by Johanna Michaelsen
“You kids want to know something?” I asked very softly.
“You kids want to know something?” I asked very softly.
by John MacArthur
There is nothing more basic to Bible study than Bible reading. Imagine trying to interpret a middle chapter in the allegorical Pilgrim’s Progress without knowing the larger story, or studying the significance of World War II without a good understanding of World War I. Proper Bible study cannot be built on a scattered compilation of pet verses or a narrow study of a particular doctrine—it must be grounded in a comprehensive understanding of broad biblical themes and history. And the only way to obtain that is faithful, diligent Bible reading.
Ironically, many people engage in studying the Bible without ever reading it. They may read a lot of books about the Bible, but there is no substitute for reading Scripture on its own. My suggestion is that you follow a deliberate reading plan that will take you all the way through both the Old and New Testaments.
The Old Testament
A healthy goal for all Christians is to read through the Old Testament once a year. There are thirty-nine books in the Old Testament, and if you read about twenty minutes a day, you should be able to get through it in one year.
As you do this year after year, you’ll be building comprehension as you read. I would also suggest, as you read, that you make notations in the margin to mark places that you don’t yet understand. As you continue to re-read the Old Testament you will begin to check those notations off as you gain increasing understanding of the portions that once confused you. Whatever remains unanswered can be used for individual study with a commentary or other sources to find the meaning.
It is unrealistic to expect to exhaustively learn the meaning of every Old Testament verse. Such an unattainable goal will only cultivate a sense of intimidation for such a large reading program. Trust the Holy Spirit to do His illuminating work as you persist with your daily schedule. You will gain an ever-expanding knowledge of the material.
The New Testament
Paul described the New Testament as the unveiling of the Old Testament (Colossians 1:25–26). He alluded to the Old Testament insofar as it illustrated and elucidated and supported the New Testament.
The message of the New Testament is the culmination of revelation. It is that which embodies and engulfs all that was in the Old Testament. In a sense, the New Testament will summarize for you the content of the Old Testament, as well as lead you further into the fullness of revelation. It is for this reason our major thrust in Bible study should be reading the New Testament.
When I was in seminary I decided to read 1 John every day for thirty days. You should try it; it will only take you about twenty-five minutes to read it all the way through. Fight the temptation on about the eighth day to think you’ve got it down. If you stick with it, you’ll gain a tremendous comprehension of 1 John.
When preparing sermons, I always read through the pertinent book repeatedly until the whole book fills my mind in a kind of visual perception. It is also very helpful to take a three-by-five card and write down the major theme of each chapter. As you do this you’ll begin to develop a mental map of the book you’re studying.
After 1 John, go to a large book in the New Testament like the gospel of John. Don’t be intimidated by the twenty-one chapters, just divide it into three sections. Read the first seven chapters for thirty days, the second seven for thirty days, and the third seven for thirty days. At the end of those ninety days you will have pretty well mastered the content of the gospel of John along with memorizing the major theme of each chapter.
After the gospel of John you might want to go to Philippians, another short book. Then you might want to go to Matthew, then to Colossians, and then to Acts. Divide it up like that, continually going back and forth between a small book and a large book. Such a plan is highly achievable if you keep moving forward one step at a time. In approximately two and a half years you will have finished the whole New Testament—and you’ll be on your third time through the Old Testament! You should read the Bible anyway, so you might as well read it in a way that you can remember it.
The Bible is “living and active” (Hebrews 4:12). It will come alive in your life as you read it in a repetitious manner. When I started using this method I was amazed at how fast I began to retain the New Testament. Isaiah said that we learn, “Order on order, order on order, line on line, line on line, a little here, a little there” (Isaiah 28:13).
You learn by repetition. The reading retention you gain from that will lay a wonderful foundation for the vital task of rightly interpreting the sacred text. Sound Bible interpretation is the next phase of Bible study and we’ll look at that next time.
(Adapted from How to Study the Bible)
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“How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!’” (Romans 10:14-15 ESV).
The Apostle Paul addresses the world’s greatest need and the church’s Great Commission in Romans 10:14. Each day around 150,000 people die around the world, tens of thousands of them never having repented of their sins and trusted in Christ. In fact, many haven’t even heard the gospel. It has been said that a missionary is one who can’t get used to the sound of pagan footsteps on the way to a Christless eternity. That certainly resonates for those of us who have been called to reach the unreached and teach them everything Christ commanded.
