Category Archives: The Blogospheric Bible Study

Blogospheric Bible Study #12: Who is Jesus

So, who is Jesus? Everybody knows that He walked the earth about 2000 years ago, and that he was lynched and nailed to a cross. Christians believe Him to be the promised Messiah, The Son of God, being God Himself, who willingly became a man and died a horrible death to reconcile humanity with God. As C.S. Lewis said, Liar, Lunatic or Lord.

In John 1:3 it’s stated that Christ made all things. Matthew 11:27 says that The Son is all that anybody has ever seen of God. Couple that with Theophonies (preincarnate appearances of Christ), we get a bigger picture of who He is.

He created the world. He warned Abraham about the coming judgment of Sodom and Gammorah. He delivered the Israelites from Egypt, He met with Moses on Mount Sinai, and He humbled Himself and took on the form of a man to deliver us from our sins.

Everybody knows that “Jesus loves me”, but people often forget that He is God. That guy in the Old Testament who cast fire and brimstone on Sodom? That was Jesus. The God who told the Israelites to drive the Canaanites out of the land totally, completely and utterly, that was Him too. And it is prophesied that He will stand in judgment of the World.

So, what am I trying to say, you ask? That’s a good question. What I’m saying is that to say that Jesus is Love is like looking at one thread in a tapestry. He loves us, yes. But at the same time, He is Just. And He is Righteous. When He saw something that bothered Him, He didn’t just smile and try to get along. He stood up and did something about it (see Matthew Chapter 21 for the clearing of the Temple, nevermind that the Chief Priests conspired to have Him murdered because He wouldn’t play the games).

I guess what I’m trying to say here, is that getting along just for the sake of getting along, being nice for the sake of niceness, it’s not what Jesus wants, and it’s not what Jesus did. If you care about somebody, you’re going to tell them the truth. You’re going to be honest with them. Jesus came to earth, and He told the Truth, and because some people didn’t like it, because they wished it would go away, because it would upset the status quo, they lynched Him.

Jesus is God. And God Divinely Inspired the Scriptures. They are an objective set of rules for right and wrong as a way to put a check on our broken hearts and our battered consciouses. Who is Jesus? He is God. He is Just. He is Good. He is Righteous. He is Holy. His Love is only the beginning of who He is.

Blogospheric Bible Study #11: Faith and Reason

Making up for lost time, I’m going waaaaaaaaaaay back to May and I’m going to post on something from El Cid. He made a suggestion regarding the Blogospheric Bible Study and despite the hectic nature of the past few months, I haven’t forgotten.

The topic that El Cid suggested was Faith and Reason.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. Logic is a useful tool, just like a computer is a tool. If you feed nonsense into Logic, you get nonsense back out.

At issue, I think, is are we asking the right questions. You have to start at the beginning.

Are your assumptions valid?

Do your assumptions come from a worldview that is diametrically opposed to Christianity?

Can the evidence be interpreted in a way that is compatible with Christianity?

I’m sure that there ought to be some interesting comments on this.

Do not forget to remember the victims of Hurricane Katrina in your prayers.

Blogospheric Bible Study #10: God and His People

“You are my witnesses, and my servant whom I have chosen, in order that you may know and believe Me, and understand that I am He. Before Me there was no God formed, and there will be none after Me. I, even I, am the LORD; and there is no savior besides Me. It is I who have declared and saved and proclaimed, and there was no strange god among you; so you are my witnesses, and I am God. Even from eternity I am He; and there is none who can deliver out of My hand; I act and who can reverse it?” -Isaiah 43:10-13

I wanted to take a few moments to discuss the relationship between God and His People.

The relationship between God and His People is often compared to the relationship between the Bride and Groom (for example, 2 Peter 3). It is an exclusive relationship. It’s one of the first rules that were laid down. You shall have no gods besides Me.

Just read the Book of Kings if you think that God is ok with other religions as long as you still worship and believe in Him. The repeated references to high places are where the Israelites continued to allow pagan worship in addition to following God. He is a jealous God.

God’s truth is absolute, it’s not up for debate, it is like Him, it simply is. He has revealed Himself to us through nature, through His spirit, and through His word. His word was given to us by messengers appointed by Him, men who often were nothing without Him. It doesn’t contradict itself.

