How Jesus Read the Scriptures

Nicholas T. Batzig: B.B. Warfield once summarized the mystery surrounding the two natures of Christ when he wrote, “Because he is man he is capable of growth in wisdom, and because he is God he is from the beginning Wisdom Itself.” The Scriptures, at one and the same time, insist that Jesus is the same, yesterday, today, and forever, and that He “increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man” (Luke 2:52). Believers profess to understand what it means that Jesus never changes inasmuch as He is God, but they have a harder time understanding what it means that Jesus grew in wisdom as a true man. The explanation that we discover by means of scriptural allusions might surprise many Christians. In short, as a man, Jesus needed to learn the Scriptures. Jesus had to grow in His capacity for sinless human development to the extent that one can grow at each age and at each

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Why Do We Read Scripture?

Andrew Wison: Sometimes I use this blog as a place to jot down preaching and teaching ideas that occur to me, so I can find them later. (Come to think of it, that’s pretty much all I use this blog for, it’s just that some jotting takes more time than others.) The question I was thinking about recently was this: Why do we read Scripture? What is it that we are trying to achieve as we do? What are the marks of reading it successfully (a horrible word in the context, but you know what I mean)? Here is one wrong answer, and five right ones. We do not read it to earn. It is so easy to be tricked into thinking like this, but the purpose of reading the Bible is never to present God with a good work that entitles you to a reward. You are no more justified after reading a Bible for an hour than you are after playing

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4 Reasons We Must Not Disregard God’s Word

R. Kent Hughes: The Piercing Word of God I was twelve years old when I came under the knife of God’s Word. The cuts went deep, deeper than blood, as they cut my soul in gracious surgery. I was cut with the clear understanding that though I was an outward son of the church, I was not a son of God. The other cut that the knife brought was the conviction that Jesus Christ was God and that he had died on the cross for my sins. My pastor directed me to read John 1:12 and Romans 10:9-10. And as I read, the lights came on. It was as if the marrow of those verses were sucked off the page and into my soul. I did believe! Thus began my experience with the penetrating power of God’s Word. It has cut me untold numbers of times since. But each pain, responded to, has brought a fresh, satisfying healing. All Scripture is, as Paul

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A brief reflection on truth

Sam Storms: Of the many things John writes concerning the Word, the Son of God, in John 1, one of the more important is his statement in v. 14 that he is “full of grace and truth.” Let’s be clear right from the start. God isn’t whatever you want him to be. He is who he is whether you like it or not. God is not like silly putty in the hands of those who wish to twist and shape him into something more palatable to their senses. He has always been, is now, and will forever be the same. His character and revealed will do not change when culture does or when he falls out of favor with human opinion. Jesus Christ embodies, defines, and speaks truth whether or not you think he does. Simply because you don’t like some of the things Jesus said or did does not mean they aren’t true. Truth is not what works or

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The Whole Bible in 12 Verses

Andrew Wilson: If you had to summarise Scripture in 12 verses, which would you choose? Here are mine: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1). “So God created man in his own image; in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them” (Gen. 1:27). “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel” (Gen. 3:15). “I will surely bless you, and I will surely multiply your seed as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore. And your seed shall possess the gate of his enemies, and in your seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed” (Gen. 22:17–18). “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house

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What Is the Bible, Anyway?

Tim Challies: We Christians spend a lot of time reading the Bible, hearing it preached, and meditating on its words. Why this commitment? We are committed to the Bible because of what it is and what it does. The Bible guides us to its purpose and power through the many metaphors it uses to describe itself. Here is a pretty good collection of them. Perhaps you’d do well to meditate on a few of them. The Bible is a lamp that illumines. “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” (Psalm 119:105) The Bible is a light that shines. “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” (Psalm 119:105) The Bible is medicine that heals. “My son, be attentive to my words; incline your ear to my sayings. Let them not escape from your sight; keep them within your heart. For they are life to those who find

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The Message of the Bible

D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones: We are all aware of problems in this world. Everyone knows what it is to be weary, to be disappointed, and to struggle. And we have a feeling that we were not meant for this. We are all searching for some solution to the problems of life. The question is, why are you unhappy? Why do things go wrong? Why is there illness and sickness? Why should there be death? Those are the questions with which the Bible deals. The Bible talks to you about your unhappiness. Some insist that the Bible, far from being practical, is really very remote from life. But nothing in the world is as practical as the teaching of the Bible. In order to answer questions about you, the Bible starts in the most extraordinary way: “In the beginning God…” It starts with God. Before I begin to ask any questions about myself and my problems, I ought to ask questions like

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What the Word of God Says About the Word of God, Book by Book

Jared Wilson: What God says about his word is a deep, complex, and staggering thing. And each book of the written word testifies to the wonder of his revelation. I decided to take a look, book by book, selecting a representative passage from each to highlight many of the things God’s word says about God’s words. The word of God is . . . Effectual Genesis 1:3 – And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. Personal Exodus 6:2 – God spoke to Moses and said to him, “I am the Lord.” Authoritative Leviticus 20:22 – You shall therefore keep all my statutes and all my rules and do them, that the land where I am bringing you to live may not vomit you out. Exclusive Numbers 15:31 – Because he has despised the word of the Lord and has broken his commandment, that person shall be utterly cut off; his iniquity shall be on him. Necessary

