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Three Beginner Bible Study Tips

Make it your aim to prepare yourself for your mission as a follower of Jesus

Written by GodLife on 31/01/2017
Series: Weekly Devotional
Tags: Bible, Application, Interpretation, Context, Obedience
Ezra had spent his entire life studying and obeying the Law of the Lord and teaching it to others.

Ezra 7:10
Most Christians understand that we’re all supposed to be reading the Bible on a regular basis. But isn’t it true that it’s hard to understand at times? (It’s OK to admit this – even Peter did! [2 Peter 3:16]) Even when we “understand” it, it’s possible to take it all in and go away unchanged. (James 1:23-24) But God’s promise to bless what we do only applies “if we listen and obey, and don’t just hear and forget.” (James 1:25)

Here are three simple principles for reading the Bible. You can remember them by associating them with “SOS,” the international call for help:

S: What does it SAY
Before we can make use of what we read, we have to be sure of what it meant at the time it was written. To understand this, be sure to get the context. Here are three dimensions to context:

There’s the Biblical context: Who wrote it? Why was it written? What did it mean to those who received it? It’s been said that “a text without a context is a pretext.” It’s possible to quote the Bible and get the meaning all wrong. The words of foolish people (1 Samuel 26:1-21), false prophets (1 Kings 22:10-28), and even the devil (Job 2:4) can be found in Scripture. King Jeroboam deliberately quoted Exodus 32:4 without context to justify his plan to set up golden calves in his kingdom. (1 Kings 12:28) But Paul praised the Bereans for “gladly accepting the message” but also “studying the scriptures to see” for themselves that what he said was true. (Acts 17:11).
There’s also the context of time. It’s important to know where a passage fits in history. Was it before, or after Jesus’ coming? Does it describe a temporary situation? In 2 Kings 18:4, King Hezekiah destroyed the brass snake God commanded Moses to make! Why? The people were worshiping it—a thing of brass—as if it were an idol.
The context of culture may also be important. God told Noah in Genesis 9:2-3 to eat every animal. He told Moses and Aaron to set Israel apart by their diet and gave a list of clean and unclean animals in Leviticus 11.
O: Ask God what He wants you to OBEY
Never forget that you have access to the Author! Jesus was recognized as an authoritative teacher (Matthew 7:28-29) and occasionally revealed things they had not realized they were accountable to believe or obey. (See Exodus 3:6 and Matthew 22:32; also see Exodus 20:12 and Matthew 15:3-6.)

S: What can you SHARE
God promises His Word does what He sends it forth to do. (Isaiah 55:11) Once He has done His work in your life, you’re not supposed to keep the good news to yourself. (See 2 Kings 7:1-9)

There’s a biblical basis for these reminders. They came from a statement about one of the great characters in the Bible. Ezra was someone very influential, but not as well-known as Elijah, Samuel or even Esther (who appears in a book he may have written). He was a priest and a scribe in Israel after the nation’s return from captivity in Babylon. A short statement about him tells us a lot about why he had such a profound impact on his country:

“Ezra had spent his entire life studying and obeying the Law of the Lord and teaching it to others.” (Ezra 7:10)

To put it another way, Ezra read the Bible carefully to find out what it SAID. His purpose was to OBEY God’s laws. He then spent time SHARING it with others. In Nehemiah 8:1-8 we see that the whole regathered nation of Israel stood and listened as Ezra read the Bible and helped them understand what it said so that they could agree to its truth. This resulted in them worshiping the Lord. Making hearers into worshipers should be the mission of any follower of Jesus as well; but first, we have to make sure we are worshipers ourselves. If we read the Bible this way, we will be!

Pray this week:

Dear Lord: I want to know your Word and know you. I want to help others understand and obey and worship you. Please help me have the faith and discipline to do these things. AMEN

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Why did God send Jesus?

Be sure of this: He is with us always, even to the end of the age.

Written by GodLife on 27/12/2016
Series: Weekly Devotional
Tags: Incarnation, Jesus Birth
Remember the things I have done in the past. For I alone am God! I am God, and there is none like me. Only I can tell you the future before it even happens. Everything I plan will come to pass, for I do whatever I wish.

Isaiah 46:9-10
As we are finishing the Christmas season, we are reminded that not only did Jesus come at this time, but He is always with us!

A mathematician once calculated that eight predictions of Christ's coming (like the ones in “Part 4” of our Jesus Booklet) had one chance in ten "quadrillion" (10,000,000,000,000,000) of being fulfilled in one person. Why did God go to such dramatic lengths to prove Himself?

He did it to “pitch His tent” with us
John 1:1-18 sums up the mission of Jesus. He needed to become a man to live among us. Verse 14 literally says He "tabernacled," or "pitched His tent" with us. So that He could represent us before His Father, “He was tempted in every way that we are, but he didn't sin.” (Hebrews 4:15) “Because Jesus experienced temptation when he suffered, he is able to help others when they are tempted.” (Hebrews 2:18)

He did it to make us God’s children
God became a human child to make children of God out of those who believe in Him. (John 1:12) He "made peace through the blood of his cross." (Colossians 1:19-20) The only way eternal God could die was by becoming flesh and blood like us. It showed us He "is not ashamed to call [us] his brothers and sisters." (Hebrews 2:10-15) This is one reason the celebration of what we have in common ("communion") with Him is so meaningful. (1 Corinthians 10:16)

He did it to “explain Himself”
Becoming human was the way God made Himself plain to us. Without Jesus' sacrifice, no one was worthy to be in the presence of God; "But God the only Son is very close to the Father, and he has shown us what God is like." (John 1:18)

He did it so we could remain and continue His work
He wanted us to be fully convinced. “Who overcomes the world? Is it not the person who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?” (1 John 5:5) Jesus said, “As the Father has sent me, so I am sending you.” (John 20:21) In His earnest prayer before His arrest, Jesus asked that His followers could “be with Me where I am and to see My glory,” (John 17:24) Why are we not yet there? We have been left here to continue the public ministry of Jesus: “God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, ‘Come back to God!’” (2 Corinthians 5:20)

Pray this week:

Lord, thank you for coming to earth to be with us. I’m grateful for the chance to become a child of God. Please help me continue your work and to tell many others how they can come back to you. Amen.

Visit the Kairos webiste https://cabinet.kairosplanet.com/register/#111b0e