Category Archives: All Posts

Update and Goals

My family and I have moved nearly 3300 miles away from where we once were. I’ve been on a hiatus of sorts because of that, but I’m hoping to get back into the swing of things. Not really because many people read this, but because I need to write and think more than people need to read. And for those of you who do actually read I really thank you kindly. You are doing the hard part. Actually reading what I write and giving up time to see what I have to say is more than I deserve. So this quick note is for those who stick around. Thank You.

In connection with that update I want to write quickly my goals. Now goals are things we need to set that should make sense, be practical, but also push us. It should be something we can actually do. Not with ease but within reasonable effort. So I’m setting some goals for this blog that I am writing down mostly for myself but also so that if anyone wants to they can hold me to my goals.

Goals also may not be obtained, but it is better to try and fail than to not try because you might fail. So here I am, setting goals that I can actually accomplish but will probably fail in hopes that with more work I will eventually meet my own goals.

My goal is to post a post a day. They may be short or long, they might be meditations or random notes, but I desire them to be useful, both for myself in thinking and for others in reading.

May the glory of my Lord Jesus Christ shine ever more in this world and in the world of the internet.


Repentance

Christians in America need to start repenting. We really do.

We have a fun time poking at the culture around us and pointing out the major logs in their eyes. But if we want change to take place in our nation, we can’t just call those people out there to repent. We ourselves need to see the problems we contribute to this mess we live in.

It’s stupid to complain about the woes of this country without recognizing that we probably often follow in the footsteps of those who have caused those woes. Take for example abortion. We as Christian lament that abortion is taking place near and around us. But how did we get to where abortion became on demand?

Easy: Because Christians of the past allowed for on demand divorce. The beginning of the destruction of God’s institutions began when Christians stopped believing in those institutions. When you can get divorced for any reason, why not kill your children for any reason?

When men gave their children to be educated by others, abrogating their responsibility to train up their children, their hearts began to be turned away from their children, and in turn their children’s hearts turned away from them. So why would a man care to be responsible to a wife and children?

And these things weren’t being done by a secular society, but a Christian one.

We have much sin in this country to repent of. Judgement starts in God’s house. We assume individuality over and above God’s institution of marriage and family. Christians began that, so it’s no wonder our society see’s man’s feelings as the great controller of reality. Christians started it.

So there is much to blame for the sins and problems of our society because of previous generations, but one way out of those problems isn’t by compounding them more in disobeying God even further. God commands us to honor our fathers and mothers. So while we can speak of their sins, we must obey God in honoring.

It’s our disobedience that got us here, and continuing in rebellion will not get us out. So we must first sanctify Jesus Christ as Lord of our lives and we must obey him in all things. And that always first starts with repentance and repenting of our individual sins, as well as the sins of those around us. We need to repent and we need to obey God.

It is not enough to mock the culture. That has it’s place. But we must be on our knees lamenting over our sin, our indifference, our cold hearts, our lust, our effeminacy, our pride, our ignorance, and our arrogance. We must lament over the sins of Christians who continue to ignore the word of God, who abuse his word, and who hate obedience to his word.

We are in a situation where Christians all over America need to repent. If not, we will get what’s coming to us.


Which Christ do you Proclaim?

In America today, it’s all too easy to meet a Christian on the street, in a magazine, or on TV. They’re nearly everywhere you turn.

And that’s the problem.

Something that once meant something now is as loose as a dog who is fenced in by a fence without wood or nails. Nearly anyone can be a Christian and yet not believe in Jesus Christ. It’s impossible to claim to believe in Jesus and yet deny Him at the same time.

Actually, I take that back. Many Christians do it today. They do the impossible, I must admit. They can do all things through Christ who strengthen’s them, one of those things being denying Christ.

Of course, the denial isn’t out-right. It’s not an in your face, I don’t believe in Jesus denial. It’s more like the husband who never wears his wedding ring, especially at strip-clubs, never see’s his wife or kids, and never takes responsibility for them. Oh, he never denies his marriage. He boasts in his “happy marriage!” He talks about how these other husbands who actually listen to their wives and care for the education of their children “ought not judge the other husbands” because he “knows what husbanding it truly about.”

