Category Archives: Bible Study
As I was exercising one morning last week, I was struck with the fact that the older I get, the harder I have to work to keep my heredity at bay. In that sense, my parents did not do me any favors by passing on their genetic makeup to me.
My father had high blood pressure all his life. When I was in my 20’s, our family physician told me never to get heavy if the condition was hereditary. Now that I am in my 60’s, I have to pay more attention to what I eat and how much I exercise. On top of that, my dad had glaucoma and my mother had cataracts. I have to get my eyes checked on an annual basis to keep track of those potential conditions.
At to that my recovery from a broken leg/hip two years ago. I continue to do my therapy exercises trying to regain more strength and mobility. I feel like Frodo Baggins at the end of The Lord of the Rings where he tells Samwise Gamgee that some injuries never heal completely. Despite all my efforts and exercises, I wonder if my leg will ever be 100% again.
If I go to this much trouble and effort for my physical health, how much more attention should I pay to my spiritual health? In the same way that I have to exercise and have annual physical checkups, I need to exercise spiritually as well. Colossians 3:5-17 instructs me to allow my old sinful habits and practices to die. In their place, I need to cultivate healthy spiritual character qualities. I need to stop my old bad habits and cultivate some new healthier habits of the heart.
5 Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 6 On account of these the wrath of God is coming. 7 In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. 8 But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. 9 Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. 11 Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.
12 Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16 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. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Whether spiritual or physical, I need to work hard to ensure good, healthy habits.
Over the past six weeks, I taught a summer series on the book of Revelation at First Central Bible Church in Chicopee, MA, on Wednesday evenings. We met for 90 minutes each night from July 3 – August 7. Because of time constraints, we only focused on the book of Revelation rather than do an extended study of eschatology and pull in all the references to end times prophecy in the Old & New Testaments. Much of the material was gleaned from Dr. Tom Constable’s Expository Bible Study notes. (Dr. Constable was one of my profs at Dallas Theological Seminary.) Here are links to the various outlines I distributed each week.
- Revelation 1-3
- Revelation 4-5
- Revelation 6-9
- Revelation 10-14
- Revelation 15-18
- Revelation 19-22
- Seven churches of Revelation – maps
- The Truth & Timing of the Rapture – Dr. Mark Hitchcock of Dallas Theological Seminary
- Four views of the rapture & Why I believe in the pretribulation rapture
This week I am preaching on Hebrews 6:1-8. Verses 4-6 are some of the most difficult verses in all of Scripture to understand. I thought it was important to review the rules and principles for interpreting Scripture as I waded into the passage.
I believe that Scripture should be interpreted using a literal (also called normal or plain), grammatical, historical hermeneutic. This approach incorporates the following principles:
1) Interpret the passage literally. Accept the plain sense unless it doesn’t make sense.
2) Examine the grammar of the text. Study the parts of speech and verb tenses. This allows for figures of speech and the language of appearance.
3) Study the circles of context. Each verse must be interpreted in its various contexts (immediate context, context of the book, other books written by the same writer, whole of Scripture). What comes before/after the verse? Does the author use the same word/concept in other parts of the book? If so, it should be interpreted consistently throughout.
4) Examine the historical context. What can you learn from the culture and history of the time in which the book was written? How does this help you understand what is presented in the verse or book?
5) Compare Scripture with Scripture, allowing it to interpret itself. Don’t build a doctrine on an isolated verse. Find out what the whole of Scripture says on the issue.
6) Recognize the progressiveness of revelation. God added more and more detail as time went on.
As we begin a new year, consider what God might want to do in your life in 2019. Begin the year by obeying the instruction, “Sing to the Lord a new song” (Psalm 33:3; 96:1; 98:1; 144:9; 149:1; Isaiah 42:10).
As many times as the word “new” appears in Scripture, chances are he wants to do something NEW in your life and mine.
Psalm 40:3 – He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the Lord.
Isaiah 43:18–19 – “Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.
Isaiah 57:10 – You were wearied with the length of your way, but you did not say, “It is hopeless”; you found new life for your strength, and so you were not faint.
Isaiah 62:2 – The nations shall see your righteousness, and all the kings your glory, and you shall be called by a new name that the mouth of the Lord will give.
Isaiah 65:17 – “For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth, and the former things shall not be remembered or come into mind.
Jeremiah 31:31 – “Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah,
Lamentations 3:22–23 – The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
Ezekiel 36:26 – And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.
2 Corinthians 5:17 – Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
2 Peter 3:13 – But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.
Revelation 2:17 – He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, with a new name written on the stone that no one knows except the one who receives it.’
Revelation 21:1 – Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more.
Revelation 21:5 – And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”
Allow God to do a new work in your life in 2019.
Happy New Year!