God’s Word exhorts us to seek or set our affection (mind) on things above.(Colossians 3:1,2).These things are spiritual and eternal.They include God, the church, people, spiritual blessings, treasures in heaven, the incorruptible crown, and the eternal Word of God.
For the moment, we want to focus our thoughts on the Bible, which we delight to refer to as “The very Word Of God”.Our goal is to inspire full trust in God’s Word and appropriate it by faith. The Psalmist prayed, “Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.”(Psalms 119:18).There are precious nuggets available, but they need to be discovered and enjoyed.
The early Christians did not each possess a copy of the Bible, because the canon of Scripture was not complete at that time.They depended on public readings of select Scripture, usually read in their local assembly or in private Christian gatherings.1Tim. 4:13
Our goal is to convince our hearts, under the Spirit’s guidance, that the Bible is the absolute authority of God, and that it is God’s message and love-letter to man.The Psalmist found it such a delight, that he meditated on it day and night.(Psalms 1:2).It is called our “heritage”; it is ours to claim, explore, and enjoy forever.(Psalms 119:111).Appreciation and appropriation of the Word is a barometer of our spiritual condition and commitment.
The Bible is at once the most loved, and also the most hated, book in the world.Through the centuries, many have tried in vain to destroy it, only to be destroyed them selves. Others have loved it so much that they staked their lives on it and became martyrs for the cause.
Some words to research in relation to this Book are revelation, inspiration, illumination, interpretation, application, inerrancy, and canonicity.
Revelation means unveiling and contains all the truth that God has been pleased to reveal to man.In it, God has revealed information about man’s origin, fall, and sinful condition. He has revealed that God is Sovereign, holy, and a God of infinite love. Also, God has revealed His plan for the ages concerning His Son and mankind. This revelation from God has been progressive; that is, “precept upon precept...line upon line.”(Isaiah. 28:13).In other words, starting with Genesis, it takes us step by step through the book of Revelation, when God’s special message to man was completed. God has secrets, which He has not been pleased to reveal to man. To go beyond that is human speculation and this must be avoided. Deut. 29:29 - Revelation implies absolute authority.”Thus saith the Lord” and “the Lord spake” occurs over two thousand times in the Old Testament.The Bible is Godlike because it has divine attributes ascribed to it(living, powerful, etc.).Man was created with a “spirit’ and therefore is God-conscious; man’s conscience appeals to revelation for answers.Where did I come from? Why am I here? Where am I going?
God’s Revelation To Mankind(2 Kinds)
General revelation is God’s revelation of Himself through nature and history, and is God’s universal message to man.Special revelation is specific revelation through the Bible and Christ, and becomes the Church’s mission in the world.
Inspiration: means”God-breathed.”(2Timothy 3:16).God breathed into the Bible the breath of life, as He did when He gave life to Adam in Eden.
Illumination:The Holy Spirit is the Author and Teacher of the Bible. He enlightens the minds of spiritual believers in spiritual truths. The unbeliever does not possess the Spirit, so spiritual truths are foreign to him. The carnal believer hinders the illuminating ministry of the Spirit. (I Corinthians 2:13,14)
Interpretation: is the meaning of the term “Hermeneutic” and is the human, common sense handling of the Scripture. There are basic rules to follow if we are to “rightly divide the Word”. For example, study a text within its context. (The
remote context will give clues as to its meaning)Not all Scripture is applicable to all people. “Work out your own salvation in fear and trembling” is not the Gospel. The rituals of Judaism are not intended for the Church. The “Lord’s Supper” was not intended for Israel. Another rule is, interpret the Word literally unless symbolism is obvious. (The book of Revelation clearly uses symbols).
Application: is the personal appropriation and application of the Word.If doctrine is solely head-knowledge, rather than knowledge applied to daily life, it is worthless and even dangerous.Head knowledge puffs up. The Word of God is to be applied personally.(Each Israelite partook of the manna for himself; no one else could gather or eat it for him).
Inerrancy: is the absolute accuracy of the Bible. Because the infallible Holy Spirit is the Author, it is without error. All the Word has “thus saith the Lord” stamp of approval on it. When there are “seeming contradictions” it is because man is fallible or is adding his own opinions.Enlightenment by the Holy Spirit is essential.
