Category: New Believers

Apostle’s Creed (Our Essential Creed)

Apostle’s Creed (Our Essential Creed)

Below, you will find the foundational statement of faith of all Reformed Christians. Officially codified in AD 390, this is a concise statement on the essentials of Christian Orthodoxy.

 

I believe in God the Father, Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth:

And in Jesus Christ, his only begotten Son, our Lord:

Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary:

Suffered under Pontius Pilate; was crucified, dead and buried: He descended into hell:

The third day he rose again from the dead:

He ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty:

From thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead:

I believe in the Holy Ghost:

I believe in the holy catholic church: the communion of saints:

The forgiveness of sins:

The resurrection of the body:

And the life everlasting. Amen.

104 Verses You Should Know

104 Verses You Should Know

Here are 104 verses, 52 basic and 52 advanced, that you should know. These are paired with the appropriate Bible concept for study.

Topic Basic Advanced Biblical Concept
1. God the Creator Genesis 1:1 John 1:1-5 God
2. Human Beings Genesis 1:26-28 Psalm 8 Humanity/Self
3. Sin Genesis 3:6-7 James 1:12-15 Rebellion and Sin
4. Sin’s Consequences Romans 6:23 John 8:34-35 Rebellion and Sin
5. Jesus Christ John 14:6 Matthew 1:21-23 Jesus
6. The Scriptures 2 Timothy 3:16-17 Romans 15:4 Revelation and Authority/Bible
7. God’s Revelation: Creation Romans 1:20 Psalm 19:1-6 Creation, Sovereignty, and Providence
8. God’s Revelation: Law Psalm 119:13-16 Psalm 19:7-14 Revelation and Authority/Bible
9. Scripture: Jesus’ View Matthew 5:17-20 Luke 24:44-45 Revelation and Authority/Bible
10. Abraham: Father of a Multitude Genesis 12:1-3 Genesis 15:1 Creation, Sovereignty, and Providence
11. God’s Grace to Jacob/Israel Genesis 28:14-15 Genesis 48:16 Creation, Sovereignty, and Providence
12. Joseph: Man of Character Genesis 50:19-21 Hebrews 11:22 Creation, Sovereignty, and Providence
13. Moses: Servant of Yahweh Exodus 3:14-15 Hebrews 11:22-26 God
14. Moses: Remember Deuteronomy 6:4-9 Deuteronomy 8:2-3 Discipleship and the Christian Life
15. Joshua’s Charge Joshua 1:6-9 Joshua 24:14-15 Discipleship and the Christian Life
16. Retreat to Idolatry Judges 1:11-13 Judges 21:25 Rebellion and Sin
17. Faithfulness: Human and Divine Ruth 1:16-17 Ruth 4:14-16 Family
18. Samuel: Israel’s Intercessor 1 Samuel 3:10 1 Samuel 12:23-25 Discipleship and the Christian Life
19. David’s Reign and Dynasty 2 Samuel 5:4-5 2 Samuel 7:12-13 Creation, Sovereignty, and Providence
20. Psalms of David Psalm 23 Psalm 32:1-2 Salvation
21. Solomon’s Prayer/God’s Answer 1 Kings 3:7-9 1 Kings 3:10-14 Reason and Faith
22. Wisdom’s Source Proverbs 1:7 Proverbs 3:1-12 Reason and Faith
23. Hollow Worship Isaiah 29:13-14 Isaiah 29:15-16 Rebellion and Sin
24. Eternal God Isaiah 40:6-8 Isaiah 40:27-31 God
25. Judgment John 3:19-21 Luke 16:15 Rebellion and Sin
26. A New Heart Ezekiel 36:26-27 Ezekiel 37:14 Salvation
27. God’s Gift Romans 3:23-26 1 Peter 3:18 Salvation
28. Jesus Christ: Our Substitute Isaiah 53:4-6 Hebrews 9:11-14 Jesus
29. New Birth John 3:5-8 John 3:14-17 Salvation
30. Peace Romans 5:1-5 Hebrews 13:20-21 Discipleship and the Christian Life
31. Repent Mark 1:15 Acts 17:30 Salvation
32. Baptism Acts 2:38-40 Romans 6:4-5 Discipleship and the Christian Life
33. The Comforter John 14:16 John 16:8-11 Holy Spirit
34. The Body of Christ Acts 2:41-43 Ephesians 4:15-16 Church and Kingdom
35. Serving Others James 2:15-17 Matthew 25:37-40 Church and Kingdom
36. Prayer Matthew 6:5-8 Romans 8:26-27 Discipleship and the Christian Life
37. Building Well Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 Matthew 7:24-27 Discipleship and the Christian Life
38. Anger Matthew 5:21-22 Proverbs 22:24 Ethics and Morality
39. Lust Matthew 5:27-30 Proverbs 5:18 Ethics and Morality
40. Enemies Matthew 5:43-48 Ephesians 6:10-18 Discipleship and the Christian Life
41. Jealousy Ecclesiastes 4:4 James 3:13-18 Reason and Faith
42. Sloth Proverbs 18:9 2 Thessalonians 3:10 Ethics and Morality
43. Greed Hebrews 13:5 Malachi 3:8-12 Discipleship and the Christian Life
44. Pride Ezekiel 16:49 Jeremiah 13:15-17 Rebellion and Sin
45. Depression Psalm 42:5 Isaiah 26:3 Discipleship and the Christian Life
46. Priorities Philippians 3:13-14 Matthew 6:33-34 Discipleship and the Christian Life
47. Influence Matthew 5:13-16 Matthew 18:6 Community and World
48. Witness Matthew 28:18-20 1 Peter 3:14-16 Discipleship and the Christian Life
49. Marriage: God’s Design Genesis 2:22-24 Song of Songs 8:6-7 Family
50. Husbands/Wives Ephesians 5:25-26 Ephesians 5:22-24 Family
51. Resurrection 1 Corinthians 15:3-8 1 Corinthians 15:20-22 Time and Eternity
52. Glory Revelation 21:1-4 Revelation 22:17-21 Time and Eternity

