August, 1968 / Volume 8 / Number 8
MONTHLY PUBLICATION OF THE BIOLA FELLOWSHIP
S. H. SUTHERLAND
A l SANDERS
CHURCH PRESS ON THIS MONTH’S COVER Associated student body officers for the coming year gather on the patio of the Student Union Building. In the background is Biola’s Music facility, Crowell Hall.
CONTENTS BREATHE ON ME ....................... 3 MAKING GOD’S M ELODY............ 5 WHERE IS NOW THEIR GOD? — Vance H avne r.......................... 7 HOW TO STUDY YOUR BIBLE — Stuart B risco e .......................... 9 PANEL DISCUSSIONS....................18 PARABLES AND P EA R L S .............24 STUDIES IN I JOHN — Lloyd T. Anderson ................. 30
Second Class postage paid in La Mirada, Calif. Printed in U.S.A. by Church Press, Glendale, Calif. Address: Biota Broad* caster, 13800 Blola Ave., La Mirada, California 90638.
th e b i o t a h o u r
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O ne of our leading magazines re cently carried an article on deep breathing. It pointed out that we use only part of our lungs, and that we are not making the most of our resources. Manifestly, everything de pends upon breathing. To quit means we stop living. No man is ever more than a few breaths from death and eternity. Genesis 2:7 tells us that God made man out of the dust of the earth and breathed into him the breath of life, and he became a liv ing soul. Man is a God-inspired be ing. We are living souls, not mere matter. What makes the difference is the breath of God. The Bible tells us that all Scrip ture is God-breathed (II Tim. 3:16). There is ordinary human inspiration in great literature and music but this Book is more than any of these. It is the divine breath of the Lord. This is God’s Word, not just in spots or wherever it speaks to us, but in its entirety. In John 20:22 we find that the risen Lord breathed on the disciples and said, “Receive ye the Holy Spir it.” This was prophetic since the Spirit came at Pentecost. Today, every C h ris tian is God-breathed. When he is born-again, God breathes into him eternal life; he is indwelt by the Holy Spirit. The church is God-breathed, a heavenly fellowship, endowed with life from above. This does not mean that all churches are empowered by the Holy Spirit for service and for testimony. The greatest need of the church today is breath. Dr. J. B. Phillips declares, “The church is so prosperous it is out of breath, and so organized that it’s muscle-bound.” There are a lot of members puffing and blowing but getting nowhere. Dr.
Wilbur Chapman, as a young min ister, asked Dr. F. B. Meyer: “Why is my spiritual experience so inter mittent?” The old saint responded, “Have you ever tried breathing out three times without breathing in once?” He got the message. We hear much of artificial respira tion these days. There is mouth-to- mouth resusitation when somebody drowns. The church is using a lot of it. Men are trying to blow in in spiration into men by pep talks and promotions. The corpse may seem to move momentarily but it’s not real revival. People are spending time in churches today, trying to pull out what has never been put in. Only what’s down in the well will come up in the bucket. There are two verbs in our Lord’s word to the disciple: “He breathed and said receive ye the Spirit.” There are the giving and the receiving. An other word comes continually these days, which is “open-ended-ness.” We should be open toward God for strength, and open toward man for service. A lake that has no inlet is soon exhausted and a lake with no outlet is soon stagnant. Our Lord said to His disciples, “Go ye.” But He also said, ‘"Tarry ye.” We need both the mirror and the window. In the mirror we see ourselves and our needs. Through the window we look out to the needs of the world. The book of Acts is simply the record of the outflow and the overflow of the inflow of the Holy Spirit. When I was a small boy, my fa ther used to take me to an old mill out in the country. It was operated by a water wheel. As the stream poured on the wheel, it operated the mill. Suppose the miller came down one morning and found that there 3
wasn’t enough water to turn the big wheel. How foolish it would be for him awkwardly to try to push it around. It would be the height of folly to call in neighbors to help him make it move. What he would need would be to go up the creek and re move the obstructing debris which clogged the channel, and get the wa ter flowing. If I may “change horses in the middle of the stream,” using the figure of air instead of water, our Lord said, “If any man thirst, let him come unto Me and drink.” The Spirit was not yet given at that time, because Jesus was not yet glo rified. Here again, however, we have the giving and the receiving. Have you ever looked at a large electric sign with some of the letters out, or quivering because some poor connection was worn out? Some churches are like that, either out or rather shaky in their testimony. They are not plugged in to the socket of divine power. There must be openness toward God. We are hearing a great deal today that the church needs to get out of its sanctuary and into the world.. This is no new idea. The Lord Him self said, “As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world.” The trouble is, we try to send some people out be fore they are ready to go. We are activists and always want to be do ing something. It is erroneous to think that if we can get enough church members out doing some thing, this will solve the problem. There always must be a personal experience with God. We must tarry with the Lord in our deep breathing exercises. Dr. A. W. Tozer said that he once read a book on deep breathing. He did very well with his exercises until he got all tangled up reading the instructions. Finally he quit his ex ercising because of the confusion in volved. A good many books on “how 4
to be filled with the Spirit” remind me of this. Some confuse more than clarify the issue. In 1887, Dr. F. B. Meyer at the Keswick Convention in England, worn from long seasons of praying to be a spiritual Christian, testified, “I climbed a little hill and said, ‘Lord, I’m too tired to think or to feel or to pray intensely.’ But it seemed as though a voice said to me, ‘As you took Me for forgiveness long ago, take the Holy Spirit for power and testimony. According to your faith, be it unto you.’ I said in return, ‘Lord, as I breathe this whiff of air, so I breathe thy Holy Spir it.’ ” Just as physically we grow short of breath these days, going through life by gasps, we need to ex ercise our full spiritual lungs. Too many Christians today have spiritual emphysema. We live by gasps when the Lord would have us breathe deeply from His bountiful supply. Going from church to church, I see pastors, Sunday school teachers, educational directors, music leaders and laymen all out of breath. There is no regular devotional life, no mo- ment-by-moment appropriation of the living Christ for each need. Get out of the smoggy air of this world. You need not live in the polluted atmos phere. Pray as the hymn-writer sug gests: “Breathe on me, Breath of God, Fill me with life anew, That I may love what Thou dost love, And do what Thou wouldst do. “Breathe on me, Breath of God, Until my heart is pure, Until with Thee I will one will, To do and to endure.”
