What does the Bible say about religious authority?

By: Douglas M. Williams Sr.

“And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth’” (Matthew 20:18).“For as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted

“For as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son to have life in himself, and has given Him authority to execute judgment also because He is the son of man” (John 5:26-27).

“For with authority and power He commands the unclean spirits, and they come out” (Luke 4:36).“And so it was, when Jesus had ended these sayings (the sermon on the mount), that the people were astonished at His teaching, for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes” (Matthew 7:29).

“And so it was, when Jesus had ended these sayings (the sermon on the mount), that the people were astonished at His teaching, for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes” (Matthew 7:29).

God, our heavenly Father, originally had all authority because He created all things, and all things belong to Him. But, as the above verses show, God gave all authority to Jesus, His Son. Then Jesus gave authority to the apostles and other Bible writers, as they were to be guided by the Holy Spirit in what they said and wrote (2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:21; John 14:26; 16:13).

The Bible is complete and is to be our only authority in religion. Peter tells us, “According as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and Godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue” (2 Peter 1:3). Thus, the Bible reveals a common salvation that has once for all been delivered to us (Jude 3). No one has the authority to change God’s word in any way by adding to it, or taking anything from it (2 John 9; Galatians 1:8-9); Revelation 22:18-19). Furthermore, it will stand forever and will be the standard by which all will be judged on the last great day (John 12:48; Matthew 12:35).
At least, to a large extent, division, and most problems in religion are because people appeal to different rules of authority. Some of these are creeds of man, one’s own conscience or feelings, convention decrees, majority rule, human head of the church, etc.

The Bible teaches that the final authority in religion is Jesus Christ and His word as revealed in our Bibles. We read, “God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son (Hebrews 1:1-2). We are told to hear Christ and not the law of Moses and the prophets (Matthew 17:5).

Christ and His word in our Bibles is our authority and will be until His second coming (1 Corinthians 15:24). Will you accept and obey the Word of God as the authority in your life? We must not follow our feelings or anything else that is not in harmony with the scriptures.

#bible-study, #religion

What role does prayer play in understanding the Bible?

In April I’ll be teaching an intensive study on “Exegese and Hermeneutics” as a part of a congregation training program in another state. The program focuses on helping the men learn better to preach and teach.

I’d like to do a short segment on prayer. Please respond in the comments, or send me an email, with your thoughts on what role prayer plays in understanding the Bible.

Of course, I don’t expect anyone to tell us that we should pray and then God will give us a revelation. I would like, however, some specific ideas on the topic.

So this is not a gotcha question. I’m looking for some practical perspectives that I can offer these men.

#prayer #Bible-study #exegese #hermeneutics

Bible study outline based on a repeating set of questions

A couple of weeks ago we started studying Ephesians in our adult class. As a challenge, I decided to do something a little different. I came up with a series of repeating questions that can be used throughout the book on a paragraph by paragraph basis.

Here are the questions: Continue reading

#bare-bones-outline, #bible-class-outlines, #bible-study

Who kept secrets in the Bible?

Let’s think about secrets. Gabriel went to Joseph when he was engaged to be married to Mary and told him a secret. Joseph was planning to put Mary away privately so as to not embarrass her due to her being pregnant outside of marriage. The angel Gabriel told Joseph to go ahead and take Mary as his wife as she was pregnant by the Holy Ghost. I am sure Joseph was thrilled to learn Gabriel’s news and he kept the secret. Continue reading

#bible-study, #practical-lessons

Jezebel

Jezebel. We don’t like her, do we? Jezebel was an evil woman. She was downright mean. And, she came to a bad, bad, end. The Lord saw and knew what Jezebel was doing. I guess the final straw was her plans to have Naboth killed so her husband, King Ahab, could have Naboth’s vineyard which just happened to be close or next door to their land. Naboth didn’t want to sell his vineyard because it had been in his family and it meant more to him than anything he could get for it. Jezebel figured out a way to get it for her husband and she had Naboth killed. The Lord spoke, saying, “The dogs shall eat Jezebel by the wall of Jezreel.”

