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marzepan_dragon
24 January 2013 @ 08:21 am
http://www.montereychurchofchrist.com/Site/Listen_to_Our_Sermons.html

This is from the church of Christ in Monterey, CA, where I attend. :)
 
 
marzepan_dragon
23 January 2013 @ 02:37 pm
"Most people just do not realize that New Testament truth is that simple, that plain, and that uncomplicated. The denominationalism that has gripped western civilization is so entrenched and so entangled in the minds of people that they seem to be unable to detach themselves from it, and to go back to the New Testament to get a clear conception of the New Testament church." -- page 53

This is the sort of thing that I had been personally looking for in my life, in my quest to find the way to God. I was from a Presbyterian background, with Episcopalian influences, and grew up in a Roman Catholic country. I'd been part of and visited many different denominations, before I found one that was not a denomination at all, but simply was 'the church', and that only followed biblical teachings, nothing else. 

http://www.apologeticspress.org/pdfs/e-books_pdf/wtbsatcoc.pdf
 
 
marzepan_dragon
21 January 2013 @ 09:11 am
It has been a long time since any updates, but I intend to restart this page, with links and studies that I have found concerning the true way to Christanity. It is much simpler than most people expect. :)

http://apologeticspress.org/pdfs/e-books_pdf/wtbsatcc.pdf
 
 
marzepan_dragon
We need to realize that our backsliding has repercussions on the people around us. We are known by the people around us, by what we do. What does our life say about us, does it say we are followers of Jesus, or does it say we are Christians in name only?

We must despise and reject sin.
This is an execrpt from the prayer of David's remorse for the sins he committed.
Psalms 51:10-13
Create in me a pure heart, O God,
       and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
    11 Do not cast me from your presence
       or take your Holy Spirit from me.
    12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation
       and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
    13 Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
       and sinners will turn back to you.

As we have been forgiven, we must forgive others when they sin against us, and ask for our forgiveness.
Matthew 18:32-35

32 "Then the master called the servant in. 'You wicked servant,' he said, 'I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. 33 Shouldn't you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?' 34 In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.
    35 "This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive a brother or sister from your heart."

How we should view that which guides us on the right path.
Psalms 19:7

The law of the LORD is perfect,
       refreshing the soul.
       The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy,
       making wise the simple.

And we must not be ashamed of that which guides us.
Romans 1:16
I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.

This conviction cannot be forced upon anyone, they have to be fully convinced of the truth Peter has spoken in this passage, even within the depths of their own conscience. It's a highly personal experience to follow in the footsteps of Jesus.
Acts 3:19-23
Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, 20 and that he may send the Messiah, who has been appointed for you—even Jesus. 21 Heaven must receive him until the time comes for God to restore everything, as he promised long ago through his holy prophets. 22 For Moses said, 'The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own people; you must listen to everything he tells you. 23 Anyone who does not listen to him will be completely cut off from their people.'

This conviction also cannot be taken away from any of the faithful by force.
Romans 8:35-39

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written:
       "For your sake we face death all day long;
       we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered." [l]
    37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, [m] neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

An anecdotal story of  a pig and a chicken bringing the ingredients to a bacon and egg breakfast illustrates contribution as opposed to commitment. The chicken would contribute her eggs, but for the pig, it was a total commitment.

Matthew 6:33
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

There are 168 hours in a week, how much of that do we spend in the service of the Lord?

Romans 12:1-2
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is true worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

2 Timothy 2:22
Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.

1 Corinthians 15:58
Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

1 Corinthians 16:13
Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong.

2 Timothy 1:7-13
For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. 8 So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner. But join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God, 9 who has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, 10 but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. 11 And of this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher. 12 That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet this is no cause for shame, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until that day.
    13 What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus.

There is no place for  cowardice. We need to remain courageous.

