God Has Chosen You From the Beginning (2 Thessalonians 2:13)

Below is the video broadcast walking through 2 Thess. 2:13 with a response to Calvinistic pastor, Paul Washer. Or you can download the podcast version HERE.

2nd Thessalonians 2:13-14

But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth. It was for this He called you through our gospel, that you may gain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

This is commonly quoted text by Calvinistic scholars seeking to prove that certain individuals were chosen for salvation to the neglect of all others. I, along with many scholars, believe this is very Western individualized interpretation of the scripture, however. We tend to read texts from an individualized (me, I, my) perspective in our egocentric society. This was not the common way of understanding such texts in the first century’s collectivist society where people were seen as under the headship of their cultural heritage, not merely as individuals.

We must understand that the predominately Gentile congregations of Paul’s day were constantly being told they were not the elect of God, but instead barbarian rejects. The Judaizers of the first century insisted that only Jews were chosen by God and Paul spent much time attempting to debunk this commonly held false belief (see the book of Galatians).

In the “Jew versus Gentile” context of Paul’s ministry (and this passage) he often references himself and the Jewish apostles as “us” and “our” in contrast to the Gentile believers as “you” and “your.” For instance, in verse 14 Paul seems to indicate that “you” (the Gentile believers) were called “through our” (the Jewish Apostles’) gospel. Therefore, it makes perfect sense, in Paul’s context, to thank God for his Gentile audience being chosen, or engrafted (Rom. 11:13-24), into the means salvation through faith. This, after all, is the mystery which had been hidden for generations which is just now being made known through men like Paul (Eph. 3:1-11).

In short, the “Apostle to the Gentiles” is likely combating the false view that the Gentiles were not the elect of God by writing this affirmation of God’s choice to include them from the very beginning.

1,171 thoughts on “God Has Chosen You From the Beginning (2 Thessalonians 2:13)

  1. BRIANWAGNER said:
    Hi Richard… how about considering this possible interpretation – 2Thess 2, 13 Richard replies: Thank you for your insights, I realize my “robot theology” statement may need fine tuned as it is abrasive, but so is TULIP. I say what I say in light of Proverbs Chapter1 for example. Pro 1:23  Turn you at my reproof: behold, I will pour out my spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you. 
    Pro 1:24  Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded; There’s that fork in the road again. God is involved, the gospel is preached and then decision time. It’s all on us at that point. If we believe, God will save us…Pro 1:33  But whoso hearkeneth unto me shall dwell safely, and shall be quiet from fear of evil. One might argue that salvation is not the issue here. Nevertheless, whether salvation or obedience, the principle is the same….believe God.

    1. We agree I think Richard on how people get saved. I’m wondering what you think about my interpretation of the word “beginning” in 2Thess 2:13 and associating it with Paul’s use in Phil 4:15.

      1. Brian,

        What I challenge you to do regarding Phil 4:15 is to study out the subject of it. The subject is NOT the Gospel. The subject is:

        “no church communicated with me as concerning giving and receiving, but ye only.”

        The sentence structure tells you this. I’m taking out the Macedonia reference between the comma’s.

        “in the beginning of the gospel, no church communicated with me as concerning giving and receiving, but ye only.

        See the subject? It’s not about the gospel, at all.

        So you can’t equate that to Thessalonians, or Ephesians either.

        When he began his ministry, NO ONE told him about giving or receiving, except for this church.

        HOW can you equate THIS “in the beginning” to that of Thessalonians is beyond my comprehension.

        Ed Chapman

      2. Ed – Philippians 4:15 NKJV — “…in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia….” Thessalonica is in Macedonia. God gave Paul the Macidonian vision which took him into Europe for the first time… a new “beginning” for his gospel ministry.

      3. Subject matter is different. Thessalonians is discussing the process of how one is saved, and that was not determined when Paul departed Macedonia. The subject of Philippians was that of giving and receiving. Two different subjects, two different “in the beginning”.

      4. And my last comment is the reason why I asked how people were saved before Paul left Macedonia. Many Jews were saved long before Paul came on the scene.

      5. Actually Ed… “in the beginning” in Phil 4:15 points to that new beginning, and not the beginning of Paul’s ministry or Gen 1:1… and “from the beginning” points to Paul’s reminding the Thessalonians how God chose them that “from” that start of his ministry there they could get saved only one way… being drawn by the Spirit to place faith in Christ.

      6. No, Brian, you are reading something into it that isn’t the subject. I sure hope that you took English Composition in high school. Sentence structure is important here. This is why the so called scribes to our NT could determine where to put comma’ s from a Greek language that doesn’t have punctuation.

      7. Well, Ed, I’m hoping you are enjoying the congregation or school where the Lord has you teaching His truth as you see it. I’m sticking with what I believe the grammar and context say Paul’s use of the word “beginning” means in his epistles to both Macedonian congregations. Thx for the chat.

