Group Number 26

[0 1]  [0 2]   [0 3]  [0 4]  [0 5]  [0 6]  [0 7]  [0 8]  [0 9]  [ 10]  [ 11]  [ 12]  [ 13]  [ 14]  [ 15]  [16]  [ 17]  [ 18]  [ 19]  [ 20]
  [ 21]  [ 22]  [ 23]  [ 24]  [ 25]  [ 26]  [ 27]  [ 28]  [ 29]  [ 30]  [ 31[ 32]  [ 33]  [ 34]  [ 35]  [ 36]  [ 37]  [ 38]  [ 39]  [ 40]
  [ 41[ 42]   [ 43]   [ 44]  [ 45]  [ 46] [ 47]  [ 48]  [ 49]  [ 50]  [ 51]  [ 52]  [ 53]  [ 54]  [ 55]  [ 56]  [ 57]  [ 58]  [ 59]  [60]
[61] [62] [63] [64] [65] [66] [67] [68] [69] [70] [71] [72] [73] [74] [75] [76] [77] [78] [79]

globe.gif (9362 bytes)       

QUESTION.gif (2121 bytes)     I wonder if we should use John 14:16-29 to confirm peace is given to all believers.  Is this really the best text to use as theme in discussing peace for all Christians?

I appreciate your concerns about this text. As you know, there are significant differences in the way John 13-16 is understood by followers of Christ. My own persuasion is that His words were not strictly limited to the Apostles, although some of them related specifically to them. I understand Jesus to be primarily declaring the nature of the His Kingdom rather than matters limited to the Apostolic office.

This particular discourse of our Lord is one of the more lengthy ones of record--if not the most lengthy. I do not understand the following to be in any way limited to the Apostles, although the words were spoken to them. To me, these are clearly universal in their application, and are generally considered to be so.

1. The mandate to serve one another (13:15-17).
2. A new commandment to love one another (13:34-35).
3. The preparation of a place for His people, and gathering them to Himself (14:1-3).
4. Coming to the Father through Him alone (14:6-7).
5. The indwelling Spirit, whom the world cannot receive (14:16-18).
6. Knowing that He is in the Father, and the Father in Him (14:20).
7. The individual having Christ's commandments and keeping them being loved by the Father and Jesus (14:21).
8. The Father and the Son making their abode in those who love Jesus and keep His words (14:23).
9. The disowning of those who keep not Christ's sayings (14:24).
10. The requirement of abiding in the Vine (15:1-7).
11. The Father glorified by Christ's disciples bearing much fruit (15:8).
12. The Father loving individuals, and them continuing in Christ's love (15:9).
13. Keeping Christ's commandments and thereby abiding in Christ's love (15:10).
14. Christ's joy remaining in His disciples (15:11).
15. The commandment to love one another as Christ loved (15:12,17).
16. Being Christ's friends if we do what He has commanded (15:14).
17. The hatred of the world incurred by His disciples (15:18-23).
18. The convicting ministry of the Holy Spirit (16:8-11).
19. The Father loving Jesus' disciples because they believe He came from God (16:26).
20. Disciples having tribulation in the world (16:33).

    Although John did not include the dialog, the institution of the Lord's Supper also occurred on this occasion. I know of no one suggesting that was in any way limited to the Apostles.

    These expressions are all confirmed in Apostolic doctrine to the churches. To me, that c circumstance verifies they were a declaration of the manner of the Kingdom.

    There certainly were things Jesus divulged on that awful night that especially applied to the Apostles. I do not know how one would determine from Scripture that they applied uniquely to them. Jesus made no such distinction, nor is such a suggestion found in the Apostolic writings. It seems to me that when subjects of that discourse are expounded as general benefits for believers in the Epistles, we are in order correlating them with Christ's words in John 13-16.

    I know of no text that suggests the Apostles had a special peace -- or that the peace of Christ is ever, in any sense, associated strictly with the Apostles.

    The text I have chosen says, "Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. " I know of no conservative theologian of any era that affirms this was restricted to the Apostles. Numerous times Scripture declares peace comes to believers "from . . . the Lord Jesus Christ" (Rom 1:7; 1 Cor 1:3; 2 Cor 1:2; Gal 1:3; Eph 1:2; 6:23; Phil 1:2; Col 1:2; 1 Thess 1:1; 2 Thess 1:2; 1 Tim 1:2; 2 Tim 1:2; Tit 1:4; Phile 3; 2 John 1:3).

