Author Archives: admin

I know Jesus and Paul, but who do you think you are?

We began the story of Paul in Ephesus in the last post, and today we continue Luke’s narrative of that two-year period.  This passage (Acts 19:11-20) opens with the Jewish leadership in Ephesus already having hardened their heart, and Paul … Continue reading

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Paul in Ephesus — A Dozen Disciples

At the end of the previous post I stated, “Remember that the Book of Acts describes a period when the Kingdom program with its accordant miracles and conferring of the Holy Spirit by the laying on of hands is on … Continue reading

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Grace Believers

Goodness!  Nearly a year has passed since the last entry was posted!  It’s a good thing the Word of God is eternal and unwavering, not like we humans.  Like Christ, it waits patiently to be picked up again where we … Continue reading

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The Third Missionary Journey Begins

Acts 18:23-28 Paul has spent 18 months in Corinth, and in the previous post we followed his journey back to Palestine and to his “sending church” in Antioch, having left Priscilla and Aquila in Ephesus.  We pick up the story … Continue reading

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Corinth II

Acts 18 12-22 Paul is enjoying an extended stay in Corinth.  According to the closing verse of our previous passage, he “settled” there for 18 months — under the promise of the previous verses.  In the very next verses we’ll … Continue reading

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Corinth (Acts 18:1-11)

Having found little success in Athens, and still alone, Paul moved on to Corinth hoping to be reunited with Timothy and Silas there.  Recall that they had been jailed in Philippi, ministered in Thessalonica for only three weeks, and sent … Continue reading

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Athens — Part 2

In the last post we described the Apostle Paul’s frame of mind and the philosophical and religious environment of Athens.  He is about to speak to the highest audience in all of Greece, the philosophical leaders of all of Greece … Continue reading

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Athens — Part 1

Paul’s Jewish pursuers have chased him out of Berea with their same old deadly threats.  His closest partners in ministry, Timothy and Silas, remain in Berea in spite of the circumstances.  Have you ever become confused over the plethora of … Continue reading

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Berea

Paul and Silas (and as we’ll discover later, Timothy and others) have been smuggled out of Thessalonika under cover of darkness by the new believers there.  Their new destination — Berea.  While the description of events at Berea is short … Continue reading

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Thessalonika

Acts 17:1-10a Paul, Silas, and their travelling companions have left Philippi following the consequences of having restored a demon-possessed girl’s normal life, much to the dismay of her “handlers.”  A public beating, a night in jail, an earthquake, the salvation … Continue reading

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Philippi – The Ugly (turned to beauty!)

In our last post, we left Paul and Silas rotting in the dungeon of a Roman prison in Philippi.  Thankfully, God acts faster than I write blog posts!  In this week’s post, we see how God often uses what appear … Continue reading

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Philippi – The Bad

In the last post Paul, Silas, Luke and Timothy arrived at Philippi and began a small-scale ministry among some devout women who gathered regularly at the “place of prayer” on the riverbank outside the city gates.  They met Lydia, a … Continue reading

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Philippi – The Good

Acts 16:13-18 In our last post, Paul and his companions had traveled diagonally from southeast to northwest across modern-day Turkey, and sailed a short distance across the northeastern corner of the Aegean Sea to Philippi, a city that Luke describes … Continue reading

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Holy Spirit Steering

Acts 16:6-12 Barnabas and John Mark have departed for Cyprus,  while Paul and Silas left Antioch by an overland route that led to the region where the first missionary journey ended — the region of Derbe and Lystra.  While there, Paul … Continue reading

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Disagreement

Acts 15:36-16:5 We pick up Luke’s story line again at Acts 15:36, the matters over circumcision in Jerusalem having been concluded.  Paul and Barnabas have returned to Antioch, and two prophets (preachers) from the Jerusalem church, Judas and Silas, have … Continue reading

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Jerusalem Council Part 3

We have noted several unanticipated characteristics of the Jerusalem church at the time of the council meeting of Acts 15: James, the half brother of Jesus, has risen to a position of authority over the elders and apostles, although he … Continue reading