Revelation 21:8
But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.
 
 
marzepan_dragon
It takes a certain kind of person to be a follower of Jesus. What kind of person would that be?
Luke 9:57-62
The Cost of Following Jesus

57As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, "I will follow you wherever you go."
58Jesus replied, "Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head."
59He said to another man, "Follow me." But the man replied, "Lord, first let me go and bury my father."
60Jesus said to him, "Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God."
61 Still another said, "I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say good-by to my family."
62Jesus replied, "No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God."

Excuses instead of obedience...

There's more to following Jesus than showing up on Sundays, giving money, doing all the right Christian sort of things, that make one look good to others. It involves prioritizing God's will in all aspects of one's life.

1 Peter 2:21
21To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.

Some want to set up their own stipulations on what involves following Jesus. They will follow, but it will be on their terms.
Do we call ourselves the same as those in
Luke 9:23-26 ?
23Then he said to them all: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. 24For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it. 25What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self? 26If anyone is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.

Proverbs 3:5
5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart
       and lean not on your own understanding

Jesus is to be at the forefront. Was he being harsh, or was he making a strong point because it is so important to make that commitment?
He told the truth. He is the truth.
 
John 14:6
: Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

Some are not aware of their shortcomings, they have become too wrapped up in their own religiousness and in their own self absorbed righteousness, to be repentant of their sins.

Romans 3:23
...
for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God...

1John 1:8
If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.

Romans 6:23
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Example of two kinds of prayer: From one who was self righteous, and from one who truly humbled himself before the presence of the Lord.
Luke 18:9-14
9To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else, Jesus told this parable: 10"Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11The Pharisee stood up and prayed about[a] himself: 'God, I thank you that I am not like other men—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. 12I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.' 13"But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, 'God, have mercy on me, a sinner.'
14"I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted."

It is a matter of trust in the Lord, trust in what Jesus said and in the promises of God.
Examples of those who did not follow Jesus:

Felix
Acts 24:24-25
Several days later Felix came with his wife Drusilla, who was a Jewess. He sent for Paul and listened to him as he spoke about faith in Christ Jesus. 25As Paul discoursed on righteousness, self-control and the judgment to come, Felix was afraid and said, "That's enough for now! You may leave. When I find it convenient, I will send for you."

King Agrippa
Acts 26:24-29
24At this point Festus interrupted Paul's defense. "You are out of your mind, Paul!" he shouted. "Your great learning is driving you insane." 25"I am not insane, most excellent Festus," Paul replied. "What I am saying is true and reasonable. 26The king is familiar with these things, and I can speak freely to him. I am convinced that none of this has escaped his notice, because it was not done in a corner. 27King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know you do."
 28Then Agrippa said to Paul, "Do you think that in such a short time you can persuade me to be a Christian?"
 29Paul replied, "Short time or long—I pray God that not only you but all who are listening to me today may become what I am, except for these chains."

It is not enough to be almost persuaded, like King Agrippa, or to wait for a more convenient time, like Felix.

To simply believe is not enough.
James 2:19
You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.

Positive examples of those who truly followed Jesus
:

The Philippian Jailer
Acts 16:25-34
25About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. 26Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everybody's chains came loose. 27The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped. 28But Paul shouted, "Don't harm yourself! We are all here!"
 29The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. 30He then brought them out and asked, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?"
 31They replied, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household." 32Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house. 33At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his family were baptized. 34The jailer brought them into his house and set a meal before them; he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God—he and his whole family.

Saul of Tarsus, formerly one of the greatest persecutors of the early church.
Acts 9:11-17
11The Lord told him, "Go to the house of Judas on Straight Street and ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying. 12In a vision he has seen a man named Ananias come and place his hands on him to restore his sight."
 13"Lord," Ananias answered, "I have heard many reports about this man and all the harm he has done to your saints in Jerusalem. 14And he has come here with authority from the chief priests to arrest all who call on your name."
 15But the Lord said to Ananias, "Go! This man is my chosen instrument to carry my name before the Gentiles and their kings and before the people of Israel. 16 I will show him how much he must suffer for my name."
 17Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said, "Brother Saul, the Lord—Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here—has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit." 18Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul's eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized, 19and after taking some food, he regained his strength.