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Don’t Forsake the Public Reading of Scripture

By Justin Borger: Bible reading has become a largely private practice—something we do in our own personal “quiet time.” A few verses, or perhaps as much as a chapter, are often read before the sermon on Sunday morning. But when was the last time you heard multiple chapters or, better yet, a whole book of the Bible publicly read aloud from beginning to end? This has become a relatively rare experience in the church. However, the public reading of Scripture is one of the most ancient, time-honored practices of God’s people that is recorded in Scripture. It is a practice that is repeatedly described and commended at crucial moments in redemptive history, from the very beginning to the very end of the Bible. In fact, it is something that God’s people are specifically commanded to do with devotion. As Paul told Timothy, his young pastoral protégé, “Devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture” (1 Tim. 4:13, emphasis added). PUBLIC SCRIPTURE READING IN

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What Did Jesus Believe About the Bible?

Paul Carter: Recently I wrote about the 3 different ways that Post Evangelicals are relating to the Bible. The more conservative group will tend to appeal to the Protestant Reformers while the more progressive folks will cite Origen or Gregory of Nyssa. While it is interesting and helpful to be guided by history, the past can be used to support just about anything. As the wise man of the Old Testament said: What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun. (Ecclesiastes 1:9 ESV) Today’s novel interpretation is likely a repackaged version of yesterday’s discarded heresy. A footnote is not a foundation. Rather than grasping for a quote from the sixth or sixteenth century, Christians ought to be primarily concerned to study the example of Jesus Christ. Jesus is the Word of God. He is the Spirit of Prophecy. He is God in the flesh, so if

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10 Things You Should Know about Reading the Bible

By Matt Harmon, author of Asking the Right Questions: 1. The Bible is both a divine and a human book. Every word of the Bible is inspired by God (2 Tim. 3:16). He spoke through the various human authors, using their unique personalities and writing styles to communicate exactly what he wanted to say (2 Pet. 1:20–21). 2. The Bible is a story. The Bible is not simply a collection of religious sayings or an anthology of various people’s religious experiences. The Bible tells us the true story of the world, the way things truly are and should be. Understanding the basic plot of the Bible that runs from Genesis to Revelation helps us better understand every passage in between. 3. The Bible focuses on God and his plans for the world. God is the main character of the Bible. He created humanity to reflect his image by ruling over creation as stewards under his authority. But Satan deceived Adam and

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The Bible and the Religions of the World

This post is an excerpt written by Harold A. Netland for the ESV Study Bible. The Intersection of the Bible and Other Religions Although the Bible nowhere discusses “other religions” as such, much in it is relevant to the subject. The OT includes repeated references to the deities and religious practices of the Egyptians, Canaanites, Philistines, and Babylonians. The NT world was populated with “many ‘gods’ and many ‘lords’” (1 Cor. 8:5) and characterized by religious syncretism. But the religions of the ancient world have been replaced today by the so-called major world religions. Biblical Themes and Other Religions Even a cursory survey indicates that there are some similarities between Christian faith and other religions. Islam and Christianity, e.g., both believe in an eternal Creator God and a judgment to come after death. Both Jesus and Confucius taught a version of the Golden Rule, and both Christianity and Confucianism teach respect for one’s parents. Such similarities are not surprising and

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What Did Jesus Believe About the Scriptures?

Sam Storms: The question: “What think ye of the Bible?” reduces to the question: “What think ye of Christ?” To deny the authority of Scripture is to deny the lordship of Jesus. So what did Jesus think of the Scriptures (or at least of the Old Testament)? Consider the people and events of the OT, for example, whom/which Jesus frequently mentioned. He refers to Abel, Noah and the great flood, Abraham, Sodom and Gomorrah, Lot, Isaac and Jacob, the manna from heaven, the serpent in the desert, David eating the consecrated bread and his authorship of the Psalms, Solomon, Elijah, Elisha,, and Zechariah, etc. In each case he treats the OT narratives as straightforward records of historical fact. But, say the critics, perhaps Jesus was simply accommodating himself to the mistaken beliefs of his contemporaries. That is to say, Jesus simply met his contemporaries on their own ground without necessarily committing himself to the correctness of their views. He chose

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The Qur’an and the Bible: Three Differences

By Ray Ortlund. Three significant differences between the Qur’an and the Bible are considered here: 1. Epic story versus topical instructions The Bible is written as an epic story on a grand scale, formed along a narrative arc starting in a glorious creation (Genesis 1-2), then a catastrophic betrayal (Genesis 3), then slow movement toward the Redeemer (Genesis 4 to the New Testament), finally resolved in a glorious re-creation (Revelation 20-22). The Qur’an is not structured as narrative with an overall plot. Its chapters are formed around topics, with snippets of stories here and there. But the Qur’an is primarily instructions, with promises of eternal reward and warnings of eternal hellfire. This makes a difference. The Bible develops its doctrines as it moves toward Jesus. For example, marriage is defined (Genesis 2), then disrupted (Genesis 3), then regulated by the law (for example, Deuteronomy 24:1-5), and finally unveiled as a picture of the gospel itself (Ephesians 5:22-33). But marriage in the