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Jerusalem Council Part 2

In an earlier post we developed a timeline for Paul’s ministry, demonstrating that the events we have read in a few chapters in Acts actually took years to occur.  See the discussion of Galatians 1:15 – 2:9 in Chapter 7 … Continue reading

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Jerusalem Council Part 1

Paul and Barnabas have been back in Antioch for many days at the point where Chapter 15 opens.  If you have not read Acts 15:1-35 yet, please take the time to do so now. As we study through the passage … Continue reading

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Iconium, Lystra and Derbe

Passage: Acts 14  (Please take the time to read this chapter for yourself before reading this blog post.  As always, try to set aside preconceived notions and consider the passage at face value.  Do your best to stick to observation … Continue reading

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Living Grace

I’ve spent a lot of time referring to “technical” grace and the “Age of Grace.”  But experiencing, living in and dispensing grace is another matter.  In this blog site I’ve mostly dealt with head knowledge, but what I am speaking … Continue reading

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Pisidian Antioch

Today we have a longer passage.  I’ll rely on you to study this passage carefully for yourself, providing only an outline and commentary.  I’ll encourage you to be like those ancient believers in Berea who “searched the scriptures daily” to … Continue reading

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First Stop: Cyprus

Paul and Barnabas have been called by God to a special work, distinct from the rest of the leadership of the church in Antioch, and certainly distinct from the work of the Twelve in the Jerusalem church.  We are about … Continue reading

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Setting Out (Acts 13:1-3)

As we mentioned in the previous post, Luke turns his attention fully to Paul’s ministry for the remainder of the Book of Acts.  There are encounters with Peter and the other apostles, including a major one in Chapter 15, but … Continue reading

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Turning Point

We stated long ago that the Book of Acts is a transitional book between two dispensations — Israel’s Kingdom program and the Age of Grace, the present day of the church (what Paul refers to as the mystery).  Since Acts … Continue reading

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Peter’s Third Imprisonment

Peter is in Jerusalem, along with the other disciples.  Some believers have been scattered to other parts of the world by persecution, but the church is enjoying a season of relative peace and is growing again daily.  Evangelism has begun … Continue reading

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Answers to Interpreting Peter’s Visit to Cornelius

Question: Prior to the vision, what was Peter’s attitude concerning interaction with gentiles? Scripture Reference Evidence: Acts 10:14, 10:28 Answer: He believed that to interact with gentiles would make him ceremonially unclean — that it was, in fact, “unlawful.”  According … Continue reading

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Interpreting Peter’s Visit to Cornelius

We’ve done our homework on Acts 10:1 through 11:18, and we’re ready to ask the big questions: What does this passage mean? What are its implications for our understanding of the history of the Church and our understanding of the … Continue reading

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The Full Outline

Here is the full outline of Acts 10:1 through 11:18 as promised in the previous post, including the few lines we already developed.  If you took me up on the challenge, compare your outline to mine! Cornelius’ and Peter’s visions … Continue reading

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Peter Meets Cornelius – Starting an Outline

Our immediate goal is to rightly divide this passage — meaning that we should apply what we have learned about the differences between Israel’s kingdom program and our Age of Grace to it.  The alternative is to continue to see Peter … Continue reading

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Bible Study Methods

Our approach to this passage of scripture (Acts 10:1 – 11:18) will be different than the highly-detailed approach we’ve taken in the past.  Luke’s narrative is a straightforward historical account, with a certain amount of repetition.  While there are some … Continue reading

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Back to the Acts Timeline

The last several posts have taken us far afield from Luke’s timeline in the book of Acts.  We need to begin by regaining the correct historical orientation as we pick up Luke’s story line in Acts 9:32 again.  The preceding … Continue reading

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The Mystery Revealed

Luke’s next writings in Acts return to the events in the Jerusalem church and specifically to Peter.  That will begin a new chapter here on the blog.  But before we leave the story of Paul’s early ministry in Antioch, I … Continue reading

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Personal Testimony of Pastor Paul Sadler, D.D.