The ability to 'peak in several languages is valuable, but the privilege to keep your mouth closed in one is sometimes priceless.
MAKING ’$ T T M a c L f T here is a blessed word in Psalm 119:54: “Thy statutes have been my songs in the house of my pil grimage.” Sometime ago I watched Pablo Casals, the world’s greatest cellist, teaching a post-graduate class of students. They seemed almost per fect to me; however, this was not Casals’ view. After one had played a number which sounded faultless to my ears, the great artist com mented kindly, “You are playing the notes, but not the music.” This cap- sulizes the problem facing the church and most Christians today. We are able to sing the words but there is not the heart behind the melody. This verse indicates that we are pilgrims and strangers which is readily confirmed through the New Testament. Matthew Henry rightly pointed out, “This world is our pas sage and not our portion.” Here on earth we have no continuing city. Unfortunately, some saints do more sighing than singing. God has put a new song in our hearts. We are really the “melody makers.” God’s statutes are to be our song. It’s not a case of mere memorization in com mon fashion where the words are known in their exact setting, but without any real message or personal meaning. We do not ordinarily asso ciate statutes with songs, but God’s lawbook is a “songbook.” His man dates are melodies. The tragedy of the church today is that we are try ing to have either the music without the notes or the notes without the music. We cannot produce the tune without the words. “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.” Majoring on experience and leaving the track of Scripture is like a locomotive in the mud with only the whistle blowing.
by Dr. Vance Havner
In the music world our eardrums are battered by wild and weird dis cords that disregard every decent aspect of harmony. And in the re ligious world we have everything, all the way from a jazz Gospel to a lib eral social reform with no redeeming message from God to man. This new school likes to talk about discarding outdated theological concepts. They not only sing a new tune, but also new words. They tell us the old times are not intelligible and that we need a new jargon. Some urge us to de velop an entirely new vocabulary. If regeneration, sanctification, justifica tion and these other important terms mean nothing today, it’s up to us to make them mean something. The old, old story doesn’t need a new jazz tune, nor does it need more up-to- date words. It must be translated in to our daily living and retold through our daily witness. The Pharisees were experts in the letter of the law, but they didn’t know the spirit of it. There was no walk, no heart, no joy. What made other people happy made them miser able; what made others glad made them sad. We have plenty of music and dancing these days, even in some sanctuaries where jazz bands have been brought in. I don’t mean that kind! There ought to be rejoicing before the Lord. Why don’t we re joice over prodigal sons who come home to God? If that kind of revival broke out, some prominent members would become su lk ing Pharisees. Phariseeism plays the notes but not the music. It is long on theology and short on doxology. The story is cor rect but the song is cold. Evangelical Christianity is occu pied more with notes than music. I’m disturbed by what I hear today. So &
Spirit blows. What bothers me is facts without power and notes with out music. Music is more than an assortment of notes. A love letter is more than a collection of nouns, verbs and adjectives. A sermon is more than 30 minutes’ worth of homiletic material. Reading some of our religious journals today causes me to want to go outside for a stroll to get the taste out of my mouth. The words and the tune must go to gether. It is one thing to have the notes in your head, but quite another to have the music in your heart. A Stradivarius in the hands of Fritz Kreisler would lift one out of this world. Let some ordinary fiddler play it, however, and it would be nothing more than horse hairs scraping on catgut. The church at Ephesus was busy with her works but they weren’t the first works of love. Only the love of God, shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit, can add this third in gredient to make God’s statutes our song in the house of our pilgrimage. The other day in a meeting I looked over the congregation. The people seemed sleepy, listless, singing with out thinking of what they were say ing. I thought, “If we really believe what we say, knowing that we have both a here and hereafter in Jesus Christ, the church probably wouldn’t hold the crowd and the service wouldn’t end till after midnight.” It seems sometimes that churches are made up of a languid handful who have left their first love, if they ever had it. They are just playing church, faultily faultless and icily regular. We need to deal with divine electricity at church and something ought to happen. There should at least be a charge or a shock. How is it with your life? You will either be playing notes, without any real inspiration, or you will be singing from the depths of your heart the new song in Christ Jesus. I earnest ly pray that it may be the latter.
