Book Review: How do We Know the Bible is True? Vol. 2 by Ken Ham & Bodie Hodge

“How Do We Know the Bible Is True” is an outstanding resource providing layperson explanations for 31 topics about the Bible. The culture around us continues to question authority, whether it is questioning the police or the politicians who are supposed to represent us. The reason is that they are merely mimicking the cultural questioning of the authority of Scripture. Continue reading

Book Review: The Bible by Answers in Genesis

“The Bible” is a short book describing how we can know the Bible can be trusted. It read similar to Josh McDowell’s “Evidence that Demands a Verdict,” but much more simplistic. Each topic gives substantiating evidence for the authenticity and sufficiency of Scripture. This is an excellent resource for a new Christian to become grounded in the essential characteristics of the Bible. Continue reading

Book Review: The Lie: Evolution/Millions of Years by Ken Ham

“The Lie: Evolution/Millions of Years” by Ken Ham is a must read reality check.  Having read the first edition fifteen years ago, the 25th Anniversary Edition was a tremendous refocus on the essence of the battle raging in America. Most of the issues Christians seem to fight are merely symptoms of the real issue, which is the bombardment and destruction of the foundation of Christianity –God’s Word. Continue reading

Book Review: Begin by Ken Ham and Bodie Hodge

“Begin” by Ken Ham and Bodie Hodge from Answers in Genesis is a great beginner book for new Christians and those who may question the veracity of the creation account.  Ken Ham and his son-in-law Bodie Hodge have teamed up to organize a simple, yet powerful book to  settle the hearts of new believers and anyone who may question the Genesis account of creation. Continue reading

SGL: What Scripture (version) do I use?

            There are four keys in making disciples.  The four keys are: 1) Biblical Foundation; 2) Intentional Discipleship; 3) Relational Environment; and 4) a Reproducible Process. As the small group has the key purpose to develop prepared disciples, the Bible is the main focus for that Biblical Foundation.  A question people often ask is, “What Scripture (version) do you use?” Continue reading

SGL: What is the purpose of a small group?

What is the purpose of a small group?

Many people may have many different reasons for participating in a small group, but for the small groups or home groups at Grace, there is one purpose. There are many reasons to join and many effects, but there is one purpose.  That purpose is to fulfill the Great Commandment and the Great Commission in the most effective way.

            The Great Commandment is:

  • 37 Jesus said to him, “`You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’
  • 38 “This is the first and great commandment.
  • 39 “And the second is like it:`You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ (Matt. 22:37-39)

The Great Commission is:

  • 19 “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
  • 20 “teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen. (Matt 28:19-20)

When you make life about God, instead of self, all things move into harmony with His will.

People often join small groups for their own reasons, just like people do everything.  They want what they want when they want it.  We don’t know any better when we are born and we have to be disciple to God’s will. Some people join small groups because they want to identify with a group of people, or they want to learn in a Bible study, or they want the fellowship of others in a good and safe environment.  Some people join small groups because they get dragged into one by their spouse, or they join because they think they might be able to develop business relationships, or they think the leader may have something they want.

What is at the core of each of the above reasons?  It’s all about self.  I’m not condemning those reasons, because in themselves they are not bad, but they reveal motivations that are coming from a spiritual infant or spiritual child. Again, I’m not condemning those reasons, but the person has not grown spiritually to understand the purpose of a small group.  They have not grasped the purpose of a small group, because they have not been taught the purpose, or they have not been discipled to understand the purpose, or they have heard it, but have not sealed it in their thinking.

The purpose of a small group is to help 80% of the congregation become spiritual parents, who are purposing to disciple spiritual parents.

If you have the vision of discipling spiritual parents on the part of the leadership, then all the reasons people join small groups will lead to the right goal.  Spiritual infants and spiritual children always have self as the focus and that’s normal.  No one condemns a spiritual infant or spiritual child for their personal actions.  However, the leadership has to keep in mind the purpose, so the small group does not get off track and merely become a Bible study or social gathering as an end in itself. The enemy would gladly be content with that, if it doesn’t lead to multiplication.

When the purpose becomes a Bible study or social gathering (many try to call fellowship), it really is about self and the true purpose is hindered and the godly influence intended by the Lord into the community is hindered.  Bible study should always be a main focus.  Fellowship should always be a reason for small groups.  But you can study the Bible over 50 lifetimes and never fully understand all there is in Scripture.  God said through Hosea, “My people are destroyed for a lack of knowledge.”  (Hosea 6:4)  Yes!  Israel didn’t have knowledge of God.  That was the issue.  It wasn’t that they didn’t understand the divine decree or the 8 different forms of baptism  inn Scripture.  They did not know the Lord. 

Teachers who say you have to go to Bible study after Bible study often do it to control people and remain superior to them.  They like people dependent on them or the glory of having people flock to their audiences.

When the purpose of the small group is fellowship, then the fleshly result will result in remaining in the comfort zone of those in the small group.  God does not want one group of people always fit together without expanding and connecting to new people.  When people say the purpose is solely fellowship, they have the attitude, “Us four and no more.”

If you keep the purpose of small groups as raising up spiritual parents, you will keep the right balance on Bible study and fellowship.  Spiritual parents multiply and create more spiritual parents who grow by doing Bible study and fellowship.  Let’s keep growing!

 

 

Counsel: How to make observations in Bible Study

Counsel: How to make observations in Bible Study 

Recently, I have given some tools for doing Bible study using the “Bible Study and Application Format” worksheet.1It’s a simple exercise using 2 Timothy 3:16-17 as a pattern for looking at Scripture. To sum up, you take a passage of Scripture and do four things with it. First, record what the passage is teaching. Secondly, examine self to see how you might be failing to live according to the standard of it. Thirdly, identify the correction you need to make in order to get back on track with Scripture. And fourthly, outline a plan of action to put the correction into real living.   

To help you in doing the Bible Study and Application Format worksheet, here are several principles for doing basic Bible study.  Studying the Bible is often done in three steps: Observation, Interpretation and Application (OIA).  “Observation” is looking at a text and making observations about what is in the passage.  “Interpretation” is taking the observations and drawing out the meaning of the passage based on the context and what the original intent of the author was as he wrote to the original audience. The “Application” is the timeless truth that was true in the day it was written, but also how it applies specifically today in our culture and circumstances. 

 I often add one additional step called “Implementation,” because some people take application as merely “how does the passage ‘apply’ to me as an individual.”  What we need to do, in order to follow the model found in 2 Timothy 3:16,17, is to take the meaning of the passage and “implement” it into life.  What are the changes I need to make in my life? How should I implement the application to life?

This article focuses on observation. Here is a simple list of questions that will help you take a passage of Scripture and assist you in making observations. It really just follows the investigative reporter style. 

THE “5 W AND H” QUESTIONS 

Who is speaking?

Who is this about?

Who are the main characters?

To who is this written?

What is the subject or event covered in the chapter?

What instructions are given?

What does this tell us about the people or event?

Where was it said?

Why is this mentioned?

Why did it happen?

Why now?

Why this person?

How will it happen?

How is it to be done?

How is it illustrated?

As you make the effort to personal Bible study, you will gain richly and be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ (Rom. 8:29). Now, when you do Bible study, consider the fourth step and add implementation (OIAI).

Psalm 119:27
Make me understand the way of They precepts So I will meditate on Thy wonders.  

Every problem I face
can be traced to an
inaccurate view of God
~ Bill Bright ~
discovergod.com
 

1The Bible Study and Application Format was posted April 14 and a recent application exercise using the acrostic SPEAK was posted April 19.