Showing posts with label Bible study. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bible study. Show all posts

25 January 2020

A Few Thoughts About Discernment

Knowing truth from lies

A1 The Bible is the only source of 100% truth.
B1 Truth is reality. It is the plain correspondence theory of truth.
B2 It is most reasonable to believe this about the Bible because of Jesus. Did He exist? Did He do what is written about Him? Are the Gospels true history? Were the Gospels written in the middle first century?
B3 It’s reasonable to consider knowing the Bible well will result in knowing good from evil. Hebrews 5:14 WEL But solid food belongs to those who are mature having their spiritual senses exercised through use to discern both good and evil.
C1 Someone who is mature, that is, full grown on the food of Bible study will have their spiritual senors mature, too.
C2 Spiritual senses=
D1 The Greek word αἰσθητήριον aisthētḗrion.
D2 It means "145 (aisthētērion, neuter noun) focuses on the principle of sense and especially its result. 144 /aísthēsis (the feminine cognate) is the brand of sense-discernment which shrewdly sizes things up. 145 (aisthētḗrion) is "the concrete organ of sense, becoming virtually a habitual ability which must be developed and enables believers to distinguish between the spirits. It is a spiritual gift which must be developed in practice" (DNTT, 2, 391).
D3 This particular sensor is used to distinguish good from evil. Both good and evil are based on God’s standard.
C3 Exercised means exercised. Physical exercise has good effects. Spiritual exercise does too. The more spiritual exercise we do, the stronger we become.
C4 The Greek word for discern is διάκρισις diákrisis. It means 1253 diákrisis (from 1252 /diakrínō, see there) – properly, a thorough judgment, i.e. a discernment (conclusion) which distinguishes "look-alikes," i.e. things that appear to be the same. (Note the intensifying force of the prefix, dia.) See also 1252 (diakrínō).
C5 By Bible reading, study, thinking about it, memorizing, and living it has a great effect on us. We will be able to distinguish good from evil.
A2 The interpretation of the Bible
B1 The plain, normal sense consistently
B2 Recognizing the historical and cultural settings
B3 Recognizing prescriptive from descriptive passages
A3 The basics we must know
B1 The basic summary of what we must do: Matthew 22:37-40 MKJV Jesus said to him, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.
B2 It includes all that God speaks: Matthew 4:4 MKJV But He answered and said, It is written, "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God."
B3 When the Bible quotes someone whether king or commoner, the quote is accurate. The quote may or may not be truth. Example: Matthew 9:33-34 MKJV And when the demon had been cast out, the dumb one spoke. And multitudes marveled, saying, Never was it seen like this in Israel! 34 But the Pharisees said, He throws out demons by the ruler of the demons.
A4 The importance of personal learning. Instead of reading commentators, listening to teachers, going to meetings, we must daily study the Scriptures themselves.
A5 The importance of meditating on and studying Scripture
B1 Studying
C1 Ezra did: Ezra 7:10 GW Ezra was determined to study the LORD's Teachings, live by them, and teach their rules and regulations in Israel.
C2 The Psalmist did by reflecting on Scripture: Psalms 119:15 GW I want to reflect on your guiding principles and study your ways.
C3 Correct study and interpretation leads to staying in the truth instead of wandering away: 2 Timothy 2:15-18 PickNT Make every effort to render yourself approved by God, a worker who doesn't need to be ashamed, handling the Word of the Truth correctly. 16 But shun godless, empty chatter, because those who do it will become increasingly godless, 17 and their word will spread like gangrene—among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, 18 who have wandered away from the Truth, saying that the resurrection has already occurred; and they overturn the faith of some.
B2 Meditating on Scripture is not passive that is bypassing the brain, going into a trance, seeking the wisdom masters of the spirit world, etc. All those things of not God’s way and are condemned. Scripture meditation is active. It is like brain exercises as we study. Joshua 1:8 NIV Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.
B3 Example:
C1 Verse: Hebrews 5:12-14 MKJV For indeed because of the time, you ought to be teachers, you have need that one teach you again what are the first principles of the oracles of God. And you have become in need of milk, and not of solid food. 13 For everyone who uses milk is unskillful in the word of righteousness, for he is an infant. 14 But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, even those who because of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.
C2 Simple, brief interpretation:
D1 Milk and solid food. A diet of milk in associated with a baby. Solid food is associated with someone mature.
D2 Applied to spiritual knowledge and understanding, a diet of milk means one is unskillful with the Scriptures like an infant. A diet of solid food means the person will have their senses exercised in discernment.
D3 Discernment refers to recognizing God’s way from some other way. God’s beliefs from some other belief, and God’s lifestyle from some other lifestyle.
D4 Actively thinking about this verse, studying its meaning, its cross references, etc. produces knowledge. Knowledge applied to a situation is wisdom.
A6 Study leads to spiritual growth in discernment for individuals and the congregation
B1 Apostles studied: Acts 6:3&7 MKJV Therefore, brothers, look out among you seven men being witnessed to, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this duty...7 And the word of God was increasing. And the number of the disciples in Jerusalem was multiplying exceedingly; even a great crowd of the priests obeyed the faith.
B2 Humans words do not last, but God’s word does: Acts 12:23-24 MKJV And immediately the angel of the Lord struck him, because he did not give God the glory. And he was eaten by worms and gave up the spirit. 24 But the Word of God grew and increased. [Emphasis is mine]
B3 Spread around: Acts 13:49 MKJV And the Word of the Lord was carried throughout all the country.
B4 Bears fruit: Colossians 1:5-6 MKJV for the hope which is laid up for you in Heaven, of which you heard before in the Word of the truth of the gospel, 6 which has come to you as it has also in all the world, and it is bearing fruit, even also among you, since the day you heard and fully knew the grace of God in truth,
B5 Heard in reading and teaching has a great effect: I Thessalonians 2:13 MKJV And for this cause we thank God without ceasing, that when you received the Word of hearing, of God, you welcomed it as the Word of God, not as a word of men, but as it is, truly the Word of God, which also effectually works in you who believe.
A7 Discernment
B1 We are to pray for it as Solomon did: 1 Kings 3:9 WEB Give your servant therefore an understanding heart to judge your people, that I may discern between good and evil; for who is able to judge this your great people?
B2 Our love is to grow. This love is not just tolerance. It is a love with the conditions of knowledge and understanding. Thus, we won’t just love everything and everyone but will have discernment. Philippians 1:9-10 ISV And this is my prayer, that your love will keep on growing more and more in full knowledge and perfect insight, 10 so that you may be able to determine what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ.
C1 The word discernment is the Greek word αἴσθησις aísthēsis. It means properly, the brand of sense-discernment which "cuts through" hazy ethical (moral) matters to really "size things up" .
C2 Thus, knowing God’s standards, we can decide if something is godly or ungodly.
C3 We give praise to God by our actions and give witness to His truth.
B3 We are commanded to test all things: I Thessalonians 5:21 BSB but test all things. Hold fast to what is good.
B4 Discernment is a regular activity in the Christian life. See Jesus’s rebuke of the religious frauds:
C1 Luke 12:54-57 GW Jesus said to the crowds, "When you see a cloud coming up in the west, you immediately say, 'There's going to be a rainstorm,' and it happens. 55 When you see a south wind blowing, you say, 'It's going to be hot,' and that's what happens. 56 You hypocrites! You can forecast the weather by judging the appearance of earth and sky. But for some reason you don't know how to judge the time in which you're living. 57 So why don't you judge for yourselves what is right?
C2 Simon, a Pharisee, was asked by the Lord Jesus to judge: Luke 7:43 GW Simon answered, "I suppose the one who had the largest debt canceled." Jesus said to him, "You're right!"
B5 This is the reason we must know the Bible well: Hebrews 4:12 NIV For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

