Learning and Living the God-centered life

One Biblical Doctrine at a time…
Bible Study

Bible Interpretation

At the front end of this video we see how many Bible studies are done in the home. This is NOT how to do Bible study. Notice in this clip how the facilitator is asking each of those participating how they feel or think about the Scripture that was read. Folks, the question is not what you think or feel but actually what is God saying to us through His word. The cardinal rule for proper Bible study is as follows: The interpretation of any Scripture is equal to what the author meant at the time he wrote it. Therefore it becomes our job through prayer and the Holy Spirit to use good Bible study methods in order to arrive at the author's intended meaning.

How to use a study Bible

Dr. Al Mohler who is the current president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky gives some good tips on using a study Bible.

How should a study Bible be used?

1. Read the text of the Bible first. Meditate upon the text and read it with care. Apply your own knowledge of the Bible in order to understand the particular text within its context and place in the biblical story-line. Consider and note other texts that come to your mind as directly related to this text. Read the text with full attention and conviction.

2. Look carefully at the cross-references that the study Bible links to the text you are reading. Do not look only to the citations, but read the actual passages. This assistance is still the main contribution of a study Bible -- making related and parallel passages more accessible. A first principle of interpreting the Bible is to interpret the Bible by the Bible. In other words, to allow the Bible to interpret itself text by text.

3. As a third step, take full advantage of the notes, articles, and other helps printed alongside the text. In some cases, short articles will help in understanding contested issues or matters that might otherwise require a Bible dictionary or encyclopedia. Where appropriate, maps can be very useful, along with tables of measurement and similar points of reference. The very best of the study Bibles will also offer some level of commentary within the notes.

Of course, it is the Bible itself that is inspired, inerrant, and infallible -- not the study materials included in study Bibles. Therefore, judge the notes by the biblical text, and never the other way around. Where possible, use more than one study Bible in order to maximize this learning process.

Review Sunday December 7

We are in the most hectic and busiest time of year from Thanksgiving through the end of the year. Therefore the visits to our blog site and homework assignments will be more limited from now through the end of the year. Yesterday we were able to get through the first 17 books of the Old Testament which we have labeled as “historic narrative.” In our review time we looked at Genesis 3:1-7 and Exodus 12:21-32. Did you notice in Genesis 3 how the serpent first questioned the word of God and then declared it really did not mean what God said? Brothers and sisters in Christ, this is why we are in this class going back to the basics of the Bible. One of the key attacks today within the evangelical church is the very questioning of God’s word and then a declaration that we can’t know what it means. This kind of thinking, writing, teaching and preaching is a lie from the pit of hell itself. Folks, not only is the Bible inerrant, infallible, inspired but it is also clear in it’s meaning to us. This is known as the perspicuity (clarity) of Scripture. Satan has a strategy within the church that has some questioning and then reinterpreting the word in light of the culture! Again our class stands on a cardinal rule of Scripture that has been the churches historic position which is, the interpretation of any one Scripture is equal to what it meant at the time that the author wrote it. Therefore it becomes our job to bring sound principles of Bible study in order that our interpretation and application will be in line with the Scriptures.

In part 2 of the review from Sunday, I took us to Exodus 12 in order to highlight the Passover. Allow me to repeat the illustration that I used yesterday.
Two families from Israel that night within their homes. Family A have little faith and are very scared when they hear the death angel passing through Egypt. And Family B is of great faith and are confident that they will be safe. Which of the families in this case is safe from God’s punishment. Both are, because God is not looking at their faith but at the blood on the doorpost of the home. Remember and this will be true throughout the entire Bible, justification if by faith alone, through grace alone in Christ alone. It is not your faith that saves you, it is Jesus Christ that saves you. Christ is external to us and the object of our faith. Just as with the Israelites that night (Exodus 12) it was the blood on the door post that caused the death angel to pass over the home and not the faith that resided in those inside the home.

It seems between those two major points I had to rush a bit to get the rest of our teaching to get us through Ester. In the power point slides below you will find brief descriptions of each of these books. My recommendation is that you allow this to spur you on to greater study. May these notes be an add on to your own notes this year as you read through the Bible. We are simply taking a broad brush tour through the books of the Bible. The goal is to allow you to be familiar with the Bible as a whole.

This coming Sunday the plan is to cover the remaining 22 books starting with the 5 poetical books:
Song of Solomon
And then ending with the 17 books of prophecy which cover Isaiah through Malachi.
I know this is a lot of information coming to you in a short period of time. Again the goal is to get an overview summary of the Bible from the Old Testament to the New Testament. My hope and prayer is that when we are done you will a solid outline to help you think through the entire Bible.
Sbs Class December 7 2008
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Let's get back to God's word!

The battle cry of the Reformation was ""The Holy Word, nothing but that Holy Word, the Whole Word of God." However it seems the new cry with the post-modern evangelical church is, nothing but the Holy Word as to what it means to me and what it means to you." Have we lost our evangelical and Biblically rooted minds today? What is going on out there anyway? When I talk to Christians and ask them what they are reading and studying I rarely hear about Bible doctrine or books of the Bible. Instead it is the latest book by this author and some hot topic subject. It will be a curriculum about marriage, finances, how you can have real change in your life. I have a novel suggestion, how about us investing time in just pure Bible reading? Hey folks, let's put down the trendy books, and courses like "how to plant azalea bushes as a Christian" and let's dig down into God's word. At last count there were 66 books that break out in the following way:
39 Old Testament Books
27 New Testament Books

How about a goal of knowing the theme and plan for every book in the Bible within the next 5-7 years. Now somebody might be thinking OK Bert but do you realize I am 65 years old and 5 years from now I will be 70. And to that I say if you don't get back to some serious study of God's word then how old will you be in 5 years. The point is, you will still be 70, either back into God's word or back into the culture and all of its dangerous thinking and influence.

Folks this is the very living word of the very living God! When is the last time we showed up at a friends home with Bible in hand just to read and pray over God's word? How are we encouraging and correcting one another today? The latest episode of Oprah or a new line of counsel from Dr. Phil, the hottest new Christian book or the very word of God.

If you go to a Strong's Concordance and do a word search on the following Greek words for doctrine, which means instruction, teaching or teacher there are 4 primary numbers, 1319, 1320, 1321 and 1322. A search in the New Testament with these numbers will bring up over 200 occurrences for this particular word. And should you want but a small sampling of the importance of knowing God's word just read these verses, as always in context. Read More...

Review Sunday November 30

The teaching went longer than normal this morning and yes it was like trying to take a sip from a fire hose. We are taking a tour of the Bible and have arrived at principles #6-8. These are outlined in detail in the power point presentation below and will cover the first 17 books of the Old Testament. May I encourage you to study the charts and slides this week and try and get as much of this categorized in your mind. It will be helpful in order to think your way through the Old Testament. Please know that I don’t think of this method of study as being “the” way but simply “a” way.” Hopefully you will add to these notes in your own personal study as you read through the Bible this year.
Next week will include some review but we move forward to the 5 poetical books and the 17 prophetical books of the Old Testament.

