Tag Archives: The Bible

The Least Famous Verse in the Bible

I don’t know if the above headline is absolutely true, but the following verse has got to be in contention for one of the least famous in the Scriptures…

Now I want to remind you, although you once fully knew it, that Jesus, who saved a people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe. Jude 1:5 (ESV)

You and I may not remember seeing this verse before, but the fault is with us, because there is a lot here to see. For instance…

  1. Now I want to remind you, although you once fully knew it….Isn’t that a fascinating way to put it? But I think we understand because after all, we are a forgetful people. There are things in life that we now know, but we will need to be reminded of later. And there are things that we used to know, but we don’t know them anymore. God knows our forgetfulness, so He gives us ways to help us remember what He deems important. The most obvious of these is the Bible itself. What a blessing that God has chosen to write down His words. It’s not something we think about much, but how else could we read and meditate on these glorious truths over and over again? And more than this, to aid remembrance, He gave the people of Israel festivals and feasts, and today, He has given us celebrations like the Lord’s Supper. Communion is given so that we can remember the cross. God knew that we might forget even the most wonderful event in the history of the world. So the Lord said, “This do in remembrance of Me.” (Luke 22:19)
  2. Jesus…saved a people out of the land of EgyptWe’re tempted to say, “Wait, what was Jesus doing there at the Exodus?” And then we remember, “Oh, that’s right – He is eternal.” And the cross was not His first saving act.
  3. Jesus…afterward destroyed those who did not believeThis wonderful, merciful Savior is also the Judge. And as He destroyed those who did not believe in that day, so there is coming a day when He will “judge the living and the dead.” (1 Peter 4:5).

For Wednesday, December 2: Revelation 1

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Posted by on December 1, 2015 in Uncategorized


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Quick to Hear…What?

Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. James 1:19, 20 (ESV)

Often these verses are applied to personal relationships or marriage. You’ve heard this one…”God gave you two ears and one mouth so you should be twice as much a listener as a talker.” Not bad advice, really – the application of this wisdom could help all of us. Unfortunately, as far as I can tell, it’s not the primary thing that the verse is referring to. So what is it about? In other words, exactly what source should we be quick to hear from? Context helps here. Consider the verse that comes immediately before:

Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures. James 1:18 (ESV)

And then consider the verse that comes immediately after:

Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.  James 1:21 (ESV)

Yes, we should be good listeners at the office. And yes, I should be quick to hear Diane’s viewpoint; and she, mine. Yes, to the wisdom of two ears and one mouth. But the primary thing we are called to be quick to listen to…is the Word of God. This interpretation is further confirmed when we read in verse 22 that we should “be doers of the word, and not hearers only”. Understanding verse 19 as referring to the Bible gives us more to chew on. In other words, not only should we be quick to listen, but we should also be slow to share our own opinions outside of the Book. And anger? Anger at the many ways God’s word “cramps our style” keeps us from having the meekness necessary to receive the implanted word.

So, whatever other voices are in our lives, we must be quick to listen to one main voice – the Word of God. What a great truth this is. So often we are tempted to look for wisdom in other places besides the Word. We latch on to the opinions of men. We sail on the prevailing winds of the culture.

But above all, we must be quick to hear from God…in His word.

I have more understanding than all my teachers, for your testimonies are my meditation. Psalm 119:99 (ESV)


For Wednesday, November 4th: James 2


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Posted by on November 3, 2015 in Uncategorized


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How to do Ministry

Give them the words of God. That’s how to do ministry.

Oh, I suppose there is more to it, but giving people the Word of God is the absolute basis of all ministry. It is the key. We know this because it’s how Jesus did ministry:

For I have given them the words that you gave me, and they have received them and have come to know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. John 17:8 (ESV)

And then later He said:

I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. (Joh 17:14 ESV)

And finally, He prayed the Word into them:

Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. John 17:17 (ESV)

This Word-centered ministry principle holds true whether you are thinking of corporate church ministry (preaching), ministry to your own kids (family devotions/bedtime reading), or one on one ministry (discipleship/mentoring):

  1. In the church, the Bible, not man’s ideas, must be preached. And it is wisest when the standard plan is preaching through a book or a larger section of Scripture. This way preachers will be less guilty of getting their own ideas and searching the Bible for support.
  2. In the family, even the dad or mom who doesn’t feel they know the Bible well, can simply read it to their kids. When they are small, reading a children’s Bible like The Jesus Storybook Bible is terrific, but then turning to an adult version can be done when they hit middle school. They won’t understand everything, and neither will you (or me!), but the fact is that for every time you scratch your head, there will be 10 truths that you and they will understand quite clearly…and the Word of God will do its work.
  3. In one-on-one mentoring, I think it was probably a Navigator (specialists in this kind of ministry) who once told me what to do whenever I met with someone for mentoring and discipleship. He said to do two simple things: 1) share the Word, maybe a verse you read in a recent quiet time, or a biblical truth you heard in a sermon, and 2) pray for them.
It worked for Jesus. It might just work for us too.