We know that the books of the Old Testament are Scripture. They were given by the Prophets, recognized by the Jews, and Jesus quoted directly from nearabout all of them.

We know that the New Testament is scripture because it was recognized by the Church shortly after it was written. It was preauthenticated by Jesus, and is based on the credibility and witnesses of the people who witnessed the events.

The Bible is God’s word. You don’t add to it lightly (in other words, unless you’re an Apostle, don’t even think about it).

Well, does Christianity have a monopoly on truth? The truth is what it is. Christianity preaches the truth. A classic maneuver by evil is to take the truth and twist a lie around it. Just because somebody else says things that may be true doesn’t mean that that truth authenticates what they’re saying. If any part of their message contradicts the Gospel of Jesus Christ, they are not marketing the Truth, and you should be wary of their council.

There is no such thing as a hyphenated Christian. You are a Christian or you are not. You profess Christ and Christ alone, or you don’t. Be hot or cold, not just lukewarm.

Y’all’s thoughts?

Blogospheric Bible Study #9: What is a Christian?

You know, this week I’m thinking what is a Christian. I wanted to talk about a few core beliefs that Christians should be sharing.

1) Salvation by Grace through Faith in Christ. This is a big one, the central tenet of the Christian Faith.

2) There is one God, He exists as three persons, the Father, The Son, and the Holy Spirit

3) The Bible is the Inspired Word of God

4) The Truth of God’s Word informs all other aspects of the life of a Christian.

5) There is no higher authority than God and His will (as expressed in the Scriptures and revealed through the Holy Spirit) is to be obeyed unconditionally.

Anyway, this is a short one. What do y’all think? Does the list need expanding? You have issues with one of these points? Lets hear it.

Blogospheric Bible Study #8: What is Heaven Like?

Well, in last weeks Bible study, we talked about Hell.

Juliet suggested we discuss Heaven this week and I liked the idea, so here we go.

I think that when we talk about “Heaven” we’re using it as a rather blanket term. Let’s come up with a few questions that we need to answer before we can really know what Heaven is.

1) Is Heaven a physical place?
2) If it is a physical place, where is it?
3) Who gets to Heaven?
4) What’s it like?

Is Heaven a physical place?

Short answer: Yes. a quick search of BlueLetterBible reveals multiple references to being in Heaven.

But there’s also the Kingdom of Heaven, which isn’t the same physical Heaven. As God is the King of Heaven, the Kingdom of Heaven is all the universe that follows Him. After the Tribulation, the physical Heavenly City will descend to Earth.

You have to consider what you believe to be Heaven. Is it being in the Presence of God? That’s what most people consider Heaven to be, even if they don’t realize it. You die, you go to Heaven (if you accept Christ’s gift). Heaven will come to earth at the end of the Tribulation, with Christ leading the Heavenly army. Jesus will rule the Millenial Kingdom personally. And after that, the world will be destroyed by fire and a new one commissioned.

If It’s a Physical Place, where is it?

I cannot say. I know that in the future, God will bring it to earth, but as to where Heaven physically is right now, I have no means of knowing.

Who Gets to Heaven?

All who repent of their sins and accept Christs free gift of Salvation will get to Heaven. I suspect that those who don’t accept the gift don’t really want to go to Heaven anyway. Heaven is being in the presence of God, and who would want to spend eternity with a God they rejected?

What is Heaven Like

Having never been there, I can’t say. There are some descriptions in the Bible. Streets of Gold, being in the Presence of God, no darkness, Comforting from God. The most important aspect of Heaven is the restored communion with God that will come by being in His presence.

I hope that’s a good starting point. If I made any mistakes, I’m sure somebody will point them out. What do y’all think?

Blogospheric Bible Study #7: Hell

Blogospheric Bible Study Number 7: Hell

First, what is Hell?

Most people associate Hell with fiery torment, which isn’t entirely accurate. The best picture we have of Hell is from the story of Lazarus and the Rich Man (Luke 16:19-31). In it, both the righteous Lazarus and the Unrighteous rich man were in the same place, thus, the concept of Hell is one of a holding area for people to wait after they have died.