Again allow this to add to your own study as you go through this outline of the Old Testament books.

Thankful on Thanksgiving

Here is a suggested word study on "thanks" from Paul's epistles. This doesn't contain every verse for this Greek word but there are many listed for your meditation. A good devotion would be to write down each of the things for which Paul gives thanks, and use them as a guide during this Thanksgiving season. It could even be something you might share at one of the meals with the family.
Rom. 1:8 ¶ First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, because your faith is being proclaimed throughout the whole world.
Rom. 1:21 For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
Rom. 14:6 He who observes the day, observes it for the Lord, and he who eats, does so for the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who eats not, for the Lord he does not eat, and gives thanks to God.
Rom. 16:4 who for my life risked their own necks, to whom not only do I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles;
1Cor. 1:4 ¶ I thank my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given you in Christ Jesus,
1Cor. 1:14 I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius,
1Cor. 10:30 If I partake with thankfulness, why am I slandered concerning that for which I give thanks?
1Cor. 11:24 and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me.”
1Cor. 14:17 For you are giving thanks well enough, but the other person is not edified.
2Cor. 1:11 you also joining in helping us through your prayers, so that thanks may be given by many persons on our behalf for the favor bestowed on us through the prayers of many.
Eph. 1:16 do not cease giving thanks for you, while making mention of you in my prayers;
Eph. 5:20 always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father;
Phil. 1:3 ¶ I thank my God in all my remembrance of you,
Col. 1:3 ¶ We give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you,
Col. 1:12 giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light.
Col. 3:15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful.
Col. 3:17 Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.
1Th. 1:2 ¶ We give thanks to God always for all of you, making mention of you in our prayers;
1Th. 2:13 ¶ For this reason we also constantly thank God that when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but for what it really is, the word of God, which also performs its work in you who believe.
1Th. 5:18 in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
2Th. 1:3 ¶ We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brethren, as is only fitting, because your faith is greatly enlarged, and the love of each one of you toward one another grows ever greater;
2Th. 2:13 ¶ But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth.
Philem. 4 ¶ I thank my God always, making mention of you in my prayers,

Review Sunday November 23

A.W. Tozer writes in his book Knowledge of the Holy;
"The Church has surrendered her once lofty concept of God and has substituted for it one so low, so ignoble, as to be utterly unworthy of thinking worshiping men. This she has done not deliberately, but little by little and without her knowledge; and her very unawareness only makes her situation all the more tragic.
The low view of God entertained almost universally among Christians is the cause of a hundred lesser evils everywhere among us. A whole new philosophy of the Christian life has resulted from this one basic error in our religious thinking.
With our loss of the sense of majesty has come the further loss of religious awe and consciousness of the divine Presence.
We have lost our spirit of worship and our ability to withdraw inwardly to meet God in adoring silence. Modern Christianity is simply not producing the kind of Christian who can appreciate or experience the life in the Spirit. The words, "Be still and know that I am God," mean next to nothing to the self-confident, bustling worshipper in the middle period of the twentieth century.
What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.
…We tend by a secret law of the soul to move toward our mental image of God. This is true not only of the individual Christian, but of the company of Christians that compose the Church. Always the most revealing thing about the Church is her idea of God, just as her most significant message is what she says about Him or leaves unsaid, for her silence is often more eloquent than her speech. She can never escape the self-disclosure of her witness concerning God.

Folks it is so true what A.W. Tozer says and writes about the modern day church in America. Do we truly understand that God is serious about His glory, to the point of the crucifixion of His only begotten Son on the cross? Are we really living in such a way that when others see through the lens of our lives, Christ is demonstrated as great? It is easy to go to a church week in and week out and look the part. But I am asking in your day to day lives, up close and personal, what does the spouse say, the children and those in your sphere of influence as it relates to God's glory.

Therefore during the last 3 weeks we have been studying the theme of the Bible which I have argued is the "glory of God." It has been my goal through the Scriptures for us to see God as He presents Himself to us in the Bible. We are only laying the foundation in regard to the glory of God right now but later will come to how to apply this to our lives.
Please remember that correct doctrine leads to correct living, which means wrong
doctrine leads to wrong living.

Many in the church across America have a view of Jesus sitting around a campfire with marsh mellows sharing a cup of hot chocolate or a mocha latte telling us how much we are loved. Well after 3 weeks into the glory of God allow me to ask you the following question:

Do you feel most loved because God makes much of you?

Or do you feel most loved by God because at the cost of His Son, at the cross, He has graciously allowed you to make much of Himself?

Who is getting the glory?

As we travel along this road in our tour of the Bible we will make occasional rest stops. At the moment we have pulled off to the side of the road and are resting in the "glory of God."
Look with me for a few minutes at John 1:14.
"And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth."
Notice that the word for "Word" is in caps when it comes through in the NASB translation. And we know the translators are telling us that Jesus is the word. In Greek it is the word "logos." This is "the Word" that has been sent to us from heaven. Also we recognize it comes from above and not below, from outside of us and not inside of us. It is a category we will label as being logos or word-centered. But wouldn't you know there is a competing category which is gnostic centered (gnosis the Greek word for knowledge).
This is where we find the essence of gnosticism, which is an attempt by man through his knowledge to reach God. The danger of being gnostic or knowledge centered is that man will attempt by his own wisdom to redefine God. Whereas logos centered is that from outside of us, the gnostic centered is that which arises from inside of us. The one category is God-centered and brings glory to God and the other is man-centered and brings glory to man.

STOP-LOOK-LISTEN Can you think of an immediate application? Let me give you an example from my own life. This may sound silly to others but this is the way it works in our home. The dishwasher is full of clean dishes, Nancy has been out running errands for the family all day. So I come downstairs notice that it needs to be cleaned out. As I start into that very act of cleaning it out, what is the motive of my heart? Well let's keep going in the story and see if you can discern. Nancy arrives home and within 5 minutes I make a quick passing comment, by the way, it must be spoken at an audio level that is barely able to be heard, "hey hon I took care of the dishwasher while you were out." As Nancy would tell you, when I do something like that I want everything in the house to stop, NEON lights to flash and start the ticker tape parade. I over exaggerate to make the point. There have been many times where my motive is to be applauded, appreciated and admired for the act or service done. Yes that is man-centered and from God's perspective qualifies as sin that needs confession and repentance.

Jesus becomes a man, can you get your mind around this statement God Himself becomes a man. And Jesus as fully God and fully man comes to planet earth to dwell among us. The word of dwell in this verse is the Greek word "skenoo" and it means tabernacle. Let me do a bit of a paraphrase "The word became flesh and tabernacled among us..." As you read through the Old Testament and come to Exodus 35 you will find the instructions that God gave to Moses for the building of the Tabernacle. It is this very tabernacle in the wildnerness of the Old Testament that points us toward Jesus that would one day tabernacle among us!

