1. This week after our son came home from his 3 week hospital stay, my wife and I were talking with our son's two girls about their daddy's recovery. After we explained to them that Daddy was still not able to do all the things he used to do with them AND that he would need a lot of time to get better, we assured them that he would indeed get back to his old self. At that point, three-year old Molly said, "And he will be able to hold me!" Wow! What this little one was missing most was her daddy scooping her up in his arms and just holding her! God willing, that day will come! We all have that same desire, don't we? To be held. To be comforted. To know that we are loved by someone. For those of us who have chosen to follow Jesus by embracing the message of the gospel, we have that someone! We have a heavenly daddy whose arms are always waiting to hold us (Isaiah 40:11). No one cares for us as much as he does!
2. Last week I had yet another follow up visit with my orthopedic doctor concerning my ongoing wrist problems. He suggested that I consider a surgical solution to the problem. I told him I would have to give that some thought. I also told him I was going to seek a second opinion. After all, as my primary care physician told me when I asked him if he thought I should seek a second opinion, "It's your body!" So this week, I have begun taking the steps toward obtaining one. Hmmm. I wonder how many of us seek a "second opinion" after reading something in Scripture that we don't like. There is no doubt that some of the Bible's teaching is "hard to swallow." In fact, at one point in Jesus' ministry, many of those who were following him stopped ... all because they found his teaching to be too difficult to accept (John 6:60; John 6:66). My friends, when it comes to the Bible and it's teachings, you need not seek a "second opinion." As Designer, Creator and Sustainer of the universe, God's Word is the FINAL authority for faith and practice. We all need to learn to take God at his word!
3. Have you ever looked at MRI images? Twice this past year I have done so. First for my arm, then for my wrist. Both times I had no clue as to what they were telling me. But in both instances, once the doctor put the images up on the monitor, he knew exactly what they revealed about the condition of both arm and wrist. How so? He was trained. He has a boatload of experience as I am sure he has seen hundreds of such images. So what was hidden from my untrained eyes could be clearly seen by his! Often people tell me that they don't read the Bible because they don't understand the Bible. But one reason they don't understand is because they don't read it! In other words, the more familiar the Bible becomes to you, the more you will understand it! Last summer, I offered the following TIPS to helping people to understand the Bible as they read and study it. I hope they prove helpful to you!
Take a look at the context
Every verse has a certain context … and if you ignore the historical and literary context of any Bible passage you are reading, you are setting yourself up for wrongly handling the Bible!
(I would guess that 80% of the wrong handling of Scripture occurs when people rip a verse of out its context. Once this is done, you can make the Bible say a lot of things that it does not say!)
So make sure you take a look at the background of the passage … answering basic questions like WHEN was it written? WHO wrote it? To WHOM was it written? WHY was it written? etc. One of the best tools to help you answer such questions is a good study Bible (vs. a devotional Bible). I myself prefer the ESV Study Bible or the MacArthur Study Bible.
Intentionally compare Scripture with Scripture
Since the Bible … though penned by forty different human authors … is the product of one divine mind … then it would make sense that what God says in one place in the Bible would help us to make sense of what he says elsewhere. So we must get intentional about using the Bible to help us understand the Bible! Or in other words, the Bible should be the Bible interpreter’s best friend! Again … a good STUDY Bible will help you do this!
Pray before opening!!!
Since the Bible is unique among books as God’s living and active word … then it would make sense that we should ask God to speak to us through it …
In Psalm 119, we see the writer praying three distinct prayers when it comes to interacting with God’s Word …
Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law.
Incline my heart to your testimonies, and not to selfish gain!
Keep steady my steps according to your promise, and let no iniquity get dominion over me.
Start Digging! --- Just MAKE the time, open your Bible, and get to reading! Or … in the words of the famous Nike swoosh … JUST DO IT!
SO … TIPS to remember as you interact with God’s Word ….
Take a look at the context.
Intentionally compare Scripture with Scripture.
Pray before opening!
Thanks for stopping by . . .