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”

The Bible means what it says. Or, does it?

It is written” (Luke 4:12).

“The Bible means exactly what it says!” I’ve heard this a number of times, and in one sense, I agree. In another sense, that statement could inadvertently be more dangerous than it seems.

The Bible is not just a literal composition. Yes, it is a rule of thumb to understand any passage literally unless there is good reason or evidence to understand it otherwise. However, it should also be understood by all students of the Bible that there is plenty of reason to not take some passages literally. We will illustrate this in a moment. Continue reading “The Bible means what it says. Or, does it?”

No longer under the Law of Moses

Many false doctrines are a result of misunderstanding covenants. The improper use of the Word has eternal consequences (Galatians 1:8-9), so it’s imperative that we properly divide the Scriptures (2 Timothy 2:15).

God established a covenant with Israel after Egyptian bondage (Exodus 19:1-6). If they would be faithful, God would care for them with great gentleness (Exodus 19:7-8). Continue reading “No longer under the Law of Moses”

The plagues of moral elasticity and re-definition

“Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake. Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets” (Luke 6:22-23).

In a discussion panel I watched recently, Arizona State University Professor (theoretical physicist) Lawrence Krauss listened with as much tolerance as he could muster while an avowed gay Catholic priest (or bishop, or something) attempted to explain how he melded his way of life with his chosen religion. Krauss finally couldn’t take it anymore, and interrupted the priest, saying (I paraphrase): “Why not just throw out the whole thing?”

Continue reading “The plagues of moral elasticity and re-definition”

Waiting for the monkeys to come down

“He is not God of the dead, but of the living. You are quite wrong” (Mark 12:27, ESV)

According to Jewish law, if a man and woman married, and he died before she gave birth to an heir by him, it then became the obligation of one of that man’s brothers to marry the widow, and bring up children in his stead, carrying on the family name (Deuteronomy 25:5-10).

With that law in mind, coupled with the belief that there is no afterlife, and the possibility of trapping him in his own words, Jesus’ opponents (the Sadducees) proposed a hypothetical scenario: suppose seven good, law-abiding Jewish brothers all marry this same woman, each of them dying before she bears them a child. “In the resurrection, whose wife will she be?” (Mark 12:23). Continue reading “Waiting for the monkeys to come down”

The unfathomable depth of Jesus

“Two men went up into the Temple to pray” (Luke 18:10).

There are so many layers to Jesus’ teachings; it makes the study of his word, and all of Scripture, a profound experience.

Take, for example, the passage above. Jesus taught a parable concerning self-righteousness. Two men, a Pharisee (who considered himself righteous) and a tax-collector (who considered himself a sinner), went to the Temple in Jerusalem, which was tantamount to approaching God himself.

The Pharisee declared his own holiness and flippantly thanked God for it. The tax-collector declared his un-holiness, and begged God for mercy. Continue reading “The unfathomable depth of Jesus”