Friday, September 30, 2011

Salvation God's Way-Part Two

So we are still concerned with salvation. To do so I must insist we take only what can be found in the Bible as the authority. In Romans 4:3 we are told something about this man Abraham. Abraham was the man God called out of Ur of the Caldees to go to a land He would show him. And Abraham was given the promise that he would become a great nation. At the moment this was said to him he was childless and old.

   And in Romans we are told "Abraham believed God and it was counted to him as righteousness."
   Abraham's good works made him righteous, but these did not save him. Paul, the writer of Romans, says we can all be saved the same way. Yet the Roman Catholic Church adds to what the Bible says.
    The Catholic Church adds to the doctrine of Sanctifying Grace a road block. Adam and Eve lost it in the garden. A Catholic holds that a person gains this sanctifying grace only through their form of baptism. Then, they say, a program of good works must be followed to gain enough merit to go to heaven. Sorry, guys, but that is not what my Bible says.
    My Bible says that it is not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to God's mercy, we are saved.
    Yes, faith is basic to salvation. Good works are not. Faith for the Roman Catholic seems to be in the truth revealed in the Bible, and the traditions of the Church, and the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. This is important as the postings on the cults continues. Not that I am calling the Roman Catholic Church a cult. I will leave that up to you
    The Roman Catholic sees salvation based on faith plus works. They have a seven rung ladder set up.The Seven Sacraments of the church are the steps..
   The Bible puts no qualifications on God's grace nor can it be lost by the believer. God gives eternal life when the believer has faith in Jesus Christ as his savior. And we can be assured of salvation through Christ's work (Not ours) and God's promises.
   Please feel free to comment. Am I helping you? Am I causing you to think? Talk to me and I will talk to you.

Salvation God's Way, Part One

When I was in the Roman Catholic Church I knew I was safe. Was I not baptized in the right system? Did Jesus not found the Church and this was the only one teaching what He taught? Did he not give the keys of the kingdom to Peter as recorded in Matthew 16? "Thou art Peter and upon this rock I will build my Church."
      It was taught there in the Bible. Jesus said it. The Church councils agreed on it. Tradition said it was so.
     Wait a minute. What is wrong with the statement I made above? Is that really what the Bible teaches? If you are a Roman Catholic you are not allowed to think otherwise. You are not to question the Mother Church, the Pope, and Tradition. You just accept.
      What if that rock Jesus was referring to was the faith that Peter was showing?. In context the incident was the confession of Jesus as the Son of God. "Who do men say that I am?" asked Jesus. "Some say a Prophet. Some Elijah. Some JohnThe Baptist come back from the dead." But who do you say I am?" Peter answered, "You are the Christ (Messah.) the Son of God." "Blessed are you, Simon Bar Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father in Heaven. And I say, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church. And the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it." That is the passage. But it does not say what they say it says? No.
      Please leave comments. We are entering into an area that needs clarification. I would be happy to be your guide.

Prosperity Gospel

Before I go on with the Roman Catholic Church I feel I must warn you about a deviation from the teachings of the Bible. There is a group of people who teach that since the Christian is a child of God and God is our Father we can demand things in prayer and we will receive them. "God will not deny His children anything. Demand it and you have it."' is what the teachers say. Jesus said that we should pray for our needs to be met. Not our greeds. This "Name It and Claim It" teaching is not found in the Bible. God never taught it. Jesus never said it. A prominent person who does this type of teaching is Joel Osteen. I have read a book by him. He has written a lot of them. I researched him. He inherited his church from his dad. Joel was a camera man before he stepped into the footstep of his dad. He is a good master of language. He is cool. He is good at what he does. But he falls short of being a true messenger Be discerning.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Christian beliefs

As it is possible to misunderstand basic doctrines. When we approach what we believe, we must be sure we understand true and orthodox truth. When we go far afield and make up our own system of belief, that is when we tend to find ourselves falling into shades of a cult. That may be some of the reasons for so many strange religions . That is one reason I am doing this blog. I wish to help you stay orthodox. Please feel free to comment on these postings.
Keep watching these postings.

