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How to Avoid Misusing the Bible

Go deeper in your walk with the Lord

Written by Dan Lee on 30/10/2018

Series: Weekly Devotional

Tags: BibleReadingVerseStudying


Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.

2 Timothy 2:15

Today, we start a two-part devotional on how to avoid misusing the Bible. But first, let’s start with a story about some blind men who encountered an elephant. One of the blind men wrapped his arms around the elephant’s leg and said, “An elephant is like a tree!” Another touched the elephant’s trunk and declared, “No, it’s like a large snake.” They touched the ear or the tail and said, “a fan” or, “a rope” – and so on. Each one came up with a different and incomplete conclusion about how the elephant looked like. 

It’s the same when we interpret the Bible. When we quote Bible verses without considering what the rest of the Bible says, we are just as foolish as those blind men. If we don’t consider verses in their context – at least the surrounding paragraph or chapter, we risk coming to completely wrong conclusions about what God’s word says. 

1. Be careful of taking the Bible out of context

That’s why Paul warns Timothy – and all who believe in Jesus and study His word – to “rightly handle the word of truth.”

Here are a couple verses that are often taken misused.

“By his wounds, you have been healed.” (1 Peter 2:24

Some people believe that Christians can claim physical healing because of this verse. But, if you read 1 Peter 2:24 in full, it reads, “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds, you have been healed.” 

The first part of this verse tells us that it is our sins, our spiritual wounds, that have been healed by Jesus Christ. The verse refers to Isaiah 53:5:

“But he was pierced for our transgressions;
    he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
    and with his wounds, we are healed.”

This verse refers to our “transgressions” and “iniquities” – in other words, our sins. There are seven other references in Isaiah 53 to sin, guilt, or transgression, but physical healing is never mentioned in the chapter. 

So the next time you read, “By his wounds you have been healed,” thank the Lord that your most deadly wound – your sin and resulting separation from God – HAS been healed, for all eternity. But don’t use it to claim physical healing for yourself or others.

2. Meditate on the Word and apply it to your life 

Now, let’s look at Matthew 7:1, where it says, “Judge not, that you be not judged.”

Even people who don’t believe in Jesus love to quote this verse! They, and sadly many Christians, think it means we should leave others alone and let them do whatever sinful act they want.

But if you continue reading, you find out that the problem is not with pointing out the faults of others. It is looking at their faults without acknowledging our own sin. 

Verse two says, “For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you.” and it continues to verse three by saying, “ Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?” (Matthew 7:2-3

Sadly, we tend to see the sins of others as huge, and our own as tiny (or not to see them at all). Jesus is saying, in effect, “Look in the mirror – look into your own heart and deal with the wickedness there, before you stand in judgment of someone else!”

Several Bible passages instruct us, to help our Christian brothers and sisters by gently pointing out where they are going wrong, especially in matters of serious sin. Take these verses as an example:

“But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called ‘today,’ that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.” (Hebrews 3:13)

“My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.” (James 5:19-20)

In conclusion, don’t just look at fragments of God’s holy Word. Look at ALL of it. Commit yourself to read the Bible, one book at a time. Don’t build your whole Christian walk around one or two isolated verses. Strive to find the meaning of every verse in the context of the paragraph or chapter around it. If you do this in the power and enlightenment of the Holy Spirit, you’ll be well on the way to becoming “. . . a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2: 15


Pray this week:

Lord, I ask you to give me understanding and wisdom as I study your Word so that I follow your instruction and not mine. Amen. 


Is there anything in the Bible you have a difficult time understanding? Talk to a caring Christian friend! 

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

The Source of Our Strength

Who do you lean on?

Written by GodLife on 23/10/2018

Series: Weekly Devotional

Tags: FaithSubmissionTrustGod


And the Lord was with him; wherever he went out, he prospered. He rebelled against the king of Assyria and would not serve him.

2 Kings 18:7

How often does this happen to you? You go through a difficult time – maybe a health problem or family struggles – and you attempt to solve the problem all on your own. After a while, you find yourself exhausted and ready to give up on the problem and nothing you have done has seemed to helped at all!

It’s in our sinful nature to want to rely on ourselves, but the Bible shows us a great example of what happens when we fully rely on God instead of ourselves.

Hezekiah’s example

Hezekiah was one of the best kings of Judah in the Old Testament. 2 Chronicles 31:20 says, “Thus Hezekiah did throughout all Judah, and he did what was good and right and faithful before the Lord his God.” In 2 Kings 18:5, it says, “He trusted in the Lord, the God of Israel, so that there was none like him among all the kings of Judah after him, nor among those who were before him.”