much about “relevance,” “dialogue” and “involvement.” There are panels and symposiums where we pool our ignorance, and seminars with intel lectuals high in the theological stra tosphere. My soul hungers like the Dutchman in Grand Rapids who said, “What is all this argument? I sure would like to get in another good old ‘Jesus’ meeting.” I’m weary with lectures on music. When Moody went to Scotland the first time, the people had experi enced a great many church splits w ith much theological dissension. Moody didn’t know anything about that. He wasn’t a theologian. He just preached the grace of God. Somebody observed, “He set to music a tune that had been haunting us for thousands of ages.” The church men had argued the notes but Moody had played the music. Something’s vitally missing now. This isn’t just the nostalgia of an older man. I am not harping on “The good old days.” To be sure, some of them weren’t so good after all. I find younger preachers today, who are likewise concerned and who yearn to find the warmth of the Scriptures in the hearts of men and women. Where is the radiance of the Christian faith? The Ephesian Christians left their first love and the church dis integrated. I remember preaching in a church years ago where they had a paid quartet. The four sang every night before I preached. Then they left, before I got started. One night they sang, “I’m a pilgrim and a stran ger. I can tarry but a night.” I thought that ought to be their theme song. It is like so much we see to day, a performance which means nothing. The preacher can be so polished that our eyes will blink with his brilliance. Yet there are no tears. Sometimes it can be our fault; the difficulty could be the receiver and not the transmitter. Yet, my heart still glows when the breath of the 6
T he prophet Joel lived in a day of calamity and crisis. He called upon God’s people to repent (2:16) and besought the Lord for a sweep ing revival (1:13). Indeed, the con sequence of repentance was that it was sweeping and weeping in its character. Peter quoted from Joel on the day of Pentecost. (This is about the only verse most people know from Joel.) My interest is the prayer in 2:17 wherein God calls upon His ministers, the priests, to pray. Cer tainly preachers today could well fol low the suggestion. I like the trans lation, “The ministers ought to weep between the porch and the altar say ing, ‘Eternal arms, spare thy people. Leave not thy heritage to be taunt ed, to be a byword among pagans. Why should the nations sneer, where is their God?’ ” Joel was saying, “I’m tired of the heathen asserting, ‘You Jews claim to be God’s people; where’s your miracle-working Lord who led you out of Egypt, through the Red Sea, and into the promised land? Where is the God of David and Solomon? Where is the God of Elijah?’ ” The minister is to pray, “Oh, Lord, don’t let us be a laughing stock in the nations.” Today, a pagan world is saying to the church, “Where are your pow er and your miracles? Where is the supernatural? All you have is a dull dry program carried on by promo tion. You may have started with an experience but you wound up with merely a performance. The world is turning to the psychiatrist and the educator for its answers, claiming that God is dead. Frankly, I ’m more disturbed by the crowd that says, “God is not dead,” but then goes on living as though He were. After all, the business of the church is to
demonstrate the Lord. We are a holy nation, a royal priesthood, and a peculiar people. Our purpose is to show forth the praises of Him who has called us out of darkness into His marvelous light. Too many troubled souls are like Gideon today. They are asking, “If God be for us, why has all of this befallen u s; where be all the miracles our fathers told us of?” Men don’t believe in miracles in some quarters, because they haven’t had any. People join a church on a confession of faith. It is an easy “believism” with no evidence of being new creatures, or that old things have passed away. We’re busy promoting an impersonal institutionalism. We are not repro ducing personal experience. This is time for ministers to pray, as in the days of Joel, “Oh God, don’t let your heritage be by word among the pagans. We are tired of hearing people sneer, ‘Where is your God?’ ” I am engaged in revivals in churches all of the time. I never go to a church where most of the mem bers come to revival meetings. They evidently don’t think they are worth going to. They couldn’t care less. This doesn’t embarrass me personal ly. I have reached the age where I’m not trying to project an image or build up a reputation. Christians rightly claim to represent the great est thing in the world. Salvation is the answer to every need of human ity. Yet, if we believe in what we do, it would take the biggest auditorium in the country to hold the people. If we don’t believe these truths, then we are the worst hypocrites on earth, preaching and promoting something most of its adherents wouldn’t miss if they lost. There is something wrong with our 7
day. Even theologians say, God is nowhere.” The biggest business to the church is to prove that God is now here. So often I hear people pray, “Lord, be with us in this meeting.” I never pray that prayer. You don’t have to. He’s already there where two or three are gathered in His Name. The problem is we are not aware of Him. The world doesn’t know He’s there because sin grieves and quench es the Holy Spirit. Jesus will do no mighty works because of our un belief. I am also tired of all of this de featism about the church. Men say it is too slow, too out of date, and so forth. Remember the gates of hell shall not prevail against the church! It is to be as a great dynamo. We know it has power but no one seems to know how to turn on the switch. What do we need to do? Five things: repent, confess and forsake sin, give up the world, make Christ Lord, and be filled with the Spirit. When we do, we will no longer be a reproach to the believers, where pagans sneer, “Where is now their God?”
