The Bible, Page 1, Part 2

Previously, we explored the first notations from my GU’s (Great Uncle) little black binder of Scripture, under the Bible heading.  The first 3 entries were related to the assurance that the prophecies uttered by Prophets and the Scriptures are the direct word of God, spoken/written through man.

Today, we are looking at the next set of entries.  Both of these passages of Scripture include a side notation about “searching the Scriptures”.  It appears my GU was using KJV, NKJV.

John 5:39

Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life:

and they are they which testify of me.

… and …

Acts 17:11

These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they

received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched

the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.

In the verse from John 5:39, the point is that people searched the Scriptures searching for eternal life, but in fact the Scriptures point to God.  Eternal life is not found on words written on a page, but instead through God.

The verse from Acts is commending the people of Berea, who unlike those in Thessalonica, were not just receiving the word from men & accepting is as truth.  Instead, the Bereans were testing it against the Scriptures for themselves.

These two Scripture references direct us toward searching the Scriptures for the Truth and the truth.  The Truth as in The Way, The Truth, and the Life… Jesus, God.  As well as the truth, as in verifying that what the teachers were speaking was in alignment with the actual Scriptures.   A logical train of thought to move from the legitimacy of the Scriptures to using the Scriptures to find truth.

Next time we will look through the entries related to knowing and understanding the Scriptures.

“The Bible” page 1

lbbBible

Page 1 of the categorized section of my Great Uncle’s Little Black Book of scripture begins

with the title BIBLE.  Many of these style pages bear little to no notations other than the actual scripture locations.  I am assuming the penciled in notation above the title came last, as the page filled up, and will treat it as such.  So we will begin with 2 Peter 1:21:

For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

From this point forward, I’ll refer to my Great Uncle as GU for brevity sake.

GU’s notation next to t 2 Peter 1:21 is “Moved by the Holy Spirit”.  Pretty straightforward notation.  The prophecies of the OT were moved through the Holy Spirit while spoken by the prophets.  They were not man made, or even spoken in the will of man.  Look to Jonah who ran from God versus going to Nineveh to deliver a message from the Lord.

We then move to 2 Timothy 3:16-17which reads:

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

Again, straightforward, that all Scripture originates in God, and it’s intended purpose.

These first two entries seem to indicate that this category title “BIBLE” is going to be about the origin and credibility of God’s Word.

The third entry is 2 Peter 1:19-21, which reads:

We also have the prophetic message as something completely reliable, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation of things.  For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit

This is actually a more contextual entry, expanding on his first which was just verse 21.  This entry includes the preceding verses.  Although this time it was entered in pen, which would indicate that these entries were not a continuation of a single sitting and studying the topic of a Bible, but something he added to over time or as something pertinent came about.  It’s possible entry one was from one week’s message that the Pastor then expanded on the following week.

As I look through the entries, other than the fact that black ink, red ink, and pencil are used, there is no other indication that helps me understand how these entries came about.  Nothing is dated, there are no references to people, study books, or anything that could provide some clarity.  The very top of the page, above the page number is a red check mark.   This could indicate that this was part of a study & was completed.  Yet, only the first three pages have that red check mark.  Perhaps, I’m overthinking it.

The key take away from these first three entries is the certainty of prophecy and Scriptures being originated by God and give to man to share.   Next time, we will move on to the next two entries that reference “searching the scriptures”.

 

 

1 Peter 3:15

But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always

to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason

of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.

1 Peter 3:15

This is the last of the written out scriptures in my Great Uncle’s little black book.  Next, we will move on to his categorized notations.  If you are just joining us, we are exploring this amazing black mini binder that I received from my Great Uncle’s belongings.

 

What does it mean to “sanctify the Lord God in your heart”?

From PreachingHelp.org, the word sanctify comes from a Greek word meaning to “make holy, to consecrate, or to from an ordinary to a sacred purpose.”  They describe sanctifying the Lord God in your heart as meaning to live for him.

Sanctification requires 1. separation, 2. consecration, and 3. holiness.

Preaching Help defines separation as:

  • From – the world (2 Cor. 6:17-18)
  • To – God (1 Peter 2:9)
  • For – God’s glory (1 Cor. 10:31; 1 Peter 2:9)
  • By – the blood of Jesus (Hebrews 10:10, 29)

Consecration is a firmness, a commitment.  It is not lukewarm, indecisive, or indifferent.  It’s not just a separation from sin, but a deep commitment to God.

Holiness is a conforming ourselves to a way of living.  We may still stumble in sin, but we do not choose to live in it, a balance between godly living and grace (Preaching Help). Holiness is conforming ourselves to Christlikeness.