He showed his love toward God by trusting in Him fully. That’s not all he did, though.

“For he held fast to the Lord. He did not depart from following him, but kept the commandments that the Lord commanded Moses. And the Lord was with him; wherever he went out, he prospered. He rebelled against the king of Assyria and would not serve him.” (2 Kings 18:6-7)

What made Hezekiah such a faithful king to God? It was his unrelenting reliance on God throughout all circumstances. He showed that He was faithful to God by the way he kept His commandments. 

And his life wasn’t easy! He was the king of Judah after a very difficult time in its history. He had to lead the nation as they were being challenged by the biggest world power at the time – the Assyrians. It would have been easy for him to be overwhelmed by everything happening in his life, but instead he trusted God.

What did Hezekiah do when the kingdom was threatened by Assyria? He went into God's temple and spread an intimidating letter from the king of Assyria out before the Lord and asked for deliverance. And God decimated the Assyrian army in one night! Hezekiah didn't have to lift a finger, and the victory was the Lord's. 

Hezekiah held fast to the Lord, and he did not stop following him. For that, he was called one of the best kings in the history of his nation.

We have access to God

You might be thinking, “Well, Hezekiah was a king! I’m nothing like him.” It’s true that we all have different roles on earth, and some of us have more earthly power than others, but we all have access to the same power that Hezekiah had access to – the power of God. Hezekiah accessed that power by staying close to the Lord all throughout his life and staying faithful to Him.

Do not think you need to handle things on your own. You can’t. But by His Spirit, we can handle anything life throws at us. As believers after Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection, we have access to the Holy Spirit living within us (Ephesians 1:13-14). 
The Holy Spirit is God! To know that God lives within us and empowers us in tough situations (and when life is going well), should be extremely comforting. As you go forth today, and as you come across difficult situations, remember that the Lord is with you, and He is reliable, faithful and trustworthy.


Pray this week:

Lord God, give me the ability to fully trust you with absolutely everything in my life. Allow me to release whatever I’m holding back from you, because you alone can ultimately bear my burdens. Thank you for loving me and not abandoning me in times of need. I love you, Lord. Amen.


Where have you failed to rely on the Lord this week? Let your caring Christian friend know, and they can pray with you today!

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Jesus said I will build My Church and the gates of Hades will not overpower it

How Does it Work?
Jesus said, "I will build My Church, and the gates of Hades will not overpower it" (Matthew 16:18). But how is Jesus building His Church?

Series: New Believers Guide

So how does the Church work? Jesus said, "I will build My Church, and the gates of Hades will not overpower it" (Matthew 16:18). But how is Jesus building His Church? Ephesians 4:16 tells us the answer: "As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow." Did you know that you are meant to play a crucial part in God’s family?

"They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer." Acts 2:42

Don't Miss Out!
Imagine for a moment a young boy who never wanted anything to do with his family. He never came out for family dinner, but just ran in his room when he got home from school. He never did any chores around the house, refused to clean his room, and pushed his brother whenever he saw him. In addition, this boy had it in him to become a great soccer player, but he never let his dad teach him how to play. Think of all that child would miss out on! Not to mention how the family would suffer as well.

"Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart." Acts 2:46

Just Like a Family, the Church has a Give-and-Take Relationship
— like how people need the oxygen trees give off and trees need the carbon dioxide people breathe out. Just the same, you need the Church, and the church also needs you. Look at mutual benefits of being in a church:

You are Protected
Just as a house keeps people protected from harm, so God's house keeps Christians safe from false teaching. God gave this instruction to pastors: "So guard yourselves and God's people. Feed and shepherd God's flock — his church, purchased with his own blood — over which the Holy Spirit has appointed you as elders" (Acts 20:28).

You are Taught How to Follow Jesus
1 Peter 2:2-3 says, "Like newborn babies, you must crave pure spiritual milk so that you will grow into a full experience of salvation. Cry out for this nourishment, now that you have had a taste of the Lord’s kindness." Newborns can’t feed themselves; they need someone to help them. Pastors and teachers help you grow as a Christian as they feed you the spiritual food of the Bible and help you know God better.

You Learn How to Love Your Family
Jesus said, "So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples" (John 13:34-35). Being part of a church family helps you learn how to love others and their differences and show the love of Jesus to the world.

