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Questions About The Book

P1030407A recent Gallup Poll indicates that three out of four people in the United States still think of the Bible as divinely inspired. According to 2014 research, 28% think of it as the Word of God— that should be taken literally. 47% think of the Scriptures as the word of God but don’t think that everything in them needs to be taken at face value.  21% regard the Bible as a humanly authored blend of fable and history.

On the other hand—on a different but related issue, earlier research has shown that, between the ages of 22-29, three out of four young adults are leaving the church.

So, while the latest Gallup findings about our views of the Bible may be encouraging, it probably wouldn’t be much of a stretch to expect that coming generations will be asking a lot of questions about the faith and spiritual practices of their parents and grandparents.

Since some of those questions are certain to be about the Bible, it seems like it might be important for us to think about some of the factors that help to explain our confidence in the Scriptures.

For example, (The following is to make a point about the “pull” and attraction of the Bible, so am not asking individual questions that need an answer).

P1030192What if the moral laws and principles of the Bible were written as lists of dos and don’ts without any accompanying storyline or history? Would the Bible have the same impact on us if we didn’t see how choices of past individuals, families, and social groups played out over time?

What if the Bible was not held together by themes of accountability, grace, forgiveness, faith, hope, and love? (Would the Bible have the same influence and distribution that it has had?)

What if, from Genesis to Malachi, the Old Testament didn’t look for a coming Savior, Messiah, Deliverer, and King? (Would the Bible have the same influence and distribution that it has had?)

What if the stated purpose for a chosen people was not to be for the benefit of all of the families of the world?) (Would the Bible have the same influence and distribution that it has had?

What if the New Testament didn’t show how all of the hopes of the past came together in Christ, in a way that human authors could not have anticipated or orchestrated? (Would the Bible have the same influence and distribution that it has had?)

What if Christ didn’t give us reason to believe that to see and know him was to see and know our Father in heaven? (Would the Bible have the same influence and distribution that it has had?)

What if the Bible didn’t give each of us hope for discovering and experiencing for ourselves that God can confirm his presence and love for us in ways that we could not do on our own? (Would the Bible have the same influence and distribution that it has had?)

What if the Bible didn’t present a credible case for Christ as our Creator, Provider, Sacrifice, Savior, Teacher, Mediator, Intercessor, Advocate, Example, Judge, and everlasting Life? (Would the Bible have the same influence and distribution that it has had?)

P1030476What if the Bible didn’t give us a hope that is grounded not just in the continuance of life as we know it, but in a God whose power, truth, and love can be seen and reasonably affirmed— but barely understood? (Would the Bible have the same influence and distribution that it has had?)

What if the Bible didn’t give us reason to believe that God loves us enough to hate everything that is not in our best interests——everything that that blinds our eyes to how good he is for us? (Would the Bible have the same influence and distribution that it has had?)

What if the Bible didn’t give us reason to believe that our natural inclinations are so flawed and damaged that we have every reason to put more trust in Christ than in ourselves? (Would the Bible have the same influence and distribution that it has had?)

What if the Bible didn’t give us reason for believing that God is far better than we think, far more loving, more merciful, more compassionate, and more faithful than we ever dared imagine? (Would the Bible have the same influence and distribution that it has had?)

Without such factors, would the Bible have found its way into our hearts and minds? Would such a Book be worthy of our recommendation for all who follow?

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117 Responses to “Questions About The Book”

  1. poohpity says:

    I guess that would be more of a show me type thing rather than a tell me. Teaching the next generation about how the scriptures have influenced me when I am controlling and critical is like leading them to a spring as I sit there dehydrated. The Bible seems to have more influence on coffee tables and bookshelves.

  2. armando1961 says:

    Wow, Mart, that’s a lot of questions, especially so early in the week, being Monday morning and all! Seriously, that’s an awful lot to take in and reflect upon at one sitting, but I guess most of your “questions” are framed in such a way that they sort of answer themselves. Although there is much to encourage believers in the polls and research that you mention as to the number of people who consider themselves believers (at least to some degree), it points to the fact that much remains to be done in terms of preaching and serving others by example. Food for thought. A glorious week and God’s blessings to all.

  3. street says:

    3/4 of the people of the USA believe God is involved in the writing and stories of the Bible. I wonder how many will ever read it? if 3/4 believe it is God’s word, how many will leave this world and never read it? don’t beliefs have to backed out with actions?

    i love this question, What if the Bible didn’t give us a hope that is grounded not just in the continuance of life as we know it, but in a God whose power, truth, and love can be seen and reasonably affirmed— but barely understood?

  4. jeff1 says:

    I have not studied the bible in any great length, my reason being is that in my community people have all taken their own interpretation of it and as a community who has seen a lot of violence and peoples attitude was to quote the bible (i.e. an eye for an eye) I felt I would only confuse myself. The problem for the younger generation is that they are listening to comments like this, they see how this affects society in general and decide the bible is not a good example for Christian living indeed it puts them off Christianity. If I look at some of the characters in the bible they believed also in an eye for an eye. History repeats itself unless we walk the walk and I’ve made too many bad choices to know that I for one have done more talking the talk. Once I realize that then I stop blaming others and accept that Christ died for my sins. There are still Christians today saying the Jews crucified Christ and do not recognise they did also which is why so many are confused today. A lot of preachers are still preaching that you are going to hell for your sins and as long as there are people preaching different gospels their will be confusion. If we were to focus on Christ’s teaching people would have a clearer message.

  5. remarutho says:

    Good Day BTA Friends –

    Everybody has questions about The Book! Yet, it is the transforming power of God – the bridge to faith and righteous living, though nobody has asked me my opinion. (Romans 10:17)

    If the Bible becomes buried in libraries and antique stores, can it remain buried for long?

    Hasn’t it been unearthed, brushed off and read again and again as in the times of Joram, Hezekiah and Josiah – more recently by Calvin, Luther and Wesley? Could it be buried once for all by someone like Jeroboam I, Ahab or Manasseh – more recently by Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens or Sam Harris? The weight of evidence over the millennia of Holy Scripture’s existence, it seems to me, is that human spiritual hunger for the presence of God will drive souls to find, read and believe in the One who inspired its writing. I could be wrong about this, but then there’s always Pascal’s wager…

    Will there come a day when the pendulum swing from humanity’s utter self-reliance — to its complete surrender to God — and back again is stilled? Will the trumpet blow or not? We are remarkably free to choose what we believe. Yes, Mart, we may in good conscience recommend the Bible to everyone!


  6. saled says:

    I am reading the Curate’s Awakening, to which a link is provided in the topic titled “A Story and a Prayer.” Who am I to judge George MacDonald’s writing, but it is very wordy, created for people who had far fewer distractions in life than we do today. The last thing that I read last night was in a chapter early in volume 2 titled The Dream. In this chapter, the young curate asks his mentor, “How I ought to regard the Bible-I mean as to its inspiration.” Polwarth, the mentor, replies by telling the young man about a dream that he had in which he was on a search to find the original manuscript of the apostle John. When he finds the book, there is John also, to take the book away and burn it, saying “Son of man, the Word of God liveth and abideth forever, not in the volume of the book, but in the heart of the man that in love obeyeth him.”

    As far as I have read in MacDonald’s book, I would say that his purpose for writing the book was to make people want to love and obey Christ. Does the Bible help us to this goal? Yes, it is all that Mart lists above. Does the Bible ever get in the way of this goal? Yes, as Jeff1 mentioned. The purpose of the Bible is to bring us to Christ, but the Bible itself is not Christ. Like the quote that Bill gave a few months ago, “the finger that points to the moon is not the moon.”

    I guess that I would count myself in the 47% who believe the Bible is the word of God, but everything in it does not have to be taken at face value. By ‘face value’ I guess we are meaning literally.

  7. poohpity says:

    Leaving 21 years of addiction my mind was fresh and my heart was full of love for the Lord because He had forgiven me so very much. It was through His leading and watching the glow of my mom’s face as she came out from her room after reading the Bible in the morning that prompted my journey through the Word. I found my behaviors similar to those throughout Bible history that struggled and failed not all of them at once but could relate even though we lived at different times. I may not have seen a sea part or water come from a rock but I believed it happened because the human condition was so spot on.

    I do not base my Christianity on Christians themselves but on Christ. I went through different seasons but the driest and worse time was the for 4 years I did not feel I needed to read the Bible anymore. I still went to church and Bible studies but my soul and mind were starving and thirsty, I felt stagnant.

