Know Your Bible

VOL. 14                                                                                                                         January 29, 2017                                                                                                                            NO. 46



The LORD God commanded the man, saying, ‘Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: 17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.’” (Genesis 2:16)

GOD gave man a specific command in regards to a certain tree in the Garden of Eden. He likewise revealed the consequences that he would face if he failed to obey that command. Shortly thereafter Adam’s wife Eve encountered the Father of lies and he attempted to deceive Eve by suggesting that GOD wasn’t clear with His instructions. Eve quickly answers Satan, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: 3 But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, ‘Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.’” (Genesis 3:2) Eve was well aware of the stipulation placed upon the forbidden tree; however the serpent was persistent and called GOD a liar, “Ye shall not surely die…” (Genesis 3:4) He then proceeds to persuade her to eat by pitching the power that she would receive by doing so. “Your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.” (Genesis 3:5) Despite knowing what GOD had said, Eve listened to Satan’s lies mingled with truth and looked upon the tree.  “When she saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.” (Genesis 3:6) As the story continues Adam and Eve faced severe penalties for their disobedience and the consequences of sin were passed on to everyman. (1st Corinthians 15:21-22)  

They knew the consequences for eating of the forbidden tree, nevertheless they ate. Why? In relation to Eve consider again what she saw as she looked upon the tree. “…she saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise…”  The tree looked good and was appealing to her flesh and even though she knew the consequences she ate. Eve’s decision frightens me because I’ve been there and I too have eaten. The "forbidden trees" in my life are likewise desirable and satisfying to the flesh, yet they are detrimental to my relationship with GOD. Satan would love for us to believe that GOD doesn't really mean what He says or that His commands are in some way unclear. Many times we buy this lie because we submit to our fleshly lust. (James 1:13-15) We must not allow our fleshly desires to blind us to GOD’S truth. No matter how appealing our forbidden tree may be, if GOD says it's forbidden, it's forbidden! Choosing to partake of its fruit anyway will only result in separation between us and our Creator. Obey GOD. If He says no, He means no.

For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.” (1st John 2:16)

—Jay Dixon

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The statement that "there are good people in all churches" is usually made as a defense of the existence of the many different conflicting denominations.  Certainly there are good people in all the churches. There are good people OUT of churches, too.  There are good people who are infidels. But the question is not are they GOOD, but are they SAVED?

It is good to be good, but it is not good enough. One cannot save himself by just being good. He must obey the gospel of Christ (2 Thess. 1:7-9) to be saved. Cornelius was a good man but he was a lost man! (Acts 10:1-6; 11:14). The good people in human churches are lost people, not because they are not good moral people, but because they have not obeyed the gospel of God. This is why we appeal to good people to leave their human churches and obey the gospel.  There is no other hope for these good folks.

—Earl Fly

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Peter instructs us that we must "add to your faith virtue" (2 Peter 1:5). What is this "virtue," and how do we manifest it?

Thayer says that virtue is a word that could be used to describe any kind of excellence in a person or thing.  When used of a person, it might denote a quality of body or mind.  But, when used in the ethical sense, Thayer says it specifically means "moral goodness or excellence."  Another commentator suggests that it is "courage . . . a resolute determination to do what is right . . . steadfast strength of will to choose always the good part." (Caffin)

How do we demonstrate this "moral courage?" What will be the signs that we are "adding to our faith virtue?" Numerous examples can be found in the Word of God. Famous heroes of the faith displayed virtue. Noah did in the matter of living faith-fully in the midst of an entirely wicked world. Abraham did when he left the comforts of home to obey God, and later when he was willing to offer his own son at God's command. Moses did when he chose "rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season" (Hebrews 11:25).

However, most of us will not find ourselves in the momentous situations of a Noah, Abraham or Moses. Instead, we will be faced with the constant challenges of our every day lives. It is interesting that one of the most familiar uses of this terminology is found in application to a woman. In Proverbs 31 the "virtuous woman" is described. Hers was not the work of a soldier in battle, or that of a famous prophet standing up for truth and righteousness. Instead, we read of her faithfully fulfilling her role as a wife and mother. It was her God given job, and she did it well. She was "virtuous." 

Christian, will you courageously do what is right regardless of the consequences? Will you show "moral excellence" in how you talk, act, dress, etc.? Will you take your stand -- always -- with those who are faithfully doing the will of God? It will not always be popular or easy, but when you do you will be showing "virtue."  Think!

—Greg Gwin

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Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus" (2 Tim. 1: 13). This is Paul's admonition to Timothy after having told him of the Spirit's prediction that some would depart from the faith (1 Tim. 4:1-3). Vine says that the expressions "hold fast" and "form" mean "steadfast adherence to" and "an outline or sketch" (Vol. 11, pg. 253, 125). Thus, the admonition to "hold fast the form of sound words" is one commanding the giving of steadfast adherence to the outline or sketch, of sound words that he had been taught.

Ten ladies cannot take the same pattern and steadfastly adhere to its outline or sketch and make dresses that differ. If one makes a dress with a square collar and another one with a round one, or one a dress with a zipper in the front and another one with buttons, its evident that someone has not steadfastly adhered to the sketch or outline given in the pattern.

Ten builders cannot take the same blueprints and build houses that differ in shape and arrangement. If one builds a house having three bedrooms and another one having two, or if one places the kitchen on the south side and another places it on the north side of the house, someone has not steadfastly adhered to the sketch or outline given in the blueprint.

Neither can ten preachers take the same Bible and preach different doctrines and make members of different religious organizations. When preachers teach doctrines that differ and cause persons to become members of different, religious bodies, someone is not steadfastly adhering to the sketch or outline of sound words that inspiration has given.

The ladies cannot do it by steadfastly adhering to the pattern, the builders cannot do it by steadfastly adhering to the blueprints, and preachers cannot do it by obeying Paul's admonition to Timothy.

—Lowell Blasingame

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