So why wait? After all, we have the Holy Spirit, God’s call, and a passport. Our duty is to obey Christ and rescue the perishing. Why shouldn’t we grab our passport and head to the airport immediately when God calls us to go and serve?
The answer to this question lies in what Christ has actually called us to do as well as a realistic look at how that is done. In Matthew 28:19-20, Christ commanded us to do one thing — make disciples. Specifically, he commanded us to make disciples and to do so by going, baptizing, and teaching all he had commanded. Yet in order to do that, the one who goes must be prepared. With the call to go and serve comes the call to prepare.
A consistent theme I have seen in many churches is in the area of church finances. Many church leaders operate out of a mode of scarcity instead of abundance. While I realize that churches cannot and should not spend foolishly, too many church leaders just don’t recognize that God has provided more than they think.
Often the issue is not lack of funds, but unwise choices of church expenditures. There are many reasons for this reality; I plan to address them in a future post.
For now, I offer a checklist of questions. As you answer these questions, I hope you will be motivated to think how your church might look at its expenditures and budgets in a different light.
Besides our general concerns about the New Age philosophies and beliefs that often undergird alternative/naturopathic/holistic treatments, we also have concerns that due to the unregulated nature of the alternative industry, these unregulated products (1) may not do what they claim to do, and (2) might not even be what they purport to be. From the article entitled The Truth About Nutrition Supplements (Fitness Magazine, Oct 2009):
They won’t use it for the reasons they tell you.
Within hours of Superstorm Sandy slamming the East Coast two years ago, Americans opened their wallets to help — donating millions to the first charity that came to mind: the American Red Cross.
President Obama, like most elected officials and celebrities, vouched for the organization,encouraging people to give.
In the months after the disaster, the Red Cross touted its success in delivering food, clothes and shelter to tens of thousands of people left homeless by the storm. Gail McGovern, the Red Cross president and CEO, told NBC News two weeks after the storm: “I think that we are near flawless so far in this operation.”
The truth, however, is different.
Read it all- and don’t give anything to the Red Cross if you don’t want it to be misused. And I happen to know at first hand how…
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(Central Israel) — The United States of America is going to turn against the State of Israel.
I wish it weren’t true, but Bible prophecy indicates that “all the nations of the earth” will turn hostile towards Israel, her capital of Jerusalem, and the Jewish people in the “last days,” and that as a result God will judge “all the nations.”
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When a pastor does the right thing, I have to feature it.
This is from CNS News.
Reverend Franklin Graham, son of world renowned evangelical pastor Billy Graham, said that President Barack Obama was “fundamentally mistaken” about radical Islam; questioned why peaceful Muslims do not collectively condemn jihadist terrorism; and argued that Islam “is a false religion” and that “it is impossible for a false religion to be a true religion of peace.”
Rev. Franklin Graham also cited examples from a speech he recently gave outside the White House, decrying the actions of followers of a “peaceful religion” who practice “female circumcision,” hijacking, kidnapping, “honor” killings, and decapitation.
Rev. Graham commended President Obama for sending some U.S. troops to fight the Islamic State but, citing Obama’s Sept. 24 speech at the United Nations where the president said “Islam teaches peace,” the reverend said, “I also believe our president…
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Once again, the world has the distinction of hearing “Thus says the man in the white robe” instead of “thus says the Lord.” If we question the veracity of God’s Word and the foundations which He has established, then it will be easy to cut out further parts of Scripture. Here are a few things to consider as to whether pope Francis is right or wrong.
There are several problems with Christians accepting the Big Bang Theory and the theory of evolution.
1. It questions the validity and work of the Trinity. Genesis states that each member of the Triune Godhead was involved in creation.
A. God the Father is attributed with the work of creation throughout the Old Testament. If creation is not true, then we must exclude every writer who spoke and wrote falsely giving credit to the holy God…
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“You do nothing more than latch on to a small word and smear over with your spittle as you please, but meanwhile you do not take into account other texts which overthrow you who smear and spits, so that you are up-ended with all four limbs in the air”. — Martin Luther
Don’t you just want to hug him? I do, and I’m not a hugger…
This week’s quotation comes from Carl Trueman, in his book The Creedal Imperative, p. 35. The topic is mysticism, and that there is an evangelical version of it.
