Tag Archives: Bible

Scripture is living, active, foresees, and preaches – Galatians 3:8

Last week in adult Bible study we were studying Holy Scripture itself. Our leader, Greg, started us at Hebrews 4:12 which says the word of God is “living and active…discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” I wish I had recorded during class all the verses he covered that further discussed the issue of Scripture being alive. One example I do remember was:

And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “In you shall all the nations be blessed” (Galatians 3:8).

I was struck, yet again, by the powerful words used by the Bible to describe itself as God’s living word. Here in Galatians we see the quote of Genesis 12:3 in which it is the LORD (Yahweh) speaking the promise to Abram. Clearly in Genesis it was God speaking to Abram verbally. But, when we read it recorded in Galatians 3:8, it is Scripture that is speaking. It is these Scriptures that were breathed out by God.

God spoke out loud to Abram many thousands of years ago. Those very words recorded in Scripture also continue to speak today through the working of the Holy Spirit. The words of the Bible continue to foresee future events, preach the gospel, discern our thoughts, and plumb the depths of our hearts. The words of God really are living and active. I am so glad I have that sure foundation to lead me to know and better understand the LORD my God!

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An Ending Far Too Soon – John 19:41

Then took they the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury. Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden; and in the garden a new sepulchre, wherein was never man yet laid. There laid they Jesus, And rolled a great stone to the door of the sepulchre, and departed (The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth, Thomas Jefferson).

The end. Really, that’s it. Jesus died and then they put him in the tomb and went home. Roll credits. There is nothing else to see here. You can all go home now. That is the end of the story of Jesus of Nazareth as believed by Thomas Jefferson. An ending which comes far too soon.

Jefferson_BibleThe image shown here is taken from the very bottom of the last page of Jefferson’s work (you can see the whole book as restored by the Smithsonian). Thomas Jefferson created his own version of the Gospels by cutting, reordering and pasting together the parts that he liked and throwing out all the others. The result was a Jesus who did not perform miracles and was not resurrected from the dead. A Jesus who cannot save you from your sins. How utterly sad and pointless if the story of Jesus ended with a corpse. As the Apostle Paul said:

And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain (1 Corinthians 15:14).

Thomas Jefferson’s faith was in vain. Now, we are not always as bold as Thomas Jefferson in creating a God, a Jesus, and a Bible to our own liking. However, if we do not view all of the Bible as being God-breathed, the result is still the same: a God, a Jesus, and a Bible shaped to fit to our own liking. No amount of faith placed in something false, no matter how incredibly sincere, will save us from our sins. We need a real savior. We need the real Jesus of Nazareth as revealed on all the pages of the real Bible, not the Jesus imagined by Thomas Jefferson.

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Matthew 22:31-32

Here is any easy question. In the following verse from the book of Exodus, to whom was God speaking?

And he said, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God (Exodus 3:6).

Moses right? As I said, easy! Now, about 1500 years later, Jesus quotes from this same verse in a dialogue with the Sadducees:

And as for the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was said to you by God: ‘I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not God of the dead, but of the living” (Matthew 22:31-32)

matthewNow, according to Jesus, to whom was God speaking in Exodus 3:6? Jesus states that God was speaking to these very Sadducees. Jesus holds the Sadducees accountable for these ancient words of Scripture as if they had been standing shoulder-to-shoulder with Moses. For Jesus knew that the Scriptures were the very words of God himself and that God continued then (and continues now) to speak through his Scriptures. So let’s ask the question again, to whom does God speak in Exodus 3:6?

  1. Moses
  2. The Sadducees
  3. Everyone who reads it

God spoke to us when we read Exodus 3:6 above and he spoke to us when we read from Matthew 22. When asked if God speaks today, my answer is an unequivocal and resounding, “Yes!” He speaks through his holy, inerrant, infallible word the Bible. And God’s message is sufficient to equip the people of God for every good work.

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Knowing your Bible could save you millions of dollars

That’s right. Knowing your Bible could save you millions of dollars. A trial started in Florida last week in which a supposed psychic is being sued for being a fraud. Allegedly, this psychic has defrauded one wealthy author of $20M. The article states:

“Rose Mark…represented herself as a psychic and clairvoyant, gifted by God to communicate with spirit guides to assist her clients through personal difficulties.” Her services included “Tarot card readings, palm readings, astrology readings, numerology readings, and spiritual readings for her clients.”