Canonicity: is referring to the authenticity of the Word of God.Early church leaders compiled ancient manuscripts, which met certain qualifications, into the volume we now recognize as the “inspired Word of God”. In the early years there were many spurious copies in circulation, but because it was God’s Word, the Holy Spirit guided the selections so that only authentic copies would be included. Today we have 66 books in the Bible, of which we can confidently say, “This is the very Word of God” and “THUS SAITH THE LORD.”
Enjoy Your Bible
**Jeremiah 15:16; Ezekiel 3:1-4; Revelation10: 8-11%
1. Three visions / three prophets / all ate the Word.
2. Eating implies food: milk / meat / bread / honey / water.
(1) Eating is essential for life, survival, and growth.
(2) Personal appropriation is necessary for it to become a part of us.
(3) Each Israelite gathered manna for himself. (More or less) (Ex. 16:15-17)
3. It had a threefold affect on the prophets:Sweet / Bitter / Joy.%
4. It was preparatory for service: “eat... go... speak... prophecy.”
5. Our goal (see Psalms 1:2)”delight...meditate day and night” (Not just a duty).
I. Understand The Uniqueness Of The Bible
1. It claims divine authority;(“Inspiration” - God breathed. Genesis 2:7)
2. It is inerrant; its subject matter harmonizes.
(1) 66 books by 40 writers over 1,500 years and no contradictions
(2) Prophetically and historically accurate, scientifically correct.
3. It is inexhaustible.
(1) Spurgeon; 7 week series on John 3:16. - “Haven’t scratched the surface.”
(2) Difficult verses; God is wiser then we are so don’t choke on bones.
4. It is indestructible.
(1) Voltaire; “Bible dead in 100 yrs.” His house is Geneva Bible Society. +
(2) Ingersol; “Bible in the morgue in 15 yrs.”Instead, he was.
(3) Jesus;”...my words shall not pass away...” Luke 21:33
5. It answers man’s three basic reasons for existence.
(1) Where did I come from? (2) Why am I here? (3) Where am I going?
6. It provides the only satisfactory remedy for sin. - The Gospel.
7. It introduces heaven and earth’s most wonderful Person (Christ)(Isaiah.9: 6)
8. It works!
(1) The Gospel is seed that germinates into new life.
(2) The Bible is food that sustains life.
(3) The Bible is a Sword that convicts and defends.(Hebrews 4:12)
(4) The Bible transforms lives, homes, and nations.
(5) New Hebrides; (Cannibal / Christian) French trader “pot… supper”
II. Cultivate An Appreciation For The Bible
1. Like a bride reads a love letter - Completely.
2. Like a traveler consults a road map - Constantly.
3. Like a scholar studies a textbook- Carefully.
4. Like a soldier obeys a battle order - Conscientiously.
III. Develop An Appetite For The Bible(Three D’s)
1. Desire – Supernatural: motivated by the Spirit.
2. Dependence - The Holy Spirit is Author and Teacher.
3. Discipline - An act of the will.
1. Neglect spells defeat, gradual and in stages.
(1) Spiritual anemia; Shows up in prayer, witness, and in the assembly.
(2) Disqualifies in the Christian race, service, and leadership.
(3) Fatality - Puts one out of commission and becomes a spiritual “drop out”
2. Junk food spoils the appetite; tastes good but has no nourishment.
3. Enjoyment of the Bible is a barometer of our spirituality.
4. As good stewards, we are to share, not hide the treasure.
% Three prophets, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and John, had visions from the Lord. In their visions, they had an experience of eating the Word.The Word becomes
sweet to the surrendered believer,
bitter to the compromising believer, and
joy to the victorious believer.
+Voltaire, a professing atheist, committed his life to destroy all Bibles.He predicted the Bible would be obsolete in 100 years. Voltaire died, and his house was taken over by the GENEVA BIBLE SOCIETY, which printed the Bible for millions to read.
#John G. Paton, a Scottish missionary, was called by God in the 1800’s to go to the New Hebrides Islands to share the Gospel of Christ with a cannibalistic people.The island was transformed into a genuinely, delightful Christian community.One day a national Christian was sitting on the steps of his grass hut reading his Bible.An ungodly, French trader passed by and scoffed at him for reading that book, saying, “That book never did anyone any good.”The Christian responded, “Do you see that pot where I am cooking my supper?If it wasn’t for this Book, you would be in that pot boiling for my meal tonight.” The Bible works!It transforms lives, families, and nations.
