The Authority of the Bible

The Christian church spread widely and rapidly in the First Century.  Do you know why?  It can happen again if we follow the Apostles’ example.

Today’s Reading

Psalms 13-16; Acts 18

Selected Verses

Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure. For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption.  Psalm 16:9-10

And when he wished to cross to Achaia, the brothers encouraged him and wrote to the disciples to welcome him. When he arrived, he greatly helped those who through grace had believed, for he powerfully refuted the Jews is public, showing by the Scriptures that the Christ was Jesus. Acts 18:27-28

Reflections

In the First Century, the Apostles used the Scriptures of the Old Testament powerfully and effectively as they spread throughout the known world proclaiming that the promised Christ had come. Later the New Testament containing the Apostles’ teaching would be added, completing our Bible.

The Messiah, Christ, was promised to Israel and sent to them. He lived out His life and ministry culminating in His death by crucifixion, His resurrection, and His commissioning of His Apostles to go into the entire world and make disciples of all nations. That work which Jesus commissioned still goes on today throughout the earth.

The Psalms are filled with references which had immediate relevance to their time but would later be more completely fulfilled by Jesus in His earthly life. Here we have a prophecy which both Peter and Paul understood to point clearly to His resurrection (Acts 2:25-28; 13:35). To see Christ in the Psalms and other Old Testament scriptures motivated the Apostles and fueled their boldness as they preached to the Jews.

One of those Jewish converts to Jesus Christ was a gifted man named Apollos. He displayed great eloquence in his speech and diligence in his study of the Word of God, but he received needed help from the mentoring of Paul’s disciples, Aquila and Priscilla. Apollos went on to Achaia and had an effective ministry encouraging the believers and showing the Jews from the Scriptures that the Christ was Jesus.

Think about it

Do you rely on the Scriptures as the basis for your faith and in your presenting Jesus to others? We need to beware of relying on arguments based on mere human reasoning and logic and neglecting to point people to the claims of Christ made in God’s Word. Let the Word of God be your authority for your life and your ministry. The Apostles modeled this and we will be wise to follow their example. We may yet see amazing growth in Christ’s Church.

Why We Must Stay with God’s Word

We must take God’s Word seriously.  David charged Solomon to do so.  Jesus showed the Jews His commitment to the truth of Scripture.

Today’s Reading

First Chronicles 20-22; John 10:22-42

Selected Verses

Only, may the Lord grant you discretion and understanding, that when he gives you charge over Israel you may keep the law of the Lord your God. Then you will prosper if you are careful to observe the statutes and the rules that the Lord commanded Moses for Israel. Be strong and courageous. Fear not; do not be dismayed.  1 Chronicles 22:12-13

Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your Law, ‘I said, you are gods’?  If he called them gods to whom the word of God came—and Scripture cannot be broken—  do you say of him whom the Father consecrated and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’?” John 10:34-36

Reflections

David advised his son, Solomon, who would succeed him as king.  He told him that the Lord would be the One giving him charge over Israel.  Solomon needed to understand that he was a vassal, a steward of the kingdom of God’s people, not his own autonomous boss.  Furthermore, David emphasized the need for discretion and understanding to keep and to observe carefully God’s law if Solomon were to prosper.  Solomon did not hold to the Law of God fully to the end of his life and the consequences were devastating.

The Jews continually questioned and criticized Jesus during His years of earthly ministry.  It only got worse, and, of course, concluded with the arrest, trial, and crucifixion.  In the incident mentioned in John 10, He used Scripture to defend His reference to God as His Father and His claim to be the Son of God.  In a parenthetical comment, He says, “Scripture cannot be broken.”   He frequently showed His trust in the veracity of the Bible.  Here the Lord makes a strong and clear claim about the nature of God’s Word–that it cannot be broken.  He knew the Word, used the Word, and applied the Word to real life situations and questions.

Think about it

Jesus said, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away” (Matthew 24:35). Do you hold God’s Word in high esteem?   Are you convinced that Scripture cannot be broken?  Do not consider it wasted time that you invest in the careful reading, studying, and obeying of the Bible.  Stay with it.

 

Can We Trust the Bible?

In the era of “fake news” do you wonder if you can trust the Bible? Here is evidence for the book that claims to be the inerrant Word of the Eternal God.

