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Here is a very simple tool to help you study the Bible. All of these elements are used in teaching and studying the Bible effectively. Below the image is a link to download the PDF of this document so that you can reference, share or print this document. Enjoy and I hope and pray that this helps you to more accurately, “rightly divide the Word of Truth” and share what you are learning with others.
The following is an answer to a recent question I received from a seeking skeptic. May you be encouraged to boldly reason your faith in an intelligent and loving way. The World has great and honest questions. We should learn to patiently lend a listening ear and do our best in reasoning with them, leading them to God.
Here is the Question:Does the bible distinguish if it is more important to use the right words to express the wrong ideas or the wrong words to express the right ideas? Example, if I use the word “energy” in replace of the word God to express God, but think of the same image as those who say God, is this ok?
Here is the Answer (in the context of the letter i received, the person had many more questions which is why i gave this exhaustive illustration. ill share the other questions later):
First of all, A Christian’s life should be governed by the Word of God (the Bible). This does not mean that there are not Hypocrite-Christians who speak one thing and practice another as there are hypocrites in every faith and in every belief system. There are hypocrite atheists, agnostics…etc but this does not mean that we should reject absolutes simply because of errors in human behavior or follow-through. Truth is truth; in the Bible and elsewhere. We don’t throw the baby out with the bath-water so-to-speak. And if hypocrites (liars, money hungry TV evangelists, child-molesting priests/pastors… the list could go on) are the bath water and Jesus and the Bible are the baby we can just as well throw out the bath-water hypocrites and yet still deal solely with Jesus and the Bible. That is the decision each person must come to on their own: What do I believe about Jesus and the Bible. With that pre-face let me attempt to answer your questions.
The Bible says to “speak the truth in love.” (Ephesians 4:15)
Imagine that a doctor just diagnosed you with a terrible deadly disease. “You are going to die!” says the doctor. You walk away feeling like you’ve been sucker-punched in the gut, scratching your head, saying to yourself, “What a cruel thing that has just happened to me.” You don’t blame the doctor for your disease. The disease was already there. The doctor simply let you know your inevitable condition. He revealed the reality of your condition: Certain doom. You don’t walk away going “What a cruel doctor.” But rather “What a cruel thing is going on inside of my body.” The doctor has simply told you the truth of what is happening in your body. Now, imagine that the doctor had just given you this death sentence and allowed you to just walk away hopeless, and yet withheld from you the further truth that He also knows of a cure for your body that will make you well. Now that might seem cruel. He gave you the diagnosis without the cure. He spoke some truth to you, and yet withheld other truth. This is not love, it is not loving. If a father sees his child playing in the street with traffic, the father does not simply allow the child to continue in the behavior because the child decides, “this is what I want to do,” but the father, because He loves His child must speak boldly to the child, letting him know that if he continues in this behavior, his life is in certain danger and inevitable doom. Does this spoil the child’s fun? For a moment it might, but if the child hears the voice of the father and listens, than the love of the father has won the life of the son. If the son does not hear the father’s voice and obey, than he has taken his life in his own hands and will sadly die. The heart of the father was to speak the truth in love, giving his son the bad news (you cannot continue this way) so that he can experience life; receiving the good news.
This is the same as our diagnoses/ cure scenario with the doctor and the patient. In order to bring healing to the patient, the doctor must give him a proper and true diagnoses even if it is hard to give (because that is the loving thing to do), and as a bonus and a blessing, the doctor gives the hope of a cure. But as we know from life, truth is not always welcomed or received. The patient may not accept the cure because he does not want to accept the preceding diagnoses. But as we know, you cannot have one without the other. You will not accept the cure for cancer if you don’t first accept that you have the disease. Though the doctor was faithful to deliver his message to the patient (or speak the truth in love), it is up to the patient to receive or reject both. One option leading to the reality of death (whether he believes it or not), or the other leading to the reality of Life.
So, in using words, we are to speak the truth. And do it in a way that would reflect the heart of God: love. Though truth is truth, however it comes across, there is a tactful, gracious, and loving way to display and speak it to others.
