How do you view the Bible? Do you see it as a cafeteria line where you pick and choose what you like? Do you cut and paste the Bible at will? Do you view it as merely a book of nice suggestions for living? Or do you view it as God’s Word and allow it to direct every area of your life?
Jeremiah 35 & 36
1 Timothy 4.1-16
Is the Bible True … All of It?
Cutting and Pasting the Bible
Chapter 36.22-26 says:
22 Now the king was sitting in the winter house in the ninth month, with a fire burning on the hearth before him. 23 And it happened, when Jehudi had read three or four columns, that the king cut it with the scribe’s knife and cast it into the fire that was on the hearth, until all the scroll was consumed in the fire that was on the hearth. 24 Yet they were not afraid, nor did they tear their garments, the king nor any of his servants who heard all these words. 25 Nevertheless Elnathan, Delaiah, and Gemariah implored the king not to burn the scroll; but he would not listen to them. 26 And the king commanded Jerahmeel the king’s son, Seraiah the son of Azriel, and Shelemiah the son of Abdeel, to seize Baruch the scribe and Jeremiah the prophet, but the LORD hid them.
The king was sitting in his house, warm and comfortable, and—with a complete disregard for the Word of God! When the Scriptures were read to him, he simply cut them off the scroll and threw them into the fire!
I once heard about a liberal theologian who literally cut the first few chapters of Genesis out of his Bible. Others today throw out the whole Bible as being the work of men. Still others, claim they are followers of Christ, but pick and choose what to believe.
Some talk about how Jesus loves everyone, but forget that He ordered the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. Some claim to love God but don’t do what He says, forgetting His words, “If you love me, keep my commandments” (Jn. 14.15). And others say it’s a book of principles alone. They deny its truthfulness in the area of history and science and eliminate the whole creation account.
Then there are those who cut and paste the Bible with other religious ideas. They take what they like from Christianity, add a little Eastern religion, and toss in some mysticism. Or they say they’re Christians but add other books or some so-called higher knowledge. Still others deny the Deity of Christ, the virgin birth, or the reality of the Trinity.
The Bible is not a cafeteria where we can pick and choose the parts we like. Neither is it just one of many ways to God.
Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (Jn. 14.6).
And 2 Timothy 3.16 says, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.”
That word inspiration means “God breathed it out.” All Scripture was breathed out by God, not just the parts we like or choose to believe!
Today’s Other Readings:
He is Good
67 Before I was afflicted I went astray,
But now I keep Your word.
68 You are good, and do good;
Teach me Your statutes.
Notice verse 67 is followed by the psalmist’s declaration in verse 68, “You are good, and You do good.” Another verse says, “It was good that I was afflicted.” When God allows a test or trial in our lives it is not for our hurt, but for our good, no matter how it looks to us at the time!
Tribulation and Distress
“Though you grind a fool in a mortar with a pestle along with crushed grain, yet his foolishness will not depart from him.”
Proverbs 13.15 tells us, “The way of the transgressor is hard!” And Romans 2 in the New American Standard Bible says:
9 There will be tribulation and distress for every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek, 10 but glory and honor and peace to everyone who does good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.
Tribulation and distress include depression, anxiety, fear and worry. While not all negative emotions are the direct result of sin in our lives, when we are experiencing them, we should examine ourselves in light of God’s Word. Is there some area where we are failing to trust God or live obediently?
If so, we need to repent and ask God for His forgiveness and help.
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness”(1 Jn. 1.9).
“He who covers his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy” (Prov. 28.13).
Watch Out for False Teachers
This chapter warns us to watch out for false teachers, those who would draw us away from biblical truth. While it’s important that we don’t reject any part of God’s Word, it’s also important that we don’t add to it. Chapter 4.3-5 instructs us to reject any teaching that adds legalistic requirements.
How will we recognize false teaching and false teachers? By reading, studying, and seeking to understand God’s Word for ourselves and also by living it out in our lives:
12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. 13 For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. 14 But solid food belongs to those who are of full age,that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil (Heb. 5).
How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth
Understanding the Bible isn’t for the few, the gifted, the scholarly. The Bible is accessible. It’s meant to be read and comprehended by everyone from armchair readers to seminary students. A few essential insights into the Bible can clear up a lot of misconceptions and help you grasp the meaning of Scripture and its application to your 21st-century life. More than half a million people have turned to How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth to inform their reading of the Bible. In clear, simple language, it helps you accurately understand the different parts of the Bible—their meaning for ancient audiences and their implications for you today—so you can uncover the inexhaustible worth that is in God’s Word.
How to Study Your Bible: Discover the Life-Changing Approach to God’s Word
Beloved Bible teacher Kay Arthur’s inductive study method has helped millions of people discover the truth of God’s Word for themselves. This bestselling and dynamic guide, written with David Arthur and Pete De Lacy, invites readers of all levels of Bible literacy and learning to dive deeper into God’s promises. Now you can cultivate the inductive skills of observation, interpretation, and application and become an active participant in God’s Word.
How to Study the Bible
The Bible is the Word of life. As such, studying the Bible is crucial to the life and growth of every believer. In this revised work, John MacArthur examines various Scripture passages in the Old and New Testament to answer both the “why” and the “how” questions of Bible study.
How To Study The Bible
This guide provides a brief, concise overview of personal Bible study for the layperson. Long-time Bible teacher Robert West gives insight into the types, tools, and techniques of personal study, offering both practical guidance and encouragement to pursue the command of 2 Timothy 2:15 (“Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth”). Covering topics such as the inductive method, word studies, commentaries, dictionaries, and concordances, How to Study the Bible also emphasizes the personal benefits of private Bible time.
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Getting ready for 2017
The holidays are just around the corner and the new year will be on us before we know it. What will you do to make Bible reading an ongoing habit in the coming year? I’d like to encourage you to set a goal to read through the Bible.
And I hope you’ll sign up for my daily email. It can serve as a gentle reminder to stay on track. I try to make comments that are relevant to the daily struggles and questions that I hear in my counseling and discipleship ministries.
Start today so you can begin the habit and it will be a regular part of your day come January.
You can also follow me on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, or Google+. Just click on the social media icons. But nothing replaces having the daily devotion pop up in your inbox each day. It, usually (once in a while life gets in the way), goes out at 3 a.m. MST, so it’s there for early risers no matter what time zone you’re in. As an incentive, I’ll be giving away one daily Bible to someone who signs up between now and October 31st and another one to someone who leaves a comment between now and then.
So will you join me and, possibly, encourage someone else to do the same. (Why not email or call them right now?) Let’s get ready and grow in our relationship with Him together.
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