 






 
 
 
marzepan_dragon
15 May 2007 @ 10:53 am
This is where we get a lot of our Bible Study materials for class. I have enjoyed even studying on my own with these, the authors are knowledgeable, practical and easy to read. Thought I would share the URL here: Padfield.com

The latest studies posted there is about Authority in Religion, and Worshiping the Lord in the Beauty of Holiness.

You will need the latest version of the free Adobe Acrobat reader to view these files.

 
 
 
marzepan_dragon
13 May 2007 @ 09:26 pm
James 1:21-25
1Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you. 22Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror 24and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it—he will be blessed in what he does.

The word of God is like a mirror. It is not meant to be something that is merely read, and then forgotten. To be effective, what it has to say needs to be applied to one's life.
It does not have to be as
Ecclesiastes 12:11-12 describes, where one turns a study of a bible passage into a daunting task, reading commentaries, word studies, Hebrew and Greek lexicons, encyclopaedias, atlases, and a myriad of cross references.
"11 The words of the wise are like goads, their collected sayings like firmly embedded nails—given by one Shepherd. 12 Be warned, my son, of anything in addition to them.
      Of making many books there is no end, and much study wearies the body."
While having such study aids can be useful, it is not necessary, in order for us to understand the meaning of the scriptures.

The Process of Application

Step 1: A Bible scholar may know well the scriptures and the text. As importantly, you must know yourself, and where you are with the message the passage brings, and how you receive it.
Step 2: Think about how the passage relates to your own life and experiences.
Step 3: Meditate on the passage studied. Memorizing a verse or passage of verses can help it to sink in.
Step 4: Practice what it says. Like anything, it doesn't come easily at first, but there can be no progress made without practice.

Are there examples to follow from the scriptures?
Certainly. Paul was an example, and he urged all believers to be so.
1 Corinthians 10:31-33
"So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. 32 Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God— 33 even as I try to please everybody in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved..."
Notice how much of the Bible is biographical.

Is there a sin to avoid?
Ephesians 4:25-31
25 Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body. 26 "In your anger do not sin": Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27and do not give the devil a foothold. 28 He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need.

 29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.

Is there a promise to claim?
1 John 2:25  "And this is what he promised us—even eternal life."
One must look at what promises apply to us today. Who was being told this promise? Was it specific to a time and people, or is it universal? It all depends on the context. See the previous post concerning the 10 question to ask about the study of any given passage of scripture.

Is there a prayer to reiterate as an example?
Psalms 119:73-80
Yodh  
73
Your hands made me and formed me;
       give me understanding to learn your commands.

 74 May those who fear you rejoice when they see me,
       for I have put my hope in your word.

 75 I know, O LORD, that your laws are righteous,
       and in faithfulness you have afflicted me.

 76 May your unfailing love be my comfort,
       according to your promise to your servant.

 77 Let your compassion come to me that I may live,
       for your law is my delight.

 78 May the arrogant be put to shame for wronging me without cause;
       but I will meditate on your precepts.

 79 May those who fear you turn to me,
       those who understand your statutes.

 80 May my heart be blameless toward your decrees,
       that I may not be put to shame.

Is there a command to obey?
1 John 2:8-10
8Yet I am writing you a new command; its truth is seen in him and you, because the darkness is passing and the true light is already shining.
 9Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates his brother is still in the darkness. 10Whoever loves his brother lives in the light, and there is nothing in him to make him stumble.

It's been said 95% of God's Word is God's command, and if we apply it to our lives, we won't have trouble figuring out the other 5%.

Is there a condition to meet?
Acts 2:38-39 is a direct command that was met with a great response, because the people listening realized there was a condition that had to be met..
Peter replied, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call."

Is there a verse to memorize?
Some verses and passage may strike a chord with us, and we may want to keep that verse in memory, as memorizing things helps shape our thoughts.It becomes more absorbed into our consciousness.