Entering Into Truth

  In my last post in this series I stated I was a Roman Catholic until 1969. You may be saying, as did my paternal grandmother who was a died in the heart Roman Catholic, "If you had only stayed in, you would have understood it.".
  And for those Roman Catholics who are reading this post, I believe I should detail more.
   You may also be wondering why I am talking about the Roman Catholic belief system when this series is going to be on Cults.
   So let me first define a cult. A cult, the way I am going to use it, is any group that says it is Christian but isn't. By Christian I will be using the plumbline of Orthodox Christianity. Out there are groups that don't adhere to  the Historic  Christian Faith. The Historical Christian faith leaves no room for there being many roads to God. Jesus Himself said he was the only way to God. He was The Way, The Truth, and The Life. All religions do not lead to God.
    Now "Orthodox Christianity" means the beliefs held by a majority of Christians since the Church began in the first century. They can be found in the Bible alone, not in church councils or traditions.
    Historically there have been many movements that provided challenges to the Orthodox doctrines set down in the Scriptures. Such movements as the Gnostics in the second century to the "God  is Dead' movement to the present day Eastern philosophies.
     The plumpline I will use is found in two verses of Scripture. First Corinthians 15:3,4. "Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures; He was buried and He rose again on the Third day, according to the Scriptures."
     I have been taught to define terms. Plumbline is one of them. Amos 7:8 has God saying, "Behold, I will set a plumbline in the midst of my people..." For those of you who are not aware a plumbline is still used today. Masons use it to make sure they lay up a brick wall straight and true. So I will be using as my plumbline the Bible, God's Word, to define what is "orthodox" and what is not. God measures men and their devotion to Him by His Standards-by His Word- not by man's.
    First Corinthians 15:3, 4 details for us three key points which I will use .
  1. The person and work of Christ ( who He is and what He did for man)
  2. The nature of man (A sinner in rebellion against God and in need of a Savior)
  3. The truth and reliability of the Bible (inspiration of Scripture)
    Roman Catholics do agree with Orthodox Christianity on the diety of Christ. Other religions make Him only a man who set a good example in His life and  martyrdom.
    The sin question is basically the same for both Roman Catholics and Orthodox Christians. Man is a sinner. Sin is a flaw in man  It came about in the fall of the first man. of his own choice Adam sinned (disobeyed God) and thus all mankind was  plunged into sin. (this is known as original sin) Genesis 3 tells us about that incident.
   The Orthodox Christian says that the only  solution for the sin problem is faith in Jesus Christ and His atoming death on the cross. Roman Catholics add the works done after Baptism. That is not found in the Bible.
   Both Roman Catholics and Orthodox Christians hold to the Bible as Scripture. Other systems have other sacred writings. More about that as the postings go on.
   So why pick on the Roman Catholic as being different from Orthodox Christians? That will take a few more postings to iron out. Please stay tuned.
  Please feel free to comment and dialogue. I will answer and will explain where needed. 

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Searching For Meaning

  Hi. Welcome to this posting. After that series of postings on  study methods you may ask, so, I have all this information and what do I do with it? Simple. Knowledge without a way to give it out is useless. And while you are busy applying the methods you will need a place of nurturing. A good church can help you.
   So what is there to look for in a church?
   One that is Bible teaching and Bible believing.
  Yes, Dane, but there are so many out there that claim to teach the Bible.
   That is true. Therefore I would like to spend some posting helping you see that not all who report to teach the Bible are teaching the Bible.
    When I became a Christian in 1968 I had only the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church to fall back on. But I also had the Bible.It was the version that the church gave you and usually sat on the shelf gathering dust. You would let the priest tell you what it said.
     Now, I have always been a reader. Put something in my hand and I will read it. The Roman Catholic Church at this time did not want you to read the Bible or if you did you were not to interpret it.. that is, determine what it said. That was the Priests'  job who got their understanding from the Pope. More about that later.
     I was alway at college.I picked up a King James translation and start reading. Now, I have before this moment had religion classes. I was a product of Roman Cathollic education. We would use the Bible as a text book.more likely the book of Matthew. It has that great passage where, they say, God gave the keys to Peter who was the first pope.
    I did not know that was not found in the Bible. I accepted that as true because my teacher said so.
    Well, anyway. I was away at Taft, California attending college.
    Have any of you read 'The Hound Of Heaven"?.
    God found me there and I became a Christian then. Asked Jesus into my llife.
    I needed to have a church to worship in. I was no longer a slave to the teachings of the Roman Catholic church  This book, the Bible, was starting to make sense. I needed to be under the teaching ministry of a pastor/teacher.
   I returned home and started to look for a church fellowship. I stumbled for a while. I heard about a group that taught nothing but the truth and the truth they claimed, came from the Bible alone. But they added more to it. They were the World Wide Church Of God. They were teaching straight British Israelism. they were also teaching there was no Hell. They were teaching they were the true church. That you had to be baptized by one of their followers to be saved.
   I will get into that more later.
   Luckily I found a good Bible Believing fellowship shortly after I wrote the trainers of the World Wide Church and informed them of how unbiblical  they were and that they were teaching the doctrine of demons.. More about that in another posting.
    The church I found was strongly Bible Teaching and firmly Bible believing.
     So I plan to take my time looking at other belief systems and trying to help you be a workman who does not need to be ashamed.
     And I haven't finished with the Roman Catholic Church.