That all changed when Jesus died. The righteous were sanctified upon His death, and as such could be in communion with God. The unrighteous, however, linger in Hell awaiting the final judgment

Now, I could blather on and on about resurrections and judgments, but you can read about them by simply clicking the links.

We know little of what life will be like in the Lake of Fire, except that it won’t be pleasant.

I generally think that the greatest torment of Hell will be the one of man’s own making. Whatever horrible physical conditions may exist will surely be nothing compared to the separation from God. Because, I think, deep down, everybody knows that God is here. God’s presence is like air. You don’t really notice it until it’s gone.

Anyway, that’s my two cents worth for right now. Lets hear what y’all think.

Blogospheric Bible Study #6: Death

Sorry for not doing one last week. Life happens.

In the past week the Pope has died, and Juliet lost a friend.

It hurts us when we’re separarated by those we care about. People say “death is a part of life” but it’s not supposed to be. Death was brought into the world by man’s sin.

I don’t have any great insight into death, or life after death.

I’ve never been very good at trying to console those who have lost a loved one.

And so, I leave it to y’all to fill in the rest.

Blogospheric Bible Study #5: The Death and Ressurection of Christ: Thoughts

Happy Resurrection Day to you all. I’m feeling a bit under the weather this week, so this Study won’t be as encompassing as I would have liked to write, but I said I’d make a post, and I intend to keep my word.

On this day, we celebrate the Resurrection of Christ. He, being God Himself, humbled Himself, and came and became one of us. He lived life with us, He faced our challenges, He faced our trials, and He defeated them all.

Then, rather than take ownership of the world and inflict His righteous justice upon it – which would have involved damning every last one of us to hell – He let Himself be put to the most horrifying death the world has ever seen so that we could be reconciled with Him.

His sense of Justice was offended by our sins. His Love demanded He act to save us. His mercy required He offer us a way out. His desire to save us demanded we be given a second chance to make the right choice.

What truly astounds me is that He knew throughout all of time that we would rebel against Him, yet, He created us anyway. He knew the pain and suffering that we would cause, not only to Him, but to each other, and He created us anyway. I guess He decided that by right, we should exist.

Make no mistake, God is in total control of the world. What we’re living in now is the last chance to choose Him. God could have righted all the wrongs at any point in history. However, that would have necessitated the destruction of all humanity since we’re all sinners against a just and Holy God. The argument of evil fails when you consider that it is allowed to propagate because God has a redemptive plan and intervening now would cause the destruction of those who He means to save (see the parable of The Wheat and the Tares).

Only one man in the history of mankind has risen from the dead by His own power. Only the Christ, being God incarnate, could save us from ourselves. He never gave up on us. He gave us a choice in Eden, and He gives us a choice now. He’s not an evil god who makes slaves of men, He is a loving God, who chooses to let us choose whether or not we serve Him. He went so far as to die on that cross to provide us a chance to say, “Forgive me, I was wrong, please take me back”.

There is no greater love than the love that Christ has shown to us.

Others Thoughts:

The View From the Firehouse: The Betrayal

Roses and Rubies: Sacrifice and Obedience

Blogospheric Bible Study #4: Spiritual Gifts

Spiritual Gifts are one of the issues that divide Christians. In going into this weeks Bible Study, I requested that folks give their thoughts on Spiritual Gifts, and among my respondents, all of them believe that Spiritual Gifts are still given, although they took the safe road and didn’t go much farter than that.

The first thing I want to do is define what exactly is a Spiritual Gift.

A Spiritual Gift is:

• They are of the Holy Spirit (I Corinthians 12:7)
• They are given based on God’s Will (I Corinthians 12:11, 18)
• The Spiritual Gifts are given to the believer and are under their control. (I Corinthians 14:26-40 is a command to limit the use of spiritual gifts in Church services so as not to disrupt the service. It would be contradictory for the Holy Spirit to cause somebody to use a spiritual gift in the middle of a Church Service and then give a command through Paul not to, therefore, logic dictates that the gifts are under total control of the individual to whom they are given, which is consistent with being a gift).

