Bible

The Bible: Ancient in Age but not in Application

If the Bible is known for one thing to the masses it is known for being old! Parts of the Bible are approximately 3,500 years old, but my, oh my, it looks so good for its age. Would you not agree?

It amazes me how God’s word manages to stay so up-to-date. It has never fallen “behind the times” in appearance. It has made its way from stone work to vellum and papyrus scrolls to modern paper and book form and even on into the digital age without missing a beat.

And think of the language barriers it has crossed during the process! God’s word is easier to find and keep up with more now than it has ever been at any other time in history. And remember, this “old book” is still the best-seller around the world. Go on and look it up.

But not only has the Bible kept up with the times in appearance it has kept up with the times in application! People of today are no different from the people we read about in the ancient scriptures. The only thing that divides us from them is time and technology!

God’s word fills the same void within man today that it filled centuries and millennia ago. Many try to substitute the Bible’s spiritual guidance with politics, pop-psychology, and work or with one of the hundreds of manmade religions found around the world. And many find satisfaction with these until they are faced with the ageless application of the word of God.

The obvious applications of God’s Word are the very things that draw so much angst against it. The Bible reveals the very reason of our existence and the very Creator that raised us from the dirt of the Earth. Both male and female made in the image of God! Many have not tried to destroy the Bible simply because of its existence; they have tried to destroy the Bible simply because of the applicable content. They see too clearly the image it reflects back. Not the image of the flesh, but the image of the soul. A very unflattering image in their own eyes!

No one would mind the Bible if it only sat quietly as a supposed piece of fiction as other controversial books can and do. But the Bible will not sit quietly. It works on the conscience in a way that makes most uncomfortable. It was designed to do this very thing when necessary (Hebrews 4:12).

The Bible gets personal…right down into every facet of our life!

The Bible gets into our family life – our marriage, our parents, our children.

The Bible gets into our personal life and the way treat others – strangers, our spiritual brothers and sisters, our friends, our co-workers, our neighbors, and even our enemies.

The Bible gets into our spiritual life – the sin we struggle with, the sin we ignore, the sin that condemns us, the sin we must confess and the only sacrificial solution given for it (John 1:29).

Is God’s word ancient in age? Absolutely! Who could deny this? Is God’s word ancient in application? Absolutely not! Try honestly reading it and then try to honestly deny it. It’s as one perishable man said, who wrote so long ago on such a perishable medium, “having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever, because ‘All flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of the grass. The grass withers, and its flower falls away, But the word of the LORD endures forever.’ Now this is the word which by the gospel was preached to you.” (1 Peter 1:23-25)

How wonderful is the ageless word of God!  EA

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

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We Need to Study the Bible Because…

Bible study is vital for good spiritual health. Bible application in our life is just as important as Bible study for our life because without the application, the knowledge does no good; but we can’t apply anything unless we know what needs to be applied and that’s where the necessity for actual study comes in (2 Timothy 2:15).

Here are six articles that I posted on The Fellowship Room several months ago that revolve around the importance of studying the greatest book that’s ever been written – the word of God.

I hope that these articles may be found useful as you study the word of God to see His will for our lives. EA

Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.” But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’”” (Matthew 4:3-4)

Does Our Doctrine Make A Difference?

When a word appears 49 times in 15 out of the 27 books of the New Testament that may be a “clue” to its importance.  And these “clues” lead to the importance of following, believing and teaching proper doctrine.

The word doctrine itself comes from the Greek word “didache” meaning, “that which is taught; doctrine, teaching concerning something; the act of teaching and instruction particularly in Christian religious assemblies.” So basically “doctrine” means what a person teaches concerning religious issues specific to the God of the Bible and His will for our life.

Now, although there are many different doctrines taught in the religious world today (which is actually against the doctrine of God taught in the Bible to begin with – John 17:20-22) I want to quickly whittle down all of these doctrines to two different kinds:

There is “sound” doctrine: “holding fast the faithful word as he has been taught, that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convict those who contradict” (Titus 1:9)

and

There is “strange” doctrine: “Do not be carried about with various and strange doctrines. For it is good that the heart be established by grace, not with foods which have not profited those who have been occupied with them.” (Hebrews 13:9)

The word “sound literally means “to be well and in good health” and “having an understanding and teaching free from any mixture of error.”

