How Some Got Started Studying the Bible

The way some of us got started studying the Bible wasn’t by just starting to read. We looked up the verses we were shown when we were introduced to God’s plan of salvation and highlighted them in our Bibles. So now we had “planted” some familiar “faces” in various places in our Bible.

As we became familiar with more verses we would highlight those. Then we started reading those verses in context which led us to more verses we had heard as we started paying attention to good Bible teaching.  We would highlight those.

Eventually we got to the point where we would highlight verses and whole passages in various colors. We would make little notations next to verses and passages. Maybe we would put a little “w” for “warning”, “p” for “promise”, “c” for “command” next to verses fitting those descriptions.

Using this method we would find ourselves becoming familiar with the Bible by slowly branching out from the plan of salvation, which is the heart of the Bible, after all, right?

Let’s get started.

 

God loves the world, God loves each one of us.

God loved the world so much he gave his one of a kind, unique Son, so whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. – John 3:16

God wants the best for us.

The thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy; I came so they may have life, and have it abundantly. – John 10:10

Since we are not perfect, we are separated from God, who is perfect. 

All have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God. – Romans 3:23

We cannot make ourselves perfect. We’ve been tainted by sin and there’s nothing we can do on our own to change it. We are all imperfect and we can never become perfect on your own. 

The word for sin in the ancient language means “missing the mark”. It’s not only when we do things against God’s rules, it’s also we don’t do the things we should do PERFECTLY. To be perfect we would need to hit the bulls-eye every time.

And there is another more fundamental problem. The target is perfection and we are so far away from perfection, on our own, we actually don’t even have access to the target! 


Niklas Tidbury

 

 

 

Photo by nikko macaspac on Unsplash

If we do not see ourselves as sinners, we are in denial. We are not seeing ourselves as we really are. We need to reach the point of admitting “I am a sinner. I am powerless over sin, and my life is unmanageable because of my sin. I know there is no way through my own effort I can get right.”

If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. – If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. – I John 1:8, 10
All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way; – Isaiah 53:6

    I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I agree that the law is good. But in fact it is no longer I that do it, but sin that dwells within me. For I know that nothing good dwells within me, that is, in my flesh. I can will what is right, but I cannot do it. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I that do it, but sin that dwells within me.
So I find it to be a law that when I want to do what is good, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God in my inmost self, but I see in my members another law at war with the law of my mind, making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched person I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?
– Romans 7:15-24

Photo by kyler trautner on Unsplash             Jesus reconnects us to God, the Father.

When God’s Spirit caused the first followers of Jesus to understand what Jesus really made happen through his death and resurrection, they began to preach “He is risen!” and there is no other named person under heaven through which we must be saved from what we deserve because we are not perfect.

There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved. – Acts 4:12
But God shows is love for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us. – Romans 5:8

 

 

The Unseen Realm – Michael S. Heiser

I have begun reading The Unseen Realm – Recovering the Supernatural Worldview of the Bible by Dr. Michael S. Heiser.

I doubt anyone will agree with me but, in my mind, it is a non-fiction version of American Gods by Neil Gaiman.

Here’s a quote from the Preface to the Paperback EditionThe Unseen Realm is an encouragement to believe in the sort of spiritual world that has been denigrated or dismissed in our modern, post-Enlightenment culture.”

The author put 15 years of research into this book. What started him on this path of  research was a “watershed moment” when a friend, a fellow student also working toward a PhD in Hebrew studies, asked Michael Heiser to read Psalm 82 closely. This catalyst which changed the way he read his Bible forever appeared already in verse one.

God [elohim] stands in the divine assembly; he administers judgement in the midst of the gods [elohim].

The word elohim appears twice in the same verse, once meaning the God of Israel and the second time is with a preposition indicating plural, a pantheon of other gods.

He spends much of the next couple chapters explaining why the second elohim has to refer to “the sons of God” who are what I’ll call his divine administrative staff. He eliminates all the other interpretations others have put forth by explaining the clear meaning of the Hebrew.

Dr. Heiser was catapulted by Psalm 82 into research and he came to the realization, concerning scripture, he had “tamed its ultimate author” and allowed theological systems not invented until thousands of years later to cloud his interpretations of Old Testament Hebrew. Instead of reading the Old Testament in the way the authors wrote it and the way the original readers read it, he was allowing his modern mind full of rationalism and skepticism of the supernatural cause him to completely miss what difficult passages of scripture were actually saying.

Right now I’d rather read more of The Unseen Realm than write about it, so this is all for tonight.