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!

The Heavenly Places #2

Saturday, June 3, 2017

“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6:12 KJV).

Why does Ephesians conclude with this description of the war between good and evil?

The Bible opens, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void…” (Genesis 1:1,2). From here onward until the Apostle Paul’s ministry in Acts chapter 9, much of Scripture focuses on God’s workings in the earthly realm.

Read some of the rare “Old Testament” glimpses of God operating in the heavenly realm. “Then the earth shook and trembled; the foundations of the heaven moved and shook, because he was wroth…. He bowed the heavens also, and came down; and darkness was under his feet” (2 Samuel 22:8,10; cf. Psalm 18:7,9). The LORD hath prepared his throne in the heavens; and his kingdom ruleth over all” (Psalm 103:19). And all the host of heaven shall be dissolved, and the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll: and all their host shall fall down, as the leaf falleth off from the vine, and as a falling fig from a fig tree. For my sword shall be bathed in heaven: behold, it shall come down upon Idumea, and upon the people of my curse, to judgment. The sword of the LORD is filled with blood…” (Isaiah 34:4-6).

Now, look at some “Old Testament” peeks of Satan working in the heavenly realm. “He [God] putteth no trust in his saints; yea, the heavens are not clean in his sight (Job 15:15). “Behold, even to the moon, and it shineth not; yea, the stars are not pure in his [God’s] sight (Job 25:5). “And it shall come to pass in that day, that the LORD shall punish the host of the high ones that are on high [same idea as today’s Scripture—spiritual wickedness in “high” places], and the kings of the earth upon the earth” (Isaiah 24:21). Notice in this last verse how God and Satan are working in the heavenly realm.

With the above background as a frame of reference, we return to the Epistle of Ephesians….

The Heavenly Places #1

Friday, June 2, 2017

“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6:12 KJV).

Why does Ephesians conclude with this description of the war between good and evil?

Paul’s epistle to Ephesus is literally a very “heavenly” book. Notice the following verses and phrase unique to Ephesians. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:…” (Ephesians 1:3). “Which [mighty power] he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places,…” (Ephesians 1:20). “And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:…” (Ephesians 2:6). “To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God,…” (Ephesians 3:10).

As previously mentioned, “heavenly places” is a phrase found exclusively in the Book of Ephesians. It appears four times. The Greek word is epouranios (“above the sky”). On one occasion, it is rendered “high places” (cf. today’s Scripture). Ephesians lifts the minds and hearts of its readers to such lofty, dizzying heights. As the Book begins to wind down, however, something strange happens to its tone. There is a drastic shift to material that some call “dark” and “depressing.” Why would the Holy Spirit lead the Apostle Paul to end such a glorious Book about God’s workings in the “heavenly places” (previous paragraph) by referring to Satan’s wicked activities in them (today’s Scripture)?

From time immemorial, Bible commentators and readers have needlessly struggled with Ephesians’ so-called “out-of-place” reference to Satan’s behavior in the “heavenly places.” If they approached the Bible dispensationally, as 2 Timothy 2:15 commands us, there would be no difficulty. Like so many other Bible concepts, it would be unbelievably clear. Remember, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” In our upcoming studies, let us see how dispensational Bible study enables us to understand Ephesians’ handling of the “heavenly places….”

The Comforter and Teacher

Sunday, May 28, 2017

“But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you” (John 14:26 KJV).

The Holy Bible is a progressive revelation: God gradually made known His Word to mankind throughout history. He knew the end from the beginning, but He chose not to tell the end at the beginning. As the end came closer, it became clearer. Here, we see the “New Testament” Scriptures predicted—God the Holy Spirit’s method of comforting, coming alongside to aid and strengthen, God’s people.

When God the Father sent the Holy Spirit in Acts chapter 2, the Spirit caused Israel’s believing remnant—especially the 12 Apostles—to remember everything that Jesus taught them during the previous three years (His earthly ministry). See today’s Scripture. They did not have to rely on fallible human memory; they had the omniscient, omnipotent Holy Ghost guiding their minds and hearts, giving them the final pieces of information needed to understand their prophetic program.

The early Acts period (chapters 1-7) and the Bible Books of Hebrews through Revelation provide details not found in Genesis through Malachi and Matthew through John. The Lord Jesus predicted in today’s Scripture that Israel’s Little Flock would receive the capstone of knowledge as touching the prophetic program. They would see how everything fit together so beautifully, and they would be able to appreciate what God had planned in eternity past. Despite everything that Satan and evil men would do to sabotage God’s plan for the Earth, they would be unable to overcome Him.

Compare today’s Scripture to what Jesus spoke later, John 16:12-14: “[12] I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. [13] Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. [14] He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.” In our Bible, inspired and preserved by the Holy Spirit, we see the result of the prophetic program too!

Start in Romans #1

Monday, April 10, 2017

For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office (Romans 11:13 KJV).