Anyone who has ever been told by a friend that the Lord led such a friend to do something completely silly, or anyone who has ever been at a Bible study where the burden has been to explain “what the text means to me,” regardless of what the words on the page and the grammar and syntax might otherwise indicate, has experienced an evangelical mysticism that is not really distinguishable from traditional liberalism at the level of its understanding of what constitutes truth.
Universalism is guilt writ large. It is fear based in uncertainty and, ultimately, distrust of God.
A Christianity which fancies it needs no hell is a Christianity lacking a Bible and based in sentimentalism. Indeed, it is a Christianity which has done away with the Word and embraced a menstrual rag in its place and called it sweet love.
It in fact isn’t Christianity at all but a hollow self obsessed cult of ‘me-ism’ whose god is nothing but a postulate. It is delusional and self-deceptive and lifeless narcissism.
Here is a small Cumulative Case for Biblical Theism. I have left a lot of supplemental reading. Obviously much more can be said. But for now, I hope this helps.
Which God Shall I Pick?
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There is a very famous thought experiment from UC Berkeley philosopher John Searle that all Christian apologists should know about. And now everyone who reads the Wall Street Journal knows about it, because of this article.
In that article, Searle is writing about the IBM computer that was programmed to play Jeopardy. Can a robot who wins on Jeopardy be “human”?Searle says no. And his famous Chinese room example (discussed in the article) explains why.
Imagine that a person—me, for example—knows no Chinese and is locked in a room with boxes full of Chinese symbols and an instruction book written in English for manipulating the symbols. Unknown to me, the boxes are called “the database” and the instruction book is called “the program.” I am called “the computer.”
People outside the room pass in bunches of Chinese symbols that, unknown to me, are questions. I look up in…
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James Emery White just wrapped up a message series at Mecklenburg Community Church that generated as much response as any series in the church’s history. It was a four-week series titled “Man Up” that looked at the ways men needed to “man up” in four key areas: their wives, sex, fatherhood and leadership.
Countless numbers of men, evidenced by a torrent of emails, felt convicted and challenged to make serious changes in how they were living and walking through life as men.
As you know, the news seems to have been overwhelming, as of late, with stories of domestic violence, child abuse, the widespread consumption of and addiction to pornography…a telling reminder of how easy it is for men to lose their way.
We believe you will find this series a helpful resource for developing a similar set of sermons that will help your church meet this cultural challenge. This series is available on the Message Downloads page of the ChurchandCulture.org site in both PDF and mp3 formats.
Source: The ChurchandCulture.org Team
The developed world is swimming in debt in a proverbial sea of sharks without a life raft anywhere to be found.
If we have learned nothing about ourselves since 2008 we should now, at bare minimum, know that there are really only two viable options or outcomes to the furtive policies of our central bankers and the governments of the developed world:
1. global economic melancholy or
2. very high inflation
and it is our contention that the policymakers have preselected door number 2 and that over the following years we will experience the anguish of severe inflation. Here’s why.
So, tonight, Twisted Scripture Number 43, which happens to be the verse John 17:21. Now, this verse is used out of context all the time by a lot of people pushing ecumenicalism. This is a favorite verse of those pushing ecumenicalism. I want to show you some video clips to prove to you that people use John 17:21 out of context to say that the Catholic Church and the Protestants must come together as one. And they will quote John 17:21 that reads – the prayer of Jesus, “– that they all may be one, as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be one in us, that the world may believe that you sent me.”
Mega Church Bubble Popping In Real Time
I am not sure if we can call the results of this new poll a total victory for the Church Folk Revolution, but we definitely welcome the Good News. A new poll by the Barna Group as caught our attention in a major way because it has confirmed a trend that the Un-Churched segment of our society is growing. Then when you also consider the constant financial burden church adds in the form of tithing, combined with a dwindling middle class, many cash strapped families simply can not afford church. The study also shows that Pastors have become too busy to do home visits, call to check on members, or send letters of concern, all symptoms of the Mega Church Illness. Read more