      8. Brian,

        LOL…well, I do study…a lot. This is why I’m not a fan of seminaries, as you only learn what THEY want you to learn, and like I said, you guys don’t go deep enough for me. For me, this is all Christianity 101 stuff. Easy peasy!

        I need someone to challenge my mind, and you guys just don’t to it. Sorry!!!!!! I’m with Richard on this, that salvation is a process by which God determined from the foundation of the earth, not at some point when Paul left Macedonia.

        Ed Chapman

  2. Hello Brian,
    I’m not familiar with Phil 4:15, but your question generated a rewarding study. The words “in the beginning” are there in both the Majority and Alexandrian text. This is reflected in the KJV, ESV but interestingly the NIV and NASB smooth it out so to speak with….in the early days,…..the first preaching, respectively. I’m no expert, I found all this out on the Bible Gateway page, an amazing resource. Hope this helps.

    1. Richard… have you tried Biblehub? I think it is much better, especially for studying the Greek text and words, and for exegetical commentaries. So did your study convince you Paul was talking about the “in the beginning of” his gospel ministry in Macedonia in that verse?

      1. Brian,

        In my KJV, 2 Thess 2:13 does not say “IN” the beginning, but FROM the beginning.

        Philippians TELLS YOU what “in the beginning” is in regards to, and you and I agree all because it TELLS YOU.

        But 2 Thess 2:13 is not worded as such, and can’t be compared.

        The words “IN” and “FROM” are key words.

        In what? The BEGINNING of the MINISTRY of Paul

        From what? FROM EVERLASTING.

        1 John 2:13
        I write unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning.

        Psalm 119:160
        Thy word is true from the beginning:

        Proverbs 8:23
        I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was.

        Isaiah 40:21
        Have ye not known? have ye not heard? hath it not been told you from the beginning? have ye not understood from the foundations of the earth?

        Isaiah 41:4
        Who hath wrought and done it, calling the generations from the beginning? I the Lord, the first, and with the last; I am he.

        Isaiah 41:26
        Who hath declared from the beginning, that we may know? and beforetime, that we may say, He is righteous? yea, there is none that sheweth, yea, there is none that declareth, yea, there is none that heareth your words.

        Isaiah 46:10
        Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done

        Isaiah 48:3
        I have declared the former things from the beginning; and they went forth out of my mouth, and I shewed them; I did them suddenly, and they came to pass.

        Jeremiah 17:12
        A glorious high throne from the beginning is the place of our sanctuary.



        I didn’t provide all, because when the word “OF” is used, it’s discussing a different topic, i.e., “in the beginning of THE DAY”, etc.

        This is discussing eternity past, or at the foundation of the earth.

        It’s obvious that both you and I have a different take on EXEGESIS.

        Ed Chapman

      2. Ed, I’m guessing you are not an elder in a local congregation. Have you received yet, the right hand of fellowship or laying on of hands to teach in Christ’s body? I can’t remember if we discussed this already. My memory of those past conversations we had are probably not as sharp as yours. 😉

        The warning of James is a good reminder to all of us. [Jas 3:1 NKJV] My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment. And if you have not submitted yet your teaching ministry to confirmation by other qualified leaders, I would exhort you to do so. The internet is a market place that reveals many “would be” teachers of God’s truth who are unwilling to submit to others called by God to teach His Word. I hope you are not one of them.

        But good hermeneutics requires that you don’t pull meanings of words from other authors of Scripture until you have first looked at how the author of the verse being discussed uses the word. Paul uses the word ἀρχή mainly for recognizing heavenly “authority” and usually it is translated “principality” in the NKJV in those Pauline passages.

        There is one other place, however, where Paul uses ἀπ᾽ ἀρχῆς – from the beginning. It is [Act 26:4 NKJV] “My manner of life from my youth, which was spent from the beginning among my own nation at Jerusalem, all the Jews know.” I wonder if you found it and were afraid to share it since it totally went against your position. I hope not. For that is not a good method of helpful teaching to hide contrary evidence. There in Acts 26:4 Paul is certainly not pointing to the beginning of history, but to only another “beginning” in Paul’s life of a new experience of his, like in 2Thess 2:13 and Phil 4:15.

      3. Brian,

        Oh, I see what you are doing. You are trying to PUT ME IN MY PLACE. You think your education is far superior to my knowledge. Sorry, but I don’t roll that way. The Bereans searched the scriptures daily to see if YOU are teaching right, and they didn’t have college degrees at all. Paul did, and yet they searched the scriptures to see if the college educated was telling them the truth or not. And we do know, based on the words of Timothy and Titus that there are FALSE TEACHERS, so in other words, don’t trust the teachers just because they teach.