The word “strange” (which represents any other doctrine other than sound ones) means “without knowledge of” or “unheard of; new.”

So you can see how any lesson, sermon, or opinion, etc. religiously speaking can fall into these two categories.

Now, in light of these two very plain definitions and scriptures shown above, some people today still insist that it doesn’t matter what a person’s “doctrine” is. In other words they believe that a person can teach just about anything they want as long as they are sincere in their belief, but how does the Holy Spirit feel about that particular doctrine?

Paul, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, told Timothy in 1 Timothy 1:3-7 to “…charge some that they teach no other doctrine….” He also told Timothy in 2 Timothy 4:3 that “…the time will come when [people] will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers.

John said when a person abandons the doctrine of Jesus the Christ, in reality they abandon God: “Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into your house nor greet him; for he who greets him shares in his evil deeds.” (2 John 1:9-11)

Jesus Himself warned about and condemned any doctrine other than God’s when he said, “These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’” (Matthew 15:8-9) And as a matter of fact in Revelation 2:15 Jesus told the compromising church of Pergamos that He hated the doctrine of the Nicolatians that they were allowing to be taught.

So according to Jesus the Son of God, the Holy Spirit of God, and John and Paul the apostles of God, does our doctrine matter? Can our doctrine make a difference in our  relationship with God? The answer is a resounding YES.

But before I finish I must ask, can we know and teach “sound doctrine?” Again the answer is a resounding YES. How does this happen? How can we do this? By listening to the Spirit of God through God’s word and God’s word alone found in the Bible and by teaching doctrines that do not contradict God’s written and revealed will for our lives (Matthew 7:24-29).

2 John 1:9 teaches the importance of staying within the boundaries of the New Testament, and that means we must study God’s word to know the sound doctrine that comes from God. And if you’re not convinced yet, read 2 Timothy 2:14-18 and then try to tell me with a straight face that the Bible doesn’t say our doctrine makes a difference. Think about it. EA

How is it you do not understand that I did not speak to you concerning bread?—but to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” Then they understood that He did not tell them to beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” (Matthew 6:11-13)

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Jesus Believed the Scriptures Were Infallible and So Can You!

Confidence in the scriptures of the Bible is vital to a proper relationship with God. The world tries to shake a believer’s confidence with name calling, attempts to take verses out of context and by ignoring the fact that there are times when people have made bad translations that ignore the original languages and manuscripts that tie our modern English Bible with the Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek languages of the past.

When moments of sarcastic remarks or “intellectual” ignorance are blasted at the scriptures, one person that I keep in mind to settle the issue is Jesus. Despite His contemporary naysayers who abused the scriptures through tradition, erroneous translations and plain old unbelief, Jesus taught that the scriptures held a common theme and that they were infallible. Jesus taught that the scriptures provided the necessary guidance for the hearts and minds of man because the Holy Scriptures written by the hands of men came from the mind of God (2 Peter 1:16-21).

Jesus settled controversial issues with the stability of the scriptures:

Marriage and divorce? What do the scriptures say? (Matthew 19:1-9)

Life after death? What do the scriptures say? (Matthew 22:23-40)

Was it possible for Jesus, the son of David, to be greater than king David? What do the scriptures say? (Matthew 22:41-46)

Was Jesus really the Messiah? What do the scriptures say? (John 5:36-42)

It was after the resurrection that the disciples believed because they remembered the scriptures and the words of Jesus (John 2:18-22).

A person can get a concordance and find many more times when Jesus settled issues with the true and infallible standard from God. After all, the only way we can know that Jesus was a perfect sacrifice is because He perfectly fulfilled the scriptures.