All of our Christian life is one of discernment. Is this teaching, activity, belief, congregation, preacher, etc. safe? By knowing, studying, and applying the truths of Scripture, we can prevent much heart grief.

26 July 2019

A Few Thoughts on James—James 1:9-11

D2 Believers Should Be Content in Life’s Status James 1:9-11

James 1:9-11 WEL Let the brother of humble circumstances rejoice in that he is exalted, 10 but the rich in that he is made low, because like the flower of the grass, he will perish. 11 For the sun is no sooner risen with its burning heat, and it withers the grass, its flower falls, and its beauty perishes, so also will the rich man fade away.
Humble circumstances=
  • The Greek word is ταπεινός tapeinós. It means low. It is applied in a number of different ways as in grief (Luke 1:52), humbleness (James 4:6), an ordinary person as opposed to a person of status and financial means (Romans 12:16), depressed (2 Corinthians 7:6), poor (James 1:9).
  • Even if we are poor, depressed, in grief, or ordinary, we are to rejoice. We have a hope that is guaranteed by God Himself (Hebrews 6:18). We have our hope in Christ (2 Thessalonians 2:16, 1 Timothy 1:1), His resurrection (1 Peter 1:3), through the Gospel (Colossians 1:23), reserved in heaven (Colossians 1:5), promised deliverance (1 Thessalonians 5:8, Titus 2:13), eternal life, instead of eternal death (Titus 1:2). We are to tell others about our hope (1 Peter 3:15). We are to be steadfast in our hope (Colossians 1:23).
Rich= materially rich. God has no bias or shows favor to them. God owns everything anyway.
Flower, etc.= an example that being beautiful, rich, high socioeconomic class, privileged, etc. has no bearing on God’s blessings or punishment.

