Archive for the ‘Bible.’ Category
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- 2. Choose a reading plan. Currently, we offer the following Bible reading plans:
- 71 Days in Isaiah – Carefully work your way through Isaiah in 71 days to experience the full impact of the prophet’s words.
- Book Order – Read from Genesis 1 to Revelation 22 in the order in which the books of the Bible are arranged.
- Chronological – Read the Bible in the order that the events happened.
- Chronological New Testament – In only 3 months you can read the New Testament in the order that the events happened.
- Classic – Read 3 passages each day, starting with Genesis, Psalms, and Luke. From the original Bible Study Tools reading plan.
- Daily Gospel – This plan focuses on the record of the life of Christ. You’ll read through all four gospels in 45 days.
- Daily Psalm – Read one Psalm per day for a spiritual boost
- Daily Wisdom – Find wisdom each day as you read straight through the Psalms, Proverbs, and Song of Solomon in 60 days.
- New Testament – Read straight through the New Testament in 90 days.
- Ninety-Day Challenge – Read the Bible all the way through in only 90 days. It’s a challenge well worth taking.
- Old Testament and New Testament – Read one passage from the Old Testament and one from the New Testament each day.
- One-Year Immersion Plan – With this immersive plan, you’ll read the Old Testament once and the New Testament three times each year.
- Prof. Horner’s Reading System – A unique and challenging system where you read 10 chapters a day.
- Stay-on-Track Plan – If you have trouble staying on track, this one-year plan will help. There are readings only on the weekdays, with weekends free to catch up or get ahead.
- The Busy-Life Plan – If your life is busy, this plan will help you get through the Bible at a pace that works for you. You’ll read a short selection each day and complete the Bible in two years.
- The Christmas Bible Reading Plan – Designed for personal or family reading times, these 25 New Testament readings highlight the birth of Jesus and the purpose for His coming. Related Old Testament passages are also featured daily.
- Thematic – This Bible reading schedule is thematic or connective in nature. The goal is to make as many associations as possible between the different parts of Scripture while still reading individual books of the Bible from start to finish.
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Bible Study Articles
Ever been to a football game at half time when the band forms words or pictures in the middle of the field? They look great from up in the stands. But have you thought about what they look like from the sidelines? Pointless, confusing, apparently meaningless. We see life from the sidelines. God sees it from the stands. As we gain perspective, we leave the sidelines and start working our way up.
With that as background, I turn now to consider some of the most frequently-asked questions about heaven. But before I jump in, I should make one preliminary point. The only things we can know for certain about heaven are the things revealed in the Bible. Everything else is just speculation and hearsay. The Bible tells us everything we need to know and I believe it also tells us everything we can know for certain about heaven.
Very often, people ask or wonder “what are the basic biblical principles for Christian giving?” As we seek God’s answer to that question and as we contemplate our own giving to the Lord’s church in response to the clear teaching of His Word, perhaps it would be wise and helpful to review those principles here.
We can see what God was up to in part, and we get a measure of peace from that. But how can we get peace if we’re headed into or in the midst of a crisis? God tells us how to do just that in Philippians 4:4.
In warfare, battles are fought on different fronts, for different reasons, and with varying degrees of intensity. The same is true in spiritual warfare. Our spiritual battles are real, even though we cannot physically see the attacker. But, we can educate ourselves on how the battles are fought and how they impact our lives on a daily basis.
What is the point of it all? Why should you keep investing yourself in a person when you are seeing zero fruit? Why should you keep working on a relationship that just doesn’t seem to be working?
Have you ever noticed how many times and how many ways the Bible warns of being deceived? By clear admonition as well as by graphic example God repeatedly calls us to be on our guard against believing lies.
We often think of the unique challenges and opportunities that facing lack/need presents. In those situations we are faced with the choice of trusting God for provision, or grumbling as the Israelites in the wilderness did (cf. Exod 16–17). But less frequently recognized are the dangers that abundance/prosperity brings. There are at least four that come to mind…
Have you ever had one of those, “Woah, wait a minute!” times when reading the Bible? You’re slowly meandering your way through a chapter, trying to clear your sleep-fogged head, when suddenly a verse jumps out and slaps you in the face. I had one of those moments this morning.