    My son wanted to be a youth pastor so he went to college and came out calling himself an agnostic. He still plays the drums in his old church but does not listen to the sermons. He has given many reasons as to what has changed but bottom line even going to Bible college he never really sat down and read it to get to know God personally. He was disillusioned about what it is all about when troubles came (many deaths in our family right in a row) and he felt rejection from peers when he has always been a people pleaser and during that time he also walked away from me.

    When I saw that movie “God Is Not Dead” the philosophy class was exactly how he talked. My son walked away but I know God will not walk away from him and will continue to pursue him through this season in his life.

  8. remarutho says:

    Will join my prayers with yours, Pooh.

    So many young, idealistic people are disillusioned about what they derive from the Bible. Poor teaching, poor witness by teachers — ? Who knows?

    The Lord is not a quitter. May the Holy Spirit pursue your son in just the way that will touch his heart. (Is 66:2) Praying his disappointment will be swallowed up in knowing Jesus.

  9. armando1961 says:

    So many challenges, so many young people (and not so young) that still need to be reached with the word of God, so many people and things to pray for and about.

  10. quietgrace says:

    I think without the spiritual connection we have with God and Christ the Bible would be one of many ‘ways’ out there to live a successful life, or to justify our own selfish ways. The Bible is more than just words on paper, it is living and fluid; full of surprise and mystery, yet penetrates to the heart.

    I know some who have read the Bible searching for answers to their problems, but have refused to accept the work of the cross accomplished by Jesus of Nazareth, for fear of giving up themselves, their families, or their very lives.

    If we just take the words at face value, much can be misunderstood and misinterpreted. It is the spirit of God that makes it come alive to us, that same spirit that made Christ rise from the dead. And all we have to do is ask God to show us the truths of scripture. Simple, yet so hard to do for some. I know I am still growing in my faith and knowledge of truth.

  11. belleu says:

    I decided to read the Bible when I was 10 years old. I came to the part about Lot and his daughters and I put it down and didn’t pick it up again until I was 19. I actually think the Bible is not a book for kids – at least not the Old Testament.

    If the Old Testament was just a list of dos and don’ts I don’t think it would be much help at all. But when I read about how Joseph trusted God through slavery and imprisonment, it broadens my faith. I see how we must accept the terrible events that can happen in our lives.

    The story of Abraham shows the result of trying to make things happen in your own strength – like having a child. David shows the result of lust. Solomon shows the result of loving riches and more than one wife.

    But of course the Old Testament would not be complete without the New. Looking at the life and teachings of Jesus shows us what God is really like. His story is credible because there has never been in the history of the world a man like Jesus. He could only be the Son of God. No one has ever accused him of sin. The fact the Bible is still here on earth is a sort of proof since God has preserved it. The dead sea scrolls show that nothing has really changed in the Bible over thousands of years.

  12. belleu says:

    Pooh, I know God is with your son. It is not a bad thing to question and wonder why about God as long as we keep seeking. He probably just needs time. I will pray for him.

  13. Mart De Haan says:

    I’ve just read your comments above, and am so grateful for your willingness not only to reflect on the post, but to tell some of your own experience in relating to the Bible and it’s purpose to give witness to the grace of God as revealed and personified in his Son!

    Saled, in my opinion, you have summed up so well the challenge and pay off in reading G. MacDonald. Thank you for making the effort to share some of my surprise and wonder.

    I wish I also had the time and thoughtfulness to interact with each of the rest of you today. Your personal comments are all so good, as is your concern for one another– and others.

  14. SFDBWV says:

    Immediately the word *Holy* Bible comes to mind. The word *Holy* puts an entirely different meaning on the ensuing collection of writings.

    I get “Christianity Today” online and every day there is a collection of polls and opinions concerning every imaginable issue related to *Christianity today*. Without question God is questioned, His written Word is questioned and Christian attitudes and views are examined.

    Most of you understand the political labels “Conservative” and “Liberal”, well the use of both labels are used to explain the polarizing views of faith as well.

    And whether or not you like it you will fall under one label or another even if you think you a “middle of the roader”.

    The entire matter reminds me of Revelation 3:15, 16

    What is amazing to me is that instead of humbling oneself under the authority and *Holiness* of God and reverently learning of Him and His will by way of His written Word; God and His Word are examined and interpreted so as to make it align with how you want it to.

    And so justify your lifestyle and comfort.

    One thing is for certain polls are ask in such a way as to develop a desired answer.

    People do not want to hear the truth and will make quite the detour around it in order to malign it.

    Time is running out for this evil wicked world and I can say that because I learned of it in the Bible. God so perfectly made it certain that the only way to see the warnings of His return are found written in the Bible, that He refused to allow any of us to know when that hour will come, only find the hints of it within the pages of His written Word.

    Which is it? Do you fall under the authority of God or does God fall under your scrutiny void of written history between He and man?


  15. poohpity says:

    Thank you for the prayers Maru and belleu for my little lost coin!

    Boy “Discover The Word” this week really goes hand in hand with this post. I relish the thought that the Lord through His Word is like a scalpel in the hands of the Great Surgeon. The problem with humanity is most think they have the skill to cut into anothers heart only to find most often they end up butchering rather than repairing.

  16. poohpity says:

    Well he isn’t so little for my big lost coin, lol!

  17. poohpity says:

    According to Guinness World Records the Bible is the best selling book of non-fiction worldwide, “Although it is impossible to obtain exact figures, there is little doubt that the Bible is the worlds best-selling and most widely distributed book. A survey by the Bible Society concluded that around 2.5 billion copies were printed between 1815 and 1975, but more recent estimates put the number at more than 5 billion.” Truth has a way of withstanding the test of time. Even though this research speaks of the best-selling doesn’t it speak volumes(pun) for those who buy it to read.

  18. armando1961 says:

    Poohpity, you can consult any reliable source you wish and the consensus is that the Bible is the best-selling book of all time. That’s quite a record!

  19. poohpity says:

    armando, it is quite a record but here is another one that is really sad from the Huffington Post titled “Americans Love The Bible But Don’t Read It Much, Poll Shows”

    “I see the problem as analogous to obesity in America. We have an awful lot of people who realize they’re overweight, but they don’t follow a diet,” Birdsall said. “People realize the Bible has values that would help us in our spiritual health, but they just don’t read it.”

    If they do read it, the majority (57 percent) only read their Bibles four times a year or less. Only 26 percent of Americans said they read their Bible on a regular basis (four or more times a week).

    So that would show that although we believe all the questions Mart has posed it is not followed through in actions. So how can one show their confidence in scripture if they are not even familiar with what it says?

  20. armando1961 says:

    Poohpity, you raise a number of very compelling questions and I agree that it is contradictory to say that you “believe” in the Bible and “believe” it is very important, yet don’t read it.

  21. remarutho says:

    Good Evening All —

    Pooh, you wrote:

    “The problem with humanity is most think they have the skill to cut into another’s heart only to find most often they end up butchering rather than repairing.”

    Thanking the Lord daily that through decades of poor comprehension of the working of the blessed Holy Spirit I have been at last curbed and broken from reaching out crudely and doing harm in places where I am called to do good. The net effect has been that my gross error in judgment and speech has been replaced by prayerful listening, waiting and watching.

    Medieval heroes were dubbed “defender of the faith,” when all along no defense of Christ’s kingdom was needed. The evil one trembles in the face of white-hot faith and trust in Christ. Faith is the very substance of the full armor of God, introduced in Ephesians 6:11, 12, 13.


  22. armando1961 says:

    Wow, Maru, are you a preacher or preacher’s daughter by any chance? Your “traditional” language (“evil one”, “armor of God” and all) reminds me of a traditional preacher. No offense, we are all believers, it’s just that you kind of sound like one. Beautiful imagery, though, and your words to Pooh are very kind and comforting, which is awfully nice of you. Very supportive, very Christian. God bless.

  23. remarutho says:


    How nicely you word your comment:

    evil one = devil
    armor of God = fervent faith

    “11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.” (NASB) (Eph 6:11, 12, 13)

    Thanks for the compliment! :o) My grandfather was a fiery Baptist lay-preacher. Sadly, I agree with very little that he preached, God bless him!


  24. armando1961 says:

    Haha Maru, I guess the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. You seem to have inherited your grandfather’s gift for evocative expression in a religious context. It is a beautiful gift; very few people, in my experience, actually have it. Most who wish they had it do not and sadly, many who THINK they have it, do not either, which makes for rambling, unclear, all-too-boring sermonizing instead of powerful, uplifting, inspiring preaching. You, as I said, DO have it. I count it as one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit and a precious one at that. I envy you (although in a positive, admiring, Christian sor5t of way).