Monday, September 26, 2011

ABCD Bible Study Method

  Thank you for staying with me on this series. There are still more study methods to be talked about. I feel that for maximum benefit our Bible study should sooner or later end up related to a Bible book study. We must always guard against the danger of taking passages out of context. When we do so, error creeps in and even a cult is formed. In fact it is so important that I plan in the future to start a series of posting on Cults
   By definition a cult is something that calls itself Christian but isn't.
   At the moment though we are still looking at Bible Study Methods.
   In this posting I would like to expose you to  the 4P Method.
  • Principle of Conduct
  • Problems Related to the Principle
  • Profit ( or loss) I can expect
  • Plan of Action
       Since we don't find rules for every circumstance of life detailed in the Bible we must be careful. God does, on the other hand, reveal principles in His Word. In order to mature spiritually we need to learn to identify and apply these principles to our life.
        So to use this method, grab a piece of paper or two and divide it into four equal columns. Listed about is what you should put on the top of each column. Some principles are easier to see than others. In First Thessalonians 5:22 we can read "Abstain from all appearance of  evil" Okay, that one is an easy principle to see. But we look over at Paul's principle in first Corinthians 8 which tells us to not eat meat offered to idols. These principles are not easy to apply.
        The first step would therefore be to set down your principle for living in the first column. You may find several in one verse. You will find many in Romans 12:2.
         Ask "Is there a principle in this chapter I can apply to my life?" Record the principle in your own words.
       Ask "In what way could this principle be related to a problem I am facing in my life?" This goes in the second column. Don't limit it to one if you find it relates to many areas in your life.
      In the third column you will record the application and this is what you can meditate on.
      Definitely in the fourth column you have what you will be doing with this principle you have mined out. You mustn't be vague. "I will apologize to Bill tomorrow at work (if I see him)" "I won't be late to church on Sunday." No, no. Be specific. Be definite.

     Okay. Now we look at a variation of the analytical method known as the ABC Bible Study Method. This one is useful for discipleship and in followup.
     This one can be used with first John. Make a chart of your findings.
      You fill in your chart in reverse order, D through A.
  1.      The D section stands for "digested" Read the passage through and summarize it. You can use one word for about every four.
  2.      The C section stands for "cross references" Look for parallel passages for each verse. It can be related to a word, an idea, or general teaching.
  3.       The B section stands for "best verse" You should be able to pick a verse as best. This is subjective
  4.        The A section stands for "application" Try to find and make several applications from each passage you study.
  Thank you for reading this posting. Tell me how you are doing with the information. Is there anything that needs clarification. What method works best for you?

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Three More Methods-Paraphrase, Chapter Summary, Syntheic Method