Christianity when we have to beg most of the crowd to come to church. I feel like Joel. I'm ashamed of the world’s going by and looking at the corporal’s guard huddled in a lumber yard of empty benches singing, “Re vive Us Again.” If I were a non- Christian and dropped in on the aver age church during a revival, seeing a handful of the membership trying to get more recruits to join the army of the Lord (when most of the outfit had gone AWOL), I think I’d say, “Either Christianity is not what it’s supposed to be, or else this crowd’s been sold a cheap brand immunized against the real thing.” I would feel like rising up in the back pew and saying, “Where’s your God? What do you mean singing ‘Onward Chris tian Soldiers’ when most of your army has deserted? Why sing, ‘My Jesus, Love Thee, I know Thou art mine. For Thee all the follies of sin I resign,’ when most of your crowd are at home watching Sodom and Gomorrah? Where is your God?” Any organization, business, secret order, political party or social club with no more loyalty to its founder, that takes no more joy in its pro gram, that uses as much raw mate rial and turns out such a poor fin ished product as we churches do, would be out of business. We seem content in swapping a few members from one church to another like mov ing corpses from one mortician to another. We preach a dynamite gos pel and live firecracker lives. I can’t except this as normal. Christianity all too often becomes glorified big business demonstrating what efficiency in organization and enthusiasm can do, not what God can do. I heard of an infidel who had a sign in his office that read, “God is Nowhere.” His little granddaughter came in and brightly pointed out, “Oh look ! It says ‘God is now here.’ ” This makes a lot of difference the way one reads it. Herein are the two schools of thought in the world to- 8
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Dr. Charles L. Feinberg, dean of Talbot Theological Seminary, recently demonstrated the historic Jewish Passover at a banquet for Biola. Dressed as an orthodox Jewish father, he explained the different aspects of the ritual and how that even in these various things one could readilysee the Lord Jesus Christ. Behind him js the Scripture verse of Exodus, "When I se the blood, I wil pass over thee."
by Stuart Briscoe
Mow io Study YOUR BIBLE W HAT WOULD you think if I told you that while here in Ameri ca, I got a letter from my wife over in England, yet I just didn’t bother to read it? While I was thrilled that she sent it to me, yet for some rea son I couldn’t find the time to open it, much less to find out what she had to say. It is almost too ludicrous even to imagine. If we profess to love someone, as I truly do my wife, then we will want to know immediately what that one has to say to us. It is strange to me to find so many people who tell me that they love God, yet they never take the trouble to read letters the Lord has written to them Does it sound as if their love is very real? The Bible is a personal letter written by God to us personally. We all have access to a copy of the Scriptures. No doubt there may be several in your home, perhaps even various translations. So often we simply give consent to the fact that the Bible is the Word of God. Yet we don’t really believe it, because we never take time to find out what it has to say. A Sunday school teacher asked one of her pupils, “Sweetheart, do you know what’s in the Bible?” The lit tle girl proudly answered, “Oh, yes, I know everything that is in the Bible. Let me see: there’s a list of when we were all born, and the names of those who have already died. There’s a picture of my big sister’s latest boyfriend; a piece of blue ribbon; a lock of my baby hair; a recipe for Mama’s plum pudding; and a pressed wild flower. That’s everything in our Bible.” How mis led she, like a lot of other people, was. People call it “The Holy Bible.” They would never desecrate it by tearing out pages or even setting
Torchbearers’ Fellowship Capemwray Hall, England
anything on top of it. Yet the Scrip ture isn’t read. A student came to me one time, declaring, “The Bible is a lot of rubbish!” I listened to him for about ten minutes and then he left my room. He came back a few minutes later, repeating, “The Bible is a lot of rubbish!” I simply replied, "I heard you the first time.” You know, that boy came every night for about three weeks to say exactly the same thing. Finally I gave him an old copy of the Bible and urged him to take a pair of scissors, and cut out anything he thought was rubbish. I suggested that in finding such a por tion he check the references and rela tive passages in either the Old or New Testament and cut them out as well, and then, when he had some, to bring them back to me. Do you know, he refused! He was actually afraid to cut the paper. That would desecrate it. He argued, “You can’t cut the Bible into pieces.” I replied, just as firmly, “Well, evidently it’s permissible to cut it to pieces with your tongue. I’m afraid I don’t un derstand the way your mind works.” People carry a strange sort of rever ence for the Bible and yet they don’t read or study it. Oh, yes, it is respect able to have a Bible in your home, and even to have it prominently dis played. Do you really know why we have the Bible? As strange as it may seem, Scripture was given that it might be read. Honestly now, is this what you do with it? Do you treat it as if it were a symposium of let ters the Lord has personally written to you ? We want to make a few sugges tions as to how you can study the Bible practically. Many people go to church regularly. They are adept at 9
