The Bible Says What?

➡ Average Reading Time: 5 minutes

God's <abbr>EPIC</abbr> AdventureHundreds of hours are devoted to reading and studying the pages of the Bible. I am sure that most followers of Jesus have gone to or are a part of an ongoing Bible study. Bible studies come in all shapes and sizes. All colors and sounds. Here’s a type of Bible study that I have seen over the years in many churches.

It was bitter cold outside. The temperature was dipping into the low teens as Justin prepared the living room for the weekly meeting of the church’s Bible study. He stoked the fire to get it roaring so that the hot ambers would keep the room fuzzy warm as the group studied that evening. He could hardly wait for the evening session.

After the evening meal that all the small group shared together they gathered in the front room around the cozy fireplace and began to sing some choruses that truly bored Justin and were what his friend Jason called “Jesus is my girlfriend”songs. The melodic line almost caused him to gag and he would often put his finger down his throat while the group was singing mimicking a gagging action. Of course, no one would see him do such a thing because they all had their eyes closed and looked like they were in some kind of trance.

Soon the musical interlude was over and Mason pulled out his Bible and told everyone to turn to Genesis chapter 1. Justin almost split a gut when someone couldn’t find the passage in their Bible and of course Trudy had only brought a New Testament to the evening fray.

Mason began by telling everyone that in his considered studies that he was convinced that the earth was no older then 4004 years and that all that Science had discovered had to fit into that time frame, including the dinosaurs.

He began by telling this little eager group that God created the universe and by that rendering he meant that creation was recorded in one verse therefore, creation was a “uni-verse.”He challenged others to go look up universe in the dictionary to understand what he was talking about. He then took the group on a long expedition through quantum physics.

Next he told the group about a new generation of Christian scholars and scientists, armed with earned doctorates and a literal view of the Genesis Creation narrative. This group hoped to breathe new life into the theory that the Earth is thousands, not billions, of years old with a hope that they could finally overcome Darwinism.

“I found a new product while surfing the net,”he told them with great enthusiasm, “it’s called the “Handy Dandy Evolution Refuter. I’ll give you the web site URL later.”

Without skipping a beat Mason took the group quickly through “seven evidences against evolution.”His monotone voice was about to lull Justin to sleep.

Without visiting any of the content in Genesis 1 where the group had been taken, Mason asked them to turn to Genesis 14.10 which reads, “Now the Valley of Siddim was full of tar pits….”

“Even the tar pits were created in full bloom by God, “Mason postulated with some glee in his voice. “This was to spoof modern science and trick them into believing that the earth was really older than it really is.”

Now turn to Proverbs 16.4a, which says, “The Lord hath made all things for himself….”

Mason continued, “In the years that man has been on earth he has come to believe that the earth is for his own enjoyment, but this verse teaches us that God made the earth for himself.”

“And in Habakkuk 3.11, God demonstrates his power to do anything he wants to with what he has created, the Bible tells us that the “sun and the moon stood still, ”Mason barked out as his voice grew to a fevered pitch.

Justin was thinking, the Bible says what, as he raised his hand. His gag reflex was about to turn to a fluid eruption.

Mason responded, “Yes, Justin, do you have a comment?

“More like a question,”Justin replied wondering if he should really ask it.

“Go for it,”said Mason.

“Well, do you think it is wise for us to be trippin’ around through all these verses in such a disjunctive fashion to try and understand what God is saying and why is it so important to prove the theory you have suggested that God created everything 4004 years ago? Would not your supposed theory be better to add the 2000 years or so since the birth of Christ, so wouldn’t you really be saying about 6,000 years ago? Even then, what you are doing really makes no sense to me,” Justin concluded.

“In fact this reminds me of a story I heard recently about a young minister who was asked to give a Bible Study. Here is what he said:

“There was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus who went down to Jericho by night, and fell on stony ground, and the thorns choked him half to death. He said, ‘What shall I do? I shall arise and go to my father’s house.’ And he arose and climbed into a sycamore tree. The next day, Solomon and his wife Gomorrah came by, and they carried him down to the ark for Moses to take care of. As he was going through the Eastern gate of the ark, he caught his hair on a limb, and he hung there for 40 days and 40 nights. And afterwards he was hungered and the ravens came and fed him. The next day the three wise men came and carried him down to Nineveh, and when he got there, he found Delilah sitting on the wall, and he said, ˜Chunk her down, and they said, ‘How many times shall we chunk her down, till seven times?’ And he said, ‘Nay, but until 70 times 7.’ And they chunked her down 490 times, and she burst asunder in their midst, and they picked up 12 baskets of the fragments that remained, and they debated whose wife she would be in the resurrection.

