This blog gains its name from the book Steele's Answers published in 1912. It began as an effort to blog through that book, posting each of the Questions and Answers in the book in the order in which they appeared. I started this on Dec. 10, 2011. I completed blogging from that book on July 11, 2015. Along the way, I began to also post snippets from Dr. Steele's other writings — and from some other holiness writers of his times. Since then, I have begun adding material from his Bible commentaries. I also re-blog many of the old posts.

Sunday, April 14, 2024

Leviticus 19:11-18

"11 Ye shall not steal, neither deal falsely, neither lie one to another. 12 And ye shall not swear by my name falsely, neither shalt thou profane the name of thy God: I am the LORD. 13 Thou shalt not defraud thy neighbour, neither rob him: the wages of him that is hired shall not abide with thee all night until the morning. 14 Thou shalt not curse the deaf, nor put a stumblingblock before the blind, but shalt fear thy God: I am the LORD. 15 Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment: thou shalt not respect the person of the poor, nor honour the person of the mighty: but in righteousness shalt thou judge thy neighbour. 16 Thou shalt not go up and down as a talebearer among thy people: neither shalt thou stand against the blood of thy neighbour: I am the LORD. 17 Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thine heart: thou shalt in any wise rebuke thy neighbour, and not suffer sin upon him. 18 Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD." — Leviticus 19:11-18 KJV.

11. Not steal — Property, one of the great natural rights of man, is sacredly guarded by the eighth commandment. See Exodus 20:15. “Here is a marvellous distinction of classes. That distinction is carefully preserved throughout the whole record of Scripture. At first sight, it is not only a marvelous, but an incredible thing that one man should be rich and another poor. Poverty is more than a merely incidental condition of life. There is a moral mystery about poverty, relating alike to the poor man and to the rich man. It may seem heartless to speak in this way, and it would be heartless but for the consistent record of time and testimony of experience. Here is a distinct recognition of the right of prosperity. We read of ‘thy field,’ and ‘thy vineyard,’ and ‘thy harvest.’ Yet though property is distinctly recognised, beneficence is also made matter of law. The Bible is the book of the poor. From no other book in the world could so many injunctions be culled as bearing upon the rich in relation to the claims of poverty.” — Joseph Parker. Neither deal falsely — All fraud, which is not included in stealing, is forbidden. See Leviticus 6:2-4, notes.

Saturday, April 13, 2024

Leviticus 19:1-10 - Ye Shall Be Holy

"1 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 2 Speak unto all the congregation of the children of Israel, and say unto them, Ye shall be holy: for I the LORD your God am holy. 3 Ye shall fear every man his mother, and his father, and keep my sabbaths: I am the LORD your God. 4 Turn ye not unto idols, nor make to yourselves molten gods: I am the LORD your God. 5 And if ye offer a sacrifice of peace offerings unto the LORD, ye shall offer it at your own will. 6 It shall be eaten the same day ye offer it, and on the morrow: and if ought remain until the third day, it shall be burnt in the fire. 7 And if it be eaten at all on the third day, it is abominable; it shall not be accepted. 8 Therefore every one that eateth it shall bear his iniquity, because he hath profaned the hallowed thing of the LORD: and that soul shall be cut off from among his people. 9 And when ye reap the harvest of your land, thou shalt not wholly reap the corners of thy field, neither shalt thou gather the gleanings of thy harvest. 10 And thou shalt not glean thy vineyard, neither shalt thou gather every grape of thy vineyard; thou shalt leave them for the poor and stranger: I am the LORD your God."  — Leviticus 19:1-10 KJV.


Various laws are repeated, (1-13,) and a number of brief prohibitions follow, (14-19,) also the case of a seduced bondmaid and the penalty for both parties, (20-22,) and regulations respecting the fruit of trees planted in Canaan, (23-25;) blood-eating, enchantment, rounding the hair and marring the beard, cutting or printing the flesh, training a daughter for prostitution, profaning the sabbath, and witchcraft, are forbidden, (26-31;) veneration for the aged, regard for the stranger, and standard weights and measures are enjoined, (32-37.)

