Bereans

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

“And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews. These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so” (Acts 17:10,11 KJV).

“Bereans.” Have you ever heard of this title, friend? If you have been around Bible-believing circles, of course you have. It comes right out of today’s Scripture. What Christian meaning does it carry?

After unbelieving Jews traveled to Thessalonica (northern Greece) to harass Paul and his ministry coworkers, the Christian brethren were forced to secretly send Paul and Silas by night. Paul and Silas arrived in nearby Berea, again entering the synagogue to preach to lost Jews. The wicked, unbelieving Jews heard of Paul’s entrance into Berea, so they traveled there to bother him again; the saints in Berea had to sneak Paul and his companions away once again, lest they be injured or killed.

Verses 12-14 follow today’s Scripture: “Therefore many of them believed; also of honourable women which were Greeks, and of men, not a few. But when the Jews of Thessalonica had knowledge that the word of God was preached of Paul at Berea, they came thither also, and stirred up the people. And then immediately the brethren sent away Paul to go as it were to the sea: but Silas and Timotheus abode there still.”

Friends, the title “Berean” will be forever preserved in the Word of God as indicative of someone who “received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so” (today’s Scripture). These Jews had copies of the writings of Moses and the Prophets (cf. Acts 13:15; Acts 15:21), and they appealed to that inspired record to verify if Paul and his companions were really preaching the truth. (There were no “New Testament” Scriptures as of yet, remember.) They did not simply sit in the pew and mindlessly shout “Amen!” to whatever they heard the preacher say! As they eagerly heard the Apostles preach, they took the Word of God and studied it, using it to determine the quality of the message spoken. May we follow suit, beloved!

Fast Teaching and Preaching

Monday, June 27, 2016

“I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now” (John 16:12 KJV).

Jesus said it to His disciples; Bible teachers say it to their students!

Pauline dispensational pastors and Bible teachers are often known for “going too fast.” A Christian sister expressed some concern regarding one such minister. While difficult to follow someone who teaches Scripture very quickly, who speaks faster than most, remember that the Bible is an extremely rich book. Its in-depth topics are not for the average (lukewarm, shallow) Bible skimmer!

Frankly, denominational preachers are often normal-paced in their speaking because they have to draw out the message to cover the allotted period. They know few verses and must fill the rest of the time with stories. I know. One of our former pastors years ago first read a familiar Bible passage (five minutes or less) and then spent the rest of the hour telling jokes and short stories (sometimes unrelated to the passage).

If you have a grace Bible teacher or grace pastor who teaches the Bible quickly, relax. At least he actually teaches the Bible instead of merely talking about it! Honestly, I would rather spend one day in a church where the rightly divided Bible is taught quickly, than one year in a denominational church where a preacher delivers a very shallow, slow-paced message. Pauline dispensationalists teach and preach quickly because they have a limited amount of time to cover in-depth doctrine. On average, they spend more time studying the Bible and preparing messages than denominational people (who simply repeat the same basic verses and ideas every week that the denomination approves).

Friend, if you have a Bible teacher or pastor who teaches God’s rightly divided Word, but you have trouble following him in the verses because he reads them quickly, record him, or listen to his DVDs or CDs or MP3s. Pause and replay the media until you get the doctrine. Follow along in your Bible. It does not matter if it takes you a few hours to watch a one-hour message, do it. It is never time wasted. (By the way, written Bible studies such as these are advantageous in that you can use them at your own pace!) 🙂

Our three latest Bible Q&A articles: “Can you explain 1 John 5:8—‘the Spirit, the water, and the blood?’”, “What does the Bible mean, ‘Jesus Christ came by water and blood?’”, and “What does, ‘Born of water and of the Spirit,’ mean?”.

Spiritual Nobility

Monday, June 20, 2016

“And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews. These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so” (Acts 17:10,11 KJV).

Behold, the marks of spiritual nobility!

The Bereans were “noble” (distinguished) because of two attributes. Firstly, “they received the Word with all readiness of mind.” They heard Paul and Silas preaching supposedly the Word of God, and they were willing to accept it as possibly true. However, they did not blindly accept someone’s word for it. Secondly, “they searched the Scriptures daily, whether those things were so.” They actually looked into the Bible for themselves to see if Paul and Silas were really preaching God’s Word or just their opinions parading as “God’s Word.”

