Thursday, March 2, 2017

Reading Scripture

I want to offer you some advice on how to read the Bible.

The goal of reading the Bible is simple: this book exists because each of us needs to understand who God is and what Jesus Christ did for us. The problem we run into along the way is that God used a lot of different writing styles in the Bible to explain what we need to understand.

So I have 3 pieces of advice to share with you to help you know how to begin learning to read the Bible correctly.

#1. You need to know that God makes unconditional promises in the Bible.

There are things that God has promised He will do for people without being concerned if they are good or bad people. (See Matthew 5:45)

#2. You need to know that God also makes conditional promises in the Bible.

God always rewards good and always punishes evil. So under certain circumstances we can receive good things from God to encourage good behavior and we can receive problems in life to expose what God considers to be bad behavior.

(See Romans 2:6-11 and Hebrews 12: 5-11)

#3. You need to know that there are some things God says that are not promises or threats in the Bible.

I think the best way to explain this would be the book of Proverbs, so let me give you one example: "Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him." (Proverbs 13:24 ESV)

This is not a promise or a threat because there is no guarantee that a son or daughter will recognize the benefits of being disciplined. There are factors completely outside of our control involved in the outcome of a child's life, and for that reason God will not make a promise or a threat on this issue.

A young person who spends most of their time with other young people may never see the benefits of having strict parents BECAUSE their friends cannot see it either. The people that you choose to spend time with the most will help you learn to read the Bible better or worse, and all I can do as a minister is give you a warning you might ignore.

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