Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Bible Study: Don't Make This HUGE Mistake!



The first step to understanding the Will of God, as it applies to your life, is by examining (reading) the Word of God as it exists in the modern Bible. Prior to presenting the textual elements of examination – context, structure, emphasis, and correlation – a caveat must be put forward to avoid any chance of misunderstanding the point of this instruction.

In the original Greek New Testament, the concepts of “chapter and verse” did not exist. Individual Books were meant to be read in their entirety, as were groupings of specific Books written by the same author (such as the Gospel of Luke and Acts). 

Stephen Langton, the Archbishop of Canterbury, was the first to divide the Bible into chapters in 1,227 AD. In 1,555 AD, the Bible was further divided into verses by Robert Stephens when he printed the Latin Vulgate. 

Since this time, almost every Bible has been printed in the “chapter and verse” format. For the most part, it’s been helpful; one can now directly navigate to a specific passage of Scripture. However, this format can lead to problems as well. 

The first problem arises when readers discover “truths” in the Bible, based on the numbering of verses, that don’t really exist. Consider the following Scripture:

From that time many of His disciples went
back and walked with Him no more.

~ John 6:66 ~

Is Satan a very real adversary, intent on turning believers away from Christ?  Yes. Is there any correlation between the disciples turning their back on Christ, and the “6:66” numbering of this verse in the Gospel of John?  No.

The second problem arises when numbered verses create independent messages that were never meant to be read independently. Consider this Scripture from Colossians 2:21: “Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!” It appears Paul is giving the reader a lesson in self-deprivation, but that would be the opposite of the intended meaning. 

If the quotation marks don’t give it away – authors don’t quote themselves – a review of the text immediately preceding and following Colossians 2:21 gives us the truth:

(v20) Since you died with Christ to the elemental spiritual forces of this world, why, as though you still belonged to the world, do you submit to its rules: 

(v21) “Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!”? 

(v22) These rules, which have to do with things that are all destined to perish with use, are based on merely human commands and teachings

(v23) Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.

This isn’t simply an issue of a thought being taken out of context; this is a problem with the numbering format itself. A quick review of the bolded verse numbers reveals that Colossians 2:21 isn’t an independent sentence – it follows a colon – and obviously is meant to be a part of the verse preceding it. 

When read as the author intended, it’s clear that Paul isn’t giving support for this concept, but a negative critique of it. 

This caveat in no way suggests there are any errors in the Bible; this is a system of organization created by humans that in no way impacts the content of the Word of God. It’s human nature to organize and categorize content, and at times our best intentions lead to unforeseen outcomes. 

The sole purpose of offering this caveat is to advise you to pay close attention to the details when immersed in God’s Word.  I pray that the Holy Spirit guides you in your studies, and brings you to a more intimate relationship with Jesus Christ. Have a blessed day.

Order Your Copy of
and Help Support our Discipleship Ministry
Order Your Signed Copy TODAY!
View On AMAZON

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Heaven can Wait: Eternal Life in Christ starts NOW


Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life,
but whoever rejects the Son will not see life,
for God’s wrath remains on them.

~ John 3:36 ~

Take a quick survey of Christian believers and ask them to define the term “Eternal Life,” and the majority will offer familiar terms in their response: going to heaven, not going to hell, and spending the rest of eternity in the presence of God and His angels inside the Pearly Gates. On the surface, there’s nothing wrong with this response – until you understand they’re missing the bigger picture.

Yes, God the Father did send Jesus to the world as part of His redemptive mission.

For God so loved the world that He gave His only
begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him
should not perish but have everlasting life.

~ John 3:16 ~

Yes, Jesus did die for the sins of mankind as part of His redemptive mission.

It shall be imputed to us who believe in Him who
raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead, who was
delivered up because of our offenses, and
was raised because of our justification.

~ Romans 4:24-25 ~

Yes, our professed faith in Christ guarantees we will be able to join our Father in heaven.

For our citizenship is in heaven,
from which we also eagerly wait
for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.

~ Philippians 3:20 ~

Yes, our professed faith in Christ guarantees we will not be removed from God’s sight and be banished to hell.

But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers,
sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars
shall have their part in the lake which burns with
fire and brimstone, which is the second death.

~ Revelation 21:8 ~

Those are all very valid reasons to profess faith in Christ as Lord and Savior. However, if Christians are only drawn to faith to be taken out of the waiting line for hell, and given a ticket to heaven, they’re missing the true meaning of Eternal Life. Heaven opens when we die, but benefits of Eternal Life are available to Christians now.

Words are important; we use them to describe the world around us, and to create images in the minds of others. If the words used aren’t fully understood, an accurate image can’t be created to help visualize what’s being described. This proves to be especially true when reading the Word of God.

And this is eternal life, that they
may know You, the only true God, and
Jesus Christ whom You have sent.

~ John 17:3 ~

God’s promise to Man of Eternal Life means to know Him. It doesn’t mean to know of Him or about Him, but to truly know Him in the Biblical sense. Yes, you just read that correctly.

