“But had some questions against him about their own religion and about a certain Jesus, who had died, whom Paul affirmed to be alive.”
Religion, when mentioned seems to some to ‘be good’ and to others, it is a negative connotation, sort of like when you say the word discipline sounds negative.
The word, religion comes from the Greek word deisidaimonia (dice-ee-dahee-mon-ee'-ah) surprisingly it is only found seven times in the scriptures. According to Strong’s and Thayer’s concordances, in this instance it means, superstition, superstitious, reverencing the gods, in a bad sense.
Then you find that this word is based on other Greek words that just decline in definition, and by this I mean they get worse. It’s like digging into the deeper meaning of a word.
When you boil this word down it actually ends up being described as demon worship! Wow, didn’t see that one coming. This is the base word, daimon (dah’ee-mown) (to distribute fortunes): a demon or supernatural spirit (of bad nature): -devil.
I read a true story about a false god in India called, lord Ganesh, the elephant-headed Hindu god of wealth and power. This elephant obtained wealth and power by drinking milk through its trunk.
In 1995 a Hindu man had a dream that the god was thirsty (point to remember, not all dreams come from God.) The next day he went and placed a teaspoon of milk to the trunk of the statue as an offering to the god. He placed a teaspoon up to the trunk of the stone idol. The porous stone soaked up the milk from the teaspoon.
Needless to say that this miracle went all across India, hysteria caused a milk shortage. In my opinion, the true identity of lord Ganesh was availed. Milk supplies were so short that shopkeepers raised their prices by more than 20 times. In today’s value, that would roughly be $34.00 per gallon of milk.
Yes, the shop keepers made money, and the poor remained poor. This is what religion will do for you. It breaks you every way it can.
“Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.”
Amazingly this word religion does not fall into the same category as above. It comes from the Greek word Threskeia (thrace-ki-ah.) It means ceremonial worship, did you know that when you help the widows and orphans you are worshipping God?
Also take note how James combined the words God and the Father. By connecting these words together, he is showing the degree of importance in helping the widows and orphans. And also there is no object of worship, no idolatry.
Once while sitting in a church service our pastor preached on helping the widows and orphans. This beautiful widow was sitting in front of me, so I gave her $20.00. I really was blessed that day not evening knowing it at the time. The lovely lady turned out to be my future wife Judy, the $20.00 bill that I gave to her meant so much to her at that moment, that she kept it in her wallet until after we were married.
My pastor used to say, “You can’t out give God.”
He is: “Elohim Ahavah”
“The God Who Loves”
100 Names Hebrew names of God
Blackaby Study Bible
Greek word deisidaimonia word trace:
Greek word Threskeia word trace:
Uncle John’s Gigantic Bathroom Reader 2007 page 509