The group took a collective sigh as Mason opened his mouth to respond….

Been there and done that, huh? I have. It is true that as readers of Scripture we read, meditate, and study it in such a fragmentized way. I think there is a solution to this problem. It is story. God has given us a Story in which to live as an actor and play your role that he has prepared for you to play. You have been selected by the Creator of the Universe to play the role he has called you to play, focused on being his partner in the redemption of his creation.

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Read Me First

 

Throughout these sessions, I have used the word ecclesia (singular) for the usual word church and ecclesiae (plural) to indicate a church in a particular geographic place, i.e., the ecclesiae at Corinth, meaning the whole of the many smaller ecclesia that met in homes in Corinth. This is to distinguish between the Institutional Church model (IC) and ecclesia that meet in cities and towns around the world. The ecclesiae written about by the authors of the Second Testament were not the same as what the “church” has become over the years of its existence. Usually, but not always, folks think of a church as a place where they go to a building and set in rows of pews and listen to music and sometimes sing and listen to sermons by a pastor or senior pastor. The ecclesiae of the Second Testament time did not invoke this model.

 

I have discovered over the years that if you want to try and change minds about something special, you have to venture out and reword it in order to grasp a foothold for a new refreshed understanding of the idea presented by the word. Such is the case between "church" and "ecclesia."

 

Happy Reading!

Read Me Second

 

Referenced verses in the text of this study are not used to prove some point of view. They are merely markers where the subject matter is referenced by other books and authors. To gain a larger view of each quote, a serious student of the Holy Writ would take the time to view the reference and see what the background is. The background provides tracks on which the meaning of a text rides. So knowing the context of a referenced passage would help the reader to gain a more thorough understanding of an author than just the words quoted and marked by a verse number that was not a part of the original author's text, which as you might remember was performed on the text in a random fashion many years later.

 

Happy Reading!

Read Me Third

 

The verses that are referenced in these sessions are not meant to prove a point. They are simply pointers to where the idea being written about may have a correlation. In order to see if they accomplish the thesis presented by the original author, a student should read, at a minimum, the chapter in which the verse is found as well as trying to ascertain what the original author may have meant to say to the original audience.

 

Of course, this is a lot of work but it is beneficial work. If one does not understand what the author meant when it was written and the audience could not have understood by what was written, then the words on the page can mean anything that a present reader may assign as a meaning, thus distorting what God was inspiring for the original writer to write to the original audience to hear.

A great and recent book by N.T. Wright and Michael F. Bird entitled The New Testament in Its World would be a wonderful addition to your reading helps.

 

Happy Reading!

Jesus Followers

 

There are many synonyms to use for the word believer, which is the most common word for a person who has "converted" to follow Jesus. I have chosen "Jesus follower(s) or follower(s) of Jesus instead of the word believer in these presentations to allow the reader an opportunity to move away from the idea of believer which conjures up the possible thought of "ascent" to a set of doctrines that have been assembled by different groups over the centuries and show up in this day and age as a set of statements posted on web sites and other written material. These sets of beliefs are suggested by many as the ones that one should ascent to so that upon death the one who assents can go to heaven, i.e., just believe and you are good to go. Jesus followers/followers of Jesus suggest an action that one should take. Remember, Jesus told his disciples to follow him. Yes, belief is important, but one must move beyond belief to action.

 

(See "Discipleship" Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels. 182-188.)

Jesus Followers

 

There are many synonyms to use for the word believer, which is the most common word for a person who has "converted" to follow Jesus. I have chosen "Jesus follower(s) or follower(s) of Jesus instead of the word believer in these presentations to allow the reader an opportunity to move away from the idea of believer which conjures up the possible thought of "ascent" to a set of doctrines that have been assembled by different groups over the centuries and show up in this day and age as a set of statements posted on web sites and other written material. These sets of beliefs are suggested by many as the ones that one should ascent to so that upon death the one who assents can go to heaven, i.e., just believe and you are good to go. Jesus followers/followers of Jesus suggest an action that one should take. Remember, Jesus told his disciples to follow him. Yes, belief is important, but one must move beyond belief to action.

 

(See "Discipleship" Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels. 182-188.)