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Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Don’t Believe – So What?

You may have read or heard in the past few days that the philosophical and scholarly paragon, GQ, has deemed that you would be better served not to bother reading the Bible.
Don’t Believe – So What?
Set aside for a minute that they have, based on Psalm 14:1 (here @ Bible Gateway), which, no doubt they have not read, proven themselves fools.  Instead, take a minute and review 1 Timothy 4:1 – 3 (here @ Bible Gateway) and 2 Timothy 3:1 – 9 (here @ Bible Gateway).  Think through how the GQ editors fit into Paul’s description of the attitude of those of “later times”.

As believers, we tend to get exercised when people reject our beliefs.  Why?  Somehow their rejections seem at some level to call into question the validity of our faith.  But this is not a new phenomenon.  Spend some time reading and pondering Romans 1 – 3 (here @ Bible Gateway).  Specifically consider Romans 3:3 – 4 (here @ Bible Gateway).

Some don’t believe?  Some don’t consider the Bible important?  So what?  That doesn’t disprove, invalidate, trivialize, or otherwise diminish God.  He doesn’t change.  Frankly, their unbelief doesn’t catch God by surprise.  He already knew.

Through the years I have had many tell me that the Bible is irrelevant.  Ok.  I share it with them anyway.  Why?  They don’t have to believe that the Bible is relevant for it to work on them any more than someone has to acknowledge the existence of a sword before it can run them through.  The sword, by the way, is that to which the writer of Hebrews compares the Word of God, Hebrews 4:12 (here @ Bible Gateway); Paul also, in Ephesians 6:17 (here @ Bible Gateway).

So people do not believe and trivialize the Word of God.  Not new.  Not unexpected.  Has zero effect on God or the value of the Bible.  Just reveals their need and condition.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Some Observations – Part 3

There are more observations, more lessons, but for now, this will be the last and perhaps the most important.
Some Observations – Part 3
There is a danger in equipping people to more effectively observe the text of the Bible.  It is subtle.  One can become so engrossed in the process of observation that one misses the point of doing the observation.

The purpose of any engagement with the Word of God is ultimately to know the Lord, John 5:39 – 40 (here @ Bible Gateway).  The purpose of equipping people to be more effective in making observations, enhancing the effectiveness of their Bible study, is not to give them more to say or share in their small group or Sunday school class.  It is not to increase their ability to connect thoughts and topics in the Word of God – though that may be a side effect.  No, if that is the outcome of equipping people to do more effective Bible study, the effort is an abject failure.

If when we ask what are the most important take aways from this study, and the answer is centered around the structure of the text or some interesting turn of the grammar or vocabulary, we need to reexamine how we are either asking the question or equipping the person.

What we should hear is a clearer understanding of one’s relationship with and grasp of the person of Christ.  Or, a clearer understanding of how He desires to use the way He designed us in the building of His Kingdom.

When I hear a recitation of the structure of the text rather than a personal and heartfelt response to the result of that structure, I am saddened.

All of the methods we can learn, all of the questions with which we pepper the text, are ultimately tools for us to partake more richly in the divine nature that is revealed in the sumptuous feast that is the Word of God.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Some Observations – Part 2

The Word of God continues to astound me.  Consider for a moment 2 Peter 1:1 – 4 (here @ Bible Gateway - it’s one sentence).  The astounding part for me is in verse 4 (here @ Bible Gateway).  Peter states that we can become partakers of the divine nature through His promises.
Some Observations – Part 2
Of course, it is in His Word that we find His promises.  The implications of this continually amaze me.  When we are in His Word, He is revealing His nature and character to us through what is written.  Luther was amazed by the reality that the Creator of the universe reveals Himself in a book.

If and since that is the case that seems to add near incalculable importance to each of us that claim to know Christ and follow Him to spend not only quality but a significant quantity of time partaking of His nature in His book.

Because I use 2 Peter (here @ Bible Gateway) as the central text for each of the workshops, I am really familiar with the book.  I have studied it over 200 times.  I have the book memorized.  I have outlined and charted the book more times than I can count.  But, as I tell those in the workshops each time I read the book, I see something I have not seen before.

In the past few days, I have been wondering about that.  How is it that there is something new each time?  Some new insight, some connection that I have not seen before?

I think there are at least two factors that contribute to that consistent experience.  First, Hebrews 4:12 (here @ Bible Gateway) reminds us that the Word is living and active.  We know that the Holy Spirit inspired the text (2 Peter 1:20 – 21- here @ Bible Gateway); 2 Timothy 3:16 - 17 - here @ Bible Gateway), is tasked with leading us into truth (John 16:13 - here @ Bible Gateway), and indwells us as believers (Romans 8:9 - 11 - here @ Bible Gateway).  So, perhaps it is the case that the Spirit working in us shows us more and more as we return again and again.

Second, as I engage in the Word, applying it to my thought and behavior, when I return to its pages I am a different person than I was the last time I was there.  2 Peter 1:1 – 11 (here @ Bible Gateway) speaks to this at a significant level.  Peter tells us there that when we start with true knowledge and build our life on that knowledge it increases our true knowledge.

There are probably other factors in play here.  Those are the ones that have come to mind.

There is a bit more I need to share.  I will do so in the next post.