A perennial first-century sticky-note

For this reason I will not be negligent to remind you always of these things, though you know and are established in the present truth. Yes, I think it is right, as long as I am in this tent, to stir you up by reminding you, knowing that shortly I must put off my tent, just as our Lord Jesus Christ showed me. Moreover I will be careful to ensure that you always have a reminder of these things after my decease.” (2 Peter 1:12-15 NKJV)

Verse 15 is interesting to me. It is as if Peter is saying that his letter would be a perennial first-century sticky-note. A note worth leaving and a note worth reading.

The apostles cared deeply for the church (2 Corinthians 11:28). Worried about the spiritual health of God’s congregations, because of the reality of false teachers and their doctrine (Acts 20:28-31), the apostles left numerous warnings throughout the scriptures about the importance of clinging to the grace and truth of the faith that had been delivered through heavenly inspiration (2 Peter 1:16-21).

God’s word is meant to stick in our minds. Remember is a word used more than once in the New Testament alone. No less than 39 times to be exact. This does not include phrases like “keep in memory” and its various translations (1 Corinthians 15:2).

I’m grateful for the letters that have stuck around for nearly 2,000 years, and for the letters that have managed to stick around much longer. They give us so much insight to the way God has dealt with humanity and to the way he is going to deal with us (2 Peter 3:9-13). And that is the way God wanted it (John 16:13). Neglect these sticky notes and we’ll miss out on the message that deserves our attention.

Beloved, I now write to you this second epistle (in both of which I stir up your pure minds by way of reminder), that you may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us, the apostles of the Lord and Savior,” (2 Peter 3:1-2 NKJV)

#2-peter, #apostles, #inspiration-of-the-bible

Where you will find Acts 20:35 in the gospels

I had not been a Christian very long when I heard a lesson on the inspiration of the scriptures (in direction connection to 2 Timothy 3:16) that used an example from Acts 20:35. The example left such an impression that I have repeated it a few times throughout the last decade. Perhaps you are familiar with the example.

During the lesson the speaker used Paul’s quotation of Jesus (it is more blessed to give than to receive) and then “challenged” someone to show him where Jesus could be quoted in the gospel saying such. Although none doubted the truthfulness of Acts 20:35, an answer could not be provided.

While the general point of the lesson on inspiration is still true (think Jannes and Jambres in 2 Timothy 3:8), I have found where Acts 20:35 can be “quoted” in the gospels. I realized it last December during a lesson about “the attitude of giving”.

Perhaps you already know where to find Acts 20:35 in the gospels, but in case you do not …

Then He also said to him who invited Him, “When you give a dinner or a supper, do not ask your friends, your brothers, your relatives, nor rich neighbors, lest they also invite you back, and you be repaid. But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind. And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you; for you shall be repaid at the resurrection of the just.”” (Luke 14:12-14 NKJV)

#giving-gifts, #inspiration-of-the-bible, #jesus

Authority of New Testament Letters

Jesus said, “If you continue on My Word, you are my disciples indeed.” (John 8:31) He also said that any who reject His Word would be judged by that Word. (John 12:48) A short time later, He said “If you love Me, keep My commandments.” (John 14:15) Then He asked, “Why do you call me Lord, Lord, and do not the things I say?” (Luke 6:46)

Okay, so we all know we must obey what Jesus said to be pleasing to Him. But many in the world will argue that that is different from what the apostles taught. Is it? Really? Let us investigate what else Jesus said.

Jesus, Himself, said: “And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Comforter, so that He may be with you forever. (John 14:16) But the Comforter, the Holy Spirit Whom the Father will send in My name, He shall teach you all things and bring to your remembrance whatever I have said to you. (John 14:26) And when the Comforter has come, Whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth Who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me. (John 15:26) ”

We are also taught, in II Timothy 3:16, that “All Scripture is given by the inspiration of God…” Taking these verses together, we can easily see that Jesus commanded us to follow His Words, that He promised the apostles that He would send the Holy Spirit to guide them, and that the Holy Spirit inspired them what to write. Therefore, all things found in the writings of Peter, Paul, James and Jude are inspired and are binding upon us today.

What say ye?

#authority-in-religion, #authority-of-the-scriptures, #inspiration-of-the-bible

Man labors while God breathes

To collect our thoughts in written form in order to provide knowledge, insight, correction, instruction or even humor in a logical manner, mankind must labor!

Forethought and hindsight and distractions factor greatly upon the human mind while writing. Anxiety pursues, and frustrations can leap off the page faster than words.

Editing and revisions are common place for even the most casual piece of literature. Correction strips, white-out, erasers and the backspace key constitute a circle of friends that are most appreciated.

