Ad Hominem and Personal Attacks pt3: That’s your OPINION.

That's Just Your Interpretation!” - ppt video online download

The third ATTACK sounds like this: “That’s just your interpretation (OPINION).”

This objection most often occurs when we refer to a bible passage from memory, or even if we quote it accurately and in context. It sounds more like an opinion without evidence. Therefore, whenever you’re speaking with someone about the Bible, OPEN your bible and show them. Quoting scripture from memory has value. You can quote it then repeat it by showing them in God’s word. Have a bible and show it. People will have to direct their anger at the Word when they read it for themselves. Then we may ask, “Can we sit down and figure this out together?”

We might could show them 2Peter 1:20; “…no prophecy of scripture is of PRIVATE interpretation.” Used with the first principle in this guide, we can show that the word stands alone and is against any PRIVATE beliefs or ‘I think so.’ We live in a culture that looks at contradictory viewpoints as being equally valid. “There’s no absolute truth,” some might even say. What they fail to see is they’re being dogmatic against dogmatism.

When hearing this attack (objection), one must realize that the person may not believe in the INSPIRATION of Scripture. Many denominations today don’t teach that the Bible is the only way to hear from God. From the Catholics onward, they’re taught that extra-biblical books, feelings and opinions are just as valid as the written Word. Perhaps pausing and looking at the evidence for the INSPIRED word before continuing.

Another approach to answering this challenge is by showing examples of people doing similar things. NAAMAN is one such example. When told clearly and concisely what needed to be done, his response was ‘I thought.’ [2Kings 5:1-14]. Point out that it was the objector who has a private interpretation. This may work only IF you are following the first point, to OPEN your bible and let the person read for themselves.

It must also be said that we’re not INTERPRETING, we’re reading. What we do when we read is to seek understanding. Many passages teach that we can understand when we read. [John 20:30-31; Romans 10:17; Eph 3:3-4; 2Timothy 3:16-17]

Recognized that this objection comes usually when a clear, concise teaching OPPOSES the person’s practices. (ie. MDR, Instrumental music, Fornication etc.) An appeal to the authority of God through the scriptures may be in order. [Luke 6:46; John 12:48; Mat 7:21-23; Acts 17:11] There are resources available to teach how to determine Biblical Authority. [Billy Moore, James P. Needham, Roy Cogdill and others.]

Lastly, one of the reasons why this objection is raised is because of our own words. We say things like, “I believe” “In my opinion.” We do this with a mind of humility, unfortunately it is working against us. NEVER say ‘I think’ or ‘I believe’ when you’re quoting from the word of God. A Thus saith the Lord shouldn’t be watered down by our fear or cowardice.

Young Samuel knew this lesson. Although he was afraid to tell Eli what the Lord had spoken to him, he didn’t withhold one word of it nor did he water it down to make it easier to swallow.

And Samuel told him every whit, and hid nothing from him.” [1Sam 3:18a]

Let’s proclaim God’s word boldly without pride on our part. It’s God’s word, not ours.

–Spencer

Ad Hominem & Personal Attacks p1; You’re ARROGANT

The Debate Pyramid V2 Simple Tt Norms Bold Text - Pyramid, HD Png ...   The Ad Hominem Fallacy (3 Flavors) and Ridicule in the Bible

 

If you’ve done any evangelism at all, you’ve likely experienced a personal attack (Ad Hominem; in a way that is directed against a person rather than the position they are maintaining).

This should come as no surprise for Christ gave us warnings about it in addition to experiencing the ultimate attack, the one against His life. “And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.” [Mark 13:13]

While some accusations may be well founded due to our own poor attitudes, words & acts, most are ad hominem attacks.

Let’s look at a few and learn how to respond without reviling.

 

Before we answer this attack, we need to remember how Jesus responded to personal attacks. He didn’t revile in return. “Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously:” [1Peter 2:23; Isa 53:7]

 

The First ATTACK has a few versions: “You’re Arrogant. You’re just closed minded. It’s obvious you’ve already got your mind made up.”

First off, ACCURATELY define your intentions & motives. Tell them that it is true that you have your mind made up, and it’s not because you haven’t examined the evidence nor heard the arguments. It’s made up BECAUSE you’ve given careful consideration to the scriptures. “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.” [Acts 17:11].

This attack is vile in that it impugns your motives. It attempts to judge you unfairly and we know how the Lord feels about that [Matt &:1-2].

