I have a question about the writings from the Bible. In the book of Acts 20:35 it states that Paul is talking with his followers and states to them to remember the words of Jesus “It is better to give that to receive”. I have searched the books of the four gospels and cannot find such a statement made by Jesus to anyone did Jesus say it or not?? Thank you very much.
Acts 20:32-36 says, “And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified. I have coveted no man’s silver, or gold, or apparel. Yea, ye yourselves know, that these hands have ministered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me. I have showed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, AND TO REMEMBER THE WORDS OF THE LORD JESUS, HOW HE SAID, IT IS MORE BLESSED TO GIVE THAN TO RECEIVE. And when he had thus spoken, he kneeled down, and prayed with them all”.
There are several things to consider here. First, God used four different men to write an account of the gospel. Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John each wrote an account of the gospel. They did not write four gospels, but four different accounts of the same gospel. There is only one gospel that can save. In the very passage at hand, Acts 20:20-24 says, “And how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have showed you, and have taught you publicly, and from house to house, Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, REPENTANCE TOWARD GOD, AND FAITH TOWARD OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST. And now, behold, I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there: Save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me. But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, TO TESTIFY THE GOSPEL OF THE GRACE OF GOD.”
In I Corinthians 15:1-8, Paul clearly tells us what he means by the “gospel.” “Moreover, brethren, I DECLARE UNTO YOU THE GOSPEL which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; BY WHICH ALSO YE ARE SAVED, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that CHRIST DIED FOR OUR SINS according to the scriptures; And that HE WAS BURIED, and that HE ROSE AGAIN THE THIRD DAY according to the scriptures: And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles. And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.” The “gospel” is the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We must repent of our sin and receive the Lord Jesus
Christ as our Savior (not as one of our saviors, but as our only Savior). John 14:6 says, “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” Acts 4:12 says, “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”
So God had four different men give an account of the same gospel. They do not all give the same exact details of each event. In fact, they do not all tell about the same miracles. Different things stand out to different people in life. That is why God used four different men to write about it.
Matthew wrote from the angle of a Jewish man trying to show that Jesus is the Messiah, the long-awaited King of Israel. So it is no wonder that he starts right in showing that Jesus is in the lineage of King David. “The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.” (Matthew 1:1).
Mark is written from the perspective of action. Mark does not go into a lot of detail. He does not even tell about Jesus’ birth, but gets right into the preaching of the gospel in the first few verses of chapter 1. “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God; As it is written in the prophets, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.”
Luke is written by Luke, the beloved physician (Colossians 4:14).. It is no wonder that he goes into great detail about the birth of Jesus Christ — that would have been of great interest to him in his occupation as a physician. “And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end. Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.” (Luke 1:31-35).
John is written to clearly show that Jesus is Almighty God in the flesh. John 1:14 says, “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.”
It is interesting that John gives a special note about his account of the gospel. He does not try to discredit Matthew, Mark, and Luke, so more people will read his account. On the contrary, he writes this in John 20:30,31, “AND MANY OTHER SIGNS TRULY DID JESUS IN THE PRESENCE OF HIS DISCIPLES, WHICH ARE NOT WRITTEN IN THIS BOOK: But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.” John did not claim to be writing and telling about everything that Jesus did in His earthly ministry. What he did was write what the Holy Spirit moved him to write to show man that he needed to repent and receive the Lord Jesus Christ. “BUT THESE ARE WRITTEN, THAT YE MIGHT BELIEVE THAT JESUS IS THE CHRIST, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.”
In the next chapter, John 21:25, John repeats what we have just seen. “And THERE ARE ALSO MANY OTHER THINGS WHICH JESUS DID, THE WHICH, IF THEY SHOULD BE WRITTEN EVERY ONE, I SUPPOSE THAT EVEN THE WORLD ITSELF COULD NOT CONTAIN THE BOOKS THAT SHOULD BE WRITTEN. Amen.”
If every word and work of Jesus was recorded during His earthly ministry, it would take so many volumes that it would be impractical as a Bible. How would you know which volume of the Bible to take with you to church? The pastor would have to announce his sermon the week before he gave it, so people would know which volume to bring. And even then, if he wanted them to look at a specific verse in another volume, they would be unable to do so, because they would not have that one with them. So the Holy Spirit moved men to write just what He wanted them to write. But you will notice that He did not just use one man to write the Scriptures. He used many different men in the Old and New Testaments.
So that brings us to the matter of the apostle Paul writing that Jesus said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Paul is not limited to writing just what Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John wrote that Jesus said. Remember what we saw that John said? “And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book:” “And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written”. Paul was being moved by the Holy Spirit to write Scripture. Even Peter recognized it in his day. II Peter 3:15,16 says, “And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother PAUL ALSO ACCORDING TO THE WISDOM GIVEN UNTO HIM HATH WRITTEN UNTO YOU; As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, AS THEY DO ALSO THE OTHER SCRIPTURES, unto their own destruction.” Peter was saying that unlearned and unstable people were trying to twist what Paul had said LIKE THEY DO THE OTHER SCRIPTURES. Peter knew that Paul was writing Scripture.