Editor’s Note:  Dr. Sadler is president of the Berean Bible Society (www.bereanbiblesociety.org).  This article first appeared in that organization’s monthly publication, The Berean Searchlight.  (The entire issue is available for download at their website as a PDF document, along with … Continue reading

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Paul’s “Desert Years”

To fully understand Paul’s knowledge of the mystery and how he could claim to not have received it from the Twelve, we need to do a little detective work.  We already know about the miraculous appearance of Christ to Paul … Continue reading

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The Crux of the Matter

The passages we have just studied are direct accounts of Paul’s encounter with the risen Lord on the road to Damascus, a pivotal point for Paul and for the Gentile world.  But Paul refers to this and to other revelations … Continue reading

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In His Own Words

Paul had many occasions to “bear [Christ's] name before the Gentiles and kings…”, two of them recorded by Luke later in the Book of Acts. Paul also makes many references to this occasion in his letters to the churches, but … Continue reading

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Reluctant Ananias

We are in the midst of the conversion of Saul, destined by God to become Paul, the great Apostle to the Gentiles!  Let’s pick up the story at Acts 9:7-9… Saul has been struck down by a great light, and … Continue reading

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Saul Meets the Glorified Christ

We have come a long way in our study of the events and nature of the Jerusalem church and the Great Commission.  Take a moment to reflect.  The entire first eight chapters of the Book of Acts has been set … Continue reading

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The Ethiopian Eunuch

Now we come to one of the most interesting passages in Acts.  This short glimpse into Philip’s ministry is a wonderful example of how God, through the scattered members of the Jerusalem church, continued to offer Israel’s King and Kindom under … Continue reading

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Philip Goes To Samaria

Acts 8:5-25 As the church in Jerusalem is scattered by persecution, Philip (one of the seven men chosen to oversee the daily distribution of food) travels to Samaria.  A little lesson in the geography of ancient Israel is important at … Continue reading

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Answer Keys for Chapter 6

Answers for “The Purpose of Miracles” 1. Who did God commission Moses to bring out of Egypt? Israel 2. What did God enable Moses to do so that they would believe God had sent him? miracles 3. Miracles are a … Continue reading

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The Purpose of Miracles

Although the High Council had firmly rejected the possibility that Jesus was the Messiah, had sealed it with Stephen’s blood, and had succeeded in chasing the majority of believers not only out of the Temple but out of Jerusalem as well, … Continue reading

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Persecution Scatters the Church

“And on that day a great persecution arose against the church in Jerusalem; and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles.  And some devout men buried Stephen, and made loud lamentations over him.  … Continue reading

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Who is this Saul?

“And on that day a great persecution arose against the church in Jerusalem; and… Saul began ravaging the church, entering house after house, and dragging off men and women, he would put them in prison…  Now Saul, still breathing threats … Continue reading

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Answer Keys for Chapter 5

Answers for “A Tipping Point” With what person does Stephen begin relating this history lesson? (7:2) Abraham  (Thought Question: Why doesn’t he begin with Adam?  Because his message has to do only with the nation of Israel, which originated in Abraham.) … Continue reading

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A Tipping Point

We are about to consider the passage which describes Stephen’s discourse before the High Council, which I believe marks a tipping point in God’s efforts to win Israel’s heart as a nation and usher in the promised Millennial Kingdom.  This … Continue reading

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The First Deacons

Acts 6:1-7  (January 1, 2011 — Happy New Year!) There is great confusion in the plethora of denominations concerning the nature and organization of leadership and governance in the church today.  Part of that confusion concerns specific roles identified in … Continue reading

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Are we watching?

