The process of Bible study

This acrostic (“TIP”) might be helpful in remembering the necessary process of studying the Bible. Much can be said about each step, but this little item attempts to provide us a brief reminder. Continue reading

#bible-study, #hermeneutics

What does the Bible say about the church as the spiritual body of Christ

by Douglas M. Williams, Sr.

“And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, which is His body” (Ephesians 1:22-23).

“There is one body” (Ephesians 4:4).

“For as we have many members in one body…so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another” (Romans 12:4-5; 1 Corinthians 12:12-14).

These verses tell us that the church is the body of Christ and that there is one body. So the Bible tells us there is one church.

A logical question should be which church is the Bible speaking of since there are many different churches in the world today. These churches are different because of the different people who started them at different times and places; they wear different names; worship in different ways; teach different doctrines; teach different ways to be saved. We must go to the Bible to learn of the one church which is the body of Christ.

Jesus promised to build one church (Matthew 16:18). He died for His church and purchased it with His own blood (Ephesians 5:25; Acts 20:28). The church belongs to Christ; He is the foundation of the church (1 Corinthians 3:11); “Christ is the head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body” (Ephesians 5:23). To be saved we must be a member of His body because salvation is not in the many denominational churches in our world today.

With these thoughts in mind we should have a greater appreciation for what the Bible says:

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

Jesus prayed for unity “that all may be one” (John 17:21), and the Scripture teaches us how to be united.

#bible-study, #church-of-christ

What does the Bible say about Hope

by Douglas M. Williams Sr.

“For we are saved by hope, but hope that is seen is not hope: for why does one still hope for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with patience” (Romans 8:24-25).

Colossians 1:27 “…Christ is in you, the hope of glory.”

The Bible speaks of the “hope of eternal life” (Titus 1:2; 3:7).

We can look “for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13).

Our hope is “an anchor of the soul” (Hebrews 6:19). And 2 Peter 1:3-4 reads, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a living hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you.”

“If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable” (1 Corinthians 15:19).

“And now abideth faith, hope, and love, these three; but the greatest of these is love” (1 Corinthians 13:13).

Hope is the moving force behind our activities. Sophocles stated, “It is hope which maintains most of mankind.” Our world is one of hope!

Martin Luther said, “Everything that is done in the world is done by hope.”

The Bible says, “he that ploweth should plow in hope; and he that thresheth in hope should be partaker of his hope: (1 Corinthians 9:10). 

The hope of a crop encourages the farmer to drive the plow; the hope of victory urges the soldier to fight; the hope of winning makes the athlete run; and hope of the incorruptible crown inspires the child of God to run in the race of life (1 Corinthians 9:24-27).

Our hope is in God, and it is powerful! Our hope is obtained from the scriptures (Romans 15:4), and as long as there is life, there is hope. Our greatest hope is for eternal life in heaven. No matter how many times we lose in this life, we can look forward to eternal life where we win and never lose.

#bible-study

What does the Bible say about the resurrection?

By Douglas M. Williams Sr.

During Jesus’ personal ministry while on earth, He repeatedly told his followers that He would suffer and be killed, but then be raised on the third day (Matthew 16:21; Mark 8:31).

Jesus said, “The Son of Man is about to be betrayed into the hands of men, and they will kill Him, and the third day He will be raised up” (Matthew 17:22-23; Mark 9:31; 10:34; Luke 9:22; 18:33). The disciples were “exceedingly sorrowful” when Jesus told them about what was going to happen to Him, and Peter “began to rebuke Him, saying, ‘Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You’” (Matthew 16:22).

But still, His disciples didn’t understand and comprehend what Jesus was saying. After the death of Jesus, His disciples forsook Him and went back to their former way of life before they had met Jesus. But as Jesus appeared to them after His resurrection His disciples remembered what he had told them about His death and resurrection, and they believed and understood.

In each of the gospel accounts about the life of Christ, near the close of their writings, they each tell about the resurrection of Jesus. Then about 50 days later Peter preached the gospel that included the resurrection (Acts 2:23-24; 29-32). And the resurrection of Jesus was central to the teaching of the early Christians (Acts 4:2; 17:18; 23:6).

Because of the resurrection, the tomb of Jesus is empty, and He has ascended back to heaven where He is seated at the right hand of God. Without the resurrection, Christianity would not be a reality and would have no meaning. Thank God for the resurrection of Jesus!

In 1 Corinthians 15, Paul discusses at length the resurrection of Jesus as the first fruits and showing that there will be a resurrection of all the dead at the last day. Jesus also taught this at John 5:28-29.

We ought to often reflect on the resurrection of Jesus. Christians do this in the observance of the Lord’s Supper on the first day of each week (Acts 20:7).

Also, in our baptism, we are buried and raised with Christ as a likeness of His resurrection (Romans 6:3-6).

 

 

#bible-study, #jesus-resurrection-from-the-dead

What does the Bible say about humility?

By Douglas M. Williams Sr.

“Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:4).

“But he who is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted” (Matthew 23:11-12).

“God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6; 1 Peter 5:5).

“Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time” (1 Peter 5:6; James 4:10).

Humility is the opposite of a prideful heart. In God’s sight, the way up is down. John Ruskin said, “I believe the first test of a truly great man is his humility.” Continue reading

#bible-study

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