Sunday, April 7, 2024

Leviticus 18 - Concluding Notes


(1.) That portion of the Levitical law which prohibits incestuous marriages is either still in force or we have no divine legislation on this important subject. All Christian nations, by incorporating into their laws this prohibitory code, declare that it has never been repealed. The inference that it is now a law demanding universal obedience is strongly confirmed by that moral, if not instinctive, abhorrence of incest widely prevalent in the pagan world. See 1 Corinthians 5:1, and Sophocles’s OEdipus, Rex. This harmonizes with Luther’s method of eliminating the local and transient precepts of the Mosaic law. He says: “Moses is dead. He lived for the Jewish people, and his laws do not bind us unless they are approved by our laws, both natural and statutory.”

Saturday, April 6, 2024

Leviticus 18:19-30 — Other Prohibitions

 "19 Also thou shalt not approach unto a woman to uncover her nakedness, as long as she is put apart for her uncleanness. 20 Moreover thou shalt not lie carnally with thy neighbour’s wife, to defile thyself with her. 21 And thou shalt not let any of thy seed pass through the fire to Molech, neither shalt thou profane the name of thy God: I am the LORD. 22 Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination. 23 Neither shalt thou lie with any beast to defile thyself therewith: neither shall any woman stand before a beast to lie down thereto: it is confusion. 24 Defile not ye yourselves in any of these things: for in all these the nations are defiled which I cast out before you: 25 And the land is defiled: therefore I do visit the iniquity thereof upon it, and the land itself vomiteth out her inhabitants. 26 Ye shall therefore keep my statutes and my judgments, and shall not commit any of these abominations; neither any of your own nation, nor any stranger that sojourneth among you: 27 (For all these abominations have the men of the land done, which were before you, and the land is defiled;) 28 That the land spue not you out also, when ye defile it, as it spued out the nations that were before you. 29 For whosoever shall commit any of these abominations, even the souls that commit them shall be cut off from among their people. 30 Therefore shall ye keep mine ordinance, that ye commit not any one of these abominable customs, which were committed before you, and that ye defile not yourselves therein: I am the LORD your God." — Leviticus 18:19 KJV.


19. Thou shalt not approach — This verse forbids contracting the ceremonial impurity specified in Leviticus 15:19, 25. See notes. In Leviticus 20:18, the penalty of death is denounced against both parties to the offence. See note.

20. Thy neighbour’s wife — This is a repetition of the seventh commandment, in another form, for the purpose of emphasis and of completing the enumeration of abominations prevalent in Egypt and Canaan. This verse prohibits not only adultery proper, or double adultery, as some laws define this crime, in two married persons, (see Exodus 20:14, note,) but also one species of single adultery. Defile thyself — This is moral and ceremonial pollution.

Friday, April 5, 2024

Leviticus 18:6-18 — Prohibited Marriages

"6 None of you shall approach to any that is near of kin to him, to uncover their nakedness: I am the LORD. 7 The nakedness of thy father, or the nakedness of thy mother, shalt thou not uncover: she is thy mother; thou shalt not uncover her nakedness. 8 The nakedness of thy father’s wife shalt thou not uncover: it is thy father’s nakedness. 9 The nakedness of thy sister, the daughter of thy father, or daughter of thy mother, whether she be born at home, or born abroad, even their nakedness thou shalt not uncover. 10 The nakedness of thy son’s daughter, or of thy daughter’s daughter, even their nakedness thou shalt not uncover: for theirs is thine own nakedness. 11 The nakedness of thy father’s wife’s daughter, begotten of thy father, she is thy sister, thou shalt not uncover her nakedness. 12 Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy father’s sister: she is thy father’s near kinswoman. 13 Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy mother’s sister: for she is thy mother’s near kinswoman. 14 Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy father’s brother, thou shalt not approach to his wife: she is thine aunt. 15 Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy daughter in law: she is thy son’s wife; thou shalt not uncover her nakedness. 16 Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy brother’s wife: it is thy brother’s nakedness. 17 Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of a woman and her daughter, neither shalt thou take her son’s daughter, or her daughter’s daughter, to uncover her nakedness; for they are her near kinswomen: it is wickedness. 18 Neither shalt thou take a wife to her sister, to vex her, to uncover her nakedness, beside the other in her life time." —  Leviticus 18:6-18 KJV.