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How God Is Both Incomprehensible and Knowable at the Same Time

We cannot know God fully. We can know him truly. This post by Erik Thoennes is adapted from the ESV Study Bible: The Incomprehensibility of God Scripture teaches that we can have a true and personal knowledge of God, but this does not mean we will ever understand him exhaustively. The Bible is clear that God is ultimately incomprehensible to us; that is, we can never fully comprehend his whole being. The following passages show this: Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised, and his greatness is unsearchable. (Ps. 145:3) Behold, these are but the outskirts of his ways, and how small a whisper do we hear of him! But the thunder of his power who can understand? (Job 26:14) For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your

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The Bible Is Not an Instruction Manual

Jared Wilson: Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth Ever heard the Bible explained that way? It’s a handy mnemonic device that certainly has some truth to it. But does it get at the heart of what the Bible really is? The way so many of us treat the Scriptures—as God’s “how to” book—doesn’t seem quite right when we carefully look at what its own pages say. And I fear that the way we use the Bible in this way actually accomplishes the opposite of what we intended. If the Bible is not essentially an instruction manual for practical application, then, what is it? If it’s not mainly about what we need to do, what is it about? If it’s not about us, who is it about? The Bible Is about Jesus About Jesus? Well, duh,” you’re thinking right now. That goes without saying. And I agree. It has been going without saying. But we need to keep saying it. We don’t

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How to Use a Study Bible

Andy Naselli: A study Bible is a book that includes the full text of the Bible plus additional features that help readers better understand and apply the Bible. How should you use a study Bible? Here are some suggestions for what to do and not do. 1. Don’t use poor study Bibles. In general, it’s better to use an all-purpose study Bible rather than a niche study Bible, such as one that targets cat lovers or sixteen-year-olds who like skateboarding and grunge music. So as a general rule, if the title of the study Bible is something like The Winnie the Pooh / Thomas Kinkade Study Bible, take a pass. 2. Use quality study Bibles. I just finished about five years of work on a study Bible that recently released: the NIV Zondervan Study Bible. (Don Carson is the general editor.) As I helped to edit this study Bible, I consulted many other study Bibles. In my view, these were

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The Divisive Person Is the One Who Departs from the Truth

Jared Wilson: Do two walk together, unless they have agreed to meet? — Amos 3:3 Christians who affirm the normative, traditional, historical, orthodox view of the Bible’s teaching on various sins are always accused of being divisive when in sticking to their affirmations they must disassociate with those who don’t. It’s a disingenuous claim, however, since unity could have been preserved so long as the agreement did. But when one changes a mind on such matters the division has begun with them (1 Corinthians 1:10), not the one who says, “Ah, you’ve changed the rules; you’ve changed the agreement.” It would be like the adulterer crying out after his wife as she’s walking out the door in anger and shame that she’s being divisive. The person who objects is often told they are “singling out” this particular sin as over-important, as more important than unity! But it is not those who protest who are singling out particular sins. It is those

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What Does Sola Scriptura Mean?

John MacArthur: The Reformation principle of sola Scriptura has to do with the sufficiency of Scripture as our supreme authority in all spiritual matters. Sola Scriptura simply means that all truth necessary for our salvation and spiritual life is taught either explicitly or implicitly in Scripture. It is not a claim that all truth of every kind is found in Scripture. The most ardent defender of sola Scriptura will concede, for example, that Scripture has little or nothing to say about DNA structures, microbiology, the rules of Chinese grammar, or rocket science. This or that “scientific truth,” for example, may or may not be actually true, whether or not it can be supported by Scripture—but Scripture is a “more sure Word,” standing above all other truth in its authority and certainty. It is “more sure,” according to the apostle Peter, than the data we gather firsthand through our senses (2 Peter 1:19). Therefore, Scripture is the highest and supreme authority

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Why Study the Books of Colossians and Philemon?

Christopher A. Beetham: Why Paul’s letters to the Colossians and Philemon? Let me provide three reasons. First, Colossians is unrivalled in its portrayal of the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. Some of the most exalted language concerning him is found in this short jewel of a letter we know today as the book of Colossians. Second, the gospel is robustly stated and demonstrated in these two letters. And third, Colossians taps into and develops the epic story of Scripture in profound ways. Christ Preeminent In Colossians, the preeminence of the eternal Son over all things is revealed. Christ is the exalted Lord over both creation and the inaugurated new creation by virtue of his unique role in God’s project of cosmic reconciliation (1:15-20). The preexistent Son entered history and became human. He reconciled his people to God by his death, that he might present them “holy and blameless and above reproach” before God on the last day (1:22). Christ

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