Recently our own Sandi Cornett traveled to Houston to serve in the relief efforts sponsored by Samaritans Purse as they responded to hurricane Harvey. Sandi is a Pediatric Physical Therapy Assistant here in Stockton and has been attending Quail for almost 10 years. She and I dialogued about this experience of self-mobilized missions and here is what she said.
Recently I saw the piece by Professor Todd Miles of Western Seminary. He had some good ideas about what we must remember not to forget as we study our Bibles. These simple points will help us stay away from bad habits than can creep into our time in the Word. Here they are…
What this means is that we must remember to seek to understand the immediate setting and context of the passages that we read. Have you ever noted that politicians and movie stars, when they are trying to get off the hook for saying something foolish, will claim, “I was taken out of context!” Basic to human understanding is what is going on in the setting where we speak and that is true of the Bible as well. When we rip words out of the context and derive meanings for verses that are not meant in the original setting, we use the Bible as if it were a series of magic incantations that we can “claim.” Let’s remember to not do that!
What this means is that the original audience for which the Bible was written is very different from our modern age. Of course we are all humans trapped in the human condition and in need of a savior. However, we are separated from the original readers by geography, culture, chronology and language. Thus we must resist the temptation to woodenly apply passages to our setting, but seek instead to read for meaning and principles that last across culture. Here is an example: When Paul says to greet one another with a holy kiss, it does not mean that our greeters at the front door should start kissing people. It means that we should welcome one another warmly.
What this means is that the Bible contains a host of different literary genres. With the words there are poems, historical narratives, prophecies, laws, letters and more. Which of us has ever confused a baseball box score in the newspaper with the letter to the editor on the back page? We pick up on the difference between this kind of writing in modern usage, and we must watch for it as we read the Bible as well. Once we have an insight into the sort of literature we are reading, it will help us avoid making claims that the Bible is teaching something that it never intends to teach. A primary example is that proverbs are not promises, they are expressions of observations of things that are generally true and thus proverbial.
Most of our interpretive errors can be avoided by pausing to ask these two questions: What is the context? and What is the genre? So, be a reader and a student of the Word and as you are, remember not to forget these principles.
On March 4th of 2016, an article was published in the Wall Street Journal entitled, “At Its Heart, Science is Faith –Based, Too.” Written by Matt Emerson, the article detailed a February 11, 2016 experiment where scientists detected gravitational waves which emanated from a deep space collision 1.3 billion light years from Earth. The news confirmed, to their satisfaction, the 1915 theory of Albert Einstein that there was a ripple effect in space-time.
Deut. 8:10, 17-18
“When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the LORD your God for the good land He has given you…But remember the LORD your God, for it is He who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your forefathers…”
In Deuteronomy 8, God warned his people not to forget that it was by His hand of blessing that they were able to enjoy their prosperity. It is an interesting paradox that people will cry out to God for help when they are having financial problems and then forget about Him when things are going well.
Your good stewardship, which includes giving funds to God and His work, is an expression that says, “Thank you, Lord, for all of your blessing and goodness to me.” We cannot afford to forget that God is the source.
Proverbs 3:9-10 tells us to honor the Lord with our substance and with the first fruits of all our increase:
“Honor the LORD with your wealth,
with the first fruits of all your crops;
then your barns will be filled to overflowing,
and your vats will brim over with new wine.”
These verses say that if we do this, God will bless us. When the management of our lives and finances includes giving to God first, we honor Him and recognize that He is indeed the source of all. This keeps stewardship in the place where God intended for it to be, in and from the heart.
Thank you to all of you who faithfully give to support the ministry here at Quail and to those who will for the first time start this important life habit. I know that you will be blessed.
Countless times through the ages, the question has been asked, “How can we recognize the voice of God?” Many times in Scripture we read of God speaking to people audibly, and often they did not recognize it as God at first. (Gideon and Samuel come to mind!) So what are we to think about this?
Jesus said, “My sheep listen to My voice; I know them and they follow Me.” (John 10:27) Those who...