And yet, to accomplish the very thing we wrestle for, and so much more, all God does is breathe:

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,” (2 Timothy 3:16 ESV)

From stone-tablets to mobile-devices, the word of God has prevailed and it will continue to do so because it expires without an expiration date.

And moreover, because the Preacher was wise, he still taught the people knowledge; yes, he pondered and sought out and set in order many proverbs. The Preacher sought to find acceptable words; and what was written was upright—words of truth. The words of the wise are like goads, and the words of scholars are like well-driven nails, given by one Shepherd. And further, my son, be admonished by these. Of making many books there is no end, and much study is wearisome to the flesh. Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man’s all. For God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, whether good or evil.” (Ecclesiastes 12:9-14 NKJV)

For the Lord gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding;” (Proverbs 2:6 NKJV)

#inspiration-of-the-bible, #writing

Snails Kill Thousands

When we consider deadly animals, we normally think about venomous snakes, ferocious sharks, crocodiles, or bears. You might be surprised to learn that the animals or organisms most deadly to humans don’t match our mental picture of dangerous creatures. The creature that kills the most humans per year (between 750,000-1,000,000) is the lowly mosquito. Because of the various diseases it spreads, such as malaria, mosquitoes are the animal kingdom’s leading human killers. Another creature that has proven to be extremely deadly is the harmless looking freshwater snail. Read >>

#apologetics-press, #inspiration-of-the-bible, #nature

April 2016 Issue of Christian Worker (How to Study the Bible – Part 1.)

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

Here are the topics that you will find:

  • Studying with the Right Attitude (Johnie Scaggs Jr)
  • The Importance of Effective Bible Study (Cody Westbrook)
  • Understanding Bible Authority (Kevin Rhodes)
  • The Silence of the Scriptures (Steven Lloyd)
  • The Importance of Context (Rick Brumback)
  • Types and Shadows (Don Walker)
  • Understanding the Covenants (Clay Bond)

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.

#authority-in-religion, #authority-of-the-scriptures, #bible-ignorance, #bible-study, #biblical-covenants, #characteristics-of-the-bible, #christian-worker, #context, #heart-and-mind, #inspiration-of-the-bible, #rightly-dividing-the-word-of-god, #sufficiency-of-the-bible, #types-and-shadows

The Sufficiency of the Scriptures when it comes to Spiritual Knowledge, Salvation and Faith in Jesus

But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.” (2 Timothy 3:14-15)

Notice what Paul did not say was responsible for Timothy’s knowledge and salvation and faith in Jesus from his childhood.

He did not say it came from…

  • the Talmud (a.k.a. the catechism).
  • the Mitzvah (a.k.a. a creed book).
  • the Oral Torah (a.k.a. oral traditions).
  • the Sanhedrin decrees (a.k.a. man-ordained councils).

Where did Paul say Timothy gained his knowledge and salvation and faith in Jesus from? The answer is the Holy Scriptures of God. And why is that? What is so unique about the Holy Scriptures compared to all other writings? Paul himself answers the question in the very next verse:

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 3:16-17)

If we want to know the mind of God when it comes to having the proper spiritual knowledge, salvation and faith in Jesus that’s available then we must go to the place of instruction that has been breathed out by the Spirit of God Himself – the word of God (a.k.a. the Bible).

When it comes to doctrine (spiritual knowledge), when it comes to reproof and correction (salvation), when it comes to instruction in righteousness (faith), and our relationship with Jesus, the Spirit of God uses the word of God to remake us into the image of the Son of God. And any other “mold” (i.e. catechisms, creed books, oral traditions and council proclamations) provided by man is a mold that will fall short, for their mold reproduces people in their image instead of God’s Son (Matthew 23:15, 2 Corinthians 3:18).

So if, according to Paul (a man who was well versed in all of the additional man-made writings and traditions of his day), the Scriptures of God were sufficient for Timothy when it came to his spiritual knowledge, salvation and faith in Jesus, then why would anyone today want to say anything else is additionally needed?

I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.” (John 16:13-14)

#inspiration-of-the-bible, #sola-scriptura, #sufficiency-of-the-bible, #the-holy-scriptures, #the-word-of-god

We Need to Study the Bible Because it’s Pure

When one understands and believes in the correct origin of the Bible then one can see and understand the flow of God’s word from beginning to end. As the Bible reveals the mind of God its purity can be seen from Genesis 1:1 to Revelation 22:5. Now when I say the Bible is pure I mean that it is free from the adulterating matter of man’s influence with clarity that is not always appreciated. Proverbs 30:5 says, “Every word of God is pure; He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him.” The word translated “pure” comes from the Hebrew word “Tsaraph” meaning “to smelt, refine or test.” In other words, the word of God will pass the test every time, all of the time and for all of time!

