Know Your Bible

VOL. 15                                                                                               July 23, 2017                                                                                                              NO. 19



All godly parents are concerned about bringing up their children to be good, God-fearing people. Of course, we are commanded to do so (Ephesians 6:4). Consistency is an essential key in bringing up faithful children. An obvious area where this consistency needs to be seen is in the matter of attendance. 

If you allow your kids to miss the worship services in order to be at a ball game, you are teaching them that the ball game is more important than the Lord. If you let them skip the assemblies for school functions, band trips, dramas or plays, or to go camping, fishing or hunting, in all at these ways you are demonstrating that there are things that are more important than God. If you fail to worship when you are traveling or on vacation, you are showing them that serving God is something you do only when it is convenient. If you let them take part-time jobs that interfere with their attendance, you are giving them a clear sign that work and career considerations are higher in priority than spiritual things.

Many parents who are violating the principles stated above will scoff at these warnings. Yet the personal experiences of many people, as well as the plain teachings of God's Word indicate that this is the truth.

Joshua had it right when he said, "as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord" (Josh. 24:15).  There would be no compromise in his family.  He would LEAD them in a consistent, faithful path.  Let's imitate his example of consistency!

—Greg Gwin

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How often do you use terms like "My God," "O God," "Dear Lord," or "Lordy" as mere slang expressions? Do you have no reverence for God and His name? Do you not fear Him? Can you trample God's name under foot and still go guiltless before Him?

Whose name are you taking in vain? It is the Creator of the universe; it is the giver of all good things; it is the One who "gave His only begotten Son;" it is the One to whom you want to turn when accident or serious illness or grief strikes within your family; it is the One before whom you must stand in judgment when all earthly life is ended. Can you stand guiltless before Him in judgment when all of your life you have profaned His name? Can you show contempt for His name throughout life and still expect Him to hear in your moments of crisis?

Even if you do not reverence God, do you not respect the feelings of those who do? There are people in your community who have a strong faith in God; who praise Him for His mercy and kindness; who even see His hand working through their sorrows and tragedies to bring them closer to Him; who truly love God. We are not speaking of hypocrites whose religion is only an outward show. We are speaking of genuine people who truly reverence God. These people do business with you; they shop where you shop; they attend community meetings which you attend. No, they don't correct you every time you use God's name irreverently, for they are concerned for your feelings; but they are deeply hurt every time they hear the name of their God used so carelessly. Do you not care? Should you not be equally concerned for their feelings?

Now, the fact that you are still reading this article indicates that you do care; otherwise, you would have already thrown this paper away. Your actions are due to thoughtlessness, not maliciousness. Or perhaps no-one has ever pointed out to you the seriousness of taking God's name in vain. It might not be easy to change. Habit can maintain a terrible grip on our lives. But with effort you can succeed. Of course, I would encourage you to go beyond this. I would encourage you to develop love, reverence, and respect for God that would not only regard His name as sacred, but would bring you humbly to His word and will, and to salvation through His Son, Jesus Christ. If you do thus submit yourself to God, you will find joy in using His name in prayer and in praise. You will sing of His name and bring honor to His name through your godly life. Isn't this far better than blaspheming His name?

What does the Bible say of God's name? "Holy and reverend is His name" (Psalm 111:9). "O Lord our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth" (Psalm 8:1)! It's God's name. Handle it with care.

—Bill Hall

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Most people who use the above phrase are using the word "pastor" as synonymous with the words preacher, evangelist or minister. In other words, they intend to introduce you to the man who preaches in the pulpit where they go to church. Yet despite the word being overwhelmingly used in this way, the Bible teaches that a pastor and a typical preacher are not the same.

There are three principal words or concepts which the New Testament uses to describe the men called pastors and their work. Besides the word pastor (or shepherd), the words elder and bishop (or overseer) are also used. These terms refer respectively to the tending and feeding of the flock, the age and spiritual maturity of these men, and to the work of overseeing to which they are appointed. These concepts come together and show themselves to be referring to the same men in such scriptures as Acts 20:17,28 and Titus l:5,7. Notice that in Acts 20:17, these men are called "elders of the church," and in verse 28 they are told to tend, shepherd, or be pastors of the church of God, the flock over which the Holy Spirit had made them overseers (or bishops). Likewise, in Titus l:5, instructions about appointing elders begin, and in verse 7, a man doing the work is described as an "overseer." It is obvious that all of these descriptions are simply different slants on the same men or work.

But the differences between preachers and pastors are more than semantics or a nit-picking technicality. For one thing, the Scriptures always speak of a plurality of elders in every church. So if a church has only one pastor, it has at least one too few.  Furthermore, specific qualifications and characteristics must be met before men can be appointed as pastors (1 Timothy 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9). At times, the work of preachers and pastors may overlap, but they are not the same. If we understand what we mean, we are on safe ground by calling Bible things by Bible names.

—Jim King

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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.

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