        I took a year of English Composition, and I know how sentences are structured, and about adverbs, and adjectives, and subject, etc., etc. I am also aware that 16th Century English is a bit different, but that difference is ALL THROUGHOUT the bible and is consistent. It’s the most PUREST of English in the KJV than all of the modern day versions put together, and it is concise with the Strong’s concordance.

        You concentrate on the ONE WORD “beginning”, rather than the USE of it, as it pertains to the subject and verbs, adverbs, adjectives, etc. The use of the other words is what determines what the word BEGINNING is discussing.

        Ed Chapman

      4. Ed, I noticed you neither confirmed nor denied whether you have received yet, the right hand of fellowship or laying on of hands to teach in Christ’s body. Why? I am truly interested, so that I may know you better, and so that I may know how to serve you in Christ better. I am not trying to put you in any “place”, but to build you up in your understanding of Scripture. The fact that you do not acknowledge the evidence I gave you as to how Paul used the same words “from the beginning” in another text indicates you might not want to be taught from grammar and context, the basis of all good hermeneutics. It will then become very difficult for us to proceed further in this conversation.

      5. Brian,

        I think my words are self evident.

        John 14:26
        But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

        Hebrews 5:12
        For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.

        I don’t get my knowledge from the internet, for my knowledge came before I knew what internet was.

        Ed Chapman

      6. What is the SUBJECT of 2 Thess 2:13. Salvation. How is salvation obtained? THRU something, 2 things. WHEN was that determined? FROM THE BEGINNING.

        That was NOT determined from the beginning of Paul’s ministry. It was determined FROM THE BEGINNING OF TIME (GENESIS 1:1).

        So I can’t, for the life of me, figure out how your hermanuetics determines anything else but that.

        Ed Chapman

      7. Brian,

        Since you are a non-Calvinist, and bringing forth your knowledge to debunk Calvinism by using your interpretation of hermanueitics, I did find the following…FROM THE INTERNET, so that I can get a better understanding of where YOU are coming from in this debate:

        “The other issue is “from the beginning” in this passage, which probably has reference to the beginning of Paul’s ministry among the Thessalonians (there is no reason to take it as a reference to eternity or the beginning of time as Calvinists often do). It would be like saying. “from the very start, you were receptive to God’s working among you, receiving God’s salvation and becoming His people through faith and the sanctification of the Spirit.” There is also a textual variant issue at play in this passage which has “chosen as first fruits” rather than “from the beginning” here, which might convey the same basic idea of them being the first to embrace the Gospel in Paul’s ministry in that area.”

        But…here is my problem using my knowledge:

        Everyone’s argument is coming from the subject being, “YOU”. I don’t see the subject as being YOU, no more than I see the subject of Ephesians 1:4 as being, “US”.

        So, from the Calvinist standpoint, they think that THEY were CHOSEN from the foundation of the earth, and that is where all this crazy talk about BEGINNING is coming from.

        But from my angle on it, the subject is NOT YOU were chosen, but the process of salvation was chosen from the beginning in 2 Thess 2:13, and in Ephesians 1:4 the subject is our behavior as Christians that was chosen from the foundation of the earth.

        This is MY hermanuetics having nothing to do with the Calvinist/Non-Calvinist debate, or as you guys say, Armenian, Pelican, whatever they are. Whoever they are, I could care less, cuz I don’t get my talking points from them at all.

        Ed Chapman

      8. I would like to throw a question into the fray if both of you are interested.

        In 2 Timothy 2:8 and in Romans 2:16 Paul references the gospel as μου εὐαγγέλιόν (my gospel)

        I notice he doesn’t state it as ὁ εὐαγγέλιόν “The gospel” – but uses μου “My” which I believe is speaking in first-person.

        I wonder if this would be the equivalent of an evangelist today using the phrase “my message”?
        Which in our vernacular today be also the equivalent of “my message to you that Jesus Christ is raised from the dead”?

      9. br.d,

        Yes, I’ve noticed that Paul discusses HIS gospel a lot.

        Romans 16:25
        Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel,

        I agree.

      10. It occurs to me that Paul’s experience with the Lord was extremely direct compared to most evangelists today.
        The Lord met him directly on the Damascus road.

        You or I today probably wouldn’t say “My Gospel” because this message has been preached for centuries and it we wouldn’t use language that would infer some kind of ownership of it.

        Although today it is common language for a believer to say “My Testimony” – which is a reference to the events that surrounded that individual’s salvation experience. But to say “My Gospel” would be language I personally would not feel comfortable using because in our social structure it would imply ownership – and the Gospel doesn’t belong to me.

        But it may be different in Paul’s day when in most of the countries he traveled he was the very first and only person bringing that message. So it may be the case that for Paul – bringing that message to people was much more in his mind his own personal message to them?

      11. br.d, and Brian,

        I see you both right regarding this. But like I said yesterday, non-Calvinist Baptists don’t go deep enough for me. It is said that Paul got his revelation directly from the Lord, but I’m not convinced that it was Damascus Road. That conversation was a bit short, and he was directed to go to somewhere else.