RESPOND calmly with a question; “Are you saying it’s arrogant to say & do what the bible teaches? [Luke 6:46; Mat 7:21-23; Col 3:16] Jesus often used questions (about 100) to challenge His accusers & His disciples. [Matt 15:3; 21:25]

One good question from Christ’s spiritual arsenal is, “Have you READ this scripture?” [Matt 21:42]. It’s much more effective to show someone the verse in the bible than it is to refer to it or even to quote it from memory. Otherwise it’s just arguing opinions. Show them, not just tell them. Let them READ it for themselves.

I sometimes ask; “Is it ONLY the OTHER guy that has his mind made up?” The other person has their own steadfastness and sees your steadfastness as pride. “How come your unwavering assertions aren’t arrogant?” This response is not to conflate the conversation. It’s to calm it down by finding common ground. Paul used a similar strategy at the beginning of his speech on Mars Hill [Acts 17:22].

It’s a good reminder for them and for yourself that GOD HATES pride & arrogance. [Prov 8:13; Luke 18:14]. Perhaps you can restore civility by admitting that you’re working on avoiding this sin.

Remember that debate is healthy, ARGUMENT is not. We must have discussions about our differences, but we mustn’t allow ourselves to resort to ANGER & HATE. “Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.” [Phil 2:3] Consider these passages for additional study on scriptural debate [1Thess 5:21; Titus 2:15; 2Tim 4:2; 1Tim 5:20; 2Tim 2:24-26; Jude 3; 1Tim 6:12; 2Cor 10:4-5; Acts 14:26-15:2] It’s better to end the discussion if either of you are having trouble with their emotions. [Mat 7:6; 15:14]

Another good reminder is that it’s NOT ABOUT WINNING an argument, it’s about winning a soul. “To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.” [1Cor 9:22]

Finally, if you’ve handled yourself well, made no mistakes in your defense of the Gospel and never raised your voice or rolled your eyes, THEY MAY STILL accuse you of pride. THEY did it to the Master Teacher, are you any more special than He? [Mark 14:61-65]

–Spencer

Have no FEAR?

No Fear Inc Logo Decal Sticker

 

Can Caution become Cowardly? 

Rev 21:8 “But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”

 

Can Concern become Worry?

2Cor 11:28 besides the other things, what comes upon me daily: my deep concern for all the churches.

Mat 6:25 “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life,

 

Can Obeying the Government become disobedience to God?

Rom 13:1 Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.

Acts 5:29 But Peter and the other apostles answered and said: “We ought to obey God rather than men.

 

These are questions each of us must consider and answer as we continue to face this new world of COVID fear.

 

What is FEAR? 

FAILURE?

Mat 25:24 “Then he who had received the one talent came and said, ‘Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed. 25 ‘And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours.’

 

Are we afraid of EVIL men?

Lu 12:4 And I say unto you my friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. Mat 10:28

 

Perhaps we’re afraid of the ANONYMOUS or invisible enemies.

Ro 8:35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written: “For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.” 37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. 38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

 

Maybe our FEAR has opened the door to RATIONALIZING our disobedience?

Num 14:2 And all the children of Israel complained against Moses and Aaron, and the whole congregation said to them, “If only we had died in the land of Egypt! Or if only we had died in this wilderness! Num 14:10 And all the congregation said to stone them (Joshua & Caleb) with stones.

 

We live in a new world now that COVID-19 has entered. Say what you will about the virulence of the virus, it matters not. The FEAR of it exists in many hearts regardless of the reality.

It’s easy to talk about FEAR when there’s not much to fear. It becomes much more difficult when you are facing the command to cross the Jordan into battle.

 

WHAT IS COURAGE?

Courage is not the lack of FEAR. Courage is taking action despite the fear.

Courage is not taking action without precautions. Paul was both ready to be bound, but also to die [Acts 21:13]. But that boldness didn’t mean he shouldn’t take precautions. The Lord told him he would make it to Rome, but it was Paul that foiled the plot against his life. It was Paul that stopped the Roman soldiers from scourging him by appealing to his Roman citizenship.

 

FEAR is a natural emotional response that protects us from harm. It is good when it prompts you to take precautions. We recognize fire’s power to burn, but it doesn’t stop us from utilizing it for good.

FEAR becomes sin [Rev 21:8] when it stops one from doing that which is right. When it stops one from obeying God.

 

Let us move away from fear. The answer to casting out fear is LOVE.

1John 4:17 Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.

 

Let us LOVE God so much that we will do His will.

John 14:15 “If you love Me, keep My commandments.

 

Joshua 1:9 “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”

 

Mat 5:13 “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.
14 “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.
15 “Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.
16 “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

 

Our Light needs recharging!