Keep reading and notice that the apostle John writes that they saw His glory which was full of grace and truth.
STOP-LOOK-LISTEN Can you think of an application?
Is that others would describe your life as they have interaction with you? Well the one thing I can say about this man or woman is they are both gracious and truthful. Isn't that what the Lord Jesus was perfectly, as observed and described by His disciples? Jesus wasn't part grace and part truth instead He was all of both. How many times in my parenting have I been truth based with my kids to the point of all do's and do nots. And then I will go over at times to the other extreme and be lenient to the point of no accountability at all. It seems I often find myself in the extremes (all truth or all grace) instead of being all of both.

What do you think it would have been like to observe the first 30 years in the life of Jesus while on planet earth? Think of all the basic day to day activities in life. The Lord Jesus washed clothes, did carpentry work, read the Bible, times of prayer, and had many conversation with people as He grew up. And in everthing that He thought, everything that He spoke and all that He did was to the glory of His Father in heaven. Try and get your mind around this statement. Jesus Christ who was was fully God and fully man never spoke or acted on His own initiative, but 24/7 only spoke and did exactly what God told Him to do. And when the disciples saw that up close and personal as they were discipled by Christ Himself, what they saw was the glory of God!
STOP-LOOK-LISTEN Can you think of an application?
Are my thoughts God-centered or me-centered as I make this phone call to my customer?
Are my actions God-centered or me-centered as I clean up the kitchen this afternoon?
Are my words in response to an attack on me going to be God-centered or me-centered?

The glory of God from the fall of Adam has been in full competition with the glory of man (logos centered vs. gnostic centered). At the tower of Babel that we read about in Genesis 11:1-4 we can see it manifested in man wanting to make a name for himself. It was true back then and it is true today. But God chose Abram in the very next Chapter of Genesis 12 and says I will make My name great through you. Consider the following question: Am I trying to make a name for myself in order that I can get the glory, or am I allowing God to make a name for Himself through me so that He can receive the glory?

Homework assignment for Nov. 23

OK, by now you have probably guessed this is one of my favorite areas of study in all the Bible. It is and I can say in my own Christian walk this category of the glory of God has excited me and strengthened my relationship with Christ. There is no way you can exhaust the study of the glory of God but it will exhaust you. As you read, study and have devotion time you will see this all over the Bible. Try and get this doctrine down deep into your heart and mind, “God does all that He does for His glory and name sake.”

So with that in mind, pastor B. has a homework assignment for you. This is a little exercise that I think will help you build a strong category for the "glory of God". I am going to list the verse and then would like you to look them up, meditate and then try assign a label as you come to the verse in the Bible. For example those that are when the people of Israel are in Babylon you might want to label as "while in exile." When you get to Philippians 1 the label assigned my best be called "sanctification.” My point is that you try and label it in a way that best brings it to your memory. This also would also be a good time to add your own verses as you do Bible reading and study. READ ALL VERSES IN THEIR CONTEXT
  • Habakkuk 2:14
  • Numbers 14:21
  • 1 Samuel 12:19-23
  • 2 Thessalonians 1:9-10
  • John 1:14
  • Romans 15:3
  • Ezekiel 20:21-22
  • Isaiah 48:9-11
  • Romans 3:23-26
  • Philippians 1:9-11
  • Ezekiel 20:6-9
  • 2 Samuel 7:23
  • 1 Kings 8:41-44
  • 2 Kings 19:34
  • 2 Kings 20:6
  • Zechariah 2:5
  • Haggai 1:8
  • John 17:4
  • John 12:27-28
  • 1 Corinthians 10:31
  • 2 Corinthians 4:6
  • 1 Peter 4:11
  • Matthew 5:16
  • Jeremiah 13:11
  • Isaiah 49:3
  • Romans 9:17
  • Psalm 25:11
  • Psalm 23
  • Revelation 15:8
  • Revelation 21:23

As you read, study and have devotion time I think you will find how passionate God is about the glory of His name. Of course we don’t just want to read and move on but to ask the Holy Spirit to reveal truth to us about God’s glory.

  • So do you think God has created us because it was a cleaver strategy in order for the Trinity to get more glory?
  • Can the triune God be more glorious?
  • So does God create out of some unmet need or from His abundant overflow?
  • Why should God allow you and me to share in His glory?
  • What does it really mean for us to glorify Him?
The ongoing strategy of our class is to keep you thinking and studying what the Scriptures say. I look forward again this Sunday, Lord willing to our time together in the “glory of God” part 3.


Review Sunday November 16

We are presently taking a pause in our tour of the Bible to look at PRINCIPLE #5, the theme of the Bible is “the glory of God.” A couple of weeks ago I tried to lay a solid foundation as to the fact that God is the most God-centered person in the universe. And this past week we looked a number of different Scripture verses in order to support this statement. If you remember the first thing I asked our class on Sunday were the following two questions:
1. What is the goal of God in the creation and governing of this world? (learn)
2. How do we bring our lives into conformity with that goal? (live)

Obviously God’s goal is to glorify Himself in all that He does but are we living to glorify God in all that we do?
At this point we are only answering question #1 from Scripture but eventually we will get to question #2. Last week we covered the glory of God from predestination (Ephesian 1:3-14) to evacuation of the Israelites from Egypt (Psalm 106:7-8). I am hoping and praying that you are reading and meditation on these verses and this all important principle. This coming week should complete our overview as we will move from evacuation to consummation of God’s glory (2 Thessalonians 1:9-10). For those of you reading through the entire Bible this year pay particular attention to the glory of God. As a matter of fact I suggest you get a journal and start to record each Scripture reference that specifically points to the glory of God.
Sbs Class November 16 2008
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In preparation for Sunday

This Sunday will be a part 2 in our study of the theme of the Bible, which is the “glory of God.” Here is a quick review of what we covered last week.

Everything that God does, He does for the glory of His name. Yesterday in class we started into some of the foundational pieces in this principle #5 on our tour of the Bible. This particular truth is very important to pray about, meditate on and to take some time for study. I think you will find that from predestination (eternity past) all the way to consummation (eternity future) God is doing all that He is doing for His glory. In preparation for this coming Sunday I am going to take us through many verses of Scripture that I believe will support this statement as to the purpose of the Bible. Below I have listed the verses I am planning to cover on Sunday. Please don’t get frustrated if we don’t spend much time on these verses, as we will be coming back to many of them later for in depth study.

