Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Study Bibles

It seems every month or so someone is announcing a new study Bible. While study Bibles have a lot of useful features, they can also contain vast commentaries written by scholarly theologians.

I am going to ask you a question that will surely raise the hackles of many fellow bloggers.

Is it profitable to read commentaries, especially in a study Bible? Do the words of a man, no matter how scholarly and theologically sound, belong on the same pages with the inspired Word of God?

Let me explain. I used to read from a New Testament that had pages of explanatory footnotes and commentary on numerous applicable passages. However, I began to notice that whenever the text was not completely clear to me, my eyes would automatically go to the commentary to see what the editor had written. I was looking for the answer in the footnote. This is not necessarily bad in and of itself, but I found myself quickly reading the verses and then jumping down to see what the commentator thought that scripture portion actually meant.

I was robbing myself of the blessing God gives by granting revelation. Further, I was stunting my faith by relying on the wisdom of man rather than the strength of God's Word. In essence, I was being just plain lazy. Rather than getting out the concordance and seeking the greater context or more exact meaning of words and phrases I simply looked to the "answer sheet".

To make matters worse, I now adopted the theological view of my commentator (whether good or bad) without arriving at this conclusion from my own study of God's word. I was becoming a parrot.

You may not think you are being ruled by a commentary but let me ask you a few questions.

  • When you are unclear as to the meaning of a text, do you automatically skim to the notes for an interpretation?
  • Must you check each doctrinal point you believe with what your favorite commentator has written. If there are differences, do you give up what you believe simply because you are inferior in education?
  • Do you tend to quote a preacher, commentator, etc, often when either discussing theology, or preaching from the pulpit. Do you let commentators have the final say over the "sticky" texts?
  • Can you from scripture alone, make a convincing argument for the doctrines you believe and hold to be true?
  • Do you find your faith and convictions shaken when you read that some famous preacher believes otherwise than you on certain passages of scripture?
Am I saying that commentaries are bad? No, but they must be used wisely and appropriately, always realizing that the men writing them are coming from a certain theological persuasion. Hence their emphasis will be to highlight those aspect they believe to be most pertinent.

Is this not the reason we have so many English translations of the Bible today? Every camp of theology has to have a Bible of their own interpretation.

As always, your thoughts are most welcome.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Where goeth the Glory?

Adam was made to reflect the glory of God as the focal point of His creation. However, although being made in the image of his creator, man fell by giving into the temptation of Satan. Thus man's rightful role to exercise dominion over all the earth and its inhabitants was usurped.

Man became a slave to a new master and lost the right to govern. Satan's express purpose is to corrupt God's creation and specifically man, as the image of God on the earth. Finally, Satan wishes to steal the glory and worship due to Jehovah alone.

Christ came as the incarnated God-man to rescue man from his imprisonment by taking his place in punishment. God's righteous wrath was poured upon Jesus Christ on the cross. Thus Christ atoned for the sins of the world. Christ, the last Adam, became the life giving Spirit and grants His authority and power to His body, the Church.

As the redeemed and chosen of the Lord, we are to glorify God with all of our being. All of our praise, worship, adoration, and love must be reserved for our beloved bridegroom, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Dear reader, to whom are you giving the glory today? Is your life a testimony of God's grace?

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

What is Worship?

When the word worship is mentioned what comes to mind?
For many christians the worship experience is synonomous with a concert like setting.

Dim lighting. Throbbing bass. Pulsating drums. Emotionally charged music. Repetitive phrasing.

Ok, so maybe that doesn't describe your church's worship. But what is worship?
Is your immediate response to say, "well it's the singing we do before the preaching"? Or, "worship is the musical time when christians gather together
Let me ask you some questions; I am just curious, what is worship and how does it play out in our daily lives? "?

Does worship require the following aspects:

musical accompaniment
kneeling down
arm raising

While none of these things are inherently wrong, do they in themselves comprise true worship?
Where does worship flow from?
What is the purpose of worship?
Can we worship anytime, anywhere?
Do you need an ipod to worship?

Please let me know your thoughts...
This brother has some good thoughts on worship.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Finishing Well

Reading through the four books of Kings and Chronicles is similar to riding a roller coaster. You go from one king who walks in the ways of the Lord and then bang right to the next who turns his back on God.

However what strikes me more is the ones that start off serving the Lord with all their might and by the end of their life have become either apostate or cold in their devotion towards Jehovah. They are the ones that you thought certainly would never turn their backs on God or put their trust in other nations or gods.

From reading the account of the kings and their lives I realize that the Lord is presenting us with a warning not to faint or shirk back from following Him. He desires those who will walk by faith, trusting Him alone when all seems logically impossible.

Did not Moses warn the Israelites before they took their inheritance?

