Luke 17 gives an account of 10 people with leprosy who asked Christ for healing. They were told to present themselves to the priest and they were cleansed. However, only 1 of the 10 returned to give glory and praise to God. We are told that the one individual who did return to give thanks was a foreigner and because of his faith was saved. The other 9 received healing but scripture does not state they received salvation. The man who came back bowed down to Christ and recognized he owed his restoration to Christ. He accepted Christ as the source of his salvation. While the others were cleansed and witnessed the power of Christ firsthand their hearts remained hardened. Today, things are not so different. People are confronted by Jesus Christ, and they witness his power firsthand. Unfortunately, they leave their encounter with Christ to never return to him, they will never hear the words, your faith has saved you.
There is a question posed by non believers and even believers that goes something like this, “if God is real why does he not come down and make his existence known”? They argue that God should clear the air and make his existence known to everyone, especially if salvation hinges on the correct belief in God.
Today I was reading Psalms chapter 10 and found this same question was being asked by a believer. David asks why does God allow immoral people to live without consequences. David asks “Lord, why do you stand so far away? Why do you hide in times of trouble?” Psalms 10:1
David mentions immoral men who do not fear God act as they wish because they do not think God exists. The thoughts of David are clear, God will you please make your existence more obvious to these men.
This question on the “hiddenness” of God has occupied theologians and apologist as well as atheistic philosophers for centuries. There are some good answers to this question which make sense in a Christian worldview.
I will be posting a follow up blog to address this important question asked not only by skeptics but by believers. Please note this is not a apologetics blog but a pastoral blog. There are many great apologetic blogs that deal at length with objections to Christianity.
Therefore, my response to this question will be pastoral. I will be answering this question using scripture to encourage the Christian or seeker onward in the faith.
He has told you men what is good and what it is the Lord requires of you: Only to act justly, to love faithfulness, and to walk humbly with your God
To walk with God is to live your life in accordance to His will. We are to love and show others the love of Christ. This can be difficult at times after all we are still in a fallen world and subject to sinful actions. However, we only fail when we do not learn from our actions and grow in our faith. Scripture is clear about how we are to interact with the world around us, we are to act justly and love faithfulness, and be humble in our walking with God.
Studying the Bible can seem like a daunting task to the most
mature Christian. The Bible is composed of 66 books and it’s broken down into 2
main sections, the Old Testament and New Testament. I have received comments
from Christians throughout the years that they want to study the Bible but just
don’t understand it. This is understandable, as the Bible was written over a
large portion of time and contains aspects of 3 different languages. The 2 main
languages being Hebrew and Greek, and the third language being Aramaic. However,
scholars have done the hard work for us and provided English translations that
we can use when reading the Bible.
They say the best way to eat an elephant is to do it one
bite at a time. With Bible study it is best to take it one verse, chapter, and
book at a time. The first step of scripture study is to first spend time in
prayer. Ask God during this time of prayer to have the Holy Spirit help you
understand the truth of scripture during your time of study.
Step# 2 (Stay in 1 Book until finished)
The second step is to
select one book of the Bible. The mistake many Christians make is they simply
open the Bible and began reading and then the next time they study the Bible they
open it up and begin reading and never study one particular book, but just
simply read a portion of the Bible here and there. The best way to approach
Bible study if you are new Christian is to start in the New Testament, I would
recommend reading the book of Matthew. The reason I recommend starting in the
New Testament in particularly one of the gospels is because the gospels are a
historical account of the life of Jesus Christ.
Step #3 (Historical context)
The 3rd step is to understand that in order to properly understand
any ancient writing one must understand the context in which it was written. Therefore,
an individual studying scripture needs to familiarize themselves with the
context of whatever book they are studying of the Bible. For example the book
of Matthew was believed to be written somewhere between mid 50s and early 60s AD.
The purpose of the book was to preserve an eyewitness testimony about the
ministry of Jesus Christ, secondly it demonstrates Jesus as the Messiah. The
reason you find Matthew as the 1st book of the New Testament is because Matthew
frequently uses the Old Testament in his gospel account. Matthew does this to demonstrate
how Christ is the fulfillment of the OT scriptures. This brief background will
provide a reader with a frame of reference to understand the book of Matthew
better then they would otherwise. This background information for Matthew can
be easily found on the Internet from reputable sites and in many study bibles. Taking
just a few minutes to gain a brief understanding of the context will help any
individual have a firmer grasp on the Bible
Step#4 (Read then Reread the same book)
When starting a study of a particular book of the Bible. An
individual should first read the entire book without stopping to study the text
further. This does not have to be done in one study session. What I mean by
this is to simply do a surface reading of the book before slowing down to
actually study the individual book. Using our example of Matthew a reader would
read Matthew chapter 1 through Matthew 28 and then go back to Matthew chapter 1
and read the book slowly. The surface reading of the book may not give the
reader an in depth knowledge but it will aid greatly the second reading, as the
reader will be better prepared and will retain more knowledge because they will
have some what of a familiarization with the book.
Step 5 (Outside Resources)
The 5th step to Bible study is to bring in outside resources
as a companion to your reading. Now these secondary resources should never
substitute for scripture reading. However when studying a book of the Bible it
can be a useful tool to purchase a secondary resource on the book you are
studying. Using the example of Matthew a person studying this book could look
to purchase a layman’s commentary to help them dig deeper into the book of
Matthew. Another great resource to utilize and often can be found free online is
to look for sermon series on whatever book you are reading. These outside
resources can help a person gain a deeper understanding of the book they are
In conclusion an individual should start their scripture
study in prayer. They should select a particular book and study it the whole
way through. As part of the study a person needs the gain a historical understanding
of the book their studying. The individual should read and reread whatever book
of the Bible they’re studying. And lastly an individual should bring in outside
resources as a way to supplement their scripture study. By utilizing these 5
tips an individual scripture study will be enhanced.