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Darkness to Light - Vol. III, No.8

Darkness to Light
Volume III, Number 8


Presented by Darkness to Light Web site
Director: Gary F. Zeolla

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Analytical-Literal Translation of the New Testament - Translated By Gary F. Zeolla. The ideal version for the serious student of the Bible. The only Bible that is a literal translation of the Majority Greek Text, brings out nuances of the Greek text, and includes study aids within the text. Promotes understanding of what the New Testament writers originally wrote. Second edition now available in paperback, hardback, and eBook formats.

More Email Exchanges on a Variety of Subjects

I'm still going through old email exchanges I saved from the last couple of years. So below are some dealing with a variety of subjects. The emailers' comments are printed in black and enclosed in "greater than" and "lesser than" signs. My responses are in red.

>Subject: Gambling


Since my last letter, I've moved from Hawaii to Virginia. I have been working to get everything settled.<

That's quite a change. I hope you get settled in soon.

>I am wondering, is gambling a sin? I have played some and have not felt good about it. Since I got here to Virginia, I've stopped. I found out that I was losing money from it….


This is a hard one as the Bible doesn't specifically mention gambling. But I think where one potential problem comes in is regards to why one gambles. If a person is looking to "get rich quick" so they don't have to work any more, than I'd say that could be a problem. The Bible teaches, " if anyone is not willing to be working neither let him be eating" (2Thes 3:10; ALT).

Then there's issue of trust. Gambler are trusting in "lady luck" not God to provide for their needs. The Bible may not condemn gambling, but it also certainly does not mention it as being God's way of providing for people. Again, work, not gambling is the Biblical way God provides.

Then, as you indicate, there's the very real problem of losing money. It just doesn't seem good "stewardship" of the resources God does provide for us to risk throwing it away gambling. Now many would say it's just a form of entertainment, and we spend money of other forms of entertainment. But with gambling, if you're not careful, you can end up "spending" a lot more than you initially planned. And that leads to the next point.

There's the very real possibility of becoming addicted to it. Paul said, "All [things] are lawful to me, but all [things] are not advantageous [or, beneficial]. All [things] are lawful to me, but I will not be controlled by anything." (1Cor 6:12; ALT). Lots of people end up under the "power" of gambling. It has ruined many lives. So it would be hard to say it is a "helpful" activity.

But still, Paul did say "all things are lawful." And in the absence of any specific commandment against it, I cannot say without a doubt it is wrong. But given the potential pitfalls and dangers, I personally never gamble.

God bless,
Gary Z.

>Subject: Help. I have a question. I believe I was saved but am having doubts.


I believe I was saved as a child. I believed by hearing the gospel message, and then put my full faith and trust in Jesus to become my Lord and Savior (approx. age 7). Now as an adult I am having doubt. It is very specific. I have no doubt that I trusted Jesus with full faith from my heart, but I am not certain that I really came thinking of myself as a "sinner" when I trusted. Does this make sense (I was seven)? Please help me with this.

I knew I needed Jesus to save me and prayed the sinner's prayer with my pastor with faith in Jesus, but I really did not conceive of myself as particularly sinful -- and I remember feeling awkward about the "sinner" part of the prayer, but I prayed in agreement. So now I feel torn, do I need to re-confess? Or is this all just silly doubt?

Since I was saved I have always been interested in the things of God. I read my Bible, pray, go to church, teach Bible Study, and even frequently witness to others. However, this doubt is strong. Help!


It is very common for people who made confessions as a child to have doubts later on. The simple faith of a child can be saving faith, but most often it is not based on much knowledge or experience. In your case, as a child you probably would not have had much of a sense of sin. But now, being older, you, as with all of us, have unfortunately had more personal experience with sin. So it is understandable that you now are struggling.

Given such a situation, it is also common for people who made a confession as children to "re-commit" their lives to Christ. This would not be a denial that you really were saved as a child but that you now realize you need to strengthen that commitment with your now greater knowledge of the faith and of yourself. It would be similar to a married couple re-stating their vows. They're already married, but they are saying that if they had to do it over again, they would.

I hope that helps.

God bless,
Gary Z.

>Subject: Re: Help. I have a question. I believe I was saved but am having doubts.

Thank you very much. Your reply helped me and is a blessing.


>Subject: Baptism


I am a born again Christian. Being that the Bible says that I am a priest of my own house, is it permissible to baptize members of my own family?


I would say it would be permissible but not advisable, if you are referring to baptizing them in your own home. The main idea of baptism is as a public confession of ones faith, and baptizing your own kids at home would not fit this idea. It is better to do it in a church setting. In this way, the person is visibly brought into the body of Christ. But I would say, if the pastor of the church would allow it, that I would see nothing wrong with you doing the actual baptizing in the church setting.

God bless,
Gary Z.

>Subject: Dedication Ceremony

My husband and I have both been raised with Catholic beliefs. We are not opposed to the religion, but sought to have our 3-month son baptized in the Baptist Church. Is there a difference in "dedication" vs. baptismal?


There is a significant difference between a Baptist infant dedication ceremony and Catholic infant baptism. The dedication ceremony is more for the parents than the child. The parents are dedicating themselves to raise up the child in the ways of the Lord. But it does not in any way ensure the "salvation" of the infant. In Catholicism, baptism is considered to be the means of salvation for the child.