 

How will you redeem the time at HOME

We’re all being urged to self-quarantine at Home during this COVID-19 panic. How will you be spending the time?

Will you be WASTING time or REDEEMING the time?

Here are 4 things we can do to REDEEM the time while we’re confined at HOME.

 

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FFranklinstreetchurchofChristBorger%2Fvideos%2F702409923921651%2F&show_text=0&width=560“>watch.

Things to do at HOME during COVID-19 Isolation.

COVID-19 & The things we can do.

In prayerful response to the COVID-19 concern, the church at Franklin & Juniper will cancel all services for the next 2 weeks.
We will continue to evaluate & update as the situation changes.

This decision is similar to how we cancel services during times of severe weather as well as how some make the personal choice to remain home when they are sick.

For some, if their condition prevents them from doing secular activities, it will prevent them from assembling with the saints.

This is not just a local situation, nor a national. It is an international situation.

Just because we’re practicing SOCIAL DISTANCING if we must go out for groceries (or take out) it doesn’t mean we’re no longer interacting with people in other ways. We may be in ISOLATION, but this is no time to be IDLE. There are several things we can do during the time we self-quarantine at HOME.

The first thing we can do is HEAL. This virus has a 14-day incubation period. Many may be asymptomatic, meaning they have the virus but have no symptoms. Let’s take time to HEAL our bodies.

We can HEED the warnings about limiting physical contact. We can HELP the helpless. There may be some who have compromised immune systems or other risk factors. Perhaps as some gather necessities, you could look out for their needs.

Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.” [Phil 2:4]

We can OPEN OUR BIBLES. Far too many have lived hectic & harried lives. While you may still be able to work from home, almost every non-essential activity has been canceled. What a great time to start that Bible Reading Program you resolved to do this year.  It only takes about 20 hours to read the New Testament. Everyone could read the entire NT during this time. (30 min in the morning & evening.

Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Chris)” [ Eph 3:4]

Another great thing we can do is we can now have MEALS with the family. This is a lost tradition in modern times. What a great way to return to this wonderful custom where we can connect & talk with our family. Resist the urge to graze all day long, eating our meals in front of electronics.

Married couples can find ways to improve their MARRIAGES. This goes beyond the physical and looks to the Spiritual.

Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;” [Eph 5:25]

Let’s remember the lonely and we can connect to the lonely through MESSAGING & calls. There are some among us who were lonely before this and are now more so.

Lastly, just because the building is closed there is no reason to shut down EVANGELISM. Crisis causes many to turn to God. We see this repeatedly in Scripture. Keep you EYES & EARS open to how your friends & family talk about the present distress. As Christians we are have the comfort of God’s word that removes all fear.

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord…” [2Tim 1:7-8]

We must maintain our hope & excitement for the Lord. When unbelievers see our enthusiasm, they may want to know why. Be ready to answer. [1Peter 3:15]

Be aware of a real phenomenon called cabin fever as well as the tendency for tempers to flare during confinement. Remember to ESTEEM others better than self. [Phil 2:3]

Trust in God, although our OUTWARD man is perishing, our INWARD man can be renewed daily. [2Cor 4:16]

For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;”

–Spencer

Whats An Expedient?

 

All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient:” [1Corinthians 6:12]

A challenge that the church faces is regarding the concept of expedients. What are they? Why do we care? How are we to decide?

First, we need to define the concept. An expedient is the tactics or actions we take to fulfill a generic command. It only applies with a generic command. A specific command is limited to that which is specified.

Let’s look at a familiar example;

“Make thee an ark of gopher wood;” [Genesis 6:14]

The SPECIFIC COMMAND is an Ark of gopher wood among other things. There are 17+ specific commands to Noah. The details are laid out when God commands what to build. Noah couldn’t change or modify the command. He was limited to an “ark” not a dingy, nor a house, nor a barn.

The GENERIC COMMAND is ‘make.’ This is generic as God doesn’t go into the details of the building process. He gives the size and number of floors, but He doesn’t tell Noah HOW to build it.

God left those details up to Noah to work out.

  • How was he to gather the wood?
  • How was he to mill the wood?
  • How was he to attach the wood together?
  • Could he use a hammer & saw? They aren’t mentioned, does this mean he couldn’t use them?

Noah is given the freedom to choose HOW to accomplish the GENERIC command while completing the SPECIFIC command.

Here’s where the EXPEDIENT comes in. He was commanded to build an ark, so he needed to find the necessary means to fulfill this command. Could he have built the ark out of gopher wood twigs, sure, but that wouldn’t EXPEDITE the command. It would take far too long. He needed to fulfill the command in the most efficient & effective way. That’s an EXPEDIENT.