HCSB Study Bible.

Simple Steps To More Effective Bible Study

Simple Steps To More Effective Bible Study

Many Christians want to understand the Bible more but find it to be a daunting task. That is understandable. At its oldest (Job) the Bible is between 4,000 and 6,000 years old and it was originally written in other languages. So what can we do to be more effective in our Bible study?

  1. Gather the tools you need: A Bible (two is actually better, 1 word for word translation and 1 meaning based translation), A Bible Dictionary (I recommend Unger’s), a Concordance (I recommend Gruden’s or the Treasury of Scripture Knowledge) possibly a commentary (Wycliffe is excellent), a notebook, and a pen.
  2. Decide if you will study a topic or a book then begin at the appropriate point. By way of example, if you will study what the Bible says about worship you would look that up in your concordance and begin with the first passage listed.
  3. Pray for wisdom and understanding then read the selected passage; I always read in at least two English translations, NASB and NIV or NLT, and sometimes in all three. In this step read all the way through the passage without looking up any words or writing anything down.
  4. Read the passage again. This time write down any terms you might not be familiar with or that you want to know more about, such as predestination. Also write down any questions that you may have about the passage. Take note of any footnotes that are added at the bottom of the page. These will, very often, be most helpful to your understanding of the Bible text.
  5. Look up the unfamiliar terms in your Bible dictionary and make notes.
  6. Look up the passage in your commentary. Take note of any information that may answer your questions about the passage.
  7. Look for the answers to these questions: What is the Lord communicating to the original audience? What is the implication of the text for my life/what does the Lord require from me in this text?
  8. Look up any related passages. This will be done with the references in your Bible, most often these are in the center column. Make notes of how these passages all relate to each other. You may need to repeat steps 5-7 for the related passages.

After you complete step 8, discuss what you have learned (called the interpretation of the text) with either your pastor or a more mature Christian. Most importantly, realize that you have not mastered this text even though you have taken these steps. I have been studying for over 20 years and have not even scratched the surface of the Bible.

Until next time, may the Holy Spirt, Himself the Author of the Scripture, open your mind to behold wondrous things in the Scriptures.

Know Your Enemy: the Devil and his many names

Know Your Enemy: the Devil and his many names

Names Description Scripture Reference
Accuser Opposes believers before God Revelation 12:10
Adversary Against Believers 1 Peter 5:8
Beelzebul Lord of the Flies Matthew 12:24
Belial Worthless 2 Corinthians 6:15
Devil Slanderer Matthew 4:1
Dragon Destructive Revelation 12:3,7,9
Enemy Opponenet Matthew 13:28
Evil One Intrinsically Evil John 17:15
God of this World Influences the thinking of the world 2 Corinthians 4:4
Liar Perverts the truth John 8:44
Murderer Leads people to eternal death John 8:44
Prince Power of the Air Control of unbelievers Ephesians 2:2
Roaring Lion One who destroys 1 Peter 5:8
Ruler of Demons Leader of fallen angels Mark 3:22
Ruler of this World Rules the world system John 12:31
Satan Adversary 1 Timothy 5:15
Serpent of Old Deceiver in the garden Revelation 12:9, 20:2
Tempter Solicits people to sin 1 Thessalonians 3:5

 

Observations from Luke’s Introduction to the Gospel

Observations from Luke’s Introduction to the Gospel

Luke 1:1-4 (NKJV)

Inasmuch as many have taken in hand to set in order a narrative of those things which have been fulfilled among us, just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word delivered them to us, it seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write to you an orderly account, most excellent Theophilus, that you may know the certainty of those things in which you were instructed.

