This blog gains its name from the book Steele's Answers published in 1912. I am slowly blogging through Steele's Answers, posting each Q & A in the order in which they appear (whether I personally agree with the answer or not). But, these posts come from several other sources, as well. I often post particularly eloquent passages from Dr. Steele's other writings. Occasionally I post "guest blogs" from other holiness writers.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Why Did Christ Not Know "That Day and That Hour"?

QUESTION: How can we reconcile Christ's ignorance of "that day and hour" with His Deity? See Matt. 24:36; Mark 13:32.

ANSWER: The union of the Divine and human in Christ is more inexplicable than the union of soul and body, solely because it occurs but once and has no analogy. His humanity was neither infinite nor omniscient. He grew in stature and in wisdom. Hence while on the earth there were facts unknown to Him. Had there not been, we should doubt the reality of His humanity. His ignorance of the date of His second coming, or of the destruction of Jerusalem, was a part of His humiliation as the Redeemer of the world. 

Steele's Answers pp. 254, 255.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Changing the Sabbath

QUESTION: If the Lord Jesus wished to change the Sabbath from the seventh day to the first, why did he not himself do it?

ANSWER: The day before he died he said (John 16:12), "I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. When the spirit of truth is come, he shall guide you into all the truth." Everybody will admit that the treatment of the Sabbath was the most ticklish subject Christ had to deal with in all his intercourse with the Jews. Again and again did he rebuke their impracticable misconceptions, making it the most dreaded, distressing and awful day of the seven. If he had desired to divest it of the severities with which it was loaded down, he could not have done it without changing the day; and he could not change the day without breaking down the confidence of everyone of his apostles and disciples. Hence he left it for the Holy Spirit to teach, who did thus teach so that they immediately began to keep the first day. (John 20:19, 26; Acts 20:7; I Cor. 16:2; John 1:10, on the Dominical Day, i. e., Sunday). As the result the whole Christian world, except a little handful, keeps the first day. To cure this handful get them to go eastward round the world, and when they get home they will all be keeping the first day, having gained a day. Perhaps Carnegie or Rockefeller can be persuaded to pay the bills in order to rid the Christian world of this senseless clamor against it of a few discordant voices.

Steele's Answers pp. 253, 254.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

The Unjust Steward

QUESTION: How could the Lord, in Luke 16:8, commend the unjust steward who had perpetrated a series of frauds?

ANSWER: Note that the word lord does not begin with a capital, which always is the case when Jesus is spoken of. Note, that in the Revision it is "his lord." This makes it still more plain that it refers to the master of the steward, whose acuteness and forethought in feathering his own future nest, and not his rascally way of doing it, his master praised, probably with a laugh, exclaiming, "Isn't he a cute fellow?" Another explanation is that the steward had overcharged the tenants and pocketed the surplus; so that marking down of the debts of the tenants was really a righting of fraud against them. In this case the master was not the loser. In either case he was a bad man. But his cunning, not his rascality, is approved.

Steele's Answers pp. 252, 253.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The Flesh

QUESTION: I am much perplexed by the different meanings of "flesh" in the N.T. Can you not give some light on this subject which will simplify matters?

ANSWER: The use of one word with several meanings is because there are more ideas than words in any language. It will help you to know that "flesh" has the signification of sinfulness only in Paul's epistles, who sometimes uses it in a good sense, as when he says "the life that I live in the flesh," meaning his body. Outside of Paul's epistles it means either the living tissue covering the bones, or the body as a whole, or all men when "all flesh" occurs. Paul does not use it as a synonym for sin, but as "proneness to sin," usually to sensuality, but sometimes it includes sins which are independent of the body; such as pride and malice. "Flesh" in the Gospels is not used in the moral sense, but in the physical, as in John 8:4, "That which is born of the flesh is flesh."

Steele's Answers p. 252.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Titles of the Followers of Christ

QUESTION: What are the different titles given to the followers of Christ in the New Testament?