* Predestination (Ephesians 1:6, 12, 14)
* Creation (
Isaiah 43:6)
* The rescuing of the Israelites from Egypt (
Psalm 106:7-8)
* The power and influence of Pharaoh (
Exodus 9:16)
* The continuous rebelling of Israel in the wilderness (
* The promise of God to bring Israel back into the land (
Is. 48:9-11)
* Incarnation (
John 1:14, Romans 15:8-9)
* Propitiation (
Romans 3:23-26)
* Sanctification (
Philippians 1:9-11)
* Consumation (
2 Thessalonians 1:9-10)

As always when you read sections of Scripture read them in context. Read what is in the previous paragraph that leads to this and also what come after it. I am hoping and praying this will be one of the most significant illuminations you receive from the Spirit as you read the Bible this year. This particular subject has been on my study plate for a number of years. Now think with me in terms of application. If the purpose of the Bible and God Himself is His glory then what should be the purpose of our lives? Well the correct answer according to Scripture would be for us to reflect, display and magnify the glory of God in our own lives. Again remember we want to magnify like a telescope and not a microscope. A microscope takes things that are very little and makes them very large and we can't do that with God because we can't make Him more glorious than He already is. But a telescope takes that which is far away. And trust me on this leadership team, in Charlotte, for many people, the Jesus Christ of the Bible is very, very far away. Therefore when you look through a telescope at a star that is far away you start to be able to see that star as it really is. And in that regard we need to be a telescope so that when people look through the lens of our life they can see Jesus up close and personal.

Review Sunday November 9

This morning we took time to lay the foundation for the theme of the Bible which is “the glory of God.” It is critical that we have a view of God that is consistent with the Bible and not one that we conjure up in our mind. Today the main point was to help build this all important category about God. The chief aim of God is to enjoy Himself and glorify Himself forever. In other words God is the most God-centered person in the universe. Sometimes I have noticed this can rub American Christians the wrong way. The discomfort with this teaching comes from an over zealous emphasis on ourselves. However when one comes to the Bible here is what you start to learn and understand:

1. God does everything that He does for His own glory. And in the Bible there is much support for this statement but for now just think it over. God is constantly in the business of displaying and magnifying Himself.

2. Since God does it this way, He in fact preserves for mankind the best thing that we could ever have or want which is Himself. Because God is the one thing and the only thing in the universe that can genuinely scratch the itch in the soul of man.

3. God does not just offer but rather demands that we rejoice, delight and be satisfied in Him!

The overarching strategy in life is to have a clear understanding of God's "why" or His purpose as we come to the Bible. It only make sense that we should align ourselves and our lives under the plumb line of His purpose, which is HIs glory. Therefore our objective is to live daily, in such a way, that when people in our sphere of influence here us speak and watch us act, they see a demonstration of the greatness and exaltation of the Lord Jesus Christ!

Review Sunday November 2

Here are the review slides that we discussed on Sunday. We took a pause in our tour of the Bible to heed the warning of legalism that can so easily slip into our lives. Whenever you tell an American Christian they need to read the Bible in many cases it can become part of a to do list or a duty to be accomplished. But we see that the Lord Jesus was very specific in His words to the Pharisees in Matthew 15:8 when He said “you honor Me with your lips but your heart is far from Me.” Class how dangerous when we turn the gospel-centered life which is based on grace alone, through faith alone in Christ alone into a works based religion. Do you remember my illustration of the roses for Nancy on our anniversary? The only way to Biblically battle and be victorious against the disease of legalism is with the gospel. Therefore the verses listed in these slides should be studied, meditated on and eventually memorized. On Sunday night there was a group of us that met to discuss further the gospel-centered life. We will come back to this in section 4 of “learning and living the God-centered life.” But I did want to introduce this all important teaching now in order that we start to build this healthy Biblical category into our Christian lives.

This coming week we will overview the purpose of the Bible or we could say it another way the purpose of God. Again we are on a tour of the Bible as we have come from the “preparation of the heart” now we are moving to the “explanation to the head.”

I look forward to seeing each of you this Sunday until then blessings on you!
Sbs Class November 2 2008
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Fighting the good Fight

In last Sunday's lesson at the end I put up the following chart:

1. GRACE comes down (from God)

2. JOY rises (in the believer as they are satisfied in God)

3. LOVE overflows (into the lives of others)

It is easy to draw a chart but to live this out is where the "rubber meets the road" in the Christian life. I am constantly reading and listening to those who have modeled godly living in their lives and ministry. In studying this week I came across notes from a Dr. John Piper lecture on "how" he fights for joy! Hopefully this will encourage you to run the race, and keep the faith as you continue fighting the good fight.

1. Meditate on the word of God both day and night – Psalm 19:8, Jeremiah 15:16, Romans 10:17, Psalm 1, Romans 15:4, John 17:17, Holiness is someone who is so satisfied in God that sin has lost its appeal to them. Ephesians 6:17

2. Memorize the Scriptures – people who have done this have the where withal to fight for the fight for joy. Pick a time of day and a place and a plan then it will happen. If you don't do it then the devil will fill your life up with good things so you never get to the best things.

3. When reading the Bible focus on the centrality of Christ. Have a goal of being able to see God when you read the Bible. Ask questions like who are you and what are you like and why are you speaking and acting this way… Reading the Bible – all authority on heaven and earth is mine, Lazarus come forth, these are things Jesus says and does. When you go to the Bible you meet a man that is self-authenticating. You need to see Jesus as glorious as your read. Read More...

Legalism Part 2

Our class can be summarized as follows: “Back to the basics of the Bible in such a way that Christ is demonstrated as great and glorious in each of our lives.” However as I have taught over the years, one of the dangers of intense Bible study can be legalism. We need to be on alert constantly against this very deadly disease. And the only antibiotic that can provide the cure is the cross of Christ.

Therefore, before we continue moving forward in our survey of the Bible, I am pulling our tour bus over to the next overview stop in order to look out into the valley of legalism. As many of you know that have been with us for the last 9 weeks, I have exhorted us as a class back to the Bible. In doing so I have encouraged you with a number of tools that can help in your Bible reading, Bible devotion and Bible study. But I also know that some people have processed this information through the filter of “I need to start building a task list or to do list for my spiritual life.” One of the points this past Sunday was as Americans we are hard wired to be legalists.

This Sunday instead of focusing our attention on the problem we will in fact be emphasizing the cure. Now before I give you the homework assignment let me give you a pastoral heads up. The problem that existed in the first 100 years of the church and the big problem that we face now is the same. And the name of the problem is SIN! Please don’t ignore this but seek rather to understand this from the Bible. Read carefully the apostle Paul’s conclusion about the entire human race (pagan, moral man and religious man) in Romans. Remember Romans is the most thorough epistle we have on the doctrine of salvation.
Rom. 3:10 as it is written,


Legalism is sin rooted in pride which focuses the attention on my effort and ability in order to merit or get God’s approval. But in me there is nothing good so all I can bring to God are deeds that are in fact unrighteous. I once heard a prominent theologian proclaim “ the best work you ever do in your lifetime, needs to be bathed in repentance.” When I heard it I backed the tape up and listened again. He did not say the worst thing you will ever have done but the best thing needs to be bathed in repentance. Why is that? Because our sinful nature is so utterly sinful that it even taints the most wonderful things that we do in our kingdom work. I must admit hearing that did not help my self esteem or self concept one little bit. But isn’t that the point! If I don’t admit and deal with the problem then I will never appreciate nor apply the solution. Class we are sinners in need of a savior and that savior is Christ. Did you ever see the movie “Amazing Grace?” Well, in that movie there is a conversation between Wilbur Wilberforce and John Newton. At this point Newton is old and looks to be a bit senile. But he says to Wilberforce the following statement, “one thing that I know, I am a great sinner and Christ is a great Savior.” Read More...

