“Bored with the Things of God?” April 3

 

Bored with the Things of God? - Could it be that God is at work all around us in incredible ways, yet we're no longer excited about what He is doing? No longer seeking Him? Have we become "ho-hum" about God and His Word? What could our attitude be costing us?Could it be that God is at work all around us in incredible ways, yet we’re no longer excited about what He is doing? No longer seeking Him? Have we become “ho-hum” about God and His Word? What could our attitude be costing us?

 

Today’s Readings:
Deuteronomy 29 & 30
Psalm 40.1-5
Proverbs 13.9-10
Luke 7.1-30

 

Bored with the Things of God?

 

Deuteronomy 29 & 30:

When We Fail to Seek Understanding

 

In chapter 29.2-9 Moses was recounting what God did for them those 40 years in the desert:

“You have seen all that the LORD did before your eyes in the land of Egypt, to Pharaoh and to all his servants and to all his land—the great trials which your eyes have seen, the signs, and those great wonders. Yet the LORD has not given you a heart to perceive and eyes to see and ears to hear, to this very day.”

In his Daily Bible, John MacArthur says, “The Lord had not given them an understanding heart, simply because the people had not penitently sought it.”

Perhaps, they took God’s work in their lives for granted. Perhaps, they found trying to understand and know Him too difficult or too much trouble. Perhaps they were bored with the things of God and found life in the pagan nations around them more exciting.

Marilee Bible study Scripture memory cardWhat have you not “seen” because you have not sought it? God desires to show us more and more, to take us deeper and deeper into His truth, for us to know Him better and better, but we must want it, seek it, and ask Him for it. Do you study God’s Word with that attitude?

In Matthew 7.7-8 Jesus says, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.”

But on the other hand verse 29.29 reminds us that there are things God has not yet revealed to us and, while we can pray for answers and understanding, we’re not to seek to know things apart from the Him. You can read my post from a few days ago about fortune telling and witchcraftContinue reading

“10 Principles for Bible Study” October 29

 

10 Principles for Bible Study - What do tent-making, sewing and Bible study have in common? They all require an understanding of one important principle. So much in our Christian walk hinges on our understanding of God’s Word. To “rightly divide” the Scriptures means to “cut it straight.” When a seamstress cuts out the pieces of a pattern, she must do so accurately or the pieces won’t fit together properly. As a tent-maker, Paul understood this principle and how it carried over into our study of God's Word. We must be students of Scripture, able to cut it straight, so the pieces fit together and we can understand the full council of God. What are some important principles to help us do that?What do tent-making, sewing and Bible study have in common? They all require an understanding of this one important principle.

So much in our Christian walk hinges on our understanding of God’s Word. To “rightly divide” the Scriptures means to “cut it straight.” When a seamstress cuts out the pieces of a pattern, she must do so accurately or the pieces won’t fit together properly. As a tent-maker, Paul understood this principle and how it carried over into our study of God’s Word. We must be students of Scripture, able to cut it straight, so the pieces fit together and we can understand the full council of God. What are some important principles to help us do that?

 

Today’s Readings:
Jeremiah 43 & 44
Psalm 119.97-104
Proverbs 28.3
2 Timothy 2.1-26

 

10 Principles for Bible Study

 

2 Timothy 2.1-26:

Cutting God’s Word Straight

There is an abundance of practical wisdom in this chapter. One of my favorite verses and key to our walks with God is verse 15:

“Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”

sewing-sizzorsSo much in our Christian walk hinges on our understanding of God’s Word. To “rightly divide” the Scriptures means to “cut it straight.” When a seamstress cuts out the pieces of a pattern, she must do so accurately or the pieces won’t fit together properly. As a tent-maker, Paul understood this principle and how it carried over into our study of God’s Word. We must be students of Scripture, able to cut it straight, so the pieces fit together and we can understand the full council of God.

