How To Study Your Bible

How To Study Your BibleMaybe first we should ask, “Why should we study the Bible?” Many people loudly proclaim, “All that is needed for salvation is faith in Jesus.” This is correct, but remember this—Faith [for salvation] comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the Word of Christ (Romans 10:17).

Then after our faith in Jesus brings us the forgiveness for our sins, there is an ongoing process of walking out our faith, something the Bible calls sanctification. Here again the Bible plays a vital role. Jesus prayed for His followers this way: Sanctify them by the truth; Your Word is truth (John 17:17).

The bottom line … Our Christian walk is nearly impossible to maintain without the resources found in the Scriptures! 

But the Bible is a large book, and many people don’t know where or how to begin to study it. That’s why we are taking the time to learn together some practical ideas for studying God’s Word.

Please join us at Calvary Assembly of God over the next few weeks as we learn the practices which will help us make the most of our time studying the Bible. If you cannot join us in person, we will be broadcasting all of our messages live on Periscope (follow @craigtowens to be notified when the broadcasts begin).

If you are ready to take your Bible study to a new level, please join us beginning this Sunday!

8 Quotes From “Light & Truth—Acts and the Larger Epistles”

Light & Truth [Acts]Horatius Bonar had great insight into the application of Scriptures. Check out my review of this commentary from Dr. Bonar by clicking here. Below are a few quotes that caught my attention. The reference in brackets after the quote is the biblical passage on which Bonar is commenting.

“Our Bible is of God; yet it is also of man. It is both divine and human. It comes to us from God’s Spirit; it comes also from man’s spirit. It is written in the language of the earth, yet its words are the words of him ‘Who speaketh it from heaven.’ Natural, yet supernatural; simple, yet profound; undogmatical, yet authoritative; very like a common book, yet very unlike also; dealing often with seeming incredibilities and contradictions, yet never assuming any need for apology, or explanation, or retraction; a book for humanity at large, yet minutely special in its fitnesses for every case of every soul; throughout its pages, from first to last, one unchanging estimate of sin as an infinite evil, get always bringing out God’s gracious mind toward the sinner, even in his condemnation of the guilt; such is the great Book with which man has to do, which man has to study, out of which man has to gather wisdom for eternity.” [Acts 1:1

“One of the great characteristics of the whole interval between Christ’s first and second coming is the world’s rage, secret and open, against the Father and the Son. … It is very useless anger. It accomplishes nothing. It is like an angry child striking a huge rock with its fist. It is the mere display of impotent hatred, or the temporary gratification of their dislike of God, and their rejection of His purpose regarding His Son. … It calls light darkness, and darkness light; good evil, and evil good; but the light and the darkness, the good and evil, still remain as they were. All the enlightenment of the age, all the appliances of modern progress, are impotent against God and His Christ, against His truth, and His church, and His Word.” [Acts 4:25]

“This is one of the many repetitions of the Pentecostal scene which occurred in early days. Most unscriptural is the statement of some that the giving of the Spirit at Pentecost was a thing done once for all, not to be repeated, and that we are not to pray for or expect such things again. The whole of the ‘Acts of the Apostles’ is a direct refutation of this piece of human fancy. Wherever the apostles went there was a repetition of Pentecost, whether at Jerusalem, or Samaria, or Antioch, or Corinth. Every conversion is the repetition of Pentecost; it is doing the same thing for an individual soul as was done for three thousand then, by a similar process, and by the same power—the power of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Ghost is the heritage of the church. The Old Testament saints possessed Him; and still more the New. This is our heritage, the heritage of every believing man.” [Acts 11:15

“Beware of seeking anything less than the baptism of the Holy Ghost. Our whole life is to be a reception of the Spirit. He is to be continually coming down on us, and filling us. Let us open our mouth wide that He may fill it. Let us beware of anything that would present itself as a substitute for the living Spirit. Many such things may we expect in these last days from satan as an angel of light.” [Acts 11:15]

“We are tempted in our day to be ashamed of the gospel. It is thought to be bare, unintellectual, almost childish by many. Hence, they would overlay it with argument and eloquence, to make it more respectable and more attractive. Every such attempt to add to it is being ashamed of it.” [Romans 1:16

“We must have a righteousness, else we cannot stand before God; we cannot have merely a religion.” [Romans 4:6-8]