  25. poohpity says:

    Maru, I agree it is only God who is well acquainted with each persons heart and their motives behind their actions and yet shows them grace and mercy. Leaving the delicate heart surgery into His mighty hands, all of us would do well to learn. For me I am still in process myself as you said you are. Hopefully we point folks to the Lord rather than to anything we can say or do.

  26. remarutho says:

    Dear Armando —

    Let me offer a brief comment that may bear upon the faithless pendulum-swing in which we now find ourselves at this moment in history.

    In the old (200-year range) tradition, the church called upon Bible-believers to be “exhorters.” That word, and that office of the body of Christ, have fallen out of favor — and out of use for several generations. To exhort is to call to holy living by encouragement drawn from the deep well of God’s promises (found in the Bible). (2 Tim 1:6, 7)

    It seems to me we often answer questions people have about The Book by living out God’s promises found in its pages…We don’t know others’ questions, but God’s word supplies the answers in ways just out of the reach of our understanding.


  27. armando1961 says:

    Amen to that Poohpity. Reading what you just wrote, I couldn’t agree more and there’s really nothing left to say. God bless.

  28. armando1961 says:

    P.S. Amen to that last comment as well, Maru.

  29. poohpity says:

    For us leaning on the side of grace seems to be best.

  30. poohpity says:

    If we apply the Bible as a means to see God and our own lives I do not think we will go wrong.

  31. remarutho says:

    Amen Pooh!

    I often recall the words the “wise one,” Morpheus said to Neo in the film Matrix: “Knowing the path is not the same as walking the path.”

    While there is a whole lot I disagree with in what the Wachowski brothers do, that cinematic moment is priceless. It is too true! All truth resonates wherever it appears, it seems to me –whether in popular culture or in the Word of God. Didn’t Jesus say, “You will know the truth and the truth will make you free?” (John 8:32)

    My question is, “What do I want to be free from?” I would choose to be free from doing harm to my Lord, to others and to myself by my life-style, personal commitments and habits. I’m still not there.


  32. poohpity says:

    I enjoyed “The Matrix” too! :-) I sent the series to Steve and his family.

    I want so desperately to be free from wrong beliefs that bind me to worldly thinking to right beliefs about God and His amazing grace. All the other stuff in me that displeases God I know He will change in me as I live close to Him.

  33. cbrown says:

    Maru, below is Ephesians 6:14-18 14 Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the g ospel of peace; 16 [f]in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.

    18 [g]With all prayer and petition [h]pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, [i]be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints.
    A good book to read is “Sit,Walk,Stand” ,78 pages and was written By Walkman Nee.He says that “we have to learn that lesson of not doing. We have to learn that if God does not move we dare not move.” ” We pray not for victory but from victory.”Victory is His so it is ours.” The book is a study of Ephesians. When we accept Christ our position is seated with Him at the right hand of the Father then we begin the walk of faith. Finally, we stand firm in the Lord and the power of His might ready for the
    spiritual battle that will come. Sounds simular to Oswald Chambers. They must have read the same book.

  34. foreverblessed says:

    Yes, Cbrown, or they have been led by the same Holy Spirit! Just like Maarten Luther came to the same conclusion 500 years ago
    The bible, I like it what Bellue wrote, the bible is the finger that points to the moon, the Moon is Christ. The finger is not the moon.
    Saled, that was awesome, the picture of the dream, the Word of God is living, and in us, that is what God is looking for: His word In us, becoming real, we loving our neighbor, we loving our enemy, doing good to those who hate us.
    How can we love the bible, and not do what it says.
    And how can we know what it says we have to do, unless the Holy Spirit opens our minds to it?

    And what Quietgrace wrote, without the Holy Spirit it is impossible to understand the spiritual meaning of the bible.
    All the questions that Mart asked are not possible to have known to have to ask these, not without the Holy Spirit revaeling the Son in the scripture.
    Impossible! But the bible has many historical things, has the history of a the nation Israel, has many rules, and laws, so without the Holy Spirit you can do a lot with it. I know, as I was brought up in a legalistc church, a church that put the laws of God above the grace of God.
    The Old Testament was to me pretty depressing, no matter how hard these people tried, they failed. Saying they would obey God, but they couldn’t.
    All though God called to come into His rest already in the old testament: Isa 28:12-13
    to whom he said,
    ‘ God will speak to this people,
    This is the resting-place, let the weary rest’;
    and, ‘This is the place of repose’–
    but they would not listen.
    13 So then, the word of the Lord to them will become:
    do this, do that,
    a rule for this, a rule for that;
    a little here, a little there –
    so that as they go they will fall backwards;
    they will be injured and snared and captured.

    That is exactly what happened to me, I was not resting in the faith in Jesus, living as Cbrown explained, so the word of God becomes; DO this do that, rule upon rule, here a little and there a little. ANd we trying to follow them, and getting exhausted. But that is all good, because God is all the while waiting, and waiting, till we say, God save me, I am totally incapable of doign anything good! Like God is still waiting for the older son, the brother of the prodical son, to come to rest in Him and enjoy life with His Father, just being a son.

    How can you get this out of the bible, unless the Holy Spirit is guiding you, unless you are totally humble in excepting God to lead you? But God gave me this enlightenedment, because He is gracious, and I kept asking Him to lead me, all though I was not humble at the beginning, You see, God will do what we ask, He is capable of completing the work in us.

    It is the New Covenant that was waiting to come, God gave it, after the Old, when everyone (I talk not in one literal time but as the time for each person is there) is convinced that out of our own effort, even with good rules it is impossible to live happily ever after. We coming to the end of our own works, that is maybe the whole idea of the Old Testament. So that we would be ready to except the New Testament, with the New Covenant:

    We coming to rest IN Jesus, as Cbrown wrote just above! Is it not Watchmen Nee? He is saying the same thing: it is not us doing anything, it is us, relying totally on the Son, and in faith live in Him, expecting that God through the Holy Spirit is more then capable of doing the work in us, finishing it too. The Holy Spirit will flow through us, and come out of our belly. John 7:37,38, 39. Is that any work of us? NO, it is us, opening ourselves for the Spirit, flowing through us, That is living in faith.
    Come to rest, that is resting from our own works, Hebrews 4:10, let us exhort one another to enter that rest Heb 4:11
    Exhorters, yes Maru!

    So to conclude, even if we as christians are on the wrong path in understanding the bible, as long as we stay connected to God, and keep asking Him to lead us, He will finally bring us to the place of rest in Christ. As He did that to me. You would not liked to have met me 40 years ago! See how God worked it out in me, that is the New Covenant in Christ, God promising that He will do it in us through the Holy Spirit.

  35. tracey5tgbtg says:

    Amen foreverblessed! How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news… Isaiah 52:7-10

  36. cherielyn says:

    Amen, Steve! I couldn’t agree more. You covered it so completely that there is nothing I can add to your comments. You summed it up very well!

  37. SFDBWV says:

    Cheryl I am so very glad to see you post, I do hope you are well. I want you to know that Matt still includes you in his string of people he prays for every night as do I.

    Be blessed

  38. quietgrace says:

    Hello everyone! As I awoke this morning the Holy Spirit reminded me that I am an alien in this world so not to worry about things going on around me. I Peter 2:11 I guess I had not really thought about that for along time, and how easy to feel the effects of a world filled with news of wars; along with the daily noise of construction workers as they replace furnaces, windows, and AC in my apartment complex. Though I am greatly appreciative of the ‘renewing’ of my building, I am also greatly appreciative of the ‘renewing’ of the mind that
    goes on in the Spirit realm which also shows up in the natural as far as our thoughts and behaviors go. Ephesians 4:23

    Chris I read Watchman Nee when a new believer and learned so much from him. Have you read The Spiritual Man yet?

    Foreverblessed how beautifully Isaiah 28 captures the spirit of the message of God’s will for us. Thank you so much for posting that today. The beauty found in scripture is as refreshing to the soul as anything found in nature. We are so blessed, aren’t we?

    Pooh I too am praying for your son. I don’t believe he is lost, just locked in a battle with God at the moment and we know how that turns out! LOL! College does make you think about and challenge all you have been taught. It makes us grow-up and figure out what we believe, not what others have told us to believe; even good Christian colleges do this. I like the scripture from Psalm 97:2 as it explains the difficulty between us and Him as “the things of earth grow strangely dim” (according to the song “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus”) “in the light of His glory and grace”. But in the meantime, our hearts ache for our lost and floundering loved ones, lost in the space between life and death, almost.

    To get back to the topic at hand, what would we do without the scriptures? For believers it is our genealogy going all the way back to the beginning of time, and our future as laid out by the prophets.