Today’s reading

Numbers 28-29; Mark 9:1-29

Selected Verses

So Moses told the people of Israel everything just as the Lord had commanded Moses.  Numbers 29:40

And there appeared to them Elijah with Moses, and they were talking with Jesus. Mark 9:4

Reflections

In the era of fake news and alternative facts it is not surprising that many wonder where you can find truth that conforms to reality.  For millennia, Christians have claimed to believe in the Bible as the inerrant Word of God.  Today’s readings provide an important  reason for this confidence.

The Bible contains sixty-six books. It claims to be the revelation of the Eternal God to humankind.  As such, it is a revelation which was given in stages over thousands of years.  Scholars attribute Numbers to Moses who led the Israelites out of Egypt toward the Promised Land.  As God’s prophet to them he gave them precise truth which he received from God. As the selected verse above indicates, Moses told them all that God commanded him.

It is reasonable to ask what evidence of unity there is in this book that was received in separate stages over so many years.  Notice this. When we jump ahead two thousand years to the Gospel of Mark, what do we find?  Jesus meets with this same Moses and another prophet, Elijah.

The incident on the Mount of Transfiguration demonstrates the powerful connection between the Book of Numbers and the Gospel of Mark.  Furthermore,  we find verification of Jesus’ authenticity as the Son of God.  Moses and Elijah, God’s servants who represent the Law and the Prophets, appeared with Jesus and talked with Him. Israel had utterly failed to keep the law God through Moses had given them. But Jesus would fulfill that law perfectly. He would bring justification to all His chosen people from every tribe and tongue.  There never would have been perfect law keepers. Only Jesus Christ could fulfill the just demands of the law that God gave to Moses and Moses gave to Israel.

Think about it

The Transfiguration should reinforce our confidence in the trustworthiness of the Bible and its claims about Jesus Christ.  He is our eternal prophet, priest, and king.   May His kingdom come soon.  Meanwhile, trust the Bible not alternate facts and fake news.

Let’s Read the Bible in 2017

82e4cc3db5bed0533b92b4a47d4aedb8You are invited

Are you considering reading through the Bible in 2017?  Let me suggest a plan and invite you to join me here each day to share the reading journey.

Beginning tomorrow, I will post a reading assignment each morning (7:00 AM EST in the USA) which will take you through the Old and New Testaments simultaneously.  Keep on schedule by either reading from your own Bible using your preferred translation, or pull up this blog and click on the reading assignment.  You will instantly be taken to the daily assignment in the English Standard Translation from Bible Gateway.com.

What could be easier?

We, who are serious Christians or who are considering the Christian faith, should make Bible reading a regular part of our lives.  But if you have never read through the Bible, you will see that it is a massive undertaking.  It can be done and I have done it annually for many years.  I do not recommend attempting a faster reading.  I find it preferable to read daily at a steady pace taking time to reflect on a few of the verses.

The plan I am suggesting begins in Genesis in the Old Testament and Matthew in the New Testament. By the last day of the year we will finish with Malachi and Revelation.

Other Options

  1.  Through the Bible in two years.  If you prefer to read at a slower pace you could opt to read only one of the readings each day and complete the entire Bible in 2 years instead of one.
  2. Cover to Cover.  Maybe you would like to read the Bible straight through  in one year but only reading in one place each day. If so, please consider using the schedule provided in my book Cover to Cover: Through the Bible in 365 Days.  Click here for to order a copy in either kindle or print format.

Which ever option you choose, the important thing is to get started and keep going. Let’s meet here again tomorrow.

John Carroll

Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture references on this blogsite are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Permanent Text Edition® (2016). Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

Plan to Read the Word

What’s your plan for 2017?

Truth is essential to the life of the Christian in particular and of the body of Christ in general.  Pastors need to preach it.  Members need to receive it.  We all need to obey it.  As a new year approaches, are you making plans to continue a careful daily reading of the Scriptures?  Make a plan and make it happen.

Today’s reading: 

1 Timothy 6:3-2 Timothy 4:8

My selection:

I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom:  preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.  For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions,  and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.  2 Timothy 4:1-4

For more reflections on this passage, see the corresponding reading in my book Cover to Cover: Through the Bible in 365 days.

Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture references are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Permanent Text Edition® (2016). Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

 

Meeting God

Life’s circumstances reveal God’s  providence, but you will never know Him more deeply or see Him more clearly than when you meet Him in His Word.