These fall into three classes: 1.) blood-relationships proper, 7-13; 2.) the wives of blood-relations, 14-16; 3.) the blood relations of the wife. This prohibition is not grounded on the eternal principles of absolute morality, since the command to “multiply and replenish the earth” must have involved the marriage of brothers and sisters in the family of Adam, and since, also, Abraham married his half sister, Jacob two sisters at a time, Amram his aunt Jochebed, and Judah married Tamar, the widow of his own son, with no indication of the divine disapproval; and by the commandment of the Levitical law the brother must marry the wife of his deceased childless brother. Still it must be confessed that the horror naturalis, or revulsion of feeling at the thought of marrying one’s mother or daughter is very closely allied to the abhorrence of the violation of the seventh commandment.

Thursday, April 4, 2024

Levitius 18:1-5 — The Vices of Egypt Prohibited

"1 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 2 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, I am the LORD your God. 3 After the doings of the land of Egypt, wherein ye dwelt, shall ye not do: and after the doings of the land of Canaan, whither I bring you, shall ye not do: neither shall ye walk in their ordinances. 4 Ye shall do my judgments, and keep mine ordinances, to walk therein: I am the LORD your God. 5 Ye shall therefore keep my statutes, and my judgments: which if a man do, he shall live in them: I am the LORD." —  Leviticus 18:1-5 KJV.


All nations which reject God, the fountain of spiritual joy, turn with eagerness to the fetid pools of sensual pleasures to satisfy their thirsty souls. The sexual nature, one of the chief sources of such pleasures, is stimulated to the highest degree, and often to an activity unnatural and bestial. This is the striking feature of paganism, however advanced in civilization, as in Egypt. The era of the greatest intellectual splendour in Greece, when Athens sat queen of the arts and Corinth queen of commerce, was the period of the most widespread licentiousness. See Romans 1:24-32. The Hebrews, chosen as they were to be the people of the holy God, needed special safeguards against this degrading form of sin. This chapter prohibits the vices of Egypt and Canaan, (1-5,) incestuous marriages, (6-18,) and unlawful lusts. Verses 19-30.

Unconscious Faults

[In the Psalms we read:] "who can understand his errors? Cleanse thou me from secret [unconscious] faults. Keep back Thy servant, also, from presumptuous [willful, high-handed] sins; let them not have dominion over me; then shall I be upright [Hebrew, perfect], and I shall be innocent from the great transgression." 

Here the psalmist expects to fall into errors and unconscious faults, and he prays to be cleansed from them, but he prays to be kept from known and voluntary sins.

Hence it is evident that sins are incompatible with David's idea of perfection; and that unnoticed and involuntary errors or faults, are not. This distinction is strongly confirmed by an inquiry into the facts of David's life, and God's verdict respecting his character. In I Kings xv. 5, we are assured that he "did that which was right in the eyes of the Lord, and turned not aside from any thing that He commanded him, all the days of his life, save only in the matter of Uriah, the Hittite." From all "presumptuous sins," save one, David was kept. Notwithstanding his infirmities, he did that which was right in the eyes of the Lord, with one sad and solitary exception. 

Sunday, March 31, 2024

Living Witnesses

In every generation there are needed living witnesses to corroborate the resurrection of Christ. For these on the witness stand of every age He has made provision in the gift of the Holy Ghost. "Believers started to live when He did, and their resurrection is a triumphant proof of His resurrection." On the day of Pentecost the astonished Jews saw a hundred and twenty duplicates of the resurrection of Jesus. A feeble, almost pulseless life they had before, but now they have a stalwart and abundant life. Every Christian who has had a personal Pentecost is a new attestation of the basal proof of Christianity, the resurrection of its Author. Every believer, if he lives at the summit of his privilege, is to an unbelieving world a risen Christ. O Spirit divine, multiply on the earth the number of such facsimiles of the resurrection of the God-Man as shall overwhelm the skepticism of the world and bring hosts of unbelievers to crown Jesus Lord of all!

As George Bowen wrote:

It is the vocation of every believer, in every generation, to afford in his own person the evidence that Christ has risen. Art thou a Christian? Then art thou one whom Christ has chosen to convey to men the proof that He is risen. This is thy vocation. Wilt thou roll back the stone upon the sepulchre and make the world believe that Christ is still there? This thou art actually doing if thou walk not in the Spirit.

The Gospel of the Comforter, Chapter 9.

Saturday, March 30, 2024

The Safeguard Against Sinning is the Presence of Christ

QUESTION: Explain 1 John 5:18. 

"We know that whosoever has been begotten of God is not sinning, but he who was begotten of (aorist) of God (the only begotten Son) keepeth him."