        2 Cor 12:1-4, Paul is discussing himself in the 3rd person, and it is during THIS TIME that I believe that Paul got his revelation.

        In addition, Paul was in a hiatus for, what was it, about 3 years or so? He didn’t really begin his ministry until after that.

        I have some REVIEWING to do about the timeline, but he didn’t begin his ministry right away.

        Ed Chapman

      12. Br.D Paul’s gospel is more than just his preaching of the gospel, but includes the fact that he received it by direct revelation. Galatians 1:11-12 NKJV — But I make known to you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through the revelation of Jesus Christ.

        Of course it is the same basic gospel of mercy for sins given through faith, but Paul got his own special session on it from God to confirm its application to the Gentiles creating one new body of Christ with believing Jews, called the church.

      13. chapmaned24 writes, ‘Everyone’s argument is coming from the subject being, “YOU”. I don’t see the subject as being YOU, no more than I see the subject of Ephesians 1:4 as being, “US”. ”

        LOL!! The subject is obvious – “God…chose you” – it is God. “You” is a direct object, identifying the person to whom the action of “choosing” applies. Same with Ephesians 1, “…He (God) chose us…”This parallels 1 Thessalonians 1, “knowing, beloved brethren, your election by God.”

        Then, “the subject is NOT YOU were chosen, but the process of salvation was chosen from the beginning”

        It is true that, “the process of salvation was chosen” but it was chosen by the subject – God. Paul is saying to the Thessalonian believers, “God chose you.” A simple declarative sentence. The process by which those believers would be brought to Christ was also chosen by God.

        As to the phrase, “from the beginning,” the NET Bible offers this:

        “Several mss (B F G P 0278 33 81 323 1739 1881 al bo) read ἀπαρχήν (aparchēn, “as a first fruit”; i.e., as the first converts) instead of ἀπ᾿ ἀρχῆς (ap’ archēs, “from the beginning,” found in א D Ψ M it sa), but this seems more likely to be a change by scribes who thought of the early churches in general in this way. But Paul would not be likely to call the Thessalonians “the first fruits” among his converts. Further, ἀπαρχή (aparchē, “first fruit”) is a well-worn term in Paul’s letters (Rom 8:23; 11:16; 16:5; 1 Cor 15:20, 23; 16:15), while ἀπ᾿ ἀρχῆς occurs nowhere else in Paul. Scribes might be expected to change the text to the more familiar term. Nevertheless, a decision is difficult (see arguments for ἀπαρχήν in TCGNT 568), and ἀπ᾿ ἀρχῆς must be preferred only slightly.”

      14. Notice Roger that you provided a good example how scholars can get evidence wrong. The NET scholars said – “…while ἀπ᾿ ἀρχῆς occurs nowhere else in Paul….” of course they could just mean in his epistles… but Paul is quoted by Luke as using ἀπ᾿ ἀρχῆς in his speech in Acts 26:4. So maybe that reading should have much more preference. 😊

      15. brianwagner writes, “Paul is quoted by Luke as using ἀπ᾿ ἀρχῆς in his speech in Acts 26:4.”

        So, we have:
        “Now you Philippians know also that in the beginning of the gospel,…”
        “My manner of life from my youth, which was spent from the beginning among my own nation…”
        “God from the beginning chose you for salvation…”

        So we have the phrase, “in the beginning,” telling us something about the gospel, Paul’s early life, and God. Each is distinct form the other and should be understood consistent with that which it modifies.

      16. rhutchin,

        You had said:
        “So, we have:
        “Now you Philippians know also that in the beginning of the gospel,…”
        “My manner of life from my youth, which was spent from the beginning among my own nation…”
        “God from the beginning chose you for salvation…”

        So we have the phrase, “in the beginning,” telling us something about the gospel, Paul’s early life, and God. Each is distinct form the other and should be understood consistent with that which it modifies.”

        My response:

        As I told br.d this morning, you and I AGREE on what you said here.

        BUT, YOU and I, and BRIAN have a DIFFERENT take on the words “chose you”, as it relates to the whole verse.

        My take on it is that EVERYONE is the YOU, all because EVERYONE is chosen for salvation THRU (THRU BEING THE KEY WORD).

        There is ONLY one way to salvation and it is THRU. Everyone is invited, but not everyone RSVP’s.


        However, to conclude, Thessalonians is to the Jews, not Gentiles. In other words, YOU are not the elect. Unless, of course, you are a Jew.

        But, the word BEGINNING has nothing to do with CHOOSING anyone at all. The choosing is EVERYONE, THRU. His audience was ALREADY Christians, he was speaking to the choir who already obtained salvation THRU. Paul’s use of the word “YOU” was his audience, NOT due to them being chosen, but because they obtained it THRU something.