"And it shall be, when the LORD your God shall have brought you into the land which he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give you great and goodly cities, which you built not, and houses full of all good things, which you filled not, and wells dig, which you digged not, vineyards and olive trees, which you planted not; when you shall have eaten and be full; Then beware lest you forget the LORD, which brought you forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage. You shall fear the LORD your God, and serve him, and shall swear by his name."
Deuteronomy 6:10-13

We have all seen those who started well in the faith and were joyful to serve the Lord, thanking Him for saving them from their sins and granting them eternal life. Yet somewhere along the way they became offended, or maybe were discouraged, or possibly refused to let go of fleshly desires. Perhaps their faith was being tested and they shrank back into the security of tangible riches. Whatever the reason, ultimately their hearts were drawn away from their first love, the Lord Jesus Christ, to temporal matters of this life.

"Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life." Proverbs 4:23

Are we letting other things ensnare our heart and cause it to move its affection away from Christ? Do you love things and people more than God? If so, beware you are on the slippery path of idolatry. The apostle John's final admonition in his first epistle was to keep oneself from idols.

Idolatry causes our worship and adoration to transfer from Christ to that of His enemy, Satan. Where is your worship going today?

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Can You Name Them?

Below is a list of ten anagrams containing the names of famous christians during the last few hundred years. See if you can decipher all of them. List your answers in the comments.

1. Welsh Enjoy
2. Ten John Won
3. Canons By Fry
4. Anhydrous Lot
5. Lugger Elm Ore
6. Dowdy Got Him
7. Domains Adjourn
8. Sharecrop Lunges
9. Laminate Wildly
10.Greeted Weigh Foil

I will post the answers in a day or so.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

It's about God's glory

I am wondering; do you believe God will be glorified by the destruction of the wicked in the lake of fire? I was looking for scripture to show this but didn't quite find a particular verse that defined it in such explicit terms.
Do you know of a verse or two that can shed light on this subject? What are your thoughts on this topic? Does God actually glory in the final judgement of sinners and how should we as christians react to a lost soul who enters eternity without Christ?

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Will you inherit the kingdom?

"Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness,revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God."
Galatians 5:19-21

According to these verses those who manifest these actions and attitudes will not inherit the kingdom of God. How does this line up with what you may have heard regarding salvation? Does this sound like salvation comes only through faith by believing in Christ or are there other factors involved? Perhaps perseverance is indeed necessary to receive the desired goal of our faith? It seems possible since these verses definitely preclude many so called christians who thought they were secure.

How about you; can you honestly say that you are free from each and every one of these sins listed? Let's take a look:

Adultery: Remember that Jesus said if you look at a woman to lust after her in your heart you are just as guilty as if you had committed the very act.

Fornication: many young people today seem to think it's ok to have premarital sex. I wonder what version they have been reading.

Uncleanness: This has much more to do that simply our outward appearance. Rather God looks at our thought life and our heart's attitude. Are your thoughts morally pure at this moment?

Lasciviousness: One who is inclined to lustfulness in thought or action.

Idolatry: We all know this refers not only to idols of stone and wood but those we set up on the altar of our heart. Perhaps you have something that you esteem higher than Christ?

Witchcraft: This one is becoming increasingly common in our land today. There are many facets of witchcraft from fortune telling, divining, to things such as water witching and ouija boards.

Hatred: very self explanatory.

Variance: Do you find yourself constantly arguing with others, quarreling over petty issues or finding disagreement simply for arguments sake?

Emulations: According to the dictionary this would mean a desire to equal or exceed others. Another common name is jealousy.

Wrath: Those with excessive anger tend to overreact in judgement and often appear harsh and overbearing.

Strife: Do your words and comments sound bitter and antagonistic?

Seditions: Do you have an attitude of rebelliousness against your authorities and leaders? Do you talk about your boss, pastor, or people to whom you owe respect honor and loyalty behind their back?

Heresies: Hmmm

Envyings: Do you suffer from feelings of inadequacy? If only we had this or that, or if our (fill in the blanks) was as nice as our neighbor.

Murders: Jesus pointed out that our anger towards a fellow brother can have the same results in our heart.

Drunkenness: "Well I know it's wrong to get drunk, but I only get tipsy once in a while. After all I need to fit in with the crowd." What about your intoxication with the technologies and pleasures of this world? Have they made you drunk?

Revellings: Are you the life of the party? Do you find that you must take everything to the extremes in order to have a good time? Does your pleasure come from the affluence around you or are you finding satisfaction in God. Do you delight in Him above all else?

If we honesty and soberly examine this list it will reveal where we truly stand before God. Don't delude yourself into thinking all is okay simply because you believe a mental fact about God. You may also think that because I have my theology straightened out I will be fine.

Obviously God is more concerned about our conduct than how correct and detailed our theology is.

What does your theology say about the kingdom of God? Will you inherit it based on this above list? Please explain your answer.