It’s a denial that boasts of many things, talks about this amazing love for Jesus, but when you exam their lives, there is nothing of the kind. And this tragedy means there are many sheep being led by false teachers and prophets, and new religious groups rise up who speak in some authority and seem to be the opposite of the culture, but are just as dangerous and deadly.

I call myself a Christian, and I will stick with the term because it does mean something. If others want to call themselves Christians it doesn’t bother me, even if they’re false. They’ll at some point be found out and or be snuffed out by God. I’ll keep following Jesus Christ, because he is my only hope for salvation.

Anyone who calls themselves a Christian is proclaiming a Christ. The question is, which Christ are they proclaiming? A Christ who looks like them and their beliefs? Or a Christ of the Bible?

I meet plenty of closet Christians, and one day they’ll come out of the closet, or they’ll be shown for what they really are: pretenders. For now, being a Christian has a wide variety of meanings and as a Christian I just have to deal with it.

Well, I do more than deal with it. It means I get to call these Christians to follow Christ, to which they show their hypocrisy by being labeled some sort of hateful bigot because I side with the God of the Bible.

I’m okay with being called a hateful racist bigot, because I get to respond “I know you are but what am I?” Hopefully we can call people to a higher standard of reasoning than name calling and childish tactics, but something tells me universities today don’t know what reasoning is. If they did, people may actually be taught how to listen, dialogue, and speak without name calling.

And that would be a tragedy.


John Cassian on Reading Scripture

This man therefore, when some of the brethren were wondering at the splendid light of his knowledge and were asking of him some meanings of Scripture, said that a monk who wanted to acquire a knowledge of the Scriptures ought not to spend his labour on the works of commentators, but rather to keep all the efforts of his mind and intentions of his heart set on purifying himself from carnal vices: for when these are driven out, at once the eyes of the heart, as if the veil of the passions were removed, will begin as it were naturally to gaze on the mysteries of Scripture: since they were not declared to us by the grace of the Holy Spirit in order that they should remain unknown and obscure; but they are rendered obscure by our fault, as the veil of our sins covers the eyes of the heart, and when these are restored to their natural state of health, the mere reading of Holy Scripture is by itself amply sufficient for beholding the true knowledge, nor do they need the aid of commentators, just as these eyes of flesh need no man’s teaching how to see, provided that they are free from dimness or the darkness of blindness. For this reason there have arisen so great differences and mistakes among commentators because most of them, paying no sort of attention towards purifying the mind, rush into the work of interpreting the Scriptures, and in proportion to the density or impurity of their heart form opinions that are at variance with and contrary to each other’s and to the faith, and so are unable to take in the light of truth.

John Cassian


Try this the next time you read your Bible

An author intends for their words to mean something. A good author consider’s their audience and writes in an understandable way that will communicate to them effectively. Unfortunately, the way most people read today is dishonoring and disrespectful to authors.

Surrounded by the culture I am today, most people don’t care what someone meant by what they said. Instead,  they will interpret it however they want. You see, there is much confusion on the meaning of words and how to communicate and understand people. This is bound to happen when you call evil good and good evil. You’re bound to not understand what words mean, what people are saying, and what is actually going on because you don’t think words are actually trying to communicate something.

What is worse is that people not only do this to one another, but they do this to the Word of God. People interpret Bible however they want to by disrespecting the authors.

For example, they will take the words: effeminate men will go to hell unless they repent; and they will interpret that to mean you hate effeminate men and want them all to die. Or that you believe you’re better than they are. They essentially interpret the purpose you have in saying what you say.

Today, when the Bible is read, they interpret it thinking they know the mysteries of the cosmos and are allowed to take it whatever way they want to. And this is a major problem. This is a major problem because words lose their meaning in a society like that.

If a word or a sentence means 10,000 things because 10,000 people take them to mean something different, then that is a society that doesn’t know how to communicate effectively.