Spiritual growth of believers should be the goal of any church. We are to reach unbelievers and introduce them to Christ, but the end goal according to the command of Jesus is making disciples.
We thank you again for making 2013 such a great year for studying God’s Word!
Romans 13:11-14 ( http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Romans%2013:11-14&version=NKJV )
Augustine of Hippo was born in North Africa to a pagan father and a devout mother. He grew up a prodigal who reveled in drunkenness, lewdness, and lust, but his mother kept praying for him. One day as Augustine sat in a garden, he overheard a voice chanting, “Take up and read!” Picking up a Bible, he opened it to Romans 13. As he read that page — especially verse 14 — a light streamed into his heart and, as he later said, all the darkness of doubt fled away. Augustine went on to become one of the greatest thinkers in Church history.
Listen to Today’s Radio Message ( http://www.davidjeremiah.org/site/radio.aspx?tid=email_listenedevo )
It’s remarkable how Bible verses become shafts of light to illumine the darkness of our souls, and then afterward they illumine the footsteps of our ways. Psalm 119:105 says, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”
Any good work arising from our commitment to the Word of God brings honor to the Lord and overcomes the attacks of the enemy. Let’s constantly “take up and read” the Bible, resolved to always walk in its light.
2 Corinthians 10-13
By David Jeremiah.
We also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the Word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the Word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe.
1 Thessalonians 2:13
1 Thessalonians 2:13-20 ( http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=%201%20Thessalonians%202:13-20&version=NKJV )
According to Wikipedia’s list of best-selling books, Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities is history’s top novel, followed by The Lord of the Rings, The Little Prince (Le Petit Prince), and The Hobbit — each selling more than 100 million copies.1 But none of those compare with the circulation or impact of the Bible, which is by far the most widely distributed book on earth and in history.
Listen to Today’s Radio Message ( http://www.davidjeremiah.org/site/radio.aspx?tid=email_listenedevo )
If you’re facing a crisis, how much strength do you find in A Tale of Two Cities? If you need spiritual encouragement, do you turn to The Lord of the Rings? These may be enjoyable reads, but they can’t bring salvation to our hearts, life to our souls, strength to our spirits, or heaven to our pathways. While we treasure the heritage of good literature, only one book is given by inspiration of God.
Welcome, read, and obey the Bible each day not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the Word of God, which also effectively works in those who believe.
1en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List (accessed September 4, 2013).
1 Corinthians 14-16
By David Jeremiah.
God‘s great and incommunicable name Jehovah is always in the singular and is never used plurally; the reason of which is because it is expressive of his essence, which is but one. It is the same with “I AM that I AM.” But the first name of God we meet with in Scripture, and that in the first verse of it, is plural; “In the beginning God (Elohim) created the heaven and the earth” (Gen. 1:1), and therefore must design more than one, at least two, and yet not precisely two, or two only; then it would have been dual. But it is plural, and cannot design fewer than three.
Now Moses might have made use of other names of God in his account of the creation; as his name Jehovah, by which he made himself known to Moses and to the people of Israel; or Eloah, the singular of Elohim, which is used by him (Deut. 32:15, 16) and in the book of Job frequently. So, it was not a lack of singular names of God, nor the barrenness of the Hebrew language, which obliged him to use a plural word. It was no doubt of choice and with design; and which will be more evident when it is observed that one end of the writings of Moses is to root out the polytheism of the heathens and to prevent the people of Israel from going into it. Therefore, it may seem strange that he should begin his history with a plural name of God. He must have some design in it, which could not be to inculcate a plurality of gods, for that would be directly contrary to what he had in view in writing and to what he asserts (Deut. 6:4).
