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Question

The phrase "you must worship God in spirit and in truth" is poorly defined, like Jesus telling Nicodemus to be born of water and spirit. Early primitive people may believe it, but it's not for today.

Answer

Thank you for your question about the Bible, definitions and interpretations.

As Christians we recognise the unique nature of the Bible. It was written over a period of around 1500 years by 40 different authors in three languages. Where we would expect such a book to be full of errors and contradictions, in reality we find the Bible to be consistent from beginning to end, free from mistake and error.

We can trust the Bible implicitly in all areas of our life, for as we read: all Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16). It is more than just stories or clever thoughts; the Bible helps us in every matter we may face, think about or try to understand.

The Bible tells us that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and for ever (Hebrews 13:8). God's instructions do not change over time; they remain as true and relevant today as they did when they were first written.

Jesus' instructions are not poorly defined; they are what we need for today!

Furthermore, we read that God is not a God of confusion but of peace (1 Corinthians 14:33). I encourage you to pray to God that He will give you peace and understanding for the answers you seek.

It is important for us to understand that we are not just a physical body, but also a spiritual one too. When Jesus tells us the greatest commandment, he said... "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind". (Matthew 22:37). Jesus is showing us our nature; we are not just physical beings (heart) or beings of thought (mind) but we are also spiritual beings, possessing a soul that is capable and indeed required to love God.

When Jesus tells us that "God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth" (John 4:24), He is recognising our physical and spiritual dimensions and saying that they work together in worship. Worship is more than singing songs; it is more than joyful tunes being played by a variety of instruments. Worship is the open declaration of who God is; it is coming before Him in recognition of who He is and what He has done for us.

Worship cannot be done in just the physical, because as Jesus says, "God is spirit". We must worship in the spiritual in order to connect with Him.

Regarding the second part of your question, of Jesus saying to Nicodemus "you must be born again" (John 3:3), it is encouraging to see that both yourself and Nicodemus didn't understand Jesus' claim: "How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born?" (John 3:4). The response Jesus gives is that "unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God" (John 3:5). This is referring to a spiritual rebirth, that we become a new creation in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17) through faith.

Rather than saying that these phrases are poorly defined, I would argue that they are a spiritual mystery. This should not concern us too much, but there is a call upon us to have faith in God and to place our trust in Him, indeed, how could we understand God and his thoughts? When we place our trust in Him, God begins to reveal things to us and we accept more each day the spiritual truths he reveals.

Paul wrote for by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast (Ephesians 2:8-9). We are saved not through our thoughts or actions; it is only through having faith in Jesus Christ, that His work on the cross has paid the price for our sin.

Even though you may not understand every aspect of the Christian life and teaching (and indeed none of us do), I encourage you to accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour. Call out to Him in prayer for His help and the forgiveness of your sins. When you do this, God will place His Holy Spirit within you. Furthermore, when the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth (John 16:13).

Through the work of the Holy Spirit, through prayer, reading the scriptures and attending a local bible believing church, we believe that you will learn and understand more as time continues, even if for now it remains a spiritual mystery.

In summary, the Bible is consistent in its truths and message: we are sinners that are in need of saving. Our salvation is only done through Jesus' work on the cross. We are not just physical beings, but also spiritual ones. Therefore, may we trust God that He will work in our life for our spiritual rebirth. This may be a mystery, but let us trust Christ and His work.

I hope this answer helps you to find peace with God through Jesus Christ. If you want to know more about what Jesus has done for you please watch the video on the main part of our site: Watch the video

I encourage you to attend a local Bible believing church and speak to the leader about your question. If you want to find a local church, our Church Finder may help you: Find a Church

Please feel free to submit a question to us or to read our answer database: Ask a Question

*All Scripture references are taken From The English Standard Version of the Holy Bible unless stated otherwise

*If anything in this answer affects you directly, then please feel free to call our confidential prayer line in the UK on 0845 4567729, where trained Christian volunteers will take your call and pray both for you and with you. If you are outside of the UK then you may submit your request for prayer on line at www.ucb.co.uk/prayerline


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Losing Your Religion

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