Review Sunday October 26

The teaching today was about the Christ crucified life as opposed to the me emphasized life. I will put more up later but here are the power point notes.

Sbs Class Oct26 2008
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The danger of legalism

Legalism means to obey a set of rules or regulations in such a way as to seek or try to merit God’s approval. As Americans we are hard wired to be legalists. Just think for a minute at the number of roles you have acquired to date in your life.
  • son
  • daughter
  • brother
  • sister
  • aunt
  • uncle
  • friend
  • student
  • athlete
  • business owner
  • employee
  • neighbor
  • church member
I can remember growing up my mom, who I loved dearly, had a thing about grades in school. The message that came across to me was “the Brimberry’s don’t make “C’s” in school work. Well, at least they didn’t make any until little Bert showed up on the scene. Whenever I brought home an A or B the atmosphere was one of acceptance and positive affirmation. For the sake of this blog article lets call that a “STROKE.”

BUT when I brought home a C or even the dreaded D, even in my little brain I noticed my mom’s disappointment. Whenever my parents felt good about the results I accomplished then naturally I felt good about me. And whenever my parents were disappointed it always seemed to translate in me feeling bad about myself. Therefore this is how the information came into and got processed in my mind. If I wanted to feel really good about myself then I needed to be sure to meet or exceed my parents expectations. Unfortunately it seemed, the older I got the higher they raised the bar. Read More...

Review Sunday October 19

Today was a chance for us to review again the first three principles of our Bible survey. Occasionally we will pitch a tent and camp on some material that we have previously covered. This morning I wanted to review and stress what as orthodox evangelicals we believe about the Bible.
1. It is inspired (God-breathed)
2. It is infallible (can’t fail)
3. It is inerrant (without error)

May I encourage you to review the notes from todays class. Read over and meditate on the passages listed that highlight:
  • The truthfulness of the Bible
  • The purity of the Bible
  • The power of the Bible
  • The reverence for the Bible
  • The joy of the Bible
  • The daily nourishment from the Bible

These are interesting days in which we are living. How easy it is for us to get distracted with the things of this world. Brothers and sisters keep your eyes on the Lord Jesus! Do not look to the left or to the right, grab up the word of God and allow His Spirit to transform you into the likeness of Christ. The most important thoughts you will ever think are the thoughts that you think about God. I appeal to each one of you as strongly as I know how get into His word so that His word can get into you!

Next week it’s on to principles 4-8 which have already been posted on our blog site. There will be other “pauses” along the way as we take this tour of the Bible. Hopefully when we get done you will have a good overall grasp of some of the basics from Genesis to Revelation.

Continue running the race, fighting the good fight and keeping the faith;
Sbs Class October 19 2008
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Here is the audio from today’s class, just click on this LINK and look for mp3 download October 19.

Review Sunday October 12

Thanks to Pastor Russ Rosser for teaching our class this past Sunday morning. Nancy and I have been blessed to know Russ and Carol since they first arrived in Charlotte. He is affectionately known to us as “Papa” Russ. Here are the notes from this past week.

Cross references

Here is a short training video on the importance of cross references in your Bible. If you are using a study Bible then you will notice the letters or numbers in the margin of your Bible. Even though most people know they are there, it is something that is rarely used. Again I hope these short videos will encourage you to use the tools in order to make us better students of God’s word. Just click on this LINK and look for the video titled “cross reference.”

A word of encouragement

This particular phase of our study is being called “explanation to the head.” As you remember I listed basic steps for us as we commit to getting back to a healthy reading, devotion and study time in God’s word.

Step #1 - “The preparation of the heart”
Step #2 - “The explanation to the head”
Step #3 - “The application for the feet”

Therefore in this phase of our study I will be giving a basic overview of the Bible in the format of approximately 20 different principles. Along the way I will take a couple of side trips in order to make us aware of some current issues that we are battling in the evangelical church regarding the Bible. This past Sunday we covered the first 3 principles in our overview of God’s word.

Principle #1 - The Bible is unity through incredible diversity.
Principle #2 - The Bible has a layout that is similar in both the Old and New Testaments
Principle #3 - The Bible is the authoritative word of God

It was here in Principle #3 that we took a small but very important side trip. This side trip deals primarily with the definitions of the words interpretation and meaning. Read More...

What does it mean?

We have a stop sign in our neighborhood that is fairly new. Over the years we have never had to stop at this particular intersection. And then one day the dreaded stop sign was installed. It has been interesting to watch the different attitudes of those in our neighborhood toward that stop sign. Here are three different interpretations of this stop sign from the drivers perspective.

Driver #1 - Doesn’t see the need to stop at all. The sign has been installed as an unnecessary inconvenience and therefore I don’t see a need to stop.

Driver #2 - This is what we call the “Philly Slide.” The car doesn’t but it will slow to a yield if necessary. But stopping all together is totally out of the question.

Driver #3 - An official stop to the point that the wheels come to a point of complete rest.

Is it more important how you interpret the stop sign or is it more important to know what the stop sign actually means?
If your interpretation is not consistent with the actual meaning of the stop sign according to Mr. Policeman, then you will likely receive a ticket for your bad interpretation. Do you see how an incorrect interpretation leads one to an incorrect application.
When it comes to a stop sign and Mr. Policeman your job is to be sure that your interpretation is in line with the actual meaning! Read More...

Review Sunday October 5

Today’s class went from easy to what might have seemed a little difficult. If you will review the notes in Power Point then I think it will clear up many questions. Here is a quick review of the main points from this morning’s class.

  • The Bible shows us amazing unity through incredible diversity. Just look at the number or authors, occupations, styles of writing, time of writing, and locations in which the various authors wrote the Bible.
  • The Bible has a unique format in that the Old Testament and New Testament have similar layouts.
  • The Bible must be interpreted correctly if we are going to live it out correctly.

The first two points are basic to the Bible that are helpful to know but not difficult to understand. However the third point and the following 4 words we discussed today will take some study and review.

1. Exegesis
2. Meaning
3. Interpretation
4. Application

This is a huge issue today within the evangelical church. It will be more and more important for our children and grand children, especially within our American culture.
I think we can all agree that the culture has consumed many people with an attitude of “it’s all about me.” So it is not surprising now that when people come to the Bible, you hear this kind of statement “well if it means that to you great, but this text means this to me.” In other word since the focus is me then I can read the Bible and interpret through my feelings and beliefs, or what it means to me. Folks please don’t hear this wrong, it doesn’t matter what you think it means, it only matters what God says it means! Read More...

Preview for Sunday October 5

We are going on a tour of the Bible, Lord willing, starting on Sunday. Of course as we have been doing, there will be stops along the way to look at specific verses along the way. Over the years I have studied under various excellent Bible teachers, order materials and written out many notes. This is not original with me and is at best a hybrid of how it has worked best for me. This past summer I went through an excellent overview called "Clarifying the Bible" by Mitch Maher. Some of the concepts presented will be from his overview while others will be an insert of my study through the years.