Then Mary said to the angel, “How can
this be, since I do not know a man?”

~ Luke 1:34 ~

When Mary asked this of the angel Gabriel, she knew she was a virgin who had never had intimate relations with a man. The word in the original Greek text γινώσκω (“ginóskó,” to know) is the same in both Scriptures and implies the same idea: an intimate relationship. Obviously, this doesn’t imply a physical relationship, but in matters of the heart and soul the message is clear.

The Word of God reveals the He wants us to have an intimate relationship with Him and, in so doing, He gives us the promise of an Eternal Life that starts now. Does a person change when they have an intimate relationship in the world? Everything changes: the way they feel, act and speak. If that holds true for worldly relationships, how much more would that hold true for God the Father?

Going to church and hoping things get better when you get to heaven isn’t taking full advantage of the Eternal Life the Word of God promises you now.

I pray that the Holy Spirit guides you in your studies, and brings you to a more intimate relationship with Jesus Christ. Have a blessed day.

Order Your Copy of
and Help Support our Discipleship Ministry
Order Your Signed Copy TODAY!
View On AMAZON

Saturday, January 21, 2017

7 Great Reasons to Study the Bible: PART 2

(This is part two of a 7-part series.)

There are numerous reasons to study the Bible regularly, the most obvious of which is God: it’s His message, His story, His commands, His promises, and His means by which Salvation becomes available to faithful Christians who believe in Him. The seven reasons provided in this series represent a starting point, and serve to have the most significant impact in our daily lives.

Reason #2:  The Word of God STRENGTHENS our faith.

But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles, they
shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.

~ Isaiah 40:31 ~

Although our family and closest friends may let us down occasionally, God always keeps His promises. We may forget that at times and experience spiritual weakness in our thoughts. Does God really forgive me? Does He really love me? Is He really in control? Why am I so worried about the future if God is here?

When you ask yourself those questions, be assured God’s Word has the answers.

When friends offer mistaken advice, remember God’s Word is perfect, truthful, and eternal. If God says it, you believe it. Reading the Bible reveals a God who loves us despite our sinful nature, promises Salvation even though we don’t deserve it, and guarantees rewards when it’s never possible for us to earn them.


I pray that the Holy Spirit guides you in your studies, and brings you to a more intimate relationship with Jesus Christ. Have a blessed day.

Order Your Copy of
and Help Support our Discipleship Ministry
Order Your Signed Copy TODAY!
View On AMAZON

Friday, January 20, 2017

7 Great Reasons to Study the Bible: PART 1

(This is part one of a 7-part series.)

When considering statistics in printed literature, no publication can come close to matching the Bible. It is the most printed, most quoted, and the most recognized book in human existence. However, it is also one of the least read books in many Christian households. When one considers that the Bible is the centerpiece of the Christian faith – the divinely inspired, inerrant, infallible Word of God – that fact appears to run counter to logic. As counter-intuitive as this may be, there are several reasons for this unfortunate fact.

Many Christians view reading the Bible as an intimidating endeavor; the sheer size of the text, written in a grammatical style that can be confusing at times, is enough to prevent them from making the attempt. This is typically rationalized with a question such as, “why should I read the Bible myself, when my Pastor reads it to us every Sunday?” This issue will be dealt with specifically later in the chapter.

For others, the Bible is an archaic text possessing little relevance to the moral and ethical issues confronting Christians in our modern culture. In a culture embracing varying degrees of moral relativism, the absolute standards imposed by God can appear to be “out of sync” and intolerant. In reality, nothing could be farther from the truth, but that fact goes unnoticed when time isn’t taken to become acquainted with the text.


There are numerous reasons to study the Bible regularly, the most obvious of which is God: it’s His message, His story, His commands, His promises, and His means by which Salvation becomes available to faithful Christians who believe in Him. The seven reasons provided in this series represent a starting point, and serve to have the most significant impact in our daily lives.

Reason #1: The Word of God leads to FAITH

So then faith comes by hearing,
and hearing by the word of God.

~ Romans 10:17 ~

Walk into any retail bookstore and you’ll find no shortage of self-help publications on any topic of interest. They typically follow the same general premise: to show you how you can change yourself, and how you can make improvements in your life. While a few of these publications may provide superficial value, the majority don’t accomplish the task, as most readers can’t summon up the power to create real and lasting change in their lives.

The Bible isn’t a self-help book. It’s the divinely inspired and authoritative Word of God, containing an infinite amount of power, and written by the God with the power to create everything. The power of God contained within the pages of the Bible – tangible, palpable, and accessible – activates faith within any reader with the ears to hear His message. Whether meditating on God’s Word when reading the Bible, or sharing His Gospel aloud to an unreached population, the power flowing through His word leads to the activation of faith.

I pray that the Holy Spirit guides you in your studies, and brings you to a more intimate relationship with Jesus Christ. Have a blessed day.

Order Your Copy of
and Help Support our Discipleship Ministry
Order Your Signed Copy TODAY!
View On AMAZON