If you still don’t see a problem with this, then never get upset again when someone misunderstands you. Because your words don’t mean anything and we can take them however we want them to mean, right?

We must let the author mean what he means. We must let the author tell us what he means. And that means, instead of taking it to mean what we want, we get rid of our preconceived beliefs about a text and we look at it and think about what the author is trying to communicate.

The technique I am going to tell you is a great way to start practicing. It’s not the best way or the only way, but it’s a fun and helpful way.

Here it is, in the form of a question:

How would the author of this book read their words out loud?

The next book of the Bible you want to study, think about this and even try it out loud. Read the Bible and imagine the way the author would want it to be read out loud, and then read it that way.

What this does is get you thinking about the author, and his focus, and his emphasis, and his style, and the voice he’d have, and where he’d raise his voice, or weep, or sing, or shout, or get quiet.

Practice it with this passage, and remember: don’t read it the way you think it should be read, think about the way John would want you to read it. How would John imitate Nicodemus and Jesus in this passage? How would John do the narration? What would John sound like reading out loud this passage?

John 3:1-21

Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him.” Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

Nicodemus said to him, “How can these things be?” Jesus answered him, “Are you the teacher of Israel and yet you do not understand these things? Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know, and bear witness to what we have seen, but you do not receive our testimony. If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you heavenly things? No one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.”

Now, of course the problem occurs that John’s native tongue wasn’t English, so we won’t technically sound like John or get it even remotely correct. But, it gets us thinking about what is John communicating, what is he trying to get across, and what would he be emphasizing in his voice in this passage?

Enjoy and let me know what you think.


Who’s are you?

Who’s are you? That’s the question the Bible asks all of us. It doesn’t ask us “who are you?” God knows who you are. He knows you better than you know yourself. However, God asks us through his word to answer the question: Who do you belong to? Who’s are you?

Who’s am I?

This is fundamental to the Bible. This is why the world was plunged into sin and all are born slaves of sin. We are born slaves of sin because of who’s we are. We are born of the seed of Adam, belonging to the lineage of Adam and thus being children of the Devil. That’s who’s we are. We are born children of Satan because Adam subjected us all to Satan.

So if I am going to tell you about “me,” then you really need to know who I belong to. Who is my authority? Who owns me?

God the Father. The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The God of David. The Father of Jesus. The Son of the Father. The Spirit of the Son and of the Father. That’s who owns me.

God decided to take ownership of me. He became my authority around October 2010.

I was a wretch. Proud in heart. Playing with the emotions of young girls. Thinking that I knew God, though I was living like a child of Satan because I was a child of Satan. I was self deceived.

I would read the Bible and twist it to my own fancy. It was like receiving orders and commands from a king, pick the words I wanted and burn the rest. Then I would declare how much I knew because I read the kings commands, and I would make the Kings commands say the opposite of what they said. And then, instead of pointing to the wisdom of the King, and the greatness of his kind commands that produced life, I would talk about how amazing I was, and how those children of the King were fools and didn’t know much about their father.

If providence would have put me in the crowd of Jews the day Jesus was crucified, I would have been among them, yelling “crucify him!” I didn’t want the Jesus that walked the earth. I wanted a Jesus of my own politically correct making, who was a liberal-conservative hybrid, obeying my whims and commands.

I increasingly used the Bible to affirm the sins God hates. And I became the fool, who ignored the teachings of the wise, and misunderstood what is plainly seen. I saw but did not see, and I heard but did not hear.

But God sent a prophet. His words pierced my soul. He exposed who I was.

I wish I could say that I am like the woman at the well. She was told by Jesus her sins. She had had five husbands, and the one she was with now wasn’t her husband. She then proceeded to go around and told everyone how amazing Jesus was, and how he knew her better than anyone, and yet she had never met him before. She believed in him. She pointed and looked to him. She has done something I don’t do: She pointed people to Jesus by declaring the sin that he had called her out on.