So, if someone says “Energy” or “Mother-nature” and really means “creating-force” or “God” I would need further clarification. Because as Christians, we are to say what we mean and mean what we say. I say, Jesus is God and nothing was created without Him. I simply mean that Jesus is God, God is Jesus, Not “mother-nature” , Not some mysterious force, but a known, revealed God who has a name and a certain, absolute identity.
The last we spoke, our ordinary man, Isaiah stood in awe and fear before the throne of God. The posts were shaken, the room filled with smoke, and the seraphim cried, “holy holy holy!”. Wow! Can you remember the mood: quite serious, fearful, and humble. If you did some homework and read the entirety of the chapter you would have heard the rest of the prophets cry: ” I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips…”
I am a man; defiled, is Isaiah’s cry; I am a nasty sinner; in our own plain language. Forget any temptation to believe that you have been reading a fairy tale or bedtime story. It is the trickery of time and the craftiness of our enemy to dull our faith by convincing us to read through the Bible as if it were only some book, when the Lord would have us experience Him through its true and living words and events. Do not be fooled, Isaiah was a real man: flesh and blood, body and spirit; full of emotion and feeling… just like you and me. A real man, before the presence of the Almighty! Now, maybe you can relate in some small way, at least in your humanity: desperate for redemption; longing for peace; needy for salvation; but lost in sin and among a people gross with the like. I know I can relate. But relation does not stop there…
Though lost in the deepest pits of despair; tainted by every sin imaginable, a man humbled himself and like Job, repented in dust and ashes (job 42:6). Though relatable to our hero, I am not talking about Isaiah anymore, I am talking about me. Can you relate? Have you been there? I have learned something great from the Lord; that He, in His awesomeness can create beauty from ashes. The best place on earth I have ever been, has been on my knees, being resuscitated, filled and most importantly, forgiven. Though men fall down as dead before the presence of The King, They shall be revived, called, and empowered to go! That’s why I said above that relation does not stop at fear and trembling, but like Isaiah, our souls have been touched by hot coals and our spirits brought to life by His life giving spirit. In our humility, we have been forgiven all our sins and by the power and glory of HIS life giving grace we may now enter into the most holy place with great boldness (Heb 4:16), knowing that our great forgiver desires to be our able and willing empowerer.
Dear friend, maybe you feel powerless? maybe you feel sinful, wicked, and completely unworthy? Maybe you have fallen before the Lord and feel unable to get back up? condemned? Maybe you have been drowning in legalism and pharisitical-religious-idioticy (i have been there)? Are you face to the ground and overwhelmed? Allow me to encourage you to stop listening to the voice of condemnation. Stop striving in your own flesh. I implore you, stay where you are, strive no more. Remain face to the ground. Be quiet. Be still and hear the voice of the Almighty calling you by name… He hears your cry and He sees your state. He comes to you out of the dust and ashes, hot coal in hand. Allow Him to purify your soul. He will cleanse you of all sin and wash you from all uncleanness. The rumors are true: our God is a consuming fire. Rest in that fire and be cleansed for eternity.
Amazing… The same God to be feared is the God who forgives… The God who humbles is the God who exalts… When we are weak He is strong… When we are faithless, He remains faithful… Though we be a weak, sinful people, He in His love and Grace offers strength and purity. Though we be ordinary, He is a God of the extraordinary. Its seems to me, that our God is in the business of taking ordinary men and women and empowering them to do the seemingly impossible. May i challenge you? His business has not gone bankrupt! He is the same yesterday today and forever. Its time to get over ourselves and to forget about our insufficiencies. He has given us grace upon grace! Where are the redeemed who will trust in faith that our God will be faithful and strong on their behalf just as He has been since Genesis 1:1? Do you not have the strength? the time? the words? the status? the list goes on… He has more than enough of all the above and more. In His grace He offers the Strength that you do not deserve. He gives the power by HIS Spirit that you do not have nor deserve and so on and so forth. This is His grace toward you daily. Though you be a single man prostrate on the floor of the temple of God, He will raise you up, forgive you your sin and call you out….
“who will go for Me? Who shall I send?”
The Lord, He calls. Who will answer His call?
“Lord, Help us to remember Your strength and favor toward us and to remember that we are only men. It is not by our strength but by Your Spirit. Thank You Lord. Amen.”