Know Your Bible

VOL. 11                                                                                                                                                                                September 2, 2012                                                                                                                                                                                NO. 32



Seldom in the confusing history of man has there been a time when we receive everything we need at the right time and in the right way. No matter the invention of man there is always the ingenious person who wants to antagonize the masses with a flood (rivaled only to the great flood of Noah’s day) of unnecessary and useless junk. The days of junk mail (snail mail) have now turned into the days of junk email. Unsolicited, unwanted, undesired, offensive on occasion and totally useless messages fill the box intended for work, leisure and fun. Junk email is the continued expression of man’s pursuit of the trivial mess that clutters up his life in general.

It would seem unbelievable to live in a world where the only thing you receive is what you need. Further, what you receive is beyond your expectations and this storehouse of information will never run out – literally. Nothing will ever be given that is not needed and what is given is needed more than the recipient can appreciate. This unexpected knowledge has been around for thousands of years. Today it contains over sixty books of information writing by men spanning 1500 years who lived in different cultures, walked in diverse manners of life and most of the authors never knew one another. And not one page contains junk!

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17 ESV). The Bible is the mind of God revealed in print for man. Reading this book will make a man wiser than the ancients, nobler in character, true to principles of a higher attitude and bring peace through the understanding of the world about him.

Oh, how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day. You, through Your commandments, make me wiser than my enemies; for they are ever with me. I have more understanding than all my teachers, for Your testimonies are my meditation. I understand more than the ancients, because I keep Your precepts. I have restrained my feet from every evil way, that I may keep Your word. I have not departed from Your judgments, for You Yourself have taught me. How sweet are Your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth! Through Your precepts I get understanding; therefore I hate every false way. Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Psalms 119:97-105).

The Bible has everything man needs. He learns where he came from, why he is here and where he is going. Answers to life are found in dealing with family, friends, neighbors, countrymen, occupation and enemies. These answers are not the myriad of junk philosophies touted by man as wisdom. This wisdom comes from God (James 3:17). Lessons from the Bible are timeless crossing all cultures and spanning the scope of every generation of man. It has remained true to the form given to it by the masterful hand of its author and protector (Hebrews 4:12-13).

Unique of the Bible is the freshness of character seen in men who had faults and yet overcame them to greater heights of wisdom. The Bible is the ONLY book that will give man the pure truth without the junk of man’s wisdom (Jeremiah 8:9; 1 Corinthians 1:18-31).

---Kent Heaton

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"The tongue can no man tame," said James in (Jas. 3:8), but what charges the tongue with all its words? Surely it is the mind for "out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks" (Matt. 12:34), and "as he (a man) thinks in his heart, so is he" (Prov. 23:7). Perhaps the difficulty of controlling the tongue stems from the difficulty of controlling the mind. The mind, uncontrolled, may be occupied with all sorts of evil thoughts. Once, god looked upon mankind and saw that "every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually" (Gen. 6:5). Paul said that God gave mankind who chose to reject Him "over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting" (Rom. 1:28) and describes some as "men of corrupt minds and destitute of the truth" (1 Tim. 6:5). One of the hardest tasks that Christians face continually is controlling our minds. This is a constant struggle, for the mind is active during every moment we are awake (and sometimes even when we are asleep).

Faithful Christians who are set on serving God and doing good wrestle long and hard to keep their minds pure, and too often still catch themselves thinking things they ought not. Will we ever win this battle so completely that we do not need to be concerned with our thoughts? Surely not! We must bring "every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ," not only in others, but in ourselves also (2 Cor. 10:5). How we exercise ourselves in godliness and deal with the issue of temptation to do evil will determine the degree of success that we have in this battle. Since temptation comes through thoughts evoked by what we see and hear, and by the random  wanderings of the mind, which are influenced by fleshly appetites, there is never a time when the mind cannot go astray. As one prepares a Bible lesson, reads the Scriptures, or writes an article on mental self-discipline, his mind may jump the tracks and introduce ungodly thoughts. Even in our meditation during the observance of the Lord's Supper, doubtful thoughts and impure thoughts may intrude upon our worship. This is agonizing to the true worshipper. Of course our mental action here is to cast out the evil with disgust, saying in effect, "Get behind me, Satan!"

Many of us love to daydream. Young men dream of beautiful girls and heroic and masterful deeds. Young women may dream of the ideal husband, Prince Charming. Out of dreams come ambitions, goals, and hard work. But those dreams may take an ungodly direction, motivated by the flesh. There may be more Walter Mittly in each of us than we would be willing to admit, and human dreams are beginning of things both good and evil. Reveries about Heaven can become a reality if we set our minds on things above, not on things on the earth (Col. 3:1-15).

How can we successfully govern our thoughts? First, we can refuse to dwell on evil thoughts that come to our minds. Second, we can fill up our minds with useful things as much as possible. Third, we can avoid many things, seen or heard, by being careful to stay away from the presence of evil. "Abstain from every form of evil."  "Flee fornication." "Flee also youthful lusts." Fourth, as we think on holy things, we can read Scripture or pray or quote to ourselves appropriate thoughts from God's Word.

Have we won the battle? Let us not deceive ourselves. We must fight the good fight of faith until we lay our sword down in death or until our mental faculties cease to function. We can be successful, though we sometimes stumble, through determination, prayer, and the strength of the Lord. "Greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world" (1 Jno. 4:4).

---Gilbert Alexander

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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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