Example Romans 1:16-17
 16I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. 17For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: "The righteous will live by faith."

Personal note: While memorizing is beneficial to one's absorbing the scriptures, it is not a necessary element in study.  What is helpful is memorizing where, in general, certain passages are in the Bible, so that it is easy to find them when you want to look something up. I have a bad memory to the point where I need tabs on my Bible to find certain books. Also having a quick concordance in the back  of the Bible is helpful in looking up certain passages.  After a while I have found that I can remember certain passages if they are read often enough, so while I cannot memorize  verses verbatim, I can memorize what the passages are speaking of, and their meaning.
And the benefits of this are great.

1 Corinthians 1:4-9
4 I always thank God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus. 5 For in him you have been enriched in every way—in all your speaking and in all your knowledge— 6 because our testimony about Christ was confirmed in you. 7 Therefore you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed. 8 He will keep you strong to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9God, who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful.

Verses can stand out to each of us in a personal way. It addresses our spirits. One grows  in faith and in spirit if they apply the teachings of scripture to their lives. None of this is easy to do. It takes determination and perseverance to continue in this, but the rewards later on are far greater than the present troubles we may have.

Is there a challenge to meet?
1 Corinthians 9:24-27
Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 25Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 26Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. 27No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.

Being a Christian is like being an Olympian in a spiritual sense. It involves a daily workout,  it involves setting goals to improve your performance, and it involves getting the proper nourishment.
Our spiritual nourishment is the Word of God.
1 Peter 2:1-3
1Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. 2Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, 3now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.

It is important to mature in the knowledge of the Word, or we will stagnate.

Hebrews 5:12-13
12
In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God's word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! 13Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness.

It is important to have this knowledge to warn others who are in error. An Old Testament example is given to Ezekiel, concerning his responsibility to warn the house of Israel of its sins.

Ezekiel 3:16-19
16 At the end of seven days the word of the LORD came to me: 17 "Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me. 18 When I say to a wicked man, 'You will surely die,' and you do not warn him or speak out to dissuade him from his evil ways in order to save his life, that wicked man will die for [a] his sin, and I will hold you accountable for his blood. 19 But if you do warn the wicked man and he does not turn from his wickedness or from his evil ways, he will die for his sin; but you will have saved yourself.

We should hunger for the Word of God, even the things that rebuke and challenge us to change.

Proverbs 27:7
7 He who is full loathes honey,
       but to the hungry even what is bitter tastes sweet.

There is always something to learn from the scriptures, even for someone who has studied every day for 75 years. You can read a passage for the hundredth time, and think "I know about this already". But with the proper attitude, even a scripture passage that is read for the hundred and first time will be as though it were read for the first time.

 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8
1Finally, brothers, we instructed you how to live in order to please God, as in fact you are living. Now we ask you and urge you in the Lord Jesus to do this more and more. 2For you know what instructions we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus.

 3It is God's will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; 4that each of you should learn to control his own body[a] in a way that is holy and honorable, 5not in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God; 6and that in this matter no one should wrong his brother or take advantage of him. The Lord will punish men for all such sins, as we have already told you and warned you. 7For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. 8Therefore, he who rejects this instruction does not reject man but God, who gives you his Holy Spirit.

In this life's journey, full of dangerous shoals, if we do not have God's Word as your navigational chart, then we will eventually run aground.
 
 
marzepan_dragon
13 May 2007 @ 08:35 pm
A scriptural comment concerning Mother's Day:

Matthew 12:46-50


46While Jesus was still talking to the crowd, his mother and brothers stood outside, wanting to speak to him. 47Someone told him, "Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to speak to you."

48He replied to him, "Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?" 49Pointing to his disciples, he said, "Here are my mother and my brothers. 50For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother."

My comment regarding Mother's day, is this. What has been a day set aside to honor one's mother, should not be a substitute for giving honor where it is due on the Lord's Day: to the Lord God, through Christ, our mediator, and high priest. All worship must be done in a proper, scripture-based manner.