  39. poohpity says:

    I guess as I read the OT even though some of it was hard to digest but repeatedly God’s grace is seen. I thought if God who could see the future had let somethings continue how much worse would it have been. Telling someone not to touch a hot stove because it will burn you yet mankind continued to touch the hot stove but God was there to bind up the burned hand.

    Reading the OT historically or chronologically putting the prophets in with the kings and what was happening made their messages come alive. The psalms with what was happening in the life of those who wrote them made the songs more vibrant like understanding a piece of art by learning about the artist and their struggles.

    The same with the NT understanding the times and what the authors purpose was in writing what they wrote the aww haa moments are amazing. The only Bible Jesus had to teach from was the OT scrolls. He used the very things that the religious leaders used to oppress people to bring light to Himself and the reason He came.

    Each time one goes through the Bible the aww haa moments never stop. It is a plate of food and a drink that never runs dry although we can go through periods of dry and weary places but as long as our eyes are on the Author and Finisher of our faith wells of living water spring forth and the Bread that satisfies is always there to nourish us.

    Just when one thinks they have it down more is revealed. A closer look at God and a clearer reflection of ourselves.

  40. armando1961 says:

    Poohpity, the part about the “hot stove” is explained by free will. God created in humans –I personally think that there are surely other intelligent life forms in this incredibly vast universe that we can see and that there may very well be countless other universes, given God’s omnipotence and all– thinking beings with the capacity to choose a given course of action in every conceivable situation. Some choices are not inherently harmful. Do I buy brown or black leather shoes? Do I have BK or KFC for lunch (or something healthier altogether hopefully)? Who cares? Other choices, however, carry greater weight and imply choosing between moral (“right”) and immoral (“wrong”) causes of action. Do I work hard at an honest job or deal drugs? Do I cheat on my spouse or not? One of the underlying messages running throughout the Bible (both the Old and New Testaments and not the only message, to be sure) is that important choices (right vs. wrong) always entail responsibility and always carry consequences. Time and time again, the Bible repeats this message and highlights the terrible consequences of bad choices but it all goes back to free will: we are intelligent beings created and endowed with free will, not robots. God loves us, is merciful and compassionate, spoke and acted through Jesus and the prophets and freely offers salvation through grace BUT God cannot and/or will not limit, nullify or curtail our free will.

  41. cbrown says:

    Quietgrace, I have not read it yet but I am putting it on my list of things to do. Read the “Spiritual Man”.

  42. poohpity says:

    armando, never said that He would take our free will nor will I assume that there are beings other than what is on the earth. I meant He will apply ointment and bind up our hands after we have touched the hot stove for healing. There will be consequences(scars) but rather than guilt and shame we feel for touching it we are given forgiveness and a fresh start everyday. Those who learn from that lesson may not repeat it but there will always be another lesson to learn until we see Him face to face.

  43. armando1961 says:

    Thanks for the clarification, Poohpity; as always, you manage to find just the right words to recap a message of hope for all believers.

  44. poohpity says:

    It would be very remiss of me not to explain the confidence I have in the scriptures and in the love our God has for us as displayed through Jesus (1 John 1:3-4 NLT). From sinners to saints who sin because our freewill stays. (1 John 1:7-10 NLT)

  45. SFDBWV says:

    Share with a friend

    From “Days of Praise”

    July 30, 2014
    Sound Doctrine
    “Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.” (2 Timothy 1:13)

    When Paul wrote to his two young disciples, Timothy and Titus, he stressed again and again the vital importance of maintaining sound doctrine in their churches.

    “If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome [same word as ‘sound’] words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness” (1 Timothy 6:3; see also 1:10). “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine” (2 Timothy 4:3). “That he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers” (Titus 1:9). “But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine” (Titus 2:1; also 2:8).

    If the great apostle was so concerned that his pastoral disciples guard the doctrinal integrity of their first-century churches, he would surely be even more exercised today. These are times when false doctrines are rampant, and when sound (that is “healthy” or “whole”) doctrines are often the object of compromise and distortion, or (even more commonly) simply ignored, even in evangelical churches.

    Paul’s command was to “hold fast the form” of sound words. Not only the so-called “spirit” of the words in Scripture, but the words themselves.

    Such strict guarding of doctrine is vital for the spiritual health of the churches. Furthermore, such doctrinal integrity does not lead to cold orthodoxy, as some would allege, but is centered in the “faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.” It is “the doctrine which is according to godliness.” It is doctrine which is not only sound in the faith, but also “in charity, in patience” (Titus 2:2).

    After all, it is the doctrine of Christ Himself, who is not only “the truth,” but also “the way” and “the life” (John 14:6). HMM

    I hope you all enjoy

  46. cbrown says:

    Good morning Steve.Good reminder. “Discover the Word” dealt with this as well.The Word both written and living.Jesus Christ is the bread of life.Praise God!

  47. SFDBWV says:

    Yes Chris the problem Mart is expressing seems to stem from churches not sticking to the original doctrine of Christianity and have attempted to reinvent a new form of Christianity in order to be more “modern”. The results are a divided and confused people who have lost faith in the messages from the pulpit and leadership from established denominations.

    We have been enjoying a cool July as it was 42 yesterday morning and 47 this morning, only a month to go and we can start looking for frost.

    Be blessed

  48. armando1961 says:

    Not looking to start any discussion, but it seems to me that an overbroad statement such as “the original doctrine of Christianity” is, to say the least, problematic. There are and have been, historically, literally thousands of groups or denominations calling or identifying themselves as “Christians” and there seem to have been differing interpretations about just about every conceivable point of doctrine (the exact nature of Jesus, the exact nature of the Holy Spirit, the incarnation, the proper place of Mary in Christianity, the proper place of Mary Magdalene in Christianity, the proper role of women, the proper role of celibacy, you name it) from the very beginning of the Christian movement. In recent decades, both religious and lay scholars have highlighted the widespread influence of the so-called “Gnostic” movement in the early Church (witness the Nag Hammadi scrolls, for example). That being said, I do agree that many groups calling themselves “Christians” nowadays have come up with a “modern” version of Christianity (I don’t know whether to call it “hip” or “light” or “watered down” or what else) that seems to have very little to do with Bible study, traditional Christian values and long-standing agreed-upon Christian principles (the divinity of Jesus, the nature of salvation, grace, the nature of the Holy Spirit, the gifts of the Holy Spirit, etc.). I guess it all boils down to this: if you are (or consider yourself to be) a Christian, scrutinize carefully what any denomination or group or preacher claiming to be “Christian” actually preaches and does and then determine, based on scriptural study, whether it has a sound scriptural base. Other than that, there is no other way, I think.

  49. quietgrace says:

    Good morning BTA friends!

    Armando reading your post reminds me of Paul’s rebuke to those following false teachers in Corinth. I agree we must be very careful to discern what comes from God, and what comes from our own need to feel good, successful, or whatever. 2 Corinthians 11:4

    Because of all the world shaking that’s going on I’m reading Ray Stedman’s study “On the Way to the Future, Daniels Visions and the Believers Hope.” Looking at those who were early followers of God is a good way to challenge some of the teaching out there today; are we obeying God, or obeying the majority, those in authority even in some churches. I am so thankful to have the scriptures to show me the way, it truly is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path. Psalm 119:105

    Blessings to all in Christ Jesus, Grace

  50. poohpity says:

    I do not think the bible is for us to look at others and see whether they believe what it says but whether as an individual do I believe what it says. Can I honestly recommend it to people because I have experienced how it has changed my thinking? I remember when BruceC got a LAB for Christmas from his wife and his first journey as he shared with us only took about 6 months. He seemed so excited. Then as he shared his continued journey what a witness/testimony for daily reading as he experienced it. One could see the changes in what he wrote. Now just thinking about it brings such a smile to my face and gladness to my heart. I miss him.

  51. armando1961 says:

    Amen to Poohpity and Quietgrace on both counts. God bless.

  52. quietgrace says:

    Pooh I so agree with you as the Holy Spirit has also reminded me to focus on myself and not others when reading/interpreting scripture. It is such a trap, isn’t it? Paul was given the job of warning/exhorting other Christians of following false leaders. Not me, thank God!

    You have a marvelous testimony of God’s grace and change in your life. It also makes me smile when I think of it.

  53. armando1961 says:

    Amen again Quietgrace! It seems like such a common sense thing, doesn’t it, to think critically and beware of false leaders? The Bible is clear in that regard and yet too many nowadays seem to follow many who claim to speak with authority from God but preach things that have no scriptural basis. Pity. God have mercy on them and us and God bless us all.