It doesn’t matter how much we love a person, there comes a time when we should NOT LISTEN to their plans. It doesn’t matter how much we, as women, want to fix things for our husbands, there comes a time when we need to not get involved. Naturally, we refer to times when things are evil or go against the will of God.

We serve a mighty God, a loving heavenly Father, who loves us and wants to bless our efforts for good. He can’t do that when we have our mind, thoughts, and actions on evil things. We may not realize punishment in this life for doing things that are wrong but let us be certain our payday will come in eternity.

And then I wonder about King Ahab? Why in the world did he go along with Jezebel’s plans? Did that vineyard mean so much to him that he would agree to kill the owner of it? The Bible says, “There was no one like Ahab who sold himself to do wickedness in the sight of the Lord because Jezebel his wife had stirred him up. (1 Kgs. 21). As women, we better not be stirring up our husbands to do evil, and as men, you had better not let your wife, or anyone, stir you up to do evil and you shouldn’t be guilty of it either! That is serious stuff!

Now thankfully, King Ahab was very sad and repented. The Bible says “he tore his clothes and put sackcloth on his body, and fasted and lay in sackcloth, and went about mourning.” God saw that he had humbled himself and He did not bring the calamity in his days. But, notice, that in the days of his son God said he would bring the calamity on his house (v. 29). God will ultimately see justice served. We can’t live without consequences. God sees all we do. There is indeed an all-seeing eye watching us.

#bible-study

What does the Bible say about the Inspiration of the Scripture?

By: Douglas M. Williams, Sr.

“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16).

“For prophecy never came by the will of men, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:21).

“But I make known to you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to men. For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through the revelation of Jesus Christ” (Galatians 1:11-12). Continue reading

#bible-study

What does the Bible say about faith and obedience

By Douglas M. Williams, Sr.

“But without faith, it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that he is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6).

Jesus said, “If you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sin” (John 8:24).

“Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice” (I Samuel 15:22).

The Lord will take “vengeance on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Thessalonians 1:8). Continue reading

#bible-study, #faith, #obedience

January 2018 Issue of Christian Worker (Growing Spiritually in the New Year)

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

Here are the topics you will find:

  • Books to Maximize Spiritual Growth (Mike Vestal)
  • Suggestions for Studying the Bible this Year (Cody Westbrook)
  • Six Tools to Improve Your Prayer Life (Andy Baker)
  • How to Excel in Personal Evangelism (Rob Whitacre)
  • Helping Your Children Grow Spiritually (Glen Colley)
  • How to Strengthen Your Marriage This Year (John Moore)

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.

Copyright © 2018 Southwest church of Christ, All rights reserved.

#bible-study, #christian-worker, #marriage, #personal-evangelism, #prayer, #raising-faithful-children, #reading, #specific-suggestions

Some questions for new Christians

In a little while this evening, we’ll have another study with a young couple who have been Christians for about six months. Before we get to the Bible text, here are some questions I plan to ask them tonight.

  • What difficulties have you encountered since your conversion?
  • What has been your greatest challenge?
  • Any positive surprise that you’ve had?
  • What have you seen in terms of spiritual progress and growth?
  • Any disappointment during this time?
  • What is your greatest motive for thanksgiving during this time?

What other questions might you ask?

#bible-study, #new-converts, #questions

What does the Bible say about feeding our souls?

by Douglas M. Williams, Sr.

Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4).

“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” (Hebrews 5:12).

“Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the Word, that you may grow thereby” (1 Peter 2:1-2).

We not only need food for our physical bodies, but also food for our spiritual souls. Without food, living things die. Without food, your physical body will die. If you have pets, without feeding them, they will die.

All people need to feed their hearts and minds with the Word of God. God’s Word is the food for a person’s soul, and if people do not read and study God’s Word, then their souls will die.

Some of the things we buy come with an owner’s manual. In a similar way, the Bible is like an owner’s manual for us. God created us and knows exactly what we need to do and how we should live in order to be happy.

Wouldn’t it be good for all of us to read and study the Bible more than we have in the past? Now, at the beginning of this New Year let each of us resolve that we will do this.

Remember, if we love God we will keep His commandments (John 14:15). The Bible may be referred to as our “roadmap,” to tell us how to live and get to heaven. Also, God’s Word will judge us in the last day (John 12:48).

