Know Your Bible

VOL. 13                                                                                                                          May 18, 2014                                                                                                                            NO. 11



Vacation time is here, and lots of Christians are hitting the road to visit new places and/or old friends. If you are planning a trip, we hope you will have a safe and pleasant journey. And while we know that you already know this, let us add an encouragement to you to maintain faithfulness to God during this busy, hectic time.

Part of your planning for a vacation should include some thought as to where and when you will worship. You need to search out the various locations along your route where faithful Christians meet, and you need to set your schedule so that you'll be in those places at the appropriate times.

Church directories are available that list sound congregations. And in recent years some industrious brethren have built websites that allow for easy searching on the Internet (,, and are useful sites.)  Use them!  And, it may also be advisable to call or write in advance to be sure that you have all the accurate information. Remember that such listings of churches have mistakes in them. That being the case, you should certainly keep your eyes and ears open to the announcements, the bulletin board, to the sermon preached, etc. You may discover that you've located an unfaithful group, and while it may be too late to do anything about it this time, you can note this situation for any future trips into the area.

Vacations are great, but there is no time to be on vacation from serving God. Don't be guilty of excluding God from the careful planning of your trip. And also remember that all the rules of godly conduct (activities, clothing, etc.) still apply no matter how far from home you travel - because God is still there wherever you are!

—Greg Gwin

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With its widespread influence through its practices, teachings, and traditions, Roman Catholicism has tainted the original idea of the word “saint" in the minds of many to the extent that very few in the world would ever think of calling what the Bible describes as a Christian a "saint."

Notice the following concerning the process by which one may become a "saint" in the Catholic Church. "Canonization is an act or definitive sentence by which the Pope decrees that a servant of God, member of the Catholic Church and already declared blessed, be inscribed in the book of saints and be venerated in the universal Church with the cult given to all saints." (New Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. 3, Pg. 55). In other words, a person could read and study his Bible, obey the gospel through faith, repentance confession and baptism, and thus be saved from past sins (Mk. 16:15,16; Acts 2:38; Rom. 10:10), do all he could to please God, die a faithful Christian and go to heaven eternally, but never be recognized as a “saint" because the Pope did not declare it and he never belonged to the Catholic Church. 

However, long before the first Pope was ever named, ALL Christians were called "saints." Furthermore, they were alive when they were so called! Notice what God says in His Word. When the apostle Paul spoke in his own defense before King Agrippa he said, "and this I also did in Jerusalem: and I both shut up many of the saints in prison, having received authority from the chief priests, and when they were put to death I gave my vote against them" (Acts 26:10). The "saints" to whom Paul referred were none other than those Christians composing the Jerusalem church (Acts 8:3) or simple "disciples of the Lord" (Acts 9:1). Have you ever stopped to think about how many of the epistles were addressed to "saints"? Please read the following verses (Rom. 1:7; 1 Cor. 1:2; 2 Cor. 1:1; Eph. 1:1; Phil. 1:1; Col. 1:2).

The word “saint" implies one set apart or separated unto God. The original word also means "holy." When one has become freed from sin in his obedience from the heart to that form of teaching whereunto he was delivered, he is then a servant of righteousness (Rom. 6:17,18). A servant of righteousness is dead to sin and no longer lives in it. His old manner of life has been "crucified with " Christ if he was genuinely converted to the Lord (Rom. 6:1-11).

An Example: People at Corinth had at one time been fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, effeminate, abusers of themselves with men, thieves, covetous, drunkards, revilers, and extortioners (1 Cor. 6:9-11). However, when they heard Paul preach the gospel of the Son of God, "many of the Corinthians hearing believed, and were baptized” (Acts 18:8). To these same people Paul addressed two letters. In the salutations of each, he called them "sanctified" (1 Cor. 1:2) and "saints" (2 Cor. 1:1). Both are from the same word. It is obvious these were "saints." When people who have committed similar sins today believe and obey the same gospel, and strive to live "sanctified" lives, the same are "saints" today. 

Saints must grow in character to be like Christ: To these same Corinthians Paul wrote, "Having therefore these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God" (2 Cor. 7:1). This means that once they had become children of God, the process just began - they were to continue! Yes, through their obedience to the gospel, they had become separated from the world and unto God, but growth was paramount. "Perfecting holiness" means that this process of being set apart from the world and unto God is ongoing. Robertson in his Word Pictures of the New Testament says of this verse, "Not merely negative goodness (cleansing), but aggressive and progressive (present tense of epiteleo) holiness, not a sudden attainment of complete holiness, but a continuous process (1 Thess. 3:13; Rom. 1:4,6).”

This is why constant teaching, learning, imbibing the principles of righteousness from examples of godly men and women written about in the Scriptures, and warning about sins of all kinds in our culture is so necessary. We are to grow as “saints"!

Have you obeyed the gospel? Are you growing and "perfecting holiness in the fear of God"? If you have and are, you are a saint. If not, you aren't.

—Philip A. Owens

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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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