correspond regularly. I love to read her letters. Do you love to read God’s letters to you? There are all sorts of things we need to know in this life. We can only find out about them in Scripture. Men devise all sorts of philosophies; however, such human viewpoints change almost as quickly as they come. Someone has aptly said, “Philosophies come, and philosophies go, but philosophizing goes on for ever.” Think how many people there are in the world who don’t seem to know anything about the purpose of life. The Bible has all the answers! Get out your Bible and see for your self. Most people don’t know what God requires of them. They could, but they just haven’t taken the time. If you find out these things for your self, you will remember them. Peo ple have such big problems today. To many, life itself is just one big prob lem after another. The answers can be found in the excellent Textbook the Lord has given, if we will take the time to read it. When a person realizes what the Bible is for, it is so exciting. When you realize what you can learn from Scripture, it is thrilling. Check your spiritual condi tion to see that you are really in volved in the Bible yourself. That’s the first reason why you ought to read and study it. The second is that the Bible is described as “the sword of the Spirit.” Men and women are intended to be in God’s army. As soldiers, you need to use a weapon. A Christian is a person in whom the risen Lord Jesus lives by His Spirit. His weapon is the Bible. A sword can be an offensive or a defensive weap on. As Christians, we must be on the offensive. (That doesn’t mean we’re supposed to be offensive!) Many Christians today are very apologetic. They are concerned about what people think. They have heard so many theories, they feel their be liefs wouldn’t really make any im pact on people. So, they don’t really say anything about faith in Christ.
listening to the product of someone else’s study. After all, the minister is paid to do it; it’s his job because he went to seminary. Keep in mind, however, that the Bible wasn’t writ ten for experts but for ordinary peo ple like you and me. As I was talking on this subject one day, a woman came up to me to ask, “Do you expect us to study the Word of God every day? I think you’re completely and thoroughly un realistic.” I thanked her for her opinion and then suggested, “How long do you spend each day feeding your body?” She estimated that it took about one-and-a-half to two hours a day. I reasoned, “You spend about 20 minutes each week feeding your soul. Your body will die, but your soul never will. Doesn’t it seem strange to say, ‘I have a body that will die, therefore I’ll spend two hours a day feeding it. Yet I have a. soul that never will die, so I’ll spend 20 minutes a week feeding it?’ The emphasis seems odd to say the least.” The problem for most of us is that we don’t want to discipline ourselves to take the time to get into the Word of God. You don’t really believe it is the Word of God or you would read it consistently and regu larly. You would have an appetite for the Scripture. This is thè sad secret and where the trouble comes in. If one of your children doesn’t want to eat, you naturally become concerned. If I meet someone who has no appetite for the Word of God, I know that he is either spir itually dead or spiritually sick. Take time out really to decide if you believe that the Bible is the Word of God. Take time to check on your attitude towards it. Pray about these things, and let the Lord truly speak to your heart. PART II W hile I am here in America min istering, and my wife is over in England with our children, we 10
be priorities. Keep things in per spective. I’m reminded of a song one of our boys in youth work back home in England wrote. This boy was sub mitting songs to the “pop” market. The publishers sent them back to him, letting him know that they were good. He was told outright, however, to make the lyrics more suggestive so that they would sell more readily. One of the songs he wrote was about the experience he had one New Year’s Eve. He and his friends got drunk. They decided to go to church. The situation in England is this: when teenagers suggest they go to church, you can usually believe they must be drunk. There is so little interest there in the things of the Lord. In the song he tells how about six of them filed into the church and listened to the old man who got up to preach. He was all dressed in the robes of his office. The only thing this youth could remember was a long pointed finger coming at him, and a voice booming, “Young man, you’ll die.” He was absolutely terrified. The chorus of the song goes, “So, I went out, and bought myself a Bible, and read about this Man they called the Lord.” Now, if a young man who is drunk on New Year’s Eve goes to church once and can be convicted with the necessity of getting a Bi ble, there’s no reason why y o u shouldn’t get one like this yourself. I assure you I make no money sell ing Bibles. I get no percentage from any book store. I know, however, what this can mean in your own heart and life, however, and I urge you to apply it to your own needs to day for spiritual growth and satis faction in Christ. PART III W E have three children in our home: David, 8, Judy, 6, and Peter, 4. Do you suppose we person ally feed them each day? No, the food is provided and at this point 11
If you’re a Christian, you’re intend ed to be without fear. This means making an impact on enemy terri tory. When I was in the Royal Marine Commandos, we had to learn how to fire every gun from a revolver to a sixteen-inch Naval gun. They used to take us into a darkened room, and strip down these guns. We cleaned them in the dark and put them to gether again in the dark. Until we could do that, we would not be re garded as being proficient in the handling of our offensive weapons. I believe you ought to be able to take your Bible in the dark of testing, being so familiar with it that you can use it proficiently for spiritual strength and stability. A soldier who can’t handle his weapon isn’t very much of a soldier. Keep in mind that the Sword of the Spirit is your defensive weapon too.. A Christian will be subjected to all sorts of attacks. As good sol diers, we are expected to stand up to them. Do you know how to do it? The Lord Jesus Christ is a prime illustration of how a man can use the Word of God as a defensive weap on. Read the fourth chapters of Mat thew and Luke. When temptations from the devil came, He turned each of them aside by use of Scripture. There are no short-cuts. You have to decide that you will do something about your Bible and really spend time on it. The first thing you’ll need is a Bible. I don’t want to insult your intelligence, but I want to say s6me- thing very straightforward. A lot of Bibles have been published so that no one will read them. They are made so delightfully small with print absolutely impossible to read. (You may be able to read it, but you cer tainly cannot study it.) Have one large enough with margins where you can make notes. You can afford one all right, even if you have to do without something else. There must