    I am aware of those who corrupt the Word of God by making claims to possess miraculous power. But that has nothing to do with peace being given by Jesus--His peace, given "not as the world gives." It is just as wrong to remove general commitments as it is to assume the continuity of specific ones.

    The phrase "guide you into all truth" does not necessarily imply truth to which they had never been exposed--i.e., new revelation. I know of no doctrine the Apostles preached that had not been alluded to by Moses and the prophets. In fact, Paul affirmed he only spoke what Moses and the Prophets said would come to pass (Acts 26:22). The Spirit opened those mysterious things to the Apostles, enabling them to expound and apply them without flaw. In this, their's was a unique ministry. That, however, has no bearing upon the peace Jesus said He would give, and which the Apostles said He is still giving.

    Scripture is not to always to be viewed in sections, with the option to include or exclude everything in the section. Matthew 24 is another example of this, where both the destruction of Jerusalem and the end of the world are mentioned. It would be inappropriate to brush aside all references to the end of the world because the destruction of Jerusalem is also specified.

    Another example is what men call "the great commission." Scripture states it was given to "the eleven disciples" (Matt 28:16-20). While the commission was, in a sense, unique to them, it was not exclusively for them. This is generally understood among conservative believers. Following the line of reasoning you suggest, this text should be inappropriate for us even more than the one in John. No Apostle every referred to this event when writing to the churches--they frequently referred to peace coming from Christ, the Holy Spirit being given by God to believers, experiencing tribulation in the world, etc.--but never to "the great commission."

    It is the same with John 13-16. There are matters declared there that are unique to the Apostles. However, everything in the passage is not confined to them. Handling the Word aright involves knowing what applies to all of the saints, and declaring that to be the case. The Apostle's doctrine confirms the peace Jesus leaves falls into that category. The words of the Prophets also are to be addressed in this manner. The promise, for example, of the New Covenant, was not given to us. It was specifically given to Israel (Jer 31:31-34; Heb 8:8-13). Yet, it is our privilege to enjoy that very covenant in Christ, as the book of Hebrews declares. Too, a "new heart" and a "new spirit" was not promised to the world, but to Israel (Ezek 11:19; 36:26). Yet, that very promise is fulfilled in Christ Jesus to Jew and Gentile alike. These examples could be multiplied many times. They confirm the acid test of Scriptural applicability is not WHO received the Word, but WHAT was declared in it. Technically, nothing in all of Scripture was addressed to brethren Ray and Given. Yet, even for them, "ALL Scripture" is "profitable."

    As to the abusers of Scripture, God will hold them strictly accountable for their corruption and misuse of His Word. In the meantime, we cannot allow them to deprive us of things clearly affirmed to be ours.

    I know of no text of Scripture that affirms or suggests that believers may teach that some of Christ's words have become obsolete, or are inappropriate to declare. That may appear to be a good course of action to counteract the influence of religious pretenders. I do not believe, however, the Word of God will support such an approach.

QUESTION.gif (2121 bytes)     Regarding the scripture verse with this devotional: what did Jesus mean when he said that the Father is greater than He?

    When the Word became flesh (John 1:14), and entered into this world, He "emptied Himself," or "made Himself of no reputation" (Phil 2:5-8). This involved humbling Himself, and becoming obedient to God, even to the death of the cross. He voluntarily became dependent upon God. While in the earth, He said He only said what the Father told Him to say (John 8:38; 12:50; 14:10). He also said He only did the works He saw His Father doing (John 5:20,36; 10:37; 14:10).

    That was a remarkable condescension of our Lord. It was not that way before He entered into the world--before He became a man. Jesus, however, laid aside His equality with the Father to save a fallen race. That is the precise meaning of Philippians 2:5-8. The Father being greater than the Son, therefore, refers to Christ's state AFTER He became a man.

    The Spirit comments further on this in First Corinthians 11:3, where it says, "Now I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God." Other affirmations of this truth are as follows. "and you are of Christ, and Christ is of God" (1 Cor 3:23). "For he has put everything under his feet. Now when it says that everything has been put under him, it is clear that this does not include God himself, who put everything under Christ. When He has done this, then the Son himself will be made subject to Him who put everything under him, so that God may be all in all" (1 Cor 15:27-28).

This does not mean Jesus is not Divine, or that He is not God. It DOES mean He gave up much to save us--more than we dare to imagine.