I would like to share 4 observations, with you, from the Introduction to the Gospel According to Luke

The Gospel is personal

Note the designation, most excellent Theophilus. While some scholars think this is a general reference to Christians everywhere (Theophilus means friend of God, which all Christians are) it is clear from the honorific, most excellent, that Luke is addressing a real person; the honorific is actually better translated as Your Excellency and could denote a Roman Official of significant social/political rank. In any case, the fact that the Holy Spirit directed one of the Gospel writers to address his words to a specific individual shows us that He is concerned with the salvation of the individual. I, personally, think that the term Theophilus is denoting both an actual person and all Christians everywhere.

The Gospel was attested to by many witnesses

Writing to the Brethren in Corinth Paul tells us

(1 Corinthians 15:3-8) “For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time.”

Cephas (Simon Peter), James, the full company of the Apostles, 500 brethren at once, and lastly Paul; there certainly was no shortage of eye witnesses to the Resurrection of Christ. These would, doubtlessly, the eyewitnesses that Luke refers to as having handed down the narrative of Christ’s life and death. At this particular point in history, parchment was still rather expensive and the oral traditions were still quite widespread. It is most probable, as is noted in the Harper Collins Study Bible and the New Oxford Annoated Bible, that Theophilus was a patron of Luke’s and sponsored the writing and distribution of the Gospel.

The Gospel is reasonable and complete

I do not just mean that the Gospel makes sense. Note that Luke says he has perfect understanding and by that he means his understanding is complete. Also, Luke mentions that he is writing an orderly account. This is not a consecutive order as the NASB incorrectly asserts but it is in thematic order. Each point of Jesus message is illustrated with teachings and miracles which attest to that teaching. The Gospel According to Luke is laid out in a very detailed (Luke is the longest of the 4 by total verses) order that would make sense to the meticulous Greek mind.

The Gospel is certain

It can be verified through testimony. The Old Testament requires two or three witnesses (Deuteronomy 19:15). Matthew (Matthew presents The Messiah King) and John (John presents the Divine Savior) were there and write from memory, Mark (Mark presents the obedient servant) was with Peter at the end of his life in Rome and pens a memoir of sorts for Peter, and Luke (Luke presents the Son of Man) was Paul’s personal physician. Each of these men wrote accounts for eyewitnesses. Remember that Paul studied at the feet of Gamaliel the Elder, which necessarily means that he was in Jerusalem and most probably witnessed much of what Jesus said and did. By recording so much eyewitness testimony, Luke establishes, forever, the veracity of the Gospel message.

Scriptural promises of God’s Presence

Scriptural promises of God’s Presence

 

  • Exodus 33:14
  • Numbers 6:24, 26
  • Isaiah 24:23
  • Isaiah 41:10
  • Isaiah 43:1
  • Isaiah 43:2
  • Habakkuk 2:14
  • Haggai 1:13
  • Haggai 2:5
  • Zechariah 2:10
  • Matthew 28:20
  • Luke 24:49
  • Hebrews 13:5
  • James 4:8
  • Deuteronomy 32:36
  • 1 Chronicles 28:9
  • Song of Solomon 2:16
  • Song of Solomon 7:10
  • Song of Solomon 8:7
  • Hosea 2:19
  • 1 Samuel 12:22
  • 1 Chronicles 28:9
  • 1 Chronicles 28:9
  • Ezra 8:22
  • Psalm 145:18
  • Hebrews 11:6
  • Exodus 2:24, 25
  • Psalm 4:3
  • Psalm 10:17
  • Psalm 145:18
  • Isaiah 65:24
  • 1 John 5:15
Scriptural Promises related to Salvation

Scriptural Promises related to Salvation

 