Introduction - ever since you have stepped into the "living and learning the God-centered life" you have continued to hear me exhort you back to the Bible. You may have even gone home thinking that guy is a broken record, does he have another track? Well you won't be the first person to think that or even meet with me on that issue. But I am not saying these things just to be a broken record, because through the Bible God makes Himself known to us. Buck Hatch a former teacher used to say "this Book is the closest thing that you will ever touch, hear or see of Jesus Christ this side of heaven." And if you remember right out of the gate in our study we got right to the HEART of the problem. Many people come to the Bible to get their hearts rights but we are learning that we must get our hearts right before we come to the Bible. As one theologian once said "it doesn't do us much good to tune our fiddles once the concert is over." And now with hearts prepared, let's see if we can take a tour of the Bible to get a better handle on the whole of Scripture.

I am going to introduce 20 plus points, ideas or principles in order that we may have a good overall view of the Bible. Each week I will attempt to give you as many of the principles as I think we will be able to cover in class. Are you ready? Here we go! Remember these are main points and I will only cover them in a brief manner.

Principle #1 - The Bible is the AUTHORITATIVE word of God

  • The Bible is INSPIRED (God-breathed)
  • The Bible is INFALLIBLE (can't fail)
  • The Bible is INERRANT (without error)

The Bible is Inspired:
Let's talk first about the inspiration of Scripture and what that really means. Inspiration is the act where God superintended the authors of the Bible so that they composed and recorded without error God's message to mankind in the words of the original writings. As the author wrote each of them wrote exactly what God wanted them to write.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 - "All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work."

Questions to ask from this verse:
1. How much of Scripture is inspired? Answer - ALL OF IT
2. For what reason? Answer - in order to teach us, reproof us, correct us, train us in righteous so that we might be adequately equipped for kingdom work!
We can say that that is the "fact" of inspiration. But there is another verse we need to consider.

Passage lookup in multiple versions

I created another short training video on looking up passages in multiple translations. You can easily do this at www.Biblegateway.com. This video deals with the value of looking at how a word, phrase or even sentence is translated in the different Bible versions. In this particular example I am looking at the word “explained” in John 1:18. Again I hope this helps to encourage you to study and dig out these wonderful nuggets in God’s word! To see this video just click on this LINK and look for “passage lookup...”

Review Sunday September 28

First of all let me thank each of you as we have come through these first 6 weeks in our start up class. This is quite a bit of information and at time I know that you are trying to take a sip from a fire hose. I look forward to more discussion and wrestling together through these wonderful and precious truths of God’s word. My passion is to bring us back to the Bible in such a way that our lives are radically transformed into Christ likeness. You are an attentive and responsive group and I thank and praise God for an opportunity to share with you weekly!

You have probably heard the expression “The Bible will keep you from sin and sin will keep you from the Bible.” The single greatest hindrance to our study of God’s word is known sin or sin that we have come to tolerate in our lives. As sin continues unconfessed, the heart becomes more and more calloused toward the things of God. In the parable of the sower we come to understand more clearly three specifics that ultimately toward the very sin that separates us from God and His word. Those three specific are:
1. The devil snatching the word of truth
2. The flesh
3. The world

Each of those things listed above have a tremendous impact on “how” we hear the word and “what” we hear when the word is read, taught or preached. In only one soil in this parable did we find the bearing of fruit 30, 60 and 100 fold. And since Jesus said that this was the “parable of all parables” I want us to be diligent in getting the main point, not only in our heads but also our hearts. Do you see, hear and understand the main point of this parable? Let me be clear on what I am NOT asking and then restate what I am asking. I am NOT asking do you see the words, and hear physically what the main point of the parable to the point that you can repeat it due to memory. However I am asking you do you see with spiritual eyes, spiritual hears the point of this parable? Read More...

Chasing the verbs

As we walk through understanding “how to” read and study the Bible it may help you to see the some of these study techniques via a video. Therefore I am going to try and create some short video segments that will go through a few of the basics.

In this first short video I show you how find, and look up some helpful information regarding verbs. Many times people will ask in Bible study how do you how to find the verbs. Well here is an easy way that you can do it with an online web site called www.blueLetterBible.org.

Here is a short video on what it means to “CHASE” the verbs:

Homework for week of September 21

Now, let's gather up what we have learned to date and make application. Go to the Bible reading plan for this week. Since you are on the website just click on the Bible reading plan tab on the right hand side of this page and scroll down to week #4 where you should see the following:
Romans 7-8, Genesis 12-15, Joshua 16-20, Psalm 9-11, Job 7-8, Isaiah 18-22, and Matthew 8-10.

Your homework for the week is as follows and I would like you to commit to this reading on this particular week. If you are on another Bible reading plan just consider this extra reading for the week.
1. Find a quiet 1 hour of time during the day. It has been my experience that morning is best but you pick what works for you.
2. As you sit down be sure to have Bible, notebook, highlighter and pen with you.
3. Start with prayer and ask God to reveal any sin, then pray diligently that He would open your eyes in such a way that you would desire His word. Don't rush this part of getting your heart right before the Lord. This needs to be unhurried time as you sit quietly before Him.
4. Now read the section of Scripture and be very attentive to a word, sentence or chapter that God may impress upon your heart.
5. Highlight certain areas of Scripture that specifically speak to you. Remember the word "rhema" that we talked about yesterday. This is a specific word from the whole word of God.
6. Write down any thoughts or impressions from what you read. What is God saying to you and what are you saying to God? Just write!
7. Close with a prayer of thanks and ask God to continue transforming you through His word into the likeness of the Lord Jesus.

Review Sunday September 21

Good afternoon “learning and living the God-centered life” class. Thanks again to Pat and Kay, Bruce and Lyn who made arrangements for our lunch and social after the 11 AM service. The food and fellowship was great and please put this is on your schedule for the third Sunday through the end of the year.

This was the last week in our study of preparing the HEART for Bible reading, devotion and study. This morning we looked specifically at Mark 4:13-20 and how “the evil one” snatches the word from the heart.
I am counting on you to study the other two types of soil which we have labeled, the shallow heart and the thorn-invested heart.
Below I have included the Power Point Presentation from today’s lesson.
Sbs Sept21 2008
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The audio of this mornings class is also available just click on this LINK, and look for the mp3 September 21 Class.

Explanation to the Head

We have one more week as it relates to the heart in our Bible reading, study and devotion. And then Lord willing, we move from heart to the head. Did you continue reading in Luke 24? Guess what the Lord Jesus shows us later on in that story? Remember our two disciples who leave Emmaus and go back to Jerusalem, knock on the door and insist on telling the other disciples that Jesus is alive! Again Jesus identifies an initial problem (those who were behind locked doors) in Luke 24:38 - “And He said to them, "Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts?" We see in verse 44 that Jesus gives another Bible study and look carefully at the next verse, Luke 24:45 - "Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures." Class we need heart prepared and minds opened as we come to the very word of God!