Hebrews 4:12-16

2For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. 13Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account. 14Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens,[e] Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. 15For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin. 16Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
 
 
marzepan_dragon
13 May 2007 @ 03:54 pm
Honing one's skills on the observation of scripture passages. This is to aid in understanding the context of a passage.

1) Who is the author of the passage?

2) To whom is the author speaking?
What do you know about this author, and the person or people he's addressing?

3) What is the most important term and/or concept of the passage?

4) What are the main verbs? What is the verb tense?
Past, present or future?

5) Are there terms you need to define so you can better understand the passage? What is the most important defining term?

6) Are there people and places I need to identify? Who is involved in this passage?

7) What do you already know about the people and places mentioned?

8) Can you identify cause-effect relationships in the author's writing?

9) In what ways does the passage apply to your own personal life?
Does it really apply to us today, or was it someting specific to the times and peoples involved?

10) What things in this passage might you want to study later in further detail? How does this passage link to others in the Bible, and what cross references are there to other passages like this one?

There is no part of God's word that we cannot learn. None of it is beyond our understanding, yet learning the depth of it will take a lifetime.
 
 
marzepan_dragon
13 May 2007 @ 01:27 pm
Notes on a sermon on how to study the scriptures, and the attitude we must take when reading the Word of God.

The value of observation.

2 Timothy 2:15
"Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth." NIV

Study: the diligent pursuit of knowledge of a certain subject.


1 Peter 3:15-16
"But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, 16 keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander."

God's Word, the Bible, is our moral compass, to give direction and meaning in life. It is the answer to the meaning of life.

Ecclesiastes 12:9-14
9 Not only was the Teacher wise, but also he imparted knowledge to the people. He pondered and searched out and set in order many proverbs. 10 The Teacher searched to find just the right words, and what he wrote was upright and true.

 11 The words of the wise are like goads, their collected sayings like firmly embedded nails—given by one Shepherd. 12 Be warned, my son, of anything in addition to them.
      Of making many books there is no end, and much study wearies the body.

 13 Now all has been heard;
       here is the conclusion of the matter:
       Fear God and keep his commandments,
       for this is the whole duty of man.

 14 For God will bring every deed into judgment,
       including every hidden thing,
       whether it is good or evil.

Psalms 119 is about the benefits of studying and following God's edicts.

excerpt, verses 33-40:

33 Teach me, O LORD, to follow your decrees;
       then I will keep them to the end.

 34 Give me understanding, and I will keep your law
       and obey it with all my heart.

 35 Direct me in the path of your commands,
       for there I find delight.

 36 Turn my heart toward your statutes
       and not toward selfish gain.

 37 Turn my eyes away from worthless things;
       preserve my life according to your word. [b]

 38 Fulfill your promise to your servant,
       so that you may be feared.

 39 Take away the disgrace I dread,
       for your laws are good.

 40 How I long for your precepts!
       Preserve my life in your righteousness.

Is it enough to be a "good" Bible student?

Sherlock Holmes once said, "You see, but you do not observe..."

There are driving tests that challenge you on your power of observation of road signs, and the test will start out by asking, how good are your powers of observation?

Just as Jesus said in Matthew 13:16 " But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear."

The prophet Elisha's servant had such an experience in 2 Kings 6:15-18.
15 When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. "Oh, my lord, what shall we do?" the servant asked.

 16 "Don't be afraid," the prophet answered. "Those who are with us are more than those who are with them."

 17 And Elisha prayed, "O LORD, open his eyes so he may see." Then the LORD opened the servant's eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.

 18 As the enemy came down toward him, Elisha prayed to the LORD, "Strike these people with blindness." So he struck them with blindness, as Elisha had asked.

While we may not see something as dramatic as the LORD's army, we can gain insight and understanding from the scriptures in the same way. By praying and asking God for the ability to be enlightened by his Word.

James 1:5-8
5 "If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. 6 But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7 That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does."