Bible Verses

Inspiration through preparation – know your Bible!

After the resurrection, Jesus’ followers met together. It is interesting to note that He chided them for their lack of faith. Did they not know the scriptures well enough? These same scriptures also revealed the next phase they would enter in.

This is the key to sucessful Christian living. Know your Bible. It will lift your faith – revealing both the ultimate destiny for the human race as well as individual guidance for the future for yourself. It will help you understand your present and interpret your past to see the hand of an all-powerful, almighty Creator at work – both in the big picture, and in your own small, but significant details.

The Bible catalogues the full spectrum of human experience of the divine. There is no experience outside of these bounds. Therefore to be prepared for the next phase of our own spiritual journey, we need look no further than its pages to inform ourselves of the nature of what to expect.

Our faith is shaped by our experience, which matches the revelation we have received in the page of the Bible.

Bible Verses

Bible Verses on Inspiration (1)

2 Peter ch.1 v.21 puts it succinctly. The authors of the Bible were not relying on their own limited imaginations to come up with words that inspire us even now. Neither were they obediently scribbling down words dictated to them by an angel. They certainly weren’t writing automatically with blank minds while appearing to be possessed.

Instead, the authorship was a partnership – in the same way that the wind blows the sails of a boat whose captain chooses to steer it through a straight course. They were in full possession of all their faculties, but were empowered by the Holy Spirit, to allow His inspiration to speak through their thoughts and words – their languge, energised by Him to speak timeless truths for our benefit.

They could see by faith that there was more to what they were saying. They could only grasp imperfectly at an idea of the impact of those words, but it gave them strength to ensure that they fulfilled the responsibilities of their sacred calling. And now, we reap the benefits of their diligence.

The same advice given to followers of Jesus in the First Century speaks to us with the same clarity through the work of the same Holy Spirit who inspired their writing.

Bible Verses

Understanding the Bible’s Powerful Message

I have a question for you. Which Bible verse to you sums up the whole of the Bible’s message,? Which passage most clearly explains the purpose of life and the ultimate destiny of the universe?

I’ve played this game before. I call it, guess what the preacher is thinking of…

Imagine the scene. You are in a large hall and the preacher asks for volunteers to tell him which Bible verse sums up most perfectly the message of the Bible. The first one says, “John ch.3 v.16 – For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son…” Although everyone else there would agree with that – after all, the verse has everything; it focuses on God, but clearly points out our need for redemption. It demonstrates the purpose of Jesus’ incarnation and the high price paid to execute this plan. Finally it spells out the alternative outcome for those who resist in stubborn unbelief.

Unfortunately, this wasn’t the verse the preacher was thinking of.

Habakkuk ch.2 v.14 was mentioned – the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea…

Daniel ch.2 was touched upon – but these, along with others were rejected as insufficient. The preacher was looking for something more.

They were all good Bible verses, clearly expressing different aspects of God’s pan for us all from a variety of perspectives – but not from the point of view that this preacher wanted to emphasise.

He had certainly piqued our interest. Instead of passivity, there was now an atmosphere of challenge. What could he be looking for that wasn’t in any of those other verses?

Finally, he opened his Bible at Ephesians ch.1 v.9-10 God’s will is for all things to come under one head, Christ’s. This is our destiny, our purpose – to see these words become a reality around the world.

Success for the Divine plan is inevitable, unavoidable, irrevocable – that is the power behind those words. The same power that raised Jesus from the dead, also spoke the universe into being and turned our individual lives around.

The assurance of the Holy Spirit in our lives to guarantee the third of these equally miraculous events convinces us of the reality ofthis promise. We will see Him, enthroned in glory, above all other ‘gods’ and ‘lords’. It is our honour to be able to participate in this process now.

Bible Verses

Consider her ways…

Much of Proverbs ch.6 deals with the issue of laziness. In verse 6 we are exhorted to learn from the ant. And certainly there is much to commend this – for by observing nature we often see spiritual truth applied. So, we see specialisation and delegation, we see prudence and co-operation. Most importantly, we see them getting on with the job at hand.

This is where verses 10-11 make particular sense.

It is all too easy to sit back, sleep and then wonder why everything else has overtaken you.

This is why Hebrews ch.10 v.38-9 is important.

But the righteous will live by faith. If he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him. But we are not of those who shrink back to destruction, but of those who have faith to the saving of the soul.

It makes the point clearly. Our activity and industry are a direct result of our faith in Jesus Christ. We do not act because of our fear of displeasure. Rather our good works, prompted by faith result in not only God’s pleasure, but our wholeness and maturity as we unfold our destiny

Bible Verses

Inspiration to Avoid Immorality

Proverbs chapter 5 homes in one one specific sin, well known to televangelists.