salvation, etc. Choose a color you can use to relate to each of these major themes. Suppose you want to study the second coming of Christ. When ever you come across such a prom ise, mark it with the color you have chosen. In this way you will be build ing a valuable source book which will guide you in a most enlightening and helpful manner. I remember the time when early in my ministry, I was asked to do a study on the Epistle to the Galatians. My theme concerned the Holy Spirit in this wonderful book. The people were rather surprised that I knew so much on the subject. The actual fact was that I didn’t know very much about it at all. But you see passages relating to the Holy Spirit were underlined in green r i g h t through my Bible. It greatly simpli fied my opportunity, and was a ready made lesson. Not only do I mark my Bible with colored pencils, but also I have dis covered that it is extremely profitable to mark it in the margins. It is bet ter to use plain pencil rather than ball point ink for the latter will put it there to stay. The next time you look in your Bible at that particular passage, you’ll-have the tendency to read that first, rather than perhaps uncovering something fresh. The Bi ble with such constant use gets rath er soiled and worn. Pencil marks can be erased more quickly. I feel that by the time my notes automatically have erased themselves, I should have something new to think about! Another helpful suggestion is to mark your Bible by selecting an out standing particular theme which is evident. As an example, I have my Bible open to Romans 6. The key here is the word “know.” The mes sage is victory over indwelling sin. Now, all spiritual experience initial ly comes through the avenue of the mind. It is what we know that we are able to put into operation. Since the key thought of Romans 6 is
wo do little to convince them of their need to eat. Do you know there are a lot of Christians who have been in the faith even longer, and yet they still have to be fed? A very practical message on the growth in grace for a Christian is to learn how to feed oneself. After buying yourself a good Bi ble, with fairly large type and wide margins so that you may make notes, get yourself a good concordance. Gen erally, the ones found in the back of the Bible are too small to be of much real help. Sometimes certain words translated in the Bible have several different meanings. Several kinds are well worth considering. Young’s, Strong’s and Cruden’s con cordances are the best-known al though there are many other good ones. Start tracing words throughout Scripture and the new insight you will obtain from this type of extreme ly profitable study will delight you. , The third thing you should have is a notebook, preferably about the size of your Bible, so that it will be handy to carry along with you. You will find things which strike you and which you will want to remem ber. A year or two later it will be extremely interesting to read through your notes to see the unmistakable way in which God has been speaking to you. This is also a good check point to discover what you did about the things the Lord said to you in the past. The next idea would be to obtain a set of colored pencils. They aren’t very expensive. I bought an excellent set here in the States a few days ago for about a $1.00. Do without a hamburger sometime and buy your self a set. Mark neatly in your Bible several themes that are of particular interest to you. You might want to carry a small plastic ruler with which to make straight lines. Decide one major theme in the Bible you want to study. As an example: the Holy Spirit, the promises of God, 12
“know,” I will then want to find out what the Bible says about knowing. By following this method, I immedi ately see that the first thing is shown in verse 3, “Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?” The second is in verse 6, “Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that hence forth we should not serve sin.” The third is in verse 9, “Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him.” In verse 16 it is stated: “Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?” It is not because I have a wonderful memory that I can do this. It is simply because I have marked in the margin a small 1, 2, 3 and 4. Could it be any more simple? You might keep in mind things which are in a very real way related to each other. This is good to mark by a thin line drawn from one to the other. While reading Romans 6, my eye automatically fell'on Romans 5. I have lines drawn from verse 12 where it says “sin entered” to verse 20 with the statement that “sin abounded.” Further, I have a line drawn from verse 20 to verse 21. Here the thought of “sin abounding” is linked with the idea of “sin reign ing.” In a short time I have come up with three things stated about sin in this passage: sin entered, sin abounded, and sin reigned. I know that you will find how that marking your Bible carefully in this way is tremendously helpful for spiritual growth. What is more, a system of marking your Bible will encourage you to work more regularly on Bible study. This will make you so much more excited about searching the Word.