Thank you for following this series on Bible study methods.For those of you new to this blog , feel free to read the earlier posts to follow the series. I like to think of myself as one who places teaching on the lower part of the cooking tray so that anyone can partake of and use it 
  You have seen the Topical Method which helps you see how a prominent word or doctrine is used. Secondly you have seen in the Biographical Method the influence a particular Bible Character casts upon the Bible. Third -you saw when you used the Grammatical Outline Method the inter-relationships within the paragraph. And lastly you have used the Regular Outline Method.
   All this is good. It will help you. At the same time you are using these methods you should be in a good Bible Believing, Bible Teaching church fellowship. You are not doing these Bible Study Methods just for yourself but for others. You will want to share the insights God is giving you as you study to show yourself approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed...
   So let us look at three other methods you can use.
  1. The Paraphrase- After I did the detailed paragraph study I placed the Scripture passsage in my own words. I was  passing the Word through my mind and expressing it in my own vocabulary. This has proved to be an important learning experience for me.
  2. Chapter Summary- This gave me the digested version of the passage or chapter with the emphasis upon the basic message and not the details.
   3     Synthetic Method- I followed the Anaytical Method when I did the Synthetic. It was  the putting together of the various parts so that I could see them as a whole. It helped me to see the theme of a book. It is not the thematic study method but really more of a survey.
    There are steps to the Synthetic Method.
  • First I made a background survey of the passage. I made a detailed chart and so on.
  •  Secondly: I proposed a theme for the book and then had to test it. I wanted  to know was the theme I was developing the main emphasis of the book? Could I trece the development of the theme chapter by chapter? The answer to both had to be yes or else I didn't really have the main theme but possibly a secondary one.
  •  I then determined the relationship of the minor  themes to the main theme
  •  Next I revised the main divisions of the anaytical chart to show the relationship to the main theme.
  •  Finally I read through the book one more time to give the theme a final test
     Slowly the message of the Bible like a boat coming out of the fog emerged. It took time. But I was studying God's Word and it was worth it. Any time spent in the study of Scripture bears fruit

How can I help you? Please leave comments. What Bible Study Method is working best for you?

Saturday, September 24, 2011

People Study- Geographical Study, and Grammatical Study

  Relax now. It should get easier. At least when I use this method it seems to get easier. It is a study of people.  As I do the analytical study I run across people. The whole Bible is about people. This method is similar to your topical study only it is a person not a topic you are doing.
   The steps are simple.
  • Collect all the passages in which the Bible character appears. This is useful in the study of  the gospels or when you go through Samuel, Kings, Chronicles.
  •  Compare or classify the material
  •   Construct or orginize the material
   It is not unlike the biographical reports you did in school. That is why I say this one is an easier one. It is not expecting you to do something you don't know how to do.  

  Also as you did your analytical study you ran across areas. Some of the place names have changed over the years but they are still there. You can trace the journey of the Biblical Character or you can use your maps at the back of your Bible to find the city or place spoken of. This is very important so I would suggest you don't skip over this.
  Another thing that can be done is a Grammatical Study. This is similar to your English teacher's request you do a diagram of the sentence. Each main statement is placed to the extreme left-hand side of the page. Subordionate clauses are placed above or below and indented. Co-ordinate clauses connected by and, but, either, or, neither, nor are usually main subjects. You should also be on the lookout for the two words therefore-wherefore.

   In essence this is another form of analysis. It has proved for me to be a great help in private Bible Study.

 Please feel free to leave me comments or remarks. 
 How am I doing? What should I clarify?
 Do you feel I am leaving anything out?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Analytical Method Bible Study

You are now approaching the Bible section to make a claim.
  1.  In this approach you will be surveying the historical period and background of the book. With each Bible study method you will be going deeper. Ask of or by whom? At what time. Where? Use the Bible notes to research. You can also use your Bible dictionary
  2. Now you survey the contents of the book itself starting the structure of an analytical chart. The chart will help you as a first step in outlining the passage. Title the paragraphs. Find the main divisions of the book. Look for the theme.
  3.  You will be making a detailed study of the section paragraph by paragraph or chapter by chapter. To do this you will need to take notes of the text and making an outline, summery, paraphrase, charts and topical studies. This is why I say use a pad and a pen or pencil. Start a seperate page for each paragraph
  4.  Now you are ready to formulate conclusions drawn from your anaylsis. Try to make statements about the book as a whole.
    Use your commentaries carefully. Just becasue it is written doesn't make it true FInd out about the author of the commentary. What is his method of Bible Study? What are his personal beliefs.
  Go to your Bible frist Make your detailed outline from your study. Then go to the commentaries. They are there for specilaized help not for final authority..