Questions
  • How do you feel about your status in society regarding financially, power, chance for advancement, etc.?
  • How would you encourage another believer who is facing discouragement?
  • Why should we be thankful every day?

25 July 2019

A Few Thoughts on the Epistle of James—James 1:2-8

James 1:2-8 WEL My brothers, consider it all joy when you find yourself surrounded by various trials. 3 Know this that the testing of your faith brings about endurance. 4 Let endurance have its full, complete work, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing. 5 If any of you lack wisdom, then ask the God, who gives to all profusely and doesn’t rebuke, and it will be given to him. 6 But one must ask in faith, without any doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. 7 Do not let that person think that he will receive anything from the Lord. 8 A double minded person [is] unstable in every way.

Brothers=
  • Can be a flesh brother (Matthew 4:18)
  • Can be a flesh sister (feminine case) (Mark 6:3)
  • Can be those of the same nationality (Romans 9:3)
  • Can be a fellow believer (John 21:23, Hebrews 2:11, Romans 8:29)
  • Brothers in our passage are all those who believe and placed their trust into Jesus Christ.
Joy=
  • There is a difference between joy and happiness
  • Happiness is the Greek word μακάριος makários.
    • It is usually translated blessed, yet sometimes happy. Compare Matthew 5:3 and 1 Corinthians 7:40.
    • Yet, in English, there is a difference between happiness and blessed: As adjectives the difference between blessed and happy is that blessed is having divine aid, or protection, or other blessing while happy is experiencing the effect of favorable fortune; having the feeling arising from the consciousness of well-being or of enjoyment; enjoying good of any kind, as peace, tranquility, comfort; contented; joyous. (Source)
  • Joy is the Greek word χαρά chará.
    • It is translated as joy and gladness.
    • Joy is defined as
    • The difference between joy and happiness. A good article is Difference Between Joy and Happiness, which is the source of the quotes below.
      • Both joy and happiness are positive and desirable emotions where a person has a feeling of being satisfied.
      • Joy comes from the inner-self of a person, and is connecting with the source of life within you.
      • Happiness is an emotion experienced when in a state of well-being.
      • Joy is from the inside of a person, while happiness is from an external source.
      • Christian joy is a fruit, not a work, of the Holy Spirit. (Galatians 5:22-23).
      • What God does is perfect and without error. His joy is much deeper and peaceful than any other.
Trials=
  • It is the Greek word πειρασμός peirasmós.
  • In various senses
    • A seducing to sin (1 Corinthians 10:13, Luke 4:13)
    • A test of sinners of God’s mercy and patience. (Hebrews 3:18)
    • Trials, troubles, afflictions (Luke 22:28, Acts 20:19)
    • Here it is the troubles of living and being a Christian.
  • God has a purpose. God overrides the actions of certain unbelievers. (Romans 5:3-4, 2 Corinthians 1:9)
Testing=
  • This word is different than the word trials above. It is the Greek word δοκίμιον dokímion.
  • It means to test. Did we learn what we were taught? (This passage and 1 Peter 1:7)
The results of testing=
  • God is the perfect teacher
  • We learn to a greater and greater understanding of knowing God, His beliefs, and His lifestyle in thoughts, desires, words, and deeds.
  • Faith is our commitment and response to what we have been taught.
  • Testing of our faith leads to endurance to be steadfast in our faith.
  • Endurance leads to maturity and completeness of our faith. Even the Lord Jesus learned obedience through the things He suffered. (Hebrews 5:8)
Wisdom=
  • Is it lacking? Do we not understand or know how to respond?
  • We are invited to ask Him, who is the perfection of wisdom, for wisdom. In love and wisdom, He is our helper.
  • God does not become angry or rebuke us for seeking His wisdom. Even if we ask many times each day, He will not become angry. He loves us.
Faith=
  • Believing God.
  • Expecting an answer because He has proclaimed it.
  • The warning is given us not to doubt to the extend we abandon the faith.
  • God is pleased when we believe Him. He believes us when we ask, so let us believe Him that He will answer. He doesn’t say when, but He says that He will answer.
Questions=
  • Why does God allow troubles?
  • Why do many people not like Christians?
  • What is our response to troubles and testing?
  • How does God give us help?
  • When does His help (grace) come?