The Believer And The Bible
1. There are more Bibles in print today then any other book. It is too bad so many of them are collecting dust on the bookshelves.
2. It is the inspired “God-breathed” Word of God. It has divine life, as when God “breathed” into man the breath of life.(Gen. 2:7).
CORRECT ATTITUDES AND APPROACHES, In Studying The Bible.
I. STUDY IT
1. Keep in close communion with the Author and Instructor.
2. One must be near to hear His “still, small voice.”(1Kings 19:12).
(1) God would rather whisper grace than shout warnings.
II. STUDY IT
1. God’s Word deserves our utmost respect. (An awesome God and Word).
(1) No place for puns on the Word by comedian preachers. (Sacrilege)
(2) Comedians belong in Hollywood, not in the pulpit.
(3) A sense of humor and laughter in its place is proper.
III. STUDY IT
Study in 2 Timothy 2:15 suggests a diligent pursuit.
(1) Study is hard work.
(2) It is an exercise of a Spirit-surrendered will.
(3) It seeks to earn God’s approval.
(4) It is the key to knowing God’s will.
IV. STUDY IT
1. Read it from cover to cover for a bird’s eye overview.
(1) Observe the progression in revelation to man.
(2) Learn the chronological order of events.
(3) Notice that not all Scripture applies to all people.
(a) Examples:Old Testament offered animal sacrifices.
(b) New Testament believers observe the Lord’s Supper.
2. Study it diligently, verse by verse and word for word.
V. STUDY IT
1. Study prepares the intellect for growth and service.
2. Meditation motivates the will to service and inspires the heart for worship.
VI. STUDY IT
1 Doctrine is the fiber that reinforces the fundamentals of the faith.
2. Christian growth and stability depend on it.
3. It is what you guard when you “contend for the faith.”(Jude 1:3).
4. It was included in the battle cry of the Reformation.
5. It’s not doctrine that divides; it’s perversion of doctrine.
"The unlearned and unstable wrest the Scripture."(2 Peter3: 16).
V. STUDY IT
1. Look for instruction for daily living, family affairs, business, government, etc.
2. Theology in the head is useless, until it influences every member of the body.
VI. STUDY IT
1. Obedience is the key to receiving more light from the Bible.
2. “To obey is better then sacrifice...”(1Samuel 15:22).
VII. STUDY IT
1. God’s promises are based on His integrity.
2. Faith can trust a faithful God.
VIII. STUDY IT
1. The prospect of the Lord’s coming is spiritually invigorating.
2. It becomes the “blessed hope” to cheer us on the long and rugged road.
1. Reliable Christian books are good but must never replace the Bible.
2. The Bible is sufficient, not a substitute to human tradition or opinions.
3. “That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”(2Tim. 3:17).
Seed Thoughts & Sermon Starters
The Word Is Able
· To “save your soul”(James. 1:21)
· To make you “wise unto salvation”(2 Timothy 3:15)
· To “build you up”(Acts. 20:32)
The Power Of God’s Word
1. It purifies the soul. (1Peter 1:22)
2. It feeds the new life. (1Peter 2:2)
3. It sanctifies the walk. (John 17:17)
4. It lightens the path. (Psalms 119:105)
Note: God’s Word in our hands and heads must reach our hearts/change our lives.