Here are 6 rules about expedients:

  • Expedients must first be LAWFUL. The phrase, ‘the end justifies the means’ is wrong. We cannot do anything as long as the desired outcome is accomplished. For example, to help a hungry brother, theft is not allowed. That’s one thing we learn in 1Sam 15:22. The expedient must first be LAWFUL.

 

  • Expedients do not make a DOCTRINE. Denominations must create rules and organizations to regulate their expedients. That’s the tail wagging the dog. The expedient aides in accomplishing a SPECIFIC command when the method how is not given. For example, we are commanded to give on the first day of the week [1Cor 16:1-2]. The church cannot start a bank to fulfill that command. We can open a bank account to hold the funds until they are needed, but to open a Bank goes beyond the command.

 

  • Expedients do not require a SUBSTITUTION of the command. We are told to baptize (immerse in water). Sometimes a person is sick or infirmed making the command seem difficult. Some have then substituted sprinkling or pouring to make the command easier. Doing this modifies the specific part of the command to   IMMERSE in water. Therefore, it is not an expedient. We cannot do things to expedite a generic command when it violates the specific command.

 

  • Expedients don’t cause others to STUMBLE. Sometimes we find a lawful expedient, but for another it violates their conscience. Maybe because of their background. This is what we learn from 1Corinthians 8. It was lawful to eat meat that was sold in the marketplace despite the fact that it had been previously offered at the temple to a false god. Because some had converted out of that mess, they didn’t feel it was right to eat meat sacrificed to idols. Paul said,

“Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend.”

[1Cor 8:13; cr. 10:23]

  • Saying, “I don’t like change” is not a reason to stop an expedient. There are changes in technology that makes fulfilling a command more efficient. For example, the disciples didn’t have PowerPoint. We do, and it’s an efficient and effective tool when presenting a lesson or leading singing.

 

  • Expedients aren’t BINDING. It’s authorized to baptize in a river, but to require it is a violation. We can baptize in a baptistery, the ocean, lake or puddle. As long as the command to IMMERSE is met. [cf. Acts 8:36]

Our desire here is to serve God with all our hearts, soul & mind without violating God’s commands nor anyone’s conscience. With patience, prayer & study, we can learn how to fulfill all of God’s commands as EFFICIENTLY & EFFECTIVELY for the edifying of the body.

—Spencer

2020 BIBLE READING PLAN

 

The new year is upon us and so too a new time to renew our efforts to read the Bible. Here are a few reasons why we ought to have a plan for reading the Bible:

 

We are commanded:

Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness. [2Timothy 2:15-16]

 

It gives us faith:

But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name. [John 20:31]

So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. [Romans 10:17]

 

It gives us understanding:

Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) [Ephesians 3:4]

 

It gives us confirmation of what is preached:

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. [Acts 17:11]

Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. [1Thessalonians 5:21]

 

It thoroughly equips us for every good work:

All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works. [2Timothy 3:16-17]

 

It helps us to defend the gospel:

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: [1Peter 3:15]

 

It will prevent our stumbling and provide an entrance into the kingdom:

For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. [2Peter 1:8-11; cf vs 5-7]

With all of these reasons, why wouldn’t we read?       –Spencer

 

4 THINGS YOU GET WHEN YOU READ

Image result for read the bible

 

These past few weeks I’ve been encouraging us to make READING our Bibles one of our resolutions for 2020.

We began by noticing those 4 things we do that we THINK are bible study but are not:

  • LOOKING over the text but not studying it. “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.” [John 5:39-40]
  • Reading AUTHORS other than God. “Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” [2Tim 3:7]
  • CLASS attendance without studying at home. “And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.” [John 6:35]
  • KNOWLEDGE in Social media memes which sound right but are very wrong. “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.” [Acts 17:11]

Then we saw the 4 signs of a DEAD church.

  • DOCTRINE gets replaced by TRADITIONS. “Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” [Mark 7:7].
  • EDIFICATION replaced by ENTERTAINMENT. Paul asked, “What? have ye not houses to eat and to drink in?” [1Cor 11:22]
  • AUTHORITY of the word is replaced with FEELINGS. These feelings come from their own belly, not from the word of God. [Phil 3:19, 2King 5:11].
  • DISCIPLINE is replaced with TOLERANCE. Paul commanded the church at Corinth to DISCIPLINE an adulterous man [1Cor 5:1-2].

