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Category Archives: Bible Study

How’s your hearing?

When I experienced vertigo in 2009, the doctors ran a number of tests trying to determine the cause of my affliction. One test by an audiologist revealed that I have some hearing loss due to working in a steel fabrication shop for seven years and not wearing ear protection.

Some people lose their hearing due to disease. Some grow hard of hearing due to the process of aging. Others, like myself, experience hearing loss due to negligence.

What is true physically is also true spiritually. In Exodus 5-6, Pharaoh and the nation of Israel are both hard of hearing. Pharaoh’s problem stems from a hard heart while Israel’s problem is traced back to discouragement from a lifetime of affliction.

Exodus 5 begins with Moses and Aaron presenting their request to Pharaoh that the Israelites be allowed to leave Egypt to worship Yahweh in the wilderness. Pharaoh responds by saying, “Who is the Lord, that I should obey his voice and let Israel go? I do not know the Lord, and moreover, I will not let Israel go.” Pharaoh refuses to acknowledge God’s existence and authority. He chooses not to listen to God’s commands.

After initially believing God was going to deliver them (Exodus 4:29-31), the people of Israel became discouraged when Pharaoh not only rejected their request but made life even more difficult (Exodus 5:4-9). When Moses tries to encourage them to remember God’s promises, “they did not listen to Moses, because of their broken spirit and harsh slavery” (Exodus 6:9).

Pharaoh was hard of hearing because of pride. Israel was hard of hearing because of discouragement. Pharaoh wouldn’t listen because he wanted to be in charge. Israel wouldn’t listen because they had given up. Pharaoh chose not to listen because he thought he was bigger than God. Israel chose not to listen because they thought that God didn’t care. Pharaoh refused to obey God’s voice. Israel refused to believe God’s voice.

How’s your hearing? Do you listen for God’s direction? Do you follow his instructions? Do you believe his promises? Do you obey his commands?

How’s your hearing?

 
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Posted by on July 17, 2017 in Bible Study, Exodus, Moses, Personal growth

 

The secret to revival

Why do those who want victory over sin struggle to say “No” to temptation? Why do those who want to walk with God seemingly spin their wheels and go in circles? Why is it that those with the greatest of intentions never move forward? Why is revival so elusive when it is desired so deeply?

The book of Ezra describes a revival that took place after the Jews returned from a 70 year exile in Babylon. Cyrus, the king of Persia issued a decree allowing the Jews to return home and rebuild the temple (1:1-4). Zerubbabel led the rebuilding of the temple (chapters 1-6) and Ezra rebuilt the people (chapters 7-10).

The secret to the successful revival lies in a simple three-word phrase, they “made a beginning” (3:8). Good intentions were not enough. Permission and encouragement was not enough. Passionate desires were not enough. Revival would never break out until they “made a beginning.”

Once they made a beginning, they laid the foundation for a new temple (3:8-14). Opposition rose up to test their resolve (chapter 4). They had to restart the work (5:2). They completed the temple and worship was restored (6:13-22). A beginning was needed to start and complete the building project.

Making a beginning was also needed for personal revival. Ezra “set his heart to study the Law of the Lord, and to do it and to teach his statutes and rules in Israel.” Ezra (1) made a beginning (set his heart) for (2) personal study, (3) personal obedience, and (4) teaching others to do the same.

The secret to a successful revival is taking the first step. Revival seldom breaks out until we make a beginning and set our hearts to study, obey, and share God’s word with others. Granted, we need to follow it with further steps of obedience and bathe the revival in prayer. But it never begins until we make a beginning.

 
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Posted by on May 25, 2017 in Bible Study, Personal growth, Scripture

 

Handle Scripture with Care

Book Review: The Most Misused Stories in the Bible: Surprising ways popular Bible stories are misunderstood, by Eric J. Bargerhuff

Have you ever heard someone say the story of David and Goliath is about facing your fears? Have you ever used the story of the woman caught in adultery to justify that Jesus teaches that no one is perfect? Has someone ever told you that the account of Judas betraying Jesus means that you can lose your salvation? Have you ever heard any of these ideas and wondered, “Is that what Scripture really teaches?”

Author and professor Eric J. Bargerhuff has written a book, The Most Misused Stories in the Bible,: Surprising ways popular Bible stories are misunderstood, in which he teaches how to sort through modern-day distortions of well-known Bible stories to discover their true meaning. While explaining 14 specific biblical stories including the ones mentioning above, what the author is really doing is teaching how to interpret the Scriptures using a literal-grammatical-historical hermeneutic. He is illustrating how to avoid 10 specific errors in interpreting the Bible.