One of the critical mistakes that people make with reading and examining the Bible is making the assumption that a personal interpretation that seemingly causes God’s word to “contradict” itself actually reflects upon the purity, integrity or infallibility of the Bible. The truth of the matter is that the word of God doesn’t contradict when all scriptures on a given topic are considered. Without a doubt personal interpretations contradict, but God’s word does not. Concerning the purity of God’s word the book of Psalms said long ago, “The sum of your word is truth, and every one of your righteous rules endures forever.” (Psalm 119:160 – ESV). Alleged “contradictions” come from people taking “some” of God’s word into consideration instead of taking the totality of God’s word into consideration when they study and search the scriptures for answers.

Does this mean that all of the Bible is easy to study and understand? Absolutely not! It takes diligence and an honest effort to find the truth. It takes viewing the whole picture instead of looking for the hole in the picture. There’s nothing wrong or disingenuous in saying that difficulties can come when we study certain topics found in God’s word. As a matter of fact the apostle Peter warned of certain people who were intentionally abusing certain aspects of the letters written by the hands of Paul through the inspiration of God’s Spirit due to their difficulty when he said, “Consider the patience of our Lord to be salvation, just as our dear friend and brother Paul wrote to you according to the wisdom given to him, speaking of these things in all his letters. Some of his remarks are hard to understand, and people who are ignorant and whose faith is weak twist them to their own destruction, just as they do the other scriptures.” (2 Peter 3:15-16 – CEB) Peter didn’t say the topics under consideration were impossible to understand, but rather that they were hard or difficult to understand. A proper understanding begins with diligently and properly studying and dividing God’s word as Paul himself told Timothy in 2 Timothy 2:15 – “Make an effort to present yourself to God as a tried-and-true worker, who doesn’t need to be ashamed but is one who interprets the message of truth correctly.”

We can have confidence in the word of God because of its purity. Purity in any form is a rare thing, and if people would treat the word of God as they do the rare riches found upon the earth then we would understand why we should study the Bible due to the great value that it contains.

Every word of God is pure; He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him. Do not add to His words, lest He rebuke you, and you be found a liar.” (Proverbs 30:5-6)

Related Article:

#bible-study, #characteristics-of-the-bible, #christianity, #contradict, #inspiration-of-the-bible, #religion, #the-origin-of-the-bible, #the-purity-of-gods-word, #we-need-to-study-the-bible-because

We Need to Study the Bible Because it Reveals the Mind of God

As I alluded to a couple of times in the previous post, studying God’s word is necessary because of its source and because of its source the Bible reveals and gives insight to something that we’re not able to see with our physical eyes alone – and that’s the mind of God. We know what we know about God because God has revealed it about Himself to us through His written word. If we use any source other than God’s word recorded in the Bible whether it be secular or religious to try to explain the will of God we become no different from anyone else who “speaks for God” but contradicts His word.

This is not to say that the existence of a Creator cannot be seen through the existence of creation for even Psalm 19:1-6 says this much. But the difference between knowing that there is a Creator and personally knowing that Creator’s will can be huge; this is where the word of God comes in. God’s word opens the door to a proper relationship with Him by opening our eyes to His will. Read further into Psalm 19 and you’ll find that, “The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; the statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes;” (Psalm 19:7-8).

The word of God has revealed the will of God for our lives, and this will of God contains commandments, guidance, hope, love and correction, all of which have been given for our benefit. And contrary to what some try to teach concerning God’s word and will, the fact that God wants us to understand His will means that we can understand it. Ephesians 5:17 says, “Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is.

The song “Amazing Grace” reminds us of the importance of seeing the things that exist in the spiritual realm both good and bad. Contained within the word of God is an opportunity to have a portion of the infinite mind of God revealed to our finite minds. You see, God’s word reveals what needs to be seen, and not always what we want to see. When people try to go beyond what is written they reveal their own will and not the will of God. When people ignore what is written they reveal their own will and not the will of God. What has been revealed in God’s word has not been revealed because people “figured” it out, but rather because God Himself removed the veil of ignorance to reveal His glory, knowledge, honor and grace to a creation and people who He loves in such way that He has allowed us to see enough of His plan to know how to be with Him eternally in Heaven. From the garden of Eden to the garden of God in Heaven we can see the will of God because we can read about it (1 Peter 1:3-12).

The Spirit-Breathed word of God has revealed the mind of God through the wisdom of God so the salvation of man can be understood by the will of God to the glory of God! And that’s just one more reason why we should study the Bible.