For Wednesday, October 28th: John 18


Posted by on October 27, 2015 in Uncategorized


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Why Do So Many Walk Away From The Christian Faith?

In a recent blogpost, the Scottish church planter, Mez McConnell writes…

“I remember vividly my early days in the church. Everything was new and fresh. There was a large young people’s group and there was a real buzz, about the place. It was exciting being a Christian around people like that. It made church seem like the place to be.

“But, as time went on, more and more people fell by the wayside. One by one, people I had thought were solid Christians just drifted away from the group, the church and the faith. 20 years on and very few attend a church today. It is a great tragedy. Even the man who gave me a home out of prison and introduced me to Christ won’t talk about the gospel anymore. It is heartbreaking.

“This has been our experience in Niddrie too. I tell our new interns every year to take a good look around because some of them, and the people they will meet, will be here next year and some of them will be gone. It’s happened before and it’ll happen again.

“How does that happen to people? Why do they come for a while, confess faith in Jesus and then they melt out of the picture?

“Their early excitement is gone. Lost, seemingly, forever.

“In the letter to the Hebrews we have a group of second-generation believers who were facing pressure to look for alternatives to following Jesus. The author is desperate for these believers. He fears for them and their faith and goes to great lengths to prove the superiority of Jesus Christ, hitting them with theological gold in chapter 1. In chapter 2 he turns to address them in a practical way:

“Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it.” (Hebrews 2:1 ESV)

I would encourage you to continue reading Mez’s blog here, but you get his basic point: we need the Bible. And if you think you’re doing fine without careful attention to the Scriptures, you are a step away from spiritual death…

Because here’s the truth: if you want to stay alive physically, you need to eat food; and if you want to stay alive spiritually, you need to eat spiritual food.  So if you meet a man who thinks he is doing fine without eating, you know you have met a person who is seriously deluded. Similarly, if you meet someone who names the name of Christ and thinks the Bible is a take-it-or-leave-it proposition, you have met someone who is being deceived. Paul certainly thought so. He felt the Scriptures, and all the Scriptures, were absolutely indispensable…

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 2 Timothy 3:16 (ESV)

So…how are you doing at paying careful attention to the words that were breathed out by God?


For tomorrow, Wednesday, September 9th: 2 Timothy 4


Posted by on September 8, 2015 in Uncategorized


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Carrying a Bible in Your Car? Weirdo.

Years ago, when I led the Single adult ministry at Harvest Bible Chapel, one Friday night a man named Dave showed up at our ministry. He was clearly hurting, and when I found an opportunity to chat with him before the night was out, he told a tale of woe – his fiancée Amy had just broken the engagement, leaving his heart was in tatters.

But when I drew out the story from him, I knew then what my pastoral heart couldn’t say in the moment: he had dodged a bullet. I knew this was the case because Dave related to me some of her words when she broke it off – among other things, she thought he was so “weird for carrying a Bible in his car. Who does that?” She queried.

Well, ahem…Christians…that’s who.

Now, of course you can be a committed believer without a Bible in your car, but that said, it’s perfectly normal for a Christian to carry one around with him. After all, it is the word of God.

But I’m sure that’s not what Amy thought. Surely, she assumed it was a bunch of religious stories…just the word of man…which of course would have made Dave a real weirdo. But Dave wasn’t weird; he was just a Christian.

So Paul wrote to the Thessalonians:

And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers. 1 Thessalonians 2:13 (ESV)

We know that one of the marks of a true Christian is a new view of Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:16), but going along with this is a brand new view of the Bible. Previously, we thought it was a religious book like all the others out there, but when God gave us the Holy Spirit, something changed, and almost instantaneously, we began to see it differently.

And with a new view of the Scriptures came something else: a hunger for it. We wanted to read it and learn about it and talk about it with others. So I remember coming to Christ at West Point – I had brought a Bible with me from home, not really intended to read it, I don’t think, but supposing that if I needed to bring a book or two, a Bible would be good. But when Jesus got ahold of my life, I couldn’t get enough of it. And to my roommates’ amusement, I began to sleep with it. Talk about a weirdo. That was me.

But then again, maybe I wasn’t so weird after all; for, going to sleep each night, I knew that I had in my arms…a book from God.

For tomorrow, Tuesday, August 18th: 1 Thessalonians 3


Posted by on August 17, 2015 in Uncategorized


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