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Outlining Your Study

Now let us take some time and outline what we are discovering as we study our Bible. This will take some time, so don't think it will be a quicky. Remember, we are doing Bible study.
   I have a pad and a pen with me as I do this. I also pray before I start this type of study. I ask God to help me see things that are in the Scriptures I am doing this method with the idea of first enriching my walk. I pray for God to open my spiritual eyes of understanding to see the nuggets there.
   I realize when I do outlining that I won't get good the first time. But since I am only outlining what is before me on the page even if I don't do a perfect job I find that I can use this for sharing with others or even teaching it in a small group setting. The outline does not have to be seen by others. Just me.
   The rules are the same as you have learned in school. There is no magic way to outline Scripture.
   There are basicly only three steps to outlining.
  1. Find the main topic
  2. Divide the chapter into sections--Find the relationship each section has to the main topic
  3. Look for the details within each section
   For example let me do the Book of James.
   1. James (Proposition)   
      a. A servant of God (predicate)

      b. of the Lord Jesus Christ
   2. To the twelve tribes (secondary Object)
      a. scattered among the nations
   3. Consdier it all Joy (subject)
      a. My brothers
      b. wherever you face trials
        (1) of various kinds.
       c. Because you know the testing
         (i) of your faith
         (ii) develops perserverance

  And so on. That isn't a very good outline but you get the idea.
   Start with the observation. You will need to read through the passage a number of times. Three times is good or even more. I do. It helps me explain it to others if I can get a picture of the flow. It also me to ask where is it going? Who are the people involved? What is the subject?
   Well, that is enough for this posting.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Topical Method

   Hope you are enjoying yourself and getting into the Bible Study habit. It will take time to be comfortable in Bible Study. Take it easy and don't strain If you are a Christian you have the Holy Spirit living within you. He is the teacher. He will help you discover deep truth-- those vains of truth found in Scripture.
  Today's method I want to share with you is known as the Topical Method It follows a vein of deep spiritual truth running through the Bible.
   The steps to this method are three.
  1.  Coillect all the references in which the topic appears
  2.   Compare or classify the material
  3.   Construct a chart or organize the material in some other way.
    Remember I told you earlier to have a pad with you and a writing instrument. In this method you will be using them.

    So you start off by collecting all the reference to the topic. If you were doing the judgements, for example, in the Bible you would look up the word judgement and all the related terms in a concordance. Hint-- there are over four hundred references , so you will need to narrow it some.
   Let us say you are using the book of Ephesains for this study. You want to collect all the references by reading through the book and jotting down all the occurences of your topic. You would  thus get the topic in what is known as context . Sometimes you will need your concordancce to note the words used in the Greek or Hebrew. Hate to inform you but soemtimes the original Greek or Hebrew word in not always translated by the same English word.
    Next you compare. You will need to compare and clarify the teaching gleaned from the references This will depend on your purpose for this study.
     Finally you construct a chart. Or at the most you will be organizing the material in a logical manner.. You want to be able to pass this material on to others. Some places to pass it on is in your Sunday School class. Or in your small group. If you are able to explain it to another it will help you in understanding it better for yourself.

    Please use the comments link on the bottom of this post to keep in touch.

     Next time we will look at outlining

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Locating Those Nuggets

  Education is not in knowing everything, but in knowing where to find the information., it has been said.