Happy New Year!

#bible-reading, #bible-study, #souls

What does the Bible say about the miracles of Jesus

by Douglas M. Williams, Sr.

“And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name” (John 20:30-31).

“And there are also many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written. Amen. “ (John 21:25).

John sent disciples to ask Jesus if He was the Messiah, and Jesus told them, “Tell John the things you have seen and heard: that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have the gospel preached to them” (Luke 7:22).

People marveled when they saw the miracles of Jesus saying, “even the winds and the sea obey Him” (Matthew 8:27). They were amazed and said, “We never saw anything like this!” (Mark 2:12). The Bible says, “they were all amazed, and they glorified God and were filled with fear, saying, “We have seen strange things today!” (Luke 5:26).

What is usually referred to as miracles, are also called signs, wonders, and mighty works.

The Old Testament tells of miracles, as well as miracles performed by followers of Jesus, but more were done by Jesus than others. Jesus performed miracles to show that He was the Son of God. His disciples performed miracles to confirm their teachings, and that they were doing God’s will (Mark 16:20).

As noted in the verses above, Jesus did miracles to convince us to have obedient faith in Him that we might be saved from sin and have eternal life in heaven. As Jesus stated, “I have come that they might have life and that they may have it more abundantly” (John 10:10).

#bible-study, #miracles

Sinning Against God

The Lord was with Joseph. He was a prosperous man. When Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord made all that he did to prosper in his hand, he made him overseer over his house and all that he had. The Lord blessed the Egyptian’s house for Joseph’s sake. Potiphar left all that he had in Joseph’s hand. Joseph was a good man and well favored.

Potiphar’s wife liked Joseph and set her sights on him. She asked him to “lie with her.” Joseph refused and told her that his master, and her husband, had committed all that he had to his care. He reminded her that he was the greatest in his house, and she was Potiphar’s wife. Then he asked the question: “How can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?”  Continue reading

#bible-study, #sin

What does the Bible say about anger

by Douglas M. Williams, Sr.

“A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (Proverbs 15:1).

“Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil” (Psalm 37:8).

“Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you” (Ephesians 4:31-32; Colossians 3:8).

“Be angry, and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your wrath” (Ephesians 4:26). Continue reading

#anger, #bible-study

What does the Bible say about the church

By Douglas M. Williams, Sr.

  • “And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved” (Acts 2:47).
  • “So great fear came upon all the church and upon all who heard these things” (Acts 5:11).
  • “At that time a great persecution arose against the church which was at Jerusalem” (Acts 8:1).
  • “Greet the church that is in their house” (Romans 16:5).
  • “To the church of God which is at Corinth” (1 Corinthians 1:2).
  • “Christ is the head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body.”
  • And “Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her” (Ephesians 5:23-25).

As shown in the above verses and others the church is often referred to as “the church.” Since it was the only one that existed, it was not always necessary to identify the church in any other way. Of course, the church belonged to Christ as He promised to build it, and He bought it with His blood (Matthew 16:18; Acts 20:28). Then at Romans 16:16 it is identified as the church of Christ.

The word is from the Greek language, and the English spelling is ‘ekklesia.’ It means, “Called out.” So those who are called by the gospel (2 Thessalonians 2:14), from the world by their obedience to the gospel of Christ, are those people who make up the church. They are sanctified or set apart as written in the article last week.

Please notice that the church is singular as the spiritual body of Christ. Jesus said He would build one church (Matthew 16:18), and at John 10:16 He said, “there will be one flock and one shepherd.” Jesus is the shepherd and the church is the flock (Acts 20:28).

Among the seven things that Paul mentions of which there was only one, was the church or spiritual body of Christ (Ephesians 4:4-6). The one body is the church as stated in Ephesians 1:22-23.

“The churches of Christ greet you” (Romans 16:16).

 

#bible-study, #church

What does the Bible say about the Lamb of God

By Douglas M. Williams, Sr.

“Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin

of the world!” (John 1:29, 36).

“These are the ones who come out of great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb” (Revelation 7:14).

“But there shall by no means enter it anything that defiles, or causes an abomination or a lie, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life” (Revelation 21:27). Continue reading

#bible-study