In the Baptist faith, before one is baptized, the person must make a personal profession of faith in Jesus Christ before being baptized. And it is by this faith that one is saved. But since this requires a personal profession of faith, a person has to be old enough to understand the implications before being baptized. So Baptists generally will not baptize anyone younger than about eight.

If you're wondering, in Baptist thought, children dying before being baptized can be saved by the grace of God and His foreseeing that they would place their faith in Christ if they had lived longer.

If you're interested, I present the Biblical basis for the Baptist viewpoint in my Scripture Workbook.

God bless,
Gary Z.

>Subject: ALT [Analytical-Literal Translation] question

Bro. Gary,

You've done a great job and have come to the same conclusions that I have concerning the New Testament text. I was studying over the ALT a little and have this question for you. Please understand this is no trick question or back-door assault, merely an honest question.

You translate "amen amen" in the ALT as "most positively." [e.g. John 3:3] Now, we are in agreement that the translations of the Bible should be FE [formal equivalence]. Shouldn't you, in keeping with the FE philosophy and practice, reflect the repetition of "amen" with "Truly, truly," or "Certainly, certainly" or some other repetition? While I completely agree that "most positively" definitely explains the term, it seems to me that it borders on a DE [dynamic equivalence] translation. Your thoughts?

Take care,
in Christ,
Pastor Peter

You're possibly correct. It would have been most literal to use "Positively, positively." However, the lexicons I checked specifically gave something like "Most positively" as a translation for the double "amen." And "Positively, positively" would have been very awkward. So with lexical support and with the improved readability, I didn't think it would be a problem using the slightly less literal "Most positively." But I could have just as easily used a double rendering as you suggest.

God bless,
Gary Z.

>Subject: The nature of man post "confession of faith"

Gary, grace and peace:

About your site, I say most impressive!! I am in the process of starting a ministry myself and it is good to see that there are others with a similar theological perspective.

Concerning the message title, have you considered writing a series of articles on the condition of man through the various phases of election to redemption. For example, at one time, I thought I agreed with Neil Anderson, but some things about his position are not thoroughly justified. He seems to be, however, one of the few popular writers giving serious attention to the structure of man and its implications on sin for the believer. I think this in and of itself is why he has quite a following.

Having pointed out the problems with the trichotomous view, I thought you may have some ideas on the subject. Thanks in advance and keep up the pursuit of God's glorification.


Thank you for you email. I haven't really thought about writing on this subject per se. But the basic conception is as follows:

Before the Fall: Able not to sin.
After the Fall: Not able not to sin.
After conversion: Able not to sin.
After glorification: Not able to sin.

I hope that helps.

God bless,
Gary Z.

>Subject: Doctrine of Election

I recently found your web site and enjoy it much. I would say that I am in line with Calvinism and am enjoying the deeper side of understanding it. I believe that we are chosen of God and that it is not of ourselves, that we do have a responsibility to receive God's gift.

In my studies, I do believe that God, by His love has chosen those for eternal life with Him, allowing others to perish in hell. What I am finding is that the majority of Christianity (mostly I think because God's Word is not being soundly taught in a wide variety of churches) is more influenced by emotions than they are by truth. Having said that, in my discussions with others on the topic of God choosing us, the argument that I come up against the most is this: If God chooses some for Heaven, then He also chooses those for Hell. "That's not fair" is the general ending to this thought.

I do talk about the sin of Adam and that Adam is the perfect example of man, and that mankind is doomed to hell due to the sin that Adam acted on (not on the basis of Adam, but on the basis that mankind would act the same). Therefore, we're doomed to hell, but due to God's love for some, they get eternal life with Him. This is probably the argument that I would like info on the most.

But it still does not do much to the emotions of understanding why God would not just choose everyone to His pleasure and overwhelm everyone's rejection with His love.

I look forward to your comments,

Saved to Serve,

Thank you for your email. I've heard this argument many times myself. I usually respond with "Why should God choose everyone for salvation?" They usually respond by saying, "Why wouldn't He?" But then, I try to emphasize that He is in no way obligated to save anyone. And if He saves one person, He is still in no way obligated to save anyone else. To say that He is or that it is "unfair" is to judge God and to try to make Him conform to our rules and our concepts of right and wrong.

The main point is to try to emphasize the authority of God and that He does not answer to us. Our conceptions of right and wrong should be based on God's Word, not on our feelings. If someone does not "get" that last point, you'll probably get nowhere. But it is the most important point, not just on this issue but on many others as well.

You could try changing to the subject to one of ethics. The "feeling" of many today is that a person can do whatever they want to as long as they don't hurt anyone. But that is not what God says. The only way to answer ethical issues is to put aside our feelings and check God's Word. If the person still doesn't get it, I'd point out to them that they are arguing feelings, not the Scriptures. And if that doesn't matter to them, then the issue is one of Biblical authority, which is another whole discussion.

God bless,
Gary Z.

Scripture Workbook:
For Personal Bible Study and Teaching the Bible
Twenty-two individual "Scripture Studies" on a wide variety of issues.
Invaluable for in-depth, topical studies of the Bible and for preparing Bible study lessons.
Paperback and eBook by Gary F. Zeolla



Also by Gary F. Zeolla:
Fitness for One and All
Web site and FitTips for One and All newsletter.
Helping people to attain their health, fitness, and performance goals.


All material in this newsletter is copyrighted © 2005 by Gary F. Zeolla or as indicated otherwise.