ANSWER: My version is from the text of Westcott and Hort, considered the most accurate. The safeguard of the believer against sinning is the promised presence of Christ, "Lo, I am with you always." "Kept by the power of God through faith." If faith lapses, sin comes in. So long as the Christian is in probation he is within the bow-shot of the devil and every moment needs the shield of faith. To deny this is to teach a fanatical perversion of evangelical perfection.

— From Steele's Answers p. 20.

Thursday, March 28, 2024

Leviticus 17:10-16 - Blood (Part 2 & Concluding Note).

"10 And whatsoever man there be of the house of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn among you, that eateth any manner of blood; I will even set my face against that soul that eateth blood, and will cut him off from among his people. 11 For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul. 12 Therefore I said unto the children of Israel, No soul of you shall eat blood, neither shall any stranger that sojourneth among you eat blood. 13 And whatsoever man there be of the children of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn among you, which hunteth and catcheth any beast or fowl that may be eaten; he shall even pour out the blood thereof, and cover it with dust. 14 For it is the life of all flesh; the blood of it is for the life thereof: therefore I said unto the children of Israel, Ye shall eat the blood of no manner of flesh: for the life of all flesh is the blood thereof: whosoever eateth it shall be cut off. 15 And every soul that eateth that which died of itself, or that which was torn with beasts, whether it be one of your own country, or a stranger, he shall both wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the even: then shall he be clean. 16 But if he wash them not, nor bathe his flesh; then he shall bear his iniquity." —  Leviticus 17:10-16 KJV. 

10. I will even set my face against — This form of words indicates that the extermination of the blood eater will not be by imperfect human judicatories, but by the direct intervention of Jehovah cutting off the offender, as if guilty of a most heinous crime. See Leviticus 7:26, note.

11. The life… in the blood — Literally, “the נֶ֣פֶשׁ (nephesh, soul) of the flesh.” The soul has a double sphere of life. It is both animus, the subject of all the activities of knowing, feeling, and willing, and anima, the principle of animal life vitalizing the blood and operating in nutrition and respiration. In 1628 Dr. Harvey discovered the vitality of the blood, for the circulation of the blood results from a living principle inhering in it. This wonderful discovery of anatomical science had been standing as an open secret in the Mosaic writings three thousand years, overlooked by science in her pride and disbelief of revelation. This is more surprising when we read Solomon’s beautiful announcement of the same truth in Ecclesiastes 12:6. The Bible, when rightly understood, never contradicts science. I have given it… for your souls — Jehovah has not only devised the scheme of an atonement, but he gives the blood which is demanded to perfect this scheme. He not only saves through sacrifice, but he affords the victim. “Behold the Lamb of God” — the Lamb which God requires, and which he accepts, himself provides. The atonement originates with the Father. John 3:16. He is not, as some blasphemously portray him, an inexorable Shylock demanding his pound of flesh. The blood which he demands he gives. How widely different the divine scheme from human attempts at propitiation, in which the god to be appeased is to be bought off by costly sacrifices. God provides his own means of propitiation, so that all boasting is excluded, for we are saved by grace through faith in the one God-given, atoning sacrifice. “The death of Christ,” says Delitzsch, “was a conscious act of loving free-will, the central act of his own self-sacrifice, the solution of the enigma, ‘I have given it,’ in which the saints of the Old Testament had to rest their implicit faith.” Atonement for the soul — All the versions, except the Revised Version, have missed the great truth revealed in the Hebrew, “it is the blood that maketh atonement BY REASON OF THE LIFE.” ב is plainly an instrumental preposition, and not to be rendered ἀντί, instead of, as the Seventy, nor pro, for, as the Vulgate, nor fur, as Luther. See extensive discussion in The Ceremonial Function of the Blood. Men are redeemed from death only by the price of a life. Jesus gave his life a ransom for the world. Says Kalisch, “It is impossible to doubt that the doctrine of vicarious sacrifice was entertained by the Hebrews… The animal dies to symbolize the death deserved by the offerer on account of his sins.” The apparent discrepancy between this verse and Hebrews 10:4, 11, is removed when, with Outram, we regard the blood as a “condition of pardon,” and with Ebrard and Alford, “not the instrument of complete vicarious propitiation, but an exhibition of the postulate of such propitiation.” See concluding note.