  54. poohpity says:

    Peter seemed to think it is best when someone asks us about our beliefs rather than offering them. Depending on the circumstances or the person maybe it is just wise to be ready at anytime to give reason for our hope we have in God and His Word. (1 Peter 3:15 NLT) That seems to even hold true in different areas of life like offering advice when it is not solicited.

  55. foreverblessed says:

    That’s my take to telling about my belief, only when people ask. And they hardly ask me, so I keep praying for the ones I meet.
    Like Cbrown adviced, do not move, unless the Holy Spirit clearly moves
    ” “we have to learn that lesson of not doing. We have to learn that if God does not move we dare not move.” ” We pray not for victory but from victory.”Victory is His so it is ours.” The book is a study of Ephesians. When we accept Christ our position is seated with Him at the right hand of the Father then we begin the walk of faith. Finally, we stand firm in the Lord and the power of His might ready for the
    spiritual battle that will come.” July 30, 12 am
    I am still with this Victory, Jesus is Victor, and when I am in Him then I am victorious too. Hard to get, especially when I fail, or failed again, and again. But still, in Christ I have overcome. Keep believing that, and looking up to JEsus for more cleansing, and strength, the process is sooo slow. At least in me it is.
    Is this on topic. The topic is hard, the bible has so many things to say, but Overall that Jesus gives Redemption, and Victory over sin and evil.
    Such a positive belief. The evil of the world will not overcome the good of God. Jesus is erosive over evil, Yes!

  56. cbrown says:

    Quietgrace,I am on Chapter 4 of “The Spiritual Man”(woman).Thanks.

  57. quietgrace says:

    Forever I like how you expressed this-‘The evil of the world will not overcome the good of God. Jesus is erosive over evil, Yes!’
    Such a good reminder for me to remember that no matter what kind of evil we face, whether in the world or the ‘in your face’ kind, that Jesus always wins! So easy to get distracted sometimes, especially if one such as myself is dealing with chronic depression, for which I would appreciate your prayers.

    Chris I did not know his books are online now, so will probably read them again as it’s been many many years since I first read them. My first pastor had them on his bookshelf and he would loan them to me-I devoured them!

  58. poohpity says:

    forever, Mart seems to have asked us, “it seems like it might be important for us to think about some of the factors that help to explain our confidence in the Scriptures.” This seems like a very safe place to share those thoughts and then when the time comes we will be prepared. Just like leading others in the salvation prayer at first we may feel nervous but the more we do it the more comfortable we feel. We have to be around people who are not believers yet. There is that alcoholic you see maybe when you talk to him he will ask you about why you are so kind to him and then you can share about Jesus.

  59. poohpity says:

    grace, I will join in prayer for your depression.

  60. bubbles says:

    Someone recently said, “We are either drawing people TO Christ or repelling them with JUST our behavior as Christians.” He was not meaning that we don’t witness, only making a comment about our conduct.

  61. cbrown says:

    “Discover the Word” was a blessing this morning.

  62. poohpity says:

    I believe we can only draw people to Christ if they see we depend on Him ourselves. Not thinking we are living moral lives then we tend to look down on others but with a humble and contrite heart pointing people to the Lord. Letting folks know how we can not do this life with any joy without the knowledge that our conduct does not bring us closer to God. It is that we need and have received forgiveness and mercy. If we want people to look at our behavior then it is about us not God.

    I will never forget that young lady I met at the air port who got a cigarette from me, she was just returning from a trip to Egypt searching for God. I asked her what did she expected to find, she said she wasn’t really sure. She was brought up in a Christian home and was very disillusioned by the behaviors of those at church and even in her own home. I asked her could it be that maybe she was looking in the wrong direction. I said, sweetheart do not look around at us but look to the Lord who has forgiven us because we all have faults and fail. None are perfect and although many may have you think they are, they are not. Then we began to talk about Jesus and the Lord opened her heart and she began to sob she said I went all over the world for something that was right here all along. I asked if I could give her some advise from an old lady and she yes I said read the bible and see just how much you are loved by the Lord. I stretched my arms out and pointed from finger tip to finger tip saying He loved you this much. Do not look at Christians because we will always disappoint in some form or another but look to the One who loves us in spite of all our flaws and failures.

    Chris, this whole week on DTW was really worth listening to.

  63. poohpity says:

    I also told her that is was from God that we just so happened to meet. The Lord had her in mind to let her how much He loved her.

  64. quietgrace says:

    Good day all my BTA friends,
    Just wanted to share that God has answered yet another prayer in a powerful and surprising way. I pray also for all of you that you too would be surprised by God today!
    Wishing all blessings abundant,

  65. street says:

    “the original doctrine of Christianity” is, to say the least, problematic.

    The Origin of Doctrine of Christianity is the Bible. To take up a pen and write one out is the same as building a temple in Samaria. A broken well is a tear-able place to get a drink.

    I agree with your conclusion.

  66. street says:

    the other day I blogged that if you want to know God better you could do it by obeying Him. I then remembered the pharacies who obeyed the law and not God. Big difference. Hebrews 11:6

  67. remarutho says:

    Good Morning BTA Friends —

    Have been away from media for some days. Glad to hear us praying for one another and lifting up prayer as a way of life! Prayers going up for you, Grace, as you requested. Doesn’t God’s Word call us to such a life of being attentive to God’s will, and asking God to care for each one’s needs?

    As this conversation about “the influence and distribution of the Bible” has unfolded, I have gone to the book-shelf to find the Watchman Nee text I have had for years. The title is “The Prayer Ministry of the Church,” based on Pastor Nee’s messages about prayer from the early 1940s. It is a tiny book, only 128 pages long. Yet, I underlined, circled and made note of many of his teachings in it!

    Toward the end of the text, Pastor Nee cites Eph 6:18 as the hallmark or brand of the body of Christ — that we “pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints…” (NASB) I notice as I have walked these decades trying to follow Jesus, my “occupation” has become prayer. Though still not prayerful enough, I find prayer to be the only way of life that makes sense to me in this world.


  68. quietgrace says:

    Matthew 13:30 and Matthew 3:12 the parable of the wheat and tares explains God’s plan for the church. We will never really know until the end who is being obedient to God and who is being ‘showy’ as the Pharisees were. What sometimes looks like disobedience is actually wisdom/Godly obedience.

  69. quietgrace says:

    Maru I thank you for your prayers and so agree with you that our job is to pray, mostly. I was writing while you posted so my previous post was written more in response to what Street was saying.
    Yes Watchman Lee had so much to say as he ministered in China. I wonder if today’s underground church is an off-shoot of his ministering? I know he also had a great impact on Western faith.

  70. remarutho says:

    We seem to be in agreement on this, Grace.

    Watchman Nee ministered at the time the “bamboo curtain” fell across China in 1949.

    He was cruelly persecuted by a government that feared and hated him, and died in prison for his faith and for his eloquent teaching about the Bible. How many of us even today have given gifts to agencies that provide Scripture and teaching materials to the Hidden Church in China? Pastor Nee died holding fast to his faith in Jesus, still reading and teaching the Bible even in the work camp.

    Watchman Nee lived and died for the sake of “the influence and distribution of the Bible,” and for the God — Father, Son and Holy Spirit — who has inspired it. Very encouraging and inspiring! This is no ordinary Book!


  71. foreverblessed says:

    Pooh, while you gave me some advice, would you want to join me in praying for the man, his name is Steve. And he is in a clinique right now, getting of the alcohol, so nobody can visit him yet.
    Thanks for the praying! It is God who does the work in a heart, and He acts on our prayer, as we believe Him and obey Him, live according to His commandments, that is loving one another, as He loved us. ANd even for that He gives us the strength, we live under the New Covenant now, God provides, and God also works it out, as long as we have faith in Him! I want to rely on Him more and more.
    And what a great story about that woman on the airport, great is our God, who saves!

  72. foreverblessed says:

    God bless you too, Maru, I would not want to not want to react to what you say. Is it not for the sake of Jesus that we are willing to die? We lost our life because of Him. We already lost it, if it is OK with us, for the sake of life from Heaven, a spiritual life. Paul said, I die daily, and he said, I lost everything for the sake of Christ. -When I have Him I have everything- that is my prayer
    Ef 3:14-20 His prayer for us.

  73. remarutho says:


    The last verses are a prayer of true blessing:

    “Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”

    We pray the Scripture! Words from God’s Book! :o) Maru

  74. poohpity says:

    forever, sad that sounded like advise it was meant more like an example but I would love to join with you in prayer for Steve and for God to open the door for you to be His spokesperson so you can share the Good News.