Why should people new to the Bible begin in the Book of Romans? Today’s Scripture tells us.

Second Timothy chapter 3 contains the most well-known Bible verses: “[15] And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. [16] All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: [17] That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.”

The Lord Jesus said, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4). “Every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” actually defines “given by inspiration of God.” God the Holy Spirit spoke words, and He wrote them down and preserved them for us in our language. In English, that is the King James Bible (or, “Authorized Version”). Other languages have their own version, but they do not concern us here.

Second Timothy 3:16 affirms three primary purposes of Scripture—“doctrine” (tell us what we should believe), “reproof” (show us what we are doing wrong), and “correction” (remedy our bad thinking). These three elements will “instruct [teach] us in righteousness.” They will show us how God wants us to live, “that [purpose or intent] the man of God may be perfect, [not sinless but] throughly furnished unto all good works” (verse 17). The Holy Bible alone teaches us everything God wants us to believe, and it equips us to do everything He wants us to accomplish. Authority is not in church councils, preachers, priests, popes, doctrinal statements, hunches, impressions, creeds, et cetera. The authority is in the written Word of God, the Holy Scriptures.

In light of God’s present-day dealings with mankind, there is a special way to use the Bible text. Failure to approach Holy Writ, God’s way, will cause us more damage than had we never read the Bible. Friends, we must remember today’s Scripture if we are to make sense of all Scripture….

To Know the Holy Bible

Friday, November 25, 2016

“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Timothy 3:16,17 KJV).

Friend, may you come to know the Holy Bible as God wants you to know it!

Visiting a “Christian” bookstore or website, looking for a Bible, is a most daunting task. There are many translations from which to choose—NLT, Amplified, ESV, the Message, HCSB, the Voice, “God’s Word,” NRSV, NASB, NKJV, NIV, the Living Bible. Which to buy? Oh, but these are the more recent versions. Actually, during the last 135 years, 100 to 200 modern English translations have been published and marketed! Sadly, “scholars”—employing heathen, non-Christian viewpoints—have used their perversions of the Holy Bible to harass and divide the Christian public.

Satan is the master deceiver. Literally, the best counterfeiter there has ever been and ever will ever be! The Devil’s first words ever uttered in Scripture are found in Genesis 3:1: “Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?” Satan attacked God’s Word by questioning it. Even today, he uses the flesh of men who say, “A better translation is…. This passage is not found in the ‘oldest and best’ manuscripts… That word is wrong…. This verse is not inspired…. We need to publish another version with better readings….” Yet, these are often the “educated” people leading our seminaries, Bible colleges, and churches! They echo Satan’s damnable question, “Yea, hath God said…?”

Concerning the New Testament, there are over 5,500 Greek manuscripts (excluding other languages). About 90 to 95 percent agree with our King James Bible. Only a handful of manuscripts disagree with this majority, and that handful (which even disagree amongst themselves!) has been used in “scholarly” circles to cast doubt on God’s preserved Word in English. If the King James Bible has been used by Anglophone Christians for over 400 years, we should hold fast to it today… especially in this day of rampant false teaching!

You may click here for more information about Bible versions: https://333wordsofgrace.wordpress.com/bible-timeline-other-study-aids/.

Not Left to Ourselves

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God (1 Corinthians 2:9,10 KJV).

Hallelujah—God did not leave us to ourselves!

Recently, while taking care of business at a government office, my services took so long to be rendered. While I sat waiting, the clerk helping me struck up light conversation. She complained to me how the procedure was “so complicated”—she had to go through so many steps on her computer before she could access my files and print my necessary papers. The thought immediately occurred to me. Millions of people think bigger government will solve our problems! (*Smacks forehead*)

Friends, as a dear brother in Christ often says, when God wants to judge mankind, He does not have to break out into a sweat. He can simply give mankind over to himself and mankind will ruin himself (see Romans 1:17-32). Mankind is just so naturally corrupt, so he will always eventually find himself before insurmountable obstacles and in inescapable dilemmas. Look at the world religions—the absolute spiritual darkness of people who worship rats, trees, cows, monkeys, bread and wine, and even small children! Look at the world governments—avarice, sex scandals, lies, and wasteful spending. Look at the educational system—empty curriculums, confused young people, comical opinions of men proclaimed as “the truth.” (All because they refused the light of the Word of God.)

Left to ourselves, we would truly be helpless and hopeless! However, praise God for the “but” of today’s Scripture! In His goodness, He did not leave us without revelation. He caused His inspired Word to be written down long ago, to be preserved through the ages in a multiplicity of manuscript copies, and to be translated into our language (English) so we can have it right now. We hold that inspired, inerrant, preserved Word of God when we have a King James Bible. If ever we drift away from the standards found in that King James Bible, we will surely go back the way of darkness!

Bible Q&A #320: “Seethe not a young goat in his mother’s milk?