Power In The Word
1. Power is seen in creation and Old and New Testament miracles, etc.
2. A greater power is seen in God’s deliverance of the redeemed.
More Power In The Word
I. Conviction - searching power of the Word / Spirit.(Hebrews 4:12)
II. Salvation - saving power of the Gospel.(Revelation 1:16)
II. Security - keeping power of God.(1Peter 1:5)
IV. Energizing - in-filling power of the Spirit for witness and service.
V. Resurrection - victory power over death and the grave.
Still More Power In The Word
I. REGENERATION -
livens up(John 6:63)
1. Based on Christ resurrection.(1Peter 1:21)
2. Born-again through the Word of God.(1Peter 1:23)
3. The Word and the Spirit gives life.(John 6:63)
cleans up(John 17:17; Psalms 119:9)
1. The water of the Word has a cleansing affect(John 17:17)
2. The young man cleanses his ways by heeding the Word(Psalms 119:9)
builds up(1Peter 2:2; Colossians 3:16; Ephesians 4:15)
1. Newborn babes grow by the milk of the Word.(I Peter 2:2).
2. “ Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly.”(Colossians 3:16)
3. “Speaking the truth in love / grow up into him.”(Ephesians 4:15)
The Word Of God
1. Purifies the soul.(1Peter 1:22)
2. Feeds the new life.(1Peter 2:2)
3. Sanctifies the walk.(John 17:17)
4. Lightens the path.(Psalms 119:105)
(God’s Word in our hands and heads must reach our heart and change our lives)
Reliability And Authority
**1Peter 1:25”The word of the Lord endureth for ever.”
In the year 1889, Charles Duell, commissioner of patents, declared, “Everything that can be invented has been invented.”Tomorrow usually proves that man was wrong today. The Word of the Lord endureth forever.
The Bible stands like a mountain towering far above the works of man.
Its truth by none ever was refuted, and destroy it, they never can.
Notes & Quotes
When the Word is hid in the heart, it keeps one from sin.(Psalms 119:11).
Sin will keep you from the Bible, and the Bible will keep you from sin.
There are “wondrous things” in the Bible to “open eyes.” (Psalms 119:18)Through listening to the Scriptures expounded, the Emmaus disciples experienced opened eyes, opened Scriptures and a sanctified “heartburn.”(Luke 24:27-32)
Faith in the inspired Book makes one wiser then sages and philosophers, because “we have the mind of Christ.” (1Corinthians 2:16)
God reveals truth to “babes”, not to the worldly wise.(Luke 10:21)
There is an ongoing revelation of God in the lives of believers.
Judgment awaits anyone who tampers with the Bible.(Deut. 4:2, Rev. 22:18,19) - Liberal translators and liberal readers, beware!
A Bible Diary(Anonymous)
Jan. 15 - Been resting quietly for a week. The first few nights after the New Year my owner read me regularly, but he has forgotten me, I guess.
Feb. 2 - Clean up. I was dusted with other things and put back in my place.
Feb. 8 - Owner used me a short time after breakfast looking up a few references for Sunday school.
Mar. 7 - Clean up. Dusted and in my old place again. Have been down in the lower hall since my trip to Sunday school last month.
Apr. 2 - Busy day.Owner led League meeting, and had to look up references. He had an awful time finding one, though it was right there in its place all the time.
May 5 - In Grandma’s lap all afternoon. She is here on a visit. She let a teardrop fall on Col. 2:5-7
May 6 - In Grandma’s lap again this afternoon. She spent most of her time in 1Corinthians 13 and the last four verses of the 15th chapter.
May 7,8,9 - In Grandma’s lap every afternoon now.It’s a comfortable spot. Sometimes she reads me, and sometimes she talks to me.
May 10 - Grandma is gone. I’m back in my old place again. She kissed me goodbye.
June 3 - Had a couple of four leaf clovers stuck in me today.
July 1 - Packed in a trunk with clothes, golf clubs, and fishing gear. Off on a vacation I guess.
July 7 - Still in the trunk.
July 10 - Still in the trunk, though nearly everything else has been taken out.
July 15 - Home again and in my old place. Quite a journey, though I do not see why I went.
Aug. 1 - Rather stuffy and hot. Have two magazines, a novel, and an old hat on top of me. Wish they would take them off.
Sept. 5 - Clean up. Dusted and set right again.
Sept. 10 - Used by Mary a few moments today. She was writing a letter to a friend whose brother had died, and wanted an appropriate verse. She gave up; she couldn’t find the verse.
Sept. 30 - Clean up again today. (This wasn’t your Bible, was it?)
