Why We Teach the Bible the Way We Do

By “we” I mean the pastors and elders of Grace Community.

The world needs the church to be the church. In essence: to know what we believe, live it in and by grace and be willing to clearly and kindly share it.

This isn’t about a particular preaching or teaching style. This is about the substance. Whether fast or slow, verse by verse, or high flyovers, we must TEACH God’s Word.

I was reading this morning in 2 Chronicles 17

7 Also in the third year of his reign he sent his leaders, Ben-Hail, Obadiah, Zechariah, Nethanel, and Michaiah, to teach in the cities of Judah. 9 So they taught in Judah, and had the Book of the Law of the Lord with them; they went throughout all the cities of Judah and taught the people.

The text goes on to describe, in part, some of the result of teaching:

10 And the fear of the Lord fell upon all the kingdoms of the lands that were around Judah, and they made no war against Jehoshaphat.

Just a couple of chapters before we get a quick synopsis of the times and why this stood out:

3 For a long time Israel has been without the true God, without a teaching priest, and without law.

Remember what the Lord told Joshua in 1:7-8

7 Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go. 8 This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.

I know the settings and parameters of the community of God were quite different in the Old Testament than we see in the New Testament church. 

We have similar emphasis given in the New Testament as well:

16 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 Ti 3:16–17 

4 I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: 2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. 3 For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, 4 and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. 2 Ti 4:1–4

These verses need little commentary. Look around. The time isn’t coming, it’s here. I love and pray for my fellow pastors, teachers, and missionaries who are committed to faithfully teaching, often with much labor, the Scriptures we’ve been given. Join us at Grace each week as we humbly approach God’s great Word, currently in Romans, for a sobering look at His view of things. 

That’s where we learn grace. Where the gospel is clearly laid out. Where hope is promised.

Books and Bibles

For some time now I’ve noticed the difference between using my electronic, digital Bibles (mostly on my iPad, sometimes on the phone) as compared to using my regular, print Bibles.  I have never really left the printed Bible for my devotional reading or preaching.

I grew up using mostly one Bible, until college. I remember the pastor saying, “let’s turn…” and we did. Everybody. The sound was awesome. But better than that was the familiarity I had with my Bible.  I grew to know where certain passages were on the page.  Obviously, with time and a growing library of Bibles, I lost some of that.  I appreciate the various translations that have been produced through the years for the benefit of study and clarity, but I really do miss everyone (mostly) being on the same page.

I came across an article recently that I resonated with on a similar topic: digital books. I have a great library in print but an outstanding library in digital format. I read with the Kindle app on my iPad mostly, then of course there’s the enormous Logos library that still blows me away every time I open it.

Yet, Michel Hyatt’s words spoke to me of the reality that there’s just nothing like reading the printed book over the digital.  I too have no plans to disband the digital library or the continued building of it, yet I feel the freedom to admit that I not only like but need to return more to the printed library, mostly for the same reasons Hyatt mentions in the linked article.  You should read it. I won’t copy it here, but go check it out.

I love that many people read the Bible electronically, and I will too. But there is nothing like the familiar feel and sight of my Bible, with underlinings and notes and worn corners.

What do you think?

This Week @ Grace

Last Sunday I began teaching through the New Testament book of Philippians. Wow! What a letter for the church today.  How revolutionary in our thinking that we too are “servants of Christ Jesus” and “saints in Christ Jesus”. And! He’s not done working on us yet.

“He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” 1:6

This coming Sunday we’ll discover what I believe to be one the biggest keys in the entire Bible on ‘how to live for God’.

This Sunday also provides an opportunity to learn about our awesome Children’s Ministry and how you can be a part of a great team doing an amazing work.  Right after our service there is an informational lunch just for you. Whether you have experience or are just curious, please plan on joining the team downstairs in the Commons for lunch and a brief meeting.

To my fellow Servants and Saints: wherever you go to church, go this week expecting. Go prepared to worship with the other saints, be ready to bless someone else and be ready to hear from God.

Praying for the saints

In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints  Eph 6:16-18

What a great word!

The evil one is sending darts, it’s who he is and what he does. But he’s a loser. What we have is our faith in the living God who already won this battle. We have faith. What an amazing gift. That I can know God and trust Him for salvation in the future (heaven awaits us!), but also in today’s salvation. This is a battle and we have a shield. Do I trust Him in what’s happening today and what He’s doing through it all?

God has given us His word, the Bible, our sword. Gotta know it. Must be familiar with it. Read it. Memorize parts. Meditate throughout the day on what you read in the early hours.

As I pay attention throughout the day, God allows me to come before Him on behalf of others. I’m not in this alone, nor are they. We’re in this together. Pray for one another.

The shield was a large ‘body-size’ type of protection. It could be used to stand side by side with others, making a protective wall.  So, we advance. Side by side, praying for one another.

Teaching at the Bible College

We’re here in Sriracha teaching a few classes each day at the Bible College.  I really do love teaching the Bible and that is only highlighted when you’re teaching students at a Bible College.  Pray for these students as they are preparing for ministry and just like the rest of us are learning to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ”

A Growing Faith

If you missed Grace yesterday, you can hear the sermon here.

A few thoughts to think about during this week:

  • God is both incomprehensible and knowable, yes, He’s THAT big!
  • It all started with God: first 4 words Gen 1:1
  • God, in His goodness revealed Himself to us through general revelation Ps 19:1-6
  • God, in His grace has revealed Himself to us through special revelation; His Word and His Son!  Ps 19:7-14; Jn 14:6-7
  • My faith will grow as I exercise it
  • My faith is built on an everlasting GREAT God who loves me and gave Himself for me
And to apply it all:
  • Am I believing God for what I’m about to do?
  • By faith, what do I believe God is asking me to do?

Organized Praise

At Grace we are currently in a series entitled, Psalms of Summer.  A few weeks ago I taught from Psalm 34. You can hear the sermon here if you’d like.

What I didn’t tell you that day was that this psalm is one of a few that is written in an acrostic.  Simply put, David went down the Hebrew alphabet as he penned each new verse. As you may know, the Bible was not written with chapter and verse markings, so he simply wrote this poem in acrostic style then later numbers were added to denote verses.

So here’s a quick thought for you today. What if you wrote out a prayer or praise to God using our alphabet? Write out a poem, speaking about God and why we praise Him. Or maybe make a list of things in your life that you give Him praise for. Perhaps write one word for each letter of the alphabet, each saying something about God. For instance, Awesome, Beautiful, Compassionate…

Go ahead. Give it a try. I bet it’s a worshipful experience you won’t soon forget.