  Now I will go into the Deductive Method. We looked already at Inductive where you ask questions to find out what does it mean? Now I will talk about what has been referred to as "nugget hunting". Picture yourself walking through a mine field with a friend. "Here is something valuable," your friend will say as you walk alone. "If you pick it up you can take it with you."
  The thing to keep in mind is this valuable truth can not be discerned by an unsaved man as the unsaved one cannot understand the deep spiritual message of the Bible. Sure, he can read the words. Many have and many will tell you, "Yes, I've read through the Bible once or twice. Nice book."
   "The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and  he cannot understand them, because they are spitually discerned." 1 Corinthians 2:14
    This method I am going to talk about is a good one for the new Christian or the old Christian who needs to get into Bible Study because this can be used to get them into the Word of God for themselves. They will need to learn how to see for themselves. They will need to see that "nugget" that is there out in the open.
   This also is a question and answer method. You need to learn how to recognize important truths. Find a passge you like and start digging. Ask, "What type of material do we have here?"
   Let us go back to John 11:35 "Jesus Wept"
   Ask "What group of people do we have here?" "To what group is Jesus talking?"
   Prepare questions as you go along. Talk to the Bible (No, you are not losing your mind. You are asking God for direction. He wrote the Scrpture you are reading. He is the best interpreter.)
   Questions fall into different categories.
  1.   Factual Questions. --Who? What? When? Where? How?
  2.  Translation Qestions.--These wil lead you to diagram, draw pictures, chart, summerize, search out technical information.
  3.   Relationship questions-- compare, contrast, show cause and effect.
  4.   Application questions-- how do you apply a rule or principle or perform a problem-solving task?
   Formulate your answers in a prayful and orderly way. After all this you can consult a commentary or two. Test all things, the Scriptures say. Do not believe all things just becasuse it is written. Test it by the Word. Scripture is its best interpreter.
   Don't give up. Write down what you are learning. Write down your unanswered questions. Maybe later something you are reading will help you answer the problem passage.
    And as you go about your day allow it to do its' work. You do this by mediatation. A subject that will be handled later in another post.
   Feel  free to comment. Please do. I am waiting to have a conversation with you. feel free to use the comment button on the bottom of this posting. (The word 'Comment" will open the site for you)  Ask questions. Suggest further subjects, or just say hi.
   You are an important part of the post and by commenting you are completing the cycle. Like a game of table tennis.
   Should there be spam or insincere comments, the comment button will stop working for you. but at the moment I await your free will decision to comment.
  In fact, I reserve the right to, if needed, edit and even delete comments. You know which ones. In other word, I will moderate No spam or flames will be tolerated..

Monday, September 12, 2011

How to use your Bible

 So we have started in on our Bible Study program. We have noticed that we will over time have a lot of  material. We will need a plan to store this material-- to preserve it.
  File folders are a good idea. A folder of about 9 1/2 by 11 3/4 will be fine. You should have a least two sections in your folders. One for Scripture and the other for topics The label for the folder you can place in the upper right-hand corner.
  You will also need notebooks for your Bible study. Remember, you are jotting down your observations. Think of it as a treasure hunt. You are digging for treasure.
  You should also use your Bible by marking the passages that stand out to you. Mark it carefully and with symbols that you can understand. But also don't be careless in your marking. This is for your use. Underline important passages. Write cross references in the margins. You can use a cross for any verse that speaks of Christ's substitutionary death. An arrow can be used beside the passsage that speaks of the second coming. The letter p can be used to signify prayer. Continue in that vein.
   You should set up a goal for your Bible study. Your study of the Bible is to change you and your goal will greatly affect what you will get out of it. Ask yourself why you are studying the Bible.
   I have discovered that there are five methods used in Bible sudy. In postings to come they will be covered.
  1.    Deductive Method (nugget hunting)
  2.   Question and Answer Method (guided digging)
  3.   Topical Method (following a vein)
  4.   Analytical Method (working a claim)
  5.   Synthetic Method (developing a mine)
   Please leave me your comments as to what is working for you or not working for you. I will offer my help.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

First look: Inductive Method

  As we consider Bible Study Methods I want to start by looking at an easy one. It is useful for digging and will give results in the short periods of time that we have in this busy lifestyle of ours.
Study-- study--study
   It is called the Inductive Method. It basicly will answer; What does it say?
   We start with our Bible. We take a section, a small section. Maybe even a short paragraph. Or maybe even a sentence.
    Let us take a sentence out of the Gospel of John  which most people who are told to memorize scripture  playfully or not choose. That is John 11:35. Jesus wept.
    Yes, that is good enough to see how the Inductive Method can be used.
     The thing to do is to ask questions of the passage.
      The first thing we do is start with observation. Who is involved in the passage?  Jesus. His followers. The Jews. Mary. Martha What is happening? Jesus is standing in front of the tomb of Lazarus. He is weeping. And so on. Who. what.when. where
      The second thing is interpretation. Why is Jesus weeping? Is He a cry baby? Where is the evidence? No, he is not a cry baby.  What does this tell us about God? If you hold that Jesus is the God/man, then we can learn something here about God. So why is He crying?
       Then we end up with application. Why does this mean to me?
        I suggest strongly that you have a pencil or pen and a pad of paper with you as you use this method. You would want to record what you are discovering. The main reason is that you want to share this with others. Christianity is not a solo act.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Observe the Times

