By: Johnny O. Trail — I typically do not listen in on conversations. To be honest, it is rather hard not to hear someone who is speaking loudly in a restaurant at a table adjacent to yours. If I am completely honest, I must admit that my ears perk up when any person starts talking about God, religion, or the Bible. That having been said, I just recently overheard a conversation at a restaurant that piqued my interest. Continue reading
“You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life” John 5:39-40.
Meant as a rebuke against the Jews who were persecuting Him, the Word’s words about the Word in our lives is chilling. He did not deny that they knew their Bibles; He did not even deny their motivation for their diligent study of them.
We might see ourselves here. Many of us have a great depth of Bible knowledge. We may also diligently study our Bibles so that we may possess eternal life. So, what were the Jews and perhaps we missing? “… yet you refuse to come to me to have life.” I’m guilty as charged.
Every year, I read through a translation of the entire Bible. I’m a fast reader, but do I hang on every word or just seek the daily checkmark for completion? The goal of good Bible study is [to] deepen our relationship with God.
It’s a two-way conversation: in prayer we talk to Him and through His Word that is living and active He speaks with and molds us into whom we can become. Is deepening your relationship with your Creator the goal of your study?
Do you know God?
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FORTY THINGS WE ALL NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE BIBLE
1. The word “Bible” is from the Greek word “byblos/biblos” and means “book.” Because of its divinely inspired contents the Bible is rightfully known as “the Book.”
2. The Bible is a divine library of sixty-six books. [more]
3. The Bible consists of two divisions—the Old Testament (consisting of 39 books) and the New Testament (consisting of 27 books).
4. The books of the Bible were written over a period of some 1600 years, from Moses (c. 1500 B.C.) to the apostle John (100 A.D.).
5. In all, some forty writers were engaged in the writing of the Bible, with eight of these (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Paul, Peter, James, and Jude) being responsible for the writing of the New Testament. The apostle Paul wrote at least thirteen of the New Testament books.
6. The Bible covers three major epochs (large time frames, sometimes referred to as dispensations) of God’s dealings with mankind: a) The Patriarchal Age in which the fathers (patriarchs) of families ruled (from Adam to Moses); b) The Jewish Age in which the Law of Moses governed the Hebrew/Israelite/Jewish people (from Moses to the death of Christ); c) The Christian Age in which the New Testament sets forth the will of God for all mankind (from the day of Pentecost [Acts 2] until the end of the world). Thus, the Christian Age is spoken of as “these last days” (see Hebrews 1:1-2).
7. The Bible also covers fifteen periods (smaller time frames) of God’s dealings with mankind: from the Ante-Diluvian (Pre-Flood) period (from the creation to the world-wide flood) all the way to the Early Church period (from the establishment of the church in Acts 2 to the close of the New Testament).
8. In reading the Bible, it is important to know in which of the above epochs (dispensations) and time periods one is reading.
9. The Old Testament consists of four major sections: a) Law (5 books: Genesis-Deuteronomy); b) History (12 books: Joshua-Esther); c) Wisdom Literature/Poetry (5 books: Job-Song of Solomon); Prophecy (17 books: Isaiah-Malachi).
10. The New Testament consists of four major sections: a) Gospels/Life of Christ (4 books: Matthew-John); b) History of the Early Church (1 book: Acts of the Apostles); c) Letters to Christians (21 books: Romans-Jude); d) Prophecy/The Ultimate Victory of God’s People (1 book: Revelation).
11. The Old Testament was written in Hebrew (with some small portions being written in Aramaic, a dialect related to Hebrew). The New Testament was written in Greek.
12. From its original languages, the Bible has been translated into 2546 languages and dialects (as of 2009). (See Once Delivered Forever Established: The Certainty of the Holy Scripture, Dr. Doug Burleson, p. 83, a book I highly recommend for all who have an interest in learning more about the authenticity and reliability of the Bible.)
