TBU: The Bible Unpacked: Comprehensive Edition

II. God’s Pre-Eminence

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Chapter 1  Part II

God’s Pre-Eminence

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A failure of many of us in the church today is that we have an inadequate view of God, failing to fully appreciate his pre-eminence. All Christians need to understand and be mindful of God’s surpassing greatness and incomparable capabilities – notably his power, knowledge and wisdom.

God’s Greatness

God is great and awesome

Deut 10:17  [Moses, to the Israelites:] For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great, mighty, and awesome God who is unbiased and takes no bribe …  NET

God is greater than all others

John 10:29  [Jesus:] My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one can snatch them from my Father’s hand.  NET

Ps 150:2  [A psalmist, speaking of God:] Praise him for his mighty acts! Praise him for his surpassing greatness!  NET

God is exalted above all others

Ps 113:4  The Lord is exalted over all the nations; his splendor reaches beyond the sky.  NET

There is no one like God . . .

Jer 10:6-7  [Jeremiah:] I said, “There is no one like you, Lord. You are great. And you are renowned for your power. 7Everyone should revere you, O King of all nations, because you deserve to be revered. For there is no one like you among any of the wise people of the nations nor among any of their kings.  NET

. . . God does things which show that there is no one like him

Isa 40:22-26  God is the one who rules the whole earth, and we that live here are merely insects. He spread out the heavens like a curtain or an open tent. 23God brings down rulers and turns them into nothing. 24They are like flowers freshly sprung up and starting to grow. But when God blows on them, they wilt and are carried off like straw in a storm. 25The holy God asks, “Who compares with me? Is anyone my equal?” 26Look at the evening sky! Who created the stars? Who gave them each a name? Who leads them like an army? The Lord is so powerful that none of the stars are ever missing.  CEV

God is in fact beyond our comprehension

Job 36:26  Yes, God is great – beyond our knowledge! The number of his years is unsearchable.  NET

Job 11:7-9  Can you discover the essence of God? Can you find out the perfection of the Almighty? 8It is higher than the heavens – what can you do? It is deeper than Sheol – what can you know? 9Its measure is longer than the earth, and broader than the sea.  NET

The extent of God’s being and attributes are far beyond our understanding.

 Questions for Section A

God’s Power (I): Ultimate Power

God is mighty in power . . .

Ps 106:8  Yet he [God] saved them for his name’s sake, that he might make known his mighty power.  ESV

Eph 3:20  [Paul, to believers:] Glory belongs to God, whose power is at work in us. By this power he can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine.  GW

. . . God is Almighty

Rev 15:3b  “Great and amazing are your deeds, O Lord God the Almighty! Just and true are your ways, O King of the nations!  ESV

The words translated as “Almighty” are understood by many to convey God’s all-surpassing, infinite power (or omnipotence) and his sovereignty.

God can do all things – nothing is too hard

Job 42:2  [Job, to God:] I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.  ESV

Luke 1:36-37  [The angel Gabriel, to Mary:] Your relative Elizabeth is also going to have a son, even though she is old. No one thought she could ever have a baby, but in three months she will have a son. 37Nothing is impossible for God!  CEV

God does whatever pleases him

Ps 135:6  He does whatever he pleases in heaven and on earth, in the seas and all the ocean depths.  NET

God’s power is far superior to that of anyone else . . .

2Chr 20:6  He [Jehoshaphat] prayed: “O Lord God of our ancestors, you are the God who lives in heaven and rules over all the kingdoms of the nations. You possess strength and power; no one can stand against you.  NET

Eph 1:18b-19  [Paul, to believers:] … that you may know what is the hope of his calling, what is the wealth of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19the incomparable greatness of his power toward us who believe, as displayed in the exercise of his immense strength.  NET

. . . No being can do what God can do

Ps 86:8  [David:] No god is like you, O Lord. No one can do what you do.  GW

Power in fact belongs to God

Rev 19:1  [John, describing a vision:] After these things I heard what sounded like the loud voice of a large crowd in heaven, saying, “Hallelujah! Salvation, glory, and power belong to our God.  ISV

Verses which speak of power as belonging to God, point to him as having ultimate power and being all-powerful – and even as being the ultimate source of all power.

 Questions for Section B

God’s Power (II): His Deeds

God’s great power is shown in his deeds

Ps 77:14  [A psalmist, to God:] You alone work miracles, and you have let nations see your mighty power.  CEV

God performs great and awesome deeds

Joel 2:21  Do not fear, my land! Rejoice and be glad, because the Lord has accomplished great things!  NET

Isa 64:3  [Isaiah, to God:] When you performed awesome deeds that took us by surprise, you came down, and the mountains trembled before you.  NET

God’s deeds are largely incomprehensible

Job 37:5, 15  God thunders with his voice in marvelous ways; he does great things beyond our understanding.15Do you know how God commands them [clouds], how he makes lightning flash in his storm cloud?  NET

Eccl 8:17  [A wise teacher:] … then I discerned all that God has done: No one really comprehends what happens on earth. Despite all human efforts to discover it, no one can ever grasp it. Even if a wise person claimed that he understood, he would not really comprehend it.  NET

The phrase “what happens on earth” alludes to the earlier phrase “all that God has done”. No one really comprehends all this, that God does.

God’s deeds are uncountable

Job 5:9  [Eliphaz, speaking of God:] He does great and unsearchable things, marvelous things without number; …  NET

God is glorified in his powerful deeds

Ps 86:9-10  All the nations you have made shall come and worship before you, O Lord, and shall glorify your name. 10For you are great and do wondrous things; you alone are God.  ESV

God is glorified through his powerful deeds partly in that people glorify him (v. 9), in response to his deeds.

