Know Your Bible

VOL. 12                                                                                                                          January 5, 2014                                                                                                                            NO. 45



How many times have you been wished a "Happy New Year" over the past week? If you're like me, you've heard those words a few times at least. It is a nice sentiment. But wishing for it won't make it happen. Have we ever stopped to consider what it would take for us to actually have a happy new year? Do we realize that, apart from God Himself, the one person who has the most control over how happy the coming year will be for us is the person we see when we look in the mirror? What can you and I do to make a happy new year. 

The Scriptures give the following suggestions:

1) Serve God and others. Jesus taught that happiness is found in serving. After He had washed the disciples feet he said, "I have given you an example that ye should do as I have done to you. . . If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them" (John 13:15, 17). The wise man said, "He who has mercy on the poor, happy is he" (Proverbs 14:21).

2) Control Your Thoughts. We can change our lives by changing our attitudes. We are what we think (cf. Proverbs 23:7). If we think happy and wholesome thoughts, we will be happy. This is the secret to happiness that Paul shared with the Philippians in Philippians 4:8-9 when he said, "Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy; meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you."

3) Avoid sin and guilt. Sin promises pleasure but brings misery. When David was entangled in sin he described it this way: "There is no soundness in my flesh because of Your anger, nor any health in my bones because of my sin. My iniquities have gone over my head; like a heavy burden they are too heavy for me" (Psalms 38:4). If we fail to avoid sin, all is not lost; we can still find happiness by finding forgiveness. This is exactly what David did. In Psalm 51:7-8 he prayed, "Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Make me hear joy and gladness, that the bones You have broken may rejoice."

4) Learn to be content. Those who trust God learn to be content with their current physical circumstances. They do not desire more than or other than what they have. The Scriptures teach, "Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, 'I will never leave you nor forsake you.'" (Hebrews 13:5).

5) Keep focus on spiritual things. Earthly things will always fade away and disappoint. Our earthly achievements and possessions cannot provide lasting happiness. Faith, hope and love are three things that bring abiding joy. So, "Do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are heavenly, but the things which are not seen are eternal." (2 Corinthians 4:18).

---Steve Klein

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Many folks think that everything they need to know on any Bible subject can be found in one verse. When they think they have found that verse, they are unwilling to accept any other verse that might explain in full meaning or give additional instructions concerning the matter. While nearly all would agree with the title of this article, is that really the case? Are we willing to search for all the truth and accept it when it is found?

Not all truth on a Bible subject or Bible question can be found in one verse. Take, for example, the incident in Jesus' life recorded in Mark 10:17. There "came one running" to Jesus. Who was this person? Were they male or female? It is not until we look in the parallel account of Matthew 19:20 that we learn it was a "young man". What do we know about this young man who came running to Jesus? When we look in Luke 18:18 we find he was a "ruler" and verse 23 tells us he was "very rich". After looking in three books and four verses we conclude the "one" who came running to Jesus was a man who was a rich young ruler. I admit, this is not a matter of eternal consequences but the point is this: not everything we could learn about this man was found in one verse.

There are Bible subjects and Bible questions that have serious eternal consequences. For example: What must I do to be saved? Many people think John 3:16 gives the all sufficient answer: "believe"or have faith. Is this all the truth in the Scriptures that gives answer to this vital question? How do we "believe" or have faith? Romans 10:17 says, "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." Also, Jesus said, "It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me."(John 6:45). In order to have faith we must hear and learn the word of God. Is hearing and knowing all there is? Jesus said in Matthew 7: 2, "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven." But Jesus also said, "Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish" (Luke 13:3) and "Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven." (Matthew 10:32). We learn what confessing is from Romans 10:10: "For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation." Thus we learn that we confess with our mouth what we have been taught and believe from the word of God. But concerning being saved Jesus had something else to say: "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned." (Mark 16:16). So, from four books and eight verses we learn all the truth concerning what to do to be saved from sin. The conclusion is that we must hear, believe, repent, confess, and be baptized. Are we willing to accept all the truth on this vital subject?

—E.R. Hall, Jr.

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Know Your Bible" is e-mailed weekly by the church of Christ which meets at 112 Roberts Avenue in Wise, Virginia. If you know of others who might benefit from the articles contained in this bulletin, we would be glad to have you submit their e-mail addresses and we will include them in next week's mailing. If you are receiving this bulletin and do not wish to continue to do so, please e-mail us with your desire to be removed from the mailing list and we will remove your address promptly. Continue to the bottom of this page and further instructions will be given as to how you may contact us.

--- E.R. Hall, Jr.





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