        Non Christians are INVITED too.

        And if Paul’s audience was NON-CHRISTIANS, he would have said, YOU ARE CHOSEN TO SALVATION THRU…

        That is an INVITE. That does not say that they were chosen. It’s telling them what the THRU is. Let me say that again, it’s telling them WHAT the thru is. Nothing more, nothing less.

        Ed Chapman

      17. chapmaned24 writes, “BUT, YOU and I, and BRIAN have a DIFFERENT take on the words “chose you”, as it relates to the whole verse.
        My take on it is that EVERYONE is the YOU, all because EVERYONE is chosen for salvation THRU (THRU BEING THE KEY WORD).”

        So, we have Paul writing, ‘But we are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God from the beginning chose you for salvation…” and you take, “…you, brethren beloved by the Lord,…” to be everyone and not the Thessalonians. That is eisegesis and you do in order to say, “…all because EVERYONE is chosen for salvation THRU…” You are basically saying that God chose everyone for sanctification by the Spirit and belief of the truth. That may be true but that is not what this verse tells us. Absent a sound argument to this effect, you are doing eisegesis.

        Then, “However, to conclude, Thessalonians is to the Jews,…”

        So, you have Paul, the apostle to the gentiles, only writing to the Jews in Thessalonica. This, even though Paul addresses his epistle to “To the church of the Thessalonians…” At the least, this would include both Jews and gentiles in that church. In Romans 10, Paul said, “there is no distinction between Jew and Greek.” Then, in Galatians 3, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” In Colossians 3, “you have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him, where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all.” Paul is more inclusive than you are.

        Then, “That does not say that they were chosen….”

        It is hard to argue against Paul, “…God from the beginning chose you for salvation…”

      18. rhutchin,

        You show your ignorance in Bible knowledge, that’s for sure.

        IT was always the custom of Paul to go preach to the JEWS FIRST before ever going to the Gentiles.

        If you read the book of Acts…I won’t tell ya where, cuz ya gotta read it on your own, you will see that when Paul went to Thess…whatever that word is, that there was an UPROAR with the Jews against Paul who was preaching TO THE JEWS. Paul made a lot of enemies at that time.

        But Paul was able to convert some of them.

        But you wouldn’t know that, now would you?

        There is also a DISTINCTION between CHURCHES OF THE JEWS and CHURCHES of the Gentiles.

        Many wrongly think that Both Jews and Gentiles attended the same Christian church services. But that just goes to show that no one is READING the bible as a novel.

        Romans 16:4
        4 Who have for my life laid down their own necks: unto whom not only I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles.

        The Jews have to be DE-CONVERTED from OBSERVING the law of Moses.

        Gentiles never had the law of Moses to begin with. Especially in the days of Paul evangelizing. Do you think that Paul have a list of 613 laws that people had to obey, including the Ten Commandments? Or, was it Love Thy Neighbor as theyself?

        Did you know that the Bereans were JEWS?


        A synagogue.

        Gentiles are NOT ALLOWED IN A JEWISH SYNAGOGUE, as it was forbidden by law.

        The Epistles of Peter is EASY to figure out that he was talking to the Jews. All ya gotta do is read it. He was in Babylon at one point. There were many more Jews in Babylon than had come back to Israel, and it is the location that the Babylonian Talmud was written.

        My golly goodness, lots of ignorance with you knowledgeable people. NOT.

        Ed Chapman

      19. rhutchin,

        Ephesians 2:11
        11 Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands;


        Oh, and I DARE YOU to find the word ELECT in ANY of the book of Ephesians at all.

        It’s NOT THERE.

        How about foreknowledge? No?

        How about the books of Corinthians?

        Corinthians is to the Gentiles, NOT THE JEWS. No mention either of Elect or Foreknowledge.

        1 Corinthians 12:2
        Ye know that ye were Gentiles, carried away unto these dumb idols, even as ye were led.

        Ed Chapman

      20. rhutchin,

        Oh, and let’s not forget about the Book of James, buddy.

        James 1:1
        James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting.

        Who was the book of Hebrews directed at? Jews.

        Ed Chapman

      21. The subject is NOT “YOU”. You is just a pronoun. The subject in 2 Thessalonians 2:13 is AFTER the word “TO”, which is the word “salvation” and the adverb is “THROUGH”.

        Everyone is the YOU. Everyone is CHOSEN TO SALVATION through…

        God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth:


        Ephesians 1:4

        The subject is NOT US.

        Every Christian is the US. US is just a pronoun, not the subject. The subject of Ephesians 1:4 is AFTER the words “THAT WE SHOULD BE”, which is the words, “holy and without blame before him in love.”

        The subject of Ephesians 1:4 is NOT Calvinists (US).

        According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:


        That’s what it is saying. It isn’t saying that anyone was chosen.


