Be of good courage

Via Audio Evangelism:

I once read about a man who bragged about cutting off a lion’s tail with his pocketknife. Sounds pretty courageous, doesn’t it? Do you think you could do that? Of course, someone finally asked the man why he didn’t cut the lion’s head off, and he replied that someone had already done that! What initially sounded like a very courageous act really wasn’t anything at all–the lion was already dead!

Today, I’d like us to focus our attention on the subject of courage–genuine courage–specifically as it relates to living the Christian life. First, we need to remember that… (click here to continue reading the post.)

#audio-evangelism, #bible-characters, #christian-living, #courage

May 2016 Issue of Christian Worker (How to Study the Bible – Part 2.)

Here’s a link to the latest PDF issue of the Christian Worker.

Here are the topics that you will find:

  • How to do a Topical Study (Dewayne Bryant)
  • Words of Wisdom for Better Bible Study (Cody Westbrook)
  • How to do a Word Study (Kevin Cauley)
  • How to Study a Book of the Bible (Richard Rutledle)
  • How to do a Character Study (Randy Robinson)
  • How to Study Apocalyptic Literature (Sam Dilbeck)
  • Terms and Tools (John Haffner)

Christian Worker is an edification effort of the Southwest church of Christ in Austin, Texas.

You can subscribe to the email version of the Christian Worker paper by clicking on the publications link on their website and then following the given instructions…or by clicking on the link provided here in The Fellowship Room under the “Friends” category to your right.

Copyright © 2016 Southwest church of Christ, All rights reserved.

#bible-character, #bible-characters, #bible-difficulties, #bible-exposition, #bible-study, #bible-words, #book-of-revelation, #books-of-the-bible, #hermeneutics, #scripture-study, #topical-study, #word-studies, #word-study

Cousin or Nephew?

An interesting situation happened this past Sunday morning during our adult class as we were studying the Bible person of John Mark. The situation arose when I asked how Barnabas and Mark were related to each other, and the answer wasn’t as clear-cut as I originally thought it would be. I was under the impression, per my memorization of scripture, that Mark was Barnabas’ nephew, but most translations say Barnabas and Mark were cousins.

For example:

“Aristarchus my fellowprisoner saluteth you, and Marcus, sister’s son to Barnabas, (touching whom ye received commandments: if he come unto you, receive him;)” (KJV)

Aristarchus, my fellow prisoner, sends you greetings, as does Mark, the cousin of Barnabas (about whom you received instructions; if he comes to you, welcome him).” (NET)

I’ve checked out the actual Greek word which seems to indicate that the relationship was that of cousins, but, as some commentators point out, it’s possible that the same word could be used for both nephews and cousins…sorta along the lines of father being used for grandfathers and great, great, etc. grandfathers.

So the question is, have you ever you studied out this situation before? What do you think? After all, I figured a few heads are much better than one in this case.

#barnabas, #bible-characters, #bible-questions, #mark

If Joseph of Arimathea only knew…

One of my favorite things to think about while reading the Bible is how ordinary people would do ordinary things only to have it used in an extraordinary way at the end. Case in point is one man who was named Joseph of Arimathea.

We don’t know much about this man. He’s only mentioned 3 or 4 times by name. And there are only a hand full of recorded words that describe him, his past and his experiences with Jesus. But there’s one thing that’s recorded about him that I find simply captivating. And that’s how God used this man to accomplish a feat that’s still turning the world upside down.

After Jesus’ crucifixion and death upon the cross, the Bible says, “Now when evening had come, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who himself had also become a disciple of Jesus. This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded the body to be given to him. When Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and laid it in his new tomb which he had hewn out of the rock; and he rolled a large stone against the door of the tomb, and departed.” (Matthew 27:57-60) I like how Matthew adds that Joseph laid Jesus in a tomb that he himself had carved out of the rock. I don’t know how long it took Joseph to do this. I don’t know how many times he would have busted up his knuckles. I don’t know how old he was when he finished his work. But I’d say it’s safe to say that Joseph probably never thought of anyone else but him laying down inside of it!

If Joseph only knew what would happen with his tomb, and how God would take something done by an ordinary man in an ordinary way and use it to reveal something most extraordinary, do you think he would’ve thought differently about it while cutting it out? Probably so. But either way, I bet this man never looked at Isaiah 53 or at any other tomb in the same way after Jesus came walking out of his!

And they made His grave with the wicked—but with the rich at His death, because He had done no violence, nor was any deceit in His mouth.” (Isaiah 53:9)

#bible-characters, #empty-tomb, #fulfillment, #joseph-of-arimathea

Favorite Bible character: Joseph

Daniel is ahead in the running, so I’m going to go with Joseph. My reasons, in no particular order, follow.

One, you see no moaning and groaning, at least, evident, in all the bad things that happened to him. He wasn’t passive, but made use of his circumstances to serve God.

Two, he was a forgiver, when his brothers appeared before him.

Three, he knew God’s providence when he saw it.

Four, God sent him into a foreign land, albeit in chains (or ropes, maybe?), to save his people; the Lord used him mightily, that young whippersnapper.

Five, even though he might have done well not to say much about it, he was a dreamer — but the proclamation of those dreams later served to demonstrate that God was behind it all. Sure, God gave him those time- and person-specific dreams, but it appears he took them to heart. I want to dream the dreams of God. (I think I wrote a poem or two about that.)

Sixth, Joseph was pure; he resisted temptation to sin.

Seventh, he was a man of great faith in God’s promise, for he made arrangements for his body to be buried in Canaan.

Like Daniel, I can’t remember offhand anything negative being written about him, though he’s sometimes painted as a spoiled brat. I have my doubts about that portrayal.

So Joseph is my favorite non-divine Bible character.

#bible-characters, #joseph

It’s impossible to pick just one, but I…

It’s impossible to pick just one, but I have a special affinity for Sarah, who moved with her husband, Abraham, to a far away land, neither of them knowing where they were going. She went by faith, destination unknown, and was blessed more than she could ever imagine.

#bible-characters, #sarah

My mother named me after the Stephen in …

My mother named me after the Stephen in Acts, hoping I would be a man full of faith and wisdom, so I’ve got to at least mention him as among my favorites.

However, I must also mention Daniel. Seemingly, he had it all together from his youth and he remained steadfast as a blameless leader for many decades. He kept rising to the top, even when there were significant changes politically and personally to deal with. There are few major Bible characters who have no recorded flaws, but Daniel is of that number.

#bible-characters