QUESTION.gif (2121 bytes)     In your first passage..Romans 6:6 you said "..we know that our old man" is suppose to state "we know that our old self".... God bless

The translation that I use does say "old man" (KJV, NKJV). More contemporary versions do say "old self." The Greek word used in this text is "anthropos." It does mean "man," and is so translated in most texts. Out of the 560 times it is used in the New Testament Scriptures, nearly all versions (contemporary ones included) translate it "man." Contemporary versions translate it "self" 5 out of those 560 times (Rom 6:6; Eph 4:22,24; Col 3:9-10).

I do prefer the word "man." The point of the Romans passage is that Christ has removed our condemned nature from us. We drag it around like an old carcass, but it is really not us. it is like another man. That same thought continues into the seventh chapter.

Thanks for the input. The difference is in the translation. I did quote it correctly.

QUESTION.gif (2121 bytes)     Do you think that praying in Jesus' Name means to add "In Jesus' Name" to the end of our prayers, or does it have more to do with praying by Jesus' authority? This is how I view it. It is like the baptismal act done "in the Name". It is by the authority and the ability of Christ that we both come into covenant and approach the throne of the Father.

Any inclination to ritualism and lifeless procedures must be crucified, together with other aspects of the flesh. Too, our speech, whether addressed to God or man, is to reflect our heart, and be in strict comportment with the truth. I know of no word from God that allows for a lack of coordination between the heart and the mouth.

Concerning saying "in Jesus' name" at the conclusion of our prayers, it is certainly not a bad practice. I view it as a confession with my mouth that Jesus is my Lord and God's Christ. Thus I am confessing with my mouth that Jesus is Lord to the glory of God. To so conclude our prayers is not a law of the Kingdom. If that were the case, it would nullify its power.

I am not sure that "in the name of Jesus" means by His authority. I know this is a common perception, but I do not believe the Word of God supports such a view. I understand Scripture to equate "the name of" with "the person and character of." You may recall that when God declared His "name" to Moses, He proclaimed His Person and character (Ex 33:19; 34:5-7). This is also reflected in other proclamations of His name: i.e., "whose name is Jealous" (Ex 34:14), "whose name is the Lord" (Jer 16:21), "whose name is the God of hosts" (Amos 5:7), "whose name is the Branch" (Zech 6:12), "His name is called the Word of God" (Rev 19:13), etc.

With this in mind, praying in the name of Jesus is actually praying in harmony with His Person and character. It is prayer that proceeds from our identity with Him, to Whom we have been "joined" (1 Cor 6:17). This, of course, is not determined by what we say at the end of our prayer. It is, however, in order for what we say at the conclusion of our prayer to acknowledge the situation--even though it is not compulsory.

Believers are told if they will believe in their heart that God raised Jesus from the dead, and confess with their mouth that He is Lord, they will be saved. It is evident this does not refer to some initial series of "steps," but to an ongoing involvement. In my own judgment (and this is a personal persuasion), prayer is an excellent place for this to take place. This passage also teaches the coordination of the heart and the mouth. I seems to me that when our hearts grasp the truth of what has occurred in us being "joined to the Lord," it will erupt from our mouths.

Our baptism "in the name of the . . . " does not, of course, refer to a formula, or what was said when we were baptized. In this case also, "in the name" does not, in my opinion, refer to the authority of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The NIV points out that the word "into" is more appropriate than "in." This same use of the word is employed in Acts 8;16, 19:5, Romans 6:3, and Galatians 3:27. We are actually baptized "into" the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit--which is what I understand Christ's words to mean. This is confirmed throughout the Apostolic writings. We are said to be "in the Father" (1 John 2:24), and the Father in us (John 14:23; 2 Cor 6:16). We are said to be "in Christ" (Rom 8:1), and Christ in us (Rom 8:10; Col 1:27). The Holy Spirit is said to dwell in us (Rom 8:10; 1 Cor 3:16), and we in the Spirit (Rom 8:9; Gal 5:25).

I am persuaded that prayer "in the name of Jesus" refers to this involvement. The commitments Jesus made to such prayer makes this obvious. "And whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it" (John 14:13-14). "Truly, truly, I say to you, if you shall ask the Father for anything, He will give it to you in My name" (John 16:23). There is no chance that such prayer will not be answered--none at all. As you know, it appears that precious little prayer is uttered out of deep involvement with Jesus. Knowing that God has "called us into the fellowship of His Son Jesus Christ our Lord" (1 Cor 1:9), this remains an area of great opportunity.

All of this, of course, it not set in motion by tacking on "in Jesus name" at the conclusion of our prayers. It is in order, however, for our tongue to confess what our heart perceives. We can glorify God, honor Jesus, and instruct the novice, by such an utterance.

