The Bible is more than a love letter

On January 24, 2021, in his Sunday homily, Francis, the Catholic chief, repeated the words of philosopher Sören Kierkegaard who said that “the Bible is God’s love letter addressed to us.” Wishing to emphasize the closeness of God’s Word, Francis had an underling to read the following:

It is a love letter, written to us by the One who knows us best. In reading it, we again hear his voice, see his face and receive his Spirit. That word brings us close to God. Let us not keep it at arm’s length, but carry it with us always … (Homily 2021)

In general, his point is more than appropriate: God speaks through the Scriptures to everyone and we must listen to them often. Continue reading “The Bible is more than a love letter”

It’s no trick; the Bible reads minds

There are some good magicians who claim to read minds. They use tricks they have learned to appear to have the power. Basically, it is just clever deception.

The Bible is the word of God because it tells us what people are thinking. It tells us what kings are thinking when they would rather not have anyone know. There is evidence of this in all three of the synoptic gospels, Matthew, Mark, and Luke. Continue reading “It’s no trick; the Bible reads minds”

Obsessed with the Bible

You worship the Bible! You only talk about the Bible! You’re obsessed with the Bible!

Christians have heard these accusations time and again. In a way, they are right. We are people of the Bible. Because it’s the only way to respect Christ as Lord.

Only the Bible is the word of God. The Bible claims to be his word and proves it. Some affirm the Bible is proof for the existence of God. We can always start with the Bible, with any person, anywhere, to help a soul come to God.

Do we worship the Bible? We do not worship any single copy of the Scriptures, nor any translation. (KJV-only people come close.) If the Bible is the word of God, it deserves our highest respect and allegiance. So the Psalmist thinks: Continue reading “Obsessed with the Bible”

Rediscover the Bible

John was in prison. Jesus’ cousin was jailed by Herod, who did not appreciate what John said about his illicit marriage to Herodias. This particular Herod was known as Antipas. He reigned over Galilee and Perea.

John understood that his work was coming to an end and asked Jesus through a messenger if he was the one whose coming was foretold. Some say that during this challenging trial, John’s faith weakened. None of us are perfect, not even John. Continue reading “Rediscover the Bible”

How do I choose a church?

By Johnny O. Trail — One radio station in Nashville does nothing but talk radio.  As an avid listener to talk radio, I am always interested in the questions and comments of those who call in to the radio station.  On one show in particular, the host deals with e-mails that are sent in by listeners.  Last week, one e-mail in particular caught my attention.  The lady who sent the e-mail asked the host, “How do I choose a church?”

The host then gave her some suggestions for finding a church to suit her needs.  He proceeded to tell her to look at churches as communities and that she simply needed to find one that had people who most met her needs for friendship. Continue reading “How do I choose a church?”

How to deal with crisis

Many people are dealing badly with the coronavirus restrictions. Even religious folk are having a hard time of it. Just because someone is religious, doesn’t mean they have faith and are able to cope with afflictions when they come crashing down on the head.

From a man who taught fear and reverence of God to the people of Israel, whose comfort was in ritual rather than in true relationship with the Creator, comes this jewel:

If you fall apart during a crisis, then you weren’t very strong to begin with, Proverbs 24.10 VOICE.

Continue reading “How to deal with crisis”

The voice of God

By Johnny O. Trail — At the close of World War II, there was some concern that Japan would not surrender. Hiroshima and Nagasaki had already been devastated by atomic bombs, and America continued to bomb various regions of Japan as the USA prepared a third nuclear bomb. To further encourage the Japanese to surrender, Americans dropped pamphlets from airplanes.

When the Japanese emperor, Hirohito, came on broadcast radio to announce the surrender, it was the first time that many of his subjects had ever heard his voice. Many of Hirohito’s followers believed he was a “demi-god.”/1 Some who heard him surrender to the Americans were hearing the voice of their “god” for the very first time.

For a moment, one might consider what it means to truly hear the voice of God. Continue reading “The voice of God”

How to be an effective teacher of the Bible

A supporting congregation had a teacher-appreciation dinner Aug. 18 after the Sunday evening service. We were invited to attend. It wasn’t my moment, but I thought of all the teachers of Bible school, the teachers of evangelistic studies, those who teach to encourage brethren, and all those who have been given the gift of teaching. What would I like to say to them if given the chance? Three things came immediately to mind. Continue reading “How to be an effective teacher of the Bible”

‘A universal proverb among Christians’

Driving one Sunday morning up US Highway 45 in Tennessee, on our way to report on our work to a congregation outside of the town of Dyersburg, we passed a denominational church building with a sign posted near the right-of-way. It was simple, with three words, one on top of the other: Scripture, Tradition, Reason.

In truth, in order to reflect that group’s positions, the order ought to be reversed: reason, tradition, scripture. The denomination could not exist were it not for human reasoning and religious tradition, because its name and its teachings do not appear in Scripture in any form.

Division among people who call themselves Christians is a serious problem. Religious leaders not only justify it, but promote it. They glory in human names and creeds. They impose their doctrines and, like the hypocritical scribes and Pharisees, make their followers “twice as much a child of hell as” themselves, Matthew 23.15. Continue reading “‘A universal proverb among Christians’”

Power in the epistle of James

It might seem a strange thing to consider the subject of power in the letter of James, since the principal word for it (Greek, dunamis) does not appear in the document at all. But there are other signs of James’s interest.

This servant of the Lord is not interested in power in any pure, static form, but in the effective working of God in a saint’s life. Continue reading “Power in the epistle of James”