 – 31).

It was to this place of comfort that Jesus promised the thief on the cross, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43). And to this place of torment that He descended after His death and made proclamation to the spirits held prisoner there (Ephesians 4:9, 1 Peter 3:19).

When Believers fall asleep, a euphemism for death (Luke 8:52; 1 Corinthians 15:6), they look forward to being “present with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:6 – 9). Unbelievers descend to Hades and are later cast into Hell. As such all men are warned, “Now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:2). This gracious offer will soon pass away.

More questions? Speak to Mark.

You can download the original document here.

The Dating of the New Testament/The Chronology of Acts

I spent about 4 hours more than I anticipated reconciling the cronological dating of the books of the Bible to the chronological timeline of Acts. I used quite a few sources, but unfortunately didn’t note them done and completed this work a few months ago (at least one source was

I just realised that I’m missing a chapter by chapter comparison to Acts. That’d be the cherry on the cake. I’ll get around to it in the next few weeks.

The reason why I’m publishing this now is that I’ve recently being chatting to Jeff Gage from Free Grace Baptist Church in Boksburg. He is a fascinating guy, a real treat to chat to. He’s a Preterist; but who am I to judge :). Anyway he dates Revelation in like 30 – 60 something AD and I really wanted to bed down my own dating; hence the efforts.

Got an opinion on the dating of the books of the New Testament? I’m sure I’d love to hear them.

The Dating of the New Testament The Chronology of Acts
Date Book Date Event Recorded in Acts
44? Saint James the Great: According to ancient local tradition, on 2 January of the year AD 40, the Virgin Mary appeared to James on a Pilar on the bank of the Ebro River at Caesaraugusta, while he was preaching the Gospel in Spain. Following that vision, St James returned to Judea, where he was beheaded by King Herod Agrippa I in the year 44 during a Passover (Nisan 15) (Acts 12:1-3).
44 Death of Herod Agrippa I (JA19.8.2, Acts 12:20-23)
AD 45-55 Galatians 45-49? Mission of Barnabas and Paul, (Acts 13:1-14:28), to Cyprus, Pisidian Antioch, Iconium, Lystra and Derbe (there they were called “gods … in human form”), then return to Syrian Antioch. Map1
49 Since the Jews constantly made disturbances at the instigation of Chrestus,[6] he [Claudius] expelled them from Rome. (referenced in Acts 18:2)[7]
AD 50 1 Thessalonians 50? Council of Jerusalem and the “Apostolic Decree”, Acts 15:1-35, same as Galatians 2:1-10?, which is followed by the Incident at Antioch[8] at which Paul publicly accused Peter of “Judaizing” (2:11-21), see also Circumcision controversy in early Christianity
AD 50 2 Thessalonians 50-53? Paul’s 2nd mission, (Acts 15:36-18:22), split with Barnabas, to Phrygia, Galatia, Macedonia, Philippi, Thessalonica, Berea, Athens, Corinth, “he had his hair cut off at Cenchrea because of a vow he had taken”, then return to Antioch; 1 Thessalonians, Galatians written? Map2
AD 50-200 James
53-57? Paul’s 3rd mission, (Acts 18:23-22:30), to Galatia, Phrygia, Corinth, Ephesus, Macedonia, Greece, and Jerusalem where James the Just challenged him about rumor of teaching antinomianism (21:21), he addressed a crowd in their language (most likely Aramaic), Romans, 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, Philippians written? Map3
55? Egyptian Prophet (allusion to Moses) and 30,000 unarmed Jews doing The Exodus reenactment massacred by Procurator Antonius Felix (JW2.13.5, JA20.8.6, Acts 21:38)
AD 56 Philemon
AD 57 Corinthians
AD 57–58 Romans
AD 57–62 Philippians
58? Paul arrested, accused of being a revolutionary, “ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes”, teaching resurrection of the dead, imprisoned in Caesarea (Acts 23-26)
59? Paul shipwrecked on Malta, there he was called a god (Acts 28:6)
AD 60+ Colossians 60? Paul in Rome: greeted by many “brothers” (NRSV: “believers”), three days later called together the Jewish leaders, who hadn’t received any word from Judea about him, but were curious about “this sect”, which everywhere is spoken against; he tried to convince them from the “Law and Prophets”, with partial success, said the Gentiles would listen and spent two years proclaiming the Kingdom of God and teaching the “Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 28:15-31); Epistle to Philemon written?
AD 60-70 Gospel of Mark
AD 60-85 Gospel of Matthew
AD 60-90 Gospel of Luke
AD 60-90 Acts
AD 60-96 First Peter
AD 60-100 Timothy
AD 60-100 Titus
AD 60-130 Second Peter
AD 65 Ephesians
AD 66-90 Jude
AD 68-100 Revelation
AD 80-90 Hebrews
AD 80-95 Gospel of John
AD 90-100 Epistles of John
As a jpg The Dating of the New Testament and The Chronology of Acts
As a png