Christmas Day 2010 It’s Christmas Day in the Year of Our Lord 2010!  For the first time in many years the pressures of employment seem to be at a lull just at the time I need the wherewithal to reflect … Continue reading

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The Second Imprisonment

Acts 5:17-42 The believers in Jerusalem at this point number well in excess of the 5,000 men mentioned in Acts 4:4, perhaps double that number not counting women and children (v14).  The judgment of Ananias and Sapphira had a sobering … Continue reading

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Judgment in the Kingdom

Now we come to an episode in Acts that is starkly different from our experience in the church today, the deception of Ananias and Sapphira and their swift judgment (Acts 5:1-11).   Before we begin, please recall a verse from a … Continue reading

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A Pre-Kingdom Community

I’d like to follow a personal rabbit trail here for a moment, and share some thoughts with you that come from other Grace teachers that may help you understand how to study the entire Bible from a dispensational perspective.  In … Continue reading

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Celebrating Parole

On with the story!  Today we’ll be looking at Acts 4:23-31.  Have your study Bible ready as we proceed. Peter and John had been held responsible for the crime of healing a man who had been lame from birth through … Continue reading

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Evolution, Three Kings… and Acts

Before proceeding in the passage at hand, I’d like to add a brief personal note here.  It was my privilege over the past couple of weeks to assist with a live nativity put on by some good country friends, and … Continue reading

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Answer Keys for Blog Chapter 4

Answers to Acts 3:12-26 Study Guide v12 Israel; v13 Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, our; v14 you; v17 brethren, you, your rulers; v18 announced beforehand (foretold), prophets; Q fulfillment of promises, not hidden; v19 repent, return, wiped away (Gr. like “Bounty, the … Continue reading

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An “Arresting” Situation

Welcome back! How did you do on the study guide?  You can find the answers in the blogsite chapter ”Study Guide Answer Keys.”  I hope you did well!  Let’s move on… Peter has just reiterated Israel’s need for repentance for crucifying their … Continue reading

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Acts 3:12-26 Study Guide

Print this page, and then fill in the blanks with words taken from the indicated verses: v12 — Men of ____________, why do you marvel… v13 — The God of ________________, ___________ and ___________, the God of _______ fathers… v14 … Continue reading

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The Lame Will Leap

“Behold, a king will reign righteously… then My people will live in a peaceful habitation… Say to those with anxious heart, ‘Take courage, fear not.  Behold your God will come with vengeance; the recompense of God will come, but He … Continue reading

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A Community Established

The remaining verses in Chapter 2 and the next six chapters of Acts provide a window on the community of believers in Jerusalem in the days following Pentecost.  Up to now we have proceeded at an excruciatingly slow pace in our … Continue reading

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Repent — but of what?

Finally we come to Peter’s answer to the question, “Brethren, what should we DO?”  But before we dive in, dear reader, a reminder — if we are to observe the Word for what it says, we must cast of preconceived … Continue reading

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A loose end…

Before we launch into Peter’s response to his listeners’ pressing question, “Brethren, what shall we DO?”, we need to clarify a detail that we passed over in the heat of the events… Return to Peter’s quotation of Joel and look especially … Continue reading

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This is That

This is that which was spoken of through the prophet Joel:  “And it shall be in the last days,’ God says, ‘that I will pour forth of My Spirit upon all mankind; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, … Continue reading

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Joel

Peter is about to address the people who had witnessed the coming of the Holy Spirit.  Some of those gathered there tried to explain the miraculous translation of languages as drunkenness on the part of the 120.  But God is … Continue reading

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Great Perplexity

Acts 2:5-16 — “What does this mean?” (v12) Please read the entire passage now to refresh your memory of the details.  Remember, try to observe what the passage says, and refrain from jumping to interpretations you may have been taught … Continue reading

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Wild Wind

(Updated on 9/19/2010 since first publication!) Please have your study Bible open to the second chapter of Acts.  Read each verse or block of verses before reading my explanation.  That is the Berean way — to read God’s word first, … Continue reading

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Pentecost Society

“Pentecost” means something entirely different to us than it did to those waiting in Jerusalem for the Holy Spirit to come.  We, of course, will always associate it with that momentous occasion.  But before then Pentecost was still a high … Continue reading

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Pentecost Background

In order to understand what Luke is about to describe, we need a refresher course in Jewish history. We have said much already about the long-awaited restored Davidic kingdom, which was very much on the collective Jewish mind at the … Continue reading

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Judas’ Replacement

Was Paul an apostle?  He says so in I Corinthians 4:9 and 15:9, II Corinthians 11:5 and 12:11, and Galatians 1:17.  (Time to be Berean… get out your Bible and see if it is so!)  If he was, why wasn’t … Continue reading