QUESTION.gif (2121 bytes)     I would very much like to know if Satan can read our thoughts and would like to know the scripture that would back it up??

I do not believe this is ever affirmed in Scripture. Satan, rather than reading our thoughts, seeks to tempt us with thoughts. These thoughts are referred to as "fiery darts" or "flaming arrows" (Eph 6:16). All temptation takes the form of thought, and comes from Satan. The old Tempter tries to invade our thinking, not read our thoughts.

Given this revealed situation, I would say Satan especially cannot read the minds of God's children. Their minds are said to be guarded, or protected, by the peace of Christ. "And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus" (Phil 4:7). When our minds are "pure," devoted to the Lord, Satan cannot penetrate them, or decipher them.

The Word of God affirms that God Himself knows our minds. "The LORD knows the thoughts of man" (Psa 94:11). Everything is open and apparent to Him (Heb 4:13). I do not believe Satan is ever said to have this power. Praise the Lord for that!

QUESTION.gif (2121 bytes)    Would you have a scripture that I could use to subdue involuntary and unholy thoughts that enter my mind? I pray for forgiveness as soon as an unholy thought enters and I try to change the thought pattern, but I do not seem to have the power of God as I should to stop them from popping into my mind.

Romans 7:15-25 deals with this situation. Unwanted thoughts are the very thing the Apostle is talking about when he says, "I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but WHAT I HATE I do . . . If then I do that which I WOULD NOT, I consent unto the law that it is good . . . For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, THE EVIL I DO NOT WANT TO DO--this I keep on doing . . . Now if I do what I DO NOT WANT TO DO, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it" (Rom 7:15,16,19,20).

Paul (and us) was not able to keep the thoughts from entering his mind. He did not want them, yet they came to him. He concluded "So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God's law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members" (Rom 7:21-23).

This situation, while grievous, did not drive the Apostle from the Lord. He saw it as proof that he was justified--proof that he had been reconciled to God. He did not WANT the thoughts because they were contrary to His new nature. That is why he begins the 8th chapter with these words, "Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus" (Rom 8:1). By saying "Therefore," he is confessing, I know I am not condemned, but have been justified because these unwanted thoughts are offensive to me. Look at this way: conflict is proof of life. Dead people experience no such war within.

The author of these unwanted thoughts is the devil himself. These are the "fiery darts" or "flaming arrows" mentioned in Ephesians 6:16. He throws them, as it were, into our minds. These are his temptations. He wants us to welcome and embrace these thoughts, because that is the means he uses to draw us into sin. When, however, we hate the thoughts, and refuse to allow them expression in our lives, we frustrate and nullify their power. That is the way we resist the devil--by saying "NO" to ungodliness and worldly lusts. grace, of course, teaches us to do this (Tit 2:11-13).

Your hatred for such thoughts confirms you are not condemned by them. You will not be able to stop them from coming at you, for the devil is hurling them. They are part of the "good fight of faith" into which you have been called (1 Tim 6:12). Remember, you have been given "the shield of faith" which is able to extinguish these flaming arrows. Do not feel condemned because these thoughts come. You have not sinned when you are thus tempted, and must not confess such to be sin--it is not. You have only sinned when you welcome the thoughts and do what they suggest. When you do not do this, however, you have won. Give God the glory, and assure your heart you are not condemned.

QUESTION.gif (2121 bytes)    A person has a born again experience and they are saved at that moment. BUT, the conversion of the flesh can take a lifetime.

You have captured the general sense of things, but need to state it more precisely. The flesh cannot be changed, nor can it enter the Kingdom of heaven. What we do is subdue the flesh, or refuse to allow it to dominate our lives. it is what the Scriptures call "putting off the old man" and "putting on the new man" (Eph 4:22-24; Col 3:9-11).

You are absolutely correct in saying this is a lifetime process. As long as we are "in the body," we must wage this war. What we are doing, in a way, is unplugging from what is cursed and plugging into what is blessed.

Our behavior can be changed radically and quickly, and does not necessarily have to take a long time. Paul quit persecuting the church the instant he embraced Jesus. There are other parts of our character that are not so easily subdued. How well I know this to be the case.

QUESTION.gif (2121 bytes)     I am in so much pain and even want to commit suicide I keep begging and pleading for him to help me or send me a sign or somethin. ,I don't know how much longer I can hold out before something pushes me over the edge for good...what can I do....

