The Nature of True Faith

I remember her trembling voice, her tear-filled eyes, and I can still quote what would come next. Occasionally, I would push my mother to the limit with my bad behavior. In those moments, she would recite Philippians 2:12. I came to dread hearing the words: “You need to ‘work out your salvation with fear and trembling!’” She meant well. She was worried for me. I had exasperated her. But what my mom didn’t realize was that she had missed the point of the verse.

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Is Church Membership Biblical?

Is church membership biblical? 

There are many who make the argument that church membership is unbiblical because it is not specifically detailed or explicitly mentioned in the Bible. We believe this understanding to be shortsighted. Although it is true that explicit instruction for receiving members into local churches is absent from the biblical text, the concept of church membership can be clearly seen through both descriptive and prescriptive biblical texts.

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Bible Study Basics: Tools

If you have followed the entire Bible Study Basics series so far, you have:

  • Committed to a regular Bible study time
  • Started following a reading plan
  • Gotten familiar with a study method
  • Endeavored to understand the Scriptures in their context
  • Begun to identify and study each particular genre
  • Looked for Christ as the fulfillment of the text.

In the final installment of the series, we will take a brief look at some supplemental tools you can use to check your exegesis work.

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Bible Study Basics: The Bible is NOT About You!

Last Sunday, Pastor Jake completed his sermon series on the Gospel of John. Toward the end of the book, in John 20:31, the author explained his reason for writing. John’s purpose is the same reason for which the Holy Spirit inspired all the Scriptures: “These are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” The whole point of the Bible is to show sinners that they should believe in Jesus and, by believing, find salvation in Christ alone.

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Bible Study Basics: Genres

The Babylon Bee is a famous faith-based satire website. They feature fake articles about current issues in culture and the church. Some of my favorite headlines are:

  • “New Church Gardener Accidentally Trims Church’s Hedge of Protection”
  • “Pastor Claims to Teach the Bible Verse by Verse but Kinda Skips through the Book of Numbers”
  • “Southern Baptist Pastor Resigns In Disgrace After Admitting He Does Not Like Casseroles”

Some of the articles on the Bee are really funny. Some are not. But an unintended comical scenario happens occasionally when readers confuse satire for reality. The mistake is often followed by a rant on social media, which is then followed by a gentle explanation of the website’s nature. There’s even an article on the site about this common mishap. It can be embarrassing when you misinterpret genre (a category of artistic, musical, or literary composition characterized by a particular style, form, or content).

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Bible Study Basics: The Three Rules

Is every word in the Bible true? 

For most of us, this question elicits an immediate affirmative response. “Yes! God wrote it. Of course every word is true!” But the question can be complicated. (Bear with me).

Take the book of Job for example. Transcripted speeches full of bad advice from Job’s idiot friends make up a large portion of the book’s contents. So, is every word in Job true? The answer is yes, every word is true in context.

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Bible Study Basics: Don’t Plan to Fail

In the last Bible Study Basics post, I argued if you do not prioritize Bible study by putting it on your busy calendar, you won’t get around to it. Just a few days after publishing, our worlds all became significantly less busy. Sports were cancelled, work went remote for many, and extracurriculars ceased. Now is your chance to really invest your time in developing good Bible study habits!

You’ve probably heard this famous proverb: “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” Some attribute the saying to Benjamin Franklin, others to Winston Churchill. Regardless of who came up with the thought, it remains accurate in a lot of situations. If you set about a task, but don’t have a clear plan for how you’ll accomplish it, your chances of success are slim. This is true for Bible study. 

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Bible Study Basics: Schedule It

We are a busy and distracted people. 

We are a busy people. We take our families to worship with our church, parent, work a job, take care of the house, chauffeur our kids to their practices and recitals, and try to squeeze in time for fellowship.

We are a distracted people. Between our daily responsibilities and our massive to-do lists, we barely have time to squeeze in a Stranger Things binge-watch on Netflix. In our precious few moments of unscheduled time, we catch up on social media, reading, or video gaming. 

If you’re like most busy families I know, the highest priorities for your week go on a calendar. Sometimes they are bolded or starred or underlined. But if that important event doesn’t make it on the family calendar, it probably won’t happen.

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