I am too good to tell others my sin. No, no, no. Can’t do that. “I’m a Christian! We’re perfect! I need to be seen as perfect for the world to listen to me!”

Yes, I wish I had half the courage that woman did. No. Instead, I was transformed, and then I continued to hold onto some of my sins. If not all of them.

I’m nothing like that woman at the well. I don’t boast in my weakness. I hide it. I’m so arrogant that I think I know how to evangelize better than God does.

Yet Jesus uses the weak in the world to confound and shame the wise. And boy do I think I’m wise. I have been confounded by the weak men and women of the Bible. And yet Jesus saved me from myself, and continues to do so.

I am Christ’s. I belong to Him. And it seems like He won’t let me go, and He keeps calling me and drawing me to himself.

Jesus is so patient. And I am just a sinner, being carried along by the Holy Spirit into greater degrees of Holiness. He works slow, but I praise God he continues to work.


Cowards won’t be in heaven

Revelation 21:5-8

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.” And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son. But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.” (ESV)

There is something that Christians in America are today. Cowards.

I know this because I have been one, and I’ve been repenting of it. Sadly, this has taken longer than it should because I am a coward. The world and it’s global move towards progressively hating the law of God and the sex that God has created each man and woman has caused much a confusion. Living in this day none of us are unaffected by it. Which means I too have to have a correct theology of sex, and of what it looks like to be a courageous man, and what it looks like for woman to be courageous.

Courage certainly isn’t standing up and spitting in God’s face. It’s not feeling like you are some hero because you have decided to move away from logic, reason, rationality, and the created order and innate standard of manhood and womanhood, in order to embrace your desire to dress up as a dog and run around. People who “come out” and are seen as hero’s is not simply what is wrong with our society. They are merely a symptom of a few hundred million Christians in America being cowards and agreeing with Satan’s children that it’s okay for a man to be other than as God has made him. It’s a few hundred million Christians in America hating their neighbors.

When we repent of this in ourselves and learn what Biblical manhood and womanhood is, we will be so out of step with culture that it will not be able to do anything else but persecute you.

To be a man or a woman today takes courage. And sadly, most “men” who are seen as “men” in American Christianity are not men. They’re emasculated men, effeminate, and don’t model Christ, nor any of his disciples, nor do they model even the prophets and kings of the old testament. They may jeer at the sins of David and talk about how “look, God uses broken men.” But they never bandage the wound of broken men, they merely tell broken men that’s it’s okay to be broken. Just trust in Jesus.

Sadly, Jesus never said “just trust in me.” He called people to repentance, believe in Him and give up everything. The Jesus preached today in Bible believing churches is the Jesus who eats with sinners and never tells them to repent of those sins. They merely tell them to “repent of sins.” As though a broken man knows what his sins really are.

They may say they love Jesus, and repent of a few sins, but they continue to be soft men, effeminate. Ironically, they never truly eat with Jesus. Instead, they’re like the Pharisees, disgusted that the people Jesus is eating with believe what the Bible says. They actually believe God only allows men to be elders in a church. They actually believe men are to love their wives as Christ loved the church.

The men who think they eat with Jesus, they talk much about how they’re to love their wives as Christ love the church, and they focus on the word love and on what Jesus did, ignoring that their wives are woman and that they are men, and that Christ is a man. They ignore that the Bible teaches that men are to be men and woman are to be woman. And they think it archaic that some people actually believe that Jesus really meant for men to be men. Instead, they believe that roles are fluid and it all depends on the culture. Culture determines things, not God’s word.

It’s difficult for me to celebrate July 4th. Not because I don’t respect the founders of this Nation and thank God for the privilege it is to live in America. Not because I don’t believe in freedom. It’s because that freedom has been turned into licentiousness, mockery of God’s ordinances, the sacrificing of children on the alter of convenience and prosperity, the propagation of false gospels, and the softening of men and the hardening of women.

The United States of America needs to repent. And judgement starts in God’s house. He will clean it up. But it first starts with me repenting of my effeminacy, my cowardice, my softness. It starts with me repenting of my perversion in thought and deed. My unfaithfulness to my wife.

