Have a scriptural question? Write to Ben Witherington III at

In this column, Ben Witherington responds to your questions about:

Jesus asking "Why do you call me good?"
Illegitimate Children

If Jesus is God, why in Mark 10 does Jesus reply "Why do you call Me good? No one is good but God" in response to someone asking, "Good teacher, what should I do to inherit eternal life?" --Eric

Excellent question. Here, Jesus is, of course, speaking as a human being. Notice that he is addressed as "good teacher," and so responds according to what his human nature would prompt him to say. The word God, in Jesus' day and in a Jewish context, meant only Yahweh/the heavenly Father. It did not mean the Trinity, much less the Second person of the Trinity. You could rephrase this "No one is good but the Father alone." Jesus is not denying he is divine. He is denying he is the Father, or Yahweh, who in the first instance is the source of all goodness. In his divine nature, Jesus was one with the Father, but in his human nature he was distinguishable from the father and could speak in purely human terms.

Is there any reference in the Bible to the hereafter for illegitimate children? I was recently told that somewhere in the Bible it states that all "bastard" children and their ten generations thereafter will go to hell.

I am happy to report that there is absolutely no Bible verse anywhere that condemns illegitimate children or their descendents automatically to hell.

I am doing a Bible Study on Revelation 1:1-20 and Revelation 2:1-29. What questions and answers might help me get started? --Linda

I recommend that you not study as complicated a book as Revelation without some study helps. In particular, I urge you to buy two resources: 1) C. Keener's Application Bible Commentary on Revelation (published by Zondervan); 2) B. Metzger's "Cracking the Code."

Apocalyptic literature such as we find in Revelation is complex and requires extra help to understand. It involves symbolic visions and many dramatic metaphors. The metaphors are not to be taken literally, but they are referential--for example, see how Rev. 1 refers to Christ in various ways.

Join the Discussion
comments powered by Disqus