The reason that I feel it necessary to define the Gifts of the Spirit is that God does still act in the world outside of Spiritual Gifts. For example, Christians all the time pray for healing of the sick, injured, and infirm. If the person being prayed for is healed, then we rightly give credit to God, and refer to it as a Gift of God. It is not the same, however, as the Spiritual Gift of healing, which would allow the holder of the gift to heal a sick or hurt individual.

I do not wish to create a master list of Spiritual Gifts here, although we should discuss their purpose. Spiritual Gifts are given for two purposes, Evangelism, and the Edification of the Body of Christ. If the gift is not being used for one of those two purposes, then it is being misused, as in I Corinthians 14, the Corinthians were misusing their gifts by speaking in tongues when there was nobody present to be ministered to in that language and there was nobody with the gift of interpretation of tongues there to translate (it seems that tongues coupled with the interpretation of tongues could be used in the place of Prophecy)

So, are Spiritual Gifts still given today? I would say that yes they are. However, as I Corinthians 13 seems to indicate, some of the gifts have ceased to be given (that is not to say that there none speak in tongues, or have knowledge, or prophecy, but rather that the gifts are not being given). I am open to the possibility that because these gifts are primarily used for evangelism, they are not given in this part of the world because they are not necessary. In the United States, do we really need to be able to speak in tongues to get the word out? I would say no. Given the purpose of the gifts I do not find it surprising that there aren’t a number of prophets running around, or healers, or tongue speakers.

I would be interested in hearing what gifts we have around here. I, for one, am unsure as to what gifts I have been given by the Holy Spirit, other than seeing how God looks after me every day of my life.

Others thoughts:

A Daily Walk: An Opinion on Spiritual Gifts
Roses and Rubies: Spiritual Gifts
Miss Patriot: Short and to the Point

Blogospheric Bible Study #3: How Do We Know This Stuff is True?

In the first few Bible Study posts I’ve done, I’ve talked about theological issues, but it occurred to me that before we get too far in, we need to establish why we believe what we believe. There are quite a few Christians in the world, and on many occasions, faithful men and women have given up their very lives rather than renounce Christ. So, the question is, what could persuade us that the Bible is the true Word of the Living God?

The Bible is Historically Accurate

The Bible, as a document, has been shown to be historically accurate. Which is all well and good, but it doesn’t influence the spiritual nature of the book. We know these things happened, but does that doesn’t answer the famous question of “Liar, Lunatic, or LORD”.

The Bible is Scientifically Accurate

Whenever the Bible addresses things of a scientific nature it has been shown to be accurate. It shows a level of knowledge beyond what humanity had at the time it was written, but you can’t prove it wasn’t aliens! Anyway, the Bible isn’t a scientific text so that isn’t its primary purpose anyway.

The Bible is Prophetically Accurate

This is the big boy of them all. If the Bible accurately predicts the future (and it has) then it is highly likely that a being that has mastery of space and time had a hand in its creation. This is a good proof of the Bible’s supernatural authorship. But then again, you can get an “Aliens from the Future” argument against it, and given the nature of man and how he hides from things he doesn’t want to hear, it takes a little more to convince most of us.

The Bible As Authenticated by God

Basically, the concept is that no amount of proof is going to convince a fallen and sinful man of the Truth in the Bible. Rather, the Bible is authenticated by the Holy Spirit. Throughout history, whenever God speaks, people listen, a la John 10:27.

How we know the Bible is true has long been a sticking point in theological and philosophical circles. The skeptic will never believe. Rene Descartes tried to prove irrefutably that God Exists in his Meditations, ultimately coming to the conclusion that deep down, we all know that He does. I think that there’s some truth to that, but Descartes generally failed to prove anything beyond a doubt with the exercise (look it up for more information: Descartes Meditations).

Next Week

Taking a cue from my request for feedback, in addition to any thoughts you have about this weeks Bible Study, I’m also soliciting posts for next week on the topic of Spiritual Gifts. Stake out a position on them and then say why or why not. I shall do the same and we’ll see how this goes. Leave your thoughts on this study, or on the study for next week in the comments, or by sending an e-mail to flannel_avenger@robertleeray.com