What you are experiencing is temptation. Like all temptation, it comes from the devil, and is designed by him to hurt us. All of us experience this temptation, and no one is excluded from it. The Bible tells us even our Lord Jesus was tempted when He was in the world. He overcame, or was victorious over, the temptations. He also knows how to help us be winners also.

Temptation is like a flaming arrow hurled at us from the devil. It is like an infection the devil hurls into our thinking. The Bible talks about it in Ephesians 6:16. If we try and confront temptation all by ourselves, we will find it is too difficult to handle. This is why Jesus taught us to pray, "Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one (Satan)" (Matthew 6:13).

God is not cursing you, and you must not give in to thinking that He is. That is another temptation. Thoughts about suicide are temptations also. From God's viewpoint, you are being tested--like taking an exam. He has promised He will not allow you to be tested or tempted above your ability. The Bible puts it this way, "No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it" (1 Corinthians 10:13). That is the truth.

It will not be easy, but you must work at believing this. When you honestly try to do this, God will help you to believe it. He will also see to it the devil does not push you too far. That is also the truth. In your prayers, tell the Lord precisely what you told me. Ask Him to deliver you from these temptations. He will hear you.

This is the way things work for those who believe in Christ. When they are in deep water, so to speak, it seems like they are going to drown. The waves of life get high, and seem like they will overwhelm us. However, as we make every effort to swim, and keep on top of the water, the Lord Himself comes along side of us and helps us. He holds His arms underneath us, where they cannot always been seen, and sees to it we do not sink. The Bible says it this way. "The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms. He will drive out your enemy before you, saying, 'Destroy him!'" (Deuteronomy 33:27). The "him," in this case is the tempter--the devil.

QUESTION.gif (2121 bytes)     Mark 13:30 Verily I say unto you, that this generation shall not pass, till all these things be done. What does Jesus mean, "generation"? How many people or years does a generation designate? In other words, if the generation of the apostles was supposed to have seen all those things that were to come to pass, what are we doing here? I have a bible software program that showed the word: generation 105 times! I just don't understand the significance, unless I can assign a number of years to that word.

This text shows the poverty of a merely academic approach to Scripture. The text itself is a complex one, together with its parallels in Matthew 24 and Luke 21. You may recall the disciples also asked a complex question. Matthew gives the fuller question: "Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?" (Matt 24:3). Christ's answer covered the fulness of their question. Briefly stated, it includes the destruction of Jerusalem, and His coming and the end of the world as well. The destruction of Jerusalem was a sort of minature introduction to the end of the world, but did not exhaust all of the answers He gave.

In this instance, "This generation" has more than one application. First, Jerusalem would be destroyed before the present generation passed away. Roughly, a generation was around 40 years. That is based on the Lord's statement concerning the passing away of the unbelieving generation in Numbers 32:13. The last 140 years of job's life is referred to as a time he saw "four generations" (Job 42;16)--making a generation around 35 years. The word is not meant to be specific when used in this manner. It is a general description.

In a broader sense, "this generation" refers to the Jews themselves, as distinguished from the nations, or Gentiles. In that case, the Jews would not be removed from the earth until its conclusion. In my judgment, it is used in this manner also in the text.

QUESTION.gif (2121 bytes)     Why do you think most people want to throw out the Sabbath commandment, but think that all others are still valid?

The Sabbath day was never bound upon the people after Jesus. Neither, indeed, did Jesus bind it on people. he said He was the Lord of the Sabbath, and that the Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath (Mark 2:27-28).

Christians are admonished not to allow anyone to judge them in regard to sabbaths because they were a shadow of things to come, and not the real substance (Col 2:16).

Those in Christ Jesus do not enter into a superior rest, which was introduced by the Sabbath commandment. This is the reason for the rather lengthy discussion of "rest" in the fourth chapter of Hebrews.

it is not a matter of Christians throwing out the Sabbath commandment. It is that a better rest has been brought in by Jesus.

When Gentiles were converted who were not even familiar with the Ten Commandments, the Apostles and elders specified the commands they should keep that were originally related to Judahism. They are specified in Acts 15:29. Keeping the Sabbath day was not one of the requirements.

QUESTION.gif (2121 bytes)     I feel so strong when I see or hear of anyone suffering any kind of pain it feels like I am there in the midst of whatever is going on, and this is scaring me. This is what is confusing me. My question is: is this normal for someone just coming into the word to doubt and trust at the same time?