“The prodigal did not work for the ‘best robe,’ but got it all ready-made from his father’s hands; Joseph did not work for his coat of many colors, but received it as the gift of his father’s love; Adam did not work for the skins with which the Lord God clothed him: so it is with the sinner in his approach to God, and in God’s approaches to him. ‘Righteousness without works’ is given him; nay, put upon him as a raiment, a divine raiment, to fit him for drawing near to God.” [Romans 4:6-8

“When the night is darkest, and the stars are hidden, and the clouds are black, then we think most of the clear fair day, and long for its dawn. When the storm is roughest, with the waves and wind roaring around the laboring vessel, then we are troubled, and look eagerly out for the glad and sunny calm. When winter binds the earth in its chain of frost, and wraps it in snow and ice, then we begin to ask for spring, with its flowers, and songs, and verdure. So with the saint, as represented by the apostle here. This is night, and storm, and winter to him; he is ever thinking of the day, and the calm, and the spring.” [Romans 8:19-23]

More quotes coming soon…

Book Reviews From 2015

10 Quotes From “Christian Behavior”

Christian BehaviorAlthough written over 300 years ago, and written in Old English, John Bunyan’s instructions in Christian Behavior still ring true today. You can read my full book review by clicking here. Below are just a few quotes; I’ll be sharing more soon.

“Faith alone can see the reality of what the Gospel saith.”

“God’s people are faithful in good works according to the proportion of their faith. If they be slender in good works, it is because they are weak in faith. … Therefore the way to be a more fruitful Christian; it is to be stronger in believing.”

“I shall propound unto you what it is for a work to be rightly good. First, a good work must have the Word for its authority. Second, it must, as of afore was said, flow from faith. Third, it must be both rightly timed and rightly placed. Fourth, it must be done willingly, cheerfully.”

“Good things mistimed are fruitless, unprofitable, and vain.”

“There are three things that a man should have in his eye in every work he doth. First, the honor of God (1 Corinthians 6:20). Second, the edification of his neighbor (1 Corinthians 14:26). Third, the expediency or inexpediency of what I am to do (1 Corinthians 6:12).”

In a section to the head of the household—

“But mark, when the Word saith thou art to provide for thy house, it giveth thee no license to distracting carefulness; neither doth it allow thee to strive to grasp the world in thy heart, or coffers, nor to take care for years or days to come, but so to provide for them, that they may have food and raiment; and if either they or thou be not content with that, you launch out beyond the rule of God (1 Timothy 6:8; Matthew 6:34).”

“Take heed of driving so hard after this world as to hinder thyself and family from those duties towards God which thou art by grace obliged to: as private prayer, reading the Scriptures, and Christian conference. It is a base thing for men so to spend themselves and families after this world as that they disengage their heart to God’s worship.”

In a section to husbands—

“When husbands behave themselves like husbands indeed, then will they be not only husbands, but such an ordinance of God to the wife, as will preach to her the carriage of Christ to his spouse. There is a sweet scent wrapped up in the relations of husbands and wives that believe (Ephesians 4:32).”

“Oh! How little sense of the worth of souls is there in the heart of some husbands, as is manifest by their unchristian carriage to and before their wives! … Beware that she takes no occasion from any unseemly carriage of design to proceed in evil. And here thou hast need to double thy diligence, for she lieth in thy bosom, and therefore is capable of his espying the least miscarriage in thee.”

“If she behave herself unseemly and unruly, as she is subject to do, being Christless and graceless, then labor thou to overcome her evil with thy goodness, her forwardness with thy patience and meekness. Take fit opportunities to convince her. Observe her disposition, and when she is most likely to bear, then speak to her very heart. When thou speakest, speak to purpose. Let all be done without rancor, or the least appearance of anger.”

More quotes from Christian Behavior coming soon…

Christian Behavior (book review)

Christian BehaviorCharles Spurgeon said of John Bunyan, “Read anything of his, and you will see that it is almost like reading the Bible itself. He had read it till his very soul was saturated with Scripture…. Prick him anywhere—his blood is Bibline, the very essence of the Bible flows from him. He cannot speak without quoting a text, for his very soul is full of the Word of God. I commend his example to you, beloved.” This is so true of Bunyan’s short treatise Christian Behavior

Bunyan wanted Christians to behave like, well, Christians! He wrote, “They which have believed in God should be careful to maintain good works.” He was quick to point out that good works don’t purchase salvation, but that Christian good works should be evidence of a person’s salvation.