 Questions for Section C

God’s Knowledge and Wisdom

God knows everything

1Jn 3:20b  God is greater than our conscience and knows all things.  NET

Job 37:16  [Elihu, to Job:] Do you know about the balancing of the clouds, that wondrous activity of him who is perfect in knowledge?  NET

God sees all people, seeing and knowing all that they do . . .

Ps 33:13-15  The Lord watches from heaven; he sees all people. 14From the place where he lives he looks carefully at all the earth’s inhabitants. 15He is the one who forms every human heart, and takes note of all their actions.  NET

Ps 139:2-3  [David, to God:] You know when I sit down and when I get up; even from far away you understand my motives. 3You carefully observe me when I travel or when I lie down to rest; you are aware of everything I do.  NET

. . . No one can hide themselves or what they do from God

Job 34:21-22  God’s eyes are on a person’s ways. He sees all his steps. 22There’s no darkness or deep shadow where troublemakers can hide.  GW

God knows all people’s “hearts” and minds

Ps 44:21  God would have known, because he knows what is in our hearts.  NCV™

Ezek 11:5b  This is what the Lord says: ‘This is what you are thinking, O house of Israel; I know what goes through your minds.  NET

God knows the future

Isa 46:10  [God, to Israel:] From the beginning I revealed the end. From long ago I told you things that had not yet happened, saying, “My plan will stand, and I’ll do everything I intended to do.”  GW

God has incredible wisdom

Ps 147:5  Our Lord is great and has awesome power; there is no limit to his wisdom.  NET

God’s knowledge and wisdom is far superior to that of people – beyond our comprehension . . .

Isa 40:13-14, 28b  Who has known the mind of the Lord or been able to give him advice? 14Whom did he ask for help? Who taught him the right way? Who taught him knowledge and showed him the way to understanding?28… No one can understand how great his wisdom is.  NCV™

. . . God knows much that people do not know

Deut 29:29a  [Moses, to the Israelites:] There are some things the Lord our God has kept secret, but there are some things he has let us know.  NCV™

1Ki 8:39b  [Solomon, to God:] Only you know what is in everyone’s heart.  NCV™

Note: God can take away worldly wisdom

1Cor 1:19b  [God:] “I will cause the wise men to lose their wisdom; I will make the wise men unable to understand.”  NCV™

 Questions for Section D

Addendum: God’s ‘Name’

In biblical times, a person’s name represented or embodied their whole person – including their nature, authority and even their purpose or significance. This is highlighted by references to the “name” of the person.

Thus when used in regard to such things as God’s interaction with his people, references to God’s “name” are understood as being synonymous with God himself. For example, God’s “name” is used in expressing God’s presence amongst his people and also his care of them. Furthermore, God’s people are said to do such things as trust in, fear, love and praise his “name”.

God’s “name” is synonymous with God himself

Isa 48:9a, 11a  [God:] For My name’s sake I will defer My anger, … 11For My own sake, for My own sake, I will do it …  NKJV

Here and in the following verse, God’s “name” is shown to be synonymous with God himself by the same or similar things being done in regard to God and also to his “name”.

Ps 18:49  [David:] For this I will praise you, O Lord, among the nations, and sing to your name.  ESV

God’s “name” is synonymous with his presence

1Ki 9:3  And the Lord said to him [Solomon], “I have heard your prayer and your plea, which you have made before me. I have consecrated this house that you have built, by putting my name there forever. My eyes and my heart will be there for all time.  ESV

Note that the “house” refers to the temple that Solomon had built for God.

God’s “name” is synonymous with God in him helping his people

Ps 20:1  May the Lord answer you in the day of trouble! May the name of the God of Jacob protect you!  ESV

God’s “name” is synonymous with God in people relating to him

Ps 116:13  [A psalmist:] I will celebrate my deliverance, and call on the name of the Lord.  NET

God’s “name” is correlated with his authority and power

Dan 9:6  [Daniel, to God:] We have not listened to your servants the prophets, who spoke in your name to our kings, our rulers, our ancestors, and our whole nation.  GNT

John 10:25b  [Jesus:] The deeds I do in my Father’s name testify about me.  NET

Jesus performed his miracles in the “name” of his Father – i.e. by the “authority” (CEV, GNT) or “power” (AMP) of God.

God’s “name” is holy

Luke 1:49  [Mary:] God All-Powerful has done great things for me, and his name is holy.  CEV

God’s “name” is great

Ps 99:3a  [A psalmist, to God:] Let them praise your great and awesome name!  NET

God’s “name” is glorious and exalted

Neh 9:5b  May you be blessed, O Lord our God, from age to age. May your glorious name be blessed; may it be lifted up above all blessing and praise.  NET

Note: God declared his actual name to be the “Lord

Ex 34:5  Then the Lord came down in the cloud and stood there with Moses, and the Lord called out his name: the Lord.  NCV™

Ex 3:13-15  Then Moses said to God, “If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what shall I say to them?” 14God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’” 15God also said to Moses, “Say this to the people of Israel, ‘The Lord, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you.’ This is my name forever, and thus I am to be remembered throughout all generations.  ESV

Lord” (v. 15) can be derived from “I AM” (v. 14). For the actual Hebrew that is rendered as “Lord” is “YHWH” (most likely pronounced “Yahweh”) and it “is derived from the verb HAYAH, to be” (NASB text note) to which “I AM” is also related. Note that “I AM WHO I AM” (v. 14) may well have the sense: “I will be who I will be” (cf. NIV text note). This title and its shortened form “I AM” (v. 14) appear to express God’s unchanging nature, self-existence, self-determination and omnipresence.

 Questions for Section E

Pray for persecuted Christians