  75. poohpity says:

    How can we recommend to others, the Bible, if we ourselves have not found in it’s pages all the things Mart listed above? It seems we can recommend books from many authors who have read the Bible and are sharing their experience with it but maybe we have, as of yet, not found our confidence in it. IMHO there is no time like the present to let our roots grow down deep into the foundation of all that we believe not through the eyes of someone else but between God and us. Romans 12:2 NLT

    grace said, “garbage in, garbage out”, but maybe it might be better explained God’s Word in, garbage out. How we think effects how we live. Any circumstance we are faced with, scripture comes popping out when it has been inputted into the computer of our minds, it is our anti-virus software.

  76. poohpity says:

    off topic, Steve did you get my email asking about Pat’s husband? How is he doing never got a reply?

  77. quietgrace says:

    Hello BTA friends!

    Lovely Saturday here in the upper midwest USA. Warmer temps but not intolerable, and everything is lush and beautiful. Enjoying this day we have here of peace as things can change from day to day.

    Please remember to pray for our Christian brothers and sisters in places of conflict-Iraq, Gaza, and Ukraine to name a few.

    Reading more of Watchman Nee last night I was reminded of Bonhoeffer and his dedication to the gospel which also landed him in prison and to his execution. Is the WOG worth fighting for? You bet, and to this we are called. Be strong in the Lord and the in the power of His might Ephesians 6:10 KJV wherever you are, and whatever is going on around you.


  78. SFDBWV says:

    One of the advantages of getting old is that I get to repeat my stories, so seeing that the audience here is changing I will share one small story from my life that sums up Marts subject.

    In my early 50’s I found myself starting over again in a new job, doing the same thing I’ve always done, fixing things. This time though instead of working for people older than myself, I had supervisors that were all younger than me.

    One such fellow was a Captain in the Air Force Reserves and a very intelligent personable man.

    Everyone knew of my Christian beliefs as I shared and talked of my faith at every opportunity and one afternoon while he and I were working together he ask me a heartfelt and honest question as he truly respected me and wondered to me “how I could believe those stories in the Bible?”

    My simple answer remains the same today, “Because they are true.”

    It is true that God created everything that exists in six days.
    It is true that woman came from man.
    It is true that God flooded the entire earth and saved only Noah, his wife and sons and their wives along with the land animals on board the Ark
    It is true that God divided the languages.
    It is true that God developed a special people Israel for His purposes.
    It is true that God became a man called Jesus.
    It is true that Jesus was killed by the Romans and raised Himself up from the grave by His own power.
    It is true Jesus is the only doorway to God.
    It is true that all who believe on Jesus will have eternal life.
    It is true that there is an end to it all.
    It is true some understand and some don’t.

    I believe it all to be true, and I don’t have to rewrite it to make it believable.

    That is the problem today, the churches want to tell their congregations what they want to hear and far too often because it ain’t the truth people walk away sooner or later.


  79. armando1961 says:

    I respect all views and opinions posted here, as I believe we are all –each in our own way– believers dealing with an essentially unbelieving world. I count myself in the group of believers that don’t believe that every last detail in the Bible –every jot and tittle– is necessarily literally in order for it to be the word of God and the proper foundation of Christian doctrine; as I have said before, I believe in the essence of the message rather than the exact words or details specifically written down and that does not in the least affect my belief in God and Jesus and my Christian faith. I do believe, however, that any church or denomination that calls itself “Christian” but is not in fact rooted in scripture is not only doing its members a great disservice but also engaging in the grossest form of misrepresentation (talk about truth in advertising). Anyway, today (Sunday) being the actual first day of the week and all, I just wrote to wish everyone a great week and may God bless us all today and all days.

  80. quietgrace says:

    Good day all!
    Armando you have clearly articulated my thoughts on the Bible. Having studied fairly in depth often when I look at scripture in the original Hebrew I go “WHAT???” As I recognize there are so many ways/views of interpreting scripture, scripture that was assembled and approved over time. But still agreeing with you that it’s what we have to go by and know that God can and does speak through it and to us, in whatever language, culture we come from. And His word is consistent through out, that God made us and everything else, and that because of our disobedience He sent a Savior, who is Jesus of Nazareth. And that all who call on the name of the Lord Jesus will be saved.
    Blessings in His Name to all, Grace

  81. poohpity says:

    Fascinating. :-) You do not think any of it is historically accurate?

  82. armando1961 says:

    For my part and with all due respect, I believe many parts of the Bible are historically accurate: for example, in the New Testament, the Epistles, the Gospels and Acts of the Apostles are, in my view, historically accurate, although the Gospels, especially John’s, have a strong purely theological content; Revelation is clearly prophetic although rooted in then contemporary history and then current events. As for the Old Testament, I believe Exodus, Joshua, Judges, the Books of Samuel, Chronicles, the Books of Kings and Maccabees to be historically accurate, but some details in these books are a matter of faith (Elijah’s bodily accession to Heaven in a chariot of fire, etc.). Exodus is problematic, as no extra-biblical source (archaeological, epigraphic or textual) has ever been found that independently corroborates the events described therein and the movement of millions or hundreds of thousands of people in that part of the world at that time does not seem possible, but I believe, as do some scholars, that the core elements (Israelite slavery in Egypt, deliverance and mass migration to the Promised Land) are historically factual although the numbers of people involved may have been smaller than the Bible records. Numbers, Leviticus and Deuteronomy were written to codify the religious laws and principles laid down by Moses through divine inspiration. I consider most Old Testament books written by or about the various prophets to be historically accurate in the sense that the prophets themselves existed and the books have a core historical basis, but not necessarily in the details. The Book of Esther, yes; Daniel, in essence, yes; the Book of Judith, no, as it has been widely discredited by scholars as a “feel good” text about what “should” have happened instead of what “actually” happened because it contains many anachronisms and it is extremely vague about the specific Assyrian invasion that it deals with. Psalms, Proverbs, Song of Songs and Ecclesiastes are poetic and intended as exhortations to Godly living and conduct as well as praising God. Job and Jonah I personally consider more as poetic than factual, although I don’t doubt that they were based on actual people. Genesis I consider factual in its essence and its message (God’s existence, majesty and power; God’s role as Creator of all there is; God as the source of all there is, including the universe, human beings and life itself; and so on and so forth). I personally do not, very respectfully, consider it to be factually accurate in all its details (for example, God actually creating the universe in six actual earth days). As I’ve said before, the Bible is many things, a collection of divinely inspired writings, yes, but also poetry, allegory and metaphor. I, for one, do not require the Bible to be factually accurate in every last detail to believe it is the word of God, to believe in God, to believe in the life and teachings of Jesus Christ or to be a Christian, but that’s me and I respect any and all beliefs and opinions in that regard.

  83. telliot says:

    Hi everyone, over the years that I have pursued a study of the Bible on my own, I slowly began to develop the impression that something is seriously missing in the way the Bible is presented. If I asked 10 people what they think the Bible was all about, I believe that I would get close to 10 different answers. It may be that the Bible should first be introduced with an accurate overview. This in itself is problematic because so few people come together and agree on what the Bible message is all about. Then I came across a commentary by the late John Stott. This is what he wrote:

    ‘The whole Bible from Genesis to Revelation tells the story of God’s sovereign purpose of grace, His master-plan of salvation through Christ’ John Stott (“The Message of Galatians”)

    His statement corresponds well with others who have said that “If you don’t see Christ featured as you read the Old Testament, you’ve probably read it wrongly”

    Through my own journey of study, I could not agree more.

    Another problem I realize is that too many people put their own personal opinions into the scripture verses, when actually what they need to do is to find correct context by correlating / cross-referencing other parts of scripture. In other words, let scripture explain scripture. Here is what we all need to understand: The OT “points forward” to the NT. The NT which are the collection of books that ‘represent’ the New Covenant in Christ, is really the fulfillment of the OT.

    Here are a few facts: The Hebrew (Jewish) bible is called the Tanahk which is essentially the same as our protestant OT. Jews (as in Judaism) do not believe in Jesus and they consider him a false prophet. In other words, Jews reject Jesus and therefore they reject the NT. Herein lies the great confusion for Christians. Christians must understand that Jews interpret their Tanahk (our OT) quite differently from the way we as Christians must interpret it.

