Become Familiar with Your Bible

You live in a world where your soul is in constant danger. Enemies are round you on every side. Your own heart is deceitful. Bad examples are numerous. Satan is always laboring to lead you astray. Above all false doctrine and false teachers of every kind abound. This is your great danger.

To be safe you must be well armed. You must provide yourself with the weapons which God has given you for your help. You must store your mind with Holy Scripture. This is to be well armed.

Arm yourself with a thorough knowledge of the written word of God. Read your Bible regularly. Become familiar with your Bible. . . . Neglect your Bible and nothing that I know of can prevent you from error if a plausible advocate of false teaching shall happen to meet you. Make it a rule to believe nothing except it can be proved from Scripture. The Bible alone is infallible. . . . Do you really use your Bible as much as you ought?

There are many today, who believe the Bible, yet read it very little. Does your conscience tell you that you are one of these persons?

If so, you are the man that is likely to get little help from the Bible in time of need. Trial is a sifting experience. . . . Your store of Bible consolations may one day run very low.

If so, you are the man that is unlikely to become established in the truth. I shall not be surprised to hear that you are troubled with doubts and questions about assurance, grace, faith, perseverance, etc. The devil is an old and cunning enemy. He can quote Scripture readily enough when he pleases. Now you are not sufficiently ready with your weapons to fight a good fight with him. . . . Your sword is held loosely in your hand.

If so, you are the man that is likely to make mistakes in life. I shall not wonder if I am told that you have problems in your marriage, problems with your children, problems about the conduct of your family and about the company you keep. The world you steer through is full of rocks, shoals and sandbanks. You are not sufficiently familiar either with lighthouses or charts.

If so, you are the man who is likely to be carried away by some false teacher for a time. It will not surprise me if I hear that one of these clever eloquent men who can make a convincing presentation is leading you into error. You are in need of ballast (truth); no wonder if you are tossed to and fro like a cork on the waves.

All these are uncomfortable situations. I want you to escape them all. Take the advice I offer you today. Do not merely read your Bible a little—but read it a great deal. . . . Remember your many enemies. Be armed!

—J.C. Ryle
Quoted by J.I. Packer in 18 Words: The Most Important Words You Will Ever Know

Via: Justin Taylor

The Four Holy Gospels

In celebration of the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible, Crossway Books, working in collaboration with Makoto Fujimura, one of the century’s most highly regarded artists, has produced an illuminated version of the Four Holy Gospels. Fujimura is known for his use of traditional Japanese Nihonga techniques and his passion for reconnecting Christian faith with fine art. This will mark the first time in nearly 400 years that an illuminated book of the four Gospels has been undertaken by a single artist.

The Four Holy Gospels is based on the ESV translation of the Bible and also coincides with the 400th anniversary of the King James Version Bible, published in 1611. The ESV, which is a direct descendant of the KJV Bible, was first published in 2001, and carries forward this classic Bible translation legacy.

Makoto Fujimura explains, “By using the ESV translation, we honor the King James Version by allowing contemporary vernacular to reflect the timeless truth of the Bible. This project brings a reconciled whole of the Gospels to a new century and a global audience.”

Via: Crossway Books

Echoes of the Old Testament in John 1:1-14

The prologue of John’s Gospel is suffused with echoes of the Old Testament.  I would like to make mention of just two echoes which enrich our understanding of the Gospel and also evidence the unity of the whole Bible.  Right at the outset John opens with these words, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was in the beginning with God.  All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.  In him was life, and the life was the light of men.  The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” (ESV)  John here is doing several things.  One thing He is doing is affirming the divinity of Jesus Christ (as will become increasingly clearer as the chapter unfolds).  One of the means John uses to build his case for the divinity of Christ is an allusion to the opening words of the book of Genesis, “In the beginning…”  A Jewish reader would undoubtedly think back to the creation account.  But we are not left to our own imaginations.  John’s use of the light/dark dichotomy also suggests the creation narrative.  Finally, as if these were not enough,  John tells us that “all things were made through him…”  The Word, Jesus Christ, was the creative agent through whom all things that are came into being.  Jesus Christ is Creator.

Jesus Christ is also Redeemer.  Not only does the Apostle John  echo the creation narrative.  He also recalls God’s great redemptive acts in the exodus narrative as well.  In verse 14, John tells us that the Word, who created all things, “became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (ESV) The Son of God, who with the Father and the Holy Spirit, created the universe and all that is in it, came to dwell with his people to save them from their sins.  The Greek word behind “dwell” is ἐσκήνωσεν which means “to pitch a tent” and most likely was intended by John to harken back to God’s tabernacle in the midst of the Hebrew encampment where God would be with his people (Exodus 25).  That Jesus in John 2 says that he would replace the Temple (the stationary replacement for the earlier mobile tabernacle) as the center of worship adds weight to the recognition of this echo.

Jesus is, according to John in the first few verses of his Gospel, divine and as such he is both Creator and Redeemer.  What a wonderful savior we have!  The one who brought galaxies into existence came to tabernacle in our midst and as John puts it, “we have beheld his glory, as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.”  I pray this is as true for you as it was for John and the rest of the disciples who came to trust in this same Jesus.

God has given us a rich revelation.  May we, by the Holy Spirit, grow in our appreciation and understanding of it.

—Jeffrey C. Waddington

Via: Feeding on Christ

The Biblical Word

…[I]t is certainly the case that the Word of God, read or preached, has the power to enter the innermost crevices of a person’s being, to shine light in unwanted places, to explode the myths and deceits by which fallen life sustains itself, and to bring that person face to face with the eternal God. It is this biblical Word which God uses to bring repentance, to excite faith, to give new life, to sustain that life once given, to correct, nurture, and guide the Church (Jer. 23:29; II Tim. 3:16; Heb. 4:12; Jas. 1:18). The biblical Word is self-authenticating under the power of the Holy Spirit. This Word of God is the means by which God accomplishes his saving work in his people, and this is a work that no evangelist and no preacher can do. This is why the dearth of serious, sustained, biblical preaching in the Church today is a serious matter. When the Church loses the Word of God it loses the very means by which God does his work. In its absence, therefore, a script is being written, however unwittingly, for the Church’s undoing, not in one cataclysmic moment, but in a slow, inexorable slide made up of piece by tiny piece of daily dereliction.

—David Wells
Above All Earthly Pow’rs: Christ in a Postmodern World

Via: Tim Phillips