Tip to better understand the Old Testament

The number of books that make up the collection we often refer to as the Old Testament is considerable; thirty-nine to be exact. And the majority of these books are considerable in length! Not a lot of Philemon’s or 1 or 2 John’s are found in the line-up, if you know what I mean.

Almost as diverse as the number of books in the Old Testament is the number of topics and situations and people to study. Because of this wide array many people end up intimidated, hesitant or even uninterested in studying the treasure trove of wisdom that God has made available through so many authors.

If you find yourself in the above categories, I have a little tip to help you better understand the Law, the Psalms and the prophets – get your G.E.D. in the Old Testament … Genesis. Exodus. Deuteronomy.

Study these books and you can get a firm foundation of understanding why so much of what happens in the Old Testament actually happens.

Yes, there will be other things to learn and other books to study (even in a book like Leviticus and especially Kings and Chronicles), but the amount of information and instruction and clarity and promises and warnings that are found Genesis, Exodus and Deuteronomy will create a framework that makes the picture of the Old Testament a lot easier to see.

#bible-study, #old-testament, #tips

What does the Bible say about the name of Jesus Christ

“And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6).

“And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21).

“Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). Continue reading

#bible-study, #jesus-christ

What does the Bible say about the new name

“The Gentiles shall see your righteousness, and all kings your glory. You shall be called by a new name, which the mouth of the Lord will name” (Isaiah 62:2).

“And the disciples were first called Christians at Antioch” (Acts 11:26). Continue reading

#bible-study

Sweeping around your own door

We have been attending gospel meetings in the surrounding area recently. One night the visiting speaker was preaching and was very enjoyable. He was a robust kind of guy. You know the kind. The one with the big stomach and the sports coat that won’t quite button? I wouldn’t have noticed that if he had stayed behind the pulpit, but he stood off to the side and preached.

Well, getting on with my story, he started naming the things that “really worried” him. It worried him that women let scissors touch their hair. It worried him about churches using multiple cups in taking the Lord’s supper. He said it really worried him and related how it all came about by naming the person in Chattanooga, TN who he said started the movement for multiple cups. He said it really worried him and kept emphasizing how it worried him.

It didn’t take me long to figure out that he was directing his thoughts probably more than I wanted toward me or us. Well, there was one other lady in the crowd with short hair and she happened to be seated on the front row beside an elderly couple. I thought they might be her parents. Hmmm, I wondered how she was taking what he was saying.

I wanted so badly to ask the preacher a question after the service but decided I should ask Doug, my husband if he thought it would be all right before I asked the question. After the invitation song and prayer, we turned and I whispered to Doug what I wanted to ask the preacher and asked if he thought it was okay for me to do so. He bent over to hear me above the crowd and I whispered, “I want to ask him if he also worries about gluttony.” 

Doug stood up quickly and erectly and said, “I don’t think you better do that, Glenda.” 

So I didn’t. I shook the preacher’s hand, greeted him warmly and exited the building, I couldn’t help but think that we better be careful about sweeping around our own door before we start sweeping around someone else. That’s just my way of thinking. 

#bible-study, #preaching

What does the Bible say about purity of life

by: Douglas M. Williams, Sr.

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Matthew 5:8).

“Keep yourself pure: (1 Timothy 5:22).

“Whatsoever things are true, noble, just, pure, lovely, and of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things” (Philippians 4:8).

“Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity” (2 Timothy 2:19).

“Depart from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it” (Psalm 34:14). Continue reading

#bible-study, #purity

What does the Bible say about preparing for eternity

by Douglas M. Williams, Sr.

“Prepare to meet your God” (Amos 4:12).

Jesus said, “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe
in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also” (John 14:1-3).

“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him” (1 Corinthians 2:9).

The above verses with others and the entire tenor of God’s word tells us of the necessity of making preparation to meet the Lord in heaven and to escape hell. God has made every necessary provision for the salvation of everyone through the gift of His Son. And Jesus was willing to sacrifice in His dying upon that old rugged cross that we might be forgiven of our sins.

Even though God has provided the gift of salvation to everyone as the Bible states, “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men” (Titus 2:14), God requires our faith and obedience.

Jesus stated the necessity of obedience when He said, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven” (Matthew 7:21). Jesus also encourages us to follow the narrow way that leads to life because there are few that do so. But He says there are many who travel the broad way that leads to destruction (Matthew 7:13-14).

It is so true that “Heaven is a prepared place for a prepared people,” and that “not everyone talking about heaven will necessarily go there.”

#bible-study, #eternity

I’m not saved. I’ve been lied to all these years.

“I am not saved. I’ve been lied to all
these years.”

Those were the comments Kay Smith
made when she called me to say she had finished reading Muscle and a Shovel recently. I had given her a copy of the book Sunday evening after worship and she called Tuesday evening to say she had finished reading the book. Then she said, “I am not saved. I’ve been lied to all these years. I’m not saved.”

That had to be a stunning revelation for Kay when she read what the Bible teaches a person has to do to become a Christian and she knew she had not done it. I told her we could baptize her if she wanted to do it then. She said she wanted to study more and have some questions answered. She said, “I have pages marked and turned down in this book and I want to talk to you further.” We made an appointment to study with her the next day. After the study, Douglas left her with a list of Bible verses to study and read for herself straight from the word of God.

Sunday came around and I went to pick Kay up for Bible study. Immediately upon getting into the car, she pulled out pages torn from a small yellow pad filled with writing. She said, “I’ve written out each one of those scriptures you left with me.” Wow! I was impressed with her interest in studying the Bible. I asked if she was ready to be baptized and she said, “Yes.” Later when the invitation was extended at the end of the morning worship service Kay went forward and was baptized correctly for the remission of her sins. She said, “I’m going to live the rest of my life for Jesus Christ to the best I know how.”

Do you know what the Bible teaches about how to be saved? “Father, send us more people who are receptive to the truth of Thy Word.”

#bible-study, #faith, #truth

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