13. Some of the better known English versions of the Bible are the King James (1611), the American Standard (1901), the Revised Standard (1946, N. T.; 1951, entire Bible), the New International (1973, N. T.; 1978, entire Bible), the New King James (1972, N. T.; 1982, entire Bible), the New American Standard (1963, N. T.; 1971, entire Bible), the New Revised Standard (1989), and the English Standard (2001). The Douay-Rheims Version (1508, 1609, 1610) was long held as the standard English version for members of the Roman Catholic Church, but Catholic editions of some of the above English versions are used by many Catholics.
14. The books of the Bible were divided into chapters by Archbishop Stephen Langton, an English scholar, though Cardinal Hugo also has been given credit for doing this, both in the 13th century.
15. The chapters of the Bible books were divided into verses by a French printer by the name of Robert Estienne (Latin name, Stephanus) in 1551 for the New Testament and 1555 for the Old Testament. (Note: Chapter and verse divisions facilitate the location of particular passages, e.g., “John 3:16,” rather than, “The Bible says in John that God so loved the world . . .”
16. Year after year, the Bible remains the world’s best-seller. 100 million Bibles are printed every year and 20 million of these are sold in the United States.
17. The Bible is comprised of “all Scripture . . . given by inspiration of God” (II Timothy 3:16-17).
18. Though men were the human instruments used by God for writing the Bible, the Scriptures exist because “holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirt” (II Peter 1:21).
19. The writers of the Bible were conscious of the fact that they were writing the word of God (Exodus 17:14; II Samuel 23:2; Jeremiah 30:2; I Corinthians 2:13; I Corinthians 14:37; I Thessalonians 2:13; II Peter 3:15-16; et al.)
20. There are literally thousands of manuscripts and ancient versions that verify the accuracy of the Bible (more than 5300 Greek manuscripts for the New Testament alone), so that “The Christian can take the whole Bible in his hand and say without fear or hesitation that he holds in it the true word of God, handed down without essential loss from generation to generation throughout the centuries” (Sir Frederic Kenyon [1863-1952], British biblical and classical scholar, as cited by Dr. Neil Lightfoot, How We Got the Bible, Abilene, TX: ACU Press, 1986, p. 126).
21. Being the word of God, and because it is impossible for God to lie (Hebrews 6:18), the Bible is absolute truth (John 17:17).
22. Jesus relied on Scripture to resist Satan’s temptations (Matthew 4:1-11; Luke 4:1-13).
23. Jesus read and quoted the Old Testament Scriptures and recognized them in their entirety as being the authoritative word of God (Matthew 5:17; John 10:35; Matthew 19:1-9; Matthew 23:34-35 [the equivalent of saying “from Genesis to Malachi”]; Luke 4:16-21; Luke 24:44-47).
24. During His personal ministry Christ referred to and gave credence to the creation of man in the image of God (Matthew 19:4-6), the flood (Matthew 24:38-39), the overthrow of Sodom and Gomorrah (Luke 10:12; 17:28-29), the story of Jonah and the great fish (Matthew 12:39-41), the writings of Moses (John 5:46), the writings of Isaiah (Mark 7:6-8), the writings of Daniel (Matthew 24:15), and other Old Testament prophets and events. He did not view them as folklore, fairytales, myths, or legends.
25. Being comprised of “all Scripture . . . given by inspiration of God,” the Bible “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” (II Timothy 3:16-17).
26. In the Bible God has given us “all things that pertain to life and godliness” (II Peter 1:13).
27. The Bible sets forth the “one faith” (Ephesians 4:5), “the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3). There is no authentic revelation from God outside of the Bible.
28. The Bible sets forth commands to be obeyed (I Corinthians 14:37; John 14:15; I John 5:3), examples to be followed (I Peter 2:21; I Timothy 4:12; II Timothy 1:13), warnings to be heeded (Acts 20:31; Colossians 1:28), and promises to be enjoyed (II Peter 1:2-4).
29. The Bible is not to be tampered with by addition, subtraction, substitution, or modification (Deuteronomy 4:2; Proverbs 30:6; Revelation 22:18-19; Galatians 1:6-9; Psalm 119:89).