Exactly how much “Bible” the Bereans had, we cannot be sure. They, being synagogue-worshipping Jews, certainly had the “Old Testament,” Genesis through Malachi (cf. Acts 15:21; Acts 13:14,15). Perhaps Paul’s epistle to Galatia had been written and was in circulation in Acts chapter 17.

Millions upon millions of church members today would have spared themselves many years—even decades—of heartache and confusion had they just followed the Bereans’ example. Instead of simply sitting in church for years being indoctrinated with what they assumed was “God’s Word”—only to discover a long time later it was not God’s Word—they should have taken their Bibles to church and followed along as their minister spoke. Had they followed the Bereans’ pattern, the charlatans would have been manifested for them!

Whether an Old Testament Jew, or a Christian in our Dispensation of Grace, 1 Thessalonians 2:13 remains true: “For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.” God’s Word will work only in those who know and believe itnot them believing assumptions and/or presumptions about it. “Search and see; do not take it from me!” 🙂

Understand and Enjoy the Bible! #6

Sunday, January 10, 2016

And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction (2 Peter 3:15,16 KJV).

Although there is so much confusion about it, can we really understand and enjoy the Bible? (Yes, yes, yes, yes, and yes!)

How did such overwhelming confusion originate? (Lost people fabricating false Bibles and not using the true Bible God’s way!) Where, O where, is God’s answer to the extensive misunderstandings about His Word? (In His Word, plain and simple!) How could He have allowed His Word to become so muddled up? (Blame sinful man, not God!) What can we do to save ourselves from such Biblical ignorance? (In His Word, plain and simple!)

Today’s Scripture contains seven related, and yet separate, lines of thought. We will take a week to look at them. Then, we will summarize both verses and all seven points. For now, note in today’s Scripture: (1) The “longsuffering of our Lord is salvation,” (2) “Our beloved brother Paul” had “wisdom given unto him” and he wrote it down, (3) Peter admitted that “some things” Paul spoke were “hard to be understood,” (4) People who were “unlearned and unstable” were “wresting”—twisting, mixing up—Paul’s epistles, (5) Paul’s epistles were “Scripture,” (6) The non-Pauline Bible books were also “Scripture,” and (7) Those failing to use the Bible properly—especially Paul’s books—were inflicting spiritual “destruction” upon themselves and their audiences.

The Berean Bible student will carefully consider these two verses from the Apostle Peter’s farewell epistle. Friends and brethren, those words show us where the Church the Body of Christ went terribly wrong 2,000 years ago. People using Scripture to further Satan’s agenda is nothing new. People corrupting God’s Word is nothing new. People perverting the Bible to corrupt souls is nothing new. People confusing others about the Scriptures is nothing new. People confused about the Holy Bible is nothing new. Praise God for His simple answers to this colossal mess!

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Do John 5:31 and John 8:14 contradict each other?

Attendance to Apprehending

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine (1 Timothy 4:13 KJV).

Grace Bible conferences are always a joyful and edifying time!

We meet new people and old friends, most of who are believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. They are really seeking God’s truth rather than those who would come to be merely religious or simply entertained. We desire Jesus Christ to live His life in and through us, and it will only come about by God’s Word renewing our minds on a daily basis. Conferences are not simply about Bible study, but Bible understanding so that it can become Bible application to life. While plenty of people read the Bible, very few study it; and of the few who study it, even fewer understand it; and of the few who understand it, even fewer apply it to life by faith. Our goal is to be in that last class listed, that very small remnant.

Father God is doing something wonderful today in creation and He wants us to participate. A grace Bible conference is to grasp the Bible on a large-scale, to the intent that we may see a fuller picture of the Bible rather than just a glimpse of it (as in a regular sermon or teaching session), that we may find where we are in Scripture (Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon), that we may then discover how Jesus Christ can give us His life and how He can fill us with it (grace living)!

