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Showing posts from July, 2021

The Joy of Learning

    Learning is an amazing part of life. When we were children in school we couldn’t wait until summer break, and ultimately graduation, because we wanted to be finished with learning. Sitting still and listening to the teacher was often a tough task, and we just wanted to go to the playground. As we age, we learn that we still learn.    Learning is a good thing. It is not simply the acquisition knowledge, but the process of learning that adds flavor to life. We may enjoy learning in different ways; some are more hands on while others enjoy a lecture or reading, but we all should enjoy learning. Martin Luther once said, “If God had all the answers in His right hand, and the struggle to reach those answers in His left, I would choose God’s left hand.”     Wouldn’t it be nice to just have our heads automatically filled with everything we need to know? When our operating systems need an update, they seemingly magically are given all the new data they once lacked. But we do not acquire kno

Blessed be God

    If you spend much time in church or listening to Christian radio, you will no doubt hear the phrase “blessed be the Lord” or “blessed be God.” The word blessed, in this context, means to be praised (this is a different word than in the beatitudes). The Greek word for blessed gives us our English word eulogy, which we use to refer to the message at a funeral when one speaks well of the deceased. In fact, Kenneth Wuest’s Greek translation of the New Testament says, “Eulogized be God.”    God should be praised. And yet this key phrase is only found three times in the New Testament. We might expect to see it more often, but I believe those three occurrences are just enough. Here is why:   Ephesians 1:3-4 says, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love.” This usage of t

The Clarity of the Bible

  One of the great, yet often overlooked doctrines to arise from the Protestant Reformation was the belief in the clarity of Scripture (known as the doctrine of perspicuity among theologians). The world into which Martin Luther cut his teeth theologically was one in which only the religious elite were allowed to discus the meaning of the Bible. This elevation of scholasticism over the commoners in society created two class of believers: the clergy, who were permitted to talk about God, and the laity, who could only hope to be fed spoonfuls of the Gospel during the weekly service.    Luther rebelled against this heresy. Being a highly educated man himself, Luther believed that the more people read the Bible for themselves, the better off they would be. He detested those who lived in their spiritual ivory towers, who turned the message of salvation into a secret reserved for those in their exclusive club. Luther was greatly aided by the advent of the printing press, and he published and

The Bible as Foundation

    As a Bible believer, I make my decisions based on God’s Word. I believe the Bible is completely true and free from error. The Bible is inspired, it is living and active, it is profitable, and it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone who believes.    Because of this biblical worldview, the Bible is the place to start when making decisions or when telling someone about the Lord. But some object to this on the grounds that, since unbelievers don’t believe the Bible, then we should use other sources to convince them when we are talking about God. I understand that sentiment, but I reject it.    I realize that it might sound like circular logic to tell someone that Jesus is the Son of God “because the Bible says so,” and they should believe the Bible because “the Bible says it is God’s Word.” But here are two things to consider. First, when making a defense of what we believe, we always start with that which holds the most authority. If you start with personal experience, commo

How Much Did Jesus Learn?

  Did Jesus have an unfair advantage over us? We sometimes speculate as to what it was like for Jesus when He was being raised by Mary and Joseph. Even the concept of Jesus being raised is hard to grasp; did the one who raised the dead need to be raised?    We know He was perfect. Scripture makes that clear, for He “was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin (Hebrews 4:15).” But did Jesus emerge from the womb with divine awareness of all things, or was He closer to ordinary? When talking about his Christmas hit song “Mary Did You Know?” Mark Lowry said, “The one who spoke the world into existence was now uttering unintelligible baby noises.” As much fun as it is to daydream about God in the flesh using his divine abilities in His adolescence, we have no reason to believe that Jesus was anything other than a normal child developmentally as He learned to crawl, then walk, then run. He fell and cried, He skinned His knee, and sometimes He didn’t like His dinner.    We get the im