An Anonymous Commentary
“This Book contains the mind of God, the state of man, the way of salvation, the doom of sinners, and the happiness of believers.Its doctrines are holy, its precepts are binding, its histories are true, and its decisions are immutable. Read it to be wise, believe it to be saved, and practice it to be holy. It contains light to direct you, food to support you, and comfort to cheer you. It is the traveler’s map, the pilot’s compass, the soldier’s sword, and the Christian’s charter. Here paradise is restored, heaven opened, and the gates of hell exposed. Christ is its grand subject, our good its design, and the glory of God its end. Read it slowly, frequently, prayerfully. It is a mine of wealth, a paradise of glory, and a river of pleasure. It will reward the greatest labor, and condemn all who trifle with its sacred contents. It is the Book of books - God’s Book - The revelation of God to man.
Tommy And The Bible
“Oh mother! I found an old, dusty thing, high up here on the shelf, just look.”
“Why that’s the Bible, Tommy, dear, be careful that’s God’s Book.”
“God’s Book!” the boy exclaimed.”Well, Mother, then before we lose it,
We’d better take it back to God, for you know we never use it.”
More Bibles in print then any other book.
More Bibles collecting dust then any other book.
The World Doesn’t Read The Bible, But It Reads The Christian.
You are writing the gospel, a chapter each day,
By the things that you do, and the words that you say.
Men read what you are, whether faithless or true.
Say, what is the gospel according to you?
“The joy of the LORD is your strength...”(Nehemiah 8:10)
“Having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost.” (1Thes. 1:6)
The Lord and His Word are the source of the believer’s joy and strength. A firm grip of God’s BOOK is essential for unspeakable joy. A loose grip of the other book, (the bank book) is necessary for this “other world’s” joy- “God loveth a cheerful giver.”(2Cor. 9:7)When our Lord rejoices, the believer rejoices with Him.When the soul is genuinely converted, the pocket book will be truly inverted.
Let Us Thank God For This Gift Of His Book.
If I should live a thousand years and search it every day,
The precious Word of God would still shed light upon my way.
And when some day He calls me home and at His face I look,
I’ll want to kneel and thank Him for the great gift of His Book.
“Where hast thou gleaned today?”(Ruth 2:19)Naomi, Ruth’s mother-in-law was in a bitter heart condition. She was impressed by the bountiful provision Ruth had gleaned for the day. This may well have been the first step in Naomi’s restoration of soul to fellowship with the Lord, including a great part in God’s eternal program.
Where hast thou gleaned today, in the Scriptures? The abundant gleanings will Thrill your soul, and will have a positive influence on your fellowman.
The Bible/ Manna From Heaven
“...The people shall go out and gather a certain rate every day. (Exodus 16:4).The manna gathered yesterday did not satisfy the Israelites’ hunger today.What was true for them in the physical is true for us in the spiritual. Our spiritual renewal is dependent on our daily feeding on the heavenly manna, the living and written Word of God. (2Cor. 4:16)
Questions & Answers
Question #1- I love the Lord, and at times, I love to be reading and studying the Word, but... right now I feel “dry”. I read it anyway, but I long to have it meaningful again.What do I do?
Answer - The key to enjoy and understand the Bible is in the power and ministry of the Holy Spirit in a surrendered life. The Holy Spirit is both the Author and Teacher of the Bible.Make sure there is nothing hindering the Spirit of Truth from working in your life, including sins that need to be confessed or poorly chosen priorities.
Question #2 - I am a new Christian, and I don’t know where to start in myBible reading.I do not have a systematic way to study, how do I start?
Answer - For your Bible reading, a good place to start is where the Bible starts, the book of Genesis. This will give you a good foundation for your faith to rest upon. Read through the Bible to get an overview of the whole and to understand the chronological order of events. For serious study, some students use what is called the inductive method.(This means, “to lead on” in a systematic progression). Inductive Bible study includes three parts: observation, interpretation, and application. (1) OBSERVATION simply asks, what does it say?Here the mind is at work. (2) INTERPRETATION asks what does it mean?This is the Spirit’s ministry and requires our surrender to Him. (3) APPLICATION asks what does it mean to me?This moves the truth of the Bible from the head, to the heart and life, where it needs to be. The books of John, Mark and 1Thessalonians are good books for a new Christian to start with. Then launch out into the deep.Watch for: commands to obey; promises to claim; sins to avoid or confess, warnings to heed, examples to follow or avoid and doctrines to study about God, the Trinity and Christ, lessons to apply and share, and difficult passages to research.Key verses to memorize and meditate on. (Go on, in the power of the Lord, for His glory)