Sunday, April 29, 2012

The Bible

By Colleen Podmore

Jesus and two disciples on the road to Emmaus, “And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, He explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning Himself.” Luke 24:27 NIV

The Bible

The Holy Bible is an amazing story of God’s dealings with mankind. Some have called it a love letter from God. The word Bible comes from the Greek word Biblia which means books and precisely describes the Bible which although we believe was written by God, nevertheless 40 different authors wrote the words as guided by the Holy Spirit over a period of 1600 years. There are 66 books in our version of the Bible.

The Bible is divided into two major divisions – the Old Testament and the New Testament. The word testament is another name for covenant – so the Old Testament is the old covenant between God and mankind and the New Testament is the new covenant between God and mankind.

In Jeremiah it says “The time is coming,” declares the LORD, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel...” Jer 31:31

The Old covenant was like kindergarten. It was preparation for what was to come. Should we therefore just read the New Testament and ignore the Old Testament?

In Paul’s second letter to the Christians at Corinth he makes interesting comparisons between the old and the new covenants, proclaiming the surpassing gloriousness of the covenant that lasts. The old brought glory but the ministry of the Spirit is more glorious. The ministry that condemns men (ie the law) is glorious but how much more glorious is the ministry that brings righteousness. Moses face shone after being with the LORD but it faded whereas our faces reflect the glory of our Lord and never fades but are being transformed into His likeness ( 2Cor 3:7-18).

The new covenant is certainly more glorious than the old but we should not neglect the old. Consider this – those who had the old covenant had their hearts and minds veiled as it were. They couldn’t see what the Spirit was pointing to, that is salvation through Jesus Christ, it was veiled from them. Consider Isaiah 53: 5 where the prophet Isaiah talks about a suffering servant, but the real meaning was veiled to those who were part of the old covenant because they failed to recognise their Messiah, Jesus. But we of the New Testament believe and the veil has been removed so that through the Spirit, we understand the nuances, the hidden meanings,the truthes that are planted in the Old Testament Scriptures, pertaining to the unfolding of God’s glorious plan, and describing the generous kind gracious loving nature of Yahweh

I don’t think we can afford to ignore the Old Testament Scriptures for several reasons

We can know through the Scriptures what God is like for example. How does he respond to sinful, disobedient children? Is He kind? Does He have compassion? How can I please Him? What does He think of me?

Secondly we have the example of Jesus and the early Christians. Jesus knew and read and quoted the Old Testament Scriptures (Luke 24:27). When he was tempted by satan, His reply was is written... Paul read the Scriptures and he preached from the Scriptures (Acts 17:2). The disciples read the Scriptures. Acts 8:28, Acts 17:11, 2Tim 3:15. The Scriptures showed them how to interpret and understand what was happening in their lives and to keep them from error (Matt 22:29)

As Christians we can’t afford not to read all the Scriptures because the veil has been removed if indeed we belong to Christ. Let’s be diligent in searching out the hidden treasures. Imagine how excited God must be when we stumble upon some truth in the Scriptures because he has opened our minds! (Luke 24:45). Now I have some practical suggestions. I’ve always found that if I say I’m going to do something but don’t make a plan - -then I’m usually not going to succeed. I have some suggestions for getting started reading the Bible or to encourage us to assess where we are up to and to make adjustments if necessary, to keep going.

1. We need a good Bible. A version that is understandable. A good concordance. Get a bag or something to protect it when you take it with you to meetings.

2. We need to follow a plan. Do I start at the beginning in Genesis and keep going to the end, or mix it up a bit? - Get a Bible reading plan

Do I read by topic and follow a guided study?

3. Begin a journal – write down the date, the book and chapter and verse numbers – I like to put these in the margin. Write down what you discover as you work through your reading plan. This really helps to keep us on track as it is so easy to forget where we are up to sometimes. Write down verses to memorize, ideas for exhortations and leading, topics you want to research a bit more in depth. If you number your journals you will be able to keep track of the discoveries you made 6 months ago and get a real sense of progress. Keep your exhortations in a folder and watch the folder grow. If you do one exhortation a month, then you will have twelve messages after one year!

4. Finally make a commitment to a time and place where you won’t be disturbed. Night or morning. Night and morning. Turn the TV off and spend time in the heavenlies with your Lord and Saviour who desires to know you more and more. Read your Bible, pray and sing songs and worship Him! Blessings.

Here are some New Testament Scriptures referring to Old Testament Scriptures

Scripture = “the law of Moses, the prophets and the Psalms” Luke 24:45

2Tim 3:16 “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness...”

2Peter 1:20 “ prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation.”

Luke 24:45 “Then He opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures.”

Matt 22:29 “Jesus replied,”You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God.”

1Cor 10:11 “These things happened to them as warnings and were written down as warnings for us...”

Acts 17:11 “...for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.”

John 2:22 “Then they believed the Scripture and the words that Jesus had spoken”

John 5:46 “If you believed Moses, you would believe me for he wrote about me.”

John 7:42 “Does not the Scripture say that the Christ will come from David’s family...”

John 10:35 “-and the Scripture cannot be broken-“

1. Study Bible (NIV)
2. Bible Dictionary

"The system of revealed truth which this Book contains is like that of the universe, concealed from common observation yet...the centuries have established its Divine origin." - Isaac Newton

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