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Category: Bible Study (page 18 of 25)

2 Thessalonians–An Introduction

In the first writing to Thessalonians’ Paul was proud of the young church, but desired to see them grow in the faith.  The second letter has the same positive overtones.  Paul is proud of their increased faith and love (1:3, 4).  He is encouraged by the perseverance they showed during trials. Once again this is not a harsh letter, but a letter of encouragement correcting a few areas of deficiency.

Specifically, Paul wants to teach them concerning the Final Return of Jesus and how to deal with “unruly” members.  This is needed in order for this church to continue in its progression.

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Preparing Ourselves for Bible Study

So far in this series we discussed the need for hermeneutics (click here) and prejudices we need in Bible study (click here).  Now we will talk about ourselves and preparing  for Bible Study.

The parable of the sower speaks of the fact that soil determines the production of the seed (devotional on subject here).  The seed in this parable is God’s word. It is unchanging by its nature.  The message is the same for all people.  The question of whether or not that seed produces the intended fruit depends upon the receptor (i.e. the soil in the parable).  Here are a few of the things that I believe are required for us to be good receptors.  Add your own in the comments.

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Hermeneutics–How to Study the Bible?

I’m taking a course on hermeneutics this week so I thought I would share some tips on How to Study the Bible more effectively.

You might not have ever heard the word hermeneutic, but you use it everyday.  Hermeneutics is the science/art of interpretation.  Every time you read a newspaper (bad example), a blog, a note from a friend,  or a book you are using a hermeneutic.  You are using your reasoning ability to understand what is being stated.  You might then wonder why do I have to be taught how to understand the Bible.  My initial response would be technically you do not.  Much of what hermeneutics is is applying our common sense and everyday interpretational skills to the text of Scripture.  However, in my opinion there are several reasons why I special study on how to interpret the Bible (i.e. hermeneutics) is helpful:

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WORSHIP GOD, NOT WORSHIP

We worship our Creator-God “precisely because he is worthy, DELIGHTFULLY SO.”  What ought to make worship delightful to us is not, in the first instance, its novelty or its aesthetic beauty, but its object: God himself is delightfully wonderful, and we learn to delight in him.

In an age increasingly suspicious of (linear) thought, there is much more respect for the “feeling” of things–whether a film or a church service. It is disturbingly easy to plot surveys of people, especially young people, drifting from a church of excellent preaching and teaching to one with excellent music because, it is alleged, there is “better worship” there. But we need to think carefully about this matter. Let us restrict ourselves for the moment to corporate worship. Although there are things that can be done to enhance corporate worship, there is a profound sense in which excellent worship cannot be attained merely by pursuing excellent worship. In the same way that, according to Jesus, you cannot find yourself until you lose yourself, so also you cannot find excellent corporate worship until you stop trying to find excellent corporate worship and pursue God himself. Despite the protestations, one sometimes wonders if we are beginning to worship WORSHIP rather than worship GOD. As a brother put it to me, it’s a bit like those who begin by admiring the sunset and soon begin to admire themselves admiring the sunset.

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The Bible and Witchcraft

Modern day witchcraft is a carry over from ancient pagan religion. There are many pagan religions from which various forms of witchcraft derive elements. The ancient fertility religions of Egypt, Canaan, and other nations involved sexual activity as part of their rites. The theology behind these rites was that the goddess and god would be encouraged to mate through the sexual activity of their worshipers. The supposed result would be fertile crops, flocks, and herds. The religion was supposedly all about the cycle of life. Mother goddesses like Diana of the Ephesians, the Egyptian Isis, or Aphrodite in Greek and Roman cities were symbols of fertility and life. By means of certain rites or rituals, devotees could supposedly manipulate the powers of these supernatural spiritual beings for their benefit.

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