30. As the word of God, the Bible is “a lamp to [our] feet and a light to [our] path” (Psalm 119:105).
31. We should love the Bible, read and study it, memorize great portions of it, laying it up in our hearts so that we will not sin against God (Psalm 119:97, 11).
32. The word of God is the sword of the Spirit with which we are able to conquer all moral and spiritual foes (Ephesians 6:17).
33. God’s word (the Bible) is “living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword . . . and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).
34. The Bible is like a mirror into which one may look to see what changes he/she needs to make in order to be right with God (James 1:18).
35. God’s word is “like a fire” and “like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces” (Jeremiah 23:29).
36. The word of God “is able to build [us] up” spiritually (Acts 20:32).
37. It is through the word of truth (the Scriptures/Bible) that one is “brought forth” (born again) to be “a kind of firstfruits of His (God’s) creatures” (James 1:18; cf. I Peter 1:22-23; John 3:1-5).
38. The Scriptures are to be studied and searched diligently to see if the things that are taught and believed religiously are so (Acts 17:11; cf. I Thessalonians 5:21; I John 4:1).
39. The word of God is indestructible (Matthew 24:35) and will be the standard by which all will be finally judged—not our opinions or what we have always felt, thought, believed, or been taught (John 12:48; Romans 2:16).
40. In summary, the Bible is not a self-help book designed to make its readers healthy, wealthy, happy, or successful (though within its overarching purpose there are broad principles that contribute to these matters). It is not a book of “codes” and “prophecies” as to when the second coming of Christ will occur and the world will end. Neither is the Bible a disjointed book of disconnected and unrelated documents. Rather, it is a book that gradually and systematically, from beginning to end, sets forth God’s grand scheme of human redemption from the time of its conception in the mind of God before the foundation of the world (Titus 1:1-3; II Timothy 1:8-11; Romans 16:25-27), through its being made known by Christ, the gospel, the church, and the New Testament (Ephesians 3:1-12; I Corinthians 2:1-13), to its ultimate fruition of the redeemed in heaven—“receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls” (I Peter 1:9).
September 18, 2018
September 21-23: Gatlinburg, TN
This quote, by one Derek Price, whom I know nothing about, is right on:
I have spent countless hours counseling Christians with problems, and have come to the conclusion that there are limits to what can be accomplished by counseling. I would say at least fifty percent of most Christians’ problems are due to the fact that they have not repented. I suggest that if you are struggling with problems in your Christian experience, ask yourself if you have truly repented. Turn totally from everything displeasing to God and yield yourself to Him in unconditional surrender.
Of course, “fifty percent” is an attempt at quantification that most of us do. No harm there. The estimate might even be low, which means in many if not most cases, people need prophetic words urging them to repentance, rather than soothing assurances to accept self or situation or offering other options to consider.
The will of God is complete. All Scripture encompasses the whole of human experience. How many problems would be solved, and pain and suffering avoided, if people but knew and obeyed the Word of God!
“So get rid of all evil and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander. And yearn like newborn infants for pure, spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up to salvation, if you have experienced the Lord’s kindness.”
1 Peter 2.1-3
Growth is in the direction of salvation. Without growth, no one can be saved. There are no spiritual infants in heaven. The way to growth is through the word of God.
If you are not growing spiritually, only one solution is possible: repentance. How to yearn for God’s word? Start reading it!
“Now as for the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was spoken to you by God, 32 ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not the God of the dead but of the living!”
Jesus believed and taught the divine inspiration of Scripture. Moses wrote Exodus thousands of years earlier. Yet our Lord said God was speaking to people of his day through that written word.
If the Bible is the very word of God, how should we handle it, deal with it, meditate upon it, and share it?
Scholars are all agog over a new discovery. What is being heralded as the oldest known artefact of Homer’s “Odyssey” records 13 verses of the epic poem on a tablet. The tablet is dated to the 3rd century AD. The poem, along with the “Iliad,” is believed to have been written in the 8th century BC. That’s over a thousand-year interval, but it’s still considered a trustworthy witness to Homer’s work. Continue reading
“But Paul and Barnabas remained in Antioch, teaching and proclaiming (along with many others) the word of the Lord.”