And then the historian goes on to make mention of the Persons of the Trinity, who, besides the Father, included in this name, are the Spirit of God, that moved upon the face of the waters, and the Word of God (Gen. 1:2), which said, “Let there be light, and there was light”; and which spoke that, and all things, out of nothing; see (John 1:1-3). And it may be further observed, that this plural wordElohim is, in this passage, in construction with a singular verb, bara, rendered “created”; which some have thought is designed to point out a plurality of persons and the unity of the divine essence: but if this is not judged sufficient to build it upon, let it be further observed, that the word Elohim is sometimes in construction with a plural verb, as in Gen. 20:13; Gen. 35:7; 2 Sam. 7:23, where Elohim is said to cause Abraham to wander from his father’s house; to appear to Jacob; and to go forth to redeem Israel – all which are personal actions.
Adapted from A Body of Doctrinal Divinity, Book 1, Chapter 27, by John Gill.
- BibleStudyTools.com Editors
Reading the Bible isn’t just a matter of checking something off your list. It’s really about letting God’s Word transform you. As some have said, the Bible reads you as you read it.
While studying, you may find that some verses seem to “pop out” at you. Perhaps this is because of a situation you’re going through or because you’ve heard the verse before. Whatever the reason, make it a point to keep track of the verses that stand out. (Our My Bible makes this easy by keeping track of which verses you highlight or make notes on.)
Later, when you have the chance, pull up the verses that you noted. Read them carefully a few times and note what God may be saying to you through them. Reflect on your own life and how these verses may be calling you to change or how they’re encouraging you. You may even want to memorize one or two of them or write them down on a piece of paper to carry with you.
In other words, let these verses soak in. See how they transform you.
Image: Logos Bible SoftwareScreen Capture
Introduction to the Book of Colossians.
Book of Colossians:
The book of Colossians, despite being written nearly 2,000 years ago, is stunningly relevant today, with its warnings against following false philosophies, worshiping angels, and becoming mired in legalism.Modern Christians are bombarded with false teachings, such ascultural relativism, universalism, Gnosticism, and the Prosperity Gospel. Many books and websites promote undeserved attention to angels, ignoring Jesus Christ as Savior of the world. Despite the Apostle Paul’s clear preaching on grace, some churches still command good works to earn merit with God.
Several controversial passages occur in this book, where Paul tells wives to be submissive to their husbands and slaves to obey their masters. He counters those instructions by commanding husbands to love their wives and masters to treat slaves justly and fairly.
In listing sins, Paul says to put away “sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, andcovetousness, which is idolatry,” along with “anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk.” (Colossians 3:6-7, ESV)
In contrast, Christians are to put on “compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience.” (Colossians 3:12, ESV)
With the rise of atheism and secular humanism, modern believers will find valuable advice in Paul’s short letter to the Colossians.
Author of Colossians:
61 or 62 A.D.
Landscape of the Book of Colossians:
Scholars believe Colossians was penned in a prison in Rome, to the church at Colossae, in the Lycus River Valley, now modern Turkey. Shortly after Paul’s letter was delivered, the entire valley was devastated by a severe earthquake, which further reduced Colossae’s importance as a city.
Themes in Colossians:
Jesus Christ is pre-eminent over all creation, God’s chosen way for people to be redeemed and saved. Believers share in Christ’s death on the cross, his resurrection, and eternal life. As the fulfillment of the Jewish covenant, Christ unites his followers with himself. In keeping with their true identity, then, Christians are to cast aside sinful ways and live in virtue.
Key Characters in Colossians:
Jesus Christ, Paul, Timothy, Onesimus, Aristarchus, Mark, Justus, Epaphras, Luke, Demas, Archippus.
Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation-if you continue in your faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant.(NIV)
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. (NIV)
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. (NIV)
Outline of the Book of Colossians:
- Greeting, thanksgiving, and prayer – Colossians 1:1-14.
- Christ’s pre-eminence over everything – Colossians 1:15-23.
- Paul’s ministry and suffering – Colossians 1:16-29.