Of course as you are reading through the Bible you come to realize this didn't all happen in one day nor in one system of government.  The part we call the Old Testament starts when time began to the days of the prophets. From Eden to Babylon and Jerusalem.There were many governments coming and going. The New Testament is mostly Rome.
  There were periods of time. Wycliffe has laid down a formula that states "It shall greatly help you to understand Scripture if you what time..."
  Each period of time is different from the one before it. Even Bible students divide the periods differently for diifferent types of Bible study.
  There are the Dallas men who started out holding to a seven dispensatgion viewpooint. "Dispensation" is just a word that comes to us from the Greek meaning management of a household. It is used to denote a period of time in which men are tested in respect to obedience to some definite revelation of God's will (Unger's Bible Dictionary [1966]
  It was a view put forth by the Scofield Bible and taught in his systematic theology.
  The seven periods are:
  1.    The Dispensation of Innocence and the Edennic covenant-Man was to tend the garden and subdue the earth. All dominion was given to them (Adam and Eve) to control the animals. They had the herbs and fruits for food.They could eat of all the trees in the garden except for the one called the tree of the knowedge of good and evil.
  2.     The Dispensation of Conscience and the Adamic Covenant.--There were now rules after the fall. These were to help them live in obedience to God. They now were expected to do good and abstain from evil. .The serpent was cursed. the woman had multriple sorrows in childbirth ( did she have pain before the fall?) The ground was cursed for man's sake. He could still work it but it now would be harder for produce to grow from his labor. Man is commanded to work for his livelihood. I believe that work helps keep us connected to God. It is not the curse.
  3.    The Dispensation of Human Government and The Noahic Covenant.-- Capital Punishemnt was instituted. If you kill a man you die. God gave the government not the individual that right. He has not taken it back. God promised that the seasons would continue and day and night would not cease. He wanted Noah and his offsprings to repopulate the earth, Man was once again given dominion over the animals. Man was now allowed to eat meat.
  4.    The Dispensation of Promise and the Abrahamic Covenet.-- God calls out one man to work through. This was Abraham. He told Abraham to leave Ur of the Chaldeans and go to a new land. He promised a large family. God told him that he would bless those whno blessed Abraham and his descendents and curse those who cursed his descendents. (His descendents are the Jews)
  5.    The Dispensation of Law-- This period is from Moses being given the law to the birth of the church.
  6.     The Dispensation of Grace-- The church is born at Pentecost when the Holy Spirit baptized the people in The Upper Room.
  7.     The Dispensation of the Kingdom-- This is when Jesus shall rule on the earth in person.
     There is another view that there is only a dispenstion of law and a dispensation of grace. This is  not one that I hold. I hold to a modified view of dispensations. I don't hold to the seven . What makes me a dispenstionalist is I see a difference between Israel and the Church. The Church does not become the new Israel and inherit the promises. The church is different from the Jews. The Jew is not a gentile. There
 are three groups in scripture. The Jew, The Gentile. And the Church.
   The next posting will start in earnest our methods of Bible study
    Please feel free to comment. Ask me to clarify. Be interactive as much as possible.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Watch the Words