II Timothy 3:16,17 says, “ALL SCRIPTURE IS GIVEN BY INSPIRATION OF GOD, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” II Peter 1:20,21 says, “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but HOLY MEN OF GOD SPAKE AS THEY WERE MOVED BY THE HOLY GHOST.” So whether it was Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Paul, or one of the other writers of Scripture, we can trust what is written. We do not trust in man, but in God, that He inspired His Word.
So it does not matter that Paul writes that Jesus said something, which the other writers did not happen to record. There are many unique things that one records, that another may not have mentioned.
We may have wondered if Lot was really saved, when we read about his life in the Old Testament. He was selfish when Abraham gave him the choice of land, and chose the best land for raising cattle. Genesis 13:10,11 says, “And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered every where…Then Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan…” After all that Abraham had done for Lot since his dad had died, and that was the thanks that Lot gave Abraham — taking the best land for raising cattle.
Then we see Lot pitching his tent toward wicked Sodom and Gomorrah, and then we see him living right in that sinful mess. Genesis 13:12,13 says, “Abram dwelled in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelled in the cities of the plain, and PITCHED HIS TENT TOWARD SODOM. But the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the LORD exceedingly.” Genesis 14:12 says, “12 And they took LOT, Abram’s brother’s son, WHO DWELT IN SODOM…” Then, later on when God could stand no more of Sodom’s wickedness and determined to destroy it, the angels had a hard time getting Lot to leave that wicked city. Genesis 19:12-16 says, “And the men said unto Lot, Hast thou here any besides? son in law, and thy sons, and thy daughters, and whatsoever thou hast in the city, bring them out of this place: For we will destroy this place, because the cry of them is waxen great before the face of the LORD; and the LORD hath sent us to destroy it. And Lot went out, and spake unto his sons in law, which married his daughters, and said, Up, get you out of this place; for the LORD will destroy this city. But he seemed as one that mocked unto his sons in law. And when the morning arose, then the angels hastened Lot, saying, Arise, take thy wife, and thy two daughters, which are here; lest thou be consumed in the iniquity of the city. AND WHILE HE LINGERED, THE MEN LAID HOLD UPON HIS HAND, and upon the hand of his wife, and upon the hand of his two daughters; the LORD being merciful unto him: and they brought him forth, AND SET HIM WITHOUT THE CITY.”
After reading that in the Old Testament, one would have to wonder if Lot was even saved. But something very interesting is revealed to us in the New Testament. II Peter 2:6-8 says, “And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly; And DELIVERED JUST LOT, VEXED WITH THE FILTHY CONVERSATION OF THE WICKED: (FOR THAT RIGHTEOUS MAN DWELLING AMONG THEM, IN SEEING AND HEARING, VEXED HIS RIGHTEOUS SOUL FROM DAY TO DAY WITH THEIR UNLAWFUL DEEDS;)”
The Holy Spirit revealed to us through Peter, that Lot was actually a righteous man, and that his heart was grieved with the wickedness in Sodom. Why did he stay there then? It appears that money was the factor. And over money, he lost his family, and eventually the money itself.
How did Peter know something that took place, when he was not there personally, and it was not recorded in the Old Testament? He knew it because the Holy Spirit was moving him to write Scripture.
What about another example? God called Moses to go lead Israel out of Egypt. Moses said he was not a qualified public speaker to lead people. Exodus 3:7-12 says, “And the LORD said, I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows; And I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land unto a good land and a large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey; unto the place of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites. Now therefore, behold, the cry of the children of Israel is come unto me: and I have also seen the oppression wherewith the Egyptians oppress them. Come now therefore, and I will send thee unto Pharaoh, that thou mayest bring forth my people the children of Israel out of Egypt. AND MOSES SAID UNTO GOD, WHO AM I, that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt? And he said, Certainly I will be with thee…” Exodus 4:10-12 says, “And MOSES SAID UNTO THE LORD, O my Lord, I AM NOT ELOQUENT, neither heretofore, nor since thou hast spoken unto thy servant: but I AM SLOW OF SPEECH, AND OF A SLOW TONGUE. And the LORD said unto him, Who hath made man’s mouth? or who maketh the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? have not I the LORD? Now therefore go, and I will be with thy mouth, and teach thee what thou shalt say.”
As far as we knew, Moses was not a good public speaker, from his own estimation. But the New Testament reveals that he was an excellent speaker. Acts 7:22 says, “And MOSES was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and WAS MIGHTY IN WORDS and in deeds.”
So we have seen that it does not matter where in Scripture that something is revealed — if it is in the Bible, then it is correctly recorded. And lest someone try to take away from what has been written in the Bible, or lest someone come along and try to add to the Bible other words, or their own book, God gave a severe warning in the last Book of the Bible. Revelation 22:18-20 says, “For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, IF ANY MAN SHALL ADD UNTO THESE THINGS, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: AND IF ANY MAN SHALL TAKE AWAY FROM THE WORDS of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book. He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.”