Real people with real questions looking for real answers

On Sundays I get asked all manner of questions. This is one of them: What about Tattoos? I’m putting it up here because I know enough people have an opinion on this and if my answer has any glaring Scriptural errors it will get pulled apart in no time.

Of interest one could substitute the word tattoo in the answer below with a plethora of other words: TV, Video Games, Golf, guys night out, alcohol… OK, Paragraph 1 wouldn’t apply to every single one of those :).

Anyone given more than a cursory glance to Revelation 19:16 before? To be honest I’d as soon not include it in the answer but I’m afraid that’d be dishonest (the possiblity exists that it’s a scriptura scripturam interpretatur thing). The hour is getting late, my books are at the church and I need to get some sleep but I did manage to do a few internet commentry lookups: Alas Calvin didn’t get to Revelation, Henry is as helpless as ever and Barnes seems to attribute the thigh to the hilt of a sword (I’m not convinced so I changed the wording of my second sentance from, “…does not directly…” to “…does not clearly…”).

What about Tattoos?

To find out more about Crystal Park Baptist Church click here. Click the image to enlarge.

Stand up and yell

After a church service on Sunday morning, a young boy suddenly announced to his mother, “Mom, I’ve decided to become a minister when I grow up.”

“That’s okay with us, but what made you decide that?”

“Well,” said the little boy, “I have to go to church on Sunday anyway, and I figure it will be more fun to stand up and yell, than to sit and listen.”


I listened to this sermon this morning on the way to work. It’s a JMA classic regarding salvation, presenting the Gospel and Fire and Brimstone (which is why the joke above tickled me when I read it a bit later in the day). You can download it here or push the play button below,

Be a Berean, step into the text to see if these things are so,

37 When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”
38 Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.”
40 With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” 41 Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.”

Want to hear the verse in context? Acts 2:37 – 41
What is this about?

Questions and Answers – The Gospel

Most Sundays I go out into the neighbourhood with Soon-Jong Kim door to door evangelising. When people are friendly we get to share the Gospel a few times a week. I’m also blessed to be able to share the Gospel at the office that I work and I don’t think a week goes by without the opportunity to give a defence for the hope that I have in Christ Jesus.

You know what? Mostly I share the Gospel with people who go to church. Sounds weird, but it’s sadly true. Most church goers are pew warmers who have no idea if they are saved, how they might be saved or even if its necessary to be saved in the first place.

Before you read the short form below know this: The Gospel is the most important thing we hold to as Christians. It’s what defines us, what separates us from other religions and cults. It needs to be clearly understood, correctly articulated, in complete agreement with Scripture. A step out here or there renders it null and void.

Consider Paul’s strong words to the Galatians,

6 I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, 7 which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. 9 As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.”

Want to hear the verse in context? Galatians 1: 6 – 9
What is this about?

Below is my shorthand of the Gospel truth. It’s not a comprehensive theological treaties, its supposed to be usable. Check it out; comment below.

What is the Gospel?

To find out more about Crystal Park Baptist Church click here. Click the image to enlarge.

Questions and Answers – Marriage and Divorce

Thinking this one through. Still got some white space to fill out. Any ideas?

Marriage and Divorce

To find out more about Crystal Park Baptist Church click here. Click the image to enlarge.