In our Bible study we should be very careful to understand what we are reading. By this I mean, what we study is made up of words.
 Okay, maybe I should explain. Words are like our vehicles. They carry thoughts, emotions and feelings from the author to you. I looked it up and there are about 8,674 different Hebrew Words in the Old Testament. When we look at the Greek we have a total of about 5,624 different Greek Words. And when we translate that into English we end up with only 6,000 words.
  For you math majors out there that is quite a reduction from the original to English we have today.
  And all words were necesssary. God used different people to convey the message He wished to convey. Peter wrote like a fisherman. David wrote in his style. Paul wrote from the prospect of an highly educated person. The prophets in the Old Testament wrote in their own style.
  Therefore we must observe some rules or principles. As far as possible we should take words in their usual sense. When  the Bible talks about Israel it is not talking about the church nor the gentiles. The principle to follow is that if the literal sense makes snese, don't look for any other meaning.
   Also we should look at the whole passage. This is known as context
  Thridly, the Bible is its own best Interpreter. See the Bible as a whole. The more you study the richer your understanding. As you read you will find the Bible will explain itself more throughly than any other book does. Often in the very same passage.
  Often you will find that when comparing spititual with spiritual you will see parallell passages. I discover three kinds of parallels. 1) parallels of Words 2) Parallels of ideas or incidents 3) parallels of general teaching.
  Consider the general meaning of the passages. Sometimes the same words are not used when the same idea is involved. Sometimes you may find the passage is obscure, debateable, or uses figurative language. In this case you should look at a parallel in the same book or in the writings of the same autor. You should also look at the period of history the passage is written.
  There are tools out there to help you in your study. There is the concordance. For KJV there are Strongs, Youngs, and Crudens. You use these to find out the word used in the origianl language. Thgere are also concordances in the New American Standard version, The New International Version, and I am sure the English Bible version. You don't need to be limited only to the King James.
   You can use a reference Bible. Also a Bible Dictioanry is helpful as it summerizes each book of teh Bible. It aslo defines terms and customs.
  Please comment and tell me how I am doing. Tell me what questions you have. Is there an area I should comment on?  Feel free to be as honest as you wish. I can take it. I will answer all messsages.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Interpretation Is Important

Bible Study to be wise

As a person does his Bible study it is important that he  know what he is studying. This book, the Bible, that I am helping you study to be a better Christian has to be properly interpreted. "Study to show yourself approved upon God, a workman who does not need to be ashamed."
  There is a way to tell if what you are finding in this book is false or true. It is all in the rules you follow.
  There are some teachers out there who are going to lead you astray if you let them.There are many cults out there and different religious teachings. Upon the surface their teachings many appear to be true. But they will twist and mislead. They begin to "smoke, sizzle, and smell" under closer examination.
 In order for us to be more firmly planted we need to ask a few questions of the passage we are studying. First we must pay attention to what the Bible actually says. not what we think it says or what some one else says it says. Even the man in the pulpit. "Test all things,' God tells us.
   Secondly we must investigate to whom is it written. All scrpiture has been given to us but not all scripture is written to us. There are three classes of people spoken to in the Bible,. The Jews, the Gentiles, and the Church.
  So that rule is to ask to whom is it speaking. Therefore try to get acquainted with people of the Bible so when people mention that person you will know exactly who he is and all about him.
  So you must also study to find at what time this incident took place. None of the Bible took place in the twenty first century. Learn the proper sequence of the events you will be reading in the Bible. Was this before Israel had a king? How many years before Jesus was born was this written? How do all  these events fit into God's plan?
   Also you should ask yourself where did it happen? In other words, I try to find out a little about how the people lived in the period I am reading? I also want to know the geography of the place I am reading.,
   I also want to know the circumstances under which the writter wriote it. Is it one of Pauls' prison epistles? Where does this letter fall in the account of the book of Acts?
   I am trying not to give you too much at one time.I think I will stop at this point and let you digest.
   Until next time.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Study Requirements

I think I better slow down and tell you what you will need for a good Bible study.
  You will need a translation that you can understand. You will be spending a lot of time reading what God has said. It would be adventagous for you to have a translation that you can understand.
  God had the Bible written in Hebrew and Aramaic for the Old Testament. Greek was the language used in the New. I don't know anyone who reads in the original. I don't.
 So what translation do I recommend ? I myself read and memorize from the New American Standard Version. There is the New International Version out there. It may be easier to read. For the people who feel there is no other Bible translation true to what God said there is the King James Bible and the New King James Bible
  There is also the English Standard Version.
  You will aso need a notebook to jot down observations you will be making as you read and study for yourself Along with that notebook you will need something to write with. I recommend a pencil because you will be making Inductive Bible Study Charts as you go along.. More about Inductive Bible studies later in the series. Just trust me on what you will need.
  As you read the Bible you will have questions. So you will need beside you a Bible Atlas that will help you place the area being spoken of in the text you are studying. As for the explaination of what is being said.. for example the effects of sin on the human race.. the Bible is the best teacher. It will explain itself.    What questions you have, jot down, and keep reading. God will explain to you as you read what He meant.
  Please leave me comments if you wish further explaination. I promise I will read and answer.