It is an extremely high plane of living that very few Christians grasp, since organized religion opposes it and hides it from the masses (2 Corinthians 4:1-4), but oh, how we have cast off religious works and our vain performance (Philippians 3:1-21), how we have begun to search the Scriptures for ourselves (Acts 17:10,11), how we have a better understanding of such a wonderful Saviour who not only died that we might live but that we died with Him so that He might live in us! We assemble locally to study the Scriptures rightly divided to learn how Christ Jesus is living His life in each of ours, and we rejoice that it is not us, but Him (Galatians 2:20; Philippians 1:21; Colossians 3:4)!

NOTE: The 2015 Slidell (Louisiana) Grace Bible Conference is underway! Videos of the messages to be uploaded to YouTube in due time, so stay tuned for updates.

Instant Christians #13

Sunday, January 18, 2015

“Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine” (2 Timothy 4:2 KJV).

In this day and age of “instant this and instant that,” we need more “instant” Christians!

How do we make “instant” Christians? As with anything instant (coffee, rice, photos, messaging, et cetera), some work is necessary! It takes a dedicated preacher or teacher to actually teach his people the Bible instead of giving them “Bible chats and pep talks” (Christendom’s failure). It takes studying the Bible instead of reading books about the Bible (another blunder). It takes reading the Bible instead of singing and dancing about the Bible (another failure).

We read in 2 Timothy 2:24-26 what the Holy Spirit would have us do once we are “instant” Christians, skilled in the Word of His Grace: “[24] And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, [25] In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; [26] And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.” We, as “instant” Christians, are to make “instant” Christians, people who are just as well-versed and well-grounded in the Bible rightly divided as we!

Lost people live contrary to God’s will for them, and saved people in denominational circles live contrary to what God gave them in Christ. Yet, they can be freed from such error. We are to teach the verses they need to believe to escape Satan’s trap: the lost should be saved from their sins and the denominational Christians saved from doctrinal error. They can then enjoy the grace, love, mercy, eternal life, hope, security, peace, joy, forgiveness, Bible clarity, and righteousness that God offers them in Jesus Christ!

Remember, our ministry is not to force God’s Word rightly divided on anyone. We share the verses in compassion, not in spite or strife, picking fights. We “teach” them, very patiently, gently, meekly. It is time-consuming, but it is ever so worth it, and we will never know the true value of “instant” Christians until we reach heaven….

Attendance to Apprehending

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine (1 Timothy 4:13 KJV).

Grace Bible conferences are always a joyful and edifying time!

We meet new people and old friends, most of who are believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. They are really seeking God’s truth rather than those who would come to be merely religious or simply entertained. We desire Jesus Christ to live His life in and through us, and it will only come about by God’s Word renewing our minds on a daily basis. Conferences are not simply about Bible study, but Bible understanding so that it can become Bible application to life. While plenty of people read the Bible, very few study it; and of the few who study it, even fewer understand it; and of the few who understand it, even fewer apply it to life by faith. Our goal is to be in that last class listed, that very small remnant.

Father God is doing something wonderful today in creation and He wants us to participate. A grace Bible conference is to grasp the Bible on a large-scale, to the intent that we may see a fuller picture of the Bible rather than just a glimpse of it (as in a regular sermon or teaching session), that we may find where we are in Scripture (Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon), that we may then discover how Jesus Christ can give us His life and how He can fill us with it (grace living)!

It is an extremely high plane of living that very few Christians grasp, since organized religion opposes it and hides it from the masses (2 Corinthians 4:1-4), but oh, how we have cast off religious works and our vain performance (Philippians 3:1-21), how we have begun to search the Scriptures for ourselves (Acts 17:10,11), how we have a better understanding of such a wonderful Saviour who not only died that we might live but that we died with Him so that He might live in us! We assemble locally to study the Scriptures rightly divided to learn how Christ Jesus is living His life in each of ours, and we rejoice that it is not us, but Him (Galatians 2:20; Philippians 1:21; Colossians 3:4)!

NOTE: The 2014 Slidell Grace Bible Conference is currently underway! Videos of the messages to be uploaded to YouTube in due time, so stay tuned for updates.