24 July 2019

A Few Thoughts On the Epistle of James--James 1:1

James 1:1 WEL James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes, which are scattered abroad, greeting.
James= there are 4 men named James in the Bible
  • James (Matthew 4:21)
    • Son of Zebedee
    • One of the 12 Apostles of Jesus Christ
    • He is sometimes known as James the Great.
  • James (Matthew 10:3)
    • Son of Alphaeus
    • One of the 12 Apostles of Jesus Christ
    • He is sometimes known as James the Less.
  • James (Mark 6:3)
    • Half-brother to Jesus
    • Jude was his brother.
  • James (Luke 6:16)
    • Father of Judas
    • Sometimes called Thaddeus
    • He is not the betrayer, Judas Iscariot). (Luke 6:16)
Author
  • Probably the half-brother of Jesus Christ, whose full brother was Jude, the writter of that epistle.
  • Still alive when Galatians was written (Galatians 1:19)
  • Leader in the Jerusalem church (Acts 12:17, Acts 15:13-21, Acts 15:22-29, and Acts 21:18-25)
  • Saw Jesus after His Resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:7)
  • Was married (1 Corinthians 9:5)
Servant of God and the Lord Jesus Christ
  • God is his boss (John 13:13 NIV You call me 'Teacher' and 'Lord,' and rightly so, for that is what I am).
  • He is NOT the master of his own fate
    • We ALL are slaves to sin. We are addicted to sin. People are deceived that they are free. John 8:34 NIV Jesus replied, Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin.
    • After believing and placing trust into Jesus, we are now free and voluntary slaves to God.
      • John 8:36 NIV So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.
      • Matthew 6:24 NLT No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.
      • Matthew 11:29-30 NRSV Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  30  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
  • God’s will done is more important than our own.
  • God= God the Father
  • Lord Jesus Christ= Lord as THE boss, Jesus as human, Christ as THE Messiah
  • God and Lord Jesus Christ= a reflection pointing to the Trinity. One God in three persons. God in one essence. As the Athanasian Creed states: Now this is the true Christian faith: We worship one God in three persons and three persons in one God, without mixing the persons or dividing the divine being. For each person—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit—is distinct, but the deity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is one, equal in glory and coeternal in majesty. What the Father is, so is the Son, and so is the Holy Spirit.
Twelve tribes= Jewish Christians who had been scattered from Israel due to persecution.
  • Acts 8:1 NLT Saul was one of the witnesses, and he agreed completely with the killing of Stephen. A great wave of persecution began that day, sweeping over the church in Jerusalem; and all the believers except the apostles were scattered through the regions of Judea and Samaria.
  • Acts 8:1 NLT Saul was one of the witnesses, and he agreed completely with the killing of Stephen. A great wave of persecution began that day, sweeping over the church in Jerusalem; and all the believers except the apostles were scattered through the regions of Judea and Samaria.
  • Acts 11:19 NLT Meanwhile, the believers who had been scattered during the persecution after Stephen's death traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch of Syria. They preached the word of God, but only to Jews.
  • All Christians can consider ourselves such, since we are not in our homeland yet. Philippians 3:20 NIV But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Questions
  • Why does Peter call himself a servant/slave of God?
  • Why is it important that we are servants/slaves of God?
  • Why would Christians want to consider themselves as servants/slaves?
  • Are you a servant/slave of Jesus Christ? Why or why not?

07 September 2016

Basic Bible Study Form (Lenos)

Basic Bible Study
(Use this form after learning basic Bible interpretation).


Passage
Pray
Read
  1. The whole passage at one sitting
  2. By paragraph
  3. By verse
  4. By phrases
Study
  1. Who wrote this?
  2. Where was it written?
  3. To whom was it written?
  4. What does the passage mean?
Apply
  1. How can I do this (or avoid this)?
  2. How will this affect my life?