  • Genesis 45:7, 8
  • Numbers 21:8
  • 2 Samuel 22:26–28
  • Psalm 72:4
  • Ezekiel 34:12
  • Romans 8:32
  • Romans 11:26, 27
  • Exodus 12:13
  • Leviticus 17:11
  • 1 Samuel 14:6
  • 1 Chronicles 28:9
  • Isaiah 43:25
  • Isaiah 45:22
  • Jeremiah 3:22
  • Ezekiel 11:19, 20
  • Hosea 14:4
  • Joel 2:32
  • Zechariah 9:16
  • Matthew 1:21
  • Matthew 10:32
  • Matthew 16:18
  • Matthew 16:25
  • Mark 8:35
  • Luke 5:32
  • Luke 9:56
  • Luke 11:9
  • John 3:16
  • John 4:14
  • John 5:24
  • John 6:37
  • John 7:38, 39
  • John 8:36
  • John 10:10
  • John 10:27, 28
  • Romans 5:10
  • Romans 6:23
  • Romans 10:9
  • 2 Corinthians 5:17
  • Ephesians 5:14
  • 1 Thessalonians 5:9
  • Hebrews 7:25
  • Hebrews 9:28
  • 1 Peter 2:6
  • 1 John 1:7
  • 1 John 1:9
  • 1 John 5:4
  • Deuteronomy 28:7
  • 1 Samuel 17:47
  • Isaiah 51:7, 8
  • Joshua 23:10
  • Job 5:15, 16
  • Psalm 20:6
  • Isaiah 35:4
  • Zechariah 8:13
  • 2 Chronicles 30:9
  • Zephaniah 3:17
  • Mark 13:20
  • Psalm 121:7
  • Malachi 3:6
  • Isaiah 41:10 Isaiah 43:2
  • Habakkuk 2:4
  • Mark 8:35
  • Luke 18:17
  • John 1:12
  • John 11:25, 26
  • John 12:46
  • Acts 10:43
  • 1 Timothy 2:15
  • James 5:15
  • Luke 15:7
  • 2 Chronicles 7:14
  • 2 Peter 3:9
Jesus I AM Statements: the Bread of Life

Jesus I AM Statements: the Bread of Life

John 6:35 (NIV)

35 Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.

What on earth does Jesus mean? What kind of bread are we talking about here? Rye? Wheat? Whole Grain? White? It is good that our minds go in that direction since bread is a staple, that is to say it is an essential for life. In fact, bread is so common that in some cases we use it as a synonym for food in general. If we are “breaking bread” with someone we are sharing a meal with them. Keep the idea of food and sustenance in your mind as we go through this lesson.

  1. Jesus, as the Bread of Life, is the source and sustainer of life. John 10:28 tells us that Jesus gives life and those to whom He gives it will never perish. 1 Timothy 6:13 contains an admonishment from Paul in the sight of God who gives life to everything and we saw at the beginning of this series that Jesus is, in fact, the I AM of the Old Testament and therefore, He is the God who gives life to everything that has it.
  1. Bread played an integral role in the Passover and in the history of the Children of Israel in the wilderness. The Jews were to eat unleavened bread during the Passover feast and then for seven days following as a celebration of the exodus from Egypt. Finally, when the Jews were wandering in the desert for 40 years, God rained down “bread from heaven” to sustain the nation (Exodus 16:4).
  1. Jesus was responding to the obtuseness of the crowd who did not get who He was. The statement that He is the Bread of Life is staggaring!! By equating Himself with bread, Jesus is saying he is essential for life. Now, the life Jesus is referring to is not physical life, but eternal life. Jesus is trying to get the Jews’ thinking off of the physical realm and into the spiritual realm. He is contrasting what He brings as their Messiah with the bread He miraculously created the day before. That was physical bread that perishes. He is spiritual bread that brings eternal life.
  1. Jesus is not talking about physical hunger and thirst. Think back; in His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus says, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. (Matthew 5:6)” When Jesus says those who come to Him will never hunger and those who believe in Him will never thirst, He is saying He will satisfy our hunger and thirst to be made righteous in the sight of God.

 

Our deepest need is for a relationship with God. Jesus is the satisfaction of that need. When we come to Him, He gives us eternal life and then sustains that life so that we never again are in a famine for relationship with God.

 

I AM Statements: Alpha and Omega

I AM Statements: Alpha and Omega

Revelation 1:8 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.

I. Why does Jesus use Alpha and Omega?
A. Alpha and Omega are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet implying that Jesus is the first and last, the cause of everything. (Colossians 1:16). Alpha and Omega shows Jesus as the cause of all history, the Creator God, and the culmination of all history as all history is moving toward His full and final glory.

II. What is the significance of the phrase, “which is, and which was, and which is to come?

A. When God told Moses, “I Am Who I Am” it was a statement that is a present continuous, which essentially means that what is said is always that way. God always is, that is to say that He transcends time.

1. God is not bound by the physical laws and limitations of our time and space (Isaiah 57:15)

a. God is a spirit (John 4:24) and so is unbound by these laws 2. God is timeless (Psalm 90:4) and His perspective on time is

different from ours (2 Peter 3:8, Psalm 102:12, Psalm 102:24-27)
B. In short, there has never been a time when God was not and will never be a time when He is not.

III. What is the significance of “the Almighty”
A. God Almighty was a name well known to the Jews

1. Six times in Genesis, God is called Almighty (Genesis 17:1 Genesis 28:3 Genesis 35:11 Genesis 43:14 Genesis 48:3 Genesis 49:25)
2. God tells Moses that He was known to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as God Almighty but not buy His Covenant Name, YHWH (Exodus 6:3)

B. The name, God Almighty is used more than 12 times in the Old Testament. By appropriating this Name unto Himself, Jesus is declaring, in absolutely direct terms that He is, in fact, the One, God Almighty.

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