The Book

If you’re like me you have stacks of things lying around you’d like to read, but may never get around to. There just isn’t enough time.

So we are forced to be selective—not just because there is more than we can possibly digest, but also because there is so much not worth reading. Literally anything is available these days—from the uplifting to the ugly.

There are books, and there is THE BOOK. What separates the Bible from all other literature is its divine origin. It is God’s message through human agents inspired by the Holy Spirit (2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:20-21).

People who loved truth

A man from Ethiopia was reading the Old Testament as he traveled toward his home. “Do you understand what you are reading?” a stranger asked him. “Well, how could I,” he replied, “unless someone guides me?” Having said this, he invited Philip to join him on his journey. Beginning with Isaiah 53, the passage which had puzzled the traveler, Philip “preached Jesus to him.” As a result he became a Christian before the day was over—and “went on his way rejoicing” (Acts 8:26-39).

A few chapters later Paul preaches in a synagogue in Berea. “Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so” (Acts 17:11). They neither rejected nor accepted what Paul said without investigating. When they compared Paul’s words with God’s word, they saw the two lined up perfectly. So they believed.

Do we investigate?

Many people never check out the preaching they hear. But while some preach truth, others preach error (2 Timothy 4:1-4). Do we love the truth enough to investigate until we find the answer?

What if all of us were to resolve to spend less time with social media/TV and more time in the Bible? What difference, do you suppose, would that make in our lives?

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Scripture quotations taken from the NASB: http://www.lockman.org/

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Use with Caution

Helpful, however . . . .

Many Bibles have only the text of Scripture, or perhaps some maps and a brief concordance in the back. A study Bible, however, is designed to provide various helps—such as introductions to each book, charts, diagrams, and comments on the text. A good study Bible can prove quite useful.

Since these extras are provided by fallible human beings, we do well to exercise caution and not necessarily believe everything we read.

Discernment needed

I have a study Bible, generally quite good, that depicts the tabernacle with some of the furnishings in the wrong place.

If I were to point this out to the publisher I would likely get a cordial reply acknowledging the mistake and promising to correct it in the next edition.

But what if I were to call into question some of the charts that reflect a premillennial bias—or the faith-only position it takes. These are not the result of poor proof-reading but of erroneous theology.

Another study Bible, commenting on Acts 2:38, asserts that baptism is not for salvation. Someone might read this uncritically and accept it as true. But shall we believe what some scholar thinks Acts 2:38 means or what the verse actually says?

Study Bibles are useful to those who profit from all the helps they provide, but who can also detect editorial errors as well. As the old saying goes, “Take the wheat, leave the chaff.”

Some study Bibles are “chaffier” than others. The discerning reader should be able to tell the difference.

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What I Love to See

Powerful effect

I love to see a well-used Bible—worn cover, key passages marked, and with lots of hand-written notes in the margins.

Even more so, I love to see believers whose lives are shaped by the Scriptures. They not only know the Bible, but far more important, they live it.

This is exactly what God intends (James 1:21-25).

God’s word is a guiding light (Psalm 119:105), nourishing food (Matthew 4:4; 1 Peter 2:2), and a sharp-two edged sword that pierces to the very core of our being (Hebrews 4:12).

Powerful Cause

When applied, the Scriptures can transform vile sinners of all stripes into those whose lives reflect the Christ they now serve (1 Corinthians 6:9-11).

How can the Bible’s transforming power be explained in any other way than by its divine origin?

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The Question

Jesus’ challenge

On several occasions in interacting with the hostile chief priests, scribes, elders, Pharisees, or Sadducees, Jesus countered them with this question: “Have you not read…?” or “Have you never read…?” (Matthew 12:3, 5; 19:4; 21:16, 42; 22:31).

In each case He referred them to a specific teaching in their Scriptures (the Old Testament).

From this we may conclude….

Jesus placed tremendous importance on the Scriptures as the authoritative word of God.

Jesus expected people to be familiar with the Scriptures.

He demonstrated that religious error should be challenged by the Scriptures.

Why would it be any different today?

“Have you not read…?”

Good question!

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Scripture quotations taken from the NASB: http://www.lockman.org/

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Now Don’t Forget!

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Misplacing the car keys is a nuisance. Forgetting an appointment can be costly.

But what can compare with forgetting God?

Peril

It happens when we receive blessing upon blessing, but forget to thank Him.

“Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget none of His benefits . . . who crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion; who satisfies your years with good things . . .” (Psalm 103:2-5).

It happens when we worry ourselves sick and forget to pray.

It happens when we get our priorities turned upside down—devoting our energies to what cannot last.

Prevention

How we need reminders! Reading Scripture helps bring great truths back to the forefront where they belong.

“Beware that you do not forget the LORD your God . . .” (Deuteronomy 8:11).

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB: http://www.lockman.org/

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The Day the Dog Came to Church

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Eager to enter

One morning a large dog tried to come into the church foyer as one of our members entered. She kept him out.

Moments later when the door opened again, in he came. We helped him back out.

Though Bible study was not on his canine mind, I did appreciate his eagerness.

What if everyone were as anxious to attend Bible class as that dog wanted in?

Eager to learn and do

The people of Berea “received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily . . .” (Acts 17:11).

Bible study is, of course, not an end in itself. It is doing what the word says that blesses (James 1:22-25).

We didn’t have an obedience class for that dog, but we do have one for people—every Sunday morning at 9:30.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB: http://www.lockman.org/

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Even More Dangerous

The danger

The computer spell-check thought I meant “terrorist.” But “errorist” is what I intended.

Oxford English Dictionary defines “errorist” as “One who is inclined to error; one who encourages and propagates error.”

Satan uses both terrorists and errorists to hurt the church.

Before his conversion, Saul of Tarsus was a violent terrorist (Acts 8:3; 9:1-2, 13-14; 22:4-5, 19-20; 26:9-11; Galatians 1:13; 1 Timothy 1:13).

Terrorists work from the outside; errorists from within. Satan has been much more successful using errorists.

Errorists corrupt the truth. People then believe the lie and are lost (2 Thessalonians 2:9-12).

Countering the danger

The best safeguard against errorists is to truly love the truth, search for the truth, and compare teachings we hear with the standard of God’s word (Acts 17:10-12).

Beware of errorists!

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