Example:
A psalm by David. O LORD, who may stay in your tent? Who may live on your holy mountain? The one who walks with integrity, does what is righteous, and speaks the truth within his heart. The one who does not slander with his tongue, do evil to a friend, or bring disgrace on his neighbor. The one who despises those rejected by God but honors those who fear the LORD. The one who makes a promise and does not break it, even though he is hurt by it. The one who does not collect interest on a loan or take a bribe against an innocent person. Whoever does these things will never be shaken. (Psalms 15:1-5 GW)
Pray
Read
  1. The whole passage at one sitting
  2. By paragraph—there is only one paragraph because this is short and poetry.
  3. By verse
  4. By phrases
    1. A psalm by David. O LORD,
    2. who
    3. may stay
    4. in your tent?
    5. Who
    6. may live
    7. on your holy mountain?
    8. The one who
    9. walks
    10. with integrity,
    11. does
    12. what is righteous, and
    13. speaks
    14. the truth
    15. within his heart.
    16. The one who
    17. does not slander
    18. with his tongue,
    19. do evil
    20. to a friend, or
    21. bring disgrace
    22. on his neighbor.
    23. The one who
    24. despises those
    25. rejected
    26. by God
    27. but honors
    28. those who
    29. fear the LORD.
    30. The one who
    31. makes a promise and
    32. does not
    33. break it, even though
    34. he is hurt by it.
    35. The one who
    36. does not
    37. collect interest
    38. on a loan or
    39. take a bribe
    40. against
    41. an innocent person.
    42. Whoever
    43. does
    44. these things
    45. will
    46. never
    47. be shaken. (Psalms 15:1-5 GW)
Study
  1. Who wrote this? David the King
  2. Where was it written? It doesn’t say.
  3. To whom was it written? The Lord, for this was a prayer.
  4. What does the passage mean?
  5. For each phrase, think what that phrase means.
Apply
  1. How can I do this (or avoid this)?
  2. How will this affect my life?




Four Steps to Study Bible Texts

I posted this when this blog was hosted elsewhere on 5 Jan 2016

Using the four steps to study Bible texts


Category          Daily Bible Study

[From my Christian Brother Daniel Dickey]

Using the Four Steps to Study Bible Texts

Try using the four steps on a text of your choice from any Bible book. All you need is a Bible, a pen, some paper, and about 30 minutes.
1. Pray: Pray before and throughout your study of the Bible
Start by praising and worshiping God. Confess your sins. Ask God for the Holy Spirit’s help so you can correctly understand and apply God’s Word to your life today. Do not proceed to the next step until you have done this.
2. Say: What does the text say?
Select a text to study from any Bible Book. Write the reference (book, chapter, and verse) here:

Now read the text carefully and study the text you chose. All observations should be based on what the text actually says. Write your observations here.







Some Additional Guidance

Observe:[1] Ask questions like…
·       Who is talking?
·       What is the theme?
·       Where is this happening?
·       When is this happening?
·       Why did this happen?
·       How is god working?


3. Mean: What does the text mean in its context?
Determine what the author intended to communicate to the first readers according to the context. The following questions will help you do this for your text.
What is the immediate context for the text you chose? (Hint: use paragraph breaks, subtitles, and chapter breaks to help you.) . What is the larger context? Remember that it always helps to study a larger context than is necessary, but studying too small a context can lead to error.
Now read at least the immediate context and answer the following question to the best of your ability. For some texts, you may need to read a larger context. According to the context, what did the author intend your text to communicate to the first readers?


















Briefly write down any questions you have about what the text means. These questions can be helpful for future study. God can use them to help you understand the Bible better.




The complete context of every text also includes the language, the culture, the historical background, and the setting of the author and first readers. Helpful resources would be a Study Bible, Bible Dictionary, Bible Encyclopedia, Greek Lexicon and Interlinear/Reverse Interlinear Bible.
4. Apply: How will I apply this text to my life today?
Whenever we study the Scriptures we should also determine what God is saying to us personally and make a plan to put that into practice. To do that, you can ask God, “What do You want me to do as a result of my study of Your Word?”
While praying, make a practical plan to apply what you have learned from God’s Word to your life. To make a plan, answer the following questions:
     What will I do?

     When will I do it?

     Where will I do it?

     How will I do it?

Review your plan. Is it something you can do today? Does it include a way for you to know when you have completed it? If not, revise your plan.[2]

Here is an Acrostic to help Apply God’s Word

PRECEPTS: Prayer to pray, Reason to praise, Error to avoid, Command to obey, Example to follow, Promise to claim, Truth to believe, Sin to Confess.
So remember PRECEPTS and after studying the text ask yourself, is there a…
ü  Prayer to pray
ü  Reason to praise
ü  Error to avoid
ü  Command to obey
ü  Example to follow
ü  Promise to claim
ü  Truth to believe
ü  Sin to Confess

From my Christian brother Daniel Dickey



[1] How to Study the Bible (Answers in Genesis)
[2] French, R. A. (1999). Diving for pearls in God’s treasure chest: an easy way to study the Bible. Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.