Know Your Bible

VOL. 12                                                                                                                          March 17, 2013                                                                                                                            NO. 7



  Have you considered what God said to Abraham and how Abraham responded? God told Abraham to leave his native land and to go to a land that God would show him. Abraham obeyed (Gen. 12:1-9; Heb. 11:8). God told him to look in all directions in that land and to walk in it through its length and width, "for", He said, "I give it to you." Abraham believed what God told him, and he built altars to the Lord in the places where he sojourned (Gen. 13:14-18; 12:7,8). God told Abraham that his descendants would be as the stars of heaven in number. Abraham "believed in the Lord, and He accounted it to him for righteousness" (Gen. 15:1-3). Abraham was childless and growing old, yet he believed in the promises of the Lord. God even gave Abraham a sign to assure His promise of Abraham's possessing the land (Gen. 15:7-21), a promise that would not be realized until the fourth generation. 

God repeated His promises and made a covenant with Abraham with this condition: "Walk before Me and be blameless" (Gen. 17: 1-9). Circumcision was given as a sign of the covenant between God and Abraham, and Abraham and all of his males were circumcised that very day (Gen. 17:23-27).


God had confidence in Abraham's continued obedience -- the basis of the covenant. "For I have known him, in order that he may command his children and his household after him, that they keep the way of the Lord, to do righteousness and justice, that the Lord may bring to Abraham what He has spoken to him" (Gen. 18:19).


A great test of Abraham's faith was given in command to take Isaac and offer him as a burnt offering (Gen. 22:1,2). Abraham rose early in the morning and set out to do as he was commanded. He did not falter, even though all human reasoning would cry out against his taking the life of his heir. He believed that God could raise Isaac from the dead, if necessary (Heb. 11:17-19). Now hear God's word to Abraham: "By Myself I have sworn, says the Lord, because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son -- blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heaven...In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice" (Gen. 22:16-18).


"Do you see how faith worked with his works, and by his works his faith was made complete?" (James. 2:21-24).


Hence, Abraham was justified when he by faith obeyed God. What is your state before God?

---Gilbert Alexander

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Why do some people not see religious things the way we see them? Why is there so much difference between what we teach and what the denominations profess? Do we not all have the same Bible? Are we not all trying to serve the same God? Do we not all believe in the same Savior? These are perplexing questions, and they are not easily answered to everyone's satisfaction.

Basically, our understanding of the Scriptures differs from the majority of the religious world because we operate on a different principle of interpretation. To most religious people "truth" is relative, adjusting freely to different times and circumstances. For us, however, truth is truth. It is unalterable, unchangeable, and everlasting. But did "we" just arbitrarily decide this would be our regard for truth? Not at all. God's own word boldly claims "thy word is truth" (John 17:17) and "the word of the Lord is right; and all His works are done in truth." (Psalm 33:4) While there are scoffers at the idea of absolute truth, we accept Bible teaching that such does exist, and we are determined to know it. Pilate's piercing question, "What is truth?" (John 18:38) was prompted by these words from Jesus: "I have come into the world that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice."

This then, is the basis upon which we may come to see religious matters alike. There must be a commitment to the same standard of truth. No one would ever attempt to use differing standards of measurement if building a house, marking off a football field, or sewing a garment. This would guarantee error and disaster. Twelve inches must equal one foot on all our rulers if we desire uniformity. There must be a healthy regard and respect for the Bible on the part of every religious person in order for understanding to occur. Without this common devotion to God's word, all efforts to see things the same will fail. In order to come to agreement on matters essential to salvation, we must begin where we agree. From this point we must study the Scriptures, resolving differences as we go along. Major problems of difference are solved in small steps, and then we can be united in Christ. But we will never see things the same if we cannot agree on the existence, necessity, and location of the truth.

No Bible discussion is profitable unless every participant is a truth seeker. If everyone concerned really wants the truth, then coming to an agreement and an understanding of truth will be achievable. Believe it or not, it is possible to discuss religious differences without becoming rude or creating hurt feelings. People who love the truth are not concerned with who is right, but with what is right. Every truth seeker is willing to surrender any position if it is false. There is no other honorable course for an honest man. An honest man will seek the truth, and when he finds it he will believe it. "Buy the truth, and do not sell it, also wisdom and instruction and understanding." (Proverbs 23:23).

---Mark White

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Rather a bold, confrontational, in your face kind of statement isn't it. Generally, it is made by individuals who try to defend their life style when it is called into question. However, the concept of the statement is a Biblical one. Consider with me the statement found in Psalms 119:109, "My life is continually in my hand, yet, I will not forget thy law." The inspired writer points out a truism of life. An individual, unless intellectually impaired by disease, accident, or birth defect, has total control over the course of life he chooses to take. Notice the writer says that it is CONTINUALLY in our hands or control. The word "continually" is defined by W. E. Vine as "Always, continually, regularly". There are no exceptions. Consequently, it takes all excuses away for bad behavior. It is not parents fault, siblings fault, friends fault, teachers fault, church's fault, etc. It means we are not a victim when we exhibit bad behavior.

In Job 14:1, we are told "Man that is born of woman is short lived and full of problems." Everyone has problems; even Jesus did. In Ecclesiastes 9:22, we are told: "...time and chance" happen to all men. The best qualified does not always win, the righteous are not always treated fairly, the unrighteous sometimes get what they don't deserve. Life is not fair, Satan will see to that. In the 73rd Psalm, Asaph said that as he pondered the unfairness of life it troubled his mind to the point of discouragement. He said he almost turned his back upon God until he came to the realization that both the righteous and the unrighteous are going to die. He realized it was at death that God would resolve the matter. It was at death the righteous would enter into eternity with God and the unrighteous would enter eternity without God.

God has never promised His children a life free from problems. He has, however, promised us how to deal with any problem we face in life. Peter reveals to us in 2 Peter 1:3, that in the word of God, we "...have all things that pertain to life and godliness." God gives us direction to deal with life. The difficulties that come into our lives provide an opportunity to demonstrate how genuine our faith and love for God really is - "By their fruits, ye shall know them" (Matthew 7:20). But with every difficulty that we face in life, God will provide a way of escape (I Corinthians 10:13). We will all face God in the day of judgment (2 Cor. 5:10). At that time our eternal destiny will be determined by whether or not we remember and applied God's law to our life while in the flesh.

Yes, it is our life and it is our decision how we choose to live it. The question we must deal with is this, "Did I choose to live my live according to the will of God." Our choice regarding this question will determine our eternal destiny. It is our choice and we will have to live with it for eternity.                                                 

---Dick Millwee

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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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