Here are some principles that can help us study and understand God’s Word more accurately:

 

10 Principles for Bible Study

  1. Unless a passage is clearly symbolic, we should interpret the Bible literally. The Bible does contain parables, analogies, figures of speech and symbolic language, but even those passages point us to literal truth.
  2. Study the Bible in context. It is easy to lift certain passages out of context and assume they mean something entirely different. Doing so can lead to all kinds of error.
  3. Study the Bible in its historical and cultural context. What did it mean to the people who first heard it. God’s principles are true for all people at all times, but must be properly understood.
  4. Allow the Bible to interpret itself by looking up parallel passages and cross references.
  5. Understand that the Bible does not contradict itself, although sometimes we must dig deeper.
  6. Consider grammar and sentence structure. Who or what is the subject of the sentence? To whom do the pronouns refer? In what tense is the verb?
  7. Understand analogies, figures of speech, etc. Jesus Himself sometimes used exaggeration (pluck out your eye, cut off your arm), comparison, simile (I am the Door), and other literary devices to make a point. These are generally obvious. If not, they should only be considered after using other methods of interpretation.
  8. Never base a doctrine on a single verse or rhetorical question (i. e. 1 Cor. 15.29 about being baptized for the dead).
  9. Understand the difference between a principle and a promise. The book of Proverbs for example is a book of general truths and principles, not iron clad promises.
  10. Always interpret personal experience in light of Scripture, not Scripture in light of personal experience.

This is not an exhaustive list, but I hope it will help guide you as you seek to rightly divide the Word of Truth.

 

Today’s Other Readings:

 

Jeremiah 43 & Jer 44:

Sinning Against Ourselves 

Continue reading

“Studying the Bible in a Pagan Culture” July 23

 

Studying the Bible in a Pagan Culture - God has always supernaturally protected His Word and always had a remnant of men and women faithfully studying the Bible and seeking to understand and apply it.God has always supernaturally protected His Word and always had a remnant of men and women faithfully studying the Bible and seeking to understand and apply it, even in a pagan culture. There is little doubt that we are living in a post-Christian culture, in many ways a pagan one. Are you part of that remnant?

 

Today’s Readings:
Ezra 7 & 8
Psalm 88.1-5
Proverbs 21.21-22
Acts 23.16-35

 

Studying the Bible in a Pagan Culture

 

Ezra 7 & 8:

Preparing the Heart & Studying God’s Word

 

Ancient scrolls torahAs you can well imagine, most of the returning Jews who had lived and been born in a pagan culture had little understanding of God’s law. But chapter 7 verse 6 says:

“This Ezra came up from Babylon; and he was a skilled scribe in the Law of Moses, which the LORD God of Israel had given.”

Ezra had faithfully studied and meditated on the laws and precepts of God in spite of the culture around him. And because of his faithful preparation, he was instrumental in teaching the people who had returned to Jerusalem after the captivity. God was able to use him in a mighty way because he knew God’s Word!

Do you suppose he ever wondered, “Why am I spending all this time reading and studying and memorizing scripture?” John MacArthur says in his Daily Bible that, according to tradition, Ezra had God’s law memorized. That would have been at least the first five books of the Bible: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy—memorized! God has always supernaturally protected His Word and always had a remnant of men and women faithful to study and seeking to understand and apply it.

Scribes were commissioned with copying the Scriptures by hand, as well as, knowing and teaching them. Did you know there are more than 5,300 handwritten Greek
manuscripts of the New Testament alone (many more of the O.T.) and they have very few errors, most of which have to do with numbers or spelling not things which would alter any Bible doctrine.

It’s no wonder that Jesus was so upset with the Scribes and Pharisees in His day. They knew the Word of God and legalistically demanded adherence to the letter of it without grasping the Spirit of it.

Ezra was a great example, though, not just of knowing the law, but living it:

“For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the Law of the LORD, and to do it, and to teach statutes and ordinances in Israel” (7.10).

Man Praying Holding the Bible isolated on whiteNotice the order: he prepared his heart, he sought to understand the Word of God, he purposed in his heart to obey it, and then he taught it to others. It’s not that we are ever going to do things perfectly, but before we seek to teach others, we should be doing our best to understand and be doers of God’s Word ourselves.