Sanctification is both choosing to obey the Gospel and an ongoing process where we grow and mature in sanctification.

So, if we are to sanctify the Lord in our hearts, we are separating from the world and bringing ourselves in alignment to God, making Him holy over all other things, we are committing to a life that lives in obedience to the Gospel, and we are conforming our hearts and minds to Christlikeness.  If we do this, then we should always be able to answer others who ask us about the hope we have in our lives.

In other words, if we do this (sanctifying the Lord in our hearts) we should be outwardly different to the rest of the world, they should see something in us that draws to them to ask how we are the way we are.  How are we able to praise God during our trials?  How are we able to find joy, happiness, and contentment in difficult circumstances?  How have we been able to walk through the fires and still remain optimistic hopeful people.  They will ask, and because we have sanctified the Lord in our hearts, we will have an answer.

God.

The way, the truth, and the life.

Messiah.

And you can answer this with gentleness, humility, and awe.

That’s the kind of fear this verse refers to, reverence.

How do we do this?

  • Be in the Word
  • Pray to the Word
  • Live like the Word
  • Share the Word

 

 

Mark 10:27

With men it is impossible; but not with God: for with God all things are possible.

Mark 10:27

A verse the requires no explanation, a wonderful reminder.  Glad to come across it in my Great Uncle’s Little Black Book.

Sometimes, these reminders are all we need to get through the day.

This morning in church, I slipped my money into the offering envelope.  I prayed over it, “God, I need you here.”  Even when we have moved into over all financial comfort… needs come up.  I prayed this today, having not looked in the little black book.

My needs right now, and when it needs to happen by … it doesn’t compute in my head.  It seems impossible.  But with God… all is possible.  If our hearts are set on him, if our desires are his desires…

 

Psalm 87

The Lord shall count, when he writeth of the people that this man was born there.

*my Great Uncle’s little black book didn’t record the verse, which is v6.

To understand why he only included verse 6, let’s look at the the entirety of Psalm 87:

On the holy mount, stands the city he founded; the Lord loves the gates of Zion more than all the dwelling places of Jacob.  Glorious things of you are spoken, O city of God.

Selah.

Among those who know me I mention Rahab and Babylon; behold Philistia and Tyre, with Cush – “This one was born there,” they say.  And of Zion it shall be said, “this one and that one were born in her”; for the Most High himself with establish her.  The Lord records as he registers the peoples, “This one was born there.”

Selah.

Singers and dancers alike say, “All my springs are in you.”

My ESV Bible titles Psalm 87 “Glorious things of you are spoken”.

HCSB Study Bible for Women writes:

87:1-2  This psalm praises Jerusalem as the city of God and sets forth Zion as the spiritual center of the world (see Ps 137:5-6).  Jerusalem also may symbolize the poet’s longing for God.  Jacob is an alternate name for Israel.

87:4-7  God is the God of all nations, not just Israel.  His purposes include all peoples who respond to Him in faithfulness and worship, regardless of their nationalities.  Rahab refers to Egypt (Isa 30:7).  In the latter part of this poem the emphasis shifts from the earthly city of Jerusalem to the heavenly Zion where God’s people will dwell for ever secure. 

In the NLT, verse 6 reads:  “When the Lord registers the nations, he will say “They have all become citizens of Jerusalem.”

I think for my Great Uncle, this particular verse was so important because it lets us know that we (gentiles, non-jewish) were always part of God’s adoption plan.  In this portion of scripture, from the Old Testament, we see that God’s intention is that all… including gentiles… would be part of God’s Kingdom.

I love the wording of Psalm 87 in the NLT:

On the holy mountain stands the city founded by the Lord.  He loves the city of Jerusalem more than any other city in Israel.  O city of God, what glorious things are said of you.  I will count Egypt and Babylon among those who know me – also Philistia and Tyre, and even distant Ethiopia.  They have all become citizens of Jerusalem!  Regarding Jerusalem it will be said, “Everyone enjoys the rights of citizenship there.”  And the Most High will personally bless this city.  When the Lord registers the nations, he will say, “They have all become citizens of Jerusalem.”  The people will play flutes and sing.

Thank you Lord, for making the way for us to the city of Zion.  All we need to do is accept the invitation.

Romans 14:5

One math esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every alike.

Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.  

* assured (margin)

Romans 14:5

*Underlined as found in my Great Uncles little black book.   Asterisked notation all found in his notes.

In 20/20 vision of this text, we find ourselves seated in Romans 14, where the first half is under the title:  Do Not Pass Judgment on One Another.

