Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Holy Scriptures?


     Just started studying the book of Romans this month. There is so much truth in this first chapter and a lot I could talk about. But in my discussions with others at work and on-line, I have seen that many people, especially Christians, don't believe the Bible to be holy.

  • Paul, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated to the gospel of God which He promised before through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures (Romans 1:1-2)
     The Merriam-Webster defines holy as: exalted or worthy of complete devotion as one perfect in goodness and righteousness; Devine; devoted entirely to the deity or the work of the deityhaving a divine quality.


     Is this how we see the Scriptures? Many religions that are in the Christian fold have over time, picked apart the Holy Scriptures to such a degree that you can hardly, if at all, call them Christian. They hollow out the Holy Scriptures for their own purposes and all that is left is a hollow shell of the Bible filled with customs, rites, culture, new doctrine and religiosity. 

    In my study I went through and looked at what the Bible says:

  • for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit. (2 Peter 1:21)
  •  in hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began (Titus 1:2)
  • For this reason we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe. (1 Thessalonians 2:13)
  • having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever (1 Peter 1:23)
  • 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 complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
  • as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures. (2 Peter 3:16)
     In 2 Timothy I learned that ALL Scripture is inspired, or "God Breathed." In 2 Peter I see that men were moved by the Holy Spirit and that it applies to New Testament writings. That is how I need to treat the Bible, as the word of God, inspired by the Holy Spirit. When that is taken away we are left with a god put into human terms and desires. A god that is not God anymore. 

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Paul Is Bitten By A Snake

     As I get through the Book of Acts, I see Romans on the horizon. The letter to the Roman Church is probably authored to some of the very people Paul is greeted by when he gets to mainland Italy. A letter that I am anxious to read and study, knowing the power that is in its words.

     This last chapter of Acts is filled with more miracles, fellowship and encouragement. The ship Paul is on comes to Malta, an island that Luke tells us is filled with kind natives. Though these natives are firm in their pagan beliefs. As Paul is gathering sticks and laying them on a fire, he is bitten on the hand by a viper. The pagans think this is an omen and that Paul must be a murderer. But after he is miraculously unharmed by the venomous snake, they believe him to be a god.

     I found this very interesting in my study. That this is a gift of the Spirit that is normally overlooked yet is a fulfillment of prophecy. In Luke 10:18-20 and Mark 16:17-18 we see this as one of the many gifts of the Spirit promised to believers. It is mentioned along with immunity to poison, speaking in languages, healing and casting out of demons. I find this particularly interesting among those that believe the gifts of the Spirit did not fade after the apostolic period. I have never seen anyone display the gift of walking on snakes and scorpions, or drinking poison. Charismatics will often babble and chant in an unbiblical version of tongues, heal in a manner that is unconfirmed, make contrary prophecies, but never have I seen any drink poison or get bitten by a snake.

     Moving on now. The crew is taken in by a man named Publius. He is a kind but ill man. The Bible says that Publius has dysentery and that Paul then heals him. After this miracle, Paul heals the rest of the people on the island that are diseased. I learned in the study that a church was started in Malta and if we know Paul, he surely had something to do with it.

     In Acts 28:14-15 I see again how important fellowship is. Even to Paul, an apostle, he finds courage and comfort by others in Christ. The fact that these brothers came to meet Paul on his way to Rome meant so much to him. Often in todays church we are so anxious to meet for an hour on Sundays and get back home. As Christians it is necessary to make time for each other in teaching, fellowship and comfort.

     Another part that I love in this chapter is its abrupt closing. Where we hear about Paul spending the rest of his time in Rome receiving all who came to him. That he was, "preaching the kingdom of God and teaching the things which concerned the Lord Jesus Christ with all confidence, no one forbidding him." (Acts 28:31) Paul is the kind of man we need to be. The kind of person who preaches the gospel to all that will listen and that no one forbid us. That it is one of the first and foremost priorities in our lives.