Million_Dollar_billIf that author had simply read her Bible, she would have realized that God could not have given these gifts:

There shall not be found among you anyone who burns his son or his daughter as an offering, anyone who practices divination or tells fortunes or interprets omens, or a sorcerer or a charmer or a medium or a necromancer or one who inquires of the dead, for whoever does these things is an abomination to the LORD (Deuteronomy 18:10-12).

Tarot card readings, astrology, fortune-telling and contacting the dead are all an abomination in the sight of God. They cannot be gifts from God. The article goes on to say:

The client “would need to make ‘sacrifices’, usually consisting of large amounts of money (but also at times including jewelry, gold coins and other property) because ‘money was the root of all evil’,” the indictment states.

This covers what is likely the most-often misquoted passage of the Bible. The Bible actually says:

For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils (1 Timothy 6:10).

Money is not inherently evil. Cash, stocks, bonds, houses, jewelry, cars, etc. are just things. They are not inherently good or evil. It is our excessive love of money that is at the root of all kinds of evil.

So, read, study and know your Bibles! It may save you:

dr_evil

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Jesus is Lord and God – Jude 1:5

The little book of Jude packs quite a wallop into its 25 verses. While most of it is focused on calling out false teachers, there was one little word that really caught my eye when looking through it this week:

Now I want to remind you, although you once fully knew it, that Jesus, who saved a people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe (ESV, Jude 1:5).

Can you guess which word it is? I know that every preschooler at church would guess the word because they shout it out as the answer to 90% of all questions – JESUS! Take a look at that verse above again. We usually do not think of Jesus being the one leading the people out of Egypt a few thousand years before his birth. But, Jesus himself affirmed his existence prior to that event:

Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am. (John 8:58)

ClockNow, depending upon your translation of the Bible, you may have either “Lord” or “God” in place of “Jesus” in Jude 1:5 as there are ancient textual variants on this verse. The modern translators have to decide which ancient version is most likely the original. But, ultimately it does not matter much since we Christians, like Thomas before us, proudly declare Jesus to be both our Lord and our God:

Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:28).

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Forever fixed in the heavens – Psalm 119:89-91

Forever, O LORD, your word is firmly fixed in the heavens. Your faithfulness endures to all generations; you have established the earth, and it stands fast. By your appointment they stand this day, for all things are your servants (Psalm 119:89-91).

What an amazing comfort it is to know that God’s word is firmly and forever fixed. It is so much more comforting to rest on the sure and unchanging promises of God than to look for new and changing words. The false prophets come and go. Their words are unclear, contradictory, shifting sand. But God’s word is unmoved because it is based upon his unchanging character.

It is by his word that I can trust that his faithfulness will endure forever. Because all things were created and are sustained by his word, I can know that he has ordained all things and that all things serve his sovereign purpose. God and his word are the bedrock of my faith and my protection from the evil of this world.

Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling. (Psalm 46:2-3).

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Pure words – Psalm 12:6

The words of the LORD are pure words, like silver refined in a furnace on the ground, purified seven times (Psalm 12:6).

Oh how I have missed hearing those pure words on Sunday morning these last two weeks. It is not as if my life has been isolated from God’s Word. Yet, not hearing it read and preached from the pulpit in a Sunday worship service has left me feeling off-kilter. I have read his word, studied His Word, and heard it at Bible camp, in a wedding, and in podcasts, but none of these have satisfied my longing for his Word in the same way.

On a positive note, these two weeks have been a great reminder of a couple important truths. First, it reminds me that my longing for God’s Word is a gift from him. I spent much of my life having no desire to read the Bible or hear it preached. It was God alone who changed my heart, granted me faith, and is growing this desire because:

He who began a good work in [me] will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ (Philippians 1:6).

So, I can thank God for giving me that longing for his pure words. Secondly, it reminds me that Christ built his church for my benefit; that I might be fed by his pure, precious words and be strengthened in the faith. So, God willing, I will be able to worship again this coming Sunday and hear his pure words in that special way.

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