On the road to Emmaus Jesus gave one of His greatest unrecorded sermons that we know about. It is in the New Testament scriptures that we learn about a couple of Jesus’ disciples whose hearts were hurting as they walked on the road to Emmaus because of the death of Jesus and because of the empty tomb. These disciples just so happened to meet a “stranger” in town who believed the scriptures were invaluable because they infallibly and joyously pointed to very tomb that troubled them. The “stranger” told them:

…“O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?” And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.” (Luke 24:25-27)

At times Jesus challenged and questioned the hearts of men and women but He never questioned the authority of the scriptures (John 10:35). If Jesus believed the Old Testament scriptures were infallibly and completely inspired of God’s Spirit then we can have the same confidence in the same Spirit of God when it comes to accomplishing His mission with the scriptures of the New Testament that we can hold in our hands today. EA

You also gave Your good Spirit to instruct them, and did not withhold Your manna from their mouth, and gave them water for their thirst.” (Nehemiah 9:20)

Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they do not believe in Me; of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more; of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged. “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. He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you. All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you.” (John 16:7-15)

Should We Only Listen To The Words in Red???

Are the “words in red” the only words we must be concerned with when it comes to the commands of Christ found in the Bible? Some are under the opinion that the other epistles (letters) which make up the New Testament do not have as much authority as the ones that go by the title “the gospel of Jesus Christ according to….” Such an opinion concerning the scriptures is wrong, and it is a dangerous opinion to have.

For one, it undermines the heavenly authority of Jesus’ apostles and prophets and the foundation upon which the church itself is built upon. Consider the following scriptures:

Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.” (Ephesians 2:19-22)

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)

If anyone thinks himself to be a prophet or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things which I write to you are the commandments of the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 14:37)

Without the written knowledge that the Holy Spirit has made known to the church through the apostles and the prophets, the church today would not have a steady foundation of truth to follow or be built upon, much less teach (1 Timothy 3:14-15).

I have a full assurance in the Holy Spirit and His ability to complete the mission He had in reminding, revealing, reinforcing and regulating the doctrine of Christ to the apostles and prophets of the church (John 14:26, 15:26, & 16:7-14). He accomplished it with the Old Covenant and He has accomplished it with the New Covenant as well.

If we refuse to listen to the Holy Spirit inspired men and the “words written in black” which have been preserved through the providence of God, then in reality we are refusing to listen to the “words written in red” that promised it would happen! EA

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)

You can’t talk Bible without talking Bible…

In the past I used to watch a TV show that I found somewhat interesting. The basis of the show revolved around “religious unity” and a “roundtable discussion” about “religious and spiritual” matters with leaders from different religious organizations and bodies who were supposed to present (although not defend) their stance on the issue that was being discussed on that particular episode.

I appreciated the fact that the moderator and the participating panel were respectful of one another even though they disagreed, and that the show in some ways encouraged people to sit and discuss matters where spiritual disagreements are held, but nonetheless, I put the above words in quotation marks because sometimes it really amazed me what topics they considered to be unifying and spiritual and worthy of discussion. And above all, it amazed me how so many religious discussions and matters of the faith which has been once and for all delivered unto the saints (Jude 3) could be held on the show and by the panel without ever mentioning the Bible. I don’t know if they had some kind of prearranged agreement backstage, but how can you have a discussion on biblical topics without mentioning the Bible???

The topic on the majority of the episodes produced by the program that I watched could have been settled with only a couple of referenced verses that simply stated what the Bible says instead of going around and around with varying opinions. Let me give you an example that can easily relate since tax season is upon us. One episode that I watched asked the question: Is paying taxes a civil or a religious duty? One person started the show by stating that paying taxes was a civil and religious duty, with another person stating and holding to the view that paying taxes is only a civil duty, and then the rest of the panel went on to tilt in one direction or the other.

As the show continued, all of the varying religious leaders gave their opinion as to why the answer they supported was the correct one based upon how government works or does not work to the advantage of the general welfare of the public. Not one time did any of the men involved in the discussion ever quote one verse from the one book that could have settled the issue in a simple and quick manner. Let me show you what I mean.

Did you know that Jesus once had a roundtable discussion” on whether or not God’s people should pay taxes to the government? You wouldn’t have known it if you were watching that episode I mentioned, but He did. The discussion is recorded in Matthew 22:16-22 which says:

And they sent to Him their disciples with the Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that You are true, and teach the way of God in truth; nor do You care about anyone, for You do not regard the person of men. Tell us, therefore, what do You think? Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?” But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, “Why do you test Me, you hypocrites? Show Me the tax money.” So they brought Him a denarius. And He said to them, “Whose image and inscription is this?” They said to Him, “Caesar’s.” And He said to them, “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” When they had heard these words, they marveled, and left Him and went their way.”