  • Ignoring the context
  • Misunderstanding the main point
  • Reading modern-day biases into the text
  • Dismissing discovered truth that goes against what we already believe or think
  • Allowing tradition to cloud the facts
  • Reading into parables what is not really there
  • Ignoring what the Bible teaches elsewhere on any given topic
  • Giving new meaning to words and ideas that are not consistent with God’s Word
  • Missing the plain-sense meaning of a text or ignoring figurative language
  • Taking a man-centered approach instead of seeing God and his glory as the central focus of Scripture

The book is designed for those who desire to grow in their understanding of Scripture but don’t know how to do so. A short, but helpful volume for those who are young in their faith or unskilled in Bible study principles.

Disclosure: I received this book free from Bethany House through the Bethany House Blogger Review Program http://bakerpublishinggroup.com/bethanyhouse/bookreviewers. The opinions I have expressed are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review.

 
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Posted by on May 15, 2017 in Bible Study, Books

 
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Don’t let your Bible get dusty

 
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Posted by on April 27, 2017 in Bible Study, Tim Challies

 

Profiles of Bible Women

31-women-of-the-bibleBook Review: 31 Women of the Bible: Who They Were and What We Can Learn from Them Today, by Holman Bible Staff (written by Len Woods)

Len Woods of Holman Bible Staff has written a handy volume profiling 31 women of the Bible. It is the companion volume to 31 Men of the Bible. 20 of the women are found in the pages of the Old Testament and the remaining 11 in the New Testament. Like its companion volume, each profile is 4 pages long. The first page is a famous painting or artwork of the character. The next two pages give a summary of the woman’s life or a snapshot of one scene from her life. The final page contains a “Takeaway” or key principle for application as well as a “Food for Thought” section which contains 3-4 questions for discussion.

The book is designed as a devotional aid or a tool for daily study. It is small enough to carry in a backpack or briefcase for reading on the go.

The book was written to remind readers of Scripture of three great truths: (1) Women have played an indispensable role in the great story of the Bible; (2) Bible people were flawed, flesh-and-blood folks—not unlike us; and (3) The most vivid and valuable lessons come not from a lecture but from a life.

It appears the book aims to whet people’s appetite for further study. Rather than being an exposition of a biblical text or an exhausting study of the character’s life, each account tells a story from the life of the individual. Some include one verse while others contain several Scripture references. The various accounts will challenge, encourage, warn, and help the reader.

Disclosure: I received this book free from B&H Publishing through the B&H/Lifeway Bloggers program http://www.bhbloggers.com/. The opinions I have expressed are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review.

 
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Posted by on November 17, 2016 in Bible Study, Books

 

Profiles of Biblical Characters

31-men-of-the-bibleBook Review: 31 Men of the Bible: Who They Were and What We Can Learn from Them Today, by Holman Bible Staff (written by Randy Southern)

Randy Southern of Holman Bible Staff has written a handy volume profiling 31 men of the Bible. 21 come from the Old Testament and the remaining 10 from the New Testament. Each profile is 4 pages long. The first page is a famous painting or artwork of the character. The next two pages give a summary of the man’s life or a snapshot of one scene from his life. The final page contains a “Takeaway” or key principle for application as well as a “Food for Thought” section which contains 3-4 questions for discussion.

The book is designed as a devotional aid or a tool for daily study. It is small enough to carry in a backpack or briefcase for reading on the go.

It appears the book aims to whet people’s appetite for further study. Rather than being an exposition of a biblical text, each account tells a story from the life of the individual. Some include one verse while others contain several Scripture references.

Disclosure: I received this book free from B&H Publishing through the B&H/Lifeway Bloggers program http://www.bhbloggers.com/. The opinions I have expressed are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review.

 
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Posted by on November 11, 2016 in Bible Study, Books

 

Helping new believers and skeptics better understand the Bible

Unlocking the BibleBook Review: Unlocking the Bible: What it is, How we got it, and Why we can trust it, by Jeff Lasseigne

Are you trying to help a new believer understand the Bible? Are you trying to convince a skeptic why they should trust the Bible? Consider giving them a copy of Jeff Lasseigne’s newest book, Unlocking the Bible: What it is, How we got it, and Why we can trust it. The book will give them an overview of basic issues concerning the Scriptures.

The first half of the book provides a survey of fundamental questions about the Bible. How did we get the Bible? Why can we trust it? What is the story and flow of the Old Testament? What happened in between the Old and New Testaments? What is the New Testament about? How should I study the Bible? How does someone teach the Bible? The second half of the book gives a brief overview of every book of the Bible. The author gives important information, fascinating facts, quotable quotes, notable notes, and how you can see Christ in the book.

The book is easy to read and understand. The author weaves stories, humor, quotes, and other material into his presentation. The book would be a helpful gift to a spiritual seeker or a new follower of Christ. It might frustrate a scholar or pastor because it merely whet’s one appetite and does not satisfy one’s hunger. It merely gets one started on the road to greater discoveries.

Disclosure: I received this book free from Baker Books through the Baker Books Bloggers www.bakerbooks.com/bakerbooksbloggers program. The opinions I have expressed are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html.

 
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Posted by on September 6, 2016 in Bible Study, Books