        Now, while you may have exhaustive, at your fingertips commentaries, I’m not buying what they are saying.

        Ed Chapman

      22. Brian,

        In my opinion, using Phil 4:15 as an argument to justify the word beginning in 2 Thess 2:13 is flawed.


        Because Ephesians 1:4 and 2 Thessalonians 2:13 are LIKE VERSES, and as such, the Calvinists use both to justify that they were chosen IN THE BEGINNING [of time], or AT THE FOUNDATION OF THE EARTH.

        Now, the only way that you could be right in this argument, using hermanuetics, of course, is if Paul began his ministry AT THE FOUNDATION OF THE EARTH.

        In other words, Phil 4:15 can’t be used to justify the word beginning, since Ephesians 1:4 is using the phrase, AT THE FOUNDATION OF THE EARTH.

        Ephesians 1:4 is the only verse that can be used to figure out when the beginning is, not Phil 4:15.

        And since I quoted an ARMENIAN website yesterday, I see that you get your talking points from Armenians, instead of independent study, cuz ya both are basically saying the same thing.

        Compare the 2 verses (Ephesians 1:4 with 2 Thessalonians 2:13), and leave Phil 4:15 out of the conversation.


        Ed Chapman

      23. Brian,

        The last thing I need to mention here, as it is important to Thessalonians, is the word Elect, or Election.

        In the Baptist world, whether Calvinist or not, they seem to think that the word Christian and Elect goes hand in hand.

        But it doesn’t.

        We had this discussion about a year ago…on this thread.

        In my opinion, the Elect are Jews only, whether saved, or unsaved, and there is bible proof of that.

        The word Israel cannot be spiritually defined as Christians in the case of the word Elect, or Election.

        The reason that the Jews are the elect is because God had to blind them for the purpose of killing Jesus, as well as to keep Judaism alive and well while remaining blind to the Messiah, Jesus.

        And since it was God who put the blinders on the Jews, he will indeed unblind them, awaking them from the slumber that God put them in, just like he did with Paul. God is not a respector of persons, and the Jews are no different than Paul is.

        People seem to think that THIS LIFE is the only opportunity to be saved, but we are judged AFTER we die, not before. Ignorance is the same as saying INNOCENT, in that the sins committed while ignorant is not imputed. Jesus demonstrated this when the Pharisees asked Jesus if they were blind, and Jesus responded with, “If you were blind, you would have NO SIN, but since you claim to see, your sins remain.”

        The blind can’t see, and the Jews are blind, and therefore, all the sins that the blind Jews have committed are not imputed.

        Many are ignorant regarding the PURPOSE of the Law of Moses. The only purpose of the law was to TRIP PEOPLE UP, so that sin can increase.

        There was a REASON that Abraham didn’t have the law of Moses, but NO ONE discusses that. But they sure want to talk about the law of Moses.

        Abraham slept with his sister, and God never informed him of the verses pertaining to that sin. WHY? And then to give Abraham and his sister a child, yet, it’s an evil act to sleep with your sister.

        Now, you admonished me for bringing that up last I recall, but ya never dug into this topic.

        The sin could NEVER BE imputed to Abraham, and why is that? Ignorance, and God was not gonna tell him, either. This same philosophy is also mentioned in Romans 2:14-16, and prior to Adam and Eve getting knowledge (God never told them that they were naked, as God asked, “Who told you that you were naked).

        Deuteronomy 29:4
        Yet the Lord hath not given you an heart to perceive, and eyes to see, and ears to hear, unto this day.

        Acts 28:26
        Saying, Go unto this people, and say, Hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and not perceive:

        Acts 28:27
        For the heart of this people is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes have they closed; lest they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.

        Deuteronomy 29:4 is mentioned in:

        Romans 11:7-8
        7 What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded.

        8 (According as it is written, God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear;) unto this day.

        It’s not the fault of the Jews for not seeing, perceiving, or hearing. God OPENED UP THE MIND of Paul…oh, and Lydia, too. Lydia was a Jew, not a Gentile.

        The reason that Paul gives:

        1 Timothy 1:13
        …I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.

        How is Paul different from the average Jew?

        Romans 11:32
        32 For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all.

        Gentiles are not blind, no matter how much the Calvinists say that everyone is.

        Romans 15:21
        But as it is written, To whom he was not spoken of, they shall see: and they that have not heard shall understand.

        The Jews are the ones who are the elect, not the Gentiles. Thessalonians were to the Jews, not the Gentiles.

        You may argue that the message is to all, both Jews and Gentiles, for there is no difference, etc.

        Paul always went to the JEW FIRST before going to the Gentiles. And there was a huge animosity against Paul from the Jews for preaching Jesus TO the Jews, but some did convert to Jesus, thus the epistles of Thessalonians to the Jews (elect), not the Gentiles.