What about you? Are you faithfully studying God’s Word for yourself or are you content to be spoon fed on Sunday mornings? What if it was suddenly against the law to own or read a Bible, do you have enough of God’s Word hidden in your heart to sustain you and to allow you teach others?

 

Today’s Other Readings:

 

Psalm 88.1-5:

Trusting God in Times of Trouble

 

This psalm is a lamentation. The psalmist was apparently in some kind of deep distress and did not understand why God had not answered his prayers for relief. Can you relate?  Continue reading

“Salvation by Grace Alone through Faith Alone” July 8

 

salvation grace cross

“Salvation is by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone”—This truth is central to our faith and must be strongly guarded and taught.

And from our reading in Psalms: Is there a formula for godly parenting? If we do “A” (meet the biblical requirements), does God promise us “B” (godly children)?

 

Today’s Readings:
2 Chronicles 11 & 12
Psalm 80.14-19
Proverbs 20.19-21
Acts 15.1-21

 

Salvation by Grace Alone through Faith Alone In Christ Alone

 

Acts 15.1-21:

Salvation by Grace

The doctrine that these early apostles and elders were determined to clarify is the truth of “salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.” It is a truth that is central to our faith and must be strongly guarded and taught. Even today, we must beware of those who would add works to salvation. While we are to do good works, they should flow out of a changed heart (Eph. 2.8-10). Good works have no power to save and can actually keep a person from seeing their need for a Savior.

“There is none righteous, no, not one” (Rom. 3.10).

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Rom. 3.23).

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord (Rom. 6.23).

Salvation is a gift, offered to those who believe because of His grace!  Continue reading

Bite Sized Theology: “Bible Study – How & Why?”

bite sized theology

In this post we are going to take another bite out of the Doctrine of the Bible or Bibliology. This week we will talk about studying the Bible. 

 

In my last “Bite Sized Theology” post I covered general and special revelation. In earlier posts I talked about why the Bible is The Book, not just a book about God, but a book written by God Himself, and what is meant by The Canon, why we can trust the 66 books of the Bible are God’s Word.

Today we’re going to talk Bible study: why it is important, some important principles about Bible study, and how to get started?

 

16 Reasons to Study the Bible:

  1. The Scriptures show us the way of salvation (Rom. 1.16; 2 Tim. 3.15; John 3.1-21).
  2. It helps us grow spiritually (2 Pet. 3.18; 1 Pet. 2.2).
  3. It guides and directs our lives (Ps. 119.105).
  4. As we study and meditate on God’s Word, keeping it in our hearts and minds, it cause us to prosper spiritually and experience true success in life (Josh. 1.8; Ps. 1.1-3).
  5. It helps us recognize the difference between truth and error (Acts 17.11).
  6. It prepares us to share the Gospel and the hope we have in Christ (1 Pet. 3.15).
  7. It prepares us for the “one-anothering” (teaching, admonishing, and encouraging) we are called to do in the family of God (Col. 3.16).
  8. It prepares us to teach our children or the next generation (Deut. 6.6-7).
  9. It provides us with hope and encouragement (Rom. 15.4).
  10. It is an important part of the armor of God and protects us from the schemes of the devil (Eph. 6.10-17; Lk. 4.1-13).
  11. When we commit it to our hearts, the Holy Spirit brings it to our minds when we need it, and it helps us stay away from sin (Ps. 119.11).
  12. As we hear it, read it, and come to understand the Word, it grows our faith (Rom. 10.17).
  13. It exposes our hearts (Heb. 12.12-16) so we can see where we need to grow and change.
  14. It enables us to obey the two great commandments: love God and love others (Matt. 22.37-40).
  15. It helps us become more like Christ (1 Tim. 4.7).
  16. It enables us to know God and His Son Jesus Christ (Jn. 17.3).

Continue reading