I’ve got zero commentary, because this is a lesson we all need to hear for the first time or be reminded of.  I’m going to post bullet points of this section of Scripture.

v 1 – welcome those who are weak in faith, but don’t quarrel with them over opinions.

v 2-3 – some eat anything, some eat vegetables, don’t judge each other about it.

v 4 – who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another, that is up to his master.  It’s up to the Lord whether he stands or falls.

v 5 – one person esteems a one day as better than other, one esteems them all alike.  Each person should be fully convinced in their own mind.

v 6 – each person’s choice is done in honor of the Lord.

v 7-8 – None of us lives to ourselves, or dies to ourselves, but to the Lord.

v 9 –  This is why Christ died and rose again, that he may be both the Lord of the dead and the living.

v 10 – Why do you pass judgment or despise your brother?  We will all face judgment.

v 11 – It is written that every knee shall bow, and every tongue shall confess to God.

v 12 – So then each of us will give an account of himself to God.

 

Isaiah 66:2

For all these things hath my hand made, and all those thing have been, saith the Lord: But to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of contrite (heart) spirit, and trembleth at thy word.  ~ Isaiah 66:2

* Underlined portion & parenthesis were in my Great Uncle’s notation.

In the CSB translation is reads:  My hand made all these things, and so they all came into being.  This is the Lord’s declaration.  I will look favorably on this kind of person: one who is humble, submissive in spirit, and trembles at my word.

It is so hard to try and understand where my Great Uncle’s mind was at during these notations since I have zero context.  I don’t know if these are sermon notes, bible study group notes, or personal notes.  The best I get come from the portions that he underlined, so that while I may not understand what caused him to make these notations, I do know what caught his attention.  In the CSB translation, the underlined portion would be:  I will look favorably on this kind of person:  one who is humble, submissive in spirit.

Humble. Submissive.  The opposite of this, would be prideful & domineering.  How much scripture talks about humility, submissiveness, quiet/gentle spirit, peaceful, loving, kindness, meekness, compassion, etc.?  A lot.  Particularly in the New Testament.

As I continue reading the scripture with what my friend calls 20/20 Vision (20 verses prior and 20 verse after)… the picture is painted.  Isa 66 is about the final judgement, and the words that are included talk about what that judgement will look like.  In verses 3 & 4 there is a comparison of people.  At first glace it appears to be a not evil vs. evil.  “One kills an ox, another kills a person”… “One sacrifices a lamb, another breaks a dog’s neck”…  It feels very “this or that”.  Yet as verse 3 concludes, we read:

“all these have chosen their ways and delight in their abhorrent practices”

The first word that caught my attention was CHOSEN.  In each of the circumstances listed in verse 3, God is saying that the person is making the CHOICE to do it.  It is not out of obedience or instruction, but a choice they are making to do one thing versus the other.

The second word that caught my attention was DELIGHT.  In each of these circumstances listed, they delighted in what they are doing.  No one should delight in slaughtering an animal, or sacrificing an animal.  To delight in the act reveals a dark nature about the heart of the one doing it.

The third word that caught my attention was ABHORRENT.  That word means disgusting.  Why would the Lord refer to something like sacrificing a lamb (which was part of the OT culture) as disgusting? Or, making a grain or incense offering… how could that be disgusting to the Lord?  Because the heart behind the action was not pure.  This was not about obedience and repentance, this was not about atonement or praise.  Something in the heart of the person was not right.

Verse 4 continues:  “So I will choose their punishment, and I will bring on the what they dread because I called and no one answered.  I spoke and they did not listen; they did what was evil in my sight and chose what I did not delight in.”

Two things that jumped out at me about this verse:

  1.  This confirms the issue was with the heart of the person not the action.
  2.   If this is about the final judgement, this would be post crucifixion.  In verse 3, the abhorrent includes:  killing a person, sacrificing a lamb.  Those who contributed to the crucifixion on Jesus, did not listen.  They did what was evil in God’s sight, and chose what God did not delight in.

But whom has God’s favor?  Back to verse 2, God looks favorable on the humble, submissive in spirit, and trembles at His word.  As we continue reading, verse 5 begins with:

“You who tremble at his word, hear the word of the Lord.  “Your brothers who hate and exclude you for my names sake have said, Let the Lord be glorified so that we can see your joy! But they will be put to shame.”

There are those who call themselves our brothers and sisters, who may treat you unfairly or even discredit you all under the name of the Lord & think they are doing it for the favor of the Lord…. but God said they will be put to shame.

If you, dear reader, have experienced pain in the pews… spiritual abuse… toxic leadership… or other types of abuse, exploitation, etc. under the name of religion, or even touted as under the authority of God… know this… His word is true and the Lord says He will reckon with it.