Now we shall see the 4 things we get when we READ:

  • READY to defend. Peter taught that we ought to be READY to give a defense of the hope that is in us. “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:” [1Pet 3:15]. Reading is what will make us READY.
  • EQUIPPED for every good work. Paul wrote to Timothy telling him that the scriptures are what shall equip us. “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” [2Tim 3:16-17]
  • APPROVAL of God. Paul asked the Galatians if he were seeking the approval of men or of God. Of course, the answer is that we ought to seek the approval of God. Therefore, he said, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” [2Tim 2:15].
  • DOCTRINE of Christ. Lastly, when we read, we can know what is the mystery and the doctrine of Christ. [Eph 3:3-4; Rom 10:17]. There is only ONE SOUND DOCTRINE, and that is found in God’s written word. “Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.” [2John 1:9]

As you can see, the reading of God’s word is so very powerful. It provides us with READINESS to defend, EQUIPPING for every good work, APPROVAL of God and knowledge of the DOCTRINE of Christ. When we READ, we will have all the knowledge we need for service in His Kingdom.

In 2020, let’s make reading a regular part of our day, and let’s “… grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.” [2Peter 3:18]

–Spencer

4 Things we Think are Bible study

Image result for bible study

 

“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge:” [Hosea 4:6a]

This warning from God ought to bother us. It ought to give us pause and make us ponder if the same problem is occurring today. It is.

The problem of a lack of knowledge is a common theme from Genesis, through the Old Testament and into the New. The Hebrew writer seemed exasperated that the Christians of that time had not grown in knowledge, stating they needed to have the basics taught all over again. [Heb 5:12]

It’s as if the craving for God’s word is waning [1Pet 2:2]. The Lord’s church used to be known for being a people “of the book.”

What Happened? As our lives were filled with more “conveniences” like cars, electric lights and heat, fast food, and numerous other things that have made the basics of life so much easier, we have somehow become busier. Where is all the time these ‘time savers’ have given us? How have we gotten so busy that there’s no time to spend time in God’s word? When will we find the time to start “seeking first the Kingdom of God?” [Matt 6:33]

When asked, nearly everyone agrees that we should regularly read the Bible, but hardly anyone does. Folks say to me, “I don’t like to read,” or “I just can’t find the time to read the Bible.” Still others say, “I just don’t know it as well as I should.”

MAYBE BEING BUSY IS JUST PART OF THE PROBLEM. One of the results of a busy life are the shortcuts we take to do more of the things we ought. We’re all looking for shortcuts or ‘hacks,’ from drive-thru food to Google. The study of God’s word has suffered from short cuts that allow us to believe that we’ve studied God’s word when in fact we have not. Here are four shortcuts to the study of God’s word we think are making us more spiritual.

4 Bible study hacks that are not.

LOOKING over the text but not studying it. It’s possible to read the bible and still miss what is being taught. I speak with people who read through the bible yearly, yet also doesn’t recognize water baptism. This is not new; the Pharisees were guilty of missing the lessons about Christ. “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.” [John 5:39-40]

Reading AUTHORS other than God. Or worse, watching a lifetime movie and thinking we’ve had a Bible study. There are some good books and authors, but none of them compare to the actual text. One religious man recognized that he read more about the Bible than he ever read of the Bible. Once he began reading the Bible, he came to the knowledge of the truth and obeyed the Gospel. “Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” [2Tim 3:7] Let’s remember that the writings in the Bible are from the Lord. [1Cor 14:37]

CLASS attendance without studying at home. I love our corporate Bible studies, but let’s not become deluded into thinking that one or two 45-minute sessions count as meditating over God’s word. It’s a confirmed fact that I seldom miss a meal, but the ‘bread of life’ provides a much greater nourishment, the feeding of our soul. Miss a meal, but don’t miss an opportunity to read the Bible at home. “And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.” [John 6:35]

KNOWLEDGE in Social media memes which sound right but are very wrong. Our modern age has brought about a wonderful access to information. Most of us carry around, in our pockets, access to the knowledge of the world. Most of us also know that some of that knowledge is completely wrong. Just because we see it on the internet doesn’t make it true. The abundance of warnings in the Bible against false teachers should be sufficient to make us want to verify what is said online. The teaching of the Apostle Paul was vetted by the Bereans, and he didn’t mind it one bit. They’re called ‘more noble’ for doing it. “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.” [Acts 17:11]

As we approach the new year, let’s take a look at how much we’ve studied of God’s word, and make a resolution to commit to a daily diligence to show ourselves approved unto God. [2Tim 2:15]

—- spencer