You Discover and Use Your Gifts
Have you ever had someone tell you that you are good at something you were unaware of? God has given you spiritual gifts, and your church family can help you discover them and learn how to use them. The Bible says, "Since you want spiritual gifts very much, seek most of all to have the gifts that help the church grow stronger" (1 Corinthians 14:12). As you use your gifts, the church is strengthened and grows.

You Need the Church and the Church Needs You
What are the gifts God has given you to build His Church? Maybe you haven't discovered them yet. As you join a spiritual family, you grow as a Christian and help the whole body of Christ to grow as well.

"Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing." 1 Thessalonians 5:11

 

Watch the video  :   https://youtu.be/pM6Y9VZKmK4

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Serving the Body

How can we use our spiritual gifts to serve the Church?

Written by Ruth on 24/10/2017
Series: Weekly Devotional
Tags: Church And Community
And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

Hebrews 10:24-25
Have you ever wondered why you should be part of a church? The Bible says in Hebrews 10:24-25 that gathering with other believers is something we should not neglect.

What is so important about church?
Jesus wants us, as a member of a local church, to complete the ministry He began while He was on earth. He wants you to be part of this ministry. But none of us can do this on our own. We need Him as our leader (our Head), and all the rest of the body (other believers) to get the mission accomplished as He has planned. None of us can do it alone, but all our abilities together are used by Him for His purpose. Here’s how you can be a healthy part of the body:

Encouraging each other
First, church is meant for mutual encouragement. In Hebrews 10:23 we read God’s desire for us to “hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering.” None of us can do that by ourselves because our enemy, Satan, attacks us more when we are alone. Our responsibility to other believers is to encourage them to keep following Jesus closely.

Completing what he began
Second, Jesus left us a task to do. Just before He returned to heaven after His resurrection, He said we were to “go and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:20). He says He is “not wishing that any should perish” (2 Peter 3:9), but no one can know Him unless someone tells them.

In John 14:12, Jesus also said that the Church would do “greater works” than He had done while He was here. None of us who follow Him can accomplish this in our own strength. We, the Church, are called His body and are left on earth now so He can do in the whole world what He did in one region while He was here.

For this reason Jesus gives gifts (called spiritual gifts in the Bible) to each person in the church to help with this task. We read the lists of spiritual gifts in passages such as Ephesians 4:11-12. Alone, we cannot complete all the duties Jesus wants to do, but together we can. Jesus’ body, the Church has different parts just as a body has – ears, nose, mouth, hands, feet, and so on – and each part is important to completing the task. Each of us, with the spiritual gifts He has given us, have our own work to do.

Strength in unity
Third, we as believers must work together. We cannot work as a body if we are not in agreement with each other. The Bible calls this “unity of the Spirit” (Ephesians 4:1-6). Hands cannot help a person in need if the feet will not take them to that person. The heart cannot love someone if the ears have not heard the one who needs encouragement. The arms cannot lift a heavy burden for another if the legs and back do not help with balance and strength.

Jesus gave His disciples, including us today, a wonderful promise in Matthew 16:18 – that the very gates of hell cannot stop what He wants to accomplish. Gates are not attack weapons, but instead used to keep someone out or in. The gates of hell are pictured because Satan wants to keep people from hearing Jesus’ words of hope and follow Him. However, his gates cannot stop us from entering his strongholds to tell them.

There will be times, however, as we enter those gates to invite people to follow us to Jesus, that we will be injured by Satan’s attacks. In those times, the Church – the body of Christ – rushes to help the injured one. We bind the wounds, encourage the disheartened and give strength to those who have suffered in the attacks.

Discovering your spiritual gifts
Finally, every believer is given at least one spiritual gift with which they serve Jesus’ body in a local church. It is our duty to use each gift we are given to help the local body in the church we attend. (1 Peter 4:10)

How do we discover our spiritual gifts? A few will hear God’s call to become pastors. Others will be asked to do something and discover joy in fulfilling that task. Many will try different things to find what gives them the greatest satisfaction as they serve Jesus in their church – encouraging others, giving someone a verse of wisdom when someone is searching for answers, visiting the sick and praying with them, helping a disabled person by taking them to the grocery store and carrying their bags home, or even greeting a foreigner with a word of welcome in their own language. In doing this, you will be serving the body while also finding how God has crafted you best to serve.

Pray this week:
Father, as my love for you grows, teach me also to love my church and use the way you’ve prepared me to bless and build others within it.

What do you do in church that helps others?

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member