PART IV O NE OF the most profitable ways for you to spend a portion of your day is in Bible study. In pre vious messages we’ve been talking about some of the practical tools you can and should use. The Bible is God’s Word to man. He tells us what He’s like and what His purposes for us are. There are things the Lord intends for us to know and the only way we can learn them is by study ing the Scriptures. It isn’t a case of just going to church twenty minutes a week and having a “pre-digested” diet stuffed in our mouths by the preacher. We need to be feeding our selves regularly day by day. Successful Bible study can depend a great deal on your attitude. Before you can have an appetite for the Word of God, you must have as a primary requisite, the life of Christ within you. The Holy Spirit must be living in and through you. Check to make absolutely certain that you have such a relationship to Almighty God. Next, you will need to have a real love for the Word of God. Such interest and devotion can’t be manu factured. It comes only from a per sonal relationship with the Lord Je sus Christ Himself. In Jeremiah 15: 16 we read the prophet’s declaration, “Thy words were found and I did eat them. Thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of my heart.” What a beautiful expression! Humanly speaking, there wasn’t much going on which could cause Jeremiah to rejoice. Things were most difficult. Yet there was still real joy in his heart. He found his complete satis faction in the Word of God. The same ideas are expressed in the Psalms (such as the first chapter). Follow ing this, there should be an honest desire to work on the Word of God. In the Proverbs, Scripture is likened to a silver mine. This precious metal never jumps out of the ground in front of a prospector. One who would 13
themselves by saying they can’t un derstand it. The truth of the matter is, they’ve never asked the Lord to help them understand it. Prayerful ness shows a desire to have the Lord speak to our hearts. The Bible re minds us to consider what God says. The term denotes that we should “take time over it; meditate upon it; be thoughtful about it.” How fre quently we will rush into reading the Bible and then rush right out again. No wonder we fail to understand II Timothy 2:7. Some thought should also be given to timing. There are some who feel we should get up early in the morn ing, while others insist the more lei surely evenings are far better for Bi ble study. Suffice it to say no hard and fast rules should be enforced. You know your own circumstances and needs best. With a busy mother, the time may of necessity have to fluctuate from time to time. The same is true of a businessman’s schedule. Sometimes no two days are alike. The basic thing is this: don’t allow any day to go by without spending some time in the Word of God. I never let my eyes close in sleep unless they have been opened on the Word of God during some part of the day. Here’s a good suggestion: The book of Prov erbs has 31 chapters in it. It’s fine spiritual exercise to read one every day, probably as early in the morn ing as you can fit it into your pro gram. Then, as you progress, take the book of Psalms and read five a day. You’ll get through it with un told spiritual blessing in a month. Do it over for three or four times and it will make a lasting impact upon your life. Then why not redeem some of your precious moments memorizing Scrip ture? We waste too much of our days. Ladies, when you’re doing some of the jobs about the house, commit some of these precious verses to memory. Put some on a tape record er. Play it over repeatedly so it will
obtain silver must start digging. Sometimes he has to go quite a way under the surface to get what he’s after. He then benefits from some thing of tremendous value which has been there all the time. As you study God’s Word, ask yourself if you are prepared to obey what He s a y s . Remember James warns of the man who is a hearer only. Jesus said, “If ye know these things, happy are ye if you do them.” You see, blessing comes not only from knowing spiritual truths, but also in following through on them. One reason there are so many un happy Christians is because these eternal verities have not been put into practice. There needs to be a very real rev erence shown for the Word of God. It is not to be treated as some text book for examination. Do you re member, the night before a test, cramming to the last minute? What Should have been studied regularly was condensed hurriedly into a few desperate moments. Things read so hastily are soon forgotten. Don’t let familiarity breed contempt as far as the Bible is concerned. This is the eternal work of the Holy Spirit as He moved upon holy men of old, using them as divine instruments to reveal these blessed truths. Think, too, of those many stalwarts of the faith who laid down their lives so that you and I might have Scrip ture translated into our language. Yes, we should rightly hold a tre mendous reverence for the Word of God. Don’t be bored as you come to it. Don’t treat it as a necessary evil! There should be very real prayer fulness in our attitude as we come to the Word of God. James urges us, “If any of you lack wisdom, ask for it. Don’t ask doubting or wavering but ask in faith, expecting God to give you what you need.” A lot of people never get around to studying the Word of God because they excuse 14
be going through your mind, as you carry on your activities. There are ways men can do the same, such as placing packets of verses on the sun visor for reference. Learn to utilize your time wisely. If necessary, re organize your schedule so that you can make absolutely certain that no day goes by but that some time is spent on the Word of God! PART V I T is a simple fact that any person who says he loves God and yet doesn’t really study the Word of God is a peculiar individual. The Bible is a Sword; it’s both an offensive and a defensive weapon which each of us needs to be using. Of course, there are different methods of studying the Bible. You will find a number of kinds suggested. Some would sug gest the best idea is to study the Bible as a whole. With 66 books, too often those who are not dedicated will begin well and then soon fade out. Genesis can be immensely enjoyed. Exodus often goes just about as well. Half-way through Leviticus trouble comes in. While it is a tremendously important book, it really isn’t the sort of thing one who is new to Bible study goes after day by day. To get at the Bible as a whole, you might want to begin in three places simul taneously. Let’s say you begin in Genesis, Psalms, and Matthew. This would divide the Bible almost equally into three parts. One day you might study Genesis, the next a Psalm and then a day later Matthew, alternat ing back and forth. This way you will be able to keep your interest more intense. In fact, if you have time, study each day from all three. This type of study will help you to balance out such a necessary practice. Should your desire for Bible study be focused on one specific book at a time, I would suggest beginning with Philippians. You will find this extremely interesting. The first thing to do is to read it all the way