- Follow Christ instead of philosophy, asceticism, or legalism – Colossians 2:1-23.
- Behave as a true Christian should – Colossians 3:1-4:6.
- Final greetings and instructions – Colossians 4:7-18.
From Jack Zavada
Jack Zavada, a career writer and contributor for About.com, is host to a Christian website for singles. Never married, Jack feels that the hard-won lessons he has learned may help other Christian singles make sense of their lives. His articles and ebooks offer great hope and encouragement. To contact him or for more information, visit Jack’s Bio Page.
“Because I was confident of this, I wanted to visit you first so that you might benefit twice. I wanted to visit you on my way to Macedonia and to come back to you from Macedonia, and then to have you send me on my way to Judea. Was I fickle when I intended to do this? Or do I make my plans in a worldly manner so that in the same breath I say both ‘Yes, yes,’ and ‘No, no’?” (2 Cor. 1:15-17 TNIV)
I was startled recently to read on a friend’s blog that it was a sermon on 2 Corinthians 1-2 which was part of what convinced him that it was OK to renege on a promise that he had made. Indeed, he was convinced God was guiding him to back out of a commitment he had made to a large group of people that would have wide-reaching effects on them in favor of a new opportunity that would be personally more fulfilling. He had just not had a peace about the previous commitment but now felt completely at peace.
Of course, I don’t know what was said in the sermon that proved influential. Presumably it had something to do with the passage, quoted above, in which Paul justifies changing his travel plans to Corinth. Paul was in Ephesus at the time (1 Cor. 16:8), on the west coast of what we would call Turkey. He initially envisaged traveling across the Aegean Sea by boat to Corinth in the province of Achaia, which formed the southern half of Greece. Then he would head up the northern half of the peninsula, to Macedonia, visit the cities he had evangelized there (like Berea, Philippi and Thessalonica), retrace his steps to the south, back through Corinth, and then by boat across the Mediterranean Sea all the way to Israel. The geography of 2 Corinthians 1:15-17 makes perfect sense if this is what Paul had in mind.
2 Corinthians 1:23-2:4, however, makes it clear that Paul chose to abandon those plans. As he goes on to explain, he did not want to make another painful visit to Corinth. Instead, he wanted to wait until he was assured that they had dealt with a certain individual there who was causing all kinds of problems—possibly the incestuous offender of 1 Corinthians 5:1-5. Now, however, Paul has learned that this man has repented (2 Cor. 2:5-11). Paul is therefore on his way to Corinth, but traveling over land instead, along the northern shore of the Aegean to Macedonia and then making his way down south in Greece to Corinth (2:12-13, 7:5-7).
Apparently, this change of travel plans provoked criticism from someone in Corinth. Paul appears to have been accused of not being trustworthy, like the person who says “yes, yes” to something at one moment and then says “no, no” the next. Paul emphatically denies that this is the case (2 Cor. 1:18-22). All along he had wanted his next visit to Corinth to be one of mutual encouragement and if that meant postponing his trip and altering his itinerary, then so be it. The constancy was not at the level of the timing of the trip or who else Paul would visit en route before or after Corinth, but that he would indeed come again and do so when the Corinthians had mended their ways.
But neither was Paul breaking any promises. Paul says he “wanted” to visit them twice according to a certain itinerary (Gk. eboulomēn—v. 15), not that he ever actually said he would definitely do things this way. The verb appears twice again in this passage, both times in verse 17, translated by the TNIV as “intended” and “did… make plans.” And the reason for Paul’s change of plans had nothing to do with his own personal fulfillment. His concern was entirely for what was in the best interests of the Corinthians.
But what about 2 Corinthians 2:12-13? Paul has now left Ephesus, heading overland to Greece, to meet up with Titus who has been in Corinth and find out if things were better with the church there. Apparently, the two have an agreed-upon travel route, each coming from opposite directions, and they are not sure at what point they will meet up. As he always does as he travels, Paul will also preach the gospel in the communities through which he passes. He does so at Troas, in what we would today call northwestern Turkey. Apparently, there was a good enough response there and perhaps invitations to stay longer than he had originally planned so that Paul can write “that the Lord had opened a door for me.”
