Bible Reading for 2015

 

Bible 2015God – the Creator and Sovereign of the universe – is not silent. He has spoken and continues to speak through His Word. For this reason, reading Scripture is of paramount importance for the people of God. As we start a New Year, this is a great time to choose a Bible reading plan, be resolved and start reading! Continue reading Bible Reading for 2015

How to Pray for your Pastor’s Preaching

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Like all Christians, pastors need prayer. In an earlier post I wrote about how you can pray for your pastor. In this post, I want to specifically look at how you can pray for his preaching. God in His wisdom has appointed the greatest means so as to reveal His character and will to the church, and that is the preaching of His Word (). Because the preaching of the Word of God is an important and influential task, we must take time to pray for those who preach it.

 

PRAY THAT THE WORD WOULD INSTRUCT HIM 
Pray that as your pastor reads and studies the Scripture, that the Word of God would grip his heart. Pray that his eyes would be opened and that he would behold wondrous things from God’s Word ().

 

PRAY THAT HE WOULD APPLY THE WORD
After God’s Word grips his heart, pray that he would apply it to his life. We read this concerning Ezra, “Ezra had set his heart to study the Law of the Lord, and to do it and to teach his statutes and rules in Israel” (). Make this your prayer for your pastor.

 

PRAY THAT HE WOULD BE DILIGENT IN STUDYING THE WORD
Pray that he would be diligent in his study. Sadly, all too often some pastor’s can be distracted or lazy. Pray that your pastor would make a disciplined effort as he carefully handles the precious Word of God. Paul commanded Timothy,

 

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” ().

 

PRAY THAT HE WOULD BE HUMBLE
Pray that he would prepare his sermons in a humble manner knowing and understanding, that apart from Christ he can do nothing (cf. ). Pride is an ugly and consuming sin that God hates (Prov. 6:16-17; 16:5). Pray that your pastor would be humble before God and would not preach for show, but rather “in demonstration of the Spirit and of power” ().

 

PRAY THAT HE WOULD BE FAITHFUL
Pray that when he stands in the pulpit, that he would faithfully preach the Word of God in fullness and in truth. Pray that his boldness and words would be driven by what God has said. Too many pastors fall prey to the pressure of needing to be popular and pleasing to the ear. Paul called for the preacher to,

 

preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry” ().

 

R A Torrey asked, “Do you want a new minister?” He went on to say, “I can tell you how to get one. Pray for the one you have until God makes him over!” Pray for your pastor’s preaching and this will be a blessing for you and others.

and at the proper time manifested in his word through the preaching with which I have been entrusted by the command of God our Savior;

18 Open my eyes, that I may behold
wondrous things out of your law.

10 For Ezra had set his heart to study the Law of the Lord, and to do it and to teach his statutes and rules in Israel.

15 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.

I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.

and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power,

preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.

Bible Devotion Series: Read, Study and Apply

Read and Study the Bible

Reading and studying the Bible is a rewarding experience. The Psalmist declared, “I will lift up my hands toward your commandments, which I love, and I will meditate on your statutes” (). By means of this consistent activity, we come face to face with what God has spoken. This is a true delight!

On the HBC blog, in addition to the various topics and issues we will write about, once a week we will be posting an instalment from our new Bible Devotion Series.

The plan is for you to READ, STUDY, and APPLY a passage of Scripture. The approach will be for you to work your way through a book of the Bible. In the post you will have the passage of Scripture, a brief commentary and then some study questions (this could even be used in a Bible study group context).

These posts are designed to be brief so they won’t answer every question you may have from the passage. We would encourage to to dig deeper in the text as a result of these devotions.

The first Bible Devotion Series will be 1 Timothy.

You can have these sent to your email by signing up on the right hand side of this page.

48 I will lift up my hands toward your commandments, which I love,
and I will meditate on your statutes.

How to Study the Scriptures and Get it Wrong

Wrong Way

Imagine you are invited to attend a very special event. You get the address; you look it up in your map, spend hours carefully studying all the fine details in the map and off you go. However, after all that effort in studying the map and the time spent travelling, you are told that you are going to the wrong destination. Why? Despite your diligent study, you missed the most important thing, the correct route! This sounds bizarre right? Sadly, this is an illustration of the way many people study their Bibles. Sure, they read it, know many facts, and have a head full of knowledge. However, they have missed the main thing.

contains a sad tragedy. Jesus was speaking to a group of religious leaders who spent hours upon hours studying the Scriptures, yet they had got its message completely wrong. In what way was it completely wrong? Through their study of the Scriptures they obtained many facts and even thought that they had eternal life. Then suddenly Jesus says to them,

“You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life” ().

What was their problem? They were heading to the wrong destination because they were on the wrong route. They studied line upon line, precept upon precept and failed to see that those Scriptures point to Christ. Evidently their trust was not in Him but in their knowledge and rituals. Concerning our Lord’s words in this text JC Ryle comments,

“His words show the important truth which too many are apt to overlook, that every part of our Bibles is meant to teach us about Christ. Christ is not merely in the Gospels and Epistles. Christ is to be found directly and indirectly in the Law, the Psalms, and the Prophets. In the promises to Adam, Abraham, Moses, and David,—in the types and emblems of the ceremonial law,—in the predictions of Isaiah and the other prophets,—Jesus, the Messiah, is everywhere to be found in the Old Testament”  (JC Ryle, Expository Thoughts on the Gospels – John).

This teaches us an important lesson. Having lots of knowledge about the Bible has no eternal benefit. Now, don’t think that being lazy concerning the study of Scripture is any better! The point I’m raising in this post is that if you are going to read the Scriptures, read with the view of seeing and knowing Christ. The Scriptures point to Christ (), and in Him alone is the only way in which we will receive eternal life ().

39 You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, 40 yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life.

39 You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, 40 yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life.

27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.

Luke 24:45

45 Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures,

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.