through. It’s amazing to find how relatively few Christians ever sit down and read through any one book of the Bible at one sitting. After all, this is how these things were writ ten. Paul didn’t write expecting peo ple to read two verses every morning and then come back next Sunday with two more verses. (Of course, there weren’t any verses when he wrote it.) It definitely should be read as a whole. Today we have available to us won derful helps and aids to Bible study. Consider the many modern transla tions. These editions are really a means to an end. Modern translations are no substitutes for the King James Version. It is the one I prefer to memorize. As an example, Living Letters is a wonderful publication; however, we would urge that you study it along with your regular Bible. The way to do it would be to read through Philippians once. Then, read it in Living Letters. Then read it in the Amplified Bible. Then per haps use Phillips. These will give you other shades of meaning. When you have read through the epistle, four or five times in dif ferent translations, then get out your notebook and start thinking in terms of the natural divisions into which this epistle falls. Paul tells us that we are to rightly divide the word of truth. I believe this means we shall be able really to analyze it. Try to think of a title for each chapter. Write this down in your notebook. Philippians is rather easy for the four chapters fall into quite natural divisions. Sometimes it doesn’t hap pen this way at all. I personally find it helpful to divide each chapter into smaller subsections. This won’t be too difficult either. The first chapter has about six smaller sections. Let me give you an example. Verses one and two form the “salutation” ; verses three to eight “Paul's de light” ; verses nine to eleven “Paul’s desire.” (Here we find his wonderful 15
There’s a great deal in the Bible about this important subject. This will reveal the importance of your relationship to the Lord as your Mas ter. Then the names of our Lord could provide another day’s signifi cant study. We would go right on through these words, only to find that a good week of personal Bible study could be well spent in this introduction alone. The refreshing salutation of grace and peace yields such a matchless area of contemplation. Note that first we must experience the grace of our Lord before we can truly enjoy His blessed peace. The study of grace will lead you to such verses as II Corinthians 8, 9; Ephesians 2:8, 9 and other wonderful passages with which you should be familiar. Then the Bible says a great deal about peace. Use that notebook to jot down all of the things you’ve learned. In this way you can go over them again to refresh yourself. Also, it serves as a checkpoint a few months or a year from now to see how you have been growing. These are just a few things which will be yielded in two verses of Philippians one. If you don’t get many more, then simply go back and try it again. This is one of the most profitable ways I know to study your Bible. Sometimes, of course, it’s not possible in some passages in the Old Testa ment. Such a meticulous effort is not called for there, but in some of these epistles this is really vital. The same is true with the Psalms and Proverbs. A very interesting third method of Bible study is by using specific topics. A good place to begin is with some of the main doctrines of the Word. Consider such truths as faith, belief, trust, dependence, and other terms which are often synonymous. Follow them right through the Bible. When you finish this, why not select words which have a special interest to you? One of my favorites is there fore. It’s been well said that when
prayer for the Philippian Chris tians.) Then in 12 to 26 is “Paul’s dilemma” and finally, 27 to 30 “Paul’s demands.” This type of thing you may find helpful for yourself. Now, start with these smaller sections and make a more concentrated study of them. Any passage of Scripture I contend can be a wonderful study for you. There are many things we need to notice for spiritual application. Get out your notebook, and really study for yourself. Put down all the things which impress you, regard less of how insignificant you may find them. In this way you will dis cover other thoughts coming, and you can begin building one truth up on another. PART VI T he most important aspect of Bible study is to see how much you can get out of it for yourself. It is im portant to hear messages in church and Sunday school; it is interesting to hear the Word expounded over the air 'and to read about the Lord 'in books, but nothing will suffice like your own personal study of the Bible. As an example, let’s look again at the first few verses of Philippians in which we read, “Paul and Timo- theus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons. Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.” Just start with the first word, “Paul.” See who he really was, and why he wrote to these people. How had he known them? The book of Acts will be extremely important for this ana lysis. Do the same with Timothy. What was his background and why did Paul mention him? This will take you into the two epistles addressed to him. Then consider the beautiful phrase, “the servants of J e s u s Christ.” Using your good concor dance, trace the word servant to see that it really represents a slave. 16Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Page 5 Page 6 Page 7 Page 8 Page 9 Page 10 Page 11 Page 12 Page 13 Page 14 Page 15 Page 16 Page 17 Page 18 Page 19 Page 20 Page 21 Page 22 Page 23 Page 24 Page 25 Page 26 Page 27 Page 28 Page 29 Page 30 Page 31 Page 32 Page 33 Page 34 Page 35 Page 36
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