But the main purpose of his trip is to meet up with Titus, in hopes of hearing that things are well enough in Corinth for him to continue on to that city. Paul’s lack of peace comes from not encountering Titus and thus from not yet receiving that good news. So he continues on his journey. This is a far cry from making a promise to engage in ministry at one location, subsequently not having a peace about it, and so going elsewhere. It is the exact opposite. The lack of peace comes because Paul’s original and primary commitment has not yet been fulfilled. He must remain faithful to that and not be tempted to go back on it in favor of a new opportunity, however alluring it must have been to stay in Troas to lead more to Christ.
I’m afraid the sermon my friend heard must have exactly inverted Paul’s original meaning. 2 Corinthians 1-2 is all about promise-keeping and in no way justifies promise-breaking because of new, unforeseen opportunities that are more personally appealing.
1 Samuel 17
David and Goliath – Story Summary:
The Philistine army had gathered for war against Israel. The two armies faced each other, camped for battle on opposite sides of a steep valley. A Philistine giant measuring over nine feet tall and wearing full armor came out each day for forty days, mocking and challenging the Israelites to fight. His name was Goliath. Saul, the King of Israel, and the whole army were terrified of Goliath.
One day David, the youngest son of Jesse, was sent to the battle lines by his father to bring back news of his brothers. David was probably just a young teenager at the time. While there, David heard Goliath shouting his daily defiance and he saw the great fear stirred within the men of Israel. David responded, “Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of God?”
So David volunteered to fight Goliath. It took some persuasion, but King Saul finally agreed to let David fight against the giant. Dressed in his simple tunic, carrying his shepherd’s staff, slingshot and a pouch full of stones, David approached Goliath. The giant cursed at him, hurling threats and insults.
David said to the Philistine, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied … today I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds of the air … and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel … it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give all of you into our hands.”
As Goliath moved in for the kill, David reached into his bag and slung one of his stones at Goliath’s head. Finding a hole in the armor, the stone sank into the giant’s forehead and he fell face down on the ground. David then took Goliath’s sword, killed him and then cut off his head. When the Philistines saw that their hero was dead, they turned and ran. So the Israelites pursued, chasing and killing them and plundering their camp.
Points of Interest from the David and Goliath Story:
• Why did they wait forty days to begin the battle? Probably for several reasons. Everyone was afraid of Goliath. He seemed invincible. Not even King Saul, the tallest man in Israel, had stepped out to fight. Also, the sides of the valley were very steep. Whoever made the first move would have a strong disadvantage and probably suffer great loss. Both sides were waiting for the other to attack first.
• David chose not to wear the King’s armor because it felt cumbersome and unfamiliar. David was comfortable with his simple slingshot, a weapon he was skilled at using. God will use the unique skills he’s already placed in your hands, so don’t worry about “wearing the King’s armor.” Just be yourself and use the familiar gifts and talents God has given you. He will work miracles through you.
• David’s faith in God caused him to look at the giant from a different perspective. Goliath was merely a mortal man defying an all-powerful God. David looked at the battle from God’s point of view. If we look at giant problems and impossible situations from God’s perspective, we realize that God will fight for us and with us. When we put things in proper perspective, we see more clearly and we can fight more effectively.
• When the giant criticized, insulted and threatened, David didn’t stop or even waver. Everyone else cowered in fear, but David ran to the battle. He knew that action needed to be taken. David did the right thing in spite of discouraging insults and fearful threats. Only God’s opinion mattered to David.
Questions for Reflection:
Are you facing a giant problem or impossible situation? Stop for a minute and refocus. Can you see the situation more clearly from God’s vantage point?
Do you need to take courageous action in the face of insults and fearful circumstances? Do you trust that God will fight for you and with you? Remember, God’s opinion is the only one that matters.