But here is where the issue becomes somewhat complicated among professing evangelicals. Allow me to over simplify in order for us to see the problem. It seems that there are three basic groups that endorse three different ways to come to the Scriptures.

1. Orthodox - the Bible is the word of God. As you know Carmel Baptist Church is considered to be Orthodox as are many churches in Charlotte.
2. Liberal - the Bible contains the word of God. Here we have the grocery store approach to the Bible. Pick what you like and leave what you don't like.
3. Neo-Orthodox - the Bible becomes the word of God. I am seeing this is a real battle ground today because of the post-modern culture in which we now live.
This is hard to sum up in a sentence or two but let me try. In the Neo-Orthodox view I read a verse of Scripture and then you read the same verse. When we discuss it we have two entirely different views on that verse. I would simply say "well I am happy for you because this verse means that to you." And the other person would basically say the same thing to me. The interpretation of the verse within the Neo-Orthodox view is left up to the reader of the text. And whatever it means to them is what it in fact means or becomes to them.
Do you see the danger with this kind of Bible reading? No one is wrong because with this view everybody gets to be right! Read More...

Homework for September 21

We are learning the importance of the heart as it pertains to Bible reading, study and devotion. And when the Lord Jesus spoke to those disciples on the road to Emmaus He recognized they were sluggish of heart. As we read the “parable of the sower” we get a deeper look into the problem of the heart. There are three specific obstacles that cause the heart to be hard.

Suggested study for September 21
Review the parable of the sower and list the three basic obstacles to the heart. Specifically let’s dig a little deeper as it relates to obstacle #1:
• Observe the three different names given for Satan by each of the gospel writers of this parable. And look up the various names and write out the meanings.

• What are we told from Scripture that we need to be aware of when it comes to the ways of the devil?
(Hint:it involves the word - schemes)

• What type of instructions are we given from the Bible in regard to dealing with “the enemy?”
(Hint: look up the following verses)
James 4:7
1 Peter 5:8-9
Ephesians 6:11

• What is your Biblical strategy when it comes to dealing with obstacle #1 in the parable of the sower?
(Hint: Does your strategy match the strategy of the Lord Jesus when dealing with Satan while He was in the wilderness for 40 days?) Read More...

How is your hearing?

Did you happen to notice that the word hear appears 9 times in Mark 4:1-20? This is one of the key words to understand if we are going to apply the “parable of the sower” to our lives.

Allow me to make an observation about the
“type” of hearing that occurs in the verses that follow:

Mark 4:15 “These are the ones who are beside the road where the word is sown; and when they hear, immediately Satan comes and takes away the word which has been sown in them.

Mark 4:16 “In a similar way these are the ones on whom seed was sown on the rocky places, who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with joy;

Mark 4:18 “And others are the ones on whom seed was sown among the thorns; these are the ones who have heard the word,

Mark 4:20 “And those are the ones on whom seed was sown on the good soil; and they hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold.”

Now in the Greek each of the verbs for
“hear” in Mark 4:15,16 and 18 occur in a tense called the AORIST. This tense states that an action occurs without regard to its duration. It is analogous to a snapshot which captures an action at specific point in time. Read More...

Review Sunday September 14

First of all greetings to the new people in our class this past Sunday. For those who are the veterans (3 weeks) I did a little more review to bring the new folks up to speed. In the next few weeks it will be full speed ahead but until then I ask for your patience. Today we were also adjusting to a new classroom and a new setup. We have already received feedback and from all indications this is going to work out great!

Due to technical difficulties there in no mp3 download for this week’s lesson.

As I mentioned the church in America is facing a dilemma when it comes to learning and living the God-centered life. When you look at the statistics, unfortunately we look very similar to the world. For example I understand that the divorce stats within the church equate to those who are outside the church. My former senior pastor, Glenn Wagner, was a former vice president in the Promise Keepers Organization. Glenn said that as men would come to cities, fill up football stadiums and stay at the local hotels, the pornography room rentals would almost quadruple the normal. I could go on but here is the point, we who are inside the church don’t live much differently from those outside the church. Therefore even if we know what the Bible says is true and yet we don’t do it, then what we know to be true, isn’t true for us. Read More...

A preview and homework for Sept. 14 class

My plan this Sunday is to continue with the importance of the heart in regard to Bible reading, devotion and study. As we will see later on, there are many different “how to” methods of Bible study. But there is one essential principle or one non-negotiable when we come to the reading and study of God’s word and that is the PREPARATION of our heart. A couple of weeks ago you may remember we looked briefly at Luke 24:13-35 and then covered it in some more detail last week. This week I want us to look in more detail at Mark 4:1-20 which is commonly referred to as the “parable of the sower.” Actually a better name for this might be the “parable of the soils.” Let me give a quick review from last week and why this focus is so important to our class right now.
There are four basic reasons people have given me over the years as to why they don’t read, have consistent devotions or study the Bible.
1. Motivation
2. Priority
3. Skills and Tools
4. Spiritual Maturity

It may be good to have some time to meditate on the four reasons above and see if any of these apply to you over this past year. Also as I have approached and studied this subject there is a three part solution to this four-fold problem listed above.

We went over these last week but let me put them back up for your review:
1. HEART (preparation)
2. HEAD (explanation)
3. HANDS AND FEET (application)

It's a matter of the heart

Do you know the leading cause of death in the United States? If you have been in our class for the last two weeks you might answer heart disease and that would be correct. Now let me move that fact right over to Bible reading, devotion and study. Do you know what the number one killer of Bible reading, devotion and study? Yes, the answer to that is also heart disease. When I started growing in my understanding of the word I was taught and exhorted in these three basics:

1. Preparation of the Heart
2. Explanation to the Head
3. Implementation with the Hands and Feet

However the most important basic is that of the HEART. There will be no proper application for what we don’t understand, and in order to understand our hearts must be prepared to receive the truth of God’s word. Isn’t that the whole point of the parable of the sower that we briefly touched on Sunday? The success of the seed (God’s word) is dependent upon the condition of the soil it finds (the heart). Unfortunately many today have the word snatched away, or wither away or have it choked out by things of this world.

Questions for our meditation and application this week:
1. What things or issues have you allowed to harden your heart?
2. When is the last time you remember repenting?
3. What does your Bible reading, devotion and study look like over the past year?
4. Can you think of and find other important Scriptures that reference the heart?
5. Are you praying consistently and diligently that the LORD would give you a heart that is passionately desirous for His word!