After Judas returned to Jerusalem with the letter about Jewish-Gentile relations, more teaching was needed. Paul, Barnabas and many others taught and evangelized.
Teaching is one of the primary functions in the church of God. It strengthens the church and prepares saints to be proclaimers themselves. The Lord’s word is central to Christians’ experience.
David Lemmons has made available extensive Bible study guides in PDF format for the book of James. Get them here for individual chapters or in a single PDF to bind them all.
In an age when people profess one thing and practice another, the study of the book of James is direly needed.
“David said, ‘All of this I put in writing as the Lord directed me and gave me insight regarding the details of the blueprints.’”
1 Chronicles 28.19
David passed on to his son Solomon the instructions for the building of the temple, just as he received them from the Lord.
“David always operated under the direction of the Lord and His Scriptures, which is the way we should operate. What guides your daily affairs? Do you read the Scriptures daily to find out what they teach on how to live?” —Don Ruhl
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.
(2 Timothy 3:16-17 ESV)
Все Писание богодухновенно и полезно для научения, для обличения, для исправления, для наставления в праведности, да будет совершен Божий человек, ко всякому доброму делу приготовлен. (2-е Тимофею 3:16-17 Russian)
O LORD my God, dear Father in heaven ~ please accept the praises to your high and holy name from all people around the world who love you. Thank you Lord, for your steadfast love for my soul, that has provided words that contain eternal principles of truth and righteousness. Lead me in the right way according to your perfect and discernible plan of salvation. Help every person who expounds spiritual wisdom and knowledge to make certain their proposals originate only from your inspired Word. Make fools of those who twist the Scriptures in order to justify their false doctrines. In the precious name of Jesus, Amen.
David Binkley, Sr. Gospel Minister
“In those days there was another large crowd with nothing to eat.”
Some say two versions of the same miracle event got included. But Mark affirmed there was another large crowd with nothing to eat. Either he was wrong and scriptural inspiration falls to the ground, or Jesus performed (at least) two similar acts of compassion in multiplying bread and fish.
Each fact of Scripture is precious. How do you grow in your trust of God’s word?
“The Son … sustains all things by his powerful word …”
The beginning of this book holds a beautiful summary of the gospel. “All things” is inclusive. It includes his followers as well as the universe. His word, spoken and written, contains all power.
The Christian’s power is in the Bible, in great measure. We deprive ourselves of God’s help when we fail to read and follow it. Describe your practice of finding power in Christ’s word.
“So we can say with confidence, ‘The Lord is my helper, and I will not be afraid. What can people do to me?'”
Such confidence arises from certainty of God’s presence, v. 5. It brings contentment with what we have. We then will not fear any threat that man might pose. The writer quoted Psalm 118.6.
The Bible provides us with teaching about God that gives us faith, certainty, and confidence. Review the place of the Bible in your life history.
by Douglas M. Williams, Sr.
“This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you” (Exodus 12:2).
“Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended, but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13-14).
We are in a new year, and we should have the attitude of the apostle Paul in the above verses. The past year of 2017 is gone. We cannot change the past. We have the present. We should look forward to the future with positive anticipation to do the best we can and with God’s blessings to make our lives what God would have them to be.
There is a sense in which it is good to have left another “long, weary mile” behind, as we pass another milestone on our journey to an eternity with God. As we approach another New Year, people are often heard to greet each other with a warmth of feeling “Happy New Year!” This is a beautiful and lovely spirit and a wonderful wish. John stated, “Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth” (3 John 2). Certainly, we extend such good and pleasant things for each of you, and that you have the best year ever. It will be a wonderful year and blessings for eternity if you live for God.
At the beginning of a year, we usually think of resolutions, even though we can resolve to improve our lives at any time. What better time than the beginning of a new year to make new resolves? Hopefully, each of us will make some good resolutions and try our best to live up to them; never becoming impatient and quitting, even if we seem to slip, but try again.
God bless thy year,
Thy coming in, thy going out,
Thy rest, thy traveling about,
The rough, the smooth,
The bright, the drear:
God bless thy year.