Having a tender heart is a wonderful virtue. Your faith, however, must be allowed to be the superior part of your thinking. There are things in life that cannot be answered satisfactorily--like the terrible events in Colorado. One time Jesus was asked about an atrocity that occurred in His time. Pilate had mingled the blood of some Galileans with their sacrifice--a terrible event that was apparently generally known among the people. Our Lord's reply provided no explanation for why it occurred. "Do you suppose that these Galileans were worse sinners than all other Galileans, because they suffered such things? I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them, do you think that they were worse sinners than all other men who dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish" (Lk 13:1-5).

Those who endure such tragedies are not to be viewed as worse sinners than those who were spared such things. Those left behind are to review their own lives, seeing to it that any repentance that is in order takes place.

Our view of these things must be mingled with an acute awareness that everything is not over for those who were killed. Particularly the innocent will be fully exonerated before an assembled universe, and those who committed the crimes will be punished for them. In the meantime, our hearts do go out to the bereaved.

Being angry with God is not an option. It is better to acknowledge you do not have all of the facts -- nor is it necessary that you have them. How would you have felt about the flood, Sodom and Gomorrah, Egypt, the destruction of Jerusalem, the merciless slaughter of millions of Christians . . . . etc.

Our anger must be directed toward the devil and his wicked hosts. Sin has brought these tragedies into the world. Even the innocent have suffered because of it. Our role is not to provide answers for why each event happens, but to thank God that is not all that happens. Also, let us give thanks that God is going to set everything straight.

QUESTION.gif (2121 bytes)     In Geneses we find Adam's children obviously marrying brothers and sisters, even cousins. Today we are unable to do so genetically or lawfully. Can you explain?

    Under the Law, after humanity had been populated, god strictly forbade intimacy between those who were close of kin (Lev 18:6-18; 20:12-21; 27:22-23).
    There are no reasons for the prohibition, other than that it is an abomination before the Lord (Ezek 22:11). It is out of keeping with both His law and His nature. The instances of it that occurred were in spiritually primitive times. the scarcity of the race, as well as the sparsity of spiritual knowledge constrained the lord to be tolerant with the situation. But that toleration has ended with the enlargement of both our race and knowledge from God.

QUESTION.gif (2121 bytes)     My problem is, when I set aside time to read my bible, no matter how much scripture I read, when I stop I can't remember or comprehend what it was supposed to mean. I've tried various bible studies but they don't seem to help and I've prayed about it often.

One of the roles of the Holy Spirit is to bring to our remembrance the word of God (John 14:26). He also illuminates the mind, showing us the significance of what has been revealed. This indispensable ministry is proclaimed in several different ways in Scripture.

1. The eyes of our understanding, or heart, being enlightened, or illuminated (Eph 1:17-20).

2. Being strengthened with might by God's Spirit in the inner man, that Christ can dwell in our hearts by faith, and we will be able to comprehend, or discern, the immensity of our salvation (Eph 3:16-20).

3. As we give heed to the Word, the day will finally dawn (our understanding will be fruitful), and the Day Star will arise in our hearts, bringing confidence and assurance (2 Pet 1:19).

In the Kingdom of God, understanding comes from faith. As we believe, the Lord gives us the understanding. This is reflected in a statement found in Hebrews 11:3. "By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible."

As you read the Scriptures, believing them is the primary thing. I believe you already know this, and do, in fact, believe them. It is always in order to pray as David did, "Give me understanding . . . " (Psa 119:34,73,125, 144, 69).

Remember, when you read the Scriptures, you are feeding your soul, or living by every Word of God (Lk 4:4). You are being nourished by the Word, through the Spirit, and by means of your faith. Your understanding will also be fruitful in due time.

I suspect you are trying to understand all of the details of Scripture--something like we learn to do in academics. Understanding the Word is different from understanding earthly text books. You want to first see the broad principles, or declarations, of Scripture. They are the key to understanding the details.

For instance, when you understand Jesus cannot lose and Satan cannot win, it illuminates many otherwise obscure texts. Or, when we see that faith is always blessed, and unbelief is never blessed -- or heaven is always primary, and earth is always secondary . . . etc.

I suggest that you see if there is anything you understand--anything at all. Strive to get hold of one thing, not everything. Do not try and understand the whole of what you read, but some part of it. That understanding, however small kit may appear, will be like a mustard seed that will grow and grow.

Be encouraged in your efforts. The Lord wants you to understand, and you also want to understand. That is an equation that is sure to yield good results.

Go to next page 01_04_B.gif (10479 bytes)  HOME.jpg (6133 bytes)