If we’d repent of our sins, God would turn and save us.


Ephesians 1:11-12

Ephesians 1:11-14

In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory. (ESV)

In continuing going through Ephesians, we come to Ephesians 1:11-14. We’ve looked at verses 1-10, and came across the amazing truth’s of what we have in Christ when we become Christians. We continue this theme in verses 11-14.

The saints have obtained an inheritance. This is an interesting phrase because it’s past tense. We already have our inheritance, Paul is saying. Yet, the last verse indicates that we don’t have possession of it right now, and because we can’t get to our inheritance yet, God has sealed us with the Holy Spirit, who guarantees our inheritance.

I want to emphasis something that is explicit in this text but many ignore.

Christians have obtained this inheritance, why? Because they have been predestined. By who? By the one who works all things according to the counsel of his will. Who does his own will perfectly? God. So God has predestined a people to be his people and obtain an inheritance because he is working all things according to his purpose. And in God’s purpose, he works all things according to his will for that purpose. This is strong language.

God does what he wants and he works it all according to his own will. And part of that will was predestining “we.” The we is referring to Christians. The we is referring to “Paul” and “the saints who are at Ephesus.” Which, in this letter being intended as a circulatory letter, was intended for all the saints. Or all Christians who are in Christ.

Paul then continues to say that this purpose was for God’s glory and praise. God seeks to glorify and magnify himself. He does so by electing a people, predestining them, adopting them, forgiving them, uniting them to Christ, uniting all things to Christ, and giving them an inheritance.

When Paul says, “so that we who were the first to hope in Christ,” he’s literally talking about to and about that generation of Christians who were the first to hope in Christ. They were predestined to be the first, according to God’s glory, power, wisdom, and purpose, so that they’d be the first to the glory and praise of God and Christ.

God deserves all worship, praise, and glory. He does not share his glory with another. Which means God also glorifies himself. And he does so by orchestrating the entire universe according to his purposes, for his glory.

Next Sunday (Lord willing), I’ll finish with verses 13-14.

May God give you grace.


Preface: Before the Journey

Editors Note: This is the third part of a series discussing how I came to be married. The first part is here.

——————————————————————–

If I am going to share how my wife and I became one then I need to explain the events leading up to our union. I could go on in many directions so I need some guiding principles to keep me on track. Those principles will be these: 1) Seek to edify the body of Christ, 2) Not to slander anyone from my past, present, or future, and 3) write what is applicable. So no need to talk about different people and how they influenced certain thoughts and decisions I’ve made, nor past relationships that may or may not have been sinful.

So let’s begin.

This is where I start

So a year before I did something terrible, which brought my wife and I together, I didn’t even consider her an option. In fact, I didn’t consider anyone really an option. Nor did I think I was an option to anyone. I had quit my job and was staying at home to work for my mom as a farm help. Meaning I was broke, with no job, and no direction.

A year with no job trying to help my mom so that she could work more and not be so overwhelmed. She had(and still has) tons of animals to take care of, as well as she had to drop of my brothers to school and take care of most of the things around the house. I had felt like I was being selfish by working and going to church, neglecting the woman that I needed to honor in my life. So I quit my job and helped my mom, which my mom was super grateful for.

I was going to a church which preached a Jesus that helped fix mistakes, not sins. A Jesus that has a plan for you, not the Jesus of the New Testament that died for the glory of his Father and for the adorning of his bride. I had been questioning for two years everything that was going on within this church. This made me suspect everything we we’re doing.

I had a group of friends that I wanted to hang out with. They were young and eager to evangelize. They had begun, of their own accord, going out to down town and evangelizing. When I heard about this, I became curious to see what they were really doing (wondering if the gospel was even being preached), and so I went down with them.

 

Evangelism

This was the day I first spoke to my wife. I was going to go with my friends so I drove to one of their houses. I soon discovered that it was not only my three friends who were evangelizing, but it was also this girl. I had seen her occasionally at church. She was on stage once in a while singing some of the worship songs. I had known of her from every once in a while my close group of friends bringing up her name and telling me to pray for her because she had health problems and at one point was waiting for God to provide her with a job.