Hopefully this will get you started in the application of our teaching this past Sunday. May I encourage each of us “not only to be hearers but also doers of the word.”
(James 1:22)

Review Sunday - September 7

The teaching yesterday centered on getting back to the Bible. We live in a culture that is constantly vying for our time, money and attention. Unfortunately for many in the church they try and work the Bible around their schedule instead of their schedule around the Bible. Folks the thoughts that we think about God are the most important thoughts we will ever think! When we study our Bibles, we have the living word of the living God before us. In essence, when we read the Bible we handle and hear from the very mind of God Himself. Buck Hatch a former professor at Columbia Bible College used to say “studying the Bible is the closest thing to touching the Lord Jesus Christ you will ever have this side of heaven.” And yet year after year I find people who say they are not motivated, other things are a priority, or they just don’t know how. Listen to the words of the Lord Jesus in John 8:31 “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine.” The Greek word for continue is “meno” and it means to abide, endure, stay or remain. This also is the same word that appears in John 15:4-16 eleven times (the vine and the branches).

Do you remember the conclusion we reached from Luke 24:13-35? If we are reading the Bible and it is dull and unexciting then it means that we have a dull heart when it comes to the things of God. And then in the verses we read yesterday we see further evidence that God hides His word from those whose hearts are dull. For a more complete understanding as to why our hearts are dull study the “parable of the sower” Mark 4:1-20.

But before we continue a quick word of warning. Read More...

Review Sunday - August 31

This past Sunday I gave an overview of our “learning and living the God-centered life”
class. For years I have been concerned that those within the church have forgotten or
possibly have never learned the basics. This particular class teaching will focus on the
following doctrines which we are calling “BACK TO THE BASICS”
Please don’t be intimidated with the word doctrine. Doctrine is simply what the Bible has to say about a particular subject. The initial emphasis in our class will be to exhort people back to a consistent and exciting time of Bible reading, devotion and study.

If you will, grab your Bibles and turn to Luke 24:13-35. In this encounter between the Lord Jesus and two disciples you will notice the following:
1. The situation
2. The problem
3. The solution
4. The results

First lets take a look at Luke 24:13-17 (the situation) and see if we can relate. We have two disciples heading to Emmaus (seven miles north of Jerusalem) talking about the events of that day (resurrection day). Then the Lord Jesus shows up and starts walking with them and asks them about the words they are “throwing around.” There are two interesting things we learn about the meeting these disciples had with Jesus.
1. Their eyes were prevented from recognizing Him
2. As He met with and talked with them they looked sad Read More...

Bible Translations

Bible Translations

This from Fee and Stuart “Reading the Bible for all it’s worth” (p.34-35)

Original Language: The language that one is translating from; in our case, Hebrew, Aramaic, or Greek

Receptor Language: The language that one is translating into; in our case, English

Historical distance: This has to do with the difference that exist between the original language and the receptor language, both in matters of words, grammar, and idiom, as well as in matters of culture and history.

Theory of translation: This has to do with the degree to which one is willing to go in order to bridge the gap between the two languages. For example, should lamp be translated “flashlight” or “torch” in cultures where these serve the purpose a lamp one did? Or should one translate it “lamp” and let the reader bridge the gap for himself or herself? Should holy kiss be translated “the handshake of Christian love” in cultures where kissing is offensive?

Definition of Fee and Stuart's terms combined with C. Michael Patton (Parchment and Pen blog site)

* Formal Equivalence: Translations that seek to translate word for word (although this is really impossible). Examples: NAS, KJV, ASV, ESV. Less readable, but better for study in contemporary languages. Why? Because they will usually attempt to make fewer interpretive decisions on any text that can be understood in many ways. This allows the reader to struggle through the options.
Literal The attempt to translate by keeping as close as possible to the exact words and phrasing in the original language, yet still make sense of the receptor language. A literal translation will keep the historical distance intact at all points.

* Dynamic Equivalence: Translations that seek to translate thought for thought. Examples: NIV, TNIV, NRSV, etc. Not quite as good for deep study, but usually better for reading and memorization. Dynamic equivalence translations make good pulpit or teaching Bibles.
Dynamic Equivalent The attempt to translate words, idioms, and grammatical constructions of the original language into precise equivalents in the receptor language. Such a translation keeps historical distance on all historical and most factual matters, but "updates" matters of language, grammar and style.

Free The attempt to translate the ideas from one language to another, with less concern about using the exact words of the original. A free translation tries to eliminate as much of the historical distance as possible.

* Paraphrase: Translations that seek to use common language and idioms to get the basic point across in a very readable way. Examples: Message, Philip’s Translation, NLT, GNB, etc. While paraphrases are not good for study or memorization, they are very readable and cause you to read the text differently than you normally would. In this respect, they have great value.

Biblical teaching model for class

Studying the word of God

The name of our course is “learning and living the God-centered life.” One of the things I will consistently teach over the next year is this, what we believe is in fact how we behave. Therefore one of my main focuses in ministry over the past 10 years has been to ask "WHY" Christians don't read, study nor have devotions on a regular basis. As you read this email do a quick survey of your own Bible reading, study and devotion time in the last 3 years. Each of us has 10,080 minutes every week. Most Christians I have taught over the years understand the command that we are to love the Lord God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. However, when they do an honest review of minutes available as opposed to minutes actually committed to study, reading and devotion time, there seems to be a gap between what they know and what they do. Therefore, one of the goals of this class is to get each of you into the word in order that the word can get into you! This point needs some further clarification. We live in the culture of America. Many live by a motto that goes something like this "if it's to be then it's up to me". Therefore when you tell an American Christian to get back to the Bible they think "I can do it, I will do and if you don't think I can then watch me". All that produces is a group of people that have a "DUTY" mentality and that is NOT my goal for you in our class this year. Instead my goal is that you would "DELIGHT" in picking up your Bibles each morning, to have a meeting with the living Lord Jesus as He explains His word to you.

I have found it helpful to look at several aspects of the "why" as it relates to Bible reading, study and devotion time. The first category I want to share with you are the main reasons I continue to hear as to "why" people don't study their Bibles. As you read would simply make a mental note if any of these reasons apply to you specifically. Now please don't be offended at my next statement. But Vance Havner, one of the great all time Baptist preachers, used to say "An excuse is the skin of a lie stuffed with a reason". So with all that said here we go.
1. The Bible doesn't seem relevant to my life
2. The Bible is confusing and hard to understand
3. I end up always feeling guilty when I read the Bible
4. I rely on my pastors and leadership to teach me what the Bible says
5. The Bible is boring to me
6. My life is hectic and I simply don't have time to read the Bible
7. The Bible is full of contradictions and therefore lacks credibility
8. I don't read period, not just the Bible but I don't read anything

From time to time I have dealt with each of these objections but let me go straight to the bottom line.


Therefore I am asking each of you to honestly evaluate what priority does God's word have in your life right now. This is one of the most, if not the most important question that you will every ask yourself. Because as we will see your answer to that very question will have eternal consequences. A pastor once said that when his mother gave him his first Bible she wrote on the inside cover "sin will keep you from this book or this book will keep you from sin". How true is that statement in light of Romans 6:23 that plainly tells us that the wages of sin is death. So now allow me to give you the other category of "why". This is going to be a list of "why" as a Christian you should study the Bible. Let me mention that while this is my list it certainly is not an exhaustive list. Read More...