        The major error is relating the word elect to the word Christian, as if it pertains to both Jew and Gentile Christian. It doesn’t.

        Ed Chapman

      24. chapmaned24 writes, “In my opinion, the Elect are Jews only, whether saved, or unsaved, and there is bible proof of that.”

        So, in Romans 8, where we read, “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies,” you say Paul is singling out Jews in that one comment, “Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect?”?

      25. rhutchin,

        You state:
        “So, in Romans 8, where we read, “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies,” you say Paul is singling out Jews in that one comment, “Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect?”?”

        My response:

        Paul is talking to Gentiles ABOUT THE JEWS, the elect. WHO shall bring a charge against the Jews?

        Let me tell ya who!

        The GENTILES do all the time. They blame the Jews for killing Jesus, they blame the Jews for being rich, they blame the Jews for owning banks, they blame the Jews for nothing more than existing.

        Even Gentile Christians badmouth the Jews, because that is what they were taught by the likes of Martin Luther, and more.

        The Catholics did it all the time. People who call themselves Christians bring charges against the Jews.

        But they are INNOCENT no matter what sins that they have committed, because they are blind. Their sins pile up, and are enormous, but ya know what? Their blindness will give them MERCY. And who are we to tell God, “But God, look at the evil things that they have done! They don’t deserve your mercy! They deserve to be burning in hell because they didn’t accept you as their savior!”.

        But ya fail to see that their blindness is what saves them.

        Romans 11:28
        28 As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the father’s sakes.

        The above verse TELLS YOU that Gentiles are NOT ELECT. The elect are ENEMIES for YOUR SAKE.

        verse 32
        32 For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all.

        The Jews are the ones blind. NOT your everyday average human.

        Ed Chapman

      26. chapmaned24 writes, “Paul is talking to Gentiles ABOUT THE JEWS, the elect. WHO shall bring a charge against the Jews?”

        We understand Paul differently.

      27. rhutchin

        You state:
        “We understand Paul differently.”

        Who is WE?

        It’s not a matter of understanding Paul. It’s a COMPLETE reading of the WHOLE BOOK, as a novel, THEN you can understand Paul.

        You people strain at a word, talking about GRAMMAR and CHURCH HISTORY, when it is irrelevant.

        Romans 11:32
        32 For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all.

        WHO is “them all”, and who is “upon all”. WHOEVER “all” is, they are in UNBELIEF.

        WHY should THOSE people NOT get MERCY?

        What’s the PURPOSE of MERCY?

        Did you ever read the story of Joseph and his brothers? Joseph is a depiction of Jesus, where Joseph gave his BROTHERS mercy, and the brothers are portrayed as the Jews. THIS….THIS IS WHAT WE CALL PROPHESY OF THE RELATIONSHIP THAT JESUS HAS WITH THE JEWS.

        But, like you said, “WE”, whoever we is, understand the bible differently. God have MERCY on your soul, cuz you people are ignorant of scripture.

        Ed Chapman

      28. I enjoyed reading this post!

        Yes – the Calvinist mind lives in a world of DOUBLE-THINK
        And a mind so conditioned – quite naturally will project that very DOUBLE-THINK onto Scripture.
        Its just the way the human mind works :-]

      29. br.d

        Ya, this particular post is a very popular one.

        I find that the non-Cal Baptists are in such a hurry to dismiss Calvinism that they will twist ANY scripture to try to prove a point, such as using Phil 4:15 to tell us that “beginning” means Paul’s ministry, rather than Genesis 1:1, or John 1:1, or Ephesians 1:4.

        Earlier this morning, I read rhutchin’s comment to Brian, and I do agree with rhutchin, but then Brian comes out with NET something something, trying to debunk OUR thinking, as if we get our theology from the internet. I don’t know where that logic came from.

        Yes, Calvinism is WRONG, but the arguments against…I find amusing.

        Ed Chapman

      30. rhutchin,

        I had said:
        ““Paul is talking to Gentiles ABOUT THE JEWS, the elect. WHO shall bring a charge against the Jews?”

        rhutchin responds:
        “We understand Paul differently.”

        My final response:

        Romans 11:13
        13 For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles,

        But lets back up a few verses:

        Verses 1-2
        1 I say then, Hath God cast away his people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin.

        2 God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew.


        1 Peter 1:2
        Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father,

        Peter, the apostle to the JEWS.

        Elect, foreknowledge.

        Romans 8:29
        For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.



        But lets back up a few more verses:

        Romans 7:1
        Know ye not, brethren, (for I speak to them that know the law,) how that the law hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth?

        WHO but the Jews knows the law?

        But wait…there’s more:

        Romans 2:17
        17 Behold, thou art called a Jew, and restest in the law, and makest thy boast of God,


        It is the Jews that are the ones idientified as foreknew, foreknow, foreknowledge…not the Gentiles.