She introduces herself as Christie. This was that girl I’ve prayed for a few times randomly the past two years. I saw her on stage but didn’t know her name. This day I met her isn’t all that important but to say this: at the end of the day I concluded that there was no way I could like this girl.

I had offered to help her with a neck pain she had by massaging it, explaining that I was a massage therapist and I believe it was simply a tight muscle. Now, I must admit, this sounds rather like a smooth thing for a guy to pull, but I wasn’t that kind of guy. I genuinely was just offering what I did for work to a fellow believer because she had chronic headaches and it hadn’t gone away. Knowing that she wanted to evangelize, I myself wasn’t going to evangelize, I wanted to watch, listen, learn, and observe. But, if I could pray and help in the background I would. If that meant helping with neck and head pain I would.

She didn’t simply refuse. She said it in such a way that put me on the defensive. She said something like, “I don’t let guys touch me.” In this one moment, this one statement, she lumped me with all the other guys in the world, insinuated that I had ulterior motives, and rejected my profession. I pressed only once, assuring her that I have a license in massage therapy, and that I could help her with her pain. She flat refused, and repeated what she said, adding, “I protect my brothers hearts.”

She had, in twenty seconds, rejected my help, my profession, called me another sleaze ball guy, insinuated that I had ulterior motives, and basically said that I probably don’t protect my heart. Which was something Proverbs talks about.

It was enough for me. I didn’t like her and I didn’t even know if I could talk to someone with such pride. Of course, truly what was going on was I misunderstood her protection of herself with attacking me.

Truly, she said it in a rude and offensive way, she was known for being “blunt,” which is another way of saying she was known for not saying this with a good attitude and using her words to edify, but she also had hit some of my sin. She hit my pride. I prided myself on my control of my emotions, feelings.

I don’t remember too much else about that day, or the follow week when I went again, but what stuck in my mind and heart was: this is not a girl that’s marriage material.

 


My Marriage Journey

Over the course of probably the next few weeks, I want to write down the journey I took in getting married. Many people have told my wife and I before that we need to write a book about it, so I figured why not blog about it first, get the gist of it out, and then use that to write the book?

Our story is unique in the sense that it’s our story, but it’s also unique in the sense that we did things much differently than most people. We didn’t court, or date. Though it was 11 months before we got married. And we didn’t kiss until we got married. And I don’t think we even held hands.

What’s funnier is my wife didn’t like me and I didn’t like her. But we both said I do before we had to say I do. It was arranged, sorta. We tried to arrange our marriage, but we had to do it ourselves, and yet it still was somewhat arranged.

Well, I don’t know how to describe it. But the journey will begin next Wednesday. We will tell our tale, which is still being told.


How to Read the Bible (2)

There’s something else I want to add on my thoughts about how to read the Bible. When it comes to reading the Bible, what is the role of the Holy Spirit?

Give us understanding

Paul tells Timothy in one particular passage:

2 Timothy 2:7 “Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything.”

Previous to this verse Paul tells Timothy to put men in charge who will faithfully teach the message of Jesus Christ. Paul then exhorts Timothy by appealing to three different analogies. Then Paul says, “think over what I say.”

This is interesting because Paul purposefully gives Timothy some stuff that isn’t immediately understandable. Each is disconnected and not easily ascertained as to what Paul is saying. Paul knows this, and writes to think it over.

That’s where I want to pause. As Christians who ought to be reading our Bible, we must read, and read daily. Sometimes our reading will be poor and quick, other times it will be long and satisfying. Regardless, the Bible needs to be read, and if we can read it long, then we must strive for that. Why? Because Paul says to Timothy to pause, stare, reflect, think over what he had just said.

When we read the Bible, we must use our minds, not merely our hearts. We shouldn’t stop on a passage because it seems to apply to our lives right now. We shouldn’t read until something is applicable to you. We should read, and then pause, and reflect, and ponder, and think hard over what we just read.

