Week of: May 16, 2011
Sharing by: Pam Crawford
“I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”
Last week I shared an article titled “Understanding the Bible” by Dr. Charles Stanley.I hope you were able to read that devotion as we move on today. For some, I hope it was an encouragement for you to get started in the Word. At the end of that devotion I suggested using a study Bible to assist you as you work at translating Scripture on your own. I told you that I personally like to use the Life’s Application to help me discern the Word of God more accurately; however there are many good resources.
This week I want to elaborate more on why it is important to study the Bible. The following is information from a booklet that features how to select and use a study Bible. This publication is titled “Entering the Good News.” It is used in conjunction with the Ryrie NIV Study Bible. Dr. Charles C. Ryrie is the author translator and he received his Master of Theology and Doctor of Theology degrees from Dallas Theological Seminary and his PHD from the University of Edinburgh. He has published books on a variety of topics including the Christian Life, the Holy Spirit and dispensationalism. I am currently doing one of his in-depth studies on the Book of Romans.
“Nothing short of infinite wisdom could by any possibility have devised and given to man this excellent and perfect moral code: and “In regard to this Great book I have but to say, it is the best gift God has given to man. All the good Savior gave to the world was communicated through this book. - Abraham Lincoln
Lincoln was referring to the Holy Bible as the “Great Book.” I have to agree and therefore why I am so passionate to help others study it. I have discovered it to be a true source for life, but I realize that not everyone agrees. Look how Dr. Ryrie addresses the skeptics.
A Word to the Skeptic (excerpt from Entering the Good News)
“O.K. So here you sit, with a Bible. And of course, you’re wondering why, when the rap is it’s full of half-truths and myths written by people with an agenda. Some agenda: Everyone on earth is a sinner and an innocent man needs to be tortured to death to take care of that problem. How many people do you know who would invent a religion like that?
And how much sense does it make that 40 authors, writing from vastly different places and cultures over a period of roughly 1500 years – and facing all kinds of opposition – would conspire with each other to keep that myth going?
The fact is, conspiracies don’t hold up over time. That’s a point Chuck Colson, former Chief Counsel for Richard Nixon during Watergate, likes to make. He points out those conspirators couldn’t keep the lie going for a few measly months. All it takes is one guy to fold and the whole thing craters.
So it makes no sense Bible authors conspired, over time, to keep the “lie” of the Bible going. It makes perfect sense they stuck to their story because they were convinced it was God’s truth.
Sure, other religions claim the same thing. But the message of the Bible was accompanied by a lot of miracles witnessed by a lot of people. Other religions can’t claim that. And every year, the list of historical and archaeological support for the accuracy of the Bible gets longer.
One more thing: You may be thinking there’s no way you can trust a document that’s been translated as much as the Bible. But keep in mind people in ancient times who made copies of the Bible knew they weren’t just copying Mom’s famous recipe for Italian sauce. So they worked hard at avoiding mistakes. There are copies of the Old Testament 1,000 years apart that are so accurate it’s uncanny. And modern day scholars translate directly from those ancient texts.”
Why Study the Bible? (Excerpt from Entering the Good News)
“Chances are when you hear pastors, church leaders, and other spiritual leaders say you should study the Bible, visions of Ms. Crumps seventh grade language arts tests on split infinitives, dangling participles, and adverbial modifiers come screaming back at you and you want to die. Right then. Right there.
But the Bible isn’t a random, boring collection of stuff with little connection to your life. It is your life because the God you’ll find in the Bible is the flaming, glorious, eternal, depthless Holy God of all that is, has ever been, and ever will be. He’s so far beyond anything you can imagine you won’t be able to take it all in. That’s why you’ll have to come back to it again. And again. And again. For the rest of your life.
Like nothing else on earth, it will give you hope, strength, and perspective when you’re running on fumes. It will change the way you view the world and the people around you. And it will challenge you to think less of yourself and more of God.
That’s why coming to the Bible is far more than dry, lifeless reading. If you’ll open your heart and mind to the Holy Spirit’s guidance, He’ll use every minute you spend in His Word to make you more like Jesus Christ. Sometimes you won’t sense that as keenly – at other times, it’ll blow you out of your chair. Regardless, each time you’re in it, He’ll be at work. Always. Because His Word will accomplish what He wants it to.
By the way: Satan doesn’t want you reading the Bible. So he’ll try to convince you the words are too big, the stories too boring, and the facts too skewed – or that there are other “more important” things you need to do – like yard work, or hitting the mall, or downloading a CD. Just remember, though: Jesus Christ said Satan is a liar – that there is no truth in him.”
Please consider what I told you last week. If you ask God to help you learn and discern what you are reading, He’s more than willing to oblige you.
Audio Resource: What I Believe by Chip Ingram
Ryrie Commentary: (sample)
1:16 - salvation has three facets: past salvation from the penalties of sin (Luke 7:50; Eph. 2:8); present salvation from the power of sin in the daily life (Rom. 5:10); and future salvation from the actual presence of sin (in heaven; 1 Cor. 3:15; 5:5). This salvation comes to everyone who believes. We receive and experience it through faith, which is both assent to the truths of the gospel and genuine confidence in the Savior Himself. First for the Jew. A chronological priority that Paul followed in his ministry (Acts. 13:5; 14:1; 17:2; 18:4, 19:8) but that Jewish rejection abrogated so that Paul and others turned to the Gentiles (Acts 13:46; 18:6; 28:25-28).
1:17 - a righteousness from God. I.e., the restoration of right relations between man and God, which proceeds from God’s gift through His Son. See note 3:21. It is by faith from first to last. Faith from start to finish. The righteous will live by faith. Quoting Habakkuk. 2:4, Paul is emphasizing that one can be righteous in God’s sight only through faith; i.e., he who is just through faith shall live now and forever by faith. See notes on Gal. 3:11 and Heb. 3:10. In verses 16-17 is the essence of Paul’s theology: Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved.
Life’s Application Commentary:
1:16 - Jews and Christians alike stood against the idolatrous Roman religions, and Roman officials often confused the two groups. This was especially easy to do since the Christian church in Rome could have been originally composed of Jewish converts who had attended Pentecost in Jerusalem (see Acts 2:1ff). By the time Paul wrote this letter to the Romans, however, many Gentiles had joined the church. The Jews and Gentiles needed to know the relationship between Judaism and Christianity.
1:17 - Paul is quoting Habakkuk 2:3. Habakkuk may have understood “has life” to mean this present life only. But Paul extends this statement to include eternal life. As we trust God, we are saved; we find life both now and forever.