        When you read the book of Romans, if Paul is speaking to the Jews, YOU KNOW IT. And if Paul is addressing the Gentiles, YOU KNOW IT.

        Key words and phrases. Gentiles are NOT the foreknowledge of God, not the elect, not the ones under the law of Moses, not the blind.

        You know the distinction by reading the whole Bible as a novel. Calvinists are not elect. Just the Jews.

        Ed Chapman

  3. Brian, my KJV says “in the beginning” based on the Textus Receptus..εν αρχη. This is the same phrase used at Genesis 1:1 in the Greek Septuigant and John 1:1 TR. and is translated ….in the beginning. So it could be as you say, there’s not a textual problem, just a translation choice. I tend to lean toward the..NIV ..in the early days, NASB…the first preaching…of the Gospel. IMHO

  4. rhutchin
    That’s wrong. God set the external situation in which Adam was placed (the garden, Satan, Eve). In doing so, God knew with infinite understanding that Adam would eat the fruit given those factors. Adam was PERMITTED to obey God but could not overcome himself to do so and that was a natural limitation that Adam could not overcome without God’s help..

    Not LOGICALLY possible
    1) Calvin’s god cannot RENDER-CERTAIN Adam’s disobedience and Adam’s obedience come to pass at the same time.
    He can only RENDER-CERTAIN one of these.

    2) Calvin’s god cannot leave OPEN the DETERMINATION of which one of those will come to pass.
    That would be OPEN THEISM which Calvinism rejects.

    Theopedia – Open theism:
    Open theism…..is the belief that God does not exercise meticulous control of the universe but leaves certain events “open” …
    In this case for Adam or Nature to determine.

    3) By virtue of RENDERING-CERTAIN Adam’s disobedience come to pass – Calvin’s god by caveat also RENDERED-CERTAIN that Adam’s obedience wound NOT come to pass.


    That is consistent with what I said.
    So long as you allow the divine to be either the immediate or remote, cause, no problem. None of your points 1-3 preclude this.

    Calvin’s god CANNOT PERMIT the NEGATION of what he RENDERS CERTAIN

    Additionally – it doesn’t really matter if there is an immediate cause or a remote cause.
    Since in Theological Determinism Adam’s natural ability to obey was RENDERED-CERTAIN TO NEVER HAVE EXISTENCE in the first place. Since obedience for Adam represented a physically IMPOSSIBLE future.

    As Peter Van Inwagen affirms:
    “Determinism may now be defined: it is the thesis that there is at any instant exactly one physically possible future.”

  5. BrD (and Brian if you are “watching”),

    Below is a link to a comment I posted (now removed) on another blog a couple of days ago (on 12/27/19 to be exact). If the link works adequately, you should be able to view my comment when it was “awaiting moderation” (found at the very bottom of the thread).

    To keep a long story short, my comment was never posted for others to read. And, obviously, that was the “goal” of the moderator on that website. While I was somewhat disappointed the comment never saw the light of day, what was really disturbing is the lack of a response or rebuttal. Nothing. Absolutely nothing. Just deleted.

    I just wanted to share this with you BrD (and Brian) because, at least here, all comments are approved, even if that comment might not be “what we believe”. Honestly, I just thought the response (or rather, lack of a response) and the deletion of the post was cowardly. Especially coming from a professing Christian.

    Anyway, I appreciate what you (and all the moderators) do here at this blog. The idea of a thoughtful comment being deleted just because it exposes the possible errors of our own beliefs is both arrogant and ungracious.

    Please let me know if my comment at the bottom of the thread can be viewed. It should be #34.



    1. I see it there for now Philip. My guess is that you will probably be approved… But that the admin of that site might be slow with pending comments on the holidays. 😊

    2. Thanks for your kind words Phillip!
      I see your post there also still waiting moderation.
      And I would guess along with Brian that the host is perhaps taken up with Holiday duties.

  6. Brian and BrD,

    I guess I should have explained better.

    That is a screen shot right after I posted my comment.

    Below is a link to that same site as of the 28th (the next day) and as of right now (a current view).


    Gone. I thought the comment could stay in moderation until the administrator had a chance to form a rebuttal. But, again, nothing. Just deleted. Without a word, either by post or email. At first I thought my comment might have been too long. Or that maybe they had guidelines that I stepped over. But, nope. Just deleted. Like it never happened.

    If I hadn’t saved the previous link, there would be no evidence the comment was ever posted. Again, just sad that another brother in Christ would delete a post just because he didn’t want to deal with it and obviously didn’t want other on-lookers to see it. I’ve never had a comment deleted due to content. Anywhere.

    Again, I appreciate y’all! Everything gets posted. No matter how outlandish others might perceive it to be.

  7. Okay.

    My bad. He responded. He must have saved my comment, and posted it when he had a chance to respond.

    Blessings to you, brothers.

    Happy New Year!

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