Which is why I said devotional reading shouldn’t be the only type of reading we do. We ought to be wrestling with a book of the Bible, thinking about what is being said, who is saying it, to whom it is being said, and figuring out the mere facts of the Bible. The stuff that’s there in the text. Why it was written that way, and why it was said like that, and why certain words were and weren’t used, and what the whole passage or book is about.

We must be deep thinkers.

But why? Well, because Paul says, “for the Lord will give you understanding in everything.”

If we want to grow in understanding, we need to think. Reading can be thinking, and reading can also be done in such a way that we obtain nothing. We must be thinking along side of reading. We must be asking questions. Why? Because God will give us understanding.

It is the Holy Spirit who will teach us what the Bible says, but only if we think about the passage. We cannot pretend to think we have the Bible right just because we prayed about it and something seemed to fit. We shouldn’t mock God, like a genie. We must revere God, and we must treat His word respectfully. Which means, as I said before, understanding that these words mean something more than what I want them to me. These words mean something that the author intended them to mean and I need to figure out what he intended to communicate.

One of the roles of the Holy Spirit, then, when it comes to us reading the Bible, is to give us understanding as we think through what was said/written.

May we understand what we read. May we not abuse the text by believing the text to mean whatever we want it to mean.


How to read the Bible

If we as Christians need to read the word of God daily, then we also need to know how to read the Bible. You’d think that we’d know how to but the sad reality is that as Christians we often don’t.

The reason for this isn’t because the Bible is some magical book that needs a magical way of reading it. The reason is because in our ignorance, arrogance, sin, and believing what the world has told us, we read the Bible in how we want to read it.

To read the Bible is simple, but we have over-complicated it. To read the Bible is easy, but we make it into something other than it should be.

So how can we begin to learn to read the Bible?

First Steps

The first step in reading the Bible is know what the Bible is and isn’t.

The Bible is a book written by multiple authors in multiple periods of time in multiple places. This should be obvious but it isn’t. I believe the Bible to be the word of God, but I also know the Bible, as the word of God, was written by over 60 authors, spanning a few thousand years, in different cultures.

To know this means we don’t read this book like you do every other book. Most books you may read today are probably written by people in your country, within the past fifty years.  Since these books you read are closer to you in time and culture you have less work to do in trying to understand what the author was saying. When it comes to the Bible we are separated by a few thousand years, thousands of miles, and thousands of cultural changes.

Each of these factors becomes an obstacle in understanding the Bible. However, this doesn’t mean you need to be a scholar who reads all sorts of historical information about the time period to understand what is going on in the text of Scripture. While I argue it would be a good thing to do and one every Christians ought to do, it’s not necessary to spend hundreds of hours to study the culture and context Moses was in so you can understand the command “Do not steal.”

So what am I saying? What I’m saying is being aware of these facts will help you come up with questions that will help you in reading the Bible. Knowing this will get you to pause and reflect and ask questions like, “Who was the original audience of this book?” “What were they like?” “How would they understand these things?”

When you begin asking those questions, you will begin to see much more of the Bible open up to you. You will notice things you hadn’t before. And much more of the Bible will begin to make sense. Why? Because you will be asking the right questions and you will remove the veil that your current context brings to see more of the glory of God’s word.

What it isn’t

So now that you know what the Bible is in it’s most basic and tangible form: multiple books written by multiple authors over the course of multiple centuries and cultures, all orchestrated and designed by God to communicate what he desires of his people to know about him and about how they ought to live; let’s look at what the Bible isn’t.

I’m not going to give a full explanation of each of these, but they should be rather obvious:

  1. The Bible is not your personal handbook to living life
  2. The Bible is not the “road map of life”
  3. The Bible is not a how to book
  4. The Bible is not a horoscope, Ouija board, or any sort of magical book that gives you direct answers to what you should do right now like buy this car or marry that person.
  5. The Bible is not a book that we should flippantly read: Understanding it leads to life, misunderstanding means death.