Do you see how simple it could have been to have solved the issue? It didn’t take 30 minutes – it only took 10 seconds to get the answer straight from the mouth of Jesus!

Later on in the Bible, in Romans 13:7, you can read where Paul taught the church at Rome (where Caesar’s throne was) to, “Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor.” Simple enough isn’t it? Sounds like I’m religiously obligated to pay taxes after all…even if it’s a government that doesn’t care much for me on multiple levels!

The principle used with this topic applies to all other areas in our lives. God 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). If we want to know God’s will then we need to read God’s word.

It’s amazing how “talking Bible” can become so much easier when we actually talk Bible. EA

If anyone has anything to say, let it be as the words of God;…so that in all things God may have the glory through Jesus Christ…” (1 Peter 4:11 – BBE)

P.S. – I don’t recommend the show, that’s why I used to watch it. It belongs in File 13. In one episode that I watched, again without the mentioning and use of the scriptures, all of the “Christian” leaders, with the exception of one I believe, were unwilling to say that following Jesus was the only way to please God and to make it to Heaven today…which could have easily been settled with John 14:6 in which Jesus says, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”  When someone tries to talk Bible without talking Bible its because they want you to follow the words of men and women and not the word of God (Acts 20:26-32).

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Enemies of the Resurrection

The resurrection of the dead is the cornerstone doctrine that Christianity is built upon; at least that’s how the apostles felt about it. Paul put it all out on the table by plainly, and soberly, telling the church at Corinth:

Now if Christ is preached that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty. Yes, and we are found false witnesses of God, because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ, whom He did not raise up—if in fact the dead do not rise. For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable.” (1 Corinthians 15:12-19)

In the midst of the church at Corinth there were enemies of the resurrection, but when you think about it, the resurrection had enemies before the church was even established.

Even though the Old Testament gave evidence of the resurrection to the Jews, there were still doubters and deniers. They had the example of Elisha and the young child (2 Kings 4), the example of the “raising” of Samuel’s soul (1 Samuel 28), the example of the dead bones of Elisha and the living man (2 Kings 13) and the example of the prophecies in Isaiah 26:19 and Daniel 12:2, and this is not to mention the example Peter used from Psalm 16:10 while preaching Jesus as the resurrected Christ and Lord. Despite these repeated examples there were enemies who still contradicted the plain evidence of the scriptures…and people, even religious people, think they’re breaking new ground when they take on the examples of the Bible today???

On one occasion, Jesus told the Sadducees, who did not believe in the resurrection but came to him sarcastically asking questions about it, in Matthew 22:23 that they were in error because they did not know the scriptures or the power of God (Matthew 22:29). What scriptures did they not know? It surely wasn’t the Gospel According to Matthew! It was in part, the very scriptures noted above. It was the scriptures of the very Law they were living under that said death is not the end all be all. In Matthew 22:32 Jesus proved by the language that God used with Moses, the writer of their Law, that man will live…does live beyond the grave:

“‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.”” (Matthew 22:32)

What some people forget is that believers in the resurrection preceded the empty tomb of Jesus. Paul used the “pro-resurrection” beliefs of the Pharisees against the Sadducees to avoid an unjust trial against him (Acts 23:1-10) and he used the Old Testament scriptures to defend his teaching concerning the resurrection showing that the early fathers of the Jews believed in the resurrection too (Acts 24:15-16). So believers in the resurrection preceded the empty tomb for sure, but the empty tomb is what fulfills the hope that it takes to hold on to it! (1 Peter 1:3)

The resurrection brings hope to God’s people, but the resurrection brings fear to God’s enemies. This is why the resurrection was such a big “target” to people in the past who did not want to answer for what they had done; and why it remains the “target” that it is today even though God makes His grace available.

As soon as the good news of the empty tomb began to spread, people began to attack the resurrection (Matthew 28:1-15), but they didn’t win in the past and they won’t win in the future. As a matter of fact, to fight the fact of a resurrection is a losing battle that is not lost by the word win – it is lost by the word when!!! Read Colossians 3:4 if you don’t get it. EA

Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be destroyed is death.” (1 Corinthians 15:24-26)

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