Know Your Bible

VOL. 15                                                                                                                         May 7, 2017                                                                                                                            NO. 8






Paul told Timothy to "preach the word; be instant in season, out of season" (2 Tim. 4:2). It has been suggested that this phrase literally means to preach when folks like it and when they don't. In another place the apostles prayed for "boldness" in their preaching (Acts 4:29). So, preachers are to boldly proclaim a message that will sometimes be unpopular.

In the process of doing this work, a preacher is in a precarious situation. This boldness may cause his hearers to think that he is over-confident. Some may imagine that he is close-minded. There may be the impression that he is not open to other points-of-view, or that he wants to stifle what others have to say. Sadly, in some cases and with some preachers, these accusations may be true.

However, no preacher 'worth his salt' wants to discourage open discussion of issues.  And, while he may speak forcefully on a given topic, he acknowledges his own limitations and the possibility that he can err in understanding the Scriptures. If he is obedient to the Word, he knows that he (like all others) must continue to "grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ" (2 Pet. 3:18).       

In this age of ‘political correctness’ it has become increasing unpopular to tell people that they are wrong about anything. But, of course, that is a significant part of what preachers do. Those who are doing their best to "reprove, rebuke and exhort" (2 Tim. 4:2) will inevitably touch on some areas that are 'close to home.' When this happens, we urge you to seriously consider what has been said.  Honestly examine yourself to see if you need to apply the lesson. Be willing to re-think your previous position. And, finally, do not hesitate to share your thoughts and concerns with the preacher. If he is the kind of man he ought to be, he will gladly discuss any issue with you. Give him the chance to do so!

—Greg Gwin

Page 1



An article in the October, 2016, AARP Bulletin revealed the efforts of casinos to urge senior citizens to gamble. How do they do that? One tactic in particular: “Casino hosts often lavish personal attention on high-rolling older charges, asking about their health, reminding them to take their medicine and eating meals with them … For older people, the host becomes their friend, giving them attention they may not be getting from their children or friends” (20). Melynda Litchfield, who lost her life savings by compulsive gambling, says, “They gave me so much personal attention and TLC that you get the false impression these people – who are milking away all of your money – actually care about you” (ibid). That’s a pretty good working definition of flattery.


The Flatterer 

Flattery is more than an insincere compliment. It is the attempt to take advantage of someone by lying to gain their confidence. For example, Proverbs refers to the “seductress who flatters with her words” (2:16; 7:5). “With her enticing speech she caused him to yield, with her flattering lips she seduced him” (7:21). The flatterer’s only interest in their target is to use them as leverage for selfish gain.

Sadly, there are some in local churches who act this way. Paul says of those who cause divisions, “For those who are such do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly, and by smooth words and flattering speech deceive the hearts of the simple” (Romans 16:18). Thayer defines eulogia in this context as “language artfully adapted to captivate the hearer.” Those intent on stirring up strife inevitably try to sway others to their side in order to build an influential base. The sweet talk used to woo the naïve often turns vicious when addressing their opponents.


The Flattered 

Who among us has not been taken in by a flatterer? Perhaps we were talked into buying something we didn’t need by a smooth-talking salesman. Or maybe we were persuaded to do something ill-advised by a flattering friend. What makes us vulnerable to flattery?

In a word, pride. Flattery is an appeal to the pleasure of hearing good things spoken about one-self. And in the euphoria of praise we easily conclude that someone so astute as to recognize our superior qualities can’t be all bad! This can be something as inane as complementing our appearance. No doubt the seductress mentioned above preyed on her male victims by appeals to vanity (which she uses with the next dupe, and the next, and the next …). Or we might be told how great we are as parents, or how lovely our home is, or how wisely we handled a business deal, or …


So how do we combat this particular brand of lying? 

1) Don’t flatter. Don’t inflate praise to gain an advantage. That advantage may appear small: defusing an awkward situation or appeasing a critic. Stick with the truth. Praise others, but mean it.

2) Don’t be a sucker. Insecurity leads to vulnerability. Make God’s approval your first priority. We all want to be liked and acknowledged for our good qualities. But don’t be so taken with yourself that the flatterer can manipulate you via insincere praise.

3) Be honest. Is someone going overboard in their praise? Are they giving undeserved complements? Do they mean it? Or are you in a situation where the other will bene-fit from your good will? In congregational strife there is always the ringleader or instigator, and there is the supporting cast. Don’t be in either category.

—Jim Jonas

Page 2



I have an uneasiness about any great emphasis on statistics in measuring the growth of churches. I am skeptical because numbers can so often mask what is happening to people. The ultimate goal of our Father for His children is both spiritual and personal. He wills that we be "conformed to the image of His Son" (Rom. 8:29). Success or failure in this enterprise cannot be measured by mere statistics. A far more important question to raise as numbers change is how individual saints are faring in their effort to be more Christ-like. Churches only truly grow as the individual members of those assemblies grow. What is the glory of our numbers if people are not prepared to go to heaven? 

—Paul Earnhart

Page 3


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.





Bible Classes ……….....….…............ 10:00 AM

Morning Worship ……..…….….…...... 11:00 AM

Evening Worship …………...……........ 6:00 PM


Bible Classes …………..………........... 7:00 PM



Radio Program

Monday - Friday

WDXC 102.3 FM .....................…........ 10:20 AM



Television Program


Comcast Cable - Heritage TV - Digital Channel 266 ............ 6:00 AM & 2:00 PM


Comcast Cable - Heritage TV - Digital Channel 266 ............ 2:00 PM



World Wide Web:


UNSUBSCRIBE: Reply to and put UNSUBSCRIBE in the subject line.

SUBSCRIBE FRIENDS: Reply to and put SUBSCRIBE in the subject line.