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The Ascension

Before launching into a verse-by-verse study of Acts it is good to remember a couple of principles.  First, we must see what God’s Word says before we can understand what it means.  Preachers, authors and teachers have a tendency to … Continue reading

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Post-Resurrection Appearances

Following his account of the death, burial and resurrection of Christ, Luke then begins a listing of the appearances of Christ after His resurrection, beginning with His appearance to Cleopas and Simon (not Peter, study vv33-34 carefully) on the road … Continue reading

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Passover to Resurrection

The events of the Last Supper, the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus’ trials before Pilate and Herod, the scourging and crucifixion, and the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus all follow immediately after the passage we have just studied in Luke’s … Continue reading

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Christ Prepares His Disciples – Part 3

We pick up the narrative in v20 where our Lord resumes His description of the events that will surround His actual return. (vv20-21)  But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then recognize that her desolation is at hand.  Then … Continue reading

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Christ Prepares His Disciples – Part 2

As noted in the previous post, our Lord’s tears over Jerusalem prophesied a fearful time ahead.  The time before His crucifixion was now only a few days, and His preparation of the disciples was intensified.  Would He prepare them for … Continue reading

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Christ Prepares His Disciples – Part 1

In this series of posts we will consider how Jesus Christ trained His disciples for what would happen after He ascended into Heaven.  Our primary passage will be Luke 21:10-31, but we’ll begin in Luke 19:41-44.  We’re choosing Luke’s account … Continue reading

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Serious Ramifications

IF the earthly ministry of Jesus, from birth to ascension, was about fulfilling promises made to Abraham and David about a future kingdom where a king would occupy David’s throne again and Israel would rule over the gentile world bringing … Continue reading

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Israel’s Expectation

The Bible begins by describing the entire human race – all two members of it.  When we reach the story of Abraham in the twelfth chapter, the Bible’s focus narrows.  Because of the promises God made to Abraham, he and his descendents … Continue reading

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The Last First Thing

I have recently distanced myself from a local church, after working side by side with its pastor for fifteen years.  I was a fellow elder with men I have known and respected (and still do) for thirty years.  For over … Continue reading

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R-i-g-h-t… What’s a Dispensation?

What does Paul mean when he tells Timothy that he should “rightly divide” the Word of Truth?  (2 Timothy 2:15 KJV)  Other translations say it differently: “handling accurately” (NASB), or “plowing a straight furrow” (Phillips).  The word in the Greek language … Continue reading

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Deadly Orthodoxy

“Orthodox” thinking is usually contrasted with thinking that is “out in left field.”  So it is in theological circles.  Theological orthodoxy can be a very good thing, keeping believers from being ensnared by every false teaching that comes along, and … Continue reading

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Study the Bible

What does it mean to “study” the Bible?  Here are some things it does not mean… Attend a Bible study group Read the Bible Meditate on the Bible Memorize the Bible Pray the Scriptures back to God Listen to preaching … Continue reading

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Bible Study Tools

There are some reference books that any serious student of the Bible should have at hand.  Of course, there are many special-edition Bibles that include abbreviated versions of these tools, and they are handy when you are on the go.  … Continue reading

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Bible Versions

Earlier I said that I believed that the Bible, in its original languages and copies, was inspired and inerrant (without mistakes).  But I don’t speak Hebrew or Aramaic, so I have to trust what another fallable human has translated into … Continue reading

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Seminary Training

As you begin to take a deeper personal look at the Bible, I’d like you to consider a perspective of mine that has been hammered out in the school of hard knocks.  You may find it displeasing (especially if you’ve … Continue reading

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The Whole Bible

Some might accuse me of discarding parts of the Bible when I say we should look to Paul’s writings to learn how to live as believers today.  It’s often been said, “The Bible is all for us, but it is … Continue reading

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Doctrinal Position

I believe what most conservative Bible-teaching churches include in their Doctrinal Statement, with a couple of exceptions.  Here’s a list: God exists, and wants to be known and loved by makind.  God exists as one God, yet in triune form (relating … Continue reading

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