What’s so important about studying Scripture?

The ability to skillfully use God’s Word is vital to making sound decisions. Decisions that not only affect you but those who look to you for guidance. God seeks to reveal Himself to his creation through the scriptures.  Both the Old and New Testaments were written by holy men instructed by the Holy Spirit.  It is amazing that a book thousands of years old has been and still is, relevant to all generations.  It contains  God’s plan of redemption and constant guidance to the redeemed.

Over the years, many have struggled with reconciling the teachings of the Old Testament with the new.     God never contradicts himself.  What was true in the Old Testament is still true in the New.   A good method for studying the scriptures is the “analogy of faith.” It is a Reformed Hermeneutical principle which states that, since all scriptures are harmoniously united with no essential contradictions, therefore, every proposed interpretation of any passage must be compared with what the other parts of the Bible teach.

“The New Testament is concealed in the Old, and the Old is revealed in the New”  St. Augustine

God has preserved his message down through thousands of years, many translations, languages, and peoples.  So why aren’t more people interested in studying this personal message from God?  For the same reason, Adam sinned in the garden.  The same reason Christ was crucified.  The same reason the Israelites rebelled against God.  Satan, the enemy of God, has been and still is fighting against God to usurp his power and authority.

It will never be easy to study God’s Word.  It will require commitment, dedication, and perseverance. However as a believer, you will never do anything in this life that is more important.  We are foreigners traveling through a hostile land.  The only reliable compass made available to us is God’s Word.  You can rest assured Satan will do any and everything in his power to keep you from this vital information.

Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.  2 Timothy 2:15 (KJV)

Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine(teaching) is not mine, but his that sent me (God).  If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.   Genesis 2:16-17  

 

 

Church just doesn’t work for me anymore.

“Coffee with Jesus.” When I first heard the phrase, it was not especially interesting or motivating for me. It came from a fellow class member in our women’s Sunday school group. She had requested the opportunity to address the class that morning. I had only been a part of the group a few weeks and wasn’t familiar with the lives and struggles of other members.

As I sat there listening, thoughts began swirling around in my mind. Having coffee with Jesus is a unique idea but for what? I could do that at home. I was disenchanted enough with organized religious services.  I had been a believer all my life— —a believer in God, Jesus, church, doing the right thing, and I also possessed a healthy fear of God for not doing the right thing. Church was as much a part of my life as anything I had experienced since I was old enough to remember. I was well schooled in the responsibilities associated with being a church member. I was a faithful, tithing, active member yet something was missing.   I dare say there are many individual Christians sitting in church pews every Sunday feeling empty, and unfulfilled. Why? Is it possible we are misled as to the purpose of assembling ourselves together? Confused as to what purpose church should have in our lives?

Many professing evangelical Christians envision church as a building and a sequence of events that takes place at previously scheduled times throughout the week. A place they go out of habit or duty with little or no input of their own.  The body of Christ is made up of people from all over the world and from all generations. Individuals, God called out from among the population and set aside for his purpose.

The Church is not a place but a body with Christ as the head.  The body is made up of Individuals whom God has gifted and placed in the body as it pleased him.   Each has a specific function, and when all are operating in the place which God designed them for, the body will be healthy and happy if not the body suffers.

Additional problems develop when misguided leadership usurps God’s authority and attempts to designate -or deny- areas of service in the body based on personal perception. Often resulting in a schism in the body as members become confused and frustrated.

For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according to as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office:  So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.    Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith;  Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching;   Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.   Let love be without dissimulation { hypocrisy}. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.   Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honor preferring one another;   Romans 12:3-10

The church should have an environment conducive to the development and implementation of spiritual gifts.  It is through the exercise of personal gifts that members of the body grow and develop spiritually.  The church does not produce growth; it supports the growth of its individual members.

In responding to his call, the believer enters into a personal covenant with God. “Church” was never intended to supersede, overrule, or replace that personal relationship.  Instead, it was intended to support members as they develop that personal relationship.    We have church covenants and bylaws that set forth the rules and regulations to which a potential member must adhere. They also express the doctrines each particular assembly or denomination embraces. Unfortunately, many of these documents are much like the numerous additions to the laws of the Old Testament set forth by the Pharisees in biblical times.

Did you ever wonder why believers in third-world countries are steadfast in their faith enduring torture, imprisonment, martyrdom, and all manner of evil to assemble with other believers? While in fear for their lives, they meet secretly in small groups to worship. I dare say there are no rules, regulations, overseers, or covenants these people are subjected to, yet they risk their lives every day simply because they love God.

What happened to the body of Christ? Why is it so divided? What happened to its power and influence? Why are parts of the body suffering? Why is there competition instead of unity? Could it be the body is not taking its direction from the head?

Know What You Believe and Why You Believe it!