ANSWER: (1) "Christians." They were so called first by outsiders, then afterwards by themselves. Hence it is used only in Acts 11:26, 26:28 and I Pet. 4:16. (2) Disciples, answering to Master or Teacher. It was borrowed from the Jewish schools. Once, in Acts 19:1, those who had received only John's baptism are called disciples. (3) "Brethren." This was the first title given to Christians after the ascension (Acts 1:15, R. V.). It occurs twenty times afterwards in the same book. (4) The title "saints" (the holy) denoting the consecration and initial sanctification of believers. It is Paul's favorite term, being found thirty-one times in his epistles. John uses it only in the Revelation, and Jude only once. 

Steele's Answers pp. 251, 252.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Desire and Sin - James 1:14

QUESTION: Explain James 1:14, "Every one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own lust and enticed." (2) Show the relation of thought to sin.

ANSWER: Lust is not a bad word in the Greek. It is often simple desire. It derives its evil meaning from the bad object to which it is "drawn out," which is a better translation than "drawn away." Lust has conceived when it moves the will to the evil purpose. The sin lies at this point, even before it becomes an outward act. (2) The thought of imagination of a sin is not sin, but rather it is the fuel of sin. It takes a volition to create a fire, a sin. It is the safest way to have in the mind as little fuel of sin as possible, to think as little as possible about the pleasure of sin. It is true that we cannot control the succession of our thoughts. But we can generally arrest the course of thought and turn it into another channel and keep the thinking of evil from becoming a habit. The adage is, "We cannot prevent birds fiying over our heads, but we can prevent their building their nests in our hair."

Steele's Answers pp. 250, 251.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Supernatural Fire

QUESTION: In Lev. 10:2 we read, "and a fire went out from the Lord and devoured them, and they died before the Lord." What authority is there for stating that they were killed by lightning?

ANSWER: Only a few minutes before this (9:24) "fire from before the Lord had consumed the sacrifice." It is quite certain that both fires were supernatural, for they are both spoken of in the same terms. The one consumed the burnt offering in token of the sacred nearness, and the other devoured the blasphemers as if they had been carrion.

Steele's Answers p. 250.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Jesus' Brothers and Sisters

QUESTION: Did Mary, the mother of Christ, have other children after Jesus, or are James, Joses, Judas, Simon and their sisters, of whom Jesus is called "brother" in Mark 6:3, cousins of Jesus, as some say?

ANSWER: The Papists, in their attempt to prove the perpetual virginity of Mary, insist that "brother" means cousin, and that "firstborn" in Matt. 1:25 is a spurious reading. Dean Alford well says: "No one would ever have thought of interpreting this verse any otherwise than its prima facie meaning, except to force it into accordance with a preconceived notion of the perpetual virginity of Mary." Other Romanists, finding it very difficult to prove that the brothers and sisters are cousins, try to prove that they are Joseph's children by a former marriage!

Steele's Answers pp. 249, 250.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

When Did Christ Fulfill the Law?

QUESTION: When did Christ fulfill the law (Matt. 5:17); was it at at his resurrection?

ANSWER: The Law was threefold, ceremonial, political, and moral. The first two parts were fully accomplished and ceased to be obligatory, when Christ died. But the moral law was conformed by Christ's obedience and atonement, and by the inspiration of love to the Law-giver he potentially perfected the obedience of those who believe in Him; i e., He made it possible for his saints perfectly to keep the law by perfectly loving Him, the revelation of God. Moreover, he deepened the requirement of  the law, going back of the act to the motive, to the impure look and to hatred, the essence of murder.

Steele's Answers p. 249.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Making Friends by Mammon

QUESTION: What is meant by Luke 16:9, "Make to yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness"?

ANSWER: Read the Revision, "Make to yourselves friends by means of the mammon of unrighteousness," i. e., by the charitable use of money wisely bestowed upon those starving for material bread or for the bread of life, who, having gone to heaven before you, will be at the gate to welcome you to the eternal tabernacles.

Steele's Answers p. 249.