    A few examples are in order: Jews believe that they are God’s chosen people, “the apple of God’s eye”, etc. If you read the NT, you will find that Christians are considered as God’s “chosen people”. Romans 2 and 9 respectively teach that Christians are “Jews” and “Israel” while the actual physical descendants of Abraham are not necessarily “Israel” because Genesis 32 tells us that Israel means “one who struggles with God and with man and overcomes”. Hebrews 11 and 12 together with Revelation 21 and the Gospels of John and Matthew together tell us that Christians are to look forward to a “heavenly Jerusalem” or “the Jerusalem above” (Gal 4) while the “present city” (the Jerusalem on earth) is in bondage of sin (Gal 4). The list of examples of differences between Jewish and Christian understanding goes on and on.

    Many Christians today have an identity crisis because of this. They say they are Christians but clearly they have Jewish beliefs. There are huge implications. Paul tells us that this deviation is not acceptable. He refers to this as the “other gospel” which is “no gospel at all” and those that preach it be condemned.

    I know this is a long post but I thought that I should share my own journey with you all. I look forward to your comments on this. God bless.

  84. armando1961 says:

    Telliot, I basically agree with just about everything you posted and it is not a long posting at all, at least not unnecessarily so, plus it was clearly posted in a spirit of love and sharing so it is all right. You summarized the Jewish and (correct) Christian perspectives very well. Actually, I quite enjoyed your posting, very beautifully and thoughtfully said.

  85. quietgrace says:

    Thank you telliot I too enjoyed your thoughtful post. I so appreciate your explanation about the Jewish OT and the NT. It makes so much more sense in light of Paul’s teachings to me now. While I am a Christ follower I have been a bit confused by the ‘already but not yet’ doctrine of salvation which goes along with the confusion about whether Christs kingdom is to be on earth or in heaven. It may be both, actually, or? Whatever you have given me a lot to think about and I will be thinking about this and going through the scriptures you posted also.
    blessings, Grace

  86. quietgrace says:

    Telliot your post is the 2nd spiritual blessing I have received today. It’s been a good day.

  87. quietgrace says:

    Telliot another thought…the Jews seemed to be blinded to the prophecies of a coming Messiah mostly until Christ Himself spoke of them in the NT writings. And even the Jews of his time, the apostles, thought he came to set up an earthly kingdom. Now it all makes sense, but its not a popular thing to say that the KoG is spiritual, not physical as we see so much money sent to Israel; and the knowledge that it was actually evangelical Christians that funded the planting of the Jews in Israel in 1967. I am not anti-semetic in any way, shape or form, but just being open to truth.

  88. poohpity says:

    telliot, I so agree that one has to use scripture to interpret scripture and the problems that arise from confusing Judaism(law) with Christianity(grace). I also believe without Christ in mind, heart and soul the OT is not really understood. But bottom line I feel that more problems come from people just not reading the whole book with the Helper. I would not know how it is to read the Bible without Christ so I can not comment on that.

    People say they have read and studied scriptures but from how they talk about them, my hunch is, it is just sections not the whole without a heart felt desire to know God personally and in doing so miss much depth and understanding.

    I have read the Bible for many years now and have found that I know very little about how amazingly immense our God truly is and it takes a steady diet of the Word with The Word. It sounds like telliot that you would be in the group that can recommend reading the scriptures to others.

    Most in the world try anything they can to poo-poo the scriptures in some way or another.

  89. poohpity says:

    There is a very interesting “Day Of Discovery” program offered on facebook about the conflict between the Arab nations and the secular nation of Israel.

  90. remarutho says:

    Good Morning BTA Friends –

    Have thought these past days about the two surveys you referenced and the questions you pose concerning opinions about the Bible, Mart. Took a closer look at the survey that ARIS (American Religious Indicator Survey) published in 2009. One of the highlights of that survey of “American Nones: The Profile of the No Religion Population,” is this striking extract: “Regarding belief in the divine, most Nones are neither atheists nor theists but rather agnostics and deists (59%) and perhaps best described as skeptics.”

    I suppose that percentage of 59% can be interpreted in various ways, but in my opinion such a high figure among people who report they have no religion is a testimony to the very image of God that is intrinsic to human beings. The image of the Creator persists in us, no matter the intellectual rejection of the Creator.

    Mart, you wrote:
    “What if the Bible was not held together by themes of accountability, grace, forgiveness, faith, hope, and love? (Would the Bible have the same influence and distribution that it has had?)”

    The themes you list are big pieces in the puzzle of life, it seems to me. 20-something individuals may be full of confidence in the human ability to assert grace, forgiveness, faith, hope and love. But after some decades most people seek a moral compass that guides and gives real meaning and purpose to the journey. The Holy Bible is that compass and guide. And, in my opinion, the Scriptures are fractal – a portion such as a gospel or the psalms – ripped from the whole and read deeply and diligently can offer something of God’s character to a hungry, thirsty heart.


  91. armando1961 says:

    Good morning Maru, very interesting indeed. It has often been said that the very idea or notion of God (or belief in God) is “imprinted in the hearts of men” and that that is the reason for the universal belief in “a” God or gods across time and space, in all cultures, at all times, throughout history. This does not mean, of course, a specific belief in the God of Abraham as revealed and described in the Bible, but in a Supreme Being (or beings) of a supernatural nature that is omnipotent, immanent and transcendent. Even Richard Dawkins, the noted British atheist (whom I would rather describe deep down as an agnostic, based on his actual recorded arguments) who famously wrote “The God Delusion” in 2006 (and which has been richly and convincingly refuted by a large number of authors in many written works of varying lengths published since), has written that belief in God is a “universal human trait that must have conferred some sort of evolutionary advantage and was consequently passed on through successive generations but for which he has no coherent explanation”. Muslim and Jewish mystics have poetically written that every human soul is personally inspected by God before being sent to earth to be born and is told by the Creator in person to “remember Me, remember where you come from and that you must return to Me after your body dies”. Food for thought.

  92. poohpity says:

    The Mormons believe that humans spirits were given birth in heaven first before being sent into a human body but that sure would poo-poo creationism and God breathing life into humanity. Mysticism is a good descriptor. Many religions have been dreamed up over the years to try and put human logic on something they do not understand.

  93. quietgrace says:

    Armando that reminds me of a story I heard about a 3 year old who upon seeing his new baby sister quietly asked her, “What does He look like again, I am forgetting.” This was supposed to have been overheard by his parents. Chilling isn’t it? There is so much we don’t know.

  94. poohpity says:

    Wow a three year old with such good language skills speaking in complete sentences and reasoning. That is chilling!

  95. armando1961 says:

    Poohpity, I don’t know if what the Mormons believe is entirely contrary to the Bible. Let me explain where I’m coming from: we humans have a physical body and a spiritual body. If you believe the Genesis account of creation, humanity began with the first man and woman (Adam and Eve). That’s where our PHYSICAL bodies come from, that is, all humans descend from the first man and woman, but what about our spirits? In the Genesis account, God created humans and breathed life into them, pouring His Spirit into them. But what about each and every one of us? Sure, we are born of our father and mother, who are descended from THEIR father and mother, going back through the generations to the origins of humanity, but that accounts for physical birth, not spiritual. Are our individual spirits “begotten” by our parents’ spirits just as our physical bodies are begotten by our parents’ physical bodies? I don’t know but somehow I don’t think so, I don’t think any human has the power or capacity to create or generate another spirit, only God can do that.
    So we’re back to square one: what about our spirits? When and how were our spirits created and when did our spirits enter our human bodies? The “how” of spiritual creation is easy, I think: all spirits are created by God. When do spirits enter our physical bodies, begotten by our physical (flesh and blood) parents? If you say that the spirit enters the physical body at birth, doesn’t that make unborn babies inhuman? If you say the spirit enters the body at conception, then the pro-life (anti-abortion) activists are right (I personally believe they are). But when were our individual spirits created? Is each individual spirit created by God just as a human baby is about to be conceived? Really? How do we know? How does anyone know? I don’t think that all spirits were created at the same time necessarily. So it’s not necessarily un-biblical to say that spirits that are to be born as humans are created first in Heaven and spend some time there before actually being born. That would not seem to apply to Adam and Eve but maybe to all those who came after and there’s really no way that anybody can know for sure and the Bible doesn’t say one way or the other. The Bible is a lot more profound and a lot deeper than many people seem to realize and there are many honest questions that we may have as believers that do not seem to be answered specifically in the Bible. I guess the Bible teaches us the essentials, what we NEED to know and HAVE to know to take advantage of God’s love and forgiveness and attain salvation, but, as the writers of the Talmud well knew, there are many things that were left unsaid in the Bible and that are open to interpretation and that’s part of the wonder, the mystery and the beauty of scripture.