His main text for this book comes from Titus 3:7-8. Of this passage he says,

“From this Scripture, therefore, I do gather these things observable: First, that good works do to flow from faith. Second, that everyone that believeth should be careful that their works be good. Third, that every believer should not only be careful that their works be good, and for the present do them, but should also be careful to maintain them. That is, they should carefully study to keep in a constant course of good works. Fourth, and lastly, that the best way to provoke both ourselves and others to this work, is to be often affirming to others the doctrine of justification by grace, and to believe it ourselves.”

Bunyan talks to husbands and wives, mothers and fathers, children, employers and employees, to challenge them to maintain those good works that would show others the admirable qualities of the Christian life. Even though Christian Behavior was written over 300 years ago, it’s message is as timeless as the Bible on which all of Bunyan’s thoughts were based.

Links & Quotes

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“Although circumstances may bring us into the place of death, that need not spell disaster—for if we trust in the Lord and wait patiently, that simply provides the occasion for the display of His almighty power.” —L.B. Cowman

“Notice the singular ‘commandment’—‘This is His commandment, that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as He commanded us’ [1 John 3:23]. These two things are so closely connected for John he calls them one commandment: believe Jesus and love others. That is your purpose. That is the sum of the Christian life. Trusting Jesus, loving people.” —John Piper

“We make progress in overcoming our sin when we have hope that our failures will be forgiven. If you don’t have hope that God will forgive your failures, when you start fighting sin, you give up.” —John Piper

“Impatient believers are offended when they see God working miracles all around them but not in their lives. They’re offended at what they believe is God’s slowness to answer them, and over time they feel neglected and imprisoned. Hebrews tells us such impatience is a form of spiritual laziness: ‘Be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises’ (Hebrews 6:12). We are instructed to follow Abraham’s example: ‘After he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise’ (6:15).” —David Wilkerson

Tim Dilena has some amazing insights for every married couple in this video.

Links & Quotes

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“To fulfill God’s destiny for your life, you likely don’t have to do more; you have to do less. … Enjoy the Christmas season. Wrap the presents. Prepare your home in a festive way. Make memories with your family. But don’t let this Christmas pass without spending some time at Jesus’ feet. Long after everything else fades from this Christmas, worshiping Jesus is all that will truly last.” —Rick Warren

“Holidays in America have come to be regarded as entitlements. They’re all about us, seasons of diversion, distraction, self-indulgence, and time off work. Even the great religious celebrations of the national calendar—Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter—are regarded by most Americans as opportunities to get some good bargains and enjoy a little time for relaxation, not for spiritual reflection and renewal, but just for doing whatever we want. Sort of like the way most Christians observe the Lord’s Day.” —T.M. Moore

As we are celebrating the First Advent, J. Warner Wallace asks a great question: Why didn’t the Apostle Paul mention the virgin conception?

“I am convinced many Christians today are troubled for the same reason Asa was [2 Chronicles 16:1-9]. They have war in their souls because they have traded faith for self-reliance. But the fact is, there is no way a follower of Jesus can have faith in any other source and not be troubled.” —David Wilkerson

“People who are exercised and preoccupied with such things as how the star worked and how the Red Sea split and how the manna fell and how Jonah survived the fish and how the moon turns to blood are generally people who have what I call a mentality for the marginal. You do not see in them a deep cherishing of the great central things of the gospel—the holiness of God, the ugliness of sin, the helplessness of man, the death of Christ, justification by faith alone, the sanctifying work of the Spirit, the glory of Christ’s return and the final judgment. They always seem to be taking you down a sidetrack with a new article or book. There is little centered rejoicing.” —John Piper

“Whether one makes the observation light-heartedly or in all seriousness, one must observe that, when the male body unites for procreation with the female, the pleasure that goes along with it is understood to be in accordance with nature, but that when male joins with male, or female with female, it is outside the bounds of nature. This outrage was first done by people whose desire for pleasure was without self-control.” —Plato. This agrees with what the Bible says in Romans 1:26-27.

Lenny Esposito has some good advice for students to defend their Christian faith in the classroom.

Seth Godin has some insight on whining—“Before starting, a question: Will it help? Like holding a grudge, or like panicking, whining rarely helps. If anything, any of the three make it far less likely that you’ll make progress solving the problem that has presented itself. And, like knuckle cracking, it’s best enjoyed alone.”

[VIDEO] Bobby Conway asks Lenny Esposito how to handle the claim “The Bible has contradictions in it”—

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