It gives a specific piece of advice in verse 15 – drink from your own cistern. In other words, keep your hands to yourself.

It may seem odd to think that the same issues that make the tabloids now were at the forefront of the minds of people a few thousand years ago – but that’s the truth. We are no different. All our outward sophistication doesn’t make a difference deep down inside.

This is the good news – we are not too sophisticated or civilised to need a saviour, neither have we slid too far down to be worthy of God’s grace.

Bible Verses

A Father’s Advice…

If the previous chapter’s inducements weren’t enough – now here’s Dad saying the same thing.

This time, the offer is long life and overcoming obstacles.

But there are some other important provisos – you must not let yourself be distracted from what is truly important.

Verse 18 is interesting – But the path of the righteous is like the dawning light, that shines more and more until the perfect day.

It demonstrates a clear progression. You take yur first steps by faith, towards the light in the distance. As you progress, you begin to notice more of your surroundings, odd shapes begin to make sense as you can pick out details and work out where you are, where you have come from and most importantly here you are going. If you don’t see this progression, stop and ask yourself – where is the true light?

Bible Verses

Wisdom has its benefits…

Sticks and carrots, we were told – but carrots were a far better motivator. What’s in it for me? We would be asked. What was true about teaching earthly things was also the case for spiritual matters.

 An old, wise evangelist confided to me that no-one came to faith for entirely unselfish reasons. Some, because they wanted to save their sinful hides from the fires of Hell, others because they could see a great future for themselves unfolding as a great saint. The heart, above all, is deceitful. Fortunately, God is a god of grace, who overlooks our utter sinfulness even at the heart of redemption.

Now in Proverbs ch.3 we find out what’s in it for us if we stick to doing what is wise. Riches, health and a good night’s sleep.

More than that though – we find out a significant key in gaining wisdom (and therefore all its benefits); a teachable spirit. Without one, we’re doomed to the downward spiral of folly – with it, we can expect ever-increasing abundance…

Bible Verses

Why Wisdom?

In Proverbs ch.2 we are exhorted to get hold of Wisdom. Why would someone put such a premium on something you can’t touch, can’t sell to others – that won’t feed you or shelter you?

That’s the beauty of it – wisdom will enhance all those things. But most importantly, it will protect you.

Think about all those warning stickers that you see on household items telling you not to do stupid things with them. They are there for a reason. Sadly some people are lacking in common sense. Even more sadly, they probably won’t read the warning labels either.

Wisdom will protect you in a very real sense. It will tell you not to put yourself into situations where there is unnecessary risk.

Bible Verses

Proverbs for Life

The beginning of wisdom – It’s a recurring theme throughout the book – but here it is, right at the start of Proverbs in verse 8 of chapter 1. We’re not just talking about a beginning in terms of time – although for man of us, that would also be true.

We’re also looking on the fact that the fear of the Almighty God is the source, or origin of our wisdom.

Perhaps we should explain more about fear here. For many of us, fear is universally associated with something bad – as if it is equivalent to unbelief. Fear is natural – it protects us from doing stupid things. We know that fire harms us if we come into contact with it the wrong way. We also know how useful it is. Therefore we cultivate a healthy respect for it – ensuring that we never put ourselves in a position of danger.

God is like that. We know that He is a perfect Judge who will always judge justly. Therefore we do not put ourselves into a position where we would merit experiencing His judgement on our lives. This was the purpose of the Law – as a schoolmaster to bring us to Christ. Appreciation of our need for a saviour became the first step into accepting His lordship into our lives.

Bible Verses

Who would be a prophet? (2)

Another popular misconception is that a prophet is selected because of his or her high degree of virtue. That this gift is somehow a reward for good behaviour. Even more dangerously, some imagine that the ability to prophesy somehow qualifies a person to be above reproach – that they can do no wrong – when nothing could be further from the truth.

Hosea was a poor choice of character when it came to selecting a marriage partner. David was an adulterer with blood on his hands, and yet he was given the privilege to speak of the Messiah coming from his own line. It may be scandalous to consider that the message of the coming king was entrusted to people who could fail so badly – but this is the whole point of grace. Our good conduct could never qualify us to speak on behalf of the almighty Righteous One. We would never measure up of our own merit.

However, despite of our obvious limitations, the falling short that seeks to destroy us from within, we can still perceive the reality of a loftier goal that inspires us out of despair. We may be failures, but we still see the hand of God shaping us to become extraordinary.

This is the message of Advent – that people like us encountered a God who is real, saw the truth that was to come and were faithful to the vision they captured, sharing good news and by doing so turned their weakness into strength for us to follow in the same way.