But as it is written: “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.” But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one. For “who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him?” But we have the mind of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 2:9-16 – NKJV)

#characteristics-of-the-bible, #christianity, #god, #inspiration-of-the-bible, #religion, #the-mind-of-god, #the-origin-of-the-bible, #the-will-of-god, #we-need-to-study-the-bible-because

We Need to Study the Bible Because it’s the Spirit-Breathed Word of God

Knowing where God’s book originated from is one of the most basic elements needed when it comes to understanding and gaining knowledge from the Bible. The Bible is, as the word Bible literally means, the word of God; and God is the origin of the said word. Now this doesn’t mean that the Bible was not written through the hands of people. What it means is that what was written through the hands of people didn’t originate with their hands – it originated with the mind of God. It’s as the apostle Peter said in 2 Peter 1:20-21: “knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.” Pay attention to those underlined words and the meaning of those words can’t be missed!

No other book in all of religion is needed for us to understand and for us to be able to rest assured that we can both know and do God’s will, and we’ll talk about that a little more later, but for now we need understand that the Bible, which is the revealed word of God, is completely sufficient to supply all the guidance we need spiritually speaking when it comes to becoming a Christian, keeping the church on the right path and serving God in His kingdom and it even says so. Paul reminded Timothy of this much when he said, “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) If God’s inspired, literally meaning breathed out, word provides all of the needed facets of the faith then why would we need any other book(s) such as creeds, catechism’s, articles of faith or some other “testament” written and originating completely from the finite minds of people? The answer is that we don’t, and to hold any other opinion is like holding our own breath – it’ll work for a little while, but it won’t work forever!

So does any of this mean that reading commentaries from the past and present day, paralleling history books, or even posted articles about the Bible is wrong? By no means. But what it does mean is that we must learn to distinguish between the words that originate from the mind of a person and words that originate from the mind of God. It means that we must strive to allow scripture to interpret scripture instead of allowing scripture to be interpreted in light of manmade doctrines that people stubbornly hold on to. Mankind has an innate spiritual desire that must be fed and it’s only in the word of God that we’ll find the menu that can completely satisfy our needs. Proverbs 2:6 wisely says, “For the Lord gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding;” so we need to remember that if God’s word alone doesn’t spiritually satisfy us then we might not be as hungry as we think!

“…“It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’”” (Matthew 4:4)

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#characteristics-of-the-bible, #christianity, #god, #inspiration-of-the-bible, #religion, #the-origin-of-the-bible, #we-need-to-study-the-bible-because

The Bible IS Inspired by God

Writers and commentators in the world often see the Bible very differently than faithful members of the Lord’s church.

Members of the body of Christ know the Bible is inspired. They know this because the New Testament says it is inspired. The Apostle Peter said “but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost,” (2 Peter 1:21). The Apostle Paul wrote, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God,” (2 Timothy 3:16). As far as the apostles of Christ were concerned, the Bible was (and is) the inspired word of Almighty God.

But many do not share the inspired apostles’ claims. J.B. Phillips, the translator of the “New Testament in Modern English” said in the foreword of his book, “For the most part, I am convinced they (the writers of the New Testament) had no idea they were writing Holy Scriptures.” Phillips also said he was an interpreter rather than a translator, saying that, at times, “he is bound, after careful consideration, to set down the most likely meaning” of a passage.

Such an attitude reflects the view of the Bible as uninspired, for if the Bible is the inspired word of God, no one would dare tamper with its words. If the Bible is the inspired word of the Almighty Father, then all would have to honor it and obey it as it is written, instead of paraphrasing it to sound like a bedtime story.

There is a reason, of course, why the world denies the inspiration of the Bible. If the Bible is not inspired, then it may be ignored and the individual may continue his or her life deaf to its message. To them, the Bible is just an ordinary human document, like any other book; there is no requirement to obey it or hold ones’ life accountable to it.

But the Lord Christ promised divine inspiration while he was on earth (Matthew 10:18-20; John 16:13-14). The Lord kept his promise in Acts 2 when the Holy Spirit inspired these same men to speak his word before that large crowd in Jerusalem.

People, however, deny the inspiration of the scriptures because they deny the scriptures’ authority on how to conduct themselves. They deny the scriptures’ authority so they can commit adultery, allow themselves to be drunken with alcohol, engage in sexual immorality and allow hundreds of other sins in which they wish to engage. They wish to degrade the scriptures because they want to put God in other than first place. (Matthew 6:33).

But the Bible is the inspired word of God. It does have the authority to regulate conduct of people on the earth, and it has that ability because it is God’s word! The Bible is the inspired word of God no matter what man may say against it.

#bible, #inspiration-of-the-bible, #word-of-god