I recently came across these amazingly helpful study tools to put the life of Paul into perspective. These are both from the Faithlife Illustrated Study Bible, which I highly recommend to you for adding a new depth to your Bible study time.
This is an illustrated timeline of the key dates and events of Paul’s life. Click on the graphic to view it better, or check it out on the Biblia website.
If you would like to research both the biblical texts and the attestations of Paul’s ministry outside of the New Testament, you may want to download this PDF chart → Apostle Paul Chronology ←
And it’s worth repeating: get a copy of the Faithlife Illustrated Study Bible for yourself as soon as you can!
This is a weekly series with things I’m reading and pondering from Charles Spurgeon. You can read the original seed thought here, or type “Thursdays With Spurgeon” in the search box to read more entries.
A Firm Doctrine
If a tree has to be taken up two or three times a year, you will not need to build a very large loft in which to store the apples. When people are always shifting their doctrinal principles, they are not likely to bring forth much fruit to the glory of God. It is good for young believers to begin with a firm hold upon those great fundamental doctrines that the Lord has taught in His Word.
From The Autobiography Of Charles Spurgeon
This is true of any endeavor—can you imagine constantly shifting the way you learn math, or biology, or cooking, or anything else? There’s always a “learning curve” in every new endeavor that brings a momentary setback before there are new gains.
Thankfully, the Bible has a consistent message from Genesis to Revelation. Getting into the Word regularly and attending a Bible-preaching church will help you immensely.
There is no “right way” to read the Bible. In fact, Spurgeon had a great response to a man who told him that he “read my Bible on my knees.” Spurgeon said—
“I think you read the Bible in a very uncomfortable posture, and if you had read it in your easy chair, you would have been more likely to understand it. Pray, by all means, and the more, the better, but it is a piece of superstition to think there is anything in the posture in which a man puts himself for reading.”
The point is not in what posture you read the Bible, or in what translation, or at what time of day, but the point is that you are regularly reading God’s Word. Get into the Word, and let the Holy Spirit get the Word into you.
But you said in your heart, “I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God, and I will sit on the mount of assembly In the recesses of the north. I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.” —what God said about satan (Isaiah 14:13-14)
“For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” —satan (Genesis 3:5)
No wonder, for even satan disguises himself like an angel of light. —what the Apostle Paul said about satan (2 Corinthians 11:14)
Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. —what the Apostle Peter said about satan (1 Peter 5:8)
Jesus is all reality. He is the All-Sufficient I AM. He knew the end from before the beginning. He is THE King of kings. The devil is only like a king, or like an angel, or like a lion.
The devil tries to look like God, he tries to lure us to disobey God, he pretends to be what he’s not. So don’t fear his pretend roar. Instead, give yourself completely to God’s care, then you can stand firm against the devil’s attempts to seduce you, and he will be forced to flee from you (James 4:7)!
I love to read, averaging about 30 books per year. In addition to books, I have a lot of news feeds that I check daily. But hands down, everything else comes in a distant second place to my number-one read: the Bible.
I read the Bible for myself. I read the Bible to prepare my Sunday messages. I read the Bible to teach classes. I read the Bible to confirm or refute what I am reading in other books and news feeds. And with all that Bible reading, I have also gravitated toward my favorite study Bible—The Life In The Spirit Study Bible.
At one time people referred to this Bible as “the fire Bible” because of the graphic on the front cover depicting the fire that fell on praying Christians at the Pentecost celebration immediately following Christ’s ascension into heaven. That fire still falls in my heart every time I read God’s Word!
The study notes in this Bible are fantastic! But don’t be deceived by the name: these are not study notes that focus on the Holy Spirit out of proportion; rather, the role of the Spirit is merely noted where others have ignored it. Far too many people don’t ponder very much about the Holy Spirit’s involvement, except for perhaps the Book of Acts and maybe Paul’s instruction on the operational gifts of the Spirit in 1 Corinthians. The Life In The Spirit Study Bible simply seeks to make us aware of the Spirit’s involvement.
In addition to the short commentary notes at the bottom of each page, there are several insightful and scholarly articles throughout this whole book that will make the Scripture come alive in new ways.
This is my “preaching Bible” that I take with me for every sermon I deliver, which means it is the Bible I am diving deep into each day as I study. I cannot recommend this Bible to you highly enough.
If I were to ask you to define the material/physical part of you versus the immaterial part of you, it probably wouldn’t be too difficult. Obviously, we can touch the physical part but we cannot touch the immaterial part.
But human as a three-part being—we have a body, a soul, and a spirit. So if I were to now ask you to describe the “dividing line” between the two immaterial parts of us (the soul and the spirit), you would probably have a more difficult time coming up with a definition.
Both terms are used throughout the Bible. Sometimes it seems the words soul and spirit are almost used interchangeably, but they are most assuredly two separate parts of what makes us us.
Please check out this chart that I shared with my friends at Calvary Assembly of God, and perhaps even take a few minutes to watch the video below. If you would like to download a PDF version of this chart, you may do so by clicking here → Soul and spirit side-by-side ←
Verses referenced—Genesis 1:26-27, 2:7; Ezekiel 18:20; Matthew 10:28; Hebrews 4:12
According to Paul, there are only two ways people can live: in the flesh or in the Spirit. That is—(1) operating separate from God, or (2) with a soul/body that is operating with God’s full involvement.
The trouble is: we’re always—as long as we’re alive—still in the flesh because we need these bodies to carry around our soul and spirit. But changes begin to occur first at salvation (when the connection of our spirit to God’s Spirit is reestablished), and even more so after being baptized in the Holy Spirit (when we are not trying to work out things on our own).
As a result, we have the same brain, but a mind that is being renewed; the same eyes, but insight that is being expanded; the same ears, but learning new ways to hear what the Holy Spirit is saying.
Remember that Jesus promised that the baptism in the Holy Spirit would empower us TO BE His witnesses (Acts 1:8). Not just to do things differently, but to have our spirit so enlivened by the Holy Spirit that we are living, breathing, walking, talking witnesses of a life transformed.
Have you noticed that there wasn’t a steep “learning curve” for the disciples of Jesus following Pentecost? Part of that is due to four key habits that the Holy Spirit helped form in their lives.
“Your life as a Christian should make unbelievers question their disbelief in God.” —Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Amen! Your life as a Christian that is living out daily habits that have been empowered by the Spirit should make everyone around you want to go deeper and deeper into all that the Holy Spirit has in store for them too.
Join me next Sunday as we take another look at what it means when we say We Are: Pentecostal.