Saturday, October 29, 2016  Stubborn Unbelief

Reading: Luke 16:1-18:17

My selection:

And he said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’  He said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.’”  Luke 16:30-31

 

Sunday, October 30, 2016   Meeting God in His Word

Reading: Luke 18:18-20:8

My selection:

And Peter said, “See, we have left our homes and followed you.”  And he said to them, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God,  who will not receive many times more in this time, and in the age to come eternal life.”  Luke 18:28-30

See you again on Monday.

[For reflections on these passages, see the corresponding readings in my book Cover to Cover: Through the Bible in 365 days].

Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture references are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Permanent Text Edition® (2016). Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

 

Common Errors about Heaven, Angels, and Truth

Today’s reading:

Mark 12:18-14:26

My Selection:

Jesus said to them, “Is this not the reason you are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God? For when they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven.  And as for the dead being raised, have you not read in the book of Moses, in the passage about the bush, how God spoke to him, saying, ‘I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’?  He is not God of the dead, but of the living. You are quite wrong.”     Mark 12:24-27

Once again Jesus’ enemies, members of a sect called the Sadducees, attempted to discredit Him by finding a flaw in His teaching about the resurrection.  Jesus’ answer to them also corrects a number of other errors related to angels and truth.

The most important take-away

Perhaps the most important take-away from this selection is the challenge to flee from error through the knowledge of the Scriptures and of the power of God.  Over and over the Bible announces to us the importance of grasping its teaching deeply.  But understanding of divine revelation needs to be joined with a knowledge of God who is powerful.

Don’t fall prey to the common errors of ignorance and unbelief. Seek to know His word well and to know the Almighty who has come to us in His Son.  As the Apostle Paul wrote:

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.  Colossians 3:16

For more reflections on today’s reading, see the corresponding reading in my book Cover to Cover: Through the Bible in 365 days.

Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture references are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Permanent Text Edition® (2016). Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

 

 

 

Trusting the Bible

Today’s reading:

Matthew 12:15-13:46

My Selection:

 This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah:

 “Behold, my servant whom I have chosen,
    my beloved with whom my soul is well pleased.
I will put my Spirit upon him,
    and he will proclaim justice to the Gentiles.
 He will not quarrel or cry aloud,
    nor will anyone hear his voice in the streets;
 a bruised reed he will not break,
    and a smoldering wick he will not quench,
until he brings justice to victory;
 and in his name the Gentiles will hope.”  Matthew 12:17-21

One of the reasons I trust the Bible is that the unity of the message can only be explained by the presence of an eternal God who revealed that message to His prophets and apostles from Moses to John.

Trust the Bible

Matthew makes many connections with the Old Testament and the person and work of Jesus Christ.  Jesus fulfills hundreds of prophecies written centuries before His birth. One of those prophecies given by Isaiah said that the Messiah would bring justice to victory.  How reassuring it is to have confidence that our Lord has triumphed over Satan.  The serpent’s head was crushed. Trust the Bible. The coming of God’s kingdom is assured. In Christ He has brought justice to victory for Jews and Gentiles worldwide.

For more reflections on today’s reading, see the corresponding reading in my book Cover to Cover: Through the Bible in 365 days.

Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture references are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Permanent Text Edition® (2016). Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

 

 

August Daily Bible Readings

  Week of               Readings
August 1-6 Isaiah 28 to 50
August 7-13 Isaiah 51 to Jeremiah 11
August 14-20 Jeremiah 12-33
August 21-27 Jeremiah 34-Lamentations 2
August 28-31 Lamentations 3-Ezekiel 13

For technical reasons, I have not been able to link the above assignments to BibleGateway.com.  I apologize for the inconvenience. Please click here to access the Bible online.

Mary and I are taking August for vacation and family time.  See you again in September.

For more on these passages see Cover to Cover: Through the Bible in 365 Days available on Amazon in either Kindle ($4.99) or print format ($12.99).

Change of Terrain

Today we finish the Psalms and begin Proverbs (Psalm 145:1-Proverbs 1:7).  The change of genre is noticeable, like leaving a mountain road and passing through a grassy river valley.  Each has its special beauty and attractiveness.  Psalms speak to my heart and Proverbs to my head.  One prepares me for all kinds of emotional experiences; the other for a variety of relational and personal challenges.

I need both. Praise God for providing such thorough equipment for our spiritual lives (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

Enjoy the read and the change of terrain.

[For more reflections on this passage see the corresponding reading in my book Cover to Cover: Through the Bible in 365 days].