  96. poohpity says:

    armando, You and I just do not believe the same things. This to me is not the place to discuss all the many vast differences but it is quite obvious we are not on the same page at all and that has been obvious with past discussions on the bible. Touching a bee’s hive is not something that is wise to me. Mormonism and Christianity is as different as night and day. If deception was easy to spot, it would not be deception.

  97. armando1961 says:

    Poohpity, I was not saying one way or the other, just asking some questions out loud, sort of. I’ve just been very intellectually curious all my life, that’s all. Just to be on the level, I’m not well acquainted with Mormonism and I respect your position on, and interpretation of, scripture. We may not all think alike on everything but I think we are all sincere in our beliefs and can all consider ourselves Christians, despite differences of opinion (some quite profound, to be sure) on various issues. I think. God bless.

  98. armando1961 says:

    Poohpity, I was just asking some questions out loud, that’s all, I’ve always been very intellectually curious, but I also appreciate and respect your comments and your input and I also respect your position on scriptural interpretation. Just to be on the level, I’m not well acquainted with Mormonism and as for this post, I think we are all sincere in our beliefs and can rightfully call ourselves Christians despite our differences. No harm done, I hope. God bless.

  99. poohpity says:

    armando, There is nothing wrong with curiosity and using our brains for fact finding hopefully we all will use what God has blessed us with. I hope you do not think in anyway I do not like you just because we disagree on the Bible. I can disagree and still respect people nor does it make me think any less of anyone because they may not think like me. What would our world be like if we did not allow people to think for themselves? I aint a hater, I am a gracer, lol. :-)

  100. armando1961 says:

    Wow Poohpity that’s a relief, because I like and enjoy your postings A LOT! I believe you show some of the clearest, most no-nonsense thinking of any Bible-believing Christian I know, very practical, very accepting of others, but at the same time very specific on what it is and is not an accurate reflection of proper Christian thought (without being arrogant or judgmental in any way). I count finding this blog a great blessing in my life and your postings are right there at the top of the blessings list. Each posting, in fact, is unique in its own way, and I often wonder if we are not all (metaphorically, at least) like wandering sheep, heeding our shepherd’s call and wishing it were finally time to see Him face to face.

  101. hera says:

    Hi, very interesting comments and help me gain more understanding, I appreciate it. I just wonder, about spirits, if Muslim & Jews believe the spirits are inspected by God before sent to earth, and that OT is similar to the Jew’s bible, and if I am not mistaken some of Muslim’s holy book also has some similarities, it may be that -that – is the way of spirits ? though of course no one can really know for sure…I heard Muslim believe the spirit is breathed into the unborn at 4 months (womb) and even its destiny (what she/he’ll be incl religious life) is already decided, not sure that’s true/not.. kind of ‘scary’ if indeed your entire path incl whether you’ll be a murderer or a priest has beed decided so early…

  102. armando1961 says:

    I’m no expert, Hera, but, in a nutshell, the OT is the Jewish Bible, essentially. Mainstream Judaism does not accept Jesus as the Messiah or the Son of God. Muslims consider the Koran, written by Muhammad in the 7th century of the Christian Era, as their holy book, and they consider all the Jewish prophets of the Old testament as God’s prophets; Moses they consider a prophet and a messenger, because he brought down the Ten Commandments from God; they also consider Jesus a prophet and a messenger, because he brought down the Gospels from God; and they consider Muhammad a prophet and a messenger, because he brought down the Koran from God. Interestingly, all the Muslim prophets except the last one (Muhammad) are Jewish. Basically, all of the narratives found in the Bible are also found in the Koran. Tradition holds that the Jewish people are descended from Isaac, Abraham’s son through his wife Sarah, while the Arab people are descended from Ishmael, Abraham’s son through his slave servant Hagar (kind of puts an interesting spin on Middle Eastern conflicts, doesn’t it?). That’s why Judaism, Christianity and Islam are sometimes referred to as the “Abrahamic” religions. As for whether or not it is foreordained by God whether you’ll be a murderer or a preacher or what not, I think it all comes down to free will; God certainly knows what each one of us will be and do with our lives, but God doesn’t MAKE us become murderers or preachers or what not, it still comes down to free will, we are free to choose.

  103. poohpity says:

    To what I believe is that our spirits are the very essence of who we are, this body is only a temporary shell. At death we lose this shell and the essence or spirit goes directly to be with the Lord. Then later when Jesus comes again we will receive a new body that is meant to live on the new earth not prone to death and free from sin. I do not know what kind of body that means but the very essence of who we are will always exist.

    In the bible it speaks of God knowing us as we are formed in our mothers womb to me that is due to the fact that God who is not held by time sees us. Not that our spirits lived before then came to earth to inhabit a body but God seeing the future knew us from that view point. Mormons believe that there are god like couples and they produce little spirit babies Jesus explained Matt 22:29-30 NLT that is a lack of understanding of what happens after death. (Psalms 71:6 NLT; Psalms 139:13-15 NLT)

  104. poohpity says:

    God even knowing what we will do still came whether murderer or priest to give His life as a ransom so we can live with Him in eternity. Now that is what is so totally amazing about grace.

  105. hera says:

    Thank you for the explanation.

  106. armando1961 says:

    Totally agree with you Poohpity that God’s love, mercy and grace are incomprehensible given our nothingness and our sinful nature and the fact that it’s available to all in spite of what sins may have been committed is truly astounding. Also, thanks for the info on what Mormons believe, I certainly wasn’t aware of that, you have truly enlightened me and made me think. God bless you Poohpity and all the rest as well, this is truly a wonderful blog.

  107. quietgrace says:

    Pooh I am not getting notifications for this post so missed your comment on about the 3 year old on 8/4/. I was talking in sentences so my parent’s said at the age of 2 so even though I may have not gotten the quote perfectly you get the gist of it, right? Whether it’s true or an urban legend it does make one think and wonder, doesn’t it? At least it makes me think, LOL! I may have gotten the age wrong also but close. I hope you weren’t being sarcastic-I’m not sure how to take you sometimes. Thank you and others who are praying about my chronic depression. I actually have been able to climb above it better lately. Blessings, Grace

  108. poohpity says:

    I wasn’t being sarcastic I was just confused. The gist of it to me was far fetched and not believable. It would seem the parents had possibly not understood the intent of the child if it ever happened. Maybe after you get to know me better you will see I am just pretty basic, bottom line sort of person from the street who can read people like a book and can get through the pretense to accept them just as they are even if they can’t. Never met a person that did not need grace.

  109. quietgrace says:

    See, I do have a hard time reading you, lol! I asked God to show me the truth and you did it nicely, thanks and thanks to God for answering my prayer, as He usually does. Your ability to read people like a book is a blessing, may you continue to use it with grace and discernment. Grace

  110. poohpity says:

    The thing about reading a book it takes time, patience and empathy without jumping to conclusions or assuming.

  111. quietgrace says:

    You are so right.

  112. armando1961 says:

    Totally agree with Poohpity about being skeptical. That’s not being unkind or uncaring, only being cautious. It has been said that “extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof” (stated with regard to UFO’s and alien abductions, but the statement applies to everything, really). Gotta love Poohpity’s common sense approach to these matters (I know I do), in addition to her inclusive approach on religious matters and her emphasis on God’s grace. Very uplifting and heartwarming. God bless you all.

  113. poohpity says:

    armando, I thank you for all the nice things you say about me but I am feeling a bit embarrassed. It seems I can handle criticism much better than flattery. So please give it a rest. The stuff I have learned and share comes from the Bible and the experiences God has lead me through. Let’s give all that to the One who truly is deserving of it. ;-)

  114. poohpity says:

    Not only that but you seem to make my responses a topic rather than the topic at hand and I would so much prefer to talk about that, it is much more informative and thought worthy.

  115. armando1961 says:

    Sorry Poohpity, I have a tendency to get carried away. But I do find myself in agreement with most of wht you’ve written lately (also Quietgrace), especially about the importance and necessity of God’s grace.

  116. poohpity says:

    You are forgiven.:-) At the top of the blog are guidelines and one of them is about giving Kudos or/and snide remarks to the commentors and I believe it is there to prevent others from getting their feelings hurt if they are not mentioned. So it is just way better to talk about the topic. Thank you.

  117. armando1961 says:

    I would like to recommend to all our friends on this blog the excellent book published in 1987 “Who Wrote the Bible?” by Richard Elliott Friedman. While Dr. Friedman’s book does not address matters of faith or belief (How could he? These are matters of the heart, for the believer and between the believer and God), it is a scholarly work that summarizes the various academic theories about how the Bible came to be. Fascinating stuff, although, as I said, it has to be put in context (it’s not a religious text, it is a bit dated, etc.).

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