Questions and Answers

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What does the Bible say about euthanasia?

There has been a great deal of controversy about the subject of euthanasia, or "mercy killing." Van Nostrand's Scientific Encyclopedia defines euthanasia as "easy or painless death brought on to end a lingering, hopeless, painful disease." Few, it seems, look to the Bible to see what God says. When we do, we find that from the beginning God intended that each human live out a productive and fulfilling life in preparation for eternal life with Him in His Kingdom.

We also find that the giving and taking of life is a prerogative that belongs only to God. With God is the fountain of life, says Psalm 36:9.
God has authorized man's governments to end the lives of those who have committed murder and the like (Genesis 9:6, Romans 13:1-4). But there is no support in Scripture for ending the life of an innocent person because of sickness, old age or disease.

The Bible shows that the weak are to be cared for and treated with patience, not murdered (I Thessalonians 5:14). On the other hand, the idea that extraordinary measures must be taken to keep a terminally ill person alive as long as possible is not biblical either. There is no sense in prolonging a person's dying.

Many righteous people in the Bible knew when they were dying, got their affairs in order, gathered their families to say good-bye and simply died. It is
not wrong to ask God in His mercy to allow a suffering person to peacefully die.

When Jesus Christ told the man to "let the dead bury their own dead" (Luke 9:60). did He mean it is wrong to attend funerals?

The context of Jesus' statement shows that He offered this man a chance to take part in His ministry- to become a teacher of the way that leads to eternal life. He told the man to "go and preach the kingdom of God."

When the man said he had to first go and bury his father, Jesus told him to let the "dead" (those not aware of spiritual matters) bury their dead.

Was Jesus telling this man not to attend his father's funeral? No. A funeral usually takes only a short time, and Jesus continually showed that Christians are to feel compassion and show proper
respect for others. Luke 7:11-15 tells of what happened when Jesus Himself once met a funeral procession.

Why, then, did Jesus answer the man this way? Jesus realized the man was only making excuses. The man's father was probably elderly and did not have much time left to live. This man, hiding behind his father's condition, tried to put off the responsibility that Jesus offered him. His priorities were not based on faith and serving God first.

Had the young man wanted to, he could have found a way, without showing any disrespect, to have his father cared for and still serve God. That is why Jesus told him to let the spiritually dead (those who were not being called-Ephesians 2: I) continue to live their lives as seemed best to them.

This account shows that we should not let undue concern over physical matters distract us from serving God when He calls us to do His Work. Many are distracted, though, as the parable of the sower (Mark 4: 14-20) shows.

Who wrote the books of the Bible?

 The Scriptures were inspired by God, II Timothy 3:16 tells us. God moved various servants at different times to record details of history and prophecy and instructions for successful living, and He preserved those writings through the centuries for our learning today. Following is a list of the Old Testament books in the order preserved by the Jews:

The first five books, Genesis through Deuteronomy, were written by Moses during the 40 years of wandering, with the details of Moses' death added later, possibly by Ezra. Joshua is the logical author of
the book of Joshua.

Judges was written by the prophet Samuel, according to Jewish tradition. Samuel also wrote I Samuel 1-24. The remainder of I Samuel and all of II Samuel were written by Nathan
and Gad (I Chronicles 29:29).

I and II Kings were probably written by Jeremiah, who compiled older records from prophets contemporary with the events. Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah., Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi were all prophets of God who wrote the books bearing their names.

The Psalms had various authors. David wrote about half of them; other authors include Asaph or his descendants, the sons of Korah, and Moses. Proverbs 1 through 29 belong mostly to
Solomon. Chapters 30 and 31, respectively, are ascribed to Agur and Lemuel.

The author of the book of Job is not definite, though it was most likely Job himself or Moses. The Song of Solomon was written by Solomon. Jewish tradition attributes the book of Ruth to
Samuel. Lamentations was undoubtedly written by Jeremiah. Ecclesiastes was written by Solomon. Esther was probably written by Mordecai. Daniel, Ezra and Nehemiah wrote the books that bear their
names. I and II Chronicles were written by Ezra.

Here is a list of the New Testament books:

Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, James, I and II Peter, I, II and III John and Jude were written by the men whose names they bear. Acts was written by Luke. Romans, I and II Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, I and II Thessalonians, I and II Timothy, Titus, Philemon and Hebrews were all written by Paul. John wrote the book of Revelation.

Ecclesiastes 7 :2-4 says: "Sorrow is better than laughter ... The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning, but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth." What's wrong with laughter? Does God want us to be sad?

There is no scripture that says it's wrong to be happy. One of the fruits of a Christian life is joy, brimful and running over (Galatians 5:22). Ecclesiastes 7:3-4 does not say laughter is wrong. It merely
means that sorrow is better than this kind of laughter. The context shows us what kind of laughter is wrong.

"It is better to hear the rebuke of the wise than for a man to hear the song of fools. For like the crackling of thorns under a pot, so is the laughter of the fool. This also is vanity."
That kind of foolish laughter is wrong.

Jesus came to give us abundant life, joyful happiness, filled with the right kind of laughter (John 10: I 0). That is life filled to the brim - but in the right balance. Jesus said, "These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full" (John 15:11). Yet this same Jesus also said, "Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted" (Matthew 5:4).

God wants us to laugh and enjoy life, but at the same time to take life seriously. It takes both laughter and sorrow - that is, the right kind of sorrow - to make the whole person.

There is a wrong kind of sorrow just as there is a wrong kind of laughter. The wrong kind of sorrow is what prevails in the world today. This world's sorrow leads to frustration and anxiety,
and often results in suicide. II Corinthians 7: I 0 says the sorrow of the world produces death. But "godly sorrow produces repentance to salvation."

This godly sorrow is better than laughter and mirth because it brings the right results. "Sorrow is better than laughter, for by a sad countenance the heart is made better" (Ecclesiastes 7:3). Godly sorrow leads to a change of heart!

The sorrow of the world brings discouragement and a feeling of hopelessness. Godly sorrow strengthens your will, your determination to overcome the problems that beset you. Godly sorrow feels compassion for the suffering that this world experiences for breaking God's laws, and longs for God's Kingdom to be established on earth as soon as possible.